Radical Chic: Times Relaunches Mag With Hagiography of Terrorist Helper Lori Berenson

Plus: Paul Krugman's persecution fantasies of Wisconsin, and why we won't miss retiring columnist Frank Rich. And "Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?"
Radical Chic: Times Relaunches Mag With Hagiography of Terrorist Helper

"Such an outpouring of rage at a 40-year-old woman, mother to a toddler, who was convicted in her mid-20s of abetting a terrorist plot that never took place, is a measure of the degree to which Peruvians are still traumatized by the violence that convulsed their country during the years when the Shining Path warred with the military and nearly 70,000 Peruvians were killed....The M.R.T.A. was a much smaller insurgent group than the dominant Shining Path, and historically less violent...." - From novelist Jennifer Egan's sympathetic March 6 Sunday magazine cover profile of Lori Berenson, middle-class Manhattanite turned terror collaborator, paroled after being sentenced to life in prison in Peru in 1996 for housing Marxist terrorists of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (M.R.T.A.).

"The New York Times Magazine is based on long-form narrative journalism, and this week's cover article, by Jennifer Egan, is a prime example. It is about Lori Berenson, a New Yorker who moved to Latin America as a young adult, got mixed up in revolutionary politics in Peru and was promptly thrown in prison, where she spent the next 15 years before being paroled last year. Egan traveled to Lima, where Berenson must remain until 2015, and tells the story of a wounded but resilient woman struggling to sort out a place for herself in the world. It is in every way a classic Times Magazine story." - From New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Hugo Lindgren "Editor's Letter" in the March 6 edition.

The Intellectually Curious, Mischievous Communist Murderer

"It was in that city that he met Ernesto Guevara, an asthmatic teenager who was determined to play rugby with Mr. Granado's team. They became close friends, sharing an intellectual curiosity, a mischievous sense of humor and a restive desire to explore their continent" - Obituary writer Victoria Burnett on March 7, marking the death of Alberto Granado Jiménez, travel companion the murderous leftist Che Guevara.

Arizona: Threat or Menace?

"Despite boycotts and accusations that the state has become a haven of intolerance, Arizona won plaudits last year from immigration hardliners across the country." - Marc Lacey, February 24.

Does That Include the $20 Million They Gave to the ACLU?

"The ubiquitous Koch brothers: the Zeligs of questionable funding." - The 9th item in Henry Alford's "Crib Sheet" column, March 10.

Only Liberal Republicans Are Allowed to Challenge Their Party

"Rick Scott, the conservative Republican billionaire who plucked the governor's job from the party establishment in November with $73 million of his own money and the backing of the Tea Party, vowed during his campaign to run the troubled state like a corporate chief executive (which he was) and not a politician (which he proudly says he is not). And now it has become a problem, some of his fellow Republicans say.....Republican lawmakers in Florida were hoping for a smoother transition. Instead, they say, they got top-down management from a political novice." - Lizette Alvarez and Gary Fineout, March 8. By contrast, the Times hailed Florida's former liberal Republican Gov. Charlie Crist for his "pariah" status among his fellow Republicans.


"The images from Wisconsin - with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote - evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest. The parallels raise the inevitable question: Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?" - Michael Cooper and Katharine Seelye, February 19.

Why We Won't Miss Retiring Columnist Frank Rich

"What may at long last be dawning on some Republican grandees is that a provocateur who puts her political adversaries in the cross hairs and then instructs her acolytes to "RELOAD" frightens most voters." - Columnist Frank Rich blaming Sarah Palin for the Jared Loughner shooting, February 20.

"Hard-Right," "Far-Right" Conservatives

"Mr. Cuccinelli's conservative views make him no stranger to controversy. Before his election as attorney general in November 2009, he served nearly eight years in the State Senate, where he was known for his hard-right stances on illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, gun control and abortion and for clashing with moderates within his party." - John Collins Rudolf, February 23.

"But Republicans could also gain, said Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Taking a cost-cutting position against unions is part of the mantra for far-right groups like the Tea Party, and not necessarily unpopular." - Sabrina Tavernise and A.G. Sulzberger, February 23.

Goodstein Knows Anti-Islamist Activist Is Wrong

"She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion. She has found a receptive audience among Americans who are legitimately worried about the spread of terrorism. But some of those who work in counterterrorism say that speakers like Ms. Gabriel are spreading distortion and fear, and are doing the country a disservice by failing to make distinctions between Muslims who are potentially dangerous and those who are not." - From religion reporter Laurie Goodstein's hostile profile of anti-Islamist activist Brigitte Gabriel, March 8.

Krugman's Persecution Fantasies

"What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin - and eventually, America - less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy." - Columnist Paul Krugman, February 21.

The Oklahoma Daily
: "You mentioned how children and students suffer from cuts to public agencies. What advice would you give students to impact the political scene?"
Krugman: "Well, you know, maybe we could learn a little bit from British students or French students who actually demonstrated against these cuts." - From an interview with Krugman posted to the Oklahoma Daily website, February 23. British students rioted and caused property damage in London.

"What's happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab - an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy." - Paul Krugman, February 25.

Reporter Turned White House Press Sec Jay Carney, "Non-Partisan"? Hardly

"Jay Carney has never been much of a partisan. His former colleagues at Time never knew which politicians he voted for. He complained privately that he felt the magazine's coverage of the 2008 election - the one that put his current boss in the White House - was too lopsided toward Barack Obama." - Jeremy Peters on Time magazine reporter turned White House press secretary Jay Carney, March 17.


"If it sounds as if George Bush is protesting too much, that's because he's got a credibility problem. It's hard enough being the leader of a party that has made headlines by shutting down the government and refusing to add a few quarters to the minimum wage. The Texas Governor also has his own recent past to overcome, including a bruising primary fight that featured him cozying up to the religious right and running a singularly uncompassionate campaign against his opponent, John McCain." - Time's James Carney and John F. Dickerson, April 24. 2000.

The New York Times vs. State Spending Cuts

"Decades of industrial decline have eroded private-sector jobs here, leaving a thin crust of low-paying service work that makes public-sector jobs look great in comparison. Now, as Ohio's legislature moves toward final approval of a bill that would chip away at public-sector unions, those workers say they see it as the opening bell in a race to the bottom. At stake, they say, is what little they have that makes them middle class." - Sabrina Tavernise in Gallipolis, Ohio, March 16, in a story that did not mention Ohio's $8 billion deficit.

Sniping at NJ Gov. Chris Christie

"Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts. But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations. Candor is central to Mr. Christie's appeal, and a review of his public statements over the past year shows some of them do not hold up to scrutiny." - Richard Perez-Pena, March 10.

WI "Folk Heroes" Bring "Positive Energy" to Protests

"They are the unlikeliest of folk heroes. But this group of once-obscure lawmakers - a dairy farmer, a lawyer and a woman who is seven months pregnant, among others - that fled this capital nearly a month ago, returned Saturday to the cheers of tens of thousands who once again packed the streets in protest....The size of the crowd, which the Madison police estimated at around 100,000, and the amount of positive energy was striking, coming a day after the long battle over the bill was lost, though legal efforts were under way to keep it from taking effect." - A.G. Sulzberger on the runaway Democratic Wisconsin state lawmakers, March 13, 2011.