The Ledes

Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

AP: "Islamic State fighters shot down a Syrian war plane using anti-aircraft guns on Tuesday, the first time the group has downed a military jet since declaring its cross-border caliphate in June, a group monitoring the civil war said."

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
September 17

11:50 m ET: President Obama speaks at MacDill AFP in Tampa, Fla.

12:00 noon ET: Vice President Biden speaks at a Nuns on the Bus rally in Des Moines, Iowa; will make effort not to insult Roman Catholics

2:00 pm ET: Recovery at the White House: celebrating 25 years (of something)

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

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CW: Here's some cheery news. The MacArthur Foundation has named the newest recipients of its "genius" grants. I hope none of them is somebody you personally dislike (thus keeping it cheery). The AP article linked includes a slide show with mini-profiles of each grant recipient.

** CW: The best, most provocative piece of writing in the "news" today is A. O. Scott's piece in the New York Times Magazine on "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." If you don't watch a lot of TV & never see stupid movies, you will struggle with Scott's exemplary references. You may not accept all of his premises, & I think he falls short on defining "adulthood" (though maybe, like pornography, we're supposed to recognize it when we see it.). ...

... Adam Sternbergh responds in New York.

Jeff Weiss, in the New York Times, profiles comedian Bill Maher, who is in the midst of a schtick aimed to defeat the U.S.'s worst Congressperson. You would be a good idea to read Weiss's piece with A. O. Scott's essay in mind. Maher (& even Weiss, who -- in ticking off "bad things" about Maher -- never mentions Maher's offensive attitudes about women) is a fine example of Scott's thesis.

Guardian: "Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, the royal family said on Monday morning. The announcement was made from Clarence House on Twitter.... The Duchess of Cornwall is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with her first pregnancy, and is being treated by doctors at her apartments in Kensington Palace."

Washington Post: "After less than a year at the top of Politico’s masthead, veteran New York Times editor Rick Berke has resigned as the publication’s executive editor.... Friction had been on display in the newsroom almost from the beginning of his tenure. Berke, according to several current and former Politico employees, tried to impose some of the values of the world he came from — where multiple editors might weigh in, demand multiple drafts, and shape bigger, more ambitious stories — on Politico’s fast-moving, reporter-driven newsroom."

 

Jimmy Fallon & Maroon 5 singer & Voice judge Adam Levine stage a "musical impressions-off." This clip, from a show that aired this week (September 2), already has more than 8MM hits:

New York Times: "The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine. The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she 'cracked' and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.... The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch."

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New York Times: "The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was a win for broadcast and cable television, which earned numerous awards as the digital gate-crasher Netflix was nearly shut out. AMC’s 'Breaking Bad' scored big on Monday night, winning a total of five awards, including its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series. The crime drama, about a high school teacher who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer and starts selling crystal meth with a former student, concluded its final season." Here's the L.A. Times' coverage.

New Yorker illustration.

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

 

Contact the Constant Weader

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

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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