Part 4—A celebrified Planet Bullshit: “My fellow Americans, the state of the union is fatuous—celebrified, sad!”

The president didn’t say it.

It certainly would have been true if he had! Consider a rarely discussed historical fact:

As many others have reported, John Kennedy was elected president in November 1960. In his iconic book about that campaign, Theodore White described the scene as Kennedy announced that he would be running.

You can read the description on page 58. Senator Kennedy announced he was running on January 2—January 2 of 1960, the same year as the election!

In those days, we managed to run a full election in the space of ten months. Eight cycles later, Bill Clinton announced his candidacy in October 1991. There were just thirteen months left.

This brings us to the state of the culture as Obama delivered this week’s address.

The year was 2014, though just barely. The next presidential election was 34 months away.

Despite these facts, the Washington Post would lead its front page two days later with a poll about that future election. And the hopeless New York Times had already published its magazine story, Planet Hillary, with its pitiful magazine cover.

The piece was based on a startling new theme—the Clintons know quite a few people. It was the issue of a peculiar decision—the decision to assign a reporter to a Candidate Clinton beat long before there actually was such a candidate.

Amy Chozick’s endless report actually ran 5600 words, not counting its many celestial charts. Essentially, those charts included the names of everyone the Clintons have ever known, plus a few more they probably haven’t.

Our big newspapers still haven’t adopted the practice of printing names in bold, at least the first time they’re mentioned. But Chozick’s piece represented a cross between the roll of names in Genesis and the celebrificated culture of People magazine.

Name after name spilled forth from the piece, a piece about someone who isn’t yet running. From Huma back to Adam and Eve, everyone was there.

How inane was this endless piece? If you were able to stay awake, we’re told you could even read the two-paragraph passage offered below.

It concerned the writing of thank-you notes and the practice of icing out people who get charged with 51 crimes:
CHOZICK (1/26/14): [O]ne theory about why they have amassed such a wide network over the years is that, unlike political dynasties such as the Bushes or the Kennedys, they did not come from money. They learned how to keep aides loyal the old-fashioned way, by doing the kinds of thoughtful things that anyone who has worked with the Clintons for any amount of time will tell you about: countless handwritten thank-you notes, remembering staff-member birthdays and letting them bask in their reflected glory...

Still, even back in the Arkansas days, the Clintons knew how to ice out some of their more complicated friends. One recent Thursday morning, I stopped by the Little Rock apartment of Betsey Wright, just across the Interstate from the Clinton library on a leafy street lined with well-kept clapboard houses with wide porches and upholstered furniture out front. Around the corner is a Holiday Inn with a restaurant called Camp David (“a hidden treasure with a culinary style surely fit for both presidents and first ladies”; kids eat free). Wright, considered a mastermind behind Clinton’s rise in Arkansas, was among the first in a long line of surrogate family members. She headed rapid response (or what she called “bimbo eruptions”) in the 1992 election and was immortalized by Kathy Bates in the film adaptation of “Primary Colors.” After not joining Clinton’s White House staff, Wright became a lobbyist and eventually returned home and began advocating for prisoners’ rights. In 2009, though, she was arrested on 51 charges of smuggling contraband, including a box cutter and a knife and tattoo needles that were hidden in a bag of Doritos, on a visit to death row. She pleaded not guilty (and, later, no contest to lesser charges) and was released on probation. She did not respond to my many attempts to contact her, including in-person pleas to friends and a note left on her front porch.

People who have known the Clintons the longest have all sorts of theories about how one of the country’s most brilliant political minds could have ended up arrested with a bag of Doritos...
If we’re reading that passage correctly, Chozick reports that the Clintons tend to “ice out” former aides who get indicted on 51 counts of smuggling contraband, including a box cutter and a knife, into state and/or federal prisons.

Or something—the point never quite comes clear. And by the way:

George Bush the elder, who did come from money, has always been famous for his own “countless handwritten thank-you notes.” This practice by Bush was so well-known that it even made Fashion & Style in the Times in 2007.

“According to many, George H. W. Bush’s career was advanced by his strong habit of sending thank-you notes—an act ingrained by his mother, no doubt,” the Times writer mused that day. Bush “personified good sportsmanship and drizzled thank-you notes,” Jacob Weisberg wrote the next year. He described the writing of those notes as one of Bush’s “preppie folkways.”

So it goes in these pastures of plenty. When the Clintons write thank-you notes, it’s because they didn’t come from money. When George Bush Senior writes such notes, it’s because he did.

(You could spend an entire day reading about Bush’s thank-you notes. Just click here, then continue clicking. At Amazon, you can buy one such handwritten note for $460.)

The fatuity of Chozick’s jump-the-gun piece is captured in those minor points, just two of a million such offerings. That said, fatuous celebrification is the marker of the way we now discuss, or fail to discuss, national policy and politics.

The children love this piddle, or at least they pretend. After Chozick’s piece appeared, we saw MSNBC’s Alex Wagner gushing about its high interest level. And in the wake of that new Post poll, Chris Matthews continued the cable practice he has invented, in which an hour is killed every day pretending to discuss the likely outcome of elections which can barely be seen over the curve of the earth.

How worthless is this faux journalistic culture? Starting in the fall of 2010, Lawrence O’Donnell burned many hours assuring viewers that Tim Pawlenty was sure to become the Republican nominee in 2012.

Due to various insuperable problems, no other Republican could be nominated, O’Donnell repeatedly said. Here's Lawrence in March 2011, though a million such statements exist: “The official position of the show is that Tim Pawlenty is the only viable candidate...My prediction is he will get the nomination and he will lose.”

Lawrence kept this up for months. Having stirred exactly no interest, Pawlenty quit the race in mid-August, long before the first GOP primary. But then, sic semper pseudo-discussion, with which our seven-figure stars now kill our valuable time.

The fact that Chozick’s piece ever appeared is an unfortunate sign of the times. The magazine cover wrought by the Times is one more unfortunate marker.

The cover art for the worthless piece was absurdly unflattering. To our eye, it made Clinton look like a bloated, hairless person undergoing chemotherapy, a deeply difficult process.

Others had other reactions, which they voiced in comments at various places. We had to agree with thrust found here:
COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK CITY: For heaven's sake, please remove the distasteful, poorly executed graphic. It's cruel to Hillary (cruel to the readers!) and vaguely misogynistic. How could this have been approved all the way to publication? What is happening with the Times? The Friday crossword is now easy, there's snark everywhere, and now this. To top it off, the article seems like gossipy fluff to me—there's no there there. Is it me? I'm worried.
Some of those points could perhaps be disputed. But it’s certainly true that the snark won’t quit and that there’s no there there.

So many people denounced the cover art that the public editor waded in before the newspaper hit the streets. Most sadly, she linked to an earlier post, noting that “the magazine’s Sixth Floor blog has already responded with how the cover came to be.”

How did the cover come to be? Design director Arem Duplesis started his expo like this:
DUPLESSIS (1/23/14): When we created the cover of this Sunday’s magazine to accompany Amy Chozick’s article about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s influence on the various people within her political universe, the immediate idea that came to mind was Clinton’s face embedded on a planet, similar to the man-in-the-moon image from the 1902 silent film “Le Voyage Dans la Lune.”

It just so happened that the illustrator Jesse Lenz visited the office to show us his portfolio a few weeks earlier. His depiction of Donald Trump in Golf Digest was memorable and made us think that Lenz might be the perfect choice to do an illustration for this article.
Precisely! Who wouldn’t have thought of Le Voyage Dans la Lune? As it turned out, the depiction of Trump in Golf Digest ended up winning the day.

(In that depiction, which appears as part of Duplessis’ post, Trump’s hair is portrayed in the form of a sand trap. Somehow, this inspired the Times to portray Clinton without any hair at all!)

Duplessis’ post inspired its own comments. “This is a good study into how a merely bad idea turns into full-blown idiocy,” one judgmental reader opined.

The New York Times, a social club, is spilling with fatuous people. They’re overpaid and under-aware. No matter what the civics books say, they aren’t super-honest or smart.

They want to talk about famous people, preferably for years at a time. If Marie Antoinette could be with us today, the New York Times would likely serve as her more royal version of Us.

When People magazine appeared on the scene, it was widely regarded as fatuous. Today, overpaid swells at the Times and on cable live by its very dim lights.

“The state of the union is low-IQ, sad.” There was no way Obama could say it!

Had he said it, would he not have been right? We refer to the state of the union among the folk who fashion our lack of a discourse.


  1. Yes, Bob, we're all not nearly as whip-smart as you are.

    In fact, the entire nation is so damned dumb, that Obama should have devoted his entire SOTU to that, instead of outlining his agenda for 2014, and warning Congress that if they wouldn't do it their way, he'd do whatever he could his way under his powers of Executive Order.

    Yes, how trivial it was for Obama to say those things instead of chastising the nation about how dumb it is.

    1. Man, you are dumb!

    2. I wouldn't use the word dumb but I agree that it's hard to believe someone actually wrote that. Perhaps they are being absurdist or ironic or something.

    3. Maybe absurdist irony is dumb. Or maybe those who are dumb hide behind aburdist irony to conceal their own dumbness.

      I always feel like Obama is dumbing down his statements because he speaks in such a simplistic way that it is hard to imagine he actually operates at that level. His speechwriters write as if we were all a bit slow, in my opinion.

      Have you noticed that Obama's focus for higher education doesn't go beyond community college? Isn't that treating us as if we were a dumb nation?

    4. Didn't Obama, very early in his first term, propose and get passed legislation that made student loans available directly through the government, rather than through a financial institution, thus significantly lowering the costs?

      And on a related note, didn't Obama also pass a health insurance plan that keeps children on their parents' plan until age 26?

      What does this have to do with higher education? Well, speaking as a father of two in college, they can now go to graduate school instead of looking for a job with health insurance benefits.

    5. No, he didn't do that. Obama has not done much of anything for 4-year universities except try to extend the idea of classifying colleges by certain criteria in a kind of race to the top for colleges. He only talks about community colleges and vocational ed. You don't have to be in college to stay on your parents health plan until age 26.

  2. Precisely! Who wouldn’t have thought of Le Voyage Dans la Lune?

    This will make me laugh all day. Thanks, Bob.

  3. 11:54 - remember he is criticizing media not Obama. His was not a serious suggestion that Obama criticize media in his address. Rightly or wrongly, he feels the media is very dumb and and treat us like fools, as he says.

    1. Well, here is how he begins:

      “My fellow Americans, the state of the union is fatuous—celebrified, sad!” The president didn’t say it."

      And here is how he ended it;

      “The state of the union is low-IQ, sad.” There was no way Obama could say it!"

      Then in between he throws in whatever random thought crosses his mind, running from JFK to the Clintons, from Trump to a 1902 silent film, from People magazine to the "swells" that work for the NYT and on cable, without bothering to organize them into a consistent thesis.

      All the while lecturing us on how dumb we are.

      More pseudo-intellectual bullroar from a man obsessed with showing us how intelligent he is.

    2. Anon 12:37, I can see TDH hit a nerve by accusing us of being dumb. In your case anyway, appears to be quite true. His point actually had to do with the way that pundits and so-called news reporters constantly focus on the horse race aspect of politics, gaffes and faux pas. The concept that what would be the potential outcome if what the politician is actually advocating might be significant seems to be completely alien. That's my take on what he said.

      Now, in defense of the press, it could be argued that the public is bored by anything of substance, it's too complicated and causes headaches from thinking too much. If that argument is valid, which is quite possibly is, then We are dumb.

    3. 12:37 - I know it gets frustrating. I understand you are upset and frustrated. The thesis to me seemed to be that our media culture is really dumb and one of the ways it is dumb is how they focus on elections so far in the future and the content of that misplaced focus in the recent NYTM story was really dumb. That's how I read it. I could be wrong. Anyway, no one like to be called dumb. He's not talking about you though, he's talking about media. Bob may be wrong but what he is saying seems coherent.

    4. Interesting. Two of Bob's fans come to the board 10 minutes apart to educate poor, dumb me about what Bob's "point" or "thesis" is, and even they can't agree.

      And here I am, still stuck in the tall weeks of Trump and the 1902 movie, still wondering what that has to do with either one of those theories of what Bob really meant.

      I eagerly await for more theories from more Fans of Bob.

      Meanwhile, I don't know what Bob majored in at Harvard. I doubt it was communications, or he might have learned what a "thesis statement" is.

    5. Perhaps by calling the nation dumb, Somerby hopes to arouse some more protest of this sort of coverage among readers. We can show that WE are not dumb by objecting to being treated as if this were all we are capable of reading.

    6. 1:20 Maybe you are right. Maybe Bob and his fans are all ... bad and wrong and mean. Maybe it's incomprehensible. Let's just leave it at that.

    7. Bad? Wrong? Mean? I would never say such things about people I disagree with. I will leave it to Somerby to say such things about the people he disagrees with.

      Meanwhile, I will continue to have a good chuckle over the two fans, aligning themsleves with "Smarter than the Average American" Somerby to explain what the thesis I couldn't find was. And even they can't agree.

    8. Good - you got a chuckle!! Have a good weekend.

    9. We are all supposed to agree with each other? I didn't get that memo. So, according to underpants gnome logic, if we don't agree then Bob is somehow wrong in everything he says? Got it!

    10. Well that was cute. But if someone says that Bob's thesis isn't very clear, and two Bob Fans rush to rebut and say it's as clear as a mountain stream, then can't agree with each other what the thesis is, then I guess it means Bob's thesis isn't very clear. Even to his most devoted fans.

    11. 4:15 Please prove how the two don't agree with each other.

    12. Checking in again, anon 4:15, no way around it, you are dumb.

  4. Sorry about the kids running across your lawn again, but you might want to look at some facts before your next unhinged rant:

    1. Taking things excessively literally is a symptom of mental illness or brain damage -- frontal lobe problems. Bob is not talking about the country's actual IQ.

    2. Oh, I had the impression that Bob was kind of picky when it came to using test scores...turns out he's not.

    3. More gibberish. Doesn't matter what you say, as long as it is critical of Somerby, apparently.

  5. Why assume this Times magazine feature was stupid? Why not assume it was motivated to undermine potential support for Hillary Clinton, in advance of her anticipated run for the presidency. How better to undermine support than by depicting her in ugly ways, both in terms of her appearance and her lack of support for friends who commit felonies?

    We are being stupid if we take this at only face value and assume the Times wishes to appeal to celebrity gossip? The Times has done this to sway politics, because it is an organ of propaganda serving the interests of the plutocracy. I am proud of the people who wrote in to object. I think Bob should be calling this as it is, not participating in the pretense by assuming this is reducing politics to gossip, instead of trying to sway public opinion ahead against Clinton.

    1. Because Bob ALWAYS assumes the best. Just like Malala, King and Mandela. He loves everyone. Hates no one.

      After all, this could have be "legitimate" gossip. We don't know. It's possible. On a journalistic basis, that's never been disproved.

      Please, don't delve into motives here. Bob won't hear of it.

    2. You are right, of course. Because the NY times has concealed its motives, we cannot call them on it. We can however point out that this is gratuitously negative coverage of Clinton when she has not even announced yet. It does make me wonder what they are so afraid of. Preemptive strikes come from weakness and fear.

    3. Gratuitously negative? Oh dear Malala! Have you learned nothing?

      That unquestionably unflattering portrayal of Hillary as a planet might still be a legitimate magazine cover, done in good faith, that was merely bungled and/or incompetent. If it were not ordered up by a guy who was stupid, insane or on drugs. Which means it is still possible that it is a "legitimate" cover illustration.

      It is possible. We don't know. And calling it "gratuitously negative" is jumping to conclusions before it has been disproved on a journalistic basis that it was a legit cover illustration that merely went wrong.

    4. Anon 12:40pm, so it's more high-minded to think that the NYT is doing an early hit-piece on a Clinton?

      THAT theory is less pessimistic than saying that the media is engaging in fatuous...empty...superfluous...bougie commentary that's so often the case for the pre-pre-campaign coverage that they like to engage in ( in the way that merchants like to tell us it's time to start Christmas shopping after Labor Day)?

    5. And I thought you were trying to participate in actual conversation, not merely attacking Somerby. Silly me. My Malala moment is clearly over.

    6. I take a look at the comment board and feel very sad for Bob.

    7. On the other hand, everyone could just shut up and write nothing.

      Or go away.

      In a week I well be back to applaud the analysis and hawk my website. Thank you well written for your consideration.

      Missing the old days as always.

      Please ban trolls.

  6. You know, if Bob's point is indeed about the endless campaign cycle we are now in compared to the good ol' days of JFK, he should look past his favorite media targets and examine the enormous sums of money required to run for President these days, and the way those campaigns are constructed these days.

    Candidates of both parties have to spend years kissing the hineys of the wealthy and corporations for the cash to put together a rather extensive and professional staff as well as millions in media advertising, if he wants to stick it to the media.

    Plus, they also have to spend years kissing hiney of everybody who can be of any help in places where they would likely otherwise never set foot -- like Iowa and New Hampshire.

    You can no longer announce in December and expect to do well in either of those two states in January. And if you don't finish at least well in either place, you got a big uphill fight.

    So you have to get the ball rolling these days much earlier than JFK did. And the media notice these things -- the exploratory committees, the fundraising efforts, the trips to places a potential candidate would otherwise never set foot it, even the supporters who put off-the-record bugs in their ears about what a great president So-and-So would be.

    In Bob's World, the media should ignore all that. Should wait until the proper time (which he never seems to bother to set) to tell the public that So-and-So is putting together a run at the nation's highest elective office.

    We don't need to know that until Bob says it's OK.

    1. The media should ignore all that. It should focus on actual NEWS, which is the announcement and campaign itself. If someone goes to the trouble of exploring a possible run and decides not to pursue it, they shouldn't have all that occur in public. I see this as a symptom of the overall loss of privacy that has evolved with the internet, cell phones, and the belief that we all have the right to access everything about everyone all the time. The line between public and private doesn't exist any more, for anyone, it seems.

      An article about the difficulties of campaigning these days would be welcome though, as long as it is not a hit piece on anyone. I do think you can tell the intentions of the author by the emotional response evoked by the artwork.

    2. Don;t know which media you watch or read, but the ones I pay attention to actually DO cover a lot of news besides the next presidential campaign.

      As for me, I kinda like the opportunity to know as soon as possible whose hat might go into the ring so I can begin examining who they are and what they will propose, as soon as possible.

      Sorry that Bob and his fans find that so offensive.

      But then again, I'm a baseball fan too, and glad that the scribes don't "ignore all that" from the end of the World Series and wait until Opening Day.

    3. I heard Justin Bieber is thinking of running. Should the Times dedicate its next magazine cover to him?

    4. If Bieber has found a way to get around Article 2, Section 1, that certainly would be news.

  7. Typical Douchebag CommenterJanuary 31, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Simply because it comes from the keyboard of Bob Somerby, I can't even bring myself to agree with an obvious fact -- the state of journalism is hapless.

    If you don't agree with me you are probably a "fan."

    Now that's how thinking for yourself really works!

    1. "the state of journalism is hapless."

      Yes, that's Bob's narrative, repeated quickly and willingly by his ever dwindling fan club.

      But if he seriously wants to examing the "state of journalism" as a self-proclaimed "media critic," then he should begin with the impact of the Internet on the tradtional "mainstream media."

      They run on advertising. Always have. That's how they pay the bills, including those salaries he turns green with envy over.

      With the dawn of the Internet and the explosion of new satellite and cable TV networks, those advertising dollars are going to more and more places, and those old "traditional media" have been forced with the Sophie's Choice of cutting back or drowning in red ink.

      Meanwhile, there has never been before in human history such access to such a variety of information and such a variety of news sources. I can sit at my laptop (or a Smartphone if I had one) and look up stories from newspapers around the world.

      I am no longer as dependent on my local daily newspaper or even Uncles Walter or Dave and Chet to bring me the news from Syria. I can go to the Washington Post, New York Times, London Times, or Al Jazeera, or anywhere I want to go.

      And on top of that, we have hundreds upon thousands of blogs and Web sites covering very serious issues with very real information, besides some old coot sitting at his desktop typing up how horrible journalism is on a daily basis.

      And on top of all that, sometimes stories are broken by ordinary people, non-journalists by any definition. The whole Rodeo Clown episode from last summer is a good example. An ordinary guy with a Smartphone and a Facebook account.

      That is a HUGE aspect to that story that went completely over Somerby's head in his rush to advance his narrative of "There go those damned liberals again, throwing around the R-word."

      Whether it was offensive or not, or even more to the point whether Somerby should be the arbiter of offensiveness for all, was beside the point.

      The guy found it offensive, recorded it, posted it, and it went viral because lots of other people found it offensive too, or we would have never heard of it.

  8. I loved this essay, Bob.

    1. Me too. Maybe love is too strong. Too bad there is no way to "like" it.

  9. This is probably the wrong thread for this but its really disappointing that there has not been a discussion in comments about the proper level of proof required for a journalist to print a theory as fact.

    Bob clearly believes that the level of proof needed for a journalist to rule out the theory that there was a (badly) bungled attempt at a traffic study has not been met.

    The troll brigade thinks that the level of proof needed to rule out the bungled traffic study theory has been met.

    I wonder how much proof should be required before a journalist can make an assertion of fact? The natural answer would seem to be <50% likely to be true but my feeling is that it should be more solid than that (75%?). I wonder what the commenters here think.

    Of course, its impossible to have such a discussion because to do so would interfere with the constant straw-manning, reading comprehension fails, pedantic gotchas, irrelevant charges of hypocrisy, ad hominem, mind reading, misrepresentation, delusion, and inchoate rage that fills these comment threads every day.

    Oh well.

    1. "The troll brigade ..." ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    2. I invite you to read the very first piece written about the Fort Lee traffic mess by the "Road Warrior" columnist in the Bergen County Record.

      No traffic engineer of course, the columnist did have some idea of how a "traffic study" is done, particularly the advance notification required of local authorities and media when lanes are closed. He gets those notifications all the time and prints them.

      So when the first Port Authority spokesman told him it was a study of traffic safety patterns," it didn't the stink test. He couldn't recall being notified in advance so he could warn his readers. So he dug a bit deeper and found out that the local police chief hadn't been notified and quoted him that this was no traffic study. Then he called Sokolich who wondered what he did wrong, floating the idea that this was some sort of act of political retribution.

      Since then we have learned (in early October) about Foye's smoking hot memo ordering the lanes opened immediately, and warning that the closures were in possible violation of state and federal law, the testimony of Durando and Fulton that this was ordered by David Wildstein on Friday to begin on Monday and it was like no "traffic study" they have ever been involved in, the testimony of Foye who said it was no traffic study, and finally the e-mail from Kelly to Wildstein ordering "traffic problems in Fort Lee," the gloating e-mails crowing about the traffic jam and the children of Buono voters caught in it on school buses, and even the words of Chris Christie himself who used the words "political vendetta" twice in the same sentence to describe it.

      I would say that the burden of proof that this was no "traffic study" has long been met.

      And now I am reminded of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.

      The rich man, burning in the nether world as Lazarus is cradled in the arms of Abraham in paradise, begs Abraham to let him return to earth only briefly so that he may warn his brothers of the fate awaiting them if they don't take care of the poor.

      Abraham replied, "They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them."

      Lazarus said that they might not listen to Moses and the prophets, but surely they would listen to someone from the dead.

      To which Abraham says, :If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

      At this point, I strongly suspect there is no proof that could possibly convince Somerby and his fans that it is impossible that this was a legitimate study, done in good faith, that simply went wrong.

      He's now dug his hole too deep to climb out of, so he keeps on digging, poo-pooing any new evidence before him.

    3. Yours is a good question. You may have taken a bit longer than the troll brigade when a number asked "what constitutes journalistic disproof."

      I think the best answer to that question from readers who follow and like Mr. Somerby was "go away."
      "Ban trolls, please, Bob", came in a close second.

    4. I don't think a theory should ever be reported as fact. It should be stated as a theory, along with the supporting evidence, so that the reader can decide whether it is fact or not. Theories do not become facts -- they are ways of organizing and thinking about facts. Journalists should give much more attention to collecting and reporting facts and be very clear when they cross over into interpreting facts or stating personal theories or the theories of pundits and others.

    5. <sigh>
      Nobody thinks there was a "legitimate" traffic study. Including TDH.

    6. "It should be stated as a theory, along with the supporting evidence, so that the reader can decide whether it is fact or not."

      Glad to hear you say that, because that's exactly the way this thing has been reported. Including and especially by Somerby's two remaining targets -- NYT reporters and MSNBC evening talk show hosts.

    7. Actually, not so much.

  10. "Billionaires Alice Walton, George Soros and Marc Benioff are helping to finance a super-political action committee encouraging former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president, according to a report filed today with the Federal Election Commission. "

    That's from those ridiculous swells over at Bloomberg News. I wonder if it's an important sort of "news" that billionaires are writing checks to support a candidate? Bob's answer: Nope, the election is many months away. Hmmm.

    1. Do you understand the difference between giving money to a SuperPAC and giving money to a candidate?