- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2005

Blue Europe

“Watching George Bush’s second inaugural from a bistro in Paris is like watching the Red Sox win the World Series from a sports bar in New York City,” New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman writes.

“Odds are that someone around you is celebrating — I mean, someone, somewhere in Europe must be happy about this — but it’s not obvious,” Mr. Friedman said.

“Why are Europeans so blue over George Bush’s re-election? Because Europe is the world’s biggest ‘blue state.’ This whole region is rhapsody in blue. These days even the small group of anti-anti-Americans in the European Union is uncomfortable being associated with Mr. Bush. There are Euro-conservatives, but, aside from, maybe, the ruling party in Italy, there is nothing here that quite corresponds to the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-tax, anti-national-health-care, anti-Kyoto, openly religious, pro-Iraq-war Bush Republican Party. …

“While officially every European government is welcoming the inauguration of President Bush,” the columnist said yesterday, “the prevailing mood on the continent (if I may engage in a ridiculously sweeping generalization!) still seems to be one of shock and awe that Americans actually re-elected this man.”

ABC’s request

“Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker has found one of the most egregious bits of media bias yet recorded,” the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last writes at www.weeklystandard.com, noting that Mr. Hinderaker found the story at a smaller blog, the San Antonio Express-News Watch.

“It seems that [Wednesday] ABC News posted a call on its Web site for help from readers: Jan. 19, 2005 — For a possible Inauguration Day story on ABC News, we are trying to find out if there are any military funerals for Iraq war casualties scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20. If you know of a funeral and whether the family might be willing to talk to ABC News, please fill out the form below:

“(ABC took down the request, fortunately the blog Captain’s Quarters copied the page first.) ABC tried to pass this off as ‘Honoring Fallen Heroes on Inauguration Day.’ But Hinderaker notes that the specificity of ABC’s request gives away the game. ‘Note,’ he says, ‘that only the families of Iraqi war dead need apply. If a soldier died in Afghanistan, or aiding tsunami victims in Indonesia or Sri Lanka, or in a training exercise, never mind. That isn’t the “balance” ABC is looking for.’

“While it is shameful for ABC to even have issued such a request, simply pulling it down and trying to bury the incident in the memory hole is even more dishonest. It seems like some in the mainstream media have yet to learn from CBS’s mistakes.”

Sore loser

“John Kerry’s vote against Condoleezza Rice is the latest evidence that he is responding to his crushing election defeat by adopting a sore-loser persona,” James Taranto writes in his Best of the Web Today column at www.Opinion Journal.com.

“Other evidence: A statement on Kerry’s campaign Web site demands that Bush fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And of course there’s his ‘I have a bellyache’ speech in which he complained that there weren’t enough voting machines in Ohio Democratic precincts,” Mr. Taranto said.

“Like Kerry’s Vietnam-era ‘war crimes’ calumnies, that last complaint would appear to be a canard, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports: ‘A Plain Dealer analysis shows that, in [Ohio’s] Cuyahoga County at least, the elections board distributed machines equally to city and suburban polling locations. …

” ‘Before the Nov. 2 election, the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries — the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received. …

” ‘And in the end, the busiest precincts — when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine — were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of records from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.’ ”

Objectively ‘lavish’

Yesterday, on “Good Morning America,” ABC’s Peter Jennings used the word “lavish” twice in the same sentence to describe the inaugural festivities.

White House correspondent Claire Shipman had just concluded her interview with first lady Laura Bush — who disagreed with the unbiased reporter’s assessment that the $40 million celebration ($2 million less than President Clinton’s 1997 inaugural) was too “lavish.”

Anchoring the broadcast alongside one of his highly paid, nonpartisan, objective observer colleagues, Mr. Jennings then made sure that millions of ABC viewers were not misled: “Now, it’s a little risky, George Stephanopoulos, to contradict the first lady, [but] it is pretty lavish and it was pretty lavish last night.”

This exchange was noticed by Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, who reported it on National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). Kathryn Jean “K-Lo” Lopez, editor of the “Corner” blog at the NRO site, soon posted an e-mail from a quick-witted reader:

” ‘Lavish’ is what you call a party that you weren’t invited to. If it was a Kerry inauguration (shudder) could you imagine what a spread would be fitting of John and Teresa?”

Not this time

U.S. Capitol Police yesterday arrested the man who had sneaked into President Bush’s first inauguration and was photographed shaking his hand.

Hours before Mr. Bush took the oath of office for a second time, Richard Weaver was taken into custody on the Capitol’s West Front on an outstanding warrant, police spokesman Michael Lauer said. The warrant involved the 2001 inauguration, when Mr. Weaver was seen in an Associated Press photograph shaking Mr. Bush’s hand and slipping him a coin and a note, and President Clinton’s 1997 swearing-in, at which Mr. Weaver pulled a similar stunt.

Budding comedians

The Hotline Post-Inaugural Comedy Show, honoring the 55th presidential inaugural and celebrating the 125th birthday of Will Rogers, takes place at 8 tonight at the Warner Theater, 13th and E streets NW.

Fox News Channel’s Tony Snow will emcee the show, with performances by Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican; Rep. Brian Baird, Washington Democrat; Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma Democrat; former “Today” host Jim Hartz of the Will Rogers Memorial; Time magazine’s Matt Cooper; political columnist Walter Shapiro; Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens; the Nation’s David Corn; the Hill newspaper’s Al Eisele; Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist; and Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Professional comedians Will Durst, Jim Morris, Bob Somerby and A. Whitney Brown also will perform.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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