Archive: July, 2009
I'm not thrilled when folks down in Tennessee decide it's a good idea to let people carry concealed guns in bars, but at least that doesn't affect me until my next road trip to Beale Street. But now Congress wants to make it your right to follow your state's lax concealed-gun permit refs in my state. You cannot be serious:
The pro-gun lobby likes to argue that all such concealed carry permit-holders are law-abiding citizens interested only in upholding the Constititution. They ought to look at the list of crimes committed by those permited to carry a concealed weapon. (www. bradycampaign.org.)
This week's: Did Vince Fumo get off too easy?. Amazingly, they found someone to argue "no," and it's my immediate supervisor, DN city editor Gar Joseph, a man who truly respects "Clout." Here's something I don't get, though. The pro-Fumo argument seems to be that the largest city in the state, Philadelphia, would have gotten zero dollars from Harrisburg if the world had not been blessed with Fumo. Really?
I have to start with a confession -- I did not grow up in a Walter Cronkite household. I'm not sure why -- I was just a kid and didn't have control of the remot...I mean, knob...back then. One fact that's been buried in many of the obits that marked the news legend's passing on Friday at age 92 is that during the 1960s, NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report -- which is what we watched -- had higher ratings, and it was was with them, and not "Uncle Walter," that I watched Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and learned that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. Then, a few months before I graduated from college and became a full-time journalist myself, Cronkite left the stage for his retirement. That was 28 years ago.
But today, as we mourn Cronkite's death and celebrate his remarkable life, I would have to say that no other newsman has had as great an impact on me, and on what I have come to believe about the role that journalists must play in American life. It was only years after the fact that I learned more about -- and came to grasp the remarkable significance of -- what should be held up this week as the crowning moment of Cronkite's career. It took place on Feb. 27, 1968, when Cronkite -- after days of agonizing about how to balance his roles as a leading journalist and as an American citizen -- aired an editorial calling for a negotiated end to the war in Vietnam, an action that he realized posed enormous risk to his career as a newsman.
Joseph Stiglitz doesn't get the hype of his fellow Nobel laureate Paul Krugman -- thanks to Krugman's New York Times column and fairly frequent TV appearances -- but if anything Stiglitz was even more on the money (no pun intended) in predicting the sub-prime mortgage crisis and other calamnities that were looming in America after a generation with no serious economic regulation.
Comes now Newsweek with a profile of Stiglitz that all Americans who care about the economy -- and I believe that would be all Americans -- should read. The article does a great job of both explaining Stiglitz' broader philosphy and also his prescription for the economy right now.
Have you ever seen dreams of everlasting youth give way to existential despair in one bad putt? I did, about four hours ago. And it's not happening for Lance Armstrong, either, although I'm more ambivalent about that. At least we'll always have Jamie Moyer.
Kudos, however, to Tom Watson's caddie -- my friend and the world's only A-list political consultant/pro golf caddie, Philly's own Neil Oxman (pictured at top with Watson). Getting to the brink of glory like that is still a lot closer than either you or I will get.
At the start of the week, I wrote about the ongoing scandals swirling around former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo, who has a lot to say as a monthly columnist for the Inquirer but didn't feeling like talking to investigators seeking to learn more about a legally questionable spying prgram known as the President's Surveillance Program. I wrote that Yoo should talk -- preferably to investigators or to the Inquirer, or someone. It turns out that "someone" was the friendly confines of Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, where Yoo penned an op-ed today. Given my earlier post, I'd be remiss if I didn't take note of that effort.
That said, I'm not going to write a long rebuttal of Yoo, because his argument really isn't very complicated at all. You know that famous line in "Frost/Nixon," when the disgraced Nixon says that "if the president does it, that means it is not illegal." Yoo's position is that when "national security" (as defined by the president, or, presumably, John Yoo) is involved, that "when the president does it, and John Yoo writes him a note, that means it is not illegal."
Chicago's iconic Sears Tower is now called the Willis Tower, proving that it's not just baseball stadiums that get dumb new names (surprised they didn't rename it Minute Maid Tower). Fot what it's worth, Willis is a foreign-based company. The Willis Tower is still the tallest building in America, ahead of New York's Dubai State Building.
By the way, the headline on this post is also the AP headline (more or less) and I guarantee will be the headline in every newspaper in America tomorrow, asking people to yet again ask why exactly America has so many newspapers.
Could it be? An honest lawyer?
Not all came to praise Fumo. Among the perhaps five letters urging a tough sentence was one from Mark D. Schwartz, a Paoli lawyer.