The Ledes

Friday, October 9, 2015.

New York Times: "The Islamic State registered significant gains Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing heavily, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. Late in the day, there were reports that rebels had reasserted control in one of the villages."

Houston Chronicle: "One Texas Southern University student was killed another wounded in a shooting Friday at a student housing complex on the campus in southeast Houston."

New York Times: "Israeli soldiers killed six young Palestinians on Friday in the Gaza Strip, including a 15-year-old boy, as they opened fire to quell crowds that hurled rocks and rolled burning tires close to the fence separating Gaza from Israel, Israeli military and Gaza health officials said."

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

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

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

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 8, 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

White House Live Video
October 9

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Contact the Constant Weader

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


The Commentariat -- Sept. 19, 2012

Matthew O'Brien of the Atlantic on what our Marxist, socialistic tax structure really looks like. Um, it's barely even progressive.

Presidential Race

AP: "Rebuking Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Americans are not 'victims' and that anyone seeking the presidency ought to be working for 'everyone, not just some.'" Here's a clip. The full interview will probably be available sometime Wednesday is here & worth watching; it begins at 7:45 min. in. The clip below is an extension of the one I embedded late yesterday:

... The video below is also the full interview; Letterman or CBS may take it down, tho:

Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney faced an escalating torrent of criticism on Tuesday from Democrats and Republicans for characterizing 47 percent of the country as government-dependent people who believe they are 'victims,' even as new video clips emerged of his blunt comments on other subjects during a fund-raiser in May.... The clips have already hijacked Mr. Romney's efforts to reset his campaign message and take advantage of a two-week period before the debates begin." ...

... David Corn of Mother Jones has released the full Romney Tapes, Parts 1 & 2. Corn also has audio of Romney's full remarks here.

... Jay Carney: "When you're president of the United States, you're president of all the people":

The Obama campaign talks to ordinary Americans to get their takes on Romney's remarks about the "47 percent":

Romney pushes back with an op-ed in USA Today: "Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong." Huh, fails to mention that almost half of us are irresponsible, government-dependent Obama-lovin' bums. ...

... Jonathan Martin, et al., of Politico: "... longtime GOP hands find the video and Romney's attempt to neither fully embrace nor fully apologize for his comments to be symptomatic of a larger problem. The former Massachusetts governor can't seem to string consecutive positive days together and often is his own worst enemy. A month's worth of woes, beginning with a forgettable GOP convention, has taken its toll on the Republican psyche."

The Political Is Personal. Mike Isikoff of NBC News: James Carter IV, President Carter's grandson, "confirmed there is a personal side to the backstory of the campaign video: he was especially motivated, he said, because of Romney's frequent attacks on the presidency of his grandfather, including the GOP candidate's comparisons to the 'weak' foreign policy of Carter and Barack Obama." CW: as I wrote yesterday -- payback. ...

He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on welfare relief for the first years of his life. -- Lenore Romney, speaking of her husband George Romney, Mitt's father:

     ... CW: Mitt is a walking illustration of the classic selfishness that is the core "value" of so many Republicans: I got mine, screw the rest of you. Mitt's grandfather took government handouts; Mitt himself took countless millions in government handouts in his Bain deals & in his "turnaround" of the Olympics; but "you people" are irresponsible moochers who expect the government to provide for your every lazy-assed whim. Thanks to contributor Julie for the link to the video above.

... Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed: the 47 percent make the front pages of American papers.

... Maureen Dowd: "Willard, born on third base and acting self-made, whining to the rich about what a great deal in life the poor have. We thought Romney was secretly moderate, but it turns out that he's secretly cruel, a social Darwinist just like his running mate.... Even as Mitt was spitefully demonizing and dividing in Boca, he remained cardboard-cutout un-self-aware, musing: 'The thing I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.' This is the absolute height of cluelessness."

Matt Miller in the Washington Post: "... the truth is that low earners were largely dropped from the rolls thanks to (sensible) Republican-supported policy that boosted the earned income tax credit? Which was itself the brainchild of conservative icon Milton Friedman! And when those in the 47 percent who aren't seniors or veterans are mostly poor workers whose payroll taxes, at 15.3 percent (since the employer side of the tax effectively comes out of workers' wages), leaves them taxed at a higher rate than was Mitt Romney on his $20 million income last year? To be so insultingly tone deaf and self-destructive even while being dead wrong and hypocritical on the substance is a perverse sort of accomplishment." ...

... Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: what the Romney-Ryan-Moochermania crowd misses is that most Americans will be both "makers" and "takers" at different points in their lives, & oftentimes they are both simultaneously.

... Why, Karl Rove Agrees with Cohn. A lot of people who get a Social Security check paid into that their entire lives and they're plenty wired up about the deficit and there are lots of people getting an unemployment check who would love to have a job, so you've got to be careful about that number. [P.S. Those lazy bastards are Republican voters!] -- Karl Rove

Where's Willard? Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics: "Romney's light public schedule in the heart of the campaign's final sprint has led some GOP donors to grumble that he should be paying less attention to them at this point and spending more time winning over voters who will decide the election at the ballot box. 'There's not really a campaign here,' said one Republican with extensive ties to the party's fundraising community. 'He's getting ready for the debates, and he's out fundraising. You've got enough money!'" Via Greg Sargent.

Tim Noah of The New Republic: conservatives split over Lucky Ducky Doctrine. ...

... Conservative David Frum: "The background to so much of the politics of the past four years is the mood of apocalyptic terror that has gripped so much of the American upper class. Hucksters of all kinds have battened on this terror. They tell them that free enterprise is under attack; that Obama is a socialist, a Marxist, a fascist, an anti-colonialist.... And what makes it all both so heart-rending and so outrageous is that all this is occurring at a time when economically disadvantaged Americans have never been so demoralized and passive, never exerted less political clout.... Yet even so, the rich and the old are scared witless!" ...

... Digby: "This also ties into Mitt's throwback comment about how if would be easier for a Mexican to be elected President (instead of a wealthy, white male with a famous political father.) This delusion of being an oppressed class is becoming pathological. When you've got people of vast, vast wealth acting as though the poorest and least of society have huge advantages, you know they've gone down the rabbit hole and may not be able to find their way back. This isn't about Mitt Romney. He just happens to be the perfect symbol of the American aristocrat's persecution complex."

CLICK ON MAP TO SEE LARGER IMAGE. Mitt Romney, Middle East expert pontificator, cannot locate Syria on a map:

The other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point, or Jordan. -- Mitt Romney, the Romney Tapes, May 2012

... Whatever contours a possible Palestinian state would have, it won't border Syria. -- Daniel Drezner, Foreign Policy, September 18, 2012. (CW: note that neither the West Bank nor the Gaza Strip [on the Mediterranean] abuts Syria)

Obviously, as you know, Syria is Iran's only Arab ally in the region. Syria is the route that allows Iran to supply Hezbollah with weapons in Lebanon. Syria is Iran's route to the sea. -- Mitt Romney, April 2012 (Note that the West Bank does not abut Syria.)

A reader counted at least five times in which Romney has [called Syria 'Iran's route to the sea'].... Syria shares no border with Iran -- Iraq and Turkey are in the way -- and ... Iran has about 1,500 miles of coastline along the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, leading to the Arabian Sea. -- Glenn Kessler, April 19, 2012

Here's another helpful map from Josh Fruhlinger of Wonkette:


If somebody is dumb enough to ask me to go to political convention and say something, they're gonna have to take what they get. -- Clint Eastwood, on his GOP convention appearance

Mitt Romney is dumb enough. -- Constant Weader

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos on the Romney's "hilarious comeback attempt" -- highlighting a 14-year-old audio tape in which Obama said he believed in "a certain level of redistribution ... to make sure that everybody has got a shot." Earth to Willard: everybody believes in that, including -- maybe today only & maybe for the ears of the lumpenproletariat only -- you, Willard. While he was attacking Obama's old redistribution comment, Rmoney said, "I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help people in need -- we're a compassionate people -- but then we let people build their own lives." See, Mitt, when you take money from some people & give it to some other people, whether you do it out of compassion or because it's the law -- that's redistribution. You lunkhead.

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney borrowed $20 million for his presidential campaign in August, a campaign official said on Tuesday, money that helped carry Mr. Romney through the Republican convention until he could tap into tens of millions of dollars in general election money his campaign raised.... The cash crunch appeared to have been more dire than previously disclosed."

Ben Yagoda of Slate interviews Randy Newman about his new single, "I'm Dreaming":

Congressional Races

Nate Silver: "Democrats are now favored to retain control of the Senate when the new Congress convenes in January, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast, breaking a summer stalemate during which control of the chamber appeared about equally likely to go either way."

Fred Thys of WBUR: "A WBUR poll of 507 likely Massachusetts voters ... finds Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren leading Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, 45 percent to 40 percent. The survey has a 4.4 percent margin of error. The WBUR poll, conducted Sept. 15-17..., is the fourth released this week to find Warren making gains." Via Greg Sargent.

Local News

Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "... for much of the last year, Democrats and independent budget analysts have argued that [New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's] current budget was built on wishful thinking.... Mr. Christie dismissed those doubters as 'rooting for failure.' On Tuesday, his frequent assertions of a 'New Jersey Comeback' came under fresh scrutiny, this time from Standard & Poor's, which downgraded the state's financial outlook to negative from stable. The ratings agency said it lowered its outlook because it believed the governor's revenue projections for the current fiscal year were overly optimistic, warning that the budget was structurally unsound." (Contributor Marvin Schwalb mentioned this is yesterday's Comments .)

News Ledes

New York Times: "Italy's supreme court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of 23 Americans in the 2003 abduction of an Egyptian cleric in Milan, making it the first case to successfully challenge the contentious American program of extraordinary rendition. The ruling opened the way for the extradition of the defendants, who were tried in absentia. But legal experts said it was unlikely the Italian government would initiate proceedings any time soon."

Chicago Tribune: "More than 350,000 Chicago public school students returned to class this morning after union officials overwhelmingly called off a seven-day teachers strike."

Reuters: "A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a film depiction of him as a womanizing buffoon. The French government, which had urged the magazine not to print the images, said it was temporarily shutting down premises including embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers."

Space: "For the last time in history, a space shuttle soared into the skies over Florida on Wednesday (Sept. 19). Rather than riding on rockets and heading into orbit however, the space shuttle Endeavour was mounted atop a jumbo jet and is destined for a California museum's display."

Reader Comments (29)

I'd like to say I'm enjoying this spectacle, but I'm not. As Victoria said tying a dog to the roof of a car is all we really needed to know about Mitt.

My fear now is that the the GOP SuperPac's will give up on the White House and put more effort into taking the Senate.

On another note...sort of...

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Do you think Romney knows what river the disputed territory is the West Bank of? It appears doubtful .....

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I just finished a long phone conversation with a psychiatrist friend of mine in D.C. He and I agreed that we both see Mitters on the autism spectrum, as do many colleagues--definitely suffering from Aspergers' Syndrome. He has more connection than I with the national political scene, and told me that many of the pols he works with (usually wives of), in both parties, think Mitters is strange and robotic. Several have mentioned that he has inappropriate reactions--or lack of--and does not seem to understand the emotional importance of what he says. Nor is he able to make eye contact.

My hope is that none of the Republican operatives understands about Aspergers' and that they just keep trying to "tutor" him. It is, of course, all wasted energy! But if they get the picture anytime soon, they will let go of him completely, and do as Dave S. says--put all of their $$ and focus on Senate and House candidates. I do feel some empathy for RawMoney, (he really cannot help himself), but I think the Republicans have gotten what they deserve! And I do hope they don't know some psychologically minded person who will explain where their candidate is on the autism spectrum--in a way they can understand.

Besides.....Remember the Supremes!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Funny, I don't believe I've ever seen CW link to any Ann Telnaes animated cartoons at the WaPo. But they are always wicked good!

Watch this one on Mitt explaining about the 47%.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

To make "Remember the Supremes" meaningful, we've got to not only hold but overwhelm the Senate. And, as my recurring sermon demands, we've got to take back the House. The Presidency will take care of itself. Or not. It may not matter.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer-
I agree with you! My new slogan: Rember the Supremes! Overwhelm the Senate! Take Back the House!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@MAG. Until very recently, Telnaes cartoons couldn't be embedded. I used to occasionally link to them. I embedded one the other day.


September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@jonster. I agree. The woodenness we see & hear when Romney speaks to us hoi polloi was nowhere in evidence when he was talking with "his people." Turns out -- no surprise -- that Romney comes across as halting & awkward only because he is constantly on guard, making sure the Real Romney isn't in evidence. All those gaffes -- "I like to fire people," etc. -- are the Real Romney.


September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

The groundwork for viewing fellow countrymen as nothing but lazy moochers--lucky duckies--who, through the opinion of the privileged, isolated few, are considered undeserving of health care, housing, even food--FOOD!--and who, through their demands for personal government bailouts have imposed upon the country an unnatural burden that must at all costs be rejected, has been in place for many years.

There must be some photo op images somewhere, thrown down some memory well no doubt, of Reagan holding a silver plated shovel as he broke ground for the greedy, grinding, inhumane edifice that has become the Modern GOP, an edifice housing haters, prevaricators, pretenders, liars, hypocrites, and racists. An edifice, the founding precepts of which have been eagerly embraced by one Willard Romney.

Tonight PBS is broadcasting a new Ken Burns documentary on death and the Civil War, an examination of how the nation's reaction to the horrors and unimaginable death tolls of that conflict affected our relationship to the dead, the living, and the wounded; to those for whom life had become unbearable or untenable through no fault of their own.

One historian described the rousing of the country and its people to heed a higher calling than self-advancement in an effort to provide comfort and succor to those in need as nothing less than "humanity 101". The simple basic reaction of humans, one to another.

And so it has been in this country, especially beginning in the depths of the Great Depression, a humane concern for other Americans that lasted nearly a century.

Until Republicans took over.

Since then it's been "Fuck you Charlie. I got mine" and "These moochers want food? Fuck them! Let them rot!"

Romney and his Republican allies would just as easily step over bodies and spit on citizens in need than lend a hand or kind word or allow the government to act in response to basic human needs.

Humanity 101 is a class they all flunked.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

On Lucky Duckies.

That 47% Romney is complaining about better watch out or each of them might find himself tied to the roof of one of Romney's cars.

And here is a link to the original opinion piece "The Non-taxpaying Class" published Nov 20, 2002 by the WSJ that Akhilleus mentioned.,,SB1037748678534174748,00.html

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Bones

On another note...

The French today are up in arms about a new study about to be released by researchers studying the effects of Monsanto's new corn they're trying to peddle to other nations (including France). Our corporate masters have long controlled the scientific community regarding the "safe and natural" qualities of chowing down on their pharmaceutical concoctions. Well, it turns out when independent researchers take a closer look, we are taking about DEADLY DISEASES! Our representative puppets in the government don't think foods containing Genetically Modified Organisms should be labeled because us Americans don't want to be bothered with such hassles and besides, GMO's are in no way different than natural organisms.

It will be very interesting with our corporate-owned media to see how much coverage this story gets, if any. I could only find articles in French, but you could probably get Google to translate it for you if you're not Francophone.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Akhilleus: Re: the PBS Civil War program last night. It breaks your heart.

When Oliver Wendall Holmes was ninety-one he tried to read a poem he liked about the Civil War to Marion Frankfurter, but broke down in tears before he could finish it. they were not tears for the war. They were tears for what the war had destroyed. Holmes had grown up in a highly cultured, homogeneous world, a world of which he was in many ways, the consummate product: idealistic, artistic, and socially committed. And then he had watched that world bleed to death at Fredericksburg and Antietam, in a war that learning and brilliance had been powerless to prevent. When he returned from that war Boston had changed and so had American life. Holmes. too, had changed, but he never forgot what he had lost. "After the Civil War the world never seemed quite right."

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Well, after that bit of commentary inanity a week or so ago, Maureen Dowd shows she's got her groove back today.

By the way, I was fascinated watching the Boca fund-raiser videos, noticed Mitt gobbling food between questions while he stands at the 'podium'. Was there no place at the table for Mitt to sit and 'dine' among his peer(less)? In bookstores soon: Eat. Prevaricate. Runoff (at the mouth). Preach.

CW: I get it —look forward to some Telnaes links!

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG


There really is nothing in living history as terrible as the Civil War must have been, and one can grasp only the merest glimpses of its effect on the country through such anecdotes as the O.W. Holmes story.

Another recounting that has stayed with me for years comes from the Education of Henry Adams. Adams, as a boy, once engaged in a running snowball fight between the Beacon Hill boys (Henry, his older brother and their friends), and boys from the North End of Boston, toughs who had no love for the well to do Brahmins.

Eventually the fight turned vicious and when the leader of the invaders chased them down, Adams' brother, young Henry, and two of their friends turned to face the oncoming threat. As the leader of the mob approached he seemed, in Henry's memory, to sense a certain courage in the boys who refused to flee. He left them untouched and instead chased down those who ran.

It seems an interesting enough story until the last sentence. Henry, recalling the names of the boys who stood their ground, wondered if, on that day on Boston Common, they learned the lessons that got them killed on battlefields far from home less than ten years later.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

This comment from Ken H. (of Athens, GA) to Maurueen Dowd's column is right on the money:
"Please, PLEASE do not put this election in the win column seven weeks before the final vote. The right has tens of millions of unspent dollars and a talent for obfuscation that rivals the defense attorneys in the Rodney King case. Our society has a remarkable capacity to ignore truth in favor of fantasy. More people in the United States believe in horoscopes than in evolution.

For us, all doubts about his incompetence and unworthiness to become President now have been dispelled. It is time for us to campaign as if Romney were leading, not for us to gloat in the damage that may have been done to his candidacy by the temerity and cruelty of his latest comments.

Send money. Volunteer for a phone bank. Campaign in a swing state. Post a yard sign. Become a poll worker. Do something more than write comments to articles that only a tiny fraction of the public will ever read. Losing this election would ensconce the right wing into our political future for years to come, and reward the most heinous and calculated assault on the interests of democracy we have seen in a hundred years. "

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria D. Thanks. I don't usually republish entire comments from people who have not authorized me to do so, but I hope Ken H. will be glad to have his message spread.


September 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Thanks, Marie. I could have stopped with the first column which makes the most important point. This race is NOT over, although it may feel that way at the moment, given Romney's jaw-dropping stupidity on everything from tax policy to the mid-east. But there are almost two months to go, and anything could still happen. ...not a time to rest on our laurels.
Besides, we want a BIG win , to help the down-ballot candidates and send a message to Republicans (not that they'll receive it).
And, as Kate says: Remember the Supremes :-)

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re: Guess who's not coming to dinner; I have the feeling that our Mr. Brooks finally came to his senses and realized he was not getting an invite to the dinner table. I wonder if a lot of 47%'s are thinking the same thing. It's like having really rich 'friends' that are going helicopter balloon rafter skiing in the mountains of outer Mongolia and you get excited about the trip until someone points out you're not going.
From the eye of the carpenter; I have to comment on the backdrop that the video was shot against in Boca. Party rental chairs; even rich people don't want other people sitting on the good furniture. It's the architectural detail in the room that made me laugh. Most all of yesterday's Mc'mansion cliches are on display. An awkward elliptical archway flanked by nonsupporting non-fluted yet Corinthian capitaled columns. Behind that classical entry one can see a linear alcove with an antique clock to really give the hallway some pop. The dining room is trimmed with crown moulding painted the same color as the ceiling, destroying it's purpose. Finally behind the Lord of the Small Balls there is a floor to ceiling sideboard case done in Russian-Iranian imperialist style. All in all, a visual feast that shows off the taste and sophistication of the owners;
design team.(Honey, what do you think of a red wall, the interior designer said we need one; oh an a clock, we need a clock for the alcove. Any clock; an old clock; make sure it's old, really old, a hundred years old. Did they have time a hundred years ago?)
I've been in on the building of these kind of houses, it's not about the house; it's about the egos that are housed.
I always ask to see the vomitorium when I get the walk through.
Money can't buy style and style has nothing to do with money.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Back to you Ak: I love coincidences. This morning I retrieved "The Education of Henry Adams" from my bookshelf; a book I bought some years ago, started but never finished. It will now be my afternoon read–––yes, I'm retired, so I can finally have "afternoon reads." And this brings me to someone else's books that I have devoured: David Halberstam, who was the first journalist to uncover the real horrors of the Vietnam War and whose basic question was why men who were said to be the ablest to serve in government in this century had been the architects of what struck him as likely to be the worst tragedy since the Civil War. Strange how that question resonates today.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

The hacks and flacks are out of their holes and working furiously to change the direction and meaning of Romney's words from his notorious Boca fundraising declaration of principles.

Over the last couple of days NPR has given ample time to winger hacks Jonah Goldberg and Eric Erickson to manipulate Romney's message and to twist it into something far more anodyne than "Half the country are lazy slobs and they can go to hell."

The New Idea is that Mittens was only talking about his love for small government and that crack about 47% of the country being losers? Well, as Willard himself stated, his expression lacked elegance but he was only referring to "votes".

Seriously? That's the "real" interpretation?

That's like hearing Don Corleone say "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse" and interpreting it to mean he's gonna visit the guy's house and mow his lawn for free.

This isn't just a matter of interpretation. What's to interpret about "My job is not to worry about those losers"? This is out and out lying. But they do it so well it appears many are buying into it.

On another front, Republicans in Pennsylvania, it appears, have to convince a judge that the roadblocks they've been throwing in front of a population of largely Democratic voters before they can get an ID which they'll need to get within shouting distance of a voting booth, are easily overcome. let's see. These new Republican written rules say that in order to get an ID, Democrats have to run ten miles, barefoot, over broken glass and barbed wire, lift an SUV full of obese teabaggers over their head, beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets using only a slotted spoon for a racket, translate the complete works of Rush Limbaugh from its original pig Latin, and allow drunken 2nd amendment supporters to use your house for target practice.

All in three hours.

And don't forget to sign over your first born.

Then it says that Republican voters, in order to get an ID to vote....hmmm, says here they don't need any IDs.

Sounds fair to me.

Democracy, wingnut style.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@JJG: good points. The whole event, from the commentary to the setting, was tasteless & phony in so many ways.


September 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader


Henry is an interesting companion. I know a lot of people consider the History dry stuff but for a student of late 19th century America it's invaluable. He's a bit standoffish in some ways but his enthusiasms are easily uncovered. If you're looking for references to his wife's death (by suicide), you won't find it here. He never even mentions it. Some parts of his education, it seems, were too difficult for him to share.

He had fabulous connections and offers many candid observations on people and places of the times. As he moves into the 20th century, he develops an interest in modern science which he reveals in a fascinating passage on viewing early electrical generators.

Not a very electric guy himself, but a thoughtful, cogent observer (and participant) in the decades leading up to the "American Century".


September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

William Pfaff has a piece in Truthdig worth reading and digesting: "Arab Outrage Should Come as No Surprise."

"What is more than “somewhat ironic” is to interpret American diplomacy in Egypt, and tardy U.S. support for the European-initiated intervention in the earlier Libyan revolt, as generous contributions to the liberation of the Arabs. What the U.S. did in the Arab revolts, against a regional structure resting largely on American-supported authoritarian governments, was to catch the last train out, coming back in, so far as it has proved possible, through the back door."

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Liberal: someone who believes that everyone is entitled to an entitlement.
Conservative: someone who believes they are entitled to an entitlement but no one else is (especially if that person happens to have a different skin color).

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

This just in:

According to conservative big thinker Ross Douthat, Obama no better than Romney. He dismissed half the country too!

Very bad.

Democrats same as Republicans, but Democrat elites hate religion.

Very bad. Not good like Douthat who knows all and sees all. And is a good little boy (except maybe when he's porking blow up dolls).

More false equivalencies to come. Stay tuned. Film at 11.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

You don't have to be a Viennese psychiatrist to interpret Lord SB's preference for fund raising over campaigning (Conroy/Sargent). He has been assured by the Supremes that money will buy elections. The added bonus is the insulation money provides from the rabble, i.e. the 47%.

Scary comments by Jeffrey Toobin on NPR, Fresh Air, Tues about his just released book, The Oath, on the the Roberts Court.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane


The truly scary thing about that Supreme guarantee by Little Johnny and the Dwarfs, that the unlimited cash dumped into Republican coffers through the offices of Citizens Indicted, a stunning rejection of generations of SCOTUS precedent, will purchase a positive outcome for their brothers in arms (sisters are hand holders in the modern GOP) and will eventually allow Republicans to turn back the clock on a century of progress despite the inconvenient fact that their chosen Rat has apparently spit the bit.

Look at it from their POV: any candidate not named Willard, given the enormous sums provided by their sniggering largesse might easily have a 10 pt lead over a Democrat nee-gro whom they can force to prove his legitimate claim to citizenship.

The problem with that thinking is, of course, that Republicans fielded a collection of third-rate Vaudeviilians and have little hope of counting on any saviors in the near future who won't admit that astronomy is more reliable than astrology.

The problem for those of us with working brains?

More Americans believe in horoscopes than believe in evolution.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

And just in case anyone was thinking that the Supreme Court of the United States wouldn't inject itself into cases that could be justifiably considered rank, The Dark Lord hisself, Nino Scalia, has told hundreds of thousands of Latino voters in Texas to "Fuck off; We're in charge here. Now shut up and go clean my pool."

A challenge to illegal and ridiculous Republican gerrymandering prior to the next election has been summarily dismissed by Lord Scalia.

If you won't vote White Republican, then you won't vote at all.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Hand holding. Hmmmm. Can you do that on your knees with an aspirin tightly gripped betwixt them?

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
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