• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    centaur on Angelina Update
    atl on Angelina Update
    bellecat on Angelina Update
    Sweet Sue on Angelina Update
    Niles on Angelina Update
    Ga6thDem on Angelina Update
    Peep9 on Angelina Update
    tamens on Angelina Update
    Na mit on Angelina Update
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Decisions, Decisions.
    riverdaughter on Decisions, Decisions.
    Catscatscats on Decisions, Decisions.
    Niles on Decisions, Decisions.
    centaur on Decisions, Decisions.
    Kathleen A Wynne on Decisions, Decisions.
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    September 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Aug    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    2930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Democratic Ethics Of Brexit
      The bottom line here is that there was a referendum, and “leave” won. All my life I have eaten election and referendum results I hated. I have done so because of democratic legitimacy: the people, even if I or anyone else think they are wrong, are the source of legitimate rule. There was a referendum. […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Lighter Notes

Jaysus this week has been depressing. Let’s lighten things up around here.

For those of you who are Serial fans, Adnan Syed may be getting a new trial. Based on the evidence that was presented in a hearing a few months ago, his conviction was vacated. I think that’s a fancy way of saying, “technically, you’re innocent but we’re not done with you yet”. It’s hard to believe he could have been convicted in the first place based on such flimsy evidence -and that’s probably why I have never been selected as a juror. I’m just a f&*(ing pain in the ass with questions and not going along with the crowd. Anyway, hope he’s home soon.

************************************************************

It’s hard to believe that anything about Hillary’s email can be considered light hearted but it always amuses me when I listen to Poltical Gabfest where David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon twist themselves into knots over them. You can hear the frustration in their voices over the 8 years of a very secret presidency where the press that elected Obama has been fed nothing but eensy-weensy nuggets of nothing. It’s a bit ironic that the only person who we have any tinge of scandal about is Hillary and that only because the Republicans have been relentless over Benghazi. I’m sure everyone who is anyone in Washington has a private email account where they squirrel things away and it probably comes with a lot of encryption and poison pills these days.

Bazelon was uncharacteristically flummoxed over the legal reasoning why James Comey did not pursue Hillary for “gross negligence”. But I think we can all logic this out.

1.) There was no criminal intent and no evidence of any legal wrongdoing.

2.) Comey, knowing he was on the hook to deliver the goods, gives an unprecedented press conference to discuss his findings and why he isn’t going to indict. It’s the best he can do for Gowdy’s committee. There’s nothing to charge her with but he can smear her for carelessness and make her behavior look negligent and inexcusable.

3.) The problem is it wasn’t even gross negligence, which is why he was trying so hard to signal this to Gowdy et al during the hearing. He was telling them that the attack ad he gave in the press conference was as far as he could legally go. As I understand it, the State Department’s probe is going to pick up where it left off before it was so rudely interrupted and the truth about the emails is going to come out. Comey’s pronouncements were purely subjective statements that indicated the borders of his abilities to prosecute. He can’t get her for doing anything illegally with criminal intent AND he can’t get her for “gross negligence” because it doesn’t even make that threshhold either.

There’s nothing there.

Emily Bazelon, legal scholar, is smart enough to figure this out so I don’t know why she sounds so mystified about it. It’s staring her right in the face but she doesn’t want to admit it. The Comey press conference was a political hit job. It was a PERSONAL email server with nothing important on it and while the State department might have rules and guidelines, no laws were broken and no one even knew it existed until Benghazi went looking for gotcha emails.

Why do we need to see what’s in her personal email anyway, Emily? I mean, if there’s nothing classified in them of any interest, not even for the Chinese, why do we need to be snooping? I don’t think Emily has a good reason for this except that Hillary made it harder for them to do it and avoided FOIA requests. But then, the whole administration has been avoiding FOIA requests and has zipped it good and have left the media kicking the curb. They didn’t get any juicy scandal to report about for 8 long years. Later on in the podcast, they discuss a White House released description of Obama’s evening routines and note that there’s not even mention of Michelle and the girls in it. There are, however, details of exactly how many salted almonds Obama eats each evening. It’s exactly 7. It’s hillarious how the White House jerks the media’s chains especially after they were so extremely helpful getting him elected in the first place.

We tried to warn them but did they listen?

At one point, Bazelon likens Hillary’s behavior to that of Chelsea Manning’s. This shows just how disconnected the media has become over Clinton’s email. There’s no comparison between Manning and Clinton. Manning, regardless of how you feel about her motives, intentionally broke the law and leaked undeniably classified information of national importance. It’s not like apples and oranges, it’s like apples and platypuses. They’re not even in the same kingdoms.

Give it up, guys. If you pursue this, it’s going to depress your ratings. I guarantee that the only people who want this to come up in a debate between Trump and Clinton are the diehard Trump supporters and a small group of Bernie supporters experiencing a temporary psychogenic fugue state. The rest of us won’t watch the debates or will switch them off the minute the emails come up. There’s a resistant conspiracy culture growing around this issue that’s unhealthy and counterproductive going into the general election. The media has great power but it hasn’t been very responsible lately.

Yes, Emily, John and David, I’m talking about YOU and your colleagues. Grow up already.

********************************************************

Joy Womack, principal dancer for the Kremlin Ballet, is going to the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Ballet fans know that Joy was one of the first American students to graduate from the Bolshoi ballet academy and then joined the Bolshoi itself as a soloist. But she never really got an opportunity to dance at the Bolshoi. She was in the company in the year when the director was splashed in the face with acid, an attack that was arranged by another dancer over the treatment of his girlfriend, an up and coming dancer. Joy herself was told that if she ever wanted to dance on stage, she would have to pay for the privilege. So, she left, and the Kremlin Ballet picked her up. In the last few years, she’s been working hard on classical repertoire, which bores me to tears, but whatever. She’s good at it. She’s gone through a lot of ups and downs, like alcoholic partners and unpleasant co-workers who take their anti-Americanism out on her. Plus, the pay sucks. She supports herself on her little company that makes Prima Bars.

Varna may change that. If she does well, it could give her more opportunities to dance as a guest artist for companies. I think that’s what she’s shooting for here.

Here’s one of her rehearsals for Varna with one of her more reliable and complementary partners, principal dancer Misha Martynuk and her ballet teacher, Zhanna. She’s the seated woman shouting corrections in Russian. They’re rehearsing the pas de deux for Le Corsaire first, followed by Diane and Acteon. Keep an eye out for the lift at about the 5:30 mark.  I’ve watched a lot of youtube videos of this pas and have never seen it done so effortlessly. Not even Vishneva and Acosta are this breathtaking.

Advertisements

Putting “Extremely Careless” into perspective

According to James Comey, head of the FBI who happens to be a Republican, after sifting through 50,000+ emails at a cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer, he was able to dig up 113 emails that contained classified material. Some of this classified material was classified after the mail was sent, some was buried in email threads, which, as anyone who gets email threads at work can verify can sometimes be mind bogglingly long and hard to follow. The recipient can’t control what other people send to her.

Let’s do the math:

113 classified emails/50000 emails total = .23%. (I rounded up)

I can only assume that James Comey went through all of Condoleeza Rice’s emails and Colin Powell’s emails and Madeline Albright’s emails for comparison and that none of our three most recent Secretary of State’s emails contained anywhere close to that number of unintentional violations.

That would be about 2 tenths of 1% of emails.

What would be considered “extremely careful”? Shouldn’t Comey provide a scale so we know what would be considered rigorously careful? Presumably, 50000 emails would contain 0 classified emails unintentionally passed between communicants.

In the absence of any data from other Secretaries of State, we have no way to know just how egregiously bad Clinton’s numbers are.

So, James Comey, Republican, can say whatever he likes about the standard of care that was applied here. There is no way of knowing whether this is higher or lower than any other secretary of state who used private emails.

Ok, then.

Hillary, Diana and Journalists

article-2438612-186681b100000578-241_634x421Last week, in another unguarded moment, the Slate Political Gabfest trio revealed what the deal was with Hillary’s emails. Go to about the 21 minute mark of their latest episode “I Threw a Chair in Reno Just to Watch it Fly” where they start to discuss why it is that The Donald can get away with not revealing his tax returns but Hillary damaged herself seriously because she didn’t want journalists filing FOIA requests to go sifting through her emails to find stupid little things and turns of phrases that could be made into gigantic, distracting nothings.

They sound like whiny little children. They’re going to camp on these emails and the unreleased transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs and they readily acknowledge that all they and their journalist droogs are going to do is make a mountain of something as trivial as “thank you all for allowing me to talk to you today”.

It reminds me of the papparazzi that regarded it as their right to follow Princess Diana around. Everything she did was documented to death. Literally. Oh sure, you could blame the chauffeur for driving while intoxicated but he wouldn’t have been speeding through a Paris Tunnel in the first place if there weren’t a posse of photographers hot on Diana’s tail. If reports from other bystanders are correct, they took pictures of her while she was dying in the backseat of the car.

It would be incorrect to assume that because Hillary Clinton is a former first lady, twice elected Senator and former Secretary of State that she has too much experience and gravitas to be permanently damaged by this. Somehow, the pundits think, she will pull herself out of this. She’ll take a hit in the polls, only weeks away from the biggest delegate prize in the primaries, and it will be a nail biter all the way to the convention, but she will still, somehow, emerge triumphant.

I’m not so sure. I’ve seen up close and personal how women in professional life are always more harshly criticized for stuff that their male counterparts can get away with. Men are allowed to be human. Women have to be Dianas, either chaste  or chased. They get away with nothing. And while it is encouraging that some men are starting to appreciate just how presidential she is compared to Mr. Can’t Pick a Right Shade of Self Tanner, they fail to acknowledge that in order for women to BE Presidents, they have to somehow transcend being mortal human beings.

At the moment, Donald Trump can do and say anything and get away with it. His persistent attacks on Hillary this week for everything she has ever done or said in her entire life illustrates why she might be motivated to put her email on a separate server that wouldn’t be subjected to FOIA requests by “journalists” on a fishing expedition for “gotcha” emails, and wouldn’t be the target of hacking because no one outside of her address list would know that it existed.

One tantalizing tidbit that came up last night when CNN was discussing it was why didn’t the President know she was using an unauthorized email server? Presumably, he knew she wasn’t contacting him from Hillary.Clinton@State.gov. Why didn’t HE insist she use a government email server?

In any case, there were no laws broken, she didn’t send email that she knew ahead of time was classified and the server was never hacked, unlike the other state department servers. This is simply a case of a woman who knows that everything she thinks, writes and says is has the potential to become twisted and misused for political purposes or just for fun, as Emily Bazelon and John Dickerson admit.

The timing is right, now that she is being attacked relentlessly by Trump who seemingly has spent a lot of money for opposition research portraying her in the worst possible light to his voters, for her to give her “ask forgiveness rather than permission speech”. And then, if the Democrats really want to win in November, it’s crucial that they close ranks behind her and defend her vigorously to give her the mantle of superhuman invincibility she needs to get elected.

But if history is any guide, they’ll be bystanders at the car wreck while the butterflies take selfies next to the corpse.

Update: OMG, the Gabfest trio are at it again, (the “Weiner” edition) blaming the victim and repeatedly asking for some unattainably high standard of humility from Clinton before they let it go. What would it take guys? A Cersei Lannister naked walk of repentance thru Georgetown?  Why isn’t an apology enough? You admit she had a good reason to do what she did because you also freely admit you can’t control yourselves. So what is this never ending pursuit about? When will it be enough?

Media people have a real problem and they sound a little defensive about it in this podcast. Good.  They are the ones who should be repenting.

I blame the Democrats. They are not saying that after 25 years and upending her underwear drawers, it is time for the “journalists” to move on.

This podcast was simply unlistenable. They are so out of touch and so brazen in their admissions that I can’t listen without wanting to smack someone. Listening discretion is advised.