Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Alex Beam apparently thinks fellow journalists Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus and James Taranto are nuts because...er, they have blogs in addition to their regular gigs. Alex doesn't, for reasons that remain unclear. Okay, just kidding. But he isn't:

[He] is completely crackers. Ever since he assumed the most visible perch in journalism, Krugman seems startled to learn that people will take potshots at him. Krugman devotes considerable energy to tilting with his "enemies"—many of them simply Internet kooks—whom he perceives to be persecuting him. In addition to penning his Times columns, he writes frequently for his personal web site (www.wws.princeton.edu/pkrugman), a nutty, score-settling tote board where he fires his rhetorical blunderbuss at the gnats buzzing around him.

Here is the beginning of his latest entry, titled "The Smear Machine Cranks Up Again": "Unbelievable. The smear machine cranks up again. They've done it to me before, they did it to Joseph Wilson, and now they're trying to do it again." In an e-mail, Krugman explains that "the `nonentities' who go after me include Taranto at Wall Street Journal Online—he was the main source for the claim that I was in Mahathir's pay—Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus, etc."

Paul, nine out of 10 New York Times readers have no idea who you are talking about.


No idea? Since Sullivan used to write for the Times, that seems a rather startling thing to say. Mickey Kaus for Slate, and formerly of the New Republic, if I'm not mistaken. And James Taranto for the WSJ—certainly a paper most Times readers avoid like the plague, no doubt.

What is it with Alex? Resentment? Laziness? Is he having a hard time coming up with ideas for columns? There are times when his already meager writing assignments seem like they were the result of root canals. Again, put me on record as one of those who think Alex Beam should be writing his own blog. What better way to build an audience? Especially if you're selling your own books....

Monday, November 24, 2003

William Safire on the Iraq/Al Qaeda connection. And his excellent source material from Edward Jay Epstein.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

So far, it sounds like the protesters in London have about the same amount of drawing power as the ones here....

Monday, November 17, 2003

Why Pat Buchanan is a hypocrite:

"... it's telling that it was the Republican Party of this President Bush that passed and just had signed into law the first national restriction on abortion since Roe v. Wade. While it was Mr. Buchanan who, with his eye on $13 million in matching government funds, jumped to a party founded on the proposition that social issues shouldn't even be discussed."

Read more.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Yes, he can go on and on sometimes, probably because deep down he's a true geek, but often what Steven Den Beste writes is just the best damned thing out there:

"Over the last few months the US has been colder towards the Sauds. We haven't demanded that they step down, but we're asking for more in the way of concrete action. And with the most recent attack of a couple of days ago, it's become clear that the militants in Saudi Arabia are beginning to actively work to depose the Sauds themselves. The tacit truce with al Qaeda is over, and the Sauds are going to be forced to choose sides at long last, and to fight the civil war they've been trying to avoid for the last few decades. If they do that, we might help them. But they no longer get a pass; there's no "special relationship" any longer, no more blind eye turned their direction.

"It's good that it's out in the open now. It's good that it's now formal policy of the government. And it's good that Bush was in no hurry to announce it; it's good that he was willing to wait until that announcement would not do more harm than good. It's good that he wasn't willing to compromise execution of the strategy just to relieve political pressure and defuse criticism."

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

When Stephen Glass was fired from the New Republic for fabricating stories out of whole cloth, I remember thinking what I—and many other starving writers—would've done to have had his job, to have had a start at such a prestigious magazine. Reading this just reaffirms why I think the little dirtbag deserves to be pistol-whipped.

Monday, November 10, 2003

If you're having second thoughts about your job, remember, things could always be worse. You could be a scientist....

Friday, November 07, 2003

Jim Lileks is superb in his review of the final (thank God) Matrix movie:

"I took away something else from the Matrix trilogy: it is a product of deeply confused people. They want it all. They want individualism and community; they want secularism and transcendence; they want the purity of committed love and the licentious fun of an S&M club; they want peace and the thrill of violence; they want God, but they want to design him on their own screens with their own programs by their own terms for their own needs, and having defined the divine on their own terms, they bristle when anyone suggests they have simply built a room with a mirror and flattering lighting. All three Matrix movies, seen in total, ache for a God. But they can’t quite go all the way. They’re like three movies about circular flat meat patties that can never quite bring themselves to say the word 'hamburger.'"

Thursday, November 06, 2003

There were a couple of great columns in the Herald and Globe this week worthy of comment.

Yesterday Gerry Callahan, the Herald's top notch sports columnist, had a terrific piece on the New England Patriots, their sensational quarterback, Tom Brady, and ABC-TV sportscaster John Madden who made a fool of himself 21 months ago in his late game advice to the gutsy Brady and the Patriots to settle for a tie and send the Super Bowl into overtime.

On the Op Ed Page of this morning's Globe, Jeff Jacoby again demonstrated why he is far and away the best political columnist in New England with his incisive column on Iraq entitled : What 'botched' occupation?

"Like the occupation of Germany in January 1946, America's work in Iraq is only getting underway.....What Americans need now are leaders who can focus on the great work before them, not sideline snipers carping prematurely that the occupation has been 'botched', " Jacoby concluded.
In another attempt to discredit and belittle the presidency of Ronald Reagan, now hopelessly deep in the grips of alzheimer's disease, the Boston Globe is resorting to letters to the editor---some from far away points outside its circulation zones---to carry on its campaign against the popular former chief executive.
Today the editorial page editors of the Globe reached out to Iowa to get and publish a lengthy anti-Reagan letter supposedly written by a man from Iowa City---a long, long way from Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester.

Monday, November 03, 2003

"For despite what its champions may assert, the short story doesn't always demand the most from literary writers; instead it can coddle their weaknesses."

Laura Miller in an excellent overview of the modern short story.