Playing With Uranium -- July 17, 2003
By: Clay Waters

Times Watch for July 17, 2003

Playing With Uranium

Thursdays story by Warren Hoge and Don Van Natta Jr. on British Prime Minister Tony Blairs trip to Washington describes the domestic political woes of the embattled PM -- but also advances a fiction about the uranium claim President Bush made in his 2003 State of the Union address.

In Blair Arrives in U.S. Today, Trailing Controversy Over Iraq, Hoge and Van Natta Jr. charge: This week, Mr. Blair has had to confront controversy over the validity of intelligence on Iraq's bid to seek uranium for a possible nuclear weapons program from Niger, a claim that Mr. Bush used in his State of the Union speech but from which the administration has now distanced itself.

Wrong. As Clifford May (a former NYT foreign correspondent) and others have pointed out, Bush never mentioned Niger. Heres what Bush actually said in his 2003 State of the Union: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

May adds that even if it was doubtful that Saddam actually acquired yellowcake from Niger, it does not follow that he never sought it there or elsewhere in Africa, which is all the president suggested based on what the British said -- and still say.

For the rest of the Hoge-Van Natta Jr. story on Blairs US jaunt, click here.

Tony Blair | George Bush | Warren Hoge | Saddam Hussein | Iraq War | Uranium

Tax Cuts Cause Deficits, But Medicare Spending Doesnt?

David Rosenbaums Wednesday front-page story is headlined: White House Sees A $455 Billion Gap In The 03 Budget -- Would Be Biggest U.S. Deficit -- Democrats Point to Tax Cuts.

In fact, for Rosenbaum the deficit debate is all about tax cuts. The story opens: The White House today projected a $455 billion budget deficit in the current fiscal year, by far the government's largest deficit ever and $150 billion higher than what the administration predicted just five months ago. Democratic lawmakers said the new calculations showed the folly of President Bush's tax cuts and demonstrated that he was mismanaging the economy. But Joshua B. Bolten, Mr. Bush's new budget director, said a deficit of this magnitude was manageable if we continue pro-growth economic policies and exercise serious spending discipline.

Not until the 11th paragraph does Rosenbaum indirectly address the spending side of the deficit equation: The deficits in future years include the president's proposal to spend $400 billion during the next decade to provide prescription drug benefits under Medicare.

Instead of Democrats Point to Tax Cuts, the headline could just as well have read: Conservatives Point to Medicare Drug Benefit Spending. Of course, then youd know you had undergone a dimensional shift and were actually in Bizarro World.

For the rest of David Rosenbaums deficit story, click here.

Drugs | Deficit | Medicare | David Rosenbaum | Tax Cuts


As Times Watch noted, the Times greeted the 4th of July with this gloomy pile of headlines: US Jobless Rate Increases To 6.4%, Highest in 9 Years -- 30,000 Jobs Lost In June -- Figures Defy Some Predictions of an Economic Revival -- Blacks Fare Worst.

Then came another page A1 story from Louis Uchitelle last Saturday: Blacks Lose Better Jobs Faster as Middle-Class Work Drops. Uchitelle writes: Unemployment among blacks is rising at a faster pace than in any similar period since the mid-1970's, and the jobs lost have been mostly in manufacturing, where the pay for blacks has historically been higher than in many other fields.Nearly 90 percent of those lost jobs were in manufacturing, according to government data, with blacks hit disproportionately harder than whites.

The Sunday Times changes tack, featuring a business story headlined Economic Slump Hits Men the Hardest portraying New York men as the real victims. Steven Greenhouse writes: [Job-seeker Michael] Deloach is the victim of a surprising twist in New York's economic slump -- it has hit men much harder then women. The industries in the city hit hardest by the downturn -- finance, software, airline and construction -- employ men disproportionately, and as a result the jobless rate for men has risen much faster than for women.

Perhaps next week the Times will find women and Latinos are hardest hit by the weak economy, thus getting every voting bloc mad at Bush.

For Louis Uchitelles story on blacks as the most hurt group, click here.

For Steven Greenhouses story on New York men as the most hurt group, click here.

Economy | Steven Greenhouse | Recession | Louis Uchitelle | Unemployment

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