Archive for the ‘Washington Post’ Category

Obama Throws In The Towel

March 25, 2009

So much for “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Despite a huge Democratic majority in the congress and an undeniable bank of public (and media) adulation, Barack Obama looked like a scared rat at his news conference last night.

He is confident of one thing: his teleprompter.

Teleprompter White House: Packaged People, Messages

And his carefully polished speeches.

It looked to us that he is in over his head.

At least he is realizing now that this presidency gig is a lot harder than it looks.

For public officials, we like to ask after the event: “What was the message.”

What was the point?

Troops at war and we’ll win?  Nope.

We can climb any mountain?  Better bring the ski patrol.

He was aloof: retreating into his professor persona and talking past the reporters in the room.

We’re in a heap of trouble?  Maybe…

The New York Times reporter said:

“In the president’s news conference, Americans saw not the riveting speaker who addressed Congress last month, but the return of Barack Obama the lecturer.”

This was a news conference the president didn’t need to make — and should have avoided.


On the same day that a lawmaker offered to bailout newspapers, we saw why they are failing: even the president ignores them….

Who got the questions last night,  Ebony, Univision and other minority media…..


The Washington Post

WITH CONGRESS poised to rewrite his budget, President Obama subtly signaled last night that he understood that he could not have everything on his ambitious wish list. Granted, you had to be listening pretty closely to hear that. Mr. Obama reaffirmed his triumvirate of spending priorities — health care, energy and education — as essential to avoiding a repeat of the boom-and-bust cycle that helped produce the current economic crisis. “That’s why this budget,” he said, “is inseparable from this recovery: because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.”

But asked twice whether he would accept a budget that did not include provisions for additional tax cuts for the middle class, or that did not launch a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Obama demurred. Instead, he called for “a serious energy policy that frees ourselves from dependence on foreign oil and makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy” — implicitly suggesting that cap-and-trade, though he supports it, might have to wait. As for the middle-class tax cut that Mr. Obama would pay for with revenue from a cap-and-trade program, the president said, “we already had that” in the stimulus package. “We know that that’s going to be in place for at least the next two years. We had identified a specific way to pay for it. If Congress has better ideas in terms of how to pay for it, then we’re happy to listen.”
When Mr. Obama ticked off his “bottom line,” he included “serious efforts to reduce our budget deficit,” but the efforts in his budget are not serious enough. Cutting the deficit in half is an unimpressive promise given the state of the deficit; the more important question is getting deficits down to a sustainable level. Instead, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, Mr. Obama’s budget envisions spending over 23 percent of gross domestic product almost every year, while collecting less than 19 percent of GDP in taxes. If his priorities are important enough to spend money on, the president owes Congress and the country a vision of how he would generate sufficient revenue to meet the needs.

Mr. Obama appeared to signal flexibility in another area, too: stem cell research. When he announced a new policy on March 9, he said he would approve federal funding on stem cells derived from embryos, with no mention of limitations or restrictions; he said he would ask the National Institutes of Health to draw up regulations. Last night, unlike in his original announcement, he referred to “embryos that are typically about to be discarded,” of which many thousands exist in fertility clinics. Does that mean he might draw a line at the creation of embryos for the purpose of research? That’s unclear, but it would be a positive step if his comment means he will decide, rather than leaving to scientists, the question of whether to limit the research to embryos already slated for destruction.

You would not have known from the nearly hour-long news conference that Mr. Obama is commander in chief at a time when U.S. forces are engaged in two wars. He did not mention them, except to refer to veterans coming home, and, surprisingly, no one asked, even though his administration is nearing the end of a review of its strategy in Afghanistan. The questions reflected, perhaps, a country understandably preoccupied with its own problems; the world isn’t likely to indulge that inattention for long.


Telepromter President Goes Jumbotron!

Obama: Press Conference Hints at Class Warfare

President Obama failed to sell his budget plans to the American people

 President, Congress, Media “Vacant” in Time of Crisis

Obama stresses urgency of now for stimulus bill

February 5, 2009

Senate moderates from both political parties worked to cut as much as $100 billion from economic stimulus legislation and clear the way for the bill’s passage as President Barack Obama urged lawmakers to “rise to this moment.”

With the economy showing fresh signs of weakness, Obama said Thursday, “The time for talk is over. The time for action is now.”

Senate Democratic leaders said they hoped for passage of the legislation by Friday, and prospects appeared to hinge on agreement to a series of changes that would trim the size of a bill costing well over $920 billion.

Senate centrists met privately, and emerged saying they had made progress toward an accord.

“The president made a strong case for a proposal that would be in the neighborhood of $800 billion,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who met with Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

Obama has issued a series of increasing dire warnings in recent days as the Senate debated the legislation at the heart of his economic recovery plan, and Thursday was no different.

Appearing before employees at the Department of Energy, he called on lawmakers to “rise to this moment. No plan’s perfect,” he said. “There have been constructive changes made to this one over the last several weeks. I would love to see additional improvements today.”

Democratic congressional officials said the president had invited some of the Senate moderates to the White House to discuss possible changes in the measure.

In an op-ed piece in The Washington Post, the president argued that each day without his stimulus package, Americans lose more jobs, savings and homes. His message came as congressional leaders struggle to control the huge stimulus bill that’s been growing larger by the day in the Senate. The addition of a new tax break for homebuyers Wednesday evening sent the price tag well past $900 billion.

“This recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse,” Obama wrote in the newspaper piece.

He rejected the argument that more tax cuts are needed in the plan and that piecemeal measures would be sufficient. His latest plea came on the same day the economy dealt with another dose of bad news: A big jump in jobless claims and another round of weak retail sales.

Initial jobless claims rose to 626,000, a 26-year high, the Labor Department said. And the number of claims by people continuing to apply for unemployment benefits reached a new record of nearly 4.8 million.

The housing tax break was the most notable attempt to date to add help for the crippled industry and gave Republicans a victory as they work to remake the legislation more to their liking.

“It is time to fix housing first,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said Wednesday night as the Senate agreed without controversy to add the new tax break to the stimulus measure, at an estimated cost of nearly $19 billion.

Three swing-vote senators met with Obama at the White House on Wednesday to discuss possible cutbacks.

For their part, Senate Republicans signaled they would persist in their efforts to reduce spending in the measure, to add tax cuts and reduce the cost of mortgages for millions of homeowners.

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President Workout: Front Page News or Pure Tabloid?

December 30, 2008

Ah, the perks of media affection. On Christmas Day, The Washington Post delivered a Page One paean to Barack Obama‘s workout habits. The 1,233-word ode to Mr. Obama’s physical fitness read more like a Harlequin romance novel than an A-1 news article.

Sighed smitten reporter Eli Zaslow, “The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.” Drool cup to the newsroom, stat.

Mr. Zaslow imparted us with vital information about buff Bam’s regimen: “Obama has gone to the gym for about 90 minutes a day, for at least 48 days in a row.” The Washington Post enlightened us with more gushing commentary from Obama friends and associates, who explain how, as the subtitle of Mr. Zaslow’s opus put it, “Gym workouts help Obama carry the weight of his position.”

By Michelle Malkin
The Washington Times

For adoring journalists, you see, Mr. Obama’s workout fanaticism demonstrates the discipline and balance in his life. Apparently, what is good for Mr. Obama’s glistening pecs is good for the country. Mr. Zaslow quoted Obama Chicago crony Marty Nesbitt, who offered this diagnosis: “He doesn’t think of it as something he has to do – it’s his time for himself, a chance for him to reflect. It’s his break. He feels better and more revved up after he gets in his workout.”

And when Mr. Obama feels better, the skies will part, the sun will shine (in moderate, environmentally correct, non-global warming-inducing amounts, of course), and peace will reign worldwide!

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U.S. Combat Surgeon Killed In Iraq

December 27, 2008

John P. Pryor, 42, of Moorestown, the dedicated leader of the University of Pennsylvania’s trauma team and a decorated major in the Army Reserve who wrote eloquently about the painful parallels between battlefield deaths and urban homicides, was killed on Christmas by enemy fire in Iraq while serving as a combat surgeon.

Dr. Pryor deployed Dec. 6 and was with a risky frontline surgical unit when he was killed by shrapnel from a mortar round. It was his second tour of duty in Iraq.

DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer

Dr. Pryor, who was experienced and cool under pressure, was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and raised near Albany. He completed surgical training at the State University of New York in Buffalo, and came to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. After a fellowship in trauma surgery and critical care, he joined Penn’s surgical faculty and served as director of the hospital’s nationally recognized trauma program.

“JP was a magical man, with boundless energy and goodness,” said Dr. Pryor’s mentor at Penn, Dr. C. William Schwab. “He was a devoted son, husband, father, colleague and friend. . . . At his core were many great values, but his passion for service to others” stood out.

In an undated document that Dr. Pryor wrote and left with family before he deployed, he recounted his early affinity for injured people, his passion to serve – specifically in wartime – and the difficulty of balancing his love of country and family, because he felt his decision to go to Iraq was not always supported by those closest to him.

“Since an early age, Dr. Pryor was involved in the care of the sick and injured,” he wrote of himself in the third person. “He was certified in CPR when he was 14 years old, joined the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Ambulance Corps at 17, and became a N.Y. State Emergency Medical Technician at 18,” adding that it was “emotionally very challenging” to balance his dedication to family and country. “He hopes and prays,” he wrote, “for forgiveness from his family and colleagues.”

Friends said a favorite quote from Albert Schweitzer that hung on Dr. Pryor’s Penn office wall captured his spirit.

“Seek always to do some good, somewhere,” it reads. “Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who need help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here, too.”

A technically skilled surgeon with a fierce adventurous streak, Dr. Pryor dashed to the heart of Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001, to volunteer his services. He wound up deciphering and filling medical requests that crackled over rescue-team radios.

“I don’t think about it every day, but I’ve had flashbacks,” he said in 2002.

As chief medical adviser to the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Pryor conducted disaster-relief training for volunteers. In those lectures, he drew parallels between the injuries soldiers experience on the battlefield and the injuries to shooting victims brought to Philadelphia emergency rooms.

“He was a brilliant guy, but he didn’t intimidate people when he spoke to them about these issues,” said Red Cross chief executive officer Tom Foley. “It’s a cliche to say, ‘Every man’s death diminishes me,’ but his death diminishes us more than a little, because he was doing things on so many fronts while also raising a family.”

A talented writer, Dr. Pryor contributed opinion articles to The Inquirer and the Washington Post, and often was interviewed by NPR and ABC News.

“In Iraq, ironically, I found myself drawing on my experience as a civilian trauma surgeon each time ‘mascals,’ or ‘mass casualty situations,’ would overrun the combat hospital,” he told NPR last year. “As nine or 10 patients from a firefight rolled in, I sometimes caught myself saying, ‘Just like another Friday night in West Philadelphia.'”

A hard worker who drove himself relentlessly, Dr. Pryor took it personally when he was unable to save someone on his operating table.

In a 2006 Inquirer opinion piece describing his service with the 344th Combat Support Hospital in Abu Ghraib, Dr. Pryor wrote of the “palpable grief” that comes over the staff when a U.S. soldier doesn’t survive.

“Everyone is affected and everyone deals with it in a different way. For me,” he wrote, “it is very, very personal. I was the surgeon who couldn’t save him. . . . The staff people come and give me a hug. They ask me if I am OK; they pray for me. I appreciate it, and I hate it at the same time.”

Dr. Pryor is survived by his wife, Carmela V. Calvo, a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children; a daughter, Danielle; sons Francis and John Jr.; a brother; and his parents, Richard C. and Victoria.

Arrangements were incomplete, although the family expects that a Funeral Mass will be said at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Moorestown.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Internet Preferred News Source to Newspapers

December 24, 2008

The Internet has surpassed newspapers as the main source for national and international news for Americans, according to a new survey.

Television, however, remains the preferred medium for Americans, according to the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Seventy percent of the 1,489 people surveyed by Pew said television is their primary source for national and international news.

Forty percent said they get most of their news from the Internet, up from 24 percent in September 2007, and more than the 35 percent who cited newspapers as their main news source.

Only 59 percent of people younger than 30 years old prefer television, Pew said, down from 68 percent in the September 2007 survey.



The Christian Science Monitor plans major changes in April 2009 that are expected to make it the first newspaper with a national audience to shift from a daily print format to an online publication that is updated continuously each day.

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New York Times November Revenue Down 20%

Internet Victim? Washington Post, Baltimore Sun to Share Content
New York Times Accused of “Gross Negligence”

Will More Bankruptcies Follow Tribune’s?

A picture of the Tribune tower in Chicago, Illinois December ...

New York Times November Revenue Down 20%

December 24, 2008

“The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we’re leading there,” said Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the New York Times in February 2007.  “I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,” he said.

Good thing Mr. Sulzberger doesn’t care because “print” editions of many newspapers seem to be living on borrowed time….and money….


The New York Times Co’s November advertising revenue fell 20 percent, the company said on Wednesday, illustrating how the financial crisis is aggravating dizzying revenue declines at U.S. newspapers.

Ad revenue at the publisher’s New York Times Media Group, which includes the Times newspaper, fell 21.2 percent from a year earlier because of a drop in real estate and jobs classified advertising.

Studio entertainment, automotive, book and financial services ads also were weak, the Times said in a statement.

The New England unit, which includes The Boston Globe newspaper, as well as the group representing its other U.S. papers, also fell.

Total company revenue fell 13.9 percent.

Internet Victim? Washington Post, Baltimore Sun to Share Content
New York Times Accused of “Gross Negligence”

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Internet Victim? Washington Post, Baltimore Sun to Share Content

December 23, 2008

Sad day in the land of great newspapers as the Washington Post enters into a content sharing agreement to save money….


By Michael S. Rosenwald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 23, 2008; 12:04 PM

Editors from The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun said today that they have agreed to begin sharing certain stories, photos and other news content.

The deal comes as both newspapers, like the rest of the industry, struggle to retain readers and cut costs as the economics of the business shift.

The agreement takes effect Jan. 1 and primarily covers day-to-day news about Maryland and sports. Also, the papers can draw on one another’s national, international and feature stories contributed to the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service.

“We have great respect for The Baltimore Sun’s reporting and believe adding their expertise to our regional coverage will be very beneficial to our readers,” Marcus Brauchli, the Post’s executive editor, said in a news release.

Exclusive stories will generally not be shared between papers. Also out of bounds are articles about Maryland state government and University of Maryland athletics, both of which are competitive subjects to each paper.

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