Slacker Friday


We have a new "Think Again" column here called "No Dhue Diligence for Bill O'Reilly."

That's all from me.

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"The simple things you see are all complicated/I look pretty young but I'm just backdated."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "Big Old Country Fool" (Wynonie Harris) -- Another week has passed without my climbing K2 to plant a banner at the summit explaining how much I love New Orleans.

Short Takes:

Part The First; Now that people can caucus in casinos in Las Vegas, if they don't make the Clinton supporters go stand near the craps table, I'm going to be very disappointed.

Part The Second: On Sunday, it's going to be fun to watch Russert explain why a candidate named Pass Line got 12 percent of the GOP vote.

Part The Third: Come a cold morning a year from now, some pundit is going to come on my electric television set to explain how the inauguration of a Democrat as president of the United States is the best thing that ever happened to Rudy Giuliani's campaign.

Part The Fourth: Note to Senator Obama: Do you honestly want your campaign to argue from Ronald Reagan in defense of a delegated management style? Will you be sending anyone to Tehran with a Bible and a cake any time soon?

Part The Last: One day very soon, I expect to see John Edwards' suit walking down the street by itself, like Claude Rains' pants did in this movie.

The Clintons appear to have forgotten that, when Bill got his ass impeached for being a priapic idiot, a lot of Democrats supported him because the alternative was utterly unthinkable. Now, it seems to be fast dawning upon them -- and particularly upon Clinton pere -- that there are a number of Democrats who either a) are too young to remember the golden era that was the 1990s, or b) are old enough to remember them all too well as the years of an overly punitive welfare-reform bill, the Defense Of Marriage Act, the several dozen new federal death penalty offenses, and those elements of the Patriot Act that had their birth during the Clinton administration, particularly in the 1996 Antiterrorism act. This seems to be causing the Clinton campaign no little consternation, since it can be assumed that Senator Clinton signed on to the Iraq war out of a similar level of political calculation. Unfortunately for him and her, we now have a Democratic primary electorate that sees such calculation as unseemly at one end and as cowardly at the other. The Clintons are unable at this point to triangulate the circle. Meanwhile, Bill's losing his sh*t to reporters and Hill's resorting to cheapjack electioneering that's getting laughed out of the federal courts. And, it should be noted, that the born-again non-triangulator who was Bill's vice president was right about the war, loudly and publicly, and he was ridiculed for it while Senator Clinton was still working with the protractor trying to fashion a position whereby she could argue that she wasn't really handing the armed forces over to the whims of feckless vandals. The day is past, I think.

Name: Stephen
Hometown: Kokomo

Dr. Alterman,

I was reading Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography, and a paragraph jumped out as being especially relevant to today. She says that Franklin set aside time to study the press, especially the opposition press. It was important for him to know what people were thinking and doing. In her own words, she explains why: "When this information is filtered through other people, or selected with a view to what a few individuals think the President should know, the inevitable result is that this source of information is dangerously curtailed or misleadingly slanted. This is fatal to the formation of far-reaching decisions." How things have changed!

Name: Doug
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia

In every presidential election, one question that gets asked of candidates (always by TV talking heads) during primary season is "who will you support if you don't win?" Boy am I sick of that idiotic question! First of all, who cares? Second, it's never been answered and never will be.

Name: Don Schneier
Hometown: Springfield, MA

Adam Smith's first major work concerned Morality, in which he promoted Sympathy as the most important Virtue. He never repudiated this view, so only someone who lacks intellectual integrity could cite Smith as the validator of their selfish greed.

Name: Brian Geving
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

You mentioned the documentary series Pioneers of Television on PBS, but I've been watching their 3-part documentary The Jewish Americans instead, which I find much more fascinating. I think that this could be the story of any minority group in America struggling between identity and assimilation, but it is a much bigger American story because of the Holocaust and the creation of Israel. Just the fact of 6 million Jews being slaughtered in Europe, turning the American Jewish community from a backwater Jewish outpost into the largest in the world changed this country's history enormously.

As a Jew and a historian, I'm sure that you already know most of what is in this series, but as a non-Jew I've learned a lot. You can find more about the series here.

Name: Dawn
Hometown: Orlando

Remember in When Harry Met Sally the Carrie Fisher character is always wincing in dismay "You're right, I know you're right" when Sally confronts her with the facts about dating a married man? I always have the same reaction when reading letters like your reader Jordan's. It just kills me that I have to pick a candidate based on the MSM, and let them win. But yes, having any Dem win is better than which Dem wins, and all of the Dem candidates are actually fine with me, though to varying degrees, so maybe it is not so bad.

Name: Myra Mass
Hometown: Stamford, CT

Hey Eric, it's your friend Myra here. Sorry I led you astray ... in fact Jorma's benefit for Sinai Free Synagogue is in Mount Vernon, not White Plains. But thanks for mentioning me.

Name: Kevin Bartner
Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

Was that the season that contained the episode where Oscar was sleepwalking? I remember "I don't like pits, pits, pits. In my juice, juice, juice." Still cracks me up.

Name: Tom
Hometown: Tom does not want to say.

Dear Mr. Alterman,

Please pack your bags and move immediately to China, North Korea or Cuba where your brand of facist socialism is thriving. You are not fit to breath the same air as free people. Pardon me while I go throw up on a copy of one of your communist screeds. There, I'm back now and feeling a little better. Now get going and please surrender your passport on your way out so you can't come back. Have a nice life!

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