This 1961 novel chronicles the power and swift fall from power of Arthur “Goddamn” Fenstermaker. A powerful Texas governor–and an LBJ-like figure, Fenstermaker dominates the lives of the politicians, media and staffers around him. Though much heralded by figures like Gore Vidal and David Halberstam, the book has fallen out of wide circulation in recent years either because of the cheapening of our culture or its antiquated name. Continue reading
This past weekend the Yankees swept my Royals in a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium, and I was able to watch parts of all three games. As the Royals appear to have entered back into their traditional year-long funk, I feel it’s time to mention what I saw on the three Yes network telecasts.
1. David Cone is a great color guy. – I maybe should have known this, but Cone provides great behind-the-scenes content about what is going through the pitcher’s mind. Since much of the game is decided by what is bouncing around in a pitcher’s head at any given moment, this is very helpful. He gets bonus points for his Kansas City roots and the fact that he used to walk up for $1.50 general admission tix.
2. The Yanks and Royals have developed quite the buddy buddy relationship. – The Royals’ tribute to Mariano Rivera and the Yankees’ commentators reverence for the Royals of yesteryear show that, while Royals fans might hate the Yankees most of all, the two organizations have grown very respectful toward one another. It should also be noted that the Yankees play by play people were quite complimentary towards Alex Gordon, as well they should be.
3. Mike Moustakis has problems. – This guy is extremely frustrating to watch right now. He makes one good play in the field then throws the next one over the first baseman’s head. He strikes out meekly then hits the next one over the fence. I don’t know what this guy is doing but it ain’t working.
4. Ned Yost made a terrible decision. – On Friday night, the Royals tied the game 5-5 going into the 6th inning. It was a perfect time to take out starter Wade Davis, who had already thrown five shakey innings. Unfortunately, Yost left him out on the mound and the Yanks scored five runs. I think the whole series could have changed if Yost had brought in a reliever to start that inning.
5. Something is wrong with Billy Butler. – Old “Country Breakfast” had better get it going soon. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very long year, regardless of the great start by the pitching staff.
This Times story tells the stunning stay of execution Mississippi death row inmate Willie Manning received hours before he was to die. The decision came after the Justice Department sent letters calling testimony linking him to the murder of two college students in 1994 “erroneous.” The stunned prosecuting attorney is quoted in the Times using the word “unprecedented” to describe the correspondence using forensic evidence to question the outcome of the trial. One wonders if this type of intervention will be more common in the future.
This Times graphic manages to take a great topic–the competing budget proposals from our various elected reps in Washington and how they compare to past budget–and turn it into an unintellegible mess. The yellow line denoting where the deficit stops and starts sits in a fixed location, which is a distortion since tax revenues vary from year to year. The percentages making up such deficits as a share of the economy makes me scratch my head because there is again a lack of hard numbers to get my head around. And while it’s cool that you can get the breakdown between defense, discretionary and other types of spending among the various plans, it’s difficult to understand just what kind of spending is a part of each section. Sure I know what defense spending is, but do I really know how the discretionary spending which must be authorized by Congress differs from defense spending? This one glosses over details and avoids nuance in a debate rife with both.
This WNYC graphic is much more straightforward. If I want to see the price of birth control in my neighborhood, I can just type in my address and find out what’s available at the Pathmark down the street. In addition, I can investigate the price of other forms of the pill for comparison’s sake. The one difficulty here could be if you are clueless guy like me, you just might not know what the most common form of the pill is or have any basis for understanding the numbers. But I like how helpful and user friendly this graphic is in execution.
Joan De Jesus, the owner of a tiny electronics store called Joan Cellular in Bushwick, Brooklyn, received a $1000 fine from the city Department of Consumer Affairs for not displaying a business license in his store. He said he had trouble obtaining the document. Continue reading