The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

The Ledes

Thursday, November 26, 2015.

Guardian: "Sex abuse allegations against priests at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota were revealed in stark detail on Tuesday with the release of confidential documents concerning five priests accused of child sex abuse."

Reuters: "A 23-year-old Indiana man has pleaded guilty to breaking into a medical museum and stealing preserved human brains that he then sold online. David Charles, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to six charges including receiving stolen property and burglary in a Marion county court. Magistrate Amy Barbar sentenced him to one year of home detention and two years of probation, county prosecutor spokesman Anthony Deer said."

White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

Go to


Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

Contact the Constant Weader

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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.

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 do you get an 8th grader to shut off his ipod or iphone?

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHaley Simon

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'.)


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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