Robinson Cano capped another in a long line of dismal postseasons with a record-setting 0-29 stint at the plate, yet maintained that “I’ve been hitting the ball hard, just right at people. There’s nothing you can do.” Then there was Nick Swisher, who, considering the number of opportunities he’s had in 11 different playoff series, Read More
By Kevin Baker 10/16/12 6:56pm
What makes old people cynical is listening to the exact same lies being propagated year after year—and seeing them be just as effective as they ever were. I grew up during the Vietnam War, and I never thought I’d live to see the same hollow rationales, the same shameless appeals to patriotism trotted out to Read More
By Kevin Baker 10/09/12 6:50pm
It’s not every day that you pick up the newspaper and read that three of your friends have been subpoenaed—assuming, that is, that you don’t work for an international bank, the mafia, or the New York State Assembly.
The friends in question are the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, his daughter, the author and filmmaker Sarah Burns, and Sarah’s husband, David McMahon, who has worked with Ken for the last 14 years. I first met and worked with them all when I consulted on the updated version of Ken Burns’s Baseball series and wrote a new chapter for the accompanying book.
The subpoena involves a new documentary the three of them are making called The Central Park Five, an adaptation of the book Sarah Burns published earlier this year, The Central Park Five: Chronicle of a City Wilding, which revisits the brutal rape of Trisha Meili, the 28-year-old investment banker who would be known ever after as “the Central Park jogger.” Read More
By Kevin Baker 10/02/12 7:22pm
“We did it!” developer Bruce Ratner crowed a reported 14 times at the opening of his new Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn this weekend.
We sure did. Poor Brooklyn, always trying to develop some new civic identity all its own, and always ending up with … a Barclays Center.
What stands out most about the Read More
By Kevin Baker 9/25/12 7:51pm
What a relief it was to pick up my New York Times this Sunday and see that Damien really is back in town. I thought I’d spotted him at the Republican convention, felt sure I’d caught a whiff of sulfur when he passed, found myself swarmed by his usual entourage of flies. It would have been hard to miss him, since he was wearing a pink tie and a green plaid jacket at the time.
Yet I told myself I must be hallucinating under the relentless Tampa sun. Surely there was no way even today’s Republican party could have welcomed the Antichrist—a k a Ralph Reed—back into the ranks just six years after he imploded so spectacularly amid the Jack Abramoff scandals.
Reed, whose “preternaturally youthful” appearance, as the Times described it, still makes you think he must have “666” etched just above his brow line, got his start in the first heady days of the Reagan administration, when he was one member of what was known as the “triumvirate,” running the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), along with Mr. Abramoff and Grover Norquist. Read More
By Kevin Baker 9/18/12 7:40pm
“A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”
At last, Mitt Romney has told us one specific thing he intends to do as president: get weapons to al-Qaeda.
Trying to salvage a week of self-evisceration on foreign policy from the Republican presidential nominee, his leading foreign policy advisors, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, told The New York Times last Friday just what a President Romney would do differently in the Middle East. Their critique included the insistence that President Obama “engage” the rebels in Syria. According to the Times, they did “[stop] short of saying that the United States should provide lethal arms” but favored “facilitating” the provision of lethal arms from other Arab states.” Read More
By Kevin Baker 9/11/12 7:05pm
Grab any time machine you can find, take it back to any year from the founding of the Republican party until about 1970, and show the bios of this year’s GOP presidential ticket to the party leaders of the past. No doubt, their first response will be, “Weren’t there any Christians available?”
After all, the very first Republican party platform grouped the Mormons in with slaveholders, labeling polygamy and slavery “twin relics of barbarism” and calling for their eradication. President Lincoln later tried to do just that, signing into law the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, which specifically outlawed polygamy in the frontier territories. Its sponsor, Congressman Justin Morrill, called the practice “a Mohammedan barbarism revolting to the civilized world,” and likened it to “cannibalism or infanticide.”
And that’s nothing compared with what some Republicans used to say about Catholics. Read More
By Kevin Baker 9/04/12 7:38pm
The blue-collar success stories piled up so fast at the Republican Convention in Tampa that one would have been forgiven for assuming that the party was made up entirely of the sons and daughters of garage mechanics, fruit pickers and removers of rotting animal carcasses from the nation’s highways.
Over and over again, speakers informed us of how they came from families of hard-working strivers, with parents who fought their way up from nothing. Such tales were almost de rigueur, especially if they involved “starting a small business.”
Before telling us how little girls now approach her with reverence and awe, Susana Martinez, the runaway egomaniac who is the governor of New Mexico, informed us that her mother and father started their security guard business by handing her—then an 18-year-old girl—a “Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum,” and posting her in the parking lot of a church during bingo games. There are those who might assume that this accounts for Ms. Martinez’s decision, as a prosecutor, to specialize in child abuse, but never mind. Read More