The NYT's Jeff Zeleny is an idiot:
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office, enchanted you the most about serving in this office, humbled you the most and troubled you the most?
MR. OBAMA: Let me write this down. (Laughter.)
MR. OBAMA: All right. I've got --
MR. OBAMA: I've got -- what was the first one?
MR. OBAMA: Surprised.
MR. OBAMA: Troubled.
MR. OBAMA: Enchanted. Nice. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: And humbled.
MR. OBAMA: And what was the last one, humbled?
Thank you, sir.
MR. OBAMA: All right. (Laughter.) Okay. (Laughter.)
Journalists are never supposed to start a piece with a scene in a taxi because it signals either laziness about gathering facts or a tendency to embroider facts.
Nonetheless, I’m going to. David Brooks and I were sharing a cab to the British Embassy the other day to meet with Gordon Brown.
It gets worse from there.
Have the NYT, MoDo, and editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal completely lost their minds?
(That was rhetorical. And despite the title of this post, I've no doubt they can find a way to go lower.)
Unfortunately, he'll still have his dozen or so platforms from which to spew inevitably wrong pronouncements.
In fact, President-elect Barack Obama’s search for a new family puppy is now breeding some ill will among dog lovers.
It is not exactly like taking heat for his position on the Gaza conflict, but Mr. Obama is sparking criticism from those who spend time thinking about these things for his family’s drawn-out search, their “naivete” and their “conflicting public statements” on exactly what kind of pooch the family is looking for.
“I’m frustrated with the Obamas. Just get a dog already,” said Daisy Okas, a spokesperson for the American Kennel Club, who said she has heard from many angry dog owners in recent days over how the Obama’s have been handling what has become, to them at least, a politically charged issue.
Even so, Mr. Obama’s public remarks about the dog have been exasperating to some. “He just keeps making statements that are incompatible,” said Ms. Okas, of the American Kennel Club.
The Obamas “seem to be exhibiting the classic behavior of first time dog owners,” added Ms. Line, who called the process “ a little bit confusing.”
Thank you, Pinch Sulzberger and Bill Keller, for devoting newsprint and pixels to this foundation-shaking story.
The NYT asks five "legal experts" what questions they would like to see asked of AG nominee Eric Holder - and all five "legal experts" are from the right (including one Heritage Foundation drone).
Fair and balanced!
My favorite questions come from law prof and New Republic legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen:
1. What will you do when liberals, over Mr. Obama’s objections, encourage Congress, the courts and the Justice Department to pursue investigations and prosecutions concerning the Bush administration’s surveillance and interrogation policies?
Is Mr. Rosen saying that only "liberals" support the rule of law? Or is Mr. Rosen saying that President-elect Obama endorses the "Unitary Executive Theory"?
Just what the hell is Mr. Rosen saying?
But the next one takes the biscuit:
4. Do you agree with Mr. Obama’s implication that the Supreme Court needs someone who will side with the powerless rather than the powerful? What if the best nominee happens to be a white male?
Say what? Is Mr. Rosen saying that only "minorities" are capable of siding with the "powerless"? Or is Mr. Rosen saying that President-elect Obama believes that only non-white males are capable of siding with the "powerless"?
Just what what hell is Mr. Rosen saying? And, by implication, just what the hell are the editors of the NYT saying?
The NYT has a simply fascinating article about how new, more conservative Democrats will "change the tone" in Congress away from the shrieking Marxist invective and agitprop we've suffered through the last two years to a more reasonable, conservative conversation.
No mention of the possibility that the Republicans might be a bit too reactionary because, of course, we live in a center-right nation don't'cha know.
Wallowing in the slime:
Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.
Mr. McCain’s aides haven’t even tried to hide their cynical tactics, saying they were “going negative” in hopes of shifting attention away from the financial crisis — and by implication Mr. McCain’s stumbling response.
By the way, Greg Sargent reports that the "epithet" shouted at the teevee crew member was "uppity negro."
I have to wonder if the word "negro" was heard correctly.
The NYT weighs in on Obama's relationship with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers and finds...nothing. Indeed:
Mr. Obama’s friends said that history was utterly irrelevant to judging the candidate, because Mr. Ayers was never a significant influence on him. Even some conservatives who know Mr. Obama said that if he was drawn to Ayers-style radicalism, he hid it well.
“I saw no evidence of a radical streak, either overt or covert, when we were together at Harvard Law School,” said Bradford A. Berenson, who worked on the Harvard Law Review with Mr. Obama and who served as associate White House counsel under President Bush[*]. Mr. Berenson, who is backing Mr. McCain, described his fellow student as “a pragmatic liberal” whose moderation frustrated others at the law review whose views were much farther to the left.
Of course, no amount of facts will persuade McCain or denizens of Delusionville like Stanley Kurtz from attempting to paint Obama as some sort of bomb-throwing radical. To them the fact that the New York Times is reporting this only not only proves it but also proves that newspaper's complicity.
*It's worth noting that Berenson is a Loyal Bushie is the worst ways.
The NYT's Michael Cooper and Jim Rutenberg have a story in today's edition looking at John McCain's campaign recent campaign tactics. Here's the condensed version:
[S]tretching the truth...twisted Mr. Obama’s words...falsely claimed...repeatedly, and incorrectly, asserted...misrepresented...less than honest.
Hmmm, there's a word missing there but I can't quite put my finger on it...something something...oh, yeah, I got it: LIE.
And, as should be expected, the article is chock-a-block with false equivalencies in regards to the Obama campaign.
Just another example of your Liberal Media at work.
Dear Mr. Goldfarb,
Thank you for sending me Senator McCain's essay.
I'd be very eager to publish the Senator on the Op-Ed page.
However, I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently
I'd be pleased, though, to look at another draft.
Let me suggest an approach.
The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it
appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain,
he also went into detail about his own plans.
It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors
Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate,
in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq. It would
also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory — with troops
levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And
it would need to describe the Senator's Afghanistan strategy, spelling out
how it meshes with his Iraq plan.
I am going to be out of the office next week. If you decide to re-work the
draft, please be in touch with (Redacted)
Again, thank you for taking the time to send me the Senator's draft. I
really hope we can find a way to bring this to a happy resolution.
I have to say that this has been probably the worst two days for a presidential candidate ever.
I'm enjoying it.
ADDED: St. John's mavericky op-ed here.
It seems like just yesterday that Barack Obama was this year's Hitler. But last week The right took a new tack: Obama's a Communist! That's to be expected, I suppose, when it comes to the fever swamps of the right. But then Monday's NYT allowed William "The Bloody" Kristol to insinuate that Obama is, indeed, a Pinko if not an outright Red.
The New. York. Times.
And now, right on schedule, BushCo's™ favorite lapdog, the increasingly foul Holy Joe Lieberman, piles on:
NAPITALIANO: Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?
LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he’s obviously very smart and he’s a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I’ve learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn’t…I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America. [emphasis added]
And this after Obama aided Lieberman in his 2006 reelection. (And, yes, I consider this a blot on Obama's judgement.)
So perhaps, along with calling Obama "boy", we're starting to see the outlines of the GOP's autumn attacks. It's not going to be fun.
(Oh, and if Hillary picks up on the whole Communist thing I'll support all legal means to have her removed from the Senate.)
Mr. Obama had to address race and religion, the two most toxic subjects in politics. He was as powerful and frank as Mitt Romney was weak and calculating earlier this year in his attempt to persuade the religious right that his Mormonism is Christian enough for them.
"Harsh interrogations" being what most sentient people call "torture."
Nonetheless, there s this nugget:
But the White House has long said Mr. Bush will veto the bill, saying it “would prevent the president from taking the lawful actions necessary to protect Americans from attack in wartime.”
Indeed, outlawing lawful actions would make said actions unlawful.
Logic isn't a strong suit with these guys.
ADDED: I should have noted that St. John voted for torture. Just some of that "straight talk," I suppose.
Maureen Dowd hands her column over to Stephen Colbert and the improvement is remarkable.
The NYT ought to make this permanent. That way MoDo would have more time to get together with her girlfriends and make catty remarks about the unpopular people.
Oh, and we'd be rid of Dowd. Call that a bonus.
Picking up on the post below, a NYT editorial concludes:
As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr. Gonzales’s talk about a dispute over other — unspecified — intelligence activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr. Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it “different” from the one Mr. Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.
Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr. Gonzales’s words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by fulfilling that request.
If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.
The only thing Clement will do is further the cover up. That leaves only one option.
If the Congressional Democrats are up to it. And that remains in doubt.
Something's going on:
A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
The first known assertion by administration officials that there had been no serious disagreement within the government about the legality of the N.S.A. program came in talks with New York Times editors in 2004. In an effort to persuade the editors not to disclose the eavesdropping program, senior officials repeatedly cited the lack of dissent as evidence of the program’s lawfulness.
Putting aside the NYT's shameful capitulation, it would appear that the administration lied (big surprise, I know). But since George acknowledged the existence of the program - implicitly acknowledging criminal acts - why the cover up? My first guess would be because they can. The utter paranoia that anybody might be watching them is without parallel in our history.
Josh has a different reaction:
To put this into perspective, remember that the White House has been willing to go to the public and make a positive argument for certain surveillance procedures (notably evasion of the FISA Court strictures) which appear to be illegal on their face. This must be much more serious and apparently something all but the most ravenous Bush authoritarians would never accept. It is supposedly no longer even happening and hasn't been for a few years. So disclosing it could not jeopardize a program. The only reason that suggests itself is that the political and legal consequences of disclosure are too grave to allow.
This makes sense. And if Josh is right then we need some serious investigations. If such investigations prove impossible now then the next president - assuming he or she is a Democrat - must launch investigations and be prepared to pursue convictions.
However, we all know how this works: "We must look to the future not dwell in the past." And in a decade or two we'll go through all of this again.
From the better late than never department: One of the war's biggest boosters, the New York Times, turns against it:
It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.
It goes on from there but that's about as definitive a statement as can be made.
Memories of the rancorous 1995 budget fight between President Clinton and leaders of the Republican revolution are casting a distinct shadow over the current impasse between President Bush and Congressional Democrats on Iraq. Each side believes it can apply lessons learned from that earlier battle to its strategy in the current showdown.
Let's jump into the Wayback Machine and see what led to Newt's 1995 shutdown of the Federal government:
The speaker said Wednesday that tough terms in the government spending bill President Clinton vetoed Monday night were included partly as the result of pique he and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole felt on Air Force One during flights with the president to and from Israel for the funeral.
In 1995 Newt and Viagra Bob got all pissy about their seats on Air Force One. That's a little less serious than a disastrous war.
If I can remember this then surely the NYT's Carl Hulse can as well.
Consider Maureen Dowd, a perceptive and often witty columnist who understands very well how destructive the Bush presidency has been to her beloved country. Just the other day Dowd acknowledged in the New York Times that we and the world would be in considerably better shape today had Gore -- whom she described as "prescient on climate change, the Internet, terrorism and Iraq" -- ascended to the Oval Office instead of the current occupant. But she neither noted the guilt of the media in that travesty nor recalled her own starring role. This compilation of her past columns on the subject of Gore, replete with false accusations and trendy sneering, is must reading.
Particularly catty and revealing is a quote from a 1999 column in which she suggested that Gore's environmentalism raised questions about his masculinity. But that was simply one episode among dozens that continued well after the 2000 election cycle. When the former vice president dared to voice his anger about the bloody debacle in Iraq two years ago, the Times columnist sweetly lumped him in with "the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party." He had to be nuts to be upset about the lies that led us into war, didn't he?
I just call her a bitch. Sexist, maybe, but fitting.
In a replay of 2000 the NYT's Maureen Dowd selectively edits an interview with Al Gore in order to make him look bad.
It looks like MoDo is sharpening her claws in case Gore decides to run. I can't figure out what her problem is; did Gore run over her puppy or something? Abandon her on a date? Or is Dowd just the High School Queen Bitch of the pundit class?
To the Editor:
As usual, the fashionable view eventually becomes tyrannical and will no longer permit debate. It looks now as if the momentum of the global-warming evangelists is unstoppable.
You state in your Feb. 3 front-page article that the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s emissions. Somewhere between consuming and emitting fossil fuels is that thing called United States economic growth, which continues to be a boon to the world — for 2006, a sparkling 3.4 percent.
Some say they don’t want their children to have to cope with the alleged nightmare of climate change, but I am far sadder that my children will have to cope with the reduced richness of opportunity that will exist at every socioeconomic level in an economy crippled by restricted access to the energy that powers it.
It will be a sad sight to watch the spectacular American private-sector engine and the optimistic innovativeness that has always been its hallmark diminished for want of fuel.
Greenwich, Conn., Feb. 3, 2007
OK, Margaret, how will the economy respond to the changing agricultural belt, rising seas, diminished water sources, emergent diseases, refugees, etc., etc,. etc...? That's going to cost a penny or two.
Didn't think of that, did you? Or possibly you don't care.
So much for your children.
To the Editor:
As a black helicopter lands in my backyard, I’m transmitting this letter in response to “What We Wanted to Tell You About Iran.” Please print this redacted version, as allowed by the White House:
xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx
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xxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx
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Newton E. Finn
Waukegan, Ill., Dec. 22, 2006