All my bags are packed ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

I'm flying to L.A. this morning to give this talk at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. Everyone's invited (I think). That makes us a little light today, alas.

"Needless to say, THE SCRAPBOOK was delighted to learn that Angelina Jolie will soon be joining the august ranks of the Council on Foreign Relations." The anonymice at The Weekly Standard think they're pretty clever about Angelina Jolie at the Council on Foreign Relations, but the fact remains, her judgment about foreign policy has proven far superior to theirs. She didn't help screw up the Middle East, North Korea policy, and make America an object of hatred the world over, after all. And her sale of her baby pictures to help poor and sick Africans with millions of dollars -- to say nothing of her adoptions -- means she has already done a great deal more to help her fellow human beings than any of them have. So perhaps they should shut the f**k up for once.

And on a similar subject, what is it about Ann Coulter that inspires people to behave so stupidly? (Hello, Time editors, TV bookers, book publishers with a scintilla of honor ...) I gotta say, this CPAC flap is really, really dumb. Everyone's playing their assigned Pavlovian role. Look, Coulter wanted her name in the media and she got it. She wanted liberals to look like prigs and she got it. How many times is it going to work when she says "Jump?" Look, the word "faggot" which is a word one hears in private conversation quite frequently; she just said it in public. It's bad manners, but what did you expect? Grow up, everyone. And let Coulter rot in solitude ... (or solitary, as the case may be).

Meanwhile...

From The National Security Archive:

The Presidential Records Act in Crisis

"The Freedom of Information Act says federal agencies have to respond to requests for records within 20 working days (roughly four weeks), yet if you write the Reagan Library today asking for a specific record, the Library staff will write you back with an estimate of 78 months (six and a half years!) you will have to wait before they complete processing. At the 12-year mark, that is, in early 2001, the Reagan Library's estimated response time was only 18 months. For organizations like mine that are veteran users of the Freedom of Information Act, 18 months is not an unusual delay when the subject matter involves classified documents or complicated processing."

"But early 2001 is the moment that the new White House counsel (now the Attorney General) decided to hold up the scheduled release of the infamous 68,000 pages of Reagan Library records that were ready to go, cleared by the professional archivists and the career reviewers, under the process that actually worked in the 1990s. During 2001, as those 68,000 pages sat on a White House lawyer's desk, the delay estimated by the Reagan Library went from 18 months to 24 months, by the time President Bush issued his Executive Order 13233 in November 2001. Since then, the delay reached 48 months in 2003, and 60 months in 2005, before its current 78 months."

"In other words, we are only six years down the road from the initial White House decision in early 2001 to intervene in the Presidential Records Act process, and five years of that turns out to be pure delay."

For more information, go here.

I have long considered neoconservatism to be a subspecies of the Jewish family business, like a dry-cleaners or a deli. It's nice to see that the tradition continues. Too bad they're given wars to play with instead of laundry, however.

"Jew Money Out of New York," circa 1948

From Arthur Schlesinger's memoir, Page 463:

The fiery young mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert Humphrey, was to be ADA's point man. The resolutions committee had adopted an innocuous plank blessing equal rights in terms so general and so restricted that southern Democrats would be hard put to object. The ADA minority plank, written by Joe Rauh and Andrew Biemiller, a Wisconsin congressman who had lost his seat in the Republican sweep of 1946 (and would regain it is 1948), called for specific civil rights actions in terms likely to alienate the south and thereby, some thought, to destroy any chance of a Democratic victory in November.

The party establishment brought intense pressure on Humphrey not to fight the majority plank. Hubert was a man of high intelligence, boundless energy and generous heart but not always of great personal strength. He was concerned about his race for the Senate against Joe Ball, a popular incumbent, who, though a Republican, had endorsed Roosevelt in 1944. He was concerned too about the effect an act of mutiny might have on his future in the Democratic party. Dave Niles, now the White House specialist on minorities, warned Joe Rauh, "You won't get fifty votes on your minority plank; all you'll do is ruin the chances of the number one prospect for liberalism in this country."

The argument in the fraternity house continued all night. At one point Leon Henderson said, "Hubert, I'll tell you this. If you don't speak for the minority plank, I promise you that you won't get a dime of Jew money out of New York" (or so Bill Defty, who was there, told Murray Kempton the next day, and so Murray later told me). Finally, around five in the morning, Eugenie Anderson, Minnesota's national committeewoman, suggested adding to the minority plank a sentence commending President Truman for his courageous stand on civil rights. As Joe Rauh said, this took the "anti-Truman sting" out of the plank, and Hubert said OK; he would lead the fight.

And today:

With millions of campaign dollars at stake as well as votes in a handful of key primary states, the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is poised to dramatically increase its Jewish outreach.

That includes the recruitment of top Jewish donors and advisers, and an expected major speech on Israel and the Middle East that a Democratic insider said "will set the baseline and establish Sen. Obama as a reliable, strong supporter of Israel."

Here. (It's not exactly New York -- well, not explicitly -- but still ...)

Meanwhile, "Is Community Open to Critics of Zionism?" here.

Rabbi Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, is not so sure. He writes of Alvin Rosenfeld's controversial recent essay "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism": "Most disturbing, however, is Rosenfeld's concluding remark. He anguishes that 'young readers will quickly learn the arguments for the elimination of the Jewish state -- every antisemite's cherished dream -- are contributed by Jews themselves.' He then adds gratuitously, and dangerously, 'Given the drift of "progressive" Jewish thought, that, too -- perverse as it is -- should come as no surprise.' "

The bad news for The New Republic staffers is that the recent history of its new owner, CanWest, is littered with lawsuits, gag orders, and byline strikes, buffered by a steady stream of columnists, reporters, and editors who complain CanWest actively censors its own employees. Read more here.

From Mr. Pierce:

"Jonah Goldberg says Arthur Schlesinger was 'too little the scholar,' here. Jonah Freaking Goldberg. 'Too fat the head,' I'd say."

From Campus Progress:

Seeking to counter the truth's liberal bias on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Fox News recently launched an attempt at a comedic fake news show called The 1/2 Hour News Hour. The irony of a notoriously inaccurate news station putting on an openly fake news program was apparently lost on Fox executives. Then again, so is the concept of irony entirely. As Jesse Singal wrote in Campus Progress, "many of 1/2 Hour's problems can be traced back to its reliance on straw men and caricatures." He goes on to explain, "When you watch Jon Stewart ... you're presented with a substantive basis for his critiques.... 1/2 Hour refuses to make the effort to set up its jokes or consistently anchor them to real, specific references." So if you thought conservative humor hit its nadir with Dennis Miller, alas, you've been proven wrong. Here.

From our sponsors: Anna Nicole is still dead, but none of the broadcast networks' evening news programs has even mentioned the case of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, here.

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