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Friday Talking Points [175] -- In The Darkest Depths Of Mordor

[ Posted Friday, July 29th, 2011 – 16:37 PDT ]

If I were a Hobbit, right about now I would be wondering just how the heck I wound up at the center of this Washington intraparty political fight, personally. What (I would ponder in my metaphorical Hobbit hole) had I done to any of these folks to deserve being dragged into this fracas?

It all started with a Wall Street Journal editorial, believe it or not. That's how far into Fantasyland we've traveled -- the most eminent conservative newspaper in the country had to reach back to J.R.R. Tolkien to explain what is currently going on in Washington:


But what none of these [conservative] critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner's plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against... Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees. The reality is that the debt limit will be raised one way or another, and the only issue now is with how much fiscal reform and what political fallout.

Since then, the Hobbit moniker has been tossed around within Republican circles (and on the floor of the Senate, from none other than John McCain) with abandon.

But you know what? I'm going to take a pass. Because mixing the Wonderland "Tea Party" metaphor with a Middle Earth "Hobbit/Mordor" metaphor is just a bridge (to La-La Land) too far for me.

And, from my limited knowledge of Tolkien, aren't there a few things wrong with the editorial's cute throwaway line? Isn't Mordor a place, for starters? Shouldn't the Wall Street Journal have said "...having defeated Sauron" in order to be more precise? Now that I think about it, isn't Mordor actually a part of Middle Earth? Shouldn't they really have said "...Hobbits could travel the length of Middle Earth to return to the Shire, having defeated Sauron in the land of Mordor"?

Sigh. You see what troubles you get into, when mixing potent metaphors? It's enough to turn anyone into a Mad Hatter.

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Two Democrats were instrumental in the fracas that was the past week. One was more prominent in the media, admittedly.

President Barack Obama, two-and-a-half years into his term, has discovered the power of the presidential "bully pulpit." Now, you can argue that he's not making the best use of it for one reason or another, but the public onslaught by the president is simply unprecedented in his time in office. He's appeared at so many press conferences, impromptu addresses in the press room, and even a primetime television speech in the past few weeks, that it's hard to keep track of them all. For finally realizing the lesson of Ronald Reagan ("I'm going to go over the heads of the press -- to the American people"), Barack Obama deserves an Honorable Mention this week.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also deserves an Honorable Mention this week, for the dog that didn't bark in the night (to get all Sherlock-Holmes-ey here, for a moment). The high drama we all witnessed last night in John Boehner's continuing soap opera "As The House Turns (On Me)" simply would not have happened if Pelosi hadn't held the House Democratic caucus together. If a handful of "Blue Dog" Democrats had crossed the aisle to support Boehner's debt ceiling plan, then the game would have been over right there -- with the added benefit of allowing Boehner to proclaim he had "bi-partisan support."

But, as we said, that Blue Dog didn't bark. Some of the reason why can be traced to the fact that there are a lot fewer Blue Dogs left in the House after the 2010 election. But most of it was Nancy Pelosi holding her caucus firmly together, while the Republican caucus had their own intra-party dogfight (Hobbit fight?). Well done, Leader Pelosi, well done.

When your opponents are in their own destructive internecine knife fight, the best thing to do is offer to hold their coats, and stand by the sidelines and watch. Which Pelosi did perfectly this week.

But the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week goes out to each and every Democratic voter who called (or emailed, or tweeted) Congress this week. Obama's call to flood Capitol Hill with complaints from angry constituents worked not just once, but twice this week. The day after Obama's primetime address (in which he called upon Americans to contact Congress), the Capitol Hill switchboard was overloaded and their web page servers froze because of the high traffic. Today, a similar thing is happening, after Obama once again urged everyone to call their elected representatives in Washington.

Anyone who did so this week is symbolically awarded their very own MIDOTW this week. It has to be symbolically, because we just don't have enough of the little "golden backbone" statuettes normally awarded to let everyone who called Washington this week have their own. Our apologies.

But also, our praise. Congressmen actually do pay attention to the volume of calls and emails, and which way their constituents' sentiment is running. Even if you're in a Republican district, make that call! Keep their switchboards overloaded until this whole circus is over! By doing so, you'll earn your own Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, as well.

[Go to either the main Senate web page or the House directory page (where you can just enter your zip code), to find the phone number or email address of your own elected members of Congress.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Unrelated to the debt ceiling follies, one Democrat stood out last week in the "Disappointing" category. Representative David Wu of Oregon was accused of unwanted sexual behavior with an 18-year-old daughter of one of his friends. This is the same man who won a MDDOTW back in FTP [156]. Back then, we wrote:

First there were rumors that Wu had some sort of mental breakdown just before the election. His own staff reportedly confronted him days before the voters were to go to the polls, and tried to get Wu to check himself into a psychiatric hospital. As if that weren't bad enough, it was recently revealed that Wu sent a few "unprofessional" emails to his staff including this photo of him, in a tiger suit, from Hallowe'en ("Rowr!"). The photo looks Photoshopped, but sadly, it is not. Later, Wu also admitted that he took a few unprescribed Oxycodone pills which a donor had given him last year during the campaign. The Washington Post blog "The Fix" has all the sordid details (and links), for the curious.

Back then, we fell short of calling for his resignation (with the ominously prescient line: "David Wu was not caught in some sexual scandal..."). Perhaps we should have. The only mitigation against behavior that goes far beyond merely being "disappointing" is the fact that Wu did announce his resignation this week, only days after the story broke. He'll be stepping down right after the debt ceiling problem is resolved. But even doing the right thing politically isn't enough for Wu to avoid being this week's Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week. Bizarre behavior on the campaign trail is one thing, but sexual aggression with a teenage daughter of a friend is quite another. Good riddance, Representative Wu, and good bye.

[Contact Representative David Wu on his House contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions. But you'd better hurry, that link won't be good for much longer.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 175 (7/29/11)

This week has been so gravid with metaphors from world of fantasy, that I just couldn't find room for the one which has been running through my head all week long. Not from Middle Earth, not from Wonderland, not even from 221B Baker Street, but rather from Arrakis (the desert planet in Frank Herbert's Dune) comes the brutal truth:

The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it.

In some ways, the book (especially the end) could be read as a Tea Party primer this week. The power to destroy the American economy is the absolute control over it, after all. That's the leverage that's been used all along in this debate.

But, as I said, I just couldn't fit it in anywhere else, so it's a discussion that'll have to remain for another time, I guess.

In fact, I only have a brief amount of time here to pat myself on the back for how many people picked up on last week's headline "What Would Ronald Reagan Do?" Even Nancy Pelosi was asking the question by mid-week. Heh. But we're not here for such self-serving blather, are we?

Instead, we bring you your weekly ration of seven talking points Democrats can use (whether on national television or just gathered 'round the water cooler) this weekend. Events are overtaking us so fast that they'll probably be out of date by Monday (for instance, I just noticed while editing this article that Boehner had managed to pass some laughable joke of a bill through the House, which won't be covered here at all). Anyway, enjoy responsibly, as always.

 

1
   Is Boehner still Speaker?

This one is just pure snark. Rumors are flying around Washington that John Boehner may face a leadership challenge, after the debt ceiling debate, from the Tea Party Republicans in the House. Now, it's easy to casually mention this in an interview, but it's even more fun to just twist the knife by assuming he's already gone.

"Oh, wait... is John Boehner still Speaker of the House? Sorry, I haven't checked the news in a while...."

 

2
   Gang that couldn't shoot straight

Astonishingly, the main "story" this weekend is not going to center on the debt ceiling debate, but on how badly the Republican Party is fractured. Once again, snarkiness is more than called for.

"John Boehner's debt ceiling plan was supposed to be a show of Republican strength -- how the Republican House was standing together against the other option, Harry Reid's plan. Instead, all it showed was how weak Speaker Boehner's hold on his own caucus is. This infighting among Republicans wasted a whole lot of time this week that we simply can't afford to waste. Instead of a show of Republican strength, we got a Wild West show instead -- complete with the gang who couldn't shoot straight."

 

3
   Reap the whirlwind

This was the week in Washington where all the Republican Party bigwigs who thought co-opting the Tea Party movement for their own ends was such a dandy idea finally had to face the (quite predictable) results of doing so.

"It is now plain to see that the Republican dog is being wagged by the Tea Party tail. The Republican Party is now completely in thrall to their Tea Party faction. If Speaker Boehner doesn't survive, then we will have Speaker Eric Cantor leading the extremist Republican House further and further away from what the American public actually want Congress to do. Does anyone think that the American people want Congress to hold up the F.A.A. budget so that the federal government loses millions of dollars of taxes, just to prove a political point? In the end, I don't think the House Tea Partiers will be satisfied until they start impeachment proceedings against the president. There's an old saying from the Bible which the Republican Party apparently forgot -- when you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. That's exactly the position they find themselves in now."

 

4
   Snatching defeat from victory's jaws

Republicans seem to be acting more and more like... well, I hate to say it, but... Democrats. This wasn't supposed to happen, right?

"Republicans could have had a much better budget-cutting deal. They chose to be purist instead. They chose 'the perfect,' and made 'the good' their enemy, as the saying goes. Republicans could have had three or four trillion dollars in budget cuts, but they proved to America this week that protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and jet-setting corporate executives was far more important to them than cutting the budget. Their priorities are shown in crystal-clear fashion right now, and America is paying attention. Somehow, after gaining nearly everything the Republican Party could ever have hoped for, they walked away from the deal to protect obscene tax breaks for the wealthy. The Republicans seem to have successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory."

 

5
   14th nervous breakdown

More and more Democrats are publicly calling on Obama to do the right thing, and end this debate for all time.

"Let's just review where we are, shall we? Congress passed a law which states that the federal government must pay for a lot of things -- the budgetary agreement worked out earlier this spring. This law is in direct conflict with another federal law, the limit Congress put on the debt ceiling. No matter what the president does after next Tuesday -- if Congress doesn't act -- he's going to have to fall afoul of one of these laws or the other. If he stops the federal government paying its bills, then he's not following the clear budget law Congress already approved, which already incurred those debts. If he continues to issue new debt, then he's not following the debt ceiling law. Thankfully, the clear text of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution solves the problem for the president -- because even Congress itself is prohibited from 'questioning the debt' of the United States of America. Meaning the debt ceiling itself is unconstitutional. I call on President Obama to move the country past this entirely fictional crisis, and keep the oath he swore to uphold the clear and plain text of the Constitution. I don't care if... to misquote Mick Jagger... the Republicans have a 'fourteenth nervous breakdown' or not. The president's number one job is to uphold the Constitution, and I join Bill Clinton and the Democratic leaders of Congress who are calling upon President Obama to do so, and end this debt ceiling charade."

 

6
   WWJC?

You can read further about this effort in a recent Washington Post article, or in an opinion piece written by one of the folks behind the effort.

"There are a group of prominent religious leaders who are asking a very simple question right now that I think should be asked of many Republicans, at this point. The question's an easy one: 'What would Jesus cut?' Would Jesus cut support for the sick, or the elderly? Would Jesus cut out a child's education? Would Jesus cut funds for 'the least among us' so that rich men wouldn't have to pay more in taxes? Seriously, I think this question should come up in every single Republican town hall next month: What exactly do you think Jesus would cut?"

 

7
   Let's name a post office after Boehner!

I'm going to leave this last one as an exercise for the reader. Put together your own talking point -- it's so easy to do with this kind of set up.

From Dana Milbank at the Washington Post comes the following (the whole article is worth reading, actually):

In bringing the "Boehner Plan" to the floor, the speaker abandoned the reforms he promised when he took over the House. In the minority, he complained that Democrats rushed bills without sufficient notice and wasted time on trivial items. "With all the challenges facing our nation, it is absurd that Congress spends so much time on naming post offices," he complained in September 2010.

But Republicans rushed this bill to the floor without the promised notice, and, after hours of debate, the presiding officer announced just before the scheduled vote that the House would instead take up: post-office namings. They went from Peoria, Ill., to Guam before recessing.

OK, everyone... pencils ready? One... two... three... create your own talking point now! Bonus points will be awarded for working in some version of the phrase: "Will it play in Peoria?"

Heh. See you all next week.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

54 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [175] -- In The Darkest Depths Of Mordor”

  1. [1] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Chris, regarding your various comments of last evening, these points.

    RE: DOWNGRADE

    It's already happened, ipso facto.

    On Tuesday, the CME, the largest futures exchange in the world, did the following:

    "The exchange will impose a 0.5 percent haircut on U.S. Treasury bills as collateral, compared with the current zero percent."

    They also imposed haircuts (meaning: adjustments of collateral for risk) on other Treasury securities, as well as securities of agencies, and of course, Fannie and Freddy.

    Next, here are some extracted points from Standard and Poors July 14th announcement of placing the USA on "Credit Watch."

    "Today's CreditWatch placement signals our view that, owing to the dynamics of the political debate on the debt ceiling, there is at least a one-in-two likelihood that we could lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next 90 days.
    ...
    Standard & Poor's still anticipates that lawmakers will raise the debt ceiling by the end of July ... However, if the government is forced to undergo a sudden, unplanned fiscal contraction--as a result of
    Treasury efforts to conserve cash and avoid default absent an agreement to raise the debt ceiling--we think that the effect on consumer sentiment, market confidence, and, thus, economic growth will likely be detrimental and long lasting. If the government misses a scheduled debt payment, we believe the
    effect would be even more significant and, under our criteria, would result in Standard & Poor's lowering the long-term and short-term ratings on the U.S.
    ...
    We expect the debt trajectory to continue increasing in the medium term if a medium-term fiscal consolidation plan of $4 trillion is not agreed upon. If Congress and the Administration reach an agreement of about $4 trillion, and if we ... conclude that such an agreement would be enacted and maintained throughout the decade, we could, other things unchanged, affirm the 'AAA' long-term rating and A-1+ short-term ratings on the U.S.
    ...
    Congress and the Administration might also settle for a smaller increase in the debt ceiling, or they might agree on a plan that, while avoiding a near-term default, might not, in our view, materially improve our base case expectation for the future path of the net general government debt-to-GDP
    ratio.
    ...
    We view an inability to timely agree and credibly implement medium-term fiscal consolidation policy as
    inconsistent with a 'AAA' sovereign rating, given the expected government debt trajectory noted above. "

    Every option realistically open now fails to meet one or more of S&P's requirements for maintaining the rating. Even the following option:

    RE: THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT

    I don't know who the President's lawyers were, but here's one thing the Court has written with regard to the Amendment's language and applicability. In Perry v United States (1935), Chief Justice Hughes wrote in the Court's decision:

    "The Fourteenth Amendment, in its fourth section ... indicates a broader connotation. We regard it as confirmatory of a fundamental principle ... Nor can we perceive any reason for not considering the expression "the validity of the public debt" as embracing whatever concerns the integrity of the public obligations."

    Simple on its face, and with precedent for considering the language as "embracing whatever concerns the integrity." What's not to like? Maybe it's a shame that the President didn't spend more time with the brawlers down at City Hall, and a little more time in the courtroom rather than the law library...

    PS: How in he11 do you put something in italics? L.B., aka Technologically Challenged.

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LeaningBlue -

    I'm going to be taking a look at Perry this weekend, thanks for pointing it out.

    As for your last question, it's the easiest to answer. Right below the "Leave a Reply" title over the comment entry box on any page is a link to "Commenting Tips."

    It'll tell you (with examples) how to do italic, bold and all the rest of it. It's pretty easy, don't worry.

    Personally, I just learned this week how to do superscripts from a commenter here, so I can properly write things like "E = Mc2"

    :-)

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LeaningBlue -

    One more thing... as long as you don't go berserk or anything, it's OK to use profanity when justified, without having to disguise it. If you start going "over the line" then you'll be warned, privately, in email.

    But just typing in "hell" is OK. Just FYI...

    :-)

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    What exactly do you think Jesus would cut?"

    I thought we were seeing the END OF DAYS when the Left started invoking, conjuring and channeling Ronald Reagan.

    Such a thought has been confirmed when we see the Left invoking Jesus... :D

    "IT'S A MADHOUSE!!!! A MADHOUSE!!!!"
    -Charleton Heston, PLANET OF THE APES

    :D

    Michale.....

  5. [5] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Some more humor from what is becoming one of my favorite sites:

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2011/07/why-defaulting-on-national-debt-will-be.html

    Enjoy.

  6. [6] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Chris-
    Thanks for the note about "What would Jesus cut?"

    This is a very interesting approach since there's two very prominent constituencies of the GOP with extremely different philosophies.

    The Ayn Rand'ers- who don't believe in God, altruism, or any type of religion other than money.

    And the evangelicals.

    I think this uneasy alliance largely exists because most people don't know much about Ayn Rand.

    BTW- We're keeping the calls coming here in Ohio! It was virtually impossible to reach Mr. Boehner this week. But I did talk to a member of Steve Chabot's staff who did not sound pleased that his constituents were actually calling him.

    LeaningBlue-
    Appreciate the pointer to the Perry case. Very interesting indeed and the country may know a whole lot more about this shortly.

    -David

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Some more humor from what is becoming one of my favorite sites:

    http://www.stonekettle.com/2011/07/why-defaulting-on-national-debt-will-be.html

    Enjoy.

    I agree completely..

    The Left has been saying for decades that the USA is nothing more than a 3rd World Banana Republic shithole...

    NOW they get their wish...

    The Left should be ECSTATIC at the current developments....

    Michale.....

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Talk about irony....

    Last night, President Obama chided the Republican House for passing a bill that was going to be DOA in the Senate anyways.. He ridiculed the GOP for wasting so many "valuable" hours..

    Yet, today Reid and the Senate Democrats are forcing a bill thru that has *ALREADY* been voted down in the House! So Reid and Senate Democrats are **STILL** wasting "valuable" hours forcing a bill thru the Senate that HAS ALREADY BEEN VOTED DOWN!!

    Can ya'all FINALLY understand why I claim that there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between Democrats and Republicans???

    AND have the *facts* to back it up.......

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Here's a real puzzle. Fox News had a guest on Fox News Saturday that said:

    "None of us know, if they … choose to default, whether there is going to be a credit crunch, whether you might have some trouble accessing some of your credit, and you might even have some trouble with your money market funds. So none of us know. Make sure you have cash."

    How in the world can they allow someone to get so far off the "no hay problema" message? Must be the weekend producers. If I were a Tea Party freshman, I'd be calling for somebody's head on a plate of melons.

    But this Could make a good talking point, though. Get out grandpa's old silver coins, too, just in case.

    And stock up on some food. Corn would be good. It stores well, and is very high in calories. Corn futures contracts are physically delivered in Peoria, IL, by the way. Corn is very important to that local economy, so this might play well to folks in Peoria.

  10. [10] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    One other thing, not a talking point, but a news item regarding Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a Tea Party freshman. The Idaho Statesman (imagine italics; haven't gone to figure them out yet) reports:

    "Labrador met with Boehner late Thursday afternoon, when it had become clear Boehner lacked the votes to pass his bill as scheduled that night."

    That's sweet. I used to have a Labrador. When I was facing professional humiliation, he would come up to me and lick my hand reassuringly. I'd scratch his ears, and softly sing the Martin Mull classic "In the Eyes of My Dog I'm a Man" to him. I wonder it that's how the Speaker's meeting went.

  11. [11] 
    dsws wrote:

    Mordor is indeed a place. WSJ did get it wrong. However, everything in Mordor is subject to the will of Sauron (up until he gets destroyed by having the Ring fall into the fires of Mount Doom), so it's sort of like defeating a country. As mistakes go, this is pretty small potatoes. Or small lembas, perhaps I should say.

  12. [12] 
    dsws wrote:

    Astonishingly, the main "story" this weekend is not going to center on the debt ceiling debate, but on how badly the Republican Party is fractured.

    I'll believe it if I see it next November. Is there even one Republican, anywhere in the country, in office or not, who will admit to a trace of doubt that it's infinitely preferable to default on the debt than to tolerate one penny of tax increase on one billionaire -- even if that one-cent tax increase comes with every spending cut the Republicans have ever claimed to want?

    The Republicans seem to have successfully snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    I would put it differently: Obama made them an offer they couldn't accept. The president was free to offer the Republicans the moon on a silver platter, if only they would agree to a modest tax hike for millionaires.

    WWJC?

    "Whose picture is on it, and whose inscription?" Matthew 22:20

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's sweet. I used to have a Labrador. When I was facing professional humiliation, he would come up to me and lick my hand reassuringly. I'd scratch his ears, and softly sing the Martin Mull classic "In the Eyes of My Dog I'm a Man" to him. I wonder it that's how the Speaker's meeting went.

    Now THAT was funny!!! :D

    As far as Italics go, LB??

    Use the common attribute 'I' but use the Greater Than/Less Than symbols instead of '[' and ']'.. Start the italised part with LESS THAN I GREATER THAN and end it with LESS THAN /I GREATER THAN'..

    Hope this helps...

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    dsws wrote:

    In other words, "<i>text in italics</i>" will show up as text in italics. Tags enclosed with less-than/greater-than are HTML tags; those in brackets are BBCode tags. As far as I can tell, this site uses HTML tags that the admin authorizes, and ignores all other HTML tags. By contrast, afaik, this site's software doesn't know there is such a thing as a BBCode tag.

  15. [15] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    David Plouffe (WH advisor) puts revenue back on the table on ABC's Sunday show. Sen. Schumer on the CNN show says "he would prefer the deal involve tax increases on wealthy people and plans to close tax loopholes [and] could involve cuts to defense spending." Sen. McConnell says "There will be no tax increase."

    Shaping up to be just another pleasant Sunday in July. Late July.

    PS: I don't actually watch these shows, of course; listening to these people makes my skin crawl.

    PPS: Thanks, Michale and dsws for the formatting tips! Now, if the word 'actually' is in italics, I'm down with it.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    PPS: Thanks, Michale and dsws for the formatting tips! Now, if the word 'actually' is in italics, I'm down with it.

    Looks like yer down with it!! :D

    Happy to hep....

    Michale.....

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other words, "text in italics" will show up as text in italics.

    How in the hell were you able to do the attribute symbol???

    Hurrumph..

    Well, it's well known that I tend to make things more complicated then they have to be... :D

    Michale....

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    I know, I know... Ya'all are getting sick and tired of me saying how bad Obama is for this country..

    But why not listen to your fellow progressives???

    As Obama Grasps Austerity, the Rich Get Off and the Middle Class Pays
    http://tinyurl.com/3hd5fzu

    So, who is right??

    Me and those progressives??

    Are ya'all?? :D

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [17] -

    I'll explain this because it's not on the "Commenting Tips" page (I didn't think anyone would ever want to do it). But it's related to the accented characters I was talking about for touché in another thread.

    What you have to do, in essence, is let the HTML know that you want a special character to show, and not read it as HTML (this isn't a problem for an accented character like é but it is for > because it's part of the HTML code).

    The way you do this is type in a & (ampersand, above the 7 key) then a special string of characters identifying the character you want displayed, and then an ; (semicolon). I'll use examples here with a : so you can see what I'm talking about (if you try to use them, use a semicolon to make them work in the place of the colon).

    &eacute: - é
    &Eacute: - É
    &ouml: - ö
    &gt: - >
    &lt: - <

    The little code inside looks impenetrable, but it's really not. "gt" is "greater than" and "lt" is "less than," for instance. For accents, type the character you want accented, and then "acute" for one that slants up. The other accent labels come from French and German:

    &egrave: - è ("grave" in French)
    &ecirc: - ê ("circonflex" in French, I think)
    &ouml: - ö ("umlaut" in German)
    &ntilde: - ñ ("tilde" in either French or maybe Spanish)

    Anyway, change the first letter to change what you want the accent over. Capitalization counts -- if you want it lower case, type it in lower case, and vice versa.

    Google, um, I dunno "special characters HTML" or maybe "accented characters HTML" and there's bound to be a full list of them out there (I get a list in Adobe GoLive, which I use for programming).

    Anyway, try it out!

    -CW

  20. [20] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Clarifying note to above comment:

    I separated the examples with a "-" character. I wrote the code out, then a "-" and then what the code actually gives you. I just read it, and it looked a little weird, so I thought I should clarify that -- ignore the "-" character in the examples, it's just a separator.

    -CW

  21. [21] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Well, the deal is out. Call me cynical, but I think it's got a rough road ahead. While the sacred cow -revenue- isn't in the bill, its calf -defense- is in the line of fire of the trigger, and the social safety net is exempt. The parties will start to rumble internally about the committee, and the right will note that the committee could raise revenue.

    This ain't over, I think.

    Update before submit: This minute, noted a story where the Speaker has just said what I just said: the "d" word is on the table?!

  22. [22] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    One last point:

    The most-used special character (by me, at any rate) is what is called a "non-breaking space." This character is supposed to be used when you want a term to stay together and not get cut by the word-wrap at the end of a sentence, but which has a space in it. For instance, rather than making a link to a former column by typing "[FTP 156]" if I don't want the FTP and 156 to wind up separated on two lines (on some browser that puts it at the end of a sentence), then I type in the following: "[FTP&nbsp:156]" except, of course, that I type in a ; to make it work. Then the HTML software sees it as a complete word, and not two words with a space between them.

    But &nbsp: (non-breaking space) has a more useful benefit, as well. Because while HTML largely ignores spaces, it cannot ignore a non-breaking space. And it's invisible. So you can use it to create an "invisible paragraph".

     

    And you can control the horizontal way your text looks -- in an article, for instance, using it to separate out a photo or a block of text by giving it more horizontal space.

    I can't imagine why anyone would want to do it in a comment, but for completeness' sake, I thought I should mention the most-used special character in my typecase.

    -CW

  23. [23] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LeaningBlue -

    The deal's out? Man, I gotta go check out some news and stop farting around with special characters here...

    Heh.

    :-)

    -CW

  24. [24] 
    dsws wrote:

    If you want to display the character codes with their proper semicolon, instead of telling people that there's a semicolon, use &amp; for the ampersand.

  25. [25] 
    dsws wrote:

    And if you want to have an invisible paragraph with slightly less space in your text box, you can use ...
    <br>

  26. [26] 
    dsws wrote:

    Ok, I guess you can't on here. Maybe CW can make it work. And maybe it doesn't matter, because &nbsp; works just fine.

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The deal's out? Man, I gotta go check out some news and stop farting around with special characters here...

    Heh.

    heyyyyy, i'm a special character :)

  28. [28] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this deal -if the
    White House fact sheet is in fact an accurate reflection of the content- is that will be a real test of the Tea Party's hold over the Republican party.

    The WH fact sheet alludes throughout to increasing revenue, tax reform, and a shared approach. All of those are red capes waved in the face of the TP bull. Beyond that, any win-through-intransigence strategy is precluded by holding 50% cuts in defense as the penalty for the committee's failure to act.

    It's hard to see this as a political loss for the President, whether the public will see it that way or not. It's equally difficult to see it as a victory in any sense for the TP. If the fever swamp blogs are any indication, their public already has no trouble seeing it as a defeat. Having tasted power and victory, they don't like to lose.

    If they can't spew their bile by impeaching the President from using the 14th amendment to circumvent their demands, the next logical target is the Speaker. Maybe Mr. Boehner should hope for the wheels to come of this train.

  29. [29] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    dsws [24] -

    Ooo! Good point! I'm kicking myself at how obvious that should have been...

    :-)

    LeaningBlue -

    I'm actually very curious to see the next week, and who is seen (by the public) as the "winner" and the "loser" in the negotiations. It really could go either way, I think, depending on whose spin works better.

    We'll see... gonna be an interesting week, that's for sure...

    -CW

  30. [30] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    nypoet22 [27] -

    Hah! We're all special here at CW.com. Heh heh....

    :-)

    -CW

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Thanx for the HTML lesson. :D Being so early in the AM, I think you fried a few brain cells.. :D

    Seriously, thanx.. Really good info...

    NYpoet,

    heyyyyy, i'm a special character :)

    ".... and then some.."
    -Bruce Willis, THE LAST BOY SCOUT

    :D

    As far as the deal goes, CW called it...

    But ya gotta admit. If it was a plan all along to play it down to the wire, they done did REAL good, eh?? :D

    Michale.....

  32. [32] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    Funny you should mention Dune, Chris. I was having a discussion with a friend just yesterday about the novel as a kind of anti-Atlas Shrugged.

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    One good point for the President.

    With this "grand" deal, he's a shoe-in for the Nobel Prize for economics, eh?? :D

    Michale......

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    What???

    You don't like the previous missive from Progressives??

    How about the bastion of Obama Love, the NY TIMES??

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/opinion/the-president-surrenders-on-debt-ceiling.html?_r=2&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    Keep in mind, people.. These aren't far Right Wing rags or Hysterical "Racists" that are saying these things.

    These are your fellow progressives...

    What are the chances that ALL of them are wrong?? :D

    Michale.....

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Still more analysis coming in...

    For this "Mordor" commentary, this graphic and accompanying article are most appropriate... :D

    http://tinyurl.com/3fj8xox
    How the Tea Party ‘hobbits’ won the debt fight
    washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-the-tea-party-hobbits-won-the-debt-fight/2011/07/31/gIQALMrCmI_story.html

    Aside to Management: Any way you can make that tinyURL actually display the graphic, instead of just showing the link?? Would be way kewl and a lot more effective.. :D Thanx

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Um... I think you can actually link to images (or use them as part of links, if you're that good with HTML) into comments. I did it once with a photo of my real cat (the one at the top is not mine, just a photogenic piece of clip art). As far as I remember, it's possible.

    You've got to have the picture hosted on a server somewhere else, though, I think. I dunno, it's been awhile since I've done it.

    -CW

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK Lemme see if I can play with it..

    I remember the one with your cat, but I couldn't find the original post...

    I'll put the pic on my own server, just in case it causes you hassles with it's current location.

    Michale.....

  38. [38] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    just a photogenic piece of clip art

    A family member was a photogenic piece of clip art. She got paid around $500 for the photo shoot, and was used literally hundreds of times in on-line and print advertising. But she got the last laugh; she later got a gig in a union-royaltied soda commercial, and earned enough to pay her way through an Ivy League school. Not to mention getting SAG health insurance, and, with her looks and personality, a rich husband.

    That's not the real reason for the post. That is: it looks like it's going to pass. That, and an opportunity to exercise my new italics skill, even as you all push the frontiers in Fun With Markup Languages.

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK Lemme see if I got this...

    CW, apologies in advance if this causes you more work...

    On the other hand, if it DOES work, could you kindly delete post #35?? :D

    "Hold onto yer butts.."
    Samuel L Jackson, JURASSIC PARK

    How the Tea Party ‘hobbits’ won the debt fight
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-the-tea-party-hobbits-won-the-debt-fight/2011/07/31/gIQALMrCmI_story.html

    OK, cross yer fingers... :D

    Michale.......

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh frak...

    Oh well, ya'all will just have to enjoy it w/o the visual...

    :(

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    LeaningBlue wrote:

    RE: "earned enough to pay her way through..."

    Okay, I exaggerated, and will feel terrible if I don't correct it. It should read "earned enough to help pay her way through..."

  42. [42] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    This should do it if the blog handles normal html...

    If not this post will look silly...

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    “We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives. No more hiding legislative language from the minority party, opponents, and the public. Legislation should be understood by all interested parties before it is voted on.”

    What did I tell ya?

    When it comes down to it, Democrats and Republicans are just the same.....

    Michale.....

  44. [44] 
    dsws wrote:

    Let's see if <img< works:

  45. [45] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [43] -

    I'm just so (sniff) Gosh-darned proud of you! (chokes up...)

    Ragging on Republicans, for the same reason you previously ragged on Democrats. Well done! That's the spirit!

    It's the one major point we both agree on -- when it comes to politician-itis, both parties are equally as susceptible. It's just that I don't usually hear it quite so much from you.

    Heh. Just kidding, but I was impressed. I thought I'd have to be the one to point it out to you!

    -CW

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Heh. Just kidding, but I was impressed. I thought I'd have to be the one to point it out to you!

    Naww, I try to be fair when I criticize.. I know I don't rag on the GOP much here. But hay.. That's YA'ALLs job! :D

    I think NYpoet said it best. (Or maybe it was Bashi or David..)

    I really don't like Republicans. But I really REALLY don't like Democrats... :D

    But, one good turn deserves another...

    After weeks of acrimony, the US Senate votes Tuesday on a compromise measure to raise the country's debt ceiling. The bill has drawn criticism from members of both parties, but it will likely pass just in time to save the US from default. German commentators on Tuesday express their frustration over the brinksmanship.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,777961,00.html

    I guess it's official.. "BrinkSmanship" it is.. :D

    Michale.....

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, since we're on the subject of the Tea Party...

    Why is it that the Left has a real problem with calling REAL terrorists, "terrorists" yet doesn't have a problem with referring to Republicans as "terrorists" simply because of political disagreements???

    Further, where is the indignation from the Left when people like Biden and media pundits refer to political opponents as "terrorists"???

    This takes "demonizing" to a whole new level and should be called out and decried by ANY reasonable-thinking American..

    Of which a good portion of that crowd is represented here....

    Michale.....

  48. [48] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale [47] -

    Three words: wait until Friday.

    I denounced the Bush cabinet member (SecEdu, I believe) when he called teachers' unions "terrorists" (this was only a few years after 9/11, mind you) and I am polishing up a MDDOTW this week for Biden's use of it to describe Tea Partiers (sorry, Liz). This should be the modern equivalent of the absolute ban on calling people "Nazis" (unless, of course, they were actual Nazis back in WWII) -- don't use "terrorist" unless it is appropriate.

    Related topic for you, Michale -- why hasn't the Right denounced "Christian terrorism" (in the same way they denounce "Islamic terrorism") after the Norway attack, hmmm?

    -CW

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Related topic for you, Michale -- why hasn't the Right denounced "Christian terrorism" (in the same way they denounce "Islamic terrorism") after the Norway attack, hmmm?

    Was that "Christian Terrorism"???

    I didn't catch that connection, but you (of ALL people :D) know how I feel about terrorists..

    A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist...

    I don't care WHAT the cause is.....

    On the other hand, I *DID* make a comment about how, in Left-Wing LaLa Land Norway, the MOST this scumbag terrorist is looking at is 21 years in jail...

    THAT deserves condemnation from EVERY living breathing rational human being....

    Three words: wait until Friday.

    Fair enough... Didn't mean to piss on yer wedding cake... :D

    Michale.....

  50. [50] 
    dsws wrote:

    By all means, let's keep the controversy flowing over the use of the T word to describe the Tea zealots. That's the way to frame a debate.

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    By all means, let's keep the controversy flowing over the use of the T word to describe the Tea zealots. That's the way to frame a debate.

    I think the debate is framed as "is such terminology appropriate in the political arena"..

    Which is a very good way to frame the discussion...

    Especially in light of the fact that Democrats really have a problem with calling REAL terrorists "terrorists"...

    Remember "man-made disasters"?? :^/

    Michale.....

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Err... That would be "Man Caused Disasters"...

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    dsws wrote:

    To address the question of whether the terminology is appropriate, you have to ask if the shoe fits.

    Are reasonable people terrified at the economic collapse that would follow if the United States arbitrarily decided to stop paying its bills? Yes. Was it the intention of Tea fanatics to elicit such terror? Yes. Are they generally similar to any of the categories of people canonically known as terrorists? That can only be answered case-by-case, but not really.

    Are they generally similar to the Jacobins who perpetrated "the Terror" in the French Revolution? No, they pretend their "second-amendment remedies" are mere rhetoric, and dissociate themselves from the likes of Jared Lee Loughner, whereas the original Terrorists passed off the Terror as legal executions.

    Are they generally similar to the weaker force in situations of "asymmetrical conflict", or insurgency? No, they control the more powerful of the two parties. Rationally, they should be using more conservative tactics (in the sense of what "conservative" meant a generation or two ago), rather than going for nothing-to-lose tactics analogous to unconventional warfare. Their willingness to bring on collapse, if even the slightest of their demands go unmet, flows not from tactical position but from temperament and internal dynamics.

    Are they generally similar to fanatics who seek martyrdom? No. They're fully as fanatical as any religious nut, but the harm they seek is to others, not to themselves.

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    To address the question of whether the terminology is appropriate, you have to ask if the shoe fits.

    There IS no question...

    The terminology is NOT appropriate in any way, shape or form.

    Are reasonable people terrified at the economic collapse that would follow if the United States arbitrarily decided to stop paying its bills? Yes. Was it the intention of Tea fanatics to elicit such terror? Yes.

    And, exactly, what are your facts that support the claim that reasonable people are "terrified" of the economic collapse of the US in the same context that they would be "terrified" that themselves or their loved ones would be brutally butchered???

    Further, what are your facts that support the claim that "terrifying" people is the intent of the Tea Party??

    Further, how exactly would you define "terrorism"??

    And, please don't fall back on that tired old cliche that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. That is the BIGGEST pile of crap of ALL the piles of crap there are in the world..

    Michale.....

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