The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014.

Guardian: "Medical officials in the United States announced on Tuesday the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed outside Africa during the latest outbreak, which has killed more than 3,000 people this year. The patient, who has not yet been identified, is being treated in Dallas, Texas. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said the patient left Liberia in west Africa on 19 September, but did not develop symptoms until a few days after arriving in the US. He was admitted to the Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas on Sunday."

Los Angeles Times: "The Securities and Exchange Commission accused two men of insider trading for acting on advance word that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman planned to bet against nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd. It's the latest dramatic turn for the Los Angeles company, which is under federation investigation and has been fighting allegations for nearly two years that it operates an illegal pyramid scheme."

Los Angeles Times: "Bell Gardens[, California,] Mayor Daniel Crespo died Tuesday after he was shot by his wife, Levette, during a domestic situation, Sheriff's Department officials told The Times."

New York Times: "An Oklahoma man was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the beheading of a co-worker, but federal officials said they had found no links that tie the man to terrorist organizations, including Islamic extremist groups that have beheaded several Western hostages in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks. Alton Nolen, 30, who worked on the production line of a food processing plant in Moore, Okla., remains in the hospital after being shot by the company’s chief operating officer, who is also a reserve deputy sheriff, the authorities said."

New York Times: "Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed leader on Tuesday called for the pro-democracy demonstrators who have blocked major roads in the city to return home 'immediately,' and he gave no sign that he was prepared to compromise on their demands for more open elections to choose his successor." ...

... The Guardian is liveblogging the protests.

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 1

12:15 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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

CW: Glad to see I'm not the only person who hates Windows 8. I thought it was just my old-lady-ness setting in.

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker: "The first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Inherent Vice dropped today and, as expected, it's a madcap psychedelic Southern California love song that may or may not feature an appearance by elusive author Thomas Pynchon.... Anderson declined to answer directly in a recent interview with the New York Times, but [actor Josh] Brolin confirmed the notoriously reclusive author will appear in the film, telling the reporter, 'I don't think anybody knew... He came on as the kind of mercurial iconoclast he is. He stayed in the corner.'"

Here's a voiceover Pynchon did in 2009 promoting the novel Inherent Vice:


Whatever Happened to Piers Morgan? Guardian: "Piers Morgan, the former CNN talkshow host, has been appointed editor-at-large of Mail Online’s US operation. The outspoken New York-based British journalist, who parted company with CNN in early September, six months after his primetime talkshow was axed, will write for the Daily Mail’s US website several times a week, according to a Mail Online story published on Tuesday."

CW: You won't likely be hearing from Piers here. I've never found a reason to cite a Daily Mail story.

Los Angeles Times: "George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are married, having said their vows Saturday evening in Venice, Italy." ...

... OR, as the Business Women Media lede reads, "Amal Alamuddin, a 36 year old London-based dual-qualified English barrister and New York litigation attorney who has long been a high-profile figure in international refugee and human rights law has gone against the trend for professional women in her field and married… an actor."

CW: Here's some cheery news. The MacArthur Foundation has named the newest recipients of its "genius" grants. I hope none of them is somebody you personally dislike (thus keeping it cheery). The AP article linked includes a slide show with mini-profiles of each grant recipient.

** CW: The best, most provocative piece of writing in the "news" today is A. O. Scott's piece in the New York Times Magazine on "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." If you don't watch a lot of TV & never see stupid movies, you will struggle with Scott's exemplary references. You may not accept all of his premises, & I think he falls short on defining "adulthood" (though maybe, like pornography, we're supposed to recognize it when we see it.). ...

... Adam Sternbergh responds in New York.

Jeff Weiss, in the New York Times, profiles comedian Bill Maher, who is in the midst of a schtick aimed to defeat the U.S.'s worst Congressperson. You would be a good idea to read Weiss's piece with A. O. Scott's essay in mind. Maher (& even Weiss, who -- in ticking off "bad things" about Maher -- never mentions Maher's offensive attitudes about women) is a fine example of Scott's thesis.

Guardian: "Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, the royal family said on Monday morning. The announcement was made from Clarence House on Twitter.... The Duchess of Cornwall is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with her first pregnancy, and is being treated by doctors at her apartments in Kensington Palace."

Washington Post: "After less than a year at the top of Politico’s masthead, veteran New York Times editor Rick Berke has resigned as the publication’s executive editor.... Friction had been on display in the newsroom almost from the beginning of his tenure. Berke, according to several current and former Politico employees, tried to impose some of the values of the world he came from — where multiple editors might weigh in, demand multiple drafts, and shape bigger, more ambitious stories — on Politico’s fast-moving, reporter-driven newsroom."

 

Jimmy Fallon & Maroon 5 singer & Voice judge Adam Levine stage a "musical impressions-off." This clip, from a show that aired this week (September 2), already has more than 8MM hits:

New York Times: "The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine. The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she 'cracked' and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.... The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch."

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

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Saturday
Aug112012

The Commentariat -- August 12, 2012

My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is on Ross Douthat's Sunday sermon. The NYTX front page is here.

Michael Schmidt & Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times: "More than 30 federal officers in an airport program intended to spot telltale mannerisms of potential terrorists say the operation has become a magnet for racial profiling, targeting not only Middle Easterners but also blacks, Hispanics and other minorities."

Presidential Race

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "The selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as the Republican vice-presidential candidate provides President Obama with something he has been eagerly looking for -- a bigger target.... Instead of a referendum on his own performance, the president has an opening to turn the election into a referendum on the vision that Mr. Ryan has advanced and Mitt Romney has adopted.... Stanley B. Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said that surveys showed attacks on the Ryan plan moved voters dramatically.... 'There are a lot of white, working-class voters, particularly older ones, who will walk away now, even if tempted earlier by the slow economy.'"

Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "For the past 10 days, the Romney campaign took extraordinary measures to keep Mr. Ryan's whereabouts and movements a mystery.... It required painstakingly planned skulduggery, which the campaign outlined in detail, late on Saturday afternoon."

** The New York Times Editorial Board does a fine job of summing up how bleak life would be in the U.S. under a Romney-Ryan administration: "Mr. Romney had already praised the Ryan budget as "excellent work" but until Saturday the deliberate ambiguity of his own plans gave him a little room for distance, an opportunity to sketch out a more humane vision of government's role. By putting Mr. Ryan's callousness on his ticket, he may have lost that chance." ...

... Igor Volsky of Think Progress fleshes out the Times editors' assertions. ...

... Here's the Obama camp's first shot at Romney-Rand (Freudian slip; I meant Romney-Ryan):

     ... The link at the end of the video takes you to an Obama-Biden campaign page that elaborates on the points made in the video.

Nate Silver analyzes the risk Romney took in choosing Ryan. His choice may not have the payoff Rmoney hopes for. Interesting factoid:

Various statistical measures of Mr. Ryan peg him as being quite conservative. Based on his Congressional voting record, for instance, the statistical system DW-Nominate evaluates him as being roughly as conservative as Representative Michele Bachmann, the controversial congresswoman of Minnesota.

James Downie of the Washington Post: "... the idea that Ryan or Romney's nomination of him as his vice president is courageous is simply wrong." Downie explains why.

Steve Benen: "For months, Mitt Romney repeated a common complaint about President Obama's professional background: he's spent his life in the political world, not the real world.... Oddly enough, Romney hasn't repeated that line of criticism in a while.... In May, Romney went so far as to say working in the private sector for 'at least three years' should be a prerequisite to national office. Now, Romney wants to put Ryan one heartbeat from the presidency, despite the fact that Ryan" has spent his entire career in politics. "Romney was almost certainly pushed into this announcement by a conservative establishment that doesn't trust him or feel excited to rally behind him, and Romney didn't have the standing or intestinal fortitude to push back. It's a Quayle/Palin kind of decision...." ...

     ... When it's "our turn," Steve, and the little people aren't sufficiently compliant, sometimes I have to compromise my high standards for the greater good. Love, Mitt.

** Matthew O'Brien of The Atlantic: "Under Paul Ryan's plan, Mitt Romney wouldn't pay any taxes for the next ten years -- or any of the years after that.... Well, maybe not quite nothing. In 2010..., Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did.... The vast majority of Romney's income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends. And Ryan wants to eliminate all taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends.... It might seem impossible to fund the government when the super-rich pay no taxes. That is accurate. Ryan would actually raise taxes on the bottom 30 percent of earners, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center,but that hardly fills the revenue hole he would create. The solution? All but eliminate all government outside of Social Security and defense...."

"Thanks, Willard. Love, Barack." David Corn of Mother Jones: "Paul Ryan is exactly whom President Barack Obama wanted on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. By selecting the Republican congressman from Wisconsin, whose name is synonymous with the GOP's cut-taxes-for-the-rich and slash-programs-for-the-middle-class-and-the-poor, Romney has helped Obama in his No. 1 mission: shape the election not as a referendum on the sluggish economy but as a sharp clash between opposing sets of values and programs for the future."

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "The craziest thing so far about today are the reports that now that Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan, he is going to abandon his support for Paul Ryan's budget."

It isn't just the Ryan budget Willard will have to defend:

     Ezra Klein: "Ryan was, for instance, the key House backer of Social Security privatization. His bill, The Social Security Personal Savings Guarantee and Prosperity Act of 2005, was so aggressive that it was rejected by the Bush administration. Now it's Romney's bill to defend. In Florida." Read Klein's whole post. ...

    Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "Ryan's claims that his economic and social philosophy reflect Catholic teachings seem to have rubbed the bishops (and even more adamantly, Catholic liberals) the wrong way, and could become a problem for the ticket at a time when the so-called 'war on religion' had created a fine opportunity for Republicans to consolidate support among 'traditionalist' white Catholics."

Jonathan Chait: "Ryan's nominations represents a moment when the conservative movement ceased to control the politicians from behind the scenes and openly assumed the mantle of power."

Michael Tomasky of Newsweek: "Thelma and Louise were 'daring' too, but they ended up at the bottom of a canyon. If the Democrats handle this situation properly, that's where this ticket will end up too, and then the rest of us -- the people who don't want federal policy to be based on Atlas Shrugged -- can finally and fully press the case to the right that America is not behind you, and please grow up." ...

... Noam Scheiber of The New Republic thinks Romney knows that: "Ryan is the way Romney and his aides escape blame for their now-likely defeat -- blame which would have vicious and unrelenting—and pin it in on conservatives instead."

Jane Mayer of the New Yorker: there is a woman on the GOP ticket: Ayn Rand.

Galt/Gekko 2012. Paul Krugman: "Romney obviously felt he needed a VP who will get people to stop talking about him."

Among Charles Pierce's thoughts on "the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, an authentically dangerous zealot": "Paul Ryan lives in a house overseen by the National Park Service, which means that he qualifies for a 20-percent investment tax credit." CW: I think this is the place:

CW: Since he was a teenager living on Social Security survivor benefits, throughout his education at public schools & a public university and all through his professional career, the taxpayers have supported Paul Ryan. He has lived on the public dole most of his life. Clearly, Ryan comes from the school of sociopaths who think they are "entitled" to close to 100% public support, but everybody else is a freeloader. BTW, I don't think that guy working on the front stoop in the Google Earth photo is Ryan.

Meanwhile, Back in Janesville.... Alison Bauter of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Ryan will remain on the ballot for re-election to his seat in the House of Representatives, said Susan Jacobson, finance director/campaign manager for his House campaign."

Maureen Dowd essentially ignores Ryan and writes instead about the likability quotients of Obama and Romney. Her column includes some good quotes, like this one:

Mitt, I think, spent his life balanced between fear and greed. He knew that he had to make a lot of money to launch his political career. It's very hard to make a lot of money without taking some kind of reputational risk along the way. -- Marc Wolpow, "a former Romney employee at Bain Capital," on "Mitt's 1988 deal with Michael Milken while the junk bond king was under federal investigation"

Still Can't Keep His Foot out of His Mouth: Peter Hamby of CNN: "Speaking at a rally in Ashland, [Virginia...,] Romney described Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who was in attendance, as 'a great friend, and I hope the next governor of Virginia.' Bolling is running for the 2013 gubernatorial nomination against state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a darling of conservative activists who is trouncing Bolling in early polling.... Romney and his aides tried to walk back the comments after the event."

Congressional Races

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Rep. Paul Ryan's selection as Mitt Romney's running mate has the power to reshape the race for control of Congress.... Democrats say putting Ryan on the ticket will make his budget even more of a focal point in 2012 and force Republicans who haven't already taken a position on it to do so."

News Ledes

New York Times: Sheldon Adelson's frontman in China, Yang Saixin, "along with tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands made through him in China, is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau.... On Tuesday..., Paul D. Ryan is to appear at a fund-raiser at the Sands's Venetian casino in Las Vegas; Mr. Adelson is likely to attend...."

New York Times: Tammy Smith, "an Army officer being promoted to brigadier general, openly acknowledged her homosexuality on Friday by having her wife pin her star to her uniform, thus becoming the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States military."

New York Times: "With a gaudy three-hour farewell that mashed up theater, acrobatics, fashion and a few generations of musical idols, London extinguished the Olympic torch Sunday night, capping two weeks of athletic achievements with a jukebox collection of songs and a marathon display of endearingly wacky stagecraft." Guardian story here. ...

... CBS Sports: "Most medals. Most gold medals. The U.S. left no doubt at the Olympics. When the U.S. men's basketball team took the Olympic title Sunday, it won the 46th gold medal for Americans in London, their highest total at a 'road' Olympics."

** New York Times: "President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt forced the retirement on Sunday of his powerful defense minister, the army chief of staff and several senior generals, in a stunning purge that seemed for the moment to reclaim for civilian leaders much of the political power the Egyptian military had seized since the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year. Mr. Morsi also nullified a constitutional declaration, issued by the military before he was elected, that eviscerated the powers of the presidency and arrogated to the military the right to enact laws."

AP: "Twin earthquakes in Iran have killed at least 250 people and injured over 2,000, Iranian state television said on Sunday, after thousands spent the night outdoors after their villages were leveled and homes damaged in the country's northwest."

Reader Comments (8)

Re: Romney and Ryan - I saw a comment elsewhere asking why two guys who never served a day in the military were doing their big announcement on an aircraft carrier. Hmmm.... Trying to use big guns to make themselves seem more manly? Trying to seem more hawkish? Whatever the reason, it is just dumb.

(Thanks, Marie, for your dedication to checking reality for me. Love ya!)

August 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulemry

Since I have already weighed in "so to speak" about RomRy, and since you mentioned Ken Cuccinelli (the soon to be Tea Party governator of VA) in your last paragraph, Marie, I simply MUST tell you and my fellow commenters about my "relationship" with Kenny.

His family lived in my neighborhood in McLean, VA when my son was a child. They were in the same grade at the local public school. He and Kenny belonged to the same soccer team, and many mothers took turns carpooling to soccer practices and weekend games--except Mrs. Cuccinelli. She was "stuck" at home with small children for the entirety of Kenny's soccer career, and never could find time to carpool--although most of the rest of us worked full time and had to make arrangements when it was our turn. Kenny, therefore, got a free ride to each and every soccer practice and game.

I remember when I drove. Kenny would sit in the back seat and pontificate about what "moral lessons" he had learned in school that day. The other boys spent most of the time hassling him and telling him to shut his trap. During one particularly harrowing ride, the ADHD child next door hit Kenny in the nose and gave him a nosebleed--telling him nobody wanted to hear what he was learning in school, and besides he was a creep and a terrible soccer player. Plus--his mother never drove. Kenny asked that I take him home immediately. After dropping off the other boys, I did. He told me on the ride home, the other boys obviously did not go to church or pray to Jesus. (He was right.) And he never went to another soccer practice or game.

Soon after, I learned that his parents had enrolled him in a private Catholic school, because he was not getting the rigorous religious training he needed, and public school students were just too rough. And look at him now? Eeeek! The next Tea Party governor, and possibly a Republican candidate for Prezident in 2016.

THE END--for now.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Contributor Lisa wrote this comment yesterday, and I just noticed it got jammed in my spam, so I'm reposting it here. I agree with her that both of the linked stories are worthy reads:

"I think these two oldie but goodies are appropriate to read again:

http://www.alternet.org/story/154700/the_horrors_of_an_ayn_rand_world:_why_we_must_fight_for_america%27s_soul

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/23-9

August 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: A punch in the nose; Kate, en futbol it's known as "el Mano de Dios". Poor Kenny, at least at his new school there was a priest to console him. It's funny until someone gets poked in the eye, then it's hysterical. There goes the soccer programs in Ol' Virginny. Oh well, it's a boring, stupid game played by 99 percent of the world except in exceptional USA where it's a girl's game. Go girls!

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

May I suggest you all take a break–-take a few minutes to read something lovely and refreshing: "Old Love" by Louis Begley in the Time's Sunday Review. While I was reading this I heard from outside a fat, lone robin loudly warbling his love plea while sitting on a branch in the Tamarack tree. It made the moments perfect.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Julemry,

One can make what one will of The Rat and the Fraud making the announcement of their betrothal on a de-commissioned battleship, but I think it nicely conveys the faux manliness and toughness of nearly all of the many, many, many Republican chicken hawks, starting with that roughest and toughest of them all, Saint Ronald of Reagan who at one point recalled that he had been with American troops in the ETO when they liberated deaths camps like Buchenwald. He saw it but he wasn't there. He watched films taken of the liberation but had no problem claiming to have been there. He worked for the military but in the safe confines of Hollywood backlots. Very manly, Ron. Verrryy manly.

Of course Dubya was in the military too. For a few months. The rest of his service days were spent AWOL boogeying down in Houston nightclubs stuffing cocaine up his nose. TEN-HUT! Officer doing a line!

But the rest of Bush's War Team were nearly all chicken hawks who liked to strut their manliness from behind the safety of a desk where they could send real men and women off to die in support of their crackpot ideologies and political ambitions. Cheney, who sneered that he had "other things to do" during Viet Nam, got multiple deferments. Neither Scooter Libby nor Paul Wolfowitz, both screaming war criminals, ever wore a uniform. Nor did slimy war monger Karl Rove. He got himself at least three deferments.

So Willard the Rat is in good company. He was certainly a supporter of Viet Nam "Go, go, kill, kill. I'll support our brave troops from a hidey hole back in the states" . Willard got many deferments to save his ass from going to fight and die. That shit is for the proles, not for rich boys destined to rule the world, like Mitty-mitt. Later, when it looked like the Army had had enough with his pansy deferments, he ran away to hide in France. You know, that country conservatives love to hate.

Many years later he lied that he never did anything to avoid the draft, that he had taken his chances like everyone else. A complete lie. Years after that, he embellished that lie by claiming that he LONGED to go to Viet Nam and serve alongside our "brave boys." Yeah. Right.

Paul Ryan, another supporter of sending other men women into harms' way, going off to die for him and his right-wing ambitions, had a chance to join up during the first Gulf War but he was too busy living off the public dole, enjoying being on the taxpayers' payroll. He's lived for decades off the support of the public.

So neither the Rat nor the Fraud have ever had the mettle to test themselves against their own ideologies and love of war by actually picking up a weapon. That's not for "leaders" like them. They give the orders. They don't do the dirty work.

Maybe it's best that they, like their many other chickenhawk allies, stay away from, you know, actual battleships where they might store real ammo. Better to announce their newly formed union on a decommissioned vessel as empty as their hearts and souls and as ball-less as both of them.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

So we've got the guy with the magical underwear who picked the guy who can't tell a poorly written novel from an econ 101 text, and together they generate a lot of hoopla by very serious people... until the honeymoon is over and magical underwear starts backing away from the bride (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/11/4717433/its-paul-ryan-romney-picks-wis.html). Did Terry Southern script this campaign or what?

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Re: If God is talking to you, one of the two of you is nuttier than an almond tree at harvest. Read "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG
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