Friday, January 17, 2003
Seth and Ira, proprietors of a newspaper that aims to serve as a companion (albeit an anaemic and ultimately unhelpful one) to The Manhattan Institute's City Journal
, continue to bafflingly reprint
other papers' reports on major international news on the Sun
website. This is done at the expense of material originally developed by the paper's staff and is actually a great boon to those among us wishing to shield themselves from the stupidity Seth and Ira demand of their staff. Absent the preceding Telegraph
piece, Messrs. Shlaes and Stoll would have just given more space to the True Believing likes of Ben Smith and Adam DaiFallah, the latter writing today
to advance big money's effort to have the working man and his right to collective bargaining hbrought into disrepute.
Such is the editorial wizardry of the two men from Massachusetts. If a Jimmy Breslin ever emerges from the Sun
's newsroom, it will be despite great odds, and against Seth and Ira's active effort to prevent the drafting of copy anybody cares to read and the development of voices anybody cares to hear.
Moving on, I made passing reference
to the boozy bellicosity of Christopher Hitchens some days back, which upset three readers to the point of composing letters to the LFLS editor. One asked if I was to follow with "gimp jokes" and another reproached me, a "speical [sic] interest loving lefty loon," for broaching the subject.
I can only say that I have great respect for those overcoming disadvantages of birth, and great respect for, say, the unions of America that protect their members livelihoods as they grapple with the handicap of alcoholism. Note that none of this extends to Hitchens, a man who has publicly affirmed that he is not an alcoholic, a claim he buttresses with reference to his substantial literary output. Surely, he says, someone far gone on drink couldn't issue so many books and articles. We grant his point. Hitchens has published no shortage of regrettable material this past year, including a BBC profile
of our unelected president (if I recall the promo correctly, Hitchens was said to provide a dispassionate appraisal of the man who "despite a popular mandate acquired unprecedented power," an acquisition that would worry anyone not drunk on Orwell and red wine).
So if he's not an alcoholic, then he's someone who chooses to indulge in the supremely irresponsible act of drinking on the job
, an offense for which less powerful
people would find themselves out of work should they be detected. Detection of Hitchens' sly guzzling is simple. Alcohol saturates his prose these days, making his words read like those of a barstool-bound belligerent. It is a great shame that Hitchens chooses
to saturate himself with alcohol before sitting down at the typewriter, and stumbling upon Hitchens' latest offering of the vodka-soaked fruits of that choice inspires sadness.
Thursday, January 16, 2003
Today’s Police Blotter provides the headline, “Sick of Job, Woman Torches Workplace.” Repeating, it was a woman who set the fire, not the Usual Suspect
I had wanted to write more today, but a big fight broke out between Xander
, our well-to-do rich kid copy editor from the nice part of town, and Jimmy
, our scrappy cub reporter from the wrong side of the tracks who is just looking to make good on the promises of success he made to his dying mother
. Seems they are both in love with Janine
, our receptionist, who is torn between the man her parents think she should be with, and the man she truly loves. I just wish the fellas wouldn’t start throwing down in the newsroom.
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
There’s a lovely almost half-of-a-page ad opposite today’s editorial column in the New York Sun. It’s for the Sun itself, again proving that they are their own best advertiser (somebody has to spend Big Daddy Steinhardt’s $20 mil; better the ad department than Lauren Mechling
, although all are fighting an uphill battle). The ad boasts the Sun’s “Rousing Roster of Writers”, including “Peggy Noonan, speechwriting superstar; Dan Dorfman, our man of the markets;. . . Wallace Matthews, celebrated sports writer;. . . David Frum, Washington wise man;. . . Alicia Colon, classic controversialist; [and] Michael Ledeen, strategic soothsayer.” Anybody have any good alliteration quotes
"Game, Set, There Go the Matchbooks
There must be some particularly sore heads
in the Sun
's newsroom this morning.
We're contemplating a one-time disbursement of $19.50
from the unclaimed "Happy Birthday, Ira" fund.
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
, my colleague Mr. Olivier
wrote disparagingly of the New York Sun’s connection to the Manhattan Institute, even insinuating that the Sun’s editorials issue from that august body
. Even I
find such a suggestion ludicrous
. Not once in today’s Sun editorials is the Manhattan Institute mentioned, even in the “Michigan Melee” editorial cited by Brother Grady
. Sure, sharing the page with said editorials is a pro-school choice opinion piece by Jay Greene, “senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Education Research Office;” and sure, on that same page is also a work by Steven Malanga, reprinted from City Journal
; and sure, on page 5 is a story by Adam Daifallah “reporting” on a panel discussion co-hosted by the Manhattan Institute. That still doesn’t mean that the New York Sun
is unduly influenced by the Manhattan Institute
, and I think Grady
would owe SethAndIra
an apology were he more focused on his work. But with his impending immigration problems
, I think we can let this slide, right?
Seth and Ira rise early to spread a fresh layer of manure
over the city's newsstands - or at least over those few bothering to stock the Sun
. Not helping them much is Karen Schwartz, who stands idly by and poses an "an important question
: What do you buy the 1-year-old who has it all?" The answer is obvious: a newspaper
As we often note, it's difficult to tell from most
Manhattan Institute Sun
editorials whether it's Seth or Ira writing. The two are after all conjoined
via a common set of prejudices. We often are reduced to measuring the intellectual shadow falling across the page. If it's of larger proportions (i.e., fat
), then it's a Seth effort. If it's woefully undersized and wholly inadequate, then it's Ira's.
We need not take measurements today, as "Michigan Melee
" bears Ira's byline. We like very much the way 46 entire words from the opening paragraph are reprinted in the subheading on the Web version. Despite the senseless addition of those 46 words, Ira comes nowhere near uttering even the rudiments of a thought not originating with The Manhattan Institute
. At least Jay Greene and Floyd Flake
are capable of expressing their preference for things that flatter rich folks' vanities with a measure of eloquence.
No time to deal with Ira's latest at length, though. The pressing family matters
I alluded to some days back have increased in gravity. Svetlana
is being detained by the federales at O'Hare immigrations, and LFLS attorney Smitty and I are en route. On return I'll deal with the latest spate of reader mail. It seems many found it objectionable that I noted Christopher Hitchens' alcohol intake and resulting bellicosity.
Monday, January 13, 2003
GET ME COPY EDIT!
A headline from today’s New York Sun “Foreign Desk”:
Pakistani Police Diffuse Bomb at KFC
As always, job well done, SethAndIra
. At least you spelled KFC right.
Michael Steinhardt and his merry men built a flop house where persons who would quickly run to starvation if ever thrown upon a true meritocracy
are currently seeking shelter against the winter which obtains in the New York publishing world. Unfortunately for non-graduates of the Worcester Academy who find themselves down on their luck, the $20 million shelter in which Seth and Ira are holed up is not an option.
"New Yorkers," the Massachusetts duo aver despite giving all appearance of never having met any, "are generous, compassionate, charitable - but we're [sic] nobody's fools." Except Michael Steinhardt's, of course. In "The Word Gets Out
," Seth and Ira cite the pox Ben Smith recently visited upon his clip file
, and haul off on the "homeless." Yes, it's written like that in the original. Seth and Ira's limited capacity for logic assures that their harangues against the poor never hold water. Their latest outing is so overfreighted with scare quotes and the heavy, heavy weight of moral ugliness that it sinks far sooner than usual.
While granting that "New York's shelter system" isn't "any day at the beach, "an insight no doubt gleaned from extended contact, they say it "can lead to hotel rooms. Or it can jump you to the top of the list for the city's public housing, some of which is in prime locations. Under the current system, homeless persons can even reject offers of apartments if they don't like the location offered."
Yet again Seth and Ira demonstrate that though they may have succesfully piloted their cars down Interstate 95 or 87, they're still miles away from New York. Could someone who has seen the interior of an SRO cell have written something as ponderously dumb as "Imagine if, say, Short Hills, N.J., or Honolulu, Hawaii, or Beverly Hills, Calif., announced that it would offer an apartment or hotel room with windows and a clean, comfortable pillow to anyone who showed up claiming to be homeless. The cities would be inundated, the way New York is now." I would have said that such obnoxiouness is without precedent if I hadn't recalled JP Avlon's rants against panhandlers and raves over schemes to have the less-than-picturesque poor relocated from sight.
We're sure a "those people can't be poor, just look at how fat
they are" editorial is in the works.
Sunday, January 12, 2003
I'm leaving soon, I mean it. But first allow me to pass along the following announcement from the Connecticut Greens
. Plans for a picket of Joseph Lieberman's candidacy announcement are being readied. Seth and Ira, you may want to have Daphna Berman
head up to Stamford to document this outrage. She can find directions here
. Please note that should she make the trip with old Midwood Fats
, she'll pass within striking range of no less than five Krispy Kreme outlets.
Connecticut Green Party Says "Say no to Joe!"
contact: New Haven Alderman John Halle, 203-785-9258.
The Green Party of Connecticut is calling on all those opposed to the war in Iraq, to corporate scandal as a way of life, to third world levels of income and wealth inequality, to the insane drug war, to the death penalty and to the three decade long capitulation of the Democratic party to its right wing to picket Joseph Lieberman's announcement of his candidacy for president at 10 AM on Monday, January 13, at Stamford High School, 55 Strawberry Hill Ave. Stamford, CT. (See below for directions.)
Since his election to the Senate, arch hawk Lieberman has been a strident and uncompromising voice for unnecessary weapons programs and unchecked militarism. A strong defender of the expansion of West Bank settlements and an apologist for Israeli human rights violations, Lieberman was calling an invasion of Iraq long before President Bush and has been a cheerleader for intervention ever since. His enthusiastic support for Plan Colombia and an unrestricted global "war on terrorism" will commit U.S. troops and hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to senseless military operations for generations to come.
Lieberman's domestic policies have been no less odious. As reported in former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt's new book, Lieberman's neutering of the Financial Accounting Standards Board was the single legislative act most directly responsible for the recent wave of corporate scandals. A recipient of large contributions from the financial services industry, he predictably failed to use his position as chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate the burgeoning Arthur Anderson/Enron scandals. Lieberman has also been a strong voice for corporations in their effort to export production to lowest wage countries, driving wages down at home. Despite receiving sizable contribution from labor unions, his votes for the NAFTA and GATT have served the interests of corporations against working families. Lieberman's coziness with major players in finance and the energy industry probably resulted in his failure to intercede with federal regulators to prevent the construction of the cross sound cable, an assault on the Long Island sound ecosystem, located just a few miles away from Lieberman's home in New Haven.
On constitutional rights issues, Lieberman has been a perpetual disaster.
As a board member of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Lieberman joined with Lynne Cheney and other far-right ideologues in circulating a black list of 40 university professors whose remarks questioning aspects of U.S. foreign policy "give aid and comfort to (our) adversaries." He is a strong supporter of the Patriot Act and even endorsed the administration's ludicrous "TIPS" program which attempted to turn postal workers, gas and cable company employees and others with access to private homes into government informants.
Lieberman's voice has become increasingly familiar among the chorus led by the religious right calling for the breakdown of barriers between church and state. His notorious remark that the constitution "guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion" has outraged even moderates within the religious community who recognize the strain of aggressive intolerance barely concealed behind Lieberman's deceptively mild rhetoric.
Joseph Lieberman is a disgrace to the people of Connecticut who he claims to serve, a disgrace to the constitution, a disgrace to the Senate, a menace to human rights and human decency.
Elected officials, activists and celebrities from around the state and region will be on hand to show that while Lieberman's massive corporate campaign contributions and endless series of capitulations to the right wing can bring "credibility" in the eyes of the media and the establishment, they cannot overcome the opposition of people of conscience.
A list of endorsers is being assembled and will be circulated over the weekend.
Directions to Stamford High School.
Take the ELM STREET off 95 exit- exit number 8.
Turn RIGHT onto ELM ST.
ELM ST becomes GROVE ST.
GROVE ST becomes STRAWBERRY HILL AVE.
From Metro North Station in Stamford. Take Metro North Bus 33 at 8:37, 9:07 or 9:50
Or call 203-906-6142 to arrange van pick up from Metro North station.
No guarantee that you'll be amongst the elect sharing an elevator with Ira