The Ledes

Thursday, July 24, 2014.

Bloomberg News: "Jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 284,000 in the week ended July 19, the fewest since February 2006 and lower than any economist surveyed by Bloomberg forecast...."

Guardian: "A flight operated by Air Algérie carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early on Thursday, the plane's owner said."

The Guardian is liveblogging developments in the Gaza crisis. More than 700 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, many of them children.

Reuters: "A powerful Ukrainian rebel leader has confirmed that pro-Russian separatists had an anti-aircraft missile of the type Washington says was used to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and it could have originated in Russia. In an interview with Reuters, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the Vostok Battalion, acknowledged for the first time since the airliner was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday that the rebels did possess the BUK missile system and said it could have been sent back subsequently to remove proof of its presence."

Los Angeles Times: "The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday night lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

New York Times: "The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish an inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories at a special session on Wednesday in which the top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Israel and Hamas had likely committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians." ...

... New York Times: "As the death toll mounts and passions spike, the Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned on Wednesday what it called 'deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists' who are reporting on the fighting in Gaza. That includes 'forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments,' the association said."

... New York Times: "Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Israel on Wednesday, as he pressed his effort to forge a cease-fire to bring a halt to the bitter fighting in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Kerry’s plane touched down at Ben-Gurion International Airport just a day after the United States Federal Aviation Administration suspended American civilian flights to Israel." ...

... Guardian: "International airlines halted flights to and from Israel indefinitely on Tuesday citing security concerns in an unexpected twist to the two-week-old conflict in Gaza." ...

     ... CW: Guess that puts something of a damper on the Summer Vacation Insurance Theory of War. ...

... Washington Post: "As Israel pummels Hamas’s infrastructure inside Gaza, it is also trying to prevent attacks originating from the West Bank and Israel — by obliterating the houses of the relatives of Palestinians who allegedly have harmed Israelis. In doing so, Israel’s military has returned to a controversial policy of punitive demolitions that has displaced thousands of Palestinians over the years."

Washington Post: "Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in the same vicinity as a Malaysian airliner that was downed last week, Ukrainian officials said." ...

... Time: "U.S. intelligence resources tracked the 'specific missile' that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a senior Administration official said Tuesday, saying intelligence adds up to a picture that 'implicates Russia' in helping to bring down the plane." ...

... Washington Post: "The Obama administration, detailing what it called evidence of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner, on Tuesday released satellite images and other sensitive intelligence that officials say show Moscow had trained and equipped rebels in Ukraine responsible for the attack."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, May 29:"The ongoing measles outbreak in the United States has reached a record for any year since the disease was  eliminated in this country 14 years ago, with 288 cases of the potentially deadly infection reported in 18 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday."

White House Live Video
July 23

2:00 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the NAACP national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada (audio only)

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

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

Washington Post: "On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.  These plasma clouds, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), comprised a solar storm thought to be the most powerful in at least 150 years. 'If it had hit, we would still be picking up the pieces,' physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado tells NASA."

New York: "Governor Cuomo and CBS announced Wednesday that The Late Show will continue to be shot at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, its home of 21 years, when David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over in 2015. While it had been assumed that the show would be staying put, CBS only made it official today, announcing that it had received $11-million in state tax credits and $5-million in renovation money for the theater in exchange for staying in NYC and guaranteeing the continuation of 200 jobs surrounding the show's production." ...

... Nice announcement, but not as long as Cuomo's 13-page response to a New York Times article that showed Cuomo is a pompous, corrupt, two-faced hypocrite.

Lunar Landing, Cable News Version. Slate: "In 2009, Andrew Bouvé imagined what it would be like if the moon landing happened today, unleashing cable news on the event.... This Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing."

 

New Yorker illustration.

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

 

CW: Jordan Weismann of Slate presents this audio as an unusual customer service horror story. It is a nightmare, to be sure. But as someone who has had to deal with stopping & starting various utility & communications services recently, I can attest that it is par for the course for an American U.S. customer service rep. Dealing with non-Americans, who increasing represent U.S. companies, is worse. These reps all work from scripts, but the non-Americans don't understand my English, so their "responses" are even more non-responsive than are those of the Comcast guy there:

 

Airborne Dinosaur. USA Today: Paleontologists have discovered in China a new species of dinosaur that "had long feathers not just on its wings but also on its hind legs, making it one of only a handful of 'four-winged' dinosaurs. It also had big, sharp teeth and sharp claws, indicating it was carnivorous.... Scientists were surprised to find something so large that could take to the skies so early in the history of flying creatures." ...

     ... CW: Charles Pierce's take: "The Christianists have been wrong all these years. It's not Intelligent Design. It's Abstract Design. God The Dada."

Houston Chronicle: "The Palm Beach mansion known as President JFK's Winter White House has hit the market for a staggering $38.5 million. That price is even more gasp-worthy considering the same property sold for $4.9 million in 1995 and a mere $120,000 in 1933." More photos, including interior shots, at the linked page.

Heller McAlpin reviews Marja Mills' book The Mockingbird Next Door, a memoir of the writer's friendship with Harper Lee & her sister Alice Finch Lee, for the Washington Post.

According to this Daily Beast headline, the "World Awaits LeBron James' Decision." CW: Even though I so often do the sports report, it turns out I am not of this world.

Smart Girls Don't Swear. Vanity Fair "cleaned up, pored over, and painstakingly transcribed" some of the Nixon tapes, "many of which were muffled and, at times, indecipherable." The post excerpts a few: Nixon on gays, Jews, swearing.

New York Times: Hillary Clinton's "memoir, 'Hard Choices,' has just been toppled from its spot on the best-seller list by a sensational Clinton account by her longtime antagonist Edward Klein. It is a powerful statement about today’s publishing realities that Mr. Klein’s book, a 320-page unauthorized and barely sourced account full of implausible passages, including one about a physical altercation between Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, has landed atop the New York Times best-seller list, knocking 'Hard Choices' to No. 2." ...

... If by chance you believe the major media are the exclusive haunts of "elite leftists," here's evidence it ain't so. Klein, the Times story notes, is "a former editor at Newsweek  and The New York Times Magazine."

Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast interviews Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times. Abramson still doesn't know what "management skills" means. Kinda makes you think maybe she doesn't have any.

Tim Egan: American children are too sheltered. The world isn't as scary as we think it is.

... Thanks to Bonita for the link. CW: I except you actually could purchase the materials at Hobby Lobby you'd need to make an IUD. However, Dr. Weader strongly advises against this do-it-yourself project.

New York Times: "The New Yorker is overhauling its website, making all articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers."

The New York Times Magazine publishes excerpts from a few of Warren Harding's love letters to Carrie Phillips. Also, he was a worse poet than he was a president. And Phillips was unfaithful to Harding; then she blackmailed him. Maybe it was because she was so turned off by all those letters where he personified his penis as "Jerry."

Guardian: A Princeton archaeologist has found what may be the world's oldest extant erotic graffiti on the Greek island of Astypalaia in the Aegean sea. Also, it is so gay.

Wherever in the U.S. you may live, if you missed your local news last night, we have it here. In fact, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, here's what will be on your local news tonight. Thanks to Bonita for the link:

Contact the Constant Weader

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

Tuesday
Sep112012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 12, 2012

John Cook of Gawker: "Kurt Eichenwald, the disgraced former New York Times reporter whose career went up in flames after he got caught secretly paying thousands of dollars to a child pornographer he wrote about, is on the comeback trail. Today he published an op-ed in the New York Times claiming to have evidence that the Bush Administration is guilty of 'significantly more negligence' in ignoring 9/11 warning signs 'than has been disclosed.' That may be true, but save for a few interesting details, the evidence he presents has been in the public record for nearly a decade." CW: I linked Eichenwald's op-ed the other day, & it got lotsa positive press attention. Cook provides the antidote.

Mike Konczal of Business Insider presents "The Complete Guide To America's Jobs Crisis And The Failure Of Monetary Policy Using Animated Gifs." Fun AND informative; e.g., Ben Bernanke's policy:

Matthew Cunningham-Cook, writing in The Nation, has a very good pro-union piece on the Chicago teachers' strike. ...

... Laura Clawson of Daily Kos: "Chicago teachers are taking on the education agenda of the one percent, and that means they're taking a beating in the media. But a new poll shows that ... 47 percent [of Chicago voters] support the strike, with 39 percent opposed."

Presidential Race

** Lydia Saad of Gallup: "The U.S. Gallup Economic Confidence Index surged to -18 for the week ending Sept. 9, up 11 points from -29 the prior week.... It appears that the spark for the dramatic rise in Americans' economic confidence last week was the Democratic National Convention. A review of Gallup's nightly tracking results shows that the index was consistently near or below -25 each night in late August and early September, but then sharply improved on Sept. 4, the first night of the convention, to -18. Confidence then held at or near -18 through Sunday, despite the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' mixed August unemployment report Friday.... More specifically, the convention appears to have given Democrats and, to a lesser degree, independents, fresh optimism about the economy."

James Downie of the Washington Post ties President Obama's convention speech about citizenship to the nation's reaction to 9/11, when -- for however brief a moment -- we all became citizens.

AP: "Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized the Obama administration in the wake of attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday, [September 11]. The assaults were linked to a video being promoted by an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christi, an in the U.S." Romney said, "'It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a statement released about the same time as Romney's, condemned the attack in Libya 'in the strongest terms.'" CW: I would favor fitting Romney for a muzzle in the interest of national security. I hope when the President makes or issues a statement about the consulate killings (which surely he will), he'll tactfully tell Romney to STFU (which he probably won't). Suggesting that the President would favor violence (and ultimately murder) against U.S. consulate personnel is what is "disgraceful." But anything to suggest Obama is a secret Muslim fundamentalist is evidently A-Okay. See Michael Tomasky column linked below. It took less than 24 hours for Tomasky's prediction to come true. ...

     ... Byron Tau of Politico: "The Obama administration is disavowing a statement from its own Cairo embassy that seemed to apologize for anti-Muslim activity in the United States. 'The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,' an administration official told Politico. The U.S. embassy in Cairo put out a statement early Tuesday that apologized for an anti-Muslim film being circulated by an Israeli-American real estate developer." CW: the embassy statement may somewhat mitigates Mitt's remarks. But not much.

     ... Update. Maggie Haberman of Politico: "Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt pushes back with this statement of his own: 'We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack.' Romney's remarks, initially embargoed until the 9/11 anniversary was officially over but then made public before that, also came as the situation was still unfolding -- there are now four reported deaths, including U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens...." ...

     ... Update. Peter Baker & Sarah Wheaton of the New York Times have Romney's full statement: "'I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,' Mr. Romney said in a statement. 'It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.'" Mr. Romney was making an apparent reference to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemning a Web film that denounces Islam made my an Israel-American. The statement, which rejects 'efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,' was released before the protests started in an effort to cool tensions." CW: So, in my book, Romney himself is still "disgraceful" -- AND an "outrage." ...

     ... Update. Tampa Bay Times: "The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three American members of his staff were reportedly killed Tuesday in riots sparked by outrage over a film backed by Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor whose burning of Korans last year led to days of rioting in Afghanistan." CW: so basically, Mitt Romney is on that whacked-out guy's side.

     ... Update: Steve Kornacki of Salon: "The foolishness of Romney's reaction is glaring. Pretending that the statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo was anything other than a completely understandable and reasonable attempt by its occupants to save their own lives borders on disgraceful. Romney's implication that the statement was issued at the height of the attacks is also false; it was actually released earlier in the day, a preventive measure aimed at keeping the protests from turning violent." ...

     ... Update. Greg Sargent: "Mitt Romney just held a press availability about the attacks in Libya and Egypt and the death of the U.S. ambassador John Christopher Stevens. Remarkably, Romney doubled down on his claim that the Obama administration 'sympathized' with the attackers.... This press conference looks to me like a serious mistake on Romney's part. The whole thing reeked of political opportunism and didn't convey any sense of leadership or reassurance amid a crisis. It was also somewhat incoherent." ...

     ... Ben Smith of BuzzFeed: "Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy." ...

     ... Update. Scott Wong of Politico: "Republicans on Capitol Hill strongly condemned the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. But they're leaving ... Mitt Romney out on a limb after he criticized President Barack Obama's 'disgraceful' handling of the assault...." ...

... Andy Rosenthal of the New York Times: "... it's perfectly reasonable that embassy staff tried to pacify the rioters by condemning 'efforts to offend believers of all religions.' During the Danish cartoons flap, the Bush administration said 'we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.' ... It would be one thing if Mr. Romney had his big ideas about foreign policy and legitimate disagreements with Mr. Obama. All he offers is blind partisan attack and fortune-cookie pronouncements." ...

... David Sessions of Newsweek: "In the wake of an attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday that left an American envoy dead, conservatives are bringing back one of the most deeply dishonest narratives of the Obama administration: that the president apologizes for the United States."

... Mark Thompson of Time: "The news of the killing of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, in an attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is bitter. It was Benghazi, after all, that was the heart of the Libyan revolution last year. Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi vowed to exterminate the rebels there like 'rats.' It was to protect the civilians of Benghazi that the U.S. went to war over Libya in 2011, along with its NATO, and some Arab, allies. Ghadafi was killed last October and now Stevens -- who championed the rebels' cause from his post in Benghazi -- has sadly met the same fate.... The immediate political statements by both sides in the presidential race cheapens Stevens' sacrifice.... A White House spokesman denounced Romney's comment as a 'political attack.'" ...

... AND this tweet from RNC Chair Reince Priebus: "Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic."

Mitt Who? Dana Milbank: "House Republican leaders ... uttered 1,350 words in their opening remarks at the news conference but made no reference to" Mitt Romney. "That Romney would go on 'Meet the Press' and say that last year's bipartisan spending deal was a 'mistake' -- never mind that Romney had applauded Boehner for negotiating the deal at the time -- made clear that the GOP nominee does not wish to run on the record of congressional Republicans. That House Republicans would not so much as breathe Romney's name makes clear the sentiment is mutual.... The estrangement seen in the past few days is part of a broader dynamic in which the Republican Party seems to be readying itself to cut and run from its nominee."

A new Obama ad going up in swing state:

No Rest for the Warmongers. Matt Vasilogambros of the National Journal: "On the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Republicans aligned with Mitt Romney attacked President Obama over his foreign policy actions, from the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq to the conflict that still plagues Syria. 'As far as the Middle East is concerned, this president's national security policy has been an abysmal failure,' said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Fox & Friends. Taking a similar tone, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani criticized Obama's handling of the Iran's nuclear program."

Sahil Kapur of Think Progress: "Conservatives are increasingly worried that Mitt Romney's vagueness about tax reform and other policy issues will be his downfall on Election Day. Romney's sympathizers are raising red flags, after he and his running mate repeatedly declined to provide details during a round of Sunday interviews about the loopholes he'd close to pay for large tax rate cuts." ...

... Paul Waldman of American Prospect has a very good post on Mitt Romney's vagueness: "It's one thing to be vague because you think getting bogged down in a discussion of details will distract from your broader message, but it's another thing to be vague because a discussion of details will reveal that you're promising things you can't possibly deliver." ...

... Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic: "The more Romney talks about his plans, the more he'll have to acknowledge the unpopular trade-offs -- and not just on health care. If Romney provides details on his tax plan, he'll have to tell non-wealthy voters he's raising their taxes or admit that his plan will, on its own, increase the deficit. If he provides more details on his spending plan, he'll have to tell the voters about massive cuts to federal programs they cherish. If he goes into detail about his economic agenda, he'll have to admit that serious economists doubt that agenda will do much to create jobs in the short run." ...

... Jamelle Bouie in the Washington Post: "Between his promise to restore Obama's Medicare cuts, his promise to fight defense cuts, and his promise to cut taxes without saying how they'd be paid for, Romney has offered nothing that would reduce the deficit.... Conservatives have urged Romney to provide more detail the public, but given the degree to which his policy proposals do not meet their stated goals, that's probably not a good idea. Second, the move to hit Obama on defense cuts is another sign that Team Romney is moving away from its "Obama failed on the economy" message, and toward a broader set of right wing attacks on a variety of issues. The problem is that it's hard to capitalize on issues like this when you're running mate is on the other side. This was the case with Medicare cuts, it is the case with the sequester...."

... CW: what I see happening is that perhaps the public has taken a glance at the most untrustworthy presidential nominee in recent history & is seeing -- an untrustworthy candidate: he won't release his taxes, he won't say anything more about his jobs agenda than that he'll create the same number of jobs that would be created anyway, he claims his Bain experience makes him qualified to handle the economy but he won't say how, he wants to cut taxes on the rich, he wants to voucherize everything but his family's horse (which he's incorporated), he's been caught in well-publicized (at long last) lies, he criticizes President Obama on foreign policy but he has no foreign policy of his own other than Russia-Bad/USA-good, China-Bad/USA-good, Israel-good/Obama-bad. And his vapid wife Lady Romney thinks living for a couple of years the way most students live for several years is a heart-rending hardship.

CW: Jeb Bush got up at the GOP convention & chastised President Obama for "blaming my brother" for everything. Ross Douthat must have been playing with his blow-up Lady Romney doll during that speech because the point of his post today is that Romney's bad standing is totally Bush's fault.

What [Romney] did was to say it worked in Massachusetts, but it can't work nationally. The problem he has is that's a totally illogical position, and he looks like an idiot.... They're the same fucking bill. -- Jonathan Gruber, who worked on developing both RomneyCare & ObamaCare ...

... Charles Pierce, in a full-length Esquire piece, writes that he is thankful for RomneyCare, even if Willard Romney isn't. (Click on the printer icon [just above the portrait of Gov. Willard] to read the story on one page.)

Not that it matters, BUT. Katie Glueck of Politico: "A survey by the German Marshall Fund of the United States ... [found that] 38 percent of respondents in the European Union said they did not know whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of Romney, or refused to respond.... Of the European respondents who were familiar with Romney, 39 percent viewed him unfavorably, while just 23 percent had a positive take on the candidate, according to the survey." CW: Yeah, well, whaddaya expect from socialists?

Lies, Damned Lies & Fox "News" "Statistics." Steve Benen: Fox "News" put up a graphic comparing the standard unemployment rate in 2009 to the current rate that "includes part-time workers who want to work full-time and those who've given up." In other words, comparing apples & cantaloupes. Based on these totally cooked figured, Fox then claimed that unemployment has doubled under president Obama. They added a phony figure to show that "government workers" had a low unemployment rate, when the opposite is true. As Benen writes, "The public sector hasn't had it better than everyone else; the public sector has had it worse than everyone else. After the graphic aired, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham asked, 'Other than Fox News, where are you really seeing those statistics?' What a good question."

Michael Tomasky of Newsweek predicts that Candidate Do-Anything-Say-Anything will amp up the race-baiting if it becomes clear he can't win on the economy & other culture-war issues. Let's remember this & see if Tomasky is right. ...

... Here's a good example of what Tomasky is writing about:

Brian Bakst of the AP: "Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan plans to begin airing ads in Wisconsin as he asks voters to elect him to an eighth House term...."

News Ledes

President Obama remarks on the attack on U.S. diplomats in Libya:

Secretary of State Clinton on the killing of Ambassador Stevens & others in the U.S. diplomat corps:

Washington Post: "News agencies reported Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens, was killed in an assault outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, after protestors stormed the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to protest a U.S.-released film that protesters said insulted the prophet Muhammad. Stevens and three other embassy employees were fatally wounded by rocket fire outside the consulate on Tuesday, news agencies said. Neither the White House nor the State Department had confirmed Stevens' death as of Wednesday morning." Story has been updated. The White House has confirmed the killings. "Wire services and reporters on the ground said that Stevens and the others were fleeing the consulate when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their vehicle. Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Benghazi said the bodies of the dead had been taken to the Benghazi airport." ...

     ... Al Jazeera story here....

     ... New York Times story here. The Times story had been updated to include this new information: "Initial accounts of the assault in Benghazi were attributed to popular anger over what was described as an American-made video.... But administration officials in Washington said the attack in Libya may have been plotted in advance." ...

     ... Politico Update: "The consulate where the American ambassador to Libya was killed on Tuesday is an 'interim facility' not protected by the contingent of Marines that safeguards embassies." ...

     ... AP: "An Israeli filmmaker based in California went into hiding Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam's prophet Muhammad sparked angry assaults by ultra-conservative Muslims on U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya, where one American was killed. Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that the 56-year-old intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "The film that set off violence across North Africa was made in obscurity somewhere in the sprawl of Southern California, and promoted by a network of right-wing Christians with a history of animosity directed toward Muslims. When a 14-minute trailer of it -- all that may actually exist -- was posted on YouTube in June, it was barely noticed."

Washington Post: "The deepening dispute between the United States and Israel over how to stop Iran's nuclear program broke into public view Tuesday, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting that the Obama administration did not have the 'moral right' to forestall military action. Netanyahu's remarks -- and a White House decision that President Obama will not meet with the Israeli leader later this month -- threatened to further exacerbate tensions between the two allies and possibly push the disagreement over Iran into the U.S. presidential campaign."

AP: "Germany's highest court paved the way for the creation of Europe's €500 billion rescue fund after it rejected Wednesday calls to block it."

Reader Comments (7)

Re: No Rest for Warmongers
We should listen to the folks that allowed 9/11 to happen? I don't think so. Thank goodness there is an adult in charge at the moment, and hopefully for 4 more years. Otherwise - God help us. Bibi will be in charge of our middle-east policy, along with all those wonderful neo-cons.
Let's keep Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Rumsfeld etc wherever the heck they are - hopefully as far away from Washington as possible.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Marie - you are not the only one who finds Lady Romney vapid and annoying. The idea of her trying to make their student days sound like something out of La Boheme is hilarious....just a couple of struggling students with trust funds.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I live in Chicago and my grandson attends CPS. The reporting has been inadequate and the Nation piece does not do too much better. Let's just say it is very complicated. Chicago teachers are the highest paid in large urban systems and have had the shortest school day and shortest school year. Starting salary is $50K, avg is $71K, and highest is $90K. Teachers move up to the $71K range pretty quickly. They're doing some complicated figuring on the longer hours for high school teachers by hiring additional teachers so their teaching day is extended by only 15 minutes. Grade school teachers may get closer to that 20% mark. It's hard to know....nobody is very forthcoming with hard numbers - either with what is current and what is under negotiation. Turley had a report on his blog today that reports 79% of 8th graders are not at grade level proficiency in reading and 80% are not at grade level proficiency in math.
http://jonathanturley.org/2012/09/11/report-seventy-nine-percent-of-eighth-graders-in-chicago-public-schools-are-below-proficient-in-reading/#more-54139

There's a long history here and some of it probably accounts why we haven't had a strike in 25 years. Daley approved multi year contracts with 7% raises. They also included additional 2% step raises. Don't know how they handled the benefits. The pension fund is waaaay underfunded for the usual reasons. IL income tax rate was doubled last year in an attempt to stave off catastrophe.

Along with the longer school day, Rahm wants (non-union) charter schools. (His kids go to Chicago Lab) Many schools face closure due to much reduced student population (some down 50%) and others close as "failures". Of course, this is terrible for teachers. Rahm was not diplomatic in his approach. Karen Lewis is no pushover...result is a toxic relationship that is now taking on national importance.

Rahm and Jonah Edelman (son of Marion Wright Edelman!) really tired to screw the teachers by getting a bill passed in the state legislature that required a 75% threshold for a strike authorization. Edelman was recorded at the Aspen Institute saying that teachers would never, ever be able to strike again. It is a stunning 15 minute
video where he explains how they managed to get it passed. I'll see if I can find it and post. It's a jaw-dropping "civics" lesson! Teachers took a vote before school let out in June. They got a 90% authorization.

Lotsa poor kids here. Many are ESL. Segregation a problem. Many kids move throughout a school year and more have to deal with serious social ills. Some schools are falling apart. I haven't been able to find specifics on class size. I don't know how teacher evaluations based on test scores make sense with those kinds of hurdles. But I know there are bad teachers out there. Today I heard about another problem...how do you get an 8th grader to shut off his ipod or iphone?

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kog8g9sTDSo

Here is the Jonah Edelman Aspen Institute 15 minute video explaining the state bill that was to prevent teachers from "ever striking again". I hope you will watch it.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

@Haley Simon. Thanks for all your input on the Chicago teachers' strike. It is difficult to say, isn't it, where an intelligent, disinterested arbiter would come down on the various demands?

I did listen to most of the Jonah Edelman vid, & it is Exhibit A on why money should totally be removed from politics. Professional lobbying should be illegal. Whatever merits Edelman's POV may have, what appalled me was how his group turned legislators with $$$. Clearly, legislators seldom consider the merits; instead, they vote their pocketbooks.

As for the proficiency of Chicago students, I recognize that a good teacher & curriculum can have some effect on that. But I continue to believe that parents' attitudes toward education are the controlling factor for 90-some percent of students. I believe if teachers spent 85% of their time egging on parents to take an active interest in their kids' education & only 15% passing out standard pablum to the kids, student proficiency would skyrocket. (I'm not recommending that formula; just sayin'.)

Marie

September 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Those that "don't get It" and are lost in the class room are doomed to failure. The only place some of these lost souls see the printed word is in school. It would seem, that after years of failure, measures would be taken to solve this problem.
Not being able to read drives students from school and stops developement in all areas. During the early years of reading instruction, every class room should have teachers assistants giving personal attention to those not keeeping up.
We have a huge supply of under employed, and unemployed Americans well qualified to assist teachers. Sometime, we will have to make this investment or continue to fall behind the rest of the civilized world.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Marie and Carlyle, I agree that parents regularly working with their kids and employing reading assistants in every grade 1 - 5 might have the biggest impact on improving outcomes. It's time that parents take some responsibility.

Marie, I was blown away when Jonah described hiring the "best" lobbyists which had the added benefit that the teachers couldn't hire them.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon
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