PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: Election, ho! CP pulls out all the stops and tosses out (thoughtfully-considered) endorsements left and right. One thing to bear in mind: Please, won’t you think of the kittens!

We sympathize with Arlen Specter. After 30 years of faithful service — of backing President Bush’s Iraq war, of campaigning for Sarah Palin, of cp_2010-05-13.jpgsupporting Steve Forbes’ flat tax, of going to the mat for Clarence Thomas — his increasingly right-wing Republican Party didn’t want him anymore. Especially given that it was Specter’s support for the stimulus bill that sealed his fate within the GOP. Since his conversion a year ago, Specter has been a good soldier for his new Democratic Party: defending his stimulus vote, advocating vigorously for the health care bill, pushing for gay rights. He’s courted the party’s progressive base well

But it’s not enough to earn our endorsement. Put simply, Specter’s willingness to change his stripes so brazenly for the sake of his own political

survival does not inspire a lot of faith in what he’d do after the primary. And Specter has proven himself all too willing to roll in the mud with his attacks on opponent Joe Sestak’s Navy record. (Indeed, if the worst that Specter can come up with is that Sestak rode his subordinates too hard, we can live with that.)

We’re not entirely smitten with Sestak. The retired Navy admiral certainly has the credentials and smarts — three decades in the uniform, master’s and doctorate degrees from Harvard — to do the job, but we’ve been less than enthused with his campaign, which has, until the last few weeks, seemed a bit listless. His melodramatic intonation and speechifying is annoying, but in the grand scheme of things, a forgivable offense.


Feline welfare aside, though, CP gets behind Dan Onorato and Manan Trivedi (dude almost makes me wish I lived an hour or so west so I could vote for him) and follows the money to see who’s backing the gubernatorial candidates. Solid all around.

PW: PW takes a slightly different tack in their election breakdown: no endorsements, just putting the info out there on a host of Democratic candidates. Their take on the Sestak-Specter horseshit-race is especially perceptive.

051210pwcover.jpgWhen Arlen Specter changed parties on April 28, 2009, after 44 years of Republicanism, he claimed he was doing so because of his being “increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party.” Oh, yeah, and he also admitted: “My change in party will enable me to be re-elected.”

By the time you pick up next week’s PW, we’ll all know if his transformation was worth the trouble. Because it’s coming down to the wire.

Constitutional Lawyer Glenn Greenwald put Specter’s party switch in its most blunt context when he called Pennsylvania’s senior senator “one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics.” Greenwald backed up his claim by noting where Specter has stood over the years on the Bush administration, voting for “the war on Iraq, the Military Commissions Act, Patriot Act renewal, confirmation of virtually every controversial Bush appointee, retroactive telecom immunity, warrantless eavesdropping expansions, and Bush tax cuts (several times).”…

Establishment Democrats, including President Obama and Majority Leader Reid, were enthusiastic about Specter’s decision. MSNBC reported the DSCC wouldn’t run a primary candidate against Specter. And when MontCo-DelCo Rep. Joe Sestak announced his candidacy for the Democratic primary on Aug. 4, most doubted it would be of any significance.

Then 2010 began.


Cue ominous music. Other spotlights include the take on candidates in the Great Northeast, including progressive Tim Kearney’s continued scrapping for recognition. And PW’s take on the ballot questions explains the issues cogently and, in one instance, hilarious. From the Lines I Wish I Wrote Dept., regarding the BRT ballot question: “Re-watch the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally for a rough approximation of our enthusiasm for this one.” I’ll have what he’s having.


CP: Greek to me: Plato rocks. The chilling effect: Not as relaxing or cool as it sounds. Rodgers and Hammerstein are Dead: Tom Stoppard would like a word with you. Mash-up?: The Joy of Cooking meets the Joy of Sex.

PW: Tusk: Making marching bands cool again. In the good graces of Garces. R.I.P. Donovan McNabb’s balls (1976-2010). “A modern homage to medieval brutality”: A tough read, but a good one.

WINNER: With solid election coverage, PW ekes out another win this week. Last week, CP was undermined by vomit; this week, it’s the prospect of cruelty to animals. I get it already — you’re edgy — but you’ve underestimated an important voting bloc: cat people.

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