Political Protest, Star Fucker Edition:
So when Ned Lamont came out to speak last night at Moveon.org's book launch soiree and Katrina benefit at Crobar in New York, the Rude Pundit finally realized why the dude is actually kind of appealing. Up until he saw Lamont live, he just thought the Lieberspoiler was an awkward geeky-lookin' guy who happened to be a millionaire, Bill Gates without the charm. But, plied with an open bar and forced to stand for two hours before the show started (what the fuck? Was Axl Rose gonna play?), when Lamont took the stage in the middle of a set by Moby, all of a sudden the Rude Pundit realized that Lamont is the perfect father figure for the net generation.

Yeah, he is awkward and geeky-lookin', but he's also passionate without being overbearing about it, smart, and authoritative without being punitive, just like Gens Y and X would like their fathers to be. No wonder he kicked Lieberman's ass. Lieberman comes across as a scolding, creepy uncle to Lamont's daddy charms. Sure, Lamont probably can't dance, and you wouldn't wanna see him try, but at least he was hip enough to show up.

The evening itself was devoted to the publication, by Moveon.org, of the book, It Takes a Nation, and, while the title's supposed to invoke Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village, for the Rude Pundit, he kept thinking of Public Enemy's "It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back." The book itself is about the tens of thousands of people and families, organized through Moveon.org's Hurricane Housing.org, who provided shelter for Katrina survivors. In photos and oral histories, the book tells the stories of the victims and the helpers. Throughout the evening, sections of the book were read by Rosie Perez (reading a Lower Ninth Ward resident's tale of survival in a community theatre Tennessee Williams production Southern accent that's got precious little to do with the people who lived in the Lower Ninth), Julia Stiles, and Black Thought of the Roots.

The music was awesome - the Roots kick more ass in ten minutes than most bands do in two hours, and they were backed by a funk brass band from Philadelphia. The people were significantly less annoying than usual at these types of things. There was the occasional moment of anger and passion on the stage, the bartenders didn't realize that Jack Daniels wasn't supposed to be in the open bar selection until three drinks in (when the bartender told the Rude Pundit that Jack was off the menu, he said, "Goddamn, liberals are cheap bastards," and proved it by switching to another drink rather than paying for more whiskey), and Moby wasn't nearly as annoying as he could have been.

Of course, when the Rude Pundit roamed the floor talking to people about why they were there, asking if it was the activism or the music, not a single person said it was the activism. In fact, everyone said, "The Roots." (When the occasional person would turn it around and ask the Rude Pundit why he was there, he would variously answer, "Julia Stiles' hot ass" or "Eli Pariser's manly nose." More often than not, it was a conversation stopper.)

Yes, yes, it was a splendid time at the converted warehouse in the nowhere land between Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen (sorry...Clinton), with paparazzi doing their thing, with scenesters mixing with old hippies, music geeks mixing with drunk dancers. Partying where working people used to toil, remembering the dead and destroyed below a giant disco ball. But at least the Rude Pundit got three sets of digits out of the night.

A Follow-Up Fuck You To Ann Coulter Followers
Yesterday, the Rude Pundit pointed out how seriously fucked it was that Ann Coulter screeched that all Gitmo detainees were caught on the "battlefield in Afghanistan," and thus deserved whatever treatment the U.S. thought was bad enough for them. Well, nothing takes a big ol' chomp o' ass like reality.