Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kitchen Sink Day

New Ways to Waste Time. The beauty of the Internet is that it's the best tool ever for soaking up one's time. But here's an online innovation that allows you to keep tabs of the latest web bubble in real time. With Yahoo Finance's streaming quotes feature, you can keep one eye on Google's ever-rising stock price (if it's not regularly updating, it's because you've clicked on it when the market's not in session). Every couple seconds it gives you the new price, and you don't even have to keep hitting the refresh button. Who says progress is bad?

If Paula Jones Owned Google. Now there's a fanciful phrase that got my attention. It's buried in an otherwise interesting column written recently by The New Republic's sometimes-officious literary editor, Leon Wieselter. He roasts the Clintons' inflated egos and never-ending search for redemption with this thrilling little riff, which I found myself rather agreeing with: "The Clintons have never recognized any difference between good people and people who help them. Even Rupert Murdoch is now a good man. If Paula Jones owned Google, a Christian reconciliation would long ago have been accomplished."

Blogging Can Get You Expelled. But not just from school.
This United Nations diplomat got expelled from the Sudan for reporting on difficulties the outlaw country is having in Darfur. Good for him, I say. Like the late NYTimes editor Abe Rosenthal (who was ejected from Poland for reporting too much too truthfully, for which he later won a Pulitzer), may he wear it forever as a badge of honor.

Speaking of Rosenthal. This is a bad development: Abe Rosenthal's son, Andrew,
recently being named editor of the Times editorial page. Like his father, he's a conservative, though we can only hope a principled conservative. He was a favorite of bully-boy editor Howell Raines', which speaks volumes. He now joins Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the NYT book review, as the second conservative to head a major piece of the Times. While the staid book review did indeed need a jolt of energy, Tanenhaus has accomplished that by making a series of questionable calls, assigning important books to questionable reviewers, some with ideological axes to grind. His defenders, including some on the left, call him a smart conservative, echoing the kinds of things often said about op-ed columnist David Brooks (about whom it was once said he's the only conservative who fits in well at an Upper West Side Manhattan dinner party). The upshot, however, is that now we'll have to keep watch over the op-ed pages too.


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