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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: Whose News Is It, Anyway? and a new Nation column called "It Can Happen Here," here.

Speaking of music on TV, I know we've crowed a great deal about Elvis Costello's Spectacle, on Sundance--all of whose episodes are available if you get "Free Movies on Demand"--but what is also really great is The Chris Isaak Show on the Biography show; it's got an ever-so slightly more relaxed feel than Elvis's show  but otherwise it's pretty much exactly the same deal, except with commercials. And it appears to be produced by my long lost friend and Cornell Daily Sun editor, David Wild. This week's guest was the great Glenn Campbell.

Ok, that's enough of me, here's Pierce.

Charles Pierce
Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"When time's were good/all your lovin' was the same/When the goin'got rough/you hardly knew my name."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Busy Bootin'" (Washboard Chaz) -- Hey,it's fundraising time on the airwaves of the city I love more than ChrisSmith loves snowflake babies. Help 'em out.

Short Takes:

Point The First:  The execrable Ari Fleischer had a session withMatthews on Hardball the other night that was a clinical experiment inwhat happens when a simple crackpot is confronted by an out-and-outsociopath. Fleischer lied and lied and lied some more, and Matthews satthere with the most curious look on his face. You could almost hear thescales falling from his eyes as loudly as the pennies from a dead man's.When he was desperately trying to pin down Fleischer's bloody revisionism,did Matthews hear echoes of himself back in the day, joviallydiscussing the president's package with Gordon Liddy as C-Plus Augustusstrode across the deck of the aircraft carrier in that yummy flight suit?Did he finally see the results of his having been such a fool? By theway, Bush revisionism is not going anywhere. He's completely radioactive toRepublicans now, too. There's no energy out there to defend his miserablefailure with the kind of vigor that Grover Norquist brought to the ReaganProject.

Part the Second: The best month in American sports, and the leastproductive month in American business, begins Sunday. As much as I love them, though, Alma Mammy's squad isn't going to recover from the loss of the senior point guard. One win and out. I'm thinking.

Part The Third: The Continuing Misadventures Of Waldo The DrunkSecurity Guard: In which Waldo, after washing down four Percocets with apint of Sterno, goes comatose at his desk in the offices of Salon, andcrazy people from the streets sneak past him, make their way to computerterminals, and post screeds that would have embarrassed an undergraduate student, even if she'd typed them while puking into a trash can on the Friday night before homecoming. How in the hell Waldo keeps his job, I have no idea. He must know someone.

Part The Fourth: Oh, look. Lisa DePaulo's back. Those of us whose memories stretch beyond lunchtime will recall la DePauloas the hard bitten scribe who spent the summer of 2001 all but accusingformer congressman Gary Condit of having murdered Chandra Levy. She wrotean extended magazine treatment for Talk  that, now that the actualmurderer's turned up, can be used as a textbook example of what happenswhen you combine sub-tabloid hyperventilation--"Chandra was waiting forher man." Hubba-hubba!--with the professional standards of the nitwit onthe next barstool. Get an account of a ballgame as wrong in a25,000-circulation daily as she did the biggest story of that summer, andyou're sweeping out the print shop by dawn. Anyway. here's the lameass mea culpa.

Part The Fifth: When I say that Ross Douthat is the best possible candidate to fill the Ideological Affirmative Actionslot on the NYT op-ed page, I really mean it. Die horribly, Grandpa,because there are empty moral gestures to make. It is, after all, a fieldof $10,000 claimers.

Part The Last: I have been trying to come up with a calm, reasonedposition on the current crisis among our bankers, but all I can really dois tell them all, quite seriously, to bite me.

Don't look now, Howie, but you've written the Sally Quinn opus of the new millennium. By the way, this is not a compliment. This is a guy who admitted he "shamelessly lobbied" the Clintons to send Chelsea to Sidwell Friends, where his daughter went. This is a guy who later memorably wrote that George W. Bush was as comfortable in ermine as he is in denim, or some such brain-swill. Why the night-time lefties on MSNBC still tolerate this courtier yahoo remains a mystery.

The real substantive dry rot in this piece of slowly moldering lumberis that, by far, the most substantive criticisms of Obama have come fromthe Left, and from people who are pretty far distant from Howie and his"Establishment" Kool Kidz table. That would be Glenn Greenwald, DahliaLithwick and the ACLU on the administration's inexcusably dilatoryapproach to unraveling the Bush-era constitutional atrocities, and anyoneof a dozen economists who have slapped the Obama economic plan as beingeither a) insufficient to the current crisis, and/or b) far toobanker-and-broker friendly. Hell, Krugman didn't wedge himself into theA-list punditocracy--and he's barely there now--until he had a Nobelmedallion with which to pry open the door. Howie, you are not me. Neitherare you any journalist I respect. Neither are you a member of any"Establishment" worthy of the name. You're an ass-kissing embarrassment topublic letters.

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