I'm not here


I am unnecessary again today, and not because I'm lazy. It's because nothing I could write would justify you reading me instead of Glenn Greenwald.

Just skim the below real quick -- OK, spend a little time with Boehlert -- and then get thee over to Salon and read all the way to the bottom, clicking on as many links for which you have the time and patience, including especially Jane Hamsher and Atrios. ... It's brilliant, brave, and tenacious reporting if you take your time and read all the way to the bottom, as far as I can discern. ... The evidence Glenn has amassed has many implications for the current state of affairs in American journalism and democracy, virtually all of them extremely, deeply disturbing. (And let's throw in this: Twenty rules of modern American journalism, here.)

And here's Boehlert:

In a four-month span this year between July and November, ABC's Nightline produced more than 230 separate news segments covering a kaleidoscope of topics, and not one was about events on the ground in Iraq. For 18 straight weeks (or one-third of the calendar year), Nightline effectively walked away from Iraq. Read more here.

Alternative Universe Quote of the Day: What if Marty Peretz had been born a Muslim?

Marty Peretz, 7/5/05:

What vision of a good society do the ideologists of Israel proffer to their boosters all over the world? Really nothing, except another miserable state like the others in the Jew Middle East. The new fellow travelers lack even the feeble extenuations of the old ones.

Posted by M. Duss

From TomDispatch:

Douglas Frantz, former managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, as well as two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Catherine Collins, former Chicago Tribune reporter -- their book Nuclear Jihadist is just being published -- offer the single most striking account of the making of the "Pakistani" bomb yet written. Having followed the trail of A.Q. Khan, the "father" of that bomb, for the last four years, they use rare early letters Khan wrote to a friend and associate to make a simple but extremely powerful and original point, which they put this way: "Pakistan's nuclear arsenal -- as many as 120 weapons -- is no more Pakistani than your television set is Japanese. Or is that American? It was a concept developed in one country and, for the most part, built in another. Its creation was an example of globalization before the term was even coined."

This piece, in essence, is an explanation for why the Bush administration's attempt to militarize nuclear policy makes no sense. You just can't launch a war against an underground global business, one that, until recently, the administration showed a remarkable lack of interest in pursuing in more peaceful ways in Pakistan, including by questioning Khan himself. "The so-called Islamic bomb," write Collins and Frantz, "turns out not to be an indigenous product, but instead a little bit American, Canadian, Swiss, German, Dutch, British, Japanese, and even Russian." In this stunning piece, you can follow Khan as he gathers all the parts that would make the "product" together, writing, sometimes in crude code, of the arrival and departure of, among others, Germans, Japanese, and Russians eager to sell their products. ("Hopefully, in winter there will be ducks from Russia" was a typical bit of Khan code.)

A.Q. Khan would soon enough turn his talents to another kind of globalization -- marketing his nuclear wares, and those of his associates from Europe, Asia, and South Africa, to a new set of clients, including those in North Korea, Libya, and Iran. But here you can view his Nuclear Wal-Mart in its infancy.

Alter-reviews: Gram Parsons-o-rama:

Gram Parsons Archives, Vol. 1: The Flying Burrito Brothers Live at The Avalon 1969

This release from the newly formed Amoeba Records is a two-disc, 27-track set of Parson (and his band, the Flying Burrito Brothers) opening for the Grateful Dead over three dates in 1969 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. One show, recorded on April 4, has never been heard before in any form. The performances were unearthed from the Grateful Dead vault. The sound is not bad, and the band is uneven, but it's here and a lot of people can't get enough. The Amoeba page for the record is here.

Twenty Thousand Roads: The Ballad of Gram Parsons and his Cosmic American Music

Meanwhile, David N. Meyer interviewed hundreds of both famous and obscure people who came in touch with the late singer and songwriter to produce this biography -- including, for the first time ever, someone who witnessed Parsons' drug overdose and gives the author a moment-by-moment-by-moment-by moment account. The Amazon page is here.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Mark Alterman
Hometown: Alma, KS


I'm trying to start a movement. I'd appreciate it if you could read this and let me know what you think.

Name: Peter Riggs
Hometown: Danbury, CT

"F**cking" in the phrase "F**cking brilliant" an adverb? I don't think so. It's acting as an adjective by modifying "brilliant," which is either itself an adjective ( e.g., that's a brilliant idea), or an interjection (Wow/Brilliant! I won the lottery).

Eric replies: You know, you're right. For it to be an adverb, it would have to be "brilliant fucking," which is not obscene, as far as I am concerned, but is probably profane.

Name: Tim Kane
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Well, finally, some of my Catholic education coming through.

My understanding from those tender years, from my high school literature teacher, is that a profanity is when one says something that is profane - in other words saying God's name in vain, whereas an obscenity is when someone says something obscene -- in other words saying words like "shit", "fuck", "mother fucker", "cock sucker", "piss". The examples called out in the legislation are all examples of obscenities, not profanities.

Normally I wouldn't point this out, but if they are going to belabor the public registry with such legislation, they ought to get it technically correct. Of course, this too is only technical since the legislation "defines" what a profanity is. I suppose, out of interest of separation of church and state, reference to profanities in legislation might be proscribed from the Constitution, or at least one could challenge such, but then that too would be just a technicality.

The reason I am aware of this, and only faintly so, is that I recall a differentiation between Catholic and Protestant literature. As I recall, Catholics, being less "puritanical," couldn't use profanities but had free license with obscenities. Protestants however had greater license to use profanities but were more proscribed from the use of obscenities, or something along those lines. All of this is remembered in only the vaguest of terms, but I have ever since considered obscenities and profanities as different in kind. This legislation clearly relies upon America's puritanical cultural inheritance. One could hardly imagine something like this showing up in legislation in a European country south of the Alps.

Having said all of that, I find it both profane and obscene that this kind of legislation with this kind of language shows up in the public register of the United States of America.

Name: David Shaffer
Hometown: Harleysville, PA

Doc --

One more note on Joe Klein's idiotic column.

Klein writes: "As Dodd said, when the President takes the oath of office, he (or she) promises two things: to protect the Constitution and to protect the nation against enemies, foreign and domestic. If the Democrats can't find the proper balance between those two, they simply will not win the presidency."

Here is the oath of office that the President takes:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Conspicuous by its absence is ANY mention about protecting the nation. The President's role is to defend the *Consititution*, and the principles contained in it and the laws derived from it. Klein (like many other people, unfortunately) apparently does not understand this simple concept. The United States was founded on the idea of the rule of law, and that no one, not even the President, was above the law. Breaking the law, even for the purpose of *defending* us, is still a violation of this oath.

The bitter irony of the Bush Presidency is that throughout the course of our nation's history, people have sacrificed their lives in order to preserve our ideals; Bush (and his enablers like Joe Klein) would have us sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve our lives. That's not leadership -- that's cowardice.

From Time's reader comments:

Paul Daniel Ash:

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right.

Let me get this straight.

1. You are a Time columnist.
2. You wrote an article on FISA.
3. You don't have the time to get it right.

Gee, most of us don't have the luxury of saying we don't have the "time" to do our jobs...

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