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Who needs a bailout? The New York soldiers heading to Afghan War frontlines.

The frightening Taliban invasion of the Afghan capital Kabul, courtesy of Al Jazeera‘s Todd Baer. Compare the CNN and Al Jazeera stories.

Bailout? If by accident of birth, you were in Kabul yesterday, you’d be dying to bail out. You would have been running for your life while crazed Taliban stormed major government buildings and blew themselves up. A score of non-Taliban people were killed and fourscore wounded yesterday in Afghanistan’s capital in the ominous assault.

Not to worry: Hell is on the way. U.S. troops, led by New York’s 10th Mountain Division, are returning to Central Asia after being unjustifiably diverted from Uzbekistan (where they named their camp’s muddy streets after the L.I.E., Fifth Avenue, and so on) to Iraq a few years ago to be blown up by Iraqi rebels. Bad news, everybody: There’s a spring offensive coming against the Taliban, and it won’t be like the relatively bloodless capture of Baghdad. It’ll be like what happened after George W. Bush declared, “Mission accomplished!”

See the sprightly agitprop “10th Mountain Division Leads New Deployments to Afghanistan” from the Defense Department’s American Forces Press Service. Or check out the previews from ABC and CBS.

So, prepare yourselves for depressing news this spring of a non-financial variety: The expected sudden rise of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan will shove at least some of the Wall Street-inspired news off the front pages.

After all, if by the grace of Darwin or God you happen to live in the U.S., you may very well lose your home or job, but you probably won’t be blown up. Unless you’ve been brainwashed by the government’s ad campaigns and have joined the military. In which case, you, too, might find yourself in beautiful downtown Kabul trying to stamp out the Muslim fanatics.

It was only 25 years ago that Ronald Reagan hosted the Taliban in the White House, praised them as heroic “freedom fighters,” and drummed up money for them. And Texas oilmen feted the creepily fundamentalist Taliban leaders with backyard barbecues.

Now the Taliban are returning the favor by trying to barbecue Americans. They no longer need a stimulus from the White House.

You need one, so have another cup of coffee and click on these headlines…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Bloomberg: ‘Bank Failures May Reach 1,000 on Bad Loans’

N.Y. Post: ‘BE MY CUT-RATE VALENTINE’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Mother cries “tears of happiness” after baby’s life-saving brain surgery’

N.Y. Post: ‘COP WILL SURRENDER IN BEATING’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘A daring river rescue by man down on luck’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Wants Funds Restored to Stimulus’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Job well done?! 4 Merrill execs got $121M in bonuses on eve of bailout’

N.Y. Times: ‘In New Procedure, Artificial Arm Listens to Brain’

N.Y. Post: ‘B’KLYN COP SHOOTS TEEN GUNMAN’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Gov waffles on tax hikes for wealthy’

Reuters: ‘U.S. mortgage applications slump to 8-year low’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Attack in Kabul Leaves 26 Dead’

N.Y. Post: ‘SULLY AND PAL RELIVE BIRD BLITZ’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Another day, another $294G’

N.Y. Times: ‘Comeback for 10-Year-Old Spaniel’

N.Y. Post: ‘ALOMAR IN “AIDS” SHOCK: EX-LOVE SUES MET GREAT’

N.Y. Times: ‘New School Faculty and President Remain at Odds’

International Herald Tribune: ‘U.S. is looking to the “vultures” to rescue banks’

N.Y. Post: ‘BRAVE GAL IDS “HIT MAN”‘

Wall Street Journal: ‘Economists React: Treasury Announcement Fails to Satisfy’

N.Y. Post: ‘I WAS ANGEL OF FAKE DEATH’

N.Y. Times: ‘Gates Orders Review of Policy on Soldiers’ Coffins’

N.Y. Post: ‘LOTTERY MAY BET ITS MARBLES ON THE MARKET’

N.Y. Post: ‘SHOVEL MURDER’

N.Y. Times: ‘On Trail of War Criminals, NBC News Is Criticized’

N.Y. Post: ‘BIG PUSSY $ETTLES WITH EX’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Foreclosure “Tsunami” Hits Mortgage Servicers’

N.Y. Post: ‘”GRAFT” RABBI OFF HOOK IN DOC ASSAULT’

Forbes: ‘Geithner’s Cash For Trash’

Forbes: ‘Why A $99 iPhone Is Bad For Apple’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘”Booty call” sparked fight’

Bloomberg: ‘Buffett, Who Invests “Forever,” Finds Shorter Time Horizons Unprofitable’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Mark Green wants his old public advocate gig’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Paterson puttin’ Lotto faith in stock market’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Reverse ban on pics of soldiers’ coffins, say families of fallen soldiers’

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Fossils still bite: Bernie Madoff and prehistoric snakes

Good for the New York Times! Always trying to take a broad view (even when one doesn’t exist, as Jack Shafer often points out), the paper weighs in on how the plight of Bernie Madoff‘s white-haired victims gives us valuable insights about the global meltdown with this morning’s “Fossils of Largest Snake Give Hint of Hot Earth.”

Good info that the “prehistoric snake” was “a giant relative of today’s boa constrictors.” The elderly Madoff wasn’t the first, nor will he be the last, snake to swallow your money. Wall Street is really is a dangerous place, even for celebrities — see the latest list of Madoff’s victims.

Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos‘s testimony yesterday on Capitol wasn’t quite as colorful, but the bookish-yet-tigerish accountant was pretty damn intense, as I previously noted.

Among other fascinating details, Markopolos told the dazed House members that he planned to deliver to the SEC today a “mini-Madoff.” The agency is sure to accept this silver platter with respect and care.

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, is showing me no respect with his $500,000 limit on CEO pay ( VIDEO). To get a bailout, I have to limit my pay? I don’t think so.

While I wait for my manservant to dress me, I’ll also point out that the Times story “Daschle’s Ambitions Collided, Friends Say” does little more than say what I already said yesterday. The Times was more polite.

Please click on these items. Pretty please…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

CNN: ‘Toyota shuts down all but one assembly line’

N.Y. Post: ‘BANKS’ MONEY WELL SPENT’

New York’s top banking firms went on a multimillion lobbying spree late last year — just as the feds were crafting a $700 billion rescue plan for struggling banks.

The banks got an extraordinary return on their investment, as they got federal cash injections that were thousands of times larger than what they spent trying to influence Congress and the administration – which doled out the cash.

Newsday: ‘Drilling leases on Utah land scrapped’

In a high-profile reversal of the Bush administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said yesterday the government is scrapping the leases of 77 parcels of federal land for oil and gas drilling in Utah’s redrock country.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Twins’ rage: Coward could never face our father’

N.Y. Times: ‘Senate Adds Homebuyer Tax Credit to Stimulus Bill’

N.Y. Post: ‘O WARNS OF “CATA$TROPHE”: URGES STIMULUS OK AMID MOUNTING RESISTANCE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Forget Golf: Street Junkets Get Junked’

CNN: ‘Overseer calls for bank bailout makeover’

Special inspector general for Treasury’s $700 billion financial sector bailout said program needs tighter regulation and a better investment strategy.

Financial Crisis Update: ‘SEC Official Endorses Central Counterparty for Credit Default Swaps as Global Consensus Grows’

N.Y. Times: ‘Daschle’s Ambitions Collided, Friends Say’

N.Y. Times: ‘Science Found Wanting in Nation’s Crime Labs’

N.Y. Post: ‘ON WALL STREET: WHO COULD LIVE ON $500K?’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Study: 9/11 Lung Problems Persist Years Later’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Cops on hunt for suspect in brutal rape in East Harlem laundromat’

N.Y. Times: ‘Boo Hoo in the Boardroom’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Faith-Based Program Gets Wider Focus’

When President Barack Obama launches his version of the faith-based initiative Thursday, he will expand the mission to include abortion reduction and outreach to the Muslim world. He will also try to avoid the thorniest constitutional issues that beset the program for years under his predecessor.

Mr. Obama’s approach to the federal faith office reflects his search for common ground on contentious social issues, and his willingness to dial back some of his campaign positions.

N.Y. Post: ‘AMAZIN’ AMBUSH! SHAMSKY’S ANGRY EX POUNCES’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Cheney: Beware nukes’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Gaza’s Isolation Slows Rebuilding Efforts’

N.Y. Times: ‘Societal Cost of Meth Use Is Gauged in New Study’

Bloomberg: ‘”Failed” Wall Street Forces Biggest Rewrite of Rules’

N.Y. Post: ‘PLAYBOY’S ROCKER SCRIBE RIFFS ON STREET ROGUES’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘The great Big Apple sports broadcaster debate’

N.Y. Post: ‘SMOKING FEATHER OF FLIGHT 1549’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Lehman judge charged with hitting wife gets lawyer’

A federal judge charged with slapping his wife hired a big shot defense attorney as he faces a misdemeanor charge that could land him in the clink.

James Peck, 63, the bankruptcy judge overseeing the breakup of Lehman Brothers, hired Barry Bohrer, a prominent criminal defense lawyer whose clients have included Sam Israel, the hedge fund swindler who went on the lam last summer after faking his own suicide to avoid a 20-year jail term.

Peck, who was briefly assigned to handle the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy until he recused himself in December, told cops when they came to his Park Ave. apartment Saturday afternoon that “I was defending myself.”

He said his wife, Judith Peck, 64, was late in returning to the city from their home in the Hamptons and then they argued over a ladder that she had put in his closet.

“I was moving the ladder out. She slapped me in the face,” he told cops. “I put the ladder down and slapped her back. We slapped each other back and forth.”

Bloomberg: ‘Soros Imitators Reap Riches in Financial Whirlwind on Global Macro Funds’

Forbes: ‘Buffett Sinks Billions Into Swiss Re’


‘Sandy Koufax, John Malkovich among Bernie Madoff victims as court filings are released’

From the Daily News:

…Other victims were identified as Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein, the estate of late singer John Denver, actor John Malkovich, former Mets second baseman Tim Teufel and even Madoff’s lawyer Ira Sorkin. The 163-page list also includes hundreds of trust funds, charities, pension plans and unions, as well as entries for Madoff’s grandchildren. [FULL LIST]

Boston Globe: ‘The whistleblower: Dogged pursuer of Madoff wary of fame’

U.S. News & World Report: ‘5 Things to Know About Whistleblowing’

Bloomberg: ‘Madoff Said Only Brother Could Do Audit, Witness Tells Congress’

Whistleblower Lawyer Blog: ‘Whistleblower Protections Added to Economic Stimulus Bill Passed by House’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Photo gallery: Madoff’s victims’

N.Y. Post: ‘DIVORCEE BIDS TO ‘EX’-TEND MADOFF PAIN’

Whistleblower Lawyer Blog: ‘Hedge Funds Face Regulation & Oversight by SEC–Will There Be Another Compliance Tool in Addition to IRS Whistleblower Program?’

Fortune: ‘Did Madoff’s feeder fund shop for friendly audits?’

Whistleblower Harry Markopolos testifies that Fairfield Greenwich switched auditors three times in three years.

AP: ‘[Massachusetts] pension fund fires 2 managers’

Two managers of the Massachusetts state pension fund have been fired for poor performances, including one who lost $12 million investing with accused Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘$1B of swindled funds uncovered, Madoff’s alleged vics to get paid “in the near future”‘

N.Y. Post: ‘HOW SEC BOZOS BLEW IT: WHISTLEBLOWER RIPS DO-NOTHING FED “FLEAS”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Car dealer hopes to say, “I Madoff with 100G”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘GM Omar Minaya says Mets will not go after Manny Ramirez’

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon computed the Mets’ 2009 payroll at $143 million when factors such as Freddy Garcia‘s probable salary with bonuses, the $1.6 million owed to the Diamondbacks for Scott Schoeneweis and $2.25 million owed to Willie Randolph are included. Wilpon handed Minaya that budget early in the offseason, before Wilpon learned his family had lost money in the Bernie Madoff scandal. Wilpon declared that the Mets had accomplished their winter objectives, mentioning the acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz and “addition by subtraction” with trades that shipped out players such as Aaron Heilman and Schoeneweis.

 

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Tom cries ‘Uncle’! Daschle’s exit an embarrassing end to Obama’s embarrassing decision to pick him

Tom Daschle‘s quick exit from the health-care Cabinet job is just proof that he was a poor choice for the job.

If the guy can’t get it together enough to wipe his nose clean after rubbing it against the rear of society schmuckettes like Catherine Reynolds, then he’s not the person to tackle the extraordinarily tricky job of cleaning up the health-care mess.

He should just return to his destiny: playing off his former job in Congress to lobby his former Congress pals on behalf of rich clients.

Daschle wasn’t a notable senator in the first place, despite his high post in the Democratic Party heirarchy. Teddy Kennedy or Paul Wellstone he wasn’t.

Barack Obama did take responsibility for the Daschle embarrassment and did admit that he, the president, screwed up, but it was Daschle who screwed up his own nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

All he had to do was come clean to Obama or Obama’s vetters, and this wouldn’t have happened. Actually, he could have just paid his taxes in the first place. But hubris isn’t exclusive to Wall Street bankers or pro athletes. Former senators often think that they, too, are above the law or the law’s consequences.

Obama’s screw-up came when he picked Daschle in the first place — unless Obama wanted a weak-sister guy like Daschle in there. All of this leaves murky the question of what exactly the Obama regime has in mind for health care.

The last time a Democratic administration came to power, Bill Clinton turned the health-care issue over to Hillary Clinton, who, true to her conservative roots, immediately reneged on her vow to supporters and advisers to consider a national health-care plan. Instead, she relied on the inherently corrupt health-care industry — not the doctors, but the insurers — and any hope of a cleaner, fairer, more inclusive national health-care plan that wouldn’t be controlled by the middlemen (the insurers) was doomed. (Click here for my February 2005 rant about this; you’ll have to scroll down a little ways to get to it.)

In any case, good-bye, Daschle. Don’t let the revolving door hit you on your way into and out of government offices.

The rest of you, however, are welcome to stay right here and click on the following items…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

CBS: ‘Bailed-Out Bank Nixes Lavish Vegas Junket: After Outcry From Capitol Hill, Wells Fargo, Which Got $25B In Taxpayer Money, Calls Off Gathering’

CBS: ‘MySpace Boots 90,000 Sex Offenders: N.C. Attorney General Demands That Much Larger Facebook Follow Suit’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Obama puts salary cap on bailout businesses’

President Obama will announce a crackdown on Wall Street fat cats on Wednesday, setting a $500,000 cap on executive compensation for companies getting taxpayer bailouts, a senior administration official said Tuesday night.

N.Y. Post: ‘VANISH CO-ED COMES CLEAN’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama on Defense as Daschle Withdraws’

…One of President Barack Obama’s closest political confidants and early mentors, Mr. Daschle had been tapped to spearhead the effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system. But concerns arising from Mr. Daschle’s failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes on time, coupled with tax problems involving two other cabinet nominees, threatened both the administration’s health-care agenda and the credibility of Mr. Obama’s pledge to raise the ethical standards of Washington.

Mr. Daschle’s sudden withdrawal came two weeks to the day after Mr. Obama took office, and 24 hours after the president told reporters that he “absolutely” stood by his nominee. The abrupt move stands to potentially dent the reputation for steadiness and managerial prowess that the 47-year-old president had cultivated over a smoothly run campaign and a transition to power that boasted of a swift vetting and nomination of top aides.

Brooklyn Paper: ‘Macy’s to Brooklyn workers: You’re safe for now’

N.Y. Times: ‘Despite Vow, Target of Immigrant Raids Shifted’

Federal immigration officials had repeatedly told Congress that among more than half a million immigrants with outstanding deportation orders, they would concentrate on rounding up the most threatening — criminals and terrorism suspects.

Instead, newly available documents show, the agency changed the rules, and the program increasingly went after easier targets. A vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and many had no deportation orders against them, either.

NBC News: ‘Obama to Limit Executive Pay at Companies Getting Aid’

President Barack Obama will announce today that he’s imposing a cap of $500,000 on the compensation of top executives at companies that receive significant federal assistance in the future, responding to a public outcry over Wall Street excess.

Any additional compensation will be in restricted stock that won’t vest until taxpayers have been paid back, according to an administration official, who requested anonymity. The rules will force greater transparency on the use of corporate jets, office renovations and holiday parties as well as golden parachutes offered to executives when they leave companies.

Bloomberg: ‘”Failed” Wall Street Means Biggest Rules Rewrite Since 1930s’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Blago’s sideshow visits Late Show

If David Letterman is the typical juror, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should get ready for prison food.

N.Y. Post: ‘PROTESTERS CRASH BASH TO BOO BLOOMY’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Tax would be curtains, Broadway tells Gov’

N.Y. Times: ‘In Shattered Gaza Town, Roots of Seething Split’ (Ethan Bronner)

The fighting in El Atatra tells the story of Israel’s offensive, with each side giving a very different version of events.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Stimulus Brings Out City Wish Lists’

Most cities want stimulus funds for roads and sewers. But others are using a kitchen-sink strategy, asking for neon signs or a frisbee golf course.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Plans Emerge for New Troop Deployments to Afghanistan’

Senior U.S. commanders are finalizing plans to send tens of thousands of reinforcements to Afghanistan’s main opium-producing region and its porous border with Pakistan, moves that will form the core of President Barack Obama’s emerging Afghan war strategy….

Virtually none of the new troops heading to Afghanistan will go to Kabul or other major Afghan cities. By contrast, when the Bush administration dispatched 30,000 new troops to Iraq as part of the so-called surge, the bulk of the new forces went to Baghdad….

The deployments, part of a planned doubling of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, are almost certain to spark heavier casualties and push the war squarely onto the public agenda. “I hate to say it, but yes, I think there will be [more U.S. casualties],” Vice President Joe Biden said on CBS Sunday. “There will be an uptick.”

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Man with pigeons in his pants gets nabbed at airport’

N.Y. Post: ‘BRUTAL BRONX THUG CAUGHT IN THE ACT’

Bloomberg: ‘Clean-Coal Debate Pits Al Gore’s Group Against Obama, Peabody’

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and his Alliance for Climate Protection say clean-coal technology is a fantasy.

Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, says another prominent Democrat has pledged to make the technology a reality: President Barack Obama.

The Gore-Obama split illustrates a growing debate in the U.S. as the new president attempts to deliver on his promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the country 80 percent by 2050. Depending on who’s speaking, coal is either the villain or part of the solution.

N.Y. Times: ‘As Iraqis Tally Votes, Former Leader Re-emerges’

Ayad Allawi, the first prime minister selected after the Americans handed power back to Iraqis in June 2004, has made a comeback in the provincial elections, unofficial preliminary returns indicate, setting himself up as a potential rival to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Time Warner Falls Into the Red’

N.Y. Post: ‘MILLIONAIRES TOLD TO BITE SILVER TAX BULLET’

New Yorker: ‘Another Country: James Baldwin’s flight from America’

Bloomberg: ‘Cohen’s Hedge Fund Taxes Can’t Fix Connecticut’s Fallen Revenue’

Connecticut, the wealthiest U.S. state with per capita income of $54,117 in 2007, has profited from its proximity to Wall Street since rail lines from the city reached north to Fairfield County more than a century ago. According to Forbes magazine, the state’s richest residents now are hedge fund managers including Steven Cohen and Paul Tudor Jones, who live and work in and around Greenwich. Cohen earned $900 million in 2007 while Jones made $300 million, according to Institutional Investor magazine’s Alpha publication.

Newsday: ‘Fortunoff Shutters NYC Store, Stoking Bankruptcy Rumors’

N.Y. Post: ‘EYE’M NOT SORRY: GUY WHO BLIND-SIDED DAVE DEFENDS AD SLAM’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Iran’s Report of Satellite Launch Stirs U.S. Concern’

N.Y. Post: ‘JUDGE: GAY SPOUSE GETS ESTATE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Ticketmaster Is Near Deal With Live Nation’

Ticketmaster and Live Nation are close to an all-stock merger to form the world’s dominant concert promotion, ticketing and artist-management company.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Detroit Reels as Auto Sales Skid’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Dissed as kid, Spitz pimp cries’

N.Y. Post: ‘COLUMBIA “THIEF” BUST’

A one-man crime wave from Massachusetts road-tripped it to Columbia University every weekend for the past two months — stealing wallets from gymnasium lockers and a dozen laptops, the Post has learned.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Border-Fence Project Hits a Snag’

N.Y. Post: ‘SHUTTERING NEWS FOR BRANDEIS HS’


‘Markopolos Blasts SEC for “Financial Illiteracy”‘

From the Wall Street Journal:

Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos blamed the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “financial illiteracy” for failing to heed his warnings about money manager Bernard Madoff.

Mr. Markopolos had warned the SEC for nearly a decade that Mr. Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme. Mr. Markopolos is set to testify before a House committee Wednesday, and 311 pages of his written testimony became public Tuesday evening.

N.Y. Times: ‘Witness on Madoff Tells of Fear for Safety’

House Committee on Financial Services: ‘Assessing the Madoff Ponzi Scheme and Regulatory Failures’ (Today’s hearing, featuring Markopolos and government officials)

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Super Sunday! Bread and circuses and suicide bombings!

The Taliban conduct a night ambush against U.S. troops on January 24. A commenter on this YouTube video wrote: “holy cow, tracer rounds are so cool!” Yeah, really cool.

What a Sunday in sports and terror: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer fought to the death in a Grand Slam final, and so did the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals. Best Super Bowl I’ve ever seen. Best display of tennis skills I’ve ever seen.

Now that those matches are over, let the real games begin.

Sorry, Cardinal fans, but the worst news Sunday was the latest fight to the death in Afghanistan — yet another suicide bombing by the Taliban:

A man wrapped in explosives walked into a compound filled with Afghan police officers Monday morning and detonated his payload, killing 21 officers and himself, the Interior Ministry said.

The attacker struck in Tirin Kot, the capital of Oruzgan Province, a mountainous area where the government’s authority is being contested by the Taliban. Oruzgan is the birthplace of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder of the Taliban movement.

This is ominous news, and not because of the location. Here’s some context missing from the New York Times story quoted above. The BBC (yes, it uses a different spelling for the Taliban) explains:

The Taleban have changed tactics since facing foreign troops in open battles two years ago, says the BBC’s Ian Pannell in Kabul.

The tactics of insurgents in Iraq are being duplicated, with more suicide bombings, roadside bombs and hit-and-run ambushes, our correspondent says.

Just another reason to rue the Bush regime’s unjustified invasion of Iraq. Taliban fanatics were able to hone their killing skills by adopting a strategy perfected by other fanatics in Iraq. Once again, we’re reminded of George W. Bush‘s most enduring legacy, his accidentally truth-telling words from 2004:

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

One could argue that the scary increase in suicide bombings in Afghanistan probably wouldn’t be happening if not for the Bush-Cheney regime’s vital contribution of spreading the “war on terror” to Iraq and thus giving fanatics the chance to think of new ways to commit suicide/homicide.

Meanwhile, in other business…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Times: ‘Afghan Suicide Bomber Kills 18’

N.Y. Times: ‘Bailouts for Bunglers’ (Paul Krugman)

Question: what happens if you lose vast amounts of other people’s money? Answer: you get a big gift from the federal government — but the president says some very harsh things about you before forking over the cash.

Am I being unfair? I hope so. But right now that’s what seems to be happening.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the Obama administration’s plan to support jobs and output with a large, temporary rise in federal spending, which is very much the right thing to do. I’m talking, instead, about the administration’s plans for a banking system rescue — plans that are shaping up as a classic exercise in “lemon socialism”: taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right.

When I read recent remarks on financial policy by top Obama administration officials, I feel as if I’ve entered a time warp — as if it’s still 2005, Alan Greenspan is still the Maestro, and bankers are still heroes of capitalism.

N.Y. Post: ‘DEMS PUSH RENT CONTROL’

N.Y. Times: ‘A Month Free? Rents Are Falling Fast’

N.Y. Post: ‘DAVE TURNS A BLIND EYE TO SNL JAB’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Firms Getting U.S. Aid
Face Strict Pay Curbs’

The White House is expected to impose tougher restrictions on executive compensation at firms that get substantial government aid, as part of an effort to improve public perception of the $700 billion financial bailout.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘No joke — I’ll fire 23,000, Mike warns’

Digital Journalist: ‘”Dr. Strangelove and President Bush’

N.Y. Times: ‘Gaza Notebook: The Bullets in My In-Box’ (Ethan Bronner)

NewsBusters: ‘Robert Gibbs, Reporters Laugh Off Fairness Doctrine Question’ [SEE TRANSCRIPT or VIDEO]

N.Y. Post: ‘OBAMA’S POLITICAL “PARTY”‘

President Obama watched last night’s Super Bowl with a few political pals – and a couple of foes.

Obama, a Steeler fan, had 11 Democrats and four Republicans over — including Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, who once warned electing Obama would spark “dancing in the streets among the terrorists of the world.”

N.Y. Times: ‘Herbert Hoover Lives’ (Frank Rich)

Here’s a bottom line to keep you up at night: The economy is falling faster than Washington can get moving. President Obama says his stimulus plan will save or create four million jobs in two years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, employment fell by 1.9 million. Do the math….

What are Americans still buying? Big Macs, Campbell’s soup, Hershey’s chocolate and Spam — the four food groups of the apocalypse.

N.Y. Times: ‘Welfare Aid Not Growing as Economy Drops Off’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Recession Gives Cobblers New Traction’

The shoe-repair industry has been given a new lease on life as Americans opt to repair shoes rather than replace them.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Brilliant student, pal cut down in stolen car crash’

N.Y. Times: ‘Risks Are Vast in Revaluation of Assets’

As the Obama administration prepares its strategy to rescue the nation’s banks by buying or guaranteeing troubled assets on their books, it confronts one central problem: How should they be valued?

Not just billions, but hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

N.Y. Times: ‘Israeli, Palestinian Attacks Batter Gaza Ceasefire’

N.Y. Post: ‘PENSION TENSION’

Just when it started to look as if The New York Times Co. had found a way to dig itself out from under its massive debt load, the beleaguered newspaper company may be on the verge of getting knocked down again.

The cash-strapped publisher last week reported that its pension plan was facing a $625 million shortfall at the end of 2008, compared with a deficit of $48 million a year earlier….

More than $1 billion in debt is looming over the ad-starved company, which was forced to get a $250 million loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim at a steep 14 percent interest rate, to put its stake in the Boston Red Sox up for sale and to negotiate the sale of part of its brand-new Eighth Avenue headquarters.

Now, the company is getting socked again by the financial crisis and subsequent market turmoil as it wreaks havoc on its pension plan. To be sure, the Times doesn’t owe billions in retirement benefits like the Big Three automakers, but it’s one of hundreds of US companies suffering from a severe pension squeeze.

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Promises Review Board for Bailout Program’

N.Y. Post: ‘IN SURVIVAL MODE’

Last week was a painful one for magazines, as Condé Nast decided to shutter Domino and Readers Digest‘s parent laid off a chunk of its staff. While advertising pages are down across the board, there are a number of mags that are fighting for their survival.

N.Y. Times: ‘Oil Below $41 as US Crude Workers May Strike’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Super Bowl XLIII is no quick fix for the economy’ (Mike Lupica)

N.Y. Times: ‘Spinach and Peanuts, With a Dash of Radiation’

N.Y. Post: ‘DRUG DEAL BAD RX FOR JERSEY’

N.Y. Times: ‘Justice Dept. Under Obama Is Preparing for Doctrinal Shift in Policies of Bush Years’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘More than 100 killed in Kenya oil tanker explosion’

N.Y. Times: ‘Rising Acidity Is Threatening Food Web of Oceans, Science Panel Says’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Now Hiring: Lehman’

Lehman has become a hot source of work for finance professionals needed for the process of dissolving the firm.

N.Y. Post: ‘BOFA DISSIDENTS SET SIGHTS ON CEO LEWIS’

A group of angry Bank of America shareholders plans to demand that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis get the boot at the bank’s upcoming annual meeting.

N.Y. Times: ‘Phelps Apologizes for Marijuana Pipe Photo’

The Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps quickly acknowledged his poor judgment after a photograph showing him inhaling from a marijuana pipe was published Sunday in a British newspaper. Although his admission is unlikely to effect his swimming eligibility, it could affect the millions of dollars he has secured in endorsement deals….

Since his record-breaking performance in Beijing, Phelps has added Kellogg’s, Mazda and Subway, among others, to an endorsement portfolio that already included Visa and AT&T. In a 60 Minutes interview that aired in December, Phelps’s agent…said that Phelps could earn more than $100 million over his lifetime.

IPS: ‘MEDIA-US: Gaza Coverage Echoed Govt Support of Israel’

<New Times (Phoenix): ‘Senator Shocks Press: “%$#@ Like A Beast!”‘

New Times (Phoenix): ‘Leapin’ Lizards’

Vos Iz Neias?: ‘Assemblyman Hikind: More Victims Coming Forward In Former Russian Principal Case’

On his weekly radio show this just-past Motzoei Shabbos, Assemblyman Dov Hikind revealed that according to his information, [confirmed by VIN News] another victim has come forward with allegations that he was abused by the disgraced former principal of Elite High School of Brooklyn.

On the show, Mr. Hikind also discussed the accused principal’s admission of guilt.

Most significantly, Hikind announced a major yom tefilah to be held on March 1, 2009 in front of the Borough Park “Y” on 48th Street to demonstrate a communal request for forgiveness from Hashem for not doing enough to protect our children from, and inform our community of, heinous crimes that have been occurring over the past decades in which we turned a blind eye to abuse victims.

Mr. Hikind said that he would continue his crusade, and said “those who are upset with what I do, I ask them: ‘Take over what I do.’ I even offered one of the biggest Chasidic institutions many months ago, when they were upset at my work, to take over–and I never heard back from them.”


‘The Madoff Scandal and the Future of American Jewry’

From the conservative, Jewish-establishment magazine Commentary:

…Perhaps this will set off a war of scarcity between Jewish groups fighting over the money of those who are still giving, but the initial indications are that cooperation may prevail over chaos.

Representatives of thirty-five of the largest Jewish foundations in the country met in New York on December 23, 2008, to coordinate their responses to the crisis and agreed to offer millions of dollars in loans to not-for-profits victimized by Madoff–a heartening display of a community banding together in a time of crisis.

But the real problem facing specifically Jewish charitable organizations is not a scarcity of dollars to be spread among rival Jewish causes, but rather competition from secular groups that have also been injured by the economic crisis.

An assimilated Jewish donor who feels the charitable impulse but has fewer dollars to contribute might feel a greater sense of affinity and cause with an environmentalist group or an arts organization, and focus his reduced power on them instead. Just as the openness of American society has made it less likely for Jews to marry other Jews, so, too, it is less likely that Jews will give primarily to Jewish causes….

The long-term threat for Jewish philanthropy, then, isn’t Bernard Madoff but rather the overall threat facing the larger Jewish community in the United States–what came to be known, nearly two decades ago, as the “continuity crisis.”

When the 1990 National Jewish Population Study reported alarming rates of intermarriage, numbers that offered the terrifying prospect of the eventual withering away of the Jewish population in the United States, a debate began in the organized Jewish world about how to address the approaching demographic disaster.

Art Observed: ‘Brandeis University considers closing Rose Museum due to losses from Madoff investments’

CBS: ‘Double Trouble for Madoffs?: Brother Of Bernard Made Florida Real Estate Moves That Raise Questions About How Much Family Knew’
See [VIDEO]

Peter Madoff‘s role in the scam, if any, remains unclear. But timing of the homestead exemption requests raises questions as to who knew what and when….

CBS News has learned that [Bernard] Madoff and his brother, along with their wives, took steps two years ago — around the time that federal regulators started probing Madoff’s business activities — that could help prevent their Florida homes from being taken away from them, something possible under Florida state law.

“Florida has very unique laws and has been described by some as a debtor’s haven,” said John Pankauski, a Florida estate attorney. “People who may want to protect their property will seek the protection of Florida laws.”

Florida’s “homestead” laws, which are unlike what any other state has, in part allow homeowners facing legal judgments (or other financial issues) to protect their primary residence fully — keeping it out of the hands of potential creditors. One of the key steps in qualifying for the home-protection is seeking “homestead exemption,” which provides homeowners with a tax break.

On May 10, 2001, Peter Madoff bought the home at 200 Algoma Road in Palm Beach, Fla., along with his wife Marion. Both were listed as owners at the time.

Five years later, on Nov. 8, 2006, Peter transferred the title to Marion making her the sole legal owner of the home….

ABC: ‘The Imp in a Bottle: Ponzi/Madoff in a Broader Perspective: Ponzificating on Madoff, Pyramid Schemes and the Financial Crisis’

N.Y. Daily News: New York Post writer busted in bid to interview Bernard Madoff’

A bumbling New York Post reporter was busted Saturday after he tried to sweet-talk his way into Bernie Madoff’s upper East Side penthouse, police said.

Josh Saul, 25, claimed to be a real-estate broker when he entered the Ponzi scheme swindler’s building at 133 E. 64th St. around 1 p.m., police said. “He misrepresented himself,” a police source said.

Saul was escorted upstairs by a doorman and was near the front door of the $50 billion scam artist’s $7 million duplex when he was unmasked, cops said.

The hapless hack’s weekend at Bernie’s did not end with the exclusive interview he was angling for. Instead, he was arrested, charged with trespassing and issued a summons.

Saul, 25, of Greenwich Village, has been working at the Post for about a year. He is also the dubious star of a Web site that includes photos of him dancing in his underwear, chugging beer from a keg, wearing a woman’s wig and balancing objects on his head.

Reached Saturday night, he referred all questions to his newspaper.

Post spokesman Howard Rubinstein declined to comment.

The fact-challenged tabloid quoted an anonymous source on Friday as saying that brokers have been invited by the trustee of Madoff’s firm to assess the disgraced investor’s apartment.

Z Magazine: ‘Wall Street swindler inadvertently strikes powerful blows for social justice?’

N.Y. Times: ‘Art at Brandeis’

Hard times force hard choices on everyone. But that does not require bad decisions too. At Brandeis University, President Jehuda Reinharz has made hard times worse by deciding to close the university’s Rose Art Museum and sell off more than 6,000 works in its collection….

The Madoff scandal and its effects on some of Brandeis’s major donors have made new fund-raising possibilities especially bleak.

Selling the university’s art collection would help plug its financial gap, but it would create a gaping hole in Brandeis’s mission and its reputation. It would default on one of the great collections of contemporary art in New England, one built early on with extraordinary artistic acumen. The core works were acquired by the museum’s founding director from such young artists (at young artist prices) as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

 

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War of words: Turkish PM Erdogan storms out at Davos after Gaza row with Israel’s Peres

Veering off-topic from the global meltdown, Turkey’s prime minister had his own meltdown today at Davos. See the CNBC video above and then read this BBC report, which captures only a bare hint of the full explosion:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos after an argument with Israel’s president.

Mr Erdogan clashed with Shimon Peres in a discussion on the recent fighting in the Gaza Strip, telling him: “You are killing people.”

Mr Peres said Mr Erdogan would have done the same had rockets hit Istanbul.

Mr Erdogan accused the moderator of not allowing him to speak and said he did not think he would return to Davos.

He was cut off as he attempted to reply to a passionate defence of Israel’s actions made by Mr Peres.

Turkey is one of the few Muslim countries to have dealings with Israel, but relations have been under strain since the Islamist-rooted AK Party was elected to power in 2002.

“I do not think I will be coming back to Davos after this because you do not let me speak,” Mr Erdogan shouted before marching off the stage in front of Mr Peres, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and an elite audience of ministers and international officials.

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From baseball to hardball: George Mitchell lands in Mideast to probe the deadliest beanball war — Jews vs. Arabs

The Wall Street Journal, reporting from Davos, asks (gulp), “Is Capitalism, as We Know It, Dead?”

Pumped up from his experience as chief investigator of steroids abuse in baseball, George Mitchell is now in for some really heavy lifting: the testosterone-laden, rage-filled Arab-Jew death dance in the Middle East.

No coincidence that Mitchell’s arrival in the region as President Barack Obama’s peacemaker was accompanied by a flareup of violence.

In the former Maine senator’s baseball probe, few of the players would even talk to him, so he relied heavily on former Mets batboy Kirk Radomski.

This time, however, he’ll be dealing with some people who throw serious heat — rocks, rockets, white phosphorus — and everybody will be talking all at once. Whether they’ll listen to him is another thing.

But he has experience in cutting in on partners locked in death dances: Mitchell won praise a decade ago for helping to hammer out an accord in Northern Ireland.

If he has any success at all in the Middle East, Mitchell will get more than just a feather in his cap. He would indeed replace James G. Blaine in the history books as the plumed knight from Maine.

Meanwhile, in other business…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Village Voice: ‘What Cooked the World’s Economy? It wasn’t your overdue mortgage.’ (James Lieber)

Time: ‘Is California the State Closest to Economic Ruin?’

N.Y. Post: ‘NY HOME$ IN RECORD PLUNGE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Unemployment Rises in Every State: Joblessness Is Worst Where Housing, Manufacturing Are in Trouble, but Spreading Fast’

N.Y. Post: ‘AXED DAD SLAUGHTERS FAMILY’

Bloomberg: ‘Pfizer’s Wyeth Purchase Puts New Jersey Town’s Jobs, Taxes, Deli in Peril’

Pfizer Inc.’s agreement to buy Wyeth has Main Street in Madison, New Jersey, toting up potential damage.

Time: ‘The GOP Grapples with Obama’s Charm Offensive’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Taxpayers’ running tab on Yankee Stadium parkland’

Taxpayers will get socked for nearly $194 million to replace parkland gobbled up by the new Yankee Stadium – almost 70% more than first estimates.

N.Y. Post: ‘LI “PONZI” BIG HIRED PRISON CHURCH CON’

N.Y. Times: ‘Iranian Leader Demands U.S. Apology’

A day after President Obama struck a conciliatory tone toward Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged Washington on Wednesday to apologize for its actions toward his country for the past 60 years and said it was unclear whether the new American administration was merely shifting tactics or wanted real change.

But, in a speech in the western city of Kermanshah, he did not explicitly rebuff the American president’s gesture.

Time: ‘How Al-Arabiya Got the Obama Interview’

N.Y. Post: ‘FAULTY DOORS HAVE SUBWAYS OFF-TRACK’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Top execs still living like kings’ (Juan Gonzalez)

How much longer will Congress use billions in public money to bail out the nation’s biggest banks, then let the top executives remain in charge?

New Yorker: ‘Ms. Kennedy Regrets: Why Caroline Kennedy dropped out’

N.Y. Times: ‘Rove Subpoenaed on U.S. Attorneys’

N.Y. Post: ‘SCHUMER: MOVE SEC TO NEW YORK’

Harper’s: ‘Weekly Review’

…Former vice president Dick Cheney attended the inauguration in a wheelchair, Senator Edward Kennedy had a seizure, Aretha Franklin‘s voice cracked, and Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero, and Anthony McGill performed with the aid of a backing track….

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Blabbering Blagojevich turns to puppy talk’

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich cranked up his Manhattan media blitz Tuesday as FBI tapes detailing alleged pay-to-play deals were featured at his impeachment trial back home.

Bloomberg: ‘Bankruptcy Lawyers Seek $18.50 a Minute as Creditors’ Recoveries Shrink’

Lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, home to former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr, are asking as much as $1,110 an hour for bankruptcy work while creditors are recovering less of their loans through company restructurings.

N.Y. Post: ‘UNHAPPY MEAL: EXECS NOW DINING AT MCDONALD’S’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Blowfish testicles poison diners’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Novartis Posts 70% Rise in Net’

…The company said it expects record results in 2009, but also warned that the market and economic environment is becoming increasingly challenging.

Novartis, based in Basel, also reported a small pipeline setback, saying it will file meningitis vaccine Menveo for approval for use in infants in 2011, which is later than planned. This comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked to test the vaccine on an additional 1,500 infants.

Bloomberg: ‘Obama Broadband Plan Is Too Small, Has Too Many Conditions, Companies Say’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Flare-Up Tests Mideast Truce as Mitchell Arrives’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Medics Say They Were Blocked from Hard-Hit Gaza Village’

Bloomberg: ‘Pakistani Crackdown on Mumbai Attack Suspects Leaves Imams Preaching Jihad’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Illinois Senators Hear Blagojevich’s Taped Conversations’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Times Square hotel tops list of dirtiest hotels in America’

The Hotel Carter was named the dirtiest hotel in America Tuesday by TripAdvisor.com, marking the third time in four years that the W. 43rd St. dump has topped the list.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Barclays Chiefs Join Growing List of Davos No-Shows’

Two top executives from Barclays PLC of the U.K. became the latest prominent bankers to decide against going to global capitalism’s big annual conference, as the financial crisis takes its toll on the major finance houses.

Bloomberg: ‘Schwarzman Pledges “Wonderful Time” for Buyouts as Wealth Drops $7 Billion’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Defendant hurls human feces at jury’

Bloomberg: ‘Olympic Bailout Puts Vancouver Taxpayers on Alert for a Montreal “Big Owe”‘

The athletes’ village rising in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics is casting a shadow over the city’s finances.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Davos: Is Capitalism, as We Know It, Dead?’

Bloomberg: ‘TARP Bank Shares Index Losses Are Four Times the S&P 500’s’

Since the U.S. Treasury began investing in banks through its Capital Purchase Program, a gauge of participating companies’ share prices has lost four times as much as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Bloomberg: ‘Mack Tells Wife He May “Lose” Morgan Stanley Before Staking All on Brokers’

It was early September, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 15 percent for the year. The credit squeeze was grinding on. Deals were few. Morgan Stanley’s John Mack, a chief executive officer who loves a prank, sent three of his deputies small, gray electronic blood pressure machines with Velcro wristbands….

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bill Clinton Speech Fees Topped $4.7 Million in ’08’

Wall Street Journal: ‘High Priest of Sex and Suburbia’


‘Gay vs. Madoff’

Tommy De Seno‘s Jersey Shore Blog offers a math lesson:

Brothers Lawrence and Kenneth Gay are facing a plea bargained sentence of 11 years in prison for stealing $13,000 from a poker game in Brick, New Jersey.

That’s one year in jail for each $1,181.00 stolen.

By that math, Bernie Madoff, who stole $50 billion, should be sentenced to 43 million years in prison.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Perjury Charges Being Considered: SEC Officials Believe Madoff Lied to Them During Past Examinations’

Securities Docket: ‘Testimony of SEC’s Linda Thomsen Before Senate Banking Committee (Madoff Matter)’

Bloomberg: ‘Madoff Enablers Winked at Suspected Front-Running’

Wall Street Journal: ‘In Echoes Of Madoff, Ponzi Cases Proliferate’

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Cardinal calls Gaza ‘concentration camp’ — lit up by white phosphorus, observers say

Al Jazeera report on white phosphorus in Gaza.

As Chico Marx said, “Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

That’s easy when it comes to Gaza. The Jewish state’s brutal use of white phosphorus — alleged over the weekend by observers on the ground dispatched by NYC-based Human Rights Watch — is lighting up the landscape.

However, most of the U.S. press (a notable recent exception is Newsweek) has its usual blind spot when it comes to Israel’s war on Gaza. As the Daily News noted late last week in “‘Concentration camp’ Gaza stirs fire”:

Relations between the Holy Land and the Holy See were tense Thursday night after a leading Vatican cardinal compared the besieged Gaza Strip to a concentration camp.

“Defenseless populations are always the ones who pay,” Renato Cardinal Martino told the Italian daily Il Sussidiario. “Conditions in Gaza increasingly resemble a big concentration camp.”

That drew a furious denunciation from Israeli officials, who said the comment was “based on Hamas propaganda.”

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the son of Holocaust survivors, called on the Pope to apologize to Israel.

Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, defended his comments.

“They can say what they want, but the situation in Gaza is horrible,” he told the newspaper La Repubblica.

Confirming that is Human Rights Watch, whose observers belie Hikind’s claim that the brutality in Gaza is propaganda.

In fact, it’s even worse than the cardinal says, according to HRW.

You question the watchdog group’s credibility? HRW broke several major stories of U.S. atrocities in Iraq — including the horrific tale of the American soldiers in Fallujah who proudly called themselves the “Murderous Maniacs” and admitted to kicking the shit out of Iraqis just for the fun of it. (See my September 2005 item “U.S. Soldiers Reveal New Torture Tales.”)

Now, here’s what HRW says about what’s going on:

On January 9 and 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area.

Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an “obscurant” (a chemical used to hide military operations), a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law (the laws of war). However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza’s high population density, among the highest in the world.

“White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin,” said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch.

If the Nazis had had white phosphorus — the 21st century version of napalm — they would have used it against the Jews.

Now for less bad news…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Times: ‘Adding to Recession’s Pain, Thousands to Lose Jobless Benefits’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Retail Bankruptcy Wave Expected’

N.Y. Times: ‘Storm Sinks Indonesian Ferry, 250 Feared Dead’

Bloomberg: ‘U.S. Consumers Keep Autos Longer, Shun Showrooms as Cuts in Payrolls Mount’

Drivers rattled by the worst U.S. labor market since World War II are hanging on to old autos longer instead of buying new models, threatening to crimp sales again in 2009 after demand plummeted to a 16-year low.

N.Y. Post: ‘INFANT DUMPED IN B’KLYN’

N.Y. Post: ‘Sex, Drugs & Death at Luxe Hotel’

A Long Island banana mogul at the center of a deadly sex romp at a tony Midtown hotel lives a double life – married suburban dad and…

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Plans To Keep Estate Tax’

Obama and congressional leaders plan to move soon to block the estate tax from disappearing in 2010.

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Signals His Reluctance to Look Into Bush Policies’

Barack Obama indicated that he was unlikely to authorize a broad inquiry into Bush administration programs like domestic eavesdropping.

N.Y. Times: ‘Democrats Look for Ways to Undo Late Bush Administration Rules’

Harper’s: ‘The $10 trillion hangover:
Paying the price for eight years of Bush’ (Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes)

N.Y. Post: ‘ISRAEL VS. B’KLYN IN FAKE-AND-BAKE MATZO WAR’

Wall Street Journal: ‘New Playing Field In Electric Car Push’

Fewer barriers in electric-car production have leveled the playing field for newcomers hoping to compete against established car makers.

N.Y. Post: ‘PLACARD BLITZ NAILS DA COPS: PARKING-PERK ABUSERS’

Mayor Bloomberg’s crackdown on motorists who abuse official parking placards has snared a slew of detectives and investigators who work for the city’s prosecutors, the Post has learned…

N.Y. Times: ‘In Emphasis on Economy, Obama Looks to History’

Harper’s: ‘A Farewell to Dick Cheney’

Dick Cheney is the man that James Madison was warning us about.

Harper’s: ‘Harper’s Index: A retrospective of the Bush era’

Bloomberg: Paulson Bailout Fails to Give Taxpayers Buffett’s Terms With Goldman Sachs

Henry Paulson‘s bank bailouts, done under “great stress” during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, failed to win for U.S. taxpayers what Warren Buffett received for his shareholders by investing in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The Treasury secretary made 174 purchases of banks’ preferred shares that include warrants to buy stock at a later date. While he invested $10 billion in Goldman Sachs in October, twice as much as Buffett did the month before, Paulson gained certificates worth one-fourth as much as the billionaire, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Goldman Sachs terms were repeated in most of the other bank bailouts.

Salon: ‘Bill Moyers on Israel/Gaza’ (Glenn Greenwald)

N.Y. Times: ‘Citi Is Urged to Replace Chairman’

Regulators are pressing Citigroup to shake up its board and replace its chairman in an effort to restore confidence in the beleaguered bank.

Newsweek: ‘If Obama is Serious: He should get tough with Israel’ (Aaron David Miller)

N.Y. Post: ‘PATERSON JOINS ISRAEL SUPPORTERS IN MIDTOWN’

Gov. Paterson joined an estimated 10,000 Israel supporters in Midtown yesterday to proclaim the Gaza offensive an act of self-defense. “We recognize the right of the state of Israel to…

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Eyeless in Israel’

N.Y. Times: ‘Few in U.S. See Jazeera’s Coverage of Gaza War’

Tel Aviv-based journalist Lisa Goldman takes the Israeli press to task over its coverage of the Gaza campaign. “For the most part, Gaza as a place inhabited by human beings has been ignored,” she writes of Israeli media coverage.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Timeline: The Gaza Strip, From Disengagement to Operation Cast Lead’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Israel hints at end of Gaza operations’

Israeli leaders hinted Sunday the Gaza assault might soon wind down, even as thousands of fresh reservists joined the battle and infantry units pushed toward the crowded heart of Gaza City.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Analysis: Ceasefire hinges on Egypt closing smuggling routes’

The Nation: ‘Can Labor Revive the American Dream?’

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘If at First You Don’t Succeed: Hasidic Singer, Subject of Rabbinic Ban, Tries Again’

Hasidic singing sensation Lipa Schmeltzer was set to perform last March before a crowd of thousands at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater in New York. The concert, a charity fundraiser, was billed as “The Big Event.”

Then, less than three weeks before the concert date, 33 ultra-Orthodox rabbis — including some of the community’s most prominent figures — issued an edict banning attendance. The event, they warned, was likely to cause “ribaldry and lightheadedness.”

Deferring to the rabbis, organizers promptly canceled the concert. The ban, however, roiled the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, world, sparking an unusual public outcry in a community known for its scrupulous obedience to rabbinic authority.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘What Happens to Gaza When the Fighting Stops?’

Nation: ‘Moral Blindness on Gaza’ (Robert Scheer)

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Fact or Fiction?: The Story of the Fake Holocaust Memoir’

A children’s book based on Herman Rosenblat‘s Holocaust love story, which was recently exposed as a hoax, was pulled from bookstores. The East Village Mamele explains the scandal to her daughter.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘ABC’s hidden cameras unveil anti-immigrant prejudice’

Investment News: ‘Morgan Stanley, Citi in retail merger talks’

Nation: ‘Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction’ (Naomi Klein)

To end the bloody occupation, Israel must be the target of the same kind of global movement that finally ended apartheid in South Africa.

Nation: ‘Toward Peace in Gaza’

Investment News: ‘Rubin retires from Citi’

Nation: ‘Caroline and Me’ (Katha Pollitt)

Caroline Kennedy would like to be a senator. I don’t blame her. So would I!

Especially if Governor Paterson could just waft me into office, and I didn’t have to, um, you know, campaign. I’ll bet some parts of the job are really fun, and it’s public service, which is so uplifting. You think I’m joking, but every argument that has been advanced for Kennedy is just as true for me. She’s a mother, a writer, a person with no electoral experience or, so far as we know, longstanding interest in acquiring any–me too! She has more kids; I’ve written more books–I’d say it averages out.

Nation: ‘Obama Anoints Kaine, Praises (And Snubs?) Dean’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Big shakeup at fatal psych ward’


Fox News: ‘”Victims” of Madoff Scandal Do Math, Realize They Profited’

From Fox News: “Hundreds and maybe thousands of investors in Madoff’s funds have been withdrawing money from their accounts for many years. In many cases, those investors have withdrawn far more than their principal investment.” And more:

“I had a call yesterday from a guy who said, ‘I’ve taken out more money then I originally put in, but I still had $1 million left with Madoff. Should I file a $1 million claim?'” said Steven Caruso, a New York attorney specializing in securities and investment fraud.

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Madoff vics: Let him rot in jail’

Madoff’s victims say it’s outrageous that he has been allowed to serve house arrest in his cushy East Side pad.

N.Y. Times: ‘Eight Years of Madoffs’ (Frank Rich)

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Prosecutors Push Back Deadline’

Federal prosecutors bought more time to focus on their investigation of Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud scheme after they reached a deal with Mr. Madoff’s lawyers to delay the deadline to bring an indictment in the criminal case against him.

Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan had faced a deadline Monday to convince a grand jury to indict the New York money manager on fraud charges or show at a public court hearing that there was “probable cause” to arrest him, but Mr. Madoff’s lawyers agreed Friday to give the government until mid-February to do so.

Delaying any indictment gives prosecutors time to investigate Mr. Madoff and others without having to prepare for trial, or negotiate a deal in which he agrees to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a lower prison sentence, says Anthony Barkow, a former federal prosecutor.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘AJCongress Crippled by Madoff Scandal’

Telegraph: ‘”Hellishly hot” sauce dedicated to Bernard Madoff’

Wall Street Journal: ‘New Ponzi Case Pursued’

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission brought civil charges against a Pennsylvania man accused of running a $50 million Ponzi scheme since at least February 1995.

Gothamist: ‘Bernie’s Weekend at Home, Before Judge’s Decision’

N.Y. Times: ‘GMAC Chairman With Ties to Madoff Steps Down’

Gawker: ‘Marc Rich Lost “Insignificant” Millions to Madoff’

N.Y. Times: ‘New Description of Timing on Madoff’s Confession’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Brother, at Arm’s Length?: Peter Was No. 2 and Close to Bernard; Investigators Now Scrutinizing Role’

Crain’s New York Business: ‘Bernie Madoff’s bagman had everything to lose’

J. Ezra Merkin, former chairman of national lender GMAC, crashes to earth as the second biggest conduit for Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Wall Street Journal: ‘Funds of Funds & Madoff: “Like Presiding Over the Long-Term Funeral”‘

Advanced Trading: ‘Fund-of-Hedge Funds Lacked Technology to Avoid Madoff Losses’

Investment News: ‘Madoff scam hurts Mackenzie Financial’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Activist Gunning For Yeshiva Board’

A hedge fund is campaigning to fire the board of Yeshiva University because of its investment with Bernard Madoff.

HedgeFund.net: ‘Commentary From Our Publisher: Bernie, We Hardly Knew Ya’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Merkin Liquidation Stymied By NYU’

HedgeFund.net: ‘Woman Tied to Madoff in Hiding’

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‘Times’ declares war on news, gets right in your grille — for a change

The Times as Jimmy Cagney and the reader as Mae Clarke. It’s about time.

A banner day for the New York Times.

Newspapers that don’t go out for blood are worthless. The Times often should be itself flayed because it so often doesn’t take full advantage of its tremendous resources and usually undeserved clout and instead exudes arrogance and condescension.

This morning, however, its reporters slapped on their fedoras and got the goods, and their editors snapped out of it, rolled up their Brooks Brothers sleeves, and laid it on us.

Like Jimmy Cagney shoving a grapefruit into Mae Clarke‘s face in The Public Enemy (1931), Ethan Bronner‘s “U.N. and Red Cross Add to Outcry on Gaza War” calls a war a war and shoves the details into your face during your breakfast before you have time to take your first sip of coffee:

“International aid groups lashed out at Israel on Thursday over the war in Gaza, saying that access to civilians in need is poor, relief workers are being hurt and killed, and Israel is woefully neglecting its obligations to Palestinians who are trapped, some among rotting corpses in a nightmarish landscape of deprivation”.

You can see that Bronner’s piece doesn’t fiddle around with the paper’s usual stiff, officious lede followed by some boring, pseudo-analytical claptrap about how something affects decision-makers.

Bronner’s second paragraph is the kind of thing you usually see as the lede of such a story:

“The United Nations declared a suspension of its aid operations after one of its drivers was killed and two others were wounded despite driving United Nations-flagged vehicles and coordinating their movements with the Israeli military. The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called for an investigation by Israel for a second time in a week after the more than 40 deaths near a United Nations school from Israeli tank fire on Tuesday”.

The paper’s still not up to speed on the fact that many Jews, both here and in Israel (particularly in Israel), are angrily opposed to the war on Gaza.

The peace movement among Jews gets prominent play in the vibrant Israeli press and in other outlets around the world. But not in the U.S. media.

However, you can always go to New York’s own Forward, thank G-d, where the indefatigable Nathan Guttman‘s “Peace Groups Lose First Major Gaza Challenge On Capitol Hill: Attempts by Activists To Shape Resolution Come Up Short” opens a window on news that most of the rest of the U.S. press routinely ignores.

Enough of the negative stuff about negative stuff: The Times does deserve another kudos or two or three: Another example of today’s fired-up Times is a Paris dispatch from veteran Alan Cowell, “Gaza Children Found With Mothers’ Corpses”:

“The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had discovered “shocking” scenes — including small children next to their mothers’ corpses — when its representatives gained access for the first time to parts of Gaza battered by Israeli shelling. It accused Israel of failing to meet obligations to care for the wounded in areas of combat”.

Years ago, Cowell did a bang-up job writing such pieces day after day for the Times from apartheid-era South Africa. Now he’s filing stuff about apartheid-era Israel.

Even the paper’s editorial page this morning took off its kid gloves, dismissed its manservants and maids, and unleashed a sneer or two at its fellow Establishment members. Labeling the confirmation hearing for the new Secretary of Health and Human Services a “cuddly welcome for Mr. Daschle,” the editorial board climbed down from the pedestal it has built for itself and started punching at the incoming Obama regime:

“…The hearing before a Senate health committee was mostly a love-fest as senators from both parties expressed admiration for their former Senate colleague….

Unfortunately, the hearing did not tell us much at all about how the incoming Obama administration intends to pay for its emerging health care programs or how, for all of his smoothness at the hearing, Mr. Daschle will deal with the very real and very big differences his team has with Republicans on this and other vital issues.

Instead, the senators avoided asking such tough questions, and Mr. Daschle bent over backward to reassure Republicans that he would not try to ram anything too unpalatable down their throats….”

A welcome dose of cynicism instead of the expected deadly dull civility and caution.

Yes, there are still some nits to pick in the Times, but this morning the paper emits a louder buzz than usual.

Tally-ho! Release the hounds! The paper usually acts more like C. Montgomery Burns hounding the beleaguered folk in Springfield. This morning, it’s dogging a newspaper’s proper targets.

While you’re wiping the grapefruit off your face, click on these items, front-loaded this morning only with other Times pieces, most of which have surprisingly hard-hitting, newsy ledes…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Times: ‘Latinos Recall Pattern of Attacks Before Long Island Killing’

N.Y. Times: ‘Senate Allies Fault Obama on Stimulus’

N.Y. Times: ‘As His Inmates Grew Thinner, a Sheriff’s Wallet Grew Fatter’

N.Y. Times: ‘Fatal Avalanches Rattle Ski Country in the West’

N.Y. Times: ‘Bill Easing Unionizing Is Under Heavy Attack’

N.Y. Times: ‘Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds’

“The federal investigation that prompted Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary offers a rare glimpse into a long-simmering investigation of possible bid-rigging, tax evasion and other wrongdoing throughout the municipal bond business.

Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year”.

N.Y. Times: ‘For BlackBerry, Obama’s Devotion Is Priceless’

Bloomberg: ‘Excrement, Insulation, Bike Paths Trim CO2 Emissions in Cities’

Wall Street Journal: ‘A Wolfe in Regulator’s Clothing: Drug Industry Critic Joins the FDA’

N.Y. Post: ‘KID PERV IN AIDS SCARE’

Bloomberg: ‘Brokers Disdain Toaster Salesmen in Bank America’s Merrill Deal’

N.Y. Post: ‘SLAY FESS: REALTOR SENT ME OVER EDGE’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Business Warms to Obama, but Frictions Loom on Climate’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Gotti hit man dips his foe in acid, but loves mommy’

N.Y. Post: ‘CAROLINE HAS “A MINUS”: GOV’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Wall Street Is Big Donor to Inauguration’

N.Y. Post: ‘JUST LIKE OL’ CRIMES: NYPD’S LETUP STIRS FEARS OF ’80S FLASHBACK’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Brooklyn Nets Arena cutbacks? Bruce Ratner scales back plans; Star architect Frank Gehry may go’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Lehman Brothers Plans Private-Equity Spinoff’

N.Y. Post: ‘UPSTATE “PONZI” HITS CHURCHES’

N.Y. Post: ‘FORMER GOPER MIKE WANTS TO GET BACK IN’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Bailout Pact Of GM, U.S. Would Block A UAW Strike’

Bloomberg: ‘London Boom Time Bill Comes Due as Bankers Buy Coffee on Credit’

N.Y. Post: ‘PUSH VS. TERRORIST “CELLS”‘

N.Y. Daily News: ‘I snapped & whacked her: Chilling confession in Linda Stein slay aired’

N.Y. Post: ‘MTA’S “GREEN” BACKS’

N.Y. Post: ‘NY CIVIL WAR BONES FOUND’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Hedge-Fund Middlemen Get Pinched’

N.Y. Post: ‘RATTNER BLOWOUT: BOTTLENECK DEVELOPS IN POSSIBLE CAR CZAR APPOINTMENT’

N.Y. Post: ‘MORTGAGE RATES DROP’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Chevron Warns of Hefty Drop in Earnings’

Bloomberg: ‘Billion-Dollar U.S. Verdicts Vanish After Appeals, New Rulings’

N.Y. Post: ‘DTV DELAY BACKED BY OBAMA’

Bloomberg: ‘Obama Must Tackle Fannie, Freddie’s Federal Ties’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Panel Steps Up Criticism of Treasury Over TARP’

Bloomberg: ‘Al-Jazeera Said to Mull Bid for English Soccer’s Mideast Rights’


Bloomberg: ‘Madoff’s Three-Bedroom Riviera Retreat Belied Ponzi Scheme Role’

Bloomberg: ‘Merkin Intimidated Co-Op Board While Building Funds Madoff Lost’

N.Y. Post: ‘FINAL MADOFF PLUNDER PLAN’

Bloomberg: ‘Uma Thurman No Help to Arpad Busson in Madoff Fraud’s Nightmare’

Wall Street Journal: ‘U.S.: Madoff Had $173 Million in Checks’

Bloomberg: ‘Madoff Con Hits Boston, Home to Victim Shapiro, Ponzi’

Categories
Living Media NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Blintzkrieg in Gaza; Madoff covers up family jewels


“Gaza medics in the line of fire,” from Al Jazeera


Congratulations to the New York Times. The word “war” made it into a front-page story this morning about Israel’s war on Gaza.

Ethan Bronner‘s piece even sports the word in its headline: “Gaza War Role Is Political Lift for Ex-Premier.”

As I noted yesterday, the Times has a particular problem calling a spade a spade in the Middle East. Witness one of its other war stories this morning, Steven Erlanger‘s “Rockets Fired From Lebanon Into Israel,” which generally avoids the word “war” and features this lede:

Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza threatened to broaden on Thursday as at least three rockets were fired into the north of Israel from Lebanon.

Yeah, “conflict.” Please. The pro-Israel New York Post has no problem calling this a war.

Even Israel’s government is calling its bombardment of Gaza “Operation Cast Lead.” Compare that with the B.S. euphemisms the U.S. is using in Iraq and Afghanistan: “Operation Iraqi Freedom and “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Look, if people don’t want to call what’s going on in Gaza a “war,” I’ll settle for “blintzkrieg.”

There was a time, oh about 40 years ago, when the Jews of Israel were an underdog state with a sense of humor (especially among their American Jewish supporters) melded into their fight for survival. See this Time story from 1967, in the midst of what became known as the Six-Day War, that rounded up jokes about that “conflict” under the headline “Blintzkrieg” (supply your own ba-dum-pum rim shots after each line):

“It’s unfair,” said a U.A.R.[United Arab Republic] spokesman. “They have 2,300,000 Jews on their side. And we have none.” He denied, however, that Egypt had asked the Russians for their 2,500,000 Jews. Soon after the war’s start, Nasser made a brief guest appearance on the popular Cairo TV show, Where’s My Line? Reports from the second day of fighting indicated that the Egyptians had destroyed four Jeeps, a kosher mobile kitchen and 14 air-conditioned Cadillacs. The Israelis claimed 400 MIGs and 24 flying carpets. Ralph Nader launched a campaign to provide Arab tanks with back-up lights.

The unstoppable Israeli thrust through the Sinai Desert quickly became known as the blintzkrieg. It was led by the crack regiment known as the Bagel Lancers. When Israeli troops reached the Suez Canal, they grabbed the lox. At one point in the campaign, an Arab division spotted a lone Israeli sniper on a sand dune. The commander dispatched three men to get him. When they did not return, he sent a dozen. None of them came back. So he finally sent an entire company. Two hours later, one blood-splattered Egyptian soldier crawled back. “It was an ambush,” he explained. “There were two of them.”

The Six-Day War was a turning point. Forty years later, the laughter has died out. Israel acts less and less like an underdog and more and more like an overlord, thanks to its decades of harsh occupation policies, and as many commentators in Israel have noted with anguish, the decades of acting like occupiers have coarsened Israeli society.

The Jewish state’s grim throttling of Palestinians these days is pretty much unleavened by humor. Insanely orthodox. Humanism is also kosher, but you wouldn’t know it these days.

Anyway, I’m still willing to be assaulted by a blintzkrieg. Make mine raspberry…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Post: ‘EX IS AN ORGAN MOANER’

N.Y. Times: ‘Sarkozy, Merkel, Blair Call for New Capitalism’

New Yorker: ‘Will the Times live?: More on the end of newsprint’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Macy’s to close 11 stores; other retailers report dismal sales figures’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Citigroup, Senators in Talks to Let Judges Modify Mortgages’

N.Y. Post: ‘TRIAL BY JEWRY: FEUDING BIZ PARTNERS EYE RABBINICAL JUDGE’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Hugo Chavez flips oil aid back on for Bronx poor’

New Yorker: ‘Beware of Pity’

Like so many Jewish writers of her generation, Hannah Arendt attempted in her work to shine the light of intellect on the extreme darkness she lived through…

New York: ‘The Worst Movies of 2008’

N.Y. Times: ‘China Losing Taste for Debt From U.S.’

As the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home, which could have painful effects for U.S. borrowers.

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Promises Bid to Overhaul Retiree Spending’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Homeowners get soaked by shoddy homes’

N.Y. Post: ‘CRITICS LACE INTO BLOOMY’

This time, a picture was worth several dozen shoes. At least 150 pro-Palestinian New Yorkers rallied against Mayor Bloomberg for his recent trip to Israel and unfettered support of that country…

New Yorker: ‘Homelands’ (David Remnick)

N.Y. Post: ‘GOTTI HIT OF “ACID”: SON’S KILLER IN VAT’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Aftershocks from the Satyam scandal’ (via Bloomberg)

After admitting over $1B of value on its books was fictitious, Satyam (SAY) is dealing with the fallout, as are the accounting industry, investors and Indian markets. In frenzied premarket trading, Satyam shares lost 99.89% yesterday, plummeting from $9.35 to $0.01, and were halted before regular trading hours began.

New Yorker: ‘Barney’s Great Adventure: The most outspoken man in the House gets some real power.’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Dell to Cut 1,900 Irish Jobs, Shift Operations to Poland’

U.S. computer maker Dell Inc. announced Thursday it will slash its Irish work force and shift its European manufacturing operations to Poland in a move certain to undermine Ireland’s recession-hit economy.

Dell is Ireland’s second-largest employer, its biggest exporter and in recent years has contributed about 5% to the national gross domestic product. Economists warn that each Dell job underpins another four to five jobs in Ireland.

N.Y. Post: ‘GAL’S CORPSE ON BX. ROOF’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘New administrator blamed for faculty revolt at Bronx High School of Science’

N.Y. Post: ‘NEW FERRY TO CONNECT BROOKLYN TO GOVERNOR’S ISLAND’

New York: ‘Caroline’s Quiet Rebound’

N.Y. Post: ‘EMPIRE STATE DEATH PLUNGE’

N.Y. Post: ‘CON ED EYES NEW $5 JOLT’

Seeking Alpha: ‘Housing: Where Is the Bottom?’


Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Is a “Danger,” Argue Prosecutors’

N.Y. Post: ‘FEDS WANT BERNIE IN CAN FOR CLAMMING UP’

N.Y. Times: ‘UK Fraud Office Starts Madoff Investigation’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Chicago lawyer cursed by same name is Mad as hell’

N.Y. Times: ‘Elderly Madoff Investors in Financial Trouble’

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Living Media NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Jews v. Arabs: It’s war, even if the ‘Times’ tries to avoid calling it that

Al Jazeera reporting on the war in Gaza


Will somebody please call this a war?

You won’t find the word “war” in this morning’s lede story in the New York Times on Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza.

Is the Times afraid of offending New York’s Jews, especially the right-wing Jewish establishment? Is it fearful of provoking a slew of accusations from that hawkish establishment that the paper is antisemitic? Probably.

But that’s nuts. The word pops up several times in the city’s main Jewish newspaper, the Daily Forward, which is definitely not a lefty publication.

For example, the Forward‘s lede story this morning is from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (the Chosen People’s wire service), for whom Dina Kraft writes:

Just as in the summer of 2006, when the northern part of the country huddled in bomb shelters during the Second Lebanon War and the rest of the country carried on with its business, a new war has come that affects Israelis — at least in part — according to geography.

Practically all of the U.S. mainstream press goes through gyrations to avoid calling what’s going on in the Middle East a “war.”

That’s why if you want to read the un-P.C. skinny about the current war between Arabs and Jews and about the complex, murky, often slimy world of American-Israeli politics, you have to read the Forward. Or at least the press in other countries.

Depending on your political or gastronomic persuasion, order another bagel or sfiha and click on these stories…

NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

N.Y. Post: ‘CAR FUMES KILL LOVERS’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Israel to Discuss Gaza Cease-Fire’

A high-ranking Israeli delegation was scheduled to arrive in Egypt to discuss the possibilities of a cease-fire in the Jewish state’s 12-day assault on the Gaza Strip.

N.Y. Post: ‘MAN FATALLY STABS HIS PIT BULL’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Job Test Spawns Culture of Cheating’

Online personality tests have helped retailers to automate hiring. But the tests are also creating a culture of cheating and raising questions about their fairness.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Dovish Jewish Groups Break Ranks, Call for Cease-Fire’

N.Y. Post: ‘UNEMPLOYMENT OUTAGE’

Department of Labor, please hold. A rush of out-of-work New Yorkers overwhelmed the state’s unemployment system yesterday, forcing the program’s automated phone banks and…

Wall Street Journal: ‘Obama Pushes States to Cover More Unemployed’

Village Voice: ‘Mayor Mike and the Yanks: City Hall gift-wraps another present for baseball’s richest team’ (Tom Robbins)

N.Y. Post: ‘New York City animal shelters scramble after strep outbreak kills dogs’

N.Y. Times: ‘Obama Seeks to Mend Rift Over Panetta’

N.Y. Post: ‘OY VEY, WHAT A ‘SNATCH’: GEM BANDITS USE FILM-STYLE HASID DISGUISE’

N.Y. Times: ‘Facing Losses, Billionaire Takes His Own Life’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘You don’t scare me, thug’

A Queens grandmother who fought off a prowler said she wants to confront her attacker.

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘As Bush Exits, Four High-Profile Felons Hope For Pardons’

…Public campaigns have been launched on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, the Navy analyst who was sent to jail for spying on behalf of Israel, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a leading neoconservative and former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. Jewish philanthropist and former junk-bond king Michael Milken had his application for pardon submitted by Washington bigwig Ted Olsen.

N.Y. Post: ‘YANKEE PANKY: NEW SLUGGER’S SMOOCHY COUP’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘Free perking for ex-MTA official’

N.Y. Times: ‘Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza’

N.Y. Daily News: ‘B’klyn stops being polite: The Real World comes to Brooklyn for its 21st season’

ABC: ‘The Burris Circus and the Politics of Race’

Onion: ‘Terror Experts Warn Next 9/11 Could Fall On Different Date’

Wall Street Journal: ‘India Outsourcer
Rocked by Fraud’

Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Chairman B. Ramalinga Raju Wednesday resigned admitting to falsifying company accounts and inflating revenue and profit figures over several years, sending the company’s shares plunging 78%…..

Satyam’s clients include General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Applied Materials Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sony Corp.

N.Y. Post: ‘45% FAVOR CAROLINE’

Forty-five percent of Americans want Gov. Paterson to name Caroline Kennedy to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a poll released yesterday.

N.Y. Times: ‘Cuomo Aide Is Said to Try to Slow Kennedy Bid’

Jewish Daily Forward: ‘Israel’s Stark Choice in Gaza: Cease-Fire or Regime Change?’

N.Y. Post: ‘”EX” SEX EXTORT ARREST’

N.Y. Times: ‘Specter Attacks Choice for Attorney General’

N.Y. Post: ‘POL BUS KILLS KID: CANDIDATE DEVASTATED’

A campaign bus for a candidate in the City Council’s special election killed a 9-year-old Queens boy scampering home from school yesterday…

N.Y. Observer: ‘Palm Beach Ponzi Pique: Why Did Madoff Bilk Own Mishpocheh?’

Wall Street Journal: ‘Madoff Tried to Stave Off Firm’s Crash Before Arrest’

Ten days before his arrest, Bernard Madoff received $250 million from a man who helped give him his start on Wall Street, a move that shows how the investment manager tried to raise cash to stave off his firm’s collapse.

Mr. Madoff received $250 million around Dec. 1 from Carl Shapiro, a 95-year-old Palm Beach, Fla., philanthropist and entrepreneur who is one of Mr. Madoff’s oldest friends and biggest financial backers, according to people familiar with the matter.

N.Y. Post: ‘SEC GAL FIRES BACK’

Former SEC exec Meaghan Cheung, who oversaw a 2006 probe of swindler Bernard Madoff’s firm, defended herself yesterday against claims that she and others blew it by not uncovering his huge…

N.Y. Post: ‘NYU “BERNED” FOR $94 MILLION’

New York University lost as much as $94 million when a hotshot money manager, against the school’s wishes, invested the cash with swindler Bernie Madoff, its lawyers told a judge yesterday…