The Ledes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

New York Times: "Artur Fischer, a German inventor who registered more than 1,100 patents, including the first synchronized camera flash and an anchor that millions of do-it-yourselfers use to secure screws into walls, died on Jan. 27 at his home in Waldachtal, in southwestern Germany. He was 96."

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 9

1:00 pm ET: Senior administration officials discuss the President's FY2017 budget

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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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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