The Wires

The Ledes

Saturday, March 25, 2017.

New York Times: "Five years after a child sex abuse scandal rocked Penn State, damaging its reputation, exposing a revered coach as a serial predator and sending him to prison, a jury on Friday convicted the former president of the university of child endangerment for failing to stop the abuse. On its second day of deliberations, the jury in Harrisburg, Pa., found Graham B. Spanier guilty of one misdemeanor count, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was also found not guilty of two felony charges, for his handling of allegations against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

Safety/Irony Alert. CNBC (December 25): Your new home security system may be an open invitation to hackers to make you, and perhaps many others, unsafe.” -- CW

 


The Hill: "Arnold Schwarzeneggar says his first season as host of NBC's 'Celebrity Apprentice' is also his last. In remarks Friday, the former California governor cited President Trump, who has repeatedly mocked the ratings of his reality TV replacement, as his reason. 'Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline,' Schwarzenegger told Empire magazine.... 'With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period right now and I think the show got caught up in all that division.'" -- CW 

New York Times: "Penguin Random House will publish coming books by former President Barack Obama and the former first lady Michelle Obama, the publishing company announced Tuesday night, concluding a heated auction among multiple publishers. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but publishing industry executives with knowledge of the bidding process said it probably stretched well into eight figures." -- CW ...

Guardian: A statement by the Academy of Motion Pictures said "that PwC – formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, the accounting firm that has been used by the Academy to handle the voting process for 83 years – had taken full responsibility for 'breaches of established protocols' that led to the error.... On Monday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported that ... Brian Cullinan, one of two accountants whose job it was to hand out the winners’ envelopes..., had tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of [best female actor winner Emma] Stone holding her statuette. The tweet, sent moments before the best picture announcement, raised the question of whether the accountant was distracted, handing Beatty the duplicate envelope." -- CW ...

... Actually, No, It Was Donald Trump's Fault. The Hill: "President Trump is calling Sunday’s Oscar ceremony 'sad,' saying the awards show was 'focused so hard on politics' it led to the epic mix-up over the best picture winner. 'I think they were focused so hard on politics that they didn’t get the act together at the end,' Trump said Monday in an interview with Breitbart News." CW: Because everything is about Drumpf. 

Los Angeles Times: "In one of the most surprising upsets and shocking moments in Oscar history, the poetic coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' took home the top prize for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards, beating out the heavily favored 'La La Land,' which was actually announced as the winner. The win for 'Moonlight' came in a chaotic and confused moment that played out live in front of an audience of millions, as presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially presented the evening’s final award to 'La La Land,' only to have one of the film’s producers announce that 'Moonlight' had, in fact, won." -- CW 

Here's the LA Times' "live coverage" page.

CW: It would have been way better for the world if the Electoral College had admitted, as a body, that "There's been a mistake." Unfortunately, actors & film producers have more integrity than electors.

The New York Times embeds the February 23 late-nite's show responses to the latest political news.

Washington Post: "A newfound solar system just 39 light-years away contains seven warm, rocky planets, scientists say. The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying distant worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.... The newly discovered solar system resembles a scaled-down version of our own. The star at its center, an ultra-cool dwarf called TRAPPIST-1, is less than a tenth the size of our sun and about a quarter as warm. Its planets circle tightly around it; the closest takes just a day and a half to complete an orbit and the most distant takes about 20 days.... TRAPPIST-1 is so cool that all seven of the bodies are bathed in just the right amount of warmth to hold liquid water. And three of them receive the same amount of heat as Venus, Earth and Mars, putting them in 'the habitable zone,' that Goldilocks region where it's thought life can thrive." -- CW 

Here's a Houzz feature on Frederick Douglass's D.C. home. Since it's not far from Donald Trump's new (temporary) digs and is every bit as fancy, the Trumpster might want to pay a visit to someone who's done such "an amazing job" that he's "getting recognized more and more." SCROTUS may be surprised to discover that Mr. Douglass is not at home. Too bad, because if Mr. Douglass weren't dead, he could have showed Donaldo his portrait, which for some time was owned by W.E.B. Du Bois (or DeBois or whatever).

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

Rosie O'Donnell's new Twitter profile pic. Thanks to Unwashed for the link. -- CW 

CNN: "The book publisher Penguin is printing more copies of George Orwell's dystopian classic '1984' in response to a sudden surge of demand. On Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning the book was #1 on Amazon's computer-generated list of best-selling books. The list reflects hourly book sales. The 68-year-old novel appeared on the list on Monday, hovered around the #6 spot for much of the day, rose to #2 by Tuesday afternoon and then hit #1." -- CW 

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Wednesday
Dec282011

December 28 -- American Caste

** Stephen Marche of Esquire: "... a class system has arrived in America — a recent study of the thirty-four countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that only Italy and Great Britain have less social mobility.... In the United States, the emerging aristocracy remains staunchly convinced that it is not an aristocracy, that it's the result of hard work and talent. The permanent working poor refuse to accept that their poverty is permanent. The class system is clandestine.... The majority of new college grads in the United States today are either unemployed or working jobs that don't require a degree. Roughly 85 percent of them moved back home in 2011, where they sit on an average debt of $27,200. The youth unemployment rate in general is 18.1 percent.... The Tea Partiers blame the government. The Occupiers blame the financial industry. Both are really mourning the arrival of a new social order, one not defined by opportunity but by preexisting structures of wealth." ...

... ** "Income Inequality Is a Symptom, Not the Disease." Charles Pierce on how Bill Clinton made you poor and the New York Times and University of Chicago say it isn't so.

Do read Charles Pierce's commentary; it's pretty good. Then add your own.

Reader Comments (7)

The game is blame. Blame Wall Street, blame the government, blame the poor, blame the rich, blame everyone except yourself. We have come to this point for two reasons. First is the fact that for some, greed is everything. It is not only money but their proof of how wonderful they are. For the rest, its the fact that it is so much more fun to blame others than to stand up and except responsibility.
In the last 30 years, voter turnout in national elections is typically about 52-53%. In off years it is 36-37%.
There is connection between yesterdays comments issue and today. We believe that democracy is free. Not free of money but free of effort and responsibility. And the first responsibility is to learn the facts. But not in America. We are the land of the Kardashians. We don't teach our children the facts, we hide behind religion. We don't read the news, we listen to Fox. It is so much more fun and so much easier to blame others. America is doomed. The culture is the culture of blame.

P.S. Here is my request to my fellow citizens. As a start, how about responding to JFK's request and pick up your ass on Nov. 6, 2012 and act like the citizen in a democracy.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Sorry. This has nothing to do with the serious stuff. I was just reading another Iowa poll story (I'm reluctant to call it a report) that proclaimed while Romney was barely ahead of Paul, Santorum was surging. I jumped up on my chair and shouted "And the winner is Feedlebaum!" My sister thought I'd lost it. Maybe I have.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@Marie Burns: Thanks for calling attention to Stephen Marche’s Esquire article on the decline of American social mobility and its effects.

@(all): While I agree in general with Marvin Schwalb's point that the bulk of Americans share blame for our political situation via inadequate engagement with the democratic process, including voting and taking the initiative to becoming well-informed citizens, such failure must be evaluated in its context.

With regard to information acquisition, the average American is pure rube, with an inherent bias in favor of "impression", and little or no formal training in evaluation of information for veracity or logical consistency. Pitted against him (or her) is a sophisticated machinery of disinformation that would put Third Reich propaganda methods to shame.

As noted in the Marche article, also present are memes such as "The American Dream" and a public belief in opportunity and economic mobility that far exceeds the reality of what is currently available. Such beliefs promote public political passivity in the face of social and economic injustice in the same way that religious belief in rewards in some afterlife helped produce a largely un-rebellious European feudal peasantry.

With regard to active engagement in political action, the U.S. has little history of general strikes, and it has been decades since the civil rights battles and Vietnam-era anti-war protests. Many Americans currently alive have never learned the importance and methods of mass political action. As far as voting is concerned, given our recent choices, I would assert that it is NOT irrational for citizens to have concluded that voting makes insufficient difference; indeed, one could argue that to continue to believe in it in the context of our present candidates is an exercise in insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Actually, I'll go further and say that the vast contrast between Obama's implied promises as a candidate versus his actual behavior once elected has done a generation's worth of damage to public belief in the value of voting and citizen efforts to assist candidates for elective office.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred Drumlevitch

I think that @Marvin Schwalb has put his finger on the root cause of the current mess in which we now find ourselves: at best, only slightly more than one-half of eligible voters bother to participate in national elections, and, in off years, that number drops to only a little more than one-third of the electorate.

Those who regularly refuse to participate are either brain-dead—or have already given up all hope for an honest government—and maybe the latter are actually the smart ones.

Among those of us who have faithfully continued to vote, well, we have allowed our politicians—who seem to be mostly interested in lining their pockets and getting re-elected so they can enrich themselves yet more—to increasingly divide us on emotional social issues while promising only all-or-nothing solutions. We elect and re-elect them on narrow issues, they create a great deal of sound and fury in defense of what they promised us on these issues, and secretly enrich themselves and their pals while we’re not looking.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Still, perhaps an old dog can learn new tricks.

One thing you Progressives out there have convinced this Conservative of is that—as Charles Pierce and David Cay Johnston have put it—the game is rigged. And our politicians are doing the “rigging.”

As I stated in yesterday’s posts, my solution is to vote ALL the rascals out, and, I admit, this will seem to most of you out there to largely benefit me. I regret this, as I know that there is no way that I will ever convince some of you that I’m not secretly laughing up my sleeve at you.

But @Fred Drumlevich speaks of “the importance…of mass political action.” I can’t think of any greater “mass political action” than throwing ALL the bums out, as opposed to—once again—voting for the lesser of two evils instead of making a statement.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZee

@Zee. Throwing the bums out is never a good idea. Holding the bums accountable is. Election day is not the end of a citizen's responsibility, only a halftime respite.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Change is coming. The Republicans are almost certain to take control of the Senate. The Republicans will probably maintain control of the House. No matter who wins the White House our deserved disaster is on the way. Just a year of tax cuts for the wealthy, legislated pollution and trickle down economics added to spending cuts will have more than half of Americans suffering.
When this tipping point is reached, those that ignored all the indications will come awake and we will have a broad based rebellion. This rebellion will be met by either a police state or a radical response, a New Deal for Americans.
The example of the response to OWS indicates that a police state is most likely. I believe Americans will not accept a police state and "we shall overcome"
It is later than you think.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle

Change is coming. The Republicans are almost certain to take control of the Senate. The Republicans will probably maintain control of the House. No matter who wins the White House our deserved disaster is on the way. Just a year of tax cuts for the wealthy, legislated pollution and trickle down economics added to spending cuts will have more than half of Americans suffering.
When this tipping point is reached, those that ignored all the indications will come awake and we will have a broad based rebellion. This rebellion will be met by either a police state or a radical response, a New Deal for Americans.
The example of the response to OWS indicates that a police state is most likely. I believe Americans will not accept a police state and "we shall overcome"
It is later than you think.

December 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle
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