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David Halberstam

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20070622heds_small.jpg • Bill Clinton chimes in on the Bloomberg party switch, and he's all smiles about it: "I suppose he just couldn't bear to be in the Republican Party anymore," and he won't affect Hillary's margins. [NYP] • The grad student who drove journalist David Halberstam to his death in a car crash will be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter: The accident happened when he made an illegal turn. [amNY] • Jason Giambi finally admitted to steroid use. He will now meet with MLB steroid czar George Mitchell, thus becoming the only current player to cooperate with the probe. [NYDN] • The Haywards — a wealthy Native American family, who built the Foxwoods casino — say they're being "shunned" and "pushed out" of the 800-person Connecticut tribe. Which makes them the Trumps of the Pequot. [NYT] • And the city credits its "hard-hitting" TV ads (starring Ronaldo the Hole-in-the-Throat Guy) with reducing the local smoking rates to a historic low. Could be that. Or could be the fact that you can't smoke anywhere. [NY Metro]

Will Halberstam’s Widow Sue UC Berkeley for Negligence?

Prominent speakers and performers from Gay Talese to Paul Simon will eulogize David Halberstam at a Riverside Church memorial service tomorrow afternoon, but across the country at the University of California, Berkeley, the school’s lawyers are bracing for a lawsuit from Halberstam’s family, which has already asked for $20 million in damages. The Pulitzer Prize–winning author was killed in April in a car accident that happened while a Berkeley journalism student was driving Halberstam, who had spoken at the university, to a nearby interview. “We’re examining the situation more closely, in the anticipation they may take some action,” Mike Smith, a lawyer for the school, told New York. “It’s a very tricky situation, and a delicate one.”

Halberstam in ‘New York’: On Book Tour With the Knicks

David Halberstam, who died yesterday, is one of the very few reporters — you can count them on your fingers — who shifted the history of the United States. It was his field reporting for the Times, very early in the Vietnam War, that first sent the message home that this war was not going to be like the others, that Americans were heading into something deeper and murkier than they expected, something that they couldn’t wrap up tidily. That sort of legacy suggests a fierce and even dour sort of man, and in fact Halberstam was a very serious person. But when he brought his seriousness to bear on nominally more frivolous subjects, his depth gave them extra dimensions. (Even his odd, elliptical, semi-repetitive prose grew on you after a while.) In the seventies, he wrote occasional pieces for New York, and the most charming of them managed to touch on both his rising authorial fame and his love of pro basketball. It’s a diary of a month in 1973, kept during the book tour for The Best and the Brightest, detailing the extraordinary measures he’s taking to watch the Knicks-Bullets playoffs in a variety of hotel rooms and friends’ houses. You can read it here. “I am worried about our entire front line,” he says at one point, “which seems old and without rhythm.” It may have been true of the Knicks, or for that matter of the American generals then prosecuting an unwinnable war. But never of him. —Christopher Bonanos A Fan's Notes: There Were Other Obsessions Besides Watergate and Biaggi [NYM, 5/14/73]

Bad Times for the ‘Times’

MEDIA • In a show of symbolic disapproval, New York Times shareholders withhold 42 percent of the vote for the company's directors. [AP via Yahoo] • Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and prolific author David Halberstam died yesterday in a car crash on his way to an interview. [NYT] • Are Marie Claire's video podcasts too commercial to be called editorial? [WWD]

David Halberstam on Poetry, Bush, and Baseball

We last saw David Halberstam, who died yesterday in a car crash in Menlo Park, California, two weeks ago at Alice Tully Hall. It was the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind benefit, which raises money for National Poetry Month, and Halberstam was one of the celebrity readers. He talked to New York about his introduction to poetry via the Kennedys, the "national tragedy" of the Bush administration, and his desire for a baseball stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, so he could easily "wander out to a good meal" after the game.

Council: 2; Mayor: 0

• The City Council overrode Bloomberg's veto and instituted a ban on metal baseball bats in high schools. And council members did the same with his veto of pedicab restrictions. A two-hitter, if you will. [Bloomberg] • President Bush is in town today for a speech and a photo op at the Harlem Village Academy Charter School, because it's been doing well under the No Child Left Behind act. We're sure the city had nothing to do with the improvement! At any rate, enjoy the gridlock. [amNY] • Historian David Halberstam, Pulitzer-winning legend of New York journalism died in a Bay Area car crash. Halberstam covered the Vietnam war for the Times and went on to write dozens of widely read books on that and other subjects. [WNBC] • The condo-weary Upper West Side is making like the Lower East and mulling a height limit on buildings. Under a proposed plan, all new construction west of the park between 97th and 110th Street would top off at about fourteen stories. [NYDN] • And the Waverly Inn — still not officially opened! — got slapped with 38 points for nine violations by the Health Department, including "mouse activity." We're sure our Grub Street brethren will have more to say, so let us just quickly smile at Mr. Carter's plan for a "Waverly cat" to deal with the mice. [NYT]