Recommended Reading, June 8, 2024

Recommended Reading, June 8, 2024
Loli and Bob on the Balls Bridge above the River Dodder in Dublin.

DUBLIN, IRELAND (June 8, 2024) — The big news this week is… I moved.

Moving Day

Ireland has a housing crisis, so when you get a good opportunity you have to jump. Our lease in The Liberties, the oldest part of Dublin, was up in October, but our landlord wanted to sell his apartment and asked us to try to find a place and leave early.

We were looking, but it can be tough, especially with a dog. We saw a place on Monday. Signed a lease on Wednesday. Paid rent and a deposit on Thursday. Moved in on Friday. Quick. Zeke was a bit confused but settled in right away.

Full credit to my wife who found a lovely apartment in the absolute best neighborhood in Dublin, Ballsbridge — think Scarsdale or Greenwich.

Ballsbridge is a lively, affluent South Central village known as Dublin's 'Golden Mile'. One of the most fashionable addresses in Dublin for centuries, properties in Ballsbridge are among the most expensive in Dublin. Home to International Embassies, the Aviva Stadium and the Royal Dublin Society. An irresistible mix of gracious Georgian streets and pretty Victorian terraces. Leafy paths line the River Dodder, and there’s a trail of native trees through Herbert Park.

The U.S. Embassy is directly across the street from our new apartment, the house sits along a row of gorgeous Georgian mansions. The Kenyan Embassy is to the right. The Turkish Embassy is to the left. Nearby are the embassies of Ukraine, Mexico, Algeria, Belgium, and more. Houses on this street list for 3 million Euros and up.

We are a short walk from very nice restaurants, coffee shops and pubs and two iconic rugby venues. I am all-in on rugby, having attended the World Cup in France, the Six Nations, the European Championship Semi-Final at Croke Park and numerous Leinster matches at Lansdowne Road and the RDS (now being torn down and rebuilt). I now have season tickets for Leinster Rugby.

As I write this it is halftime at the Aviva Stadium where Leinster (my team) is beating Ulster 17-0 in the quarterfinals of the BKT United Rugby Championship. Both the Aviva (a 10 minute walk) and RDS (4 minute walk) are home to Leinster Rugby.

UPDATE: Leinster 43 Ulster 20

My Updated Bio

As part of the move to Ghost I worked on menu pages, including my bio page. For those who might be interested, I actually did stuff before launching Talk of the Sound in 2008.

The New York Times v Robert Cox

One interesting item in my bio was my battle 20 years ago with The New York Times — they tried (and briefly succeeded) in shutting down my website at the time (The National Debate). I had created a satirical webpage mocking the lack of a corrections' policy on their Op-Ed page after I made an issue of false information in a Maureen Dowd column.

Dowd falsely reported a quote from President George W. Bush, then used that false quote to craft an entire column blaming Bush 43 for a lethal al-Qaeda operation in Saudi Arabia. It went viral. Dowd compounded the problem two weeks later with a rowback in a subsequent column. CNN asked, “how is that corrective?” It was not; soon newspapers around the country were dropping her column.

At the suggestion of media columnist Jack Schafer, I created a satirical web page not just mocking Dowd but all the op-ed columnists at The New York Times. The folks at the paper were livid and threatened legal action against me and my web host. Their threats were like gasoline on a fire. Then they pressured my web host to remove my site. It blew up in their face. I received massive media coverage. I was invited to appear on many national radio and TV shows as part of the “David v Goliath” narrative.

There was a big meeting at The Times with Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., Chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times, Gail Collins, the Times’ Editorial Page Editor, and Dan Okrent, the paper’s first “Public Editor” or ombudsman.

Okrent called me after, told me of the meeting and said “they want to know what they need to do to make you stop (beating them up in the national media)?” I replied, “they’re the ones suing me… just drop the lawsuit”. He asked me to meet with him and —jokingly — to bring my “list of demands”.

I did.

My list had three items: (1) opinion columnists should be under the same corrections policy as everyone else at the paper; (2) any correction for an opinion column should be clearly indicated as such; (3) the correction should be syndicated to every newspaper that published the original column with an error.

Several weeks later, I was in DC at a party for the launch of Wonkette at Peter Bergen’s house in DC. Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, most known for producing Usama bin Laden's first television interview in which UBL declared war against the United States for the first time to a Western audience. While sitting on the front steps of Bergen’s house talking to the original Wonkette, Ana Marie Cox (no relation) and my wife, I received a call from Okrent. He told me to go get a copy of the March 28, 2004, Sunday Times.

SEE: THE PUBLIC EDITOR; The Privileges of Opinion, the Obligations of Fact By Daniel Okrent

I was prominently mentioned in the story and widely (and rightly) credited for changing the corrections' policy for the paper’s op-ed columnists. It still comes up, like this Guardian article.

Eight years ago the Times' legal department shut down @RobertCox's op-ed corrections satire (the satire being that the Times op-ed page has no corrections) until a similar peace and new logo were negotiated. Clearly, like peace in Israel and Gaza, it didn't stick.
@jeffjarvis 8 years since NYT legal dept shut down my site for Op-Ed Corrections satire that was actually labeled "satire". Humorless, Gray.
— Robert Cox (@RobertCox) November 20, 2012
It's funny. But it's also offensive – that the Times would go after speech that is clearly fair comment and succeed in shutting it down

In the real world it was not a big deal, but in the world of journalism it was a revolution. I dined off that accomplishment for the next few years — traveling all over the country to speak at media and industry conferences, graduate journalism schools and on TV and radio.

As a coda to the story, in 2006 I was at a cocktail party in DC at what was then the Mandarin Oriental after an event, Fair and Independent Courts: A Conference on the State of the Judiciary (you can see me a few seats behind Warren Buffett at 48:28), organized by retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and then-active Justice Stephen Breyer.

I was talking to Justice O’Connor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, thanking Justice O’Connor for inviting me to participate in her conference. A guy behind me nudged his way into our little circle and introduced himself as the General Counsel for The New York Times. As he shook my hand I said, “We’ve met”. As he looked me over, I filled him in. “You sued me for my satirical web page of corrections for your op-ed columnists.” O’Connor, who had heard the story, chuckled. The guy slunk away.

Screw Up

I screwed up and was sending full articles to free subscribers in error. I figured how Ghost does paywall teasers like Substack so the party is over on that.

I want to send my full articles to my paid subscribers, but I also want my free subscribers to know what they are missing.

I had thought if I set Post Access = Paid-members only, then sent email to Free and Paid members that they would all get the email, but only the paid members could read it.

To test this, I set up a test account for free.

To my dismay, I saw that when doing this the free member could read the entire article.

I would rather not have to do it but the only way I could see to achieve my intention was a two-step process when I email/publish the article to paid users with Post Access = Paid-members then send a second email with the headline and a link so if they click the link they get to my site but cannot read the article unless they pay.

It turns out Ghost has the “paywall/preview” feature I wanted, so I am using that now.

Content for Premium Subscribers Only

After Council Members Rock ‘em and Sock ‘em, New Rochelle Mayor Panics then Convenes an Illegal Meeting

This is troubling. The City Clerk released meeting minutes that are not only wrong but omit an explanation for why the meeting went dark for about 90 seconds. This is violative of the Open Meeting Law on multiple levels. So far, the Clerk has refused to amend the minutes as I requested. I will be dismayed if the bogus minutes are approved at the next council meeting.

Sustainable Westchester: (Trying to) Follow the Money

I am leaving this article here for another week because there are more developments coming in this reporting. An important story was almost ready but the move got in the way so it will have to wait until Monday.

Executive Director Noam Bramson has been making the rounds of Westchester municipalities to pitch Sustainable Westchester as part of his hope to re-up increasingly skeptical city councils and town and village boards now that the current contract is set to end in October.

He was in Tuckahoe the other day when he offered up the same old “green electrons in your wall socket” baloney that his predecessors have been claiming for years. Listen for the line, “…the power we provide is clean and renewable” — this a complete lie. Their customers get the same fuel mix as every other Con Ed customer (80%+ natural gas and nuclear).

Here is Noam lying to the Tuckahoe Village Board of Trustees on June 3.

I ran across a Department of Public Services Consumer Advisory relevant to my reporting on Sustainable Westchester.

The Public Service Commission has been critical of certain Energy Services Companies, or ESCOs, particularly regarding prices. The Commission is considering whether the retail access market for energy commodity is working properly, or if it should be revised.

Ya think?

European Elections

I am sure all but a few of you could care less about the European Elections going on this week but the count of votes for Dublin and the surrounding area took place yesterday at the RDS which is a short walk from my new place so I strolled over to take a look.

Access is limited to media and representatives of the political parties. They actually count paper ballots on tables screened by short barriers so the count process is totally transparent.

Me being me. I talked my way in, and was even given a guided tour. On the way out I was given an official pass — they figured I was going to lunch — so I could return.

Here are some links to consider.

Content for Basic & Premium Subscribers Only

New Rochelle Ethics Board Chair Retains Seat Months after Term Expired

This is just absurd. There are two appointed members of the New Rochelle Board of Ethics. The Chairman’s term expired in January, and yet he is treated as if he remains on the board, convening meetings and sitting in judgement on both of my ethics complaints against Mayor Yadira Ramos-Herbert (here and here). I am demanding they properly appoint a board member and start all over on both of my ethics complaints, which I will update and re-file. So far, it has been crickets.

A History of City Managers in New Rochelle, New York

Dormant for Decades, Lewisboro Board of Ethics Sees Flurry of Referrals

How Does Sustainable Westchester Get All That Good Green Power to My Home?

Content for Free, Basic & Premium Subscribers

Here are a few free articles from Words in Edgewise, Talk of the Sound and Elsewhere on the Web.

How to Notify New York State that Sneaky Sustainable Westchester Had Opted You Back into their CCA

DPS sent me a link on how to file a complaint about Sustainable Westchester. Use it!

Veolia: Americans Want to Drink Recycled Wastewater

This is gross. It shows how absurd the scare-mongering over the environment has become that the water company is now conditioning consumers to accept their delivering water to your tap that is recycled pee and poo 🤮

BNN Breaking, an A.I. chop shop, stole content and lied routinely

Gurbaksh Chahal is a violent criminal who got into the business of stealing journalists work, including mine, and passing it off as his own. Google and Microsoft funded this guy until the blowback got to be too much.

I complained about them in March.

Good riddance.


Former New Rochelle man donates $1M to Iona for Thomas Paine studies

New Rochelle Celebrates Graduation of First Justice Ambassadors Youth Council Cohort

Clemson lands commitment from the No. 1 NY prospect: Iona Prep four-star offensive lineman Rowan Byrne

New Rochelle NY rally for day laborers held by activists at Home Depot

New Rochelle Cops Nab Pair at Park with Loaded Gun, Extended Magazine, Brass Knuckles

Police Warn Residents To Stop Mailing Checks In Mamaroneck

Inside Renaissance at Lincoln Park New Rochelle

Challenging High Angle Rescue Of Injured Worker Trapped in Port Chester

Port Chester Man Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Sexually Assaulting Two Teenagers In Rye

Cheers for now!

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