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November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

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Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

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."

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."

... 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."

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:

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The Commentariat -- April 21, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here. AP: "Eager to energize young voters, President Barack Obama is depicting Republicans as obstacles to an affordable college education as he previews an argument he will make on university campuses next week in states crucial to his re-election."

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "Congressional redistricting, a decennial process that generally allows the party in legislative power in each state to draw new lines, has not created many opportunities for new seats for Republicans, as the party’s leaders once expected. But it has forced multiple House Democrats, viewing their odds in new districts as slim, into retirement. Many of those districts are now either in play or solidly Republican, making the climb for Democrats all that more onerous."

Brad Plumer of the Washington Post talks to Prof. Arthur Goldhammer about the upcoming French elections. This is a nice shortcourse on what's at stake.

CW: Melinda Henneberger of the Washington Post can be rather shallow, but she's right in this post on the Vatican's crackdown on American nuns: "After a lengthy investigation by the office formerly known as the Inquisition, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has been signed up to oversee a forced reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in this country.... American sisters do outnumber the priests, and it’s the women who have the troops, too – at schools and hospitals the bishops couldn’t close if they wanted to. The nuns no longer only empty the bed pans, you see, but now also own the institutions where they work. And you have to wonder whether that’s the real problem."

CW: Our So-Called Justice System. I am not a fan of the Post's editorial board either, but they too are right to condemn the FBI & the Justice Department not just for the FBI's shoddy labwork but also for hiding later-discovered exculpatory evidence from convicts and their lawyers.

Joe Nocera's column on Joseph Alsop is both interesting and a frightening reminder of how influential journalists -- think "Tom Friedman, Policymaker" -- once were.

This should probably go in Right Wing World: Dan Friedman of the National Journal: "Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has done more than any other Democrat up for reelection this year to distance himself from President Obama, said he does not know if he will vote for Obama or presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November." Jerk.

The Presidential Race

Woe unto the liar for he shall be thrust down to hell. -- Book of Mormon ...

... The Road to Hell is Paved with Lies. Steve Benen documents 21 lies Mendacious Mitt told this week. That's a record!

Greg Sargent: the Romney campaign has been making the argument for months that President Obama is responsible for the Bush recession, "and it continues to generate virtually no skepticism in the press."

Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney may be inclined to start moving to the political center now that he’s practically got the Republican nomination won and done, but the Obama campaign would much rather keep him right where he’s been for the past few months: in the conservative territory he staked out while battling for Republican primary voters."

Judd Legum & Alex Seitz-Wald of Think Progress: "Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s new foreign policy spokesperson Richard Grenell has an odd penchant for targeting the wives of male politicians and women in general on Twitter. Grenell, who served as George W. Bush’s spokesperson at the UN and was announced as the Romney campaign’s new representative yesterday, has gone after Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Callista Gingrich, Sandra Fluke and others. He also asserted that President Obama’s children should be fair game for political debate." CW: Read the tweets. They're disgusting, sexist crap.

Remember Him? Shannon Travis of CNN: "Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign continued to face outrage and claims of 'wasteful spending' of taxpayer money on Friday as the candidate keeps his Secret Service detail, which could cost north of $40,000 per day."

Right Wing World

Delusions of Grandeur:

News Ledes

New York Times: "Charles W. Colson, who served as a political saboteur for President Richard M. Nixon, masterminded some of the dirty tricks that led to the president’s downfall, then emerged from prison to become an important evangelical leader, saying he had been 'born again,' died Saturday. He was 80."

AP: "Utah Republicans denied U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch a clear path to a seventh and final term Saturday, forcing the 78-year-old lawmaker into a June primary with 37-year-old former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. Hatch fell short of the nomination by fewer than 50 votes from the nearly 4,000 delegates at the party convention."

AFP: "The United Nations on Saturday authorized the deployment of a 300-strong ceasefire monitoring mission, but the United States warned it may not allow a renewal of the mission saying its 'patience was exhausted.'"

The Hill: "Conservative firebrand journalist Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner on Friday."

New York Times: "The Obama administration says it believes that a Chinese manufacturer sold North Korea the chassis and other parts for a missile-transport vehicle displayed in a military parade this week, a senior official said Friday, raising new concerns about China’s ability to enforce a ban on military sales to North Korea."

AP: "Afghan security forces have arrested five militants with 10 metric tons (11 tons) of explosives that they had brought from Pakistan to use to carry out a massive attack in Kabul, as well as another three planning an assassination attempt against the vice president, an official said Saturday."

Washington Post: "The repercussions from the burgeoning Colombia prostitution scandal continued to mount Friday as the U.S. Secret Service forced out three more employees, while agency director Mark Sullivan gave his first briefing to President Obama on the alleged misconduct of those in charge of protecting him."

Reuters: "Leading world economies on Friday pledged $430 billion in new funding for the International Monetary Fund, more than doubling its lending power in a bid to protect the global economy from the euro-zone debt crisis."

Washington Post: "American nuns struggled to respond Friday to a Vatican crackdown on what it calls 'radical feminism' among the women and their purported failure to sufficiently condemn such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage."

Reuters: "Labor groups at bankrupt American Airlines said on Friday they support a potential merger with rival US Airways Group Inc in a deal they say would save more jobs than a plan by parent AMR Corp to reorganize as a stand-alone carrier."

Reader Comments (1)

Re: Alsop: A new senator in those days could expect to get invited to all the best Georgetown parties. Alsop and his wife, Mary, (in name only) threw many of them. The one and only one Nixon attended did not pass the critical eye of Mary who zeroed in on her guests like a falcon in free fall. In this case she would soon indict Nixon to the world as "wooden and stiff...terribly difficult to talk to...a terrible dancer to boot." And from what I've read about the Joe and Mary duo if you didn't pass muster with Mary, you didn't pass muster with Joe.

The McCain videos are a hoot. There seems to be something called "I'm pretending there is no such thing as this new fangled ability to preserve my words on film" syndrome. Or maybe we have entered a new faze in our political system where the Hope and Change slogan has slithered over to the Republicans.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe
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