The Wires

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office":

The Ledes

Saturday, December 20, 2014.

New York Times: "The United States transferred four detainees from the Guantánamo Bay prison to Afghanistan late Friday, the Defense Department announced Saturday, fulfilling a request from the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, in what officials here characterized as a show of good will between the United States and the government in Kabul.The four men are not likely to be subjected to further detainment in Afghanistan, an Obama administration official said."

New York Times: "In an apparent targeted killing, two police officers were shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon by a man who later fatally shot himself in head, police officials said."

Reuters: "Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department took at least 73 adults and one minor into custody during the protest that blocked Interstate 43, which runs through the city, according to the department's Twitter feed."

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

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Wish I'd Said That. Or Not. 1.

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Vice President Biden has been instructed not to do his hilarious Hu's on First routine in front of the President of China. -- Jimmy Kimmel

She's a beauty queen, so right away I hate her. I think she's stealing my act, so that pisses me off. -- Roseanne Barr, on Sarah Palin

What I'm trying to do is help run out the clock. -- Sen. Jim DeMint, December 16, 2010 ...

... We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It's a long clock. -- Sen. Harry Reid

Winning the competition would mean a lot to me.... It would feel like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me! -- Bristol Palin, in her classy vernacular way, signaling to tea partiers to keep those phone votes coming ... Palin came in third in the "Dancing with the Stars" finale, behind winner "Jennifer Grey, 50-year-old star of 'Dirty Dancing,' [and] 19-year-old Disney star Kyle Massey."

If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two. -- James Carville

... Update: If I offended anybody, I'm not sorry and I don't apologize. -- James Carville ...

They are, of course, Nazis. They have a kind of Nazi attitude. They are the left wing of Nazism. These guys don’t want any other point of view. They don’t even feel guilty using tax dollars to spout their propaganda. They are basically Air America with government funding to keep them alive. -- Roger Ailes, Fox "News" CEO, referring to NPR executives

At one point, Gibbs literally had his foot lodged in the closing front door, asking if the Indian security officials pushing hard to shut it were going to break his foot. -- Pool Report

It's All about Bill. Where is the love? I ought to be the tea party's poster child. -- Bill Clinton, November 1, 2010

Putting the American people back to work ... is the moral and national challenge of our time It is too important for pure partisanship or blind ideology. -- Barack Obama

To paraphrase my friend, Deval Patrick, the last election was a changing of the guard -– now we've got to guard the change. -- Barack Obama

Their message is: Whatever it is that Obama was for, we'll be against. We'll try to roll back health care. We'll try to roll back financial regulatory reform. And all those folks who were financing these third parties all across the country, all those special interests, they're going to be looking to be able to write the rules again, if these folks are back in power. -- Barack Obama, on Republicans & their backers

I can't spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead. -- Barack Obama

We have a lot of kids on the ground acting like adults and we have a lot of adults in this room acting like kids. -- Barack Obama, to his military advisors, for their petty infighting

Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. -- Glenn Beck ...

The March on Washington changed America. Our country reached to overcome the low points of our racial history. Glenn Beck's march will change nothing. -- Eleanor Holmes Norton

If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know.... We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work! -- Alan Simpson, co-chair of the President's deficit commission, to the Older Women's League

A significant portion of the money that belongs in Delaware and New York and Georgia ... resides right here. -- Joe Biden, eulogizing Sen. Ted Stevens

I think Republicans are going to get the House back. -- independent prognosticator Charlie Cook, on the November elections

Maybe what he found was it was harder being George Bush than he thought. He now owns a war and an environmental disaster. -- Martha's Vineyard vacationer Karl Sternberg, on President Obama

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. -- Newt Gingrich ...

... There will be a mosque in Rome, only when a Roman Catholic church is permitted in Mecca. -- Benito Mussolini (via Ben Smith; see his notes on sourcing) Update: see Smith's further post on the Mussolini citation, which is almost certainly apocryphal

I wish we had been able to obstruct more. -- Mitch McConnell

Obstruct more? Is that even possible? -- Barack Obama

They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality. They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president. -- Robert Gibbs, on what he calls "the professional left"

Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.... Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
-- Judge Vaughn Walker

Calling out the right wing has become a rare commodity among journalists and Democrats. All scurrilous attacks are not equal..., but appealing to racial, religious, and ethnic fears and anger is a prescription for grave danger for our country. -- Howard Dean

It's not like they've engaged in some heavy reflection. They have not come up with a single, solitary new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don't have a single idea that's different from George Bush's ideas, not one. Instead, they're betting on amnesia. -- Barack Obama, on Republicans

The idea that the average American is overtaxed is a nice piece of populist pandering. In fact, federal taxes as a percentage of the economy are at their lowest level since the Truman administration.
-- Fareed Zakaria

With all due respect -- I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about what the President's employees say about one thing or another.
-- Nancy Pelosi, on Robert Gibbs' assertion that Democrats could lose the House in November

Modern Conservatism is a disease. If you don't understand that, you're already infected. -- driftglass

The Senate sucks, and I mean it literally. It sucks the energy out of the room and it sucks the urgency out of what we do.... The lack of urgency from the Senate on these jobs bill is soul-crushing.
-- Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va)

We are dealing with extremist, obstructionist, lying hypocrites who think you don't have to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest but are holding up help for the neediest. -- Rep. Paul Hodes, on Republicans

Unfortunately ... some want Obama to fail, period. And unfortunately, Obama's failure would be the country's failure. In a way, some of them are rooting against the country. They want political power. -- -- Sen. Kent Conrad, on Republicans

Neither a borrower nor a lender be / For loan oft loses both itself and friend / And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. -- Polonius, "Hamlet" by Will Shakespeare ...

... Neither a thinker nor a reader be / For thought oft loses both itself and friend / And reading dulls the edge of Fox TV. -- Sarah Palin Shakespeare, "Ham" by Sam Kennerly <twitter.com/djsamk>

Politics in D.C. have become Seinfeldesque. Fights about nothing.
-- Democratic strategist Chris Lehane

I think having a moratorium on new federal regulations is a great idea. -- John Boehner

You better get down there. -- Barack Obama to Steven Chu, shortly after the Gulf oil spill

George Steinbrenner died yesterday.... Because he was smart enough to die in 2010, there is zero tax liability on the estate tax. -- former baseball player & Sen. Jim Bunning

I don’t appreciate it. I don’t know who this guy is. I’ve never met him before. And he’s saying that we’re going to lose the House.
-- Nancy Pelosi, on Robert Gibbs, according to a source in the caucus

When tax money flows to the nation’s capitol, half stays there, half is wasted and half of it goes to political cronyism. -- Rand Paul (and maybe another half should go to teaching Dr. Paul 4th-grade math. Via Ben Smith)

People would walk by my booth and say ‘TARP, TARP, TARP, TARP!' But when you tried to talk to them about it, they did not know any of the details. They confused TARP and the stimulus plan. They confused TARP and the omnibus bill. They confused TARP and the president's budget. -- Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), who lost his primary race to Tea Party candidates

I thought they'd take Rush Limbaugh. -- Joe Biden, on the spy swap

This fall, I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. -- LeBron James

The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid. -- U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ...

... Judge Tauro is attempting to hoist conservatives by their own petard, by saying: ‘You like the 10th Amendment? I’ll give you the 10th Amendment! I’ll strike down DOMA!’ -- Law Prof. Jack Balkin

You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap around women for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway, so it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. -- Gen. James Mattis, in 2005. Mattis has been nominated to head CENTCOM

Governor Mitt Romney's hyperbolic attack on the New START Treaty ... repeats discredited objections and appears unaware of arms control history and context. -- Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee

I ain't going anywhere. -- RNC Chair Michael Steele

If Al-Qaeda is down to one hundred men in Afghanistan, at the most, why are we fighting a major war? ... The whole enterprise is Afghanistan feels disproportionate. -- Fareed Zakaria

The Senate is the slowest moving thing since the snail. -- Rep John Dingell

We don't need a state-run media because our media outlets volunteer for the task. -- Glenn Greenwald in Salon

Like all Jews, I was probably in a Chinese restaurant.
--
Elena Kagan, in response to Sen. Lindsey Graham's question, Where were you at [sic.] on Christmas?

You light up the room. -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok), to Elena Kagan

They’re snuffing out the America that I grew up in.... There’s a political rebellion brewing, and I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it since 1776. -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review via Politico) AND ...

Ensuring there’s enough money to pay for the war will require reforming the country’s entitlement system. -- John Boehner (CW: i.e., old needy people should pay for the war)

Liberty is not a cruise ship full of pampered passengers. Liberty is a man of war and we are all the crew.  I don't know why I thought of that. -- Sen. John Cornyn, at the Kagan hearing

Whether you're a worker, a pensioner, a small business owner, a woman, a voter, or a person who drinks water, your rights are harder to defend today than they were five years ago. -- Sen. Al Franken, commenting on the activist Roberts Court

This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy.
-- Barack Obama, on replacing Gen. McChrystal with Gen. Petreaus

I am going to maintain silence in every language known to man.
-- Gen. Dwight Eisenhower on President Truman's firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur

I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case.... I have recalled Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person. -- Robert Gates, on comments by Gen. McChrystal & his staff to Rolling Stone