The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

Attention, Costco Shoppers. E. coli in the Salad Cooler. Washington Post: "Federal health officials are investigating an outbreak of deadly E. coli bacteria that has sickened 19 people in at least seven states, mostly in the west.... Preliminary evidence suggests that rotisserie chicken salad made and sold in Costco Wholesale stores in several states is the likely source of this outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post (October 26): "A research division of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that bacon, sausage and other processed meats cause cancer, and that red meat probably does, too. The report by the influential group stakes out one of the most aggressive stances against meat yet taken by a major health organization, and it is expected to face stiff criticism in the United States."

New York Times (October 20: "The American Cancer Society, which has for years taken the most aggressive approach to [breast-cancer] screening, issued new guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that women with an average risk of breast cancer start having mammograms at 45 and continue once a year until 54, then every other year for as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The organization also said it no longer recommended clinical breast exams, in which doctors or nurses feel for lumps, for women of any age who have had no symptoms of abnormality in the breasts."

White House Live Video
November 25

11:15 am ET: Vice President Biden delivers a joint summit statement with President Grabar-Kitarović of Croatia, President Pahor of Slovenia and European Council President Tusk in Zagreb, Croatia (audio only)

2: 45 pm ET: President Obama pardons the national Thanksgiving turkey

Go to


Domenico Montanaro of NPR with everything you never wanted to know about the strange tradition of presidential "pardons" of turkeys.

Frank Rich reviews "Carol," the film based on Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt, published under a pseudonym. As usual, Rich goes deep.

New York Times: "Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday[, Nov. 18,] night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.... The fiction award went to Adam Johnson for 'Fortune Smiles.'..."

Slate: Carly Simon told People magazine that "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty. CW: Somehow I think I knew that a long time ago.

Guardian: "Gawker, the gossip website..., is giving up on reporting gossip in order to refocus on politics and 'to hump the [2016 presidential] campaign'. The site, founded by British journalist Nick Denton in 2003, announced on Tuesday that Gawker was steering in a new direction that would “orient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire'.”

Washington Post: Actor "Charlie Sheen confirmed on Tuesday that he is HIV-positive, as rumored in recent days by an onslaught of tabloid stories. Sheen told Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show that he is going public with his illness for multiple reasons, including that he’s been blackmailed for upwards of $10 million since he was diagnosed four years ago."

... For about $880,000, you can purchase Julia Child's excellent little house in Provence; her kitchen is intact, except for the stove.

New York Times: "Archaeologists have over the years cataloged the rocks [forming Stonehenge], divined meaning from their placement — lined up for midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset — and studied animal and human bones buried there. They have also long known about the other monuments — burial chambers, a 130-foot-tall mound of chalk known as Silbury Hill and many other circular structures. An aerial survey in 1925 revealed circles of timbers, now called Woodhenge, two miles from Stonehenge." With slide show.


New York Times: "In an overheated art market where anything seems possible, a painting of an outstretched nude woman by the early-20th-century artist Amedeo Modigliani sold on Monday night for $170.4 million with fees, in a packed sales room at Christie’s. It was the second-highest price paid for an artwork at auction."

Artist's rendering of the main exhibition hall of the planned wing of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.New York Times: "In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design ... evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. The design, by the architect Jeanne Gang for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, aims to unite the museum’s various activities, solve its notorious circulation problems and provide a multistory showcase for the institution’s expanding role as a hub for scientific research and scholarship.”

New York Times: "... Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday. As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years."

Guardian: "Facebook has announced plans to water down its controversial 'real names' policy, after lobbying from civil liberties groups worldwide."

If you'd like to know whatever happened to former NYT food columnist Mark Bittman, the Washington Post has the answer.

Jennifer Senior of the New York Times reviews Notorious R.G.B., by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik: "It’s an artisanal hagiography, a frank and admiring piece of fan nonfiction."

Digital Globe photo, via NASA, republished in the New York Times. CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.... New York Times: "Satellite pictures of a remote and treeless northern steppe reveal colossal earthworks — geometric figures of squares, crosses, lines and rings the size of several football fields, recognizable only from the air and the oldest estimated at 8,000 years old. The largest, near a Neolithic settlement, is a giant square of 101 raised mounds, its opposite corners connected by a diagonal cross, covering more terrain than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.... Described last year at an archaeology conference in Istanbul as unique and previously unstudied, the earthworks, in the Turgai region of northern Kazakhstan, number at least 260 — mounds, trenches and ramparts — arrayed in five basic shapes."

New York Times: "In a landmark study, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported that they had conducted an experiment that they say proved one of the most fundamental claims of quantum theory — that objects separated by great distance can instantaneously affect each other’s behavior. The finding is another blow to one of the bedrock principles of standard physics known as 'locality,' which states that an object is directly influenced only by its immediate surroundings. The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated 'spooky action at a distance,' and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion." CW: Everything is relative, Al.

Gizmodo: On Halloween, "a rather large asteroid — discovered less than three weeks ago — is set to to fly past the Earth at a distance not seen in nearly a decade.... NASA says that 2015 TB145 will safely pass by the Earth and continue to following along its exceptionally eccentric and high-inclination orbit — which may explain why it wasn’t discovered until only a few weeks ago. During the flyby, the asteroid will reach a magnitude luminosity of 10, so it should be observable to astronomers with telescopes."

For $299,000 you could buy the house where Bruce Springsteen wrote "Born to Run." It looks like a dump prone to flooding every time it rains, but it's a block-and-a-half from the Jersey shore beach.

New York Post: "During his time in the White House, President Richard Nixon — pug-nosed, jowly, irascible, charmless-yet-devoted husband to Pat — was known to awkwardly hit on middle-aged female staffers. In 'The Last of the President’s Men' (Simon & Schuster), veteran journalist Bob Woodward quotes Alexander Butterfield, Nixon’s deputy assistant, about the commander-in-chief’s sad seduction techniques."

The Washington Post thought it would be great journalism to feature Donald's Digs in their weekend edition.  You'll be happy to know that Trump's taste runs to the gaudy & garish. You can take the boy out of the boroughs but you can take the boroughs out of the boy. I'd call Donald's style Early Modern Lottery Winner. Here's a sampling:

... There's much more where that came from. Ugh. Here, by contrast, is the study in Michael Bloomberg's New York City pad. Bloomberg is quite a few $$BB richer than Trump.

CW: I've completely ignored the buzz about the film "Steve Jobs," so this was welcome:

... Sharon Shetty in Slate: "As the latest attempt to mine every last bit of meaning from the life of Apple’s late founder, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs will probably make lots of money and spark lots of debate. For those preemptively exhausted by that debate, there’s Conan O’Brien’s less controversial take on a tech biopic: Michael Dell":

AND contributor D. C. Clark was kind enough to remind us of Eva Cassidy:

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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 <>

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