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Hot, flat, and crowded ... LIKE MY PANTSNotable New York Times stater of the obvious, occasional pie-target, and secret True/Slant commentator Thomas Friedman used to be made of money. His wife’s money, specifically, from malls. But then the malls went into bankruptcy and poor Tom Friedman must sing for his supper in tiny $75,000 increments.

That’s what he got paid to address the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is concerned with, wild guess here, the improving quality of air in the San Francisco Bay Area. They get munnies from “business permits and federal and state sources,” and they spent a fair amount of it on getting Friedman to deliver a speech he’d apparently already delivered once before, in Florida.

Well, whatever! He has returned the money because New York Times staffers aren’t supposed to charge speaking fees to groups that do lobbying or political activities. And alas it seems the BAAQMD, in trying to improve the quality of air and do other environmental hippie things, is too lobbying-and-politics-y to pay their (NYT-affiliated) speakers.

The point is, now he’s a penniless pauper again because his wife lost their fortune on malls, too sad.

Air board pays $75K for columnist’s speech [San Francisco Chronicle]
Thomas L. Friedman and the high cost of speaking [Los Angeles Times]

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