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Franken, Krugman -- and Phillips! -- at joint book appearance!

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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 07:26 PM
Original message
Franken, Krugman -- and Phillips! -- at joint book appearance!
(from today's Publisher's Weekly e-newsletter -- no URL):

3,500 Cheer Three Bestselling Authors' Joint Appearance

"Our topic this evening," said Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, "is the Great Unraveling of Lies and the Bush Dynasty," effectively tying the bestselling titles of three authors who appeared together Sunday evening on the Berkeley (Calif.) High School campus. Don't let the "high school" part fool you: more than 3,500 people turned out, and many took to their feet as if cheering rock stars when Paul Krugman (The Great Unraveling, Norton), Al Franken (Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Dutton) and Kevin Phillips (American Dynasty, Viking) walked on stage.

Of course, they were preaching to the choir--it was Berkeley, after all--but the evening showed that these books and their authors could work together to bring their message that all is not right with the Bush Presidency.

Franken started the event off with laughs when he said, "You know, I had a little run-in with Fox." Just back from his fourth USO tour in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, he talked about a recent interview with CNN's Paula Zahn in which she asked him if people found the tour disingenuous. "I don't know, do people tell you that being interviewed by you is like being interviewed by a golden retriever?" he joked. "I love our troops. Those kids are my kid's age. But Bush put them in harm's way, and he did it in a way that misled the American people."

Krugman began by pointing out that in these "absurd" times it is "people who are aggressively non-serious, like Al, who are telling the truth." He said he anticipated that in yesterday's State of the Union address, the President would paint himself as a visionary standing above the political fray. Then the Princeton economics professor and New York Times columnist discussed "stop loss," a concept under which the military will not discharge more than 30,000 people in the all-volunteer armed forces who are done with their service--because of the extensive strain on the military. "I don't think they're volunteer soldiers anymore," he said. "But don't worry, we have a visionary president. He has the answer: 'Let's go to Mars.'"

The night's speakers were not simply the "usual suspects," Goodman said as she introduced Phillips, who cut his political chops working for Richard Nixon and John Mitchell. (Upon hearing this, Franken moved his chair away from Phillips.) "What we see with the Bushes is a multi-generation family of fibbers," said Phillips. (Franken moved his chair back.)

The mood was light--in part due to the camaraderie and mutual respect among the speakers--but their messages were hard-hitting. Phillips, whose book is subtitled Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, outlined suspicious ties between the Bush family and the Saudis, Iraqis and Iranians going back to W's great grandfathers. "In 1991-92, Bill Safire--that left-wing columnist for the New York Times--was so disgusted that he couldn't endorse George H. W. Bush.

Because these books are competitive with each other it might seem strange that a publisher would hatch the idea of a joint event, but it sprang from Norton's sales and marketing department. "Fortunately, the concept was strong enough that everyone involved pitched in and made it happen," Drake McFeely, president and chairman of Norton, told PW Daily. Norton contacted Cody's Books in Berkeley, freelance publicist Barbara Monteiro and Bob Baldock of KPFA radio, who organized much of the event, a benefit for the Pacifica radio station in Berkeley and Global Exchange, an international human rights organization. The authors volunteered their time.

With the success of this first joint appearance (as McFeely put it, "How often do you go to a book event that's 3500 people?") chances are good that this "Rolling Thunder" tour will make stops in other cities. "All of them are committed to something larger than selling his own book," McFeely said.

Goodman tapped into a major reason why the publishers were so willing to work together instead of competing: "There are an increasing number of conservative imprints at the publishing houses," she said at the end of the evening. "When you buy a book you are really casting a vote for another voice to be published." At this, Franken pointed out that his book makes a nice present, too.

--Bridget Kinsella

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JohnOneillsMemory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. The SF Bay area is an amazingly progressive area to live in.
Berkeley is one of the main reasons. Wow. 3500 people for writers.

This is why I moved here from Hartford,CT (The Insurance City) when the opportunity to escape Lieberman's territory came up.

This is Barbara Lee's territory.

So you think there will be a tour of Coulter, O'Reilly and Rush?

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Logansquare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. What he said to Paula Zahn!
"do people tell you that being interviewed by you is like being interviewed by a golden retriever?"
LOL
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. all Dems need to fire back like that!
Instead of being so "reasonable" and "nice" to these RW media hacks...
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Kathy in Cambridge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. So is Cambridge, MA: I saw Zinn tonight, Chomsky on Friday
Al Franken was here on his book tour in Sept and thousands showed up.

Gosh, Franken, Krugman and Phillips? I'm jealous.
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-04 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. Man what a lineup: Goodman, Phillips, Krugman, Franken
And LOL!! The night's speakers were not simply the "usual suspects," Goodman said as she introduced Phillips, who cut his political chops working for Richard Nixon and John Mitchell. (Upon hearing this, Franken moved his chair away from Phillips.) "What we see with the Bushes is a multi-generation family of fibbers," said Phillips. (Franken moved his chair back.)
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. let's get 'em a show...
..on Fox! :D
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GregD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
7. Audio was brutal
They had 2 A/V teams there, and promised a fast production job so that CDs could be available for fundraising efforts. The show benefitted Democracy Now (fairly certain that's accurate) and Global Exchange.

So, anyhow, Amy assures us the show will be produced to digital pronto - that was before the show. Then the wheel came off...

None of the cordless mics worked properly. The feedback was brutal, and they cut in and out. It was an overwhelming distraction, and very unfortunate. Asked about the new radio program, Franken quipped "yeah, and I'm using THIS audio crew." That received laughs that were more like moans...

But the show was good, the stuff Kevin is discussing on his tour is quite penetrating. He makes it clear that he is astonished at the absence of the media on some of this "really obvious" connections, like October Surprise and Iraqgate.

Regardless, I've had some exposure to audio engineering. Any plans to quickly produce that show were probably lost, there will likely be days and days to repair the audio track.

Shit happens...

The good news was that I met Krugman, thanked him profusely, and he told me that we can look forward to another story about e-voting soon.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 04:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. thanks for that live report, GregD!
More and more, Phillips reminds me of the Republican hero of "It Can't Happen Here" -- the principled old-fashioned kind of Republican, horrified by the Totalitarianism in front of him..
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Lindsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-04 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I tried to go but they were sold out
I was in the Bay Area for the long weekend and we called to see about getting tickets. The recording said that the show was COMPLETELY sold out. I love it! What a line up. The Bay Area is the best.
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