The Wires

Hollywood Reporter: "Michael Wolff's controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television. Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project."

New York Times: "CBS said on Tuesday that it had chosen [John] Dickerson, 49, to replace Charlie Rose as the third co-host of “CBS This Morning,” a spot left empty since Mr. Rose was fired in November after allegations of sexual harassment. Mr. Dickerson is to join the lineup of Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, who have carved a niche as a relatively serious, news-driven morning team. Mr. Dickerson — whose mother, Nancy Dickerson, became in 1960 the first female correspondent at CBS News — plans to move to New York and leave 'Face the Nation,' which he joined in 2015. CBS has not yet chosen his successor, effectively setting off a horse race at the network for one of television’s most influential political roles."

Oprah Gives Moving Speech, Celebrities Nominate Her for President. For full coverage of the Golden Globe awards, the Los Angeles Times has a pageful of blurbs & links.

Medlar's Amazing Sports Report (Is about Sports!):

New York Times: "Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota [executed] ... what would prove to be the critical play of the Titans’ shocking 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an N.F.L. wild-card playoff game on Saturday.... [The Titans were] trailing by 18 points in the third quarter..., i and as Mariota scrambled toward the line of scrimmage, he appeared to throw the ball away.... But when Darrelle Revis of the Chiefs batted the pass back toward Mariota, the quarterback snagged it out of the air. And ... Mariota sprinted forward for a touchdown that went into the books as a 6-yard pass from Mariota to Mariota."

New York Times: "Hoda Kotb, a longtime NBC News correspondent, will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC’s flagship morning program, 'Today,' the network said on Tuesday. Ms. Kotb (pronounced COT-bee) had replaced Mr. Lauer on an interim basis since he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. The appointment is the first time that two women will be the program’s official main hosts; 'Today' has an overwhelmingly female audience and is the network’s most profitable franchise. The decision signals a turning point of sorts for NBC: In addition to the Lauer scandal, the network also reviewed 2005 footage from an NBC-owned show in which President Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia but was beaten to publication by The Washington Post, and passed on an exposé of [Harvey] Weinstein by an MSNBC contributor." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: I forgot this part of the tape saga: that NBC suits sat on it until someone at the "Today" show leaked it to David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post.


Here's one of the film's trailers:

So finally they called me up because it got so late, and the argument got so tense, and said you're going to have to decide this. And I said, well, why do we have to do it right away? The Times took three months. And they - the editors all got on the phone. And the businesspeople were on the other phone saying wait a day. The editors were saying we mustn't wait a day. Everybody knows we have these papers. And we have to maintain the momentum that was stopped when the Times was enjoined. And it's very important. People have their eyes on us. And we have to publish.... And finally after talking to both sides, I asked my colleague Fritz Beebe what he would do. And he was a lawyer. And he said, I guess I would not. And that made it hard but not impossible. He said it in such a way that I thought he's leaving it up to me. And I can do this. And so I said let's go. Let's publish. And I hung up because I was so freaked out by having had to make that decision so fast. -- Katherine Graham, on her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, in an interview, 1997 ...

... Terry Gross of NPR interviewed Katherine Graham in 1997 about her 1971 decision to publish the Pentagon papers -- and other things. Graham died in 2001. Audio & transcript. Via David Von Drehle of the Washington Post.

Guardian: Britain's "Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend Meghan Markle in spring next year, Clarence House has announced. 'His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle,' it said in a statement on Monday."


The full Neiman's Christmas book is here, with some items costing less than $35K.

Constant Comments


Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. Des MacHale (often misattributed to H. L. Mencken)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling


The Commentariat -- December 10

President Obama's Weekly Address (the transcript is here):

Via Salon.Rebecca Traister of Salon Is My Hero of the Day: "... as an American, I think it is important for my president not to turn to paternalistic claptrap and enfeebling references to the imagined ineptitude and irresponsibility of his daughters – and young women around the country – to justify a curtailment of access to medically safe contraceptives. The notion that in aggressively conscribing women’s abilities to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy Obama is just laying down some Olde Fashioned Dad Sense diminishes an issue of gender equality, sexual health and medical access. Recasting this debate as an episode of 'Father Knows Best' reaffirms hoary attitudes about young women and sex that had their repressive heyday in the era whence that program sprang." ...

... Akiba Solomon of Color Lines: "I can count four ways this decision sucks for colored girls who have considered ‘the morning after pill’ when their first-line birth control wasn’t enough." ...

... Katha Pollitt of The Nation: "Who died and made Barack Obama daddy in charge of teenage girls? Would he really rather that Sasha and Malia get pregnant rather than buy Plan B One-Step at CVS? And excuse me, Mr. President, thanks to your HHS, acquiring Plan B is prescription-only not just for 11-year-olds but for the 30 percent of teenage girls between 15 and 17 who are sexually active, and is a cumbersome process for all women, who have to ask a pharmacist for it and, as many news stories have reported, be subjected to fundamentalist harangues and objections. Apparently, it’s okay with you if Michelle is treated like a sixth-grader. I’m trying to think if there are any laws or regulations affecting only men in which unfounded fears about middle-school boys deny all men normal adult privileges. Needless to say, no one suggests that underage boys get a prescription if they want to use condoms, or that grown men have to ask the pharmacist for them and maybe get a lecture about the evils of birth control and promiscuity." ...

... Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post on "Plan B the danger of extreme examples." ...

... Michael Herper of Forbes: the medical community -- including FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg -- is enraged. "Although the HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, was within her legal authority under the 1938 law that created the FDA, this is the first time a presidential administration has ever publicly overruled the FDA in this manner."

CW: In case you were under the misapprehension that Republicans run for the U.S. Senate in hopes of going to Washington to make the federal government work better, Gail Collins' column today will disabuse you of that happy notion. "The Ghost of Boyfriends Past" is Collins at her best.

Sarah Lyall & Julia Werdigier of the New York Times: "Prime Minister David Cameron’s fateful decision to veto the idea of renegotiating the European Union treaty on Friday has left Britain as isolated as it has ever been in postwar Europe and effectively left out of future European decisions." ...

... Paul Taylor of Reuters: Nicolas Sarkozy, "the French president, emerged as one of the big winners of a European Union summit on Friday which ended with up to 26 member states agreeing to move forward in economic integration around the euro zone, and Britain alone in staying out.... By obstructing the wish of the other EU members to amend the bloc's governing Lisbon treaty to allow closer fiscal union among the 17-nation single currency area, British Prime Minister David Cameron managed to unite Europe against him. He may be feted by Eurosceptics at home, but he emerged as the biggest diplomatic loser of the summit, leading his country into an isolation that all his predecessors sought to avoid." ...

... Ian Traynor, et al., of the Guardian: "David Cameron plunged Britain's position in Europe into the greatest uncertainty in a generation as he used his veto to block a new EU-wide treaty and left at least 23 other countries to forge a pact to salvage the single currency. With the apparent blessing of the pro-European deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg – and the subsequent delight of Tory backbenchers – Cameron deployed the ultimate weapon in European summitry at about 2.30am yesterday." ...

... Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian reacts to Britain's rejection of the new eurozone treaty:

Paul Krugman: "I’m not as surprised as Greg Sargent seems to be that Karl Rove’s latest line of attack against Elizabeth Warren is that she’s too close to Wall Street. Hey, she oversaw the use of TARP funds! Greg takes this as a sign that Democrats are winning the argument, and it is. But they also have to win the election. And this wouldn’t be the first time that nonsensical arguments that rely on voter ignorance about who stands for what have worked."

Right Wing World *

Today in Rick Perry Said Another Ignorant Thing. Josh Voorhees of Slate: Gov. Rick Perry told the Des Moines Register editorial board that Supreme Court Justice "Montemayor" was an activist judge. That would be Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Perry went on to say that he didn't think 8 Supreme Court justices should be able to tell local school boards they can't allow prayer in school. There are 9 Supreme Court justices. With videos. So make that two ignorant things.

Today in Mitt v. Mitt. Ben Armbruster of Think Progress: In October, Mitt Romney said President Obama's decision (actually, he didn't have a choice) to order all troops out of Iraq by the end of the year was "an astonishing failure." Yesterday, he told the Des Moines Register editorial board the troop removal was "appropriate."

Igor Volsky of Think Progress: Mitt Romney is not going to keep his hands off your Medicare. He doubles down on his endorsement of Paul Ryan's voucher plan.

Tamara Keith of NPR: Congressional Republicans argue that many small-business owners will be hurt by a "millionaires' surtax" which would be used to pay for payroll tax cuts. NPR wanted to talk to small business owners who would be affected by the tax. They couldn't find any. "So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview."

In a Des Moines Register op-ed, ahead of tomorrow's umpteenth Republican debate, this one to be held in Iowa, Rand Paul Son of Ron writes an op-ed attacking Mitt & Newt, but mostly Newt, as not-so-closeted libruls: "If the tea party is to continue the work we resolved in 2010 to undertake, then we must not make a giant leap backward by electing big government, status quo Republicans like Gingrich in 2012."

* Where everything leaders say is a focus-group-tested lie.

News Ledes

Here's the New York Times' liveblog of the GOP debate. On-the-spot commentary & fact-checking from Times reporters is here. ...

... Washington Post: "Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich came under sharp and repeated attack here Saturday night, accused by his rivals of being a Washington insider, a career politician and a serial hypocrite who has changed his views to suit the times and his political needs."

Boston Globe: "Hundreds of Boston police officers swooped down on the Occupy Boston encampment early this morning, arresting dozens of protesters and tearing down tents, bringing an end to the 10-week rally against economic inequality, the longest continual Occupy demonstration in the country. At least 46 protesters were arrested in the lightning-swift operation, which was over in less than an hour. The vast majority are facing trespassing charges...."

New York Times: "Thousands of Russians thronged the center of Moscow on Saturday in a show of defiance against the government of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, one that organizers hoped would become the largest anti-Kremlin demonstration since the fall of the Soviet Union. Calls for protest have been mounting since parliamentary elections Sunday that domestic and international observers said were tainted by ballot-stuffing and fraud on behalf of Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia."

AP: "Three women who fought injustice, dictatorship and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital on Saturday. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen collected their Nobel diplomas and medals to applause at Oslo's City Hall."

AP: "A Los Angeles woman accused of attacking at least 20 Black Friday shoppers at a Walmart store with pepper spray won't face felony charges, prosecutors said Thursday. The case of Elizabeth Macias, 32, was referred to city attorneys after county prosecutors didn't find evidence of a felony.... Macias could still face misdemeanor prosecution, Gibbons said."


The Commentariat -- December 9

** Chris Spannos, editor of the New York Times eXaminer, discusses the mainstream media's coverage of Occupy Wall Street with Kalle Lasn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Adbusters magazine, and author of "Culture Jam." Lasn's Adbusters first proposed Occupy Wall Street. Includes audio. ...

... My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is on David Brooks' comparison of Mitt Romney & Newt Gingrich. I incorporate remarks on Krugman's column, linked below. ...

... Paul Krugman compares the real Willard Romney with the fictional Gordon Gekko of "Wall Street." Main difference: the SEC gave the fictional character his comeuppance; Romney's still around bragging about his "business expertise," an expertise that meant more money for him and his wealthy partners, fewer jobs for Americans. ...

CW: AND the views of A Brain-Dead Simpleton (that would be me) on today's Off Times Square. Plus, I'm interested in hearing your own views on HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision not to allow OTC sale of the morning-after Plan B pill. (See also today's Ledes & yesterday's Commentariat & OTS.) ...

... More "Science Takes a Holiday" from Bryan Walsh of Time on the Obama Administration's Plan B politics.

If you think Jon Stewart is just a comedian, you have another think coming:

Michelle Goldberg of the Daily Beast: "Already under fire from Catholics, the Obama administration clearly caved to conservative pressure when it overruled an FDA decision to expand the accessibility of a morning-after pill.... What’s confusing, though, is why the White House thinks it’s a smart strategy to try and appease its foes while infuriating its friends." CW: Obviously, what is needed and which just as obviously won't happen, is for Obama to overrule HHS Secretary Sebelius. It would be a smart, dramatic move. It would also be, you know, the ethical, humane and scientifically-supported thing to do. But this is politics. Some little girls will just have to have babies. BTW, all other arguments aside, does anybody think pregnancy is not a health risk for young girls? This is stupid and cruel any way you look at it.

Bob Reich on President Obama's Osawatomie speech: "Here, finally, is the Barack Obama many of us thought we had elected in 2008. Since then we’ve had a president who has only reluctantly stood up to the moneyed interests Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin stood up to." ...

... Here is a very fine post from Charles Pierce titled "President Obama Does Not Fully Understand the 99 Percent." With great irreverence, Pierce often gets to the heart of the political dynamic, and this is one of those times.

Jonathan Bernstein of the Washington Post: Senate Republicans' successful filibuster of Richard Cordray, President Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is yet another instance of "a radical tactic that defies Senate and Constitutional norms as they were understood from the dawn of the republic up through 2008." Here's the President on the filibuster:

Oops! Matt Yglesias of Salon: while whining that his tax rate was too high, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who is also president of the One Percenters Whiners' Club (a hotly-contested position with fellow 1%ers constantly jockeying to topple Dimon), accidentally said he'd be fine with the tax increase President Obama has proposed for millionaires & billionaires.

Adam Sorensen of Time: having flamed out in its attempt to turn Elizabeth Warren into an Occupy Wall Street anarchist, Crossroads GPS, a/k/a Karl Rove & Friends, has done a 180, putting out an ad claiming Warren is Wall Street's BFF. Pretty soon, Karl, even the disengaged voter may notice your ads are stunning, contradictory lies. With video I won't run. ...

... Lawrence O'Donnell speaks to Prof. Warren, where they discuss this ad & the Senate Republicans' refusal to allow a confirmation vote for Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Prof. Eric Segall, writing in Slate, makes the case that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from hearing the Affordable Care Act challenge coming before the court. Segall says he is a liberal Democrat who supports the law.

Andrew Grossman of the Wall Street Journal: "New York University plans to offer two classes next semester on [Occupy Wall Street], whose participants frequently marched and rallied around the school’s Greenwich Village campus this fall. The for-credit undergraduate class, offered through the university’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, examines economy and culture."

Right Wing World

Vicki Needham of The Hill: "GOP leaders hope to build momentum for an end-of-year tax package with sweeping reforms to federal unemployment benefits. The Republican proposal is expected to reduce the total number of weeks unemployed workers are eligible for aid by as much as 40 weeks and tighten rules for eligibility." See also today's Ledes. ...

... Digby on "the next step in our Randian dystopia: stigmatize the unemployed."

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Texas Gov. Rick Perry is out with a new television ad in Iowa that accuses President Obama of engaging in a 'war on religion' and criticizes his decision to overturn the 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy for gays in the military. 'I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,' the Texas governor says in the spot. 'But you don’t have to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.'” Includes embedded ad.

Photos via AmericaBlog.Rick Perry Comes out of the Closet. Matt Ortega of AmericaBlog: "Rick Perry launched an anti-gay ad called, 'Strong.' In the ad, he attacks gays openly serving in the armed forces. As it turns out, the gays get their revenge... the jacket Rick Perry wore in the ad? Heath Ledger wore it in 'Brokeback Mountain.'" CW: I won't run the original ad, but this follow-up is pretty sweet:

... And here's another F/U from Andy Cobb of Second City:

... Jon Bershad of Mediaite has a post on the Perry ad titled "The Internet Really Hates Rick Perry and His 'Gay Soldiers Are Killing Christmas' Ad" that includes another spoof too yucky for me to post.

News Ledes

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "The nation's highest court late Friday temporarily blocked the interim court-drawn boundaries that form state legislative and congressional districts for next year's election. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an emergency challenge by Texas Republicans to determine which maps should be used in next year's elections in Texas, setting Jan. 9 as the date they will hear arguments."

New York Times: "European leaders, meeting until the early hours of Friday, agreed to sign an intergovernmental treaty that would require them to enforce stricter fiscal and financial discipline in their future budgets. But efforts to get unanimity among the 27 members of the European Union, as desired by Germany, failed as Britain and Hungary refused to go along for now. Importantly, all 17 members of the European Union that use the euro agreed to the new treaty, along with six other countries who wish to join the currency union one day." ...

... Guardian: "Britain is facing isolation in Europe after David Cameron vetoed a revision of the Lisbon treaty, prompting a majority of EU members to agree to draw up their own deal outside the architecture of the union. In one of the most significant developments in Britain's 38-year membership of the EU, the British prime minister said early on Friday morning he could not allow a "treaty within a treaty" that would undermine the UK's position in the single market."

BBC: "Iranian TV has shown the first video footage of an advanced US drone aircraft that Tehran says it downed 140 miles (225km) from the Afghan border. Images show Iranian military officials inspecting the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft which appears to be undamaged." ...

     ... Fox "News": "U.S. officials have confirmed to Fox News that images aired by Iranian state television do in fact show the secret U.S. drone that went down last week in eastern Iran."

New York Times: "President Obama, who took office pledging to put science ahead of politics, averted a skirmish with conservatives in the nation’s culture wars on Thursday by endorsing his health secretary’s decision to block over-the-counter sales of an after-sex contraceptive pill to girls under age 17."

The Hill: "Senate Republicans blocked the latest installment of President Obama's jobs plan — a bill to extend the payroll tax cut — for the second week in a row on Thursday. The bill, titled the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, was shot down 50-48. It would have cut the payroll tax paid by employees to 3.1 percent from the current 4.2 percent while funding itself by imposing a surtax on millionaires." ...

... New York Times: "Pivoting to challenge President Obama and Senate Democrats, House Republicans said Thursday that they would forge ahead with a payroll tax holiday bill that includes an oil pipeline opposed by the president and that looks to changes in social programs to pay for the tax cut and added unemployment benefits."

ABC News: "The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors on Friday to take a first look at a challenge to Arizona's strict immigration law and decide whether or not to take up the case. The law, passed in April 2010, is one of several recent attempts by various states to play a more aggressive role in immigration-related matters. The Obama administration challenged the Arizona law as soon as it passed, arguing that it interferes with existing federal law."

New York Times: "Jon S. Corzine, who came to Washington in 2001 as a Democratic senator from New Jersey, made a humbling return on Thursday, defending his tenure as MF Global’s top executive and sounding a note of contrition about the brokerage firm’s startling collapse. Mr. Corzine told the House Agriculture Committee that he was 'stunned' when he learned late on Oct. 30 that about $1 billion of customer money could not be located, a discovery that thwarted a sale of the firm and led to its filing for bankruptcy."

Guardian: "Vladimir Putin has accused Hillary Clinton ... of fomenting an increasingly vociferous opposition movement in Russia, threatening to derail the two countries' fragile resetting of relations."

Washington Post: "The leaders of a congressional committee investigating the Dover Air Force Base mortuary said Thursday that they would broaden their probe to include all military burial practices over the past decade, including reports that partial remains of hundreds of war dead were incinerated and dumped in a Virginia landfill."

AP: "The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished years ago in Iran, issued a plea to his kidnappers Friday and, for the first time, released a hostage video they received from his unidentified captors. The video message released on the Levinson family’s website publicly transformed the mysterious disappearance into an international hostage standoff. Despite a lengthy investigation, however, the U.S. government has no evidence of who is holding the 63-year-old father of seven."

The Apprentices Decline. ABC News: "Michele Bachmann has officially said 'no' to the Donald Trump-moderated Newsmax debate scheduled for later this month.... So, this leaves just two candidates — Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum — who plan to show up at the Dec. 27 event in Des Moines. Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Ron Paul have all declined to attend. Perry became the latest to decline Trump’s invitation on Thursday."


The Commentariat -- December 8

The Constant Weader is on sick leave today ...

I did, by hook or by crook, just manage to get my column in at the New York Times eXaminer. Title: "Women Need Not Apply." Please don't tell me about all the typos. I know they're there (and here!). The front page of the NYTX is here.

Well, one more thing: John Cassidy of the New Yorker on Obama's Osawatomie speech.