We’ve got a new “Think Again” column here called, “Thank God for Gitmo.” I’ve also got a new Nation column called “War is Over (If You Want It) here.

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA.

Hey Doc:

“Here come the Wild Tchoupitoulas/ Here come the uptown rulers.”

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “My People Need A Second Line” (Dr. John)–Laissez les bon temps and all that. It was Mardi Gras, and my friendWright Thompson rode a lead float through the streets of the city I love more than David Brooks loves the sizzling of the suburban barbecues in his head.

Short Takes

Part The First: Erratum etc. I did indeed vapor lock on James Arness, and probably because I did confuse him with his brother, Peter Graves. But Big Jim McLain nonetheless remains an unjustly ignored Komedy Klassic! I also agree with my former running mate on Gardens Of Stone, although I liked the Nicholas Profitt novel better than the movie. (Coppola lards up his film with weirdly off-kilter soundtrack music, and it apparently was edited with a riding lawn mower.) And this is probably not the right place to mention that, as far as I’m concerned, Leonard Cohen always has been the skeevy aging grad student whohangs around the campus bars and says he’s a poet in order to seduce everywoman in the freshman class. However, it may well be the right place for anargument about it.

Part The Second: Holy mother of God. Nullification? I rememberwhen Pat Buchanan was running for president, and he kept talking abouttariffs and Smoot-Hawley, and I told people I was glad to be revisiting allthose political controversies that were settled when I studied history inschool, but were now coming back like a kind of ideological ColonialWilliamsburg. Now, though, I mean, really. Nullifcation? As my buddy RoyBlount is fond of pointing out, this was a bad idea at the time and lookseven worse in retrospect. These people are all crazy.

Part The Third: Well, that 2012 GOP primary race became a wide-opencontest this week, didn’t it? Because there’s no point in drooling over thecarrion that once was Bobby Jindal, Boy Wonder, let me just say that Ifound thisto be perhaps the most useless reaction. I am particularly struck by thissection here:     

Maybe it’s because I get motion sickness on bandwagons, but I’malmost tempted to disagree. Almost. Sure, Jindal seemed to alternatebetween telling a creepy bedtime story about the magical gumdrop Land ofTax Cuts and a creepy bedtime story about the evil Democrats who lurk underyour bed. But Democrats gave their share of creepy responses over the pasteight years–I can’t be the only person still scarred by Nancy Pelosi’sunblinking delivery in 2004.

Yes, Amy The Brave Liberal God Botherer is back with us again.Jindal’s policy prescriptions were nuttier than a fox squirrel but NancyPelosi once was Bad On Television, so ATBLGB gets to play theon-the-other-hand game. Jindal’s response wasn’t creepy because the opticswere so bad. It was because the optics were so bad on a defense ofpolitical and economic notions that empirical reality have demonstrated tobe utterly worthless. And he’s damned lucky nobody mentioned the exorcism. Then again, I’m guessing Amy’s a fan of medievalist rituals.

Part The Fourth: Let us stipulate at the top that Harold Ford has noidentifiable constituency beyond the MSNBC Green Room. He’s sort of a foofand, as the NFL draftniks say, he missed his window three years ago anyway.But the folks at Hardball are going to have to have a more serious answer for their continuing use of this guy.

The man is under federal indictment, for pity’s sake. Can anyone else remember someone with a federal charge hanging over his head who’s regularly called upon to opine upon the affairs of the state against which he’s accused of committing his crimes? This is nuts, Matthews. Who books the crooks?

Part The Last: No. You’re idiots and yourmothers are embarrassed by every single one of you. It’s almost rush hour.Go panhandle outside the Heritage Foundation now. And Accuracy in Media remains one of the most blissfully ironic names in the political lexicon. Once, when writing about John McCain for Esquire, just at the verybeginning of the Full Monica, I went to CPAC. (In those days, it should benoted, McCain didn’t have three votes in the hall.) What you had there thenwas what you have there now–the distilled essence of what Krugman wastalking about when he mentioned Beavis and Butthead in relationship tothe conservative movement the other night. It was at high tide back in ’98.They were smug in the knowledge that their political ascendancy waseverlasting, because all their congressional idols, superstar columnists,and important radio hosts told them so. Now, the bag of tricks is empty,the country hates them and what few ideas they have, when it thinks of themat all, which is not often, and the “movement” is a slab of rotting meat bythe side of the road that even the vultures won’t touch, blackening in thesun and drawing flies.

Look at this decaying lump of abject fail. Kids, in every place save his own mind, Newt Gingrich ended up a profound political failure. Rick Santorum lost. Badly. Global-warming denial? At least invite some UFOlogists to really liven things up. Election fraud? From the party of Katherine Harris? Citizen-led reform? In a country that has demonstrated its revulsion toward all you stand for in two consecutive elections, and that’s now lining up at almost 60 percent behind a huge big-gubmint stimulus plan that makes Arthur Laffer cry like a child every night? And The Fairness Doctrine–boogedy-boogedy–is not coming back. Squint Scarborough is a no-hoper but, Jesus Christ with a hockey stick, is there anything Tucker Carlsonwon’t do for a buck?

You want to rebuild your “Movement,” such as it was? Then get it outof the f**king Phantom Zone. Come to the sad conclusion that it’s not 1998any more, that the country’s in actual trouble, and nobody of any substancetakes you and your “issues” seriously. You want to rebuild the Republicanparty? Lose the phone numbers of every one of these clowns. These arepeople who never learned that a sneer is not logic and that a string ofadjectives is not an argument. All that matters is Pissing Off TheLiberals. Do that, and they’ll adore you. That’s how a public Froot Looplike Michelle Bachmann gets a featured speaking role, and that’s why anysensible Republicans would look at this gathering and feel the cold, deadhands of Zachary Taylor and the rest of the Whigs settling ominously ontheir shoulders. FWIW, Sarah Palin declined to attend. Maybe she is thefuture, after all. 

Name: Greg Panfile
Hometown:  Tuckahoe NY


Apologize ye not for that Lennon hed…it’s a classic that even the young’uns hear every Christmas and trying to be more faux contemporary is just faux hip condescension. It was great in ’72 and just as apropos when we had bombers in the air at Xmas in ’90, which is when I tributed it with ‘Love All Around,’ which despite me writing it does not suck and is audible for compare-and-contrast purposes at my Beta Records site.

I do wonder how many college freshmen write better than the pseudoscribes at the WSJ…over/under is around 75 percent I’d guess. Albeit the ‘villagers’ led by Broder are almost as bad… is his picture in the dictionary under “incapable of getting it?” Methinks yes. 

Name:    Dan Garfinkel
Hometown:  Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, Eric–the mystery of the near maniacal obtuseness of the denizens of Broder-Quinnville is easily explained. The problems besetting so many of their fellow citizens simply do not touch them. The Villagers continue to live in their lovely homes, “earn” their lovely incomes, partake of the loveliest foods, take advantage of lovely healthcare insurance, send their children to lovely private schools, vacation in lovely places and second (or third) homes, etc., etc. They are concerned that the peasants are revolting only insofar as it may impact their lovely lives, but are incapable of considering how the various issues may impact the lovely lives of those “others.” They don’t actually know any of them personally, except perhaps for the ones who mow their lawns and clean their houses. And they don’t really socialize with those folks. Or pay their various tax obligations for employing them, for that matter.

Name:  Bob Seymour
Hometown:  Tampa, FL

Hi, Eric–I’m a follower for years, through various venues, & appreciate your work. I do jazz on radio for thirty years, and second your notion on Dianne Reeves. She is jazz royalty. Saw her on the Playboy Jazz Cruise in January, and she confirmed everything I’ve thought for years. I played her Lincoln Center version of “The House I Live In” on 11/4 and 1/20 (from “Higher Ground” concert). And MLB should keep her number handy for the Series (playoffs look like Rays/Boston) instead of booking the latest Idol screamers. Dianne is the one. Thanks for what you do.

Name:    Martyn Luberti
Hometown:  Madison, WI

Thanks for reminding me about Leonard Cohen. I checked the web after your review and found that dates for North America had just been released. I got fan early bird tickets for Minneapolis in May. My gift to you is a link to youtube “The best Leonard Cohen song you’ve never heard” with Laura Branigan as backupsinger  recorded live in Paris in the 70’s. Never released in North America or performed live for about thirty-five years. It’s called ” Do I have To Dance Allnight?” Enjoy!

Name:    Michael Albert
Hometown:  Scotch Plains, NJ

Contrary to your instinct, we young folks (at least those in the know) absolutely get your “old farty historical reference.” And while the Silver Jews are pretty good, there’s plenty out there among the younger, perhaps lesser known artists that a foagie like you coulddefinitely get down with…

Bonnie “Prince” Billy comes to mind. Best stuff around. I See a Darkness, Arise Therefore, Master and Everyone, Superwolf, and Sings Greatest Palace Music are all great starting points to his long and consistently great discography, released under several monikers including Palace, Palace Music, Palace Brothers and his given name, Will Oldham.

Cat Power is perhaps a bit obvious, but check out her older records, especially You Are Free and The Covers Record (not Jukebox, which is disappointing; she should never have quit drinking, bad for the music, as we have learned repeatedly througout the history of rock music).

Of course, Radiohead is the greatest band on the planet, if only somewhat foagie-friendly, but I’m sure you’ve heard of them…

Yo La Tengo has been around forever. Everyone loves Yo La Tengo. Check out Electropura, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, andAnd Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-out are among their best.

The Magnetic Fields never disappoint. Check out 69 Love Songs, I, and Holiday, not even to mention Distortion, which is not so representative of their older stuff…

Dirty Three, PJ Harvey, Portishead….

I’m skimming the surface of great music we (smart) young people prefer, truly classic stuff that is tragically overlooked among people my parents’ age, even by the NPR crowd.

Of course, there’s a ton of great music I won’t even begin to try selling to anyone over 40, hard stuff that just falls on deaf ears…or maybe it’s that you’re not deaf and I am…..

Name:    Michael Green
Hometown:  Las Vegas, NV

Wasting away in Quinn-Broderville, Searching for my lost self-respect, Some people say that there’s an ego to blame, But I know, it’s someone else’s fault.

Sorry. For a moment I had a delusion that I was Charlie Pierce.