Meanwhile, we have memories of his greatest hits, the top one of which, I note, is connected to the now collapsed federal case against him. I recall a little derring-do in the reporting of that story -- I met my prominent anonymous source in a diner, and returned documents to said source's residence pre-publication.
Then there's this old chestnut (or Walnut) about Joe's hardscrabble childhood, and days when I used to drink in bars, and Jim Tedisco's disastrous congressional campaign.
On the Granger front, I'll be interviewed at 7 p.m. Wednesday April 16 onVoice America's Civil War Talk Radio. You can listen live, or later on archive. On Friday, April 25 at 2 p.m., I'll be giving a talk and signing books at the Hudson Falls Library. And here's another review.
.... and other nonpartisan grumbling about the new state budget can be found, localized and wrapped up in poor Jim Tedisco's press release, on my newish Ballston Journal blog. When something I blog or report for the Journal has Planet Albany relevance, I'll draw attention to it here. You can heckle in the comments there, or corner me after a book talk.
I need to hold my head up and lose the cardigan, and maybe let the gracious, skilled and knowledgable Joe Nash get a word in. I'm looking forward to seeing him again at the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie when I give a talk there on March 27 from 12:15 to 2, and hope to flog a few books.
Before then, in fact tomorrow, I'll be signing books from 1 to 2:30 at The Open Door in Schenectady.
As an addendum to yesterday's post, The New York Times editorialized today in support of proposed defense cuts, including to soldiers' compensation. It said: "Mr. Hagel made a strong case for 'fair and responsible adjustments' in compensation. His proposals include slowing the growth of tax-free housing allowances for military personnel and increasing health insurance deductibles and some co-payments for military retirees and some family members of active servicemen. Even more reforms are needed, but these are a reasonable start."
So now, after years of hand-wringing about the stress of repeat deployments on the mental health of soldiers and the negative effects on their families, and with repeat deployments to Afghanistan continuing even as the Army shrinks, the Times' solution is to cut pay and benefits for the remaining soldiers by more than Hagel is proposing. So I think that means we can categorize all their years of purported concern for the well-being of the troops as just so much b.s.
For all the "support our troops" malarkey (to use a highly sanitized term) that politicians and other civilians come up with, the essentials of military service don't seem to have changed much since the days of Kipling. Today's Albany Times Union carries an AP story about Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposing "a variety of changes in military compensation, including smaller pay raises, a slowdown in the growth of tax-free housing allowances and a requirement that retirees and some families of active service members pay a little more in health insurance deductibles and co-pays."
Seems like "a little more" here and a little less there could add up to real money for people like my daughter, an Army sergeant.
" 'Although these recommendations do not cut anyone's pay, I realize they will be controversial,' Hagel said, adding that the nation cannot afford the escalating cost of military pay and benefit packages that were enacted during the war years."
Actually those "war years" are ongoing, with people like my daughter quite likely to be redeployed into Afghanistan, and the nation seems able to "afford" a great many things of dubious value. But apparently fiscal conservatives and antiwar liberals -- including Hagel himself, a former sergeant who was sold as a defense chief for the rank-and-file -- can find common ground on stiffing the troops.
In other news, I'll be speaking tomorrow evening at the Troy Library about the Gordon Granger book, which picked up a blog review here and local newspaper coverage here.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's death from heroin is described as a "beautiful helplessness" in this New Yorker headline and article by Lee Siegel. As someone who worked for many years in journalism, and for the past four in drug/alcohol counseling (mostly part-time), I think this kind of article glamorizes drug addiction as the price to be paid for artistry, and is a form of enabling, feeding more drug use and death. While I am using this piece as an example, I don't mean to imply it is unusual. Rather, it is all too typical of the coverage after this kind of event. It is a lie because, as Hoffman perfectly well knew, he was not helpless against his addiction. There is help available everywhere, not just to rich and successful people like him but to anyone at free meetings of groups like Narcotics Anonymous and AA. Because addiction killed him does not prove he had to pick up, and there is nothing beautiful about his doing so. To claim otherwise is a viciously destructive disservice to any living addict or potential addict.