The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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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