From the monthly archives: "May 2013"

Memorial Day is now three days behind us. The patriotic fervor of the day has dulled to a low ebb. Citizens, more distant than ever from the military, can once again forget about the soldiers dying far away. For most Americans it’s time to go back to their daily grind until the shadow of Veterans Day reminds them to wave flags and post thank yous on social media.

As for libertarians, it’s downright antithetical to celebrate a day like Memorial Day, so it’s a relief when the day passes. The idea of memorializing soldiers, the guns in the itchy trigger fingers of the State’s hand, seems loathsome. These are the people who kill enemy and innocents alike, unquestioning, based on orders given by men who view battlefields as chessboards, soldiers as pawns, and blood as a lubricant in their geopolitical ends and means.

Over on AntiWar.com, Lucy Steigerwald (my sister) writes in her critique of Memorial Day that “It is not morally neutral to join the military, and so it’s not morally neutral to mourn war dead.” Sheldon Richman at the Free Association blog also views Memorial Day in a negative light, (to say the least).

Richman writes:

Today is Revisionist History Day, what others call Memorial Day. Americans are supposed to remember the country’s war dead while being thankful that they protected our freedom and served our country. However, reading revisionist history … teaches that the fallen were doing no such thing. Rather they were and are today serving cynical politicians and the “private” component of the military-industrial complex in the service of the American Empire.

But this ignores the millions of soldiers killed who were drafted in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. They didn’t choose to join the military, they were coerced. It also ignores the fact that the world only exists in its current capacity because of the blood spilled in the American Revolution. Was that war just? What about World War II? How many civilians have to be killed before some kind of intervention becomes necessary or moral?

You don’t have to believe in the morality of war to honor those who died. But by all means parse out each individual soldier. Play St. Peter and judge them on their worthiness of being honored. Go ahead and memorialize the 53 percent that meets your criteria while making sure none of the 47 percent receive any of your well-wishes. If you want to find someone to blame, there’s a much more worthy target than soldiers — especially the dead ones.

The blame for wars lies squarely at the feet of the government. It’s easy to excoriate soldiers for being the weapons of war, but that ignores the fingers pulling the trigger. With drones replacing front line soldiers, the impetus to change the way our government operates grows exponentially. When war becomes as cold and sterile as playing a video game, it doesn’t bode well for a peaceful world.

You cannot hope to put an end to warfare by heaping blame on the soldiers. It’s counterproductive and only inflames the passions of the citizenry. To spur change, our words and efforts have to be focused on the highest halls of power. The State will try and deflect, to blame the rest of the world for forcing their hand, for coercing them into war. It will arouse patriotism through statues and songs and through co-opting days of memorial.

It is far too easy to get caught up in celebrating Memorial Day the way the government wants us to. They want us to forget the endless wars, the needless interventions. But that’s not the point. Memorial Day wasn’t started by the government as a way to stoke patriotism. It was a simple day of remembering those who died in battle, no matter who or why.

Memorial Day isn’t a once a year quote thanking the military for their service. It’s not an excuse to wave a flag and proclaim our country the greatest in the world. It’s not an excuse to hate anti-war activists and those who would dare speak out against our foreign policy. The State has equated the day with patriotism to dull the senses of the masses. To cow those who would speak out against the heroic American solider serving selflessly overseas to protect our freedoms, Democracy; whatever the buzz words of the day are. But that’s not what Memorial Day is for.

It is a day to honor American soldiers who have died in battle. That’s all.

It’s really that simple. There’s nothing pro-war or pro-government about it. If anything, the concept of remembering the hundreds of thousands of dead American soldiers is decidedly anti-war. If more people remember the cost of war in human terms then it becomes harder for the government to abuse its powers.

The government may have stolen Memorial Day for their own means, but that doesn’t mean remembering the fallen should make us uncomfortable. Remember that as long as government has the power of life and death, there will be more and more soldiers who die and become merely statistics in a book. So celebrate Memorial Day, and remember the soldiers — maybe more than once a year — but do more than that; fight for a world in which they no longer have to be memorialized.

At this point, it’s pretty clear that Jezebel exists to make Gawker look thoughtful, radical, and  passionate. Gawker slants tediously leftist, as do all of its writers (to my knowledge). But Hamilton Nolan, Max Read, and a few others have written quality, serious pieces on cops, the drug war, and war — many of which contain nothing in them that would alienate a libertarian.

Now, compare and contrast  a few Gawker posts with this latest Jezebel piece on the president, entitled “Check Out Obama’s Adorable Prom Pic.” It begins: “After last week’s hellish scandal week, President Barack Obama could use a little PR break.”

It continues:

What’s this? Photos of a young Barry at his prom have unearthed and Michelle was not his date? Is that infidelity? Does this mean impeachment? IS HE WEARING MARIJUANA AROUND HIS NECK? Nope, this photo is just sweet and innocent.

Oh Mr. President, look how happy you were at such a simple time when the greatest concern that could possibly bother you was the size of your fro, the breasts on your date and the awkwardness of the slow dance.

One of Barry’s high school friends, Kelli Allman (second to the left) just shared this gem from senior prom with Time, and it’s beyond adorable. It features Barry’s BFF, Greg Orme (the other dude in the photo) and Barry’s date that night, Megan Hughes. Apparently the double date duo sipped on some champagne before prom, did a Socialist ritual at prom (I kid, I kid) and attended an after-party like any other high school kids.

Allman also shared a photo of her yearbook, which has an even sweeter note from the future President. If you want to get the full experience, just let your eyes wonder at this picture. But if Barry’s handwriting is too handsome for you to handle, here’s what he says:

It continues, but I don’t care to.

Jesus Christ, editors; swoon over Ryan Gosling, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or any of the other currently-dreamy men who have made no choices that lead to the deaths of Pakistani children. This continuing obsession with the attractiveness of the president is completely appalling. It’s worse than the lowest type of gossip site, it’s worse than completely ignoring politics or serious issues, in the manner of Cosmopolitan. Yes, Jezebel is actually more embarrassing for women than Cosmo. It’s official. As a lady writer, I declare it so. Better to not talk about politics than to degrade good, old fashioned fawning in this manner. Teen idols don’t deserve to be grouped in with Barack Obama. The Jonas Brothers do not have predator drones. David Cassidy didn’t spy on the AP. Leif Garrett didn’t permit the DOJ to shut down medical marijuana clinics.

Jezebel is free to hire only leftist writers. They don’t even need to think about how all women are being portrayed when they write for a women’s blog — that’s too much to ask of anyone. They’re a subset of a subset, a moderate-left-blog for women’s interests. But it’s still troubling when there are multiple blogs on one platform, and it’s the women’s one with the most empty-headed, brood-hen bullshit. Just stop writing about politics entirely if you side-step their deadly seriousness.

And if you really support the president, explain why. Don’t write snotty posts with dog-whistles to the most inane, right-wing strawmen critiques so you can all have a hearty laugh about how wacky are those Republicans. Be honest and say the drug war, the wars, the spying is all worth it to you. Politics is awful, but Obama has the power of life and death, or freedom and imprisonment, over millions of people. That is fucking serious, do not write about it as if you were a 12-year-old.

With such posts — and such timing! —  you’re embarrassing the rest of the women, and the rest of the teen idols. Obama might have been a nice guy in private life, but he lost the privilege of being a morally neutral figure the moment he was elected, and he sure as hell lost the ability to be a sex symbol.

Super-star best-selling author and Kennedy-family expert Laurence Leamer  and his new book “The Price of Justice” are being tortured by the brain-dead legacy publishing industry and the low-info dolts who run TV.

Below are two emails Leamer sent out to his friends and fellows describing what is and is not happening with his latest book.

“The Price of Justice,” which is almost guaranteed to become a movie some day, is about a pair of nobody Pittsburgh lawyers who went to court to challenge the nasty business practices of Don Blankenship, the former West Virginia coal baron and CEO of Massey Energy.

Leamer is a major best-selling dude.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes him:

Leamer is … regarded as an expert on the Kennedy family[2] and has … also written best-selling biographies of other American icons, including Johnny Carson, the Reagan family, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Here’s what Leamer wrote about his recent publishing experience in two emails sent May 15:

Subject: How is this possibly happening?

I’ve had a hell of a time with The Price of Justice, my new book.  Seventeen publishers rejected it.  They said the same thing.  The proposal was excellent, the story compelling and important but it was set in West Virginia and was about the coal industry and nobody would read it.  The Price of Justice has gotten the best reviews of my career, but when my publicist tries to pitch the book to national television as soon as she mentions West Virginia and coal, the bookers turn off.  So I’ve gotten no national publicity and no national reviews.  It’s key to have books up front at Barnes &  Noble.  The publishers pay for this.  Barnes & Noble had the same reaction as the bookers and they have refused to give us national coop.  In most of America, you have to walk to the back of the store and find maybe one or two copies in the legal section.  When I asked my agent if she had ever heard of a book succeed with such distribution, she said no.  Yet an amazing thing is happening.  The book is taking off.  It’s 223 on Amazon now and about the same on the Barnes & Noble website.  That’s New York Times bestseller list territory.  I’m just shaking my head and wondering how this is possibly happening.

His follow-up email offered more detail:

My book agent is Joy Harris.  She’s not only one of the best in the business but one of the most thoughtful.  If anyone should be concerned with the fact that I haven’t been able to get any national publicity for The Price of Justice, she should be.  But she put it in perspective for me this morning.  The problem, she suggests, is that when 29 miners at killed at Upper Big Branch or when 26 people are massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the media are there.  But within days the journalists fold up their tents and wait until the next tragic circus.  They have no time or intention of exploring the underlying causes.  When Leslie Brandon, my publicist at Henry Holt, tries to book me to talk about The Price of Justice on national television, the producers want a news hook.  If Don Blankenship, the villain of my book, is indicted they will happily have me on.  But they don’t have the time, the space, the intention of exploring the underlying problems of a region like West Virginia.  It’s a small state and the people are disregarded or caricatured.  But the wonderful thing is that people are hungry for what I have to say in this book, hungry to read about the battle of two ordinary lawyers against the most powerful coal baron in American history.  Amazon is running out of books, and in West Virginia there is a groundswell not simply of interest but excitement that finally somebody has told the truth about the corruption of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the corruption of the political system, the corruption of Don Blankenship and Massey.

If Leamer has this much trouble getting a serious book published and promoted and covered by TV, what chance do no-name rookies have?

Maybe Jon Stewart or Brian Lamb will come to the rescue.

As of today, here are the Amazon sales rankings for “The Price of Justice,” which hopefully will be a success that makes the legacy publishing industry look bad:

Guest blog by  

I was born in 1965, the year the first U.S. combat troops went to Vietnam. Growing up in middle-class America in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I distinctly remember that “Vietnam” – the place name stood in for a great many things left unsaid – was not discussed, almost taboo, among my parents’ generation. I didn’t realize this at the time, of course. I could only smell it, like the residue of something the dog left on the carpet, through the layers of deodorant and disinfectant.

Americans who had lived through “Vietnam” were emotionally and politically exhausted and had declared a tacit truce among themselves. That suited them – all of them, on all sides – but it left my generation poorly served. How can young people learn the lessons of history, if no one is willing to teach them? I had to assemble the puzzle for myself later, through self-directed reading and actually going to live in Southeast Asia. My first clue that I would need to do this came when I asked an older friend what “the sixties” had been all about, and he blurted out in bitter exasperation: “It was about how the blood of the war got on everyone’s hands, and we couldn’t wash it off. It’s still all over the place.”

And it still is. And now, even to get back to Vietnam to deal with it honestly, we would have to wade neck-deep through several more recent wars’ worth of moral and historical muck. I wonder what the chances are of that. We do have the excuse that we have immediate and pressing compulsions and distractions, as well as both genuine and bogus causes for optimism. But we always have those. We had them, for example, during “Vietnam” itself. “You would hear constantly, ‘Napalm will win the war for us,’ Clyde Edwin Pettit told me when I knew him in Bangkok in the mid-1990s, when he was returning annually to Vietnam. “F–king napalm was the greatest thing ever to come down the pike, you woulda thought. It was always something was winning the war.”

Pettit was the author of a prescient 1966 letter to J. William Fulbright that compelled that powerful senator to reverse his position on the war, and of the 1975 book The Experts: 100 Years of Blunder in Indo-China (alternate subtitle: The Book That Proves There Are None), which consists of 439 pages of nothing but direct quotations from politicians, professors, and pundits, all purporting to understand what was happening or to know what was going to happen in Vietnam, arranged chronologically. Read from cover to cover, as Ed insisted it should be, The Experts amounts to a narrative of mounting horror and increasingly tortuous self-delusion. If this sounds familiar, it should. If any document demonstrates the staying power of human self-delusion, it’s Pettit’s masterpiece.

It occurred to me recently that, if he were alive today, Ed Pettit might say that drones are the napalm of our time. The common element is death rained down from the sky, and drones take this a step further by leaving the inflictors of it safe back in the States. Anyone who understood as Pettit did that, far from being “the greatest thing ever to come down the pike,” napalm was both immensely destructive to civilians on the ground in Vietnam and counterproductive to American goals, would endorse the argument made by the Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid in the May 23 issue of The New York Review of Books, that any hope of building a reliable partnership with the governments of countries like Pakistan depends on

support for the complicated and unique internal political processes that can build in each a domestic consensus to combat extremists – who, after all, typically kill more locals than they do anyone else. International pressure and encouragement can help secure such a consensus. But it cannot be dispatched on the back of a Hellfire missile fired by a robot aircraft piloted by an operator sitting halfway around the world in Nevada.

I’m troubled by the fact that devices called drones feature prominently in Vietnam veteran Joe Haldeman’s ominously-titled classic science-fiction novel The Forever War. I’m bothered by eyewitness accounts like that of William Dalrymple, author of Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42, who recently told a Seattle audience:

In movies there’s usually one drone, and these guys in their shirt sleeves in Virginia directing them. But in Jalalabad it’s sort of like a New York taxi rank: all these drones taking off, one after the other.

Above all, I’m haunted by my friend Uong Leap’s childhood memory of seeing Khmer Rouge fighters in the tops of palm trees, shooting AK-47s at U.S. helicopters in southeastern Cambodia in the early 1970s. “Oh, crazy time!” Leap told me, with a jarringly cheerful grin. Leap knows what came after that crazy time in Cambodia, because he survived it.

What will come after the current crazy time in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

ETHAN CASEY is the author of Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time (2004), called “intelligent and compelling” by Mohsin Hamid and “wonderful” by Edwidge Danticat. He is also the author of Bearing the Bruise: A Life Graced by Haiti (2012) . His next book, Home Free: An American Road Trip, will be published in fall 2013 and is available for pre-purchase. Web: www.ethancasey.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/ethancasey.author. Join his email list here.

This graph, which shows how stupid America is, was recently retweeted by journalist Glenn Greenwald. gitmo close

It’s a great, damning graph; two piecharts taken  from a televised news report show how partisan and principle-free are Democrats. The problem is it’s not actually real. Intrepid editor Lucy Steigerwald looked through the source of the poll and found discrepancies with the graph’s supposed numbers.

Glenn Greenwald, a noted Guantanamo opponent, likely knew that outrage over the prison among Democrats had diminished. So without looking up the actual numbers, he retweeted the graph. This is confirmation bias, and it’s easy to fall into its trap, especially on social networking sites like Twitter. Sadly, the real numbers are actually very close — close enough for it to seem strange why someone would go through the trouble to fake a graph like this in the first place.

The actual Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 70% of all respondents favor leaving Guantanamo Bay open. Furthermore The Post revealed that 53% of self described “liberal Democrats” and 67% “moderate or conservative Democrats approved.

Although the numbers from the graph aren’t accurate, they are close enough to make you wonder what the hell Americans are thinking. When Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay by 2010 he had a lot of support amongst his constituents. A 2009 Marist poll of Democrats showed 72% favored closing Guantanamo. During his 2008 campaign for the presidency, Obama constantly referenced how he would close the prison if he won the election.

But he didn’t.

It’s 2013 and Guantanamo still holds 166 enemy combatants. Obama has talked a great deal about his desire to close it down, but shown little real interest and has taken no action on the matter. The lack of interest has sparked a sea change in the opinions of Democrats and they have abandoned their once hardline stance and now stand firmly behind their Commander in Chief.

And this is what’s wrong with America.

It’s funny how a change in the party running the White House can make such a big difference in the principles of the American people. When President Bush was in charge, Democrats couldn’t wait to close down Guantanamo Bay. It was a place which ruined America’s image and embiggoned our enemies abroad. But now Obama is in charge, he can spew empty promises about how he “wants” to shut it down, but why should he? He no longer needs to placate the people, their hearts and minds have changed. It’s a win-win for Obama and a lose-lose for America.

Joe Steigerwald is the Commander in Chief of Steigerwald Post and a hell of a model American. Follow him on Twitter @Steigerwaldino

In spring 2012, Robert and Adlynn Harte of Leawood Kansas were subjected to a SWAT-style drug raid after they bought materials for their hydroponic vegetable garden, and eight months later a police search through their trash lead to the discovery of what a field test revealed to be marijuana. Except that it wasn’t. It was probably tea. A lab test done after the raid showed that the substance was definitely not weed. Cops: fighting the drug war, unable to identity drugs.

A timeline from The Kansas City Star has more details, including the obligatory scaring children bit:

•  The Harte house was searched April 20, 2012, a date that has been known as a long-celebrated marijuana holiday. Area law enforcement officers were conducting several searches as part of a sting in a response to pot smokers’ blatant flaunting of the law.

Ten search warrants were served that day, and the Hartes’ home was one.

When the tactical-dressed deputies arrived at the home in the 10300 block of Wenonga Lane, Robert Harte was forced to lie shirtless on the foyer while a deputy with an assault rifle stood over him, according to the Harte’s lawsuit. The children, a 7-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, reportedly came out of their bedrooms terrified, the teenager with his hands in the air.

•  But a lab test done 10 days after the raid and again four months later in August found that the leafy material was not marijuana.

“It does not look anything like marijuana leaves or stems,” a lab report said. [Incredulous emphases added

Some more takeaways:

1) Holy shit, look what good local news reporting can do! Props, 41 Action News. Compare and contrast with these lapdog reporters who think SWAT is just nifty as long as they get to tag along.

2) Props to the father for saying “some goon standing over me with an assault rifle” and for the family for suing.

3) Officials can’t even enforce their awful laws “properly.” The restriction on a pretty damn harmless substance is evil enough — this kind of incompetence takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Who do you trust, you folks who trust government and law enforcement? Which imaginary individuals are you picturing, who will take this much power — the power to kick down your door, point guns at your kids, and trash your house — and use it for good? Where’s the good in frightening a family and trashing their home? And if it had been weed, and the parents had been hauled off to jail, that would have been more harmful still.

At this point, I fee like i’m just addressing David Frum and Eric Holder when I speak to imaginary drug warriors. And, I suppose, Ann Coulter. A lot of people are wising up, but in the mean time this shit keeps happening. And even when it stops, people will still be rotting away in jail — casualties of the dark age when people thought this kind of criminal behavior was okay, as long as the perpetrators had the right uniforms and the right piece of paper.

[H/T: Anthony Gregory]

The undercover cop doesn’t even show his badge to rapper Xstrav, he just demands the Arizona tea, so he can make sure it’s non-alcoholic. The real reason Xstrav gets cuffed, I’d say, is he was guilty of “contempt of cop” and “failure to be sufficiently cowed.”

  • Gawker has more on the case, including links to a second video that confirms the incident is not a hoax or a weird tea promo. It seems Xstrav’s charges are Misdemeanor Second Degree Trespass and Misdemeanor Resisting Public Officer.
  • Long Mother Jones piece on the effects of deinstitutionalization. There a few nods to Szasz-style civil liberties concerns, but not many. Worth reading, though.
  • Interview with a photographer who sneaks into abandoned mental institutions. My camera finger itches.
  • The Weaver family door as historical artifact. It must be very strange indeed to be Elisheba Weaver.
  • VICE piece on the 20 years since Waco gathering at Mt. Carmel. 
  • This National Review Online piece doesn’t say much new about Alex Jones, but it is said well. Basically, the man is a wacky preacher and should probably be treated as such.
  • This 2011 Rolling Stone piece on Alex Jones is very good, and delves deeper into how the weirdness came to be.
  • When you start reading about Alex Jones, you start Googling “Alex Jones prediction 9/11” and “Pentagon surveillance video” and then it’s three hours later and you’re so tired you have a headache.
  • Talking Points Memo reports that the man who recklessly shot at the White House in 2011 so at least in part because of Obama’s stance on marijuana laws. I have no comment that won’t get me placed on a list somewhere.
  • Rand Paul toasts Henry David Thoreau , thereby making it must harder for me to stay angry at the curly-mopped Senator.
  • The age of reason lead to the Holocaust, apparently. 
  • Artist recreates tragedies and news moments with children — many of them work (Jonestown, 9/11), some of them really do not (JonBenet Ramsey is very disturbing, and doesn’t seem logical thematically anyway).
  • Day 4 of the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure in DC — that’s UFO talk, don’t ya know.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show on Conan

 

The 1980s was the Golden Age of newspapers.

In that greedy decade the Los Angeles Times, where I thoroughly enjoyed working as a copy editor and freelance writer/reviewer, was a major national media power.

Its profits were obscene. It still had about 1.1 million readers and more international bureaus than the CIA.

It could afford to pay top writers $50k a year to write three mega-stories per annum that were too long to read, or assign two investigative reporters to the Scientology beat for years without them ever printing a word. It had about 1,100 editorial employees then, more than twice what it has now.

Today the Times is like most dinosauric daily newspapers in the post-Digital Age. It’s shriveled and sickly and still unable and/or unwilling to adapt to the Internet and its culture of openness.

It’s too late. Culturally and politically, the L.A. Times is nationally irrelevant and cloutless. Worse than Time or Newsweek.

The Times and its bankrupt corporate daddy the Tribune Company are up for sale for about $600 million — a fire-sale price.

As a libertarian, and as the only open libertarian I knew working at the Times in the 1980s, I hope the fabulously rich libertarian Koch brothers buy the paper with their pocket change and give some of my few surviving liberal friends there a taste of their own medicine.

It’ll be interesting to see how my fellow journalists react to having bosses — i.e., devout libertarian/conservative publishers and the non-liberal editors they will certainly hire — who don’t have the same political biases they have (and don’t know they have).

The Times, as any non-Obama-loving reader or non-liberal journalist knows, desperately needs some more ideological diversity (ID) — on its editorial pages but primarily among its subeditors and reporters. It needed ID in the 1980s. I’m sure it still does. All big-city papers always did and still do.

Meanwhile, rooting through my Los Angeles Times archives the other day I found shocking evidence of just how far the mighty L.A. Times, aka the Daily Titanic, has sunk in terms of what it once spent on the gathering and spinning of news and opinion.

Two nicely typed pages detail the Times’ enormous 1982 editorial budget (which included my paltry $30,000 a year salary as a part-time copy editor in Calendar, the arts & entertainment section).

 

la times budget 1982la times budget page 2

A lousy $45 million isn’t much in an age of $3.5 trillion federal budgets. But it’s about $105 million in 2012 dollars, which is almost enough to buy what’s left of the L.A. Times itself and about a sixth of the price the whole Tribune Company and its eight papers is expected to go for.

The 1982 budget report looks like just a bunch of big boring numbers to civilians.

But it’s a real shocker for the survivors of the Great Daily Newspaper Crash. They will scream and cry and remember the good old days before blogs and tweets democratized journalism and made everyone with a thumb an amateur George Will.

Almost $15 million spent for the Metro desk (local news) is impressive, even in 2013 dollars, but not as impressive as almost half a million for a stand-alone Sunday book section. Today there’s hardly a book section still alive in a North American newspaper.

A cool $1.1 million for the Times in-house library. A million bucks worth of editorial writers.  More than $700,000 for copy messengers, transcribers and the Times newswire.

Email, the Internet and PCs put many of those people out of their jobs and should have saved the Times a ton of money,  if only the paper had been managed well. But by the beginning of the reign of Bush II, the Times had upwards of 1,300 well-paid editorial employees and was about to hit the iceberg.

In the 1980s, the Times  was known as “The Velvet Coffin,” and for good reason. No one ever left it until they died, landed a job at the New York Times or got themselves hired by big Hollywood producers, which movie reporters Michael London, Dale Pollock and David Friendly did during my time there.

The L.A. Times paid everyone New York Times/Washington Post salaries and nobody ever had a heart attack from overwork. A lot of money was spent on good journalism, but a lot of money also was wasted. I remember Picasso prints in the mid-level editors’ glass offices.

I don’t remember where or how I acquired my copy of the 1982 budget report, and even if I did I’d go to jail to protect my sources.

But truth be told, I probably swiped it off the desk of the Times’ late, great and under-appreciated Sunday Calendar editor, Irv Letofsky. Or I fished it out of his trash basket when I was emptying it for him.

All I know for sure about the budget is that it’s authentic. And it’s a sad document from a happy newspaper era we will never see again.

Bill Steigerwald, whose columns and commentaries are archived at CagleCartoons.com, worked at the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the 1990s and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in the ’00s. He is the proud author of the Amazon ebook “Dogging Steinbeck,” which exposes the truth about john Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley” and celebrates Flyover America and its people. Many book details at TruthAboutCharley.com  or go to C-SPAN for his “Q&A” appearance with Brian Lamb.

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