The Ledes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

AP: "A senior PLO official has called for a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza war, saying he is also speaking in the name of Hamas."

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 29

10:10 am ET: White House Agricultural Champions of Change meet

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

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:

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CNN, December 8: "Republican Randy Altschuler conceded his bid Wednesday to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in New York's 1st congressional district, settling the nation's last unresolved House contest from the November midterm elections. Bishop's victory keeps the GOP net gain in the House at 63 seats. That leaves the final breakdown for the 112th Congress at 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. The 63-seat gain for the GOP is the largest for any party since 1948."

Syracuse Post-Standard, November 23: "Ann Marie Buerkle will be Syracuse's next representative in Congress, its first woman in the U.S. House. U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, the Democrat, called Buerkle today to concede, ending three weeks of ballot inspections, recounting and court wrangling."

Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who won a special election in New York's 23rd, will pull off another win in this traditionally red district, thanks again to Conservative spoiler Doug Hoffman. Kate Pickert of Time has the story.

NY1 projects that New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will retain the seat to which she was appointed in 2009 when Sen. Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.

NBC News projects that New York AG Andrew Cuomo will win the gubernatorial race. New York Times story here.

NBC News projects that New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer will retain his seat.

President Clinton speaks at a rally for Andrew Cuomo:

     ... New York Times story here.

New York candidate for governor (or president or something) Jimmy McMillan appears on "Weekend Update":

New York Times, October 21: Many people in Buffalo were initially thrilled when hometown boy Carl Paladino won the Republican nomination for governor. But after finding out more about him, they've decided that "Mr. Paladino’s candor crossed the line from refreshing to repulsive."

You might say gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan is a single-issue candidate:

Spitzer Lite, in an elephant suit. -- the Murdoch-owned New York Post's description of Republican Carl Paladino. The Post unenthusastically endorsed Democrat Andrew Cuomo

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times:, October 18: "The first — and possibly last — debate in the New York race for governor unfolded as 90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night.... Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes. Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring “If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.” And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room." ...

... Seven Dwarfs. The New York Times is liveblogging the New York state gubernatorial debate among seven contendahs.

Daily News, October 13: Paladino seems to find it okay to be gay if you're renting space from him. For years, two gay bars operated in Carl Paladino-owned buildings in Buffalo.

New York Times, October 12: "Carl P. Paladino, the Republican nominee for governor of New York, apologized on Tuesday for delivering comments that offended gay people, even as his campaign manager provoked a new controversy by calling the Democratic nominee, Andrew M. Cuomo, “oily.”

Of "Speedos & Grinding." Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times, October 11: New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino defends remarks he made yesterday about gays, says he's not a bigot. CW: you decide.

New York Times, October 10: "The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be 'brainwashed' into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year. Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage." Cuomo released a statement condemning Paladino's remarks.

Another Democrat, Bill Owens of New York's 23rd, runs on the John Boehner ticket:

... Time: Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman drops out of the three-way race in Upstate New York's 23rd District.

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Mr. Paladino’s near-physical confrontation with a New York Post reporter on Wednesday night, along with his unsubstantiated assertions about the private life of his opponent, Andrew M. Cuomo, which he later retracted, have the political world grappling with this difficult question: In an election season defined by anger, how much is too much?" ...

... The New York Times Editorial Board on Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino: "... bullying, it is increasingly clear, is Mr. Paladino’s standard operating procedure. The last thing this state needs is an out-of-control governor who can’t take the heat.

Unhinged. Maggie Haberman of Politico, September 29: "New York Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino alleged Tuesday that Democrat Andrew Cuomo was unfaithful to his ex-wife years ago.... Paladino offered no proof of his claim, despite requests for substantiation, and he made it minutes after angrily declaring his 10-year-old daughter—a child from his own affair 10 years ago—off limits to the press." ...

     ... Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "Hours after the phone interview [with Politico] was conducted, Mr. Paladino nearly came to blows with a New York Post reporter who confronted him about the comments." Here's the videotape:

... The Teddy-Bear Version:

Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "As he mounts an outrage-filled campaign for governor of New York, Carl P. Paladino has vowed to forcibly rid Albany of the wayward officials and misbehaving bureaucrats..., promising to 'take out the trash.' But some of the people whom Mr. Paladino has recruited to run his campaign are plagued by checkered pasts.... [His] driver was jailed over his driving record; his campaign manager has tax troubles; and a strategist is charged with stealing $1.1 million."

Bob Herbert shares the content of some of the images & videos New York's Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino, thought were so hilarious he had to forward them to friends & acquaintances. Here are two:

A photo showing a group of black men trying to get out of the way of an airplane that is apparently moving across a field. The caption reads: 'Run niggers, run.'

A video clip of a nude couple engaged in intercourse with the title: “Miss France [expletive].” Mr. Paladino characterized it as 'a keeper.'

New York Times: "Former Representative Rick A. Lazio has agreed to have his name removed as the Conservative Party’s candidate for governor, in a decision that bolsters the candidacy of the Republican candidate, Carl P. Paladino."

CW: Here's another good reason to despise New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino. New York Post: "It was just about a year ago, hours after the death of her son in a car crash, that Cathy Paladino's husband told her he was the father of a 10-year-old girl with another woman -- and that all their children and most of their friends already knew." Only a cannibalistic axe-murderer is worse than this guy. The New York Times story provides a little more nuance. Carl is still an asshole.

Wall Street Journal: "Unleashing his most scathing criticism of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Thursday said the Democratic candidate for governor is hindered by a reputation for being 'the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there.' Mr. Spitzer also defended Mr. Cuomo's insurgent Republican rival, asserting that Carl Paladino 'is not as crazy as the media has portrayed him to be.'"

Politico: "Doug Hoffman ... conceded the GOP nomination [in an Upstate New York Congressional race] Thursday to Matt Doheny, a largely self-funding businessman who was the choice of the Republican establishment. But Hoffman announced at the same time that he would continue campaigning on the Conservative Party ballot line."

Donn Esmonde of the Buffalo News on why Paladino won the Republican primary: "The millionaire Buffalo developer’s candidacy for governor—and his annihilation of endorsed Republican Rick Lazio in last week’s primary— was spawned by decades of abuses that Albany heaped on its citizens. The abuses are largely traceable to an army of pay-to-play special interests."

New York Times: "Andrew M. Cuomo’s painstakingly constructed veneer of political inevitability began to crack on Wednesday, as a new poll showing his Republican opponent, Carl P. Paladino, within striking distance.... Just hours after the poll came out, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg publicly endorsed Mr. Cuomo."

New York Post: Republican "Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg is going to plunge into the governor’s race by endorsing Democrat Andrew Cuomo — possibly as early as today, sources said last night.

Salon, September 21: "The New York state Republican Party is denouncing GOP congressional hopeful Jim Russell following the revelation that he wrote an essay opposing 'miscegenation' (his word) and outlining his views about the assault on the 'Western continuum' from Jews, blacks and other minorities.... He is the GOP-endorsed candidate running against Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., in the state's 18th District, which is mostly Westchester County."

He is dangerous, at the least, he is mean spirited and he tries to divide people. -- Former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican, on New York's Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino

Think Progress: "former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato..., former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and former State Comptroller Carl McCall ... signed ... an open letter declaring [New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl] Paladino unfit for office."

Delusions of Grover. Clyde Haberman of the New York Times on New York's Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino: "On [Paladino']s campaign Web site, prominently displayed near the top of the home page, is a notice that says in large white-on-black type, 'The last NY governor from Buffalo became president of the United States.' ...  The two men have things in common, including fiscal conservatism and a distaste for political patronage and bossism. Oh, there’s one other matter: Both acknowledged having fathered children who in a quainter time were described as — pass the smelling salts — illegitimate."

New York Times: "Carl P. Paladino, a wealthy Buffalo businessman and political neophyte, won a stunning victory over his rival, former Representative Rick A. Lazio, in New York’s Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday night.... It put at the top of the party’s ticket a volatile newcomer who has forwarded e-mails to friends containing racist jokes and pornographic images, espoused turning prisons into dormitories where welfare recipients could be given classes on hygiene, and defended an ally’s comparison of the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who is Jewish, to “an Antichrist or a Hitler.”

New York Times: "Representative Charles B. Rangel, the battle-scarred Democratic incumbent facing numerous ethics charges, captured his party’s nomination on Tuesday after a nasty six-way primary battle in which his opponents sharply questioned his fitness to serve."

David Chen of the New York Times (September 13) provides a run-down of New York state primary contests.

... BUT Nicholas Confessore of the Times writes, "on the eve of the first major statewide election in four years, many voters are ... spent with exhaustion. Disappointed and hopeless, many are disdainful of Albany’s would-be white knights and skeptical of the rhetoric of change."

Can't Get a Job? Maybe You Stink. Zaid Jilani of Think Progress: "New York GOP gubernatorial primary candidate Carl Paladino, 'a wealthy Buffalo real estate developer popular with many tea party activists,' is openly advocating for the creation of special prison dorms for recipients of unemployment insurance where they can receive special training and lessons in 'personal hygiene.'“

Jonathan Mahler profiles New York AG Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for governor, in the New York Times Magazine.

New York Times: "of the estimated $7.1 million that the [Andrew] Cuomo campaign has received from political action committees, associations, limited liability corporations and other entities, more than half has come from the biggest players in Albany: organized labor, the real estate and related industries like construction, the health care sector and lobbying firms."

The influence of lobbyists and their special interests must be drastically reduced with new contribution limits. -- Andrew Cuomo, while "sitting on millions in campaign cash from the very special interests whose influence he said he wanted to limit"

Susan Dominus of the New York Times: Andrew Cuomo's media-star girlfriend Sandra Lee won't speak to the media -- unless it's about tunafish.