Monday Reads

Good Morning!!

Dakinkat is back on-line!  Now if I can just get my internet back, we may have a full complement of writers by the beginning of the Democratic Convention. Now let’s see what’s in the news this morning.

I have to hand it to President Obama. He had to be angry about Clint Eastwood’s disrespectful performance at the RNC last Thursday, but he’s not going to give Mitt Romney the satisfaction of showing it.

USA Today: Obama, a ‘huge’ Clint Eastwood fan, not offended by skit

“He is a great actor, and an even better director,” the president said in an interview with USA TODAY aboard Air Force One, on his way to campaign rallies in Iowa Saturday. “I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.”


Was he offended?
“One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.” Obama said with a smile. He said there would be no effort to counter with a similar stunt at the Democratic National Convention, which opens in Charlotte Tuesday.

“I think we’ll be playing this pretty straight,” he said.

The WaPo’s Jonathan Capehart asked DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard about if Eastwood presentation was “disrespectful.” Here’s the response:

“First, Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair and then Mitt Romney gave an empty speech,” Gaspard replied. “So, I’m going to focus on Mitt Romney [and] his lack of clearly delineated plans for middle-class Americans.” But Gaspard, who was Obama’s political director in the first half of the term, had more to say.

This was not Clint Eastwood’s convention. It was Mitt Romney’s. He hired these Hollywood consultants to reinvent himself and all I saw, yet again, was the same guy who was a private-sector outsourcer, a failed governor of Massachusetts and now an extreme right-wing candidate for the presidency. So, I’m going to focus on that.

I guess Romney wasn’t really all that proud of the Eastwood skit after all. According to ABC News Eastwood was left on the cutting room floor during production of the RNC promotional video.

A video mash-up of speakers from last week’s Republican National Convention does not include an appearance from the “mystery RNC speaker,” Clint Eastwood.

The two-and-a-half minute video posted today to the Romney campaign’s YouTube account features former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, VP nominee Paul Ryan and of course, Romney himself, but it leaves out Eastwood’s controversial speech.


Joe Biden went on the attack yesterday.

Campaigning in Pennsylvania, vice president Joe Biden attacked Mr Romney’s international agenda as laid out in last week’s convention address, suggesting that it put him out of step with the US’s priorities overseas.

“He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home. He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home,” Biden told supporters.

He added: “He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”

Biden also ripped Paul Ryan’s speech.

He…noted Ryan had not told the complete story when he talked about a General Motors plant that closed in Janesville, Wis., his hometown.

“What he didn’t tell you was that plant in Janesville actually closed while President Bush was still president,” Biden said.

Later, in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, Biden again challenged Ryan’s criticism of Obama.

“He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing,” Ryan said of Obama during his acceptance speech in Tampa.

Biden was having none of that telling.

“What he didn’t tell you is he sat on that commission,” Biden said to laughter.

“I love these guys. Oh, I love these guys, how they claim to care about the deficit,” Biden went on. “Ladies and gentlemen, the thing I most love about them is about how they discovered the middle class at their convention. Isn’t that amazing? All of a sudden their heart was bleeding for the middle class.”

Rahm Emmanuel was out defending his former boss. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, framed Mitt Romney Sunday as a backward-looking candidate, blistering his acceptance speech as laying “out the policies of Ground Hog Day.”

Emanuel discussed the upcoming Democratic National Convention with David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he was introduced as an “architect” of Obama’s first term policies.

“If people want to know about the first term? Very simple. General Motors is alive and well. And Osama Bin Laden is not. And that’s what got done,” Emanuel said.

Emmanuel also criticized Romney’s acceptance speech as “weak.” From The Hill:

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said Mitt Romney’s convention speech was “devoid and vacuous” and allowed for Clint Eastwood’s appearance to claim the spotlight.

President Obama’s former chief of staff said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that there was “nothing memorable about Mitt Romney’s speech” in Tampa.

“Not a memorable line, not a memorable philosophy,” Emanuel said.” “There was nothing there.”

I strongly recommend this piece at HuffPo by Sherman Yellin: Why Mitt Romney IS NOT Like a Bad Haircut. I can’t do it justice with an excerpt. Please click on the link and read it. It’s not very long.

In other news, there’s a story coming out soon in Vanity Fair about how Scientology auditioned women to be Tom Cruise’s next wife–and Katie Holmes wasn’t their first choice.

In the October issue, Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth reports that in 2004 Scientology embarked on a top-secret project headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, which involved finding a girlfriend for Tom Cruise. According to several sources, the organization devised an elaborate auditioning process in which actresses who were already Scientology members were called in, told they were auditioning for a new training film, and then asked a series of curious questions including: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?” Marc Headley, a Scientologist from age seven, who says he watched a number of the audition videotapes when he was head of Scientology’s in-house studio, tells Orth, “It’s not like you only have to please your husband—you have to toe the line for Scientology.” Both Nicole Kidman and Penélope Cruz ran afoul of Scientology and David Miscavige, according to another former Scientologist. “You can’t do anything to displease Scientology, because Tom Cruise will freak out,” Headley says.

According to Orth, Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress and Scientologist, was selected and dated Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005. Initially she was told only that she had been selected for a very important mission. In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup. (Scientology denies any misuse of confidential material.) The source says Boniadi signed a confidentiality agreement and was told that if she “messed up” in any way she would be declared a Suppressive Person (a pariah and enemy of Scientology).

I’m looking forward to reading the entire gossipy article!

In other Scientology news, there’s a new movie out that is supposedly based on Scientology, The Master.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson acknowledges that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was the inspiration for the title character in `’The Master,” but says the focus of the film is the relationship between a charismatic spiritual leader and his troubled follower, not the movement itself.

The movie, set in the 1950s, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic cult leader who captivates a tortured but sympathetic World War II veteran portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix.


Anderson sought to quickly dispel any speculation about the film’s influence on his friendship with Tom Cruise, who starred in Anderson’s 1999 film `’Magnolia” and whose Scientology beliefs are well-documented.

`’We are still friends. I showed him the film, and the rest is between us,” Anderson said.

In other cult news, Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon has died.

The Universal Peace Federation said on its website that Moon died early Monday morning of complications related to pneumonia. He was 92.

“Our True Father passed into the spiritual world at 1:54 AM Monday, September 3rd, Korea time,” a message on a Unification Church English-language website said.

Ahn Ho-yeol, a church spokesman, said Moon’s funeral will be held Thursday, with “individual prayers” planned for the three days until then.

“Rev. Moon died from overwork, from frequent trips aboard, including to the U.S., and from morning prayers which caused respiratory disease,” Ahn said.

I posted this on yesterday’s morning thread, but I think it bears repeating: Private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney under investigation for tax strategy

New York’s attorney general is investigating whether executives at Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, improperly avoided paying $200 million in federal income taxes, according to a report by The New York Times.

More than a dozen firms are under investigation by the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who has subpoenaed documents that would show whether some fund management fees were converted to fund investments. Profits on investments are taxed at a much lower rate than management fees, which count as earned income.

Hundreds of pages of leaked financial documents from Bain Capital that have been posted online indicate at least $1 billion in executives’ management fees were converted to investments, whose capital gains are taxed at 15 percent, instead of the 35 percent paid on earned income in the top tax bracket.

According to the documents, executives could take money that would have been paid to them for managing investment funds and put the money into the funds, instead. The executives could pick and choose which companies to invest in, within a given fund, and were not required to invest the value of their fees for the entire life of a fund. They could decide whether to convert fees to investments on a quarter-to-quarter basis.

Today’s WaPo also has a story on Bain Capital and Romney’s taxes: Mitt Romney exited Bain Capital with rare tax benefits in retirement

Before Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital, the enormously profitable investment firm he founded, he made sure to lock in his gains, both realized and expected, for years to come.

He did so, in part, the way millions of other Americans do — with the tax benefits of an individual retirement account. But he was able to turbocharge the impact of those advantages and other tax breaks in his severance package from Bain in a way that few but the country’s super-rich can ever hope to do.

As a result, his IRA could be worth as much as $87 million, according to his estimates, and he can continue to earn tax-advantaged income from Bain more than a decade after he formally left the firm.

If Romney wants to demonstrate his honesty, he can always release those secret tax returns.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?

50 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Paul Krugman: Rosie Ruiz Republicans.

    Remember Rosie Ruiz? In 1980 she was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon — except it turned out that she hadn’t actually run most of the race, that she sneaked onto the course around a mile from the end. Ever since, she has symbolized a particular kind of fraud, in which people claim credit for achieving things they have not, in fact, achieved.

    And these days Paul Ryan is the Rosie Ruiz of American politics.

    This would have been an apt comparison even before the curious story of Mr. Ryan’s own marathon came to light.

    • bostonboomer says:

      In a statement issued by a spokesman, Mr. Ryan tried to laugh the whole thing off as a simple error. But serious runners find that implausible: the difference between sub-three and over-four is the difference between extraordinary and perfectly ordinary, and it’s not something a runner could get wrong, unless he’s a fabulist who imagines his own reality. And does suggesting that Mr. Ryan is delusional rather than dishonest actually make the situation any better?

      • Pat Johnson says:


        My daughter in law has run the Boston Marathon twice and can tell you to the second her actual times.

        When you train for months for the event the time of your practice runs is measured by the seconds as the goal is to overcome the previous run and every second counts.

        Paul Ryan: Liar Extraordinaire!

    • RalphB says:

      Silly as it may seem that lie about the marathon time may have more effect on his reputation than all the whoppers he’s been telling. It’s something more people will understand.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It wouldn’t have mattered ordinarily, but in the context of all his recent lies it suggests Ryan is a “fabulist,” in Krugman’s terms AKA a pathological liar.

        But never mind that. I have internet and TV again!!!

      • bostonboomer says:


        How is your son? I’m so glad we are all on-line together again. I still don’t have lights in the kitchen or bathroom, but as long as I have internet I can survive using a flashlight to cook and wash dishes.

        • This infection is worse BB, he is in a lot of pain, which makes me feel a combination of things…it is so upsetting to see him cry out from the pain, but at the same time I am so frustrated and angry that it could have been avoided. Let see how he is today, if being on the Bactrin for 24 hours has not helped, it is back to the ER for us.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh no. He needs to be really careful. Remember what happened to Kat when she had something like that. She was in the hospital for a week, and could have died.

      • Beata says:

        JJ, Bactrim may not be strong enough. He might need one of the “big-gun” antibiotics, possibly through an IV. I have had these infections before. Last time, I needed hospitalization and IV vancomycin ( sp? ) for over a week. Best wishes to your son. Please keep us posted. xoxoxo.

      • dakinikat says:

        I hate to hear about his Staph infection. They are awful. I’m still paying the hospital bill for that one I had 1 1/2 ago. They have to drown you in antibiotics these days because they are so resistant to things.

    • janicen says:

      Thank you for this link to the Krugman column. I love this comment by Pat Choate (remember him?)…

      Pat ChoateWashington, VA
      The missing man at the GOP convention was George W. Bush. Had he come, the nation would have been reminded that in the first six years of his Administration, he never vetoed a single spending bill or a single national budget. In his 8 years in Office the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to almost $11 trillion.

      And on every one of those spending and budget votes, President Bush had the support and vote of Congressman Paul Ryan. In 2005, one of the primary champions of President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security was Congressman Ryan. Fiscal conservative? Hardly.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Don’t miss this one: What Muffins Say About Mitt Romney.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Bring Betty White to the Democratic Convention!

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    The Moonies and Scientology, both cults, are illustrative of how easy it is to brainwash the willing.

    Tom Cruise has become an absolute freak with his attachment to a “religion” that seems to have lost him his mind.

    I still can’t wrap my mind around the question of “what was Katie Holmes thinking?” when she signed onto this insanity that left her “running for her life” in the end. It wasn’t as if there had been little coverage over the decades about the mind control exerted in their practices.

    Oh well, I suppose “magical underwear” makes more sense.

  5. ecocatwoman says:

    I liked the HuffPo piece by Sherman Yellen. Thanks for the link.

    Woke up extra early this AM & watched Moyers latest about “the 3 amigos” – Ralph Reed/Grover Norquist/Jack Abramoff. Then a super interview with Mike Lofgren. If only those being deluded by the Republicans would watch this.

    I was curious about Romney’s quote from an Obama speech, so I googled it. I simply didn’t remember hearing about “stopping the rise of the oceans.” If anyone is interested, I found a transcript in the NYT: Of course, I am probably the only one here who wasn’t familiar with the source of the quote. In searching I stumbled on this Forbes post, talking about Romney’s use of this in his acceptance speech on Thursday and actually defended the existence/reality of climate change (surprised me):

    Glad both you & kat have electricity once again. Life without it is rough. Our 2004 hurricane season knocked out my power for over a week. My dogs paced and panted all day & nearly all night.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I saw that Bill Moyers show yesterday. The report on Ralph Reed was excellent. Why that man is not in jail I will never understand.

      The quote about stopping the rise of the oceans was in Obama’s speech in Minneapolis during the 2008 Republican Convention. He was trying to declare himself the winner even though Hillary was just about to win the South Dakota primary and had more delegates. Obama needed the superdelegates to push him over the finish line.

      The speech was pretty grandiose.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Yes, it was definitely grandiose. However, reading it now it comes across as an impressive speech – specific & gracious as compared to the drivel spewing from the mouths of the new hopefuls. It’s such a stark contrast. It also helps that the rancor & anger I was feeling in 2008 has had time to dissipate.

        Speaking of gracious, your link & quote regarding Obama’s reaction to the Eastwood event was spot on, IMHO. And, he got a dig in about Romney without calling him out specifically.

        “One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.”

        No whine & no cheese, thank you.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Kat said her cats were miserable, and they looked really happy when she got home and found the air conditioning going.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I read that & wondered about it because my cats, during the week without AC, were not unhappy at all. Only the dogs & I were in misery. The dogs’ tongues were nearly dragging on the floors and they shot me plenty of dirty looks. My cats have always preferred warmth. Gimme a sunbeam, now!

      • dakinikat says:

        Dinah is playing with all her toys and balls and she’s acting happy again. I still wonder if a lot of Miles ‘crying’ for two morning was about Karma but I don’t know. He seems pretty quiet today. I feel absolutely jet lagged even though I really slept well last night.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Gallup: Romney’s speech had the lowest ratings since 1996.

    • RalphB says:

      I just love good news.

      • dakinikat says:

        I don’t know … Honey Boo Boo had higher ratings. You have to wonder who those folks will vote for given that kind of taste. I’d have rather they listened to all the lies and radically anti-women, anti-immigrant, and racist rhetoric in many ways. I am dropping any one from my facebook page who tries to convince me that Romney is worth voting for … especially women. You have to really be full of self-loathing to want to sell your freedom to that oaf and his army of religious nuts and corporate plantation overseers.

      • RalphB says:

        I think by rated, Gallup means it scored lower with the people who watched it than any since 1996. And 1996 was the first year they polled on these questions.

  7. Beata says:

    I watched several major network news programs over the weekend. Axelrod and Plouffe are not the people who should be appearing on these shows advocating for a second Obama term. When asked if people are better off today than four years ago, both men stalled and stammered, unable to give a persuasive answer. It was painful to watch. Obama needs strong surrogates in the public eye who can clearly define why people ARE better off today or he is in serious danger of allowing the Romney campaign to direct the political debate and win the election.

    • RalphB says:

      The clear and obvious answer is YES the country is better off than when Obama was inaugurated. Damn the economy was still in freefall and we were headed for another depression. That should be said out loud.

      • dakinikat says:

        and there was a run on Money Market Funds. Any one with money in a money market fund–which is primarily us little people–had negative NAVs.

    • RalphB says:

      This is so obvious I don’t see why everyone doesn’t see it.

      Josh Marshall: ‘4 Years Ago’ Could Work for Obama

      Context is Obama’s friend. We’re not doing great? Sure, but remember the catastrophe I got handed? Fine, we’re not where we should be. But look how far we’ve come.

      George W. Bush is still very unpopular and gets a high degree of blame for the economy, despite leaving office almost four years ago. The latest ABC/WaPo poll shows 54% blame President Bush for the country’s economic woes, compared to 32% for President Obama. Republicans, wisely, have been trying for some time to say Bush is old news, an excuse, etc.

      Casting the debate over where the country stands compared to four years ago also plays into the Obama camp’s push to say Romney is Bush redux. Again, good for Obama, bad for Romney. And lest we forget, Romney is (rightly) closely identified with Wall Street, ground zero of the calamity.

      Four years ago isn’t a perfect question for Obama. But then it’s not a perfect time for President Obama to have to run for reelection, is it? But it does set up all the key arguments the Obama campaign has tried to make. And Romney as Bush is something like the Holy Grail of campaign awesome to the folks running Obama’s campaign.

  8. pdgrey says:

    It’s labor day and I am getting ready to go to work, so in honor of Labor Day:

  9. RalphB says:

    If anyone hasn’t see Mathew Dowd, chief strategist for Bush, take Romney and Ryan apart, this is well worth watching. It’s brutal and he probably cost them some sensible Republican votes here.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Thanks, ralph. You find such GOOD stuff! I just emailed the link to the video to a friend who is a Republican. Yeah, I still have 1 or 2 that I talk to .

      • RalphB says:

        I emailed it to a couple myself. Where I live it’s hard not to know some Republicans 😉

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Sorry, but that made me chuckle. You have no idea just how much I don’t envy you & I live in Florida. But we both have dicks, er ricks, for governors.

      • RalphB says:

        I’m not sure which Rick is worse either. Both seem to really suck big time. My only consolation is I don’t think mine can win again, even if he runs. We could be stuck with someone worse I guess?

      • bostonboomer says:

        I really think Florida’s Rick is worse. He’s just plain mean.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          And he’s a crook – his insurance company, after he took his $$$ and ran, was convicted of Medicare fraud. Can’t convince me it only happened after he left. He used his (our Medicare tax $$$) to buy his election. Yeah, he’s worse, but he doesn’t convene prayer rallies to bring THE RAIN.

  10. dakinikat says:

    That Yellen article is great.

    Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this Republican campaign — after the war against truth and the war against women – is the war against science — except science in the cause of developing new weaponry and feeding endless dollars to the military. We can no longer reject the notion that the denial of global warming by the right is an act of war on the very earth we share. But all these wars are interlocked — part of the same Republican world view. The Republicans would like to concentrate on the economy while downplaying their “social values” that scare many voters. But the fact is that these two are inextricably linked. If all you care about is upping the jobs numbers by creating more low level poorly paying jobs, then you have done little to make a better America, or improve the quality of life in the country. Their notion is to divide the issues and conquer — jobs, jobs, jobs, and the hell with education and the quality of people’s lives, lives, lives.

    Much has been said and written about the desire of the Republican Party to control the reproductive rights of women. But by denying abortion these champions of freedom fail to understand that they are acting in much the same way as the Communist Chinese acted when they demanded abortion from a family that has one child.

  11. peregrine says:

    Matt Taibbi gives the true story of this “…perfect frontman for Wall Street’s greed revolution” in this “Rolling Stone” September piece: