The Ledes

Thursday, April 24, 2014.

... New York Times The Lede: "Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine released the American journalist Simon Ostrovsky on Thursday, three days after he was taken prisoner in the town of Slovyansk while filming a video report for Vice News. The Brooklyn-based news organization confirmed his release in a statement, which was followed by a tweet from the correspondent."

Guardian: Ukrainian troops are moving against pro-Russian separatists. The Guardian's liveblog is here. ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Russia announced on Thursday that it was immediately starting military drills involving its army and air force along the border with Ukraine, harshly criticizing the government there for moving against pro-Russian forces occupying various government buildings in a show of force that left a still-undetermined number of people killed and wounded." ...

Washington Post: "Three American medical staff members died when an Afghan security official opened fire Thursday at an American-run Christian hospital in Kabul in the latest violence targeting foreigners in Afghanistan."

Guardian: "Pupils at the elite Southbank International School in London were victims of serial paedophile teacher William Vahey, the school has confirmed. The scale of the abuse is expected to be revealed later on Thursday in a letter to parents.... Vahey, a 64-year-old American who taught at Southbank between 2009 and 2013, killed himself after being found with 90 images of boys. The FBI believe the children were drugged with sleeping pills and molested in assaults dating back to 2008."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Guardian: "The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional. The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences.... The court's reversal on Wednesday came hours after a resolution by an Oklahoma House member to try to impeach some of its justices."

New York Times: "The latest accord between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization appeared more serious than past attempts, experts said, and came as hopes faded for a resolution to peace negotiations with Israel."

New York Times: "Russia continued Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the government in Kiev, warning that events in eastern Ukraine could prompt a military response and again accusing the United States of directing events there."

Not All Fish Are Created Equal. Time: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro."

Reuters: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter Simon Ostrovsky."

AP: "When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she resurfaced, expressing support once again for the pro-Russia insurgents — but possibly no longer as mayor."

AP: " A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from Canada's embassy in Moscow in retaliation for Canada expelling a Russia diplomat as tensions grow over the Ukraine, Canadian officials said Tuesday."

AP: "A Moscow judge on Tuesday left open the possibility of jailing President Vladimir Putin's main critic for years, a sign of Putin's increasingly hard-line rule against opponents. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was fined $8,400 on Tuesday for slandering a lawmaker. His second trial starts Thursday, and prosecutors who previously secured his house arrest are widely expected to ask for jail for him pending trial, with Tuesday's verdict making him a recidivist. If there's a guilty verdict at that trial, he could get a prison term."

AP: "A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "An Army soldier convicted of leaking classified military and diplomatic records persuaded a Kansas judge Wednesday to legally change her name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning."

Time: "President Barack Obama paid a visit to the small community of Oso, Wa., on Tuesday, exactly one month after a massive mudslide there claimed at least 41 lives. He promised survivors that the entire country will be on hand to help for 'as long as it takes'”:

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 24

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

Jon Stewart raises a good point: Why is this man parading around with the flag of a country he claims doesn't exist? ...


Jonathan Topaz of Politico: "The Hannity-Stewart feud: Day Three. During an 11-minute segment on the 'The Daily Show' Wednesday night, Jon Stewart called out Sean Hannity for what he perceived as hypocrisy on the Cliven Bundy issue and called the Fox News host 'The Arby’s of news.'”

CW: It's worth remembering that Stewart was the guy who brought down CNN's shouting pundits show "Crossfire." Of course the Blitzer Channel is, by comparison to Fox "News," a paragon of journalistic excellence.

Jon Stewart on the Cliven Bundy story:

... AND on Sean Hannity's support for Bundy:

... AND Hannity is pissed off. Apparently, it upsets him to hear his own blatant hypocrisy ridiculed.

New York Times: "David Letterman introduced his successor, Stephen Colbert, on his 'Late Show With David Letterman' Tuesday night on CBS with a monologue joke and some cordial conversation — but no measuring of the drapes":

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Paul Fahri of the Washington Post: The ratings for "Meet the Press" are so bad that NBC hired a psychologist to analyze Greggers. ...

     ... CW: Here's the rub. Fahri writes, "The impossible burden for Gregory, of course, has been to follow the beloved Russert. As one NBC colleague describes it, Russert is a 'ghost' who still haunts Gregory’s tenure at 'MTP' six years into his run." This is strictly VSP bull. Russert was a mediocre interviewer, who continually let politicians get away with evasive answers. He left big shoes to fill only because he had big feet.

MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

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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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