The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

New York Times: "The stock market began the week burdened by geopolitical worries, but by the close of trading on Thursday it had bounced back to achieve one of its biggest upswings in recent years. Soothing words from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, saying that it would be 'patient' on raising interest rates, drove the surge, analysts said. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday, to 2,061.23 — its biggest one-day gain since January 2013. That came on the back of a 2 percent rise on Wednesday."

CNN: "U.S. airstrikes have killed two top-level and one mid-level ISIS leader, a senior U.S. military official tells CNN. Haji Mutazz was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq; Abd al Basit was his military emir in Iraq; and Radwan Talib was his Mosul emir. Their deaths resulted from multiple strikes going back to mid-November -- it has taken until now to determine conclusively they were killed."

AP: "Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates' historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013."

New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, from prison as he continues to appeal a prosecution that Republicans say exposed pervasive corruption in state government but Democrats regard as a case pursued for political retribution."

Boston Globe: "Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stood in federal court in Boston this morning for a brief pretrial hearing, which was punctuated by an interruption in Russian and English from a woman in the gallery. Several journalists reported she exclaimed 'stop killing innocent people' in English as she was escorted out for yelling in Russian. The woman identified herself to reporters as a relative of Ibrahim Todashev: a friend of Dzhokhar’s brother who was killed by an FBI agent during an incident that arose from the investigation of a Waltham triple homicide."

AFP: "Two owners and 12 former employees of a US pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the country, prosecutors said. Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro owned the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which lost its license in 2012 after inspectors found it guilty of multiple sanitary violations. the pharmacy, located in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts in the US northeast, voluntarily shut down and recalled all products following the unprecedented outbreak of fungal meningitis."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

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

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

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Sunday
Sep092012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 10, 2012

Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times: "The share of young adults without health insurance fell by one-sixth in 2011 from the previous year, the largest annual decline for any age group since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collecting the data in 1997, according to a new report released on Monday." P.S. Thank you, Democrats.

New York Times Editors: Citizens United notwithstanding, there are still ways for states & the federal government to impose some restrictions on campaign financing, as a ruling by the Eighth Circuit Court demonstrated last week. Obstructing those restrictions at the federal level: Republicans. Big surprise.

Once Again, It's Paul Krugman v. a Panel of Idiots. You are looking at a screenshot of two powerful know-it-alls who in fact don't know shit about what they're talking about but are unashamed to go on national teevee & flaunt their ignorance:

... Paul Krugman: "... you’d expect government employment to grow with population (remember, the typical government employee is a schoolteacher). And here's what has happened to government employment per capita:"

Michael Schmidt & Thom Shanker of the New York Times: "American authorities have discovered at least three models of a new and sophisticated drug-trafficking submarine capable of traveling completely underwater from South America to the coast of the United States."

Presidential Race

Ethan Bronner of the New York Times: "The November presidential election, widely expected to rest on a final blitz of advertising and furious campaigning, may also hinge nearly as much on last-minute legal battles over when and how ballots should be cast and counted, particularly if the race remains tight in battleground states. In the last few weeks, nearly a dozen decisions in federal and state courts on early voting, provisional ballots and voter identification requirements have driven the rules in conflicting directions, some favoring Republicans demanding that voters show more identification to guard against fraud and others backing Democrats who want to make voting as easy as possible. The most closely watched cases -- in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania -- will see court arguments again this week, with the Ohio dispute possibly headed for a request for emergency review by the Supreme Court."

President Barack Obama, right, is picked-up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant during an unannounced stop, Sunday in Fort Pierce, Florida. Van Duzer, a Republican, says Obama has his vote. AP Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

Sex, Lies and Tax Cuts. That's because all [the Republicans] got to offer is the same prescriptions that they've had for the last 30 years -- tax cuts, tax cuts, gut some regulations, oh, and more tax cuts. (Laughter.) Tax cuts when times are good; tax cuts when times are bad. Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. (Laughter.) Tax cuts to improve your love life. (Laughter.) It will cure anything, according to them. -- Barack Obama, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Read the whole post.

E. J. Dionne: Right now, Obama has the advantage. BUT. "The debates next month are Romney's biggest opening, and he's very disciplined in his approach to such encounters. He used them effectively to turn back primary challenges from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. The president, on the other hand, is out of practice. And although Obama performed well in the 2008 debates against John McCain by directing almost every word he spoke to swing voters, debating has never been his strongest suit. Indeed, some of Obama's most loyal supporters see an additional debate risk for him: The president can look arrogant and dismissive when he doesn't respect an opponent or when he feels he has the upper hand."

Might as well throw this in, too. "The biker lady — who was photographed with the vice-president at Ohio's appropriately named Cruisers Diner — has not been identified.... Biden also reportedly asked to borrow one of the male biker's motorcycles. Judging by the looks on their faces here, it's not surprising that he responded 'probably not.'" -- Caroline Bankoff of New York magazine

John Heilemann of New York profiles Joe Biden. No mention of the biker lady.

Annie Lowrey & David Kocieniewski of the New York Times try to figure out Mitt Romney's arithmetic-challenged tax plan: "Mr. Romney has pledged to cut individual income tax rates for everyone, and to do it without increasing the federal budget deficit or putting new tax burdens on middle-income people to make up for the lost revenues from the rate cuts. But he has provided no further specifics, confounding analysts.... Asked on ... 'Meet the Press' ... which tax deductions he would eliminate, he said only that he would target 'some of the loopholes and deductions at the high end' while lowering the 'burden on middle-income people.' Democrats -- as well as a broad range of economists from the left, right -- and center -- say that the consequence of ending tax breaks substantial enough to offset the lost revenue from income tax rate cuts would be to hurt middle-class Americans. Many independent analysts contend that the only way to raise the revenue Mr. Romney is talking about would be to eliminate breaks like the preferential treatment of investment income or the mortgage-interest deduction."

Paul Krugman explains, for the umpteenth time, Republicans' cynical obstruct-and-exploit policy. He mentions something I noticed this weekend, too: "Right now Mitt Romney has an advertising blitz under way in which he attacks Mr. Obama for possible cuts in defense spending -- cuts, by the way, that were mandated by an agreement forced on the president by House Republicans last year. And why is Mr. Romney denouncing these cuts? Because, he says, they would cost jobs! This is classic 'weaponized Keynesianism' -- the claim that government spending can't create jobs unless the money goes to defense contractors, in which case it's the lifeblood of the economy. And no, it doesn't make any sense."

CW: I've been looking for a good synopsis of Greggers' interview of Willard. Haven't found it yet. But a number of them -- like this post by Michael Barbaro & Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times -- mention this: "When the show's host, David Gregory, asked Mr. Romney what elements of Mr. Obama's health care program he would maintain, Mr. Romney said..., 'I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform.... There are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.'" But, so far, none of the reports has mentioned that this is a change in policy. Earlier this year, Romney told Jay Leno that people with pre-existing conditions should be denied coverage. ...

     ... Incredible Update. Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "Within Hours, Mitt Romney Takes Back Everything He Said About Preexisting Conditions." A few hours after promising on 'Press the Meet' that he would guarantee insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, a Romney spokesman "'clarified' what he meant: '... He was not proposing a federal mandate to require insurance plans to offer those particular features.'" CW: in other words, he assures a national audience that they can get coverage if they have pre-existing coverage -- that his program will be as good as ObamaCare; then he tells the insurance companies, sotto voce, "Don't worry. I'm not gonna make you cover those losers." What a despicable, lying prick. ...

     ... PLUS Judd Legum of Think Progress: "A Romney campaign aide sends a statement to BuzzFeed stating that Romney 'will ensure that discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage is prohibited.' This does not mean he supports the protections in Obamacare and would leave millions uninsured." ...

... Driftglass: "Half of Gregger's interview spent on Mitt and Ann's campaign bus with Mitt's arm half-around him asking giggly, open-ended fluff. Greggers spent the other half of the interview in big, comfy white chairs on the roof of the Romney campaign headquarters tossing Mitt softballs (nothing on Mitt's taxes, one-count-em-one question on abortion, etc.) which Romney deflected with big wads of pre-chewed talking points -- 'I'm as Conservative as the Constitution!' -- for which Gregory had no substantive follow-up questions of any kind."

"I Didn't Vote for the Bill I Voted for." -- Paul Ryan. Zack Beauchamp of Think Progress: "Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has gotten in hot water before for criticizing President Obama for the very same defense cuts that he voted for in 2011. When confronted with this incongruity today on Face The Nation, Ryan simply denied that he ever voted for the cuts, telling an incredulous Norah O’Donnell that he didn't actually vote for the cuts he's on record as voting for.... Moreover, Ryan's statement after voting for the bill contained not a single word of criticism about the defense cuts...."

... Paul Ryan Again Demonstrates His Uncanny Ability to Look Directly into the Camera & Lie:

... Jim Fallows of the Atlantic: "Paul Ryan's fame has depended on his reputation as the man who knew the obscure details of federal budget policy, and who was brave and honest enough to tell the public the unvarnished truth about those details.... Therefore questions of selectively presented truth, or incomplete honesty, count against his reputation more than they would someone who is seen as a run-of-the-mill partisan.... In his speech at the GOP convention, Paul Ryan really laid on the 'selectively presented truths,' more than other major speakers from either party." Fallows gives kudos to O'Donnell for knowing the facts & repeatedly challenging Ryan's lies.

Steve Coll of the New Yorker doesn't really say anything you haven't read before or figured out for yourself, but he does write a good, short synopsis/compare-&-contrast of the conventions.

Jillian Rayfield of Salon: "Could this be the final straw for Erick 'David Souter is a “goat-f*cker"' Erickson? Erickson, who's both a CNN contributor and blogger for the conservative website Red State, is being targeted by a women's advocacy group after he tweeted this about the female speakers during day one of the DNC:

First night of the Vagina Monologues in Charlotte going as expected.

      ... "He tweeted an apology shortly after... But that wasn't enough for the women's advocacy group UltraViolet, which shortly after launched a petition to get him yanked off of CNN.... The petition [also] noted how Erickson defended Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke." CW: you can sign the petition here. I did.

Congressional Races

Steve Coll: "Some of the Senate races ... look like Three Stooges punch-ups. In Florida, Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, is in a dead heat with Republican congressman Connie Mack IV (half-Mack, as he is known to those who thought his father, Mack III, was a better politician). Nelson's TV admakers introduced their Republican opponent this way: 'Florida, meet Connie Mack IV. A promoter for Hooters with a history of barroom brawling, altercations and road rage…' (Incidentally, Florida Politifact, a fact-checking nonprofit, rated Nelson's ad 'Mostly True.')"

If you're a New Yorker subscriber, you can read Jeff Toobin 's profile of Elizabeth Warren. The profile will probably be available to non-subscribers in a few weeks.

News Ledes

Reuters: "The first eight months of 2012 have been the warmest of any year on record in the contiguous United States, and this has been the third-hottest summer since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Climate Data Center said on Monday. Each of the last 15 months has seen above-average temperatures, something that has never happened before in the 117 years of the U.S. record...."

New York Times: "After nearly a year of discord and delay, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reached an agreement on Monday to resume construction of the Sept. 11 museum at ground zero in Manhattan."

AP: "Another prisoner has died at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the U.S. military said Monday, two days after the man was apparently found unconscious in his cell at the isolated, high-security prison."

AP: "An airstrike killed al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car on Monday, U.S. and Yemeni officials said, a major breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the group in the impoverished Arab nation. Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was killed by a missile after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt, according to Yemeni military officials. They said the missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft."

ABC News: "A Taliban spokesman said Monday that the terror group would use 'all our strength' to kidnap or kill the U.K's Prince Harry, who has just begun serving a four-month tour of duty as a chopper pilot in Afghanistan."

New York Times: "Tests commonly recommended to screen healthy women for ovarian cancer do more harm than good and should not be performed, a panel of medical experts said on Monday."

New York Times: "President Obama announced Monday that he would nominate Robert Stephen Beecroft, a career diplomat, as the next ambassador to Iraq after his first choice was forced to withdraw after the disclosure of racy e-mail messages. Mr. Beecroft is now the No. 2 American civilian official in Baghdad and therefore already set to run the embassy temporarily until the Senate votes on his confirmation."

Boston Globe: "The Rev. Paul A. LaCharite, 65, of Boston faces one count of assault with intent to rape a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. The crimes allegedly occurred over a 10-year period at the St. James Episcopal Church in Somerville..., prosecutors said. The victim is 26 years old now.... LaCharite, who is currently affiliated with the Old North Church in Boston, 'vehemently denies' the allegations against him...."

New York Times: "A supporter of Anonymous, the loose hacking collective, claimed responsibility on Monday for an attack that apparently brought down Web sites hosted by Go Daddy." ...

... "Millions of Sites Down." Tech Crunch: "According to many customers, sites hosted by major web host and domain registrar GoDaddy are down. According to the official GoDaddy Twitter account the company is aware of the issue and is working to resolve it. Update: customers are complaining that GoDaddy hosted e-mail accounts are down as well, along with GoDaddy phone service and all sites using GoDaddy's DNS service."

NBC News: "The federal government is expected to recognize that rescue workers and people living near ground zero on September 11, 2001, got cancer as a result of the terror attacks. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is expected to announce Monday that 14 categories of cancers, for a total of 50, will be added to the illnesses covered in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act."

Chicago Tribune: "Striking for the first time in 25 years, Chicago's teachers set up picket lines this morning after talks with public school officials ended over the weekend without resolution. 'Rahm says cut back, we say fight back,' picketers chanted this morning outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced late Sunday night that weekend talks had failed to resolve all the union's issues."

Washington Post: "The U.S. military prison in Afghanistan known as Bagram, infamous for its association with abuse of detainees during the 11-year war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, was officially transferred to Afghan control Monday. The long-demanded handoff occurred amid tensions between Washington and Kabul over the Afghan army's ability to guarantee security at the prison, and the Afghan court system's preparedness to competently adjudicate detainee cases."

Reader Comments (11)

E.J. Dionne is entitled to his opinion that Romney is an excellent debater, but keep in mind Romney's performance in debates against Ted Kennedy: Kennedy wiped the floor with him.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I signed the petition too, Marie--as did my sweet husband. And all of my neighbors, except the crazy Tea Partiers. Too busy getting high on Lipton's Pepper-mitt Nutz!

Just read that Larry Flynt (yes...THAT Larry Flynt) has offered $1,000,000 for MittWitt's financial records. Tee hee. He will probably get them, and all Hades will break loose. Even bad ass pornographers have an upside!

http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/13387-larry-flynt-offering-1-million-for-romneys-financial-records

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Marie,

Krugman v. the idiots.

Ain't it the truth. Even Cokey Roberts comes off as feeling the need to rip Obama because he didn't discover the cure for cancer AND pull the Higgs boson out of his ass within the first three months of 2009, and therefore deserved to be stymied for the next three years. Seriously, Cokey?

No comment on prissy little George. Same as he ever was. Blah, blah, blah, something, something, Democrats suck, something, something, something.

And finally, note the complete lack of effect that hard facts have on Senator Self Certified. A genuinely certified imbecile. Facts don't mean shit to Teabagger turds like 'lil Randy. He just talks over, under, and around them. Maybe if a doctor who wasn't self certified had checked this numbskull's vision, he might be able to see a fact as it was jumping up to bite him in the ass.

Insufferable moron.

But a moron who is in the running as the GOP's next golden boy.

Pyrite Boy is more like it.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Thank goodness I don't watch those Sunday morning shows as they would put a definite damper on the day; it's enough to wade through the other effluvia that presents itself as news on the internet. I always think of Sunday as a Fun day as the father says in Christina Stead's memorable "The Man Who Loved Children," which by the way is a terrific read. There are times when one has to protect themselves from overload––Sunday is that time for me.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

P.S. Liked Steve Coll's assessment––"The Bubba smile" is perfect––almost as famous as the Gioconda smile except in this case Clinton lets us know WHY he's smiling.

The Convention of 1884 had candidates pay delegates for votes while promising some federal jobs. Some wily black delegates, trading on the white man's traditional inability to distinguish one black face from another, sold themselves over and over to both major candidates, stocking up on free cheese and whiskey, and steadily escalating their prices. And fun was had by all.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie, thank you for giving us the link to sign the petition on the UltraViolet website. I did, as should everyone who reads Reality Chex. The comment I left was, "Strong, independent, educated women object to the ilk of Erickson and CNN's promotion of him. Being a conservative is not the issue ~ being a misogynist IS."

@Victoria D ~ "Kennedy wiped the floor with him." Agree 100%.
E.J. Dionne: "The president, on the other hand, is out of practice." Seriously, E.J.? I guess all those global confrontations he has had do not count.

@P.D. Pepe ~ I stopped watching the Sunday morning shows when Meet the Press was compromised by installing Gregger as its host. He would not know how to ask a serious question if it was on a teleprompter.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Etch, sketch. Etch, sketch. Etch....

This is the sound of those little rat teeth gnawing away at truth, carving little escape holes for this slippery rodent to wiggle through and escape all consequences of his chronic flip-flopping.

And he's at it again. Willard the Rat, this weekend, protested loudly that OF COURSE he wasn't going to take away ALL health insurance. For goodness sake! How ridiculous!

Now that the convention is over and the rabid Teabaggers are back in whatever flag draped domiciles they call home, plotting revolution, gulping down extremist slop, and sending each other pictures of the White House with a watermelon patch on the front lawn, the Rat, with the nomination sewn safely into his magic underwear, is on a major Etch-a-Sketch offensive.

During the convention he says "Obamacare must go! All of it!! For FREEDOM!!" (morons cheer wildly)

Then on Sunday he says "Oh my, I never said anything like that! I'll keep a lot of it, especially that part about letting those poor people with pre-existing conditions get insurance."

But hours later, etch, etch, etch. "We didn't mean EVERYONE with pre-existing conditions. Only the lucky ones or the rich ones."

Sketch, sketch, sketch.

The lies come so fast and furious it takes a battalion of reporters and (good) fact-checkers to keep up with him. But if you can't trust anything he says, why bother?

The result, for those not paying close attention (95% of eligible voters), is to blame the media for trying to confuse them and for saying mean things about that nice Mittens and his pet lizard. I mean, they look so nice and clean cut. And white.

So he'll keep this up as long as he wants. If he's elected--not all that unlikely at this point--he'll keep it up for the next four years. "Bomb Iran? Well....lemme see.....(what did I say yesterday??)....sure why not?"

Etch, sketch. Etch, sketch....

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

How to explain America's fascination with bestowing such grandiose quantities of our tax dollars to be largely exported and mostly mismanaged by sticky-finger military contractors is beyond me. Especially when trying to question an eventual cut in the budget is tantamount to treason. Brandishing fellow countries with death and pseudo-democracy, paid for by you and me, the average tax payer. Frustrating to say the least.

But a different point to be made here is the question of our crumbling national infrastructure and the inability to find a way to pay for it. We've got all the savoir-faire and the tax dollars to pay for it. But according to Repugs that's nanny government spending and they're waiting for the next wave of free slave labor to come around to finally get to it.

Yet let's take a look abroad at our current Middle Eastern foray. Iraq, at it's culmination, had around 500 bases, big and small. There within including the largest embassy IN THE WORLD in Baghdad. Trying to contemplate the excessive costs of building such infrastructure, one needs to also think about where we're talking about. Iraq. In the middle of a desert. Just the importation of all of the materials to build this temporary infrastructure is mind-boggling.

When we got kicked out (involuntarily) we had to dismantle and ship most of our goodies out (or leave some behind as farewell presents to their now destroyed country).

In Afghanistan it's the same story. We've built even MORE bases and outposts than ever before. Soon we'll be dismantling the majority of it to be shipped out to who knows where (Iran?).

The main point to be made here is that we're spending BILLIONS of dollars to build TEMPORARY shit abroad, and we can't scrape up a few million to reinforce much-needed PERMANENT infrastructure at home. Infrastructure that is vital to our social and economic well-being, not to mention our incredible exceptionalness (à la Palin) we keep hearing about.

Now the Pentagon finally says OK, we'll surrender on budget raises for a bit to help with fixing the budget and the Repugs say NO, take more money and fucking like it!

Ike, a Republican, prophetically warned future generations about the imminent dangers of the military-industrial complex. Should it have been his own political party he should have been warning us about?

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Health care is going to cause the demise of the wing nuts. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed the Republicans will own health care and all of its problems. They most likely understand this and will fuss and muss and come up with something like a state by state program with all the benefits of the ACA. Failing to do this will put them in the position of taking away from citizens all of the things the citizens like. None of the benefits will work without the added thirty million low cost insured. Retaining pre-existing availability and keeping the donut hole closed will bring premiums high enough to add a few million to the uninsured rolls. Many more employers will drop coverage. Opposition to " Obama care " has created a lose, lose for the Republicans that will probably limit their success even if Ryan & Romney win this election.

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Mitt has apparently corrected his statement appearing to support the part of the ACA that prohibits exclusion from insurance of people with pre-existing conditions by reiterating an earlier stance that people who are ALREADY COVERED could not be excluded from getting insurance. Oh yeah, that totally solves the problem. Unfeeling prick.
I wish that wonderful football player would write him a letter.....

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Carlyle,

I'd love to believe that Republicans, if they detonate the ACA, will get their just due but I have zero confidence in this outcome.

Here's what'll happen. They'll get Crossroads and the many Super Pacs devoted to insurance profits to begin a mass media campaign to tear apart the ACA as it stands now, convincing many of those most vulnerable that their freedoms were being protected by the wingers, who saved them from an evil liberal and Obama plan to "socialize" health care. JUST LIKE RUSSIA!!!

Will this incredible lie work?

Of course. At least for many people.

Then they'll blame Obama for screwing with health care and shake their heads about how long and hard it will be (with loads and loads of American Enterprise Institute and Cato studies) to "fix" all of the problems caused by Democrats with lots of sorrowful press conference eye batting from Paul Ryan and crying jags from Boehner.

A special on health care problems will be hosted by Fluffy Gregory who will ask his panel of "experts", Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, how long it will take them to repair the damage caused by that Nee-gro and his socialist allies in congress.

Few will blame the wingnuts.

Think I'm kidding? Let's do a test. Ask most potential voters what is the central cause of many of the problems we face today. How many will say "It's Obama's fault"? Now how many will say "An organized effort by Republicans to stymie any solutions and to ensure the failure of a black president is responsible for much of our dismal condition"?

See what I mean?

September 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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