Liberal talk radio launches. Franken makes fun of O'Reilly, says satire is protected speech even if the object of the satire doesn't get it. Makes fun of Rush for being a dope fiend. Then my connection with the server bonks. They only got the streaming link up a few minutes before noon, no suprise they are ovewhelmed. Best feed seems to be at the Portland affiliate.
Glenn Reynolds, one of the marksmen who has tried to shoot the messenger instead of discussing what it is that Richard Clarke actually has to say, now wants to ignore him. This morning's InstaPrediction: "Now that it's obvious that this story isn't moving the polls against Bush, it will fade from the radar screen."
Yeah, nobody is going to pay attention to Condi Rice's testimony. Or Bush and Cheney talking to the commission. The White House preoccupation with Iraq prior to 9/11, the lessons to be learned from pre-9/11 terror policy...all just a partisan game. That's the ticket.
Keep whistling, Glenn, you'll be past that graveyard soon.
Steve MacLaughlin has a too-kind review of the crappy show that replaced Tony Kornheiser on ESPN radio.
Liberal talk radio, available on the Internet, starting at noon today. Previous efforts hosted by Mario Cuomo and Alan Dershowitz flopped. This time, the libs at least have a clue and are going with entertainers behind the mic.
Some students at UNCG want to bring Tristan Taormino back to town, and they're raising money for her fee with a "Free Tristan" benefit party, Saturday night from 8-12, at Phases Restaurant and Bar, 329 S. Tate St.
Taormino's likely topic, according to the N&R: the feminization of porn.
UPDATE: I just spoke to Taormino. The talk is on feminism and porn, as noted in the comments below.
Trickle-down fiction writing: News & Record columnist Charles Davenport Jr. notes today (unposted) that a previous column included a quote made up by disgraced USA Today reporter Jack Kelley. No word from Davenport Jr. on whether news that his argument relied on a falsehood led him to reconsider the argument to any degree.
Matt Gross calls out both the Washington Post and his former boss, Howard Dean, for arguing against books and articles by erstwhile insiders. "Presidential politics is by its very nature of historical importance, and the decision-making process that leads to action or inaction by an administration (or a campaign) is not the equivalent of a private conversation between individuals. To suggest that it is-- or that it should be treated so-- is to allow that one's allegiance to a man is higher than one's allegiance to the public that that man serves."
There is something inherently condescending in saying that people don't understand what they are voting for, that if they only read Harper's they would switch from the plutocrats to the Democrats.
So why do people who get screwed by corporate elites keep voting for their agenda? One reader suggests that the DLC Democrats obey the same corporate masters -- but another points out that the DLC emerged as a response to this trend. Race, religiosity, etc. are cited. I'm still looking for more on the "how" of the backlash -- and for ways it can be reversed. How can the Democrats become the party of the people again?
Thomas Frank on David Brooks, from the April Ã04 HarperÃs, cites the Ã¬contradictions, tautologies, and huge, honking errorsÃ® in the Red State/Blue State meme.
Most damning are the straight-up factual errors that undermine Brooks' assertions about the common-manliness of the GOP:
Brooks: Ã¬Upscale areas everywhereÃ® voted for Gore in 2000.
Frank: Ã¬As a blanket statement about the rich, this is not even close to correct. Bush was in fact the hands-down choice of corporate AmericaÃ–(Brooks) gives ChicagoÃs North Shore as an exampleÃ–Lake Forest, the definitive and richest North Shore burb, chose the Republican, as it almost always does, by a whopping 70 percent. Winnetka and Kenilworth, the other North Shore suburbs know for their upscaliness, went for Bush by 59 and 64 percent, respectively.Ã® Frank then cites other Ã¬upscale areasÃ® across the country that voted for Bush.
Re BrooksÃ statement that Ã¬weÃ® blue-staters Ã¬donÃt know what soy beans look like when theyÃre growing in a field,Ã® Frank says, Ã¬the top three soybean producers-- Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota Ã± were in fact Blue states.Ã®
Frank also nails Brooks on spin. Brooks says Ã¬We donÃt know who Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins areÃ–.what James Dobson says on his radio programÃ®; Frank notes that they are right-wing ideologues, not voices of the common man.
Buy the magazine.
Thomas Frank has a brilliant but frustrating article in the April Harper's (not yet online) about his native Kansas, looted by corporate greed but more Republican than ever, with impoverished counties and dying towns that vote overwhelmingly for the GOP.
He recalls the populism and socialism that once defined prairie politics, and defines a "Great Backlash" that leads people to vote against their own economic interests: "It is a working-class movement that has done incalculable, historic harm to working-class people. The leaders of the backlash may talk Christ, but they walk corporate."
What I found lacking was a deeper explanation of why people behave as they do. The big unanswered question is, how did the Democrats and economic progressives lose their ability to communicate with these regular folks, and how can they recover that ability?
Home. Delayed just long enough in Philly to watch GA Tech win in overtime. My NCAA pool would be a perfect 4-for-Final-Four if not for my religious prohibition against picking Duke. I've got UConn beating OK State in the final -- even so I was rooting for St. Joe's on Saturday night, and will pull for Tech next weekend.
My mom is incredible. Tough. I think some of her friends down here picture her going it alone in Canada, just her and terminally-ill Andrew in their igloo, but she really has great support from family and friends up there. Not to mention a Canadian health system that charged them $2,300 for a 17-day hospital stay, and a top-tier neurologist who makes house calls.
Andrew felt well enough yesterday to type a message: "Take care of your mom, she's a nice lady." He laughed when I brought him a beer instead of his nutrition drink. We sat there quietly with Sam the dog. Then I said goodbye, maybe for the last time, told him once more things he already knows about his grandchildren and his stepchildren, and headed for home.
But what did you really think of it, Jeff?
Jarvis: "The New Republic's cover story -- Dictatorship.com, Why the Internet Won't Topple Tyranny -- is a load of naysaying, stick-in-the-sludge, cynical, behind-the-times, underreported, snotty crap."
"Howard Coble needs a serious challenger." Today's newspaper column:
That leaves a good-sized chunk of the republic with one party that enjoys a permanent hold on power. There is no meaningful public debate or conversation on the issues every other fall. It's ridiculous. It's un-American. And it's the Democrats' own fault...
...Coble, a one-time proponent of term limits, has long since put that quaint notion behind him. The seat is his as long as he wants it, and he's gotten very comfortable in it. Too comfortable. The citizens of the 6th deserve a chance to see him work for the job...
...One thing I hope any candidate -- including Coble -- would do is to run as transparent a campaign as possible, writing regularly for the public on the Web, both as a candidate and a member of Congress...
...There are some issues to discuss...
I regret to announce that I will not be running for Congress this year.
I was serious about challenging Howard Coble. In fact, in the first draft of today's newspaper column about our local one-party system, I said I would do it.
But a funny thing happened to my plans for an insurgent, send-a-message candidacy: as I researched the possibilities, I began to feel that it could quickly turn into something more than I can take on right now.
Not that I think I could have won. The last Democrat to challenge Coble got less than 30% of the vote. But the prospect of losing, even losing by a lot, even in a hard-fought race, never bothered me.
What I began to see was that I could run a real campaign, not just make a statement. Some powerful local Democrats were very encouraging to me. One very major national blogger offered to donate free ad space to a campaign, and another offered to work on the campaign web presence.
More importantly, I came to think that I could raise a significant amount of money Ã± from Democrats itching to overthrow this ridiculous gerrymandered system, from people online who donÃt like CobleÃs ignorant corporate-coddling stance on P2P, and from my extensive personal network in
But raising money is an obligation Ã± you canÃt do it in volume just to make a point or run a little protest race. Ditto for trading on the name IÃve built for myself as a columnist, and on the family name that would have helped me as a candidate: I couldnÃt put those up without investing everything I had in the election.
And I know myself: I would have done just that. I could not have contented myself with a message candidacy, not if something bigger was in reach. I would have run hard as hell Ã± fulltime, flat-out. I would have spent hours every day on the race. And that is what I cannot afford to do. Not yet.
There is no great mystery as to my constraints: IÃve got a career to maintain, a young family that needs my time, an ill stepfather, and volunteer obligations from which I cannot walk away. Yes, I had all of those things when I started talking about a run, but as I say, the scope of what was possible looks much larger now than it did two weeks ago.
My intuition that things may be changing, here and in national politics, feels more correct than ever to me. ItÃs time to break the lock on power held by the big-money establishment Ã± which in this case involves both Democrats and Republicans. A lot of people donÃt like the status quo, and they are ready to fight it.
Maybe someone else is at a point where they can take up the challenge this year. IÃm sorry it canÃt be me, and IÃm sorry if IÃve let anyone down.
Overheard in an airport: is Winn-Dixie going to close hundreds of stores in NC and VA?
In a WSJ review (3/26; subscription only), Stewart Baker praises Lawrence Lessig's new book, Free Culture, and says the fight against "big copyright" should be a conservative cause, too: "(I)t looks like a constantly expanding government program run for the benefit of a noisy, well-organized interest group...It's asbestos litigation for the Internet age."
Jeff Jarvis, interested in hearing your review.
I just received, again, an email that is making the rounds about the discovery of fighter aircraft buried in the Iraqi desert. The text says that you won't see this in the media, that the Mig Foxbat fighters are highly advanced, and that it all adds up to evidence that we might just find WMD after all.
Facts: Rummy announced this in August after the July discovery, the planes were Cold War-vintage, and antique jet fighters hidden in the sand in response to the long-standing no-fly enforcement over Iraq do not add up to a media conspiracy to hide progress on finding WMD.
Finally, a letter to the News & Record in support of Billy Yow...of course, it's from Richard Vanderford of Siler City, a guy who routinely writes race-baiting letters to the editor, and who reportedly has been involved in organized racist groups and reportedly has a vanity plate on his car that says "ARYAN"...
Meanwhile, The Guilford County GOP has issued a statement on Yow, but Hoggard says it's weak: "as condemnations go... I give it a 'D-'...I said I would change affiliations unless my party called for Yow's censure and resignation... they did neither. Damn."
Big plane to Charlotte. Small plane to Toronto.
Lake Ontario out my mom's back window. As Nixon might have said, it is indeed a Great Lake. On a clear day you can see the mist from Niagra Falls, but this is not a clear day.
Maybe I'll go smoke a Cuban cigar, they're legal here.
Glad I came.
"The godless Constitution." As Kenneth Davis shows in this morning's NYT, not even Ashcroft understands this basic fact.
"The Constitution is the creation of 'we, the people' and never mentions a deity aside from the pro forma phrase 'in the year of our Lord.' The men who wrote the Constitution labored for months. There's little chance that they simply forgot to mention a higher power."
I made the same point in an August 2003 colum (read the whole thing after the jump): "The Constitution is a bracingly secular document, ordained and established by We the People, without a single appeal to God or invocation of the traditions and principles of any religion. (It is dated 'in the year of our Lord' 1787.)...The framers of the Constitution did their work deliberately."
Micah Sifry quotes erstwhile Dean webmaster Nicco Mele on the imperative to continue what the Dr. started: "We all felt the muscle flex of this new progressive movement and were stunned by it. Everybody wants to carry that forward."
He cites Zephyr Teachout, too: "The power of the MeetUp model is that it generates these steering committees and draws out volunteers with talents, something that never happens with canvassing operations or direct mail."
Scott Yost on the front page of The Rhino Times re Billy Yow: "Yow may have gone too far-- leaving other Republican Party members little choice but to distance themselves from Yow and his theater of the bizarre." (3/25/04 issue, online Monday).
Better late than never. Meanwhile, Yow fans abound in the paper's call-in Sound of the Beep pages.
You might need to break this down further, by issue. That seems more in tune with blog-logic. Do you put Jeff Jarvis on the Wingers page when he's writing about Iraq, and on the Southpaws page when he's writing about free speech? Glenn Reynolds one day on one site supporting gay rights and the next on the other site supporting gun rights?
I have a terrible tape of this show by the Jerry Garcia Band. Had it forever, don't know where I got it. If I tweak all the settings on my car stereo I can make the music sound OK, although the treble is still painfully bright sometimes, and there's nothing to be done about the raggedness of Jerry's voice, which is not the pleasing raggedness one sometimes heard from him but the limited-vocal-ability raggedness of which he was all too capable. But it's worth listening to for the guitar-and-piano breaks in the middle of "Second That Emotion" and "They Love Each Other." Each solo/jam session is several minutes long -- yesterday the good part of "They Love Each Other" took me all the way from Patterson Ave. to PTI on I-40 as I drove to pick up the Mad Genius for lunch, and last night at the tail end of rush hour the middle of "Emotion" took me down N. Elm from First Pres to Buffalo Lake. Each is emblematic of a particular style of Jerry solo: "Emotion" his happy, rambling, lyrical sound, "Each Other" the kind of dramatic build and release he practiced on the Europe '72 version of "Morning Dew." In a better world, cleaned-up versions of this show, or at least the good parts, would be available on CD and played before major sporting events.
UPDATE: Kismet. You know those really cute girls that used to come out for Dead shows? I married one. Lisa was at the late show at the Capitol the same night my tape was recorded -- I imagine her a month before her 18th birthday, too bohemian to be jappy but too hygienic to be a twirler...wow, now I've got this huge crush on a vision of my own wife long before I met her...
King Kaufman: "I'm not such an expert on college hoops that I can't learn something from Billy Packer once in a while."
Packer is a sourpuss, but he knows the game. Praise from Packer means something -- when he says something nice about Rashad McCants, I pay attention, as opposed to Dookie V, who says nice things about everyone all the time over and over and over again.
Plus, when Packer takes himself too seriously, natives of ACC-land can just picture him standing beside Jim Thacker in a checked sport-coat, hum a few bars of "Sail with the Pilot," and laugh...
A pair of Picassos from the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNC-Greensboro
Paolo as Harlequin with Flowers
color etching on paper
What would happen if a CNN anchor subtitled his book "Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Conservatism?"
Rush Limbaugh would need to pop an extra Oxy to contain his excitement. Glenn Reynolds would trot out his "Oh, that liberal media" headline. Michael Powell might deem it obscene. And they would be right to complain -- equating conservatisim with terrorism and despotism would be a vile thing to do.
So why does Sean Hannity get a pass on his book, "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism?"
William Safire urges the Supreme Court not to punt on the Pledge of Allegiance "under God" issue...then he punts.
The only thing this time-wasting pest Newdow has going for him is that he's right. Those of us who believe in God don't need to inject our faith into a patriotic affirmation and coerce all schoolchildren into going along. The key word in the pledge is the last one.
The insertion was a mistake then; the trouble is that knocking the words out long afterward, offending the religious majority, would be a slippery-slope mistake now.
The justices shouldn't use the issue of standing to punt, thereby letting this divisive ruckus fester. The solution is for the court to require teachers to inform students they have the added right to remain silent for a couple of seconds while others choose to say "under God."
If only Safire had the courage to end his column after that semicolon in the second graf quoted above...or for that matter to argue that "under God" belongs in the Pledge. Solomonic decisions don't work -- that's the point of the split-the-baby story, that it forced a real solution, right?
I've read that Jack Kelley's made-up stories in USA Today were less important than Jayson Blair's fiction in the NYT because the Times is a much more influential paper. I'll buy that to a certain degree...
...but Salon's John Gorenfeld shows that Kelley's fabrications were especially pernicious, and got plenty of attention: "What stands out in Kelley's phony oeuvre...is the way he trafficked in particularly explosive stereotypes. And what makes him emerge as a more dangerously misguided figure than his tarnished peers -- Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass among them -- is how influential those tales became."
One story, for example, was repeated repeatedly by Tim Russert and picked up by columnist Armstrong Williams, another became fodder for anti-Semites (worth clicking thru the ad.)
A powerful behind-the-scenes Democrat well-wired into Raleigh tells me that challenging Coble is not a priority, because he's unbeatable and running against him would divert money from winnable races. That's the logic of gerrymandering translated into the financial terms, the lingua franca of politics.
A well-respected elected official and Democrat whooped with excitement when informed of my possible run, said it's a great idea.
Both this official and a politically-connected Republican cousin of mine say that Coble will raise so much money so fast if he's challenged that he'll likely end up with more in the bank than he has now.
Local blogging, national issue: Hoggard discusses the possibility of uniforms at Aycock Middle School.
Hoggard praises Gary Palmer for pushing the City of Greensboro to adopt domestic partner benefits: "Greensboro has a large, vibrant and involved gay and lesbian community and they are quietly taking their rightful seat at the civic table."
N&R: "Only a handful of North Carolina cities offer the benefits -- Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro among them."
Marketing via blog -- a PR missive from this morning's email: "I'm writing to inquire about how we could work together to add information about Cisco Press titles on your tech blog...I could provide you with chapter excerpts of our titles in PDF form so that the readers can download a sample chapter from your site as a way to bring readers to your blog."
It's a good pitch -- offering content, playing to traffic-lust. And even though I'm going all meta and writing about the phenomenon of blog marketing more than the marketed product, they still get a mention and a link. Success.
Unofficial campaign literature from the 1972 Jesse Helms-Nick Galifianakis race -- the one in which Jesse used the slogan "Helms: He's one of us" against the Durham native with the Greek name. (Galifianakis made news last year after the murder conviction of novelist Michael Peterson, arguing that his friend was innocent and that Mrs. Peterson had actually been killed by an owl.)
Ed Hardin: "If Maryland, State and Carolina canÃt get out of the first weekend of the tournament, then how good was the conference to begin with?"
"Morals Week" at UNCG, scheduled to coincide with gay "Pride Week." The College Republicans exercise their right to free speech, and demonstrate yet again that this freedom is no guarantee that said speech will be particularly clever. Although designating the Wednesday of the abstinence program "No hump day" is pretty funny. Special guest: Mike Adams.
At least the College Republicans aren't suggesting that gays be banned from Guilford County -- they leave that to the good folks across the mountains in Tennessee.
Josh Marshall runs some damning quotes from former Clinton/Bush anti-terrorism official Richard Clarke, and says: "The first months of the Bush administration were based on a fundamental strategic miscalcuation about the source of the greatest threats to the United States...That screw up is a reality -- their inability to come clean about it is, I suspect, is at the root of all the covering up and stonewalling of the 9/11 commission...But screw-ups happen; mistakes happen. What is inexcusable is the inability, indeed the refusal, to learn from them."