Who Says NYT Journalists Aren't Religious?

Plus Matt Bai deals two anti-Republican race cards that turn out to be jokers; tornadoes as economic stimulus; Anita Hill as role model for France.
Who Says Times Journalists Aren't Religious?

"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." - Managing editor Jill Abramson as quoted by Times media reporter Jeremy Peters upon her ascension to the executive editor slot, replacing Bill Keller, in a story posted at nytimes.com the morning of June 2. The quote disappeared later that day and did not make it into the next day's print edition.


David Mamet, Far-Right Playwright

"David Mamet explains his intellectual shift to the right. The far right." - Subhead introducing Andrew Goldman's May 29 interview with playwright David Mamet in the Times Sunday magazine.


Matt Bai Deals Two Race Cards - Both Are Jokers

"Is there a racial element to some of the attacks on President Obama? It's pretty hard to argue there isn't, when a conservative writer like Dinesh D'Souza argues that Mr. Obama sees the world like an African nationalist (a theory Mr. Gingrich praised again in his interview Sunday), or when Donald J. Trump asserts that Mr. Obama isn't smart enough to have gotten into Harvard or to have written his own books....The infamous Willie Horton ad that George Bush deployed against Michael Dukakis in 1988, you may recall, was more overtly racist than anything Mr. Obama had to parry 20 years later." - From Matt Bai's May 17 column. The premise of D'Souza's book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage," is the theory that Obama inherited his left-wing ideology from his father, a Kenyan economist who became an anti-colonial agitator. Bush's campaign ads on Willie Horton issue didn't feature Horton's name or picture. Democrat Al Gore raised the furlough issue during a debate against Dukakis.

Coddling Cuddly Communists in Manhattan

"You can still be a card-carrying Communist in New York, but these days committed Communists usually register online....All three parties are finding the Internet to be a fruitful recruiting tool and believe their message has been given a fresh, beguiling appeal by the failures of capitalist symbols like Lehman Brothers and by debacles like the billions of dollars in securities tied to subprime mortgages....philosophically, they take a kind of I-told-you-so schadenfreude in statistics that indicate a growing gap between the rich and the poor, with top chief executives now making 275 times as much as the average proletarian." - Joseph Berger in the May 23 Metro section.

Tornadoes As Stimulus

"Experts say tornadoes and hurricanes can create a catalyst for renewal." - Text box to Michael Cooper's June 1 front-page story pushing tornadoes and other natural disasters as economic stimuli.


That Would Be "Damp Squib," Hotshot

"The Big Society started in part as a political gadget, as a way to distinguish the current Conservatives from the more individualistic ethos of the Thatcher years. It has turned out to be something of a damp squid politically. Most voters have no idea what the phrase 'Big Society' means. But, substantively, the legislative package has been a success. The British government is undergoing a fundamental transformation." - David Brooks in his May 20 column (italics added). The correct phrase is "damp squib," a Britishism for an event that fails to meet expectations. The online version was corrected.


Anita Hill As Role Model for France

"France is having its Anita Hill moment. When the law professor testified before a Senate committee in 1991 that her former boss Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her, he denied everything and was elevated to the Supreme Court. But the hearings were a turning point. Women suddenly said that the Mad Men style of behavior they had put up with for so long at work - the leering, the inappropriate touching, the sexual banter - was not acceptable." - Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino in Time magazine, May 19.


"There's nothing we won't trade in, thoughtlessly, for a slightly better deal or just for the sake of variety - cellphone carriers, cable companies, houses, cars, spouses." - From Matt Bai's June 8 online "Caucus" column.

Shame That Israeli PM Netanyahu, U.S. Conservatives Ignoring Obama's "Nuance"

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told President Obama on Friday that he shared his vision for a peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and then promptly listed a series of nonnegotiable conditions that have kept the two sides at an impasse for years....On Thursday, Mr. Obama said for the first time that those borders should to be the starting point for negotiations to create a Palestinian state, though he emphasized that they would be adjusted to some degree through land swaps to account for Israeli settlements. Mr. Netanyahu simply ignored that nuance - as did many conservative critics here in Washington - further exacerbating tensions with the administration." - From Steven Lee Myers' lead story, May 21.


For Former Reporter, Generosity and Compassion = Higher Taxes

"President Obama trusts America's generous and compassionate nature, that our rugged individualism is tempered by a belief that we're all connected. In his speech on budget reform on April 13, he celebrated 'our belief that those who benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more.'....I don't just mean Tea Partiers' revulsion at the government spending 'our money,' or Republican Paul Ryan's Reverse Robin Hood gambit to cut trillions from spending on social programs in order to pay for a tax cut for the rich. The budgetary policy of the United States has been the least generous in the industrial world for a very long time....But perhaps [Obama] shouldn't trust Americans' generosity and compassion to simply carry the day on Capitol Hill. To build the America he extols he is going to have to fight for it." - Eduardo Porter, economics reporter turned editorial board member, May 23. 


Blame the Right for Everything: Times Ludicrously Labels 9-11 Truthers 'Right-Wing'

"For nearly 20 years, an East Village journalist named Bill Weinberg has been a familiar late-night voice on the left-leaning radio station WBAI-FM (99.5), ruminating about radical politics, global turmoil and life in New York City. In mid-March, however, the station canceled Mr. Weinberg's program, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade, after he accused WBAI of promoting fringe right-wing commentators and conspiracy theories claiming that the United States government was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center." - Colin Moynihan in the May 27 Metro section.

Special Election Victory "Galvanizing" Dems for Elections 17 Months Away?

"But the victory in New York was galvanizing for Democrats, and for now at least has given them confidence that they can use Medicare to press their broader case that Republicans are going too far in their drive to cut spending and reduce the reach of government while continuing to provide tax breaks for the wealthy. Democrats intend to seize on that issue, which could help them recapture older voters, who rallied to Republicans in the last election." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse, May 31.


Loathing U.S. Wars Is So 2003 - Everyone in Libya Loves U.S., Obama Administration

"Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated hereabouts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country - even those with 100,000 American troops - in probably half a century or more. People smile and go out of their way to say hello to them, and are almost shockingly courteous. It is that oddest of oddities, an Arab war zone where foreign joggers are regarded, not with hostility or even that sympathetic puzzlement reserved for the insane, but with a friendly wave or a toot on the horn....Many Libyan parents with newborn girls are reportedly naming them Susan, in honor of Susan E. Rice, the Obama administration's ambassador to the United Nations, for her vote in the Security Council in favor of establishing the no-fly zone. French visitors find an even warmer reception, and accolades to President Nicolas Sarkozy are graffitied on walls everywhere." - Rod Nordland in Benghazi, Libya, May 29.


Ignorant Republicans Don't Understand Importance of Raising the Debt Limits

"Many Republicans have also made comments indicating that they do not understand or do not care that an increase in the debt limit is needed not only for new spending but also to cover Social Security checks, military pay and myriad other obligations previously agreed to, as well as for payments to creditors holding Treasury bonds." - Jackie Calmes in the June 1 lead story.


"Modern Whiff of Jim Crow" From Today's G.O.P.

"Republicans said the measure would save money, a claim as phony as saying widespread fraud necessitates ID cards. The North Carolina elections board, and many county boards, said it would actually cost more money, because they would have to open more voting sites and have less flexibility allocating staff members. Black lawmakers called it what it is: a modern whiff of Jim Crow." - From the lead editorial on June 6 opposing Republican attempts to require voters to have identification.

Privileged Columnist Calls for Others to Own Less

"We will realize, [environmentalist Paul Gilding] predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less." - Globe-trotting columnist Thomas Friedman, who owns a 11,400 square foot mansion in Bethesda, MD.


The GOP Has Already Blown the 2012 Congressional Elections

"Democrats scored an upset in one of New York's most conservative Congressional districts on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the national Republican Party in a race that largely turned on the party's plan to overhaul Medicare. The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party's commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections." - Raymond Hernandez, May 25.


"A referendum on Obama, or isolated local contests?" - Text box on November 2, 2009, the day before Republican wins in governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia.

Koch a Libertarian, But Left-Wing Soros Mere Gives to "Other Causes"

"David H. Koch, top, has given generously to a libertarian group, and George Soros has donated millions to other causes." - Photo caption under a picture of David Koch on top of a smaller one of George Soros, accompanying a Stephanie Strom story on wealthy political donors.

Republicans' Failed Appeal to "Greedy Geezers, " Tea Party Political Illiterates"

"The bet was audacious from the beginning, and given the miserable, low-down tenor of contemporary politics, not unfathomable: Could you divide the country between greedy geezers and everyone else as a way to radically alter the social contract? But in order for the Republican plan to turn Medicare, one of most popular government programs in history, into a much-diminished voucher system, the greed card had to work....Give the Republicans credit for honesty and showing their true colors. And their plan is at least a starting point compared with those Tea Party political illiterates who waved signs urging government to keep its hands off their government health care." - Former reporter Timothy Egan in a May 17 column.


Speaking of Tasteless...

"In downtown Baghdad, a police headquarters has been painted two shades of purple: lilac and grape. The central bank, a staid building in many countries, is coated in bright red candy cane stripes. Multicolored fluorescent lights cover one of the city's bridges, creating a Hawaiian luau effect. Blast walls and security checkpoints stick out because they are often painted in hot pink. Baghdad has weathered invasion, occupation, sectarian warfare and suicide bombers. But now it faces a new scourge: tastelessness." - Michael Schmidt and Yasir Ghazi from Baghdad, May 15.