Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the True Meaning of Baseball

("What Baseball Does to the Soul")

The first thing I did was focus on the image that accompanied your story. It was a picture taken 50 years ago and is captioned "New York City, 1962 Yankee Stadium." That could have been me and my dad, looking into the distance to see where that foul ball would land in the stands.

I grew up in Teaneck, a town that sits only a few miles from the George Washington Bridge, and from there, only a few minutes to the House that Ruth built.  A half century ago, ballplayers made a living, not a fortune, and the first black ballplayer on the Bronx Bombers, Elston Howard, resided modestly in our midst.

In later years, I moved to Tenafly, even closer to the Stadium.  Here Don Mattingly, and then Tino Martinez, lived in a house that sat not much more than a Mickey Mantle home run off Chuck Stobbs from me. There was something surreal in the fact that Mattingly handed off not only his position, but his residence, to his successor at first base. But unlike the saga of Kekich and Peterson during a dismal time in the team's history on and off the field, this transfer was only of houses, not lives.

I grew up with a baseball glove on my hand. The sport was not as much a part of my soul as it was a part of my physical being. My throwing hand was normal in size, but the other one was huge and webbed. This piece of equipment was not appended to me. I was attached to it.

My last waking thought, on those days when the Yankees were playing well past my bedtime, was my hope for victory. And in the morning, before the rest of the world intruded, I would run to the television set to see if my wish had been granted. If it had, I would watch repeat cycles of the news, just to hear the words of glory once more. The television would  instantaneously go dark if I was informed of a defeat that would throw me into momentary depression.

And my closest companion on this journey was my father. We spent endless hours in the backyard playing catch. He would forever compliment me on my skills and the speed and accuracy of my pitches, as he crouched down behind the imaginary plate, much as Elston Howard might do, on those days when Yogi Berra was not catching. What team ever had such a wonderful pair at this position? Poor Johnny Blanchard never had a chance to shine as his star was dwarfed by these two luminaries.

My father's law practice in New York City took a very distant second place to being a part of everything that was baseball in my life. As I prepared myself for my Little League games, I would see him head over to the field, his tie loosened and his jacket draped over one shoulder. He would soon have on the team hat, and in his role as assistant manager, be stationed at third base shouting words of encouragement and instruction. In that glorious season of 1964, with the marvelous Marino at shortstop and with me alternating between second base and the pitcher's mound, we began the season with 17 wins and just 1 loss. While my dad's career may have suffered a little bit, I am certain that the man standing in the coaching box cared not at all about anything more than the joy that was constantly on my face.

Yankee Stadium was the mecca for me, and by necessary extension, for him. A half century ago, in 1962, when that picture was taken, the great home run race to end all home run races had just concluded. The House that Ruth built, but Mantle owned, had been witness to an assault on a 34 year old record. Eventually, it was the outsider, Maris, who would catch the Babe. I wonder whether that asterisk would have been so pronounced had it been our home grown hero, the farm boy from Oklahoma, who had reached 61?

1962 was a time before the team would suddenly grow old. In the stands that day when the photo was taken, were many like me who believed that the group that was assembled was the finest to have ever played the sport. The lineup was filled with greatness and these men were being favorably compared to the Murderer's Row team of 1927 that had been led by Ruth and Gehrig. It was a compelling moment, and a glorious time to be a father and son in a relationship with this sport and with the great and wondrous Yankees.

And so, I study that photo that accompanies your story, hoping for a small miracle that I can once more see my dad and me together doing what we most loved to do. But the truth is that I do not need to see a picture to feel what baseball and my father mean to me. I am today, at nearly 60, still that little boy with the  glove woven in to my soul. And my father is still crouching behind that imaginary plate, complaining about the pain caused by the velocity of my throw.  And smiling his slightly crooked smile.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Survival of the Fittest

(" A Cruel Budget")

The latest Paul Ryan plan and the voices that support it, serve as companion to the arguments made before the Supreme Court this week. Those opposing the health care law seek to define liberty as the right of the young and the healthy to abandon their duty, even if able, to help insure adequate care for the weak, the sick and the poor. So too, the Republican endorsed budget gives the wealthy no mandate to protect the welfare of the less fortunate.

The question posed in both of these arenas is whether government can and must advocate for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as a very tangible benefit given to as many of its citizens as possible. Mr. Ryan's budget is void of these concepts and merely attempts to pile on to the miseries of the underclass. There is nothing redeeming in legislation that would slash benefits which provide even a shred of hope and dignity to those who struggle.

I fear a world in which the Supreme Court and the Congress translate the obligation to protect fundamental rights to be synonymous merely with survival of the fittest

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Legal Definitions

("Sharp Questions in Court on Health Care Mandate")

Central to the 3 day play that is now taking place is the morality behind it. Hidden behind the legal complexities and the definitions is the question of who we are as a nation. There are 50 million of us who are left without the most basic of human rights. Circumstance has created an unfathomable concept that it is appropriate to abandon those in need.

In the halls of Congress there has been fierce debate over the question of our responsibilities. There are those on the right who clearly try to shape our laws to protect the privileged. And when, as here, they have been unable to stop the passage of legislation that conflicted with their vision, they have taken to the courts to do the dirty work for them.

While the arguments are heard seriatim over jurisdiction, regulation by compulsion and severance, what is really the thrust of this challenge goes largely unsaid. This debate is not in the final analysis about terminology and nuance but about defining ourselves.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Intent to Injure

 What troubles me most is the seemingly bi-polar nature of the reaction of fans to the issue of 'intent to injure'. Your paper recently ran a compelling series on the life and death of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard. It brought into clear focus the reality of the consequences of a sport that not only tolerates but encourages mayhem for its own sake. And yet where is the public outcry, the political investigation into this spectacle that has little to do with the sport and everything to do with the demands of the customer?

In recent days the Rangers and Devils literally squared off within 3 seconds of the puck being dropped. 3 separate brawls took place, simultaneously, to the delight of most of those gathered. How can we applaud the actions of Commissioner Goodell and yet wildly applaud the intent to injure on the ice? What is it that allows us to find football must have boundaries and severe repercussions for purposeful violence, but hockey's penalty box is punishment enough for those who would rather fight than switch to a game that outlaws such actions. Whereas the world of bounties was hidden in the locker room of the NFL, the direction to take out another player is evident to even the most casual fan in hockey.

So, the question of the day is what makes us repulsed by the actions of the New Orlean Saints and drawn to the blood on the ice? Who are we really?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The EQ Test

As a serial blogger, I well understand that ego is what drives this engine. I have now devised a simple multiple choice test for all you tweeters and bloggers to take to determine the level of your EQ (ego quotient). The only requirement is that you answer these questions with truthiness. 


Good luck.

1)a) The sun rises in the East and sets in the West
    b) The sun rises with your first written word and sets when you are done pontificating for the day

2) a) You are an undiscovered genius
    b)  You are no longer undiscovered as you have 4 loyal followers

3) a) You write what you believe
     b) You believe you are always right

4) a) You can get your point across in 4 words or less
     b) You require a foreword for every point you are trying to get across

5) a) 5 years of writing every thought that ever entered your mind has improved your style
    b) 5 years of writing every thought that has entered your mind has convinced you that style is way overrated

6) a) You are not only a blogger/tweeter but you are an author
     b) You are a blogger/tweeter and being an author is way overrated

7)  a) What you have to say is unique
      b) What you have to say no sane person has ever thought, making you unique

8) a) Your day job is a bore and your blogging/ tweeting is your passion
     b) Your blogging/tweeting is a bore and reading it is a job

9) a) You would be willing to write a blog/tweet column for the NY Times
     b) The New York Times has just put out a restraining order against you

10) a) You flunked a course in spelling and another one in grammar
       b) You flunked a course in spelling and another one in grammar.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Missing Soul

("Drifting Right, Illinois Is Test For Romney")

"From a sheer lovability or enthusiasm standpoint, he's not the world's most gregarious guy.".

Why, why, why can't Romney get them fired up? I don't believe it is just his ever shifting positions, his clawing further and further right to garner primary votes. It is that conservatives love their religion, and most love the politician with passionate attachment to religion. While Gingrich's foundation for his personal resurrection is in his religious awakening, and Santorum's political values are inextricably woven to his religious beliefs, Romney's strong Mormon ties are nowhere evident in his conversation. It is this core of his being,  this center of his universe, that is missing from the discussion. There has been a clear determination by those who shape the arc of his candidacy that putting Romney and Mormon in the same sentence is not a healthy choice. And so, the picture we have of Romney is missing its soul. And who, as a conservative Republican, would be attracted to a candidate without a soul?

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Lean in close to the screen. No, closer. I have a secret to tell you and I don't want anyone else to hear this. I am turning 60 next month.

This may be one of the worst kept secrets of all time. I have been busy telling anyone within earshot, and now eyeshot, that I have a very important day for each of them to calendar. Don't you dare forget, or worse yet, ignore a moment of such transcendent import.

You who have followed my journey over the course of this blog clearly understand that, among all the other burdens I have thrust on the shoulders of my wife, my need to be appreciated by anyone I have ever come in contact with ranks at the top of the list. This mandate is not remotely in my bride's DNA. She is not a blogger, she is not even really a talker on the phone. She is unlike me in so many appropriate ways. She does not crave nor desire public recognition. As you have well learned, that is not an attribute I possess.

So, let's talk about my surprise party. Really, let's have a discussion about whether my obsession with being liked requires a public celebration of everything that is me. If I had my way, my girlfriend from kindergarten would be on the list of invitees. Anyone and everyone who I have even the most remote of connections to, would be called upon to relate a humorous tale that would conclude with a line of how fortunate each has been to be part of my life. It would be the greatest evening I could imagine. Actually, one evening might not be enough. We might have to split this into 2 huge celebrations, A to M the first night, and those unfortunate to be in the back half of the alphabet, having to wait their turn at the end of the line.

This should be much like my version of "This is Your Life". Let me supply you with some terribly cute anecdotes for starters. There should be discussion of my crew cut during my early days, which I waxed to keep the front standing tall. My dear friend Steve should relate his oft-told tale of how I was the best athlete never to play in high school and how I missed an entire soccer season because of a rash under my chin. I could go on forever, but I don't want to spoil your fun in coming up with your own story that will capture the essence of my being.

Is this all too much for you? Tell me honestly. I can take it. Actually, I probably can't take it. So it is better if you leave all those negative thoughts about me that are running through your brain to yourself. And I don't appreciate those who are now thinking about how egocentric I am. Like you're not. OK, OK, I am not trying to make enemies here. Sorry about that negative thought that creeped in. I hope that didn't make any of you like me less.

I can see a problem emerging. What if the guest list for this extravaganza does not include your name? Have I offended you deeply by letting you know to plan for my surprise party, and then your waiting each day in vain for the invitation you so desperately want? The truth is that most of you are secretly hoping that you are somehow not a member of the multitudes. What could be worse than having to interrupt some absolutely beautiful weekend day for THIS? I can tell that some of you are even of a mind to call my wife and tell her that it is not at all necessary to throw a party. Don't you dare.

In fact, don't even let Jo know that you read this. Given how tired she, and most everyone else, is with the interminably long time that I have been  regurgitating each and every thought on the pages of my blog, there is a strong likelihood that she will not ever see the words that you are now absorbing. So, please keep it a secret from her. Let her make up her own mind, and reach her own conclusions, about how much ME she can possibly tolerate.

And thus, as I began this piece, I end it. Mum is the word.  Please give me your solemn pledge that you will tell no one of my story. Promise. Actually, that would be self defeating, as the entire purpose of my writing is for you to tell everyone about me. So that I can be liked. Strike that last thought and promise to tell everyone you know. Advise them and emphasize that if they write to me how much they enjoy my words, they may be invited to a very small and intimate party in the near future.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Caged In

"The Cagey Phase" is not intended as a compliment to President Obama. While Mr. Brooks finds much to like about the President, ultimately he questions whether the President has the "indomitable inner conviction and aggressive drive to push change" or if he has the fortitude to be a "fervent crusader (ready) to rally the country behind shared sacrifice". I disagree with Mr. Brooks' perception and his conclusions.

He suggests that the President has lost the "all-in" mojo that he exhibited in his push for health care reform. Yes, that legislation was an enormous task and a huge gamble, given historical precedent. But even in that arena, President Obama displayed what Mr. Brooks would call 'cageyness' and what I would call political perspective. The President's preference would have been to promote a system of single payer health care. Yet never did the discussion go down that path. For it was understood, in that political battle, as well as all the others that have been fought during this administration, that passionate belief does not equate with misguided hubris. The Republicans are the party of bluster and lines drawn in the sand. For this President, each fight must be defined and its limits understood.

In Libya and in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, in those moments where bold and decisive action were demanded, and where he was free from the constraints of requiring Republican approval,  the President demonstrated that level of  "indomitable conviction" of which Mr. Brooks speaks. In his domestic policies and pursuits, the President has been a fervent crusader calling upon all of us to be part of the solution, and not allowing those at the very top to remain at the heart of the problem. It is the realistic restrictions of government, and the deliberate destructive actions of the opposition, not a limited resolve of the President, that has hampered necessary reform.

No, Mr. Brooks, I think you miscalculate both the strength of the man and of his convictions. What you would suggest is weakness and the President being "cagey", is merely a reflection of your inability to appreciate a leader who understands and reacts to the complexities of each situation with intelligence and rationality. These qualities make him not less of a President but more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

All That Glitters

"Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs"

Wow!  Mr. Smith is a man of rare integrity and courage. He must have clearly understood that leaving such a high powered, highly compensated position and trashing your employer for its shortcomings on the way out the door, could have severe personal repercussions.  To do so in the New York Times makes these actions that much more remarkable.

The pervasive atmosphere of greed at Goldman Sachs cannot be a shocking revelation. From the vivid images of Michael Douglas in "Wall Street" to today, we have been reminded time and again that we, the public, are treated by those with the power as but another commodity. I am certain there will be a written rebuttal from many Goldman employees and I have no doubt that one or two may end up in your "Letters" section in the coming days. "Disgruntled former employee", "not reflective of our purpose and our goals", or something that reflects equally badly on Mr. Smith and his motives.
But, the truth is that the words of Mr. Smith cannot and should not be dismissed. He is voicing our unhappiness. He is pointing fingers and placing blame. He is one of them, and yet he is mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore. I thank Mr. Smith for his insight and his honesty and applaud him for his realization that all that glitters is not Gold(man).


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Cure

It is called the scorpion. Even the name strikes fear in my heart.  But, for the speaker, my friend Bob, the scorpion has changed his life for the better, forever. And, he almost commands me, both in his tone, and later by his written note to me, to become a disciple.

John Sarno. These two words are repeated by Gene with an almost cult like reverence. I am instructed that  the lessons Sarno teaches are not those of a charlatan but are the one and only true answer. Over dinner one evening,  he repeatedly invokes the mantra to "just tell yourself that it is all in your head", or at least that is how I interpret his passionate proclamations. Later, I watch the video that has been sent  me, in which others speak of miracles large and larger.

In the midst of yet another round of painkillers, muscle relaxants and physical therapy, having difficulty sitting, standing, lying down or doing anything more strenuous than breathing, my off and on hate affair with my back has resurfaced. Acupuncture, chiropractors, therapists and gurus of one dimension or another all advise and implore. Yet for me, the most intriguing diametrically opposed alternatives are the scorpion and Dr. Sarno.

The scorpion, as it was explained it to me,  is an exercise in flexibility in which, while lying down, one foot is somehow wrapped around the back and emerges to come into contact with the opposite hand that is outstretched to the side of the body. It actually causes me physical pain to even imagine myself in this position. My idea of flexibility is being able to come within 6 inches of touching my ankles. And this, my wife and many others, would repeatedly suggest, is why I walk around with a cushion to put under me or behind my back, why the medicine cabinet is overflowing with last year's pills and this year's pills, and why the steroid anti-inflammatory has become a staple of my diet.  I have always believed that my failures to follow a strict regimen, or any regimen at all, has been the root cause of my suffering. If only I could actually perform the scorpion, I would be healed.

But, Dr. Sarno, and my dinner companion, would call that theory pure nonsense. My friend, several years ago, lay flat on his back, in unremitting pain. He was, by his account, desperate for a solution that was nowhere in sight. And then, from above, came magic. There was this doctor who said that back pain was not a physical but a mental aberration. Stress was the real culprit. It caused the blood to stop flowing and created tension in the body. The mental pain one was feeling was being deflected into physical agony. Do away with the mental concerns and the physical pain disappears.  And my friend, on Chapter 7 of the book, got out of bed. And then he took Dr. Sarno's lecture. As here he stands, pain free, a living testament. Throw away your crutches, get rid of those pills, put the cushion in the garbage, and stand up like a man to your insecurities and frustrations.  Free your mind and free yourself.

You can see why I am so confused. Yin and Yang. Right and wrong. The universe in polar extremes.

Is this all in my head or all in my butt? Am I actually in pain or only in psychic distress?  I know that life has dealt me a couple of interesting wrinkles over the years and that I, like everyone who is reading this piece, could do with a week on the beach in Hawaii. But can I really will away my pain?

This afternoon, at 3PM, I will once more undergo an hour of therapy.  I will once more absorb the heat,  go through the electric stim, and do the gentle little routine that is supposed to nurse me to health in the coming weeks. I think I will seek counsel from my therapist and inquire if it is even possible for me to extricate myself from the scorpion if I become unable to de-pretzel.

As I lay there, my thoughts may well turn to Dr. Sarno and to my friend who invokes his name like a deity.  I will wonder whether I am following the path to health or only to continual backache. And I realize that all these thoughts are causing me tension, and that my back is tightening up. I wonder if Dr. Sarno has an opening later this week?

Sunday, March 11, 2012


"Not-So-Crazy Republicans" is based on a crazy premise that the Republican voter is to be applauded for being astute in his or her ultimate choice of candidate to represent the party. To the contrary, the only reason that this stupefyingly inappropriate assemblage has even been worthy of consideration is because of the shortcomings of the constituency.

This is the unfortunate outgrowth of a party that not only tolerated but embraced Sarah Palin and Tea Party politics. Those who vote in the primaries have demanded that what should have been a radical fringe element instead became the heart and soul of the Republican platform and of its leaders. Trump, Bachmann, Cain and Perry deserved no place in any serious discussions. They were all caricatures rather than candidates. And yet each one ascended to the top of the chart for periods of time. Their demises had to do more with self immolation than dissatisfaction by the primary electorate.

Meanwhile, Santorum, Gingrich and even Paul have not been deemed unworthy, no matter how unsettling or ludicrous their statements. Santorum is still a serious and viable candidate for many, despite his recent despicable comments about former President Kennedy and his alarming stance on sexual activity and contraception.. Further, if Gingrich were to decide that there is not enough money, nor enough delegates to go further, who knows whether Santorum's theocratic vision for this country might not gain his party's ultimate nod of approval.

Be clear that it is not the candidates who have chosen the party, it is the party who have chosen these candidates. Primary voters have allowed this charade to proceed and have latched onto the ridiculous. If Romney proves to be the nominee, it will only be because of his "electability" quotient and not because of a rejection of far right wing rhetoric. In fact, Romney has had to join in the lunacy, not distance himself from it, to try to gain support. He has embraced policies that he once denounced in a manic effort to fit in to the narrative that is required.

Republican voters have not "acquitted themselves about as sensibly, responsibly and even patriotically as anyone could reasonably expect". They have shown themselves, time and again, to be drawn to the irrational, the irresponsible, and those who, while draping themselves in patriotic fervor, take positions that demonstrate little or no regard for those most in need of the rights the candidates would swear to uphold and protect. These are not politicians, or voters to be given even faint praise..

Friday, March 9, 2012


It has become an almost daily part of  our lives. I hear it occasionally in the furtive comments between my wife and my son, as they gather together to summarize the latest fiasco. I know that it is the focus of text messages and conversations of my children. It is the mind numbing, head shaking continuing saga which I like to call WDDD (What Did Dad Do).

The latest episode took place last evening. My long suffering wife was one day shy of her 58th birthday. As usual, I had done nothing about this occasion as I was way too wrapped up in feeling sorry for myself due to my latest battle with a bad back. Before Jo and I headed out for dinner with friends, I advised Richie that I had not even gotten a birthday card yet. My plan was to do so the next morning.

During the meal, I got  a text message reading "I got the cards". Try as I might, I had no idea what this meant. I stared at the screen for several seconds, contemplating the possible explanations. I then handed the phone to Jo and asked her if she had any idea what Richie was discussing.  My wife looked at me in a way that suggested pity, resignation and befuddlement at my staggering lack of cognitive ability. And worse, that this was not unexpected.

Yesterday my daughter related a tale to me. She began by saying that she thinks she found someone worse than me. I don't think it was meant as a compliment, but in an odd way it was intended to give me comfort. in knowing I was not alone.

This is not meant as an indictment of my family. To the contrary. You cannot fully comprehend what it means to be living with me until you have walked in their shoes. I know that they look for and appreciate all the good that they find in me. Its just that sometimes the digging to reach that point becomes a little overwhelming.
Waiting around the corner is the next episode that defies logic and reason. When you suffer from a chronic case of WDDD  there is hardly a moment's rest.

The 800 Pound Gorilla

("White House Works to Shape Debate Over Health Care Law")

It is hard to predict what issue, apart from the troubled economy, will most capture our attention this November. In a world in the midst of such tumultuous times and with those on the right willing to invent disasters, it seems that each day brings endless unsettling possibilities. But if I were asked as to what is likely to be the 800 pound gorilla in the fall, my first choice would be the Supreme Court decision on whether to uphold certain provisions of the health care law, derogatorily referred to by its critics as "Obamacare".

This law has to be considered the centerpiece achievement for the Democrats and the president. Weak as the final product was, and inadequate to address the screaming needs of millions of Americans, still it took up most of the air in the room for so long, and when passed, was an overwhelming accomplishment in the face of such unrelenting opposition. So, if a central component of this legislation were to be deemed unconstitutional, the Republicans would seemingly have their theme for the campaign handed to them on a silver platter. What, they would ask, was this administration trying to shove down the collective throats of this country? For a Republican party obsessed with creating the fiction of a government bullying us into submission, they would have Exhibit A .

The 3 days of arguments before the court at the end of May, and then the moments just before the decision is rendered, will undoubtedly have this nation gripped in intense public debate. The outcome may well go a long way to defining this presidency, determining this election and directing the future course of this nation.

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Bomb or Not to Bomb, That is the Question

" 'Loose' War Talk Only Helps Iran, President Says"

It has the awful feel of deja vu as we seem headed into an inevitable 'weapons of mass destruction' argument. The Republican hawks line up to lambast the President and denounce his abandonment of Israel. Yet the reality is that there is no concrete evidence that the Iranian program "has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon", and certainly nothing to suggest that one is capable of imminent completion.

We are a nation tired of war and we should be one that learns from past errors in judgment. President Obama is right to demand that we exhaust all other options and that we only proceed when there is no other recourse and a verified imminent threat. To do otherwise would commit ourselves to a course of action that is both uncalled for and imprudent.

Iran, much like Iraq, seems willing to play a massively dangerous game of chicken. If the past decade, and its enormous toll has taught us anything, it is that there are no winners in such a game.  Let us keep our heads and  hold our bombs, and demonstrate not only our resolve but our intelligence.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Small Minds

"Before Games, Religious Questions" demonstrates, with shocking clarity, the level of distrust and contempt that is the worst part of what religion has to offer. Not only was the forced accommodation of the team from Beren Academy a stark reminder of the prejudice that permeates, but the revelation concerning the exclusion of the Iman Academy from the league, was a look deep into the minds of those who would teach to our worst instincts.

The questions posed on the application for admission, as set forth in your article, are appalling. What could this association have been thinking when they make inquiries sound like accusations and when they would suggest, almost explicitly, that these young men and women asking to join in and be part of a community of athletes were secretly plotting its overthrow and the death and destruction of all who they would meet in competition?

In addition, the survey to the member schools of their reaction to the possible acceptance of the Islamic school, created a reprehensible suggestion that it might be an appropriate response to threaten to leave any association that would include this school. Those who refused to answer the survey, by their silence, spoke to the sheer lunacy of it all.

It is a sad day in sport, and for our country, when prejudice and bigotry rear their ugly head on the playing field. It is particularly discouraging when these are the lessons we are imparting to our children.


This is a Warning

" Obama Says Iran Strike is an Option, But Warns Israel"
Your online headline is jarring. I am interested to see if the print version utilizes the word "warns." I wonder how much thought was given as to whether a more neutral term might have sufficed.

There is tension enough in this 3 way showdown with Iran and the proper course of action to take without using inflammatory language  regarding the nature of the relationship between the US and Israel. The only "warnings" should be directed at our enemy and not our ally.

On the eve of critical meetings, the New York Times should have exercised greater care in its use of a potentially inflammatory and condescending term. How would the paper respond to being "warned" not to print a particular story?

I would suggest that the newspaper should have used "caution" both literally and figuratively in its choice of terminology.