Saturday, April 10, 2004

THE ARROGANCE OF MR. JUSTICE SCALIA. Here is the text of a press release by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press over the goon-like behavior that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia encouraged with his bizarre policy of not allowing himself to be videotaped or recorded. The highlight is this, from the committee's executive director, Lucy Dalgish:

Even assuming it was reasonable for Justice Scalia to prohibit recordings of his speech - which it was not - the law does not allow law enforcement officials to seize work product from journalists under these circumstances. Perhaps one of these days, Justice Scalia will tell us why he has so little regard for electronic media. Certainly the only effect the tape recordings by two print reporters would have had on coverage of his speech would have been to make the reporting more accurate.

The press release goes on to note that the forcible erasure of the two recordings may have been a violation of federal law. Gee, if that ever makes it to the Supreme Court, do you think he'll recuse himself?

The Hattiesburg American, one of the two news organizations singled out for Scalia's judicial assault-by-proxy, reports on the latest developments today. The other organization, the Associated Press, has a story showing that Scalia continued his thuggish ways in an appearance at William Carey College.

The college's spokeswoman said she was "embarrassed and angry" over the position she'd been put in when a Scalia aide ordered news photographers to stop taking his picture even as guests snapped away.

RICE'S UNINTENTIONALLY REVEALING TESTIMONY. I haven't said anything about Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission because it struck me that - not unexpectedly - she said nothing revealing or even particularly interesting. She ran out the clock for three hours, which isn't exactly hard to do. (And can we cut the condescending crap about how "articulate" she is? She was no more articulate than any member of the administration would have been, with the obvious exception of George W. Bush.)

Slate's Fred Kaplan, though, has a piece worth pondering. He argues that Rice's testimony, seemingly bland and innocuous, actually revealed her to be "a bad national security adviser - passive, sluggish, and either unable or unwilling to tie the loose strands of the bureaucracy into a sensible vision or policy."

A must-read.

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