The Ledes

Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "A big-game hunter from the Twin Cities found himself at the center of an international firestorm Tuesday over the death of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe, but said he regrets killing the animal and believed his guides were leading him on a legal hunt.... Earlier Tuesday, the Telegraph newspaper of London identified [dentist Walter] Palmer as the hunter who shot Cecil and reported that he paid $54,000 for the hunt. The Telegraph said the lion was illegally lured out of Hwange National Park, where it had protected status, and onto a neighboring game farm, where Palmer was on safari." ...

... Salon: Yelp contributors are whacking Palmer.

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, July 28, 2015.

Guardian: "Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya’s former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, has been sentenced to death by a court in Tripoli. Saif, once seen as his father’s heir apparent, was condemned to death along with eight other figures from the former dictatorship, including the former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and Gaddafi’s last prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi."

Reuters: "FIFA boss Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his stewardship of soccer's governing body, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired by Swiss broadcaster RTS on Monday."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 29

1:00 pm ET: Press briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."

NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."

Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."

For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.

Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."

Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...

... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."

New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."

New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.

New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."

Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:

Sean Hollister of Gizmodo: "The Mozilla Firefox web browser now blocks Flash by default. And when I say “blocks,” I don’t mean it asks you nicely if you’d really like to use Flash. I don’t mean it automatically pauses Flash videos like Google Chrome. I mean Mozilla has decided that Flash is going down.... Why such a hard-on for Flash? Why now? Well, it could be that the world just rediscovered just how prone Flash is to nasty, nasty vulnerabilities. When the Hacking Team — an Italian security company that sold intrusive spy tools — got hacked, one of those tools got out into the wild. A nasty hole in Flash that Adobe has yet to patch.... It’s probably worth noting that [Monday July 13], Mozilla’s Facebook’s chief security officer publicly asked Adobe to kill off Flash once and for all.... Update: Adobe has already released a newer version of Flash, 18.0.0.209, which Firefox doesn’t block by default. You’ll want to manually download it."

Contributor Nisky Guy takes us back in time to February 2006, when Lewis Black complained, "I can't wait that long":

Washington Post: "On its approach to Pluto, the spacecraft [New Horizons] obtained the most arresting image yet of the dwarf planet. Pluto is not a bland and featureless ball of ice, but rather a complex, variegated, mottled world with broad snowfields, structures that look like cliffs or fault lines, and a strikingly bright heart-shaped area that could be the eroded remnant of a giant impact crater."

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Saturday
Sep082012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 9, 2012

My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is titled "Stupid Stuff New York Times Columnists Wrote Today." It's a four-fer. The NYTX front page is here. Comments are open to all on NYTX.

Bob Woodward has a long piece in the Washington Post on the debt crisis, which is based on his new book. CW: Wimpiest wimp in the room (IMHO): Tim Geithner.

Adam Himmelsbach of the New York Times: "The N.F.L. has long fought the stigma of having a homophobic culture. Now, two pro football players have powerfully lent their support for same-sex marriage, taking a political figure to task in the process." Here's the full letter from Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe to Maryland sate delegate Emmett Burns (no relation, I swear). The last word is, appropriately, "Asshole."

Presidential Race

Bounce. Alina Selyukh of Reuters: "President Barack Obama ... widened his narrow lead over ... Mitt Romney in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday. The latest daily tracking poll showed Obama ... with a lead of 4 percentage points over Romney [47-43].... Obama increased his lead over Romney in certain favorable characteristics. Asked who was more 'eloquent,' 50 percent ... favored Obama, compared to 25 percent for Romney. Asked about being 'smart enough for the job,' 46 percent sided with Obama compared to 37 percent for Romney. In fact, Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as 'represents America' or 'has the right values.' The only such category in which Romney had an advantage was being 'a man of faith,' as 44 percent picked Romney...." ...

... Thud. Sam Wang of Princeton U.: on "the best glimpse we are going to get of the negative post-GOP-convention bounce. Basically, their convention appears to have helped Obama.... Why would the Republicans be hurt by their own convention? ... (1) The Ryan-VP bounce effectively used up whatever room there was for a bounce.... (2) The GOP convention was not particularly inspiring. Indeed, the most notable event was Clint Eastwood's empty-chair routine, which overshadowed Romney's acceptance speech." ...

... Nate Silver: "The question now is not whether Mr. Obama will get a bounce in the polls, but how substantial it will be."

The New York Times has a slideshow of B&W photos taken backstage at the Democratic convention.

Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "Kicking off a two-day bus tour through [Florida]..., the president told a rally [in Seminole] that Mitt Romney's running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, had proposed overhauling Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system that could mean higher costs for beneficiaries.... The president's advisers have indicated that they are eager to re-engage their opponents on their Medicare plan, while the Romney camp would prefer to talk about the economy.... Mr. Romney has sought to blunt Mr. Obama's Medicare offensive with attacks of his own, something Obama advisers appeared to await eagerly." ...

... Erik Wasson of The Hill: "At a St. Petersburg, Fla. rally, Obama noted that [Bill] Clinton 'made the case as only he can.... After he spoke, somebody sent out a tweet that said "you should appoint him 'secretary of explaining stuff.' ... I have to admit, it didn't say "stuff". I cleaned that up." CW: Akhilleus had some other suggestions for Cabinet positions in the September 7 Commentariat. ...

... President Obama cracks a birther joke.

Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post: "In an interview with NBC’s 'Meet The Press' set to air on Sunday morning, Mitt Romney said former President Bill Clinton elevated the Democratic National Convention and suggested the contrast between Clinton and other convention speakers might have worked against President Obama.... David Gregory spoke with Romney over of two days this week, and also interviewed Ann Romney. It's the first time since 2009 that Mitt Romney has sat for an interview with the Sunday news program." See also Infotainment. ...

     ... CW: since the GOP convention was a comparative flop, I'm not so sure Romney is the best person to critique the Democratic convention. But then it's David Gregory asking the questions. I'll bet he came down really hard on Ann Romney, her husband's so-called "women's ambassador," for refusing to address women's health issues. Sample women's health question: "Lady Romney, is it true that a woman should always brush her hair a hundred strokes a day?" Answer: "Well, of course -- if she doesn't have a lady-in-waiting to do it for her. And, you know, David, I've been talking to thousands of women all across this country, and that's what they're telling me -- they're praying for me & they're worried that if Mitt isn't elected, they could lose their ladies-in-waiting. For women, the economy is the most important issue." ...

     ... Update: Mitt tells Greggers he can do simple arithmetic, but his answers are still secret. ...

     ... AND. Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Mitt Romney is slamming the 2011 deal that ended the protracted congressional fight to raise the debt limit -- a vote that his own vice presidential pick backed.... 'I thought it was a mistake on the part of the White House to propose it. I think it was a mistake for Republicans to go along with it.'" CW: Mitt's story is becoming, "I chose Paul Ryan as my running mate because I disagree with every one of his policy positions & every vote he cast in Congress." ...

... George Stephanopoulos: "Putting himself at odds with his GOP presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan this morning on 'This Week' refused to tell me that he would reject a hypothetical debt reduction deal -- composed of spending cuts and tax hikes by a ratio of ten to one - that Mitt Romney famously rejected during a presidential primary debate last year."

Willard Whitey Is at It Again. Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "... at a Saturday afternoon rally [in Virginia Beach, Virginia], Mr. Romney did not just recite the Pledge of Allegiance; he also metaphorically wrapped his stump speech in it, using each line of the pledge to attack President Obama." CW: Read the whole post. This is Romney (a) repeatedly lying about President Obama & (b) identifying him as "Not American." Yo, Dante Alighieri, time for a 10th circle of hell. I don't know about you, but Romney sure energizes me. ...

... That reminds me. Here's Steve Benen's 33rd weekly installment of "Mitt's Mendacity."

Shushannah Walshe of ABC News: "Paul Ryan said today the president has gone to 'great lengths' to make gas more expensive in this country." CW: this would be because it is always a good idea for an incumbent to raise gas prices right before an election. Probably the reason Obama caused Hurricane Isaac that shut down rigs in the Gulf & nearby refineries. He doesn't just control the National Weather Service; he controls the weather.

"Fair & Balanced" Fox "News" covers the conventions:

Missed this: Andrew Restuccia of Politico answered a question I had about the Democratic convention: "Where's Al Gore?"

Congressional Races

Katharine Seelye of the New York Times: Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is running an ad in which he features President Obama paying him a compliment. CW: It's an excellent spot; now I see why he's whupping Elizabeth Warren:

News Ledes

AP: "The U.S. government is selling more of its shares in insurer American International Group Inc., in a move that should decrease its holdings below a majority stake for the first time since the $182 billion bailout in 2008. The sale is the latest step to recoup taxpayer money spent on the largest bailout of the financial crisis."

AP: "Damaging storms that spawned tornadoes in New York City, darkened tens of thousands of homes in the Washington, D.C., area and flooded New England streets turned a normal day of rest into a day of cleaning up for many East Coast residents on Sunday. No serious injuries were reported when a twister hit a beachfront neighborhood Saturday on the edge of New York City and a second, stronger tornado followed moments later about 10 miles away. Residents got advance notice...."

AP: "Insurgents killed at least 44 people in a wave of attacks against Iraqi security forces on Sunday, gunning down soldiers at an army post and bombing police recruits waiting in line to apply for jobs, officials said. The violence, which struck at least 11 cities and wounded nearly 240 people, highlighted militant attempts to sow havoc in the country and undermine the government."

Reader Comments (11)

After reading Steve Benen's latest piece I have to wonder if Romney knows he is lying or is he disconnected from reality?

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

He knows he's lying, Victoria; he just thinks it's OK because it's legal, which seems to be a common contemporary standard of right and wrong. Don't have time for a long comment on the matter, but it seems lying has become the soup de jour of political and business discourse. My sense is that lying is more common, expected and accepted than it was forty or fifty years ago. Perhaps because I took social obligations seriously as a child--fear of terrestrial and heavenly punishment likely had something to do with that-- inertia carried that same sense into my dotage, flavored with an appreciation of nuance I did not have as a child I'm sure, but still strong enough to dictate much of my behavior.

Why is it happening, if indeed it is? Lots of reasons, but I'll jot down three.

Generations of consumers inured to advertising. We expect the claims to be exaggerated. We know those who want to sell us something lie all the time. Everybody does it and we are used to it. It's standard practice, so common and so acceptable that when a pharmaceutical company lies about one of its products and actually kills dozens, even hundreds of people, no one is tried for murder...

Second, the media. No, not the weasel-y "fact checkers," though they are annoying enough. Rather the sheer volume of information, of print, speech, sight and sound presented to the public. It's such a morass that only those with a developed critical faculty can separate the value from the slag. Or those who know enough about the complexities of economics, let us say, or science, to know when they are being fed a story designed to coincide with the beliefs--try, "I'm a child of God and He will take care of me," something appealingly simple like that--that filters the din the media flings in their direction. Sometimes hearing only what we want to hear is self-protection.

Third, we have little social obligation to those we do not know, and those who don't know us and have no social contact with us can exert little social control on our behavior. A truism maybe, but even more true now in a country of more than 300 million disparate folks. Our size, our social arrangements and our geography all make it easy to lie and get away with it.

In a way this election might be thought of as a grand experiment in how much control we care to exert over lying and liars, despite all the above. I'm not sure which way I'd bet.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Re: the multitudinous and many faceted lies of the Rat.

For some time there has been a particular strain of Republicans (starting with the neo-cons ) who not only have no problem lying, they revel in it. Remember the Bush people declaring that they make their own reality? That meant that reality, ergo truth, was whatever they said it was. Furthermore, they were taught, by evil neo-con philosopher king Leo Strauss (from the execrable school of misery, miscalculation, and misanthropy, the University of Chicago--I just had a thought about what a different world it would be today if that school, or at least its worst offenders, Strauss and all his little acolytes and Milton Friedman and his band of babbling monetarists, had just disappeared from the map round about 1950 or so) that they were superior to all the rest of us and thus had no obligations of morality, ethics, or truth, since they were destined to be masters of the earth. Thus lying to achieve their ends was a noble (Strauss' word, believe it or not) enterprise.

We've all seen how that worked out. But even for those who are not native Straussians, the lying thing caught on big with the right. Embarrassing fact? Lie about it. Inconvenient truths? Rip whoever has the temerity to state them by lying about them and denying those truths. It's a get out of morality card. And after a while it becomes second nature. Just look at Captain Lying Jowls, Mitch McConnell. Not necessarily an ideologue, just an inveterate liar. He blows with whatever wind flaps his cheeks from the right. Which means you can tell that he's lying because his lips are moving.

But over and above that, The Rat has his Mormon faith which has some kind of weird rule that states that if you're doing it for god, it's okay to lie.

So, a perfect trifecta of why the Rat will say whatever he has to say in order to steal victory and seal the fate of hundreds of millions of 99 percenters.

Add to that Ken's reference to the many Americans who can't be bothered with the truth or who simply want "reality" to mirror their own version of it. Then, if you include the vast numbers of Americans who, either through virulent or hidden racism, or who just buy Republican racist lies at face value and would vote for a loaf of moldy bread before voting for a black man--especially one who hates America, is a fascist AND a socialist, comes from Kenya and isn't an American at all, worships Allah, and is himself a racist, then we've got real problems.

Folks, this isn't going to be at all easy. A supine press, congenital liars, racists and haters on all sides and billionaires who are gleefully, thanks to the Little Johnny and the Five Dwarfs, pouring tens of millions into the tanks of Rove and his assorted super pac killing machines.

I'd love to be extremely optimistic, but it's getting harder all the time. At this point I'm going to say that Obama will win. Mostly because seriously entertaining the opposite outcome would make me want to shoot myself.

P.S. If that isn't enough bad news for a Sunday morning, think about this. I did a quick check on Milton Friedman to find out the exact time period he was at Chicago. Here's a short list of the people and organizations he has profoundly influenced:

Margaret Thatcher, Augusto Pinochet (!), Bill Buckley, Alan Greenspan, David Friedman, the Cato Institute and......

BEN BERNANKE!


Happy Sunday!

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: Lying lower than a snake's belly; Great post, Ken, I have thought about lying for a while now and came to one of your conclusions; fifty years of being blasted by teevee telling me "how white my shirts can be". One of my simple thoughts is today's communication allows 'little lies' to snowball up into 'big truths'. When I watch Fox News (there's a gun pointed at my head) I notice quick sound bites of 'little lies' followed by a wrap-up 'big truth'.
The other thought I've had across my mind is "Swear to God" truth, so help me god. If you are going to lie through your fucking teeth; who better to back you up but GOD?
Finally there's "just the facts, madam" remember the cop show, I can't come up with the name, "Highway Patrol"? anyways the case is shut and the perp is doing hard time because the dicks got "just the facts". Now days it seems as if we want everything but the facts.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

OMG Maureen Dowd's snarky brother Kevin must have written today's commentary in the NYTimes (and they forgot to list his byline ) ...or else she's really pissed because either she didn't get to go on Air Force One with other journalists, or doesn't have the one-on-one access to Obama that she thinks is her due. Something sure is eating at her. This is the second Valley Girl snit in about a week.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Beautifully stated, Ken, and absolutely spot on analysis of society's growing lack of regard for truths of all kinds. As a child and into my teens, I resorted to lying to authoritarian parents to avoid punishments. As my conscience matured, I finally figured out that it was so much easier to just take my lumps than try to remember the lies. And now, to me, it's like the old saw, "There's nothing worse than a reformed drunk," only in my case a "reformed juvenile liar," that has made me so intolerant of people's loose association with reality and easily verifiable facts.

Some years ago when chat rooms were all the rage, I worked with a young woman who frequented them for fun and relaxation. One day she was recounting her experiences and mentioned something personal about her that I knew was untrue. I asked her how she could have said that to strangers and her reply, "Oh, everybody lies on the internet." I was incredulous and for the life of me could not understand why anyone would want to converse with people if you couldn't believe a damned thing they said.

An ex-husband to whom truth was the words he was speaking at the time rather than an actual accounting of events, a child who hasn't learned the teenage lessons of its mother, a drug addicted former daughter-in-law, and the endless barrage of prominent liars we are faced with on a daily basis in our current political climate, and I've become a real cynic

In a conversation with one of my sons a few days ago, he was telling me about a friend of his who, on the subject of Willard the Rat's finances, constantly replied, "You can't prove that," or "Well, it isn't illegal," to any of the points my son highlighted. All the instances mentioned were easily verifiable--some through Willard's own publicly admitted statements and others with just a few keystrokes, but that made no difference to the friend--he was steadfast in his delusions.

The chasm that divides the political sides of this country is so wide and ever broadening that I don't know how we can possibly bridge it. I know I never go to right-wing websites or Fox News to see what the "other" side is hearing/reading, and I can only assume that those of the other side of the chasm refuse to visit--let's just say the fabulously informative web site RealityChex for instance--sites where their preconceptions could be challenged. So without an impartial and truthful media, how does someone without the pure conviction of a Democrat or an evangelical get to the verifiable facts regarding issues?

And JJG, were you perhaps thinking of Dragnet and Sgt. Joe Friday who I seem to recall always politely asked for "just the facts, ma'am."

And finally to yesterday's comment from Mae Finch being a lurker because she felt "out of her depth," here, I must add that I, too, feel a great humility when I read the thoughts expressed by, what I believe to be, the most intelligent and well-reasoned commenters on any blog I've ever read (Charles Pierce's commenters are worth a read, also). Thanks for letting me participate.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacquelyn

Take it back, Akhilleus. The 1950 cutoff presents a few problems, the whole school of economics and Wolfowitz and Chalabi make for a difficult rebuttal, but please consider.... Studs Terkel, Katherine Graham, Saul Bellow, Susan Sontag, Nichols & May, Paul Sills, Carl Sagan, Phillip Glass, Seymour Hirsh, Ab Mikva, Kurt Vonnegut and a bunch of Nobel winners in the sciences which I think includes Watson and Collins.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

I couldn't believe how pitiful and distorted was Maureen Dowd's column this week. It was as if she had a preconceived point she wanted to make and twisted the President's address in order to make it. Even third-grade logic would inform a person that Obama would not blame the electorate for any disappointments of the last four years. He's not going to denigrate us and then ask for our vote.
I am grateful for Marie's excellent takedown of this buffoon in today's Examiner. She went on to analyze the foolish column Bruni wrote about the convention; and Douthat's column which was predictably obtuse; she finished up with Friedman, at least his unintentionally hilarious opening.
The New York Times REALLY needs a better stable of columnists for political writing. The only one who is reliably good is Tim Egan.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Haley,

Good point. Okay, how about just certain individuals from Chicago?

(Add David Brooks to that list, btw)

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: I have just finished feeding the sled dogs on my way to the North Pole to interview S. Claus and I couldn't help but think about Marie's column in todays Ex. What is wrong with Ms. Dowd? I always took her as a gossip columnist but an interesting one. I read Obama's speech twice and got none of the emotions she got out of it. Here's how I would paraphrase his speech in a few sentences.
Thanks for you're support. We've carried a heavy load, heavier than most think. Most of the important things we've tried to do are works in progress. Progress has been slow because of the forces opposing our progress are powerful and non-compromising. Remember we are juggling more than one ball. We are out of one war; We got some sense of justice on 9.11 and I'm not afraid of pulling the trigger. Health, education, and the social net must be protected and promoted. We the people must unite against the idea that it is too late. Thanks again for your help. . So who has a better take on Obama's speech? Get Ms. Dowd a private chat with the President and a pony ride with the promise that if she's good; ice cream after.

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

My brother, who is not always easy to talk to about politics, said he was going to vote for the Prez because BHO didn't wear magical underwear. Does this mean there's an underwear card yet to be played... and likely one that will give the evangelicals the collywobbles?

September 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer
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