Halloween Reads! Trick or Treat?

12195855_1153312621365508_2747854582366771102_nHappy Halloween from New Orleans!!!

BB’s on her way back to Boston so I have your tricks and treats today!!  We’ve got a foggy, drizzly day here.  Seems like a great day to do a cemetery walk!

First up, a skeleton treat!!!! A find in Northeast Ethiopia has yielded yet another possible human ancestor.  Scientists are trying to decide where on the hominid family tree this petite female will go.

Fifteen years ago, a group of fossil hunters, including a UC Berkeley graduate student named Yohannes Haile-Selassie, crawled on their hands and knees across a patch of 4.4-million-year-old sediment in northeastern Ethiopia’s Afar region. Moving shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the group, Haile-Selassie spotted a small, white fossil on the reddish clay. It turned out to be a hand bone, the first piece of a partial skeleton of a female Ardipithecus ramidus(nicknamed Ardi). She would have mainly eaten plant foods, and probably spent much of her time in the trees that covered the area when she was alive. She stood about four feet tall, weighed approximately 110 pounds, and had a brain the size of a chimpanzee.

Over the next three years, an international team of paleoanthropologists found about 130 pieces of the skeleton. Since then, researchers have studied and reassembled the bones in the hope of creating the most complete picture of someone who is becoming one of the most controversial figures in evolution. Their findings have major implications for understanding how the human race came to be: Why did our species evolve the ability to walk on two legs? What was our last common ancestor with chimpanzees? And, most critically, was Ardipithecusa direct ancestor of modern humans?

Ultimately, the team discovered pieces of 35 Ardipithecus individuals scattered across roughly four miles of ancient landscape near an Afar village named Aramis. The fossils include a nearly complete hand and ardipithecus1arm, as well as a lower jaw. But the partially complete Ardi skeleton has generated the most discussion, especially over a bone from the base of her big toe called the medial cuneiform. It shows that her toe would have stuck out from her foot like a thumb and that she would have been able to use it for grasping. “It really doesn’t differ from apes, and that’s the surprising thing,” says University of California, Berkeley, paleoanthropologist Tim White. “It is fully apelike.” White had been expecting a foot that looks more like one belonging toAustralopithecus afarensis, the species to which the famous Lucy skeleton belongs. Afarensis lived about 3.7 to 3.0 million years ago and had feet that were much like our own, with toes that point forward. Ardi’s apelike feet raise the question: Was she evolving toward walking on two legs? The team’s anatomist, Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University, believes she was. Lovejoy points to several bones in Ardi’s foot that he believes show it was becoming more like a modern foot, able to better withstand the pressures of bipedal movement. The shape of her pelvis also reveals she was becoming more effective at walking on two feet.

CSqc7dWWIAAqHJQHere’s a trick! (And no it’s not about infamous Louisiana Trick Senator David Vitter).  Blathering idiot Marco Rubio appears to be the most likely bet of the day for the Republicans’ Presidential nominee.  He’s continuing his legacy of attracting big money for big favors.  David Brooks–well known sycophant–is placing bets on him too.   Fortunately for us, the BBC isn’t the NYT and our neighbors up north have some good reasons why the boy wonder is really the boy unremarkable. 

On Wednesday night Mr Rubio shrugged off a question about his past personal and campaign finances dealings by turning it into a shot at media bias and then a rumination on his humble upbringing.

While it worked in the context of a debate where every panel question was viewed with scepticism or outright hostility from the audience, Mr Rubio may not always be so fortunate. And some of the issues aren’t just about poor personal financial planning but tilt toward allegations of corruption

As the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza points out, there’s a litany of questionable actions in Mr Rubio’s past – such as failing to report a home equity loan from a political supporter, double-billing the state and the Republican Party for travel expenses and using political funds to pay for seemingly personal expenses like car repairs and groceries.

Mr Rubio also was a friend and real-estate partner with David Rivera, a Florida politician and former congressman, who has been fined more than $16,000 [£10,500] for government ethics violations and is still under federal investigation for relating criminal acts.

“Rubio is about to go through a period of much more intensive media scrutiny,” Mr Lizza writes. “Complaining about media bias won’t be enough to get him through it.”

CSqZWmnXIAU68ukThat was so bad that I thought I add this treat!  Now that the Republicans are showing they won’t answer tough questions and will complain about liberal media bias if asked to defend their lies, Catherine Rampell of WAPO says the media is to blame because they’ve enabled them forever!

Look straight into the camera, and with complete conviction, say something that is not true. Maybe your lies will get fact-checked later, but if your certainty can sufficiently excite pundits in the interim, no one will care (or notice) that you lied.

We saw this strategy successfully executed in the second Republican debate, when Carly Fiorina confidently described a horrifying undercover Planned Parenthood video.

The footage in question turned out not to exist. (At best, she was describing areenactment.) But by the time her statements were checked, Fiorina had been anointed the winner of the debate, thanks largely to that riveting, shocking sound bite. Since then, any time someone has called her out on this missing footage, she has just claimed media bias (see Lesson No. 3).

No surprise, then, that on Wednesday the candidates lied boldly, and repeatedly, even when their statements were easily disprovable.

Donald Trump denied ever taking a dig at Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, even though the dig in question was on Trump’s Web site.

Ben Carson denied having any “involvement” with a sketchy maker of nutritional supplements, even though evidence of this involvement (including a video testimonial) is easily findable online.

Chris Christie claimed Social Security money was “stolen” and that the system will be “insolvent” in seven to eight years, even though both claims are wrong. Fiorina recycled a statistic about women’s job losses that Mitt Romney used in 2012 and subsequently abandoned when it, too, was proved wrong.

And so on.

Fact checkers had lots of material to mine, but the candidates’ dramatic delivery — and the immediate plaudits they earned from talking heads — made post-debate truth-squadding seem pedantic and tone-deaf.

Here’s a local treat!  There used to be sailboat races from Pensacola to Cuba but Cold War Politics put an end to it.  Some sailors are now Cuba bound in a reboot of the tradition.promoted-media_544e8eaae0444

A fleet of sleek racing sailboats and cruisers will line up in the waters just off Pensacola, Fla., early this Halloween morning, to launch the rebirth of a Gulf Coast tradition long stifled by international politics and diplomatic relations.

Twenty-two boats are participating in the first Pensacola to Cuba regatta, with nearly a quarter of those boats coming from New Orleans. After the start just off the Florida coast, they’ll travel more than 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, skip past Rebecca Shoal and the Dry Tortugas to arrive next week at Hemingway Marina, about eight miles west of Havana.

The race is billed as one of the first legal regattas from the United States to Cuba since Fidel Castro seized power of the island nation in 1959. But the lure of Havana has long been an irresistible siren song for Gulf Coast sailors — even during the U.S. embargo when some American yacht clubs and organizations risked legal wrangling and angry protesters to continue hosting regattas to Cuba.

That all changed this year, when President Barack Obama eased restrictions and resumed diplomatic relations with the island. The water is now officially open, if boats are willing to apply for permits and deal with all the legal red tape.

New Orleans sailor Tim Cerniglia signed up as soon as the Pensacola Yacht Club posted notice of the race. For him, it’s a chance to satisfy a lifelong fascination with Cuba and reconnect with his family’s history.

His mother, Elise Cerniglia, was born in New Orleans but spent her childhood on the island. Her father was a chemical engineer at a sugar cane plantation there. After moving back to the Crescent City, she would eventually become an advocate for immigrants, helping to resettle thousands of Cubans who fled Castro’s communism.

“I can still remember people coming over to our house, and my mother rounding up clothes and furniture and other things they needed,” Cerniglia said. “And growing up, we had family talks about her time in Cuba. It’s always had a mystique for me.”

Cerniglia, an attorney who’s participated in ocean regattas to Mexico several times, will sail his red-hulled boat, Radio Flyer, a Valiant 40, with a crew of five. When he arrives in Cuba, he hopes to hire a driver and visit the sugar plantation where his now-deceased mother once lived.

bdf6df1a4fcdbbfcf60596be9371d666So, I’m thinking that’s enough today!  What’s on for Halloween by your mom and ’ems today?

We’re under a Tornado watch and will probably have some thunderstorms tonight so they sent the kids out trick or treating around here last night.  I’ve got some nasty end of the year on line training to take on the usual stuff so I’ll be home with a good set of horror movies running in the background.  Maybe I can get JJ to give me some advice on what to watch.  I really want to try the early zombie movies after getting a good education on them from last night’s episode of Z Nation.  Anyway, I certainly hope the weather is better where ever you’re skydancing tonight!

Take care and have a great Halloween!!!



Friday Nite Lite: Dark tails.

Well, it is lovely to watch Cat People on the old circle box. Love October on TCM…the rest of the night is devoted to Val Lewton. So if you get a chance to catch the rest of the shows:

10/30/2015 Cartoon by Steve Kelley

Cartoon by Steve Kelley -

I don’t know what all the Debate cartoons are about, I’ve been busy with hospitals and such.

10/30/2015 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

10/30/2015 Cartoon by John R. Rose

Cartoon by John R. Rose -

10/30/2015 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Trick or Trick: 10/30/2015 Cartoon by Tom Curry

Cartoon by Tom Curry - Trick or Trick

Scary Candidates: 10/30/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Scary Candidates

10/30/2015 Cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Cartoon by Matt Wuerker -

RYAN is SPEAKER: 10/30/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - RYAN is SPEAKER

Rent Too Damn High – Truthdig


Mike Luckovich: GOP Halloween – Mike Luckovich – Truthdig

This is an open thread.

Friday Reads

2b342e0bd68a6c6a3deec97ed6167366It’s the night before Halloween!!  

And there are real life monsters and they seem to be running for office as Republicans! I want to spend some time on Louisiana Senator David Vitter who is competing for the title of slimiest person on the planet.  His campaign is a case study in making an appeal to the worst in humanity.  Of course, he wants to keep the spolight off himself.  He is doing everything to make blue dog Democrat John Bel Edwards look like the President’s long lost twin brother and using the most hateful racist memes in a TV ad that appears to be on endless rotation.

David Vitter is running an ad straight out of the Willie Horton School of scare all the stupid white people. Yesterday, the NAACP called him on all his race baiting and he’s responded with a shrug.  Only a monster could use these kinds of racist dogwhistles to win.    He won’t be taking the ad down.  He obviously thinks the best strategy is to just pound away on the racists and hope there’s enough of them to vote him into office.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter said he is not taking down an ad that use the word “thugs” after the New Orleans NAACP demanded the gubernatorial candidate stop running the spot, which it called “demeaning and racial.”

The ad accuses his Democratic opponent, John Bel Edwards, of promising to release 5,500 “dangerous thugs” into communities across Louisiana. It also ties Edwards to President Barack Obama, who has pushed the federal government to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders, and commuted or pardoned some of those offenders.

Vitter’s campaign released the following statement:

Senator Vitter told the NAACP that he’s not about to take down his ad. As he explained: “Edwards’ and Obama’s almost identical proposals to release 5,500-6,000 criminals from prisons is dangerous and irresponsible. They’d release dangerous thugs as defined by Merriam-Webster who’d threaten ALL of our neighborhoods.”

Professionals like those at the Louisiana District Attorneys Association agree. As they explained clearly recently in writing: “The myth that a significant percentage of currently incarcerated inmates are harmless and unnecessarily confined is simply not accurate.” 
Morris Reed, the president of the NAACP, said he’s disappointed in Vitter’s decision.

“I have to believe that at least 5,000 (of the 50,000 people in prison) are nonviolent offenders,” Reed said. “A large percentage of our inmates are in need of mental health treatment they’re not receiving while incarcerated. So it would behoove Louisiana citizens to urge their leaders to be more innovative than locking people up and throwing away the key.”

The Edwards campaign has sought to clarify his remarks about removing offenders from prison, saying he would reduce the prison population using a variety of methods such as pre-trial diversionary programs that would keep nonviolent offenders out of prison.

Vitter is desperate. Polls in the state are showing him losing the race.  Louisiana moved from being a purple state to joining the solid red South after Katrina. As you know, I seriously believe that Rove purposefully kept  a good deal of Black New Orleans from returning to ensure the state would switch.  So, this definitely shows a crack in the plan.dancing-skeletons

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) trails Democratic gubernatorial rival John Bel Edwards by 12 points after edging out his Republican challengers in Saturday’s jungle primary, according to a Democratic poll made public Thursday.

The survey conducted by Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove on behalf of the anti-Vitter Gumbo PAC found Edwards, a state representative, leading the senator 52 percent to 40 percent. The runoff is Nov. 21.

Notably, the poll found that voters who cast their ballots for losing Republican candidates Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov Jay Dardenne are now just as likely to choose Edwards as they are to choose Vitter. Forty-seven percent of those Republican voters said they’d be likely to move toward Edwards while 46 percent said they’d be likely to move toward Vitter.

Those Republican voters also have a more favorable view of Edwards than they do of Vitter. Forty-seven percent of Angelle and Dardenne supporters said they viewed Edwards favorably compared to forty percent who said they viewed Vitter favorably.

The poll surveyed 700 likely runoff voters by phone from Oct. 26-28. The survey had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

16f74fe8a6de0bb198951d29e677ad1fI’m not one to quote a conservative pundit without just cause.  So many of them are not concerned with anything reasonable and just spout unsupportable memes. But,  I’m going to quote from the Lake Charles American Press and Jim Beam, its conservative op ed writer of many years. 

U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s misleading and malicious political ads targeting state Rep. John Bel Edwards, his Democratic opponent for governor, are reminiscent of another sad chapter in American history. A U.S. senator was involved in that one, too. More on that later.A Vitter television spot says electing Edwards would be like making President Obama Louisiana’s next governor, which is about as far-fetched as the devious mind can fathom. However, the worst part of the spot is the accusation that Edwards wants to release “5,500 dangerous thugs (and) drug dealers back into our neighborhoods,” which is also a figment of the Vitter campaign’s creative imagination.

Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, told The Times-Picayune the ad appears aimed at stoking fears among white voters that Edwards will unleash dangerous black criminals into safe neighborhoods.

Robert Mann, Manship chair of journalism at LSU, in a story for salon.com, said, “Vitter’s objective is, quite simply, to smear Edwards by reviving and exploiting Louisiana’s fearful, racist past.”

Edwards said, “I have never supported reducing our incarceration rate by releasing criminals from jail, as the smear ad suggests. Rather, my statement about inmates in the speech referenced was about reducing the prison population through long-term solutions without harming public safety.”

“… The (Louisiana) Sheriffs’ Association, which enthusiastically endorsed me yesterday, has no issue with this plan,” Edwards said.

Vitter has a consistent history of campaigning against other public figures rather than telling voters what he wants to do for them. The Advocate of Baton Rouge traced that trend back to another Edwards when Vitter ran for the state Legislature.

“If history is a guide, expect Vitter in particular to be a barroom brawler,” the newspaper said. “In each of his races, he has run against something — former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards and the state Democratic Party when he won elections to the state House in the 1990s; the past and the status quo when he defeated former Republican Gov. David Treen in a special congressional election in 1999; and Washington and national Democrats in his two Senate victories.”

The Treen attacks by Vitter were especially hurtful for one of the most respected and decent men ever to hold public office in Louisiana. John Treen, Dave Treen’s brother, never forgave Vitter, The Advocate said. John Treen said his brother never fully recovered emotionally from the defeat.

John Treen said, “To distort my brother’s record, I thought, was despicable. The idea that someone made a deal (not to attack one another) and broke his word got to him.”

Democrat Charlie Melancon, who lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Vitter, was also linked to Obama. He told the newspaper Vitter would “paint a less than truthful picture” of Rep. Edwards.

Most voters who say they can’t vote for Edwards say it’s because he’s too liberal. He is definitely not a hard-core conservative, but he lives by conservative values. Edwards’ most effective TV spot sums up the Vitter strategy well.

“… For the next few weeks, David Vitter will spend millions of dollars lying about my record, my values and my service to our country and our state,” Edwards says. “He’s desperate. All he offers is deception and hypocrisy. I won’t sell my soul to win an election. I live by the West Point honor code. I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. David Vitter wouldn’t last a day at West Point. It’s time Louisiana demands a little integrity.”

The most interesting thing is that this small crack in the solid South is also appearing in Kentucky where Republicans are trying to convince gadfly Senator Rand Paul to drop his presidential bid and concentrate e3b9635989e02ce379326fe18991841bon not losing his seat in the US Senate next year.  Republicans are worried they could lose control of the majority.

Rand Paul is under increasing pressure from Republicans here and in Washington to pull the plug on his stagnant presidential campaign and instead recommit his resources to keeping his Senate seat in GOP hands.

D.C. Republicans think Paul’s poll numbers have flat-lined — and operatives worried about retaining control of the Senate are ready for him to start spending a lot more time in Kentucky and a lot less time in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“This presidential dream needs to come to an end,” said a national Republican strategist, granted anonymity to discuss Paul’s situation candidly. “Senate Republicans can’t afford to have a competitive race in Kentucky.”

Paul, however, is showing little sign of giving up. Even with poll numbers so low that he might not appear on the main stage for the third GOP debate and his fundraising slowing to a crawl, Paul has a message for those who say it’s time to suspend his run for the White House and focus on his Senate reelection: I can handle both.

Is it possible that we’re beginning to see the infamous US political pendulum swing?  Are voters finally realizing what the Republicans are offering?  The party seems obsessed with defunding Planned Parenthood, continually attacking marriage equality, and attacking racial minorities.  Has it got to a critical mass yet?  There’s a movement to make Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio look like a younger, more diversified and tolerant face of the party.  If you want a sample of that, read David Brooks.   If you’d prefer not to do that, read the critique by Paul Krugman .There’s is nothing new under the sun with either of these two including their assaults on women’s rights and middle class prosperity. Their policy proposals send money to the one percent and defund the nation’s safety nets and benefits for the elderly.

Although the Tea Party may be winding down, it’s pretty clear from the Presidential debates and campaign’s like Vitter’s that the hatred of all things not connected to White, Straight, Rich, Christian Male privilege drives them.  Let’s hope the electorate is waking up.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Thursday Reads: The State of the 2016 Race According to the Pundits


Good Morning!!

The media consensus so far is that Marco Rubio won last night’s Republican clown show. From MSNBC to the Weekly Standard, the pundits are saying Rubio has natural talent and charisma and that is supposed to be very bad news for Hillary Clinton.

I don’t get it. Rubio is at about 8% in the polls. He talks so fast that I can barely understand him. It’s as if he has memorized his talking points and has to get them out quickly so he doesn’t forget what he’s supposed to say. He comes across to me as childish, not charismatic. If that’s charisma, the meaning of the word has changed dramatically since it was applied to John F. Kennedy in 1960. Obviously, I’m not in sync with today’s political talking heads.

Even Charles Pierce says Rubio “won” the “debate” and vanquished his rival Jeb Bush at the same time. Still, Pierce thinks Rubio is a “hack” and the entire exercise was a joke.

If I had to guess, I’d say Rubio probably will be said to have had the best night. He really slapped around Jeb! Bush when the latter called him on Rubio’s confessed dislike of the job of United States Senator. He looked directly into the camera with his young man’s sincerity, and he parried questions about his personal profligacy in just the way guaranteed to appeal to the audience in the hall. He blamed the media for bringing it up.

Of course, when it comes to the actual things he would do as president, Rubio once again is a shoeless, blindfolded kid in a wilderness of rakes. John Harwood–for whom I am going to buy a beer the next time I see the guy–pinned Rubio on the fact that the Tax Foundation scored Rubio’s tax plan and found that it would send the deficit careering off into the Van Alen Belt, as well as shoving even more of the country’s wealth upward. In response, Rubio told Harwood he was wrong. (He wasn’t.) Then, Rubio started talking very fast, mentioned something about his dry cleaner and small business, and probably got more points for being tough with Harwood than he did for his tax plan, which is exactly as bad as the Tax Foundation said it was.

But, mainly, Rubio will be thought a winner because it’s plain now, if it wasn’t plain before Wednesday night, that Jeb! has had whatever little heart he had for this whole enterprise when it began cut out of him as the his campaign has stumbled along. 

As for the “debate” itself, Pierce writes:

My lord, what a bunch of children.

Mike Huckabee made a point of the fact that he has been on the other side of Arkansas politics from the Clintons. “And,” Huckabee said, “I lived to tell about it.”

And got a big hand….

This whole debate, which was supposed to be about the economy, and which touched on the actual economy only briefly, when it touched on it at all, took place in the strange wonderland of conservative politics that coalesced when Bill Clinton interrupted what was supposed to be 16 consecutive years of Republican presidents in 1992. That shock to the conservative system was so profound that the Republican party’s immune system, which already was being compromised by the prion disease it picked up when it first ate all the monkey brains at the end of the 1970s, broke down entirely, and disease caused it to construct within the party’s mind an entire geography of illusion and dark, nameless terrors. Huckabee’s cheapest of cheap shots found its mark because the audience in Boulder was made up quite clearly of the people who live in that unreal political consciousness that has been created within the conservative fearscape – which, to them, is a very real place haunted by very real villains.

That says it all for me; I don’t feel the need to quote any other assessments. To be honest, I may just skip the next GOP debate. Watching that horror show last night was a complete waste of time. Not one of the people on that stage is qualified to be President of the US. Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is capable of beating all of them put together.

GOP 2016 Debate

Many other pundits are writing the Bush campaign’s epitaph today. Here’s Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight: Yeah, Jeb Bush Is Probably Toast. The post-debate spin could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yes, we pride ourselves on being skeptical of the conventional wisdom here at FiveThirtyEight. You don’t have to look very far back for examples of it being wrong, such as how it badly overestimated the degree of danger that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was in until a week or two ago. But being skeptical is not the same thing as being a contrarian. There are plenty of times when the conventional wisdom is right. This is probably one of those times.

Bush received poor reviews for his debate performance from political commentators of all stripes (Republican, Democratic, partisan, nonpartisan, reporters, “data journalists”), many of whom also suggested that his campaign might soon be over. The straw poll1 we conducted among FiveThirtyEight writers and editors agreed; Bush’s average grade was a C-, putting him at the bottom of the 10-candidate group….

I agree with the group (I gave Bush a C-). Bush lost a probably ill-advised confrontation with Marco Rubio over Rubio’s absences from the Senate. Bush’s closing statement seemed stilted. He was the setup for a Chris Christie applause line about fantasy football. And for much of the debate, he was an afterthought, receiving the second-lowest amount of talk time among the candidates.

None of these things, taken alone or even together, would ordinarily be all that damaging. Bush didn’t make a catastrophic mistake — an “oops” moment. But the media consensus seemed to be that the debate was a potential make-or-break moment for Bush. Even if you were to charitably round up Bush’s performance to a C+ or B-, it probably wasn’t good enough.

Read more of Silver’s analysis at the link.

Bernie Sanders

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is turning mean now that he’s losing ground in the polls. John Heilemann has the scoop at Bloomberg Politics.

Sanders’ attack on Hillary Clinton’s record is all about how she has shifted on policy issues, while he has remained completely consistent for decades. But is that really going to be good enough to catch and beat a candidate who has gathered hundreds of endorsements and leads Sanders in the polls by 20+ points? Will he be able to compete with Hillary’s foreign policy creds and her debating skills? I don’t think so.

Here are the high points of the Sanders strategy, according to Heilemann.

…three members of the Sanders high command—campaign manager Jeff Weaver, communications director Michael Briggs, and field director Phil Fiermonte—were reflecting on what Clinton’s record might say about her character. All agreed that Sanders and his staff believed that Clinton had moved to the left on numerous issues, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Keystone pipeline, for purely political reasons: to foreclose daylight between her and Sanders. I asked Weaver if he thought that made her, as some longtime Clinton critics argue, a craven hypocrite and opportunist?

“A craven hypocrite?” Weaver replied, grinning slyly. “That’s a little bit harsh, don’t you think?” Then he added, with a chuckle, “Look, she’d make a great vice president. We’re willing to give her more credit than Obama did. We’re willing to consider her for vice president. We’ll give her serious consideration. We’ll even interview her.”

Hahahahaha! So clever. Heilemann:

Sanders’s lieutenants provided me with a wide-ranging and at times detailed account of their strategy for the three-month sprint to the first two must-win contests. That strategy is premised on the notion that their campaign has shifted into a new gear, moving from what Weaver calls “the introductory phase” into “the persuasion phase.” This new phase will be more aggressive, hard-edged, and focused on driving home contrasts between Sanders and Clinton. In other words, it will be more negative. Just how nasty things will get remains one of two central questions that will define the battle ahead. The other is whether Sanders, with his deep aversion to negative campaigning, is willing and able to do what is required to take down Clinton without tarnishing his brand as a different kind of politician.

Social Security
Sorry guys, Sanders has already “tarnished” his so-called “brand.” Deep down, he’s a sexist who dismisses women. If he weren’t, he would have simply apologized for his “stop shouting” comment at the first Democratic debate and moved on. Instead, he and his supporter claim that he’s as much of a feminist than Hillary is.

Amanda Marcotte at Salon:

Last week, Hillary Clinton started trotting out a line implying that Bernie Sanders has got a bit of sexism lurking in his subconscious. During the first Democratic debate, Sanders responded to Clinton’s impassioned anti-gun argument by telling her that “all the shouting in the world” won’t fix the issue. Now Clinton, to huge amounts of applause from the women in her audiences, has taken to saying, “Sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting.”

It’s a funny line, more of a nose-tweak than some kind of heavy accusation of misogyny. Sanders does, after all, shout all the time. Women like the joke because we’ve all dealt with men who, however well-meaning they are, still end up pushing double standards where they’re allowed to raise their voices or be rude, but blanch if women do it. Most of us know that they don’t mean it, but it’s still offensive.

But even though it’s really not a big deal, a lot of folks are acting like Clinton is accusing Sanders of wife-beating.


William Saletan of Slate in a piece that JJ linked to yesterday really went over the top. He claimed that because Sanders has used this “shouting” line for years with many other people, there was really nothing wrong with using it to condescend to Hillary during the debate. Marcotte:

Okay, so Sanders doesn’t have a sexist double standard, just a Bernie-specific double standard, where he gets to shout but the rest of you should lower your damn voices.

Still, I would ask the people who are getting all bent out of shape over this to put yourself in the shoes of the many women who found the exchange between Sanders and Clinton to be annoying. When a man is condescending to you, it’s often hard to tell if that’s just how he is to everyone or if it’s just women he talks down to. It gets even more complicated when you realize that a lot of men who are condescending toeveryone still turn the volume up even more when they’re talking to women.

And that is exactly how the “shouting” exchange felt during the debate. Yes, Sanders used the same general talking point in response to both Clinton and O’Malley. But he was more aggressive about it with Clinton, saying, “All the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want,” whereas he merely told O’Malley, “Here is the point, governor. We can raise our voices.” His tone and the amount of force he put behind this openly condescending talking point was very different. Telling women they’re just imagining things reads, in and of itself, like it’s sexist condescension.


I apologize for the long digression, but I just had to get that off my chest. Returning to John Heilemann’s reporting on Bernie’s plan to take down Hillary:

Devine and Weaver are well aware that they may—indeed, given the Clintonian precedents, are likely to—have no choice but go full frontal. “On policy, we’re driving the agenda, and we’re happy to be in that position,” Weaver says. “But I think they will to a large extent drive the tone. She’s the quote-unquote front-runner, and really started going after Bernie of late. They obviously are not as confident about this race as apparently the punditry is.”

Devine agrees. “How hard we fight back and how far we push it is very much dependent on them,” he says.

“So if they go hard negative,” I ask, “you guys will…?”

“Let them get run over by a Mack truck,” he says.

Um . . . what? The next Democratic debate on November 14 could get interesting. I don’t think that “Mack truck” remark is going to play very well between now and then. Bernie is going to have to grow a thicker skin or he’s the one who’ll get run over.

What are you reading and hearing today? Let us know in the comment thread below.







Live Blog: Third Republican Debate

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC

On the left: Donald Trump’s greenroom; on the right: Rand Paul’s. | Chris LaCivita via @LaCivitaC


Get the popcorn ready folks. There’s another Republican horror show tonight.

I got the photo above at Politico. What a riot! Even before the debate gets going, there’s a fight over the size of the candidates’ green rooms.

DENVER, Colo. — Just hours before GOP candidates take the stage here Wednesday night, tensions over the Republican National Committee’s handling of the debates are flaring anew.
At issue this time: greenrooms.

During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

The drama began Tuesday afternoon as RNC officials led campaigns on a walk-through of the debate site. After touring the stage, candidates got a peek at what their greenrooms looked like.

Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theater-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi along with the best bathroom heater I ever played with, it had settings I didn’t know existed.

Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.


Here are some links for you to peruse before the debate begins at 8PM or if you just can’t stand to watch.

Politico: Donald Trump: CNBC debate will be ‘unfair.’

CNN: Lindsey Graham says why the kid’s table “sucks.”

Mother Jones: This Commercial Might Be One of the Only Factual Things to Air During Tonight’s GOP Debate.

The Daily Beast: Ben Carson’s Money Men Co-Sponsored Anti-Gay Conference.

The Daily Beast: Lindsey Graham Steals the Show at CNBC’s Undercard Debate.

Politico: Billionaire to Rubio: Time to step it up.

If you are listening and/or watching, please document the atrocities in the comment thread below.