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January 25, 2006


Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things -- particularly when most of them were the president's own initiatives.

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Awa, away, my thread's on fire!

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Hold, threads!

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Now Threadrick, let your escort lion-hearted.

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January 24, 2006

Joel Stein

Bring on the parades. If our military rank and file have been betrayed by their civilian leadership they deserve our respect doubly.
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January 23, 2006

So that's what they're calling it now. So, has every American citizen they've illegally spied on been a terrorist or been talking to one? Wow, that's a lot of terrorists. If all the people we're spying on are terrorists why couldn't they have gotten FISA warrants?

I know this little leap might be just a bit too complicated for the 101st Fighting Keyboarders and the gang at Fox and Friends, but...

Why aren't we arresting or otherwise detaining all of these terrorists?
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We had a lot of "Bush Bounce!" stories and then last week CNN had the nerve to do a "Will Bush Get a Bounce?" kind of story.


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Big Media Ezra has a good post on the Worst Idea Ever.

There are some policy ideas which, while I disagree with, I at least understand the conservative argument behind it. Health Savings Accounts are just idiotic.
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Tom Tomorrow.

Just click through the damn ad. You don't even have to watch it.
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Simple obscenity is not the same as invective and invective is not the same as sexist personal attacks. But, of course, since we haven't really seen the offending emails/comments/whatever we still don't know exactly what got their knickers in a twist.

From 1992 National Pres Club interview:

When I was twelve years old, we were going to this Baptist church in San Antonio. I was listening to this preacher, and he said something about Mary, "the so-called queen of heaven by the Catholics." It was very anti-Catholic. I listened and I said a twelve-year-old's version of, "What is this shit?"


She was a wonderful mother in the sense that she was a great stay-at-home mother. She was very supportive of me. I remember her spanking me as a child and the usual kinds of things. The only time I ever remember her giving me a total and complete batch of shit was when I lied to her about smoking, and she knew better.


Howell: "Adios, mother fucker." [Laughter.] I didn't. I said, "See ya." And I walked out, and I started to work on the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in two weeks. I only had to work five days a week, too, but I had split days off and split shifts. I'd come to work at 5:45 in the morning, work till noon, go home, and come back and work three to six. It was just screwy. And I liked it, and I had a good time.


Howell: Yes, it became clear to me they had never had a woman in management, and I walked in to the managing editor's office and said, "You know, if I don't get this job, I should get another job. I mean, I'm good enough that I could be management. I'm certainly as good as the guy you picked. So I think you ought to consider me. I feel like kind of fucked over."


Howell: A guy. I had been going with a copy editor in Corpus Christi, and he left to go to work on the Minneapolis Star. We corresponded, and I decided I had to get out of Texas sometime. Remember there was no good journalism in Texas then. I'm working in probably the best newspaper in Texas. San Antonio papers were shitty; the Houston papers were shitty; the Dallas papers were shitty. There was no good journalism. There's no place to go to learn anything. The papers are crummy! So I knew I had to go up north, so I thought, "Well, why not go to Minneapolis?"


He gave a total and complete batch of shit to the reporter who works for me. I'm sitting back in the bedroom, listening to this whole conversation, thinking, "Oh, Lord, why me?" I was actually glad when he decided to drop out of the U.S. Senate race. It wasn't clear if he could win the nomination or not, and it was going to get very ugly. He just decided that at [age] fifty-five, forget it. I was just as happy that he got out of the U.S. Senate race, because it was really hard.


There was one guy, Jim Shoop, I really liked him a lot. He was a friend who was working for me, and he really wanted to be city editor, and I got the job. He was my political editor, so he was really key, because I was entrusting to him some of the things I couldn't do because of Nick. He was giving me a batch of shit about something, and I said, "You know, Jim, I know you wanted this job and I know you didn't get it and that I got it. Sometimes you resent the fact that I have it. I've got to tell you something. You were my hero as a reporter. In the days I was a young reporter around here, you were always my hero.


Howell: Being more participatory in management, paying attention to workers, not treating them like shit, standing up for people who worked for me.

That earned me respect among the troops, so I went in with their respect, and I don't think I ever abrogated it. On occasion I got a batch of shit because...


Uh-huh, till 1979. And then a new editor was hired from the Washington Post, a fellow named Steve Isaacs. He came in and he thought we were all for shit. "I'm from the Washington Post, and I know journalism, and you all are hicks." And he was kind of a jerk. He wanted to get rid of me because he didn't like the fact I was married to Nick, and he didn't like any of us. He wanted to get rid of the entire editor corps.


Howell: Yeah, and he didn't like women. I had already heard that; it was his rep [reputation] at the Washington Post. One day in a meeting with the managing editor, he called me a "dumb cunt," and I got really pissed. I said, "No one calls me that, not even my husband when he's mad at me." And it was overheard by a number of people, and it was just a firestorm. He was forced to apologize, but I thought to myself, "I've got to get out of here."


Moorhus: Have you had the staff come to you with personal examples of other staff behaving in racist or sexist ways?

Howell: Oh, yeah. For years—I mean, this happens. Sometimes it's important, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's somebody who has taken something the wrong way when it wasn't meant, sometimes it's somebody really just being a little too friendly when they might not ought to be. Sometimes it's serious. I have on tape the whole story about Steve Isaacs and him calling me a "dumb cunt," don't I?

Moorhus: Yes.

Howell: I think I do. Geez. That's the most serious example I've ever had of that kind of name-calling.


Moorhus: Personally.

Howell: Personally, or out in the office. This is a pretty informal office. I'll go out there and call somebody a jerk if I think they're being a jerk. [Laughter.] I'm pretty straightforward, always have been, if somebody's acting out. If somebody tackles me in public, I'll tackle them in public. Otherwise I'm pretty careful about doing it behind closed doors. I probably get by with stuff that a white male boss couldn't get by with.

Moorhus: What kinds of things?

Howell: Oh, putting my arm around somebody, calling someone an "asshole." It may have been in jest, but if I was a male, I wouldn't be calling a female employee an "asshole." And I may call one of the guys and say, "Aw, don't be an asshole." They're not going to do anything, it doesn't bother them. If it does, I think there's somebody who'd say something to me. It's all an informality, but the rules of the office are much more formal now than they were when I was growing up in the newspaper business.

(Thanks to reader e)
Categories: Blogs
Not to beat a dead horse but this has been really bugging me all along. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they aren't, you know, just lying to cover their asses. But it gets really difficult to do. Before the comments were yanked I was reading the Washington Post blog throughout the day. I saw very little that was over the top or obscenity laden. The only way their claims are plausible is if they were extraordinarily quick on the trigger to delete such posts. There were mean posts, yes, but not the kind of sexist profanity-laced invective that Howell and Brady keep claiming. There's been almost no evidence to support those claims. Since then they've been restoring many of the comments, though not all of them, and there's some evidence trail regarding the posts which are just too awful for the world to see.

They just aren't so bad.

The "civility card" has been played ever since I've been watching the media. You know, "yes, well, uh, maybe we were wrong but the REAL STORY IS JUST HOW MEAN OUR CRITICS ARE." This is rich coming from people who regularly deal with Karl "fair game" and "fuck him like he's never been fucked before" Rove. I'm all for civility for people who deserve it but frankly the only way to get a lot of these people to respond is to make a hell of a lot of noise. Making a hell of a lot of noise doesn't require profanity or insults, but it does require, metaphorically, releasing the hounds on them. Get a few thousand critics and a few of them might say something which makes Howell and Brady, who have lived their lives in hermetically sealed tanks up until this point, blush.

I've tried to give them the benefit of the doubt but increasingly I just think they're full of shit. In her most recent column Howell claimed:

the thousands of flaming e-mails I got last week over my last column, e-mails so abusive and many so obscene that part of The Post's Web site was shut down.

I'd like to think that in 2006 the person hired to be the ombudsman of a major newspaper understands the difference between a "comment" and an "email." I guess she probably doesn't, but if she really does I'd like to see some of the "flaming emails."

But, basically, I call foul. The Post trashed its readers with multiple news stories in multipe media outlets claiming they were oh so abusive. There's been almost no evidence of that despite many efforts to find it.
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Judged by his usual standards Nagourney's article on the spying issue was fairly good. But as Glenn Greenwald explains the media has to come to a decision about whether their role is to best communicate the truth as they know it or whether their role is to simply air competing claims and wash their hands of it.

Dan Bartlett was on CNN this morning once again lying about the program. If the program is as they describe there's no reason they couldn't have gotten FISA warrants. None. If the program isn't as they describe then the question is what is it that they were doing that they thought the FISA judges would disapprove of?

I remember when lying was a bad thing, something which caused aneurysms in editorial writers around the country. Now there's no objective reality at all, just what "Karl Rove says" and what "Karl Rove's critics say."
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Wolcott tells us about some of the questions Russert didn't ask Obama because of lack of time.
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Yes, this is mostly repeat. But, Abramoff shifts his Indian tribe clients away from their "traditional" support of Democrats and therefore any money they receive from those clients has been "directed" by him.

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Fred Hiatt and the gang grudgingly admit that maybe, just maybe, presidential lawbreaking and the concept of unlimited executive power (otherwise known as "dictatorship") are something worth writing a gentle tut-tutting editorial about.
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I think this thread is mostly filler.

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I don't care what time it is, unlock his cell, unstrap him, and bring him to the thread!

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There's nothing we can't face except for threads.

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