Monday Morning Reads

Good Monday Morning! Not a day goes by without more examples of Republican stupidity. I’ve got several for you this morning. First up, Rick Perry had a talk with Donald Trump and now Governor Goodhair thinks President Obama’s birth certificate might be fake. That legend will never die. Think Progress:

In an interview with PARADE Magazine, Perry said that he recently met with Donald Trump and discussed the issue. Perry stated that he doesn’t “have a definitive answer” on whether Obama was born in the United States or “any idea” if Obama’s birth certificate is real….

Perry recently secured the endorsement of Orly Taitz, known as the “birther queen” for repeatedly filing lawsuits asserting that Obama was born outside the United States. Taitz told ThinkProgress that she believed Perry will use the birther issue to attack Obama.

From the interview:

Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?
I have no reason to think otherwise.

That’s not a definitive, “Yes, I believe he”—
Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.

But you’ve seen his.
I don’t know. Have I?

You don’t believe what’s been released?
I don’t know. I had dinner with Donald Trump the other night.

That came up.

And he said?
He doesn’t think it’s real.

And you said?
I don’t have any idea. It doesn’t matter. He’s the President of the United States. He’s elected. It’s a distractive issue. “

“distractive?” Is that in the dictionary?

Herman Cain is still trying to walk back his accidentally pro-choice comments on abortion. From Politico:

Herman Cain tried to clean up the running confusion over his position on abortion last night, but in the meantime opened questions about his grasp of the Constitution.

In an interview with David Brody last night, Cain said he’d sign a pro-life constitutional amendment if it crossed his desk as president.

“Yes. Yes I feel that strongly about it. If we can get the necessary support and it comes to my desk I’ll sign it,” he said. “That’s all I can do. I will sign it.”

The only problem with that statement? Presidents don’t sign constitutional amendments — they’re passed in Congress and then need to be ratified by the states, and the president plays no formal role in the process.

Is this guy the most ignorant person to ever run for president? He’s worse than Michele Bachmann.

It appears Mitt Romney is about to do another flip flop: Romney, Once a Critic, Hedges on Flat-Tax Plans

As several leading Republican presidential candidates embrace a flat tax as a core campaign position, one contender stands out in not doing so: Mitt Romney, who has a long record of criticizing such plans and famously derided Steve Forbes’s 1996 proposal as a “tax cut for fat cats.”

Lately, though, his tone has been more positive. “I love a flat tax,” he said in August.

Flat-tax plans have come and gone before, and analysts note that they have tended to lose support once they come under scrutiny. But Mr. Romney’s support of the concept of a flat tax underscores the tightrope he is walking as taxes become a larger focus of the Republican presidential race and he faces rivals’ accusations of inconsistency on the issues.

But Ron Paul wins today’s prize for Republican stupidity. He wants to get rid of student loans.

Republican presidential contender Ron Paul said Sunday he wants to end federal student loans, calling it a failed program that has put students $1 trillion in debt when there are no jobs and when the quality of education has deteriorated.

Paul unveiled a plan last week to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget that would eliminate five Cabinet departments, including education. He’s also wants young workers to be able to opt out of Social Security.

The student loan program is not part of those cuts, but Paul said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he’d kill the loan program eventually if he were president. That could put him at odds with some of his young followers, many of whom are college students.

Turning to economic issues, the Financial Times has a scary article about the possible failure of the Euro.

It is time to prepare for the unthinkable: there is now a significant probability the euro will not survive in its current form. This is not because I am predicting the failure by European leaders to agree a deal. In fact, I believe they will. My concern is not about failure to agree, but the consequences of an agreement. I am writing this column before the results of Sunday’s European summit were known. It appeared that a final agreement would not be reached until Wednesday. Under consideration has been a leveraged European financial stability facility, perhaps accompanied by new instruments from the International Monetary Fund.

A leveraged EFSF is attractive to politicians for the same reason that subprime mortgages once appeared attractive to borrowers. Leverage can have different economic functions, but in these cases it simply disguises a lack of money. The idea is to turn the EFSF into a monoline insurer for sovereign bonds. It is worth recalling that the role of those monolines during the bubble was to insure toxic credit products. They ended up as a crisis amplifier.

To be honest, the article is a bit too technical for me to follow, but maybe Dakinikat can help me if she has sufficiently recovered from her nightmarish trip to Denver. Paul Krugman says Europe’s problem is (what else?) the stupidity of austerity.

First, the grim news from Greece is, as many commentators are pointing out, a big refutation for the doctrine of “expansionary austerity.” And it’s worth pointing out that European leaders, and especially the ECB, went in for that doctrine in a big way. Look at the June 2010 monthly report of the ECB (pdf), specifically the discussion of “fiscal consolidation” on page 83 and following. Basically, the ECB pooh-poohs any notion that austerity would have major negative effects on the economy, suggests that it’s quite likely that the confidence fairy will make everything OK, and specifically says that

Determined action on the part of governments to undertake fiscal and structural reforms is necessary to preserve stability and cohesion in the euro area. A sustained commitment to consolidation, possibly including a speeding up of current plans and their delivery, is required from all governments to ensure that the time afforded by the exceptional measures is used to put public finances on a permanently sounder footing.

So the ECB was calling for austerity everywhere. Was any concern expressed about how that would affect Europe-wide growth? Was there any suggestion of expansionary monetary policy to offset such a coordinated fiscal contraction? No and no.

And now they’re shocked, shocked that the Greek economy is plunging into a hole.

Maybe Ron Paul has a solution. LOL

Fannie posted this link last night, but I thought it should be on the front page: Republicans Turn Judicial Power Into a Campaign Issue

Republican presidential candidates are issuing biting and sustained attacks on the federal courts and the role they play in American life, reflecting and stoking skepticism among conservatives about the judiciary. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas favors term limits for Supreme Court justices. Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas say they would forbid the court from deciding cases concerning same-sex marriage. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, calling it a “rogue” court that is “consistently radical.”

Criticism of “activist judges” and of particular Supreme Court decisions has long been a staple of political campaigns. But the new attacks, coming from most of the Republican candidates, are raising broader questions about how the legal system might be reshaped if one of them is elected to the White House next year.

I’m going to end with this funny Halloween-themed satire from The New Yorker: Dear Mountain Room Parents, by Maria Semple. Here’s a bit of it, but please read the whole thing. You won’t be sorry.

Hi, everyone!

The Mountain Room is gearing up for its Day of the Dead celebration on Friday. Please send in photos of loved ones for our altar. All parents are welcome to come by on Wednesday afternoon to help us make candles and decorate skulls.



Hi again.

Because I’ve gotten some questions about my last e-mail, there is nothing “wrong” with Halloween. The Day of the Dead is the Mexican version, a time of remembrance. Many of you chose Little Learners because of our emphasis on global awareness. Our celebration on Friday is an example of that. The skulls we’re decorating are sugar skulls. I should have made that more clear.



Some of you have expressed concern about your children celebrating a holiday with the word “dead” in it. I asked Eleanor’s mom, who’s a pediatrician, and here’s what she said: “Preschoolers tend to see death as temporary and reversible. Therefore, I see nothing traumatic about the Day of the Dead.” I hope this helps.


It gets funnier, so please go read the rest! Now what are you reading and blogging about today?

26 Comments on “Monday Morning Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Don’t misunderstand, I am not an Obama supporter, but how can anyone seriously consider this brigade of less than mediocre All Stars as an alternative? Aside from not having any real solutions to the problems at hand, they are seriously stupid.

    Mitt has been running for president for at least 15 years and he has yet to sharpen his act but standing alongside some of these dummies he looks somewhat normal. You have to admit that if Mitt is their “best hope” then the others are pretty bad by comparison.

    And Rick Perry is once more back in the “birther” camp, referring to his meeting with another dunce, Donald Trump.


    • bostonboomer says:

      I hope I won’t have to vote for Obama–I’ll just have to wait and see how the polls are in MA. I can’t imagine one of these idiots winning there, but you never know. Reagan won MA.

      • The Rock says:

        Great post BB. Yes, the GOP is fielding a bunch of bottom barrel candidates. I can’t help but think that that is the way the powers that be want it. There is a rethug in office now challenging other more radical rethugs. I pivot my focus to the DNC again. Since there are no viable options outside of Bumbles, independents will vote for the GOP candidate. Expect women’s rights, the national economy, human rights and the general welfare of the country as a whole to suffer mightily over the next 8 years.

        We are so f&%^$d.

        Hillary 2012

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    It sure is quiet today…

    When I saw that headline about Ron Paul ends student loans, my first thought was that it had something to do with loan forgiveness. Then it hit me, no…this is the dude that wants to get rid of the Dept. of Education.

    These candidates are not only morons…they are hateful inconsiderate morons.

    I guess they would advocate private charity for college tuition as well?

  3. joanelle says:

    As I sat reading my paper this AM (yes, I still have my coffee with my regional news) I wondered half out loud, are there no adults left out there?

    What a bunch of looney toons! Where does one go to hide from all this nonsense?

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    I found a few links this morning…

    There are fewer and fewer doctors taking Medicaid these days, check out it out:
    More states limiting Medicaid hospital stays –

    I know from personal experience that HAMP and those keep your home programs from Fannie Mae are a bunch of scams. As my mom gets her 60 day notice to vacate the house, these new programs Obama is pushing aren’t going to work…they make you fill out the same forms over and over again…and pre-approve you for modifications, but in the end, it is the same answer…Fuck off and die.
    Home-loan refinancing to get easier under revised U.S. program –

    And if this new slogan for Obama is true, then I think it has a double meaning…We can’t wait… for you people to fuck off and die…yes, I am stuck on that phrase!
    Obama’s new slogan: ‘We can’t wait’

    • ralphb says:

      “Fuck off and die” will probably be replaced with “Fuck off, here come the drones” any day now.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        You may be on to something there Ralph…

      • ralphb says:

        Guess it doesn’t hurt to hope that changes to HARP can help some people, but faith is in really short supply. Look out, was that a drone?

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Ralph, it is all a nice show, but all this refi help doesn’t mean anything if the banks and fannie mae don’t give the refis.
        That is what pisses me off…these programs would help, albeit not enough, but the banks do not approve modifications. They just make you fill out the same forms over and over again, and then tell you no, you don’t get a modification. So it is nothing but a farce.

      • ralphb says:

        I know that’s how it works now but I’m kind of hoping the bank regulators can force the issue. If not, then banks will never go along with anything helpful.

    • bostonboomer says:


      Doctors don’t even take Medicare where I live. You have to go to a hospital.

  5. ralphb says:

    A somewhat different look at the Greek situation from Naked Capitalism

    Marshall Auerback and Rob Parenteau: The Myth of Greek Profligacy & the Faith Based Economics of the ‘Troika’

    This is not exactly the same as I’ve read about those ‘oh so profligate’ Greeks in some other places.

  6. ralphb says:

    OWS picks up another ally. Those DFHs in the Vatican.

    Vatican calls for global authority on economy, raps “idolatry of the market”

    “If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid,” it said.

    It called for the establishment of “a supranational authority” with worldwide scope and “universal jurisdiction” to guide economic policies and decisions.

    Asked at a news conference if the document could become a manifesto for the movement of the “indignant ones”, who have criticised global economic policies, Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace department, said: “The people on Wall Street need to sit down and go through a process of discernment and see whether their role managing the finances of the world is actually serving the interests of humanity and the common good. “We are calling for all these bodies and organisations to sit down and do a little bit of re-thinking.”