Day: May 4, 2009

The Sad State of Print Journalism

It is very distressing news that the New York Times Company, which has owned the Boston Globe since 1993,  is threatening to close down the 137 year old paper, one of the better newspapers in the nation, which has won numerous awards and Pulitzer Prizes.  The losses at the Globe have been monumental in the present recession which has mightily hurt the newspaper industry, already forcing the shutdown of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 

It is certainly understandable that one cannot expect any corporation to continue to lose money and yet fail to shut down or cut back on losing propositions.  Having said that, it seems to me that it would be a crime to have the Boston Globe terminated,  particularly by a company which is seen as the gold or platinum level of journalism.  After all, the New York Times, along with the Washington Post, are regarded as the very best of newspaper journalism for many years, as indeed the "newspapers of record".  Boston is too significant a city in its impact on our culture and politics to leave them without a paper long regarded as one of our very best daily newspapers.

So I am hopeful that somehow we will see the Globe continue to play a major role in American journalism.

Jack Kemp: A “Big Tent” Conservative Dies

Former Congressman Jack Kemp of Buffalo, New York, who also was the Vice Presidential running mate of Senator Bob Dole in 1996 and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bush,  passed away over the weekend, still a vital, active figure until a few months ago.

While I did not agree with his viewpoint on taxation, which had a great effect on Reaganomics in the 1980s,  I came to respect the fact that here was a conservative who believed in making the GOP a "big tent",  including trying to draw minorities into the party.  He worked very hard to broaden the base of the Republican party and to humanize its image.  He was in his own fashion the "Happy Warrior" of the GOP, very warm and friendly with all who he met, and his death at the fairly early age of 73, still looking very young until recently,  when he contracted cancer, is a major loss to a party which needs desperately to follow his lead and make the Republicans a party that the young, suburban, women, and minorities could find appealing for the future.

Until the Republicans really reform their party to become one of emphasizing the kinds of ideas  and appeals that Jack Kemp spent years cultivating,  they will not be a major opposition to the rejuvenated Democratic party under Barack Obama.

Condoleezza Rice’s “Nixon” Moment

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been making statements in the past few days justifying the use of torture and her knowledge of this as legal, because President Bush would not do something illegal and would always keep all agreements under international law.

She said, when questioned by students informally at Stanford University, that if the President authorized anything, then it was legal, and that she was just doing her job to transmit presidential authority on to others in her positions as National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State.

This sounds too close to what President Nixon told David Frost in the famous interviews on television a few years after he resigned the Presidency, when the former President said, that if the President authorized something or ordered something to be done, then it was legal.

It made it sound under Nixon, and now again under Bush, that the mentality is that the Presidency has no limits and that the Presidency could be seen as almost like an absolute monarchy.

Needless to say, that is an unacceptable view of the Presidential office and MUST be repudiated by all who believe in American democracy and Presidential accountability for their actions in office, whether Nixon, Bush or any other President, past or future!