Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made towards rebuilding our economy, including the creation of nearly 10 million new private sector jobs in the past 53 months and the rise in the number of American exports to an all-time high":

The Ledes

Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Washington Post: "White-tarped trucks from the controversial Russian convoy that provoked a dramatic escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began returning to Russian territory Saturday after delivering supplies to the war-torn city of Luhansk, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in the capital Kiev for a symbolic show of support and behind-the-scenes efforts to ease rising tensions. Russia had sent the aid convoy of over 200 trucks into rebel-held Ukrainian territory Friday without permission.... The maneuver came amid reports from NATO that Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian artillery fire from inside their borders. A top Lithuanian diplomat was also killed in ongoing violence."

Reuters: "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for an urgent resumption of peace talks on Saturday as violence continued unabated in the Gaza Strip with Israel carrying out air strikes and militants firing rockets. Gaza health officials said five people, including two children, were killed in an Israeli strike on a house in central Gaza. Three more Palestinians were killed in other strikes." ...

... AFP: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday vowed harsh retribution against Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, after a mortar round fired from the Palestinian territory killed an Israeli child." ...

... Democracy Now!: "More than 467 Palestinian children have died since July.... According to the World Health Organization, more than 3,000 children have been injured, of which an estimated 1,000 will suffer from a lifelong disability."

... CW: Res ipsa loquitur.

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, August 22, 2014.

New York Times: "A Chinese fighter jet flew within 30 feet of a Navy surveillance and reconnaissance plane this week in international airspace just off the Chinese coast, the Pentagon said Friday. The encounter, known as an intercept, 'was very, very close, very dangerous,' said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. The Pentagon filed a diplomatic complaint with the People’s Liberation Army on Friday morning, Defense Department officials said. As of Friday afternoon, it had not received a reply."

** New York Times: "Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, NATO officials said on Friday. The West has long accused Russia of supporting the separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, but this is the first time it has said it had evidence that the Russian military was operating in Ukrainian territory."

Guardian: "Iraqi government forces and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have launched attacks to recapture two towns in the north from Islamic State (Isis) militants, as Western governments consider how to mount an effective response to the threat posed by the extremist group that has redrawn the border of Iraq and Syria."

New York Times: "The first trucks from a long-stalled Russian convoy said to be carrying humanitarian aid crossed the border into eastern Ukraine on Friday, without the consent of the Ukrainian government and unaccompanied by Red Cross escorts, as had been earlier agreed upon. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a long statement in Moscow saying, in essence, that it had authorized the crossing because it was fed up with stalling by the government in Kiev." ...

... Washington Post: "Ukrainian authorities appeared to be scrambling Friday to decide how to respond to the border incursion. A Ukrainian military spokesman backed away from previous bellicose statements, but state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists in Kiev, 'We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine,' Reuters news agency reported. He said Ukrainian forces would not use force against the convoy because they want to avoid 'provocations.'”

AP: "Gaza gunmen killed 18 alleged spies for Israel on Friday, including seven who were lined up behind a mosque and shot after midday prayers, in response to Israel’s deadly airstrikes against top Hamas military commanders."

Washington Post: "Ever since the retirement of the space shuttle three years ago, American astronauts have had to hitchhike their way to the International Space Station aboard Russian spaceships. It is an increasingly costly arrangement..., made worse by U.S.-Russian tensions over the crisis in Ukraine. But in the coming weeks, NASA is expected to announce its long-awaited solution: a multibillion-dollar contract to build a U.S. spacecraft, which could help reignite a struggling American space program."

Public Service Announcement

New York Times, August 15: "The Food and Drug Administration has approved Avastin — made by Genentech, a unit of the Swiss drug maker Roche — for a new use against late-stage cervical cancer, the seventh indication for the biotech drug, which had global sales of $6.25 billion last year."

White House Live Video
August 22

1:30 pm ET: Press briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz

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

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Looking for a bucolic retreat where the townspeople will protect you from curious outsiders? Got about $700K to burn? Then you might be interested in purchasing the former home of fiction writer J. D. Salinger. the property is located in Cornish, New Hamphire:

... Many more pix & a virtual tour here.

Kevin Roose of New York: "How to make $200MM in 28 months." CW: Yeah, I know. Twenty-eight months is a lo-o-o-ong time.

Stupid Wiki Tricks. Telegraph: "Wikimedia, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because a monkey pressed the shutter button and should own the copyright."

The Wrap: "James Corden is taking over for Craig Ferguson as host of 'The Late Late Show' on CBS, an individual with knowledge of the situation has told TheWrap.... Corden stars in Disney's 'Into the Woods' and can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again.'”

John Oliver on "native advertising." Via Juan Cole:

Justice Ginsburg on the Tumblr site Notorious R.B.G.:

Washington Post: "Former president George W. Bush has been writing a book about his father, former president George H.W. Bush. The book will be published in November."

"Homophonia." Caroline Moss of Business Insider: "An education blogger in Utah is out of a job today after writing [righting] a blog post explaining 'homophones' for the Nomen Global Language Center. Tim Torkildson said he was fired by [buy] his boss and NGLC owner, Clarke Woodger, for [four] promoting a gay agenda." Here's Torkildson's blogpost on his firing. Thanks to Akhilleus for the link.

Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times: "New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission would do well to turn down the Frick Collection’s proposed expansion, which imagines replacing a prized garden on East 70th Street in Manhattan with a clumsy addition. The city should avoid another self-inflicted wound, and there are other options." CW: As I recall, the garden is that it is difficult to see from the street. I love the garden court & have spent a good deal of time there.

Martha Stewart has a drone.

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:

 

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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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