On the front page of its Sunday edition, the New York Times gave a big spread to Ann Romney spending lots of time and tons of money on an exotic genre of horse-riding. The clear implication: The Romneys are silly rich, move in rarefied and exotic circles, and are perhaps a tad shady.
Only days earlier, news surfaced that author David Maraniss had unearthed new details about Barack Obama’s prolific, college-age dope-smoking for his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story” — and the Times made it a brief on A15.
No wonder Republicans are livid with the early coverage of the 2012 general election campaign. To them, reporters are scaring up stories to undermine the introduction of Mitt Romney to the general election audience – and once again downplaying ones that could hurt the president.
You’ve only been at this politicking lark for the best part of twenty years, and still the American public seems to regard you as some sort of mysterious cipher—if VandeHei and Allen are to be believed, all too vulnerable to having the vacuum in your public image contaminated by details of how you and your family pass the time off the campaign trail:
Swing voters are just getting to know him. And coverage suggesting he is mean or extravagant can soak in, even though voters who took the time to weigh the details might dismiss the storyline.
Oh dear oh dear. I think the Romney campaign should be more concerned about Politico than anything the NYT publishes. Now “he is mean or extravagant”? The hits keep coming!
Recovering from a week or so off blogging (we’ve had a heatwave, and believe me, in these climes, when that happens, you grab every chance to get outdoors) and trying to get up to speed with what’s eating folks stateside, I did my usual rounds of the news sites and blogs and ended up with some trepidation on Memeorandum.
The tail end of yesterday, it was all hullabaloo over some spat between a speedway bomber I’d never heard of and a blogger I never read along with a bunch of assholes trying to gin up a hot war with liberals everywhere, and today it’s OUTRAGE!!!! that President Obama committed a careless but hardly unprecedented slip of the tongue when doling out a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Polish Resistance fighter Jan Karski for his part in combating the Nazis in the World War 2 and referred to “Polish Death Camps” rather than Nazi ones and seemingly Armageddon’s on the horizon. Ugh, not good, and worthy of an apology (notwithstanding Booman’s quibble), but it’s grimly hilarious to see the right engaged in a feverish political correctness campaign that’ll last as long as the spittle holds out and the wheels don’t come off, at which point the Polack jokes will no doubt kick in again.
Meanwhile, as Vixen Strangely’s covered, Mitt still hearts The Donald (gotta get over that 50% somehow after all), who thinks birtherism is “a great issue for Mitt Romney”—skilfully surfing the zeitgeist, as Trump’s also feeding the buzz on the righty blogs that has now segued into transcripterism—at which point the Romney campaign thinks it’s a dandy idea to release what it claims is a facsimile of Mitt’s own birth certificate (but who the hell knows?), which confirms yet again that his own pa was furrin, spurring Dan Riehl to reach back into the 1960s for evidence of Democratic double standards concerning presidential eligibility and asking—without a question mark, but still just asking, OK?—whether it’s a question of race, and ignoring the fact that the pack o’ rightwing loons who’ve been clamoring incessantly about Obama’s eligibility seem to be eschewing such double standards and are apparently quite prepared to go after Mitt on similar grounds, if we’re to believe Dana Milbank, and who wouldn’t?
Meanmeanwhile, of course—and MUCH more germane to anything approaching what passes for reality nowadays—comes the news via Betty that the State of Florida has moved on from 2000 and Rick Scott isn’t content to wait till the election this time to disenfranchise whole demographic blocs of its voters.
I need a lie down. What other headshaking or earthshattering developments have I missed?
If you’re not too busy, perhaps you could look into this:
Kay covered Florida Governor Rick Scott’s brazen attempt to steal the upcoming election here yesterday. The issue is getting some local press, and it was heavily covered on the MSNBC line-up last night. But aside from that, the story isn’t getting a lot of play in the national press.
Maddow pointed out that whites make up only 13% of the names on the purge list (and are more than 60% of the state population as a whole). The whole thing stinks to high heaven, and unless the DOJ steps in, it looks like Scott might get away with it.
But it’s only a fundamental right being stripped away from legitimate citizens. I’m glad the media decided to focus instead on what the guy who wears a hair clump from the shower drain on his head says and how it might affect the fortunes of the guy who strapped a dog to the roof of his car.
It looks like right-wing blogs gave MSNBC host Chris Hayes a bit of a beating for making what I don’t even think was all that dramatic a statement regarding the language we use to refer to fallen US Servicepersons:
“Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’?” Hayes said. “I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
Okay—he’s posing this as a question he isn’t even comfortable asking, and he admits he doesn’t even mean to offend anyone at all by asking. And the idea that the language we use to refer to war colors our impression of it and lends it glamour is by no means a new idea. Nonetheless, an opportunity arose to pound on Hayes for the thought-crime of not readily lending the highest encomiums of the English language to the commemorated war dead, and to smear The Left in general as “Probably not Sufficiently Respectful of Our Men and Women in Uniform Dead or Alive” also, too. And so—to the outrage factory! And also, to the “apology store”. (To Hayes’ credit, he gives excellent apology. There’s not a “sorry if anyone was offended” air to it at all. )
The pixelated tone-poem of the internet kerfuffle is probably not the ideal medium for discussion of the attitudes and language we use to discuss war, its consequences, and the multifaceted ways it can be viewed through the media prism. I don’t know if a blog post can adequately cover the distance between the Gettysburg address’ admonition to the living to carry on the fight in the honor of the fallen, and the recent-times questioning of our current wars: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” It has as much to do with the cheapening of our sights and expansion of our vision of what war can accomplish, as it does our ability to confront the complexities of war through a far greater media exposure. We are removed. We are also sometimes ensnared—involved in the question of why and how war is engaged—and the servicemembers are erased in the debate, or used as examples. Their reality is eclipsed.
I don’t know where to go with that—so I’m just going to relate a story about my mom getting arrested.
Delighting Customers for Christ
Downsizing the Devil with Jesus
Paradigm Shift to Salvation
Getting Granular in Gethsemane
Synergy, Not Sin
I feel certain I’m overlooking low-hanging fruit and that y’all will push the envelope with value-added propositions.
In other news, I’m starting to feel like Tippi Hedren: In addition to dealing with the chickens, now I have a pair of turtle doves to contend with. They took up residence in a hanging basket under the overhang of our tiki bar.
Despite what the stylized rendition of The Donald’s hair seems to represent, this poster is neither selling cotton candy nor alpaca fiber woven rugs. No, this poster, portraying Trump as a kind of billionaire Uncle Sam (Uncle Semoleons?) is recruiting (see?) donors with the promise of being entered in a drawing to have a meal with the former governor of Massachusetts and the reality-show real estate mogul.
That’s a bargain, depending upon your threshold for awkwardness and/or sense of humor. Me, I’m a lefty blogger and I presume drinks are paid for, so I might even be a little curious to see what the chemistry is really like between those two wild and crazy guys. Maybe I’d try to engage on what they really think about competition economically with China or the limitations of a truly free market, but I think we all know what the real Trump card is, and why it’s kind of weird Romney is willing to play it this close to his actual physical, pretending-to-be-moderate-enough-to-win-a-general-election chest.
It’s the Birther card, natch. And as Patrick McKinnion’s heroic “Dispatches from Birtherstan” regularly shows, there lies some outstanding stupid and crazy. Let’s just say, if I were Mitt, and trying to look not-stupid, I wouldn’t necessarily want to enjoy a candlelight supper with riparian entertainments with a guy who still straight-up thinks Obama was born in Kenya, even after Obama released the long-form birth certificate and actually laughed right at Trump like a boss. (Yeah, Romney joke in there, too. Because, you know. Inevitable Mitt.)
I could still be bitter about Powell’s Show’n'Tell presentation for the UN with the actual vial of crack he bought just a block away from the White House anthrax vial and the Diorama of Doom showing the limits of Near Eastern meteorological technology cunning mobile biowarfare labs that most likely were no such thing, but that’s not me. I forgive people for spewing the kind of utter nonsense they consider to be their jobs, if—if--if I have reason to suspect they might be retired enough or done with the nonsense enough to actually level with us. I got that feeling from Powell when he endorsed Obama last time, and I more or less still think Powell is not the worst of people. And he may even know what he’s talking about.
So that said—C’mon, Mitt. Because I don’t think that guy even has the credibility I’m willing to front Powell. (No, read the “that guy” thing. It’s Romney on about Russia. So precious! He’s like Sarah Palin with a bigger house to see Russia from.).
On the left is one of my cute little Australorp chicks at one week old, and on the right is that same chick eight weeks later:
Every morning I ask her the same question: Where are my goddamned eggs?!?
In other news, the Vetting the Bed* process continues apace at Big Dead, where cub reporter Joel B. Pollak reckons President Obama must have entered Columbia as an Affirmative Action student with SAT scores even lower than the famously dumb George W. Bush.
His evidence? A 1981 newspaper article about the average score of the Columbia transfer class:
Breitbart News has learned that the transfer class that entered Columbia College in the fall of 1981 with Obama was one of the worst in recent memory, according to Columbia officials at the time…If Obama’s SAT scores were near the average of the transfer students entering Columbia in the fall of 1981, he would have scored significantly lower than George W. Bush…
Yeah, and if my granny had wheels, she’d be a go-cart. These are painfully stupid people.
(Reuters) - ATLANTA - When he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in May 2011, Newt Gingrich was the prosperous head of a small empire commonly known as Newt Inc, which included both for-profit consultancies and nonprofit foundations.
Altogether, these entwined ventures pulled in more than $110 million over the past decade. Now the vestiges of this empire are mired in debt, as is Gingrich’s campaign fund.
I find this sad, in a way. When Griftrich started with the whole “I know, let’s run for President!” scam, I’m pretty sure he was just looking on it as a nice way to see the country and eat out a lot and sell books. It was all going to be kind of like a working vacation. The problem was probably South Carolina. You know what I mean. Never believe your own bullshit. Once he started actually campaigning….that was it. Real campaigns are expensive. Even more than Tiffany’s kind of expensive.
He even owes his good friend Herman Cain money. I wouldn’t want to owe Herman Cain money, would you? Those weird ads with the animals—they’re kind of like a warning of….something.
Anyway, even I, a person who has disliked Newt since, oh, the early ‘90’s, feels bad enough to want to do something. Probably toss quarters at his big old head if I ever see him, but you get the idea.
(You know, I was thinking of posting some more nonsense from the Breitbartlets’ Vettenings , but honestly, how dumb is this thing gonna get before it’s over? Obama might have had lower test scores than Bush? Wake me up when they get to “Is this gum wrapper on the ground Obama’s? Is he a stone-cold litterbug?”)
(Sorry about the Boeing advert up-front—it’s part of the clip. But if you were possibly in the market, for say, a small jet, I hope that was helpful to you.)
Now that we’re in the second day of foofaraw over Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s oddly off-message statement on Meet the Press, I feel comfortable saying: Meh. I know. Some people are saying he’s trashed the Obama campaign’s line of attack regarding Romney’s record at Bain. I think that on the merits of Romney actually not having a damn thing else he’s running on, it’s still a good line of attack, as these things go, especially when you look at things like the amazingly lop-sided profits to creditor repayment ratio in the Ampad deal (that looks like a Mafia bust-out, seriously). It’s still a valid line of questioning regarding Romney’s involvement with job-creation (or destruction, as the case may be), as Booker himself has pointed out in his walk-back.
The “both sides do it” part of his comments is what I found more distasteful. There just isn’t an equivalence between Obama’s attendance at Trinity United Church being used as a smear (“Black! Liberation! Theology!”) against him, versus a critical look at just what Mitt Romney is putting forward as his claim to understanding the economy. The former tactic is a device to try and make President Obama responsible for every out of context thing another person may have said in his presence to present him as a dubiously American “other”. The latter is, I would say, the thing Mitt Romney’s campaign has invited us to do by making his record as businessman the central rationale for his campaign.
I just don’t think there’s really a long-term harm coming from a muddled message, here. Honestly, although there’s going to be some waving of Booker’s statement around in a “even Obama Surrogate Cory Booker said….” fashion, it’s still early in the campaign. It’ll pass. And actually, I’m more interested in some ways with the degree of push-back Booker has gotten from Obama defenders (I’m kind of glad to see it, actually). It tells me people are fed up with false equivalence and fired up to set the record straight.
Also, I don’t think it should do much more for Cory Booker than remind him: there is no such thing as post-partisan in an election year. I can appreciate the point of keeping a positive message as a surrogate for Obama, and he did mention some good points about how Obama’s policies have benefited the economy already—but without pushing back against smears, given how dirty this campaign is shaping up to be with all the PAC money involved—he wasn’t really doing it right.
What a weird, birther-y week it’s been. We’ve had one CO US Representative, Mike Coffman, indicate that he didn’t know where Obama was from, he just wasn’t an American. We’ve had the Secretary of State of, where else, but Arizona, Ken Bennett, imply that President Obama might not be on that state’s ballot because he considers Obama’s birth certificate to be suspect, following in the footsteps of the great detective, one Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose evidence consists of “read a book saying its’ suspect”, “WND”, and “oh look, shiny thing”. And then there was the journalism find of the week from the Breitbartlets (complete with “non-Birther, no really, we’re just raising questions and presenting evidence” disclaimer): the smoking brochure, where apparently someone at the literary agency repping Obama mistakenly indicated that he was born in Kenya.
This is supposed to be proof that people surrounding Barack Obama have been carefully cultivating an Obama myth to obscure the Real Obama. I think it’s proof that agents more or less skim the books their authors put out.
But it’s not a bad theory: there we have Barack Obama, poised to embark on a political career that will ultimately take him to the White House; and there’s the literary agency, conspiring to help him by dishing out a nugget of disqualifying information….Wait, what?
In other news, I took my dogs for a walk this morning. Like the good neighbor that I am, I tucked a plastic grocery bag in my pocket so that if one of the dogs took a dump along the way, I could whisk the turds away. Leave only footprints—that’s my motto.
Sure enough, Daisy Mayhem took a gigantic dump on someone’s lawn, which I scooped into the bag and tied off, and we went on our merry way. It’s trash day, which means there are bins along the edges of the lawns. One was open, so I tossed the turd-bag into it.
My husband thinks this is really rude, but I don’t see the problem. I wouldn’t throw un-bagged dog turds into someone’s trash can, but bagged turds—what’s the issue? I don’t get it.
Anyhoo, away we went, but then Daisy Mayhem decided to take ANOTHER ginormous dump—right on someone’s goddamned driveway! This never happens, so I had not prepared for the eventuality of needing TWO bags. (The other dog, Patsy, never shits outside our yard.)
It was very early, just past dawn. No one else was around. I could have easily just kept going and left that pile of turds right where they were. But I wasn’t raised that way, so I was desperately trying to come up with a solution. Should I just take the dogs home and come back in my car to clean up the mess? Root through some stranger’s trash can to find a receptacle for the shit?
There was a bagged newspaper in the driveway. It wasn’t the paid subscription paper but one of those freebies. I skinned the bag off it and used it to pick up the turds, tied off the bag and deposited the bag and the paper in a nearby bin, hoping the homeowners weren’t peering through a window or on their way outside to confront me.
Did I do the right thing? I don’t know. I hope I don’t encounter any more serious and troubling moral quandaries this weekend.
With Mrs. Polly currently on leave (soon to return rested and reinvigorated, we hope), we’ve been somewhat neglectful of the adventures of everybody’s favorite nitrous-huffing polymath, the lost Gabor sister.
Let me rectify that right now with this current ad from Orly’s Spetsnaz mission to finagle a seat in the California US Senate.
CLICK to marvel then fiddle with your volume control at the voiceover recorded by Darth Vader’s Aunt Bessie through a gimp mask on one of Edison’s original cylinders. STAY for the Pythonic TA-DAAAA typeface incident that heralds the triumphal entrance of The World’s Most Snarkworthy Dentist/Mail-Order JP/Bunny Boiler Extraordinaire/State Senatorial Candidate. SNORK into your morning coffee at winning lines such as “She’s like the Energizer Bunny on steroids.” SPILL said coffee all over yourself and suffer a violent coughing fit at the Gilliamesque cameo from Dianne Feinstein. SPILL SOME MORE at the spectacle of Orly’s lushly lash-lined peepers peering dementedly out of a niqab of armor because Joan of Arc was batshit too, that’s why. CHECK YOUR WATCH to confirm, yes, it’s only four minutes long, though it seems like an ice age. CHUCKLE postcoitally at the Youtube comments.
And ... DONE. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
Those who want to know what the heck else Orly’s been up to can check out Patrick’s masterly stream-of-consciousness compendium of updates at Bad Fiction.