The Ledes

Friday, October 9, 2015.

New York Times: "The National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday 'for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011'.... The quartet comprises four organizations: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. But the Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasized that the prize 'is awarded to this quartet, not to the four individual organizations as such.'”

AP: "Officials say one person is dead and three others are wounded following an early morning shooting at Northern Arizona University. School public relations director Cindy Brown says the suspected shooter is in custody." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "G. T. Fowler, the chief of campus police, said that Steven Jones, a freshman, had opened fire after two groups of male students were involved in a confrontation. The police were able to take Mr. Jones into custody after he stopped firing the weapon and “everything calmed down for a few minutes,” Chief Fowler said."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 8, 2015.

New York Times: "Paul Prudhomme, the chef who put the cooking of Louisiana — especially the Cajun gumbos, jambalayas and dirty rice he grew up with — on the American culinary map, died on Thursday in New Orleans. He was 75.

Air Force Times: "Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.... Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Karns said in an email in Air Force Times, "... He is currently in stable condition." Sacramento police tweeted: 'The assault incident is not related to a terrorist act.  Assault occurred near a bar, alcohol is believed to be a factor.'”

Motherboard: "On Wednesday, a jury in Sacramento, California, found Matthew Keys, former social media editor at Reuters and an ex-employee of KTXL Fox 40, guilty of computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. In 2010, Keys posted login credentials to the Tribune Company content management system (CMS) to a chatroom run by Anonymous, resulting in the defacement of an LA Times article online. The defacement was reversed in 40 minutes, but the government argued the attack caused nearly a million dollars in damage."

New York Times: "The leadership of world soccer’s governing body plunged into chaos on Thursday, as three of the game’s most powerful figures, including Sepp Blatter, the longtime president of FIFA, were suspended amid an investigation by the Swiss authorities into suspected corruption. In addition to Mr. Blatter, Michel Platini, who is a FIFA vice president and the head of European soccer’s governing body, and Jérôme Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general who was already on disciplinary leave, were “provisionally banned” from the sport. The suspensions took effect immediately."

Reuters: "The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits fell more than expected to near a 42-year low last week, pointing to ongoing tightening in the labor market despite the recent slowdown in hiring."

New York Times: "Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarussian journalist and prose writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday 'for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time,' the Swedish Academy announced."

Washington Post: "The United Auto Workers union narrowly avoided a strike against Fiat Chrysler of America early Thursday morning, announcing an agreement less than two days after threatening to pull as many as 40,000 workers off the job while contract negotiations soured."

The Week: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his wife, Landra Gould, filed a product liability lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County, Nevada, against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid said was behind an accident in January that injured his eye."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post [Sept. 11]: "Aggressive treatment of high blood pressure can sharply cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and deaths in people 50 and older, according to a landmark federal study released Friday that urges doctors to bring their patients’ blood pressure well below the commonly recommended target. The new research advises people with high blood pressure to keep their “systolic” pressure — the top number in the reading that health-care providers routinely tell patients — at 120 or below.

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

White House Live Video
October 9

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Here's a break from the parade of horribles in the left column:

A friend sent me this version. You'll want to supersize it:

MoviePilot: Quite a few people think the film "The Martian" -- which depicts an Earthly astronaut stuck on Mars -- is "based on a true story." ...

... CW: Reminds of Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. History Channel: "Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, 'New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!'”

New York Times: "Europe’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people’s digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how seamlessly global technology giants — the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — can continue to collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday’s ruling."

One More Reason Not to Let Jeff Bezos into Your House. Bloomberg: " Inc. will stop selling media-streaming devices from Google Inc. and Apple Inc. that aren’t easily compatible with its video service, the latest example of the company using its clout to promote products that fit with its own retailing strategy.The Seattle-based Web retailer sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast since those devices don’t 'interact well' with Prime Video." ...

... Karl Bode of Tech Dirt: "Amusingly, Amazon unloads what has to be one of the larger piles of ambiguous bullshit in defense of an anti-competitive position seen in some time: "Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,' Amazon said in [an] e-mail [to sellers]. 'It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.'" Hilarious. Except it's up to developers to embed Chromecast support into their services and apps, and both Google and Apple publish open software development kits that allows any application to be utilized on both devices. In other words, it's Amazon's choice that Chromecast and Apple TV won't play nicely with Amazon Prime Instant Streaming. It has nothing to do with the devices not 'interacting well' with Amazon's services." ...

... Alison Griswold of Slate: "It will be interesting to see whether Amazon’s move with regard to streaming content raises any antitrust flags. Generally speaking, a company has breached antitrust laws when it has a monopoly and uses that monopoly to stifle competition."

Congratulations, Aliens! You are no longer in violation of U.S. copyright law:

... Our Long National Nightmare Is Over. Los Angeles Times: "In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, [a federal] judge ruled that Warner/Chappell never had the right to charge for the use of the 'Happy Birthday To You' song. Warner had been enforcing a copyright since 1988, when it bought Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which claimed the original disputed copyright.... Judge George H. King ruled that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific piano arrangements of the music, not the actual song."

When the posh British PM David Cameron was a lad, he fucked a dead pig. The antics of our own Aqua Buddha Boy pale by comparison.

New York Times: "It was a night of firsts, and a night for establishment cable at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday. Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for best lead actress on a drama series, for her role as a defense lawyer on ABC’s 'How to Get Away With Murder'; Jon Hamm won his first Emmy after seven previous nominations for his role as the tortured Don Draper on 'Mad Men'; and HBO, led by victories for the comedy 'Veep,' the drama 'Game of Thrones' and a four-part limited series, 'Olive Kitteridge,' had a triumphant showing, with 14 victories, including best drama and outstanding comedy series."


Washington Post: "When Pope Francis arrives in Washington this week for the start of a six-day visit to the United States, he might find at least one local spot that reminds him of home. That’s Brookland, a neighborhood in Northeast Washington so chockablock with Catholic institutions that it has been called 'Little Rome.'”

New York Times: "When the comedian Steve Rannazzisi has explained his success, which includes seven seasons starring on a popular TV show, 'The League,' and a one-hour special this Saturday on Comedy Central, he has frequently attributed it to decisions he made after narrowly escaping the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.... Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction."

Washington Post (Sept. 15): "King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain ... arrive in Washington this week for their first official visit.... The couple will meet with President Obama and Senate leaders on Tuesday (which happens to be the queen’s 43rd birthday), open an American-Spanish scientific conference at Georgetown University [where Felipe attended grad school], meet with American chief executives who do business in Spain, and head to Florida to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine."

Perfect! Guardian: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is to replace Donald Trump as the host of the NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice, the network has announced."

New York Times: "For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new subway stop [in Manhattan] is open for business.... The extended subway line is a descendant of the train lines that ran along 11th Avenue from the mid-1800s until 1941." The stop is an extension of the No. 7 line. Exits are at 34th St. & 11th Ave.:



MoDo goes to Paris to check out Google's Google's Cultural Institute, which is on a mission to "digitally replicate and curate all art and culture on earth." CW: The Times should stop giving Dowd these difficult war-correspondenty assignments. Why isn't she in New York, checking out the runways during Fashion Week?

The President Awards the National Medals of the Arts and Humanities:

Washington Post: "New images of Pluto show the amazing diversity of" the planet's landscape. "Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging team, added that the surface was 'every bit as complex as that of Mars,' with jumbled mountains, nitrogen ice flows, and possible dunes." Includes slideshow.

Wowza! New York Times: "Acting on a tip from spelunkers two years ago, scientists in South Africa discovered what the cavers had only dimly glimpsed through a crack in a limestone wall deep in the Rising Star cave: lots and lots of old bones. The remains covered the earthen floor beyond the narrow opening. This was, the scientists concluded, a large, dark chamber for the dead of a previously unidentified species of the early human lineage — Homo naledi. The new hominin species was announced on Thursday by an international team of more than 60 scientists led by Lee R. Berger, an American paleoanthropologist who is a professor of human evolution studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The species name, H. naledi, refers to the cave where the bones lay undisturbed for so long; 'naledi' means 'star' in the local Sesotho language." ...

... Here's the Life Sciences report. ...

Contact the Constant Weader

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


The Commentariat -- Sept. 14, 2012

CW: This would be a good day to journey to the bottom of the post.

NEW. Dean Baker has a good piece on David Brooks' column. Headline: "Did Public Schools Fail David Brooks?"

Ben Bernanke holds a press conference to explain the Fed's action:

Felix Salmon of Reuters: "The main news isn't the fact that the Fed is back in the market, buying bonds. Indeed, as Binyamin Appelbaum [of the New York Times] points out, QE3 in volume terms, at $40 billion per month, is significantly smaller than QE1 and QE2.... [The big deal is that] QE3, unlike QE1 and QE2, has no set expiry date. The Fed's ... promising a steady extra flow of monetary fuel for the foreseeable future -- or at least until the labor market improves 'substantially.' ... But the Fed went even further ... where they all but promised zero interest rates until mid-2015." ...

QE3 -- Good for Everybody! Josh Barro of Bloomberg: "While overly tight monetary policy has hit the unemployed the hardest, it has been bad for almost everybody, including rich people. It's true that disinflation has been good for certain securities, particularly low-risk bonds. But wealthy bondholders also tend to be wealthy stockholders, and Fed policies that hold economic growth down are bad for equities...." ...

... Paul Krugman makes some remarks on the Fed's move. ...

... Michael Tomasky of Newsweek: "Republicans are piling on in the expected ways. Romney calls it another 'bailout.' I'd watch that word if I were he; that word is no friend of his (oh, by the way -- Obama is up 10 in Michigan).... If Republicans want to be in the position of opposing an effort by the Federal Reserve Bank to lower the jobless rate, that's their problem.

Krugman: You might be a Keynesian if ... you believe reports that sales of the new iPhone 5 is likely to stimulate the economy.

Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy: "President Barack Obama didn't intend to signal any change in the U.S.-Egypt relationship last night when he said Egypt is not an 'ally,'" the White House [said Thursday]. Here's the full transcript of the Telemundo interview. In response to the question, "Would you consider the current Egyptian regime an ally of the United States?" Obama responded, in part,

I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don;t consider them an enemy. They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. How they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty ... with Israel.... Certainly in this situation what we're going to expect is that they are responsive to our insistence that our embassy is protected, our personnel is protected, and if they take actions that indicate they're not taking responsibilities, as all other countries do where we have embassies, I think that's going to be a real big problem.

Finally, Juan Cole raises the question that likely occurred to all of us: "Why in the world [Ambassador Chris Stevens] was in an insecure minor consulate in a provincial city on September 11 is a mystery to me." Read Cole's whole post; he is an expert on Middle East politics, & he gives a more nuanced sense of what happened in Libya & Egypt.

Presidential Race

And You Thought Voter ID Laws Were Abominable. Evan McMorris Santoro & Ryan Reilly of TPM: "Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to ... Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November." CW: the Kansas board won't get away with this of course, but it is important to realize to what lengths Banana Republicans will go to blow up the democratic process & exactly what their commitment is to "American values." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: "President Obama spent the second day of what was to be an upbeat swing through the politically vital Mountain West on Thursday balancing the somber tone that a foreign policy crisis demands and the hyper-partisan rhetoric that eight thousand Coloradoans came to hear."

The Obama campaign released this Web video yesterday, hitting Romney on his secret tax returns again. Donovan Slack of Politico has a related story:

This Didn't Take Long. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed: the Romney camp is blaming the "liberal" press for its problems. One "Republican said, 'Experienced political operatives say they've never seen the press be so unhinged and determined to write 'Republican in disarray' stories.'"

... Tim Egan on the burdens of free speech by hatemongers -- and Romney, whose popping off was the "most revealing moment of the campaign." ...

... Roger Cohen of the New York Times: "This September surprise has given the world cause to appreciate the cool head in the White House and worry about the hothead who aspires to replace him. Romney, in Jacques Chirac's immortal phrase, 'lost a good opportunity to keep quiet.'" ...

... Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post in a column titled "Romney Owes an Apology": "... no one should be surprised by Mitt Romney's decision to ... exploit the attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya as ammunition in the presidential campaign. After all, [he] ... wrote a book in 2010 premised on, and titled with, the false notion that Barack Obama has been going around the world apologizing for America.... To Romney, apologizing means never actually having to say you're sorry." ...

... Glenn Kessler: "Earlier in the week, we hesitated about handing out Pinocchios because not all of the facts had been established. But now it is pretty evident that the Romney campaign misstated the facts on Tuesday, on Wednesday -- and then again on Thursday, even after the peculiar circumstances of this embassy statement had been made abundantly clear." ...

... Gene Robinson: "The most charitable explanation is that he's in a panic over polls that show Obama opening a lead. If this is not the case, then Romney's ignorance of foreign policy is more profound -- and potentially dangerous -- than anyone could have suspected.... You have to wonder whether he knows there are moments when the guiding principle has to be 'America first.' Not 'me first.'" ...

... Jonathan Alter in Bloomberg News: "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that [Romney] is trying to pander to the Republican base, almost one-third of which still believes -- against all evidence -- that Obama is a Muslim.... Americans recognize that judgment, prudence, instinct and a sense of what the moment demands are all job requirements for the presidency. Romney met none of them this week." ...

... Frank Rich talks with New York magazine's Eric Benson about the new soap "All My Cheap Shots," starring Mitt Romney (or something like that).

I think the challenge that I'll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren't true. -- Mitt Romney, to George Stephanopoulos:

... CW: I've taken down the video of part of George Stepheanopoulos' interview of Mitt Romney because it may be the cause of some readers' computers freezing up. You can see video of the whole interview & read the transcript here.

Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "Speaking to a modest-sized crowd in Northern Virginia on Thursday, Mitt Romney sought to move beyond his criticism of President Obama's response to the turmoil in Libya and Egypt and instead broadly paint the president as weak on foreign policy.... At the mere mention of Libya, however, a man in the crowd began shouting: 'Why are you politicizing Libya?' As the crowd shouted down the protester, Mr. Romney tried to continue, before concluding, 'I would offer a moment of silence, but one gentleman doesn't want to be silent so we're going to keep on going..., strong military..., American leadership,' blah-blah.'" CW: So he's going to stand up to the world, but he caves to a lone protester? ...

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.... Mitchell Reiss, a top Romney policy adviser, said in an interview, 'There are things that we can do in terms of what we say, the constancy of what our vision is -- pluralism, respect for law, human dignity -- these are things that you don't hear from the administration, and the people in the region want to hear that.'" CW: I guess Mitt Romney was expressing his "vision" of "human dignity" when he said Israelis were more successful than Palestinians because of "cultural differences." And I suppose he was expressing respect for "pluralism" when he said Muslims should not be able to build a mosque within the vicinity of Ground Zero. Yessiree, those are great ways to win Muslim friends. ...

... Benjy Sarlin of TPM points out that Richard Williamson, the Romney advisor who claimed the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East would never have happened if Romney were president, was an official in the George W. Bush administration, & "Numerous deadly attacks on diplomatic compounds in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Syria took place during the Bush administration."

If we [conservatives] want to win the battle of ideas in the long term, we should be willing to face the fact that Mitt Romney is likely to lose -- and should, given that he's neither a true conservative nor a courageous moderate. He's just an ambitious man. Nothing wrong with that, except when you want to be president. Great leaders combine ambition and ideas and conviction. -- Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" & a former Florida Republican Congressman who was one of the managers of the Clinton impeachment trial

Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon: where were Romney & RNC Chair Reince Priebus when President George W. Bush was actually apologizing for anti-Muslim actions & remarks by Americans?

A Diplomat Goes Rogue. Max Fisher of the Atlantic: "A senior public affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, [Larry] Schwartz on Tuesday wrote a much-discussed memo stating that the embassy 'condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,' as well as several defensive tweets, some of which he later deleted.... State Department officials back in Washington, it turns out, had reviewed the memo and explicitly told Schwartz not to publish it, which he did anyway."

In yesterday's Ledes, there's a New York Times report on how President Obama told Israeli PM Netanyahu the U.S. would not accommodate his latest appeal. By contrast, Mitt Romney has said he would cede U.S. policy on Iran to Netanyahu. 

Dana Milbank: "Paul Ryan ... is scheduled to address the [Family Research] Council's 'Values Voter Summit' in Washington Friday morning.... He is making a mistake."

Daily Kos: "For the first time in 98 years, the 330,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) will not endorse a candidate for president this year. The FOP supported the Republican candidate for President in 2008, 2004, and 2000, and its non-endorsement is seen as a refutation of Mitt Romney. Why the change? One big reason was Mitt Romney's support of Senate Bill 5 in Ohio, which stripped collective bargaining rights from police officers."

AND Bruce Dickenson wants more cowbell:

     ... "Christopher Walken Endorses Obama." ...

     ... Thanks to contributor Lisa for her extensive research & virtual authorship of the "More Cowbell" feature.

FINALLY, Greg Sargent chooses this Fox Nation headline the Headline of the Day:

News Ledes

NBC News: "The bodies of four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, earlier in the week were returned to the United States and honored in a somber ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday." Secretary Clinton & President Obama speak:

... New York Times: "The violently anti-American rallies that have roiled the Islamic world over a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad expanded on Friday to nearly 20 countries, with demonstrators storming the American Embassy in Tunisia in a deadly clash and protesters in Sudan's capital broadening the targets to include Germany and Britain." ...

... Washington Post: "The team of FBI agents assigned to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Libya has not been able to get into the country because of the volatile situation there, according to law enforcement officials." ...

... Al Jazeera: "Protesters in Egypt, angry at a video they say insults Prophet Mohammad, have hurled stones on a police force that prevented them from marching towards the US embassy in Cairo. On Friday, police in riot gear fired tear gas and threw stones back at the demonstrators. A burnt-out car was overturned in the middle of the street that leads to the fortified embassy from Tahrir Square." Al Jazeera has a liveblog of news about this & other protest incidents related to the anti-Islam film. ...

... AP: The "Egyptian ... president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States.... Islamist President Mohammed Morsi spoke for more than seven minutes on state TV, his most direct public move to contain protests...."

... Washington Post: "As the anti-U.S. demonstrations spread, the [Obama] administration acted on a variety of fronts to convey two messages: that it had nothing to do with the offending video and that violence was not an acceptable response to the material." CW: a comprehensive story with info on a number of developments. ...

... ABC News: Glen Doherty, "one of the Americans killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya Tuesday, told ABC News before his death that he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation."

... The Washington Post also reports on the "mystery" surrounding the video's producer(s).

Friday Afternoon News Dump. New York Times: The White House delivered a report to Congress Friday "detailing line by line what will happen next year if Washington fails to act to head off about $100 billion automatic defense and domestic spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2. The Obama administration had been reluctant to show its hand on the true impact of so-called sequestration, but once forced to do so by Congress, the White House budget office did not scrimp on the details. 'As the administration has made clear, no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction,' the report concludes." You can read the report here.

Chicago Tribune: "Chicago Public Schools and the teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract and classes could resume for 350,000 students on Monday, according to school and union officials."

Washington Post: "The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a six-month stopgap government funding bill on a 329 to 91 vote, putting aside the partisan warfare of the past 18 months in bipartisan resolve to avoid a budget showdown ahead of the November election. The Senate is expected to pass the same measure late next week, providing funding for agencies for the first six months of the fiscal year and avoiding any threat of a government shutdown when the year ends Sept. 30."

New York Times: "Two Republican state senators who provided pivotal votes to legalize same-sex marriage last year fought opponents to a standstill on Thursday in primary races so close that they will be decided only after absentee ballots are counted."

Reader Comments (27)

So what took the Fed so long to get off its ass and do its job?

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer: Politics. Ben Bernanke is a Republican. He's known for a year the Fed must do more to meet the 2nd part of its "dual mandate": create optimal conditions for job growth.

Anything the Fed gets around to doing in the next two months will have no immediate effect on the economy or jobs numbers. And you can bet whatever the Fed does will be a slow roll. So it won't have an impact on the election; that is, it won't help Obama. Romney has said he doesn't want the Fed to act at all & he'll fire (i.e., not rehire) Bernanke. So Bernanke is "compromising": if Fed action helps the economy, it will be well after the election.


September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Marie. Understand that. But it's bound to alter the perception of the economy, which is probably more important.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer. Well, the stock market liked it -- which ain't the same thing, of course. But it's true that if ordinary Americans perceive that Bernanke's getting off his ass to "fix the economy," maybe they'll feel better about the prospects for the future.


September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Marie. Interesting about the market. My mother, who never had a pot to piss is, always said she voted the Dow Jones... but maybe that was just 30s' wisdom (or desperation).

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

This is a little behind the times, but has anyone recognized that the pseudonym for the anti-Islam film producer and director, Sam Bacile, when said out loud, sounds rather like the French "(s)imbécile"? Perhaps it is a modern usage contraction of "C'est imbécile," roughly translating to "It's idiotic"? Truth in advertising.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

@NiskyGuy: Interesting. It's an anagram for a lot of nonsense: BASIC MALE, BASE CLAIM. It also contains the words CAIN & ABEL. And ISLAM. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has done a little sleuthing & has come up with someone from California named Sam Bassel or Sam Basseley, who must have some connection to this so-called movie trailer.

If I were that jerk, I'd hide my identity, too.


September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Nisky Guy.....I did notice ......Even in English it sounds like " 't's imbecile." Probably a coincidence.
I was quite interested in the alleged connection of a producer of the movie, Steve Klein, to right wing Christian causes and to "pastor" Terry Jones, according to Adam Nagorney in the Times.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re: Obama - Kansas ballot
Well..... what would you expect from a state that has a continual fight to get "intelligent design" proponents on the state board of education?
Sent from the "Glorious State of Brownbackistan"

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Juan Cole's rundown of what went down in Libya is excellent. The idea that one life, in a moment's discretion, can ruin countless others. The fragility of human beings being just like the butterfly. And in this case encompassing countries, politics, and deaths on a large scale.

By the way, understand that the Egyptian president, Morsi, is a weak leader with legs firmly planted in sand (in this country we would say clay).

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: expensive tasseled loafer chokes Presidential hoper; I think Tim Egan is the best guy writing for the NYT these days.
Imagine this; Bain Capital is looking for a new leader, someone that knows how to ring the most out of a borrowed dollar, is ruthless in negotiations, thinks 'truth' is modeled out of lies, and is selfish to the point that he will take candy out of his own baby's mouth.
After months of searching; they hire...Me; a broken-backed carpenter who's entire financial expertise is thinking it's better to have one Twenty than twenty Ones because you don't spend as fast.
That's the candidate the Republicans have proposed to hire to run our foreign policy. Good choice. Morons.
BTW, if I was head of Bain Capital I'd buy Chinese companies and outsource them to the Ol' USA.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

According to Frank Rich (linked above) " Of the 24 special advisers on foreign policy to Romney, 17 are Bush-Cheney alumni who ...... bear responsibility for some of the most catastrophic national security decisions in the history of the nation."
As if we needed any more reasons to mobilize against Romney. Yikes!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I must correct the word "discretion" in my comment–-I meant to say INDISCRETION.Romney, however, would heed well the proverb––"discretion is the better part of valor."

My son and I were emailing about this butterfly effect and he reminded me of another example––Gavrilo Princip, the Bosian nationalist who shot Archduke Ferdinand that started WWI. The back story is that Gavrilo who loved to read Walt Whitman during those cold Bosnian nights, believed he was following Whitman's orders in bringing down the kings so therefore an American poet was the one who was responsible for the outbreak of WWI. Now there's a butterfly effect for you!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Just a note to say 'what! what!' to all the Kansans in the house.


Indeed I hail from the fiefdom of the Kochs. Where we teach the younguns' about the good lord's creatonism, where the Arts don't benefit anyone so we became the first state to axe it completely out of our budget (later reinstated after angry mob arrived), where the notable Fred Phelps ensures our Freedom of Speech by reminding us good Jesus-followers that 'God hates Fags' and we should too, where Republicans don't even bother coming to campaign 'cause Kansas don't need more convincing: we're brainwashed and it feels good.

What's the matter with Kansas? Damn good question.

Luckily I grew up in the only small beacon of sane light that permeates out of this red sea of bigotry. If you've been 'round these parts you'd know which city I'm referring to.

(In thick Kansan accent)
Home, home on the range
Where the deer and antelope grazzeeee........

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

As if we needed more evidence to support the conclusion that unthinking allegiance to ideology destroys everything it touches, the Willard Mechanism (aka Willard the Rat) regularly opens the throttle on the blind ambition circuits and flips the ideology switch when confronted with a problem it is unable to process (and holy mother, there are a lot of those), the combination of which immediately overrides a multitude of other functions absolutely essential to true leadership: morality, ethics, critical thought, heart, soul, and decency. Thus demonstrating, as it has over and over again, its utter inability to control itself when presented with an opportunity for crass self-advancement, even at the expense of human life and safety.

The Mechanism has no use for such things. They do not compute. Its goal is domination and what it perceives in its programming to be “success in the material world”.

But let’s pretend for a moment that Willard is not a mechanical thing, but is a human being like we are. I know it’s tough, but try.

So here we have a thing…er, sorry, person, who cravenly seizes on every opportunity to promote himself even as other humans are in dire straits or actual physical jeopardy. This isn’t just due to the nodding stupidity brought on by soul killing ambition. This ….person....has also bought, heart and soul…or, um, something and something, into far right ideology, or at least his perception and interpretation of it, which demands unquestioned fealty to its causes and schemes.

Among these are burning hatred for Obama, knee jerk (read: unthinking) denigration of anything he does, and bristling bellicosity in uncritical support of American Exceptionalism, especially if there’s a chance to do the Shock and Awe Tango on a bunch of foreigners (preferably Mooslims--Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran.)

The truly despicable thing about Romney is that he is not a card-carrying member of the right-wing SS, like, say Palin, or Limbaugh, or Bachman. That means, like so many judges in Nazi Germany who knew better, or like anyone during the Bush Debacle who knew better but went along to get along, Romney’s sin is far greater than the cradle haters. He leaves whatever values he has at the door. He checks his manhood into a blind trust in order to achieve his ends.

Like Mitch McConnell who has just hired a Teabagger goosestepper to run his next campaign (McConnell is no Teabagger himself, but he has no problem pandering to the mob if he thinks it will help him stave off an attack by another Rand Paul type zombie going after his seat in two years), Romney loads his Trained Dog Program when the right screams at him, he sits, he begs, he rolls over, and would probably crawl into a carrier on top of a car if Limbaugh told him to, as long as he believes that will get him closer to his goal. As Marie noted yesterday, he’s too easily punked.

But maybe it’s no hardship for Romney to drop his values, his moral core, his manhood because he has none. Well, none worth anything anyway. His values mainline to Mitt First. Mitt Last. Mitt in between.

That’s why he cannot ever be trusted with the keys to the kingdom. The Willard Mechanism will override any impulse to decency, morality, and critical thought (ergo, true leadership) if it feels that it might not be able to maximize its own profits. And like any broken or poorly designed hardware operated by buggy software, it will crash and burn just when we need it most. And on top of that, the Mechanism’s operating system has been corrupted by the most deadly virus of them all: unbending, unthinking right-wing ideology.

So far, morality scientists have yet to find suitable virus protection against that.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


Walt would be appalled at the thought of being the match that lit the flame that burned down the world in 1914. Who says arts don't matter?

Well, one state that doesn't think so, apparently, is Kansas.

Safari, as red a state as mine is, I don't envy a thinking person their existence in Brownbackistan "where civil responsibility takes a back seat to religious intolerance and corporate greed."


Don't you just love it when Christians yelp about god and Jesus "hating" someone or something? Isn't the opposite the whole point of Christianity?

Oops, my mistake. Carry on, haters.

Maybe a little Walt Whitman would do them good. Oh wait, he was gay, right? Never mind. Maybe god let WWI happen to punish Whitman for not de-gay-ifying himself. You see how creative you can be when you unleash your inner crazy? No wonder Ayn Rand is so big on the right. Insanity is so much fun!!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@P.D. Pepe & @Akhilleus: I hadn't heard about the Whitman connection to the assassin of Archduke Ferninand, & I'm glad you pointed it out. I now realize that the three worst wars in which the U.S. was involved were all caused by gays: President James Buchanan whose ineptitude contributed to the Civil War, Walt Whitman whose incendiary poetry caused WWI, & Hitler who started WWII. I'm sure if some of you would do a little research, we'd learn that some gay Brit caused the American Revolution & Vietnam was totally gay.


September 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

As a public service to the many readers out here, I offer the following for your consideration.

A new book written by former San Francisco investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld outlines the history of one of the FBI's most active and obliging informants. A guy helped by Hoover and his men time and again as payment for his pointing fingers at friends and colleagues, adding many names to Hoover's list of "enemies" to be purged. This informant, vowed, later in life that he had never, ever, ever pointed fingers at anyone, he being a good guy and highly moral and all, but Rosenfeld has, through FOIA requests, uncovered dozens of files which show those assertions to be outright lies.

The informant, T-10, went on to have a fairly successful career and continued as an FBI informant as long as Hoover was alive.

He was Ronald Reagan.

Also an excellent recounting of how Reagan worked a deal to avoid being sent abroad into combat during WWII, spending his short time in the military at a movie studio then hanging up his officer's uniform, unstained by neither blood nor sweat, and returning to a $3,500 week salary.

Check it out. Saint Ronald of Reagan. Professional Rat.

Seems to be quite a few of those in the Republican Party, no? Liars, rats, and hypocrites.

Anyway, if you're interested, check out this review on the Book Forum site by Rick Perlstein, author of the excellent "Nixonland".

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


Wow. You may be on to something. In fact, I think I read somewhere that Romney, who used to love Glee, found out that Chris Colfer, the actor who plays a gay character on the show really IS gay!! Holy santorum!!

And the Rat is so pissed about this that he may just decide to nuke Iran the day he's inaugurated, which means.....


September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I replied to Timothy Egan's commentary this morning around 6:30. As it hasn't yet appeared, I am assuming it was too inflammatory. There goes my little green check mark:

I sometimes wonder if the world will end in a proxy war on behalf of two angry groups' imaginary friends.

You wrote that, "Mobs attack the embassy in Cairo, shouting there is no God but their God." Can you imagine that there would be less violence in the world if the last three words were excised? I can.

There is nothing like religious fervor to excuse cruel and unusual behavior. In this country, those who value the unborn more than they value live children would impose their values on those outside their little inbred group. The Mormons poured millions of dollars into a successful campaign to deny gay Californians the right to marry.

Yes, we value free speech in this country. And yes, we should never minimize the inherent dangers that come with free speech. However, one would think that the role of the press would be to define the border between opinions based on evidence and those merely designed to stimulate fear and loathing.

Their fundamentalists attack embassies. Our fundamentalists kill doctors and attack buildings that house day care centers. We correctly identify the religious motivations in the former attack, but somehow soft-pedal that in the latter. Is such journalistic behavior responsible or does this conciliation toward those who will not be placated just fan the flames?

As for Mitt Romney, I'm amused that the press seems so shocked that he would lie and play to the cheap seats. Have you not been paying attention?

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Just spotted this in your yellow box:

"I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true. -- Mitt Romney, to George Stephanopoulos:"

WHAT? What! What? Say what?

Mitt = total douchebag! Wish I had the word skills (of say Akhilleus) there wouldn't be enough space on this post for all the ripostes I'd like to make.

Mitt is one big MTF despicable he! Aggggggggggggggh!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Re: Alexander the Gay; I want to go on record saying that I have nothing against gays if they would just stop starting war. By the by, Alex got his name from a bath house he visited on the way to India.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

So everyone is no doubt wondering why we haven't started a major
war this week. Well, we've been busy destroying the sanctity of marriage, converting youths, decorating interiors, doing your hair,
designing your clothes and furniture, etc. etc. So how did I end up
doing stonework? Patios, retaining walls and ponds.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris


Get with the program dude!

Time to unleash your inner Barbarossa and start fomenting unrest, rattling sabers, and blowing shit up. None of this building stuff and improving the quality of life for your clients! Fuck that shit.

Shock and Awe!!

And while you're at it, save a few RPGs for Willard's national headquarters.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Okay, Okay! I know Kansas is the pits--along with Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri in the Great Plains. But this is really OVER the top:

..." KANSAS CITY— Kansas election officials on Friday were seeking to obtain a certified copy of President Obama’s birth certificate as they determined whether to allow him to remain on the ballot after a state resident challenged his citizenship, reigniting long-running conspiracy theories that the president was not born in the United States."

I just do not think I can spend the rest of my life in the United States of Acrimonious Assholes!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison


The Rat's whining complaint (has there ever been a bigger lying crybaby than Willard demanding that voters accept his serial lies as he shills for votes? Oh wait. How 'bout that dry drunk deserter Bush?) sounds like Don Corleone complaining that he's unhappy that prosecutors might dare to tell the truth about what he's been up to.

Look up "lying sack of shit" in the dictionary and you'll see a portrait of Lord and Lady Romney.

I didn't see the clip, but if Stephanopoulos kept his mouth shut he's no more a man than right-wing testicle cozie, Fluffy Gregory.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@ Akhilleus: there's an extended clip above. Stephanopoulos did challenge Romney in a number of places -- and did a fairly good job of it -- but on Romney's projection of his own mendacity onto Obama, Georgie completely let it slide. Romney: "Obama is a lying sack of shit." George, smiling & chuckling: "How do you prepare for the debates, Lord Romney?" Pure Greggers. That part is in the clip. The full transcript is here.


September 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader
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