These December 31 stories are just too giggle-inducing to take seriously, but reporters are somehow avoiding the giggles (CNN stayed sober reporting both of these in its 10 am hour):
From Oregon: "An 80-year old woman grabbed a naked man named Michael Dick by the crotch and gave him a good squeeze; police nabbed him a few minutes later."
From New York: "Clintons Leading Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop."
All this humor can't help but remind me of Brent Baker's special 2,000th Cyber Alert, with oddities like this famous John McLaughlin line, delivered without laughter: "When we come back, is William Clinton a lame duck or a fighting cock?"
Baker also dredged up stories of naked Geraldo, Carville's jokes about his manhood, and Matt Lauer's tale of lion genitalia. That's enough of the oddball stuff for today.
Ain't this post-racial period great? Here we have one of the more famous members of the Black Congressional Caucus accusing Senate Democrats of threatening to act like Orville Faubus, George Wallace and perhaps the most iconic of segregationists, Bull Connor.
Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther who is now a congressman from Chicago, levelled his accusation on the CBS Early Show this morning in reaction to the letter signed by all 50 Senate Democrats declaring that they would not seat Roland Burris, the African-American that Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday named to take Barack Obama's Senate seat.
The ostensible subject was Caroline Kennedy. But in the course of, you know, discussing Kennedy's foundering effort to, you know, be anointed senator, Mika Brzezinski said something of more enduring interest. The Morning Joe co-host provided a telling glimpse into the liberal mindset, as Brzezinski cast her vote for Big Mommy government.
Host Joe Scarborough observed that New York Gov. David Paterson was letting Kennedy twist in the wind. Rather than spending his time taxing everything in sight, the guv would be better off appointing Caroline or someone else, so the new senator could hit the ground running once Hillary is confirmed as Secretary of State, opined Scarborough.
That's when Mika made her pitch for taxes as a tool for reforming those not living the lifestyle approved by the latest member of the Lititz landed gentry.
ABC correspondent David Muir offered an admiring “window into Camelot” on Monday’s Good Morning America as he reported on U.S. Senate aspirant Caroline Kennedy’s interviews with New York media over the past weekend: “Caroline Kennedy, opening up, calling herself an unconventional choice, offering personal reflections, knowing the political fight that lies ahead.” However, instead of focusing on any political details relevant to the federal office she seeks, Muir focused on her entertainment preferences: “Kennedy calls herself a Yankees fan, whose last movie was ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.... Kennedy, who grew up in the 70s, says the music of that era still fuels her. Her iPod is filled with Al Green, Grateful Dead, and Bob Marley.”
Muir’s report, which aired 15 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program, began with anchor Robin Roberts introducing the “Camelot” theme of the report, which the media too often conjures up when covering the Kennedy family: “The daughter of JFK did a series of weekend interviews, giving us a rare glimpse inside of Camelot.” The correspondent then began with a saccharine introduction of the famous First Daughter: “For decades, Caroline Kennedy was seen far more than she was heard....‘Shy Caroline,’ as she was sometimes called, is shy no longer.” He also continued the “Camelot” theme throughout the report by including old family photos and home video of when Kennedy was a child.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are "moderate" liberals. And GOP opposition to Obama Supreme Court nominees would constitute a "fake fight" demonstrating that Republicans remain mired in the culture wars. Such was the collective wisdom of two of the roundtable members on ABC's "This Week" today.
Before moving to the substance, a word about the roundtable's lopsided composition, which resembled nothing more than Homecoming for public radio types. To "balance" David Brody of CBN, ABC chose Kurt Andersen of Public Radio International, Alison Stewart of NPR, and John Dickerson of Slate and . . . NPR. Andersen kicked off the Supreme Court segment with his "moderate" liberal comment. Dickerson followed with his pre-emptive warning about that potential Republican "fake fight."
Sure, its revenues might be plunging along with its share price, but the New York Times is still good for something. In these somber days of winter, the Gray Lady, her name notwithstanding, can still inject the sunshine of humor—albeit of the unintentional variety.
Take its current editorial, Getting Immigration Right -- please. With jobs at a premium and the collapse of the Big Three automakers attributable in no small part to the role of the unions, the Times naturally comes out in favor of:
making it easier for illegals to get into the country to compete for what jobs are left, and
granting the right of illegals once here to . . . unionize.
The people just don't know Caroline like I do. That was the essence of Andrea Mitchell's defense of the would-be senator after Pat Buchanan analogized her to another nominee who famously flopped. Appearing on Morning Joe, Buchanan unleashed a merciless metaphor.
PAT BUCHANAN: It's not only entitlement. It appears–we are getting close to Harriet Miers country, where Bush put her out there, and it became transparent when people started going after her that she wasn't quite up to this --
The top-left corner of the Saturday Washington Post carried the decidedly inaccurate headline "For Obama Cabinet, A Team of Moderates." Reporter Alec MacGillis asserted that Obama finished assembling "a team full of outsize personalities with overlapping jurisdictions and nominees who are known more for pragmatism than for strong leanings on the issues they will oversee." Hillary Clinton and Tom Daschle, no strong liberal leanings?
Naming Rep. Hilda Solis (lifetime American Conservative Union voting score: a tiny 2) to the Labor spot wasn’t moderate: "the daughter of a union family who has a strongly pro-labor voting record, came as a relief to some liberals who had grown slightly anxious about Obama's commitment to organized labor's agenda....But many of Obama's other picks reflect his apparent preference for practical-minded centrists who have straddled big policy debates rather than staking out the strongest pro-reform positions."
Liberals have "the strongest pro-reform positions." Can't a centrist be a reformer? The Post story stars former Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner warning about all this pragmatism as a potential problem:
Next time you find yourself in a room with Andrea Mitchell, be careful what thoughts you permit to cross your mind. The NBC correspondent evidently has the ability to read them. Defending Caroline Kennedy on today's Morning Joe, Mitchell stated as a fact that Kennedy's press-evading performance in upstate New York was due to her desire not to appear presumptuous.
Continuing her advocacy, Mitchell went on to praise the very remarks Kennedy made yesterday that I found dangerously sleep-inducing. She then dismissed Charles Krauthammer's criticism of Kennedy as "an opinion piece" coming from "the right." For good measure, Andrea accused Andrew Cuomo—a rival for the Senate seat—of leaking to the press unflattering information about Kennedy's failure to have voted in many elections.
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen came to the defense of would-be New York Senator Caroline Kennedy, who has faced criticism for her lack of experience: "This is so unfair. I mean, look, the system is set up the way it's set up and Governor Paterson decides and that's it. Leave her alone, everyone." That comment followed a report by correspondent Meg Oliver, in which Kennedy avoided tough questions from the press: "She quickly got a taste of the pressure that comes with seeking a high-profile political office...questions mostly went unanswered."
Chen was not so quick to defend Sarah Palin from critics during the campaign. When Tina Fey began impersonating Palin on Saturday Night Live in September, Chen remarked: "Tina Fey has just so much material to work with, this is like, probably a dream come true for her." Earlier in September, Chen wondered about Palin’s foreign policy experience: "The education of Sarah Palin. The Alaska governor has her first meetings with world leaders as they gather at the U.N. How will she do?"
At the top of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Julie Chen declared: “Caroline Kennedy gets a boost in her quest to become a Senator from the woman she hopes to replace.” Later, co-host Harry Smith introduced a segment about Kennedy’s qualifications: “There are reports this morning that Senator Hillary Clinton has told her supporters to stop questioning if Caroline Kennedy is qualified to replace her. Kennedy is the latest in a long line of high-profile candidates who have sought a Senate seat. So, what actually qualifies someone to be a Senator?”
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Bill Plante acknowledged criticism of Kennedy’s qualifications, even quoting New York Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, who compared Kennedy to Jennifer Lopez. However, Plante then brushed such concerns aside, instead praising Kennedy’s celebrity status: “Caroline Kennedy is just the latest celebrity to seek a Senate seat. In 1974, astronaut John Glenn won a Senate seat in Ohio. Bill Bradley won election to the Senate from New Jersey in 1979...Governor Patterson of New York, who will appoint the person to fill that Senate seat, has to run in two years. Who wouldn't want to run with a Kennedy on the ticket, who can raise lots of cash?”
An environmentalist's dream might be a businessman's nightmare. But when it came to describing the the environmental team Pres.-elect Obama has assembled, it was sugar plum fairies for GMA this morning. Rachel Martin, who came to ABC from NPR, narrated the segment.
RACHEL MARTIN: They are calling it the "Green Dream Team."
Which invites the obvious question: who's "they," kimosabe? Running down the team line-up, Martin viewed things from an environmentalist perspective.
On Monday’s The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre conveyed a dissenting view of whether retired General Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama’s choice for Veterans Affairs Secretary, can accurately be described as having advised the Bush administration to send more troops to occupy Iraq. McIntyre: "But Shinseki has his critics, too, who say, in fact, he never stood up to Rumsfeld, never pressed for more troops for Iraq, and, when asked in a private meeting of the Joint Chiefs if he had concerns about the war plans, never said a word, according to two people who were in the room. Asked by Newsweek two years ago to respond to the criticism he didn't press his concerns, Shinseki e-mailed back: ‘Probably that's fair. Not my style.’"
Then candidate Barack Obama listens to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano during an economic discussion in June 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama recently named Napolitano head of the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Though O.J. Simpson was sentenced for robbery and related crimes yesterday, thirteen years ago he walked on a double-murder charge. That might be an isolated case, but Gail Collins apparently believes there are tens of millions of murderers roaming free in America. We call them by a different name: hunters.
Collins made her inane hunting = murder analogy in her column today in the course of taking one more gratuitous swipe at Sarah Palin. The gist of The Senate, Snowe and Dinkytown is that in a Senate where Democrats will fall one or two seats short of the magic 60, the few moderate Senate Republicans will play a crucial role. Collins focuses in particular on Olympia Snowe of Maine. And while wondering why McCain didn't choose her as his running mate, the columnist gets off her smear on Palin, and hunters in general [emphasis added]:
During a report on Thursday’s American Morning, CNN correspondent Alina Cho used personal anecdotes in attempt to show how Barack Obama’s Chief-of-Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel has “softened over the years.” Cho cited the outgoing Illinois congressman’s unnamed rabbi, who said he is “really just a nice guy, intensely spiritual, even polite.” She also stated how despite being labeled a “street fighter with a killer instinct,” Emanuel also has more of sensitive side: “His congressional colleagues say he’s the kind of guy who will chew you out then send you a cheesecake.”
A clip of comedian Andy Samberg doing an impression of Emanuel on Saturday Night Live preceded Cho’s report, which began 18 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of the CNN program. The correspondent began by bringing up Emanuel’s notorious use of “colorful language,” which Samberg parodied in his sketch. She also contrasted the “street fighter with a killer instinct” imagery with his rabbi’s “nice guy” label.
Another Hardball, another opportunity for Chris Matthews, his eyes on a Senate run, to ingratiate himself with his party's powers-that-be. No one is more powerful than Barack Obama, of course, and Matthews found numerous ways this evening to praise the president-elect, even lauding, as NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, his dud of an attempt at humor when it came to Bill Richardson's erstwhile beard.
Richardson, too, came in for some Matthews fawning.
During his regular “Political Daily Briefing’ feature on CNN’s “No Bias, No Bull” program on Tuesday evening, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post used Hillary Clinton’s famous descriptive about her conservative opponents in describing one group’s latest effort against the outgoing New York senator: “A group called Judicial Watch, charter members of the vast right-wing conspiracy -- they were on to Hillary back during the commodity trading days -- now, they say because of Article One in the Constitution says you cannot serve in the position where you got a -- voted for a pay raise while you were in Congress, they’re saying she is constitutionally ineligible.” He then opined that “the only thing for Hillary to do is just give her $191,000 salary as Secretary of State to Judicial Watch for their extraordinary creativity -- just save everybody the court costs.”
Admission: Lawrence O'Donnell is emerging as one of my favorite media liberals. On the one hand, almost exactly one year ago, his anti-Mormon rant spurred me to action. But lately, watching him as a frequent MSNBC guest, I've been impressed by his acumen and willingness to call them as he sees them.
Take O'Donnell's intervention on tonight's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," where he made the salient point that the scandal of the Marc Rich pardon is, ironically, being held against AG nominee Eric Holder . . . while Hillary Clinton skates.
Note to Chris Matthews: when mocking someone for using a ghostwriter, it's best to avoid doing so on a day when Hillary Clinton is prominently in the news . . .
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews went out of his way to mock Joe The Plumber for his use of a ghostwriter on his just-released book. This on the day Hillary Clinton was in the headlines, having been named Barack Obama's Secretary of State. You know, Hillary Clinton. The woman famous, in writing "It Takes A Village," for failing to credit her . . . ghostwriter.
In the interview for Wednesday’s Barbara Walters Special on ABC with Barack and Michelle Obama, excerpts of which were also shown on Wednesday’s World News with Charles Gibson, Walters asked few questions that put the Obamas on the defensive, in contrast with her January 2001 interview, aired on 20/20, with then-President-elect Bush in which she challenged him on a number of fronts. Most notably, she seemed to chide Bush for choosing John Ashcroft as Attorney General because he "openly opposes abortion," and claimed that Ashcroft was "not considered a friend to civil rights." She asked Bush about reports that, as governor of Texas, he "spent relatively little time studying specific issues," and "only does a few hours of work" a day. The ABC host also challenged Bush from the left on the trade embargo against Cuba, and even asked Laura Bush if her more "traditional" plans for her time as First Lady would be a "setback for women." It is also noteworthy that Walters asked Bush about his plans for dealing with Saddam Hussein and cited "people in the know" who contended that the Iraqi dictator was "stronger than ever."
Joe Conason's column should be as chilling to conservatives as it is meant to be comforting to liberals. His message: don't be distracted by the centrist-seeming appointments Pres.-elect Obama has made to his economic team. He remains as committed as ever to his radical agenda.
Conason's commentary appears this morning at Rasmussen Reports. Key lines [emphasis added]:
[W]hen liberals point to Summers and other members of the Obama team, crying betrayal, they misunderstand the strategy behind those appointments. The most important thing to remember about the president-elect as he prepares to govern is that he takes the long view -- and that he knows how to make a reasonable case for radical change. He has not taken one step back from the commitments he articulated during his campaign.
The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."
On the Saturday Early Show on CBS, President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks were presented positively as correspondent Kimberly Dozier referred to a "superstar Cabinet," and its members as "bold" and "inspired," while co-anchor Erica Hill called the Cabinet "star-studded." The terminology was similar to that employed by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the previous night's Nightly News, as she referred to Obama's "all-star Cabinet."
During the 8:00 a.m. hour of the Saturday Early Show, as she filed a story regarding Obama’s choices of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and Timothy Geithner, also from the Clinton administration, for Treasury Secretary, Dozier introduced her report: "Well, Obama’s Cabinet picks are coming one by one, and they’re calling it, in some cases, a ‘superstar Cabinet.’" After informing viewers that Obama may ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on, Dozier repeated the "superstar" label as she passed on praise from former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Dozier: "Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff says Obama’s taking a page from his boss’s book, choosing a superstar team for their skills, not their political persuasion."
Tom Brokaw: talk show host or DNC enforcer? Barack Obama and Harry Reid were willing to let bygones be bygones, letting Joe Lieberman keep his Homeland Security Committee chairmanship.
But Lieberman's professed "regret" for statements he made in the course of supporting John McCain for president wasn't good enough for Brokaw. Interviewing the senator on Meet The Press today, Brokaw pointedly observed that he hadn't heard the word "apology" for Lieberman's lèse majesté. Brokaw broached the subject by asserting Lieberman needed to be held "accountable."
Whoever had the brilliant idea of making Capricia Marshall a guest on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" last night was probably hiding from host David Gregory when the show ended. Marshall turned out to be the least forthcoming guest I have ever seen on a political talk show. The aide to Hillary Clinton put up a smiling stonewall that would make G. Gordon Liddy—who chose a stiff prison sentence over Watergate stool-pigeonhood—proud.
Marshall is the director of Hillary Clinton's political action committee, Hillpac, and former social secretary in the Clinton White House. Gregory had her on in the clear expectation that she would dish on Hillary's prospective appointment as Secretary of State. But Capricia was tighter than the proverbial clam. Try as Gregory might, Marshall wouldn't give up the smallest shadow of a hint of a scrap of a tidbit about anything of interest. Her big revelation? She's excited about the inauguration. Gag Gregory with an NBC "Yes We Can!" commemorative Obama-campaign DVD.
Now that Eric Holder is in the process of trying to graduate from Barack Obama's vice-presidential search committee to President-elect Obama's apparent nominee for Attorney General, it's a good idea to remind people of Holder's role in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000. This post largely reprises one I put up in June.
In between hosannas, someone should consider Barack Obama's "Judgment to Lead" in light of his selection of Eric Holder as his nominee for Attorney General.
Besides his already-known role as former Clinton Administration Deputy Attorney General in facilitating the Clinton pardons, including that of fugitive billionaire financier Marc Rich, there's the matter of Holder's involvement in the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000.
As the April 23, 2000 edition of the Media Research Center's CyberAlert noted at the time, Andrew Napolitano of Fox News charged that the early-Saturday seizure of the then 6 year-old Gonzalez from those who were taking care of him flagrantly disobeyed a ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In response to a question from Fox News anchor Jeff Asman, Napolitano said the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Last night, Larry King had four guests on his show to discuss the nomination of Eric Holder to become Attorney General. Even though Holder's role in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by Bill Clinton was highly controversial, not one of the guests had any real problem with that. Somehow Larry King couldn't find a single guest who would offer arguments against the appointment of Eric Holder. To get you up to speed on Holder's role in the Marc Rich pardon, here is an Associated Press story on this subject from last June:
The last time Washington attorney Eric Holder participated in a high-profile vetting, it was for fugitive financier Marc Rich.
The episode in 2001 became the final scandal of the Clinton administration and landed Holder, at the time the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in the middle of a congressional investigation.
Now Holder, a co-chairman of Barack Obama's campaign, is one of three big names who will lead the search for a potential running mate for the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.
...In the Clinton pardon scandal, Holder was deputy attorney general when his duties intersected with the efforts of Rich's lawyer, Jack Quinn, who had been White House counsel earlier in the Clinton administration.
The entire matter was handled in an unorthodox manner - on a straight line from Rich's lawyer to the White House, with a consulting role for Holder.