The Ledes

Thursday, July 30, 2015.

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy rebounded between April and June, new government data showed Thursday, expanding at an annualized rate of 2.3 percent. Growth in the second quarter remained modest, particularly compared with the breakneck pace seen in much of 2014, but it also signaled a bounce-back from a surprisingly sluggish winter when the economy was at a crawl."

New York Times: "Government officials and families of passengers lost on a Malaysian jet that vanished last year with 239 people aboard responded warily on Thursday to the discovery of possible wreckage from the aircraft, reluctant to fan hopes after more than a year of fruitless searching and false rumors. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss of Australia, whose country has led the search for the jet, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said that the discovery of an airplane part thousands of miles from the search area was 'a very significant development' but cautioned against concluding that it was from the missing aircraft."

The Wires

The Ledes

... Thanks to Akhilleus for the link. (This video tends to start near the end. If it does that for you, cursor back to the beginning.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015.

Guardian: "The Federal Reserve on Wednesday continued to pave the way for an increase in interest rates as early as September. The US central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at near zero – where it has been since the 2008 financial crisis – but once again signalled that rates will rise later this year. While the Fed chair, Janet Yellen, has left little doubt that rates will rise this year, the Fed left itself wiggle room as it has set no timetable and said rates would only be raised if the economy continues to improve and unemployment continues to fall." ...

... The Fed's statement is here.

New York Times: "A large object that appeared to be an airplane part washed up Wednesday on the shore of Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, prompting speculation that it might be debris from Flight 370, the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared in March 2014." ...

     ... AP UPDATE: "Air safety investigators have a 'high degree of confidence' that aircraft debris found in the Indian Ocean is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared last year, a U.S. official said Wednesday."

New York Times: "After months of speculation, Afghan officials announced Wednesday that they were now certain that the Taliban’s reclusive leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, died in Pakistan in 2013."

Guardian: "Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has approved the immediate construction of hundreds of settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in an effort to stave off a growing threat posed by pro-settler parties in his rightwing coalition government. The issue was brought to a head on Wednesday by a supreme court ruling that two buildings in the West Bank settlement of Beit El – built on private Palestinian land without permits – should be destroyed, despite Netanyahu’s opposition."

Washington Post: "An Albuquerque 911 dispatcher has resigned after audio was released of him hanging up on a 17-year-old as she tended to a friend who was shot at the party. The victim, 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver, later died.... Emergency responders had already been dispatched to the house before [the dispatcher] hung up." Includes 911 audio.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "A big-game hunter from the Twin Cities found himself at the center of an international firestorm Tuesday over the death of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe, but said he regrets killing the animal and believed his guides were leading him on a legal hunt.... Earlier Tuesday, the Telegraph newspaper of London identified [dentist Walter] Palmer as the hunter who shot Cecil and reported that he paid $54,000 for the hunt. The Telegraph said the lion was illegally lured out of Hwange National Park, where it had protected status, and onto a neighboring game farm, where Palmer was on safari." ...

... Salon: Yelp contributors are whacking Palmer.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
July 30

2:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

2:00 pm ET: Open government public meeting

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

If you can memorize & learn to use the University of New Hampshire's long list of "bias-free language," you can be the most politically-correct person in your neighborhood. Via Jonathan Chait. ...

... CW Etiquette Tip: calling out your friends for using outmoded terms like "overweight" & "rich" is not politically-correct. Simply try to steer the conversation in a more "inclusive" direction. So if your friend says to you, "My rich neighbor got so overweight he has to use a wheelchair now," you say, "Oh, that person of material wealth has become a person of size who is wheelchair mobile? Wow! He's your neighbor? I remember him when he was a person experiencing homelessness who lacked advantages that others have." It sounds so natural, your friend will never realize you've corrected his biased, dated stereotypes.

Will Oremus of Slate likes Windows 10. CW: I haven't had the courage to try switching over yet. I'll lose EVERYTHING!

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done for you, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."

NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."

Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."

For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.

Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."

Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...

... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."

New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."

New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.

New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."

Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Wednesday
Apr182012

The Commentariat -- April 19, 2012

No commentary from me in today's New York Times eXaminer, but do go to the NYTX front page for some great pieces on Our Man Friedman. And thanks to Reality Chex reader Victoria D. for pointing us to the funniest one -- Jason Linkins' post on Friedman's self-parody. ...

... Also, Glenn Greenwald's column on MSM reviews of Julian Assange's new talk show on RT is a must-read. Keep in mind, though, as you read it that the Assange critics are opinionators, not reporters, and you should expect their opinions express personal biases. Greenwald presupposes these biases reflect the biases of the media outlets they write for, & he presents evidence that they do. But Greenwald -- like the Assange reviewers -- is presenting a case; his column is not a balanced report.

... Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post looks at a 2010 Pew Research poll: "Thurgood Marshall ... not only was never the Chief Justice but also died in 1993. And let’s not even talk about the four percent who think Harry Reid ... is the Chief Justice.... Regular people are simply not engaged — they don’t know or care — about the intricacies of the government." See also Alex Seitz-Wald's report, linked below, about the "regular people" -- presumably Republican regular people -- who gave Mitt Romney a polite earful. ...

... Meanwhile, Chief Justice Roberts & his conservative male allies on the Court are chip, chip, chipping away at women's equality in a way even former Chief Justice Rehnquist, a staunch conservative, did not. Ask Linda Greenhouse -- the old boys just don't get it. ...

... Elections Have Consequences. Dahlia Lithwick in Slate: in a remarkable concurrence in a case before the D.C. Court of Appeals, Judge Janice Rogers Brown injected a Tea Party screed belittling "democratic processes" (a term she put in quotes). "... what's interesting about the Brown concurrence isn’t that it expresses her long-held opinion that the Supreme Court has been dead wrong about economic liberty for 80 years, and that a return to the libertarian regime of the Lochner era, is overdue. The question is why she feels comfortable injecting this language into a judicial opinion — as opposed to a speech or legal article — in a call to the court to radically reverse course and dramatically curb the power of elected officials.... She is, beyond any doubt, apt to appear on any short list for Mitt Romney’s choice to replace any of the four Supreme Court Justices who are currently in their 70s."

While we're talking about other stuff, actual governance -- or what passes for it these days -- is happening in Washington. David Rogers of Politico: "The post-election budget wars suddenly felt closer Wednesday, as the White House threw down the gauntlet on appropriations and House Republicans voted to shift tens of billions of dollars from poverty programs to help stave off automatic cuts threatening the Pentagon in January....In its bluntest language to date, the administration said that President Barack Obama will not sign any new appropriations bills until the House Republican leadership moves back to the spending targets agreed to in last summer's debt accords."

Marshall Auerback of AlterNet in Salon: "You'll rarely hear this stated, but the government's ability to spend now is actually independent of how much debt it holds and what it spent yesterday.... In the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007..., the largest portion of the increase in the deficit came from what economists call 'automatic stabilizers' — things like unemployment benefits that have to kick in when a downturn occurs. They had little to do with discretionary spending.... The [Clinton] budget surplus meant that the private sector was running a deficit." CW: Auerback lost me on that last point; I'll see if I can contact him to clear it up.

Kaili Gray of Daily Kos: "Now that Republicans have flip-flopped on their decades-long denigration of mothers and decided that staying at home to raise children is work — or at least, it's work when Ann Romney does it; poor mothers, not so much — House Democrats are telling them to put their money where their mouth is." From Ryan Grim of the Huff Post, "The Woman's Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act ... would allow mothers with children ages 3 and under to stay at home with their children and continue receiving benefits." ...

... David Dayen of Firedoglake: "The entire point of the Ann Romney hissy fit was that raising kids equals work and ought to be respected. Nobody disagreed with that idea. All this bill would do would be to codify that principle into law.... This solves a public policy problem as well.... Only 27% of families living in poverty can claim welfare benefits. And one of the major problems, outside of giving states flexibility to cull their welfare rolls, is the work requirement. This would help alleviate that problem for low-income mothers with newborn children... Mitt Romney said during the depressing Hilary Rosen kerfuffle that 'all moms are working moms.' Well, OK, let them prove it." ...

... Dana Milbank: "In the war against the war on women, the Democrats are taking no prisoners.... On Wednesday, the White House staged an event to demand that Republicans stop blocking a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act — and Republicans suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of a title that only a fool or a lunatic would oppose."

Andy Kroll of Mother Jones: ALEC, "the American Legislative Exchange Council..., is in damage control mode.... To push back, ALEC has turned to the conservative blogosphere for help.... Korb educated the bloggers with a handout listing ALEC's positions on a range of issues. PR Watch, one of ALEC's loudest critics, described the handout as 'riddled with errors.'"

Sister Act. Elizabeth Tenety of the Washington Post: "A Vatican investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80 percent of Catholic sisters and nuns in the United States, found serious theological errors in statements by members, widespread dissent on the church's teaching on sexuality and 'radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith' a church report released Wednesday stated. The church appointed Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee 'reform' of the women's organization."

The Presidential Race

I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn't, either. But somebody gave us a chance. Just like these folks up here are looking for a chance. -- Barack Obama, to students in Ohio ...

Amanda Beadle of Think Progress: "During the GOP presidential primary, Mitt Romney staked out the most extreme position on immigration of any Republican candidate. Romney even campaigned with his immigration policy adviser Kris Kobach, the author of Alabama and Arizona's harsh immigration laws, on Martin Luther King Day. Now that Romney is the presumptive nominee, he's trying to soften his immigration rhetoric to win over Hispanic voters. The Romney campaign even tried to publicly downgrade Kobach from 'adviser' to mere 'supporter' [Tuesday] — an effort that failed after Kobach refused to play along." ...

     ... Tuesday Kobach told Alex Seitz-Wald of Think Progress, "No, my relationship with the campaign has not changed. Still doing the same thing I was doing before: ... providing advice on immigration policy. I don’t want to go into great detail, but I communicate regularly with senior members of Romney’s team." ...

     ... Greg Sargent: Kobach "stated flatly that he didn’t think Republicans — or Romney — should, or would, support any version of the DREAM Act that provides undocumented immigrants with any kind of path to legal status.... I’d absolutely reject any proposal that would give a path to legal status for illegal aliens en masse. That is what amnesty is. I do not expect [Romney] to propose or embrace amnesty." ...

     ... Markos Moulitsas: "Kris Kobach has a death grip on Romney's Etch-a-Sketch.You may not have heard of Kobach, but he is becoming a household name in the Latino community. He is Kansas' secretary of state, but more notoriously, one of the nation's foremost xenophobes and a key player in the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform.... Kobach has seriously damaged Romney's general election chances by becoming a lightning rod in the Latino community, yet when the nominee tries to distance himself now that the primaries are over, Kobach will tell anyone who's listening that the Romney campaign is lying and that he's just as important to them as ever, and he'll say it again, and again, and again."

E. J. Dionne: "... a study released this week by the Center for American Progress ... demonstrates conclusively that the ruckus over Ann Romney’s decisions is 30 years out of date. Its core conclusion: 'Most children today are growing up in families without a full-time, stay-at-home caregiver.' ... These changes are driven more by economics than by any of the mommy-war issues.... When trying to win votes from religious and social traditionalists, conservatives speak as if they want to restore what they see as the glory days of the 1950s family. But they are reluctant to acknowledge that it was the high wages of (often unionized) workers that underwrote these arrangements."

** You think Mitt Romney doesn't "get" women now? He never did. In fact, talking to women is against his religious beliefs. That's why he lets Ann do it. Irin Carmon of Salon interviews Mormon feminist Judy Dushku. who so irritated the Romneys in the '90s that the church gerrymandered its wards to put the Romneys & Dushku in different wards.

Alex Seitz-Wald: "As part of his attempt to appear more relateable, presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney sat with a handful of regular, working Americans in Pennsylvania today.... But the Romney campaign may not have vetted the attendees to make sure they were sufficiently anti-tax.... One woman ... said she was scared about the fate of her public schools, given deep cuts to the state budget (incidentally, the man who pushed those cuts, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, endorsed Romney today).... Another man chimed in, noting that 'the fat' had already been trimmed and now important education programs were being hit." With video. CW: these seem like sincere, normal people who obviously have no idea that it is their own party that is making all these cuts in education. ...

     ... Update: the party affiliations of the participants was "not specified."

Marry up, ladies!

Noah Rothman of Mediaite: "A long-overlooked passage in President Barack Obama’s 2004 book, Dreams From my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, has been uncovered and has ignited a firestorm of hilarity among conservatives on Twitter and other social networks. The passage includes the President talking about his experience as a boy in Indonesia when he was introduced to a variety of exotic meats including grasshopper, snake and – the coup de grâce – dog." ...

It seems desperate for the Romney campaign to bring up something that happened to Obama when he was 10 years old, not preparing his own meals, in a country where eating dog meat probably isn't all that unusual as if it compares in any way to Romney, as a 36-year old adult, in America, making the conscious decision to strap his family pet to the roof of a car for a 12-hour drive, and leaving it up there even after it got sick. If President Obama had made the conscious decision to eat dog meat as a 36-year old adult, in America, claimed the dog liked being eaten, and still claimed he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it, the Romney campaign would have a point. -- Scott Crider, of Dogs Against Romney

 ... Dave Weigel: the Romney camp's participation in the "dogmeat" story is a Romney dog whistle to the conservative base.

Right Wing World *

This election is going to be a referendum on the president's economic policies. They've not only not helped the economy, they've actually made it worse. When you look at his higher taxes, his refusal to deal with the debt, the regulatory regime here in Washington out of control, they've scared every businessperson and investor in America. -- John Boehner, yesterday on CBS

... Steve Benen: Boehner is "the Speaker of the House, so presumably he has some general appreciation for acknowledging current events, which would mean he realizes none of his talking points is true. While Boehner talks about Obama's 'higher taxes,' Obama has actually cut taxes. While Boehner said Obama has refused to deal with the debt, Obama offered Boehner a $4 trillion debt-reduction plan that Republicans rejected. While Boehner frets over a 'regulatory regime,' Obama has actually created fewer regulations than his Republican predecessor. And then there's the notion that Obama made the economy 'worse.'"

* Where you couldn’t find a rational argument with a Geiger counter. Hey, you couldn't even find a Geiger counter. -- Akhilleus

Local News

Lizette Alvarez of the New York Times: "Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data." For background on the impetus for legislating drug-testing in Florida, this Palm Beach Post story from March 2011 is helpful. After the Post exposed Gov. Rick Scott's continuing financial interest in a company that provides drug-testing, the Scott family was embarrassed into selling their interest in April 2011.

John Frank of the Raleigh, North Carolina, News & Observer: "A former staffer accused the state Democratic Party's executive director of showing him a picture of male genitals, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits.... The lascivious details magnified the spectacle embarrassing the state Democratic Party in an election year and came just days before President Barack Obama is expected to visit North Carolina."

News Ledes

Bloomberg News: "More Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the improvement in labor-market conditions may be stalling. Jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 386,000 in the week ended April 14 from a revised 388,000 the prior period that was higher than initially estimated...." ...

... Bloomberg News: "Sales of previously owned U.S. homes in March unexpectedly fell for the third time in the last four months, showing an uneven recovery in the housing market."

Washington Post: "The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed...."

New York Times: "The Department of Veterans Affairs will announce on Thursday that it plans to hire about 1,600 additional psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health clinicians in an effort to reduce long wait times for services at many veterans medical centers."

New York Times: "India said Thursday it had successfully launched a missile with nuclear capability and a 3,100-mile range, giving it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai. With the successful launching of the missile, called Agni 5, India joins a small group of countries with long-range nuclear missile capability, including China, Britain, France, Russia and the United States."

ABC OTUS News: "Secret Service officials planning a wild night of fun in Colombia did some of their own advanced work last week, booking a party space at the Hotel Caribe before heading out to the night clubs, hotel sources tell ABC News."

AP: "Two years after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, scientists say they're finding trouble with sick fish that dwell along offshore reefs and in the deep waters — especially in places where the oil spill hit the hardest." ...

... Al Jazeera: "Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause."

Al Jazeera: "Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has called for a UN observer mission in Syria to be expanded, even though he says Damascus has failed to adhere to a ceasefire central to an agreed peace plan."

Reuters: "The police said on Thursday they had arrested three people at addresses in Kent and Lancashire in their investigation into allegations of payments by journalists to police and public officials. Sky News, which is partly owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, said Duncan Larcombe, royal editor on Murdoch's Sun newspaper, was one of those arrested." ...

... Guardian: "News Cororation is a 'toxic institution' that operated like a 'shadow state' in British society, according to a Labour MP who is the co-author of a new book about the phone-hacking scandal. Tom Watson, joint writer of Dial M for Murdoch, said that the book also featured allegations that Murdoch's News of the World set out to search for 'secret lovers' or 'extramarital affairs' of MPs on the culture, media and sport select committee in 2009."

Reader Comments (9)

"Regular people are simply not engaged — they don’t know or care — about the intricacies of the government." Not quite complete. There is also the very substantial group that deliberately hides from the truth. I mean if scientists got the climate thing right, they may have gotten the evolution thing right too.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Marvin,

Come on now. You gotta realize that even th' idea of climate is just a theory. It's just like weather. I mean, if it rains today and it's sunny tomorrow, who knows how that happens? It's a mystery. It's just like that nice Bill O'Reilly always says: the tide goes in, the tide goes out. Who can explain it?

Same thing with evolution. I mean, who was Darwin anyway? Was he Jesus? No. Was he Ronald Reagan? No. Just some weird guy with a big beard and weirdo ideas. Monkeys! Hmmph...He wasn't even from the US of A! It's just his word against everyone else in which case he loses 'cause we didn't vote for his stupid monkey idea, and that's the 'Merican Way!

We just all need to have more faith and a lot less 'science'. That science stuff will fill your head with all kinds of stuff you don't need. Pretty soon, you'll be believin' that Paul Ryan doesn't know what he's doin' when he talks 'bout the 'conomy. You might even think it's not a good idea for children to bring guns to school! Why, they'll be UNPROTECTED!

And by the way, I happen to know that Harry Reid is NOT the big guy justice on the court. He's just one of the little guys. Nancy Pelosi tried to get elected to S'preme Court but only commies voted for her so she had to stay governor of Commie-fornia. Heh-heh.

See, you think libruls are the only smart people? Go do things to yourself, you elitist pinkos!

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Well, well, the left has gone apoplectic over Freidman's column yesterday and it's our good fortune that the NYTEX is running a slew of them including Marie's instructive Biblical analogy. My own reading of Freidman was of stunned disbelief. I said many moons ago that he reminded me of a slick salesman––the one who sold me a complete set of pot and pans that I didn't need––maybe it's the cadence of his speech pattern; maybe it's that he repeats and repeats, but seldom repents. Luckily I found the little gem that ole Tommy follows faithfully:

Isaiah 55.7: And the Lord spake: Go dwell in the Wall of the Mart and there doth purchase loose boxers; a pox on tightie whities for those doth squeeze thy jewel case. Go forth in colorful Hanes to swing freely in order to spread thy seed of propaganda to all who come forth and devour thy word.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

To sum it up, I have a sign on my work office door, 'Don't worry what people think, They don't do it very often".

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I voted for Nancy Pelosi for Supreme Court Chief Justice. If she didn't win it would prove "democratic processes" don't work. But she won, didn't she? Also, somebody should tell Allen West I am not a commie just because I helped make Nancy top judge. And Akhilleus, you should check your facts before writing these comments. Finally, I am with the 4 percent who think Harry Reid is very judge-mental. But this a democracy one-woman/one-vote so I had to vote for the woman. Sorry, Harry.

April 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

It is 2012 and everything is good. The fifty four percent of the population that does not know who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are going to learn.
Nothing sharpens the senses like fear and hunger. Someone will be leading them in the streets and teach them the proper chants demanding change. Many will learn first aid and some will hide and cower before the powers of the police state.
Our present situation is:" You can't get there from here ." There is no plan, scheme, program in the works from either party to restore jobs, demand and growth to America. Just a few years of Tea Party, reverse Robin Hood, economics will devastate America and at least one third of the population will be damaged.
We will start from there. The fifty four percent will either be more politically sophisticated or peons forever. The one percent thinks "peons forever".

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@Carlyle. Actually, about 3/4ths of people didn't know who the Chief Justice was in 2010. Only 28 percent answered the question correctly, & because it was a multiple-choice test, some percentage of those would have been lucky or educated guesses. (I don't know how to do probabilities so I'll have to leave that to a wiser mind.)

Plus, I don't think people with pitchforks are all that interested in the niceties of how to properly address the guy they are about to prod.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

If they're trading dog insults what about the Romney buddy who barbequed one with his drunken friends, eh?

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGail

@Gail. Thanks. I never heard the story about Mitt's buddy and the dog BBQ. It seems Mitt & the guy -- GOP fundraiser Fred Malek -- are so close, Malek hosted Ann Romney's birthday party a few days ago. Elspeth Reeve of The Atlantic has the story here.

Marie

April 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader
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