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."

The Wires

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":

The Ledes

Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Guardian: "Sex abuse allegations against priests at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota were revealed in stark detail on Tuesday with the release of confidential documents concerning five priests accused of child sex abuse."

Reuters: "A 23-year-old Indiana man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a medical museum and stealing preserved human brains that he then sold online. David Charles, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to six charges including receiving stolen property and burglary in a Marion county court. Magistrate Amy Barbar sentenced him to one year of home detention and two years of probation, county prosecutor spokesman Anthony Deer said."

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:

Contact the Constant Weader

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


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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