Homeland Dept. to “Throw Government into Chaos”; Clinton Staff Vandalism Skipped; Diane Sawyer Wrestled Son in Bikini; Howell Raines Drew a Picture of Lewinsky; Mike Tyson Read Goldberg’s
1) And that’s a bad thing? “The Bush administration often seems to be completely engrossed with the campaign against terrorism,” Peter Jennings observed on Tuesday’s World News Tonight before highlighting how Bush’s Homeland Security Department “is running into significant opposition on Capitol Hill” with “some” coming “from members of Mr. Bush's own party.” Linda Douglass found just one Republican before she relayed how one House member warned, “'Let's just hope it doesn't throw the government into chaos.'”
2) A GAO report confirmed that outgoing Clinton staffers committed vandalism before departing, but CNN’s Inside Politics skipped the story. FNC’s Brit Hume read an item on it and recalled how “some Clinton partisans insisted...that the news stories reporting the damage were a fabrication.”
3) Wacky Story of the Day #1. Diane Sawyer confirmed on Tuesday’s Good Morning America that she “engaged in a wrestling match on a beach” with her step son while she was “wearing a bikini."
4) Wacky Story of the Day #2. “A portrait” that New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines “once drew of Monica
Lewinsky” hangs on columnist Maureen Dowd’s “office wall,” Ken Auletta disclosed in his New Yorker profile of Raines. Auletta also recounted how in picking Raines for the top slot Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. knew Raines and he shared liberal views.
5) Wacky Story of the Day #3. The Washington Post reported that with no strip clubs on Maui where he was training, boxer Mike Tyson read Bernard Goldberg’s book Bias and told his trainer “that if he ever wrote his own autobiography, he wanted Goldberg to work with him. 'Mike likes guys who speak their mind.’"
Update: What Dan Rather meant to say. The June 11
CyberAlert cited Rather’s inexplicable logic about President Bush’s political motives. Rather announced on the June 10 CBS Evening News: "Some Democrats are accusing the Bush administration of playing politics with the proposed Department of Homeland Security. CBS's John Roberts reports the White House told Congress today it hopes to send to the Hill within two weeks legislation to create the whole new department, but there are no plans to actually fund it until at least 2004. Keep in mind that is an election year, and many Republicans have warned President Bush against expanding the federal government."
A CBS News staffer e-mailed to explain the point that Rather intended to convey: That since Republicans opposed expanding government, Bush is delaying making a funding request until after the current election year but will propose one before the next election season in 2004. Indeed, 2004 funding is allocated in 2003.
And that’s a bad thing? “The Bush administration often seems to be completely engrossed with the campaign against terrorism,” Peter Jennings observed on Tuesday’s World News Tonight before highlighting how Bush’s proposal to “create a new Homeland Security Department is running into significant opposition on Capitol Hill, and some of the opposition is from members of Mr. Bush's own party.”
Linda Douglass concluded the subsequent story, which cited opposition from just one Republican, by relaying how both Democrats and “some Republicans” believe “that the White House threw the plan together at the last minute. Said one House member, 'We can slap some legislation together. Let's just hope it doesn't throw the government into chaos.'”
After opening the June 11 World News Tonight by showing the placement, nine months after the September 11th attack, of a time capsule inside a new wall at the Pentagon, Jennings announced: “So much has changed in these nine months. Today, the Bush administration often seems to be completely engrossed with the campaign against terrorism. The man who was accused of planning to attack the U.S. with a so-called ‘dirty bomb’ is now in military custody. Perhaps he’ll have a trial some day. And now the Justice Department now says it is worried about the other people that Abduhlla al Muhajir, or Jose Padilla, may have worked with...”
Jennings soon set up ABC’s second story: "The President's sweeping plan to restructure the government and create a new Homeland Security Department is running into significant opposition on Capitol Hill, and some of the opposition is from members of Mr. Bush's own party. Here's ABC's Linda Douglass."
Douglass began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "As the powerful Chairman of the Transportation Committee, Don Young can tie this legislation up in knots. Young says the plan to move the Coast Guard into the new Homeland Security Department will hit a brick wall -- him."
Rep. Don Young, House Transportation Committee Chairman: "If it's not what I think it should be, then I'm going to do everything I can to see it does not occur. And this is not a threat. It's just this is a reality we have to make sure the Coast Guard can continue its mission."
Douglass: "Young fiercely guards his jurisdiction over the Coast Guard. He says patrolling for terrorists should be left up to the Navy. If the White House doesn't agree:"
Young: "I have always said I'm a fair chairman, and I am a, I would say, a one that likes other people to think about what they're doing because when they don't think my way, then they got a problem."
Quite the humble team player.
Douglass continued: "Others are demanding to know how the administration thinks it is going to pay for the biggest reorganization of government in half a century. The White House says it won't provide new funding until 2004."
Democratic Rep. David Obey, House Appropriations Committee: "They didn't know what they were going to be asking for specifically, so they gave us a generalized press release, and now they're gonna fill in the blanks afterwards. Well, we need to know what those blanks are as we act."
Douglass: "Mr. Bush expects this legislation to be on his desk by September, but the administration will not finish writing it until a month before Congress recesses for the summer. The President says Congress can pass it if it wants to.”
After a clip of White House legislative relations chief Nick Calio, Douglass concluded: “Democrats and some Republicans say all of this proves that the White House threw the plan together at the last minute. Said one House member, 'We can slap some legislation together. Let's just hope it doesn't throw the government into chaos.'”
Despite how, as FNC’s Brit Hume recalled, “some Clinton partisans insisted...that the news stories reporting the damage were a fabrication,” a final GAO report released on Tuesday detailed vandalism to the White House Complex committed by outgoing Clinton administration staffers.
While FNC’s Hume read a short item on his show, none of the broadcast network evening shows mentioned it Tuesday night, nor even did CNN’s Inside Politics which was shorted by live coverage of a Bush speech, but still lasted for over 40 minutes. (Wednesday morning, CNN’s Bill Hemmer did run a short item about it on American Morning.) On MSNBC, Brian Williams read a short item.
Hume announced during the “Grapevine” segment of the June
11 Special Report with Brit Hume: “Remember that controversy over alleged vandalism by outgoing Clinton staffers at the time of the Bush inauguration? The General Accounting Office has at last completed its investigation and found there was approximately $20,000 worth of damage or loss. Missing or broken were 62 keyboards, 26 cell phones, two cameras, ten antique doorknobs, between five and eleven medallions, and a number of office signs. Some Clinton partisans insisted at the time that the news stories reporting the damage were a fabrication.”
On MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams, the MRC’s Brad Wilmouth observed, Williams noted: "Well, this will fuel a long standing Washington debate. Tomorrow morning's Washington Post, quoting the GAO, says there was some vandalism when Clinton staffers were leaving and Bush staffers were coming in. Some of it was limited to things as benign as removal of the 'W' keys on some computer keyboards, some of it a little worse than that. One suggested remedy, checking equipment in and out between administrations, suggested in this study."
An excerpt from a June 11 Reuters story by Susan Cornwell about the vandalism:
Vandals damaged keyboards and glued shut desk drawers as the
Clinton administration moved out of the White House last year, and someone made off with a large presidential seal, the investigative arm of Congress said on Tuesday.
But the General Accounting Office stopped short of making its own estimate of the extent of the damage reported by aides of Republican President Bush after they moved into the White House a year and a half ago, replacing the administration of outgoing President Bill Clinton.
"Damage, theft, vandalism, and pranks occurred in the White House
complex during the 2001 presidential transition," the GAO said in a report requested by a congressional Republican, Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia.
But it was not clear how much of the reported damage was intentional, who stole the missing items and how much of the repair money would have had to be spent anyway as part of the transition, the GAO said.
The report noted Bush administration estimates that it had cost some $14,000 to get West Wing of the White House and adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building into shape after the Bush
team moved in, including replacing door knobs and broken furniture and cleaning glue off desk drawers....
Television remotes and cell phones were reported missing by Bush staffers, and the Secret Service had documented the theft of a presidential seal that was 12 inches in diameter from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 19, 2001 -- the day before Bush took office....
The GAO said it was obvious some of the damage to the White House offices was intentional.
"Incidents such as the removal of keys from computer keyboards, the theft of various items; the leaving of certain voice mail messages, signs and written messages; and the placing of glue on
desk drawers clearly were intentional acts," the GAO report said.
"However, it was unknown whether other observations, such as broken furniture, were the result of intentional acts, when and how they occurred, or who may have been responsible for them," it
END of Excerpt
For the entire story:
Wacky Story of the Day #1. Diane Sawyer confirmed on Tuesday’s Good Morning America that she “engaged in a wrestling match on a beach” with her step son while she was “wearing a bikini."
The odd revelation occurred during a pre-taped interview Sawyer conducted with one of her husband’s three previous wives, Annabel Davis-Goff, ostensibly about a novel she had written about the Anglo-Irish in Ireland, This Cold Country. Sawyer is married to film producer Mike Nichols.
At one point, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed during the 8:30am half hour segment, Sawyer reminisced: "Through the course of all these years, right, it hasn't, you haven't been without spasms of anger at me."
Referring to one of the two children Davis-Goff had with Nichols, Davis-Goff replied: "A good deal less than you think. You cast yourself in this very good sport. I mean, is it true that Max engaged in a wrestling match on a beach when you were wearing a bikini?"
Sawyer: "Yes, true."
Davis-Goff: "Yes, alright."
They moved on.
Sawyer married Nichols 14 years ago and from a picture on screen Max looks to be a young adult, so one hopes this incident occurred when he was just a pre-pubescent kid.
Wacky Story of the Day #2. “A portrait” that New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines “once drew of Monica Lewinsky” hangs on columnist Maureen Dowd’s “office wall,” Ken Auletta disclosed in his June 10 New Yorker profile of Raines.
Reading Auletta’s lengthy piece, “The Howell Doctrine,” on a recent plane flight, I came across this sentence on page 55 of the magazine. Referring to New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Jill Abramson, Auletta related:
“Abramson is a friend of the columnist Maureen Dowd, who is as close to Raines as any reporter on the paper is; a portrait that Raines once drew of Monica Lewinsky is on her office wall.”
Why would Raines draw such a portrait and why would Dowd want to look at Lewinsky every day?
On a less odd but more liberal policy note, six pages later Auletta recounted how in picking Raines to be the paper’s new top editor in 2001, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appreciated how Raines shared his liberal views:
“He knew that Raines, like him, took liberal positions on affirmative action, capital punishment, abortion rights, health insurance, welfare, the environment, and the role of an activist government.”
Indeed, upon the May 2001 announcement of the promotion for Raines, CyberAlert reported how Raines, who was a Washington correspondent during many of the Reagan years,
(complained in his book, Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis) how “reporting on President Reagan's success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy -- saddened me." During a November 17, 1993 interview about his book on Charlie Rose’s PBS show, he whined: “The Reagan years oppressed me because of the callousness and the greed and the hard-hearted attitude toward people who have very little in this society.”
For a RealPlayer clip of that last remark, as well as for several more of his liberal outbursts, go to:
Wacky Story of the Day #3. Welcome boxer Mike Tyson to the battle against liberal media bias? Since there were no strip clubs in Maui, Hawaii where he was training, Tyson picked up Bernard Goldberg’s book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News. I’m not kidding. A Washington Post piece on Saturday reported that Tyson “read some passages” from Goldberg’s book to his trainer, telling him “that if he ever wrote his own autobiography, he wanted Goldberg to work with him. 'Mike likes guys who speak their mind.’"
I didn’t think Tyson could even read. I guess he made good use of his time in prison.
Alert CyberAlert reader Tom Johnson alerted me to the revelation deep in a June 8 Washington Post “Style” section piece run the day of Tyson’s bout with Lennox Lewis, which he ended up losing. The story by Kevin Merida and Hamil R. Harris was titled, “The Heavyweight On the Ropes: Forget Lennox Lewis. Mike Tyson's Biggest Opponent Is His Image.” An excerpt of the relevant portion:
Paradise is supposed to be soothing. So Tyson trained in Hawaii for a month, before chartering a private jet that took him to Memphis on May 31. In Hawaii, he stayed in a $1,500-a-night villa at the Fairmont Kea Lani resort, on the southwest shore of Maui.
He was there to prepare for the fight, but in between he played cards, watched DVDs, read books. His girlfriend brought his newborn son over for a visit, his fourth child by three women. In the ring, he was flooring sparring partners, eight or nine of them.
By Tyson's standards, Maui was boring -- no strip clubs, something the former champ said he didn't realize until he got there. But he had celebrity visitors: NBA all-star Kevin Garnett was staying three doors down.
Trainer Ronnie Shields stopped by the Kea Lani one day after workouts. The fighter was reading Bernard Goldberg's "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News." He read some passages to Shields, telling his trainer that if he ever wrote his own autobiography, he wanted Goldberg to work with him. "Mike likes guys who speak their mind."
But then Tyson spoke his mind, and he and his camp were reeling for days. A handpicked group of reporters was invited for interview sessions and what emerged was often shocking, sometimes combative, perhaps cathartic.
A sample: [ellipses as in the Post article]
-- "I wish that you guys had children so I could kick them in the [expletive] head or stomp on their testicles so you could feel
my pain, because that's the pain I have waking up everyday....
-- "Suppose I took you from somewhere with no mother, no father. If you came where I came from, it would affect you. One day I'm in a dope house robbing someone and the next day I'm the youngest heavyweight champion of the world....
-- "I'm just a dumb pugnacious fool. I'm just a fool who thinks he is someone. Then you want to tell me I should be responsible. I'm angry at the world....
-- "At times I come across as crude or crass. That irritates you when I come across like a Neanderthal or a babbling idiot. I like to be that person....That's who you come to see....
-- "To be honest, I'm just a dark guy from the den of iniquity. I've been there my whole life....
-- "The pimps, the hos, the players, the people who have been cast aside, the people who have been lied to, the people ho have been falsely accused, the people who were on death row and killed for crimes they never committed...those are the only people who showed me love."
End of Excerpt
For the entire Washington Post piece:
Judging by those quotes, Tyson doesn’t need any help speaking his “mind.”
-- Brent Baker
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