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November 26: Washington Post: "Federal health officials said Monday that only romaine lettuce from certain parts of California is unsafe to eat and that romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled to give consumers information about when and where it was harvested. If consumers, retailers and food service facilities cannot determine whether the romaine was grown outside California, they should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one got sick, according to a lengthy statement from Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. FDA officials said the most likely source of contamination is from the Central Coast growing regions in northern and central California. Romaine lettuce harvested outside those regions 'does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,' the FDA said. Hydroponically grown and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be affected in the outbreak. Romaine from those sources is safe to eat, the FDA said."

... November 20: New York Times: "In a sweeping alert, federal health officials warned people not to eat romaine lettuce anywhere in the country, after 32 people in 11 states fell sick with a virulent form of E. coli, a bacteria blamed for a number of food-borne outbreaks in recent years. The notice, issued Tuesday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said consumers should not buy or eat any kind of romaine, whether chopped or whole, and restaurants should stop serving it. Anyone who has romaine, the health agency said, should throw it out." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Okay then, guess I'll throw out that romaine. Already ate one head, and I ain't dead yet.

"The Christmas Comet Returneth." New York Times: "Look into the night sky on Sunday [December 16] and you just might see a bright, fuzzy ball with a greenish-gray tint. That’s because a comet that orbits between Jupiter and the sun will make its closest approach to Earth in centuries, right on the heels of this year’s most stunning meteor shower. 'The fuzziness is just because it’s a ball of gas basically,' Tony Farnham, a research scientist in the astronomy department at the University of Maryland, said on Saturday morning.... 'You’ve got a one-kilometer solid nucleus in the middle, and gas is going out hundreds of thousands of miles.' The comet glows green because the gases emit light in green wavelengths. The ball of gas and dust, sometimes referred to as the 'Christmas comet,' was named 46P/Wirtanen, after the astronomer Carl Wirtanen, who discovered it in 1948. It orbits the sun once every 5.4 years, passing by Earth approximately every 11 years, but its distance varies and it is rarely this close. As the comet passes by, it will be 30 times farther from Earth than the moon, NASA said.”

By George O'Keefe or somebody.Maybe the Best Gift Would Be a Spell-Check App. Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: Way back in November (so Slate has had plenty of time to make corrections), someone named Angela Serratore (hope I spelled that right), wrote a post for Slate, which is featured on its main page now, suggesting gifts from small museum shops. That's a nice thought, but it would have been even nicer if the story had not misspelled Georgia O'Keeffe three times: twice as "Georgia O'Keefe" & once as "George O'Keefe." But never "Georgia O'Keeffe."

Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi leaving the White House Wednesday, Dec. 12, after making mincemeat of Donald Trump.Everybody Loved Nancy's Coat! It's turns out it's from a 2013 Max Mara collection. According to Ana Colón of Glamour, "the Italian fashion house sent out a press release that not only confirmed the origins of Pelosi's coat but also announced that Max Mara would be reinstating the Glamis into its outerwear collection in 2019. 'In a variety of colorways,' no less! A spokesperson for the brand confirmed to Glamour that the decision to bring it back was inspired by Pelosi."

Isabel Wilkerson reports, in the New York Times, on Michelle Obama's book Becoming. It's quite a compelling read.

Reality Chex Bargain. Someone will pay $1 million or more for a letter written by Albert Einstein. You can read it for free. ...

... New York Times: The "God Letter," "written [in German] in 1954 by Albert Einstein ... is being auctioned this week.... He sent the handwritten letter to Eric Gutkind, a German philosopher who had written a book called 'Choose Life: The biblical Call to Revolt' that, apparently, Einstein did not much like.... Einstein wrote dozens of letters in which he mentioned God or Judaism. 'Nobody should read one Einstein letter and think that solves what he thinks about God,' Walter Isaacson, the author of the 2007 biography 'Einstein,' said in an interview.... The letter surfaced in 2008. Until then, it had apparently been in the hands of Gutkind’s heirs (he died in 1965). And it rocketed into the universe of big-money auctions, selling for $404,000 in London.... It will go on the block at Christie’s on Tuesday. Christie’s set a presale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million."

Here's New York magazine's take on A Very Melanie Christmas:

... AND Rhonda Garelick of New York has some thoughts on why Melanie's Red Forest is so empty of holiday cheer.

Chris Hayes reviews this year's White House holiday decor:

So if you'd like to read all about Mika Brzezinski's wedding to Joe Scarborough, Emily Fox of Vanity Fair obliges. It sounds as if it was a very nice ceremony. Except, you know, Mika & Joe.

Kwitcherbitchin. Think things are bad now? They were way worse in 536 C.E. A report in Science explains.

Click on picture to see larger image.

... New York Times: "A celebrated and enigmatic painting of two men and a turquoise pool by David Hockney sold at Christie’s on Thursday night for $90.3 million with fees, shattering the auction record for a living artist and cementing a major broadening of tastes at the turbocharged top end of the market. The price for the 1972 painting, 'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures),' easily surpassed the previous high of $58.4 million, held by Jeff Koons for one of his 'Balloon Dog' sculptures."

Jennifer Szalai of the New York Times reviews Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming.


The Commentariat -- November 13, 2017

Afternoon Update:

Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times: "Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said Monday that Roy S. Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, 'should step aside' and that he believes the women who have accused Mr. Moore of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers. 'I believe the women, yes,' Mr. McConnell said at a news conference in Louisville. Mr. McConnell also said that encouraging a write-in candidate to run in the Dec. 12 special election is 'an option we're looking at.' Mr. Moore, a judge who was twice removed from the state's high court, first for refusing to remove the Ten Commandments from the Supreme Court grounds, then for refusing to accept gay marriage, responded defiantly. He showed no sign of leaving the race ahead of Alabama's Dec. 12 special election date.... At 2:30 p.m. Monday, New York lawyer Gloria Allred, who has made her name by championing victims of sexual harassment, will publicly introduce a new woman accusing Mr. Moore of sexual impropriety."

Jessica Contrera of the Washington Post: "The photos of teenage girls began appearing on Twitter Thursday night. First, a smiling, ponytailed 14-year-old looking into the camera. Then, another 14-year-old, this one posing for a school-style photo. Soon, there were photos from Katie Couric, Alyssa Milano and Sarah Silverman -- all showing what they looked like when they were 14. 'Can't consent at 14. Not in Alabama. Not anywhere,' wrote attorney Catherine Lawson, the first woman to tweet a photo of her 14-year-old self with the hashtag #MeAt14. Lawson and the others on Twitter were responding to allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, first reported in The Washington Post." See the pix & commentary at #Me@14."

Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "... Donald Trump on Monday challenged congressional Republicans to use tax reform to repeal Obamacare's individual mandate and slash the top tax rate for the wealthiest Americans to 35 percent, potentially throwing up new hurdles for legislation moving in Congress. Neither the House bill nor the Senate version under consideration repeals the individual mandate or proposes a top rate that is as low as Trump suggested on Monday." ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: "For months, the White House has pledged that its tax plan will not benefit the rich -- or, at least, that it won't do so intentionally. Then, the House and Senate unveiled tax bills that deliver the lion's share of their benefits to the idle superrich, while raising taxes on a broad swath of middle-class households. The bills would also eliminate deductions that benefit veterans, indebted students, and people who suffer from rare diseases -- while preserving loopholes that enrich hedge-fund managers and owners of golf courses.... So: The populist president looked at legislation that increases the tax burden of half of all families with children -- even as it allows the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates to avoid paying all capital gains taxes on their inherited assets -- and concluded: This bill really needs to do more to increase the post-tax income of millionaires, and reduce the number of Americans with health insurance.... Here he is, bucking the congressional leadership ... by calling for an even more regressive tax-cut plan." Emphasis added.

Eileen Sullivan & Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Trump nominated a pharmaceutical executive to be the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. The nominee, Alex M. Azar II, served as a deputy at the department under former President George W. Bush. Until January, he was the head of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly's United States division. Mr. Trump made his announcement in a Twitter post while traveling in Asia. Mr. Trump said Mr. Azar would be 'a star and lower drug prices!'" Mrs. McC: Because there's nothing a drug company exec wants to do more than lower drug prices. Donald Trump thinks you're stupider than he is.


Click on photo for larger view.... David Nakamura of the Washington Post calls the photo the revenge of NYT photographer Doug Mills. "On Friday, Mills was part of the small group of traveling 'press pool' members shadowing Trump in Danang, Vietnam, when he tweeted a 'photo' of a black box to protest the White House's decision to shut out the pool from any coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings." ...

     ... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: No way to know for sure why Trump is grimacing, but I would guess is that the crossed-arm handshake is painful, either because he never exercises the muscles the gesture requires or his arthritis is acting up. Or maybe it was something he ate. Notice, BTW, that Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev isn't playing along. Sure looks like the Russians were the "real winners" in the Asia confabs. It sure as hell wasn't Trump, who embarrassed & diminished his country in multiple ways. ...

... Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Trump said on Monday that he had a 'great relationship' with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, making little mention of human rights at his first face-to-face meeting with an authoritarian leader accused of carrying out a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his nation's war on drugs.... 'Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs,' said Sarah Huckabee Sanders.... But Mr. Duterte's spokesman denied that the subject of rights was ever broached, even as the Philippine president spoke about the 'drug menace' in his country." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Let's see, whom to believe? Sarah Sanders or a spokesman for a mass killer? It's a toss-up, at best. But wait, wait, it gets worse: "Among those at the private session was Jose E. B. Antonio, a developer who is Mr. Trump's partner on a $150-million, 57-story luxury tower in Manila's financial district and also serves as Mr. Duterte's trade envoy to the United States." So of course Trump is promoting his "great relationship with Duterte. ...

     ... AND This: "The two presidents declined to answer questions during brief remarks to reporters at the start of the meeting. As journalists shouted questions about whether Mr. Trump would press Mr. Duterte on human rights, the Philippine president quickly silenced them. 'Whoa, whoa -- this is not the press statement,' Mr. Duterte said.... 'You are the spies,' he told the reporters, as Philippine security personnel jostled some of them roughly. The remarks elicited a hearty laugh from Mr. Trump before the journalists were led out of the room." Because roughing up the press is hilarious.

     ... It might be worth noting that Trump has much more incentive to be nice to dictators than to democratically-elected world leaders. The dictators are likely the ones who decide whether or not a Trump-branded real-estate development can go up in their country, whereas in democracies, lower-level bureaucrats and/or local politicians usually make those decisions. In addition, voters don't keep their leaders around forever, whereas dictators, in general, have a longer shelf-life. And, as we know, this whole presidency gig is all about Trump & nothing at all about the welfare of oppressed peoples.

Olivier Laughland of the Guardian: "Two former US intelligence chiefs [Former director of national intelligence James Clapper and former CIA director John Brennan] have said Donald Trump poses 'a peril' to the US because he is vulnerable to being 'played' by Russia, after the president said on Saturday he believed Vladimir Putin's denials of Russian interference in the 2016 election.... Speaking to reporters in Vietnam on Sunday, the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, attempted to downplay the president's online outbursts by claiming he did not read Trump's tweets. 'They are what they are,' Kelly said.... Brennan said the remarks were 'reprehensible' but added: 'Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honour.'" --safari ...

... Troll-in-Chief. Judd Legum of ThinkProgress: "A common strategy for dealing with trolls on Twitter, since they can't be reasoned with, is to simply ignore them. It's the same strategy White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has taken with the President of the United States. Speaking to reporters on Sunday in Vietnam, Kelly said he doesn't pay attention to what Trump is tweeting. 'Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets,' Kelly said. Kelly also said that he prohibits his staff from reacting to Trump's tweets and does not take them into account when developing policy." --safari: A new first: the Chief-of-Staff admits to completely ignoring our president*'s deepest thoughts, because he's a fucking moron.

E.J. Dionne: "The focus on President Trump's political strength among white working-class voters distracts from a truth that may be more important: His rise depended on support from rich conservatives, and his program serves the interests of those who have accumulated enormous wealth. This explains why so few congressional Republicans denounce him, no matter how close he edges toward autocracy, how much bigotry he spreads -- or how often he panders to Vladimir Putin and denounces our own intelligence officials, as he did again this weekend.... To borrow from the president, he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and still not lose House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) as long as they have a reactionary tax bill to push into law."

Deb Riechmann of TPM: "Two former CIA employees are accusing the Trump administration's choice for CIA chief watchdog [Christopher Sharpley] of being less than candid when he told Congress he didn't know about any active whistleblower complaints against him.... Sens. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Ron Wyden say they find it hard to believe Sharpley didn't know about the complaints when he testified. They said one of the open cases is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security's internal watchdog. They say that inspector general's office, which is looking into the CIA matter to avoid a conflict of interest, asked Sharpley in January for documents. The office asked to interview Sharpley on Oct. 12. Sharpley's office said he wouldn't be available until after Oct. 17 -- the day he testified to senators." --safari

Scott Shane, et al., of the New York Times: The National Security Agency, "America's largest and most secretive intelligence agency, [has] been deeply infiltrated.... The agency regarded as the world's leader in breaking into adversaries' computer networks failed to protect its own.... Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency's counterintelligence arm ... and the F.B.I., officials still do not know whether the N.S.A. is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider's leak, or both.... A mysterious group [calling itself the Shadow Brokers] ... [has] somehow obtained many of the hacking tools the United States used to spy on other countries.... There is broad agreement that the damage from the Shadow Brokers already far exceeds the harm to American intelligence done by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor...." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: You can bet Trump is sure Putin had nothing to do with it.

** Adios Puerto Rico! Adrienne Masha Varkiani of ThinkProgress: "It's been nearly two months since Hurricane Maria first hit Puerto Rico, creating a humanitarian emergency. Today, only 44.5 percent of the population has electricity, and nearly 13 percent of the island still doesn't have access to clean drinking water.... Despite these ongoing challenges, emergency management director Abner Gomez resigned on Friday, and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who leads the military relief effort, will also be reassigned outside the island next week.../ Gov. Ricardo Rossello did not give a reason for Gomez's resignation. Last month, El Nuevo Dia newspaper reported that Gomez went on a two-week vacation less than one month after the hurricane first hit.... On Wednesday, Puerto Rican officials said 472 more people died this September compared to the same time last year. But last month, BuzzFeed reported that the Puerto Rican goverment is allowing funeral homes and crematorium homes to burn the bodies of those who were killed by the hurricane without including them in the official death toll." --safari ...

... Frances Robles of the New York Times: "The small energy outfit from Montana that won a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico's tattered power grid had few employees of its own, so it did what the Puerto Rican authorities could have done: It turned to Florida for workers.... The six electrical workers from Kissimmee are earning $42 an hour, plus overtime. The senior power linemen from Lakeland are earning $63 an hour working in Puerto Rico, the Florida utility said. Their 40 co-workers from Jacksonville, also linemen, are making up to $100 earning double time, public records show. But the Montana company that hired the workers, Whitefish Energy Holdings, had a contract that allowed it to bill the Puerto Rican public power company, known as Prepa, $319 an hour for linemen, a rate that industry experts said was far above the norm even for emergency work -- and almost 17 times the average salary of their counterparts in Puerto Rico.... Questions are already being raised about a second contract that Prepa signed, this one with an Oklahoma company, Cobra, which was the highest bidder, required a $15 million down payment and -- like the doomed Whitefish agreement -- included a clause that said the deal could not be audited."

Benjamin Hart of New York: "If you strike Obamacare down, it will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. That, so far, is the lesson for the Trump administration, which has done just about everything in its power to weaken, undermine, and subvert the Affordable Care Act -- and now must contend with the reality that Americans are not only voting to expand the law, but are racing to sign up for it in record numbers. A government report from last week showed that 601,462 people had enrolled in the Affordable Care Act's individual marketplaces during the first four days of open enrollment, up 79 percent from the same period a year ago. 23 percent of those customers are new to the marketplace.... The numbers are remarkable considering the lengths to which the Trump administration has gone to try to dissuade Americans from President Obama's signature law." --safari

Chris Mooney of the Washington Post: "Global carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise again in 2017, climate scientists reported Monday, a troubling development for the environment and a major disappointment for those who had hoped emissions of the climate change-causing gas had at last peaked. The emissions from fossil fuel burning and industrial uses are projected to rise by up to 2 percent in 2017, as well as to rise again in 2018, the scientists told a group of international officials gathered for a United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany. Despite global economic growth, total emissions held level from 2014 to 2016 at about 36 billion tons per year, stoking hope among many climate change advocates that emissions had reached an all-time high point and would subsequently begin to decline." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: I'm sure this is of great concern to the three stooges who are running U.S. energy policy: Trump, Perry & Pruitt.

Rays of Sunshine? Jen Kirby of Vox: "Election Day 2017 was a women's march through the voting booths.... The 2017 elections are widely seen as a bellwether for the 2018 midterms, and the gains among women make next year's election even more intriguing. So could 2018 be another 'Year of the Woman' -- a term that arose in 1992.... Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, says it's too early to tell. What is obvious, she says, is the wave of interest among women, especially Democratic women, in running for office." Includes interview with Debbie Walsh. --safari...

... Ezra Klein: "The political press -- myself included -- underestimated both the depth and the durability of [Trump's] support, and has been trying to atone for that mistake, and ensure it's not made again, ever since. But in trying to take Trump's staunchest supporters seriously, we need to make sure we don't lose sight of his weaker supporters -- and his numerous opponents. They're the ones who decided the 2016 election and will decide the 2018 and 2020 elections.... Here's the thing: No one will win in 2018 or 2020 by trying to convert the most hardcore of Trump supporters.... A 4 percentage point swing toward the Democratic candidate in 2020 wouldn't require converting any hardcore Trump enthusiasts, but it would bury his reelection campaign." --safari

Senate Race

Lisa Mascaro of the Los Angeles Times: "Many politicians might seize on allegations that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued sexual relations with teenage girls. But Democrat Doug Jones isn't going there. The former prosecutor, who won convictions against Ku Klux Klan members for killing four young girls in the infamous 1963 Birmingham church bombing, has his own story to tell as his unlikely campaign gains sudden momentum. At a Friday night fish fry in this modest, working-class neighborhood outside Mobile, Jones spent more time talking about his own record and what he would do in Washington than about the scandal engulfing Moore.... 'Our message is the same.... Kitchen-table issues -- jobs, the economy,' he continued. 'Healthcare is such an important issue for the state...." ...

... Daniel Politi of Slate: "... after the explosive allegations that [Republican nominee Roy Moore] had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl decades ago, Democratic contender Doug Jones is rising in the polls. A poll by JMC Analytics and Polling published on Sunday shows Jones with 46 percent to Moore's 42 percent. The results are within the poll's margin of error of 4.1 percentage points -- and nine percent remain undecided -- but it still demonstrates just how much the Senate race in Alabama has changed since the Washington Post's story last week." ...

... Nicholas Fandos of the New York Times: "Top Trump administration officials cautioned Sunday that Roy S. Moore ... should be allowed to defend himself against allegations that he pursued sexual and romantic relationships with teenage girls, even as Senate Republicans appeared to have largely abandoned his candidacy." ... Mrs. McC: Moore has already "defended himself" in a bizarre interview with supporter Sean Hannity in which he admitted to dating underaged girls, said he never plied one of the girls with wine because the county was dry (it wasn't), denied foreplay with a 14-year-old girl, was hesitant & conveniently couldn't remember much. Here's a true thing: it's much easier for a rapist to forget statutory rape than for his victim. ...

... Margaret Hartmann: "At a Christian Citizen Task Force forum in Huntsville, Alabama, on Sunday night, Moore said the Post had impugned his character and reputation because 'they are desperate to stop my political campaign,' adding, 'these attacks said I was with a minor child and are false and untrue -- and for which they will be sued.'... Moore offered no details about what kind of suit he planned to file, or when he planned to file it.... Moore also said he planned to reveal more information about the background of his accusers. 'We've still got investigations going on,' Moore said. 'We're still finding out a lot we didn't know.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: As I suggested earlier in response to Jonathan Swan's post about Breitbart "journalists," linked below, the response to the allegations against Moore will be to smear the women who spoke to the Post. This is a well-worn pattern: sexually assault a women, and if she complains, attack her character. ...

... Conjob. Alan Pyke of ThinkProgress: "White House adviser Kellyanne Conway refused repeatedly to say whether Alabama Republican Roy Moore should step aside in his Senate race over allegations he is a serial child molester.... In the process of demurring on Moore's guilt or innocence, Conway said elected officials who are guilty of sexual assault or harassment should resign -- a call to action that would seem to implicate Conway's boss.... 'And if the allegations are true about a lot of people, they oughta step aside,' Conway continued. 'And some of them are probably holding office right now.'" --safari ...

... Judd Legum: "Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) appeared on Meet The Press and became the latest Republican Senator to withdraw support from Roy Moore.... Toomey said 'the accusations are more reliable than the denial.' The other Republican Senators who have withdrawn their support from Moore since his appearance on Hannity are Mike Lee (R-UT), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).... Marc Short, Trump's Director of Legislative Affairs, tried to create some distance between Moore and the White House on Sunday morning. 'There's no Senate seat more important than the issue of child pedophilia,' Short said." ...

... ** David Atkins in the Washington Monthly: "Moore's politics and his personal life are not separate, but rather deeply interconnected. Both are rooted in defense of a specific subculture of evangelical conservatism that privileges an extreme form of patriarchy, gerontocracy and arranged child marriage.... It is disturbingly commonplace in this culture to see 'understandings' in which older men from their late twenties on well into middle age are 'given permission' to date much younger women and girls.... It is no surprise that some of Moore's defenders have taken to using Biblical precedent to defend it.... When Roy Moore rails against the government and demands that the Bible be the basis for all law and culture, this is the culture he is defending.... Moore isn't a troubled abuser who has besmirched his political agenda. His political creed and his personal affronts are one and the same." ...

     ... David Atkins, in a follow-up: "... [Sunday's] polling shows that 37% of Alabama evangelicals are actually more likely to vote for Roy Moore after hearing the allegations against him, and 34 percent said it would make no difference.... These numbers cannot be attributed to pure political tribalism. It is ... a culture of explicitly sanctioned sexual abuse." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: Kinda makes you see Republican "traditional family values" in a whole new light, doesn't it?

... Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha. Jonathan Swan of Axios: "Steve Bannon has sent two of Breitbart News' top reporters ... to Alabama. Their mission: to discredit the Washington Post's reporting on Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct with teenagers." ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: My guess is that the way these two fine "journalists" intend to "discredit" the WashPo story is to dig up dirt on the women & needlessly embarrass them.

Scott Shane
: "For eight years, the jihadist propaganda of Anwar al-Awlaki has helped shape a generation of American terrorists, including the Fort Hood gunman, the Boston Marathon bombers and the perpetrators of massacres in San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla. And YouTube, the world's most popular video site, has allowed hundreds of hours of Mr. Awlaki's talks to be within easy reach of anyone with a phone or computer. Now, under growing pressure from governments and counterterrorism advocates, YouTube has drastically reduced its video archive of Mr. Awlaki, an American cleric who remains the leading English-language jihadist recruiter on the internet six years after he was killed by a United States drone strike. Using video fingerprinting technology, YouTube now flags his videos automatically and human reviewers block most of them before anyone sees them, company officials say."

Brett Samuels of The Hill: "No NFL players protested during the national anthem during Sunday's early games, according to multiple reports. The NFL Players Association unanimously passed a resolution earlier in the week calling for a moment of silence during Sunday's games in honor of Veterans Day. Players who previously knelt or raised their fists during the anthem stood this week.... Players had been spotted protesting each week since Trump's remarks, until Sunday." --safari ...

... AP Update: "Three players took a knee during the national anthem before the New York Giants game at the San Francisco 49ers, as the rest of the league stood during Veterans Day weekend. 49ers Eric Reid and Marquise Goodwin, both of whom have been protesting for most of the season, knelt, as did Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon, who was just activated. Vernon had been protesting while he was injured. Goodwin and his wife had lost their baby son earlier on Sunday due to complications during pregnancy. David Lombardi of The Athletic later tweeted a photo of Reid embracing an Air Force member. Reid has said his protest is not against the military." ...

... GQ has named Colin Kaepernick it's "Citizen of the Year" & put him on its cover. The story is here. Mrs. McC: And a big GQ-FU to non-citizen of the year Donald Trump.

Way Beyond

Build that Wall ... Sky-High? Jeremy Kryt of The Daily Beast: "The 3DR Solo Quadcopter carried a shrapnel-filled IED that was in turn rigged to detonate by remote control. It was the first time a weaponized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) had been found in the hands of an organized crime group in Mexico. While contraband-laden drones operated by Mexican cartels have frequently penetrated U.S. airspace, none of them have been armed -- yet. But the drone's discovery comes at a time of widespread escalation o crime-related violence in Mexico, and could be a sign of things to come." --safari

Hamdi Alkshali & Ralph Ellis of CNN: "Mass graves containing the remains of civilians executed by ISIS have been found in the disputed Iraqi province of Kirkuk, Iraqi authorities told reporters on Saturday.... That area was an American base prior to 2011, Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saeed said. 'We are standing here, where ... at least 400 civilians were dragged, some in their red jumpsuits, and brutally executed by ISIS,' he said." --safari

Iona Craig of the Guardian: "Seven million people are on on the brink of famine in war-torn Yemen, which was already in the grip of the world's worst cholera outbreak when coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia tightened its blockade on the country last week, stemming vital aid flows." --safari

Alan Pyke of ThinkProgress: "Right-wing racists flew in from Slovakia, Hungary, and Spain to join tens of thousands of Poles at a white supremacist rally in Warsaw on Saturday where marchers bore signs with messages like 'Europe Will Be White' and 'Clean Blood.' Reporters on hand said the crowd numbered roughly 60,000, citing police estimates. A polish neo-nazi group called The Radical Camp, borrowing its name from a 1930s fascist movement in the country, organized the march.... Counterprotesters also showed up in far smaller numbers. One small group in the square held a sign reading 'We are Polish Jews' and stood encircled by police. Nearby, a group of 2,000 anti-fascists rallied in opposition to the massive hate march. Poland's resurgent fascist youth movement has embraced ... Donald Trump, whose campaign manager Steve Bannon worked for years to exploit white ethno-nationalist political energy in western Europe as well as the United States from his position leading"

Jon Henley & Rajeev Syal of the Guardian: "The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said the bloc is drawing up contingency plans for the possible collapse of Britain's departure talks.... The remarks came as Theresa May faces increasing pressure at home, with Tory and Labour MPs warning she risks a Commons defeat over Brexit within weeks if she continues to deny parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal with the EU." --safari

Barbie Latza Nadeau of The Daily Beast: "Americans may have a lot to learn from the fact that Italians have just welcomed Silvio Berlusconi, an 81-year-old cad tried for sex crimes and convicted of tax crimes, back to mainstream politics. Berlusconi, Italy's thrice-elected prime minister, known as the grand master of 'bunga bunga' sex parties and leering licentiousness, arrived at his political homecoming party on the posh island of Ischia last month aboard a fancy yacht alongside his 30-year-old live-in girlfriend ... and his closest advisors.... Berlusconi's comeback might also serve as a warning to those Americans who find it hard to swallow the notion that vile behavior, even on such a grand scale as Berlusconi's, can be forgiven in pursuit of agendas like tax breaks." --safari

News Lede

Washington Post: "More than 300 people have been killed and nearly 6,000 wounded in a powerful earthquake that jolted the Iran-Iraq border late Sunday, Iranian state media reported. The death toll was expected to rise even further, officials said. The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said Monday that 341 people had been killed and 5,953 injured mainly in Iran's western provinces after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iraqi side of the border, sending seismic shock waves as far as Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey. Seven people were killed in Iraq...."

Reader Comments (13)

The little king’s Asia jaunt has been largely a bust for the US. Conflicting messages and anti-American outbursts in addition to weak-kneed obsequious kowtowing have reduced what he no doubt sees as an unbelievably successful ( best ever! ) expression of his “muscular” foreign policy into the usual sad Trump(et) clown show.

But never fear, Trumpies, the Glorious Leader has been very effective in exporting one his foremost qualities to groups in Europe: Nazi-styled bigotry. Neo-Nazis at a hate rally in Poland (see link, above), love them their white hooded Donaldo.

Good going Donnie. At least there’s something in your foreign policy portfolio you won’t walk back.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Cuts away! Hope Congress listens.

More than 400 millionaires tell Congress: Don’t cut our taxes, Heather Long, in the Washington Post writes that "...we want more taxes, pleeze"

"...The wealthy Americans — including doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and chief executives — say the GOP is making a mistake by reducing taxes on the richest families at a time when the nation's debt is high and inequality is back at the worst level since the 1920s..”

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG


These families and their lawyers are deploying a novel strategy that could "pierce the sweeping shield created by Federal law that protects gun companies from litigation. " If this does not work we need to change the law and why this hasn't happened before and especially after all the shootings in this country is beyond my comprehension––oh, wait, I take that back––I do comprehend ––it's money grubbing evil and it's face is bloody and ugly.

The above story about Berlusconi (who has been compared to Trump by some who lived under Silvio's leadership and warned us early on what would happen if Trump got elected) having some kind of homecoming on the island of Ischia is laughable. Generations of my husband's family come from Ischia that was once a poor, sad little place but somehow it has become a "posh" playground that the rich and famous frequent. Our whole family had planned to take a trip there some summers ago but the logistics got too complicated. Imagine our surprise to discover instead of rocky terrain and lots of sheep we would find tony hotels and Berlusconi sunning in the nude.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@MAG: Thanks so much for this story–-it's a perk in the day of dour news, honoring our veterans and cleaning out your gutters. Signers of the Responsible Wealth letter are arguing that corporations are already at record profit levels and wealthy people don't need more money. They would rather see the government use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone and to ensure safety net programs like Medicaid aren't cut. Of course this is a liberal group but hey––isn't this great? Will it make a dent?

P.S. Eat a lot of Ben and Jerry's––their signature is on the letter. Yum!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

PD and MAG,

Sorry kids, but millionaires aren't on congressional speed dials. Billionaires are. So what if a thousand cheesy millionaires want to stave off increases in debt and income disparity? The only ones who count (as Trump is fond of saying) are the Kochs, the Mercers, and their select group of new gilded age robber barons.

I doubt a single Confederate ass-kisser will read that letter. Education? Betsy has that covered. It's pay to play. Devos and her corporate pals don't give a rat's ass if Johnny can't read or Mary can't add. As long their accountants can add, a few mill a month to the bottom line, that is, that's education enough. Go way, kids, ya bother me.

Roads? Not sexy. Besides infrastructure spending means money for cities and cities means blahs. Take a hike.

Research? You mean, like, science? HA! Fake news. Scientists are mostly liberal. No soup for them.

But billionaires who want the yuuuuuuge tax breaks Confederates have been promising since long before Trump was just a cheap carny barker on TV helping NBC to sell a few more spots for hemorrhoid cream? That they'll do.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Speaking of hemorrhoid cream, sure looks like the little king could use some in that picture. He's really working hard to get those flabby arms around that bulk, and how tough must it be to hold on with such little hands.

The poor man. Maybe a jalapeno suppository would help...

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@Akhilleus: Exactly. Any millionaires (or billionaires) who oppose tax breaks for the rich are not going to be on GOP donor lists. It's as simple as that. Money talks, but it's heard only if it's transactional.

November 13, 2017 | Registered CommenterMrs. Bea McCrabbie

@Ak & Bea: Looked at in a glass half full way, between a millionaire and a billionaire are those with a net worth ranging between a low, just crossed-the-line qualifying at $1,000,000.00 and $999,999,999.99* just below billionaire status. Either way, not chopped liver in my book! There are many not quite billionaires on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people, and they look to be potentially significant donors!

Also according to recent reports it's tougher to maintain that 'b' status...Wilbur Ross is merely a millionaire, not a billionaire as alleged, darn! ...and somewhere I read that it appears even Robert Mercer has fallen from the billionaire stratosphere!

*Geez, I hope my math is right!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

"Sorry kids, but millionaires aren't on congressional speed dials."

Really? Ya wanna bet? My own congressman, Chris Murphy says there are plenty on his. Most don't bother with people like me who give $100 and think that's a lot, but millionaires get call backs. George Soros and Steven Rockefeller are on the list–-both billionaires and yes, this may not budge a bit in the way of sanity, but, jeesus! it's something!

Rocky road all the way!!!!!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

P.S. Yeah, I get that these people are not on the GOP donor list for $$$, but it does send a message. "Shame" might be one––but again––you, Marie and Akhilleus, might be right and how sad is that?

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe


I didn’t say Confederates don’t have the numbers of millionaires, just not on speed dial. They’ll take money from anyone. They all want it. That’s why they call it money. But if Mary Millionaire is on line three and Bozo Billionaire on line one, there’s no doubt which call is picked up and which placed on hold so the happy supplicant can listen to recorded messages of the congress moocher expressing his or her hopes that for the right price, Jesus will answer all their prayers, praise the lord.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

One thing to remember (or ponder, as one of the oddities of the Universe) while considering whether rock solid proof of child molestation by Roy (Touch me there, little girl) Moore will affect his chances of keeping the support of evangelicals in Alabama, former hypocritical asshole governor, Robert Bentley, who was forced to resign after a scandal involving an affair with a woman, not his wife, is that Bentley took the oath of office standing in the pulpit of a Baptist Church and declared that if any resident of that state had not accepted the lord Jesus as their personal savior, he wasn’t their governor. A year or so later he was gone. So Alabama voters are well acquainted with cheap, lecherous liars like Bentley and Moore, despite all their Bible banging. And plenty have announced that even if it’s all true, they’ll still vote for him.

Can they secede soon, please?

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Those ACA enrollment numbers (hope ACA shouts Obamacare in his small brain, every time any thought of health insurance crosses his mind) must be driving the Pretender nuts. Hence his politically counterproductive directive to repeal the individual mandate?

But the Repugnant Congressscritters can read those enrollment numbers, too, and few are as dumb as he.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes
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