Monday, November 28, 2005

Marc Maron and Morning Sedition are Ending It

I hoped this would not happen, but Air America Radio is ending Morning Sedition. Marc Maron just announced that Dec 15 will be his last day.

Air America Radio has offered him an evening slot "in Los Angeles" (they're still negotiating so questions like "would that be national but broadcasting from LA?" are unanswerable: Marc did say such a show may be syndicated elsewhere later in the evening or perhaps on weekends). Mark Reilly stays -- his show will be from 5-7 a.m. eastern time, and Rachel Maddow will take over from 7-9 a.m.

That's really too bad. Maron, who I liked pretty well as a standup, really came alive as a radio voice . The scripted bits were hilarious and his unscripted patter was striking, thoughtful and often guffaw-inducing. Funny but not idiotic stuff for early mornings.

I have to largely agree with the WFMU blog (they did two good posts: one, and two about Air America's schedule). AAR is changing to all-earnest and mostly boring all the time. I can't stomach Randi Rhodes' mainly mindless screeds. Jerry Springer sounds lke he's lecturing second graders--and putting them to sleep. Al Franken more and more drifts into civics lessons and dull-as-dust Goo-goo features. I like Sam Seder fine but Janeane Garofalo (who spends lots of time making useless blanket pseudo-psychiatric pronouncements about conservatives) makes me hit the off button. (I often like her in other contexts but not in political commentary and especially not on her radio show).

Ok, Franken has a big name, and all the others have their followings I'm sure. But to keep all those people who either make me snore or wretch, yet get rid of what I find a really funny and insightful stretch of radio indicates I'm not the listener they're looking for--and I'm a firm Democcrat and pretty liberal. If they are losing me then, well ... I just hope their current market research is better than their startup business plan.

There's really no reason for me to listen to AAR anymore. Virtually all the news and commentary on AAR I get days or hours earlier from the bigtime media or blogs. There are few moments when anyone there is saying something new to me or in a compelling or original manner.

Preaching to the choir is fine but don't all use the exact same friggin arrangements and please vary the tempo a little bit.

I wish AAR well. I'll probably sample them now and then but I hope to God they get their act together. If they think they're gonna take on rightwing clowns like Limbaugh with a snoozefest, they're insane. When I was in radio wasteland recently I actually tuned in to Limbaugh a little (he was on at least four separate radio stations I could receive at the same location in central Pennsylvania!) and while I didn't enjoy him, I listened for a bit and didn't reflexively turn off the radio like I do when I hear Springer, Rhodes, or Janeane. The guy's a radio entertainer, even though he's full of shit. AAR should at least have learned the lesson by this time that radio needs to entertain -- and started by canning Springer.

(Yes I did write AAR about this, as did many others. Didn't work. )

Bullshitting Us Into a War of Choice

Jacob Weisberg
Powell's old colleagues now defend themselves by saying they didn't know their claims about Iraq weren't true. But the truth is most of them didn't care whether their assertions were true or not, and they still don't.
Mark Schmitt:
The President could have been given every bit of intelligence information available, and he and/or Cheney would have reached the same decision because they would have discarded, discounted, or disregarded most of it. Information that was Useful to that goal was put in one box, Not Useful put in another. Entire categories of information were assigned to the Not Useful box because their source was deemed an opponent of U.S. military action, or assumed to have some other motive.
Harry Frankfurt on Bullshit:
It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.
The Bush Adminstration:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
Well, not quite all of us. The thousands of Americans and tens of thousand of Iraqis who have died won't get a chance to study anything.

Finally, Juan Cole:
Let me finish with a word to W. As for your legacy two decades from now, George, let me clue you in on something--as a historian. In 20 years no Iraqis will have you on their minds one way or another. Do you think anyone in Egypt or Israel is still grateful to Jimmy Carter for helping bring to an end the cycle of Egyptian-Israeli wars? Jimmy Carter powerfully affected the destinies of all Egyptians and Israelis in that key way. Most people in both countries have probably never heard of him, and certainly no one talks about the first Camp David Accords anymore except as a dry historical subject. The US pro-Israel lobby is so ungrateful that they curse Carter roundly for all the help he gave Israel. Human beings don't have good memories for these things, which is why we have to have professional historians, a handful of people who are obsessed with the subject. And I guarantee you, George, that historians are going to be unkind to you. You went into a major war over a non-existent nuclear weapons program. Presidents' reputations don't survive things like that. Historians are creatures of documents and precision. A wild exaggeration with serious consequences is against everything they stand for as a profession. So forget about history and destiny and the divine will. You are at the helm of the Exxon Valdez and it is headed for the shoals. You can't afford to daydream about future decades.
Worst President ever? It's very likely.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Titles of Bob Shrum's Book

Oliver Willis » Contest: Guess The Title Of Bob Shrum’s Book

I wrote a few.

Disobeying the President's Orders

Digby has been on a great tear today responding to the perfidy of Woodward. He's really nailed it -- the DC faux-journalist class is a set of courtiers to the Bush administration.

One thing I haven't seen noted by anyone (though I'd say someone has indeed pointed it out) is that this Senior Adminstration Official or White House Official who implicated Woodward did so just recently-- in the past couple weeks.

This official came forward after two years of investigation, after the grand jury had closed, after indictments were handed down. In fact, they weren't fully forthcoming with the investigation despite Bush's orders.
"The president has always said that leaking classified information is a serious matter, and certainly no one wants to get to the bottom of this more than he does, so that we can find out the truth,'' McClellan said. "The president has said from early on that if anybody has information, they should come forward and share it with those who are leading this investigation.
Whoever this official was, they are at least subordinates who are insubordinate. They didn't do what Bush ordered them to do.

Who does that sound like?

Friday, November 04, 2005


He looks animatronic, she looks undead.

That is the picture as presented on Yahoo news. Link to the photo in context of the page is here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Secrets of Jay Sekulow

Many of us are familiar with Jay Sekulow. He's a lawyer who goes on air to defend -- whether defensible or not -- the far reaches of the fringiest Christian legal faux-theory. has an interesting profile of Sekulow. Good quote:
"Some of us truly believed God told us to serve Jay," says one former employee, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal. "But not to help him live like Louis XIV. We are coming forward because we need to believe there is fairness in this world."
Man, these fundies are strange. And they pick strange bedfellows.
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