Friday, February 22, 2008

The readers react

As you might have guessed, the last few days have been turbulent at the Freeman, what with many readers writing and phoning to tell our editors, the publisher and the circulation people in no uncertain terms how much they disapproved of the newspaper's publication of a blog by bigot-turned-murderer James Leshkevich.

I've just finished reading the editors' more detailed perspective, which will be on the editorial page of the Sunday Freeman. (And I speak to the issue briefly this week on the Media Project on WAMC, 6 p.m. Sunday, repeated 3 p.m. Monday.)

The Leshkevich murder-suicide is a tragic, emotional subject, and it produced an understandably visceral reaction. The editorial may not turn around the Freeman's critics, but the editors hope it will at least offer some insight into how and why certain news judgments are made.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The biggest mystery in the wake of yesterday's baseball-steroids hearings may not be who was lying -- Clemens or McNamee -- but why the tone of the questioning was split along party lines.

Republicans basically gave McNamee what for. Democrats were mostly skeptical about Clemenss but treated him with respect.

It's being speculated the Clemens, a friend and Texas neighbor of George Bush 41, was being given cover by the GOP. There's already a story out today that if Clemens ever is convicted of perjury, George W. Bush will pardon him.

What I found particularly distasteful was the manner in which several Republicans on the committee went after McNamee. Reps. Burton, Shays and Issa tore him to shreds in no uncertain terms. McNamee's counsel later called it a "public flogging."

There was no reason for it. Say what you will about this entire steroids episode, McNamee and Clemens were not legally forced to testify. They cooperated with the committee and deserved better than what they got from a few grandstanders who sounded more like bleacher bums than United States congressmen.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This and that

On my notepad:

* Four years after the Teicher Organization proposed a viable solution to Uptown Kingston's housing and parking needs, a softening economy seems to have put an end to the project, right around the time the garage literally began to crumble. So now the city has no garage and no concrete plans for redevelopment. Of course, had the Teicher approval process moved forward in a more expedited manner, like from start to finish in, say, two years, by now the first tenants might be moving in and the new garage might have been fully operational. The wheels of progress move too slowly around here.

* When I talk to people whose ears are close to the ground, I keep hearing the name of someone officially outside of city government who supposedly is really pulling the strings at Kingston City Hall. I hope my sources are wrong.

* Another big casino proposal was announced today. This one has the Monticello Raceway people moving their harness racing track and gaming operation to the Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, not far from the Ulster County line in Sullivan County. I'll file this one under, I'll believe it when I see it.

* SUNY New Paltz Foundation has an Alan Chartock roast planned for March 12 at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. I'm the MC. A list of notables will get their shots at the ubiquitous professor, who will no doubt revel in the spotlight and get in the last word to boot ... as usual.

* Most of you probably haven't seen "Imus in the Morning" since he returned to radio in December. His program, formerly simulcast on MSNBC, is now seen on RFD-TV. Local cable outlets don't offer that channel yet, but I get it on DirecTV. RFD's programming is primarily aimed at the heartland -- lots of farming and horses. Its owners are hopeful of extending their reach big time now that they have Imus. And it's working, witness a recent agreement with the Comcast cable giant. Time Warner probably isn't far behind. That has to be the payoff, literally, because I haven't seen one paid commercial on Imus since it came on the air. All of RFD's commercials are "house ad" promotions for its other shows. (Country fans will be pleased to learn RFD has a new Crook and Chase" program. If you don't know who they are, you won't be interested in seeing them.)