Sunday, September 04, 2005

NYT: Bumiller and Nagourney team up [shudder]

This morning, Adam Nagourney teams with Elisabeth Bumiller, surely a marriage in hell, in a piece entitled "As White House Anxiety Grows, Bush Tries to Quell Political Crisis." Nagourney's present so you just know the "moderate Dem" position is pushed. (A slight hair to the left of Joe Lieberman) and you aren't disappointed. Masking advice as reporting, he pushes that centrist line that he's so fond of and that's endeared him so to the paper.

Skip the nonsense (it doesn't even qualify as good fluff -- how can Bumiller soar with Nags weighing her down?) and just note that this appears:

Mr. Chertoff said Saturday: "Not an hour goes by that we do not spend a lot of time thinking about the people who are actively suffering. The United States, as the president has said, is going to move heaven and earth to rescue, feed, shelter" victims of the storm.

Well it's nice to know that not an hour goes by without them thinking of the victims but exactly what is it going to take for them to demonstrate that not an hour goes by without them actively assisting the victims?

Note: This is dubbed a "Political Memo" in the paper. Some may see it as a floating op-ed. If that is the case, apologies to Bumiller because we try to avoid commenting on her op-eds here. (Or anyone else's op-eds in the Times.)

Trina e-mails to note Adam Liptak's "On Moral Grounds, Some Judges Are Opting Out of Abortion Cases:"

Helena Silverstein, who teaches government and law at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and has studied how parental-consent laws work, said those experts might be right in the abstract. But Professor Silverstein wondered about the consequences of forcing judges to act.
"If you require judges to hear these cases when they are morally and, maybe, religiously opposed to abortion," she said, "they are likely to impose their views on the minor. And that happens."

[. . .]
The president of Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood, Barry Chase, said it was too soon to evaluate the effects of the recusals here.
"It's probably more difficult for a young woman" to obtain a judge's permission to make her own decision, Mr. Chase said.

Brady e-mails to note Jason DeParle's "What Happens to a Race Deferred:"

THE white people got out. Most of them, anyway. If television and newspaper images can be deemed a statistical sample, it was mostly black people who were left behind. Poor black people, growing more hungry, sick and frightened by the hour as faraway officials counseled patience and warned that rescues take time.
What a shocked world saw exposed in New Orleans last week wasn't just a broken levee. It was a cleavage of race and class, at once familiar and startlingly new, laid bare in a setting where they suddenly amounted to matters of life and death. Hydrology joined sociology throughout the story line, from the settling of the flood-prone city, where well-to-do white people lived on the high ground, to its frantic abandonment.
[. . .]

In the middle of the delayed rescue, the New Orleans mayor, C.Ray Nagin, a local boy made good from a poor, black ward, burst into tears of frustration as he denounced slow moving federal officials and called for martial law.
Even people who had spent a lifetime studying race and class found themselves slack-jawed.
"This is a pretty graphic illustration of who gets left behind in this society - in a literal way," said Christopher Jencks, a sociologist glued to the televised images from his office at Harvard. Surprised to have found himself surprised, Mr. Jencks took to thinking out loud. "Maybe it's just an in-the-face version of something I already knew," he said. "All the people who don't get out, or don't have the resources, or don't believe the warning are African-American."
"It's not that it's at odds with the way I see American society," Mr. Jencks said. "But it's at odds with the way I want to see American society."

Neil A. Lewis informs us that "Old Memo From Roberts the Young Lawyer Shows a Caustic Side." What? They just noticed? From the article:

The memorandum was written in response to a letter to the Justice Department in which TransAfrica's president at the time, Randall Robinson, said he would be providing a free subscription of the organization's policy journal.
TransAfrica was set up to lobby the government on behalf of American blacks on issues relating to Africa and the Caribbean. It had organized a series of successful demonstrations outside the South African Embassy before that country abandoned apartheid.
Mr. Roberts's superior, Kenneth W. Starr, asked him in a memorandum to draft a thank-you note to TransAfrica. Instead, Mr. Roberts wrote on Feb. 16, 1982, that no thank-you note should be sent. "Sometimes silence is golden," he wrote. "TransAfrica is the American lobby group supporting various Marxist takeover attempts in Africa, particularly Namibia."

"Sometimes silence is golden?" Is the Times sure this isn't just more of that "humor" they've eagerly noted as Roberts slammed one group after another (with a special zeal reserved for women)? I'm not attempting to slag Lewis who finally notes what the paper has previously refused to (in their reporting). But the confirmation hearing begins September 6th (this Tuesday) and maybe a little less back slapping on the part of the Times jock strap sporting lads (strapping lads?) would have aided the dialogue? It's late in the game but Lewis' report counts for something. Whether he's insightful, just not a Beevis & Butthead or Todd Purdum finally aired out that jock strap and people in the news room can now breathe deeply and think clearly, I have no idea.

"Now, C.I., what if Todd Purdum actually washed out his smelly jock?"

Didn't happen. Apparently Sheryl Gay Stolberg is downwind of him. Note this from her "Roberts Rx: Speak Up, but Shut Up:"

"Justice Ginsburg declined to answer senators' questions 55 times," said Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. The senator said he would love to know Judge Roberts's views of court rulings on the taking of private property and the display of the Ten Commandments. "But," he said, "I recognize that there are limits."

and this:

"If he is a Miguel Estrada and just refuses abjectly to answer everything it would make a filibuster more likely," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat. He called the Ginsburg precedent "a myth" and said she answered numerous questions about past cases and judicial philosophy.

Stolberg's a reporter. She's introduced two opposing claims. Which is it? If she consulted the transcripts of the Ginsburg confirmation hearings, she doesn't share the results with the reader.
Asking a reporter to evaluate the public record is asking them to do their job. (But again, she may have been downwind of Purdum.)

Megan e-mails to note Carlotta Gall's "Taliban Killed an Engineer Abducted in Afghanistan, Britain Says:"

A British engineer who was abducted in Afghanistan three days ago has been killed by the Taliban, the British government said Saturday in a statement released in Kabul.
Afghan and American-led troops found the body of the engineer, David Addison, on Saturday during a search operation in Farah Province in the southwest, Dr. Kim Howells, Britain's foreign minister for Afghanistan, said in the statement.
A Taliban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, claimed responsibility for the killing in a cellphone text message that said, "Late today a British military follower, David, was killed in Fararud district of Farah Province, in an area called Koh-i-Zur." The discrepancy in the timing of his death suggested that Mr. Hakimi was reacting to the British government's statement.

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