The Ledes

Friday, March 27, 2015.

Washington Post: "Saudi Arabia pressed its bombardment of neighboring Yemen on Friday, striking near the presidential compound in the rebel-controlled capital at dawn as well as at military installations, residents reported. Egyptian warships were also steaming toward the Yemeni coast as part of an Arab-led offensive against Shiite rebels seeking to take over Yemen in what has become a showdown between the major powers in the Middle East."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Reuters: "Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his refuge in Aden for Saudi Arabia on Thursday as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of the southern port city."

CBS News: "A National Guardsman arrested for supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, had allegedly planned an attack on a military post in Illinois, the Justice Department said Thursday. Army National Guard Spc. Hasan Edmonds, 22, was arrested at Chicago Midway International Airport Wednesday night while he was attempting to fly to Cairo to allegedly join ISIS, the department said in a statement."

 

Guardian: "The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful. The verdict – the culmination of a 10-year legal fight by the Guardian – is a significant blow for the government, which has been battling to protect the Prince of Wales from scrutiny over his 'particularly frank' interventions on public policy."

Washington Post: "Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes early Thursday in neighboring Yemen, heading a coalition of Arab nations in an effort to dislodge Houthi rebels sweeping through that country. The strikes were a startling turn of events that came as the Houthis, in control of Yemen’s capital for months, barreled south toward the coastal city of Aden, seizing an air base along the way that was evacuated by U.S. Special Operations forces­ last week." ...

     ... New York Times UPDATE: "Egypt said Thursday that it was prepared to send troops into Yemen as part of a Saudi-led campaign to drive back the Iranian-backed Houthi advance, signaling the growing likelihood of a protracted ground war on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula."

New York Times: "As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a [Germanwings] jet with 150 people on board crashed amid a relatively clear sky, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in." ...

     ... ** UPDATE: "The co-pilot of Germanwings flight 9525 deliberately crashed the aircraft, French officials said Thursday, pointing to voice recorder evidence that he had locked the captain out of the cockpit, ignored his pleas for re-entry and steered down into the French Alps as passengers were heard screaming. The assertions instantly changed the nature of the Tuesday crash, which obliterated the Airbus A320 and killed all 150 aboard, into a wide-ranging criminal investigation that focused on the co-pilot, a 28-year-old German with no obvious reason to commit mass murder, who had been hired less than two years ago." ...

     ... The Guardian's live updates are here.

... Washington Post: "A mother and daughter from Prince William County were among three Americans who perished when an Airbus jet plunged into a frozen ridge in the French Alps this week, officials said Wednesday. Yvonne Selke, a longtime government contractor, and Emily Selke, a recent graduate of Drexel University, died Tuesday along with 148 others on the Germanwings flight from Spain to Germany."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 26

4:10 pm ET: President Obama speaks about the economy in Birmingham, Alabama

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

"In March 2015, Robert Kenner, the Director of 'Food Inc' and other acclaimed documentaries, will debut his newest, 'Merchants of Doubt'. Based on the book by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway, the film follows the development of sophisticated methods for distorting science, used by the Tobacco industry to hide the poisonous nature of their products, and adapted by the Fossil Fuel industry to distort the science around climate change":

... Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post discusses the documentary: "... Marc Morano, a professional climate-change denier and founder of the Climate Depot Web site ... is, arguably, the star of Kenner’s film. After a stint in the 1990s reporting for Rush Limbaugh, Morano worked briefly as a flack for Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who famously called global warming a 'hoax.' He also plays dirty. In 'Doubt,' Morano recounts with glee how he has published the e-mail addresses of climate scientists, subjecting them to intimidation and flaming attacks from anonymous critics. (Several of the abusive e-mails are read aloud in the film by their recipients...."

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California

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Meg Whitman, AG Jerry Brown, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina.

Politico, December 4: "Republican David Harmer has finally conceded to California Rep. Jerry McNerney, more than a month following the election and a week after the Associated Press called the race."

AP, November 24: "Representative Jerry McNerney, a Democrat, has been re-elected to a third term in a Northern California Congressional district, fending off a challenge from David Harmer. Mr. McNerney held a lead of nearly 2,500 votes on Wednesday with less than 1,900 ballots left to be counted. His victory means no California Congressional seat changed party hands as Republicans took back the House of Representatives on Nov. 2."

The Los Angeles Times projects that California Democrat AG Jerry Brown, the former governor, will win the governorship.

Los Angeles Times: "California voters appear to have rejected Prop. 19, an effort to legalize marijuana and allow local governments to tax the sale of the drug."

NBC News projects that California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer will retain her Senate seat.

Mean Girl. Bay Citizen: "Meg Whitman ... has largely succeeded in presenting herself as a folksy, common-sense businessperson who will bring Silicon Valley smarts to Sacramento.... But that image ... is very much at odds with the volatile personality that many eBay employees came to know during her decade-long tenure at the company. Interviews with numerous former employees paint a picture of a hot-tempered chief executive given to profanity-filled tirades and imperious behavior."

New York Times, October 28: "Carly Fiorina, the Republican candidate for Senate in California, was back on the campaign trail Thursday after being hospitalized."

Seema Mehta & Michael Mishak of the Los Angeles Times, October 27: "As an audience of 14,000 women roared their approval, gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown were asked pointedly on Tuesday to take down the negative advertisements.... Brown agreed to the proposal — made by NBC journalist Matt Lauer, who was moderating the appearance of the two and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the annual Women's Conference in Long Beach — if Whitman would also assent. Whitman declined, and the audience booed."

A Republican Candidate Sends a Stinkbomb. Jeremy Jacobs of the National Journal: "Republican Van Tran, the upstart challenger to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), is betting on voters sniffing out his opponent's struggles -- literally. Tran is sending out a scratch-and-sniff direct mail piece attacking Sanchez that features a hideous odor emanating from it."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman endorses her opponent, former California Governor Jerry Brown:

New York Times: "Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive who is the Republican nominee for the Senate from California, was hospitalized Tuesday in Los Angeles with an infection stemming from reconstructive breast surgery she had in July, her campaign said."

Carly Fiorina can't answer what she would cut to balance the budget. Chris Wallace of Fox "News" actually does his job here:

New York Times: "What if you held a voter turnout rally and the top candidates on the ballot didn’t show up? Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, and Sarah Palin, arguably the biggest draw in the Republican Party, found themselves in that position here in Orange County on Saturday night in the first of two high-profile national rallies they are doing before Election Day. The next one is in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday.

Los Angeles Times, October 16: "Former President Clinton campaigned across Southern California on Friday, urging Democrats to shake off their moribund mind-set and head to the polls so the Obama administration can finish the job it started. Clinton told thousands of listeners at an evening rally at UCLA that they bear responsibility for the nation's future." ...

... New York Times: "Almost two decades after they tussled for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown campaigned together on Friday, when the former president stumped for Mr. Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor in California, and Gavin Newsom, the candidate for lieutenant governor.

Here's some raw footage from the UCLA Daily Bruin of President Clinton's speech yesterday:

     The Daily Bruin has a few more clips of the rally here.

Los Angeles Times, October 15: AG Eric Holder "... said the Obama administration would 'vigorously enforce' drug laws against people who grow, distribute or sell marijuana for recreational use even if California voters pass a measure to legalize it." CW: trying to influence an election, Mr. Holder?

Scott Woolley of Fortune: why Carly Fiorina never mentions the job that gave her name recognition: head of Lucent Technology. Under Fiorina, they gambled big, & shortly after she moved to Hewlitt-Packard, Lucent went under because of huge, unwise vendor loans made on Fiorina's watch. But Fiorina made out like a bandit.

Los Angeles Times: "In a blistering final debate, Democratic candidate for governor Jerry Brown apologized to his Republican counterpart Meg Whitman on Tuesday for a slur directed at her by an associate, an apology that Whitman did not explicitly accept as she cast his campaign as insulting to all Californians. Brown continued to insist that Whitman was seeking office to enrich wealthy Californians such as herself, while she derided Brown as a 'same old same old' politician who helped lead California into its present straits...." C-SPAN has video of the full debate.

Sacramento Bee, October 12: "Republican Meg Whitman poured another $20 million into her campaign tonight, bringing her total investment in her gubernatorial bid to more than $140 million."

Jane Lorber of the New York Times: "Brave New Films, the documentary film company behind a series of damaging anti-McCain viral videos during the 2008 presidential campaign, has put its sights on Carly Fiorina, the Republican candidate for Senate in California. In the latest of three videos attacking Ms. Fiorina..., several former Hewlett-Packard employees who were laid off during Ms. Fiorina’s tenure as chief executive ... describe her as ruthless and extravagant." (See the earlier videos at the link.):

CW: Sorry, but I don't consider this a big fucking deal. New York Times: "The Los Angeles Times posted a muddy audio recording on Thursday night in which a campaign aide [of California AG Jerry Brown] is heard calling his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, a 'whore.' The Brown campaign apologized soon after, and the political fallout from the comment — which Ms. Whitman’s camp called 'an appalling and unforgivable smear' — is uncertain." The gist of the New York Times story is that the gaffe typical Jerry. The L.A. Times story is here, where you can listen to the audio, which follows the article. ...

     ... Update: San Jose Mercury News: "The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown apologized Thursday after one of his aides was overheard referring to Republican rival Meg Whitman as a 'whore' in a taped telephone message."

Los Angeles Times, October 6: "Reports show ... Republican [Meg Whitman] has received more money from outside donors than has her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, whom she paints as beholden to unions.

More Domestic Dirt. Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle: Jill Armstrong, who worked as a nanny for Meg Whitman & her husband while undocumented immigrant Nicandra Diaz Santillan was employed as the Whitmans' maid, says she believes Diaz Santillan's story. Although Armstrong quit working for Whitman after two months, she says she had trouble collecting the salary she had earned. ...

... Meanwhile, Seema Mehta & Carla Hall of the Los Angeles Times report that Diaz Santillan is "filing a claim with the state seeking unpaid wages and attorney Gloria Allred [is] denying claims that her involvement has been funded by Whitman's political enemies.... Diaz Santillan ... said she chose to come forward to shed light on the plight of undocumented workers who live in the 'shadows.'"

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board endorses Democrat Jerry Brown for governor. The editors aren't that crazy about Brown, but they like Whitman way less: "Republican Meg Whitman, utterly devoid of background or experience in state government or policymaking, rarely deigning to cast a vote, moves toward the Nov. 2 election on the power of millions of dollars of personal wealth." ...

... The Los Angeles Times Board also opposes Proposition 19, which provides for the legalization of marijuana. The Board says the proposition "is poorly thought out, badly crafted and replete with loopholes and contradictions."

Immigration Attorney Greg Siskind: "TMZ has posted the Whitman nanny's job application and the employee's I-9. It's not clear whether Whitman or the agency handled the I-9 and that's because the form itself is not signed and dated by the employer or its agent as required by law. The form also doesn't have a social security number under the List C documentation, another violation. Because the form is not signed or dated by the employer, it is far from clear that the employer even examined the documents presented.... Abercrombie & Fitch got a $1 million fine this week for violations of just this sort." Includes copies of documentation. Via Firedoglake.

Don't run for governor if you can't stand up on your own two feet and say, 'Hey I made a mistake, I'm sorry, let's go on from here.' You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions but you don't take accountability. -- Jerry Brown, in a debate with Meg Whitman

Los Angeles Times, October 2: "Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown tangled in a blistering dispute Saturday over Whitman's employment of an illegal immigrant housekeeper as they met for the campaign's first and only Spanish-language debate." New York Times story here.

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: "Meg Whitman has had trouble mastering the state’s vast and convoluted electoral landscape despite spending $119 million of her own money on the race."

"Meet the Real Meg Whitman." Jerry Brown ad:

Here's some fun reported by Elise Foley of the Washington Independent: "California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman lost the support — and then some — of conservative group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC after allegations surfaced that she employed an undocumented housekeeper for nine years. But the pro-enforcement group isn’t just calling for her to lose the election: They want her arrested."

Michael Crowley of Time: "Meg Whitman says she's running for governor of California to bring a sense of fiscal responsibility to Sacramento. But Whitman's own campaign ... has already pumped about $120 million of her estimated $1.3 billion personal fortune into the race. Yet ... she hasn't purchased much of anything yet."

AP, September 29: "California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman employed an illegal immigrant Mexican housekeeper for years even though the federal government alerted her in 2003 to the maid's dubious legal status, the worker and her attorney claimed Wednesday.... Whitman -- who on the campaign trail has called for tougher sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers -- said ... she was not aware the housekeeper ... was in the U.S. illegally." Gloria Allred, the maid's attorney, said, "Whitman was aware of her status." ...

This is just classic smear politics. Jerry Brown is a career politician; it’s what they do. -- Meg Whitman

     ... Los Angeles Times Update, September 30: without producing any evidence, "Whitman accused the Brown campaign of circulating the matter to reporters...." Politico story here; with video.

Los Angeles Times, September 29: "In a blustery and vigorous first debate, gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown dueled Tuesday over their differing solutions to California's dire problems, with Whitman slighting Brown as a tool of labor unions and Brown excoriating her as a billionaire running for office to benefit the rich."

Cathleen Decker of the Los Angeles Times, September 26: In the California gubernatorial race, Democrat Jerry Brown leads Republican Meg Whitman 49%-44% in an L.A. Times/U.S.C. poll. In the Senate race, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer leads Republican nominee Carly Fiorina 51%-43%.

Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times, September 19: Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina toes the tea party line.

Michael Mishak of the Los Angeles Times, September 18: experts aren't buying into Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's "economic plan."

AP, September 16: "Former eBay executive Meg Whitman is defending $119 million in contributions she has made to her campaign for California governor — a personal spending rate that has now surpassed that of any other political candidate in American history."

New York Times, September 14: "President Bill Clinton endorsed his long-ago rival Jerry Brown for governor of California, brushing aside Mr. Brown’s recent snippy joke about the Monica Lewinsky scandal."

After Meg Whitman runs this ad, which includes a 1992 clip of Bill Clinton falsely accusing Jerry Brown of raising California taxes when he was governor ...

... Jerry Brown responds:

     ... Update: Brown apologizes to President Clinton, bashes Whitman. His statement is here.

PolitiCal, August 24: After "an appeal by President Obama to his supporters seeking help for Jerry Brown’s candidacy..., so many people clicked the link that Brown’s website crashed."

Los Angeles Times, August 11: "Meg Whitman's economic policies are based on a flawed understanding of the challenges California faces, and the Republican gubernatorial nominee's proposals would make the state's troubles worse, according to an open letter to Californians signed by a group of mostly Democratic economists from throughout the state."

The Highest Bidder. Sacramento Bee: "Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent a record-shattering $99.7 million in campaign funds through June 30, according to campaign finance records filed today. Whitman, who faced a June 8 primary election challenge..., has spent far more than Democratic rival Jerry Brown, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Brown's gubernatorial campaign spent $633,205 through June 30.

Kevin O'Leary of Time: California nurses versus Queen Meg Whitman. Whitman has promised to "reform" compensation & pension packages if elected governor. Here's a video of the nurses' rally at Whitman's home on July 16:

Los Angeles Times, July 18: billionaire Whitman's opponent, Democratic AG Jerry Brown, who doesn't have her megabucks to run ads, must rely on the free press to remain in the spotlight.

$$$$$$$ Talks. Michael Luo of the New York Times, July 12: California billionaire & Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman stole a primary rival's potential political consultant by buying into (or creating) his nascent production company. Subtitle: Shock! Political consultant goes for the money.

AP: "Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is kicking off her election campaign ... by criticizing the $862 billion federal stimulus package as doing little for private businesses. Yet ... Hewlett-Packard Co., where Fiorina was chief executive..., has been paid $22.5 million so far in stimulus money distributed to cities, school districts, hospitals and universities" which purchased HP products. Also, in a speech made during a visit to a company that benefited from the stimulus package, Fiorina said the stimulus package hadn't worked.

In this 30-second spot, Democrats hit Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman for not bothering to vote for 28 years:

Carly Fiorina, Hot Mic, Take 2. (If you missed Take 1, see it first further downn the page:

     ... Many thanks to Strategic Productions, LLC for so perfecting channeling the Real Fiorina, and a special thanks to Brooklyn Mutt, who may have been the first to embed the video.

When Push Comes to Shove. New York Times: in a 2007 incident, Meg Whitman, now California's Republican nominee for governor but then e-Bay CEO, shoved an employee, Young Mi Kim, in the presence of several witnesses. The company reportedly paid Ms. Kim about $200,000, & she returned to work for e-Bay after accepting the settlement.

Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times: the Tea Party had little influence on California primary races. Tea Partiers don't like Fiorina & Whitman so they won't work for Republican nominees.

Fiorina: "I'm Sorry I Got Caught Being My Nasty, Superficial Self." Fox "News": "California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina said Sunday she regrets being caught on tape making fun of Sen. Barbara Boxer's hair, but didn't say whether she apologized to the Democratic incumbent." Here's the video, via Politico:

Open Mic. CNN catches California Republican candidate for Senate Carly Fiorina making catty remarks about her opponent Barbara Boxer, fellow Republican Meg Whitman & -- oh, no! -- Fox "News" Sean Hannity: CW: Fiorina comes across as having the depth & personality of the nasty girls in my 7th grade class:

With Candidates Like These.... AP: "Former NFL player Damon Dunn has won the Republican nomination for California secretary of state. Dunn defeated Orange County lawyer [& queen of the "birthers"] Orly Taitz in Tuesday's primary, and will face incumbent Democrat Debra Bowen in the general election in November. Dunn is a self-described 'recovering nonvoter' who hadn't cast a ballot in an election until 2009."

Let the General Election Begin. Washington Post: moving in from the right, Fiorina jabs the Boxer, Boxer hits back.

AP: "Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has won California's GOP primary for U.S. Senate, setting up a general election battle this fall with three-term Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer."

AP: "In California, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman won the Republican nomination for governor, and another businesswoman, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, led in her bid to become her party's candidate for the Senate." AG & former Gov. Jerry Brown won the Democratic nomination for governor.