The Associated Press is reporting that the lobbyist the New York Times insinuated had an affair with John McCain (here is some background information on the NYT piece) has filed suit against the paper to the tune of $27 million:
A Washington lobbyist sued The New York Times for $27 million Tuesday over an article that she says gave the false impression she had an affair with Sen. John McCain in 1999.
Vicki L. Iseman filed the defamation suit in U.S. District Court in Richmond. It also names as defendants the Times’ executive editor, its Washington bureau chief and four reporters. Continue reading NYT Sued Over Story Implying McCain Had an Affair
In an article heroically chronicling the efforts of 200 union workers “occupying” their old window and door factory the Associated Press made sure to emphasize how the squatters have given the nation’s grim economy a “rallying point.”
Here is how they introduced the story (emphasis added):
The nation’s grim economy now has a rallying point: Employees at a window-and-door factory that went out of business have taken over the building in a siege that has come to symbolize the woes of the ordinary worker.
Yes, that’s right; the AP sees a group of people who are illegally squatting on private property as symbolic of ordinary workers. They even describe the actions of these workers as a “siege” in an apparent sign that the AP thinks people unhappy with the bad economy should rally and lay siege to their work places.
But the AP wasn’t finished glamorizing and militarizing these workers actions:
The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed abruptly last week after Bank of America canceled the company’s financing. Since then, about 200 of the 240 laid-off workers have taken turns occupying the factory, declaring that they will not leave until getting assurances they will receive severance and accrued vacation pay.
Now, not only are the glorious workers laying ‘siege’ to the factory but they are occupying it and declaring their demands for money be met before they leave. As shocking and unlawful as this may seem to others it seems the AP can’t get enough of this behavior.
But the standoff has also come to embody mounting anger over the government’s willingness to bail out deep-pocketed corporations but not average people.
However, even as the AP is cheering on this act which they seem to view as something glorious and militaristic they cast doubts on the legitimacy of the workers claim that the law says they are owed vacation pay because they were not given 60 days notice before they were laid off:
The law allows businesses to close without giving the required notice under certain circumstances, such as if another company that is the sole source of income suddenly goes out of business, said Mark Johnson, president of Erisa Benefits Consulting in Grapevine, Texas, who said he was not familiar with the Republic case.
Here’s the answer that Sarah Palin gave to a third grader who asked what it is that the Vice President does:
And Here’s the specific part CNN was interested in:
“They’re in charge of the United States Senate. So, if they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes.”
Here’s the title of the CNN story (as it appears on CNN.com) regarding her comments:
“Palin misstates VP role”
Now, I’m no constitutional law expert but luckily for me the constitution is written in English so I can pretty well understand it.
And to be quite honest, the constitution doesn’t much address what the specifics of the Vice President’s role are…
In fact, here is the one and only provision pertaining to the Vice President in regards to the Senate:
“The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.”
Seems to me that being the president of something means you are “in charge” of it, at least formally, and when you’re trying to explain what the VP does to a third grader thats not a half bad way of doing it. So if that wasn’t the offending part of this excerpt it must have been the insinuation that the Vice President, “if they want to”, can influence senators on policy.
But if the Vice President isn’t supposed to influence policy in the Senate then what exactly are they supposed to do? Just wait around for the President to die? I mean, besides outlining how the VP is elected (and revising it in the 12th amendment and several others), impeached, and that the VP assumes the office of the President if the President is unable or unfit to fulfill the duties of that office what does the constitution tell us?
Again, only that the Vice President is the president of the Senate and casts the decisive vote when there is a tie. And, again, I’m left wondering what CNN sees as the gaffe in Palin’s statement…
They quote Donald Ritchie, a historian in the Senate Historical Office for what seems to be the real crux of their argument:
Donald Ritchie, a historian in the Senate Historical Office told CNN that Palin’s comment was an “overstatement” of what her role would be.
“The vice president is the ceremonial officer of the Senate and has certain ceremonial functions including swearing in new senators and can vote to break a tie,” he said. “It’s a relatively limited role. It’s evolved into a neutral presiding officer of the Senate.
Ritchie also noted recent vice presidents have played a behind-the-scenes lobbying role on Capitol Hill for an administration’s policies, but called it “somewhat limited.”
Personally, I find these assertions to be contentious. Who is Ritchie to say what kind of Vice President Sarah Palin will be? And if anything the office of Vice President has been moving away from its “somewhat limited” role of influencing senate policy decisions, you only need to look at Dick Cheney to figure that out. Plus, everything I’ve heard Palin say about the kind of Vice President she’ll be points to one that is very engaged in influencing policy. After all, she has the right to be that kind of Vice President if she so chooses.
So, really, CNN has absolutely no basis for characterizing Palin’s view of the Vice Presidency as a misstatement. But, hey, they’ve got a narrative to keep so any chance they get to paint Sarah Palin as incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above they’re gonna jump at it. Oh yeah, they aren’t the only ones either…
PS. CNN must consider this an important story since they keep bumping it to the top of their “political ticker”…
UPDATE: Oh, would you look at this, Biden said the exact same thing about what he plans to do as VP.