Morning Report: Obama Drama; Reagan Era Unraveling


Running down the dailies:


The Post ideologue bosses didn’t get in the way, for a change. Under that funny hed — “rootin’ Teutons”! — Charles Hurt‘s lede is classic journalese, and the rest of his piece lively and smart:

BERLIN — Barack Obama enthralled a crowd of more than 200,000 people here yesterday as he appealed for a unified world to combat terrorism — which he likened to the communism that died in the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

“If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope,” Obama told the massive crowd – the largest of his campaign – that filled the wide boulevard leading from Germany’s Victory Column all the way to the Brandenburg Gate more than a mile away. …

People shimmied up light poles and hung from fencing to get a glimpse of the Democratic nominee who is on the verge of becoming a global icon.

The speech was picked up by media outlets around the world and at least portions of it ran live on both sides of the Atlantic. Even conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh interrupted his program to run bits of it.

Times: ‘Obama, Vague on Issues, Pleases Crowd in Europe’

Steven Erlanger bloviates a typically pecksniffian analysis, noting that Obama had visited Europe only once in the past four years — neglecting to point out, of course, that that just means he hadn’t been junketeering at taxpayer expense like so many other senators.

Erlanger does manage to work in the “chlorinated chickens” issue. More to the point, the headline even misses the point. “Vague on issues”? Erlanger’s story doesn’t back that up.

CNN: ‘Obama wins hearts, not minds, in Berlin’

Workman-like piece, but better than the one in the Times. And it certainly indicates that Obama was not so “vague”:

Munich’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung sounded a more cautious note, warning that an Obama presidency would be “expensive for Germany.”

“He explicitly called for German soldiers for Afghanistan — he did not say ‘more soldiers’ but that was what he meant,” said commentator Reymer Kluever. “And Obama also indicated this: he will want support as president to wind up the Iraq adventure.”

It’s a debacle, not an adventure, and it’s Bush and Cheney’s folly. And what is a U.S. president supposed to do? In order to extricate at least most of our troops — and keep Iran from moving in to seize political control of southern Iraq’s precious oil fields — he has to clean up the mess that’s left to him (and to the rest of the planet), and no U.S. president can do that without international involvement.

Daily News: ‘The walls fall down: Obama says countries must overcome differences’

Story’s even more stupid and boring than its headline. Michael McAuliff (or his editors) tried in vain to spruce it up with a childish two-word lede graf:

Group hug!

The U.S. and Europe must become better friends and allies, Barack Obama told 200,000 joyous Germans at a festival-like spectacle in Berlin Thursday designed to show American voters his global appeal.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke from the monumental Victory Column, near where the Berlin Wall once divided the German capital.

Times: ‘4 Spitzer Aides Broke Ethics Law in Bid to Smear Rival, Panel Says’

Who gives a shit?


Who-gives-a-shit, but at least it’s fun to read.

Daily News: ‘Gambling NBA ref Tim Donaghy may change his stripes’

Clever hed, followed by a nice lede by John Marzulli:

Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy could be back in zebra stripes soon — the prison-issued brand. That’s because the federal judge who will sentence him next week sent two of his cronies off to prison Thursday for gambling on NBA games.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Auction-Rate Crackdown Widens: UBS Faces New Charges in New York, as Scrutiny of Wall Street’s Role Intensifies’

I don’t give a shit if you don’t know what auction-rate securities are.

This story will tell you, and it previews big-time trouble on Wall Street, which will make our lives even more difficult as the goniffs there try to extricate themselves by offloading their money problems on the rest of us. Liz Rappaport‘s story is typically literate:

The state of New York on Thursday joined a widening array of prosecutors and customers accusing Wall Street firms of wrongdoing in efforts to hold together the $330 billion auction-rate securities market before it collapsed in February.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed civil fraud charges against UBS AG, accusing the firm of a “multibillion-dollar consumer and securities fraud,” and demanding that the firm pay back its profits from the business, make investors whole and pay damages. …

[UBS and other] firms are accused of pushing risky securities on retail and corporate customers with misleading sales tactics, even as the market for those securities was falling apart. When the collapse came, many customers faced losses or were stuck with securities they couldn’t sell.

Wall Street Journal: ‘UNRAVELING REAGAN: Amid Turmoil, U.S. Turns Away From Decades of Deregulation’

A fascinating, wide-view story that you won’t find on CNN or any other mass-consumption source:

The housing and financial crisis convulsing the U.S. is powering a new wave of government regulation of business and the economy.

Federal and state governments alike are increasingly hands-on in their effort to deal with failing businesses, plunging house prices, worthless mortgages and soaring energy prices. The steps add up to a major challenge to the movement toward deregulation that has defined American governance for much of the past quarter-century since the “Reagan Revolution” of the early 1980s. In fact, some proponents today of a bigger oversight role for government are Republican heirs to the legacy of President Reagan.

Stop fucking around and start reading the WSJ regularly. Its target audience isn’t the masses but those who control them. You want to try to understand the roiling economic forces that are making you queasy?

One good thing about the Murdoch era: More of the Journal stories are freely available online. This one is really important, and it indicates that progressives like Obama are finally getting the upper hand again over conservatives like McCain and Bill Clinton.

Yes, Clinton.

It was during his administration that many New Deal-era protections were dismantled. Why do you think we have such a mortgage crisis? Bill’s regime abolished the Glass-Steagall Act, which had prevented banks from forming huge conglomerates and snapping up mortgage companies and the like.

Go back and read my February 2005 piece (click here and scroll down a ways).