Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Other items

Having already suffered through Todd S. Purdum's "atheletic" writing, I wasn't eager to read through the latest from Elite Fluff Patrol squad leader Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson, he serves, admirably, on the Fluff Patrol as well. It's entitled "President Says He's Responsible in Storm Lapses" and it's not their usual piece of fluff.

It's much worse. Joking! Actually, Bumiller and Stevenson do a pretty good job. The anonymice are present and accounted for ("Administration officials" and " A Republican ally of Mr. Bush who has been briefed on the administration's thinking" are hardly descriptive enough to fit the Times' supposed new and newer attitude). But this time they rightly identify TD Jakes as a "conservative" (which Billie pointed out in last week's gina & krista round-robin). (Oh, how mild that is.) They don't mention, and perhaps it's not important?, the faith based monies. Other than that, they note that Bully Boy's not taken personal accountability by owning up to mistakes:

In saying he took responsibility for any failures of the federal response to the storm, Mr. Bush stopped short of acknowledging that he or anyone else had made mistakes. The president has in the past resisted efforts to draw him out about errors in judgment and regrets.
At a news conference in April 2004, he was asked what his biggest mistake had been, and he responded that he was sure he had made some but that he was unable, on the spot, to say what they were. Asked again about mistakes during one of his debates last year with Senator John Kerry, Mr. Bush admitted to having made some bad personnel choices.

I'm not going to rush over to and check out their wish lists to buy them presents. (Natalie will get that joke.) Nor will I get my hopes for more useful reporting from them again (either solo or in tandem) because a Wilgoren happens rarely. But this isn't the usual air kiss and bits of fluff. I'll give them credit for that.

On the fourteenth day of the month, we're at thirteen American military fatalities in Iraq (official count). I note that because although a bomb went off in Baghdad, Robert F. Worth's reporting may not be getting that point across. Today's report may be among Worth's finer contributions only because it's more clear what's being told. Ned writes that the end credits ("Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedy contributed reporting from Baghdad for this article, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Karbala and Kirkuk.") are beginning to make him think the articles are reported by "Dean Martin and his Ding-a-lings." I think that comparison works on several levels.

Marci e-mails to note Jason Leopold's "How Michael Brown Helped Bush Win Florida" (CounterPunch):

Michael Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, approved payments in excess of $31 million in taxpayer money to thousands of Florida residents who were unaffected by Hurricane Frances and three other hurricanes last year in an effort to help President Bush win a majority of votes in that state during his reelection campaign, according to published reports."Some Homeland Security sources said FEMA's efforts to distribute funds quickly after Frances and three other hurricanes that hit the key political battleground state of Florida in a six-week period last fall were undertaken with a keen awareness of the looming presidential elections," according to a May 19 Washington Post story.Homeland Security sources told the Post that after the hurricanes that Brown "and his allies [recommended] him to succeed Tom Ridge as Homeland Security secretary because of their claim that he helped deliver Florida to President Bush by efficiently responding to the Florida hurricanes."The South Florida Sun-Sentinel uncovered emails from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that confirmed those allegations and directly implicated Brown as playing politics at the expense of hurricane victims."As the second hurricane in less than a month bore down on Florida last fall, a federal [FEMA] consultant predicted a "huge mess" that could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability, records show," the Sentinel reported in a March 23 story.
"Two weeks later, a Florida official summarizing the hurricane response wrote that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handing out housing assistance "to everyone who needs it without asking for much information of any kind."

Lynda e-mails to note that besides Operation Enduring Falsehood, "there's also Operation Enduring Boredom." We'll note the article by Christopher Hayes (and applaud him for coining a new term) "Operation Enduring Boredom: Far from celebrating free expression, the Pentagon’s September 11 Freedom Walk was expression free" (In These Times):

When the Pentagon announced it would be staging a march on September 11, 2005, to commemorate the victims of 9/11 and show support for the troops, it was hard not to expect the worst: Triumph of the Will on the Potomac.
But after three of the dullest hours of my life, I'm happy to report those fears proved unfounded. Maybe it was the fact that the nation's attention remains focused on the disaster in the Gulf, or that the President's approval ratings have themselves sunk below sea level, or maybe it was just that Sunday also happened to be the first day of the NFL season, but of the 15,000 people who'd registered online for the 1.7 mile walk from the Pentagon to the Mall, only about a third showed up. Stacks of t-shirts and plastic dog tags, which were distributed to every marcher, sat unused on the registration tables. At the post-march concert, organizers had set up a Jumbotron 50 yards from the stage to broadcast the image of country music star Clint Black (author of the pro-war hit song, "Iraq and I Roll") to the throngs who couldn't get close enough to the action. But there were no throngs-just a few thousand folks in identical white t-shirts sitting on the grass and clapping politely.

Rod e-mails to note what's coming up on Democracy Now!:

Wed, September 14: Coverage of Day 2 of the confirmation hearing of John Roberts to be the nation's 17th supreme court justice.

Rod also asks that we note this one event only so that people will remember it is tonight:

* Wednesday Night 7pm EST
*British MP George Galloway vs. Columnist Christopher Hitchens
moderated by Amy Goodman
Live webstream at
"Not since the Rumble in the Jungle, when Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974, can there have been such an eagerly anticipated punch-up as the one due to take place in New York" -- Guardian (UK)
- Galloway to Hitchens: "You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay."
- Hitchens response: "[Galloway is] prolier than thou, and ostentatiously radical, but a bit too fond of the cigars and limos and always looking a bit odd in a suit that was slightly too expensive."

Will Hitchens continue to channel Joan & Melissa Rivers? Will Galloway wipe the floor with him? You can catch the webstream tonight? (My hunch is yes to the second question.)

Also remember that tonight Mike's interview with Cedric should be posted at Mikey Likes It!

The e-mail address for this site is rel="tag">The Common Ills