Monday, September 26, 2005

The blahs of the Times

That was it. Sunday's brief article on Saturday's massive rally was it for the Times. (In a White House Letter, Bumiller has a few additional remarks but I don't comment on op-eds.) A lot of members e-mailed to say the tiny photo on the front page should have been huge and the story should have been on the front page as well.

While I don't disagree that it qualified for the front page, the fact is the Sunday issues are put together ahead of time. The excuse is that since it's so thick, they need that additional time. (The reality? No one wants to work weekends -- my opinion and I think the puny Monday editions bear it out.) But that was it. Sunday's lousy story was it.

Bumiller has a fact in her column (and I hope it's not bending the rules but the march was important) that tells you Steven D. Heller went to the Libray of Congress' book fair and he and his family went to the rally as well. Heller is "an immigration lawyer and a political asylum officer at the Department of Homeland Security." Bumiller got it. It's put in an op-ed but it's an interesting fact and stronger than anything that made it into the Times reporting Sunday.

There's something really sad about that. Sad in the same way that they're not able to cover Hugo Chavez except from a distance. The Washington Post had a Q&A with Chavez yesterday,
"Anti-Bush, And Mincing No Words."

In the Times today, Brian Lavey tells you "Independent Monitor Will Confirm I.R.A.'s Disarmament." The Washington Post? Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan's "IRA Disarms, Fulfilling Vow Made in July, Official Says." The Times runs their piece on page A10, the Post front pages it.

Petula Dvorak's "Antiwar Rally Will Be a First for Many: Focused Message Draws Protesters of All Stripes" from the Post has been recommended so you can read that. Dvorak will be online at 3:00 pm (est) for a discussion.

I can't believe it. The same s**t that The Third Estate Sunday Review's had all week is now happening here. I just lost the damn post.

There's only one thing worth reading in the Times today, so we'll note that.

Eric Lipton and Ron Nixon's "Many Contracts for Storm Work Raise Questions:"

Topping the federal government's list of costs related to Hurricane Katrina is the $568 million in contracts for debris removal landed by a Florida company with ties to Mississippi's Republican governor. Near the bottom is an $89.95 bill for a pair of brown steel-toe shoes bought by an Environmental Protection Agency worker in Baton Rouge, La.
The first detailed tally of commitments from federal agencies since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast four weeks ago shows that more than 15 contracts exceed $100 million, including 5 of $500 million or more. Most of those were for clearing away the trees, homes and cars strewn across the region; purchasing trailers and mobile homes; or providing trucks, ships, buses and planes.

In the arts section Jon Paralyze (Kat's term) is back to doing the sort of bad writing that plays in the Times but has limited his outlets elsewhere. Today's howler is calling Sheryl Crowe a folk-rock artist (in the past, now she's high on Elton John). Forget that "folk-rock" never needed a hyphen until the Times, the fact is that Sheryl Crow came on heavy on the pop with a side-trip to cocktail lite jazz on her first album and beefed up her sound after. She was never folk rock. She's not lyricist enough for one thing. "Folk" "rock" is a merger of the two. And you need to have the chops to write lyrics. Crowe doesn't have them.

Simon & Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas, et al, were folk rock. Some even carry it up to the early 70s work of Carly Simon & Jackson Browne (most would put them in the singer-songwriter genre). No one, no sane person, would attempt to carry the genre over to Crowe. She's heavy on the bass, too heavy for folk rock.

But if the Times knew music today, it might not be such a bad paper. Sheldon used to work there (and others). But "those were different times" (as the Velvet Underground once noted).
The Times today? Not interested in any news. This is a very weak edition. Even for a Monday.

We're going to Democracy Now! for real news and suggest you do the same.

*"Sweet Jane" written by Lou Reed.

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