Frist, Do No Harm!

A mostly political Weblog.
May 31 2005 6:02 AM

Frist, Do No Harm!

Plus--McCain saves The Palm; CNN saves Thunder.

(Continued from Page 6)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Columbia J-School Dean (and New Yorker contributor) Nicholas Lemann suggests

 ... that Newsweek borrow a page from the New Yorker and institute a rigorous fact-checking system -- even if it means that an editor, and not just the reporter, knows the identity of a confidential source.

"This sort of thing doesn't happen much these days at the New Yorker, and that is largely because the fact checking is so careful. What you want in this situation is that when a reporter comes in and says, 'I got this from an anonymous source,' you say, 'OK, I want to talk to your source, or I want a fact-checker to talk to your source.' "

Does Lemann think that a fact-checker or editor at the New Yorker talks to all of Seymour Hersh's anonymous sources? I'm skeptical. ...  P.S.:  In my experience, when journalists start to boast about their publication's multiple layers of rigorous fact-checking, it's a karmic indicator that a  major screw-up by that publication is on the way. ... 11:14 P.M. link

No Nuke Now: Doesn't The Note's anonymous Blackberrier nail down why there will be no climactic vote upholding the "nuclear option" anytime soon:

"Deal not likely. But you may see d's break and vote for cloture and then we don't need deal and don't need nuclear option."

In other words, if they don't have the sure votes to beat back the proposed Frist/Cheney ruling that you can't filibuster a judicial nominee, Democrats will just decide not to filibuster each particular judicial nominee as that nominee comes up. That means those nominees will be confirmed, one-by-one, but Democrats will avoid setting an anti-filibuster precedent that would affect how Supreme Court nominees are considered later on. ... The key here is that the vote on cloture precedes the vote on the parliamentary "nuclear" rules change. ...... Eventually, I guess, Republicans could still cunningly try to force a vote on the parliamentary maneuver by having a handful of GOPs perversely vote against cloture, countering the Dem defectors, so that the cloture vote falls into the crucial more-than-50/less-than-60 range. Then more Democrats could perversely try to frustrate Republicans by voting for cloture, to be countered by more perverse Republicans, and so on and so on until the parties' more or less completely switch positions, do-si-do style. Fun, fun, fun! But no climactic roll-call vote, unless the Dems miscalculate. ... When a Supreme Court appointment comes up, of course, Dems might have to filibuster--but then Frist would have to set his precedent when everyone's paying attention, as opposed to now, when everybody isn't because it looks like an obscure insider rules change about mid-level appellate judges. ... If Dems do have the sure votes to defeat the nuclear option, of course, then either Frist will prevent it from coming to a vote, or he'll hold the vote and lose. But if there is any uncertainty, I suspect, Dems will not want to roll the dice (even if Frist does). ... 2:58 P.M. link

I, too, don't quite understand why the Bush administration arrested Luis Posada Carriles when it could have just let him melt away and leave the country. It seems like a gutsy move (given sentiments among Miami Cubans) based on principle (a suspected terrorist is a suspected terrorist) that will buy the President and his party a load of trouble. Maybe that's what it is! ... 2:25 A.M.

"Andrew can be excitable. A while back he apologized to me for some of his criticisms during the election, and more recently he has apologized to his readers for his waffling and defeatism on the war last spring. Perhaps he'll apologize for this at some point in the future. But, I confess, I find the question of what Andrew thinks less pressing than I used to."

1:58 A.M.