Slacker Friday

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Scarface:

"Oh, listen here, man, I don't mean no harm/If you wanna do good, you better stay off Parchman Farm."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "The Monkey Speaks His Mind" (Dave Bartholomew). I failed to hire an airplane to write across the sky how much I love New Orleans.

Great Moments In Jesuit Education -- So, there I am up in New Hampshire, watching the incredible clown show that was the Republican debate. (I especially liked Pastor Mike Huckabee's theological speculations, which can be fairly summarized as, "Jesus loves me more than you, BEYOTCH!") I also spent a lot of time denying I knew you. And Sam Brownback (R-Trent) misquotes St. Anselm on the saint's own campus, as "Faith seeking reason." "No!" I said, to the consternation of an Italian TV crew seated nearby. "It's 'faith seeking understanding,' you cornfed, animatronic Pacelli wannabe, you." I was so insufferable for the next few minutes that I didn't even notice that Mitt Romney's grasp of the facts as to the beginnings of the Iraq war rival my own gifts at Sumerian grammar.

There is no excuse for this. I should feel bad for James and Mary's kids? Why? Because one of Mommy's old work buddies is a lying swine? Because a jury said bad things about Uncle Scooter, who was only trying to alibi Mommy's old boss, that soulless, lycanthropic, face-shooting old mountebank? This is like some awful, malignant version of Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood Of Make Believe. Here's a tip, James -- you're as obvious a symbol of the corruption of our political elite as anyone who more actively enabled the current administration. Take your coon-ass avuncularity and your book contracts and go whistle up a tree. Go be a TV star. That's pretty much all you're good for these days. Any Democratic politician who hereafter actively solicits either your advice or support should be assumed prima facie to be unworthy of serious consideration. Every single one of the people involved in this affair should have their public careers shattered into a million pieces, scattered to the four winds, and there should be salt poured upon the shards so they never rise again. If that screws up the kids' birthday parties, that's too bad. There are a lot of kids out there whose fathers and mothers will never be home for their birthdays, their weddings, or the birth of their first children, because your buddy Scooter helped launch a war based on lies, and then demolished a U.S. intelligence operation for the purposes of covering it up. (There may even be some children whose parents worked with Valerie Plame, and who are orphans now, directly because of Uncle Scooter and his old jefe.) I'll feel for them, thanks, and not your Little League buddy, who isn't even yet in the cell he deserves. In case you didn't notice, every single Republican candidate agrees with you, even Hang 'Em High Giuliani. Beg our pardon, Carville, you towering fake.

Name: Michael Taylor
Hometown: Somewhere in Canada

Dr. Alterman,

I know I'm several years behind on this, but I just finished reading The Book on Bush. I'm a Canadian citizen and a permanent resident of the US, and also a graduate of Bob Jones University. :) As I am unable to vote, I have not bothered to research any presidents or presidential candidates since I've been in the country. At first I just believed what my evangelical "brethren and sistren" said about Bush. But the more I saw and heard of Bush, the more I started to see inconsistencies, deception, and flat out incompetence -- and an unbelievable tendency of evangelicals to blindly support and pardon him based on the assumption that "he's one of us." Your book confirmed my suspicions about Bush. The evangelical vote is highly coveted these days, it seems, and while I still can't vote, I at least have a realistic view of the man who somehow swayed all of us to be on his side. I'm still not a liberal, but at least I know partially what I am not. Thanks.

Name: John B
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

It occurs to me that this entire subject of a pardon for Scooter Libby really stems from the unfinished business of the Iran-Contra affair. Some of the players now were present then, and the entire conservative universe learned from that sorry episode that the law is of no concern if you're "trying to do the right thing." Witness Ollie North, who holds forth daily on what is right and wrong after being a major force in one of the sorriest modern examples of government ignoring the will of the people...and the law. Now neoconservatives have taken this opening and expanded it to the point where what the "Unitary Executive" does is inherently lawful. So much for respecting the "rule of law." And yet the MSM still doesn't get it. Allowing criminals to work with impunity only leads to greater lawbreaking. Where does it end? Hopefully not here. Interesting how those who see America as the "New Rome" seek to emulate the things that eventually brought down the empire instead of the things that made Rome great.

Name: Rod Wilson
Hometown: Buffalo

Doc,

In response to Ihateemo, TX, I would beg to differ about British TV. Growing up in good old blitey in the 70's and 80's, daytime TV could get as raunchy as the post-9:00 pm slots. I distinctly remember watching reruns of I, Claudius on BBC 2 on languid afternoons when I should have been studying for up coming exams. Now, one could argue that this show, in particular, approached a kind of "high-art" program-wise but, watching Caligula cutting out his first born from the belly of his wife/sister's strung up and live body, only then to consume it, left indelible marks on this young man's psyche.

It may have been historical drama at its finest, for its time, but it never lacked for blood, guts, sex and debauchery and was easily accessible for anyone with a TV and procrastination on his/her mind.

My point being, looking to Britain, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, for elevated standards of decency, with regards to TV programming/scheduling, is like looking to the Bush administration for refreshing new concepts in middle-east diplomacy -- certainly a fallacy and assuredly without merit.

Name: Benjamin Kennedy Shorenstein
Hometown: San Francisco

Dear Media Matters,

The biggest sin our country has committed in the last 20 years has nothing to do with our involvement in the affais d'Iraq. Yes, my fellow citizens it has to do with the corruption of our judicial system -- a system that puts Paris Hilton in jail for 3 days yet lets a common criminal like Eric Alterman run free among the law abiding and civil masses.

Name: MikeB
Hometown:

Joe Klein is in line to take over the David Broder slot as the "dean" of Washington Press when Broder retired.

Notice Klein's Broder tic; the false equivalence. Coulters and Limbaughs often call for violence against people they disagree with. You don't see this with Digby/Atrios/Kos/TPM.......They can best be compared to a liberal version of George Will or David Brooks. What is really bothering Klein is his increasing irrelevance. For years he was the only choice liberals had. The MSM would pair him with the Krauthammers and Kristols and call it "balance." Liberals had no place to go. They had no choice but look to Klein for representation of their views. Things have changed with Internet. Liberals can read the views of real liberals on the Internet and ignore Klein.

Name: Donald R. Zwier
Hometown: Grayslake

Bush often says, "We do not render to countries that torture." No one ever asks the obvious question, "Then why render?"

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