Prompted by the death of President Gerald Ford, Andy Rooney, in his commentary at the end of Sunday's 60 Minutes, ruminated about all the Presidents since FDR and made clear he sees more to admire in Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton than in Ronald Reagan. Rooney praised Ford: “We were lucky to have such a good, normal American to step in to do the job.” On Carter, Rooney characterized him as “smart” and contended “it was hard to dislike Jimmy Carter, even if you were a Republican.” Rooney obviously wasn't a Republican in the late 1970s. “Ronald Reagan was the only movie star ever elected President,” Rooney noted before snidely remarking: “A lot of people thought he was better in the movies than in the White House.” Bill Clinton, however, “might have gone down in history as one of the best Presidents we ever had if it hadn't been for that one unfortunate incident that I don't want to talk about in case there are children watching.”
Whether the newest elected politician is a Republican or a Democrat, the primary interest of the Washington press corps is always the same: push them to increase taxes. The latest example came in a taped interview aired on Sunday's Face the Nation during which CBS's Bob Schieffer pressed new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the left to raise taxes and was appalled when she suggested Democrats may actually cut taxes for some. Schieffer proposed: "President Bush said last week that he wanted to work with the Congress to balance the budget in five years. But he also rejected any tax increases and obviously he's not in a mood to reduce spending on the war. Is it possible to balance the budget under those conditions?" Without any consideration for reduced spending in areas other than the war, Schieffer quickly followed up on how to balance the budget: "Can you do it without raising taxes?"
When Pelosi suggested Democrats are looking at “making permanent and modernizing the research and development tax credit for small business. We're talking about helping families with higher education of their children with tax credits," an astounded Schieffer retorted: "So you're talking about more tax cuts?" Pelosi, however, soon acceded to Schieffer's preference as she explained that “we're not going to start with repealing tax cuts, but they certainly are not off the table for people making over half a million dollars a year." That seemed to please Schieffer: "So they may see their taxes go up?"
Chicago Tribune lovelorn columnist Amy Dickinson had some interesting advice yesterday for a woman whose husband has lost that lovin' feeling. If she doesn't initiate it, there's no sex.
Amy tells the frustrated spouse: "For fun and to try to mix this up a little, you two might develop a verbal or visual cue that is more subtle than simply asking for sex. For instance, when one of you mentions Vice President Richard Cheney, that's your code."
Perhaps Mr. Cheney is even more potent than his liberal opponents know.
No, of course the Democratic Party in Washington doesn't have a problem with the real or perceived masculinity of its male senators and congressmen.
Absolutely not. What in the world are you talking about?
You're all excited just because Maureen Dowd calls Barack Obama "Obambi," had to listen to him complain to her because she wrote that his ears are big (he's sennnnnnsitive about them, y'know), and told him that she's trying to "toughen him up."
Oh, and you still remember Al Gore bringing in Naomi Wolf in to help him during the early stages of his 2000 presidential campaign because:
..... he is a beta male, a subordinate figure, and must learn to become an alpha male, or leader of the pack, before the public can accept him as President .....
Your point is?
And I'll just bet you're going to try to make hay out of that Sunday New York Times Week in Review feature (requires registration) about the new Democratic Alpha Males:
Looks as if Nancy Pelosi has found a rooting section at ABC. As we detailed here yesterday, Charley Gibson fawned over Nancy Pelosi's baby-clutching photo-op. This morning, Cokie Roberts joined the claque. Appearing on This Week, she enthused:
"Great images, you're absolutely right. And completely natural. . . That baby knew that grandmother even though it's only a few weeks old. All those other children were completely comfortable with her. And it was, it was just, fun. It wasn't in any way stilted and awful."
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's law that requires voters to show photo identification at the polls is not too burdensome, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said Thursday in a 2-1 ruling that upholds the 2005 law.
..... The 7th U.S. Circuit Court questioned arguments that Indiana's rule is unfair to poor, elderly, minority and disabled voters, and pointed out that opponents could not find anyone unable to cast a ballot under the new law.
..... Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who pushed for the voter ID law, said the ruling was a victory for election reform.
"The seventh circuit affirmed what we have seen from four successful elections in Indiana under the photo ID law - this is a common-sense way to protect honest voters and to improve voter confidence," he said.
Judge Terence T. Evans dissented with the majority opinion, which affirms an earlier decision of U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker. Evans said there was no evidence of voter fraud in Indiana that could be avoided with the photo ID law.
"Let's not beat around the bush," Evans wrote. "The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear ambitions; his flouting of the recent unanimous UN Security Council resolution to stop his march toward acquiring nuclear weapons; his repeated vows to wipe Israel off the map and his various threats to the US, including at least one to achieve "a world without America"?;
Israel's possible plans to defend itself and eliminate Iran's nuclear program?
If you're NBC, the choice is clear: the answer is #2. Consider the editorializing that crept in the news item NBC's Amy Rohbach "news" item on this morning's "Today."
The AP isn't the only one going ga-ga over the ascension of Nancy Pelosi to become the "first Female Speaker of the House". We are seeing the fawning on just about every news outlet out there. And it is, indeed, quite an historic change from the long line of gentlemen that have taken the Speaker's gavel.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (R) speaks with reporters in the Senate Press Gallery as he takes his seat to watch his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), being sworn in for her second term on the first day of the 110th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 4, 2007. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)
This evening's episode of Fox News Watch was more jam-packed than Smucker's at harvest time. But for space restraints, the headline would have been much longer. Let's get this party started:
Jim Pinkerton took an unvarnished shot at Charley Gibson, anchor of ABC's World News. Said Pinkerton, discussing Nancy Pelosi's shameless photo-op, shown here::
"The picture of Nancy Pelosi holding the baby inspired that genius of analysis Charles Gibson on ABC to say 'Oh! Nancy Pelosi is taking care of a baby and taking care of the country at the same time.' That's a total home-run for the spin doctors. They put a picture in front of it, and some dumb TV reporter just said 'oh yeah, well, I guess she's taking care of the country."
View edited video of several clips from this evening's show here.
As NewsBusters has also noted [here and here], Rich Lowry of National Review, pinch-hitting for Cal Thomas, observed: "There has been a big contrast in the media coverage of this takeover and the Republican takeover in 1994. Time magazine ran a cover story on Newt Gingrich in December, 'Mad as Hell'. Democrats were just as angry at George Bush this time around as Republicans were at Bill Clinton, but you would never see that sort of coverage on a major newsweekly now, because of the liberal media bias, right Neal?"
With President Bush presumably about to announce a surge of troops into Iraq, what better time for CNN to run a segment . . . likely to put a damper on recruiting? In theory, there was nothing wrong with a segment aired at 10:30 ET this morning, geared to providing useful information to potential recruits. As discussed during CNN host TJ Holmes' interview of Gina Cavallaro of the Military Times [owned by Gannett, the folks who bring you the liberal USA Today], recruits do need to understand that they are entering into a contract with the military, that they have bargaining power, that it's possible to negotiate, that it's wise to get things in writing, etc.
Well and good. But all that information was provided against the backdrop of a recurring theme: that recruiters are likely to distort or even lie to potential recruits.
Holmes introduced the segment this way: "Between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military recruiters are feeling more pressure to meet their goals. They are overstating the benefits of enlisting right now, is the word. What should you know before your son or daughter signs on the dotted line?"
Holmes' first question to Cavallaro: "The [recruits] you talk to who were just getting into it or have been in for a little bit, do you hear much saying they didn't really know what they were getting to? Did their impressions turn out to be true once they were enlisted?"
Cavallaro took it from there: "I hear people saying, 'my recruiter lied to me. I'm not where I said I would be. I didn't know I would be in Korea for a year.' You definitely hear those things."
The story of James Kim, who died of hypothermia in a remote part of Oregon after setting out on foot to seek help for his stranded family, was a sad capper to the year 2006 for many. A lot of things went wrong for the Kims as they started out for a holiday trip only to have it end in disaster.
Spencer H. Kim, James Kim's Father, has today a plea appearing in the Washington Post titled The Lessons In My Son's Death. It is a message to Oregon's emergency services community to help stop another tragedy such as befell his son from happening to anyone else.
"In an article published on afriendly op-ed page, and from the regal confines of the White House, President Bush greeted the incoming Democratic leadership of Congress on Wednesday with a message of bipartisanship.
After a run of sordid beauty-queen stories, it doesn't get much more refreshing -- or inspiring -- than this. A beauty queen lays aside her crown not because of scandal but . . . to serve her country. Meet Jessica Gaulke, who has given up her crown as Minnesota's Queen of the Lakes because her National Guard unit has been activated. Jessica is scheduled for training at Fort Hood, TX and then deployment to Iraq.
The story gets even more dramatic. In the course of her interview by NBC's Natalie Morales on this morning's "Today," Jessica announced that a week from now she will be marrying her fiance.
"Today" generally played the story in positive terms as the graphic it displayed during much of the interview, "Brave Beauty", suggests. Still, Morales couldn't help but inject NBC's official line on the war into the interview:
"Do you have any reservations about going there, especially as you see how it's basically escalated into civil war there?"
Cam Edwards at NRANews.com offered something interesting to add to the Geoff Dickens list of Matt Lauer's frequent episodes of anti-gun bias. In August 2000, Lauer interviewed Knoxville, Tennessee auto dealer Greg Lambert about how apparently outrageous it was that Lambert offered guns as part of his car sales pitch. (I break down laughing when Lauer says "Even children who come to your dealership are going to get a free water pistol, and some people say that's just going too far.")
But here's the Greg Lambert story Matt Lauer hasn't done. In November 2006, Lambert used his own gun to defend himself against a 19-year-old man who came to buy a car, and then decided to hold him up. When faced with Lambert's gun, the man fled and was later arrested. (A Knoxville TV station offered early details here.) The Knoxville News Sentinel then added that the county sheriff was charging the assailant with a murder that occurred ten hours earlier.
The detritus of Nancy Pelosi's imperial celebrations have barely been cleared, and already at least one member of the liberal punditry, Robert Kuttner, is demanding that the new Dem majority do more of what Dems do best: tax and spend.
It's as if one of the Smithsonian's dinosaurs, taxasaurus democratae, patiently gathering dust all these last dozen years, had suddenly roared to life, broken from its exhibit, and began slouching toward Capitol Hill to be reborn. To mix a metaphor and a poem.
Annotated excerpts from Kuttner's impassioned plea, Get Serious Democrats, from this morning's Boston Globe:
It was hard to tell what was making Andrea Mitchell angrier: Bill O'Reilly's assertions that NBC has a liberal bias, or his repeated and perhaps ungentlemanly references to the lady's "30 years" of experience. In any case, the look on Andrea's face was unmistakable: she was not the happiest of campers.
Mitchell appeared on this evening's Factor for purposes of touting her new book. But kudos to O'Reilly for taking the occasion to directly confront a leading NBC light with the network's undeniable leftward tilt - which Mitchell proceeded to flatly deny.
This is must-see video, which you can see here, but let me entice you with these two tidbits.
NBC's Martin Savidge began a Friday story, on the rising murder rate in New Orleans, by pointing out how “in the last week more Americans have died in New Orleans than in Iraq.” Savidge explained in his NBC Nightly News piece: “Since December 29th, there have been eight military deaths. In the Big Easy, there have been 14 murders. Among the latest victims, Helen Hill, a 36-year-old mother shot in her home in front of her husband and two-year-old.” Savidge bemoaned how the Crescent City “killers are growing more brazen, striking in broad daylight, using assault rifles, even with police just 30 yards away. And witnesses are refusing to talk.”
Brian Williams introduced Savidge's report by showing the headline on the front page of Friday's New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Killings bring the city to its bloodied knees.” (PDF image of the front page)
How do you know when things have jumped ugly at Hardball? When host Chris Matthews himself has to jump in to separate the warring parties, even warning a Dem consultant to lay off the ad hominems.
Bob Shrum is always spoiling for a fight. In contrast, Ron Christie is normally mild-mannered and affable. But the former aide to Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had definitely eaten his Wheaties this afternoon.
The video portrays things beyond my poor power of description, but the fur began to fly when Shrum accused Christie of using talking points. Things went downhill from there.
I'd say Christie landed the single most-telling blow of the evening. Shrum gave him an opening, calling for the cut-off of funding for the Iraq war at a date certain, claiming "this is how we've always ended wars. We honored Gerald Ford last week for helping to end the war in Vietnam. And that's how it was ended - the funding was cut off."
Christie pounced: "Now you're going to tell me that's how we end wars? We actually end wars when we achieve our objectives that we've set militarily."
I know, you thought things must be pretty darn good for the economy when you were spending an hour circling mall parking lots for a space so you could plunk down about 900 bucks on everything from a Nintendo Wii to a Tickle Me Elmo T.M.X.
Well, Katie Couric wants you to know that the 2006 Christmas shopping season was just "ho ho hum."