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Biden 'fired up and ready to go' for debate

Biden 'fired up and ready to go' for debate, By NBC's Ali Weinberg, 10-11-12, from nbcnews.com

Vice President Joe Biden is “fired up and ready to go” for the debate with Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

Traveling with reporters to Miami for President Barack Obama’s campaign events, Psaki said the president and campaign has “great confidence in the vice president’s performance.”

She added later that the president called Biden on Air Force One during the flight to wish him luck tonight.

Psaki pushed back, however, on the notion, that it’s up to Biden to blunt the momentum Mitt Romney built up after his performance in last week’s presidential debate, from which he emerged, by most accounts, the winner.

Indicating, perhaps, Biden’s line of attack against Ryan, she said the real question was “which Paul Ryan will show up this evening,” saying he has a tendency to be misleading about his positions on Medicare and tax cuts. But she also noted that, as the opponents will be sitting down, the debate will likely be "more of a conversation" than the first presidential debate, which featured both candidates sparring from podiums at opposite sides of the stage.

At the president's campaign event later in Miami, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was much more bullish when previewing the vice president's debate performance, saying he would make "mincemeat" of Ryan Thursday night.

Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Thu Oct 11, 2012, 04:52 PM (0 replies)

Nine ways Mitt is morally bankrupt

I apologize if this has already been posted . . . it's a great article about a horrible man . . .

Nine ways Mitt is morally bankrupt, By Adele M. Stan, Alternet, Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 05:50 PM CDT

In the psychic make-up of any politician, the phenomenon of compartmentalization is common, but rare is the politician who proudly makes an art of it, as has Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Even as he publicly celebrates his squeaky-clean personal life, Romney lauds his own brutal record as a leveraged buyout specialist and lies with impunity on the stump, often in terms laden with race-baiting code.

To Romney, it seems, personal morality amounts to a roster of good personal habits (no smoking or drinking, a faithful marriage, generosity and compassion for ailing members of his faith community) that add up to a kind of personal exceptionalism that trumps whatever havoc his business behavior or political policies may wreak on the life of any poor schlub who should should cross his path.

Romney’s sense of morality seems to be based on a kind of fierce individualism, in which he apparently believes himself to be morally superior by dint of his own personal habits, and assumes no responsibility for the fate of those less rigorous in their personal code, should they find an appeal to their baser instincts in the words and actions of the beyond-reproach church leader, dutiful husband and father of five.

It all amounts to a kind of moral bankruptcy, in which the former Massachusetts governor presumes he is entitled to a morally superior reputation for which he has not kept up the payments. It’s not that hard to be good to your family and friends. If true morality is evidenced by how one treats strangers, Romney’s reputation as a moral actor should be under water.

Here are but nine bits of evidence of the moral bankruptcy of Willard Mitt Romney. There exist many more, but life is short.

1. The smug non-smoker took big bucks to push smoking on Russians. No one is more satisfied with his Ivory-soap self-image (99.43% pure) than Romney, and one aspect of that is Romney’s evident pride in never having been a smoker. But that didn’t stop him, while CEO of Bain & Company, from seeking a consulting deal, beginning in 1992, with the British American Tobacco company to help the death merchants crack the Russian market after the fall of the Soviet Union.

According to a blockbuster report by Huffington Post reporter (and AlterNet alum) Zach Carter and his colleague, Jason Cherkis, Romney appears to have been deeply involved in helping to increase the numbers of Russian smokers on behalf of BAT.

From Carter and Cherkis’ report:

In 1992, reports showed that only 7 percent of Russian women smoked. Since BAT and other Western companies have taken over Russian markets, that number has more than tripled. In 2009, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, cited by the World Health Organization, reported that nearly 22 percent of Russian women had taken up the habit.

The same survey found that smoking rates among Russian men — already high before Communism’s fall — have also risen since Bain’s tobacco exploits of the early-’90s, with [more than 30] percent now smoking. Nearly 44 million smoke in Russia, a country of 142 million. Dmitriy Yanin, the head of a consumer protection non-governmental organization in Moscow, said there are 400,000 smoking-related deaths each year in Russia. BAT, largely locked out of the cigarette market before Bain got involved, now controls nearly a quarter of sales. BAT remains close with top government officials.

2. Slams government economic investment despite having taken government contracts. As a presidential candidate, Romney is fond of slamming the Obama administration’s stimulus program, and other government investment in the economy. “Government doesn’t create jobs. It’s the private sector that creates jobs,” Romney said at a South Carolina campaign event in January. The auto industry, he said, should have been left to bottom out in the wake of the Bush crash, instead of being brought back to health by the loans provided by the administration. Never mind that Romney himself got a nice windfall from a government contract, according to Carter and Cherkis:

In March 1993, the American government gave Bain & Co. a $3.9 million contract to advise Boris Yeltsin’s administration on the privatization of the Russian economy, according records detailing the arrangement uncovered by The Huffington Post.

3. Opposes abortion, but invested in company that disposes of aborted fetuses. Just because Mitt Romney would make it illegal to have an abortion doesn’t mean he minds making a profit on other people’s abortions. In 1999, while Mitt Romney was still CEO of Bain Capital (a leveraged-buyout firm spun off from Bain & Co.), the company invested tens of millions of dollars in Stericyle, a medical waste firm that, among the vast array of medical waste services it provides to medical facilities, is the disposal of aborted fetuses. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein broke the story in January, writing:

Stericycle, a massive medical waste disposal service company, received a $75 million investment from Bain Capital in 1999 and soon became an industry leader. Today, it has more than 485,000 customers worldwide. Its clients include hospitals, blood banks, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. But it has also helped dispose of medical waste from Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics — waste that included aborted fetuses — and that has attracted the ire of the pro-life community and establishment Republicans.

4. Decries corruption in other countries but facilitated it in his own. In his address to the Clinton Global Initiative in September, Romney bemoaned the state of affairs in developing countries, saying, “We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments.” But when it comes to good ol’ domestic corruption, Romney seems to be all for it — at least when it’s in his own interest. In fact, it could be argued that he even gave out an award for it.

The 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, which Romney oversaw, were renowned for their outsized expense. Some of that was incurred before Romney took the helm — he was brought in after reports of rampant overspending and corruption — but not all of it. In 2001, Sports Illustrated reported that the millionaires and billionaires of Utah got some sweetheart deals, at government expense, served up with roses on Romney’s watch.

One example among several given is the nice little land swap that billionaire Earl Holding wrangled out of the National Park Service that netted him a prime parcel and a government-built access road. So it made total sense that he would build a high-end resort on that bucolic expanse. Here’s how Mother Jones‘ Tim Murphy described the deal:

Snowbasin, the site of the downhill skiing championships in 2002, was one of the more notorious examples of a well-connected Utahn getting a sweetheart deal in the name of the Olympics. Earl Holding, a billionaire oil baron, pressured the Forest Service into giving him title to valuable land in Park Valley in exchange for land of “approximate equal value” elsewhere in the state. But Holding drove a hard bargain; he got Congress to foot the bill for a new—and arguably unnecessary—access road (cost: $15 million), and received more than 10 times the 100 acres that were necessary for the Games. That would allow him to turn what was once protected federal land into a massive, and lucrative, mountain resort.

The government was so instrumental in making the Olympic games happen that Romney created a special award, the “Order of Excellence,” to honor public servants who had helped them pull it off. Among the recipients: John Hoagland, the US Forest Service official responsible for the land transfer of the Snowbasin downhill skiing site.

5. Insults low-income Americans for not paying federal income tax, while not paying federal income tax on almost all of his income. Romney famously described people whose income level (or status as members of the armed forces) exempts them from paying federal income taxes as takers who “see themselves as victims.” In a secretly recorded video, exposed by Mother Jones, of Romney speaking to other rich people at a campaign fundraiser, he described such people, many of whom are elderly and on Social Security, as those “who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

But Romney doesn’t pay ordinary income tax on his annual income, either; he pays federal capital gains taxes — taxes on paid on investment income at a much lower rate than those paid on salaries and wages (otherwise known as money earned from work). That explains why Romney paid only 14 percent on the gazillions he took in in 2011, while a middle-income person may pay almost double that percentage. Asked by 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley whether Romney thinks that’s fair, Romney said, why yes. As I recounted Pelley’s interview on September 23:

“Now, you made on your investments last year about $20 million personally, and you paid 14 percent in federal taxes,” Pelley said. “That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?”

“It is a low rate,” Romney said, “and one of the reasons the capital gains rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once, at the corporate level — as high as 35 percent.” (Unless your windfall comes from any of the numerous private enterprises that enjoy government subsidies or tax breaks, of course.)

“So you think it is fair,” Pelley said.

“Yeah — I think it’s the right way to encourage economic growth — to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.”

Actually, there’s scant evidence to suggest that lower capital gains rates have any effect on either job creation or economic growth.

And while he demeaned as moochers regular Americans who pay no income tax because the law exempts them, he sings a different tune when tax law advantages rich guys like him. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” he said, according to Vanity Fair. But if you’re poor and you do the same, in Romney’s moral desert, that makes you a leech on society.

6. Calls for more transparency from his opponent while hiding his own tax returns, squirreling millions offshore and using accounting tricks to lower his tax rate. Romney’s call for the Obama administration to be more forthcoming about everything from the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to the cross-border gun-tracking program known as Fast and Furious would be more credible if Romney wasn’t such a sneak when it comes to matters pertaining to how he makes all that money. For a guy who hasn’t had a job in 10 years, he sure does rake it in — $20 million last year alone.

As repeatedly noted on this site and throughout the news media, Romney has released only two years of his tax returns and has said he will release no more. “We’ve given you people all you need to know and understand about our financial situation…,” Romney’s wife, Ann, told Good Morning America in August.

The Romney reticence on all matters of personal finance has only fanned the flames of investigation and speculation, yielding a picture of a tangled web of offshore shell companies, a Swiss bank account, and shady tax-filing tricks.

Vanity Fair‘s Nicholas Shaxon notes that Romney appears to have closed his $3 million Swiss bank account before filing his 2011 tax return, but reports that he still maintains an interest in 12 Bain Capital funds registered in the Cayman Islands, the details of which, Shaxon says, are “hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers.” Of particular interest to reporters has been a Bermuda firm owned by Romney known as Sakaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which Shaxon writes, is raising eyebrows:

While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.

Then there’s the matter of a funky accounting practice known as management fee-waiving, which was all the rage at Bain. Leveraged buyout firms such as Bain collect management fees from the companies they take over (whether or not those companies turn a profit, thanks to the LBO firm’s sage advice). Left to their own devices, those fees would be taxed as ordinary income, at the ordinary-income rates paid on wages and salaries. But if wave the magic waiver wand over them, those fees turn into “investments,” which are taxed as “carried interest” at the lower capital gains rate. Here’s how Nick Confessore, Julie Creswell and David Kocieniewski of the New York Times assess the practice, as used by Bain:

The tax strategy — which is viewed as perfectly legal by some tax experts, aggressive by others and potentially illegal by some — came to light last month when hundreds of pages of Bain’s internal financial documents were made available online. The financial statements show that at least $1 billion in accumulated fees that otherwise would have been taxed as ordinary income for Bain executives had been converted into investments producing capital gains, which are subject to a federal tax of 15 percent, versus a top rate of 35 percent for ordinary income. That means the Bain partners saved more than $200 million in federal income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.

Then there’s the matter of Romney’s individual retirement account, which he seems to have converted into an individual tax haven. As the Boston Globe‘s Michael Kralish and Beth Healy told it in an August report:

It is one of the most striking elements of Mitt Romney’s financial fortune. He has used the seemingly bland investment vehicle known as an individual retirement account — established by Congress to help average Americans save a modest amount for retirement — to shield at least $20 million and as much as $100 million from initial taxes.

So much for transparency.

7. Painted his opponent as a fibbing child while building an entire campaign on lies. In the first presidential debate between Romney and Obama, the Republican presidential candidate compared the African-American president to his “boys,” who, when they were little, he said, would pile fib upon fib thinking they could fool their dad. It was an audacious tack for the truth-challenged Romney, whose most furious attacks on Obama have been based almost entirely on lies.

The very theme of the first night of the Republican National Convention was built around a deliberate misrepresentation of the president’s words regarding the role of government in building small businesses — a false narrative that Romney repeated often on the campaign trail, alleging that the president had insulted the work of small business owners, saying of their businesses, “You didn’t build that.” (Actually, Obama said they hadn’t built the roads and bridges that brought customers to their doors.) The convention was themed “We built that,” and featured a deceptively edited video of Obama’s inelegant attempt to echo a message originated by Democratic U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren, Mass., meant to shine a light on all of the infrastructure built by government that is necessary for economic success: roads, bridges, railroads, schools.

On the very day of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Romney falsely accused the president of sympathizing with the attackers. Stevens’ body had not yet been returned home for burial.

Then there was the race-baiting welfare lie, in which Romney falsely accused the black president of removing the work requirements for welfare recipients that were enacted in the Clinton-era welfare reform law. That was one particularly despicable lie, since Romney seized upon an effort by the administration allow states new ways of increasing the numbers of welfare recipients who worked, and twisted it to suggest that the black president was on a mission to give handouts to people on welfare, who, among members of the Republican base, are mistakenly believed to be primarily black.

This is a mere sampling of the mendacity the Mittster has served up along the trail. In the debate alone, ThinkProgress counted 27 myths delivered by Romney over the course of 38 minutes, and AlterNet’s own Alex Kane picked his own list of Romney’s top 10 debate lies. And lest you think this Romney lie narrative to be an alternative-media conspiracy, just look at what CNN found when its fact-checkers examined Romney’s statements.

I’ve only scratched the surface here on the Romney lie front, but I know you don’t have all day.

8. Claims to have the “best interests of the African American community” in his heart while running a race-baiting campaign. When Romney appeared before the annual conference of the NAACP this summer, he assured its members that, if they knew what was good for them, they would vote for him. (For some reason that didn’t go over all that well.) “I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president,” Romney told the skeptical crowd.

The speech is remembered mostly for the boos Romney received with his promise to “repeal Obamacare” — boos he surely expected to elicit. Given the context, it’s hard not to read Romney’s very appearance before the crowd as a cynical, race-baiting exercise, performed to reinforce the racial resentment of the white, right-wing Republican base. Part of that context was provided just hours after that appearance by the candidate himself when, at a fundraising event, he referred to the less-than-appreciative audience as a group who wanted “free stuff” from the government.

But from the get-go, Romney has run a campaign heavily laced with racial coding, from comments by his surrogate, John Sununu, depicting Obama as “lazy” and “foreign,” to Romney’s own appearance at the side of the birther Donald Trump. Asked to repudiate Trumps claim that Obama was not legitimately the U.S. president, Romney refused, saying that he needed 50.1 percent of the vote. As if that was an excuse. A month later, he made a crack that no one has ever asked him for his birth certificate.

Neither has Romney repudiated the endorsement of washed-up rocker Ted Nugent, whose idea of a good time is to wear a shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag, and call for the African-American president to “suck on my machine gun.”

And, as noted in item #7, Romney has tried to falsely link the black president with a (non-existent) loosening of welfare-to-work requirements.

There’s more, lots more, where that came from and, lucky for you, AlterNet has documented much of it, here and here.

9. Wears the mantle of protectionist, China-battling job creator after having put thousands of U.S. workers out of jobs and bought into a giant Chinese sweatshop. Romney likes to portray his work at the helm of Bain Capital as a mission of job creation. In truth, Bain exists for no other reason than to extract profits for its investors, and sometimes the best way for a leveraged buyout firm to make a profit is to bankrupt the company. You see, the buyout guys get management fees whether the company wins or loses, so even if you load it up with a crushing level of debt, you still come out a winner. Sometimes Romney’s deals created jobs; other times they put people out of work. ThinkProgress estimates that as many as 6,000 Americans lost their jobs under Bain, which was an early proponent of shipping jobs overseas.

Writing at Bloomberg News, private equity specialist Anthony Luzzatto Gardner examined Romney’s record at Bain, concluding that of the 67 major deals the company made during Romney’s tenure, a mere 10 of them accounted for 70 percent of the company’s profits. Of those 10, four ended in bankruptcy, Gardner writes, along with others amid the remaining 57. This kind of “casino capitalism,” as Gardner calls it, is not a recipe for job creation.

Meanwhile in China, Romney and Bain invested in a factory that employed 20,000 young women in deplorable conditions, trapped within the factory complex by barbed wire and guards posted in towers. As AlterNet’s Lynn Parramorereported:

From April 1998 through August 2000, Romney and his Brookside Capital Partners Fund, a Bain affiliate, poured around $23 million into the Global-Tech sweatshop in Dongguan, China. Among the details outlined in the report were the following:

•Factory workers made 24 cents an hour in 1998 and less than $2 a day. Wages in Global-Tech were less than 2 percent of U.S. wages.
•As CEO, Romney appears to have been uninterested in calling for improvements at the facility. Today, the sweatshop is still a horror where starvation wages prevail and workers’ rights are nonexistent. Overcrowded, filthy dormitories; rotten food; routine 15- to 16-hour shifts; and backbreaking 105- to 112-hour, seven-day workweeks are the norm.
•The appliance factory has 800 student “interns” — 16-years-olds forced to work repetitive, exhausting 15- to 16-hour shifts on assembly lines with no overtime pay.

Not exactly the kind of jobs Americans are looking for.


Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Thu Oct 11, 2012, 03:11 PM (0 replies)

So, regarding gaffe man . . . it's only a matter of time before he fucks up again!

This is MiitWit we're talking about here . . . how long do you think before trips over his own tongue and face plants right on the stage?

Or, better yet, another secret video will surface. Chill everyone . . . this is gaffe man !!! If we were a week from the election, I might be more concerned, but rMoney has plenty of time to offend everyone again. I have faith in him !!!
Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:34 PM (9 replies)

Where's Harry Reid? I still want to see rMoney's tax returns . . .

for 10 full years . . . no bullshit summaries, but the actual, full returns!
Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 12:38 PM (1 replies)

Trump is at it again . . . which means I'm not too worried

If Trump is still ranting about the unemployment numbers, that tells me rMoney's bounce isn't all that real, or the repukes don't want anyone paying attention to MittWits foreign policy speech . . . Trump is the 'mis-director' extraordinaire . . . the repukes want to divert our attention again . . .

Donald Trump: ‘Monkey business’ on jobs
By KATIE GLUECK, Potsed on POLITICO 10/8/12

Donald Trump on Monday dismissed the latest unemployment figures, saying he didn’t “believe” that the rate ticked down from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, and that the numbers were altered through “a lot of monkey business.”

“I don’t believe the number and neither do any of the other people that have intelligence,” Trump said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.” “Because that number came out of nowhere.”

Trump seconded an assessment from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who on Friday tweeted, “Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything…can’t debate so change numbers.” Welch later said he should have added a question mark to the end of the tweet.

Trump said he agreed with Welch’s statement about the numbers.

“I do, I do,” Trump said. “And I think that they did…a lot of monkey business. I’m telling you, in a month and a half from now, they will do a readjustment like has been happening for the last year and a half. They will do a readjustment and the number will be 8.2 or more.”

When pressed on whether he really thought President Barack Obama’s administration cooked the numbers, Trump doubled down.

“Everyone knows he didn’t want to lay off certain workers in certain categories, and that’s been well-documented and well-reported that he didn’t want to lay off certain workers in certain categories until after the election,” Trump said. “I mean, that’s monkeying with the numbers.”

Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:34 AM (5 replies)


Posted on NewYorker.com by David Remnick, October 5, 2012

When Barack Obama was a student at Harvard Law School, he was never known as a particularly good debater. In class, if he thought that a fellow student had said something foolish, he showed no forensic bloodlust. He did not go out of his way to defeat someone in argument; instead he tried, always with a certain decorous courtesy, to try to persuade, to reframe his interlocutor’s view, to signal his understanding while disagreeing. Obama became president of the law review—the first African-American to do so—but he won as a voice of conciliation. He avoided the Ames Moot Court Competition, where near contemporaries like Cass Sunstein, Deval Patrick, and Kathleen Sullivan made their names.

Laurence H. Tribe, a leading constitutional-law scholar and Obama’s mentor at Harvard, told me after Wednesday night’s debate with Mitt Romney, “Although I would have been happier with a more aggressive debate performance by the President, I’ve had to remind myself that Barack Obama’s instincts and talents have never included going for an opponent’s jugular. That’s just not who he is or ever has been.

Some of Obama’s old friends from Harvard and from his early days as an organizer and as a neophyte politician in Chicago were disappointed that Obama so clearly lost the debate—at least on the level of sheer performance if not substance—but the tone of that performance did not come entirely as a shock.

Christopher Edley, Jr., who also taught Obama at Harvard, served as an informal adviser, and is now dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley, laughed when I asked him if he was disappointed by the President’s strangely absent demeanor and pedagogical answers. “I’m a professor and he was a professor: What’s the problem?!” he said. “I usually don’t treat being professorial as a problem. It’s usually great in my book, but he played in that particular comfort zone of his and it was a mismatch for the occasion. I’ve been in too many debate-prep sessions to count with Presidential candidates—I worked with Dukakis, Gore, Dean, and Obama, in 2008—and there are some basics that the President just didn’t check off. Most glaringly, for starters, he failed to look into the camera for his closing statement.

“The reason I hate campaigns,” Edley continued, “is that being right on the substance isn’t good enough. That’s why I’m an academic. Of course, Obama knows that, but it’s also a question of what he cares about. I admire him for caring more about the substance than the tactics even if it makes me grimace when I watch him. Why does he do it? Look, we all do things in the short term that are not consistent with a long-term goal, whether it’s failing to save for retirement or watching TV instead of doing your homework. It’s called being human rather than being the ideal client of your handlers. It makes it harder to achieve his goal, which is to get reëlected. But if you wanted authenticity you got it [on Wednesday] night. And, really, you got it in an unsurprising way. We know that Obama skews cerebral and that he has never liked debates as a way to engage issues. He has said that many times.”

Obama’s friends from his days as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and his first campaigns in the city concentrated less on his forensic shortcomings; they were more frustrated with what they saw as Romney’s capacity to get away with inconsistencies and worse.

Will Burns, a Chicago alderman, who, as a student, worked for Obama in his (successful) 1996 campaign for the Illinois State Senate and his (unsuccessful) 2000 campaign for Congress, said that the format was too “loosey-goosey” for Obama, who failed to get aggressive with Romney.

The President has always been someone who takes the truth seriously and has a great faith in the American people and their ability to handle big ideas,” Burns said. “He doesn’t patronize them. He uses the campaign as an educative process. He wants to win but also wants to be clear about his ideas…. He took complex ideas like Medicare and the debt and tried to explain it to people so they can understand them while at the same time not being patronizing. And he is doing this with an opponent who is completely dissembling on every issue! There is a certain brazenness about Romney. It’s like [Stephen] Colbert talking about ‘truthiness.’ Romney stood there, with his hair and his jaw and his terrific angles—and he lied! About taxes, about Medicare. Obama pushed back on the five-trillion-dollar tax cut or the way Romney’s version of Medicare would destroy Medicare as we know it. And Romney just tilted his head and said, Oh, no, it won’t. At some point, you have to believe that the facts speak for themselves.”

Burns recalled that when Obama ran for Congress against the incumbent Bobby Rush and a fellow state senator Donnie Trotter, he would often find the debates frustrating, even absurd. “Obama always tried to keep his cool,” Burns said. “I sensed that last night. He was trying to keep his cool.”

Maybe so, said the Reverend Alvin Love, of the Lilydale First Baptist Church, on the South Side, “but I thought the President was a little laid back. Romney was really aggressive, even overly aggressive and got away with some stuff. The President stuck to the issues and took great pains to explain his positions and sometimes that can come off, in that setting, as a little cold. I thought he held his own but I guess when you get into that first debate, you want your guy to blow the competition away, and that didn’t happen.”

Reverend Love grew close to Obama when Obama was a community organizer. He could tell that Obama was never particularly comfortable in the debate format. “He’s better out there by himself,” he said. “His personality has always been kind of contemplative. In that kind of format, when you are contemplative, it makes you seem not as quick on the draw.”

Johnnie Owens, one of Obama’s fellow organizers on the South Side, told me, “I’ve seen him better. Some people said he came off flat and he did. He did his best, but a number of times when Romney was asked, Barack kept his head down too long and it made it look as if he didn’t want to deal with what Romney was saying, as if he was reading something. It would have looked better if he had lifted his head up and looked Romney in the eye.

“The job of being President,” Owens went on, “you can see it in his face—that level of seriousness, having to do what he does, and then go debate. His hair has gotten grayer so quickly! Mine, too, but for him it’s almost overnight. You can really sense the stress on him.”

Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 04:36 PM (1 replies)

The rMoney baby-eating scandal . . .

So, has anyone found any evidence of the rMoney baby-eating scandal? I'd like to know if that's a real story or just a rumor. Perhaps we should demand that rMoney prove that it's not true?
Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 01:09 PM (42 replies)

12 Silly Ways to Predict the Election (spoiler: Obama's winning)

12 Silly Ways to Predict the Election - Eyebrows, donuts, Chia pets, Halloween masks, and other less than scientific indications that Obama will beat Romney.—By Dave Gilson, posted on Mother Jones, Fri Oct. 5, 2012

If you want a fairly good sense of who will prevail in the presidential election, you could check out the numbers at TPM's Polltracker or the latest FiveThirtyEight forecast. But if you're less concerned with stuff like sample sizes, margins of error, or statistical rigor, you might consult any of these less than scientific indicators of who will win the White House.



According to "expert research" by the Grooming Lounge blog, seven out of the past eight elections were won by the candidate with the most kempt eyebrows. Apparently Romney needs a trim.

Advantage: Obama

Source: Grooming Lounge



Since 1940, children voting in Scholastic's mock election have selected the winner in all but two elections (1948 and 1960). If you're in grades 1 through 12 (or pretend to be), you can cast a vote here until October 10.

Advantage: Undetermined



"Dough-Bama" is currently beating "Mitt Yum-ney" by three points in a presidential donut poll being held by LaMar's Donuts. The chain notes that Dough-Bama, a donkey-shaped donut covered with blue sugar, beat its elephant-shaped rival, McCandyCain, in 2008.

Advantage: Obama

Source: LaMar's Donuts


The Redskin Rule

In 17 of the past 18 elections, this rule has held fast: If the Washington Redskins win their last home game before Election Day, the party that won the previous election wins this year's. The 'Skins play the Panthers at home on November 4.

Advantage: Undetermined


7-11 cups

Nationwide, 7-Eleven customers are picking Obama-themed coffee cups over Romney cups by a 3-to-2 margin. The convenience store claims that its 7-Election promotion, which has correctly identified the next president since 2000, has "a better track record than some well-known statistically valid polls."

Advantage: Obama

Source: 7-Eleven



Larry Schwimmer, a San Francisco-based astrologer, has analyzed Obama's star chart and concluded that he will be reelected. (He also insists that he predicted Romney's "47 percent" comment.) However, another astrologer, Donal Holland, says that signs in Obama's Solar Return chart indicate that he will lose.

Advantage: Undetermined


Chia pets

Since they went head to terracotta head in September, Chia Obamas have been outselling Chia Romneys by more than two to one.

Advantage: Obama

Source: Chia



The candidate with the whitest teeth has always won since 1992, claims Luster Premium White. The teeth-whitener brand predicts that unless "Romney makes a dental correction," the president will be smiling on November 7.

Advantage: Obama



Since 1992, participating in the Family Circle cookie bake-off has become obligatory for sitting and wannabe First Ladies. The domestic battle has predicted the election winner in 4 out of 5 races. This year, Michelle Obama's white and dark chocolate chip cookies won by the smallest margin in the contest's history.

Advantage: Obama

Source: Family Circle



Ladbrokes, the British bookmaker, has set the odds of a Obama victory at 4 to 1 and Romney win at 4 to 11. It also had Obama as the favorite in 2008.

Advantage: Obama


Halloween masks

"The most accurate predictor of Presidential politics since the mid-1990s." That's how the Spirit costume outlet describes its index of presidential Halloween mask sales. Likewise, BuyCostumes.com says its paper-mask poll has been "100% accurate since 2000!" Both contests currently have Obama ahead of Romney by nearly 30 points.

Advantage: Obama

Source: Spirit Halloween



Between 1896 and 2008, the taller presidential candidate won nearly two-thirds of the time. Obama is 6-foot-1; Romney is 6-foot-2.

Advantage: Romney


In case you lost track, that's eight indicators favoring Obama, one favoring Romney, and three with no clear favorite. Take that, Nate Silver

Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Fri Oct 5, 2012, 11:02 AM (0 replies)

7-Election 2012

President Obama is still winning the 7-11 Coffee Poll . . .

Obama 60%
rMoney 40%


Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Thu Oct 4, 2012, 05:19 PM (1 replies)

DO SOMETHING POSITIVE . . . I promise you will feel better.

Okay, the scream/sob/whine fest is now officially over, regardless of your opinion of the President's performance last night. It's time to move on. DO SOMETHING POSITIVE . . . like RIGHT NOW. I promise you will feel better. I have some suggestions:

Save Big Bird, et al, by donating to PBS:


Donate to the President's reelection campaign:


Plant a tree . . . hug your kid/momma/dog . . . whatever . . . just DO SOMETHING POSITIVE!

Posted by fleur-de-lisa | Thu Oct 4, 2012, 03:05 PM (1 replies)
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