The Rittenhouse Review

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


Tuesday, September 03, 2002  

WHAT MAKES POWELL RUN?
Apparently, Anything Less Than Perfection

"Secretary of State Colin Powell has been a good soldier in public, even as he has had to fight for every small victory against Administration hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld," writes Massimo Calabresi in Time magazine ("Colin Powell: Planning for an Exit," carried on CNN.com's web site).

However "sources close to Powell," Calabresi reports, say his departure plans are firm: "[H]e will step down at the end of President [George] Bush's current term."

According to these sources, Powell will remain on the job at Foggy Bottom until such time even if the U.S. pursues a military invasion into or attack on Iraq, a strategy the secretary is widely reported to oppose.

And yet, Time reports, an odd caveat is attached to Powell's "firm" departure plans: "If Bush wins a second term, only the imminence of a major diplomatic victory -- in the Middle East, for example -- could induce him to stay a short while longer." [Emphasis added.]

That must mean the prospects for anything less -- ranging from an imminent though minor diplomatic victory to an looming geo-political meltdown -- as of January 2005 will be insufficient reason for Powell to finish the tasks before him and instead will send the Secretary of State fleeing for safer and saner pastures.

What does this say about President Bush and his administration?

It's just par for the course, one would suspect. This is, after all, the modus operandi of the Bush family: As long as things work according to the grand plan, hang around and pick up the spoils, but make a mess and someone else -- daddy, mommy, the maid, Jimmy Baker, Karen Hughes, Jack Welch, who have you -- will eventually clean it up. It's okay, just run along and play, boys.

More important, what does this say about Powell?

Those Americans, no matter their political inclinations, who were expecting something just a little bit better from the Secretary of State have good reason to be very disappointed.

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Thursday, August 29, 2002  

A READER WRITES . . .
Norah Vincent: Jackson Browne Fan -- And Plagiarist?

To The Rittenhouse Review:

I was checking out the site today and I came upon your assessment of the mysterious Norah Vincent.

I was struck by this particular turn of phrase: “. . . the fitful dream of this rude and much greater awakening.”

It rang familiar. Then I remembered this verse from Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender”:

I want to know what became of the changes we waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams of some greater awakening?

So, not only is Norah a hack, she’s not even an original one.

Stealing from a song called “The Pretender”? Classic. At least Peggy Noonan isn’t copping her banalities from old Dan Fogelberg tunes.

Keep up the good work.

Signed,
Charles Pierce

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Wednesday, August 28, 2002  

NORAH VINCENT: TRACING NOONAN’S FOOTSTEPS
Rejected New York Sun Manuscript Reappears

Terrorism “expert” Norah Vincent now has her own weblog, Norah’s LogJam, a mess of a website at which anyone with a browser can stumble across what is sure to be a growing collection of incoherent and discursive Peggy Noonan-esque essays rejected by editors across the land.

Earlier this week, Vincent published an untitled “essay” of sorts that had been rejected by even the desperately copy-starved New York Sun for being “too rhetorical.” (A phrase Tapped accurately translates as meaning, “Get off the couch and do some actual reporting instead of stringing together vague platitudes.”)

“Enjoy,” Vincent exhorts readers. Yes. Enjoy such brilliant and insightful gems as these:

After the attacks of Sept. 11, writes Vincent, “Schadenfreude was everywhere, smiling on the face of every disaffected leftist intellectual and Islamist sympathizer. While pictures of the dead went up all over town, the professorate rejoiced. They were demonstrably right, you see, about those chickens called American foreign policy coming home to roost.”

To which Vincent adds: “Let the bored radicals rave, and in their ravings give us still more justification for our course of proactive action. The sickly quality of their mercy won’t restrain us.”

And this: “We are changed, but not in the cowering way some had hoped. Undeclared war came home to our front yards a year ago and, courtesy of cable news, it tramped through our living rooms as well. Reality hit hard that day, so hard that even Pearl Harbor seemed small by comparison, the fitful dream of this rude and much greater awakening.”

These three selections are just a sampling of the disaster Vincent thought worthy of publication. Fortunately for Vincent’s self-esteem, her blogging software informs us that “commenting [is] temporarily unavailable.”

Vincent’s recent career path remains a mystery, as does the esteem with which she is regarded in certain circles, albeit right-wing enclaves not known for maintaining particularly high standards.

Vincent is not an intellectual, she is not an original thinker, she performs virtually no reportage, and she isn’t even a good writer. Instead, Vincent’s pieces share a remarkable resemblance to the cloying compositions of high-school girls seeking to express their loftiest thoughts while utterly lacking the vocabulary to do so. Sounds like the recent work of a certain resident alien Brit we know who just happens to be a friend and ally of Vincent.

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A VERY SENSITIVE COMEDIAN
Mason and Hanania and the Green Line

Ray Hanania, a Palestinian-American comedian, or comedian of Palestinian descent, was pushed off the bill at Zanie’s nightclub in Chicago last night.

Hanania was to open for Jewish-American comedian, or comedian of Jewish descent, Jackie Mason, but Mason objected and the club accommodated his demand that Hanania be replaced.

“Jackie does not feel comfortable having a Palestinian [sic] open for him. Right now it’s a very sensitive thing, it’s just not a good idea,” said Mason’s manager, Jyll Rosenfeld.

Jackie Mason is sensitive?

Jackie Mason is alive?

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THE DISHONEST AND DISSEMBLING DAVID HOROWITZ
Finding Anonymity Where There Is None

David Horowitz and his minions over at FrontPage Magazine are foaming at the mouth about the alleged anonymity of the contributors to HorowitzWatch, a site created by Jim Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review.

“How about it, HorowitzWatch bloggers. Ready to come out of hiding?” the bane of West L.A. asks today.

This is sheer dishonesty on his part. The names of all of the contributors to HorowitzWatch, save one (ironically the decidedly non-leftist contributor Horowitz seems to like), are public knowledge and have been since day one.

But for the record, the contributors to HorowitzWatch -- in Horowitz's words, the “post-modern commies,” the “brain[-]dead leftists,” and the “post-modern nitwits of the extreme leftist persuasion” -- include:

James M. Capozzola, who started the site (as Horowitz has known from the very beginning) and posts at HorowitzWatch as “HorowitzWatch.” A quick trip over to The Rittenhouse Review would make that abundantly clear. If this is too difficult for Horowitz to follow, I would gladly begin posting as Jim Capozzola.

Scoobie Davis, who publishes at HorowitzWatch and at his own site -- Scoobie Davis Online -- under his own name. Surely Horowitz is familiar with Scoobie Davis.

Yuval Rubinstein, who publishes at HorowitzWatch and at his own site -- Groupthink Central -- under his own name.

Adam Magazine, who publishes at HorowitzWatch and at his own web site -- Adam Magazine on the Crazy Years -- under his own name.

And Micah Holmquist, who publishes at HorowitzWatch and at his own web site -- Micah Holmquist’s Irregular Thoughts and Links -- under his own name.

That leaves the Watchful Babbler who, for reasons known only to him, has chosen to publish anonymously at HorowitzWatch and at his site own site: Doxagora. We respect his decision.

Links to all of the contributors’ web sites are provided on the home page at HorowitzWatch.

So what’s Horowitz so rabid about?

-- J.M.C.

[Note: A slightly different version of this article was published earlier today at HorowitzWatch.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

“THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT!”
Is Congress Losing Its Punch?

Congress isn’t going to be as much fun anymore, reports Carl Hulse in today’s New York Times (“Departing Lawmakers Cost Congress Some of Its Dazzle”).

“No one knows which party will control the House or Senate after the November elections, but one result is in: already out are some of the more outrageous, outspoken and polarizing characters of Congress,” writes Hulse, in reference to departing House members Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney (D-Ga.), and Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio).

“While some are happy to see them exit, former Senator Alan K. Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming who was known to deliver a potent punch line when in Congress, suggests there is a certain value in lawmakers who occasionally veer toward the outlandish,” Hulse reports.

According to Simpson, “When you have spirited people, whether you agree with them or not, it adds a little yeast to the dough. In your country club, your church and business, about 15 percent of the people are screwballs, lightweights and boobs and you would not want those people unrepresented in Congress.”

Heavens, no, we need the diversity, we need the variety, we need the entertainment value, and most of all we need “screwballs, lightweights, and boobs” drafting legislation, voting on measures affecting our health, wealth, and security, and determining whether the nation goes to war.

Hulse also notes the impending, ahem, passing on, of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), and Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas (R-Texas) to their post-congressional careers.

Adding insult to injury, Hulse writes, “[T]he retiring senators have some degree of a larger-than-life quality and are partisans known for being formidable legislators.”

Yes, indeed, the Senate is losing three great statesmen, according to the Times.

Actually, while some may find cranky old bigots colorful and entertaining, others find them offensive and insulting, embarrassing even.

Pressing on, Hulse, in a desperate attempt to add an air of gravitas to his piece, adds, “The departure of these and other figures who capture public attention and stand the Capitol on its ear will discernibly alter the personalities of the House and Senate, lawmakers, analysts and historians agree.”

Perhaps, but that’s a tough argument to make with regard to Sen. Thurmond and Sen. Helms, charter members of the Capitol’s thriving “Theater of the Barely Living” contingent.

“[Sen.] Thurmond, who will turn 100 in December, has served longer in the Senate than anyone, ran for president as a third-party candidate in 1948 and filibustered a civil rights bill for more than 24 hours in 1957,” writes Hulse. “Now infirm, the life-long physical fitness advocate has to be helped by aides into the Senate office building. But after 48 years, he still casts his vote.”

Fascinating or pathetic?

“The combative [Sen.] Helms, who has been absent from the Senate for months because of health problems, was the architect of a personal foreign policy and a cagy [sic] opponent who was sometimes called Senator No.”

Determined or demented?

“[Sen.] Gramm was a master of procedure as well, using the rules to block initiatives he opposed while spouting Texasisms and driving his legislative foes batty,” writes Hulse. “‘He always had a good quip and talked about his momma and that guy down in Texas,’ said [Sen. John] Breaux [(D-La.)].”

Humorous or manipulative?

The revolving door has yet to spin out Sen. Gramm and the bodies of Sen. Thurmond and Sen. Helms are still warm, or at least lukewarm, and yet Hulse is pronouncing history’s early verdict, along with a little help from Prof. Merle Black of Emory University: “They were willing to stand up for unpopular causes for what they viewed as principled decisions.”

Yes, that’s it: Not just your everyday racism, principled racism.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Tuesday, August 27, 2002  

OBSESSION
The Holy War Against the New York Times

Mickey Kaus, Andrew Sullivan, and Charles Krauthammer:

The Axis of Envy.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Monday, August 26, 2002  

IF YOU WANT WAR, PREPARE FOR WAR
Let’s Roll, Says William Kristol

Vice President Dick Cheney, he of the “secret location,” today called for a preemptive attack on Iraq, stating there is “no doubt” Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction and is preparing to use them against the U.S. and its allies, according to a late afternoon report from Dana Milbank of the Washington Post (“Cheney Argues for Preemptive Strike on Iraq”).

“The vice president’s remarks, to a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in Nashville, served as the Bush administration’s answer to criticism that it had failed to make its case for the removal of the Iraqi dictator,” writes Milbank. “Cheney’s detailed articulation of the menace posed by Hussein came after two prominent advisers to the first President Bush -- James Baker and Brent Scowcroft -- raised concerns about an American attack on Iraq without international support.”

(That’s odd. We though Lt. Gen. Scowcroft was also an adviser to the second President George Bush, chairing as he does, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which may or may not be comprised of Scowcroft and the 14 other individuals appointed to the board and named publicly by the second President Bush on Oct. 5, 2001. More recently, however, Scowcroft has decided the membership of the PFIAB should be a state secret, and the board’s web site states the panel is comprised of 16 members, one more than it did on Oct. 5, 2001.)

Says Vice President Cheney: “Some concede that Saddam is evil, power hungry, and a menace, but that until he crosses the threshold of actually possessing nuclear weapons, we should rule out any preemptive action. That logic seems to me to be deeply flawed.”

According to the vice president, in what strikes us as a bizarre non sequitur, waiting for Iraq to pose a more immediate threat would make it “even harder for us to gather friends and allies to oppose him.”

How’s that again? Wouldn’t an immediate threat scare the behoosis out of everyone, making the formation of a coalition against Hussein easier to establish and maintain? Talk about flawed logic.

Advocates of an attack on Iraq “interpreted Cheney's remarks, more forceful and detailed than any yet offered by a senior official, as a virtual battle cry,” reports Milbank.

Helpfully, Milbank turns to that most reliable of reliable sources when it comes to waging war, well, anywhere, William “Bill” Kristol (son of neoconservative movement founder Irving Kristol), the chicken-hawk publisher of the consistently unreadable Weekly Standard and former advisor to former Vice President Dan Quayle.

“The debate in the administration is over,” Kristol the Lesser triumphantly declared, gleefully adding, “The time for action grows near.”

Milbank’s article cites no one other than Kristol in reaction to the vice president’s speech. That’s the liberal media at work.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

ANDREW SULLIVAN VON CLAUSEWITZ
Military Strategist and Prognosticator Extraordinaire

Smarter Andrew Sullivan helpfully reminds all of us of the Dec. 14, 2001, pronouncement, issued with great certitude, of noted military strategist Andrew Sullivan von Clausewitz that U.S. military forces had “of course” captured Osama bin Laden.

I guess if you’re going to be wrong, be wrong early. Very early.

And be sure to check the archives of “The Daily Dish” now, before the entry under discussion disappears.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A READER WRITES . . .
The Risk of Learning Shakespeare from Cliff Notes

From: Tim Francis-Wright
Sent: August 26, 2002
To: RittenReview
Subject: The Dogs of War

Alas, Katherine Harris needs to brush up on her Shakespeare.

Her quote about unleashing “the dogs of war” comes from the bard’s Julius Caesar. The words are those of Marcus Antonius, who hopes Caesar’s spirit:

“Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”

Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1

Let’s ignore for the moment that Al Gore did not plunge the country into civil war. Regardless, when Harris paraphrases Shakespeare, she links Gore with Marc Antony and implicitly links herself with the conspirators against Caesar, namely Marcus Brutus & Co.

Now, why she would want to do that?

Sincerely,
Tim Francis-Wright
Bear-Left

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

KATHERINE HARRIS: BLAME GORE
“Unleashing the Dogs of War”

Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris writes in her upcoming book that Al Gore could have been granted a statewide recount if he hadn’t decided to “unleash the dogs of war.”

Harris’s upcoming “memoir,” entitled Center of the Storm, is slated for an October release, just weeks before voters in her congressional district decide whether to ship her off to Congress or send her into oblivion.

The book runs to an unbelievable 289 pages, according to galley proofs obtained from the publisher by Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat (“Harris Derides Critics in Book”). Triple-spacing, perhaps?

A sample of Harris’s insightful review and analysis of the post-election controversy: “Regardless of what course of action we chose, we knew we had landed in a no-win situation. Before I made my first public statement, we all knew that my office would come under fire.”

“When the Gore campaign began to unleash the dogs of war upon me during the difficult recount controversy, I was not inordinately surprised,” Harris writes, adding that Gore’s “aggressive tactics” may have spoiled an opportunity for a full recount.

As best we can tell, the “dogs of war” include “the media,” particularly unnamed editors who pressured unnamed reporters to slant their stories against Harris, President George W. Bush, and Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.); David Letterman; Jay Leno; the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, particularly Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry; Democratic Party activists; and editorial cartoonists.

Harris dresses up her argument with a tortured legal analysis but it really seems to boil down to one word: Spite.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

WHITHER REP. JIM GREENWOOD’S CREDIBILITY?
To Hell in a Hand Basket, Perhaps?

Attention Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.): “If Martha Stewart’s television empire is to crumble because of insider trading allegations, so far only a few cracks are visible.”

That determination comes from David Bauder in a fair and balanced report in today’s edition of the New York Daily News (“Martha Still ‘Living’ Large”).

“King World, the company that syndicates ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ reports no fallout from the scandal that has put Stewart on the front pages of many newspapers this summer,” reports Bauder.

The flagship television program airs five times a week in 158 different television markets. Other programs produced by Stewart’s company appear almost every day of the week HGTV and The Food Network.

According to King World spokesman Arthur Sando, “No advertisers have backed out of the show, and no stations have stopped airing it,” writes Bauder.

“Martha Stewart Living” gets good, but not great ratings, Bauder reports, and its popularity probably peaked four years ago. Since then, the show’s popularity has declined, but “ratings haven’t budged since the scandal broke,” the Daily News reports.

In addition, executives at HGTV and The Food Network report Stewart’s legal woes have not affected comments received from viewers, according to Bauder’s report.

Damn those facts! They keep getting in Rep. Greenwood’s way.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

HAND BASKET CANDIDATE
Rep. Greenwood, Please Call Your Office

Steve Forbes now confronts the biggest challenge to the family business since the Depression. Forbes, which became one of the richest magazines in America by serving as a totem for conspicuous wealth, is a little short these days,” reports David Carr in a lengthy piece in today’s New York Times (“Now Steve is Running to Revive Forbes”).

“It has fallen to third in ad pages in its category, after leading Fortune and Business Week for most of the 1990’s, according to the Publisher’s Information Bureau. It has lost almost half its advertising pages the last two years, and newsstand sales, a measure of current consumer interest, were down almost 14 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period last year,” according to the Times.

“The Forbes dynasty, composed of four sons and a daughter of Malcolm S. Forbes, is hardly bereft, but there are significant signs of stress,” reports Carr. “The company’s generous 401k plan, which had provided a 2-for-1 match for employees, was discontinued earlier this year, and some of the family’s lavish collections -- including Lincoln’s final address as president -- have been auctioned in the last year, raising $30 million.”

In addition, according to the Times, “Senior management has taken a significant pay cut, and the company has engaged in modest layoffs, a rare event at Forbes.”

Forbes maintains the magazine’s privately held parent company, Forbes Inc., is acting out of prudence, not panic. Carr quotes Forbes: “Everything that we have been doing in the last year is in response to an environment, a falloff that hasn’t been seen since the 30’s. No one is immune. We write about that all the time.”

Does Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.) have any more of those hand baskets?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Sunday, August 25, 2002  

SHOULD BE USED TO IT BY NOW
Some Stereotypes Refuse to Die

If you’re the type of person who persists in stereotyping Italian-Americans, pay a visit to The Road to Surfdom, where Tim Dunlop, who I believe hails from what was once strictly a penal colony, suggests that his unpaid ISP bill will soon result in a visit from “Guido and Knuckles,” two ethnic gentlemen who not only will expect immediate payment but an additional gratuity as well.

Clever. Oh so clever.

No longer in this culture do civilized people “Gyp” their customers, “Jew down” merchants, accuse friends of “being Scotch with the liquor,” or “nigger-lip” cigarettes. Polish jokes are a relic of the past, as are such terms as “gook,” “chink,” “spic,” and “JAP,” the latter a reference to Jewish American Princesses (and princes).

Others, however, endure. The greasy daigo, wop, guinea Guido stereotype lives on. Robustly so, even amongst otherwise intelligent people.

For this I say, “Thanks, Hollywood.” Go ahead, collect a few hundred million more off the backs and image of millions of honest and hard-working Italian-Americans. Why not? Nobody’s going to call on you to account for your disgraceful behavior. Least of all your relatives, friends, and colleagues.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH . . .
Blame the Usual Suspects

When the going gets tough and the economy takes a downturn, blame it on the unions.

Yes, the unions, even though organized labor represents only one in 10 workers in the private sector.

“As organized labor asserts itself, potential strikes threaten, in turn, to further undermine the U.S. recovery,” writes Laurent Belsie in the August 22 issue of the Christian Science Monitor (“Labor More Militant as Economy Teeters”).

Belsie’s remark can only be described as astonishing (or perhaps nauseating) given what we have learned of rampant malfeasance in the executive and managerial offices of American corporations over the past five, ten years. Moreover, Belsie might want to consider that should any possible strikes actually occur, their ability to “undermine” the economic recovery, such as it is, will be temporary and extremely limited.

This is 2002, not 1952, for crying out loud. Blaming the unions is sheer stupidity.

The article concludes with this observation, apparently written with a straight face: “One of the few encouraging signs for the union movement comes from a survey of unionized employers. As of last year, nearly 6 in 10 expected to negotiate at least a 3 percent first-year pay increase in new labor contracts for 2002.”

How generous.

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that in the 12 months ending July 2002, the consumer price index (CPI) has increased 1.5 percent and the core rate, which excludes food and energy, has climbed 2.2 percent.

So are these 60 percent of unionized workers getting a fair deal? It’s hard to tell. Yes, the 3 percent increase more than makes up for the officially sanctioned rate of inflation at the consumer level over the past 12 months, but many of these workers have gone several years without any pay increase whatsoever.

But is it a boondoggle?

Hardly.

The average American unionized worker makes $718 a week ($17.95 an hour), according to data collected by the AFL-CIO. That hourly wage may initially sound high, but it translates into just $37,336 annually, assuming full-year employment. If a family of four is living on it, their pretax income amounts to $9,334 per person.

And at the low end, unionized workers in the services sector earn $426 a week ($10.65 an hour), or $22,152 annually, assuming full-year employment, or $5,538 per person for a family of four. (How such families maintain anything resembling a normal existence is beyond me. By the grace of God I earned $10 an hour at jobs I held during college and graduate school nearly 20 years ago.)

And what about the other 40 percent of unionized workers? What are the odds most of them will get no increase in pay whatsoever? Quite high, I would wager.

And what of non-unionized workers, workers who already are paid considerably less than their organized counterparts? Does anyone really expect Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest employer, to initiate an across-the-board 3, 4, or 5 percent wage increase for its entirely non-unionized workforce? I don’t.

Wake up, people. You’re being screwed big time from every which way including up. And not just working-class Americans, but the middle class as well.

On some level you know this and yet you do nothing. Or worse, you cast your votes for the likes of President George W. Bush and other Republicans who care not one whit about your well being.

Remember that “tax rebate” you received? You know, that check for $300 or $600 that arrived in the mail last year? Well, that was a bribe, and for many taxpayers, that will be a fair estimation of the benefits they will derive from the Republican tax cut enacted last year.

I hope you enjoyed it (actually some surveys indicate most Americans “saved” it or used it to pay down debt) because for the next God knows how many decades you’re going to be paying for the biggest giveaway of all time: the reduction and eventual elimination of the estate tax, a multi-billion-dollar windfall that will benefit a grand total of 10,000 American families.

I’m willing to bet yours isn’t one of them. Why do you sit there and take it?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE SILENT REACTION TO OPIE & ANTHONY
Have We Lost Our Capacity For Outrage?

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m outraged and sickened by the antics recently encouraged by WNEW (102.7 FM, New York) radio dee-jerks “Opie and Anthony.”

The incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a church revered by Catholics and treasured by non-Catholics throughout America and indeed worldwide, is easily the most despicable episode of schlock-radio juvenilia about which I ever have heard. (However, I will concede that, not being even an rare listener of such programs, I’m sure I’ve missed dozens of examples of such stupidity over the last few decades.)

Opie and Anthony, known off the air as Greg Hughes and Anthony Cumia, respectively, have been shown the door by WNEW management as a result of the latest incident. This marks the second time these professional adolescents have lost their on-air posts, the previous termination of the team having occurred just four years ago in Boston.

Susan of Easy Bake Coven grasps much of my reaction to this lurid incident: “Haven’t these shock jocks around the country taken some things a little too far? When Howard Stern soared in popularity, everyone started imitating him and radio entertainment became shock for shock’s sake. When you stop to think, ‘What outrageous thing can I do today for ratings?’ Then you’ve gone way too far and totally lack originality.”

Yet there’s more to it than that.

The major media have covered heavily the stunt spurred on by Hughes and Cumia. Yet all too often the articles have been accompanied by the journalistic equivalent of a wink, a grin, a smirk, or a sneer.

In addition, the reaction of the editorial boards of the major newspapers to this outrage has been virtually uniform, and uniformly deafening, in its silence. And Viacom Inc., the parent of WNEW’s owner, Infinity Broadcasting, headed by Sumner Redstone, has yet to publish an apology, as best we can determine.

Prof. John T. McGreevy of Harvard University, writing in the Journal of American History five years ago (“Thinking on One’s Own: Catholicism in the American Intellectual Imagination, 1928-1960,” June 1997, pp. 97-131), succinctly outlined the hostility -- and that’s the only word for it -- of prominent American intellectuals toward Catholicism.

It is plainly self-evident, even more than 40 years after the end-point of McGreevy’s study of anti-Catholicism, that such sentiment is alive and well among the American intelligentsia. (“Intelligentsia” here refers to the editorial boards of major newspapers, not to Opie and Anthony.)

It’s still respectable -- still “cool” -- to mock Catholics. As far as I’m concerned, that says more about the mockers than the mocked.

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“GOING TO HELL IN A HAND BASKET!”
The All-Too-Clueless Rep. Greenwood

Rep. James C. “Jim” Greenwood (R-Pa.) has been out making quite a name for himself lately, appearing on more news programs and talk shows on television and radio since Johnnie Cochran reached his peak defending two-time killer and habitual woman-beater O.J. Simpson.

Rep. Greenwood is the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the only congressional panel that has concerned itself with allegations of insider trading by Martha Stewart, chairman and chief executive officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Ltd. He is quickly proving himself capable of operating on roughly the same plane as the aforementioned Cochran.

The investigation of possible violations of federal insider trading laws, of course, lies in the hands of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. It is not properly the province of congressional committees. According to the Energy and Commerce Committee itself, Rep. Greenwood’s subcommittee’s jurisdiction is as follows: “Responsibility for oversight of agencies, departments, and programs within the jurisdiction of the full committee, and for conducting investigations within such jurisdiction.”

Working backward, we find that House Rule 10, Clause 1 states the Energy and Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction encompasses: “Biomedical research and development. Consumer affairs and consumer protection. Health and health facilities (except health care supported by payroll deductions). Interstate energy compacts. Interstate and foreign commerce generally. Exploration, production, storage, supply, marketing, pricing, and regulation of energy resources, including all fossil fuels, solar energy, and other unconventional or renewable energy resources. Conservation of energy resources. Energy information generally. The generation and marketing of power (except by federally chartered or Federal regional power marketing authorities); reliability and interstate transmission of, and ratemaking for, all power; and siting of generation facilities (except the installation of interconnections between Government waterpower projects). General management of the Department of Energy and management and all functions of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. National energy policy generally. Public health and quarantine. Regulation of the domestic nuclear energy industry, including regulation of research and development reactors and nuclear regulatory research. Regulation of interstate and foreign communications. Travel and tourism. The committee shall have the same jurisdiction with respect to regulation of nuclear facilities and of use of nuclear energy as it has with respect to regulation of nonnuclear facilities and of use of nonnuclear energy.”

That’s quite a range of responsibilities, but insider trading is not specifically mentioned nor are securities transactions generally, except perhaps under the catch-all phrases “interstate and foreign commerce generally” and “regulation of interstate and foreign communications.” Perhaps Rep. Greenwood is relying on the fact that Stewart was in Texas, her broker Peter Bacanovic was in Florida, and her broker’s assistant Douglas Faneuil was in New York. It’s a stretch nonetheless.

But it doesn’t matter, really. Committee and subcommittee chairmen typically have been given great latitude to determine what is and is not within their panels’ boundaries. Taking advantage of that tradition, Rep. Greenwood has for months been on a one-man mission/publicity tour intended to determine once and for all what happened when Stewart instigated one of the greatest threats to our entire financial system by selling fewer than 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc.

“Greenwood is skeptical of Stewart’s defense,” reports Peter Nicholas in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. “He is also impatient with her refusal to come in voluntarily for what he calls a ‘chat’ with committee investigators.”

The real kicker is this: Rep. Greenwood cannot even issue a subpoena compelling Stewart to appear before his subcommittee. That directive can come only from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), reports Nicholas.

In the Inquirer article, Rep. Greenwood chimes in with this howler: “Advertisers from the magazine are falling off . . . . She’s going to hell in a handbasket [sic].”

Now, Rep. Greenwood is, as they say, entitled to his own opinions, but he’s not entitled to his own facts.

Page counts count

The latest issue of Martha Stewart Living, dated September 2002, just happens to be on the desk right here.

Let’s see how quickly Stewart is headed to hell in said certain-to-be-tasteful hand basket.

Total page count: 316, including cover pages.

Advertising page count: 181 ½ pages, the vast majority of which are either spreads or full-page ads. The count includes partials and house ads, but excludes inserts.

Advertising inserts: 5, one of which runs 6 pages and one 4 pages.

Editorial page count: 134 ½.

Ad/Edit Ratio: 57/43.

[Rep. Greenwood is free to contact us if he doesn’t understand the publishing industry terminology used here.]

Anyone in the magazine business will tell you these are impressive, even enviable figures, particularly given the persistent softness in the advertising market that accompanied and outlived last year’s recession and the impact of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Now, how about a comparison?

In our library we happen to have a copy of the September 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living, published exactly one year earlier.

Let’s look at the numbers again.

Total page count: 284, including cover pages.

Advertising page count: 174 pages, again the vast majority are either spreads or full-page ads. The count includes partials and house ads, but not inserts.

Advertising inserts: 3, two of which are 2-page inserts and one is an 8-page insert.

Editorial page count: 110.

Ad/Edit Ratio: 61/39

Well, by golly, Rep. Greenwood is correct: Martha Stewart Living lost 7 ½ pages of advertising between September 2001 and September 2002, a decline of 4 percent.

But let’s put that number in perspective. If the advertising page count at Martha Stewart Living were to continue to decline at a 4 percent annual rate, the September issue of the magazine will be virtually advertisement free in 2202, exactly 200 years from now.

“Going to hell in a hand basket!”

Who would have thought the journey would take two centuries?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

DO THE MATH
Lay Off the Doughnuts, Fellas

Imagine losing 8,659 pounds,” squeals the headline of a brief piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (second item).

“That’s how much lard 7,235 Philadelphia police officers shed in a recent Weight Watchers competition with 2,389 city firefighters, who lost a total of 3,192 pounds,” reports Clea Benson.

Wow! That’s a lot of weight! It adds up to 11,851 pounds. That’s nearly six tons! Impressive!

Hold on a second . . .

By my math, the members of Philly’s police force lost a grand total of 1.20 pounds each.

And the members the city’s fire department lost a grand total of 1.33 pounds each.

Some competition. Knock yourselves out, guys.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

DEFINING CRUELTY DOWNWARD
A Web Scam That Shames All Others

“‘How could anyone be so cruel?’

“That question torments a dozen women from Arizona to New Jersey -- and maybe many more,” reports Marie McCullough in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. “Each was using the Internet to search for a daughter she reluctantly gave up for adoption years ago. Each received e-mails from a woman posing as her long-lost daughter. And each was hurt when she opened her heart to the mystery woman.”

Whether the “mystery woman” is merely cruel, severely demented, or just plain has too much time on her hands is not clear. Read on and then hop over to the Inquirer for the full treatment (“A Cyber Scammer Preys on Mothers in Torment”).

“The ‘daughter[,]’ who called them Mom, e-mailed photographs showing a family resemblance, and had such a sweet voice began to manipulate them with tales of woe, playing on their deepest maternal regrets, guilt and fears -- and then vanished into cyberspace.

“After two years, the con artist does not seem to be tiring of the heart-wrenching ruse. She doesn’t seem to be out for money. She has passed up gifts, plane tickets and cash, according to seven birth mothers interviewed for this article. But, precisely because she has committed no clear-cut crimes, her victims are frustrated in their efforts to identify and stop her.

“Indeed, cyber torment seems to be such a bizarre, vague Internet abuse that there is practically nothing to stop it.”

We would appreciate comments and observations from psychiatrists and psychologists regarding the illness that drives the mystery woman to perform such senseless acts of cruelty.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Saturday, August 24, 2002  

TIRED OF SPINNING? TRY COUNTERSPINNING!
A Blog on a Tear!

We don’t know what he’s eating, drinking, or taking, if anything, but Hesiod Theogeny of Counterspin Central has been on a manic tear lately, one that has left us breathless.

There are very few webloggers out there who within the space of a week or ten days ever have published so much original, newsworthy, thoughtful, groundbreaking, and provocative commentary as has Hesiod.

We stand in awe of his recent output, which, collectively, puts us to shame.

Nonetheless, he deserves the praise, and much more, and we urge all of our readers to make the pilgrimage to his platinum-class weblog.

It truly is among the best of the best.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A NEW DISCOVERY AT THE NEW REPUBLIC
Martin Peretz & Co. Connect With Gay Palestinians

Catch this!

Martin Peretz and the rest of the thorougayghly predictable gang at the increasingly tired New Republic have suddenly discovered a very small section of the Palestinian populace with whom they are willing to display the slightest degree of sympathy, even publicly: gay Palestinians.

The focus of TNR’s compassion, naturally, doesn’t extend to the Palestianian people as a whole, though of course we applaud TNR, unlike many of its ideological allies, for not putting scare quotes around the word Palestinians. Yet we emphasize that TNR’s sudden interest in the residents of the West Bank and Gaza extends only to a small group that happens to coincide with a vocal minority here in the U.S.

TNR’s venom regarding the plight of homosexuals in the region is directed solely at cases of mistreatment of gay men (lesbians go unmentioned, of course) by Palestinian authorities, all of which are presented anectodally.

What TNR fails to mention is the not-so-different treatment of gay men in, among many other countries, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, China, South Korea, India, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Cuba, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Pakistan, most of Africa and the Middle East, as well as parts of Russia, the Ukraine, the Republic of China, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, Peru, and the Bahamas.

And of course TNR leaves unmentioned the rabidly deranged and disturbed remarks of the leaders of the major Orthodox Jewish parties in Israel, many of whom participate in the current government or have been coalition members in the past, who do not share the magazine’s limited concern with the well-being of gays, whether Jewish or Palestianian. Nor does Peretz’s most useful wedding gift make note of similar hateful anti-gay comments made by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish leaders -- and editors of, and writers in, “mainstream” Jewish publications -- here in the U.S.

Funny, that.

Somehow the whole thing smells sleazy and opportunistic to us.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Friday, August 23, 2002  

RESPECT COULTER FOR HER MIND
If You Possibly Can

Caryl Rivers: “Back in the 1970s, when some of us were marching for women’s rights, smashing down doors once bolted shut, we probably didn’t expect that one of the women who’d march in behind us would be Ann Coulter. She’s cute, blonde, mini-skirted, mean as a warthog, and somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan.”

CUTE?!?!?

Get real.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

TEAMS & TENTS
Room for Everyone?

Eschaton briefs us on the 33 teams that constitute today’s Republican Party.

Which team gets Andrew Sullivan?

Don’t tell us he’ll be the last player picked. Such a tired old stereotype.

By the way, doesn’t “Stock Car Team” sound condescending on its face?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Thursday, August 22, 2002  

UNDER THE BRIGHT LIGHT, BEATEN WITH A HOSE
The Lefty Directory Interview

Learn more than you ever wanted to know about the editor of The Rittenhouse Review in an interview with Brian Linse published yesterday at The Lefty Directory. Well, except much of anything personal about him.

Nonetheless, it was a rough session. Linse pulled Capozzola's fingernails off, burned his palms with an open flame, forced him to read Human Events out loud, showed him photos of mini-skirt-clad, bleach-blonde pundettes Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, played tapes Peggy Noonan's columns for The Wall Street Journal at high screech for hours on end, showed him videos of Matt Drudge in flagrante, and forced him to make a donation to the re-election campaign of Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) after Barr already had lost the primary!

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Wednesday, August 21, 2002  

A HIGH-LEVEL HUDDLE
Touch Football, Not Iraq

President George Bush today met with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers.

Speculation that the meeting was called to discuss a possible attack on Iraq apparently was seriously misguided.

Aides took pains to portray the meeting “as simply a high-level huddle on the future needs of the military, with no space on the agenda for war planning,” according to a report from MSNBC.com.

“I know there’s this intense speculation, a churning, a frenzy, . . . but the subject didn’t come up,” Bush said.

It didn’t?

Not at all?

Why not?

How stupid do these people think we are?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Tuesday, August 20, 2002  

MALICIOUS MISSIVES
Eric Alterman’s E-Mail Box Has Become a Cesspool

Wow. Eric Alterman gets an awful lot of truly vicious e-mail.

Much of it, or at least much of the recent barrage of nastygrams headed Alterman’s way, is, sadly, part of a well-orchestrated campaign of intimidation and abuse, a campaign he has done nothing to deserve.

Compared with the barrage of moronic and invective-filled messages filling Alterman’s in-box, our generally steady trickle of hate mail, even with its occasional flare-ups, seems inconsequential.

However, the effect is still the same: Hate mail, provided it doesn’t include credible threats of physical harm and does not breach the line of harassment, has no effect -- none whatsoever -- on writers with strong opinions.

Frankly, we can’t imagine what Alterman’s foes thought they might accomplish through their juvenile crusade, except possibly embarrassing themselves.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

QUICK TAKES
Jottings from The Reading Room

Tapped gives Camille Paglia a well-deserved slap.

Eschaton points out the obvious folly of this summer’s most popular Republican sport: Norman Mineta bashing.

Slacktivist takes on the bogus polls (“Your opinion counts!”) that accompany interest-group solicitations.

Talking Points Memo, the real one, managed by Joshua Marshall, dissects the Republicans’ lame remaining argument about the budget deficit.

Chilicheeze has been libeled in a manner that is not too different from our experience, though his libeler is anonymous.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

WE’RE “IDIOTARIANS”!
Ad hominem 101

We recently learned that someone named Mike, scribbling with a broken crayon during what must have been a wrenching fit of hysteria, has decided that we at The Rittenhouse Review are “idiotarians,” albeit “mild” ones.

There are several criteria that must be met in order to meet Mike’s definition of “idiotarian.”

Let’s go through them one by one to see how we measure up.

Idiotarians “[b]elieve that September 11 was the United States’ fault.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

Idiotarians “believe Israel is always wrong.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

Idiotarians believe “Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are nice guys who are just misunderstood.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

Idiotarians “use . . . a strange vocabulary, similar to English but different, as outlined below”:

“Activist: Someone who has a strong belief about the current situation, and who works with others to advance his or her viewpoint, and who expresses his or her feelings about current events, as long as those feelings are against the U[.]S[.], Israel, or the war.

Response: We are not activists. In fact we once wrote that we that protests were too often “pushy and whiney.”

“Warmonger: Someone who has a strong belief about the current situation, and who works with others to advance his or her viewpoint, and who expresses his or her feelings about current events, as long as those feelings are in favor the U[.]S[.], Israel, or the war.”

Response: We have used the term “warblogger” several times. If we used the term “warmonger” it would have been in reference to a narrow group of individuals including Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. We stand by that characterization of these wise and capable civil servants.

”Militant: A misunderstood and sensitive Palestinian person who only wants peace for his people, and who works for peace by killing as many Israelis as he can.”

Response: Actually, we would define a “militant” as a person with a combative character in the service of a particular cause. Mike fits that description as well as we do.

“Terrorist: Ariel Sharon, or George W. Bush[.]”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“War criminal: See terrorist. Please note that war criminals and terrorists can only be American or Israeli.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Sovereignty: Good if we are talking about Iraq’s, bad if we are talking about America’s.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Improved Security: Strip-searching an [sic] 90-year-old grandma at the airport or banning plastic knives.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Profiling: Taking any conscious action based on the fact that all 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were young Arab men.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Racism: See profiling.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Palestinian Nationalism: A good thing, since those people deserve a homeland.”

Response: Agreed.

“Zionism: A bad thing, since those people do not deserve a homeland.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it. In fact we have written the exact opposite several times.

“Legitimate [R]esistance to Occupation: Blowing up teenagers at a disco, or bombing a pizza parlor filled with families.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it. In fact we have written the exact opposite several times.

“Afghanistan: A country in Asia that the United States deliberately went into and dropped daisy cutters on all the population centers intentionally killing over 580 million starving children and widows.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it. In fact, we supported the initial efforts of the Bush administration to break the Al Qaeda network and to dismantle the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

“Human Rights Violation: Taking enemy combatants and providing them with three full meals a day, shelter, the ability to worship freely, and proper sanitation.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Yassir Arafat: The freely elected and legitimate President of the Palestinian people[.]”

Response: Sometimes it’s necessary to deal with “the facts on the ground.”

“Saddam Hussein: The freely elected and legitimate President of the Iraqi people[.]”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

“Oil: A substance which [sic] explains all U[.]S[.] interaction wit [sic] the Middle East, except for Israel, which is explained by the fact that Jews secretly control the U[.]S[.] government, media, and [H]ollywood.”

Response: Never thought it, never said it, never wrote it.

So you see, Mike’s little diatribe is nothing more than a lame, wilted, and dirty tissue of lies. We line up on just two, perhaps two and a half, of the -- more reasonable -- attributes of “idiotarian,” which is perhaps what makes us “mild idiotarians.” Alas, another libel to add to the list.

[Post-publication addendum: Isn’t it weird, or lame, or perhaps totally within character, that brainless warblogger Mikey Silverman found the courage to devote more than 400 words to a pathetic attempt to eviscerate me as an “idiotarian” that my response to him -- “We’re ‘Idiotarians’! Ad hominem 101 -- left Mr. Little Penis cowering in submissive silence?]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

LIZZIE GRUBMAN TOOK AN SUV . . .
And Mowed Down Revelers By the Sea

Lizzie Grubman, the disgraced New York publicist, is finally going to jail.

The New York Post reports Grubman has accepted a plea bargain that calls for her to spend up to 90 days in the Suffolk County DWI facility in Yaphank, N.Y.

Grubman had faced the prospect of up to seven years in prison if found guilty on 24 counts of vehicular assault and fleeing the scene of an accident, the “accident” being Grubman’s malicious backhauling into a crowd of people at Conscience Point Inn, a nightclub in Southampton, N.Y., on July 7, 2001.

Once she has completed her term, which could be reduced to 60 days on good behavior, Grubman will be on probation for at least three years. She also has been slapped with dozens of civil lawsuits as a result of the crash.

While in Yaphank, “Grubman will be forced to get up at the crack of dawn to do physical exercise, make her bed and perform maintenance tasks. The rest of the day is spent doing homework, more physical exercise, meeting with counselors -- and listening to lectures given by victims [of drunk driving incidents],” the Post reports.

But before getting to Yaphank, Grubman will undergo two days of processing, a set of procedures that “include being placed in a maximum-security cell in Riverhead, [N.Y.], with other inmates, where she’ll undergo physical and mental exams -- and be issued a green prison uniform,” according to the Post.

Grubman is scheduled to surrender Friday before Suffolk County Judge Michael Mullen.

Hey, at least she got to spend another summer in the Hamptons.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Monday, August 19, 2002  

A READER WRITES . . .
The Joke’s on Us, Apparently
Comments from South Jersey

Here’s a letter just in from a, well, “reader,” an obvious sophisticate from southern New Jersey, home of such magnet destinations as Trenton, Camden, and Atlantic City.

It’s an interesting message, but bitterly disappointing to us given that we thought our audience was far more intelligent than this. Regardless, we offer the correspondence for your consideration.

From: Scott Welsh [sswenviron@comcast.net]
To: RittenReview@earthlink.net
Subject: You are a joke
Sent: Monday, 08/19/02 9:00 p.m.

“You are the loser I see as I get off the Speedline in that filthy city.

“You are the one [sic; “The one”? Just us? Just me?] that [sic] has ensured the [D]emocrats stay in charge and keep the city in abject poverty.

“You are the one [sic; “The one”? Just us? Just me?] who reelected a mayor who bombed his own race, people he governed, and city [sic] and then ensured the scam continued by having a crony get the rebuilding work.

“You are the one [sic; “The one”? Just us? Just me?] who backs the convention center union idiots and believes that the way they run the center is the way the country should be run. Do you know how many businesses were displaced because of that s***-**** convention center?

“You are also a part of the Street ‘we are in charge’ mentality.

“Enjoy the erosion of a once great city...Just stay the hell out of south Jersey.”

That’s all Mr. Welsh had to say. It’s all very strange, really, particularly since at the present time we don’t even work out of Philadelphia, the city to which his misguided rant refers.

Below we offer some translations and other comments to help our readers make sense of Mr. Welsh’s tirade.

TRANSLATIONS & OTHER ASSISTANCE:

“Speedline”: PATCO, or the Port Authority Transit Corp., which operates a heavily subsidized railway that transports residents of persistently economically depressed southern New Jersey into the city of Philadelphia at below-market rates.

“That filthy city”: Philadelphia.

“[A] mayor who bombed his own race”: W. Wilson Goode, mayor of Philadelphia, 1984-1992. The reference being to Mayor Goode’s 1985 decision to destroy the headquarters of MOVE, a bizarre cult that had been terrorizing its neighbors for years. At the time our editor, the oldest member of our staff, was 23 years old and living in Washington, D.C.

“Street”: Current Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street. “You are also a part of the Street ‘we are in charge’ mentality.” Wrong. We have nothing to do with Mayor Street. Nobody here voted for Mayor Street. Nobody here is particularly fond of Mayor Street.

“Enjoy the erosion of a once great city”: Actually, many parts of Philadelphia are doing quite well. In fact, the city has a greater density of full-time residents in the core downtown area than any city in the country. And this erosion, we are expected to presume, has absolutely nothing to do with decades of flight to the suburbs.

“You are the one who backs the convention center union idiots and believes that the way they run the center is the way the country should be run. Do you know how many businesses were displaced because of that s***-**** convention center?” A complete and absolute lie. Simple as that. We have expressed our opinions to the contrary at our site |||trr|||.

“Just stay the hell out of south Jersey”: Hey, no problem, pal.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

POPE JOHN PAUL II BIDS FAREWELL TO POLES
A Man of Greatness Greets Death in the Spirit of Life

“Pope John Paul II, wrapping up an emotional homecoming that has revived him and his fellow Poles, asked Monday for the physical and spiritual strength to continue his pontificate ‘to the end.’ Once again dismissing speculation that he has any intention of resigning, the 82-year-old pope, visiting his native Poland for perhaps the last time, said it was in God’s hands how long his life and his pontifical ministry lasted,” reports Keith Miller of MSNBC.com “(Pope Bids Farewell to Polish Faithful”).

“‘I hate to go’ were the final words the aged pope uttered to the adoring crowd gathered for his poignant departure after a four-day trip. . . . Clerics and politicians lined up to invite the pontiff to return for a 10th visit,” writes Miller. “But the pope asked to be remembered in prayers after his death and urged his countryfolk to acknowledge he may not live that long.”

“Earlier he spoke at a place that was instrumental in forming his religious mission, the Baroque hilltop Kalwaria sanctuary outside Krakow where his father took him as a boy in the 1930s to pray after the death of his mother. ‘Most Holy Mother, Our Lady of Calvary, obtain also for me strength in body and spirit that I may carry out to the end the mission given me,’ the frail pontiff prayed,” according to MSNBC’s report.

“The pope is revered by Poles as a father figure who inspired the resistance to communism and has steadied them during painful economic changes since they won freedom in 1989. On Sunday he lifted national spirits at an open-air Mass [in Krakow] for 3 million people, the largest crowd ever to see him in Poland,” Miller writes.

“On the final day of his ninth return to his homeland, papal concern for the future of his native land was at the fore. Democracy has brought excessive secularization, the pope has warned, and a society suffering more than 17 percent joblessness, social unrest and deep pessimism needs God’s help,” reports Miller.

Let’s see, now.

A man of faith, love, hope, and conviction tirelessly supervises his flock, the largest single organized religious body in the world, for nearly a quarter-century.

He is the first non-Italian pope in more than 450 years.

He overcomes a dramatic assassination attempt three years into his pontificate and later meets with the deranged gunman to express his forgiveness.

He authorizes the first catechism in English since the 16th century.

He authors numerous profound encyclicals and groundbreaking documents, including, among others, the 1983 Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite, the 1990 Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, the Apostolic Exhortation Resulting from the 1985 Extraordinary Synod on the Second Vatican Council, the Redeemer of Man (Redemptor hominis), the Father who is Rich in Mercy (Dives in misericordia), the Holy Spirit who is Lord and Giver of Life (Dominum et vivificantem), Mary Mother of the Redeemer (Mater Redemptoris), Splendor of Truth (Veritatis splendor), Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae), the Moral Dimensions of Human Work (Laborem exercens), On Social Concerns (Sollicitudo rei socialis), That They May Be One (Ut unum sint), Commemorating Saints Cyril and Methodius -- Apostles to the Slavs (Slavorum apostolic), and Mission of the Redeemer (Redemptoris missio).

He writes a dozen or more learned apostolic letters and other documents, including. Among others, The Mystery and Worship of the Holy Eucharist (Dominicae cenae), Correcting Abuses of the Holy Eucharist (Inaestimabile donum), St. Joseph as Custodian of the Redeemer (Redemptor custos), the Dignity of Women (Mulieris dignitatem), Celebration of the Mass According to the Missal of 1962 (Ecclesia dei), and On Keeping Sunday Holy (Apostolos suos).

He plays a critical role in undermining communism in Poland.

He works closely with western leaders to help facilitate the demise of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European empire.

He displays a consistent, unwavering, and heart-felt concern for the poor, and unequivocally and vociferously supports social justice not only in the Third World but in the developed world, in the heart of Europe and even in the United States, where he chastises greed, selfishness, intolerance, and the indignity of the lives of the poor.

He holds a doctorate in philosophy.

He is fluent in eight different languages.

He is a best-selling author.

He is named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1994.

He visits more than 125 countries and his very presence draws millions almost everywhere he goes.

Approaching death he canonizes two of the most worthy of the blesseds, now known as St. Pio of Pieltricina and St. Juan Domingo, traveling all the way to Mexico for the latter event.

Nearing death he travels to Canada for World Youth Day, an event of such significance and filled with so much activity that it lasts a week.

Is there another religious figure alive today whose accomplishments even approach those of John Paul II? To ask the question is to answer it.

And yet they ask, “What kind of crazy religion is this?

Mine.

-- J.M.C.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

A GIRL DIES IN THE BRONX
Not Packing Heat, Child Left Vulnerable at Family Event

“A 10-year-old girl was shot and killed by a stray bullet after gang members looking for free food and beer crashed a baby’s christening party at a church,” reports the Associated Press.

The girl, Maleny Mendez, was shot at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday as an argument between guests and party-crashers escalated into violence outside St. Paul's Lutheran Church in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.

“Another party guest, a 28-year-old man, was shot three times in the neck and remained in critical condition Monday, police said,” A.P. reports.

According to police, about a dozen men, described as members of a Mexican gang, burst into the party, held in a meeting hall at St. Paul’s, took over the deejay’s microphone and eventually got into an argument with the now-deceased 28-year-old man.

“The girl was wounded as she, her mother and sister left the party. She died at Jacobi Hospital a short time later,” the article concludes.

One wonders how Miss Mendez would have fared had she been packing heat herself.

Of course, there are other questions: Why was the deejay not armed?

And where was the pastor? Could this tragedy have been prevented had he been carrying a semi-automatic in his jacket that evening?

And the newly christened child, could not a small, pearl-handled revolver have been stowed under the christening garment for added protection?

Or would so much more firepower have raised the death toll of this already heartbreaking event?

[Staff: Please prepare for hate mail overflow.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

SWEEPS WEEK CASUALTY
Cancelled After Just Two Episodes

We’re not quite sure what to make of this incoherent set of remarks, recently posted by Andrew Sullivan at the “Daily Dish”:

“In her inimitable style, Camille Paglia set about answering your questions but managed to produce 1[,]500 words for the first one. So here’s our second Camille installment. She’s indicated that perhaps later this year, we might send her some questions again. Here’s the question and answer. As to [sic] me, I’m still in the hammock, having a wonderful August. See you after Labor Day.”

As best we can determine, this means “The Lucy & Ethel Show” has been cancelled after just two episodes.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Saturday, August 17, 2002  

PATRICIA NEAL
Still One of the Great Ones

Readers will find a quirky but admiring tribute to one of the best actresses of all time, Patricia Neal, in the latest issue of the New York Observer, “A Different Breed of Celebrity,” by Ronda Kaysen.

Kaysen is an usher at the Gramercy Theater, where celebrities apparently expect, and get, special treatment, including the best seats in the house, on a recent night was told by an excited colleague, “Patricia Neal needs to be reseated.”

“I didn’t know who Patricia Neal was, but I didn’t let on,” writes Kaysen. “I can recognize Reese Witherspoon when I see her, and Laura Linney’s not too hard to pick out of a crowd, either. If I don’t recognize the celebrity, usually the name rings a bell. I know I’m supposed to know who they are,” she continues.

“But Patricia Neal meant nothing to me. My only excuse is that I’m 25 -- I was born after her career had come and gone. . . . And then she came into the lobby herself. . . . But I still didn’t recognize her,” Kaysen notes.

Neal, who of all celebrities deserves a good seat, got one.

Kaysen humbly adds, “It wasn’t until later that evening, after I took the train home and searched for her name on the Internet, that I knew the full extent of my gaffe.”

We’re not sure it was a gaffe, but we can understand Kaysen’s embarrassment.

As Kaysen sums it up: “Patricia Neal was an Academy Award-winning actress, Gary Cooper’s mistress and Roald Dahl’s wife. She was the husky-voiced seductress who starred opposite Paul Newman in ‘Hud.’”

And more. To this list of accomplishments (and that’s the right word: judging by the historical record, being married to Dahl was no picnic), we would add that Neal, with the help of Cooper and director King Vidor turned Ayn Rand’s tiresome, overwrought, and sophomoric novel, The Fountainhead, into an on-screen masterpiece.

And Neal’s has been a life full of tragedy, one that puts to shame the whiney complaints of so many contemporary actors and actresses.

“Her 6-month-old son was struck by a car while in his stroller, then she lost a 7-year-old daughter to measles,” writes Kaysen. “Three years later, she suffered a series of massive strokes at the age of 39. Reported dead in Variety, she clung to life in a hospital bed -- three months pregnant. She went on to be a leading force for stroke victims, founding the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, the first of its kind in the country.”

”Perhaps even more impressive,” adds Kaysen, “she went back to acting, and received an Academy Award nomination for her role in ‘The Subject Was Roses.’ In short, Patricia Neal wasn’t just a celebrity . . . she was someone who’d overcome real adversity and made a significant contribution to the world.” [Emphasis added. Past tense in original.]

Indeed.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Friday, August 16, 2002  

PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND
More and More Starving Palestinians

Believe it nor not, particularly those readers who continually cast the most malevolent of aspersions upon The Rittenhouse Review, especially when the subject at hand is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we present the information below without blaming any particular party for the serious problem addressed.

Instead, we blame virtually everyone involved. Moreover, we hope, but doubt, that everyone involved will be ashamed by the tragic issue we bring to your attention.

“Malnutrition and poverty are rising in Palestinian areas, affecting hundreds of children as overall access to health and medical facilities diminishes in the West Bank and Gaza. A seven-week Israeli clampdown in Palestinian areas -- combined with a spike in Palestinian suicide bombings and economic mismanagement -- is driving up unemployment and causing shortages of high-protein foods and infant formula,” that according to a piece by Sudarsan Raghavan in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Who’s to blame? Everyone, at least by our reading of Raghavan’s account (“Malnutrition Rising Among Palestinians”).

“Most Palestinians view the crackdown [that began in June] as a collective punishment that will breed more hatred and violence. Yet some believe corruption within Yasir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority is contributing to the crisis. And others . . . are starting to blame Palestinian militants who provoke Israeli crackdowns, expressing a view rarely heard publicly here,” write Raghavan.

“I blame them, I blame them, I blame them,” says Shihada Ashish, a resident of Gaza. “The whole world will be better off without them.”

Raghavan quotes Emad Sha’at, the Palestinian Authority’s director of international aid coordination, as saying, “Palestinians are partially to blame for the change of tactics that started the intifadah, that it was changed to a military intifadah. We maybe should have continued with a peaceful intifadah.”

The situation is, by all accounts, dire. “Last week, two surveys funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Atlanta-based CARE International found 22.5 percent of Palestinian children were malnourished -- on the same level as those in such poverty-ridden nations as Nigeria and Chad. Acute malnutrition is three times higher -- just above 13 percent -- in Gaza than in the West Bank.”

Israeli cooperation in meeting the needs of the local population is scattershot. According to the Inquirer, “Yitzhak Sever, head of the Israeli Health Ministry's International Affairs Department, told reporters last week that Israel had offered to help improve the diet of Palestinian children. ‘We were rejected,’ he said. ‘The Palestinians didn't want any cooperation.’”

Yet the Israeli government has done everything in its power to prevent overseas aid from reaching the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. No surprise, the Israelis blame the entire situation on the Palestinians, the Sharon regime’s constant creation of obstacles preventing access to Palestinian population centers apparently are regarded as inconsequential factors in the persistently increasing Palestinian rates of poverty, unemployment, hunger, starvation, and death.

Finally, the apparent lack of assistance from wealthy Arab states -- at least according to what we know from the Western media -- is heinously deplorable.

In the larger scheme of things, worldwide, the Palestinians truly have been made the lowest of the low.

Why so few Americans care is a question for the ages.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE KING IS DEAD
Long Live the King!

It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago today Elvis Presley died at the tragically early age of 42. I was never a big fan of Presley, or even a small fan, but that doesn’t mean much because I listen to very little music of any kind. I remain, however, fascinated by his appeal, by the devotion of his legion of fans, particularly so long after his passing.

Admittedly, being a “dyed-in-the-wool” Northeasterner, the passion so often associated with being a Presley fan is something to which I find it difficult to relate. I would emphasize that the paragraphs reprinted below, taken from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, are not intended to be insulting jabs at Presley’s fans, only observations of the emotional attachment so many Americans have to this, yes, great performer.

“A lot of the male acolytes hanging around Graceland this week are so passionate about Elvis that they’ve morphed into him. They’re not Elvis impersonators, exactly. They don’t sport the full Vegas regalia or do the macho strut. They’re more like Elvis hybrids. They wear their own clothes and walk their own way -- but, from the neck up, it’s the pompadour, the shades, and the sideburns.

Raymond Hart wears the Elvis sideburns just long enough to hold down his job as general manager of a big hardware outlet in York, England. ‘So many people only see one side of the man,’ he says. ‘I mean, they take the bad stuff and make it bigger.’

“‘A lot of bad things happen in our own lives, with our families’ -- Hart’s wife is beside him, nodding sagely – ‘and imagine how we’d feel if some of those things got the kind of attention Elvis got. And he was under a lot of bad pressure.’

“That’s the official take on Elvis’[s] drug-related death spiral, that he was a victim of celebrity. ‘He was a prisoner of fame,’ says buddy Patty Parry, who recalls how Elvis watched lots of TV because he was wary of leaving the house. ‘It was a hard life.’”

The article in the Inquirer includes a particularly arresting tale from one of Presley’s guitarists: “‘There was a time Elvis damn near killed me,’ recalls John Wilkinson, Elvis’[s] rhythm guitarist. ‘This was in Las Vegas. He was one of the great practical jokers, although he didn't much like it when the jokes were on him.’

“‘Anyway, we were on stage. Elvis walks out, and I see he’s got something in his right hand. He looks at me. It was the look he'd get where you knew something bad was going to happen to you.

“‘I’m playing the lead-in to ‘That's All Right,’ key of A. And I see he’s got a water pistol. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know about water and electricity. The water hit me, and there was a blue arc that went between my fingertips and the guitar. Lucky I wasn’t hurt. I said, “Elvis, why’d you do that?” He said, “’Cause I have a water pistol and you don't!”’”

R.I.P., Mr. Presley

-- J.M.C.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE EASIEST JOB IN THE WORLD
At Least the Right Man Has It

Does Lloyd Grove have the easiest job in the world or what?

The Washington Post’s gossip, who writes a twice-a-week column, the incredibly misnamed “Reliable Source,” was out with one of his typical yawners yesterday, the only interesting feature of which is that it blatantly reveals how little effort Grove puts into his work.

Yesterday’s scribbling runs 842 words, excluding the byline, the headline, sub-headlines, and captions. Of these, 331 words -- 39 percent of the column -- were all but lifted from a story that ran on “Page Six” of Wednesday’s New York Post.

Not word-for-word, mind you, but it may as well have been. We invite you to compare the texts. Regardless, Grove’s lead story was not his own and as best we can determine, the scribe’s contribution to his readers’ understanding of the event under discussion amounted to a few telephone calls, only two of which are mentioned specifically.

Grove’s big “scoop,” which again, comes from the pages of the New York Post and not from original reporting, has an aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) briefly removing her blouse and revealing her bra at Rise, a bar in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in lower Manhattan, an act that led to her ejection from the cocktail lounge.

Here’s the sum of Grove’s reportage:

(1) Grove, or someone working for him, called the aide in question, Kara Hughes, once. Hughes did not return the call. That’s not too surprising, and arguably was unfair to Hughes. After all, when we sought a comment from Grove a while back we made four calls to him, none of which was, nor has been, returned even to this day.

(2) Grove, or someone working for him, called Sen. Clinton’s spokesman Philippe Reines, who responded, appropriately enough, “We don't comment on stories about staffers’ personal lives -- including mine.”

So that’s it, two phone calls, though Grove makes a vague reference to performing “some due diligence,” which could very well amount to nothing more than the two phone calls we just mentioned.

Other than serving as a gratuitous swipe at Sen. Clinton, what was the point of publishing this wholly unoriginal piece?

Just when you think he can’t go any lower, Grove finds another way to debase himself, pulling the reputation of the Post down with him.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Thursday, August 15, 2002  

RICHARD NIXON AND THE ITALIANS
Choice Words From the Watergate Tapes

It looks like former President Richard Nixon hated pretty much everybody, except perhaps bickering daughters Julie Eisenhower and Tricia Cox.

By now we’ve all heard snippets from the Watergate tapes in which he disparages blacks and Jews, but, speaking for ourselves, we only just today came across these lovely gems from a 1970 conversation between Nixon and his adviser, John Ehrlichman:

Nixon: “The Italians. We musn’t forget the Italians. Must do something for them. They’re not, we ah . . . they’re not like us. Difference is, the . . . They smell different, look different, act different. After all, you can’t blame them. Oh no . . . can’t do that. They’ve never had the things we’ve had.”

Ehrlichman: “That’s right.”

Nixon: “Of course, the trouble is . . . the trouble is you can’t find one that’s honest.”

We found these statements in a modest yet remarkably informative book, Five Centuries of Italian American History, by Richard A. Capozzola.

[Now, before everyone jumps on us for plugging yet another Capozzola, two days in a row no less, we’ll add that Richard Capozzola and Jim Capozzola, editor of The Rittenhouse Review, only became acquainted after the launch of this site. A family relationship between the two has not been established and is currently the subject of research on both sides.]

After having read this Nixonian dialogue, with which we were completely unfamiliar until now, we did what any good webloggers would do: We “Google’d” it. Guess how many citations we found? Two. Just two. And one of the two was written by the same Richard Capozzola.

It strikes us as more than a little odd that Nixon’s crass comments about Italian-Americans have been so casually overlooked. They would appear to be deeply held beliefs: Coming in 1970, they were made years before Nixon found enemies in the forms of Rep. Peter Rodino and Judge John Sirica.

Did not one single historian or hobbyist listening to the tapes recoil at this ugliness? Did not one of them think the remarks strange enough to warrant at least a passing mention? What are we missing here?

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

RISING CHORUS OF OPPOSITION
Raising Questions About Attacking Iraq

Just a quick quote:

“But the central point is that any campaign against Iraq, whatever the strategy, cost and risks, is certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism. Worse, there is a virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time. So long as that sentiment persists, it would require the U.S. to pursue a virtual go-it-alone strategy against Iraq, making any military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive. The most serious cost, however, would be to the war on terrorism. Ignoring that clear sentiment would result in a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism. And make no mistake, we simply cannot win that war without enthusiastic international cooperation, especially on intelligence.”

Rep. Cynthia McKinney? Ramsey Clark? The editors of The Guardian?

No.

Brent Scowcroft.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



Wednesday, August 14, 2002  

LET’S GUESS THE REACTION
Susan Sarandon Speaks Out -- Prepare for the Smack-Down

Let’s guess the completely predictable reaction of the wing-nuts to certain recent, arguably intemperate, comments by the politically inclined and haphazardly coherent actress, Susan Sarandon.

According to a report from MSNBC.com, Sarandon, currently performing in Glasgow or Edinburgh or Leeds or some other godforsaken city on the primary British Isle, observed that in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, “the country united in a way that showed ‘America at its finest.’”

Within three weeks, however, according to the reasonably talented actress and consummate poseur, “a cut-out of John Wayne showed up and a jingoist kind of thing started taking over, and nobody could ask questions anymore.”

Continuing along the same vein, Sarandon, who is married to the hopelessly untalented and apparently unemployable Tim Robbins, added, “We’re not supposed to talk about how there might have been something leading up to this, that it could have been prevented, or that our actions have ramifications.”

Then, ratcheting up the rhetoric more than a few notches, Sarandon added, “We’re living in a lock-down in terms of information and a certain point of view, and if you challenge that point of view, you’re anti-American.”

Granted, we share Sarandon’s concerns, though we would like to think we could express them with greater sophistication.

Nonetheless, just watch. Within 24 to 48 hours, tops, the wing-nuts, the talk-radio hosts, and the White House will be up in arms over Sarandon’s purported disloyalty, anti-Americanism, and brazen left-wing inclinations.

Frankly, we have little tolerance for actors and actresses who believe their political views and opinions regarding American foreign policy are of interest, let alone consequence, to anyone other than themselves.

The very idea that Sarandon, Robbins, Barbra Steisand, Alec Baldwin, David Geffen, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the rest have any influence on public opinion, let alone public policy, is ludicrous on its face.

Thus, like any intelligent person, we pretty much ignore political observations and prognostications coming out of Hollywood.

The sad part is that these stars and starlets offer unthinking conservatives all the more straw men -- their favorite targets, after all -- to knock down with easy impunity.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

ANN COULTER’S NINE LIVES
Looks Like She’s Down to Number Seven

It appears, appropriately enough, that the “girly boys” of National Review -- Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg, Rod Dreher, Byron York, and, presumably, Kathryn Jean Lopez -- have caved.

Hey, the words “girly boys” aren’t ours, they come from Ann Coulter, who after a well deserved hiatus, is returning to National Review Online, her future association with the loony bin known as Front Page Magazine, operated by ex-Stalinist and current-crybaby David Horowitz, being at this point unknown.

We’re surprised by the decision of the editors of National Review. It can’t be because Coulter has anything to contribute to political discourse in America. She certainly has no readily discernible positions on the major issues of the day, other than that she’s eager to destroy “Arabia” and seems to like guns an awful lot.

Of course it could be because Coulter has a best-selling book on the racks, the self-referentially entitled Slander, which, we were surprised to learn, is not an autobiography.

Perhaps Coulter has been rehired by National Review because the “girly boys” fear she might go postal on them -- a not entirely unrealistic concern, we think, given her clearly evident mental instability.


Ann Coulter Taking Aim at Jonah Goldberg

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

BREAD, ROSES, AND PAYOLA
A Shameless Plug for a Reviewer of Ralph Fasanella’s America

A promising young scholar, Dr. Christopher Capozzola (A.B., Harvard College; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University), assistant professor of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is out with a thoughtful review of an exhibition of the works of the self-taught American painter Ralph Fasanella. The review, entitled “Bread and Roses,” appears in the Sept. 2 issue of In These Times.

A quick teaser:

“The idea of a painter walking around an art gallery wearing a gas station attendant’s shirt with the name ‘Ralph’ stitched above the pocket, spouting off lines like ‘the function of the artist is to disturb,’ is an old cliché -- and embarrassing to anyone but an art school sophomore. At first glance, it would seem that the painter Ralph Fasanella would fit right in among today’s urban hipsters. But Fasanella, who really was a gas station attendant and who really was named Ralph, ought to make such people squirm in their shirts.”

The exhibit is on display at the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art in Orlando, Fla., from Aug. 16 to Nov. 3, after which it will travel to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York.

Dr. Capozzola’s review of the exhibition is not yet available on the web site of In These Times. We urge you to buy a copy of the magazine -- specifically the Sept. 2 issue -- at your local bookstore, newsstand, or food co-op.

[Full disclosure: Dr. Capozzola is a brother of the editor of The Rittenhouse Review.]

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

 

THE SPIRIT OF WACO
Rah! Rah! Rah!

We didn’t spend too much time listening to or reading about the economic forum hosted by President Bush in Waco, Texas, yesterday.

From the first we learned of the event, we assumed it would be nothing more than a public relations session devoted to cheerleading, as if that would be enough to spark a stronger economic rebound.

Regardless, Eric Alterman neatly sums up the event for everyone.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |



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.”

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |

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