The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, February 11, 2016.

AP: "Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole Wednesday for fatally shooting Robert F. Kennedy after a confidante of the slain senator who was shot in the head forgave him and repeatedly apologized for not doing more to win his release. Paul Schrade's voice cracked with emotion during an hour of testimony on his efforts to untangle mysteries about the events of June 5, 1968. The 91-year-old former labor leader said he believed Sirhan shot him but that a second unidentified shooter felled Kennedy."

White House Live Video
February 11

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New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man. ...

... The Times is publishing previously unpublished photos of black historical figures & events every day this month. You can see those published to date here.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

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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.