The Ledes

Saturday, December 27, 2014.

AP: "A protester who advocated for peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson was charged Saturday with setting fire to a convenience store in a neighboring suburb. A St. Louis County jail official said Joshua Williams, 19, of St. Louis, was being held on $30,000 bond. He is charged with arson, second-degree burglary and stealing less than $500.... Court records said Williams confessed in a videotaped interview, and that his actions were captured by surveillance video and by news media."

New York Times: "The turnout [for the funeral today of NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos] was extraordinary. Though no reliable count was made, it appeared that more than 20,000 police officers came to Queens, from as far away as Wisconsin and California and England, some driving through the night to make it.... Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., dispatched by President Obama, spoke movingly of the courage of policing." Many officers turned their backs when NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke. ...

... ABC News: "Hundreds of police officers turned their backs on a screen showing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he spoke at the funeral of one of two officers killed last week in what has been called an 'assassination.'" ...

... New York: "In the week since the murders of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, people from New York and across the United States hav[e] been working to make sure that the NYPD officers' families are taken of financially."

AP: "A leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab who had a $3m bounty on his head has surrendered in Somalia, a Somali intelligence official said on Saturday. Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, December 26, 2014.

Washington Post: "Security forces on Friday killed an alleged organizer of last week’s school massacre, the latest sign that the government and military are stepping up their assault on the Pakistani Taliban and other Islamist militant groups."

New York Times: "Under intense pressure from the government of Sudan, the United Nations is planning to shrink its floundering peacekeeping force in Darfur, even though renewed fighting there has chased more people from their homes this year than during any other in the past decade. The withdrawal plans come right after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she had decided to suspend the genocide case against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, because world powers have done nothing to secure his arrest."

Washington Post: "Revelers opening brand-new Playstation 4 or Xbox One video game consoles on Christmas Day were disappointed to find the gaming networks offline, due to an alleged attack. As of Friday morning, the situation has improved, but the problems are not completely over: XBox Live is mostly up and running, albeit with “limited” functionality, according to its service status site. Playstation’s network PSN, meanwhile, is still down for the count, according to its status page." See also yesterday's News Ledes.

New York Times (Dec. 24): "A blizzard of millions in cash paralyzed a road in Hong Kong on Wednesday afternoon, when a security van spilled bundles of Hong Kong 500 dollar notes, presenting onlookers with a Christmas Eve test of whether to be good for goodness’ sake.The police estimated that the equivalent of about $2 million was missing, local news reports said...."

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President and First Lady wished Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our brave troops for their service":

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."

White House Live Video
December 24

11:15 Am ET: White House holiday decorations interactive display

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

"Downton Abbey" -- The Comedy:


 

Hillel Italie of the AP: "The Interview" was showing Christmas day to sell-out crowds. ...

... Not surprisingly, critics say the movie sucks.

Rush Limbaugh Knows He's a Racist. But Hey. Ben Child of the Guardian: "Rush Limbaugh has said Idris Elba should not be able to play James Bond because he is black.... 'James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is, was,' Limbaugh said. 'But now [they are] suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that’s not who James Bond is and I know it’s racist to probably point this out.'... Fleming only began adding hints of a Scottish ancestry to 007’s backstory after the extraordinary success of Sean Connery’s first movie as Bond, Dr No, in 1962.” CW: What a surprise: Rush Limbaugh lacks the most minimal creative imagination & is incapable of seeing past race. I'll bet as a little boy, Rush was standing in the West End protesting performances of the title character in "Othello" by Lawrence Olivier, Orson Wells & Anthony Hopkins. Because a white Brit just can't play a black Moor.

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!"

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Asia -- November 2009

President Obama addresses U.S. troops at Osan Air Force Base in South Korea. Reuters picture.

You're on an auxiliary page. Click Constant Comments-Home on the bar above to go to the main page.

CW: Jim Fallows of the Atlantic backs me up -- again -- on the wrong-headed negative assessments by the U.S. press of President Obama's Asia trip.

     Update from Fallows here.

... AND if you missed it (I linked the individual post earlier), Fallows wraps up his series of posts on President Obama's Asia excursion.

CW: More Evidence I Was Right Not to Link those Stupid Articles (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal) about What a Failure President Obama's Asia Trip Was. Jon Pomfret & Joby Warrick of the Post: the U.S. persuaded China to back it on pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Here's Scott Horton's take on the U.S. press coverage of President Obama's Asia trip, the gist of which is the press is clueless. Horton also notes (as I haven't) that the U.S. press was equally ignorant of Secretary Clinton's trip to Pakistan & German Chancellor Angela Merkel's speech before a joint session of Congress.

The President speaks to U.S. troops at Osan Air Force Base:

ABC News: President Obama greeted & made remarks to 1,500 U.S. troops at Osan Air Force Base in Korea before ending his trip to Asia. Here's the Stars & Stripes report.

Presidents Obama & Lee's full joint press conference:

 

AFP: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said today his government is ready to engage in talks to ease U.S. automakers' concerns about a stalled free trade agreement, as President Obama warned that several issues still had to be settled.

Pomp & circumstance, Korean style. Pretty cool:

President Obama is in Korea. Agence France Presse story here.

AP: U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, a Republican, criticizes the U.S. major media for their largely negative accounts (CW: none of which I've bothered to link because the stories were such crap) of the President's visit to China, noting that

the visit had yielded important progress on cooperation in areas such as clean energy, military-to-military exchanges and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

Tourist-in-Chief. President Obama tours the Great Wall. Getty image. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

Raw video: President Obama visits the Great Wall:

New York Times: President Obama tours the Great Wall on his last day in China. Wall Street Journal story here. See video clip above.

Presidents Obama & Hu's joint press conference:

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman on the bilateral meetings. Huntsman is a conservative Republican:

...our President today...was extremely forceful and comprehensive in hitting on every one of the major issues that we try to manage in our bilateral relationship... And I've got to tell you that as one observer and someone who takes this relationship seriously, as the on-site manager, I was very, very proud of our President.

New York Times: Presidents Obama & Hu Jintao of China met in private off Tiananmen Square to discuss issues like trade, climate change and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, but their public appearances were boiler plate scripts & neither took questions from reporters.

    Reuters: President Obama says China agrees that Iran must prove its nuclear program is "peaceful & transparent," but President Hu was more circumspect.

President Hu & Obama review honor guard (lots of 'em) at the Great Hall of the People. Getty image. CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

China Censors Speech on Free Speech. Perfect! AP: President Obama's oblique criticism of China's censorship of the Internet censorship & free speech "was not widely heard in China where his words were blocked online and shown on only one regional television channel."

Pool Report: President Obama dines with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

 President Obama & Chinese President Hu Jintao meet at the Diauyotai state guest house before dinner. Getty image. CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

New York Times: President Obama will prod China's leaders to get tough on Iran, will discuss climate change, North Korea & global economic crisis.

AFP: President Obama has arrived in Beijing.

President Obama's full town hall meeting for youth in Shanghai, China:

New York Times: at a town hall in China, President Obama gingerly challenged China to the lift its controls on the Internet & online social networking. CW: or as Politico puts it, the President urged China to "Tear Down this Firewall."

President Obama meets with Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng to discuss business relations between the U.S. & China:

President Obama made a last-minute, unscheduled stop in Singapore to attend a breakfast with world leaders discussing the agenda for the Copenhagen climate change meeting.

New York Times: APEC leaders agree to punt at the Copenhagen climate change conference next month.

Washington Post: President Obama told leaders at the Asia-Pacific summit that they could no longer rely on debt-ridden U.S. shoppers to fuel their economies and that the U.S. must consume less and export more. Here's the full transcript of the President's remarks.

Here's a clip from the press availability following President Obama's meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev:

New York Times: President Obama & Russian President Dimitri Medvedev, who met at the Asia-Pacific summit, said today they were dissatisfied with Iran’s response to a nuclear offer made by world powers; they also made progress in negotiating a replacement arms control treaty between the U.S & Russia. Here's the transcript of the Presidents' statements.

President Obama & Thai PM Vejjajiva speak in Singapore:

Here is a transcript of President Obama's & Thailand PM Vejjajiva's remarks after their bilateral meeting.

Here is a transcript of President Obama's & Indonesian President Yudhoyono's remarks following their meeting.

Reuters: at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, President Obama shook hands with Myanmar PM Thein Sein & called for the release of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

President Obama shakes hands with Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong before attending a gala dinner for APEC leaders in Singapore. AP photo. CLICK TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.Politico, Nov. 14: President Obama is in Singapore for the APEC meetings.

New York Times: President Obama addresses a Japanese audience:

 

U.S. Rubes Decry the President's Good Manners. Politico item here:

... AND Steve Benen peruses the right wing blogosphere's horrified reaction, with a final plea for "better conservatives." ...

... Let's give Jake Tapper's academic friend the last word on the "bow shot 'round the world" & faggedaboudit.

President Obama & Japanese PM Hatoyama hold a press conference:

Transcript of full remarks by PM Hatoyama (in translation) & President Obama.

AP: in a joint news conference with Japan's PM Yukio Hatoyama, President Obama said "his decision about how many troops to send to Afghanistan will come soon and he is bent on 'getting this right.'" See video of full press conference above.

Washington Post: President Obama, like every other U.S. President since 1945, declines to go to Hiroshima.

President Obama arrives in Japan. Raw video:

Helene Cooper & Martin Fackler of the New York Times analyze President Obama's goals in Asia. This story has been updated to report that President Obama has made a concession on the U.S. base on Okinawa.