The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President discussed climate change and how the most ambitious climate agreement in history is creating private sector partnerships that are advancing the latest technologies in clean power.":

Hill: "President Obama will send a budget to Congress that increases the amount of funding toward clean energy research and development by about 20 percent, he said Saturday."

White House Live Video
February 5

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

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: "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 Timess: "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.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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Wednesday
Mar282012

The Commentariat -- March 29, 2012

Adrienne Rich asks "What Kind of Times Are These?" Rich died Tuesday.

** I've added quite a few NEW links to yesterday's post on the Supremes' hearing of oral arguments on the challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

Edwidge Danticat in a New York Times op-ed: "... With draconian immigration laws spreading across the country, immigration detention is one of the fastest-growing forms of incarceration in the United States. There are more than 30,000 men, women and children in immigration custody...." Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee] & members of a subcommittee he chairs is holding a hearing which it titled, for fun, "Holiday on ICE," "seem to think the United States is too nice to the immigrants it detains. We are being too generous in deciding to give them safe water, an hour a day of recreation, and off-site medical care if they are in danger of dying.... The flippant title of the hearing shows a blatant disregard for the more than 110 people who have died in immigration custody since 2003. One of them was my uncle Joseph, an 81-year-old throat cancer survivor...."

Gail Collins: "You would think that this would be a great time to address the question of handgun proliferation, but it has hardly come up in Washington at all. This is because most politicians are terrified of the National Rifle Association." ...

... Now I've Seen Everything. Alex Seitz-Wald of Think Progress: "Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) donned a hoodie and took to the House floor this morning to speak out against the murder of Travyon Martin, but was shouted down and removed from the floor by the Republican speaker pro tem for violating House rules prohibiting the wearing of hats."

... Here's a bit more on Rush -- "the one politician to ever have beaten Barack Obama in an election" -- from Nicholas McCarvel of the Daily Beast. ...

... ANd from Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor, who discusses the House rules. ...

... Channing Joseph of the New York Times: "A police surveillance video obtained by ABC News shows George Zimmerman ... as he arrived at the Sanford, Fla., police station on the night of the shooting. Mr. Zimmerman, 28, said he shot the 17-year-old high school student, Trayvon Martin, in self-defense after a violent altercation in which Trayvon punched him in the nose, knocked him over and slammed his head into the sidewalk. Mr. Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged. His lawyer, Craig Sonner, has said Mr. Zimmerman’s nose was broken in the altercation. In the video, which shows Mr. Zimmerman in police custody shortly after Trayvon was shot, Mr. Zimmerman’s face and head show no obvious signs of injuries or blood."

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Right Wing World

Michael Hirsh of the National Journal: the Obama campaign might be well-advised "to cast [Mitt] Romney as Barry 'Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice' Goldwater, whose trouncing by LBJ in 1964 had a lot to do with public fears that he was a warmonger.... Previously [Romney] has virtually threatened war with Iran and the perpetuation of war in Afghanistan. But Romney's remarks to CNN about Russia, calling Moscow 'without question our number one geopolitical foe' and saying that the Russians 'fight every cause for the world's worst actors,' seemed to mark a new level of indiscretion for the hyperventilating former Massachusetts governor."

Mitt Romney tells Wisconsin voters what he calls "a humorous story" about his father's closing a Michigan auto plant & moving operations to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Only Romney -- who "likes to be able to fire people" -- would see the "humor" in putting people out of work:

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The only things more out-of-touch than Mitt Romney's 'joke' about his dad closing a factory are his policies that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and allow insurance companies to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions. He continues to be callous about the struggles that ordinary Americas face and his policies would make it harder-not easier-for anyone but the very wealthy to succeed. -- Lis Smith of the Obama campaign

... The Detroit News reports some background on the hilarious plant closing. ...

... David Firestone of the New York Times, in a post titled "The Lighter Side of Destroying Jobs," has more background on the Michigan plant closing. He adds, "Another candidate might have stayed away from a joke about closing auto plants. Considering that Mitt Romney’s private equity company forced thousands of layoffs at companies it purchased, and that he opposed a bailout of the auto industry that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, it’s a subject he would be well-advised to avoid. But Mr. Romney doesn’t seem to have the internal warning signal granted to most politicians."

News Ledes

Yahoo! News: "The White House on Thursday accused Republicans criticizing President Barack Obama over his candid but caught-on-tape comments to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev — like presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner — of having an outdated 'Cold War' mindset and said Obama would happily fight for his policy through the election."

Washington Post: "Angry Senators on Thursday bowed to the will of the House with a 90-day extension of transportation funding two days before a deadline that could have shutdown highway and transit projects across the nation."

ABC News: "A 29-year-old-man was taken into police custody this morning at the Philadelphia airport after attempting to board a flight to San Francisco while carrying items that could have been assembled into an explosive device -- a vial with a fuse, a plastic bottle filled with explosive powder and three M-80 type fireworks."

AP: "President Barack Obama is renewing his call for Congress to end tax breaks to oil companies. In a Rose Garden speech Thursday, Obama will urge Congress to vote to end what the White House calls 'the billions in taxpayer dollars handed out to oil companies every year.'" ...

     ... Politico Update: "President Barack Obama repeated his plea Thursday for lawmakers to repeal billions in annual incentives for big oil companies ahead of a doomed Senate vote on the matter":

     ... Washington Post Update: "Senate Democrats followed by forcing a vote to end tax cuts for the five largest oil companies, which Republicans resoundingly defeated."

New York Times: "Top MF Global executives and their lawyers have been meeting with federal authorities investigating the collapse of MF Global and the firm’s misuse of customer money, according to testimony before a Congressional panel on Wednesday.... An important MF Global employee [Edith O'Brien] had declined to cooperate without first receiving a deal excusing her from criminal prosecution."

AP: "The annual Arab summit meeting opened in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Thursday with only 10 of the leaders of the 22-member Arab League in attendance and amid a growing rift between Arab countries over how far they should go to end the one-year conflict in Syria. As the summit opened, two explosions were heard in central Baghdad."

Here's the New York Times' obituary of musician Earl Scruggs.

Wall Street Journal: "The House overwhelmingly voted down a bipartisan budget proposal [which was based on the Simpson-Bowles Commission outline] Wednesday that would have directed lawmakers to reduce the federal deficit by more than $4 trillion over 10 years through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases." ...

... The Hill: "The House on Wednesday night unanimously rejected an alternative budget proposal [supposedly] based on President Obama's 2013 budget plan, dispatching it in a 0-414 rout. The vote came just hours after the White House cast the pending vote as a political 'gimmick,' an apparent attempt to downplay what many expected to be an ugly-looking vote for the White House." ...

The Hill: "The House on Thursday is poised to approve Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget measure, which would give Republicans a much-needed lift after months of intra-party squabbling." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $3.5 trillion budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on a 228 to 191 vote, largely along party lines."

New York Times: "Following a string of critical reports about its contracting practices in China, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, visited Foxconn Technology’s manufacturing plant for the iPhone earlier this week, media reports said on Thursday." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "The Fair Labor Association said Thursday that more than half of the workers in Apple’s assembly plants exceed the company’s limit of 60 hours of work a week and that many face hazardous working conditions." ...

     ... Reuters Update: "In a landmark development for the way Western companies do business in China, Apple Inc said on Thursday it had agreed to work with partner Foxconn to tackle wage and working condition violations at the factories that produce its popular products."

Washington Post: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Wednesday, becoming the latest big-name Republican to throw his support behind the likely Republican nominee."

Reuters: "Pope Benedict and Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, both octogenarians, joked about their age in a brief meeting on Wednesday and then Castro popped the question: so what do you do? The two world figures chatted for about 30 minutes at the Vatican embassy in Havana near the end of the pope's three-day visit to Cuba, where he called for greater freedom and a bigger role for the Catholic Church in the communist-led nation."

Reuters: "An angry Rupert Murdoch on Thursday declared war against 'enemies' who have accused his pay-TV operation of sabotaging its rivals, denouncing them as 'toffs and right wingers' stuck in the last century." In tweets!

Reader Comments (1)

In today's Washington Post obituary for Earl Scruggs, last paragraph, a quote from Scruggs -- who was always open to experimentation:

" If you don't let things develop, it's like keeping something in a bag and not letting it out to fly ... You never know until you try it out."

He was talking about music, but the thought goes to anything.

March 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick
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