Supplemental: Millionaire’s Christmas in July!

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014

Watching the liberal mind crumble: We humans love to be programmed.

We love to be told that our tribe is the best. We then go rampaging through the streets in support of this insight.

For an example of what we mean, read the New York Times news report which bears this remarkable hard-copy headline:

“3 Killed in Facebook Blasphemy Rampage.”

The New York Times did a news report on a “Facebook blasphemy rampage?” Good lord, what a phrase!

In fairness, this horrible news report comes from Pakistan. To our ear, that phrase sounds like a description of the work being done each day at Salon.

(Did you hear the one about the scores of right-wingers spitting at the kids?)

The liberal mind is backsliding hard in this age of partisan corporate news. Last night, Rachel Maddow provided the latest example on her corporate cable TV show.

Maddow was creaming, as she frequently does, about the thought that “former Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia and his wife [are] facing basically life in prison.” As you may have noticed, Rachel Maddow likes it a lot when The Others suffer and die.

To our eye, Maddow played the fool last night. To understand the depth of the clowning, you have to start with Sunday’s report in the Washington Post by the exceptionally dour Rosalind Helderman, who guested on Maddow’s program.

Helderman (Harvard 2001) has been keeping it rather unreal. On Sunday, her front-page preview of the McDonnell trial burned 2500 words.

We’ve got a feeling we aren't in Cambridge any more! Here’s how the former bright young kid began her heavily tabloid report, hard-copy headline included:
HELDERMAN (7/27/14): McDonnells’ court drama: ‘It’s going to be ugly’

The star witness is a flashy dietary supplement executive who boasted of friendships with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. A manicurist, a party planner and a yet-to-be-named public official from another state also could take the stand.

In their much-anticipated federal corruption trial set to begin Monday, former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, will seek to win acquittal on multiple charges and restore their honor in the eyes of the law.

But over the course of the trial in a Richmond courtroom, expected to last five weeks, the McDonnells also will submit themselves to a potentially humiliating spectacle that will showcase an intimate view of their frayed marriage and odd personal relationships.

"It's going to be ugly," said L. Douglas Wilder, another former governor, who is friendly with McDonnell and has followed the case. "The more you read, the more sleaze develops. It's not going to be nice for anyone.”
Question: How big a role will Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton play in this “court drama,” with its intimate view of the McDonnells’ marriage?

Based upon Helderman’s tabloid report, it doesn’t sound like they’re destined to play a very large role at all. But there they were in her opening sentence! What peculiar news judgment!

That said, Helderman’s piece was tabloid glop from its start to its finish. We’ll assume she once was a bright young kid. Today, this is all that’s left.

We mention Helderman for a reason. Last evening, Maddow’s messy self-abuse was built around her heavily tabloid report.

Maddow devoted two segments of her show to this rather insignificant trial. Believe it or not, this is the way she started the second of these segments:
MADDOW (7/28/14): This is from the Washington Post today [sic]. This is amazing.

"In their final days in the governor’s mansion, Governor McDonnell was consumed with completing his final budget, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration and girding for the indictment that by then seemed inevitable.

"Maureen McDonnell, though, was pressing to enjoy the final perks of office.

“According to several state employees familiar with her requests, she pushed to stay at the executive mansion as long as possible, even asking for access to the historic home after her husband ceded office to the new governor, Terry McAuliffe on January 11th. She reasoned that her husband had been elected to a four-year term and had not taken office until January 16th, four years earlier. So they should be allowed to stay five more days.

“In the end, the couple departed the mansion only on the morning of Terry McAuliffe’s inauguration, breaking a recent tradition in which first families have vacated the premises days in advance to allow state employees time to prepare for the new occupants.”

And now, get this!

“About a month before the McDonnells’ exit, the first lady also stunned members of the mansion’s advisory council when she asked if she could have as keepsakes four shoeboxes full of Christmas ornaments, one from each year that the family occupied the mansion. That’s according to two people directly involved with the council.

“The Citizens Advisory Council for Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion had raised the money to buy the ornaments and had donated them to the mansion, making them state property. They offered to let her pay for them. She declined.”

Remarkable reporting from the Washington Post, which, of course, is the paper that first broke the news of the Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell corruption scandal...
Can we talk? That’s news for the sick and the stupid.

At some length, Maddow read the silly material with which Helderman, Harvard Class of 2001, chose to end her lurid, tabloidized news report.

For a person like Maddow, that delicious passage was Christmas in July! According to Helderman’s imitation of news, this is what occurred:

At the end of McDonnell’s term, his wife asked if she could keep four boxes of Christmas ornaments, presumably for sentimental reasons. She was told she would have to pay for the ornaments.

In the end, she didn’t do so. Helderman doesn’t say why.

To Maddow, that was “amazing” stuff! In a world where people are suffering and dying in very large numbers, she wasted everyone’s time making herself cream about the embarrassments of the hated.

Maddow wasted almost two minutes reading that consummate argle-bargle. It’s embarrassing that Helderman wrote that dreck, and that the Post chose to publish it. It’s a problem for progressive values when multimillionaire “liberal” leaders cream over such worthlessness.

Like Maddow, we have no idea what actually happened regarding those meaningless ornaments. Helderman’s reporting was a bit thin on some of the basic facts.

But please understand what you’re being handed when Maddow hands you such world-class piddle. You’re watching a person who gets paid $7 million per year chuckling over the idea that an outgoing first lady couldn’t afford to buy some ornaments which had sentimental value.

Governor McDonnell behaved very foolishly in accepting several hundred thousand dollars from businessman Jonnie Williams. On the other hand, we’d have to say he didn’t really do all that much to help Williams’ ventures along.

How many professional corners does Maddow cut to maintain the $7 million she accepts from her corporate directors? How many topics does she skip? How much bullshit does she air to keep us rubes entertained, so we’ll keep tuning in?

You’re not supposed to think such thoughts as you watch the TV stars of corporate news perform.

The liberal mind is melting down under the weight of corporate “news.” (They ruined conservatives first.) In the process, the mainstream press corps is gearing up to elect a Republican again.

The Washington Post seems to be leading the way in this project, just as it did for two solid years in the war against Candidate Gore. But Rachel will never tell you that, not in a million years.

Is the Washington Post conducting a jihad about Hillary Clinton? Actually yes, it is. But Maddow writes a monthly column for the august newspaper. She will never challenge their work or their culture, not in a million years.

Suggestion: When you pay people $7 million per year, you often turn them into scrambled-egg jokes. In our view, Our Own $7 Million Hack has become a public embarrassment.

Tomorrow: Stunningly feckless

If you have thirteen minutes to waste: Last night, Maddow aired two segments about this insignificant trial.

To watch the first segment, click this. Warning! Maddow will waste your time talking about Aaron Burr. (Excitement! There was a duel!)

To watch the second segment, click here.
It’s Christmas in July for cable news millionaires!


  1. "(Did you hear the one about the scores of right-wingers spitting at the kids?)"

    Some favorite homegrown headlines this year ( in chronological order)

    "Governor Ultrasound still hasn’t been charged!

    Chris almost got somebody killed this way!

    What’s the matter with (the term) “rape culture?”

    The relentless dumbness of us the people!

    Pulitzer Prizes announced at 3!

    Supplemental: D’Leisha Dent to Miles College!

    Supplemental: This is what jihad looks like! "

    Liberal minds crumble in a hyperbolic sea of factual faux pas and misdirected spittle.

    1. It is hard to determine your attitude toward such headlines. Are they bad, just bad for Somerby but OK for Maddow or OK for all?

    2. You don't see the irony of Somerby calling out anyone else for hyperbole?

    3. Well some weren't hyperbolic but simply either in error or designed to cover errors.

    4. Yes, that's quite true. Not only is Somerby quite hyperbolic at times, he is also in error with ever increasing frequency, and quite often embarrasingly so.

    5. So, Somerby is a human being. What does that mean in the context of this particular story? Are you saying something he said was wrong here, or are you saying people shouldn't read this blog? What is your beef?

    6. I'm saying pots wind up looking pretty damned silly when they call kettles black.

      But of course that only applies to people with brains that still work. Certainly not to the fans of the One True Brilliant Bob.

      By the way, when was the last time he said, "So, Maddow is a human being. What does that mean in the context of this particular story?"

      Yep, only Bob is allowed the "human being" pass, no matter how dumb and repeated his mistakes are.

    7. I don't buy the argument that Somerby and Maddow's sins are equivalent, nor that his flaws excuse hers. Being in a highly visible position, she has far more responsibility than Somerby does as an obscure blogger. She has the potential to do more damage when she messes up. Critics don't have to meet the same standards as those they criticize, in any domain. So knocking Somerby seems like an empty exercise.

    8. Well, let me help you here. The sins of Somerby and Maddow, especially on the Gov. Ultrasound issue, aren't equivalent.

      Somerby has been increasingly stupid, as he continues to insist that even Gov. and Mrs. McDonnell are guilty of the crimes for which they are charged, those crimes really aren't all that bad, are they?

      No, not equivalent. Somerby's reporting on the reporting of Maddow on the Gov. Ultrasound case strains credulity well past the breaking point.

      In fact, you could quadruple the severity of the alleged "sins" he accuses Maddow of and not even come close to the sins of Somerby.

    9. Perhaps Bobfans can understand this in terms Bob himself might use.

      He seems to be accusing Maddow of the sin of journalistic masturbation while he violates every known rule of fair comment and reasoned interpretation in order to advance his personal "jihad" (and I think the Arabic word he really wants to use is "fatwa") against Maddow.

    10. You trolls really cream when you squirt out vile things about Somerby don't you? Hillary was broke and our minds are crumbling. Few can see it.

  2. No 911 dispatcher told Governor McDonnell not to get into the car.

    1. Hey, at least Somerby is kinda, sorta acknowledging at long last that Gov. Ultrasound has been indicted.

    2. Alas and Gack! You missed it? Perhaps because the headline was as understated concerning the content of the post as a Salon headline about warm spitlle on a hot summer day in Southern California.

      The very large problem with scandal culture!

      Of course the very large problem was Rachel Maddow.
      But Bob was quick to note, in his own inimitable way of correcting:

      A genuine crackpot gets off: Governor Ultrasound was indicted yesterday. So was his wife.

      Personally, we’re pretty much sorry they were. We don’t root for people to get their lives turned upside down in these ways.

      Their conduct seems to have been ridiculous, but it seems that little harm was done. Little harm, or perhaps none."

      TDH 1/22/14

      The genuine crackpot was Maddow. Not Governor Rolex.

    3. Thanks for the reminder. Yes, "little harm, or perhaps none". Except to "The Virginia Way."

    4. Maddow herself said she gets off on this kind of story.

      I don't get what the problem was with asking for a box of ornaments, being told to pay for them and then saying never mind. What exactly was the crime or embarrassment?

    5. Yes, you see it that way, so it is the only possible interpretation, isn't it?

    6. Not a helpful answer to my question.

    7. "I don't get the problem . . . What exactly was the crime or embarrassment?"

      That question? Sounds to me that you already have your answer.

  3. "Maddow was creaming, as she frequently does . . ."

    Good lord, Somerby. Has anyone told you that there is notion more pathetic than a 66-year-old man with an adolescent brain?

    1. Should read: "nothing more pathetic that a 66-year-old man with an adolescent brain." But it bears repeating.

    2. Did Bob ever use the term in discussing the War against

    3. I am sorry you chose to attack Somerby based on his age. I can assure you many of us at or near his stage in life still enjoy the occasional insight fueled rampage in the streets in celebration of tribal superiority. Just because Somerby does not do so anymore is no reason to paint all us Boomers with such a broad brush.

    4. "Last evening, Maddow’s messy self-abuse . . ."

      Bob's got some serious issues, doesn't he?

    5. I'm creaming of a July Christmas.

  4. Re: the Christmas ornaments.

    Bob, your conclusion is certainly not outside the realm of possibility -- that Mrs. Ultrasound inquired about keeping the ornaments but then didn't want to pay for them. Completely innocent.

    But then again, given the way they conducted themselves in office, Maddow's implications might also not be so unreasonable -- that they wanted to leave office with everything that wasn't nailed down, including the Christmas ornaments.

    Just because you can conjure up a more innocent explanation doesn't make you right and Maddow wrong.

  5. Does this mean that the Jihad Against Krystal Ball is over, and the Jihad Against Rachel Maddow has resumed?

    1. The name Krystal Ball has a nice ornamental ring to it and she is from Virginia. That said Krystal is not Prime Time nor is she ready for it. She strikes me as a kid raised on color TV.

    2. Clearly the jihad against McDonnell has resumed.

    3. Jihad? How about criminal trial on 14 counts.

    4. Yes, clearly the crime of the century.

    5. No, just a guy and his wife indicted on corruption charges while he served as Governor of one of our 50 states. A regular event in Illinois. Not so usual elsewhere, hence the attention.

  6. Maddow needs to entertain as well as inform. What Bob wants won't fly on TV. It's just a show. People know that. She injects a lot of humor and irony into it like The Daily Show. Bob wants dour CSPAN

    1. Bob was once on CSPAN. He was dour.

    2. Exceptionally dour. And we are not sure you can assume he was once a bright young kid.

  7. You think it was bad yesterday, Bob. Wait till you read the opening testimony. That evil man done tempted the poor love starved wife of Ultrasound. Top story at WaPo today. As selected by readers.
    What crumbled minds we have.

  8. If you have some accusation against Clinton based on who works for their foundation, please state it directly. Otherwise shut up with the innuendo.

  9. Yes, this is no place for innuendo! It's a blog with a combox!

  10. Who orbits planet Hillary that is on the Bill Hillary & Chelsea Gapin Maw Foundation Payroll? Any New Kid Ivy grads who were on the 2008 Clinton Campaign staff, then went to the State Department payroll, then went to the Foundation staff payroll, from whence they can then go back to the campaign payroll if and when one becomes available?

    Of course there are. Anything wrong with it? Not at all.
    Just don't tell me there are no beneficial uses to the foundation for a possibly active future candidate.

  11. Buying Facebook Fans is best use when you start to have you own Fb page. You used to promote your page and so other would like your page as well

  12. Please note this this common Somerby trick as he moves his presumption to solid fact:

    "At the end of McDonnell’s term, his wife asked if she could keep four boxes of Christmas ornaments, presumably for sentimental reasons."

    "You’re watching a person who gets paid $7 million per year chuckling over the idea that an outgoing first lady couldn’t afford to buy some ornaments which had sentimental value."

    "presumably for sentimental reasons" to "which had sentimental value" in just a few paragraphs.

    Did these ornaments have some sentimental value to Mrs. McDonnell? We don't know. There is nothing in the report that says that was her motive for asking for them.

    And further, did Mrs. McDonnell decline because she "couldn't afford" them? Again, we don't know. We weren't told the price she was asked to pay.

    It could be that these ornaments had no particular monetary value and she was asked to pay a token price -- not a big price to pay if there is "sentimental value" attached to them. Again, we -- including Bob -- don't know.

    Or they could be collectable antiques, Or jewell-encrusted. Or gold-plated for all we know. And rather than wanting them for "sentimental reasons", Mrs. McDonnell might have intended to sell them, with value added because they once hung in the Virginia governor's mansion. Again, we don't know.

    But if Bob is going with the "couldn't afford" reason, then he is also admitting a significant value beyond mere sentiment on these ornaments, especially since we are told that the The Citizens Advisory Council for Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion raised some undisclosed amount of money to purchase them, presumably for the primary purpose of furnishing and interpreting the executive mansion and not as gifts for the McDonnell family.

    And since we are also fond of counting words, Bob quotes Maddow as quoting 92 words out of a (taking Bob's word for it) 2,500-word article telling the Christmas ornament story.

    Was the ornament story the central focus of the Washington Post story, or was it an anecdote written in the context that Mrs. McD tried to milk everything she could before she had to leave.

    Was it also the central focus of Maddow's report? Or was it a story she simply told at the very end? Again, we don't know. Bob doesn't tell us. All he gives us is 92 words that could be spoken in under 30 seconds.

    But he sure did build an entire post around it as if it were.

    Which is a shame. Because Bob could have written a good post about the forest instead of this tree -- which is, the tendency of TV pundits in particular to proclaim a defendant guilty before the trial begins, or even charges are filed. I call that "Nancy Graceism".

    In my opinion, there is a very fine line between investigating, reporting and bringing malfeasance in office to light, and becoming cop, prosecutor, jury and judge. At the very least in this segment, Maddow seems to be pushing against that line, if she hasn't crossed it. And I also think she crossed it.

    Again, a very good topic for an excellent series about the role of a free press in a free society that also values fair trials. But instead, we are treated to yet another recitation of the character flaws Somerby perceives in Maddow, which of course includes her large salary.

    1. Cop, prosecutor, jury and judge about her supposed sentimental feelings? You're building your case around a bit of a minor point by Bob. What about the major points he discussed? (That story isn't important, the article was tabloid.)

    2. You left out the Facebook Blasphemy Rage.

    3. So, are we paying Maddow $7 million to keep us informed about important issues (as a journalist) or are we paying her to entertain us (i.e., clown). If we are expecting journalism, we are being cheated. I want my money back.

  13. If you know that their foundation is being misused, say so. If you don't know anything, don't imply anything. That is unfair.

    For example, campaign funds can be misspent. It is illegal but someone can do it. Why not imply that Clinton misspent campaign funds? Cars can be used to run over pedestrians. Again, it is a misuse of a car and illegal to do on purpose. But, why not? Since a car can be misused in that way, why not imply that Clinton runs over people?

    She probably is innocent of both of these charges, but since they can happen, don't tell me she couldn't have done them.

    See what's wrong with your logic?

  14. Yes, I see. Now, do you know what is wrong with your Hillary obsession?

  15. Someone appears to have an obsession with finding something wrong about Hillar.