Slacker Friday


I've got a new Think Again column here called "The Media's Color (and Gender) Wars, Continued," and a new Nation column, "Dude! Where's My Debate?" here.

Murdoch admits: Bias is my business.

Amazing isn't it? Neither Howard Kurtz nor John M. Broder mentioned all this:

Following the original [New York] Times and AP reports on the Edwards controversy -- in which [Catholic League president Bill] Donohue was quoted describing the bloggers as "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots" -- Media Matters for America compiled a list of Donohue's own "vulgar" and "bigot[ed]" comments: his statement that "[p]eople don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty," his reference to the "gay death style," his demand that homosexuals "apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done," his assertion that Hollywood "is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular," and his claim that Hollywood "likes anal sex" and "abortions."

When you consider how much space the Times has devoted to allegations of Jewish anti-Semitism among liberals, here and here, and even published an attack piece on Jimmy Carter as a news item that contained not a single defense of the former president, you've got to wonder how stupid are those people who continue to contribute to conservative organizations that whine about the phony "liberal" bias in the media. (And by the way, where is Mr. Foxman, et al, in allowing Donohue to get away with his hateful anti-Jewish rhetoric without any complaint whatever? Talk about double standards.) Our sponsors have more here, which is where those quotes above can be found as well.

Molly, by Dave Denison.

From our sponsors: Well, there's really too much for us to deal with on a Slacker Friday. Read all about it here.

From TomDispatch: Tom Engelhardt recently considered the odds that a regime-change-style, shock-and-awe air assault might someday be launched on Iranian nuclear facilities and associated targets -- based solely on the logic of five years of George and Dick's Thelma and Louise-style imperialism. He describes what's been known about the administration's Iran desires ever since the neocons were quipping back before the invasion of Iraq, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran" --and how Seymour Hersh, Scott Ritter, and a gaggle of worried ex-CIA agents have now been joined in their Iran fears by much of official Washington, where the most mainstream of types are offering warnings in an over-the-top mode that, bare months ago, would have been confined to the distant peripheries of political argument.

He suggests that, were such an attack to happen, two kinds of fundamentalism -- neither strictly religious -- would meld into a particularly fatal brew: the bedrock faith the Bush administration and its neocon supporters have exhibited since September 12, 2001, in the Church of Military Force combined with the only significant force the Pentagon has on hand -- air power -- and a belief in its efficacy to fell regimes and bring whole societies to their knees. These are faiths and cannot be disproved by the facts on the rubble-strewn, cratered ground.

He concludes that our president and vice president, "having long embraced a fantasy of victory, now show every sign of wrapping their arms around their own Iraq defeat as if it were victory, and -- with the enthusiasm of Thelma and Louise, trapped by all those cop cars -- taking the only path that seems open to them. ... Unlike the movies, where any review can tell you the ending before you even enter the local multiplex, life -- even political life, even geopolitical life -- is a remarkably unsettled, as well as unsettling thing.

"Nothing assures us that some predetermined fate will actually drive us all over that Iranian cliff. But if, before November 2008, we do head in that direction, a small suggestion: Don't bother to buckle your seatbelt. It's not going to be that sort of a trip to the bottom."

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA.

Hey Doc --

Way down, below the ocean, where I want to be
She may be (my an-ti-di-loov-ee-ahn bay-beeee!)

Donovan was never much more than a weepy omadhaun, but he was never funnier than those lyrics.

Oh, and in re: this, I will limit my reply to people of our common gender -- Otherwise, I just say, "Patsy Cline," and everybody packs up their futile arguments and goes home. -- and mention four words: Steve Winwood, Rod Stewart. (And, yes, I mean the Rod of his first four solo albums and "People Get Ready," and not the guy currently aspiring to be the Steve Lawrence of the summer shed tours.)

The NYT Washington Bureau Of My Mind. Int. Daylight.:

Staffer A: Jesus, there's a sweaty homunculus out here yelling about bloggers, Hollywood Jews, and anal sex.

Staffer B: Grab the HazMat suits and get him out of here. And, for god's sake, make sure he doesn't drool on anything. We don't want to have to burn the curtains.

(But that's just me. Some people would put him on the front page.)

To me, the single biggest problem with the 2008 presidential election may well be an intractable one . There is no issue more critical to the country than crushing into the dust the theories of Executive power under which the current Avignon Presidency has operated. Everything else -- domestic wiretapping, the war -- flows from an a constitutionally absurd and utterly authoritarian concept of the presidency, one that was fueled by the atrocities of 9-11, and enabled by a dormant Legislature, a fitfully conscious Judiciary, and a national press the thoroughgoing corruption of which is being played out daily in the Prettyman courthouse down in DC. (Dear Tim: Congratulations. Now you're a hack under oath.) Of course, the problem is that no candidate wants to campaign for president based on the platform of appearing to make the presidency weaker. More to the point, no candidate could get elected on the platform of appearing to make the presidency weaker. The only remedies are second-hand ones: elect congressional candidates pledged to uphold the responsibilities of their co-equal branch of government and/or elect a president dedicated to appointing judges who didn't clerk in the House Of Wax. 'Ees a puzzlement. I don't even know how you'd frame a campaign around the issue, but there simply isn't anything more important at stake. Which, among other things, is why neither Rudy Giuliani nor John McCain should be elected. I certainly want the guy who outed Patrick Dorismond's juvie record in order to protect a couple of trigger-happy NYPD cops with his clammy mitts on the entire federal law-enforcement apparatus. I would also like to find a lemon zester with which to shave.

Name: Michael Rapoport

C'mon, Eric, you can do more than just fret about disappearing bookstores. You say you're "as guilty as anyone else" ... well, do something about it. Yes, Amazon and the like are great for book buyers, and yes, I've used it too occasionally, primarily for researching books and for special-ordering stuff or getting it in a hurry. But the bulk of my book-buying money still goes to my area bookstores, both independent and chain. Show me a good, well-stocked bookstore and I'll show you a good place to spend an afternoon - and one that's worth saving.

Name: Scott Hullinger
Hometown: Granger, IN

Dr. A,

It seems to me that the Republicans want the Democrats to cut off war funding so they can blame the loss of the war on the Democrats. That is the reason for their political maneuvering. The Dems need to outsmart them. Instead of voting to cut off funding for the war, vote to cut off funding for all of the other things the R's cherish. Immediately stop paying Halliburton and break all of their contracts, claim that there are fiscal improprieties. Stop funding "Star Wars," oil exploration, and any other subsidies the R's have pushed for. Cancel contracts with military or arms type corporations. I am sure the smart folks in Washingon (lol) could come up with some other creative ways to poke Bush and friends in the eye. If the Dems do some of these things, you watch how fast R's will be willing to change the way the war is run.

Name: Bill Cross
Hometown: Rapid City, SD


While I like Altercation, your maniacal hatred of Ralph Nader is misguided. Why such continual loathing of Nader, who had every right to do what he did, rather than on the true evil parties that decided the 2000 election -- Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris. All of these people committed far more loathsome acts than Nader, yet your opprobrium seems to fall nearly exclusively on Nader. Sure, you can argue that Nader cost Gore the election, but, in fact, Gore won the election anyway and was only denied the presidency due to the four people I named above.

Name: Peter
Hometown: London, Ontario

How about Ian Hunter, particularly his work with Mott The Hoople? Teetering on the brink, Hunter's plaintive, raspy, wail, makes "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll" ring true to its superlative moniker. For more evidence, check out "Death May Be Your Santa Clause", "Walkin' With a Mountain", and "I Wish I Was Your Mother" (interesting song titles, no?). Not to mention that Mott's vastly underrated Brain Capers revisited and updated the spirit of Highway 61 Revisited while serving as the sonic template for Never Mind the Bollocks ... .

Eric replies: I was at a party over the holidays and I went up to the host and said, "Who's that guy who looks like he could be Ian Hunter?" Turns out it was Ian Hunter. I talked to him, but neither of us had much to say to the other. I actually hate talking to people under these circumstances. I had nothing really to say to Patti Smith either, and vice versa. But anyway, dude, You're Never Alone is a great album and Mott was OK, but you don't really mean to nominate him as the greatest rock voice of all time, do you? That would be silly.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.