Sunday, January 30, 2011

Martin Peretz and TNR

I haven't read and don't think I'm going to get to the NYT Magazine piece on Peretz leaving TNR. But I just read the shorter Eric Alterman piece in the American Prospect and I recommend it. Alterman has long been a chronicler of Peretz's awfulness.

The Arthur Brisbane tenure, more curious by the week

Shocker just in today from the new NYT public editor:
Yet everyone I talked to — including Mr. Bracco and others who place value on being first — cautioned that it’s always better to be second and right than first and wrong.
I mean really, good thing Brisbane is hard at work talking to the experts to find this out and use up column inches reporting it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A changing New York

The AP had a piece last week taking up the argument that New York has lost its edge:
CBGB, the birthplace of punk rock, is gone. No longer can visitors to Coney Island plunk down a few coins to play the unsettling attraction called "Shoot the Freak." And seedy, edgy, anything-might-happen Times Square? These days, it's all but childproof.
This all sounds like a tacky trend piece, but on the other hand I think in some sense the article is right, perhaps obviously so, and this news has been happening for many years now.

I think the piece is a useful reminder for some of us (at least me) who forget about this not-all-that-old New York history that we hear about but didn't experience ourselves (i.e. the squeegy guys and the old 42nd street).

My view is that New York is basically in a heyday right now, but that many recent transplants don't realize that the city now is quite different from a time not all that many decades ago when many people were scared to take the subway.

Is New York "better" now than it used to be? I'd rather not think of it in those terms. I don't want to have to choose between a 42nd street of sex shows or one with the Disney Store. Instead I'd rather talk about envisioning something better.

While I'm not happy about some of the changes in the last few years, it's not that I'm committed to preserving the status quo. Take Coney Island. I'm pretty skeptical about what's going to happen there in the next few years. But I don't think the current incarnation of Coney, or at least the version up to a couple years ago, was something that was perfect and needed to be preserved forever. Hardly. Rather, Coney -- like all of New York, and so many things -- is going to be constantly evolving. It has some times that, especially with retrospect, we can say were good and some that were bad.

Moving forward, the goal should be to make the best city; preserving the status quo somewhere, even in good times, should not be a guiding rule in and of itself.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photos of the snow

As always, Gothamist has put together lots of great photos. Like this album. Also: Park Slope Food Coop snowman.

dagomatic's flickr

Understanding the Washington Post, 101

The online headline isn't completely inaccurate:

"Analysis: President, GOP lawmakers agree on austerity, but will it create jobs?"

But the version on the front page of Wednesday's print edition?

"Everyone wants budget cuts, but will they work?"

Oh everyone. Such an easy word to throw around.

Friday, January 21, 2011 Brings Back the "Coed" Noun

At, Drew Jubera writes today:
So of all the damning things said about Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger since he was accused last March of sexually assaulting a college coed in a small-town Georgia bar (charges were never filed), there's little that cuts deeper in Pittsburgh than the one word folks there apply only to the most recidivist lunkheads.
And this was a hard-news story (currently prominent on the home page), not an opinion column.

Weren't we supposed to be past that?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apple being evil, part 326

New Apple products use an obscure kind of screw that no one ever uses, so you can't fix or change something yourself. Also, if you have an older model that has normal screws, and you take it into Apple to fix something, then they replace the screws with the new bad kind.

Sort of hard to keep justifying thinking this company is God.

Washington Post kerfuffle

Can I just say, oy?

The problem of course is not that this new Post video webcast thingy is being criticized when it's actually a good product. No, the webcast is indeed a pretty pathetic product, especially when you compare it to the competition, and if someone wants to point that out, bueno.

The problem is that this is the occasion, of all times, when some Post staffers go criticize the Post in the press, worrying that their brand has been sullied? As opposed to after any other stupid things the Post has done?

And, you know, the sexism thing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Attacks, counterattacks, threats, non-attacks

Jeremy Peters and Brian Stelter had an impressive piece in Monday's NYT. They tried to find which members of the traditional media or the left media had specifically said that Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh caused Loughner to attack. And there wasn't all that much to find.

Update: One of the funniest examples of what Peters and Stelter have described comes from... NYTimes columnist Charles Blow! He wrote an entire column on Saturday about how the left overreacted to the shooting:
Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left.
But without citing a single actual example. Not one.

Not the first time Blow has written a column on a popular premise, without coming up with real evidence.

Obama's social security strategy

From Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post:
President Barack Obama's apparent willingness to consider cuts in Social Security benefits may be winning him points with Washington elites, but it's killing him with voters, who see the program as inviolate and may start to wonder what the Democratic Party stands for, if not for Social Security.
Continued here.

Kind of a bit disappointing when the White House gets both the policy and the politics wrong on something like this.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Way to kill a news story

AP: FACT CHECK: Mass Bird, Fish Deaths Occur Regularly

Thursday, January 06, 2011

William Daley

ProPublica: Obama’s New Chief of Staff a Top Banker With Strong Chamber Ties