Monday, March 21, 2005

The Times does go into Operation Happy Talk (as expected) but there's also a few stories worth reading

Let's start by noting Warren Hoge's "Annan to Propose Measures for Change in U.N. Structure"
which Rod says "can be only faulted for not reminding people of an earlier article" (I'm vaugely remembering the article Rod's talking about, Hoge may have written it. If anyone remembers it, e-mail the site. I think it was published in December.) Rod: "That article was about Democrats meeting with Kofi Annan to discuss the U.N. and it's future." From the article:

Secretary General Kofi Annan will propose sweeping changes to the United Nations on Monday that would expand the Security Council to reflect modern realities of global power, restructure the discredited Human Rights Commission to keep rights violators from becoming members and redefine terrorism to end any justifications of its use for national resistance.
Mr. Annan will make the recommendations in a speech to the General Assembly aimed at restoring confidence in the United Nations that lapsed after bitter divisions over the war in Iraq, charges of mismanagement and corruption in the oil-for-food program, and revelations of sexual misconduct by blue-helmeted peacekeepers.

His proposals, drawn from conclusions of an independent panel in November, will be the subject of a gathering of heads of government in September that hopes to reinvigorate the United Nations at a time when its value is being widely questioned.

Lucy points out that Stephanie Strom ("one of the strong reporters on the tsunami") has an article entitled "Nonprofit Groups Question Motive for Federal Actions."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is locked in a standoff with the Internal Revenue Service, preferring to risk its tax exemption rather than hand over documents for an I.R.S. review that the civil rights group contends is politically motivated.
While it is rare for an organization to defy the I.R.S. openly, the N.A.A.C.P. is not the only group that believes it is being made a government target for its positions on issues.
Roughly a dozen nonprofit organizations have publicly contended that government agencies and Congressional offices have used reviews, audits, investigations, law enforcement actions and the threat of a loss of federal money to discourage them from activities and advocacy that in any way challenge government policies, and nonprofit leaders say more are complaining quietly.
"In previous administrations, there's been the occasional instance of what might appear to be retaliation, but when it started happening in a serial way, it began to look like a pattern to us," said Kay Guinane, counsel for the nonprofit advocacy project of OMB Watch, a government watchdog group that has published two reports on the issue.

Kara urges us to all take note of Sara Ivry's "Bush's Re-election Lifts Circulation at Liberal Magazines." From the article:

"We had a huge spike in orders beginning the day after the election," said Art Stupar, vice president for circulation at The Nation, which comes out weekly. "In fact, our Web site, in the week following the election, generated 2,600 subscriptions." Typically, The Nation gets no more than 500 subscriptions a week through its Web site, he said.
Overall subscriptions to The Nation reached 184,000 at the end of December, up 24,000 from the previous year; they have doubled since 2000, with a spurt in 2003, when the war in Iraq got under way. "You could say that all the way through, for four years, we've benefited from the follies of the Bush administration," Mr. Stupar said.
Similarly, at The Progressive, a monthly, paid subscriptions grew 12 percent, to 64,000, over 2004, and have risen 72 percent since President Bush first took office. The American Prospect, another monthly, experienced a 27 percent increase in paid subscriptions last year, from 45,568 to 60,189.

Kara: Note that The Weekly Standard which too many love to note in 'blog reports' has a circulation of 73,710 by contrast. And apparently, so thrilled were National Review readers with Willian F. Buckley Jr.'s leaving, that monthly rag had a 20% bump and is now up to 173,815
subscriptions. That The Nation trumps the right-wing makes me very happy. But I especially loved the last paragraph. Please quote it and I hope Rebecca [Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude] sees it and writes about this news:

One exception to the overall trend is The New Republic, a weekly whose liberal reputation has been tempered in the past by its muscular approach to foreign policy, where subscriptions held at 60,000 last year. "We tend to look at issues from more than one side," said the president and publisher of the magazine, Stephanie Sandberg. "We aren't the kind of place that everybody ran to out of anger."

My comment (opinion, I could be wrong), The New Republic does not "tend to look at issues from more than one side." Marty wouldn't allow it. And when the so-called liberal rag wants to get honest about Marty's involvement with PNAC, we'll know he's not calling the shots on what's in print. Rebecca, as Kara notes, has long been dealing with the fact that The New Republic is not a liberal magazine and it is not a left magazine. She has shared her opinion, she has cited others as well (including FAIR and [Note, those links go to Rebecca's citations of those sources. Within her posts, she has links to Fair and] Pretending that this rag is left (it's not, even Marty refrains from making that claim publicly) serves to narrow the discussion as you bring on a right winger from The Weekly Standard and then a mouth piece from The New Republic which you present as "left." It's not left and it's not owned up to the reasons why they supported the war on Iraq.

End of opinion, back to the paper.

Thom Shanker covers "Rumsfeld Faults Turkey for Barring Use of Its Land in '03 to Open Northern Front in Iraq" but forgets to note the unstated whine from Rummy: "We gave them money! We gave them money in the lead up to the war! And they took it! They should have allowed us to do whatever we wanted because they took our money!"

In international news, Joel Brinkley continues to wet-print dream over Condi Rice. Well, I guess we all have our own sexual attractions. Though why this should pass for reporting is anyone's guess. But as he continues to work on his draft of a letter to Penthouse Forum, let's hope they still offer the t-shirts. Won't he look quite spiffy sporting that t-shirt as he trails Condi?

And yes, as predicted last night, Operation Happy Talk is in back in force on the pages of the New York Times. (Check last night's entry for what the paper forgets to pass on. Note the BBC report of the attack outside Baghdad and Patrick Cockburn's article in The Independent.) Yes, Edward Wong files a piece in today's paper and notes the attack "appeared to be the largest by insurgents against an American target since the Jan. 30 elections." Wong makes that statement in the paper. In as inside. On the front page we get John F. Burns' "On Iraq's Street of Fear, the Tide May Be Turning." Or it may not. But Operation Happy Talk is the main focus, it's what gets front page even though reality -- noted in Wong's report -- seems to contradict the front page.

The site e-mail address is