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Entries by Arianna Huffington from 08/2005

Judy Miller: Bloggers on the Story

| Posted 08.01.2005 | Huffington Post

Here are the latest posts from the blogosphere on Judy Miller's unfolding involvement in Plamegate: Josh Marshall delves deeper into a prior run-in b...

When It Comes To Time Off, Bush Is Far Outside the Mainstream

| Posted 08.02.2005 | Business
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Fresh off his “in your face, Senate!” recess appointment of John Bolton, President Bush is hightailing it out of town for his annual August vacation at the Crawford ranch (wouldn’t that make a great commercial: “President Bush, you’ve just thumbed your nose at the U.S. Senate and sent to the UN a man who thinks it should be demolished, now what are you going to do?” “I’m going on to Crawfordland!”). This visit marks the president’s 50th trip to his Texas ranch since taking office -- an average of 10 visits a year. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t going to be one of those ”Why doesn’t the president work harder?” rants (although I do trust that if a Daily Briefing comes his way saying that anybody is “Determined to Strike In U.S.,” he’ll pay more attention than last time). Actually, I’m glad the president is able to get out of Washington and recharge his batteries so frequently -- unlike most Americans, who only get an average of 12 days of vacation a year…

Kaus Misses the Mark on the Miller Story

| Posted 08.02.2005 | Entertainment
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Mickey and Judy: I liked this pairing better when it was Rooney and Garland… Mickey Kaus must be spending time in Washington with some of Karl Rove’s friends. They are apparently getting nervous since, as The Note makes clear this morning, Fitzgerald may be closing in on Rove. So the Roveians have begun grasping at wish-fulfillment straws, such as the idea that what Kaus calls the Judy Theory in some way -- any way! -- exonerates Rove. I actually don’t know of anyone -- certainly not me -- who is suggesting that Judy Miller was the ONLY source of the Plame-is-CIA info. Indeed, I have repeatedly said just the opposite -- that Miller was only one of the many people who wanted to discredit Wilson so as to discredit his story discrediting the administration’s Saddam-is-building-nukes claims. What makes the Miller angle unique and compelling is that she was, for heaven’s sake, theoretically an objective member of the media and not some White House hack with a partisan agenda. Theoretically. Plus, none of the other likely sources had a front-page byline on the paper of record or have undergone an Extreme Reputation Makeover ("Tonight at 10, see our Extreme Makeover team turn a discredited WMD hyper into a dazzling champion of the First Amendment!") Read More Here. Read Update Here.

Mickey and Judy: Update

| Posted 08.02.2005 | Politics
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So now Mickey is saying that I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too instead of “graciously accepting the mantle of nonpartisan truthseeker”. ...

The New Know-Nothings

| Posted 08.03.2005 | Huffington Post

There's an old saying that when the facts are against you, argue the law. But the Bushies have gone one better: when the facts are against them, they argue the very existence of facts. As pretty much every fact has turned against the administration in Iraq, the fallback position has increasingly become: well, who can really know anything? Everything is so complex. You've got Sunnis, you've got Shiites, you've got Kurds...the truth is...well, the truth is that we can't know the how can we be held accountable when nothing is really knowable? The funny thing is that the very people who claim to be moral absolutists from the heartland turn out to be arguing a variation of postmodernism -- an Eastern elitist linguistic theory laden with moral relativism. Here is a classic Rummy postmodern response, after he was asked if he’d misjudged the cost of the war: “I never estimated the cost of the war. And how can one estimate the cost in lives or the cost in money? I've avoided it consistently. And how can that be a misestimate? We've said that there are always going to be unknowns, that the battle was going to change, depending on what the enemy does and how they adjust and how we adjust...”

The Judy File: It Depends on What Your Definition of “Thorough and Comprehensive” Is

| Posted 08.04.2005 | Politics
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Here is how New York Times VP of corporate communications Catherine Mathis described Judy Miller this week: “Judy is an intrepid, principled, and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who has provided our readers with thorough and comprehensive reporting throughout her career.” Gee, Catherine, it looks like the Times and the board of The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) have very different definitions of “thorough and comprehensive” (let alone “intrepid” and “journalist”). The Society decided Tuesday to reverse an earlier decision to give its Conscience in Media award to Miller due to what ASJA president Jack El-Hai called “a feeling that Miller’s career, taken as whole, did not make her the best candidate for the award”. That’s like having a feeling that Rafael Palmeiro is not the best candidate for an Integrity in Sports award. A “thorough and comprehensive” look at Miller’s career reveals repeated examples of egregiously lousy reporting, a startling lack of objectivity, too-close-for-comfort relationships with dubious sources… and a penchant for far from thorough and comprehensive coverage. Leaving aside her well-documented buying of Ahmed Chalabi’s fabrications and fantasies, any rundown of Miller’s failings as a journalist has to include her “heard it from someone who heard it from someone” reporting on the WMD “silver bullet” scientist who turned out to be a dud -- and a sham...

Plamegate Roundup

| Posted 08.04.2005 | Politics
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Here are five posts on Plamegate you shouldn't miss: TalkLeft: Fitzgerald, Cooper, Sauber, Rove, Luskin and Ginsberg Mark Kleiman: The smoking gun ...

Russert Watch: Turning the Tables

| Posted 08.05.2005 | Media

Time for another Russert Watch preview. This week’s show features Mario Cuomo and law professor Douglas Kmiec discussing the role Judge John Roberts’ Catholicism should play in his confirmation. But, frankly, this week, instead of coming up with questions for Tim, I’d like to hear him give some long-overdue answers about his still ill-defined involvement in Plamegate. And I’m not the only one feeling this way. Earlier this week, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sydney Schanberg called on Russert and all the other reporters involved in the story (yes, that includes you Bob Novak) to “tell us everything”: “Tim Russert cuts a large figure in Washington,” wrote Schanberg. “He should be a big man now and give us some details; why not agree to be interviewed by someone as probing as he?” Leaving aside the question of just how probing Russert actually is, I think Schanberg has hit on a fantastic idea. Indeed, why doesn’t Tim agree to be interviewed on his own show? He can bring on one guest interviewer (What are you doing on Sunday, Sydney?) or a panel of them. So what do you say, Tim? Why not put Roberts’ faith on hold for a week and restore the public’s faith in you by putting yourself in the Meet the Press hot seat…

Sunday Roundup

| Posted 08.06.2005 | Politics
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This week the president headed out for his 50th Crawford vacation, but not before slipping John Bolton in through the UN's backdoor -- a move that sen...

The Expanding Judy File

| Posted 08.07.2005 | Huffington Post

A well-connected media source e-mailed to say that the most interesting development on the Miller story is coming from inside the Times: "I gather that Doug Jehl, who is a dogged and respected reporter, has been assigned to do an in-house investigative report for the Times and that he is already cutting pretty close to the bone. Several editors he has spoken to are now asking themselves why there wasn't more questioning of whether Miller's silence reflects a fear of incriminating herself rather than betraying a source. I predict this will start to unravel in the next couple of weeks -- if only because the Times is afraid of getting scooped again by outside rivals." A different source within the Times confirmed that Jehl is indeed on the story, having been given the assignment not from New York but from the paper's Washington bureau. According to another source within the Times, the DC office has put in a dedicated phone line specifically for the purpose of receiving Judy's collect calls from prison -- which are then forwarded to whoever it is she wants to talk to. It's been dubbed "the Judy Line"...

From Ravello to Brook Park: The Lessons of Iraq Hit Home

| Posted 08.08.2005 | Huffington Post

My summer travels have come to an end with my journey to Ravello. I arrived in Amalfi with my two teenage daughters and took the winding road up to Ravello to visit Gore Vidal. Sitting on Gore's terrace, overlooking one of the most breathtaking spots on earth -- what Gore called the heart of Magna Graecia, the part of southern Italy that was colonized by Greeks and later conquered by Romans -- it felt like we were on top of history. A history of dreams of empire, and of lessons unlearned. Gore, such a brilliant chronicler of so much of this history, reminded us how foreign to our national character the neocons' imperial dreams are. "Americans have always favored minding our own business," he told us. "From George Washington to John Quincy Adams, the American way has been to avoid imperial adventures." He then cited Adams' famous admonition that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own." So it's part of our national DNA to shun Iraqs -- and to want to get out of them...

Support Our Troops: Call a Truce in America’s Drug War

| Posted 08.09.2005 | Huffington Post

The war in Iraq is coming home in cruel and painful ways. It’s almost impossible to find even a tarnished silver lining amidst the suffering, but Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance raises the interesting possibility that something good might come out of it -- if our elected officials are forced to rethink our nation’s disastrous war on drugs. Nearly 25,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets have already been diagnosed with psychological ailments. Because of the nature of the fighting in Iraq -- constant threats, hard to discern enemy, ambiguous goals -- experts expect that number to continue to rise. And soldiers suffering from such problems are known to have higher rates of substance abuse. So how will we respond when the young men and women we sent to stamp out Saddam’s WMD...uh, I mean, bring democracy to the people of Iraq... start getting busted for taking to drugs to deal with their troubles? Will we “stay the course” and do what we’ve being doing for decades (a failed strategy that has our prisons bursting at the seams with nonviolent drug offenders)? Or will we finally come to our senses and start dealing with nonviolent drug use as a medical problem not a criminal one?

At Rummy's Bizarro Pentagon, Torture is Rewarded While Sex is a Firing Offense

| Posted 08.10.2005 | Politics
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Here’s all the proof you need that the lunatics have taken over the Pentagon and DoD asylums (that is, if the lunacy of their Iraq policies hadn’t already convinced you): Four-star General Kevin Byrnes, the third most senior of the Army’s 11 four-star generals, was sacked over allegations that he had an extramarital affair. Meanwhile, Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib torture and abuse scandal, is being considered for promotion to, yep, four-star general. Something here doesn’t add up. Would the Army really can a four-star General with 36 years of service, three months shy of his retirement, because he screwed someone other than his wife… in the middle of a war? Is this what it takes for Rummy and company to continue seeing themselves as paragons of virtue who will do whatever is necessary to hold people accountable for their private conduct…while turning a blind eye to the wanton assault on decency and morality that has marked our handling of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Bagram? In other words, it’s the s-e-x, stupid! The GOP base will eat it up. A little unnerved that Roberts gave a freebie to the gays? Don’t sweat it. The Bush administration demonstrates it will not stand for a leader who breaks his vows (other than vows to fire anyone involved in the Plame leak, that is)...

Cindy Sheehan Steps Into the Leadership Void

| Posted 08.11.2005 | Politics
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The time has passed when we can stand around waiting for a knight on a white horse to ride to our rescue. We’ve got to look to ourselves -- to the leader in the mirror. Our elected officials have woefully failed to provide the leadership needed on this most vital issue of our time. And stepping into that void is Cindy Sheehan. Inspiring us. Touching our conscience. Calling forth our courage and our commitment. Focusing our outrage. And acting as a catalyst for the tens of millions of Americans who know that the war in Iraq is a disgrace.

It Takes a Village to Smear Cindy Sheehan

| Posted 08.12.2005 | Politics
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The right wing attacks on Cindy Sheehan -- desperate, pathetic, and grasping at straws -- expose much less about their target than about the attackers. I mean, trying to slime a grieving Gold Star mom because she is inconveniently questioning the reasons her son was sent off to die in Iraq? Why that would be like trashing a much-decorated war hero or outing an undercover CIA agent… Oh, right. How much longer can the Bushies get away with mauling the very values they profess to stand for before their supporters start getting wise to the fact that the only value they really value is power? After the Cindy as Flip-Flopper story was revealed as a very poorly done hatchet job, a second load of sludge was quickly dumped: the ludicrous statement from the (ahem) “Sheehan Family” condemning Cindy’s “political motivations and publicity tactics”. Where do I start with this piece of manufactured offal? The only name attached to the “Sheehan Family” statement belongs to Cherie Quartarolo who describes herself as Casey’s aunt and godmother. So did I miss something? Since when does godmother outrank mother? What I really want to know is: how does Casey’s second-cousin-twice-removed feel about Cindy’s vigil? How about his ex-brother-in-law’s cleaning lady?

Russert Watch Preview: Back in the Saddle Again

| Posted 08.12.2005 | Media

It’s great to be home -- for all kinds of reasons: sleeping in my own bed, eating home cooked food, catching up with friends face-to-face instead o...

Sunday Roundup

| Posted 08.14.2005 | Politics
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The week's hottest story on the HuffPost was Cindy Sheehan's ongoing Crawford standoff with the president. Don't miss Cindy's impassioned explanation ...

Russert Watch: Running from Sheehan and the Truth

| Posted 08.14.2005 | Media

Here is how guest host Andrea Mitchell brought up Cindy Sheehan in her interview of Joe Biden: "There is a mother of a soldier who died in Iraq who is protesting down in Crawford and has now been joined by organized anti-war protesters. Do you agree with Cindy Sheehan? Should we withdraw immediately?" Can you imagine another way of formulating the obligatory question about Sheehan that would more easily have allowed Andrea -- and Biden -- to distance themselves from the grieving mother who wants to meet with the man who sent her son to die in Iraq? Biden, who is running for president, loved, of course, the opportunity to talk about troop withdrawal rather than a mother's standoff with the president. He ended his answer as far away from Crawford as possible: "When we were in the Balkans, we, in fact, dealt with the Croats as well as the Serbs according to the Dayton accords..." Dayton? The Balkans? You can almost feel the two of them breathe a sigh of relief, having successfully tiptoed across the minefield of an actual story. After Andrea made sure Cindy knew her place in the Meet the Press world, she moved on to John Roberts, calling a request for public documents from the White House a "fishing expedition." A fishing expedition?

The Judy File: Miller’s UN-likely Visitor

| Posted 08.15.2005 | Huffington Post

Ever since President Bush slipped him in through the UN's backdoor via a recess appointment, John Bolton has been giving reporters the cold shoulder. But Bolton apparently has a warm spot in his heart for at least one journalist: none other than Judy Miller. According to a trusted Judy File source, Bolton recently took time out of his busy schedule to pay a jailhouse visit to Judy. No word on what they talked about. Maybe they swapped notes on Pat Fitzgerald (Judy: “He really got mad when I wouldn’t tell him what he wanted...” Bolton: “...and they say I’ve got a temper!”) Or maybe they just talked about old times, when Bolton was reportedly a regular source for Miller’s WMD and national security reports. Just two potential Plamegate sources shooting the breeze. For anyone who doesn’t find this jailhouse get-together highly UN-usual, please give me the name of the journalist who, in or out of jail, would get a visit from John Bolton. Other than Bob Novak. Update: Wonkette tries to take me to the cyber-woodshed and blows it big time.

Oh, Wonkette...

| Posted 08.15.2005 | Huffington Post

After trying to take me to the cyber-woodshed over my John Bolton visits Judy Miller post, Ana Marie Cox aka Wonkette, sent me the following cat-ate-t...

Preemptive PR: The Times Makes the Case for Judy... Again

| Posted 08.16.2005 | Politics
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Was the fear of additional legal steps being taken against Judy Miller the reason for Monday's preemptive PR campaign? Was this why Floyd Abrams went on Lou Dobbs and the New York Times did a glowing pro-Judy editorial? Note to the editors (1): No matter how many times you say it, covering for an illegal government leaker out to smear someone's reputation for political reasons, is NOT safeguarding freedom of the press. Note to the editors (2): You may want to tell your public editor not to quote the Times editor he quotes in Sunday's paper, laying out one of the Times' ethical guidelines: "The Times's policy does not permit the granting of anonymity to confidential news sources 'as cover for a personal or partisan attack.'" So which is it, Times editors? Let's give Judy the benefit of the doubt for a minute and accept that she was a catcher, not a pitcher. Then, according to her own paper's ethical standards, if the person pitching to her is doing it for partisan reasons -- and is anybody doubting that? -- then there is no "granting of anonymity".

The War Comes to Crawford, the President Disconnects

| Posted 08.16.2005 | Politics
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Cindy Sheehan has brought the reality of the Iraq war to the president's doorstep. And he's not dealing with that reality very well. Fishing, going on two-hour bike rides, clearing brush, taking in a Little League ball game (to say nothing of raking in millions at a GOP fundraiser) all take on a different hue when juxtaposed with the harsh truth that Sheehan represents: We are at war. A war that continues to claim the lives of young American men and women. A war that, even if you are completely in favor of it, is not going well. Yes, Cindy Sheehan is merely a symbol of the Iraq debacle. But presidents are symbols too. And symbols matter -- especially in a time of war.

Defending Judy: The Times Breaks Its Own Guidelines

| Posted 08.17.2005 | Huffington Post

One more contradiction between what the Times claims and what the Times does -- this one pointed out by Universtity of Illinois law professor Richard McAdams via our tip line...

Howell Raines Redux

| Posted 08.18.2005 | Politics
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Few acts of purification are more effective for a paper than one of its star reporters going to jail to (in PR theory) protect the First Amendment.

Why Are the Media Having Such a Hard Time Covering Cindy Sheehan?

| Posted 08.19.2005 | Politics
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It's as if the simple, direct, and starkly emotional nature of Cindy Sheehan stance is too raw for the media to handle in any of the standard ways. So they've taken to treating her with a strange mix of detachment, condescension, distortion, and aggression. It's truly amazing: the MSM want to hold Sheehan's feet to the fire on statements she's denied making about Israel while allowing Dick "last throes" Cheney, Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice, George "slam dunk" Tenet, Alberto "quaint" Gonzalez, and George "Mission Accomplished" Bush a free pass.