At the time, I took that comment to be mere self-effacement. I have since come to think that Fallon was deadly serious.
From Ray Close -
Subject: Fallon's Fall
I believe that the Bush people have long since given up (privately) on the thought of actually launching a preemptive attack on Iran (with or without Israeli collaboration), for many very obvious military and political reasons of which the whole world is well aware. However, I believe they (especially the Cheney crew) are too stubborn and arrogant to acknowledge that the so-called military option is a practical impossibility, despite their constant sinister reminders that it is still "on the table".
The Bush administration is, unfortunately, at a complete loss to devise any workable alternative strategy, and that is making them more sensitive and prickly than ever.
The White House therefore recognized (as did we all) that Fallon's openly contrarian views on the subject were undermining the credibility of their hollow bluff. It was acutely embarrassing when this controversy was exposed to friends and foes alike all over the world (especially in a barbershop journal like Esquire), and controversial and divisive within the inner offices of the Washington policy establishment --- hence unacceptably insubordinate. This is not an Administration that tolerates criticism on any level, and especially when its own insiders expose once again their most precious but worst kept secret --- that the Iraq quagmire has left the world's greatest superpower, the United States of America, effectively incapable of employing its awesome military might to back up its publicly proclaimed strategic objectives. Someone once neatly reversed Teddy Roosevelt's famous dictum in describing this as "Walking stickly but carrying a big soft."
Here's a good summary of some of the background, by Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service
Kristen, the prostitute described in a federal affidavit as having had a rendezvous with Mr. Spitzer on Feb. 13 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, has spent the last few days in her ninth-floor apartment in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. On Monday, she made a brief appearance in federal court, where a lawyer was appointed to represent her. She is expected to be a witness in the case against four people charged with operating a prostitution ring called the Emperor’s Club V.I.P.
Ms. Dupré said by telephone Tuesday night that she was worried about how she would pay her rent since the man she was living with “walked out on me” after she discovered he had fathered two children. She said she was considering working at a friend’s restaurant or, once her apartment lease expires, moving back with her family in New Jersey “to relax.”
She did not say when she had started working for the Emperor’s Club, or how often she had liaisons arranged through the ring. Asked when she met Governor Spitzer and how many times they had seen each other, Ms. Dupré said she had no comment.
COOP spotted this great YouTube clip of Joe Higgs performing a fantastic raw version of his tune There's A Reward. The clip is from "Roots, Rock, Reggae," a 1977 documentary that is a classic for fans of Jamaican music. COOP adds that Life of Contradiction," Joe Higgs's "best LP, long out of print, has just been reissued on CD by Pressure Sounds, and it contains the studio version of "There's A Reward." Link to YouTube, Link to buy Roots, Rock, Reggae DVD, Link to buy Life Contradiction CD
Joe Higgs - There is a reward for me
As Spitzer announced his resignation, it became the perfect news storm. No untimely death, no one mewling about alcohol or painkiller-addiction issues, no need to worry about any talk of gender double-standards. (She was a prostitute! Just doin' her job!)
Here's a governor who ran wiretaps getting caught . . . on a wiretap. (And mere moments after the finale of "The Wire," in which such a thing would totally happen. Coincidence?)
So Spitzer's not only a degenerate, he's a stupid degenerate. Will these guys never learn? At this point, I think we are safe in assuming that every politician cheats; otherwise why would these men think they're going to get away with it?
Still, he is the governor of New York, so you'd think he'd at least remember the lessons of "The Godfather: Part II." "The last thing I remember, she was laughing," says a dazed politico as he is led away from a dead prostitute and into lifelong debt to Michael Corleone.
BBtv - DIY Drones with Chris Anderson at ETech
The Bush administration is being accused of censorship after canceling plans to release an exhaustive review that found no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The Pentagon study analyzed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi documents captured following the US invasion of Iraq. The report was set to be posted online and U.S. officials were to be made available to discuss it. But the Pentagon now says the report won’t go online at all and will only be emailed to reporters that request copies. Next Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Protesters Call Rice “War Criminal” at House Hearing
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has offered a mild criticism of ongoing Israeli settlement construction. Speaking before a House appropriations sub-committee, Rice said Israel’s recent announcement to build hundreds of new homes in the Occupied Territories is inconsistent and unhelpful.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: “The United States considers the expansion of settlement activity to be not consistent with Israeli obligations under the road map and we have made that very clear. I have also said that it is certainly not helpful for the peace process. I can assure you that we are following very closely to assure that U.S. dollars are not being used to support the settlement activity.”
The Bush administration has refused to link billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Israel’s halting of settlement construction. Israel has announced three different settlement expansions since resuming U.S.-brokered peace talks with Palestinians last November. During her testimony, a row of protesters sitting behind Rice raised their hands, painted red to signify blood. As Rice left the chamber, several demonstrators called her a war criminal.
photographs by Michael Roberts
AUSTIN, Texas -- Luckily it went alot better than the Mark Zuckerberg keynote, but then again, it should have. Heckling social networking billionaires and the reporters who interview them is one thing -- having the guts to taunt rock icon Lou Reed is entirely another.
Reed, keynote speaker for the SXSW music conference, probably wouldn’t have put up with it anyway.
“What does ‘Turn off your cell phone’ mean in Texas?” Reed asked when a faint beeping was heard floating through the crowd at the Austin Convention Center. “What is it? ‘Howdy?’”
Despite the mild interruption, the Velvet Underground frontman had a nearly hour-long conversation with music producer Hal Willner, touching on topics varying from the quality of MP3s to posing for Andy Warhol to the authenticity of his lyrics.
“People say, ‘How would you know that?’” Reed said, after Willner asked him to recite some verses of his poignant “Rock Minuet.” “You’re joking right? I have a BA in dope. But a PhD in soul.”
Reed's appearance at SXSW coincides with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly director Julian Schnabel's new film Lou Reed’s Berlin, which is being shown at at the conference. The film features a 2006 performance in Brooklyn of Reed’s 1973 concept album Berlin, which the artist himself acknowledged at the time was dismissed by critics as “the most depressing album ever made.” This observation has, obviously, not stood the test of time and now that many are starting to appreciate his albums anew, Reed believes more performance movies could be in the offing.
“[The film] Berlin was an audition to do more of these things,” he said.
164ROBERT FRANK’S UNSENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
- The Americans, Robert Frank’s 1958 book, changed how a nation saw itself—and how photographers saw the world. A half-century later, Charlie LeDuff follows the master to China for a historic show. Photograph by Edward Keating.