The Ledes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

Guardian: "At least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign. Gaza health officials said at least 43 people died in intense air strikes and tank shelling of Jabaliya, a neighbourhood of Gaza City. The death toll included the people at the school who had fled their own homes." ...

     ... AP Update: "Israel unleashed its heaviest air and artillery assault of the Gaza war on Tuesday, destroying key symbols of Hamas control, shutting down the territory's only power plant and leaving at least 128 Palestinians dead on the bloodiest day of the 22-day conflict. Despite devastating blows that left the packed territory's 1.7 million people cut off from power and water and sent the overall death toll soaring past 1,200, Hamas' shadowy military leader remained defiant as he insisted that the Islamic militants would not cease fire until its demands are met."

Los Angeles Times: "Pacific Gas & Electric was charged Tuesday with lying to regulators during the immediate aftermath of the deadly 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people and ravaged a San Bruno, Calif., neighborhood. The new indictment includes obstruction charges related to what the company said about its records immediately after the incident, according to a release from the Northern District of California U.S. attorney's office. The filing comes three months after an April indictment claimed that PG&E violated federal pipeline safety laws."

Los Angeles Times: "A top Los Angeles utility official faced tough questions Tuesday night about the response to a massive pipe break that flooded UCLA and surrounding areas with millions of gallons of water and threatened the near-term use of Pauley Pavilion. The rupture of the 90-year-old main sent a geyser shooting 30 feet in the air and deluged Sunset Boulevard and UCLA with 8 million to 10 million gallons of water before it was shut off more than three hours after the pipe burst, city officials said."

Reuters: "Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people. A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Jesse Ventura won his defamation case against the estate of author Chris Kyle, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who said he punched out the former Minnesota governor for criticizing the SEALs’ role in the Iraq war. The jury awarded a total of $1.845 million: $500,000 in defamation damages and $1.345 million for 'unjust enrichment' — or to be specific, $1,345,477.25. Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict, as instructed. Instead, with the consent of both sides, they voted 8 to 2 in Ventura’s favor."

AP: "A senior PLO official has called for a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza war, saying he is also speaking in the name of Hamas."

Guardian: "Gaza endured a night of relentless bombardment that brought some of the heaviest pounding since the start of the conflict three weeks ago, in the hours after the Israeli political and military leadership warned of a protracted offensive. Palestinian officials say more than 110 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 29

10:10 am ET: White House Agricultural Champions of Change meet

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Asia -- November 2009

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

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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.