Affirmative retraction at the NYT.

Affirmative retraction at the NYT.

Affirmative retraction at the NYT.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 12 2003 5:43 AM

Keller in the Cellar?

High-Handed Howell meme gains steam!

Blair update: It's all about prepping Howell! "Heads should roll," says a NYT staffer., according to the N.Y. Post. How is Sulzberger going to roll his own head? Maybe there are instructions on the Web somewhere. ... But the Post emphasizes the "Raines high-handedness" factor as the theme of staff disaffection--a theme that gets Sulzberger off the hook more than the "affirmative action" explanation, which is why it's much more dangerous to Raines. ... Bill Keller (runner-up to Raines for the executive editor's job) is looking better and better, isn't he? He's sitting there on the bench, presumably ready to play. Maybe the fourth quarter belongs to him! ... Update: Raines has formed a task force, the "Siegal Committee," and also plans

a fast-track version of the process that was so helpful to me during the months before I became executive editor. At that time, I met with many groups of editors, reporters, photographers, designers, artists and researchers. ...

The collective wisdom of these groups helped prepare me for the enormous challenges of my first 18 months on the job.

It did? That's one of the questions in dispute, no? [Emphasis on bizarre, morale-crushing solipsism added.] ... I get it: If only Raines meets with enough editors and reporters, then his high-handed dismissal of editors' and reporters' advice will be better-informed!  ... 2:34 A.M.


Monday, May 12, 2003

An  e-mail posted by Andrew Sullivangets at another aspect of the Blair fiasco: editor Howell Raines' apparent habit of overruling and ignoring his subordinates (e.g., the metro editor who tried to stop Blair) while running the paper with his gut. That practice can be good (Ben Bradlee certainly went with his gut at WaPo, often to great effect). It can also be "arbitrary, unaccountable, with a dose of almost feudal personal favoritism" and not so good--if, to pick a random example, the editor is an egomaniacal Guilty Southern White Boy, running a star system based in part on loyalty, whose self-image involves him singlehandedly helping deserving African-Americans claim their rightful place in American society! ... P.S.: How would you like the assignment of serving on the Times' "task force ... to identify lessons for the newspaper," also advertised in this e-mail  to NYT staffers fromRaines, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and managing editor Gerald Boyd. After, all, it's pretty clear from the NYT's own account  that these three are the main screw-ups in the Blair saga (apart from Blair himself). What do you think the chances are that the "task force" will come back, after weeks of fact-finding, and say: "After careful deliberation, Mr. Sulzberger, we've concluded the problem is youand the two men you appointed ..."? 4:15 P.M.

The World Socialist Web Site comes to Jayson Blair's defense. They make a good point about Walter Duranty, though. ... 11:09 A.M.

Sunday, May 11, 2003


"Let's not begin to demonize our executives," says New York Times publisher "Pinch" Sulzberger. ... Hmm. Didn't Allen Dulles say that after the Bay of Pigs? ... Can't we at least have an orgy of recrimination?Newsweek's Seth Mnookin makes two points  about the Jayson Blair scandal that the NYT's self-reporting glossed over:

1) Mnookin notes Jayson Blair's personal relationship with the NYT's top two executives, Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd:

Blair's close mentoring relationship with Times managing editor Gerald Boyd, who is also black, was not explored in depth in the paper. Blair wrote Boyd's biographical sketch in the Times's internal newsletter when Boyd was named managing editor. Blair was known to brag about his close personal relationships with both Boyd and Raines, and the young writer frequently took cigarette breaks with Boyd.

The NYT story does have Blair threatening to take a disagreement over his own sloppiness up the chain of command to "the people who hired me--and they all have executive or managing editor in their titles." But the Times doesn't tell its readers to what extent Blair was bluffing and to what extent he really could call on a friendship with Executive Editor Raines or Managing Editor Boyd. [Update:LAT's Tim Rutten: "What the Times does not note is that in 2001 it was the tyro Blair who nominated Boyd for the National Assn. of Black Journalists' journalist of the year award ..."]


2) There's also the issue of why in 2002 the NYT's national staff was (as the NYT itself reports) "stretched thin"--so thin that it needed to throw a questionable reporter onto an important story like that of the D.C. sniper. Mnookin writes:

Indeed, more than one Times staffer pointed out that the paper's national staff would not have been in need of the services of an untested young reporter with a spotty track record had a number of veterans not been pushed out by Raineslast year.

What veterans? Here are some people who have left (whether or not they were pushed): Kevin Sack, Sam Howe Verhovek, Evelyn Nieves, Carey Goldberg. James Sterngold, and Blaine Harden.... As a result, confronted with two journalistic wars (in Iraq, and the streets around Washington, D.C.) Raines, like Donald Rumsfeld, discovered he didn't have enough troops! ....

P.S.: The NYT story itself makes out a prima facie case of editorial negligence against Raines. a) He allowed a reporter with a highly shaky record be assigned to a major national story (the sniper case); b) He didn't tell the relevant editor (in this case national editor Jim Roberts) about the reporter's shaky record-- because, Raines says, he didn't want to "stigmatize" the reporter for having sought "help"! c) He didn't ask questions when this shaky reporter suddenly came up with a big scoop that none of the dozens of other reporters on the case had come up with. ...


Is Raines' job in jeopardy? I doubt it.  But it's hard to see how he can now be very popular in "the building" (where he wasn't all that popular to begin with). Times reporters are not known for their lack of pride. And twice in the past year, Raines has led their paper to disgrace--first, with the comically overdone crusade against the Augusta National golf club, in which dissenting opinions by veteran columnists were spiked, and now with the huge and preventable Blair scandal. ....

P.P.S: Two more angles suggested (but unexplored) by the NYT:

3) To what extent did NYT editors not pass on their doubts about Blair for fear of being called racists? Even Roberts, when finally warned about Blair, doesn't pass the information on to his lieutenants.

4) Who is telling the truth in the contradictory accounts of a conversation between Roberts and Managing Editor Boyd after Blair's second surprise "scoop" was denounced by law enforcement officials.

"I went to Jim and said, `Let's check this out thoroughly because Jayson has had problems,'"Mr. Boyd said.



Mr. Roberts said he did not recall being told that Mr. Blair had had problems.

I suppose the only way to resolve this dispute would be if Raines had installed a secret taping system. You don't think ...

P.P.P.S: William Safire's famed skills as a New York P.R. man fail him in Monday's column. He comes to the aid of his paymasters, but his entire defense to the "affirmative action" charge is the following sentence:

Now about the supposed cost of diversity: A newspaper is free to come down on the side of giving black journalists a break if its owners and editors so choose.

Even Safire knows this is a weak hack flack's line. Nobody's saying what the Times did was unconstitutional or illegal. If "its owners and editors so choose," the Times is perfectly free to intentionally run itself into the ground and destroy its reputation. The question, given that this is not the owners' and editors' intent, is why they are nevertheless doing it. ... Update: Not so free! Actually, Prof. Volokh of UCLA  argues Safire is wrong on the law. Giving "black journalists a break" might well be illegal. ... 9:11 P.M.

It's a "communications" problem! Why isn't the basic, underlying Jayson Blair story obvious from the  NYT's lengthy account--namely, an underperforming and unready reporter was promoted in January, 2001, over the objections of one of the editors who knew him best, because of his skin color. The key grafs:

January 2001, Mr. Blair was promoted to full-time reporter with the consensus of a recruiting committee of roughly half a dozen people headed by Gerald M. Boyd, then a deputy managing editor, and the approval of Mr. Lelyveld.

Mr. [Jonathan] Landman [the NYT's metropolitan editor] said last week that he had been against the recommendation — that he "wasn't asked so much as told" about Mr. Blair's promotion. But he also emphasized that he did not protest the move.

The publisher and the executive editor, he said, had made clear the company's commitment to diversity — "and properly so," he said. In addition, he said, Mr. Blair seemed to be making the mistakes of a beginner and was still demonstrating great promise. "I thought he was going to make it."

Mr. Boyd, who is now managing editor, the second-highest-ranking newsroom executive, said last week that the decision to advance Mr. Blair had not been based on race. Indeed, plenty of young white reporters have been swiftly promoted through the ranks.

"To say now that his promotion was about diversity in my view doesn't begin to capture what was going on," said Mr. Boyd, who is himself African-American. "He was a young, promising reporter who had done a job that warranted promotion." [Emphasis added.]

The NYT story's party line -- that the underlying problem "appears to have been communications" -- is a defensive euphemism worthy of Nixon. Everyone at the paper seems to have communicated quite clearly in January, 2001. Rather, the Blair disaster appears (in large part) to be a fairly direct consequence of the Times's misguided race preference policy. Plenty of other factors were involved, but without "diversity" it wouldn't have happened. ... More later. .. 12:02 P.M.

Friday, May 9, 2003

NPR vs. NYT! NPR's Melissa Block unearths Howell Raines boasting about the New York Times' affirmative action program to the National Association of Black Journalists two years ago, after specifically mentioning Jayson Blair as an example of the Times' successful recruiting efforts. According to Block, Raines said:

'This campaign has made our staff better and, more importantly, more diverse.'

"Better"? More importantly, "more importantly"? ... At the time of his boast, according to the timeline sketched by Raines himself, the Times' editorsknew Blair had problems. ... [Link via Times Watch] 1:42 P.M.

Web marketing synergy at its most powerful: More Gearbox. ... 3:40 A.M.

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Now that the Fed is officially worried about deflation, Paul Krugman's Web-only explanation of his thinking about deflation and the "liquidity trap"  seems like Essential Reading for All Concerned Americans. ... Why not make this a NYT column? [Not partisan and dumbed-down enough?-ed. You said that! I didn't.] ... P.S.: 'Have you raised a price today?' Will Bush now appoint Bob Strauss to head up a new Whip-up Inflation Now office? They could re-use all the  WIN buttons they printed up in the Ford administration. (Or, better yet, they could go out and buy new ones at absurdly high prices!)... 11:15 P.M.

More on judges: The Hill has uncovered the secret GOP plot  to neutralize the Senate's infamous Rule 22 (which requires a three-fifths vote to shut off a filibuster) in order to get action on judicial nominations--especially, one suspects, nominations to the Supreme Court. This may just be a bluff by the GOPs, but Rule 22 isn't exactly a crowning embodiment of our democracy. It's an anti-democratic, extra-constitutional tradition, started by accident in 1806. The Constitution already makes it difficult enough for a governing party to get anything done--you need two houses of Congress (elected at different times to different terms) plus the White House. Rule 22 is a gratuitous monkey wrench thrown into an already balky governing machine. It was Rule 22 that delayed civil rights legislation for years, remember. ... Mainly Rule 22 is prized in Washington because, when a minority of senators, or sometimes a lone senator, can block a bill, even minority party senators become big players who have to be wined, dined, flattered, and bribed with campaign donations. Everybody wins, including ex-staffers of minority-party senators who make good money as lobbyists greasing up their old bosses. ... Which is why attacking Rule 22 would be a big deal in D.C.. A non-insubtantial chunk of the local G.D.P. depends on it! ...P.S.: The prospect of Bush ramming through some activist Federalist-society judges on a party-line vote is alarming, I agree. But the GOP did win a Senate majority, and I'm not sure the Democrats help themselves by preventing the public from seeing what that majority wants to do. If the Dems can block the worst GOP actions via Rule 22 filibusters, after all, voters may tacitly reason, "Why not keep the Republicans in power--they do some good things, and some bad things, but the Democrats will block the bad things by filibustering." ... 9:24 P.M.

Roll Call'sAmy Keller reports the fear  that a Supreme Court justice could retire before the big McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform case is decided. Since his (or her) replacement would probably be filibustered in the Senate, that would leave an eight-member court likely to be split 4-4. ... A bad outcome, since it might leave the botched three-judge court decision (see below) standing as the law of the land. ... It seems much more likely, however, that the justices will spot this problem coming down the road, and delay their retirements until after a McCain-Feingold ruling. ... N.B.: Rehnquist's retirement would be bad for goo-goo McCain-Feingold backers, Prof. Hasen argues in the story, because Rehnquist has been a supporter of restrictions on corporate campaign activity. ... Two completely new Thomas-like appointments could doom not only McCain-Feingold but other campaign finance regulations.  That would seem to make their status a bit more precarious than Roe v. Wade, which Rehnquist's retirement won't jeapordize (since he's already a Roe opponent). ... 2:33 P.M.

Affirmative Retraction at the NYT: As Slate's Eric Umansky notes, evidence is now emerging that the New York Times did, in fact, explicitly relax its standards when it hired Jayson Blair. (I'd previously assumed that Blair was no less qualified than dozens of non-minority hires. I seem to have spoken too soon.) Howie Kurtz reports:

Jonathan Landman, the paper's metropolitan editor, said Blair was hired as part of an intermediate reporter program in 1999, after a summer internship the year before, and that the paper had been aware of his substandard record.

Does the NYT normally hire very young reporters out of college with substandard records? I don't think so ... P.S.: I suppose it's possible that Blair was so dynamic and charismatic he'd have been hired even if he were a non-minority candidate with a spotty record. (I do know of white reporters who've gotten breaks like that.) But that will be a hard argument for Raines & Co. to make with a straight face, given the NYT's well-advertised "enduring commitment"  to 'diversity,' .... 1:39 P.M.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Election law expert Rick Hasen has posted a more thorough (yet non-legalistic!) analysis of the lower-court decision on McCain-Feingold. Hasen reiterates and clarifies his earlier point that the three-judge court's ham-handed editing of the law's overambitious "issue advocacy" ban is a bad joke. That's my term, actually--Hasen says it "raises troubling constitutional issues even for those committed to reform." ... The law, as altered by the judges, would apparently ban an incorporated nonprofit advocacy group like the ACLU or Sierra Club from running any ad, at any time, that can be construed as "supporting." "promoting," "attacking," or "opposing" a federal candidate. Update: Actually, that's not quite true--if the non-profit can fall within the so-called MCFL rule, which requires at least that it not take money from for-profit corporations, it might escape the McCain-Feingold ban. Hasen explains this in a separate new post here. My attempt to explain MCFL is buried in this post. ... It's still true that the three-judge panel made a hash of the law for all other corporations, including for-profits and unions. They apparently are indeed to be banned from using their funds to run advertisements "supporting" or "attacking" (whatever that means) a canddiate for federal office. If the AFL-CIO (or General Motors) pays for a TV spot saying "It's time for national health insurance," is that an illegal ad "supporting" Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean? Do we want to be a country where that ad can't run--not only in the last few weeks before and election, but ever? The judges seem to be contemplating some heavy-duty speech-policing here.... 3:23 P.M.

Even the conservative Andrew Sullivan, scourge of doubters,  is now saying there aren't enough troops. ... Hmm. Didn't Sullivan sneer at people who made this argument a few weeks ago, saying "I guess the anti-neocons have got to grasp at something." He did! ... 1:53 A.M.

Gary Hart's done the right thing. Will the next Democraticpresident (if any) be classier than Bill Clinton and give him a decent executive branch job? ... 1:35 A.M.

Half-empty: It sure looks as if Stephen Glass' famed powers of invention have failed him just when he could use them. ... If David Kirkpatrick's NYT account is accurate, Glass' fictional effort displays about as much imagination as my own half-finished novel. (Sample critique: "You've got to learn how to create realistic characters. You've got this one character in here, all he cares about is sex and welfare reform. There's nobody like that! Give him some real, human qualities!") ... So Glass writes non-fiction and it's fiction, and he writes fiction and it's non-fiction! The man's a transgressive genius. Subtly subverting all Western literary categories! ... I'd say the "it's all performance art" defense is still open. Glass must be playing a deep Kinbote-like game. The book can't be as flat and cheesy as it sounds. ... 12:10 A.M.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Assignment Desk--Evil Web Sites Torture Tweens! One of the participants at the Yale blog conference last year described some of the bad things that come with access to Web at very young ages, including adolescents posting cruel gossip about each other, even "doppling" --creating fake Web sites that look like they're created by a classmate but actually ridicule him or her. I didn't know at the time whether to take this seriously or not. But here's an ABC story that suggests there might be something to it. ... A surefire ratings winner! Lawsuits and proposed regulations to come. Assigned to: Steven Levy of Newsweek, Ann Hulbert, author of Raising America, for that historical perspective. ... P.S.: But think of a better name than "cyberbullying." Even "cyberbaiting" and "cyberslandering" are better. There must be a hip-hop term to steal. ... 11:41 P.M.

Based on an original story by J. Stossel: Patrick Ruffini claims to have already pitched a season's worth  of post-Sorkin West Wing plots, in the process confronting the thorny dilemma of how to dramatize Republicans who just sit around blocking misguided liberal initiatives and don't want the government to do anything. I'm not sure he solves it:

1.15. Health and Safety. Prescott comes to the defense of a shelter for battered women in Atlanta that was shuttered due to OSHA regulations.

That'll grab the crucial 18-49 demographic! ... 8:01 P.M. 

Cries of pain are being heard from D.C. readers confronted with WaPo's  three-part series on the Nature Conservancy. ... I guess those long back-in ledes don't work so well in the Web era. People want to get to the damn point! ... Piteous calls for a SkippingTM will be taken under advisement by the kausfiles executive committee. ... 1:08 A.M.

Monday, May 5, 2003

More armchair showrunning: An alert kf reader embedded in Hollywood e-mails:

Your proposal for rejuvenating The West Wing overlooks an obvious
programming opportunity:

Give it some reality cred! Have a season of campaigning, and then let the
viewers vote for the new administration. It could be bigger than "American Candidate" ... and it'd give people a chance to bond with the new characters. If they don't bond, they lose and they don't have to be picked back up. Added benefit: A great make-work for political/pop culture writers who can analyze the stunt for the New York Times Arts & Leisure section.

[Snappy kicker?--ed. Um... it would be better than the real campaign! C.J. could look for a husband on "The Bachelorette"! Never mind.] 10:10 A.M.

The Blair crash: Plenty of white journalists have done what Jayson Blair, the NYT reporter who recently resigned, is alleged to have done. Nor can anyone say for sure that in a completely color-blind newsroom Blair would have been weeded out or set straight before last week. Does the Blair case, then, have anything to do with affirmative action? I think so. Here's my analogy:

Suppose in an effort to promote commerce in isolated Utah, the government announced relaxed safety standards on trucks from that state. Utah trucks were safe, the public was told. Many were even safer than trucks from other states. But they wouldn't be inspected as often or as rigorously.

Now suppose a Utah truck got in an especially big, prominent, messy crash when its brakes failed. Would the politicians, the press and the public say "But non-Utah trucks crash all the time!" or  "You haven't proved a direct causal connection between the Utah-preference program and this crash"? No! There would be a instant hue and cry about how the preference for Utah trucks should be ended -- and how Utah trucks should be held to the same standards, etc. And those making the fuss would be right. Why should we have to worry about whether or not the relaxed standards for Utah might have led to this or that particular crash? Just apply the same tough standards across the board. Safe, well-run Utah trucking companies, to save their reputation, would be leading the pack in lobbying to end their special preference.

Maybe there's something I'm missing that's obviously wrong with this analogy. But I can't think of it . .. What's the preference program in this case? The NYT apparently has run a minority internship program that has the effect--since the internships routinely lead to job offers--of hiring minority reporters right out of college, without the customary years of seasoning at smaller papers. Blair seems to have been hired by the Times (after an internship) before he even graduated from college. ... I'm not saying there are no countervailing benefits to race preferences in journalism -- there are even benefits, such as ability to get stories white reporters can't get, that might not exist in other professions. I'm just saying that people should also acknowledge that there are costs, and that one of those costs is almost certainly a) more cases of African-American reporters who screw up, and b) uncertainty about whether a program of no special-preferences might have averted any particular screw-up before it turned into a credibility- and career-damaging incident. ... There's also the distinct possibility that the costs outweigh the benefits even for the intended direct beneficiaries such as Blair. In the long run, the NYT doesn't seem to have done him any favors--not to mention the effect on other African-American reporters who now have to unfairly labor under the sneaking suspicion that they are potential Blairs. ... 3:11 A.M.

The final blow to liberalism -- Bartlet's party booted from office! One obvious possibility opened up by Aaron Sorkin's departure from his show, The West Wing, as suggested below: increasingly schlocky, promotable plots, in the self-contained, tied-up-in-an-hour packages the stations that air reruns prefer. But there's another equally obvious, yet obviously risky, possibility: The party of President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) could now actually lose a fictional election (something the liberal Sorkin would presumably never bring himself to permit). ...Then, if the show's renewed for 2005, a whole bunch of new conservative staffers could take over!That would (assuming Bush wins reelection) end the "alternate universe" problem said to have bedeviled WW since Bush's presidency began (and especially since 9/11). ... The problem, of course, is that this scenario flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that viewers tune in to a long-running series because they've bonded with the characters. Why get rid of the beloved Toby, Leo, Josh, Donna, C.J.? .... The answer is you wouldn't have to get rid of them, at least not anytime soon. First, you have a season of campaigning. Then several episodes about the wrenching transition. We follow Toby et al. as they clean out their desks, say stirring farewells, endure marital breakups, and migrate into hack holding-pattern jobs at Hill and Knowlton and Fannie Mae! Some even move to Hollywood to help write hour-long dramas about life in the White House. (Meta!) ... Meanwhile, a whole slew of GOPers are becoming beloved, at least to red state viewers. (They could call back Emily Procter from C.S.I. Miami to reprise Ainsely Hayes.) ... I'm sure the folks at Television Without Pity  are way ahead of me on this one. [Update: Bizarrely, they're not!] But, at the very least, the possibility that the Republicans might win should inject suspense into the coming seasons. ... 2:26 A.M.


The dirty little secret of pop music. ... I had no idea. ... Next, they'll come up with a "pitch correction" device for blogs -- it will position kausfiles automatically and electronically in perfect equipoise between left and right. (Turn up the anger knob to 11 and you get Pat Caddell!)  .... 12:09 A.M.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Moynihan still wrong! One of the very minor reasons to lament the premature passing of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is that we missed watching him eat the incredible amount of crow he'd have had to eat over his wildly non-prescient stance on welfare reform. Basically, the black anti-marriage trend he thought couldn't be stopped appears to have been reversed by the welfare reform he vehemently opposed. The latest confirming report appeared at the bottom of page A-13 of yesterday's NYT, though the Times did run a front-pager two years ago  when the first hints of the turnaround became evident.  Saturday's story says:

The portion of black families headed by single women continued to decline. It was 43 percent last year, one percentage point lower than 2000 and four points lower than in 1996. [Emphasis added.]

That was the year welfare was reformed, of course.. .. There has also been a less dramatic, but steady, increase in the percent of black families headed by married couples. "The six-year increase equals about 520,000 families," says the AP. ... The plodding, unconvincing liberal party line--advanced by the people with hyphenated last names who work at liberal think tanks and get quoted in AP stories--is that reversal doesn't have much to do with welfare reform. Rather, the economy did it! True, blacks did make huge economic strides in the booming job market of the late 1990s, and it's hard to believe that wasn't a factor. But the economy has boomed and busted before--and before the mid-1990s the family trends for blacks moved relentlessly downhill for decades ... I doubt that honest liberals such as Wendell Primus  (and careful government analysts like Richard Bavier) think that welfare reform wasn't also a major part of the cause. The smart liberal party line, I'd argue, is that we now know that welfare reform and a healthy economy will boost marriage and reduce illegitimacy--so why, exactly, do we need the Bush administration's vague and oversold "marriage initiative"? We're winning without it. ...

P.S.: Moynihan isn't alive to eat crow, but maybe those Washington pundits he conned into pessimism about welfare reform--e.g., George Will and Al Hunt--will eat it for him. 

Major Note of Caution: An  AP story last year (by the same reporter) trumpeting a pro-marriage trend among teenagers turned out to be a bit shaky--in part because it compared two different surveys (one of which may have, for example, included more early-marrying immigrants). So other welfare reformers should probably wait longer than I did to gloat about this particular report. Send it to Aberdeen for testing!  ...If I could find the actual Census data on the Web I'd feel a lot more confident. ... The general trend is still proving Moynihan wrong, however. ... 9:41 P.M.



Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes "Tilting at Windmills" the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. The Liberal Death Star--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. Tom populists. B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.