The Ledes

Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Los Angeles Times: "Andrew Getty, an heir to the Getty oil fortune, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home Tuesday. Los Angeles police are investigating.... Just two weeks ago, Getty had sought a restraining order against a woman, according to court records.... A woman who was present at the time of the death was escorted from the residence by police for questioning...."

Washington Post: "Iraqi forces claimed to have seized the city of Tikrit from Islamic State militants on Tuesday after U.S.-led airstrikes cleared the way for ground operations, an advance that would mark the government’s most significant victory over the extremists since their summer blitz. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced in a televised address that Tikrit had been liberated after security forces and 'popular mobilization' units, a grouping of pro-government fighters that includes Iranian-backed Shiite militias, made rapid inroads into the city. However, military officials said some areas of the city were yet to be entered...."

New York Times: "With anger swelling over corruption, inequality and a devastating Islamist insurgency in the nation’s north, Nigerians chose a former general who once ruled with an iron hand to be their next president, according to election results on Tuesday. The election was the most competitive presidential race ever in Nigeria, one of the largest democracies in the world. Now, if power is handed over peacefully, it will be a major shift for the nation — the first transfer of power between civilians of different parties in a country that has spent much of its post-colonial history roiled by military coups."

The Unfortunate Death of a Fool. Washington Post: "What had first appeared to be an attempt to breach security at the [NSA] ... now appears to be a wrong turn by two men who police believe had robbed their companion of his vehicle and perhaps didn’t stop because there were drugs inside. A spokeswoman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, Amy J. Thoreson, said early in the investigation that authorities 'do not believe [the incident] is related to terrorism.' A law enforcement official said: 'This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.'”

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "On Monday, the [U.S.] government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate. The agents, Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, had resigned amid growing scrutiny, and on Monday they were charged with money laundering and wire fraud. Mr. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest."

Guardian: "The personal details of world leaders at the last G20 summit were accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department, which did not consider it necessary to inform those world leaders of the privacy breach.... An employee of the agency inadvertently sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal identifiers of all world leaders attending the summit to the organisers of the Asian Cup football tournament."

Washington Post: "One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency. The vehicle slammed into a police cruiser after shots were fired." ...

... ABC News: "Sources say the two inside [the vehicle] were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual's car without permission. However, it's still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate."

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 31

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Los Angeles Times: "On Tuesday afternoon, just about lunch time, a 'flying saucer' was undergoing a spin test in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The saucer is technically a 15-foot wide, 7,000-pound aerodynamic test vehicle. It is designed to help engineers try out new technologies for landing spacecraft, and someday people, on Mars."

Guardian: "Comedy Central is standing by its new Daily Show host Trevor Noah, after the 31-year-old South African comedian set to replace Jon Stewart was criticized for a series of controversial jokes he tweeted before his appointment." ...

... Jessica Winter of Salon: "Not since John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate have the vetting capacities of a powerful political force been cast into such doubt." Besides being a misogynist pig & an anti-Semite, Noah isn't even funny."

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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.