Don’t tell us

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Stephen Grant’s bug-eyed mug was again splashed all over the front pages of Detroit’s two dailies this past weekend after authorities released his confession. Damn. You mean he really did kill her? That bit of news is a revelation to exactly ... no one. But that didn’t keep it from dominating the headlines.

Meanwhile, on NPR’s Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me program, the first contestant we heard Saturday morning was asked who it was that called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” Wait, wait, we don’t need to tell you who. And, not surprisingly, the contestant got the answer without a moment’s hesitation. Then she was asked what, exactly, turned up missing at the White House when inquiring congressional committees came knocking. Wait, wait ... the contestant fumbled for an answer, even though she was a self-confessed political junkie.

Now, News Hits isn’t exactly shedding tears that a self-aggrandizing jerk like Don Imus has gotten the boot, and we understand the outrage that his insult sparked. But, geniuses that we are, the crew here remains mystified that there was no equivalent outrage when a bile-spewer like Ann Coulter referred to a group of 9/11 widows as “witches” reveling in the celebrity and wealth that supposedly came their way following the deaths of their husbands. How does she retain any sort of public platform after that?

Even more perplexing, though, is the lack of attention to the issue that failed to register with that Wait, Wait ... contestant, namely the disclosure that an uncounted number of e-mails generated by the George Bush White House apparently have been lost to scrutiny because staffers were using a Republican National Committee account instead of official government servers to conduct official business. This all came to light as part of the investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

With political hatchet man Karl Rove paving the way, the e-mail diversion appears to be an illegal attempt to sidestep the Presidential Records Act, passed in 1978 as a reaction to the skulduggery of the Nixon administration. At least 50 current and former members of the Bush administration took part. The excuse is that they were following the law by not using government computers to conduct purely political business. But even the Bushies are admitting that wasn’t necessarily the case.

“The White House has not done a good enough job overseeing staff using political e-mail accounts to assure compliance with the Presidential Records Act,” a White House spokesman told reporters.

To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: No shit, Sherlock.

“This is a remarkable admission that raises serious legal and security issues,” Rep. Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told the Los Angeles Times.

Damn right. Thousands of e-mails that should be available for scrutiny may have been diverted and deleted. Clearly, the intent was to avoid legitimate oversight of executive branch actions — part of an ongoing (and so far largely successful) attempt by this imperial presidency to subvert the foundations of our democracy. On top of all this comes the news that as many as 5 million (5 million!?!) e-mails legitimately routed through White House computers may have been lost as well.

Where’s the outrage over this?

Wait, wait ... don’t tell us.

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact the column at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

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