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December 15, 2005

Little birdy just informed me that Tobin was found guilty on two counts in the NH phone jamming case, pending verification...


James Tobin, a former Republican political operative and Bush regional campaign official, was convicted this afternoon of telephone harassment.

The federal charges stemmed from attempts to jam phone lines at Democratic and union get-out-the-vote offices on Election Day 2002 with hundreds of hang-up calls.

Tobin was acquitted of charges that he had violated voters' civil rights.

More details will be posted later.

Categories: Blogs
I'm crying on the inside. Really.

CHICAGO Dec 15, 2005 — Former newspaper mogul Conrad Black was indicted by federal prosecutors Thursday on additional charges that include racketeering and obstruction of justice.

The new charges came two weeks after Black pleaded not guilty to fraud charges in connection with the alleged looting of more than $80 million from the Hollinger International Inc. newspaper empire he once controlled.

The charges were brought in an indictment returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in Chicago and announced by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Come back to DC soon, Fitz...
Categories: Blogs

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

Categories: Blogs

Well, our old thread was just fine 'til you went and had it burned down.

Categories: Blogs

Capital Athletic Foundation, a charity run by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff now at the center of an influence-peddling investigation on Capitol Hill, told the IRS it gave away more than $330,000 in grants in 2002 to four other charities that say they never received the money.

The largest grant the foundation listed in its 2002 tax filing was for $300,000 to P'TACH of New York, a nonprofit that helps Jewish children with learning disabilities.

"We've never received a $300,000 gift, not in our 28 years," a surprised Rabbi Burton Jaffa, P'TACH's national director, told the Austin American-States- man. "It would have been gone by now. I guess I would have been able to pay some teachers on time."

Federal investigators have not contacted P'TACH about the grant, Jaffa said. Representa- tives of three other nonprofits that supposedly received Capital Athletic money also said they have not been contacted.


The discrepancy also follows e-mails between Abramoff and members of his lobbying team that say then-House Republican Leader Tom DeLay of Sugar Land wanted to raise money through Capital Athletic for an unspecified purpose. In one of those e-mails, Abramoff announced a $200,000 fundraising goal.


Celebrations for Children was a short-lived effort to raise money for children's charities by providing donors with special access to DeLay, plus yacht trips and other enticements, during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Watchdog groups protested, claiming the fundraiser violated a new ban on accumulating unlimited "soft" money, and DeLay dropped it in May 2004.

(thanks to JG)
Categories: Blogs

I realize every thread comes with an expiration mark on the package, but I want mine to be a long time from now, like a Cheeto.

Categories: Blogs
One thing that people should ask the WATB is why he hasn't seen fit to make any complaints about David Broder's presence at the Post? Broder has written a column for the Post for years, and he also still (though with declining frequency) puts his byline on news stories. I actually don't care that he wears two hats, but one would imagine that it would offend WATB's delicate sensibilities.

Of course the answer is that Broder is Broder and no WATB is going to complain about the Dean.

...let me add that while I don't care that Broder wears two hats I think by the conventions and rules the contemporary mainstream imagines they operate under he shouldn't be wearing two hats.
Categories: Blogs
John Harris wants to answer your questions.
Categories: Blogs
That's the poll number tidbit which is going to scare the Republicans.
Categories: Blogs
Gotta love NPR's ombudsman:

NPR often calls on think tanks for comments. But NPR does not lean on the so-called conservative think tanks as many in the audience seem to think.


The score to date: Right 239, Left 141.

The 141 come entirely from Brookings and CSIS, which are hardly hotbeds of progressivism in a way which provides any balance to AEI/Heritage/Cato/Hoover/Manhattan.
Categories: Blogs

Why do people keep coming to these threads because it's not the snacks.

Categories: Blogs

December 14, 2005

Brokaw, on Daily Show:

Barry McCaffrey who was a consultant for NBC, retired four-star general, was saying we don't have enough troops and we were starting to get a lot of pushback from the administration for saying that.

When I get pushback, if it's full of shit it goes into the goddamn trash and the sender goes into my email filter.
Categories: Blogs

December 13, 2005

This past weekend here's what we had:

Meet the Press roundtable:

E.J. Dionne, BoBo Brooks, Mike Allen. This one at least is roughly "balanced," but Allen's a reporter while Dionne and Brooks are columnists. Confusing much?

This Week:

George Will, Fareed Zakaria, and Marth Raddatz. Will's a conservative hack, Zakaria's an honest conservative, and Raddatz is their White House correspondent. Confusing much?

Reliable Sources:

Laura Ingraham, Clarence Page, Pam Hess. Ingraham's a conservative radio host whose show is generally pretty fluffy, Page is a long time respected columnist, and Pam Hess is UPI's Pentagon correspondent. Confusing much?

Generally, "straight reporters" should not appear in the same discussions with the ideological pundits. I have no idea why producers and editors let them do so. I think it's fine when print reporters on on TV to discuss and explain stories they've written, but they shouldn't be participating in discussions with people who have much more freedom to speak outside of the model of "balanced journalism."
Categories: Blogs
Marty Kaplan has a good HuffPo post:

It's possible that once upon a time, American newspaper readers really did understand that reporters are different from editorial writers, who are different from the paper's columnists, who are different from the syndicated columnists they run, who are different from the op-ed writers they carry.

If ever that were true, that day has passed. It's partly a function of a lack of readership understanding. But it's also a consequence of Fox News, The Washington Times, the Manchester Union-Leader and other outlets whose cheering for their team has broken down the news/editorial wall. It's a consequence of journalism become a profit center in big media conglomerates, which means that decisions about what to cover and how to invest journalistic resources are driven by entertainment values, not by news values. It's a consequence of relentless pressure from conservatives, which has pulled what used to be the center way over to the right, and which has made editors and producers scared of their own shadow. It's a consequence of brazen government propaganda, from a Republican White House and a Republican Congress, which is so breathtaking in its Orwellian disinformation that none dare call it Stalinist, and which is so vindictive and pugnacious in its push-back that none dare call it McCarthyite (except, of course, as flattery).

It's something I've written about many times, but if editors and journalists are upset because the walls between punditry and reporting, between fair journalism and hackery, have been eroded and news consumers are confused they have no one to blame but themselves. Every week, if not every day, journalists appear on roundtable shows with pundits and partisan hacks, usually but not always conservative. Every day "reporters" go blabbing on Imus and Tweety (MSNBC is the worst offender for this for some reason), clearly stepping outside any clear boundaries between reporting and opining or speculating.

I have mixed feelings about the American model of "balanced" journalism, but whatever its merits or lack of its integrity has largely been destroyed from within, as journalists willingly walk hand in hand with pundits, when lazy "he said she said" journalism is justified by that model, and when increasingly reality itself must be distorted to provide "balance" when the facts themselves are biased.
Categories: Blogs