The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States economy rebounded heartily in the spring after a dismal winter, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday, growing at an annual rate of 4 percent from April through June and surpassing economists’ expecations. In its initial estimate for the second quarter, the government cited a major advance in inventories for private businesses, higher government spending at the state and local level and personal consumption spending as chief contributors to growth."

Guardian: "At least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign. Gaza health officials said at least 43 people died in intense air strikes and tank shelling of Jabaliya, a neighbourhood of Gaza City. The death toll included the people at the school who had fled their own homes." ...

     ... AP Update: "Israel unleashed its heaviest air and artillery assault of the Gaza war on Tuesday, destroying key symbols of Hamas control, shutting down the territory's only power plant and leaving at least 128 Palestinians dead on the bloodiest day of the 22-day conflict. Despite devastating blows that left the packed territory's 1.7 million people cut off from power and water and sent the overall death toll soaring past 1,200, Hamas' shadowy military leader remained defiant as he insisted that the Islamic militants would not cease fire until its demands are met."

Los Angeles Times: "Pacific Gas & Electric was charged Tuesday with lying to regulators during the immediate aftermath of the deadly 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people and ravaged a San Bruno, Calif., neighborhood. The new indictment includes obstruction charges related to what the company said about its records immediately after the incident, according to a release from the Northern District of California U.S. attorney's office. The filing comes three months after an April indictment claimed that PG&E violated federal pipeline safety laws."

Los Angeles Times: "A top Los Angeles utility official faced tough questions Tuesday night about the response to a massive pipe break that flooded UCLA and surrounding areas with millions of gallons of water and threatened the near-term use of Pauley Pavilion. The rupture of the 90-year-old main sent a geyser shooting 30 feet in the air and deluged Sunset Boulevard and UCLA with 8 million to 10 million gallons of water before it was shut off more than three hours after the pipe burst, city officials said."

Reuters: "Militant fighters overran a Libyan special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle involving rockets and warplanes that killed at least 30 people. A special forces officer said they had to abandon their main camp in the southeast of Benghazi after coming under sustained attack from a coalition of Islamist fighters and former rebel militias in the city."

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 29

10:10 am ET: White House Agricultural Champions of Change meet

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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

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Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times: "New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission would do well to turn down the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion, which imagines replacing a prized garden on East 70th Street in Manhattan with a clumsy addition. The city should avoid another self-inflicted wound, and there are other options." CW: As I recall, the garden is that it is difficult to see from the street. I love the garden court & have spent a good deal of time there.

Martha Stewart has a drone.

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.

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Tuesday
May222012

The Commentariat -- May 23, 2012

My column in the New York Times eXaminer today is a brief word on Brother Ross. The NYTX front page is here.

Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post: "Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday." ...

... Stan Collender of Capital Gains & Games in Roll Call: Speaker John Boehner is "exceptionally irresponsible."

Garance Franke-Ruta of The Atlantic tells you more than everything you ever wanted to know about Elizabeth Warren's totally Caucasian heritage: "If there's no easily located evidence that Warren has Native American ancestry, there's also no evidence Warren used her family story to boost herself into a Harvard job.... But the longer the questions about Warren linger, the harder it will be for voters to feel like they know who she really is."

Natasha Lennard of Salon: "The [Chicago Police Department] has been congratulated for handling NATO protests.... However..., the ongoing persecution of anarchists and activists with entrapment, intimidation and trumped-up charges [may remain]."

Charles Pierce on the lawsuits brought by Roman Catholic organizations against the Obama administration's ruling on contraceptive coverage (see also Tuesday's News Ledes): "... the University of Notre Dame, has gone to the lawyers to avoid having to cover medicines for their Prebyterian charwomen of which the Roman Catholic Church does not approve because those medicines might help ladies exercise their ladyparts in ways that the Roman Catholic Church does not authorize. As always, of course, this has required some recreational prevarication, and some muted weeping over how Holy Mother Church has been the real victim in all of this.... I find it damned interesting that Holy Mother Church is so ready to appeal to the secular courts in this matter when it spent the better part of three decades arguing that the secular courts had no business investigating the various illegal fondlings and rapings that passed for sexy sexytime among the Church's richly upholstered middle management officials." ...

... Maureen Dowd: "The church insists it's an argument about religious freedom, not birth control. But, really, it's about birth control, and women's lower caste in the church. It's about conservative bishops targeting Democratic candidates who support contraception and abortion rights as a matter of public policy. And it's about a church that is obsessed with sex in ways it shouldn't be, and not obsessed with sex in ways it should be.... The lawsuit reminds [us] that what the bishops portray as an attack on religion by the president is really an attack on women by the bishops."

Wrong: any religion that a guy who looks like this to be celibate, even if he is a jerk.... Celibacy Is Such an Excellent Idea. Nicole Winfield of the AP: "The Legion of Christ religious order, already discredited for concealing the crimes of its pedophile founder, suffered another blow to its credibility Tuesday after its superior admitted he knew in 2005 that his most prominent priest had fathered a child, yet allowed him to keep teaching and preaching about morality.... The Rev. Thomas Williams, the public face of the Legion in America, admitted last week that he had violated his vow of celibacy and fathered a child several years ago, going public with a statement after The Associated Press presented the Legion with the accusation."

 

 

Right: anybody who tells this guy to STFU.AND There Must Be Some Reason Rand Paul Reminds Me of an 8th-Grader. Lee Drutman of the Sunlight Foundation. "Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record.... Today’s Congress collectively speaks at a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level." The high-falutinest: Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA) (grade 16); the simpletoniest: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) (grade 7.95), & a close third was our favorite simpleton, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (grade 8.03).

This tribute to former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, which took place at the end of April, was a discussion among all of the women on the Court. It was quite delightful to hear. The discussion begins about 4:15 min. in:

Weird Politicians' Tricks. Apparently Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), in the throes of a tough primary battle, thinks Jewish people love their moms a lot more than do non-Jews. He sent the original family photo -- at left -- to people with "non-Jewish" name; the version at right, with his mother photoshopped in, went to voters with Jewish surnames:

Via Buzzfeed.     ... But wait, wait, there's more! BuzzFeed: "Today, he claimed it was a clever scheme aimed at forcing the press to print pictures of his family. He doesn't seem to be joking." With video.

Presidential Race

Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn't mean the private equity guys are bad guys. They are not. But that no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber. And, by the way, there are a lot of awful smart plumbers. -- Joe Biden, at a campaign stop in Keene, New Hampshire

You Must Remember Bush. Steve Kornacki of Salon: "... the Obama campaign has been a little too quiet in reminding voters exactly what kind of economic catastrophe Obama inherited, whom he inherited it from, and how closely Romney's economic program resembles what was in place just before the meltdown that started this all."

Tim Noah of The New Republic: "Private Equity Ain't No Reform Movement." See also, if you missed it, my related NYTX column, published yesterday. ...

... Bain Capital? What's That? Mark Murray of NBC News: "... regarding Romney's past work at the private-equity firm Bain Capital, [an NBC/Wall Street Journal] poll shows that 9 percent have a positive view of the firm and 19 percent have a negative view; 53 percent either weren't sure or weren't familiar with it. In the last two weeks, the Obama campaign has pointed to examples where Bain -- under Romney's leadership -- took over companies, saddled them with debt, laid off workers, all while making big profits for the investors."

Jamelle Bouie has a very good post in the WashPo on Obama's spending habits: Obama has slowed government spending more than any president since the 1950s, and "a President Romney would finance massive tax cuts with soaring deficits. Instead of trying to stop the 'prairie fire of debt,' as promised in his speech [last week], he would spark it."

Friends of Mitt. Alex Pareene of Salon: Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio sends deputies to Hawaii in search of the real birth certificate. "But yes a completely crazy person who is in charge of law enforcement for the most populous county in Arizona is probably going to attempt to arrest Barack Obama at some point. I guess at least he's not directly involved with the Mitt Romney campaign, like Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Romney’s Arizona campaign co-chair who's currently leading a separate investigation into proving the president's secret foreignness. (Though Arpaio was honorary campaign co-chair in 2008, when he was still a stalwart harasser of Hispanics, but before birtherism had been properly invented.)" ...

... Hawaii Is Tired of Trying to Reason with You Birthers. Nick Martin of TPM: Hawaii gives Ken Bennett a taste of his own medicine. You want Obama's birth certificate? Prove you're qualified. Jill Nagamine, a Hawaii Deputy Secretary of State, to Bennett & an associate: "My client stands willing to provide you with the verification you seek as soon as you are able to show that you are entitled to it." ...

     ... AP Update: "The state of Hawaii has verified President Barack Obama's birth records to Arizona's elections chief after a nearly three-month back and forth that Arizona officials said could have ended without the incumbent's name on its November ballot.... It's not immediately clear whether the information will satisfy Bennett. A spokesman says he received the verification and will comment Wednesday."

... Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "Mr. Bennett ... is co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign in Arizona. Mr. Romney should disavow this 'investigation.' Or make Mr. Bennett stop it. Or kick him off the campaign. Or better yet, disavow the investigation, make Mr. Bennett stop it – and then kick him off the campaign."

Former Governor, Former DNC Chair, Former Obama Booster Ed Rendell. Part 1. Part 2. With friends like these....

... BUT Obama's former car czar, the ethically-challenged Steve Rattner, embraced by the right for his remarks about Bain Capital, is definitely in Obama's camp. He writes quite a good explanation of Romney's Bain business in today's New York Times. His remarks do not help Willard. ...

... Ana Marie Cox, in the Guardian, has the best commentary yet on Cory Booker's apostasy.

Local News

Dr. Marvin Schwalb tells off the Star-Ledger. (See also Comments to today's Commentariat.)

Charles Pierce, who used to write for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, on the paper's endorsements of "Scott Walker, the google-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin."

News Ledes

Washington Post: "The director of the U.S. Secret Service publicly apologized for the first time Wednesday for a prostitution scandal that has rocked his agency as senior lawmakers strongly disputed his insistence that what unfolded last month in Cartagena, Colombia, occurred in isolation."

New York Times: "At least three shareholder lawsuits have so far been brought against Facebook and the three leading underwriters of the I.P.O., Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, alleging that Facebook failed to disclose material information about its growth prospects."

Washington Post: "President Obama sent 1,000 Air Force Academy cadets into active duty Wednesday by laying out his vision for a postwar America in which the United States leads beyond the battlefield and defiantly challenging his critics' notion of waning American influence."

AP: "Regulators are examining whether Morgan Stanley, the investment bank that shepherded Facebook through its highly publicized stock offering last week, selectively informed clients of an analyst's negative report about the company before the stock started trading." New York Times story here.

New York Times: "After weeks of fevered debate, speculation and argument, Egyptians went to the polls on Wednesday in the Arab world's first competitive presidential election, choosing between a dozen candidates spanning the nation’s secular and Islamist traditions after decades of authoritarian rule."

New York Times: "Six global powers including the United State resumed negotiations with Iran [in Baghdad] on Wednesday a day after Tehran signaled willingness to allow potentially intrusive international inspections of secret military facilities, raising expectations that it was searching for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over its nuclear program."

AP: "Several small groups of Secret Service employees separately visited clubs, bars and brothels in Colombia prior to a visit by President Barack Obama last month and engaged in reckless, 'morally repugnant' behavior, Sen. Susan Collins says.... In remarks prepared for the first congressional hearing on the matter Wednesday, Collins, R-Maine, also challenged early assurances that the scandal in Colombia appeared to be an isolated incident." ...

... Washington Post: "Four Secret Service employees have decided to fight their dismissals for engaging in inappropriate conduct in Colombia last month, a development that could unravel what has been a swift and tidy resolution to an embarrassing scandal over agents' hiring of prostitutes."

Washington Post: "Public opinion continues to shift in favor of same-sex marriage, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, which also finds initial signs that President Obama's support for the idea may have changed a few minds. Overall, 53 percent of Americans say gay marriage should be legal...."

Washington Post: "President Obama won his 34th and 35th consecutive Democratic primary contests on Tuesday night, claiming victories in Arkansas and Kentucky. But his margin was surprisingly small in Arkansas — a state in which he was opposed by Tennessee lawyer John Wolfe, who had previously been on the presidential primary ballot in Louisiana, Missouri and New Hampshire and will be on the ballot in Texas next week. Wolfe has also run unsuccessfully for Congress four times." CW: Surprisingly? Not really. Maybe it should have dawned on the reporters that Arkansas has an open primary; i.e., Republicans can vote in the Democratic primary.

Blood Money. AFP: "The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation said Tuesday it is taking legal action to stop an online auction of a vial said to contain the late US president's blood, condemning the sale as 'craven.' ... The vial was accompanied by a laboratory report and a letter from the seller -- who claims he offered it to the Reagan National Library, but was turned down."

AP: "Court records show a Miami college student intends to plead guilty to making threatening posts against President Barack Obama on Facebook.... Federal prosecutors say Serrapio posted threats on Facebook in February coinciding with a speech Obama gave at the University of Miami. Serrapio attends a different school, Miami-Dade College."

Reader Comments (2)

Let me share a story about the what journalism has become. Twelve days ago, the NEWARK Star Ledger posted a front page article questioning the logic behind a bill in the State Legislature to create a new research building in Newark between the NJ Institute of Technology and the 'State's medical school'. This made no sense because the Governor planned to give the 'State's medical school' to Rutgers University. Both the 'medical school' and Rutgers are in New Brunswick, NJ. The 'journalist' and I assume the editor who proofed it were apparently unaware that for the last 43 years the State had another medical school, by far the largest and most nationally prominent, located about a mile from the Star Ledger offices in NEWARK. Strangely it is called the New Jersey Medical School. I wrote a letter to the editor explaining reality and they did publish it. The good news is that they were embarrassed enough to allow me to submit an op-ed piece providing a more accurate view of reality. Will see if they publish that.
In any case this goes beyond sloppy, beyond stupid and beyond possible. Welcome to the MSM.

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Dave S.

I think you may be looking for a link to my post from Sullivan's blog regarding Bain. I'd provide you with a link - but you are looking at it in its entirety. It was part of a thread that has gone on for some time. Here is a link for another post on the same subject later that day:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/the-bain-of-this-campaign-ctd.html

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon
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