Monday, July 21, 2014.
Governor Grandstand. New York Times: "Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was expected to announce on Monday the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security as the Border Patrol faces an influx of Central American immigrants."
Guardian: "As Dutch forensic experts arrived at the scene of the Malaysia Airlines crash on Monday and promised that the train being loaded with the victims' bodies would be moved before the end of the day, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian army and rebels on the outskirts of Donetsk, the main regional city and the hub of the insurgency." ...
... New York Times Update: "After days of obstruction, Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine permitted Dutch forensics experts on Monday to search the wreckage of the downed Malaysia Airlines jetliner destroyed by a surface-to-air missile, allowed bodies of the victims to be evacuated by train and agreed to give the plane’s flight recorder boxes to the Malaysian government."
New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin issued a brief statement early on Monday saying that Russia would work to ensure that the conflict in eastern Ukraine moves from the battlefield to the negotiating table, and he again said that a robust international investigating team must have secure access to the Malaysia Airlines crash site. He also accused unspecified nations of exploiting the disaster in pursuit of 'mercenary political goals.' The statement posted on the Kremlin website came a day after mounting international criticism and anger against Russia and specifically Mr. Putin for the chaotic, unsecured condition of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site and what some nations said was the desecration of the victims’ bodies."
Sunday, July 20, 2014.
New York Times: "After weeks of escalating conflict in Gaza, both sides reported death tolls that made clear Sunday was the deadliest day so far in the war. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that 87 Palestinians had died, and the Israeli military said 13 soldiers were dead.... President Obama told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that he had 'serious concern' about the growing number of casualties on both sides in Gaza."
Los Angeles Times: "Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western 'Maverick' led to a stellar career in TV and films such as 'The Rockford Files' and his Oscar-nominated 'Murphy's Romance,' has died, police said. He was 86." ...
... UPDATE: The New York Times obituary is here.
New York Times: "Pro-Russian separatist militiamen have seized custody of the bodies of about 200 victims of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile, Ukrainian officials said on Sunday, and rebels continued to limit access to the crash site in eastern Ukraine, blocking the work of experts even as hundreds of untrained local volunteers were picking through the wreckage with sticks." ...
... Washington Post: "The United States has confirmed that Russia supplied sophisticated missile launchers to separatists in eastern Ukraine and that attempts were made to move them back across the Russian border after the Thursday shoot-down of a Malaysian jet liner, a U.S. official said Saturday." ...
... Washington Post: "Russia said Saturday it supports a transparent international investigation of the downing of a Malaysian airliner, but U.S. and other Western officials said they saw no evidence Moscow was seeking to impose that message on its eastern Ukrainian allies who still control the site of the crash.... In a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State John F. Kerry 'underscored that the United States remains deeply concerned' that international investigators were denied access, and that victims and debris were reportedly being 'tampered with or inappropriately removed from the site,' a State Department statement said." ...
... The Guardian is liveblogging developments.
New York Times: "The Israeli military said on Sunday that it had expanded its ground activities in Gaza, increasing the number of forces and the areas in which they were operating, as eastern Gaza came under heavy shelling and as resistance from Hamas fighters appeared to intensify. Casualties grew on both sides...."
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."
10:00 am ET: President Obama signs an executive order to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination
11:45 am ET: President Obama participates in a town hall focusing on the importance of the My Brother's Keeper initiative
11:45 am ET: Vice President Biden speaks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in St. Louis, Mo. (audio only)
1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing
3:10 pm ET: President Obama awards Ryan M. Pitt, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor (CW: Here's some background on Pitt.)
If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
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:
Whole Food Business Model: We Cheat You, But Not so Much You'll Notice. Shan Li of the Los Angeles Times: "Whole Foods Market is paying $800,000 in penalties after an investigation found the supermarket chain overcharged customers throughout California. During a yearlong investigation, state and local inspectors found the Austin, Texas, grocer charged more than advertised for a wide range of food products, according to a statement from the Santa Monica city attorney's office. Problems included failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up fresh food, putting smaller amounts into packages than the weight stated on the label, and selling items by the piece instead of by the pound, as required by law, the statement said.... 'Based on a review of our own records and a sampling of inspection reports .... our pricing on weighed and measured items was accurate 98% of the time,' the company said in a Tuesday statement." ...
The Vagina Dialog. Turned out to Require a Large Cast of Supporting Characters. Jen Kirby of New York: "An American student studying abroad in Germany captured the world's attention yesterday by achieving the remarkable feat of getting himself stuck in a giant vagina sculpture and needing 22 firefighters to rescue him. But Fernando de la Jara, the artist behind the now-infamous work, took it all in stride.... 'It's participatory art,' de la Jara said. 'It should be entered.'"
President Obama meets a robotic giraffe at the White House Makers' Faire:
Rebecca Schuman of Slate claims Aldi is "the best grocery store in America." CW: I never heard of Aldi, but I believe I'll give one a try. I already know how to grocery-shop German. Schuman's piece is interesting reading, whether or not there's an Aldi near you.