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So.. Fluzilla? 30 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Border Issues, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Mexico.

Chinese health inspectors wait at the entrance to an AeroMexico aircraft after it landed at Pudong International airport in Shanghai [REUTERS]

From an F William Engdahl piece at Global Research:

[S]ince the outbreak of Swine Flu Panic (not Swine Flu but Swine Flu Panic) sales of Tamiflu, as well as any and every possible drug marketed as flu-related, have exploded. Wall Street firms have rushed to issue ‘buy’ recommendations for the company. ‘Gimme a shot Doc, I don’t care what it is…I don’t wanna die…’

Panic and fear of death was used by the Bush Administration skilfully to promote the Avian Flu fraud. With ominous echoes of the current Swine Flu scare, Avian Flu was traced back to huge chicken factory farms in Thailand and other parts of Asia whose products were shipped across the world. Instead of a serious investigation into the sanitary conditions of those chicken factory farms, the Bush Administration and WHO blamed ‘free-roaming chickens’ on small family farms, a move that had devastating economic consequences to the farmers whose chickens were being raised in the most sanitary natural conditions. Tyson Foods of Arkansas and CG Group of Thailand reportedly smiled all the way to the bank.

Now it remains to be seen if the Obama Administration will use the scare around so-called Swine Flu to repeat the same scenario, this time with ‘flying pigs’ instead of flying birds. Already Mexican authorities have reported that the number of deaths confirmed from so-called Swine Flu is 7, not the 150 or more bandied in the media, and that most other suspected cases were ordinary flu or influenza.

I sure have no clue.  But somewhere in the blither of articles and reports over the past few days, I did read that poor Mexico, now more troubled than ever, had, before this mess, experienced a 40% loss of value for the peso.

Sometimes we seem trapped in a movie (Tower of Destruction!  Fire from Above!  The Earth Engulfs Us!) or a cartoon (Warning of the Day!  It’s not even safe to go to the mailbox on the corner!)… I wish both the movies and the cartoons were better, real, whatever the horror may be….  But we seem stuck.


I get a little on line newsletter on the South and Southern issues… “Facing South”… and they have a tidbit on La Gloria that I had not caught in USA! USA! reporting:

[B]ack in Mexico, residents of La Gloria have long complained about conditions at the Smithfield subsidiary, saying they are bothered by foul odors, flies and problems with water contamination from the massive lagoons where hog waste is stored.

After an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in February, health workers sealed off the town and sprayed chemicals to kill flies that were swarming in people’s homes, the Times U.K. reports…snip…

Carry on…

And again… 29 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

8 PM ET… be there or — be elsewhere!

Is he pre-empting American Idol again?  I don’t happen to watch it, but pretty nervy if he is knocking off the most profitable show again.  Hey go for it.  Gawd waits for no man.

Some doings.. 28 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Russ Feingold, U.S. Senate.


Gannets – Chris Weston – BWPA

Just a couple of things frm Tapper today… 😉  Pols, they’d sell their mother…

Two weeks ago

[H]e kept repeating this mantra.

“If we lose my seat they have 60 Democrats, they will pass card check, you will have the Obama tax increases, they  will carry out his big spending plans. So the 41st Republican, whose name is Arlen Specter is vital to stopping tax increases, passage of card check, and the Obama big spending plans….Those 41 seats are the only thing standing between a Democratic onslaught of higher taxes, more spending and card check.”

It was pointed out by a reporter that he voted for the $787 billion stimulus package.

“I voted for the stimulus package, which was the twin brother for what Republican President Bush had on the $700 billion bailout,” the senator said. “I voted for the stimulus because I was fearful we were on the edge of a 1929 depression. I thought it was necessary in order to put people to work, in order to maintain productivity and to avoid paying massive man hours of unemployment compensation.”

He was asked if he’d considered running as independent or Democrat.

“I am a Republican and I am going to run on the Republican ticket in the Republican primary,” he said.

Of course Ob and the Oblings along with a good number of so called conservative Dems and Red State Dems and whatever other pejorative… Bloooooooooo Dogs!  Boll Weevils! were never going to see card check to fruition.

Sure as shootin’!  Oops another one!  They won’t even speak [hardly] of curbing that ol’ gun issue… talk about guns and butter.  Lives and bullets…


And, I don’t care whether it is Bush, scraps of Bush Heap or Ob and his Oblings.. but I LIKE it when the gov loses these state secret scrambles in the courts.  Keep it up!!

Via Tapper:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Tuesday rejected the Obama administration’s claim that a lawsuit involving extraordinary rendition must be halted for national security reasons, and reversed a lower court dismissal of the lawsuit.

As we reported in February, the case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition who sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured. The Bush administration, and then the Obama administration argued, that the case would

The court found that United States v Reynolds — the “state secrets” precedent the Obama administration had been relying on to block the lawsuit — “recognizes that the Executive’s national security prerogatives are not the only weighty constitutional values at stake: while ‘[s]ecurity depends upon a sophisticated intelligence apparatus,’ it ‘subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles [including] freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to the separation of powers.'”

Read the full Appeals Court decision in Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. HERE.

A press release from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, quotes one of the men, Bisher Al-Rawi, who was released from Guantánamo last year without ever having been charged with a crime.

“I am happy to hear this news,” Al-Rawi said. “We have made a huge step forward in our quest for justice.”

And Feingold spoke up…

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who earlier today said that the Obama administration “seems reminiscent” of the Bush administration in its invocation of state secrets, has reacted to the 9th Circuit’s decision by calling it “the latest example of courts being skeptical of the government’s argument that entire cases should be dismissed based on the assertion of the state secrets privilege without any evidence being considered.”

The Obama administration has been invoking the “state secrets” argument in quite a few court cases, among them Jewel v. NSA, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is challenging the NSA surveillance by suing on behalf of AT&T customers whose records may or may not have been caught up in the NSA “dragnet” (read more on that HERE); and Al-Haramain v. Obama, in which the leaders of a now-defunct Islamic charity, allege that the National Security Agency under President Bush engaged in illegal warrantless wiretapping (more on that HERE.)

Carry on!

Pending… 27 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Border Issues, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Mexico.

Narita, Tokyo: A quarantine official is reflected on a monitor as he checks the temperatures of arriving passengers on a thermographic imaging device placed at Narita international airport [Yuriko Nakao/Reuters]

From the BBC page:

Our health minister has just confirmed a positive case in a small town called Almansa, 50 miles from the capital of the province of Albacete, where I live.

There are other suspected cases in the same province. It is very worrying, especially as there are concerns that the numbers of people infected will grow.

The main hospital for the province is here in my town and people will be coming here for treatment.

We have received no further information yet from the authorities, beyond the case being confirmed.

We have just been told to stay calm. Meanwhile, everybody is texting each other asking what next?
Francisco Cebrian, Albacete, Spain

But Janet N and Barack O tell us not to worry… front page of the NYT… so I think we should chill. What is to disbelieve? Remember we are advised by Gawd’s gift to us (we are blessed!):

Reid says Obama told him, ‘I have a gift’

By KEVIN FREKING – 5 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Everyone knows President Barack Obama can deliver a great speech, including the president himself, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The paperback version of Reid’s book, “The Good Fight,” is coming out May 5 with an epilogue called “The Obama Era.” Reid said he was impressed when Obama, then a freshman senator from Illinois, delivered a speech about President George W. Bush’s war policy.

Reid, D-Nev., writes: “‘That speech was phenomenal, Barack,’ I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: ‘I have a gift, Harry.'”

A copy of the book’s 15-page epilogue was provided to The Associated Press.

Reid said he talked to Obama in 2006 about running for president, and that Obama expressed doubts about his ability to win.

“I was resolved to stay neutral in the coming campaign, but I told him that in my view the stars could align for him. ‘If you want to be president, you can be president now,’ I said. ‘I don’t know, Harry,’ he said. ‘I don’t think so.'”

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

[Thanks to Madman for the tidbit above. Hosanna!]

What next… 25 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Border Issues, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Mexico.

A man covers his head with a plastic bag amid a sandstorm in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region April 23, 2009. A strong sandstorm hit the region on Thursday, local media reported. [REUTERS/Stringer]

Of course sand storms are as old as… the shifting sands – and the wind.

Things do seem a little extra unstable just now.  Who;’s in charge?


On and on it goes:

[W]illiam Schaffner, a flu expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., told Bloomberg that the investigation of the outbreak “has a sense of urgency about it. They are asking us who work in hospitals to go to our emergency rooms and our pediatric wards to gather specimens and start testing them.”

Officials are concerned because of the apparent novel form of virus that is implicated in the outbreak. The “Spanish Flu” of 1918 may have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide. Smaller, but very deadly, outbreaks of flu also occurred globally in 1957 and 1968.

However, Bloomberg reports that Anne Schuchat, director of respiratory diseases at the CDC, told reporters on a conference call on Friday that “We don’t think this is a time for major concern.”

A minor pandemic of no great concern.

Talk talk talk… [update: Gibbs] 24 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Divertissements, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC.

A common gull [Guardian – British Wildlife Gallery – Niall Benvie – BWPA]

Talk talk talk… wonder what he is saying.


Oh… they are so worried.  So so so worried.

A clutch of political and labour leaders in Germany have raised the spectre of civil unrest after the country’s leading institutes forecast a 6pc contraction of gross domestic product this year, a slump reminiscent of 1931 and bad enough to drive unemployment to 4.7m by 2010.

Michael Sommer, leader of the DGB trade union federation, called the latest wave of sackings a “declaration of war” against Germany’s workers. “Social unrest can no longer be ruled out,” he said.

Gesine Swann, presidential candidate for the Social Democrats, said “the mood could turn explosive” over the next three months unless the government takes drastic action.

And of course all the skunks leading the various nations are having the same conversation.  NOT how to help, but how to protect themselves from the people.  And that is Germany, which despite some erosions, has better long term protections in harsh times with rising unemployment than the land of Uncle Sam.  Or St Ob.  Or whoever runs us.


From Angry Arab:

I told you so, damn it

““Congressman, the crossings are no longer completely closed. There are many items that are being transported through the crossings. There are, as you know, some items that the Israeli government does not permit to cross,” Clinton responded.

“The best way for us to help the people of Gaza is for Hamas to cease its rocket firing on Israel, to abide by the quartet principles, and the same principles that were adopted by the Arab peace initiative, which I have reiterated several times here today.””


Oh they will regularize us all… To BITS.  Regularised and pummeled and boxed up… in bits.

…catch this prescient take from the CPIML (Communist Party India – Marxist Leninist) via SMBIVA

[W]hatever else he does on his new beat, ushering liberal democracy in the land of the jirgas, or the greatly discussed objective of sending the girl child to school, is not the priority that the American people and with them the rest of the world are being made to believe to be the purpose of the assignment.

So what is Holbrooke’s mission?

Pakistani analysts, skeptical of US role in the region since decades, say Holbrooke’s mission may not be different from his contributions in Yugoslavia, a country he helped break into several smaller “manageable” pieces along religious and ethnic lines. By that measure Afghanistan and Pakistan offer a rich haul not to speak of India when its turn comes. …


UPDATE, 12:30 pm on the Pacific Ocean

I so do not want Gibbs to go home to the family.  From Politico (must check Tapper!)

BRIEFING — MORE TORTURE: Gibbs says there is a “time-honored principle” that “if you follow legal guidance, that you shouldn’t be prosecuted.”

Pressed further, he shows impatience: “I started out the week saying it, I’ll probably end the week saying it, if people knowingly broke the law,” there could be prosecutions.

Asked again about Emanuel’s comments last Sunday, Gibbs gripes he’s trying “not to take it personally that I have to repeat these answers like seven times.” (3:06 p.m.)

Says the president has seen “some glimmers of hope” but the country has “a long way to go.” Predicts job losses for “many, many months.”

“It’s going to take a while to get the economy growing again,” he says. And it’s over. (3:09 p.m.)

More after the jump…


Asked about planned release of abuse photos, Gibbs blames the judicial system: “The 2nd Circuit court ruled in December 2008 that the photos has to be released. The previous administration lost a court case on that.” (2:30 p.m.)

On stress tests, Gibbs says the review process has mostly been “run by the regulators.” (2:32 p.m.)

Update on Chrysler: Gibbs says the automaker is six days away from president’s deadline.

“This administration will continue to plan for all contingencies,” Gibbs says, adding that there will be an announcement on the deal next week. (2:34 p.m.)
Tapper asks: Why not appeal photo decision? “I’m not minimizing our role in this. I’m…trying to give you and others the appropriate amount of background.” (2:35 p.m.)

More on torture: back to that line about “reflection, not retribution.” (2:38 p.m.)

Gibbs says the president is not concerned that the release of photos and memos will distract from the agenda. (2:39 p.m.)

Challenged on Obama’s limited track record of bipartisanship, Gibbs says Obama will reach out to members of both parties and highlights last night’s bipartisan cocktail party. He says bipartisanship is a two-way street. (2:43 p.m.)

Gibbs engages in a long colloquy on the purpose of reflection and history — with Helen Thomas. Brushes off suggestion that Obama’s desire not to prosecute torture lawyers reflects a lack of appreciation for history. (2:46 p.m.)

Chip Reid asks if torture issue will just “simmer” while Feinstein’s committee investigates. Gibbs says the committee is an “appropriate” place for investigation to occur.

And what about a commission? “The president will always take under advisement whatever Congress decides.” (2:47 p.m.)

Does the president oppose a commission? “I think the president believes we should look forward and I think the president strongly believes that the investigation that is ongoing in the Intelligence Committee is an appropriate place” for that to occur. (2:52 p.m.)

Re: Obama-Boehner exchange yesterday — what’s the status of the Cheney request? “That request was made on March 31, 2009…The classifications will be determined by a number of people, including the director of central intelligence and the national security adviser.” Could take three weeks. (2:59 p.m.)

On Castro remarks: “The president took actions to pursue our national interests by lifting the embargo,” Gibbs says.  [he did?  — Mcat]

Gibbs calls it “a bit amusing” that leadership in Cuba seems ” a little less sure of themselves.” (3:00 p.m.)

That last from Gibbs is really laughable.

hmm I just read that Cheney has upped the ante.  He has now asked the WH to release two classified docs.  Stepping up from his application to the National Archives March 31.

Does Gibbs EVER make sense?


Guys! Guys! Whaddup? 22 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

Attorney General Eric Holder, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Obama.

Guys!  What’s up? Down?  Around?  Found an ‘American value’ yet that is sufficiently rubbery for the lot of you?  Hmm?

I think they are all playing each other… Cheney is having the time of his life!  What a shame!  He gets to dribble ObRama The Great around like a basketball.

Myself, I am for kneecapping the lot of them.  Side by side.  Knee joints shattered for life, long steel nails right thru the knees to the wood floor below.  Leave them there.  They can chat to each other.  Compare notes.

A collegial environment…   See?  Torture (but is it?) can be delish.

Tuesday… 21 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, AFRICOM, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Israel/AIPAC, Somalia, UK, WAR!.

Jerusalem, Israel: A Palestinian girl walks in an alley in the Silwan neighbourhood. Eighty-eight homes in Silwan are set for demolition by the Israeli government, which claims they were built illegally [Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP]

So.  I read Monday that Germany joined our boycott of the Durban II conference in Geneva… and the UK walked out at Ahmadinejad’s speech.

The atmosphere at the Geneva meeting was tense even before the Iranian president began speaking, with pro-Israel protesters chanting “shame” from the other side of the chamber’s doors and a Jewish student group from France infiltrating the hall. Some countries, led by the US and Israel, had already declared a boycott, Others, including Britain, took their seats, but were braced, with their “shoes on”, to walk out if Ahmadinejad’s oratory was to prove offensive.

When he did speak, he was even more vitriolic than they had feared.

We’ll always have friends.  To the death.

WE can be as disjointed, delusion ridden, insulting, propagandistic  and demagogic as we wish.  And our friends, too.  But let anyone else steal our looney deadly thunder… well, just watch.


In other cartoons… have we finally found one simple (tho deadly) enough for us?  From the new Tom Dispatch:

In the comic books, bad guys often team up to fight the forces of good. The Masters of Evil battle the Avengers superhero team. The Joker and Scarecrow ally against Batman. Lex Luthor and Brainiac take on Superman.

And the Somali pirates, who have dominated recent headlines with their hijacking and hostage-taking, join hands with al-Qaeda to form a dynamic evil duo against the United States and our allies. We’re the friendly monsters — a big, hulking superpower with a heart of gold — and they’re the aliens from Planet Amok.

In the comic-book imagination of some of our leading pundits, the two headline threats against U.S. power are indeed on the verge of teaming up. The intelligence world is abuzz with news that radical Islamists in Somalia are financing the pirates and taking a cut of their booty. Given this “bigger picture,” Fred Iklé urges us simply to “kill the pirates.” Robert Kaplan waxes more hypothetical. “The big danger in our day is that piracy can potentially serve as a platform for terrorists,” he writes. “Using pirate techniques, vessels can be hijacked and blown up in the middle of a crowded strait, or a cruise ship seized and the passengers of certain nationalities thrown overboard.”

Someone, stop us.  And our melded into looney toons Texas Chicago Hawai’ian rancher with metrosexual cow boy boots.  Someone stop the cartoon leadership.  The swagger and the pecs.  All of it.

Just the killing of the three pirates morphed thru several stages.  The first animation, showed a small flat window – easy for a rapt public to forget or not know it was at the forefront of a pop up in the life boat cover – thru which 3 shadow heads were shown.  A little triple burst of star like shapes was to indicate the sniper kills.  Little shadow heads go away!  Magic!  Ok………………..

Later animations showed one head shot thru the [again] little flat panel window… with two heads popping up out of a hole in the top of the bump up.

Over the weekend Evan Thomas tried to say that the two heads popping up and out, were vomiting pirates.  Sick on the sea.

Oh that so sounds like fishermen to me.

The reality?  The front of the bump up is peaked, with two small windows, each angled.

Yeah, get a new cartoonist.

As we madly story board the cartoon weapons.  Such fun for the “reformers”:

And of course, no new mission should lack its preferably expensive, high-tech weaponry: in this case, the Littoral Combat Ship, a mighty pile of money in a relatively small package. A third the size of a destroyer, this $500 million craft is meant to patrol the planetary shallows, even if it has so far proved a production-plagued nightmare. Nonetheless, Secretary of Defense Gates has just modestly upped the craft’s production — and there’s more to come from Navy “reformers.” Count on a new array of smaller, shallow-water vessels that could be formed into little armadas already termed by one naval officer “Influence Squadrons.”

Carry on…

Spring… 20 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Cuba, DC Politics, Divertissements, Germany, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, la vie en rose.

A flamingo chick in Hanover, Germany, seeks its mother’s protection at the zoo. The first chick to hatch at the zoo in six years [2006] it is now a week old [Jochen Luebke/EPA]

We are in one of our heat waves.  They used to last a few days at most, in spring and fall… in recent years they last for weeks. And show up thru the summer as well.  Weather reports seem to say this one will break soon.

Putting up a photo of a flamingo chick.. sure beats a photo of Summers.  Shaking his big fat finger.  And an ugly finger it is too.

MR. GREGORY:  Cuba and a potential thaw between U.S. and Cuba relations has really dominated the summit business there, even though it hasn’t officially been on the agenda.  This week the administration eased up some of the restrictions on travel between Cuban-Americans going back to see relatives and also the flow of money, sending money back to relatives back in Cuba.  Cuba has also signaled that it’s willing to have a more open dialogue with the Obama administration, and increased calls for the U.S. to lift the embargo against Cuba.  This is where the politics meets the economic.  Under what circumstances would President Obama lift the 47-year-old embargo?

DR. SUMMERS:  That’s way down the road, and it’s going to depend on what Cuba did–Cuba does going forward.  You know, what the president announced this week is what he’s been talking about for two years.  It’s a set of measures that are grounded in American interests, that are grounded in morality, letting families get back together, together again.  Cuba’s known what it needs to do for a very long time and it’s up to them in terms of their policies, their democratization, all of the steps that they can take.  And we’ll have to see what happens down the road.

MR. GREGORY:  What is the economic case for lifting the embargo?

DR. SUMMERS:  Obviously it’s, it’s desirable to be able to trade in as many directions as possible.  But fundamentally, David, this is an issue that’s going to get decided on the basis of Cuba’s behavior, on the basis of the steps that they, that they choose to take or that they choose not to take in terms of their policies in this hemisphere.  And it’s about really whether they want to rejoin the community of nations in Latin America or not.  And we’ll have to see, we’ll have to see what they’re prepared to do.  The president’s decisions are really going to be grounded in what’s best for the United States.

The president’s decisions are really going to be grounded in what’s best for the United States.

hmm.. I had not figured that last line out.  How did I miss that?

We are in such a FUCKING MESS from pursuing our own interests – or what they relentlessly sold to us as our “best interests”.

Clue:  It did not work.  Did. not. work.

ObRama loved to invoke Lugar and Coburn on the election trail.  So sweet.  An Indiana Republican (fine, they have to come from somewhere, LOL) and a really nasty piece of R merchandise from OK.  But you’ll never hear ObRama mention that Lugar sent him a letter some weeks ago, advocating lifting the embargo.

No siree.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a draft report Monday saying it is time to reconsider longtime U.S. economic sanctions on Cuba.

“After 47 years … the unilateral embargo on Cuba has failed to achieve its stated purpose of ‘bringing democracy to the Cuban people,’ ” Lugar, R-Indiana, wrote in a letter that accompanied the report.

“The current U.S. policy has many passionate defenders, and their criticism of the Castro regime is justified. Nevertheless, we must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests.”

Lugar’s letter preceded a 21-page draft report by the Republican members of the committee titled “Changing Cuba Policy — In the United States National Interest.”   …snip…


I heard another interesting tidbit over the weekend.. accidentally catching the Matthews half hour Sunday show… with Katty Kay, Ignatius of the Wapo… Helene Cooper of the NYT and ….. Sully.  Frankly they were congealing in front of me.. so I don’t know which one said it, but one said the WH is mounting a hard push back on Krugman.  Driving home, apparently, that if we were to follow his idea of “nationalising” the banks, it would mean a “Dow at 3000”.

IMO this baby WH, barely a 100 days in to the game, is digging in.

Good Luck!

Surreal 18 April 2009

Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.

A Palestinian man held up a young boy as a woman climbed from the window of a mosque during celebrations marking the annual day of Nebi Musa, near the West Bank town of Jericho. The site is believed by many Muslims to be the burial site of Moses. [Oded Balilty/Associated Press]

I kept running into this photo in various galleries, this one from Pictures of the Day at the NYT for yesterday, April 17.