The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, September 26, 2016.

New York Times: "Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, thrilling tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died on Sunday, according to a spokesman for his business enterprises. Palmer was 87." -- CW 

Miami Herald: "Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández, who fled Cuba on a speedboat eight years ago to become one of baseball’s dominant players and a hometown hero to fans well beyond the stadium walls, died early Sunday in a violent boat crash off South Beach. He was 24. Two friends were also killed in the accident, which remains under investigation and led Major League Baseball to promptly cancel Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Braves." -- CW 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mlb/miami-marlins/article104073926.html#storylink=cpy

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.

 

The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

You'll want to supersize this one:

 

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Thursday
Jun072012

The Commentariat -- June 8, 2012

** "The Triumph of Radical Individualism." Paul Waldman of American Prospect: "Conservatives have succeeded in convincing working- and middle-class people not just that they shouldn't feel solidarity with other members of their class, but that they shouldn't feel solidarity with anyone at all. It required a lot of work, particularly when you consider how much they rely on encouraging feelings of tribalism in other realms, like nationhood, religion, and region. But the conservative message on economics has always been brutally individualistic, essentially arguing that in the economic realm, no one is meaningfully connected to anyone in any way."

Robert Burns of the AP: "Suicides are surging among America's troops, averaging nearly one a day this year -- the fastest pace in the nation's decade of war. The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan -- about 50 percent more."

Paul Krugman: "... if you want to see government responding to economic hard times with the 'tax and spend' policies conservatives always denounce, you should look to the Reagan era -- not the Obama years.... Reagan may have preached small government, but in practice he presided over a lot of spending growth -- and right now that's exactly what America needs."

** Linda Greenhouse, in Slate, calls for a Constitutional Amendment limiting federal judges -- including the Supremes -- to 18-year terms.

David Lightman of McClatchey News: "Five months before Election Day, Republicans are poised to retain control of the House of Representatives and inch close -- and perhaps win the majority -- in the Senate. The outlook is driven by local factors rather any kind of wave for or against either major political party. Indeed, the lack of a national tide could help the Republicans hold the House, where they're expected to lose seats but not enough to cost them the majority." Thanks to James S. for the link. I think.

... Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal analyzes the results of California's new "top two" primary election system, which was supposed to general more centrist candidates. Pretty interesting. Bottom line, so far: "... the rules also create the likelihood of some very unconventional campaigns with Republicans appealing to Democrats, and Democrats courting Republicans. That doesn't mean that, once candidates get elected, they'll become more moderate and change their voting behavior. It does mean they'll pander as much as possible to win."

Kevin Drum: "Conservatives have made a big deal out of the fact that 38% of households with a union member voted for the union-busting Scott Walker in Tuesday's election.... For better or worse, about 37% of union members [usually] vote for Republicans, both nationwide and in Wisconsin. On Tuesday they did it again. So whatever lessons there are from Tuesday's election, the idea that union members are somehow abandoning their own cause isn't one of them." ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald, writing in Salon, provides an overview of what a right-wing rock star Scott Walker is now. Seitz-Wald sees the recall effort as a big blunder. CW: I don't.

Adam Liptak & Allison Kopicki of the New York Times: "Just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the Supreme Court is doing and three-quarters say the justices' decisions are sometimes influenced by their personal or political views, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News."

If Right Wing News can be believed, Obama reneged on his campaign promise to push for the importation of cheap, safe drugs in a secret deal with Big Pharma in 2009.

Advice from the Career Corner. If you aspire to a career as a diplomat, especially if you aspire to be confirmed as Ambassador to Iraq, do not have sex with someone other than your spouse on the roof of the roof of a Saddam Hussein palace. People have video cameras. Jim Inhofe (R-Crazy) likes to watch.

Kevin Drum zeros in on Obama's biggest mistake of 2009. And Drum fingers just the right guy -- Tim Geithner: "Although Obama didn't have the leverage to get more stimulus spending even if he'd wanted it, he could have done more on the housing front, [which]... was quite feasible and would probably have made a noticeable difference in keeping the recovery on a stronger track.... Tim Geithner just didn't like the idea of pressing harder on the mortgage relief front, and Obama went along."

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "The first look at the 2012 FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast has Barack Obama as a very slight favorite to win re-election. But his advantage equates to only a two-point lead in the national popular vote, and the edge could easily swing to Mitt Romney on the basis of further bad economic news."

Joan Walsh of Salon: Romney didn't just dodge the draft; he lied about it. "Romney's dissembling here, all captured in newspapers in real time, should be a real problem for him."

** Andrew Sprung of Xpostfactoid lays out the Romney Rules, as defined by Willard. I think he should add a coda, "It's our turn now," as defined by Mrs. Willard. ...

... Jonathan Chait analyzes a Romney lie. Well, lies. CW: I'm beginning to think Romney cannot construct a truthful sentence with the name "Obama" in it.

What's the matter with Bill Clinton? John Dickerson of Slate ticks off six theories that are making the rounds. Pick your own. You can choose more than one. ...

News Ledes

President Obama held a press conference on the economy today:

     ... New York Times: Republicans went ballistic when Obama said, as part of a response to a reporter's question, "the private sector is doing fine." He had to clarify later.

New York Times: "The NATO and United States troop commander in Afghanistan flew to the eastern part of the country on Friday to apologize personally to surviving family members for a coalition airstrike earlier this week that local officials said killed 18 civilians. The apology by the commander, Gen. John R. Allen, was the first admission by coalition forces that the strike on Wednesday had killed civilians...."

New York Times: "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday assigned two United States attorneys to lead separate criminal investigations into recent disclosures to the news media of national security secrets, saying they were authorized to 'follow all appropriate investigative leads within the executive and legislative branches of government.'"

Crackdown. New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin signed into law on Friday a measure that will impose heavy fines on people who organize or take part in unsanctioned demonstrations, giving the Russian authorities powerful leverage to clamp down on the large antigovernment street protests that began six months ago and seemed to be re-energized after Mr. Putin's inauguration last month."

Reuters: "The Federal Reserve rejected pleas by the U.S. banking industry in releasing on Thursday a rigorous interpretation of an international agreement on higher capital standards for banks, known as Basel III.... The new capital standards would force banks to rely more on equity than debt to fund themselves, so that they are able to better withstand significant losses."

New York Times: "With the Syrian conflict escalating perilously after government troops and civilian supporters prevented unarmed United Nations monitors from investigating a massacre, fresh fighting was reported elsewhere on Friday as the authorities sought to extend their writ in an area under stubborn rebel control." ...

     ... Update: the story has a new lede: "Confronting a scene of congealed blood, scattered body parts, shelled buildings, bullet holes and the smell of burned flesh, United Nations monitors in Syria quietly collected evidence on Friday of a mass atrocity in a desolate hamlet, more than 24 hours after Syrian forces and government supporters blocked their first attempt to visit the site."

New York Times: "Senior inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog renewed talks with Iran on Friday aimed at securing access to restricted sites where the agency believes scientists may have tested explosives that could be used as triggers for nuclear warheads, officials at the agency said."

Guardian: "The department of justice is reviewing the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, following demands by campaigners who say the tactic is unconstitutional and racially discriminatory." CW: in case you're wondering why I didn't link the New York Times story on this, it's because there isn't one.

AP: "Britain's media ethics inquiry says Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessor Gordon Brown will both appear to give evidence at [Leveson inquiry] hearings next week. The inquiry also said Friday that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Treasury chief George Osborne will both appear." Guardian story here.

Reader Comments (17)

I know we are focused on contraception but I wonder if any politicians noticed that the March to May US temperature was the warmest on record, 5.2 degrees above average. Of course it is just a coincidence but let's be honest, its a hell of a lot easier to deal with a pill than climate change. And besides the purpose of life is to make more humans even if we can't figure out how to feed them.
Oh, and congratulations to the mosquitoes, they are going to have a really great year.

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I'm responding to the suggestion Akhilleus put forward in yesterday's commentary that we think about the idea of delegating voting responsibilities to a small group of randomly-selected "electors" who dedicate a few days to listening to experts for both sides debate the merits of a candidates or issue, then vote. The article by Joshua Davis of Wired -- which lays out the plan -- is here.

P. D. Pepe stated some objections, and I agree with those, but I have another. What you would get, if the proposed model was in effect, is experts Karl Rove and Bob Reich presenting their cases. Who would be listening to these two? People just as dimwitted as the general electorate, people unable to judge whether or not Karl Rove was telling the truth (assumption: he would not be). Moreover, you would not have whatever small benefit accrues from our Fourth Estate's evaluations of Rove v. Reich.

To some extent, of course, we already have a system like the one proposed: we have, after all, a representative democracy. We elect people who are supposed to understand the nuances of issues & make wise, considered decisions -- based on expert opinion -- on how best to address problems or improve conditions. We know how that has worked out. Too many of the "representatives" are buffoons and most of the "experts" are lobbyists carrying cash to stuff in the buffoons' pockets (or freezers).

Our country was founded on the principle of paternalistic aristocracy -- a small group of wise, landed white men would make decisions for all of us. That brought us slavery, 140 years of high-handed, careless Supreme Court justices & a string of presidents and legislators best not remembered.

As Winston Churchill and others have said (more or less), "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." On the other hand, Churchill did say, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." I'm glad people keep trying to come up with a better system; I do think ditching the Constitution or radically revising it would be a good idea, but I wouldn't do it now, as I sure as hell don't want to live under Eric Cantor's or John Roberts' idea of a Constitution.

Marie

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Akhilleus's toss out on voting. Those of us that vote are already voting for the forty percent that don't. Who is going write the code to pick the randomly-selected voters? And if the results are not satisfactory to the non-selected citizen, then what? I don't know if it would change things much. I would rather see a gender-requirement to vote, rotating every two hundred years; and fellas, it's the womens turn. OR name me "Grand PooPaw" and I will make some changes, by god. It was WC Fields that came up with the socks full of manure plan, right?

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Marie: It's hard for me not to agree with Alex Seitz- Wald that the Wisconsin recall was an ill -advised "misadventure," given the time-line, the massive differential in contributions/spending, and the distaste of many Wisonsonites for the whole recall process. One other factor the author doesn't mention is that the Democrats apparently did not have a strong, consensus candidate going into it.
You stated your disagreement with this premise, Marie, and I would be most interested in your reasons (which are no doubt persuasive ones).

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Marvin: But that means Canada is getting warmer, too. Have often looked longingly at it just across the border and thought no, it's just a mite too cold to be an acceptable refuge but now, repelled equally as I am by our political climate and the Canadian government's tar sands extraction at any cost policies, a warmer Canada might just be enough to tip the balance in favor of Oh, Canada and the Loon.

But then there are all those darn mosquitoes you mention... and the damn liberals have outlawed DDT...so I guess I'm still undecided.

Does that make me one of the growing hordes of Independents I've been reading about?

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@ Marie: Re: your response to Akilleus about the voting business. I agree with your assessment, but would like to add in regards to being represented by those sitting in Congress. Does it make any sense to have two senators from each state when we have teeny tiny ones whose population is more than half the size of the larger states? One could argue we take care of this by the representatives, but we all know it's the senate that has the teeth.

The article by Paul Waldman is good. Ayn Rand is smirking and twisting in the wind.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Marie, what part of the Constitution would you ditch? The Bill of Rights? Like welfare, it's not the idea that's wrong, it's all in the implementation and enforcement, which is flawed.
And, while I too find the intellect of the average vote to be horribly depressing, by assuming that "we know better", aren't we being paternalistic also? I agree with JJG, let's put the women in charge.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercakers

Quite a number of questions today, & I'll try to answer each.

@ Victoria D. You actually answered your own question. I think the Democrats' disarray was a lesson to be learned. Passion is great, but discipline is a must. As @Kate Madison mentioned here weeks ago, the Democrats blew any chance they had -- and I always thought the chance was weak -- when they couldn't get in a back room & agree on a candidate. Even using Akhilleus' shit-hurling method would have been preferable to a primary. But back rooms have their place.

Also, it was fundamentally stupid to arrange the recall when students -- a big Democratic constituency -- were away.

But another lesson to be learned -- not just in Wisconsin, but I hope everywhere -- is that having 10 times as much funny money as your opponent matters. I think a lot of Americans will view this not as a victory for Scott Walker but as a win for the Koch brothers & other special interests.

Conservatives are running around crowing, but they haven't -- in my opinion -- got much to boast about. They spent millions of dollars to keep a guy in office who may spend the rest of his term huddled with his criminal defense lawyers. They are touting Walker as the new Reagan. If that's all they got -- great! The guy is a moron. Moreover, if the one district vote holds, the recall elections gave Democrats control of the state senate, and that should make a huge difference in Walker's ability to run over the state. Without the recalls, that would not have happened (and it still may not -- Walker's board of elections supervisors have a way of "finding" thousands of Republican ballots when things don't work out the first time).

Of course all this is easy for me to say. I looked at this election from a distance; I wasn't out there demonstrating or trudging through the snow gathering signatures. I might be disheartened if I had more skin in the game. As it is, I see this as a setback, not a horror story, though I admit it will be more of a horror story if the Republicans regain control of the state senate.

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@ P. D. Pepe. No, our Senate doesn't make any sense, and especially with the Senate rules as they are, Senators who represent a fractional minority of Americans can wreak havoc on the entire federal government. During the healthcare debate, Gail Collins pointed out that Senators who represented something like .03 percent (not 3 percent, .03) of the population headed the two committees who drew up the plan. And we wonder why people don't like it. These guys don't have to please anybody but a few farmers in Some Dakota & Montana. That's no way to run a government. Which brings me to ---

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@ cakers. I hope I didn't imply I would ditch the Bill of Rights, though there are two Amendments I would lose: the 2nd & the 3rd, & I would rewrite the 10th to leave out the part I've struck out here:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Having been reared in the part of the country that brought us slavery & Jim Crow & is still fundamentally backwards, I have a low opinion of state's rights.

To follow up on my reply to @P. D. Pepe, I think a parliamentary form of government would work better than Washington D. Gridlock. Checks & balances -- as they operate now -- are highly overrated. For more changes worth considering, this op-ed piece, titled "Our Imbecilic Constitution, which I linked a few days back is helpful.

The Founding Fathers never meant the Constitution to last forever. Jefferson thought we should have a new one for every generation, & Madison was sick of the one he helped write by the time he retired from public life.

I also would, as Linda Greenhouse suggests (linked today), term-limit federal judges. I think other limits on their power are in order, too. Levinson suggests a major one. And of course I'd make clear that corporations aren't people and money isn't speech, so doofus justices would know that.

But just exactly what occurs to me off the top of my head isn't important. What is important is for people to get over the idea that God (who ain't mentioned in it) wrote the Constitution, & we should bow down to it (apparently that's actually Mormon doctrine). The Constitution was a good start, but it's sell-by date has expired.

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

The sell-by date on a lot of our superstitions--capitalism, tax-exemptions for religious quackery to mention two--has expired. But I doubt they'll be pulled from their shelves in my lifetime.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

One thing that hasn't been mentioned much in the Walker recall:

The Unions would have been smarter to follow the Ohio model a la referendum. My understanding is that state law disallowed that option. Therefore they may have felt the recall was the only option. In light of that I don't think it was such a bad choice. They did retake the senate and it signaled they weren't going down without a fight. Republicans are celebrating for the wrong reasons, no matter how much bloviating David Brooks did on NPR tonight. We'll see how much they stand by their man if he gets indicted in the john doe investigation. The walker win wasn't as much an endorsement of his policies as it was a a misguided smackdown of union tactics.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Maybe I'm incorrect, but the WI senate win is meaningless. The senate was adjourned mid-May and will not re-convene until after the November elections.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

Ken Winkes: Those Canadians with the funny spots on their legs are a demonstration of an affliction much worse than skeeters Black Flies will make you cry. Be sure to ask about them before picking a place to live in Canada.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

@ Haley Simon. You're right. The next regular session of the Wisconsin state legislature isn't till next year. But if you look at the calendar of the state legislature, they have special sessions all the time. If Sir Walker Scott doesn't control the senate, he isn't likely to call one.

Marie

June 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Carlyle. Thanks. I will heed your advice, offered in the same spirit I'd guess as my threat to slip on North, tho' I remember--in real, true, honest to goodness fact-- black flies swarming along the Nation River, so thick I spooned them in with my food, and so ravenous themselves that I watched my blood running down my legs into the water as we lined our canoe through a shallow stretch of clear and cold---but, perhaps because the water was so cold, their bites didn't hurt. I've always tried to avoid the ones that do. But bad as the biting ones might be, living in Ronmeydom--after eight years of Bushdom I cannot forget-- might well be worse.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Recovering from my strenuous efforts to recall Scott Walker, I want to comment on some of the comments. First, we had little control over the timing of the election. The overwhelming surge of Wisconsin residents eager to sign recall petitions meant that we couldn't delay much it beyond the legal starting date. It was the Republicans who, with their court cases, filings, and other delaying tactics, managed to just push the election to the first week in June when students had left. Second, if we hadn't had more than one candidate, the Republicans would have run a "fake Democrat" to ensure a primary (although I agree that uniting behind one candidate early would have been preferable). Third, retaking the State Senate is a huge deal. If Walker still could count on majorities in both houses of the legislature, we would be seeing an immediate call for a special session to ram through more of his extreme agenda. Because of his successful efforts to consolidate power in the governor's office, he can still do some damage, but not as much.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNadd2
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.