FRANK, RICH, AND DANDY, HE KEEPS ON TRUCKIN’

The latest Frank Rich column is a dandy recap of what's been happening in The Land of Oz. "The attacks [on the press] continue to be so successful that even now, long after many news organizations, including The Times, have been found guilty of failing to puncture the administration's prewar W.M.D. hype, new details on that same story are still being ignored or left uninvestigated," he wrote Sunday, citing the July 23, 2002, "Downing Street memo" as an example. Well, Frank, you can't say Greg Palast didn't tell us -- see The Gun That Smokes, … [Read more...]

WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD READ BY CHRIS HEDGES

It took James Woolcott to lead me to a wrenching, eloquent piece on the realities and myths of war by Chris Hedges, who begins this way and never lets up: The vanquished know war. They see through the empty jingoism of those who use the abstract words of glory, honor, and patriotism to mask the cries of the wounded, the senseless killing, war profiteering, and chest-pounding grief. They know the lies the victors often do not acknowledge, the lies covered up in stately war memorials and mythic war narratives, filled with words of courage and … [Read more...]

99 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL

Summer is soon upon us, and it won't be long before it's off to overnight camp for many lucky youngsters. They'll be writing home, of course. Low Culture recently posted a letter from a camper who got a jump on the season's frolics. Here's an excerpt: Dear Mom and Dad, Greetings from Camp X Ray ... I am having a lot of fun here and am meeting a lot of really, really nice people from all over the world. We do sports for one hour every day and we get to sing along to all kinds of music. Our counselors are really crazy!... (Once a counselor … [Read more...]

SO NOT HIS CUP OF TEA

A reader took notice of my recommendation the other day. (OK, if you must know, it was one of my staff of thousands who took notice.) He writes: Jan, we bought the Watson book "Ideas." It is good, but not as good as I had hoped. Too breezy. I like a tighter line. He spends a lot of time on religion. Not my idea of important ideas. Those are such subjective beliefs, why even argue about them. Same goes for whether there is some mysterious inner being. Who gives a damn. The business about emptiness is a couple of pages at the very end. He … [Read more...]

GAO FINDING: GANNON DID NOT BREAK LAW

Subject: James D. Guckert -- Reprinting Government Press Releases as His Own Work You remember when Guckert (a k a Jeff Gannon) published White House press releases, verbatim, as his own reporting? Well, he did not break the law prohibiting the "use of appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda," the Government Accounting Office ruled Thursday. Even if Guckert-Gannon, right, "repeatedly incorporated substantial excerpts ... into articles he published on the internet without disclosing that this material was produced and distributed by the … [Read more...]

NOTHING STABLE, NOTHING ENDURING, NOTHING INSIDE

I recommend this book review by my favorite aphorist, the British philosopher John Gray, although he is not aphorizing, as he does in his own books (such as "Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals" or Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern." Gray points to a key question of Peter Watson's new book "Ideas: From Fire to Freud," which he calls "an astonishing overview of human intellectual development," covering "everything from the emergence of language to the discovery of the unconscious, including the idea of the factory and the … [Read more...]

STORE WARS

Obi Wan Canoli says, "The true ways of the farm are almost forgotten." Click the link, watch and listen. You'll laugh, you'll cry. You'll wonder why George Lucas hasn't sued. … [Read more...]

BILL ‘EM: DEAD OR ALIVE

A reader writes: "This is so priceless, and so easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today. Be sure to cancel your credit cards before you die -- just in case." A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and then added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00, and now is somewhere around $60.00. A family member placed a call to Citibank: Family Member: "I am calling to tell you that she died … [Read more...]

BATTLE OF THE NPR CORRECTIONS

The original "correction" about David D'Arcy's MoMAGATE story that NPR ran on its corrections page reads: Jan. 27, 2005:MoMA Embroiled in Battle over Painting Seized by NazisMorning Edition, Dec. 27, 2004 In a story on All Things Considered on Dec. 27, we reported on the controversy over ownership of a painting on loan to the Museum of Modern Art. NPR failed to make clear that the artwork is not in the possession of the museum. In fact, the painting is in the custody of the federal government. In addition, we said the museum opposed a Jewish … [Read more...]

CITY OF GHOSTS

The Guardian of London reported: "Fresh evidence has emerged of the extent of destruction and appalling conditions" in still-deserted Falluja, a "city of ghosts where dogs feed on uncollected corpses." That was in January. I guess the corpses have been collected by now. … [Read more...]

WHOSE KLOSE CALL GOT NPR REPORTER FIRED?

National Public Radio made a huge mistake ousting its veteran arts reporter David D'Arcy and is still trying to cover it up. The latest attempt came during an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board when the network refused to produce documents that would allegedly clarify why he was fired and Tom Cole, a unionized NPR staff editor who supervised the story, was disciplined. D'Arcy, left, who freelanced for NPR for 21 years, was fired in January after the Museum of Modern Art complained about a story he did exposing the … [Read more...]

NOSTALGIA BUG: ‘UNCLE BILL’ BURROUGHS

When I was looking at my old Bob Woodward interview, some of which I posted because it seemed, uh, timely, I saw another old interview I did -- this one with Bill Burroughs. I thought you'd find it interesting. Here's part of it: Your books are filled with gun lore. What spurred your interest in guns? That was just the way I was brought up. In the 1920s, America was a gun culture. Everyone got a certain gun. You got your air gun and your single-shot .22 and so on. I was brought up with guns. When I was living in Europe and New York, I put … [Read more...]

FIRST THE BLOG, THEN THE REBLOG

Staight Up posts are being reblogged -- curated, if you like -- in Germany. The reblogger is Fareed Armaly, an Arab-American expatriate (born in Iowa City, Iowa, now living in Stuttgart). I don't know him and never heard of him before. All I know is, his work has been shown at Documenta11, among other prestigious art exhibitions. The Documenta11 site says Armaly does "complex installations that take into account specific and interconnected references or histories of the respective exhibition venues and museums where they are … [Read more...]

MEMORY LANE: WOODWARD SORT OF OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY

Now that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are together again, taking a victory lap after all these years, like the Simon & Garfunkel of journalism, I'm reminded by my staff of thousands that once upon a time, long ago and far away, I interviewed Woodward about his only non-political book -- the one out of the Beltway, for which he is least known -- "Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi." Woodward was already a media superstar, having followed up his and Bernstein's chronicle of Richard Nixon's fall -- "All the President's Men" and … [Read more...]

I FIND IT STRANGE . . .

... that Chuck Colson is offended -- "I am really shocked," he says -- that Mark Felt (a k a Deep Throat) went "sneaking around dark alleys and talking to reporters." It wasn't "the right way" for a "very upright" FBI agent to uncover Watergate crimes. Uh, wait a minute, Chuck. Weren't you one of the worst of Nixon's real dark-alley sneaks? Weren't you the White House counsel who ordered an illegal break-in by Howard Hunt to find info against Nixon's opponents? Weren't you the guy who … [Read more...]