American Culture

Nota Bene #42

Link of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

It’s Judgment Day for McCain” at the Wall Street Journal Thomas Frank writes: “Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain called for a commission to ‘find out what went wrong’ on Wall Street. … Mr. McCain has a special advantage to bring to any such investigation — many of the relevant witnesses are friends or colleagues of his. In fact, he can probably get to the bottom of the whole mess just by cross-examining the people riding on his campaign bus.” [Emphasis added.]

Meanwhile, George Will has had it with John McCain: “For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are ‘corrupt’ or ‘betray the public’s trust,’ two categories that seem to be exhaustive — there are no other people.”

Naomi Wolf at AlterNet: ” I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints. I heard her echo Bush 2000 soundbites. … I heard her tell George Bush’s lies — not McCain’s — to the American people, linking 9/11 to Iraq. … I saw that she was even styled by the same skillful stylist. . . who turned Katharine Harris from a mall rat into a stateswoman and who styles all the women in the Bush orbit — but who does not bother to style Cindy McCain.”

At National Review Online, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker writes: “Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League. .. I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.”

In “Calls rise among Republicans for Sarah Palin to step down from GOP ticket,” Thomas DeFrank and David Saltonstall quote a Republican operative: “You needed the Jaws of Life to pry a coherent sentence out.”

In “New candidates?” at Politico, John Harris and Jim Vandehei write: “In their rhetorical thrusts, and policy agendas there are few if any stark differences between McCain’s campaign this year and George W. Bush’s in 2004, or between Obama’s and John F. Kerry’s.”

In “Cash for Trash” Paul Krugman writes: “Some skeptics are calling Henry Paulson’s $700 billion rescue plan for the U.S. financial system ‘cash for trash.’ Others are calling the proposed legislation the Authorization for Use of Financial Force, after the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the infamous bill that gave the Bush administration the green light to invade Iraq.” [Emphasis added.]

More Thomas Frank: “When done right — or wrong, depending on how you look at it — deficits remove liberal options from the table. Suddenly there’s no money for building bridges or inspecting meat. Not surprisingly, running up a deficit is a strategy favored by the [conservative] wrecking crew for its liberal-killing properties.”

Naomi Klein, interviewed by Wajahat Ali, concurs: “Free market ideology is never applied with any consistency. It’s not a real ideology, it’s a tool for the elites to enrich themselves. And it ebbs and flows according to its usefulness. When bubbles are inflating, it’s useful to believe in laissez faire economics. … When the bubble bursts … then suddenly the ideologues sort of go dormant. We don’t hear from them.”

In “Financial Crisis Likely to Further Erode U.S. Influence” at IPS, Jim Lobe writes: “‘One would think that an economic crisis like this would produce a re-ordering of [military] priorities,’ [said Andrew Bacevich]. ‘But I’m not sure that it will because there seems to be this strange unwillingness on the part of our political leaders to simply acknowledge that American power has limits.'”

Hooman Majd in “The Iran Factor” at Huffington Post: “Dick Cheney’s late-summer visits to Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan may have been intended as a strong statement of support for the former Soviet republics and a warning to Russia, but it was toothless gesture. . . that did little other than annoy the Russians. The truth is, had he instead visited Tehran, he would have truly frightened them.” Maybe, after he leaves office, he can get a job with Monsters, Inc.

In a New York Times article, “Spitzer Offstage,” Danny Hakim writes about deposed New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s home life: “Assemblyman Mark Weprin, a Queens Democrat who has been close to the Spitzers, recalls the former governor telling him at the time: ‘It’s been horrible living a Greek tragedy.’ He added: ‘But what am I’m going to do?'”

At the London Times, columnist Ariel Leve writes about the environment: “I feel bad that maybe I’m not doing enough. But then it occurred to me – I’m doing more than most. I’m not having children. That’s about as environmentally friendly as it gets. Putting less people on earth does far more to prevent global warming than buying organic blueberries.” Would that more people would acknowledge that simple truth.

Political artist Shepherd Fairey at Radar on his ubiquitous Obama poster: “I think it was an Associated Press photo, but I’m not sure. … My whole thing has always been don’t ask permission, just do it.” Bloggers worry about stealing images for their posts, but he’s getting away with it on a grand scale.


Super Bowl-winning quarterback Doug Williams in the New York Times sports magazine, Play, on running quarterbacks: “It does a defense good to know that if a quarterback gets out of the pocket, you have a chance to give him a shot. … You don’t want to have your quarterback make a living running, because he won’t make a living.”

At the Detroit Free Press, Michael Rosenberg writes about the Detroit Lions, who just fired their beleaguered team president, Matt Millen: The Lions should offer the job of team president to. . . Joe Dumars [star basketball player turned executive with the Detroit Pistons]. Do [I] really think Dumars knows enough about football to draft players and sign free agents? No, I do not. But I think Dumars is smart enough to realize that. [But] he would immediately tell everybody in the organization. … they would build around defense, toughness, work ethic and teamwork.”

Manny Being Manny Department

At the Los Angeles Times, Bill Plaschke writes on the Dodgers making the playoffs: “After spending two months taking Dodgers fans to a place of excitement and wonder, on Thursday night he finally gave that place a name. ‘Mannywood!’ he shouted. … Acquiring Ramirez for prospects is already one of the best trades in Dodgers history. [But] Manny Ramirez is not Mr. Right, he is only Mr. Right Now. He is a brilliant, Hall of Fame hitter. He is also a 36-year-old man with aching knees who will want the Dodgers to pay him until he is beyond 40.”

4 replies »

  1. You hit an inside the park home run with this one, Russ, but it only would have been a triple if Manny hadn’t found himself sitting on the ball in left field.

    I’ve been wondering what all the Detroit Free Press posters will say now that they can’t sum up their feelings with “Fire Millen”.

    I don’t have any kids, so i’ll assume that Al Gore loves me. And i drive an ’87 Toyota pickup that long ago payed its resource debt…and still gets close to 25 mpg (while allowing me to carry things and drive over other things). Oh, and my blueberries come from the side of the road or the woods, so i’ll assume that they’re organic.

    You don’t need to pay meat inspectors if you know the person who raises it…or kill it yourself. Bridges, on the other hand…wait, are bridges “liberal”?

    Limits to US power…say it ain’t so. (btw, Bacevich’s book is excellent)

    Thanks for an outstanding installment of my favorite S&R regular post.

  2. Thanks, Lex. Yeah, they don’t have Matt Millen to kick around anymore in Detroit. In baseball, if the Dodgers are eliminated from the playoffs, I’ll be segue-ing from Manny to a football player. I think I’ve got one lined up.

    I have a 14-year-old boy, but I think the most courageous (okay, suicidal) act a politician could make is to advise the public to try to confine their families to one or two kids. Over-population is at the root of most of our problems.

  3. But, Rus, if we don’t reproduce prolifically, then there won’t be enough Christian soldiers to stop the Islamofascist hoards banging at freedom’s gate! And the issue brings up another issue: the people who should be reproducing reproduce less, while those that probably shouldn’t have more than average.

    Millen is like the Nixon of Detroit sports, but the deeper problem is starting a new five year plan every two years.

    Chad Johnson?

  4. Manny being Manny: i have no idea how he managed to send that pitch last night as far as he sent it. Had he missed, the commentators would have been talking about taking bad swings, yet there it went…however many rows back into left-center. Maybe the LAD aren’t done just yet. But Manny’s press conference outfit that put plaid and polka dots together on the same shirt…well, Manny’s still Manny.