The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson and the FAA. At least one person was killed." MSNBC is saying two were injured as well.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

Public Service Announcement

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

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

White House Live Video
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowden, The Movie:

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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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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