Putz of The Week/Mensch of the Week. 10.21.09

PutzTime again for that most fun feature– Putz of The Week/Mensch of the Week. Well, at least fun for the Mensches.

Putz of The Week:

According to Wikipedia, “The Star-Ledger is the largest circulated newspaper in the U.S. state of New Jersey and is based in Newark. It is a sister paper to the Jersey Journal of Jersey City, The Times of Trenton and the Staten Island Advance , all of which are owned by Advance Publications … The Newark Daily Advertiser, founded in 1832, was Newark’s first daily newspaper. It subsequently evolved into the Newark Star-Eagle, which merged with the Newark Ledger to become the Newark Star-Ledger, later changed to simply The Star-Ledger.”

And recently, like many newspapers in the country the Star-Ledger has had its share of bad economic news. The paper has become thinner and thinner, and let go some great reporters. 151 of them to be exact, which resulted in a newsroom staff that’s 40% smaller.

Anyway, the Star-Ledger had committed to wait and endorse in the gubernatorial race until all the debates were over. They reneged, and endorsed Chris Daggett prior to the debate on Friday, October 16th. Now, I have no problem with who they choose to endorse—that is up to their editorial board, whatever is left of them. I have a problem with the way they went about doing it. That was like an umpire making a call before the player gets to first base. Or declaring the Yankees winners in the 7th inning.

And so, because of their inability to keep their editorial powder dry, and wait just a few more days before they endorsed a candidate for governor, the Star-Ledger is the Putz of The Week.

Congressman Rush Holt used to represent me in Flemington, before the re-districting in 2000. I miss his thoughtful consideration of issues, as well as his integrity and sense of humor. He is a good Congressman.

Mensch of the Week

On October 10th, Rush Holt won Congressional approval for measure to mandate videorecording of interrogations:

From http://www.thinkprogress.org:

“Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed as part of the 2010 Defense Authorization conference report a new requirement that would mandate the video recording of all interrogations of anyone in a Defense Department facility:

Congress is moving to require videotaping of interrogations of detainees held by the military, a step proponents say will prevent abuse and create a valuable intelligence record.

The provision, which the House passed on Thursday as part of the 2010 Defense Authorization Act conference report, would apply to interrogations of anyone held at a Defense Department facility. Because the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret overseas prisons have been closed, it would most likely cover terrorism suspects whether they were questioned by a military or a C.I.A. officer.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), who first proposed the videotaping measure, said that it will allow the government to “continue the process of putting our detainee policies back on a sound legal footing while maintaining our ability to get actionable intelligence.”

Indeed, Holt’s measure would do much to curb abuse in the interrogation system. The New York Times notes that although the Guantanamo Bay prison camp — the site of many human rights abuses — contained video recording equipment, “it was rarely used.”

For his commitment to make sure that our democracy keeps the promises it makes, and stops human rights abuses, Rep. Rush Holt is our Mensch of the Week.

Putz of The Week/Mensch of the Week. 10.21.09