The Ledes

Monday, July 28, 2014.

Guardian: "Dutch and Australian police have failed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a second day as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area." ...

... Washington Post: "The Ukrainian military on Monday captured a strategically important swath of territory close to the debris field of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a spokesman said, dealing a blow to pro-Russian rebels but raising new questions about whether an investigation at the site will ever yield conclusive evidence about the attack on the airliner." ...

Washington Post: "International efforts to end the devastating three-week-old Gaza war intensified Monday with the U.N. Security Council calling for an 'immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' in the conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,035 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers. The ravaged coastal enclave was relatively quiet Monday as Palestinians started celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Israel mostly held its fire overnight, shelling only a site in the northern Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from there." ...

     ... UPDATE: "Explosions rocked a major hospital and a neighborhood of Gaza City on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead, witnesses reported." ...

... New York Times: "On Sunday, however, [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry was having difficulty accomplishing even ... a succession of temporary cease-fires..., despite a phone call in which President Obama, in a sign of mounting impatience, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to embrace an 'immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' while the two sides pursued a more lasting agreement. ...

... A White House readout of the conversation between Obama & Netanyahu is here.

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 28

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

3:05 pm ET: President Obama awards the 2013 National Medal of Arts & the National Medal of Humanities Medal

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Monday
Apr302012

The Commentariat -- May 1, 2012

My column in today's New York Times eXaminer answers the question "What Would Willard Do?" vis-a-vis ordering the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. The NYTX front page is here.

Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post: "Making public colleges free would cost, it is estimated, somewhere around $30 billion a year. We could afford it. Mitt Romney’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax would cost about four times that sum and benefit only the heirs of the very wealthy. A financial transaction tax that would slow destabilizing speculation on Wall Street would raise many times that also."

Fuck the First Amendment. Adam Liptak of the New York Times writes a fairly hilarious dissertation on the Supreme Court's ban of the use of the word "fuck" even when its use is the subject of the case before the Court. Read his effort for the fun of it. And bear in mind that these high-placed persons possessed of such delicate dispositions do not mind ruthlessly disposing of actual human beings.

Thomas Edsall in the New York Times on conservatives' & liberals' differing views of "fairness." or why Eric Cantor opposes an7 & all tax hikes -- except a tax hike for the poor.

If you need a short course on Republican-sponsored state voter suppression laws, Gene Robinson has obliged.

The South Is Still the South. Barbara Liston of Reuters: "A federal lawsuit against a Florida school district alleges two black women who scored well on an adult skills test in 2010 were accused of cheating because, they were told, 'you people don't score that high.'" Read the whole story; it's worse than the lede.

Noah Bierman of the Boston Globe: "A record unearthed Monday shows that Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has a great-great-great grandmother listed in an 1894 document as a Cherokee, said a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogy Society.... Intense focus in Warren's heritage comes as the Democratic candidate has faced several days of scrutiny about whether she has represented herself as a minority in her academic career.... The lack of clarity on issue prompted US Senator Scott Brown's campaign to question Warren's credibility and call for her to 'come clean.' Warren's campaign shot back Monday, accusing Brown of 'nasty insinuations.'”

Presidential Race

We've always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it. Take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business. -- Mitt Romney, two days ago

... AND/OR collect millions & millions from friends of your parents. See Michael & Julie Creswell's report in the New York Times about how Tagg Romney & his business partner Spencer Zwick (the 2008 Romney campaign's top fundraiser), both of whom had zero private equity experience, managed to collect $244 million, much of it from Willard's campaign donors & $10 million of it from Willard & Ann Romney. (Tagg & Zwick later added Eric Scheuermann to the partnership; Scheuermann has private equity experience.) CW: Now I really despise those people.

Michael Barbaro & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "Asked by reporters ... whether he would have given the same military order as President Obama, Mr. Romney replied, 'Of course, of course.' ... 'Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,' Mr. Romney said.... In a news conference Monday with the Japanese prime minister, Mr. Obama accused Mr. Romney of flip-flopping on the question of whether he would have pursued Osama bin Laden." ...

     ... Jim Fallows' response is excellent. ...

     ... NEW. Even conservative Joe Scarborough says "... considering that Carter did the unthinkable by 2012 standards last week and praised Mitt Romney, I found his cheap shot at President Carter to be a bit jarring." Here's video of Carter praising Romney.

     ... An Obama supporter tells Greg Sargent: "Romney is undermining his own point. He's invoking a decision that cost Carter his presidency. Obama bet his presidency on this operation. It's troubling if Romney thinks it was an easy decision." Here are Romney & Obama:

     ... "A Noun, a Verb and 9/11." Michael Hirsh of the National Journal: "... when it comes to politicizing 9/11 it's hard to beat Rudy Giuliani, who will be at Romney's side on the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death. ...

     ... Piling On. Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "Republicans milked the horror of 9/11 for everything it was worth, not just to win at the ballot box, but also to justify an entirely unrelated war.... The best response to the howls of outrage from Republicans about 'politicizing 9/11' comes from Mitt Romney himself: 'Rudy Giuliani will appear at an event with Mitt Romney on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the assault on Osama bin Laden, a campaign aide confirmed to CNN.' Yeah, Mitt Romney is so desperately against politicizing 9/11 ... that he's going to mark the anniversary of bin Laden's death by campaigning alongside Rudy 911iani." ...

     ... Lewison wrote a good account a couple of days ago about just how opposed Romney was to Obama's pledge to go after Bin Laden. ...

     ... CW: In case you think the decision was a slam-dunk, as Romney characterizes it, here's an excerpt from David Corn's book Showdown on how Obama got Bin Laden. ...

     ... AND here's Vice President Biden speaking in January: "When the president asked his top advisers for their final opinion on the mission, all of them were hesitant, except for the former CIA director, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Biden said. 'Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta. Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49, 51.'" ...

     ... BUT. Michael Hastings, writing for BuzzFeed, raises the possibility of Obama's being "swiftboated" by disgruntled, right-wing Navy Seals, who feel their success has been used and misrepresented for political purposes. ...

     ... CW Update: I just can't keep up with Romney. He no longer says any president would have made the call Obama made to take out bin Laden. Now he says "Any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing." Read my column in today's NYTX if you think there's any vague possibility this is true.

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "Romney on Auto Bailout 3.0": Obama owes his only economic success to me, Mitt Romney, who told Obama exactly how to save the auto industry.

Stay Greedy, Newt! Philip Elliott of the AP: "Rick Santorum wants to ensure the GOP's policy platform represents conservatives' interests. Newt Gingrich wants help retiring his campaign debt and repairing his reputation. Both Republicans are expected to endorse their former rival Mitt Romney ... but each wants assurances that Romney will deliver for them. Neither is rushing toward the task. Meanwhile, it doesn't appear that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is going to go that way." CW: You know how Newt could retire his campaign debt? He could write a check. He's a multimillionaire. You know how Newt could repair his reputation? ... I didn't think so. ...

... AND Alex Altman of Time ponders what's next for Newt.

Right Wing World *

Heidi Przybyla & Tim Mattingly of Bloomberg News: "Tea party favorites such as Stephen Fincher of Tennessee were swept into Congress on a wave of anger over government-funded bailouts of banks. Now those incumbents are collecting thousands of dollars for re-election campaigns from the same Wall Street firms whose excesses they criticized. They have taken no significant steps to curb them or prevent future taxpayer-financed rescues.

* Fundamentalist nutjobs & corporate shills, sole proprietors. -- Akhilleus

Local News

Todd Richmond of the AP: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's [financial backer] list reads like a who's who of some of the richest people in America — financial gurus, a Las Vegas casino president, even an NBA team owner. Walker set the record for a state office with $12.1 million raised last year. Campaign finance records filed Monday show he has already easily surpassed that this year, raising $13.1 million between Jan. 18 and last week."

News Ledes

NBC News: "Marches turned violent in Oakland, where protesters pounded on bank windows and went face-to-face with a police line, and in Seattle, where protesters dressed in black smashed windows and police pepper-sprayed some in the crowds."

Orlando Sentinel: "Richard W. Myers will bring nearly three decades of law-enforcement leadership to Sanford's troubled police department when he starts work as interim chief on Friday. City Manager Norton Bonaparte announced Tuesday that he had hired Myers, former police chief of Colorado Springs, Colo., to run the department for at least three months."

New York Times: "... [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton arrives again in Beijing for talks that are certain to receive far less attention than the uncertain fate of a Chinese lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, who escaped a brutalizing, illegal house arrest and has sought protection from American diplomats in the Chinese capital."

New York Times: "President Obama landed here Tuesday, on a surprise visit, to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan meant to mark the beginning of the end of a war that has lasted for more than a decade. Mr. Obama ... flew by helicopter to the presidential palace, where he was to meet President Hamid Karzai before both leaders signed the pact. It is intended to be a road map for two nations lashed together by more than a decade of war and groping for a new relationship after the departure of American troops, scheduled for the end of 2014." CW: the White House livefeed shows no scheduled speech as of 4 pm ET. Update: President Obama speaks at 5:30 pm ET & 7:30 pm ET....

     ... NYT Update: 'Speaking from a military base near Kabul after a brief, surprise night visit to Afghanistan on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, President Obama said that 'we have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan.'”

Raleigh News & Observer: "Jurors for the John Edwards trial saw video on Tuesday afternoon of the house outside Chapel Hill where Edward’s pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, lived for several months while hiding from National Enquirer reporters.... Cheri Young, during her third day on the witness stand in a trial projected to last through May, stated that she videotaped the home and some of Hunter’s belongings to document that Hunter had lived in the home."

New York Daily News: "Would-be subway bomber Adis Medunjanin was convicted Tuesday of plotting to wage jihad in the city with two other homegrown terrorists. The Queens man was also found guilty of conspiring to join the Taliban and training with Al Qaeda."

The New York Times "City Room" blog is liveblogging May Day events in NYC: "The police arrested protesters on the Williamsburg Bridge, a park on the Lower East Side and near Washington Square Park Tuesday afternoon as the May Day protests organized by Occupy Wall Street gathered steam. The morning's protests in Midtown, outside banks and other businesses, had been well attended but more subdued." ...

     ... The Daily News has better live coverage here.

Guardian: "Rupert Murdoch is 'not a fit person' to exercise stewardship of a major international company, a committee of MPs has concluded, in a report highly critical of the mogul and his son James's role in the News of the World phone-hacking affair. The Commons culture, media and sport select committee also concluded that James Murdoch showed 'wilful ignorance' of the extent of phone hacking during 2009 and 2010 – in a highly charged document that saw MPs split on party lines as regards the two Murdochs." ...

     ... Update: the report is here. ...

     ... New York Times Update 1: "... the furor that accompanied the release of the report on Tuesday appeared to open a whole new arena of hazard for the prime minister and his Conservative Party. Mr. Cameron's Conservative members of Parliament voted against the report because of the insistence by the Labour and Liberal Democrat majority on including a condemnation of Mr. Murdoch as 'not a fit person' to run a major international company. That carries the risk of Mr. Cameron being cast as a de facto champion of Mr. Murdoch, and the possibility of being tarred by association with the wrongdoing at the Murdoch-owned tabloids.

     ... New York Times Update 2: "Rupert Murdoch said that News Corporation's 50,000 employees could expect 'a more robust global compliance structure' in response to the continued fallout over news gathering at the company's British newspaper unit."

Guardian: "The May 1 'general strike', the result of months of planning and coordination between groups across the US, is Occupy's big chance to regain the momentum lost when a combination of police crackdowns and the harsh winter weather shut down the protest at the end of last year."

Atlantic: "A day that is expected to be filled with anti-establishment protests all around the globe began early last night with a roving band of 'anarchists' smashing car windows and store fronts in San Francisco's Mission District. The mini-riot ... may have started as a 'ruckus street party' organized by Occupy Oakland protesters.... Many in the Occupy movement are blaming outsiders and "Black Bloc" anarchists who have a habit of hijacking peaceful protests for the own purposes."

Some headlines are irresistible. San Francisco Chronicle: "Man Sues BMW over Two-Year Erection."

Reader Comments (5)

I just posted a reply to Mr. Brooks. I imagine it will show up in the queue around 4 p.m. so I hope it's OK to share it here:

I haven't yet seen the column that addresses your disappointment with the Romney campaign not just for that single burst of dishonesty way back in November but for the candidate's relentless unhinging from reality and truth when addressing the President's record and time in office. If you were to turn the task of assembling such verbal garbage over to your least talented intern, you would soon have enough material for several pieces. I imagine that you would find such a prospect thrilling were the prevaricator not Romney but Obama.

As icing on the cake, you might want to address Romney's recent slam on President Carter, who made a gutsy decision that backfired, possibly costing him his presidency and the American people 30 years of faith-based economics.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

CW: I'm bringing forward this comment by P. D. Pepe from two days ago, as I missed seeing it required my "approval." My apologies.

"Hey Ken––don't know whether you saw this in the Times, but it corresponds nicely to what you and Marvin are addressing: Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html?ref=todayspaper

May 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

What kind of economy do we want? Wendall Berry has the answer: http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/wendell-e-berry-lecture --A long lecture, worth reading, also available on video.

Berry discusses the economy of affection. At the heart of the lecture a reference that pretty much sums it up: "In a speech delivered in 2006, 'Revitalizing Rural Communities,' Frederick Kirschenmann quoted his friend Constance Falk, an economist: 'There is a new vision emerging demonstrating how we can solve problems and at the same time create a better world, and it all depends on collaboration, love, respect, beauty, and fairness.'"

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

Marie,

Nice job on your history lesson regarding the Mittster and the increasingly annoying buttstain that is David Brooks on the matter of Romney's macho assertion that of course he would have pulled the trigger on Bin Laden (after stating categorically, and for the record, that he wouldn't have done any such thing--can this guy fucking lie or what?). Brooks was weeping that the Obama people had to stick it to Romney "gangsta style." What about that Jimmy Carter crack? A quick look at Carter's record indicates that he spent 7 years in the navy and volunteered for work as an engineer on the first nuclear subs. Now sub duty has always been one of the most dangerous duties in the military, but in the early days of nuclear subs? Man, that took some sand. But for Romney, the mere mention of the name "Jimmy Carter" is the same as saying "cowardly." Really? Let's see, Carter's seven years in the Navy on dangerous duty was 7 years longer than Willard. Seven years longer than Bush, than Cheney, than Wolfowitz, than Limbaugh, than Beck, than Paul Ryan, than Ronald Reagan, than Turd Blossom Rove, than millions of screaming right-wing chicken hawks who sit around in their living rooms guzzling beers watching war movies and banging their fists on the table. Carter, the real (as opposed to fantasy) military man and engineer, would have considered that a stupid waste of energy.

So Willard said he would have pulled the trigger and gone after the big bad terrorist, because even wimpy little Jimmy Carter would have done that?

Just imagine my surprise that he would lie like that.

Laugh? I thought I'd die.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Romney has now doubled down on his trivializing the take-out of OBL: not only would any president have done it (even Carter!) but any PERSON would have done it.
Which is sort of the same as saying any person could have run Bain Capital, and made a lot of money, - especially if their daddy was wealthy and provided an education and seed money. Certainly anyone could have run the Olympics or been Governor of Massachusetts - a piece of cake compared to planning and executing the bin Laden missions.
Romney is clearly trying to Swift-boat Obama by going after his strengths, but sometimes one has to wonder if Romney even understands the nuts and bolts of the President's job whether concerning foreign policy, security or economic issues. He comes off as awfully uninformed and worse, uncurious Sort of reminds me of a previous president who got us into a disastrous war.

May 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.
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