September 12, 2005

a hustle here and a hustle there

Investigation of Poverty at the Russell Sage Foundation, 1933, alice neel

* Newsweek: How Bush Blew It. long, but a must read. excerpt:

"It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States, or, as he is known in West Wing jargon, POTUS. The bad news on this early morning, Tuesday, Aug. 30, some 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans, was that the president would have to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days and return to Washington.
"The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One."
"But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there. Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. Bush can ask tough questions, but it's mostly a one-way street. Most presidents keep a devil's advocate around. Lyndon Johnson had George Ball on Vietnam; President Ronald Reagan and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, grudgingly listened to the arguments of Budget Director Richard Darman, who told them what they didn't wish to hear: that they would have to raise taxes. When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority."
"Late last week, Bush was, by some accounts, down and angry. But another Bush aide described the atmosphere inside the White House as "strangely surreal and almost detached." At one meeting described by this insider, officials were oddly self-congratulatory, perhaps in an effort to buck each other up. Life inside a bunker can be strange, especially in defeat."

* Harp on Tanglewood Numbers:

"The Silver Jews sound bigger. Not just because Tanglewood Numbers incorporates some Nashvillian arrangements, or because Dave Berman actually attempts a vocal range, but rather because this latest album is something fuller and more consistent than even the Jews’ 1998 near-masterpiece American Water. Throwing some ’80s synth into the mix and bringing back Stephen Malkmus, Tanglewood kicks off on a superb note with 'Punks in the Beerlight' and the classic Berman line, 'Where’s the paper bag that holds the liquor/just in case I feel the need to puke'—only to be followed by another: 'Where does an animal sleep/when the ground is wet?' on 'Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed.' It also seems Berman found his singing partner and married her. Cassie Marrett, who laid her velvet voice over 2002’s Bright Flight, now appears as Cassie Berman and delivers a more confident counter to Berman’s ultra-droll delivery on 'Animal Shapes' and 'How Can I Love You (If You Won’t Lie Down)' among others. The country popper 'Sleeping Is the Only Love' sounds near radio friendly and is on par with Berman’s finest past strummers like 'Random Rules,' 'Slow Education' and 'How to Rent a Room.' And I’m taking bets that nobody will write a better line this year than “You might as well say ‘fuck me’/cause I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you.'"

* Top ten conservative idiots.


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