The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class":

The Ledes

Saturday, January 24, 2015.

Guardian: "The Pentagon and the White House are pushing back on reports that the Obama administration is pausing drone strikes and other counterterrorism operations in Yemen, amidst the abrupt collapse of a critical partner government. Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said both 'unilateral and partnered' operations conducted by the US in Yemen against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) 'are not suspended'."

New York Times: "The Japanese government expressed outrage at an image released Saturday that appeared to show the decapitated body of one of two Japanese hostages captured by Islamic State militants, and President Obama condemned what he called a 'brutal murder.' The kidnappers had threatened to kill the men if a Friday deadline passed for a $200 million ransom from Japan. Hours before Mr. Obama’s statement, the United States and Japanese governments said that they were working to authenticate the video containing the image."

NBC News: "President Barack Obama and the First Lady will travel to Saudi Arabia to pay respects following the death of King Abdullah, the White House said early Saturday. Obama will cut short an official trip to India and will fly to Riyadh on Tuesday to meet the new King Salman, spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement. Vice President Joe Biden, who had been due to fly to Saudi Arabia, 'will remain in Washington' the statement said."

Goodbye, Mr. Cub. New York Times: "Ernie Banks, the greatest power-hitting shortstop of the 20th century and an unconquerable optimist whose sunny disposition never dimmed in 19 seasons with the perennially stumbling Chicago Cubs, died Friday. He was 83." Banks' Chicago Sun-Times obituary is here.

Public Service Announcement

Get Off Your Ass! Los Angeles Times (Jan. 19): "New research that distills the findings of 47 studies concludes that those of us who sit for long hours raise our average risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death."

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

White House Live Video
January 25

5:40 am ET: President Obama & Indian PM Modi deliver statements in New Delhi, India

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

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Gawker: "Bill Clinton took repeated trips on the 'Lolita Express'—the private passenger jet owned by billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — with an actress in softcore porn movies whose name appears in Epstein's address book under an entry for 'massages,' according to flight logbooks obtained by Gawker and published today for the first time. The logs also show that Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a 'potential co-conspirator' in his crimes."

New York Times: Director Martin "Scorsese’s partly finished documentary about [former president Bill] Clinton — which once seemed likely to be released as Hillary Rodham Clinton was navigating a presidential run — has stalled over disagreements about control, people briefed on the project said. Though parts of the film were shot over the last two years as Mr. Clinton made a philanthropic visit to Africa and elsewhere, the project is now indefinitely shelved, partly because Mr. Clinton insisted on more control over the interview questions and final version than Mr. Scorsese was willing to give, those people said."

Jessica Roy of New York: "Now that he's been released from jail after his kidnapping-conspiracy conviction was overturned, Gilberto Valle — the former NYPD officer dubbed 'Cannibal Cop' for allegedly planning to kidnap, kill, and eat women — is hungry for love on Match.com. Unfortunately for him, the online dating service told us that they've deleted Valle's alleged profile, even though frankly he can't be any worse than the other dudes you might find on there.... Also, he listed cooking as a favorite hobby!"

CW: Not sure why this is news. As a disconsolate Windows 8 user, I heard this -- in re: Windows 8 -- two months ago. New York Times: "Microsoft said people using the two earlier versions of its operating system, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, would be able to update their computers to Windows 10 free for the first year after the new software is introduced."

Ellen's Gay Agenda. Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link:

The French discover Ken & Barbie News Fox "News." For some reason the journalistes at "Le Petit Journal" don't find it credible. With English subtitles. Thanks to Creegr for the link:

New York Times: "A person close to the Barack Obama Foundation, which is overseeing plans for the [presidential] library, anonymously told local reporters last month that foundation officials had 'major concerns' with proposals from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Foundation officials were said to be alarmed that the University of Chicago does not yet control the land where the university wants to build the library. To the shock and horror of residents here, that left Columbia University in New York, where Mr. Obama received his undergraduate degree, as the apparent front-runner. And suddenly a fait accompli has become an open question."

Washington Post: Two treasure hunters may have found the Griffin, a ship that disappeared in the Great Lakes in mid-1679.

And the Winner Is ... A White Person! Tatiana Siegel of the Hollywood Reporter: "For only the second time in nearly two decades, the 20 Academy Awards acting nominations went to a group made up entirely of white actors and actresses. Among the notable snubs was David Oyelowo, who received praise for his turn as the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma." ...

... Scott Mendelson of Forbes: "... the most egregious omission is the sadly not-entirely-surprising absence of Selma’s Ava DuVernay from the five contenders nominated for Best Director.... She deserved a nomination." ...

... Steve M.: Given the sorry state of most of Hollywood's output -- the CGI roman-numeral blockbusters and comedies about farting boy-men, greenlighted mostly by white males -- and given the near-total freeze-out of women in directorial roles (or in most acting roles beyond male stars' arm candy), I guess I know the answer. And it's pathetic."

... Todd VanDerWerff of Vox: "Selma was snubbed because the average Oscar voter is a 63-year-old white man. VanDerWerff also lists other factors he thinks worked against Selma.

... CW: I don't think I linked to this essay by Chris Rock, published in the Hollywood Reporter last month. Subject: The movie biz is "a white industry." I guess so.

Dick Poop. USA Today: "Dick Pope..., the cinematographer for Mr. Turner, made international news after Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science President Cheryl Boone Isaacs mispronounced his name during the nominations, calling him 'Dick Poop.'"

Here's the L.A. Times story covering the Oscar nominations.

New York Times: "Amazon announced on Tuesday that it had signed [Woody] Allen to write and direct his first television series. The company said it had ordered a full season of half-hour shows, as yet untitled, which will make their debut on the service next year. It provided few other details."

Jareen Imam of CNN: "Jeweler Tiffany & Co., for the first time, is featuring a gay couple in an ad campaign. The new 'Will You?' campaign, shot by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, features seven scenes of couples. One in particular is drawing widespread praise for showing a same-sex couple. The pair, shown sitting on a stoop in New York City, are a couple in real life, Tiffany spokeswoman Linda Buckley said."

Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times on the novels of Robert Stone. Stone died January 10.

Gawker: Apparently Malia Obama -- or someone who looks exactly like her -- has (or borrowed) a T-shirt featuring a hip-hop collective called Pro Era. A teenager into contemporary music!: this is for some reason big Internets news. CW: Old codger that I am, I thought the shirt signified Pro-ERA (Equal Rights Amendment). Now, that would be exceptionally cool.

Washington Post: "In a move that could draw a mass exodus from cable, Dish Network’s Sling TV said it will soon launch a stand-alone streaming service that includes ESPN and other network channels without being tied to a paid TV service."

Anne Karpf, in a New York Times op-ed on "the liberation of growing old": "Age resistance is a futile kind of life resistance: We can’t live outside time, we begin to age the moment we’re born. But the emerging age-acceptance movement neither decries nor denies the aging process. It recognizes that one can remain vital and present, engaged and curious, indeed continue to grow, until one’s dying breath. Then we need only echo the wish of the British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott: 'May I be alive when I die.'”

Novelist Teddy Wayne, in a New York Times op-ed, laments the days when "we used to receive media cyclically.... Now, with just about every airing of a much greater number of shows obtainable at any moment, there is no excuse for missing one — and, therefore, a more urgent compulsion to catch up, in case you missed it." Thanks to MAG for the link. ...

... CW: This seems a rather silly complaint coming from a person whose chosen art form is available to anyone any time, thru the ages. On-demand media make film, broadcast television & other visual (& audio) events as available as are nonfiction books & novels. It is true that releasing viewers from the strictures of OTO broadcasts & limited-run films may take away some of the sharing of those events with family & friends, but that has been -- until quite recently -- a rather forced sharing, dictated by media suits. And there is nothing stopping people today from having media parties to share their favorite teevee shows or movies.

Bill Moyers announces his retirement. And he means it this time. ...

... Reality Chex contributor Kate Madison on Bill Moyers. (Third comment in the thread.) ...

... Peter Dreier in Common Dreams: "... the end of Moyers' regular presence on television will leave a huge hole in America's broadcast landscape.... No other program has journalistic breadth and depth, as well as the progressive viewpoint, that Moyers' show has provided views for over four decades. Will PBS -- which has been under increasing pressure from Congress and funders to move to the right -- even try to fill that gap?" ...

... ** Paul Farhi of the Washington Post on Moyers' career at PBS: "His work has won more than three dozen Emmys — he doesn’t know the precise number — and nine Peabody awards.... His unalloyed liberalism (“I find it very hard to have intelligent conversations with people on the right wing,” he once said) has made him, to conservatives, a living totem of the news media’s alleged leftward bias, and especially public broadcasting’s." ...

... Here's the final broadcast. If you don't watch it, you may want to read the transcript, especially Moyers' "last words":

"Listen Up, Ladies." Raw Story: "The hosts of Fox & Friends started the New Year on Thursday by telling women that they should 'cater' to their man by stroking his ego, cooking him meals, and massaging his feet."

The New York Times takes "an episode-by-episode look at some of the [British TV series "Downton Abbey's] period details, and how those events have been covered in The New York Times." Thanks to P. D. Pepe for the link.

Sam Eifling of the New Republic: "For proof that an idea's time has come, look no further than Rush Limbaugh belching fire at it with the caveat, 'I know it's racist to probably even point this out.' In this case, Limbaugh's target was the gentle revelation, from emails churned up in the enormous Sony hack, that a head of the studio has stumped for Idris Elba to play James Bond once Daniel Craig goes out to pasture with Connery, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan. The news riled Limbaugh because Elba is black, and Ian Fleming's Bond 'was white and Scottish. Period.' But it would be simplistic to dismiss this view as the rant of a lone, right-wing loudmouth. On this issue, the only difference between Limbaugh and Hollywood is that he doesn't try to conceal his racial biases.... Truth is, the supposed bastion of liberal values is loath to entrust lead roles in big-budget productions to actors of color, even as audiences are increasingly multiethnic." (Emphasis added.)

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Sunday
Jan092011

Tucson, Arizona Shootings -- January 9

At least one 911 tape has been released. The AP has a brief story on the call. The 911 operators received 20 calls....

     ... Update: audio of the 911 tapes is here.

FBI Director Mueller & Sheriff Dupnik conducted a press conference that began at about 1:00 pm ET. When I get a print story &/or video covering that event, I'll post it.** In the meantime, the Caucus has some of the details. Go to 1:35 pm; scroll down for more. The segment reported at 1:27 pm ET:

The alleged shooter in Arizona was attempting to reload his weapon when a woman grabbed the gun's magazine and ripped it away from him, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters Sunday. Mr. Dupnik said the woman was injured as she attempted to stop the suspect, who then tried to put another magazine in the gun, but the spring in the magazine failed. The sheriff said that allowed two men to subdue the suspect until authorities arrived.

... Here the clip of Sheriff Dupnik talking about this incident:

... Update: The Arizona Daily Star has some of the details of the press availability here. ...

... ** Update: C-SPAN video of the full law enforcement press conference:

The doctors at the University of Arizona Hospital trauma center give an update Sunday of Rep. Giffords' condition:

     ... AP Related: "Doctors treating wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords provided an optimistic update Sunday about her chances for survival, saying they are 'very, very encouraged' by her ability to respond to simple commands along with their success in controlling her bleeding." Here's the related New York Times story. ...

... JoNel Aleccia of NBC News interviews Dr. Alex Valadka, a neurosurgeon and spokesman for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, regarding Giffords' injury & prognosis.

Christina-Taylor Greene. Family photo via the Arizona Daily Star.Joseph Berger of the New York Times profiles Christina Greene, the 9-year-old killed by the shooter. Stephanie Innes of the Arizona Daily Star has more.

Ofelia Madrid of the Arizona Republic profiles Dorwan & Mavy Stoppard, a married couple who were victims of the Tucson shooting. Dorwan died from his wounds, but he dove on top of Mavy, probably saving her life. She suffered gunshot wounds to her legs.

Mary Reinhart & Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic: "Gabe Zimmerman..., one of five staffers and two interns at the 'Congress on Your Corner' event, was killed." Zimmerman, 30 years old, was engaged.

Al Hunt of Bloomberg News, in a New York Times opinion piece, on the U.S. obsession with guns -- and the consequences.

New York Times Editors: Arizona's "gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit. That was before the Tucson rampage. Now, having seen first-hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments." CW: fat chance.

News Items

CNN: "Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.... 'The president is a federal official,' Brady said in a telephone interview with CNN. 'You can't do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge.' ... Brady is particularly incensed over a web posting by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2010 election...."

Here's the New York Times story on the shootings."  ...

... AND at the Washington Post, the headline is, "Rampage Casts Dim Light on U.S. Political Discord."

The Arizona Republic has the names & brief comments about other victims. The Huffington Post reports that the 9-year-old killed was Christina Taylor Greene, who was born on 9/11.

Arizona Daily Star: "Police are seeking a man who was seen at the shopping center where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and may possibly be associated with the suspect who is in custody. He is described as Caucasian, 40 to 50 years old, dark hair and was wearing blue jeans and a dark blue jacket.... Anyone with information is asked to contact 911, 88-CRIME or the FBI at 791-6974." The surveillance photo is at left. ...

     ... Update: the Pima County sheriff says the person in the photo "may not have been involved at all," but the sheriff's office still needs to locate him to determine whether or not that is the case. No link. ...

     ... Arizona Daily Star Update: "Detectives with the Pima County Sheriff's Department interviewed the 'person of interest' in Saturday's mass shooting and cleared him of any wrongdoing. The man, a cab driver, told detectives he gave Jared Loughner a ride to the Safeway and they entered the store together so Loughner could obtain change to pay his fare, said Bureau Chief Richard Kastigar. Records substantiate the driver dropped Loughner off at 9:59 a.m., Kastigar said."

 AP: "Federal prosecutors charged the suspect in shooting of Arizona congresswoman with attempted assassination and four other charges. Jared Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to killing a federal employee.... The ... suspect doesn't yet have a lawyer, but that [the federal public defender's] office is working to get a lawyer appointed for Loughner." ... Arizona Republic story here. A pdf of the 5-count federal complaint against Jared Lee Loughner is here. It states that Loughner will make an initial appearance in court at 3 pm [5 pm ET] Monday. ...

     ... Update: the complaint is now accompanied by an affidavit from Tony M. Taylor, an FBI agent, who attests to some of the evidence collected against Loughner.

CBS News: "President Barack Obama announced Sunday that he will observe a moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn on Monday morning to honor the victims of Saturday's shooting in Arizona. In a statement, he has called on the rest of the country to join him in a moment of silence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Mr. Obama also ordered all flags on government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims." You can read the full proclamation at the New York Times Caucus site at the 2:43 pm Sunday posting.