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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

Wrap-up: We have a new "Think Again" column called "Conflicts bythe Rich, for the Rich," here. I also did a Daily Beast post on Palin's defenders on Sunday,which is here.

And I do recommend that if you have a few minutes free, you give themover to the Samminator, here. Those werethe days, huh? On to Mr. Pierce. I also recommend if you have a fewminutes, try to pick up a copy of Rolling Stone and read thewonderful account of the life of Mr. Gregory Allman, it is a wonderfulpiece of writing. It's not online and I never heard of the writer, buttrust me...

This Week on Moyers:

With almost twenty years inside the health insurance industry, WendellPotter saw for-profit insurers hijack our healthcaresystem and put profits before patients. Now, he speaks with BillMoyers about how those companies are standing in the way of healthcarereform. Potter spokeout against the industry for the first time last month, testifyingbefore the Senate Commerce Committee he said, "Recently it becameabundantly clear to me that the industry's charm offensive, which is themost visible part of a duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbyingcampaign, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street farmore than average Americans." Wendell Potter is a senior fellow onhealthcare for the nonpartisan watchdog group Center for Media andDemocracy, for which he writes a blog on healthcare reform.

Charles Pierce
Newton, MA

"He was sitting in the lounge of the Empire Hotel/He was drinking fordiversion. He was thinking for himself."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "When Hollywood Goes Black And Tan"(CleoBrown)--You know, I asked the most important people (Myfamily!!!!!!) about how much I loved New Orleans. I got two yes's andone Hell, Yeah (!!!!!!).

Part The First: The Continuing Adventures Of Waldo The DrunkSecurityGuard (Chapter XVI): Waldo was doing his rounds late at night in thehandsomely appointed Bay Area offices of Salon, a prominent magazine oftheIntertoobz. As he walked, he sipped from his silver flask that had beenhanded down to him by his grandfather, who used to get drunk while ondutyas a guard at the Washington Post. (Family legend had it thatGeorge Willgot his column one night when Waldo's grandfather was sockless on duty.)Every sip he took was longer and deeper until, finally, Waldo stumbledandfell, passing out with his head on a pile of old newspapers.Unfortunately,just as he drifted off, crazy people again rose from their berths in the mailroom andsat down at computer terminals. "It's why she remains hugely popularwith the Republicangrassroots base--as I know from listening to talk-radio. Callers comingfresh from her rallies are always heady with infectious enthusiasm." Asare, one supposes, all of the many voices in their heads.

However, the really hot stuff is there if you click through to thefourth page. Hubba-hubba.

Part The Second: I will grant you that the prospective 2012 GOPpresidential field has experienced certain, ah, modifications over thepastmonth, what with the governor of Alaska abdicating in order the swimupstream against salmon and syntax simultaneously, and what with theSouthCarolina governor's mansion still being graced against all odds andcommonsense by the presence of Ivor the EngineDriver. But that's still no excuse for starting to listen to this guy again. I mean, have somepride, people.

Part The Third: Wednesday was a banner day at Ye Olde House ofMulchFor Brains. The Democrats are inknots over the stimulus, when they're not in knots over Michael Jackson!GOP on the move in New Hampshire and Virginia! But the realmasterpieces--the stuff thatyou read and think, "Mother of god, where do these people buy theirmushrooms?"--comes in the various pieces regarding the present andfutureof the Tsarina Mooseburger. In only one day's work, we have her as theRenegade Queen of the North,as well as her value as an ATM for the 28 percent crowd.But the true classic is this bubbling cauldron ofabject Fail. (Note to the author: When Bob Dole quit his Senate seat?That was a stunt and a fake and he had a nice place in Bal Harbour inwhich to hang out. Pass it on.) At the risk of sounding sexist--and, myLord, enough with this, if you don't mind--if you're going totry and treat this sideshow rodeo clown as a serious national politicalplayer, you ought to at least take into account that, on the day yourattempt appears, she is revealed to believe that the president hassomething called "The Department Of Law" to take care of pesky ethicscomplaints and ill-tempered bloggers. TheDepartment of Law? Jack McCoy wept.

Part The Fourth: Can it please be explained to this clodhopper thathe... doesn't... count? Never been happier that we in the Udall campaignkicked his pappy's ass all over New Hampshire in '76.

Part The Fifth: No.If this was a trial balloon, the silly bastard who floated it needs tobe whacked upsidethe head with something hard. If it's policy, the whacking should goconsiderably further up the food chain.

Part The Last: Tell me again why the Civil War was worth all thatbother. And at another table hereat the 2009 World Series of Morons, we have this chap. This, remember, is the Republican party that makes so many people inthe WhiteHouse nervous.

I noted with interest that Karl Rove apparently put his hand on aBible this week asregards his role in the US attorneys mess and in sending Don Siegelmanupthe river. The deposition apparently ran for nearly eight hours. It alsowas taken privately. My question is why. What is it that makes Karl Roveworthy of special treatment in the summer of 2009? What influence doeshestill have? What power does he still wield? On what basis can he makedemands other than the color of his jumpsuit and the sparkle on hisshackles? Why was his deposition not immediately available for publicscrutiny? Oh, I see. It is the position of this administration that theinstitution of the presidency can be permanently harmed if it isrevealedthat a presidential aide concocted a phony political prosecution throughwhich a sitting governor wound up in prison. This administration belongsina cage before it does any more real damage.

Name: Terry
Hometown Cheyenne

Eric, As Richard Lindsey valiantly corrects Pierce, I realize that asa liberal tree-hugger in Cheyenne, I am that corrected definition,"the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Also, the voice ofone crying that she lives in the wilderness. But don't print this.Being Wyoming-centric is part of the horrors of this so-calledculture. Not having taken my Obama sticker off, I get heavy-revvingblack trucks on my ass as I make that late-night grocery trip. Ifanyone every romanticizes this place to you, tell them to get fucked.

Name: Tip Tipton
Hometown: Troy, OH

It having been clearly established that Sarah Palin has a certainclass of devotees (see: Joe the Plumber), it is no great surprise tome that she chooses to leave her wilderness digs for the morepopulated lower forty-eight. The question is: where will Sarah go?

Not that the decision is pressing. As John McCain demonstrated,establishing residency in a vacated district is a snap, so by 2016she should have plenty of opportunities.

I'm thinking that for now, at least, she will settle somewhere in thedeep South. There she can idle away her time reading the classics ofTennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, and make appearances at suchvenues as the KY Derby and the Daytona 500. She could homestead in the Keys, claiming a Hemmingway connection while at the same timecoining her cmapaign slogan: "I can see Cuba from my porch!"

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