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."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Washington Post: "The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday afternoon ordered U.S. carriers to stop flying to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, prohibiting them from traveling through Israel’s largest airport after a rocket landed nearby."

Reuters: "Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top U.S. and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 500 lives. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in neighboring Egypt, while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Israel later in the day. Both have voiced alarm at mounting civilian casualties."

New York Times: "A train carrying the bodies of victims from the Malaysia Airlines jet downed by a missile last week arrived Tuesday morning in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv after a 17-hour journey out of lawless territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels." ...

... New York Times: "A piece of wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 that was shot down in eastern Ukraine last week bears telltale marks of small pieces of high-velocity shrapnel that apparently crippled the jet in flight. Riddled with these perforations and buffeted by a blast wave as it flew high above the conflict zone, the plane then most likely sheared apart."

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.

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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