The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, November 19, 2004  

With Media Miscellany
November 19, 2004

This Isn't Working [*]
The Coalition of the Willing . . . The Coalition of the Disappearing . . . The Coalition of the Forget-About-It. The Associated Press is reporting this afternoon: "Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, and Greece [have] refused to contribute troops to the U.S.-led coalition that overthrew President Saddam Hussein and to the postwar campaign against insurgents."

More of the Same
It's already clear the second term of President Idiot Mittens will offer more of the same, only more extreme, more reactionary, and more biased in favor of the rich. The Washington Post provides a rough sketch of the administration's ideas on "reforming the tax code" ("Bush Plans Tax Code Overhaul," by Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum): "[T]he administration plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capitals gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment and take other steps intended to simplify the system and encourage economic growth, according to several people who are advising the White House or are familiar with the deliberations." Why is it when the Democrats try to help the poor the right wing screams "Class warfare!" but when Republicans coddle their base scarcely a word is spoken?

There are Limits
Judith Miller, last seen in the simultaneous employ of the New York Times, Ahmed Chalabi, and Jason Epstein, can't be too happy to read the latest news out of Providence, R.I.:

Jim Taricani, an investigative reporter for Channel 10, was found guilty of criminal contempt yesterday for refusing to reveal the source of an undercover videotape that showed a City Hall official accepting a cash bribe.

After a trial that lasted less than an hour and that was based entirely on arguments made by lawyers, Chief U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres said "the evidence is clear and overwhelming and undisputed" that Taricani had willfully violated the law for refusing to obey a court order to disclose the source of the leaked FBI videotape, even if he felt he had good reasons for doing so.

Taricani now faces up to six months in prison as punishment for his refusal to reveal his confidential source.

I feel very strongly about journalists protecting their sources, but I also have a hard time with Miller's case. Although I wouldn't want her to serve time, I wouldn't be completely unhappy about it.

Powell's Intelligence
Secretary of State Colin Powell's allegedly extemporaneous remarks about Iran's nuclear capabilities and intentions "caused surprise and confusion in Washington on Thursday, and members of Congress demanded that he provide more details," according to a report in today's Los Angeles Times ("Powell's Talk of Arms Has Fallout," by Sonni Efron, Tyler Marshall, and Bob Drogin). The Times also reports our European allies were caught off-guard. Moreover, "Some sources raised questions about the credibility of the intelligence. . . . One source . . . described the intelligence mentioned by Powell as 'weak.' Some administration officials 'were surprised he went public on something that was weak and, because it was weak, was not supposed to be used,' the source said."

Dangerous Drugs?
Forget about the imaginary dangers of Canadian pharmaceuticals, some experts believe there are enough dangerous drugs on the market here at home.

A Timely Reminder
The annual fund drive for Rittenhouse continues. Click here to donate.

[* Note: Additional items may be posted to “Political Notes” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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