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White House Live Video
November 27

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

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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."

New York Times: "Kathleen McCormack Durst disappeared from her home in Westchester County nearly 34 years ago.... On Monday, Ms. Durst’s mother, Ann McCormack, who is 101, and three sisters — Carol Bamonte, Mary Hughes and Virginia McKeon filed a $100 million lawsuit against the man who they have long suspected of killing her: Robert A. Durst, her husband. The lawsuit contends that Mr. Durst violated the McCormack family’s right to sepulcher, a rarely used New York law granting family members the immediate right to possession of a body for burial."

Washington Post: "Christmas in Washington" annual TNT special, in which presidents & their families regularly appeared, ends 33-year-run. Ah, must be because of Obama's War on Christmas. Wait, it isn"t!

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."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

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The Commentariat -- June 18, 2012

The Most Transparent White House Ever:

Copy of an Office of Legal Counsel memo Charlie Savage of the New York Times received after making a Freedom of Information Request for it. The OLC memo is by Bush counsel Jack Goldsmith. WTF is the Obama Administration hiding? Other than everything.

Uninsured & Clueless. Alec MacGillis, writing for Kaiser Health News, visits a weekend free clinic in Tennessee. When he asked patients what they thought about the Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on "the new national health care law," here's the kind of response he got: "What new law? I've not heard about that." Via Adam Sorensen. We get the government we deserve.

CW: I can't believe I'm linking to an op-ed by Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post's editorial director: Republicans used to swear they favored full disclosure of those responsible for every type of political ad. "Now Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) have introduced legislation that would — without limiting a single act of political speech -- promote disclosure, sunlight and disinfectant. Not a single Republican has signed on."

Paul Krugman, Myth Buster: "... the origins of [the Greek economic] disaster lie ... in Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin, where officials created a deeply -- perhaps fatally -- flawed monetary system, then compounded the problems of that system by substituting moralizing for analysis. And the solution to the crisis, if there is one, will have to come from the same places.

Bill Keller urges Roman Catholics "of open minds and open hearts" to leave the Church.

Congress is Back from One of Its Many Vacations. Russell Berman of The Hill: "The focus for congressional leaders ... will be on the highway and education [student loans] bills. As campaign fever engulfs the Capitol, deals on those two issues could be among the last agreements before Congress takes its July 4 recess. But they are no sure thing."

Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post on the Jerry Sandusky trial: "There's a shadow trial underway, because if the prosecution's case is correct, many people and important institutions failed to keep Sandusky from preying on boys despite direct eyewitness evidence that he was a pedophile."

Christine Haughney of the New York Times: "Three years after telling his shareholders that he would not buy a newspaper at any price, [Warren] Buffett has moved aggressively into the business, buying 63 papers and revealing a 3 percent stake in Lee Enterprises, a chain of mostly small dailies based in Iowa. In a letter Mr. Buffett sent to the publishers and editors of all Berkshire Hathaway daily newspapers, he described himself as a newspaper 'addict' who planned to buy more papers in the future."

Peter Boyer of Newsweek writes a long encomium on Chris Christie. He mentions New Jersey's great economy. (See Marvin Schwalb's comment in yesterday's Commentariat for a Reality Chek there.) CW: what impressed me was how Christie had mastered the "divide & conquer" strategy against public workers.

Dreams of My Father? More like Fables about Family & Friends, according to Ben Smith's reading of David Maraniss's new biography of the young Barack Obama. ...

... Jim Fallows reviews Barack Obama for the New York Times Book Review. ...

... AND you book-readers might want to read Dan Amira's review of Rielle Hunter's tell-all book about her affair with handsome John Edwards. As far as I can tell, Amira hasn't read the book, but that takes nothing away from his insightful take. ...

... Russell Goldman of ABC News has more. Also at the ABC link, a video so you book-readers who don't like to read words won't have to. And this tease: this Friday at 10 pm ET on ABC's "20-20," "Hunter will reveal the current status of her relationship with Edwards."

Julia Preston & Helene Cooper of the New York Times: "In recent weeks, the White House faced intense pressure from some of its closest allies ... to provide some relief for immigrant communities. The urging came from Harry Reid of Nevada and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois ... and the Hispanic caucus in the House of Representatives, as well as Latino and immigrant leaders across the country.... And last week, students without immigration papers started a campaign of sit-ins and hunger strikes at Obama campaign offices in more than a dozen cities...." ...

... In a Time magazine essay, "The President explains his decision to no longer deport undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children." ...

... Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times: "Republicans were angered by Obama's [immigration] move, seeing the new policy as circumventing Congress but also deriding it as job-stealing amnesty (by that view, they must think [Sen. Marco] Rubio's [R-Fla.] proposal, which would create nonimmigrant visas, was amnesty as well.) But even as Rubio had yet to release his proposal, the dynamic has shifted. Republicans have dug in and Democrats may now feel that anything short of the full Dream Act is unacceptable." Via Greg Sargent.

Presidential Race

The only difference between negative and positive ads is that negative ads have facts in them. -- Mike Murphy, GOP campaign operative ...

... Frank Rich: "The serious questions raised by the early Obama ads [attacking Romney] are not whether they were too much but too little.... The president, any president, should go negative early, often, and without apology if the goal is victory. The notion that negative campaigning is some toxic modern aberration in American democracy is bogus." Top this, Barack:

In his public statements about Homeland Security's new deportation policy, including the Time magazine essay linked above, President Obama of course doesn't say a thing about screwing Romney. But the new policy does screw Romney. And Romney knows it. ...

... Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "... Mitt Romney declined to say on Sunday whether he would reverse the president's decision if he takes up occupancy of the White House.Although Mr. Romney said during the Republican primary debates that he would veto the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, he was more equivocal about Mr. Obama’s order last week." ...

... Greg Sargent: Romney refused to answer Schieffer's repeated question as to how he would pay for the massive tax cuts on the wealthy he has proposed. ...

... Philip Rucker & Dan Balz of the Washington Post, in a straight reporting piece, repeatedly write that Romney's campaign speeches are all about criticizing Obama policies without specifying any of his own.

Emily Friedman of ABC News: "President Obama's senior campaign strategist David Axelrod condemned the protesters who showed up at two of Mitt Romney's campaign events in Ohio today while taking a dig at the GOP candidate.... Axelrod wrote on Twitter, 'I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt's route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide.'" ...

... Gwen Florio of the Missoulian: at the Montana state GOP convention, "an outhouse labeled 'Obama Presidential Library' [was] parked outside Missoula's Hilton Garden Inn, where the convention took place.... The outhouse was painted to look as though it had been riddled by bullets. Inside, a fake birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama made reference to the disproven controversy over the president's origins. It was stamped 'Bull--;.' A graffito advised 'For a Good Time call 800-Michelle (crossed out), Hillary (crossed out) and Pelosi (circled in red.)'"

News Ledes

New York Times: baseballer "Roger Clemens ... was acquitted Monday of all charges that he lied to Congress in 2008 when he insisted he never used steroids or human growth hormone during his long career."

New York Times: "Saudi Arabia's Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who was governor of Riyadh for nearly 50 years until his recent promotion to Saudi Arabia's defense minister, was officially named crown prince on Monday, making him the heir apparent to the 88-year-old King Abdullah."

AFP: "The leaders of the world's major powers will seek to buy the global economy some breathing space at the G20 summit Monday with new support for an IMF financial firewall and for Greece."

Here's Al Jazeera's liveblog for Egypt. What a mess! ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Faced with the popular election of the first Islamist head of state in the Arab world, Egypt's ruling generals sought on Monday to soften the appearance of their supreme authority as they entered a period of negotiations with the prospective president over the balance of executive, legislative and military power."

Reader Comments (4)

Those Republican outhouse jokes sure are thigh slappers. It's clear that in the septic tank that is the Republican party, the scum has risen to the top.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Marie has written an interesting take on Maureen Dowd's piece on Heroes and whispering whistlers, trying this together with Thomas Moore plus ends with a lovely tribute to the real heroes, the common man that toils hard and lives honestly and well––the washerwomen on their knees and the fathers (and mothers) that step up to the plate day after day.

And the story goes re: Thomas Moore's false allegations about Thomas Wolsey: Moore claimed that that Wolsey breathed into the King's face while whispering in his ear when he had the French pox, intending to infect the monarch.

"...imagine living inside the Lord Chancellor's head. Imagine writing down such a charge and taking it to the printer, and circulating it through the court and through the realm, putting it out there to where people will believe anything; putting it out there to the shepards on the hills, to Tyndale's plowboy, to the beggar on the roads and the patient beast in its byre or stall, out there to the bitter winter winds, and to the weak early sun, and the snowdrops to the London gardens." (From Wolf Hall)

And we are still reaping the results, aren't we?

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

I realize this is a somewhat delayed response but I sent in a comment on Friday before leaving for the weekend but I must have pressed the “Into the Mystic” button instead of “Submit Comment” one.

But it comes apropos of today's comments here on RC, noting the sludge and the stink and the lies that emanate from those high and low in right-wing world.

Anyway, that comment had to do with Romney’s juvenile “strategy” of having his bus drive in circles around an Obama crowd while leaning on the horn, like an ignorant adolescent who wants to show the adults exactly what they can do with their appeals to maturity.

Last week Letterman took a moment to ask a serious question about Romney’s judgment. His concern was how anyone could trust the discernment, intelligence, and even rationality of a guy who would strap a dog to the roof of a car for a journey of hundreds of miles. I realize the Seamus thing has been beaten to death, but substitute your next door neighbor for Romney. You find out that this guy just drove to Canada with his dog tied down on the roof and thought this was perfectly okay. Would you trust this guy to do ANY thing for you? Pick up a ‘scrip at CVS? Water your lawn? Collect your mail while you were on vacation? Fuck no.

You’d think the guy, at best, was a dangerous eccentric and at worst a sociopath. And you certainly wouldn't want him near your kids, never mind the family pet. So NOW would you want this guy running the country? It really is all about judgment; sound judgment, not the judgment of some propeller hat looney tune. No wonder Gail won’t give it up. It’s enormously revealing (as is Romney’s “inability” to recall a felony gay bashing assault which others involved recall as one of the great regrets of their lives. It might be a low blow to bash a candidate for something they did in high school, but for them to lie about it as an adult throws it back into the ring).

So too is having your personal Presidential Campaign bus with your name plastered in 8 foot tall letters on both sides, ostensibly touting your soundness of mind and fitness for the highest office in the land, drive around in circles near an Obama crowd honking the horn like a 16 year old who had just downed his first six pack. Seriously? What’s next? Cherry bombs in White House trash cans? Mooning the president? Ringing his doorbell and running?

I don’t know who is emulating whom, but that’s pretty much what this ignorant asshole Neil Munro, of the Daily Caller did in the Rose Garden during a presidential statement. Just IMAGINE the lividity levels on the right had ANYone dared to interrupt Bush or Reagan during one of their statements. There have been outraged phony recollections from the right of Sam Donaldson yelling questions at Reagan, but I can never recall any time at which he did this while Reagan was still speaking. He usually did it as the Old Actor was running away after the presser, trying to avoid questions. We all remember him standing on a runway or next to Marine One pretending he couldn’t hear the questions about why he sold weapons to terrorists. I’d have been yelling too.

Interestingly, the comments to this story on the US News site are equally revealing of the mindset of the right. First, the president is referred to by some as 666Obama. Then the usual raft of lies is floated about how Obama is trashing the Constitution and making his own laws using signing statements. Then a comment is run up the red pole declaring that evil liberals were upset when Bush used signing statements but don’t seem to realize that Obama has, in three years, used this tactic more times than Bush did in eight. A 100% pure RNC approved lie. But don’t expect any red meat chewers to check this “fact”. Two things about this. First, Obama uses signing statements because he is stymied at every turn trying to enact policies by a do-nothing Republican house that is striving to ensure his (and America’s) failure. Bush got nearly everything he asked for from congressional Democrats. He used many signing statements to neutralize and deface laws he didn’t like and to weasel in a number of his less legal schemes.

Second, Bush used this maneuver 161 times. Obama has done it 19. In what world is 19 > 161?

Why, in Right Wing World, of course. Where dropping your trousers in public and acting the craven churl is considered good judgment.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Re: uninsured and under-educated. All answers about "why" are exposed in the KHN article. How to change the "why" to "wonder why" is the challenge of the Democratic Party. The message has to reflect the audience it is intended for. The election is about "You, your family, your life." The Republicans are offering nothing but false promises. Wonder why.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG
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