The Ledes

Friday, July 3, 2015.

Hill: "France has rejected an asylum request from Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. In a statement reported by Channel News Asia, Prime Minister Francois Hollande’s office explained the rejection by saying that Assange is in no immediate danger. Assange, who has been holed up in Equador’s embassy in London, requested asylum in a letter."

AP: "A Wisconsin man is being detained in a mental health facility after authorities say he told a security guard he planned to kill President Barack Obama. A warrant was issued Thursday for 55-year-old Brian Dutcher of Tomah, the same day Obama was in La Crosse touting a proposal to make more workers eligible for overtime pay."

New York Times: "The health insurer Aetna said on Friday that it had agreed to acquire its smaller rival Humana for $37 billion in cash and stock, signaling the start of what may become a flurry of consolidation in the sector. The deal would bring together two of the United States’ biggest health insurers. The combined company would have estimated operating revenue of $115 billion this year and more than 33 million consumers."

Washington Post: "A U.S. drone strike has killed Tariq al-Harzi, a senior Islamic State militant in Syria, in an attack that took place a day after another American aircraft killed his brother, also an influential militant, in neighboring Iraq, the Pentagon said Thursday. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the strike that killed Tariq al-Harzi occurred June 16 in Shaddadi, Syria...."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, July 2, 2015.

Developing ... Washington Post: "The Washington Navy Yard was on lockdown Thursday as police responded to a report of an active shooter at the facility, authorities said. The call came in about 7:40 a.m.... The U.S. Navy retweeted a message from their Washington district office saying 'no incident can be confirmed as of yet.'” ...

     ... UPDATE: New Lede: "Police flooded in to search after a report of gun shots was called in by someone inside the building. They found no gunman, no evidence that shots had been fired; nothing but shaken workers."

... The WashPo is running live video from WUSA on its front page. Apparently, you can pick up the video on the channel's mobile app. Also, the Post has live updates here. ...

... National Journal: "The Washington Navy Yard is on lockdown Thursday as police are looking into reports of an incident there. The U.S. Navy confirmed on Twitter at 7:59 a.m. that the building complex has been placed on lockdown, but not the exact nature of the incident. NBC News is reporting that shots were reported at the Yard."

AP: "U.S. employers likely hired at another strong pace in June, a sign that the job market is nearing full health and giving the Federal Reserve reason to raise interest rates as early as September. Economists predict that employers added 233,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in May, according to data firm FactSet." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "The American economy is entering the summer powered by a decent head of steam, with employers adding 223,000 jobs in June."

ABC News: "A train carrying chemicals caught fire overnight in Maryville, Tennessee, displacing up to 5,000 people, authorities said. The CSX train was traveling from Cincinnati to Waycross, Georgia when the fire broke out, said Kristin Seay with CSX Corporate Communications. The train was carrying liquefied petroleum gas and acrylonitrile – a product used in the manufacture of plastics."

Reuters: "The pilot flying a TransAsia Airways ...  ATR mistakenly switched off the plane's only working engine seconds before it crashed in February, killing 43 people, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said in its latest report on Thursday. The ASC's report also showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong had failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flame-out on take-off. 'Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,' Liao, 41, was heard to say on voice recordings seconds before the crash."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 3

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today (as of 9:45 am ET).

New York Times: "On the eve of the most anticipated publishing event in years — the release of Harper Lee’s novel 'Go Set a Watchman' — there is yet another strange twist to the tale of how the book made its way to publication, a development that further clouds the story of serendipitous discovery that generated both excitement and skepticism in February."

Here's a short film by activist Bree Newsome. The film won the best -short-film category at the BET awards (ca. 2010):

Washington Post: "After three years of work by Michelle Obama and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, a new look was unveiled [in the State Dining Room] Friday[, June 26,] that will be a design legacy of the Obama years." With slideshow, including former incarnations of the room.

Daniel Bethencourt & Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press: "Famed street artist Shepard Fairey, who visited Detroit last month to create the largest mural of his career, faces felony charges of tagging other properties across the city on his own time." The reporters put the charges in the larger perspective of street art.

David Haglund on "James Salter in the New Yorker."

Twelve beautiful bookshops.

Livraria Lello & Irmão, Porto, Portugal.

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Yesterday, 21st Century Fox announced that [Fox "News" leader Roger] Ailes would be reporting to Lachlan and James Murdoch. For Ailes, it was a stinging smack-down and effectively a demotion. Just five days earlier, Ailes released what now appears to be a rogue statement to his own Fox Business channel declaring that he would be unaffected by the announcement that Lachlan and James will take control of Fox as part of Rupert's succession plan."

The Waldorf-Hysteria. New York Post: Bride "hysterical," lets out "blood-curdling scream," when Waldorf is forced to cancel her million-dollar reception because drunken relatives of the groom allegedly shot some other guests & Waldorf employees. Here's more of the story. You can the boys out of Brooklyn, but....

Sophia A. McClennen in Salon: The real Jerry Seinfeld has become the TV character Jerry Seinfeld. Without the irony. So not funny.

Washington Post: "... thanks to diligent sleuthing and painstaking restoration by a team of art historians at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the shadowy, richly colored 'Saul and David' is considered a Rembrandt masterpiece once more. It goes on display at the museum this Thursday, the star of a special exhibition entirely devoted to the painting and its tumultuous past."

New York Times: "Since [the] Clinton [Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York,] opened in 1845, dozens of inmates have escaped over, under or through the prison’s thick walls, their exploits detailed in breathless, often sensationalistic, newspaper reports of earlier eras." CW: As if the Times' extensive coverage of last week's escape wasn't sensationalistic. ...

New York Times: The life of a fugitive presents many opportunities to blunder -- and get caught.

Washington Post: "It’s a happy day for luggage manufacturers. The world’s major airlines could soon be changing their requirements for carry-on luggage, potentially forcing people to buy new bags. Working with airlines and aircraft manufacturers including Boeing and Airbus, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association, unveiled a new best-size guideline on Tuesday for carry-on bags at 21.5 inches tall by 13.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep. That's 21 percent smaller than the size currently permitted by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines."

CW: Okay, I finally found a Daily Mail story I'm willing to link. The hills are alive.

Stephen Colbert, Lyricist:

Griff Witte of the Washington Post: "Eight-hundred years ago this month, rebellious barons and a despised, cash-strapped king gathered in a verdant riverside meadow 20 miles outside London to seal an agreement that would change the course of history. The words of the Magna Carta have inspired democratic movements the world over and formed a basis for countless constitutions...." But not for Great Britain, which "is one of just three major democracies that lack formal, written constitutions." Some Britons are thinking it's time to fix that.

Washington Post: Actor Jason Alexander reveals why the "Seinfeld" show killed off George Costanza's fiancee Susan.

When a Cop Loves a Cheapskate. Taylor Berman of Gawker: "Last July, NYPD Officer Ymmacula Pierre and her partner found Kenneth Sanden dead after being called to his East Village apartment by a concerned relative. So Pierre allegedly did what any respectable cop would do: pocket the dead man’s Mastercard and use it to buy a diamond ring." Pierre ordered the ring while in her boyfriend's apartment, & that is where the ring was to be shipped. It appears to me that Pierre is (allegedly) a girl who believes in traditional marriage. Very sweet.

Dylan Byers of Politico (June 1): "Jake Tapper will take over as host of CNN's 'State Of The Union' on June 14, he announced Monday.... He replaces Candy Crowley, who served as host of 'SOTU' until late last year. Tapper will also continue to host his 4 p.m. weekday program, 'The Lead.'" ...

Mediaite (May 29): "CNN’s Jake Tapper will no longer moderate a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative’s upcoming conference in Denver, Colo., to avoid a conflict of interest involving the recent coverage of its parent foundation’s controversies."

 

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, appears on the cover of Vanity Fair, with the cover & other photos by Annie Liebovitz. There's a firewalled cover story. ...

... Another reason to admire actor Jessica Lange: she didn't know what "trending on Twitter" meant.

Reuters: "A $100,000 check is waiting for a mystery woman who donated a rare Apple 1 computer to a Silicon Valley recycling firm. CleanBayArea in Milpitas, California, said on its website that a woman in her 60s dropped off some electronic goods in April, when she was cleaning out the garage after her husband died. The boxes of computer parts contained a 1976 Apple 1, which the recycling firm sold for $200,000 in a private auction. The recycler’s policy is to split the proceeds 50-50 with the person who donated the equipment. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak built the computers in 1976 and sold them for $666.66 each. Only a few dozen of the groundbreaking home computers are known to still exist."

New York Times: "On Tuesday, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, along with the Iziko Museums of South Africa, the Slave Wrecks Project, and other partners, will announce in Cape Town that the remnants of the São José [-- which sank off the Cape of Good Hope in 1795 --] have been found, right where the ship went down, in full view of Lion’s Head Mountain. It is the first time, researchers involved in the project say, that the wreckage of a slaving ship that went down with slaves aboard has been recovered."

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Monday
Apr222013

The Commentariat -- April 23, 2013

Andrew Rosenthal: "What's the difference between McVeigh and Tsarnaev? ... The real difference is that Mr. Tsarnaev is a Muslim, and the United States has since the 9/11 terrorist attacks constructed a separate and profoundly unequal system of detention and punishment that essentially applies only to Muslims. [Sen. Lindsey] Graham and others who are demanding that prosecutors treat Mr. Tsarnaev differently from Mr. McVeigh are not even trying very hard to disguise the fact that they're drawing distinctions based on religion and ethnicity." ...

... Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post speaks with a number of legal experts, who, as Alan Dershowitz does explicitly, suggest Graham "should go back to school & study their constitutional law." CW: Graham isn't an idiot. He knows Tsarnaev can't be tried as an enemy combatant. So why would he keep repeating his ignorant mantra? Oh, it makes him sound tough against "those people," and he's running for re-election.

Here's a Surprise. Sam Stein of the Huffington Post: Republicans blame Obama for flight delays, which would be even more impressive if their complaints were vaguely factual.

What do [White House] tours and flight delays have in common? They affect [Congress] members directly. -- White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer

... Meanwhile, in the Blame Obama for Everything pile-on, Michael Shear & Peter Baker of the New York Times concur with MoDo: Obama Is a Wuss: "After more than four years in the Oval Office, the president has rarely demonstrated an appetite for ruthless politics that instills fear in lawmakers. That raises a broader question: If he cannot translate the support of 90 percent of the public for background checks into a victory on Capitol Hill, what can he expect to accomplish legislatively for his remaining three and a half years in office?" ...

... Remember the Roll Call. Steve Benen, on April 18: "Four Democrats broke ranks, but even if they had stuck with their party, the proposal would have come up short -- because of the scope of Republican opposition.That's not opinion; it's just what happened.... On one side of the aisle, we saw Democratic senators trying to console heartbroken parents whose children were killed in Newtown. We also saw a Democratic White House ... condemning the Senate vote in passionate terms. On the other side of the aisle, we saw the Republicans' Senate leader, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell ... effectively dancing in the end zone." CW: why do New York Times reporters & columnists find it so difficult to count?

... Gene Robinson on the Congress's failure to pass background-check legislation: "Imagine what our laws would be like if the nation were losing 30,000 lives each year to Islamist terrorism.... When we say 'never again' about terrorism, we really mean it. When we say those words about gun violence, obviously we really don't." ...

... ** David Karol in the Washington Monthly: "... gun rights supporters and gun owners specifically ... are disproportionately white, male and old. Disproportionately white, male and old is a description that fits the Senate and, to a lesser degree, most other American political elites quite well. For example campaign contributors are disproportionately white male, and old too." In addition, unlike gun safety advocates, the old white guys belong to "social networks that facilitate collective action in favor of gun rights.... The structural and sociological factors working in favor of the gun rights side seem fairly durable, while the memories of the horrific Newtown shooting will continue to fade." Via Greg Sargent. ...

... CW: While Lindsey Graham is out there shredding the Bill of Rights, let us bear in mind that Graham was among the vast majority of Republican senators who voted against universal background checks. It is true that the bombs used in the Boston Marathon explosions were made of common household items (I own most of the bombs' ingredients myself). But the Tsarnaev brothers (allegedly) murdered MIT officer Sean Collier & gravely wounded transit officer Richard Donahue with guns they appear at this point to have obtained without background checks. As Jerry Markon, et al., of the Washington Post reported yesterday: "Authorities are trying to trace a handgun recovered from the suspects. Law enforcement sources said the effort has been delayed because the serial number was removed. Technicians are working to determine the numbers, after which the weapons will be traced by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives facility in West Virginia." And, as Jonathan Allen of Reuters reported Sunday, "... neither brother appears to have been legally entitled to own or carry firearms where they lived, a fact that may add to the national debate over current gun laws." ...

     ... Update: see related commentary in today's Comments section.

... Meanwhile, in Other Stupid Republican Tricks ...

Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? -- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, April 22, 2013

Paul appears to suggest that U.S. immigration officials ... could have discerned that two minor children, after living in the United States for a decade, would eventually commit a terrorist act.... Moreover, Paul misidentified the region from which the Tsarnaev family emigrated. Paul is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; one would expect he would know more about such elementary geography. -- Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post

The Dog Ate Their Homework. Peter Eavis of the New York Times: "After the Federal Reserve lent more than $1 trillion to big banks during the 2008 financial crisis, Congress required the central bank to devise specific ways of protecting taxpayers when doling out emergency loans to financial institutions. But nearly three years after that overhaul became law, the Fed still has not established these regulations." ...

The Amazing Shrinking Deficit. Zach Carter of the Huffington Post: "Goldman Sachs economists predicted on Friday that the federal budget deficit will shrink over the next few years by more than previously projected. After beginning the year expecting a $900 billion deficit for 2013, Goldman's economic team ... has now cut the figure twice, this time to $775 billion. By the close of 2014, the economists said, the deficit will decline to $600 billion, and clock in at $475 billion at the end of 2015." CW: of course the good news will not inspire Congress or the President to do more about unemployment. ...

... Ed Kilgore follows up on Paul Krugman's column (linked here yesterday) on unemployment: "Now we are talking about millions [of people] ... who may well descend into the underclass for the rest of their lives because they haven't held a job lately. At some point, if this status produces anti-social behavior, I'm sure a lot of comfortably situated people will share some additional self-righteousness with these folk, and find it in their hearts to support even more public expenditures for incarcerating them than anyone proposed for helping them get back into the mainstream economy."

Ashley Southall of the New York Times: "Praising the work of young scientists and inventors at the third White House Science Fair, President Obama on Monday announced a broad plan to create and expand federal and private-sector initiatives designed to encourage children to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics":


Erik Wemple of the Washington Post urges the young men implicated in the New York Post's "Bag Men" headline to sue the NYP for defamation of character. He explains why they have a good case. ...

... Jon Stewart comments on media coverage of the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. (The CNN footage is classic):

News Ledes

New York Times: "A state senator, [Malcolm Smith,] and a New York City councilman, [Daniel Halloran,] pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that they plotted to bribe Republican Party bosses to place the senator on the ballot in the city's mayoral race."

Washington Post: "Paul Kevin Curtis, the Mississippi man charged with sending ricin-laced letters to the White House, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge, was released on bond Tuesday about the same time that more of the deadly substance was found in Washington.... Curtis's release came a day after an FBI agent told a court that a search of his home turned up no ricin, nor did investigators find any evidence that he was making it.... Meanwhile, a second Mississippi man, [Everett Dutschke,] said the FBI was searching his home in connection with the ricin letter case...." ...

     ... Reuters UPDATE: "U.S. prosecutors dropped charges against a Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and a U.S. senator, according to a court order signed by a judge on Tuesday. The decision came hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from a Mississippi jail on bond.... Prosecutors said the 'ongoing investigation has revealed new information' without providing any addition detail."

New York Times: "As investigators sought answers to what or who radicalized the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, leading lawmakers on Tuesday said potentially important clues about at least one of the men may not have been widely shared within investigative circles months before the attack." ...

... CBS Boston: CBS correspondent John Miller "said there are still several unanswered questions about the murder of MIT police office[r] Sean Collier. '... The operating theory now in the investigation is [the Tsarnaev brothers] were short one gun. The older brother had a gun. They wanted to get a gun for the younger brother.... Officer Collier had a locking holster, it's like a three-way lock. If you don't know how to remove the gun, you're not going to get it out. There was apparently an attempt to yank it and they couldn't get it and left.'" According to the carjacking victim, who is ethnic Chinese & doesn't speak much English, the Tsarnaev brothers said they were not going to kill him because he "wasn't an American." ...

... Boston Globe: "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev admitted to authorities Sunday that he and his brother were behind the Marathon bombings, according to a senior law enforcement official. Tsarnaev made his admissions to FBI agents who interviewed him at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.... He had not yet been given a Miranda warning. Tsarnaev's attorneys are certain to challenge the legal admissibility of those admissions.... But in an interview with the Globe, a senior police official said authorities are not worried about the initial admission to authorities being thrown out, because they have a strong witness: the man who was abducted by the Tsarnaev brothers last Thursday night." CW: thank you, Senior Police Official, for backing up my contention that Tsarnaev's Fifth Amendment rights were superfluous because of all the evidence against him. ...

... Washington Post: "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ... has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials...." ...

... AP: "Federal officials say the Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s medical condition has improved. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ... had been listed in serious condition at a Boston hospital since he was captured Friday. On Tuesday, the U.S. attorney's office said his condition had been upgraded to fair." ...

... Boston Globe: "A private funeral Mass was held today for Martin William Richard, the youngest of three people murdered in the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings." ...

... Boston Globe: "A private funeral service for MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was held today at St. Patrick's Church where the slain officer's casket was watched over by an honor guard from the two police departments where he once worked."

ABC News: "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ... reportedly told investigators the whole attack was devised from the Internet. The two brothers, he said, had no direction or financing from governments or rogue groups overseas. Authorities tell ABC News they now believe the two foreign-born brothers were inspired to violence by the Internet preaching's of al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki ... who has been dead now for more than a year. They used instructions from an al Qaeda Internet magazine to make their pressure cooker bombs. And Dzhokhar, the younger of the brothers, may not have even known about the plot until a week or so before the attack, sources told ABC News." ...

... Grandstanding Alert. Reuters: "Top security officials face a grilling from lawmakers on Tuesday over whether authorities who have charged one man with the Boston Marathon bombings may have overlooked warning signs two years ago flagging the other suspect." ...

... AP: "Hundreds of people packed a hall at Boston University to say goodbye to Lu [Lingzi], a 23-year-old graduate student. She was one of three people killed in last Monday's bombings. Gov. Deval Patrick was among the people who showed up to listen to an hour of music and stories about Lu."

ABC News: "Two men face a bail hearing Tuesday after their arrest on charges of plotting a terrorist attack against a Canadian passenger train with support from al-Qaida elements in Iran, authorities said.... Authorities were tipped off by members of the Muslim community...."

Reuters: "Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons - probably nerve gas - in their fight against rebels trying to force out President Bashar al-Assad, the Israeli military's top intelligence analyst said on Tuesday."

Reuters: "At least 26 people were killed when Iraqi security forces stormed a Sunni Muslim protest camp near Kirkuk on Tuesday, sparking a gun battle between troops and protesters that threatens to inflame sectarian tensions. The clashes were the bloodiest since thousands of Sunni Muslims began staging protests in December to demand an end to perceived marginalization of their sect by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government."

AP: "A car bomb targeted the French embassy in the Libyan capital early on Tuesday, wounding two French guards and causing extensive material damage, Libyan security officials said.... The blast wounded two French guards and set off a fire at the embassy entrance that engulfed some of the offices inside...."

Sunday
Apr212013

The Commentariat -- April 22, 2013

It's Earth Day. Meh. Emily Swanson of the Huffington Post: "Americans place less importance on environmental issues than they did in 1971, a year after Earth Day was established, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also finds that more Americans are taking some steps to protect the environment, such as cutting down on electricity use, eating organic foods and recycling." ...

... ** Charles Pierce: "Meanwhile, back in the rest of the world, we're still hell-bent on poisoning the planet before we burn it down." ...

... CW: But never fear. It's Science Fair Day at the White House! (See the White House schedule in the right-hand column.) Sad to say, many of those smart little kids making Amazing Science Projects today will be working for oil & gas companies & other corporate frackers when they get all growed up.

George Packer of the New Yorker: "Last week, when Bostonians were showing such courage, senators in Washington cowered before the gun lobby and blocked passage of the most basic provisions ... to diminish the gun violence to which more and more Americans, especially young men, are prone. This is a race that the federal government seems unable even to start. Meanwhile, owing to sequestration, the F.B.I.'s overwhelmed Boston office faces the possibility of manpower cuts of up to twenty per cent." ...

... The Chicken Caucus. E. J. Dionne: "Republicans who cultivate a reputation for reasonableness -- their ranks include, among others, Sens. Johnny Isakson, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Kelly Ayotte, Saxby Chambliss, Lisa Murkowski and Rob Portman -- could not even vote for a watered-down [gun safety] proposal. This tells us that the GOP has become a coalition of the fearful. In a pinch, the party's extreme lobbies rule. This vote also made clear that the right wing is manipulating our system, notably by abusing the filibuster, to impose a political minority's will on the American majority. Since when is 90 percent of the nation not 'the Real America'?" ...

... Jonathan Chait of New York: "Red state Democrats were being asked to assume a large political risk for a small and quite likely nonexistent policy gain. If I were one of them, I'd have voted no, too." CW: this is a lovely argument, but it doesn't wash: as Bill Daley pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed that in North Dakota, whose PretendDem senator Heidi Heitkamp voted against the background checks amendment, public support for it was at 94 percent. These Democrats were not voting with Americans in mind; they were not even voting with their constituents in mind; they were voting with the NRA in mind. ...

... Chait gets it right here, though, in his condemnation of the New York Post's coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, which stoked right-wing lunacy, which is of course always ripe for stoking: "The conservative disposition toward Muslims remains an amorphous cloud of paranoia waiting to attach itself to any fragment of information that drifts into view." ...

... CW: the wingers likely are baffled that one person who helped catch the Tsarnaev brothers -- as Fox "News" has told them -- was a store clerk named Tarek Ahmed. Of course I know nothing about Ahmed's religious beliefs, but I have an idea He Might Be Muslim.

... David Remnick of the New Yorker on "The Culprits." ...

... Wall Street Journal reporters have more on the lives of the Tsarnaevs. ...

... Michael Tomasky of Newsweek: "Conservatism, I fear (so to speak), can never be cleansed of this need to instill fear. Whether it's of black people or of street thugs or of immigrants or of terrorists or of jackbooted government agents, it's how the conservative mind works."

David Rogers of Politico: House Republicans are debating whether or not to attach work requirements to food stamp benefits.

Paul Krugman: "... while debt fears were and are misguided, there's a real danger we've ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.... We are indeed creating a permanent class of jobless Americans. And let's be clear: this is a policy decision.

Bill Keller on the sham trial of Alexsei Navalny, Vladimir Putin's most effective opponent, according to Keller.

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times: in Egypt, the security forces -- the same guys who were in place during Mubarak's rule -- are still strongarming & killing "enemies of the state," while President Morsi seems content to let the brutality continue in exchange for his protection. The recent murder of activist Mohamed el-Gindy "is a mystery filled with accusations of police brutality, political retaliation, an official cover-up, and a collaboration between the new Islamist leaders and the same security forces that once jailed and beat them."

Well, if Maureen Dowd can't have her way with Obama, Charles Pierce has his way with MoDo: " Maureen Dowd came swanning around the op-ed pages of the New York Times again, swooping across the main parlor and sprawling across the staircases, and wondering why the president -- or any president -- just doesn't come sweeping in and carry her off to the land where pleasure knows no boundaries and rapture no frontiers. Or something.... He never calls. He never writes. He never rides in and throws her across his mighty steed. Life is full of disappointments."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at Woodstock, died Monday at age 72."

ABC News: "Canadian authorities foiled a plot by two men they said were backed by al Qaeda to blow up and derail a Toronto passenger train, police said today. The pair received guidance and training from al Qaeda-related individuals in Iran and had begun surveilling passenger trains in the Toronto area to plan for the attack, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police...."

New York Times: "Flights were delayed by up to two hours across the country on Monday, the first weekday that the nation's air traffic control system operated with 10 percent fewer controllers. Pilots, gate agents and others were quick to blame furloughs caused by mandatory across-the-board budget cuts, but the Federal Aviation Administration said it was too soon to assign blame."

Boston Globe: "Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged today with using a weapon of mass destruction in the April 15 attacks that ripped through a crowd at the finish line of the world-renowned race, killing three people and injuring scores of others Tsarnaev's initial court appearance was conducted today by a federal magistrate judge in his hospital room. Tsarnaev was able to respond to inquiries, nodding yes and at one point saying, 'No,' according to a transcript of the hearing. A person familiar with the proceeding said Tsarnaev had mouthed the word. Tsarnaev also faces a charge of malicious destruction of property resulting in death. The charges carry the possibility of the death penalty or life in prison...." A transcript of the hearing is here (pdf). ...

... Boston Globe: "In an affidavit filed in US District Court, FBI Special Agent Daniel R. Genck summarized some of the evidence collected by law enforcement since two explosions detonated last Monday at 2:50 p.m., killing three people and wounded more than 170." You can read the affidavit in this pdf. ...

... Boston Globe: "Waltham police have stepped up their investigation of a 2011 triple homicide where a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was brutally murdered, according to a relative of one of the victims who was interviewed by the Globe. The relative said Sunday that police have renewed the investigation at the request of victims' relatives who believe Tamerlan, and perhaps his younger brother, Dzhokhar, played a role in the homicides. Authorities have said the victims all had their throats slit." ...

... Boston Globe: "Two foreign students arrested Saturday in New Bedford for allegedly violating their student visas are from Kazakhstan and may have known the brothers accused of bombing the Boston Marathon, according to a statement from the nation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. FBI and Homeland Security agents wearing hazmat suits descended on the students' neighborhood on Monday and searched their apartment, according to media reports in New Bedford." ...

... Boston Globe: " At the Oak Grove Cemetery [in Medford, Massachusetts]..., the Rev. Chip Hines led a burial service for Krystle Campbell, the 29-year-old Medford native murdered during the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon.... The crowd in the graveyard was expansive, and mourners moved close to surround the family and the casket." ...

... AP: "... all of the more than 180 people injured in the Boston Marathon blasts who made it to a hospital alive now seem likely to survive."

AP: "Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country on Sunday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts, though some delays appeared in the late evening in and around New York. And even though the nightmarish flight delays and cancellations that the airline industry predicted would result from the furloughs did not materialize yet, the real test will come Monday, when traffic ramps up."

New York Times: "New details about the [Boston Marathon bombing] suspects, their alleged plot and the widening inquiry emerged on Sunday, including the types of weapons that were used and the bomb design's link to a terrorist manual. Lawmakers also accused the F.B.I. of an intelligence failure, questioning whether the bureau had responded forcefully enough to Russia's warnings." ...

... Boston Globe: "In the days since the suspects were identified last week, a picture has emerged of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev -- the elder of the two brothers, who was killed Friday in the battle with police -- as an increasingly militant immigrant, whom family members described as unhappy and mean."

AP: "Gunfire erupted at an apartment complex in a city south of Seattle and five people were shot to death, including a suspect who was shot by arriving officers, police said early Monday."

Reuters: "A U.S. soldier is expected to plead guilty on Monday to shooting dead five fellow servicemen at a military counseling center in Iraq, in a plea deal his defense attorneys reached with Army prosecutors to avoid capital punishment. Army Sergeant John Russell is accused of killing two medical staff officers and three soldiers at Camp Liberty, adjacent to the Baghdad airport, in a 2009 shooting spree the military said at the time could have been triggered by combat stress."

Reuters: "The Taliban have captured all aboard a helicopter that crashed in a volatile region of Afghanistan's east, a spokesman for the insurgency said on Monday. 'The helicopter was carrying eight Turks, the pilots were Russian and Afghan. We believe they are in good health and Turkish officials are in contact with Afghan officials over the issue,' Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said."

Swift-Boat Bob Is Dead. Texas Tribune: "Bob Perry, a wealthy homebuilder and philanthropist who was among the nation's largest political givers, has died at his home in Nassau Bay, near Houston. He was 80."

Saturday
Apr202013

The Commentariat -- April 21, 2013

Maureen Dowd pouts that once again it is President Obama's fault that Congress didn't do something: in this case, that gun control legislation didn't pass the Senate (even though a watered-down background-check bill received a majority of votes.) You can read Dowd's argument. ...

     ... CW: Here's what I think. (a) Dowd never misses a chance to diss the President. (I guess that's a given.) (b) Obama is playing the long game, & Dowd is too shortsighted to see it. Even if Obama had succeeded at all the arm-twisting Dowd recommends & overcome the GOP filibuster, there is no way in hell a background check bill would have passed the GOTP House. So, given that reality, Obama is working toward getting a different Congress, something he has not bothered to do in the past but appears to be mobilizing to do now. Yes, innocent people are going to die between then & now because Congress won't pass a bill which attempts to limit gun ownership to competent, lawful people. But that is not President Obama's fault, MoDo. That is the fault of both Houses of Congress. ...

... ** Former Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley in a Washington Post op-ed: Heidi Heitkamp betrayed me & I want my money back, specifically the $2,500 I contributed to her campaign. "... nine in 10 Americans and eight in 10 gun owners support a law to require every buyer to go through a background check on every gun sale. In North Dakota, the support was even higher: 94 percent. Yet in explaining her vote, Heitkamp had the gall to say that she 'heard overwhelmingly from the people of North Dakota' and had to listen to them and vote no. It seems more likely that she heard from the gun lobby and chose to listen to it instead.... I’ll have some advice for my [deep-pockets] friends in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles: Just say no to the Democrats who said no on background checks." CW: so besides being a PretendDem, Heitkamp is a brazen liar.

Prof. William Reese in a New York Times op-ed on "the first race to the top" -- in mid-19th-century Boston.

Jeremy Herb & Mike Lillis of the Hill: "Two powerful GOP senators [that would be famed sabre-rattlers John McCain & Lindsey Graham] are calling on the Obama administration to treat the captured suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings as an 'enemy combatant' and deny him counsel even though he is reportedly an American citizen." ...

... Steve Benen: "The same week in which Senate Republicans insisted that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, McCain and Graham are arguing that the Fourth Amendment is a nicety that the nation must no longer take seriously." ...

... Canning Miranda. Glenn Greenwald says, get over it, liberals; what Graham & McCain are proposing is already Obama's policy. ...

... Emily Bazelon of Slate: "The police can interrogate a suspect without offering him the benefit of Miranda if he could have information that’s of urgent concern for public safety. That may or may not be the case with Tsarnaev. The problem is that Attorney General Eric Holder has stretched the law beyond that scenario.... Who gets to make this determination [as to whether or not to invoke the public safety exception]? The FBI, in consultation with DoJ, if possible. In other words, the police and the prosecutors, with no one to check their power." ...

... Charlie Savage of the New York Times: "The Obama administration’s announcement that it planned to question the Boston Marathon bombing suspect for a period without first reading him the Miranda warning of his right to remain silent and have a lawyer present has revived a constitutionally charged debate over the handling of terrorism cases in the criminal justice system." ...

... CW: excuse me while I get pragmatic. Let's say the federal investigators don't mirandize Tsarnaev & he gives them a boatload of information, some of which, BTW, is self-incriminating. What next? Why, his lawyers can argue that he wasn't mirandized & the incriminating information he gave up cannot be used against him. Then let's suppose the court agrees. Guess what? There's already enough evidence against this kid to convict him of capital murder. I get what Greenwald & Bazelon, et al., are saying, & it could certainly be relevant in other cases where there is not enough evidence to convict without information obtained -- directly or indirectly -- from the interrogation. I just don't think it matters in this case. It's more important to learn what Tsarnaev has to say than it is to afford him his Fifth Amendment rights. None of which is to say, BTW, that I agree with a word Sens. Frick & Frack have said.

Koch Brothers Planning to Kill U.S. Journalism. Amy Chozick of the New York Times on the Koch brothers' plan to purchase the Tribune Company, which owns the Chicago Tribune & other papers including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant. If they succeed, they will exert editorial control to press their anti-government ideas.

Neil Diamond sang "Sweet Caroline" during the 8th inning at Fenway Park Saturday. "The Fenway tradition has been used by teams across all sports to honor Boston since Monday's marathon bombings. The crowd got into the song like never before with Diamond leading them." Sorry about the echo; that's just how it is:

     ... More from Jimmy Golen of the Boston Globe.

News Ledes

AP: "A Massachusetts police official say the brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon before having shootouts with authorities didn't have gun permits." ...

... New York Times on the London Marathon, which took place today "with no security scares and the minds of virtually all involved soaring westward to the victims of last Monday’s attack." ...

... NBC News: "Despite a serious throat wound that prevents him from speaking, the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect is beginning to respond to questions from investigators, federal officials tell NBC News. Nearly 48 hours after he was taken into custody following an intense gun battle and manhunt, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was communicating with a special team of federal investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He was responding to questions mostly in writing because of the throat wound, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect remains in serious condition. The throat wound may be the result of a suicide attempt, investigators said." ...

... New York Times: "The Massachusetts State Police on Sunday released new video showing the final moments of Friday night’s standoff with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, before he was taken into custody." Includes video. ...

... AP: "... the city's police commissioner said the two suspects [in the Boston Marathon bombings] had such a large cache of weapons that they were probably planning other attacks.... 'We have reason to believe, based upon the evidence that was found at that scene — the explosions, the explosive ordnance that was unexploded and the firepower that they had — that they were going to attack other individuals. That's my belief at this point." [Commissioner Ed] Davis told CBS's 'Face the Nation.' ... The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is tracing the weapons to try to determine how they were obtained by the suspects."

Boston Globe: "Speaking on 'This Week’ today, Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee, said, 'The information we have is that there was a shot to the throat [of Dzhohkar Tsarnaev], and it’s questionable when and whether he’ll be able to talk again.  Doesn’t mean he can’t communicate.  But right now I think he’s in a condition where they can’t get any information from him at all.'” ...

... AP: " Doctors say the Boston transit police officer wounded in a shootout with the marathon bombing suspects had lost nearly all his blood and his heart had stopped from a single gunshot wound that severed three major blood vessels in his right thigh. Surgeons at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge say 33-year-old Richard Donohue is in stable but critical condition. He is sedated and on a breathing machine but opened his eyes, moved his hands and feet and squeezed his wife's hand Sunday."

New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry announced Sunday morning that the United States would double its aid to the Syrian opposition, providing $123 million in fresh assistance." ...

... AP: "Wrapping up a 24-hour visit to Istanbul, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday sought to cement and speed up an improvement in relations between Turkey and Israel as well as explore new ways to relaunch Mideast peace efforts."

Denver Post: "Gunshots pierced the fog of marijuana smoke hanging in Denver's Civic Center on Saturday afternoon, sending attendees at the largest pot smokeout in the country scrambling for their lives. Denver police said two people who were shot in their legs were rushed to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Also, a juvenile grazed by a bullet walked to a nearby hospital."

Reuters: "A Cairo court on Saturday ordered Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak released pending a verdict on illicit gains charges, the second release order in a week, but he will remain in detention because he still faces other charges, court sources said. The appeal hearing on Saturday was held in Torah prison, to where 84-year-old Mubarak was transferred from an army hospital on Wednesday after an apparent improvement in his fragile health."

AP: "Rescuers and relief teams struggled to rush supplies into the rural hills of China's Sichuan province Sunday after an earthquake left at least 180 people dead and more than 11,000 injured and prompted frightened survivors to spend a night in cars, tents and makeshift shelters."

Saturday
Apr202013

The Commentariat -- April 20, 2013

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

I've added links to some stories regarding the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to yesterday's post titled "Bedlam in Boston."

Mark Drajem & Jack Kaskey of Bloomberg News: "The Texas plant that was the scene of a deadly explosion this week was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1985. The risk plan it filed with regulators listed no flammable chemicals. And it was cleared to hold many times the ammonium nitrate that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing. For worker- and chemical-safety advocates who have been pushing the U.S. government to crack down on facilities that make or store large quantities of hazardous chemicals, the blast in West, Texas, was a grim reminder of the risks these plants pose..... There are no federal rules mandating that such plants be located away from residential areas, and the current company safety plans aren't always shared widely with residents nearby.... The company [that owns the West, Texas, plant] has been cited for a series of violations over the past few years.... In Texas, OSHA conducted 4,448 inspections in the last fiscal year, a pace that would mean it would visit every workplace in 126 years...." ...

... Joshua Schneyer, et al., of Reuters: "The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there." ...

... Bill Minutaglio in a New York Times op-ed: "The explosion in West, which killed at least 14 people, is now entering a dark pantheon of events in Texas, ones that will surely lead to debates in the state about government regulation and oversight -- or the lack thereof.... It is finally time for this pathological avoidance of oversight to end in Texas." ...

... Here's the video Minutaglio mentions in his op-ed. As of this morning it has had almost 17.5 million views:

... CW: It is worth noting that many more people died & were injuried in the Texas fertilizer explosion than were victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (And, no, pointing this out does not diminish the values of the lives of the Marathon victims.) In Boston, we saw how government and the people worked together to solve a crime. In Texas, we saw how government doesn't work when people -- and their elected representatives -- oppose sensible, lifesaving industrial oversight. From the beginning of human civilization, the primary purpose of government has been to protect those citizens. Nobody likes red tape; nobody likes "some bureaucrat telling me what to do." But a well-regulated nation is an infinitely safer nation.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. -- Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

... Those primordal screams about "Second Amendment rights," BTW, might abate if the screamers paid a little more attention to the "well-regulated" part of the Amendment. We are, by nature, individuals first, but we are citizens second. As citizens, we have a fundamental obligation to cooperate with each other in furtherance of those Constitutional objectives. Part of that cooperation is voluntarily subjecting ourselves to reasonable regulation and demanding that others -- including gun owners and those vaunted "jobs creators" -- do the same.

Stupid Quote of the Week. ... being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions.... Her childish display in the New York Times is an embarrassment. -- Kevin Williamson of the National Review, commenting on form Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Times op-ed

... Timothy Johnson of Media Matters: "The argument by conservative media that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other survivors of gun violence who supported a failed Senate compromise to expand background checks on firearms sales are 'props' of the Obama administration is both hypocritically partisan and logically flawed.... Logical flaws aside..., presidents routinely evoke the experiences of victims in advocating for policies that would prevent future tragedies. In 1991, former President Ronald Reagan evoked his own experience of being shot by a would-be assassin, as well as the experiences of others wounded in the 1981 attack in order to advocate for background checks on gun sales." ...

... Same Subject, Better Quote. Who would design a system in which a President recently reëlected by a margin of almost five million votes could not move a piece of legislation supported by some ninety per cent of the country through even one chamber of the Congress -- even when a majority of legislators in that chamber voted for it? -- Ryan Lizza in "Four Reasons Why the Gun-Control Bills Failed"

... CW: but, hey, Larry Summers says the federal legislative system does not have a "structural problem," and the gridlock built into our Constitutional (and, now, extra-Constitutional) structure isn't always a bad thing. ...

... Rick Hertzberg & John Cassidy of the New Yorker elaborate on minority rule:

... "Filibuster Delenda Est." Jonathan Bernstein: "... it is wrong to say that insisting on 60 is threatening a filibuster. The demand is the filibuster, under the conditions -- which hold now, and have held for decades -- that the way a filibuster is conducted is by notifying people of the demand for 60. And so, whenever 60 is demanded, and however that is resolved, the press should report that a measure has been filibustered, and if it fails -- again, however it is resolved -- they should report that it has been defeated by filibuster." (CW: Title, thanks to Ed Kilgore.)

Carrie Brown of Politico: "... when Democrats got a look at the 844-page [proposed immigration] measure, they discovered that their negotiators extracted more concessions than they thought possible. Those include an expansive version of the DREAM Act and subtle but meaningful tradeoffs on all the major pieces of the system, from family reunification to legalization and border security."

Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post: "The Boy Scouts of America are calling for an end to their ban on homosexual members, while maintaining the ban for adult leaders. The organization is proposing a resolution stating that 'no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.' The change still must be approved by the group's roughly 1,400 national council members at a meeting the week of May 20."

"Tailgunner Ted." Dana Milbank: "Democrats see a potential bogeyman in [Sen. Ted] Cruz [RTP-Texas] because of his outrageous pronouncements, and reporters love his inflammatory quotes. Republican leaders, however, don't know how to control this monster they created." A good read. I'll bet Ted Cruz read it, too. And smiled smirked.

Pete Williams, Trending. Dylan Byers of Politico: "On Wednesday, while CNN was self-destructing after falsely reporting that a suspect has been taken into custody, [NBC's Pete] Williams rightly reported otherwise. Through Thursday, he reported what was known, while resisting the temptation to speculate on what he did not. Then, in the early hours of Friday morning, Williams was among the first to report on the ongoing developments of the search for the suspects -- including that one of the suspects was dead and that both suspects were legal residents with foreign military training.... When the dust from Boston Marathon bombing clears, viewers will remember two things about the cable news coverage of this historic event: that John King blew it, and that Pete Williams got it right." ...

... AND when New York Post editor Col Allan refused to apologize for the paper's egregious "coverage" of the Boston Marathon bombings, the group Animal stepped in & did it for him. Via Dan Amira of New York:

Right Wing World

Every Bad Thing Is the Government's Fault. Miranda Blue of Right Wing Watch: "The Family Research Council is joining many of its fellow right-wing groups in celebrating Wednesday's Senate filibuster of a bill that would have expanded background checks on gun sales. In an email to supporters [Thursday], the group claims that gun violence prevention legislation isn't needed because it wouldn't have stopped the Boston marathon bombing. What is to blame for recent mass murders, the group claims, is 'the government's own hostility to the institution of the family' compounded by Congress' supposed encouragement of 'abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility.'"

News Ledes

John Miller on the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:


Boston Globe: "Russian authorities warned the FBI in early 2011 that suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been a follower of 'radical Islam,' a revelation that raised new questions in Congress on Saturday about whether the Boston Marathon attacks that killed three and wounded more than 170 could have been prevented." ...

... Reuters: "Runners at the London Marathon on Sunday will wear black ribbons and observe a 30-second silence to honour the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, under the watchful eyes of increased numbers of police deployed to reassure the public." ...

... Politico: "President Barack Obama met Saturday with his national security council to discuss the investigation of the bombings in Boston and terrorism threats." ...

... ABC News: "A hospital spokesperson said early this morning that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still alive, however the FBI asked they give no updates on his condition." ...

     ... AP Update: "Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Saturday afternoon that Tsarnaev was in serious but stable condition and was probably unable to communicate. Tsarnaev was at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where 11 victims of the bombing were still being treated."

... Reuters: "The Federal Public Defender Office said Saturday it will represent Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, once charges are filed. Miriam Conrad, head of the Boston office that represents criminal suspects who cannot afford a lawyer, said via email that 'we have been informed that we will be appointed after charges are filed.'" ...

... New York Times: "the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings turned on Saturday to questions about the men's motives, and to the significance of an overseas trip one of them took last year." ...

... AP: "Police say three people have been taken into custody for questioning at a housing complex where the younger marathon bombing suspect may have lived. New Bedford Police Lt. Robert Richard says a private complex of off-campus housing at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth was searched by federal authorities Friday evening." ...

... NPR: "Watertown, Mass., resident David Henneberry's name was on many people's lips Saturday, as the hero who called police to say bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might be hiding in his back yard." ...

... ABC News: people want to help Henneberry get a new boat, since his is apparently riddled with bullets.

Guardian: "Giorgio Napolitano, an 87-year-old political veteran who had been planning to embark on a well-earned retirement within weeks, has become the first Italian president to be re-elected to serve a second term, after squabbling and discredited party leaders who had failed to agree on his successor begged him to stay on 'in the higher interests of the country'."

Reuters: " A strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit a remote, mostly rural and mountainous area of southwestern China's Sichuan province on Saturday, killing at least 156 people and injuring about 5,500 close to where a big quake killed almost 70,000 people in 2008."

AP: "Iraqis braved the fear of violence on Saturday to vote in the first election since the U.S. military withdrawal, though delayed voting in some parts of the country and an apparently lackluster turnout elsewhere has cast doubt about the credibility of the vote." ...

... Reuters: "A dozen small bombs exploded and mortar rounds landed near polling centers in Iraq on Saturday, wounding at least four people during voting in the country's first provincial elections since the departure of U.S. troops."

AP: "A Pakistani judge on Saturday ordered former military ruler Pervez Musharraf be held in custody for two weeks until the next hearing in a case related to his 2007 decision to sack and detain several judges. The police then declared Musharraf's lavish country residence a jail, paving way for him to be taken and held there under what is essentially house arrest."