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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

We've got a new "Think Again" column called, believe it or not, "I'llSee Your Testicles...' (Catfight on the Right)" and it's here.(though perhaps they changed the title later in the day)

Also, I did an op-ed on the move away from AIPAC-style politics forAmerican Jews for the IHT, which is up on the NYT site, here.

Classified section: I'm selling fifty or so Miles Davis cds--everything on Columbia during the key period--mostly in beautiful box sets, etc, and would love to sell the whole thing as a package. Email if genuinely interested. Also,I have two lousy seats for Bruce on 11/8 and one for 11/7 I need to getrid of. Email below....

Ok, here's Pierce

Charles Pierce
Newton, MA.

Hey Doc:

"Daddy ran whiskey in a big black Dodge/Bought it at an auction atthe Masons lodge."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "My Mama Told Me So." (The B-3 OrganSummit): Price Waterhouse couldn't fake the numbers to calibrate exactlyhow much I love New Orleans.

Short Takes:

Part The First: Considering that the money behind the saintedAmerican Football League fifty years ago belonged to the Hunt family inDallas, the pre-eminent wingnut sugar daddies of the 1950's and '60's,it's pretty rich that, even in the beginnings of what may be acollective-bargaining armageddon, both the labor and management sides ofthe modern NFL have declined to be associated with the former JeffChristie. The weeping in the wingnuttosphere leaves me strangely unmoved. It does, however, move me to gales of helpless laughter. Dude, I am not. You are not. You are, however, an idiot.

Part The Second: There is no way I am not buying this. "Here comes Santa Claus/Here comes Santa Claus/Right down Highway 61."

Part The Third: My knowledge of Russian libel law is admittedlylimited, but I'm thinking this case is kind of a longshot.

Part The Fourth: Good nominees, I think this is a good list. But, check out the list of judges in the nonfiction category. Apparently,Waldo The Drunk Security Guard at Salon has a brother who works for theNational Book Foundation. We're damned lucky Glenn Beck isn't a finalist, Iguess.

Part The Penultimate: this was the best treatment of the whole Nobel business that I read anywhere. The Pooka McPhellimey and I will brook no debate on this point.

Part The Ultimate: The ongoing scandal in Texas regarding thatstate's eminently successful execution of Cameron Willingham has begunto fascinate me, even at a considerable distance. (For those of you whowant to get up to speed quickly, Josh's joint has done an exemplary job of aggregating the local reporting.) In brief, it appearsthat Texas, over the signature of Governor Rick (Goodhair) Perry--pace,Molly I.--executed a fellow who was most likely innocent and did so onthe basis of cheesy arson science apparently drawn from the extendedresearch of Professor Otto Yerass. It also appears that Perry signed offon the execution despite his being aware of the fact that the evidence wasso full of holes you could use it for a flute. I say these things "appear"to be true because there's an investigation going on down there, but it'sbeing hamstrung because, every time the probe gets too close to his ownpersonal nether regions, Perry fires another couple of the investigators.Perry, it should be recalled, is currently running for re-election in ahot Republican primary against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Token.)

What's disturbing--if undeniably compelling--about the case is theself-evident fact that Texas is apparently governed at the moment by acomplete fucking barbarian. The evidence suggests quite clearly thatPerry didn't give the hindquarters of a rat as to whether or not he wassigning the death warrant for an innocent prisoner. And the evidence quiteclearly suggests that Perry further will defy any attempt to judge his conductin the matter. What is even more disturbing is that there is almost nochance that the state-sanctioned murder of Cameron Willingham, an innocent man,will be any kind of an issue in that aforementioned primary hooley.(They're kinda/sorta upset about the cover-up ( but not the crime itself.) The Texas GOP is exclusively the province of the party's knuckle-dragging base--Check out the state party platform sometime. It will curl your hair--and that base doesn't care how many mistakes are made in the death chamber as long as it keeps humming.

In that sense, it was the stormy petrel of what came to pass for thenational Republican party once its various deals with various devilscame due. For the conservative "movement," the death-penalty never has hadanything to do with criminal justice. It was always about boosting yourpolitical testosterone count, or denigrating that of your opponents.It's about killing people to make yourself feel strong, or safe, and aboutbravely hiring people to do the killing for you. (Come to think of it.That's pretty much what the "movement" has for a foreign policy, too.)The governor of Texas likely arranged the death of an innocent man, eitherthrough deliberate neglect or through the abject dereliction of hisconstitutional duties. He is now engaged in a public cover-up thatwould have embarrassed H.R. Haldeman. That he still has a chance to stay inoffice is an indictment of our politics far beyond anything else thathappened this week.

Name: Ed Tracey
Hometown: Lebanon, New Hampshire

Professor, it's not on-line as near as I can tell -- but Terry Adamsonce explained why NRBQ hired Lou Albano as a 'manager' of sorts:"Some situations in life are challenging to deal with -- but TheCaptain knows how to handle things".

I, too, will "stick with the Guiding Light".

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