Fox News Didn't Air a Suicide, Fox News Committed a Murder

You can read the grisly details in The Guardian but let's be clear it was a news helicopter whose feed was broadcast on Fox News with a blow by blow narrated by Shepard Smith that hounded a man, yes a car thief but still a man, to his death. By the time the man stopped the vehicle he had apparently stolen, the police were not in pursuit. Only a bloodthirsty media was in pursuit. What morbid fascination, what depraved sense of what is newsworthy and as if we didn't have serious national issues to debate. An apology (which Fox delivered to its audience, not the victim's family) does not suffice. Criminal charges are in order.

And it is furthermore even more despicable that certain websites at this very hour continue to profit by making such video public for sheer bloodlust.  When one talks of moral decay, this is of which I speak - a capitalism that will profit off the death of an imperfect human being.



The Definitive Todd Akin

Fresh off attempting to define what "legitimate rape" is, Rep Todd Akin, the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, now wants to define what "ladylike" behaivor is or is not. After feeling the brunt of Senator Claire McCaskill during a debate last week, Akin told the Kansas City Star:

“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

One gets the impression that Todd Akin thinks women should just sit there, be lecture at and not be allowed to speak much less opine. Did he expect Claire McCaskill to just sit there and listen to his Biblical views on gender? This is a man who thinks the world is 6,000 years old and who has called anyone who believes in evolution "a monkey-lover". He's hardly a suitable candidate for dogcatcher but somehow the state of the GOP in 2012 is such that the party establishment thinks a man with such misantrophic views is eligible to sit in the US Senate. 

There's more...

The Knockout Punch

The ad is entitled "My Job" and it is the latest of pro-Obama ads either from the Obama campaign or from groups supporting the re-election of the President. This ad was produced by the Obama campaign and is slated to run in just seven swing states. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post calls it "brutal". I concur. It is a knockout punch.

Weak fields

Amidst the hundreds of pre-post-mortems going for Romney's campaign, Washington Post's Richard "Liberal" Cohen --sniff-- misses Ron:

In 1980 Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination. He beat a future president, George H.W. Bush; two future Senate majority leaders, Howard Baker and Bob Dole; and two lesser-known congressmen. This year Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination. He beat a radio host, a disgraced former House speaker, a defeated Senate candidate, a former appointee of the Obama administration, a tongue-tied Texas governor, a prevaricating religious zealot who happens to serve in the House of Representatives and a cranky libertarian doctor. Where did all the talent go?

Cohen longs for the intellectual heavy-weights of yore (George W. Bush and Reagan?) and concludes that the only solution, as is all things, infinity is more moderates voting for more trickle-down Republicans, more NeoCon foreign policy Republicans and more top-end tax cut Republicans.  In short, more of everything Romney is running on, but spoken moderately?  Or something. 

Pretending the trend this cycle is a full rejection of GOP ideas (just like the opposite in 2010) is a miss, but even further off the mark is pretending Obama is winning this election merely because the Republican field was weak.  It was weak.  So weak it was fun


  • Agree with Cohen, George W. Bush and Reagan did, indeed, win their elections.  But neither were particularly strong candidates on the trail. 
  • The overall not-sucking-enough economy kept a few Republicans stronger than, say, Herman Cain out of the race, sure, but even with them in Romney would've probably been the favorite. 
  • Romney was never that electable to begin with.
  • House Republicans tarnished the brand.  Extreme ideas like redefining rape scare many voters.  Probably more than one independent voter out there still wondering how the hell Planned Parenthood fits into the GOP recovery plan, for sure.
  • The Romney campaign has been a disaster, and campaigns matter some.

All true, but none are a good way to understand Obama's lead.  Jonathan Bernstein:

[...]the easiest interpretation of what’s going on right now is that, if Obama leads by 3 to 4 points, only a point or two needs to be explained beyond the fundamentals. At best, we’re talking about maybe 5 or 6 percent who would otherwise be voting for Romney but currently appear to be supporting the president.  That’s still worth studying, of course — but it’s a relatively small effect overall.

The basic story here is that, after all, it is the economy.

The economy, and incumbency.  Romney's campaign follies, GOP vs. Pollsters, and the (inevitable) Fox News meltdown are just the icing on the cake.


The Three to Watch

Since 1960, no one has won the Presidency without winning two of these three states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Combined these three states account for 67 Electoral College Votes, one less than they did in the 2008 election (Florida gained two ECVs while Ohio lost two and Pennsylvannia one). Nonetheless these three states, traditionally swing states, account for nearly a quarter of the total needed to win the Presidency.

Polls so far have put Obama far ahead in Pennsylvania so much that the Romney campaign seems to have conceded the Keystone state spending effectively little money. A landslide margin is considered to be ten points. In Pennsylvania, Obama has maintained this margin consistently throughout the summer. The current polls show give the President a twelve point lead.

Ohio and Florida have from the start of this electoral cycle been seen as tough battleground states where the contest would be won or lost. The latest Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News now point to widening leads for the President approaching landslide margins in both states. In Ohio, Obama leads Romney by ten points and in the even more critical Florida contest Obama leads by nine.

I think there are number of reasons why the President is doing well but in Ohio and Florida, two of those reasons are John Kasich and Rick Scott, the respective Tea Party governors of these two rich electoral prizes. 

The election remains as it has been for quite some time. A close election nationally in terms of the overall popular vote but continuing to move in Obama's direction in the Electoral College as voters in the battleground swing states continue to favor the President. In some of these states, the margin is within the margin of error but in Florida and Ohio, it is clearly not. And if Romney can't reverse this trend in these two states, he might as well start writing his concession speech.

It is clearly too early for Obama to write his victory speech but when that time comes a shout out to Kasich and Scott is clearly in order. 

Pawlenty's Faustian Bargain

Former Minnestota Governor Tim Pawlenty is resigning his post as national co-chair of Romney's presidential campaign to assume the leadership role of the Financial Services Roundtable, the K-Street lobbying arm of the nation's financial services sector which counts a membershio of one hundred integrated financial services companies that provide banking, insurance and investment services.

The move likely ends Tim Pawlenty's public office career. Pawlenty, who ran briefly ran for the GOP nomination before bowing out after a poor performance in the Ames Straw Poll, has agreed not to serve in the Cabinet should Romney prevail November 6th. But even longer term, it is difficult to see how Tim Pawlenty could sell himself to the American public after this Faustian bargain with the lobbying arm of American capital that comes with a reported $1.8 million salary. For starters, banks are seen in negative light and reckless risk takers while the word lobbyist is itself a pejorative.

Still, Pawlenty sees it differently. According to The Hill, Pawlenty said representing "Wall Street is another way for him to help the middle class and people who are struggling to find work."

"If you ask what are those things that you can do to make it more likely that jobs are going to grow, the answer is we need more businesses starting and growing," he said. “These financial institutions are the fuel that goes into that engine."

It should be noted that Tim Pawlenty has never worked in the financial services industry nor in the Federal government, making it clear once again that success in America is evermore predicated on who you know more than what you know.

We congratulate him on his new position and his seven figure salary but we would urge him to rethink his view that Wall Street's interests are somehow aligned with Main Street's and I say this as a former Goldman Sachs professional. If I learned anything during my decade on Wall Street, it is that the investment banking sector has become a glorified casino gambling with other people's money where once it was focused on the long-term investments that helped to build this countrty with its own capital.

The Incurious Mitt Romney

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mitt Romney, it seems, has long ago made up his mind - blame the Palestinians exclusively. But take this portion of the dialogue from the Marc Leder-hosted Boca Raton fundraiser for which Mother Jones has now published the transcript and the only conclusion one can draw is that Mitt Romney isn't just incurious, he's not interested in anything that might contradict his already pre-held views. Is this a characteristic one wants in a President?

Romney: I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won't mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, "You know, I think there's a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections." I said, "Really?" And his answer was, "Yes, I think there's some prospect." And I didn't delve into it . . .

Romney likely had Jim Baker, who served in several capacities during the Reagan-Bush years from 1981-1993, on the phone and Romney "didn't delve into it" when Baker, who remains well-connected and well-respected both in Jewish and Arab circles, suggested that there might be a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections. Why delve into it when you can just "kick the ball down the field"?

Mitt Romney is unfit to be President on many levels but his disinterestedness in hearing the erudite thoughts of the well-connected is as damning as any. The incurious Mitt Romney is a dangerous Mitt Romney.

The Bald-Faced Hypocrisy of Mitt Romney

“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are ENTITLED to healthcare, to food, to housing, you name it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ” --Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Florida on May 17, 2012

By now it should be quite clear that Mitt Romney is as loathsome an individual as any that has ever disgraced our national stage. Simply put Mitt Romney is the most unqualified person ever to seek the presidency in my lifetime, perhaps ever. Without a doubt, he is certainly the most disingenuous and bald-faced hypocrite ever to seek the White House. He is a farce, one would hasten to add that he is a perfect parody of a plutocrat but for the fact that he actually is a plutocrat with his own bizarre sense of entitlement. It is a lark to hear him put such emphasis on the word when he denigrates half the country for not be eligible to pay income taxes especially given the fact that he is clearly eligible to pay said taxes and yet it still remains less than clear that year in and year out whether Mittens has offered up his pittance to Federal coffers. It takes some chutzpah to stroll down that road but chutzpah is a commodity for which Mitt “I believe in America but bank in the Caymans” Romney has never lacked.

There's more...

A Meeting at the White House on Homeownership

Last week I attended a meeting at the White House with Obama administration officials on the housing and homeownership crisis. I joined 150 faith, civil rights, consumer protection, and community leaders from around the country to express the urgency of the crisis, share our stories, and promote practical solutions.

In a loud, clear voice we expressed the pressing reality of this crisis for families, communities, and our nation, with 2 million foreclosure filings this year, and millions more at risk. Another 15 million American homeowners are underwater—meaning that their home is worth less than they owe on their mortgage. And after years of predatory lending and mass foreclosures, a scourge of vacant properties, devastated home values, and impaired credit litter too many communities.

Participants shared their own stories, and those of neighbors, congregants and constituents struggling with abuse by banks and servicers. They included Brigitte Walker of Georgia, an Iraq War veteran who addressed the group. Ms. Walker was driven to the brink of foreclosure after an injury forced her to leave the military and sharply reduced her income. She detailed how her lender, Chase, repeatedly lost documents, gave her misinformation, bounced her around, and slated her home for foreclosure as she tried to negotiate a loan modification.

Ms. Walker was two weeks away from losing her home when Occupy Atlanta took up her case and began pushing Chase to negotiate. "They got everyday people like myself involved. Everyday people contacting Chase and advocating for me, peaceful demonstrations, people calling and writing in," Walker told a local news station at the time.

Just a few days later, Chase called back and struck a deal with Walker that allowed her to keep her home and make reasonable mortgage payments going forward. When she finished telling her story at the White House, Ms. Walker received a standing ovation.

Administration officials listened, and also detailed the considerable steps that the Executive Branch has taken to address the crisis, from establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to encouraging refinancing and loan modifications, to joining 49 state attorneys general in a national mortgage settlement with five major banks. None disputed, however, that those steps have been insufficient, so far, to address the scale of this crisis.

They pointed out, correctly, that a gridlocked Congress has thwarted many bolder solutions, like forcing consideration of principal reduction for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or redirecting unused TARP funds toward housing counseling. That’s why, as planned, many of the participants headed to Capitol Hill after the White House meeting to urge members of Congress to take action of their own. An existing priority for many is the Expanding Refinancing Opportunities Act of 2012, a bill to allow more homeowners the chance to refinance mortgages with insurance provided by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

But the officials also candidly acknowledged something important: that many of the steps that the Administration has taken have come because social movements and everyday Americans have demanded them. That’s why we’ll be stepping up our activism, and ramping up our demands.

The Home for Good campaign, Home Defenders LeagueOccupy Our Homes, and Home Is Where the Vote Is have been pushing, separately and in collaboration, for bolder and more effective action—from the White House, Congress, cities and states, and the banks and financial industry. We seek an end to needless foreclosures, restoration of devastated communities, investment in affordable housing, and accountability on Wall Street. And we have concrete, proven solutions to offer that are rooted in research and experience around the country.

Now is the time to turn up the heat on our elected officials for home opportunity solutions. In our democratic system, that’s how change gets made.

DNC Day 2: Arithmetic


In a sane world, Bill Clinton's speech would be some far right shit I'd be mad about.

It's not a sane world.

Watch the speech here.  Watch the hug that ruined Fox News' fun.  In the end?  Still just a convention speech with marginal influence.  But it went a long way toward further defining what the Democratic Party is pitching (or should be) and servering at very least as a reminder that you can talk smart and folksy together for one hell of a sell.  Krugman: Awesome, except for this.

Pre-Clinton stand outs: Judy Chu, Emanuel Cleaver (!!!), Sandra Fluke, an underwhelming and still amazing to listen to Elizabeth Warren.  Things to avoid unless you like being angry: Steny Hoyer, some talkers talking about the Senate races, and the early morning "let's make sure this gets more press, the President Said" voice vote.

Posting this late in the day (3) so better things have already been written here and here.  Overall another strong day for Democrats, especially in contrast.  And with the news of the Romney camp pulling money out of swing states a month earlier than McCain did the same, the media narrative of the campaigns could get interesting starting now.

On that front, Nate Silver is already looking ahead.

Tonight's prime time schedule.


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