The Washington Post

Odds and ends: open thread

A few odds and bobs to consider while having dignified discussions in tonight’s open thread:

Bill Clinton is a very, very rich man. CNN reports that the former president “commanded the largest speaking fees of his career in 2011, earning $13.4 million and exceeding his previous record by 25 percent.” Now you know why he wants the Bush tax cuts extended.

The Nation, not previously known for its defenses of religious liberty, says that both major political parties are Islamophobic. Have at this piece, but I’ll make one minor point before you do: The author says that the terrorist attack at the 1972  Munich Olympics was “a violent act committed . . . by a handful of Palestinians.” It’s worth pointing out that Black September, the terrorist organization that took credit for the killings, was merely a front group for Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. It was most certainly not an independent action carried out by a handful of extremists. But that’s the least of my problems with this piece.

In New York, the latest plan to fight obesity involves creating outdoor playgrounds for adults. The New York Times explains: “The adult playground concept is borrowed from China and parts of Europe, where outdoor fitness areas for adults have become as routine as high-fiber diets or vitamin D supplements in preventive care, particularly for older people.” So let’s recap: $13 cigarettes, a ban on 20-ounce sodas, calorie counts on fast food menus, a war on salt and large, luxurious bike lanes throughout the five boroughs. In my experience — and I have had many, many conversations about these subjects with fellow Brooklynites — these are all developments welcomed by the people lamenting the ”gentrification” of Brooklyn and the “Disneyfication” of Times Square). If only we could recreate Serpico’s New York, but without all that dangerous high-fructose corn syrup.

Bonus: For those who romanticize the more “authentic” Times Square of the ’70s and ’80s, this sort of thing happened in broad daylight back in the “good old days” (from the fascinating Charlie Ahearn film, “Doin’ Time in Times Square”). 



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