Jewish World Review Nov. 7, 2002/ 2 Kislev 5763


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Consumer Reports

Forbes for Treasury | It would benefit the administration if Bush and Steve Forbes could patch up whatever feud they have, for the latter is an excellent candidate for a new Treasury secretary. In the Nov. 11 issue of Forbes, the two-time presidential candidate wrote: "President Bush is rightly focusing all his energies on Iraq. But isn't there another adult in this Administration who can give the economy the attention it needs?...

"The President should...unveil a tax cut package of Kennedy and Reagan proportions. Expand the already passed, across-the-board cuts in income tax rates and make them effective immediately; slash the capital gains levy; end the double taxation of dividends; increase the deduction for stock market losses that beleaguered individual investors can take on their income tax returns; raise caps on IRA, 401(k) and Keogh contributions, and permit owners of these plans to make withdrawals at any age they wish instead of forcing them to do so at age 70-1/2; liberalize depreciation schedules; and knock down corporate income taxes.

"In fact, the Administration should really go for the mojo and call for a flat tax."

Now that's an impressive job application.


Normally, I don't find Rick Reilly's Sports Illustrated column particularly irritating. In fact, on occasion he can rise above the web of cliches that are typical among marquee sportswriters, as in a poignant piece a few months ago on how John Elway's life fell apart (and was then pieced together) after he retired from pro football. But Reilly's Nov. 4 issue-closer was awful, reading like an audition for a standup routine in the Poconos.

He wrote: "Don't you feel a little sorry for Barry Bonds? [No.]

"True, Bonds has the warmth of a dyspeptic IRS auditor. He dispenses more snarls than twin Dobermans. He's rude, insular and grouchy. And that's on his birthday.

"But nobody, not even Barry Bonds, deserves a World Series like he just had. All his life he'd dreamed of getting to one of these babies, and when he did it brought him all the joy of an upper G.I. cleansing.

"Pitchers walked him like a Fifth Avenue poodle. Blood-red stadium crowds shook monkeys at him. Forty-four thousand people slapped 88,000 plastic sausages together until his ears popped."

And for this ESPN is trying to raid Reilly?

At least he didn't mix politics with sports. On the left-wing website AlterNet, a woman named Marsha Rosenbaum wrote an appalling column that could only be composed in San Francisco or Michael Moore's spacious limousine.

She said, on Oct. 29: "This morning I wondered why, after the devastating news about Paul Wellstone, which means not only the loss of a principled man and the only senator in a close race to have the guts to cast a 'no' vote on the war in Iraq, but whose death could tip the fragile balance of power in the Senate; and why, after reading a snotty and inaccurate cover story about a social issue I care deeply about, drug policy reform, in none other than Time magazine; I awakened with a lump in my throat... about the San Francisco Giants' loss in the World Series."

At least Reilly presumably knows that currently there is no "war in Iraq," and that Time isn't exactly the last word on social issues, or anything else for that matter.

She continues: "The Giants became our family. For three weeks in October, we experienced their anxiety, their joy, their camaraderie [say what?], their frustration, and now, their deep disappointment.

"But it felt like more than a game. I couldn't help but notice some serious praying in Anaheim Saturday night, with hands clasped and heads bowed, as though the religious right had taken up baseball. [Since when are religion and sports incompatible, dear?] The Series seemed a snapshot of political life in America: Orange County versus San Francisco. And just as we 'lost' the Presidency two years ago; lost a progressive politician this week; and seem to be losing our ability to shape the political course of our country; we lost the World Series."

While it's heartening that some America Last Americans do skip macramé classes and Noam Chomsky lectures to watch ballgames, how the Giants' choking in the Series has anything to do with Wellstone or "progressive" politics escapes me. When the Yanks were mercifully eliminated by the Angels in the first round of playoffs, I can't recall, even in the Times, anyone making a connection to tax cuts, the Iraqi dictator or Hillary Clinton's failure to help Carl McCall in his race against George Pataki.

But on the baseball front there's reason for cheer. The Yankees, apparently shocked by their early exit from 2002's postseason, are, according to local newspaper reports, considering trading catcher Jorge Posada, while taking a look at Colorado's grossly overcompensated Mike Hampton. Why the Yanks would give up Posada, whose clutch-hitting makes him a threat with any runners in scoring position, is a mystery. He's also part of the core of the Yanks' recent dynasty and, just as ditching Tino Martinez was bad for Bomber juju, unloading Posada would undermine morale with veterans like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.

With any luck, the Yanks in 2003 will stage a revival of the team that featured Roger Repoz, Horace Clarke and the unfortunate Roy White.

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JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2002, Russ Smith