Ms. Sullivan posed a long-winded policy suggestion concerning the establishment of a new process to determine whether or not the release of certain information would constitute a threat to national security, rather than asking for an explanation from George Bush about his well-documented attacks on Freedom of Information laws. .

Huh? The Bush Administration certainly has its weaknesses but staying on message is not one of them. Staying on message means not taking policy suggestions from journalists, okay? Other Presidents (again, Bill Clinton comes to mind) just loved to discuss new policy ideas and suggestions. Not this one. As the editor of a major daily newspaper, we’d like to respectfully suggest that perhaps Ms. Sullivan should have known this. .

We share Ms. Sullivan’s embarrassment at being blown off by the President of the United States, because her suggestion, which in any other time would have been considered safe, non-partisan and completely reasonable, did merit at least a modicum of respectful comment from the President, but again - it was off message! .

We’ll probably have a long wait for the next Presidential press conference attended by actual journalists. Given how obsequious many of these newspaper editors, were being, we’re generous by suggesting that they are in fact, “actual journalists.” Now that Presidential press conferences have become scarcer than solar eclipses, we can only hope that if Ms. Sullivan again has the opportunity to ask Dubyah a question, she will be a little more prepared for her close-up. .

Underhanded Underwriting: Nancy Naples, James Harris and “The Bonds That Tie.” .

Speaking of the WWRR (Wealthy White Radical Republicans), Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples has come under fire for steering County business to a certain politically connected bond underwriter. We must be having a slow news week because, this just in: the practice of manipulating bond underwriting is a cornerstone of political corruption in New York State! It’s part of the time-honored tradition of patronage, for crying out loud. But, now that it’s been brought up, does anybody remember the billion-dollar bond that was funneled to Bob Wilmers’ pals at Salomon Smith Barney? Recall that former Buffalo School Board Superintendent was leading toward an offer from a competing term. What was the first thing his replacement Marion Canedo did? Funnel the bond to SSB. Arthur Leavitt sits on the board of Wilmers’ bank M&T and SSB. Mere coincidence? We think not. .

Another conspiracy theory? What do you do once you float a bond to rebuild public schools? Simple, force an inundation of charter schools on the community, because then suddenly you don’t have to spend so much of that bond money on what it was intended for, do you? .

Keep in mind that James Harris was blasted for playing the race card, when he in fact admitted that critical paperwork had failed to make through the maze in Albany. Mr. Williams on the other hand claimed that a state audit of the Dayton School District was “racially motivated.” Unfortunately for Mr. Williams, one of the targets of the audit pled guilty to some of the charges and went to prison. Being an ally of the WWRR means never having to say you’re sorry. Nor did he apologize for failing to inform the Dayton school board that the district was hiding twelve million dollars in red ink. So Mr. Williams really seems to be an African American incarnation of Joel Giambra. Fantastic! Let’s sign him up, before some other lucky community snatches him up! You know you’ve got a WWRR-friendly “aggressive CEO-type” if you’ve got resume headings for “Divisiveness,” “Financial Incompetence,” and “Penchant For Secrecy.” .

In the meantime, after Dayton floated a bond for a school reconstruction project, Mr. Williams and his WWRR friends at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation were able to midwife the birth of a staggering brood of some forty poorly run, ineffective charter schools. Excellent, Smithers! .

Yes Donn, It is Wilmers! But Who Are You Calling Stupid? .

We had to chuckle at a recent column by our colleague at The Buffalo News, the man, the myth, the legend – Donn Esmonde. .

In a rant entitled, “It’s Wilmers, Stupid!” Donn revealed to his readers, for the first time in our recollection, that if our community were to have one person who could be called “a Don,” it would be M&T Bank CEO and Control Board Commissar, Bob Wilmers and not, as many have suggested, the beleaguered Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. .

In iterating a list of community issues upon which Wilmers had a huge influence, Esmonde neglected to mention that on most of these initiatives, Wilmers enjoyed full editorial support from The Buffalo News. As often as not, the writer editorialized on Wilmers’ behalf was Esmonde, himself. Interestingly, he also neglected to mention that the parent company of The Buffalo News, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway once owned as much as a quarter of M&T Bank. Uhmmmm, Methinks the Lady doth protest too much. .

Who is Esmonde calling stupid? Himself, for being a schill? The community, for not reading enough articles in the Alt Press castigating Wilmers? His editors, for not protesting Wilmers’ latest corrupt leadership choice in the person of James Williams as the next Buffalo School Board Superintendent? .

Stupid is as stupid does, Donn. By John McMahon

President George Bush has gotten into the habit of taking questions from the White House press Corps a couple of times a year – whether he needs to or not. For some reason, Jeff Gannon wasn’t on hand for the recent press conference at the American Society of Newspaper Editors, although judging by some of the softball questions served up to Dubyah, you could make the argument that the GOP’s favorite gay interlocutor was definitely there in spirit.

On hand for the press conference was Buffalo News editor Margaret Sullivan. Would she be ready for her moment in the national spotlight? Despite appearing a bit nervous, Ms. Sullivan definitely had a question thought out and rehearsed, but there was a slight problem. Note to Ms. Sullivan: Bill Clinton is no longer President! .