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Tuesday DAYBOOK: New Korea Crisis, Massive WikiLeaks Coming, Fake Taliban Leader, Palin's Turkey Redux, More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses  plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates during the day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. Check out my new book on a wild left-wing campaign and the birth of "media politics" here.

MORNING ROAST

Scary: North Korea fires into South Korea, killing two, and South Koreans return fire—or so the story goes right now.  Actually, it involved an island in a disputed area.  The official North Korean news agency said in a statement that the South had started the fight when it “recklessly fired into our sea area.” The two countries technically remain at war since 1953 ceasefire.  

WikiLeaks on its Twitter feed said its next document dump would be seven times the size of its recent Iraq purge. Subject not known, though rumors have proposed something to do with Russia, or, get this, 9/11

Taliban leader in high-level peace talks was a fake, fooled everyone. Ended up with a lot of dough, too. Or is that, Doh!

David Brock of Media Matters gets $4 million in pledges to set up liberal counterweight to GOPers on airwaves, called American Bridge—Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to head.

New radiation threats in the dentist chair, NYT finds, kids most imperiled.   Bigger threat than TSA screeners?

You may disagree with some of this, but lengthy and interesting analysis by Andrew Tyndall of Stewart & Maddow,  Ted Koppel & Jay Rosen,  FNC & MSNBC.

Amid debt crisis, Irish government collapses.

OUT OF JOB  "Exhausted" Obama defender Velma Hart, who famously challenged president on live TV forum, loses job

FORECLOSURE FOLLIES At New Deal 2.0, volunteer attorney Thomas Cox explains why a bank  chooses to lose money by foreclosing, and risk ruination of  communities nationwide. "Two Cords of Wood: An Intimate Look at  Unnecessary Foreclosure."  Some financial experts call the  centralized, mechanized approach to lending that eliminates case-by-case assessment, the "Stailnization of Finance." (Barbara Bedway)

FOXY LADY   You've seen the GQ photos, now read the Megyn Kelly Q & A: She claims Fox News news decisions  are "not political," hates being called a feminist, claims Sean Hannity would delight even liberals at parties, says Bill O'Reilly is shy and "looks out for young women, " and more mind-numbing stuff.  

GIVING THEM THE BUSINESS  Obama White House launches much-awaited, or dreaded, new approach to suck up to big business. ... Meanwhile, the Axelrod out and Plouffe in transition taking shape

WORD PLAY  The Wash Post came up with a list of words that are made up but actually sound quite valid.  For example, "Ignoranus" for a person who is both stupid and an ass.  More fun words (try to figure them out): inoculatte, foreploy, sarchasm, cashtration, glibido. 

GIMME SOME TRUTH  My piece on John Lennon in New York film on PBS last night,  w/ my own 1970s contact with John and a video excerpt: 

BUSH LIES  Dan Froomkin explodes: "The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir." ... George Packer reviews W.'s memoir: "The steady drip of ... elisions and falsifications.".

HITTING HOMER  Bill O'Reilly fires back at great Simpsons swipe at parent company's Fox News ("We're not Racist, We're Number One With Racists").

A GOOD KOS  Swell review of my book "The Campaign of the Century" from longtime Daily Kos ace Susan Gardner today.

BITS & PIECES  Bob Herbert asks us to recall the idealism of JFK, elected 50 years ago htis month (which few have noted).... Waiting for someone to call the TSA patdowns the "Grope-a-Dope." ....  As I predicted, report finds that many polls off this year because cell phone usage skews Democrat and surveys undercount them.... NYT and Wash Post use same front-page photo...  How Twitter has ruined journalism--really? 

GIVING YOU A SIGN  Okay, fans, you are hereby invited to take part in fundraising auction for The Nation featuring whatta deal on autographed copies of not one, not two, but FIVE of my books, here.

TODAY's LAFF

The Sarah Palin On Camera Turkey Slaughter, from two years ago, as reported that day on Countdown.  It never gets old (except for maybe the turkeys).

 

 

TODAY's MUSIC

Great upcoming film by veteran filmmaker, and my friend, Kerry Candaele on Beethoven's NInth symphony, Following the Ninth,  has just gotten the funded needed to complete in next spring.  Here is the excellent trailer:

 

 
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Some Time in New York: PBS Airs Film on John Lennon Tonight

For its American Masters series, PBS airs tonight the documentary LENNONYC, on John Lennon's decade, the 1970s, in New York City, from political actiivist to stay at home father to victim of murder. There's a rich and extensive website for the film at PBS, with interviews, a podcast, videos, archival performances and more. See lengthy film excerpt below.

The Nation's Jon Wiener, who appears in the film briefly, has chronicled this era well and recently wrote about letters (from Bob Dylan and others) supporting Lennon's fight against deportation—following an FBI probe of his left-wing views in the Nixon and Vietnam era.

I had some contact with Lennon during this period myself, as senior editor at Crawdaddy magazine. In 1971, John and Yoko gave us exclusive interviews for a cover story (probably because his politics matched ours) and John took the incredible step of buying a full-page ad in the New York Times to promote it—quite a boost for us.

Then he send us a track-by-track assessment of his Imagine album, including an explanation of why he wrote "How Do You Sleep?" as a response to Paul McCartney's slam at him on Ram for allegedly breaking up The Beatles. John called his song "an angry letter" but also a way to "have some fun." But he extended an olive branch by closing the peace with congrats to Paul on the birth of a child.

He also commented on the title track of the album: "It's a song for children."

A little later, Lennon sent us some lyrics for his upcoming, ultra-political Sometime in New York City album, with song titles like "Attica State" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday", tributes to feminism and Angela Davis and a call for freedom for imprisoned John Sinclair.

The album cover looked like the front-page of a newspaper—and the record was a commercial flop. John was hanging out at the time with Jerry Rubin and downtown potmeister and street singer David Peel. It wasn't unusual to hear a friend say they'd been at someone's apartment the night before and the ex-Beatle came around and "rapped" for awhile.

Still later, he sat for another exclusive cover story for us during his brief, and drunken, sojourn in LA before he returned to Yoko and NYC again, for good.

Finally, in 1975, he responded to my request for a contribution to a special issue by sending me a note with a photo of him in a men's room at a urinal and the caption "Just Pissing About."—pure Lennonesque humor.

Here's the clip from tonight's show.

A new edition of Greg Mitchell's award-winning book "The Campaign of the Century" (on the birth of media politics and more) has just been published.

 
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DAYBOOK for Monday: Krugman vs. GOP, Megyn Kelly Shows Some Skin, The Decemberists, TSA Patdowns Eased?, More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses  plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates during the day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. Check out my new book on a wild left-wing campaign and the birth of "media politics" here.

MORNING ROAST

Sadly, a decline in interest, hits and money for  invaluable online chronicler of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, iCasuatlies.org.  “We had 50 US deaths in Afghanistan last month, and we are on course for 50 deaths this month, but it is not talked about,” Michael White said. “It is not on the nightly news.”

Fox News slogan, via The Simpsons: "Not racist, but #1 with racists.".... Heads of conservative males explode as Fox's Megyn Kelly (left) shows a lot of skin as "hottie" in new GQ.

Hillary Clinton asked if she would endure an airport TSA patdown: "Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean, who would?"....  Warning: This may be the worst TSA "patdown" story you will read.  .... Or: TSA forces breast cancer survivor, a veteran flight attendant, to remove prosthetic. Stories like these reportedly leading to some easing of enforcement.

Documentary on John Lennon's years in New York, LennonNYC, debuts tonight on PBS. See my new piece, anecdotes about my contact with John during the 1970s, and video excerpt here. 

Angry Krugman on GOP blocking everything, from arms control to extending unemploymen benefits, unless they win, titled, There Will Be Blood: "My sense is that most Americans still don’t understand this reality. They still imagine that when push comes to shove, our politicians will come together to do what’s necessary. But that was another country."

Tom Ricks: Why the creation of an all-volunteer army + Reagan tax cuts led to the wealthy "checking out of America."

START ME UP Edward Luce of Financial Times on GOP blocking START treaty: "There is a greater hatred of Obama than there is a love of American national security."   

DADT's GOOD NEWS  Wash Post reports that the Pentagon's report on Don't Ask Don't Tell to be released a day early next week and likely to conclude that it can be axed with only "minimal" problems.

BUSH LIES  Dan Froomkin explodes: "The Two Most Essential, Abhorrent, Intolerable Lies Of George W. Bush's Memoir."  

NOTABLE PASSINGS  Norris Church Mailer, widow of Norman and a writer herself, has died at 61. Met her several times, very nice person, it seemed.....Also passing away this weekend: The writer Betty Jean Lifton, wife of my friend and co-author (on two books) Robert Jay Lifton.

TORTURE PROTESTS  NYT visits Fort Benning, Georgia, to report that the annual, and long-running, protests of the School of Americas training center are dwindling at long last.

TWAIN MEETS BESTSELLER LIST  My piece on some guy named "Mark Twain" making bestseller list. Was kind of a blogger, too, some say. 

A SIGN FOR YOU Okay, fans, you are hereby invited to take part in fundraising auction for The Nation featuring whatta deal on autographed copies of not one, not two, but FIVE of my books, here.

JFK ASSASSINATION  On 47th anniversary: Secret Service agent who jumped into JFK convertible to cover president and first lady writes about the memory. 

A GOOD KOS  Swell review of my book "The Campaign of the Century" from longtime Daily Kos ace Susan Gardner today. 

SURVIVING PALIN  Frank Rich thinks Palin could win in 2012. Or maybe just means as contestant on Survivor Alaska, with rigged voting. ... David Frum on why Mike Huckabee is just the man to save the Republic from Palin....  Meanwhile, a good report on how the wacky Sharron Angle blew its chance to oust Harry Reid.  

WHAT'S UP, DOCS?  Academy names 15 finalists for best doc film Oscar—very good list, from Spitzer to Glenn Gould, I've seen most. Got to go with Tillman, though.

TODAY's LAFF

SNL on the TSA patdowns.  Or should they change name to T & A?

 

 

 TODAY's MUSIC

The Decemberists with the great Gillian Welch guesting on Conan.

 

 
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Mark Twain Hits the Bestseller List: Was He First Political Blogger?

With all the attention to, an sales for, the new Bush memoir and the upcoming Palin rant, it's a wonder and relief to read today's major New York Times piece on the new Mark Twain autobiography "flying off the shelves" in book stores.   Book store owners are even complaining that they have to wait too long to get new orders, and no wonder: The Times reveals that the book will hit #7 on its bestseller list next week.

The Autobiogrpahy of Mark Twain  is not a straightforward memoir, but made up of bits and pieces from diaries, letters, and public statements, along with the more usual lengthy anecdotes.  Because Train frequently offers brief blasts against political figures and issues—he was against US intervention in Cuba and the Philippines, against capital punishment, and for better race relations—some have likened him to a blogger or, even, a tweeter.  Be that as it may, here are four excerpts from the book, including a "political / historical" look at Thanksgiving.

ON THE AMERICAN BUSINESS CLASS

“The multimillionaire disciples of Jay Gould—that man who in his brief life rotted the commercial morals of this nation and left them stinking when he died—have quite completely transformed our people from a nation with pretty high and respectable ideals to just the opposite of that; that our people have no ideals now that are worthy of consideration; that our Christianity which we have always been so proud of—not to say vain of—is now nothing but a shell, a sham, a hypocrisy; that we have lost our ancient sympathy with oppressed peoples struggling for life and liberty; that when we are not coldly indifferent to such things we sneer at them, and that the sneer is about the only expression the newspapers and the nation deal in with regard to such things.”

ON PUBLIC OPINION

"In the matter of slavish imitation, man is the monkey's superior all the time. The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not interested in contriving an opinion of his own, by study and reflection, but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor's opinion is and slavishly adopt it. "

ON THE US IN THE PHILIPPINES  (IRAQ?)

I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess..... I thought we should act as their protector—not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now—why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation."

ON THE MEANING OF THANKSGIVING

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for.... if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side, consequently it was proper to thank the Lord for it.”

 
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MSNBC Suspends Joe Scarborough—for Political Donations

The proverbial "other shoe" dropped today with MSNBC chief Phil Griffin  suspending morning host Joe Scarborough for two days, as it had done with Keith Olbermann two weeks ago, for making political campaign donations several years ago without permission. Once again, Politico dug up the evidence.  

Scarborough, Griffin said, gave eight contributions of $500 each to local candidates in Florida between 2004 and 2008.  

The conservative Morning Joe host previously had been fingered for more recent donations but had explained that he received permission from his bosses for those. 

Scarborough apologized to the network. He said in a statement that the donations were made to "my brother and three longtime family friends.... To be blunt, I had no interest in their campaigns other than being kind to longtime friends," he said. "Because the contributions involved local, non-competitive races—and were given for personal rather than political reasons—I mistakenly believed I did not need approval from MSNBC. I also apologize for that oversight."

Full statements by Griffin and Scarborough here—along with claim that rules are pretty dumb.

Olbermann had originally been suspended "indefinitely" and without pay, sparking a national petition drive to get him back on the air. He returned after two days and reportedly without losing pay. 

More to come as details emerged.

 
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Missing in Memoir: When Bush Joked About Those Dang Missing WMDs

It started last night with former President George W. Bush's jokey turn on The Tonight Show, right down to a story about mistaking "back test results" for "black testicles."  That somehow reminded me of the time he joked about somehow not finding any WMD in Iraq, even as young Americans were perishing there. Then my former colleague and former Nation legend David Corn posted a new piece today at Mother Jones on this very subject—and how Bush in his new memoir and in interviews claims he was deeply troubled about no WMD but his public joking undercuts that.

So  if you've forgotten or never heard the whole story:

It was a classic Washington moment. The date: March 24, 2004. The setting: The sixtieth annual black-tie dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association (with many print journalists there as guests) at the Hilton. On the menu: surf and turf. Attendance: 1,500. The main speaker: President Bush, one year into the Iraq war, with 500 Americans already dead.

Bush, as usual at such gatherings of journalists, poked fun at himself. Great leeway is granted to presidents (and their spouses) at such events, allowing them to offer somewhat tasteless or even off-color barbs. Audiences love to laugh along with, rather than at, a president, for a change. It's all in good fun, except when it's bad fun, such as on this night.

Because in the middle of his stand-up routine before the (perhaps tipsy) journos, Bush showed on a screen behind him some candid on-the-job photos of himself. One featured him gazing out a window, as Bush narrated, smiling: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." According to the transcript this was greeted with "laughter and applause."

A few seconds later, he was shown looking under papers, behind drapes and even under his desk, with this narration: "Nope, no weapons over there" (met with more "laughter and applause"), and then "Maybe under here?" (just "laughter" this time).

Still searching, he settled for finding a photo revealing the Skull and Bones secret signal.

The Washington Post seemed to find this something of a howl. Jennifer Frey's report, carried on the front page of the Style section—under the headline, "George Bush, Entertainer in Chief"—led with Donald Trump's appearance, and mentioned without comment Bush's "recurring joke" of searching for the WMD.

The Associated Press review was equally jovial: "President Bush poked fun at his staff, his Democratic challenger and himself Wednesday night at a black-tie dinner where he hobnobbed with the news media." In fact, it is hard to find any immediate account of the affair that raised questions about the president's slide show. Many noted that the WMD jokes were met with general and loud laughter.

The reporters covering the gala were apparently as swept away with laughter as the guests. One of the few attendees to criticize the president's gag, David Corn, then of The Nation, told me he heard not a single complaint from his colleagues at the after-party. Corn wondered if they would have laughed if President Reagan, following the truck bombing of our Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241, had said at a similar dinner: "Guess we forgot to put in a stop light."

The backlash, such as it was, that emerged later came not from many in the media, but from Democrats—and some Iraq veterans. But I did not expect to hear or read any second thoughts from most attendees. After all, many of them also sold the public a bill of goods on WMD.

No joke.

new edition of Greg Mitchell's award-winning book "The Campaign of the Century" has just been published.  His book on Iraq and the media is "So Wrong for So Long."

 
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Friday DAYBOOK: Ailes vs. NPR, Jon Stewart Mocks Beck, Bush on Leno, New Arcade Fire, Much More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses  plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates during the day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. Check out my new book on a wild left-wing campaign and the birth of "media politics" here.

MORNING ROAST

New survey: 3 in 4 GOPers and Tea Partiers believe God has granted USA a special place in history and in the world. 

Roger Ailes almost apologizes for calling NPR people "Nazis."  Almost... NPR SVP Rehm: “We are disappointed that Mr Ailes directed his apology only to the ADL"... Keith Olbermann pounces, says to Jon Stewart, see, I told you no equivalency between the Fox loonies and MSNBCers... Will NPR's Liasson defend her colleagues from Ailes's claims that they are "Nazis"? 

Jon Stewart, meanwhile, responds (remember, Ailes called him "crazy") with one of his epic two-part blasts at (and as) Glenn Beck. Yes, Ailes and George Soros are involved and Beck is "The Manchurian Lunatic." Here's Part II:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Manchurian Lunatic
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

 

Close Encounters of the TSA Kind. Or: When pat downs become pants down?...  Nate Silver with interesting analysis of economic costs of the crackdown, and other costs...

PBS ombud: a mistake to cut Tina Fey's "political" remarks on Mark Twain show this week.

George W. Bush on Leno. Jokes about mistaking "black testicles" for "back test results." And so on... David Corn: When Bush joked about those missing WMDs. Also not mentioned in new book.

WHAT'S UP, DOCS?  Academy names 15 finalists for best doc film Oscar—very good list, from Spitzer to Glenn Gould, I've seen most. Got to go with Tillman, though.

THE BUSINESS SECTION  Econ blogger Yves Smith notes that this week's House session on foreclosure fraud made a major dent in bank assertions that foreclosure problems are mere paperwork issues. Maxine Waters grilled regulators. (h/t Barbara Bedway)

BABBLING BROOKS  David Brooks sees hope for Newsweek, because "There is an anxious seriousness in the air, waiting for an outlet." Huh?

PATTI TAKES THE CAKE  My new piece: Congrats to Patti Smith on winning National Book Award—I published her first mag piece in 1975.

TAIBBI vs. GERGEN  Fun, and telling confrontation, between Matt Taibbi and David Gergen (what a pair) over Bob Rubin and the White House's supposed "hostitlity" to business.

BITS & PIECES  Sharron Angle praises Pinochet for privatizing social security: "Sometimes dictators have good ideas"... John Judis does not agree that Obama should focus too much on winning back Independents...

TODAY's MUSIC (1)

Spike Jonze's new video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

 

 

TODAY's MUSIC (2) 

In honor of Patti Smith winning a National Book Award, here she is in 2007 doing her classic version of Van the Man's "Gloria."

 

 
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Patti Smith Wins National Book Award—Here's Her First Magazine Piece Ever

As you may have heard by now, Patti Smith—poet, activist, and rock 'n roll star—won the National Book Award last night, for Just Kids, her memoir of life with artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the late 1960s. Clearly she's come a long way as a writer since I solicited, edited and published what I believe was her first piece for a national magazine back in June 1975, when I was senior editor at the legendary Crawdaddy.

Patti had just started recording with Lenny Kaye and her original band but her first album, Horses, would not be released until the end of that year. But I'd followed her work for several years and felt certain she was about to break through.

The article—I still have the original manuscript and a snapshot she gave me over coffee in a shop that used to exist just below our office at 13th Street and Fifth Avenue (which we later turned over to The Nation)—was titled "Flying Saucers Rock and Roll." It recalled her childhood in New Jersey and then the move to New York City where she experienced Jimi Hendrix, and met Mapplethorpe in 1967.

You can read most of it here. One passage, more evocative than ever given the period covered in her (now) award-winning book:

Destiny plagued me. I never slept, I laid, and watched the night unravel like the future. Music crystallized like snowflakes; gradually the entire storm. Guitar necks sticking out of the ground like bayonets. The war between sounds. Alexander coming to conquer with a fender and a saucer. I knew it was coming and I wanted to be in on it. I knew it came and went and I wasn't in on it.

I was at this party. All I knew was James Brown and somebody put on "Third Stone from the Sun." Everybody was looking at me, so I pulled out my whistle, the one shaped like a cigar with black pick-ups. By the end of "Foxy Lady" it was pure amp damage. They were banging their pates into the plaster but I was laughing hysterically. The ones who ripped their wigs fascinated me the most, to watch these bald and slick comet shapes rushing the walls. It reminded me of something, but I was too giddy to get my mind shining. I wasn't in on it, wasn't in on it, I couldn't stand it. I wasn't born to be a spectator.

It was 1966 '67 '68. Every place I went it was somebody else. I could-not-live-today. Too plugged into sanguine rhythms past and the silver video we call future. Here I come future, coming to get ya. I see it all moving on an immense yellow highway. They come on like trumpets and violins—cars, armies of cars that move off the ground, glowing cigar shapes, and the radio just pumps like a fist. Brick roads, turnpikes, they drive me insane 'cause I can see what's coming. ELP, ELO, nothing real 'cept UFO. Got to be royal rock warfare cause it's sitting in limbo. Not what was and not what will be. Rock got to move out of its stagnant moment. Pray for something bubbling under the sky's canopy to rip open and rush like gas.

A new edition of Greg Mitchell's award-winning The Campaign of the Century, one of his ten books, has just been published.

DAYBOOK for Thursday: Ailes Hits Obama, Deficit Debate, Palin Parody, Much More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses  plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates during the day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. Check out my new book on a wild left-wing campaign and the birth of "media politics" here.

MORNING ROAST

HuffPo's Sam Stein reports that at a funders meeting Tuesday George Soros said money should not go to aiding Obama but to building a "progressive infrastructure."

Roger Ailes says Obama "has a different belief system than most Americans."

Finally saw Fair Game, very good if not great, gets you angry all over again about the outing of Valerie Plame—and the lies that led to war. Admirably spends a good deal of time disproving claims about her being a CIA "inoperative," or "secretary." Very little media focus, no Judy Miller, sadly, just a brief mention of press running with administration whoppers. Doug Liman, director, said last night, "The film is fundamentally about Bush lying to the American people."

My take on the upcoming NYT Magazine cover story on "Palin World."... Daily Show last nite parodied Palin's show, with Jason Jones' Bayonne. "I can see Newark from here."...David Corn labels Palin a "hypocrite" for her giant flip-flop on the bailout—for it before she was against it.

Pretty strong stuff from Fareed Zakaria in new Time piece on the deficit and various proposals to fix it: “The fate of the US is going to be decided over the next year." 

But Joe Klein, also at Time, differs: “I'm not opposed to long-term deficit reduction, so long as it's equitable. But I do wonder why these righteous burghers are leading the charge on this particular issue and are so obviously AWOL on a more pressing problem: finding a way to encourage productive investment that creates jobs while discouraging the financial speculation that creates bailouts.” 

BECAUSE SHE MIGHT Patti Smith wins National Book Award for memoir.

ALTERMAN GETS HITCHED  Eric Alterman at Dissent on Hitchens and his book.  "And just how anyone can drink so much, remain sober (sober-sounding anyway), and still function both on a day-to-day but also a decade-to-decade basis will remain one of the great mysteries of my half-century on this planet, on a par with who built Stonehenge...."

FORECLOSE BUT NO CIGAR  Econ blogger Ritholtz helps out Wash Post editors with syntax, and notes banks halted foreclosures not because of "mere questionable practices," but because forgery, fraud and criminal contempt fall under the noun "felony." 

BITS & PIECES  Keith Olbermann resurrected Worst Person last night after dropping it to, maybe, improve overall tone of cable debate.... . Nate Silver: Pelosi's  favorable rating so low it's even worse than Palin's.... First Gitmo detainee to stand trial acquitted on 284 of 285 counts.....Robert Scheer on the "The Man Who Shattered Our Economy." Yes, it's Sandy Weill, although he has a nice new vineyard out in California anyway....

TODAY's LAFF

It was inevitable but that doesn't make it wrong: Auto-tuning George W. Bush and Kanye "Conway" West.

 

 

 TODAY's MUSIC

 We mentioned this yesterday but now here's the video of classic 1970s era Springsteen meets 1970s era Neil Young (Jimmy Fallon) from Tuesday night.

 
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A Grizzly Affair: Highlights of Upcoming 'NYT Magazine' Cover Story on Sarah Palin

As usual when it feels it has a hot feature in its upcoming Sunday magazine, the New York Times leaked excerpts to Politico's Mike Allen early today, then posted the entire, massive "The Palin Network" profile by Robert Draper, the Bush biographer,  at mid-morning. So, is it worth a read today or in print Sunday?

Actually, the headline threw me at first—I thought it was a profile of Roger Ailes and Fox News.

The Weekly Standard has already weighed in on the article, hailing it as "an excellent piece of reporting that treats Palin in a relatively sympathetic manner."  Roger L.. Simon at Pajamas Media accurately notes that the article is "much more fascinating as a snapshot of where the New York Times is at this moment regarding the former Alaska governor."

Well, I've now read it all so that, if you choose, you don't have to. Here are a few high/lowlights:

• Because of the media's unfairness—toward her—"I fear for our democracy," Palin charges.

• Draper, for one, is hardly unfair. He barely presses her on key issues and doesn't talk to a single critic, unless you count Joe Lieberman (who helped her with debate prep in 2008) saying that he'd love to live next door to her but isn't quite sure she should be president. Yes, the article focuses on her inner circle, it's not a broad-brush treatment, but where are the new interviews with critics formerly within Palin World? 

• Early on, Draper cites the wins she claims for GOP candidates—but virtually ignores the many losses she inspired. There's only a brief mention of Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle early on. Even the New York Jets suffered—getting shut out in the one game she attended (in the owner's box).

• Palin admits she is weighing a race for president "and my family is the most important consideration here." You will, of course, remember how she lied about polling family members before accepting the Veep nod in 2008--and, in any case, then taking to the campaign trail with kids (removed from school) and baby in tow.

• She loves Alaska so much that she spent the entire summer of 2009 writing her draft of her memoir… in Del Mar, California.

• She hits "the warped and perverted description of my record and what I’ve accomplished over the last two decades."  Last two decades? That goes back well before even her memorable years as mayor of Wasilla. 

• Palin denies avoiding interviews: “I’m on television nearly every single day with reporters. Now granted, that’s mainly through my job at Fox News, and I’m very proud to be associated with them, but I’m not avoiding anything or anybody. I’m on Facebook and Twitter. I’m out there."

• "I just tweet; that's the way I roll."  On those occasions when she's actually in Alaska, she likes it that the difference in time zones allows her to put something up on Facebook late so the East Coast elite have to deal with it first thing in the morning. Allegedly, she approves every little thing that goes out under her name.

• Palin at first refuses to name what books she is reading, finally reveals that she's digging into new ones from Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and "C.S. Lewis, for inspiration."

• Draper calls a mere "caricature" the image of  Palin in 2008 "as a vapid, winking, press-averse clotheshorse." He claims her "thriftiness when it came to her wardrobe was so obvious that one senior strategist clucked of the Palins, 'These people shop at Dillards!' " This ignores the clothes spending spree she famously went on as Veep candidate.

A new edition of Greg Mitchell's award-winning The Campaign of the Century has just been published.

 
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