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Gary Younge
The New York Times' Blair witch hunt is coming to an end. About time too

When the New York Times runs a headline over its premier, op-ed page stating "In Blair We Trust" we can only assume it is well on the way to recovery. Just a fortnight ago there was only one Blair worth worrying about at the paper's 43rd Street offices - Jayson Blair, the young reporter whose fallacious reporting had produced the longest correction in journalistic history and claimed the scalps of the paper's editor and managing editor.

The fact that this column related to the other Blair suggests that the Grey Lady - as the paper is known - has stopped examining her navel and started to find her feet, and the perspective that goes with it (even if trust is not a word commonly associated with either Blair , but that is a different matter).

By the end of next week at the latest, the Times should have chosen another editor to replace the little-lamented Howell Raines. The front runners remain the same as they were the day Raines resigned: former Times managing editor Bill Keller, who now writes a column, and Los Angeles Times managing editor Dean Baquet, who used to work for the paper.

The Times dream ticket, sources say, was to have them both, with Keller as number one and Baquet as number two. Since Baquet turned that offer down, Keller remains the inside favourite.

But the imminent appointment of a new boss is bringing not more stability but, in the short term at least, less. For the insurrectionists within the paper now feel the need to make the most of what little time is left for their counter-revolution. Recently a petition went round to remind the paper's publisher Arthur Sulzberger (whose job also depends on a speedy resolution to the bloodletting) that many of Raines' appointees remained in place and that regime change should be far more thorough.

In the meantime, Jayson Blair is still seeking a publisher for his account of what happened. He has decided on a title: Burning Down My Master's House. Whether it goes on the fiction or nonfiction shelves remains to be seen.

With Brooklyn's judiciary embroiled in a huge scandal involving nepotism, corruption and vote-buying, I intend to donate this small space, for the duration of the summer, to allow New York judges to speak for themselves.

The first quality quote comes from State Supreme Court Justice Luther Dye. "You don't have to know something to be a judge - you have to know somebody. They give you a robe and expect you to know the law."

The migratory habits of the Manhattan beau monde are as predictable as the seasons. The trouble is that this year, with winter long, spring short and summer late, the seasons have been erratic. Now that the sun is up, bare shoulders are out and the air conditioners on, the natural order of things has reasserted itself.

From now until Labor Day - the official start of autumn - there is no point calling anyone who earns more than $75,000 (£46,000) who lives in Manhattan after about 1pm on Friday, because it's 10-1 that they're going to the Hamptons or somewhere on the eastern shore for a weekend at their summer homes. (These odds are considerably less in Brooklyn, but substantial none the less.)

There is no point in trying to call them on a Sunday evening, either, because their weekend's relaxation will have temporarily evaporated in the traffic jams coming back. By Monday morning their spirits will be up again and they will be full of hearty tales of sailing, badminton and celebrity sightings.

Not that a weekend at the Hamptons cannot be great fun - I did it once several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. But the institution that Hamptons' weekends have become is something different. For the bold and beautiful do not travel light. Anywhere that Bruce Willis helicopters in to party with Puff Daddy - as he did this weekend - the gossip columnists, paparazzi and diarists will soon follow. With it comes the orthodoxy that the city is dead in the summer - a place for losers and tourists to blister in the heat without the advantage of an Atlantic breeze. In other words, the city ceases to exist when its wealthiest members are no longer in it.

Since two-thirds of Manhattan households earn less than $75,000, the city somehow gets by without them. But for an outsider, this is the closest I have come to culture shock here - a recalibration of my class expectations. I used to think inviting people out for Sunday brunch was pretty fancy. Now it identifies me as someone who "stays in town" for the weekend. I have to watch who I call, because to some ears it sounds about as bourgeois as a KFC family meal in front of the EastEnders omnibus.

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