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Thursday DAYBOOK: Big Gay Rights Win, Jon Stewart Hits Congress, Glenn Gould Film, More

 WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

AFTERNOON UPDATES

Kagan confirmation nears.  Though Scott Brown voting against.

Verizon and Google teaming up to "end Internet as we know it."  Not all agree and Google now denies.... New Onion report"Verizon Introduces New Charge-You-At-Whim Plan." 

Despite Prop 8 ruling  David Axelrod today says Obama remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

Experts question feds' downplaying of BP oil leak damage.  Whitewash?

Senate passes legislation to prevent tens of thousands of teachers, police and other public workers from loosing their jobs.

THURSDAY ON THE LINKS

In a major victory for gay rights activists, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in California violated the Constitution's equal protection and due process rights clauses. Rachel Maddow Interviews David Boies and Ted Olson about the Prop 8 victory.... 

Great Jon Stewart bit last night on Repubs--with help from Dems--failing to pass that bill providing aid for 9/11 emergency workers.  Jon almost as angry as Anthony Weiner.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
I Give Up - 9/11 Responders Bill
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

 

New CNN poll: 27% of all  Americans (and 41% of GOPers) believe birthday boy Obama defiinitely or probably NOT born in USA.  Only 42% say they are sure he was born here.

Dave Leonhardt: How the labor market punishes mothers.

Carnival game -- you could throw darts at Obama figure -- withdrawn in Pennsylvania after protests.

Stephen Colbert tweets:  "Brett Favre now says he won't retire if his ankle heals. So if you had 18 hours in your Favre Retirement Pool, congratulations!"  Also last night Stephen hit Fox News over  lack of African-American viewers.

OUTSIDERS OUT  Gail Collins on this week's primary and election results:  What happened to the end of insiders?  Most of the wacko outsiders with viral web videos lost.  Yes, we're looking at you Dale Peterson and Rick Barber.... DNC to now really push envelope on making GOP candidates back or disavow Tea Party support. 

WE CAN GUESS WHY:   Gawker headline: "New York's Two Loudest Democrats Dead Silent on Ground Zero Mosque."  That would be Sen. Schumer and Rep. Weiner.

MOST BUSTED NAME IN NEWS?   "The Gray Lady of Cable News," Michael Wolff on CNN.

WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP   See my new piece, with Robert Jay Lifton, on how President Truman re-edited the first Hollywood movie about use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima 65 years ago this week.

WHAT's MISSING IN THIS PICTURE?  NYT belatedly (we covered it a week ago)  looks at controversy over TIME's cover of disfigured Afghan girl.  Fairly balanced, quotes some critics.

BYTES & PIECES   Maddow on Letterman show talking Sherrod case....  Ex-Guantanamo detainee now campaigning in Afghanistan (for parliament)....AP latest to publish a puff piece about Breitbart.... On a more serious note: Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner talks to Stephen Colbert about the importance of stable democracies enforcing human rights around the world.

BECK's BIER  TPM:  All of the copies of "Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology" removed from circulation a public library in Burlington County, New Jersey after a member of Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project complained about the book's content.

RICH IDEA  Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are asking the nation's billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. 34 US billionaires have already made the pledge.

TODAY's LAFF

One of the most amazing baseball catches ever--from Hiroshima no less, where I once attended a game--will leave you gasping.  "Climbing the fence for the ball" taken literally.

 

TODAY's MUSIC

Saw a fine documentary last night on the eccentric  piano icon Glenn Gould called "The Genius Within." It's opening in New York in September and may win a prize of two.  Who could imagine he was good with kids--and made a film hailing Petula Clark.  Here's the trailer: 

 

 

 

New Poll Finds 41% of GOPers Doubt Obama's USA Birth: When Will Media Expose What This Really Means?

Months ago, when scattered polls, some sponsored by liberal groups, found a shocking high number of Republicans expressing belief that President Obama was born abroad, conservatives and many in the media mocked the surveys—not the respondents—as surely biased. Now a series of surveys from top national polling firms have confirmed the earlier findings, with a new shocker today from CNN (on Obama's 49th birthday).  It reveals that 41% of GOPers believe that Obama "definitely" or "probably" was born "in another country."

That number is actually quite a bit higher than the Washington Post poll back in May which found that "only" 31% of Republicans (and, surprise, the same number of tea partiers) held that view.   Many at that time professed to having "solid evidence" for their belief.  In that poll only 15% of Democrats had the Birther mindset.

The new CNN poll  found that 11% of all Americans are certain Obama was born abroad with another 16% saying he probably was.  Only 42% are sure that he was born in the USA.  

But the GOP/Democratic split on this is dramatic—and should be key topic both on cable news shows tonight.  What does it reveal about willful ignorance and bias on the part of at least 4 out of 10 Republicans?  And what does it show about media coverage that routinely ignores this?  That earlier Washington Post was met with media indifference, with the Post itself downplaying it. 

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh quipped on his program, "They tell us August 4th is the birthday. We haven't seen any proof of that!"  CNN,  in its report today,  emphasized how false the Birther view  remains (this is not unusual, beyond Fox), but still the belief persists—and possibly even grows.  When will the media take a long and hard look at this? 

DAYBOOK for Wednesday: Colbert Mocks Laura Ingraham, Plus Birthers Exposed, Kanye West, Tina Fey, More

 WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

AFTERNOON UPDATES

New CNN poll: 27% of all  Americans (and 41% of GOPers) believe birthday boy Obama defiinitely or probably NOT born in USA.  Only 42% say they are sure he was born here and 29% can only say "probably."....  Andy Borowitz:  Birthers deny it's Obama's birthday today.

See my new piece, with Robert Jay Lifton, on how President Truman re-edited the first Hollywood movie about use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima 65 years ago this week.

Another gun massacre?  Ho-hum.   On day after man kills 8 plus self in nearby Connecticut, it's hard to find story about it on NYT site. Sign of the Times? True elsewhere, too.

TPM:  All of the copies of "Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology" removed from circulation a public library in Burlington County, New Jersey after a member of Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project complained about the book's content.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are asking the nation's billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. 34 US billionaires have already made the pledge.

-- WEDNESDAY MORNING COMIN'  DOWN

Since the WikiLeaks saga, new poll says public support for the Afghan war and Obama's handling of the conflict has hit an all-time low.

Michael Hastings, whose article for Rolling Stone led to exit of Gen. McChrystal, argued recently that he had followed all the rules--hence he'd been approved for another embed in Afghan. But now he's been denied that opportunity. A Pentagon spokesman did not explain and Hastings has not yet commented.

Terrific Jon Stewart bit last night on the rightwing move against the 14th Amendment and citizenship from illegal alien babies:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Born in the U.S.A.
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

 

Thomas Friedman: Broadway show tunes and why we need to let them build that mosque near Ground Zero following strong stand taken by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  

U.S. report seems to confirm earlier ones that suggest the remaining oil in Gulf from BP leak not that big a threat from here on on out.

If you've missed: People have been matching Kanye West's tweets with old New Yorker cartoons. Very funny. Kanye dig it? He tweeted that he does.

HITTING BACK AT SHALES  ABC has some harsh words for Tom Shales after his Taliban-sympathizer attack on Christiane Amanpour.

STEPHEN vs. LAURA:  A very sly putdown of guest Laura Ingraham last night on Colbert, as Stephen mocks the writing -- and racism -- in Laura's new book of Obama diary entries. And notice how she tries to talk over him, to no avail. 

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Laura Ingraham
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

 

PALIN & WACKOS  David Corn: GOP congressman hits Palin, also tells of meeting Tea Partiers who floor him by peddling wacko anti-Semitic banking conspiracy...Slate captured comments deleted from Palin's Facebook page.

MAN IN TIGHTS SAVES FAMILY  Superman saves family from foreclosure! Couple in the South was about to lose its home when they found valuable copy of first Superman comic book in their basement. Pow!

BYTES & PIECES:  Christopher Hitchens describes his cancer ordeal, in inimitiable fashion... More Colbert video, this time with Barney Frank talking about "bundling" and the Founding Fathers and sex!.... Yes, Wyclef Jean likely running for president of Haiti.... Mo Dowd chats with author Sam Wasson about why they don't make romantic comedies like they used to in Hollywood... Big Anderson Cooper hit on Craigslist sex ads making it easier for pimps to exploit young girls, transcript here. 

TODAY's LAFF

If you've missed unearthing of Tina Fey's first TV gig--a bank commercial spot from the 1990s. No Lemon but nice haircut. 

 

 

TODAY's SONG

Most people only knew Mitch Miller, who dies this week at the age of 99, for his schlocky "SIng Along With Mitch" TV series. But before that he was the top A&R man at Columbia Records who signed Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan and made Tony Bennett a star in the early 1950s. Here's Tony talking about how Mitch forced on him what became the very first "crossover" country hit, Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart." Then, thankfully, he sings most of it.

 

 

WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP: How Truman Edited Hollywood's First Movie About the Atomic Bomb

This Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the first use of the atomic bomb against a large city.   Since that day, creative artists of every variety have made incisive, satiric or powerful statements about nuclear threat. They have offered cautionary works that depict the horror of the bomb or its meaning in our society. What these artistic statements share, however, with rare exceptions, is an avoidance of the specific subject of Hiroshima.

Since August 1945, hundreds of "nuclear" movies have appeared.  At least one American "nuclear" film was a work of genius (Dr. Strangelove), and several others explored the issue thoughtfully (Fail-Safe, The War Game, Testament and Desert Bloom come to mind).   But more often the fear of nuclear war in Hollywood spawned survivalist fantasies, irradiated-monster films and post-apocalypse thrillers.

What is striking is that few of these films say anything directly about Hiroshima. Almost all of them are works of pure fiction, imagining nuclear attacks in the near or distant future while ignoring the two instances when atomic weapons have already been used: Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Only three Hollywood movies have emerged about the making or use of the first atomic bombs: The Beginning or the End, Above and Beyond,  and Fat Man and Little Boy (the only such film since the 1950s).

Ambivalence or guilt is certain to be evoked by any cinematic treatment of Hiroshima. Perhaps that is why the films all grapple with the notion of American decency. The three Hollywood films have much in common: Each was highly touted and directed by a talented film maker but was an artistic failure. Each was subject to political pressure or scrutiny.  Here's a close-up look at the "coverup"--led by the Truman White House--of the first "Hiroshima movie,"  some of it based on material we were first to discover at the Truman Library in Missouri.

The Beginning or the End

This controversial MGM film emerged, after many revisions -- some demanded by the White House -- as a Hollywood version of the official Hiroshima narrative: the bomb was absolutely necessary to end the war and save American lives.

About a month after the Hiroshima attack, Sam Marx, a producer at MGM, received a call from agent Tony Owen, who said his wife, actress Donna Reed, had received some fascinating letters from her high school chemistry teacher, Dr. Edward Tomkins--who was not at Oak Ridge.  Tomkins expressed surpise that Hollywood did not already have an atomic bomb feature in the works, and wondered if the film industry wanted to warn the people of the world about the coming dangers of a nuclear arms race.

Soon, MGM boss Louis B. Mayer gave the film a go, calling it "the most important story" he would ever film.  Marx and others from MGM met with the atomic scientists at Oak Ridge and elsewhere.

Early scripts raised doubts about the Hiroshima decision and portrayed the effects of the atomic bombing in a way that would have shocked many viewers, with Hiroshima pictured as ghostlike ruins and a baby with a burned face. The overall political message was alarmist and aligned with pro-disarmament scientists: It would have been better to lose half a million American lives "than release atomic energy in the world."

Then something happened, and the sensibility of The Beginning or the End shifted radically. The decision to use the bomb, in revised scripts, was viewed as justifiable, even admirable. Now, after the bombings, no victims appeared -- just a burning landscape observed from the air. Amazingly, Gen. Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, had secured the right of script approval -- along with a hefty $10,000 fee -- and played a vital part in reshaping the film. 

MGM hired Norman Taurog to direct the film and Hume Cronyn to star as Robert Oppenheimer.  Everyone from famed columnist Bob Considine to author Ayn Rand were involved with early scripts.  Nearly all of the scientists impersonated in the film signed releases, even Albert Einstein, but unlike Groves and President Truman, were not given script approval. Oppenheimer visited the set after being assured that his character, the film's narrator, would display "humility" and "a love of mankind." The Hollywoodization of the bomb had begun.

Even in minor details, the revised script now justified the bombing. General Groves made light of nuclear fallout. The B-29's flying over Hiroshima were pelted with heavy flak, a fabrication that makes the attack more courageous.   The name of one of those planes was changed from Bock's Car to Necessary Evil.   Nagasaki was not mentioned at all.  One scene depicting a fictional German scientists visiting a (fabricated) Japanese nuclear facility in--Hiroshima.

Yet it was in the script's central melodrama that the true message of the film was conveyed. Matt Cochran, a young scientist arming the bomb, prevents a chain reaction from blowing up 40,000 people on a Pacific island -- and thereby exposes himself to a fatal dose of radiation. But just before he dies, Matt concludes that "God has not shown us a new way to destroy ourselves. Atomic energy is the hand he has extended to lift us from the ruins of war and lighten the burdens of peace."

After screening the finished, watered-down, film, famed columnist Walter Lippmann said he still found one scene "shocking." President Truman felt uncomfortable with it as well. It pictured Truman making the decision to use the bomb, and the president and his aides objected to his deciding, after only a brief reflection, that the United States would use the weapon against Japan because "I think more of our American boys than I do of all our enemies." This was actually true, of course.

After protests from the White House, the MGM screenwriter James K. McGuinness deleted the offending scene and wrote a new one in which Truman explained that in his many discussions on the matter the "consensus of opinion is that the bomb will shorten the war by approximately a year." In the revised scene, Truman revealed that the United States would drop leaflets warning the populace of "what is coming" as a means to "save lives." He said there was a "consensus" that dropping the bomb by a year (there was no such thing) and he predicted that a "year less of war will mean life for . . . from 300,000 to half a million of America's finest youth" (a highly inflated figure).

And he advised that the targets had been picked for their prime military value, rather than the truth: They were picked because they had not been bombed previously and so would demonstrate the pure power of this new weapon. In any case, the aiming points for release of the bombs would be the center of the cities, not over any military bases.  The new scene had Truman claiming he had spent "sleepless nights" making the decision.  But in real life he proudly insisted he had never lost any sleep over it.

Still, the White House demanded further changes; among them, deleting a reference to morally concerned scientists who favored demonstrating the bomb for Japanese leaders in a remote area before dropping it on a city.

Truman even wrote a letter objecting to the actor who had portrayed him in the original scene, and the actor, Roman Bohnen was replaced.  Bohnen would write a sarcastic letter to Truman, informing him that people would be debating the decision to drop the bomb for 100 years "and posterity is quite apt to be a little rough." Truman, who normally ignored critical letters, took the trouble to reply and defend the decision, revealing, "I have no qualms about it whatever."

The Beginning or the End, which billed itself as "basically a true story," opened across the country in March 1947 to mixed reviews (see video below). Time laughed at the film's "cheery imbecility," but Variety praised its "aura of authenticity and special historical significance."

Harrison Brown, who had worked on the bomb, exposed some of the film's factual errors in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: he called the showering of warning leaflets over Hiroshima the "most horrible falsification of history." But in the far more influential New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the picture a fair and "creditable" reenactment and observed that MGM had "taken no obvious sides in the current atomic contentions."

The MGM movie was seen by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Because of its quasi-documentary form, its depiction of history was probably accepted by most viewers.  (See MGM preview below.)  But famed physicist Leo Szilard, after attending a screening, summed it up this way:  "If our sin as scientists was to make and use the bomb, then our punishment was to watch The Beginning or the End." 

Greg Mitchell and Robert Jay Lifton first wrote about Hiroshima films in their book "Hiroshima in America."

 

 

Tuesday DAYBOOK: Hot Items Plus Videos Galore—Colbert, Stewart, Glenn Beck, Springsteen, More!

 WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

AFTERNOON UPDATES

Since the WikiLeaks saga, new poll says public support for the Afghan war and Obama's handling of the conflict has hit an all-time low.

David Corn: GOP congressman hits Palin, also tells of meeting Tea Partiers who floor him by peddling wacko anti-Semitic banking conspiracy....Oops! Senate candidate Sharron Angle accidentally told the truth about why she talks to Fox News and other right-wing press: "We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported..."

"Each tooth has a story":   At the 11th annual open-air health clinic in Wise, Va., a total of 2,643 teeth were extracted. The free clinic is put on by Remote Area Medical, which specializes in "getting care to isolated, impoverished and ravaged places."

Gina, a German shepherd, served in Iraq as a highly trained bomb-sniffing dog with the military. After she returned home to Colorado, a military veterinarian diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder – "a condition that some experts say can afflict dogs just like it does humans."

--TUESDAY's TOPS

Major Michael Luo piece for NYT on growing numbers, and desperation, of the "99ers" -- those who have lost their unemployment benefits after 99 weeks....  Tim Geithner op-ed: "Welcome to the recovery." Will be news to many. He argues: "uncertainty is understandable, but a review of recent data on the American economy shows that we are on a path back to growth." 

See my new piece, with Robert Jay Lifton, on how President Truman re-edited the first Hollywood movie about use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima 65 years ago this week.

Amy Davidson in new New Yorker disputes WikiLeaks leak as nothing big -- actually it should spark us to consider exit. ... Fascinating: Has Wikileaks just uploaded key encrypted file just in case Julian Assange gets busted (or nuked)?... Eva Rodriguez hits Wash Post colleague Marc Thiessen for extremist call to use military to deal with Assange (maybe a drone attack?) ... Glenn Greenwald on something called Project Vigilant and the Bradley Manning / WikiLeaks case. Too hard to summarize, just go read it.

Jon Stewart covers the coverage of Chelsea Clinton "Wedding of the Century."

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Wedding of the Decade of the Century of the Millennium
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

 

Assange and our own Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now today.

McSweeney's: Freud takes a meeting on "Mad Men." Sometimes a pencil is just a pencil?

AFGHAN EXIT?  Bob Herbert with another tough column on soldier suicides --and for pullout in Afghan. "The wars have been conducted as if their leaders had been reading from a lunatic’s manual" and with "trillions squandered." .... Maddow chatted last night with Andrew Bacevich about his new war / antiwar book... Boston Globe: Is U.S. wrongly using U.S. troops for drug trials? 

NEWSWEEK AMPLIFIED  The Harman purchase of Newsweek  happens. He is hubby of Rep. Jane Harman. Jon Meacham out as editor. Harry Shearer tweets on the Harman-Kardon billionaire buying Newsweek: "Prediction: he'll have great low end and crystal-clear midrange."  Andy Borowitz: "Some guy just bought Newsweek for $1. Weird, because you can read it for free at the dentist."

ANATOMY LESSON  Ruth Marcus at Wash Post asks why top GOP female politician and chief "Mama Grizzly" Sarah Palin, in her crack about Obama's alleged lack of "cojones," is equating boldness with testicles.  

COLBERT ON A CLIFF  Last night's Colbert report was great from beginning to end, so here is link to the entire show. A special treat was an interview with Jimmy Cliff -- the man who sparked the reggae craze in USA starting around 1973, paving the way for Bob Marley's stardom here -- closing with Jimmy doing his classic "Harder They Come" (below). The Colbert site also includes a bonus song from Cliff not aired on the show.  

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

 

THE CITIZENSHIP  DEBATE  Josh Marshall at TPM hits Mitch McConnell's choice to take seriously move against 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship.

YOU CAN CALL HIM AL  Fun Rep. Anthony Weiner / Al Pacino mash-up: You're out of order, you're out of order, the whole House is outta order: 

UNHEALTHY MOVE  Reuters: U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson refused to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit to President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law. The judge is allowing the challenge--which argues that requiring residents to have health insurance is unconstitutional-- to move forward.

BYTES & PIECES:  Thomas Frank dropping WSJ column for one with Harper's. .. MoveOn targets Target, for exploiting Citizens United AND backing rightwinger in Minn. .... Another giant is gone: The man who invented Cheez Doodles. ... Hollywood directors hit new craze, say 2D is enough.

TODAY's LAFF

At last, the first commercial for the new institution of hire learning, Glenn Beck University. Everything but footage of their football team, the Mad Dogs.

 

 

TODAY's MUSIC

As I noted yesterday, I put off doing this until everyone was away for August, so here is Part II of my "Incompleat History of Rock 'n Roll " video series, this time on Da Boss.   

DAYBOOK for Monday: Bacevich vs. Obama on War, Eliz Warren Gains, Glenn Beck on "Mad Men?"

 WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

AFTERNOON UPDATES

Democracy Now today on Afghanistan: Andrew Bacevich-- "The president lacks the guts to get out." ... Glenn Greenwald on something called Project Vigilant and the Bradley Manning / WikiLeaks case.  Too hard to summarize, just go read it.

George Packer  in The New Yorker on the "broken" U.S. Senate.... Thomas Frank dropping WSJ column for one with Harper's. .. Harman purchase of Newsweek  happens.  He is hubby of Rep. Jane Harman.  Jon Meacham out as editor.

Fun Rep. Anthony Weiner / Al Pacino mash-up:  You're out of order, you're out of order, the whole House is outta order:  Good thing Weiner didn't have a gun.

McSweeney's: Freud takes a meeting on "Mad Men." Sometimes a pencil is just a pencil?

Now people can see what Glenn Beck University REALLY has to offer them with its first ad put together by The Full Ginsberg. "With classes such as Conspiracy Theory Theory, Revisionist History, and Cry-Ogenics, you too can learn everything Glenn Beck did when he didn't attend college."

The RNC has said that a "scheduling change" is why they have postponed a fundraiser with right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbat. But the announcement came the same day as Breitbat's "minority-based Tea Party event" in Philadelphia, which TPM reports did not have that many minorities in attendance.

Reuters:  U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson refused to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit to President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law. The judge is allowing the challenge--which argues that requiring residents to have health insurance is unconstitutional-- to move forward.

-- MONDAY, CAN'T TRUST THAT DAY 

AP: With focus now on Afghanistan, high Iraqi death toll casts doubt on "stability" talk there: July death toll -- 535 -- was the highest since May 2008 when 563 died. Meanwhile, a benchmark of progress, the electrical grid, fails Iraqis. Shop owner in Baghdad: "Democracy didn't bring us anything. Democracy brought us a can of Coke and a beer."  More bad news from L.A. Times here.

Newsweek's Jon Alter: Obama "would be making a terrible mistake" if he rejected the "fiercely independent" Elizabeth Warren.  And here Warren professes: "My Mission Is to Restore America's Great Middle Class."

Okay bias? Musical chairs in White House briefing room: Fox News gets front-row seat. 

Palm Sunday: The return of Sarah Palin's cribbed notes on her hand yesterday on Fox. On same show she says Obama lacks "cojones." She should talk.

 

 

Good take on the Sherrod case by blogger Digby.

Interesting HBO doc tonight "12th and Delaware" on street where abortion clinic and anti-abortion office on opposite sides of the street.

FOREVER, WAR  Obama on CBS this morning on Afghan: "We now have a strategy that can work. We've got one of our best generals today, Petraeus, on the ground. I've been very clear that we are going to move forward on a process of training Afghans so that they can provide for their own security. And then by the middle of next year, by 2011, we are gonna start thinning out our troops and giving Afghans more responsibility. If I didn't think that it was important for our national security to finish the job in Afghanistan, then I would pull them out today, because I have to sign letters to these families -- families who have lost loved ones."

ATOMIC PARTICULARS   Not sure what it means but: For the first time, a U.S. ambassador will attend the annual commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima this week. They don't know yet about the Nagasaki event. Hiroshima Mayor Tad Akiba--who once awarded me a grant to spent a month in the atomic cities--has pushed for an Obama visit some time.

DANGERS FOR DEMS -- NOT FROM GOP?  I still don't quite understand why ethics problems for Rangel and Waters may bring down the whole Democratic Party, even after reading this piece. ... And here's Ross Douthat on something he may actually know something about:  the race for the GOP presidential nod and Mitt Romney as the great hope to save party from the "populists." 

BUZZ OFF:  David Carr: Buzz "Friday Night Lights" Bizzinger -- From angry anti-blogger to angry Tweeter.

BECK's FEAR  Lizz Winstead: Creepy kid Glenn on Mad Men will grow up to be Glenn Beck... When Beck tried to "snooker" George Stephanopoulis.  

BYTES & PIECESFareed Zakaria in NewsweekRaise my taxes, Mr. President! ... Andy Borowitz: WikiLeaks hacked into Sarah Palin's brain, but they couldn't find anything.... Wash Post correction notes that it misquoted anonymous source....Dana Milbank in piece Sunday ties Beck to that shooting incident in California (though could go farther)..... Frank Rich hits conventional wisdom that WikiLeaks leak no big deal—here's how they are like Pentagon Papers

TODAY's LAFF

Eleven fun mashups of Inception with other movies here.  Just one: 

 

 

TODAY's MUSIC

Well, I've held out for three months but now it's August, no one is paying attention, so here's Episode One of my "Incompleat History of Rock 'n Roll." Parts 2 and 3 also there if you dig it.

 

MEDIA FIX: Upcoming George W. Bush Memoir Eagerly Embraced By—The Democrats?

(This guest post written by Nation intern Melanie Breault.)  George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points -- remember, he was "The Decider" -- is not set to be published by Crown until November 9th, the week after the 2010 midterm elections, but it's already raising alarms, and not just in the predictable places.

The former president says his book is not an autobiography, but more of  “an analysis of key decisions in his life, both before and after he was elected president,” according to the early pubilcity. That’s fourteen decisions to be exact.

Already we know that Decision Points starts with an anecdote about the night Laura Bush asked her husband whether he preferred booze to fatherhood and how from that moment on, he quit drinking, cold turkey. Crown  says the book gives "gripping, never-before-heard detail" about the disputed 2000 election, how he responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis. Bush will also write “honestly and directly” about his weaknesses and mistakes as president, as well as his path out of alcoholism. 

News emeged today that Bush would grant his first big interview for the book on November 8 with NBC's Matt Lauer.

As Bush edits the final touches of his opus on his computer in Dallas -- it's already marked down from $35 to $18.90 at Amazon -- GOPers can’t decide whether they’re happy about this new release or depressed.

Former aide to the president Matt Latimer says the publication date -- surely highlights from the book will be leaked before Election Day -- represents “monumentally bad timing.” Paging Julian Assange! Other conservatives call Bush “selfish and stupid” because of the timing, like Lebron James (but with less access to ESPN hype). Latimer titled his Daily Beast article, "The Bush Book Bomb." 

Bush is not on the ballot this time, making the midterms “a referendum on Barack Obama,” says GOP strategist John Feehery, in NPR's report. But still, nervous Republicans would have preferred a later release date. "Right before Christmas," Feehery suggests. "It would make a nice stocking stuffer."

The Democrats have already started putting out the welcome mat for Bush era nostalgia, as Laimer describes in his piece for The Daily Beast:   Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: “The more flashbacks of the Bush era we have, the more people will be reminded about the huge mess that Barack Obama and the Democrats inherited."

Democratic strategist Karen Finney says that the publicity surrounding the book is the perfect opportunity to refer to the Bush policies and “have it resonate with voters by linking Republicans still in office with those policies.” Which is exactly what the DCCC did last month when they unveiled a new web video ad that showed Rep. Pete Sessions telling Meet the Press, “we need to go back to the exact same agenda.”

But Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn think this book is a great idea and that the GOP can use it as Americans become more dissatisfied with the increasing national deficit under the Obama Administration. He told C-SPAN, "I think a lot of people are looking back with a little -- with more fondness on President Bush's administration, and I think history will treat him well." Since Bush is no longer the president, voters are warming up to “Bush, the person,” so they may also be intrigued by his memoir, not resentful. Its Amazon page offers a "three-fer" with latest books by Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham.

Bush says he wants historians to use this book as a tool to evaluate his presidency. "I don't think you can come to a definitive conclusion about a presidency until the passage of time," Bush said. "I want to put you in my position."

Weekend DAYBOOK: Al Gore Cleared, Glenn Beck Indicted, 'Neil Young' Returns, Sunday Updates

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

WEEKEND ON THE LINKS

I'm away this weekend so abbreviated version, updated Sunday:

Dana Milbank in piece Sunday ties Beck to that shooting incident in California (though could go farther).

Frank Rich hits conventional wisdom that WikiLeaks leak no big deal—here's how they are like Pentagon Papers.

NYT:  New Obama policy in Afghan—track down insurgents, don't worry so much about winning hearts and minds of civilians.  

Awaiting apologies from media (some at liberal outlets): Al Gore cleared in sex abuse case—woman fails lie test, witnesses don't pan out, forensic tests dispute her, she may have been paid by National Enquirer. 

 Dan Ellsberg's WikiLeaks wish list Andy Borowitz: WikiLeaks hacked into Sarah Palin's brain, but they couldn't find anything…  FBI flashed cash around Cambridge to encourage WikiLeaks informants…

NYT reporting on Ground Zero mosque hit.

Tony Hayward tells the Wall Street Journal: “I Became A Villain For Doing The Right Thing.”

Nick Kristof tweets: "In 2002 and 2003 combined, 97 US soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. So far in 2010, 268 have, on track for a new record." Boston.com marks record with a month's full of photos.

Don't miss if you've even been to Red's lobster shack in Wiscasset, Maine.

TODAY's LAFF 

A very "kleine" Light Music.

 

TODAY's MUSIC

Another great Jimmy Fallon tribute to Neil Young—this time doing the Double Rainbow. Look at Mother Nature on the run.

 

 

DAYBOOK for Friday: Krugman on Obama 'Ignoring' Left, Plus Steve Carell, Joni Mitchell, Jon Stewart, More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses from a wide variety of sources plus fun videos and (and at the bottom) musical picks. Return for updates all day. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at  Twitter.  E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com. To increase type size hit the middle "A" above right.

T.G.I. FRIDAY ON OUR MIND 

New Krugman column: progressives rightly "disillusioned" with Obama. He's "ignoring" and "insulting" them. For example: Why the delay in naming Elizabeth Warren to post? 

USA Today: Probe finds surging Army suicides tied to rising alcohol/drug use, crime and refusal to get help -- and also out-to-lunch commanders, some who don't even know about suicides until weeks later.

The Guardian with valuable video on toll in Afghan..... U.S. death toll there in July hits monthly high..... And (below) an incredible new video, based on WikiLeaks' leaks. of IED blasts and toll in Afghan since 2004.

 

My response to TIME cover with mutilated Afghan girl here. Jezebel comments on the TIME cover: "It's not the image, which demands that apathetic readers confront religiously-sanctioned violence against women without looking away. It's the headline."

Andy Borowitz: "Interestingly, Snooki doesn't know who Obama is either."  

Cluster bomb "ban" takes effect with -- naturally -- the U.S. and Israel not going along with it. 

NOTE:  I am (finally) going away for a weekend so no afternoon updates today, no Weekend editions either, sorry.

PALIN AROUND WITH PANELS  Palin's "death panel" charge during the health plan debate, ridiculed and apparently destroyed, actually still embraced by large number of Americans, poll finds.

TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT  The Onion nails it:  Unemployment High Because People Keep Blowing Their Job Interviews.

NOT THE ONION:  William Shatner interviews one of the D.C. snipers (and makes some news).

EPA / BP CONSPIRACY?  Three decades ago, in articles and in a book, I wrote a good deal about EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman, mainly in relation to Love Canal and other toxic waste sites.  He's still at it, this time on Countdown exposing what he called an EPA / BP conspiracy to cover up some of the Gulf oil leak hazards, including the threat from the dispersant.

OBAMA RE: 'VIEW'  My colleague Melanie Breault looks at the media reaction to Obama's visit to a certain daytime talk show. Jon Stewart had some fun with it, too:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Leader's Digest
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

 

SHIRLEY A MISTAKE   Breitbart responds to Shirley Sherrod lawsuit by quoting her out of context--again.... Chris Matthews claimed on Hardball yesterday that Breitbart's video of Sherrod was not edited--and was so embarrassed to get this so wrong he re-taped his comments when program re-run.

BARRY STRONG ATTACK on PAULSON:  Econ blogger Barry Ritholtz rips apart Hank Paulson op-ed in Wash Post, especially going after his explanation for crisis: " If this exercise wasn’t such a transparent attempt at self-exoneration, it would be amusing, Instead, it is merely pathetic."

BYTES & PIECES  Politico hit for failing to correct WikiLeaks snark.... Michael Hastings violated embed ground rules? So why has he been approved for another embed in Afghanistan? .... Important Andrew Bacevich book coming next week.  For a TomDispatch preview go here.... More on Palin backers demanding PBS "refudiate" comic Andy Borowitz.... MoveOn.org with protest of dangerous gas drilling -- a Fracking Big Deal.

TODAY's LAFF

Finally a new edition of Zach G's "Between Two Ferns," this time with Steve "Pinocchio" Carell. Hey, who knew he was Italian? 

 


 

TODAY's MUSIC

A key scene in The Kids Are All Right features Annette Bening getting a bit carried away with a dinner table rendition of Joni Mitchell's "River." If you have somehow never heard original, here it is in rare live form: 

Media Fix: Obama In 'View' -- Survives Mockery from Palin, Colbert, Fox News

(This guest piece written by Nation intern Melanie Breault, who also contributes items every day to the Daybook.) If you had the opportunity to sit down with President Obama and four of your girlfriends, what would you talk about? Immigration reform, the Gulf oil crisis, the WikiLeaked Afghanistan war documents? How about Snooki, Mel Gibson and the president’s iPod playlists?

This morning, Obama made history as the first sitting president to appear on a daytime talk show when he appeared on The View, and the show’s hosts took full advantage. Without wasting any time, Barbara Walters asked him, “Do you really think that being on a show with a bunch of women, five women who never shut up, is going to be calming?”

His response: “Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched.”

The hosts of the show actually did quiz the president on political issues including the economy, the war, as well as race relations in reference to the Shirley Sherrod episode. Still, Sarah Palin tweeted this afternoon: “President w/ no time to visit porous US/Mexican border to offer help to those risking life to secure us, but lotso' time to chat on The View?”

A few days before the show, FOX News criticized the president for choosing the ladies over the Boy Scouts' 100th anniversary Jamboree. An article there pointed out that “organizers had invited the president to speak to the 45,000 scouts in attendance” and “all three of Obama's predecessors have made it to one Jamboree while in office.” Stephen Colbert didn’t waste an opportunity to laugh at its absurdity, by claiming that the president was “once again disrespecting our boys in uniform.”

As the day went on, media outlets picked which part of the interview they want to focus on, whether the headline reads “Flustered by Mel Gibson & Snooki” or “I Wasn’t Invited To Chelsea’s Wedding." Tonight The Daily Show opened with some choice clips from the media protests (Fred Barnes, Michelle Malkin, even Ed Rendell)--with some claiming that Obama had destroyed the "dignity" of the office. Jon Stewart then showed George Bush's sit-down in 2004 with....Dr. Phil. 

The hot blog topic, naturally, was his claim that he didn't know who Snooki is, even though he had name-checked her in a speech. We'll expect calls for impeachment over that by daybreak.

Then there was the inevitable what's-on-your-iPod query and reply: "You name it. You name a song, I've got it on there. I've got Jay-Z on there. I've got Frank Sinatra on there. I've got Maria Callas on there."

"Justin Bieber!" proposed Sherri Shepherd.

"I do not have Justin Bieber on there," said Obama. Good thing those under-18 still can't vote. 

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