Archive: January, 2011
The world is indeed ending in 2012 -- for Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, the leader of his one-person Connecticut for Lieberman political party. He'll announce tomorrow that he's not seeking re-election for the only reason that most U.S. senators don't seek re-election: He knows he'd be clobbered at the polls.
I wish Lieberman would leave the Senate tomorrow. I know a lot of people think that Lieberman's unpopularity -- which exists among all thinking people but is probably strongest among the left -- is because he's a victim of extreme partisanship, that a man can't be a centrist or a bi-partisan bridge builder in this country without tounching a political Third Rail.
As noted here earler, this is the week that Philadelphia cleaned up its airwaves, purging Glenn Beck as well as Sean Hannity from the radio here. (Beck was also dumped in New York City.) The king of all far-right media supposedly had a soft spot for Philly -- it was living here and broadcasting from WPHT out on City Line Avenue that Beck built his nationwide radio audience in the early-to-mid 2000s.
But now that we're not listening, he told the rest of America what he really thinks of us. "Philadelphia sucks," Beck declares at the end of today's rant, which is focused on his notion -- and feel free to debate this, as I know you will -- that it's not safe to walk around the City of Brotherly Love at 6 p.m. (6 p.m.?) without getting robbed or shot. But rather than me characterizing what Beck said about Philadelphia, listen for yourself:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
These days, it seems like it's Ed Rendell's world and the rest of us are innocent bystanders. The last few weeks have been in marked contrast to most of the eight years that he's been Pennsylvania's governor, a surprisingly fast tenure that ends tomorrow -- when there were stretches of months when we didn't hear all that much from our man in Harrisburg, unless you're a regular watcher of "Eagles Post-Game Live."
To the extent that people paid attention, Rendell was an OK-to-pretty-good center left governor, getting more money to schools and boosting wind power -- but with his fair share of demerits for a government that occasionally spied on its own citizens and let its "little frackers" run wild. Then, in the last few weeks, with his 24 years in elected office about to end, Rendell ran wild, calling America "a nation of wusses" for cancelling an Eagles game in the snow, freaking out on Leslie Stahl and "60 Minutes," and turning up on my cable TV set more often that that gekko, no mean feat.
Pathetic. (see video below):
UPDATE: Good column from David Sirota on the "Santa Clausifying" of Dr. King and his legacy:
Dr. King, of course, was not just outspoken in his opposition to the Vietnam War -- he was outspoken in his opposition to violence and war as a concept. As he said in his Riverside Church speech (a speech that is often ignored by the national media): "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." He also spoke out specifically against America joining civil wars on the other side of the planet -- wars just like the one we are fighting right now.
To a political junkie, the events that have unfolded in Tunisia over the last several days have been irresistible. Everyday people rising up against an autocratic government led to high drama in the streets of Tunis and a politicalsoap opera in the presidential palace. It was a vivid, human illustration of so many of the themes of democracy and freedom that we argue about, usually more in abstract terms, here at Attytood on a daily basis. It was must see TV -- or it would have been, if I got al-Jazeera on my TV set.
Because while I found the events in Tunisia an irresistible story, the producers of our 24/7 cable news infrastructure here in the United States found it easy to resist, indeed, TV coverage of a revolution in the Arabic world, a mjaor global story, was virtually non-existant here.
Remember Rep. Paul Broun, the Georgia congressman who I profiled in "The Backlash" as a political leader who sounds like a talk radio host, with the same toxic effect. or worse, actually. I hadn't been thinking much of Broun's rhetoric in the wake of Tucson, but comes now E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post to remind me. He quotes Broun's unorthodox defense of guns at a 2nd Amendment Rally in D.C. last April:
"Fellow patriots, we have a lot of domestic enemies of the Constitution, and they're right down the Mall, in the Congress of the United States - and right down Independence Avenue in the White House that belongs to us," he declared. "It's not about my ability to hunt, which I love to do. It's not about the ability for me to protect my family and my property against criminals, which we have the right to do. But it's all about us protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government of the United States."
What new 50,000-watt radio talk show host is obsessed with Attytood, and more importantly, why? For one thing. does he not know I'm a nobody in this town? -- "taking on Will Bunch" seems to be proof of his quintessential naive "out-of-town-ness." Is he shocked that someone at a local newspaper can not only express an occasional liberal point of view, but be damn proud of it? Toto, you're not in Kansas (City) anymore.