You turned my whole world upside down ...

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Oh, thank goodness. Murdoch has agreed not to meddle with The Wall Street Journal editorial page. I'm trying to think of a more useless exercise. I don't have one, but if I did, it would involve either identical or Siamese twins or possibly turning off the lights on the dark side of the moon. David Carr writes here: "If you check the finer points of the editorial agreement between the News Corporation and The Wall Street Journal -- section 1.4, subsection (ii) and subparagraph (E), items 1-3 -- you will see that Mr. Gigot is granted the following prerogatives: the authority to choose editorial board members, columnists, the editor of the op-ed section, the editors of the book review and other sections, and, most significant, the final say over both op-ed pieces and editorial positions."

Anyway, at least we will continue to be able to enjoy, say, liberals being lectured on the nature of patriotism by the KGB, here. Thanks, bub.

The attacks by Mickey and HuffPo on Hillary for leaving Chicago, after appearing at the sessions she promised and then going to a super-secret fundraiser, would be more compelling if the fundraiser were at all secret. Alas, they were well publicized in advance.

(And I repeat my earlier point: It's crazy and unfair to criticize candidates for raising money from the rich when that is the system of finance we have chosen, Mickey and Tom and everybody else. I admire the rich liberals who give money and ask nothing in return. And so far, I've not seen what's being given back by the candidates for these donations, save Chuck Schumer's willingness to ensure that billionaires are taxed at a fraction of what cleaning ladies pay. In the meantime, when the campaign for public financing of all elections begins, count me in.)

Being an effete, elitist liberal (and therefore practically gay), I was actually getting a manicure while reading Jane Mayer's incredible and horrific New Yorker story on the U.S. policy of torturing people, including innocents, without any lawful authority. Talk about cognitive dissonance. That's kind of the problem, however. We go on with our lives and our own petty concerns, while our soldiers die (and kill) for nothing save George W. Bush's stubborn ideological and religious obsession, and we destroy our moral authority as a nation. But what can we do? I really have no idea.

See Sharon Begley's important story, "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine," here, for a report on those who advocate unilateral disarmament in the face of what the Pentagon and our intelligence agencies insist is among our most significant security threats. These people are worse than Cold War-era communist spies. They don't even have the excuse of being blinded by a murderously misused ideology. All they have is their money and power.

The real Rudy:

It begins today, here and here. Wait 'till someone tells the Republican primary voter ...

Stolen from Tapped without comment:

FLORIDA REPUBLICAN: I'M NOT GAY, I'M RACIST! In what's rapidly turning into the grand unified Republican scandal of 2007, GOP State Rep. Bob Allen today explained his recent arrest for paying $20 to preform oral sex on an undercover cop by explaining that the guy was big, and black and he thought he "was about to be a statistic." Really. "This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park," said Allen. This has been reported in a lot of places, but I haven't seen anyone make the point that this is pretty revealing about Republican principles. Allen, who has vowed to run for reelection, thinks that the cost of appearing to be ridiculously racist is worth it if he is not seen as soliciting a man in a park. Sadly, he's probably right. It also manages to wrap up almost every kind of Republican scandal of the last few months: corruption (he asked the police if it would help that he was a state legislator), sex, racism, and the collapse of McCain's campaign (Allen was co-Chair for him in Florida).

--Sam Boyd

Alter-mini-review:

Gretchen Peters: Apparently Gretchen Peters wrote "Independence Day," a big hit for Martina McBride, but I didn't know her work. It showed up, though, and it's called Burnt Toast and Offerings, which is terrific. Despite the occasional clichéd lyric, it's a great country-folk piece of work. Try especially "Thirsty" and "Breakfast at Our House."

Music gossip extra: I tried to give you consolation when your old man let you down.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Susie Madrak
Hometown: Philadelphia

Hey Professor, If you'd been at YK, I could have introduced you to the other members of the Chicago 17, a group of ethnically, economically and geographically diverse bloggers recruited by Paul Delehanty (kid oakland on Daily Kos) to attend. (I was there to represent the urban white working class.) He raised donations to cover hotel rooms and airfare for us all. Thought you'd like to know.

Eric replies: Hey Susie, thanks. I wish I had been.

Name: Glenn Edwards
Hometown: Sleepy Hollow, NY

The angst about Hillary Clinton taking money from Rupert Murdoch put me in mind of Jesse Unruh, an old-time Democratic politician from the California of my youth, who famously said: "If you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, [have illicit carnal knowledge of] their women and still vote against them, you have no business being in politics."

There would be nothing wrong with Senator Clinton taking tainted money as long as she could avoid the trap Tony Blair fell into, of being unable to buck Murdoch for fear of losing his endorsement. That's the important question: could she do it? Myself, I really doubt it.

Name: George Klos
Hometown: Austin

Glad to hear you are getting into two bands I've enjoyed for years, the DBT and the Old 97's. I write with one correction and one disagreement. The correction: Jason Isbell was not an original member of DBT. In fact, he didn't come aboard until after "Southern Rock Opera." I don't know the details of his departure, but he and the bass player are/were married. His solo CD is getting good reviews, by the way.

The disagreement: I think the Old 97's are more than "Rhett Miller's band," although he is a very good frontman. Another guy in the band (the one with the glasses, don't know his name) also sings and writes.

Anyway, I read here every day and mostly agree with your take on events. Most of all, thank you for making me aware of Charles Pierce's commentary, which I now look for around the Internets.

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