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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 8, 2006; 3:42 PM

I've been traveling for the last day -- or, more accurately, sitting on runways waiting out weather delays -- so what I have for you this morning are brief, superficial thoughts on a bunch of things. Which is what some people think I offer every day.

Ann Coulter is Public Enemy No. 1 in New York. Trust me on that. Not only did NBC and ABC go after her in their nightly newscasts, but Bill O'Reilly dumped all over her. Even the right isn't defending her vile cracks about how the 9/11 widows are witches who are enjoying their husbands' deaths because of the celebrity it has brought them. Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt joins the denunciation: "This is beyond callous, beyond any notion of decency. It is disgusting." ( Michelle Malkin , though, says Coulter has a point.)

So Coulter is getting what she wanted: oodles of publicity for her book. But at what price?

The latest analyst to say the GOP may lose the House this fall is . . . Tom DeLay. "The former No. 2 House leader criticized his Republican colleagues for 'panic, depression and woe-is-me-ism,' and predicted they will lose control in November 'if they continue the attitude they have right now,' " reports USA Today . Um, Earth to the former (as of tomorrow) congressman: Do you think your indictment, or the guilty pleas by three ex-associates (in whom DeLay says he's "disappointed"), might possibly have anything to do with the GOP's troubles?

People magazine paying 4 million big ones for the first Brangelina baby photos? Doesn't that symbolize everything that's wrong with Western civilization? (Except for the fact that the parents are donating the dough to charity?) You can see one picture here .

Rick Kaplan out as president of MSNBC: He was actually making modest progress with shows such as "Countdown," although other ideas (Deborah Norville, Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley) bombed. But 2 1/2 years without major improvement is a long time when you're the No. 3 cable news network.

The Huffington Post has beefed up its Eat the Press section. Hey, join the buffet. An example later on.

Kofi Annan's top aide blames Fox News and Rush Limbaugh for U.N.-bashing. The folks at Fox had a fine time with this, and here's Rush's response :

"So Mark Malloch Brown is saying the reason that the United Nations is unrecognized for its greatness and its value, the reason that it's not recognized for its true benefit to world peace and blah, blah, blah, blah, is because of me and Fox News poisoning your minds. What's new? This is just another pointy-headed, elitest liberal say you're a bunch of mind numbed robots and you can't make up your own minds about things. The United Nations has not changed. It's still the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie."

The late-breaking news is that Abu al-Zarqawi has been killed in a U.S. airstrike. Note the media reaction here: "It was a major victory in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. . . . Loud applause broke out among the reporters and soldiers as [Prime Minister] al-Maliki, flanked by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told a news conference that 'al-Zarqawi was eliminated.' "

Here's a throwback to the Gingrich era: "House Republicans yesterday revived their efforts to slash funding for public broadcasting, as a key committee approved a $115 million reduction in the budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that could force the elimination of some popular PBS and NPR programs," says the Boston Globe .

Was anyone with a pulse surprised that the marriage amendment failed in the Senate yesterday? There was a certain Kabuki quality to this whole thing in that everyone knew it was going down.


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