February 17, 2004

the parasites will love you when you're dead la la la la la

* Former Nixon counsel John Dean calls President Bush's new Iraq commission a sham. an excerpt:

"George W. Bush has been nothing short of a magician when it comes to making unpleasant matters confronting his presidency disappear. And on February 6, Bush once again did a bit of conjuring.

"That day, he announced that he was creating an "independent commission, chaired by Governor and former [Virginia] Senator Chuck Robb, and Judge Laurence Silberman, to look at American intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about weapons of mass destruction." In doing so, Bush sought to head off what potentially could be an aggressive Congressional inquiry, or a Congressionally created independent commission, on the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) justification for the Iraq war.

"Such an inquiry would doubtless focus on a set of questions that is bound to make Bush very uncomfortable: the central issue of whether Bush, and his Vice President Dick Cheney, accurately represented the pre-Iraq war intelligence (or lack thereof) when claiming that Saddam had WMD and that Iraqi had ties with al Qeada.

"Bush's magic appears to have worked again. His commission is a sham, and simply ignores the very reason he was pressured to create it. Yet it seems no one is complaining -- or at least, no one who could force the commencement of an legitimate investigation."

Library Journal wrote of John Dean's upcoming book: If "Dean of Watergate notoriety is alarmed by Bush's obsession with secrecy, then you know there's a problem."

* Randy Newman interview. [via the fold drop]

an excerpt:

"As self-proclaimed underachievers go, Randy Newman is in a league of his own. He has an Oscar in his luxurious residence in west LA. He's supremely talented, wealthy, lauded by performers as diverse as Bob Dylan and Eminem, and regarded by many as America's greatest living songwriter. He has been favourably compared to George Gershwin, Cole Porter and - because music critics, like the rest of us, suffer the occasional rush of blood - Swift and Defoe. Now 60, he's never made a bad record, and his latest CD, The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. One, in which he revisits some of his greatest songs with only a piano accompaniment, is majestic. But none of this, somehow, has ever been quite enough.

"Newman doesn't enjoy interviews - 'grouchy,' 'miserable' and 'sullen' are some of the adjectives he's inspired. He takes a seat opposite me looking like a tousled academic who knows it's his duty to assist but is wary and preoccupied - his manner is that of a forensic scientist who's arrived to testify in court, but has just remembered that he left home with the bath water running."

* Leslie Silbert, an ex-coworker, left to write a novel, and actually did. It is set to be published later this month. Will the book be as good as the blurbs...?

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