New York Times columnist Nick Kristof turns 50 today. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is turning 40. Basil Paterson, the labor lawyer and father of Gov. David Paterson, is 83. City Council member Eric Gioia turns 36. New-York Historical Society president Louise Mirrer is turning 56. Investment banker Eric Gleacher is 69. Actor Jack Klugman is 87. Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump turns 25. Radio personality Casey Kasem is turning 77. And singer Sheena Easton celebrates her 50th today.
Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who is much better at heroically rescuing orphans from warzones than he is at writing a regular political column, has a very great and original idea. He thinks that Barack Obama, who is now the Democratic nominee for president, should write and deliver a speech about gender, much like he did about race, that one time. What a great and original suggestion! We loved the idea when some HuffPo lady suggested it back in April, when Slate ladies suggested it for Hillary in March, when Ellen Goodman suggested it in May, and we love it now. Unlike all those ladies who suggested it, though, Kristof has manly suggestions for a manly speech on gender issues.
Design blog Signal vs. Noise today reminded everyone of the 1997 Times infographic reproduced above. Nicholas Kristof, whose article on world disease featured the chart, declared in an old-but-recently-surfaced email that "no graphic in human history has saved so many lives in Africa and Asia." Apparently it persuaded billionaire Bill Gates to start donating his money to disease prevention instead of global internet access. Kristof said the Microsoft founder was too lazy to read the full, 3,500-world article:
A tipster who just tried to email Sheryl WuDunn—better known to you as Mrs. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, but also a Pulitzer-winning journalist in her own right (okay, she won with her husband! But still)—has left the Times to write a book... with her husband, as per her auto-reply.
Sure, you know that Nick Kristof is a Pulitzer-winning Times Op-Ed columnist. You probably also know that he used to be associate managing editor of that newspaper. And maybe you were even dimly aware that he has a TimesSelect blog, 'On The Ground,' where he posts dispatches from his exotic visits to various underprivileged peoples. And you might recall that he picks a lucky gal (or guy! maybe) to accompany him to Africa each summer. But did you know that he is all up on The MySpace?
The op-ed page of today's Times no doubt brings heartbreak to some 3,799 college students nationwide; Nick Kristof's column carries the news that he has picked someone else to go on a free trip to Africa with him this summer. The lucky winner? 23-year-old Casey Parks, of Jackson, Miss. Casey, a graduate j-student at the University of Missouri, won Kristof over with her tale of a hardscrabble youth and a desire to see the world. She wrote: "I saw my mother skip meals. I saw my father pawn everything he loved. I saw our cars repossessed. I never saw France or London." (Or, apparently, the merits of parallelism.) Casey's full essay is available on Kristof's website, along with essays by the other 12 vanquished finalists, including our own precocious Henry the Intern. But the best part on Kristof's site is the video clip of him calling Casey with the big news. You'd think a man who can swashbuckler through Africa and buy sex slaves' freedom in a single bound wouldn't seem quite so profoundly awkward when tasked with making a simple phone call.
Still holding out hope to win your dream trip through a malarial jungle with Nick Kristof? Bad news for you, then, kiddies. We're reliably informed that the Times has winnowed the list of applicants down to about 15 finalists, and those finalists have been notified and asked to send along academic transcripts. (You've got to be an enrolled student at an American university for the change to spend time on a bedbug-infested mattress with Nick and his chin dimple, alas.) So if you haven't heard from them, you're no longer in it. Sorry about that.
You already know about the Times' "Win a Trip With Nick Kristof" contest. On Slate today, Michael Kinsley wonders why things should stop there, and he considers similar contests with other Times op-edsters. Fist, he cites Nick's pitch:
• Yesterday's American Media bloodletting will cut the mag publisher's workforce by 9 percent. [WWD]
• And will save the company about $10 million. [NYP]
• With Katie Couric heading to CBS, NBC is days away from a deal to bring Meredith Vieira to fill her clickety stiletto heels. [NYT]
• Gabe Sherman agrees: Times Discovery Channel might be on its way out. Plus Hearst in the new tower, Lapham at Michael's, and Raines at Harvard. [NYO]
• The New York Times has finally done something to make Jack Shafer happy. So now he'll cancel his subscription. [Slate]
• The Week names Nick Kristof Columnist of the Year. We imagine Andrea Peyser is devastated. [E&P]
• Times happily runs advertising section from Sudan, whose leaders — as Times columnist Nick Kristof likes to point out — are encouraging genocide. [NYDN]
• Lewis Lapham, as he steps down from Harper's editorship, will keep working. And keep smoking. [WP]
• One Park, a reality show about life at AMI, moves closer to happening. Except that the lawyers are against it, chief David Pecker is against it, and the company doesn't have the rights to the name "One Park." But, you know, otherwise things are good. [WWD]
• CJR disses Marketwatch media writer Jon Friedman. Hard. [CJR Daily]