Call Me Conservative, But…

Call Me Conservative, But…

Sources on background, Alter-reviews, and the mail.


My new Think Again column, "What is Conservatism?" is here.

My Daily Beast piece, on Obama’s drilling desires, is here.

And if we must play this April Fools, game, my friends at Backstreets get my nomination for both breadth and humorth.

An aside that got cut out of my Daily Beast piece:

On his ABC News blog, Jake Tapper quotes "A White House official" explaining that "the president will also approve a lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, while canceling another lease sale in Alaska’s Bristol Bay because of environmental concerns. (Lease sales in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are essentially being suspended pending further scientific review.) The official says that ‘To set America on a path to energy independence, the President believes we must leverage our diverse domestic resources by pursuing a comprehensive energy strategy.’" Excuse me but what the hell kind of journalism is that? Why does a reporter allow a source to go on background if all he is going to offer up is propaganda-style pabulum? If the "White House official" said, "Hey, there’s an election coming and we need the oil and gas money. Did you see that Supreme Court decision on unlimited corporate spending?" Then maybe allowing him (or her) to speak anonymously might make sense. But this kind of thing ought to be embarrassing.

This Week on Moyers:

In the months before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had expanded his focus on racial justice to include reducing economic inequality. Now, on this week’s 42nd anniversary of King’s assassination, Bill Moyers sits down with experts Bryan Stevenson and Michelle Alexander to discuss how far we’ve really come as a country, how poor and working class Americans have been falling behind and what America must do to fulfill Dr. King’s vision. Stevenson is longtime advocate for social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice and is on the faculty of NYU’s School of Law. Alexander holds a joint appointment with Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law and Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and is author of The New Jim Crow.


The T.A.M.I. Show

There was nothing like it then and there has been nothing like it since. The T.A.M.I. Show, 1964’s cavalcade of stars in concert and long sought after concert film, has finally been released in its entirety. I will go on record as saying, it is the greatest rock and roll film ever.

It’s not because it contains James Brown’s explosive and now legendary performance, or the show closing, but not necessarily show-stealing Rolling Stones. It’s because director Steve Binder managed to bring out the fire in every one of the artists involved. You will find yourself cheering on everyone from Billy J. Kramer to Lesley Gore. I was particularly floored by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. They have become so ingrained in my memory, like every Motown artist, as just a singles band, I forgot they ever played live at all. Seeing Smokey in action, singing at times a bit too flat or a bit too sharp, blew my mind. And The Miracles, with their somewhat haphazard choreography, had the energy of The Ramones on this stage. Though JB’s performance is the one everyone talks about, and for good reason, it was Smokey & the Miracles that made my jaw drop.

Still there is more. The Supremes, sleek and sexy, and Marvin Gaye, just as sleek and just as sexy, it’s impossible not to get caught up in such rock and roll history. You will be applauding in your living room. Keep repeating, "It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie."


British Invasion DVD box

On the surface, Voyage Media’s new British Invasion DVD box set seems to be nothing more than a collection of previously available interviews and TV performances featuring what seems like 4 randomly chosen artists from the 60s. But if you dig a little deeper, or like me, just put one on, you will be hooked immediately. Nicely packaged and packed with music and video, this set contains so many great performances, it really doesn’t matter if none of it is particularly groundbreaking.

The Small Faces and Dusty Springfield, as well as the fun, but not quite as interesting Gerry & The Pacemakers and Herman Hermits, each get a full DVD devoted to their beginnings and successes. The interviews with band members and people associated with the artists are pulled from all periods of time, and interspersed with the performances. Or, you have an option to just watch the performances. The Small Faces is of particular interest, as it features the very last interview with bassist Ronnie Lane.

If you don’t want to shell out $60, the DVDs are available separately, and I would start with the Small Faces. But that’s me. This set really surprised me. I expected nothing, really. I had a blast.

Sal Nunziato

The Mail:

Name: Michael Pizzo

Hometown: Norwich, Connecticut

On Blocking Unemployment, When the unemployment extension is finally passed on the return of The Senate from Vacation (OH, what’s a vacation?) I wonder how many people will be left in the lurch of having to refile and find themselves disqualified because of some set of state rules where they did not work enough in the last 5 quarters? Or better yet will see the amount of the check that they receive cut in half or worse? This would be the same people who more than likely on top of getting pay cuts of 25 to 40 percent already. Now we are going to make them try to live on 40% less? Those facing the worst case of those scenarios are looking at a Paycheck of $400 a week getting $160 followed by now getting $92 a week! One can hardly wait for the new crime wave to begin.

Name: J.E. Bernecky

Hometown: Westover, PA

Re: the understated elegence of "What Liberal Media?"

Tobin Harshaw, in his latest NYT Opinionator, quotes Bruce Bartlett saying of David Frum: "Since he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI ‘scholars’ on the subject of healthcare reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do."

Whatever else that means, it means that Nancy Pelosi, still hiding behind Bart Stupak’s pants from both the Catholic Church (who’d give her laurels) and women’s rights groups (who’d give her hell), needlessly sacrificed the best of her own, and that she did this not for nothing, now, but, as it turns out, in order to spare Republicans the need to do it.

Name: Michael Green

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

Uh, Brother Pierce, I love ya, man, but when you insult Harry Reid, remember who got the health care bill through the Senate.

I also would slightly dispute the point about McCain. He never had the slightest bit of principle, and the media enjoyed him so much, they didn’t bother delving into it. Consider that this is the guy who joked about how ugly Chelsea Clinton was when she was a kid, and denied it although it was on tape.

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