The Ledes

Sunday, February 14, 2016.

Weather Channel: "A blast of bitter cold arctic air has brought the coldest temperatures in decades to some Northeast cities Valentine's Day morning."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President spoke from the place where his political career first began in the Illinois State Senate ... [about] the state of American politics":

White House Live Video
February 11

1:00 pm ET: NOBEL Women presents Girls, Gigabytes & Gadgets

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Scientists announced Thursday that, after decades of effort, they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity."

New York Times: "... 21-year-old [Arthur Ashe] toppled the tournament’s top-seeded tennis player in a stunning upset on July 30, 1964. We published two photographs of Dennis Ralston, ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time, who walked off the court in defeat. But we didn’t run a single photograph of the winner.... On that day in 1964, he was ranked sixth in the nation and had yet to win a national title. ...

... The 1964 Times story is here. The page has blown up the above photo, worth viewing just to feast your eyes on that gorgeous young man. ...

... The Times is publishing previously unpublished photos of black historical figures & events every day this month. You can see those published to date here.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

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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