Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "This week, President Obama called on Republicans in Congress to take action and vote to fund the Administration’s response to the Zika virus. In February, the President asked Congress to fund emergency resources, including mosquito control, fast-tracking diagnostics tests and vaccines, tracking the spread of the virus, and monitoring women and babies with Zika. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have failed to take action on this issue. So the President continues to direct his Administration do what it can without help from Congress, with the primary focus of protecting pregnant women and families planning to have children'":

The Wires

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

... 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 

"Giovanni della Robbia’s 'Resurrection of Christ,' made for an entrance gate to the villa of the Antinori family outside Florence." Brooklyn Museum photo. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "One of the most innovative art-as-advertising firms in late-15th- and early-16th-century Florence was the della Robbia workshop, a family concern that prospered for three long-lived generations. Its specialty was a brand of glazed terra-cotta sculpture that was physically durable, graphically strong and technologically inimitable. (The exact methods for producing it remain a mystery to this day.)... The Museum of Fine Arts [in Boston is mounting] “Della Robbia: Sculpting With Color in Renaissance Florence”..., a show of ideal size and scholarly weight that includes among 46 pieces one of the tenderest Renaissance sculptures in existence — 'The Visitation' by Luca della Robbia — on first-time American loan from its Tuscan church."

Michelle & Barack -- The Movie. Richard Brody of the New Yorker reviews “Southside with You,” "a drama about Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date." Brody calls the film "a fully realized, intricately imagined, warmhearted, sharp-witted, and perceptive drama, one that sticks close to its protagonists while resonating quietly but grandly with the sweep of a historical epic." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Requiring longer passwords, known as passphrases, usually 16 to 64 characters long, is increasingly seen as a potential escape route from our painful push toward logins that only a cryptographer could love."

The New York Times features photos of the exteriors of Bill & Hillary Clinton's residences over the years.

Brian Hickey of the Philly Voice: When Leroy Black died at age 55, he got two obituaries in the Press of Atlantic City: " In the first obit, his 'loving wife, Bearetta Harrison Black' gets top survivor billing. In the second, however, Bearetta is nowhere to be found, but 'his long-tome (sic) girlfriend, Princess Hall' appears in her place. A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because 'the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.'" ...

... CW: Kinda reminds me of the headstone a widow placed on her husband's grave in the Key West cemetery: "Harry, I Know Where You're Sleeping Tonight."

New York Times: "A surprisingly specific genetic portrait of the ancestor of all living things has been generated by scientists who say that the likeness sheds considerable light on the mystery of how life first emerged on Earth. This venerable ancestor was a single-cell, bacterium-like organism. But it has a grand name, or at least an acronym. It is known as Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old."

Ian Crouch of the New Yorker: "For a few days, at least, [Stephen] Colbert abandoned the political equanimity that he’d adopted when he started his 'Late Night' job." BTW, here's Laura Benanti's segment:

Washington Post: "Benny" (for Ben Franklin), the mystery philanthropist of Salem, Oregon, has given away more than $55,000 in $100 bills, which s/he hides in odd places like "pockets of clothing, in diapers, in baby wipes and in candy." -- CW 

Jumping Jupiter! New York Times: "Ducking through intense belts of violent radiation as it skimmed over the clouds of Jupiter at 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s Juno spacecraft finally clinched its spot on Monday in the orbit of the solar system’s largest planet. It took five years for Juno to travel this far on its $1.1 billion mission, and the moment was one that NASA scientists and space enthusiasts had eagerly — and anxiously — anticipated. At 11:53 p.m., Eastern time, a signal from the spacecraft announced the end of a 35-minute engine burn that left it in the grip of its desired orbit around Jupiter." -- CW ...

... Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post has more on the importance of the mission. CW: This, BTW, is another fine example of your government actually at work.

New York Times: "Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” signed off the air for good on Saturday evening [July 2], after 42 seasons, as millions of listeners, many in their cars on a holiday weekend, tuned in via public radio. With the exception of a telephone call from President Obama, the show, which was recorded Friday at the Hollywood Bowl in front of 18,000 people, ambled along the way it always has. There were pretty country-folk songs; an ad for Powdermilk Biscuits; a clippety-clop 'Lives of the Cowboys' skit; a heartfelt version of 'Every Time We Say Goodbye.'”

Washington Post: Gay Talese disowns his forthcoming book, 'The Voyeur’s Motel,' after he learns some of the incidents in the supposed true story are certainly fictional. The narrative “chronicles the bizarre story of Gerald Foos, who allegedly spied on guests at his Colorado motel from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.... 'I should not have believed a word he said,' the 84-year-old author said after The Washington Post informed him of property records that showed Foos did not own the motel from 1980 to 1988.... The book, which will be published July 12, was excerpted in the New Yorker magazine in April. The story attracted widespread media attention and led producer-director Steven Spielberg to buy the movie rights to the book. Spielberg has lined up Sam Mendes...." ...

     ... Update. CW: For a day, I thought maybe Talese had developed a smidgen of ethics in his old age. Guess not. Here's the story now, from the WashPo: "Upon reflection, author Gay Talese says he’s disavowing his earlier disavowal of his own work."

Dan Shaw of New York writes a lovely remembrance of New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Thursday
Mar222012

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: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/03/new-prosecutor-in-trayvon-martin-shooting-has-lock-kids-up-rep-charged-youngest-ever-murder-defendan.html#storylink=cpy

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
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.