If you want a date to mark the beginning of the end of the Bush era in American life, you may as well make it this one: May 25, 2006. The Enron jury in Houston didn’t just put the wood to Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. The jurors took a chainsaw to the moral claims of the Texas-based corporate culture that had helped fuel the rise to power of President George W. Bush.
(What "moral claims" did the "culture" make? Is Fineman claiming that businessmen and women in Texas are pervasively and exceptionally immoral?)
What makes the Fineman piece noteworthy -- almost hilarious -- is Fineman's admittedly admirable attempt to be fair by including caveats to his thesis that Enron belongs on "the debit side of the Bush-era ledger." Fineman's caveats outnumber his proofs by 2-1, resulting in a piece that proves the opposite of what Fineman contends.
A new book about former FBI Agent Mark Felt, the alleged "Deep Throat" of "All the President's Men" (Watergate) fame, says Felt believes journalist Bob Woodward violated an agreement not to describe him in print.
A Washington Post story by Lynn Duke about the new book "A G-Man's Life: The FBI, 'Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington," by Mark Felt and John O'Connor, leads with the information that Felt's late wife, Audrey Robinson Felt, committed suicide in 1984.
By paragraph four, however, the article reveals something entirely different:
...And the book tells of Felt's deep anger at what he believed was Woodward's violation of their source-reporter relationship. Felt did not want to be described in any way in print, but Woodward both described him and called him "Deep Throat" in 1974 in "All the President's Men."
"Mark has never seen himself as a chatterbox who gave up secrets," writes O'Connor in a lengthy introduction.
"If this book does nothing else, let it destroy that caricature. Deep Throat was a journalistic joke; the name never described Mark Felt. After Woodward revealed that he had a senior source in the executive branch, thereby breaking his agreement with Mark Felt, and after the journalist identified his confidant as 'Deep Throat,' the retired FBI man was furious -- slamming down the phone when Woodward called for his reaction" to the 1974 book.
The New Republic has a "by the editors" editorial in the March 20 issue calling on the government to provide "universal health care." No surprise there.
What should be a surprise in a mainstream policy journal is that the New Republic was not honest enough to describe conservative health care proposals accurately, preferring to mislead readers into believing conservative proposals are intentionally designed to leave people of modest income with a history of cancer or diabetes (and presumably other serious preconditions) without medical insurance:
Insurance works best when large numbers of people share risk, so that modest premiums from a large number of healthy people cover the very high medical costs incurred, at any one time, by just a few. Enacting the conservative agenda would unravel such arrangements, shifting the burden of paying for care back from the healthy to the sick... Beat cancer? Have your diabetes under control? Well, no matter. The commercial insurance industry still wants nothing to do with you -- at least not at a price you can bear.
Blogger/syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is covering fallout from the Washington Post's decision to publish, on January 29, a cartoon by Tom Toles that appears to make light of the fact that some soldiers and Marines have suffered grievous combat injuries.
Michelle is providing her readers with a full copy of a letter to the Post sent January 31 by all six of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The letter reads, in part:
Following up on Tim Graham's NewsBusters report on a Washington Post article about a study claiming "that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did," I have a few questions I wish the Post story had answered.
Here's three paragraphs from the article, explaining that study. As you read them, ask yourself: Does the conclusion of paragraph three follow from what is said in paragraphs one and two?
For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.
Writing in the January 18 Washington Post, staff writer Manuel Roig-Franzia begins a story about New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's apology with a reference to talk radio:
NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 17 -- An avalanche of criticism, stoked by heated talk-radio rants, forced Mayor C. Ray Nagin to apologize Tuesday for declaring that God wants New Orleans to be a "chocolate city."
Nagin, who is black, had said during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech that "this city will be an African American majority city. It's the way God wants it to be." He also said "God is mad at America" and "is sending hurricane after hurricane" because He disapproves of the United States invading Iraq "under false pretenses."
Based on these internal e-mails, it looks like some editors at the Washington Post dead tree edition aren't very happy that the web version of the Post is doing well.
The web version, apparently, is outside their control. It's also growing -- one editor frets it has more readers than the paper version -- and is making money, besides.
More info on the angst is available here.
With the exception of a few lines, this October 7 Christian Science Monitor story by Warren Richey about Harriet Miers could have been written by the White House. Its thesis is that prior judicial experience is not a reliable indicator of how well an individual will do as a justice if appointed and confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Among a number of reasonably thoughtful quotes from academics, however, this line stands out:
Snobbery is no small part of the debate over Miers, analysts say.
The "analysts" who said this are not identified, however, and the only support for a "snobbery" element to the debate is this line:
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer caps off a silly editorial about Rep. Richard Pombo's plans to strengthen/weaken (depending on whom you ask) the Endangered Species Act with this concluding paragraph:
As critics point out, the act hasn't restored many threatened species to robust health. If consensus can be found, it's possible that Congress could craft better ways of restoring endangered species. But the starting point must be to prevent extinction. On that basic responsibility, Congress must not mess with the Endangered Species Act's great success.
In other words, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer simultaneously is putting forth the following self-contradictory theses:
CNN's Jack Cafferty isn't the only one taking cheap shots at President Bush for taking a vacation in August, before Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi and Louisiana. The New York Times and Washington Post are doing it, too. From an August 31 New York Times editorial about Katrina:
As the levees of Lake Pontchartrain gave way, flooding New Orleans, it seemed pretty clear that in this case, government did not live up to the job. But this seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding, or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation. [Emphasis added] All the focus now must be on rescuing the survivors...
For years New Orleans has issued dire warnings about the unique threat a powerful hurricane posed to the city; with floods inundating 80 percent of the Crescent City yesterday, it is clear that those warnings were not hyperbole.