Alas, the coverage I had planned of the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival will be a few days late and a few dollars short owing to an unhappy confluence of events. First, I expected to rely on my excellent nephew, Adam Franklin, to cover the first weekend, but Adam’s grandfather passed away that same weekend and he did the right thing, so if you want to read about weekend one, I suggest David Fricke’s coverage in Rolling Stone, which is almost as good as young Adam’s would have been.
I had also planned on covering all four days of the second weekend (together with the luminous photography of The Nation’s own Charles Bittner). Nobody died but I did completely total my rental car when I missed a stop sign looking for a parking lot just outside the festival. (If you ever get in a major accident in New Orleans in a non-commercial area, you can expect to wait at least three hours for the cops to show up and take down all your information, before also handing you a summons. You can also expect everyone involved to be super nice.) So that took all day and I missed all of Thursday.
Then I hoped to have it all written up for this morning but when I woke up at 5:00 am Tuesday, (after spending an unhappy day with Delta), it was not for Zabar’s French Roast or Jon Stewart (or the Mets, depending on the season), but for an impacted kidney stone. I have never been fond of bloggers who blog from their bathrooms—Hello Andrew Sullivan—and so I will just say that a) these things hurt like Hell; b) I actually felt lucky though, because if it had happened at Jazzfest or on the way home, oy—I don’t even want to think about it, and c) the staff at St. Lukes Hospital at 120th and Amsterdam is really wonderful (though this may be the Vicodin talking). I spent thirteen hours there and came out all fixed, the write-up/photo extravaganza will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day.
On Benghazi and the Right-Wing Media’s Never-Ending Quest for “Smoking Guns”
by Reed Richardson
After more than a dozen public hearings, nearly fifty Capitol Hill briefings, and the production of tens of thousands of pages of documents for five different overlapping Congressional committee investigations—the cost of which for the Pentagon alone has run into the millions of dollars—the American people learned this past week that they now, finally, will be able to get to the truth about the White House cover-up of Benghazi. Or, at least, that’s how it’s been predictably portrayed by the right.
But if anything is a sure bet in politics these days, it’s that the latest scandalous detail about the Obama administration seized upon by conservatives will end up being just as devastating as the previous scandalous detail seized upon by conservatives—which is, of course, to say not at all.
Nevertheless, Fox News—who else?—led the charge last Wednesday, bringing reliably outrageable Sen. Lindsay Graham on the air to be reliably outraged about White House emails shaken loose by a conservative watchdog group’s lawsuit. Not mincing words, Graham called the email from White House aide Ben Rhodes “damning,” and soberly claimed: “We now have the smoking gun.” (If you want an accurate take on the importance—or, more accurately, lack thereof—of these emails, I’d recommend reading these takedowns at Mother Jones and Slate.)