I’ve got a new “Think Again” column about the proliferation of right-wing politicians being hired by network news and cable news networks to beat up on liberals, who when hired, also tend to beat up on liberals. It’s occasioned by Bush adviser’s Matthew Dowd turn as the host of ABC’s “This Week” and it’s here.

And I did a Daily Beast post this morning about that crazy Republican fund-raising memo which, if you haven’t seen, you really must. It’s here.

Also I am one “ridiculous” Jew. Read on.

Shall we do a few more links?

So Charlie Rangel is finally being forced out of his egregiously inappropriate position as chair of the Ways and Means Committee, in charge of writing the nation’s tax laws, in light of the fact that he has no interest in following the nation’s tax laws. I wrote a column, an unusual one for me, back in December 2008—right after the election—calling on Obama to ditch this corrupt old hustler. That’s here. I said back then:


But while Schumer’s bequests to billionaires may be morally objectionable and politically poisonous, nobody has so far questioned their legality. Rangel, by contrast, has demonstrated a clear contempt for the law as well as his constituents. What’s more, he has all too effectively played the part in which conservatives have typically cast big-city liberals for decades: corrupt, hypocritical, concerned only for their own comfort and providing for their families at the expense of a gullible and exploited public. Need I repeat that this is the man who sits atop the most powerful tax-writing committee in Congress? It is almost as if the Republican Party had commissioned a modern-day Dr. Frankenstein to create a monster designed to undermine Barack Obama’s claim of "change."


Yay, me, but more importantly, congrats to the New York Times which owned this story both from a news and an editorial perspective. Today the editorial page wonders, if Charlie Rangel is telling the truth about offering to resign way back when, why the hell didn’t Nancy Pelosi accept? My guess is that Rangel is not telling the truth. Also, it’s sad to say but it’s been an awful week for New York’s black politicians. Rangel and Paterson have both proven corrupt (thanks again to the Times for its fine reporting there too; in both cases reminding us why we need newspapers.) And while it’s not New York’s fault, Harold Ford made a jerk of himself too–like Sarah Palin–he drove his own poll numbers way down the more people got to know him. And a big boo to Barbara Lee of the Congressional Black Caucus for raising the false specter of racial discrimination regarding Rangel, here. Now there’s an organization that has really lost sight of its mission and become a blight on the people it pretends to represent, spending more money on junkets and parties for its members than it does for scholarships for worthy black students.

Ok, guess who’s on the cover of Time as America’s most influential historian? You got it, Tom Hanks. What an odd coincidence, I must say, that Hanks is plugging a new ten part gazillion-dollar HBO series, “The Pacific” and is owned by the same media conglomerate that owns Time Magazine.

Myra’s Friend

Ever see “Drunk History?” This is Part Three and boy is it funny. I don’t know about the rest

Want to see Loudon Wainwright III play “The Krugman Blues” in The New Yorker’s offices? It’s here. Personally, I was offended for Loudon when the magazine’s profile of Paul Krugman cited some other crazy other guy’s Paul Krugman YouTube song. And yet like a good sport he shows up anyway. Whatta guy…

Also, I almost forgot this wonderful piece by the college-age daughter of a friend of a close college friend of mine. (Got that?) Anyway, read it. It will put you in a good mood even if you’re not a Bruce person.

Thumbing through Vanity Fair, I looked in the back to see what my favorite celebrities were reading.

Goldie Hawn?

You guessed it. “Remembrances of Things Past.”

You heard it here second.


Sal on the new/old Hendrix:

Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous releases have for the most part been more than listenable. Dating back to some of the earliest ones soon after his death in 1970, albums like War Heroes, Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning, though doctored a bit by studio musicians, have offered fine glimpses of Jimi’s genius. They never seemed hastily slapped together. The most recent release, Valleys Of Neptune is no different. Actually, it’s damn good.

Recorded after 1968’s Electric Ladyland, and featuring Billy Cox replacing Noel Redding on bass, these sessions are a transition from the Experience to the Band Of Gypsys, which would feature Buddy Miles replacing the otherwordly Mitch Mitchell on drums, who absolutely shines on these recordings. You will be familiar with most of the tunes, but not necessarily these versions. "Stone Free" and "Bleeding Heart" sound better than ever, while unreleased tracks like "Crying Blue Rain," Lullaby For The Summer" and the title track are revelations for those like me, who never delved too deeply into Hendrix bootleg waters. The rerecord of "Fire" is the only track that slows things a bit. I see no way to improve on the original.

On the other side of the Hendrix coin is the umpteenth reissue of his first three records. This time by Sony/Legacy who now owns the catalogue. Repackaged in fold out digipaks and now including bonus DVD documentaries, they look nice but seem unnecessary if you have any one of the last 2 upgrades.

Sal Nunziato,

The Mail:

Name: Michael Green
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

The Washington Post’s descent into hackery and David Broder’s descent into senility have long saddened me. Remember Broder "reporting" the Democratic caucus would unload Harry Reid, then every member of the caucus signing a letter to the editor saying no, then Broder saying that didn’t mean anything? Sigh.

The Post once had a publisher, Phil Graham, who was very much part of the school that the media and the establishment went hand in hand–tight with JFK and LBJ. But as I recall the story, Time was interviewing him for a cover story and he was asked why he kept a right-wing columnist, George Sokolsky, and he replied that every paper should have "one shit columnist."

OK, I am all for diversity of opinion. It’s even permissible, in my opinion, for someone to be consistently wrong in making predictions. But when you are consistently caught in outright lies, whether you are a corrupt, conservative fool like George Will or a relentlessly moderate Alzheimer’s victim like David Broder, you shouldn’t be writing. The editor who publishes their work is best described by paraphrasing a conservative Bostonian named Charles Emerson Winchester III, as in MASH: that editor is an inflamed boil on the buttocks of journalism.

Name: Ben Vernia
Hometown: Arlington, VA

Harry Binswanger (The Mail, Feb. 26) perfectly, if unintentionally, captures what’s wrong with Ayn Rand’s half-baked theories.

He takes a phenomenon–altruism–which one can readily observe on a daily level (e.g., the merge lane), and proudly recites Howard Roark’s paean to individualism as the proper basis for society’s need for cooperation.

Look at Roark’s proudly self-centered nonsense; however, an architect, he says, "needs clients but does not subordinate his work to their wishes;" anything less is a master/slave or victim/executioner relationship. Now isn’t that a bit hyperbolic? Even within the tiny little worldview that is libertarianism, that speech is mind-blowingly unrealistic.

It’s this kind of thinking that got us the Great Recession, courtesy of that other great Randian, Alan Greenspan.

Libertarianism’s one virtue is its recognition of the powerful role of self-interest in human affairs. Its biggest vice is its utter failure to likewise acknowledge that the "better angels of our nature" exist or that altruism and community interest can and should be encouraged.

Although libertarianism casts itself as a (or the only) realistic philosophy, its failure to actually observe and integrate how humans actually interact with each other results in a politics which is ultimately faith-based.