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Leave it to Keith Olbermann to link the topics of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the 9/11 attacks. On his Countdown show on Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor relayed that Miers was the person who handed President Bush a memo in August 2001 that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the U.S.



The following two reports from CNN (videos to follow) give us an amazing contrast between the efficiency of business in America, and the inefficiency of government. 

Today, the city of New Orleans announced that it is laying off 3,000 government employees, or 40 percent of the city's payroll, due to budget constraints.  By contrast, in the same city hit by the same hurricanes, small and large businesses have a diametrically opposite problem – they can’t find enough people to work FOR them, and are at times willing to pay any sum to achieve such a goal.

To a large extent, this perfectly represents the disparate views being offered by America’s major political parties concerning the reconstruction of this region:

  • The Democrats want the federal government to finance assistance programs to help the people in this area 
  • The Republicans want to create tax incentives and enterprise zones to encourage business development that spurs economic growth and hiring in the region



I've been reading all of the pro and con commentary in the Blogosphere and the MSM from fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and, while I sympathize mainly with those who believe Bush has missed an historic opportunity by not nominating a Brown, McConnell or Luttig, it appears to me most everybody is missing the fundamental point.



Or at least it's the cheapest shot.

American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan today indicted the Bush administration on race relations via Bill Bennett's recent remarks on abortion and black Americans, which apparently, she has taken out of context:



The Associated Press published an article today about Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb’s new album, with much focus given to one song that contains an anti-war theme, as well as Streisand’s political leanings:

“Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb hadn't worked together in 25 years. But Gibb still knew the best way to express what Streisand was thinking -- especially when it came to the war in Iraq.”

“‘I loved the first stanza, because to me this war is kind of senseless, and I don't know why we're there,’ Streisand told The Associated Press.”



Magazines positive portrayal downplays criticism and depicts Spitzerism as what the Democrats need.


Newsweek's Jonathan Alter launched a vicious attack, on Congressman Tom DeLay's ideology, in this week's magazine. Promoting it, on Monday's Imus in the Morning on MSNBC, he charged that "it's the first time in 200 years that the House of Representatives has been run for a whole decade, or almost a decade, by a corrupt zealot." That matched the language in his one-page piece, "Tom DeLay's House of Shame," in which he contended: "I have no idea if DeLay has technically broken the law. What interests me is how this moderate, evenly divided nation came to be ruled on at least one side of Capitol Hill by a zealot." The pull-out quote in the hard copy edition, and the subhead online, read: "Congress has always had its share of extremists. But the DeLay era is the first time the fringe has ever been in charge." Alter maintained that "the only reason the House hasn't done even more damage is that the Senate often sands down the most noxious ideas, making the bills merely bad, not disastrous."

Full MRC CyberAlert article follows.



Mrs. Triangulation is the title of New York Times contributing writer Matt Bai's profile of Sen. Hillary Clinton (on the cover the article is referred to even less plausibly as "Hillary's Centrist Crusade").

Bai has apparently been taken in by Clinton's centering propaganda, as has the Times in general: It's coverage of the senator has consisted largely of portraying her as a safe centrist and even a social conservative, while accusing those who call her liberal as guilty of "caricature."

While Hillary Clinton has perhaps not been the vociferous anti-war opponent of MoveOn.org fantasies, she's hardly been quiet about her loathing of the Bush administration, as when she compared Bush to Mad Magazine's moronic cartoon mascot: "I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington."

Just as in several stories by Hillary-approving reporter Raymond Hernandez, Bai on Sunday doesn’t identify Hillary as a liberal, instead claiming she's a centrist and even has "conservative leanings."

That spin is at odds with reality. The American Conservative Union gives Hillary Clinton a rating of 9 out of a possible 100 points. Meanwhile, she garnered a 95% rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (it should be said that 17 of the 45 Democratic senators had perfect 100% records in the ADA's 2004 survey, based on their position on 20 significant votes).


Yesterday on All Things Considered, correspondent Nina Totenberg noted conservative division on the Harriet Miers nomination and in passing described the cautious, positive reactions of liberal Democrats, but failed to affix the liberal label to Senators Harry Reid and Charles Schumer, who both cast "nay" votes on installing John Roberts as the nation's 17th Chief Justice.



One of my favorite pastimes is listening to liberal journalists tell me they aren't liberal. I find it very similar to listening to an alcoholic explain how they are just social drinkers. In the end, the conversation can be closed simply by asking "who did you vote for in the last ten elections?" That goes for the journalist or the drunk, by the way. So it was with great glee that I read editor Cindi Ross Scoppe (You'll never make it in this town with an "i" at the end of your name. Wait, you're in South Carolina, never mind.) open with this denial in her article "Judith Miller and the myth of the 'liberal media establishment'"

Yes, I know some of you still consider me to be a liberal. Trust me: You're in the minority. And youre wrong.
Cindi, it isn't you. It's me. Really. I'm just incapable of trusting journalists. By the way, next time you write an article dispelling the "myth of the liberal media", you might want to leave out this part:
As a group, we tend to be arrogant and nomadic, which too often results in our being quite detached from our communities. And yes, as a group we do tend to be more socially and politically liberal than our communities. And yes, this does show up in our news coverage. As nomadic outsiders, journalists build community among themselves. This leads to the group-think that takes over within any group of people with similar education, similar social status and similar worldviews. This creates huge blind spots that influence and limit our thinking. The blind spot that causes the greatest disconnect these days, of course, relates to religious and social issues, which have become the new litmus test of ideology in our country. Case in point: The concept of a born-again Christian was foreign to the faith traditions in which most journalists grew up (if they grew up in any), and so official journalism is distrustful of anyone who calls himself one.


In an article in today’s New York Times entitled “When a President is Not Spoiling for a Fight,” journalist Richard Stevenson practically called President Bush a chicken for nominating Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court:

“There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.”

“By instead settling on a loyalist with no experience as a judge and little substantive record on abortion, affirmative action, religion and other socially divisive issues, Mr. Bush shied away from a direct confrontation with liberals and in effect asked his base on the right to trust him on this one.”

In the Times’ view, the Miers pick is indicative of a president in dire trouble:



There was something of a world-turned-upside down feel to this morning's Today show.

There was Katie, putting WH spokesman Dan Bartlett on the hot seat. Nothing unusual about that. But rather than using allegations or statements coming from the left, Couric threw in Bartlett's face statements made by Rush and Bill Kristol.

Katie ran a clip of Rush's oft-quoted remark that the Miers pick was made "in weakness,' and Kristol's admission of being "disappointed, depressed and demoralized."



There are suspicions surrounding the faux-martyrdom of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who decided she'd rather go to jail than reveal a source in the Valerie Plame case. The source turned out to be Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby.


Follow up from Mark Finkelstein's post


KATIE COURIC: The Bush administration has been hit recently with allegations of cronyism. Do you think this is going to feed into that?



All three broadcast network evening newscasts on Monday focused attention on the disappointment expressed by conservatives at President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, but the CBS Evening News went the furthest in reporting the selection through a liberal prism. Anchor Bob Schieffer employed “rights” language which put the liberal position in a positive light: “Social conservatives wanted someone who is on the record against gay rights and abortion rights. Many liberals wanted someone who is for abortion rights.”

John Roberts put the most negative hue on Miers' connection to Bush as he asserted that “Miers' ties to President Bush are too close for some people on the left and right. What looks like, they say, to be the very embodiment of cronyism." To back that up, Roberts ran a clip from CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. Unlike ABC's Terry Moran and NBC's Pete Williams, Roberts failed to point out (as did Gloria Borger in a subsequent piece) how Miers gave a $1,000 to the Al Gore campaign in 1988, but Roberts, using phraseology favorable to abortion backers, stressed her position on abortion: “We do know as head of the Texas bar, she fought against support for abortion rights and she was a patron of a Texas anti-abortion group. Friends say she is very religious.” Roberts concluded with an extreme label: “White House officials, including the Vice President, insist she has the sort of bedrock conservative judicial philosophy that even the far right will like." (I doubt Cheney used the term “far right.”)