Monday, February 07, 2005

Today's New York Times (Bumiller provides the chuckles)

Kara e-mails this morning: "Isn't it great that there's nothing happening in the real world and the front page can focus on the Super Bowl? I guess this means, since the Oscars are also entertainment, we can expect to see Hilary Swank on the front page if she wins her second Oscar? Or at Grammy time, we can hear of Sheryl Crow creating a dynasty unrivaled by any past performer except for Aretha Franklin? I guess I should look at the positive -- short of any hints of steroid abuse, I don't have to see the Times pimp football games as news for a few months."

Also on the front page, Adam Nagourney (off the "people beat") provides an easy-reader on redistricting. (This remedial style might be necessary since, although Nagourney mentions a redistricting battle in 2003, what went on in Texas was never front page news for the Times in real time.) William J. Broad reveals his continued fascination with nukes in "U.S. Redesigning Atomic Weapons" which reads like rah-rah, go Nukes! Hard to believe he's won Pulitzers (plural). Maybe if they ever decide to test nukes in Larchmont, New York, he'll be less likely write a statement so ignorant of the human costs of testing:

Designers had few doubts about reliability because they frequently exploded arms in Nevada at an underground test site. But in 1992, after the cold war, the United States joined a global moratorium on nuclear tests, ending such reassurances.

Designers? Apparently, when speaking of nuclear tests in Nevada, that's where the focus should be. Nevada subscribers to the paper, take note.

Inside the paper, Jane Perlez presents "U.S. Takes Steps to Mend Ties With Indonesian Military" which informs us that the Bully Boy is back to the let's-be-friends-with-abusive-regimes pattern. Or does if you read between the lines and have any knowledge of East Timor -- one of the most historically embarrassing stories for our mainstream press that remained silent on the topic for decades.

From the article:

Ms. Rice now plans to certify to Congress that Indonesia is cooperating sufficiently in investigating the Americans' deaths, a step that would remove a major stumbling block to ties, according to an aide to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. The aide, Tim Rieser, said Ms. Rice told the senator of her decision in a telephone conversation this week. Mr. Leahy is the Congressional architect of the break in relations dating to 1992.
Mr. Leahy and others in Congress assert that the Indonesians first need to "fully cooperate" with an F.B.I. investigation into the American deaths, and in other cases of rights abuse, before full training of Indonesian soldiers in the United States can resume. Congressional approval is necessary for a resumption of the military training.
American military officials who have been hankering since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to gain access to the army, a dominant though still largely unreformed force, and the tsunami has presented the opportunity. The Bush administration views Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, as a moderate and increasingly democratic Muslim state.

Douglas Jehl's also buried inside the paper with his "C.I.A. Defers to Congress, Agreeing to Disclose Nazi Records."

From the article:

Under pressure from Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency has formally agreed to a broad new interpretation of a 1998 law that requires disclosure of classified records related to Nazi war criminals, a C.I.A. document shows.

It certainly wasn't under pressure from the Times because the paper consistently played this as an inside the paper story.

From the article:

Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, praised the action in an interview on Sunday as a "major breakthrough" in a dispute that had been waged in private for more than two years. Mr. DeWine presided last week over what he called "a very blunt meeting" on the subject with C.I.A. officials, and he had threatened to summon Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence, to testify in public on the matter.
The document was sent as an e-mail message late Friday to members of a government working group charged with reviewing the records. In the message, the C.I.A. reversed a legal stance in which it had argued that the law required disclosure only of records related to war crimes, not war criminals, and did not apply to information about the agency's postwar dealings with former Nazis. The message was made available to The New York Times by a person involved in the discussions who wanted the information made public.
In the message, the C.I.A. explicitly pledged for the first time to "acknowledge any relationship" between the C.I.A. and SS members, regardless of whether there was any information specifically tying them to war crimes. The message said the C.I.A. had also agreed that documents "concerning acts performed by Nazi war criminals, to include members of the SS, on behalf of C.I.A." are relevant and are subject to disclosure under the law.

Seems front page to me. But, as Kara notes, Super Bowl coverage dominates. Wouldn't want to rain on the ESPN feel by bringing up an important news story like this on the front page, apparently.

The eternally clueless Elite Fluff Patrol squad leader Elisabeth Bumiller is back with another of her non-endearing, non-informative White House Letters. (As always with Bumiller, read for chuckles only.) If you can stop laughing long enough to get over the idea that the Bully Boy actually has a reading list, marvel over Bumiller's puzzlement that Bush would be reading a "racy new beer- and sex-soaked novel." And read until your sides ache as Bumiller continues to feign disbelief. The book is Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. Either for chuckles or out of genuine ignorance (it's always hard to tell with Bumiller), squad leader doesn't inform readers that Wolfe's latest (like his previous novels) is all the rage of elite conservative circles. Or that Wolfe's close ties to the William F. Buckleys has long made him a must-read for the right-wing.
One wonders if (willingly or not) Bumiller hasn't been part of a right-wing attempt to hype Wolfe's overstuffed and under thought opus?

[Note: This post has been corrected for clarity, thanks Shirley.]