The Ledes

Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

New York Times: "With NATO leaders expected to endorse a rapid-reaction force of 4,000 troops for Eastern Europe this week, a senior Russian military official said on Tuesday that Moscow would revise its military doctrine to account for 'changing military dangers and military threats.'”

Guardian: "Syrian rebels have issued three demands for the release of 45 Fijian peacekeepers they've held captive for five days, Fiji's military commander has said. Brig Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front wants to be taken off the United Nations terrorist list, humanitarian aid delivered to the capital Damascus, and compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with UN officers."

AP: "U.S. military forces attacked the extremist al-Shabab network in Somalia Monday, the Pentagon said, and a witness described ground-shaking explosions in a strike that reportedly targeted the group's leader. Al-Shabab had attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people a year ago this month and the U.S. had targeted planners of the bloody assault."

The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, September 1, 2014.

Guardian: "The UK and US governments have criticised, in unusually strong language, Israel's decision to approve one of the largest appropriations of Palestinian land for settlement in recent decades. The UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said he deplored the move as 'particularly ill-judged'."

Al Jazeera: "Iraqi Kurdish forces and Shia armed volunteers have retaken more northern towns from the Islamic State group, killing at least two of its senior fighters, sources have told Al Jazeera. A day after breaking the siege in the town of Amerli north of Baghdad, government forces retook the town of Sulaiman Bek on Monday, removing another key stronghold of the Islamic State group." ...

... Guardian: "Barack Obama on Monday formally notified Congress that he had authorised targeted air strikes in Iraq to help deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Shia town of Amerli, the White House said in a statement."

Washington Post: Pakistan's "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was clinging to power Monday as protesters stepped up their assault on government buildings while the capital was gripped with fear and confusion about whether the country’s powerful military will step in to defuse the tension. As the demonstrations calling for the prime minister’s resignation enter their third week, Sharif is trying to navigate Pakistan’s worst political crisis in more than a decade."

Guardian: "The American government on Monday asked North Korea to release three Americans currently held in the communist country, after foreign media outlets were allowed to interview detainees. 'Out of humanitarian concern for Jeffrey Fowle, Matthew Miller, and their families, we request the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] release them so they may return home,” said Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the State Department, in a statement. 'We also request the DPRK pardon Kenneth Bae and grant him special amnesty and immediate release so he may reunite with his family and seek medical care.'”

Public Service Announcement

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

New York Times, August 15: "The Food and Drug Administration has approved Avastin — made by Genentech, a unit of the Swiss drug maker Roche — for a new use against late-stage cervical cancer, the seventh indication for the biotech drug, which had global sales of $6.25 billion last year."

White House Live Video
September 2

12:30 am ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New York Times: "The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was a win for broadcast and cable television, which earned numerous awards as the digital gate-crasher Netflix was nearly shut out. AMC’s 'Breaking Bad' scored big on Monday night, winning a total of five awards, including its second consecutive prize for outstanding drama series. The crime drama, about a high school teacher who receives a diagnosis of lung cancer and starts selling crystal meth with a former student, concluded its final season." Here's the L.A. Times' coverage.

... Via Slate.

Looking for a bucolic retreat where the townspeople will protect you from curious outsiders? Got about $700K to burn? Then you might be interested in purchasing the former home of fiction writer J. D. Salinger. the property is located in Cornish, New Hamphire:

... Many more pix & a virtual tour here.

Kevin Roose of New York: "How to make $200MM in 28 months." CW: Yeah, I know. Twenty-eight months is a lo-o-o-ong time.

Stupid Wiki Tricks. Telegraph: "Wikimedia, the non-profit organisation behind Wikipedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because a monkey pressed the shutter button and should own the copyright."

The Wrap: "James Corden is taking over for Craig Ferguson as host of 'The Late Late Show' on CBS, an individual with knowledge of the situation has told TheWrap.... Corden stars in Disney's 'Into the Woods' and can currently be seen alongside Keira Knightley in 'Begin Again.'”

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

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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