Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What We Are Missing in the New York Times Opinion Columns

Lots of good writing, for one thing. Women's voices, for another. To substitute for them we get John Tierney who tells us why women can't be in the New York Times opinion columns: they are not competitive enough.

So here are the also-rans, the girls, the ones whose writing is not up to scratch? Note that I did no searching for especially juicy bits. I just googled the most recent articles by Molly Ivins and Katha Pollitt. Here's Molly on Texas politics:

So, the Texas Legislature decided it's OK for gay couples to be foster parents, but only if they're not married. I would explain what message that sends, if only I understood it.

Look at it this way: At least we can hunt inside city limits now. My personal fave was the day they voted themselves a huge retirement pension and the next day cut retirement benefits for the teachers. Classy move, boys. Retiring solons will now get $36,000 a year after 12 years in the Lege. The job pays $7,200 a year and requires 140 days of work once every other year. Welcome to a Republican-dominated state.

As all hands know by now, the Lege got nowhere on the Big One -- the interrelated issues of property tax relief and school financing. The whole state is screaming for property tax relief because of the rise in real estate values.

In order to lower property taxes, you have to raise them on something else. So of course the House decided to tax ordinary people, instead of taxing big corporations. Not for nothing is the House gallery, where the business lobbyists sit, known as "the Owner's Box."

And here is Katha in all her glory:

Penises were all over the news as I sat down to write this column. On May 22 faces blushed scarlet in New York State when it came to light that over the past five years Medicaid has handed out free Viagra to 198 sex criminals. Apparently the state thought federal rules required no less. The next day, researchers released a study showing excellent results for Johnson & Johnson's dapoxetine, a drug that prevents premature ejaculation and intensifies the male orgasm. True, rapists' access to taxpayer-funded stiffies vanished within hours, and they will probably have to buy their own dapoxetine too. But you have to admit, men are moving right along, sexually. They have drugs to help them get up and stay in and get out in a shower of sparks, and an array of private and public health plans to pay for these fleshly maneuvers: Last year Medicaid laid out approximately $38 million for impotence drugs; Medicare will start providing them for seniors next year at an estimated cost of nearly $2 billion over the following decade. Even the Defense Department covers them. Need I add that men don't have to worry that their pharmacist will ask to see a marriage license or plug their name into the sex offender registry before handing over those little blue pills?

Just the opening paragraphs of these pen-wielding masters. And they write equally well on any topic you care to mention.