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Sunday News – All Hallow’s Eve Edition


Happy Halloween Conflucians!! What are you dressing as today and tonight? I hope you all have a great Halloween.

Other than bats in the belfry, let’s see what else is spooky out there. Some fun yesterday was the Steward/Colbert rally yesterday. I quite liked Jon’s sentiment at the end. He basically echoed what we’ve been saying for a long time. Namely that all this crap and mud slinging and race baiting and nastiness on both sides is causing great harm. He called progressives out as much as he called wingers out. Which was such a change where we tend to only ever see wingers called out and hardly ever progressives called out except here and a few other places. More of that please. It was also nice to see his message of hope about how real Americans are out there working together and get things done, unlike people in washington or in the MSM. I liked it. Here’s a bit of the Miami Herald’s take:

“This is not . . . to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do,” Stewart said as he turned serious in his closing remarks. “But we live now in hard times, not end times. We can have animus and not be enemies.”

He lambasted the cable TV news mentality that amplifies outrageous statements, stokes fear and seeks out confrontation, singling out the left-wing media for equating tea partyers with racists and the right-wing media for “the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims.”

“The press can hold its magnifying class up to our problems,” he said. “Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire. . . . The press is our immune system. If they overreact to everything we get sicker.”

The message struck a chord with the large throng of people; the National Park Service no longer provides official estimates of crowds, but the National Mall was densely packed with many tens of thousands of people.

“It’s the first time a message like this has resonated with me,” said Jonathan Dugan, 37, a product engineer who flew from San Francisco to stand on the mall on a sunny fall afternoon. “We need to get people to talk to each other in a meaningful way.”

So as you’d expect, politics is in much of the news. WaPo has a bit about Obama’s “closing arguments” for the election:

Obama laid out a sharp contrast between his party’s agenda and the GOP, saying that Republicans have done little but play politics as his party has made hard choices to revive the economy, change the health-care system and regulate the finanical industry.

“We don’t want to relive the past. We’ve tried what their selling and we’re not buying,” he said. “We’re not going back.”

While Obama told supporters that the election two years ago wasn’t about him, Democrats are betting that his lingering appeal among first time voters, African-Americans and Hispanics will boost turnout – in Philadelphia volunteers handed out leaflets with a picture of Obama and his wife on one side and a plug for Rep. Joe Sestak, running for the Senate, and Dan Onorato, who is running for governor, on the other side. Polls show Onorato trailing behind Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, and Sestak gaining ground on former Republican congressman Pat Toomey.

But the best part, and why I didn’t think of this before, he’s now out talking about, wait for it, party unity after the election, sort of:

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday’s election, it’s time to put aside partisanship, President Obama is telling Democrats and Republicans.

Yet his appeal for unity includes a jab at GOP leaders in the House and Senate for comments that the president said were troubling.

House minority leader John Boehner of Ohio “actually said that ‘this is not the time for compromise,’ ’’ Obama said yesterday in his weekly radio and Internet address. The president added that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky “said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.’’

The address was released shortly before Obama left Washington for a day of campaigning in Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Conn., and Chicago. The three states have competitive House and Senate races, as does Ohio, where the president was slated to hold a rally today in Cleveland.

In the weekly Republican address, Boehner said Obama has failed to deliver the change he promised. The man who probably would become House speaker if Republicans win control of the chamber also promoted party pledges to cut spending and keep taxes at current levels.

Meanwhile Bill Clinton is out campaigning his ass off. He was in Youngstown yesterday:

Clinton spoke to a crowd of 1,800 to 2,000 people, most of whom stood rather than sit during his speech, at Mr. Anthony’s.

The former president urged the audience to vote and urge others to do the same for the Democratic slate, particularly Gov. Ted Strickland.

“Where’s the enthusiasm gap? Where is it?” yelled Yvette McGee Brown, the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee. “You guys do us proud. We are winning on Tuesday because of you! I just want to tell you, this has been a long year. There are people who counted us out just like people counted out the Valley.”

National polls have shown that those most likely to vote lean Republican.

But Strickland said momentum is swinging in favor of Democrats at the right time.

Republicans “won this race in August,” he said. “We’re going to win this race in November, when it really counts.”

And Bill is returning to Orlando to help Meeks again in his campaign. You know, the guy the media lied about and said Bill pushed out of the race, even though everyone disagreed before they ran those stories. The Miami Herald article includes some of that:

Clinton will join Meek and the state’s other major Democratic Party candidates at a last-minute voter rally Monday night in Orlando, the Democratic Senate candidate’s campaign said Saturday.

The announcement comes after two days of media reports over whether Clinton privately asked Meek to step aside and endorse Crist, who left the Republican party to run as an independent. Meek and Clinton have denied those reports, even those confirmed by Clinton’s spokesman.

Both Meek and Crist trail Rubio, the tea party-backed Republican. To win, Crist would need at least some of the Democrats who plan to vote for Meek.

Meek has accused Crist of starting the rumors about Clinton and says Crist directly asked him to withdraw.

“I think he’s a nice guy, but I don’t think that that plays a role and I think it’s wrong to try to paint me into the corner and say that I’m the reason why he’s not winning,” Meek told reporters at Wilton Manors city hall, where he and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz were courting early voters. “I don’t blame the position of my campaign at any time on any other opponent.”

It was Meek’s only public event Saturday. He was resting up for 24 hours of nonstop campaigning across much of the state, beginning Sunday night in Tampa.

Meek said the rumors about him possibly dropping out of the three-way race have energized his supporters.

“What some meant for bad ended up being for good. People are now awakened of their responsibility to get out to vote,” he said. “Because now the ant bed has been kicked. Folks are highly disappointed.”

The other big news of the day was the apparent terrorist plot to blow up some synagogues in the Chicago area. It’s now being reported that Yemen has made some arrests:

Yemen has arrested a female student suspected of mailing the explosive parcels from the country to the US that sparked a global security alert, sources say.

The arrest took place on Saturday in the capital, Sanaa, after security forces surrounded a house where the suspect was hiding.

The woman’s lawyer said she was a “quiet student” with no known links of religious or political groups. Her mother was also detained, but was not a prime suspect, the lawyer said.

A Yemeni security official said the woman, a medical student in her 20s, had been traced through a telephone number she left with a cargo company.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, confirmed her arrest, saying: “Yemen is determined to fight terror but will not allow anyone to intervene in its affairs.”

Security officials have been on high alert since the UK and the United Arab Emirates intercepted two packages containing explosive material that were being shipped by air from Yemen to synagogues in Chicago.

Who’s to know if that person really had anything to do with anything. They need an arrest and need it now. I’m not sure the truth really matters. But we’ll watch the events unfold. BBC has a list of Sunday papers with stories on this issue.

In other news of the world, Brazil is having elections, and with all the economic problems, the main race is about which candidate is the crazier religious wacko:

The pocketbook is battling the pulpit in Brazil’s presidential elections Sunday, as government candidate Dilma Rousseff faces opposition leader Jose Serra in a runoff election to lead this burgeoning economic power of 190 million people.

Issues that most Brazilians thought didn’t belong in national politics — in particular, abortion — have taken center stage, and both candidates are catering to the concerns of evangelical and Roman Catholic voters.

By abandoning her previous public stance on liberalizing the country’s anti-abortion laws, and attending church before the television cameras, Rousseff, a former atheist, appears to have outmaneuvered Serra. A national poll Thursday night gave her a 13-point advantage over the former governor of Sao Paulo state.

That’s some crazy shit. And I thought my congressional race was bad.

That’s a bit of what’s in the news. Chime in with what you’re doing for Halloween and what else you’re finding in the news.

25 Responses

  1. Even as Clinton campaigns for Meek in Florida, NY Times keeps up the slander with deceptive headlines
    Bill Clinton’s Role in Florida Senate Race Seems to Cost Democrat Some Black Votes
    Mind you nothing following the headline justifies it. But if there’s any consistency at the NYT is the CGS.

  2. Excellent round-up, DT!

    I don’t know what the significance is but:

    An estimated 215,000 people attended a rally organized by Comedy Central talk show hosts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Saturday in Washington, according to a crowd estimate commissioned by CBS News.

    The company AirPhotosLive.com based the attendance at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on aerial pictures it took over the rally, which took place on the Mall in Washington. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 percent.

    CBS News also commissioned AirPhotosLive.com to do a crowd estimate of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in August. That rally was estimated to have attracted 87,000 people. Amid criticism from conservatives that the estimate was low, CBS News detailed the methodology behind it here.


    I saw some of it. The part I liked best was Father Guido Sarducci “asking God for a sign to tell everyone on earth to reveal the ‘one true religion.’ ”


  3. Anglachel has another new post, Hacks and Hicks. Here’s a tasty morsel from the end:

    The counter-balance to the fantasy of bi-partisanship is the fantasy of the hate-filled unwashed, against whom the forces of reason are allied and arrayed. The Bubbas and Bunkers who just don’t understand or, more malevolently, are actively opposed to progress and justice. They vote against their own self-interest! shriek the headlines even as the senators and representatives cast their votes against the interests of all but a few. The presidential candidate privately castigates those ignorant rubes for clinging to god and guns, the newly minted president crafts a health care plan that may very well impoverish them more, and now we’re shocked, shocked that they are angry at having their self-interest sacrificed on the altar of private insurance profits?

    If the hicks are hacking away at the Washington power elite, the hacks have no one to blame but themselves. This is what comes from voting against your long-term self-interest.

    • Touche and bravo!

    • Honk! Honk!

    • Honk, Honk, Honk!

    • Views: Rude Democracy – Inside Higher Ed

      A NEW book provides an interesting gloss on [yesterday’s] gathering–even though it was published in August, a few weeks before Stewart and Colbert announced plans for what’s now called the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.  Susan Herbst’s Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics avoids the familiar plaint that American political discussion was once ever so civilized, then began to decay sometime in the recent past. Making a broad but fairly succinct review of the interdisciplinary literature on self-control and cultivated dispassion in argument, she treats them, not as cultural norms, but as “strategic tools.” They are sometimes useful, but displays of hostility, bias, and intemperateness are no less intrinsic to public life.



      She writes that  it was very important for [today’s college students] always to feel comfortable in class,” with “only 7 percent believing comfort not to be an issue.” She calls this “evidence for at least one factor underlying the student anxiety that we find: Feeling comfortable and unthreatened intellectually is a value many students share.”

      To think or believe something is a strictly personal matter. Hence pursuing an argument is taken as very nearly an act of aggression. Herbst cites interview data suggesting that some students regard it is almost impossible to persuade other people of anything. (This is, of course, a self-fulfilling attitude.)

      “Contrary to the image of college being a place to ‘find oneself’ and learn from others,” she writes, “a number of students saw the campus as just the opposite–a place where already formed citizens clash, stay with like-minded others, or avoid politics altogether.”

      The Stewart-Colbert rally is bound to draw young people filled with unhappiness about how the world is going, and I’m not about to begrudge them the right to an interesting weekend. But the anti-ideological spirit of the event is a dead end. The attitude that it’s better to stay cool and amused than to risk making arguments or expressing too much ardor–this is not civility. It’s timidity.

      “Here we are now, entertain us” was a great lyric for a song. As a political slogan, it is decidedly wanting. If someone onstage wants to make Saturday’s rally meaningful, perhaps it would be worth quoting the old Wobbly humorist T-Bone Slim: “Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.”


      San Francisco General Strike 
      Jul 14, 2007  

  4. FoxNews Sunday, Chris Wallace just out and lied about Bill C. trying to get Meeks out of the race. This propaganda news which includes all news outlets are beyond contempt.
    If we ever expect this country to get on the right track we need to fire the current set of pundits. How I’m not sure!

    • Yea, because even though Meeks & Clinton deny it, somehow Chris Wallace knows the ‘truth.’ STFU.

    • After HuffPo’s piece on 50% of Dems wanting to primary Obama for 2012, been noticing the knives coming out for both Clintons from the right and the left. Guess there’s also the election on Tuesday. Man, the progressives on facebook and twitter are tense. Anyhoo. I’ve got to decide here in Connecticut to vote against a pro wrestling manager.

      • 50% of Dems wanting to primary Obama for 2012

        Betcha the percentage would be higher except people were afraid of being perceived as r@cist. 50% after just 2 years. Suspect that’ll grow to about 75% in 3 yrs. Now, if we only had all primaries instead of caucuses a strong, experienced candidate who appealed to the majority of Dem and Independent voters (hint, hint) could sweep the field in a few months.


    • They never stop lying. Whatever the storyline of the time is, they all push it true or false.

      • “They” means both sides, of course. NYT story still pushing the Clinton’s fault meme, reporting that Blacks are moving towards Crist cuz they’re mad at Clinton for trying to push Meek out of the race. All bs , of course.

        But that’s the current meme being sent to the media from the Obama team . Ugh

  5. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42099.html

    Here’s my contribution for the AM

  6. Hey, everyone have a spooktacular Halloween! 👿

  7. That whole Stewart rally just came off as cynical. While the right has been calling every Congressman a Nancy Pelosi clone, the left has been digging up dirt on the personal lives of as many candidates as possible. This call to reason only started because Democratic punches didn’t land nearly as well as the Republican ones.

    When your side is losing the argument, calling for an end to fighting just means you gave up.

    • True dat. Sure explains Arianna’s sudden interest in “civility,” mostly because her incivility didn’t work.

      Voters aren’t that stupid.

  8. i’m dressing up as a giants fan. GO GIANTS.

  9. Congress and the Treasury will probably be in a fiscal straight jacket as far as new spending goes, beyond the existing budget for next year. Even on the question of extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, the Republicans will probably make some more noise but ultimately prioritize deficit reduction and not pass. We’ll see.

    The Federal Reserve will presumably have more latitude to spend via their monetary policy…actions that are hard to distinguish from fiscal policy these days. They are scheduled to make an announcement within the next two weeks about their decision on the next round of monetary easing. It won’t be two trillion, but it might be one trillion…possibly split between continuing to bailout housing and also bailing out state budgets depending on which kind of long bonds and treasuries they decide to buy via the banks. Inflation has become a slightly bigger concern lately, but the Fed also knows there is little chance of a sustained economic recovery if we have more major collapses in housing or with states.

    One interesting wrinkle could be Ron Paul. If the Republicans take the House, Ron is in line to become the head of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, and he’s big on auditing and/or squelching the Fed. Capital markets (which are supposed to be investing in our long term future, in theory) tend to like Democrats for their bailouts and Republicans for their loose regulations. But a Republican Congress that successfully challenges the kind of active role the Fed has taken over the past two years will definitely be an adjustment for the markets. We may indeed face the austerity that Republicans have been selling. This is what Krugman seems to fear.

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