Stupid Sabbath


Am I the only one disappointed that Bill Moyers turned out not to be the author of the Not One Damn Dime spam? Not that I was really expecting it. (We old-timers can still remember the Vonnegut-sunscreen hoax back in Old '97.) But what would have been a better signoff for Moyers, who recently stepped down from his spot at PBS' Now With Bill Moyers?

As it happens, I had never seen an episode of Now until just a few weeks ago. My only impression of Bill Moyers was that he's the guy who trots out his tapes of Ur-Windbag Joseph Campbell to lull the nation to sleep every Pledge Week, so it was a surprise to find what an engagé political figure he really was. During a report on Tom Delay, Moyers intoned, "The Texas Republican is so frequently under a cloud of scandal that he blinks when the sun comes out." In a later segment on Condoleezza Rice's selection as the next Secretary of State, Moyers opened with something along the lines of "It's about accountability, and an unprecedented record of deceit, failure, and incompetence," then led up to a rhetorical question (I'm paraphrasing): "So why, since Condoleezza Rice is a million times more evil than Hitler, is she not behind bars?" It was really an incredible performance by a guy I'd always figured to be a milksop white-line liberal of the Johnsonoid school. Brent Bozell makes some good points (and that's the last time I'll ever say that) about Wild Bill here.

Anyway, Not One Damn Dime Day is coming tomorrow. If TV Turnoff Week is your idea of a raging success, if you can figure out the logic of punishing your local Korean grocer for John Kerry's loss, if you've forgotten the Great Gas-Out of 1999, and if you're sure that those retail fatcats must somehow be behind Bush's re-election, save your money tomorrow. Alas, I won't be participating because I'm mad at the protest organizers: Although I filled out the online form as instructed, they haven't posted my comments on their petition page.

NEXT: In Vino, Populism

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  1. Bill Moyers said some really nice things about Ed Clark and the Libertarian Party during the 1980 election campaign. Since then he seems to have decided that libertarians are guilty of heresy for rejecting the One True Gospel as revealed to St Franklin of Roosevelt and St Lyndon the Johnson and does not mention them except as an example of evil.

  2. Ah, grassroots idiocy. Refreshing.

  3. I always found his interview style to be rather preachy and boring.

  4. I saw Badnarik and Cobb on “Now with Bill Moyers” during the campaign, but other than that, there’s only so much of that show I could take at one sitting.

    “Now” always seemed like propaganda to me–Moyers had some sharp teeth, but you had to sit through a lot of tired hyperbole to get to any of that. A little bit of that show used to go a long way.

    Even with Moyers gone, I see that next week’s show is about the safety of nuclear power. Maybe there’s something new on that issue, but it sure doesn’t sound promising.

  5. I don’t blame you for being upset Tim; after all, they posted Heidi and Katlyn Cavanagh’s comments.

  6. Tell me about it; people who don’t even know how to spell Cavanaugh get the floor, and I get the hook!

  7. Great post Tim 🙂
    The whole thing was most amusing. One can never go too far in pointing out what a wiener Bill M is. The fact that he isn’t homeless is irrefutable proof that there is not god.

  8. Moyers had Lew Rockwell on “Now” probably a year or more ago to talk about the Iraq war and budget deficits. Lew got to talk for about 15 minutes and Moyers asked intelligent, respectful questions.

  9. SR

    I read about that on some website. Moyers did an article where he praised Rockwell’s antiwar stance but then he spent two or three as many words complaining about his advocacy of a free market. Of course I confess I am hopelessly predjudiced against Moyers. As I read the thing I could just hear the smarmy self-righteous sound of his voice.

    Mind you I’m not overly fond of the neo-confederate doctrine that you find at either.

  10. Isaac,

    I don’t necessarily agree with everything posted at LRC either, but I just wanted to point out that Moyers has given some (not entirely unfavorable) attention to lower case libertarians in recent years.

  11. Well, since nobody’s had the courtesy to ask what the comments were that they wouldn’t post and I’m about to close my browser and lose them for good:

    Before I discovered the NotOneDamnDime technology, I suffered from low self-esteem. I was a typical “fat boy,” too shy to talk to women or assert myself in social situations. Now I’ve tried NotOneDamnDime, and it really works! This year, I expect to clear $120,000, more than I’ve made in the past five years combined! I’ve put a down payment on a four-bedroom house, and I met the girl of my dreams in the NotOneDamnDime chatroom. We’re going to be married in the spring! Take it from me, NotOneDamnDime is worth its weight in dimes! 🙂

  12. I’m afraid Moyers over the past 10 years has turned into some classic old constipated grandpa who keeps forgetting to take his metamusil.

    Goddam younger generation, the whole world’s going to hell…

  13. Tim Havenough–

    The Scientologists never forget those who mock them! Beware!

  14. Man, I’m on this mailing list where NODD Day is being hotly discussed, and have been debating whether to start posting inane questions about potential emergency exceptions to the rules of the day (in the spirit of the old “What if it’s a Friday during Lent and you’re eating a hot dog, but you’re crossing the Internation Date Line, and actually it’s a turkey dog rather than all beef…”). But the actual discussion is so unbelievably retarded that any effort of mine would be superflous. First the listmaster sends out the following item for consideration:


    We’ll spend “not one damn dime” on Thursday.

    HOWEVER: Wouldn’t a trip to Costco be an acceptable exception?

    I don’t know how much you have heard about Costco — they have a phenomenal story to tell.

    First of all, they are decidedly “blue” in their political support. They pay their employees well and have generous benefits. (I understand that after two years, a Costco checkout clerk can earn $40K).

    For this, they have been publicly denounced by the Wall Street Journal.

    Seems to me that it would be a good strategy for progressives to publicly support Costco — and any other business with an enlightened employment policy.

    Ernie Partridge, Co-Editor
    The Crisis Papers
    Proud Constituent of Sen. Barbara Boxer

    Then, after the Costco question gets bruited back and forth for a while, the brain trust issues a final ruling on the matter:

    Don’t buy anything.

    Why not, after keeping our credit cards in our pants on Thursday, returning to Costco, Moms & Pops, et al., on Friday and spending 20 cents instead of just the 10 we denied them on D(Dubya)-Day?
    Larry Gelbart

    Mark- I agree with your COSTCO analysis. For this to have any meaning the spigot has to be turned off. When it is turned back on go to COSTCO, the Mom and Pop, Staples, stores that support sane government and employee policy. Unless it is a genuine emergency, I will never again shop at Wal Mart or Home Depot.
    Robert Millman

    We all go for days on end without spending any money. It just happens. We’re camping in the mountains, or the power has failed, or we are at home in bed with the flu. So let this particular day be a deliberate and complete dime-spending-free day. Any fairly solid world religion will tell you that a day of denial, whether it’s abstaining from lentils, sex, fish, work, or the letter ‘M’, is good for the soul. Why split hairs? Just don’t spend any money. Nobody ever went out of business because of Lent, for example. But it helps remind people to keep the faith. And that is what we need to do, now more than ever.
    Ben Tripp

    So you’ve got your marching orders. Go out there and do, um, nothing!

  15. Well, since nobody’s had the courtesy to ask what the comments were that they wouldn’t post and I’m about to close my browser and lose them for good:

    See, I assumed there was some good reason you hadn’t already posted them. I was honestly curious, but didn’t want to make waves. Possibly that was the severe lack of sleep talking, since a libertarian who doesn’t want to make waves is rather . . . pointless. But thanks for posting them in the end! Quite an appropriate response to this nonsense.

  16. ‘Ya snooz, ‘ya lose.

  17. I’ve been reading these posts and while some have said some grudgingly positive things about Moyers, most have been pretty cutting.

    I’ve only seen NOW a few times but I’ve found it pretty interesting. I agree with the few who have noticed Moyers occassional zingers.

    My favorite was when they dug into the deficit and the tax cuts and then pointed out the suspicious lack of interest by congress in doing anything about the Alternative Minimum Tax.

    Why? ‘Cause THAT’S how the Republicans were eventually gonna screw the little guy…by making them pay for EVERYTHING in the long run by jamming them with a tax rule originally intended for tax dodging millionaires.

    My next fav was when they not only asserted some thing most folks already knew – that the Presidential Debates were pointless and lame – but chapter and verse just WHY they were lame.

    Like a lot of PBS programming, it’s not for everyone.

    True, those with knee-jerk hatred of liberals at all cost will hate it. Those impatient with ANY hint of liberal mores will not suffer them to enjoy what quality there actually is.

    Still, I liked David Brancaccio when he was doing Marketplace, which I’ve always thought was pretty worthwhile for any network, let alone NPR.

    Still, as liberal progams go, it’s nowhere near as senseless as most.

    And for those who are suspicious of the current concentrations of power as regards the Republican party AND frustrated by pretty much ANY media outlets willingness or ability to even simply report on it, NOW may indeed hold something for you.

    As for protests…I’ve been MORE intrigued by the folks. It’ll be interesting to see if that one gets any traction.

  18. Well, I think that…

    D’oh! So much for my observance of Not One Damn Comment Day!

  19. “Still, I liked David Brancaccio when he was doing Marketplace, which I’ve always thought was pretty worthwhile for any network, let alone NPR.”

    I listen to “Marketplace” every once in a while–for laughs! The sewage they present as market news on that show is hilarious.

    Talk about puttin’ a pig in a dress and calling it Miss America!

  20. Ken,

    Keeping an open mind and out of interest, what do you find so laughable about “Marketplace’s” coverage?

    I usually find it much more thorough than standard network fare and far less one-sided and partisan-driven than most cable stuff.

    Anything in particular that gets your chucklemeter going?

  21. There are a lot of things on that show that make me giggle, and I’m pressed for time.

    So, right off the top of my head, they often seem to assume that the market is reacting to whatever it is that they did a story on.

    Some completely made up examples might be…

    GM announces that it will lay off another 5,000 workers today–GM’s stock was down three and a half points.

    The other thing that always gets me is the stories they cover. They often seem to mask political advocacy as market coverage.

    Another made up example:

    They’ll cover the rising cost of pharmaceuticals and health care costs and cap the story with the vague suggestion that if the government covered all health care costs, it would be good for the stock market–oh and PFE was up two points today!

    …GM was down.

    It often strikes me as political advocacy masquerading as market news. If a consultant suggested a business strategy that used the same logic I hear on that show, I would laugh him or her out of the conference room. I suspect that people who no nothing of the market or economics would be better off listening to nothing rather than listening to that show.

  22. I used to be a business journalist and I feel I usually have a pretty good radar for advocacy and agenda cloaked in the appearance of credible journalism.

    I won’t say that I never detect a hint of bias…but I will say I haven’t noticed the same veiled political advocacy you have.

    To each his own, I guess. Thanks for the response.

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