Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Snarky title of the day: Tom Scocca at Slate tells us that “Fred Hiatt Is Not Sure Why Republicans Keep Telling the Untruths That He Keeps Printing in the Washington Post“.

Politico (you have been warned) is mildly alarmed as the Center for American Progress news team takes aim at GOP:

The liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund is ramping up an in-house full-fledged, ideologically driven news organization aimed in part at tripping up Republican candidates on the ground in the early presidential contests.
The group, executives told POLITICO, now has 30 writers and researchers at ThinkProgress, its blog, which is being redesigned and relaunched in the coming weeks. The editorial staff, similar in size or larger than that of many political websites, marks the latest phase in the deliberate, decade-long construction of a liberal infrastructure for reporting, research, and hammering home a message that the right is scrambling to match…
“The newsroom side is absolutely competing with all the leading news organizations,” said Faiz Shakir, the editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress. “We’re not out there to peddle research – we’re out there to make news.”
“It undermines our case if we spin it too hard,” he said, making a practical case for a different strategy from guerrilla conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, whose aggressive film editing has undermined his claims. “We don’t dress people up as pimps and prostitutes. We don’t misrepresent who we are. It’s not different from you guys holding a pen and pad or audio recorder.”

And I wish to express my thanks to whichever commentor linked to the video below, not least because I’m sure that song title has tripped up a few lost Tolkienologists…

88 replies
  1. 1
    kansi says:

    a liberal infrastructure for reporting, research, and hammering home a message that the right is scrambling to match…

    Great to be LMAO first thing in the morning!

  2. 2
    homeruk says:

    You know what I love about this blog? When there is only one comment, the tag shows as “one” comment not “1” comment. Coming from a traditional English private school, I was always taught to write out numbers from one to ten and the use actual numbers for anything more. Just a trivia point, but it amused me.

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    I’m shocked, shocked, to find that liberal groups are preparing to be as big, or slightly bigger, than conservative groups. The nerve!


  4. 4

    Bi-Partisan Hulk SMASH:

    WASHINGTON – Concluding a two-year bipartisan investigation, Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Senator Tom Coburn M.D., R-Okla., Chairman and Ranking Republican on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, today released a 635-page final report (PDF, 6MB) on their inquiry into key causes of the financial crisis. The report catalogs conflicts of interest, heedless risk-taking and failures of federal oversight that helped push the country into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
    “Using emails, memos and other internal documents, this report tells the inside story of an economic assault that cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes, while wiping out investors, good businesses, and markets,” said Levin. “High risk lending, regulatory failures, inflated credit ratings, and Wall Street firms engaging in massive conflicts of interest, contaminated the U.S. financial system with toxic mortgages and undermined public trust in U.S. markets. Using their own words in documents subpoenaed by the Subcommittee, the report discloses how financial firms deliberately took advantage of their clients and investors, how credit rating agencies assigned AAA ratings to high risk securities, and how regulators sat on their hands instead of reining in the unsafe and unsound practices all around them. Rampant conflicts of interest are the threads that run through every chapter of this sordid story.”
    “The free market has helped make America great, but it only functions when people deal with each other honestly and transparently. At the heart of the financial crisis were unresolved, and often undisclosed, conflicts of interest,” said Dr. Coburn. “Blame for this mess lies everywhere from federal regulators who cast a blind eye, Wall Street bankers who let greed run wild, and members of Congress who failed to provide oversight.”

    Let’s remind Coburn of his call for Congressional oversight next time he throws up roadblocks to that very thing.

  5. 5

    And I have a blockquote fail. The two underline thingies didn’t work this time.


  6. 6
    Bruce S says:

    Okay, I admit it. I’m addicted to quoting people I despise when I find them saying things I essentially agree with –

    David Frum, the jerk come down from Canada who penned that “Axis of Evil” nonsense: “Speaking only personally, I cannot take seriously the idea that the worst thing that has happened in the past three years is that government got bigger. Or that money was borrowed. Or that the number of people on food stamps and unemployment insurance and Medicaid increased. The worst thing was that tens of millions of Americans – and not only Americans – were plunged into unemployment, foreclosure, poverty…

    “I strongly suspect that today’s Ayn Rand moment will end in frustration or worse for Republicans. The future beyond the welfare state…will not arrive.”


  7. 7
    abo gato says:

    Robert Earl Keen, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Earl Keen!!…..we in the audience shout that out when we go see him every Christmas at Floores Country Store. Always a great show and he ends with the Road Goes on Forever, the Christmas song and then Feliz Navidad…..a family tradition at my house.

    Love that guy, love his song writing.

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Meanwhile, one of CNBC’s Money Honeys (can’t be bothered to remember any of those twats’ names) was just on my tv on the Today Show telling me that the ratings agencies might just be the disinterested parties we need to tell us whether Obama’s plan or Ryan’s plan would be better to get us out of our budget/deficit “crisis”. I know that makes me feel better. /snark

  9. 9
    Alex S. says:

    ‘scrambling to match’…? It’s not the left that owns TV stations and some of the most important newspapers… Find me the conservative Shirley Sherrod and you can talk about ‘scrambling to match’.

    @Southern Beale:

    Tom Coburn might be one of the few republicans who are really trying to do the right thing. But sadly, his idea of ‘the right thing’ is as conservative as Oklahoma.

  10. 10
    Alexandra says:


    Nice. Spotted that as well some time back; it’s publishing/copyediting good practice, not just a private school thing. ;)

  11. 11
    debit says:

    @Alexandra: Really? I don’t have my Chicago Manual of Style handy, but I always thought you were supposed to stick with one form or the other. If you write “one” (1) in one sentence, is would be improper to then use 3 (three) in another.

  12. 12
    stuckinred says:

    On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
    The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below
    Hey, baby, it’s the Fourth of July
    Hey, baby, it’s the Fourth of July

  13. 13
    debit says:

    @debit: Typos. I has them.

  14. 14
    cleek says:

    NPR’s “MarketPlace” d-bags just told me the same thing!

  15. 15

    @cleek: Technically, American Public Media’s “Marketplace.”

  16. 16
    Alexandra says:


    Only speaking for UK publishing practice since homeruk mentioned England… Chicago Style takes back seat to a host of other style guides over here. :)

  17. 17
    loretta says:


    Creepy government “internet ID” project – I think I’ll pass.

  18. 18
    El Tiburon says:

    Just saw REK this past Friday at Stubb’s in Austin.

  19. 19
    debit says:

    @Alexandra: Ha ha ha. I can also has reading comprehension failure. I should just go back to bed, honestly.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @stuckinred: X

  21. 21
    cleek says:


    funded via contributions to my local NPR station, though!

    aside: how come nobody ever refers to a TV show as being the product of a particular production company, instead of the product of the network that carries the show ?when Letterman offends someone, nobody says “oh that Worldwide Pants company is horrible!” they blame CBS, instead.

  22. 22
    homeruk says:

    @Alexandra: not sure whether it’s English practice or otherwise but it’s just what I was always taught at my very proper school.

  23. 23
    El Tiburon says:

    “It undermines our case if we spin it too hard,” he said, making a practical case for a different strategy from guerrilla conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, whose aggressive film editing has undermined his claims

    Oh, Politico, why do you suck so bad?

  24. 24

    That politico piece is satire right?

    …. Right?

  25. 25
    Moonbatting Average says:

    @El Tiburon: I haven’t been there since I saw Black Joe Lewis on New Year’s Eve. I need to get out more.

  26. 26

    @cleek: Good question. I should note that American Public Media does have some other shows that are really top-notch, and I’d highly recommend “American Radio Works,” which did some bang-up reporting on the effects of the economic meltdown about a year or so ago.

    The only thing I can suggest is maybe asking your local public station to remove marketplace from their lineup, or asking that your contributions go to another program, or local programming.

    And on another topic, some big shit is going to go down this week. I know because The Daily Show/Colbert Report are in repeats.

  27. 27
    jprfrog says:

    In re David Brooks ass-licking of the Donald in today’s NYT, I submitted this:

    The first paragraph of this column put me in mind of another blowhard, albeit one who manages to clothe his bloviating in decorous prose and seemingly thoughtful intellectial references: to wit, David Brooks.

    I moved to Jersey City from Boston four years ago, and have thus been able to observe many of the Donald’s erections, er… constructions, almost daily. I wonder what sort of black hole must reside in the man’s soul that he finds it necessary to parade his name on such excrescences all over the landscape, and what sick need fuels his \”campaign\” to be the one in possession of the nuclear codes. This assumes that he is serious, which is bad enough. That it is all might be shadow-play to garner more attention (and perhaps vacuum up a few more of the rubes’ bucks) is even more revolting, and his channeling of Orly Taitz’ birther nonsense just completes the ugly picture.

    I daresay that even Mark Twain in his most extravagant imaginings of American grotesques would have balked at inventing such a character. Would that he were only fiction! Brooks may find him amusing but to me that is as much an indication of Brooks’ pretentions to gravitas and and what passes for “wisdom” in our bad joke of a public discourse.

    Someday I’ll tell you all how I really feel.

  28. 28

    In other, Chunky BoBo related news, Douchehat writes a whole column about median incomes and misses a crucial footnote. h/t LGM commenter uncle kvetch.

  29. 29
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:


    I can’t speak for others, but back at Catholic School, I remember being taught to write out numbers as well up until a certain point (which I forget). However, that was taught mostly as a means of formal convention, and tended to be shucked in common writing. We were still expected to do so in formal writing assignments though (as well as write out phrases that’d usually be made into contractions).

  30. 30

    If only the whole Far Right teabagger organization went out and knocked over a liquor store for kicks. By george, we’d have ’em then. Sigh.

  31. 31
    suzanne says:


    and have thus been able to observe many of the Donald’s erections, er… constructions, almost daily.

    Ugh, my sympathies. The architecture of those dick substitutes is invariably awful. With as much money as that tool pretends to have, he could at least afford to hire someone who could design something with some amount of significance.

    Look at me. I’m such a snob. The worst crime one can be guilty of? BAD TASTE. Heh.

    Trump was supposed to buy a plot of land in downtown Scottsdale, which is relatively near to where I live and right around the corner from where my husband works. I forget what happened, but the deal didn’t go through, and so my city remains unsullied by a Trump monstrosity. For an aesthete such as myself, that’s a big deal.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @geg6: Better for who? Doing away with Medicare simply shifts the credit crisis to the elderly.

  33. 33
    gene108 says:

    Two things Public Radio does very very badly, (1) sports…just awful, when my local NPR station has a show that tries to talk about it, they treat it like some exotic, alien, culture that’s just to be admired for how different it is and (2) business shows.

    The topics Market Place covers are so damn random it doesn’t make any sense at all. They have long stories about so many topics unrelated to the economy it is maddening.

    Public Radio needs to drop these two things from their rotation and leave it to the pros.

    @geg6: I prefer Bloomberg TV for business news. They are far less political than the CNBC crowd.

    The only thing CNBC is good for is shedding light on the fact that people in the business centers of this country agree with the CNBC’s hosts’ views on politics about Obama being a socialist, being mean to Wall Street, Barney Frank being an anti-business thug, etc.

  34. 34
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Shorter POLITICO — ‘We lie. Everyone we quote and link to lies. Why don’t they lie?’

  35. 35
    djork says:


    Does this mean we’ll be given IP addresses when we’re born? Will wingnuts of the future demand to see long form IP addresses?

  36. 36
    jibeaux says:


    People who think the median household income from salary in the U.S. is $95,000 should go try the Applebee’s salad bar and ponder the stupid of their ways.

  37. 37
    geg6 says:


    That was not explained, just taken as a given. She seemed quite excited by the idea since the ratings agencies are disinterested, neutral observers, doncha know.

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I did like this line from Socca: “It was like hearing the Pope say the Host tastes like bread.”

  39. 39
    rikryah says:

    it’s about damn time someone did this.

  40. 40
    RP says:

    Scocca’s headline reminds me of this.

  41. 41
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @loretta: Sounds to me like VeriSign for people who want to get on the internet. Considering I have an id to get on my bank account, another for my water bill, one for my student aid, I’m not sure this is a bad idea.

    The internet’s heading toward this anyway. Do you want to have to get a Facebook account in order to sign in anywhere?

  42. 42
    Matt says:

    hammering home a message that the right is scrambling to match

    Wow, I had no idea Fox News didn’t even have a staff of 30. I guess it’s a lot easier to produce programs when you just make up everything… ;)

  43. 43
    Poopyman says:

    Since we’re in OT, I’m guessing Cole is conflicted about Hines Ward’s dance number after yesterday’s Sharron Angle post:

    During an American-themed week five of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” the Steelers wide receiver earned a first-place finish with a 27 out of 30 — his highest score to date — with a romantic rumba to “God Bless the USA.”

  44. 44
    John Cole says:

    BEST LINE EVER- “it was like the Pope saying the Host tastes like bread.”

  45. 45
    Ash Can says:

    @Southern Beale: Now let’s see how hard Coburn tries to sell his own report to the rest of the Republicans. I can hear it now: “Report? What report?” “The statements in that report weren’t intended to be factual.”

    @Bruce S: I firmly believe in credit where credit is due. There’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with hat-tipping even the jerks when they get it right.

  46. 46
    Loneoak says:

    Shorter Politico: The GOP may be trying to skull fuck your grandma, but the liberals may be trying to tell you about it. Both sides do it.

  47. 47
    Ash Can says:

    @geg6: The stock markets may have reacted to S&P’s announcement yesterday, but the options markets didn’t. My guess is that options investors are a little more sophisticated overall than straight-out stock investors, and they either didn’t hear S&P say anything they didn’t already know, or don’t think S&P has rebuilt enough cred yet to be listened to, or both.

  48. 48
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): This is a government ID plan. Verisign is a trusted* root certificate provider that is not a government agency, and its certificates are not permanent. Verisign certs are not required for all personal transactions, as apparently is intended here. There is a wall (maybe not very strong, but it’s there) between the certificate issuer and the government. If the Government itself becomes the the issuer of Internet ID cards, for all citizens, your keyboard becomes a spycam, providing the government with tracking data that it may or may not choose to look at. While it’s a great idea, it carries risk proportional to your trust in government not to abuse it.

    *”Trusted” has a more or less technical meaning in this context, beyond everyday speech.

  49. 49
    Alexandra says:

    I believe the intended slant and the operative word is ‘uppity’.


  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alexandra: Link no work.

  51. 51
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Ash Can: It’s been noted numerous times on this blog that Frum evidently has cleansed the Kool-Aid from his system and is concerned (not in the troll sense) about what capital-C Conservatism has become.

  52. 52
    mzrad says:

    Just be glad that we don’t have our own (expensive) soap opera with a royal family metastasized into the economic system of the country.

    Advice to Kate Middleton: Run by Christopher Hitchens

  53. 53
    Alexandra says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    URL had a double hyphen, b0rked by blog. Fixed link. :)

  54. 54
    Hypnos says:

    A nice quote from Adam Smith, quite relevant to the contemporary political debate:

    “Whenever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the rich supposes the indigence of the many, who are often driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions. … Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

    Book V, Chapter I, Part II, 775, Smith. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner. 2 vols. Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith 2. Oxford U. Press, 1976.

    It would be nice if capitalists actually listened to the supposed founder of capitalism. They’d discover he was a social liberal.

  55. 55
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Oh hell yes the Internet ID will pass. And, because of the Eternal War on Terror the law will include mandates that any and all encryption keys must be provided to the gov and that the system be backdoored for easy access by law enforcement. Of course no agency or administration will ever use this access to the detriment of honest citizens.
    EDIT: And what Chad N Freude said at #47 also too.

  56. 56
    Culture of Truth says:

    “We don’t dress people up as pimps and prostitutes.”


  57. 57
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Chad N Freude: Which is probably why the Obama administration said that this would be led by private industry.

  58. 58

    the latest phase in the deliberate, decade-long construction of a liberal infrastructure for reporting, research, and hammering home a message that the right is scrambling to match


    The right spent three decades, from Goldwater’s defeat to Gingrich’s speakership, building up a tightly-controlled, disciplined message machine, and has been deploying it very effectively ever since. The CAP was deliberately designed to replicate the right’s media machine.

  59. 59
    David in NY says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: The Times has enable comments, and I responded to Douthat’s crow-eating:

    Let me say that it was far worse than missing a footnote. It was missing the whole shape of the American economy. Anyone who thinks the median family has an income, as usually understood, of nearly $100,000 is quite out of touch. And anyone who is that far out of touch should take care in commenting on the current political economy of America.

  60. 60
    Culture of Truth says:

    If only the right-wing had some kind of organized political messaging machine…. They need to get right on that.

  61. 61
    Emma says:

    arguingwithsignposts: And he’s getting beaten like bread dough over in the comments. Am I a bad person for enjoying it?

  62. 62
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    The group, executives told POLITICO, now has 30 writers and researchers

    They only need that many because they’re assigning each one to cover two of the Republican hopefuls.

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hypnos: I am currently reading the bio of Smith recommended by Tom Levenson. Smith is very much not what conservative free market evangelists assume.

  64. 64
    piratedan says:

    @Southern Beale: ahh yes, the good Rev. Coburn who was sponsoring the “prayer in” hoping for Sen Byrd’s death/delay before the HCR vote, he’ll be just the guy I want to be on stalwart watch for the financial well being of the country. He’s well versed with how economics work, after all he was Senator Ensign’s bag man for his hush money payouts to cover up his marital indiscretions. A man of GOD to be sure.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @piratedan: All this doesn’t mean that Coburn isn’t the best the GOP has right now as far as decency goes. Low bar to clear and all that.

  66. 66

    @Hypnos: Or my favorite Adam Smith (The Theory Of Moral Sentiments) quote:

    This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and to despise, or, at least neglect persons of poor and mean conditions [is] the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.

  67. 67
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY:

    A friendly amendment to your comment:

    And anyone who is that far out of touch should shut the fuck up, forever in commenting on the current political economy of America.

  68. 68
    David in NY says:

    @Emma: That’s really interesting. About 40 comments landed on Douthat in three minutes. Which blog linked to his correction at about 10:09 a.m. or so?

  69. 69
    jinxtigr says:

    They should load up the Host with MSG. Then you’d get a lot more body to the flavor. The only trouble is that the body is Chinese :)

  70. 70
    David in NY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well, ya know, some of us believe in the power of understatement. Didn’t the “you asshole” come through between the lines?

    Also, within about three minutes a half-dozen other people made my point and a couple of dozen others noted that the little “oversight” vitiated Douthat’s entire “analysis.” And some suggested he go work for Heritage. Heh. Heh.

  71. 71
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I take it that potentially abusive government initiatives are OK if they are “led by private industry”. What could possibly go wrong?

  72. 72
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Chunky Bobo has been a leading insufferable ass from the beginning. His refusal to correct the conclusions in his original piece in light of his 100% over estimation of median family income speaks volumes about his intellectual honesty.
    I relished the beat-down that he’s taking in the comments.

    The estimable TBogg has in the past skewered Douchehat like an overstuffed bratwurst. I wait with bated breath for his take on this latest flop.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY:

    And some suggested he go work for Heritage.

    I like that one, too. However, I’m not sure the cretinous shitheads of Pravda on the Hudson get the reference.

  74. 74
    David in NY says:

    And I have always read “Douthat” as DoubtThat, anyway.

  75. 75
    piratedan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: well I guess so, if the bar to be cleared is actually placed in a trench underground. Rev Coburn has that gift of being an honest, earnest man of personal convictions. Regardless of how I feel about him, the good people of Oklahome keep sending him back to office (just like the dolts in Arizona do with McGrumpy and Senator NITBAFS (not intended to be a factual statement))

  76. 76
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @David in NY:
    Reading his name always sets off a music sting for me;

    “Because I told you before,
    Oh no you can’t Douthat…”

  77. 77
    David in NY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Meant to say as well that I have always admired your screen name and wish it the same success as the original.

  78. 78
    Chinn Romney says:

    Open thread, eh? Okay: Hines Ward is such a nice guy that even the President of the Tom Terrific Fan Club is cheering him on in DWTS.

  79. 79
    elm says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Even if Chunky Bobo hadn’t fucked up his reporting, he cherry-picked that statistic.

    Citing “a couple with two children” (the actual description in the CBO report) as representative cuts out older people and younger, as well as single parents, and people with significantly larger families. Ignoring a bunch of lower-income households is a great way to overestimate the median income.

  80. 80
    Poopyman says:

    @joe from Lowell: Right. And that right wing message machine is what wrote that paragraph. Seems obvious enough to me, but I’m just paranoid that way.

  81. 81
    Cat Lady says:

    Hiatt’s the guy who murders his parents and then demands mercy now that he’s an orphan. Fuck him. He’s seeing his dream of ratfucking the electorate to vote 50.1% for another empty Palinite vessel for neocons to fill, dying in the birfer fever swamp his mendacity created. No prayer for the dying for you, motherfucker.

  82. 82
    Elizabelle says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    what’s the adam smith bio title? many thanks

  83. 83
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I always free-associate to “I would do anything for love but I won’t Douthat.”

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Elizabelle: Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life by Nicholas Phillipson.

  85. 85
    danimal says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Shorter POLITICO —‘We lie. Everyone we quote and link to lies. Why don’t they lie?’

    It really doesn’t matter what the story of the day happens to be. This description is true for Politico and about 3/4ths (three quarters? -what does the stylesheet say?) of American political media. To hell with them.
    @John Cole:

    BEST LINE EVER- “it was like the Pope saying the Host tastes like bread.”

    Agreed, this was Classic!

  86. 86
    Tom Q says:

    @piratedan: As I’ve heard it, the difference between OK’s two Senators is, Coburn is a decent human being who believes ridiculous/horrible things, where Inhofe is just a dick in every way.

  87. 87
    piratedan says:

    in the comparison between senators for the two states, Okla and Az, pretty much everyone is a loser I guess.

    Anyone else catch the TRMS segment last night on the Michigan town that’s been corporatized in the name of waterfront development?

  88. 88
    David in NY says:

    @piratedan: It’s being covered pretty well by somebody from the area over at the Orange Satan, too. TLTGYTL (Too lazy to get you the link.)

    The Benton Harbor story, that is.

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