The Ledes

Thursday, April 17, 2014.

New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia emphasized on Thursday that the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament had authorized him to use military force if necessary in eastern Ukraine, and also stressed Russia’s historical claim to the territory, repeatedly referring to it as 'new Russia' and saying that only 'God knows' why it became part of Ukraine....Mr. Putin’s remarks on eastern Ukraine came as officials from Russia, the United States, Europe and the new government in Kiev were meeting in Geneva for four-way negotiations aimed at resolving the political crisis." ...

... Los Angeles Times: "Russia may invade southeast Ukraine to protect the local population, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday." ...

... Washington Post: "President Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly denied Russian troops had entered Crimea before the March referendum there, changed his version of those events Thursday, telling the nation that they had indeed been there all along. But the green-uniformed men observed in eastern Ukraine right now, storming buildings and raising the Russian flag, are not Russian, he said. 'Those are local residents,' he said." ...

... AP: "Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest. The carrot-stick strategy emerged as diplomats from Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and Russia prepared to meet Thursday for the first time over the burgeoning crisis that threatens to roil the new government in Kiev." ...

... Guardian: "Asked if he was expecting any progress, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, simply shrugged." ...

... Reuters is liveblogging of the Ukraine crisis.

... New York Times: "Ukrainian security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in a firefight overnight in the eastern city of Mariupol, the interim Ukrainian interior minister said on Thursday. The clash was the most lethal so far in the east of the country." ...

... AP: "NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday."

Washington Post: "A Canadian cyber crime unit has arrested and charged a 19-year-old Ontario man for allegedly hacking into the country's tax agency using the Heartbleed Internet security bug."

Washington Post: "About 24 hours after [a South Korean] passenger ferry with more than 450 aboard began to slowly sink off South Korea’s southwestern coast, at least nine are dead and 287 others, many of them teenagers, are unaccounted for. South Korean news media put the number rescued at between 164 and 179, most of whom were brought ashore to the island of Jindo, where they were wrapped in warm towels or treated for minor injuries." ...

... Guardian: "The parents of hundreds of children missing after Wednesday's ferry accident off the coast of South Korea have accused the captain of the vessel of abandoning passengers after it emerged that he and six other crew members were among the first to leave the ship after it started to sink." ...

... Los Angeles Times: "Angry relatives of passengers aboard a sunken South Korean ferry criticized the government’s response Thursday as the ship’s captain made an emotional apology for fleeing the vessel before hundreds of others had a chance to get out."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

AP: "A column of armored vehicles flying Russian flags drove into a Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Russia demonstrators Wednesday, dampening the central government's hopes to re-establish control over restive eastern Ukraine."

AP: "A multi-story ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by ships and helicopters. At least three people were confirmed dead and 55 injured."

Boston Globe: "A shelter-in-place order on Boylston Street has been lifted and a 25-year-old Boston man is facing charges after police executed a controlled detonation of two suspicious bags left near the Boston Marathon finish line. Just after 7 p.m. on Tuesday, on the one-year anniversary of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, police said two backpacks had been found in the area and immediately ordered people to evacuate. Authorities said the backpacks were tied to a man who goes by Kayvon Edson. Edson was captured in several videos marching down Boylston Street in a black veil, wearing a backpack, and chanting 'Boston strong.'” ...

     ... UPDATE: "A man who was arrested after suspicious bags were found near the Boston Marathon finish line was arraigned today in Boston Municipal Court. Kevin Edson, 25, of Boston is being charged with possession of a hoax explosive, threatening battery, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly, and disorderly conduct, according to the Boston Police Department. Edson is being held on $100,000 bail and is being sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for an evaluation, the Associated Press reports."


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/10/3772409/fbi-rescues-kidnapped-wake-forest.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Public Service Announcements

Washington Post: "Researchers are reporting that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection, a finding that could lead to a major breakthrough in preventing the disease in humans."

New York Times: "General Motors will more than double the size of a recall issued this month for an ignition switch defect in some of its small cars, the automaker said in a news release Tuesday. The expansion brings the number of vehicles covered by the recall to nearly 1.4 million in the United States. The recall is aimed at vehicles with ignition switches that could inadvertently turn off the engine and vehicle electrical system – disabling the air bags – if the ignition key is jarred or the vehicle’s operator has a heavy key ring attached to it."

New York Times: "The essence of [a] disagreement [among experts] comes down to a simple question: Will e-cigarettes cause more or fewer people to smoke? The answer matters. Cigarette smoking is still the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States, killing about 480,000 people a year."

White House Live Video
April 17

11:05 am ET: President Obama & Vice President Biden welcome the 7th annual Wounded Warrior Project's soldier ride

1:45 3:15 pm ET: Jay Carney 's press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

Josh Dickey of Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable." Via New York.

Lauren Moraski of CBS "News": "David Letterman announced Thursday that he's retiring from CBS' 'Late Show' sometime next year. He made that announcement during the taping of his program Thursday afternoon at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater."

No News, All the Time:

Igor Bobic of TPM: "In its wall-to-wall coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has raised the possibility of the supernatural, blackholes, and North Korea; it has interviewed a psychic, tried but failed to rent its own 777 jet, and finally settled on a flight simulator it is using to 'search' for the plane.On Tuesday the network finally turned its attention to garbage."

Washington Post: "Stephen Colbert and his writing staff were in fighting form Monday night, after a controversy stemming from an out-of-context tweet had hashtag activists calling for his head." ...

... This is kinda must-see TV:

AND Colbert dismantles his charity:

Michael Lewis in the New York Times Magazine on the whiz-kids of high-frequency Wall Street trading.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Friday
Aug312012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 1, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

The Real Welfare Queens

Thanks to readers for the above tasteful political commentary.

Presidential Race

AP: "Several groups, including labor organizations and those opposing President Barack Obama's positions on various issues, plan to demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in the coming days. On Sunday, protesters will take part in the March on Wall Street South -- a demonstration that will focus on economic inequality, social injustice and other issues." ...

... Socks as Lethal Weapons??? Michael Biesecker & Mitch Weiss of the AP: "... protesters and free speech advocates ... fear authorities could trample on people's constitutional rights in the name of protecting public safety [at the Democratic convention]. The changes to city ordinances adopted earlier this year for 'extraordinary events' ban a long list of actions and items that would otherwise be legal from a more than 100-square-block zone. The area includes spots as much as a mile from the sports venues where the Democratic Party events are to be held.... Someone walking through Charlotte's central business district could run afoul of the law by carrying water bottles, hair spray, socks or magic markers."

President Obama spoke at Fort Bliss yesterday afternoon:

Carrie Dann of NBC News: "... Vice President Joe Biden appeared in Ohio auto country [Friday] to blast the Romney-Ryan convention speeches as 'not on the level,' accusing the GOP vice presidential nominee of fudging details of a closed auto plant.... [Also,] referencing a recent article in Rolling Stone that indicated Romney-led Bain Capital received federal assistance for its reorganization, Biden contrasted that attitude with Romney's opposition to a full auto industry bailout. 'It was one thing when a million middle-class jobs were on the line,' he said of Romney's alleged seeking of federal assistance. 'It was another thing when his own financial interests and those of his partners were on the line.'"

It is the height of hypocrisy for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to make a pretense of showing sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Isaac when their policies would leave those affected by this disaster stranded and on their own. If Paul Ryan and his fellow House Republicans had succeeded in blocking disaster relief last fall, there would have been no aid for the victims of Isaac today. And Paul Ryan's budget would gut disaster funding, making it much harder to get aid to our fellow Americans in their time of need. -- Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senate Majority Leader, on Romney & Ryan's visit to the Gulf Coast

Mitt Romney needs to say whether or not he supports his running mate's plan to keep emergency disaster aid out of the federal budget. -- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

David Alexrod tells the panel on "Morning Joe" that the GOP convention felt like open-mic night for 2016 presidential candidates.

... Paul Waldman of American Prospect: at the GOP convention "it seemed like every speaker had to relate their hard-luck tale of a rise from poverty.... If they're going to tell us about their grandfathers' weary hands, at least make the connection to what they want to do now. If there's a real relationship between that (possibly vicarious) experience and your policies, just make it clear. Your grandfather sold turnips from a handcart, and that's why you want to eliminate the capital gains tax? ... All in all, it reminds me of this:

... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress notes that the Republican platform declares Medicaid and other social safety net programs unconstitutional. Here's the language from the platform statement: "Scores of entrenched federal programs violate the constitutional mandates of federalism by taking money from the States, laundering it through various federal agencies, only to return to the States shrunken grants with mandates attached."

A Post-Convention Off-Script Moment. Katie Glueck of Politico: Austin, Texas, teacher Sean Duffy appeared alongside Jeb Bush at the GOP convention to speak about education, but he subsequently said he "leans more toward Obama." "Duffy said he's heard Obama talk some about education -- he cited the president's desire to make college more affordable, and that he hasn't 'necessarily heard the same' from Romney -- but added that he's still waiting to hear more on the subject from both candidates. He wasn't, however, impressed with the education portion of Romney's keynote.

Jon Stewart reflects on Romney's speech:

Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress: Romney "devoted only 202 words to national security and while his speech completely ignored the war in Afghanistan and any homage to American servicemembers, it contained a shocking number of misstatements and false and baseless attacks on President Obama.

I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. -- Mitt Romney, speaking of his wife during his convention speech

He doesn't say women should go back to the kitchen, stop working, and instead do the much harder and more important job of raising kids full time. But he doesn't want to spend any money or burden any business with any kind of rules or programs that would push us to a new more egalitarian equilibrium. -- Matt Yglesias of Slate

Yo, Matt, you just don't understand class differences. What Mitt means is this: women of the privileged class should have the luxury of staying home & rearing their children. All other women should get off their asses and earn their way in "real" jobs. Too bad if they're pregnant because they can't afford contraception; too bad if they're sick because their lousy employers don't provide coverage; too bad if their non-union jobs barely cover the cost of child care much less gas for the car, work clothes; etc. -- Constant Weader

Economist Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute has a fabulous post in which he proves that the Romney/Ryan "economic recovery plan" is the exact same plan George W. Bush & John McCain produced in 2008, 2006 & 2004. "Which is another way of saying that the Republicans have no plan for how to actually deal with this specific crisis we face." It's pretty amazing. ...

... "The Definition of Insanity..." Paul Krugman: "I would just add to Mike's take the historical experience. Romney says that his plan would create 12 million jobs in his first term. Leaving aside the fact that this is about what forecasters on average predict in any case, surely we should ask how the identical policies worked out in Bush's two terms. And the answer is: zero job growth in term one (and a fall in private sector employment), one million in term two. Oh, and private sector employment lower when Bush left office than when he arrived."

I was born in the middle of the century.... To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. We went to bed at night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world. -- Mitt Romney, in his convention speech

He also lived in an America where state universities provided excellent, low-cost education, the government was building infrastructure (like the interstate highway system), unions helped keep wages high for most (white) Americans, the tax code topped off at about 70 percent, income inequality was at its flattest in history, & the FHA & VA helped Americans buy homes they could afford, the Congress was passing laws to help Americans in need, & the courts were expanding civil rights. That's the America Misty-Eyed Mitt wants to destroy. -- Constant Weader

Steve Benen continues his chronicle of Mitt's Mendacity. He up to Vol. 32, & found 30 baldfaced lies Mitt told this week.

Michael Barbaro & Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "A senior Republican involved in convention planning said that [Clint] Eastwood's appearance was cleared by at least two of Mr. Romney's top advisers.... This person said that there had been no rehearsal, to the surprise of the rest of the campaign team." ...

... Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "... the Eastwood incident ... is one of many examples of how just when you are convinced that Mitt Romney runs the tightest ship in the business, run by ruthless cyborgs who insist on reducing the margin of error to nothing, something like this always seems to happen.... It ought to make at least a few people nervous about how this Genius Business Leader's hand-picked underlings might function if they are in charge of the country next January."

... Commentators -- including President Obama -- react to Clint Eastwood's "conversation with an empty chair." NBC's E!Online has more here:

... Michael Moore in the Daily Beast: "The people of the future will know nothing about Dirty Harry or Josey Wales or Million Dollar Baby. They will know about the night a crazy old man hijacked a national party's most important gathering so he could literally tell the president to go do something to himself (i.e. fuck himself). In those few moments..., he completely upended and redefined how he'll be remembered by younger and future generations."

CW: I think the whole convention was a disaster, not just the appearance of a dotty old movie star to lead off the network TV coverage on Mitt's Big Night. The speakers, as David Axelrod pointed out, were all auditioning for president in 2016, & they barely mentioned the guy who got the nomination in 2012 -- the one they were supposed to be boosting. If Romney or his "people" vetted these speeches, they're idiots. If they didn't, they're idiots.

Paul Ryan -- Marathon Liar

Episode 1. At the top of his report on his interview of Paul Ryan, winger Hugh Hewitt wrote. "Because biography is character and character often matters much more to voters than policy prescriptions, I chose to focus on Ryan's youth." Yes, character does matter to voters, Hugh. thanks for pointing that out. Hewitt added, "I was also surprised to hear Ryan has run a sub-3 hour marathon. Add another interest group to the list of groups like Catholics, hunters and Miami of Ohio grads who are going to connect easily with this candidate." Yes indeedy. During the interview, Hewitt asked Ryan what his "personal best" marathon time was. Ryan said, "Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something."

Episode 2. Scott Douglas of Runner's World: "Runner's World has been unable to find any marathon results by Ryan. Requests for more information from Ryan's Washington and Wisconsin offices, and from the Romney-Ryan campaign, have so far gone unanswered."

Episode 3. Scott Douglas: "A spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign e-mailed Runner's World today to say Ryan ran Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, while a college student in 1991. Ryan's name does not show up in the 1991 race results provided by Grandma's. Runner's World ... found a finisher in the 1990 race by the name of Paul D. Ryan, 20, of Minneapolis.... The finishing time listed was 4 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds. We are awaiting confirmation from the Ryan camp that the vice presidential nominee is the Paul D. Ryan listed in the race results -- and, if he is, whether he ran any other marathons faster than 4:01:25." (Same link as Episode 2.)

Episode 4. Scott Douglas: "In a statement issued to Runner's World by a spokesman Friday night, Ryan said of his marathon experience: 'The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin -- who ran Boston last year -- reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.'" (Same link.)

Epilogue: So, Hugh, what was that about the importance of character & runners "who are going to connect easily with Ryan"?

AND the Romneys Are Just like You. Lady Ann Romney says Mitt's turning down a $30 million-a-year job in 2008 was easy. "We're used to kind of passing up offers like that." CW: yeah, I can relate.

Congressional Races

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Even as Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan exhort Republicans to embrace their proposed Medicare changes and spending cuts, the party's rank and file is growing less enthusiastic about the fight than the top of the ticket. Republican lawmakers and candidates are distancing themselves from the Ryan budget plan.... Republicans say the party now belongs to the more senior -- and historically more malleable -- member of the ticket, Mr. Romney, and not Mr. Ryan...."

Alexander Burns of Politico: "Karl Rove phoned Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin to apologize for having joked about killing the Republican congressman, an Akin spokesman confirmed to Politico.... Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier that Rove told a gathering of donors in Tampa that Akin had to be forced out of the Senate race, and joked that if Akin were 'found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts.' ... Rove called the embattled Senate candidate and 'spent about three minutes' explaining that he didn't know there had been a reporter in the room and that he would not have made such a comment if he'd been aware of her presence." CW: If a tree falls in the forest & there's no reporter to cover it...

News Ledes

Soggy Holiday. AP: "What's left of Isaac has been plodding north into states that badly need moisture. The worst drought in decades stretches from Ohio west to California. Isaac will move straight through some of the hardest hit states: Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Lesser rain is expected to the west in portions of Oklahoma and Kansas. State emergency agencies, city and county leaders and utility crews have been preparing for the deluge."

AP: "Federal authorities say they're closing their abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona without filing charges against him."

Politico: "Federal prosecutors are not seeking any jail time for a former top aide to Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Doug Hampton, in connection with Hampton's admission that he violated a federal ethics law by lobbying former colleagues within a year of leaving the Senate. Hampton is set to be sentenced in federal court on Wednesday in what seems likely to be the final chapter in a messy saga that exposed Ensign's extramarital affair with Hampton's wife Cynthia, ended both Hamptons' Senate employment and ultimately led to Ensign's resignation from the Senate last year."

The Great Maple Syrup Heist. AP (via NYT): "The police said Friday that thieves had stolen a considerable amount of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec.... It was too soon to determine the exact quantity or value of the syrup stolen from the warehouse, where more 10 million pounds -- about $30 million worth -- is stored."

AP: "Samsung on Saturday accused Apple of resorting to litigation in an effort to limit consumer choice after the iPhone maker said it was seeking to stop the sale of Galaxy S III smartphones in the United States. Fresh from its $1 billion court victory over Samsung Electronics Co<, Apple Inc., in a separate case, asked a federal district court in San Jose, California, on Friday to add four more products to a list of Samsung goods that Apple says infringe its patents."

Reader Comments (18)

The video that leads off this issue is a prize winner... funny and to the point.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Kate Beckinsale and company rock...a terrific parody on the stupidity of the Republican role as vagina police.
On another subject: does Reince Priebus remind anyone else of Mr. Bean?

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Felt kinda sorry for Clint, myself, now having seen snippets of his doddering performance. Maybe I'm too close to 82 to take much pleasure in his embarrassing presentation; and weak-minded as I am, I've never been comfortable laughing at the obviously handicapped, which should we live long enough, we all become.

HOWSOMEEVER: I can't help but think Clint Eastwood is a perfect representative of the current Repugnants. He's old, white, and privileged. He obviously hates the young, smart, black President. His case against him relies on wholly imaginary things that man never said. And he's obviously lost his mind. No wonder Romney wanted him featured. He's kin. Eastwood is his soul- and mind mate, wrapped into one.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

I think Clint Eastwood had a few too many scotches before his RNC speech--either that, or he's a DNC plant. How much stoopider could RawMoney's staff look--not vetting the speech before he spewed it?

IMHO, the Republican Convention was a brilliant rehearsal of the disaster to come!

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

If Romney wins he will probably appoint Clint as U.N. ambassador.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Yes, Kate, a DNC plant entered my mind also––wouldn't that be a kick! Old Eastwood sabotaging Mitt's big night––but, alas, I'm afraid it was just a really, really bad performance by someone who went crackers to the chagrin of the guys that proposed this and hence reflects on the slipshod control of the Romney/Ryan comedy team.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

How to Organize a Disaster

(1) As the Houston Chronicle reported, "Ron Paul ... says he’s declined an opportunity to speak at the Republican National Convention in Tampa because Mitt Romney’s campaign imposed two conditions on any Paul speech — that it be reviewed by the nominee-to-be’s team and that it include an endorsement without hesitation or reservation." This of course totally pissed off Ron Paul -- who will not endorse Romney -- and his supporters, who raised various ruckuses at the convention.

(2) Eastwood is a libertarian who has said he likes Ron Paul.

(3) According to the Times article, linked in the Commentariat, Romney advisers just gave Eastwood some talking points; they did not review Eastwood's speech; Eastwood did not rehearse; Eastwood didn't have a teleprompter; he asked for the chair at the last minute, which organizers assumed was because he was 82 years old & wanted to sit down.

So they wouldn't let Cranky Old Man 1 speak unless he played strictly by their rules. Then they begged Cranky Old Man 2 -- a supporter of Cranky Old Man 1 -- to speak, & they imposed no conditions whatsoever. WTF did they think would happen?

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Baby, baby, baby; you're out of time. Clint is pretty deep in the seventh stage of man, huh? Ken W. has it right, he is a profile of the Republican Party; old, scared and forgetful. I think one of the drawing points for Mitt is that the older folks find security and comfort in moneyed people. Grey Old People desperately seeking their 'rosebud'. You could make a point by stating the Republicans want yesterday today and the progressives want tomorrow today.
One of the snippets of the convention I saw was lyin' Ryan tell the audience about his musical tastes. He named AC-DC and Lead Zeppelin as some of his faves. I thought, how wierd, he listens to the music of a generation before him. What about D.O.A., the Minutemen, Black Flag or my personal faves from the younger side of the bandwaves, X? Pauly did not listen to his own growling youth, instead he got stuck in the past. Watching Clint I recalled the theme song of my generation; "Hope I die before I get old" and as long as my mind is able to grasp new ideas and reject the past bad ones I won't get old. Of course I can't hear worth a shit, and I'm as weak as a wet kitten and it takes me a minute to straighten up after being on my knees working, but otherwise I'm a spring chicken.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

BTW, talking to an empty chair is not a stretch for a film actor. They do it, or the equivalent, quite often. For instance, when you see a scene in which two people are arguing at the dinner table, for the close-up one-shots, the actor playing the dinner companion has left the set, & the speaker is arguing with his empty chair with the camera behind it. In the final cut, it appears to the viewer that he is seeing the actor/speaker from the POV of his dinner companion.

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Great title: Jon Stewart's "The Old Man and the Seat."

This was a dreadful performance! However, wasn't it just some months ago that Clint Eastwood was lauded for his voice over on the comeback of the auto industry commercial?
It (he?) seemed to support the bailout. The Obama bailout!

Recently, a columnist wrote about Eastwood's previous conflicting views on assorted topics (gay marriage, women's rights) ...some consistent with the general GOP line, but others definitely more liberal leaning. I had thought that the reason behind the provocative postures of many actors/performers we haven't heard from in a while is to stir up interest in their lagging careers. SNL's Victoria Jackson and Jon Lovitz come to mind.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Below is a post from reader Josy Will to Gail Collins' current column. If this is correct, I am one of the people she cites in the "didn't realize" category. I think it is worth passing along:
"I'm a little worried that the worst lie is not being pointed out completely. It is not that Ryan, hypocritacally calls for the same cuts in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals as Obama; but rather Obama doesn't really cut the total reimbursement to hospitals at all--while Ryan would.

Everyone keeps missing the Medicare point. Reimbursements to hospitals are overpaid because hospitals carry the extra expense of providing care to the uninsured for which they aren't reimbursed. The Obama plan essentially insures that hospitals continue to get the same amount of total reimbursement--less from medicare but more from the previously uninsured because they will be required to have insurance under Obamacare (shouldn't be ashamed to call it that).

The Ryan plan is an actual cut--because they are not going to require the uninsured to get insurance. HUGE difference that seems to be ignored in the sea of Ryan prevarication."

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Born in 1928, I resent the implication that Clint's age had anything to do with his witless performance. We old folk cannot run as fast as we used to ,but our thought processes are unimpaired.
In fact, Clint Eastwood is a wingnut and thought he was doing a big job for

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Born in 1928, I resent the implication that Clint's age had anything to do with his witless performance. We old folk cannot run as fast as we used to ,but our thought processes are unimpaired.
In fact, Clint Eastwood is a wingnut and thought he was doing a big job for Willard.
Sadly, there is always the possibility of dementia.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@ Victoria: Glad you pointed that out here––Rachel covered that issue also a few nights ago. That certainly is a marked distinction and should be shouted from the hill tops––where's Maria when we need her.

The other major thing missing in the RNC rhetoric is any discussion of global warming. Let us recall when in the first weeks of the Bush administration the White House reneged on a promise to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. According to Bill McGibben, "Cheney arranged for the president to send a letter to Congress repudiating his campaign pledge without so much as informing Christine Whitman, in advance. Whitman called Paul O'Neill to break the news. 'Energy production is all that matters,' she said. 'Cheney', O'Neill responded, 'couldn't have been clearer––We just gave away the environment.' "

If Romney wins, we will have a redux and more heads in the sand.

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@Victoria D. Josy Will is right. ObamaCare reinvests the MediCare savings in other ObamaCare programs. Ryan took the same $716 billion out but uses it "to reduce the deficit"; i.e., it's just less spending; he does not reinvest the money. As Will writes, Ryan makes true "cuts," but he leaves all the people who would have benefited from the reinvestment -- including seniors -- to fend for themselves.

Enter Mitt Romney to make things worse than what Josy Will wrote. Romney has made a big deal about returning the $716 billion in MediCare which Obama had "robbed." More benefits for old folks? No way. More premium costs. Under Romney's brilliant plan, because Medicare costs are higher for the inefficient programs ObamaCare cuts (think Medicare Advantage), seniors' Medicare premiums go up -- initially in the range of $300-$400 a year & to $500-$600 in 10 years (my figures may be off, but they're close). Meanwhile, of course, those who would have benefited from the reinvestment get no care; Romney is going to repeal ObamaCare, sez he. Ryan now says he goes along with Romney's plan.

So you've got good (Obama), worse (Ryan), & worst (Romney).

Marie

September 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

PD Pepe: The man himself gave the RNC anthropogenic global warming plank: "President Obama promised to stop the oceans from rising (pause for laughter with facial contortions) and to heal the planet (pause for laughter with facial grimace), I promise to help American families. As the Daily Show asked its audience "How many here from planet earth?"

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan

P.D. Pepe: Romney did refer to global warming, perhaps obliquely, in his acceptance speech. He MOCKED President Obama for having promised to address the rising seas and "heal the planet." And the audence laughed loudly and uproariously. This sent chills down my spine. Who in heaven's name are these stupid people?

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Could someone with the time and research capability put on this web site the $$$ that corporations get in tax breaks and outright federal and state $$$ so this idea that only poor people get government handouts?
Also could someone do a comparison of Taliban rules and regs and right wing philosophy. (both are for the death penalty, both are punishers first and forgivers never, both subjugate women, etc)

September 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermm
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