The Ledes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

New York Times: "The latest accord between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization appeared more serious than past attempts, experts said, and came as hopes faded for a resolution to peace negotiations with Israel."

New York Times: "Russia continued Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the government in Kiev, warning that events in eastern Ukraine could prompt a military response and again accusing the United States of directing events there."

Not All Fish Are Created Equal. Time: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro."

Reuters: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter Simon Ostrovsky."

AP: "When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she resurfaced, expressing support once again for the pro-Russia insurgents — but possibly no longer as mayor."

AP: " A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from Canada's embassy in Moscow in retaliation for Canada expelling a Russia diplomat as tensions grow over the Ukraine, Canadian officials said Tuesday."

AP: "A Moscow judge on Tuesday left open the possibility of jailing President Vladimir Putin's main critic for years, a sign of Putin's increasingly hard-line rule against opponents. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was fined $8,400 on Tuesday for slandering a lawmaker. His second trial starts Thursday, and prosecutors who previously secured his house arrest are widely expected to ask for jail for him pending trial, with Tuesday's verdict making him a recidivist. If there's a guilty verdict at that trial, he could get a prison term."

AP: "A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks."

Time: "President Barack Obama paid a visit to the small community of Oso, Wa., on Tuesday, exactly one month after a massive mudslide there claimed at least 41 lives. He promised survivors that the entire country will be on hand to help for 'as long as it takes'”:

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

AP: "In the most high-level visit of a U.S. official since crisis erupted in Ukraine, [Vice President] Biden told leaders from various political parties that he brings a message of support from President Barack Obama as they face a historic opportunity to usher in reforms." The Guardian story is here.

CNN: "The first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 crossed the finish line Monday, triumphant in a storied race that has become a national symbol of resiliency and determination. Meb Keflezighi, 38, won the men's division with an official time of 2:08:37, according to the Boston Marathon's Facebook page. With video.

AP: "Although [a] 15-year-old [airplane stowaway] apparently wanted nothing more than to run away, his success in slipping past layers of security early Sunday morning made it clear that a determined person can still get into a supposedly safe area and sneak onto a plane.... In San Jose, airport officials said they were reviewing how the boy slipped through security that includes video surveillance, German shepherds and Segway-riding police officers."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 23

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

Jon Stewart on the Cliven Bundy story:

... AND on Sean Hannity's support for Bundy:

... AND Hannity is pissed off. Apparently, it upsets him to hear his own blatant hypocrisy ridiculed.

New York Times: "David Letterman introduced his successor, Stephen Colbert, on his 'Late Show With David Letterman' Tuesday night on CBS with a monologue joke and some cordial conversation — but no measuring of the drapes."

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Paul Fahri of the Washington Post: The ratings for "Meet the Press" are so bad that NBC hired a psychologist to analyze Greggers. ...

     ... CW: Here's the rub. Fahri writes, "The impossible burden for Gregory, of course, has been to follow the beloved Russert. As one NBC colleague describes it, Russert is a 'ghost' who still haunts Gregory’s tenure at 'MTP' six years into his run." This is strictly VSP bull. Russert was a mediocre interviewer, who continually let politicians get away with evasive answers. He left big shoes to fill only because he had big feet.

MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

Josh Dickey of Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable." Via New York.

Lauren Moraski of CBS "News": "David Letterman announced Thursday that he's retiring from CBS' 'Late Show' sometime next year. He made that announcement during the taping of his program Thursday afternoon at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater."

No News, All the Time:

Igor Bobic of TPM: "In its wall-to-wall coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has raised the possibility of the supernatural, blackholes, and North Korea; it has interviewed a psychic, tried but failed to rent its own 777 jet, and finally settled on a flight simulator it is using to 'search' for the plane.On Tuesday the network finally turned its attention to garbage."

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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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