The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, November 27, 2015.

BBC News: "The Democratic Action party [of Venezuela] says Luis Manuel Diaz[, a regional leader of the party.] was killed by a man who approached the stage after a public meeting in central Guarico state. Opposition leaders blamed militias supporting the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). President Nicolas Maduro denied this and said an inquiry had been launched."

AP: "Malian special forces have arrested two men over last week's attack on a luxury hotel in the capital that killed 19 people, according to a statement distributed Friday morning. The statement identified the two Malians, both arrested in Bamako, but provided no other details on their background or their potential roles in the attack."

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families, What makes America America is that we offer that chance. -- President Obama
White House: "In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and reflected on America’s history of welcoming men and women seeking a safer, better future for themselves and their families":

White House Live Video
November 27

11:00 am ET: Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree

Go to


Michelle Obama accepts delivery of the White House Christmas tree, November 27:

Boston Globe: Michael Dukakis loves leftover turkey. A turkey carcass makes great soup, he said, inviting people to drop off turkey carcasses at his home. So they did.

Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

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."

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."

... 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:

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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. 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.


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

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