Monday, December 24, 2012

comment of the day

catdance @ talkingpointsmemo:

somehow i don't think i'd feel all that comfortable dropping my child off into an armed camp every day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

today for certain

("watchmen" #3, story by alan moore, art by dave gibbons, 1986)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

of course the interview was never used

roger ebert:

let me tell you a story. the day after columbine, i was interviewed for the tom brokaw news program. the reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. "wouldn't you say," she asked, "that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?" no, i said, i wouldn't say that. "but what about 'basketball diaries'?" she asked. "doesn't that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machine gun?" the obscure 1995 leonardo di caprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, i said, but the movie failed at the box office (it grossed only $2.5 million), and it's unlikely the columbine killers saw it.

the reporter looked disappointed, so i offered her my theory. "events like this," i said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. when an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. the story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the trench coat mafia. the message is clear to other disturbed kids around the country: if i shoot up my school, i can be famous. the tv will talk about nothing else but me. experts will try to figure out what i was thinking. the kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn't have messed with me. i'll go out in a blaze of glory."

in short, i said, events like columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by cnn, the nbc nightly news and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. i commended the policy at the sun-times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on page 1. the reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. of course the interview was never used. they found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.

Friday, December 07, 2012

picture of the day

overheard election evening: "i'm sorry to have to ask you again, governor, but could you repeat that just one more time? and even louder? the folks over here are just a little bit excited tonight."

nov. 6, 2012: president obama talks on the phone with former massachusetts gov. mitt romney in the presidential suite at the fairmont chicago millennium park in chicago, ill. (via tpm)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

classic crumb

(story & art by robert crumb, 1967)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"wolf!" they cried, this time with feeling

even as the benghazi gasbags crumple under their own morbidly obese weight, from the outset it was never possible to take republicans seriously on it. first, the point man just wants to throw his weight around in front of the cameras one last time before the next senate takes it away from him. second, four years ago the GOP proudly and loudly proclaimed that their number one priority was to make obama a one-term president. to win 2012 obama needed to fail. at everything. thus began a nonstop and ultimately futile campaign of single-minded obstruction, condemnation and sabotage of every act, nomination and proposal obama has attempted to make. that is now historical fact. the GOP came to raze him, then to bury him. in all of four years obama wrested from them but a single moment of respite — after disclosing the death of bin laden, where even the most rabid partisans could find no safe purchase from which to continue their attacks.

when a party adopts a nakedly self-serving program of categorical obstruction, they also loudly announce that the merits of any particular issue do. not. matter. one. whit. quite foolishly they surrendered all credibility on anything and everything they object to, since they were planning to object anyway. everything becomes a "crisis" and the critics become the old men that cried wolf. so despite their loud moral opprobrium at the deaths of four americans, does anyone believe, had benghazi never happened, that the GOP would not now be organizing some kind of "crucial" hearings about some other administration "scandal"? does anyone believe, had rice's name never been floated, that the GOP would not now be obstructing this nomination, as they have every other?

Friday, November 23, 2012

exit interview

enjoy your retirement, sam.

audio: detective calls comments about obama's death 'political hyperbole'

veteran JSO officer retires after confronted with perceived threat to president

the jacksonville sheriff's office has released audio of an internal affairs interview with a veteran detective accused of threatening the president and members of the democratic party the week of the election earlier this month.

that detective, sam koivisto, later retired from JSO.

in the interview, koivisto was asked if he knew why he was being questioned.

"my understanding is that, and all i can say, all there is to say, is any statements made are political hyperbole," he said. "such as when on tv, they go, 'hey, you know, the republicans want to, you know, take — put people on death lists and, you know, push them off the cliff or something.' i mean, that's all it is. it's just political hyperbole. i have not said it. i've not made any threats against anybody. i've not said anything other than to express a desire, not happy with the fact obama got elected. that's it."

an internal affairs investigator continued to prompt koivisto about the statements he made.

"the statement i made in the office was something of the nature — i think ms. field at some point said, 'you know, the poor people up north just got hit by one storm and now they're hit by another,'" koivisto said. "and i made the statement, 'well, you know, the whole northeast just generally has voted democratic, voted heavily obama, got him elected. and so i said something to the point, 'well, if a nuclear bomb exploded and killed them all, it wouldn't hurt my feelings any.' that's what i said. didn't make any statement about hurting anybody or anything of that nature."

the investigator, however, said the statement he wanted koivisto to speak on was one he made about a threat to kill the president.

"no. no. the only statement ever made about the president was, i said, 'you know, just like when they killed osama bin laden,' i said, 'if someone says, 'hey, he is the enemy of the state or whatever,' and they had to take him out, then i could be the guy to do it,'" koivisto said. "that's not, that's not a, that's not me saying i would kill the guy or anything of that nature. that's just to say that if the guy went away, it wouldn't hurt my feelings."

koivisto said he never told anybody he wanted to kill the president.

"it was a bad choice of words, perhaps," he said. "no intention with it whatsoever."

in koivisto's retirement letter, he requested to keep his badge and glock 27, and was allowed to.

sheriff john rutherford said his department learned the friday after the election of "threatening statements allegedly made by one of our detectives."

rutherford said in a preliminary interview with koivisto, he acknowledged making the statements, which "we found his comments to be unacceptable workplace conduct, as opposed to legitimate threats."

"it was never made, never a threat, never any, you know, ever going to ever take any action on it or anything of that nature," koivisto said. "it was just saying that, you know, i'm not real fond of the guy, and if he goes away it wouldn't hurt my feelings."

during the interrogation, he insisted it was all just talk.

"simply just saying that i'm not pleased with that whole situation of, of the country is in. period. that's it," koivisto said. "political hyperbole, nothing more, nothing less."

given the nature of the comments, JSO notified the united states secret service of koivisto's statements. the secret service said a decision on any possible charges would be up to the U.S. attorney's office.

rutherford said koivisto, who had 24 years with the department, elected to retire early.

the interviewer makes a keen observation the erstwhile detective so far is unwilling to acknowledge: "perception is reality. if they perceive that: hey you said that and you got the means to carry it out, you ARE a police officer ..."

koivisto wants to pretend otherwise but, unlike most random nutjobs off the street, the feds have no choice but to take his case seriously.

the interviewer's trying to tell him: someone believed you.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

why romney ran

atrios @ eschaton asks:

who the hell would want that job

not going to waste too much of my beautiful mind on it, but I do wonder why romney wanted to be preznit. i wonder the same about anyone, of course, but the reasons do differ.

let me count the ways:

  1. to prove Himself better than His Father, who, though being the better man, failed to become President
  2. to see His Name writ upon the Pages of History, as a member of the Most Exclusive Club in the World

  3. to walk in the Company of World Leaders, and not as a donor or favor-seeker or hanger-on

  4. to bask in the Glow of His lessers, and have Senators, CEOs and Rock Stars seek His Attention and Kiss His Ring

  5. to receive Presidential Awards, Prizes and Medals

  6. to hear everyone speak His Name every day for eight continuous years

  7. to place a Capstone on His Worldly Achievements

  8. to culminate a life-long Quest for Validation

Thursday, November 08, 2012

the sad trombone

via tumbler, scenes from the night republicans discovered that reality really does have a liberal bias:

four more years ...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

foreign policies

the 70's called — they want their foreign policy back!

all mitt is saaaying, is ... ♬

a tale of two campaigns

and this is the way the debates end:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

say what, governor?

booman tribune:

last night's debate was different for a lot or reasons. the president let himself get pushed around a little bit early on, but not without some resistance. and he eventually found the perfect moment to rope-a-dope Romney into the threshing blades with his comments on terrorism in benghazi. thereafter, obama was the undisputed alpha dog of the debate, which was capped by his good fortune in having the final say of the night. if it were a boxing match, romney was knocked down at least two times and the fight ended with mitt on the ropes taking a pummeling from the champion. the judges' cards were not close.

a tale of two campaigns

Friday, October 12, 2012

a tale of two campaigns

via twitter:

ari rabin-havt: clearly biden warmed up with some p90x tonight

oliver willis: fox calls ryan "the budget whiz." ffs.

jasons linkins: NOBODY BEATS THE WHIZ

Thursday, October 04, 2012

a tale of two campaigns

let romney savor his moment.

he's worked his entire life for it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

the real october surprise

conservatives discover that their nemesis really is one baaad motherf—!


Saturday, September 29, 2012

romney unplugged

(original artwork by alex ross)

fox news:

bill o'reilly: i don't understand what the controversy is. i think mr. romney should campaign on this point. if i'm governor romney, i run with this all day long.

sean hannity: it is romney unplugged as the GOP presidential nominee delivers one of his sharpest critiques yet of president obama and the entitlement society that he enables.

stuart varney: i think this will be seen as a win for romney.

pollster nate silver @ fivethirtyeight:

after a secretly recorded videotape was released on sept. 17 showing mitt romney making unflattering comments about the "47 percent" of americans who he said had become dependent on government benefits, i suggested on twitter that the political impact of the comments could easily be overstated.

"ninety percent of 'game-changing' gaffes are less important in retrospect than they seem in the moment," i wrote.

... since then, however, mr. obama has gained further ground in the polls. as of thursday, he led in the popular vote by 5.7 percentage points in the "now-cast," a gain of 1.6 percentage points since mr. romney's remarks became known to the public.

it's hard to tell whether this recent gain for mr. obama reflects the effect of the "47 percent" comments specifically. but the most typical pattern after a party convention is that a candidate who gains ground in the polls cedes at least some of it back.

instead, the more pertinent question seems not whether mr. obama is losing ground, but whether he is still gaining it.

... what we can say with more confidence is that mr. romney is now in a rather poor position in the polls.

... the overall story line, however, is fairly clear: mr. romney is at best holding ground in the polls, and quite possibly losing some, at a time when he needs to be gaining it instead. further, it's increasingly implausible for mr. romney to attribute the numbers to temporary effects from the democratic convention. mr. obama's probability of winning the electoral college advanced to 83.9 percent in the nov. 6 forecast, up from 81.9 percent on wednesday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

romney-ryan: a post-mortem

so how did romney-ryan flub their campaign? plainly stated, they attempted to play the electorate for total fools. the fools, however, were not amused.

romney-ryan (and their moneyed backers) wanted to see just how far they could get away with outright lying as a central strategy, one that was dependent on the media playing along in its contemporary role as neutered stenographers. the stenographers, however, were not amused. the plan fell apart with romney's attacks on obama's welfare waiver; the press, not really enjoying serving romney as thankless eunuchs, chose their remaining credibility over complete irrelevance.

romney-ryan wanted to see just how far they could get away with running a campaign on nothing but glib generalities and baffling banalities. trust my wonk, romney assured us; everything makes sense in the details, which we'll happily bore you with ... after the election. however, a certain now-famous and doubtlessly pivotal tape revealed:

romney: if we win on november 6th there will be — a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. and we'll see capital come back and we'll see — withoutwithout actually doing anything, we'll [chuckling] actually get a boost in the economy.

heh heh heh... surprise! no grand vision up my sleeve, no master plan beyond untethered hope, something conservatives invoking obama's 2008 campaign currently sneer at. meanwhile, the 47% were not amused.

so the romney-ryan bamboozlefest 2012 crashed and burned more than a month before the election, before even a single debate. in truth it never really got off the ground. perhaps they were doomed from the start. the republican brand has suffered nothing less than a total loss of credibility. with credibility goes a certain deference normally given, certainly by the press, to those cloaked in the authority of their reputations. they might have held onto a remnant of it by admitting their mistakes and cooperating in fixing them.

so who knows if it could have worked? perhaps if the team weren't so clearly incompetent, unable to turn either a scripted event, like their london tour or an unforseen one, like the libyan riots, to their advantage. one thing is clear, though: the electorate isn't nearly as idiotic as romney-ryan themselves turned out to be.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"... i mean black people"

in a thursday special saturday night live took a chainsaw to romney's "quiet room" comments about the so-called "47%":

romney (jason sudeikis): "... so you have this 47% that don't pay taxes, and these people are never going to vote for me. and when i talk about these people who don't pay taxes, i don't mean senior citizens. alright? and i don't mean members of our armed services. and i don't mean southern whites. okay, what i mean is ... and real quick — no one is recording this, correct? no? okay, it's very important that no one records this. okay, good, 'cause i'm about to say who "these people" [finger quotes] are. now i would prefer not to have that on tape.

[turns to camera] ah, sorry sir, is that a camera on the table pointing right at me?

[brief camera pans right and left, as if signaling "no"] okay, great.

[turning back to guests] alright, now when i say "these people", i mean black people."

snl got it exactly right: this is the elusive "whitey tape". the real one. glad somebody finally aired it.

since the surfacing of romney's "47%" comments, a narrative has settled in that romney has carelessly damaged himself with huge swathes of his own voters. while there is definitely anecdotal evidence of some defections, and while i can certainly see this hurting him badly among any remaining undecideds, anyone who's been following conservatives, especially hardcore conservatives, knows that this tape only validates what wingnuts rich, middle and poor already believe. to them, romney's statements come simply as an extension of his already established coded attacks on welfare.

the american spectator: "when i hear romney's words at this event, my reaction is "say more of this stuff in public, mitt." it's a strong and correct message (other than the use of a number as high as 47 percent) and it will resonate with many americans, including quite a few who don't pay income tax."

"i entirely agree, and this should be the campaign focus. if the truth doesn't get him elected, then the country is gone at this point in history anyway." (pieceofthepuzzle)

as i recently commented on daily kos:

... romney's saying that the OTHER half of the country are freeloaders (colored people).

HIS half of the country, his white base, regardless of class or income level, will always exempt themselves from that description. they rightfully deserve their govt largess (tax cuts, loans, subsidies), which don't count as loathsome handouts (welfare, food stamps, unemployment).

cnn's john king carried the conventional narrative by poignantly making the case for the 47% via his own experience:

"... so, a lot of these voters could be republicans. and ah, i understand your back-and-forth, but alice, i, i make a personal note here: a lot of americans, of all income stripes, have struggled for the last few years and the risk for gov. romney is that it is insulting to them. as a kid, my family was on food stamps for a couple of years when my dad got sick. ah, we didn't feel entitled, and we weren't victms, and my father was pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. ah, but in the end my mother was grateful she was able to feed her kids."

meanwhile, hardcore conservatives not only exempt themselves from admissions or accusations of government assistance, they deny their government assistance is a form of government assistance! craig t. nelson on glenn beck's show:

"i've been on food stamps. anybody help me out? no."

just another episode in the GOP's long-running but more and more often flaccid southern strategy:

interviewer: but the fact is, isn't it, that reagan does get to the wallace voter and to the racist side of the wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

lee atwater: you start out in 1954 by saying, "nigger, nigger, nigger." by 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. backfires. so you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. you're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. and subconsciously maybe that is part of it. i'm not saying that. but i'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. you follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "we want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "nigger, nigger."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

romney-man to the rescue

(story and art by ty templeton)