The Ledes

Monday, March 30, 2015.

New York Times: "On Monday, the [U.S.] government charged that in the shadows of an undercover investigation of Silk Road, a notorious black-market site, two federal agents sought to enrich themselves by exploiting the very secrecy that made the site so difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate. The agents, Carl Mark Force IV, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun W. Bridges, who worked for the Secret Service, had resigned amid growing scrutiny, and on Monday they were charged with money laundering and wire fraud. Mr. Force was also charged with theft of government property and conflict of interest."

Guardian: "The personal details of world leaders at the last G20 summit were accidentally disclosed by the Australian immigration department, which did not consider it necessary to inform those world leaders of the privacy breach.... An employee of the agency inadvertently sent the passport numbers, visa details and other personal identifiers of all world leaders attending the summit to the organisers of the Asian Cup football tournament."

Washington Post: "One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency. The vehicle slammed into a police cruiser after shots were fired." ...

... ABC News: "Sources say the two inside [the vehicle] were men dressed as women. Preliminary information indicated the two men were partying at an area hotel with a third individual when they took that individual's car without permission. However, it's still unclear how or why they ended up at the NSA gate."

New York Times: "Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister who was forced from office under a cloud of corruption, was convicted on Monday of fraud and breach of trust in a retrial of a case involving an American businessman, whose sensational testimony in a Jerusalem court in 2008 was instrumental in Mr. Olmert’s downfall. The American businessman, Morris Talansky, said at the time that he had provided Mr. Olmert with about $150,000 over 13 years, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, an assertion Mr. Olmert vehemently denied. Mr. Talansky, known as Moshe, had said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, March 29, 2015.

New York Times: "Rescue workers recovered two bodies on Sunday in the wreckage of the explosion and fire that happened last week in the East Village, the police said. One of two bodies was identified by family members as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. The second body was not yet identified.... Officials said the fire was most likely set off by a gas explosion. The explosion blew off the facade of the building, before spreading to four neighboring ones. Three of the buildings — 119, 121 and 123 Second Avenue — were reduced to rubble."

AP: "Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen will continue until Shiite rebels there 'withdraw and surrender their weapons,' a summit of Arab leaders decided Sunday, as they also agreed in principle to forming a joint military force. The decision by the Arab League puts it on a path to potentially more aggressively challenge Shiite power Iran, which is backing the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis."

Baltimore Sun: Protesters show up outside Bill Cosby's Baltimore performance, and one interrupts his show.

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
March 30

9:00 am ET: President's Management Advisory Board meeting

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

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Andrew Sullivan says he quit his blog because blogging is difficult, time-consuming & dehumanizing. CW a/k/a the Blog Nazi: No kidding.

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Trevor Noah's ascent on The Daily Show has been steep — hired on as senior international correspondent four months ago, he'll take over the anchor's desk from Jon Stewart after just three appearances on the show, Comedy Central announced Monday."

If you thought a meerkat was something like a mongoose ... Global News: "Meet Meerkat, the live streaming video service that allows users to host a live broadcast from their smartphones. If you haven’t heard of this new app don’t feel too bad – it’s only been around for about two weeks. But that hasn’t stopped it from garnering an estimated 300,000 active users, US$12 million in funding and even a few controversies."

In Case You Were Wondering... Megan Garber of the Atlantic examines multiple theories on why "men’s dress shirts have their buttons on the right, while women’s have them on the left (to the wearer)."

Oliver Knox of Yahoo! News: "Inside the elaborate, surprisingly unglamorous world of presidential hotel stays." Or Why President Trump Would Resign Shortly after His Inauguration.

New York Times: "After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — 'Richard III, 1452-1485' — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times. With the solemn ceremony laid down for monarchs through the ages, the coffin was borne to a marble tomb adjacent to the cathedral’s altar by a party of 10 British Army pallbearers...." ...

... The Guardian has a full page of stories about Richard III.

Twenty percent more people trust Bill O'Reilly now than trusted O'Reilly before the press reported he was a serial liar:

East Wing Mystery. Washington Post: "There’s still no official comment on why [White House head florist Laura] Dowling is no longer at the White House, but according to a source with close ties to current residence staffers, she was escorted from the building on Friday Feb. 13." ...

     ... UPDATE. Thoroughly Modern Michelle. "Dowling ... left because her 'fussy style' was not in line with the first lady’s emerging modern and clean aesthetics, several sources said.... Recently the first lady has debuted a different aesthetic at the executive mansion. Last month, the White House revealed the newly refurbished and now decidedly modern Old Family dining room.... Mrs. Obama unveiled her 'thoroughly modernized' mark on the White House, featuring a custom-made 1950s-inspired rug and bold artwork, to surprised tourists on Feb. 10. Dowling is said to have been escorted from the White House three days later." ...

Reuters: "Whether it's the earnest Josiah Bartlet from 'The West Wing' or the manipulative Frank Underwood in 'House of Cards,' Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack 'No Drama' Obama.'"

Washington Post: Scientists believe they've found the world's largest asteroid impact zone in Australia.

Washington Post: "King Richard III may have been buried quickly and without pomp the first time, but 530 years later, England is reveling in a final farewell to its long-lost monarch. On a sun-kissed Sunday afternoon on the battlefield where Richard III fell in 1485 — he was the last English king to die in battle — throngs of well-wishers, some dressed in medieval costume and blowing trumpets, gathered to honor England’s last Plantagenet king."

Out of the Parking Lot & into the Cathedral. Guardian: England is preparing to (re)inter a king today (Sunday, March 22). "... the coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn hearse, to lead the way to a service of compline, with a sermon from a Roman Catholic archbishop, Vincent Nicholls. It will then lie in the cathedral, guarded night and day, until the reburial service on Thursday."

Politico: "The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has granted Amazon Logistics, a subsidiary of the Internet retail giant, approval for a drone design that the company plans to use for research, development and training."

David Rackoff: "Things people say that irritate Republicans." Click thru. CW: I'll have to try to remember these. So I can say them. To Republicans. I hope I drive them all Rumpelstiltskin. Then I will ask the Flying Spaghetti Monster to forgive me for being so mean.

Prince Charles & the Duchess of Cornwall are in Washington, D.C., & environs.

President Obama hosts a St. Patrick's Day reception:

... CW: Somebody explain to me why apparently-intelligent people don't actually participate in events they attend but instead spend their time taking crappy cellphone videos, even when they know said events will be recorded by professionals & posted online. I get why a person would want to record some side-conversation with, say, the President, but the main event? It baffles me.

Patrick LaForge of the New York Times: "Welcome to a parallel universe. It is a world of tired news language where the verb 'stir' is bound to be followed by 'debate,' where those debates are always 'heated' or 'bitter.' In this world, anything newsworthy is automatically 'controversial,' and a 'hike' involves taxes, not a trail up a mountain. It is often a 'hardscrabble' place, sometimes 'densely wooded,' sometimes graced with 'manicured' lawns and 'leafy' streets. 'Landmark' agreements are 'hammered out' there, while adversaries are 'lambasted' and 'assailed.'” Meet journalese: a strained and artificial voice more common to news reports than to natural conversation." LaForge cites numerous examples of NYT reporters' use of these cliches.

Contact the Constant Weader

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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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