"It is only when the Irish forget about the underdog, as the keeper of the graves said, that they stray. In the 1930s, there was Father Charles Coughlin, a virulent anti-Semite who had a radio audience larger than that of Rush Limbaugh's today. He used his microphone for hate. In the 1950s, another man with a link to Ireland, Senator Joseph McCarthy, twined ignorance and fear to make a mockery of congressional inquiry. Today, there are television bullies with Irish surnames on Fox, backing more tax cuts for hedge fund managers, and doing everything they can to keep the poorest of Americans from getting health care." - From former reporter Timothy Egan's March 12 posting on his "Outposts" blog at nytimes.com.
Castro Not a Dictator, But Batista Was?
"Ramón M. Barquín, a respected Cuban Army officer whose struggles to restore the rule of law in Cuba clashed with both the dictator Fulgencio Batista and later the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, died on Monday at his home in exile in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He was 93." - Anthony DePalma, March 6.
Never Miss a Chance to Bash the Bushies
"There are few subjects more timely than the one tackled by Susan Jacoby in her new book, 'The Age of American Unreason' in which she asserts that 'America is now ill with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism.' For more than a decade there have been growing symptoms of this affliction, from fundamentalist assaults on the teaching of evolution to the Bush administration's willful disavowal of expert opinion on global warming and strategies for prosecuting the war in Iraq. Conservatives have turned the term "intellectual," like the term " liberal," into a dirty word in politics (even though neo-conservative intellectuals played a formative role in making the case for war against Iraq)...." - Chief Book Critic Michiko Kakutani, in a March 11 review.
Christian Conservatives? Yikes!
"Concern about the influence of conservative Christians in the military has grown since an investigation in 2005 by the Air Force found that Christian staff and faculty members at the Air Force Academy used their positions to evangelize cadets. Conservative Christian chaplains have battled the military to break with tradition and pray in Jesus' name at military functions." - Religion reporter Neela Banerjee, March 8.
Criminal Negligence of Cause and Effect
"Criminal behavior partly explains the size of the prison population, but incarceration rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen. Any effort to reduce the prison population must consider the blunderbuss impact of get-tough sentencing laws adopted across the United States beginning in the 1970's." - From the lead editorial of March 10.
"From San Diego on the Pacific to Brownsville on the Rio Grande, a steel curtain is descending across the continent." - Opening of lead editorial of March 4 about illegal immigration.
"Who Are We To Withhold [Our McCain Hit Piece] From the Public?"
"We thought and still think that the story [alleging a McCain affair with telecom lobbyist Vicky Iseman] was important for people to know about. The reporters that we had on the story spent a lot of time and dug up a lot of information that, you know, we couldn't put it all in the story that gave us full confidence in what we had. And we felt it was important for people to know. I remember sitting there thinking, 'How can we withhold from our readers the fact that there were these incidents of McCain's aides, worried to death about his involvement with this lobbyist, and going to intervene and having communications with them. Who are we to withhold that from the public?'" - Assistant Managing Editor Richard Berke at a "Times Talks" event at the Times' midtown Manhattan headquarters, March 3.
For Once We Agree
"I'm sorry to say that a large part of the progressive movement seems to have lost its sanity." - Columnist Paul Krugman in a March 11 blog post at nytimes.com, referring to some of Barack Obama's more strident supporters.