Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

The Ledes

Thursday, November 26, 2015.

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

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

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

Attention, Costco Shoppers. E. coli in the Salad Cooler. Washington Post: "Federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of deadly E. coli bacteria that has sickened 19 people in at least seven states, mostly in the west.... Preliminary evidence suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is the likely source of this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

White House Live Video
November 25

11:15 am ET: Vice President Biden delivers a joint summit statement with President Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, President Pahor of Slovenia and European Council President Tusk in Zagreb, Croatia (audio only)

2: 45 pm ET: President Obama pardons the national Thanksgiving turkey

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.


Public Service Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.


The Commentariat -- April 15, 2012

Sorry to be so late today. My seeing eye dog is a slow reader. Or, as Pappy Bush would say, "it's the vision thing." But no big deal. Apparently the waxing & waning of the vision thing is going to occur for a while.

My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is on Frank Bruni's irritating "column about nothing." The NYTX front page is here. You can contribute here.

Maura Judkins of the Washington Post has links to lots of stories about the Titanic. Survivors remember the ship & its sinking:

** Paul Krugman & Robin Wells, from an article in The Occupy Handbook, republished in Salon: It's the inequality, stupid. A must-read on how the rich bought off both politicians & economists:

Republicans are encouraged and empowered to take positions far to the right of where they were a generation ago, because the financial power of the beneficiaries of their positions both provides an electoral advantage in terms of campaign funding and provides a sort of safety net for individual politicians, who can count on being supported in various ways even if they lose an election.

Dean Baker contradicts Greg Mankiw's New York Times op-ed on the benefits of competing state governments. Baker writes, "... the reality is that the government has implemented a wide range of policies that have led to a massive upward redistribution of before tax income over the last three decades."

Reuters: "President Barack Obama called on likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, in an interview with Univision released on Saturday." ...

... Mary Bruce of ABC News: "President Obama, on a three-day trip to South America, attacked GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration reform today, saying his support for Arizona’s tough immigration law is 'very troublesome.' 'We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country … and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption,' Obama told Univision during an interview in Cartagena, where the president is attending the Summit of the Americas." ...

... I can't tell if this is the entire interview or just a portion of it. In any event, it covers the remarks reported in the stories above:

Nicholas Kristof: "An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.... We enlist soldiers to protect us, but when they come home we don’t protect them." ...

... Kate M. sent me this related op-ed piece on the Bales massacre, published in the Washington Post late last month. The author, Sarah Chayes, was an advisor to the U.S. military in Kandahar:

Never before has so much been asked of such a small segment of the American population. A startling proportion of the troops I’ve seen in Afghanistan have deployed three or more times: They make up less than 12 percent of the less than 1 percent of us in uniform.... U.S. soldiers are expected — by military as well as civilian officials — to make up for [the American and Afghan governments'] political and diplomatic failings.... Bales will stand trial. Afghan civilians will pay, too, dying as U.S. forces draw down and leave a government so rotten with corruption that many predict its implosion. But what accountability is there for the leaders, Afghan and American, whose poor decisions brought about such tragedies?

Right Wing World

Joan Walsh of Salon on Mitt Romney's doubletalk on working women: "His wife's [stay-at-home] 'job' is 'more important' than his, but he'd make welfare moms work 'from day one if we could.'" ...

... Don't miss this Chris Hayes segment:

News Ledes

AP: "With prayers, a hymn and a moment of silence broken by a ship's deep whistle, passengers and crew on a memorial trip marked 100 years to the moment since the Titanic sent more than 1,500 people to a watery grave."

New York Times: "A summit meeting of Western Hemisphere nations ended without a final statement of consensus on Sunday, after the United States and some Latin American nations remained sharply divided over whether to continue excluding Cuba from such gatherings."

ABC OTUS News: "President Obama today called for a 'thorough' and 'rigorous' investigation following the scandal surrounding the Secret Service officials tasked with his protection."

Washington Post: "Egypt’s top general urged Islamist and liberal political parties on Sunday to end a constitutional crisis and finish the new charter that will map out the country’s post-revolutionary future before the military council hands over power to civilian rule this summer."

USA Today: "Google deliberately impeded the Federal Communications Commission's investigation into how the technology firm used data gathered as part of its Street View project, the agency says. The FCC notified Google that it has proposed that the company be fined $25,000; Google can appeal the fine."

New York Times: "The Taliban staged multiple and sustained attacks across Kabul and eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, hitting the heavily secured diplomatic neighborhood of the Afghan capital and the Parliament area as well as Afghan government installations in at least two provinces."

Tulsa World: "Tornadoes erupting across the Midwest and Plains left five people dead and at least 29 injured in Oklahoma and damaged houses, a hospital, a jail, an Air Force base and other buildings elsewhere during a weekend outburst of severe weather, authorities said."

Washington Post: "Western diplomats claimed modest progress Saturday after more than 10 hours of talks with Iranian officials, raising hopes for at least a temporary easing of a nuclear crisis that has fueled fears of a new military conflict in the Middle East."

Washington Post: "The U.S. Secret Service on Saturday placed 11 agents on administrative leave as the agency investigates allegations that the men brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms in Cartagena, Colombia, on Wednesday night and that a dispute ensued with one of the women over payment the following morning. Secret Service Assistant Director Paul S. Morrissey said the agents had violated the service’s 'zero-tolerance policy on personal misconduct' during their trip to prepare for President Obama’s arrival at an international summit this weekend."

New York Times: Wayne LaPierre "of the National Rifle Association accused the news media on Saturday of engaging in sensationalized coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing, in the first comments that the gun lobby has made publicly about the fatal shooting since it occurred six weeks ago." Critics have zeroed in on the NRA's support for "stand-your-ground" laws; the local police cited the Florida law as a reason they did not arrest Martin's killer.

Reader Comments (3)

Thank you for today's article re Frank Bruni!
You clobbered him, and he deserved it.
I miss Frank Rich.
Mae Finch

April 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

@Mae Finch. Thanks. Apparently somebody doesn't like what I had to say. I just don't know what the guy is talking about in his comment on NYTX -- something about my backing Rush Limbaugh or Hilary Rosen or both.

I think he's the same guy who complained a while back when I posted a response to Brooks early the same morning the Brooks column appeared in the paper that he had hoped I could write on something that wasn't so stale.

You can't please all of the people all of the time.

April 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

I'll never be a stay-at-home mom or dad, but after 50 years working
for various corporations and companies, I sorta have an idea what the
difference is. Granted, when a lot of women I know have 3 or 4
households to run, paying bills, getting the gardeners to do whatever,
repairs and regular maintenance, it may seem like a full time job.
BUT, you don't have to worry about being harassed, sexual or
otherwise, or worrying about losing your job and not being able to
make the mortgage or pay the rent. Yes, there definitely is a
difference. But it seems impossible to get that point across to
those of us who have never been subservient to a corporation.

April 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.