Morning Open Thread

There’s a Super Moon and a lunar eclipse tonight. It should make for pretty skywatching.  You can find details HERE.

I went to Salt Lake Comic Con on Friday and Saturday.  A good time was had by all.  Here in SLC, the Comic Con ran Thursday-Saturday.  There’s not a lot going on Sundays here.  I think I’ll drive up in the mountains later and look at the leaves changing.

My new job is going well for the most part. It’s a small facility, but I also support entomologists and naturalists deployed to various places around Utah, southern Idaho, western Colorado, and eastern Nevada, so I’m driving a lot.

I saw a thing on CNN this morning about Boehner’s retirement from Congress.  All the talking heads were going on about how it’s a sure sign of “the dysfunction in Washington.”  They were wrong, of course.  It’s a sign of the dysfunction in the Republican party.  The Democrats are doing just fine, thank you very much.  But our media is so cowed by the right wing, and in many instances controlled by them, that there has to be some way the Democrats are at fault.  It’s been like this for most of my life, and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

Dana Milbank at the WaPo has an editorial up about Carly Fiorina, the Flavor of the Week.  The media is never better at self reflection than when they’re sniping at each other.

Also, Berkley Brethed has hit upon one of the signal issues of our time.

GO Broncos!  Beat the Lions!


Em Ess En Be Seeing Ya, Ed

MSNBC’s entire late afternoon lineup is apparently getting the axe.

A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will announce today major changes to its afternoon lineup…arguably the most significant revamp the network has made at one time in its 19-year history.

Out:The Cycle at 3:00 PM. Now with Alex Wagner at 4:00 PM. The Ed Show with Ed Schultz at 5:00 PM (all times eastern).

Guess who’s baaaaaaack?

In:Chuck Todd at 5:00 PM. Similar to Jake Tapper at CNN doing both weekday afternoons (hosting The Lead) and anchoring Sunday morning’s State of the Union, Todd will also continue to work weekends as moderator of Sunday’s Meet the Press. Todd’s MSNBC show will likely take on its old name The Daily Rundown, but that is not a guarantee.

More interesting: Andrea Mitchell will keep her program at noon (Andrea Mitchell Reports). Thomas Roberts will continue to anchor his midday news program from 1:00-3:00 PM. The programs being cancelled at 3:00 PM (The Cycle) and 4:00 PM (Now with Alex Wagner) will be replaced by a straight news program (similar to Roberts’ two-hour newscast preceding it). Whether that 3:00-5:00 PM slot goes to Brian Williams is not known at this time, but it would certainly make the most sense to put Williams directly up against Fox’s Shepard Smith (Shepard Smith Reporting) and CNN’s Brooke Baldwin (CNN Newsroom) for the first hour in a similar format.

Yeah, because MSNBC’s problem is that it needs more Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and Brian Williams.

Jeebus wept.  They actually found the one person I’m willing to watch less than Ed “boycott the midterms” Schultz.

And yes, the bullseye is now squarely on the backs of Al Sharpton and Chris Hayes. Maybe you guys can bring in three hours of Tweety while you’re at it.  That’ll get the kids running in from miles around.

Shameless self promotion thread


I can’t see that we’ve done an Artists in our Midst thread, or a job thread, for quite a while. Then again, I may just be too drunk to find them.

Anyway, lets combine the two and have a free thread for Juicers – artists, Etsyists, writers, job seekers, freelancers, businesses seeking workers, community groups seeking assistance, whatever, lurkers more than welcome – to give themselves a plug.

[Image – Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) The Pottery Vendor]

Dems Playing Offense On The Defense Spending Bill

Team WIN THE MORNING is hand-wringing over Sen. Harry Reid’s plan to play hardball with domestic spending with the GOP (emphasis mine)

Senate Democrats are ready to follow through on a risky strategy to confront Republicans this week over government spending, shrugging off Republicans’ assertions that blocking a military funding bill amounts to “political suicide.”

It’s a gut-check moment for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his successor-in-waiting, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who aim to force Republicans to increase domestic spending by killing every GOP-written funding bill until they extract some concessions.

The scheme will work only if all 46 members of their caucus are pulling in the same direction. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hopes to tempt some defense-minded Democrats to vote with Republicans by putting forward a national security spending bill as his opening move in the chess game, followed by other tough votes on military construction and veterans affairs.

Despite the risk of being labeled soft on national security, Reid and chief message-man Schumer have largely persuaded moderates and liberals to stick with the filibuster strategy and block the $576 billion Department of Defense funding bill as early as this week, according to top Democratic sources. That’s an aggressive move, given that defense spending has historically been a bipartisan endeavor.

Why, you would think that Republicans were the voice of reason here and that Democrats were the loose cannon insurgents ready to shut down the government. Somehow, I think that’s the point of the article.

Fainting couch sale special this weekend. Clutchable pearls not included.

Shiny Metal Objects Forever

So GOP Rep. Aaron Schock’s Downton Abbey-inspired office decor is the new Sen. John McCain’s Tire Swing, as WaPo’s Ben Terris reminds us.

She introduced herself as Annie Brahler, the interior decorator whose company is called Euro Trash. She guided me to Schock’s private office, revealing another dramatic red room. This one with a drippy crystal chandelier, a table propped up by two eagles, a bust of Abraham Lincoln and massive arrangements of pheasant feathers.

Then, my phone rang.

It was Schock’s communications director, Benjamin Cole.

“Are you taking pictures of the office?” he asked. “Who told you you could do that? . . . Okay, stay where you are. You’ve created a bit of a crisis in the office.”

A staff member then came and asked me to please delete the photos from my phone. So started a day of back-and-forths with a congressman’s office about interior design.

Only in This Town is one of the staunchest Tea Party twits in Congress a rock star with style.

Washington has always been more “Veep” than “House of Cards.”

Schock, 33, is one of the rising stars of the Republican Party. He’s young, has six-pack abs that landed him on the cover of Men’s Health and is a prodigious fundraiser. He’s also one of the most media-savvy members of Congress, with an Instagram feed that features him surfing, hiking across glaciers, tangoing on the streets of Buenos Aires and smiling next to duck-faced pop star Ariana Grande.

An office decorated in a unique way would hardly be surprising; it would just be another interesting fact about a congressman who has built a brand as not just another politician. So why was this a crisis?

“You’ve got a member [of Congress] willing to talk to you about other things,” Cole said on the phone. “Why sour it by rushing to write some gossipy piece?”

Forget it, Lord Crawley, it’s Washington.

And oh, the dancing around Schock.  Must be where he got the abs.  Huckleberry Graham could learn a thing or two from this guy.