Berry Craig: naysayers can hide at their computer keyboards and snipe away like Wild West back-shooters. The cyber-bushwhackers are safe in the knowledge that nobody knows who they are. My guess is a lot of them wouldn’t write what they write if they had to sign it.
H. Scott Prosterman: I suppose the point of all this is that stuffing as many hot dogs into one’s mouth as possible in 10 minutes is good, clean, healthy fun, and that all young Americans should aspire to such ambitions. If you get really good at it, you can turn pro and sign endorsement contracts. After all, eaters are athletes.
Michael Sigman: Roger Nygard’s new documentary The Nature of Existence gives us a good-natured glimpse into the imaginations of brilliant thinkers from science, religion and other disciplines on life’s fundamental questions. If we try to let our imaginations run free and work shoulder to shoulder on real problems instead of fantasizing about self-aggrandizement — my own particular fave being high school basketball greatness — maybe we can become an imagine-nation and begin to turn things around.
Sylvia Moore: Hastings, a freelance reporter, is being criticized for exposing the insults and embarrassing behavior. Lara Logan, a foreign correspondent for CBS, blasted Hastings on CNN for what she felt was a breach of trust on his part that could possibly damage journalists’ relations with the military.
John Amato Speaking at LA Media Reform Fundraiser in Beverly Hills on July 16: In Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane, John Amato and coauthor David Neiwert show that the Tea Party “movement” was not the organic uprising it was made to appear, but rather was kick-started by FOX News and follows in a long tradition of movement conservative activism that harkens back to the street theater days of Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, and Grover Norquist.
Michael Sigman: Joe Donnelly and Laurie Ochoa — the deputy editor and editor, respectively, of LA Weekly until both were forced out by corporate overlords from Phoenix in recent years — have joined forces to produce the debut issue of the quarterly Slake Los Angeles. It’s a gorgeous, 232-page quarterly mix of journalism, fiction, poetry, photography and art.
Lydia Howell: When one considers how many scoundrels remain in powerful positions in both public and private life, the swiftness with which Helen Thomas was dumped after 50 years of reporting on U.S. presidents was breathtaking. More so when you listen to TV talking-heads blandly repeating corporate and Pentagon PR as “news” and Faux News blowhards like Beck and Limbaugh shamelessly make vicious slanders, perpetrate outright lies and create disinformation.
Tina Dupuy: But the story is also a poignant criticism of technological advancement. The current struggle between “old media” and “new media” is one of reporting versus digesting news. One hundred years ago a lecturer in Forster’s tale pronounces, ”Beware of first-hand ideas! First hand-ideas do not really exist…Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from the disturbing element – direct observation.” It’s a rundown of blogging verses journalism.
Mark Bowen: In baseball, as in life, we need people like Bud Selig to exercise their judgment as to when certain challenges have gone too far. But in baseball, as in life, we’ll eventually get to the point where our paranoia over imagined unintended consequences gives way to our recognition of the value of doing the job right.
Mike Price: Here is really what’s germane to the plot. I blundered, realized it, and told you about it as soon as possible, fully realizing that such a bizarre course of action goes against everything we’re accustomed to getting from Haliburton, Haliburton subsidiaries, BP executives, right-wingydings, politicians, radio blabbers, media whores, talk-show “experts,” broadcast prognosticators, blondish corporate spokesmodels, and the entire Fox News menagerie of well-coiffed ignorami.
Joseph Palermo: For example, contrary to the mythology that sometimes fogs President Ronald Reagan’s overall fiscal record, the tax burden of working Americans increased during the 1980s, as did the national debt, and the overall size of the government. By 1986, the cumulative federal debt had reached $2 trillion, which was more than the United States had accumulated in its entire previous history.
Michaelangelo Price: Rock Hudson was, literally, too big for the boat. The sumptuous main cabin had standing-room of 6 feet 2 inches, but it wasn’t enough airspace for him, and he must have cracked his skull against the overhead a thousand times during those first few days. He never got upset about it, though. About anything, as a matter of fact.
Michael Sigman: Given the commodification of dissent in corporate America, it’s doubtful Fey or anyone else will achieve Twain’s trifecta of talent, courage and mass popularity. But worrying about what we can’t control will only invite the kind of unhappiness that caused the great man himself to reflect that, “My life has been a series of disasters, most of which never happened.”
Joseph Palermo: The wide dissemination of Beck’s views wouldn’t matter much if the United States were in better shape today. But the status quo that is emerging cannot help but create a highly volatile electorate for years to come. Class lines are hardening, mobility is stifled, unemployment will remain near double digits for many years, there is a sea of angry voters who are susceptible to jingoistic appeals and conspiracy theories (like the ones Beck promotes). The ongoing fiscal crisis at the local, state, and federal levels has led to the heartless rollback of public institutions at exactly the time when they are needed the most.
Michael Sigman: Reacher fascinates more because his isolation isn’t metaphorical. He has no home, no family, no ongoing relationships, no cell phone and no possessions. He buys a new set of generic clothes every few days, and earns pocket money via odd jobs as he randomly drifts from place to place, encountering more troubles than Job and more liaisons than Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man.
Michael Sigman: it was refreshing to hear Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham’s candor about the fate of Newsweek, his company’s iconic money-hemorrhaging magazine, about which he said earlier this month, “If anyone should take the blame for this ending, it is me — for not seeing early enough and reacting in the right way to the changes that have come to our industry.”
Tina Dupuy: Obesity and the hidden costs behind it are a classic example of privatizing profit and socializing losses. The more successful the food industry is, the fatter we become and the more society has to absorb those costs. The military has reportedly turned away over 48,000 recruits since 2005 for being too fat to serve. And if they can’t pass the military’s standard of 26% body fat, they’re not likely to make it as a civilian first responder either.
Carl Matthes: What prompted TCT to produce “Fabulous”? Andy recollected, “We have always been huge fans of Paul Rudnick’s work with his play “Jeffrey” recently produced in Austin at the Arts on Real Theatre. “Most Fabulous” is a play with a lot of humor, but with a lot of heart as well. We pride ourselves in staging all types of live theatre and with much variety to every season. We always hope to appeal to the wide range of people who make up the Austin theatre community.”
Michael Sigman: Karl Rove — chief political architect of George W. Bush’s presidency, the worst in modern history — is reentering frontline Republican Party politics. And the narrative-defining mainstream media have wasted no time in portraying Rove’s return as the most momentous development since Tiger Woods nearly re-mastered the Masters.
Nomiki Konst: While Obama has done an admirable job ignoring the Tea Party outbursts and outlandish claims and focusing on moving his agenda forward, Maddow, Matthews, Olbermann, Colbert, Stewart, Cooper, Crowley, Sanchez and Shultz have missed an incredible opportunity to vocalize the progressive agenda while they have the floor. For eight years, progressives were unable to bring their agenda to the table and had to constantly act on the defensive.
Ron Wolff: Democrats pushed health care reform, according to Will, because of liberals’ tendency to “lunge to maximize government growth.” Presumably, it was irrelevant that insurance companies were acting like bandits, taking policy-holders’ money and then withholding services when people got sick, and that millions of Americans were dying prematurely because they didn’t have access to quality medical care.
Michael Sigman: Marxist socialism may be dead, but perhaps what Marx called capital’s internal contradictions, illustrated beautifully by the desperation of Goldman and other mega-corporations for short-term profits may, by strengthening the case for fundamental financial reform, bring us closer to a more livable world.
Anthony Asadullah Samad: Guess who discovered Who’s Who In Black Los Angeles after two years? Before you ask, I really wanted to feature a Los Angeles Times editor in Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles. Really. The problem is, there is not a single African American among those who make coverage decisions for the paper. In hindsight, it probably was a mistake not to include the one black man on the paper’s full-time Metro reporting staff. That brother deserves a special award for what I imagine he goes through everyday. Well, maybe next year.