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April 14, 2007

thank you sam seder

You may get the impression that I'm a fan of the AM radio.  You would be correct.  As I no longer live in a town in which one spends time in one's automobile, I have a clunky little earphone rig which I wear when I'm between subways and buildings.  The rig is often accused of being something really cool.  "No, it's just a radio."  "Oh."

Consequently, I've followed the career of Sam Seder pretty closely, first on Air America's Majority Report, and then later on his own show, in the 9a - 12p slot.  While I suspected that Sam was better suited for his original timeslot (his smart, strident humor goes down easier after work than it does before), I am saddened that the new management has decided to kick him down to Sundays only.

He started with no radio experience, and he grew into a fine, fine host.  I hope the future holds more radio for him.

In the meantime, I'd like to share one of Sam's finest moments -- a television appearance in which he declares War On Christmas.


Posted by mrbrent at 11:01 AM

April 13, 2007

it hurts to feel for don imus

I don't want to waste too many words sticking up for Don Imus.  Yes, what he said definitely does not rise to a bare level of civil discourse and may even have hurt people's feelings, and his employers, as "persons" under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, have their whole free corporate will to hire and fire who they please, for whatever reason, no matter how silly.  So, yeah, whatever.  Hopefully something like this will happen once a week so America's fires of righteousness will never diminish.

But as long as we're shitcanning radio hosts for what they say on air, Media Matters would like to bring to your attention a thing or two.  I'm not sure how many of these rocket scientists work for Les Moonves, so hopefully the other corporate overlords will prove just as fire-happy.

Sadly, you know who truly got screwed over in this newsweek-eating controversy?  NJ Governor Jon Corzine, whose SUV was run off the road on the way to the Imus/Rutgers summit.

Posted by mrbrent at 12:28 PM

i only delete emails in the event of inebriation

Further to the news of White House abrogation of the Presidential Records Act.  This is, as usual, not the sexiest story in the world (Bush IT Dudes Incompetent!), but it's implications are, as usual, the deepest yet of systemic and willful loopholing of US law by the Bush Administration.

And for once, the go-to for the concise, lucid, detailed explanation of what actually happened, and why it represents willful loopholing, is not an online resource but rather from one of those paper things that your grandparents used to "read".  I very heartily recommend Dan Froomkin's column from yesterday if you feel the urge to get up to speed on this one.  He hammers the story into relevance like it was a nail, and his strident tone would almost be inappropriate, were this administration not singularly and blatantly predicated on avoiding prosecution.

Go print media, you lovable old dinosaur.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:25 AM

April 12, 2007

kurt vonnegut

I've only read four or five of his umpteen letters, but his passing deserves comment.  Kurt Vonnegut took a very novel, synthesized approach to fiction and turned it into the status quo.  All the metafiction aficionados and the surrealists and the smarty-pants should be lighting a candle today.  He certainly was not alone in these efforts; he is/was a member of a murderer's row of American fiction.  But he a was persistent and wise figure in whose shadow today's novelists grew up.

Bah.  Don't like being serious.  But still, a few related links of note:


Vonnegut lived about a dozen years longer than the average American male, due to his chain-smoking and rage and beach house.  We will miss him.

Boing Boing has a very comprehensive aggregation of tributes that are all worth your while.

And best of all it a deftly chosen excerpt Maud Newton posted two months ago in response to DoJ censorship overreaching:

(There is the word “motherfucker” one time in my Slaughterhouse Five, as in “Get out of the road, you dumb motherfucker.”  Ever since that word was published, way back in 1969, children have been attempting to have intercourse with their mothers.  When it will stop no one knows.)

Certainly not anytime soon.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:15 AM

the pod wants you to leave those nice white rich kids alone

"Verisimilitude" is one of those words sitting dead in my blind spot.  I keep using it and thinking I know what it means, and then every couple years I have to look it up again.  I blame my parents, who let me learn vocabulary by reading books and not by watching the TV like all the other little kids at Ruthlawn Elementary.

This is only of any interest because I was thinking that the John Podhoretz of the NY Post should maybe consider calling the victim in the now-dismissed Duke lacrosse players/stripper case a "nappy-headed ho".

I suggest this just so that we may have a little "verisimilitude" in our day's media consumption.  Or maybe I should just call it "serendipity" or "irony".  Or, "And what is up with airline food?  Can anyone explain this to me?"

I just want pointing fingers, all the time.  It'll boost our self-esteem.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:50 AM


This does not just strain credulity.  This runs credulity off the road, over the cliff and onto the rocky beach below.

Congressional investigations have subpoenaed the Department of Justice for further information on the purging of the US Attorneys ("no, not the emails you already gave, the emails you're hiding behind your back").  Meanwhile, the White House reveals that the emails may be "lost".  Oops!

Obviously, this ploy was devised by that portion of the Bush braintrust over the age of 50, whose perspective is solidly of some years ago, when information was kept on paper and thus easily "lost".  Fortunately, computers have so many electromagnetic moving parts that a near-Luddite like me can poke around on your harddrive and find caches of just about everything you've ever surfed/emailed.  Sure, you can wipe the whole thing with a big big magnet, but the information that someone's dog apparently ate is comprised of emails, which go from your box, down those pipes and tubes of the Internets and then to the server of whatever network you're emailing into.

Bottom line being: one laptop with a fried harddrive is an accident.  An entire wiped server is what is generally called "obstruction of justice".

Posted by mrbrent at 9:10 AM

April 11, 2007

also, our neigborhoods derail presidential bids

I'm surprised that this realization took me a few years.  I used to think that the most unfortunate coincidence of my wedding was that it happened on the same day as the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Parker-Bowles (with all the awkward phone sex connotations that accompany).

Not so unfortunate, comparatively.  Come to find out, I got married on the day of the second anniversary of that rabid mob those stage-managed partisans pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.  Which was, while trumpeted by patriotic Americans as the ultimate symbol of our military victory (over a virtually disarmed country), about the hollowest and most cynical empty gesture of the occupation of Iraq to date.

Which is exactly what I want to be reminded of as I celebrate my continued wedded bliss.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one waxing nostalgic for purposeless chest-thumping.  Please give a read to this very excellent contemplation of the other successes of the war, from an Iraq bureau writer for the increasing important McClatchy Newspapers.  Successes like:

We have the biggest number of the bodyguards in the world.

Gallows humor is alive and well in Baghdad.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:36 AM

war czar wanted -- no experience needed

This could be your lucky day.  The White House is hiring:
The Bush administration is seeking a "war czar" to oversee the U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I know what you're thinking.  Don't we already have a Secretary of Defense?  And a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?  And, Heaven forfend, a Commander-in-Chief?  Apparently, the attentions of these individuals are preoccupied with more important issues than administrating wars, like avoiding subpoena, and who knocked up that dead model.  And don't forget the Don Imus and all those torches and pitchforks!

Don't worry if you need time to brush up your resume:

At least three retired four-star generals, the Post says, have been approached by the White House, but all declined to be considered for the high-powered position.

Personally, I find it fascinating when the administration realizes that there are not enough Cabinet-level positions to adequately share all the blame.  Hire me up an Executive Vice Scapegoat, stat!

Posted by mrbrent at 10:51 AM

April 10, 2007

look forward to years more of this

Hey, look!  Another "I've been busy" post!

It was my wedding anniversary, so Monday and Tuesday I stayed away from a computer.  I know, I could've said something.  We are a bad blog.

On the bright side, being away from the computing machine kept me from commenting on Don Imus' invasion of Iran, or whatever he did.

Though, turning on the CNN and seeing endless live coverage of the I-man's manipulating of pre-war intel did make me wonder exactly how bored you all are.

Tomorrow is Wednesday!  There must be an unmined hump-day reference out there somewhere!

Posted by mrbrent at 5:46 PM