My new Think Again column on coverage of the oil spill off Louisiana is called “Heckova Job, MSM” and it’s here
I’ve got a new Nation column called “Party Every Day” here (I could not work “Cat Scratch Fever” into the hed). 
My Moment column is called “Is Israel Committing Suicide?” and that’s here.

Tift Merritt and Paul Thorn

I’ve discovered two new artists in the ever popular—with Altercation readers anyway “Americana” category.  The first is this young woman, Tift Merritt, who used to have hair like this but now has hair like this. I’m not sure which I like better. And I’m not sure like the new album better than Another Country but that’s because I love Another Country which came to me completely unknown. I sat on the floor of a living room style show for Tift on Monday night and she did the most charming, unassuming set one could imagine. The lyrics are heartfelt and intelligent and not at all cloying. And her voice matches those looks, which sexist as it may be to say, is really saying something. Try Another Country and I think you’ll want to dig deeper, I did.  Her Austin City Limits show is a good place to start until the new cd is out in June.

The following night I caught this crazy fellow, Paul Thorn , at City Winery.  I see from his website that Kris Kistofferson calls him “the best kept secret in the music business.” Sounds overstated, but I don’t think I’m going to protest.  There’s a ton of music there of which I was, sadly, unaware. This new album,  is an incredible find. “I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love” is my new favorite song, though “Tequila is good for the Heart” coulda been a contender.  Most of the rest is pretty excellent as well. At Paul’s show, he was this funny, ornery son a preacher man, (and nephew of a pimp, not to mention ex-boxer who went six rounds with Roberto Duran), and had all this good-humored, homespun, heavily Southern-accented wisdom to offer along with great songs and some decent guitar picking. Since the food at CW is actually great—and not just great for a rock club—it was a nearly perfect show.  You won’t get the food on the website but you might get to see him somewhere else or pick up the cd. Again, I see I need to go into the back catalogue. (And hey, dude’s an artist too. Check out the cover.

The mail:

Name: Joe Coen
Hometown: Houston, Tx.

RE: Scammed by the Right

Give the Time editors some credit, Doc. At least they pegged Beck and Palin as Leaders instead of Thinkers. With those two kickin’ it old school plus the Governor of Arizona signing a law obliterating the 4th Amendment and the Governor of Texas obliterating a little ol’ harmless coyote with his high powered, laser sighted sidearm, it’s evident the two categories are mutually exclusive.