Shortly before 1 p.m. as former President George W. Bush left from the Capitol grounds via a U.S.

"Don't you hate it when you pop a bottle of champagne and it's flat? So, too, with some of these inaugural balls," Washington Post gossip gals Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts alerted their readers in the January 20 edition of "The Reliable Source."

While none of the official PIC balls have been cancelled, the unofficial ones that have been cancelled or are on life support to be the ones geared towards the average Joe Sixpack and to America's military veterans:

If you nabbed a ticket to one of the official balls sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee tonight, you're fine. But some of the other high-profile parties have been canceled or are still scrambling to cut costs and sell last-minute tickets, leaving ballgoers disappointed or out in the cold.

The People's Ball at the Grand Hyatt announced a blue-light special yesterday: Tickets slashed $100 -- to $250! The American Music Ball, hosted by Dionne Warwick, which planned two big-name events at the Marriott Wardman Park, was scrambling to sell enough tickets ($450 for the Legends ball with George Clinton, Chaka Khan and the Temptations; $350 for the Urban ball with Ludacris, Fantasia, and Cedric the Entertainer) for the show to go on -- and it wasn't looking good last night, said sources.


This unbylined Associated Press story (HT Michelle Malkin) doesn't really require any elaboration, except to note one thing -- It ends the debate over the existence of liberal/left media bias:

Exit question:

Pssst. Eight hundred rooms in Washington, D.C. proper and a total of 15,000 rooms "in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District" remain unbooked for the Obama apotheosis inaugural. Pass it on.

"Actually, Hotel Space Remains Available," the Washington Post's Paul Schwartzman quietly reported on page B2 of the January 15 edition's "Inauguration Watch." Staffer Paul Schwartzman cited Washington's "official tourism office, Destination DC" as the source of the stat.

Last Friday, I noted how the Post reported that "Inaugural Renters [Are] Begging For Takers." That 29-paragraph story was given the front page treatment on the paper's January 9 Metro section:

On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Thalia Assuras examined President Bush’s historical legacy: "On January 20th, 2001, George Walker Bush took the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States. His presidency and the future, a blank slate...Before the Iraq war. Before Katrina swept ashore. Before the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."

Assuras cited two historians in her report, both of whom labeled Bush one of the nation’s worst presidents. She first turned to historian Douglas Brinkley, who declared: "I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American presidents...As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment." The other historian Assuras included in her report was Joseph Ellis, who said of Bush: "I think that George Bush might very well be the worst president in American history...He's unusual. Most two-term presidents have a mixed record...Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing."

Following these Bush-bashing historical assessments, Assuras exclaimed: "And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history."

NYTdowdPic0109When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).

Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.

But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:

BushTeam2001Well, it seems that the folks at Vanity Fair realized that they won't have George W. Bush to kick around any more. So they decided to launch the journalistic equivalent of thermonuclear war against him in an attempt to get its shot at a "draft of history."

In a 14 web-page tome (the photo at the top right is at its beginning) that fancies itself an "oral history," the magazine hauls out every criticism, real or imagined, hurled at the president during the past eight years. It reminds everyone that the media's favorite stereotype of conservatives and Republicans is that they're dumb (I guess Ike's orchestration of D-Day was some kind of accident, and George W. Bush's MBA -- he is the first president to hold one -- was some kind of gift from Poppy).

Sadly, the magazine finds a few former administration officials to pile on. One of them likens Bush to Sarah Palin (that's supposed to be an insult). We're left with the long-discredited meme of Dick Cheney as puppet master and Bush as impotent since Katrina (then how did Bush get that Iraq Surge past everyone and make it stick anyway?).

All you really need to know to spare yourself a truly painful read is what is in the tease paragraph after the headline. Brace yourself:

Surely no one would view Rev. Jeremiah Wright as closer to the centerpoint of American politics than Pastor Rick Warren, right? Wrong.  Here's Chris Matthews on this evening's Hardball.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It seems like Barack Obama, as much as seems to inspire people, including me, has a problem with pastors.  I don't know what it is. You get him hooked up with a pastor, whether it's Jeremiah Wright, or it's this guy Rick Warren.  One's on the left, one's on the far right.  Both are causing him trouble.
So Wright's merely "left," while Warren's "far-right."  Do we really need to prove the obvious: that Warren is vastly more mainstream than Wright? It hardly seems worth the effort, but let's consider a few factoids:

On Thursday, CNN aired "Escape from Jonestown," presented by CNN special investigations unit corespondent Soledad O'Brien.  This week marks thirty years since the horrific deaths of more than 900 people, roughly a third of them children, at Jonestown.  The massacre was orchestrated by "Reverend" Jim Jones.  What CNN barely referenced was Jones's connection to several leading Democratic politicians of the time.  O'Brien did identif

The Associated Press apparently isn't satisfied going after Sarah Palin full throttle.

The GOP Vice-Presidential nominee's visit to New York City apparently went so well that an ABC pictorial series is called "Sarah Palin Takes News York" -- though the last slide takes a shot at the McCain campaign for setting boundaries on access to Palin during her meetings with foreign leaders. ABC claims that the media threatened to boycott covering her (yeah, right).

Both the New York Times and the AP chose to address Palin's observation that her parents had involvement in the recovery effort in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. In a surprisingly pleasant development, the Times's story covered that angle reasonably well. But the AP's story (as carried at the Times web site), was incomplete, nasty ("rat-killers"), and condescending.

Here's how the Times's coverage started:

I guess if the press can't find anything substantive to throw up against Sarah Palin, making stuff up will have to do.

A front-page article by the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut crows over what the reporter claims is a gaffe by GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin:

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska, Sept. 11 -- Gov. Sarah Palin linked the war in Iraq with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

The idea that Iraq shared responsibility with al-Qaeda for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, once promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by the president himself.

At long last, has the Associated Press lost all sense of decency?

The AP's story (saved here for future reference in case the wire service is embarrassed into revising it; you might consider saving it too as Exhibit A on how far over the cliff the dinosaur media has driven itself) by Douglass K. Daniel, with Jennifer Loven contributing (I might have known), gets in at least three cheap, fundamentally untrue, and totally uncalled-for shots at Tony Snow, who died earlier this morning.

I won't sully NB's front page with any of them. They follow the jump: