Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Quick Hits

Worried About an Internet Meltdown? Then by all means, plan to attend this conference in LA later this year. And if you do learn that it's going to go poof, please send the rest of us an email ASAP, so that we can plan accordingly...

GWB's Sorry Scorecard. These sobering stats come courtesy of political science prof Martha Joynt Kumar, who's writing a book on White House communications. It compares the number of solo press conferences that recent presidents have submitted themselves to at the same point in their first term that George W. now finds himself: Eisenhower 78, LBJ 79, Nixon 23, Carter 53, Reagan 21, Bush I 72, and Clinton 40. And our current prez? Just 11, or about half as many as the press-hating Nixon and the overscripted Reagan. Yet another reason that it's time for a change...But don't take my word for it. Check out what Slate's splendid chief political correspondent, William Saletan, has to say about Bush in this fine piece. It includes one of the most ringing paragraphs ever written about our Bumbler-in-Chief: "From foreign to economic to social policy, Bush's record is a lesson in the limits and perils of conviction. He's too confident to consult a map. He's too strong to heed warnings and too steady to turn the wheel when the road bends. He's too certain to admit error, even after plowing through ditches and telephone poles. He's too preoccupied with principle to understand that principle isn't enough. Watching the stars instead of the road, he has wrecked the budget and the war on terror. Now he's heading for the Constitution. It's time to pull him over and take away the keys."

Is CNN's Lou Dobbs Channeling Jim Kukral? You may know him as a pompous, rightward-leaning cable newsreader, the ethically challenged guy who loudly campaigned about the unfairness of Enron criticism after he took thousands from the company for a private speaking gig. But now we have the new and improved Lou, who seems to have undergone a total makeover that would do the Queer Eye guys proud. Now Lou is a crusading populist, ranting about how major U.S. companies are outsourcing all our jobs. His website even lists about 350 of them. But we know who started that momentum: our own Jim Kukral, who got on this kick almost a year ago, before it was considered hip to complain about outsourcing, with this site...

Watching Porn in Robes. Finally, we can't help noting our favorite detail in the river of coverage surrounding the release of the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun's papers. You've no doubt come across the famous quote from another justice to the effect that he couldn't define pornography, but that he knew it when he saw it. But what about when you can't really see it? Buried in a Washington Post team report was this little jewel of an anecdote: "Blackmun recounted how, when the justices watched films to determine if they were pornographic, Justice John M. Harlan, who was nearly blind, kept asking his clerk, 'What are they doing now?' Upon being told, Harlan would exclaim, 'You don't say."


Post a Comment

<< Home