Slacker Friday

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

Eric is taking off today for Rosh Hashana, but he has a new "Think Again" column called "Beware the Ideas of Newt," here, and a new Nation column, here, called "The Presidential Pageant."

In the meantime, he suggests, why not check out the newly revamped blogroll? There's lots of cool stuff there ...

Also in the meantime, a correspondent checks in ...

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

"But Tonto he was smarter, and one day said, 'Kemo sabe/kiss my ass, I bought a boat, I'm going to sail away.' "

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click -- "Soul Of A Man" (Irma Thomas): Once again, I have failed this week to construct a worldwide network of electric telegraph stations to communicate in Morse Code how much I love New Orleans. (Added Note: the Irma Thomas cut came from last Friday's afternoon show by Valerie "The Problem Child" Kaczprzak, who is, quite frankly, the best thing on American radio. Period.)

I figure I can go a little longer this week, since I am the unofficial Altercation shabbas goy.

One of the very first alibis people concocted for Richard Nixon during the period immediately following the Watergate burglary was to ask why Nixon would do it, since he was going to stomp a mudhole in George McGovern anyway. I would suggest to Bill Belichick that he read several histories of that period very, very carefully over the next couple of weeks to see what happened to that alibi as the months went by.

New England Patriots?

Illegal spying.

USA PATRIOT Act?

Illegal spying.

Coincidence? I think not!

And, look, kids. It's tool time again. The festering gob that is this publication is the worst thing that's happened to political journalism since Jeff Gannon discovered that there were other things you could get paid for.

For some reason, the fact that two of the Noncoms who wrote that famous NYT op-ed are dead, and that a third one of them is fighting to survive a head wound, put a sharper edge on the stunningly amoral fakery in D.C. this week. (And, yo, foof. You can shut the hell up any time.) Almost everyone who gets paid for thinking about this stuff has concluded that the White House's strategy -- the strategy for which Petraeus and Crocker were so willing a pair of shills -- is to run out the clock and make Iraq the next president's problem. Serious people are debating the efficacy of this as domestic political strategy. Is this feckless, arrogant, stupid man ever going to take responsibility for anything? Does he believe that Daddy's lawyers and Daddy's money are going to swoop in at the nick of time, again, to bail him out? Does he think Jesus is coming to make it all better and bring all the people who have died in this murderous ego-sodden venture back to life? I bow to nobody in my respect for Bob Draper as a person and as a journalist, but I couldn't care less that this guy has read Cormac McCarthy. He has blighted the world, and the reasons don't matter a damn any more.

"Kick the can down the road"?

Jesus wept.

Jack Goldsmith has been making the rounds, pumping his new book about how the Avignon Presidency's attitude toward the due processes of law so distressed him. Rumor has it that Colin Powell may be shopping around a similar semi-apologia this coming spring. David Frum, the useless no-game-having hack-to-be-named-later that Canada apparently made the US take as a throw-in as part of the Neil Young trade, has a book coming about how "conservatism" can be rescued from the bloody, ignorant mess that was made of it by people like, well, David Frum. Over the next five years, I suspect, we'll be buried in books on one of two themes: a) Everybody On The Plague Ship Was Sick Except Me, and b) We Were Right All Along And Only Your Grandchildren Will Know It. And none of them will make the essential point that their authors should not be allowed in the halls of government again without a mop in their hands. When Sara Taylor said she'd taken an oath "to the president," she was just explaining it all out loud. None of these sadder-but-wiser types were willing to act seriously on their profound concerns that the Republic was being led by authoritarian yahoos until they were all both well-paid and well out of range. (In Goldsmith's case, his book explains that the big mistake was in not getting the Congress and the people to agree to the dictatorial powers inherent in the Executive branch. It's hard to argue that the Congress and the people wouldn't have been willing to do it, but it doesn't make the theory of Executive power sound any less like it ought to be coming from a general on a balcony.) Being well-remunerated for their threadbare, nearly vestigial, consciences may be all they have left. Many of these books will be interesting. Almost all of them will be nauseating. You have been warned.

This is the only book you need anyway, at least until the Landlord's hits the shelves.

I can't say I agree with Big Media Matt here, although I only get part way through the post before my eyes Yglesias over. Thank you.

No, you're too kind.

I'll be here all week.

Shana tova, y'all.

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