The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, February 7, 2016.

New York Times: "Robin Chandler Duke, a rags-to-riches grande dame who married an ambassador and became one of America’s best known advocates for women by championing reproductive rights and international family planning, died in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. She was 92."

New York Times: "Defying warnings of tougher sanctions from Washington, North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday that Western experts believe is part of a program to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technologies."

White House Live Video
February 8

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH/NIAID, & Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC

4:15 pm ET: Celebrating African-American women & dance

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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To see photos of the Inauguraton activities, go to the Photo Galleries page on the navigation bar above & select the "Inaugural Gallery" from the drop-down menu.

After the Balls

 

Final Inaugural Events

The New York Times has an outstanding slideshow depicting the President's first day in office.

The Obamas attend one more inaugural party, this one for campaign & transition staffers. Pool report here.

President Obama takes the oath  of office!! -- Again. Really. Washington Post story here. Here's the audio:

 

Inauguration Day 2009

Washington Post, Jan. 25: D.C.police admit to mistakes in crowd management that caused many ticket-holders to miss the swearing-in.

Photographer David Bergman has created an amazing zoomable panorama (a Gigapan) of the inauguration crowd. You can zoom in close enough to ID people.

The Washington Post has a fabulous inter-active photomosaic of Barack Obama taking the oath of office with Michelle Obama holding the Lincoln Bible. Play with it. You'll like it. This is a work of art made by a thousand artists -- and one genius who figured out how to compile it. Below is the photo ONLY. Go to the site.

CLICK IMAGE TO GO TO WASHPO SITE.Don't miss Time's excellent behind-the-scenes photo essay.

Washington Post: inaugural headcount -- 1.8 million!!

Joanna Weiss of the Boston Globe captures some small moments that illuminated a grand day.

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "a nation in crisis embraces the moment."

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times on Barack Obama's inaugural day.

Washington Post: diverse Americans come from across the country to witness history. AND, security measures were such a success that with well over a million people in downtown D.C., there were no arrests.

But Ben Smith reports on some apologies for the "Purple Tunnel of Doom" & other snafus.

All of the New York Times inaugural slideshows. The Los Angeles Times has a very good slideshow here. Time has a good one, too.

The Los Angeles Times has a slideshow of the stars at the inaugural balls for folks who like to see pictures of stars standing up wearing nice clothes.

USA Today on the parties & balls. New York Times on the balls. Only one couple mattered. The Caucus is liveblogging the balls. But the A-ticket wasn't a ball at all -- it was billionaire Eli Broad's dinner for top Obama Administration officials. What they were saying at the Gay Ball.

Obamas attend the Youth Ball. The President says "young people getting involved" is the reason he was elected & "young people everywhere are in the process of imagining something different than what has come before." The Caucus: the President gets a rock star welcome.

The Obamas at the Commander-in-Chief Ball. The President speaks, salutes military, military families; mention of Shinseki gets an enthusiastic shout-out. "The time has arrived when we demand not only more or our leaders, but more of ourselves." Talks via satellite with Chicago soldiers (or Marines) in Kabul. Obamas dance, then dance with military members at the ball.

The Obamas arrive at the Home States Ball -- Hawai & Illinois. The President speaks about unity "to create the kind of world we want to create to pass on to our grandchildren."

Joe Biden speaks at the Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball. Ball is broadcast live to servicepeople overseas.

The Obamas at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. "This ball captures best the spirit of this campaign." First Lady is wearing dress designed by Jason Wu

Bidens, now Obamas make their way to reviewing stand. The Obamas walk across lawn of their new place, President holds Sasha's hand, First Lady holds Malia's. Barack & Michelle Obama shake hands with muckymucks, friends & their children in the reviewing stand.

The Obamas go back to the White House.

Highlights of Inauguration Day from MSNBC:

The Bidens also are walking the route.

The Obamas have emerged again from the belly of the Beast.

Chuck Todd reports Robert Gibbs held his first press conference; talked about Senate confirmations.

The Obamas get back in the car.

Barack & Michelle Obama get out of the car in front of the Navy Memorial. They are walking up Pennsylvania Avenue. Temperature is about 25 degrees; windchill in the teens.

The Huffington Post has a good slideshow of Barack & Michelle Obama's day here.

Motorcade takes Obamas & Bidens to the parade.

President Barack Obama reviews the troops. His wife & the Bidens accompany him on the East Steps of the Capitol.

Barack Obama pays tribute to Ted Kennedy in his brief remarks. Video of Obama's remarks included in Politico story linked directly below.

Ted Kennedy suffers a "medical emergency" at the luncheon. Taken out on stretcher, having convulsions. Also Senator Byrd is taken ill. Kennedy's health situation sounds grave. Politico story here. At the Congressional Luncheon, President Obama speaks about his concern for Kennedy:

Update: statement from hospital that Kennedy is alert & being evaluated. Sen. Byrd not ill.

Luncheon wraps up and Congress gives flags, photographs, crystal bowls to the Obamas and Bidens; Reid offers toast to new President & Vice President.

Congressional honchos are seated for lunch in the Capitol Building's Statuary Hall. The Bidens, then the Obamas arrive.

Obama's aides go to work at the White House.

Barack Obama bids farewell to George W. Bush on the East steps of the Capitol.

Time photos. New York Times slideshow.

U.S. Navy chorus signs National Anthem.

Dr. Joseph Lowery delivers benediction. USA Today on the benediction.

Elizabeth Alexander delivers her poem.

President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address. Text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address. The video is of the swearing-in & of President Obama's full inaugural address:

The New York Times has a terrific interactive graphic of the inaugural address that includes both video & transcript of the speech.

WhiteHouse.gov switches to Obama at noon. Here's the first post. The Caucus remarks here.

Feinstein introduces John Roberts. Barack Hussein Obama takes oath of office -- Roberts screws it up. Michelle holds Lincoln Inaugural Bible. Band plays "Hail to the Chief" for Barack Obama & the crowd is wild. Me too. Washington Post story, updated; links to video. New York Times story.

The Caucus on the oath flub(s).

Quartet performs John Williams composition/ arrangement. Perlman, Ma, Montera, McGill. Ma looks as if he's having a fabulous time!

Justice John Paul Stevens administers oath of office to Joe Biden. Jill Biden holds the Bible.

Aretha Franklin sings a gospel version of "My Country 'Tis of Three" wearing a funny hat.

Rick Warren gives the invocation. The CW turns the sound off. He's running on for quite awhile. And on. And on.

Dianne Feinstein speaks. "This was the moment when the dream...reached the walls of the White House."

Barack Obama arrives with Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, other Democratic leaders. Is announced as "Barack H. Obama." Huge roar from the crowd.

Joe Biden, Democratic Congressional leaders are announced, arrive on stand.

Dick Cheney arrives in a wheelchair.

George W. Bush arrives with John Boehner. Booing in the crowd.

Michelle Obama & Jill Biden arrive.

Malia & Sasha Obama, followed by Mrs. Robinson, are seated, followed by Mrs. Cheney & Mrs. G.W. Bush. The Huffington Post has a good slideshow of the girls (Malia & Sasha, not Lynne & Laura) here. Time has an even better one.

The Obamas' moving vans arrive at the White House.

Two million fill the mall. Washington Post story here.

Dignitaries are announced for the swearing-in. Former Veeps & their wives are seated. President Bill & Senator Hillary Clinton both look somber. The Bushes, Sr. & Clintons chat. The Carters are announced & seated. The Bushes Sr. are announced & seated. The Clintons are announced, get a huge ovation.

Presidential motorcade heads up Pennsylvania Avenue toward Capitol. Barack Obama & George Bush share a ride.

The Bushes greet the Obamas in the White House portico. Michelle Obama brings Laura Bush a present. They have coffee in the Blue Room. The gift from Mrs. Obama is a leather-bound journal, & a pen with today's date.

The Bidens enter the White House.

The Obamas leave the church and head for the White House to have coffee with the Bushes.

 Joe & Jill Biden, Barack & Michelle Obama enter St. John's.

The New York Times Caucus is liveblogging the inauguration.

Bush leaves a note in the Oval Office for Obama. A reasonable facsimile from Funny or Die:

 

General News and Trivia:

The Washington Post's interactive party map. This is a decidedly cool graphic.

Washington Wire: menu for the inaugural lunch. And recipes for items on the menu from Inaugural Congressional Committee; the most visited page on their site according to Dianne Feinstein.

Los Angeles Times: the parade to the White House on Pennsylvania Aveue, a stretch of road steeped in history.

The Los Angeles Times has a very good slideshow on the preparations for the inauguration.

ABC News: the inauguration tab is now tagged at $170 million.

New York Times: preparing for the inauguration -- slideshow.

The Washington Post on inaugural donations.

NBC has great photos of past First Ladies' inaugural gowns.

The President & First Lady welcome "ordinary people" to the White House. The Bidens invited D.C. school children to their official home.

The Obamas and Bidens attend a post-inaugural prayer service at the National Cathedral at 8:30 10:00 8:30 am, broadcast to begin at 10:00 am ET. The Rev. Sharon Watkins will be the first woman to lead this service, which has a tradition dating back to George Washington.

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Not to be missed: life imitates art -- the intro to the new season of "The West Wing":

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