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January 19, 2006

From Jane.

Indian tribe money is not implicitly dirty, any more than any of the directed money from any of Abramoff's other clients is dirty money. The reasons the tribal money has a central part in this story is that Abramoff ripped off the tribes.

Politicians may see any Abramoff-related money as radioactive and return it. That's fine. But the tribes were the victims, not the criminals.
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So, the central idea of Bush's SOTU is, supposedly, going to be medical savings accounts which are probably about the worst idea ever. I don't understand why we're supposed to throw a bunch of money in the bank that we can only use if we can get sick. Why don't we just make all health care expenditures tax deductible?

But that isn't the worst problem with medical savings accounts. Basically they encourage young and healthy people to not buy health insurance, which makes the pool of insurance buyers on average older and sicker and more expensive, further driving up insurance rates, further driving healthy people out, etc... And good luck getting any insurance after you've gottten a couple pre-existing conditions (Translation: gotten sick once or twice) under your belt, unless you can get it through your employer.

Worst. Ideas. Ever.
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Kos has started. I just got a press release from Salazar who is voting no, too.

Democrats Advertised No:

Baucus (MT)
Durbin (IL)
Harkin (IA)
Kennedy (MA)
Leahy (VT)
Mikulski (MD)
Salazar (CO)

Advertised Yes:
Nelson (NE)
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The guardians of our elite discourse.

MATTHEWS (1/18/06): Have you gone to see it yet? I’ve seen everything else but that. I just—
IMUS: No, I haven’t seen it. Why would I want to see that?

MATTHEWS: I don’t know. No opinion on that. I haven’t seen it either, so—

IMUS: So they were—it was out when I was in New Mexico and—it doesn’t resonate with real cowboys who I know.


IMUS: But then, maybe there’s stuff going on on the ranch that I don’t know about. Not on my ranch, but you know—

MATTHEWS: Well, the wonderful Michael Savage, who’s on 570 in DC, who shares a station with you at least, he calls it [laughter]—what’s he call it?—he calls it Bare-back Mount-ing. That’s his name for the movie.

IMUS: Of course, Bernard calls it Fudgepack Mountain...

Thank God Matthews and Imus are credentialled members of the media. Thank God for the wonderful Michael Savage.
Categories: Blogs
As Kevin rightly points out, this first stage of the Bush/Delay Medicare Drug Scam is just the warmup for round two.

Once total spending on drugs hits $2250, the scam plan stops paying for drugs until total spending hits $5100. Anger and chaos to follow...
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Words don't actually mean anything.

I miss the old Deborah Howell. The one who said:

10. Accuracy is not just the most important thing; it’s the only thing. The American Society of Newspaper Editors recently did an excellent study on the credibility problems of American newspapers. The No. 1 complaint is that newspapers just don’t get facts right. Misspelled names and words; wrong addresses; wrong times. Simple stuff. This is not rocket science.

When a job seeker writes me a letter and misspells my name or has my title wrong or a misspelled word or a grammar error, I either ashcan the letter or write and tell them to get a new trade.

Sweat the small stuff. Have you heard the line: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out”? Tattoo that inside your left eyelid, and don’t forget it.

9. Don’t be afraid to look dumb and ask stupid questions. Accuracy demands it. I was once sent on two minutes’ notice to interview U.S. Sen. Gene McCarthy on his farm price support bill when I was a reporter in Minneapolis. I didn’t know anything about farm price supports. So I threw myself on the mercy of McCarthy and his aide. First they educated me, then they told me what was important about his bill, and then they told me who to call for criticism.

There was an old, wise judge – J.D. Todd – in Nueces County, Texas, when I was covering cops and courts for a radio and TV station. He could look at me and know whether I understood what was going on or not. He knew I had a noon deadline. As I would leave to call the office, he would say, “Debbie, approach the bench.” And I’d go up and he’d say, “You sure you understood all that?” And if I didn’t, he’d explain it to me.

Cops and politicians aren’t always trying to hide something from you. Let them help you when you need it. And if indeed they are hiding something, someone will know about it and probably will tell you if you keep your ear to the ground.

8. So you violate the 9th and 10th Commandments and make a mistake. Admit it. Know when to say you’re wrong. Know when to say you’re sorry. Don’t get defensive about it. Remember, daily journalism is the first rough draft of history. And we never get it all right all the time. That’s why God made corrections. Let me give you two great examples of personal humiliation.

We inadvertently left the school lunch menus out of the Sunday paper when I was editor in St. Paul. We got thousands of calls from angry parents who used that list to decide whether to pack lunches for their kids.

Then we got the snowplowing days screwed up on a snow emergency and caused hundreds of our readers to get parking tickets. Those both caused Page 1 corrections that I personally wrote. Another great moment in American journalism.

7. Don’t be a jerk. Too many young reporters act like you can’t get a story without being rude. Be friendly. You’d be surprised how far you can get on a smile and a pleasant manner. When I was a kid police reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, I baked cookies for the dispatchers. They called me before the competition when there was a hot story breaking. They once sent a patrolman to fix my flat tire.

6. Have respect for the English language. There are rules. Follow them. Nothing irritates our readers and viewers more than grammatical errors or making up words. The Washington Post the other day said the president “motorcaded” somewhere. Motorcade is a noun, not a verb.

An editor working for me was having a particularly hard time with a very good reporter whose grammatical skills left something to be desired. He gave her a page filled with nothing but little marks. He told her, “This is a page of commas. Please learn how to use them.”

To you, I would say buy a paperback copy of Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” Read it. Use it.

5. Treat your trade, your sources, your audience and the janitor with respect. Be someone who gives a damn about your town, even if you’re just passing through.

Give folks the benefit of the doubt. Put yourself in the place of the people you’re covering. If your daughter has just drowned, would you want a photographer sticking a camera in your face? I think that we should never fail to cover the news, never fail to expose what needs to be exposed. But I also think we should never fail to remember we’re reporting on people with reputations and families that we can carelessly ruin.

As Associated Press President Lou Boccardi said in a speech, “Should we not re-examine standards which, on some days, seem to foreclose from our readers any suggestion that anything, anywhere is being done right by anybody?”

I remember sitting on my front porch steps in St. Paul at midnight in my PJs waiting for a copy boy to bring a picture to me so I could make a decision on whether to run it on the front page in the final. It was a dramatic picture of a fireman holding the body of a 2-year-old, not unlike the famous picture of the fireman holding the body of a child after the Oklahoma City bombing.

The body of this child was burned. I couldn’t put it in the paper. An old boss of mine told me, “Don’t ever put anything on the front page that will make your readers want to throw up in their cereal in the morning.”

But that wasn’t the reason. I couldn’t bear to think of the parents of that child seeing the picture on the front page.

Categories: Blogs
Is Malkin ever right?

Of course, the New York Times has decided that a conclusion that the administration broke the law deserves prominent page 19 treatment. Much less important than, say, "As Smoke Clears, Tobacco Maker Opens Lounge."
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Yes, you have to read it through the David Broder filter. He's not likely to actually be inducted into the the Occult and Hermetic Order of the Shrill any time soon. But, nonetheless, for Broder this is indeed shrill. I'm feeling nice so I won't bother to remind the world what Broder said back in Monica days.
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The 2nd worst ombudsman in the history of journalism is headed to Harvard for a bit. Maybe he'll give lectures about how the primary job of the ombudsman is to humiliate your readers in print by publishing the contents of their private emails.
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When the facts themselves are biased the press is scared to report them. More than that, they deliberately play stupid.
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A thread with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure.

Categories: Blogs

So when do we destroy the thread already?

Categories: Blogs

January 18, 2006

Can't keep that up. Anyway, the point is that parody is protected speech, yadda yadda yadda, and Mel Gibson is a wanker.
Categories: Blogs

January 14, 2006

Winter/Spring - The clone army of foreign policy "experts" from conservative foreign policy outfits nobody ever heard of before suddenly appear on all the cable news programs all the time, frowning furiously and expressing concerns about the "grave threat" that Iran poses. Never before heard of Iranian exile group members start appearing regularly, talking about their role in the nuclear program and talking up Iran's human rights violations.

Spring/Summer - "Liberal hawks" point out that all serious people understand the serious threat posed by serious Iran, and while they acknowledge grudgingly that the Bush administration has fucked up everything it touches, they stress, and I mean stress, that we really must support the Bush administration's serious efforts to deal with the serious problem and that criticisms of such serious approaches to a serious problem are highly irresponsible and come only from irrational very unserious Bush haters who would rather live in Iran than the U.S.

Late Summer - Rumsfeld denies having an Iran war plan "on his desk." He refuses to answer if he has one "in his file cabinet." Andy Card explains that you don't roll out new product until after labor day.

Early Fall - Bush suddenly demands Congress give him the authority to attack Iran to ensure they "disarm." Some Democrats have the temerity to ask "with what army?" Marshall Wittman and Peter Beinart explain that courageous Democrats will have the courageous courage to be serious and to confront the "grave threat" with seriousness and vote to send other peoples' kids off to war, otherwise they'll be seen as highly unserious on national security. Neither enlists.

Late October - Despite the fact that all but 30 Democrats vote for the resolution, Republicans run a national ad campaign telling voters that Democrats are objectively pro-Ahmadinejad. Glenn Reynolds muses, sadly, that Democrats aren't just anti-war, but "on the other side." Nick Kristof writes that liberals must support the war due to Ahmadinejad's opposition to gay rights in Iran.

Election Day - Democrats lose 5 seats in the Senate, 30 in the House. Marshall Wittman blames it on the "pro-Iranian caucus."

The Day After Election Day - Miraculously we never hear another word about the grave Iranian threat. Peter Beinart writes a book about how serious Democrats must support the liberation of Venezuela and Bolivia.
Categories: Blogs
Gonna be deja vu all over again. Fortunately the script hass already been written and all it takes is a find&replace command to switch q for n.

Time to start betting on when the force authorization vote will happen.

There won't be a war, but there will be lots of war talk.
Categories: Blogs
Mick Shrimpton is, despite reports to the contrary, apparently still alive.

Eight other men, five women, and five children, however, are in fact dead.
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By all accounts a FIERY WRECK, unsurprisingly. Tried to warn you.

If I were the Democratic version of Grover Norquist, tasked with sending out their weekly telepathic talking points, every single Democrat would be fanning out throughout the land over the next couple of weeks demanding emergency legislation to overhaul the program and fix its problems. Town Halls with seniors, video with weeping granny unable to get her drugs from the local pharmacy, etc...
Categories: Blogs