It's OK to Be Proud of America Again

Plus John Ashcroft vs. Eric Holder & Bad Press All Bush's Fault
Attention Americans! It's OK to Be Proud of Your Country Again

"Washington is suddenly hip again, infused with the heady double-barreled combination of a new crowd of idealistic young political worker bees, who actually believe they can change the world, and the arrival of America's first black president. It's even cool to wave the Stars and Stripes. And in the honeymoon months of the Barack Obama presidency, before the country's marriage to its new president undergoes the usual souring, a trip to the nation's capital is just the ticket. Why, it would almost be unpatriotic not to visit."- Helene Cooper, January 18 Travel section, "36 Hours in D.C."

A Tale of Two Attorney General Vote Delays: John Ashcroft vs. Eric Holder
"Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said today that he would delay for a week a scheduled committee vote on John Ashcroft's nomination as attorney general, the latest signal that Democrats were hardening their opposition to the appointment." - The lead of David Johnston and Neil Lewis's January 24, 2001 story, under the neutral headline, "Ashcroft Vote Is Postponed In Maneuver By Democrats."
"Senate Republicans on Wednesday forced a one-week delay in a vote on the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general, denying President Obama the chance to have a key member of his national security team in place as planned." - The lead of Eric Lichtblau's January 22, 2008 story, under the stronger headline, "G.O.P. Forces Delay on Attorney General."

"The French Were Right" About Iraq

"The French were right. The French were right to warn us about Iraq. And now it seems that they may even have been right about Mickey Rourke." - Alessandra Stanley's January 18 Sunday Week in Review, from her "Critic's Notebook" of actor Mickey Rourke's career-salvaging turn in "The Wrestler."

Tell it to John McCain, Cindy McCain, Joe the Plumber...

"Our Rush Limbaugh magazine cover story was a rich, nuanced portrait of someone whose show has made him a large force over time at the intersection of news, politics, business and entertainment. You may have found it too kind because you would have preferred to read a partisan hatchet job. You won't find those in The New York Times." - Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson, addressing a question from a reader opposed to the paper's Rush Limbaugh story, while taking questions from readers online the week of January 5-9.

Just Getting By on the Upper West Side
"The days of seemingly carefree excess are gone. In their place are requests that involve quieter times spent more economically and very likely closer to home.....Instead of center orchestra seats at the Met, any seats are fine as long as they're on opening night. Instead of a long weekend at Canyon Ranch, maybe a day at the Cornelia Day Resort will do the trick." - From Vivian Toy's January 9 front-page story of the Sunday Real Estate section.

The Tragedy of the Iraq War
"The argument of the book is that Iraq not only cost 4,000 American lives, $800 billion and untold casualties among Iraqis and Americans, it occupied so much of the attention and the resources of the top levels of the U.S. government that we ignored much bigger threats, short-term and long-term."- Washington correspondent David Sanger, on the January 12 edition of the Charlie Rose show promoting his book about Bush's foreign policy, "The Inheritance."

Bad Press All Bush's Fault
"If he had engaged the press throughout his administration and used the press to his advantage, he would not find himself at the end of his presidency in a situation where he couldn't even come back for a simple photograph." - White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, January 12 edition of the talk show Charlie Rose.

Obama Now Being Praised for...Reading Books!
"Mr. Obama's love of fiction and poetry...has not only given him a heightened awareness of language. It has also imbued him with a tragic sense of history and a sense of the ambiguities of the human condition quite unlike the Manichean view of the world so often invoked by Mr. Bush."- From Book critic Michiko Kakutani's front-page story, "From Books, New President Found Voice," January 19.

Wonder How Ethan Bronner Sees It?
"To Israel's critics abroad, the picture could not be clearer: Israel's war in Gaza is a wildly disproportionate response to the rockets of Hamas, causing untold human suffering and bombing an already isolated and impoverished population into the Stone Age, and it must be stopped. Yet here in Israel very few, at least among the Jewish population, see it that way." - Front-page story from Jerusalem by Ethan Bronner, January 13.