How is Bill Moyers' pet mag like Enron?

How is Bill Moyers' pet mag like Enron?

How is Bill Moyers' pet mag like Enron?

A mostly political Weblog.
May 13 2002 4:34 PM

Grim Prospects

How is Bill Moyers' pet mag like Enron?

The paleoliberal magazine The American Prospect, lavishly funded by the Bill Moyers-led Schumann foundation, was described in a previous item as "troubled." It turns out I accidentally understated the case. The Prospect, I've learned, is way more than "troubled" financially. It seems that a businessman placed by Moyers on the Prospect board, Michael Johnston, actually looked at the Prospect's books and, unlike Enron's accountants, sounded the alarm. The resulting financial crisis has insiders speculating that TAP might revert to bi-monthly or quarterly status, or even become a Hotline-like newsletter plus a Web site  (Note to Moyers: Keep the blog!) .… Prospect managers have now decided to ask/beg Schumann to simply continue giving TAP money to maintain it as a biweekly.  Fellow TAP-bashers might want to pay close attention to the next Schumann board meeting, on June 13th.  … How is TAP like Vietnam? Why would Schumann keep sluicing money down the Prospect-hole, with no end in sight? Moyers' foundation may in fact have considered pulling the plug on TAP. But the magazine is now so associated with Schumann -- and with Moyers -- that they would be publicly humiliated if it suddenly collapsed or shriveled up (after they'd poured in many millions and reaffirmed their confidence in its leadership). They can't just pull out! They need to prop it up for a decent interval, Kissinger-style … Note to executive editor Harold Meyerson: This has been going on for weeks. Don't you think you should have been, like, told? … How is TAPlike Ishtar? As for the Prospect's hope of being saved by a Hollywood celebrity – well, kausfiles has been talking to its extensive Tinseltown network, and wonders: Why would a cautious, publicity-conscious star like, say, Warren Beatty want to get involved in such a potential disaster? …
Cuomo's sin: The N.Y. Times recently published a three-part series  on neglect in N.Y. state's homes for mentally ill adults. (No, I couldn't bring myself to read it either!) In response, Andrew Cuomo, running for N.Y. governor, called for the resignation  of the official whose department oversees the homes, state health commissioner Dr. Antonia Novello. For this, Cuomo was immediately denounced by four Hispanic lawmakers. Their only argument appears to be that Novello is a Latina, and therefore shouldn't be criticized. Sample quote: "As a Puerto Rican woman, how can I ask my constituents to vote for a candidate who is denigrating us?" --Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo, who also said Cuomo was "offending the Hispanic community." Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez demanded that Cuomo apologize ... The whole episode appears to be playing as a Cuomo gaffe: "Cuomo Again Tongue-Fried," said the N.Y, Daily News hed, which was gleefully linked on ... But shouldn't Lucianne's conservative "L-dotters" be the first to recognize a completely bogus identity-politics ambush when they see it? I'm not a Cuomo admirer (he seems an opportunistic thug), but if you can't call for your opponent's aide to resign after an unreadably long newspaper series alleging their negligence, what's politics coming to? ...P.S.: Is the press out to embarrass Cuomo because they dislike him too? If he's anything like his father, he'll make a great, thin-skinned target..... P.P.S.: During her tenure as U.S. Surgeon General (succeeding C. Everett Koop) Dr. Novello was known as an excellent palm reader! ...


But note he didn't rule it out! Queried by Howie Kurtz, John McCain may have said the magic words that would preclude him from seeking the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination (as both the Washington Monthly and New Republic  have fantasized.) What were those words? "I'm for school vouchers." ... Update: But McCain adviser and press favorite John Weaver has officially gone to work for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reports Roll Call[subscription required]. ...

The old Ovitz has sputtered out. A new Ovitz must be created, a process not unlike the formation of a new universe  (with the press playing the role of the ominous-yet-life-giving "dark matter" brane). ...Think that analogy is strained? So is the NYT's comparison of  talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz with Ovitz in his prime. Why do "some see a young Ovitz" in Kwatinetz? Well, according to the billboard quote from Jay Cooper, "an entertainment lawyer," both men have strong personalities! And "if Jeff does similiar things -- and I don't know here if he will or not -- he could struggle with the same issues." Wow! How do Laura Holson and Bernard Weinraub get people to say those things? And if Kwatinetz became a champion golfer he could struggle with the same issues as Tiger Woods! If he made two bad movies in a row he could struggle with the same issues as George Lucas! If he became an L.A. showbiz reporter desperate to please his out-of-it East Coast editors ...


Saturday, May 11, 2002

Fellow blogger Andrew Sullivan  claims he's been banned from The New York Times Magazine (for whom he's written several memorable pieces) by new executive editor Howell Raines. ... This resonates with what I've been told, by another source, is Raines' M.O.. ... Betting pool: Raines will now (a) Publish a token Sullivan piece to prove him wrong; (b) Conduct a Queeg-like inquiry to find out who leaked to Sullivan that Raines was "uncomfortable" with Sullivan's presence in the Times; or (c) Do nothing. ... I predict (a).  ... Note to Sullivan: Can't you get Maureen to go to bat for you? ...  If not, you maybe can adopt the motto I was once planning to use for kausfiles -- "Friendless, Therefore Fearless." [You mean "Fearless, Therefore Friendless"?--ed. Yes. Of course. That's the ticket.]


Friday, May 10, 2002

Who is the American Prospect's celebrity savior, the showbiz personality who (if the rumors are accurate) is scheduled to become the public face (and possible financial rainmaker) for the troubled paleoliberal magazine, helping to pull it up from the dreary depths into which it sank under editor "Crazy Bob" Kuttner despite millions in foundation money steered its way by Bill Moyers? ... Hmmm. This will take somebody really big. Bigger than Warren Beatty. Bigger than Rosie! Way bigger than Ed Asner. ... Richard Dreyfuss? His political advisers would know better. ... I've got it: "Keanu Reeves wants you to support the Davis-Bacon Act!" ... OK, that doesn't quite work ... Julia Roberts? Denzel? Tom Hanks? De Niro? The Rock! ...There was that scene in the Scorpion King where he cuts off the head of anyone who wants to impose a means-test on warrior pension programs. ...


Thursday, May 9, 2002

Instapundit gets the dirt on the assimilation of kausfiles by a giant multimedia corporation. A Queeg-like hunt for the leaker is underway here. ... This is not a hoax or parody, though this disturbingly-similar April Fool's story was. ... First time, farce, second, tragedy! ... In truth, I'm happy to be moving this blog to Microsoft's Slate. Note to Instapundit: They're not paying me that much. ... Note to kausfiles "legacy" readers: If you have been a kf reader, you don't need to do anything differently. Type in and you will be taken to kausfiles, as before. ...

A powerful point in Dave Kopel's rightly-acclaimed pre-assassination refutation of the lazy left-liberal lumping of Pim Fortuyn and Jean-Marie Le Pen:

In other words, the gay Dutch sociology professor offered complaints about Islam which are quite similar to complaints that some gay American sociology professors (and other American gays) offer about Christianity: anti-gay, sexist, morally imperialist, and premised on the belief that one religion is superior to all others. Now, when American gay activists make such remarks, the AP doesn't work itself into a lather and claim that the remarks reveal "demons" in the American character ... .

And it's not just "gays" and "gay activists" who make those complaints against Christianity (at least against Christianity as practiced by John Ashcroft). The complaints constitute a cliche core belief of many non-gay New York and Hollywood-style liberals. ... I admit, the people I tend to agree with usually react against these attacks on Christianity. But Kopel's point isn't that everything Fortuyn said was right -- it's that what he said had at least a germ of truth and was within the bounds of reasonable debate. It wasn't fascistic or "far right." ...


Wednesday, May 8, 2002


Disintegrating L.A., Part 2: Neolib urban theorist Joel Kotkin recognizes the distinct possibility that the city of Los Angeles will fragment through a series of successful secessions. He's for it! ... Everything Kotkin says (about L.A.'s failures) makes sense, but he doesn't deal with the key objection to secession -- namely what happens to the heavily-poor rump once all the more affluent areas have bailed out? (Again, don't think the rich West Side won't move to form its own nice "right-sized" town once the middle-class San Fernando Valley shows the way.) ... Maybe there are reasons the South Central ghetto would improve if the city it's in lost its middle and upper-class tax base. But let's hear them. ... And why won't those "entrenched" public employee unions quickly entrench themselves in the new towns as well? ...


Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Nasty unhelpful truths you can't state in public:1) Most great American popular music, in a variety of genres, was made by people on drugs. (Whenever you hear a musician saying "I'm clean now, and I'm making the best music of my life" you know their next album will be awful.) 2) The individuals -- excluding heads of state -- who have had the most impact on recent world history have arguably been assassins: Lee Harvey Oswald and Yigal Amir (Rabin's killer). Maybe even including heads of state. ... That's one reason why to me, as to Andrew Sullivan and those who've written in to Instapundit, Pim Fortuyn's killing seems like a much bigger deal than the mainstream U.S. press has made of it. Another reason is that Fortuyn's views (for all the reasons Sullivan and Michael Gove suggest) were sharply distinguishable from Le Pen's, and actually seemed to have amounted to a coherent, unique libertarian/nationalist ideology. I suspect in the days ahead Americans will learn things about Fortuyn and his views that are highly unattractive. (E.g., how could he not have been a massive egomaniac?) But this wasn't just an anti-democratic murder, it was an anti-individual murder and anti-human murder. The nail that stuck out was hammered down. ... (A third worry -- that now Fortuyn's anti-multicultural and anti-crime sentiments will go unventilated and thus fester -- seems diminished by the very real possibility that his party, and anti-immigrant parties in other European countries, will now do better in the coming elections than they would have. How badly would Jean Carnahan have beaten John Ashcroft if her husband had been assassinated?) ... P.S.: Am I the only one who finds Tony Blair's statement in response to the killing ("No matter what feelings political figures arouse, the ballot box is the place to express them") quite inadequate? ... P.P.S.: Keith Richburg's solid WaPo Fortuyn story is remarkably free of the feared he's-far-right-like-Le-Pen P.C. cant. The NYT's Marlise Simons slips a bit, labeling Fortuyn a "far-right politician" even after admitting that he "defended an eclectic mix of ideas of both left and right." ...

The people vs. the powerful (Democratic) special interests. First of a series! Excellent two-part Philly Inquirer editorial (Part 1, Part 2) on how union control of construction within the city of Philadelphia discourages new residential housing -- even though city land is now relatively cheap and builders would like to build closer to downtown (thus avoiding the hated sprawl). ... Mayor John Street, who owes his close election to organized labor, appears to be part of the problem. He appointed the head of the Sheet Metal Workers local to the chairmanship of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which then required that developers of some supposedly low-cost subsidized housing put in costly central air conditioning (installed, presumably, by sheet metal workers). ... There's also a passing reference to "a squeeze for payoffs by city employees." This perhaps deserves more extensive treatment. During the Republican convention of 2000, I met a lot of Philadelphians, and was shocked at the widespread consensus that the police and the judiciary of the city were corrupt. Angelenos don't have this attitude; Chicagoans I've met don't have this attitude. Even New Yorkers don't think that their whole city (as opposed to the occasional specific sector, like concrete or the convention center) is controlled by crooks. It's as if industrialized Philadelphia is part of the Third World. ... P.S.: Why doesn't the Inquirer link to Part 1 from Part 2? Is it afraid it will sue itself, Dallas Morning News-style, for linking to its own pages? ... [Thanks to alert kf reader A.E.]


Has Unz Won? Even the test designed by California's education establishment seems to show that English immersion beats bilingual education, as the LAT reports:

[T]he results show that students who have remained in bilingual education programs--which require parental waivers--performed worse than those in English immersion programs.

Students in immersion programs were nearly three times as likely to score in the advanced or early advanced categories as students in bilingual programs.

That didn't stop a variety of education experts from trying to debunk the results, and it didn't stop the LAT from writing a semi-subtly slanted subhed that takes the bilingualists side: "Advocates credit immersion classes, but educators say exam's first year means little." [emphasis added] ... Sure, the test results only show a correlation, not causation. It's possible that the districts with all the best students are also the ones that tend to choose immersion. But, as the Ventura County Star's story (superior to the LAT's on all counts, including clarity) notes, low-achieving districts that dropped bilingual ed also saw "relatively good" results:

The Fillmore Unified School District, for example, posted scores that were close to the averages of the affluent Conejo, Simi Valley, Pleasant Valley and Ojai districts.

I've been to the Fillmore Unified School District. When I attended Beverly Hills High, we visited Fillmore as the result of what must have been a desperate statewide search for a football team we could beat. Thirty or forty well-fed, weight-trained BH players traveled for a couple of hours in our bus caravan, with fancy medical equipment and high-tech ice-packs, etc.. We may even have had oxygen on the sidelines. Our opponents, if I remember right, were thirteen Hispanic kids and a dog. We trounced them 7-6, and scurried back to our air-conditioned buses before they could beat us up. ... I say that if non-affluent Fillmore is now doing almost as well as Simi Valley, immersion has triumphed, and bilingual ed advocates are doomed to an increasingly desperate attempt to deny the truth. ... As anti-bilingual crusader Ron Unz put it in the email he sent around publicizing the California results:

[W]e have now discovered
-- all our educational expectations to the contrary -- that children taught English by being taught in English will learn English much faster than children taught English by being taught in Spanish ...

Obvious question #1: Will Calif. Gov. Gray Davis now be called to account for his recent attempt to sabotage the anti-bilingual law that's on the books? ... Obvious question #2: Will Karl Rove let President Bush stop the Hispanic Suck-Up long enough to forthrightly denounce bilingual ed, in the name of 'insisting on results'? ...