Running down the press:
Washington Post: ‘Bin Laden Driver Gets 5½ Years; U.S. Sought 30’
Don’t even bother with William Glaberson‘s weak and watery New York Times story. The WashPost‘s Jerry Markon and Josh White tell it like it is: a “stunning rebuke to prosecutors.”
The only thing that seems out of whack about Salim Hamdan‘s sentence is that his 5½ -year term is shorter than the eight years we’re serving as punk bitches under Bush and Cheney.
Is that fair? Give the guy a couple of more years.
In any case, one of many reasons that the WashPost story is superior — smooth, organized writing is another — is this passage, which can only be inferred from slogging through the stiff, cautious Times piece:
The jury’s decision could also be used by the administration, however, to counter allegations that the tribunals are unfair because the rules give great latitude to prosecutors.
Although Hamdan by most accounts was a minor figure — even the judge called him “a small player” — the military commissions to come will try the alleged perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks and other terrorist acts. It is unclear what the decision might mean for other cases.
For legal beagles, see Jurist for background links.
New York Observer: ‘Does McCain Have a Chance in an Election About the Economy?’
Wrong-headed stuff from Jennifer Rubin:
This is the presidential election, we have been told, that a Democrat can’t lose. The economy is in decline, with unemployment on the rise, President Bush’s approval ratings in the basement and virtually everyone convinced that America is “on the wrong track.” But the race remains tight, at least according to the polls.
The story’s so careful to be color-blind when we know that America isn’t so let’s not act as if it were.
America still has a Negro in the woodpile. If Obama were white, he’d be crushing McCain right now.
This year’s presidential race? It’s the race, stupid.
C’mon, headline writers, get it together. That’s almost as lame as today’s hed in the Green Bay Press-Gazette: “Packers, Favre begin a new era.”
Be thankful that you’re not stuck in Green Bay, where the cheese is redolent but the sportswriting stinks:
Close the gates. Favre’s the last immigrant from Green Bay allowed in our city.
I’m serious about closing the gates. We’ve got a bunch of religious nuts out there trying to bust up our gay pals’ wedding plans:
“It’s undisputed that marriage is with a man and a woman,” Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, told Bronx Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings, using a standard dictionary definition in the complicated case.
See the mug. The guy doesn’t look chewish.
I detect a theme here.
More food for thought: Up close and personal, a Punjab to the stomach.
Los Angeles Times: ‘The New York bodega fights for its life’
Now I’m sure there’s a theme.
Just yesterday (see the 8/7 Daily Flog), the New York Times told us about the rich snoots’ crisis of not being able to drink at their high-priced places.
For the rest of us, Erika Hayasaki steps all the way back to California this morning to put perspective on our bodega crisis:
“The sales have been down for the last nine months,” said Jose Fernandez, president of the Bodega Assn. of the United States, which claims membership of 7,800 of New York’s 11,400 bodegas. A weakening economy and rising rents and food prices have forced many to close, he said; the number of bodegas in New York has decreased by nearly 1000 from two years ago, according to his organization’s most recent tally.
For decades, bodegas — the crowded corner stores started by Puerto Rican and Dominican entrepreneurs in the 1960s and 1970s — have textured the backdrop of New York. The Spanish word comes from bodeguita, a general store in Latin America, and has come to refer to such New York shops owned by people of all ethnic backgrounds.
In the last decade, many Latino longtime shop owners have left to open bodegas in places like Pennsylvania, Rhode Island or Connecticut, or moved on to bigger businesses, passing their shops to other immigrant groups, including Koreans, Middle Easterners and the newest wave of Latino immigrants, Mexicans.
Guardian (U.K.): ‘Georgia and Russia edge towards war over South Ossetia’
Cold Warriors are creaming in their jeans because someone is finally bombing Stalin’s hometown. And it’s Russia that’s doing it!
This is some serious stuff going on the Caucasus, and naturally it’s mostly ignored by the U.S. press, though the Times does report: “Fiercest Fighting in Years Near Georgian Border.”
You want to know what’s going on, this is from the Guardian:
The Russian prime minister vowed to protect his citizens after Georgia launched an all-out bombardment of separatists in the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, last night, a few hours after apparently agreeing to a ceasefire.
Russian forces including tanks and heavy weapons were concentrating on their side of the border with South Ossetia, the Associated Press reported.
The Georgian military said it would hold a three-hour ceasefire for civilians to leave the region.
Earlier, Georgian troops exchanged fire with convoys carrying volunteer fighters over the border to support the separatists. Planes, tanks and artillery bombed the city.
Georgia said several Russian SU-24 jets entered Georgian airspace and bombed two locations, south of the Ossetian enclave, including Gori, the birthplace of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Russia has denied the bombing.
The daily newsprint press ignores at its own peril this kind of hybrid reporting on important topics.
What if you were forced to buy an SUV right now? That’s what Bill Gates is trying to make you do by shoving Vista onto your mother-friggin’-board.
This Slate item is 21st century consumer news.
Farhad Manjoo (yes, him again) calls it right:
Mildly interesting after this intriguing David Hinckley lede:
Because it’s unusual for Presidential candidates to buy national television advertising time anywhere — it hasn’t happened in a general election since Bob Dole bought one spot in 1996 — some viewers may be mildly surprised to see political messages popping up between a Greco-Roman wrestling match and the 400-meter semifinals.
New York Review of Books: ‘China: Humiliation & the Olympics’
You want to try to understand China?
No, let me put it another way, as a direct order: You want to try to understand China.
That’s for the sake of your future and your children’s future in a world in which China’s burgeoning consumer class is elbowing the U.S. consumer class out of the way.
Avert your eyes from the glare of endless promos, ads, and Olympics coverage and read Orville Schell‘s piece.
And speaking of food, check out Schell’s Modern Meat, his 1984 exposé of factory farming. You’ll have to search out a printed copy. But that’s OK. It’s better to wait until after lunch to read this brilliant reporting on the meatpacking industry.