Saturday Reads

It’s Saturday morning and our country is once again saddened by a horrible, violent crime. The shootings in Colorado yesterday were tragic. Even more tragic is the fact that mass shootings have become almost commonplace in our country, but none of our so-called leaders respond by actually taking action to prevent more such massacres in the future.

I feel heartsick not only for all of the victims and their families but also for the family of the perpetrator. I can’t begin to imagine how horrible it would be to lose a family member so senselessly or to have a family member commit such a horrific crime. If only this time politicians would stand up to the bloodthirsty NRA, but I know it’s not going to happen.

I’m not going to link to any more articles about yesterday’s murders. I just can’t stand to read about it right now. So let’s see what else is happening.

Chris Cilizza asks “Who had the worst week in Washington? Rep. Michele Bachmann.”

Anytime you are compared to former senator Joseph McCarthy — he of “red scare” infamy — it’s probably not very good for your political career.

That’s the situation Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) found herself in this past week after it came to light that she and four other House Republicans had sent letters to the inspectors general of the departments of Homeland Security, State and Justice, asking them to look into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has tentacles within the U.S. government.

Bachmann focused her attack on Human Abedin, long-time friend and aide to Hillary Clinton and wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner. She also slimed fellow Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison.

In an interview with radio host Glenn Beck on Thursday, Bachmann asserted that Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, has a long record of being associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, said in a subsequent interview Thursday night with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he has no ties to the Brotherhood, a fundamentalist Islamic movement that recently came to power in Egypt and that some say maintains ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Bachmann offered no evidence of ties between Ellison and the Muslim Brotherhood during the Beck interview. Bachmann’s spokesman, Dan Kotman, cited a 2009 Fox News report that Ellison had a trip paid for by the Muslim American Society, a group described by an expert quoted in that report as “the de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.”

It’s simply beyond me why anyone would support this woman or vote for her, yet she is one of the top fund-raisers in the House of Representatives.

I watched some of the British Open today. Please don’t get mad at me. I can’t help rooting for Tiger Woods. I find it so hard to resist a comeback story, and Woods has slowly been recovering his pre-scandal form.

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England — From the time he arrived in northwest England on Sunday, it was clear Tiger Woods had a game plan for Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

He had fond memories of the place, having been low amateur here in 1996 and calling it one of his favorite courses on the Open Championship rota. He enjoyed the challenge of avoiding the numerous pitfalls of the old links. Without saying so, he appeared determined to put an end to his four-year major championship victory drought.

Part of the plan was to stay out of the numerous bunkers that give Royal Lytham its teeth. The wind was down and the course was soft, but getting into those hazards is, well, hazardous.

It obviously wasn’t part of the plan when Woods’ approach to the par-4 18th found a greenside bunker. His caddie, Joe LaCava, said the shot was one of his best of the day. But the wind played a factor, the ball drifted into the sand and … uh-oh.

Then Woods holed the shot for a birdie.

A thunderous roar echoed around the 18th green as Woods gave a fist pump. He had made his statement at the Open Championship.

The tournament continues through the weekend, and I’ll probably watch a little more of it. The scenery relaxes me if nothing else.

I’ll just give you two Mitt Romney links this morning. First, this column by conservative political handicapper Charlie Cook from early in the week: Red Alert.

The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally—not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks—seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable. Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability.

The attacks on Bain, outsourcing, and his investments are sticking to Romney like Velcro, and it’s hard to see how that will change until he picks his running mate. Romney has lost control of the debate and the dialogue. Instead of voters focusing on the economy, they are now hearing about investments and accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, as well as about outsourcing and layoffs….if I were a Republican, I would be very concerned about the events of the past two weeks, questioning both strategy and tactics as well as the underlying assumptions that have led to the campaign decisions made so far.

Second, check out this slideshow of photos of “Sad Mitt Romney” at Mother Jones. In number 8, he looks like he’s about to cry–maybe because of mean bully Obama’s attacks on his “success.”

Sorry–I threw in another link there, but you don’t have to click on it.

Here’s a knee-slapper from Raw Story: Top tea partier demands Obama prove he doesn’t smoke crack and have gay sex

The president of Tea Party Nation declared on Thursday that if Mitt Romney is to release his tax returns, President Barack Obama should release medical records to prove he’s not a drug addict who smoked crack and had gay sex with a lifelong con-man.

Judson Phillips, whose for-profit group is better known to Tennessee as the “Tea Party Nation Corporation,” explained in an essay that also went out in a mass email to his followers that the American people must know whether the president had secret financial support in college due to his status as a “foreign student” — and dredged up a long-disproved story of Obama’s alleged encounter smoking crack and having sex with a gay prostitute.

At The Nation, Ari Melber reports:

A new campaign calling for “a woman moderator” for the presidential debates has drawn over 115,000 supporters online, through the social action website, and the Commission on Presidential Debates is taking notice. Janet Brown, the commission’s executive director, told The Nation she knew of the petition’s popularity and her colleagues “welcome” the input “regarding moderator selection.”

The petition, which was started by three high school students in New Jersey, Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegeland and Elena Tsemberis, casts the paucity of female moderators as an issue of equality. “We were shocked to find out that it has been twenty years since a woman last moderated a presidential debate,” the petition notes, in reference to the 1992 debate led by ABC News’s Carole Simpson. The students started the effort in conjunction with their civics class, and it is now “the largest elections-related petition” on, according to Michael Jones, the site’s deputy campaign director. A related effort on, a new organizing platform for women’s rights, has drawn another 50,000 supporters.

Now that is something I’d like to see–as long as the moderator isn’t Barbara Walters or Diane Sawyer.

I’m sure you’ve heard that George Zimmerman has “gone rogue” again. He has again set up his on website talking to the media and generally appears to be ignoring his attorney’s advice. You’ll recall that he did that with his previous attorneys and they resigned from his case in a nationally televised news conference. On JJ’s Thursday night post, Northwestrain linked to an interesting wordpress blog called the Frederick Leatherman Law Blog. It’s run by an attorney who has been commenting on the Trayvon Martin case. I found his latest post fascinating. He thinks Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, should resign.

GZ is the quintessential difficult client. He is paranoid, secretive, fearful, angry, stubborn, doesn’t trust anyone, controlling, believes he’s smarter than anyone else, manipulative, and probably delusional. It’s absolutely clear that he does not feel any emotional distress or regret for having killed TM.

His claim that TM died as part of “God’s Plan” exhibits a frightening dissociation from reality and a willingness to kill without any sense of responsibility or regret, if he deems it necessary to do so. In other words, if he should find himself in another situation where he believes he is cornered and needs to kill someone to save face or save his ass, I believe he’s likely to do so and excuse what he did as just carrying out God’s will.

I think he is a danger to himself or others and he belongs in a secure mental health facility or a jail. He needs a thorough mental health evaluation.

I fear that Mark O’Mara is a potential victim and I am concerned about his safety. He’s clearly lost control of GZ despite his protestations to the contrary. GZ clearly sees O’Mara in the way and O’Mara has to be very careful how he handles the “uncharted waters” (his words) in which he finds himself.

If he pushes too hard in an effort to regain control, assuming he ever had control, things could get ugly.

I couldn’t agree more. I think O’Mara is destroying his reputation because he craves the media attention that goes along with this case. But Zimmerman is obviously a very sick man with almost no ability to control his impulses. O’Mara should cut and run.

Finally, have you heard that Elizabeth Warren may be asked to give the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention? Steve Kornacki writes:

Early in the week, NBC News and the New York Post reported that Chris Christie would be the Republicans’ featured speaker at their Tampa convention. Mitt Romney’s campaign has refused to confirm the report, though, and Christie himself was mum on the subject when questioned on Thursday. Also on Thursday, the Boston Globe reported that an Obama campaign official had confirmed that Elizabeth Warren was a candidate to deliver the Democratic keynote speech in Charlotte.

There’s no guarantee they’ll be chosen, but Christie and Warren are unusually obvious and logical candidates for the slots. Both have exploded onto the national scene during the Obama presidency by articulating their parties’ basic message and values with more charisma and precision than anyone else – including, arguably, their parties’ nominees.

That would be quite a contrast!

Now what are you reading and blogging about today?

23 Comments on “Saturday Reads”

  1. ANonOMouse says:

    Thanks for the great Caturday reads JJ.

    I really got a laugh from the article about the Tea Party Nation guy demanding medical records as “proof” that Obama hasn’t had gay sex or smoked crack. What a bunch of desperate asshats.

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    Sorry BB, just realized it’s you’re byline, not JJ’s. As always great food for thought

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    I loved Jon Stewart’s take on the Romney folks complaining about “Obama” (like it’s only him) calling for more tax returns & when Romney really left Bain. His take: it’s not like the Republican whackos demanded unreasonable documentation from Obama – yeah, right. He then ran clips of the craziness emanating from the Right Wingnuts. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when one gets a dose of one’s own medicine. The irony? Reasonable requests being made of Romney, tinfoil hat requests being made for Obama. They just don’t get it and, seemingly, a large percentage of the American people don’t either.

    OT, but another one of those quirky, interesting stories from NPR: I had never heard of either the band Plant & See or the Lumbee Indians. I listened, somewhat interested & then my ears perked up when they said Willie Lowery’s son is a member of Sevendust. That band is a personal favorite of my membership assistant & he had mentioned hanging out with them recently at a concert in Orlando.

    Thanks bb for another great roundup.

    • Fannie says:

      Wow, I have known of the Lumbee Nation…………..and was thinking of Cheraw Tribe, particularly coming from South Carolina Cherokee’s. I knew some local women who were very good at doing bead work many years ago in Northeastern California. There are many tribes trying to oust others because of african blood in their lines, I wondered if this was the case with Lumbee’s? The Casino money managers are painfully deny others their rights to a slice of the pie. I appreciate you finding this story, and want to hear more about Sevendust’s music, as well as his father………

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Glad you liked it. I know there are a couple of regulars in the SD community that know a lot about native peoples. I’ve driven through the town of Cheraw, but didn’t know there was a Native American tribe by that name.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    It isn’t just that Michele Bachmann is “nuttier than a fruitcake”, it’s the idea that she is able to raise funds thus indicating that there are more like her out there who support her insane beliefs.

    Not only Michele, but Texas keeps sending another Fruit Loop back to congress by the name of Louie Goehmert who stands with her as another Tea Party screwball who blames the latest massacre in Colorado on atheists.

    The First Amendment gives its citizens the right to speak openly but these people are practicing in dangerous claims and outright lies that smear those whose views are opposite to their own.

    I think we have passed the territory of “silliness” and are now wallowing in full blown psychosis that has a grip on this nation owed in large part to some seriously deranged people who enjoy the privilege of elected office.

    You can set aside the question of how Bain made its money and concentrate on Romney carrying more of these fools into more prominence because he “owes” them. It is difficult to put into words a congress facing a plurality of these people sitting in both Houses after November.

    A frightening prospect.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Romney Claims Dog Ate Tax Returns and Ran Bain Capital for Three Years — Andy Borowitz

    “Seamus was more than a dog,” Mr. Romney said, his voice beginning to quaver. “As C.E.O. of Bain, he was a job creator.”

    But Mr. Romney’s revelations about his dog’s career in private equity may have raised more questions than it answered, as a spokesperson for People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) questioned the G.O.P. candidate’s latest version of events.

    “If we are to believe Mitt Romney, in 2002 while Seamus was supposedly running Bain Capital he would have been at least 140 years old [in dog years],” said PETA’s Carol Foyler. “This shaggy-dog story represents Mitt Romney’s latest act of animal cruelty.”

    Minutes after PETA’s response, Mr. Romney released an amended statement, saying that Seamus Romney had served as C.E.O. of Bain “posthumously.”

    It was a quieter day for Mr. Romney’s wife Ann, who, after her “you people” gaffe on ABC’s “Good Morning America” yesterday, was seen riding home on the roof of Mr. Romney’s car.

  6. RalphB says:

    From TheSecondCityNetwork, h/t Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Alexander Cockburn (formerly of The Nation and lately Counterpunch) has died of cancer at 71.

    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, no.

      He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy. He didn’t want to blog his own death as Christopher Hitchens had done. Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.

      Good-bye to a great liberal journalist. He will be very much missed.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    There have been at least 32 mass murders in the past 30 years, with interactive map.

    • NW Luna says:

      “At least” is right; there are more. That map doesn’t include the May gunshot deaths of 6 people in Seattle, 4 at one cafe when a regular patron — who’d been behaving oddly, and later was found to have a pre-existing mental illness and off his meds — opened fire in the cafe. Later, when police closed in on him, he shot himself.

      • bostonboomer says:

        You should tell them. They have had a lot of readers respond and are updating the map. I’m pretty sure there was a workplace shooting in MA that isn’t on the map. I have to find out how many were killed.

  9. RSM says:

    Be afraid. Be very afraid…

    Securitization, Take II: Investment Firms Seek to Securitize Rental Payments

    I agree with Dayen’s view that “the key will be if the rating agencies once again abandon their responsibility as neutral arbiters and rate these securities highly.” But until these Wall Street operations get broken up, or their executives hung from the lamp posts–whichever comes first, sooner or later they’re going to latch onto some–ahem–sure-fire investment option that’s going to wreak untold catastrophe.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Sorry if this has been already posted; I just saw it and started ROFLMAO:

    Romney’s Big Problem: People Just Don’t Like Him Much
    ….right now, they really, really don’t want to invite Romney into their living rooms.

    Big surprise, eh?

  11. NW Luna says:

    Some bright news — photos here of a bald eaglet on its first flights the other day. (Must figure out how to post photos):

    This means that he has made it out of his nest tree successfully and has an excellent prognosis. Half of baby eagles don’t make it on their first flight, and end up on the ground.

    Bald eagles, as you may know, don’t get their white heads and tails until about 2 yrs old. Our local park with the eagles’ nest was nearly cursed with a zip-line development in the trees, in a non-publicized plan by the Parks Department. I’m glad that our local community got aggravated, got organized, and got the Parks Department to drop its plans. There are better places for loud screaming people to zip along without driving away birds and other wildlife. The park is mostly forested, and borders Puget Sound, and is a renewing place to be with nature.