The Ledes

Tuesday, October 21, 2014.

New York Times: "The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims."

Guardian: "The US State Department says Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans being held in North Korea, has been released. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Fowle was home Tuesday after negotiators left Pyongyang. She said the US is still trying to free two other Americans, Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae."

New York Times: "Oscar de la Renta, the doyen of American fashion, whose career began in the 1950s in Franco’s Spain, sprawled across the better living rooms of Paris and New York, and who was the last survivor of that generation of bold, all-seeing tastemakers, died on Monday at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82."

New York Times: "Oscar Pistorius, the South African track star once seen as an emblem of triumph over adversity, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp." ...

     ... The Guardian is liveblogging the sentencing.

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, October 20, 2014.

New York Times: "At least one chapter of the Ebola saga neared a close Sunday, as most of the dozens of people who had direct or indirect contact here with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola, had been told by officials that they were no longer at risk of contracting the disease."

New York Times: "Escalating its assistance to Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State in the Syrian town of Kobani, American military aircraft on Sunday dropped ammunition, small arms and medical supplies to resupply the combatants, officials said."

New York Daily News: "Tennessee state Sen. Jim Summerville was arrested twice this weekend — just one month after he was arrested for public intoxication, police said. The outgoing Republican senator from Dickson, Tenn., has been charged with stalking and assault in separate incidents involving his neighbor, Lt. Todd Christian said." CW: Another fine representative of the people.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 21

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks to the Washington Post (audio only)

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to


Stephen Colbert describes his workday:

No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.



A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

Selina Gray, on right, saved Arlington House treasures during the Civil War.Michael Ruane of the Washington Post: "When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house. Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children."

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story.

Christopher Schmidt says, "On Oct 8th, I was flying my quadcopter at Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, [Massachusetts,] when a hawk decided he wasn't too happy with my invasion of his airspace:

... CW: Thanks to Julie L. for the link. So one way to get rid of those annoying drones that will soon be hovering in your air space is to take up falconry. (Since bringing down other people's drones may be illegal, blame the bird.)

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The Commentariat -- Oct. 14, 2014

Manny Fernandez, et al., of the New York Times: "The transmission of the Ebola virus to a nurse [in Dallas, Texas,] forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday to reconsider its approach to containing the disease, with state and federal officials re-examining whether equipment and procedures were adequate or too loosely followed, and whether more decontamination steps are necessary when health workers leave isolation units.

Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises. The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies." ...

... Joe Romm of Think Progress: "Last month was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880, NASA reported Sunday. January through September data have 2014 already at the third warmest on record. Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is taking aim at hottest year on record."

Elisabetta Povoledo & Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "In a marked shift in tone..., an assembly of Roman Catholic bishops convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican released a preliminary document on Monday calling for the church to welcome and accept gay people, unmarried couples and those who have divorced, as well as the children of these less traditional families. The bishops' report, issued midway through a landmark two-week meeting, does not change church doctrine or teaching, and will now be subjected to fierce debate and revision at the assembly." The Washington Post's initial story is linked in yesterday's News Ledes.

<>Cloak, Dagger & Greed. Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post: "The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program entwined with allegations of a sweetheart contract, fake badges and trails of destroyed evidence."

Thomas Ricks of the New America Foundation, in the New York Times, reviews James Risen's new book, which "sets out to portray the many seamy sides of the war on terror during the past 13 years." ...

     ... CW: If you don't have time to read the whole review, skip down to the part about Diane Rourk, who tried to warn officials about what she assumed was a rogue operation at the NSA. As someone who is not a fan of Ed Snowden's, I must eat a dainty helping of pan-seared crow here. Rourk did more or less what I would have recommended Snowden do, and the thanks she got for her efforts were not exactly heartfelt. She says "others who discussed their concerns about the N.S.A.'s constitutional transgressions received similarly harsh handling, one reason that Edward J. Snowden fled overseas when he leaked documents...."

... Lesley Stahl interviews James Risen:

     ... The transcript of the interview is here. ...

... This follow-up segment, in which Stahl interviews former NSA director Michael Hayden & former NYT executive editor Bill Kellerman, is worth watching, too. (Click on the video featuring a picture of Dubya.)...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in an interview released Sunday that she regrets not pushing the Times to publish a story by national security reporter James Risen about a reportedly flawed CIA effort to undermine Iran's nuclear program -- an account that unleashed a nearly seven-year drive by the U.S. government to force Risen to identify his sources. Risen elected to put the story in a book he wrote, 'State of War,' which was published in 2006, several years after the Times elected not to detail the saga.... Prosecutors have suggested in court filings that Risen's decision to publish the story despite the Times's refusal to do so undercuts his grounds for defying subpoenas demanding the identities of his confidential sources." ...

     ... Video of the interview, conducted by Lesley Stahl, is on the same Webpage as the Hayden-Keller interview. (Click on the video which features a picture of Abramson.)

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Not a Parody. Ira Stoll of Smarter Times: "For the price of $6,995, the New York Times is offering 13-day tours of Iran guided by Times journalist Elaine Sciolino. Promotional material for the tour on the Times website promises 'luxurious hotels' and describes Tehran as a city where 'the young and fashionable adopt a new trendy joie de vivre.' Also on the itinerary: 'a pleasant evening stroll around the colorful bazaars,' along with insights into the 'accomplishments' of the late Ayatollah Khomeini.... How fair will Times journalism be toward those calling for tougher Iran sanctions if the sanctions would force the newspaper to cancel its lucrative luxury tours of Iran? Why are Times journalists lending their reputations, such as they are, to promotional material that describes Iran as a kind of paradise -- "colorful bazaars," "trendy joie de vivre" -- while skipping over the reality of other parts of Iran, like, say, Evin Prison?" Via Scott Kaufman the Raw Story. Thanks to Bonita for the link.

Tom Boggioni of the Raw Story: "Police in Princeton New Jersey have been called in to enforce a mandatory quarantine imposed upon NBC Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman after she was spotted outside of her home despite agreeing to be quarantined following her exposure to the deadly Ebola virus. Snyderman's isolation came in the wake of one of her cameramen, Ashoka Mukpo, coming down with the highly infectious disease.... Mukpo is currently being treated in Omaha, Nebraska."

November Elections

Alec MacGillis of the New Republic: "Republicans need to call off the voting wars for their own good.... [Here's why:] 1. The voting wars are a costly, bureaucratic nightmare.... 2. The absence of voter fraud is becoming impossible to deny.... 3. The GOP's voter suppression efforts are motivating Democrats.... 4. Rand Paul says so." ...

... ** Ed Kilgore: "... I'd offer a counter-argument based on a simple premise: the War on Voting ... is closely integrated with contemporary conservative ideology.... The highly prominent Constitutional Conservative wing of the GOP considers democracy itself -- if it aims at or even allows erosion of the Ideal Governing Scheme ... established by the Founders -- as essentially un-American (This is a republic, not a democracy, they never tire of saying).... Anything that makes exercise of the franchise more difficult -- especially by those people who so poorly resemble the white yeoman farmer property owners of the early Republic -- is presumed to be a good idea in itself.... The kind of thinking that produced Mitt Romney's '47 percent' remarks is deeply entrenched in the GOP, and its root idea is that voting by people who benefit from an active federal government (and don't pay income taxes!) is corrupt.... For a large number of Republicans, 'voter fraud' means Democrats trading other people's money (their money) for votes...."

If you want to see what a brutal pro-Democratic ad looks like, here ya go:

... Sahil Kapur of TPM: "A new TV ad blames prominent Republicans for Ebola deaths, attacking them for championing spending cuts that have gone after emergency public health funding for containing disease outbreaks.... The spot was produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund, the same progressive group that has made controversial anti-Republican ads such as 'Granny Off the Cliff.' The group's spokeswoman, Erica Payne, said Monday the ad would air in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Dakota and Kansas -- all of which feature competitive Senate races that could swing the majority." ...

     ... CW Note: Yesterday I linked a Huffington Post story by Sam Stein that makes the same point about development of an Ebola vaccine: Dr. Francis Collins, director of the N.I.H. who does not specifically call out Republicans, say severe budget cuts are the reason the agency hasn't developed a vaccine. So, ya know, maybe that fear of Ebola Fox "News" has been fanning could hurt Republicans. ...

     ... PLUS. ABC Radio News: "Dr. Irwin Redlener, who directs the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, said..., 'You only need to see what has happened to funding of the federal Hospital Preparedness Program, which was providing $515 million a year in 2003 and 2004, now cut back to approximately $250 million this year.'... 'That is simply insufficient to make sure that U.S. hospitals are ready for a large-scale bio disaster.'" ...

     ... Joan McCarter of Daily Kos: "Meanwhile, John McCain and his buddies are screaming for an Ebola czar (which maybe our surgeon general could be, if we had a surgeon general which we don't because the NRA torpedoed his nomination). Think Ebola is terrifying enough to make them loosen the purse strings? Think again. They'd rather fearmonger on this issue than fix it." ...

     ... Winger Erik Erikson of Red State explains why the ad "reeks of desperation." The real reason the various federal agencies are not controlling Ebola is that they're wasting all their money studying "fat lesbians..., wives who calm down quickly..., [and] "gun violence on order of the President," etc.

Kentucky. Sam Youngman of the Lexington, Kentucky, Herald-Leader: "There were a few skirmishes, but little new ground was broken as U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes delivered their well-worn attack lines to each other's faces Monday night on statewide television." ...

... Danny Vinik of the New Republic highlights McConnell's claim -- the same one he's been making for months -- that he would repeal ObummerCare but keep the state's Kynect "Website." Uh-huh. Vinik calls out the media -- including that darling Luke Russert -- for comparing Grimes' stupid refusal to admit she voted for Obama to Mitt's outlandish pretense that the popular "Website" has nothing to do with the ACA: "Grimes' refusal to admit who she voted for is bad politics, and demonstrates a lack of political courage, but ultimately has little effect on how she would represent the state of Kentucky. But if McConnell got his way and repealed Obamacare while keeping Kynect as a website, it would cause 500,000 Kentuckians to lose their health insurance. That's not a gaffe[, Luke, you idiot]. It's a deceptive policy position. And the media's focus on Grimes is covering that up." ...

... CW: Here's one point on which Chuck Todd is half-right. Contra Chuck, it is the media's job to point out instances when politicians lie or mislead, as Mitch has been doing on ObamaCare & Kynect. On the other hand, politicians, when given such golden opportunities to rebut the lies & level with voters, as Grimes had in the debate forum, they have to do that effectively. She didn't. (Video here. The exchange begins at about 34:15 min. into the debate. Grimes gets to speak about 5 minutes later.) Grimes' effort to obfuscate her support for Obama & his healthcare plan is the reason she will -- and deserves to -- lose the election to Sen. Turtleman.  ...

... AND, speaking of Chuck:

New Hampshire. Kaili Joy Gray in Wonkette: "In video posted by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, as [former Massachusetts Sen. Scott] Brown walked through [a] sea of tailgaters [before a University of New Hampshire football game], there were shouts of 'F**k Jeanne Shaheen!' and 'Elizabeth Warren sucks!' referring to the Democrat from Massachusetts who unseated Brown from his Senate seat in that state in 2012. The language became even more graphic at points, with one man shouting 'F**k her right in the p***y'..., although it wasn't clear if he was referring to Shaheen or Warren. At 01:07 in the video, a man also appears to refer to Shaheen as a c**t." CW: It's not clear who the young men in the video are, but since Brown reportedly came to the event with a contingent of College Republicans, certainly some of the misogynistic Brown enthusiasts were College Republicans. Gray has posted the video. Brown looks as if he's having a swell time with his "frat bros" & doesn't object to their language, though it's possible he didn't hear it. Read Gray's whole post. ...

... Charles Pierce equates Brown's New Hampshire following with those Massachusetts Brown supporters who thought it would be fun to mock Warren (who believes she is part AmerIndian) with tomahawk chops & "Indian" war cries.

South Dakota. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "A race that most had thought was safely Republican is suddenly the focus of national attention, thanks to the surprisingly successful candidacy of former Senator Larry Pressler, a Republican who is running as an independent. Mr. Pressler ... has a staff of one and a small budget, but has a longstanding connection to South Dakota voters."

Texas. Jay Root of the Texas Tribune. "The pollster for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis defended her controversial TV ad Sunday, saying it's working as intended despite widespread criticism that using the image of an empty wheelchair in an attack ad on a disabled candidate was mean-spirited and unfair." ...

... John Cole of Balloon Juice: "There is nothing wrong, evil, mean, or out of bounds about that commercial, despite the fierce protestations of the sweater of the month club at Morning Joe and among the rest of our failed media. It's simply the truth. A tree fell on him. He was paralyzed. He sued and got millions. He has then spent the rest of his life doing everything he could to stop anyone else from receiving the same kind of treatment he had. It's no different from Ayn Rand receiving Social Security and Medicare and Paul Ryan using benefits to propel him to where he is now...." ...

... ** You will want to read Charles Pierce on Davis's spot against Abbott. He puts it in the context where it needs putting.

Presidential Election

Philip Rucker & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: Mitt "Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and now the tacit head of the Republican Party, visited Iowa as part of a feverish nationwide tour designed to help the GOP take control of the Senate. He has insisted that he is not interested in running for president a third time. But his friends said a flurry of behind-the-scenes activity is nudging him to more seriously consider it." ...

... Margaret Hartmann of New York: "In the past year Mitt Romney has gone from repeatedly insisting that he's not running for president in 2016 to at least pretending that he might be interested, but apparently he forgot to tell his wife about this strategy shift." ...

... Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, the Romneys are launching the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases, a research facility that will focus on finding cures and new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (known as ALS), Parkinson's disease and brain tumors.... On another matter that has been the subject of much political babbling lately -- a potential third run for president by her husband -- Ann Romney was happy to wave off the possibility. 'Done,' she said. 'Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done,' she said, referring to her five sons. 'Done. Done. Done.'" ...

     ... Hartmann sez, "Okay, we'll put her down as a 'maybe.'" ...

... Steve M. is a cynic: "I'd like the timing of this announcement [that the Romneys are inaugurating a research facility] to generate at least a tiny fraction of the skepticism occasioned by the timing of Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy. Because while it's true that this is an act of generosity it's also true that the Romneys are just loving this little comeback tour they're on, and bringing a veneer of high-mindedness to a lot of down-and-dirty campaigning." Read the whole post.

... CW: I'm not sure how much the Romneys are contributing to the center they're "launching." According to the L.A. Times story, "Ann Romney hopes to raise $50 million to lay the groundwork for the center's research." So the Romneys' contribution could be anywhere from (1) millions to (2) nothing but signing fundraising letters.

Beyond the Beltway

Alan Zagier & Jim Salter of the AP: "Pounding rain and tornado watches didn't deter hundreds of protesters Monday outside Ferguson police headquarters, where they stayed for almost four hours to mark how long 18-year-old Michael Brown's body was left in a street after he was fatally shot by police. Organizers of the four-day Ferguson October protests dubbed the day 'Moral Monday' and committed acts of civil disobedience across the St. Louis region. In addition to the initial march on Ferguson police headquarters, protesters blocked the entrance to a major employer, held a loud rally inside St. Louis City Hall, disrupted business at a Ferguson shopping center and three Wal-Mart stores and tried to crash a private fundraiser for a St. Louis County executive candidate where U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was scheduled to appear." ...

... AP: "St. Louis County police say civil rights activist Cornel West was among 13 people arrested during a protest at Ferguson police headquarters.... Police said arrests were made after protesters began bumping officers' shields and forced their way through the law enforcement skirmish line."

... Allen McDuffee of the Atlantic: "Over the course of the weekend in which hundreds -- and at times thousands -- of protesters for the most part demonstrated peacefully, clergy members called on the Ferguson and St. Louis police departments to 'repent' for [Michael] Brown's killing, as well as for other acts of violence and the structural racism that many in the community feel they face.... Arrests remained relatively low over the four days [of the protests]...."

Charles Pierce: "Is it just me, or does the fact that already it's been more than a month -- and $1.4 million a week, according to some reports -- and they still haven't found alleged cop-killer and survivalist fugitive Eric Frein down in Pennsylvania indicative of something more than Frein's finely honed woodchuck skillz?" ...

... CW: This story interests me because I have a cottage not all that far from the Poconos (I used to drive thru the Poconos regularly to get there), & it seems that every other year I was up there, I'd hear on the news that some convicted murderer/alleged cop-killer or similarly vile dangerous person had broken out of jail, was on the loose & had been sighted in the vicinity of my cottage. In one such Summer Manhunt Season, where the (alleged) cop-killer was spotted in every town anywhere near my cottage, I got home to Florida to find my husband watching the Manhunt Showdown on CNN; they cornered the guy & shot him dead not far from my place. I think maybe Manhunt Season is a sort of ghoulish "feature" of an Appalachian summer vacation.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that the United States and Russia had agreed to share more intelligence on the Islamic State, as he sought to lay the basis for improved cooperation with Moscow." ...

... Our Friends in Turkey. New York Times: "In the face of increasing international pressure, Turkey took decisive military action on Monday -- not against the Islamic State militants that Turkey's Western allies have urged it to fight, but rather against the Kurdish militant group that has been battling the Islamic State. Turkish warplanes struck positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the P.K.K., in southeastern Turkey late Monday. The group, long an enemy of the Turkish state, had put down its weapons last year to talk peace. But on Tuesday, Turkish officials said the Kurdish militants had attacked a military outpost, leading to the government's first airstrikes against the group in nearly two years."

Washington Post: "The Ebola virus is killing 70 percent of those infected, and there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in West Africa by Dec. 1, a top official with the World Health Organization said Tuesday."


The Commentariat -- Oct. 13, 2014

Emanuella Grinberg of CNN: "For the first time this year, Seattle and Minneapolis will recognize the second Monday in October as 'Indigenous People's Day.' The cities join a growing list of jurisdictions choosing to shift the holiday's focus from Christopher Columbus to the people he encountered in the New World and their modern-day descendants." ...

... Carrie Gibson of the Daily Beast: "Honoring Columbus is an idea whose time has past. That is not to say that we don't have plenty in our history that merits a day of celebration." ...

... Christopher Wanjek of Live Science debunks (October 2011) "the top 5 misconceptions about Columbus." ...

... CW: I'll bet you're wondering what the idiots at Fox "News" think about this. Here's a quote:

Christopher Columbus brought Western ideas, brought technology, brought the future to North America. He is somebody worth celebrating. -- Jonathan Hoenig ...

... Just as accurately as the Fox "News" accounting, Flip Wilson recounts Columbus's first crossing:

** E.J. Dionne: "Outside groups empowered by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision are using mass media in ways that turn off Americans to democracy, aggravate divisions between the political parties and heighten animosities among citizens of differing views. Studies of this year's political advertising show that outside groups are blanketing the airwaves with messages far more negative than those purveyed by the candidates themselves.... There is far too much complacency about big money's role in this year's campaigns, on the grounds that both sides have plenty of it.... Citizens United is deepening our divisions and turning more citizens into bystanders." CW: Thanks again, Supremes! Read the whole column. ...

... Chisun Lee, et al., of the Brennan Center for Justice: A Brennan Center "report collects abundant evidence of state and local election practice over the last four years, and concludes that weak regulation of coordination between candidates and the type of 'independent' spending groups Citizens United unleashed has allowed those groups to serve as de-facto arms of candidate campaigns. Since independent groups are not subject to many campaign finance laws, including spending limits, this effectively allows wealthy donors to circumvent those laws altogether." ...

... CW: Let's be clear here. The conservatives on the Supreme Court -- those high-falutin "independent" justices for life -- who are supposed to protect us from the craven hustlers in the other two branches of government, have in fact facilitated, or rather ordered, candidates for elected office to be even more craven hustlers. The Roberts Court is the first Supreme Court in my lifetime that has been blatantly anti-democratic & has purposefully undermined the Constitution those originalists & their "balls-&-strikes-calling" Ump-in-Chief are sworn to uphold. This isn't my "opinion"; it is supported by factual findings in the studies Dionne cites.

Robert Pear: "Federal officials say they have repeatedly criticized, and in many cases penalized, Medicare health plans for serious deficiencies, including the improper rejection of claims for medical services and unjustified limits on coverage of prescription drugs. The findings, cataloged in dozens of federal audit reports, come as millions of older Americans prepare to sign up for private health plans and prescription drug plans in Medicare's annual open enrollment period, which will begin on Wednesday and continue through Dec. 7."

Michelle Boots of Alaska Dispatch News: "A federal judge ruled Sunday that Alaska's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, paving the way for gay couples to begin marrying in the state for the first time. 'The court finds that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess wrote in an order in the case Hamby v. Parnell, released Sunday." Burgess is a George W. Bush appointee. ...

... Greg Abbott Explains the Facts of Life in a Legal Brief. Lauren McGaughy of the Houston Chronicle: "Attorney General Greg Abbott [-- the Republican nominee for governor --] says Texas' same-sex marriage ban should remain in place because legalizing it would do little or nothing to encourage heterosexual couples to get married and have children. Writing in a brief filed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, Abbott said....,

Texas's marriage laws are rationally related to the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage, Texas's marriage laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. Recognizing same-sex marriage does not advance this interest because same-sex unions do not result in pregnancy.

      ... CW: Yeah, I thought so. Single women get pregnant & don't marry their partners because the gays. The stupidity of this argument alone should convince judges to knock down marriage equality bans. ...

Texas's liberal gun laws are rationally related to the State's interest in reducing unplanned out-of-wedlock births. By channeling procreative heterosexual intercourse into marriage via shotgun weddings, Texas's gun laws reduce unplanned out-of-wedlock births and the costs that those births impose on society. -- Constant Weader, channeling Greg Abbott

Margaret Hartmann of New York: "A day after a Dallas nurse became the second person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, it's still unclear how she contracted the disease ... and the medical community has not taken kindly to the CDC's suggestion that she was somehow at fault. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, said she was following 'full CDC precautions,' including wearing a gown, gloves, and a mask, while caring for [Ebola victim Thomas] Duncan, who died Wednesday. However, Dr. Thomas Frieden, who leads the CDC, said on Face the Nation that the fact that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital hasn't identified what went wrong "is concerning because clearly there was a breach in protocol. The comment exacerbated concerns about whether U.S. hospitals are prepared to handle Ebola patients, and whether the problem lies with the recommended procedures, or hospital workers failing to implement them."

Linda Stasi of the New York Daily News: "According to a new national poll, the more educated you are, the less you fear an Ebola outbreak in a major U.S. city, while the less educated, the greater the fear. Well that's what the latest Reason-Rupe national poll shows anyway, along with the fact that Tea Partiers fear the coming Ebola apocalypse more than Democrats and Republicans." ...

... "The Fear Equation." Michael Specter of the New Yorker: "Our response to pandemics -- whether SARS, avian influenza, MERS, or Ebola -- has become predictable. First, there is the panic. Then, as the pandemic ebbs, we forget. We can't afford to do either. This epidemic won't be over soon, but that is even more reason to focus on what works. ...

     ... CW: Here's something I wondered about, & Specter has the answer: "Rob Carlson..., who has written widely about genetic engineering and vaccine development, says, 'We could have pushed the development of a synthetic Ebola vaccine a decade ago. We had the skills, but we chose not to pursue it. Why? Because we weren't the people getting sick.'" ...

<>Also another case of Ebola was discovered in Texas, prompting an immediate and total ban on travel to and from the Lone Star state. Kidding! We only yap about banning travel to and from places as recommended by the John Bolton foreign policy think tank wizards at Fox News. -- Driftglass

The Tea Party Economy. Paul Krugman: "The world economy appears to be stumbling.... Growth is stalling, and the specter of deflation looms.... Historically, the solution to high levels of debt has often involved writing off and forgiving much of that debt.... [But now] the policy response to a crisis of excessive debt has, in effect, been a demand that debtors pay off their debts in full.... That ... doesn't work."

... Exploding Toasters! Before the [financial] crash, one in five mortgages that were being marketed by the biggest financial institutions were exploding and costing people their homes. No one would permit toasters to be sold when one in five exploded and burned down somebody's house. But they were selling mortgages like that and every regulator knew about it. -- Elizabeth Warren, in an interview with Thomas Frank. Thanks to James S. for the link.

Krugman elaborates on his Rolling Stone column, linked in the Commentariat last week:

CW: Apropos of a discussion Akhilleus & I had in the Comments section last week ...

... Jason Easley of Politics USA: "

Sen. Bernie Sanders knocked John McCain off of his usual Sunday morning warmongering turf by following a typical McCain appearance on CNN State Of The Union with a fact laced shredding of McCain's pro-war propaganda.... It was a rare first to see CNN or any other network have a guest on to rebut McCain's constant Obama bashing and calls for military acceleration":

... Martin Longman of the Washington Monthly: "In general, people with political views similar to Bernie Sanders do not get within half a mile of a Sunday morning microphone [because the Sunday show bookers don't invite them].... Whatever the cause of this breakthrough, it was a welcome development. John McCain's views on foreign policy are radical and represent a lunatic fringe. You'd never know it if all you did is watch teevee, but Sanders' views are much more mainstream." ...

... Charles Pierce reviews what-all else you missed on the Sunday shows.

Kirk Semple & Tim Arango of the New York Times: "Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P.K.K..., commanders say their halting, nine-year-old peace process with the Turkish government and, indeed, the future of the region, will turn on the battle for Kobani and on Turkey's response. If Turkey does not help the embattled Kurdish forces in Kobani, the commanders say, they will break off peace talks and resume their guerrilla war within Turkey, plunging yet another country in the region into armed conflict.... Despite increased pressure from the United States and pleas from outgunned Kurdish fighters in Kobani, Turkey has refused to deploy its military against the Islamic State..., or to open the border to allow reinforcements, weapons and supplies to reach the town. In a shift, though, Turkey will allow American and coalition troops to use its bases...." (See link in yesterday's News Ledes on this last point.) ...

... Griff Witte of the Washington Post: Great Britain's "most prominent propagandist for the Islamic State [-- Anjem Choudary --] ... and other enablers remain free to spread their seductively messianic ideology on the streets of the United Kingdom and globally, through the Internet. They do so by taking advantage of the very rights they condemn as un-Islamic.... Counterterrorism officials and experts say Choudary and the many shadowy groups he has fronted have directly contributed to the indoctrination of dozens of people who have gone on to plan or commit attacks in the United Kingdom. His network, they say, has also become a vital facilitator in the flow of some of the thousands of Europeans who have swarmed to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, and who could return to carry out attacks in the West...."

November Elections

Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "Republican allies are pumping millions of dollars into a final swarm of television ads in the run-up to Election Day.... But much of the advertising by outside groups is coming later -- and at a much steeper cost -- than many on the right had hoped, largely because top conservative donors were slow to open their checkbooks. That foot-dragging has forced super PACs and politically active nonprofit groups to pay a huge premium for last-minute ad buys, and it shows the extent to which their top financiers have dictated the timing and strategy of outside groups this year."

Jonathan Ellis of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader: "The political world outside of South Dakota learned some stunning news last week: [Republican nominee] Mike Rounds, the guy everybody assumed would be the next senator from South Dakota, actually has been running a campaign more suited for sheriff of Mayberry County than U.S. Senate.... Even last spring, national Republicans were growing increasingly alarmed by Rounds' anemic fundraising.... Rounds failed to raise the resources necessary to defend himself in the cutthroat world of U.S. Senate campaigns, where millions of dollars can be beamed into a race with the flip of a switch." ...

... Martin Longman: "What's still unclear is if the DSCC is primarily concerned with electing their candidate, Rick Weiland, or with electing independent candidate, Larry Pressler. Either way, they hope that Mike Rounds is truly roadkill because that will save them a senate seat that they had every reason to believe was lost."

Danny Vinik of the New Republic rips the Denver Post's endorsement of winger Cory Gardner: "The paper & Cory Gardner disagree on almost every issue." ...

... Luke Brinker of Salon: "Denver Post submits superb entry for most asinine endorsement of 2014 cycle. The paper bemoans Washington gridlock -- and endorses a shutdown-supporting Tea Partier to solve it!"

Jason Zengerle in the New Republic assesses Alison Grimes' (D for Dismal) campaign against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "So preoccupied with not making mistakes, and demonizing the opponent, the modern political campaign often forgets what would seemingly be its most important task: to make an affirmative case for its candidate." Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link.

James Hohmann of Politico: In the Michigan gubernatorial race, the candidates debate. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has a small lead over Democrat Mark Schauer.

The Washington Post Editors endorse Democrat Anthony Brown for governor of Maryland as the lesser of two duds.

News Ledes

Guardian: "MPs including the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, have voted to recognise Palestine as a state in a symbolic move that will unnerve Israel by suggesting that it is losing a wider battle for public opinion in Britain. The vote of 274 to 12, a majority of 262, on a backbench motion has no practical impact on British government policy and ministers were instructed not to vote.

** Huffington Post: "Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has 'slowed down' research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe. 'NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. 'Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.'" CW: Thanks, GOP!

New York Times: "A day after American officials said Turkey had agreed to allow its air bases for operations against the Islamic State, which they described as a deal that represented a breakthrough in tense negotiations, Turkish officials on Monday said there was no deal yet, and that talks were still underway."

Washington Post: "Top clergy considering whether Catholicism must change its approach to sex and marriage on Monday ... [said] the Church must 'turn respectfully' to non-traditional relationships -- including unmarried and same-gender couples -- and 'appreciate the positive values' those unions may have. The comments came in a document cardinals prepared as a sum-up of what's happened during the first half of the two-week long 'synod' Pope Francis had called."

AP: "French economist Jean Tirole won the Nobel prize for economics Monday for research on market power and regulation. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Tirole for clarifying 'how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms.'"

Boston Globe: "A prosecution witness could testify that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev knew his older brother was involved in a triple homicide in Waltham in 2011, according to a defense motion filed in federal court Friday. Prosecutors made the revelation of the existence of the witness in a letter in August, according to Friday's filing, which asked for a variety of information from prosecutors, including legible copies of documents from the Russian government and information and evidence related to the Waltham killings. The case remains open, even after a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly confessed and implicated Tamerlan in the killings."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Hundreds of protesters marched to the St. Louis University campus in the heart of the city early today and announced that they planned to stay. The protest culminated at the private school's Midtown campus just west of Grand Boulevard shortly before 2 a.m. after a march that started near the site where a teenager was fatally shot five days earlier by a city police officer. Police say the teenager fired at the officer first."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Hundreds of people turned out Sunday night for an interfaith service where clergy urged a wider call for reforms in response to police violence against minorities. Generational divides became apparent during the three hours that people spoke at Chaifetz Arena, at St. Louis University. At times, the crowd chanted calls for younger speakers -- demanding instead to hear the people who've been on the streets of Ferguson since the Aug. 9 police shooting of Michael Brown."


The Commentariat -- Oct. 12, 2014

Robert O'Harrow & Steven Rich of the Washington Post: "Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.... Brad Cates, a former director of asset forfeiture programs at the Justice Department, said the spending identified by The Post suggests police are using Equitable Sharing as 'a free floating slush fund.' Cates, who oversaw the program while at Justice from 1985 to 1989, said it has enabled police to sidestep the traditional budget process, in which elected leaders create law enforcement spending priorities."

The Proliferation of Dark Money:

Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama on Friday officially set aside 346,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument, a move to link more communities east of Los Angeles with wild places in their own backyards. 'This is an issue of social justice, because it's not enough to have this awesome natural wonder within your sight -- you have to be able to access it,' Obama said at a ceremony attended by more than 150 people at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas":

... CW: We now have a president who sees the designation of a national monument/wilderness area near a vast urban area as an instrument of social justice. We used to have a president who saw public lands as resources to be exploited by miners, loggers & ranchers. Elections matter.

Daniel Lippman of Politico: "N.S.A. leaker Edward Snowden on Saturday defended his disclosure of reams of classified information and said his actions were worth fleeing his seemingly idyllic life in Hawaii and ending up in hiding in Russia, where he was joined by his girlfriend in July.... But he also suggested that if he had been a journalist handling the leaked documents, he would have been more conservative than some of the reporters who wrote about the surveillance programs." ....

... The New Yorker has video of Jane Mayer's full interview of Ed Snowden here. Also see Infotainment.

The New York Times publishes an excerpt from Times reporter James Risen's new book, in which Paul Bremer, whom George W. Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his stellar work in Iraq, defends the way he lost billions of dollars to thieves during the course of his stellar work.

Peggy Noonan doesn't like Leon Panetta's book because he trashes Republicans. Here's some text, part of which you can copy & paste into a search engine if you want to read Our Lady of the Daiquiri's random thoughts:

He is catty about David Petraeus -- his office is 'a shrine ... to himself.' Mr. Panetta subtly, deftly, with a winning oh-goshness, takes a whole lot of credit for the bin Laden raid. This section is accompanied by unctuous compliments for Mr. Obama, whose chief brilliance appears to be that he listened to Mr. Panetta. 'Worthy Fights' is highly self-regarding even for a Washington book.

Carrie Brown of Politico: "The Clinton White House tried just about everything to pull itself through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. A trove of documents released Friday by the Clinton Presidential Library sheds light on the White House's internal machinations as it coped with the scandal -- from efforts to discredit rivals and attack the media to attempts to boost West Wing spirits by sharing supportive op-eds or the unfavorable poll numbers for special prosecutor Kenneth Starr."

God News

Steve Bittenbender of Reuters: "The developer of a Noah's Ark-based theme park in Kentucky said on Wednesday he would fight for his religious rights after state officials warned he could lose millions in potential tax credits if he hires only people who believe in the biblical flood." ...

... Simon Brown in Americans United: "... the ministry claims it has a First Amendment right to a tax break. You read that right. These guys believe they have a constitutional right to public support." Both articles via Steve Benen.

Michael Paulson of the New York Times: The "Mass mob -- the latest trend in Rust Belt Catholicism -- which is part heritage tour and part mixer (crudités in the fellowship hall followed the service) ... is bringing thousands of suburban Catholics to visit the struggling, and in some cases closed, urban churches of their parents and grandparents.... Named after flash mobs ... Mass mobs are ... fueled by social media, [and] they are doing best around Lake Erie...."

Philip Pullella of Reuters: "A leading Vatican cardinal said on Thursday the Roman Catholic Church will never bless gay marriage, wading into a controversy over the issue in Italy and other countries. On Tuesday, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano ordered mayors to stop recognizing the validity of gay marriages performed outside the country, prompting protests from rights groups and local officials."

November Elections

Martin Longman of the Washington Monthly: "... the news networks have some kind of civic responsibility to cover the elections, and I don&'t think they've been doing an adequate job of it. This isn't the primary reason that interest in the elections is low, but it's a significant contributing factor."

Iowa. Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register: "Iowa's blitzkrieg U.S. Senate race is now a 1-point contest: Republican Joni Ernst is at 47 percent, and Democrat Bruce Braley is right at her heels at 46 percent with likely voters, a new Iowa Poll shows. As armies of Democratic activists go door to door urging Iowans to fill out absentee ballots, they're piling up votes for Braley, who was 6 points down just two weeks ago."

Kansas. Ken Vogel & Tarini Parti of Politico: "A small group of free-spending wildcard donors, including investment tycoons Peter Ackerman and John Burbank, are rallying to support Greg Orman's independent Senate campaign in Kansas. Michael Bloomberg and a Jonathan Soros-backed group are also considering entering the campaign on Orman's behalf.... It's a dramatic twist for a candidate who staunchly opposes big money in politics but has been badly outspent on the airwaves after surging to a surprise lead over Republican Sen. Pat Roberts." ...

... Karoli of Crooks & Liars Is Tired of Your Kvetching: "For six years I've listened to people on all sides of the debate complain because 'Obama failed to shut down Guantanamo' and for six years I've said it was Congress, not Obama." Karoli cites Sen. Pat Roberts' boast that he kept President Obama from sending Guantanamo prisoners to Leavenworth & other U.S. mainland prison facilities. As the Hill noted in its report on Roberts' boast that he would stop Obama again, "Obama ordered the closure of the prison camp as one of his first acts as president, but the Congress overrode him by prohibiting the use of federal funds to transfer detainees."

Texas. Steve M. on Wendy Davis's "nasty" campaign ad attacking her gubernatorial opponent Greg Abbott. No, it isn't the nastiest campaign ad you'll ever see. ...

... Martin Longman: "Admittedly, the advertisement is a personal attack, as it focuses on Greg Abbott's disability. But it's not about his sex life. It's not about his college transcripts or the provenance of his birth certificate. It doesn't attack his wife or children. It's about a matter of law and policy, and it's about Greg Abbott taking advantage of the law to redress an injustice that was done to himself and then denying that same remedy to other Texans who find themselves in the same or similar situations."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Turkey will allow American and coalition troops to use its bases, including a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border, for operations against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, Defense Department officials said Sunday."

New York Times: "A health care worker here who helped treat the Liberian man who died last week of the Ebola virus has tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, state health officials said Sunday." ...

     ... Dallas Morning News Update: "A Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital health care worker in Dallas who had 'extensive contact' with the first Ebola patient to die in the United States has contracted the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta confirmed the news Sunday afternoon after an official test.... [She is] the first person to contract the disease in the United States. The director for the [CDC] ... said Sunday that the infection in the health care worker, who was not on the organization's watch list for people who had contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, resulted from a 'breach in protocol.'" But they don't know precisely what the "breach" was.


The Commentariat -- Oct. 11, 2014

Carol Lee & Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal: "The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said. Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S." Firewalled. Copy part of the lede & paste into a Google search box. ...

... Steve M.: "This is where the entire heartland -- certainly the entire white heartland -- will turn into a bloc of seal-the-borders crazies. To heartlanders, it's going to feel like a border invasion...." ...

... Oh, Surely You Exaggerate, Steve. Let's Hear from the Heartland....

... Alexander Bolton of the Hill: "Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) on Friday vowed to block all legislation in the Senate with a prolonged filibuster if President Obama tries to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States.... 'I stopped him once from trying to send a Gitmo terrorist to Leavenworth. I shall do it again, I shall do it again and if he tries it again I will shut down the Senate,; Roberts said, referring to the military prison located sixty miles east of his campaign headquarters in Topeka where he spoke to campaign volunteers."

Liz Sly of the Washington Post: "The U.S.-led air war in Syria has gotten off to a rocky start, with even the Syrian rebel groups closest to the United States turning against it, U.S. ally Turkey refusing to contribute and the plight of a beleaguered Kurdish town exposing the limitations of the strategy."

Eli Lake of the Daily Beast: "Congress has quietly begun reviewing every U.S. government intelligence collection program. It's got the potential to trigger the next big fight between The Hill and Obama's spies." ...

... Jane Mayer of the New Yorker will interview Ed Snowden today, beginning at 1:00 pm ET. You can watch the interview live here. The New Yorker will also livestream its virtual interview of Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, beginning at 4:00 pm ET.

Ryan Gabrielson, et al., of ProPublica: "Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts -- 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings. The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police."

Aaron Kessler of the New York Times: "In his second day on the witness stand, Ben S. Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, recounted his extreme reluctance to lend money to the American International Group in the summer of 2008, even as financial markets were weakening. 'We very, very much did not want to make a loan of this sort,' Mr. Bernanke said. He added that assisting an insurance company like A.I.G. could give an incentive to other nonbank companies to look to the Fed for help instead of the private sector."

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "The Supreme Court on Friday allowed same-sex marriages to proceed in Idaho, lifting a temporary stay issued two days earlier by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.... Justice Kennedy, the member of the court responsible for hearing emergency applications from the Ninth Circuit, entered a temporary stay on Wednesday morning on very short notice after a last-minute request from officials in Idaho. He acted so quickly that he included Nevada in his order. A few hours later, Justice Kennedy issued a revised order, limiting the stay to Idaho." ...

... Brad Cooper of the Kansas City Star: "The constitutional assault on same-sex marriage bans zeroed in on Kansas on Friday with a new legal challenge that could clear the way for gay marriage in the state. Two lesbian couples -- one from Lecompton and another from Wichita -- challenged the Kansas ban in federal court Friday afternoon.... The lawsuit by the two couples comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for same-sex couples to wed in Kansas when it let stand lower court rulings that found bans on their marriages unconstitutional. While the court did not rule on the Kansas law, it kept in place an appeals court ruling [against the ban] that would be binding if a challenge were brought against the state law.... Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt [R] ... spent Friday in state court trying to stop Johnson County from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples."

Matt Volz & Matthew Brown of the AP: "The U.S. Army War College revoked Democratic Sen. John Walsh's master's degree after an investigation completed Friday concluded that he plagiarized a research paper required to graduate. The college assigned an academic review board to the probe in August after The New York Times published a story showing Walsh borrowed heavily from other sources for the paper he wrote in 2007. Walsh was pursuing a master of strategic studies degree at age 47, a year before he became Montana's adjutant general overseeing the state National Guard."

Ben Jacobs of the Daily Beast: "On Friday, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library released its last batch of previously restricted documents from the 42nd president's administration. The latest document dump included details about Monica Lewinsky's tenure as a White House intern, a personal apology from Keith Olbermann to Clinton about his role covering the scandal, as well the White House's exasperation with Jimmy Carter." Jacobs highlights "five of the biggest and most interesting revelations." A list of the documents, with links, is here.

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "In the growing crop of tell-all memoirs by former Obama administration officials including [Leon Panetta,] Robert M. Gates and Timothy F. Geithner, [Hillary] Clinton has emerged largely unscathed -- proof that in Washington, it is easier to kick a sitting second-term president than a potential future one." When Panetta headed the CIA, "he had a shouting match with ... Clinton about who had ultimate authority over drone strikes in Pakistan.... It does not appear in Mr. Panetta's just-published book, even though it seems tailor-made for a volume called 'Worthy Fights.'"

Mike McIntire & Walt Bogdanich of the New York Times: "... an examination by The New York Times of police and court records, along with interviews with crime witnesses, has found that ... [Tallahassee] police on numerous occasions have soft-pedaled allegations of wrongdoing by [F.S.U.] Seminoles football players. From criminal mischief and motor-vehicle theft to domestic violence, arrests have been avoided, investigations have stalled and players have escaped serious consequences." ...

... Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times: "In the midst of an investigation by the federal government and intense scrutiny from multiple attorneys, Florida State University sent a letter to supporters outlining its actions in the Jameis Winston sexual assault case." The letter is here. Article includes response from attorneys of the woman who accused Winston of sexual assault in late 2012.

November Elections

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "More than half of the general election advertising aired by outside groups in the battle for control of Congress has come from organizations that disclose little or nothing about their donors, a flood of secret money that is now at the center of a debate over the line between free speech and corruption. The advertising, which has overwhelmingly benefited Republican candidates, is largely paid for by nonprofit groups and trade associations, some of which are set up with the purpose of shielding from public scrutiny the wealthy individuals and corporations that contribute."

California. Chris Frates & Scott Zamost of CNN: "Charges of sexual misconduct, plagiarism and burglary have pitted a former staffer against a high-profile congressional candidate just weeks before the midterm elections. The drama is unfolding in a city that just weathered a sexual harassment scandal ending the career of its Democratic mayor. The latest accusations by a former campaign aide could derail the career of up-and-coming Republican Carl DeMaio.... This is not the first time DeMaio has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior."

Colorado. CW: Apparently the Denver Post editorial board is comprised of insane people. The board has endorsed right-wing extremist Rep. Cory Gardner over Sen. Mark Udall, who has been an excellent senator. If your read their endorsement, it is one long fairy tale about how Gardner will be bipartisan, blah-blah. Sickening. (The Post endorsed Udall in 2008 & President Obama in 2008 & 2012. It also endorsed Democrat Michael Bennet in 2010.) ...

... If you're wondering how much of a wingnut Gardner is, Luke Brinker of Salon (Sept. 25) ran down some of items on Gardner's "scary agenda." The Post editors not only fail to reveal any of Gardner's wildassed policy prescriptions in their endorsement, one wonders if they are even aware of them. These editors not only don't report the crazy, they endorse it.

Florida. Brendan Farrington of the AP: "Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Republican-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist agreed during a debate Friday that Ebola would be bad for Florida -- and they disagreed about nearly everything else. In a contentious debate that reflected the negative tone of the campaign, Scott and Crist took opposite sides on issues including health care, the minimum wage, Cuba policy, gay marriage and medical marijuana." There are links to video of the debate here. ...

... The Tampa Bay Times editors endorse Charlie Crist for governor.

Kentucky. CW: This is funny. I was all set to watch "40 painful seconds of Alison Lundergan Grimes refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama," as advertised in the Washington Post. The Post picked up the video from the Republican party, which "took no time at all ... to clip the non-answer and put it online." But click on the video & what do you get? A message that says, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Gannett Co., Inc." Better check those copyright laws next time, Mitch. I will say that, generally speaking, Grimes is painful to watch.

New Jersey. Michael Symons of New Jersey "Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bell said he is behind in the polls by double digits because single mothers are 'wed' to the social benefits like food stamps that Democrats hand out.... Bell is seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Cory Booker in the November election. Booker, who won a special election last year, is seeking a full, six-year term. Bell's recent comments are 'misogynistic, despicable,' said Booker campaign spokeswoman Julie Roginsky." Real Clear Politics' average has Booker over Bell by 12.2 percent.

South Dakota. Jake Sherman of Politico: "Larry Pressler, who is running for Senate in South Dakota as an independent, has his principal residence in Washington, according to District of Columbia tax records. Pressler, who served as a Republican in Congress from 1975 to 1997, and his wife receive the homestead deduction, a generous tax break meant for people who use their D.C. home as their 'principal residence,' according to the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue. The tax break reduces a property's 'assessed value by $70,200 prior to computing the yearly tax liability,' the District says." ...

... Here's the Democratic Senate candidate:

Texas. Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "... the Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, who is the Republican nominee for governor, said he would ask the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn the [district] decision [to block Texas's voter ID law]. On Friday, he asked Judge Ramos to clarify whether the ruling would apply to next month's election. The Fifth Circuit court, based in New Orleans, is known as one of the country's most conservative." ...

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Wendy Davis [D] is running one of the nastiest campaign ads you will ever see.... [The] This ad is the sort of highly risky gambit you only see from a long-shot campaign. And, as often as not, these sorts of 'Hail Marys' fail miserably." Here's the ad:

... Mark Barabak of the Los Angeles Times: "... many political analysts called the TV spot a monumental blunder, one of several bumps that have plagued Davis' campaign since the Fort Worth lawmaker announced her gubernatorial candidacy last October." ...

... CW: Neither the WashPo nor the L.A. Times mentions that Abbott has exploited his disability in his own campaign ad:

Virginia. Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post: "The son of a former Virginia state senator has told federal investigators that U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner discussed the possibility of several jobs, including a federal judgeship, for the senator's daughter in an effort to dissuade him from quitting the evenly divided state Senate. Warner was part of a string of high-powered Virginia Democrats who in early June pressed then-state senator Phillip P. Puckett not to go through with plans to give up his seat in the middle of a bitterly partisan battle over health care." Warner is running for re-election to the Senate against vile Republican Ed Gillespie. Warner is up by an average of 11 points.

Wisconsin. Jason Stein & Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "In their first meeting Friday, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke drew many sharp contrasts but much less blood as they debated their positions on jobs, the minimum wage and abortion. The most pointed attack of the evening came from Burke, who accused Walker of signing a mining bill last year to benefit a company that put $700,000 into an outside group that backed him in the 2012 recall." You can watch the full debate here. ...

... Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel: "Just 14 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin's voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election, five appeals court judges Friday issued a blistering opinion calling allegations of voter impersonation fraud 'a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.' '"Some of the "evidence" of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid, such as the nonexistent buses that according to the "True the Vote" movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places,' wrote appeals Judge Richard A. Posner. Posner, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was joined by four others in his dissenting opinion. The five other judges on the court did not spell out their views on the ID requirement. The latest ruling had no immediate practical effect, and the voter ID law remains blocked for the election." ...

... BUT. Erik Eckholm: "Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican, who signed the bill into law and had been expected to benefit from it in his race against the Democratic candidate, Mary Burke, expressed confidence [same article as linked above re: Texas's voter ID law] that it would eventually be upheld. The state attorney general, J. B. Van Hollen, said without offering details, 'We will be exploring alternatives to address the court's concern and have voter ID on Election Day.'" CW: Yeah, nullifying the Supremes would be cool, J.B. Why not consult Mike Huckabee? I'll bet he's got some great legal advice. ...

... Presidential Race

Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch: Mike Huckabee threatened "to leave the Republican Party if the GOP does not take a stand against the Supreme Court's decision ... not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in several states.... Huckabee declared that 'I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue,' warning that by doing so the GOP will 'guarantee they're going to lose every election in the future.' ... I'm gone,' Huckabee warned. 'I'll become an independent. I'll start finding people that have guts to stand. I'm tired of this.'" ...

... The most recent poll of Iowa Republicans, conducted by CNN about a month ago, had Huckabee ahead of all other potential presidential candidates. ...

... Steve Benen: "Huckabee's ultimatum reinforces a Republican Party with an awkward dilemma. If the GOP quietly moves towards the mainstream on social issues, it alienates a significant part of the party's base. If Republicans toe the far-right line on the culture war, the GOP will continue to shrink, pushing away younger voters and a mainstream that's increasingly respectful of diversity. To be sure, this has long been a challenge for Republicans, but with the party's demographic challenges becoming more acute, and far-right voices like Huckabee's growing louder, GOP leaders are left with no good options."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Seven New Jersey teenagers were charged on Friday in connection with a series of sexual assaults in a hazing scandal that prompted a high school to cancel the rest of its football season, the authorities said. Six of the teenagers were taken into custody on Friday evening on charges stemming from attacks on four students in four separate encounters at Sayreville War Memorial High School, in Parlin, Andrew Carey, the Middlesex County prosecutor, said in a joint statement with Chief John Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department. The seventh teenager was being sought by the police, the officials said." ...

     ... has links to numerous stories related to the hazings here.

Washington Post: "Demanding justice for Michael Brown, more than a thousand people marched through downtown St. Louis Saturday morning as part of a 'weekend of resistance.' Chanting 'hands up don't shoot' and 'no justice, no peace,' they marched about a mile through the heart of downtown toward the famed Arch." ...

... The St. Louis Post-Dispatch story puts the number of marchers in the "thousands."