Hacking Craig’s List And The New York Times

I picked up my copy of the NY Times for Friday, October 5, early this morning down at the bottom of my driveway. After I took it out of its blue plastic sleeve I noticed one headline that I realized merited a blog post, Guilty Plea Stands, but Craig Won’t Quit Senate.

The printed copy of the Times contains the following sub-headline below the title, though I couldn’t find it in the web version:

Republican Leaders Revive Possibility of Ethics Inquiry

The article includes the following:

Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, defying the wishes of many in his own Republican Party, said Thursday that he would remain in the Senate through next year despite a court ruling against him in Minnesota, where he had sought to rescind his guilty plea stemming from an undercover sex sting.

His decision was a major disappointment to Republican leaders, who had hoped Mr. Craig would make good on his pledge and spare them from the potential political liability of having a senior lawmaker who has become a national punch line.

“Eureka!” I thought, and then started composing in my mind a blog post with the title “Mangling the NY Times” in which I would explore the possible stories that could be written by slightly altering the headline:

  • Republican Leaders Revive Possibility of Ethics: WASHINGTON — Republican leaders announced today that they were considering the possibility of reviving ethics in their party, folllowing the catastrophic loss they suffered in the 2008 elections …
  • Republican Leaders Revive: WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in the Senate, which now has only five Republican members, today spoke of their hopes to revive the party …
  • Republican Leaders Revive Possibility of Inquiry: WASHINGTON — Republican leaders today announced their intent to invite inquiry by our citizens into their affairs, ending an eight-year period of silence begun during the early days of the late Bush administration …
  • Republican Leaders Revive, Possibly: WASHINGTON — Senator Larry Craig today announced his plans to remain in the Senate, becoming the only Republican to so remain, following the recent slimming-down of Republican ranks in Washington…
  • Republican Leader Craig Stalls Ethics Inquiry: WASHINGTON — Republican Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, speaking from the Minneapolis Airport bathroom, today announced his plan to stall all attempts into inquiry of ethical lapses. “I’m an expert on stalls and stalling tactics,” said Sen. Craig. He went on,”I am thus going to urge my four fellow Republican Senators to stall any attempt by the perfidious Democrats to investigate alleged Republican ethical lapses. We all know the full extent of the lapses, so why waste the taxpayer’s money investigating something as sure as the rising of the sun every day in Washington …
  • Republican Leaders Revive Tom DeLay : WASHINGTON — Republican leaders today revived the body of former Representative Tom DeLay, who took his own life last year by ingesting a lethal dose of the rat poison he used in his early days as an exterminator, before he was elected to the U.S. House, where he spent his career trying to exterminate Democrats, with notable success. “Tom is our only hope,” said Sen. Larry Craig. “He was the best I’ve ever seen at ferreting out rats by making their acquaintance, and all we Republicans thus got to know him quite well. He’s our only hope, dead or alive. Without him, I fear all Republicans will soon be dead…
  • Republican Leaders Are Spurred On By Craig’s List: WASHINGTON — Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho today spoke from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, saying, “I have in my hand a list of fifty-seven former Republican Senators. Though there are only five of us left in the Senate, I am today submitting a bill to set aside 57 billion dollars to build a national museum to celebrate the glorious past of our party. To be erected in my own back yard by my brother-in-law, who I am sure will draw comfort from my dog –a dog I have named after my brother-in-law — supervising this arduous task, I am confident that many citizens will take special joy in the new room giving a complete history of Republican ethics, all in a room of only fifty-seven square feet….
  • Republican Leaders Revive Dogged Inquiry: WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho today announced that he has just acquired a dog and has named it after his brother-in-law. He said, “I urge my fellow four Republican Senators to name their dogs after their brothers-in-law, acquiring both a dog and a brother-in-law if necessary, as it has been shown that doing so is the best way to reach the heart of the American electorate.
  • Republican Leaders Revive Dog: WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho today served as best man at the wedding of Republican Senator Mitch “Mad Dog” O’Connell in Lexington, Kentucky. Sen. O’Connell married a woman from Kentucky whose brother has agreed to take the name of Sen. O’Connell’s late and lamented dog, and the cermony was held alongside the grave of the departed canine. Sen. O’Connell said this was the most forecful way to encourage the remaining other three Republican Senators to follow the new Republican strategy of reaching out to the heart of the American electorate. The Senators jointly announced the slogan of a new national campaign: It’s A Dog’s World. Stand up And Be A Republican Man. Let A Dog Bite You So The Voters Won’t.”

Then I read the other headlines of Times. I also read the headlines on the Op-Ed page, and also the film review that leads the Weekend Arts Section. Collectively they confirmed what Republicans have been saying for decades. The nom de guerre of the New York Times, “Gray Lady,” is just a ruse to hide the true identity of the New York Times — the “Red Lady” that is at the heart of a vast Russian conspiracy. Indeed, the Times is Queen of Hearts of this conspiracy, which is currently led by its King, Vladimir Putin, who has become so used to running the conspiracy and the Russian government that he has recently announced his intent to continue his leadership as a member of the Russian Parliament.

To wit, here are some of the headlines that can be found on the front page of this historic edition of the New York Times, “All the Conspiracy That’s Fit to Print.”

Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones

In this isolated Taliban stronghold in eastern Afghanistan, American paratroopers are fielding what they consider a crucial new weapon in counterinsurgency operations here: a soft-spoken civilian anthropologist named Tracy.

Tracy, who asked that her surname not be used for security reasons, is a member of the first Human Terrain Team, an experimental Pentagon program that assigns anthropologists and other social scientists to American combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her team’s ability to understand subtle points of tribal relations — in one case spotting a land dispute that allowed the Taliban to bully parts of a major tribe — has won the praise of officers who say they are seeing concrete results.

I hope Ms. Tracy is an expert on the cultural role of dogs, or knows a fellow anthropologist who is, as it would be very helpful for the dwindling Republican leadership to have sound scientific evidence of close linkage between dog and man, the discoveries of Charles Darwin notwithstanding.

Bill Applies U.S. Laws to Contractors

With the armed security force Blackwater USA and other private contractors in Iraq facing tighter scrutiny, the House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would bring all United States government contractors in the Iraq war zone under the jurisdiction of American criminal law. The measure would require the F.B.I. to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing.

The bill was approved 389 to 30, despite strong opposition from the White House.

No wonder the White House opposed this bill, as it has labored for years to avoid having U.S. law apply to rich people and Republicans, as most rich people are Republicans, just as many Republicans — especially the elected ones — are rich people.

Debate Erupts on Techniques Used by C.I.A

The disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions on interrogation on Thursday set off a bitter round of debate over the treatment of terrorism suspects in American custody and whether Congress has been adequately informed of legal policies.

Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded to see the classified memorandums, disclosed Thursday by The New York Times, that gave the Central Intelligence Agency expansive approval in 2005 for harsh interrogation techniques.

Left unsaid was that perhaps the White House had enlisted former Representative Tom DeLay, an exterminator in his early days, to study the use of rat poison to ferret out suspected Democrats.

More Doctors in Texas After Malpractice Caps

In Texas, it can be a long wait for a doctor: up to six months.

That is not for an appointment. That is the time it can take the Texas Medical Board to process applications to practice.

Four years after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors are responding as supporters predicted, arriving from all parts of the country to swell the ranks of specialists at Texas hospitals and bring professional health care to some long-underserved rural areas.

The influx, raising the state’s abysmally low ranking in physicians per capita, has flooded the medical board’s offices in Austin with applications for licenses, close to 2,500 at last count.

I bet a lot of those new Texas doctors are New York expatriates. While now a New Yorker at heart, and one who intends to remain in New York, I can offer them some guidance in their new lives in Bush country, as I was born in Abilene, Texas. “Howdy Do, Doc.”

From the Metro Section:

Giuliani Pulled No Punches on the Radio

So what should a mayor do? Just let constituents call his weekly radio program on WABC — the one called “Live From City Hall … With Rudy Giuliani” — and whine and complain and get in his face without answering back?

Puh-leeze.

When Joe from Manhattan called in 1998 to complain about the city government giving special parking privileges to a white-shoe law firm, Mayor Giuliani emitted an audible groan into the microphone.

“Well, let me give you another view of that rather than the sort of Marxist class concept that you’re introducing,” Mr. Giuliani said.

This article shows the man most feared by the Times’s conspirators, Rudy Giuliani. Every New Yorker knows of the days almost seventy years ago when New York’s most beloved mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, cemented his place in the city’s heart by reading the comics over the radio during a newspaper strike. Yet this story is accompanied by perhaps the most idiotic picture of Mayor G. I have yet seen, looking as hapless as an old hound dog, or someone whose dog has just peed on his pants.

The city named an airport after Mayor LaGuardia, and I suggest the dog pound should be named after Rudy in a similar gesture.

From the Fashion Section:

In a Garden of Flowers, Not a Whiff of Cynicism

The rising tension between fetishism and femininity in the spring collections shown here this week has become, one might say, a battle of gladiators versus gladioli.

Stella McCartney and Dries van Noten, following on the rosy heels of the Balenciaga show on Tuesday, are two designers who clearly belong in the camp that favors country-club garden prints.

To be followed perhaps by:

Republican Leaders Revive Possibility of Ethics

WASHINGTON — Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho today came out of the closet in his new role as leader of the Republican Senators, wearing a charming dress with a country-club garden print…

From the Op-Ed page:

Conservatives Are Such Jokers, by Paul Krugman.

But Ronald Reagan thought the issue of hunger in the world’s richest nation was nothing but a big joke. Here’s what Reagan said in his famous 1964 speech “A Time for Choosing,” which made him a national political figure: “We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a diet.”

Today’s leading conservatives are Reagan’s heirs. If you’re poor, if you don’t have health insurance, if you’re sick — well, they don’t think it’s a serious issue. In fact, they think it’s funny.

On Wednesday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded S-chip, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health insurance to an estimated 3.8 million children who would otherwise lack coverage.

In anticipation of the veto, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, had this to say: “First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it’s a good idea. I’m happy that the president’s willing to do something bad for the kids.” Heh-heh-heh.

Most conservatives are more careful than Mr. Kristol.

No, they aren’t.

The Republican Collapse, by David Brooks

.

To put it bluntly, over the past several years, the G.O.P. has made ideological choices that offend conservatism’s Burkean roots. This may seem like an airy-fairy thing that does nothing more than provoke a few dissenting columns from William F. Buckley, George F. Will and Andrew Sullivan. But suburban, Midwestern and many business voters are dispositional conservatives more than creedal conservatives. They care about order, prudence and balanced budgets more than transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts. It is among these groups that G.O.P. support is collapsing.

We’ll get a good reading on the state of the collapse come November 2008.

From the Arts Section:

Michael Clayton (2007), by Manohla Dargis.

Dark in color, mood and outraged worldview, “Michael Clayton” is a film that speaks to the way we live now. Or at least, the way certain masters of the universe do, as they prowl the jungle in their sleek rides, armed with killer instincts and the will to power. It’s a story about ethics and their absence, a slow-to-boil requiem for American decency in which George Clooney, the ultimate in luxury brands and playboy of the Western world, raises the sword in the name of truth and justice and good. Well, someone’s got to do it.

Indeed, the Republicans have accepted this not-very-thankless task, making oodles of boodle in the process.

From the Front Page to the Arts Page, from the Metro Section to the Arts Section, it was all deemed “Fit To Print” this Friday, in Vol CLVII…No. 540,008 of the New York Times.

Oops, Mea Culpa. I forgot the Sports Section. Here you go:

Yankees’ Season of Catch-Up Continues

In the first game of their second season, the Yankees held to the script that got them here. They have fallen behind emphatically and need another comeback to survive.

It is only one game, of course, but what a game it was for the Cleveland Indians. They used four home runs to crush the Yankees, 12-3, in Game 1 of their American League division series on Thursday. The Indians battered Chien-Ming Wang, got four runs batted in from Kenny Lofton and four nearly perfect innings from their bullpen.

“With what we had to deal with pretty much all year, especially since we dug a hole for ourselves, we understand that we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Manager Joe Torre said. “If somebody beats us up, you tip your hat to them and come back the next day.”

The Republicans will, I estimate, be playing catch-up ball for decades, trying to recover from the damage inflicted to their team by the former owner of the Texas Rangers, George Bush, who should join them in tipping their hats to the Democrats.

Olympic Champion Acknowledges Use of Steroids

The former track star Marion Jones, one of the most accomplished female athletes in the world, is expected to plead guilty today to lying to federal agents about her use of performance-enhancing drugs, two lawyers connected with the case said yesterday. The admission would end years of denial and would likely lead to her being stripped of the record five medals she won in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Ms. Jones, 31, who won three gold and two bronze medals in 2000, would become the first athlete convicted in the cases arising out of the four-year Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative investigation that has fueled a continuing series of steroid scandals in sports. Five men who manufactured, marketed or supplied the drugs to athletes have pleaded guilty, and three of them have served time in prison.

Ms. Jones is expected to plead guilty to one count of making false statements to federal agents …

Ms. Jones is young enough that she may well be joined in the slammer by Olympic-class politicos in the years to come.

Politics on Steroids is a dangerous sport, as is Denial.

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 5, 2007 at 14:50 | Permalink | Reply

    The WSJ’s “Washington Wire” has linked to this post several times today, as part of their “Related Articles and Blogs Section:”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/10/05/3264/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/10/03/email-crisis-strikes-homeland-security/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/07/22/more-trouble-on-trade/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2007/10/04/craig-says-hell-serve-out-his-term/

    I guess I’m helping the WSJ grow their business…that’s ok by me, as they are helping grow my little non-profit blogging gig.

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