The Ledes

Thursday, July 30, 2015.

New York Times: "The commander of a group of Syrian fighters trained by the United States has been kidnapped by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, his group said in a statement Thursday. The commander, Nadeem Hassan, and seven of his fighters were taken by the Nusra Front, a rival of the Islamic State in Syria, as they were returning from a meeting in Turkey."

AP: "Afghanistan's Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, who led the group's self-styled Islamic emirate in the 1990s, sheltered al-Qaida through the 9/11 attacks and led a 14-year insurgency against U.S. and NATO troops. The Taliban Shura, or Supreme Council, chose Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who had served as Mullah Omar's deputy for the past three years, as its new leader, two Taliban figures told the Associated Press...."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy rebounded between April and June, new government data showed Thursday, expanding at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent. Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish winter when the economy was at a crawl."

New York Times: "Government officials and families of passengers lost on a Malaysian jet that vanished last year with 239 people aboard responded warily on Thursday to the discovery of possible wreckage from the aircraft, reluctant to fan hopes after more than a year of fruitless searching and false rumors. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss of Australia, whose country has led the search for the jet, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said that the discovery of an airplane part thousands of miles from the search area was 'a very significant development' but cautioned against concluding that it was from the missing aircraft."

The Wires

The Ledes

... Thanks to Akhilleus for the link. (This video tends to start near the end. If it does that for you, cursor back to the beginning.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Guardian: "The Federal Reserve on Wednesday continued to pave the way for an increase in interest rates as early as September. The US central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at near zero – where it has been since the 2008 financial crisis – but once again signalled that rates will rise later this year. While the Fed chair, Janet Yellen, has left little doubt that rates will rise this year, the Fed left itself wiggle room as it has set no timetable and said rates would only be raised if the economy continues to improve and unemployment continues to fall." ...

... The Fed's statement is here.

New York Times: "A large object that appeared to be an airplane part washed up Wednesday on the shore of Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, prompting speculation that it might be debris from Flight 370, the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared in March 2014." ...

     ... AP UPDATE: "Air safety investigators have a 'high degree of confidence' that aircraft debris found in the Indian Ocean is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared last year, a U.S. official said Wednesday."

New York Times: "After months of speculation, Afghan officials announced Wednesday that they were now certain that the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, died in Pakistan in 2013."

Guardian: "Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has approved the immediate construction of hundreds of settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in an effort to stave off a growing threat posed by pro-settler parties in his rightwing coalition government. The issue was brought to a head on Wednesday by a supreme court ruling that two buildings in the West Bank settlement of Beit El – built on private Palestinian land without permits – should be destroyed, despite Netanyahu’s opposition."

Washington Post: "An Albuquerque 911 dispatcher has resigned after audio was released of him hanging up on a 17-year-old as she tended to a friend who was shot at the party. The victim, 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver, later died.... Emergency responders had already been dispatched to the house before [the dispatcher] hung up." Includes 911 audio.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "A big-game hunter from the Twin Cities found himself at the center of an international firestorm Tuesday over the death of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe, but said he regrets killing the animal and believed his guides were leading him on a legal hunt.... Earlier Tuesday, the Telegraph newspaper of London identified [dentist Walter] Palmer as the hunter who shot Cecil and reported that he paid $54,000 for the hunt. The Telegraph said the lion was illegally lured out of Hwange National Park, where it had protected status, and onto a neighboring game farm, where Palmer was on safari." ...

... Salon: Yelp contributors are whacking Palmer.

Public Service Announcement

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."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 30

2:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

2:00 pm ET: Open government public meeting

Go to


Jane Hamshire of Firedoglake: "... I have decided to pass the torch on to Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein, who will launch their own media organization called Shadowproof that will build on the success of FDL."

Dylan Byers: "MSNBC has formally decided to cancel three programs -- 'The Cycle,' 'Now with Alex Wagner' and 'The Ed Show' -- as part of a larger effort to shift its daytime lineup away from opinion programming.... Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, a 'Cycle' co-host and MSNBC's chief legal correspondent, will remain with the network. Ed Schultz, the host of 'The Ed Show,' will leave the network, as will 'Cycle' co-hosts Abby Huntsman, Krystal Ball and Toure.... In September, MSNBC will add a 5 p.m. program hosted by 'Meet The Press' moderator Chuck Todd, while Brian Williams, the former 'Nightly News' anchor, will serve as the network's breaking news and special reports anchor."

If you can memorize & learn to use the University of New Hampshire's long list of "bias-free language," you can be the most politically-correct person in your neighborhood. Via Jonathan Chait. ...

... CW Etiquette Tip: calling out your friends for using outmoded terms like "overweight" & "rich" is not politically-correct. Simply try to steer the conversation in a more "inclusive" direction. So if your friend says to you, "My rich neighbor got so overweight he has to use a wheelchair now," you say, "Oh, that person of material wealth has become a person of size who is wheelchair mobile? Wow! He's your neighbor? I remember him when he was a person experiencing homelessness who lacked advantages that others have." It sounds so natural, your friend will never realize you've corrected his biased, dated stereotypes.

Will Oremus of Slate likes Windows 10. CW: I haven't had the courage to try switching over yet. I'll lose EVERYTHING!

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done for you, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."

NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."

Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."

For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.

Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."

Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...

... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."

New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."

New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.

New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."

Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:

Contact the Constant Weader

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The Commentariat -- Sept. 18, 2012

Art by Eric Leppanen.

Allison Linn of NBC News: out-of-work Mainer Eric Leppanen, once a heavy credit-card user, "recently found [a] box of 169 credit cards [he had discarded]. He used the cards, plus 50 state quarters, to create his own artistic tribute to the boom years of the early 2000s. He calls the piece 'Indebted States of America.'"

"America's Bloodiest Day." CW: I missed this piece by Rick Beard in yesterday's New York Times: "By 5 p.m., the Battle of Antietam was over. Over 22,000 Americans lay dead or wounded or were among the missing: the highest single-day casualty total of the Civil War.... (Sept. 17 also proved to be the war's deadliest day for civilians, when 78 workers in the Allegheny Arsenal were killed in an explosion.) An official with the Sanitary Commission wrote: 'No words can convey the utter destruction and ruin. For four miles in length, and nearly a half mile in width, the ground is strewn with hats, caps, clothing, canteens, knapsacks, shells, and shot. Visit a battlefield and see what a victory costs.'"

Stanley Fish: "We have decided that the potential unhappy consequences of a strong free speech regime must be tolerated because the principle is more important than preventing any harm it might permit. We should not be surprised, however, if others in the world -- most others, in fact -- disagree, not because they are blind and ignorant but because they worship God and truth rather than the First Amendment, which not only keeps God and truth at arm's length but regards them with a deep suspicion."

Presidential Race -- Romney Tapes, Part 2

David Corn of Mother Jones: "Romney spoke of 'the Palestinians' as a united bloc of one mindset, and he said: 'I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way.' ... In public, Romney has not declared the peace process pointless or dismissed the two-state solution." Take a look at Corn's whole post. There is more.

AP: "GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told donors in a newly released video clip that Palestinians 'have no interest' in peace with Israel and suggested that efforts at Mideast peace under his administration would languish."

Presidential Race -- Romney Tapes, Part 1

Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "All the Sad Young Men," 1936

** Jonathan Martin of Politico on why Obama is winning. This is a good, comprehensive, impartial analysis. ...

... NEW. Ramesh Ponnuru, an editor & contributor to the right-wing National Review, writes a Bloomberg News opinion piece that knocks the wind out of some conservative memes about voter preferences & GOP policy. ...

... NEW. Jon Chait of New York has a very good post on the significance of Romney's remarks: "Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. ('I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.')"

Nicely timed:

The End of the Line for Willard. David Corn of Mother Jones: "During a private fundraiser earlier this year..., Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them.... To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination":

     ... Corn has three more short videos embedded in the linked post, and writes he will be publishing more. ...

... Here's Corn on Rachel Maddow's show. He has an interesting tale about the venue where the Romney Tapes were recorded:

... Michael Shear of the New York Times: "The blunt political and cultural assessment by the Republican presidential candidate offers a rare glimpse into Mr. Romney's personal views as the campaign enters its final 50 days. Liberals quickly condemned the remarks as insensitive and Mr. Obama's campaign accused him of having 'disdainfully written off half the nation.'" ...

      ... Update: Romney responds to release of the video. ...

      ... Michael Barbaro of the New York Times on how Romney's mini-presser came about. Read to the end.

Had [my father] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this. -- Mitt Romney, at a private fundraiser, pointing out, I guess, that "those people" get all the breaks


... Digby: "He's literally saying that nearly half the country is a bunch of parasites.... I don't know that I've ever seen a presidential candidate with more contempt for the American people than Mitt Romney. It's one thing for a candidate to attack his opponent, but to attack half he country as a bunch of losers you don't have to care about is just unprecedented. He's obviously as much a believer in twisted Randroid tropes as his chosen VP." ...

... Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic: "What is most jarring about Romney's comments here is ... that sense that Romney's grasp of America is so thin, that he believes that half of it is dismissible strictly on the grounds of laziness." ...

... ** "Thurston Howell Romney." David Brooks: "... as a description of America today, Romney's comment is a country-club fantasy. It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney." ... CW: a la Lyndon Johnson's response to Walter Cronkite's criticism of the Vietnam War, Romney -- if he knew any history, which he probably doesn't -- would be saying right now, "If I've lost Brooks, I've lost the election."

... Paul Krugman: "... if you look at the facts, you learn that the great bulk of those who pay no income tax pay other taxes; also, many of the people in the no-income-tax category are (a) elderly (b) students or (c) having a bad year, having lost a job -- that is, they're people who have paid income taxes in the past and/or will pay income taxes in the future. The idea that half of Americans are just grifters is grotesque. If this is real, it's very, very ugly." CW: it's real. Michael Shear's post quotes a Romney spokesperson, who doesn't even try to deny it; she just says Romney is "concerned" about the grifters. ...

... AND where are all those freeloaders? Oh, my goodness gracious me! A whole passel of them just might be Republicans!

     ... Map via David Graham of The Atlantic.

... AND, as Kevin Roose of New York magazine points out, some of those freeloaders are Mitt's BFFs: "There are two primary ways to pay no (or negative) federal income taxes. The first is to be poor, and the second is to be elderly.... There, are, of course, some exceptions to the old-or-poor rule. As Bruce Bartlett noted last year, roughly 12 million households making over $33,542 in 2011 paid no federal income tax. And there are an untold number of illegal tax evaders who haven't paid a dime either. (Like Wesley Snipes!) But the most egregious members of the 47 percent are the 3,000 people who made more than $2,178,866 in 2011 (putting them in the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers), and yet paid no federal income taxes." ...

... AND, since Lord & Lady Willard Romney won't release their own tax returns -- for all we know, they are among the non-taxpaying freeloaders. Of course we already know they're major moochers, since they have knocked themselves out not to pay their fair share of income tax. Their own record of serial tax avoidance makes Mitt's little "socioeconomic theory" one giant, oozing corpuscle of hypocrisy. ...

... ** Ezra Klein: "Part of the reason so many Americans don't pay federal income taxes is that Republicans have passed a series of very large tax cuts that wiped out the income-tax liability for many Americans.... When you look at graphs of the percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes, you see huge jumps after Ronald Reagan's 1986 tax reform and George W. Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.... Republicans have become outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts they passed and are using that outrage as the justification for an agenda that further cuts taxes on the rich and pays for it by cutting social services for the non-rich.... Romney's theory here is ... actually core to his economic agenda." ...

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "Romney appears to conflate a few things — Obama's approval rating, the percentage of people who do not pay income taxes and people who rely on government assistance. There may be some overlap between these groups but they really are not the same thing.... Perhaps it is too much to expect a politician to be entirely accurate in a closed door speech, but one would think he would have even less need to stretch the truth if he thinks the cameras are not rolling."

... Josh Barro of Bloomberg News: "You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president." ...

     ... John Sides of the Monkey Cage runs the numbers & agrees with those of you who have argued that gaffes are not game-changers: "Many a news cycle was built on a 'gaffe' with a remarkably short shelf life."

... Joe Coscarelli of New York on how President Jimmy Carter's grandson helped leak the secret Romney video. CW: nice payback for Romney's nasty remarks about President Grandpa!

Even tho, like Barro, I think the presidential race is over, let's keep at it. Here's an Obama campaign ad hitting Romney on his promise to get tough on China:

... AND what's left of the campaign will be dirty. Charles Pierce: "There's really only one campaign left to [Romney] now.... It's going to get extraordinarily dirty extraordinarily fast. There is going to be pale birtherism and barely covert racism.... There is going to be poor-baiting, and gay-baiting, and ladyparts-baiting, and probably baiting of things I haven't thought of yet. The polite part of the campaign is going to be Romney's effort to convince You that he was really talking about Them when he was calling people moochers and sneak thieves."

AP: "Republicans ... produced an 'Apprentice'-style Donald Trump video that they never showed to delegates." CW: aw, shucks. The "you're fired" part would have been so clever.

"Patriot Games," by the Gregory Brothers for the New York Times:

News Ledes

Chicago Tribune: "The Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates decided this afternoon to end the city's first teacher strike in 25 years and return more than 350,000 students to the classroom Wednesday."

Washington Post: "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday called for more hearings on whether a new Republican-backed voter ID law can be implemented this fall without disenfranchising voters who currently lack the needed photo identification. The decision drew sharp rebukes from two of the six justices. They said it was already clear that some legitimate voters could not secure the needed ID in time for the election."

AP: "The United States said Tuesday it is ending the U.S. Agency for International Development's operations in Russia after a Kremlin demand that the aid organization leave the country, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama;s policy of 'resetting' relations between Washington and Moscow."

Washington Post: "The USS Long Beach, the first nuclear-powered surface warship in history, went around the world in a 1964 tour designed to showcase the possibilities of nuclear power.... The ship, which is docked in Bremerton, Wash., is saying its final goodbyes. But there won't be a ceremonial sinking; instead, the Navy is sending the ship off for scrap."

Guardian: "The Nato-led military strategy in Afghanistan has been thrown into disarray after joint on-the-ground operations were suspended because of a collapse in trust over the killings of Americans and other Nato soldiers by Afghan government forces."

Washington Post: "Anti-American protests that started in Cairo and spread across the Muslim world have stalled negotiations to provide crucial U.S. economic assistance to Egypt, U.S. officials said Monday."

Washington Post: "Ten people were killed near Kabul’s airport Tuesday when a suicide car bomber rammed into a minivan carrying foreign aviation workers, police said. A Pakistan-based militant group said it carried out the attack to avenge an Internet video that defames the prophet Muhammad."

Reader Comments (37)

Saw Corn's videos on Facebook earlier today. Amazing stuff. Bet Rove is trying to figure out how to replace both Mitt and Akin on the ballot, while Axelrod is trying to figure out how to get all those parasites to the polls.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

So the Rat shows his teeth.

Half of America are nothing but bums and scum according to Lord Rat. He never had anything handed to him. He made it all with his own little rat tail wiggling against piles of loot.

The Rat appeals to his own kind with the sort of come on that would work with him: a hate-filled paranoia of the wealthy whose dreams of control over those who would ask them to pay their fair share are wrapped in racism.

This guy is just too filthy for words. A rat fuck if there ever was one. The best thing about this campaign (if the Rat loses) is that everything he has accomplished, his entire life's reservoir of stories of personal glory and solipsistic simpering will be forever coated in the slime he has dragged out from his black soul, smearing millions of Americans in a futile attempt to win something he feels should just be handed to him.

He'll live the rest of his pig-fuck rodent life gnawing on the cheese of his defeat.


September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Easy Akhilleus, easy. You're getting close to going over the top. His Lordship is simply doing what Republicans have always done. Before iPhones, no one documented it.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer


True. But this guy is beyond the pale. The best thing about this whiny, racist, homophobic, pampered little rich boy losing will be for him to be humiliated by a black man who really DID come from nothing. Who really didn't have everything handed to him. And for the Rat to be forever held in contempt by everyone, on both sides.


September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus


September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Hi guys -
I have been watching the Romney catastrophe on MSNBC and had just logged in here to make this observation: Romney is really not a nice human being.
I see from reading the posts above that I have indeed been trumped.
Maybe tying his dog to the roof of his car told us all we needed to know about Romney.......months ago.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

How can any of you be surprised? Our founding fathers were scared silly by Sam Adams and Thomas Paine. When they needed rabble to tar and feather England's officials or Tom Paine's pamphlets they were happy. When they founded a government they took care to leave the rabble without the vote. Those waterfront bums of Sam Adams were just a tool.
The Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court is a continuation of the fear of the rabble by capital. The real thinking of the Supreme Court is that who is better to rule America than the successful.
Our founding fathers were the one percent of their time or agents of the one percent. Who better to rule America?
Sorry about that, but you must know that big money thinks it should rule America and in the end it will.

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Sam Iamb sez:

"The harder Mitt's campaign plays fast and loose,
The more well done doth seem his roasting goose."

September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Connah

@carlyle. I don't think any of us is at all surprised. The tapes are just confirmation of what we already knew & what you expressed very well.

Foolish as we are, we prefer to vote for someone we think would like us if he knew us. Mitt Romney not only would never like most of us, he does not even respect us. Any of us.

A person will not be a just governor if s/he doesn't respect the governed.


September 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

A bit beside the point, but worth noting. My husband, Donnie Decent, retired physician--watching Ed and Rachel on MSNBC tonight--noted that in the videos of Mitt he seems unable to turn his head. As if his neck is completely stiff. I suggested he may have a steel rod up his ass. My erudite husband thinks he may have had a spinal fusion and, therefore, when he tries to turn his head, has to move his whole body each time. I dunno--looks like a robot to me--or as I suggested previously, a steel rod, etc. etc.

Beyond that little tidbit, let us face it. This man is a growing disaster. Really seems to manifest the classic "Aspergers' Syndrome," with an Emotional IQ of -100--to give him the benefit of the doubt. I would feel sorry for him if he were a patient-- and suffering from being bullied and misunderstood. However, he seems to have turned his affliction around and identified with the aggressor. MittWitt is a BULLY. Pure and simple. The man is a bully. No other way to say it.

P.S. Remember the Supremes, just as PD Pepe and I do daily! Especially in the supermarket when buying apples and peaches. Do not hesitate to turn around and shout!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

I hate to be so negative but I still feel like we may well wakeup on a Wednesday morning to a President romney. I'm afraid I have more faith in the corporate mafia/1%/rove/koch bro's ability to buy or steal the election by fraud than I do for the average American citizen to distinguish the truth from the lies. God I hope I'm wrong.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Bones

Oh! Happy Days are Here Again!

To kinda paraphrase, one commenter on the David Brooks column today re "...Romney's amazing skill of shooting himself in the foot while said foot is in his mouth!"

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

@Victoria - I love your comment!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I'm going to have to agree with Tommy Bones on this one. Calling the election over now is IMHO a bit naïve while underestimating the desperation of the neo-con's lust for power. Remember one of the Koch brothers declaring this election "the war of all wars?" In their world of money and power, they never lose. An Obama reelection would be a huge shot to their pride and 'manhood', and they'll avert that consequence by whatever means necessary. They too obviously understand the potential consequences of this election regarding the direction of our country and you can bet they Remember the Supremes!

I love Romney shooting himself in the foot almost as much as I like Cheney shooting his friends in the face, but this is no time to sit back and enjoy the show. Instead of laughing at him while he sits on his ass, now is the time to put the proverbial boot on his throat and apply considerable pressure. No mercy until the white flag is raised. Make the pressure unbearable until election day when he (hopefully) slithers back into his cave. Until it's sure Neo-Cons haven't indeed stolen the election, no mercy. Repugs wouldn't have it any other way

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

A review of the media response to this revelation of Romney's contempt for half of America will expose the corruption of the media.. Some papers have the story below the fold and some play it inside the paper. The Stuart News has the story on page three as a sub head.
I guess I am one of the three Democrats in Martin County

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Re: Don't be calling the egg a chicken until it clucks; I with T. Bones and Safari (not a bad name for a take-out steak place). Good scary movies never end till the end. There is a percentage that would vote for a poke in the eye rather than Obama. You just can't forget, like being in a closet with cobra.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Regarding Ezra Klein's point that the reason many pay no Federal income taxes is sue to REPUBLICAN tax cuts: it makes their complaints regarding freeloaders who pay no taxes akin to the old joke about the boy who killed his parents and then complained he was an orphan.
Here's another thought: Wasn't it Romney who proudly said, "I paid all taxes I owed, and not a penny more!" And now he complains about the 47% who are legally paying all they owe and not a penny more?

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Some random thoughts on the Rat's latest scurry for the safety of his hole (something he does almost daily, it seems).

Romney, like so many Republicans does this interesting projection thing (Kate can explain it better) wherein he/they accuse Americans who decline their offer of serfdom and a life spent in servitude to right-wing ideology of feeling that they are "victims". The Rat did it again in his latest video escapade (his exposure is almost pornographic). "They believe they are victims who are entitled..." he whined.

But isn't it Mittens and his billionaire backers who feel they are entitled? Who feel they have been victimized by the WSJ's "Lucky Duckies"? Those ungrateful parasites who live off the backs of the rich, who make less than $12,000 a year and PAY NO TAXES!! Lucky Duckies, indeed. (Mrs. Rat probably spends more than that on her nails.)

And to further emphasize how poorly he and his white billionaire brethren are treated by the "mongrel hordes" in this country, the Rat whines that "If I was a Mexican I'd have no problem getting elected." Poor Mittens, such a victim. All those mean dark-skinned Lucky Duckies out to get him.

So the take here is that half the country mooches off the Rat and his fellow oligarchs, people of color have it so easy they get elected just by showing up, and to top it off, they want the government to take care of everything for them, unlike Mittens and co. who never rely on government handouts, corporate welfare, infrastructure, police protection, etc, etc, etc.

But other questions now come to the fore. As Marie's graphic points out, most of the moochers are from Republican states. By far and away. They mooch off Democratic states who pay their full share of taxes. AND most of the moochers are WHITE CHRISTIANS.

But what about the Rat and Mrs. Rat? They're moochers too. We know for a fact that (when they actually pay taxes) they pay a much lower rate than any of us out here, and very likely on the returns he has hidden away in one of his rat holes, Rodent Boy hasn't paid a cent in taxes for years and years.

But unlike all those Lucky Duckies, he's an upstanding citizen (read: white and privileged, therefore: ENTITLED).

The hypocrisy and psychological boomeranging is head snapping.

Still, like others have opined this morning, I have serious doubts that any of this seals the deal. I immediately thought of the Guns and Religion video and Marie has done a stellar job of parsing that question, but none of this means, as some have suggested, that the race is over.

We still have the Super Pacs, Rove, the Kochs, the Teabagger Election Stealing Squads poised to attack at Democratic polling places around the country, and we still have a supine, submissive press running around David Gregory-like with their noses to the ground sniffing out false equivalencies with which to paper over the Rat's latest foot down rat-throat exercise.(Marie's prediction about the Guns and Religion video being compared with the Rat's latest truth-telling will be fulfilled by midday today.)

But he'll survive. And he may still win.

As JJG says, horror movies are never just "over". You usually have to kill the fuckers three or four times.

And don't forget the sequels.

Still, any day on which an evil rat bastard pig like Romney has to do a jig is a good one. Maybe we can send him some Mexican jumping beans.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The fact that nine of the 10 states with the highest levels of non-federal tax payers are southern Republican red will not change a single vote for that group unless Obama figures out some way to change the color of his skin.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I'm undecided as to which comment was most breathtakingly dense. Does he truly believe be "inherited nothing"? What about those stock options he paid his way through college with? And does he not recognize that rich people are among the 47% that pay no taxes, and very likely, if the stories are to be believed, include him?
As an accountant in public practice, I sign tax returns every year for wealthy people who have ZERO tax liability at the bottom of the return. I guess they're just a bunch of lazy freeloaders.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercakers


Full of good points this morning!

Great point on the Rat Mittens and his "not a penny more" line.

And your point that we knew all we needed to know about this pig through his treatment of the family pet! The FAMILY PET!

Narcissistic sociopath.

But still, perhaps, our next president.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

In his "half of Americans are slackers" tape, Romney is of course disparaging millions of nice, white Republican voters. If his remarks aren't a game-changer, here's why: probably the vast majority of those Republican -- and Democratic -- slackers don't know it.

I would bet millions of Americans who don't pay income tax think they are paying income tax. And they are, in a way, because they are paying payroll taxes -- for Social Security & Medicare. And those payroll taxes are -- based on their incomes. Employers take this money, usually along with income payroll deductions, out of their paychecks. The earners never see it. Even when they get rebates of every cent of their income tax, even when -- if they are eligible for tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit -- they get rebates that are greater than the income tax deducted from their paychecks, that amount still is not likely to be greater than their total federal taxes -- income & payroll. So in their minds, they are not among the 47 percent of Americans Romney characterizes as irresponsible. It's those "other" people who are lazy, good-for-nothing freeloaders.

The Obama campaign has little "figure your taxes" interactive features on its Website. It should add one that lets users find out if they're among the irresponsible riff-raff "dependent on government." Plus, most soldiers probably fall into the lazy slackers category. Since the military tend to vote Republican, it would be a good idea to let them know just what Romney thinks of them.


September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@cakers. Good points. The rich kid themselves into believing they contribute to society just by being. And they are "jobs creators" even if a lot of the jobs they are creating are outsourced to Bangladesh. Hell, they have maids & gardeners, don't they? They go to the beauty parlor. They buy nice things, albeit not necessarily nice things with a "Made in the USA" label.

Oh, and most of them give to charity -- a popular deduction that helps reduce their tax liability. They decide who should benefit from their largesse rather than letting the government dole it out. Funny, as much as they love a strong military, I doubt many of them are endowing the Pentagon. I'm not suggesting charitable giving is a bad thing -- it isn't -- but the lords & ladies who think getting their names on a plaque at Your Local Artsy Fartsy Building is a worthy endeavor or who think the Church of the Latter Day Oligarchs is the best recipient of their extra cash, may not be using their loose change in places where it's most needed & most efficiency spent. (The Church of the Latter Day Oligarchs has a lot of overhead.)


September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

A little information on the Rat's party buddy, Marc Leder, who owns the mansion in Boca whereat Mittens shoved his foot down his gullet.

Leder is just as a big a vulture as the Rat. Another "private capital" parasite who has stated that he waits for things to get bad with the economy, a great thing in recent years due to Republican economic policies, and then pounces. He targets companies that are actually fine but may need a little time to accommodate things like IT upgrades or plant overhauls. These companies are gobbled up quickly by Leder's company, Sun Capital, before they can recover on their own, then broken up, stomped on, relieved of unnecessary things like pensions for their employees, then quickly resold at a profit or ridden into the ground and closed for use as tax break fodder.

One particular company eaten up by Romney's BFF, Leder, was a place I frequented as a kid, a company in the northeast called Friendly's Ice Cream. It was just a small family owned business that made sandwiches and sold ice cream. A fun place we used to go to on Friday nights or after a school dance.

It ran into trouble recently which brought it into Leder's lizard crosshairs. He bought it up then declared Chapter 11 so he wouldn't have to be responsible for the pensions and retirements of its employees. When asked about such a heartless, unnecessarily vicious maneuver, he shrugged his shoulders and basically said "Too bad, that's how it works."

Another Rat bastard.

But it's enormously revealing (well, okay, we already knew this) that these are the people whom Romney considers bosom buddies; who "get it".

They're all nothing but contemptible parasites who purchase their lavish "entitlements" off the backs of average Americans' retirement money. These people didn't "build it". They don't build anything. They destroy, they tear down, and live off the detritus, champagne bottles in hand. Yachts awaiting their pleasure.

Moochers who pay no taxes. Aren't those the people the Rat hates?

Someone hand that rodent a mirror, please.

(As several people have mentioned earlier, this stuff needs to be front and center all the way until the end. No let up. Keep the heat on this scumbag. As Safari stated, Republicans would never let up. They'll be bludgeoning Obama--and us--right down to the wire. Take nothing for granted.)

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

To follow up on Marie's point about charitable giving, Marc Leder's vulture capital enterprise, Sun Capital, an $8 billion company, gave $165,000 to a foundation they have created for show off their philanthropic largesse. My math may be off but it seems like Leder's philanthropy amounts to 2/10,000ths of one percent of his company's worth.

Mighty white of him.

I give to charitable organizations, but I wouldn't be able to match Leder's giving level.

Currency doesn't come in values hundreds of times less than a penny.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Great local news: Standard & Poors downgrades N.J. financial outlook to 'negative'. This along with the fact that NJ's unemployment rate is one the highest in the nation should finally put an end to the 'comeback' bullshit. Oh and did I mention that Christie's income projection was just a little off, by $235M.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

You people are fired up today, but like some I'm skeptical whether this will be, as they say, a game changer. Marie makes some interesting points in her two comments here plus Charles Pierce's prognostication that things are going to get really nasty with the Republicans dishing out the dirt in big buckets. Yet––yet there is this possibility said by Pliny the Elder when the world was young but just as dirty:
"When a building is about to fall down, all the mice [and RATS] desert it."

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

And here's a starter in that bucket of dirt:

Right-Wing Blogs Allege Slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens Was Gay
Conservative blog HillBuzz is reporting Stevens was gay—something supposedly widely known in his Chicago hometown—and blame the Obama Administration for knowingly sending a homosexual into a Middle Eastern country, where his death would presumably be inevitable.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@PD Pepe
Would one of the deserting rats be Marie's "favorite" columnist David Brooks or is it just another ploy by Mr. Two Face?

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

A small correction is in order for most of the MSM latecomers just getting around to Mittens' pitch to billionaires at a mansion paid for by money stolen from average Americans.

Folks, it's not a gaffe. A gaffe is a mistake; a blunder, a boo-boo, a fuck up. The Rat has written new chapters in the book on screw ups but this doesn't belong in that long, long list.

This was no gaffe. It's the complete and unvarnished truth, at least as far as anything emanating from the Rat's piehole can be deemed truthful. (I suppose "I love money" would be a truthful statement...). It's Mittens' very own personal mantra: "Poor people bad. Losers. love big government. Rich people good. Job creators. Don't need government. Non-white people: get all the breaks".

This is stuff he believes in his tiny little lapidarian lizard heart.

And thanks to Marvin for letting us in on the economic truth in the fantasy world of Chunky Christie.

Another prevaricating poseur peddling wing-nut nonsense in his own inimitably imbecilic, blustering manner.

May his colon seize and blow his "big ideas" back up the pipeline the next time he is being orally pleasured by Fluffy Gregory on national TV.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Greetings. This blog and the posters are thoughtful and engaging. Thanks for stimulating my somewhat soggy brain.

To belabor the point, Lord Small Balls ( thanks Akillheus) dropped his mask in the video. Not very revealing for those who have been paying attention. LSB always looked like the Vincent D'Onofrio character in Men in Black who provides his body for an especially disgusting cockroach alien. The cockroach constantly struggles with containing himself in the human body while D'Onofrio contorts his limbs, grimaces, and physically deteriorates. OK simple pleasures..

This video story may well be superseded in length and effect by Afghanistan. What a cluster. Suspending "the mission" indefinitely. It's pretty easy to see the response - GET OUT. However, LSB will never miss an opportunity to exploit sentiment around American deaths, even though many of those soldiers are part of the electorate he discards and disdains.

The public has shown a great willingness to embrace racism, stupidity and misogyny even when they are constantly being flashed by the naked GOP in a raincoat. There has to be an emphasis on registering voters and enabling youth, people of color and women to get to the polls.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

Just sittin' around feeling more hopeful and enjoying all the comments on RealityChex today. Then I picked up "The Oregonian" and saw a big article about how Black preachers all over the country are telling their flocks "Not so fast with supporting Obama!" They are freaked out that he is supporting gay marriage. WTF? And these are not just Southern preachers--New York, Indiana and a few more. None from the West Coast, thank you Jeezus. Of course we have very few Black people here--just Christian fundies and survivalists!

Up is down and down is up--now I believe this. How could such a persecuted group of people join ranks to persecute another group of such persecuted people? GET ME OUT OF HERE! New Zealand is looking better every day--especially since they gave rivers the rights of personhood. This makes sense to me.

P.S. Remember the Supremes! (Turn up the Motown sound as you dance to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough!" Where are Diana Ross and Smoky Robinson when we need them?)

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Kate: your query about how can a people that have been persecuted in turn persecute has been something that I have found compelling and confounding for years. It presents its self in adults who have been abused as children and in turn abuse their own children; Jews having been persecuted working for Nazis in their pursuit of persecution of Jews. There are countless examples and since The Supremes are of utmost importance in our daily cries of warning to the populace of super markets, my favorite example is our very own Clarence Thomas who by playing the race card––the game of ethic advantage that Thomas had built a career opposing–- could win him the victim supreme sweepstakes. It might be something like pay-back––getting a sense of satisfaction that someone else is experiencing what they themselves once ––and in some cases still do––had to go through. Rev. Sharpton has come out with great vigor in advocating for gay rights as I'm sure other black leaders have done so that we can hope for some change of heart and head in this matter. But your question still stands and needs to be answered.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


A good overview of how the process of serial persecution works.

Of course, another piece to the puzzle has to be the effect that organized religion can have in pushing its adherents to act against some of its most basic tenets. Didn't Jesus instruct his followers to love everyone regardless of their station? I don't recall any lines in which he amends that to say "except for gays.."

Of course I'm sure many would say that they don't hate gays, they just hate the idea of them marrying. But other than that they're free to live their lives (until we get a majority who agree to imprison or execute them).

I've always found it interesting that Jews, hated and despised and homeless for centuries would insist on a similar fate for Palestinians and have no sympathy (even in the abstract) for their situation. I realize that there is the nearly insurmountable barrier of the thousands of dead on both sides, but not to be able to see even a small connection?

Still, if black churches and ministers work against Obama's reelection they may find themselves pushed even further down the ladder by the type of hate and racially motivated legislation and social restructuring sure to follow the election of the Rat.

Be careful what you wish for.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: I hate you for your hatred; PD; Ak; you all pointed it out, social issues are economic issues. Women are held down by what seems like social anchors but the battleship chain running down to the anchor are economic. Blacks( not the New Zealand kind, Kate) are held down by economics too. With prosperity comes enlightenment, at least I think so. Tough to be nice when the world is fucking you over. Mean as a junk yard dog comes to mind.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Oh Lordy! Sweet Jeezus! Vengence can be verrry sweet.

Carter’s Grandson Leaked Romney Video (From Daily Beast)

A video of Mitt Romney behind closed doors blasting the 47 percent of Americans he says don’t pay income tax has gone viral so quickly that the most wicked influenza strains are undoubtedly jealous. Now, New York’s Daily Intel reports that former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson is to blame—or thank, depending on your view. James Carter IV is credited as a research assistant on the Mother Jones piece that broke the story. Carter spends time “almost every day” searching for video clips of Republicans. Once he unearthed today’s infamous footage, he put the source in contact with Mother Jones, who he has worked with before.

Besides that, Mr. Rat, how didya like the play?

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

The thing that struck me about the Romney video was how eloquent he was in presenting. In Australia we only get soundbites of the canpaign where Romney comes across as somewhat wooden and disconnected, in this video you could really see him espousing his core beliefs for the first time. My (and most of the thinking world) concern is that progressives will think that Romney is no chance and that efforts to increase the Democratic vote are not needed. The wingnuts are rabid. As Marie often points out elections matter.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjonster
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