The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

BBC News: "The Democratic Action party [of Venezuela] says Luis Manuel Diaz[, a regional leader of the party.] was killed by a man who approached the stage after a public meeting in central Guarico state. Opposition leaders blamed militias supporting the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). President Nicolas Maduro denied this and said an inquiry had been launched."

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

The Ledes

Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Guardian: "Sex abuse allegations against priests at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota were revealed in stark detail on Tuesday with the release of confidential documents concerning five priests accused of child sex abuse."

Reuters: "A 23-year-old Indiana man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a medical museum and stealing preserved human brains that he then sold online. David Charles, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to six charges including receiving stolen property and burglary in a Marion county court. Magistrate Amy Barbar sentenced him to one year of home detention and two years of probation, county prosecutor spokesman Anthony Deer said."

White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

Go to


Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

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The Commentariat -- Aug. 13, 2013

Pete Yost & Paul Elias of the AP: "Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major shift Monday in federal sentencing policies, targeting long mandatory terms that he said have flooded the nation's prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be far better spent." Holder's full remarks before a meeting of the American Bar Association, are here. ...

The real value of these proposals will be in the implementation, which drug policy reform advocates have good reason to be wary about. For example, despite a 2009 Justice Department memo urging U.S. attorneys not to go after marijuana businesses that are legal under state law, more state-legal medical marijuana providers were shuttered by federal actions during the first term of the Obama administration than were closed during George W. Bush's two terms. And, we're still waiting for the administration to announce its response to the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington.... -- Tom Angell, Chairman, Marijuana Majority

The focus on racial disparity in the drug war is positive, but it sounds incredibly hollow given that at the same time President Obama is considering picking Ray Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security. As NYPD commissioner Kelly is responsible for the stop-and-frisk policy that a federal judge just declared an unconstitutional violation of the 14th amendment. -- Jon Walker of Firedoglake

... Ed Kilgore: "Long before Rand Paul drew national attention to his own support for sentencing reform, there was a quiet movement slowly but surely developing on the Right ... in favor of calling off the madness of mandatory minimums. Just as importantly, this trend was being fed by various tributaries of the conservative stream, not just libertarians but conservative evangelicals and budget-conscious fiscal hawks. Just last week, in fact, the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], which probably contributed more to the spread of mandatory minimum legislation in the states than just about any other single source, reversed its position and endorsed sentencing reform. So Holder may be pushing on an unlocked door. Still, a whole generation of pols -- mostly Republicans, to be sure, but also many Democrats trying to prove themselves as 'tough on crime' -- have prospered politically from the 'Three Strikes' era." ...

... Steve M.: already the right is complaining that the administration should not be implementing sentences changes "by executive fiat," even when the writers agree with Holder on the underlying issue. "Um, you Republicans could solve this by helping to pass a bill. But you won't, will you? You certainly won't now that the policy is associated with Holder. Will you?" ...

... Charlie Savage & Erica Goode of the New York Times: "Two decisions Monday, one by a federal judge in New York and the other by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., were powerful signals that the pendulum has swung away from the tough-on-crime policies of a generation ago. Those policies have been denounced as discriminatory and responsible for explosive growth in the prison population."

** Peter Maass in the New York Times Magazine on how Laura Poitras helped Ed Snowden reveal the NSA's surveillance programs. After extensive e-mail contacts initiated by Snowden, "along with her reporting partner, Glenn Greenwald..., Poitras flew to Hong Kong and met the N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, who gave them thousands of classified documents...." ...

... "In the course of reporting his profile of Laura Poitras, Peter Maass conducted an encrypted question-and-answer session, for which Poitras served as intermediary, with Edward J. Snowden." The article is a full transcript of that conversation. ...

... CW: I don't regularly agree with libertarian Conor Friedersdorf, but he has an excellent post in the Atlantic detailing one-by-one the obfuscations & lies President Obama told in his Friday press conference about NSA programs. "... throughout the surveillance debate, the executive branch, including Obama, has lied, obfuscated, and misled the American people in a variety of ways. Before Edward Snowden's leaks, they could at least tell themselves that the disinformation was serving the purpose of keeping al-Qaeda operates from learning the general contours of our surveillance capabilities. But today, when that excuse has long since expired, Obama is still lying, obfuscating, and misleading the American people.... With the stakes so high, and his performance so dubious in so many places, Friday's speech has got to be one of the low points of his presidency." ...

... Gene Robinson: "The modest reforms Obama proposed [re: the U.S.'s surveillance apparatus] do not begin to address the fundamental question of whether we want the National Security Agency to log all of our phone calls and read at least some of our e-mails, relying on secret judicial orders from a secret court for permission. The president indicated he is willing to discuss how all this is done -- but not whether." CW: Yo Bama. When you've lost Gene Robinson, you've lost. ...

... BUT Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast looks on the bright side: "No, they were not 'bold and sweeping' proposals [to change surveillance practices]. At the same time, it sure seemed to me like this was the first time in my adult life I'd ever heard a sitting president propose checks on his administration that he didn't have to offer. And Obama didn't have to offer these.... On May 23, [before any of Snowden's leaks became public,] he gave a speech at the National Defense University in which he foreshadowed the moves he just announced." ...

Robert Pear of the New York Times: "In another setback for President Obama's health care initiative, the administration has delayed until 2015 a significant consumer protection in the law that limits how much people may have to spend on their own health care. The limit on out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-payments, was not supposed to exceed $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. But under a little-noticed ruling, federal officials have granted a one-year grace period to some insurers, allowing them to set higher limits, or no limit at all on some costs, in 2014."

Kevin Liptak of CNN: "Hillary Clinton's self-imposed absence from the country's political discourse ended Monday when the former secretary of state issued biting criticism of Republican-backed voter ID laws during a speech to a group of lawyers. Clinton said her appearance at the annual meeting of the American Bar Association marked the beginning of a speaking series she'll embark upon that will also include an address on the United States' national security policies next month in Philadelphia." ...

... "The Most Trusted Name in News." David Brock of Media Matters, in a Politico op-ed: CNN chief Jeff "Zucker has apparently made it his mission to compete with Fox News by having CNN from time to time become a pale copy.... CNN is tilting and slanting to the right, but without Fox's overt ideological agenda. CNN under Zucker has lent legitimacy to the right's agenda, especially the never-ending complaint that the network never airs enough conservative points of view -- a fair point, he said, and something he has vowed to correct. Now it is becoming clear that he is paying more than lip service to this demand for a course correction," with what he hints will be an unfavorable biopic of Hillary Clinton. "Just last week, CNN aired an hour-long special, 'The Truth About Benghazi,' that pushed long-debunked myths.... Just a few months ago, former producer Peter Dykstra, who oversaw CNN&'s environmental beat for 13 years, revealed top CNN executives now describing environmental stories as 'elite issues or liberal issues.' ... The shift toward more sensationalist coverage has also moved CNN into the infotainment business and out of the news business...."

Farenthold & a friend. That's Blake on the right, in the ducky pj's, circa 2010. If you're going to be impeached, might as well be by a guy who happily has his picture snapped while wearing pj's & wrapping his arm around a scantily-clad unidentified woman. (This is what I mean by too many clowns to cover; see my comment below on another anti-Obama clown.)A question I get a lot: 'If everyone's so unhappy with the president's done, why don't you impeach him?' I'll give you a real frank answer about that: If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn't be convicted. -- Rep. Blake Fahrenthold (R-Texas)

Farenthold wants to assure America that yes, the entire House of Representatives are exactly the sort of petty dumbasses that Farenthold considers his people, but I promise you: Nobody in the country had any doubt about that. -- Hunter of Daily Kos

... Tom Kludt of TPM: "A spokeswoman for Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) repeatedly declined Monday to say whether or not the congressman believes President Barack Obama is an American citizen, telling TPM it's a 'moot point.'" ...

... CW Update: Here's the full shot of Rep. Ducky Boy & friends. Contributor Noodge links to a fine piece by Juanita Jean, but she uses a photo which obscures the face of the young -- how young? -- lady on the left. I leave it to you to decide if she is a minor; I can't be sure, and surely, surely Ducky Boy had no idea! ...

     ... Update Update: Noodge explains, "The 'M' on the young lady's hand was, apparently, to indicate that she is a minor so she wouldn't be served alcohol." As Noodge says, that means she's less than 21, but could be 18 or older, so legally an adult. Farenthold would have been about 48 at the time the photo was taken. Wikipedia: "Farenthold lives with his wife Debbie and two daughters Morgan and Amanda in Corpus Christi." ...

... Here's another 4-shot; this time it's Ducky Boy & the family. The daughters appear to be about the ages of Ducky's young friend in the photo above. Ducky does not appear nearly as comfortable with the wife & kiddies as he was with his other friends; note how awkwardly he holds his arms at his sides & his "smile" looks more like a grimace:

Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor: "Over the weekend Republican National Committee chief Reince Priebus doubled down on his threat to withhold 2016 GOP presidential debates from CNN and NBC if the networks air planned programs on Hillary Rodham Clinton. On CNN's 'State of the Union' Sunday, host Candy Crowley asked Mr. Priebus whether he'd throw Fox News into the debate penalty box as well, given a New York Times report that a Fox sister company is in talks to produce the Hillary Clinton miniseries now slated to appear on NBC. Priebus made it clear Fox would not be included in any RNC boycott. First of all, he downplayed the Times report, saying he 'doesn't know the truth of anything you're talking about.' ...

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: Republican congressmembers have lost their enthusiasm for townhall-style meetings. "Though Republicans in recent years have harnessed the political power of these open mic, face-the-music sessions, people from both parties say they are noticing a decline in the number of meetings. They also say they are seeing Congressional offices go to greater lengths to conceal when and where the meetings take place." Tea party groups, who love opportunities to confront members of Congress, are furious, & Democrats think it's a hoot.

Ashlee Vance of Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "Almost a year after Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, first floated the idea of a superfast mode of transportation, he has finally revealed the details: a solar-powered, city-to-city elevated transit system that could take passengers and cars from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes. In typical Musk fashion, the Hyperloop, as he calls it, immediately poses a challenge to the status quo -- in this case, California's $70 billion high-speed train that has been knocked by Musk and others as too expensive, too slow, and too impractical. In Musk's vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes.... Musk published a blog post detailing the Hyperloop on Monday. He also held a press call to go over the details." ...

... Brad Plumer of the Washington Post: "Musk claims a Hyperloop would be ridiculously cheap, with tubes from San Francisco to Los Angeles costing just $6 billion or $7.5 billion (depending on whether the pods could transport cars). That's just one-tenth the cost of California's tumultuous high-speed rail project. But is this low price tag really plausible? Even if the Hyperloop technology did work, there's good reason to think it'd be a lot pricier than Musk is letting on."

Science Daily: "Smart people are just as racist as their less intelligent peers -- they're just better at concealing their prejudice, according to a University of Michigan study. 'High-ability whites are less likely to report prejudiced attitudes and more likely to say they support racial integration in principle,' said Geoffrey Wodtke, a doctoral candidate in sociology. 'But they are no more likely than lower-ability whites to support open housing laws and are less likely to support school busing and affirmative action programs. ... Intelligent whites give more enlightened responses than less intelligent whites to questions about their attitudes, but their responses to questions about actual policies aimed at redressing racial discrimination are far less enlightened.... According to Wodtke, the broader implication of this study is that racism and prejudice ... result from the need of dominant groups to legitimize and protect their privileged social position.... Thanks to James S. for the link.

Senate Race

Raymond Hernandez of the New York Times: "As New Jersey residents prepared to vote in a primary on Tuesday to fill a seat in the United States Senate, candidates traveled around the state to make their final pitches."

Local News

Jim Morrill of the Raleigh News & Observer: North Carolina "Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday signed into law a bill requiring voters to produce a photo ID when they go to the polls, and it was immediately met with legal challenges in federal court questioning its constitutionality. The new law brings sweeping changes to the state's election process by reducing the early-voting period by a week, abolishing same-day voter registration and ending straight-party voting.... Just hours after McCrory signed the bill, two separate lawsuits challenging the law were filed in federal court in Greensboro. A third lawsuit is expected to be filed in state court Tuesday. Congressman G.K. Butterfield also asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to 'take swift and decisive action by using any legal mechanisms' to protect North Carolina's voting rights."

Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed: "His poll numbers have plummeted, and his campaign donations have all but dwindled, but in a wide-ranging interview with BuzzFeed Monday night, Anthony Weiner appeared defiant, hopeful, and even a bit annoyed by the suggestion that he could possibly lose the New York City mayoral race this fall.' BuzzFeed also has several short items highlighting some of Weiner's remarks. A few headlines: "Huma Will Play Role In Hillary Clinton's 2016 Campaign"; "Stop-And-Frisk Is 'Racial In Nature'"; "I'm Still Seeing A Therapist."

Joan Greve of ABC News: "Republicans have joined Democrats in condemning a Missouri State Fair rodeo act that featured a bull nearly stampeding a clown wearing an Obama mask.... The clown has reportedly been 'permanently banned' from performing at the fair 'ever again.' Missouri State Fair officials issued an apology for the 'disrespectful' show...." CW: sorry I didn't link to any stories about this yesterday, but there are just so many clowns I can stomach in a day. This one didn't make the cut.

Travis Loller of the AP: "A Tennessee judge's decision to change a baby's first name from Messiah to Martin is drawing strong reactions from people who believe the judge overstepped her powers and those who think parents' creativity should have some limits. Thousands of people have commented online about the judge's order since WBIR-TV published its story over the weekend.... While Messiah may not be a traditional English name, it is becoming more popular. Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, just ahead of King but behind Major at No. 1, according to the Social Security Administration's annual listof popular baby names. And other religious names are very common, such as Mohammed in Islamic culture and Jesus ... in Hispanic culture."

News Ledes

See the August 14 Commentariat for New Jersey U.S. Senate race primary results

New York Times: "After a decade of rapid consolidation in the nation's airline industry, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block the proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways, which would create the world's largest airline. The move, joined by attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia, surprised industry officials, who had expected little resistance to the deal. But it underscored a newly aggressive approach by the Justice Department's antitrust division, which has been more closely scrutinizing proposed mergers as the economy recovers."

Al Jazeera: "Israel has released 26 Palestinian prisoners on the eve of renewed Middle East peace negotiations. Buses carrying the inmates, most of whom were held for attacks on Israeli citizens, left Ayalon prison in the centre of the country late on Tuesday."


The Commentariat -- Aug. 12, 2013

David Savage of the Los Angeles Times: "Federal prosecutors will no longer seek long, 'mandatory minimum' sentences for many low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, under a major shift in policy aimed at turning around decades of explosive growth in the federal prison population, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. planned to announce Monday.... The change responds to a major goal of civil rights groups, which say long prison sentences have disproportionately hurt low-income and minority communities."

Kremlin on the Potomac. Michael Phillips, an attorney writing in the New Yorker on "how the government killed a secure e-mail company." Well, actually Phillips doesn't tell you, because how the feds forced Lavabit to shut down is a secret. Even the fact that there are secrets is secret. "The truth may never come out." CW: worth noting -- it isn't just Fourth Amendment considerations that are at issue here. There's a huge First Amendment issue when the government -- via the FISA court -- tells private individuals they cannot even reveal actions or charges or orders against them. ...

What makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation. It's the way we do it, with open debate and democratic process. -- President Obama, at his Friday afternoon press conference ...

... Her writing is a bit disjointed, but Jennifer Hoelzer, formerly an aide to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), disproves President Obama's claim, made in his Friday afternoon presser, that he was totally into transparency, "open debate & the democratic process" & was already tweaking NSA programs to allay critics' concerns when Ed Snowden interfered. ...

... Keith Laing of the Hill: "During an appearance on CNN's 'State of the Union,' Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said he was comfortable with Obama's recent attempts to improve the [NSA surveillance] program following leaks about its existence from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But Clyburn said he voted last month with Republicans to defund the NSA surveillance program because it required trusting more people than the president."

Oh, Another Friday Afternoon News Dump. Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg News: "The Justice< Department made a long-overdue disclosure late Friday: Last year when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder boasted about the successes that a high-profile task force racked up pursuing mortgage fraud, the numbers he trumpeted were grossly overstated." Weil writes that he himself forced the disclosure by repeatedly asking for proofs that turned out to be nonexistent. Holder "used a press conference with the cameras rolling to give out numbers that proved to be false -- and they appear to have been willfully false. He should be just as eager to hold another press conference to set the record straight...."

"A Revolt of Their Own." AP: "Midway between the 2012 and 2014 election campaigns, moderate Republican conservatives are beginning to foment a revolt of their own — a backlash to anti-spending tea party shrillness as budget cuts begin to significantly shrink defense and domestic programs. Tea party forces may have dominated the House GOP's approach to the budget so far, but pragmatists in the party have served notice they won't stand idly by for indiscriminate spending cuts to politically popular community development grants, education programs and even Amtrak."

Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud. Rep. Dana Rohrabacker (R-CA) ...

... Lee Fang of the Nation: "Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a senior member of the House Science Committee, used a portion of his time at a town hall this week to launch into a rant about global warming, which he described as a plot by liberals to 'create global government to control our lives.'"

Paul Krugman: Economist Milton Friedman, "who used to be the ultimate avatar of conservative economics, has essentially disappeared from right-wing discourse.... Instead, Rand Paul turns to the 'Austrian' view of thinkers like Friedrich Hayek -- a view Friedman once described as an 'atrophied and rigid caricature' -- while Paul Ryan, the G.O.P.'s de facto intellectual leader, gets his monetary economics from Ayn Rand, or more precisely from fictional characters in 'Atlas Shrugged.' ... Modern conservatism has moved so far to the right that it no longer has room for even small concessions to reality." ...

... The New York Times gives a lot of op-ed space to "austerity scaremongers" Glenn Hubbard & Tim Kane. Where to start? No doubt to confuse readers, since they certainly know better, Hubbard & Kane repeatedly & purposefully use the the terms "deficit" & "debt" interchangeably. They do this, apparently, in service of their claim that the U.S. will have "a trillion dollars in red ink" after 2023. So if you want to know where Eric Cantor & Rand Paul are getting the disinformation they spread about growing deficits & trillion dollar deficits, here's a clue. The Hubbard & Kane pretend that Detroit, which of course can't "print" money, is just like the federal government. The U.S. is going bankrupt! Finally, they say we should add a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, which would tie Congress's hands to help the economy in future recessions or depressions.

Tony Barboza of the Los Angeles Times: "California is feeling the effects of climate change far and wide, as heat-trapping greenhouse gases reduce spring runoff from the Sierra Nevada, make the waters of Monterey Bay more acidic and shorten winter chill periods required to grow fruit and nuts in the Central Valley, a new report says. Though past studies have offered grim projections of a warming planet, the report released Thursday by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment took an inventory of three dozen shifts that are already happening." ...

... ** Joe Stiglitz in the New York Times: "Detroit's travails arise in part from a distinctive aspect of America's divided economy and society.... Our country is becoming vastly more economically segregated, which can be even more pernicious than being racially segregated.... The disintegration of Detroit precedes the conflicts over social-welfare programs and race relations (including riots in 1967) and reaches back into the postwar decades, a time when the roots of deindustrialization, racial discrimination and geographic isolation were planted. We've reaped what we've sown.... Our government spent decades papering over the growing weaknesses by allowing the financial sector to run amok, creating 'growth' based on bubbles. We didn’t just let the market run its course. We made an active choice to embrace short-term profits and large-scale inefficiency." CW: Read the whole essay, including the part about the "smart" bankers who cheated Detroit & will try to cheat city workers again during bankruptcy proceedings.

Senatorial Race

** "Anybody But Booker." Susie Madrak in Crooks & Liars: "If you want to risk a Manchurian candidate who, while running as a nominal Democrat, is and has been deeply entrenched with the vulture capitalists and their disaster capitalism education 'reform', grew up in and has never rejected the religious right (while selling himself as gay-friendly, he's cultivated the same extremist movement that has promoted homophobia in Uganda and benefited from their mythology of Newark's 'transformation'), is steeped in Wall Street money and philosophy and is deeply admired by the usual right-wing think tanks, you should vote for Cory Booker in tomorrow's NJ Senate primary." Thanks to Kate M. for the link. ...

... Michael Gartland & Susan Edelman of the New York Post: "Cory Booker pocketed 'confidential' annual payouts from his former law firm while serving as Newark mayor. Booker, the front-runner in New Jersey's Senate race, received five checks from the Trenk DiPasquale law firm from 2007 until 2011. During that time, the firm raked in more than $2 million in fees from local agencies over which Booker has influence. 'This was a settlement buyout for my interest in the firm,' the mayor told The Post at a campaign stop in Jersey City yesterday. 'I had an equity stake, and we had a negotiated settlement.'"

Presidential Race 2016

Hillary Drops Hints. Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: Hillary "Clinton these days talks freely about women breaking barriers. She has woven a theme of women's empowerment throughout almost all of her public remarks in the seven months since she stepped down as secretary of state."

Joe Drops a Hint. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be the keynote speaker at Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry fund-raiser next month, a signature political event that often showcases as featured speakers those aspiring to be president."

The Donald Drops a Hint. Kasie Hunt of NBC News: "Donald Trump on Saturday made his first-ever political visit to Iowa, speaking to conservative Christians, stoking speculation about his political plans." ...

... Tal Kopan of Politico: "Donald Trump, in the early presidential caucus state of Iowa this weekend for an event featuring many potential 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls, defended his questioning of President Barack Obama's place of birth in an interview aired Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.'"

Patrick O'Connor of the Wall Street Journal: More hints from Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal & Amy Klobuchar.

Peter King Lacks Subtlety. Jordy Yager of the Hill: "Rep. Peter King [R-N.Y.] says he's dead serious about exploring a bid for the White House, even as GOP strategists and consultants offer steep and potentially insurmountable odds for the New York Republican."

Idylls of the King Messiah Stupid

Heidi Wigdahl of WBIR, Knoxville, Tennessee: "A Newport, [Tennessee,] mother is appealing a court's decision after a judge ordered her son's name be changed from 'Messiah.' ... 'The word Messiah is a title and it's a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ," Judge [Lu Ann] Ballew [a Child Support magistrate,] said." CW: Later Judge Ballew ordered the parents of a young teen to stop referring to her as a "Virgin," explaining that Virgin is a title that has only been earned by the mother of the Messiah. She ejected a father named "Jesus" from the courtroom & told a couple their children could not name their dogs "King" & "Prince" as those are titles reserved for the Windsors of England. (Actually, "messiah" is a title that means "anointed one," a title the ancient Jews gave to savior kings like Cyrus the Great of Persia, who freed the Jews from their Babylonian captivity, & Judas & Simon Maccabee, who led a successful revolt against the Selecuid rulers of Judea.)

Local News

Joseph Goldstein of the New York Times: "In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration's crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of tens of thousands of New Yorkers, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms. In a decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. Officers often frisked these people, usually young minority men, for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband, like drugs, before letting them go, according to the 195-page decision." CW: worth noting -- President Obama is reportedly considering NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who oversaw this discriminatory, unconstitutional horror show, as the nominee to head Homeland Security. Don't like James Clapper listening in on your phone calls? Wait till Ray Kelly grabs you, throws you on the sidewalk & bootnecks you.

News Ledes

Boston Globe: "James J. 'Whitey' Bulger, the notorious gangster who rampaged through Boston's underworld for decades before fleeing and eluding a worldwide manhunt for more than 16 years, participated in 11 murders, a federal jury found today as it handed down its verdict in a racketeering case that had riveted the city. A jury of four women and eight men returned to US District Court in Boston with their verdict this afternoon after 32 1/2 hours of deliberations over five days, bringing a resounding end to Bulger's decades of evading justice. They found Bulger guilty of 31 of the 32 counts he faced." The New York Times story is here.

New York Times: "President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico on Monday, pushing one of the most sweeping economic overhauls here in the past two decades, proposed opening his country's historically closed energy industry to foreign investment. The president's plan, which would rewrite two constitutional amendments, challenges a bedrock assumption of Mexico's national identity -- its total sovereignty over its energy resources -- by inviting private companies to explore and pump for oil and natural gas."


The Commentariat -- Aug. 11, 2013

In a New York Times op-ed, crime novelist John Grisham writes of the horrible mistreatment of Gitmo/Bagram prisoner Nabil Hadjarab, an Algerian who grew up in France & who does not seem to have ever had any connection to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

Not Our Fault. Peter Wallsten of the Washington Post: "The Obama administration points to checks and balances from Congress as a key rationale for supporting bulk collection of Americans' telephone communications data, but several lawmakers responsible for overseeing the program in recent years say that they felt limited in their ability to challenge its scope and legality. The administration argued Friday that lawmakers were fully informed of the surveillance program and voted to keep it in place as recently as 2011.... Yet some ... members of the intelligence and judiciary committees ... describe regular classified briefings in which intelligence officials would not volunteer details if questions were not asked with absolute precision.... Additional obstacles stemmed from the classified nature of documents, which lawmakers may read only in specific, secure offices; rules require them to leave their notes behind and restrict their ability to discuss the issues with colleagues, outside experts or their own staff." ...

... Amy Davidson of the New Yorker: "Perhaps what Snowden did was to remind Obama that invisible checks and balances are not quite what the Founders had in mind." Thanks to contributor cowichan for the link. ...

... Julian Assange of WikiLeaks: "Today [Friday] was a victory of sorts for Edward Snowden and his many supporters. As Snowden has stated, his biggest concern was if he blew the whistle and change did not occur. Well reforms are taking shape, and for that, the President and people of the United States and around the world owe Edward Snowden a debt of gratitude."

** Larry Cashes In. Louise & Annie Lowrey of the New York Times: "Among the top contenders for the position [or Fed chair, Lawrence] Summers has by far the most Wall Street experience and the most personal wealth. In addition to rejoining the Harvard faculty in 2011, he jumped into a moneymaking spree.... Mr. Summers, 58, has been employed by the megabank Citigroup and the sprawling hedge fund D. E. Shaw. He works for a firm that advises small banks as well as the exchange company Nasdaq OMX. And he serves on the board of two Silicon Valley start-ups: both financial firms that may pursue initial public offerings in the next year. One of them, Lending Club..., [operates on] a new business model that ... consumer advocates say may lead to risky borrowing.... Some senators ... are raising questions about potential conflicts of interest and noting his role in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall law ... and his opposition to regulating derivatives in the 1990s -- decisions that many critics say contributed to the financial crisis."

Burgess Everett of Politico: The failure in the Senate of a transportation bill, one in which all but one GOP senator -- Susan Collins -- voted "nay," is a sign that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is clamping down on caucus members on fiscal votes. The plan is to push for spending cuts, spending cuts, spending cuts to highlight the party's 2014 campaign message. CW: very original.

"Death Panels!" Paul Krugman: the Wall Street Journal editorial board is "fanatically opposed to Medicaid expansion -- that is, it's eager to make sure that millions have no health coverage at all. On the other side, it claims to be outraged at the notion of setting priorities in spending on those who do manage to qualify for Medicaid. It's OK for people to die for lack of coverage; it's an utter horror if taxpayers decline to pay for marginal care." Krugman wants to know if the board is cynical or nuts. CW: if they're not nuts, Harry Reid is likely to push them over the edge ...

... Karoud DeMirjian of the Las Vegas Sun: Senate Majority Leader Harry "Reid said he thinks the country has to 'work our way past' insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS' program 'Nevada Week in Review.' 'What we've done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we're far from having something that's going to work forever,' Reid said. When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: 'Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes'"; i.e., single-payer. CW: in case you've forgotten what a creep Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Insurance State) is, Reid recalled that Lieberman's opposition to the public option was what killed that plan in 2009. Lieberman also said he favored allowing people 55+ to buy into Medicare until it turned out that would pass with his vote.

Elections Matter. Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "President Obama's environmental policies are likely to play a prominent role in defining his second term.... Cutting carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change are the biggest environmental policies the president is pursuing, but they are not the only ones. His deputies are laying the groundwork to manage public lands across broad regions, drawing on high-tech mapping to balance energy interests against conservation needs. They also are preparing to weigh in on a controversial mining proposal in Alaska.... The shift has alarmed some industry officials, as well as coal allies."

How Democracy Works -- for a Constituency of Fat Cats. Eric Lipton of the New York Times: freshman congressmembers who score seats on the House Financial Services Committee cash in -- by doing big favors for their financial industry benefactors. It's not entirely their fault as the leadership of both parties stress fundraising & gauge the status of freshmen on how much cash they haul in.

"Fatal Mercies." Frank Bruni is quite good in a column on assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

Maureen Dowd manages to turn an Obama press conference, which had absolutely nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, into a column about Hillary Clinton. Weird. ...

... CW: What I don't get is why Dowd didn't devote her column today to "Hillary the Mini-Series," which is a perfect fit for Dowd's superficial metier. Bill Carter of the New York Times: "While NBC has come under heavy fire, especially from Republican critics, for agreeing to broadcast the series, the project may wind up being produced by another company: Fox Television Studios, the sister company of the conservative favorite, Fox News.... A spokesman for FTVS, as the studio is known, confirmed that NBC is in 'the early stages' of discussions to bring the Fox unit in as the production company on the as yet unnamed mini-series, which will star Diane Lane as Mrs. Clinton." ...

... Steve M. of No More Mister Nice Blog: "If this happens, it might be in part because [Rupert] Murdoch thinks Hillary would be more of a traditionalist on defense than Rand Paul in particular.... And it's just possible that, by not putting the kibosh on this possible NBC-Fox alliance, Murdoch is subtly tipping his hand right now."

Gubernatorial Race

Hunter Walker of TPM: "Ken Cuccinelli, the attorney general and Republican nominee for governor in Virginia, told supporters recently they should have no question about his support for E.W. Jackson, the GOP's polarizing nominee for lieutenant governor in that state.... Cuccinelli previously made attempts to distance himself from Jackson, including during a radio interview in June where he said he "absolutely" wants to be judged separately from Jackson and added, "E.W.'s going to have to introduce himself individually to the rest of Virginia.' ... Jackson has made negative, national headlines for past statements criticizing gays, accusing President Barack Obama of harboring 'Muslim sensibilities,' comparing Planned Parenthood to the KKK, praising the Constitution's original clause to count blacks as three-fifths of a person, and for his efforts in the late 1980's to fight desegregation in Boston." (Jackson is black.)

Local News

Eric Russell of the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald: Maine "Gov. Paul LePage made his dislike of the Portland Press Herald abundantly clear Friday while sitting in a fighter jet simulator: He said from the cockpit that he would like to blow up the newspaper's building. The Republican governor made the offhand remark while participating in a fighter jet simulation at Pratt & Whitney, a defense contractor in North Berwick. In video footage from the event, LePage is asked, 'What would you like to do?' He replies: 'I want to find the Portland Press Herald building and blow it up.'" CW: in related news, Florida Gov. Rick Scott relinquished his title as America's Worst Governor."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Eydie Gorme, a popular nightclub and television singer as a solo act and as a team with her husband, Steve Lawrence, has died. She was 84." Her Los Angeles Times obituary is here.

AP: "A harrowing weeklong search for a missing California teenager ended Saturday when FBI agents rescued the girl and shot and killed her apparent kidnapper at a campsite deep in the Idaho wilderness. Hannah Anderson, 16, appeared to be uninjured and will be reunited soon with her father at a hospital, authorities said. Her suspected abductor, James Lee DiMaggio, 40, was killed after his campsite was found in Idaho's rugged Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, roughly 40 miles from the tiny town of Cascade."


The Commentariat -- Aug. 10, 2013

The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don't have health care. -- President Obama, during a press conference yesterday

Charlie Savage & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama on Friday sought to take control of the roiling debate over the National Security Agency's surveillance practices, releasing a more detailed legal justification for domestic spying and calling for more openness and scrutiny of the N.S.A.'s programs to reassure a skeptical public that its privacy is not being violated." The Justice Department document is here. The NSA doc starts on page 24. So these would be the Friday docudumps. ...

... Ellen Nakashima & Robert Barnes of the Washington Post: "The Obama administration on Friday asserted a bold and broad power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans in order to search for a nugget of information that might thwart a terrorist attack.... The release of the white paper appeared to do little to allay the concerns of critics in Congress and the civil liberties community who say the surveillance program violates Americans' right to privacy.... ' The administration's definitions defy 'any previous interpretation of the law,' said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. 'The way the government is interpreting relevance, anything and everything they say is relevant becomes relevant.'" ...

... Scott Wilson & Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post: "President Obama said Friday he would pursue reforms to open the legal proceedings surrounding government surveillance programs to greater scrutiny, the administration's most concerted response yet to a series of disclosures about secret monitoring efforts. At his first full news conference in more than three months, Obama said he intends to work with Congress on proposals that would add an adversarial voice ... to the secret proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Several Democratic senators have proposed such changes to the court.... In addition, Obama said he intends to work on ways to tighten one provision of the Patriot Act -- known as Section 215 -- that has permitted the government to obtain the phone records of millions of Americans. He announced the creation of a panel of outsiders ... to assess the programs and suggest changes by the end of the year." ...

... Sen. Ron Wyden: "Many of the reforms proposed by the President stem from suggestions made by myself and my colleagues to deal with the severe threat to civil liberties posed by current surveillance authorities and programs.... Notably absent from President Obama's speech was any mention of closing the backdoor searches loophole that potentially allows for the warrantless searches of Americans' phone calls and emails under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." CW: see Guardian story, by Ball & Ackerman, linked below. ...

... New York Times Editors: "Fundamentally, Mr. Obama does not seem to understand that the nation needs to hear more than soothing words about the government's spying enterprise.... If the president is truly concerned about public anxiety, he can vocally support legislation to make meaningful changes, rather than urging people to trust him that the dishes are clean." ...

Here's the full presser:

... Here's the full transcript of the press conference. ...

... Digby: President Obama "seemed to have been saying today that Snowden's revelations ruined his plan to have an orderly investigation of the NSA programs even though there is no evidence that he was doing any such thing. Certainly, there is no evidence that there was any "plan" to inform the American people since the senators who were running around with their hair on fire were lied to right to their face in open testimony by the intelligence community. The president also claimed that he had signed an executive order that would have allowed Snowden to come forward without any fear of retaliation." Digby handily disposes if that claim.

... James Ball & Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens' email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden. The previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives to hunt for individual Americans' communications using their name or other identifying information. Senator Ron Wyden told the Guardian that the law provides the NSA with a loophole potentially allowing 'warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans'." ...

... Ezra Klein: "If this conversation, and these reforms, are as positive for the country as Obama says they are, then it's hard to escape the conclusion that Snowden did the country a real service -- even if the White House can't abide crediting him with it."

Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: "The State Department said that on Sunday it will reopen 18 of the 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Africa that were closed last week because of terrorist threats. It said Friday that the embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, would remain closed 'because of ongoing concerns about a threat stream indicating the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.'" ...

... Adam Baron of the Guardian: "The US has stepped up the intensity of its drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida targets in Yemen, carrying out eight strikes in two weeks in response to fears of a terror attack in the capital, Sana'a."

President Obama signed H.R. 1911, the 'Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013,' Friday:

In order to avoid a government shutdown, we need 60 votes in the Senate and 218 votes in the House to pass a continuing resolution. To get 60 votes in the Senate, you need at least 14 Democrats to join Republicans and pass a CR that defunds Obamacare. Right now, I am not aware of a single Democrat in the Senate who would join us. If and when defunding has 60 votes in the Senate, we will absolutely deliver more than 218 votes in the House. -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

As far as I know, that is the most definitive thumbs-down any GOP leader has given to the defund-Obamacare push thus far. -- Greg Sargent of the Washington Post

This could be the best of all possible worlds for Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio et al. They get the credit with conservatives for being willing to shut down the government to defund Obamacare but it never actually happens, and so they never have to take the blame for the consequences. -- Ezra Klein of the Washington Post

Paul Krugman thinks Rand Paul & Eric Cantor really don't know the deficit has fallen dramatically. And the American people, of course, don't know either, he guesses. CW: If Paul & Cantor don't know, it's wilful ignorance. They're supposed to know. They can't budget & legislate if they don't know. If they don't know, they should shaddupaboudit.

"Massive Resistance." Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News: "Southern states and their cultural emulators are not fully competing in national politics anymore. Instead, they are a retreating army, leaving behind Washington where their representatives work not to pass legislation and shape the national destiny but to sabotage the oppressor, throwing wrenches in the Obamacare works and otherwise trying to hobble the federal leviathan. Meanwhile, back home, the resisters are pulling away from national political culture and hunkering down against the winds of demographic change." Via Greg Sargent.

Gail Collins tries to solve the Post Office's budget problems, which are in great part the fault of Congress. Who'd have guessed?

Ben Protess & Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the New York Times: "Government authorities are planning to arrest two former JPMorgan Chase employees suspected of masking the size of a multibillion-dollar trading loss, a dramatic turn in a case that tarnished the reputation of the nation's biggest bank and spotlighted the perils of Wall Street risk-taking. The former employees, who worked in London, could be arrested in the coming days, according to people briefed on the matter. The action, the people said, would involve criminal fraud charges."

Democrats Make Lousy Businessmen

Gubernatorial Race

Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Polls show the candidates [for Virginia governor] are neck-and-neck in the increasingly nasty race. Analysts predict the next occupant of the Executive Mansion in Richmond will be whichever candidate is getting less negative press on Election Day, Nov. 5." The article concentrates of Terry McAuliffe's business practices & his efforts to pull political strings to advance his interests. Things did not work out well. ...

... Senate Race

David Halbfinger & Claire Miller of the New York Times: "Even as Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark continued to promote his year-old Internet start-up, Waywire, the company was racing to find a buyer because it had effectively stalled out, according to people aware of the efforts, and because it feared that his election to the United States Senate this fall would strip the moribund venture of its main asset: Mr. Booker himself."

Local News

In an effective, no-nonsense letter, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) tells San Diego Mayor & serial sex offender Bob Filner to resign:

As we fight in the Senate to stand up for the men and women in our military who are survivors of sexual assault, I have heard their stories, seen the anguish in their faces, listened to them talk about the pain that will always be with them. Let me be clear: The latest revelations regarding your behavior toward women recovering from sexual assault -- women who desperately need our help -- have shaken me to my core.