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Early Vegas Line on the Pulitzers

[Before I begin, can I just say: I never quite mastered the technology known as "the Rolodex." Now we just Google everyone, but there was a day, you'll recall, when the Rolodex ruled, and every year the 'dexes got bigger, like stretch limos. There were reporters here who had Rolodexes so fat with names and numbers that they had their own little gravitational field, around which smaller Rolodexes orbited. But I never quite got the hang of it -- my names and numbers were always scattered in a zillion places, and I had stacks of business cards, and printouts, and digital files here and there, and I'm pretty sure there were entire letters in my Rolodex -- and not just freak letters like Q and Z, but some real letters like M and S -- that never had a single entry. I'm not sure where my Rolodex is at this precise moment. Probably in a box in the file closet. With the letters people wrote to me with questions for "Why Things Are" that I still plan to answer at some point. I may go find it. Start calling people at random. Pretend nothing happened. Say nothing at all about my lack of mastery of the Rolodex. "It's me," I'll say. And the person will say, "I've been expecting your call." And life will be orderly again.]

[Can I also note that I'm still pretty steamed that they killed off Col. Blake on M*A*S*H? Or does that date me? Don't answer that.]

Here are the early Vegas odds on the Pulitzers, from Editor & Publisher.

That piece singles out a series in the Hartford Courant on mentally ill soldiers forced to fight in Iraq. Here's the lede:

'The U.S. military is sending troops with serious psychological problems into Iraq and is keeping soldiers in combat even after superiors have been alerted to suicide warnings and other signs of mental illness, a Courant investigation has found.

'Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.
Once at war, some unstable troops are kept on the front lines while on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, with little or no counseling or medical monitoring.

'And some troops who developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq are being sent back to the war zone, increasing the risk to their mental health.'

Here's the Seattle Times series on judges sealing court records.

From The Times, here's "An Imam in America."

From The Post, "Harvesting Cash."

Columns by Kathleen Parker, and Eugene Robinson.

(The Miami Herald has some potential Pulitzer finalists, but finding links on the Herald site, I'm afraid to say, is disconcertingly difficult. I'm reminded of the day in 1983 when management asked the reporters in Beach Neighbors to visit the fancy new offices of Viewtron, which was going to be Knight-Ridder's big push into digital newspapers. Or maybe it was called Viewdata. It was View-something. It was a bunch of suits in plush offices while we labored down the road in squalor. Somehow View-whatever thought it could persuade people to spend something like 600 dollars for a set-top box that would allow them to scroll, quite slowly and clumsily, through the text of newspaper stories beamed onto their TV screens. What a farce. But that's a story for another day.)

Via boodler kbertocci, let's see if this works as a link to the Herald's House of Lies series. Check the boodle ("Comments") for more links.

[Here's the analysis from boodler Curmudgeon:

'Ivins will edge out Robinson, which is kind of OK, since Robinson will undoubtedly win one in the next few years, and this year is Ivins' only shot. Weingarten will win one for "The Great Zucchini." Ricks will win for "Fiasco." The Pulitzer for theater will go to a play no one ever heard of. The Pulitzer for poetry should go to Billy Collins, whether he had a book last year or not, but will instead go to a poet who no one ever heard of and whose last work was 26 pages of blank verse about winter. Trudeau will win for Doonesbury (he's got a Jennifer Hudson lock on it).']

Via Romenesko, here's John Harris of The Politico on how he coined the controversial term "slow bleed."


Here's Sen. Kent Conrad, today [March 1] in the Senate at a Budget Committee hearing:

'It's worth noting that before the Iraqi war began the Bush administration suggested that this war would not be this costly. Here's a transcript of an interview with the previous secretary of defense on "The Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

'Stephanopoulos asks, "What should the public know right now about the war, about what a war with Iraq would look like and what the cost would be?"

'Secretary Rumsfeld: "The Office of Management and Budget estimated it would be something under $50 billion."

'Stephanopoulos: "Outside estimates say up to $300 billion."

'The secretary: "Baloney."

'Well, now we know that the $300 billion cost estimate wasn't baloney, it was actually low. CBO now estimates the war cost is approaching $532 billion. That's what's already been appropriated and what has been requested.

'That is, of course, on top of the regular defense budget.

'That brings the total cost of the Iraq war close to what we spent in Vietnam over 12 years, even adjusting for inflation.'

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 28, 2007; 6:54 PM ET
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