Today's Blogs


Bloggers are, with rare exception, hot to dismiss John Kerry’s call for an Alito filibuster. They’re also reflecting on the surreal Oprah smack-down of James Frey, and celebrating Mozart’s birthday in a major key.

Filibluster: Abroad in Switzerland, Sen. John Kerry today urged his fellow Democrats to support a filibuster on Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination. Though this so-called “nuclear option” lacks Senate support (Alito’s confirmation is thought to be in the bag), right-leaning bloggers have been saying, essentially, “Bring it on, John.”

Wonkette guest editor “Ambitious Heckler” writes “Hey John! I can think of one thing you could have done that would have kept Judge Alito off the Court for sure. Do you know what I mean? I bet you do,” and complains that the Democrats have “forgotten how to Bork.” Lefty Justin at Opinion Work Product was momentarily buoyed by Kerry’s fighting spirit, until he considered the following: “1) He’s going to fail. He knows it, I know it, Strom Thurmond knows it. He’s doing it anyway, which means he’s just posturing for another Presidential run. *groan* 2) He’s marshalling his support for the filibuster via phone calls to his fellow Democratic Senators….FROM SWITZERLAND! No wonder the Dems can’t reach the heartland of America…”

Citing Harry Reid’s concession that a filibuster is hopeless, Bill Nienhuis at the conservative PunditGuy looks at the internal fractiousness of the Democrats: “It’s yet another example of disconnected communications from the Democratic party. If they can’t get the message out consistently from within their own party, how are they going to speak to the American people?”

Bob Fertik at sees filibustering as the only recourse for conscientious progressives: “If Reid has nearly 44 votes against Alito, every one of those Senators should support a filibuster or their vote against Alito is meaningless. … The Constitution - not to mention young women - are tied to the railroad track and the train that will kill them is named Samuel Alito.”

Noting that Democrats have previously opposed this same tactic for blocking judicial appointees of more liberal persuasion, righty and Chicagoan Larry Horist at Larry’s Wire writes: “While a smooth victory would be nice, the idea of watching Kennedy/Kerry lead a political suicide squad, with the almost assured limelight-grabbing support of Senators Schumer, Durbin and Biden, is like snatching the golden ring.”

Nevertheless, Reid vows to vote for a filibuster, which has John Podhoretz at the conservative National Review blog The Corner wondering how swift a move this is: “One of the classic rules in Washington politics is that it weakens a party and its leadership to go down to defeat on a high-profile vote. Traditionally, parties and their leaders seek to minimize conflict and reduce friction when the endgame isn’t going their way so that they can limit the perception that they are losers.”

Read more on Kerry’s filibuster. 

Freyed on daytime: Mendacious memoirist James Frey appeared on Oprah Thursday to apologize for misleading the all-powerful talk show host (who made A Million Little Pieces a Book Club selection) and her legions of followers. Oprah didn’t buy it, however, and quickly laid into her guest, his publisher, and even herself, for trying to rationalize the snow-job soon after its exposure by The Smoking Gun.

EL at My Amusement Park grumbles, “I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow the fuck up. But you can’t shake Oprah. Especially since she just put Elie Wiesel as her next selection. But that’s different, because it’s about the Holocaust.”

Carey Alexander McGee at Strange Sleep muses on the potential reversal of the “Oprah Effect”: “[N]ow Oprah has demonstrated that the Oprah Effect isn’t simply a benevolent bath of divine light. …What I wonder, though, is how far the sting of Oprah’s reprimand will be felt. Does she really wield so much clout that she can singlehandedly change the shape of current publishing practices?”

Teletart at TV blog Long Plastic Hallway gets the last word with a haiku on l’affaire Frey: “James Frey on Oprah! / I thought you were snivelly / from Book Club day one. / Now Oprah agrees. / She’s done beat you down, Weasel! / Relax, you’re still rich.”

Read more on Frey’s appearance on Oprah. Read Slate’s take here. And if redeemed bad behavior is your thing, along with the truth, read Moab Is My Washpot by the English humorist with the more phonetically correct surname, Stephen Fry.

Hungry for the Wolf: Mozart turned 250 years old today, and his genius is being roundly celebrated in cyberspace.

Conservative cultural critic Terry Teachout at About Last Night links to his own essay on the composer—which includes a kind of “Best Of” discography—in last month’s Commentary: “All prodigies are by definition interesting, but in Mozart’s case the interest is heightened by the fact that he not only died young but left behind an oeuvre so extensive and all-encompassing that it might as well have been the work of a fully mature composer who died at sixty, or even eighty.”

Banjopete at the LiveJournal Who writes: “[O]le Wolfy’s music is perfection. Every note flows from the page with such grace and ease. I could listen to it forever. His music is probably also the only thing that could ever tempt me to pick up a bassoon again.”

Read more well-wishing. Also, check outArts and Letters Daily’s compendium of articles on the Amadeus anniversary. Last year in Slate, Ann Hulbert looked at what today’s child prodigies could take away from Mozart’s life.