Dan Sligh describes his "rough day" after he & his wife plunged in their truck into the Skagit River after an I-5 bridge in Washington state collapsed:
Friday, May 24, 2013.
Washington Post: "Haynes Johnson, a distinguished Washington Post journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for civil rights coverage in the 1960s and later sought to pierce the mysteries of the politics and gamesmanship of the capital, died May 24 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 81."
Seattle Times: "A chunk of Interstate 5 collapsed into the Skagit River near Mount Vernon on Thursday evening, dumping two vehicles into the icy waters and creating a gaping hole in Washington state’s major north-south artery. Officials said the highway will not be fixed for weeks at the very least. Rescuers pulled three people with minor injuries from the water after the collapse, which authorities say began when a semitruck with an oversized load struck a steel beam at around 7 p.m....The bridge, built in 1955, was inspected twice last year and repairs were made.... The bridge is classified as a 'fracture critical' bridge by the National Bridge Inventory. That means one major structural part can ruin the entire bridge, as compared with a bridge that has redundant features...."
Reuters: "A North Korean envoy told China's president on Friday that his reclusive country was willing to take 'positive actions' to ensure peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, as China steps up diplomatic efforts to bring Pyongyang back to talks." ...
... New York Times Update: "The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, bluntly told a North Korean envoy on Friday that his country should return to diplomatic talks intended to rid it of its nuclear weapons, according to a state-run Chinese news agency."
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New York Times: A Swedish study "associate[s] antidepressant use during pregnancy with an increased incidence of autism in exposed children."
9:30 am ET: President Obama gives the commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy
If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
AP: "When high school student Zach Sobiech learned he didn't have much longer to live, his mother suggested he write letters to tell his loved ones goodbye. Instead, the Minnesota teenager turned to writing music — and his farewell song, 'Clouds,' became a YouTube sensation that has attracted more than 4 million views. Other musicians have covered the tune, and it inspired a celebrity video on YouTube. 'Clouds' was even listed No. 1 on the iTunes Top 10 list on Wednesday — two days after Sobiech died after battling bone cancer.... 'You don't have to find out you're dying to start living,' Sobiech said in a short video about him titled, 'My Last Days: Meet Zach Sobiech,' which also has been viewed more than 4 million times since it was posted to YouTube two weeks ago.
Politico's Late Nite Jokes:
New York Times: "On the program she invented, on the network where she worked for the past 37 years, on the medium where she broke barriers and rules for more than 50 years, Barbara Walters will announce on Monday morning, definitively and with no regrets, that she is calling it a career." ...
... ** UPDATE. Alex Pareene of Salon: Walters "is a national icon and a pioneer, and probably as responsible as any other living person for the ridiculous and sorry state of American television journalism. She has announced her retirement a year in advance, so that a series of aggrandizing specials can be produced celebrating her long and storied career. So let’s get things started off right, by reminding everyone how her entire public life has been an extended exercise in sycophancy and unalloyed power worship."
Margalit Fox if the New York Times on "Alice Kober, an overworked, underpaid classics professor at Brooklyn College," who "working quietly and methodically at her dining table in Flatbush, helped solve one of the most tantalizing mysteries of the modern age."
The Kids are All Right. Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic: contra Time magazine's cover story "The Me Me Me Generation," young people of every generation are more narcissistic than older people. A mighty fine takedown. ...
... AND, as Marc Tracy of The New Republic writes, " Time and [the story's author Joel] Stein reveal themselves to be guilty of taking culturally and ethically specific ideas about how people should live their lives as normative facts.... It is an unrigorous application of pre-existing biases, taking those biases for gospel. It is typical not so much of Gen Xers or baby boomers but of, simply, old people. Stein’s article is dressed up as objective description, which hides the fact that most of it — to paraphrase a boomer icon — is just, like, his opinion, man."
Britain's Prince Harry has tea at the White House:
... AND he isn't a complete goof: Yahoo! News: "Prince Harry made a visit to Capitol Hill yesterday to tour an exhibit on landmines, a cause dear to the heart of his late mother Princess Diana, and inadvertently won the hearts of flocks of female admirers who followed him to the exhibit. The CEO of the HALO Trust, the charity that organized the Capitol Hill exhibit, told Power Players that Prince Harry 'is really carrying on that mantle' of his mother’s work by bringing public attention to the cause."
A Tale of Two Spocks. And one kind of auto ad: Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: "The Challenge"
Perhaps it's in bad taste to put an obituary of a beloved mother in the Infotainment section. But still. ...
... Forrest Wickman of Slate: "Margaret Groening, mother of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, died peacefully at age 94 recently. She is survived by the longest running sitcom in American television, much of which she and her family helped inspire." Read the whole thing.
Washington Post: "The first plane that can fly day and night powered only by the sun on Friday began a transcontinental journey that will reach Washington by mid-June." ...
... AP Update: "The Solar Impulse — considered the world's most-advanced sun-powered plane — set down about 12:30 a.m. [Saturday, May 4,] at Sky Harbor Airport [in Phoeniz, Arizona], completing part of a journey that its pilot described as a 'milestone' in aviation history."
Alex Pareene of Salon: "Howard Kurtz comes out as illiterate." ...
Dylan Byers of Politico: "The Daily Beast is dropping Howard Kurtz, the veteran media critic who made headlines this week for his erroneous report about NBA star Jason Collins.... The decision comes after Kurtz published a blog post that falsely asserted that Collins, who announced he was gay in an article for Sports Illustrated, had neglected to mention his previous engagement to a woman. In fact, Collins mentioned that engagement in the article and in a subsequent interview with ABC News." ...
... Update: "... CNN also announced that Kurtz’s longtime weekend media criticism show, 'Reliable Sources,' was under review." CW: It's a rare day that a fawning, phony VSP goes "under review."
... The Daily Beast: "The Daily Beast has retracted a May 2, 2013, blog post by Howard Kurtz titled 'Jason Collins’ Other Secret.' The piece contained several errors, resulting in a misleading characterization of NBA player Collins...." ...
... CW: I'm not sure why Collins would be expected to tell people he was once engaged to a woman. This is only going to call attention to the woman & might embarrass her. His past & present personal relationships are his own business. He chose to share the information, but I don't see that it was a necessary element to his coming-out. Kurtz is just an all-around idiot. ...
... AND, yeah, Howie's video -- which everybody says is awful -- is really awful. BuzzFeed has it here. Evidently, Howie is unaware that many people who are gay have carried on long heterosexual relationships, have married opposite-sex people and have had children with them -- before they came out. There is nothing even remotely unusual about Collins' having carried on a long-term relationship with a woman. Kurtz is just an all-around idiot.
New York Times: "Archaeologists excavating a trash pit at the Jamestown colony site in Virginia have found direct evidence of the cannibalism that had long been known to have occurred among the desperate population. Cut marks on the skull and skeleton of a 14-year-old girl show her flesh and brain were removed, presumably to be eaten by the starving colonists during the harsh winter of 1609."
Space.com: "The best view of Saturn available to Earth dwellers in six years should be on Sunday (April 28), with the planet reaching its opposition point, when Earth lies directly between it and the sun. You can watch the celestial show live online via the Slooh Space Camera, which will be broadcasting a feed from its telescopes in Spain's Canary Islands. You can watch the Saturn webcast live on SPACE.com beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday (0130 GMT Monday)."
See Will Shakespeare Spin. "Thou Protestes Too Much." Or Something. Michele Bachmann plays Queen Gertrude, the mother of Prince Hamlet: