You ain't so big, you just tall, that's just about all

I've got a new Think Again column, “Another Unnecessary War? Another Media Misstep?” here, and a new Nation column, “The Post-Imus Conundrum,” here.

Meanwhile, what's the craziest thing in the new Time?

Is it Nelson Mandela (the most significant/inspirational figure alive on earth, perhaps) on ... Oprah Winfrey?

Or William Kristol (the wrongest person alive on Earth, about Iraq at least) on ... why the next president will have to listen to guys like William Kristol about Iraq?

We note also for the record that Kinsley also is in the magazine, but on a totally non-political topic, and so Time's columnist count this week is, once again, right-wing Bush-loving Iraq hawks 1, the view represented by approximately 70 percent of Americans 0.

And by the way -- and this is a comment more on the entire MSM rather than Time per se -- look how many “business” leaders are among the celebrated 100. I counted 15. How many labor leaders? (Clue: if you're counting only Americans, the number is the same as pundits representing the views of 70 percent of the country. If you throw in South Africa, you get a total of one.)

(Uh-oh, there I go again. Every time I write about Time, I now have to ask myself, What if Joe Klein wants to fight about it? What if Justin Fox wants to blog about it? What if Ana Marie Cox wants to send her husband [New York Observer party-reporter Chris Lehman] to write a letter to Romenesko about it? What if ...)

This just in: National Review is worth reading, 2x:

First, because Bruce Bartlett is absolutely right, here:

To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative. John Edwards is the most liberal, and Barack Obama is somewhere in between.

Given the views of the Democratic base and the enormous unpopularity of the Iraq War, it is a real act of courage for her to steadfastly refuse to say her vote for the war was wrong. Of course, like all Democrats and most Americans, she opposes the war today and favors a rapid pullout.

That is why the easy thing for Sen. Clinton to do would be to just throw in the towel, admit her vote was wrong, and move on. And that's why it is an act of courage for her to refuse to do so. If conservatives weren't so blinded by their hatred for her, this would be obvious.

On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Sen. Clinton's policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton's. This is not a bad thing. On trade, his record was outstanding, and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush's. While Clinton raised taxes in 1993, it should be remembered that he cut them in 1997, including a cut in the capital gains tax. On regulatory policy, Clinton was no worse than the current administration and probably better on net.

At some point, politically sophisticated conservatives will have to recognize that no Republican can win in 2008 and that their only choice is to support the most conservative Democrat for the nomination. Call me crazy, but I think that person is Hillary Clinton.

And second, because at least one of its contributors has gone so crazy he is wondering if it might not be a good idea to have a military coup against the elected government of the United States. Thomas Sowell actually writes, “When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can't help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.” These people really do hate America.

Why the new Note sucks in the same way the old Note sucked (but, alas, is nowhere near as crazily comprehensive). Its author believes that the proper link for another Edwards' haircut story is this nonsense instead of Boehlert's far more intelligent, comprehensive and sensible discussion of the story here. And by the way, if you want to compare the quality and intelligence of the insider MSM, with the so-called liberal blogosphere, let's, just as an experiment, compare Simon with Boehlert.

Eric R. on George W. Bush and the presidency of cheerful despair, here.

Congrats to Michael Chabon for this:

Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish author Michael Chabon is basking in the strange glory of being branded an anti-Semitic writer by a creative critic at the New York Post. “It's a badge of honor, I think, to be condemned by one's own people, when you're a Jew,” he told me at the launch of his latest novel, “The Yiddish Policemen's Union.”

“My mother, when she saw this item in the Post, she was kvelling. She said, 'Now you know you've arrived as a Jewish-American writer. When you've been condemned by other Jews as an anti-Semite, you know you've made it.' ”

The followup to his award-winning “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” is a murder mystery set in a world where the Jews settled in Alaska, not Israel -- and are about to get kicked out.

So does he have any idea where the Post's interpretation came from?

“A not very thoughtful and close reading of the book, I suppose.”

(Post critic Kyle Smith did not respond to an e-mail asking if Smith is in fact Jewish.)

Here is Patti Cohen on same.

P.S. Someone tell Jon Stewart “irregardless” is not a word.

From our sponsors:

Olbermann named Beck “Worst Person” for comparing Gore to Hitler

On the May 1 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann named CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck the winner of his nightly “Worst Person in the World” segment for, as Media Matters for America documented, comparing former Vice President Al Gore to Adolf Hitler during the April 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show.

CNN's Glenn Beck to host hour-long global warming smear-fest

A CNN press release declared that Glenn Beck's upcoming “special report” will “deflate what Beck perceives as the media hype surrounding global warming” and “question[] the accuracy of Al Gore's claims in the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.” Beck has repeatedly advanced falsehoods related to global climate change, cited debunked scientists to support his doubts that “we're causing” global warming, and regularly attacked Gore.

In preview of special, CNN host allowed Beck to repeat comparison of global warming consensus to Hitler eugenics

On the May 2 edition of CNN Newsroom, while previewing his May 2 special, "Exposed: The Climate of Fear," CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck told host Don Lemon that he is doing the special because “the scientific consensus in Europe in the 1920s and '30s was that eugenics was a good idea,” adding: “I'm glad that a few people stood against eugenics.” Those comments recall remarks Beck made on the April 30 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, in which he likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. On that program, Beck stated: “Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government.”

Schlussel claimed Media Matters is “Nazi-funded”

In a May 1 weblog post, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel speculated that a Canton, Michigan, resident who had allegedly suffered “extensive” injuries to his hand when a homemade “cherry bomb” he and his friends created accidentally exploded might be Pakistani. Asserting that "[s]ince Muslim terrorists are generally more clandestine -- and occasionally more clever," Schlussel said that the alleged cherry bomb maker and his friends in fact “might not be Muslim.” The only basis she cited for her speculation that they might be Pakistani was that, according to her, there is a “large Muslim Paki, er ... Pakistani population” in Canton. As Media Matters for America noted when Schlussel used the term in an April 16 blog post, “Paki” is a disparaging term for a person of Pakistani descent. Schlussel used the term “Paki” twice in the May 1 post, and said in her second use of the term: “I would be remiss in not pointing out the large Muslim Paki, er ... Pakistani population in Canton. After all, I wouldn't want to disappoint my friends from the deceptively-named, Nazi-funded Media Matters for America.”

Correspondence Corner:

Name: John B
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

So the Wall Street Journal is actually going so far here as to advocate the need for a strong leader who is above the law! Obviously they didn't have Bill Clinton in mind, but GWB seems to fit the job just fine. The whole thing leaves me absolutely stunned, not because there are some power-mad individuals who think this way, but because their existence within the US government isn't the biggest scandal of the day. This is truly fascism and it's time to describe it in those terms. Sure, there is no “final solution” on the horizon (that we know of) but a government with the unlimited power of the Bushies' Unitary Executive has all he needs to impose one at a whim.

Name: Rick Kane
Hometown: Locust Grove, Virginia

I appreciate LTC Bateman's notes and believe that he has correctly analyzed what happened in Tillman's case was a very inside group (the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Special Operations Community) trying to protect their reputation and their immunity from the SNAFUs and FUBARs of the kind that typify lesser military organizations. However, I would still wonder about the involvement of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and their awareness of the inaccuracy in the Silver Star award presented to the Tillman family at SGT Tillman's memorial ceremony.

Name: Joanne
Hometown: Santa Barbara CA

I just saw a poster on campus here that this total fraud [John Stossel] is giving a “lecture” at Campbell Hall tomorrow night and it is “free.” Good thing right-wing propaganda is free these days. I have given a call concerning this appearance and was told it is being backed by the College Republicans -- to quote Gomer Pyle, surprise, surprise, surprise. I will be giving Arts and Lectures a piece of what's left of my mind this afternoon. Keep on truckin'.

Name: Mark D
Hometown: Chicago

It's always struck me that way more people would call themselves liberal if they truly knew what being liberal meant. However, as it is, the cartoonish definition of liberal we hear from mainstream American media outlets is closer to one proferred by some orotund right-wing jackass, rather than a real liberal with some historical insight. Thus the proposed title of your book, Why We're Liberals, seems a bit exclusionary. A better title might reflect a more expansive sentiment, along the lines of “more liberal than you know.”

Name: Alison Smith
Hometown: Fremont, California

Coming to the defense of Robbie Robertson is a little like speaking up boldly for Microsoft, and I agree Robertson sounds a tad snippy in the Salon chat, but if you had been fending off for decades accusations that you didn't write songs you actually wrote (forgive me, “creative workshopping” is not the same thing as actual songwriting), you might be a little insistent on that point yourself. Robertson's ability to keep his eye unerringly on the ball and the bottom line may not be the most attractive of traits, but he is the one who kept the group going when everyone else was boozing, drugging, and getting into car accidents and he's the one looking after the group's legacy now. “The Last Waltz” is inflated and self-aggrandizing, but it's also a superb concert movie and for a long time to come it will serve as many people's introduction to the Band's music. And we wouldn't have it if not for Robertson. I liked Helm's book, too. He's a very appealing guy and you want to root for him, but I can't help thinking that if he had managed to hold on to more of his dough we'd never have heard a peep about songwriting credits or the lack thereof.

Name: Steve Hirsch
Hometown: Ashton MD

“Helm's chief beef is that the one-for-all, all-for-one spirit of The Band was sucked away when Robertson began hogging sole songwriting credit for tunes that had been heavily shaped by communal workshopping.”

Well then it's interesting that when Big Pink appeared “Chest Fever,” “The Weight,” To Kingdom Come," and others are credited to J.R. Robertson and no one else. And “In A Station,” “We Can Talk,” and “Lonesome Suzie” are credited to R. Manuel and no one else.

I've read Levon's book and met him. He's a great guy, but if his chief beef is that Robertson took too much credit, why did he stand by when Big Pink and the “brown album” appeared and the song credits weren't spread around?

Robbie wrote the songs, and he had the foresight to think there would be some value down the road to the Band catalog. He didn't hold a gun to anyone's head and make them sell him their future rights to the music. Levon resents him and runs him down, but Robbie's been fairly low key in responding, but if he stresses he wrote the songs it's his right because he's right.

Name: Stephen Anderson
Hometown: LA, CA

Since you posted about the Band today, here's a story about playing the master tapes I did back in Feb. Check this out, you might find it interesting, I know I sure did. I've been lucky enough to have had my hands on many original masters over the years; I've played the 1" 8 track of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” several times for various transfers, it's pretty cool. With all the new technology I have to keep up with, there is still no way to record things any better than in the past.

When I played a Nat “King” Cole master (3 track) for the first time at Capitol, it was a religious experience: orchestra in stereo on tracks 1 & 3, Nat's vocal, recorded behind some studio baffles at the same time on track 2. I solo'd the vocal, you could hear orchestra leakage, the rustling of his sheet music, and then the most marvelous thing: I heard him smack his lips as he took a breath before crooning the first note. I'll never forget it.