The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, December 18, 2014.

New York Times: "The stock market began the week burdened by geopolitical worries, but by the close of trading on Thursday it had bounced back to achieve one of its biggest upswings in recent years. Soothing words from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday, saying that it would be 'patient' on raising interest rates, drove the surge, analysts said. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday, to 2,061.23 — its biggest one-day gain since January 2013. That came on the back of a 2 percent rise on Wednesday."

CNN: "U.S. airstrikes have killed two top-level and one mid-level ISIS leader, a senior U.S. military official tells CNN. Haji Mutazz was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq; Abd al Basit was his military emir in Iraq; and Radwan Talib was his Mosul emir. Their deaths resulted from multiple strikes going back to mid-November -- it has taken until now to determine conclusively they were killed."

AP: "Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates fell this week, with the benchmark 30-year loan rate reaching a new low for the year. The rates' historically low levels could be a boon to potential homebuyers. Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage dropped to 3.80 percent this week from 3.93 percent last week. It is now at its lowest level since May 2013."

New York Times: "A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Don E. Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, from prison as he continues to appeal a prosecution that Republicans say exposed pervasive corruption in state government but Democrats regard as a case pursued for political retribution."

Boston Globe: "Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stood in federal court in Boston this morning for a brief pretrial hearing, which was punctuated by an interruption in Russian and English from a woman in the gallery. Several journalists reported she exclaimed 'stop killing innocent people' in English as she was escorted out for yelling in Russian. The woman identified herself to reporters as a relative of Ibrahim Todashev: a friend of Dzhokhar’s brother who was killed by an FBI agent during an incident that arose from the investigation of a Waltham triple homicide."

AFP: "Two owners and 12 former employees of a US pharmacy were arrested Wednesday in connection with a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people across the country, prosecutors said. Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro owned the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which lost its license in 2012 after inspectors found it guilty of multiple sanitary violations. the pharmacy, located in the city of Framingham, Massachusetts in the US northeast, voluntarily shut down and recalled all products following the unprecedented outbreak of fungal meningitis."

Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

White House Live Video
December 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

... BUT ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

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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