The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, March 29, 2015.

New York Times: "Rescue workers recovered two bodies on Sunday in the wreckage of the explosion and fire that happened last week in the East Village, the police said. One of two bodies was identified by family members as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. The second body was not yet identified.... Officials said the fire was most likely set off by a gas explosion. The explosion blew off the facade of the building, before spreading to four neighboring ones. Three of the buildings — 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue — were reduced to rubble."

AP: "Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there 'withdraw and surrender their weapons,' a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force. The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to potentially more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis."

Baltimore Sun: Protesters show up outside Bill Cosby's Baltimore performance, and one interrupts his show.

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 30

9:00 am ET: President's Management Advisory Board meeting

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

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Sunday
Apr152012

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)

CW,
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
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