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Slacker Friday | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Slacker Friday

I’ve got a new "Think Again" column called “Left and Right Both Do it? Wrong.” It’s here.

Speaking again, of NASCAR, I’d hate to think that all of the fine NASCAR fans of America are also PARROT MURDERERS.  But there’s this.

CHARLES PIERCE
NEWTON, MA.

Hey Doc:

"Call out the instigators/because there's something in the air."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Medieval Days" (Earl King) -- Because I love New Orleans, I will not believe anything anyone from BP says about the oil spill until the day Tony Hayward comes back and eats some beach sand.

Part The First: I was unaware that the Nobel medallion worked so well as a blunt instrument. I was in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago, and folks there are somewhat astounded at the acclaim that young Ryan has received among the serious denizens of the Beltway. (Among progressive Badgers, he's always been thought of as a libertarian kook.) I hope he's stashed his dental records with someone he trusts because...wow.

Part The Second: I thought Judge John Jones was tough in the Kitzmiller  intelligent-design case, what with the phrase "breathtaking inanity" and all. But gee golly williwhiskers, Judge Walker makes Jones look like Rebecca Of Sunnybrook District Court. Good luck, Your Honor. I wouldn't want to be your answering machine for a while.

Part The Third: I think I speak for the entire class when I say, holy Jesus H. Christ with a two-iron, what is going on here? Get the net, please. 

 

Part The Fourth: Get another net. Quickly.

Part The Penultimate: Oh, for the love of god. Why did I bother to learn history is nothing is ever really over?  First there was Buchanan, railing about tariffs and now this. Somebody take this boothead to Gettysburg.

Part The Ultimate: Jon Stewart had a brilliant bit the other night entitled, "I Give Up." It was specifically about the idiotic failure of the Congress to pass health-care legislation on behalf of the first-responders from the 9/11 atrocities. (This is great. They'll fight like wolverines against a mosque on the other side of the neighborhood while leaving the real heroes of their "sacred" ground to die with their lungs bleeding.) But it was more about our new unofficial national motto -- "America: We Can't Do Dick." The system is broken, perhaps irretrievably. (Digby finds the invaluable Dave Weigel contributing the week's most depressingly honest story here. In response, the country seems ready to elect a Congressional majority with little or no attachment to actual reality. In fact, it appears to be ready to elect that majority specifically because it is irrational. (John Boehner's sneering at economists last week was a considerable tell.) If the country is prepared to do that, then what, really, is there to be done? Real problems have real solutions. Truly, they do. But among those solutions are not prayerful dumbshow and magical economic thinking. But that's what's selling. (How is Sharron Angle possibly a legitimate candidate for the United States Senate? How is Rand Paul not languishing on some parks and rec commission as the one vote against bike paths?) Somebody, somewhere, once wrote that, today, fact is that which enough people believe, and truth is measured by how fervently they believe it.  He played that for laughs. He's not laughing any more.

Merrill R. Frank
Jackson Heights, NYC

Dr.,

There is an utter lack of, dare I use the term cojones when the Anti-Defamation League and its director Abe Foxman has trouble bringing itself to support a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

But when they can’t even support religious plurality in NYC, cast their lot with modern day No-Nothings like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Ayn Rand disciple/blogger/genocide defender Pam Geller and cave in to the untutored mob then they simply lose the credibility they once had. So they are for religious freedom and against bigotry, uh, except in Lower Manhattan. Where does this end? No synagogues near pork stores, no Catholic churches near elementary schools or day care centers. You know the old saw “someone might be offended” or “something might happen”. The 80 odd innocent Muslims who perished on 9/11, the Muslim NYPD Cadet who ran to the scene and perished or the Muslim doctors, nurses, and EMT workers, who volunteered their services, hey pay no mind.

The fact that the cultural center which akin to a YMCA with an auditorium, pool and sports facilities (Residents of Lower Manhattan and Community Board 1 have been advocating for a recreational, Y like facility for several years as the area has evolved from just the Financial District that shuts down at dusk to a 24/7 residential neighborhood) is blocks from “Ground Zero” will have prayer space, not a Mosque, seems to get thrown out the window. There has been a mosque in the area since 1983, it has never been a problem and its iman is a respected member of the community. In my neighborhood in Queens there is a mosque caddy corner from a strip club and a Burger King; somehow they remain good neighbors.

Interestingly enough the ADL was founded in 1913 after the lynching of Leo Frank by an anti-Semitic mob in Marietta, Georgia, a place which in later years was part of the home district of John Bircher leader/congressman Larry McDonald as well as Mr. Gingrich. When he was the representative Mr. Gingrich was strangely silent or busy engaging in sodomy with his mistress when this bit of Taliban like idiocacy passed in his district. (It was rescinded a few years later). He was also mute when teaching science became a controversial issue and was nearly hijacked by religious fundamentalists.

Mayor Bloomberg, who could have easily played to the cheap seats thankfully stood up to the mob: "Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here." Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo at least manned up when he said "this country is about religious freedom."

Other Democrats shamefully have their fingers in the air or are they just afraid of the wrath of Foxman or Fox?

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