Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office":

The Ledes

Saturday, December 20, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States transferred four detainees from the Guantánamo Bay prison to Afghanistan late Friday, the Defense Department announced Saturday, fulfilling a request from the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, in what officials here characterized as a show of good will between the United States and the government in Kabul.The four men are not likely to be subjected to further detainment in Afghanistan, an Obama administration official said."

New York Times: "In an apparent targeted killing, two police officers were shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon by a man who later fatally shot himself in head, police officials said."

Reuters: "Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department took at least 73 adults and one minor into custody during the protest that blocked Interstate 43, which runs through the city, according to the department's Twitter feed."

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Lowell Steward, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 100 missions during World War II, died Wednesday, according to Ron Brewington, former national public relations officer for the Tuskegee Airmen. Steward was 95."

NBC News: "The Army has concluded its lengthy investigation into the disappearance of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in eastern Afghanistan and must now decide whether Bergdahl should face criminal charges. Bergdahl reportedly walked away from his base into the hands of the Taliban and was held hostage for five years. Based on the investigation, the Army must now decide whether Bergdahl should be charged with desertion or a lesser charge of being 'absent without leave,' AWOL."

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

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

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A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

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Sunday
Jun172012

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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