The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture


Tuesday, August 13, 2002  

A GUN IN THE BEDROOM
A Dead Child in the House

Douglas J. Donohue is dead.

Donohue, 12, of Millsboro, Del., accidentally shot himself to death Monday morning while playing with a loaded handgun he found in his home, according to Delaware State Police, the News-Journal (Wilmington) reports today.

Donohue was baby-sitting his sisters when he found a loaded .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun in his parents’ bedroom, police said.

According to the News-Journal, “The boy began playing with the gun in the living room as his sisters, ages 9 and 10, looked on, police said. The boy pointed the gun at one of his sisters, but did not pull the trigger before sitting down in a recliner and removing two of the bullets in the gun, along with the magazine, police said.

“The boy mistakenly left one bullet in the chamber before pointing the gun at his face and pulling the trigger, police said. He died around 11:25 a.m., they said.

“His sisters were still in the room with him, said Cpl. Bruce Harris, a state police spokesman. After the shooting, they ran from the home to find a neighbor. . . .

“The boy’s parents, Fred and Julie Donohue, were at work at the time of the shooting and were interviewed by troopers Monday, along with their daughters, Harris said. The gun belonged to them, he said.

“Reached at her home Monday night, Julie Donohue said her family moved to the home on Winter Road last year and some boxes remained unpacked. She said she suspects the gun was in one of those boxes. . . .

“‘I didn’t even know where the damned thing was,’ she said.

“No charges were filed Monday and the investigation continues, Harris said.”

Take it away, Ann & Co.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Monday, August 12, 2002  

OVER AT |||trr|||
The Lighter Side

If you have a couple of free minutes, stop by our second weblog, |||trr|||, the home of “The Lighter Side of The Rittenhouse Review.” The latest posts at |||trr||| include:

“Potentially Truly Great Awful Movie Alert”

“Baseball Legend, Crossword Godsend Passes On”

“Patio Man and the Kids’ Clothes”

“Like Father, Like Daughter?”

“The Worst State?”

“The Stinkymeat Project”

“Bonnie Fuller’s ‘Reign of Terror’”

“Living in the Wrong Country”

“Lame ‘Larry King Live’ Alert”

“Pretentiousness Watch”

“So Many Voices . . . So Little to Say”

“Macho, Macho Man!”

“Best TV Lines Ever?”

“The Joy of Blair”

“Todd Oldham is Back”

“Ron Borges Libels Lance Armstrong”

“That Traficant’s a Funny Guy”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

LLOYD GROVE, EMPLOYER FAIL JOURNALISM 101
Washington Post Publishes “Gossip” on “A Wing and a Prayer”

Welcome back to Journalism 101. Three days ago we announced a pop quiz on standards of journalistic integrity in which we asked readers to explain in no more than 500 words whether they would have published a report by an unidentified gossip columnist (“Gossip A”) had they been the columnist’s editor at the place of employment (“Newspaper X”). (For details about the quiz, direct yourselves here.)

Now, obviously, the correct answer to the hypothetical presented to the class is NO. As in, “No, I would not have published the piece written by Gossip A.” Although it is conceivable, albeit far-fetched, that a case could be made in favor of publishing Gossip A’s minor scribble, not one person submitting an essay could do so.

To be honest, this quiz was a give-away intended to help everyone raise his grade point average.

After all, proponents of publishing Gossip A’s column had virtually nothing to go on, what with the obvious political motives of at least two, and arguably all three of the gossips; the spotty track record of Gossip A and Gossip C (Gossip B being so insignificant a player in “the business” as to not warrant any concern); the blatant political agenda of the new girlfriend of Gossip A and her transparent influence on his writing since the relationship began; the apparently, to him at least, embarrassing lack of a girlfriend by Gossip C; the almost complete absence of any on-the-record sources; and the virtually irrefutable denial of the spokesman for the subjects of the gossips’ smear.

For the record, as responsible journalists often say, Gossip A from the original quiz is Lloyd Grove. His employer, “Newspaper X,” is the Washington Post. This is the article in question. Gossip B is Roger Friedman. His employer, “Web Site Y,” is FoxNews.com. And Gossip C is the psychologically tortured and sexually ambiguous Matt Drudge of the unselfconsciously eponymous Drudge Report, also known as “Web Site Z.”

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SAD
So Very Sad

It is so very sad to watch a complete meltdown take place in public view. Such things are more properly taken care of within the confines of a properly licensed and fully regulated mental institution. It makes everything safer, and, well, so much more pleasant, for everyone concerned.

[Ed.: Forgot the link.]

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THIS CAN’T BE
It Just Can’t

This just can’t be right. A one-hour radio show? Every morning? Every morning? Our society has descended to these depths?


The Perpetually Inebriated Lucianne Goldberg
Doing What We Think is Her Best Mae West Impersonation

Does anyone know whether Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan are regulars on this stooge-fest? We would imagine they would feel quite comfortable in Bubbe Goldberg’s company.

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Sunday, August 11, 2002  

MORE BETTER BLOGS
Visit the Latest Editions

Today we added a number of new sites to our list of “Better Blogs.” The newer sites, including some that were posted before today, are highlighted in bold text in the column at right.

We hope you will visit our latest additions and their latest editions.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Friday, August 09, 2002  

MARTIN PERETZ: ANTI-WAR FIFTH-COLUMNIST?
Moral Relativism, Cambridge Style

The Israel army’s recent assassination of Salah Shehadeh by means of a one-ton bomb dropped in a crowded residential neighborhood in Gaza City, an action that produced substantial collateral damage, including the death of at least 15 innocent civilians, has proved difficult to defend even by the most ardent supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the excessive force of the country’s military.

Let it not be said, however, that Martin Peretz couldn’t rise to the challenge, taking to the end page of the August 5 edition of his prized wedding gift, the New Republic, in an effort not only to justify the Israelis’ assault but to contend that the U.S. would have acted similarly, an argument he extends to the point of asserting Israel’s moral superiority over the U.S.

Noting the Bush administration’s half-hearted criticism of the attack, delivered by spokesman Ari Flesicher, (“this heavy-handed action does not contribute to peace”), Peretz writes: “It is true that Fleischer tried to draw a distinction between civilian casualties in the American-led war in Afghanistan and Israel’s bombing in Gaza. But, alas, this comparison does not redound in favor of the United States.”

Peretz cites a July 21 report in the New York Times in which it is asserted that the “American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm’s-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians.”

The Times cites the U.S. bombing of a mosque last November during which 65 noncombatants were killed. Quoting the Times, Peretz adds: “[T]he evidence suggests that many civilians have been killed by air strikes hitting precisely the target they were aimed at . . . or because . . . Americans did not carefully differentiate between civilians and military targets.”

If true, this is more than carelessness,” Peretz argues. “But let me pose a question,” the polemicist continues. “If we knew Mullah Omar and his men were riding in a convoy with women and children, would we refrain from bombing, even though noncombatants might be killed? I doubt it.” [Emphasis added.]

Is this how Peretz writes about his own country? Is he suggesting that the U.S. military’s operation in Afghanistan is being conducted in manner that lacks 100-percent moral rectitude? Is he accusing the U.S. military of acting with reckless disregard for innocent human lives? Is he suggesting the U.S. has committed war crimes? Is he seeking to undermine public support for the war on terrorism?

As usual, Peretz has much to answer for.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

SEWICKY TAKES MARY TO THE MAT
Details on the Utopia Still Lacking

Max Sewicky makes quick work of Mary Matalin’s assertion lie on yesterday’s Today show that “every single economist agrees” that the 2001 recession would have been “longer and deeper” had it not been for the Bush administration’s tax cut and “stimulus package.”

But we’re still waiting for the administration’s point man on the economy, Karl Rove, to offer up an explanation for Matalin’s leak about the president’s agenda for establishing an economic and social utopia -- ensuring that “everyone who has a job wants one.” [Emphasis added.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

YOU PLAY THE EDITOR
A Matter of Integrity and Sound Reporting

Welcome to Journalism 101. Today we’re having a pop quiz on standards of journalistic integrity.

Scenario: Gossip A from Newspaper X, where you work as an editor, picks up a story about a prominent politician and his wife put out by Gossip B, of Web Site Y, whose report cites only anonymous sources.

In an attempt to lend an aura of credibility to a second-hand story, Gossip A, who has submitted politically biased stories to you in the past, leans on a Gossip C, of Web Site Z, who has a decidedly mixed record of accuracy and reliability.

In Gossip A’s article, the politician’s spokesman provides convincing evidence that the story is made of whole cloth.

In opposition to that denial, Gossip A asserts contact with unnamed sources and then turns to Gossip B for a quote defending the original report, a quote in which Gossip B stands his ground but offers nothing else in his defense other than an unsubstantiated reconfiguration of the time line of events.

Your assignment: In an essay of up to 500 words, explain why you, as the editor of Gossip A’s newspaper, would or would not publish Gossip A’s story. Discuss and defend your position and base your defense on well-established standards of journalistic integrity.

It is not necessary for you to identify Gossips A, B, and C, Newspaper X, and Web Sites Y and Z. This information will be provided at the conclusion of the assignment.

[Ed.: Minor post-publication edits for purposes of clarity.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Thursday, August 08, 2002  

SMOKIN’!
We’re Staying on His Good Side

Damn! Hesiod Theogeny, the voice behind Counterspin Central, is on a tear this week!

Chickenbloggers, be warned, he has your number.

We’re glad we’re on Hesiod’s good side. . . . Or at least we think we are. . . . We are, aren’t we?

Stop by and enjoy a good read. This guy knows his stuff.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE SAD DECLINE OF mk
Moving Beyond the Pale

Has Mickey Kaus, or “The Mickster,” as fellow far-right-winger Andrew Sullivan ingratiatingly calls him, gone completely off the deep end?

We vote YES. (See entry at 11:57 a.m. on August 8.)

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

SO SENSITIVE!
It’s All Too Easy Being Green

We had no idea die Grüne were such a touchy bunch!

Based on the juvenile content and oh-so-wounded tone of many of the plaintive green-hued e-mails coming over the transom, we’d like to pass along a tip: If you people plan to play in the big leagues, you might want to grow, or otherwise acquire, thicker skins.

You might also give some thought to a basic political principle: Choose your targets carefully, particularly when you’re on the fringe.

Of course, we might be acting a bit condescending here, as it appears the Green Party has chosen its primary target -- Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) -- all too carefully.

Sen. Wellstone, despised by the Republican Party generally and the Bush administration in particular, looks vulnerable this year. One would think the Greens would go all out to ensure Sen. Wellstone’s re-election given the admirable record he has accumulated over the past 12 years, one that could serve as a template for Green Party campaign brochures.

But no. Sadly, it’s just that vulnerability that has attracted the narrow-minded and politically reckless Greens to launch their campaign against Sen. Wellstone, despite the Democrats’ precarious majority in the upper chamber.


Greenies: A Favorite of Dogs Everywhere

Let’s listen in on one of their strategy sessions, shall we?

“Dudes, let’s go for it. Let’s play the role of the spoiler.”

“But where, man? Where?”

“Like in Minnesota, dude. If we can beat Wellstone and throw the Senate back into the hands of the Republicans, then the Democrats will have to play ball with us. We’ll be players, man.”

“Dude, we can’t beat Wellstone!”

“Dude, I don’t mean beat beat, I mean just help make sure Wellstone loses. We gotta’ make sure the man falls.”

“Righteous sentiment, dude. Hell, there’s no difference between Republicans and the Republican-Democrats anyway, so why not screw them both?”

“Awesome analysis, my friend. To hell with all the crap the poor, the working class, and the middle class have to deal with. We’re on the edge of sparking a revolution, man!”

“Sparking a revolution! That’s like awesome, dude. You really mean it?”

“That’s what Ralph says. Who am I to question our revered leader?”

“But what if Coleman wins? Won’t the Democrats be ticked off at us? What if the Senate goes back to the Republicans? Won’t we be at least partly responsible?”

“Responsible? I don’t follow you, dude.”

“You know, like it’s partly our fault.”

“Who cares about ‘responsible’? This is bigger than us, dude. And in two years we’ll just pick a few more elections where we can help the right wing beat the not so right wing. Dude, this is what Ralph wants. Are you with us or against us?”

We’ll say it again, Greens. Get real!

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

MUST READING
Joshua Marshall on the Bush Administration’s Incompetence

Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo has one of his reliably interesting, informative, and provocative articles coming out in the next issue of the Washington Monthly.

It’s a “must-read” and you can get an early look at it by heading here.

Teaser quote: “With their trademark bravado, the Bush administration recast warmed-over or failed initiatives as sure bets. And for a while, the media, the public, and even some Democrats bought in. Today, however, its signature domestic accomplishment -- the 2001 tax cut -- seems destined to yield dividends of deficits and political fallout for years to come. When you look past the promises and the tough talk and the spin, you see an administration whose major policy initiatives are stalled or postponed to some unspecified point in the future.”

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EVIDENCE OF DECLINING STANDARDS AT U.N.C.
But Not the Type to Get Conservatives’ Knickers in Knots

By now most readers are aware of the controversy surrounding the assignment of Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations as required reading for incoming freshmen at the University of North Carolina.

Apparently operating under the belief that the book, written by Michael A. Sells, professor of comparative religion at Haverford College, is a manual for terrorism, Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly recently had an on-air coronary during which he spewed forth some invective about forcing impressionable youngsters to study “our enemy’s religion.”

Naturally, a lawsuit has ensued, filed in federal court in North Carolina by something called the Family Policy Network, “a socially conservative Christian educational organization.”

Joe Glover, president of the FPN, contends it is unconstitutional for a public university to require students to study a particular religion, ignoring the obvious facts that the students aren’t be directed to study one specific religion and that they are being asked to read not the Qu’ran but a book about the Qu’ran.

Anyway, having said all that, we have another point to make.

“In response to the uproar, the university last month amended the assignment,” according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Instead of writing a one-page paper about the book, students who object to the reading can skip it and take to campus Aug. 19 a one-page paper explaining their objections.”

What the hell is a “one-page paper”?!

Up to this point, you have read fewer than 250 words. Had this post been printed on paper, doubled-spaced, as is normally required of college papers, you would already be on the second page.

Fourth-graders, at least back in our day, wrote longer book reports on My Friend Flicka.

Knock yourselves out, kids, give it your all. But don’t save the writing assignment for the last minute. You will want to set aside plenty of time to work on that “paper.”

Such, apparently, is the state of higher education in America today. And yet on this particular controversy we expect Second Lady Lynne Cheney and über-proctor William Bennett will speak nary a word.

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THE LAUGHABLE MARY MATALIN
Lying With a Straight Face

Mary Matalin, counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is on CNBC as we write this, lying through that tiny mouth of hers that never seems to open wider than one-eighth of an inch.

Two howlers:

First, according to Matalin, “every single economist agrees” that the recession of 2001 would have been “longer and deeper” were it not for the Bush administration’s tax cut and “stimulus package.”

Take it away Drs. Sewicky and DeLong.

The second howler is really more of a misstatement or an odd Freudian slip. Matalin maintains that the Bush administration is focused on jobs, “it’s all about jobs,” she says. Better yet, the administration wants to make sure “everyone who has a job wants one.”

And thus the pursuit of happiness takes on an entirely new meaning. And a great way to increase unemployment.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A CAMPAIGN WORTHY OF YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY
Sen. Paul Wellstone Facing Three Opponents

Please give serious consideration to making a contribution to the re-election campaign of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), a two-term U.S. senator facing opposition for a third term from no fewer than three candidates: Norm Coleman (Republican), Jim Moore (Independence Party), and Ed McGaa (Green Party).

Maintaining this seat for the Democrats is essential to the party retaining control of the U.S. Senate. Do not underestimate the importance of this race. Contributions to the Wellstone campaign can be made by visiting the Wellstone for Senate 2002 site.

Anything you can afford would be of great help: $10, $25, $50, $100, or more. Join us in making what was admittedly a more modest donation than we would have preferred to have made. If you can only afford $25 now, consider making another donation a few weeks from now as we intend to do.


Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.)

Sen. Wellstone is one of us. Let’s make sure Ralph Nader and his slavish followers, an odd assortment of weirdos who each day more and more resemble the zombie-like supporters of the psychotic Lyndon LaRouche, and who are the very same people who, in conjunction with the U.S. Supreme Court, ensured former Texas governor George W. Bush (R) would be installed as the nation’s president, don’t win another of their stupid “principled victories.”

These days, politics are for real. Not a game. Not a playground for a washed-up and overrated former consumer advocate who refuses to take even such basic steps as releasing his tax returns and his deluded mob of disheveled college-aged minions. It’s time to get real. And getting real has nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called Green Party.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Wednesday, August 07, 2002  

AN OVERLOOKED WEB SITE
Different Perspectives on the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict
With -- Shock! -- Both Sides Presented on the Same Page

Okay, maybe it isn’t really an “overlooked web site.” Maybe we were just slow in finding it. Regardless, Bitter Lemons, while a bit uneven at times, has proved to be a valuable stopping point on our daily trips across the web. At least they’re talking to each other rather than past each other.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

ONE FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS
The Unconscionable “Hubris and Greed” of L. Dennis Kozlowski

As if we didn’t already have enough evidence that L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International Ltd. was headed for the history books, today’s Wall Street Journal seals his fate, earning the crooked honcho a special place in the corporate hall of shame.

Tyco Spent Millions for Benefit of Kozlowski, Its Former CEO,” a page one masterpiece by Mark Maremont and Laurie P. Cohen, documents a pattern of “hubris and greed” that would put Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to shame.

Kozlowski turned Tyco’s till into a personal slush fund, the article reveals, buying a $19 million mansion in Boca Raton, Fla., in 1998 with an interest free loan provided by Tyco that later was forgiven as part of a corporate “bonus program.” Even better for Kozlowski, the $13 million of taxes due on the forgiven loan were also paid by Tyco.

And that’s just the beginning. “All told, it appears that more than $135 million in Tyco funds went to benefit Kozlowski, largely in forgiven loans and company payments for real estate, charitable donations, and personal expenses,” according to the Journal.

Maremont and Cohen document a pattern of abuse that includes $25 million in loans forgiven in 1999; $11 million of antiques, art, and furnishings for Kozlowski’s New York apartment; and $18 million for the apartment itself.

Kozlowski made donations estimated at $35 million to various charities using Tyco funds. Two large donations are particularly notable: Nearly $2 million to the Berwick Academy, a private school in Maine attended by his daughters, for an athletic center that bears the name not of Tyco but of Kozlowski; and $5 million to Seton Hall University, his alma mater, to build Kozlowski Hall.

It just goes on and on. Kozlowski put his doctor, his physical trainer, a chef, a masseur, and a yachting expert on Tyco’s payroll. The latter’s duties included helping Kozlowski build a 150-foot sailboat.

In mid-1997, when Tyco acquired ADT Ltd., Kozlowski, who three months earlier had publicly expressed his contempt and disdain for stock options as “a free ride . . . a way to earn megabucks in a bull market,” was granted 3.3 million options. “Mr. Kozlowski also pocketed $9.3 million in pay in the first three months after the ADT deal closed,” according to the Journal. “His pay rose to about $24 million in fiscal 1998 -- plus another $41 million in options gains. Tyco then added a rich retirement program for Mr. Kozlowski that currently guarantees him at least $4.1 million a year for life after age 65. A huge life-insurance policy was also executed for his benefit.”

The conclusion of Maremont and Cohen: “All told, Mr. Kozlowski reaped more than $400 million in salary, stock grants and gains from the sale of stock options during the past four years.”

The New York apartment, a Fifth Avenue duplex, was decorated by Wendy Valliere, a friend of Kozlowski and his second wife. “Her firm’s tab for furnishings and decoration totaled about $7.5 million, according to people familiar with the company,” write Maremont and Cohen. “Nearly $4 million was spent on other furnishings and art.”

Valliere, when contacted by the Journal, said the $7.5 million figure cited in the article is “too high,” but declined to provide an alternative figure. The job she did for the Kozlowskis, Valliere said, was “so mid-range compared to what a lot of people do.”

Perhaps, but there was nothing mid-range about L. Dennis Kozlowski did.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2002  

A READER WRITES . . .
Beating Terrorism With Education

To The Rittenhouse Review:

My idea of a memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and elsewhere is similar but more grandiose than Gabriella De Ferrari’s proposed bench-making.

Congress should appropriate funds to build seven new high schools in each of the 435 congressional districts.

The federal government would provide the buildings, furniture, and supplies, making the schools turnkey operations.

Each school would be named for a victim of the terrorist attacks. We could let the terrorists know that for each person that is killed, another new school would open.

The more educated the population is the better off the whole country is. This is the best antidote to terror.

Peter Stanley

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A READER WRITES . . .
Sullivan and Paglia Bring Unexpected Joy

To The Rittenhouse Review:

Andrew Sullivan and Camille Paglia.

Words can’t begin to describe the magnitude of the joy with which this post fills me.

It's pretty damn big, though.

Anticipatorily . . .

Julia Mueller

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A SCARY PHOTO
Not to be Published Here

As most of our readers know, The Rittenhouse Review, despite its center-liberal political and social orientation, is rather traditional with respect to the appropriate forum for the discussion of certain topics and the presentation of certain issues.

Call us uptight if you will, but we feel compelled to restrain from publishing on this site an interesting item we recently encountered, and thus refer our more mature readers instead to one of our affiliated web sites, |||trr|||, for a look at British Tory expatriate and American right-wing pundit Andrew Sullivan’s latest incarnation.

We’re not quite sure what to make of Sullivan’s latest display [Link may be temporarily out of service.] -- whether it’s a retrograde image donned in homage of the Village People or some Camille Paglia-inspired nouveau-butch look -- but we’re sure we don’t want to publish it here.

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HEY, NO HARD FEELINGS
It’s Ex Cathedra After All

From a weblogger named or called “Junius”: “[A]s far as I can see, almost everything on the RR [The Rittenhouse Review] has the tone of an ex cathedra pronouncement. I find that decision about authorial voice a little strange for this medium.”

Apparently Junius is not a regular reader of Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish.

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Monday, August 05, 2002  

LAURA INGRAHAM: MILITARY STRATEGIST
The Not-So-Subtle Agenda of the Word of the Week

The “Word of the Week” included in right-wing linguist and military strategist Laura Ingraham’s latest e-mail blast is: prepotency.

Here’s how Ingraham presents the “Word of the Week”:

“prepotency \pree-POTE-n-see\ noun

“The quality or condition of having superior power, influence, or force; predominance.

“As in--

“The awesome prepotency of the American military will ultimately ensure that Saddam Hussein doesn’t have a chance of fending off an American invasion.”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Fire-Breathing Right-Winger and Hand-Wringing Right-Winger
Taking Time Off . . . Rendezvous Location Unknown

What are the chances of such a fortuitous confluence of events?

Neither fire-breathing right-winger David Horowitz nor hand-wringing right-winger Andrew Sullivan will be spouting off publishing for at least the next several days.

Is there a meeting somewhere to which we weren’t invited?

Regardless, we’ll enjoy the respite while it lasts.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Sunday, August 04, 2002  

SOMETIMES IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU

We’re scratching our heads wondering why a weblog called “Junius” (Sorry, no permalinks, you’re on your own.) jumped to the conclusion that this statement had anything whatsoever to do with his/her/their site.

Actually, as best we can determine after the fact, the inclusion of “Junius” on our list of “Better Blogs” was something more akin to a typographical error than anything else. Thus, removing the link, which, frankly, we cannot remember having done, would rank at about the same level of seriousness or severity.

We would be happy to see “Junius” join the list of links on our site, should it merit inclusion, and we expect to review the site, with which we are admittedly only vaguely familiar, over the next several weeks.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Friday, August 02, 2002  

IT’S TIME FOR O’NEILL TO GO
Treasury Secretary Playing Out of His League

We never thought Paul O’Neill was a particularly good choice to head the Treasury Department and with each passing week we find our initial instincts vindicated. In fact, we believe the time has come for Secretary O’Neill to resign.

The Washington Post weighed in with a smart editorial on this topic on Thursday, August 1, entitled “Mr. O’Neill’s Gaffes.” Although the Post did not suggest O’Neill resign nor did it call for the White House to replace him, the editors may as well have done so, given the tone of their remarks, not one of which we can disagree with.

“On Fox News last Sunday, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill declared that, by the president’s designation, he is the administration’s chief spokesman on the economy. It is not a role at which he excels,” the editors wrote, in a masterful understatement.

“In the very same program, Mr. O’Neill made comments that contributed to a fall of more than 5 percent in the value of Brazil’s currency the next day and triggered a formal protest from Brazil’s government,” the editors continued. “This was Mr. O’Neill’s second gaffe on Brazil in the space of five weeks. At the end of June, the treasury chief said he opposed fresh International Monetary Fund loans to Brazil because its problems were ‘political.’”


Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill

Then, after having upset the Brazilians, their neighbors, and the currency markets, O’Neill did virtually the same thing again. “After that remark, the Treasury issued a regretful statement expressing confidence in Brazil’s economic management. But the episode did not prevent Mr. O’Neill from jumping into more hot water last weekend,” write the Post editors. “Referring to Argentina and Uruguay as well as Brazil, the secretary said the challenge for these governments is to make sure that financial assistance ‘doesn’t just go out of the country to Swiss bank accounts.’”

It’s quite possible that Secretary O’Neill, who did an admirable job while at Alcoa Inc., simply lacks the diplomatic skills required for his position. But as the Post points out, the secretary apparently is clueless as to the significance of his position and the seriousness with which his remarks are viewed worldwide.

“[P]erhaps Mr. O’Neill hasn’t gotten used to the idea that, as Treasury secretary, his comments can move markets,” the editorial reads. “‘I’m constantly amazed that anybody cares what I do,’ he said the other day. If he’s not careful he’ll be out of a job, in which case his amazement will be ended.”

We have no reason to expect Secretary O’Neill to exercise discretion in his public remarks in the days, weeks, or months ahead. As a result, we believe his days in the administration are numbered, an idea with which we are well pleased.

Our nominee for his replacement?


Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

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WANNA’ BET?
Insurance Premiums Not “Sticky,” Governor Implies

“Nevada lawmakers capped pain-and-suffering awards at $350,000 in most lawsuits yesterday, part of an effort to end a health-care crisis triggered by soaring malpractice insurance rates. Gov. Kenny C. Guinn (R) said the legislation would help keep doctors in the state because insurance premiums would be expected to fall in a few years.” [Emphasis added.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A LIFE LOST
More Than Just Numbers

“When Benjamin Blutstein visited his parents’ home in Harrisburg a few weeks ago, the Hebrew University student left behind a book on their coffee table. The title: Understanding Islam,” begins a moving article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the life of one of the American victims of this week’s bombing at the university’s Jerusalem campus.

“By most accounts, the younger Blutstein was a study in contrasts,” writes Ovetta Wiggins. “By day, he immersed himself in an intense Hebrew language course, learning to speak the language with a native fluency. By night, he spun hip-hop albums at a local nightclub owned by an Arab from Nazareth.”

Blutstein was one of seven people killed in the attack, which also wounded at least 80 others. Sometimes we need to be reminded there’s a person, a life behind each of those numbers.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Thursday, August 01, 2002  

A READER WRITES . . .
A Day Late, Many Dollars Short

To The Rittenhouse Review:

There is irony in Pat M. Holt’s call for a $1 million limit on executive compensation.

Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits a public company from deducting any compensation of over $1 million to its chief executive officer or to the four other employees with the highest pay. Two exceptions are any pay based on commissions or any “performance-based” compensation.

This limit first affected U.S. corporations in 1994. Until then, compensation was deductible only to the extent that it was “reasonable.”

The burgeoning of stock options in the 1990s was an unintended consequence of this provision. As long as stock option plans were somehow based on the performance of the company, were approved by outside directors and the shareholders, there was no effective limit on executive pay.

All this occurred after Congress thought it had the problem solved.

Never underestimate the power of creative accountants and lawyers!

Signed,
Tim Francis-Wright
Bear-Left.com

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

MONEY FOR NOTHING
Glassman, Hassett Concede Their Book Was of No Value

Time for some serious damage control.

James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal (“Dow 36000 Revisited”), virtually negate whatever value their book, Dow 36000, might ever have had as economic prognostication or even as an intellectual exercise.

Glassman and Hassett today say:

“When our book, Dow 36,000, was published in September 1999, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 10318. The Dow closed yesterday at 8736. What went wrong? Actually, nothing. Despite its flamboyant title, Dow 36,000 was a book of sober explanation, not of wild prognostication. We calculated that 36000 was the point at which the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Industrials would be fully valued, and we warned that ‘it is impossible to predict how long it will take.’”

We admit to having only skimmed a review copy of Dow 36000 prior to its publication three years ago, dismissing the book as yet another attempt to cash in on an overvalued equity market. But if the above paragraph constitutes an accurate summary of the Glassman-Hassett thesis, anyone who bought the book deserves a full refund because the explanation offered here includes nothing of any value whatsoever.

Apparently we are to believe it was the publisher’s fault, or perhaps the marketing department of the publishing company. A catchy title was needed to sell the book, and Glassman and Hassett here seem to imply they wouldn’t have chosen such an aggressive title. This doesn’t quite get them off the hook, but it is a very convenient argument.

Determining “full value” -- Is it worth it?

Glassman and Hassett, resident fellow and resident scholar, respectively, at the American Enterprise Institute, fail to explain what they mean by “full value.” That’s unfortunate, because as anyone who has valued equity securities knows, the calculation of a stock’s fair value to a particular investor (and they are not all alike) includes numerous factors, the most quantifiable of which are, among other things, the expected rate of return, the equity risk premium, the investment horizon (or time period the stock is expected to be held), and the discount rate (needed to calculate present value).

When will the 30 stocks in the Dow Industrials become “fully valued”? Who knows and who cares? What difference could that possibly make to an investor? The phrase “fully valued” seems to imply that there is a terminal point at which individual stocks achieve their full value, their complete potential as it were. The odds of this happening to all 30 Dow stocks at the same time are virtually nil.

And irrelevant. The investor cares only about the “fair” or “intrinsic” value of the security in light of current and anticipated economic conditions, interest rates, inflation, desired rate of return, and, to be blunt about it, his “cash out” date.

Stating the obvious . . .

According to today’s article, Glassman and Hassett argued that an investor with a “long-term” horizon (“at least five years and, better, 10 or more”) should invest primarily in stocks and equity mutual funds and avoid bonds. In addition, investors should “buy and hold, and not try to time the market.” Why? Because “[s]tocks will not go straight up, we warned.” And third, they argued, “stocks are undervalued relative to their long-run trend.”

The first two points are conventional wisdom. The third point sounds the most impressive but it is also the most obvious. Except during periods of mania such as we experienced roughly from 1998 to early 2000, the stocks of quality companies are almost always undervalued relative to the long-term trends of the stocks’ prices, i.e., to their long-term value.

After all, if an investor believes a share of Gillette Co. will be worth $150 in 20 years or so, why would he pay $150 to own a share of Gillette right now, particularly when a share can be had for $33? He wouldn’t, for the simple reason of what is called “the time value of money.” The investor, if he’s smart, would be willing to pay the present value of the stock 20 years out, factoring in his expectations of growth, interest rates, the equity risk premium, the value of dividends, the manner in which he invested his dividends, and so forth. Naturally that figure will be lower than the “long-run trend” of the stock’s price.

. . . And a weak conclusion

Sadly, Glassman and Hassett end their essay with a resounding thud: “No, the Dow is not at 36000 right now, and we didn’t say it would be. But there is little doubt that, as long as the U.S. economy remains sound, stock prices will rise to 36000 and beyond.”

Do they mean that if an investor buys the Dow 30 now and then holds these stocks for some unspecified period of time he will be handsomely rewarded because the index will eventually reach 36000?

No kidding! Really? Amazing!

This is a no-brainer. We just created -- in less than 10 minutes -- an Excel spreadsheet demonstrating that the Dow could reach 36000 in about 16 years assuming a 10 percent annual return, and in nearly 20 years assuming the S&P 500’s historical annual rate of return of 7.6 percent. And if we accept the 15.2 percent annual rate of return Glassman and Hassett refer to with respect to the 20 years ending in 2001 (and we shouldn’t), the Dow would reach 36000 in just over 10 years.

All Glassman and Hassett are saying is the same thing every two-bit broker says over a few cocktails: “In the long run, stocks always go up.” Every element of that seemingly profound statement is true. Pick almost any “long run” -- 10-, 20-, and certainly 30-year period -- and you will find that the major stock indexes (i.e., “stocks” as a group, rather than a particular stock) appreciated, usually substantially.

That’s our view and we’re giving it to you for free.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

DUMBER AND DUMBER
WTC Memorial Proposals Continue Their Downward Slide

Further evidence that the proposals for a World Trade Center memorial continue their perpetual slide from dignity to absurdity comes from novelist Gabriella De Ferrari writing in today’s New York Times (“Solace in the Stars”).

De Ferrari’s idea came to her while flying into New York after a month in Tuscany, where the sun apparently shined upon her with stupefying intensity.

It takes some time for De Ferrari to present us with her suggestion. We must first wade through much chatter about skies and stars, attempts to wax poetic about an old carved wooden bench, and the obligatory quote from a foreign writer, in this case Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.

De Ferrari comes down to this: “The city is now pondering what to build as a memorial to those killed on Sept. 11. Most of the talk is about a monument at the World Trade Center site. But perhaps the families of those who died may also find comfort in something smaller and more personal.”

The climax: “We could build each family a bench to be placed in a spot of their choosing for their own observatory, a place to meditate and think of those who died. Each bench would be a private shrine in a public universe, each star, at times visible and at times imagined, bringing thoughts of eternity that might help us confront what we have seen.”

Yes. And for pigeons to drop on and vagrants to sleep on. Sounds lovely.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

LORD, WHERE ART THOU?
Norah Vincent, Theologian

Norah Vincent is described by the Los Angeles Times -- a major voice of the “liberal media” that we have heard relentlessly seeks to silence conservative voices and yet for which Vincent writes a regular column -- as “a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank set up after Sept. 11 to study terrorism.”

Now, Vincent’s contribution to our collective understanding of democracy and terrorism between Sept. 11 and today has been, well, nothing. And Vincent extends this curious phenomenon, one for which someone actually pays her money, with today’s column, “In a Clash of Cultures, We’ve Put God in the Middle,” a trite attempt at melding theology, politics, and foreign policy.

A brief excerpt (Bet you don’t make it to the end!):

“Where is God? . . . And so I repeat, where is God? Where is our God? And what is he? Is he just a euphemism for getting what we want, a capricious projection of our selfish wants, a good day for a rescue crew or, like the Islamist’s Allah, a convenience we invoke to sanction our victories? In these times, the answers to these questions matter more than ever because we are in a religious war with militant Islam, every bit as much as we are caught in a clash of civilizations, and God is in the middle of it.”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

ONE MORE FOR THE POLITICAL CIRCULAR FILE
Like That Will Ever Happen

Here’s a go-nowhere idea from Pat M. Holt in today’s Christian Science Monitor: “Rein In the Pay of America’s CEOs.”

“Congress could . . . [change] the tax code to provide that no part of the compensation paid to any employee exceeding, say, $1 million a year, can be treated as a business expense and thereby qualify as tax deductible,” Holt writes. “This would not prevent a company from paying an executive more than $1 million; but if it did so, the excess over a million would come from profits and not operating expenses.”

It would appear that Holt, former chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was either asleep or on the moon during last year’s debate over the Bush administration’s tax cut, the main purpose of which was to make life even easier for wealthy executives.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

MORE ON NAME-CALLING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Avoiding the Real Stuff: The Issues

This -- a brief but valuable point -- comes from The Hamster:

“[I]t’s interesting to note that while the thesis of Ann Coulter’s book [Ed.: Slander] is that liberal name-calling contributes to the decline of political issue debate in this country, when have you ever heard people like Ann Coulter debate issues? What issues does Coulter push? She only attacks liberals. That’s all she does. She advocates no public policy issues. Same with Sean Hannity. [Neither] of these people get their kicks off of advocating an issue. They get their kicks of[f] of kicking people, more specifically liberals. Indeed, that’s the point of modern day conservatism.”

The Hamster posted these remarks, which actually are part of a larger argument we urge you to read, yesterday, July 31.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

NAME-CALLING IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Does It Mean Anything Anymore?

Normally we wouldn’t be particularly interested in reading an article in the Village Voice entitled “On Being Called a Commie” (by Richard Goldstein), but since the hyper-vigilant David Horowitz called us “commies” and “post-modern commies” recently, we figured we ought to at least take a look.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

FORMER WORLDCOM EXECUTIVES ARRESTED
Sullivan and Myers Do the Perp Walk

Federal prosecutors this morning arrested Scott Sullivan and David Myers, the former chief financial officer and controller, respectively, of now-bankrupt WorldCom Inc.

The two were arraigned in New York this morning and are expected to be charged with mail and securities fraud.

Although Sullivan and Myers turned themselves in, they were still forced to do “the perp walk” in front of photographers while handcuffed. CNBC played the film of that incident several times this morning.

Former Chief Executive Officer Bernard Ebbers has not been arrested but it’s likely Sullivan and Myers will provide sufficient evidence to prosecutors whether or not they enter plea bargains that include lesser sentences.

Meanwhile, CNBC “Squawk Box” reporter David Faber today raised an interesting question: “Where are the Enron arrests?”

Faber observed that arrests came relatively quickly after the public first learned of the various forms of malfeasance cases at WorldCom, ImClone Systems Inc., and Adelphia Communications Corp.

And yet there have been no arrests of any former Enron Corp. executives, the most likely candidates for which would be Andrew Fastow, Kenneth Lay, and Jeffrey Skilling.

In fact, according to Faber, former Enron Chairman Lay has been seen “playing golf on posh courses” around the country, locations he reaches by flying on his private jet.

We seem to recall the oh-so-lovely second Mrs. Lay appearing on national television tearfully lamenting that “it,” meaning all of their fortune, tied up in Enron stock, “was gone.”

Indeed, the rich are different. They’re shameless.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Tuesday, July 30, 2002  

STEPPING BACK IN TIME
Another Look at a Letter to William Safire

Below I have reprinted a letter I sent to New York Times columnist William Safire on February 21, 2002.

Mr. William Safire
New York Times
New York, N.Y.

Dear Mr. Safire:

In your Feb. 21, 2002 column you wrote, “Enron, which mostly embarrassed Republicans, has been wrung dry in the media; the sight of the tilted ‘E’ symbol elicits yawns from viewers.”

You don’t get out much do you, Mr. Safire?

The demise of Enron Corp. is a very important issue to those who are following it, and I include in that group a surprising number of middle-class and working-class people I have encountered over the last few months who are extremely distressed and concerned about the issues raised by this debacle.

Many people I have talked to -- family, friends, colleagues, and strangers -- know more than you might expect about Enron. Believe it or not, they understand what Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow, and Mike Kopper [A list to which I would now add Tom White.] did and did not do at Enron, and why their actions or inactions were wrong.

They know how much Enron’s executives and board members profited even after it was clear within the Enron Tower that the ship was sinking.

They know how willingly the Street played along with the game for its own benefit.

They know how badly the media failed in its task of watching for wretched excess and holding accountable those responsible for this disaster.

They even knew enough to laugh at the second Mrs. Kenneth Lay’s pathetic, tearful plea for sympathy.

To cite just one example, two weeks ago in Philadelphia a cab driver raised the subject with me for no particular reason. Not because the radio was on and Enron was under discussion at the moment, but because he was genuinely incensed by the rapacious actions of the company’s executives and friends.

And almost every day I watch “ordinary” people on the trains and subways reading stories about Enron in the New York Post, the New York Daily News, Newsday, and the Philadelphia Daily News.

Perhaps you and your colleagues at the Times aren’t perturbed by any of this, but far more people than you think are watching and are well informed.

They are eager to see how politicians, regulators, and the securities industry respond. Rational or not, they may decide to hold their congressional representatives and senators responsible. That’s just the way the system works.

Yours truly,

James M. Capozzola

And this was seven months ago!

As an addendum I would like to add that a New York cab driver not long ago asked me to explain -- in more detail than I would ever have expected -- what WorldCom did wrong when preparing its bogus financial statements.

It's not often that I get the opportunity to discuss capitalized expenses, operating expenses, depreciation, the calculation of earnings per share, and the concept of the price/earnings ratio with foreign-born cabbies, but in this case I was more than happy to spend the quick -- though insufficient -- 20 minutes doing so.

And it was on his tab, as the conversation took place after he had accepted my payment.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THIS IS GETTING INTERESTING
Bush-Ashcroft TIPS Program Draws Ire of Another Conservative

Look who is opposed -- vociferously opposed -- to the Bush administration’s proposed TIPS program.

You go, girl!

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A READER WRITES . . .
Whose Values?

To: The Rittenhouse Review

Michael Novak says the men and women who rescued the trapped coal miners were “people who understand instinctively what it is to sacrifice one’s own self-assertion to the urgent needs of the group, and to work as a high-spirited, attentive, docile, alert, and creative team.”

Fair enough. But he goes on to say this is “a remarkable display of classic conservative virtues.”

Really? This must be a definition of conservatism that I missed. It sounds a lot more like altruism.

The Rittenhouse Review notes the comic aspect of a scholar from the American Enterprise Institute waxing poetic about union coal miners. But the not-so-comic possibility is that this accident may have been the result of -- surprise! -- corporate greed, and as such reveals the philosophical barrenness of Novak’s position.

All of us were thrilled and emotional at the rescue of the miners. But only a conservative like Novak would suck on to it as if all heart-warming, down-home stories were naturally the property of the “family values” crowd.

I wonder if he noticed, as I did, the contrast between the heroic actions of the average men and women of the police and fire departments of New York City, and the managerial malfeasance, cover-ups, and buck passing that went on (and is still going on) in the executive suites of the Bush Administration, the FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department. Sound familiar?

Conservatives love tradition; well, there’s a tradition for you: union members working to save their brothers from the actions of corporate malefactors and religious and social fundamentalists. It’s a classic virtue, all right, but not a conservative one.

Michael Barry
Boston, Mass.

[Ed.: The writer is a singer and songwriter. His web site can be found at http://www.supergenius.us/]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

KEEPING UP WITH HA’ARETZ DAILY
The Best Newspaper You’re (Probably) Not Reading

We are (fairly) regular readers of Ha’aretz Daily and highly recommend the newspaper to anyone searching for insight into, and a better understanding of, the government and politics of Israel. We also are (fairly) regular readers of the Jerusalem Post, which we also recommend, but the Post, which is better known and more widely read outside of Israel, sometimes seems to be trying just a bit too hard to put the country’s best face forward.

In recent weeks we have offered comments on a number of articles from Ha’aretz, but in the last two days the paper has published so many interesting and provocative articles that we simply can’t keep up. We prefer to draw readers’ attention to these articles rather than simply letting them lie by the wayside.

Minister’s Aide Calls Hebron Riots a ‘Pogrom’
By Amos Harel and Jonathan Lis
July 31, 2002

“Col. (res.) Moshe Givati, an adviser on settlement security for Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, yesterday termed the rioting that took place during the funeral of Elazar Leibowitz, ‘a pogrom against the Arabs of Hebron, with no provocation on the Palestinian side.’”

In a Fit of Rage
By Ze’ev Schiff
July 31, 2002

“Anyone who decides to drop a one-ton bomb in the heart of a densely-populated area in order to kill one murderer is undoubtedly very angry at the attacks carried out on Israeli civilians and very frustrated because of the way in which the war is being conducted. And, indeed, the Israel Defense Forces is angry in a way that it has never been angry before -- in any previous war. The result is that when the location of the head of the military wing of Hamas becomes known, the decision not to let him slip away is made, whatever the consequences.”

Fear and Violence in Hebron
By the Editors
July 31, 2001

“Four Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists last Friday in the Hebron area, including three members of a single family. During the Sunday funeral of one of the victims, First Sergeant Elazar Leibovitz, Israelis, including Hebron settlers and their guests, ran riot, shooting, stabbing, stoning and destroying property. They killed a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, Nibin Jamjum, and wounded dozens, including Israeli police officers. Suspects were arrested but released by the court, which said they did not need to be held for the investigation.” [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

The Two-Thirds Solution
By Hannah Kim
July 31, 2002

“The treasury’s new budget proposal is a profound revolution that more than anything else is reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s revolution in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, which was dubbed the ‘the two-thirds policy.’ Like the Thatcherite model, Israel’s two-thirds policy first of all declares that one-third of the population is expendable. All the unemployed, the ‘social cases’ and the recipients of guaranteed income allowances are economically inefficient, so the state’s help should be reduced to the absolute minimum to relieve the more productive segments of society of the burden of supporting the weak. Until now, there has been an assumption in Israel that society in general has a responsibility for the weak among it. But now, every citizen will be judged by one simple economic test: either they belong to the parasitical third or to the productive two-thirds. Are you ‘efficient’ or ‘a burden’?”

If There’s Smoke, There’s No Cease-Fire
By Akiva Eldar
July 31, 2002

“Israel’s propaganda machine worked overtime this week and proved its efficacy. The prime minister, the foreign minister, intelligence officers, officials and spokesmen changed overnight from a fight for a cease-fire to a fight against a cease-fire initiative. For many months, they told the entire world that it’s a waste of paper to reach a cease-fire with the Palestinian Authority, explaining that Tanzim and Fatah leaders are in control of the street, along with Hamas. They claimed that with one hand, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signs condemnations of terror and with the other signs fat checks that he shoves into the pockets of the terrorists. . . . But when a unilateral declaration for a cease-fire, an initiative that rose from the deepest of the grassroots of the Tanzim and Fatah, was presented to them, everyone made a mockery of it.”

Backlash of a Boycott
By Joseph Algazy
[Note: As previously stated, The Rittenhouse Review strongly opposes this boycott.]

“For more than a month, universities, lecturers and students worldwide have been enjoying their summer break, but the dismissals of Prof. Gideon Toury and Dr. Miriam Shlesinger from the editorial staffs of the journals The Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts, respectively, continue to send waves throughout the European and American academic world.

“The two were fired by the publisher of the two journals, Mona Baker, as part of her personal contribution to the academic boycott previously declared by European and American members of academe following recent IDF operations in Palestinian Authority areas. The boycott, and particularly the dismissals of the two Israeli researchers in the field of the science of translation, has kicked up a storm that shows no signs of abating. . . .

“The declaration of the academic boycott against Israel was greeted with much opposition in Israel, although it created a far greater wave of protest abroad. Only a handful of Israeli academics supported the boycott. . . .

“Academics in Israel, many of whom are known for their opposition to the government’s policy on the Palestinian issue, determined that the boycott was too sweeping, since it was not directed at research programs that serve government policy and would primarily affect the weaker elements in the academic establishment, such as doctoral students who need references and opinions from abroad, or students requiring scholarships and grants.”

Israel Discounts Hamas-Tanzim Cease-Fire; Insists on ‘One Force’
By Aluf Benn and Daniel Sobelman
July 31, 2002

“Amid conflicting reports of ongoing internal Palestinian efforts to reach a sweeping cease-fire announcement, high-ranking Israeli sources are saying that Israel rejects the contacts between the Palestinian Authority and various Palestinian groups. They insist that the Palestinians undertake broad security reforms and cease incitement before any dialogue with the other side can take place.”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

SKELETONS IN THE SAFETY-DEPOSIT BOX
Raising Campaign Funds from Fellow Board Members

It seems Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney has a few skeletons in his safety deposit box.

“‘We have watched, in horror’ the news of scandals and mismanagement, Romney said in a hastily-planned speech at the Boston Stock Exchange, where he called for the state pension fund to invest only in companies that meet strict ethical standards,” according to a report in today’s Boston Globe. “‘We, as beneficiaries and owners of stocks, have been suffering,’ he said. ‘I am appalled by the financial accounting irregularities and abuses of power which we’ve seen.’”

He should know. He saw it all up close as a member of the boards of directors at Marriott International Inc. and Staples Inc.

“[R]ecords show that as a member of corporate boards, Romney took part in some of the very practices he is now criticizing,” the Globe reports.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

CONSERVATIVES’ RESPECT FOR MINERS
Big Surprise: It’s Only For Show

Counterspin offers a smart and brief look at how conservatives’ really feel about coal miners. It would appear that once the photo opportunities, or column opportunities, have passed, it’s back to business as usual: cutting funds to support mine safety programs.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Monday, July 29, 2002  

QUALITY READING MATERIAL
The Right-Wing Comic Book Set

Why am I not surprised to learn Jonah Goldberg has a frequent-buyer card at the Android’s Dungeon?

[Note: This post originally was published at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

MICHAEL NOVAK AND THE TOILING MASSES
What Happens When Worlds Collide?

Whenever an event or crisis occurs that involves danger, fear, manual labor, faith, and family, it’s time to duck for cover, preferably before the punditocracy -- left, right, and center -- gets its hands on the incident, overanalyzes its significance, and ruins the (preferably) happy conclusion for everyone.

Such is the case already with the dangerous and nerve-wracking rescue of nine Pennsylvania coal miners trapped underground for nearly four days. As best we can tell, the accident at the mine and the ultimate recovery of the miners drew the interest, sympathies, and prayers of a wide range of Americans. The success of the rescue effort, which required overcoming several heartbreaking set backs, was applauded by millions of Americans across the political and ideological spectrum.

It is an event that we all shared, not unlike the attacks on New York and Washington last September. But, as expected, there are some who feel compelled to call the event their own, evidence of their special virtue, and worse, to use a tragedy (or potential tragedy) to support their own political agenda.

Michael Novak discovers the working class

Michael Novak, who we thought was a bit better than this, today has an essay on National Review Online, brazenly entitled “The Conservative Capital of the World.” No, Novak isn’t talking about Lynchburg, Virginia Beach, or Vienna, Virginia, he’s talking about Somerset, Pa., the scene of the mine accident under discussion here, conveniently, for Novak at least, located not altogether far from the spot where United Airlines Flight 93 either crashed or was shot down on Sept. 11, 2001.

“[T]he four days from Wednesday, July 24, until the wee hours of Sunday morning, July 28, brought a new birth of respect for the phrases ‘middle America’ and ‘blue-collar workers,’” according to Novak. “They showed all of us the heroism, toughness, and mental inventiveness of the humble people of America who at work get dirt on their faces and calluses on their hands. What a people!”

Novak must have struggled greatly to craft that paragraph, searching for the words that would enable him to sound awed and respectful but not condescending. He failed. But we applaud the effort.

Indeed, we suspect Novak sees precious few working-class or blue-collar Americans as he goes about his daily business. As a senior scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Novak thinks his deep thoughts -- and apparently his banal sentimentalities as well -- while ensconced in a nice office in a respectable yet undistinguished building at the corner of 17th and M Streets, N.W., in Washington, D.C., the most white-collar large city in America.

“From the cops and firemen at the World Trade Center to the miners and rescuers and families at Somerset this July, we have seen a beauty of the American soul that we of the highly educated elites know too little of, and from day to day too little admire,” Novak continues, rhapsodically, sounding a bit too much like American Stalinists of old who found delirium in their wholly misguided romantic fantasies about the working class.

To be fair, laboring amid the toiling masses of nearby Connecticut Avenue -- lawyers, lobbyists, accountants, lawyers, bankers, lobbyists, lawyers -- doesn’t bring Novak into contact with people engaged in manufacturing, mining, or construction, or to longshoremen, steelworkers, day laborers, and farm workers. And we’re quite sure such people aren’t regulars at the free lunches, cocktail hours, and dinners enjoyed by those of Novak’s standing in the think-tank community. As such, we concede that the daily rhythms of the lives of Somerset’s miners, their families, and friends -- together with their response to what appeared to be a near-certain tragedy -- were something quite new to this very privileged conservative.

Novak adopts a political agenda

Strangely, however, Novak goes a step farther, finding a political message in the events surrounding the Somerset mine crisis.

“The sense of community . . . was so powerful it could not be missed,” writes Novak. “These were people who understand instinctively what it is to sacrifice one’s own self-assertion to the urgent needs of the group, and to work as a high-spirited, attentive, docile, alert, and creative team. To hell with what liberals might say or do. They knew what they were doing, and they did things their way.” [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

What on earth is this supposed to mean? What would liberals have said or done differently? How does Novak know that the working-class -- and poor -- people about whom he is writing do not adhere to the basic tenets of American liberalism today? We don’t know, because Novak merely makes an assertion -- all well and good when preaching to the National Review choir, but not good enough when he must confront a skeptic.

Novak surprises us by descending into absurdity. “This operation was not politically correct. Not infrequently, it was not even grammatically correct. But in the universal language of the human spirit, it was not only correct but elegant,” Novak writes. [Ed.: Emphasis added.] What would have made the operation “politically correct”? And not grammatically correct! Who cares? Though, Mr. Safire, please call your office.

“Meanwhile, the cooperation and efficient teamwork of the rescuers up above was amazing to watch. Everybody seemed at attention, alert and quick to react,” writes the theologian. “Muscles must have ached with painful weariness as hour after hour passed, and one whole day of work faded into two -- some went forty-eight hours with barely two hours for sleep.”

Yes, manual labor is hard work and it is work that is too often neither respected nor appropriately compensated. Somehow we doubt the latter fact is of any concern to Novak and his colleagues at A.E.I.

“Competence, excellence, teamwork, the spirit of community, discipline, the willing acceptance of every nuance of command set forth by an intelligent, directing authority, compassion for one another, prayer, faith, trust, and pride in one another -- these precious dispositions were deployed hour after hour in a remarkable display of classic conservative virtues.” [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

So are we to believe that moderates and liberals do not value “competence, excellence, teamwork, the spirit of community, discipline, the willing acceptance of every nuance of command set forth by an intelligent, directing authority, compassion for one another, prayer, faith, trust, and pride in one another”?

This is a collection of lies, plain and simple. A familiar refrain of lies, to be sure, but lies all the same.

“For me, this event has been an especially emotional experience. But its validity reaches far beyond the small circle of my own humble family’s memories. It belongs to the ages,” concludes Novak.

Indeed it does, sir, to the ages, not to self-styled conservatives who ascribe inhuman and inhumane motives to the political enemies they so viciously and dishonestly attack, all the while comically and disingenuously portraying themselves as defenseless victims. It’s time to say, “Enough.”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A CLASSIC FILM REVIVAL
Wannabe Journalist and Wannabe Professor Team Up

Coming soon to a web site near you . . . “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

The slightly altered revival of the 1975 film stars former magazine editor turned amateur weblogger (and poorly reviewed community theater performer) Andrew Sullivan as Billy Bibbitt, characterized by one fan of the film as “[a] thirty-one year old man, still psychologically an adolescent, [and] still under the control of his mother. McMurphy finds a way to bring out his manhood. Later is driven to suicide by Nurse Ratched.”

Part-time art-school instructor Camille Paglia stars as Nurse Ratched, widely known as “Big Nurse, described as ‘enormous, capable of swelling up bigger and bigger to monstrous proportions.’ She is the ward superintendent, the ultimate authority demanding obedience and perfect order from everyone.”

There’s already a buzz about the film in an isolated corner of the web:

“CAMILLE, ME, AND YOU: The dialogue is continuing offline. It took [sic] a little longer than a week. I hope to post the interview starting next Monday. Thanks for your patience.”

(“Longer than a week”? Help us, O merciful God, please spare us your vengeance.)

Sullivan, a vocal proponent of Androgel, saw his latest column published in the New York Sun, a newspaper with a circulation not much larger than the readership of the page in front of you. Sullivan’s most recent original book, Virtually Normal, was published in 1996.

Paglia is a part-time instructor in the communications department of the University of the Arts. Her most recent original book, Sexual Personae, was published 12 years ago. The promised second volume, presumably equally unreadable, has yet to emerge, to no one’s particular dismay.

[Note: Edited post-publication to include photographs and character descriptions.]

[Note: A reader has informed us that while Paglia is a part-time instructor in the department of communication at the University of the Arts she also is university professor of humanities and media studies at the same institution. In our defense, a search of the school’s web site does not make this clear at all. Indeed, at said site Paglia continues to be referred to as a regular contributor to Salon, a gig that ended several years ago. We look forward to confirming Paglia’s status with the art school tomorrow during regular business hours.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

SETTLERS RUN AMOK
Who is in control? Who will be held accountable?

Prairie-style justice -- crowds running amok, seeking vigilante-style vengeance and apparently with no fear of accountability -- continues unabated on the West Bank this week.

In the latest incident a 14-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and an eight-year-old boy stabbed as an estimated 4,000 Hebron settlers attending the funeral of 21-year-old Elazar Leibovitz (killed during yet another ambush targeting Israelis last week) went on a rampage through the town, throwing rocks, shooting at and burning Palestinian buildings, and breaking into homes, according to a report by Amos Harel in today’s Ha’aretz Daily (“Hebron Settlers Riot, Kill Palestinian Girl, 14”).

“According to settlers, they were only protecting themselves against rock-throwing by Palestinians, who were placed under curfew by the authorities before the funeral to prevent friction,” according to Ha’aretz.

Others on the scene offered a far different account.

“Eyewitnesses, including foreign press photographers on the scene, reported that the incitement during the funeral march had quickly turned into rock-throwing and a rampage through the open market, where settlers overturned stalls and burned a house,” the report continues. “In the chaos, extensive shooting took place, with Israel Defense Forces troops, deployed in large numbers, firing into the air and settlers shooting at buildings. The IDF said no Palestinians had been shooting.”

Fatally shot in the head was Nizin Jamjoum, 14, who was on the balcony of her home. Her brother, Marwan Jamjoun, 26, was injured along with at least six other Palestinians, including eight-year-old Ahmed Natcha, “who was stabbed when a group of settlers broke into his home and smashed furniture.”


Israeli Settlers Throwing Stones and Shooting
at Palestinian Homes in Hebron Yesterday

“The Jewish Community Council in Hebron expressed regret over any injury to police,” Harel reports, the council apparently unfazed by the death and injuries to the local Palestinian population.

Michael Kleiner, a member of the Knesset from the Herut Party told the paper: “[I]f the government doesn’t achieve a quick military victory, more and more frustrated Jews will take matters into their own hands.”

Although the police have ordered an inquiry into why the rioting was not prevented and the IDF “is also investigating,” according to Harel, no mention was made of whether authorities are seeking the settlers responsible for killing Jamjoum or stabbing Natcha. And so far at least, no outrage over whether the Israeli government can control its people and prevent such attacks in the future.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

IN GAZA: FLATS OR SHACKS?
Ha’aretz Points to Flattened Flats

“Nearly all the Palestinian civilians killed and wounded by the one-ton air force bomb used to assassinate Salah Shehadeh, head of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip, were killed in their apartments in two and three-story buildings,” writes Gideon Levy in today’s edition of Ha’aretz Daily (“Gaza Victims Lived in Flats, Not in Shacks”).

“Despite army claims the day after the bombing that most of those killed had resided in shacks built in the surroundings of the Shehadeh building, a visit to the site shows that all those killed lived in sturdy buildings and not in shacks,” Levy continues. “The only shack-like structure in the compound was a chicken coop.”

Can we put this official lie to rest now or will we have to debate its validity ad nauseum?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Sunday, July 28, 2002  

RON BORGES LIBELS LANCE ARMSTRONG

I’m not an attorney but Ron Borges of the Boston Globe and NBC Sports seems to be veering pretty damn close to libel when he says Lance Armstrong isn’t an athlete.


Lance Armstrong

“Someone postulated on National Public Radio a week or so ago that Lance Armstrong was the greatest athlete in the world. Greatest athlete in the world? I wonder if he’s an athlete at all,” writes Borges.

Is this some kind of joke? A desperate ploy for attention?

Here’s just a small taste of Borges’s idiotic observations: "Athletes, for my money, must do more with their bodies than pump their legs up and down. If that’s all it took, the Radio City Rockettes would have to be considered the greatest athletes of all time."

Stop by the excellent weblog Cooped-Up for a devastating critique of Borges and his spiteful and bilious views. And then follow the link to Borges if you think you can stand it.

[Republished from today’s edition of |||trr|||.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

RON BORGES LIBELS LANCE ARMSTRONG

I’m not an attorney but Ron Borges of the Boston Globe and NBC Sports seems to be veering pretty damn close to libel when he says Lance Armstrong isn’t an athlete.


Lance Armstrong

“Someone postulated on National Public Radio a week or so ago that Lance Armstrong was the greatest athlete in the world. Greatest athlete in the world? I wonder if he’s an athlete at all,” writes Borges.

Is this some kind of joke? A desperate ploy for attention?

Here’s just a small taste of Borges’s idiotic observations: "Athletes, for my money, must do more with their bodies than pump their legs up and down. If that’s all it took, the Radio City Rockettes would have to be considered the greatest athletes of all time."

Stop by the excellent weblog, Cooped-Up for a devastating critique of Borges and his spiteful and bilious views. And then follow the link to Borges if you think you can stand it.

[Note: This post originally was published at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

TODD OLDHAM IS BACK
And That’s Good News

Who wouldn’t love Todd Oldham? He’s talented, smart, fun, funny, sweet, and cute, and he’s been missed . . . badly.


Todd Oldham

Although he has been working steadily on various projects over the years, Oldham’s profile, for a variety of reasons, has waned in recent years.

But now, it looks like Todd Oldham is back in a big way, with his own line of household designs at Target stores and at Target online.

The current collection is geared toward the “back-to-school” shopper. Much of it is bolder and brighter than that toward which I gravitate -- being a black-white-gray-navy-beige solids kind of guy -- but it’s original, inspired, and very cool. Take a look.

And by the way, my mother is still crazy about Oldham’s signature perfume.


Todd Oldham Fragrance

[Note: This post originally was published at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE RITTENHOUSE REVIEW MODIFIES THE HOME PAGE
It’s Time for a Few Adjustments

Today we made some changes to the home page of The Rittenhouse Review and to our sibling site, |||trr|||, that we would like to explain to our readers.

We have been publishing the Review for more than three months, a period that while brief has been sufficient to generate numerous comments, both positive and negative, from regular readers and occasional visitors alike. These comments formed the basis of the changes implemented today, as well as several additional modifications that readers will notice over the next several weeks.

Fewer links . . .

Most noticeably, we have significantly scaled back the number of links to other sites, both in the sidebar and in the pages of the Review. This is the third time we have done so since launching the site.

From the beginning, the Review has provided links to sites that express views we share as well as those that diverge, often quite considerably, from our own. However, the large number of links has made the page “heavy” and some readers have complained of the time it takes to load the home page.

As a result, we have decided to be more selective in our links, thereby deleting several dozens, including the regional links for the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia areas, our geographic environs, the display of which was suspended approximately three weeks ago.

We expect to repeat the process of culling links two more times within the next four weeks. The links most likely to be deleted are those to sites of lower-than-average quality, minimal traffic or reader interest, and those that are veering toward or have adopted extremist or exceedingly intolerant viewpoints, or that have been discovered to be harboring, hosting, or promoting same.

. . . But Wide Variety Maintained

We believe our links continue to represent our desire to engage in debate, conversation, discussion, and argument with persons, publications, and organizations representing a wide variety of opinions. Thus, we emphasize that we are not engaging in an ideological crackdown. Yes, we have removed the links to such lightweights as Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Debbie Schlussel, and Cal Thomas, along with several personalities we cannot take seriously, including Matt Drudge, Lucianne Goldberg, Alan Keyes, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Schlessinger, and Linda Tripp.

And yet, the links continue to include numerous conservative publications and columnists, the latter group including, among others, Pat Buchanan, Linda Chavez, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer, Michelle Malkin, William Safire (though hanging by a thread), and George Will.

Perhaps violating the guidelines we have established, we have maintained links both to David Horowitz’s weblog and FrontPage Magazine, edited by Horowitz, because of our affiliation with Horowitz Watch, of course, but also out of our hope that Horowitz might someday return to the realm of civilized discourse.

We add that the absence of a particular individual, weblog, publication, or organization is not intended as a slight, but may instead simply reflect an oversight. We expect to continue to add and delete names as space permits, and as always, your opinions and suggestions are welcome. Please send them to us at RittenReview@earthlink.net.

Meanwhile, record traffic

The Review enjoyed two consecutive days of record traffic on Thursday and Friday, July 25 and 26. The response to this site has been greater than we ever could have expected. Thanks to everyone for your support.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Saturday, July 27, 2002  

TIME TO CRACK DOWN!
Pedophiles Taking Over Our Schools!

A former math teacher at Cherokee High School in Evesham, N.J., was sentenced Friday to two years of probation and fined $2,500 for having sex with a 17-year-old student who attends the school, according to a report in Saturday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Teacher Gets Probation for Sex With Student.”

John M. Evans, 33, who had taught at the Evesham school since 1995, pleaded guilty in April to fourth-degree child abuse and has forfeited his teacher’s license. . . . Evans’[s] probation also mandates that he have no contact with the 17-year-old, or anyone else from the Lenape Regional School District, of which Cherokee is a member. He also cannot attend any event at any district school. In addition, he must undergo a psychological evaluation.”

How many such incidents have to occur before we as a country return to our traditional values and get the homosexuals out of our schools before they take one more step toward advancing their radical agenda to molest, corrupt, and convert America’s youth, undermine the American family, destroy marriage, spread atheism, and steal our husbands?! Why isn't this pervert going to jail?! The liberal homosexuals with all their money have silenced their critics and infiltrated our schools and our courts! God will punish us for this!

Oh, wait a minute . . . We didn’t finish the article.

Hold on . . . Give us a minute . . . Just another second . . .

Huh. It turns out this case has nothing to do with the homosexuals at all.

The pervert in this case, which has attracted little, if any, attention outside the immediate area, was a married man, his wife expecting twins at the time he had intercourse with the underage girl.

Whatever happened to statutory rape?

“Evans, who is married, arranged to meet the girl at a Medford Wawa and took her to his home during the weekend of Feb. 23 and 24,” the Inquirer reports. [Ed.: A Wawa is a convenience store much like a 7-Eleven.]

At the time of sentencing, the judge observed that Evans was what many would call “a family man,” a defender of “traditional values” -- Evans’s wife is expecting twins in October. Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Smith Jr. told the convicted molester that if one of the babies is a girl, “I want you to think how you would feel if one of your daughters was a victim.”

So . . . um . . . never mind. Go on about your business.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Friday, July 26, 2002  

“BAD LAW! BAD, BAD LAW!”
President Bush Backs Insurers, Hospitals, Physicians

Here’s a surprise: President George W. Bush has sided with insurers, hospitals, and physicians in the latest eruption of the “malpractice crisis,” an episodic calamity running back some 25 years during which we are gravely warned that without reform, “our nation’s healthcare system will shut down” (or words to that effect), but never does.

“With doctors complaining about rising malpractice insurance premiums, President Bush called today for a major overhaul of the nation’s medical liability system, including legislation to cap compensation for pain and suffering at $250,000 in successful malpractice suits,” reports Sheryl Gay Stolberg in today’s New York Times (“Bush Urges a Cap on Medical Liability”).

In a groundbreaking analysis of the U.S. legal and healthcare systems, one befitting so distinguished a graduate of the Harvard Business School, President Bush said, “Health care costs are up because docs [sic] are worried about getting sued.”

The president added that the liability framework underlying healthcare delivery is “broken and riddled with bad, bad law.” [Emphasis added.]

The administration claims to have the numbers to back up the president’s remarks. “Anticipating the president’s speech, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report . . . that said the cost of malpractice insurance for specialists had risen more than 10 percent in recent years,” according to Stolberg. We’ll need to look closely at the report given that “10 percent in recent years” is a rather unspecific characterization of an arguable trend.

We agree with Ron Pollack, president of Families USA, who criticized the Bush administration for using the issue of malpractice reform as an “unfortunate diversion from the most important health issues facing our country -- expanded health coverage for the uninsured and recently unemployed, prescription drug coverage for seniors and patients’ rights legislation.”

We also wonder why physicians and their professional society, the American Medical Association, so reliably escape genuine scrutiny when the issue of malpractice reform gains momentum. The sorry record of the medical profession, aided and abetted by insurers, in putting incompetent physicians on the sidelines is well documented. That’s an issue we would like to hear more about.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THAT TRAFICANT’S A FUNNY GUY

How did I miss out on this guy over the years?

As you all know by now, Rep. James A. “Jim” Traficant (D-Ohio) was expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives this week for ethics violations after he was convicted in April on charges of bribery, tax evasion, and racketeering.


James A. Traficant

The Washington Post has a collection of quotes from the former congressman the paper describes as “colorful.”

Colorful? That’s an understatement.

Here’s a lovely quote:

“If you don’t get those cameras out of my face, I’m gonna go 8.6 on the Richter scale with gastric emissions that’ll clear this room!”

That was Traficant berating photographers covering the ethics subcommittee hearing regarding his criminal record. Share that with your mother tonight.

[Note: This post originally was published at TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR
Imitation & Impersonation
Flattered & Furious

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If so, I wonder what that makes impersonation. The most outrageous form of flattery?

Pretending to be someone you are not, when that other someone is a real person, is not only juvenile, dishonest, and unethical, it is illegal, even on the web.

I suppose I should be flattered to be considered so important that my name and reputation are thought to warrant being trashed by a total stranger with some unknown agenda. But I'm also furious, and I will not stand for it again.

Be advised that your game can get you caught. You can be traced. You know who you are.

-- J.M.C.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THEY’RE STARTING TO GO TO JAIL
Alfred Taubman Heads to Minnesota Prison

Well, the good news coming out of all of the latest cases of corporate malfeasance is that at least some law-breaking executives are finally going to prison.

The latest: A. Alfred Taubman, the 78-year-old former chairman of Sotheby’s Holdings Inc., a man who made the bulk of his wealth through the development of shopping malls across the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reports today [Ed.: Link requires registration and/or subscription.] that Taubman will begin his “one year and one day” sentence for auction price-fixing on August 1 at the Federal Medical Facility in Rochester, Minn., the facility having been selected with Taubman’s purportedly failing health taken into consideration. (Taubman was also slapped with a $7.5 million fine.)

Taubman’s plea before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit failed to gain the real-estate mogul a new trial. “The appeals court ruled that Mr. Taubman’s ‘knowledge of and participation in the conspiracy to fix prices was not established by circumstantial evidence; it was established by direct evidence,’” the Journal reports.

You know . . . it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fellow.

By the way, Taubman’s second-in-command, former Sotheby’s chief executive officer, Diana D. “DeDe” Brooks, in April was sentenced to six months of home detention, along with a $350,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service.

We can’t wait to see the next all-too-deserving crook move into his new quarters.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

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