The Ledes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

Attention, Costco Shoppers. E. coli in the Salad Cooler. Washington Post: "Federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of deadly E. coli bacteria that has sickened 19 people in at least seven states, mostly in the west.... Preliminary evidence suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is the likely source of this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

New York Times: "The American economy turned in a better performance last quarter than first thought, expanding at a 2.1 percent rate, the government said on Tuesday. While well below the pace of growth recorded in the spring, it was better than the 1.5 percent rate for the third quarter that the Commerce Department reported late last month."

Houston Chronicle: "A helicopter crashed at Fort Hood on Monday, killing four crew members, U.S. Army officials said. Military officials said the UH-60 helicopter crashed sometime after 5:49 p.m. Monday in the northeast section of the central Texas Army post. Emergency crews spent several hours searching the area and later found the bodies of the four crew members."

Reuters: "A bomb exploded outside the offices of a Greek business federation in central Athens on Tuesday, badly damaging the nearby Cypriot Embassy but causing no injuries, police officials said.The blast, which police believe was carried out by domestic guerrilla groups, is the first such incident since leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came to power in January. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.Attacks against banks, politicians and business people are not uncommon in Greece, which has a long history of political violence and has been mired in its worst economic crisis in decades."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

White House Live Video
November 24

11:30 am ET: President Obama & President Francois Hollande of France hold a joint press conference

5:00 pm ET: President Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Go to


Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

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The Commentariat -- Sept. 1, 2015

Breaking! (Okay, it was breaking at 8:36 this morning, but it's still important. Andy Borowitz: "Saying that 'things just didn't work out,' the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale. The Kochs, who earlier had purchased Gov. Walker with great fanfare, announced their plan to sell the politician in a terse statement from Koch Industries headquarters in Wichita."

Ian Lovett of the New York Times: "California has agreed to an overhaul of its use of solitary confinement in its prisons, including strict limits on the prolonged isolation of inmates, as part of a landmark legal settlement filed in federal court on Tuesday. The settlement is expected to sharply reduce the number of inmates held in the state's isolation units, where inmates are often kept alone for more than 22 hours a day inside cells that sometimes have no windows, and cap the length of time prisoners can spend there."


Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Obama on Tuesday will propose speeding the acquisition and building of new Coast Guard icebreakers that can operate year-round in the nation’s polar regions, part of an effort to close the gap between the United States and other nations, especially Russia, in a global competition to gain a foothold in the rapidly changing Arctic." ...

... Julie Davis & Steven Myers of the New York Times: "President Obama on Monday issued a global call for urgent action to address climate change, declaring that the United States was partly to blame for what he called the defining challenge of the century and would rally the world to counter it.... The president spoke at the beginning of a three-day Alaska trip choreographed to lend vivid visual justification -- in the form of receding glaciers, eroded shorelines and rising seas -- to his drive for an international accord to reduce heat-trapping emissions leading up to a United Nations summit meeting in Paris in December.... He offered scathing criticism of those who question the need for such measures or deny the science behind them, making an implicit dig at Republican presidential candidates. 'Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone,' Mr. Obama said. 'They're on their own shrinking island'":

... Dana Milbank: President "Obama went to the very top this weekend -- to 20,320 feet to be exact -- and stripped North America's highest peak of its official name of the last century, Mt. McKinley, returning it to what Alaskans had called it for centuries: Denali, or Great One. Obama's opponents immediately condemned him for acting like a dictator, taking unconstitutional action, overstepping his authority, engaging in a partisan stunt and, of course, exhibiting racial animus.... Obama is perfectly within his authority to make the change. If his opponents are really outraged, they can overrule him in Congress or they can elect a president who will change the name back. The problem with both of these is that Alaska, run by Republicans, want the name to be Denali and have been trying to make the change for decades.... There's also the small matter of conservatives claiming to support local control...; in this case, they're demanding the federal government to continue to overrule a state's wishes." ...

I'm not certain he [Obama] has the authority to have done what he did [rename Mount McKinley]; the designation was granted by law of Congress in 1917.* In a more jocular way, the guy ought to be more gracious to the guy who made it possible for him to be President. [Hawaii, Obama's home state, was annexed under McKinley's presidency.] -- Karl Rove, who says he just wrote a book about McKinley

A 1947 law gives the secretary [of the Interior] the authority to change names on her own when the board does not act in a reasonable time. -- Gregory Korte of USA Today

... Timothy Cama of the Hill: "Donald Trump promised Monday that he would return the name of North America's largest mountain to Mount McKinley, undoing President Obama's decision to call it Denali. [Trump called] Obama's act a 'great insult to Ohio.'... [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich had tweeted his opposition earlier in the day, saying Obama had overstepped the limits of his authority."

Kimberly Hefling of Politico: "Columbia University President Lee Bollinger caused a stir Monday by reportedly announcing that President Barack Obama will be coming to the New York-based campus in 2017. The Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper reported that Bollinger made the announcement at convocation.... The university late on Monday clarified that Bollinger was not making a big reveal. 'Lee Bollinger's comment at Convocation today that he was looking forward to welcoming back Columbia's most famous alumnus only reiterated the May 12 statement by the Barack Obama Foundation that it 'intends to maintain a presence at Columbia University...' and reflected no further developments concerning President Obama's plans. White House deputy press secretary Jen Friedman ... [said] in a statement, "The President has long talked about his respect for Columbia University and his desire to continue working with them. However, at this point no decisions have been finalized about his post-Presidency plans.'"

AP: "President Barack Obama said people who attack Jews who support the Iran nuclear deal are like African-Americans who differ with him on policy and then conclude he's 'not black enough.' Obama, in an interview with the Jewish newspaper 'Forward,' was asked whether it hurt him personally when people say he's anti-Semitic." Here's the transcript of the full interview.

Lauren Gambino of the Guardian: "Members of the Black Lives Matter movement have disavowed all political parties after the Democratic establishment adopted a resolution in support of the movement, which has interrupted the party's frontrunners at several campaign events in recent months. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) unanimously adopted a resolution in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Friday afternoon during a summer meeting in Minneapolis." ...

... ** Charles Pierce: "There is no greater mystery in politics right now than the continued employment of Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.... I'm damned if I can see what she's accomplished as a national chairperson.... If, as it appears, as national chairman of the president's party, she actively campaigned against a measure designed to show the support of the president's party for a monumentally important White House policy initiative, then she should have been fired from that post yesterday."

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: Last week, on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Glenn Beck held an "All Lives Matter" rally in Birmingham, Alabama. Twenty thousand people showed up, but the media largely ignored it.

Schoolhouse Rock, Tea Party-Style. Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic: "U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon's [RTP] Friday civics lesson to second- and third-graders at a Gilbert charter school took a dark turn, veering into nuclear warfare and suicide bombers. Some parents complained it left the children frightened and confused. Salmon's office said the congressman's remarks weren't any more shocking than the local news.... 'It should have probably just been a good civics lesson for kids who initially were excited to meet their congressman,' parent Scott Campbell told [KPHO-TV]. But when Salmon brought up the United States' negotiations with Iran, Campbell said the congressman asked, "'Do you know what a nuclear weapon is? Do you know that there are schools that train children your age to be suicide bombers?"'" CW: Baggers are not just crazy; they're scary-crazy. Keep out of reach of children.

Dick Cheney Still a Dick. David of Crooks & Liars: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney embraced his Darth Vader persona in a recent interview with CBS, arguing that politicians with 'warmth and friendliness and so forth' could not protect the country." Also said waterboarding works & the Iraq War was "the right thing to do." ...

... ** Jonathan Chait: "The overarching theme of Cheney's op-ed [in the Wall Street Journal] is that world peace has been maintained because presidents of both parties, from Harry Truman through the guy who was president before Barack Obama, believed in American goodness and strength. Now it has all been ruined by Barack Obama.... Measured by results, rather than sound bites, Cheney was the greatest thing that happened to the radical regime in Iran since it took power.... Why were sanctions [against Iran] so weak under Bush, and so much stronger under Obama? Because the Obama administration used the promise of negotiations to build strong support for sanctions.

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Monday refused to allow a county clerk in Kentucky who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds to continue to deny marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight." ...

     ... So What? Chas Danner of New York: "Today, that same woman, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, remains defiant, citing 'God's authority' over any other, according to the Associated Press. When her office opened this morning, Davis once again refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples, and when one couple who had been denied a license for the fifth time objected, she asked them to leave her office."

Robert Barnes & Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post: "Former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell will avoid prison while the Supreme Court decides whether to review his conviction on corruption charges, the justices decided Monday. The one-paragraph order was a dramatic -- perhaps unprecedented -- reprieve for the Republican former governor, who lost a lower-court appeal and who would have had to begin serving a two-year prison sentence without the Supreme Court's intervention. As is customary in granting a stay, the court did not explain its reasoning; none of the justices signaled disagreement."

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope. Adam Liptak: "Employers do not need to provide insurance coverage for contraception even if their objections are moral rather than religious..., Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ... ruled on Monday. The case concerned a group called March for Life, which was formed after the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to abortion in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. The group, Monday's decision said, 'is a nonprofit, nonreligious pro-life organization.'... The government is likely to appeal the decision...." ...

... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: "Judge Richard Leon is a George W. Bush appointee with a history of handing down conservative opinions. His opinion in March for Life v. Burwell is no exception.... Leon's reasoning on this issue is, frankly, hard to follow.... In essence, however, Leon appears to object to the government's decision to exempt churches and other inherently religious organizations from the birth control rules without also extending this exemption to secular employers because such a rule discriminates against secular employers. The problem with this argument is that the Supreme Court has explicitly held that when the government 'acts with the proper purpose of lifting a regulation that burdens the exercise of religion' there is 'no reason to require that the exemption come packaged with benefits to secular entities.'"

Shannon Pettypiece of Bloomberg: "Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in the midst of spending $1 billion to raise employees' wages and give them extra training, has been cutting the number of hours some of them work in a bid to keep costs in check. Regional executives told store managers at the retailer's annual holiday planning meeting this month to rein in expenses by cutting worker hours they've added beyond those allocated to them based on sales projections." ...

... The New York Times Editors point to some other ways retailers manipulate schedules to shaft workers. CW: But by highlighting these unfair practices, aren't the editors destroying capitalism & jobs & all that is good?

Monica Davey & Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines.... Rivalries among organized street gangs, often over drug turf, and the availability of guns are cited as major factors in some cities, including Chicago. But more commonly, many top police officials say they are seeing a growing willingness among disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods to use violence to settle ordinary disputes."

Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian (August 29): "An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a 'treasonous' fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants. In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten 'Islamic holy sites' as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, 'even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage'." His paper "appeared in the most recent issue of the National Security Law Journal, a student-run publication at the George Mason School of Law.... The National Security Law Journal's editor-in-chief has called the article's publication a 'mistake' and an 'egregious breach of professional decorum'." Bradford's academic creds are fake & his career checkered. CW: Congrats on a great hire, West Point. ...

     ... Via Charles Pierce: "This is just the kind of guy you want teaching young people who one day may be commanding heavy weapons platoons."

Best Year to Confess to Abortion: 2016. Sarah Bailey & Michael Boorstein of the Washington Post: "In a letter, Pope Francis said he would allow all priests to formally forgive women who have had abortions and seek absolution during the Roman Catholic Church's upcoming Holy Year."

Presidential Race

** Anne Tompkins in a USA Today op-ed: "Former attorney general Michael Mukasey recently compared the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of State with former CIA director David Petraeus' federal conviction for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified information. As the former U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, I oversaw the prosecution of Gen. Petraeus, and I can say, based on the known facts, this comparison has no merit. The key element that distinguishes Secretary Clinton's email retention practices from Petraeus' sharing of classified information is that Petraeus knowingly engaged in unlawful conduct, and that was the basis of his criminal liability." ...

... Ben Jacobs of the Guardian: "The State Department released another tranche of emails from Hillary Clinton's private server late Monday. The release -- which contained 7,000 pages of emails sent and received from 2009-2010, about topics ranging from Middle East policy to a controversial Rolling Stone cover story about American general Stanley McChrystal -- is the latest monthly instalment of messages that Clinton turned over to the State Department from her private 'homebrew' server." ...

... Peter Baker & Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "The [State] department initially said it had redacted information from roughly 150 emails because they contained sensitive information, then reduced that estimate to 125. The information was deleted because 'confidential' materials -- the lowest classification of government intelligence -- had been discovered in the correspondence. None of the documents were [sic!] marked classified at the time they were sent, said Mark Toner, a spokesman for the State Department. ...

... Shock! David Brooks is largely correct about Hillary Clinton. CW: I'd add this: when people vote for president, they take it personally. They're voting for their own futures as much as for the nations'. Hillary nearly won the Democratic primary in 2008 because her very candidacy suggested a hope for a country which more fully embraced women's equality. Supporters were passionate about Hillary because she was a woman, not because she was Hillary Clinton. That moment has passed. Her near-win showed Americans that on the Democratic side gender equality was a given. Hillary's agenda, as far as she has articulated, is fine with many Democrats & independents. A "fine" agenda is okay for candidates for lower offices. For president, it is not enough.

Bern-Storming. Jason Horowitz of the New York Times: Bernie Sanders has expanded his campaign staff in Iowa & elsewhere. The Iowa organization "now has 53 people on staff, with a 'robust hiring plan' made possible by Mr. Sanders's fund-raising success with small donors, according to his campaign manager, Jeff Weaver. This past weekend alone, he said, the campaign's 1,700 volunteers marched out of 15 campaign offices throughout the state to knock on 17,000 doors and make 10,000 phone calls. They call it Bern-Storming."

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "For years, Republicans have run for office on promises of cutting taxes and bolstering business to stimulate economic growth, pledging allegiance to a Reaganesque model of conservatism that has largely become the party's orthodoxy. But this election cycle..., [Donald Trump] is taking a different approach, and it is jangling the nerves of some of the party's most traditional supporters.... In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on American companies that put their factories in other countries. He has suggested he would increase taxes on the compensation of hedge fund managers. And he has vowed to change laws that allow American companies to benefit from cheaper tax rates by using mergers to base their operations outside the United States." ...

... Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post: "Critics, including many leading conservative economists in Washington, call Trump's plans 'nativist,' 'protectionist' and incompatible with the party's core pro-market beliefs. They also worry Trump's ideas could spread to other GOP contenders." Tankerley cites some winger economists who are all upset that Trump isn't sticking to the party line on "free-market" economics & exploiting cheap labor in other countries.

Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "Donald Trump and Ben Carson are tied for the lead of Republican presidential candidates in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Monday. The survey found Trump and Carson taking 23 percent support each.... Former business executive Carly Fiorina is in third place in the poll with 10 percent support, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at 9 percent support." CW: So the top three candidates are not politicians, & the fourth is an anti-Washington loudmouth. Iowa Republicans really don't like professional pols.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump released a chilling video Monday attacking opponent Jeb Bush for once suggesting that undocumented immigrants entered the United States as 'an act of love.'... Trump posted [the video] to Instagram and Twitter...":

... The Wimpiness of the Doofus. Jonathan Chait: "The ad juxtaposes Bush with images of undocumented immigrants who committed murder.... Bush hits back at Trump by calling him ... liberal.... So the only response to this kind of crude, dishonest nativism is to get to your opponent's right?"

Gene Robinson makes fun of Scott Canadian Wall, Chris Fedex. Bobby Invasion, not to mention Donald Deportation. "... as long as other candidates are competing to sound tougher-than-thou, as long as the conversation is about how high to build new walls and blame is ascribed to immigrants for not assimilating quickly enough, the GOP is digging itself a hole that will be hard to escape." ...

... Eliza Collins of Politico: Canadian Defense Minister Jason Kenney is not amused by the Walker Wall. Scottie, as he always does, is trying to backpedal, this time blaming unnamed "people" in "law enforcement" for "expressed" "security concerns." ...

... Dana Liebelson of the Huffington Post: "Canada responded on Monday to GOP presidential contender Scott Walker's controversial comments about building a northern border wall by pointing out that the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks had U.S. visas." ...

... CW: By his own account, Scottie has been to Canada "a million times." Earlier this year, he went on a taxpayer-funded jaunt trade mission to Quebec, where he says he'd never been before. Maybe the Frenchiness of Quebec made him suddenly realize that the Canada he thought he knew so well was actually a dangerous foreign country full of radical sovereignists. At the same time, if your aim is to drum up Canadian business for your state, building a wall between Canada & said state would seem a bit counterproductive.

Your government might have grown too large if they have 48 federal SWAT teams. The Department of Education has a SWAT team. They arrested a man and handcuffed him for six hours for nonpayment of student debt. Unfortunately, it wasn't his student debt. Turns out it was his girlfriend's student debt. The Department of Agriculture has a SWAT team. You know what they arrested somebody for not too long ago? Selling milk directly from the cow. We've gone crazy. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), speech in Alaska, Aug. 25, 2015

Paul's description of federal agencies with law enforcement officers, the DOE case and the raw milk cases was inaccurate on almost all fronts. The federal government does not have 48 SWAT teams; it has one, with the FBI. There are dozens of agencies with specialized forces, or armed agents to carry out the agency's criminal enforcement -- which is not the same thing as a SWAT team. The DOE case he described was debunked after the original local report.... His second story also is inaccurate. The FDA (which he called USDA) does not have a SWAT team. The two sellers prosecuted in the case were not just penalized for selling unpasteurized milk.... The California store owner did not obtain proper licenses, and the Pennsylvania farmer was prosecuted for interstate commerce, which is illegal. -- Michelle Lee of the Washington Post

Everything Is Obama's Fault, Ctd. Allegra Kirkland of TPM: "Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested President Obama bore some of the blame for Friday's fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy in Houston, Texas. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Cruz ... said. "And I do think we're seeing the manifestation of the rhetoric and vilification of law enforcement, of police, that is coming from the president of the United States and it's coming from senior officials.'... Local authorities, including Harris County Sherriff Ron Hickman, believe [Darren] Goforth 'was a target because he wore a uniform.' Cruz suggested President Obama's condemnation of the fatal shootings of unarmed black teenagers in cities including Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland helped to inflame anti-cop sentiment."...

... Ed Kilgore: "There you have it: express concern about the police shooting black people without cause and you are inciting cop-killers. Yet in the same breath Cruz accuses of Obama of inflaming 'racial divisions.'"

Beyond the Beltway

Guardian: "A federal appeals court considering whether California's death penalty is unconstitutional because of excessive delays focused on Monday mainly on procedural issues over whether a killer's novel legal theory had been addressed by the state supreme court. In the case of a Los Angeles rapist and murderer on death row for more than two decades, three judges on the ninth US circuit court of appeals wanted to know if all appeals were exhausted in state court before a federal judge ruled last year that the death penalty was dysfunctional because of unpredictable delays that have seldom led to executions."

Manny Fernandez of the New York Times: "The man charged with killing a sheriff's deputy at a suburban gas station Friday emptied his 15-round handgun into the back and the back of the head of the deputy, as witnesses watched in horror and surveillance cameras captured the shooting, prosecutors said Monday. The man, Shannon Jaruay Miles, 30, walked into a courtroom crowded with sheriff's deputies and police officers for his first court appearance [in Houston, Texas,] Monday morning...." ...

... Guardian: "The man accused of shooting and killing a suburban Houston officer has a history of mental illness and once lived in a homeless shelter, authorities said on Monday." ...

... Charles Pierce: "Over the past several weeks, a number of police officers in a number of places have been killed. Goforth's murder, however, coming on the heels of the slaughter of the Virginia news crew last week, has assumed a very large place in the national spotlight and, as such, is being used as a rally point for the unmistakable beginnings of a national backlash. It began with the very first press conference in the aftermath of Goforth's murder." ...

... CBS/AP: "After a white Houston sheriff's deputy was ambushed and fatally shot by a black man at a gas station, the sheriff linked the killing to heightened tension over the treatment of African-Americans by police, citing the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.... 'We've heard Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. Well, cops' lives matter, too,' [Harris County Sheriff Ron] Hickman said Saturday." ...

... CW: Can a mentally-ill, serially-criminal black person murder a white cop in cold blood (with a gun he should not be allowed to own) -- and not be part of a political movement? Although Texas does not require prosecutors to show motive to prove their case, local law enforcement officials are working mighty hard to discover Miles' motive. ...

... CW: Well, this doesn't help. Nicole Norfleet of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The president of the St. Paul police union has sharply criticized some protesters at Saturday's Black Lives Matter march to the Minnesota State Fair for what he calls a 'disgusting' chant.... Some demonstrators shouted chants criticizing police as they were being escorted by officers who cleared the way for the demonstration, said David Titus, head of the St. Paul Police Federation.... A short video posted on Twitter shows that at one point in the march, at least several protesters were at the front carrying a banner and shouting, 'Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon!' as the camera pans to show police on bikes, squad cars and a utility vehicle. 'Quite simply -- that promotes death to cops,' Titus said in a statement posted on the union's Facebook page." ...

... Caitlin MacNeal of TPM: "During a segment on the Black Lives Matter movement on Monday morning, 'Fox and Friends' host Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggested that the organization be labeled a hate group. Fox brought on conservative African-American writer Kevin Jackson to discuss the Saturday Black Lives Matter protest at the Minnesota State Fair and the Friday shooting of a Texas sheriff's deputy.... 'Well they should do it, but unfortunately it's being financed by the leftists,' Jackson said in response."

Ciara McCarthy of the Guardian: "The death of a man at a jail in Texas earlier this month was caused in part by sheriff's deputies restraining him and one placing his knee on the man's back and throat, authorities in Dallas said on Monday. Joseph Hutcheson, who suffered from a heart condition and had consumed illegal drugs, died on 1 August of a homicide, according to the Dallas County medical examiner's office."

Manny Fernandez & Ashley Southall of the New York Times: "The fatal shooting of a Texas man by sheriff's deputies in San Antonio last week was captured on video that appears to show he had his hands up when the officers fired. The Bexar County Sheriff's department identified the man on Monday as Gilbert Flores, 41."

John Eligon of the New York Times: "A white supremacist was convicted of capital murder on Monday in the shooting deaths of three people a year ago at a Jewish community center and an assisted living facility in suburban Kansas City. After a weeklong trial, jurors deliberated for about two hours before convicting Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, a former Ku Klux Klan leader with a history of racist and anti-Semitic actions. Proceedings to determine Mr. Miller's punishment were scheduled to start Tuesday morning. Mr. Miller could receive the death penalty."

News Lede

Washington Post: "Overwhelmed by thousands of asylum-seekers, Hungarian authorities Tuesday briefly halted rail traffic from their nation's main train station, the latest blow to borderless movement in Europe.... The asylum-seekers, many of whom are fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, hope to make it onward to Germany, which has promised shelter and sustenance for Syrians. By midday in Budapest, the train station had been reopened, but migrants were being kept away, Hungary's state-owned news agency reported."


The Commentariat -- August 31, 2015

Elections Matter. Noam Scheiber of the New York Times: "With little fanfare, the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades. In the last two months alone, the administration has introduced a series of regulatory changes. Among them: a rule that would make millions more Americans eligible for extra overtime pay, and a guidance suggesting that many employers are misclassifying workers as contractors and therefore depriving them of basic workplace protections.... A little more than a week ago, a federal appeals panel affirmed an earlier regulation granting nearly 2 million previously exempted home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections. And on Thursday, President Obama's appointees to the National Labor Relations Board issued an important ruling that makes it easier for employees of contractors and franchises to bargain collectively with the corporations that have sway over their operations."

Steven Mufson of the Washington Post: "President Obama in Anchorage on Monday will announce the renaming of Mount McKinley, honoring the 25th president, to Mount Denali, an Athabascan name used by generations of Alaska Natives that means 'the great one.' The White House said Obama would rename the continent's tallest peak in order to improve relations with Native Americans. As a central part of the Athabascan creation story, Denali carries cultural importance to many Alaska Natives."...

Maria La Ganga of the Los Angeles Times on Kivalina, Alaska: "This is what climate change looks like, up close and personal. In this town of 403 residents 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, beaches are disappearing, ice is melting, temperatures are rising, and the barrier reef Kivalina calls home gets smaller and smaller with every storm. There is no space left to build homes for the living. The dead are now flown to the mainland so the ocean won't encroach upon their graves. Most here agree that the town should be relocated; where, when and who will pay for it are the big questions. The Army Corps of Engineers figures Kivalina will be underwater in the next decade or so."

Nahal Toosi of Politico: "Dozens of former members of Congress want lawmakers on the job to know they sympathize with the stress they feel over the Iran nuclear deal, but that they should vote for it anyway. The message is contained in the latest in a slew of letters being sent to Congress by both opponents and supporters of the nuclear deal ahead of the mid-September vote. It warns that the risks of scuttling the agreement 'include the increased likelihood of a military confrontation.'... Notable signatories include former Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican who has long been active in promoting nuclear non-proliferation, and former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, a Democrat who served as a special envoy to the Middle East."

Nick Gass of Politico: "Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley on Sunday announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal, becoming the 31st Democratic senator to back President Barack Obama on the issue. Just two Senate Democrats have come out against the deal -- New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. Just three more senators are needed in the Senate to sustain any veto of a resolution of disapproval." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Julian Hattem of the Hill: "The father of one of the journalists murdered live on the air in southwest Virginia is pledging to keep up a sustained fight to enact new gun restrictions. 'I am going to be working on this for a long time,' Andy Parker, whose 24-year-old daughter Alison, was shot to death last week while reporting on camera, said on CNN's 'State of the Union.'"

Steve M. notices that two NYT columnists -- Ross Douthat & Maureen Dowd -- look at Donald Trump and see "a reflection of themselves! Funny how that works." CW: It's also evidence of brilliant politics. Voters looked at Barack Obama the same way. Sadly, it took him five or six years to give more than a hint of the guy I thought he was. He wasted all of his first term making nice with the scum on Capitol Hill, & he's still being pretty damned nice to the dirty rats of Wall Street. ...

Presidential Race

** Paul Krugman: "... those predicting Mr. Trump's imminent political demise are ignoring the lessons of recent history, which tell us that poseurs [like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker & Bobby Jindal] with a knack for public relations can con the public for a very long time. Someday The Donald will have his Katrina moment, when voters see him for who he really is. But don't count on it happening any time soon."

George Packer's "Comment" in this week's New Yorker compares & contrasts the populism of Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders. CW: I don't think Packer gets what populism is. How can it be "populist" to pit one large segment of the population against another? Populism must have broad appeal, & that's what Sanders offers; moreover, he has workable ideas on how to achieve some of the public's goals. He is not ashamed to be a politician & he believes popular leaders can undo the influence of wealthy elites on political hacks. Although Trump has some achievable goals -- likely fairly taxing hedge funds -- his appeal is in reinforcing the fears & bigotry of poor & middle-class white people. Trump actually wants to eradicate (deport) one huge group of people. For the most part, he is as naive in his own way as Obama was when he ascended to the presidency & thought he could "reason" with Republicans. Both Trump & Obama think/thought they could persuade kept politicians to repudiate their elite owners. ...

... Paul Rosenberg in Salon (August 16), does a better job, IMO, of describing the ideological differences between Sanders & Trump: where Sanders is a true populist, Rosenberg argues, Trump bends toward fascism.

Niall Stanage of the Hill: "Donald Trump tops The Hill's rankings of 2016 GOP candidates for the first time, as the race cranks up to a new level of intensity with debate season underway. Trump has utterly transformed the race, challenging conventional wisdom every step of the way. The Hill did not even rank Trump when we first assessed the field in May, and he came in eighth in our most recent version in early July. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has also risen sharply, from tenth place to third. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have all slid downward."

Like Democrats in 2007 who looked for their savior in Barack Obama, Republicans in 2015 seem to be looking for their savior in Trump. -- Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register

That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the difference between Democratic & Republican voters. -- Constant Weader

Peter Beinart of the Atlantic (August 28): "Calling Trump a bigot misses the point. It implies that he has genuine convictions. He's an opportunist using bigotry to feed his megalomania." CW: This rings true. It's why it is not a contradiction for Trump to say he'll "deport all the illegals" & at the same time claim, "I love Mexicans." It's why he could simultaneously embrace the ridiculous, racist birther movement & tout his "good relationship with the blacks." In Trump's view, everybody is a pawn to be gamed. If he has to lose some pawns to win his game, so be it.

Once we've secured the border, once we've proven we can do this, once we've stopped the Obama administration's policy of releasing 104,000 violent criminal illegal aliens in one year. -- Sen. Ted Cruz, interview on Fox News, Aug. 25

Cruz is combining two other statistics: convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, and deportable aliens released under the administration's guidelines for 'prosecutorial discretion.'... [Cruz's numbers] add up to slightly more than 104,000, but it also mixes up two years.... Cruz's statistic falls apart with the emphasis on 'violent criminals.' The percentage of violent criminals among the 68,000 who were released is unclear, but said to be relatively small. The detailed list of 30,000 released from detention turns up relatively few who actually were charged with violent crimes. -- Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post

Whatever Happened to Scottie? Dan Balz & Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: Scott "Walker's backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump's booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who -- in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races -- continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman's following. These supporters say ... there also needs to be a clear acknowledgment inside the campaign that the governor has yet to put to rest questions about his readiness to handle the problems and unexpected challenges that confront every president." CW: Maybe these "backers" should also acknowledge that their candidate is a dunce & a nasty piece of work. ...

... Scott Walker says he's "looking 'em [-- voters, that is --] in the eye & telling 'em what I'm going to do" because that's the kind of "leadership' "Americans want." So it's a little hard to understand why he's too skeert to give a straight "leadership" answer on birthright citizenship. ...

Crazy Immigration Idea o' the Day. Julian Hattem of the Hill: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is open to the idea of building a wall along America's northern border with Canada, he said on Sunday. Given that the northern border poses a potential risk for terrorists to bleed into the U.S., the Republican presidential candidate said that he would not rule out a wall to increase security there. 'That is a legitimate issue for us to look at,' Walker said on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'" CW: Hey, at least it would create a honking-big jobs stimulus for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, can't we just immediately incarcerate anyone who speaks with a suspected Quebecois accent? (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Crazy Clinton Slam o' the Day. Mark Hensch of the Hill: "With Hillary Clinton, it just seems to be one scandal after another,' [Bobby Jindal] told host Martha Raddatz on ABC's 'This Week.' 'She's literally one email away from going to jail,' Jindal said. 'What I fear is that maybe we'll have to go to the Chinese and the Russians to actually see her emails.'" CW: Literally one email? I think it must be that one where she did a blast-mailing of the nuclear codes.

Standard-Issue Clinton Slam: Mark Hensch: Chris "Christie argued on Sunday that [Hillary] Clinton's actions as secretary of State flaunted her disregard for the laws governing transparency and national security. He added that she is now presenting a haughty attitude.... 'The worst part about this is her arrogance,' Christie said.... 'This is not royalty in the United States,' he said, referring to Clinton as 'queen.' 'This is not a familial ascendancy.' 'She's wiped away tens of thousands of emails that have relevant information because she feels entitled to do that,' Christie added." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Amy Chozick of the New York Times: "Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the popular Democrat from New Hampshire and the first woman to be elected senator and governor in the state, will publicly endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton next Saturday, Mrs. Clinton's campaign said."

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The roiling controversy over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state looks likely to intensify Monday with the State Department set to release the largest batch of her messages made public thus far."

Julian Hattem: "Sen. Bernie Sanders is arguing that his record makes him the best qualified presidential candidate to push through new limits on guns. Despite criticism that the independent Vermonter has been to the right of many liberals on gun rules, Sanders said on CNN's 'State of the Union' that he is best positioned to negotiate new restrictions preventing mentally ill people from acquiring weapons.... 'In fact, coming from a rural state that has almost no gun control, I think I can get beyond the noise and all of these arguments and people shouting at each other and come up with real constructive gun control legislation which, most significantly, gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them,' he said."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Former Gov. Marvin Mandel, whose record of modernizing Maryland's state government was overshadowed by a messy divorce and a fraud conviction for helping associates profit from a racetrack deal, died on Sunday in St. Mary's County, Md. He was 95." While in office, he left his wife for another woman. Of the other woman, whom Mandel married, his first wife Bootsie asked, "How can she be a first lady when she isn't a lady first?" ...

     ... The Washington Post obituary is here. The Baltimore Sun's obituary is here.

NBC News: "Dr. Wayne Dyer, the self-help guru whose best-seller 'Your Erroneous Zones' was adopted by millions as a guide to better living, has died at 75, his family and publisher said Sunday."

New York Times: "Wes Craven, a master of horror cinema and a proponent of the slasher genre best known for creating the Freddy Krueger and 'Scream' franchises, died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles."


The Commentariat -- August 30, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Nick Gass of Politico: "Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley on Sunday announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal, becoming the 31st Democratic senator to back President Barack Obama on the issue. Just two Senate Democrats have come out against the deal -- New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. Just three more senators are needed in the Senate to sustain any veto of a resolution of disapproval."

Crazy Immigration Idea o' the Day. Julian Hattem of the Hill: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is open to the idea of building a wall along America's northern border with Canada, he said on Sunday. Given that the northern border poses a potential risk for terrorists to bleed into the U.S., the Republican presidential candidate said that he would not rule out a wall to increase security there. 'That is a legitimate issue for us to look at,' Walker said on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'" CW: Hey, at least it would create a honking-big jobs stimulus for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, can't we just immediately incarcerate anyone who speaks with a suspected Quebecois accent?

Crazy Clinton Slam o' the Day. Mark Hensch of the Hill: "'With Hillary Clinton, it just seems to be one scandal after another,' [Bobby Jindal] told host Martha Raddatz on ABC's 'This Week.' 'She's literally one email away from going to jail,' Jindal said. 'What I fear is that maybe we'll have to go to the Chinese and the Russians to actually see her emails.'" CW: Literally one email? I think it must be that one where she did a blast-mailing of the nuclear codes.

Standard-Issue Clinton Slam: Mark Hensch: Chris "Christie argued on Sunday that [Hillary] Clinton's actions as secretary of State flaunted her disregard for the laws governing transparency and national security. He added that she is now presenting a haughty attitude.... 'The worst part about this is her arrogance,' Christie said.... 'This is not royalty in the United States,' he said, referring to Clinton as 'queen.' 'This is not a familial ascendancy.' 'She's wiped away tens of thousands of emails that have relevant information because she feels entitled to do that,' Christie added."



Dan Balz & Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz prevented consideration of a resolution at the party's summer meeting here that praised President Obama and offered backing for the nuclear agreement with Iran, according to knowledgeable Democrats.... As a fallback, James Zogby, the co-chair of the Resolutions Committee, led a move to prepare a letter of support for the president and the Iran agreement that eventually gained signatures from a sizable majority of the members of the national committee."

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Four years after nearly collapsing amid the financial crisis, Amalgamated [Bank] has aggressively carved out a position as the left's private banker, leveraging deep connections with the Democratic establishment to expand rapidly in a niche long dominated by larger but less nimble financial institutions. The bank's rise has been driven not only by the pace and complexity of modern campaigns, which demand increasingly specialized financial services, but by their vastly expanded scale: Billion-dollar presidential campaigns are expected for both parties in 2016, bolstered by super PACs raising hundreds of millions of dollars more.... Founded and still principally owned by labor unions, the 92-year-old bank has signed up hundreds of new political clients, including most of the Democratic Party's major committees, the progressive organizations that align with them, and several of their top Senate recruits."

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "Whether California's application of the death penalty is so drawn out and arbitrary that it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment will be argued on Monday before a federal appeals court in Pasadena. If the lawyers for a condemned man are victorious, the case could bring a reprieve to more than 740 prisoners now on death row at San Quentin State Prison and send legal ripples across the country."

Josh Lederman of the AP: "With melting glaciers and rising seas as his backdrop, President Barack Obama will visit Alaska next week to press for urgent global action to combat climate change, even as he carefully calibrates his message in a state heavily dependent on oil." ...

... Steven Myers of the New York Times: "Some lawmakers in Congress, analysts, and even some government officials say the United States is lagging behind other nations, chief among them Russia, in preparing for the new environmental, economic and geopolitical realities facing the [Alaskan] region."

** Roberto Ferdman of the Washington Post: "... over the next two years, bottled water is expected to eclipse soda as the most consumed packaged drink in the United States.... [Peter Gleick, a sustainable-water researcher, estimates that] only about a third of all bottles of water consumed in the United States are recycled, meaning that about two-thirds end up in the garbage.... As of 2006, it took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water, according to the Pacific Institute. In other words, before even including the energy required to produce the actual bottles -- which is significant -- bottled water was already three times as inefficient as its unpackaged alternative."

Presidential Race

Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register: "... Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race." ...

... Steve M.: "... Ben Carson is only 5 points behind Trump -- and at 18%, he's 10 points ahead of the next two guys, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz, who are at 8%. (Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are tied for fifth, at 6%.) What's more, Carson has the highest favorable rating among Republicans, at 79%.... He's not an obnoxious sexist blowhard like Trump, but he's the one other candidate in the race who seems as unqualified and ill-informed as Trump, and, in his quiet way, he says plenty of imprudent, outrageous things. Abortion is comparable to human sacrifice! Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery! President Obama acts like a psychopath! The Advance Placement history curriculum is so bad it would inspire students to sign up for ISIS! Who's waiting to seize the GOP lead if Trump falters? Not Bush or Kasich or Rubio or Walker. This guy."

Pied Piper. Ben Schreckinger of Politico: "Donald Trump says it’s not all about him. No, seriously. Campaigning in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump on Saturday paid homage to his supporters.... 'This is a movement,' said Trump, who often speaks about himself in campaign appearances. 'I don';t want it to be about me. This is about common sense. It's about doing the right thing.'" ...

... James Hohmann of the Washington Post: "Sharpening his pitch to what he calls 'the silent majority,' Donald Trump presented himself Saturday as the 'law and order' candidate in the 2016 presidential race, pledging to 'get rid' of gangs and give more power to police officers. Speaking to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies for more than an hour, in the heart of a Southern city where student sit-ins helped launch the 1960s-era civil rights movement, the Republican complained that cops are afraid to be tough in the face of more scrutiny over their tactics." ...

Are there any women in this room who are in love with their husbands who wouldn't be telling them everything? -- Donald Trump, on why Hillary Clinton aide Human Abedin should not be trusted with classified information ...

... Jennifer Shutt of Politico: "... Donald Trump alleged late Friday that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin shared classified information with husband Anthony Weiner, while also referring to the former congressman as a pervert.... 'Who is Huma married to? One of the great sleezebags of our time: Anthony Weiner. So now -- think of it -- Huma is getting classified secrets. She is married to Anthony Weiner, who is a perv,' Trump said during a campaign rally in Norwood, Massachusetts.... 'So she's married to Anthony Weiner. Do you think there is even a 5 percent chance she is not telling Anthony Weiner -- now of a public relations firm -- what the hell is coming across?" Trump said. Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill called Trump's comments about Abedin and her marriage 'patently false.'... Hillary for America Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri [wrote,] 'Trump repeated bizarre attack on Huma today. Lots of married men worked at State, why is Huma the one who would pass on secrets to spouse?'" ...

... CW: Wouldn't it be good for a presidential candidate to have, say, a shred of evidence before he accuses someone of espionage?

... Welcome to Dystopia. Rebecca Shabad of the Hill: "To create a system that tracks illegal immigrants in the United States, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to look to the way FedEx tracks packages.... 'So here's what I'm going to do as president: I'm going to ask Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express, to come work for the government for three months at Immigration and Custom Enforcement and show these people,' Christie added. 'We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in, and then when your time is up ... however long your visa is, then we go get you. We tap you on the shoulder and say, 'Thanks for coming. Time to go."'... Christie's campaign spokeswoman, Samantha Smith, is Fred Smith's daughter." CW: Freeedom for me; ankle bracelets for thee. ...

... CW: Saturday while I was doing some gruntwork, I occupied myself with thinking up ludicrous ways Republican could enforce their ideology. People-tracking chips came to mind. Meanwhile, not far up the road from me, a GOP presidential candidate was actually proposing to physically track visitors "from the moment they come in" into this country. Christie makes the Patriot Act look like a milquetoast measure. Republicans are scary. ...

... Daniel Politi of Slate: "The United States issued 9,932,480 nonimmigrant visas last year, according to the State Department." CW: Richard Nixon had only 20 people on his infamous enemies list; Christie plans to put 10 million ordinary people on his. ...

... Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post: "In 2010, in his first months as governor, [Christie] favored securing the border as well as 'a common sense path to citizenship for people.' But earlier this year, Christie said he no longer supported the path to citizenship for undocumented residents and, in fact, criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's plan as 'pandering.'"

Jessica Winter of Slate: "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker -- who has framed the fight for equal pay as 'pit[ting] one group of Americans versus another,' who has called abortions performed to save a woman's life the result of a 'false choice,' who has indicated support for forcing C-sections on women who require a medically necessary abortion, and who has cited his assault on teachers' and nurses' unions aspreparation for taking on ISIS as president -- has a gift designed just for the ladies.... It's a shirt!" CW: Yeah, who wants equal pay & reproductive rights when she can get a shirt (that reportedly will really show her curves as it runs two sizes too small) in Reagan Red.

Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly was upset by all the GOP hatemongering, so she turned to a source of hope & inspiration: President Obama.

Beyond the Beltway

Rebecca Santana & Kevin McGill of the AP: "The Gulf Coast and New Orleans observed the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest storms in American history, in ways both devout and festive. Church bells rang and brass bands played as people across the storm-ravaged coast remembered the past and looked to the future."

Liam Stack & Nate Scwerber of the New York Times: "A bystander accidentally shot by an undercover New York City police officer on Friday afternoon during an illegal firearms sting gone awry has died, the Police Department said on Saturday. The bystander, identified as Felix Kumi, 61, was shot twice in the torso as the officer fired at a man involved in the botched sting. That man, a 37-year old who was not immediately named, was hit three times and hospitalized in serious condition. Mr. Kumi died early Saturday at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, according to the police. The New York Police Department said that in the midst of the sting, a suspect pulled a gun on the undercover officer, stole the cash changing hands in the transaction and ran. When the officer opened fire, police officials and witnesses said, he shot the suspect, but he also hit Mr. Kumi, 61, who was walking to retrieve his van from a nearby repair shop."

AP: "The Kentucky clerk at the centre of a conflict over same-sex marriage closed her office on Saturday, ahead of a rally protesting her refusal to issue marriage licenses. The protest came a day after Rowan County clerk Kim Davis asked the US supreme court to grant her 'asylum for her conscience'."

Manny Fernandez & David Montgomery of the New York Times: "Law enforcement officials said Saturday that a 30-year-old Houston man had been arrested in the fatal shooting the night before of a sheriff's deputy as he filled the gas tank of his patrol car.... Even as officials at an earlier news conference stressed that they had not established a motive, they tied the attack to the wave of protests across the country over police shootings, including the demonstrations after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner on Staten Island." ...

     ... Update: St. John Barned-Smith & John D. Harden of the Houston Chronicle: "Shannon J. Miles was arrested and charged in the death of Deputy Darren Goforth after authorities spent much of the day questioning him. Miles walked up behind Goforth at the gas station at Telge and West at about 8:20 p.m. Friday and shot him repeatedly in the back without any apparent provocation or motive, said Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman...."

Way Beyond

Griff Witte & Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: "The smugglers responsible for driving 71 migrants to their deaths in the back of a cramped, unventilated truck in Austria were part of a vast international syndicate that has been a subject of multiple criminal investigations, a leading European law enforcement official said Saturday. So far, just four relatively low-level operatives have been arrested in connection with the deaths...."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Iran's judiciary sentenced two people to 10 years in prison on Sunday for spying for the United States and Israel, but their names were not released, local media reported. It was not clear if the Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian, who faces similar charges, was one of them." ...

     ... AP Update: "Leila Ahsan..., The lawyer for Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was tried for espionage in a Revolutionary Court..., says the court has yet to issue its verdict on Rezaian."

New York Times: "Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain's strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,' using his patients' disorders as starting points for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 82." ...

... Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times: "Dr. Sacks ... was a polymath and an ardent humanist, and whether he was writing about his patients, or his love of chemistry or the power of music, he leapfrogged among disciplines, shedding light on the strange and wonderful interconnectedness of life -- the connections between science and art, physiology and psychology, the beauty and economy of the natural world and the magic of the human imagination."

AP: "Los Angeles and the U.S. Olympic Committee have struck a deal that will make the city America's 2024 Olympic bidder pending approval by the city council next week. If the council approves the deal at a meeting Tuesday, the USOC will announce Los Angeles as its candidate, a person familiar with the process told The Associated Press."

AP: "Turkish fighter jets have carried out their first air strikes as part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria. A Turkish foreign ministry statement said that late on Friday the jets began attacking Isis targets across the border in Syria that were deemed to be threats to Turkey."


The Commentariat -- August 29, 2015

Campbell Robertson & Richard Perez-Pena of the New York Times: "Returning [to New Orleans] Friday 10 years after this city was inundated, former President George W. Bush painted a rosy picture of the recovery since Hurricane Katrina, saying that the devastation had 'sparked a decade of reform' in public schools and declaring, 'New Orleans is back, and better than ever.' Visiting one of the schools that became a charter in those early years after the storm, Mr. Bush focused on education, citing the failings of the city's public schools before Hurricane Katrina, and the marked improvement since." ...

... Campbell Robertson: In Mississippi, then-Gov. Haley Barbour took from the poor & uninsured to give to a pet project: renovating & expanding the Port of Gulfport. Barbour's administration "projected 2,586 permanent maritime jobs by 2015" in the renovated port. "According to its most recent federal filing, the port has roughly 470 fewer jobs than it had at the time of Mr. Barbour's 2007 request. Of the 1,300 direct new jobs the port is supposed to have created, it can claim 99." ...

... CW Projection: This is the kind of "jobs success" we can expect if the Keystone XL pipeline goes in. "A study by the Perryman Group, a firm commissioned by TransCanada to examine the potential economic impact of the project, predicts that anywhere between 250,348 and 553,235 permanent jobs will be created." Politifact puts the number of permanent jobs Keystone XL is likely to create at 50. So it's somewhere around half-a-million or 50. ...

... Peter Whoriskey of the Washington Post: "Starchitects" can't design cheap housing. Actor Brad Pitt's project to create affordable, attractive housing for New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward was a fail when it came to the contributions of top architects. "... the vast majority of the homes built so far came from designs created by other, lesser-known architects that Pitt hired." ...

... Here's a 2011 critique of the Pitt project by San Francisco architect Mark English. (Rebecca Firestone of English's firm did the write-up.) CW: I'm pretty damned sure that with a quadrille pad & a trip to the neighborhood & chats with residents, I could come up with a much cheaper, more pleasing design than any of these big shot pros did. And I wouldn't build them on site; I'd prefab them in a big old, convertible warehouse right there in the Ninth. In fact, Habitat for Humanity & other charity groups did just that (albeit they used Chinese drywall, & eventually did major renos to remove & replace the corrosive sheetrock.)

Ha Ha! Just kidding. Occupants way more equal than you.Mark Sherman & Sam Hanenel of the AP: "The Supreme Court ... can keep protesters off its marble plaza without violating their constitutional rights, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The inviting 20,000-square-foot, open-air plaza can remain a protest-free zone because the court has an interest in preserving decorum and the idea that judges are not influenced by public opinion and pressure, said a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.... The decision reversed a lower court ruling that declared unconstitutional a law prohibiting protests on the plaza." ...

... CW: Funny how it's okay for protesters to right smack-dab get in the faces of private individuals entering a Planned Parenthood clinic to seek medical attention, but it's not okay to get even within potential earshot of the public officials who are the Supremes. Because decorum. There's an inverse relationship between the power of the protested & the free-speech rights of the protester.

Julian Hattem of the Hill: "A federal appeals court on Friday overturned a lower court ruling against the National Security Agency's controversial collection methods. The ruling from the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the lower court's decision, which in December of 2013 declared that the NSA's bulk phone data collection was unconstitutional." CW: Two of the judges on the three-judge panel are Reagan appointees (one an infamous partisan) & one a Dubya appointee well-known for her winger views.

Timothy Easley of the AP: Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis wants the Supreme Court to absolve her from having to do her job of issuing marriage licenses. Because gay people. According to her lawyer, Davis wants "asylum for her conscience." "Davis cannot be fired because she is an elected official. The Legislature could impeach her, but that is unlikely given that many state lawmakers share her beliefs. The Republican president of the state Senate spoke at a rally last week in support of Davis." CW: Oh, please. If you're a vegan clerk, should you be granted "asylum for your conscience" so your county can quit granting fishing & hunting licenses? Should a Roman Catholic building inspector be "forced" to grant a church construction permit to a band of heathen Baptists? Davis has a right to her bigoted beliefs & her religious convictions, but she does not have the right to enforce them on others.

Jennifer Liberto of Politico: "As a tumultuous week in the markets came to a close, central bankers meeting in the Grand Tetons on Friday to discuss inflation confronted an unfamiliar sight: Hundreds of critics from the left and right gathering to attack the central bank's policies at its summer getaway in the mountains. The shocking appearance of activists at the usually quiet retreat is a sign of a growing battle over when and whether the Fed should raise interest rates."

CW: I haven't been covering Bobby Jindal much because he's as likely to be our next president as are Jim Gilmore and I, but I'm sorry I missed this:

It is therefore with disappointment that I read of the White House's plans to make this visit part of a tour for your climate change agenda. I understand that your emphasis in New Orleans will -- rightly -- be an economic development, the temptation to stray into climate change politics should be resisted.... While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianans. -- Bobby Jindal, in a letter to President Obama, reported August 26

... Well, President Obama disappointed Bobby, & Charles Pierce is very unkind to the governor with an advanced degree in science from Oxford U.

Griff Witte & Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: "Pressure to change Europe's dysfunctional asylum system grew on Saturday as the continent awoke to an impassioned call from the United Nations Secretary General [Ban Ki-moon] for governments to do more to address a never-before-seen influx of men, women and children that shows no sign of abating despite the rising risks.... In an implicit rebuke to European leaders who have squabbled for months while doing little to resolve the crisis, he called for governments to offer 'comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.'" ...

... The New York Times series on the migrants continues.

White House staff say the boss is having an eventful late-term presidency. CW: They're not wrong:

... CW: Your Weekly Hagiography is usually so saccharine that I don't embed it, but if you can ignore the rah-rah, these videos -- which usually are published on Fridays -- are often fairly interesting.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. CW Mea Culpa. Orin Kerr of the Washington Post, with whom I often disagree, is right about this: Adam Liptak's New York Times story, linked here yesterday, on Justice Clarence Thomas's heavy reliance on other people's writing was misleading. I looked at Liptak's "evidence" & thought so, too, but I linked the story anyway because I'm a partisan hack. I should have at least noted that where Liptak presented the basis for his analysis, the data showed that while Thomas was the most-copying justice, the difference between his practices & those of other justices was pretty small, in fact, no more than "a rounding error," as Kerr puts it, in one statistical analysis. So I apologize. Liptak was unfair. So was I. This was crap journalism & crap linking. And I know better.

Presidential Race

Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Hillary Rodham Clinton staked her claim on Friday to lead Democrats in 2016 and beyond, delivering a fiery speech to hundreds of party officials in which she attacked Donald J. Trump and other Republicans for 'hateful' remarks -- 'The party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump,' she said acidly -- and pledged to rebuild the Democratic political machine to help candidates win races nationwide. But if Mrs. Clinton was seeking to unify Democrats behind her, two of her rivals for the nomination -- Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- ... used their speeches at the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting to aim unusual broadsides at the party overtly and Mrs. Clinton implicitly." ...

... Patrick Healy: "Taking his outsider message into the heart of the Democratic establishment, Senator Bernie Sanders ... challenged hundreds of the party's leaders on Friday to embrace his candidacy, warning that the huge crowds of supporters he has drawn may not vote for Democratic candidates in 2016 unless he is at the top of the ticket." ...

... Patrick Healy & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Martin O'Malley ... deliver[ed] a fiery speech Friday that condemned his party's leadership for what he called a process 'rigged' to help Hillary Rodham Clinton -- namely, curtailing the number of presidential primary debates. Accusing party leaders of trying to keep Democratic ideas hidden as the Republican presidential candidates spew 'racist hate' from their debate lecterns, Mr. O'Malley ... questioned the decision to hold 'four debates and four debates only' before the first four states finish voting." ...

... Bradford Richardson of the Hill: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes the Democratic Party is using its limited primary debate schedule to rig the nomination process. 'I do,' Sanders reportedly responded when asked Friday whether he agrees with former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's assertion that the debate system is 'rigged.' The two Democratic presidential candidates were speaking at the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Minneapolis on Friday. 'This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before,' O'Malley said in his speech earlier Friday."

Nick Gass of Politico: Hillary Clinton told reporters she was trying to do a better job of "explaining to people what's going on" with her e-mails. CW: Yeah, the press could do a better job of this, too.

Eugene Scott of CNN: "Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told reporters Thursday that he attends a church in Manhattan, but the church released a statement saying the real estate developer is not an 'active member.'" CW: Despite Trump's & the media's history of scrutinizing & hypothesizing on President Obama's religious beliefs & practices, I find "investigative journalism" of this sort creepy & invasive even when Trump is the subject. It's true that Trump's attempts to bolster his religious creds deserve attention, but I think the Marble Collegiate Church erred in releasing information about Trump's affiliation with the church. Besides, one could attend a church every Sunday & not be a member, so the church statement isn't even dispositive. Also, many people "feel" they're affiliated with a certain religion or particular church, even if they never or seldom show up for services.

Ed Kilgore: Peggy Noonan talked to three Americans -- well, one of them is a Dominican-born deli-worker, & another a DJ on a Spanish-language station, so iffy Americans -- & found out "Trump is the Tribune of the People [Kilgore's characterization]. But it's not real clear which side she's on. Maybe neither, being an objective journalist and all." Also, the Dominican guy "says the Spanish-language call-in radio station he listens to is a hotbed of Trump support, and that listeners sided with The Donald in his altercation with Jorge Ramos, because they're legal immigrants and they hate the illegal kind." The DJ backed up Domincan guy. CW: Now, I'm sure Trump was right: he's going to get the Hispanic vote. All the "legals" -- the only ones who can vote except for all the "illegals"/voter-fraudsters -- love him! ...

... Keith Brekhus of PoliticsUSA: "On the same morning [Wednesday] that Trump was bragging that he would win the Hispanic vote, a newly released Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 81 percent of Hispanic voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, compared to just 13 percent who viewed him favorably." ...

... Still Feeling Those Good Vibrations. CW: Sorry, pollsters. I totally trust Pegs on this. Just as I did when, the day before the 2012 election, she predicted Romney would win, no matter what the Nate Silvers were saying because "All the vibrations are right.... There's the thing about the yard signs. In Florida a few weeks ago I saw Romney signs, not Obama ones. From Ohio I hear the same. From tony Northwest Washington, D.C., I hear the same." The Trump movement is not just vibes; it's fucking tectonic plate shifts: "Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways."

Governor Yahoo!. Mark Katz of the WNYC: "Gov. Chris Christie has criticized Hillary Clinton in recent days over her use of private email to do State Department business. But the only email he provided to the Legislature last year came from his private Yahoo account.... Both New Jersey and federal guidelines say government business should not be conducted over personal email accounts.... But Christie insists Clinton's transgression is unique in that she maintained a private server...." CW: IOKIYAR. Also, too, a Yahoo! account could never be hacked & Yahoo would never share your e-mails with the NSA even if it cost them $250K a day in fines. I have no idea if Clinton's private server is "more private" than Christie's, but the odds are it is.

Rats Abandoning the Sinking Ship Doofus. Alex Isenstadt & Marc Caputo of Politico: "Three top Jeb Bush fundraisers abruptly parted ways with his presidential campaign on Friday, amid internal personality conflicts and questions about the strength of his candidacy, Politico has learned. There are different versions of what transpired."

Beyond the Beltway

Erik Ortiz of NBC News: "A former New Hampshire prep school student accused of raping a freshman girl as part of a campus tradition was acquitted Friday of the most serious charges against him. Owen Labrie ... was acquitted of the three felony rape charges and of misdemeanor simple assault. He was convicted on three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and a felony count of using a computer to seduce a minor under 16, which requires him to register as a sex offender." ...

... Mark Stern of Slate explains how New Hampshire's statutory rape law determined the verdict.

Annals of "Justice," Ctd. Jon Swaine of the Guardian: "A young black man arrested by police in Portsmouth, Virginia, on the same day that one of the city's officers fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old, has been found dead in jail after spending almost four months behind bars without bail for stealing groceries worth $5. Jamycheal Mitchell, who had mental health problems, was discovered lying on the floor of his cell by guards early last Wednesday, according to authorities. While his body is still awaiting an autopsy, senior prison officials said his death was not being treated as suspicious." CW: No, I guess not.

"Guns Everywhere." AP: "Authorities are investigating after a shooting at Savannah State University killed a student and prompted a lockdown at the Georgia school Thursday night. A statement posted on the university's website identified the deceased as Christopher Starks, a 22-year-old junior from the Atlanta area. The statement says he died at a hospital of gunshot wounds sustained during an altercation at the student union." ....

... Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Christopher Jamal Starks, was in the Student Union at Savannah State University when he was shot during an altercation Thursday night, according to police." ...

... CW: In 2013, Georgia had the highest rate of gun deaths of any state in the nation. So in 2014 the Republican-led legislature passed the "Guns Everywhere Law," a/k/a the "Safe Carry Protection Act," & Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed it into law in April 2014. I doubt the students at Savannah State are feeling safe & protected now. Another horrible, stupid waste of life.

Making Eye Contact with Police While Black. Leon Neyfakh of Slate: White Dayton, Ohio, police officer tails black driver because the driver had made "direct eye contact" with him. Of course, cops also will claim that avoiding eye contact with police is suspicious behavior. CW: I think there's a straight line from police assumptions about black people to the GOP Everything-Is-Obama's-Fault syndrome.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "Thai authorities arrested a foreign man Saturday they said had been holed up in a suburban apartment with bomb-making equipment and stacks of passports, the first possible breakthrough in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago."

New York Times: "An Egyptian judge on Saturday handed down unexpectedly harsh verdicts in the trial of three journalists from the Al Jazeera English news channel, sentencing them to at least three years in prison on charges that human rights advocates have repeatedly dismissed as political in nature. The journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, had said they were expecting to be exonerated or sentenced to time already served. Egyptian officials have strongly suggested they were eager to be rid of the case, which had become a source of international embarrassment for the government...."

Washington Post: "Tropical Storm Erika was losing its punch as it drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path, killing at least 20 people and leaving another 31 missing on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said."