The Ledes

Friday, January 20, 2017.

Washington Post: "The world’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, was extradited to the United States on Thursday night, whisked away from the country where he built an empire that delivered tons of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to the world." -- CW ...

     ... New York Times Update: "While most Americans were turned toward Washington and the inauguration of Donald J. Trump..., prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn held a news conference on Friday morning detailing the charges against Mr. Guzmán, who was flown out of Mexico on Thursday afternoon and arrived that night at MacArthur Airport on Long Island.... The government’s detention memo also gave an early glimpse of the case against Mr. Guzmán. It said that prosecutors planned to call several witnesses who would testify about the staggering scope of Mr. Guzmán’s criminal enterprise: including its multi-ton shipments of drugs in planes and submersibles and its numerous killings of witnesses, law enforcement agents, public officials and rival cartel members." -- CW 

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

New York Times: "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced on Saturday night that after 146 years of performances, it was folding its big tent forever. In a statement on the company’s website, Kenneth Feld, the chief executive of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling, said the circus would hold its final performances in May. He cited declining ticket sales, which dropped even more drastically after elephants were phased out from the shows last year." -- CW 

The Washington Post publishes a series of photos of the Vice President's residence.

Los Angeles Times: "Perhaps fittingly for an industry that has been trying to console itself in the wake of a presidential election result few saw coming, the 74th Golden Globes, held at the Beverly Hilton, proved a big night for the fizzy romantic musical 'La La Land,' a love letter to Hollywood itself that is widely considered the film to beat in this year’s best picture race." -- CW ...

Marisa Kashino of the Washingtonian: "... multiple real-estate sources say [Ivanka] Trump and husband Jared Kushner will move into 2449 Tracy Pl, NW, in Kalorama. That will put the couple less than two blocks from the Obamas, who will reportedly move here post-White House." Realtors' photos of the Kushner-Trump house are here. The six-bedroom house ... sold on December 22nd for $5.5 million, though it is unclear whether Trump and Kushner bought it, or will rent it from the recent buyer." -- CW 

Daniel Politi of Slate: "Los Angeles residents got a little surprise when they woke up on the first day of the year and realized one of the city’s most famous landmarks had been vandalized to read 'HOLLYWeeD' — at least for a few hours. Police say the vandal used tarps to change the sign’s O’s into E’s. Security cameras caught the vandal — likely a man — changing the sign between midnight and 2 a.m. but police can’t tell the person’s race or height from the footage, reports KTLA. If caught, the vandal could face a misdemeanor trespassing charge." -- CW 

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

Washington Post: "The Kennedy Center Honors showcased the breadth of American music Sunday night [Dec. 4] with emotionally charged performances celebrating the gospel roots of Mavis Staples, the honeyed vocals of James Taylor and the Southern California harmonies of the Eagles. The 39th annual celebration of lifetime achievement in the performing arts also honored actor Al Pacino and pianist Martha Argerich in a three-hour party that offered a wistful goodbye to Barack and Michelle Obama, who were hosting their last Honors tribute. The sold-out audience stood and cheered for several minutes when the president and first lady were introduced."

A Night at the Opera. Los Angeles Times: "The curtain rose on Act 2 of 'The Daughter of the Regiment,' revealing the figure of a tiny woman barely visible in a large dome chair with her back to the audience. Suddenly, she swiveled around — and there was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Cheers and prolonged applause rang out from the crowd at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night even before Ginsburg, a life-long opera lover who was making her official operatic debut, opened her mouth to speak as the imperious Duchess of Krakenthorp.... Her biggest laugh came when — in apparent reference to the bogus 'birther' campaign against President Obama — she asked whether [the character] Marie could produce a birth certificate and added: 'We must take precautions against fraudulent pretenders.' Ginsburg herself wrote her dialogue, in collaboration with ... [the] dramaturge for the Washington National Opera...." -- CW 

Bruce Springsteen performs at Hillary Clinton's rally in Philadelphia, November 7:

Washington Post: "Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday evening in London, becoming the first American ever to take home the prestigious award. His satirical novel 'The Sellout' beat five other finalists for the $60,000 prize, which also essentially guarantees substantial new sales and interest around the world. Amanda Foreman, chair of the Booker judges, called 'The Sellout' 'a novel for our times. . . . Its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.' Originally published last year in the United States, 'The Sellout' is an outrageously funny satire of American race relations. The protagonist, a black man whose father was killed by police, wants to reinstitute segregation in his California town. He eventually lands before the Supreme Court in a bizarre case involving slavery. 'The Sellout' also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in March." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Comic actor, movie star and America’s best friend Bill Murray tried to sum up the emotions of being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night [Oct. 23] at the Kennedy Center. 'My theme tonight is what is it like to be beloved,' a straight-faced Murray told the crowd at the end of the two-hour salute. 'It’s hard to listen to all those people be nice to you. You just get so suspicious.'”

Hill: Actor Bill Murray "spoke with President Obama, who congratulated him for winning this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a White House official said. Asked by reporters in the Oval Office if he met with Murray, Obama said 'absolutely,' but didn’t reveal what else they discussed."

Contact the Constant Weader

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

The Obamas' European Tour April 2009 - Part 1

Wall Street Journal graphic.

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

Be sure to see the EuroGallery, too, which has some excellent photographs of events. Link via the navigation bar above.

The Washington Post has an excellent slideshow of the President's European trip. Time magazine also has an outstanding slideshow of the Obamas' European trip. Also, don't miss the White House's fabulous slideshow of behind-the-scenes photos.

Sunday Commentary on the President & First Lady's European Excursion:

Reuters photo.

A. A. Gill in the New York Times: "Honey, we shrank the monarchy."

Maureen Dowd: President Obama's unique life experience makes him well-suited to dealing with egotistical world leaders.

Michael Scherer has an interesting post on Obama's view of "American exceptionalism" -- one of the many embarassments of the Bush era, now put in perspective.

In Slate, Fred Kaplan hails the return of statescraft.

AP: President Obama defuses Turkey's objections to Denmark's Anders Fogh Rasmussen to head NATO, & the deal is done.

New York Times: at a luncheon for EU leaders, President Obama urged them to admit Turkey to the Union.

Reuters Update: the French & Germans are not amused. BBC report here.

Brief video of Obama-EU leaders' joint news conference following the EU summit meeting:

Brief video of President Obama addressing the EU summit members:

I liked this short EUX.TV video in which handlers get the European leaders to line up for a group photo:

The BBC News has a video of President Obama's full Prague speech. And here's a link to the transcript of the full speech.

This Politico video covers the meat of the President's Prague speech. It runs about 15 minutes:

This EUX.TV video of the President's speech in the Prague Castle complex captures the highlights. (If you wonder why the backdrop seems to be a sort of sickly yellow, that's because that's what color the air is in one of the world's most polluted nations.)

Here's the President's news conference following the close of the NATO summit. Runs 32 minutes.

Update: here's the White House blog on the NATO summit vis-a-vis Afghanistan.

New York Times: the Czech Republic's embarassing domestic politics (er, it has no government just now) have wrecked its hopes for a chance to shine on the world stage when EU leaders -- and the Obamas -- converge on the Republic for their annual summit.

After painstaking research & analysis, Gail Collins resolves the "long-standing question of who can be more irritating, the Republicans or the French."

President Obama's town hall meeting in Strasbourg (runs an hour):

Here's AP raw video of the raucous greeting the Obamas received in Strasbourg:

The Guardian reports on the behind-the-scenes negotiations that secured the G-20 concord.

President Obama held a news conference following the conclusion of the G-20 summit.C-SPAN has it here. Runs 53 minutes.

A touching moment when Michelle Obama encourages students at a school catering mostly to ethnic minority girls for whom English is a second language:

"We are not amused." Actually, we are:

Charles Wolfson of CBS News: President Obama & Secretary Clinton have used international meetings to conduct an impressive array of diplomacy not directly related to the meetings' objectives.

The Obamas meet Queen Elizabeth II & her husband Prince Philip in the royal residence of Buckingham Palace.

Link here to Time magazine photos of the Obamas' visit to Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile, out in the courtyard,that's President Obama's armored car. Those are Queen Elizabeth's Corgis.No word on what happened next.

Getty image.This BBC News report on the lead-up to the G-20 meetings contains some good video footage. Duration: about 5 minutes:

To return to the main page, click on Commentariat on the navigation bar under the masthead.