The Ledes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

New York Times: "Artur Fischer, a German inventor who registered more than 1,100 patents, including the first synchronized camera flash and an anchor that millions of do-it-yourselfers use to secure screws into walls, died on Jan. 27 at his home in Waldachtal, in southwestern Germany. He was 96."

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 9

1:00 pm ET: Senior administration officials discuss the President's FY2017 budget

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Wednesday
Sep262012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 27, 2012

Glenn Kessler has a fascinating timeline on the Obama administration's shifting remarks about the source of the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. Kessler calls it "a case study of how an administration can carefully keep the focus as long as possible on one storyline -- and then turn on a dime when it is no longer tenable."

Glenn Greenwald highlights some of the worst findings of a new academic report on the Obama administration's drone program. It should make you sick. ...

... Charles Pierce: the report contains "the testimony of the people on whom we are currently waging a war, a war of choice, as much as the war in Iraq was, and a war as unilateral as any we have ever fought, and a war that is more the result of one man's decisions than any other in our history." ...

... The report is here.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack-Up," 1936

... Holding two opposing views of Barack Obama, or any president, is the only way to function. -- Constant Weader, Cracked Up, 2012

Presidential Race

Devin Dwyer of ABC News: "President Obama will head to Henderson, Nev., on Sunday for three days of debate prep behind closed doors, ABC News has learned. While he is there he will also hold one grassroots rally and likely make some unscheduled local stops in the evening, a campaign official said."

Alexander Burns of Politico: "In a new commercial that has the feeling of a closing argument, President Barack Obama outlines a four-point agenda to restore 'economic patriotism,' moving to crystallize a positive economic message for the last weeks of the campaign":

... AND the Obama campaign is running this "attack" ad. Greg Sargent calls the ad "brutal," but the "brutality" is all Willard in His Own Words:

Byron Wolf of ABC News: "Mitt Romney took part in three network TV interviews Wednesday night that veered in wildly different directions. With ABC, Romney addressed polls that show him trailing President Obama, with NBC he promoted the Massachusetts health law that was a model for the national law he has pledged to repeal, and with CBS he accused the Obama administration of 'character assassination.' Addressing polls, Romney told ABC's David Muir that 'Frankly at this early stage, polls go up, polls go down.' And he pointed to the first presidential debate - one week from tonight - as a potential turning point in the race."

Frank Rich's thoughts on the campaign are always amusing.

Suddenly, Mitt Gets Real

Don't be expecting a huge cut in taxes, because I'm also going to lower deductions and exemptions. -- Mitt Romney, campaigning in Ohio Wednesday

Romney has been pledging that he will cut taxes for all Americans by 20 percent. -- Igor Volsky, Think Progress

Update: Romney now has three tax policies, each of which is totally different from the others. -- Matt Yglesias, Slate

Update Update: "Even as studies expose potential flaws with his tax plan, Mitt Romney is shutting down rumblings that his campaign is hedging on the notion that he can slash tax rates by 20 percent without lowering revenues. -- Sahil Kapur, Talking Points Memo

So, um, I guess this means Romney is going back to Plan 1, which is mathematically impossible. But magic! -- Constant Weader

Suddenly, Mitt's Got Empathy

I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don't forget -- I got everybody in my state insured. One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record. -- Mitt Romney, talking to Ron Allen of NBC News Wednesday

Too bad he promises to spending Day 1 of his presidency "repealing ObamaCare," the national version of the Massachusetts plan. I guess empathy ends at the Oval Office door. -- Constant Weader

Here's Mitt's Reboot 5.7. This is the kindlier, gentler Mitt. Greg Sargent says the 60-second spot "will begin airing at full throttle in all of Romney's media markets in nine swing states, and it will be the only Romney ad running in them" except some Spanish-language ads in Florida.

... Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "The 60-second ad, 'Too Many Americans,' was Mr. Romney's most aggressive effort to clean up the fallout from his secretly videotaped remarks at a May fund-raiser, where he called voters who do not pay income tax 'victims' who are dependent on the government and feel 'entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.' But the ad came nine days after the video surfaced, a period in which Democrats have bashed Mr. Romney over the remarks, leaving him on the defensive in swing states like Ohio." ...

... ** Garance Franke-Ruta of the Atlantic: in the ad, Romney looks directly into the camera to give the impression he is speaking to voters, heart-to-heart. Then he says, "President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families. The difference is my policies will make things better for them." Yeah? Them? "Mitt Romney keeps talking about the people whose votes he needs as 'them.' In the 47 percent video, it was 'those people.' ... But presidential elections are always about the grand national us.... And when it come to a candidate, they are about me and you.... The problem with Romney's campaign is ... an approach to talking to and about people in a way that is othering, rather than empathetic.... If Romney wasn't talking to [middle/working-class voters] -- and by his language he made clear that he was not -- who was he talking to?" ...

... Steve Benen: saying "you" instead of "them" "would require Mr. Car Elevator to see himself as a man of the people. He doesn't, and even in scripted ads, he doesn't know how to pretend, either.... As much as anything any factor, this helps explain why Romney's losing." ...

... The Democratic National Committee responds. Unfortunately, this is just a Web video. It should run back-to-back with Romney's ad:

... Maybe this breaking report from Andy Borowitz explains the "them" thing: "With just forty-three days to go until the election, Mitt Romney is in a race against time to offend the few voters he has not already alienated, his campaign manager said today."

Missed this one. Jon Stewart compares Willard with Charlie, the protagonist in Flowers for Algernon:

... I hesitate to link this opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria because it's one big apology for Mitt Romney. But Zakaria does have a point -- if you can get past the love-letter part -- that Romney can't say anything substantive because it will cost him the votes from the denizens of Right Wing World. ...

... Reid Wilson of the National Journal: "The reinvention of the Republican Party that has been underway since the end of Bush's term is far from complete. Romney's loss would make the violence of the internal struggle all the more dramatic; it would steal influence from those arguing for a middle path, and hand influence to the conservative factions already on the ascent. We ain't seen nothing yet."

Winner, Dan Quayle Prize. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Don't feed fish. -- Paul Ryan, at a campaign stop in Ohio

Dan Eggen of the Washington Post: "As the presidential campaigns step up the pace of their multimillion-dollar spending sprees, President Obama has a little-noticed strategic advantage that gives him more control over the money he has raised. While Mitt Romney relies heavily on massive amounts of cash held by the Republican Party and interest groups, Obama has more funds in his own campaign coffers. That allows him to make decisions about where and how to spend the money and to take better advantage of discounted ad rates, which candidates receive under federal law. In one Ohio ad buy slated to run just before the election, for example, Obama is paying $125 for a spot that is costing a conservative super PAC $900." CW: so -- at least in this particular example -- for every dollar you give to the Obama campaign, the Koch boys have to spend more than $7 to match it. Surely Republicans will fix that glitch before the next election cycle.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Sixteen days after the death of four Americans in an attack on a United States diplomatic mission here, fears about the near-total lack of security have kept F.B.I. agents from visiting the scene of the killings and forced them to try to piece together the complicated crime from Tripoli, more than 400 miles away."

New York Times: "The man thought to have been behind the crude anti-Islam video that set off deadly protests across the Muslim world in recent weeks was arrested Thursday for violating terms of his probation in a 2010 bank fraud case.... Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was ordered held without bond during an appearance in United States District Court [in Los Angeles] Thursday evening."

Bibi Reads the U.S. Presidential Polls. New York Times: "In his speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Netanyahu dramatically illustrated his intention to shut down Iran's nuclear program by drawing a red line through a cartoonish diagram of a bomb. But the substance of his speech suggested a softening of what had been a difficult dispute with the Obama administration on how to confront Iran over its nuclear program."

Los Angeles Times: "The University of California will pay damages of $30,000 to each of the 21 UC Davis students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful protest 10 months ago, the university system announced Wednesday."

AP: "Mexico appeared to strike a major blow against one faction of the hyper-violent Zetas cartel, with the navy announcing it has captured one of the country's most-wanted drug traffickers, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, known as 'El Taliban.'"

Reuters: "A Pennsylvania judge may rule as early as Thursday on whether to block a voter identification law that could influence turnout in a key swing state in the U.S. presidential election."

New York Times: "The National Football League reached agreement on an eight-year labor deal with its game officials late Wednesday night, effectively ending a lockout that forced unprepared replacement officials onto the field, creating three weeks of botched calls, acute criticism, furious coaches and players, and a blemish -- however temporary -- on the integrity of the country's most popular sport."

Reuters: "More than 300 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in one of the bloodiest days in the 18-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad." ...

... New York Times: "Syria's antigovernment fighters have succeeded in laying siege to the heavily fortified Abu ad Duhur Air Base. They have downed at least two of the base's MIG attack jets. And this month they have realized results few would have thought possible. Having seized ground near the base's western edge, from where they can fire onto two runways, they have forced the Syrian Air Force to cease flights to and from this place."

New York Times: "Andy Williams, the affable, boyishly handsome crooner who defined both easy listening and wholesome, easygoing charm for many American pop music fans in the 1960s, most notably with his signature song, "Moon River," died on Tuesday night at his home in Branson, Mo. He was 84." CW: not too affable; he called President Obama a Marxist who wanted the country to fail.

ABC News: "An Army brigadier general has been charged with forcible sodomy, inappropriate relationships, and possessing alcohol and pornography while serving as a senior commander in Afghanistan earlier this year. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, a deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, faces a possible court martial over the charges handed down Wednesday."

Reader Comments (20)

To CW,
Loved the pic of the refs... and your comments.
I started the Mittins vid, but my stomach began to lurch.
Thank you, CW for everything you do here.
You are a gem.
Sincerely,
mae finch

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

@mae finch

Totally agree! Thank you CW!

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

Don't know if it's under-reporting by Sargent, but it seems odd that Romney's Spanish language ad would run in Florida (where polls show Obama ahead beyond 50 percent and the margin of error) rather, than say, Arizona, which seems to be coming into play.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Can't believe that 'Lil Paulie Ryan actually said this:
..." Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Don't feed fish."

Truly, I am not all that surprised, since I read that he catches fishes by putting his hand down their throats and ripping out their innards. Actually brags about this. Errrrrk!

The more I read and see what this guy is all about, the more I think Dan Quayle was "not so bad," so to speak. And doncha love that he has decided to ditch MittWitt (whom he reportedly calls "the stench,") and let loose with what he REALLY thinks! Yikes.

Let's all get drunk and go to a sweat lodge with Scott Brown! In the meantime, REMEMBER THE SUPREMES, OVERWHELM THE SENATE and TAKE BACK THE HOUSE. Pretty please!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@Kate: Could you give us a link to the Quayle MittWitt ditch?

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

@Calyban: all linked in yesterday's Commentariat.

Marie

September 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Here's to Marie, as you can plainly see,
Gives us the best scoop, dishes out the best poop
And is the bestest Chex Chic this side of political paradise.

We Salute You!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Michael Kazan writes in Truthdig about which of our past Presidents Romney most resembles and he comes up with Grover Cleveland:

"As President, Cleveland took several opportunities to denounce those Americans who, as Mitt Romney expressed it to his donors in Boca Raton, expected the government to provide them with the necessities of life. In 1887, he vetoed a bill that earmarked $10,000 to buy seed for drought-stricken farmers in Texas. “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution,” Cleveland explained in his veto message, “I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.” He then added a pithy note of pedagogy: “The lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.”

In order to ensure such support would not even be affordable, Cleveland called for slashing federal revenue with a zeal Grover Norquist might envy. Gilded Age Americans paid no income tax, but they were taxed indirectly through the tariff system, which boosted prices on imported goods to benefit American manufacturers and their employees. During his re-election campaign in 1888, Cleveland and his fellow Democrats charged the GOP with supporting “extravagant appropriations and expenses, whether constitutional or not.” According to the party’s platform, “The Democratic remedy is to enforce frugality in public expense and abolish needless taxation.” Like Tea Partiers today, they asserted their “devotion” to the 10th amendment—“strictly specifying every granted power and expressly reserving to the States or people the entire ungranted residue of power.”

And Grover thought women have no place in politics nor in the voting booth unlike Romney, of course, but his party's stance on women's rights and his own stance on abortion ––and we still aren't sure exactly––will come back to bite (and women take big bites and knew exactly how to chew).

I'm wondering whether the Sesame Street gang named their Grover after Cleveland or Norquist or just liked the name that sounds like groveling.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Back in 1999 when he was trying to become the Republican nominee for president Dan Quayle said that ‘government is at a limit to what it can do to help people’.
That was the Republican Party line 12 years ago. Today, Republicans are saying government is doing too much to help people and we need to ’reform’ (meaning, take back or reduce) “entitlements”.
R and R are saying they would never, never raise taxes on anyone! However, if they have their way, Medicare will become a voucher program and it will throw seniors into the private health insurance market. If seniors have to pay more out of pocket for their healthcare isn’t that equivalent to a tax increase?
A tax increase on those who can afford it the least?

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael D

Charles Pierce's beautifully wrought piece on the drone attacks (he leaves his snark in the cupboard) is disturbing and I, too, have wondered why we aren't discussing this more fully–-or rather discussing this at all. Will this be a debate question? It better be!

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: Fear from the sky; Are we not the very worse of imperialists? Name a nation from history that could control a population with death from ever-present robots flying high above. Makes you wonder whether the President should solely have the power over the lives of others. Months ago we discussed the killing of an American by drone. Legal or not I thought it was a bad policy to have the President making the ultimate choice to kill. If the President is reelected I hope he stops the war we have been waging for over ten years now. We have lost much more than we have
gained.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Loved the Jon Stewart piece on Willard "Charlie" Romney.

The only difference, and it's a big one, is that Charlie, in the Keyes story, was a nice guy throughout. It doesn't matter if Romney looks smart or stupid. He's never been a nice guy.

Charlie loved the little mouse Algernon with whom he felt a kinship. Even as a mentally challenged man, Charlie would never tie an animal to the roof of a car. It's pretty bad when a mentally challenged individual (even a fictional character) displays more empathy and morality than Willard the Douchebag. Also, the story concerns itself with the plight of those in dire straits, who don't have much or, through no fault of their own, are in need of assistance. None of these things bothered Romney when he was the self-described smartest man on the planet or now when he is a dumbass pandering fool.

Flowers for Algernon; weeds for the Rat.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

PD,

Thanks for the Grover Cleveland history lesson. My biggest complaint, heretofore, about Cleveland was his role in undermining unions in this country, another way in which he mirrors the union hating R&R ticket. Workers for the Pullman Company called a strike that partially paralyzed train travel in the western US. Cleveland, constitutional scholar that he was, squashed the strike by claiming that it was his duty to ensure that the mail was delivered. Any decent first year law student could rip that argument to pieces but that was his stated rationale for stepping on the union.

Eugene Debs, who helped organize the strike was arrested by Cleveland’s Atty Gen. who was himself a former lawyer for the railroads. Talk about conflict of interest. I guess things really haven’t changed all that much, have they? Now we have a Washington/Wall Street revolving door which allows those who chloroformed the economy to go to DC to “revive” it.

Anyway, one of the more scandalous elements of the Pullman Strike, at least if you’re not a Romney/Ryan Republican, was that workers were forced to live in Pullman’s company town. They were not allowed to find accommodations nearby that were far cheaper than the rent being charged by the boss. They bought their food and wares and paid rent back to Pullman every week. And when the panic of 1893 hit, Pullman drastically cut their wages but not their rents or charges for food (hmmm…sounds like Romney, doesn’t it?), thus the strike, which Cleveland then went on to declare illegal. Pullman, Illinois was one of many, many company towns in the US in that period. Apparently, at one point, 3% of the entire US population lived in one of the 2,500 company towns. Don’t you know Romney must have wet dreams of owning towns where every penny (and more) he paid to workers was returned to him for inadequate housing, wormy food, and substandard supplies?

When I was a kid and listened to that Tennessee Ernie Ford song about “Sixteen Tons” I had no idea what he meant when he sang “I owe my soul to the Company Store”. He meant guys like Romney gouged him to within an inch of his life.

Debs, by the way, was sentenced to prison for his role. While in the slammer he started reading Das Kapital. QED.

One other thing about your comment on Cleveland struck a chord; the way he, like modern Teabaggers, used the Constitution as a cudgel and as way of demanding the curtailment of any government action with which they disagree. “If it’s not in the Constitution, we shouldn’t do it.” They forget, conveniently, that the Constitution is a general guide. The Constitution doesn't say anything about putting up street lights or schools, for instance. Or credit default swaps. It's not like the bible. Speaking of which, they also resemble those fundamentalists who declare that we shouldn’t be doing anything not in the bible, that it should be our only guide to action.

Oh well, in that case, the bible includes plenty of examples of lying, thieving, worship of money, backstabbing, murder, wars, racism, hatred, torture. Wait, wait. It sounds like the Bush Administration! I guess those bible readings in the West Wing were useful after all!

And if R&R are elected, such activity will be added to all the fun stuff from the good old union busting days of Grover Cleveland! The day after being elected, Romney will nuke Iran (after asking Bibi’s permission, of course), kill healthcare, start rolling sick people into emergency rooms, end taxes for the wealthy, outlaw unions, and teach Ryan how to feed the fish. Or some damn thing.

(Regarding the character of Grover on Sesame Street, I’m inclined to think that he was named for the Hall of Fame pitcher, Grover Cleveland Alexander. Grover’s a skinny little guy, much more like the wiry pitcher than the portly president.)

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

From the Fish in a Barrel Department:

The giant intellect of Rand Paul (okay, I must have my little jokes) has considered a case in which gold coins stolen from the US mint, which have no been reclaimed by the government, should be the property of the family of a coin collector who received them from the thief. The coins are apparently worth a boat load today but because they were stolen, those keeping the coins have been told by a judge to give them back, please.

An OUTRAGE, shrieks Sen. Aqua Buddah Who Only Occasionally Indulges in Kidnapping.

It's "just like" Nazis taking money and artwork from Jews who have been sent to death camps.

Say what???

This guy really is off the rails. I mean, he's through the woods and over the fucking cliff.

Anything the government does, in his genius estimation, is no less than Nazi level horrors.

Really, kids, these guys get goofier by the hour. Fish in a fucking barrel. It used to be that every few years some elected yahoo would come out with a whizzeroo doozy of a statement. Rand Paul--by his lonesome--does it weekly. Now add in the Ryans, Bachmanns, Akins, Arpaios, no to mention Moron in Chief, the Rat and you got Delusional Central.

A smorgasbord of political phantasms and mental mirages presented straightfaced on Fox's "Hallucinations R Us" shows.

But don't take my word for it. Sen. Self-Certification and Sean (The Dolt) Hannity, trade looks of outrage while comparing the government exercise of its legal rights to Hermann Goering lining his underwear with loot stolen from murdered Jews.

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/12/837441/rand-paul-compares-us-government-to-nazi-germany/

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Carlyle-

As Marie said, she gave the original link for Paulie catching catfish with bare hands; however, I think you will enjoy this little goodie too! It is called "noodling."
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/paul-ryan-pulls-catfish-from-rivers-by-their-throats/

As for Paulie calling Willard "the Stench," that was written by Roger Simon of that right wing rag, Politico, as a verrrry, verrry funny satire. Of course, BrownNose Paulie would never be so disrespectful--unless he was gagging a catfish! Howver, goes ta show that the "librul element" can be fooled too. (John Nichols and Ed Schultz)
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jack-coleman/2012/09/27/ed-schultz-and-nations-john-nichols-duped-politicos-stench-sa

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Just a thought:

The Willard Mechanism's latest video attempt to portray itself as caring and, well, human, has the disturbingly ambiguous title "Too Many Americans".

47% too many?

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Here's a well done video called "Wake the F--- Up!" featuring Samuel L Jackson.

http://d.yimg.com/nl/omg/site/player.html#browseCarouselUI=hide&vid=30716894

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

@ Kate re the Stench: So, Ed bit; I did; even Krugman!?

"Update: OK, the word is that this was really clumsy satire. — Paul Krugman's blog"

I spotted the Politico link before the above-mentioned Update. Yep, I bit. Though quite frankly, I didn't find the little stories totally implausible as to what may be happening behind-the-scenes on the campaign bus. Since 'the stench' remark made by Craig Robinson appeared in an earlier NYTimes article—it just could be the 'satire' got its legs from actual stench 'jokes' on the bus. What better way to cover up a faltering relationship between running mates? Joke! joke!
Wink! wink!

Overall, clumsy satire. I'd agree.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Okay, here's my standard "one more then I'm done" comment.

Off the topic of how in the living hell The Rat and his sidekick "Don't feed the Fish" Ryan (what does that even mean??) got to be considered qualified to run anything more complicated than a rigged arcade game of Knock Down the Lead-Weighted Milk Bottles With This Nerf Ball, I ask for a momentary nod to Banned Book Week.

As they do every year, conservative groups like Fuck You and Your Family, roundly rip any group or individual who complains about their tactics, But after perusing stories of book bannings, which other conservatives say never actually happened (another liberal smear against the god people), I share with you one of my favorites:

"In 1986, Graves County, Kentucky, the school board banned this book (As I Lay Dying) about a poor white family in the midst of crisis, from its high school English reading list because of 7 passages which made reference to God or abortion and used curse words such as "bastard," "goddam," and "son of a bitch." None of the board members had actually read the book."

No one read the book?? Son of a bitch!

Of course the usual suspects are on the list, Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye, the Decameron (does anyone really believe that knuckledraggers can even spell "Boccaccio"?), Lolita, Fahrenheit 451 (now, is that great, or what?), and the usual complaints about books supporting the Great Homosexual/Liberal Conspiracy to Turn Kids into Raving Mad Gay Sex Machines, which can be applied to anything from Sports Illustrated to a book of short stories edited by David Sedaris.

Anyway, if you think of it, pick up a formerly or currently banned book this week and piss off a wingnut.

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

The doctored Romney ad that Kimmel put up is terrific.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RIccc-Kdrpw

September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer
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