The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, January 29, 2015.

New York Times: "... Greece backed away from strong statements denouncing sanctions [against Russia] and joined other countries in the 28-member [European] bloc in a unanimous vote in favor of expanding a list of sanctioned individuals, mostly Russians, and of work to prepare 'any further action' to pressure combatants to respect a stillborn truce agreement from last year."

CNN: "The U.S. military and intelligence community now suspect that one of the five Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo Bay in return for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in May of last year has attempted to return to militant activity from his current location in Qatar by making contact with suspected Taliban associates in Afghanistan, multiple officials tell CNN."

Washington Post: Three American contractors and an Afghan national were killed in a shooting at a military base at Kabul’s airport Thursday, said a U.S. defense official."

Los Angeles Times: "Rod McKuen, a prolific songwriter and poet whose compositions include the Academy Award-nominated song 'Jean' for the 1969 film 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,' has died. He was 81."

New York Times: "Colleen McCullough, a former neurophysiological researcher at Yale who, deciding to write novels in her spare time, produced 'The Thorn Birds,' a multigenerational Australian romance that became an international best seller and inspired a hugely popular television mini-series, died on Thursday on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, where she had made her home for more than 30 years. She was 77."

Public Service Announcement

Get Off Your Ass! Los Angeles Times (Jan. 19): "New research that distills the findings of 47 studies concludes that those of us who sit for long hours raise our average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death."

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

White House Live Video
January 29

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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This is a real bill. Consumer advocate Christopher Elliott verified it. Check out the customer name on the account:

Is "Asshole" the customer's real given name? Well, no. Comcast got mad at the family for wishing to cancel the cable part of their Comcast service. Comcast not only refused to cut the cable, as it were, they changed the primary customer's name from "Ricardo" (his parents' idea) to "Asshole." When Ricardo's wife tried to get Comcast to change the account back to her husband's real name, both Comcast's local & regional "customer service" (Comcast's idea) offices refused. After Elliott took up the Browns' case, Comcast relented on both. ...

... Video via Karoli of Crooks & Liars. CW: I assure you, former Arkansas Gov. Fuckabee will be very upset by the vid.

Oh, lawdy, what will they think up next?

... www.cicret.com

In the New York Times, Barry Bearak remembers Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks.

Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, New Hampshire): "After going through the drive-through at Burger King [in Rochester, N.H.] Friday, a local woman discovered that instead of the sweet tea and junior spicy chicken sandwich that she ordered, she got a bag full of money. Rather than keeping the cash — totaling $2,631 — she came back to the restaurant with her husband and returned it."

Gawker: "Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the 'Lolita Express'—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — with an actress in softcore porn movies whose name appears in Epstein's address book under an entry for 'massages,' according to flight logbooks obtained by Gawker and published today for the first time. The logs also show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a 'potential co-conspirator' in his crimes."

New York Times: Director Martin "Scorsese’s partly finished documentary about [former president Bill] Clinton — which once seemed likely to be released as Hillary Rodham Clinton was navigating a presidential run — has stalled over disagreements about control, people briefed on the project said. Though parts of the film were shot over the last two years as Mr. Clinton made a philanthropic visit to Africa and elsewhere, the project is now indefinitely shelved, partly because Mr. Clinton insisted on more control over the interview questions and final version than Mr. Scorsese was willing to give, those people said."

Jessica Roy of New York: "Now that he's been released from jail after his kidnapping-conspiracy conviction was overturned, Gilberto Valle — the former NYPD officer dubbed 'Cannibal Cop' for allegedly planning to kidnap, kill, and eat women — is hungry for love on Match.com. Unfortunately for him, the online dating service told us that they've deleted Valle's alleged profile, even though frankly he can't be any worse than the other dudes you might find on there.... Also, he listed cooking as a favorite hobby!"

CW: Not sure why this is news. As a disconsolate Windows 8 user, I heard this -- in re: Windows 8 -- two months ago. New York Times: "Microsoft said people using the two earlier versions of its operating system, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, would be able to update their computers to Windows 10 free for the first year after the new software is introduced."

Ellen's Gay Agenda. Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link:

The French discover Ken & Barbie News Fox "News." For some reason the journalistes at "Le Petit Journal" don't find it credible. With English subtitles. Thanks to Creegr for the link:

New York Times: "A person close to the Barack Obama Foundation, which is overseeing plans for the [presidential] library, anonymously told local reporters last month that foundation officials had 'major concerns' with proposals from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Foundation officials were said to be alarmed that the University of Chicago does not yet control the land where the university wants to build the library. To the shock and horror of residents here, that left Columbia University in New York, where Mr. Obama received his undergraduate degree, as the apparent front-runner. And suddenly a fait accompli has become an open question."

Washington Post: Two treasure hunters may have found the Griffin, a ship that disappeared in the Great Lakes in mid-1679.

And the Winner Is ... A White Person! Tatiana Siegel of the Hollywood Reporter: "For only the second time in nearly two decades, the 20 Academy Awards acting nominations went to a group made up entirely of white actors and actresses. Among the notable snubs was David Oyelowo, who received praise for his turn as the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma." ...

... Scott Mendelson of Forbes: "... the most egregious omission is the sadly not-entirely-surprising absence of Selma’s Ava DuVernay from the five contenders nominated for Best Director.... She deserved a nomination." ...

... Steve M.: Given the sorry state of most of Hollywood's output -- the CGI roman-numeral blockbusters and comedies about farting boy-men, greenlighted mostly by white males -- and given the near-total freeze-out of women in directorial roles (or in most acting roles beyond male stars' arm candy), I guess I know the answer. And it's pathetic."

... Todd VanDerWerff of Vox: "Selma was snubbed because the average Oscar voter is a 63-year-old white man. VanDerWerff also lists other factors he thinks worked against Selma.

... CW: I don't think I linked to this essay by Chris Rock, published in the Hollywood Reporter last month. Subject: The movie biz is "a white industry." I guess so.

Dick Poop. USA Today: "Dick Pope..., the cinematographer for Mr. Turner, made international news after Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science President Cheryl Boone Isaacs mispronounced his name during the nominations, calling him 'Dick Poop.'"

Here's the L.A. Times story covering the Oscar nominations.

New York Times: "Amazon announced on Tuesday that it had signed [Woody] Allen to write and direct his first television series. The company said it had ordered a full season of half-hour shows, as yet untitled, which will make their debut on the service next year. It provided few other details."

Jareen Imam of CNN: "Jeweler Tiffany & Co., for the first time, is featuring a gay couple in an ad campaign. The new 'Will You?' campaign, shot by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, features seven scenes of couples. One in particular is drawing widespread praise for showing a same-sex couple. The pair, shown sitting on a stoop in New York City, are a couple in real life, Tiffany spokeswoman Linda Buckley said."

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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.