Saturday, November 19, 2005

NYT: Saturday blahs

Rousing himself from yet another nap on his office couch, Ethan Bronner does a smear job on Robert Fisk's new book. Doing so requires playing dense, Bronner's up to the task. Further analysis? When Bronner throws out inflamatory statements with no backing, he doesn't deserve further analysis. ("Least informed" is a phrase Bronner tosses out that flies back to hit him in his smug, willfully uninformed face.) Go back to your couch, Bronner, you've earned your nap today. You, and the bulk of the paper, have a bad case of the Saturday blahs.

There's not much worth reading in this morning's New York Times.

One exception is Erik Eckholm's "Halliburton Case is Referred To Justice Dept., Senator Says:"

Pentagon investigators have referred allegations of abuse in how the Halliburton Company was awarded a contract for work in Iraq to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation, a Democratic senator who has been holding unofficial hearings on contract abuses in Iraq said yesterday in Washington.
The allegations mainly involve the Army's secret, noncompetitive awarding in 2003 of a multibillion dollar contract for oil field repairs in Iraq to Halliburton, a Texas-based company. The objections were raised publicly last year by Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, then the chief contracts monitor at the Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency that handled the contract and several others in Iraq.

For those unfamiliar with Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice selected her as an honoree for the week of August 24, 2005.

(Mary Mapes is this week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice honoree.)

On the Tom DeLay front, Anne E. Kornblut's "DeLay Ex-Aid Likely to Plead In Lobby Case" reports that "Michael Scanlon, a former top official for Representative Tom DeLay and a onetime partner of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff" will plead guilty on Monday to "a single conspiracy charge." From the article:

In the eight-page criminal information, prosecutors accused Mr. Scanlon of taking part in a "corruption scheme" between January 2000 and April 2004, working alongside a "Lobbyist A" who was identified by lawyers involved in the case as Mr. Abramoff.
The pair "provided a stream of things of value" to Representative No. 1 and members of his staff, the charge read. In return, both Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff received agreements from Mr. [Bob] Ney ["chairman of the House Administration Committee"] "to perform a series of official acts," including "agreements to support and pass legislation, agreements to place statements into the Congressional Record," and meetings with their clients.

Eric Schmitt's "Uproar In House As Parties Clash On Iraq Pullout" is probably worth reading but I was able to catch The Randi Rhodes Show yesterday and she hit hard on this topic so it's all old news to me. (Anyone who's listened to The Randi Rhodes Show will grasp that as not being an insult to Schmitt's reporting, just acknowledging that when Rhodes marshalls the facts and hits hard, you've got what you need and then some.)

There is a spotlight story and we'll be noting it after this post.

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