The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, March 29, 2015.

New York Times: "Rescue workers recovered two bodies on Sunday in the wreckage of the explosion and fire that happened last week in the East Village, the police said. One of two bodies was identified by family members as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. The second body was not yet identified.... Officials said the fire was most likely set off by a gas explosion. The explosion blew off the facade of the building, before spreading to four neighboring ones. Three of the buildings — 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue — were reduced to rubble."

AP: "Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there 'withdraw and surrender their weapons,' a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force. The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to potentially more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis."

Baltimore Sun: Protesters show up outside Bill Cosby's Baltimore performance, and one interrupts his show.

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 30

9:00 am ET: President's Management Advisory Board meeting

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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
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