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Altercation 3.0 | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

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

Altercation 3.0

So here we are again.... Welcome to Altercation, 3.0. We began back inMay 2002, when, Joan Connell, then the opinion editor of MSNBC.com, nowonline editor here at The Nation, asked me to create what would be thefirst blog created for and sponsored by a mainstream media organization.It rested there until September 2006, when it moved to Media Matters forAmerica, where, again, we stayed for a while, before packing up at theend of 2008 and landing here.

For those of you keeping score, that's more than six and a half years ofdaily blogging. And for those of you who are not keeping score at home,well, I am. And I'm tired. And even though I've been known to lean onthe weekly Pierce here, the occasional Lt. Col Bob there, Siva, everyonce in a while, and George Zornick more and more, of late, I'm tired.This blog is going to be an intermittent one, rather than a daily one,though I think you can probably depend on Thursdays and Fridays.

What's more, there's too much stuff happening right now to know whereto begin. I mean, Economic apocalypse? Gaza? Caroline Kennedy?Blagojevich? Rangel? Richardson? Matthews/Morning Joe and Ann ******* Coulter? Just thinking about it gives me a migraine. I'm thinking wemight do more music and movies and stuff than politics, at least for alittle while, But before we do, well, here's something I'm thinkingright now. Barack Obama has made two absolutely sterling appointments inthe past few days (or has leaked them). One is Harvard Law SchoolProfessor Cass Sunstein, who is slated to become a top regulatoryofficial, You can read about that HERE.

A second is Indiana University Law Professor Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Council. That's HERE. These are tremendously important and influential--if low-profile--positionsand in reading these stories and they are being filled, literally, byjust about the best people imaginable. Of course this is not true ofall positions. It may not even be true of most positions. But when Inoticed them, I could not help but hearken back to all those stories Iread during the campaign about how similar were McCain and Obama'spositions on so many issues--to say nothing of how cute Sarah Palin wasand how scary Bill Ayers was. For goodness sakes, people, this is thestuff elections are actually about and there's just a world ofdifference between the kinds of people who will be running things underObama than would have been true under McCain. (This was true of Gore andBush as well, but someone whose name I won't mention kept insisting thatthere was not a "dime's worth of difference" between them and enoughpeople bought to allow the Supreme Court to...well you know.)That's that, and let's drink to it.

Meanwhile, We have a new Think Again column HERE called "Mainstream Media Malpractice" and I wrote a new Moment column HERE called "The Secular Spirit of Judaism," though I'm not so crazy aboutthat title...

Ok, that's all for today. We'll be back with Pierce and maybe some moremail tomorrow and we'll try to get things rolling.... Thanks fordropping by.

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