Monday marks the retirement of Times' columnist William Safire, who's offered on the paper's liberal op-ed page since 1973. The Times sends him off in a classy manner with a quartet of farewell opeds, ranging from "How to Read a Column" (one tip: Start halfway down) to how he got along with various first ladies of the United States.
Safire will become chairman of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, which encourages brain science, and Safire's words today radiate optimism about both his future and ours', thanks to science: "Medical and genetic science will surely stretch our life spans. Neuroscience will just as certainly make possible the mental agility of the aging. Nobody should fail to capitalize on the physical and mental gifts to come. When you're through changing, learning, working to stay involved - only then are you through. 'Never retire.'"
For the quartet of Safire farewells, click here :
"Don't They Know There's a War On?"
James Dao's "Page Two" piece in the Sunday Week in Review is the culmination of a week of Times'sniping  at the propriety of Bush's temerity to hold a typical presidential inauguration during wartime.
Under a headline that could come off the sign of a relatively well-mannered protester ("Don't They Know There's a War On?"), Dao passes along moralistic Democratic whines about Bush's inaugural (as if Bill Clinton's 1997 inaugural, when U.S. troops were on the ground in Bosnia, was a modest affair): "To many Democrats, images of Republicans in sequined gowns and designer tuxedos nibbling roast quail and twirling the Texas two-step in last week's $40 million-plus inaugural extravaganza seemed inappropriate, unseemly, even unpatriotic, when American soldiers are dying in Iraq."
After allowing "many Democrats" to suggest the extravaganza was unpatriotic, Dao turns around and accuses Republicans of questioning the patriotism of Democrats (though once again, the paper provides no actual examples  of the inflammatory charge): "Hence, Democrats have hit at Republicans not only over the lavish inaugural, but also over energy conservation ('Now!') and tax cuts ('Not now!'). And Republicans have questioned the patriotism of Democrats who criticize Mr. Bush's security policies, saying that qualms about civil liberties must take a back seat 'in a time of war.'"
For Dao's full story, click here :
Warming up the Image of Dick Cheney, AKA "Dr. No"
Elisabeth Bumiller's White House Letter on Monday tackles Vice President Cheney's surprise Inauguration Day appearance on the Don Imus radio show: "At the very least, the 'Imus in the Morning' program on MSNBC was an odd place to find the vice president, whose preferred method of speaking to the public is through conservative news outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show. Although Mr. Imus's politics are more contrarian than they are Democratic or Republican, he voted for Senator John Kerry for president and criticized the Bush administration throughout last fall's campaign. So is this a new Dick Cheney? Or at least a new Cheney media strategy to warm up Dr. No?"
For the full story from Bumiller, click here :