The Ledes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

Attention, Costco Shoppers. E. coli in the Salad Cooler. Washington Post: "Federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of deadly E. coli bacteria that has sickened 19 people in at least seven states, mostly in the west.... Preliminary evidence suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is the likely source of this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

New York Times: "The American economy turned in a better performance last quarter than first thought, expanding at a 2.1 percent rate, the government said on Tuesday. While well below the pace of growth recorded in the spring, it was better than the 1.5 percent rate for the third quarter that the Commerce Department reported late last month."

Houston Chronicle: "A helicopter crashed at Fort Hood on Monday, killing four crew members, U.S. Army officials said. Military officials said the UH-60 helicopter crashed sometime after 5:49 p.m. Monday in the northeast section of the central Texas Army post. Emergency crews spent several hours searching the area and later found the bodies of the four crew members."

Reuters: "A bomb exploded outside the offices of a Greek business federation in central Athens on Tuesday, badly damaging the nearby Cypriot Embassy but causing no injuries, police officials said.The blast, which police believe was carried out by domestic guerrilla groups, is the first such incident since leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came to power in January. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.Attacks against banks, politicians and business people are not uncommon in Greece, which has a long history of political violence and has been mired in its worst economic crisis in decades."

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."

White House Live Video
November 24

11:30 am ET: President Obama & President Francois Hollande of France hold a joint press conference

5:00 pm ET: President Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Go to


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."

... 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

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


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.