Bruce McCall Continues His Reign of TerrorSpeaking of yesterday’s Times, let’s detour for a moment to the op-ed page. We’ve said this before, and we’re sure we’ll say it again: It’s not just that Bruce McCall isn’t funny; it’s that we don’t even understand how he’s supposed to be funny in the first place. Can someone explain what was thought to be either entertaining or argumentative or simply informative in yesterday’s op-art? We long ago gave up.
The Price of Emission [NYT]
In Chopper Fight, It’s Hamptonites for States’ Rights
The latest great debate over federalism is being waged over an unlikely group: rich folks taking $2,500 chartered whirlybirds to the Hamptons. Noise from their choppers has been driving people batty all along the LIE, and, as we noted earlier, Chuck Schumer has started calling for federal oversight of the increasingly crowded route. And now the helicopter people are fighting back. Todd Rome — the president of Blue Star Jets, which handles nearly all NYC-to-Hamptons helicopter charters — will publish an op-ed in Sunday’s Times, predictably fuming about Schumer overreach; instead of the “complicated and costly” federal involvement, he proposes that helicopter operators dampen the din voluntarily. (Blue Star is in a uniquely safe position here, because it books choppers but doesn’t operate them.) “To regulate helicopter noises would also be bad for the economy,” Rome helpfully adds. It’s unclear how some of the smaller companies can afford the new technology needed by Rome’s plan, but, hey — perhaps the same customers who shell out two grand to shave 45 minutes off their Friday commute will be happy to absorb the costs.
Earlier: Who’s Choppering to the Hamptons? Rich Families
in other news
Did Judy Use ‘Journal’ to Settle a Score?
Leonard Levitt writes a weekly muckraking column about life and issues within the NYPD. In this week’s offering, he connects some interesting dots about Judith Miller’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed defending police brass after revelations that the department spied on peaceful protesters before and during the 2004 Republican convention. The spying program was revealed in March by New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer. Miller’s piece mentioned Dwyer by name and questioned his reporting: “The material this reporter read,” Miller wrote, “does not show that the police monitored such peaceful groups and individuals because they opposed their political views.” What Levitt is the first to note: “Defectors’ Reports on Iraq Arms Were Embellished, Exile Asserts,” one of the numerous stories to eventually debunk Miller’s prewar WMD work, was written by Jim Dwyer. Merely a coincidence, right? —Ben Mathis-Lilley
The NYPD and Judith Miller [NYPD Confidential]
in other news
John Tierney, Contrarianly, Has Shortest ‘Times’ Op-Ed Tenure Ever!With Times op-edster John Tierney’s surprise announcement Tuesday that he’d be departing what is generally considered the most valuable real estate in American journalism — or at least used to be considered that, in the pre-Internet, pre-TimesSelect era — we were struck, as many no doubt were, by the brevity of his term. Tierney, who joined the page last year, replacing William Safire, was undoubtedly the shortest-serving current columnist. But, we wondered, was he perhaps the shortest-serving op-ed columnist ever? After some quality time with Nexis and the Times archive, we can now report that, yes, he was. After the jump, what we think is a complete list of all Times op-ed tenures since the page’s inception in 1970.