I haven’t had a Morning News Round-Up in a very long time – years – and I miss it. Unfortunately, it seems like we’re in a period when it fits all too well.
I tend to check out the Raw Story website regularly. I like Raw Story, though my biggest complaint with it is that they too often have “click bait” articles, that after you click on them not only have next to nothing to do with what the headline was, occasionally they literally have absolutely nothing to do with the headline and don’t even mention it in the piece. But overall, I find it pretty solid and informative.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon, just browsing the homepage, it had a slew of headlines that just leaped out and almost didn’t need reading (or I couldn’t bear to read them…), but they still demand comment. And so I figured I’d just post them and dive in –
“End-times radio host says COVID vaccines implant 'an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite' in your body”
It’s not that the story is crazy. It’s that I don’t have it in me to understand how not only can someone spread stories like this on the radio and live with themselves, but even more, how there are people who actually listen and believe pure insanity. Though in many ways, that explains Trump being elected, and the continued belief in the Big Lie. And yes, I understand greed and scamming people for a buck. And yes, I understand people who claim “Oh, I only listen because it’s so funny.” But neither of those still really explain the emptiness that both of these require. Because the first isn’t just a mere scam, but hurting society at large. And the latter isn’t that funny to actually be the reason they listen. And the depth of stupidity to believe any part of this takes one’s breath away. On the other hand, I’ve very glad that I don’t have it in me to understand how someone can say this to scam people, nor to believe it.
"‘This is all a set-up’: Steve Bannon whines to Matt Gaetz as he inches closer to being prosecuted"
There’s something too perfect about anyone whining to Matt Gaetz about how they are close to being prosecuted. That it’s Steve Bannon – who was convicted of defrauding suckers of millions and appears to have been one of the people behind the January 6 insurrection – takes perfection to another level, which one would think can’t be done, defying the metaphysical laws of what being “perfect” is.
"I think someone may be trying to kill me': Matt Gaetz makes stunning claim on House floor"
While I know that sticking with yet another Matt Gaetz story these days is almost too easy, this is near-impossible to pass up, since it’s an almost awe-inspiring condition to watch Matt Gaetz top himself, getting a bigger and bigger shovel to dig the hole he’s making for himself. After all, this is from the same guy who first insisted he was being extorted, which made no sense based on any known definition of “extortion.” And now, his latest flailing claim – made on the floor of the House of Representatives, for some reason unknown to Man – is that a professional hit man on Twitter said this to him. Because, after all, that’s how professional hit men work – a) making threats to alert their target, and b) doing it on Twitter. To be clear, the subject of death threats to public figures is nothing to joke about. But this isn’t about jokes, it’s to note that Democrats critical of Trump have had death threats regularly against them for four years – lead by Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “the Squad” and more -- so much so that if they all went on the House and Senate floor each time it happened, there would be no business done ever. Besides which – there was an insurrection on January 6 where far-right seditionists were very vocal and public about killing Speaker Pelosi, Mike Pence and others – and had actual weapons, including a noose – and Matt Gaetz has been on the side trying to block any concern and investigation about that. Nor did he ever criticize Trump for making all media targets by calling them “enemies of the people.” I hope Matt Gaetz is safe. I’d bet lots of money he is. At issue is Matt Gaetz so desperate for putting himself in the center of attention on the House floor that he’s topped even his own gas mask gag there while drawing more attention to the criminal problems he has, as he himself makes light of something deeply serious for others in Congress, thanks to his and his own party’s actions and silence.
"Arizona Republicans fear ‘we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot’ by chasing Trump ‘down the rabbit hole’"
“Going to”?? So, Arizona Republicans don’t think they’ve done so already? After paying for an audit of a multi-certified election, hiring the CyberNinja guy who’d never audited an election before, losing authorization of their voting machines and having to buy news ones now, taking three months on what was supposed to be a couple weeks…and finding 360 more votes for Joe Biden – Arizona Republicans now fear they’re “going to” shoot themselves in the foot? At this point, they should feel blessed they have any feet left. Perhaps if their concern was shooting themselves in the foot chasing Trump down a rabbit hole, Arizona Republicans should have thought of that earlier.
"Slur-spewing man allegedly pulls a knife during parking dispute -- then has his collection of guns confiscated"
Honestly, I don’t know what this story is about – I can make some guesses, but not only are they just guesses, they don’t matter – but the larger point is that if you have a collection of guns, you really don’t want to draw attention to whether you pose a threat to society by spewing slurs and pulling a knife for any reason, but especially something as paltry as a parking dispute. When you do that, you risk…well, shooting yourself in the foot. Like Arizona Republicans, though, too little, too late.
"Parkland high school shooter pleads guilty, says 'he’s very sorry'"
So, okay, we’re back to that “too little, too late” thing. Mind you, I’m certainly glad he’s very sorry. It beats the opposite. And apologies are very good to hear. But they tend to be best when they fit the action you’re apologizing for. In fairness, I’m not sure there’s an apology that would ever fit that action, even prostrating yourself on the ground and wailing in horrified agony – since the families of the victims already have likely been doing that – but still, “very sorry” does seem a bit thin as far as regrets go. You’d think his lawyer might have grasped that. The best I can figure is that his lawyer said, “You’re screwed, make it quick and get it over with.”
"Condoleezza Rice explains why white people shouldn't feel triggered by the teaching of slavery"
I like seeing a prominent Republican saying this. I just wished she recognized that it’s not really “white people” who feel triggered about teaching slavery, but mostly white Republicans of her own party. “White people” spreads the blame much, much too thin and tarnishes a great many tens of millions of white people who don’t feel triggered by it at all. If you’re going to criticize a problem, get the problem right so that you know what you’re actually criticizing.
"Jim Jordan explodes with anger after Dem chairman challenges him to say 'election was not stolen'"
Just noting that after Mr. Jordan (once again) exploded with anger – his go-to move for the Jordan brand – he still did not, then, say that the “election was not stolen.”
"'Princess of Arizona' Meghan McCain fumes over her SNL portrayal: ‘Laughing stock of the country’"
Just noting that when Saturday Night Live did its first sketch on Ms. McCain in 2019 – the one which called her the “Princess of Arizona,” she sent out a tweet that said – “I’m not supposed to be on twitter because of hiatus BUT this sketch is hilarious, and being parodied by @SNL is a huge pop cultural honor. -- Signed, your old intern and ‘the princess of Arizona’.” While it’s certainly possible for someone to like an initial joke that they later think keeps going too far, it’s also possible that if you don’t want to be the laughing stock of the country, you shouldn’t act like one.
We reads the headlines so's you don't have have to.
After being out of town for a month, it takes a while to catch up and get back to speed. So, I don't have it in me yet to read many news stories, and I especially don't have it in me to read the story that come close to making my head explode. So, it goes without saying I'm not able yet to go into depth discussing those that I do read.
However, I figured that I can at least note the headlines of some of the stories that made me glaze over, and give you immediate reactions without even getting into what the story is -- because for some of these, I think my weary, exhausted head would explode if I got that far.
Joe the Plumber: "Your Dead Kids Don't Trump My Constitutional Rights"
No, I wasn't terribly concerned or interested in what "Joe the Plumber" said. I mean, honestly, he's "Joe the Plumber." Mainly, I just never realized that a person's 15 minutes of fame could last this long. Maybe my watch stopped. I'll have to check.
Cliven Bundy Ditches the GOP
Given that these are the days of high school proms, I think it's only appropriate that Mr. Bundy continues the fine, craven tradition of not leaving the party with you brought you. "Fox News" must be especially pissed off, since they probably figured that this was a guy who could groom for president, and now they've wasted all that air time promoting him.
Gov. Rick Scott Won't Say If He Believes In Man-Made Climate Change: 'I'm Not A Scientist'
No word yet on whether non-scientist Gov. Scott (R-FL) believes in gravity and whether or not the earth revolves around the sun. That and electricity, the possibility of telephonic communication, airplane travel, and the effectiveness of heart surgery, Not being a scientist can make life so confusing. But then...that's why we have scientists...
Fox News Guest Issues Lame Apology
I don't know what the guest was supposed to be apologizing for, and I sense that this headline was intended to be critical. But to me, I found it a real shocker and deeply positive. After all, when was the last time you read about anyone of "Fox News" apologizing about anything. "Lame" is great, when you compare it to non-existent.
Dem Who Compared Obama To Hitler Loses Primary
I have to admit, I was tempted to read this story. I wanted to find out if the candidate got any votes. (Left out of the headline is that there was an accompanying photo, and the Democratic candidate was black. I don't know who the candidate's campaign manager was, but I'm guessing that the person is boning up on the concept of "damage control" for the next election.
Pakistani Woman Stoned To Death For Marrying The Man She Loves
There is no truth to the rumor that the corporate-own NRA issued a statement that it's too soon to be discussing whether or not there should be a law against stoning women.
We read the annoying things in the news overnight, so you don't have to have your head explode.
Former House Majority Leader To DeLay (R-TX) says that among God's many other responsibilities, the Almighty also took time out to write the U.S. Constitution. "I think we got off the track when we allowed our government to become a secular government,” DeLay explained on the Global Evangelism Network. "We stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.”
Assuming Mr. DeLay got his facts and religion right, that would mean the Supreme Being supported black people being worth less than a full white man. And that women shouldn't have the vote. On the other hand, it would also raise question to the Lord's infallibility, since so many Amendments have had to be written to correct oversights in the original document.
Former rock personality Ted Nugent apologized several days after saying that President Obama was...
Oh, who cares what Ted Nugent says, even if he apologizes. The fact that it took him so long shows how meaningless it is. The fact that so many far right personalities even slammed Nugent and left him dangling, which likely forced him to offer his apology, shows how meaningless it is. The fact that we can count on Ted Nugent trying to get crazed attention soon enough again and say something else sick and pathetic shows how meaningless it is. The fact that it really doesn't matter what Ted Nugent says about anything political shows, ultimately more than anything, how meaningless his "apology" is. And what it is that he said in the first place.
On the other hand, the always whimsical Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said, "I'm not going to apologize" for controversial comments (the polite term), telling an Iowa newspapers that "What I've said is objectively true."
What he said -- which to Mr. King is "objectively true" -- is that for every illegal immigrant "who's a valedictorian" there are 100 times more who are "hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." What it turns out is even more objectively true is that Steve King doesn't understand what "objectively true" actually means.
It is unknown whether Ted Nugent called up Rep. King and said, "C'mon, Steve, apologize. It's the right thing to do. Trust me, I know."
Producer Harvey Weinstein acknowledges he made a big mistake with the film, August: Osage County, which he believes in large part is responsible for the movie only getting two Oscar nominations and not faring well at the box-office. "I do think we paid a price critically by rushing for Toronto," he said, referring to getting the film into the Toronto Film Festival rather than allowing the director more time to work on it.
Personally, I think the bigger problem was that the film he released was 90 minutes shorter than the Pulitzer Prize-winning play had been on stage, a full 40% shorter, ripping the guts and most of the interest out of it.
We watch the news so's you don't have to.
MSNBC announced a lineup change for its daytime broadcasting. Two of the new shows are to be hosted by Joy Reid and Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and (perhaps) Woody Allen. In announcing the change, MSNBC president Phil Griffin said, “Ronan and Joy are two of the most thoughtful and impressive journalists out there and I’m excited for what they will bring to the afternoon.”
Ronan Farrow is an extremely bright and talented guy. He may well host an absolutely wonderful show. He's an accomplished lawyer and political activist. He is not a journalist -- and most especially not an "impressive journalist." As far as I know, he's just written a bunch of op-ed commentaries for newspapers. But that doesn't make him a journalist, it makes him an expert. This is a minor point, but there's a reason I mention it. It's one thing for someone to refer to him as "an impressive journalist." It's another for the president of a news organization to do so. I can accept others having some wiggle-room in their definitions. I expect the president of a major news organization to be demanding with high standards of what makes journalism. Call Ronan Farrow a thoughtful and impressive political analyst. Say he will soon be one of the most impressive journalists on television. But please, if you're the head of MSNBC News, don't say someone who has zero experience as a journalist is a journalist, let alone one of the most "impressive journalists out there." It puts your standards in deep question.
Frank Rich had a fascinating article in New York magazine in which he makes the case that Fox News is in decline, to the point of being in trouble. His thesis is that the audience for Fox is a quickly aging, white, limited-focus audience in a changing world. There is a lot of merit in his perspective, even while acknowledging how huge that audience is today. However, there's one particular passage I had more trouble with. It's when he writes,
"The only people who seem not to know or accept Fox’s decline, besides its own audience, are liberals, including Barack Obama, whose White House mounted a short-lived, pointless freeze-out of Fox News in 2009, and who convinced himself that the network has shaved five points off his approval rating."
While the "freeze-out" may have been pointless -- or not, that's subjective -- it happened in 2009, five years ago, when the landscape was very different from the "dying" audience Frank Rich is describing today. And also, though Fox New may be "dying" (or not), that's something for the future, not today when, as Rich acknowledges, it still has the most mass audience of all news channels. So, to suggest that such a powerhouse today would have no impact on shaping approval ratings over five years of attacks, seems thoughtless.
I think the world of Frank Rich. I love his writing, his thinking, his perspective and talent. But he's either way off base here or being a bit disingenuous.
Andrea Mitchel is one of the most actually thoughtful and impressive journalists around today. So, it came as a bit of a shock when she interrupted her interview with Rep. Jane Harmon for the big "breaking" story that Justin Bieber had been arrested. To her credit, she publicly addressed the flack and clearly wasn't happy about it, saying, ""It was obviously awkward and unplanned. All I can say is, so be it. It's the luck of the draw." She noted correctly, "I have more foreign policy coverage five days a week on my program than any other program on television, so you can imagine that this was unusual."
It was unusual, and unfortunate. If MSNBC wanted to cover the "story," at least don't interrupt the actual news -- especially when it's from the accomplished Andrea Mitchell -- and present it instead at another time when people who might care would be watching. More unfortunate though was the comment CNN president Jeff Zucker, who said he was "incredibly comfortable" with how his network dealt with Biebernews. Given that it was Jeff Zucker though whose heart for real news coverage is probably not terribly high, I suppose his comfort level is to be expected.
We reads the news so you don't have to have your head explode.
A group of conservatives in western Maryland have started a drive for the state to allow five conservative counties in their region to secede. They're upset at how the state has become too liberal.
Actually, there's a little-known policy that allows this problem to be addressed. It's called "moving." No doubt Alabama would welcome new residents. A second option is available: a civics course which would explain exactly how democracy works.
Dr. Ben Carson, who is a neurosurgeon and political commentator, got a lot of attention last week for putting his two fields together and calling the Affordable Care Act "the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery."
Forget for a moment that this overlooks such things as the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, four presidential assassinations and the Kardashians. On the simple statement alone, one massive reality stands out -- I have a suspicion that actual slaves would have fallen on their knees and praised God for his Eternal Goodness if they were giving healthcare.
Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) told a reporter for The Young Turks that if the United States defaulted on its debt, "that would be an impeachable offense by the president."
In fairness to Mr. Gohmert, he didn't explain a) why responsibility for debt failure wouldn't fall on congressional Republicans, b) what actual "high crime" the president would guilty of, which the Constitution requires for an impeachable offense, c) how he could have possibly escaped appointment to the Supreme Court, d) how much ego gratification he gets from seeing his name in print, and e) if he believes the father of his party when Lincoln said, "Better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."
In Game Two of the American League Championship Series, the Boston Red Sox were losing 5-1 in the 8th inning, when David Ortiz hit a grand slam to tie the game and then the team won in the bottom of the ninth. I called a Boston friend and massive Red Sox fan to tell him what a great anniversary gift it was for him. He said, "Oh, that's right, it's my anniversary. My wife forgot, too. I'd better go remind her.
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told CNN on Sunday that "it's not a good idea to go through the debt ceiling."
Just think, and it only took him four days before the debt ceiling must be raised to figure this out. One wonders what thought process brought him to this impressive conclusion. Perhaps he might know some other Republicans to whom he could pass along this revelation. (Note: "Not a good idea" is herewith defined as "catastrophic.") It is believed, but unconfirmed that Mr. Paul also said, "It's not a good idea to test a thermonuclear device in your living room."
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 53% of Americans blamed the Republican Party for the government shutdown, while only 31% blamed President Obama. Further, approval ratings for the GOP were only 24%.
In reporting on this, the Huffington Post wrote, "Democrats aren't wildly popular either. Obama's approval rating is a marginally positive 47 percent, while the Democratic Party is at 39 percent," For the math challenged, it's important to point out that these numbers mean that President Obama is twice as popular as the Republican Party, and Democrats are two-thirds more popular. In a political world where 10 points would be considered a landslide, the difference here is not "marginal." Rather, it's not good.
For a definition of "not good," see Rand Paul above...
We read the news so you don't need to and have your head explode.
There are reports that Martha Coakley will run for governor of Massachusetts. The big question though is whether this time she will actually campaign.
Ms. Coakley, you may recall, is the Democratic candidate who was far out ahead of Republican Scott Brown in her race for the U.S. Senate when she pretty much disappeared from the campaign trail, apparently taking her victory for granted. That's what made Scott Brown the U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers officially withdrew his name from consideration to be chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Therefore, regardless of what the calendar says, it's not September 21, but now Summers over.
Much as the president has defended Summers when his name seemed to be the leading candidate, Summers said that were he to be nominated, the process would turn acrimonious and be bad for the Fed. I don't know all that much about the high end of such money issues, but my perception is that not only his nomination but Summers himself would have been bad for the Fed.
Best article title of the year. By Joan Walsh in Salon: "Why Larry Summers Was Not Too Big to Fail."
Miss New York won the Miss America contest on Sunday. I think. I wasn't even aware that the Miss America contest was on tonight, until I happened to be flipped through the channels. And no, there is no truth to the rumor that when I came upon it I said, "There she is..."
Side Note: Year's ago, I was invited to a friend's parents' house for dinner to break the Yom Kippur fast. After dinner, to make the meeting more lively, several people entertained a bit. One was Grace Kahn, whose husband Gus, had written (among many legendary songs) the classic "Makin' Whoopie." At the age of 85, when she sang the song, it was the most slyly sensuous version of the song I'd ever heard. And also performing was a fellow named Bernie Wayne, who sat at the piano and sang his best known song -- "There She Is, Miss America."
Last night, Bob Newhart won his first-ever Emmy, for a guest-star role on The Big Bang Theory. It was his sixth nomination (one was for writing). But that's not the remarkable thing. The remarkable thing is that of his six Emmy nominations -- none were for The Bob Newhart Show.
The rains have not abated in Colorado, and over 1,200 people are now missing, with several thousand people having been rescued by the U.S. Army and National Guard. To put a sense of perspective on the amount of rain that has been falling, the previous record for the wettest day ever in the city of Boulder was 4.8 inches of rain. Usually when records are broken, it's incremental. On September 12, however, the city got almost double that, with 9.08 inches. But further, the average rainfall in Boulder for September is 1.63 inches. This year, though, the city has had nearly nine times that (!) -- 14.62 inches. However, that's not for the whole month of September, that's only for just four days!!
At some point, climate deniers will get their heads out of certain dry, protected orifices and quit laughing about "global warming" and realize that the phrase is "climate change" and that the climate is changing.
By the way, a massive typhoon is about to hit Japan and 260,000 people have been evacuated. But that doesn't count because they're not Americans. Though if they were Americans, it probably wouldn't count for climate change deniers either. Because science isn't real.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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