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E.J. Dionne Jr. at The Washington Post discusses The Hillary difference:

There are two majorities in the country right now. One disapproves of President Obama. The other is still inclined to vote Democratic. The key question for the 2014 elections is whether voting this fall—and Obama’s approval ratings—can come into line with the electorate’s broader Democratic leanings.

There is also this: Obama’s difficulties do not appear to be hurting Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency in 2016. [...]

Paul Krugman at The New York Times explains the latest in Republican chicanery in Inventing a Failure:
A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a majority of Americans know that more than eight million people enrolled in health exchanges; but it also found a majority of respondents believing that this was below expectations, and that the law was working badly.

So Republicans are spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can — there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.

And that observation should scare you. What happens to the Congressional Budget Office if a party that has learned that lying about numbers works takes full control of Congress? What happens if it regains the White House, too? Nothing good, that’s for sure.

You can read additional pundit excerpts below the fold.

Frank Bruni at The New York Times goes for a deep lament about the national mood in America the Shrunken:

More and more I get the sense that we’ve lost it, and by “it” I mean the optimism that was always the lifeblood of this luminous experiment, the ambition that has been its foundation, the swagger that made us so envied and emulated and reviled.

We’re walking small. And that shift in our gait and our gumption has been palpable for many years, during an unusually sustained period of frustration that has the feel of something more than a temporary dive: a turned corner, the downward arc of a diminished enterprise. [...]

American bridges crumble. American trains crawl. American flights leave from terminals that pale next to many Asian and European counterparts. Joe Biden acknowledged as much three months ago when he compared La Guardia Airport to a third-world country. I’ve been to La Guardia and I’ve been to Guatemala, and if I were Guatemala, I’d sue for defamation.

Katha Pollitt at The Nation Will Ireland Lift Its Draconian Abortion Ban?
Here’s one way to look at abortion in Ireland: it doesn’t happen, and it doesn’t need to happen, because women can easily take a cheap flight to England and end their pregnancies there.

Here’s another way to look at abortion in Ireland: the penalty for self-abortion is up to fourteen years; the penalty in a recent high-profile Cork rape case was seven years. In other words, a woman who takes an abortion pill she buys illegally on the Internet after being impregnated in a sexual assault could face twice as much prison time—or more—as her rapist. [...]

Yet, perhaps surprisingly, when I visited Dublin in March, the pro-choice activists I interviewed were cautiously hopeful.

Sady Doyle at In These Times offers her take on Mainsplaining, Explained:
The term ["Mansplaining," which caught fire in the late-’00s feminist blogosphere, describes a particularly irritating form of sexist micro-aggression: namely, a man explaining a topic of conversation to a woman who a) has already demonstrated adequate knowledge of that topic; b) could reasonably be presumed to know about that topic; and/or c) could reasonably be presumed to know much more about that topic than he does, because she is an expert in the field. Once coined, the term spread into the mainstream so quickly and thoroughly that in 2010, “mansplainer” landed on The New York Times’ “words of the year” list.

Efforts to establish a definitive lineage for the term tend to run afoul of the fact that it seemed, like many great ideas, to crop up in multiple places at the same time—but one common reference point is author and activist Rebecca Solnit’s 2008 essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” originally published at

Solnit had fallen victim to the third variety of mansplaining: After Solnit introduced herself as the writer of a book on the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, the man she was speaking to began to tell her about a book on Eadweard Muybridge she ought to read. As it turned out, the book he was hectoring Solnit to read was in fact the book she herself had written—a fact he had to be informed of three or four times before he stopped lecturing at her. Even after Solnit told the man she’d published a book on Muybridge, he couldn’t believe she’d published that book on Muybridge.

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times is critical in his low-key way of President Obama in his column, What Americans really want in a foreign policy:
Obama's initial foreign policy of engagement fell short. The world turned out to be a harsher place than he'd hoped. But the problem now is that the president hasn't laid out a clear new strategy in place of the outmoded old one.

Now that engagement has faltered, the strongest message of U.S. foreign policy is one of disengagement, and not only from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has been eloquent about the things he doesn't want to do: get sucked into Syria, send troops or military supplies to Ukraine. But what does he want to do? That's not as clear.

Andrew O'Hehir at writes Donald Sterling, Ritual Scapegoat:
I’m not defending Sterling in the slightest by saying that this saga does not in fact show America at its best, and does not demonstrate how far we have come and what enlightened attitudes we now hold. It demonstrates something entirely different: Our eagerness to be distracted by symbolic narratives that embody a lot less meaning than they seem to, rather than confronting conditions of genuine social crisis and economic contradiction. We love the Sterling drama precisely because it’s a great story, with undertones of 18th-century comic opera: The aging lecher, representative of the ancien régime, who throws over his wife for the younger mistress, who turns out to be a complicated character possessed of her own agenda; the private utterance (in French farce it would be a letter) whose revelation strips the ancient troglodyte of his power and reduces him to bathos. All that’s needed is the Figaro, the younger lover with a democratic spirit who sweeps up the girl and sets everything right. That would be us.
Brendan Fischer and Lisa Graves at The Progressive show in Meet the Multimillionaire Squeezing Missouri's Schools that the Koch brothers aren't the only ultra-wealthy Americans working to destroy civil society:
Unlike the Koch Brothers, who made their money the old-fashioned way, by inheriting it, Rex Sinquefield is a self-made man, who earned a fortune in the stock market by investing in index funds.

He's a major funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and he has also bankrolled the Club for Growth. [...]

Sinquefield is doing to Missouri what the Koch Brothers are doing to the entire country. For the Koch Brothers and Sinquefield, a lot of the action these days is not at the national but at the state level.

By examining what Sinquefield is up to in Missouri, you get a sobering glimpse of how the wealthiest conservatives are conducting a low-profile campaign to destroy civil society. [...]

His anti-tax, anti-labor, and anti- public-education views are common fare on the right. But what sets Sinquefield apart is the systematic way he has used his millions to try to push his private agenda down the throats of the citizens of Missouri.

Danielle Cadet at the Huffington Post's Black Voices writes Americans Need People Like Donald Sterling And Cliven Bundy:
People like Sterling and Bundy are the boogie men who perpetuate the only sort of racism most people are willing to admit still exists. They make white people feel safe because white people can look at them and say "I'm not a racist, because I'm not like that." And they give black people gratification because black people can point to them and say "And you white people think we live in a post-racial society." Sterling and Bundy restore world order around America's idea of what racism is supposed to look like. [...]

While both these men should be admonished for their remarks and their behavior, and while it's beautiful to watch society unite against the forces of evil, we cannot ignore the fact that racism happens everyday, and it's rarely acknowledged in mainstream media. Racism doesn't have to be someone saying "black people were better off as slaves," or not wanting black people at their games. It could be housing discrimination—an offense Sterling has ironically been accused of in the past. It could be the reason why African-American males are more likely to have encounters with law enforcement and are three times more likely to be searched during traffic stops than white motorists. It could be the cause of the glaring racial disparities in school disciplinary practices.

Racism isn't a big bad boogie man that everyone can see. It's a silent killer like cancer that most people never see coming, or simply choose to ignore.

Gary Younge at The Guardian writes Tighter gun control won't stop the violence on its own:
[I]t is that the very dystopia the NRA insists it's resisting is the one it's actively creating. Its response to gun violence is to call for people to be armed so they can shoot criminals who might not have guns if the NRA didn't stonewall basic gun control efforts. Like the apocryphal teenager who murders his parents and then asks for the court's mercy because he's an orphan, the NRA's "solutions" stem from a problem for which it is largely responsible. [...]

So long as the debate about gun violence limits itself to gun ownership alone it risks being suspended in this morbid circular logic with broad appeal and limited plausibility. Chicago, gun lobbyists point out, has some of the strictest gun legislation in the country. What they don't say is that between 2008 and 2012 almost one in five guns recovered in crimes within a year of purchase were bought at one gun shop just out of the city limits. Polls consistently show that Americans favour universal background checks for gun sales. Research shows that states with stricter gun controls have fewer gun-related deaths.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Chalres M. Blow writes on the death penatly (14+ / 0-)

    I examine and comment upon his column in this post which I invite you to read

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:32:26 AM PDT

  •  Rand, Rupie, J.Baker, Mitch all at Churchill Downs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, The Marti, wintergreen8694

    together this weekend. If only Godzilla had been able to join them and blow some fire up their asses....

  •  God, Frank Bruni is a smarmy jerk (7+ / 0-)

    his writing just oozes "Hey, let me prove to you that I'm a really big asshole."

    "Real journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." -George Orwell

    by LeftHandedMan on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:44:44 AM PDT

    •  That column is completely devoid (14+ / 0-)

      of any substantive analysis of why things are the way they are, and people might believe the things that they believe. Instead, he casually substitutes his version of the lazy conventional wisdom pimpery, both his own and of his peers, for sharp observation and deeply profound insight and wisdom. He offers no practical solutions. None. Somebody read that and approved it for publication. I bet several somebodies. It's bracingly vapid. It's like the man and a buddy of his made a bet to see how singularly insipid and devoid of content he could create and package and a column and still get it in print and paid for it. It's the sort of piece that robs you of energy like a text-based vampire.

      The New York Times might as well hire Judy Miller back.

      This is the same Frank Bruni who spent the Bush years as a cheerleader for one of the greatest failures of an administration to haunt this land in its history. He helped make the messes, drain the hope from people's hearts and souls, and now he gets paid to lament why people are such lackluster losers who are too busy moping around being poor and in debt to make America great again.

      That's a real asshole the Times has got there.

      "Real journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." -George Orwell

      by LeftHandedMan on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:54:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you disagree? (4+ / 0-)

        Do you really believe that we are a nation of wild-eyed optimists, excited for our children's prospects?

        How much analysis would you require (remembering that this is a piece fit to column inches and not a journal) if it were Paul Krugman writing?  He doesn't pack analysis into his columns,either.  Probably figures the Nobel means he doesn't have to.

        And -- what kind of analysis do you actualloy want?  None, is my guess.  You just don't like the guy.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:32:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think LHM is disagreeing (6+ / 0-)

          My perspective is that Bruni is implying by omission that we collectively agreed to slip into broad social and institutional decline. Our decline is the consequence of a relative handful of elites manipulating the rules of the game so that they essentially are mining the value out of efforts put forth by previous generations and stonewalling any attempt for this or future generations to make similar effort.

          Though I am concerned about this particular line of his:

          Can a nation so long defined by its faith in an expansive frontier accept limits so easily?
          Just where is he going with that? Frontiers of ingenuity and technology are out there, with limits we can't touch for several generations, if at all. The "other" frontier has been limited for more than a century, and I for one am not too keen on some New Imperialism.

          Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:39:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's interesting. I would never have looked (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TerryDarc, Shawn87

            at it that way.

            Most of us, I think, have not fallen down by agreement but have been kicked in the kiesters.

            At that point, however, I can agree with the handful of elites conspiring.

            I don't know why that line bothers you. Faith is a concept that keeps you going, often in spite of rational analysis that says you shouldn't bother.  It's a powerful force that has, time and again, proven the "smart" folk wrong.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:20:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow - I agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I don't think I've actually agreed with anything you've posted here before, but I have to agree with this:

              Most of us, I think, have not fallen down by agreement but have been kicked in the kiesters.
              And that's what many of us find so offensive about Bruni and others who wave their hands in the air and say "what a bunch of losers! Go out and do something!" when what we are doing is just trying to pay the rent....
          •  Agree in part. Much of the problem I've watched (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            was less a conspiracy of elites than what I'd handily lump into "generational influences" that produced a population of quite different stripe and more susceptible to the pied pipers of those "elites." I'm old enough to remember serious discussion in serious settings about the effect of those television toy ads on those younger than I (first TV at home in my teens)—a mass media gullibility forming. My experience is that such worries were not entirely unfounded!

            A personal observation of change, unscientific but closely observed, was the change in management. It went from being largely WW II veterans who remembered the Great Depression and, though often flawed in ways "unacceptable" now (cigar chomping, loudly cursing and heavy drinker "boss"—but one that stood by his people when they were right), to credentialed youngsters (two or more advanced degrees) without life experience outside suburbs and "school." The later were far less effective in managing things, even if outwardly much smoother. Their experience in a "reality show" versus "reality" was sometimes more evident than the old cursing and yelling. I began seeing decisions being made, much like TP/GOP ideology, divorced from reality—reality of even the physical world.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:45:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sorry, no. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Egalitare, Dirtandiron

              I'm afraid you can't blame it on the current generation being somehow less thoughtful than their (our) predecessors.

              WWII vets came home from that horror to a culture that idolized and idealized them. A nation that handed them tuition to universities, a booming economy, and massive support from employers.
              That combination of population and support system led to the emergence of a critical, activist middle class. The wealthy elites saw that class as a threat, and have worked for decades to crush it. It has done so successfully by:

              (1) crushing unions;
              (2) limiting ownership of communication channels;
              (3) undermining education.

              The last one is pivotal because it leads to a population that doesn't have the critical faculties to recognize that (1) and (2) are happening.

              Don't blame it on the general citizens. Blame it on the wealthy few who think it is their right to run the world.

              •  Go back and look at the history. NO! (0+ / 0-)

                And not "sorry" at all. If anything you've shifted about a generation. Go back and learn some real history.

                The biggest "blame" of the Great Depression and WW II generation was in in not conveying a gut level feel of the lessons they'd learned—trying to shield the children from the brutality and leading to a good bit of what you describe later.

                The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:20:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  agree in part (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I've actually learned quite a bit of "real history" - even if it doesn't match your narrative.

                  And I agree that the WWII vets did fail to inculcate that "gut feeling" in their children. But I don't blame them for that. They came back to an amazingly optimistic time and a culture that didn't condone the kind of conversations that would have been necessary to teach those points.
                  Instead there was "duck and cover" and fear of the USSR and the creation of the military-industrial complex.

                  That wasn't built solely by the children of the WWII vets. Some of those vets learned an important lesson: war = profits, and some of them decided to create a future based on that lesson.

                  You can blame their children and their children's children. Certainly we all deserve some of the blame for the ignorance and reactionism that dominate American culture these days. But I don't think you can let those returning vets off the hook.

      •  Opinion piece, one I tend to agree with, not a (2+ / 0-)

        research paper. As I noted yesterday, he does a fair job of describing the illness.

        Neither have I done a "scientific analysis" of failures, but over fifty years of adult working life I've watched "can do" and successful large projects turn in to a culture that once held Murphy's laws as something to joke about as descriptors of worst cases it be avoided into seemingly regular demonstrations of how to effectively practice worst case. I'll spout the misused but useful "it ain't rocket science" about project management. Over budget, over schedule failures  have fairly well known causes and best practices to avoid. Keeping a now distant eye on large projects from government to industry I am damned amazed at the blatant disregard for best practices and what seems to be fatal attraction to worst.

        There is not only failure of will, there is failure to expect exacting standards of performance, acceptance of shoddy performance of responsible individuals and rejection of knowledge gained by long experience in forming those best practices we once required. So, from yesterday and my more distant contact with the large project world:

        Form over substance. Self interest over the job at hand—always. Greed. Shallow actual knowledge of the problems and means of getting the job done. Those once submerged characteristics of failure have now seemed to rise to the fore like rancid cream on sour milk.
        I have another little not exactly scientific "cause"—just one formed by watching the rot form with concurrent increased failure. Efforts to make thing more effective in this world "save money" and "get things done" and those are opposed by people who just want to churn money, whether public or private. They are indications of the "finance" over "engineering" mentality that developed since the 1980s. A symptom was the number of young people wanting to become scientists and engineers vs. those wanting to be money shufflers in finance and make killings. Wall Street over Silicon Valley.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:39:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He was right about infrastructure. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pelagicray, FindingMyVoice, Shawn87

        And about the comparison between Guatemala's airport and La Guardia in particular.  Guatemala's airport is fine.  Many in the US are fine.  Many others are a disgrace.

        In 2008 Obama campaigned on putting more federal dollars into infrastructure.  As we all know, he ran into a buzz saw, also known as the Republican Obstructionist Do Nothing Party.  

    •  Didn't like his column,eh? (0+ / 0-)

      Do you think he's wrong?

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:27:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He was a great restaurant critic, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but his political analysis kinda sucks.

  •  Latest GOP standup humor...."The Dems are (16+ / 0-)

    playing politics with BENGHAZEEEE!"

    The crowd laughs.

  •  The GOP lying every time it opens its mouth (16+ / 0-)

    doesn't scare me.  It would except that I have come to expect it as a matter of course.

    What DOES scare me is the too often anemic, if not non-existent Democratic push back.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:48:31 AM PDT

    •  You should be very bothered by the GOP (6+ / 0-)

      forget what they say, focus on what they do, and that is spend every day trying to fuck you out of what is yours.

      If people truly understood what the GOP is up to, which I don't think "positive-minded people" are prepared to grasp, this would be a more entertaining country.

      And we'd be getting fucked by them a whole lot less.

      Alas. we are to stand politely within the lines painted for us.

      Try to smile, ok?

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:13:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Their ability to lie like that depends on the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies, ZedMont

        uninformed, uninterested "ordinary citizen." I know I need to stop being amazed, but I still am as people I come into contact with spout the most ridiculous ideas that are counter to easily found counter facts.

        Hell, I've had to restrain myself in some waiting rooms lately as people, obviously "professional" types making good money, wondered why finding black boxes on the Indian Ocean seabed could be so difficult. "The ocean is that deep?" kind of crap. When citizens really do not know much and are not interested in knowing much beyond how to grub at the trough and gather bling a party can get away with lies.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:48:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think there's ample room for being (0+ / 0-)

        concerned over what the GOP says as well as what it does. But as MB say, "Show me what you do and I'll tell you what you think". You are correct that we should not take our eyes off what they are up to.

        What the GOP (and Fox and CNN and a bunch of other supposed news outlets) steer the country in the way Frank Bruni was trying to say in his inept NYT column.

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

        by TerryDarc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:38:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Riddles....Puzzles....and Enigmas...... (0+ / 0-)
  •  Frank Bruni has some valid points (6+ / 0-)

    in his America the Shrunken piece.  I can't argue with most of it, but overall I feel he's looking through the glass darkly.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:56:42 AM PDT

    •  I think that's the point. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Cardinal96

      A lot of us -- especially those of us who have lost nearly everything -- are looking through the glass darkly.

      Honestly, i find little reason not to.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know you have suffered (4+ / 0-)

        more than most and as such have found little reason to hope.  I can't say I wouldn't feel the same way were I in your shoes, but I can say I am sorry you were hit such a devastating blow.  I will keep good thoughts (and a measure of hope as well) for you and yours if that's okay with you.

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:14:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a funny thing. My personal circumstances (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaxDem, Shawn87

          have gotten better. Still have nothing, but have been able to work, so that's a good thing.

          I'm finding it hard to be optimistic for my children because I haven't seen the force that hit us so hard broken up, but maybe that will pass, too.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:25:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the interesting roundup, Meteor Blades (15+ / 0-)

    Going to visit the links provided. I'd never heard of the Missouri Monster Rex Sinquefield before.

    When you think of how these creeps might be spending their billions for the betterment of society rather than its destruction, it really does make you want to weep.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon May 05, 2014 at 04:59:56 AM PDT

  •  So our choce for 2016 is already whittled down (10+ / 0-)

    to a Clinton or whatever fucking clown the GOP presents to us with a straight face.

    Hillary.. yeah sure: America only has 320 million people:we obviously can't have more than 2 or 3 people in the WHOLE country qualified to Protect the 1% be presidentin'.

    So once Hillary has had her 8 years on office, who then?

    Will America actually run out of qualified people?

    Will the GOP finally get to elect another brain-dead piece of shit?

    It's like watching your life's goals and plans being erased.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:06:17 AM PDT

    •  That shallow bench (4+ / 0-)

      Is bugging me also.

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:15:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And my problem is not so much "Hillary" (4+ / 0-)

        as it is that this is a large country and the presidency is seeming "protected'.

        Only certain names can even be mentioned seriously and that is just not what this country is about.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:28:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The celebrity culture is probaby a factor and we (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude

        will suffer as a nation and perhaps a species. Some of our most effective governing people of even the recent past have been pretty flawed in terms of "celeb culture" in everything from personal appearance to accent and even "morals." FDR, HST and LBJ are some examples and Ike was hardly a glamor boy in today's terms.

        Form over substance, quick celebrity or "attractiveness" over achievement. Personally I think Hillary isn't in that category and has better than average substance in today's political world. Thus it is entirely possible she may be the last of that breed to run. The future may indeed hold polished visual media types, and not the ones with good heads on their shoulders either.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:23:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I used to feel the same way about baseball. (0+ / 0-)

      Why can't America find 15 hundred very good baseball players in this country? After looking at it for 50 years, I've decided that the job must be much harder than it would seem. Nobody comes out of the grandstand and starts hitting home runs.

      People know Hillary can do the job. A very tough job that few people could do.

      We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

      by PowWowPollock on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:50:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like I said, Hillary, the Very Last (0+ / 0-)

        Democratic Presidential Candidate ever, will serve her 8 years, then what?


        I do not buy for a moment there are not a rack of talented people who could president as well as anyone.

        It's nothing more or less than a cult of personality.

        And I have exactly zero use for that.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:58:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You get the government you deserve does have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xxdr zombiexx

      some grains of truth. A dumbed down citizenry, and I am absolutely convinced by watching the process as well as by studies showing the process and result that is what we are now, gets to watch empty, even lying, heads and suits govern them.

      Hell, half the time I've noticed they don't even catch on when the idiocy in city hall, the statehouse or higher is blatantly evident. I've got neighbors and casual acquaintances that still thing Governor Ultrasound here in Virginia was a brilliant boy! And I live in an area with some of the "highest educational achievement" in the country.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:56:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OK the gun control debate has taken a weird (10+ / 0-)

    turn.  I read the manufacturer of a "safe" gun which can only be operated by its owner is receiving death threats from fringe gun nutters.  I also understand a couple of gun shop owners who were to carry the gun were intimidated into withdrawing from its marketing.

    OK a smart gun makes sense to me.  It means a LEO cannot be disarmed and shot with his own gun; it means someone cannot take a gun from me and shoot me if I walk in on him.  It also means, that a safe gun is probably worthless to a thief and is less likely to be stolen or targeted by someone looking to load up on firepower.

    Traditional guns will continue to be made and even if they were not, there are some 300 million or more firearms already available in the country:

    So I have lurked the RW extremist sites to find out why such virulent opposition to the safe gun.  Here is my understanding:

    A gun with such technology in theory could be turned off at a central location so, in case of an armed revolt, the feds could disarm the entire group of "patriots" without firing a shot.  Yep, you are ready to take on a Black Hawk with your .22 Beretta and suddenly, it will no longer fire because Obama personally turned it off.

    As a gun owner and collector, this seems paranoid and tin foil hat type thinking IMHO.  The days of armed revolts died with the Whiskey Rebellion and the Civil War was the nails being driven into its coffin.  An armed revolt today is doomed to failure simply because of the quality of weapons our military possesses  (I know some here argue that the militia types have enough firepower to face off any regular army battalion sent against them but I consider the militias at best to be comparable to Milosevic's Serbian forces and we know how that ended)

    These militia types have always been around, sort of free floating on the fringe of the media.  How did these guys get enough power to actually close down someone whose product they really don't understand?    

    •  This "gun sub-demographic" is truly delusional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and nothing they think or say or do makes any logical sense.

      All the shit they talk about has about as much meaning as "BENNNNNGHAAAZZZZIIII".

      it is truly fucking delusional and these numbnuts are making real-life decisions based of sheer fucking lunacy.

      So yeah, they are batshit paranoid about a gun that might be safer.

      "because that little mechanism that reads your fingerprint reports right back to Obama's blackberry device.

      Total and complete confiscation of every last gun will be the result of a safer gun."

      That is what is in their pointy-little heads.

      Fucking dimwits.

      Legal means "good".
      [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

      by xxdr zombiexx on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:17:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gun NUTS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, a2nite

      Most of these rabid gun rights advocates really are nuts. Like my ex-wife's uncle; he owned a gun shop and was a militia survivalist back in the Clinton days. He used to regularly threaten his wife and kids with execution (fortunately, inflicting black eyes was as far as he took it). He was finally diagnosed schizophrenic a few years before he died. I'd bet a large percentage of these gun fetishists have similar head issues.

      "Inequality is the root of social evil." ― Pope Francis

      by GoodGod on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:19:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another reason I read about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, FindingMyVoice

         Gun manufacturers and the NRA are upset with "safe guns" because if it works, the technology may become mandatory for future guns. Obviously, manufacturers don't want ANY government requirements or regulation of their business.  

      •  but with 3M or so guns already in circulation (0+ / 0-)

        not to mention the number of guns manufactured by foreign manufacturers and the ease with which guns can be imported, unless there was a complete ban on all guns that were not safe guns, such requirements would be meaningless

  •  Put on Morning Joe for about 4-5 minutes, all I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, wintergreen8694

    could take. Joe and Co. were chatting with Manchin about getting him to run for governor and how (citing USA Today poll), from what I could make out after Nov. Morning Joke believes the Senate will be 100-0 Republican and the House 435-0 Republican. Ghostbusters gets the flavor of their smugness:

  •  Gosh, sounds like HRC draws a lot of support (0+ / 0-)

    from racist homophobic gun-toting religious wingnuts pouring out of the local Wal-Mart!

    Seriously, though, can progressives come to grips with the people who make up "the Hillary difference"?  

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:22:08 AM PDT

    •  Your contempt for Americans is disgusting. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cjagmoore, Forward is D not R, ER Doc

      Characterizing moderates who support Hillary for populist reasons as "racist, homophobic gun-toting religious wingnuts" is sickening.

      I realize you're resentful of her popularity and wide range of support, but people who fit that description would never vote Democratic and you know it.

      Just because people live in a part of the country that isn't reliably Democratic and are more open to Hillary than Obama is no excuse to paint them with such hateful and derogatory ways.

      The obvious upshot of the article is that Hillary expands the map by bringing in parts of the Democratic coalition that aren't currently satisfied with President Obama, while also holding on to the Obama coalition.

      Which means potentially holding on to the Obama states, while bringing Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, and perhaps Missouri back into the fold.

      A potential lectoral landslide that could give us big margins in the House and Senate.   As long as people who talk about those voters the way you do don't wind up on television.

      •  That wont hold. Rest assured. (4+ / 0-)

        She will get more votes from white voters because shes the right color, but not a significant number more than Obama. In the end, her election map wont look any different than his.

      •  My contempt for Americans? No, my contempt (0+ / 0-)

        pompous progressives.

        The comment was snark, reflecting the all-too-common comments around here reflecting a view that poor working class white people are a lost cause.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:12:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hippie punch much? (0+ / 0-)

          Because 'pompous progressives' aren't REAL Americans.  Right?

          Progressives don't have a problem with the people who make up 'the Hilllary difference.'  What progressives have a problem with is the policies and ideas that Hillary and those people support.  Many are willing to overlook the differences and try to overcome them somehow by pulling those people to our side.  Others refuse to accept those policies and ideas altogether because they're diametrically opposite to our beliefs and ideology.  Either way that doesn't make us pompous.  It's very telling though that a comment like this would come from someone who has shown nothing but contempt for progressives.  It makes me wonder what the hell you're doing here among the 'all-too-common' comments made by progressives.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:19:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reading issues? (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't say progressives, did I?
            I said pompous progressives.

            Perhaps you don't believe that it's possible to be progressive without being pompous, but there are people on this very site who manage the trick.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:38:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  E J Dionne is looney (4+ / 0-)

      The question asked people "Do you prefer Hillary or Jeb Bush"

      So, did the people who picked Hillary vote FOR her or AGAINST Jeb Bush?

      I think the poll would have been more telling if there was a "Neither" choice.

      It's silly anyway..  There is a New Pew/USA Today poll out saying Repubs have a two point advantage in 2014 and voters want something other than the same Obama policies in 2016.

      The Midterm Landscape

      A nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan "waves" in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away — a lifetime in politics — at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president.
      And here's the kicker..
      By more than 2-1, 65%-30%, Americans say they want the president elected in 2016 to pursue different policies and programs than the Obama administration, rather than similar ones.
      That doesn't sound like Hillary to me.
      •  It's 2014. Pollsters need something to do with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JJ In Illinois

        their time.

        Unless the economy works it's way down to people who have been suffering -- and the last jobs report was good news even if the GDP was terrible, so you never know -- I expect the normal voter fatigue to set in and the Republicans to win the White House in 2016.

        Normally I'd be pretty confident saying that, but these are not normal times, so, in my mind, I'm merely seeing it as more likely than not.  The Republicans have been doing a terrible job these last few years.  The horrible shellacking Democrats suffered in 2010 might actually turn out to be a long-term benefit.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:16:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hidden in the last jobs report was (0+ / 0-)

          the fact that 700,000 more people left the workforce.

          Forbes: Jobs Report

          “The part that is a little less positive is this apparently wonderful story on the unemployment rate,” added North. “If you look at the changes in the labor force there are 700,000 more unemployed, in other words the labor force shrunk because more people left.” This is why the unemployment rate should be taken with a grain of salt, he says, and why the Fed has shifted away from quantitative interest rate guidance to qualitative.
          All in all, a good jobs report.  Though, we'll need to see that trend extend for some months ahead:
          Michelle Girard, RBS chief US economist, wrote in a note, “The question is, how much of the April gain is ‘catch-up’ from prior months (when hiring may have been held down by weather) and how much represents a step-up in the pace of hiring that will be sustained in the coming months.
          •  Not the U6. The 288,000 new jobs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JJ In Illinois

            More than enough to counter population growth.
            Maybe not.
            Maybe so.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:43:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've seen graphs comparing Obama's (0+ / 0-)

              unemployment rates to Reagan's.. and looking just at the U-3 rates, it is pretty close.

              But, mainly the way we are reducing U-3 now is reduction of workforce - i.e. people dropping out.  Reagan's recovery added tons of jobs and increased the workforce.

              As Paul Krugman recently wrote:

              Unemployment has fallen a lot recently, but for a peculiar reason: not so much rising employment as a falling share of the population actively looking for work.
              His link to here, has a good graph comparing U-3 and U-6.
              •  Yes. At some point, one hopes that will change. (0+ / 0-)

                Again, if the 288,000 is a real number and not just an adjustment due to the weather, that will be adding new jobs, even if the growth is anemic.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 10:40:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds scary to me. (0+ / 0-)

        Not that I am much of a Hillary supporter, but what do they want?  Bring on more Bush?

        •  Have you looked at the GOP lineup? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JJ In Illinois

          Bush starts to sound good.  At least Jeb is more in the direction of his father than  his brother.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:27:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It doesn't scare me one bit. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JJ In Illinois

          It's not a good question. I think the vast majority of people on this site would want the next President to go in a different direction than Obama has on several issues, yet they'd still vote for the Democrat in 2016.

          Very few people agree completely with a President, even if they are strong supporters of that person. Unless the pollster itemizes those various issues so we can see if the majority wants to go to the left or right of Obama on each one, it's very difficult to figure out how this question has any meaning for the next election.

      •  meaningless without context (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades

        Different how?

        More focus on jobs? Or more tax cuts for the rich?
        More focus on immigration? Or more wars for no good reason?

        We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

        by Samer on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:27:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The paid for pollsters ...... (4+ / 0-)

    ..are playing the same old tune again. Dems are gonna LOSE!!11!  Pubs are gonna take over!!!11!

    Remember when they said Romney was a sure bet to win?

    I do....and they were wrong...but they sure drove the news cycles with their incessant "polls" designed to suppress people into thinking "why vote?"  

    Call them out on it everyone ...and VOTE every election.

    Vote vote vote vote

    Whatever the Foxteapublicans say, the opposite is the truth.

    by Forward is D not R on Mon May 05, 2014 at 06:18:03 AM PDT

  •  Krugman's Inventing a Failure commentary (0+ / 0-)

    Krugman says:

    Republicans are spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can — there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.
    That succinctly states a key problem inherent in the two-party system, i.e., spin. That is a very big problem. There typically is little or no next-election price for spin (lies, deception, disinformation, ideologically distorted perceptions of both reality and logic, etc). The right does it. The left does it. Spin is the norm, not an exception. Maybe that's why the left and right distrust each other. It is no wonder that independents trust neither. Independents have good reasons to distrust.

    Maybe some day there will be a price for spin/disinformation. Loss of faith in the two-party system and fundamental in our deeply flawed way of doing politics change could be the price. If so, that day cannot come too soon.

  •  Was GOT any good last night? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanetT in MD

    I got sidelined so I hafta watch online tonight.

    No spoilers pls
    Oh, I hope I can ask this here?

  •  For a change in pace: suburban sprawl. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    From one of the Washington Post's local columns is "New book by Purple Line activist Ben Ross blames suburban sprawl on status-seeking" about another local. Ben Ross'  Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism that is described as

    hardly a light read. He traces suburban zoning codes back to utopian communities of the mid-1800s. Oxford University Press needed two years to complete the peer review and editing before publishing it
    another description about how "thirst for status" drove the early suburbs of the late 1800s:
    That’s hardly a new insight. But experts say that Ross makes an original contribution by detailing how suburban dwellers have built a structure of zoning rules, housing covenants and other mechanisms to protect their social cachet.

    That’s harmful, Ross contends, because it’s hampering the emergence of more diverse and environmentally friendly urban-style neighborhoods that a new generation desires.

    Appears to be an interesting read.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:09:09 AM PDT

  •  my favorite pundits are all/kogs.. (0+ / 0-)

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:11:22 AM PDT

  •  Krugman ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    So Republicans are spreading disinformation about health reform because it works, and because they can — there is no sign that they pay any political price when their accusations are proved false.
    Now who could possibly be to blame that the Repubs don't pay any political price for their lies?  Wouldn't be the gutless, passive, horrible messaging Dems would it?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:21:38 AM PDT

  •  Figaro, lover?! Quelle faux pas! (0+ / 0-)
    All that’s needed is the Figaro, the younger lover with a democratic spirit who sweeps up the girl and sets everything right. That would be us.
    Andrew O'Hehir does not know Rossini opera nor the commedia dell'arte play preceding.

    Figaro is the barber and a comic figure. Almaviva or "the count" is the young lover of Rossine/Rosina. The metaphor is apt but the details are a mess.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

    by TerryDarc on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:13:15 AM PDT

  •  'Mansplaining' (0+ / 0-)

    The Solnit anecdote above shows the salient feature: the person recommending the book didn't process the Solnit's statements that she was the author of that book. In other words he wasn't paying attention.

    This is not just something men to do women; they do it to other men too.  In fact, I'd bet everybody talks without paying attention to the listener's reaction some of the time.  

    Lack of respect or interest in what the other person might say are only two out of many reasons people don't pay attention.  For example I find that extremely busy people (frequently women!) can lose their place if you react to an item in one of their information dumps with anything other than "mm-hmm." It's not meant personally, so I try to let people who've got to get something off their chest say it, even if I don't need to hear it. I admit when I'm in a bad mood I'll try to chivvy them along, but I find that's nearly always counterproductive. Someone who's not listening usually needs to talk himself out before he (or she) can start.

    Another reason for not paying attention to what someone else is saying is the influence of strong emotion.  You see that all the time when people are angry with each other: they talk past each other.  But positive emotions like enthusiasm can have the same effect, as in the  Rebecca Solnit anecdote above. The man's enthusiasm for Solnit's book completely swamped Solnit's repeated attempts to explain that she was the author of that book.

    I don't want to suggest that male disrespect for women doesn't exist, or that the man in question might not be a sexist pig, but it's quite plausible that he just had to get the "OMG you have GOT to read this book!!!" reaction off his chest before he could listen to her.  It seems a bit cantankerous for an author to come away from that encounter feeling resentful. I can only surmise she has become so jaded by praise that enthusiasm for her writing no longer moves her.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:21:36 AM PDT

    •  doonesbury (0+ / 0-)

      If you haven't seen the classic Doonesbury strip that reran (on Monday?) in which a congressman was mansplaining that we have big planes, little planes, jet planes, well, it is a classic.

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