The Ledes

Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Guardian: Texas governor Greg Abbott has expanded the emergency disaster zone in his state, adding 24 counties to a list of 13 affected by storms and flooding. Three people were reported dead and 12 missing as Oklahoma was also hit hard, while a tornado left 13 dead in a Mexican town just beyond the border." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Flooding brought Houston[, Texas,] to a near-standstill Tuesday, sending normally tame rivers and bayous surging out of their banks, inundating streets and homes, and leaving highways littered with hundreds of abandoned, ruined cars. As much as 10 inches of rain lashed the Houston area overnight, and added to floodwaters flowing downstream from areas of central Texas that were swamped over the holiday weekend, causing waterways to rise from trickle to torrent faster than people could get out of the way."

... See also Jeanne Pitz's comment on this in today's Commentariat.

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, May 25, 2015.

New York Times: "Texas marked 24 counties as disaster areas on Monday as drenching rains and violent weather swept through that state and Oklahoma, forcing thousands of people from their homes and killing at least three."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 26

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

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Saturday
Jun232012

The Commentariat -- June 24, 2012

Courtesy of the Weather Channel.

CW: BTW, I've been living on the outskirts of a tropical storm for the past 24 hours -- torrential rains, not much wind, but getting worser & worser -- so may lose power at any time for a long period of time. My landline & teevee satellite are already gone. If my power goes, or if just my DSL connection fails, I'll be back when I'm back.

CW: The vast, right-wing conspiracy was not trying to ruin Bill Clinton & it is not trying to ruin Barack Obama. They're small potatoes. The vast, right-wing conspiracy is trying to ruin all of us. And if voters are as stupid as I'm afraid they are, they will let the wingers win. So far, I think the wingers' odds are very good.

Jodi Kantor of the New York Times writes about how President Obama is dealing with the possibility that the Supreme Court will strike down all or part of the Affordable Care Act.

On the 40th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX -- the law that bans sex discrimination in public schools -- President Obama reflects on the impact of the law.

Chris Hayes in "the era of post-truth politics," compromise is not going to happen. Hayes thinks President Obama is finally getting it. An excellent essay. CW: something I didn't know: the NRA "scored" the votes on holding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Rachel Swarns of the New York Times answers some reader questions about Michelle Obama's white ancestors and publishes a photo of one of them for the first time.

The Vatican Foxifies. Nicole Winfield & Victor Simpson of the AP: "The Vatican has brought in the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with years of communications blunders and one of its most serious scandals in decades.... Greg Burke, 52, will leave Fox to become a senior communications adviser in the Vatican's secretariat of state, the Vatican and Burke told the AP.... Burke, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is a member of the conservative Opus Dei movement." Via Dylan Byers of Politico.

Presidential Race

Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: In Park City, Utah, "The Romney campaign, whose fund-raising prowess has defied assumptions about President Obama's financial advantages, offered wealthy donors and bundlers an extraordinary level of access to the candidate, his staff members, advisers and family this weekend at a three-day retreat that even seasoned political contributors said dwarfed previous presidential powwows."

New York Times Editors: "No American is dedicating as much of his money to defeat President Obama as Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who also happens to have made more money in the last three years than any other American. He is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation's needs." Read the whole editorial.

The Romney Rule. Jonathan Martin & Alexander Burns of Politico: "Vague, general or downright evasive policy prescriptions on some of the most important issues facing the country are becoming the rule for Romney. Hoping to make the campaign strictly a referendum on the incumbent, the hyper-cautious challenger is open about his determination to not give any fodder to Obama aides hungry to make the race as much about Romney as the president."

New Priorities USA ad, via Maggie Haberman of Politico:

News Ledes

New York Times: "Clients of J. Ezra Merkin, a prominent Wall Street hedge fund manager who invested his clients' money in Bernard L. Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme, will recover more than $400 million under a civil settlement negotiated by the New York State attorney general's office."

Denver Post: "The Waldo Canyon Fire is spreading in three directions and forced 11,000 people from their homes, according to fire officials. The fire has burned at least 2,500 acres and forced evacuations of about 4,000 homes in El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs and the blaze remains at zero containment." Includes perimeter map.

New York Times: "A United States Drug Enforcement Administration agent shot a man to death in Honduras during a raid on a smuggling operation early Saturday, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Honduras said Sunday. The man who was killed had been reaching for his weapon, the official said, and the agent fired in self-defense."

New York Times: "Lockheed Martin said it had reached a tentative agreement Saturday night with the machinists union to end a nine-week strike at its fighter jet plant in Fort Worth and two other sites."

New York Times: "Election regulators named Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood the winner of Egypt's first competitive presidential elections, handing the Islamist group a symbolic triumph and a new weapon in its struggle for power with the ruling military council.... In Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands had gathered to await the result, the confirmation of Mr. Morsi's win brought instant, rollicking celebration. Fireworks went up over the crowd, which took up a pulsing, deafening chant: 'Morsi! Morsi!'" ...

... Al Jazeera's liveblog on Egypt is here.

Al Jazeera: "Turkey has said that Syria shot down its military aircraft in international airspace and declared it would formally consult with NATO allies on a reaction. Turkey's assertion came as reports said search teams had located the wreckage in Syrian waters at a depth of 1,300 metres."

Guardian: "David Coombs, [Bradley] Manning's civilian lawyer, has made his strongest accusations yet about the conduct of the military prosecutors. In motions filed with the military court ahead of a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, on Monday, he goes so far as to accuse the government in essence of lying to the court.

Reader Comments (7)

The vast right wing conspiracy doesn't look to be so vast; it's the top of the pyramid we're talking here-- the handful of billionaires who can buy the advertising and the talk shows on radio and TV to whip up the mobs. We, down here, can't beat them with money, we need a better tool. I'm searching for it...

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwaltwis

@ alphonsegation: I have replied to your posting in the Ex paper and am awaiting "what Sue says."

A personal bus story: When our youngest son, Josh, was in middle school there was on the bus a nasty bully who continually spit on a timid, frail kid who never retaliated. The bus driver never caught the spitting. One day our son had had enough, cleared his throat, and lunged a zinger back at the bully. And that was the day the driver caught the action. Josh was suspended from the bus for two weeks. My husband, whose credo was "make a big deal out of the little things and you may prevent big things from happening," not only removed the stereo, the phone, the small TV from Josh's room, but told him he'd have to figure out a way to get to and from school on his own, which he did. I thought this much too severe given the circumstances, but respected the decision. There never was a repeat performance. So when Ms Klein says she wasn't going to report the boys because, hey, nobody will do anything about it since it's the last day of school, I say baloney.

It has taken Obama a goodly amount of time to rid himself of the idea that he can make nice with the republicans, but I think he's finally got it. Poor presidents, they all get gray hair sooner than later except for Reagan who dyed his––but then he was playing his role of a lifetime and had to look the part.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Chris Hayes essay on post truth politics is well worth reading. He contends that the NRA helped fabricate a second amendment issue by creating a fantasy that the real purpose of the Fast and Furious program was to take away guns from Americans. The story doesn't bear the weight of any serious scrutiny (especially given that F and F was started under Bush) - but this doesn't stop the NRA from running with it. I think the right wingers have adopted a strategy of lying about almost everything because they realize that the press can't possibly keep up in exposing the falsehoods, and the public has a hard time comprehending the enormous extent of the falsehoods, whis is unprecedented in a presidential campaign in modern history.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D,

Re: on the bus. "what was missing from the training the monitors and drivers received" A rod. Big dumbies. Say what you please, spare the rod, spoil the child. Little Johnny no longer respects his elders because he doesn't have to. The monitor has responsibilities and no authority. You get what you pay for.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Regarding Wayne and his lefevred brain: It's called propaganda. He doesn't have to believe it, but he does need to make it believable to those who desperately want to believe. Wayne's a grifter, a snake oil salesman, but he is good at it. Give him some credit.

Watching it from the outside, we revolt because we can see what absolute bullshit he's slinging, but think about it this way: Have you ever read the "sacred texts" of a religion not your own? They seem pretty far-fetched. Now read your own religion's sacred texts with the same critical eye. So, Wayne's selling paranoia about the here and now and Ratzinger is selling paranoia about the hereafter. Satisfying both of them would require arming fetuses.

With the growing corporate control of an increasingly small number of media companies, it seems to me that the message is clear to neophyte Woodwards and Bernsteins: Don't piss off the stockholders. So, we get stories on style (what did Hilary Rosen say say say say say?) rather than substance (is killing civilians with drones a war crime?) and we get endless rehashing of the "he said/she said" controversy of the moment. Rush Limbaugh, who would have been ridden out of any sane town on a rail, is preaching to a choir of those who would be George Zimmerman. Michelle Malkin, who really should keep up the search for the right meds, is given copious air time to spew hatred toward the President. Keep your eye on the bouncing ball ...

Go in peace. The mass is ended.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Marie: "And if voters are as stupid as I'm afraid they are, they will let the wingers win"
Certainly, aided by a passive media hat accepts all lies wihout comment.
Bolstered by the billions of Citizens United dollars dedicated to usurping the tea party for the one percent.
Opposed by a flaccid Democratic party that does not know " You can't get there from here," and is proposing trivial remedies for huge problems.
First will come the terrible damage to most Americans, then the recovery if Americans are worth saving.

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

To continue my rant from yesterday against the MSM. I am getting furiouser and furiouser! This is from Media Matters:

MEDIA OVERWHELMINGLY FOCUSED AGAINST
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

..."84 Percent Of Broadcast And Cable Segments Reported On Rulings Striking Down The Law. Out of a total of 31 segments on ABC's World News, CBS' Evening News, NBC's Nightly News, CNN's The Situation Room, and Fox News' Special Report that reported on court rulings related to the health care law, 26 (or 84 percent) dealt with rulings that found the individual mandate unconstitutional. In contrast, only three (or 10 percent) segments reported on rulings that upheld the law. Two segments (or six percent) reported on court rulings that dismissed their cases without ruling on substance."

Here is the link:
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/12076-focus- corporate-medias-war-on-obamacare

There are charts in the article which name the stations and the anchors and show the amazing amount of time each has devoted to discussing negative aspects of the bill vs. positive parts. Somehow seeing the data lined up on a chart make it more real for me--and more infuriating!

June 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison
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