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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Let's think of the wavering millions who need leaders but get gamblers instead:
In light of Tom Vilsack's announcement for the presidency, here's my brief list of overachieving underdogs.
1. Sally Goldenberg, journalist with the Staten Island Advance. I've had three people I credit with teaching me how to report and write. One is Andrey Slivka of the Kiev Post, who at New York Press took pity on a young'un. Another is John Judis of The New Republic, who for my money is the best journalist for national and foreign affairs in the game. Then there's Sally, my old boss, partner in crime and sparring partner at Rutgers' student newspaper, The Daily Targum. Sally proved herself, again and again, to be the most diligent, fair-minded, no-bullshit reporter around. She never ever made an ethical mistake, she could not be intimidated, and she inspired her staff to live up to her example. For years, we would work until three in the morning and get something between dinner and breakfast at the Edison Diner -- only from there, I would crash while she would be back at the Targum office ensuring that by 10 a.m., everyone would have their assignments. I groaned when I had to write, and supervise, coverage of Route 18 expansion in & around New Brunswick. She was encyclopedic about it.
And that's how she was with everything she covered. Sally bounced around the Jersey papers for a few years after school, going from the Bergen Record to the Star-Ledger and beating her competitors on every story imaginable. Now she's at the Advance. Someone really needs to snatch her up. She'll electrify any newsroom and leave her competition wondering how they got beat as badly as they did. As Sally would say, Hold My Baby.
2. Cat Martino, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter. Rebecca dragged me to see her at Union Hall in Park Slope on Tuesday night. Apparently Cat is the roommate of Rebecca's drummer. Entering the downstairs with extremely low expectations, I encountered this woman seated in front of a gorgeous antique electric piano accompanied by a cellist, moaning out some sweat-drenched, sultry music that people ought to make babies to. Then she switched to an even-more antique guitar that "likes to be finger-picked." She charged $15 for both of her CDs, but I dropped twenty in the bin and still felt like I ripped her off. Cat Martino, I want to be your drummer. I know how those songs need to be drummed. Until then, listen here and you won't be disappointed.
Judis is one of the New Republic's redeeming features. I believe he supported Reagan's wars in Central American, which was silly on his part...but so did the magazine as a whole, I think.