Sunday, June 24, 2007

Obama and coal

Also on the front page of Sunday's Post is a story about Obama's embrace of that awful liquified coal thing, which I've mentioned here previously. There's lots of coal in Illinois and Obama had been friendly to the industry for a few years now. It turns out that in recent weeks, Obama has backed away -- somewhat -- from his previous support of huge subsidies for the liquified coal plan. Now it's a bit murky where he stands, but the subsidy plan seems to be stalled for now.


From the Washington Post's long piece on Sunday looking at what exactly it is that Dick Cheney has done in the last years, we get this wonderful nugget:

"His general counsel has asserted that 'the vice presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch,' and is therefore exempt from rules governing either."

Monday's article, the second of four in the series, is up now too.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Back and forth on Edwards' anti-poverty work

Thursday's NYT front page had an article saying that John Edwards made his anti-poverty organization after 2004 largely for the purpose of keeping his own finances and organization going and well financed.

See response from Greg Sargent (including further links to several other responses).

Apple, Schmapple

Jack Schafer's latest piece on the media's overboard coverage of Apple looks at the press so far on the iphone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Appraising Giuliani, Gently

On Sunday's front page, the NYTimes took a look at what NYC firefighters are actually saying about Giuliani. Lots of them, it seems, aren't happy.

The article is a small start in the right direction, but barely.

"The firefighters' interviews indicate that in New York, at least, a critical evaluation has begun."

And yet, the article goes on to present facts showing that a "critical evaluation" -- such as by these firefighers themselves -- had in fact already begun within months after 9/11. The Times, and almost all of the media, just haven't always been a part of it.

Regardless, it is useful to see what the firefighters are thinking at this point, and it's good that they took the time to do all these interviews. But I hope this isn't going to come in place of the NYT doing its own, independent investigation of Giuliani's 9/11 history.

The question, in the end, is 'What did Giuliani do?' (Not 'What do the firefighters, or anyone else, say about what Giuliani did?')

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Victory in Massachusetts

The long struggle over gay marriage in Massachusetts came to a conclusion on Thursday, when the combined houses of the state legislature voted 151 to 45 not to allow a statewide ballot initiative on the matter. Gay marriage opponents would have needed 50 votes (1/4 of the total 200 members) to move the ballot forward, and in a vote five months ago they had gotten 62. But months of lobbying apparently paid off. Gay marriage in MA is secured for the forseeable future.

See coverage in the Globe and Bay Windows.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catching up from the weekend

Two enjoyable reads in the Washington Post magazine: the first chronicles the rather unglamorous life of a first term member of congress, specifically "Landslide" Joe Courtney. He's the guy who, by 83 votes, beat Rob Simmons in the Connecticut 2nd. His apartment is unimpressive in comparison to the digs Schumer and crew have, which we saw a few months ago. He spends a lot of his time dialing for dollars.

The second article looks at Amnesty International's new satellite imagining project that keeps an eye on villages in Darfur, while turning the whole story into a surprisingly catchy narrative.

As for the news out today that Sudan has 'accepted' the hybrid United Nations-African Union force -- lets wait and see. We've heard this too many times before. The NYT/Post/LAT are all running dedicated articles on it in Wednesday's papers. I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"It's already looking like the 2000 campaign."

If you didn't catch Friday's Krugman on the 2008 campaign coverage, read it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Shakira, Shakira... Uribe.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was in the U.S. these last few days -- again -- to lobby Congress and others to, you know, stop caring about those darned paramilitary problems in Colombia.

But who joined him last night at an event in his support in New York? Bill Clinton, and Shakira. Chris Kraul in the LAT looks at Uribe's trip.

Monday, June 04, 2007

NYC Summer 2007

Where to begin? I don't know. So here, in no meaningful order, is my rundown of summer events in NYC, 2007. (Pardon the bias toward music events. No offense intended toward other forms of entertainment). All events are free unless noted otherwise.

Big Apple BBQ Block Party
Weekend of June 9, Madison Square Park; noon-6pm on Sat/Sun.

Celebrate Brooklyn
An appetizing lineup as always. These concerts are set in a bandshell on the west side of Prospect Park at about 10th street. Suggested donation is $3. Most of the shows are on Thur/Fri/Sat. The series begins with the Neville Brothers on June 14. Manu Chao (June 26 and 27) and Ani (July 18) pass through for benefit concerts ($30, plus $9 if you do it through ticketmaster). July 28 is the Boricua Festival, which, if you like salsa at all, is going to be fun.

Central Park SummerStage
After the Joss Stone benefit concert, the season kicks off with Cassandra Wilson and Olu Dara on June 15. Don't miss Ozomatli on June 30th! Neko Case and Eric Bachmann stop by on July 20, and August 11 is Celebrate New Orleans day.

Byrant Park Movies
The ultimate cliche of NYC summer events, perhaps; but hey, bring a deck of cards and get pizza from somewhere nearby and it's a wonderful way to spend an evening. Concerts start after sunset on Mondays, but the real start is at 5pm when the lawn at Bryant Park opens and people rush in to claim their real estate. Arrive much later than 6 and you can forget about getting a seat on the grass. And don't sit in the back or you won't be able to hear, seriously. The series begins on June 18 with Annie Hall -- which, aside from being a good movie, is cool because the character grew up in the house under the Thunderbolt at Coney Island (may its remains rest in peace).

Brooklyn Bridge Park Movies
Brooklyn movies are more low-key. You get there when you get there, and there'll probably be a seat, though again the back is too distant to hear. The setting -- on the Brooklyn waterfront, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, is TDF. The season kicks off with The Princess Bride on July 5. Take the F to York Street, or the A/C to High Street. Oh, also, there's the famous pizza at Grimaldi's right nearby (19 Old Fulton St) or the cheap burritos and such at Pedro's (Jay St @ Front St).

Midsummer Night Swing
Outdoors at Lincoln Center, with a dance floor. If you know how to swing, I tip my hat. You pay to get on the main dance floor, or you can join the crowd out in the plaza beyond. Big band music is fun. Runs June 19 - July 21.

River to River Festival
Wow, they always have quite a lot down in the southern reaches of Manhattan. And an astonishingly annoying website. Anyhow, Joan Armatrading (with a new album just out) is at the World Financial Center after work on June 12. The New Pornographers are at Battery Park on July 4. And a whole bunch more.

Siren Music Festival
One Saturday every year, Williamsburg relocates. No, really. It's called the Siren Music Festival, aka Hipsters Invade Coney Island. It's July 21 this summer. If you want to fit in, you need to wear pants, no matter how hot it is. And you need a different haircut, probably. Anyhow, to be fair, last year, Scissor Sisters was (were?) great. I couldn't say the same about Tapes 'n Tapes, though, whoever the heck that was. I don't know who the people are this year. Think of it as a day at Coney Island -- swimming, beaching, hot doging, beering, rollercoastering, and such, with a little bit of weird music on the side, and you'll have fun.

New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks
Berlioz, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky this year. Prospect Park is July 10 and Central Park is July 11. There's a second concert in Central Park, including Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, on July 17.

The MET in the Parks
Including La Boheme in Central Park on June 12 and Gounod's Faust (whatever that is) in Prospect Park on June 19. They say it's hard to get a spot in Central Park unless you show up way early.

Hudson River Park
So much to do out on the river. Tuesday and Fridays are music, mostly jazz. It looks real nice. Sunday nights are dance music. The movies (Wednesdays for 'grown-ups' and Fridays for 'kids') include Happy Feet (August 19) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (August 24).

Blues and Barbecue Festival
The BBF, on August 19, is one of the Hudson River Park events, but deserves its own listing. They don't have this year's program listed yet; it's always good. Basically you sit out on a pier all sunday afternoon, eat barbecue and listen to five different blues acts. Bring a lot of sun lotion and hats.

GMA Summer Concerts
If you have the energy to get to Bryant Park by 7am, I salute you. Lots of big names.

Madison Square Music
This is my favorite summer event in NY. The shows, at 7pm on Wednesdays, are very low key and you can get a spot real close to the stage if you like. There are often cute babies running around. The music, mostly jazzy or folky, is consistently good. If you don't have time to brave the line at the Shake Shack, grab a slice at Broadway and 27th. First show is June 20. If there's one show not to miss, it might be organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and his trio (July 11).
At the bottom of that page, you can also see their lineup for Saturday afternoon concerts, which run from August into the fall.

See you in the parks!