TIERNEY (7/5/05): Two questions I'd like to ask candidates for Sandra Day O'Connor's job:But how would a tour of Pittsburgh help someone know what the Constitution forbids? Answer: It wouldntof course. But so what? After a silly jibe at current Justices who are not inclined to be too literal about the Bill of Rights, Tierney goes off on his latest tear. Urban renewal in his native Pittsburgh has been a disaster, he saysa decades-long string of bad decisions. And somehow, this is supposed to help OConnors replacement know how to make a judicial ruling about eminent domain. Tierney wants this new Justice to read the Constitution literallyand to base her rulings on the way planners screwed up the Lower Hill District. Does any of this make a lick of sense? Noexcept at the Times.
1. Does the Constitution forbid the government from seizing your home and giving it to someone else?
2.If you're not sure, would you be willing to tour Pittsburgh before taking this job?
KRISTOF (7/5/05): The divide I portray between the left and right is, of course, a caricature. Some of the very best work to help the poor is done by liberal-leaning groups, like the Carter Center, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Doctors Without Borders. They all use their resources to make real changes on the ground.Only Kristof thinks this way. Only Kristof tells us, in paragraph 10, that paragraphs 1-9 were of course, a caricaturea wild misstatement of reality. And as always, Kristofs caricature tilts in favor of magnificent Bush at the expense of those vile, worthless Dems. Only if you read all the way to the end do you escape his sprawling burlesque, finally getting a chance to learn what Bush has really done in Africa.
KRISTOF: Mr. Bush is resisting the G-8's calls for further help for Africa; he thinks the sums are better spent on cutting the taxes of the richest people on earth than on saving the lives of the poorest. Come on, Republicans! You need to persuade Mr. Bush to be more generous this week, because his present refusal to help isn't conservative, but just plain selfish.So lets review: Bush is consigning young Africans to death because a whiff of sex makes his crowd go nuts. And hes stingy when it comes to legitimate aid so he can cut taxes for the worlds richest people. This is what we learn from Kristofafter the lengthy caricature stops. By the waythe headline atop this puzzling column is Bush, a Friend of Africa. But remember the rules of a Kristof column: When the preening scribe isnt touring the world showing off his deeply superior values, he will always be found back at home, penning weird, illogical columns about how Dems cause all the worlds problems. And, of course, he is constantly listed as one of the Times liberal columnists.
STANLEY (6/25/05): ''Matt, Matt, you don't evenyou're glib,'' Mr. Cruise said. ''You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, O.K.? That's what I've done.''In fact, Lauer showed tremendous skill in this session with Cruise. Repeatedly, he returned to a simple questionIsnt it possible that drugs help some people? and let Cruise showcase his heavily scripted (and weirdly angry) non-answer answers. As the letters in todays Times show, everyone else on the face of the earth saw that Cruise functioned poorly that day. But Cruise outpointed hapless Lauer in the cave where Times analysts gather! War of the worlds? When you spend a long weekend among normal creatures, it can really be a shock to return to the talk of the Times.
And, actually, he had a point. Morning talk show hosts are facile and heavily scripted, and too often they recite streams of perceived wisdom as if they were undeniable facts. Mr. Lauer showed grace but not much intellectual skill as he was out-debated by a Hollywood actor who described psychiatry as a pseudoscience and said vitamins and exercise could cure postpartum depression.
BISKUPIC (6/15/93): On the D.C. Court of Appeals, to which she was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, she has become a swing vote. A 1988 computer study by Legal Times newspaper found that she had sided more with Republican-appointed colleagues than [with her] Democratic counterparts. In cases that were not unanimous, she voted most often with then-Judge Kenneth W. Starr, who became George Bush's solicitor general, and Laurence H. Silberman, a Reagan appointee still on the court.Today, Tierney amazes with his silly jibes about Justices who are not inclined to be too literal. (Earth to Tierney and all ninth-graders: The Constitution doesnt literally say what a public use is.) But then, Tierneys silly comments appear in the Timeswhere Tom Cruise recently showed the world how poorly Matt Lauer really functions.
While Ginsburg supports abortion rights, she has criticized the legal analysis of Roe v. Wade. Her point, which was first made public in a 1984 speech at the University of North Carolina and generated new controversy after a recent talk at New York University law school, is that the broad framework for a right to privacy to end a pregnancy is not constitutionally sound.
She criticized the ruling for preempting state legislatures, which in the early 1970s were moving more toward the legalization of abortion. She credits Roe's overreach with spawning the vocal "right-to-life movement" and bitter legislative attempts to counteract a liberal abortion policy...
Such criticism of Roe's daring framework is not uncommon among legal scholars, although most liberal-leaning professors have avoided any public criticism of the controversial opinion, fearing an undermining of abortion rights.
WINERIP (6/29/05): Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was ecstatiche'd promised to make the schools better and now he had Exhibit A. High test scores are good for the union, too. Within days, New York City teachers were rallying, citing the test scores as evidence that they deserved a hefty raise after two years without a contract. High test scores delight parents and children. High test scores are good for the testing companies that do the state and city tests; people don't complain about flawed tests when scores go up.What happens when urban test scores go up? Teachers gain. Test companies gain. And yes, ecstatic mayors gainespecially if they seek re-election. In real time, David Herszsenhorn described the way the mayor rushed to give himself credit:
HERSZENHORN (5/19/05): Mr. Bloomberg, who has repeatedly urged voters to judge him on his ambitious effort to reinvent the nation's largest school system, made a triumphant visit to Public School 33 in the Bronx, where the number of fourth graders meeting state literacy standards more than doubled....Everyone had a reason to smilebut nobody more than the mayor himself! According to Herszenhorn, Bloombergnow up for re-electionspent the bulk of his time at P.S. 33 boasting of the largest one-year increase in fourth-grade scores since the current state testing regimen began in 1999. In a separate article that day, Patrick Healy shared the mayors wisdom. You know, maybe it's just time that people stopped and said when we really have some good news, we should enjoy it, the ecstatic chief executive said.
''Tonight, everybody in the city has a reason to have a smile on their face,'' Mr. Bloomberg said.
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (6/6/05): Skeptics, including Mr. Bloomberg's political opponents, of course rushed to challenge the results, suggesting that the test was too easy or that teachers spent too much time on test preparation. And it is indeed the case that city test scores rise and fall and rise again over time. But the latest results suggest that the schools are making progressand that Mr. Bloomberg has every right to take a bow.Those skeptics! Because the test scores suggest that the schools are making progress, the editors give Bloomberg a bow.