The Ledes

Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

AP: "Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday that an American serviceman has been killed near Irbil in Iraq. 'It is a combat death,' Carter said at the outset of a news in Stuttgart, Germany where he has been consulting with European allies this week."

New York Times (May 2): "A historic Serbian Orthodox church in Manhattan that plays an important role in New York’s Serbian community was gutted by flames on Sunday, just hours after parishioners had filled its pews for Easter services. The New York Fire Department said it received the first report of the blaze at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, on West 25th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas in the Flatiron district, shortly before 7 p.m.... The church, which has served for decades as the backbone of New York’s Serbian Orthodox community, was previously known as Trinity Chapel, an Episcopal church that was sold to its current owners in 1943." ...

... CBS/AP: "Investigators in three cities are looking into large fires at Orthodox churches that occurred around the religion's Easter celebrations and caused widespread damage. The blazes in New York City, as well as Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, caused only minor injuries, according to multiple reports."

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

New York Times: "Taking a stance sharply at odds with most American public health officials, a major British medical organization urged smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes, saying they are the best hope in generations for people addicted to tobacco cigarettes to quit. The recommendation, laid out in a report published Thursday by the Royal College of Physicians, summarizes the growing body of science on e-cigarettes and finds that their benefits far outweigh the potential harms." -- CW

Washington Post: "More than a third of advanced-melanoma patients who received one of the new immunotherapy drugs in an early trial are alive five years after starting treatment -- double the survival rate typical of the disease, according to a new study."

Zoe Schlanger of Newsweek: "If you are eating fast food, you're probably also eating phthalates,... a class of chemicals that have been linked to everything from ADHD to breast cancer, ...[which] are common in food packaging, drink containers, the tubing used to transport dairy and the equipment used to process fast food." --LT

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

New York Times: “'Hamilton,' the groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the nation’s founding fathers, has been nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in Broadway history." ...

... Here's the full list of Tony Award nominees.

MIT News: "For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. The results are published [Monday, May 2] in the journal Nature.... The scientists discovered the planets using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a 60-centimeter telescope operated by the University of Liège, based in Chile."

Washington Post's Reliable Source: At an "afterparty hosted by MSNBC following the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner [Saturday, May 1]..., a scuffle broke out between Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters and Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief.... The two flailed around a bit, upending a table and bumping into several people. 'Punches were definitely thrown,' said one witness. Before any damage was done, several bystanders, including Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, separated the two."

New York Times: "... a nearly 47,000-word journalistic series [by Walt Whitman] called 'Manly Health and Training,' were lost for more than 150 years, buried in an obscure newspaper that survived only in a handful of libraries. The series was uncovered last summer by a graduate student, who came across a fleeting reference to it in a digitized newspaper database and then tracked down the full text on microfilm.Now, Whitman’s self-help-guide-meets-democratic-manifesto is being published online in its entirety by a scholarly journal, in what some experts are calling the biggest new Whitman discovery in decades."

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

Washington Post: "Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide. The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt. As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees."

BBC: "Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant have joined other stars at a gala marking 400 years since Shakespeare's death. Saturday's Shakespeare Live show in the playwright's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon included play scene performances, dance and music." Then this:

New York Times: "The Pulitzers are in their centennial year, and the winners announced by Columbia University reflected in part the changes sweeping the media landscape." Here's the full list of the prize winners, via the New York Times.

CW: The AP produced this video in January 2015, but I just came across it:

New York Times: "James Levine, who transformed the Metropolitan Opera during four decades as its music director but has suffered from poor health in recent years, will step down from his post after this season to become music director emeritus, the company announced Thursday."

Politico: "Gabriel Snyder, editor in chief of The New Republic for the past 17 months, is leaving the magazine in the wake of its sale to Win McCormack.... The masthead change marks the first big move since McCormack, a publisher, Democratic booster and editor in chief of a literary journal called Tin House, bought TNR from Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in February after Hughes was unsuccessful at turning around the money-losing magazine’s business during his four years of stewardship."

The Great Octopus Escape. Guardian: "An octopus has made a brazen escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe and disappearing into the sea. In scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo, Inky – a common New Zealand octopus – made his dash for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar. Staff believe that in the middle of the night, while the aquarium was deserted, Inky clambered to the top of his glass enclosure, down the side of the tank and travelled across the floor of the aquarium."

... Charles Pierce: "One of the best biographies I've ever read was Scott Berg's brilliant, National Book Award-winning account of the life of Maxwell Perkins, the editor at Scribner's who was responsible for bringing out the best work in Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Ring Lardner, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.... I'm going to be first in line to see [the film "Genius."] OK, so there won't be a line, but I'll be there nonetheless."

Michael Cavna of the Washington Post on the artistry in the film "All the President's Men."The real Woodward & Bernstein weigh in.

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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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