The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

BBC News: "The Democratic Action party [of Venezuela] says Luis Manuel Diaz[, a regional leader of the party.] was killed by a man who approached the stage after a public meeting in central Guarico state. Opposition leaders blamed militias supporting the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). President Nicolas Maduro denied this and said an inquiry had been launched."

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

White House Live Video
November 27

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

Go to


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."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

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 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!

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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