The Ledes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

Guardian: "Gaza endured a night of relentless bombardment that brought some of the heaviest pounding since the start of the conflict three weeks ago, in the hours after the Israeli political and military leadership warned of a protracted offensive. Palestinian officials say more than 110 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, July 28, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States has concluded that Russia violated a landmark arms control treaty by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, according to senior American officials, a finding that was conveyed by President Obama to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in a letter on Monday."

New York Times: "The United States and Europe put aside their differences and agreed on Monday to sharply escalate economic sanctions against Russia in a set of coordinated actions driven by the conclusion that Moscow has taken a more direct role in the war in Ukraine. After months in which European leaders were hesitant to go as far as the Americans, the two sides settled on a package of measures that would target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors. In some cases, the Europeans may actually leapfrog beyond what the United States has done, forcing Washington to try to catch up."

Guardian: "Dutch and Australian police have failed to reach the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 for a second day as clashes rage in a town on the road to the area." ...

... Washington Post: "The Ukrainian military on Monday captured a strategically important swath of territory close to the debris field of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a spokesman said, dealing a blow to pro-Russian rebels but raising new questions about whether an investigation at the site will ever yield conclusive evidence about the attack on the airliner."

NEW. Washington Post: "Israel will press its air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, preparing his country for a longer and bloodier campaign and dashing hopes that the three-week-old conflict would end soon." ...

... Washington Post: "International efforts to end the devastating three-week-old Gaza war intensified Monday with the U.N. Security Council calling for an 'immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' in the conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 1,035 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers. The ravaged coastal enclave was relatively quiet Monday as Palestinians started celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Israel mostly held its fire overnight, shelling only a site in the northern Gaza Strip in response to rockets fired from there." ...

     ... UPDATE: "Explosions rocked a major hospital and a neighborhood of Gaza City on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead, witnesses reported." ...

... New York Times: "On Sunday, however, [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry was having difficulty accomplishing even ... a succession of temporary cease-fires..., despite a phone call in which President Obama, in a sign of mounting impatience, urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to embrace an 'immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire' while the two sides pursued a more lasting agreement. ...

... A White House readout of the conversation between Obama & Netanyahu is here.

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 28

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

3:05 pm ET: President Obama awards the 2013 National Medal of Arts & the National Medal of Humanities Medal

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

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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.

 

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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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