Slacker Friday

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

"Think Again" on Moses, the Israelites, Bush and the Neocons, here. "Liberal Media" on indecency, liberals, and a coda on Richard Rorty, here. Guardian thing on strange Republicans, too, here .

One question: Why did Studio 60 have that handsome black captain smoking a cigarette like it was cool last night? What possible purpose did that serve?

OK, one more: "$10 MILLION BLABBER BUBBA." Hey, Wall Street Journal actual (non-edit page) journalists: This could be you.

And this:

Dear Messrs. Peretz, Dershowitz, and Kristol, and the rest of I. Lewis Libby's friends and financial contributors: Have I got a cause for you. (Also, you boys still love global warming?)

Now, name five contemporary Jewish theologians saying something interesting about Jewish belief who had not already published a major work by 1990. Here.

Let Palestine split into two, here.

Let's admit it, this is great.

And now, from our sponsors:

On O'Reilly, Gerth and Van Natta dismiss "irrelevant" Media Matters, again dodging substantive criticism

On the June 11 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, authors of Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown & Co., June 2007) dismissed Media Matters for America as "irrelevant," asserting that "[n]o one takes them seriously." Gerth and Van Natta's comments were in response to host Bill O'Reilly's claim that the authors "have been attacked" by "that despicable website." O'Reilly quoted from two Media Matters items documenting factual inaccuracies in Gerth's and Van Natta's work -- neither of which the authors responded to substantively.

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"Music is really merely scene-changing/All men are bored, with other men's lives."

WWOZ Weekly Pick To Click -- "No More Okey Doke," The Meters. I have neglected to carve into the granite hills of New Hampshire how much I love New Orleans.

Greetings from Greenville, SC, home of Gabe Kapler, all-around good guy, member of the 2004 Red Sox of blessed memory, and one of the few Jewish major-leaguers in recent years, now a rookie A-ball manager just across town from the campus of Bob Jones University. Life, as Jack McCoy once put it, is a funny old dog, ain't it?

So, I get in the car after the ballgame Thursday night, and my station seems to have been set on whatever one of the 200 stations hereabouts that carry Sean Hannity's radio extravaganza, and he's talking about immigration, and he mentions that, while traveling with Rudy Giuliani, your former mayor mentioned that the president already has the power to fulfill the entire wingnut wish-list on the issue -- Build the Fence! Round 'em all up! Toss 'em in the hoosegow! -- as "a matter of national security." We never should lose sight over the next two years of what a bad idea it would be to let Il Dolce Duce get his mitts on the entire federal law-enforcement establishment, especially since none of the candidates except Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich seem to be willing to engage seriously on the issue of an Executive branch afflicted with elephantiasis. (Needless to say, poor dim Sean loved the whole notion. Something in him quivers for a king.) This is the primary argument against ever electing Giuliani to anything ever again, and it has the added bonus of using his sweat-stained lust for authoritarian solutions to tar the entire Republican field as enemies of the Constitution who are out there arguing that they would do everything C-Plus Augustus did, only they'll do it better. Elect me. I'd be a more competent dictator. Wonderful. Make what it means to be American an issue and see where it leads. It's an argument we have to have now, so we don't try to have it later, during some crisis or another, when the country loses its mind again.

Note to Chris Matthews -- if I went on and on in public about how a presidential candidate smelled, they'd lock me up. You did it on television. What in the name of god is wrong with you?

Name: Richard Paddock
Hometown: Chapel Hill

To my mind, the most famous stutterer who has overcome it is James Earl Jones.

Name: David A. Snyder
Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

You wonder if Krauthammer in saying this:

"America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will."

sounds fascist. My fiancee has an (almost) two year old daughter, so I recognize this attitude well. It is not fascism per se as the attitude of one who realizes that he or she has the ability and power to make demonstrations of will and hence makes those demonstrations. That is, if you will pardon the insult to toddlers everywhere, that is the attitude of anyone in their "terrible twos" who has learned the awesome power of being able to say "no", "the food's/bath's too hot", "I want to watch [favorite kids' video", etc., and follow it up, if need be, with a tantrum (of course, my fiancee is a good mother who won't let her daughter get away with such things).

Unless you would say that all toddlers, who, e.g., will say "no" to anything just to have the power of exercising their will and saying "no", are fascist, I think that the attitude of Krauthammer and his colleagues is more "toddlerist" than fascist.

The real question is why people with the attitudes of two year olds get taken seriously in our public discourse by so many people.

Name: John B
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

L. Brent Bozell and the Parents Television Council are getting a fair amount of attention at the moment for their ridiculous attempts to drag broadcasting back into the days when a husband and wife couldn't be in the same bed together, and about time. Kudos on your excellent column "The Liberal Voice." One thing I haven't seen remarked upon, however, is contained in their own description of their entertainment tracking system. "Every incident of sexual content, violence, profanity, disrespect for authority and other negative content," it says, and every time I read it my attention is riveted by "disprespect for authority." Ignore for now that conservatives considered disrespect for authority a virtue rather than a vice during the Clinton administration. I can't help but wonder within the grand tapestry of the Global War on Terror, the Unitary Executive, the permanent Republican majority, the Patriot Act, and all the other authoritarian measures of the GOP, when exactly was it planned that "disrespect for authority" would be punishable by the full weight of the government? History says all successful authoritarians come to this point eventually. There's absolutely no indication that the neoconservative leaders of the New Rome would be any different.

Name: Scott Everett
Hometown:

Read your article, Think Again: Another Unnecessary War? Another Media Misstep?

I have always had problems with our invasion of Iraq and no problem justifying the invasion of Afghanistan. But, before we expand our military incursions once again and go marching into Iran to stop the flow of arms to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gaza, perhaps someone should look at the results of our efforts in Laos a few years back. Or why expend the effort - any lessons we could learn would likely be ignored by President Bush. See also: "WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 -- The Administration stepped up efforts today to portray the allied drive in Laos as a success though some officials privately acknowledged that South Vietnamese forces would have to move much farther across Laos to curtail the flow of enemy supplies significantly." February 24, 1971, Wednesday -- Washington href="http://tribune/working/items/editor/index / Times By HEDRICK SMITH.

Name: John
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Joe Klein calls Al Gore "a smug, stubborn, and aloof human being." Sounds like someone is projecting. Next thing you know, he'll be calling Sy Hersh a "hack."

Name: Dan
Hometown: Greer, SC

Doc, perhaps it is just me, but the cloying reference to "Ms. Clinton" in the WP editorial on free trade smacked of disdain. There was a reference to Senator Obama and former Senator Edwards, but it was Ms Clinton, as if they did not know she was indeed married, which would make her Mrs. Clinton, or Senator Clinton or Miss Clinton, anything but Ms. Clinton. On the other hand, maybe I am too sensitive.

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