The Ledes

Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Guardian: Texas governor Greg Abbott has expanded the emergency disaster zone in his state, adding 24 counties to a list of 13 affected by storms and flooding. Three people were reported dead and 12 missing as Oklahoma was also hit hard, while a tornado left 13 dead in a Mexican town just beyond the border."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, May 25, 2015.

New York Times: "Texas marked 24 counties as disaster areas on Monday as drenching rains and violent weather swept through that state and Oklahoma, forcing thousands of people from their homes and killing at least three."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 25

11:20 am ET: President Obama speaks at Arlington National Cemetery

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

New York

You're on an auxiliary page. Click Constant Comments-Home on the bar above to go to the main page.

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.