Slacker Friday


I've got a new Think Again column called "Everything is Beautiful: The Fox Business Network," here.

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA.

Hey, Doc --

"The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing/ Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the Crimson King."

(Note: I heard a snatch of this classic bit of prog-rock mopery while watching Children of Men on cable the other night. I can say with absolute confidence that it's the only time I ever listened to any of this song while I was completely sober. God, it sucks. And I'm old.)

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click -- "Black Town" (Rotary Downs): Once again, I have neglected my moral duty to engage space aliens in devising crop circles all over Iowa that would explain to the world how much I love New Orleans. And, by the way, the good folk at 'OZ are raising money these days. Love them back, please.

On Wednesday, I watched most of the latest piece of performance art from C-Plus Augustus. I particularly like the little giggle he threw in to emphasize his point about World War III. I believe my initial reaction is correct -- somebody get a f**king net.

The Landlord's getting a little heat about his Springsteen man-love. I've come to adore the new record. Brendan O'Brien is the best thing that's happened to Bruce since he dumped Vinnie Lopez as his drummer. The orchestrations are just gorgeous; "Your Own Worst Enemy" sounds like the cut Springsteen would have contributed to Rubber Soul. But, for me, two Who shows -- 1969 at Holy Cross in Worcester, and a 1971 show at the old Music Hall in Boston -- still take pride of place. And as for "the person who did something better than anyone else ever did something" issue, may I be so bold as to nominate this gentleman?

I like almost everyone involved in this little by-play, both personally and professionally, but the whole discussion makes my teeth itch a little. An overwhelming majority of professional reporters are not working for high-minded journals of opinion. They're covering zoning boards in northern Wisconsin, or cops in Kansas, or high school football in the Florida Panhandle. They're doing God's own work for very little money and almost no benefits in a sclerotic industry run (in the main) by bean counters, who treat newspapers as though they were widget plants -- and in a country that decreasingly values their work. Merit pay, my ass, kids. Most professional reporters would rather have decent dental coverage.

On the other hand, and with all due respect to brother Clemons, but I'd rather be strung up in a shipping crate at Bagram than sit through this gathering of useless meatsacks.

A couple of years back, some FBI types showed up at my local library. They demanded the library turn over to them several computers because a terrorist threat against Brandeis University allegedly had been made from one of them. The librarian, Kathy Glick-Weil, told the Feebs to get stuffed and to come back with a warrant next time. This was briefly a thing in the national media; poo was briefly flung out of The Monkeyhouse. But, the important point is that the Feebs slunk away without what they came mau-mauing in to get. Anyway, as you can see from this story, Kathy's leaving the library and moving to Pennsylvania. I just thought I should note upon her departure that Kathy showed more patriotism than ever existed in the crepuscular office of our rancid succubus of a vice president, more courage than ever existed among various bedwetting, child-stalking bloggers, and more integrity than exists in our spavined political elite. She certainly showed more spine than the Democratic Senate is demonstrating. What a spectacle -- the lords of the Information Age, a passel of cowards, buying indulgences on a medieval scale from a legislative body lousy with careerist poltroons. When the White House lawyers showed up at their doors, bearing nothing more than some illegitimate "directives" based on crackpot legal theories and some sweet anti-regulatory sugar to sprinkle on top of the urine cakes, not one of these titans of the new economy was brave enough to do what Kathy did, alone, in front of armed federal agents. Good on her, always.

(And before the screeching gets too loud, let me remind people that my son was a student at Brandeis at the time, and worked in residence life, so that if the worst happened, he'd have had to deal with it up close and personal. I had skin in this game, and I'm proud of her for doing what she did, so y'all can piss off now, OK?)

Actually, get two nets. Left of France? At this point, I'd be happy if the country was left of South Dakota.

On behalf of all Red Sox fans, I'd like to tell the team's management how happy I am that they now owe J.D. Drew only $56 million. I'm starting to come around on merit pay for general managers.

$56 million.

Jesus wept.

Name: Lt. Col Bob Bateman
Hometown: Washington, D.C.

We used to call them "bet your bars" actions. When I was a young lieutenant, this phrase was in common use, and it described the act of doing what you believe to be right, but for which you might lose your commission. (Second Lieutenants wear one gold bar, First Lieutenants wear one silver bar, and a Captain wears two silver bars.)

I no longer wear "bars." The rank insignia for a Major is a gold oak leaf, while that for a Lieutenant Colonel is a silver oak leaf. The latter is what now adorns my uniform at various points. (Some say it is actually a fig leaf, because that's what Adam used to cover his prick. I am not sure I disagree.) But the concept behind "betting your bars" remains the same regardless of the insignia.

Last week, in the Chicago Tribune editorial to which Eric linked here at Altercation, I did pretty much the same thing. I stated my personal opinion, not that of the DoD, and hoped like hell that the system might eventually back me up. Today we read from numerous sources that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates apparently feels the same way.

"Gates said the mission of many contractors in Iraq -- to protect their U.S. government employers regardless of other consequences -- was 'at cross-purposes to our larger mission in Iraq.'

"The larger mission includes persuading 'more and more Iraqis [to] see the coalition forces as their friends and their allies,' he said.

" 'As I see it, right now those missions are in conflict, because in the objective of completing the mission of delivering a principal safely to a destination, just based on everything I've read and what our own team has reported, there have been instances where, to put it mildly, the Iraqis have been offended and not treated properly,' Gates said."

Just one week later, I can breathe again. That is nice.

(Those who care to see what happens when I get my Irish up [Mom was a Kelleher] may be amused by the comments sections. Apparently my "subtle" button broke in the "off" position.)

I wonder what Wikipedia will say about all of this?

On an unrelated note, this son of Cleveland is not really jazzed about the Tribe heading back to Boston.

You can write to LTC Bob at

Name: Jim Reuss
Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyoming

I know that your beloved Mets are not playing, but then again, neither are the hated Yankees. Could you find it in your baseball-loving heart to jump on either a Cleveland or Colorado bandwagon? The playoff games have, generally speaking, been good games to watch, and a Cleveland/Colorado series promises to pit two teams playing at their peak. It should be good to watch.

Name: Ian Wilson
Hometown: Los Angeles

Once again the Democrats let Bush and the Republicans off with no accountability, underscoring the message that Republicans can act with impunity and there will be no consequences. Astounding. Apparently it doesn't matter who you vote for. You get the same result.

Name: Beth Harrison
Hometown: Arlington, VA

"Conservative Journalistic Ethics" -- sounds like a 21st century oxymoron, or perhaps something you're searching for on a snipe hunt. Or perhaps it is the equivalent of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) -- three lies in one.

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