The Ledes

Monday, May 25, 2015.

New York Times: "Texas marked 24 counties as disaster areas on Monday as drenching rains and violent weather swept through that state and Oklahoma, forcing thousands of people from their homes and killing at least three."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, May 21, 2015.

New York Times: "John F. Nash Jr., a mathematician who shared a Nobel Prize in 1994 for work that greatly extended the reach and power of modern economic theory and whose long descent into severe mental illness and eventual recovery were the subject of a book and a film, both titled 'A Beautiful Mind,' was killed, along with his wife [Alicia], in a car crash on Saturday in New Jersey. He was 86."

New York Times: "Anne Meara, who became famous as half of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time and went on to enjoy a long and diverse career as an actress and, late in life, a playwright, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85. Her death was confirmed by her husband and longtime comedy partner, Jerry Stiller, and her son, the actor and director Ben Stiller."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 25

11:20 am ET: President Obama speaks at Arlington National Cemetery

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

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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