The Wires
The Ledes

Thursday, April 19, 2018.

New York Times: "Two years after the sudden death of Prince by accidental fentanyl overdose, one of the lingering mysteries surrounding the enigmatic musician concerned how and where he obtained the powerful synthetic opioid that killed him and whether anyone would be held responsible. On Thursday, law enforcement authorities in Minnesota closed a major part of their investigation, announcing that no one would be criminally charged in the case. The Carver County attorney, Mark Metz, said in a news conference that Prince died after unknowingly taking counterfeit Vicodin that contained fentanyl, but that there was 'no reliable evidence of how Prince obtained' the fatal drug."

Especially if you're into very high-end decorative porcelain, here are some highlights of David & Peggy Rockefeller's collection that will go on auction beginning May 1. Unless you're a Rockefeller, your grandmother's curio cabinet never looked quite like this. To access the full Christie's catalog on the Rockefeller estate objets, start here.

Oh Noes! The Local: "Rome's Jewish community is embroiled in a standoff with Israel's top religious authority after it declared the Eternal City's cherished dish of 'carciofi alla giudia' (deep-fried whole artichoke) not kosher. The crisp golden delicacies are a speciality of the Roman-Jewish cuisine and a prominent feature on menus. But Israel's Chief Rabbinate said the method of cooking the artichoke whole made it impossible to clean properly and it didn't therefore adhere to kosher standards. 'The heart of the artichoke is full of worms, there's no way you can clean it,' said the head of imports of Israel's Rabbinate, Yitzhak Arazi, in an interview with national newspaper Haaretz. 'It can't be kosher. It's not our politics, this is Jewish religious law.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This would be a tragedy. I've had Jewish-style artichokes in Rome's old Jewish quarter, & I'm pretty sure god would approve.

New York Times: Turns out the reboot of "Roseanne" is the result of ABC Entertainment's plan to become the Trump Nation's go-to teevee network, a strategy that began to take shape the day after Trump's election. "The top markets for the debut [of "Roseanne"] read like a political pollster’s red-state checklist: Cincinnati; Kansas City, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla. Liberal enclaves like New York and Los Angeles did not crack the top 20." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If, like Medlar & me, you happened to miss the premiere/reboot of the "Roseanne" show, where Roseanne Barr plays a Trump supporter (as she is in real life),

This video is dedicated to the Wives of Trump. Thanks to a friend for the link:

Here's a related story by Avi Selk of the Washington Post: "Deep-sea anglerfish sex ... is an endless horror. Every. Single. Time. A male anglerfish's first and only sexual adventure results in his becoming permanently fused — by his lips, no less — to the side of a relatively gargantuan female that resembles David Cronenberg's nightmare about the shark from 'Jaws.'”


An Outsider Artist Who Changed Modern Painting. New York: "In the 1940s, a 16-year-old girl captured the minds of the art world’s elite. The self-taught Algerian artist, Baya Mahieddine (1931-1988) — known as Baya — is finally being celebrated in the first North American exhibition of her work, at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, through March 31. Baya used gouache as her primary medium, depicting a world without men but full of bright images of women, nature, and animals." Baya influenced, among others, Picasso & Matisse, which is kinda obvious.

I posted this for no other reason than this is the first time I've seen it. But the "national policy" Tommy announces is more true today than ever in American history. To those of you too young to have seen a Carson monologue, I apologize:

ObamaTV. New York Times: "Former President Barack Obama is in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide him a global platform after his departure from the White House, according to people familiar with the discussions.Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not yet final, Netflix would pay Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service.... The Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or, would give Mr. Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media...."

Chicago Tribune: "A new scientific study claims that bones found in 1940 on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro belong to [American aviator Amelia] Earhart, despite a forensic analysis of the remains conducted in 1941 that linked the bones to a male. The bones, revisited in the study 'Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones' by University of Tennessee professor Richard Jantz, were discarded. For decades they have remained an enigma, as some have speculated that Earhart died a castaway on the island after her plane crashed." Jantz's conclusion is based on measurements of the bones taken by a medical doctor in 1941.

... Michael Rosenwald of the Washington Post has the full story.

Here's the L.A. Times' main Academy Awards page. ...


The Commentariat -- Sept. 17, 2012

Colin Moynihan of the New York Times: "As the Occupy Wall Street protests reach their first anniversary on Monday, numerous activities have been planned to highlight issues like the presence of corporate money in politics, the foreclosure of homes and the type of risky speculation that caused JPMorgan Chase to lose as much as $9 billion this year betting on credit derivatives." ...

... The One Percent Court:

"The Lie Factory." Jill Lepore of the New Yorker on the history of campaign consulting. "No single development has altered the workings of American democracy in the last century so much as political consulting, an industry unknown before Campaigns, Inc. [was founded in 1933.] In the middle decades of the twentieth century, political consultants replaced party bosses as the wielders of political power gained not by votes but by money. [Clem] Whitaker and [Leone] Baxter, [who founded Campaigns, Inc.,] were the first people to make politics a business."

New York Times Editors: A "bill, sponsored by Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, would hire veterans as firefighters and police officers and for conservation jobs in national parks and on other public lands, through grants to federal departments and agencies and contracts with state and local governments and private organizations. It would give a lift to veteran entrepreneurs and contractors.... Ms. Murray has tried to make her bill as bipartisan as possible." Nevertheless, Republicans are trying to defeat it. "'Where is our honor? Where is our valor? Where is our sacrifice?' thundered [Sen. Tom] Coburn [R-Okla.], suggesting that giving jobs to veterans was an affront to American values." The bill is scheduled for a vote Wednesday.

The Actuary. In a New York Times op-ed, Steve Rattner, the financier & Obama car czar advocates for death panels. CW: I hope his parents are in a safe house where he can't find them.

CW: I have a gut-level disagreement with Glenn Greenwald's absolutist stance on free speech. But I'd love to have input from others on this.

Brett Smiley of New York: "New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd rings in the Jewish new year Sunday with a controversy brewing over her column titled "Neocons Slither Back," in which she peddles Jewish stereotypes and uses anti-Semitic imagery, according to a number of writers, editors, and observers." CW: I saw some of the criticism yesterday, & I really don't agree with it. Maybe if I were Jewish, I'd have a different take, but I agree with Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "There's nothing anti-Semitic in Dowd's column."

     ... Cartoon by Jeff Danziger. His Website is here.

Presidential Race

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama, under renewed fire from Mitt Romney for not standing up to China on behalf of American workers, used a rally in [Ohio] ... on Monday to announce a new trade case against Beijing. He said it was Mr. Romney who had sent jobs to China through his zealous practice of outsourcing at Bain Capital.... 'Ohio,' the president declared, 'you can't stand up to China when all you've done is send them our jobs.... We've brought more trade cases against China in one term than the previous administration did in two -- and every case we've brought that's been decided, we won.' " ...

... Michael Shear of the New York Times: Ed Gillespie, "a top strategist for Mitt Romney, conceded Monday that the campaign has not provided enough specifics about the candidate's vision for the country and pledged a renewed effort in the last 50 days of the race to better communicate with voters."

Soledad O'Brien of CNN tries to pin down Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on just when President Obama's "apology tour" was:

Jeff Mason of Reuters: "On long flights to swing states in the West and late nights at the White House after his children have gone to bed, President Barack Obama is cramming" for the presidential debates.

Philip Rucker & David Nakamura of the Washington Post: "Mitt Romney, who last week struggled with his responses to a major ­foreign-policy crisis in the Middle East, will now turn his focus back to the economy with a new offensive aimed at recharging a campaign that even some allies believe he is losing. The Obama campaign, also sobered by the violent deaths of U.S. diplomats in Libya, seems willing to join Romney in a debate about the economy instead." ...

... CW: if you'd like to know what Romney will have to say AND what's wrong with it, Paul Krugman lays out Romney's "five points to nowhere" & has the point-by-point breakdown. If you want to skip the five points & go with five words, here's a good overview: "You've got to be kidding." As for how effective Romney's economic offensive will be, Krugman writes,

What the Romney revival people imagine is that he can now go out and aggressively sell his carefully unsubstantive economic ideas, without letting voters know that his underlying ideas involve things they really don't want. I suppose a master politician might be able to pull that off. But you go to an election with the candidate you have ...

... Jeff Zeleny & Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: "With time dwindling for him to gain an edge in the presidential race and with an outbreak of finger-pointing signaling trouble in his campaign, Mitt Romney plans to begin an offensive this week, his aides said, seeking to give voters a clearer picture of where he wants to take the country." ...

... McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed: "Mitt Romney's campaign has concluded that the 2012 election will not be decided by elusive, much-targeted undecided voters -- but by the motivated partisans of the Republican base.... Three Romney advisers told BuzzFeed the campaign's top priority now is to rally conservative Republicans, in hopes that they'll show up on Election Day, and drag their less politically-engaged friends with them. The earliest, ambiguous signal of this turn toward the party's right was the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate, a top Romney aide said." ...

... Rick Klein of ABC News: "Things haven't been going Mitt Romney's way since roughly the moment that Clint Eastwood dressed down that empty chair.... Romney has struggled to fill the leadership chair himself, despite several high-profile opportunities handed to him by national and international events."

Paul Krugman: In response to the Fed's announcement that it would introduce a new round of quantitative easing, "Republicans ... have gone wild, with Mitt Romney joining in the craziness. His campaign issued a news release denouncing the Fed's move as giving the economy an 'artificial' boost -- he later described it as a 'sugar high' -- and declaring that 'we should be creating wealth, not printing dollars.' ... What about Mr. Romney's ideas for 'creating wealth'? The Romney economic 'plan' offers no specifics about what he would actually do. The thrust of it, however, is that what America needs is less environmental protection and lower taxes on the wealthy. Surprise!" ...

... Jonathan Bernstein in Salon: Why did Mitt Romney pull out the "liberal media" canard last week? Because he's got nothing else.

Mike Allen & Jim VandeHei of Politico have a long, mildly interesting piece on how the Romney campaign screwed up the Republican convention, especially the last night & Romney's speech. The blame goes to Stuart Stevens, Romney's chief strategist, who scrapped the prepared speech 8 days before the convention, then largely scrapped another one, written days later, then helped Romney write his own. ...

... Taylor Berman of Gawker: "The sources [from inside the Romney camp] in the article, which includes the sort of shit flinging you'd expect to read after a candidate loses, not before, fault Stevens for Romney's mediocre speech and Clint Eastwood's spectacular performance art piece at the RNC, amongst other campaign snafus."

E. J. Dionne: "Many conservative commentators attribute Obama's bounce to Romney's failure to be specific enough. They don't want to acknowledge that on core issues, the electorate is far closer to Obama's moderate progressivism than to Romney and Ryan's conservatism."

Rick Hertzberg of the New Yorker on God's seat at the conventions.

Congressional Races

Robert Rizzuto & Shira Schoenberg of MassLive: "... Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren has pulled ahead of Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, according to a new poll. The survey of Bay State voters conducted Sept. 6-13 by the Western New England University Polling Institute through a partnership with The Republican and, shows Warren leading over Brown, 50 to 44 percent, among likely voters." CW: if the poll is accurate, it's a stunning turnaround from a poll published last week that showed Brown with a 5-point lead. In any event, it looks as if the convention speech helped, & fired up Massachusetts Democrats. ...

... Public Policy Polling: "Things have been going Elizabeth Warren's way in the Massachusetts Senate race over the last month. She's gained 7 points and now leads Scott Brown 48-46 after trailing him by a 49-44 margin on our last poll." Via Taegen Goddard.

... Sally Jacobs of the Boston Globe on Elizabeth Warren's Amerindian heritage. CW: I used to live near one of the Oklahoma towns Jacobs cites as a place where Warren's Amerindian relatives lived. A number of my neighbors there, who passed for white, appeared to be of American Indian heritage. I don't remember the women as well as the men, & I remember them because they were drop-dead handsome. I believe Warren.

"Crocodile Tears." Dan Avery of Queerty (Sept. 12): During the Democratic convention, Brian Nemoir, "a member of Republican Tommy Thompson's Senate campaign team sent out a mass email to right-wing bloggers ridiculing Thompson's lesbian Democratic opponent, Tammy Baldwin, for celebrating at a Wisconsin Capital Pride Rally in 2010.... This week, Thompson ... apologized for the gay-baiting email and tweets, explaining he was 'very upset' about them: 'I thought it was a mistake, I'm sorry, and he's apologized, I believe. He shouldn't have done it.' Clearly Thompson is furious at Nemoir -- but not so furious that he fired him. Nemoir has been removed as spokesman but will remain active in the Thompson campaign."

Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon interviews Wayne Powell, the Democrat running to unseat "self-absorbed egomaniac" House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Right Wing World

** Frank Rich spends a week listening to & reading right-wing media and finds "a Republican party far more despairing than the lamestream knows." CW: I was going to write something like this, but Rich beat me to it: "I finished the week with sympathy for true believers on the right who are far more divorced from their own political party and the nation's culture than even those on the left who are perennially disillusioned by Obama, the Democratic hierarchy, and their own journalistic Establishment." Well, I probably wouldn't have included the "sympathy" part.

NEW. Aviva Shen of Think Progress: "'Nutjobs stuck in the thirteenth century' is just one insult used in the parody song showcased by ... Mike Huckabee on his website Monday. Huckabee, an outspoken Islamophobe, is the latest media figure today to embrace anti-Islam rhetoric to explain the violent anti-American protests in the Middle East." Shen has the audio. Not as irresponsible as the movie trailer, but offensive, disrespectful & stupid, particularly at this time. Bear in mind, quite a few people thought Huckabee should be president. Thanks to contributor Lisa for the link.

Ghostbusters. Stephanie Saul of the New York Times has a long piece on True the Vote, an offshoot of the Tea Party that is obsessed with dedicated to eliminating voter fraud. Their favorite urban legend is one about "those people" being bussed into polling places in a bus nobody has ever actually seen. "In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. 'Pick your minority group,'" a Wisconsin elections official said. And get this: the founder & president of True the Vote, Catherine Engelbrecht, "said that until four years ago she was apolitical, a churchgoing mother of two.... 'Then in 2008, I don't know, something clicked,' she said. 'I saw our country headed in a direction that, for whatever reason -- it didn't hit me until 2008 -- this really threatens the future of our children.' -- CW: it's a mystery, isn't it, just what clicked for Catherine in 2008? Sorry, Frank Rich, these people make me want to scream.

Grover Norquist, playing the part of a wino in "Atlas Shrugged, Part 2." Or else, just Grover Norquist.The Reliable Source, Washington Post: Mr. Anti-Tax has a cameo role in "Atlas Shrugged, Part 2." Should make the movie a real hit.

News Ledes

NBC News: "Looking to reignite their movement on its one-year anniversary, several hundred Occupy Wall Street activists protested in lower Manhattan Monday, staging a sit-in near the iconic New York Stock Exchange and swarming through the streets in costumes and toting American flags and signs. Roughly 100 protesters were believed to have been arrested, including some rabbis and pastors who had sat down in the street and sidewalk, blocking them...."

Chicago Tribune: Chicago "Mayor Rahm Emanuel late Sunday called the [Chicago teachers' union] walkout 'illegal' and pledged to seek an injunction in court to force an end to the city's first teachers strike in a quarter century." ...

     ... NBC News Update: "A Cook County Circuit Court judge on Monday declined a request to hold a same-day hearing for an injunction to immediately end Chicago's teacher strike. During a short meeting, Judge Peter Flynn postponed the requested hearing until Wednesday.... That comes after the Chicago Teachers Union's delegates are scheduled to meet and vote on a proposed contract."

Washington Post: "After days of anti-American turmoil in the Muslim world, governments on Sunday looked ahead to a week of trying to make an uneasy accommodation between the anger of their citizens and their desire to convince the United States of their goodwill. But U.S. diplomatic outposts remained under threat. In Pakistan, at least one protester was killed and 18 were injured Sunday as hundreds of people broke through a barricade in a march to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, and thousands more rallied in Lahore, where American flags were burned, the Associated Press reported." ...

... AP: "Hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a U.S. military base as a demonstration against an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad turned violent in the Afghan capital early Monday. And in Jakarta, Indonesians angered over the film clashed with police outside the U.S. Embassy, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails and burning tires outside the mission. At least one police officer was seen bleeding from the head and being carried to safety by fellow officers."

New York Times: "The Obama administration plans to file a broad trade case at the World Trade Organization in Geneva on Monday accusing China of unfairly subsidizing its exports of autos and auto parts, a senior administration official said late Sunday, in a move with clear political implications for the presidential elections less than two months away."

AP: "U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to put a second missile defense system in Japan. The exact location of the installation has not yet been determined."

Space: "A Soyuz spacecraft carrying two Russian cosmonauts and an American spaceflyer has landed safely back on Earth, wrapping up a four-month mission to the International Space Station."

Reader Comments (21)

This came in an email today from the Elizabeth Warren campaign:
..."A new poll out today from the Springfield Republican shows Elizabeth with a 50-44 lead over Scott Brown among likely voters."

I immediately called my sister, a political activist in Boston, and her son, the chief of staff for Rep. Michael Capuano (Somerville/Cambridge). Both said "no way!" Sad, but no surprise. They have told me from the beginning that Scott Brown has this election sewed up--psychopathic Wall Street banker-fucker that he is. I so hope they are wrong!

Capuano and Deval Patrick gave a successful fundraiser for Elizabeth Warren last weekend, and pulled in some bit of money--but not even close to what Scotty Brownnose has gotten from The Street. Apparently Capuano, who my sister says is terminally under appreciated, is working his ass off for Warren, but is not seeing much success among the "elites" of Cambridge and Concord--who see Warren as unattractive and "schoolmarmish," a Martha Cokely candidate. Yikes. What a shallow, incurious bunch of so-called "libruls!"

My sister affirms this, and says that the "librul ladies of Concord" think that Warren needs a new hairdresser and must stop pointing her fingers, and that Scott Brown is really so charming, attractive and outgoing. Eeeerk! I think I hate the ladies of Concord, although I do not know them. )-:

This is America, fellow commenters! Unfortunately. A small-minded, shallow electorate--who pay more attention to a good haircut, winning smile, and charming bullshit than they do to awareness of real FACTS about the lives and careers of the candidates for whom they so casually vote. One woman told my sister that she thought if Scott Brown were re-elected he would vote FOR women's rights, because "he is that kind of man." GET ME OUT OF HERE! Didn't he try to "auction" off his daughter after his election?

P.S. In case you have not been listening: Remember The Supremes!

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@Kate Madison: I don't think a 10-point jump in the polls after a convention is surprising. If you read the MassLive article, you'll see the theories that account for the turnaround. It seems plausible to me. That doesn't mean Warren will hold her advantage -- a convention bump is usually just that -- a bump: what goes up will likely come down.

We'll see.


September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@Kate and Marie: I don't know for sure, but I think that Warren has pulled more or less even with Brown in funds (she outraised him most of this year) and has plenty in the bank for advertising in the final sprint.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

@ Kate: When the news media is a buzz over that other Kate's nude photos, a Q&A let's say in one of those super markets that we are running around in shouting about remembering the Supremes* would render nary a peep about Warren––"Warren who?"––they'd ask, but they sure as rain will tell you about those royals and their sunbathing. So it isn't surprising that we have "the librul ladies of Concord" concentrating on hair cuts, finger pointing and be misinformed about Scottie's stance on women's issues.

* "Weren't they the girl group from Motown?" a shopper asks while picking out plums and the best looking apples.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Over the weekend I had a guest at lunch. Of course, the table talk drifted to politics.

She DETESTS Citizens United,
but...she's leaning toward Romney!

She ABHORS that individuals can publicly carry loaded guns,
but...she's leaning toward Romney!

She WISHES he would be explicit about what he will do,
but...she's leaning toward Romney!

She THINKS Medicare vouchers are bad,
but...she's leaning toward Romney!

Nearly all her positions fell on the liberal side, because "Obama just hasn't done much." The conversation left me shaking my head in bewilderment! Dessert, anyone?

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

MAG, I get the same response when I talk to people. Blame the corporate-owned media and blame Obama's humbleness (?).

Regarding Powell, I live in Cantor's district and will be voting for Powell!

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I agree with both Marie and Kevin Drum that the Dowd column was not anti-Semitic - not the slightest bit. One of the alleged Jewish slurs was the use of the term "slither," but here she was mirroring something Paul Wolfowitz said:
"Paul Wolfowitz, an Iraq war architect, weighed in on Fox News, slimily asserting that President Obama should not be allowed to “slither through” without a clear position on Libya. "
In other words, Wolfowitz was using a snake image to tar Obama. Does that make him anti-black?
As for the coincidence of the Jewish holidays - what a pathetically week argument. Dowd wasn't castigating Jewish people but simply the neo-Con foreign policy that sees everything through the lens of what they PERCEIVE is good for Israel and would arrange America's foreign policy accordingly.
I hope next week she goes after Netanyahu's bazen appearance on Meet the Press. Then she'll really be in hot water.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Shudda clarified bettah:

WHILE nearly all her positions fell on the liberal side, BUT because "Obama just hasn't done much." she's leaning toward Romney.

My last sentence wasn't very lucid! Sometimes the words in my brain don't make it out through the fingers on the keyboard!

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Reading Rich's piece on The Conversative Mind led me on a mental promenade to one of the good ol' days.

In referencing Clint Eastwood's boondoggle at the Convention, Rich dwelves into the incompetence of the RINO party with each futile attempt to engage the cultural/artistic subcultures which can be so influential in our country. This incapacity to connect couldn't have been said better than by one of their own with yesterday's "Quote of the Day" by Mr. Rick "Anal Star" Santorum.

As Rich points out, most times a RINO comes out glorifying artistic works, the artists responds with a swift Fuck Off! Lord Akhillius once enlightened fellow commentators on some quality examples of this, such as Bruce Springsteen's rebuke of Fatty McGee. And can we seriously believe Paul Ryan is a fan of Rage Against the Machine ??? Get fucking serious people. That was some Carl Rove cookin' CROCK OF SHIT! I'm guessing THAT man has got a bullet in his head (one my favorite songs of theirs. I actually am a fan, no, but really, like for real).

But all this Republican ineptitude confronting artistic creativity brought me back to one of the warm spots in the hindmost of my brain. Therein lies a 25 minute video clip of one of the most awkward and gratifying speeches ever devoted to Mr. George W Bush. Colbert's cajones turned gold that day and he solidified himself into Americana. And the fact that the Republicans invited him and gave him the opportunity to verbally bitch slap the President on national teevee explains all the incompetence one needs to know about these wing-nuts when venturing outside of their neoconservative bubbles.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Interesting responses to Dowd's column on the return of noisome neo-cons to the national/world stage, trying once again to insinuate their Leo Straussian world view of masters and slaves, the warriors and the defeated.

I'm not sure how anyone could view her take as anti-Semitic except perhaps someone who was already disposed to interpret anything related to Israel as a potential slur. Right wingers of all nationalities have, it seems, refined this sort thing to an art form, and along with the thin skin, have in place an automatic strike mechanism to rally the troops to smear anyone who comes up on their radar, to pre-empt any discussion of an event or situation or article in an open and adult manner. The fact that one of the "observers" Marie notes in her section on Dowd detractors has been defectated from is exhibit number one. 'Nuff said.

But that still leaves us with the problem of tough talking Mittens (you know, the guy who wet his pants when he thought he might be drafted to serve in a war he supported for others to go and fight) bellying up to the neo-con bar, toy wooden saber banging against his rented armor, dented knight's helmet with permanently closed visor (the better not to see shit) perched on his well coiffed presidentialy looking noggin, looking all big and bad and war-like and scary, hangin' with the tough boys, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Bush (chicken hawks all), and of course his BFF, Bibi.

Remember some time back when the Rat bragged about what good buddies he and Bibi were? He even went so far as to say that, as president, if there were some issue regarding Israel, he would get on the horn "toot sweet" and ask Bibi what he should say, what he should do?

And I suppose that makes anyone who doesn't think an American president should be taking orders from an Israeli prime minister somehow anti-Semitic.

But is that we want our president to be doing? Calling up Netanyahu to ask him what time we should start bombing Iran, and, oh by the way, is it okay if Mittens has a photo op on an aircraft carrier (far, far away from the action)?

"Oh President Mittens, Bibi on line one, Cheney on line two."

"One minute while I look for my balls. I know I left them here somewhere. Ann! Ann! Have you seen my balls?"

"Sorry Mitty, I thought you knew...I had them removed some years ago. I used them in a cat food casserole. Remember? When we were poor? They were so small anyway, I never thought you'd miss them. Now be a good boy and do what Bibi and Dickie tell you to do. Bombs away."

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: Free speech; or marked down to damn as near; Remember the Roman centenarian correcting the graffito's verb conjugations painted on the wall in ancient Rome? Like Mr. Greenwald states free speech is just a figure of speech. Because of today's tech communications words are heard around the world in minutes, videos the same.
Since we are not discussing reasonable use of speech but inflammatory use of images and language is there a right of society as a whole that overrules the right of an individual or group when it comes to free speech? I say there is. Mr. Greenwald does not agree with me. A group of my followers covers Mr. Greenwald with layer of horseshit and feathers and rides him out of town. Am I responsible for the dry cleaning of Mr. Greenwald? He says I'm not. I say I am for I am responsible for my words as well as my actions. It's one thing to say Mr. Greenwald and I don't see eye to eye; it's another to say Mr. Greenwald needs a fine layer of horseshit and feathers and a ride out of town.
Videos are being made by fanatics that advocate the killing of US troops and civilians. Made in Afghanistan; act of nationalism; made in America, act of treason? Again Mr. Greenwald and I disagree.
I think Mr. Greenwald is right in a vacuum but wrong in reality. And since we don't live in a vacuum I think there is a line that separates free speech from violent speech and one can be held accountable for the damages caused by one's words.
What really bothers me is the human condition that forces the constant shouting of hatred based on word of god. We shout but we don't hear so well. Too bad it's not called the freedom of listening. Shh, that's the Word of God.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@Safari. Some while back, I read that a certain percentage of conservatives think Colbert is really on their side, that he believes the stuff his character says. Maybe the Bushies thought so, too, & weren't alarmed when they learned he was the entertainment at the Correspondents' Dinner where Bush would appear.

Colbert didn't just roast Bush; he also lampooned the White House correspondents themselves for their stenographic reporting. Colbert bombed in the room, got cool reviews (by reporters, of course) in reports on the dinner, but video of his remarks (here) went viral.


September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@MAG. Please send this to your conservative friend who says "Obama just hasn't done much." Ask her to promise to read it & get back to you.


September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

Marie, thank you for the Bill Moyers show in full. Our local PBS stations are making it increasing difficult to find the program by placing it at odd hours of the day and some have dropped it all together from what I can discern. This program on the Supreme Court becoming a tool of the corporate monarchists is particularly compelling.
In framing most of the battles in today's politics as Republicans against labor a large segment of our society is ignored. As the Republican party has been consumed by the plutocratic,corporate monarchists we forget that this machine rolls over and crushes small businesses, struggling entrepreneurs, family farmers and a whole host of non-labor oriented people struggling to have an impact in this economy.
Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts are traitors to democracy. I wish I felt more confident that more Obama appointees will shift anything as the Harvard mindset is shaped by the corporate monarchists .

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

From the Not for Nothing Department.

The stunning news out of right-wing Hollywood is that Grover Norquist (doesn’t he sound vaguely like some warped Sesame Street character come to twisted life? With pointy little shark’s teeth and a truncheon in his back pocket for bludgeoning old ladies) will make an appearance in the breathlessly awaited “Atlas Puked on His Shoes, Part Deux”.

I think it’s funny how so many wingnuts portray Harvard as the epicenter of civilization’s collapse (at least theirs, the one ruled by rich, white, Christian, wing-nut males) and the source of progressive horrors.

A quick scan of conservatives who have graduated from either the college or its grad schools yields a top ten most wanted rogue’s gallery of right-wingers who have done a fair job at decimating, or attempting to decimate the civilization populated by the rest of the world’s inhabitants (ie, the real world).

Let’s see, which Harvard grad has done the most to destroy America, the world, freedom, and actual, as opposed to Republican-style, democracy?

We can start with Grover (This Bathtub is Too Big!) Norquist.
Move right on to George (I Have a Pet Goat?) Bush,
pass Go, collect a billion dollars and move on to
Mittens (It's My Turn) Romney,
Alberto (It Ain’t Torture If I Say it Ain’t) Gonzales,
Elliot (Kill Everyone!) Abrams,
Little Johnny Roberts,
Antonin (ARRRRGGGHHH) Scalia,
William (Wrong-way Bill) Kristol,
Ross (Blow-up Doll Boy) Douthat,
Henry (Vy Can’t Ve Bomb Cambodia, eh?) Kissinger,
Lloyd (Where the Fuck is my Parachute?) Blankfein,
Jeffrey(I’m Too Important to Talk to You) Immelt,
Jamie (What’s a Few Billion Here and There) Dimon,
Bill (C’mon Seven!) Bennett,
Lawrence (Women Suck at Science) Summers,
David (Ask for Brandy; Tell ‘em Dave Sent You) Vitter,
Katherine (Bush wins!) Harris,
Douglas (Rummy, Rummy, He’s Our Man, If He Can’t Bomb Them No One Can!) Feith,
Phyllis (You’re All Going to HELL) Schlafly,
Jim (No Problems on Wall Street! Buy, Buy, Buy!) Cramer,
Bill (Shut up, Shut up, Shut up) O’Reilly,
Jeffrey (It Was Ken Lay’s Fault!) Skilling.

Now that’s a collection of criminal fucks and generally evil rectal cavity dwellers that would darken even the Black Hole of Calcutta. Pretty hard to say who’s the worst, but I’m giving it a toss-up between Bush and Roberts.

So far.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: home cookin' Ak you can't use Mitt balls in a friskie casserole, although small Mitt balls have poison effect when mixed with anything above all, eggs.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

On the issue of the Greenwald piece on free speech, my first reaction is to come down largely on his side on this one. I realize the distinction JJG makes between an ideal world and the real world, but the concept of free speech is already somewhat proscribed in many ways. Restrictions to speech moderate, somewhat, the potentially baleful results of some many forms of speech designed specifically, or even incidentally, to provoke.

The topic itself deserves a much lengthier response but I’ll try to avoid my usual tome-like comments. Perhaps due to the idealism I have always attached to the importance of speech, I’m agreeing with much of what Greenwald has to say (something I’ve not been able to do much of late—he being somewhat stridently stentorian in his hard-assed approach to many issues; I do believe, however, that sort of voice is necessary in many instances, if not as a corrective, then as a bulwark against overreaching by either side).

He’s correct to point out that coercion on free speech issues, especially by the White House, has a chilling effect on speech, and he’s also correct that free speech abuses by the Bush White House were roundly (and correctly) criticized. You remember the famous “free speech zones”? Those fenced off ghettos for “speakers” shunted away miles from King George? Free speech, as practiced in Red China. I do think, as a real world aside, that “requests” from the Bush/Cheney administration to coerce a speaker or a message would likely have been much more ominous than one coming from the Obama White House; Bush and Cheney and their ilk being much more effective and skilled as dirty players. But that doesn’t modify the end result of imposing limitations on speech.

There are, in fact, quite a few limitations, as I mentioned at the top, that help to keep the whole shebang kosher. Even with all the unnatural mudslinging these days, it’s still possible to win a defamation suit (if one can prove malicious intent—not an easy thing to do). There are restrictions on commercial speech: “Our product will grow you a head of new hair in three days!!” Other protections concern themselves with things like speech promoting criminal activity. Students can’t write whatever they feel like in their school newspapers. Military personnel are prevented from revealing classified information, and of course, we have Justice Brandeis' example of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, that of the potential of imposing direct harm by false speech.

The problem is that not all instances of these types of speech are prosecuted (or even easily prosecutable).

In the case of this video, I would say that, yes, of course it’s stupid and execrable, but where do we draw the line? The fact is that many players in the Muslim world will take any excuse to burn down the house. Does a stupid video give permission to kill innocent people? Certainly not. Do we need to be aware that such instances of provocation are dangerous? Sure. But what next? Where do you stop? I think in this situation, the result is much more of an indication of how fundamentalist religion can warp and destroy the fabric of civilization. Much of the Muslim world is now living back in the middle ages. Radical elements have been successful in ridding certain areas of individuals, customs, and influences that might moderate their message. Once modernity is outlawed, once connection to the outside world and to thoughts outside of the inner sanctum are criminalized, what’s left is barbarism.

I once spent a few months in the old Soviet Union and on numerous occasions I took it upon myself to (try to) explain the concept of free speech which many Soviets seemed to find utterly baffling. We do take it largely for granted here in the West.

But don’t kid yourself, forces coalescing against free speech could happen here too. You don’t think fundamentalists in this country wouldn’t put us all on trial for writing these comments if they could? If our civilization were broken down by their incessant hammering?

And the first thing to go would be free speech.

As I said, this subject requires a much more thorough airing, but this is my initial take. Sorry, I guess it got tome-y after all.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Kudos to Solidad O’Brien for challenging Peter King on his assertion that President Obama has apologized to the world. Specifically with respect to the President's speech in Cairo, O’Brien said that a fair reading of the speech showed a nuanced approach to foreign policy but she found no apology in it. Yes, I agree.

King challenged that and said that a fair reading of the speech showed that it was an apology. He is fucking nuts. I just spent the time and read the speech. It is long and it is no apology, anywhere in it. King is bat, rat, shit crazy nuts.

I just about give up, except maybe the tide is in fact turning towards calling out the the rat bat shit lies.

Sorry it's been a long day and I just needed to vent.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrom-the-Heartland

A note to Kate,

I know a lot of those Concordians. Ladies and gentlemen.

Many of them are cocktail party liberals. They wouldn't be caught dead on an Occupy line or at a demonstration against right-wing hegemony. It costs a ton of money to live in Concord (more than Lexington, which, by virtue of its conjunctions to Woburn, Burlington, and Billerica--how can you tell when you're in the rich section of Billerica? They have TWO cars up on blocks in the driveway--is slightly more removed from the kind of liberalism typically ripped (and in many ways, rightfully so, just not by them) by right wing media hacks and knuckledragging know-nothings.

So even though you can go to the Old North Bridge in Old Concord, and stand in the place where outraged farmers took to the barricades to stand up to British troops who had outright murdered civilians on Lexington Green hours before, the chance that you will find someone more akin to Michelle Obama than Lady Ann is remote.

Wicked remote, as other natives (not Concordians) might say.

Remember the Supremes!

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Regarding Patty Murray's bill to give preferential hiring to vets in the areas of law enforcement and firefighting, well, I'm all for it. They have sacrificed much, and deserve much in return. I THINK that vets already receive some preferential treatment in their treatement on civil service exams, so what else is new in THIS bill?

Regarding Glen Greenwald's "absolutist" stance on the First Amendment, well, call me an "absolutist" but I am with Greenwald and Akhilleus. I understand JJG's concerns, but there can be no greater "slippery slope" than on infringement of the First Amendment.

The stupid anti-Islamist movie was not the equivalent of "yelling fire in a crowded theater," at least not in THIS country. So, it doesn't really fall under any restriction regarding constraints on speech.

Unless, of course, the "Piss Christ" can be regarded as similarly inflammatory--which it was not. I don't recall anyone dying over THAT display.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZee

Re: Being at a fire and yelling "Theater!" First of all, Zee, good to see your voice. Both you and Ak should know I have spent a lifetime telling authority figures to, " Go fuck themselves and the horse that they rode in on." so I'm a big proponent of free speech. I absolutely agree that any rein-in on free speech as we use to know it is a very slippery slope. However we a dealing with international situation that is not in our control. Our constitution guarantees us our freedom of speech, it doesn't guarantee our safety if we create an international firebomb. I guess one thing the State Department could send out a flyer saying, "We're great 'cause we allow hate". Ak is right, the modern world is under attack by those still living in the god fearing middle ages and to deny free speech is to accept a backward move.
Still, if one jerk here in the states causes one death overseas to those that serve I' still say, Great; freedom of speech, your movie is opening in Cairo next week, enjoy the show.
Wish people were not so ignorant.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG
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