Gimme back my bullets ...


I had some trouble with the time of my talk at UC-Davis tomorrow. According to their website, here, it's at 5:30. And speaking of FDR, I went to the dinner for the 20th anniversary of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute last night, so congrats to everyone who's running that formidable institution.

Let's see, according to this morning's Times, here: "Five authors have sued the parent company of Regnery Publishing, a Washington imprint of conservative books, charging that the company deprives its writers of royalties by selling their books at a steep discount to book clubs and other organizations owned by the same parent company." I gotta laugh. Right-wingers are the most spoiled whiners on the planet. Hello, shmoes, everybody wants their books sold to book clubs, and they are always sold at a "steep discount." What you lose in price you more than make up in volume, and it provides terrific word of mouth (assuming your book is any good). I'm sorry, but Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray, and Richard Miniter would not exactly be burning up the best-seller lists without this kind of thing. These guys' problem is that they didn't read their contracts; the royalty rate for direct sales to book clubs is defined there, and if they had a problem with their rate, they should have taken their books somewhere else.

Liberals are about to get a progressive book club, and believe me, even though when I have written best-sellers in the past, I've done it the hard way, and having read my contract, I don't plan to complain if we all work together on this. (Hey look, we're now listed on too, here.)

Peretz and Coulter: Mix 'n' match:

Marty Peretz Quote of the Day:

There's a tacky story on today's "Page Six" in the New York Post about Mariane Pearl -- yes, the widow of Daniel -- and her conflicts with the Wall Street Journal. It's about money and celebrity and Mariane's desires to use the Journal as the instrument of her fame. You see, when Muslim terrorists kill your husband it's only fair to profit off his death. Wasn't that a clause in Daniel's insurance policy?

Ann Coulter Quote of the Day:

These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much.

Hat tip: Pushing Rope.

From Eric Boehlert:

If Tim Russert cared about journalism and accuracy in the slightest, he would air a correction regarding the assertion he made during last week's debate that President Clinton had imposed a "ban" on the release of presidential documents containing communications during the Clinton administration between the Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton until 2012. The claim is completely bogus. Read more about the post-debate media follies here.

From TomDispatch:

"The world's finest military launches a highly coordinated shock-and-awe attack that shows enormous initial progress. There's talk of the victorious troops being home for Christmas. But the war unexpectedly drags on. As fighting persists into a third, and then a fourth year, voices are heard calling for negotiations, even 'peace without victory.' Dismissing such peaceniks and critics as defeatists, a conservative and expansionist regime -- led by a figurehead who often resorts to simplistic slogans and his Machiavellian sidekick who is considered the brains behind the throne -- calls for one last surge to victory. Unbeknownst to the people on the home front, however, this duo has already prepared a seductive and self-exculpatory myth in case the surge fails."

So begins retired lieutenant colonel and historian of Germany William Astore -- and, as it happens, he's not describing the Bush adminstration in Iraq, but Germany in World War I. Though many know of the German stab-in-the-back myth -- that their military was supposedly ever-victorious and only lost because Germans on the home front failed them -- few realize that the myth was concocted not after World War I, but before it was over -- just as would happen in Vietnam and is happening again with Iraq today. In a statement that would apply to the post-Vietnam era and may apply to the post-Iraq one as well, Astore comments that the myth in Germany "caught fire" after the war "precisely because the tinder had been laid to dry two years earlier."

In this piece, Astore offers a powerful sweep through American stab-in-the-back mythology from Vietnam to today and suggests ways in which the military and the Right in the U.S. are already shifting responsibility from themselves to the American people -- and how the fear of being labeled "the enemy within" is reshaping American politics.

He concludes: "Is it possible that our own version of the stab-in-the-back, associated with Vietnam, enabled an even greater disaster in Iraq? And, if so, what could the next version of the stab-in-the-back bring in its wake? Only time will tell. But consider yourself warned. If we lose Iraq, you're to blame."

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Mike Sinclair
Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI


Although I know the vp (little v, little p) has referred to himself as the Darth Vader of this administration, it strikes me that he is actually Dark Helmet from Mel Brooks' classic comedy, Spaceballs. Dark Helmet was a clear take-off on Darth Vader, with several key exceptions: (1) he was incompetent, (2) he was always serious, (3) he constantly talked out of the side of his mouth, and (4) he was incompetent. I see those very same characteristics in Dickie Cheney, with one noticeable difference... Cheney is also insane!

Name: Kurt Weldon
Hometown: Los Angeles

When I'm not fantasizing about the Guardians of the Universe bestowing me with my own Green Lantern Power Ring, I fantasize about stupid questions like Russert's being answered along these lines: "Tim, I assume you are a voter and a citizen, and therefore have a stake in this election beyond playing "gotcha" with the candidates. So let me ask you a question: What are YOU willing to give up to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb? Will you support a sizable increase in your taxes to pay for the war necessary to prevent it? If not, then how many generations of Russerts are you willing to saddle with debt to pay for such a war? Are you willing to have your children drafted to keep Iran in line? If not, why do you expect other Americans to fill that gap? How many dead Iranian civilians do you personally consider an acceptable price? How many of our allies are you, Tim Russert, willing to alienate? How much are you prepared to pay for a gallon of gas? Do you even realize or acknowledge that you, Tim Russert, as a citizen of this nation will have obligations and burdens imposed on you if we go to war with Iran? And if not, why do you consider yourself exempt?"

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.