Almost everything that is wrong with the Times’ sensationalized front page story, “Girl in the Shadows,” (12/9/13) is foretold by the explanatory caption in the passive voice: “As New York has been reborn, children like Dasani have been left behind.” The implication is that we New Yorkers, under the spell of our old imperial mayor, have cruelly abandoned the poor children of our city.
So I’m up at 5 a.m., too early to start working. Might as well browse online. As a change of pace, I slide over to the Daily Beast, the online remnant of Newsweek. Naming the site for the London tabloid in Evelyn Waugh’s comic novel “Scoop” surely seemed more clever when they first thought it up than now, when some slice of America must avoid it, assuming, with that name, it must be the house organ for Satan.
In the annals of world literature, there are some very long books: Tolstoy’s War and Peace clocks in at 1,440 pages and Hugo’s Les Miserables beats that at 1,488. Now comes Part 1 of a biography of Barbara Stanwyck by Victoria Wilson: at 1,044 pages, it’s more than twice as long as three combined biographies of John Wayne, Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe, infinitely more important screen icons than Ms. Stanwyck whose name would not be familiar to most people under 50. If Volume 2 of this devotional work is the same length as its predecessor, it might be longer than both the Old and New Testaments, a sobering and distressing thought. Fortunately, we can rely on the marketplace to correctly balance Ms. Wilson’s idee fixe with the realities of consumer interest, if not the subject’s proportionate merit.
I’m still combing through the details of the “deal” that President Obama, Secretary John Kerry and others in the administration struck with the Iranian regime, but one thing is obvious: it essentially clears the way for Iran to become a nuclear-armed power. Setting aside multiple, hard-fought UN resolutions calling for Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment, the “deal” allows Iran to continue enrichment and requires little to nothing of the regime in return for the easing of some sanctions.
The NYTimes of Nov 27th devoted one and a quarter pages of text and an oversized, inflammatory front page picture of an Israeli’s woman’s breast revealing a scar and the top of her nipple under a tattooed Star of David. The shorthand association reads: Israel, Jews, cancer. Is this another disease caused by the same people who brought on the black plague in the middle ages? Has Bibi spurred the spread of breast cancer? Is this a further extension of Israeli occupation? By contrast, there is no photograph of a partially exposed penis accompanying the story on page 4 of the NYT of Nov 28th concerning the rapid rise of unprotected sex among gay American men. The Times tiptoes through the statistics saying only that the rate of unprotected sex had risen 20% from 2005 - 2011 and that infection rates are highest among young black gay men. Here are some of the statistics that the Times didn’t include in this delicate treatment of a disturbing subject.
Team Obama has been working overtime to dissuade Congress from slapping new economic sanctions on Iran during ongoing nuclear negotiations — which resume today in Geneva — because they believe new squeeze tactics might put America and Iran on a path to war.
Bruce Dern’s default countenance is that of a dour man. In “Nebraska,” he plays the part of an exceedingly dour man - one who is also bitter, withdrawn, resigned, stubborn, taciturn, partially demented, alcoholic and very difficult. The plot of the movie hinges on Woody Grant’s determination to get to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to cash in on a Publisher’s Weekly type flyer promising that he could be a winner of one million dollars - the last opportunity in his collapsed life to regain some pride in himself and some measure of autonomy. Though we can believe that this character might set his clouded mind to undertake this fool’s journey from Montana to Nebraska, it’s harder to believe that his younger son, David, would decide to drive him there. There has been virtually no relationship between Woody and his sons throughout their lives and we discover, as David does, that before he was born, his father was involved with another woman and contemplating divorce from his wife. Yet, despite a serious accident and other difficulties that his father gets into en route, David is determined to keep going in order to satisfy the old man’s demands.
Anyone under 50 today must harbor at least some cynicism about the current obsession with 11/22/63, the day of the JFK assassination. Unlike much of what is written about that era, in this case it’s not simply another case of Baby-Boomer self-indulgence; the day is critical to understanding 20th Century American history. No other day, except possibly Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, marked a greater transition in American society than November 22, 1963.
Paris is the destination for all young, aspiring writers. So why did it take Stephen King so long to come here? - waiting until he was 66 years old and the acclaimed author of 50 books that have sold 350 million copies and spawned numerous films
Leo Ryan’s intellectual curiosity and a desire to perceive the harsh realities of life first-hand led the late Congressman to Guyana 35 years ago this week. It seems like yesterday. I spent much of the last evening of the 95th session of Congress in 1978 with the Democrat from Northern California. It was his final night in Washington before he would head back home and then, several weeks later, embark on his fact-finding trip to Guyana.
Former President Bill Clinton, who, along with the light of his life, Hillary Rodham Clinton, tried and failed to get socialized medicine done in the early 1990s, has generally been supportive of President Obama’s success with Obamacare. You just know that Bubba was burning with resentment that the Bama was able to accomplish what he and Rodham were not; socialized medicine was supposed to be THEIR legacy, not the legacy of this arrogant whippersnapper who beat them in 2008.
Frank Torren is one of those rare classy cabaret performers who takes you back to the days when cruise ships were a luxury and piano bars were De Rigeur. A native of Tampa, Fla, he fuses his Italian heritage with a Latin influence. Not only charming and sexy, but he’s a delightful raconteur. His voice is smooth, and he makes the stage his home.
This week every single Senate Democrat up for re-election next year stormed the White House (okay, “stormed” might be too strong a word, but they went to the White House in an unhappy mood) to attend a previously unscheduled meeting with President Obama. According to reports, they vented their frustrations with the nightmare that is Obamacare. Fox News’s White House correspondent Ed Henry said the participants characterized the exchange with Obama as “spicy.” As in a “spicy tuna roll,” but without the tastiness.
It may not be high on the list, but among the problems for HealthCare.gov is who’s writing the public relations copy. When the Department of Health and Human Services recently promised to summon “the best and brightest” to fix the website of Obamacare, President Obama’s signature legacy, the discomfiting impression is the copywriter was some intellectually arrogant 28-year-old with an ignorance of history. Wasn’t that writer aware the words “best and brightest” are an ironic allusion to the men behind America’s worst 20th Century foreign policy debacle? Certainly not a promising portent.
Considering the lumps the administration is taking over NSA leaks and Obamacare failings, don’t expect them to trumpet tomorrow’s meeting at the White House between President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Hey: remember the Left’s chant-of-choice to taunt President Bush during the Iraq war? “Bush lied, thousands died.” That leftist groupthink rant was premised on the erroneous assumption that, in the run-up to the U.S.-led intervention, Bush knowingly lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion.
In Stanley Kubrick’s classic film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the survival of astronauts on a space mission depends on a computer, the infallible HAL 9000. HAL relates to the crew in human fashion and keeps them safe until the chilling climax when he decides to engineer their murder by sabotaging the ship’s life-support systems. It is the quintessential depiction of the erosion of trust between man and machine.