The Ledes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Hill: "The Defense Department accidentally sent live anthrax to labs in nine states and is working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to contain it, the Pentagon said Wednesday. 'The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,' said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman."

AP: "A second submariner has pleaded guilty to sharing videos of female officers undressing for a shower, continuing a case that a prosecutor calls a 'black eye' for the Navy's integration of women into the nation's sub fleet.... Electronics technician Joseph Bradley entered pleas Wednesday in a court-martial trial. He was sentenced to 30 days' confinement and a reduction in rank.... On Tuesday, missile technician Charles Greaves received two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for making the videos. Five more male sailors face charges in the case."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Guardian: Texas governor Greg Abbott has expanded the emergency disaster zone in his state, adding 24 counties to a list of 13 affected by storms and flooding. Three people were reported dead and 12 missing as Oklahoma was also hit hard, while a tornado left 13 dead in a Mexican town just beyond the border." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Flooding brought Houston[, Texas,] to a near-standstill Tuesday, sending normally tame rivers and bayous surging out of their banks, inundating streets and homes, and leaving highways littered with hundreds of abandoned, ruined cars. As much as 10 inches of rain lashed the Houston area overnight, and added to floodwaters flowing downstream from areas of central Texas that were swamped over the holiday weekend, causing waterways to rise from trickle to torrent faster than people could get out of the way."

... See also Jeanne Pitz's comment on this in today's Commentariat.

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 27

12:15 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks about the Russian-Ukraine conflict (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

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Friday
Apr062012

The Commentariat -- April 7, 2012

Here's my rap on Brooks in NYTX.

President Obama's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

... Stephanie Condon of CBS News: "Amid continued Democratic charges that Republicans are waging a "war against women," President Obama's re-election campaign is zeroing in on Mitt Romney for allying with Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin -- who just repealed an employment discrimination law." The Romney campaign isn't talking to CBS News re: the new Wisconsin law. ...

... Justin Sink of The Hill: "Obama's campaign team said Friday that Walker's move was evidence Republicans are willing to 'undermine not only women's health care, but also their economic security,' and demanded that presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney comment on Walker's move." The Romney camp didn't respond to Obama -- or to The Hill.

Charles Blow on the stark differences between white and black views of the Trayvon Martin killing, and what good might come from reaction to his killing.

Andy Rosenthal decides to skip the Masters golf tournament. CW: glad he's finally getting around to it. The Augusta National club has continued to ban women decades after other all-male clubs dropped their penis requirement.

Not entirely germane to politics, but interesting: Amy Schalet in a New York Times op-ed: "... there is reason to believe that teenage boys are becoming more careful and more romantic about their first sexual experiences." Schalet attributes this partly to young men's new concerns about the consequences of unprotected sex -- a well-documented view -- but she says that it's also a consequence of boys' letting their romantic side rule. CW: Schalet has written a book on teen sexual practices, so maybe she mentions something in the book she doesn't mention here. The "something" is pressure from religious fundamentalists. I have personal knowledge that these believers are still telling men & women in the 20s, even engaged couples, to "wait until marriage." Because this is biologically "unnatural"; that is, we're built to have sex in our teens -- I find this "ideal" ridiculous.   

Right Wing World

Gail Collins got hold of the Republican to-do list. Quite funny.

Liar, Liar. Dana Milbank: Mitt Romney is still making up stuff. Milbank reports that a speech, Romney began with “'Good morning,' ... though it was already afternoon. The accuracy of his statements went downhill from there." Milbank details some of what Romney said next, then calls it "Incorrect, wrong, false and fictitious. And that was just a sample from one Romney speech on one day." CW: Milbank, who is probably a moderate Republican, thinks Romney is capable of doing better. That's generous. ...

... Volume XII of Steve Benen's Chronicle of Romney Lies is the longest episode yet. ...

... Benen points to this post by David Corn, who blames the mainstream media for letting Romney get away with his non-stop campaign of lies. He calls it "one of the fundamental problems of American politics."

Andy Rosenthal again on why Mitt Romney's "state-based" "healthcare plan" won't work. CW: I would add to Rosenthal's post that state legislators have known about the healthcare crisis just as long as members of Congress have, & with a few notable exceptions -- including Massachusetts -- they have done little or nothing to abate the problem. Rosenthal argues it's because they can't; I'd say in most cases it's because they won't.

Local News

Sorry, I kept meaning to post this yesterday. I first intended to post it on my own; then intended to post it when contributor Janice reminded me of it; well, here it is: U.S. dictatorships:

News Ledes

AP: Thomas Kinkade, painter of popular schmaltz, died yesterday. He was 54.

Reuters: "The chief executives of General Motors, AIG, and Ally Financial had their 2012 compensation packages frozen for a second year in a row by the Treasury Department after they got 'exceptional' bailout help during the financial crisis. The Treasury said on Friday that all three were making progress at repaying the taxpayer funds given to them to keep them from collapsing during the 2007-2009 financial crisis but their pay practices remain under scrutiny of a 'special master' until they do pay it back."

Reader Comments (5)

I have been following this Michigan dictatorship story for some time now via Rachel, but this latest plus video is incredible. How does something like this go on for so long? Why didn't the democrats rise up and demand recounts straightaway? and this Benton Harbor situation is also mind boggling. Why isn't there a great hue and cry from the people of Michigan? Silly me, thinking we had something resembling a democracy.

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

P.S. We all wanted Marie to take on Brook's latest, but she needs her rest. Luckily, Charles Pierce has taken up the cudgel and it is hilarious!
https://www.nytexaminer.com/2012/04/our-mr-brooks-has-a-date-with-the-others/#comment-352

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Thank you Marie. I knew you could do it. The breadth of your knowledge makes you the ideal person to deal with twits like Brooks. I wonder if he sneaks down the hall to avoid running into Dr. Krugman. Maybe they never are at the Times at the same time.
David may have a serious inferiority complex, causing his attacks on the President. He probably does not take cash but is staying in line for a right wing "think tank" job if the Times ever gets wise to him.

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

As usual, the Republican response to Obama's remark about social Darwinism manages to ignore the truth. (I sometimes get confused, doesn't our Mr. Brooks have access to the internet?) Social Darwinism is the excuse for the rich to claim the rights over all others.
The interesting thing is that this of course comes from Darwin's theory concerning all living things (it's called evolution, in all places except Texas and Tenn.) Survival of the fittest. But I get confused, isn't it the basic concept of a god that humans are special? That because of their god, the rules that apply to other species don't apply to us special folks. Aren't all men created equal? I am sorry but I keep writing posts like this because my brain just keeps doing logic. I just don't know how to stop it.

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

@PD Pepe---The interesting thing about Benton Harbor is that eons
ago one of their citizens left a parcel of parkland bordering on Lake
Michigan to the residents of BH in perpetuity. After the city was
taken over, this very valuable land was sold (given?) to a developer
who built an exclusive golf course and mega-mansions. Did the
voters approve this? Obviously they had no voting rights, since
the city council was put on hold by the state. And now we hear
that a bill just passed giving the state control of all public access
to lakes, rivers, streams and street ends that are now controlled
by the cities. You gotta be a billionaire to enjoy the lakes and
rivers in the future cause sounds like someone higher up in the
government has friends who want all that valuable property.

April 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris
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