Sunday Bookchat

July 19, 2008

Barbara Ehrenreich (author of the classic Nickel and Dimed) has a new book out, This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation, a collection of essays, articles and columns — gathered from The Progressive, The Nation and the NYT, among others — chronicling the social and economic wreckage that will be the Bush administration’s legacy in America. In the clip above, Ehrenreich talks about her book with Minnesota talk-show host Jack Rice. Ehrenreich will be online for questions next weekend at the Firedoglake book salon.

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David Sirota, author of The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington, goes on Fox Noise to demolish the GOP’s let-them-eat-cake attitude as typified by Phil Gramm and his notion that people caught in the economic downturn are a bunch of whiners. (Actually, it’s more a let’s-give-their-cake-to-our-rich-campaign-contributors attitude.) Going up against a Republican wingertron who can do nothing but recite discredited nonsense, Sirota acquits himself admirably.

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Given the rock-bottom ratings of the Fox Business channel, Naomi Klein’s appearance on its surrealistically vapid “Happy Hour” probably did more to boost the channel’s fortunes than it did to boost sales of the new paperback edition of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Nevertheless, Klein took her message right into the faces of the Fox news twinkies, who were reduced to hollow-sounding laughter as Klein explained how the Bush administration’s attempt to expand offshore drilling by manipulating worries about the oil crunch is classic “disaster capitalism” — using calamities and fears to ram through measures and changes that would never have passed muster with the voters.

One of SCTV’s later seasons included a spoof of local TV children’s programming, which back in the days when there really were local TV channels meant getting some over-the-hill actor to dress up as a ringmaster or a ship captain and introduce ancient Three Stooges films and cartoons nobody else would touch. The SCTV spoof show was called “Happy Hour,” featuring a well-oiled host named Happy Marsden. I’m not sure Fox Business wants to cultivate that kind of association with its own “Happy Hour” show, but from what I’ve seen the SCTV version isn’t that much goofier than what Fox is trying to do.

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When Bruce Bartlett walks down the street, do people roll their eyes and use their fingers to make little twirly motions next to their heads? Even by the sub-sub-basement standards of the Wall Street Journal, Bartlett’s column arguing that the GOP is the true party of civil rights, the theme of his new book Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past. The childlike inanity of Bartlett’s attempt to pretend that the GOP is still the party of Lincoln, not the party of Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott, brings out the best in some bloggers. Matt Yglesias points out that while the Republican Party had a great record on race in the 19th century, there’s been some water under the bridge since then. John Hobo decides that Bartlett is asking African-Americans to vote for long-dead candidates and takes it from there.

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Pioneering hip hop artist Grandmaster Flash has a book out: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats. Listen to him talk about it with Bat Segundo.

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3 Responses to “Sunday Bookchat”

  1. Dave Says:

    The Naomi Klein YouTube video is no longer available.

  2. Steven Hart Says:

    I just checked. It still works.


  3. I’m a staunch liberal, and I don’t know why anybody would think Sirota won that argument. Not because his message is wrong, but because he didn’t have a chance to complete a coherent thought. And he certainly didn’t go for the jugular. He let the two women spout the same lies (neither candidate is offering anything different, etc.) that are McCain’s life support. Christ, when will we see a Democratic establishment that will stand up to loud-mouthed bullies? It’s bad enough that our Democratic Congress habitually bends over for history’s least popular president, now even our supposed media stalwarts can’t figure out how to make sure the facts come out on a “news” show.


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