The Wires

The Ledes

"For safety's sake, don't humiliate him."

Just this past week, Akhilleus linked (now I can't find his link) to this clip from "Young Frankenstein":

... and I found myself missing Wilder. I wondered what had happened to him. Now I know. As Gilda would say, one time in the same fatal context, "It's always something."

Monday, August 29, 2016.

New York Times: "Gene Wilder, who established himself as one of America’s foremost comic actors with his delightfully neurotic performances in three films directed by Mel Brooks; his eccentric star turn in the family classic 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'; and his winning chemistry with Richard Pryor in the box-office smash 'Stir Crazy,' died early Monday morning at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83."

New York Times: "An Australian aid worker who was kidnapped in Afghanistan and held for four months has been released and is doing well, Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said on Monday. The aid worker, Kerry Jane Wilson, who is in her 60s and is also known as Katherine Jane, had been working in Afghanistan for about 20 years and had most recently run Zardozi, an organization that promoted the work of Afghan artisans, particularly women.... Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, said in a brief statement that its special forces had carried out a raid to free Ms. Wilson." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

"Giovanni della Robbia’s 'Resurrection of Christ,' made for an entrance gate to the villa of the Antinori family outside Florence." Brooklyn Museum photo. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "One of the most innovative art-as-advertising firms in late-15th- and early-16th-century Florence was the della Robbia workshop, a family concern that prospered for three long-lived generations. Its specialty was a brand of glazed terra-cotta sculpture that was physically durable, graphically strong and technologically inimitable. (The exact methods for producing it remain a mystery to this day.)... The Museum of Fine Arts [in Boston is mounting] “Della Robbia: Sculpting With Color in Renaissance Florence”..., a show of ideal size and scholarly weight that includes among 46 pieces one of the tenderest Renaissance sculptures in existence — 'The Visitation' by Luca della Robbia — on first-time American loan from its Tuscan church."

Michelle & Barack -- The Movie. Richard Brody of the New Yorker reviews “Southside with You,” "a drama about Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date." Brody calls the film "a fully realized, intricately imagined, warmhearted, sharp-witted, and perceptive drama, one that sticks close to its protagonists while resonating quietly but grandly with the sweep of a historical epic." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Requiring longer passwords, known as passphrases, usually 16 to 64 characters long, is increasingly seen as a potential escape route from our painful push toward logins that only a cryptographer could love."

The New York Times features photos of the exteriors of Bill & Hillary Clinton's residences over the years.

Brian Hickey of the Philly Voice: When Leroy Black died at age 55, he got two obituaries in the Press of Atlantic City: " In the first obit, his 'loving wife, Bearetta Harrison Black' gets top survivor billing. In the second, however, Bearetta is nowhere to be found, but 'his long-tome (sic) girlfriend, Princess Hall' appears in her place. A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because 'the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.'" ...

... CW: Kinda reminds me of the headstone a widow placed on her husband's grave in the Key West cemetery: "Harry, I Know Where You're Sleeping Tonight."

New York Times: "A surprisingly specific genetic portrait of the ancestor of all living things has been generated by scientists who say that the likeness sheds considerable light on the mystery of how life first emerged on Earth. This venerable ancestor was a single-cell, bacterium-like organism. But it has a grand name, or at least an acronym. It is known as Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old."

Ian Crouch of the New Yorker: "For a few days, at least, [Stephen] Colbert abandoned the political equanimity that he’d adopted when he started his 'Late Night' job." BTW, here's Laura Benanti's segment:

Washington Post: "Benny" (for Ben Franklin), the mystery philanthropist of Salem, Oregon, has given away more than $55,000 in $100 bills, which s/he hides in odd places like "pockets of clothing, in diapers, in baby wipes and in candy." -- CW 

Jumping Jupiter! New York Times: "Ducking through intense belts of violent radiation as it skimmed over the clouds of Jupiter at 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s Juno spacecraft finally clinched its spot on Monday in the orbit of the solar system’s largest planet. It took five years for Juno to travel this far on its $1.1 billion mission, and the moment was one that NASA scientists and space enthusiasts had eagerly — and anxiously — anticipated. At 11:53 p.m., Eastern time, a signal from the spacecraft announced the end of a 35-minute engine burn that left it in the grip of its desired orbit around Jupiter." -- CW ...

... Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post has more on the importance of the mission. CW: This, BTW, is another fine example of your government actually at work.

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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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