The Ledes

Friday, May 29, 2015.

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy shrank at an annualized pace of 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data released Friday morning, a tumble for a recovering nation that until recently seemed poised for takeoff. The contraction, the country’s third in the aftermath of the Great Recession, provides a troubling picture of an economy that many figured would get a lift from cheap oil, rapid hiring and growing consumer confidence. Instead, consumers have proved cautious, and oil companies have frozen investment — all while a nasty winter caused havoc for transportation and construction and a strong dollar widened the trade deficit."

The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (May 22): "A salmonella outbreak that’s probably linked to raw tuna from sushi has sickened at least 53 people across nine states — the majority in Southern California, health authorities said."

White House Live Video
May 29

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

 

New York Times: "Charter Communications is near a deal to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, people with direct knowledge of the talks said on Monday, a takeover that would create a new powerhouse in the rapidly consolidating American cable industry.... The potential acquisition of Time Warner Cable completes a lengthy quest by Charter and its main backer, the billionaire John C. Malone, to break into the top tier of the American broadband industry. If completed, the transaction would be the latest in a series of mergers remaking the market for broadband Internet and cable television in the United States." ...

     ... Update: "Charter Communications agreed on Tuesday to buy its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $56.7 billion in a deal that would transform the company into one of America’s largest cable and broadband operators."

Washington Post: "One of the earliest known copies of the Ten Commandments was written in soot on a strip of goatskin found among the trove of biblical material known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, widely considered to be one of the great archaeological finds of the 20th century. Penned on parchment by an unknown scribe more than 2,000 years ago, the scroll fragment is ... so fragile that its custodians rarely permit it to be moved from the secure vault where it rests in complete darkness. But for 14 days over the next seven months, the Ten Commandments scroll, known to scholars as 4Q41, will make a rare public appearance at the Israel Museum as part of a new exhibit called 'A Brief History of Humankind,' a show based on the international best-selling book by Israeli polymath Yuval Noah Harari."

Erik Loomis of LG&M: "It looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal has had her Last Fuckable Day at the ripe old age of 37:

... Sharon Waxman of the Wrap: "Every time we think things are getting better for women in Hollywood, something comes along to remind us — naaah. Maggie Gyllenhaal ... revealed that she was recently turned down for a role in a movie because she was too old to play the love interest for a 55-year-old man."

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Contact the Constant Weader

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

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
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.