June 17, 2005
Dictator in a "Spiffy Suit"
In 1955 a clean-shaven young man in a spiffy suit came to New York with the wild notion of raising money to finance a revolution in his homeland, Cuba. Even then Fidel Castro knew the value of a good photo-op, so he was glad to meet a countryman, Osvaldo Salas, who lived with his family in the Bronx and made a living as a photographer. - Annette Grant, June 12
"Thousands" Sent to Stalin's Gulag?
"The [Amnesty International] report, released May 25, placed the United States at the heart of its list of human rights offenders, citing indefinite detentions of prisoners at Guantnamo Bay, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and secret renditions of prisoners to countries that practice torture. But it is the use of the word gulag, a reference to the complex of labor camps where Stalin sent thousands of dissidents, that has drawn the most attention." - Lizette Alvarez, June 4. It's estimated some 2.7 million perished in Stalin's slave labor camps.
Tittering Red-State Racists
A look at the audience at any Blue Collar concert reveals a sea of white faces, and a large proportion of women. It's an audience that roars at Larry the Cable Guy's bawdy Southern good ol' boy observations (though Mr. Whitney is from Nebraska), appreciates that Mr. Foxworthy shuns four-letter words and titters at jokes that skewer their fear and distrust of minorities - as long as the humor doesn't express overt dislike for any single minority." - Culture reporter Ross Johnson on the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour," June 13.
"Powerful Men" Keeping Women Down in Italy
"As Italy's most powerful men - from politicians to bishops - debated the ethics of the country's restrictive fertility law this week, Lorena Pennati lay gingerly in a hospital bed here, rubbing the sore spot where doctors had just removed nine of her eggs. Because of the law's strict limits on the use of eggs, sperm and embryos - the subject of a contentious national referendum here this weekend - Ms. Pennati, 34, is embarking on what doctors universally regard as substandard infertility treatment. - Elisabeth Rosenthal and Elisabetta Povoledo, June 11.
"Comedian for Senator? Don't Laugh." - Headline to David Carr's June 15 story on left-wing comedian and radio host Al Franken.
The "Relatively Untrammeled Capitalism" of Britain?
"Mr. Blair has also cast Europe's division as one of profound dimensions between the so-called Anglo-Saxon economic model of relatively untrammeled capitalism that prevails in Britain and the cozier, socially oriented approaches of France and Germany." - Alan Cowell, June 7
Reality Check: Britain's top marginal tax rate is 40%, and the country practices socialized medicine through its National Health Service.
First Lady Laura Bush: Ignorant or Malicious?
"To some Egyptian critics, Mrs. Bush did not know what she was talking about. To others, she knew precisely what she was talking about, which they termed the essence of the problem. Her words, they said, reflected the two contradictory stances of the administration's policy in the Middle East." - Elisabeth Bumiller, June 6.
Ann Coulter Loves Torture
""The season's only innovation was the Ann Coulterish sensibility veining the plot: that nice middle-class Muslim family turned out to be a sleeper cell of terrorist moles, and torture was a post-Sept. 11 necessity that only pantywaist Washington bureaucrats found objectionable." - TV critic Alessandra Stanley on the Fox show "24," June 6.