Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

On Sunday during his “get to know the regular people” bus tour, Mitt Romney expressed “amazement” at a gas station in Pennsylvania where you could order “hoagies” using a touch-screen.

At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told a crowd that he had been astonished by a touch screen computer used to order food at the Wawa gas station chain….

“I was at Wawas,” Romney explained. “I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad, alright? You just touch that and, you know, the sandwich comes up. You touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier. There’s your sandwich. It’s amazing!”

The ordering system has been there for 10 years. Of course this reminded everyone of the apocryphal story about out-of-touch patrician George H.W. Bush being amazed by a supermarket scanner.

Poor Mitt. In another article on Romney’s bus tour, James Fallows makes fun of the candidate’s habit of expressing surprise by saying “oh my goodness!”

Romney’s trademark small-talk exclamation, “Oh my goodness!” seems completely genuine. But I am trying to think of the last time I heard a 21st-century person use that phrase — as opposed to all the other possibilities, which when you think about it range from coarse to profane. (Jeez louise, WTF, Holy shit, and on through a long list you can fill in yourself.) When combined with his Don-Draper-in-the-’50s very dapper personal style, it adds to a retro atmosphere that some people will find reassuring and appealing and others will find odd.

Well I have to admit that I often say “oh my goodness!” too. Maybe I’m out of touch then–or maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. I got in the habit of saying that when taking care of my nephews. John McWhorter at The New Republic also thinks Romney’s “verbal stylings” are strange. Romney is also guilty of using “g” words like gosh, golly, and gee, which McWhorter says are substitutes for taking the name of “god” in vain.

Gee, gosh, and golly are all tokens of dissimulation. They are used in moments of excitement or dismay as burgherly substitutions, either for God and Jesus—words many religious people believe should not be “taken in vain”—or for words considered even less appropriate. Fittingly, they even emerged as disguised versions of God (gosh and golly) and Jesus (gee; cf. also jeez). This was in line with how cursing worked in earlier English. The medieval and even colonial Anglophones’ versions of profanity were to express dismay or vent pain by swearing—“making an oath”—to God or related figures considered ill-addressed in such a disrespectful way. The proper person at least muted the impact with a coy distortion, à la today’s shoot and fudge. Hence zounds (first attestation: 1600), as in by his (Christ’s) wounds; egad for Ye God (1673); and by Jove (1598). To increasing numbers of modern Americans, the G-words are unusable outside of quotation marks, be these actual or implied, rather like the word perky.

Well, gee, I use that one sometimes too, though not “gosh” or “golly.” So maybe I’m as much of an anachronism as Romney. Of course I’ve been known to swear also. I really think saying the “g” words might be a Midwestern mannerism.

Robert Shrum says Mitt Romney reminds him of Thomas E. Dewey, who was expected to beat Harry Truman in 1948, but didn’t. Check it out. I found it interesting.

It appears that police are suspicious about the drowning death of Rodney King. An autopsy has been done, but the results haven’t been released yet. There was no obvious evidence of foul play, but apparently King was a very avid swimmer. There are also conflicting reports of sounds from King’s backyard right before his body was found. Reuters:

King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, a juror in the civil suit he brought against the city of Los Angeles, “didn’t give any indication he was unhappy or that there was an issue.” He said King was known to swim frequently and at all hours.

Shepherd said Kelly told investigators that, shortly before the drowning, she had been inside the house talking with King off and on through a sliding glass door that leads to a patio beside the pool.

At some point, she told them, she heard a splash, prompting her to run outside to find him at the bottom of the deep end. Unable to swim well herself, she called emergency 911 for help.

The Los Angeles Times, in an online account on Monday, cited a next-door neighbor, Sandra Gardea, 31, as saying she heard the sound of a man sobbing from King’s back yard in the two hours before police say he was found in the pool.

The Times also reported that Gardea heard King’s fiancée trying to coax him back into the house.

“It wasn’t like an argument,” she told the newspaper. “She was just saying, ‘Get in the house. Get in the house.'” Gardea said she heard a splash a few minutes later.

Very mysterious.

The prosecution in the Trayvon Martin case has released calls between George Zimmerman and his wife when he was in jail the first time.

The recordings show that from his jail cell, Zimmerman gave his wife step-by-step instructions on how to change a password and clear security questions so she could move money, gave her orders to withdraw specific amounts and directed her to pay the bills.

Prosecutors allege the couple was moving money out of an Internet PayPal account that was awash with donations for Zimmerman, who’s charged with second-degree murder in one of the most racially-charged criminal cases in the country. He shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, in Sanford Feb. 26.

The couple spoke in code, according to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda. In the calls Zimmerman makes repeated reference to “Peter Pan,” an apparent reference to PayPal.

And neither Zimmerman or his wife ever refer to more than $100,000, talking instead about amounts generally totaling “10 dollars” and “20 dollars.” Prosecutors say those were references to $10,000 and $20,000.

Shellie was careful to move less than $10,000 at a time, to avoid triggering attention from the feds.

The tapes of six conversations were released Monday, as were bank statements from the Zimmermans’ accounts at a credit union. The statements show repeated transfers to and from the account in amounts just under $10,000. On April 24, for example, there were 8 transfers of $9,999.00 into Shellie Zimmerman’s account. Banks and financial institutions are required to file “suspicious activity reports” in such cases, according to Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who specializes in money laundering.

Structuring the money in such a way is not itself illegal, he says, if the money isn’t from an illicit source. But, he says, it shows “a guilty mind.”

“What they’ve done,’ Blum said, “is they’ve given the prosecutors, on a silver platter, evidence of guilty intent.”

This one should probably be at the top of this post, but gee golly gosh and my goodness! I thought the other stories were more fun to read–so gosh darn it, what the heck!

Obama, Putin meet on Syria at G-20 summit.

Meeting for nearly two hours on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Mexico, the two presidents tried to focus mostly on areas of agreement — even when it came to areas of disagreement, such as Syria.

The U.S. wants Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power. Russia, which sells arms to Syria, has blocked United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for tough sanctions and leaving the door open to military intervention.

“We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war and the kind of horrific deaths that we’ve seen over the last several weeks,” Obama said after his first meeting with Putin following his return to the presidency this year. “We pledged to work with other international actors, including the United Nations, Kofi Annan and all interested parties, in trying to find a resolution to this problem.”

Putin was upbeat following the meeting, which went on much longer than planned and covered the full range of issues between the two nations. “From my perspective, we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues,” he said.

I’m glad it was Obama negotiating and not Romney. Otherwise, we might be at war with Russia by now.

The New York Times has a piece on what Europe will do now that the Greeks have voted for austerity.

BERLIN — After Greek elections eased fears that the country’s exit from the euro zone was imminent, attention turned Monday to an even bigger challenge: restoring the economic body to health with Greece still in it.

A respite from market pressure early Monday proved to be short-lived, as investors shifted their attention from political infighting in Athens to the larger question of whether European leaders could find a more lasting solution to a debacle now well into its third year.

But even though Brussels had been hoping for the victory by Antonis Samaras and his center-right New Democracy Party, the yearned-for result, paradoxically, may weaken Europe’s determination to take more radical steps to avert a meltdown.

German hard-liners were emboldened by the victory, viewing it as an endorsement of the drive for structural adjustment in Greece and elsewhere in Southern Europe through further austerity. As a result, the vote may delay concerted pro-growth steps by central banks and governments around the world, as well as the hard choices within Europe over deeper integration that are likely to prove necessary in the long run.

Much more at the link.

There’s lots of talk around the ‘net about the upcoming SCOTUS decision on the health care law. Scalia appears to be signaling that it may go down. You can read about what might happen if parts of the bill found unconstitutional here, here, and here.

Ronan Farrow with mother Mia

Woody Allen’s son Ronan (who looks exactly like Mia Farrow) celebrated father’s day by tweeting “Happy father’s day — or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.” And Mother Mia retweeted it. Ouch!

Woody and Ronan have been estranged for years since his parents split and because Woody was dating (and later married) Soon-Yi Previn, Mia’s adopted daughter, Ronan’s step-sister. He has been quoted in the past as saying, “He’s my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression.” [….]

Ronan, named Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow when he was born in 1987, is the sole biological child of Woody and actress Mia Farrow. He is currently serving as special adviser to the Secretary of State for Global Youth Issues and director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office.

Finally, Roger Clemens was found not guilty yesterday, and honestly I’m glad. He probably did use steroids late in his career, but the prosecution couldn’t prove it. Thousands of players did it, and I think it was terrible; but the Justice Department has much more important things to do than making examples out of baseball players (and former presidential candidates for that matter). Clemens will go down in history as one of the greatest pitchers ever. He certainly is one of the best ever to play for the Red Sox.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

44 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Another great post, bb. I have to say that after reading some pieces this AM on Alternet, listening to NPR & reading this, I am seriously demoralized. The Forces of Evil seem overwhelming. Listening to the coverage about Egypt, and thinking about the media’s supportive coverage over all for the Arab Spring (mostly ignoring the ongoing attacks on women pariticipants in Tarir Square) vs the mostly negative coverage of the Occupy Movement in the US, crossed my mind. Protest good in Arab countries – Protest bad in the US. Hmmmmm. Sad, depressing.

    Good catch on the Bush (grocery scanner) Romney (touchtone? geez Louise!, it’s touch SCREEN, Rombot). But then I thought, Bush’s disconnection didn’t prevent him from being elected. I think in today’s climate, George Wallace could get elected president, especially with so many states working so hard to make sure only uninformed voters will retain the right to vote.

    Heading off to work where, hopefully, I can take my mind off of the sad state of affairs afflicting our nation. Debbie Downer signing off now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Well, Bush didn’t get elected that year (1992). Bill Clinton did. As I recall, the no new taxes thing killed Bush, as well as his lack of “the vision thing.” But I’m sure the perception of him as out-of-touch and clueless was part of it. The grocery scanner incident actually never happened, but people believed it because of Bush’s general cluelessness.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        …and my aging brain remembered the incident as happening to the last Bushie in the WH – the touchy-feely GW (anyone for a neck rub?).

        I only got half way through the New Yorker piece & the moderate Republicaness of the Dems wore me down more. I’ll take the rest on tonight. American’s new 2 party system: Moderate Republicans (formerly Democrats) & Far Right Republicans. Gosh, golly gee wilikers, Batman:

  2. Beata says:

    Oh my goodness, this is an excellent round-up, BB!

    Gee, it’s nice to see that Mia Farrow’s son has turned out so well ( no thanks to Dad, I’m sure ). And gosh, he’s lucky to favor his mother’s side of the family. A good-looking young man. Much continued sucess to him.

    I do think using the “g” words is a Midwestern mannerism. I was taught not to swear in public ( although a cuss word will slip out now and then ). Even saying, “Oh my god” was considered “common” by my mother except in the most dire situations when God’s help was really needed. I still automatically cringe when I hear people say “Jesus Christ” as swear words. Those childhood lessons are hard to forget.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I had to train myself not to swear in front of my nephews, so I reverted back to my Midwestern upbringing.

      • NW Luna says:

        To increasing numbers of modern Americans, the G-words are unusable outside of quotation marks, be these actual or implied, rather like the word perky.

        Are there increasing numbers of fundamentalists? And I must be missing something about the word “perky.”


      • Seriously says:

        LOL! That was my reaction too, since when can Americans not bring themselves to use “perky” in an unironic fashion? The world of journolist is not like our world, and I gotta say, I’m okay with that. “I like it! It’s cheery. It’s perky.” 😉

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Mercy me, the news this morning is covering the shameless “tell all” book written by Rielle Hunter, the Oprah interview with Kim Kardashian and the sex tape that made her a star, and the revelations from other coaches at Penn State who seemed to find showering with little boys a perfectly normal happenstance. Where to begin?

    Apparently Hunter and Edwards continue to see one another, caught together in a grocery store parking lot “nuzzling” one another prior to his recent trial. This piece of crap book takes potshots at Elizabeth Edwards, revealing her temper when discovering the affair during his presidential bid as she battles cancer and Rielle is appalled by her reaction. Disgusting beyond words.

    Kim admits that her “fame” is a result of the release of a sex tape showing her receiving a “golden shower” with the same guy who was listed as Whitney Huston’s last boyfriend. Kim says she is “ashamed” but rumors still exist that this infamous dreck was actually released for publication not “pirated” as she has claimed. It has earned her a fabulous living as a no talent skank which merely underscores the public’s thirst for all things “celebrity” aside from how it is sought. Absurd.

    But the revelations of some of the coaches involved with Penn State over the years is even more disturbing. One retired coach well into his 60s admitted that he frequents the showers of the YMCA taking his little granddaughter with him. They then shower together after a “workout”. Are you effen kidding me?

    How often does a grandfather take showers with a little girl and why is this considered “normal behavior”. Where is this kid’s mother? Bad enough that Sandusky used his position to lure little boys into his dark fantasies but to hear this admission during a trial as an “excuse” in support of Sandusky is even more troubling.

    No wonder Sandusky was allowed to get away with his untoward behavior for so many years since it appears that the mindset of many in that community isn’t much different.

    I had three boys all involved with sports for many years as they were growing up and never once did they ever “shower” with grown ups after a game or a practice. But hearing of a grandfather taking showers with a small girl after a “workout” at the Y is beyond comprehension.

    These above mentioned people are shameless as they cross the line of whatever we once considered immoral behavior.

    In the words of Mitt Romney: good gosh almigthy!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Gross! I avoided the Sandusky and Edwards stories. Shameless is the word for both of these people and Kardashian too. I’ve avoided knowing much about her because I swore off TV in 2008 and I’m still not watching very much.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Unfortuntaly, Kim Kardashian is all over the place. You can’t turn on the internet without her face (or ass) popping up.

        What is more egregious is Rielle trying to paint Elizabeth Edwards as “the other woman”. It doesn’t get much more disgusgting than this.

        And to have seen the eldest Edwards daughter standing alongside him during the weeks of that trial is as equally outrageous. What was she thinking?

        I realize that families must “make peace” in order to move on in life, but this man and his greedy, grasping, out of touch girlfriend should be relegated to the dusty bins of history and long forgotten.

        This was a dying woman being villified for discovering her spouse cheating with the likes of that moron that would have driven any wife over the edge as it was taking place right under her nose.

        My instinct is that Sandusky will be convicted and sent to prison where he will remain until he dies.

        Then my hope is those victims sue Penn State for the last dime in their sacred treasury.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Rielle makes me sick. I really feel for that poor little girl they spawned together.

      • RalphB says:

        Pat, I agree with everything except for Edward’s eldest daughter. She’s trying to make peace and maintain a relationship with her remaining parent. Judging her for that seems wrong to me.

    • janicen says:

      Let me begin by saying, Vagina.

      That Elizabeth Edwards is being criticized for getting angry that her famous and beloved husband was sneaking around and having an affair while she battled cancer is reprehensible.

      I’ve learned to shave off the “goodness” and say “Oh my!” It’s shorter and I think sounds a bit more contemporary. I had to stop saying OMG when my daughter learned to talk so Oh My was a good substitute.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I frankly think John Edwards, was concealing his affair with Hunter for monetary gain, as once Elizabeth Edwards understood, she filed for divorce and secured her funds for her children.

      Getting a terminal diagnosis is hard enough, having your husband and his staff repeating what Elizabeth Edwards went through as outbursts is simply inhumane. The lady was ill, and she was being abused, yes ABUSED by her husband emotionally (wouldn’t be surprised to find physically too), when he needed to be her supportive partner. John Edwards, showed no
      compassion in continuing his quest for the presidency at the expense of his wife’s health, continuing with his self gratification and still today shows no sense of decency for the mother of four of his children even in death.

      I don’t know how Cate sorts her father’s messy life and his behavior and maybe it is just to keep or continue having access to her siblings…hard to do, but Elizabeth Edwards would want Cate close by for support of her two little ones. Heartbreaking.

    • NW Luna says:

      And didn’t any staff at the Y ever intervene in this older man showering with small girl activity? Yech.

  4. Fannie says:

    I believe the only entrance in this world is through the VAGINA.

  5. Eric says:

    Re: The first Romney story. Turns out that if you listen to what Romney was saying at greater length, he was contrasting the trouble an optometrist was having getting a change of address through to the federal government, with the ease with which one can now, aided by technology, order a sandwich remotely. MSNBC edited this story to make Romney look like a goober, when actually he was making a perfectly reasonable point.

    We should be as wary of left leaning media distortions as we are of the right.

    • janicen says:

      I agree that we should be wary of the media, but not because they are either left or right. We should be wary because they are corporate owned and their mission is to make money. If they present this election as if it’s going to be close, they make more money because millions more will be spent on political advertising. One day they’ll make one candidate look stupid and the next day they’ll do it to the other one. The media’s only interest is in making money.

      • Eric says:

        OK, but I for one would like to hold our more progressive outlets to a little higher standard than Fox. I was a little surprised to see MSNBC being so sneaky in their presentation of this video. BTW, when bagged today, they later showed a little more of it, but not the whole story as available on youtube, nor did they apologize for the dishonest edit. Guess I haven’t been paying enough attention…

      • bostonboomer says:

        our progressive outlets?”

        First, as you’ve been told repeatedly, Eric, we’re not “progressives” here. Personally I despise that word and anyone who calls him or herself a “progressive.” We are FDR liberals.

        You are a Republican concern troll. But go ahead and call yourself a “progressive.” I despise both.

      • Seriously says:

        Well, don’t worry, I have no doubt that true progressive truth warriors like Brian McGrory will devote a million consecutive columns to handwringing over this latest instance of idiotic fauxrage. We’ve got it covered. Mitt Romney and the Hidden Wawa Sandwich Slander, part 56789.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, I know that Eric. And I thought it was a stupid story.

    • NW Luna says:

      I’ve had more problems getting a change of address through to private companies than I’ve ever had with gov’t agencies.

      Regardless of edits, what’s clear is Romney does not order his own sandwiches, nor did Bush Sr do his own grocery shopping.

    • NW Luna says:

      We should be as wary of left leaning media distortions as we are of the right.

      Sure, I look for real left-leaning media distortions. Keep waiting for them to pop up.

      • Eric says:

        BB, call yourself whatever you like. I call a lot of left leaning media progressive. So do some periodicals, like The Progressive.

        I wasn’t thinking of you, BB, when I said our progressive outlets. I mean of the people in the country. You seem to jump to conclusions a bit. And I’m a Republican troll? No way. But I am interested in hearing why you despise self described progressives. I honestly don’t get that. What made you think I was speaking of you when I said progressive anyway? “We are FDR liberals”. Are you speaking for everyone on this site when you say that? But if it will make you feel better I will make sure not to say that word on this site anymore.

        I like a lot of what you’re doing here. In this case I was pointing out the deceptive edits that MSNBC should have been above. They should be able to take the criticism. FYI, I recently really trashed Fox and Friends for a 4 minute piece of propaganda they ran on Obama in a so called news show. Did you see that one? It is way worse than anything MSNBC has done. Do I sound like a Republican now?

        But jeez, a little criticism shouldn’t rile you up so much, I think. It is not even criticism of you or your organization!

        I didn’t get the feminism part of what you are doing here at first, but now I do. And I guess I don’t blame you for being a little hypervigilant against perceived slights. I would be if I were a woman. But please get that I’m a liberal too. I don’t want to fight with you people!


  6. RalphB says:

    Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog has the best take on the WaWa story. Romney’s lies are ignored by the entire MSM but they’re extremely obvious..


    • Eric says:

      Sure, Romney did some exaggerating an obfuscating in his story. I never believed the 33 page form for a second. His message: public sector bad is of course simplistic and against most people’s interests. So yah, his point isn’t really reasonable, as he is comparing apples and oranges.

      I’m just saying that MSNBC made a boo boo in editing his speech to make him look stupid, rather than showing the quote in context. NBC made another famous editing faux pas and played its version of the Zimmerman 911 call on the air, so you’d think they’d be more careful after the flack they got for that.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Romney basically lies every time he opens his mouth. He is one of the most dishonest politicians I have ever seen or heard of. Even Nixon told the truth every once in awhile.

      • RalphB says:

        Romney is basically just a huge liar, end of story. The edit seemed a lot like some attempt at the Foxification of the story, which is standard for fair and balanced.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Thanks for the link, ralph. Great post & the fact that he added that the change of address form is 4 pages only, with 2 of those being the instructions. Ooooh, red tape, you betcha.

  7. northwestrain says:


    Huff Po has a lengthy article called “nowhere to go”. So what happened with Bill Clintons — put the welfare moms to work — campaign in the early and mid 90s? Give the women job training and child care so they could pay their way. Sounds good? The reality is far worse. In Georgia at least it is the job of the welfare offices not to help — and so there are countless women with children who are basically homeless — finding someone’s floor to sleep on.

    The HuffPo article focus is on one women — to show a human face to the statistics of the safety net that is not there for those that need it most. The Georgia welfare workers are proud about the numbers — they are getting people off of welfare. But there is no follow up — where do these people go?

    Without child care mothers can not work. And this is how Georgia and probably other states are reducing welfare recipients. They can sign the women up for classes — and since the mothers have no one to care for their children they miss the job training classes.

    It seems like the welfare workers in Georgia are good at keeping their jobs but they are a complete failure at helping women find jobs — oh and the problem is that there are very few jobs.

    Back when Prez Clinton’s grand plan of getting the lazy welfare queens to work (the language favored by the radical right) there were jobs. Today the economy is different.

    Peter S. Goodman has written a well researched article with numbers and graphs to understand just how serious this problem is.

    Frankly Georgia sounds like a third world country.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters


  9. dakinikat says:


    Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is vetting the resumés of that Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, and of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty so as, perhaps, to avoid this. Both men are considered fairly bland, other than the fact that Portman co-owns a haunted hotel. That said, after Sarah Palin’s lack of vetting, it’s hard to blame Romney.

    No VAGINAS allowed

    • dakinikat says:

      daveweigel ‏@daveweigel

      BREAKING RT @AP: BREAKING: Romney says Marco Rubio being ‘thoroughly vetted’ for vice presidential consideration.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Spread that far and wide so all women voters hear about it.

  10. dakinikat says:

    B&B Circus is in town: Here’s a pic of the elephants marching to the Dome down St Charles Ave.

  11. Eric says:

    Speaking of liars, apparently Rubio still has on his web site the story he has been telling for years. That his parents were exiles from Castro’s takeover of Cuba. Except they arrived in FLA 3 years earlier. For entertainment, check out a couple of his acrobatic moves spinning his way out of this one.

    Rubio’s gotta be the worst. Charismatic, young, and evil through and through.

  12. Glennmcgahee says:

    There’s plenty more of Rubio than the fabrication of his history. If the story ever breaks of how he used Gov’t money for his personal expenses here in Florida that should be enough to eliminate him as a Vice Presidential candidate. He lost his job here in Florida because of it and only won his Senate seat by spreading rumors about Charlie Crist’s secret homosexuality, you know, a “whisper campaign”. But the really hard part is that the Democratic Party never really support our candidates in Florida with MONEY. It gets very frustrating. Our last Gubernatorial election being the best example.
    Please, please do not repeat any Andrea Mitchell story again. The Wawa thing has been debunked and yes, what Romney told about with the form for change of address in Medicare reimbursement is absolutely true except the form is only 26 pages long, not 33.

    • Eric says:

      Yes I read that about Rubio too. I don’t think we really have to worry about him as VP candidate. After the Palin fiasco, I’m sure the Repubs will scrutinize their choices with a lot more care, and should weed him out early.