New amount sought in a class action lawsuit against Verizon, AT&T and Bell South for handing over millions of customer records to the NSA.
Judy Miller is no longer at the New York Times, but she’s back on the WMD beat.
Date: May 16, 2006
To: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
Re: The use of the term “tar baby”
Today in your first press briefing you referred to the term “tar baby” on two occasions:
SNOW: Having said that, I don’t want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program, the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.
QUESTION: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to achieve here? Will you continue to televise these briefings? And would you put into English the phrase (OFF-MIKE) the tarbaby?
SNOW: Well, I believe hug the tarbaby, we could trace that back to American lore.
Based on the context of the term, we believe you meant tar baby to mean: “a situation almost impossible to get out of; a problem virtually unsolvable.”
As Random House notes, “some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context.” Now that you are no longer at Fox News, you may want to take them up on their advice.
UPDATE: Check out Crooks and Liars to watch the video of Snow’s comments.
UPDATE: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the articles above described people being fired for using the term “tar baby.” The articles described demands that people be fired. We regret the error.
New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is already covering up President Bush’s mistakes.
President Bush was asked earlier today about an NSA database reported by USA Today that tracks the phone records of “tens of millions” of Americans. Bush implicitly confirmed the existance of the program, claiming that Congress had been fully briefed on it:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you’ve said that the government is not trolling through the lives of innocent Americans, but why shouldn’t ordinary people feel that their privacy is invaded by the NSA compiling a list of their telephone calls?
BUSH: …The program he’s asking about is one that has been fully briefed to members of the United States Congress in both political parties. They’re very aware of what is taking place. The American people expect their government to protect them within the laws of this country, and I’m going to continue to do just that.
Holding his first White House press conference, the first question posed to Tony Snow was about Bush’s comments. Snow misled the press corps, claiming President Bush wasn’t talking about the collection of phone records by the NSA:
QUESTION: In his news conference with John Howard, was the president giving kind of a backhanded confirmation of the stories that the NSA is compiling telephone lists?
SNOW: No, he wasn’t. If you go back and listen to the answer he gave you, he was talking about foreign-to-domestic calls. The allegations in the USA Today piece, which we will neither confirm or deny, are of a different nature. So, no, he was not giving a backhanded confirmation.
Same deception, new face.
Yesterday was the deadline to sign up for the Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). As of last week, Medicare administrator Dr. Mark McClellan said that “37 million people [out of 43 million] with Medicare have prescription drug coverage.” In late April, Medicare spokesman Peter Ashkenaz was already bragging:
Enrollment is surpassing our goals, satisfaction is high, and we see no reason to extend a deadline that’s working.
But Part D enrollment hasn’t even met the administration’s goals, let alone surpassed them. In 2004, the Bush administration projected that 40.7 million seniors and Americans with disabilities would sign up for its Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D).
So why are administration officials congratulating themselves? In 2005, CMS announced that its goals were now 10 million people lower: “28 to 30 million enrollees in the first year.”
It’s easy to claim success when you keep lowering the bar.
said the agency should investigate “whether phone companies are violating federal communications law by providing calling records to the National Security Agency.”
NYT, 5/16/06: “When he was the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, [Bush] reveled in going into the dugout and joking with the players, many of them Hispanic, in fractured Spanglish.”
Former Ranger Jose Canseco in his book “Juiced”: “I shook his hand and met him once, but that was about it. Bush did gravitate toward Nolan Ryan a bit…He didn’t talk to us Latinos much.” (HT: Salon War Room)
Rove is worried. “Rove’s friends and colleagues tell NEWSWEEK that the senior Bush aide has struggled to maintain an upbeat front about his legal status in recent weeks and that he has appeared distracted.” (The AP — apparently falling for the act — reports that Rove is “unfazed” by his legal troubles.)
About 20 percent of Boston College’s faculty signed a letter opposing the school’s plan to award Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice an honorary degree when she addresses this year’s graduates, saying it is morally wrong to praise a leader whose efforts promote an “unjust war.”
Nearly four years after it opened the detention center in Cuba, the Bush administration gave the AP the first list of everyone who has been held at Guantanamo Bay. While the list contained 201 names that had never been disclosed, “none of the most notorious terrorist suspects were included, raising questions about where America’s most dangerous prisoners are being held.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has also “launched a public relations campaign to offset the negative publicity about its terrorist detention center,” which the International Committee of the Red Cross has said houses “an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture.”