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“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time. The decision to conduct theses strikes was made earlier today by the U.S. Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.”

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. JOHN KIRBY.

Waiting to hear if these airstrikes have been authorized by Bashar al-Assad. That would be quite the development.

(via NBC News)

“An earlier version of this post said that there is only one person of color on The Times’s staff of critics. There are two.”

CORRECTION on New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan’s piece addressing a racist critique of TV producer Shonda Rhimes.  

The original article, published in the paper Sept. 18th and written by the decidedly white Alessandra Stanley, opened with these words: "When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being An Angry Black Woman.’"

Sullivan called Stanley’s piece “condescending” and “astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.”  And precisely zero people familiar with Stanley’s error-prone work are surprised.

NY TIMES: "Among the items found in Mr. Gonzalez’s vehicle in July was a mini-arsenal of 11 guns including two shotguns and four rifles, some equipped with scopes and bipods that a sniper would use and 'a map of Washington, D.C., with writing and a line drawn to the White House,' law enforcement officials said. He also had four pistols, three of them loaded, and a revolver. The inventory of Mr. Gonzalez’s vehicle listed by the Virginia State Police indicates the items were found stored in his vehicle’s 'bulky floor.'" »

Yes, let’s not do anything about the military’s mental health, or about the gun problem in this country.

During and after his bullshit press conference today, NFL Commissioner Roger “What Tape?  I Didn’t see No Tape!” Goodell got totally shit on — deservedly so — by former and current NFL players.  And it didn’t go unnoticed that while he apologized to the league itself, not a word of apology went out to the victims of domestic violence or child abuse.

Not for nothin’ but I find it interesting that the Commissioner went out of his way to say that changes to the NFL’s policies on its players not acting like assholes were going to be in place by the “Super Bowl” — because 1) branding! Mention the Super Bowl whenever possible!  In front of an NFL step and repeat banner during a nationally televised press conference, of course!!! PROTECT THE BRAND!!!  and 2) why shouldn’t they take five months to address what they can in five fucking days?

(Photo: Howard Simmons / New York Daily News)

“So the NFL succumbed to… beer pressure.”

JON STEWART, on reports that the Minnesota Vikings reversed their decision to not suspend child abuser Adrian Peterson only after major league sponsor Anheuser Busch said they were “not yet satisfied” with how the NFL handled the case, on The Daily Show.

Stewart adds, “How crazy is this — a company that sells alcohol is the moral touchstone of the NFL… Maybe one of the only substances that is proven scientifically to increase the likelihood of domestic abuse — that company is saying to the NFL, ‘You’ve got a real problem here.”

Yep.

The Obama administration said Friday that the United States and its allies had formed a coalition to fight Sunni militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, unveiling a military and political campaign that officials said could serve as a model for combating extremist groups around the world.

In a hastily organized meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit meeting here, diplomats and defense officials from the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland and Denmark conferred on what they called a two-pronged strategy: working to bolster allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria, while attacking Sunni militants from the air. They said the goal was to destroy the Islamist militant group, not to contain it.

“There is no containment policy for ISIL,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at the beginning of the meeting, using an alternate acronym for ISIS. “They’re an ambitious, avowed, genocidal, territorial-grabbing, caliphate-desiring quasi state with an irregular army, and leaving them in some capacity intact anywhere would leave a cancer in place that will ultimately come back to haunt us.”

But he and other officials present made clear that at the moment, any ground combat troops would come from either Iraqi security forces or Kurdish pesh merga fighters on the ground in Iraq, or from moderate Syrian rebels opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here: no boots on the ground,” Mr. Kerry said.

For President Obama, assembling a coalition to fight ISIS is critical. The president is loath to be viewed as going it alone in Iraq now that the United States has been dragged back into a combat role there. And even as Mr. Obama weighs expanding airstrikes into Syria, both he and his administration have been questioning what might happen after launching those strikes, especially as targeting ISIS in Syria would help the government of Mr. Assad, who President Obama has said must yield power.

An administration official on Friday said there were concrete reasons for assembling a coalition that went beyond the political cover that such an alliance might offer the president from a war-weary American public. For one thing, the official said, certain countries bring specific expertise, like Britain and Australia in special operations, Jordan in intelligence, Turkey in border control and Saudi Arabia in financing.

“Sure, the American military can handle airstrikes,” the official said, speaking on grounds of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic and military negotiations. “But it’s always nice to have help from your friends.”

The New York Times, "U.S. and Allies Form Coalition With Intent to Destroy ISIS."

Get these murderous bastards.

"Life is so mean."

The late JOAN RIVERS, from the documentary film Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (2010).
Later on, in an understated guest spot on the FX series Louie, she dispenses wisdom to the title character about their chosen profession:
"It doesn’t get better.  You get better.  I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke.  But you do it, and you do it because,… because we love it more than anything else.  …You want a real job, honey?  There are a million things you can do.  But what we do is not a job… what we do is a calling, my dear.  We make people happy.  It’s a calling."
Rest in peace, Joan.

"Life is so mean."

The late JOAN RIVERS, from the documentary film Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (2010).

Later on, in an understated guest spot on the FX series Louie, she dispenses wisdom to the title character about their chosen profession:

"It doesn’t get better.  You get better.  I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve been broke.  But you do it, and you do it because,… because we love it more than anything else.  …You want a real job, honey?  There are a million things you can do.  But what we do is not a job… what we do is a calling, my dear.  We make people happy.  It’s a calling."

Rest in peace, Joan.

ICE, ICE, BABY  For years, Death Valley presented visitors with a mystery: those of the famed “sliding rocks.”  What made these small boulders seemingly glide across the playa, leaving tilled soil tracks in their wake?  The answer appears in the scientific journal PLOS One: a layer of ice, and a push from the wind.  Nature’s game of curling, we’d guess.  (Photos [from top]: Richard Norris / Jim Norris / Michael Hartman via The New York Times)