Go pick it up ... take them lights away


Next time someone tells you what a wonderful democracy we have going here, you might want to mention that the Senate, our most important deliberative body, will not allow itself to consider the wisdom of escalating a ruinous war that virtually everyone in the world opposes, save the increasingly detached-from-reality-and-discredited-leaders who insist on continuing it.


This story is ridiculously irresponsible. Mr. Broder of the Times, together with his editors, thinks it significant that "The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare's Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions." He quotes Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, as saying in a statement, "John Edwards is a decent man who has had his campaign tarnished by two anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots."

You want to hear "trash talk?"

Here's Donohue, making one of his 23 appearances on cable TV in 2004, and explaining to Scarborough Country guest host Patrick J. Buchanan:

Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions.

When another panelist, (the very strange) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach -- author of the book, Kosher Sex and personal adviser to (even stranger) Michael Jackson -- tried to jump in, Buchanan -- who defends accused Nazi war criminals and refers to Congress as "Israel's Amen corner" -- interceded on Donohue's behalf. So too, did another guest on this esteemed panel, Jennifer Giroux, founder and director of Seethepassion.com (a website that encouraged people to watch Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ) and a member of Buchanan's splinterite Reform Party who at one point had a streak of 14 Scarborough Country appearances in just nine weeks. The following exchange in the wake of Donohue's secular Jews/anal sex observation:

BOTEACH: Stop the anti-Semitic garbage, OK?

DONOHUE: Who's making the movies? The Irishmen?

BOTEACH: Michael Moore is certainly not a Jew. Let me speak here --

BUCHANAN: Go ahead, Rabbi.

BOTEACH: The fact is that Jewish people are incredibly charitable, good, decent family people.

DONOHUE: I didn't question that.

BOTEACH: Hollywood has become a cesspit because it's secular, period. Don't this us -- don't tell us that it's secular Jews.

DONOHUE: So the Catholics are running Hollywood, huh?


DONOHUE: I'm talking about secularists in Hollywood. They're not Rastafarians. They're Jews.


DONOHUE: You're going to tell me that the Chinese don't live in Chinatown, right?


GIROUX: Yes. All I can say, Rabbi, is, you've got to concede the fact -- and it's difficult because we all at times in life have to say, I'm sorry, I was wrong -- we cannot go back and make it that the Hawaiians killed Christ. Mel Gibson and all Christians --

BOTEACH: What are you talking about?

GIROUX: I'm saying you can't rewrite history.


BUCHANAN: Rabbi, cut the personal insults, please. Rabbi, cut the insults -- personal insults, please.

BOTEACH: The Jews are ruining the world and you're telling me to cut the insults? Come on, Pat. Get real here, OK? Cut the anti-Semitism, please.[1]

This raises the same point I raised yesterday. Just for whom does this lunatic Donohue actually speak? Which Catholics does he really represent? And if Broder can't answer that question, then what is this piece doing in the Paper of Record? I understand why Scarborough and company want this guy. Their trade is irresponsibility. What is the Times' excuse?

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First Klein, then Kristol, throw in Krauthammer (and Andy), and now Jay Carney. What's in the water cooler at Time that's making everyone there wrong about everything and so damn smug and insulting to those who point it out? Alas, the LA Times has the same disease.

(And Jonah Goldberg gets the quote of the day: "Let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now).")

Meanwhile, as the facts of the White House cover-up now tumble out into open court, it's important to remember that if it hadn't been for Patrick Fitzgerald's work, this whodunit would have faded into oblivion because lots of high-profile journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and NBC wanted it to. Read Boehlert here. (Eric also apparently is getting a headache from reading Slate, whose Obama watch mocks the AP for reporting accurately about Obama's Harvard studies.)

My concerns about John Edwards' speech in Herzilya and at AIPAC are reflected in this item by John Judis.

Hillary at AIPAC, on the other hand, is here.

McCain Suck-Up Watch, continued here.

Come on, Come on, Come on, take a little piece of my heart now, Marty.

(Boehlert also asks: If Gore were to run, wouldn't he be forced to renounce his relationship with the racist Peretz? If God were really great, he would let this happen ...)

This bookstore story saddens me, particularly for people who are in their adolescence and will never know the pleasures of these places, as well as an author who needs these stores and the support of the book lovers who run and work in them. Still, I'm as guilty as anyone else. I'll admit it.

From TomDispatch: Air power has, since World War II, been the American way of war. The invasion of Iraq began, after all, with a dominating show of air power that was meant to "shock and awe" -- that is, cow -- not just Saddam Hussein's regime, but the whole "axis of evil" and other countries the Bush administration had in its mental gun sights. Air power has been used intermittantly, but regularly in Iraq's heavily populated urban areas. And yet until now, U.S. air power in Iraq has been a non-story -- if you weren't an Iraqi.

In the coming months, however, air strikes are likely to visibly increase as part of the President's "surge" plan for Baghdad and so the air war may finally force its way onto the front pages of our papers and onto the nightly TV news -- but not if the Pentagon has anything to say about it. Doing some journalistic sleuthing, TomDispatch regular Nick Turse has discovered just how secretive the Pentagon has been about offering any significant information on the size, scope, and damage involved in its air operations over Iraq.

By keeping figures on the expenditure of various kinds of munitions in air strikes from reporters and the American public, the Pentagon has also kept the nature of the American air war in Iraq largely out of the news. Thanks to Turse, the story of this secret American air war is now told for the first time.


Yet another reason why my city kicks your city's ass ... well, let me ask you: Do you get to go to absolutely beautiful old synagogues and see wonderful shows with Allison Moorer warming up Patti Griffin? I've never seen Allison before, and she didn't even have her own guitars, which were stuck in Tennessee, but I would have loved her short set even if I hadn't been sitting next to her husband. Her material was smart and heartfelt but her version of "A Change is Gonna Come" -- a Southern shiksa singing a Sam Cooke spiritual in a 19th-century Lower East Side synagogue -- well, bub, that's my religion. It was truly transcendent. (Amazingly, everyone was perfectly quiet for her entire set; and they had a bar!)

This Ms. Griffin is also quite something. I never really paid attention before but she's really one of a kind, and almost impossible to categorize musically -- well, you'd have to be a better writer than I am. She looks a little like Patsy Cline but writes and sings like no one else. She's got a new CD that came out yesterday, but I'm also going to catch up with her old stuff. The fans in the shul were apparently familiar with everything she's ever done: a real discovery if you ask me.

Check out the cool shul here, Allison Moorer here, and Patti Griffin here.

(Speaking of Ms. Moorer's maybe-not-so-better half, I don't want to start a fight about this, but the other day I was watching the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over DVD and I mused to the other doctor in the house that I thought, in almost exactly opposite ways, Don Henley -- I'm thinking of both "Hotel California" and "The Heart of the Matter" -- and Gregg Allman had the two most perfect (white) voices in rock n' roll. I held to this view even when she asked if I had forgotten a certain New Jersey state icon. Then she surprised me: a Joni Mitchell/Billie Holiday type, she nevertheless, answered, "Nahh, I'd go with Steve Earle....")

Again, if you write about this, be polite. It's entirely subjective.

Another reason: I took the kid to see the Kaufman Center's Broadway Playhouse on Sunday. The Playhouse features Broadway composers and lyricists, and this week the production focused on the wonderful Charles Strouse. Every single one of the performers, led by Sean Hartley, was terrific. A sing-along, audience participation (for the kids, obviousment), terrific acoustics, superb pianist, and a nicely abridged version of Annie. Add in a short Q-and-A with Charles Strouse himself, and you can appreciate again why this is the best city in the world. Check them out if you're so inclined ... the next production is Irving Berlin ... Read all about it, here.

Taken from Backstreets:

Michael Dorf is putting on a Springsteen tribute at Carnegie Hall on April 5 as a benefit for Music for Youth. Bruce Hornsby and Steve Earle are among the confirmed artists on the bill for the April 5 tribute, along with the Bacon Brothers, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Kristin Hersh, Robin Holcomb, the Holmes Brothers, Jewel, Josh Ritter, and Pete Yorn. Dorf is planning on a total of 21 artists. I love this cause, but these dudes need to update their website, though, here.

Corrspondence Corner:

Name: Justin
Hometown: Allentown, PA


It looks like the runup to the "liberation" of Iran has begun. The President is talking tough, more naval forces are moving in to the Persian Gulf, and the ground forces in Iraq have presumably been told to take a more aggressive stance to match.

As we go toe-to-toe and face-to-face with our next enemy, the opportunities for an incident will increase. At some point, we'll see one of (a) a deliberate provocation from Iran, (b) an armed response by Iran to a covert operation/provocation by us, or (c) a stupid mistake by someone on one side, compounded by a misunderstanding by someone on the other.

The question is: what is the date upon which a Southwest Asia Resolution will be introduced into Congress? Surely someone out there must be running a futures market on it.

Name: Ryan Scott
Hometown: Portland, OR

A couple of thoughts about the presidential race: (1) If Guiliani wins the Republican nomination, then everything I thought I knew about politics is wrong, which I'd find more interesting than unpleasant. Moreover, I'd then be qualified to be a columnist for Time. (2) I got into a brief argument with a friend about Nader and Gore, which I ended quickly because I want to respect him. But the most interesting part of the conversation was this: he blamed Gore for being such a weak candidate that he couldn't beat Bush in 2000, and he repeated a number of slanders ("he said he invented the Internet!") that were products of the right-wing smear campaign. He didn't see the irony. (3) Obama seems an interesting and somewhat unique combination: he appears both completely genuine and an astute political player. I see him now laying the groundwork in advance of criticism he knows he'll get in six months or a year. Imagine Bill Clinton without the personal issues, who can defuse the anger of the social conservatives rather than enflame it.

Name: Jordy Cummings
Hometown: Toronto

Written about Nixon, but apt for many times "when Presidents lie"... from Neil Young's "Ambulance Blues" from his masterpiece On the Beach:

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes.
How can he remember
who he's talkin' to?
'Cause I know it ain't me,
and I hope it isn't you.

Name: Bryn Lewis
Hometown: Cincinnati

Martin Brandt liked the quote from Woody's "Pretty Boy Floyd" but it immediately sprang to my mind a possibly even more compelling quote given the current administration. From Bob Dylan's "Talking New York":

"Now, a very great man once said
That some people rob you with a fountain pen.
It didn't take too long to find out
Just what he was talkin' about.
A lot of people don't have much food on their table,
But they got a lot of forks n' knives,
And they gotta cut somethin'."

Keep up the good work. Educational and entertaining.

Name: Sal
Hometown: NYCD


I've been meaning to send this. Then as each day goes by, I think, "It's too late." But, as each day goes by, I see another entry. So here it is, from one of my fave artists.

"I'm looking for a love with no strings attached/ To take me like I am, that's the only catch"

Todd Rundgren

Runner Up:

"Suckers walk/money talks/but it can't touch my three lock box."

-- Poet Laureate Sammy Hagar

[1] MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," December 8, 2004; transcript available here.

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