Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Yes, they are planning to attack Iran: one, two, three.

I really do think the Bush administration plans to attack Iran. And I don't think the Democrats will try terribly hard to prevent it, in part because they fear that AIPAC will make their lives miserable if they try it. This is not a conspiracy theory; this is the way things work. Anyway, meet the Iran Enterprise Institute, here.

Then there's this: "Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities before leaving office. It is all but inconceivable that Iran will accept any peaceful inducements to abandon its drive for the bomb. Its rulers are religio-ideological fanatics who will not trade what they believe is their birthright to great power status for a mess of pottage. Even if things in Iraq get better, a nuclear-armed Iran will negate any progress there. Nothing will embolden terrorists and jihadists more than a nuclear-armed Iran," Joshua Muravchik writes.

In doing so, they are inviting massive terrorist attacks against Americans all over the world, something Iraq had no capability to undertake but Iran does. The Iranians will also set Iraq aflame, and take out a thousand -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of Israelis, too. Does any of this weigh on their minds?

Did the Bush administration take history into account before attacking Iraq? To ask the question is to answer it. What Woodward's book suggests is here.

Police state watch: "Mid-flight sexual play lands US couple afoul of anti-terrorism law."

Like his wife, Howie Kurtz is a Republican flack. The difference is that she used to get paid directly by Republicans, but he gets paid by CNN and The Washington Post.

What could be worse than being sexually harrassed by Bill O'Reilly? (Not a trick question...)

From the Benton Foundation:

LITTLE PROGRESS CITED IN IDENTIFYING VNRs [SOURCE: Broadcasting & Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]

The Center for Media & Democracy (CMD) and Free Press Tuesday released a report on 46 TV stations they say are airing corporate video news releases (VNRs) without disclosure in violation of FCC rules. The stations include ones owned by News Corp., Tribune, Gannett, Disney, the Washington Post Co., Sinclair Broadcasting, Media General, and Univision. Free Press and CMD are filing a complaint with the FCC asking it to broaden its VNR inquiry, which was prompted in part by the two groups first report last April identifying 77 stations, some of whom also showed up in the second report, that were airing the undisclosed VNRs. Free Press is also asking the FCC to look at the relationship between media consolidation and the rise of VNRs. "Our new report shows that news audiences continue to be deceived by fake TV news," said Diane Farsetta, CMD senior researcher and co-author of the report, in announcing the report and complaint. "Of the 54 VNR broadcasts that we documented, only two offered clear disclosure of the client behind the segment [both from stations named in the first report]. Nearly 90 percent of the time, TV stations made no effort to disclose at all."

MIDTERM ELECTIONS SPENDING MORE THAN DOUBLES TO $2.1 BILLION FOR BROADCAST TV [SOURCE: MediaWeek, AUTHOR: Katy Bachman]

Political spending on broadcast TV smashed all forecasts and spending records to total more than $2.1 billion this year, an increase of $1 billion over the last midterm election in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence's Campaign Media Analysis Group. Most of the spending, (76 percent) occurred during the last 60 days leading up to election day; 52 percent of the total was spent in the last 30 days. Weekly spending jumped from $204 million to $400 million during the last three weeks. Democrats spent $370 million compared to $350 million spent by Republicans. Eight races for the House exceeded $10 million in spending, topping the former record of $6 million.

STUDY: BLAME MINORITY WOES ON GOVERNMENT [SOURCE: Associated Press, AUTHOR: Hope Yen]

Flawed government policies and negative stereotyping of minority men have limited their economic opportunities, a new study says. It urges improved health care and education for minorities and less media consolidation. The study by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and policy group that focuses on issues that affect minorities, examined the impact of U.S. policies on men of black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent. It said the media and entertainment industries overrepresent minorities as criminals and whites as victims and law enforcers. Blacks are twice as likely as white defendants to be subject to negative pretrial publicity, it said. For Hispanics, three times as likely. The report was commissioned by a group led by Oakland Mayor-elect Ron Dellums. The group is opposing FCC proposals that would allow media conglomerates to own more broadcasting stations.

Alter-reviews by Sal, NYCD:

The Road to Escondido is the new release from Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale, a pairing that has been a long time coming. Clapton's solo career has been underwhelming, to say the least. But he does manage to put out one gem in every 5 or 6 releases. This is one of those gems.

Consisting mainly of J.J. Cale originals, the two spend most of the record trading some of tastiest guitar licks of their careers, while coasting through a laid-back (in a good way) collection of songs that is hard to categorize. There is some twang, some blues, some folk. But no song is any of those things by itself.

Clapton's last few records have been too "laid-back." Think Eugene Levy doing Perry Como. It's almost as if Clapton needed to be kept awake for his own sessions. But here, the playing is inspired, and the guys sound like they have been wanting to do this record for years.

Perfect albums are a thing of the past. Once the CD came along, the technology allowed for more room on a disc, which in turn made artists believe they could write an additional 40 minutes of solid music. In most cases, this proved false. More filler, less meat.

Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, released originally in 1998, now gets the deluxe makeover. THIS is a perfect record. Not a bad track in the bunch. Even with the addition of 3 previously unreleased tracks on disc one, the Grammy-winning Car Wheels is a record you just wish would go on and on.

The second disc of this set features a 13-track live performance for WXPN radio in Philadelphia, also from 1998. A great set with surprisingly remarkable audio quality for a broadcast.

This package would have been the ideal place to include the oft-bootlegged "Original Wheels," which had different arrangements and a slightly different running order but also used Steve Earle's production after many, many alternatives were tried. But, on its own, this new 2-CD set is essential.

End Sal.

When Greil Marcus did a Nation lunch for me a few weeks ago, he recommended the band the Fiery Furnaces and this blog. He was right, huh? What he said about "Love," also, the FF's first and second albums are so far pretty excellent. If you're looking for smart, funny, wry, Prine-esque lyrics and melodies, check out Dan Reeder. Oh Boy tends to put out good, smart stuff. That was how I originally discovered Todd Snider too.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: John Athridge
Hometown: Washington, DC

Hey Eric, in regard to your link about Rich Lowry's absurd piece on "liberal bias" in The Washington Post in their 1994 and 2006 coverage: In addition to the fact that Lowry cherry-picked two stories out of hundreds, the column "How the Gingrich Stole Christmas" that he uses as his evidence was, in fact, a comedy piece by Tony Kornheiser in the Style section, not a news article in any way. One more reason why his "logic" was nonexistent at best. Thanks for all the great work.

Name: Steve Zeoli
Hometown: Hubbardton, VT

I may be going out on a big limb here, but I'd add to this list the two-disc Renaissance Live at Carnegie Hall. Unfortunately, this fine recording does not appear to be available on CD at this time. However, the stunning 24-minute rendition of "Ashes are Burning," which closes the set, is Volume 2 of the band's greatest hits CD called Tales of 1001 Nights.

Name: Richard Lindsey
Hometown: Hastings, NY

Waiting For Columbus definitely belongs in the top 10, though I don't think I'd put it #2 (I'd put Rock Of Ages there). You really think any number of things by the Dead would be better than WFC? The Dead, the most tediously overrated band on the planet? The kings of interminable pointless noodling? Sheesh. Give me Lowell George-era Little Feat any freaking day.

Name: Robert Earle
Hometown: Torrance, CA

Before I clicked through the link to the list of "Best Live Rock Recordings", I tried to think of something that should be there, but was sure to not be. Immediately, I came up with Deliverin' by Poco.

Sure enough ...

(2nd one to pop into my head was The Parkerilla.)

Name: Larry Howe
Hometown: Oak Park, IL

Eric --

I'll put my money on two Fillmore recordings, one East, one West, both from 1971:

King Curtis, Live at the Fillmore West -- great band and a performance that commands attention from "Memphis Soul Stew" to "Soul Serenade"-alas, he was taken from us too soon.

Taj Mahal, The Real Thing -- another great band including the recently elected Congressman John Hall. His solo on "Ain't Gonna Whistle Dixie No More" is some of his best work; and the Howard Johnson Tuba section is innovative and powerful.

Name: Matt
Hometown: Brooklyn NY

Any list of the best live rock albums that doesn't include The Who Live at Leeds is an illegitimate list and should be discarded. It's easily #1, and the next best one is a distant 2nd. And I'm including the extended versions, not only the original 6-song masterpiece. The Deluxe Edition contains a complete performance of "Tommy," and in my opinion "Amazing Journey/Sparks" is the greatest live performance in rock history.

Eric replies: Everyone but the Live at Leeds dude's a bit off their, um, rocker, and he's wrong, too, about placement. Allmans' Live at the Fillmore wins, hands down.

Name: Paul Yamada
Hometown: Chicago

Ellen Willis was one of the few writers to actively cover the NYC underground into the early 1970s. Neither the Voice, nor out-of-the-city music publications, like the laughable Rolling Stone of the early 1970s, paid any attention to the shows at the Mercer Center for the Arts, and Willis did, championing the New York Dolls. Her rock writings of this period are always intelligent, witty and probing. Some of us found her work to be much more valuable reading than what the men produced, who now have the rep and still don't have anything to say, much less any intelligent politics. So let's give Ms Willis the credit she is due.

Name: JimG
Hometown: Columbus, OH

Doc -- Just to follow up a bit on your posting about 11 Nov 1918. Another date closely associated with that is 28 Jun 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. One of the products of this treaty was, of course, Iraq; in fact, if you think about the major and minor problems that we have fought our way through, both literally and figuratively, over the past 87 years, it is impressive how many of them have the Treaty of Versailles in their DNA. A striking example of winning the war in the short term and losing the peace in the long term.

It would seem to me that it would be rewarding for the Democrats, in their new position of power, to consider that and change the focus of the debate on Iraq from winning the war to winning the peace. Perhaps a different perspective just might provide options and possibilities that are not present in the "win the war" myopia.

Not to mention it might keep people 87 years from now wondering why we hadn't been smart enough to study our own history.

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