Daily Flog: Terror and prayers in Denver, dead fish at a NY nuke, rent becomes a nationwide hit

Running down the press:

Times: 'G.O.P. Tries to Upstage Democrats'

Stop the servers! Atop the front page is this hard-hitting piece by Jim Rutenberg about how the Elephants are breaking "new ground" by trying to trample the Donkeys' un-sexy show. The paper that thinks it's the historical record once again ignores history:

The opposition party once more or less ceded the stage to the convening party during its convention, under the assumption that breaking into the news coverage would be next to impossible. Over the past few presidential election cycles, as Washington became more bitterly partisan, that began to disintegrate, helped along by a proliferation of ravenous new media outlets that created growing opportunities to spread negative messages.

This is not new ground; the paper doesn't even mention that shortly before the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, the nation's security guard, Tom Ridge, raised the terror alert level to red in NYC, Newark, and D.C.

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As I noted at the time ("The Attack Starts," August 2, 2004), Howard Dean opined a "political motivation for terror alert," as CNN put it, and he was shelled for it.

This morning's story by Rutenberg is a non-story. He quotes GOP political operatives about how pleased they are that their political-operative work is working. And that's it.

On a side note, Ridge's warning actually was prescient: He included a specific note of worry that Citigroup's NYC headquarters could be destroyed. Four years later, Citigroup's subprime performance — massive firings and a stock-market plummet — is indeed a disaster site. Self-imposed.


The Demo-hating Murdoch rag gets it right with a good lede on the Kennedy saga that all the papers covered:

Sen. Ted Kennedy brought the Democratic faithful to cheers and tears last night as he emerged from a summer of treatment for brain cancer to vow that he'll be in Washington when a new president is sworn in.

Much more interesting than the Times version.

And the Post splashes a story about actual monkey-wrenching: the sore-loser Clintons' determination to upstage Obama ("ANGER AT HILL'S DEM PARTY FOULS").

That's more of a threat to the Democrats than the GOP's attempts — if you don't count the free publicity that Rutenberg gave the Republicans.

Hillary and Bill are unlikely to even budge the needle of the grace-o-meter this week.


In actual terror news, the tab gives good play — which the Times wouldn't do for a wire-service story — to Jim Fitzgerald's AP piece:

The huge numbers of fish sucked to their death by the cooling system at the Indian Point nuclear plant prove that the system harms the Hudson River environment, a state official has ruled.


Here's a gangster moniker we haven't heard before:

An alleged drug kingpin who repeatedly disfigured his face through plastic surgery to evade arrest was arraigned in Brooklyn yesterday on charges of murder, drug trafficking and money laundering.

Juan Carlos "Lollipop" Ramirez Abadia, 45, an alleged leader of the notorious Norte Valle coke cartel who was extradited from Brazil on Friday, pleaded not guilty before federal Magistrate James Orenstein.

But the paper's most e-mailed story this morning? Some real news from Saturday:


A one-legged hooker was killed in Brooklyn after a john hit her over the head, causing her to fall backwards out of her wheelchair and slam her skull against the wall, cops said yesterday.

Daily News: 'Michelle Obama: My husband shares same beliefs you have'

Oh, brother. The Denver convention's non-news gets off to a great start:

Declaring her husband will be an "extraordinary President," Michelle Obama delivered a heartstring-tugging speech on Monday night about the values and compassion behind Barack Obama's drive for the White House.

Speaking of monkey-wrenching the Dems, the following item made the home page of Google News last night:

'McCain and Jay Leno Joke About His Age'

And you wonder why news orgs all over the world clamber to land a precious spot on Google's home page for news. That frenzied pandering by news org overseers is more of a threat to journalism than the increasingly useless printing presses that papers are stuck with.

The L.A. Times is one of those huge daily ailies, but at least it proclaims in a subhead that the Dems are seriously targeting McCain's turkey neck:

On opening night, the party's double-edged agenda is to tug at the heart and to go for McCain's jugular.

Good thing that Leno's show is taped early. By the time it aired, the elderly GOP nominee's innards were struggling to digest his early-bird meal and he was probably already in bed.

Still sleepless with worry, however, were millions of other Americans. Another piece in this morning's L.A. Times:

Wrongly slapping on an anecdotal lede about a renter named Ruth Cordoba, the paper tells an interesting story once you get past that:

The collapse of home mortgage lending, which according to U.S. Housing Secretary Steve Preston may lead to 2.5 million foreclosure filings nationwide this year, sent shock waves up the income strata -- from home buyers who took out subprime loans they couldn't pay, through banks that couldn't cover their losses on those loans, and onto high-end investors who had bought the banks' bad loans.

Now the mortgage crisis is radiating downward and cracking the already fragile finances of people like Cordoba. There are more than 300,000 households getting Section 8 assistance in California, and their median income is $14,428, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

State and federal officials are unable to say how many Section 8 renters have been affected by the wave of foreclosures sweeping the country, but local housing authorities say the number is significant -- and growing.

Good thing there aren't many low-income renters here in New York City.

Start booking those tickets to Europe. From this morning's BBC:

'Dollar increases against the euro'

The dollar has climbed back towards a six-month high against the euro, as continuing fears about the European economy hit the single currency.

Ahead of a key German survey of business sentiment due out later on Tuesday, the dollar strengthened to $1.4717 against the euro.

Against the pound, the dollar was trading at $1.8468, just below a two-year high versus sterling.

The latest German survey may show more signs of a possible European recession.

Bad memories for those Denver conventioneers whose last names aren't Clinton. Drizzling on the parade — Denver typically experiences showers just about every summer afternoon — is Slate's Jack Shafer:

What Kind of Plagiarist Is Joe Biden? The unusually creepy kind.

Joe Biden's return as a vice-presidential candidate signals forgiveness—at least from Barack Obama — for having plagiarized a leading British politician during Biden's campaign for the Democratic Party's 1988 presidential nomination.

The Biden episode merits revisiting because as acts of plagiarism go, it was spectacular, and because it points to other dicey chapters in his life.

Red alert! Red alert! And this is no joke. From the Washington Post's front page:

'Governing Coalition Collapses in Pakistan'

Pakistan's ruling coalition broke apart Monday amid a political battle over the presidency, paralyzing the U.S.-backed government at a time when Taliban insurgents here and in neighboring Afghanistan appear to be gaining ground.

Don't look for this on the Times's front page.

While the Times and others talk about how the Obamas and Ted Kennedy are rousing the faithful, Drudge points to an actual faith-based story out of Denver by the AP's Eric Gorski:

At the first official event Sunday of the Democratic National Convention, a choir belted out a gospel song and was followed by a rabbi reciting a Torah reading about forgiveness and the future.

Helen Prejean, the Catholic nun who wrote Dead Man Walking, assailed the death penalty and the use of torture.

Young Muslim women in headscarves sat near older African-American women in their finest Sunday hats.

Four years ago, such a scene would have been unthinkable at a Democratic National Convention. In 2004, there was one interfaith lunch at the Democratic gala in Boston.

But that same year, "values voters" helped re-elect President Bush, giving Democrats of faith the opening they needed to make party leaders listen to them.

As usual, the smart, sober news source that is McClatchy's web wire service gets serious about real news at the convention, reporting Monday:

Can Hillary Clinton persuade her followers to back Obama?

Sen. Hillary Clinton takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, a potentially pivotal moment that could help determine whether the party unifies behind Sen. Barack Obama or continues to harbor divisions that might help Republican Sen. John McCain take the White House. . . .

About half of Clinton's supporters are still not sold on Obama, polls show, with some leaning his way and others saying flat out they'll vote for McCain.

McCain rushed out a new ad featuring a Clinton supporter saying she'd now vote for the Republican.

Giving equal time, McClatchy also carries this important tidbit, via the Miami Herald, about an always pivotal state where GOP operative Kathleen Harris chest-bumped the Dems in 2000:

Bad news for GOP? Fla.'s Hispanic voters no longer Cuban

After the seemingly obligatory anecdotal, "human-interest" lede, Casey Woods writes:

According to numbers from the Democratic polling firm Bendixen and Associates, 44 percent of the state's 1.1 million Hispanic voters hail from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries — slightly more than the Cubans, at 40 percent. In 2000, non-Cuban voters represented 19 percent of the Hispanic vote, Bendixen polling shows.

Hispanic Democrats also now outnumber Hispanic Republicans in Florida, making what had long been a relatively predictable voter population for politicians much more fluid.

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