Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, March 26, 2004
Separated at Birth Did the marketing execs at St. Louis-based brokerage giant A.G. Edwards really never notice that their new logo:

bears quite a resemblance to the logo for the Arab World press outlet the Bush administration loves to hate?

Who are the ad geniuses who came up with this one?

NY Times Joins the Search for Adult Supervision As MIA has commented, the absence of grown-ups in the Bush administration is consistently surprising. This morning, the NY Times editorial page noted the latest evidence of the administration's too-frequent willingness to take its ball and go home:
The White House is so thin-skinned and defensive, however, that it simply cannot bring itself to join what ought to be a grown-up national conversation of how best to deal with terrorism.
"Taking the threat seriously," indeed...

Tax Cuts Uber Alles There they go again. The number-three man in the House GOP leadership, Roy Blount, says this morning that "'I'd rather not have a budget resolution' than one that restricts future tax cuts."

Sounds an awful lot like he's threatening to shut down the government unless he wins. The last time the GOP tried that, it didn't work out so well, but who am I to question their tactics? (As an aside, the House narrowly rejected the Senate's proposed budget-restriction rule, which MIA commented on earlier).

Is Blount about to be number 2? Apparently, House Majority Leader and former Exterminator Tom DeLay (nicknamed "The Hammer") is making contingency plans in case he is indicted in a Texas campaign-finance investigation and needs to resign his leadership post while he fights the charges. Couldn't happen to a nicer tool...

Sunrise, Sunset Former MIA State Senator Mary Goodhue died yesterday at the age of 82. Goodhue was the only woman in the senate's Republican majority in 1992, when she met her Brutus -- in the form of then-Assemblyman George Elmer Pataki, who had once served as a staffer in her office.

Pataki challenged her in a primary, depicting the self-described Rockefeller Republican with a soft spot for child care services as too accommodating of Gov. Mario Cuomo's allegedly free-spending ways. Pataki won and went on to topple Cuomo two years later.

Resisting the temptation to catalogue, yet again, all the ways in which "Gov." Pataki's image is a mirage, let's just say that Goodhue was a classy person whose 18-year Senate career deserved a better fate than to be steamrolled by Pataki's ambition.

One good thing did come out of that race, though -- possibly the best line ever in the history of the Reporter Dispatch newspaper's endorsement editorials. I can't find the exact quote, but to my recollection it read something like this:

After eight years in the toothless Republican minority in the Assembly, Pataki has collected a state salary without accomplishing anything long enough.

Apprentice Update On last night's episode, the teams were challenged to get the highest-rolling "registered gamblers" into the casino. Hearing of the task, Mourning colleague CG comes up with the line of the day:
They needed to attract gamblers? How hard is that? Just go to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting with a bus...

Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Damn You, John Wells! Is murdering a beloved television deries a Federal crime? After watching The West Wing and witnessing the latest chapter in John Wells' concerted effort to strip the show of any intellect it once possessed, I have to think it should be.

Need evidence? Look no further than the last minute of the program, in which the White House Press Corps gave the president and his Supreme Court nominees a standing ovation that went on and on -- longer than partisan applause at the State of the Union. Ugh.

Clarke's Coup? Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke acquitted himself well today by opening his testimony before the 9/11 Commission with an eloquent apology to the families of the victims of the attacks.
"Your government failed you," he said, his voice close to breaking. "Those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you."

"We tried hard," Mr. Clarke went on, "but that doesn't matter, because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask — once all the facts are out — for your understanding and your forgiveness."

True, the press was practically begging witnesses to offer such a mea culpa, but it's to Clarke's credit that he took them up on it.

And once that was said, it seems to undermine another contention in the press coverage of his testimony -- that he fell into line alongside the former Clinton and current Bush administration officials in contending that nothing could have averted the attacks.

I haven't read all of Clarke's testimony, the passage at the bottom of this screen seems to directly contradict that conventional wisdom. He definitely takes some steps towards defending the efforts of the security apparatus. But he also tells Richard Ben-Veniste that had the CIA, FBI, and other top-level national security personnel been meeting through the summer of 2001 to exchange information on threats -- meetings that took place in the last years of the Clinton administration but were discontinued under Bush -- that, "I would like to think, sir, that even without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I could have connected those dots."

My Heart Belongs to Daddy James Phillips of the right-leaning Heritage foundation gives voice to a rarely-stated, yet clearly powerful motivation behind the Bush administration's insistence on targeting Iraq as part of its "War on Terror," despite the absence of any credible evidence of Iraqi ties to al Qaeda.
Saddam was defeated militarily in the 1991 Gulf War, but he remained a dangerous foe [sic] ... This is a man, after all, who tried to assassinate former President George H. W. Bush in Kuwait in April 1993, just two years after the 1991 Gulf War.