Slacker Friday


I have a new Think Again column, "Torturous Reporting on Waterboarding," here, and a new Nation column, "Of Lies, Catfights, and Rock 'n Roll," here.

Quote of the Day:

"You people are really nuts. ... There's kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now -- there's better things in this world to be thinking about than ... who got a tip and who didn't get a tip." -- Iowa diner waitress to national press after they questioned her about the size of Hillary Clinton's tip. Here.

From TomDispatch:

Susan Faludi, author of The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, gives the Hillary Clinton "piling on" controversy a striking and original twist. As we all now know, in the wake of the last Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton was accused of playing the "gender card," of choosing to be the "don't pick on me" victim of the male candidates on that stage.

Faludi starts by pointing out that all such "victim" charges were conjured from the slimmest evidence, or none at all, but, she adds: "Keep in mind: The gender card is always played. It's even played in presidential campaigns where all the candidates are men.... Given the political culture -- and for reasons embedded in our history -- that card usually involves a morality play in which men are the rescuers and women the victims in need of rescuing."

As it happens, she adds, in a brilliant reframing of our presidential campaign moment, "The indignation of Clinton's opponents may have a motive more genuine than their desire to defend feminism. They are mad because they feel robbed. Clinton, in fact, didn't play the victim card. The gender card she played was the one every successful recent male presidential candidate has played -- the rescuer card."

In this remarkable piece, Faludi, then, digs deep into the history of that "rescuer card" -- both before and after the attacks of 9/11 and explores just how the political deck of playing cards has been reshuffled when Hillary turns out not to be auditioning for the female "victim" role as presidential candidate but to be a "feminist John Wayne."

Slacker Friday:

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc:

"They brought her things down to the bay/What could I do?"

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Nervous" (The Iguanas) -- Once again, I have found myself unable to develop the skills to teach a chorus of 80,000 mynah birds how to tell the world how much I love New Orleans.

Hey, Dersh, about this newly developed sweet tooth for government sadism? I realize you're something of a rookie in the rip-out-America's-soul cavalcade of dancing lunatics, but you're really going to have to do better for an argument than, "Hey, whaddya mean? It worked for the Gestapo!" Poor Ken Burns. All that work for nothing. And, no, I don't want to hear from you further on the subject. Go away.

Meanwhile, did you know that Bill and Hillary Clinton often had Leon Czolgosz over for tea? Oh, my, all the bats are out of the belfry again. Scroll down to see a blurb for this sodden mass of rank and delusional slander from, well, another sodden mass. Sad, really.

OK, I know we're all frustrated with the invertebrate congressional majority and its barely protoplasmic leadership, to say nothing of the fact that it seems to be hard for the putative front-runner among the presidential aspirants to take a firm position on, well, America. Personally, I think we should stand Harry Reid out in the garden to scare away the crows. But enough, please, with the Ron Paul bulls**t? The man is a kook. He is not guilty by association of being a kook because an entire exaltation of kooks follows him around. He is a kook because he's one of them, and he came to his kookhood through the same Martian theories of constitutionalism common to the guys who run around Michigan in camo, waving their AKs and waiting for the final battle with Kofi Annan's robot zombie army. I assure you there is nobody in this field who is more of a kook than Ron Paul -- not even on the GOP side, where the standards for such things are stretched almost to the breaking point this time around. I don't care if he's opposed to the war. I don't care if he raises $100 million online. He's not paradigmatic of anything except the traditional retrograde libertarian American crackpottery that should have died with Robert Welch. The redoubtable Dave Neiwert, who's forgotten more about the flow patterns of these foul backwaters than I'll ever know, has all the details here. Send your money to Dennis Kucinich, for pity's sake, if you're that honked off. The shiny-keys fascination in the blogosphere with a 21st Century Bircher bespeaks a certain immaturity, and we've had quite enough of that, thanks.

P.S.: I noted on Olbermann's show last night that Tom Brokaw, the acclaimed historian who is credited with discovering World War II, has a new book out about that underanalyzed period in American history we like to call "The Sixties." Contributing to the project apparently are such noted avatars of the Age of Aquarius as Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, as well as Tim Russert, who apparently relates his experience at Woodstock where he and some other yobs from Buffalo arrived in the mistaken belief that the Bills were playing that weekend. There is not enough brown acid in the world to make me care about this.

Name: Sam Nixon
Hometown: Boise, Idaho

Dear Mr. Alterman,

So one-quarter of America's homeless population are veterans. WOW. I can't think of a more shameful display of gratitude.

At the risk of sounding redundantly un-American, I have to wonder if the trillions of tax dollars which have been spent igniting and then trying to moderate a foreign civil war would have been better spent on America's neglected demographics - e.g. the homeless, the working poor, etc.

Name: Scott Ferguson
Hometown: Birmingham, AL

LTC Bob,

My own experience as a college student visiting the American Cemetery was equally as moving as this young man's. It is literally impossible to appreciate the magnitude of death and sacrifice represented by these young men's graves but an inkling is enough.

Perhaps we should remember as well the wives, children, parents, children and best friends who also experience very real sacrifices each time a soldier is lost.

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