The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office":

The Ledes

Saturday, December 20, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States transferred four detainees from the Guantánamo Bay prison to Afghanistan late Friday, the Defense Department announced Saturday, fulfilling a request from the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, in what officials here characterized as a show of good will between the United States and the government in Kabul.The four men are not likely to be subjected to further detainment in Afghanistan, an Obama administration official said."

New York Times: "In an apparent targeted killing, two police officers were shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon by a man who later fatally shot himself in head, police officials said."

Reuters: "Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department took at least 73 adults and one minor into custody during the protest that blocked Interstate 43, which runs through the city, according to the department's Twitter feed."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

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

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

ABC News: "After more than 20 years together, music icon Elton John and his partner David Furnish are married!... A law passed earlier this year in England allow[s] same-sex marriage...."

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

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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