Great Minds Think Alike...So Do Times Legal Reporters

Plus: No liberals on the Supreme Court and angry white male reactionary Tea Partiers

Great Minds Think Alike...So Do Times Legal Reporters

"In cases involving prisoners held without charge at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the mentally retarded on death row, his version of American justice propelled by common sense and moral clarity commanded a majority." - Legal reporter Charlie Savage in an April 10 post announcing the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, in a paragraph that didn't make it into print.

"In cases involving prisoners held without charge at Guantánamo Bay and the mentally retarded on death row, his version of American justice was propelled by common sense and moral clarity, and it commanded a majority." - Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak, January 26.

Not a Single Liberal on the Supreme Court?

"Stevens, one of four moderates on the Court, has held that seat. He is not just the last World War II veteran to serve, but as a product Northwestern University Law School, he succeeded a very iconoclastic justice, William O. Douglas, whose law school days were not spent in Cambridge or New Haven....This court, activist conservative in the extreme, has never met a corporation it has not coddled, nor a prosecution argument that does not have superior merit....They've done lasting damage to the democracy, most recently with a decision that overturned nearly a century of legal thought and found that corporations are people too." - Former Times reporter Timothy Egan in an April 14 post on his blog.

Tea Party Full of Old "White and Male" Reactionaries

"Still, [Rick Shenkman] and others argue that race and age are the biggest factors in shaping the mindset of Tea Party supporters. They tend to be white and male, with a disproportionate number above 45, and above 65. Their memories are of a different time, when the country was less diverse. Conversations with Tea Party supporters often wind their way into nostalgia. Even those out of work aren't mourning the loss of a job so much as what they see as a loss of an era." - Reporter Kate Zernike in the April 18 Week in Review.

Have I Bashed Palin Yet?

"You don't hear much about companies like this. Our national debate today is dominated by the ignorant ramblings of Sarah Palin, talk-show lunatics, tea parties and politics as sports - not ESPN but PSPN. Fortunately, though, we still have risk-takers who are not paying attention to any of this nonsense, who know what world they're living in - and are just doing it. Thank goodness!" - From Thomas Friedman's April 18 column.

Political Metaphors Suddenly Dangerous When Democrat Seats Are in Peril

"The pitched attacks by some Republicans and conservatives during the health care fight have drawn criticism as incendiary as have the use of terms and imagery like the placing of target cross hairs over the districts of vulnerable Democrats who backed health care." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse, April 16.

From Tea Party to OKC Bombing in One Sentence

"How our current spike in neo-Confederate rebellion will end is unknown. It's unnerving that Tea Party leaders and conservatives in the Oklahoma Legislature now aim to create a new volunteer militia that, as The Associated Press described it, would use as yet mysterious means to "help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty." This is the same ideology that animated Timothy McVeigh, whose strike against the tyrannical federal government will reach its 15th anniversary on Monday in the same city where the Oklahoma Legislature meets." - Frank Rich, in his April 18 column.

We're Not Amused By Race-Baiting Columnists

"Thursday night I saw a political minstrel show devised for the entertainment of those on the rim of obliviousness and for those engaged in the subterfuge of intolerance. I was not amused." - Charles Blow's April 17 column from a Tea Party rally outside of Houston.

Paul Krugman: Hypocrisy on Stilts

"If you want to say that the advocates of nationalization were excessively pessimistic about the prospects for a light-touch bank strategy, fine. But caricaturing their position, making it sound far more extreme than it actually was, is definitely not OK." - Paul Krugman in an April 13 blog post. In the past Krugman has accused the GOP of "eliminationist rhetoric," called Ronald Reagan "an anti-government fanatic," accused Obama-care town hall protesters of racism and global-warming skeptics of "treason against the planet."

Have I Taken a Shot at Crass Capitalism Yet?

"Yet some Poles said the crass commercialism that also greeted the tragedy showed the extent to which Poland, 20 years after the revolution that overthrew Communism, had become a healthy capitalist economy, even as the free market was challenging the Roman Catholic Church as the new religion. Others who knew Mr. Kaczynski, an advocate of social justice who railed against the excesses of the market economy, said he would have recoiled at the sight of T-shirts bearing his image." - Reporter Dan Bilefsky from Warsaw on April 15. The story's text box: "Learning the lessons of capitalism; profit nudges grief aside."

Michelle O, the New Jackie O

"First Lady Michelle Obama is now officially a fashion plate. Not that there were any doubts before, mind you. Often called the First Lady of Fashion, Mrs. Obama has a sense of style, as we all know by now, that rivals Jackie Kennedy's. She has boosted the spirits of the American fashion industry with her unconventional mix of avant-garde newcomers and off-the-rack Talbots, and claimed a Council of Fashion Designers of America style-icon award along the way." - Fashion writer Eric Wilson, April 15.

Another Unsourced Racism Allegation at Tea Party Protesters on Capitol Hill

Host Sam Roberts: "David and Jeff, we've been writing that health care became a touchstone, a proxy for larger disagreements and deep divisions in an increasingly fractured society. What is it the surrogate for, do we think?"

Reporter David Herszenhorn: "Well there's so many things, Sam. One is clearly there's a racial component. Some members of Congress you know, had epithets hurled at them as protesters marched around the Capitol on the day of the big House vote." - Exchange from the April 1 edition of the Times' "Political Points" podcast.

Hmm, Could Our Critics Have a Point?

"Ms. Palin still gets a session in the media spanking machine every time she does anything, but the disapproval seems to further cement the support of her loyalists. Ms. Palin may or may not be qualified to represent America around the world, but she certainly represents vast swaths of the American public and has a lucrative new career to show for it. If we don't see why, then maybe we deserve the 'lamestream media' label she likes to give us." - Media reporter David Carr, April 5.