The Ledes

Sunday, April 20, 2014.

Guardian: "The tentative Geneva deal to resolve the Ukraine crisis is hanging by a thread after as many as five people were killed in a gun battle near the volatile eastern town of Slavyansk early on Sunday."

Guardian: "Divers have begun to recover bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll past 50, officials said on Sunday. After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers finally found a way into the ferry, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship. About 250 people are still missing, most of them high school students on a holiday trip, and anguished families are furious with the pace of rescue efforts.”

The Wires

Weekly Address

The Ledes

Saturday, April 19, 2014.

Washington Post: "Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine." ...

... Washington Post: "Pro-Russian­ militants, boasting that they do not take orders from diplomats in Washington or Moscow, refused to end their armed occupation of a dozen government buildings across eastern Ukraine on Friday, upending hopes for a quick end to the standoff."

Los Angeles Times: "The captain and two crew members of a ferry that capsized off the southern coast of South Korea were detained Saturday on suspicion of negligence in the accident that left at least 28 people confirmed dead and 274 missing, officials said.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 18

1:00 pm ET: Jay Carney 's press briefing

2:00 pm ET: President Obama presents the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the US Naval Academy football team

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

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MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

 

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

Josh Dickey of Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable." Via New York.

Lauren Moraski of CBS "News": "David Letterman announced Thursday that he's retiring from CBS' 'Late Show' sometime next year. He made that announcement during the taping of his program Thursday afternoon at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater."

No News, All the Time:

Igor Bobic of TPM: "In its wall-to-wall coverage of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, CNN has raised the possibility of the supernatural, blackholes, and North Korea; it has interviewed a psychic, tried but failed to rent its own 777 jet, and finally settled on a flight simulator it is using to 'search' for the plane.On Tuesday the network finally turned its attention to garbage."

Washington Post: "Stephen Colbert and his writing staff were in fighting form Monday night, after a controversy stemming from an out-of-context tweet had hashtag activists calling for his head." ...

... This is kinda must-see TV:

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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.