If this were a real blog, I’d have more crowing to do regarding theTimes‘ decision to drop William Kristol from its op-ed page. I wrote acolumn about his hiring for the American Prospect last year which hasbeen reposted here. The point I want to reiterate is this, when the Times was overwhelmed by complaints for the insult Kristol represented to its readership,editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, speaking to Politico, dismissedall criticism of this “serious, respected conservative intellectual” as”intolerant,” “absurd,” and indicative of a “weird fear of opposingviews.” Despite post-Jayson Blair promises of greater transparency, theTimes itself offered no new coverage of the controversy, and none ofKristol’s colleagues on the page apparently thought it wise to weigh in,either.

Now, apparently, Rosenthal has come around to the views of his critics.Kristol was a failure as a columnist and a weekly embarrassment to thepaper. Where’s the apology?

Meanwhile, the Post‘s Fred Hiatt may or may not regret his commentsabout Kristol here but it hardly matters. It’s pretty widely acceptedthat the Post‘s page is a conservative-driven hodgepodge that does notrival the Times for influence or respect, fairly or not. Kristol won’tdo much damage on page containing the likes of Krauthammer Tyrrell,Novak, etc…

Also, if this were a real blog, I suppose I’d have more to say inresponse to Jonathan Chait’s nasty TNR columns and posts on the debateover Israel, here.

I will however point out that by pointing toTime and Newsweek as evidence to subvert my thesis, he is eluding my point, which was addressed specifically to the punditocracy debate, notto the reporting. Reporting on Israel/Palestine has become much fairerto the complexities of the conflict during the past decades; thepunditocracy remains mired in the McCarthyite-style accusations ofChait’s boss, Marty Peretz and his mini-me James Kirchick. My columncontained an explicit criticism of the Nation‘s coverage ofGaza–indeed, I would not have published it if it did not. Where’sChait’s criticism of Peretz , who, after all, does not even own themagazine anymore, having been forced to sell it off after having nearlydestroyed it during his thirty year tenure, and his vicious McCarthyiteattacks on Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias and Spencer Ackerman, all of whomare more accomplished in their young lives than Peretz. (Unless youinclude negative accomplishments, that is.) Chait knows thistoo–indeed, just about everybody knows it. John Judis has recentlystepped up to the plate to criticize Peretz’s antics and been paid backwith more schoolyard taunts. Big deal. It only increases the respectJohn has earned out in the real world. So why the one-sided attacks byChait and not a word about the cancer inside his own magazine? Itdoesn’t take much courage, alas, to attack Alterman or Ackerman in TNR.

In the meantime, I’ve not written anything about the invasion itself. Ididn’t see how it could improve Israel’s position or promote peace, butI waited in the hopes I would be proven wrong. It appears that onceagain, yet another war, cheered upon from the armchairs of TNR’soffices has proven a demonstrable moraland political disaster, to say nothing of the near-destruction of thesupport for Fatah and increased worldwide support for Hamas, and thewidespread hatred of Israel worldwide.

Read Mike Kazin on the inauguration here.

Scroll down on Sal’s Blog for some amazing stuff including Bruce’s DJing gig and the best of “Spectacle” on Youtube. You owe him one. Also Jerry…

Congrats to the folks at Big Love for the brilliant use of “Burn Downthe Mission” at the end of the show this week. I saw my first twoconcerts ever in fifth grade, with my beautiful French Quebecian aupair, Celine. The first was a bill of Sly, Ike and Tina, Rare Earthat the Garden and Gladys Knight and the Pips, but Sly came on so late, we only saw a half hour of theshow, because my parents were parked outside panicking. The second wasElton at Carnegie Hall. He wore jean overalls and played the same showyou can hear on “11/17/70.” It was one of the greatest things ever,though it spoiled me for a long time.

The Mail:

Name: Tim Kane
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

I am hoping you will comment on the 60 Minutes piece that Bob Simon did on the plight of West Bank Palestinians.

This was, I thought, decent journalism: comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comforted. However it was quite difficult to take. As Mitchell goes off to make piece in there, this piece seemed to indicate that it is not possible, at least in a conventional sense of a two state solutions.

I’ve commented here (or back at Media Matter’s site) that the one thing I gained from reading about Churchill is that one has to acknowledge legitimate rising aspirations of ones advisaries (though not their illegitimate aspirations).

The 60 Minutes piece was obviously one sided, but from a side or a perspective we never seem to get access to. If it were a legal case both sides would be able to present their views and rebut the other sides, etc…but it seems in America we only get the Israeli view and slim view of that as it is (I know little of the internal debates going on in Israel over the questions of one or two state settlements).

The 60 Minutes piece suggest that a ‘two state solution’ is no longer possible. The intransigence of the Jewish settlers seems arrogant if not conceited. There’s no guarantee that a one state solution could be resolved favorably for the Israeli Jews–in fact Simon seemed to suggest it means either ethnic cleansing, one man one vote, or apartheid. He went on to imply that apartheid ultimately means one mane one vote.

Simon said that in ten years the Palestinians would pose a majority in the combined territories of West Bank, Israel and Gaza. I checked the CIA’s website, and that already seems the case.

What that seems to indicate to me is that the ambition of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, despite the immense power of the Israeli military and lobby, is hanging by a thread. Perhaps the settlers wouldn’t mind ethnic cleansing, but that would likely make Israel the most pariahed state in History.

All in all, I find this quite difficult to grasp. I understand that nearly 99 percent of Jews back Israel and the idea of a homeland for Jews. Are they in denial about the situation? How do they see this working out?

The settlers in the West Bank are like the right wing Republican party operatives who believe that what they need to do to win elections is to be even more right wing. It seems to me that they can’t realize that their very positions are destroying themselves. I thought self preservation was a natural instinct in all beings, but apparently not in extremist conservatives.

Name: Ben Miller
Hometown: Washington, DC

Mr. Alterman,

Back in 2000, many said Al Gore needed to concede and not fight on, despite having more votes, because he would be perceived as a sore loser. In 2004, despite numerous irregularities in Ohio, John Kerry was warned do not attempt to fight the election result because you will be perceived as a sore loser. No one likes a sore loser was the frequent claim. Both Gore and Kerry were warned about getting lawyers involved. Now I know a senate election is not the same as the presidential, but where are all the calls about Norm Coleman being a sore loser? Why isn’t he being told to concede already? This is a man who after a thorough recount (which was not allowed in Florida in 2000) has lost the election. It was close, but it is still a loss. Yet, he won’t back down. Shouldn’t he be being called a sore loser (and many other things) for his refusal to step aside?

Name: Barbara Swalm
Hometown: Portland, ME

I liked Obama’s speech more than you–I was hoping for less “loftiness” and more hardness (which to my mind he delivered). Our place of business has a lobby TV–always tuned to FOX, so we got to listen to the dolts on that network. They could not even identify the cabinet or advisors. Sheesh.

I’m surprised some folks are thinking that the first quarter is going to be an improvement over the last (given GDP). The financial crisis is going to continue—its not a question about bank’s having money, it’s about the credit worthiness of the borrowers at this point. Commercial and Industrial (C&I) customers are being hit because of a lack of demand for product. Bank’s need to be prudent with cash so credit tightens, because the cash flow of the customer is tight. The REIT world is going to continue to have refinancing needs, many of the buildings they have are not providing sufficient cash flow to cover refinanced P&I, so they are going to have to sell properties that do cash flow (but won’t support a ton of debt) at prices that are going to continue to drive down the prices in the commercial property sector. AIG isn’t able to sell off profitable segments of it’s business (no takers, credit is tight and many in the financial services business don’t have the balance sheet strength to take them) so Citi is going to have problems off loading some of it business segments.

I don’t like the stimulus package, I think its directing cash where it doesn’t need to go (financial services. Let them fail, put the money into work projects that improve the infrastructure (and creates jobs) and into new industries and let’s recreate the financial services world. Its a lot more radical, but at least we take the hits now, rather than later. Yes, I work in the financial services arena and went trough the late 80s and early 90s crash.

Name: Mark Dolce
Hometown: Chicago

When the jokes write themselves…from The Politico‘s article, “Obama to GOP: ‘I Won'”:

“How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives?” Boehner asked. “How does that stimulate the economy?”

Boehner said congressional Republicans are also concerned about the “size of the package.”