Elena Kagan a 'Brilliant Woman...Who Is Also Very Funny and Warm and Witty'

Plus: Democrats and Double Standards
Kagan a 'Brilliant Woman...Who Is Also Very Funny and Warm and Witty'

"Let's not forget that Elena Kagan has been an academic. She is a brilliant woman. She's somebody who is also very funny and warm and witty, and I think Americans will see that when they-when she comes before the Senate today." - Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, on the June 28 edition of TimesCast, at nytimes.com.

Democrats and Double Standards

"Robert C. Byrd, who used his record tenure as a United States senator to fight for the primacy of the legislative branch of government and to build a modern West Virginia with vast amounts of federal money, died at about 3 a.m. Monday, his office said. He was 92." - Lead sentence of Adam Clymer's obituary for former Klansman and Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, June 29.


"Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator whose courtly manner and mossy drawl barely masked a hard-edged conservatism that opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday. He was 86." - Lead sentence of Steven Holmes' obituary for conservative Republican Sen. Jesse Helms, July 5, 2008.

Newsweek's "Apolitical"? Since When?

"The conservative political ideology of Newsmax's chief executive, Christopher Ruddy, is at odds with the editorial bent of Newsweek, which strives to be apolitical in its news coverage though is often criticized as left-leaning." - Jeremy Peters on suitors for the struggling newsweekly, July 1.

Archibold Runs for Border on Crime Rates...But FBI Figures Say Not So Fast

"It is a connection that those who support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and tighter borders often make: rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement. But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol." - From Randal Archibold's June 20 story headlined "On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas."


"FBI figures do show crime declining over an eight-year period in Arizona, as it did across the country overall. But blogger Tom Maguire at Just One Minute took a closer look at the stats. Crime in Arizona was down 20 percent in the larger cities, but it was up outside of the major metropolitan areas and in rural counties, 39 percent and 45 percent, respectively. Clearly, FBI data demonstrates that crime is up significantly in the border regions of Arizona." - From an editorial in the June 23 Washington Examiner.

Libs in Space!

"The Obama administration on Monday unveiled a space policy that renounces the unilateral stance of the Bush administration and instead emphasizes international cooperation, including the possibility of an arms control treaty that would limit the development of space weapons." - Lead sentence to William Broad and Kenneth Chang's June 29 article.

Venezuela Dictator Hugo Chavez a 'Good-Hearted Man of the People'

"During 'South of the Border' Mr. Stone schmoozes with several left-wing political leaders, including his good buddy the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez; he takes Mr. Stone to his childhood home, where Mr. Chávez mounts a children's bike that collapses under him. Mr. Chávez comes across as a rough-hewn but good-hearted man of the people whose bullheaded determination is softened by a sense of humor. At a corn-processing factory, he jokes: 'This is where we build the Iranian atomic bomb. A corn bomb.' Ho, ho, ho." - From movie critic Stephen Holden's June 25 review of Oliver Stone's left-wing documentary "South of the Border."

Everything in France Officially Right-Leaning President Sarkozy's Fault

"But there seemed to be plenty of blame to go around for France's catastrophic World Cup performance. Domenech called his players' revolt 'unspeakably stupid.' Some opposition politicians said the players' behavior represented the selfishness fostered by the governance of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had been called President Bling Bling for his flashy style." - June 23 front-page story by Jere Longman. on the French squad's surprise early exit from the World Cup.

And the Prize for Lamest Defense of Obama Goes To...

"Of the 168 promises where action has been completed, they judge Obama to have broken only 19. That's not bad, and it must be acknowledged. We have to stop waiting for him to be great and allow him to be good." - Columnist Charles Blow citing a promises-kept tally by PolitiFact.com, June 19.

How's the GOP Doing? Frank Rich Cites 'Extremism,' 'Nihilism,' Racism, Return to John Birch Values

"On one hand, they have this sort of reversion to this extreme fiscal conservatism of tearing down the safety net, no unemployment benefits extension, against regulation, apologizing, for heaven's sake, not just to a abusive company like BP but a British one, which is just-seems totally tone deaf. They have the social issue component that's sort of off on the side and feeling disgruntled. They have a race problem. I don't know what the message is except the Party of No. And while it's sort of a cliche, there is something sort of nihilistic about it. They don't want to - what policies are they proposing or supporting unless maybe Gen. Petraeus is involved? That's about the only - the only thing they can rally behind." - Columnist Frank Rich on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC talk show, June 30.

Well That Settles That, Then

"An American scientist accused of manipulating research findings on climate science was cleared of that charge by his university on Thursday, the latest in a string of reports to find little substance in the allegations known as Climategate." - Lead sentence to reporter Justin Gillis's story on a report that claimed to exonerate Penn State climatologist Phil Jones of research manipulation, July 2.

"The Ethicist" Columnist Randy Cohen: Only "Nutty Far-Right Circles" Criticize Socialism & It's Dishonorable to Oppose Gay Marriage.

"...Incidentally, not that the president is one, but how does it defame a person to call him a 'socialist' (outside of nutty far-right circles) - a set of ideas many advanced Western democracies find congenial, what with the accessible health-care, affordable higher education and good public transportation?" - From Randy Cohen's June 20 "The Ethicist" column.

"It is not only Jews who should repudiate anti-Semitism or African-Americans who should oppose racism. No honorable person, gay or straight, should abet efforts to deny homosexuals equal treatment under the law." - From Cohen's July 4 "The Ethicist" column.

Conservative Obama Critic Issa a "Pest," "Nuisance," and "Annoyer-in-Chief"

"Every Congress seems to produce a designated pest, adept at drawing attention to nuisance issues (and his nuisance self) while making trouble for the other party when it controls the White House....Mr. Issa calls himself a Reagan Republican, but his true compass these days seems to be whatever gets under the administration's skin - and gets him on television....Born and reared in Cleveland, Mr. Issa, the grandson of Lebanese immigrants, describes himself as 'a rotten young kid' - a period that apparently stretched well into his 20s. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in 1972 (he was carrying an unlicensed pistol) and, with his brother William, was indicted on felony charges related to car thefts in 1972 and 1980." - Mark Leibovich's front-page July 7 profile of conservative Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, headlined "G.O.P. Congressman Emerges As Obama's Annoyer-in-Chief."

Run, Tea Partiers, Run! Frank Rich Is on to Us!

"The spill's sole positive benefit has been to unambiguously expose the hard right, for all its populist pandering to the Tea Partiers, as a stalking horse for its most rapacious corporate patrons....These tribunes of the antigovernment right and their Tea Party auxiliaries are clamoring for a new revolution to 'take back America' - after which, we now can see, they would hand over America to the likes of BP." - Columnist Frank Rich, June 20.