The Ledes

Sunday, August 30, 2015.

New York Times: "Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain’s strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,' using his patients’ disorders as starting points for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition, died Sunday at his home in New York City. He was 82." ...

... Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times: "Dr. Sacks ... was a polymath and an ardent humanist, and whether he was writing about his patients, or his love of chemistry or the power of music, he leapfrogged among disciplines, shedding light on the strange and wonderful interconnectedness of life — the connections between science and art, physiology and psychology, the beauty and economy of the natural world and the magic of the human imagination."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week's address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century":

The Ledes

Saturday, August 29, 2015.

Washington Post: "Thai authorities arrested a foreign man Saturday they said had been holed up in a suburban apartment with bomb-making equipment and stacks of passports, the first possible breakthrough in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago."

New York Times: "An Egyptian judge on Saturday handed down unexpectedly harsh verdicts in the trial of three journalists from the Al Jazeera English news channel, sentencing them to at least three years in prison on charges that human rights advocates have repeatedly dismissed as political in nature. The journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, had said they were expecting to be exonerated or sentenced to time already served. Egyptian officials have strongly suggested they were eager to be rid of the case, which had become a source of international embarrassment for the government...."

Washington Post: "Tropical Storm Erika was losing its punch as it drenched Haiti and the Dominican Republic early Saturday, but it left devastation in its path, killing at least 20 people and leaving another 31 missing on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said."

Public Service Announcement

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

White House Live Video
August 28

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Maureen Dowd: Trump has got the best of Jeb! & Hillary: "Trump’s 'gusto,' as he likes to call it, has thrown into sharper relief the grinding-it-out, impatient entitlement, the overthinking and overcorrecting of Jeb and Hillary. Both campaign like they are owed, not because of their great national achievements, but because of their byzantine family dynamics."

The Oliver Brief. We do note, however, that the so-called 'Insular Cases,' which established a less-than-complete application of the Constitution in some U.S. territories, has been the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism. See, e.g., Juan Torruella, The Insular Cases: The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid, 77 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1 (2008); Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories, Youtube (Mar. 8, 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE. -- Footnote, Paeste v. Guam, Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon

Jordan Golson of Wired: "Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage. The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars — there’s no flying beams of light, no 'pew! pew!' sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down. People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t.... Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents — that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet."

"The cream cheese is too damn much." Scott Lemieux and I agree.

Sunday Morning Come-Down. Politico: "Al Sharpton is leaving MSNBC's weekday dayside lineup, and moving to Sunday mornings. Sharpton's last weekday 'PoliticsNation' will be Sept. 4. He moves to Sundays a month later on Oct. 4, according to a memo sent to MSNBC staff by the channel's president Phil Griffin Wednesday evening."

Washington Post: "Stephen Hawking believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes."

Washington Post: "The case for canonizing [Sister Blandina Segale,] the 19th century Italian-born nun, whose run-in with Old West outlaw Billy the Kid is the stuff of legend, was presented at a ceremonial 'first inquiry' in Albuquerque on Tuesday. If approved, her name will be sent to the Vatican, where it will head down the long (and somewhat secretive) path toward sainthood."

New York Times: Can't sidewalk scaffolding be attractive? Yes, it can.

Terror in Toledo! ABC News: "A man caught on video the moment a public art installation in Toledo, Ohio -- a giant, 250-pound red ball -- decided to run away and start rolling down streets lined with parked cars. Part of a Toledo Museum of Art exhibit, the RedBall Project had been wedged between Roulet Jewelers and Ice Restaurant in downtown Toledo when a thunderstorm and strong winds this past Wednesday evening knocked the ball loose and caused it to start rolling away, according to Kelly Garrow, the museum's director of communications."

... AP: "America’s two foremost Democratic families, the Obamas and the Clintons, mingled on Saturday[,August 15,] as politics mixed with summer repose on swanky Martha’s Vineyard."

Washington Post: "Offering such perks as 'free' bags and 'free' airline tickets, [some credit] cards are big on promises, but they often fall short on the delivery. And although these financial instruments are legal, experts say they are not always worthwhile."

Kori Schulman of the White House: "Today (August 14), the White House joined Spotify — and our inaugural playlist was hand-picked by none other than President Obama. When asked to pick a few of his favorite songs for the summer, the President got serious. He grabbed a pen and paper and drafted up not one, but two separate summer playlists: One for the daytime, and one for the evening." ...

... CW: If you're subscribed to Spotify, you can play the President's list from the linked story (at "Today".)

Washington Post: "Google, one of the best-known brands on the planet, on Monday[, August 10,] radically restructured itself under the corporate name Alphabet, an almost unprecedented shift that reflects the company’s far-reaching ambitions and the vast Web it helped evolve. The move represents Google’s biggest push yet to ... turn the company into a multifaceted General Electric for the digital age."

Bureaucracies Move in Mysterious Ways. New York Post: "The city [of New York] moved to fire an employee for missing about 18 months of work, even though he had the best excuse of all time — he was dead. Bureaucrats at the Human Resources Administration filed charges against Medicaid-eligibility specialist Geoffrey Toliver accusing him of going AWOL — even though his death by cancer was reported in an online obituary.... 'It is my understanding that . . . his employer was fully aware that he was not able to come back to work,' Toliver’s brother Anthony told The Post. 'It is my understanding that my brother’s family spoke directly to his supervisor during his long hospitalization and informed them of his death.'” ...

... CW: Doesn't surprise me at all. When I lived in Manhattan, my mother sent me a gift which came directly from the catalog company from which she had bought it. My father had died a few years earlier, but my mother was still getting these catalogs in his name. So my father's name, not hers, appeared on the package as the giftor. He had never lived in New York City. He was not the addressee on the package. The package didn't come from New York City. And my father was dead. But never mind all that. A few months after I received the gift, I got a letter at my New York home addressed to my father. It was a notification from the city ordering my father to show up for jury duty. Or else.

 

Josh Feldman of Mediaite: "For years and years, plenty of websites (Mediaite included) have written about the many times Jon Stewart has 'destroyed,' 'annihilated,' or 'eviscerated' anything from terrorism to race relations to Fox News. Well..., on his penultimate night, Stewart discovered that he didn’t actually do any of that":

Exit Laughing. John Koblin of the New York Times: "Since [Jon] Stewart started hosting 'The Daily Show' 16 years ago, the country’s trust in both the news media and the government has plummeted. Mr. Stewart’s brand of fake news thrived in that vacuum, and turned him into one of the nation’s most bracing cultural, political and media critics. With his over-the-top presentation of the news — his arms swinging wildly, his eyes bulging with outrage, followed by a shake of the head and a knowing smile — Mr. Stewart attracted a generation of viewers ready to embrace an outlier whose exaggerations, in their view, carried more truth than conventional newscasts." ...

...Stewart hasn't done any interviews prior to ending his run on the "Daily Show," but he did sit down with "Daily Show" producers for an "exit interview" on Episode 20 of the "Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart." You can listen to it here.

Los Angeles Times: "Donald Sterling filed for divorce Wednesday[, August 5] in Los Angeles Superior Court, almost a year after a contentious legal fight with his wife, Shelly, led to the sale of the Clippers.... However, the court later rejected Wednesday’s filing because it was incomplete, according to a spokeswoman. The matter is expected to be re-filed."

New York Times: "Jason Fine, the editor of Men’s Journal, will take over as the managing editor of Rolling Stone as part of what the magazine’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, described as a 'shake-up.'”

"Where Are My Pancakes?"

The Word Salad King. If Donald Trump's good friend & possible running mate Sarah Palin is the Word Salad Queen, it stands to reason that the Donald would be the king. Slate challenges you to diagram this "sentence." To help you out, Slate has transcribed the words in the order delivered. Not that the order delivered matters much:

Obama Slept Here

For a mere $22.5MM this Martha's Vinehard house on 10 acres can be yours. The Obamas stayed in the house for 8 days in 2013. The current owner bought the property, which has expansive views of the Atlantic & Chilmark Pond, in 2000 for about $3MM. So, hey, the price is negotiable. Slide show.

The Birth of Franklin. Washington Post: After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Glickman, a white California mother wrote to cartoonist Charles Schultz urging him to introduce a black character to his "Peanuts" cartoon strips. When Schultz demurred, saying he was afraid "it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends," Glickman got two of her "Negro friends" who backed the idea to write to Schultz. A short time later, Schultz introduced Franklin. Oh, yes, & strips showing Franklin in an integrated! classroom upset Southern editors, according to Glickman.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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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