Thursday, March 25, 2004


Not sure whether to be singing an aria or the blues today. On the one hand, Old Faithful himself, NPR Morning Edition host Bob Edwards, is apparently too old (at 56) to keep reeling them in at the new and improved, Golden-Arches-Endowed NPR. It kind of leaves some of us dazed. How is it, one wonders, that those old geezers--the trio of TV network anchors--can smoothly keep going well into their '70s even as their faces grow less than telegenically ideal? And yet the dulcet-voiced Bobby E., on the other hand, a decade and a half younger, and with no need for a facial, gets tossed aside. Perhaps his pipes are slipping in some fashion perceptible only at canine frequency ranges, but I don't think us humans have any problems with it. But I take heart in his reaction: I love how he's been a truth-teller to the bitter end, refusing to play along with the standard corporate bullshit protocol, which calls for all parties to pretend that the sacking is a mutually agreed upon move. Instead, he plaintively noted to every interviewer who asked that none of this was his idea, taking care to be as well-modulated in his reaction as his voice is over the air. And this has sparked something of a budding national outrage which I think has a decent chance of getting this overturned. This whole thing may just move me to sign my first-ever online petition. Check out the empty Aeron chair here.

I'd Really Rather Be in Prague. I'm also just a tad bummed to have missed this, a writers' festival in the world's most beautiful city. It's beautiful not in the sunny American ideal sense, but rather in the tragic, ancient, gothic manner that my European lineage/son-of-an-architect DNA has endowed me with. But there's always next year. Hope springs eternal. Perhaps I'll roust my dad and take him there next spring as part of one last European tour for a 76-year-young fellow.

Standing Up to Abuse. And yes, there's so very much more to be happy about today, things that would prompt an operatic trill, if only I could sing a note. Each day brings us more encouragement that courageous citizens are standing up one by one to tell the truth even in the face of a furious onslaught of lies and abuse from our paranoid right-wing cabal in Washington. And this will culminate later this year, one hopes, in our winning back our country. Yesterday it was the steady, heroic truthtelling of former White House antiterrorism chief Richard Clarke, braving the organized smears to tell millions of his countrymen what most intelligent people already have discerned: that our president and his top aides are outrageous liars. And today comes breaking word from the generally authoritative Capitol Hill paper Roll Call that the man who has a chokehold on the Congress, Rep. Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, is discussing contingency plans in the event that he is indicted for a range of alleged campaign-finance abuses back in his native Texas. And if it happens, it will be because of the heroics of another quietly courageous American, a formerly obscure county D.A., Ronnie Earle, who has stood up to every manner of obstacle being thrown in his path by frantic Republicans intent on protecting DeLay (for the best background on this case, be sure to read this Salon story from a couple of weeks ago. Just click on the free day pass in the upper right corner for access). When the Texas legislature raised the possibility of stripping Earle of his budget, he still didn't relent. He simply responded that even if he were rendered staffless, he would simply issue subpoenas based on newspaper investigations of the funny-money trail. May the next president award these two fellows the Medal of Honor.


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