Our linkfest taking you to sites of varying viewpoints. Links do not necessarily reflect the views of TMV or its writers.
Obama Discards “Enemy Combatants” Term: The Obama administration has fine-tuned its terminology in dealing with terrorism suspects and, as expected, weblogs are reacting according to well-established individual perspectives. One of the best summaries is by LA Times blogger Andrew Malcolm:
According to some estimates, perhaps five dozen or so of the men formerly known as enemy combatants who were released after enforced unarmed sabbaticals in Cuba made their way back to the war-torn region to resume combat duties, making these ex-government guests — what? — “renewed enemy combatants”?
Friday’s linguistic change was yet another handy way for the new administration to differentiate itself from the Bush administration, which used the term enemy combatants to avoid giving certain international legal rights which could in the previous administration’s controversial mind have permitted them to become renewed enemy combatants sooner.
That’s a stand that former constitutional law teacher Obama disagreed with in the recent presidential campaign. And as our colleague Frank James astutely notes over here, Obama’s move is a rare instance of a president voluntarily relinquishing some presidential powers.
Read it in full. Another reaction, from Brian Buetler:
Seems at a glance, though, that this is a marked improvement over the status quo, but not everything civil libertarians would have liked to see.
In this decision and some others, the Obama administration seems to be pulling back to distinguish itself from the Bush administration, but not quite as much as some in the Democratic party have wanted. A sign of it being more centrist — or leaving Presidential power options open?
The Bigger Issue On Obama And National Security is raised by Marc Ambinder. He wonders if Obama changed the national security paradigm by endorsing a Bush-era decision to ask that a lawsuit filed by a detainee against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld be thrown out. He then writes:
The other policy change today marks the beginning of a fairly dramatic departure from Bush administration’s policy. Unlike President Bush, President Obama does not believe that the executive branch has the inherent authority to detain battlefield captives; indeed, according to the administration, Congress can authorize this exercise of power. The motion today does not preclude the executive branch from claiming some sort of power, too. Indeed, by limiting its scope to Guantanamo, it preserves (for now) the Bush administration’s assertion of executive authority when it comes to detainees held elsewhere.
That question is under formal review — but a Justice Department official acknowledged that it would be quite discordant if the administration were to suddenly reclaim the majority of the power that today it relinquished.
Bottom line: in the future, Congress and the president will determine the scope of executive detention authority. And — and — those detainees will get their cases heard in court.
In other words: the Obama administration is ushering in some change but leaving its options open in the future if there’s an emergency, but acknowledging the role of another branch of government. And of detainees’ right to be seen before yet another branch.. It sounds as if the administration is moving the country back to the traditional checks and balances.
And Another Big Change…this time in the removal of a little known but significant amendment.
More Bad News For Newspapers: The Washington Post (one of my favorite newspapers) is essentially downsizing its content. Among other things, the biz section is to largely vanish although biz news will be elsewhere, and some comics will only be available online:
The Washington Post is eliminating its standalone Business section on weekdays and folding business coverage into the “A” front section, the newspaper announced Friday.
The Post is also eliminating daily stock listings. It will instead offer a half-page of statistics and graphics that will focus on prices of major and local stocks and other economic data.
Many newspapers have been eliminating standalone business sections to cut production costs amid plunging advertising revenue. Last month, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution announced similar plans, and earlier this month the Los Angeles Times shrunk from five to four daily sections.
Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said in a statement that the change also reflects “the increasing overlap of political and economic events” and allows the Post “to run a leaner, better-organized newspaper.”
That statement is typical newspaper “corporate speak.” The first part is correct The second part is ..ahem…baloney (or some other word that begins with “b”) since the paper wouldn’t be doing this if it didn’t have to. This is as much spin as listening to Ari Fleischer or James Carville say completely predictable things from completely predictable partisan talking points lists. One of the enduring ironies of the news biz is that newspaper editors talk about wanting sources to be candid but then in a crisis or embarrassment involving their newspaper they themselves issue a “statement” just as bland and just phony (and everyone knows it is) as scrutinized and “dissed’ sources do.
THE BOTTOM LINE UNVARNISHED TRUTH IS THIS: The excellent Post is hurting so it has to downsize and find a way to put out a cheaper and more profitable paper. So some things readers like and enjoy and expect won’t be there.
Saying a skunk’s spray smells like perfume won’t do it. These are tough times for the news biz. Why not just be candid? Here in San Diego, my alma mater, the San Diego Union-Tribune, which under former WaPoster JD Alexander in the 1980s had aspirations to be a regional Washington Post, is up for sale and seemingly shrinking by the week. So there’s a lot of this going around. Why not just be as totally upfront with readers as you demand that sources are with you? (FYI: “corporate speak” is as likely to vanish from daily newspapers as demands that sources answer without spin).
The Post, Its Management and Writers Are Truly Great but in some cases are they now packaging non news as news?
More On Texas President Chuck Norris: Yesterday we ran this post. Pajamas Media to day has this post about the leftist blogosphere “bleating” like sheep against Chuck Norris. The fact remains: if under George Bush you had some people on the far left even saying in passing that states should secede from the country or that there were leftist “cells” around the country ready to resist the government if it went too far to the right in the future, can you IMAGINE what would have happened? This whole attitude along with the “I wish he fails” shows how America’s right could do itself (and the country) a service by bolstering up thinking conservatives who offer more in affirmative policy suggestions, specific and passionate debates over what needs to be done — and start to ease away from rationalizing the enabling of attitudes and statements that would be have been unthinkable even under the Clinton administration.
HOW BAD HAS IT GOTTEN ON TALK RADIO? Yesterday, while driving from Santa Barbara to San Diego, I decided to listen to conservative talker Mark Levin. He seemed genuinely taken aback when a college age woman told him that he had inspired her and made her think so she was going to buy a rifle to get ready because there were lots of environmental whackos where she lived. He tried to clarify that he wasn’t calling for that and that he didn’t think it would ever come to where that would be necessary. You could hear him slip out of talk show showman mode (Levin is beating Michael Savage in NYC: both hosts launch into yelling tirades so they directly compete for the same listeners) and try to ensure that he wasn’t misunderstood. (Kudos to the bombastic Levin for that — he could have let it pass and he did not).
Why Republicans Are In Trouble With Many Americans: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who many believe wants to run for Prez, has announced he’ll reject federal stimulus money on principle. Of course, the trite, cliched comment which we would never make here is to wonder how people who have no jobs or are about to lose their homes in South Carolina would like to eat principle as their money runs out. We won’t say that. But his bigger problem –and for the Republicans — is that while he’s saying this is so bad for the state in the long term, he has put his beach house on sale for $3.5 million.
Just WATCH people criticize him unfairly. I mean, so why don’t the other residents of South Carolina who have lost their jobs and their main places of residence, put THEIR beach houses on sale, too?
More On Sy Hersh: He has won awards, and also made some sensationalistic revelations that didn’t quite pan out. Now the issue is: should we believe this guy when he says something startling if it isn’t actually written down? This piece in New York magazine suggests it’s wise to exercise a little restraint in our reactions — and our willingness to dish out unfettered belief in his credibility until we see some specifics since his verbal assertions are more less trustworthy than his writing (which some already distrust). I had editors on papers who’d look at a statement in an investigate piece and say: “This seems a little wild. Where’s the proof?” and they wouldn’t use it. People will see an investigative piece and, according to their biases, want to believe and disbelieve what they want to believe and disbelieve. But assertions and implications of being in the know don’t equal fact (which won’t stop Keith on the left and Sean or Bill on the right to use assertions and implications as truth if it fits their worldview).
A Great New News Aggregator: I have tried to skip giving Matt Drudge more traffic in recent years and look at some other smaller news aggregators. Some of them are QUITE good and we’ve done posts on them. One of the newest and best organized “news briefings” can be found on Cut To The News which I now visit every day.
America’s Home Grown Terrorists: Are we overlooking them? Or should we be understanding of them if we might share their political views?
A Great Idea On How To Raise Revenues From Oregon: how about taxing medical marijuana?
Is Obama Now Being Tested by Russia and China? Ed Morrissey:”Joe Biden warned us that Barack Obama would get tested by unfriendly nations in the first six months of his administration because of his inexperience. That prediction now looks like sunny optimism. Just days after China aggressively challenged the US Navy in international waters in the South China Sea, Russia now says they may start basing bombers in Venezuela — and Cuba.”
Go to the link to read it all.
Speaking Of Michael Steele: here are five reasons why he’s likely to NOT be given the boot now or resign via the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, still one of the best political analysts in both new and old media.
Who’s The White House’s Favorite Columnist? Apparently it’s this guy.
Will The White House Redeploy Some Troops to the U.S. Mexico border?
Guess Who Won’t Be At The Famous Gridiron Dinner On Mach 21? Barack Obama but he has a good reason (but you KNOW how Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity will spin it already..)
Watchman Is Big B.O. (but not the gym locker kind — that’s Variety talk for “box office”). Yet, not as much as Hollywood had expected. Here’s one reaction to the flick.
Controversy Over The AP and that Obama poster guy. Lawyers on both sides must be smiling (no need to outsource legal work to India on this case…)
The Franken-Coleman Senate Election Dispute goes on and on and on — and it’s likely to go ON. Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sounds like he is praying for it to go to the Supreme Court so that the result will be the same as the 2000 Bush-Gore controversy. Controversy, schmontroversy, if just one GOP-appointed judge provides the majority to get our guy in that seat what does it matter?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.