The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, February 7, 2016.

New York Times: "Robin Chandler Duke, a rags-to-riches grande dame who married an ambassador and became one of America’s best known advocates for women by championing reproductive rights and international family planning, died in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. She was 92."

New York Times: "Defying warnings of tougher sanctions from Washington, North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday that Western experts believe is part of a program to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technologies."

White House Live Video
February 8

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of NIH/NIAID, & Dr. Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director of the CDC

4:15 pm ET: Celebrating African-American women & dance

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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.