Sunday, April 30, 2006

L.A. Times Poll Shows Most Have Moderate View On Immigration

At a time when CNN commentator Lou Dobbs and others have tried to exploit the issue, the L.A. Times poll this morning shows clearly that most Californians hold to a moderate position on the issue of illegal immigration, The same basic position is held nationwide, although by a slightly smaller margin.

By a margin of more than 3 to 1, Californians favor a combination of a guest worker program with enforcement over simple enforcement, showing that they support bringing some foreign workers into America. They must know that most who come as workers do not go home and that many ultimately become citizens.

With huge immigration demonstrations scheduled for tomorrow in Los Angeles and other cities, it is important to remember this essential moderation and not be carried away by the emotions of the day.

It is, however, also the case that very few will be easily acquiescent to the waving of Mexican flags in the march or any other show of loyalty to Mexico in a state that, remember, belonged to Mexico at one time. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said as much the day before the march.

The marchers could scare away their support and it is clear it has its limits. I have little doubt that President Bush speaks for a majority, for example, when he says the National Anthem should be sung in English and not with new Spanish lyrics.

Mexico, after all, is not acting so admirably these days. With drug dealer-inspired murders and general chaos in the border cities of Juarez and Laredo, and a new law that permits the bearer to carry small amounts of cocaine and heroin, in addition to marijuana, Mexico is neglecting the good opinion of Americans and this could ultimately affect, in a negative way, the immigration issue.

But, for now, most Californians, even more so than most Americans, favor letting some nominally illegal immigrants in to the U.S. Ir is recognized that many perform jobs that are essential to a smoothly-running society.

That is not to say, however, that the U.S. border patrol and Coast Guard are unpopular, particularly when it comes to seizing Asian immigrants on the high seas.

When we see these boats bringing people all the way from China, and the elaborate tunnels constructed at Tijuana to allow immigrants to sneak into the U.S., it would be foolhardy not to be concerned, and it is clear that willingness to let some immigrants in doesn't mean the average American wants the flood gates to be wide open.

So, my feeling is, we ought to avoid the extremes on this issue, as certain others. It is only the war against terrorists that I would pursue with full vigor, not a war against ambitious people who might want to move to and work in America.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

BusinessWeek Publishs Speculation Tribune Co. May Be Sold

Where there's so much smoke, maybe there's a fire somewhere.

Earlier this week, former L.A. Times editor John Carroll said he had been approached by prospective local buyers of the Times. Now, BusinessWeek magazine in a short entitled "Tribune Tribulations" speculates that the Tribune may follow Knight-Ridder on the block.

The item notes the Tribune Co., which we all know is headed by unimaginative people, has seen Tribune stock slump by 25%, "beaten to a pulp" it says based "on poor earnings caused by a slump in ads and readership." It is now below $30 a share, a critical price level in the opinion of some analysts, when it used to run above 50. That's actually a 40% drop, not 25%.

Of course, there's been a slump in readership. Tribune officers seem not to be willing to fight for circulation in any of their markets. And the Tribune leadership seems little interested in maintaining the quality of many of these papers, including the L.A. Times, which has been forced to make severe cutbacks, perhaps by Chicago jealousy of Los Angeles.

While BusinessWeek says 16 of 19 stock analysts who follow newspaper fortunes are down on the stock, Lawrence Haverty of Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust sees the low stock price as takeover bait, because with all its newspapers obtained from Times-Mirror and its 26 television stations and the Chicago Cubs, Tribune has excellent assets, justifying a stock price of perhaps $40.

If only Tribune management knew what to do with the assets. But they have not had a constructive thought or policy since King Canute rolled back the tide.

Just as with Knight-Ridder, the item speculates that unhsppy stockholders could exert pressure to bring about a sale.

But since`12% of Tribune stock is owned by the Chandler Trust and this represents the family that may have forced Otis Chandler from the L.A. Times publisher job, it seems doubtful to me that the pressure to sell would come from these dunces.

We're obviously going to have to wait to see what transpires, but the stock analysts say the potential value of the Tribune Co. makes the present stock price cheap. And nature abhors a vacuum. What we have now is a vacuum of leadership at Tribune. It doesn't take advantage of its opportunities. It knows but one operative word: Cutback.

In all this, let's hope the L.A. Times can surmount its indentured status and emerge free and influential once more under the direction of local buyers.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Brian Williams Offers A Good Nightly News

The NBC network and its evening anchor, Brian Williams, continue to deserve high marks for their presentation of the news.

NBC's Washington bureau chief, Tim Russert, is incisive in his commentary, and the New Orleans bureau NBC opened after Hurricane Katrina has been a frequent contributor and a real service on a big story.

Just last night Williams was in New Orleans for a visit by President Bush, and interviewed the President on the air in what was an interview marked by some tough questioning, and personable Bush responses.

Williams and NBC work hard to give the public what it apparently wants, with a feature of people who are doing some good in the world at the same time as extensive reporting on Iraq and other points in the Middle East. Also, the White House reporting is good.

This shows that a network can attract a large audience without pandering to the public as CNN and Fox often do.

Williams is not afraid to express some restrained opinions himself, but he is nothing like Fox's often obnoxious and redundent Bill O'Reilly or CNN's Lou Dobbs. He is clearly dedicated to civil rights, which every American newscaster should be.

Altogether, the Williams nightly news shows everything a network should be and too often isn't.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

John Carroll, In Speech, Reports Local Moves To Buy Back The LAT

Efforts by local interests are underway to buy back the Los Angeles Times, reports former Times editor John Carroll in a speech at the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting in Seattle.

Carroll, deploring corporate ownership of newspapers, made these notable remarks:

"I have edited newspapers in three cities -- Lexington, Baltimore and Los Angeles -- and in all three cities I'm seeing a new phenomenon: Local people seeking to buy the paper back from the corporations. I've spoken with several of them. These are serious people -- sophisticated people with real money.

"Unlike corporate owners, these people talk about the importance of the paper to the community. They talk about restoring its pride. They talk about investing in journalism, especially in local coverage. They see the newspaper as a fallen angel, and they say they'd be willing to accept a lower financial return, which would allow the paper to breathe again."

But, Carroll added, "Yes, it seems too much to hope for."

He did not identify the prospective owners in Los Angeles.

Carroll quit as editor of the L.A. Times last summer as part of an apparent protest against cost cutting by the Tribune Co., of Chicago, a company whose executives seem to care about only one thing primarily, making money. They would rather fire a journalist than have a quality product.

The Tribune is a company which has seldom been willing to live up to its journalistic responsibilities in Los Angeles and other former Times-Mirror cities, Baltimore, Hartford and the New York suburbs. It has cut back in all these places, lost circulation in all of them and insisted upon consolidation efforts, such as folding the Times' Washington bureau into the Tribune offices, which have adversely affected the L.A. Times and its staff in many ways.

Even as Carroll was speaking, announcement of a spread of corporate journalism was made by the MediaNews company owned by William Dean Singleton, which now intends to acquire, among other papers, the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times and the Monterey County Herald from the McClatchy Co. in a scheme which involves a possibly illegal sweetheart deal with the Hearst Corp.

Why McClatchy wants to sell the San Jose and Monterey papers at all is beyond understanding, when one considers that these papers circulate in some of the wealthiest, more influential parts of the state and would add to McClatchy's already impressive California empire.

Singleton is bad news for journalists. He, like the Tribune interests, seems more devoted to making money than in any service to communities in which his papers are based.

In his ownership of the Daily News in the San Fernando Valley, for instance, MediaNews has supported the breakup of the city of Los Angeles, a foolhardy plan rejected thankfully by local voters which seems to have had as its main object a better competitive position in the Los Angeles market for the Daily News.

There can be little doubt that the San Jose paper and its personnel, for examp[e, would take a hit, if they fell into the grip of the greedy Mr. Singleton.

The full text of Carroll's speech was available today on various web sites. It raises the issues that are most important to raise in American journalism and one of the most worthy things the former Times editor has ever done.

We can only pray that the local interests he talks about in Los Angeles and the other cities come forward as soon as possible. snd that the Tribune Co., which internally cares not a jot for Los Angeles, is willing to sell out.

That would be worthy of a real celebration here, getting rid of these low lifes from Chicago.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blue Cross, Reggie Bush, Pro Football Stories Mark Today's LAT

Today's L.A. Times is an outstanding paper, in large part because of fascinating investigative stories in the Business and Sports sections. All of these stories brought attention to some normal backwaters of public attention.

Lisa Girion's story in Business on whether Blue Cross is cancelling sick people's policies in an illegal way put the huge medical insurance company under some much-needed scrutiny.

This company has long wanted to have it both ways -- selling a lot of policies, but, at the same time treating its less healthy policyholders in a cavalier way. It is a complicated subject, and Blue Cross has some other practices, not written about today, that should also get the spotlight.

I found when I wrote a consumer column for the Times for three years that Blue Cross is extremely hard nosed when it comes to negotiating with hospitals on its reimbursement policies. Often, these reimbursements are shamefully low, depriving the hospitals of fair payments for their services. Although some of the savings are passed on to policyholders, the question still arises whether hospitals are being cheated out of fair reimbursement. Blue Cross is just barely forthcoming in such matters.

Today's Girion story discusses whether the cancellations of sick people are done in accordance with state law, and implicitly raises the question of whether the stste is under-regulating this company. Much of the information that is coming to light on the topic is coming as a result of lawsuits by the cancelled policyholders, not any revelations by regulators.

Although this story does not get into the topic, there is also a question as to whether Blue Cross is complying with federal rules on the government drug benefits for the elderly. For one thing, it takes Blue Cross a very long time to answer many phone calls. Often, they are rejected altogether, and often callers are put on hold for 30 minutes, much longer than allowed under the government rules.

I found out when I tried to enroll in a Blue Cross drug plan late last year that my application was ignored for weeks, and I was suspicious that the fact that I am diabetic and use a lot of medicines was keeping them from approving the application. As the Jan. 1 deadline approached, I could not get through on the phone lines and I finally transferred to the AARP plan out of fear I wouldn't have any plan at all.
The Blue Cross policy had sounded more liberal on first inspection, but if they are discriminating against those with health problems, they should be reined in, no mistake.

In any case, I hope the Girion story is only a start. This company needs more attention. Right now, it is a vast profiting making enterprise. The Business section in general should be paying more attention to the vital health care issues that afflict us.

Meanwhile, Sports this morning has a story and a Bill Plaschke column on whether Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophey winner, violated NCAA rules by dealing under the table with agents during the season. His parents may have lived rent free in a house and if that is shown to be the case, USC may end up sanctioned by the NCAA, and even have to forfeit some of its games, even if the school and its coaches knew nothing about any transgressions.

The Plaschke column questions in the writer's usual pungent style whether Bush had to know if his parents were living in a rent free house as a result of payments made by the agents.

This is a worthy subject. If Bush was in violation, perhaps his Heisman should be taken away, in addition to other penalties.

Also in Sports is a story by Alan Abrahamson reporting, for the 1,000th time it seems, on whether the National Football League will return a team to Los Angeles.

I used to cover this subject too for the Times and I came to the conclusion at that time that NFL football was not worth the price in new stadiums and franchise fees to many of the cities that have teams, and certainly not to Los Angeles.

The story this morning again quotes the double-talking NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, on the subject, but the story is very lean when it comes to divulging the details of the proposed deals that would cost so much.

This is a matter of considerable importance, and Los Angeles officials, if not the NFL, should be very out front about what all this is going to cost Los Angeles or Anaheim, depending where the new stadium, costing as much as $800 million, is going to be developed.

The reason for all the secrecy, I strongly suspect, is that Mayor Villaraigosa and the other officals know that if the people of Los Angeles knew how much this were going to cost, they would never go for it.

Maybe, the team should go to China, a fast developing country that can afford one. Or to Iraq, whose inhabitants scarcely get much entertainment now.

But in the meantime, Abrahamson needs to enlighten us on more of the details. He knows as well as I did that big time sports is hardly above board.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Terrorists Trying To Destabilize Egyptian Regime Of Hosni Mubarak

Why, it is reasonable to ask, would any European or American tourist want to visit Egypt? Repeatedly in recent years, terrorists have struck directly against that country's tourist trade, just as they did yesterday at the Sinai resort of Dahab, killing at least 24 persons, including four foreign tourists.

But there is an even larger issue here. Egypt relies on tourists for a large part of its modern economy, and the attacks seem mainly aimed at destroying the stability of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt is the most populous Arab country and history shows the importance of Western influence in the country ranging back to the 18th Century. When Egypt has fallen prey to dictators unfriendly to the West, as in the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser, it has complicated the already catastropic problems of the Middle East. After all, Nasser bore responsibility for aggressive steps that led to the Six Day War in 1967.

Egypt's importance, indeed, is a major reason why the U.S. and Europe cannot afford to let the country slip, as is now threatened, into unfriendly hands.

So, we have to engage in Egypt, propping up what in some respects is a fairly corrupt regime now, to strengthen it in the face of the threat from Osama bin Laden and other Arab radicals.

We let Iran slip into Khomeini's hands 25 years ago, and Iran subsequently became a major threat. We cannot afford the same dead end policy in Egypt.

The West has no choice in this matter but to exert some imperial influence to keep things from degenerating there, and they are headed that way now.

The U.S. gives important foreign aid to Egypt. That probably should be increased but, more important, the Egyptian regime needs to be fortified by Western expertise, especially in security matters.

People are going to say, let's not become even more deeply involved in the Middle East. But we don't have much choice. Either we intervene now, or prospects will worsen and the terrorists could score an easy triumph.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Too Many Summary Pages In The L.A. Times

It used to be Page 3 was a major part of the L.A. Times, and an incentive for local reporters looking for good display of their stories, in addition to Page 1 and Page 1 of Part Two. This was before the California section preempted the suburban sections and the paper, admittedly, was more prosperous than it is now.

Later, John Carroll decided on the California Section for most local and state news and put foreign stories on Page 3. That was okay, except that it cost state political columnist George Skelton his coveted spot in the first section.

Now, Page 3 is a summary page, where other stories in the paper are summarized.

But the LAT already had Page 2 for that purpose.

There are aspects of the revamped paper I like, but this extra summary page is not one of them.

It doesn't give the reader much information, for one thing. One of the joys of reading a newspaper is turning from page to page and being surprised what is on the pages. The suspense is destroyed by excessive summarizing.

So I'd hope that after decent consideration, the Times would go back to putting news on Page 3. In the meantime, I hardly read it. Most days, I don't even glance at it.

We had a better local staff when they had more opportunities for prominent display in the paper. I hate to throw out all the design work that's been done, but the paper, in my view, ought to look more like it was designed when Otis Chandler was in charge.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bin Laden, Threats And The Rising Price Of Oil

Winston Churchill, on the night of Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941, gave a speech in which he defined Hitler for all time as "a bloodthirsty guttersnipe."

The same description can and should be applied to the Arab terrorist Osama Bin Laden, who in a new tape recorded message today, again threatens the U.S., Europe, Israel and even the poor black Muslims of the Darfur region in the Sudan.

This foul fanatic is not content with the murders he and his associates have already committed in America, England, Jordan, Indonesia, Chad, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel. India and other countries. No, he wants to bring a barbaric and medieval dark age to the whole world, and obviously there is only one policy that will thwart him, the use of force. That is why the American and NATO forces now fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq are representing the whole world, to cut out the evil cancer where it flourishs the most.

The present war has many aspects, and one of them is surely the spiraling price of oil, now at a record $75 a barrel,

There are other reasons for the price rise, including the failure to conserve adequately in the U.S., Iranian nuclear blustering and the growing demand for oil in China and India.

But it would be silly not to conclude that we are also a victim here of rapacious forces sympathetic to fundementalist Islam and Bin Laden, who are trying to castrate the West and who, if they were able, would cut off oil supplies from the Middle East. The attacks against Saudi Arabian oil facilities may only be a precursor of events to come.

That is why present developments in the oil industry are of prime interest, and not only as a means for the Democrats to win the midterm elections,

No, the present war has many dimensions. It is being fought not only with troops and, possibly in the future, weapons of mass destruction, but economically, and through the corruption of migrants who are threatening stability in Europe and elsewhere.

It is, I'm convinced, necessary to destroy this man and all of his associates, eradicate them from a world they could possibly wreck. They are not only threatening, but will, if they could, ruin the happiness and hope for progress of millions of people.

That is why, no effort, should be spared in finding Bin Laden and doing to him what we did to Hitler and Mussolini.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Michael Hiltzik Should Have Been Suspended, If He Tried To Falsify His Blogging Identity

L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik may be one of the paper's best, but the editors of the Times were correct in suspending his blog, and later his regular Business section column if he tried to use a false identity to get his views out.

The least readers ought to expect is that those who they read are who they claim to be.

Hiltzik has been in trouble before for alleged computer violations. He was brought home from the Moscow bureau some time back after fellow staffers accused him of spying on their e-mails.

I do not believe that concealing one's identity is part of the rights of journalists. Keeping confidential sources is one thing, but writing anonymously is quite another. And Dean Baquet, the editor, is correct in saying such transgressions would destroy the credibility of Hiltzik as a business columnist.

The Internet is often of suspicious reliability. It is frequently difficult to tell where something is coming from, much less whether it is correct. So I believe it is incumbent on those of us who do blog to at least admit who we are.

It is different for those wishing to comment anonymously on a blog. In the interest of open exchanges, I join many other bloggers who accept this, although some of the comments tend to be insulting.

Another point may be pertinent here. I don't believe papers like the Times are being completely sincere in presenting blogs on their websites, if this is to somehow pretend that the bloggers represent independent points of view. There is something canned about these blogs. They are not really independent if the staff member appearing is told what not to say or write about.

Hiltzik may have chafed under these circumstances. Still, he was wrong, or appears to be, to get around that with anonymous blogging.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Girl On La Verne High School Baseball Team A Great Story

We see the opportunities of America, and an unusually heartwarming story, on Page 1 in the L.A. Times today, by sports columnist Bill Plaschke on Natasha Smith, who came from a Russian orphanage to be adopted by American parents and become an athletic standout.

It's quite a contrast with the suicide bombers and African amputees, and Pakistani rape victims who all too often fall prey to political violence and are encouraged to develop extreme views.

It shows that, more than almost any country in the world, women do stand a chance in this country. It's something we can all be proud of.

Why can't women play professional baseball? Natasha Smith might be the first one.

So, here was a beautiful story, and the L.A. Times editors had the good sense to put it on Page 1. In a sordid world, Natasha is a hero of prime proportions.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Seismic Safety Commission And Politics

The L.A. Times has a long story this morning by Sharon Bernstein about the Seismic Safety Commission in Sacramento, and the interference with its independence by Gov. Schwarzenegger's office.

This has been going on for some time, but I see this morning that Schwarzenegger has hired the insurance lobbyist, Dan Dunmoyer, and he is serving as a kind of spokesman on this issue.

This is like hiring Hamas to guard the Temple Mount.

Dunmoyer is one of a long line of insurance industry representatives who have gone to work for the governor. In Dunmoyer's case, it is probably to raise funds for the governor's reelection. The insurers have had a long, disgraceful relationship with Republican governors. They are a really major contributor, and it's not for the benefit of Californians, folks. I knew Dunmoyer well when I was covering insurance, and while, he's not the worst fellow, he is not to be trusted in such a capacity.

The Seismic Safety Commission lives on a shoestring, and yet it is an important source of information about and study of the earthquake danger.

Rather than retrofit the public schools, many of which are badly in need of it, the governor's office would like to ignore the obligation. There may not be a big quake soon, but there could be one tomorrow. In the meantime, California school children are being jeopardized. That should end, and now.

Schwarzenegger has long been a special interest governor. He should, in my view, not be reelected.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tim Rutten Goes After Howell Raines, Yet Again

L.A. Times media columnist and reviewer Tim Rutten wasn't just satisfied to see Howell Raines fired as executive editor at the New York Times. He keeps returning to the subject as if he is determined to pursue a Sicilian vendetta by kicking the man when he is down.

So we see, not to our great surprise, a Rutten book review this morning on Raines' new book, "The One That Got Away," which is preoccupied with fly fishing, a favorite Raines pastime.

Rutten seems to feel that Raines should retire quietly. He snipes away at mostly dead subjects.

But, just to put myself on record again, I still don't feel the Raines dismissal was either smart for the New York Times, nor really justified. Raines was embarked on a great effort to make the NYT a more dynamic newspaper and in many respects was succeeding.

The benefits of doing so are underestimawted. In the period after the Sept. 11 attacks, the NYT was an exciting paper, with special sections for weeks on the attacks. Raines fell afoul of the Jayson Blair scandal and a weak kneed publisher, when he could have made adjustments that would have corrected problems he had and lead the way to his becoming a truly great editor.

In a rather insulting and condescending review, Rutten writes, that Raines is "mean-spirited" toward a predecessor, Joe Lelyveld, and comments, "There's something slightly alarming about a man of this age and experience (Raines) carrying around this sort of class resentment like Alabama clay on his boots."

Rutten grew up in Banning, California, and Raines in segregationist Birmingham, Alabama, and that, of course, makes for quite a difference in view. Though I'm an admirer of Rutten, and he does acknowledge some of Raines journalistic efforts since his dimissal as "first rate," Rutten simply does not have the broad, varied experience as Raines, and it would be more seemly if he, at least, let sleeping dogs lie.

The New York Times is not sacrosanct. Rutten would do better reviewing Raines' accomplishments and critiquing the paper's shortcomings rather than dumping on Raines.


There are stories this morning that the FBI wants to look at the late Jack Anderson's private papers to glean out classified materials. This is yet another Bush Administration attempt to restrict a free press, and ought to be resisted by journalists everywhere.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Times, With Undistinguished Editorial Pages, Fails To Win Any Pulitzers

For the first time since 1997, the L.A. Times failed to win any Pulitzer Prizes this week.

Is this the real end of the John Carroll era or simply a hiatus of sorts, related in part to Hurricane Katrina?

I think it partly reflects the undistinguished editoral page, under the inept direction it now demonstrates day by day. The editorial on China this morning represents an affliction of blandness which presently marks the editorial page.

One bright light in the Pulitzer situation is the prize won by Nicholas Kristol of the NYT, who roams the world finding human rights abuses, particularly among hypocritical Arab regimes like that of the Sudan.

Commentary is in many respects at the heart of what the press has to offer. Kristol represents the best of that.

L.A. Times has good commentary in Lopez, Martinez, Rutten and Hiltzik among others, but it's not on the editorial page.

Andres Martinez wins a special award for editorial irrelelevance at the LAT by never writing anything worthwhile. The Pulitzer board, it is clear, has been watching.

Monday, April 17, 2006

New Suicide Bombings In Israel Deserve Retaliation

The declaration today by the Hamas organization that it was perfectly legitimate to conduct a suicide bombing, killing nine, in Tel Aviv compells a hardline Israeli response.

I had hopes that Hamas would moderate itself, given the chance. Instead, they are worse than the PLO. They do not deserve to escape with impunity.

Indeed, since the bomber was from the Iranian backed Islamic Jihad, it could well be that a reprisal should be taken against Iran itself.

There is no reason to be understanding toward Arab killers. They are asking for it and now, it should be delivered. And, incidentally, the U.S. policy against aid to this hapless Hamas regime is vindicated.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Aggression Against Chad Roils Central Africa

In Roman Times, it was the Huns. They had to be kept abay for the safety of the Empire. They couldn't be ignored and when Rome failed to defend itself, eventually it fell.

It is the same kind of world today, only more so. When we see the modern day Huns running amok in Africa, it is clear that we have little choice but to respond. If we don't, the consequences could be dire.

So, the latest developments in Chad, where Sudanese aggressors are wreaking havoc, killing and murdering. A small French force, flown in from Gabon, has been trying to master the situation.

We simply are fated to fight these wars. Better in the Middle East and Africa than here. But still, because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, it doesn't mean it's not serious.

The papers are so full of the violence in these benighted areas, there is little else in the news sections these days. But the big papers are doing a good job keeping us up to date.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Hitler of Iran, illicitly elected, Again Threatens Israel

Was Hitler serious? The world found out, to its woe, that he was.

And so with the dangerous ravings of the gangster, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, threatening Israel with destruction and claiming the Holocaust never occurred, he moves from one mad idiocy to the next.

Let this be said: If he were to actually try to follow through, Ahmadinejad is luring Iran into a deadly trap. That country would, in fact, be destroyed itself, before it could act against the Israelis.

And so, they ought to shut up, or be shut up. They have few alternatives. Meanwhile, Armadinejad should be silenced as a menace. If he will not go quietly, he should be forcibly removed, like other crazy fundamentalists.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold in Time, assails Rumsfeld war planning

Time magazine has had some of the most distinguished war reporting. Now, in an article this week by retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, it publishes an outstanding critique of Donald Rumsfeld and a call for new war leadership.

It took Lincoln little more than a year to sack Gen. McClellan. President Bush needs to bring on a new defense secretary.

Gen. Newbold is one of the most persuasive arguments yet for new leadership, although he acknowledges that the war against al-Qaeda must necessarily go on.

Next week the Times new assistant foreign news editor, David Lauter, is going to Baghdad. I was critical of David's appointment initially, but he is going to Iraq with an open mind and his report when he returns home will, I'm sure, be helpful.

I hear news, by the way, from his wife, that Bill Stall, The Times prize winning Sacramento writer, has had a second heart attack. Evaluation is underway, but we all wish Stall well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Abominable Jihadists Strike Mosque in Karachi

There is no more abominable, contemptable force in the world today than the sectarian Jihadists, who just yesterday, in a new cowardly attack, bombed a mosque in Karachi, killing 50 worshipers, including three clerics, innocently celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohommad.

When will the world be rid of these scoundrels? Not until they are crushed, so they will never raise their heads again.

We read with horror of these acts, which are an assault on free men and women everywhere.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Iraq Reconsidered.

With the latest attack on sectarian targets in Iraq, time hss come t0 reconder the U.S. intervention.

We've been there long enough. I'm ready to adopt a new policy.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

FitzSimons Strikes Again

I returned from my illness to find that in one fail swoop, The Tribune owners have hurt the paper dramatically a anew.

In cutting foreign coverage and introduced new costcutting.

the Tribune Has hurt the paper dramatically.

We aee things have gone from bad to rotton.

It used to be the paper was already second best.

Now, its is simply not what it once was.

FitzSimmons and company have wrecked the appearances. Foreign news has been slashed.

Not since Harry Chandler has worse damge been done, except a lousy product. More about this in the days ahead.

I will have a lot to say. In the meantime, sufficiicent to say it'a a disisgrace.