Howell Raines, former executive editor of the Times, held the job for 21 turbulent months before being forced out after the Jayson Blair plagiarism fiasco. Raines paid gracious tribute to former colleague William Safire, the Times' longtime right-of-center political columnist and wordsmith, who died of cancer at 79, at The New Republic website.
Raines wrote of Safire's free-wheeling love of language:
It always amused me that this conservative Eastern elitist was a deep-dyed populist when it came to grammar and usage, while I, liberal to radical on most issues, was a traditionalist in such matters.
The elder Bush was simply myopic when it came to less fortunate citizens. This younger Bush and his minions meet a needful world with a combination of Eastern snobbery and Texas brutality. Their response to the poor, the lame, the dark of skin is to ignore them, as Hurricane Katrina showed, or otherwise to tax them, convert them, enlist them or electrocute them."