The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

BBC News: "The Democratic Action party [of Venezuela] says Luis Manuel Diaz[, a regional leader of the party.] was killed by a man who approached the stage after a public meeting in central Guarico state. Opposition leaders blamed militias supporting the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). President Nicolas Maduro denied this and said an inquiry had been launched."

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

Go to


Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

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The Commentariat -- March 23, 2012

My column in today's New York Times eXaminer is here. It's mostly on Gail Collins.

"President Obama announces an order to expedite a pipeline project that will help move oil more quickly and efficiently from Cushing, Oklahoma to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Encouraging oil development and infrastructure in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people is part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to develop every available source of American energy":

... Clifford Krauss & Eric Lipton of the New York Times: "... the increasing production and declining consumption [of oil and gas] have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more. In 2011, the country imported just 45 percent of the liquid fuels it used, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005."

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: if the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, so are Medicare & Social Security.

Steve Collender of Capital Gains & Games: "We now have some real indications that the fiscal 2013 budget plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is going to be as much a political albatross as a plus for Republicans.... It's hard not to wonder how hard the House Republican leadership will try to help Ryan get the budget resolution adopted when it's debated by the House. He could well be on his own." ...

... Reader MAG sees a resemblance, which I find totally unfair:

Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade: Elizabeth Warren says it's time for President Obama to "evolve" on gay marriage.

Larry Sabato rolls his crystal ball at U.S. Senate races.

Right Wing World

** Paul Krugman: "... the kind of pandering [Mitt Romney] has engaged in during his quest for the nomination matters. Whatever Mr. Romney may personally believe, the fact is that by endorsing the right’s paranoid fantasies, he is helping to further a dangerous trend in America’s political life. And he should be held accountable for his actions."

If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future. -- Rick Santorum

I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican. -- Mitt Romney

Chris Moody of Yahoo! News: "Rick Santorum suggested Thursday that re-electing President Barack Obama would be better than electing Republican rival Mitt Romney, a statement that is arguably his toughest criticism of Romney to date.... The Santorum camp later clarified the candidate's remark, saying he didn't mean to insinuate that voters would be better off re-electing Obama than choosing Romney."

Chris Moody: Romney "campaign political director Rich Beeson wrote in the memo.  'So as Senator Santorum continues to drag out this already expensive, negative campaign it is clear that he is becoming the most valuable player on President Obama's team.'"

Brendan Nyhan of the Columbia Journalism Review on "How the media constructed another Romney gaffe — and why it is unlikely to matter." CW: we'll see.

Alec MacGillis of The New Republic: Mitt Romney's primary competition is utterly incompetent; they don't have the sense to charge a campaign intern with doing Nexis searches of Romney's past statements. Good luck in the general election, Willard.

Olivier Knox of Yahoo! News: "The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Karl Rove on Thursday in which he played down the significance of President Barack Obama's decision to order the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden -- and twists Bill Clinton's words ... almost beyond recognition, making him say essentially the opposite of his meaning in the film.... [and] to make it seem the former president agrees with Rove." ...

... Jeff Bercovici of Forbes: "Shocker! Karl Rove endorses Obama in Wall Street Journal op-ed." Or so it would appear, if you butchered Rove's written statements the way Rove butchered Bill Clinton's. P.S. Looks like Bercovici forced the WSJ to post a correction. ...

... David Corn of Mother Jones writes a terrific rebuttal to Rove's op-ed: "Rove, the fellow who put a president in a flight suit and had him land on an aircraft carrier where he spoke in front of a 'Mission Accomplished' banner, now contends [the decision to go after bin Laden] was no big deal. He obviously hasn't ... bothered to consider the facts."

Local News

Henry Curtis of the Orlando Sentinel: "Sanford police let George Zimmerman go home after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin last month, but Central Florida police agencies routinely make arrests for murder in 'stand your ground' cases — and then let courts decide if a killing is justified." ...

... Miami Herald: "Angela Corey, the special prosecutor Gov. Rick Scott appointed to handle the Trayvon Martin shooting case, has a reputation as a tough-on-crime state attorney who has the distinction of prosecuting the youngest murder defendant in Jacksonville history, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez." CW: thanks to reader savecristian for the input on Angela Corey. The linked post gives some background about Corey which is consistent with savecristian's comments about her.

News Ledes

"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon":

AP (via the NYT): "A Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board improperly revealed information about the agency’s private deliberations to outside parties who had cases pending before the board.... The board’s inspector general said the member, Terence F. Flynn, violated ethics rules.... A report from Inspector General David P. Berry also faulted Mr. Flynn for a 'lack of candor' during the investigation. President Obama appointed Mr. Flynn ... in January."

Elections Have Consequences. Time: "In a surprise move, President Barack Obama on Friday named Dartmouth President Dr. Jim Yong Kim as his nominee to head the World Bank." Washington Post story here. BBC News story here.

New York Times: "The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.... The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism." Washington Post story here.

AP: "Undercover NYPD officers attended meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests around the country, according to interviews and documents that show how police have used counterterrorism tactics to monitor even lawful activities.The infiltration echoes the tactics the NYPD used in the run-up to New York's 2004 Republican National Convention, when police monitored church groups, anti-war organizations and environmental advocates nationwide."

Guardian: President "Obama announced Thursday that he was directing federal agencies to expedite a 485-mile [pipe]line from Oklahoma to refineries on Texas' Gulf Coast that would remove a critical bottleneck in the country's oil transportation system. The directive would also apply to other pipelines that alleviate choke points."

Washington Post: "A U.S. counterterrorism official ... said Thursday that [Mohammed] Merah, [the accused French terrorist killed Thursday in Toulouse] was also on the list of known or suspected terrorists prohibited from flying to the United States and had been since 2010."

AP: "The wife of Syrian President Bashar Assad will be hit with a travel ban and have her assets in the EU frozen, a European Union official said Friday. A total of four members of the Assad family, along with eight government ministers, will be targeted in the latest round of sanctions aimed at stopping the violent crackdown on members of the Syrian opposition...."

Read more here:

Reader Comments (6)

State Attorney Angela Corey is well known for prosecuting harshly, which is good news for Trayvon Martin and his family. He deserves justice. But Corey is known for not listening to the public. She has been prosecuting a 13 year old hispanic boy who is facing life without parole in the accidental death of his brother since he was barely 12 years old. She has said she isn't seeking life without parole for him but he is facing not ONE criminal trial but TWO. If convicted he will be the youngest in our country to be sentenced to life and it is a mandatory sentence in Florida. When over 182,000 people petitioned and asked her to try him as a juvenile because he is a juvenile she said she doesn't "prosecute by petition". I guess the one benefit here is more people will become more aware of the injustice that has happened to Cristian Fernandez of Jacksonville, Florida and it could help him.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersavecristian

Having the most children prosecuted as adults is one area where Florida leads the nation. That is a Florida type of leadership. But remember, there is no state income tax.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Regarding the Paul Ryan comparison: by "unfair," I hope you mean unfair to PeeWee Herman. Ryan looks much worse!

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Victoria. I think Ryan looks like he just peed his pants--probably because Boehner came out of hiding long enough to tell him his fucking budget was an albatross.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Cenk Uygur had a good segment tonight on the Trayvon Martin case. Stand Your Ground Laws are a separate issue, and one that needs debate. This is about a person who watched too many Die Hard movies and was itching to use that weapon. Florida law gave him the excuse. The NRA is right about one thing: "Guns don't kill people, people do." Seems a pretty good argument to me that there are people who shouldn't be allowed to own...much less patrol the streets with....guns.

My first thought was how can this be self defense? Just look at Zimmerman and Martin. The whole thing is a travesty.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Dear Weader-- I fear you have been watching too much of Jon Stewart. Gail Collins is every bit as brilliant as Stewart, wittier maybe. but more subtle. After all, she doesn't get to use the F word when she skewers the NRA as she did in he Wednesday NYT column. Frankly, I like them both. Each one uses an effective tool in satirizing the extreme right, and I've come to look for Gail's reminder that Willard drove to Canada with Seamus on the car roof, each time placing the line in some place unexpected-- another hallmark of humor.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLorem Ipsum
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