I take no pleasure knowing that in the short life of this blog this is the second time I am taking the New York Times editorial page to task. I love the New York Times. It has been part of my life since I was a little boy when my father would pull the car up in front of what we called the news store in Pearl River, New York. I would scamper out, run in, buy the Times and his cigarettes, and run back to the car. I think I ran everywhere back then. The concept of walking places was entirely lost on me. What was the point of walking? If you ran, you got where you wanted to go faster!

In November I took the NYT editorial page to task for saying “While there are plenty of underprivileged in the current (military), at least they are there by their own choosing”. The editorial page was arguing against New York Representative Charles Rangel’s proposal to bring back the draft. Mr. Rangel’s proposal was rooted in the accurate assessment that the all-volunteer army leaves most of the fighting and dying to the underprivileged while the well-heeled and well-connected get a pass. The assertion that the underprivileged are in the military by their own choosing missed the fact that when you are underprivileged your options in life are horribly limited.

Today, in a lukewarm editorial on President Gerald Ford, the Times displays a bit of arrogance and stubbornness. Since Mr. Ford’s death, many on both sides of the aisle have, with great justification, praised his decency, integrity and political courage. Thirty days into his presidency he pardoned President Nixon and in the next breath gave amnesty to 200,000 men and women who had dodged the draft. Both decisions helped heal a country desperately in need of healing. In 1974, the year Mr. Ford took office, the country had been through 11 years of pure hell, starting with the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, the often bloody and heartbreaking civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Robert F. Kennedy and Malcom X, the Watergate scandal and President Nixon’s resignation.

Many who disagreed with the pardon at the time, this writer included, have come to recognize the wisdom of Mr. Ford’s judgment. Mr. Ford knew this country, like a horribly battered and bloody fighter, needed time to heel. And while the pardon brought a severe backlash of criticism, and probably caused Mr. Ford the 1976 president election, history has proven him right. Unlike some recent presidents, Mr. Ford had the courage and integrity to do what all our presidents should do, put the country ahead of their political aspirations.

Yet today the New York Times editorial page says Mr. Ford’s “legacy is limited” and reaffirms its 1974 stance that the pardon was a mistake because “the nation is strong enough to endure almost anything but burying the truth.” This is true, kind of. However, the nation knew the truth. Moreover, just because a battered and bloody nation could have endured a Nixon trial doesn’t mean it should have been forced to endure yet another painful and damaging experience. The New York Times was, like me and many others, wrong then. Unlike me and many others, the New York Times is wrong now. It fails to recognize the country had suffered enough. To his credit and our country’s benefit, Mr. Ford did recognize this. He knew that the country, like an individual, needed and deserved time to heal. There is nothing limited about the legacy of a man who reminded us that we truly are a nation of the people, for the people and by the people – not a nation of a misguided few.



The American people deserve an honest media without agenda. However, if members of the media have an agenda, have the guts to be honest about it. The American people deserve the courage of honesty from those in the political arena as well.

Not a chance.

In late November, Republican strategist Ed Roberts pointed out that Barack Obama’s middle name was Hussein. Shortly thereafter, a hypocritical Chris Matthew’s of MSNBC’s Hardball, asked Roberts why he was pointing out Obama’s middle name. What Matthews did not say, according to Media Matters, was that he, Matthews, was the first to point out Obama’s middle name during a November 7 edition of Hardball. The poison of dishonesty does not stop there. Just recently CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield warned that Obama’s casual style of dress would tempt people to compare the senator to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, another causal dresser.

Roberts poo-pooed the seriousness of his utterance, Matthews dodged responsibility for his, and Greenfield said he was joking and even went so far as to imply he had no idea anyone could misunderstand his “joke”. “How could anyone possibly take such analysis seriously? Or consider it a ham-handed effort at character assassination?” Mr. Greenfield wrote on the CNN website. Well, anyone with an IQ in a least double-digits much less three, Mr. Greenfield.

According to Media Matters, Mr. Greenfield has yet to apologize “for his role in doctoring a video clip of Hillary Clinton to portray her as a liar.” Mr. Greenfield’s claim he had no idea his observation would have such an impact reveals three possibilities, he is the only person in history whose IQ and life experience can leave and return without warning, he is a liar because he doesn’t give a damn or he is a liar because he doesn’t have the courage to be honest.

Meanwhile, all of the people referenced above (save forObama and Media Matters) insult all American people. Tell us the truth. Most Americans I know understand when someone makes a mistake or shoots from the hip from time to time. Most Americans like and admire it when they see someone with the courage to apologize. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is a case in point. Recently he accused NBC reporter David Gregory of asking a partisan question. It took Mr. Snow a matter of days to acknowledge his misstep and apologize to Mr. Gregory. Mr. Snow received well deserved praise for his honesty and courage.

You would think Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Matthews and Mr. Roberts would enjoy similar praise. Then again, it requires the courage of honest integrity to earn that praise. It seems Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Matthews have not been in the same room with courage for quite some time. Not only am I not joking, I am being entirely honest.


Written December 13, 2006

I am scared for my country.

Most of me believes the backbone of our democracy is stronger than any misguided leader. Today I heard our president in a press conference say “I want to hear from ideas and opinions.” I, for one, can’t remember the last time an idea or an opinion talked to me but then again I’m not the president. I am just an everyday guy who is limited to ideas and opinions expressed by, well, people.

I listened to our president say he had a “fruitful discussion about how to secure our country” with members of the Joint Chiefs, the vice-president (God help us all) and others. The president said our military was “taking the fight” to the enemy.

As I listened to him I felt and thought several things: frustration at the man’s inability to admit a mistake or admit a wrong, as if to do so would be an act of weakness. If admitting a mistake or a wrong is an act of weakness, Mr. President, how come you can’t do it?

I listen to him and I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken for the American men and women who have been killed and wounded and soon will be killed killed and wounded. I am heartbroken for the Iraqi men, women and children who have been killed and wounded and will be killed and wounded. And I am heartbroken for all the families.

I am angry too. We were attacked by Al Qaeda and their leader was and still is Osama bin Laden. When we were attacked we by and large had worldwide support when it came to going after Bin Laden and the Taliban. American people of all political persuasions were joined in their desire to lash back at and bring to justice those who slaughtered 3,000 innocents. But here is the tragic reality of the day; those that killed 3,000 innocents are an afterthought and Iraq is, by any measure, a disaster. We have just had a real bi-partisan report offered to our country by the Iraq Study Group and already I see the president discarding it.

I am scared for my country. My country has a president who wants to hear from ideas and opinions. I wish he wanted to hear from the people. After all, the American people are the ones that deserve to be heard. After all, it is their children that are being killed and wounded.


Written December 10, 2006

Let Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch of our government rejoice (and do a bit of learning while they’re at it); the 10-member Iraq Study Group has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a bipartisan effort by a group of people with a wide range of political views is possible!

Whether you agree with ISG’s report or not, they are a lesson in democracy. Any American not proud of their effort ought to hang their heads in shame. The last time I saw something like this was the Watergate Committee so many years ago now. Like the ISG, you could not discern the political party of the Watergate Committee member when they worked. Why? Because they were putting the welfare of the country first, which is, in my view, is exactly what the ISG did.

Just ponder the composition of the ISG: James A. Baker III, Lee H. Hamilton, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., Edwin Meese III , Sandra Day O’Connor, Leon E. Panetta, William J. Perry, Charles S. Robb, and Alan K. Simpson; a diverse group to be sure.

When the ISG presented their report to the country, I was moved to tears. Here was a group of Americans who refused to fire rounds at past mistakes. Here was a group of Americans who stayed loyal to a “look forward” attitude. Here was a group of Americans that refused to be pulled off course by some media questions that reeked of one political agenda or another. Here was a group of Americans that put their country first and unanimously agreed on 79 points. If only the Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch would do that, imagine how the country would benefit.

Naturally, after the ISG issued their report, there were predictable responses from political slugs like Rush Limbaugh and the New York Post. Then again, Limbaugh and the New York Post really do have value; they remind us this is a free country and all views have their place. Limbaugh and the New York Post offer views that prove there is no relationship between hate and solution. The ISG, agree with their report or not, remind all Americans that what makes this country great, democracy, is still alive and well.


Written December 10, 2006

In the preceding entry there is a newspaper article about my court victory against the NY State Crime Victims Board. In fact, in my view, it was a victory against a CVB policy, not the entire CVB.

The CVB had adopted a misguided policy that said no crime victim would be reimbursed for telephone counseling. This, of course, is an appalling policy. I have known many victims (survivors of rape, gunshot wounds, etc.) that for physical or emotional reasons cannot get out of their homes or have a terribly difficult time retaining the ability to leave their homes. My guess is this policy was advocated by one or two people and the CVB made an honest mistake by adopting it.

Having said all this, the recent court decision in my favor is in fact a victory for the NY State Crime Victims Compensation Board just as it is a victory for all crime victims in my state. It would be brutally unfair to define the CVB by a single policy. The best boards in the world have made mistakes, or adopted a policy they believed was effective and then later changed their course. The NY CVB has done right by me for years and some of their staff have helped me in ways so meaningful the scope of my gratitude is beyond my ability to describe.

It was the policy that was flawed, not the entire CVB.