Study: Media Jobs, Salary, Soar 38% in DC, Crash 22% Nationally

Paul Bedard  writes: In the latest sign that Washington operates in an alternate economy, journalism jobs around the country dove 22 percent in the last 10 years, but they spiked a whopping 38 percent in the nation’s capital, according to a new economic study. What’s more, salaries for Washington journalists rose 7 percent while diving nationally.

While 12,000 reporting jobs were eliminated in most markets in the last decade, the Washington journalism market expanded from 2,190 to 3,030. That is more than five journalists for every single House and Senate member.

 

In New York, by comparison, the drop was historic, from 5,330 jobs in 2005 to just 3,478 in 2015, said the study from Apartmentlist.com.

The study reviewed rents in major cities and showed how rents have spiked while the salaries of reporters hasn’t. That gap may be responsible for the shift by reporters, even award-winning journalists, to better paying public relations.

“Our analysis illustrated that reporter salaries are growing slower than rents in most metros. Nationwide, reporter salaries declined by 7 percent over the past decade while rents increased 9 percent. If this trend continues, publications will struggle to hire and retain talent,” said the report provided to Secrets. Read the rest of this entry »


Kentucky Fried Microaggression

chicken

Gastronomically correct students at an ultra-liberal Ohio college are in an uproar because the cafeteria food isn’t ethnically accurate enough.

Students at Oberlin College are so angered by the “insensitive” and “culturally appropriative” offerings at their Dascomb Dining Hall that they are filling screeds of protest in the school newspaper and even demanded a meeting with Campus Dining Service officials and the college president.

“When you’re cooking a country’s dish for other people, including ones who have never tried the original dish before, you’re also representing the meaning of the dish as well as its culture.”

At issue are foods such as General Tso’s chicken being served with steamed chicken instead of fried — which is not authentically Chinese, and simply “weird,” one student bellyached.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

Others were up in arms over Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches served with coleslaw instead of pickled vegetables on ciabatta bread — rather than traditional French baguette.

“How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?”

“It was ridiculous,” Diep Nguyen, a freshman who is a Vietnam native, told The Oberlin Review, the school newspaper.

“How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country’s traditional food?”

“So if people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative.”

Not only that, but the sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one Japanese student, “disrespectful” of her culture.

That student, Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, was very offended by this flagrant violation of her rice. Read the rest of this entry »


Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’: Read the First Chapter

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Read the first chapter of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ which will be published July 14

In 1957, when she was 31 years old, Harper Lee submitted her first attempt at a novel to the publisher J.B. Lippincott

Titled ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ it was set in the ’50s and opened with a woman named Jean Louise Finch returning home to Alabama. Ms. Lee’s editor found the story lacking but, seizing on flashback scenes, suggested that she write instead about her protagonist as a young girl. The result was a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’

[Order Harper Lee’s long-awaited book “Go Set a Watchman: A Novel”  from Amazon.com]

Go Set a Watchman’ will be published on Tuesday. It has undergone very little editing. “It was made clear to us that Harper Lee wanted it published as it was,” Jonathan Burnham, publisher of HarperCollins’s Harper imprint, said in a statement. “We gave the book a very light copy edit.”

The first chapter of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ introduces Ms. Lee’s beloved character, Scout, as a sexually liberated woman in her twenties, traveling from New York to Alabama to visit her ailing father and weigh a marriage proposal from a childhood friend. It also includes a bombshell about Scout’s brother.

–Jennifer Maloney

young-harper

The author in 1962 on the ‘Mockingbird’ set with Mary Badham, who played Scout. PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION / EVERETT COLLECTION

Read the first chapter here

Listen to Reese Witherspoon narrate ‘Go Set a Watchman’

 WSJ


‘How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript’

watchman-press

Much has been said lately about the discovery of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ and when it occurred. Here’s the full story…

Tonja B. Carter writes: Accidents of history sometimes place otherwise unknown people in historic spotlights. Such was my fate when last August curiosity got the best of me and I found a long-lost manuscript written by one of America’s most beloved authors. The manuscript was titled “Go Set a Watchman,” and its author was Harper Lee.

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“As Nelle’s estate trustee, lawyer and friend, I would like to tell the full story, fill in any blanks that may be in people’s minds, and provide a historical context for those interested in how this book went from lost to being found.”

In the time since it was announced that “Watchman” was found and Harper Lee—or Nelle, her first name, used by family and friends—decided to have it published, much has been said about how it was found, who found it, who go set a watchman harper leeknew of its existence, and when it was first found. As Nelle’s estate trustee, lawyer and friend, I would like to tell the full story, fill in any blanks that may be in people’s minds, and provide a historical context for those interested in how this book went from lost to being found.

[Order Harper Lee’s long-awaited book “Go Set a Watchman: A Novel” from Amazon.com]

The story begins in June 2011 when Sam Pinkus, who was Nelle’s literary agent at the time, contacted her sister, Alice, and asked that he be allowed to examine and inventory Nelle’s assets. Alice, who has since died, was an attorney and until the last few years of her life handled most business matters for Nelle, who lives in an assisted-living facility. Mr. Pinkus was particularly interested in having the original manuscript for “To Kill a Mockingbird” examined and appraised. He said he needed to open Nelle’s safe-deposit box, where it was assumed the manuscript was held.

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[Also see – The To Kill a Mockingbird Sequel’s First Printing Will Be 400 Times Bigger Than the Original]

[More – Agency Ends Probe Into Publication of New Novel ‘Go Set a Watchman’ by ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Author Harper Lee]

[More – Book Review: In Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ Atticus Finch Defends Jim Crow]

The box was opened some months later, on Oct. 14, at a bank in Monroeville, Ala., Nelle’s hometown and mine. Present that day: Mr. Pinkus, Justin Caldwell, an appraiser from Sotheby’s, who came to Monroeville at his request, and myself. Nelle’s safe-deposit box contained several items, including an old cardboard box from Lord & Taylor and a heavy, partially opened but tightly wrapped mailing envelope sent from Lippincott, the original publishers of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” to Alice Lee and postmarked Jan. 3, 1961.

Harper Lee in the Monroeville courthouse. Photograph: Donald Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Harper Lee in the Monroeville courthouse. Photo: Donald Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

“The story begins in June 2011 when Sam Pinkus, who was Nelle’s literary agent at the time, contacted her sister, Alice, and asked that he be allowed to examine and inventory Nelle’s assets.”

The Lord & Taylor box contained several hundred pages of typed original manuscript. After we all read a couple of pages, someone mentioned that the first page was not the first page of “Mockingbird,” but rather seemed to be a later chapter. I was then asked to retrieve a copy of the “Mockingbird” book so that Mr. Caldwell could compare what actually ended up in the book with the first page of the manuscript. After returning with a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” I then left the meeting and didn’t return. According to recent press reports, Mr. Pinkus and Mr. Caldwell spent about an hour examining the documents.

Harper Lee..Author of To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee, while visting her home town.  (Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)  mail_sender Matthew Fearn   mail_subject Harper Lee  mail_date Tue, 3 Feb 2015 17:47:10 +0000  mail_body --  Best Matt ------ *Matthew Fearn* *Picture Editor - The Daily Telegraph* *Landline:** +44 207 931 2660 * *Twitter: @pixed *

Harper Lee, Author of To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee, while visting her home town. (Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The next day I received an email from Mr. Caldwell, the Sotheby’s appraiser, saying “it was so nice to meet you yesterday and to get to see that manuscript.” He made no mention of the existence of a second, unknown book. And the following day, Sam Pinkus wrote to me that “Nelle is under no obligation to Sotheby’s whatsoever, including no obligation for Nelle to sell or auction the items.” Again, no mention of a second book.

Why does any of this matter? Roll things forward to less than two weeks ago, as the publication of “Go Set a Watchman” neared. Read the rest of this entry »


Book Review: In Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’ Atticus Finch Defends Jim Crow

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One of the few unambiguously heroic figures in American literature was originally conceived as a segregationist
Harper Lee

Sam Sacks writes: Ever since the announcement in February that a second novel by Harper Lee had been found among her papers, untold numbers of readers have been counting the minutes until its publication. And why not? Ms. Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) is the most beloved novel in American history—more popular than even the Bible in numerous polls.

[Order Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Enhanced Edition) (Harperperennial Modern Classics) from Amazon.com

But the anticipation has somewhat obscured the awkward details about “Go Set a Watchman,” as the novel is called (the title comes from the Book of Isaiah). Although it is set in the mid-1950s, around 20 years after “To Kill a Mockingbird,” it is not a sequel. Ms. Lee, who is now 89, wrote it first, submitted it to a publisher in 1957 and, on an editor’s advice, refashioned it into the book that’s now assigned in grade schools all over the country.

Harper Lee with Gregory Peck, the star of the 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Harper Lee with Gregory Peck, the star of the 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Properly speaking, “Go Set a Watchman” is a practice run for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and it existed before anybody could have known that small-town Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch would become a symbol of the nation’s moral conscience. All this throat clearing is not meant to damp the enthusiasm of expectant readers but to introduce a friendly go set a watchman harper leeword of caution. “Go Set a Watchman” is a distressing book, one that delivers a startling rebuttal to the shining idealism of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” This story is of the toppling of idols; its major theme is disillusion.

[Order Harper Lee’s long-awaited bookGo Set a Watchman: A Novel” from Amazon.com]

There’s little hint of darkness as the novel begins. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch, better known to us by her childhood nickname Scout, is returning to Maycomb, Ala., for a two-week vacation. For the past five years, Jean Louise has been living in New York City trying to make it as a painter. Her older brother Jem—I regret to report—has died of a heart attack. But her father, Atticus, is still hanging on. Seventy-two and suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, he is cared for by his priggish, busybody sister Alexandra.

[Read Sam Sacks’ full book review here, at WSJ]

Then there’s a brand-new character, Henry Clinton. Henry is Atticus’s protégé at the law firm, and he has Featured Image -- 60513carried a torch for Jean Louise since high school. She is hardly off the train before he is again proposing marriage, which she coyly declines: “I want to be like Dr. Schweitzer and play until I’m thirty.” This is how the two talk, trading enough sassy banter to fill a Hepburn-Tracy movie.

Go Set a Watchman” is told in the third person, but it stays close to Jean Louise’s perspective and contains the familiar pleasures of Ms. Lee’s writing—the easy, drawling rhythms, the flashes of insouciant humor, the love of anecdote. Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Morell: Separating Fact From Seymour Hersh’s Fiction About bin Laden

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Osama’s body was chopped up and dropped from a helicopter? That’s odd. I saw video of his burial at sea

Michael Morell writes: As a career intelligence officer, I learned that there are few things in life of which you can be absolutely certain. But I am positive that a lengthy new article by journalist Seymour Hersh, which is getting widespread attention with a whole new tale about how Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, is wrong in almost every significant respect.

I can be certain because I was deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency when senior officials from our Counterterrorism Center first brought to CIA Director Leon Panetta and me the news that they had trailed an individual whom they believed was a bin Laden courier to a compound in Abbottabad, morellPakistan. And I was there for every meeting that followed as we worked through the evidence that led our analysts to conclude that the most-wanted man in the world was hiding at the compound.

[Order Michael Morell’s book “The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism–From al Qa’ida to ISIS” from Amazon.com]

So I had good reason to know that Mr. Hersh’s 10,000-word story in the London Review of Books was filled with falsehoods. But here’s something I got wrong: I was certain that Mr. Hersh’s allegations would be quickly dismissed. After all, there was a public record about the raid in statements by the White House, Pentagon and CIA, and in books by former officials such as Mr. Panetta, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others. Then there were the media appearances by the Navy SEAL who says he personally shot bin Laden. It should have been clear that either Mr. Hersh’s version of the truth was bogus or that we all had participated in one of the most successful and complex conspiracies in modern history.

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Despite the many and obvious holes in Mr. Hersh’s story, his allegations gained some traction. A number of respected news organizations ranging from the New York Times to NBC News picked up slivers of information in Mr. Hersh’s account and essentially said, “Yeah, we heard something like that too.” Almost all of these accounts were attributed to anonymous former officials—many of whom admitted having at best secondhand information. Incredibly, these “I know a guy, who knows a guy who swears that . . .” accounts were given credence over on-the-record statements made in the past four years by people who were in the room—or on the scene.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Mr. Hersh has appeared in the media in recent days saying that when I and others asserted that his report was wrong, we were offering “non-denial denials” because our objections lacked specificity. All right, let me specifically address his major allegations.

The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/12/20/212378/zero-dark-thirty-leak-investigators.html#storylink=cpy

The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT

• Mr. Hersh says the White House lied when it asserted that the bin Laden raid was, as he puts it, an “all-American affair and that senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services agency (ISI) were not told in advance.” The truth is that the decision not to tell the Pakistanis was made early in the discussions of our options. We would have liked to have made the raid a joint operation with the Pakistanis—what better way to strengthen the bilateral relationship?—but we simply couldn’t trust that someone in the Pakistani system would not tip off bin Laden. I was present during all of these discussions when it was resolved that we wouldn’t inform Pakistan until after the fact. Read the rest of this entry »


Agency Ends Probe Into Publication of New Novel ‘Go Set a Watchman’ by ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Author Harper Lee

Harper Lee in the Monroeville courthouse. Photograph: Donald Uhrbrock/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Surprise news of second book prompted speculation over whether she is capable of consent 

(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) —Kim Chandler reports: Alabama investigators looked into whether the recent deal to publish Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” sequel involved financial fraud, but they have closed the inquiry, a state official said Thursday.

Harper Lee with Gregory Peck, the star of the 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Harper Lee with Gregory Peck, the star of the 1962 adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

“’To Kill a Mockingbird’ is among the most beloved novels in history, with worldwide sales topping 40 million copies. It was released on July 11, 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize and was adapted into a 1962 movie of the same name.”

Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg said his agency sent an investigator to speak with Lee at the request of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. Borg said the department, which handles complaints of elder abuse, asked his investigators toHarper Lee look into the situation because of their expertise in financial matters.

“We closed the file. Let’s just say that she was able to answer questions we asked to our satisfaction from our point of view.”

— Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg

The surprise news that the 88-year-old author would publish a second book prompted speculation over whether she is capable of giving consent to the publication.

“We don’t make competency determinations. We’re not doctors. But unless someone tells us to go back in, our file is closed on it.”

— Joseph Borg

A high-ranking state official said the Department of Human Resources began an investigation into Lee’s treatment following news that her second novel would be released. The official wasn’t authorized to release the information publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity. It’s unclear whether that investigation entails anything beyond the interview the commission employees did with Lee, who lives in an assisted-living facility in her south Alabama hometown of Monroeville, the inspiration for “Mockingbird.”

Barry Spear, a spokesman for the department, declined comment. Read the rest of this entry »


Chasing Pulitzers Has Ruined American Journalists. That’s Why They’re Edited by Brits

pulitzer-whores

Pulitzer Prizes winners proudly displayed in the New York Times building Photo: Getty

For The SpectatorToby Young writes: I was interested to read a story by Michael Wolff in USA Today saying that Graydon Carter may be about to step down as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Carter has been at the helm for 22 years and was my boss during the three years I spent there between 1995 and 1998. According to Wolff, himself a columnist at the magazine, the runners and riders to take over are nearly all British.

“Our Yankee counterparts preen about, congratulating themselves on upholding the highest ideals of the fourth estate, whereas we focus on the bottom line and pride ourselves on keeping our papers afloat.”

Wolff thinks this is mainly because power within Condé Nast, the publishing company that owns Vanity Fair, has shifted from New York and towards London, home of Condé Nast International, a subsidiary that is now more profitable than the mother ship. No doubt there’s something in that, but the bigger reason must surely be because British journalists are so much better than their American counterparts.

“we also have an unerring nose for what will pique a reader’s interest, what we call ‘news sense’, and it’s this that makes us the best journalists in the world.”

You can get a sense of what American journalists’ priorities are from looking at a 96-page report that the New York Times has just produced about… the New York Times. I’m not talking about the words, obviously, which are far too boring to read, but the pictures. On page three of the report, there’s a photograph of the paper’s top brass gathered around a computer terminal, having just discovered that the Grey Lady has won yet another Pulitzer prize. The staff are gathered around them on the stairs — hundreds of them — and one of the editors is looking up and humbly applauding them: ‘Well done, folks. You knocked it out of the park… again.’

“Not ‘the best’ as in the most worthy of praise — we leave that to our American cousins — but ‘the best’ when it comes to spotting stories.”

That’s what most American journalists care about — winning prizes that affirm just what noble tribunes of democracy they are. In Britain, we have less lofty ambitions. For us, it’s all about selling newspapers and — pathetic hacks that we are — producing stories that people actually want to read. Read the rest of this entry »


This Day In History: May 6, 1940, The Grapes of Wrath Wins a Pulitzer Prize

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May 6, 1940: The Grapes of Wrath Wins a Pulitzer Prize

The Grapes of Wrath is available at Amazon.com

On this day in 1940, John Steinbeck was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. The novel tells the story of the Joads, a poor Oklahoma farming family, who migrate to California in search of a better life during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Steinbeck effectively demonstrated how the struggles of one family mirrored the hardship of the entire nation.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Will: ‘Lenin Had a Name for People Like Edward Snowden — Useful Idiots’

Washington Post columnist George Will on “Fox News Sunday”:

Lenin, whose spirit still infuses the government of Russia had a name for people like Mr. Snowden – ‘useful idiots,’ he said, idealists so-called who served the interests of Lenin’s country,” Will said. “We don’t need to listen to Snowden anymore giving us lectures about the virtues of an open society when he chooses to go to earth in Putin’s Russia…”

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: AP Photographer Killed, Reporter Wounded in Afghanistan

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2013 file photo Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, right, and AP journalist Kathy Gannon, are pictured during a visit to the photo agency Keystone in Zurich, Switzerland . Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and Kathy Gannon was wounded Friday, April 4, 2014 when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. Niedringhaus, an internationally acclaimed German photographer, was killed instantly, according to an AP freelancer who witnessed the shooting. Gannon, the reporter, was wounded twice and is receiving medical attention. (AP Photo/Keystone, Walter Bieri, File)

Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, right, and AP journalist Kathy Gannon, are pictured during a visit to the photo agency Keystone in Zurich, Switzerland . Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and Kathy Gannon was wounded Friday, April 4, 2014 when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Keystone, Walter Bieri, File)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan police commander opened fire Friday on two Associated Press journalists inside a security forces base in eastern Afghanistan, killing prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.

“Anja was a vibrant, dynamic journalist well-loved for her insightful photographs, her warm heart and joy for life. We are heartbroken at her loss.”

— AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll

Niedringhaus, 48, who had covered conflict zones from the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and was part of a team of AP photographers who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, died instantly of her wounds.

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Gannon, who for many years was the news organization’s Afghanistan bureau chief and currently is a special correspondent for the region, was shot three times in the wrists and shoulder. After surgery, she was in stable condition and spoke to medical personnel before being flown to Kabul. Read the rest of this entry »


Krauthammer on Hillary’s Achievements as Secretary of State: ‘The U.S. antagonized Canada, for God’s sake. Canada, of all people…’

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Appearing on on Tuesday’s Hugh Hewitt Radio Show Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that Hillary Clinton did not have one achievement in her four years running the State Department, and further, the U.S. position in the world actually went backwards during her tenure…

… Look, you know, when people talk about Hillary being a superb Secretary of State, I just ask one question. Name me one thing, just one, not three, give me one thing she achieved in her four years as Secretary of State. I have yet to hear an answer…

…I think she is the frontrunner. I don’t think the convention will be a coronation. It’s going to be a worship service. But that’s not exactly why we have a Secretary of State…

[Order Charles’ book: Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics from Amazon]

…I do think it’s really awful that you can have a four year term, achieve nothing, and as you say, go backwards with Russia, backwards on Iran, backwards on Syria, backwards on Venezuela, backwards in relation with just about all of our allies, including, I would add, Keystone, which sits on the President’s head, and antagonizing Canada, for God’s sake. Canada, of all people…

Read the rest of this entry »


Obamacare Quote of the Day

“…the White House and its friends don’t want you to think that it will be the young, fit, and fancy-free who will be the ones most likely to go on welfare—I mean Obamacare.  No, instead they want you to believe that those who would work less are 55 year olds who would stay home to care for a sick parent, simultaneously embark on a second or third career, and become Pulitzer Prize-winning writers…”

–Lloyd Green, The Daily Beast

Obamacare Is Wayne’s World

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Novelist’s Ex In Bizarre Handgun Threat Arrest

Cormac McCarthy’s former wife pulled weapon from her vagina

jennifermccartyA domestic dispute over space aliens escalated Saturday morning when a lingerie-clad New Mexico woman allegedly pointed a silver handgun at her boyfriend, a weapon she retrieved from her vagina, where it had been placed while the accused was performing a sex act, police allege.

To make matters more strange, the arrested woman is the most recent ex-wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy, author of “The Road” and No Country for Old Men.”

As detailed in a probable cause statement, Jennifer McCarthy, a 48-year-old artist, argued about space aliens with her 53-year-old beau, whose name was redacted from the document released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. When questioned by deputies, McCarthy reportedly acknowledged that she “did have a gun at the time” the couple was yelling at each other.

Read the rest of this entry »


David Mamet talks War

Writer and director David Mamet speaks about actors Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy at the Hollywood Walk of Fame March 7, 2012. Huffman and Macy have been awarded joint stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - RTR2Z0AK

Writer and director David Mamet speaks about actors Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy at the Hollywood Walk of Fame March 7, 2012.  REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

 “Roll back the clock, and every possession of every great country started with a crime,” playwright David Mamet told The Daily Caller in a wide-ranging interview.

Patrick Howley writes:  He was paraphrasing Balzac, by way of the first page of Mario Puzo’s Godfather, but he might as well have been quoting any of the modern writers who call themselves Mamet disciples. His new book “3 War Stories” is a trifecta of short novellas dealing with war, crime, and history in ways that avoid easy moral conclusions.

The stories deal respectively with a 19th century writer/spy (“The Redwing”), religion within the context of the American Indian Wars (“Notes on Plains Warfare”), and a peculiar crime committed against the backdrop of the start of the Israeli War of Independence. But through them all runs themes consistent to Mamet’s work since his early plays in the 1970′s: criminality, ethics, and the dysfunctional ways people treat each other in societies.

War, it could safely be said, is just the most extreme example of the casual violence that has always colored David Mamet’s world. And his views on the matter are just as complex as his work would suggest.

“You can’t write about history without writing about politics at some point. History is about movements of people,” Mamet said. ”What is criminality and what is government is a theme that runs through every history. You can even see it today with John Kerry in Vietnam. He was highly decorated for his service then he came back and decided the Vietnam War was a crime. Now he’s doing the same thing in Iran.”

Mamet, an observant Jew who believes Kerry’s recent easing of sanctions on Iran represents the Obama administration turning its back on Israel, is a rare outspoken conservative in show business, crediting the economist Milton Friedman as having helped him transform from a typical Baby Boomer liberal.

“Obama is a tyrant the same way FDR was a tyrant. He has a view of presidential power that states: the government is in control of the country and the president is in charge of the government. He’s taken an imperial view of the presidency,” Mamet said.

“I don’t think war is inherently necessary. It used to be thought that a country shouldn’t go to war unless it is absolutely necessary,” he said. “War is tragedy. The great war stories are tragedies. It’s the failure of diplomacy. “War and Peace,” “A Farewell to Arms,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Those are some of the greatest tragedies.”

But in the event of tragedy, according to Mamet, compromise is off the table.

Read the rest of this entry »


Remembering JFK

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There was a time when our nation was united in the defense of liberty and promise of America.

Senator Ted Cruz writes:  There is good reason why so many Americans remember our 35th president, John F. Kennedy, so fondly.

Throughout his life, as a young man in college, war hero, U.S. representative, senator, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, and president, Kennedy fully embraced the American spirit and called on us to do the same.

It’s fitting that his first words to the nation, in his inaugural address as president, were “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” Today, on the 50th anniversary of his untimely death, let’s reflect on all he did.

In 1940, the year young Kennedy graduated from college, the nation was in the throes of World War II. He could have done anything, but he wanted nothing more than to fight for his country, ultimately earning the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for acts of heroism and, owing to related injuries, the Purple Heart.

As a U.S. senator he won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Profiles in Courage, that celebrated the service of eight U.S. senators — one of them, a personal hero of mine, former U.S. senator Sam Houston.

Read the rest of this entry »


David Mamet: ‘The Essence of Science is Doubt, to Follow Truth Wherever it Leads…’

“…that’s also the essence of drama to follow the truth of human interaction where it leads. You can’t do that while you’re also trying to promote a political agenda…”

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Mamet’s appearance was brief, I happened to catch the segment, which was only a few moments. (artists and authors are rarely the lead guest on news programs, even dramatists of Mamet’s stature) Mamet’s comments, summarized here in this RealClearPolitics item, appear to focus on one minor comment, that Hollywood conservatives  are “legitimately frightened for their jobs“, but that’s just a provocative headline, not a reflection of his commentary. After the jump is a transcript of the Mamet interview. Mamet’s new book, Three War Stories, is available in paperback, and also as a Kindle edition.

Screenwriter and playwright David Mamet tells FOX News’ Megyn Kelly why there seems to be so few conservatives in Hollywood. Mamet said that people in Hollywood who fake being liberal do so because they’re “legitimately frightened for their jobs.” [VIDEO]

Mamet explained why he believes there are few open conservatives in Hollywood. “Conservatives believe in smaller government and in the power of the electorate. So I think that we’re less likely to try to use a dramatic forum to warp people’s political views.” —RealClearPolitics

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Genocide: Stalin’s Great Famine Still Haunts Ukraine

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Starving children in the Ukraine during the Holodomor, 1932-33

Eighty years later, there’s no denying the Soviet atrocity.

 “We went to a field. We had nothing to eat. Everything was taken from us. So my mother decided we would go to the field, find some half-frozen potatoes, some kind of vegetables, to make a soup. At that time the Soviet Union was teaching people to report on each other, to spy on each other. Somebody saw that we came with some vegetables, half-frozen, and they arrested my mother. That was the last time I saw her.”

Alec Torres writes:  So Eugenia Dallas, originally Eugenia Sakevych, began her story to me. Born in Ukraine around 1925 (she does not know her exact age), Eugenia lived through the Holodomor — genocide by famine — as a young girl. Shortly before her mother was taken, her father was sent to Siberia, deemed a criminal because he owned a few acres of land.

In 1932–33, Ukraine was brought to its knees. After years of mass arrests and deportations had failed to bring the Ukrainians into line, Stalin decided to crush this proud nation with a new weapon: food. Ukraine, once the breadbasket of Europe, was stripped of its grain. With its borders sealed and its citizens imprisoned, an estimated 4 to 14 million people starved to death as food rotted in silos or was sold abroad. Stalin wanted purity, and Ukraine’s nationalism threatened his perverse utopia.

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Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media

Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should ‘fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can’t control’

Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, for which he on the Pulitzer Prize. Photograph: Wally McNamee/Corbis

Seymore Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, for which he on the Pulitzer Prize. Photograph: Wally McNamee/Corbis

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would” – or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with MediaGuardian. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Red line’ just one of roughly 500 insincere, empty, false, meaningless Obama promises

Aug. 9, 2013: President Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington.AP

Aug. 9, 2013: President Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. AP

President Obama vowing that Syria would “cross a red line” by using chemical weapons is far from the only marker he’s laid down or promise he’s tried to keep since running for president in 2008.

The president has made more than 500 campaign-related promises alone. And just last week he re-drew a line in the sand for congressional Republicans flirting with shutting down the government over his Affordable Care Act and looking for spending cuts as part of a separate deal to increase the federal debt limit. Read the rest of this entry »


Roger Ebert: The Last Critic Who Mattered?

Roger Ebert

This week’s opening night tribute to the Toronto Film Festival’s chief cheerleader, the late Roger Ebert, will beg a key question: Can anyone fill his shoes? No other critic ever possessed the international platform of his TV gigs, his visibility, celebrity or his Pulitzer Prize.

To put it another way: Was Roger Ebert the last film critic who mattered?

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‘Castro’s Daughter’ Movie Finds Director

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Precious” producer Sarah Siegel-Magness will direct historical drama “Castro’s Daughter,” replacing “Il Postino” director Michael Radford.

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David Mamet Speaks: To Jews Planning to Vote for Obama

A note to a stiff-necked people

BY DAVID MAMET

To those Jews planning to vote for Obama:

Are you prepared to explain to your children not the principles upon which your vote is cast, but its probable effects upon them?

Irrespective of your endorsement of liberal sentiments, of fairness and “more equal distribution,” will you explain to your children that top-down economic policies will increasingly limit their ability to find challenging and well-paid work, and that the diminution in employment and income will decrease their opportunity to marry and raise children?

Will you explain (as you have observed) that a large part of their incomes will be used to fund programs that they may find immoral, wasteful and/or indeed absurd? And that the bulk of their taxes go to no programs at all, but merely service the debt you entailed on them?

Will you tell your children that a liberal government will increasingly marginalize, dismiss and weaken the support for and the safety of the Jewish state?

Will you tell them that, in a state-run economy, hard work may still be applauded, but that it will no longer be rewarded?

Will you explain that whatever their personal beliefs, tax-funded institutions will require them to imbibe and repeat the slogans of the left, and that, should they differ, they cannot have a career in education, medicine or television unless they keep their mouths shut?

Will you explain to them that it is impossible to make a budget, and that the basic arithmetic we all use at the kitchen table is not practiced at the federal and state level, and to suggest that it should be is “selfishness?”

Most importantly, will you teach them never to question the pronouncements of those in power, for to do so is to risk ostracism?

Are you prepared to sit your children down and talk them through your vote on the future you are choosing for them?

Please remember that we have the secret ballot and, should you, on reflection, vote in secret for a candidate you would not endorse in public, you will not be alone.


David Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony- and Oscar-nominated playwright, essayist, screenwriter and film director. His latest book is “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture” (Sentinel).

 

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