The Ledes

Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Los Angeles Times: "Andrew Getty, an heir to the Getty oil fortune, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home Tuesday. Los Angeles police are investigating.... Just two weeks ago, Getty had sought a restraining order against a woman, according to court records.... A woman who was present at the time of the death was escorted from the residence by police for questioning...."

Washington Post: "Iraqi forces claimed to have seized the city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants on Tuesday after U.S.-led airstrikes cleared the way for ground operations, an advance that would mark the government’s most significant victory over the extremists since their summer blitz. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced in a televised address that Tikrit had been liberated after security forces and 'popular mobilization' units, a grouping of pro-government fighters that includes Iranian-backed Shiite militias, made rapid inroads into the city. However, military officials said some areas of the city were yet to be entered...."

New York Times: "With anger swelling over corruption, inequality and a devastating Islamist insurgency in the nation’s north, Nigerians chose a former general who once ruled with an iron hand to be their next president, according to election results on Tuesday. The election was the most competitive presidential race ever in Nigeria, one of the largest democracies in the world. Now, if power is handed over peacefully, it will be a major shift for the nation — the first transfer of power between civilians of different parties in a country that has spent much of its post-colonial history roiled by military coups."

The Unfortunate Death of a Fool. Washington Post: "What had first appeared to be an attempt to breach security at the [NSA] ... now appears to be a wrong turn by two men who police believe had robbed their companion of his vehicle and perhaps didn’t stop because there were drugs inside. A spokeswoman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, Amy J. Thoreson, said early in the investigation that authorities 'do not believe [the incident] is related to terrorism.' A law enforcement official said: 'This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.'”

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "On Monday, the [U.S.] government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate. The agents, Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, had resigned amid growing scrutiny, and on Monday they were charged with money laundering and wire fraud. Mr. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest."

Guardian: "The personal details of world leaders at the last G20 summit were accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department, which did not consider it necessary to inform those world leaders of the privacy breach.... An employee of the agency inadvertently sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal identifiers of all world leaders attending the summit to the organisers of the Asian Cup football tournament."

Washington Post: "One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency. The vehicle slammed into a police cruiser after shots were fired." ...

... ABC News: "Sources say the two inside [the vehicle] were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual's car without permission. However, it's still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate."

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 31

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday afternoon, just about lunch time, a 'flying saucer' was undergoing a spin test in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The saucer is technically a 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound aerodynamic test vehicle. It is designed to help engineers try out new technologies for landing spacecraft, and someday people, on Mars."

Guardian: "Comedy Central is standing by its new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, after the 31-year-old South African comedian set to replace Jon Stewart was criticized for a series of controversial jokes he tweeted before his appointment." ...

... Jessica Winter of Salon: "Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt." Besides being a misogynist pig & an anti-Semite, Noah isn't even funny."

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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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