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Archive for July, 2010

Al Gore Cleared Of Groping Charges By Portland Police

Saturday, July 31st, 2010


ASSOCIATED PRESS: The case of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and the massage therapist has been closed. Former Vice President Al Gore was cleared Friday of allegations he groped and assaulted a masseuse in a luxury Portland hotel room in 2006. Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk announced the case was closed Friday with the release of a memo that cited “contradictory evidence, conflicting witness statements, credibility issues, lack of forensic evidence and denials by Mr. Gore.” Senior Deputy District Attorney Don Rees said in his memo that Hagerty and her attorneys were uncooperative, witnesses could not remember anything unusual, Hagerty failed a polygraph examination and she would not say whether she was paid by a tabloid newspaper for her story. MORE

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CINEMA: The Forever War

Friday, July 30th, 2010


DAVID EDELSTEIN: Todd Solondz is a skinny guy with a shock of hair and a droning voice that’s oddly passionate. He writes deadpan comedies, the bleakest I’ve seen; his new film, Life During Wartime, is positively grueling. For better and worse, you’ll never experience anything like this movie. It’s a sequel to Solondz’s 1998 film Happiness, despite the fact that all the roles have been cast with different actors who aren’t much like their predecessors. The original focused on three disparate Jewish sisters living in New Jersey: one a mousy and miserable teacher; one the author of arty, titillating short stories; and the third a chirpy housewife and mother. Happiness was a broad satire with that ironic title hanging over it like a mushroom cloud: There were offscreen suicides, a murder and a subplot about a psychiatrist — the husband of the housewife — who molests little boys. The tone of Life During Wartime fluctuates even more wildly, and I’m frankly still wrestling over its mix of humanism and grotesqueness, of stylized camp and acid realism. The feel is squirmy, malignant, close to David Lynch. It’s largely set in Florida and L.A. and bears no traces of nature: In Edward Lachman’s startling cinematography and Roshelle Berliner’s production design, the world is artificially colored and overbaked. MORE

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SCRAPPLE TV: Getting Lit With AP Ticker

Friday, July 30th, 2010
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New feature: AP Ticker does dramatic readings of song lyrics. We start off with Public Enemy’s “The Enemy Battle Hymn Of The Public.”

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CINEMA: Less Than Zero

Friday, July 30th, 2010


COUNTDOWN TO ZERO (2010, directed by Lucy Walker, 91 minutes, U.S.)

BY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Growing up in the seventies and eighties, primary school students were no longer ducking and covering yet the idea of nuclear annihilation from Russia still lingered as an imaginable possibility. That anxiety seemed to build to a fever pitch sometime around Reagan’s bluster and the 1983 broadcast of the ABC TV movie The Day After, then dissipated as the cold war came to a close. In recent years I’ve taught film appreciation to middle and high school students, where we’ve watched Matthew Broderick in the 1983 nuclear thriller War Games and Kubrick’s masterpiece Dr. Strangelove and students admit they’ve never thought of the possibility of nuclear apocalypse.

Despite the issue being off the public agenda the nuclear threat still exists, something documentarian Lucy Walker (best known for her doc on Amish juvenile delinquency, The Devil’s Playground) wants to raise awareness of in her new film Countdown To Zero. The threat appears very real, you could make the case that Countdown To Zero is among the most important films of the year but you could also say from a critical standpoint that it is not very exciting cinema.

The facts are disturbing, there are an estimated 23,000 nuclear weapons out there, owned by eight different countries. But nuclear weapons aren’t just something in a safeguarded room in the most secure bunkers of power, they’re actually an industry and it appears impossible to keep an entire industry under lock and key. There have regularly been discoveries of nuclear materials being recovered in the black market but as one talking head says, their discovery has always been found by chance. Al Qaeda has declared its desire to procure a nuclear weapon and the collapsed Soviet Empire seems like a perfect place to find one; one speaker declares the potatoes are better guarded. Then throw in human error, like the time in 2007 when the U.S. loaded six armed nuclear weapons to fly over the country or the time in 1995 when Russia misidentified a meteorological satellite and prepared a nuclear counter-attack. Story after story unfolds, and our future seem to be in the hands of a child at the top of a stairwell, juggling knives on roller skates.

But is this a night out at the movies? Told in what has become standard documentary form, Countdown underscores the scary stuff with menacing drones and the hopeful stuff with U2-ish guitar jangle. Director Walker has picked a policy, not a story as her subject and her premise denies any sort of narrative drive that might propel your interest from one end of the film to the other. And who is gong to choose this film as their afternoon or evening’s entertainment? Overwhelming those who are already well-informed and concerned about the subject.

Where Countdown To Zero really belongs is on television, where the unsuspecting masses could accidentally come across it and realize the gravity of our situation. Yet TV rarely does this sort of investigative reporting these days, replacing such newsy programming with the real life soap operas of missing children and unsolved murders, dramatic eye-catching stories that actually only effect a handful of people. It all serves to make Countdown a frustrating film, a huge story presented like mediocre television on the big screen; a complaint that will seem trivial if we all go up in a mushroom cloud.

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Thursday, July 29th, 2010

[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Moody will be discussing/reading from his new book Four Fingers Of Death at the Free Library tonight. The following interview ran back in 2007, upon the release of Right Livelihoods.

sexlibrarian3.thumbnail.jpgBY MAVIS LINNEMANN BOOK CRITIC Rick Moody tackles the hallucinatory pathologies of American paranoia in Right Livelihoods, a collection of three thematically-connected novellas. Each story centers on a paranoid protagonist who serves as unreliable narrator and as a result, the reader spends an awful lot of time wondering just what the hell is going on — which only adds to the ultra-vivid realism and disconcerting familiarity of it all. Add to the mix varying degrees of alcoholism and a drug that helps you recover memories, thwarted obsession and intra -office subterfuge, and a bomb that flattens Manhattan from The Hudson to the East River. In the “Omega Force” former government official/current alcoholic Dr. James VanDeusen investigates what he believes to be a conspiracy of dark-complected individuals trying to infect his island home with disease — after reading a similarly-plotted sci-fi thriller. In “K&K,” office manager Ellie Knight-Cameron finds strange,moodyright.jpg unsigned notes in the office suggestion box and endeavors to determine the identity of their anonymous author.The most compelling of the three is post-apocalyptic, science fictional “The Albertine Notes,” in which journalist Kevin Lee goes on a search for information about Albertine, a drug that allows users to relive memories and has taken the bomb-leveled streets of Manhattan by storm. In the process, Lee himself becomes addicted to the drug, and the lines between reality, memory and hallucination become all but invisible. Moody talks to Phawker about post-9/11 paranoia, his struggle with alcoholism, Sufjan and the new Wilco album.

PHAWKER: Dale Peck opened his review of The Black Veil by saying that “Rick Moody is the worst writer of his generation.” How did you respond to that?

RICK MOODY: I haven’t and I’m not going to now.

PHAWKER: : William Burroughs once said, ‘A paranoid is a man who knows a little of what’s going on.’ Do you agree with that?

RICK MOODY: Definitely. I’m a big Burroughs fan.

PHAWKER: : People keep commenting that Right Livelihoods exemplifies America’s post 9/11 paranoia. Do you think Americans as a whole are more paranoid since 9/11?

RICK MOODY: I don’t know how I would reply to that if we were just talking about rank-and-file sort of people. But I think there’s a sort of cultural, political paranoia that you saw, especially during the sort of election cycle in ‘04. Where the rhetoric gets sort of ratcheted up and the color-coded security alerts change daily, and there’s always all this emphasis on the fact that the next attack is right around the corner and the enemy is among us and all this sort of jingoist pseudo-patriotic rhetoric seems to me to have an element of paranoia, I do sort of feel post-9/11 that there’s a different kind of gradient of conspiracy theory than what we experienced before.


PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: “Khyber Last Show Ever”! It’s not the first I’d heard on the subject, and it likely won’t be the last, but Brian Howard’s compendium of misty, punk-rock-colored memories will likelycp_2010-07-29.jpg stand as the greatest tribute to the Old City club’s colorful history and sad departure. That is, until the last show on this Saturday’s final show. That, friends, will be bedlam, the likes of which you won’t be able to find at Johnny Brenda’s. Take it away, B-How.

Since the Fishtown gastro-pub-cum-rock-club opened in 2006, high-profile indie shows have gradually found their way to the polished venue with the curling balcony, superior sight lines, lofty stage and killer sound system. Which is at least part of the reason Khyber owner Stephen Simons tells City Paper he will stop putting on shows there at the end of the month.

“Philadelphia has always been able to support two top-tier rock ‘n’ roll bars that held about 200 people,” explained Simons last week in an office above the bar. The Khyber was long part of that two-step, with J.C. Dobbs, Upstairs at Nick’s, Upstage and North Star Bar. “Now it’s Johnny Brenda’s and North Star. The punk rock or alternative crowd doesn’t really want to come to Old City now. And I understand that.”

The club’s second floor will continue to host DJ events. But Simons — who, with his longtime Khyber right-hand man, Dave Frank, also co-owns three successful bar/restaurants — plans to shift the focus of the space to its already renowned craft beer taps and a food concept he’s keeping close to his chest. (A music-restaurant hybrid probably wouldn’t work; in 1997, Simons infamously turned up noses trying to host morning brunch and evening rock in the concert area.)

It’s a development that’s sent tremors through the scene despite the fact that until now there’s been no official announcement beyond a note on the website stating, cagily, “There will be no shows at The Khyber in the month of August.” Maybe he was wavering on the decision, or maybe that’s just the way Simons plays things; he was similarly elusive about the club being for sale earlier this year.

This will bring to an end a tradition that predates the Simons family’s ownership and stretches back to the 1970s when Serrill Headley (mother of eventual terrorist David Coleman Headley) ran the space as a bohemian jazz club of sorts — complete with imported beer, Pakistani tapestries, upright piano, upstairs wine bar, a phalanx of buxom barmaids and a purported friendly ghost. Though the scene in Headley’s Khyber Pass was a world away from the grungy glory of the Simons’ Khyber (Stephen’s older brother David owned the club until 1996), both possessed eerily similar senses of community. You can’t help but wonder how much the spirit of (or in) the building itself — purportedly a bar of some sort continuously since 1876 — has shaped its history.

Punk rock! Beer! Terrorism! The revitalization and then Jersey-fication of Old City! It’s all here. Being of a certain (read: young) age and not having grown up here, I don’t have the same associations with the Khyber as many of Howard’s subjects; to me, the place is all beer and filthy bathrooms, the stuff of Friday happy hours. But there are dingy holes in the greater Baltimore/D.C. area where I’ve left pieces of my heart over the years, and I can tell the Khyber has been similarly littered throughout its history. Even after the music’s over, long may it rock.

PW: Ooh, that smell. Can’t you smell that smell? Tara Murtha certainly can. She was there when about a dozen city agencies came crashing down on a South Philly house so crammed with animals and – no surprise here – their feces that neighbors frequently gag while taking out their trash. It’s a wonder you can’t smell the thing roughly a block away, at Pat’s and Geno’s.

072810pwcover.jpgTo capture the real story of 739 Earp Street, we have to go back in time almost a decade. At its center, it’s a story of systemic failure. After all, residents who lived under the foul cloud of the Stink—a horrible stench that radiated from the house for years—and within earshot of what sounded like “a gazillion puppies” had tried to get the city to do something about the house for years and years. Some residents fled, moved out of the ’hood altogether. Some who remained are considering it now, disheartened by the city’s inefficiency.

Fear defines a lot of this story. Cresting on a wave of gentrification that rapidly juxtaposed second- and third-generation South Philly residents with newcomers in the last decade, residents of Passyunk Square say they were scared to speak out about the Stink and about what they see as a “culture gap” or the “inherent tension” between some residents on the blocks.

PW spoke with newcomers—all sources requested to remain anonymous—who believe old-school residents use physical intimidation to send the message that they better not try to shake things up for old-timers. They say efforts to battle the Stink are misinterpreted as personal attacks on the Rotontas or, for that matter, old-school residents in general. Now, many say they’re frightened of retaliation for the raid, though ironically, all evidence points to the probability that it wasn’t even complaints filed with the city’s beauracracy that finally made something happen.

Meanwhile, Fran Rotonta says that she believes she is the target of a harassment campaign.

“So yeah I had the dogs,” she admits, but “they blew it out of proportion, believe me.” But her story is a far cry from what she told PW when first contacted the day before the raid. At the time, Rotonta was adamant that she owned just four dogs and two cats. “And I make the cats go in the kitty litter,” she added.

“It’s bullshit,” she said. “I can’t take it anymore.”

It’s a weird, convoluted tale, and even though the tensions of entrenched tradition versus gentrifying newcomers are a mystery to me, the hostility on all sides comes through in the proliferation of quotes Murtha gatheres. It gives a sense of the claustrophobia in the old neighborhood. Nice work.


CP: Ain’t that a SHAME (I thought it was SHAmE – scrapple, hamburger, American cheese, egg – but no matter). Serving 15 to life. Isaiah Thompson’s heart grew three sizes that day. Bees! Bees everywhere! They’re ripping my flesh off!

PW: Next German techo-themed restaurant: TGI Falco’s. Gaslight Anthem: Putting Jersey in the rear view. Seeing red over green. PW’s interns are not easily impressed.

WINNER: Gotta give props to PW and Tara Murtha for all they went through in making this week’s cover happen. When someone asks her “were you in the Stink?,” she can say, “Yeah, I was in the Stink.” Kudos. 

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WORTH REPEATING: Gulf Eco Damage Overstated?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010


TIME: Yes, the spill killed birds — but so far, less than 1% of the birds killed by the Exxon Valdez. Yes, we’ve heard horror stories about oiled dolphins — but, so far, wildlife response teams have collected only three visibly oiled carcasses of any mammals. Yes, the spill prompted harsh restrictions on fishing and shrimping, but so far, the region’s fish and shrimp have tested clean, and the restrictions are gradually being lifted. And, yes, scientists have warned that the oil could accelerate the destruction of Louisiana’s disintegrating coastal marshes — a real slow-motion ecological calamity — but, so far, shorelines assessment teams have only found about 350 acres of oiled marshes, when Louisiana was already losing about 15,000 acres of wetlands every year. The disappearance of more than 2,000 square miles of coastal Louisiana over the last century has been a true national tragedy, ravaging a unique wilderness, threatening the bayou way of life and leaving communities like New Orleans extremely vulnerable to hurricanes from the Gulf. And while much of the erosion has been caused by the re-engineering of the Mississippi River — which no longer deposits much sediment at the bottom of its Delta — quite a bit has been caused by the oil and gas industry, which gouged 8,000 miles of canals and pipelines through coastal wetlands. But the spill isn’t making that problem much worse. Coastal scientist Paul Kemp, a former Louisiana State University professor who is now a National Audubon Society vice president, compares the impact of the spill on the vanishing marshes to “a sunburn on a cancer patient.” MORE

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Thursday, July 29th, 2010


INQUIRER: The Deferred Retirement Option Plan is the program that pays city employees six-figure cash bonuses when they retire – on top of their regular salaries, pensions, and five years of free health insurance. Rather than get rid of it, city officials have raised property taxes 10 percent and passed budget cuts that will shut down firehouses, whack millions of dollars in police overtime, and shelve plans to hire 200 new cops.In the past 11 years, 6,638 employees have walked out the door with DROP bonuses worth an average of $109,277, costing the city $725 million, records show. Another 2,107 employees – including City Council President Anna C. Verna and five other Council members – are expecting bonuses worth an average of $160,525 over the next four years, or a total of $338 million. […] That’s a billion dollars in payouts in a city that faces a budget deficit of at least $600 million over the next five years. […] Diego and Milwaukee also adopted DROP programs during the past decade. But in San Diego and Milwaukee, the wasteful cash bonuses led to taxpayer revolts, recall drives, and criminal indictments. In Milwaukee, they put the architect of the DROP plan in jail; in San Diego, they voted to rescind the program.  MORE

RELATED: The Billion Dollar Boondoggle

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CONCERT REVIEW: Adler’s Appetite For Destruction

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


brendanthumbnail.jpgBY BRENDAN SKWIRE Last night I went to go see Adler’s Appetite, a band led by original Guns and Roses drummer Steven Adler, backed by members of similarly washed up hair metal acts, including Quiet Riot, Faster Pussycat and Enuff Z’Nuff.  Adler, who has battled drug addiction for a long time and has suffered two strokes, is not only touring GnR’s legendary debut LP Appetite for Destruction, he’s pushing his similarly-titled autobiography, My Appetite for Destruction. So what we’re talking about is essentially a live VH1 Behind The Music: “Steve Adler was sitting on top of the world…until drugs brought him down… and now he’s clean and says he’s playing his best music ever.” You know the drill.adlers-app.thumbnail.jpg

The show was at the Mill Creek Tavern, a bar located in West Philadelphia that could best be described as an anus with a liquor license.  I’ve played there one or two times in the past, and dropped by on rare occasions to see friends play.  It’s never been a pleasant experience: the room is far too large for the bands that play there, the PA system is too small for the room, and the beer selection is barely tolerable.  The Mill Creek was originally an old-man bar, but the owner expanded, apparently without hiring a structural engineer, because some new supports had been put into place, blocking the sightlines. It’s about the wrongest place you could imagine to go see a band.

I pulled up at the Tavern on my bike, and marveled at the fact that they’d managed to squeeze two full-size tour buses (one with a trailer) into the tiny patch of gravel that passes for a parking lot. Inside was a sparse crowd of irony-loving hipsters, and a growing number of 40- and 50-something year old hard rock fans. Or, as I like to think of them: All the people that weren’t killed in the Great White fire.  I have no idea where these people came from, or how they managed to make it into the 21st century without at least changing their haircuts. I watched Adler’s roadies run around setting up amplifiers and tuning guitars, and wondered how it must feel for musicians who once filled football stadiums and civic centers to play in a room with a 300-watt PAadlers-app.thumbnail.jpg system, where you keep bonking your head on the drop ceiling.

I wandered over to the bar during setup and ordered a PBR. They were out, so I made do with Magic Hat. I hate that beer, but not as bad as I hate Budweiser, my only other option. Meanwhile, the band was taking the stage.

I will admit that I was ready to laugh at these guys. And I will also admit that I didn’t recognize the first song, but that didn’t matter, because ADLER’S APPETITE FUCKING ROCKED. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when a bunch of veteran musicians, who’d spent most of their lives doing nothing but rocking, treated the Mill Creek’s tiny little stage like it was Madison Square Garden. These are guys who can rock the house with both hands tied behind their back, and by the time they hit “Night Train”, the second song, that was exactly what was going on. Never mind that both guitar players looked like zombies, or that Chip Z’Nuff’s hair looked like a Harpo Marx wig. Fists were pumping. People were jumping. Sing-alongs, and a collective shout of “YEAAAAAHHH” when Adler popped out from behind his drums with the biggest, doofiest smile I’ve ever seen to ask if we wanted “more motherfucking rock-n-roll” and if so “show us your titties”. Then they launched right into “They’re Out to Get Me”, as Adler barely made it back to the drum throne on time.

Adler’s name kind of describes the musician himself: his giant hair makes him look like a blonde version of Animal, the drum playing muppet.  He’s had adlers-app.thumbnail.jpga couple of strokes, which have left him with a speech impediment, but at the same time an obvious joy that he’s still alive.  Ben Morgan, the promoter, mentioned to me that he doesn’t think he’s ever met a happier musician, and I’d have to agree. Adler’s doing exactly what he wants to with his life, bangin‘ the skins. He’s not even the front man for his own band, letting his singer Rick Stitch lead the exhortation for the “sexy ladies to shake their sexy booties and show us your titties” (always with the titties with these guys). My friend Audra managed to get to the front, and later told me that a surprising number of women were baring their funbags.

This is about when I walked out back to smoke some weed, where I bumped into a roadie for one of the opening bands. “Tell me the truth,” I asked him. “Is this the smallest place you guys have played on this tour?”

He shook his head. “As a matter of fact, this is one of our better shows,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brendan Skwire blogs at Brendan Calling and plays bass for the Super Devils.

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CONTEST: Win Tix For Arcade Fire At The Mann

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


We have two tickets to giveaway for the Arcade Fire/Spoon show at the Mann Music Center on Monday! First person to email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM with the answer to the following question wins: What charity did Arcade Fire donate its licensing fees from the NFL for use of the song “Wake Up” during the 2010 Super Bowl? Please include a contact phone number. Good luck!

RELATED: Despite its size, the Quebec concert was just part of a warm-up tour for “The Suburbs,” which is scheduled to be released on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday the band is due in New York for two shows at Madison Square Garden and for an Internet-wide audience; Thursday’s show is to be streamed live on YouTube. In Quebec the band was still seeking a director to film the Madison Square Garden concerts; soon afterward it lined up Terry Gilliam, the Monty Python alumnus who made “Brazil.” Mr. Butler called him “one of my ultimate heroes.” MORE

UPDATE: We have a winner! Thanks to all for playing, stay tuned for more Mann concert giveaways, including Keane, MGMT, Cake and Pavement!

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SEN. FRANKEN: Stop The Corporate Takeover Of The Media

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

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WORTH REPEATING: The Case Against Bottled Water

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Bottled Water

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Breitbart Brings Tea Party Minstrel Show To Town

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


[Click image to enlarge]

PHILLY IMC: Andrew Breitbart said he wanted to discredit the NAACP’s claims of racism within the Tea Party campaigns. So he smeared a black woman to do it. Tea Partiers coming to Independence Hall on July 31 want to show that the NAACP is wrong about the racism within their campaigns. And they have invited Andrew Breitbart to speak. The Tea Party Federation is the organization that ousted a racist from their ranks last week after a racist mock letter to Abraham Lincoln. They are also the organization that is sponsoring what they have called a “Uni-Tea” convention that is to include a number of black conservatives to diffuse the charges of racism seen during tea party rallies. Complicating things however, may be the inclusion of Andrew Breitbart as a speaker. The vitriolic, race-baiting conservative propagandist has come under fire for using doctored video footage to charge Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod as a racist in response to the much-talked about NAACP resolution calling on Tea Party activists to tea-party-racist-signs-07-white-slavery2.jpgdenounce the racist elements within their ranks. That eventually resulted in her firing until the full video was reviewed and it was learned that Breitbart’s spin on the video excerpt he posted on his website was that of a racist Sherrod admitting to discriminating against white farmers in 1986 was not true. In, truth it was of her speaking about racial reconciliation. MORE

THE NATION: In a way, we should be grateful to Breitbart. His hack job provided us with a perfect visual condensation of the racial paranoia that has animated the Tea Party since its inception. It’s the logic behind the equally fabricated Breitbart smear against ACORN; it’s what drives Glenn Beck to say that healthcare reform amounts to the “beginning of reparations” and what Rush Limbaugh signals when he accuses Obama of inflicting economic pain as a form of “payback.” And it’s the sentiment found in polls of Tea Party activists, 52 percent of whom say that “too much has been made of the problems facing black people.” But this story is older than the Tea Party, older than the current drove of right-wing demagogues. It’s the story that has been told to white middle- and working-class voters by the right since the Reagan administration in order to explain their dwindling paychecks and prospects: racism is over; it is minorities who now have too much power; they are stealing your jobs, your future. And with that insidious whisper (now a shout), the specter of reverse racism chases away the all-too-real and yet all-too-abstract forces of neoliberal teapartysign1sm1.jpgeconomic policy. Who can focus on the workings of contemporary global capitalism when the Zimbabwe-fication of America is nigh! Obama, of course, crystalizes this narrative, giving it agency, power, motive, a face to deface. MORE

BALTIMORE SUN: According to The New York Times, Mr. Breitbart “did issue a correction to his account, saying the incident ‘shows the imperfect nature of journalism,’ but said his mistakes had paled in comparison to those of the mainstream media.” Oh, really? Which ones? Daily newspapers make mistakes. They usually deal with the basic facts of stories — the title someone once held, the name of a suspect in a criminal matter — and corrections appear in print every day. Newspapers have had some reporters and columnists who made stuff up (years ago, a Washington Post reporter won a Pulitzer for a fabricated story) or copied the work of others. Those people were all fired. Had any producer at a local TV station, network or cable newsroom cobbled together a video like the one Mr. Breitbart posted of Ms. Sherrod, that producer would be among the nation’s unemployed today. That Mr. Breitbart associated his hatchet job on Shirley Sherrod with “the imperfect nature of journalism” suggests that he sees himself as a journalist. He’s not. The journalist has to prize above all else the truth, and presenting the truth in the public’s interest. Twisting the truth, editing video to make black look like white and up look like down — that’s the stuff of hocus-pocus and snake oil; it’s not the work of the journalist. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: Andrew Breitbart has a job to do and he does it well. Breitbart’s job is to lie and distort the truth in order to advance a obamacare1.jpgright-wing agenda, embarrass liberals, and undermine the Obama administration. Breitbart is not a journalist, researcher, or pundit. He is a propagandist. He operates several websites (BigGovernment, BigJournalism, and BigHollywood), where he and other right-wing bloggers spew their political pornography. The articles that appear on these websites are contemporary versions of what historian Richard Hofstadter called, in a famous 1964 essay, the “paranoid style” of American politics practiced by extreme conservatives. What’s distressing is not that Breitbart does his job, but that the mainstream media and mainstream politicians, including the Obama Administration, take him seriously. The recent dust-up over the firing of federal Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod, fueled by a doctored video on Breitbart’s website, is only the latest example of this. MORE

TEA PARTY EXPRESS: We Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop! Perhaps the most racist point of all in the tea parties is their demand that government “stop raising our taxes.” That is outrageous! How will we Colored People ever get a wide screen TV in every room if non-coloreds get to keep what they earn? Totally racist! The tea party expects coloreds to be productive members of society? MORE


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Via BuzzFeed

Cost of the War in Iraq
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