The Ledes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

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

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 9

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

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Thursday
Sep272012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 28, 2012

Voter Fraud, Palm Beach County, Florida-Style. Philip Elliott of the AP: "Republicans on Thursday fired a vendor suspected of submitting 108 questionable new voter registrations in Florida's Palm Beach County, ground zero for disputed ballots in 2000's presidential race. The Republican Party of Florida used Virginia-based Strategic Allied Consulting to help register and turnout voters in Florida.... The Florida state party had paid the firm more than $1.3 million so far, and the Republican National Committee used the group for almost $3 million of work in Nevada, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia.... Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher's staff noticed signatures that looked alike and incomplete forms submitted on Sept. 5 by Strategic Allied Consulting. Bucher met with prosecutors on Monday to request an investigation." ...

... Lee Fang of The Nation: "The contractor in Florida..., Strategic Allied Consulting, [is] a business entity created a few months ago and registered online by a former Arizona Republican Party director named Nathan Sproul. Sproul ... is infamous for accusations that his firms have committed fraud by tampering with Democratic voter registration forms and suppressing votes. Sproul was hired by the Romney campaign for a period of five months that began last November and ended in March. But now there's evidence that the payments continued, only to a different name.... Strategic Allied Consulting recently put up a proxy to hide the fact that its website was registered by Sproul.... The firm has been aggressively hiring in Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida." ...

... AND the North Carolina GOP also Wipes Egg off its Face. Mark Binker of WRAL (Raleigh, North Carolina): "Republicans have been running on a platform that includes requiring photo ID when voters go to the polls as a way to combat voter fraud. So there's an heavy dose of irony that the GOP has been paying a company that is itself linked to questionable voting practices. Asked several questions about this today, North Carolina GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood e-mailed me the following: "The NCGOP takes any threat to the voting process very seriously. We have terminated our relationship with Strategic Allied Consultants." ...

... WAIT! WAIT! Major Omelet Scrub. -- ... Michael Isikoff of NBC News: "Election officials in six Florida counties are investigating what appears to be 'hundreds' of cases of suspected voter fraud by a GOP consulting firm that has been paid nearly $3 million by the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five key battleground states.... In addition to Palm Beach County, where election officials initially reported 106 instances of suspected fraudulent registration forms, officials in Okaloosa, Pasco, Santa Rosa, Lee and Clay counties have also reported instances of possible fraudulent forms submitted by the firm, officials said.... the Republican National Committee said it had severed its ties to the firm altogether." CW: this doesn't mean the Romney campaign, which had previously directly employed Sproul, has no ties to whatever Sproul is calling his voter-fraud ops now. ...

... Jason Sattler of the National Memo: "For more than a year, [Ari] Berman [of The Nation] has been waging a one-man war on the GOP's voter suppression efforts. In this Q and A with The National Memo, he explains how this coordinated effort to deny the vote to core members of Obama's winning coalition from 2008 could still swing the 2012 election, despite some recent victories in federal court."

James Dao of the New York Times: a "crushing inventory of claims for disability, pension and educational benefits that has overwhelmed the Department of Veterans Affairs. For hundreds of thousands of veterans, the result has been long waits for decisions, mishandled documents, confusing communications and infuriating mistakes in their claims.... The agency has already completed more than one million claims for the third consecutive year. Yet it is still taking about eight months to process the average claim, two months longer than a decade ago. As of Monday, 890,000 pension and compensation claims were pending." ...

... Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia introduced Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Virginia yesterday. Watch it. And Gen. Shinseki better get his act together over there at the VA:

... Charles Mahtesian of Politico: "... coming from Webb -- a voice for the white working class, a former Navy secretary and decorated Vietnam veteran whose son left college to enlist as an infantry private in the Marine Corps and fought in the Iraq War -- his words carry a punch that few other Democratic surrogates can muster."

Julia Preston of the New York Times: "As of Thursday..., United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, had received more than 100,000 applications [for deportation deferral]..., with more than 63,000 in the last stages of review. But so far the agency has confirmed only 29 approvals."

Paul Krugman: "If Germany really wants to save the euro, it should let the European Central Bank do what's necessary to rescue the debtor nations -- and it should do so without demanding more pointless pain."

CW: Yeah, I know we shouldn't joke about such a serious subject. I'll quit when Bibi's cartoonist quits.

... Joshua Keating of Foreign Policy presents "Great Moment in U.N. Prop Use." ...

... Jay Newton-Small of Time: Hmm, what do you do when you're a world leader & your multiple attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election fail? "Netanyahu's speech on Thursday didn't leave much for Romney to put in a press release. So, what changed in the past week that led Netanyahu to back off of Obama? Perhaps he got a look at recent polls showing Obama pulling ahead in key swing states and increasing his lead nationally. It's one thing to put a finger on the scale when a race is close and quite another to flat out provoke the man he's likely going to have to spend the next four years working with.

Presidential Race

Helene Cooper & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "... with 39 days to go, President Obama and Mitt Romney dueled in [Virginia] on Thursday, both trying to lock up support from voters with ties to the military."

Nate Silver: "... there looks to be about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote. The smart money is on an outcome somewhere in the middle -- as it has been all year. But if you can conceive of a Romney comeback -- and you should account for that possibility -- you should also allow for the chance that things could get really out of hand, and that Mr. Obama could win in a borderline landslide. ...

... Yo, Mitt. Time to Hitch Your Wagon to Dubya's Star. Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News: "For all the talk about whether Mitt Romney should distance himself from George W. Bush -- and the policies of the last GOP White House -- a new survey shows that the former president actually has better favorability ratings than the Republican nominee. A Bloomberg News National Poll released Wednesday has Bush receiving a favorable rating from 46 percent of those surveyed and an unfavorable rating from 49 percent. That's compared to Romney's 43 percent favorable and 50 percent unfavorable."

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "The billionaire George Soros is committing $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the 'super PAC' supporting President Obama..., a significant donation that could help spur more contributions in the closing weeks of the election campaign."

In this Web video, the Obama campaign rebuts Romney's claims that President Obama has misrepresented Romney's positions:

     ... AND Greg Sargent reports that

Elections Matter. Tim Egan: "The biggest threats [to our public lands] over the last 50 years have come from demands of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion -- a Western-sounding name for a property grab by well-connected special interests.... Romney has promised to let oil companies have their way -- no surprise, given that his chief energy adviser, Harold Hamm, is an oil billionaire with stakes in multiple energy sites throughout the West.... No major-party presidential nominee has ever taken a stance as radical as Romney'."

Elections Matter. We'll use enhanced interrogation techniques which go beyond those that are in the military handbook right now. -- Mitt Romney, on plans to torture prisoners. Charlie Savage of the New York Times has the whole story. AND Andy Rosenthal has more.

Jimmy Kimmel found the first take of Romney's "Too Many Americans" ad:

... Thanks to contributor James S. for the link. And as Akhilleus pointed out in yesterday's Comments, it is surprising Romney would admit he thinks there are "too many Americans." I think we know who-all the Romney Plan would slate for "voluntary deportation." I'm sure I'm one....

Coincidentally, Jonathan Chait of New York magazine noticed something similar about this Obama ad, in which Romney provides the voiceover:

     ... Chait writes, "What's devastating about the ad, aside from the juxtaposition of Romney's words against photos of regular Americans, is ... the sound of silverware clinking on china in the background as Romney speaks. That detail contrasts the atmosphere Romney inhabits with the one in which most Americans live. You can tell, even though you're not seeing this, that the remarks are being made to people enjoying a formal dinner.... The Republican Party is going down because its candidate was seen advocating exactly the beliefs that make the party so dangerous and repellant."

CW: On September 22, when Romney dumped his 2011 tax return, I asked what the deal was with the Romneys' getting charitable deduction for a family trust. Well, finally somebody half-explains the "charitable gift" Romney gave to the kids:

... Jesse Drucker of Bloomberg News: Mitt Romney has "enhanced his family's wealth by moving assets worth $100 million into a trust while taking steps to avoid paying any gift taxes. The trust's value isn't counted in the $250 million that his campaign cites as Romney's net worth.... Use of these types of trusts has grown as the wealthy employ increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid both estate and gift taxes on money they transfer to their families.... Romney has vowed as president to cut the gift tax rate and repeal the federal estate tax altogether -- calling it the 'Death Tax.' ... Public exposure of Romney's various tax avoidance tactics may spur legislation cracking down on them...." ...

... Kevin Drum of Mother Jones writes, in plain English, how it works: "First, Romney undervalues the assets he puts into the trust so he owes little or no gift tax. Then, later, when the assets appreciate, he pays only the capital gains tax, which is considerably lower than the gift tax. And to make it even better, he pays the capital gains tax out of his own pocket, so the trust owes nothing. It's like making a second gift to his kids free and clear."

... David Corn: "Mother Jones has obtained a video from 1985 in which Romney, describing Bain's formation, showed how he viewed the firm's mission. He explained that its goal was to identify potential and hidden value in companies, buy significant stakes in these businesses, and then 'harvest them at a significant profit' within five to eight years.... In this clip, Romney mentioned that it would routinely take up to eight years to turn around a firm -- though he now slams the president for failing to revive the entire US economy in half that time." Includes video.

"Wake the Fuck Up!" Thanks to contributor Janice for the link:

Paul Ryan Joins the Poll Conspiracy Theorists. Katie Glueck of Politico: "Rep. Paul Ryan on Thursday dismissed polling that shows him and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney trailing in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. 'I don't actually believe the validity of that particular poll,' Ryan told Fox News's Neil Cavuto, adding that he wouldn't get 'into all the methodologies of it.' It wasn't immediately clear to which poll Ryan was referring, but several surveys have found the Republican ticket sliding in the Badger State.... Ryan is the latest conservative to challenge the veracity of polls." ...

... CW: Maybe we should quit with all the theories -- including mine -- as to why Romney appears to be losing and settle on the real reason: the Eddie Haskell Factor. When those undecideds happen to catch a glimpse someplace on the teevee of Ryan's cloying hangdog phoniness, they go all June Cleaver.

AND Surprise, Surprise. Drudge and Co. Go Full Racist. Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic has the full story on the Drudge "Reports"'s feature "Obama Has My Vote -- He Gave Me a Free Phone."

Congressional Races

Claire, You Ignorant Slut. How to Recapture the Women's Ladies' Vote. Todd Akin assesses his debate last week with Sen. Claire McCaskill Turns out Claire used to be more "ladylike." Akin complained that McCaskill was "aggressive" in a senatorial debate they participated in last week. Apparently Akin believes that a lady senator should not talk back to a gentleman debater. Why, a real lady would never participate in something so tawdry as a political debate in the first place. ...

... Good Luck, Todd! Alexander Burns of Politico: "While the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement this week expressing support for Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's Senate campaign, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn" told the Lexington Courier-Journal that the National Republican Senatorial Committee "does not intend to put money into" the McCaskill-Akin race. "I just think that this is not a winnable race," he said.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who guided The New York Times and its parent company through a long, sometimes turbulent period of expansion and change on a scale not seen since the newspaper's founding in 1851, died early Saturday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 86."

New York Times: "Spain's ailing banking industry could need as much as 59.3 billion euros, or $76.4 billion, in additional capital, according to an independent banking assessment published on Friday. The report paves the way for Madrid to request bank rescue loans that European finance ministers have agreed to extend."

Washington Post: "U.S. intelligence agencies have determined that the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya involved a small number of militants with ties to al-Qaeda in North Africa but see no indication that the terrorist group directed the assault, U.S. officials said Thursday. The determination reflects an emerging consensus among analysts at the CIA and other agencies that has contributed to a shift among senior Obama administration officials toward describing the siege of U.S. facilities in Benghazi as a terrorist attack."

New York Times: "Chinese leaders announced on Friday that Bo Xilai, a disgraced Communist Party aristocrat, had been expelled from the party and would be prosecuted on criminal charges, a move that effectively ends his remarkable political career."

Bloomberg News: "President Francois Hollande's first annual budget raised taxes on the rich and big companies and included a minimum of spending cuts to reduce the deficit."

Reader Comments (18)

This one's for Bibi, the Net-in-the-Yahoo, and his Neo Con Parade:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Iran and the Bomb, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Facts:
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/09/27-5

With love and smacky kisses-

Dr. Strangelove

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

When he is talking about most major political issues, David Brooks is an insufferable shill for the Republicans. But he is also one of the few on the right who actually pays attention to important social trends. Here's the link to his column today speaking about the toll that psychological trauma such as child abuse and loss of a parent exacts on young people and how it cripples many of them for life.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/opinion/brooks-the-psych-approach.html?hp

Of course, he takes a swipe at what he thinks of the liberal approach and he ignores the obvious role of government in addressing the issue. But here's a problem that progressives and conservatives of Brooks's ilk could come together to tackle.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

The always gentlemanly Todd Akin complains that his opponent is not offering him tea and crumpets and instead is engaging in actual political debate. The idea.

In other news, polls show that Akin has pretty much sewn up the "legitimate rapist" vote in the state. The few who were on the fence have decided that McCaskill's non-ladylike-ness might impact their "hobby" when and if she's re-elected.

(Oh, mouse over the link Marie provides to the Charlotte Observer story about Akin's ache. The headline reads "Todd-Akin-Confident-Hell-Prevail". That about says it.)

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Peter Manseau, a scholar in residence at Washington College, has an op-ed claiming that this presidential campaign is nowhere near the dirtiest on record. But his trite conclusion is completely undermined by the point he so casually throws in (but does not deal with) near the end of column:

"While the use of deceptive ads by campaign organizations goes back at least as far as Jefferson and Adams, Ms. Deckman noted, recent research shows that while negative ads accounted for 9 percent of all political advertising in 2008, in this election attack ads account for 70 percent of the total. “Given that Election Day is still weeks away,” Ms. Deckman said, “from an advertising perspective, this election could well be the most negative in history.”

Here's the link:

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/27/is-this-the-nastiest-election-ever/

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Given that Strategic Allied Consulting is turning in bogus signatures on its voter registration forms, it should be only a matter of hours before the furor on the right reaches such a pitch that SAC is hounded out of business - just as happened to ACORN.
What's that, silence we hear?

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re: How about ol' Mitty coming out in favor of a more rigorous torture policy? Going after the pro-torture voter, good move. I never thought I would see that kind of a promise from a presidential hopeful. "Vote for me and I'll waterboard the world." Why Mitt? Get voted in and you can drone the suspect before you ask questions. Torture has been proven not to help in getting information from people. What's is wrong with America when Mitt can use torture as a appeal for a vote?

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Apparently Nathan Sproul, the director of Stragic Allied Consulting has a long history of dirty tricks - and the Republicans hired him anyway. This is from an article in the LATimes:
"Working through state parties, the RNC has sent more than $3.1 million this year to Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed in June by Nathan Sproul, an Arizona political consultant. Sproul has operated other firms that have been accused in the past of improprieties designed to help Republican candidates, including dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats. None of those allegations have led to criminal charges."

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

(I see Victoria has already delivered the goods on rat bastard Nathan Sproul, but since I've already written this, here's some additional info on this scumbag--and who he's working for now...)

Thanks to Marie for the link to the story on actual voter fraud in her home state. The kind of voter fraud Republicans have been screaming about for years. But oh, wait. This is voter fraud perpetrated BY Republicans. Oops.

The usual suspects will slither out of their holes to decry this episode as a single anomalous event blown way out of proportion by the media, but lest anyone be taken in by such lies (they’re all SO good at lying! How did they ever become so proficient at it? Must do it a LOT), let me point you to a firm which, unlike Acorn, which was faulted for turning in phony voter registrations (meaning that someone hired to register voters turned in fake names to pad their paycheck; there was never any expectation that those made up names would turn into people who would show up and try to vote), ensured that real people who tried to register as Democrats at registration centers operated by this company would never be allowed to vote. Why? Any forms filled out by Democrats were shredded. Presto! No voto! You show up on election day and your name is nowhere to be found. Ain’t democracy grand?

But this company, originally Sproul and Associates, now Lincoln Strategies (the name may change again soon; do you ever wonder why so many shady right wing operations are constantly changing their names? Kind of reminds me of criminal aliases), has a loooonnnggg history of screwing with the legal rights of Americans to vote. After being investigated for destroying forms filled out by Democrats in a number of states, Bush and Cheney were so impressed, they hired this asshole and paid him over $7 million to do the same thing for them. (Remember Ohio?)

Now after all the attention on voter fraud and the self-righteous screaming and crying and incessant whining by wingnuts and their political attack dogs, one would think that such a creepy, unsavory operation would be persona non grata with any respectable group. Right? Of course. But groups not very respectable would line up to hire them. Like the GOP and many of their pols standing for election.

Including Willard Mittens Romney.

Sproul is quietly working behind the scenes for the Rat, devising ever more ingenious and illegal ways to steal this election.

Don’t you just love these fucking guys? The absolute fucking height of hypocrisy. And every week they outdo themselves.

Check it out:
http://www.republicreport.org/2012/romney-nathan-sproul/

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

JJG,

At this point, Romney has the pro-torture vote, from Todd Akin he's assured of the legitimate rapist vote, and this morning, according to TPM, he is being advised by Teabagger hatemongers that empathy for those without health insurance is most definitely NOT a trait to be cultivated or desired in Republicans. He's sure to get votes from vulture capitalist firms and those who are all for self (or forced) deportation of immigrants, as well as all those against the mooching 47%, plus he's sure to get the racist pigs, birthers, conspiracy nuts, misanthropic morons, war mongers, and wingnut droolers.

Quite a collection of fans old Mittens has there for himself.

I'm sure his mom and dad would be proud.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Sam Tanenhous wrote a superb essay, "Conservatism is Dead" back in 2009 which was an intellectual autopsy of the movement in which he said this:

"But, if it’s clear what the right is against, what exactly has it been for? This question has haunted the movement from its inception in the 1950s, when its principal objective was to undo the New Deal and reinstate the laissez-faire Republicanism of the 1920s. This backward-looking program mystified one leading conservative. Whittaker Chambers, a repentant ex-communist, had passed through a brief counterrevolutionary phase but then, in his last years, had gravitated toward a genuinely classic conservatism. He distilled his thinking in a remarkable sequence of letters written from the self-imposed exile of his Maryland farm, and sent to a young admirer, William F. Buckley Jr. When their relationship began, Buckley—a self-described “radical conservative”—was assembling the group of thinkers and writers who would form the core of National Review, a journal conceived to contest the “liberal monopolists of ‘public opinion.’” Buckley was especially keen to recruit Chambers. But Chambers turned him down. He sympathized with the magazine’s opposition to increasingly centralized government, but, in practical terms, he believed challenging it was futile. It was evident that New Deal economics had become the basis for governing in postwar America, and the right had no plausible choice but to accept this fact—not because liberals were all-powerful (as some on the right believed) but rather because what the right called “statism” looked very much like a Burkean “correction.”

I see the movement at this time floundering and gasping for air and if Romney looses, if Democrats pick up more congressional seats, it will be paramount for the Republicans to reboot and reconsider what in the hell they really stand for. If it turns out otherwise, we are in for years of plundering and polluting and just plain penurious state of affairs.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

As we become more embroiled in the lead up to the election with all the hate speech coming from the right wing, I think it is noteworthy that September 30 through October 6 is Banned Books Week. This event is promoted annually by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom ~ this year marks their 30th anniversary.
Here are two links you may find interesting:
General information: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek
and, to learn why a particular title made the list: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/reasonsbanned.

While this subject may seem off topic right now, book censorship efforts remain with us and have found fertile ground in places like Arizona and Texas (surprise, surprise).

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Marie, thanks for posting the clip of Senator Webb, in which he among other things criticizes Mr. Romney for failing to mention his "age peers" who served in Vietnam in his RNC acceptance speech. Senator Webb's larger point is that those receiving veterans' benefits are givers, not takers. Exactly.

I suspect Mr. Romney thinks of the Vietnam war as history, like the Civil War, and because he did not participate it is like something you learned of in school -- and he seems to have had no exposure to it. In that, he is like ex-VP Dan Quayle, who served in the National Guard and apparently did not have to think about Vietnam much after that. They are sort of in the same set, and same age. I was in Sydney, Australia, in 1989 when Mr. Quayle came to speak at the Coral Sea Day commemoration dinner (an annual April Oz-US hugfest). The room was full of Aussies of all ages, about half of them Mr. Quayle's age, and to my eye most of those were vets who had served in Vietnam. Mr. Quayle noted how they Battle of the Coral Sea (1942) had turned the tide against Japan, kept Japan away from Oz, and strengthened US-Oz ties. Then he said something like "we in our generation have never been tested together in battle, but ..." blah blah. Hundreds of attendees looked at one another quizzically, since many of them had been with us in Vietnam, and all knew that Australia was our "winter soldier" ally in that war. But it was clear to me that Mr. Quayle did not think that the Vietnam war was in any way a test of our generation or our alliance. He wasn't making any point to that effect -- he was just oblivious.

Like Mr. Romney, who probably thinks that something that went on 40 years ago has no meaning to him, because he was not part of it.

But like Senator Webb said, for many of us not a day goes by that we do not recall who gave what. And what astounds me is that, unless polls have changed around, Mr. Romney still seems to have the veterans' vote nationally (but perhaps not in Virginia), despite the huge commitment and accomplishments of this administration towards veterans' issues.

For context, I was in Vietnam in 1969-70, in the Army, and got shot at a lot, no scratches thank God. Like Webb says, not bitter or resentful, and have no problems with those who didn't go -- which was a logical choice. And I am glad that my sons did not have to face the choice that we faced in the late sixties.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Patrick,

Well said. I think you hit on part of the reason for Romney's lack of historical connection. Another part is that, for Romney, Vietnam offered no opportunity for monetary advancement. So neither does honoring those, like yourself, who served when he did not and who fought a war he did not even though he supported it and hailed our presence in that conflict, just as long as he didn't have to risk anything.

Your anecdote about Quayle brings to mind the blind spot that so many conservatives have about war. They are ever eager to thrust this nation into combat, having never served themselves, and having as you and Sen. Webb and many other Americans do, direct knowledge of what that really means. The neocons under Bush and Cheney railed for war, lied for war, cheered for war, but had no real understanding of it and therefore no appreciation for the level of sacrifice and personal cost extracted from military personnel and their families. It's a big game to them.

Neither does Romney who has been rattling his toy saber in the direction of Iran, have any understanding of the human cost of war. Rather than honoring those who went so that he didn't have to, he's chomping at the bit to send more Americans off for his personal glory.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Banned Book Week update:

Good news! Only 13 new books banned in Texas this year (so far).

But plenty of "restricted" books for which students need the permission of both parents (same sex parents don't count, I'm going to bet), a doctor's note, and clearance by an examination board comprised of three fundamentalist preachers, two teabaggers, and Rick Perry's intellectual consultant, Koko the Clown, before they can even see these book.

Which horrible books are so restricted, you might ask?

How about "Farewell to Arms"? Pretty racy stuff, that. That Hemingway guy is STILL a dangerous fuck.

Kate Chopin's "The Awakening". Oooooh can't have that kind of feminazi stuff just lying around, now can we?

"Tess of the D'Ubervilles" I kid you not..."Tess of the fucking D'Urbervilles!!" Written, what, over a hundred years ago??

Toni Morrison's "Beloved". Can't have kids thinking that slaves had souls and feelings, can we?

Anyway, you get the picture.

Wonder what books R&R would burn....er, ban? I know which ones they'd make required reading...

(Still chuckling about "Fahrenheit 451" being banned...that kills me...)

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@ Patrick: You owe a vote of thanks to Mitt. 5 years before your Vietnamese sojourn Mitt was risking his life protesting, in the dangerous streets of America, in support of the Vietnam war. And then he fled to France. So I think that, unless he was just role playing (protester for a day) for Mitt Vietnam is more than just a forgotten piece of history. Vietnam is Mitt's earliest common link to Ryan. Ryan voted to send troops to battle, earlier Mitt supported their right to die.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercowichan

Thanks to Akhilleus, I may have found a new and most profitable
occupation. Stonework is exhausting and rocks are heavier than books.
So I think smuggling books into Texas and selling them would
really pay. (Oh, wait, who buys books? Bet they can get almost
anything on their E-readers). Curses! Foiled again.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

@forrest morris, there is already a group that is smuggling books. It is called Librotraficante, which translates from Spanish to 'BookTrafficker' (http://librotraficante.com). They have a focus on creating underground libraries across the country and last week started a campaign called, 'The Librotraficante 50 States of Freedom of Speech'. They organized in response to Arizona's banning of ___________ fill in the blanks.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMushiba

Forrest,

You may have something there. And don't worry about e-books. I'll bet that wingnut-teabag-fundie TX monitors and attempts to censor Internet traffic as assiduously as Red China.

That means that paper and ink artifacts could have a profitable cachet in medieval Texas. Just don't overlook the fact that right-wingers fear ideas far more than they do illegal immigrants, and like most wingnut states, will shoot first and not bother with questions.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.