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Archive for September 27th, 2009

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By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
Published: September 27, 2009

William Safire, a speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and a Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for The New York Times who also wrote novels, books on politics and a Malaprop’s treasury of articles on language, died at a hospice in Rockville, Md. on Sunday. He was 79.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, said Martin Tolchin, a friend of the family.

There may be many sides in a genteel debate, but in the Safire world of politics and journalism it was simpler: there was his own unambiguous wit and wisdom on one hand and, on the other, the blubber of fools he called “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”

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Roman Polanski at a court appearance in Los Angeles in 1977. Soon after, he fled the country and never returned.

Roman Polanski at a court appearance in Los Angeles in 1977. Soon after, he fled the country and never returned.

By MICHAEL CIEPLY and BROOKS BARNES
Published: September 27, 2009

LOS ANGELES — In a stunning move set-up by prosecutors in Los Angeles and Washington, Swiss authorities late Saturday arrested the film director Roman Polanski as he arrived at Zurich’s airport, paving the way for his possible extradition to the United States in connection with a 32-year-old sex case.

Mr. Polanski, 76, was detained as he arrived to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival. Although he is expected to oppose extradition, the arrest raised a strong possibility that Mr. Polanski would be returned to the United States to face sentencing under his conviction for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer, in 1977.

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Glenn Beck, high as a kite

Daily Kos- by Jed Lewison

Sat Sep 26, 2009 at 01:30:04 PM PDT

From Alexander Zaitchik’s three part (1, 2, and 3) mini-biography of Glenn Beck on Salon.com comes this nugget:

Beck was known at B104 as a pro’s pro in the studio but was becoming increasingly unraveled when not working. “Beck used to get hammered after every show at this little bar-café down the street,” remembers a music programmer who worked with Beck. “At first we thought he was going to get lunch.” The extent to which Beck was struggling to keep it together is highlighted by Beck’s arrest one afternoon just outside Baltimore. He was speeding in his DeLorean with one of the car’s gull-wing doors wide open when the cops pulled him over. According to a former colleague, Beck was “completely out of it” when a B104 manager went down to the station to bail him out. In his 2003 book, “Real America,” Beck refers to himself as a borderline schizophrenic. Whether that statement is matter-of-fact or intended for effect, he has spoken more than once about taking drugs for ADHD, and when he was at B104, Beck’s coworkers believed him to be taking prescription medication for some kind of mental or psychological ills. “He used to complain that his medication made him feel like he was ‘under wet blankets,’” remembers the former music programmer.

Today, when Beck wants to illustrate the jerk he used to be, he tells the story of the time he fired an employee for bringing him the wrong pen during a promotional event. According to former colleagues in Baltimore, Beck didn’t just fire people in fits of rage — he fired them slowly and publicly. “He used to take people to a bar and sit them down and just humiliate them in public. He was a sadist, the kind of guy who rips wings off of flies,” remembers a colleague.

According to Zaitchik’s article, Beck claims to have gotten high every single day from ages 16 through 31, using marijuana, cocaine, and booze. He hopped from job-to-job for years, earning a reputation as a major-league anti-social misfit. He considered suicide in the mid-1990s, but thanks to having lucked into a job at a Clear Channel-owned station in 1992 (before the company exploded into a broadcasting behemoth), Beck in the late 90s managed to get the break that would set his career on fire, landing a talk show in Tampa, Florida.

Zaitchik’s article isn’t a hatchet job, but his portrait of Beck as a shock jock isn’t exactly flattering. It’s worth a read.

HERE

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