The Ledes

Thursday, April 24, 2014.

Guardian: Ukrainian troops are moving against pro-Russian separatists. The Guardian's liveblog is here.

Washington Post: "Three American medical staff members died when an Afghan security official opened fire Thursday at an American-run Christian hospital in Kabul in the latest violence targeting foreigners in Afghanistan."

Guardian: "Pupils at the elite Southbank International School in London were victims of serial paedophile teacher William Vahey, the school has confirmed. The scale of the abuse is expected to be revealed later on Thursday in a letter to parents.... Vahey, a 64-year-old American who taught at Southbank between 2009 and 2013, killed himself after being found with 90 images of boys. The FBI believe the children were drugged with sleeping pills and molested in assaults dating back to 2008."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

Guardian: "The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional. The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences.... The court's reversal on Wednesday came hours after a resolution by an Oklahoma House member to try to impeach some of its justices."

New York Times: "The latest accord between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization appeared more serious than past attempts, experts said, and came as hopes faded for a resolution to peace negotiations with Israel."

New York Times: "Russia continued Wednesday to ratchet up pressure on the government in Kiev, warning that events in eastern Ukraine could prompt a military response and again accusing the United States of directing events there."

Not All Fish Are Created Equal. Time: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomed President Barack Obama to Tokyo Wednesday by taking him to the greatest sushi restaurant in the world, the three Michelin star Sukiyabashi Jiro."

Reuters: "Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Tuesday they were holding an American journalist in the city of Slaviansk and the online news site Vice News said it was trying to secure the safety of its reporter Simon Ostrovsky."

AP: "When armed men seized the police station in this eastern Ukrainian city, mayor Nelya Shtepa declared she was on their side. She changed her story a few days later. Then she disappeared — the victim of an apparent abduction by the man who now lays claim to her job. On Tuesday, she resurfaced, expressing support once again for the pro-Russia insurgents — but possibly no longer as mayor."

AP: " A senior Canadian diplomat was expelled from Canada's embassy in Moscow in retaliation for Canada expelling a Russia diplomat as tensions grow over the Ukraine, Canadian officials said Tuesday."

AP: "A Moscow judge on Tuesday left open the possibility of jailing President Vladimir Putin's main critic for years, a sign of Putin's increasingly hard-line rule against opponents. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was fined $8,400 on Tuesday for slandering a lawmaker. His second trial starts Thursday, and prosecutors who previously secured his house arrest are widely expected to ask for jail for him pending trial, with Tuesday's verdict making him a recidivist. If there's a guilty verdict at that trial, he could get a prison term."

AP: "A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks." ...

     ... Washington Post Update: "An Army soldier convicted of leaking classified military and diplomatic records persuaded a Kansas judge Wednesday to legally change her name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning."

Time: "President Barack Obama paid a visit to the small community of Oso, Wa., on Tuesday, exactly one month after a massive mudslide there claimed at least 41 lives. He promised survivors that the entire country will be on hand to help for 'as long as it takes'”:

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday took the rare step of urging doctors to stop performing a surgical procedure used on tens of thousands of women each year to remove uterine growths, saying the practice risks spreading hidden cancers within a woman’s body. The procedure, known as power morcellation, has long been used in laparoscopic operations to remove fibroid tumors from the uterus, or to remove the uterus itself. It involves inserting an electric device into the abdomen and slicing tissue in order to remove it through a small incision. The surgery is far less invasive than traditional abdominal operations."

White House Live Video
April 24

The White House has no scheduled live feeds for today.

Jonathan Topaz of Politico: "The Hannity-Stewart feud: Day Three. During an 11-minute segment on the 'The Daily Show' Wednesday night, Jon Stewart called out Sean Hannity for what he perceived as hypocrisy on the Cliven Bundy issue and called the Fox News host 'The Arby’s of news.'”

CW: It's worth remembering that Stewart was the guy who brought down CNN's shouting pundits show "Crossfire." Of course the Blitzer Channel is, by comparison to Fox "News," a paragon of journalistic excellence.

Jon Stewart on the Cliven Bundy story:

... AND on Sean Hannity's support for Bundy:

... AND Hannity is pissed off. Apparently, it upsets him to hear his own blatant hypocrisy ridiculed.

New York Times: "David Letterman introduced his successor, Stephen Colbert, on his 'Late Show With David Letterman' Tuesday night on CBS with a monologue joke and some cordial conversation — but no measuring of the drapes":

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa. Paul Fahri of the Washington Post: The ratings for "Meet the Press" are so bad that NBC hired a psychologist to analyze Greggers. ...

     ... CW: Here's the rub. Fahri writes, "The impossible burden for Gregory, of course, has been to follow the beloved Russert. As one NBC colleague describes it, Russert is a 'ghost' who still haunts Gregory’s tenure at 'MTP' six years into his run." This is strictly VSP bull. Russert was a mediocre interviewer, who continually let politicians get away with evasive answers. He left big shoes to fill only because he had big feet.

MoDo loves her '65 Mustang.

USA Today: "Chelsea Clinton announced Thursday that she's pregnant with her first child."

New York Times: "It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday. The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the 'Goldilocks zone' of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life."

Jason Zinoman of the New York Times argues that the real king of late-night comedy is Jon Stewart.

Whose Pulitzer Is It Anyway? Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity was awarded the Pulitzer Prize this week for his multipart series on denials of benefits to black lung victims. ABC News, which used Hamby's work for a "Nightline" segment, now wants a piece of the Pulitzer, even though the Pulitzer Prize is given for print journalism. ...

... J. K. Trotter of Gawker has more: "Journalist-on-journalist carnage is rarely so open, or so bilious, especially when obituary-worthy awards are on the line. Then again, television news has never attracted, or rewarded, humble folk. According to Poynter, an ABC spokesperson repeatedly 'threatened [{Bill} Buzenberg {executive director of CPI}] and the Center saying they would make this very "messy" ... unless they got what they wanted.'” ...

... Dylan Byers of Politico has more on the feud. ...

... Capital New York: "Fresh off a Pulitzer win for his investigative work at The Center for Public Integrity, Chris Hamby is jumping ship to join Mark Schoofs' investigations desk at Buzzfeed...."

Washington Post: Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff is leaving NBC News, by mutual consent. Isikoff told Erik Wemple that "this was a situation that was no longer working out."

Soraya McDonald of the Washington Post: "Thursday night was a deft marriage of the best of the two Colberts: He didn’t break character, but the deference and affable nature that marks his out-of-character interviews was stamped all over the writing." With video. ...

... Dylan Scott of TPM: "Rush Limbaugh framed CBS's decision to replace retiring 'Late Show' host David Letterman with professional conservative skewer Stephen Colbert in some decidedly apocalyptic terms. 'CBS has just declared war on the Heartland of America," Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show. 'No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's just wide out in the open.'" ...

... Bill Carter of the New York Times: "CBS made its choice, quickly and definitively: Stephen Colbert is the successor to David Letterman as the star of 'Late Show,' the late-night franchise created by Mr. Letterman. CBS made the announcement Thursday, exactly one week after Mr. Letterman announced on his program that he would be leaving his post after one more year on the air."

Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: "A faded fragment of papyrus known as the 'Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,' which caused an uproar when unveiled by a Harvard Divinity School historian in 2012, has been tested by scientists who conclude in a journal published on Thursday that the ink and papyrus are very likely ancient, and not a modern forgery. Skepticism about the tiny scrap of papyrus has been fierce because it contained a phrase never before seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife..."' Too convenient for some, it also contained the words 'she will be able to be my disciple,' a clause that inflamed the debate in some churches over whether women should be allowed to be priests." ...

... CW: Sorry, purists. Followers (& non-followers) had all kinds of ideas about what Jesus was like. Married Jesus & sexy Jesus (Gospel of Thomas, "Lost" Gospel of Mark) were among them. The Roman Catholic Church decided, beginning late in the 2nd century what was canon & what was not. And every story, IMHO, is fictional. BTW, the Egyptologist in Goodstein's story who insists the fragment is a fake uses some extremely shaky -- i.e., bogus -- rationales for his opinion.

CW: I think it's my job to run this:

... The full "Today" show segment is here, & it's mildly interesting (CW: NBC's embed code is screwed up, so I can't run it here).

Josh Dickey of Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable." Via New York.

Lauren Moraski of CBS "News": "David Letterman announced Thursday that he's retiring from CBS' 'Late Show' sometime next year. He made that announcement during the taping of his program Thursday afternoon at New York's Ed Sullivan Theater."

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MLK Day of Service

Michelle Obama & Jill Biden work at a community center putting together goodie packages for the troops.

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Photos of preinaugural events are on the Inaugural Gallery page on the dropdown menu un Photo Galleries on the navigation bar just below the masthead.

The parties. (Not my strong suit.) The Sleuth reports on Arianna Huffington's A-List bash where Sting sang "Every Breath You Take," the stalker song often misinterpreted as a love song. Anne Schroeder Mullins on the Arianna party. And on Al Gore's Green Ball at the National Portrait Gallery. At the Kennedy Center, not one but two bigs shows, one headlining Aretha Franklin & the other Wynton Marsalis. Muhammed Ali salutes Barack Obama at the Bluegrass Ball. Celebs at the Creative Coalition dinner. The arty Big Shoulders party ended when the police showed up. Best of all, Dana Milbank takes a wry look at Hollywood on the Potomac -- the Return.

The official release on Barack Obama's dinner honoring John McCain. The Caucus story here. Photos. "Not invited was Mr. McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska." Barack Obama's prepared remarks at the "bipartisan dinner honoring John McCain."

The Caucus: Michelle Obama & Jill Biden at the children's concert.

Pool report on Barack Obama's dinner honoring Colin Powell (doesn't say much).

Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire on Barack Obama's National Day of Service. Washington Post story, with video. New York Times story here.

Barack Obama thanks volunteers:

__________

Do not miss Joe & Jill Biden on Oprah. Jill lets the cat out of the bag! It's great & it's news:

Comments from a couple of sharp Caucus readers on Jill Biden's Oprah-induced revelation (see link to video above):

     I guess that disease which destroys the connection between the brain and the mouth is contagious.-- Michael Feldman

     'If you’re secretary of state, you’ll be away, we’ll never see you, you know.”'-- Jill Biden. That’s the very same argument Bill used to encourage Hillary to take the job. -- Shooting from the Lip

     Another Caucus reader points out that this story is not exactly news. Joe Biden made similar, but more nuanced, comments to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza back in October. Link to the Lizza story.

__________

Barack Obama is helping renovate the boys' dorm in a D.C. emergency shelter. Joe Biden brought doughnuts for everybody at the Habitat for Humanity home he helped build. Michelle Obama & Jill Biden are putting together goodie bags for troops.

Barack Obama makes his first stop on the day of service at Walter Reed Medical Center. Uninformative pool report.

Barack Obama issues a statement honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

__________

Bloomberg: Barack Obama issues a call to service. The video of his speech in the left column of this page.

Washington Post: Obama, Powell ask Americans to participate in national day of service on Martin Luther King Day, January 19, the day before the inauguration. Updated story. With video. 

Barack Obama promotes USAService.org:

Michelle Obama talks about her family's plans for volunteering:

The Washington Post's interactive party map is excellent.

Sunday Concert

If you're interested in the party scene (I'm not) here are a few sources.(A year later, most of these stories have disappeared.) There seems to be general agreement that the best A-List bash Sunday was Maureen Dowd's, so crowded Tom Hanks & Bruce Springstein couldn't get in. Jennifer Lopez seems to have been the star of the Latino Inaugural GalaHere's more from the Boston Globe. And the scoop on the Declare Yourself Ball.

Los Angeles Times story on the Lincoln Memorial "We Are One" concert. Washington Post: the "We Are One" concert. New York Times story here. The Caucus here. Like me, commenters on the blogs want to know what happened to Gene Robinson, who was supposed to give the invocation.

NBC has a very good slideshow covering the day here. And here's Politico's slideshow.

     Update: the Caucus blog now explains what happened. Nonfunctioning speakers were a "technical difficulty." But the fact remains that the inaugural committee scheduled Bishop Robinson (a) before the HBO broadcast was to air (at 2:30 pm) and (b) before the Obamas & Bidens arrived (at 2:52 pm). We Are One.*

          *As long as we are heterosexual.

          Here is the text of the Rev. Robinson's prayer.

          Update: there's a pretty good amateur video of the invocation here.

          More: Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas City Star has a good post -- he says NPR has some 'splaining to do, too. One of his commenters who attended the concert said the sound systems were working fine immediately before & after Bishop Robinson's invocation, but not during it.

          Ben Smith of Politico does some excellent reporting on this issue (at the CW's request). First, he reports that the Presidential Inaugural Committee takes responsibility for not broadcasting the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson's invocation. Second, Smith reports the PIC has ensured that when the concert is replayed on the Mall to entertain the crowds Tuesday, the Rt. Rev. Robinson's invocation will be included. New York Times: story here.

Barack Obama speaking at the "We Are One" concert at Lincoln Memorial.

Transcript of Barack Obama's remarks.

Link to Politico's video of Joe Biden's speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

__________

Joe and Jill Biden attended mass at Holy Trinity, where John F. Kennedy worshipped.

Washington Post: Barack Obama, his wife and daughters attended services at the historic 19th Street Baptist Church. With video.

     Update: pool report on the Obamas' arrival inside the church.

     Update from the pool: the sermon.

Barack Obama will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery Sunday morning.

     AP Update: Obama, Biden honor war dead at Arlington.

Washington Post: Springstein does a soundcheck at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday. Includes video.

Saturday Whistlestop

The Bidens and Obamas on the rear platform as the train pulls out of the Wilmington station.

Here's an excellent video of the whistlestop tour the inaugural committee made:

New York Times slideshow here. MSNBC has quite a good slideshow here. The Chicago Tribune's slideshow is good, too.

 

Washington Post story here. With video.

Tens of thousands gather in Baltimore's War Memorial Plaza to greet Obamas, Bidens; train made rolling stop in Edgewood first. Link to photos.

 Jen Miller of the New York Times mingles among the well-wishers at Edgewood. A few good photos, too.

President-Elect Obama speaks in Balitimore:

     Here's the transcript of his prepared remarks.

Washington Post: "huge turnout for a hometown hero."

Text of Obama's Wilmington speech.

Mark Silva of the Swamp on Joe Biden's remarks.

Early afternoon pool report. 11 am ET pool report.

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times Caucus: the Obamas are "on track for the White House." Washington Post story here.

AP story: Barack Obama and his family begin their train journey to Washington at Philadelphia's 30th Street station; Obama cites founding fathers and calls for "a new Declaration of Independence" in his remarks.

     Transcript of prepared remarks.

Pool report: Obama arrived in Philadelphia Friday afternoon.

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The Obamas and Bidens will be taking an historic train car on their Philadelphia-Washington trip -- the Georgia 300. Here's the story from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen. Photos of the interior of the Georgia 300 here and here and here.

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