Slacker Friday

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

I've got a new "Think Again" column called "The Surge Numbers Speak But Who is Listening?" here.

Quote of the Day:

"Who'll be the last to die for a mistake?
Whose blood will spill? Whose heart will break?"

-- Bruce Springsteen, "Last to Die," Magic, 2007

A short preview review: Everyone will like this record, I think. Sal calls this an "album of Sherry Darlings." Whether we will love it, I cannot yet say. (But I could not say we would love Born to Run on the August 1975 day I bought it at Korvette's in Yonkers for $3.27. Greatness takes time.) The above is the only remotely political song.

Get me tickets: this Saturday and Monday (when I'm teaching, alas.) We'll be BFFs ...

From Robert Draper's Dead Certain, Page 223 (and not excerpted by Slate):

The CIA had long thought Chalabi was a liar. His outlandish claims that a liberated Iraq would surely recognize Israel and would welcome permanent US military bases on its land soured Powell and Armitage on him as well. Armitage became to wonder how the INC was spending the millions of dollars that State was funneling to it. When Chalabi was unable to produce receipts, Powell's deputy ordered an audit. While the State Department's Inspectors General, Clark Kent Ervin, was proceeding with the investigatoin, he received a call from a Chalabi friend. 'Would Ervin like to come to dinner at the home of journalist Christopher Hitchens and meet Chalabi?' the caller wanted to know.

There's more on this here.

And Sid Blumenthal says Bush knew.

Overheard among real-American Note readers:

"Fred Thompson sure does look the part, huh? And sorta reminds me of that nice Reagan fellow, before the Alzheimer's and all. Still, it's be nice if the coverage mentioned, say, a single one of his positions on the issues."

Excellent profile of Ha'aretz in The Nation.

Everybody's talking about the myth of AQI.

I don't know if anyone's talking about whether fascists run Southwest Airlines. (Thanks Petey ... still single, ladies.)

But it's time for Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"I knew just what to say, now I found out today/All the words had slipped away."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click -- "So Swell When You're Well" (James Booker): I once again neglected to dress up like a Mardi Gras Indian to work the tables at the Ritz on the subject of how much I love New Orleans.

I watched the GOP debate on Fox the other night until Mitt Romney's batteries ran out and then I switched to the ballgame.

OK, Mother Clinton, I'm going to require something of an explanation on this one right here. These people are smiling, dangerous loons, and anybody in the Sojourners crowd who doesn't see that ought to be kept away from any progressive campaign for the same reason that you keep a toddler away from hand grenades. I'm sorry to break it to y'all, but there is no great political advantage to be gained here. There is no Great Liberal Religious Awakening out there, waiting to be born. And there's no portion of rightist "people of faith" waiting for a reconciliation that's worth what you're going to have to do -- truckling to the Bible-bangers, publicly haranguing us with your "faith journeys," pitching overboard the privacy rights of that 51 percent of the population that includes Senator Clinton. (There is no reconciling liberal politics with modern activist religion without that one, trust me.) The "values voters" have been marinating in their own faith-based fear, faith-based bigotry, and solipsistic Personal Lords And Saviors for so long that it's going to take a decade of deprogramming before they get within shouting distance of normal. They will vote the other way, if they ever vote the other way, because their personal economics get so dire, or because enough of their children get thrown away in a petulant president's ongoing tantrum of a war, that no amount of eschatological dumbshow can distract them any longer. In other words, they will take political action as political actors. Period. All the prayerful filigree will fall away, and blessed human self-interest will once again rule the day. Until that great gettin'-up mornin', the primary religious political power in this country comes from the Right, and that's not going to change any time soon. Jesus Christ, Hillary. (You should pardon the expression.) These people are nuttier than a Christmas fruitcake. Why not just take a couple of million from the Scientologists and be done with it?

Nothing in this blog about Pedro's return?

I am grieved.

p.s. -- Oh, and I should point out that, if Senator Clinton is completely sincere in her attachment to this particular big ship of fools, I wouldn't vote for her if she were running against a ticket of George Steinbrenner and Ann Coulter. However, if she's just using this as a cynical political ploy, she's my gal.

p.p.s. -- Oh, joy. In a sane world, the job would entail cleaning bedpans at Walter Reed.

Eric replies: Five innings after rotator cuff surgery and you want hosannas? Give me three outings (and some better relief pitching), and then maybe we'll see Pedro pitch in Fenway this October.

Name: J.R. Taylor
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

" ... what we've learned to our chagrin in this war is that generals do not speak the truth in public until they're ex-generals, and even then, they tend to do so softly."

Meaning no disrespect whatsoever to the likes of Lt. Col. Bob, but take it from someone who spent his first 18 years as an Army brat: the first word in "career military" is nearly always "career."

Name: fafner1
Hometown: Tacoma, WA

Concerning Gen. Petraeus and the Army that can't say no, I long ago learned as a design engineer working in industry that you never tell the boss you can't do a job. What you absolutely have to do is tell the boss what additional resources, additional time, and reduced goals you need to accomplish the task. The alternative is "Management by Train Wreck."

Name: Stephen Carver
Hometown: Los Angeles

I was struck by LTC Bateman's "the Army can't say no to a mission" observation. It was greatly illuminating. As the son of a retired LTC (never served myself), I understand, up to a point, of what LTC Bateman speaks, but am saddened by the implications of what it actually means for our country and our hopes of EVER getting out of Iraq successfully. If our generals cannot speak truth to power, and our President, as illustrated so well in the biography of him released this week, is a man who values loyalty over truth, then Gen. Petraeus may very well keep his job and many more American lives will be lost because the Army "can't say no." I would hope that every American general, regardless of his "can't say no" background, would be hesitant to do his master's political bidding, when actual American soldiers' lives are on the line for what amounts to an oil war for the corporations. (I believe Petraeus is a smart man, but I really wish we had a Patton or an Eisenhower right now ... I also wish Congress had a spine.) If Petraeus is willing to roll over and let W. put words into his mouth, then I wonder where his true loyalty lies: in the President, or in the Constitution. Good men and women are counting on him to be a leader, regardless of what the politics are.

Name: Piack
Hometown: Austin, TX

Hey Dr. A,

I thought you'd appreciate this Michael Lewis article, which David Sirota of the Denver Post so aptly describes as "the single most offensive economic article" he's read... "Ever."

Finally some honesty from the mega-rich. Keep up the good work.

Eric replies: Um, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be satirical ...

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