No Tax Cuts for California - October 9, 2003

Times Watch for October 9, 2003

No Tax Cuts for California

Dean Murphy's Thursday story on the Schwarzenegger transition warns of "draconian" spending cuts in the offing, while cautioning the governor-elect against fulfilling his campaign promise of repealing Gov. Gray Davis' hated tripling of the state car tax: "Mr. Schwarzenegger's campaign team has already begun to work behind the scenes on his biggest and most immediate task: he will be expected to have a budget proposal for next year prepared in just two months, and with an $8 billion shortfall carrying over from this year, he will be faced with an immediate list of draconian cuts. The job will become even more difficult if Mr. Schwarzenegger fulfills one of his main campaign promises-repealing the $4 billion increase in the state's vehicle tax."

For more of Murphy on Schwarzenegger, click here.

California | Dean Murphy | Recall | Arnold Schwarzenegger

Getting Used to "Governor Schwarzenegger"

The Times will need some time to come to grips with Gov. Schwarzenegger. Thursday's editorial page likens California's historic recall to a "fit of pique," while Charlie LeDuff's review of Schwarzenegger's improbable rise to the California governorship takes a dismissive tone. In "Seizing the Moment, and Defying Expectations," LeDuff notes of Schwarzenegger: "His chunky English charmed and the details of policy quickly drifted away. Something else was learned there too. Forget the garish suits. Wear conservative ties. No more alligator shoes. Stick to the script. No ad-libs. When asked for specific budget cuts, he said, 'The public doesn't care about figures.' That line brought ridicule from academics and editorial writers, and caused his aides to cringe. But, as Mr. Schwarzenegger said, the public did not seem to care."

LeDuff then appears to nod along with the lament of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who "marveled at Mr. Schwarzenegger's avoidance of specifics and his ability to get away with it. 'You hold a press conference and you answer their questions,' Ms. Feinstein said. 'If you don't answer their questions, they let you know it. That didn't happen this time.'"

For the rest of Charlie LeDuff on Schwarzenegger's rise, click here.

California | Sen. Dianne Feinstein | Charlie LeDuff | Recall | Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Western Cultural Imperialism" to Blame for Anti-U.S. Views?

"Can foreign resentment of the United States be linked, as some have suggested, to decades of Western cultural imperialism?"

Well, it's not the first thing one would expect to read in a story about a TV-movie based on the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, but there it is.

Sunday's Arts & Leisure section grants space to screenwriter John Fasano to talk about his screenplay for the upcoming movie on Lynch's rescue from an Iraqi hospital.

In an apparent attempt to give "Saving Private Lynch From Misinformation" (which includes another Times rarity, color photos) some journalistic heft, there's also a side-bar by Sarah Hepola purporting to compare the reality of the Lynch rescue with how it's represented in Fasano's script. (The screenwriter's take is online, but Hepola's side-bar story isn't.) The last four "questions" Hepola raises conveniently dovetail with left-wing allegations regarding the Lynch rescue and also raise anti-war arguments.

Hepola's questions: "Did the rescue mission require an elite Special Operations force and tactics associated with highest-risk engagements? Or did the military know that Iraqi soldiers had already evacuated the hospital, leaving Ms. Lynch in the hands of friendly doctors and nurses?

"Can foreign resentment of the United States be linked, as some have suggested, to decades of Western cultural imperialism?"

"Did the military properly anticipate the difficulties of war in Iraq?

"Will the incident be remembered for its heroism? Or its propaganda value?"

Sarah Hepola | Iraq War | Jessica Lynch | Television

Root, Root, Root for the...Red Sox?

In a strange failure of home-town boosterism, Wednesday's Times editorializes in favor of a Boston-Chicago World Series-which would entail the New York Yankees losing to the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

The Times writes: "The Boston Red Sox' nail-biting victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night moves professional baseball one step closer to the Dream Series: the Red Sox versus the Chicago Cubs. With all due respect to our New York readership-Yankee fans among them-to George Steinbrenner and to the Yankees themselves, we find it hard to resist the emotional tug and symmetrical possibilities of a series between teams that seem to have been put on earth to tantalize and then crush their zealous fans.Cold reality favors the Yankees; warm sentiment, which is at the heart of baseball and to which we are always susceptible, favors one or the other of baseball's most reliable losers."

For a editorial page so sensitive to conflicts of interest and appearances of favoritism when it comes to, say, Enron, one would think the page would mention that the New York Times Co. is a minority partner in the ownership team of the Red Sox.

For more of the New York Times rooting for the Red Sox, click here.

Baseball | Editorial | Gaffes | Red Sox | Sports