The Wires

The Ledes

Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

New York Times: "Artur Fischer, a German inventor who registered more than 1,100 patents, including the first synchronized camera flash and an anchor that millions of do-it-yourselfers use to secure screws into walls, died on Jan. 27 at his home in Waldachtal, in southwestern Germany. He was 96."

White House Live Video
February 10

2:10 pm ET: President Obama addresses the Illinois General Assembly

2:30 pm ET: Vice President Biden participates in a discussion of the "cancer moonshot" (audio only)

4:25 pm ET: President Obama speaks at the Hoogland Center for Arts in Springfield, Illinois

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

CW: Not sure if the movie is any good, but Ron Howard's intro is primo. Here's the trailer:

... The New York Times story, by Brooks Barnes, is here. "Kept a secret for months — no small task in Hollywood — 'Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie' was released to coincide with Mr. Trump’s victory on Tuesday in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

New York Times: The leader of a group of "aging thieves" who last year pulled off "the largest burglary in England’s history" may have been an ex-policeman. The others have been captured, but "Basil" is still at large & his identity is unknown to investigators. Surely there will be a movie.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Times: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

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The Edwards-Hunter Affair

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I haven't kept up with the twists & turns of this saga, and this isn't the place to link to stories about Elizabeth Edwards' death. -- Constant Weader

Falling in love with you could really fuck up my plans for becoming President.  -- John Edwards, to Rielle Hunter during their first tryst

Sex, Lies & Videotape -- the Hearing. AP (October 31): "A North Carolina judge has scheduled a hearing to review the civil case involving former Sen. John Edwards and a sex tape purportedly involving him. Judge Michael Morgan has scheduled the status review for Monday afternoon in Pittsboro, [N.C.]. The meeting comes a week before a scheduled hearing on charges by Edwards' former mistress that a former campaign staffer should be held in contempt of court. Rielle Hunter is suing former Edwards staffer Andrew Young for the return of personal property, including the purported sex tape."

Politico (October 13): the defense in the John Edwards case is arguing that the former Senator's prosecution was politically motivated. The prosecutor who brought the case was a Bush appointee who was hostile to Edwards.

Reuters, July 23: "The Federal Election Commission approved a final audit on Thursday that concludes former presidential candidate John Edwards' campaign owes the government more than $2 million.... The report found John Edwards for President got matching funds in excess of his entitlement as a candidate, misstated its cash-on-hand balance by nearly $100,000, failed to itemize loan repayments of more than $4 million and stale-dated at least 128 checks worth $141,808."

AP News Brief (via the NYT): "The trial of John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential candidate, can begin in October, a federal judge in Greensboro said Thursday, despite arguments from his lawyers that they need more time."

The Sleaziest Man Alive. Or Ever. ABC News, June 16: "Just weeks before federal prosecutors charged John Edwards in a six-count felony indictment, ABC News has been told, the two-time Democratic presidential candidate requested millions of dollars from Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon, the banking heiress whose financial support of Edwards is at the center of the criminal case."

Raleigh-Durham News & Observer:, June 5: how the John Edwards plea negotiations went down to the wire but the deal didn't happen -- Edwards refused to do time.

Washington Post, June 3: "Former vice presidential nominee John Edwards was indicted Friday on federal campaign finance charges for allegedly using campaign donations to conceal an extramarital affair while he was running for president in 2008." The Raleigh News & Observer story is here. New York Times story here.

Ben Smith of Politico, May 31: "As John Edwards appears on the brink of being charged with violating campaign finance law, his lawyer, former White House Counsel Greg Craig..., [issues] a defiant statement." ...

... Amy Sullivan of Time thinks any DOJ plea agreement with Edwards should include a stipulation that Edwards just go away.

ABC News, May 24: "The United States Department of Justice has green-lighted the prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards for alleged violations of campaign laws while he tried to cover up an extra-marital affair, ABC News has learned. A source close to the case said Edwards is aware that the government intends to seek an indictment and that the former senator from North Carolina is now considering his limited options. He could accept a plea bargain with prosecutors or face a potentially costly trial." With video.

I love you.... Uhh, I really love you, Andrew. -- John Edwards to Andrew Young

Politico:, March 4: "An unremarked fact on a recent trove of voicemails to Andrew Young obtained by the North Carolina press: John Edwards left warm voicemails for his aide Andrew Young even as the attempt to cover up his affair collapsed." This ABC Raleigh-Durham print report includes text of some of the voicemails.

Kim Severson of the New York Times, February 28: "... a federal grand jury in Raleigh could soon hand up an indictment against [John Edwards] in a case centering on campaign finance practices. One issue is whether Mr. Edwards knew that some of the millions of dollars given by at least two wealthy donors was being used to help support — and hide, some contend — Rielle Hunter, the campaign videographer with whom he had a prolonged affair, and the daughter they conceived."

February 12: WRAL News [Raleigh, North Carolina] has learned that former senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards testified earlier this week in a civil lawsuit his former mistress brought against a former aide over a purported sex tape involving the politician and mistress. Rielle Hunter, a former campaign worker who gave birth to Edwards' daughter, has sued one-time Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife, alleging that they took the sex tape and photographs of Edwards with her daughter from her." CW: what fun the cross must have been!

This is what passes for front-page news on the Huffington Post: former National Enquirer editor David Perel tells how he got John Edwards to admit to his affair with Rielle Hunter.

AP, January 6, 2011: "The will Elizabeth Edwards signed days before her death last month made no mention of her estranged husband and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards. The document Elizabeth Edwards signed Dec. 1, six days before her death, also named her eldest child, lawyer Cate Edwards, as the executor of her estate."

Rebecca Dana comments in the Daily Beast on Elizabeth Edwards' latest hypocrisy tour -- "blaming the press while ruthlessly courting publicity."

Elizabeth Edwards speaks to Matt Lauer of NBC -- transcript of some remarks. Update: here's the video:

 

WSOC-TV Charlotte, May 28: "Rielle Hunter was in an uptown Charlotte law office Friday to give a deposition on an alleged sex tape of her and John Edwards."

New York Times, April 29: Baby Mama Rielle Hunter, "good friend" of one-time washed-up philandering Sen. John Edwards, tallks to Oprah. CW: pardon my lack of enthusiasm. Here's the transcript. And here's a clip re: the sex tape.

CBS News, March 16: Andrew Young fires back at Hunter.

It Just Gets Smarmier. In the Daily Beast, Diane Dimond provides a description of the action in the Edwards-Hunter sex tape.

NEW: here's Lisa DePaulo's GQ interview of Hunter. CW: I won't be reading it.

Rielle Hunter. GQ photos.Washington Post's Reliable Source: the girlfriend takes off her pants & speaks to GQ.

News & Observer, March 13: Andrew & Cheri Young won't be going to jail for contempt of court.

Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, March 12: "A nonprofit group that John Edwards set up to fight poverty paid $124,000 for Web videos and photos to...Rielle Hunter...in late 2006, the same year Edwards acknowledged he started a 'liaison. with her.... The checks have since been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in North Carolina as part of a sprawling criminal investigation...."

AP: Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones reprimanded Andrew Young in a court hearing Friday, declaring that the "former aide to John Edwards was in contempt of court, demanding that he turn over a 'personal' videotape being sought by Edwards' former mistress...but declined to put him in custody." ...

    ... Politico Update: "Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young said Friday that he has turned over a copy of his ex-boss’s sex tape to the FBI."

Tina Brown on the Revenge of the Toady: "...there was virtually no aspect of the Edwards campaign persona that was true."

The Huffington Post has more yucky details on the Edwards affair. With video, audio tapes.

Washington Wire reviews an advance copy of John Edwards lapdog Andrew Young's tell-all. Sample: Edwards considered leaving his cancer-stricken "crazy" wife Elizabeth but didn't because he realized she was more popular with voters than he. Oh, & there's a sex tape. Here's the New York Daily News book report.