The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

Hill: "The Defense Department accidentally sent live anthrax to labs in nine states and is working with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to contain it, the Pentagon said Wednesday. 'The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway, Utah, to labs in nine states,' said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman."

AP: "A second submariner has pleaded guilty to sharing videos of female officers undressing for a shower, continuing a case that a prosecutor calls a 'black eye' for the Navy's integration of women into the nation's sub fleet.... Electronics technician Joseph Bradley entered pleas Wednesday in a court-martial trial. He was sentenced to 30 days' confinement and a reduction in rank.... On Tuesday, missile technician Charles Greaves received two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge for making the videos. Five more male sailors face charges in the case."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 28

11:05 am ET: President Obama receives the annual hurricane season outlook & preparedness briefing in Miami, Florida (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

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Friday
Dec162011

December 16 -- "Most Dangerous" List

As I was reading (or trying to read) about Newt Gringrich & Paul Ryan & Barack Obama, et al., I got to wondering who the country's most dangerous politician was. Let's hear who you think it might be and why. There probably is not a wrong answer here unless you pick Al Franken's cat.

Reader Comments (6)

My brother emailed me this posting about Thomas Jefferson: Is there any candidate that comes close to this record? This shows what has really happened to America. The land of the free and the home of the pompous morons.


At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.

� At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.

� At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.

� At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.

� At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.

� At 23, started his own law practice.
� At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

� At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America " and retired from his law practice.

� At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

� At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence

� At 33, took three years to revise Virginia ’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

� At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.
� At 40, served in Congress for two years.

� At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

� At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.

� At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.

� At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of
Republican Party.

� At 57, was elected the third president of the United States

� At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size.

� At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

� At 65, retired to Monticello


� At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

� At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.

� At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams

Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House
with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

@Marvin Schwalb; In total agreement. Does it matter to history that Tom had a bunch of red-headed slaves running around the plantation? I don't know if it concerns me at this time and if it doesn't why do we worry about the private lives of our current politicians? Just to start a debate.
@The most dangerous politician is President Obama. He can kill you with a drone day or night. He can make you disappear in the blink of an eye. He is presiding over the militarization of America.
Here's a thought I came upon while wondering the corridors of my mind. The military-industrial complex has run out of countries to wage wars of profit in so they have set their greedy eyes on the last country to exploit. US. Welcome home. Freedom in the land of "free to be dumb". I'm going to the lumber yard where I'm safe.

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

@Marvin Schwalb--

An excellent post! I, too, am in total agreement.

@JJG--

It’s a pleasure to return from two weeks off to read your thoughtful and uniquely humorous posts. I’m in total agreement with your remarks, too.

Still, you ask why we should concern ourselves with the private lives of our politicians today, given that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and apparently indulged in at least one extramarital affair with a female slave.

Well, here’s my take on that topic.

In my old-fashioned and conservative way, I consider marriage to be a sacred promise of love and devotion between two people.

Now, I’m grown-up enough to realize that despite the sacred promise, marriages often just don’t work out, and I don’t believe that there is any stigma attached to divorce. (Though I do start to question the judgement of people who engage in serial marriages and divorces. Good judgement is something that we--or, at least I--require of any politician.)

But to cheat on one’s spouse prior to divorce is simply anathema to me. It’s a betrayal of a solemn vow to the one person in the world that you allegedly care about beyond all else.

And if a politician will betray the person who is nominally dearest in the world to him/her, what will that politician do to US when it serves his/her interests and convenience?

Trust matters.

Yes, Thomas Jefferson had character flaws the I find hard to forgive. But perhaps recognition of his own flaws constituted part of his understanding of “the nature of man” as @Marvin Schwalb put it, causing him to give us a government with numerous checks and balances against the vagaries of human nature.

And his towering legacy goes a long way towards earning my forgiveness, compared to cheating SOBs like Clinton and Gingrich.

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZee

@ Marvin Schwalb: thanks so much. Kennedy's recognition of Jefferson's intellect also tells you something about Kennedy's own, I'd say.

@ Zee. Sally Hemmings was the half-sister of Jefferson's first and only wife. Apparently, the two women looked quite a bit alike & were both beautiful. Perhaps Jefferson's liaison with Hemmings -- which began after his wife's death -- was a strange way of being "faithful" to his wife. My recollection -- and somebody please correct me if I'm wrong -- is that Jefferson freed Hemmings & his natural children in his will but did not free his other slaves.

As a young man, Jefferson opposed slavery, & he wrote an anti-slavery clause into the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. As he got older, I think he got full of himself and viewed the work slaves did to make his own life better to be worth their toil. "May the many be enslaved so that one can be free": something like that. Some people improve with age; some become more self-centered and intolerant. I'd say Jefferson definitely fell in with the last lot. It is too easy to say, "Oh, well, he was a man of his time & place." The truth is that there was a lot of anti-slavery sentiment during Jefferson's later years, sowhich he had initially instigated. It's disingenuous, I think, to give Jefferson a pass on this. He knew better, and chose not to see, because the truth was a personal inconvenience.

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarie Burns

@Marie, it's really hard to pick the most dangerous politician. What is really scary is that now Nut Gingrich is now considered the Republican 'intellectual'.
P.S. Another false premise is that everyone with a Ph.D. is smart. As someone involved with that group for more than 50 years, believe me it is not true.

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I become a little more horrified every day at what this President is willing to accept. So yes JJ, I agree Mr Obama gets today's prize. For the moment. Unfortunately there are even worse alternatives waiting in the wings... As to your comment on the MIC, it occurred to me that may well be why they lost that drone (it was intentional, you won't convince me otherwise) because the U.S. has such an absolute lock on high tech spy gear that no one can compete, and that's bad for business. Or should I say it's bad for the greedy- no, the most disgustingly greedy pigs of powerlust this planet has ever seen...
Some of you may think this is over the top, but I read somewhere... O.K. I admit it, it was here... but this a nice, respectable, progressive UFO site! In any case, the article states that Bill Rich, Lockheed Skunk Works Director had a deathbed confession of immense proportions regarding the U.S. status as the world leader in high tech propulsion and spy gear; we got it from outer space.
When you look at the facts that don't line up it might be the only possible answer. Why does every single President of our generation quickly go gray and seemingly do the bidding of the MIC no matter they said during their campaign? I'm just sayin'...
As we sit here today our elected officials are gutting the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold. How can they still be in office? Isn't any member of our government who signs the defense authorization bill which contains the provision which ends habeus corpus in strict violation of that oath? Haven't they just put the final piece of the puzzle in place for any protest to be deemed or referred to as "a bunch of terrorists" and thereafter be detained in perpetuity at the sole discretion of whoever holds elective office at the moment? So the answer to today's question would be whoever's in office at the moment is the most dangerous. Consider the following quotes;

{ "There exists a shadowy Government with it's own Air Force, its own Navy, it'sown fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the nationalinterest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."- Senator Daniel K. Inouye


"In the councils of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwar-ranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military IndustrialComplex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and willpersist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our libertiesor democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert andknowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial andmilitary machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that secu-rity and liberty may prosper together."- President Eisenhower - January 1961}

I am a very pragmatic person not prone to hype or hysteria and I find popular culture, and fads in general- distasteful at best. But when confronted with facts, figures and other elements that just don't add up you have to start looking for unconventional answers.
Let's look at Dick Cheney; (ewwww!) In 1994 and again in 1996 he gave cogent, factual, insightful reasons why invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein was a terrible idea and how such an action would be devastatingly bad for America and it's interests. In 2003 he violated his own advise and counsel and to the letter every single reason not to invade and conquer he gave previously came to pass under his (and GWB's) administration!!!! Why? It doesn't make sense. Obviously we don't know what is really happening in the world and specifically in our own government. We must entertain thoughts and ideas way outside the box.

In an aside, I regret not being able to post more often, but my physical condition continues to deteriorate and what few moments of productivity I am allowed have been focused on procuring cash ( of course I have been denied disability benefits by SS ) I barely made my December mortgage. I may have to resort to begging if this continues...

December 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Doktor
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