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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: Jim Henley is commenting on Nigel Richardson. Jim is also, as we've noted recentlly, a huge fan of Avedon Carol. Next: Glenn Reynolds finds Michael Ashley. Don West blogs Matt Welch. Charles Burbee arises from the dead to blog Ken Layne-- sorry, wait, it's his granddaughter Ashley, I said with my mouth -- and F.Towner Laney blogs Dr. Frank as a soul mate (what, it wouldn't work?).
My head may hurt less tomorrow, but the universe will still be this strange. And I still won't, I guess, be at ConJose. Comets and meteors like this will still bust together, though. Yow. There is a singularity.
IT'S SOMEWHAT SCARY THAT IT'S NEWS IN BRITAIN that China is not squeaky clean. Fine piece by Ian Buruma, who has moved up to becoming one of my gods, but why is this news to British readers? How ignorant are they? Why is this news to Grauniad readers?
Oh, right. Sorry.
No, I'm not insulting all my British readers -- at least, not intentionally -- I'm insulting the Guardian. Sigh. I assume that Grauniad readers mostly, if not comprehensively, know that "China is not squeaky clean." What amazes me is that the editors feel this is news worth a headline. Also: Stalinists and Nazis Bad.. (Although it might be news to the G that Castro also isn't a nice Swedish Social Democrat.)
Scientists announced a study today that shows humans have a special set of nerves for feeling pleasure at a mother's caress or a lover's embrace.
These nerves are sensitive to the soft touch of fingers gliding over a forearm or a parent's soothing hand, but not to rough touches, jabs or pinches. Scientists speculate that the nerves might be designed to guide humans toward tenderness and nurturing -- a theory bolstered by the fact that the nerves are wired to the same brain areas activated by romantic love and sexual arousal.
The research, published in the current issue of Nature Neuroscience, indicates that while the thick fibers rapidly shoot electrical signals to the somatosensory cortex of the brain and convey information about contact and pressure, the thin, slow fibers connect to the insular cortex and convey the emotional context of the touching. Both sets of fibers fire together, and the brain combines information about physical contact with information about emotional context, melding them into the richness of physical experience.
JUDICIAL WATCH WATCH: Ted Barlow writes the post on Larry Klayman's Judicial Watch that is, almost word for word, what I wrote in my head and was going to post, aside from the unkind, if not in this case at all wrong-headed, shots at Tim Blair. Ted does that a lot, which is why he is, for me, and should be for you, another must-read.
7/26/2002 08:16:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
Thursday, July 25, 2002
POINT OF VIEW: learn it, use it. Dr. Frank explains quite well the difference between a writer's POV, and the character a writer is writing from in first person. "First person" perspective, which is to say, "I," as opposed to second person, "you," and third person, "he, she, they." I sometimes forget not everyone knows this stuff, as I've grown up with it for so long. And I'm, of course, sparing you the elaborations on POV, which can run on, particularly when we start breaking down tenses. I do want people to be sufficiently awake as to read down to earlier entries.
Dr. Frank writes regarding the Steve Earle thing, which I'm afraid to say I find too boringly trivial to be worth commenting on. People write political songs, sometimes say dumb things! Film at 11.
Dr. Frank, though, is always worth reading, particularly in this case, from his POV as a songwriter, about which he is duly modest.
Dr. Frank also nails the idiocy of the War On Terror, via Homeland Security's, drug policy. This is a serious war? No. Taken as seriously as WWII? They're not acting like it.
These people, which is to say, the Bush Administration, are using contradictory rhetoric and policy. Either they're this serious, or they're not. They're not. Ideology, such as the War On Some Drugs, or not restricting gun rights, or whatever, trumps security and liberty.
Time for a better administration. If we can find it.
MOURNFUL: Chaim Potok described where I grew up. In Brooklyn.
I turned atheistic/agnostic, where he turned into a historian of the factual origins of the Jewish faith, but we were both there, a few blocks from each other, a few years from each other. The apartments we see so accurately in the movie of The Chosen were those my grandmother and great aunt lived in. I knew those apartments and buildings and blocks and neighborhood.
They were my people. My uncles and aunts and cousins.
He nailed it.
I grew up on his books.
The Chosen, again, didn't have me as a major character, but both these guys lived down the block, and i grew up with them, and him.
His History of the Jewish People is probably the millionth book of that title. But I've always recommended, of the mere hundred or so I've read, it as the best. The best written, the best writing, and, you know, the best characterization.
I've often said that if you want a good successor to Lord of The Rings, you can't do better. Swords, evil beasts, vast armies, grand good and evil: his account told it better than anyone else's (though I also recommend Winston Churchill's books on that basis).
Potok spoke in Seattle in 1979, and though everyone who knows me knows what a stay-at-home slug I am, I stirred myself to get myself to that synagogue, shook his hand, and thanked him for his work.
BUT DID THE WASHINGTON TIMES RUN IT?: Those wacky Moonies:
Here is one conundrum they do not teach in business school: If a newspaper's policy requires advertisements to be verifiable and accurate, what does a publisher do when presented with a full-page ad presenting the text of a Christmas Day meeting "in the spirit world" attended by Jesus, Muhammad, Confucius, Buddha, Martin Luther and John Harvard?
According to the ad, which was presented to newspapers around the country this month, these men and hundreds of others in attendance proclaimed their allegiance to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church. At the spirit meeting, the ad said, Jesus hailed Mr. Moon as the Messiah, proclaiming, "You are the Second Coming who inaugurated the Completed Testament Age." Muhammad then led everyone in three cheers of victory.
God didn't attend, but sent a letter Dec. 28 seconding Jesus's remarks. Lenin and other leading communists also sent messages. Lenin said that he was in "unimaginable suffering and agony" for his earthly mistakes, and Stalin added, "We live in the bottom of Hell here."
At least eight newspapers published the ad, including The Daily News of New York, The Boston Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Los Angeles Times. At least two, The New York Times and The Portland Oregonian, did not.
The Portland Oregonian rejected it because it could be not proved. "If the Rev. Moon had claimed he was the Messiah, I would have run the ad," said Fred A. Stieckel, the publisher of The Oregonian. "But when he started quoting that Jesus Christ had said that he was the Messiah, I couldn't check the veracity of it."
The late Patrick O'Brian's career was somewhat becalmed until, in the early Nineties, the New York Times proclaimed his to be "the best historical novels ever published". Suddenly, after 20 years of gently accruing admirers much as his hero's ships collected barnacles, O'Brian found himself in full and glorious sail. His life and work will be celebrated at the first Patrick O'Brian Weekend, at the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, from 13 to 15 September. The director, Dr Campbell McMurray, was a young research fellow at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, when "a reserved but courteous gentleman" started to ask for old logbooks. The weekend will include lectures, music, a tour of the Dockyard, and dinner on HMS Victory. Details at http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/patrick_o'brian.
IRAN PAYS GOOD MONEY to cover up a good blow up of Jews. Of course, as people who often see intrigue and conspiracy under every stone, they learned the wrong lessons from 1953. It's easy to blame the CIA for all this, but if the CIA hadn't agreed to the Shah's demands that they rely on SAVAK, 1979 might have gone differently.
Or maybe not.
The wisdom of the 1953 coup is a pretty debatable event, and a darned good case can be made that it was a huge mistake. I tend to think so, even though Iran in the Soviet camp would have been a bad thing, too. Not that that was precisely certain, either, though it's a high probability.
Meanwhile, though, I wish the mullahs weren't in power and financing the killing of Jews. I'm funny that way.
Oh, and Iranian democracy, which their people cry out for, over their "Supreme Leader," would be a good thing, wouldn't it?
Did I mention that this story was obviously leaked by US intelligence sources who want to prevent or damage the chances of Menem rising to power again? Consider it mentioned.
The principle of looking at leaks is cuo bueno. Who benefits?
Not that I mind in this case.
Terrific quote from the beloved Supreme Leader, by the way:
"By gathering together groups of Jews with records of murder, theft, wickedness and hooliganism from throughout the world," Ayatollah Khamenei said, "the Zionist regime has created an entity under the name of the Israeli nation that only understands the logic of terror and crimes."
ANN COULTER IS INSANE:The irritating thing is that she wants to hear that sort of thing. She's not a serious political commentator. She's as I've said before, the Michael Moore of the right. She's created this shallow role for herself. Disgracefully, some bloggers follow her crap, repeat it, and respond to her. Basically, their idea of politics appears to be "you're blonde and have long legs, and so I'm going to pantingly blog about you."
It appears that there are political bloggers at the age of 2. Or is it 16? Unsurprising. Both "left" and "right" contain idiots. The fact that no "side" has a monopoly often makes it clear that the "sides" are neither right.
Why do I call Coulter an idiot this time? Her argument :
I think it’s wonderful that these people are being taken away in cuffs and that people are angry about it. But to say that Bill Clinton had nothing to do with that, when half the people on TV saying it’s fine to lie, cheat, steal, it’s just about sex. Well, apparently a lot of people who run corporations think it’s OK to lie if it’s just about money.
I think it was incredibly corrupting for America.
It's all Bill Clinton's fault. Any fault of a human, due to Bill Clinton's parsing, is his fault. No one before him sinned or erred or is to be blamed. All after him him can blame their faults on Bill Clinton. After all, if you pile your errs on Jesus, you can be forgiven, but if you put them on Clinton, you're blameless, since he is, basically, apparently, the anti-Christ.
Just so we don't go overboard. It's all on demon Clinton!
ODE TO CYNTHIA: No shit, that's what ArabNewssays about Cynthia Mckinney.
Probably this won't disappear as fast as their David Duke column, or Lyncon LaRouche interview. All part and parcel, though. Learn from ArabNews (SAUDI ARABIA'S FIRST ENGLISH DAILY!) (If you can stop rereading "King Fahd's first 20 years," which is a permanent feature.)
Things must be bad indeed if a woman steps forward to the line of fire.
Nature arranged that a woman does not court danger unless her land and her folks are in real trouble. But when she does, she teaches men a lesson of manly behaviour.
The denunciation of Rabbi Michael Lerner, quite left editor of Tikkun magazine, for his right-wing positions is particularly amusing. He supports Israel's right to exist! Evil!
Lerner offers to achieve the purpose of the Zionist lobby under pretence of fighting it. This sophisticated cunning is not unusual for crypto-Zionists, acting as deep penetration agents outside their milieu, and Lerner already has performed a similar task for the Zionists during Durban Conference[ii]. Next time, he will fight heroin addiction by demanding the drug to be sold in every shop.
Crazy idea, what? Almost as bad as making alcohol available in shops. All crypto-Zionist ideas, though.
Support of Cynthia is the ultimate test of love to America, of belief in America's future in the family of nations, as an equal and friendly nation, not as an enforcer for creed of Greed.
It is paramount to rally around her, as the French nobles rallied to Jeanne d'Arc. Whether you are a descendant of African slaves or Muslim immigrants, a son of Confederacy or a Daughter of American Revolution, a freedom-loving Jew or a born-again Christian - it is the time to unite for Cynthia and for America.
RELUCTANT NOTICE: Due to a personal crisis, blogging until the end of the month will likely be light and sporadic at best, unless I decide to take time off to blog as a distraction. Blogging possibilities after the end of the month are uncertain at this time. I might be back shortly or immediately thereafter, or I might not. That's a result of the yet unsolved problem. Amygdala apologizes to its readers.
7/21/2002 07:09:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
RIGHTS OF RETURN: Jim Henly points out Tony Judt's response to letters in the New York Review of Books which suggest flaws in his last critique of Israel/Palestine. Jim regretfully noted in the last go-round that Judt, in fact, declared his opposition to the idea that Jews might indeed have a national home in Israel, or, as we say, a nation, and presumably that, therefore Israel might be a -- dare we say it? -- Jewish country. (Interestingly, often nonsensically accused of being a "theocracy," which as a parliamentry democracy with a state religion makes it as much of a "theocracy" as, oh, look, all of Europe!)
Other folks -- not Judt, to be sure -- tend to call such an idea "racism," while curiously uninvolved in activities to, say, render Ireland a land of other than the Irish, France a land of other than the French, and -- wait for it -- Palestine, which has never been a "nation" and was most recently a province of Turkey -- oh, wait, I'm forgetting about how Jordan, those evil Arab oppressors, ruled it from 1948 to 1967 and somehow absentmindly forgot to notice that it was an independent "nation" and unique culture, and grant it nationhood -- darn them! -- a land of other than the "Palestinians."
But whose fault is it? It's the Jews' fault!
In this response to his critics, Judt, among other points, discusses the "right of return." You know, the one that Israelis don't have?
Conversely, Arafat's insistence on a "right of return" for Palestinians sounded like destructive grandstanding to frustrated Israeli negotiators; but to a Palestinian public that still remembers "the 1948 shattering and exile of a whole society" (in the words of Benny Morris, NYR, June 27) it was rhetorically nonnegotiable, however unrealistic. Contexts come in multiple forms.
Indeed. In the context of Judt's articles, Jews have no right to a nation. But "Palestinians" do. Jews have no right to immigrate to the nation of Israel. But Palestinians do have the right of return to Palestine!
Curiously, thoughout this latest piece, Judt utters declarations as to Palestinian opinion. Although indications are that such opinion is not particularly more monolithic than Jewish or Israeli opinion, such matters are ignored. But what matters most, in Judt's opinion, it appears, is what, in the eyes of what he perceives to be Palestinian opinion, is what is realistic, or "rhetorically nonnegotiable."
Curiously, what Israeli citizens regard as "rhetorically nonnegotiable" goes unmentioned. The entire idea that what people think might actually be changeable or negotiable is apparently non-existent in Judt's mind.
One can imagine Judt in 1939 learnedly discussing what is nonnegotiable to the German public, and declaring that since they sincerely believe in their right to the Sudentenland in so-called "Czechoslovakia" and to the German-speaking parts of Poland, why, surely such lands should be given to the German fatherland. And if there is resistance, surely the right of return, by military force, exists?
No one contests the "right of return" of Palestinians to Palestine. Most still acknowledge the idea of a Palestine, alongside Israel. Most still acknowledge that the idea of a "right of return" of Jews to "all the land of historic Israel" is unsupportable and an idea to be rejected. The idea that Palestinians have a
"right of return" to "all the land of historic Palestine" is equally unsupportable, and to be rejected. Yet Judt, interestingly, rejects the "right of return" of Jews to even the current land of Israel, or the pre-1967 borders, but manages to support the "right of return" of Palestinians to all the land of Palestine-and-Israel.
Judt also lies, er, is mistaken, in asserting that
David Ben-Gurion tolerated and even condoned the Jewish terrorist organizations until Israel became a state....
Ignoring completely the pre-state declaration of the Jewish Agency of the Irgun as an outlaw band, not to mention declaring the Stern Gang to be criminals, and engaging in pitched battles with them. Y'know, minor machine gun and mortar attacks by the Haganah against the terrorists. Pitched battles against their ships bringing in weapons. Just as we've seen the Palestinian Authority do against Hamas and the Al Aqsa Brigades.
Whoops, wrong about that last part. Oh, well.
Judt goes on to explain that:
As Professor Avineri's letter and the recent Morris/Barak– Malley/Agha exchanges in these pages sadly confirm, Israeli liberals have largely lost their way.
Well, yes, when your sister has had nails gut her eyes and intestines, that sort of tends to make you notice that you don't have anyone shaking your hand and declaring "peace."
Judt, strangely, doesn't discuss the way of "Palestinian liberals." You know, that huge bloc of thousands of people who have formed well-known organizations as "Palestinian Peace Now." We've all seen their marches, and mass protests.
Oh, whoops, maybe not.
But surely Judt is a reliablely unbiased observer. But of course.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT, HOW TO DO IT WRONG: As long as most on the left prefer to amuse themselves with clowns, talk only to themselves, waste time on fuming, personalization of politics, and spend energy on mockery, the left will remain a powerless joke.
Thirty or so years ago--Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a good benchmark--conservatives concluded that they were unrepresented in liberal America. They decided to organize themselves politically to reverse the course of their country. Whether one agrees with them or not, one cannot fault them for lacking determination and seriousness of purpose. They did the research, mobilized the voters, tracked the votes of the politicians, and raised the money necessary to achieve their objective. They never did overturn that Supreme Court decision, although they are responsible for weakening it. But owing to their efforts the whole complexion of America shifted rightward, and now we have a president who pays careful attention to everything they have to say.
The greatest force against the right in the last thirty years was a guy called "Bill Clinton." Which is why he's so raged against. Who hated Clinton as much as the right? The left.
The contrast with Michael Moore could not be greater. Instead of analyzing an issue, he personalizes his opponents, even charging Prescott Bush with ties to the Nazis (which he admits that he cannot prove) or asking his grandson the president whether he is an alcoholic and how this may be affecting his job performance. Rather than searching for a credible cause, Moore resorts to some of the most outlandish appeals to gender and racial identity politics that I have ever seen, as in this: "Women? They deserve none of the blame. They continued to bring life into this world; we continued to destroy it whenever we could." If this book is what passes for a political manifesto, then Tom Paine is truly dead. Moore peppers his book with factoids, weird memos, open letters, bizarre lists, LOTS OF SENTENCES IN CAPITAL LETTERS, and name-dropping accounts of how he happens to know some members of the Bush family personally. It is meant to be satire, I suppose; but the only person skewered is Moore, who proves himself to be the only stupid white man around. Anyone bent on redistributing income in favor of the rich could not get a luckier break than having a critic like Michael Moore.
Moore is astoundingly out of touch with the reality that he claims to care so much about. He is Chomsky for children. He does real damage to the cause that he thinks he is advancing. As is also true of Ralph Nader, the American right is much in his debt.
Good news for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Giles character: He'll be back on the show next season. Giles, played by Anthony Stewart Head, was MIA from the UPN series most of last season but will turn up in no less than 10 episodes next season, according to the New York Daily News.
HU WHO?: Jiang Zemin likes his power. Give up power? How un-Chinese. But it ain't like it used to be.
"The words may sound similar, but there is a huge difference from the past," Mr. Wu said. "In the 1960's, when the party campaigned for an idea, they expected everyone to believe it. Today, the leaders don't expect that much. If everyone just pretends to believe it and follows the rules, that's enough."
Jiang ain't Mao. I still remember in breathtaking detail the moment I was listening to radio news, in New Haven, living with a Yalie, in late '78, when the Chinese announced that the long-time classic Marxist slogan of the Chinese Communist Party was "From each according to their ability, to each according to their work. And I literally fell off my chair.
7/13/2002 03:46:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
A mission to Pluto, which has been on and off NASA's docket for years, should be a top priority in exploring the solar system over the next decade, a federal advisory committee said today.
The committee called for three classes of missions: small-scale projects costing under $325 million each, which, it said, should be launched every 18 months; midsize missions costing up to $650 million, to be sent off every two to three years; and a large, "flagship" project once a decade, similar to the current Cassini mission to Saturn, typically costing more than $1 billion.
Top choice for a flagship mission was the Europa Geophysical Explorer, which would orbit Europa, a moon of Jupiter, to see if there is an ocean under its icy shell.
For midsize missions, the Kuiper Belt-Pluto Explorer got top priority, followed by a mission to gather samples from the south pole of the Moon, a project to orbit Jupiter's poles to see if the gaseous planet has a solid core, a mission that would dip down to Venus's hot surface and bring up a surface sample that would be analyzed when the craft returned to the cooler upper altitudes, and a mission that would visit a comet and send a sample back to Earth.
ommittee said it gave such a priority to exploring the Kuiper Belt because little was known about that region of frozen objects, which might contain some of the original material from which the solar system was formed and could be a source of water and organic material that eventually ended up on Earth.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE TYRANT: I wrote about Mark Bowden's extraordinary profile of Saddam Hussein some time ago, which some of you picked up on. Bowden also, of course, wrote Blackhawk Down. Here's an interview with him about his Hussein piece.
Incidentally, if you've not read the Blackhawk Down online burst, whether you've read either the book, or seen the movie, or done both, you're still missing something. But, wait! Where's my 19-part biography?
In “Wolfenstein,” every room you enter has Nazis. You never enter a room full of startled film editors piecing together an anti-Jew screed, family men who’ve been incrementally co-opted by three years of occupation. You never find that room.
And what would you do if you did?
The easiest answer is "shoot them." But life isn't a Wolfenstein game, and so we get into the talking.
Okay, and then there may be a couple to shoot.
No, wait! Okay, let's decide after a set of long interviews. By the way, you've read all of Lileks, now, then, and before, right? No, Nigel, there is no bad Lileks. :-)
UNREADABLE TYPE SIZE: Happens in many, though not all, blogs. Half of blogdom seems to feel compelled to make
their blogs unreadably small on on a small screen (800x600) to a middle-aged eye. Much of the rest put it across at two or three words a line. What's weird is that 92% of blogdom gets it wrong, but 99% of prodom gets it right. I'm wondering why this is. I have to keep flipping my browser settings to read blogs, but mags and newspapers are sized properly. Blogdom is supposed to be superior to the major mags, I keep reading. So why do I have such trouble actually reading lots ot blogs? I literally can't read lots of blogs, unless I switch to "ignore type sizes." Why do people do that? Do they think we all have large monitors? Why is it that almost no professional newspapers or magazines tell me to screw off the way an awful lot of blogdom does in this way? (Hint: Windows "ignore type sizes" causes other troubles, and is a pain to switch on and off; but possibly you don't care if I read your blog.)
7/07/2002 06:53:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY found here. I'll surprise most folk by saying I favor this. I think the War on Some Drugs is one of the most self-defeating, self-destructive programs imaginable to humankind. But I have no sympathy for the evil, generally murderous, fuckers engaged in the mass market trade, wholesale or retail, any more than though I think Alcohol Prohibition was an equally idiotic, horrible, program that led to the rise of organized crime in America, I have any sympathy for Al Capone or the Mafia. We should legalize drugs. Meanwhile, shooting down these creeps is fine with me. I mention this only because I'm rilly rilly tired of leftists announcing six or ten or fifteen years later that "no one knew about this! It wasn't reported in the mainstream press!"
My God, I'm getting tired of leftists "revealing" what was front page news thirty years ago. Illiterates: why didn't you read papers then? Oh, yeah, it was from the Man. But when you try to tell me it's a "revelation," uh, well, you're, uh, well frigging ignorant.
GOING OUT GRACEFULLY: Earl Hilliard spoke out on his loss:
"I see a future with a great deal of conflict between African-Americans and Jews in this country," he said. "It's going to get worse before it gets better. I don't think African-Americans are going to sit back and let this continue. There will be retribution."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations also blamed Jews for Hilliard's loss.
"Rep. Hilliard's loss shows that the domestic lobby for a foreign government is willing to use its considerable financial resources to force hand-picked 'leaders' on the African-American community. This is a defeat for democracy and civil rights and a victory for those who would institute a pro-Israel litmus test for American political candidates," said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.
"I lost the election," Hilliard said. "It ain't the end of life. I lost it or they took it – or they stole it – one or another. When the bar was down, I just didn't get enough votes."
Hilliard declined to say what action black representatives would take to retaliate against Jewish groups supporting their opponents but he said they don't expect any help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The fund-raising organization for Democratic incumbents gave $10,000 to Hilliard's campaign, the maximum allowed, but the congressman said the DCCC never gives black candidates a fair share of donations.
"I know there have been other races where they have contributed more," Hilliard said of the DCCC. "If they're not going to help us in the primary, then it doesn't make sense for us to be dues payers."
(Italic emphasis mine.) Yes, the DCCC is part of the anti-black conspiracy, as well. It is well known how little regard the Democratic Party has for "black" people. And, of course, Hilliard was up against a "white" candidate in Artur Davis.
BUFFY DON'T GET NO RESPECT: The WashPoreports that the only episode of Buffy to ever receive an Emmy nomination:
has generated controversy at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which accidentally left the critically acclaimed musical episode off the Emmy nomination ballots mailed out last week. A belated postcard has gone to members listing the episode, written and composed by the show's creator, Joss Whedon, as an added entry for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.
This as part of a longer article rightfully praising Buffy, speculating about why it doesn't get the respect it deserves:
Perhaps the TV Academy (like many TV critics) is put off by the show's somewhat juvenile title -- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" lacks the gravitas of "The West Wing" or "Law & Order." Or maybe the problem is the show's fantastical premise, which smartly melds horror, comedy, satire and Gothic romance.
And analyzes Buffy, The Musical, aka "Once More With Feeling."
I now have tv access, incidentally, for the first time in six months, but not, weepwail, to UPN. No Buffy, no Enterprise for Gary. Woe.
RORSCHACH EVENTS: When people blog about events such as this, before anyone save the people on the ground there, and possibly not even them, could conceivably know what actually happened, and immediately begin moralizing and either attacking or defending, they say everything about their closeminded assumptions, and nothing about what actually happened.
Because they don't know what happened. I don't know. You don't know. The Pentagon doesn't know. We just, this early, have confused and contradictory reports.
Civilian deaths in a war are inevitable, and are tragic. So far, that's what we know. That people have already spent a day blogging either defenses of US forces and declarations that whatever happened must be the fault of the al Queda/Taliban bad guys, or attacks on the callous and indifferent US military: you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
Try waiting until facts are in. Facts are terribly helpful in coming to conclusions, even if they aren't always as comfortable, or even definitive, as prejudices.
PALESTINIAN VOICES: Anyone who bothers to read the polls the Palestinians themselves run knows how badly most Palestinians think of the PA, particularly its utter corruption and despotism (which is a large part of why support has shifted to Hamas, which for all that some wish to deny it, does indeed engage in a considerable social program, as well as busily slaughtering Israeli women, men, and children).
You'll recall that 91% of Palestinians demand "fundamental change" in the PA, 95% want Arafat's corrupt ministers sacked, and 83% decried the corruption of the PA.
What's weird and disgusting is to find Western leftists defending the imposition of the horribly corrupt and murderous autocrat Arafat upon the previous multiple institutions of Palestine, and defending Arafat as a "true democratically elected leader" of Palestine, which he is as much as, say, General Pinochet was of Chile, or Stalin was of Russia, or Hosni Mubarak is of Egypt, or Bashar Assad is of Syria (hey, they all won "elections" precisely as fair as Arafat's).
Here's one Palestinian leader of a democratic group speaking up, but Palestinian polls show he's quite typical.
These days, the tightly controlled Palestinian media are trying to suppress the fact that many ordinary Palestinians are heartened by the calls for democracy for Palestinians from around the world. In the West Bank and Gaza, people are whispering that there might be an end to the repression and corruption that have characterised the past five years under the Palestinian Authority.
As if the Israeli occupation and daily hardship at the hands of Israeli soldiers were not enough, we Palestinians had to witness the ostentatious corruption of our elected or appointed officials and the denial of our basic rights of freedom. Under the tight network of internal security apparatchiks established after Oslo, the Palestinian Authority suppressed dissenting voices and denied basic freedom of expression. Writers and independent voices were harassed for criticising the regime.
Still, exasperated after years of suffering and exhilarated at the idea of having our own state, I and many Palestinians were willing to tolerate the autocratic ways of the Palestinian Authority for the ultimate goal of freedom. But that did not happen. Our legitimate cause was eventually hijacked by the despotic rule of the Palestinian Authority and by those who want to speak through violence.
ONE-SIDED ANTI-IDIOTARIANISM. Long-term readers of Amygdala will note a terrible lack of editorial reliability to either Column A of Leftism, Column B of Rightism, or Column C of Libertarianism. This tends to lose us a lot of readers, who come for one piece they like, and get pissed off at other things I say. The way to popularity is to pick one column, and throw red meat to it. I manage to survive.
But I do happily wear the label of "anti-idiotarian." And I take after idiots where I see them, without regard for "hurting my own side," because my side is being against idiots and idiotic, or even dubious, ideas.
Tapped and various other bloggers recently challenged rightwing bloggers to go after Cal Thomas's lunacy as much as many people from both left and right have gone after the Fisks, Chomskys, and other idiots of the Left. The result has been mixed.
Meryl Yourish also made a similar request for rightwing bloggers to denounce Ann Coulter -- who is the right-wing Michael Moore, with added sex appeal, and who deserves precisely as much respect as Moore, just as do the people who look up to one deserve as much respect as those who look up to the other -- and has had very little response. I found one fascinating response to the Tapped request at the generally rightish Privateerblog:
Bashing the Right
Normally, us right-wing bloggers don't bother to bash idiot right-wingers because they're an embarrassment to us, whereas idiot lefties are cannon fodder. But when someone says something extremely offensive, we're sort of obligated as pundits to say something.
And then, in fairness, he goes on to say:
I'll also answer Tapped's call for right-wing bloggers to bash Cal Thomas. This guy is a whack-job.
And has a few more words of refutation for Thomas. I posted this response in his comment section about 29 hours ago:
I'm having trouble parsing your logic here, I'm afraid. And therefore lefty/liberal blogs should avoid bashing idiot lefty statements, you're saying, because they're an embarassment to the sane and sensible left?
I'm really not following you at all, I'm afraid.
No response, but he's probably just busy. But my eyes are still blinking at what he said, and I can't parse the fairness of it: political debate should be about being hypocritical, and winning for your "side"? Really? I know plenty of left-wingers feel that that's, of course, what "the right" believes, so I'm uninterested in hearing from my left readers saying "of course." Just as I see endless streams of rightists blathering about how "the left are all idiots" and "liberals are just stupid." (People of like mind to Ann Coulter, but less articulate.) Who I'd like to hear from are non-lefty readers, and particularly from conservative or right-wing readers, as to whether they'd like to disavow such a viewpoint of why right-wingers "shouldn't bother to bash idiot right-wingers," or defend it. My eyes would like to pop less.
7/03/2002 02:27:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
I am mostly a libertarian, and it's tempting for me to pooh-pooh statist proposals, which are often both illiberal and ineffective. But July 4 celebrates an event that was not made through pure individual liberty, that could not have been made through pure individual liberty, and that could not have been sustained through pure individual liberty. It was a revolution against government power, made possible and successful by the power of other governments; and those governments have remained relatively free and relatively peaceful only because they created a stronger government, which has often had to use its power to defend liberty (though unfortunately has also often used it to suppress liberty).
None of this is news to thoughtful libertarians. There is a difference, after all, between libertarianism and anarchism. But it's worth reminding ourselves on occasion about the odd, almost but not quite contradictory, mix of philosophies that is needed to make liberty flourish in a dangerous world.
Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster who has worked with Gephardt and House Democrats over the years, said, "The reality of Gephardt is much more complex than the stick figure portrait that people sometimes draw of him, and part of the challenge for his candidacy would be to move people beyond the superficial caricature."
Nah. Gephardt is a stick figure, a caricature. He's a hack, who never met a protectionist issue that could please a union he could get a contribution from that he didn't like. He's never had a new idea in his life, save, "say, this flip-flop might be good for Dick Gephardt!"
7/02/2002 09:51:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
INTERNAL SECURITY, MA'AM: WE'RE HERE TO HELP: Don't miss this, admidst the news that FBI and CIA reorganization will be put off until at least next year:
Among the proposals expected to be taken up by the intelligence panel are combining the counterterrorism centers at the CIA and FBI within the proposed Department of Homeland Security; creating an internal security service that would absorb the FBI's counterterrorism and counterintelligence functions; and giving the director of central intelligence control over Pentagon technical collection agencies while eliminating his direct control over the CIA.
One result of the decision to create the Homeland Security Department before tackling the issue of restructuring the intelligence agencies is that the new department will be dependent on the FBI and CIA for collecting domestic intelligence. It also will put off any move to replace the FBI's domestic intelligence-collection role with a new federal internal security service. Both ideas have generated significant interest on Capitol Hill.
IT'S GOOD TO BE A SAUDI ARABIAN PRINCESS, or so our brave State Department thinks. Although the prosecutor may deserve most of the blame.
With the prosecution's star witness unavailable to testify, a wealthy Saudi princess with legal troubles appears to be headed for a soft landing today in a Florida court.
The princess, Buniah al-Saud, a niece of King Fahd, does not have to be in court to face accusations that last December in Orlando she pushed her maid down a flight of stairs, a Florida prosecutor said. Through her lawyer, Princess Buniah will be allowed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of battery, pay a $1,000 fine and give a judge a letter of regret about injuries to her Indonesian maid in the incident.
That's what made me angry, was I read in the press -- and by the way, the press is not conservative as people -- some people say its too conserv -- some people say, oh, the press is liberal. It's not either. It's lazy and obnoxious.
STEAM-POWERED LASER-POWERED FLIGHT for paper airplanes, real airplanes, and satellite launches are written about here.
In the June 10 issue of Applied Physics Letters, the scientists describe their folded plane, with a wingspan of about two inches and a weight of less than a hundredth of an ounce. At the back of the planes, they attached small aluminum targets to bounce the laser light.
Reflected particles of light impart a small force, like a stream of water from a garden hose hitting a beach ball. But that force is too small to lift even something as slight as their craft from the ground.
They then placed a droplet of water on the aluminum. Now, a pulse of laser light, in addition to bouncing off the aluminum, heated some of the aluminum into a superhot gas, which blew away the water like exhaust from a rocket engine.
"It's very hard to measure the water speed because it's very fast," said Dr. Takashi Yabe, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Tokyo institute and the lead author of the Applied Physics Letters article. The spray of water particles moved at speeds of at least 200 miles an hour, he said.
With the burst of thrust, the paper airplane lifted off from the laboratory workbench and glided to the ground.
"The significance of our idea is using water," Dr. Yabe said.
In October 2000, a carbon dioxide laser at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico pushed a shiny, acorn-shape craft about the size of a softball 233 feet into the air.
That remains the record altitude for a laser-driven rocket. The flight lasted less than 13 seconds.
Dr. Leik N. Myrabo, a professor of mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and designer of the laser-driven "lightcraft," foresees going much higher in the future. A laser 10 to 100 times as powerful could be strong enough to accelerate a small craft to a speed six times as great as the speed of sound to the edge of space, he said.
RIDICULING THE PLEDGE DECISION: Matthew Hoffman makes a spot-on point, which I amplify by noting the mainstream blogger reaction: blogger after blogger ridicules the decision, and ridicules the notion that any child could feel coerced, or that that should matter.
"Kids should have tough skins!" is a common phrasing. "Kids can't be over-sensitive and shielded!" is another. There are many variants, all heart-felt, to be sure.
All said by people engaged in mocking the decision, the court, the ACLU (which had no involvement whatever in the case, but let's ad hominem, shan't we?), and anyone who supports the idea that the State should not be enforcing any ideas about religion, pro or con.
All said by people not noticing they are engaged in precisely the sort of ridicule and pressure those who would abstain from saying the Pledge are subjected to.
The only way to make the case that, in fact, it wouldn't matter if kids voluntarily abstained from saying the Pledge, would be to act as if it didn't matter. By engaging in the hysterical reaction Congress, the President, 99% of all American politicans, and many bloggers have engaged in, said people have proven the opposite of their case; they have demonstrated precisely how strong the reaction is to those who go against the orthodoxy in declining to swear allegiance to someone else's religious beliefs.
[critics say] the reference to God in the current version of the Pledge is simply a bit of harmless fluff, a minor bit of "ceremonial deism" that poses no real danger to anyone's religious freedom. But that argument is a little hard to swallow, given the intensity of the public reaction to the Ninth Circuit's decision. If the phrase "under God" is meaningless--a notion that many religious people would vehemently disagree with--then why does it need to be in the pledge at all? And why are so many people so angry about its potential exclusion?
If it doesn't matter, it doesn't, you know, matter. But it does matter. You said so.
OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS: Of course, it would be wrong to criticize any aspects of their culture, which we must respect as an ancient one. It is different from ours, and we must respect their ways, such as calling Jews "monkeys." We must not be intolerant. After all, our culture is what we should most focus on criticizing and improving; we have no right to think badly of others before we've done that. Why, surely we're as bad, if there is such a thing as "bad," as they are, given all the evil, if there is such a thing as "evil," in our own society and selfish aggressive imperialism. Right?
The government of Qatar is spending millions of dollars to expand al-Udeid. Over the past months, the U.S. military quietly has moved munitions, equipment and communications gear to the base from Saudi Arabia, the control center for American air operations in the Gulf for more than a decade.
About 3,300 American troops are in Qatar, mostly at al-Udeid. The base is an isolated outpost amid a flat, seemingly endless stretch of scrubby desert about 20 miles from Doha, Qatar's capital.
Signs of an American military buildup are unmistakable:
-A tent city has sprouted, along with huge, air-conditioned warehouses and miles of security barriers that attest to the U.S. military's sharpened focus on protecting troops against terrorist attack.
-Freshly paved runways and aircraft parking ramps stretch deep into the desert. Al-Udeid's main, 15,000-foot runway is the longest in the region and can handle the largest Air Force transport planes.
-Newly built hangars for fighter aircraft are hardened to withstand aerial attack. Within view from the main runway are dozens of hardened bunkers, presumably for storage of munitions and supplies.
Etc. Go, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, and the Red Horse. Key quote:
Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, said this year he had no plans to move the [Combined Air Operations Center at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia] air control center. But he added, "That does not mean that I don't have plans to replicate it.''
Or, why I'm not remotely kneejerk that Military Spending Must Be Bad. Let's also note:
An information packet given to American reporters who accompanied Rumsfeld on a recent visit said the only military base in Qatar that the Qataris permit to be publicly identified is al-Udeid.
There are two other important U.S. military posts in Qatar. One is at Camp As-Sayliyah, on the outskirts of Doha, where tanks and other armored vehicles, ammunition and tons of other Army equipment are stored. These supplies and materials can fully outfit for combat an Army brigade of about 5,000 soldiers. In the event of war, the soldiers would fly to Qatar and match up with their equipment.
The Army also runs Camp Snoopy, adjacent to Doha's main airport. It is a logistics hub, receiving tons of supplies - everything from food and fuel to medicines and munitions - by air and sorting them out for delivery in the region. About 900 U.S. soldiers work at Camp Snoopy.
There is even a team of Army veterinarians based in Qatar. They provide medical care for the military's bomb detection dogs and they conduct food safety inspections in six locations in the Middle East.
SCOTUS'S season, er, term, is wrapped up lengthily by Linda Greenhouse, who correctly notes that it is the triumph of Chief Justice Palpatine, er, Rehnquist.
I was busy when the school drug testing decision, Board of Education v. Earls, No. 01-332, came down, but it's an appalling view of both the Fourth Amendment and the rights of minors, who apparently have no Fourth Amendment rights whatsoever according to Rehnquist and his Gang of Four. Test 'em all, because it will help fight the War on Some Drugs, and it's for the children.
Breyer was certainly no "liberal" on Fourth cases:
Justice Breyer left his usual allies and joined the conservative bloc to vote with the government in two cases on the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches. His was the deciding vote to expand the ability of public schools to subject students to random drug tests, and he joined the 6-to-3 majority that validated a law enforcement technique in conducting random searches of intercity bus passengers.
YES, VIRGINIA: J. Bowen of No Watermelonssays of Virginia Postrel:
on stem cell research she's lost it. We can argue about whether embryonic stem cell research ought to be banned or not. What is unmistakably wrong is that Virginia Postrel's opponents are "criminalizing science" or are supporting "prison terms for biologists".
Unless we are to assume that she believes that anything a biologist might want to do for research is legal and ethical. Which puts her in some select company - do I have to mention who?
I expect better than that from her.
I'd hope J. Bowen would parse elementary logic and grammar. Virginia did not say that opponents of embryonic stem cell research are "criminalizing all science," or "supporting prison terms for all biologists." Had she, he'd be correct. Similarly, she did not declare support for "anything a biologist might want to do for research." I'm quite sure Virginia does not support, say, picking people randomly out of a crowd for live dissection.
But we don't need special laws to keep biologists from doing this. The supporters of criminalizing stem cell research say we do need to pass special laws to make such acts criminally punishable.
Virginia said something objectively true: supporters of those bills are making a particular act of scientific investigation criminal. The bill provides for prison terms for biologists who violate it. These are simple facts. J. Bowen may fully or partially support those bills and provisions, and that's his right. But to declare that the bills do not, in fact, do these things, is simply false, and to say that Virginia Postrel has "lost it" for stating simple facts, is a curious judgment.
ON THE POLITICAL FRINGE is the judgement of Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor and columnist of the Atlanta Constitution, regarding Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hilliard, in her most recent column. Tucker is generally considered a liberal; her column is syndicated with
See Also: Other liberal writers: Mary McCarthy Ted Rall Richard Reeves David Shribman Cynthia Tucker
Tucker says, among other things:
But it is unfortunate that so many Arab Americans have chosen to support Hilliard and McKinney. Hilliard is a loose cannon, a dimwit, and perhaps a crook, to boot. McKinney -- while never accused of either stupidity or dishonesty -- is nevertheless given to a similar extremism. The Palestinian cause did not profit from Hilliard's association with it; it won't gain from McKinney's support, either.
Hilliard's district has few Jewish American or Arab American voters, and he has never been mistaken for a Middle East expert. Nevertheless, in 1997, he made a controversial visit to Libya, an international pariah. He also gained a reputation for trying to persuade his colleagues to vote against pro-Israeli initiatives.
Last November, just two months after the terrorist atrocities, Hilliard placed himself well outside the political mainstream by introducing a bill to drop sanctions against rogue nations.
While he defended the nation's enemies, he also misused campaign funds, bought personal items for himself and doled out campaign money to family and friends. In June 2001, he was rebuked by the House ethics panel.
McKinney, meanwhile, has earned international notoriety for her intemperate remarks related to the terrorist attacks. In April, McKinney in effect suggested that President Bush had aided and abetted the Sept. 11 hijackers, hinting that the president knew of the attacks in advance but deliberately failed to prevent them so that his friends in the defense industry would profit from the ensuing war.
Last year, McKinney made an ill-considered apology to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after his offer of a $10 million donation to a Sept. 11 relief fund had been justifiably rejected by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In making the offer, the prince had suggested American foreign policy had prompted the attacks.
All in all, McKinney, like Hilliard, has shown herself to be on the political fringe, well outside the congressional mainstream and incapable of aiding any cause, whether an independent Palestine or her own congressional district.
The plight of Palestinians and their desire for an independent homeland is a serious cause deserving of thoughtful, mainstream advocates. Hilliard wasn't one and neither is McKinney.
"SHOCKING REALISM": NBC Nightly News just did a View With Alarm story on Grand Theft Auto III, the hit video game people love to denounce. For a pleasant change, they worked in fifteen seconds with Gerard Jones as a counter to the other four-plus minutes of shock!horror! what-values-does-this-teach-our-children? boilerplate.
7/01/2002 05:19:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | Tweet |
HE'S DEAD, JIM: From a New Yorkerpiece on an obit writers conference:
He also recited excerpts from a compendium of euphemisms for "died": "was ushered to the angels," "passed from this plane to a higher plane," "made his transition," "passed into life's next adventure," "received his final marching orders," "departed this life on his Harley-Davidson," "graduated to phase two of God's eternal plan," "became a handmaiden of God," "was royally escorted into her heavenly home," "teed up for Golf in the Kingdom," and—my favorite—"went fishing with Christ!! on Friday."
What's the conference like?
"We're a small but élite group," Gilbert explained when I told her I was thinking of attending. "We really study the art and science of the obituary. The purpose is serious, but we have great fun."
J.C. WATTS IS OFF TO "SPEND MORE TIME WITH HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN"as expected. (For an example of how expected, compare the above "after press conference" story to the "before" version.)
Tom Cole will be the Republican nominee, according to Roll Call, but the race is seen as entirely competitive.
Cole described the district as strong "J.C. Watts territory" but a challenge for anyone else. The district is 68 percent Democratic in registration, but 61 percent of its voters punched the ticket for George W. Bush in the last presidential election.
LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) -- An evangelist who was asked to sing at his wife's uncle's funeral claims he had a revelation from God that led him to insult mourners and say that the dead man was damned.
Orlando Bethel said he spoke words that ``the Lord revealed to me.'' Preaching over a microphone at the Greater Pine Grove Baptist Church, he told some 100 mourners they were ``fornicators'' and ``whoremongers.'' He said the deceased, Lish Devan Taylor, had gone to hell.
The microphone was abruptly disconnected. Bethel then reached into a gym bag for what apparently was a bullhorn. Some thought he was reaching for a gun. About half the crowd fled, with a few dragging Bethel out a side door.
QUICK ACTION: Now the EPA is ready to begin testing and cleaning thousands of lower Manhattan apartments of dust and ash. Residents have understandably mixed feelings.
And so what might seem a simple question — whether to register for the federal cleaning, in a building where the tenants' association is pushing everyone to get on board — is anything but.
Some people think the cleanup is too little, too late. Others fear that inviting the government in could dredge up old anxieties they have tried hard to put to rest. Still others struggle with personal problems that make it hard to focus on issues of health and pollution that can feel speculative and intangible.
This is the story of only one group of tenants: one floor, one building, one slice of downtown life. There is no science to their selection. They are not meant to be stand-ins for New Yorkers, but only what they are — a closely examined cross section, full of wrinkles and idiosyncrasies.