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15 People Who Make America Great
Newsweek Magazine
#4 Brad Pitt

"If it wasn't for Brad Pitt, most Americans would never have heard of Namibia. They might not know about AIDS orphans in South Africa, or the plight of children in Haiti, or what transpired at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland."

Google News: "Brad Pitt Namibia World Economic Forum Davos Switzerland"
Results about "what transpired at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland": ZERO. (lots of Newsweek award mentions though)

Google News: "Brad Pitt plight of Haitian children"
Results: ZERO

Google News: "Brad Pitt AIDS orphans in South Africa"
Results besides Newsweek award mentions: 1 anecdotal sentence.



National Review Online published an editorial today on the unfolding outrage over the New York Times deigning itself the country's Moderators-in-Chief -- we shall declare what the nation shall debate! -- and called for the government to take away their press credentials, their little badges of honor and access:



Reporting on today’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding a Kansas death penalty law, the Associated Press headlines:



Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor for Commentary magazine, writes in the Weekly Standard about the justification for prosecuting journalists who endanger the country by revealing sensitive information. He cites a very concrete example of this endangerment: Pearl Harbor.


Yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation", host Bob Schieffer claimed Congress is failing in its job to improve the lives of their constituents, and it wasting time and resources debating trivial conservative matters like Constitutional Amendments banning gay marriage and flag burning:



The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King, says the New York Times should be prosecuted for revealing the program for monitoring international money-transfers.

President Bush also denounced the revelation, saying, the disclosure was "disgraceful" and does "great harm to the United States of America."



A train wreck of reporting and editing is displayed in Study Casts Doubt On the 'Boy Crisis' by the Washington Post's Jay Mathews on the front page. It's based on a report by a think tank called Education Sector, and tries to refute years of research showing boys' collective disadvantage in education. The logic of this report is illustrated in the following quote from the report itself, written by Sarah Mead:

The real story is not bad news about boys doing worse; it's good news about girls doing better.

In fact, with a few exceptions, American boys are scoring higher and achieving more than they ever have before. But girls have just improved their performance on some meas­­­ures even faster. As a result, girls have narrowed or even closed some academic gaps that previously favored boys, while other long-standing gaps that favored girls have widened, leading to the belief that boys are falling behind.

Got it? Girls narrowed or obliterated gaps that favored boys. They also widened gaps that favored girls. It's time to face facts. Girls are the uber-race. Bow down and accept your fate before girls!



President (make that Times editor) Bill Keller must be feeling the heat about his paper’s irresponsible banking spy scoop from Friday.



In today’s terror-stricken world, which is more vital to the public’s interest: being safe, or being informed?

This very question has come before the management of the New York Times twice in the past six months. On both occasions, even though it went completely contrary to the national security requests of the White House, their conclusion was that ignorance is indeed not bliss.

Sadly, it appears that the Times doesn’t agree with the old maxim “Tis better to be safe than sorry,” for on June 23, in what is starting to become a semi-annual event, the Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen disclosed to America and her enemies the existence of another highly classified national security program designed to identify terrorist activity before it occurs.

In this case, since shortly after 9/11, the Central Intelligence Agency has been working with a Belgian international banking cooperative called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. SWIFT provides



As part of their "Giving Back Awards" cover package this week, Newsweek honors what they call "Philanthropy's All-Star Team," a list of "no-brainers" for all the good they do in the world. Some choices are less political (Lance Armstrong, Oprah), but many are not: Paul Newman, Rosie O'Donnell, abortion-rights activist Bill Gates, embryo-destruction enthusiast Michael J. Fox, Ted Turner, Jimmy Carter, and Al Gore. Wow. Al Gore?


There could be an NBC intern out of work by lunch-time. Somebody failed to get the DNC/MSM talking points to Barry McCaffrey. A guest on this morning's Today show, the retired general obstinately refused to go along with the party line in reacting to the news that a drawdown of US troops in Iraq is in the works. Didn't Barry at least watch Carl Levin over the weekend? The Dem senator from Michigan had made it clear that this was all about election-year politics.


Co-host Campbell Brown picked up right where Levin left off.

Brown: "Based on your assessment of the situation on the ground, do you think this plan is realistic?"

McCaffrey: "Yeah, sure. . . Realistic assumptions will probably occur."

No-o-o-o-o! Brown took another tack: "Put 'realistic' aside and tell me whether you think it's a good idea, though."



Newsweek's cover story this week is a new feature called their Giving Back Awards. Expecting a dose of unknown heroes, instead the magazine honors some famous faces, like Brad Pitt and CNN's Soledad O'Brien, honored for her passionate coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The headline called her "The Professional" and oozed in italics: "In a drowning city, who spoke out for those in despair?



Today's Los Angeles Times (Sunday, June 25, 2006) features coverage of Erotica LA (warning: adult content), an adult X-rated retail expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In a page B1 article entitled "More Couples, Women Turn On to Erotica Expo," Times staffer Robin Abcarian begins by relaying a lesson in "spanking" being taught by a "dominatrix" by the name of Georgia Payne. (The subject matter itself is questionable for a "family" newspaper, but that's a separate issue entirely.) In the process, Abcarian used Payne's words to take a swipe at Catholics.

Payne, who earns $250 an hour, was about to demonstrate the fine art of spanking, which — contrary to what you might think — is not as simple as it looks. The hand should be cupped, not flat, she explained, and positioned on the lower part of the buttocks, never at the top, never on the leg and never ever near the tailbone.

"If your husband went to Catholic school," the 32-year-old Payne said with a sly smile, "he's probably secretly dying for it."



As Brit Hume put it, "Senator Specter, who gets worked up over anything, doesn't seem bothered by the NY Times disclosure of [the anti-terror banking program]. He's going to 'look into it'."

Indeed. Specter, who began his political career as a prosecutor, played defense lawyer for the Gray Lady on this morning's Fox News Sunday.  Host Chris Wallace asked the senior senator from PA "do you think the Times was wrong to publish this story as well as the NSA warrantless wiretap story, and does it rise to the level that they should be prosecuted?"

Specter:

"Well, we have seen the newspapers in this country act as effective watchdogs. You had Jefferson lay out the parameter saying if he had to choose a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, he'd choose newspapers without government . . . I don't think that the newspapers can have a totally free hand. But I think in the first instance, it is their judgment.