The Ledes

Thursday, July 24, 2014.

New York Times: "A series of explosions at a school run by the United Nations sheltering hundreds of Palestinians who had fled their homes for safety from Israeli military assaults killed at least 16 people on Thursday afternoon and wounded many more. The cause was not immediately clear."

Bloomberg News: "Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 284,000 in the week ended July 19, the fewest since February 2006 and lower than any economist surveyed by Bloomberg forecast...."

Guardian: "A flight operated by Air Algérie carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early on Thursday, the plane's owner said." ...

... New York Times UPDATE: "An Air Algérie jetliner with 116 people on board crashed early Thursday in a remote area of Mali near the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, officials said."

The Guardian is liveblogging developments in the Gaza crisis. More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, many of them children.

Reuters: "A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that pro-Russian separatists had an anti-aircraft missile of the type Washington says was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and it could have originated in Russia. In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence."

Los Angeles Times: "The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday night lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

New York Times: "The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish an inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories at a special session on Wednesday in which the top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Israel and Hamas had likely committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians." ...

... New York Times: "As the death toll mounts and passions spike, the Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned on Wednesday what it called 'deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists' who are reporting on the fighting in Gaza. That includes 'forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments,' the association said."

... New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Israel on Wednesday, as he pressed his effort to forge a cease-fire to bring a halt to the bitter fighting in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Kerry’s plane touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport just a day after the United States Federal Aviation Administration suspended American civilian flights to Israel." ...

... Guardian: "International airlines halted flights to and from Israel indefinitely on Tuesday citing security concerns in an unexpected twist to the two-week-old conflict in Gaza." ...

     ... CW: Guess that puts something of a damper on the Summer Vacation Insurance Theory of War. ...

... Washington Post: "As Israel pummels Hamas’s infrastructure inside Gaza, it is also trying to prevent attacks originating from the West Bank and Israel — by obliterating the houses of the relatives of Palestinians who allegedly have harmed Israelis. In doing so, Israel’s military has returned to a controversial policy of punitive demolitions that has displaced thousands of Palestinians over the years."

Washington Post: "Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said." ...

... Time: "U.S. intelligence resources tracked the 'specific missile' that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a senior Administration official said Tuesday, saying intelligence adds up to a picture that 'implicates Russia' in helping to bring down the plane." ...

... Washington Post: "The Obama administration, detailing what it called evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner, on Tuesday released satellite images and other sensitive intelligence that officials say show Moscow had trained and equipped rebels in Ukraine responsible for the attack."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 23

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the NAACP national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (audio only)

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

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

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Monday
Jul092012

The Commentariat -- July 10, 2012

Lauren LaCapra of Reuters: "A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday. In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful. Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it.... And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law." ...

... Matt Yglesias of Slate: The LIBOR "rate-fixing scandal should destroy the credibility of banks.... When tighter regulation of trading is proposed, the concern is raised that stringency will push activity to foreign centers." In other words, the "concerned" people [CW: I like to call them One Percenters & Republicans] are promoting "an economic development strategy based on turning your country into an appealing location for dishonest banking." ...

... Ben Protess & Mark Scott of the New York Times: "As big banks face the fallout from a global investigation into interest rate manipulation, American and British lawmakers are scrutinizing regulators who failed to take action that might have prevented years of illegal activity. Politicians in both London and Washington are questioning whether regulators allowed banks to report false rates in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis and afterward." CW: or Congress -- whose members have refused to fully fund regulatory agencies, have kissed the asses of banksters while bending over backwards to discourage regulation, and looked the other way at the revolving door between agencies & financial institutions -- could look in the fucking mirror.

CW: I've been too lazy to read this New York Times op-ed by Thomas Ricks -- who argues for a military draft -- because it (a) covers old ground, and (b) is not going to happen (it's so socialistic!). But because Carlyle mentions it in today's Comments, I've added the link. Besides, Carlyle's rationale -- in my opinion -- is better (& more socialistic!) than Ricks'.

Reconstruction Redux. Charles Pierce: "There is no question that a national campaign to suppress minority voters continues apace in this country. Sooner or later, it appears, the [Voting Rights Act] is going to turn up in front of the Supreme Court and we'll see how liberal John Roberts really is."

Sarah Laskow in Salon: "... a new study, published in the formidable Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences..., shows that fluids may have traveled from deep within Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, one of the formations at the center of the gas boom, into shallow aquifers hundreds of feet above. These fluids aren't products of fracking, but if they can travel up through layers of rocks, close to the surface, it means that fracking fluids could, too.... Natural pathways link deep formations and shallow aquifers."

Charles Pierce: "What in the hell are American soldiers even doing in Mali, let alone joyriding around at night with a couple of local hookers? 'Counterterrorism' is an insufficient answer in a democracy because, as history fairly wells screams into our ears, sooner or later, one of these little exercises in adventurism either blows back on us with a vengeance." ...

... Tom Junod in Esquire: "The Obama administration has taken pains to tell us, over and over again, that they are careful, scrupulous of our laws, and determined to avoid the loss of collateral, innocent lives. They're careful because when it comes to waging war on individuals, the distinction between war and murder becomes a fine one. Especially when, on occasion, the individuals we target are Americans and when, in one instance, the collateral damage was an American boy." CW: I disagree with Junod, but I expect a lot of people will find his arguments compelling.

Brad Plumer of the Washington Post on "how air-conditioning transformed the U.S. economy." He might have mentioned A/C made conservative Southern states, with their anti-union laws, more viable locales for their plants.

Tom Hamburger, et al., of the Washington Post: President "Obama's critics, primarily on the political left, say he has repeatedly failed ... to protect American jobs from being moved overseas. They point to a range of actions they say he should have taken: confronting China, reining in unfettered trade and reworking a U.S. visa program that critics say ends up sending high-tech jobs abroad.... American jobs have been shifting to low-wage countries for years, and the trend has continued during Obama's presidency. From 2008 to 2010, U.S. trade with China alone cost about 450,000 American jobs because of the growth of Chinese exports, said Robert E. Scott, a pro-labor advocate at the liberal Economic Policy Institute."

Dana Milbank: "... if the wealthy are going to accuse Obama of class warfare, he might as well do something to merit the charge." ...

... Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post: "Well, that was quick. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) both pushed for an extension of the Bush tax cuts to households earning up to $1 million, breaking from President Obama's proposal to make the cut-off $250,000. But hours after Obama revived the issue by pushing for a one-year-long extension, both have backed off." ...

... BUT There's No Herding Cats. Mark Landler & Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "President Obama and Congressional Republicans pressed ahead on Monday with politically charged proposals on tax cuts and health care, in competing efforts to frame the election-year debate. But each risked opening fissures in their own ranks, as lawmakers played up alternatives to the aggressive approaches of their leaders."

** Sam Baker of The Hill: "Repealing President Obama's healthcare law would let members of Congress keep their government-subsidized insurance coverage after they retire -- a benefit they lost under the health law. The Affordable Care Act — specifically, a Republican amendment to the Affordable Care Act -- kicked members of Congress and their aides out of the healthcare program for federal employees." ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon: "After ignoring the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Democrats have begun using it as a political weapon this election." One of the ads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running against targeted Republicans, including Mary Bono Mack:

CW: Knowing what we know -- which isn't much -- I think Scott Lemieux of American Prospect has precisely the right, balanced view of Justices Breyer & Kagan's votes on the Medicaid portion of the ACA.

Presidential Race

I urge you to go to Driftglass for the caption. Or maybe you'll want to make up your own first & compare.

You Have His Word on That. Emily Friedman of ABC News: "Mitt Romney said there is 'nothing hidden' in his tax returns that have yet to be released, responding to a question during a radio interview set to air later today regarding an onslaught of criticism from Democrats -- including President Obama -- on his refusal to be more transparent with his financial records."

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee easily outraised the formidable Obama money machine for the second month in a row A nonstop schedule of high-dollar events around the country brought in $106 million during June to Mr. Obama's $71 million, giving him and his party four times the cash on hand that it had just three months ago."

Local News/Right Wing World Edition

He's Still a Dumb MoFo. Chuck Lindell of the Austin Statesman: "In a sharply worded letter to federal officials Monday, Gov. Rick Perry said Texas will not participate in two key initiatives under the Affordable Care Act, noting that the law recently approved by the U.S. Supreme Court 'will find no foothold here.' ... One in four Texans lacks health insurance -- about 6 million residents -- the highest rate in the nation."

Edith Honan of Reuters: "Maine Governor Paul LePage apologized on Monday for calling the U.S. Internal Revenue Service the 'Gestapo' during criticism of President Barack Obama's healthcare law.... 'It was not my intent to insult anyone, especially the Jewish Community, or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered,' LePage said in a statement on his website."

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The Justice Department and FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence, officials said Tuesday. The undertaking is the largest post-conviction review ever done by the FBI. It will include cases conducted by all FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985 and may reach earlier if records are available...."

Washington Post: "The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday it had received word as early as 2007 from the British bank Barclays about problems with the benchmark interest rate that underpins much of global lending."

New York Times: "Russia said on Tuesday that it had dispatched a flotilla of 11 warships to the eastern Mediterranean, some of which would dock in Syria. It would be the largest display of Russian military power in the region since the Syrian conflict began almost 17 months ago. Nearly half the ships were capable of carrying hundreds of marines."

New York Times: "The Episcopal Church on Tuesday approved an official liturgy for blessing same-sex unions, enabling priests who have the approval of their bishops to bestow the church's blessing on gay couples whether they live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal or not."

AP: "Seeking an election-year fight over taxes, President Barack Obama is hitting the road to press Congress to extend tax cuts for low- and middle-income earners, framing a debate with Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans over tax fairness. Obama was making his pitch Tuesday in Iowa.... He faces a tough contest there against Romney this fall." ...

... Politico: "White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that President Obama would veto a full, across-the-board extension of the Bush tax cuts that included no tax increases on upper earners."

CNN: "A controversial Indiana law that would keep low-income women from using federal Medicaid benefits to receive any kind of reproductive medical care from Planned Parenthood is unacceptable because it denies women the freedom to choose their health care providers, according to a federal hearing officer."

Haaretz: "Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was acquitted on Tuesday morning of the charges against him in two major cases, and convicted only of breach of trust, in a third. Jerusalem District Court president, Moussia Arad, headed the panel of judges that found Olmert not guilty of the charges in the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, and convicted him only on one count -- breach of trust, in the Investment Center affair. Accusations over the Talansky affair led to Olmert's forced resignation as prime minister."

Washington Post: "Emboldened by a decree issued by President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament convened briefly on Tuesday, defying a ruling by the country's top court and a threat from the nation's generals."

AP: "The International Criminal Court sentenced a Congolese warlord to 14 years in prison on Tuesday, a watershed moment for the 10-year-old tribunal and a potential landmark in the struggle to protect children during wartime. Judges found Thomas Lubanga guilty in March of recruiting and using children in his Union of Congolese Patriots militia — sending them to kill and be killed during fighting in Congo's eastern Ituri region in 2002-2003. Tuesday's announcement was the first time the tribunal had sentenced a convicted war criminal."

AFP: "South Korea's Samsung won a patent battle Monday against US rival Apple, with a British judge ruling that Samsung's Galaxy tablet was not 'cool' enough to be confused with Apple's iPad.... He ... gave Apple 21 days to appeal against the decision."

Reader Comments (7)

In today's Times, Thomas E. Ricks quotes General Stanley A. McChrystal's call for reinstating the draft."But most of all,...having a draft might make Americans think more carefully before going to war. Imagine the savings-in blood, tears and national treasure-if we had thought twice about whether we really wanted to invade Iraq."
There are a lot of other benefits to be had if all eighteen year olds were required to train and participate in some form of public service.
We could have an assistant in every classroom.
We could have child care reasonably priced for working mothers.
We could staff all libraries and parks.
We could reduce substantially the two hundred billion dollars a year the military pays to private contractors for jobs that could be done by G.I.s.

More than twenty percent of eighteen year olds are unemployed. National service would give these young people jobs, training and experience and save them from some of the damage of unemployment.
None of this is possible now but when the despair and fear and hunger kicks in a few years from now and a New Deal is possible this will be one of the steps towards the restoration of America.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Who says Republicans don't care about the health of US citizens?

Good Ol' Boys Rick one and two, Perry and Scott are on the job, you betcha.

Moron number one (Perry) has declared that all Texas residents have access to the best healthcare in the world and don't need no he'p fum the gummint, damn soshulists. He's made a stand and, by gum, he's not gonna do nothin'. Even though 25% of Texas residents have NO healthcare, Moron Number One is on top of things. His answer? "Those statistics are a lie." Case solved. When faced with a problem of that magnitude the standard Republican response is to deny that there's any problem at all. In fact, it's even better to scream loudly that the solution being handed to them in the form of billions to actually get those people healthcare, is the problem. A two-fer! Deny that there's any problem then declare that an actual solution to that problem is dangerous and un-American.

Now let's look at the great state of Florida (how Marie stands it, I'll never know), where Moron Number Two (Scott) has been covering up the fact that the worst outbreak of TB in decades has been killing Florida residents and may kill many more. But not to worry. Moron Number Two leaped into action. His response to a TB outbreak? Close the single hospital in the state set up to most effectively treat tuberculosis. Now that's a plan, I tellya. But really, folks, those people who died were poor, homeless, and probably voted for the Democrat Party, so screw them.

Besides, Scott, as an expert in this area, but who had to resign, inconveniently, under a flurry of felony and fraud charges connected to his stewardship of a healthcare plan, knows the best way to deal with public health crises:

Don't tell anyone. Pretend it doesn't exist. Then when it comes out that you've been lying, blame someone else.

Those Republicans, they've got it all worked out, don't they?

They might be morons but they're the most experienced morons. Right-wing morons!

(Okay, I realize that the actual reason behind these vicious schemes is to throw as many roadblocks at healthcare as possible, using human beings as pawns in a political game of chicken, but this doesn't mean they're not morons. It just means they're barbaric, misanthropic morons.)

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

It is my hope that all of these attempts to derail Affordable Care will hang from the necks of Republicans like a dead chicken hangs from the neck of a bad dog
Sooner or later and probably too late to help, a large, perhaps a majority of Americans will realize that they have been harmed by the Republican response to broader medical coverage.
Perhaps we are seeing the event that will destroy the "tea party."
A wakened America could send the Republicans to purgatory for a decade or two.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@Carlyle. Like you, I think the Republicans' crazed opposition to the ACA could come back to haunt them, tho it depends upon Democrats following thru with vigorous support of it & really driving home, ad nauseum, what all is in it that's good -- maybe they should send brainwashed Republican voters to those re-education camps Michele Bachmann warned about. In any event, it's too late for Republicans to say, "Oh, never mind." They've been railing against the ACA for 3 years.

Marie

July 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Carlyle's comments re: the draft make sense and that's why nothing will be done about it. Sense has vanished, taken a hike in lands of closed circuits and Klugsheisseriches, loosely translated from the German as "smart asses." After Vietnam the idea of conscription became a death knell, yet without it we forged ahead and invaded Iraq while the young, bright lads of promise continued on with their lives while those not as fortunate fought and died. Talk about death knells!

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Off topic..sort of...Slavery is alive and well in the US and is making a comeback thanks to our corporate overlords. Barry Estabrook reported on this not long ago in his book Tomatoland. Chris Hedges expands that reporting in a CBC interview plugging his book. He also says the US in on the cusp of a revolution:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/news-promo/2012/07/10/chris-hedges-days-of-destruction/

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/media/audioplayer.html?categoryid=2185449222

*I had trouble the media player on FF.. IE works fine

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

http://www.alternet.org/story/156188/destroying_communities,_abusing_workers:_what%27s_%28still%29_the_matter_with_wal-mart/?page=entire

More on the race to the bottom.

July 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS
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