Own a big house? Well, watch out because Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) wants to bankrupt you. According to the August 24 Baltimore Sun, Dingell plans to propose a “cutoff of mortgage-interest tax deductions for all houses with more than 3,000 square feet.” The culprit is, of course, global warming. Dingell heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has been looking for ways to appease the Gore wing of the party without hurting the auto manufacturers Dingell represents. "In order to address the issue of climate change, we must address the issue of consumption," he said in the article. Dingell... continue reading
Several years ago I was visiting with a neighbor, a career military man, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I asked him what was his most harrowing experience. None of those, he answered. He then walked me through his assignment in the military police, in San Francisco during the 50s, going undercover to penetrate the darkest corner of society's underside and expose what to most was simply unthinkable: the snuff-film world, the dark, seedy rooms where men sat, having paid hundreds of dollars apiece, watching grainy 8 millimeter footage of real humans being tortured and killed. We... continue reading
One of these days, CNN will have to dispense with the ominous music it uses for Christian documentaries and go for the full effect, using the Jaws soundtrack. Last night, in the third segment of a six-hour series called God's Warriors , CNN served up a two-hour, heady brew of fear, distortion and manipulative media techniques to paint a scary picture of conservative Christians in America. The first two segments, featuring Muslims and Jews, reportedly racked up just over two million viewers per night. All three segments will air again late Saturday and Sunday evenings. Reporter Christiane Amanpour generally presented... continue reading
Roger Cohen, columnist for the Times' international edition, is going temporarily transatlantic, filling in for regular columnist Nicholas Kristof, who is on book leave. His first fill-in column, " Sarkozy's New Order " (Times Select $ required) reminded Times Watch of his past reportorial slant, including a May 2005 gem in which Cohen speculated on how a possible credit crunch might convince ignorant lower-class Republicans to stop voting for so-called "values" and vote for the party that represents their genuine, economic interests - you know, Democrats. Cohen sticks to his foreign policy beat in his Thursday column, ostensibly about French... continue reading
Thursday's lead editorial, " The C.I.A. Report ," took a jaundiced anti-Bush look at the C.I.A.'s assessment of pre-9-11 intelligence failures, written in 2005 and finally released yesterday. Predictably, the editorial focused on what it obviously considered the most important part of the story, blaming Bush for inaction - specifically, for distracting C.I.A. director George Tenet through its "neo-conservative agenda." In the Times vision of the world, again Bill Clinton completely escapes blame and is credited for things he did not do. "The C.I.A. inspector general's report on the agency's failures before Sept. 11 was devastating - but not because... continue reading
President Bush's speech before a gathering of Veterans of Foreign Wars drew attention with his provocative comparison to Vietnam, in which he reminded Americans that the U.S. pullout from Vietnam led to millions being killed in Asia. The media jumped on Bush for alleged hypocrisy in comparing the situation in Iraq with Vietnam, even though the liberal press itself has long invoked the failure of Vietnam when discussing Iraq. Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker's "News Analysis," "Historians Question Bush's Read of Lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq," continued in that slanted vein, finding sources to criticize Bush's outlook in his speech... continue reading
News shows have highlighted a volatile stock market and housing concerns in recent months. But even when consumers have had reason to cheer – like a 44-cent-per-gallon drop in gas prices – the networks have misreported it by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio. Since prices began declining on May 25, the Friday before Memorial Day, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gas has dropped a total of 44 cents. That’s 14 cents lower than this time last year, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. The news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC have told a different tale – emphasizing... continue reading
Next up from the creator of one of the filthiest shows on television: a series about transsexuals. Ryan Murphy, creator of Nip/Tuck , the FX network's ode to plastic surgery, graphic sex and depravity, has sold a new pilot to FX about “the metamorphosis of a married sportswriter with children who comes to the realization he is a transsexual.” At least that's how the pilot was originally pitched. Now, according to the TV column in The Washington Post , the conflicted main character is a gynecologist, not a sportswriter. (For those not paying close attention to the transsexual news of... continue reading
The news media are fascinated by sex, but one of the industry's leading lights apparently lacks the maturity to cover the topic. NBC anchor Brian Williams couldn't help revealing his disbelief that people above the age of 50 could possibly enjoy sex. A new study released today about the sex lives of older Americans indicates people don't stop having sex just because they're aging. The story made the front pages of USA Today and The Washington Post, and “everyone else mentions” it, according to Slate. NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News both featured segments about this study during their... continue reading
Wednesday's front-page "News Analysis" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Rutenberg delved into President Bush's dissatisfaction with Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his failure to bring Sunnis and Shiites together politically - and strangely finds Bush "already facing skepticism" about the troop surge in Iraq (um, didn't that surge start some months ago?) "It was not quite the vote of no confidence delivered by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who on Monday said Mr. Maliki should quit. But it was a striking attempt by the White House to distance itself... continue reading