"I know there are some people who actually believe that the Times has a partisan or ideological 'agenda' - the favorite word of critics on the right AND the left. There are even a few people who think the news coverage and editorial page operate in lockstep as part of a liberal cabal. The vice president is much too experienced and sophisticated, I suspect, to really believe that. I won't pretend that reporters' stories are never shaped by liberal bias (more accurately liberal assumptions about the world) but I think those instances are relatively rare, and I fight to filter them our [sic] and deplore them when they get into the paper. But that's not an 'agenda.'" - Executive Editor Bill Keller, in an e-mail sent to Dick Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems in 2004 and reprinted in Stephen Hayes' new biography of the vice president.
Never Missing a Chance to Pontificate
"Fans who tolerate the repetitiveness and ideological bankruptcy of the 'Rush Hour' franchise, for example, may be testaments to the power of hope and a need for familiarity at a time when the Iraq war continues unabated, pensions and polar ice disappear, and Al Qaeda videos enjoy wider distribution than Sundance winners." - Movie reviewer Jeanette Catsoulis on this summer's plethora of sequels, August 26.
Supporting the Troops with Higher Taxes and a Draft
"Senior American military officers speaking privately also say that the essential elements that brought victory in World War II - a total commitment by the American people and the government, and a staggering economic commitment to rebuild defeated adversaries - do not exist for the Iraq war. The wars in Korea and Vietnam also involved considerable national sacrifice, including tax increases and conscription." - Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker, August 23.
Flashback: "From bases in Iraq and across the United States to the Pentagon and the military's war colleges, officers and enlisted personnel quietly raise a question for political leaders: if America is truly on a war footing, why is so little sacrifice asked of the nation at large? There is no serious talk of a draft to share the burden of fighting across the broad citizenry, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions. There are not even concerted efforts like the savings-bond drives or gasoline rationing that helped to unite the country behind its fighting forces in wars past." - Shanker from July 24, 2005.
Leonardo DiCaprio: Saving the World, One Movie at a Time
"To judge from all the gas-guzzlers still fouling the air and the plastic bottles clogging the dumps, it appears that the news that we are killing ourselves and the world with our greed and garbage hasn't sunk in. That's one reason 'The 11th Hour,' an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity, is such essential viewing. It may not change your life, but it may inspire you to recycle that old slogan-button your folks pinned on their dashikis back in the day: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." - Movie critic Manohla Dargis on actor-activist Leonardo DiCaprio's apocalyptic environmental documentary, August 17.
Disturbing "Militarism" in Kiddie Robot Movie
"Part of the reason I've strayed from discussing 'Rush Hour 3' is that there's not much to say about the actual movie. It's a generically crummy action flick. It's ugly. It's noisy. It's stupid. And unlike, say, 'Transformers,' which sells militarism alongside children's toys, it doesn't raise hackles, much less blood pressure." - Manohla Dargis, August 10.
Gee, Wonder What "Reporter" Myers Thinks of Bush's Iraq Strategy
"President Bush's Iraq strategy faces a crisis of faith these days - from the American public. And he is confronting it the way he has previous crises: with a relentless campaign to persuade people to see things his way....'We are still in the early stages of our new operations,' Mr. Bush said in the radio address broadcast Saturday, as if there were not those who fervently wished the country was in the later stages, preparing to bring the troops home....Critics have called Mr. Bush's ever upbeat message delusional. His rationale for the war has shifted so much since 2003 that any new pitch will have skeptics. His analogy last week between the war in Iraq and the epic struggles of World War II, the Korean War and, especially, the Vietnam War was ridiculed by some as revisionist or simply inaccurate." - Steven Lee Myers from his "White House Memo" of August 27.
And the Award for Worst Extended Metaphor of the Year Goes to...
"New religions do not arise every day, so serious note should be taken when a belief moves from cult status to bona fide faith. Recently a nascent creed has stolen the hearts and minds of thousands of young Americans. Its key tenets include the idea that everyone gets along really well in high school, and thus that being a teenager is super fun. The name of this new religion is 'High School Musical.'....Just as new faiths grow out of old belief systems (see Judaism and Christianity), 'High School Musical' is essentially derived from a previous mythology promulgated in the latter days of the 20th century. Namely, 'Grease.' (That religion has of course not wholly died out; indeed, representatives of a new sect emerge on Broadway this very month.)" - Theatre critic Charles Isherwood on the sequel to the Disney Channel hit "High School Musical," August 11.
Straight out of Michael Moore Fantasyland
"The fact that none [of Republican candidate Mitt Romney's sons] have served in the armed forces is a potentially sensitive point, given how badly stretched the nation's military has become with the conflict in Iraq and the nearly unanimous support for the war on the part of the Republican candidates....Politicians should try to envision whether they believe in a war enough that they would send their own children, said Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, an antiwar group made up of more than 3,600 military families. 'If this war is so important, why is it O.K. for you to support our loved ones fighting it but not send your own sons?' said Ms. Lessin, whose stepson joined the Marines after college and went to Iraq." - From an August 15 story by reporter Michael Luo.
The "Much More Acceptable" Leftists at Daily Kos
"In fact, the online 'progressive movement' led now by people like [Markos Moulitsas Zuniga], a former Republican and U.S. Army veteran, has become much more acceptable and palatable to centrist and leading Democrats. And prominent or recognizable enough that the Republicans are now trying to link the 2008 candidates and Democratic party to a group it deems the far left - the liberal blogosphere." - Kate Phillips' blog post on the Times political blog "The Caucus," August 4.
Reality Check: "Let the people see what war is like. This isn't an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush's folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]. They aren't in Iraq because of orders, or because they are there trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them." - From a posting, later deleted, by Moulitsas in April 2004 after the murder, burning, and dismemberment of four American contractors in Fallujah.
Double Standards on "Snitching"
"The crooked circle Michael Vick drew around himself has tripped and squeezed him. The first to fail Vick was Davon Boddie, a cousin and personal chef. His marijuana possession charge in April led police to a white house with black buildings behind it on Moonlight Road in Surry County, Va. The first to flip on Vick was Tony Taylor, a fast friend from Newport News, Va., with an arrest record for drug trafficking and a traffic record for reckless driving. He pleaded guilty last month in the macabre dogfighting case that has consumed the N.F.L. The latest to betray Vick is Quanis L. Phillips, a friend since middle school." - From "Vick Is Trapped in His Circle of Friends," Selena Roberts' August 19 column on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, accused of arranging dogfights and killing dogs at his home in Virginia.
Selena Roberts on the Duke lacrosse case March 31, 2006. The rape allegations were later proven a hoax.