The Ledes

Thursday, September 3, 2015.

AFP: "Embattled Guatemalan President Otto Perez announced his resignation Thursday, after a warrant was issued for his arrest for allegedly masterminding a huge fraud scheme."

New York Times: "Five Chinese Navy ships were sailing in international waters of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska on Wednesday, in what Pentagon officials said was the first such foray by Beijing. The move came on the last day of President Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska.... The White House said that the intent of the Chinese operation was unclear, but that the Pentagon had not detected any threatening activities."

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

New York Times [Aug. 20]: "As many as 60,000 American women each year are told they have a very early stage of breast cancer — Stage 0, as it is commonly known — a possible precursor to what could be a deadly tumor. And almost every one of the women has either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and often a double mastectomy, removing a healthy breast as well. Yet it now appears that treatment may make no difference in their outcomes."

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

White House Live Video
September 3

1:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

7:30 pm ET: Vice President Biden delivers a lecture in Atlanta, Georgia (audio only)

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Making Iced Tea out of Lemons. Not originally intended for publication. A friend of mine had some electrical work done on her house. She told me yesterday she was awaiting the inspector. Today in an e-mail titled "Inspector A Hole," she wrote, "Well, the inspector came early this morning.... He saw the gate closed and left. He did not ring the doorbell."

I wrote back, "I think when he arrived -- even if he didn't tell you what time he was coming -- you were supposed to be standing at the gate smiling, wearing an attractive outfit & holding out a tray of iced tea & cookies for him. A neat 'Welcome, Inspector A. Hole' sign would have been nice, too."

 A few minutes later, she responded with this:

You can't let the bastards get you down. Which helps explain why I so often post links to the most ridiculous inanities & hypocrisies coming out of the mouths of pols & pundits.

New York Times: "Bloomberg News laid off as many as 90 journalists on Tuesday[, Sept. 1,] in its newsrooms in New York, Washington and across the world, part of a plan to refocus the organization’s coverage on business, finance, economics, technology and politics. The rationale for the dismissals was outlined in a lengthy memo to the staff from Bloomberg’s new editor in chief, John Micklethwait."

Maureen Dowd: Trump has got the best of Jeb! & Hillary: "Trump’s 'gusto,' as he likes to call it, has thrown into sharper relief the grinding-it-out, impatient entitlement, the overthinking and overcorrecting of Jeb and Hillary. Both campaign like they are owed, not because of their great national achievements, but because of their byzantine family dynamics."

The Oliver Brief. We do note, however, that the so-called 'Insular Cases,' which established a less-than-complete application of the Constitution in some U.S. territories, has been the subject of extensive judicial, academic, and popular criticism. See, e.g., Juan Torruella, The Insular Cases: The Establishment of a Regime of Political Apartheid, 77 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 1 (2008); Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. Territories, Youtube (Mar. 8, 2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CesHr99ezWE. -- Footnote, Paeste v. Guam, Ninth Circuit Judge Marsha S. Berzon

Jordan Golson of Wired: "Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage. The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars — there’s no flying beams of light, no 'pew! pew!' sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down. People keep flying their drones where they shouldn’t.... Luckily, there haven’t been any really bad incidents — that is, no one has been killed by a civilian quadcopter or plane, yet."

"The cream cheese is too damn much." Scott Lemieux and I agree.

Sunday Morning Come-Down. Politico: "Al Sharpton is leaving MSNBC's weekday dayside lineup, and moving to Sunday mornings. Sharpton's last weekday 'PoliticsNation' will be Sept. 4. He moves to Sundays a month later on Oct. 4, according to a memo sent to MSNBC staff by the channel's president Phil Griffin Wednesday evening."

Washington Post: "Stephen Hawking believes he’s solved a huge mystery about black holes."

Washington Post: "The case for canonizing [Sister Blandina Segale,] the 19th century Italian-born nun, whose run-in with Old West outlaw Billy the Kid is the stuff of legend, was presented at a ceremonial 'first inquiry' in Albuquerque on Tuesday. If approved, her name will be sent to the Vatican, where it will head down the long (and somewhat secretive) path toward sainthood."

New York Times: Can't sidewalk scaffolding be attractive? Yes, it can.

Terror in Toledo! ABC News: "A man caught on video the moment a public art installation in Toledo, Ohio -- a giant, 250-pound red ball -- decided to run away and start rolling down streets lined with parked cars. Part of a Toledo Museum of Art exhibit, the RedBall Project had been wedged between Roulet Jewelers and Ice Restaurant in downtown Toledo when a thunderstorm and strong winds this past Wednesday evening knocked the ball loose and caused it to start rolling away, according to Kelly Garrow, the museum's director of communications."

... AP: "America’s two foremost Democratic families, the Obamas and the Clintons, mingled on Saturday[,August 15,] as politics mixed with summer repose on swanky Martha’s Vineyard."

Washington Post: "Offering such perks as 'free' bags and 'free' airline tickets, [some credit] cards are big on promises, but they often fall short on the delivery. And although these financial instruments are legal, experts say they are not always worthwhile."

Kori Schulman of the White House: "Today (August 14), the White House joined Spotify — and our inaugural playlist was hand-picked by none other than President Obama. When asked to pick a few of his favorite songs for the summer, the President got serious. He grabbed a pen and paper and drafted up not one, but two separate summer playlists: One for the daytime, and one for the evening." ...

... CW: If you're subscribed to Spotify, you can play the President's list from the linked story (at "Today".)

Washington Post: "Google, one of the best-known brands on the planet, on Monday[, August 10,] radically restructured itself under the corporate name Alphabet, an almost unprecedented shift that reflects the company’s far-reaching ambitions and the vast Web it helped evolve. The move represents Google’s biggest push yet to ... turn the company into a multifaceted General Electric for the digital age."

Bureaucracies Move in Mysterious Ways. New York Post: "The city [of New York] moved to fire an employee for missing about 18 months of work, even though he had the best excuse of all time — he was dead. Bureaucrats at the Human Resources Administration filed charges against Medicaid-eligibility specialist Geoffrey Toliver accusing him of going AWOL — even though his death by cancer was reported in an online obituary.... 'It is my understanding that . . . his employer was fully aware that he was not able to come back to work,' Toliver’s brother Anthony told The Post. 'It is my understanding that my brother’s family spoke directly to his supervisor during his long hospitalization and informed them of his death.'” ...

... CW: Doesn't surprise me at all. When I lived in Manhattan, my mother sent me a gift which came directly from the catalog company from which she had bought it. My father had died a few years earlier, but my mother was still getting these catalogs in his name. So my father's name, not hers, appeared on the package as the giftor. He had never lived in New York City. He was not the addressee on the package. The package didn't come from New York City. And my father was dead. But never mind all that. A few months after I received the gift, I got a letter at my New York home addressed to my father. It was a notification from the city ordering my father to show up for jury duty. Or else.

 

Josh Feldman of Mediaite: "For years and years, plenty of websites (Mediaite included) have written about the many times Jon Stewart has 'destroyed,' 'annihilated,' or 'eviscerated' anything from terrorism to race relations to Fox News. Well..., on his penultimate night, Stewart discovered that he didn’t actually do any of that":

Exit Laughing. John Koblin of the New York Times: "Since [Jon] Stewart started hosting 'The Daily Show' 16 years ago, the country’s trust in both the news media and the government has plummeted. Mr. Stewart’s brand of fake news thrived in that vacuum, and turned him into one of the nation’s most bracing cultural, political and media critics. With his over-the-top presentation of the news — his arms swinging wildly, his eyes bulging with outrage, followed by a shake of the head and a knowing smile — Mr. Stewart attracted a generation of viewers ready to embrace an outlier whose exaggerations, in their view, carried more truth than conventional newscasts." ...

...Stewart hasn't done any interviews prior to ending his run on the "Daily Show," but he did sit down with "Daily Show" producers for an "exit interview" on Episode 20 of the "Daily Show Podcast without Jon Stewart." You can listen to it here.

The Word Salad King. If Donald Trump's good friend & possible running mate Sarah Palin is the Word Salad Queen, it stands to reason that the Donald would be the king. Slate challenges you to diagram this "sentence." To help you out, Slate has transcribed the words in the order delivered. Not that the order delivered matters much:

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Saturday
Dec312011

Weekend Open Thread -- When Two Days Seems Like Two Years

¡Felíz Año Nuevo!

                                           --- from a place not far from Cuba

Write what you will. Ridiculous New Year's resolutions would be welcome. Also, if you want the definitive inside scoop on Who Shot JFK, you will find the answer, and tantalizing details, in yesterday's thread....

     ... Update: also from yesterday's thread, do go to @Fred Drumlevitch's links to stories about (and in) The Realist. I'd never heard of The Realist, but it turns out to have been a big influence on all of our lives.

Reader Comments (7)

Wanted to note that an important death was largely overlooked or underreported in 2011: Cheetah died at age 80. He outlived all his co-stars, Weissmuller, O'Sullivan, Sheffield. His caretaker said he was generally well-behaved, but if he didn't like what you were doing, he threw feces at you. I think I may try that the next time someone really pisses me off.

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer. The New York Times story is here. Hate to burst your bubble, but apparently the chimp that died in Palm Coast wasn't one of the original "Cheetahs." Don't throw shit at me.

Years ago I was in the San Diego Zoo which has a gorilla section. The gorilla king had come out for an airing, and there were about 150 onlookers, including a lot of jeering teenagers doing stupid monkey imitations. So the gorilla threw shit at them. I thought the gorilla showed a lot better judgment than the humans. I also thought he should know that we're not all that bad, so I started looking steadily at his eyes, not saying anything, till he looked my way. I caught his attention, and without speaking I conveyed that I was on his side. I swear he "got" it. He looked at me for some time, ignoring everybody else. He calmed down and ignored the jerks. I wouldn't say I could "talk to the animals," but I know from this and other incidents that they are onto me.

Happy New Year!
Marie

December 31, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Shall I be resolute in my resolve, or should I resolve to be resolute? Having asked the question can I still do either?
The answer of course is yes.
New Years Resolutions have always been easy for me because I've never once made any, the whole idea seems totally preposterous to me... if something needs to be done why in the world would you wait all year to do it? Start NOW! Avoid the Christmas rush I always say... well actually, I never say that, but it sounded appropriate somehow.
Happy New Year everyone!!
That hopey changey thing is workin out just fine and I hope we see lots more change!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Doktor

You welcomed Ridiculous New Year's Resolutions, but since I never make New Year's Resolutions, and since there was no parade today, I had time to check in with 7 of the presidential hopefuls to find out what their Ridiculous Resolutions were.

Mitt: I resolve to take a stand on all important issues and stick with it to the end, or at least until Valentine's Day.

Rick P: I resolve to practice remembering 3 things that I've been paid to do if elected.

Ron: I resolve to read everything that I write in newsletters, especially as it pertains to GLBT, women, the poor, African-Americans, etc.

Rick S: I resolve to close down Google, at least the "definition of Santorum" part. How many closets did you say were in the White House?

Michele: You can't trick me into commenting on a "Revolution". I'm a college graduate!

Jon: I resolve to admit that foreign policy expertise involves more than sucking up to China.

Happy New Year All!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

I saw gorillas as an adult at the Franklin Park Zoo in Massachusetts many years ago. I looked into the eyes of one individual and thought to myself that this creature should not be in captivity. This led me to read books about DIan Fossey (gorilla researcher), Jane Godall (chimpanzees), and Birute Mary Galdikas (orangutans), all biologists trained by Louis Leakey. Beautiful creatures! I wanted so much to travel to Africa to see gorillas, but at the time the expense was well beyond my means.

I think the eyes of the gorilla in the Boston zoo was one of the experiences that set me on a path of learning about nature;it is extraordinary!

Sadly, nature is under assault. I have a friend - David Carroll - who says something along the lines that everyday is worse for wildlife. And then there is the nature writer David Quammen who when asked
why he continues to advocate for the environment given the dismal picture he paints replied, it's the right thing to do.

So, I try to keep positive and do he right thing.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

OK the fire's out. 1012; is Realitychex going to post a Mayan clock countdown? God, I hope so. I've got a lot of things on my mind and I'm going to need some reminder of the coming end of the world.
I can't go to zoos without being depressed even knowing that in todays environment that's where you can see what's left of creation.
In my town there was a big lion who would restlessly prowl her cage waiting for the right spectators to gather by the fence in front of her then fast as you could say,"yuckie!" she would turn and lay down a heavy mist of big cat spray. If her aim was true somebody went home smelling like the world's biggest kitty litter box. There was a sign posted warning of the lions game. Few if any read the sign. You go big kitty!

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Aw, my first spam of the New Year.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlouis
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