Medicare Trims Suddenly Not So Scary When Obama Proposes Them

Plus Falling for French Prank & Liberal Snobbery on the Loose
Medicare Trims Suddenly Not So Scary - When Obama Proposes Them
Speaking at a news conference in Washington, he provided no details of his approach to rein in Social Security and Medicare, which are projected to consume a growing share of government spending as the baby boom generation ages into retirement over the next two decades. But he said he would have more to say about the issue when he unveiled a budget next month. Should he follow through with a serious effort to cut back the rates of growth of the two programs...." - From Jeff Zeleny and John Harwood's front-page story January 8 on Obama's announcement he would try to reform the system under the headline "Obama Promises Bid to Overhaul Retiree Spending."
vs "Gingrich Promises Big Medicare Cut With Little Pain." ",Americans Reject Big Medicare Cuts, a New Poll Finds." - Headlines to front-page stories from May 8, 1995 and October 26, 1995, respectively, during the GOP Congress's attempt to trim Medicare spending from 10% to 7% annual growth.

NYT: Uncivil to Conservatives Even in Death
"A writer, a lobbyist and an organizer on behalf of conservative causes and especially social conservatism, Mr. Weyrich (pronounced WY-rick) was one of the far right's most unbending ideologues. He was widely credited with coining the phrase "moral majority" as a rallying label for social conservatives. It became the name of the religion-based political organization that was led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. A deacon in the ultra-conservative Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Mr. Weyrich openly fused his faith and his politics." - Bruce Weber's December 19 obituary for conservative icon Paul Weyrich.

Warning: Credential-Obsessed Liberal Snob on the Loose

"Joe, a k a Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was no good as a citizen, having failed to pay his full share of taxes, no good as a plumber, not being fully credentialed, and not even any good as a faux American icon." - Reporter turned columnist Timothy Egan in his December 7 column, "Typing Without a Clue," on a possible book deal for "Joe the Plumber."

Blago Not the Real Crook, Bush Is
"Blagojevich's alleged crimes pale next to the larger scandals of Washington and Wall Street. Yet those who promoted and condoned the twin national catastrophes of reckless war in Iraq and reckless gambling in our markets have largely escaped the accountability that now seems to await the Chicago punk..." - Columnist Frank Rich, December 14.

Oh Heck, Let's Just Federalize Health Care While We're At It
"Some of those dollars may be found by packaging health care initiatives as stimulus measures, a recessionary opportunity presented by the public's acceptance of deficit spending to spur the economy. What, after all, is $100 billion for health coverage if the government can print $700 billion to bail out the banks?" - Reporter Kevin Sack in the December 14 Week in Review.

Gen. Shinseki, Media Hero for ProvingRumsfeld Wrong
"In the last year, Admiral Mullen has sought advice from the retired generals who revolted against former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, reached out to the former Army chief who had been vilified for saying more troops were needed in Iraq.... Admiral Mullen has also reached out in recent weeks to Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, who is retired and was reviled by the Bush administration for saying publicly on the eve of the Iraq war that far more troops would be needed than had been committed by the Pentagon under Mr. Rumsfeld. General Shinseki has since been chosen by Mr. Obama to be secretary of veterans affairs." - New Pentagon reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, December 16 from a profile of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen.

Falling for French Prank After Mocking Palin for Same
"One of the last straws for the McCain advisers came just days before the election when news broke that Ms. Palin had taken a call made by Marc-Antoine Audette. Mr. Audette and his fellow comedian Sebastien Trudel are notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state. Ms. Palin appeared to believe that she was talking to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, even though the prankster had a flamboyant French accent and spoke to her in a more personal way than would be protocol in such a call. At one point, he told Ms. Palin that she would make a good president some day. "Maybe in eight years," she replied." - Elisabeth Bumiller, November 6.
"In Monday's newspaper, we published a letter over the name of the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, criticizing Caroline Kennedy. This letter was a fraud and should not have been published. Mr. Delanoë's office has since confirmed that he did not write it. Printing the letter, which also appeared on until it was removed, violated the standards and procedures of The New York Times editorial department."-From theCorrections page, December 23 .

Another Misplaced Editorial
"He will be expected to restore scientific integrity to a department where it has repeatedly been compromised. He will be responsible for ending the department's coziness with the industries it regulates." - From reporter John Broder's December 18 profile of Sen. Ken Salazar, Obama's choice to head the Department of the Interior.

Falling for the Cuban "Health Care" Myth Again
"Still, Cuba's enduring revolution, which has secured advances in education and health care, faces other challenges." - Reporter Simon Romero, marking "the 50th anniversary of its revolution," January 2, 2009.

Hatemonger Sharpton a "Civil Rights Advocate"?
"The parody is sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon" by a character meant to be the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights advocate and sometime political candidate. The character laments that white liberals vote for Mr. Obama while shunning his brand of more confrontational racial politics." - Jason DeParle, December 28 in a story about controversy about a song parody, "Barack the Magic Negro."

Israel Responsible for "Cycle of Violence" By Defending Against Hamas
"In addition, Israeli forces continued to attack Hamas and other militants in the West Bank, prompting Palestinian militants in Gaza to fire rockets. The Israeli military also found several dozen improvised explosive devices used against its vehicles on the Gaza border and about a dozen cases of sniper fire from Gaza directed at its forces. While this back-and-forth did not topple the agreement, Israel's decision in early November to destroy a tunnel Hamas had been digging near the border drove the cycle of violence to a much higher level. Israel says the tunnel could have been dug only for the purpose of trying to seize a soldier, like Cpl. Gilad Shalit, the Israeli held by Hamas for the past two and a half years. Israel's attack on the tunnel killed six Hamas militants, and each side has stepped up attacks since." - Ethan Bronner in an December 20 story from Jerusalem.

When Did Rahm Emanuel Become a Centrist?
"As his first appointment, Mr. Obama selected Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to be his chief of staff, opting for a white, Jewish centrist who has clashed at times with the more liberal members of the Black Caucus." - David Herszenhorn, January 7 on potential friction between Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus. Emanuel's lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union was 13 on a scale of 100, including zero out of 100 in 2007.