Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
AP: "General Motors faced more pressure over its handling of a deadly defect in certain compact cars Tuesday as word leaked of a criminal investigation and two congressional committees opened probes into the matter. The Justice Department is investigating whether GM broke any laws with its slow response to a problem with ignition switches in compact cars from model years 2003 to 2007."
Washington Post: "Attorneys for an Army general [-- Brig. Gen Jeffrey A. Sinclair --] charged with sexual assault said Tuesday that they have decided to try to renegotiate a plea bargain with a new set of military officials after the judge determined that the case may have been improperly influenced by political concerns."
Tampa Bay Times: "Several polling places reported a good turnout early Tuesday as Pinellas County voters selected a new representative for District 13. The race between Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alex Sink has garnered national attention and prompted contributions of an unprecedented $12 million in campaign funds. A third candidate, Libertarian Lucas Overby, is also on the ballot."
New York Times: "The Malaysian authorities now believe that a jetliner missing since Saturday may have radically changed course around the time that it stopped communicating with ground controllers. But there were conflicting accounts of the course change and what may have happened afterward, adding to the air of confusion and disarray surrounding the investigation and search operation." ...
... New York Times: "The Malaysian police said on Tuesday that one of the two passengers known to have used stolen passports to board the missing Malaysian airliner was a 19-year-old Iranian who wanted to migrate to Germany and appeared to have no connection to terrorist organizations." ...
... New Lede: " International police authorities said on Tuesday that two Iranians known to have used stolen passports to board the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared on Saturday were unlikely to be linked to terrorist groups, echoing an assessment by the Malaysian police that one of them was a 19-year-old Iranian who wanted to migrate to Germany."
... New York Times: "... according to [Interpol], only three countries — the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates — systematically screen travelers against the agency’s database of stolen passports. "
Washington Post: Joe "McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in 'The Selling of the President 1968' and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster 'Fatal Vision,' died Monday at age 71."
Monday, March 10, 2014.
New York Times: "The mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 deepened on Monday when a sweeping search failed to find any sign of the jetliner near its last known location, leaving experts to puzzle over how a Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard could have vanished without a trace.The search was set back by a number of false leads that seemed to underline how little investigators have been able to pin down about the progress of the flight." ...
... Guardian: "Confusion mounted on Monday over the identities of the two passengers travelling with stolen passports aboard missing flight MH370 after reviews of CCTV footage prompted a Malaysian official to describe them as resembling a black Italian footballer. Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that the men, who had been travelling on stolen Italian and Austrian passports, were 'not Asian looking' and may have been part of a stolen passport syndicate."
Washington Post: "Russia and its sympathizers seized control of more Ukrainian military bases and facilities in Crimea on Monday while Moscow issued threatening statements about eastern Ukraine that signaled Russia’s intention to play a significant role in the country’s future. At least four Ukrainian military bases, including one stocked with missiles, were overrun by armed men in uniforms who say they are members of local self-defense units, which are typically under the command of Russian military officers. The headquarters of the Ukrainian naval fleet had its electricity cut, and the director of a military hospital was ousted and a replacement installed by the pro-Russian militia that took over." ...
... AFP: "Russia has deliberately sunk three of its own ships to block Ukrainian navy vessels entering a lake off the Black Sea, officers say, highlighting Moscow's determination to wear down the morale of Kiev's forces in Crimea." ...
... Reuters: "Russian President Vladimir Putin defended breakaway moves by the pro-Russian leaders of Crimea on Sunday in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, according to the Kremlin."
Public Service Announcements
Washington Post: "Researchers are reporting that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs protected monkeys for weeks against infection, a finding that could lead to a major breakthrough in preventing the disease in humans."
New York Times: "General Motors will more than double the size of a recall issued this month for an ignition switch defect in some of its small cars, the automaker said in a news release Tuesday. The expansion brings the number of vehicles covered by the recall to nearly 1.4 million in the United States. The recall is aimed at vehicles with ignition switches that could inadvertently turn off the engine and vehicle electrical system – disabling the air bags – if the ignition key is jarred or the vehicle’s operator has a heavy key ring attached to it."
New York Times: "The essence of [a] disagreement [among experts] comes down to a simple question: Will e-cigarettes cause more or fewer people to smoke? The answer matters. Cigarette smoking is still the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States, killing about 480,000 people a year."
12:30 pm ET: Jay Carney's press briefing
If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Katie Valentine of Think Progress: "Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of National Geographic and Fox’s new show Cosmos, said Sunday that he thinks the media needs [sic.] to stop providing false balance in stories on scientific subjects like climate change."
New York Times: A scholar hopes to find the bones of literary great Miguel de Cervantes, who is buried somewhere in in the Trinitarias convent in Madrid.
Buh-Bye. Dylan Byers of Politico: "CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, known for her critical reporting on the Obama administration, resigned on Monday, bringing an end to months of hard-fought negotiations stemming from her dissatisfaction with the network.... Attkisson, who had been with CBS News for more than two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners, and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said.... Attkisson’s coverage of the Obama administration, which some CBS staffers characterized as agenda-driven, had led network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting." ...
... J. K. Trotter of Gawker: "Lately, however, her moments in the spotlight have centered on the ongoing investigation into who was making her computers turn on and off by themselves. She revealed that development not on her own network but, instead, Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time Fox News show." (CW: Even CBS "News" probably doesn't put up with that much crazy.) ...
... CW: Time to bleach your hair, dear. You're going to Fox "News." (Attkisson is already writing a book for a NewsCorp imprint, one that -- if the proposed title Stonewalled means anything, will diss her CBS colleagues.)
Matt Taibbi has left Rolling Stone to edit his own magazine. Something about Glenn Greenwald.
** Susie Madrak of Crooks & Liars: Terry Coppage, a/k/a "Bartcop, who was one of the original (and best) liberal bloggers, died [Fri]day." ...
... A word from Brad Friedman of the BradBlog. ...
... And from Tom Boggioni, a/k/a TBogg.
Driftglass has a series of posts on the media's adulation and employment of right-wing talking heads who perpetually get it wrong. Here's a particularly good one on the ever-present everywhere Bill Kristol & his many media enablers.
Canaletto, Meet Google Earth. Guardian: Artist Halley Docherty has superimposed "well known historical paintings of city scenes around the world, from Istanbul to Saint Petersburg and Tokyo to New York ... on to Google Street View." CW: You owe it to yourself to study these here and here.
Maureen Dowd: In Hollywood, women still lack clout.
So you won't enjoy watching the Oscars presentations too much, Kathleen Sharp of Salon writes, "While movie stars celebrate the year in film, industry workers are struggling to get by."
Paul Krugman, having attained "mature adultery," announces that he will retire from Princeton in June 2015 & take a professorship at CCNY's Graduate Center & a distinguished chair at CCNY's Luxembourg Income Study Center. The Graduate Center's announcement is here.
Actor/comedian Seth Rogen goes to Capitol Hill to talk about Alzheimer's, & ends up talking to ABC News about other things, including what politician he would want to smoke pot with.
** Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times: "Carefully assembled and soberly presented, Robert May’s 'Kids for Cash' takes a lacerating look at America’s juvenile justice system — the United States is one of only three countries in the world to decline to ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child — and the perils of its increasing privatization. Focusing mainly on the federal prosecution of Mark A. Ciavarella, a former juvenile court judge in Pennsylvania accused of accepting kickbacks from a for-profit detention center in exchange for providing a steady stream of young inmates, Mr. May patiently uncovers a more complex tale of cronyism, corruption and moral crusading. A staunch advocate of the 'zero tolerance' policies embraced by many authorities after the Columbine shootings, Mr. Ciavarella jailed more than 3,000 children, often for years and for what amounted to youthful pranks and poor impulse control.... In the end, we may be troubled less by the events on screen than by the fear that they’re being replayed all over the country."
RT network anchor quits on-air:
... Daily Beast: "An American anchor working for state-owned television station Russia Today quit on air on Wednesday. Liz Wahl, in the network's D.C. bureau, announced she could no longer be "part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin." CW: The Beast labels this a "profile in courage." Sounds more like a career move to me. Wahl complained to the Beast that she couldn't get ahead at RT because she often "strayed from the narrative" that the network was pushing.
How to Put a Star in a Bottle:
How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the "I"s. CW: Alec Baldwin, in a New Yorker as-told-to (apparently Baldwin is too busy to write his own stuff), feels very sorry for himself because everybody is picking on him. I couldn't get through it but I found out he's not homophobic & he was just trying to save MSNBC. Anyway, the Internets is loving Baldwin's sob story, so here it is.
David Carr of the New York Times: CNN host Piers "Morgan said last week that he and [CNN President Jeff] Zucker had been talking about the show’s failure to connect and had decided to pull the plug, probably in March.... It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate ... and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial." ...
... Steve M.: "Piers Morgan's CNN prime-time show has been canceled, and David Carr of The New York Times blames, among other things Morgan's advocacy of gun control.... There is a way to quantify that: compare Morgan's ratings before he became identified with gun controls with his ratings afterward.... The Morgan show's ratings were awful all along, and were usually comparable to the awful ratings of CNN's other prime-time shows.... The gunners ... are going to claim that they killed Morgan's show. They didn't." ...
... UPDATE: Dave Weigel: "Morgan was the beneficiary of a curious American habit. We assign 20 extra IQ points to anyone who speaks with a British accent, redistributing them from the people who speak with Southern accents. This was what led people, like Alec Baldwin, to assume that Martin Bashir 'might help get MSNBC to a higher place,' and why every B-movie producer has assumed he could elevate the material by casting Malcolm McDowell or Ben Kingsley." CW: quite a takedown of Morgan.
More from the "Tonight Show." This is hilarious. And, yes, any of us can be rappers: