The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

Reuters: "The ringleader of a beating ritual that led to the death of a Florida college marching band member was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing, the first case to go to trial in an incident that drew national attention to hazing abuses. A jury convicted percussionist Dante Martin, 27, for his role in a November 2011 ritual involving the Florida A&M University's celebrated 'Marching 100' band that led to the death of Robert Champion, a 26-year-old drum major." ...

... CW: Why are these college students so old?

Los Angeles Times: "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson and the FAA. At least one person was killed." MSNBC is saying two were injured as well.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

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
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

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

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

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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Monday
Oct012012

The Commentariat -- October 2, 2012

Michael Luo & Mike McIntire of the New York Times: "Buried deep in the tax returns released by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are references to dozens of offshore holdings.... Mr. Romney ... has offered a narrow defense, saying only that the investments, many made through the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, have yielded him 'not one dollar of reduction in taxes.' ... [But] in some cases, the offshore arrangements enabled his individual retirement account to avoid taxes on its investments and may well have reduced Mr. Romney's personal income tax bills."

** Mitt's Moochers. Frank Bass of Bloomberg News: "Almost 2,400 people who received unemployment insurance in 2009 lived in households with annual incomes of $1 million or more, according to the Congressional Research Service."

Maybe This is Mitt's Secret Jobs Plan:

     ... This Wikipedia entry has more on Unicor, which has been around since 1934.

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times: "Senate leaders are closing in on a path for dealing with the 'fiscal cliff' facing the country in January, opting to try to use a postelection session of Congress to reach agreement on a comprehensive deficit reduction deal rather than a short-term solution.... House Republicans continue to resist any discussion of tax increases. But lawmakers and aides say that a bipartisan group of senators is coalescing around an ambitious three-step process to avert a series of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts." CW: read what Paul Krugman thinks about such a plan (linked in yesterday's Commentariat.)

Adam Nagourney of the New York Times: in California, "wealthy conservatives are championing a ballot measure that would bar unions from donating to candidates. Labor leaders describe it as the starkest threat they have faced in a year of nationwide challenges to diminish their once-formidable power. The measure, Proposition 32..., would prohibit both unions and corporations from making contributions, but the corporate provision is far less stringent than the one aimed at unions.... If passed, it would also bar unions from using automatic payroll deductions to raise money for political campaigns, a major source of labor's political funding."

Jonathan Chait liked David Leonhardt's essay in the New York Times (linked in Sunday's Commentariat, & I'm still recommending it if you missed it) on what President Obama could have done better. But, Chait notes, "Leonhardt is implicitly measuring Obama against a very tough baseline. He asks is there anything more Obama could have done, and the answer is yes. But that is true of almost any leader in history.... On the whole, Obama's response was quite good. But if Obama is going to say he did everything in his power to alleviate the crisis, then people like Leonhardt should point out that he didn't."

We Learn that ObamaCare Is Racist. They’re going to tax tanning booths. Do black people tan? -- Romney Volunteer from Massachusetts

Eric Lipton of the New York Times: "As the Obama administration has cracked down on corporate fraud, lawyers representing whistle-blowers have reaped multimillion-dollar rewards. Now, as they seek to sustain these historic payouts, they are donating generously to the president's re-election campaign." Along with the political implications & intrigue, which are fascinating enough, Lipton gives some interesting stats: "Since January 2009, $13.2 billion has been collected by the federal government from companies through the False Claims Act, the primary whistle-blower tool, with about $9.4 billion of that involving alleged health care fraud. The federal government has recovered more in financial penalties against drugmakers since 2009 than in the previous 18 years combined, with whistle-blowers credited for helping initiate about three quarters of the cases...."

Presidential Race

Michael Shear & Ashley Parker of the New York Times: yo, Romney has another new campaign theme: "something, something, I'm not Obama." The old campaign theme, "I'm not Obama," has not worked out.

Gene Robinson: "Wednesday’s presidential debate promises sharp contrasts. One candidate wants to repeal Obamacare, one candidate invented it. One opposed the auto industry bailout, one takes credit for it. One doubts the scientific consensus about climate change, one believes in it. One wants to 'voucherize' Medicare, one wants to save it. One dismisses nearly half of Americans as a bunch of moochers, and one claims to champion the struggling middle class. It promises to be an epic clash: Mitt Romney vs. Mitt Romney. Oh, and President Obama will be there, too."

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones: "Romney's team has apparently been hard at work on the zinger front, and the New York Times reports that they've 'equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August.' Great. I don't doubt that Team Obama is doing the same, but the big difference here is that the Romney guys actually bragged about it. This is so mind-numbingly stupid that Romney probably ought to be tossed out of the race just for sheer campaign incompetence." ...

... Frank Bruni writes a fairly funny column on the Obama campaign's efforts to lower expectations for his performance at Wednesday's debate.

Craig Unger in Salon: "According to a highly reliable source..., top Republican operatives are primed to a new two-pronged offensive that will attack Obama as weak on national security, and will be based, in part, on new intelligence information regarding the attacks in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Sept. 11.... The source described the Republicans as chortling with glee that the Obama administration 'definitely had intel' about the attack before it happened." This is supposed to be Romney's "October Surprise." Boo! ...

... Roger Cohen in the New York Times: Obama has made foreign policy mistakes, but Romney sees the world as it was 30 years ago.

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: the "47 percent" remark is still hurting Romney, thanks in part to ads the Obama campaign is running in swing states.

Allison Sherry of the Denver Post: "Young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the United States under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama would not be deported under a Mitt Romney administration, the GOP presidential hopeful told The Denver Post Monday. 'The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased,' Romney said. 'Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed.'"

Jason Schwartz in Boston Magazine on why Romney is so unpopular in Massachusetts. Thanks to contributor MAG for the link. ...

... Molly Ball of The Atlantic on why Romney is so unpopular in Appalachia.

Steve Benen counts six incidents that Republicans or conservatives have identified as "Obama's Watergate," the latest of course being the Libyan attack.

CW: When even the Very Serious People on the Washington Post's editorial board accuse Paul Ryan of "budget flimflam," you know it wasn't just Romney who made a mistake in selecting Ryan as his running mate. Ryan made a mistake in accepting. When you get kicked up to VP nominee, even some VSPs will stop talking long enough to try to figure out what you're actually saying. Result: Ryan is no longer the VSP's darling boy.

Benjy Sarlin of TPM: "Haley Barbour's ... firm Resurgent Republic conducted focus groups of blue collar voters in Ohio and suburban women in Virginia who supported Obama in 2008 but are now undecided.... Their findings? Voters are a lot more willing to believe attacks based around Romney quotes than they are on Obama quotes. 'Whenever we showed direct quotes from President Obama..., voters consistently say that this is probably taken out of context and they don't seem to hold that same standard with Governor Romney,' pollster Linda DiVall ... said. CW: um, maybe that's because Romney does pull Obama quotes out of context. Apparently that trick works better when the quotes are, you know, believable.

CW: When Alex Pareene of Salon ran this picture of Romney in a post in which Pareene compared Romney to Dick Cheney (linked in yesterday's Commentariat), I thought maybe Pareene had altered the photo to make Romney look more like Cheney. But, no, I found U.S. News using the same photo, so it's the real deal. Romney is morphing into Cheney, villainous sneer & all.

Now it's time for our new show, "Two Hacks in an Office." At least Brooks says some of the right things about Willard:

     ... Via Driftglass: "What Mistah Kurtz fails to mention is that Mr. Brooks's 'longstanding conservative tradition' is a work of fiction, invented by Mr. Brooks almost entirely out of whole cloth in order to bury the deeply troubling, bigoted, anti-science, anti-reason, pro-global-conquest real conservatism to which Mr. Brooks owes his entire professional career and from which he now flees like a vampire trying to outrace the dawn."

First General Election Results Counted. Caitlin McDevitt of Politico: "Michelle Obama has won Family Circle's 2012 Presidential Cookie Bake-Off, the magazine reports in its November issue.... [Ann] Romney's M&M cookies got 48.5 percent of votes, while Obama's white and dark chocolate chip cookies won with 51.5 percent. Family Circle notes that the bake-off, which it's hosted since 1992, 'has been a bell-weather in four out of five elections.' The exception? Obama lost to Cindy McCain four years ago, despite complaints that the Arizona senator's wife had cheated."

Congressional Races

Martin Finucane of the Boston Globe: "Republican US Senator Scott Brown portrayed himself as an independent voter and thinker in Washington, while his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, charged that he had voted 'in lockstep' over and over with Republicans, as the two clashed in a debate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell tonight." Here's video of the full debate:

... Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post with six takeaways from the Warren-Brown debate. ...

... CW: Here's the best clip, IMHO, & may be the gaffe that costs Brown the election. You might want to watch twice: first to "See Scott Squirm," & second to watch Warren's delighted reaction to his choice:

... Steve Benen: "For much of the media, the key line in the debate was apparently Brown's pre-planned 'zinger' about not being a student in Warren's classroom. But theatrical soundbites notwithstanding, what voters actually learned last night is that Brown's centrist facade is thin and easily chipped away. Anyone who sees Antonin Scalia as a 'model Supreme Court justice' isn't a moderate." ...

... Eric Randall of Boston Magazine pans Warren-Brown moderator David Gregory & otherwise comments on the debates. Highlight clips included. ...

... ALSO, see the report in today's Comments by Julie in Massachusetts, who attended the debate.

Local News

How Low Will They Go? T. W. Farnam of the Washington Post: with Arkansas the only state in the South that still has a Democratic state legislature, the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity has its sights set on flipping a few seats to turn the statehouse Republican. ...

... Looks like the Koch Brothers Express has taken on more than one local route. Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald in a National Memo post: "The new stealth campaign against three Florida Supreme Court justices is being backed by those meddling right-wing billionaires from Wichita, Charles and David Koch. They couldn't care less about Florida, but they love to throw their money around."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Prosecutors in Lille have dropped a sexual assault investigation into Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, after a Belgian escort recanted her original account about a brutal encounter. But Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 63, still faces a criminal charge of participating in an organized prostitution ring, the result of sex parties that he attended in northern France and at a deluxe hotel in Washington."

AP: "A former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation. Mike McQueary's whistle-blower lawsuit claims his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment."

New York Times: "The American military's top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is preparing detailed information that could be used to kill or capture some of the militants suspected in the attack last month in Libya that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, senior military and counterterrorism officials said on Tuesday."

ABC News: "Pope Benedict's former butler took the stand at his own trial today to say that while he admits he took thousands of documents from the pope's private apartments and leaked them to the media, he is not guilty of theft because he was doing it for the good of the church, 'to bring the church back on the right track.' ... Intrigue, corruption and back-stabbing are clearly not new here at The Vatican, what is new is that Gabriele's indiscretions have opened the doors on Vatican dirty deeds in a way that has never happened before."

New York Times: "Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, plans to travel to Europe before the end of the year, among other things to press for a toughening of sanctions against Tehran, Israeli officials said Tuesday. The plans appeared to be another indication of a shifting Israeli emphasis, at least for now, toward efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program by means other than military action."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "A Commonwealth Court judge issued an injunction today blocking Pennsylvania's controversial new voter ID law from taking full effect before the presidential election, clearing the way for voters without government-issued identification to cast regular ballots on Nov. 6. Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. in essence ruled that the general election would be - like the primary - a soft rollout of the law. 'I reject the underlying assertion that the offending activity is the request to produce photo ID; instead, I conclude that the salient offending conduct is voter disenfranchisement,' he said." Here's a pdf of the opinion.

New York Times: "With the surge of American troops over and the Taliban still a potent threat, American generals and civilian officials acknowledge that they have all but written off what was once one of the cornerstones of their strategy to end the war here: battering the Taliban into a peace deal."

Washington Post: "The White House has held a series of secret meetings in recent months to examine the threat posed by al-Qaeda's franchise in North Africa and consider for the first time whether to prepare for unilateral strikes, U.S. officials said. The deliberations reflect concern that al-Qaeda's African affiliate has become more dangerous since gaining control of large pockets of territory in Mali and acquiring weapons from post-revolution Libya. The discussions predate the Sept. 11 attacks...."

New York Times: "Georgia's larger-than-life president, Mikheil Saakashvili, conceded defeat on Tuesday after early results in Georgia's hotly contested parliamentary race showed that a coalition backed by the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili had edged out his party...."

Reader Comments (8)

What an exciting evening! My husband and I attended the Elizabeth Warren/Scott Brown in Lowell, Ma this evening. Upon entrance to Tsongas Center both sides of road were flanked by Warren and Brown supporters holding signs; I guesstimate Warren supporters outnumbered Brown by 4 to 1.

We thought that Warren was strong during the first half of the one hour debate, but that Brown somewhat over powered her by his agressive (sometimes bullish) and long drawn out responses (thus leaving less time for Warren to speak) during the last half. I think she won on substance.

Although, David Gregory, the moderator had told the audience to remain quiet during the debate, all heck broke loose during the last half it. The audience became boisterous with applauding, booing, shouting and such so that it was impossible at times to hear what the candidates were saying.

The "let them die" crowd was in obvious attendance. When asked a question regarding the Dream Act Brown voiced his opposition to it, and his supporters were frenzied in their response. I was repulsed and saddened by the jeering crowd.

I think Warren is smart and compassionate. I do worry that her ideas and message may be drowned out by ignorant and agressive voices. But, there were moments during the debate when cheers of reason and fairness rang clear, and in this I heard hope.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie in Massachusetts

Apparently Michelle Obama is to attend a Mariners-Angels game at Safeco Field (Seattle) tonight. And neither Washington or California is a swing state. What a great First Lady! (And a beautiful ballpark).

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

The October issue of Boston magazine has a short feature by Jason Schwartz: "Kerry's Dilemma." Say Warren wins, Obama is re-elected and Kerry gets Sec. of State (his dream job), since Clinton will not continue another term THEN THIS MEANS that Massachusetts will need a new senator. List of possibilities for the position on the Democratic side is tight. Even if Gov. Patrick appoints an interim senator, a special election is required, and Brown likely will (still) be out there! See where this could lead?

Schwartz's main article is "Mass Revolt" explains why Romney's so unpopular in Massachusetts today." Can find this online (http://www.bostonmagazine.com/index.html )

@PDP from yesterday. Hmmm, the link works for me...but, just try Google "Janeane from Des Moines + NY Times."You should find the article, (which has a link to the movie site and the trailer); plus there are YouTube videos of "Janeane's" interaction with the various Republican candidates during the Iowa run.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Interesting about Unicor. My first job after college was with FPI as a catalog writer. It was during Eisenhower's prosperity, and I was lucky to get it. Paid a whole $4,000 a year... almost enough to live on.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Too good not to share! Unfortunately, don't know the source.

"Last week, Newsweek launched a Twitter hash tag, #MuslimRage, to spur chatter about its cover story. What followed may constitute the most inspiring revolt yet of new media against old. Scores of English-speaking Muslim Twitter users, offended by the magazine's cliched imagery, hijacked ("pun intended," one wrote) the online forum to post jokes about Muslim rage in the real world. One lamented a shortage of 'Sharia Garcia' ice cream. A woman in a head scarf wrote, 'I'm having such a good hair day. No one even knows.' Another, much re-tweeted entry read, 'Lost your kid Jihad at the airport. Can't yell for him.' We await an explication of the roots of Muslim irony."

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

A broken hip kept me from Realitychex for a few weeks. I'm glad to be back. Absentee voting started here in Georgia where it hasn't dawned on them that they lost the Civil War. I cast my ballot for the Prez where it will disappear into a sea of red. Oh well.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa

Re: "Citizens in waiting"; not much time now but; thinking about Marie's answer for what to call "illegals". I live in a town where even the Mexicans have Mexicans so I got an opinion based on experience. One thing I think we all need to remember is that there is no such thing as a stereotype. Sure, I'm Irish/English/German/woodshed mix; doesn't mean I am a drunken,prig,world conquering squirrel eater. So whenever we lump people into a group we are not doing justice to those outside the group with the same basic identity of the group. Now, sub-grouping is easy, the criminal "illegal" sub-group should not be confused with the hardworking "illegal" sub-group. What I have seen in forty years of working with "illegals" is a change in their background. A long time ago most every "illegal" I worked with had a rural upbringing. Came north to work the fields and found construction to be easier than picking grapes. Then, maybe fifteen, twenty years ago I ran across more and more city "illegals". Kids from the streets of the big cities, much more likely to scam the system or turn to crime to make a dime. Big difference.
So the hard working "illegal" is every bit as much of immigration as is the scam artist "illegal".
It is a fact that our generous system of aid is far better then where most of the "illegals" came from. Free health, free food, free education. We are indeed "La Tierra of Si Hay". Why do you think anyone would risk their lives getting here if it wasn't better than home? So of course they are going to tax the system.
"Illegals" are not dumb, those that want a better life know that as an "illegal" you are always suspect and you can lose everything in a heartbeat so most "illegals" that want to stay are law-abiding.
This country was build by immigrants so the "illegals" are just the latest to arrive to help build and shape US.
I wanted to write "illegals" as many times as I could because I believe that "illegals" stresses the reality more than "undocumented worker". You see, in my world if you are "undocumented" it just means you haven't gotten your papers from the guy down on the corner. You want people to stay home? International minimum wage, fair trade. Yea, like that's going to happen.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

I did the digging in order to see "Janeane in Des Moines". I'm afraid it was lost on me and, in fact, the clip of what looked like a breakdown when she corraled Romney was damned unpleasant.
But then I'm finding very little "pleasant" these days. I just spent an hour watching the Brown/Warren debate (painful) but the Muslim hashtags were great. Thanks, Kate. I promise I'll remember The Supremes.

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon
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