Wednesday, December 24, 2014.
Washington Post: "The Obama administration is accelerating its efforts to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, preparing to move dozens of inmates out of the prison in coming months in a step forward for President Obama’s redoubled attempt to achieve a core national security objective before he leaves office."
New York Times: "Three digital distributors joined an expanding effort to save 'The Interview,' as Sony Pictures Entertainment disclosed the first deals to show the film online after a terror threat limited access to theaters. Among the partners named on Wednesday morning were Google Play, YouTube Movies and Microsoft’s Xbox Video. Sony also said it would show the film on a website of its own."
Weather Channel: "A pair of storms and a few other weather systems may make a mess of your Christmas travel plans,,,. In all, more than 5,600 flights were delayed and more than 500 cancelled nationwide Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com. Thirteen different U.S. airports each had more than 100 delayed or canceled flights."
New York Times: "The elder President George Bush was taken to a Houston hospital Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath, a family spokesman said. Mr. Bush, 90, would be held at least overnight at Houston Methodist Hospital as a precaution, said the spokesman, Jim McGrath. He is expected to be fine, Mr. McGrath said."
Reuters: "Alan Gross, the contractor freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail, will receive $3.2m from the US government as part of a settlement with his employer, the USAid agency announced on Tuesday. Gross was employed by Maryland-based company DAI as part of a USAid-financed project in Cuba. DAI had sought $7m for Gross, said a USAid spokesman."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "A Berkeley[, Missouri,] police officer fatally shot a suspect who pointed a gun at him late Tuesday, St. Louis County police said early today. Police did not identify the person killed but Toni Martin, who was at the scene, said he was her 18-year-old son, Antonio Martin. Several protesters also arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting. Many stayed overnight.... The officer saw two people outside the station, got out of his vehicle and approached them. One of the suspects pulled out a handgun and fired at the officer. 'Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him'" the release from the county police said. 'The second subject fled the scene.'" Berkeley is about two miles from Ferguson, Mo. ...
... CW: Let's see if the police story holds up. There are surveillance cameras which may have captured the confrontation.
New York Times: "A federal administrative judge has upheld the dismissal of the director of the Veterans Affairs health care system in Phoenix for accepting more than $13,000 in airline tickets and other gifts from a consultant for the health care industry, for failing to disclose some of the gifts and for placing a high-ranking doctor on administrative leave for providing Senator John McCain with information about patient suicides. The former director, Sharon Helman, had also been implicated in the falsification of the hospital’s waiting lists for care, a problem at Phoenix and other veterans’ hospitals that roiled the Department of Veterans Affairs this year and led to the resignation of the department’s secretary, Eric K. Shinseki. But the administrative judge, Stephen C. Mish, concluded that the department had not provided sufficient evidence to justify firing Ms. Helman for the manipulation of waiting lists, which concealed delays in providing care to veterans.”
Tuesday, December 23, 2014.
AFP: "Ukraine took a historic step toward NATO on Tuesday in a parliamentary vote that stoked Russia's anger ahead of talks on ending the ex-Soviet state's separatist war. Lawmakers in the government-controlled chamber overwhelmingly adopted a bill dropping Ukraine's non-aligned status -- a classification given to states such as Switzerland that refuse to join military alliances and thus play no part in wars."
Public Service Announcement
Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.
Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.
New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."
11:15 Am ET: White House holiday decorations interactive display
If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
ABC News: "After more than 20 years together, music icon Elton John and his partner David Furnish are married!... A law passed earlier this year in England allow[s] same-sex marriage...."
A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:
Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...
... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."
Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.
Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."
New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."
"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":
Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."
... BUT ...
... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.
Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"
Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.
New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."
The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."
December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...
... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...
... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...
... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."
... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...
... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...
... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...
... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...
... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...
... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"