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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

My Think Again column is called “Chafets and Limbaugh: An Army of 1.1.” It’s about what this horrible new Limbaugh biography says about allowing the refs to work you. I see it as a cautionary tale and it’s here.

Have you noticed that The New York Times obeys its own rules of journalism except when it decides it doesn’t feel like it? Take a look at this story on Elena Kagan which appeared on the front page of Wednesday’s paper. The Times rightly has a rule against allowing people to make negative comments about people anonymously. In the first place there’s no way to prove they actually happened. In the second place it removes any sense of responsibility from the speaker who can get away with making up stuff as well, since there’s no way to verify it. Now look at this of some anonymous individual characterizing Larry Summers’ alleged view of Elena Kagan as Harvard Law Dean: “He wasn’t entirely sure he could trust her to make the right kind of scholarly judgments,” said the person, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.” I have no brief for Kagan, but there’s no way that should have been allowed into the story. Ok, that’s all. It just annoyed me when I saw it. Now here’s Charles. Happy weekend.

CHARLES PIERCE

NEWTON, MA.

Hey Doc --

"Who took on the Standard Oil men and whipped they ass/Just like he promised he would?"

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Last Of The Hobo Kings" (Mary Gauthier) -- I would like to enlist an army of oil-sodden hermit crabs to gather along the shores of the Gulf for the purposes of carving in Tony Heyward's living flesh a testimony to my love for New Orleans.

Part The First: Scratch any Brit and you get a snob. It's truly remarkable. Pay no attention and watch the show.

Part The Second: In the interest of bipartisan amity, we should all sign up and have some fun.

Part The Third: Outside of all of those involving oil and the sea, this was, in its own way, the most terrifying story I read this week. Where are all the people who are so damned concerned about "unit cohesion" as regards to gay soldiers when something like this is going on? Just what we need -- militant unchurched religious fanatics, in uniform, with guns.

Part The Fourth: I appeal to my fellow citizens -- my friend, Dave Neiwert, needs a break. Please can we just knock this off for a couple of weeks?

Part The Fifth: I believe that the only question remaining about "Lost" is: "was it about a bicycle?" (Shout out to Ringsend Cowboys everywhere.)

Part The Penultimate: Oh, for the love of God. Why not just slap a big BP logo on the entire Gulf Coast and be done with it?

Part The Ultimate: There's only so much bullshit I can stands and I can't stands no more. The president's lackluster press conference yesterday is exceeded in its anger-making only by the smugness of his defenders who now deplore as fundamentally unserious anyone who suggests that the president might act a little perturbed on behalf of the rest of us over the ruination of the Gulf Of Mexico. No, his getting angry won't "clean up the oil faster." But here's something he can get angry about. Eleven people are dead. This has somehow gotten lost in all the attention being given to the unfolding environmental calamity. (Of course, the attention is not what it should be because the Coast Guard is being used as bouncers by British Petroleum to keep working journalists from doing their jobs. The president could get that stopped, too.) It is not an exaggeration at all to say that, based on what we already know, BP executives at a number of levels are complicit in 11 counts of negligent homicide. That investigation should begin immediately, and the president could climb down off his high horse and put the full weight of the federal investigative apparatus behind it, and at the disposal of the local authorities in Louisiana. Eleven people are dead because it was cheaper for the company than keeping them safe was. That might get anyone a little peevish.

The Mail

Name: Rich Gallagher

Hometown: Fishkill, N.Y.

Dear Eric,

It's mostly been ignored by the media outside of Nashville, but the recent flooding there seriously damaged and/or destroyed millions of dollars worth of guitars, including many which are considered by music fans to be priceless. The damage is still being assessed and it remains to be seen how many of the waterlogged instruments can be repaired.

To send a letter to Eric Alterman, click here.

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