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.

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.