Maureen Dowd on the Costanza-Steinbrenner Connection The New York Times columnist shares an anecdote recounted by the Yankees' David Sussman, who recalls that Steinbrenner had to warm up to Seinfeld before he eventually gave permission to do a cameo and use the uniform in an episode. She writes: "But how did the Yankees owner feel about Big Stein, his oddball yet finally lovable caricature in Seinfeld?' Apparently 'The Boss' thought that the character George Costanza was named after him, and 'brushed aside' attempts to tell him otherwise."
Lee Bollinger on a Bailout For Journalism The author and Columbia University president extols the benefits of publicly funded journalism in an editorial for the Wall Street Journal opinion page. As you might expect, Bollinger's vision takes a highly academic tone ("The institutions of the press we have inherited are the result of a mixed system of public and private cooperation"). His general thesis seems to to be that's there's nothing wrong with a little increased public assistance for the press--we've been doing it for years. The word "bailout" is never spoken, although it seems that's what Bollinger is pushing for: "The goal would be an American broadcasting system with full journalistic independence that can provide the news we need."
The Los Angeles Times on the FCC's Lack of Restraint In contemplating the recent loosening of obscenity laws, the paper's editorial board notes that "[b]roadcast networks are no longer dominant, inescapable media voices." While the FCC has been under immense pressure to shield Americans from questionable content, the agency's influence was limited even before the ruling: "it has no authority over cable TV channels, and it can't stop kids from using DVRs or the Internet to watch late-night programming in the middle of the day." The FCC would be better suited to promote the many tools for parents to block programs rather than "trying to micromanage the airwaves."
John Dickerson on Barack Obama the Salesman The Slate political correspondent writes that on issues like health care, the economy, and jobs President Obama has struggled to communicate not just his message, but the facts. It's so vexing because it was so unexpected. "Candidate Obama," writes Dickerson, "used to joke about rays of sunshine coming in when he started to speak. Now he brings the clouds." Is it a question of Americans resisting policy, or a bad pitchman who can't seal the deal? "Whatever the reason," writes Dickerson, "the best argument Obama has for how he and Democrats have addressed the issue people care the most about is one that people aren't buying."
Thomas Friedman on the Spies Who Loved Us When The New York Times columnist heard about the Russian spy scandal, his first reaction was unmitigated glee: "Someone still wants to spy on us!" But as he thought more about the situation, he realized that the Russians weren't the best option to be that "someone." He continues: "everything the Russians should want from us is everything they don't have to steal. It is also everything we should be celebrating and preserving but lately have not: open immigration, educational excellence, a culture of innovation and a financial system designed to promote creative destruction."