Newsweek's Eleanor Clift complained on Friday's Diane Rehm show on NPR that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has drained all the independence out of his office, that he's acting too much like the president's "personal lawyer." In 1993, when Janet Reno announced the mass dismissal of all 93 U.S. Attorneys, no one demanded her resignation for her lack of independence from the White House. In fact, it could be because someone else was coordinating with the White House on how to run the Justice Department, the felonious Webster Hubbell.

Let's play a game of who said this:

"It's surreal to have pre-eminent scientists tell us very seriously that civilization as we know it is over."

If ABC was going to provide a platform for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to express her moral outrage over the firings of the eight US Attorneys and call for AG Gonzales' resignation, didn't the network have an obligation to let viewers know that her husband's administration had itself peremptorily fired more than ten times that many US attorneys -- and that a close personal associate of Hillary's was intimately involved?

On January 9, at this December 7, 2006 post on asbestos lawsuit double-dipping ("the process by which lawyers file claims at many different bankruptcy trusts on behalf of a single plaintiff"), I received this comment from Brayton Purcell (#11 if your browser doesn't take you directly to it), the law firm that attempted a fifth dip on behalf of one of their clients, and was caught in the act of doing so by Judge Harry Hanna of the Cuyahoga County (OH) Court of Common Pleas.

The comment is a reprint of the response the law firm sent to the Wall Street Journal in response to Kimberly Strassel's column in early December on the situation.

The Journal updated in a Monday, January 22 subscription-only editorial, and the results reported make a mockery of the comment referred to above:

Chris Matthews and John Fund had something of a nuclear showdown on this afternoon's Hardball. Matthews' current kick is worrying that President Bush might launch an attack on Iran without congressional authorization. In that context, talk turned to Saddam's nuclear program and that of North Korea.

View video here.

Said Fund, speaking of the build-up to the Iraq war: "The administration said there were weapons of mass destruction. They never claimed the United States was in imminent danger."

Matthews: "They did make the claim they [Iraq] had a nuclear weapon."

I know there's only so much space, but today's subscription-only editorial in the Wall Street Journal missed a BIG chance to tell people something that the formerly Mainstream Media never gets around to telling people -- Social Security, contrary to popular belief, is a "progressive" tax system in its own right.

As noted in a Wednesday subscription-only editorial, Nancy Pelosi already has the steeply progressive tax system Democrats want:

The Top 1% Pay 35%

Maybe our liberal friends are onto something. They keep saying the rich should pay more taxes, and it turns out the rich already are! That's one of the valuable lessons from the IRS's annual study of income tax data, just released for 2004.

Americans who earned more than $1 million in adjusted gross income paid $178 billion, or an average of $740,000 per filer, in income taxes in 2004. That's up about one-third from 2002, the year before the Bush tax cuts in marginal income-tax and dividend and capital gains rates. The wealthiest 1% of tax filers paid a remarkable 35% of all individual income-tax payments that year.

I love the following analogy, but WSJ could have gone further with it:

WSJ's Opinion Journal has indulged in another round of the MSM's upturned nose to the lowly blogger, another cornucopia of contumelies, a mountain of maligning. We are all fools and imbeciles according to assistant editorial features editor, Joseph Rago in today's Op Ed, The Blog Mob.

Here's the wind up...

One of the most persistent tics of the passive-aggressive press is its denials of its power, that it doesn't run the country, or at least try to run the country. All that journalism-school boilerplate about how the media is merely a watchdog, or like it's the BASF of democracy, you know, it doesn't make everything, it just makes the secret ingredient that makes everything better? Baloney.

How out there is Eric Alterman? MSNBC, the network of Keith Olbermann, he who has accused Pres. Bush of fascism and called for his impeachment - fired him, presumably for being too extreme.

But not to worry, Alterman's column, 'Altercation,' was promptly picked up by David Brock's Media Matters. For my sins I recently subscribed to the column's email list. Reading through this evening's edition, one thing emerges: Eric Alterman is one angry guy. In the course of one mere column, Alterman vents his bile in these diverse directions:

  • "This notion of a leftist alliance with Islamic radicals is often trumpeted by crazy people like [David] Horowitz."
  • "Virtually the entire world -- at least the part that's paying attention [hates Pres. Bush]."

When a domestic industry is having problems with foreign competitors, foreign-owned companies in the US, or outsourcing, there is usually plenty of media coverage.

But when an entire sector of the financial services industry is in jeopardy, namely the issuance of shares in companies going public for the first time (initial public offerings, or IPOs), the news and commentary can't seem to break out of the business-reporting realm.

Read the following, and then I'll attempt to explain why.


“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.

And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”