Slacker Friday

Slacker Friday

On the Arkansas Senate run-off, Rand Paul and the mail.


I’ve got a new "Think Again" column about the election called "The ‘Tea’ Swallows the Party" here.

My Nation column is called "Ain’t That America…" and it’s here.

And I did a Daily Beast post last night on the passage of the Senate’s FinReg bill here.

I went to the Apollo last night for the annual “A Great Night in Harlem” gala of the Jazz Foundation of America. To be perfectly honest, I can’t really review the evening’s performance because they were just getting started when I had to leave to do that Beast FinReg piece above. It was already about ten and Roberta Flack (introduced by David Johansen) was just coming on. Jesseye Norman sang a tiny bit, as did a few people I never heard of. I saw the Nighthawks with a few guests, but the rest of what I missed, you’ll have to read about here. The reason I’m bothering to write this though, was that as impatient as I may have been sitting in my seat for so long and just hearing speeches about apparently wonderful people, they really are, um, wonderful people. Read about what they do here and then do us all a favor and give them some money. I love Wynton but he can’t get all the money people give to support Jazz. If I didn’t have to make a living, this is the kind of cause to which I would want to devote all my time. What’s a better cause then sending old jazz people to schools to teach young kids? What’s more heartwarming than seeing it happen? And the health and hsopitalization stuff, and the feeding old peoples’ cats, and taking people to the hospital, it makes you tear up, even at the length we heard about it last night. The donation page is here.

Alter-recommendation: If you love newspapers and novels, then you will have no choice but to love The Imperfectionists. Now look who’s (finally) back. (I hope the technical problems have been worked out…)

Hey Doc:

"When the wagons leave the city/for the forest and further on/Painted wagons of the morning, dusty roads where they have gone."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Crying" (The Versatiles) — The world would be a lot better if everyone loved New Orleans as much as I do.

Part The First:
Whew. Bad week for Parson Meacham on several "platforms," as the kids say. I am profoundly glad that Jonathan Alter has taken to the parapets in the Parson’s defense. It’s not fair to leave Sally Quinn to fight such a lonely battle.

Part The Second:
One thing I did not want to see — I did not want to see see Bill Clinton come tromping on his big elephant feet into this Arkansas Senate run-off, especially not in defense of Blanche Lincoln (D-Wal-Mart). The historical record of the Pericles Of The Ozarks is due for a major revisionist overhaul, and the effect of his several Myrmidons on the current administration has not been a good one. Let Arkansas Democrats hash this one out without your help, sir. They’ve got enough problems.

Part The Third:
Newsweeklies Gone Mad, Part Deux: Hey, Rick Stengel, that Time 100 was bad enough, but, really now, Newt Gingrich is no more a historian than he is an astronaut. I know he says he is. He’s a megalomaniacal crackpot and he always was. Stop it, OK?

Part The Fourth:
Like those of us in the Commonwealth (God save it!) need another reason to believe we’re the Center Of The Known Universe, what with the Celtics back on the rampage and all, but there’s our own Senator McDreamy, gnawing off his own foot on financial reform in order to escape the trap of belonging to a party full of lunatics. Also, if you want some real fun, try to give a listen to the radio commercials that the Republican Governors Association have aimed at our state treasurer, Tim Cahill, who’s running as an independent for governor up here, thereby screwing up official GOP candidate Charlie Baker who, as a candidate himself, so far otherwise has made Martha Coakley look like Huey Long. My favorite is the fake 911 call where the breathless woman tells Dispatch about the "crimes" Cahill has committed by being "just another Beacon Hill politician." Yes, the RGA, home of Bobby (Help!) Jindal, Haley (It’s Just A Sheen) Barbour, and Rick (Secesh) Perry. Nice to have you boys on board up here.

Part The Penultimate:
Bastards. That’s all, just bastards.

Part The Ultimate:
By now, it’s become fairly clear that Rand Paul is pretty much a nut — and no, folks, his putative opposition to overseas adventurism does not make him less so. (Jesus, liberals can be stupid.) Watching him try to outmaneuver Rachel Maddow the other night was like watching a hippo try to outrun the rain. Quite simply, if we ever needed a living, breathing, stuttering example that "libertarianism" is a fashion statement and not an ideology, that its basic tenets cannot apply to any society composed of human beings, we saw it that night. For a long time, I was perfectly happy to agree that libertarians were simply rightwing fringe players who liked to smoke a lot of dope. Here, though, we see the ugly truth. Libertarianism is stuck forever in its own incoherence. Paul’s knowledge of the history of his own time is so profoundly wrong that it’s makes one wonder if the man was raised in a jar. And he believes that government can act vigorously to end discrimination in public institutions, like public housing and the public schools. He does? Really? Without judging them on their merits as public policy, does Rand Paul favor the fundamental constitutionality of, say, busing, or affirmative action in government jobs? Because, if he does, I think he’s got some ‘splainin’ to do to his base.

Jim Crow existed to formalize racism in the thousands of transactions of daily life so that it would be easy to enshrine it in the law. Is Paul’s position actually that he believes a country can be segregated by custom and practice and culture and daily life, but not in its law, and that the former can be kept from perverting the latter? Was this man hatched a week ago? Is he, you know, high?

The mail:

Name: Maureen Holland
Hometown: South Venice Beach, Florida

I’ve been following you all over the damned intertubes lad, which at my age is not getting any easier. So I feel able to ask that you drop a word to the fine folk at The Nation and remind them their readers are probably not young. Or not many of them anyway. Bad enough that they feel nine or ten point is sufficient for the newsmag, but really – there’s no paper bill on the website -can we go for a nice big sans serif or at least Times Roman font. Eleven point? How about going all rock and roll and using twelve point! I get here and go right for the CTL+ so I can read.

That being said, however, it’s always worth the trip.

Editor’s Note: Check back in a few days for a new text size adjustment tool, which will give you a larger, more readable font in one click! Send letters to Eric Alterman here.

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