Missing Airliner Brings Back Fear of Flying
Apr02

Missing Airliner Brings Back Fear of Flying

Endless fascination with the Malaysian airliner goes on, rippling out to TV commercials unseen now for decades: courses for those afraid to fly. The condition has a scientific name, pteromerhanophobia, afflicting the famous from football commentator John Madden to comic Whoopi Goldberg, and bringing back memories of my own struggles with the condition. Briefly in World War II, when I was doing clerical work on a B-17 bomber base, my...

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Harlem Fire: Paul Ryan’s Racial Blindness
Mar14

Harlem Fire: Paul Ryan’s Racial Blindness

A building explodes in Harlem, leaving the dead so badly burned they cannot be identified, but we know they are not white. At the same time, a leading GOP thinker Paul Ryan, who has been on government payrolls since college, proclaims that young “inner city” men are “not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work” because they rely on government assistance to survive. In 1963, my high-school classmate...

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The View from 90: Havoc and Hope
Mar10

The View from 90: Havoc and Hope

On March 4, 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated. It was my ninth birthday. In April 1945, I was a 21-year-old foot soldier on the floor of a German farmhouse when someone shook me awake to whisper that FDR had died. Now, at 90, I am inevitably shaped by those years after a working lifetime as writer, editor and publisher trying to explain the world to others—-and myself. The scenes around me today are filled with human...

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CNN Wins Worst Timing of the Year Award
Feb17

CNN Wins Worst Timing of the Year Award

Program note: Chris Cuomo’s extended sitdown with George Zimmerman will air today instead of tomorrow as planned. Cynical observers may see a connection with the Michael Dunn verdict, but has teenage murder become just another chess piece in the media ratings game? Is crazy racism to be sold between commercials for mouthwash and erectile dysfunction? What happened to Jordan Davis in a Florida parking lot when he went there for gum and...

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Blizzards of Misinformation, NY and DC
Feb15

Blizzards of Misinformation, NY and DC

Cable news crawls about the worst storm ever are as accurate as their political hyberbole, that is not at all, at least for New York and its environs. The Great Blizzard of 1947, which brought the Northeast to a standstill, dumped 26.4 inches of snow on Manhattan during Christmas week. Plows stacked up piles as high as ten feet, some of which did not melt for months. It was described as the worst storm in history since the fabled...

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