Nora returns. What can I say...I love cats...
Nora returns. What can I say...I love cats...
After I retired from Warner Bros. our French affiliate did a showcase for their hottest local band at the Conga Room in L.A. and I was as eager to check them out as I would have been had I still been working at the company.
NoJazz totally rocked the house with the eclectic mix of world beat, trip hop, electronic and jazz traditions. They're huge all over Europe, in an underground sort of way, but Warners never picked them up for America. In fact, they stopped making jazz albums altogether.
You know what the best thing about Republicans debates is for me? Frankie "The Hair" Luntz always comes on FOX News to give some more of his patented marketing wisdom. You know, the kind of wisdom that allows you to spin all your negatives into sounding--but not really being--positive? There are few in the media who make my job easier. Watch Frank give his interpretation of his dial polls during the CNN/YouTube GOP debates:
If you want to understand what Republicans are looking for: passion, principles and pithy commentary. And the candidate that stood out yesterday was Fred Thompson.
Pithy, but not factually-based, right, Frank? And as far as passion, I've seen people without pulses that seem more passionate than Fred Thompson, but maybe you go for that type. And try as I might, I couldn't find a single other person who agreed with your assessment that Freddie of Hollywood won the debate. Curious, that.
However, my favorite part is when Luntz apologizes to Sean Hannity for being one of those last desperate few who support GWB:
They're afraid that as they watch--and these people, Sean, are watching both Republican and Democratic debates; I'm not surprised that they're getting very high ratings--They look at what the Democrats offer and to them, it doesn't sound-and I'm going to use this word deliberately-it doesn't sound American. To the Republicans. And they're nervous that the Democratic candidates will take the country backward. Point one. Point two is that they want to see the Republicans with a genuine focus and they find that the Democrats have been more precise in terms of issues than their own candidates have been and third, and I apologize for this, Sean, they're very disappointed with President Bush. Republicans who voted for him are disappointed in what has happened over the past two years.
Think how disappointed those of us who never voted for Bush are in them, Frank.
Several alert readers have sent this story to me this morning, and as an apparent token believer within the Left-Wing Blogosphere (tm) all I can say is,
It's actually funny until the last couple minutes. Then it makes baby Jeebus cry.
Sanctimonious and pandering. Plus all the "Sir" mumbo-jumbo. He's talking directly to the white suburban patriarchal Republican big-daddy-in-the-sky...that the thousand-dollar-a-plate-boys all know and love. Bless his heart! (That is how Southern women say a familiar two word put-down containing a common expletive).
Thanks to Tengrain and Darkblack for the tips.
There has been no shortage of books chronicling the dystopia that is the Bush Administration. And in this job, I've read quite a few of them. None of them have made as powerful an impact as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. I promise you, it will change how you look at government policy and responses. It also finally sealed forever, for me at least, the coffin of the utter bollocks of Friedman economics. Listen to me carefully, you free market fanatics: FRIEDMAN. POLICIES. DO. NOT. WORK. PERIOD. His version of 'free market economics' STIFLES democracy. They create an oligarchy that is the opposite of democracy.
Don't believe me? Author Naomi Klein gives compelling examples in history proving that "Disaster Capitalism" has been the foundation of government's actions and how none of it has been done for the benefit of the populace.
Tisk, tisk, tisk...The NRO tried a Friday night document dump to gloss over their own reporting scandal:
Dumped into the Friday afternoon cycle is this cryptic post on National Review Online from editor Kathryn Jean Lopez concerning material that appeared on their military blog, preposterously named "The Tank". The issue is that one of the bloggers on The Tank, W. Thomas Smith, was forced to acknowledge that his accounts of witnessing various Hezbollah activities were incomplete: giving the impression of being eye-witness accounts, but in fact cobbled together from eye-witness accounts, extrapolations, assumptions, and other unspecified sources' accounts of what they had seen...
This is the kind of "reporting" that has launched a thousand right-wing "outrages" when its subject matter is insufficiently good news from Iraq (e.g. Bilal Hussein). But even stranger than the quasi-apology is Smith's defence of his methods and actions in "reporting" on Hezbollah --read on
(h/t via Thers@Atrios)
Will Howard Kurtz check into this? I'm sure Malkin and her crew are poised to pounce on the NRO, aren't they?
And then there's this...
Bless their little partisan hearts, RedState.com and Human Events wants a do-over debate. (Warning: Link takes you to RedState.com)
Do you think they've been talking to Jackie and Dunlap?
Boys, boys, boys....how can you face al Qaeda if you can't face a few tough questions?
Every Monday night at 10 o'clock, Iranians by the millions tune into Channel One to watch the most expensive show ever aired on the Islamic republic's state-owned television. Its elaborate 1940s costumes and European locations are a far cry from the typical Iranian TV fare of scarf-clad women and gray-suited men.
But the most surprising thing about the wildly popular show is that it is a heart-wrenching tale of European Jews during World War II.
The hour-long drama, "Zero Degree Turn," centers on a love story between an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim man and a French Jewish woman. Over the course of the 22 episodes, the hero saves his love from Nazi detention camps, and Iranian diplomats in France forge passports for the woman and her family to sneak on to airplanes carrying Iranian Jews to their homeland.
On the surface, the message of the lavish, state-funded production appears sharply at odds with that sent out by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly called the Holocaust a myth.
In fact, the government's spending on the show underscores the subtle and often sophisticated way in which the Iranian state uses its TV empire to send out political messages. The aim of the show, according to many inside and outside the country, is to draw a clear distinction between the government's views about Judaism -- which is accepted across Iranian society -- and its stance on Israel -- which the leadership denounces every chance it gets.
Just weeks after wildfires ravaged the tiny California border town of Potrero, they face yet another threat of annihilation, this time by Blackwater USA, who wants to open up a huge 824 acre training facility. The residents are so outraged by the local planning board initially approving Blackwater's plans that they organized a recall election for those board members that voted for Blackwater.
But it is a dispute that goes beyond the rights and wrongs of a large company intent on developing farmland. Opponents fear that it will be the first step towards Blackwater moving in on the potentially lucrative and politically sensitive job of patrolling the US-Mexico border. While Congress has authorised increased recruitment for the Border Patrol, the federal agency that polices the border, many have asked how it is going to be paid for and who is going to do the training. Enter Blackwater West.
"We're here by happenstance," said Brian Bonfiglio, Blackwater West's vice-president. Bonfiglio, who was previously in charge of security for Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, was dispatched a year ago from the company's base in North Carolina to oversee the expansion west. "We're a training company. This site was not chosen because of its proximity to the border. The Border Patrol has not approached us and we're not chasing Border Patrol contracts. If the government said here's a contract we want you to bid on, I can't say what the company would do."
Bonfiglio may not be able to say, but the company's president did. In his book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, journalist Jeremy Scahill recounts company president Gary Jackson's May 2005 appearance before the House homeland security committee. "Just as the private sector has responded in moving mail and packages around the world more efficiently," Jackson told the committee, "so too can Blackwater respond to the customs' and Border Patrol's emerging and compelling training needs."
If anybody in the White House press room these days deserves a raise it's Helen Thomas, who continues to be the only journalist in the room to consistently uphold the duties of the Fourth Estate. Thank you Helen for keeping it real ever since landing a job at UPI all the way back in 1943.
Transcript and commentary after the jump.