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Afternoon News Roundup

Mark of McCain Well, it seems that no one will have to debate the merits of dredging up Keating Five allegations against John McCain in order to get a scandal out of the Straight Talk Express. The surging GOP candidate … Read More

By / December 20, 2007

Mark of McCain Well, it seems that no one will have to debate the merits of dredging up Keating Five allegations against John McCain in order to get a scandal out of the Straight Talk Express. The surging GOP candidate is the subject of frantic Drudge updates today hinging on a rumor that McCain’s camp is fiercely contesting a New York Times story about him giving preferential treatment to a lobbyist. Intelligence Gap The Washington Post runs a fascinating and dark essay from a former employee of the CIA describing how information accumulated by covert assets is worthless. Though his critique is clear, he neglects to mention that the assets used in on-the-ground intelligence gathering can provide other types of valuable, yet informal, information. For instance, while it may be argued that sources fail to provide clear and distinct truths about a given foreign entity, their experience may provide a thicker context by which other pieces of information may be better understood. Remember: there are no facts, only interpretations. Anderson's Hellfire and Brimstone An incredible jeremiad from a lapsed Mormon and American University professor, Kenneth Anderson condemning “Huckabee bigots” and “Romney-the-opportunist.” He trashes the way both Awww-Shucks and the Mittster are using god-talk to pick-up the religious right sector of the GOP base. One money-shot: “I myself propose that Huckabee be horse-whipped in the square of public reason and turned out of politics so he can get on with writing The Seven-Day Diet of Creation and Mary Magdalene Got Skinny for Jesus and You Can Too.” Savor this tirade. Domestic Disturbances Radar assembles its top five embarassments that the Republican and Democrat presidential candidates may encounter and be related to. The Deconstruction of the Death of God The New York Times reviews the latest opus from one of the greatest minds in North America, Charles Taylor. See the light and buy the book. And for some ideological counter-balance check out Discover Magazine’s “Top 100 Science Stories of 2007.” Goddess Spurns Culture Wars Speaking as someone who reached for Plan B and bourbon to get the lukewarm drivel of Knocked Up out of my system I'm encouraged to read Ann Hulbert analyze Juno. She finds this pregnancy-heart-warmer much more rewarding and complex. And it comes with added bonus of Citizen Ruthing the audience. Art Exchange Nixed Another regrettable consequence of Russia’s current strategy of cultural insularity. If only “Time’s Person of the Year” could solve this problem. But, then again, you can’t blame Putin: we all know how hamstrung executive power has been in this post 9/11 world.

Slate Music Club Slate assembles its annual music roundtable. Of special note this year are three entries by Robert Christgau ( 1, 2, 3 ). The shindig starts off a bit rocky (Xgau, I shit you not, has to remind his fellow roundtablers that Journey sucks and Tony Soprano is actually an incontinent boor), but everyone contributes solid defenses of their faves of 2007. And jet over to Stop Smiling for their piece on Tony Wilson (a music entrepreneur and icon who passed away this year) and interview with Modest Mouse guru Isaac Brock.

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