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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.

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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 their teachers."
-- Socrates

"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?"
-- Cicero

"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue." -- François, duc de La Rochefoucauld

"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).

"Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited till he could do it so well, that no one could find fault with it."
-- Lecture IX, John Henry Cardinal Newman

“Nothing is more common than for men to think that because they are familiar with words they understand the ideas they stand for.”
-- John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
-- James Madison

"Those who are free from common prejudices acquire others."
-- Napolean I of France -- Napoleon I of France

"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)

"American life is a powerful solvent. It seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native good will, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism."
-- George Santayana, Character and Opinion in the United States, (1920)

"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."
-- Batman


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 cute panda. Don't you love pandas?

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Contents © 2001-2013 All rights reserved. Gary Farber. (The contents of e-mails to this email address of Gary Farber are subject to the possibility of being posted.)

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world

[Blogroll now far below the sea line! Dive, dive, dive!]

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

Gary Farber! Jeez, the guy is practically a blogging legend, and I'm always surprised at the breadth of what he writes about.
-- PZ Meyers, Pharyngula

...Darn: I saw that Gary had commented on this thread, and thought: oh. my. god. Perfect storm. Unstoppable cannonball, immovable object. -- Hilzoy

...I think Gary Farber is a blogging god. -- P.Z. Myers, Pharyngula

...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

‎"Gary Farber is a gentleman, a scholar and one of the gems of the blogosphere." -- Steve Hynd,

"Well argued, Gary. I hadn't seen anything that went into as much detail as I found in your blog." -- Gareth Porter

Gary Farber is your one-man internet as always, with posts on every article there is.
-- Fafnir

Guessing that Gary is ignorant of anything that has ever been written down is, in my experience, unwise.
Just saying.

-- Hilzoy

Gary Farber gets it right....
-- James Joyner, Outside The Beltway

Once again, an amazing and illuminating post.
-- Michael Bérubé, Crooked Timber

I read Amygdala...with regularity, as do all sensible websurfers.
-- Jim Henley, Unqualified Offerings

Okay, he is annoying, but he still posts a lot of good stuff.
-- Avedon Carol, The Sideshow

Amygdala - So much stuff it reminds Unqualified Offerings that UO sometimes thinks of Gary Farber as "the liberal Instapundit."
-- Jim Henley

...the thoughtful and highly intelligent Gary Farber... My first reaction was that I definitely need to appease Gary Farber of Amygdala, one of the geniuses of our age.
-- Brad deLong

Gary is a perceptive, intelligent, nice guy. Some of the stuff he comes up with is insightful, witty, and stimulating. And sometimes he manages to make me groan.
-- Charlie Stross

Gary Farber is a straight shooter.
-- John Cole, Balloon Juice

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.
-- Ogged

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.

One of my favorites....
-- Matt Welch

-- Virginia Postrel

Amygdala continues to have smart commentary on an incredible diversity of interesting links....
-- Judith Weiss

Amygdala has more interesting obscure links to more fascinating stuff that any other blog I read.
-- Judith Weiss, Kesher Talk

Gary's stuff is always good.
-- Meryl Yourish

...the level-headed Amygdala blog....
-- Geitner Simmons

The only trouble with reading Amygdala is that it makes me feel like such a slacker. That Man Farber's a linking, posting, commenting machine, I tell you!
-- John Robinson, Sore Eyes

...the all-knowing Gary Farber....
-- Edward Winkleman, Obsidian Wings

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


Gary is certainly a non-idiotarian 'liberal'...
-- Perry deHaviland

Recommended for the discerning reader.
-- Tim Blair

Gary Farber's great Amygdala blog.
-- Dr. Frank

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

You nailed it... nice job."
-- James Lileks

Gary Farber is a principled liberal....
-- Bill Quick, The Daily Pundit

December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 December 2011 January 2013

Blogroll is Always In Progress:

Roger Ailes
Alas, A Blog
The American Street
The Aristocrats
Avedon Carol
Between the Hammer and the Anvil
Lindsay Beyerstein
The Big Con
CantBlogTooBusy The Center for American Progress
Chase me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry
Doghouse Riley
Kevin Drum
Fables of the Reconstruction
Gall and Gumption
Gin and Tacos
House of Substance
The Hunting of the Snark
If I Ran The Zoo
Lawyers, Guns & Money
Lotus: Surviving a Dark Time
Matters of Little Significance
Nancy Nall
Charlie Stross bastard.logic
Daniel Larison
American Conservative
American Footprints
Andrew Sullivan
Angry Bear
Balloon Juice
Beautiful Horizons
Bitch Ph.D.
Brad DeLong
Crooked Timber
Cunning Realist
Daily Kos
Debate Link
Democracy Arsenal
Edge of the American West
Ezra Klein
Glenn Greenwald 13th Floor
Hit & Run
Juan Cole
Kevin Drum
Lawyers, Guns and Money
List Project (Helping Iraqis who worked with us get out)
Marc Lynch
Mark Kleiman
Katha Pollit
Market Square
Matthew Yglesias
Megan McArdle
Metro Green
Pam's House Blend
Paul Krugman
Philosophy, et cetera
Radley Balko
Sadly, No!
Southern Appeal
Stephen Walt
Steve Clemons
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Taking It Outside
Talking Points Memo
The Poor Man
The Progressive Realist
The Sideshow
U.S. Intellectual History
Unqualified Offerings
Volokh Conspiracy
Washington Monthly
William Easterly
Newsrack Blog
Ortho Bob
The Poor Man
Prog Gold
Prose Before Hos
Ted Rall
The Raw Story
Elayne Riggs
Sadly, No!
Texas Liberal
Think Progress
3 Weird Sisters
Tristram Shandy
Washington Monthly
Ian Welsh
James Wolcott
World o' Crap
Matthew Yglesias
Buzz Machine
Daniel Larison
Rightwing Film Geek About Last Night
can we all just agree
Comics Curmudgeon
Dum Luk's
Glenn Kenny
Hoarder Museum Juanita Jean
Lance Mannion (Help Lance!
Last Words of the Executed
The Phil Nugent Experience
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
Vanishing New York
a lovely promise
a web undone
alt hippo
american street
city of brass
danger west
fierce urgency of now
get fisa right
great concavity
happening here
impeach them!
kathryn cramer
notes from the basement
talking dog
uncertain principles
unqualified offerings
what do i know
crooked timber emptywheel
ezra klein
The F-Word
glenn greenwald
schneier on security
ta-nehisi coates
talking points memo
tiny revolution
Roz Kaveney
Dave Ettlin
Henry Jenkins' Confessions of an Aca-Fan
Kathryn Cramer
Monkeys In My Pants
Pagan Prattle
As I Please
Ken MacLeod
Arthur Hlavaty
Kevin Maroney
MK Kare
Jack Heneghan
Dave Langford
Onyx Lynx Atrios
Rittenhouse Review
Public Nuisance
Scoobie Davis
Nathan Newman
Echidne Of The Snakes
First Draft
Rising Hegemon
Cab Drollery (Help Diane!
Southern Beale
The Kenosha Kid
Culture of Truth
Talk Left
Black Ag=Q< Report
Drug WarRant
Nieman Watchdog
Open Left
Meet the Bloggers
Dispatch from the Trenches
Crooks and Liars
Campaign for America's Future
Iraq Today
Daily Kos
Lefty Directory
News Hounds
The Brad Blog
Informed Comment
UN Dispatch
War and Piece
Glenn Greenwald
Schneier on Security
Jim Henley
Arthur Silber
Julian Sanchez
The Agitator
Balloon Juice
Wendy McElroy
Whoviating (LarryE)
Scott Horton
Tennessee Guerilla Women
Looking Glass
Charles Kuffner
Brad DeLong
Busy, Busy, Busy
Oliver Willis
The Carpetbagger Report Shakesville
Down With Tyranny
Professor B
Monkey Media Report
The Grumpy Forester
Ian Welsh
Pacific Views
Booman Tribune
Matthew Yglesias
The American Street
Media Bloodhound
Liz Henry's Composite
The Heretik
Arizona Eclectic
Sisyphus Shrugged
Interesting Times
Talking Dog
Liberal Desert
Under the Lobsterscope
Seeing The Forest
Sean Paul Kelley's The Agonist
King of Zembla
Mark Kleiman
Liquid List
Elayne Riggs
No More Mr. Nice Blog
Fanatical Apathy
Blue Gal
Mark Evanier
Roger Ailes
Suburban Guerrilla (Help Susie with money!)
The Mahablog
Brilliant at Breakfast
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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.

Sunday, February 29, 2004
THE ATOMIC GOODS is what Seymour Hersh has.

Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5.

2/29/2004 11:53:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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36 PERCENT. This is just so bad on so many levels.
Inspectors have found evidence that some of the highly enriched uranium found on nuclear machinery in Iran came from Russia, European diplomats and American experts said Friday. The nuclear fuel appears to have come through the global black market, the experts added, and not with the blessings of Moscow.


The Bush administration has long accused Iran of harboring a secret bomb project, which Tehran denies, saying its nuclear program is only for peacetime purposes.

Perfectly true. They want to build their nuclear bombs during peacetime.

In that light, last year's discovery in Iran of highly enriched uranium —a potential bomb fuel — set off an international crisis about the country's nuclear intentions and raised questions about where it had originated. Iran claimed it was contamination that came in on imported equipment, which Iranian officials said they acquired to concentrate uranium for reactors to generate electricity. The centrifuges spin rapidly to enrich uranium for both nuclear reactors and nuclear arms. High concentrations of uranium's rare 235 isotope can fuel warheads.

In a report on Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that its inspections had found that centrifuge equipment made indigenously in Iran — but not imported gear — showed many traces of the concentrated fuel, leading experts to doubt the Iranian explanation and suggest that Iran had enriched the uranium itself. Its purity was 36 percent U-235 — short of the 90 percent needed for most nuclear bomb designs but greater than that needed for most nuclear reactors.

On Friday, however, European diplomats said the agency's laboratory at Seibersdorf, Austria, had discovered a likely match between the atomic signatures of Russian uranium and samples agency inspectors had gathered from Iranian centrifuges.


Michael A. Levi, a science fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington who has studied the recent I.A.E.A. report, said yesterday that he had independently deduced that the Iranian uranium originated in Russia. The strong clue, he said, was its 36 percent enrichment, a level that matches a kind of fuel used in certain Russian submarines and research reactors. Globally, he added, he knew of no other nuclear technology that used 36 percent enrichment.

"There's no reason for Iran to enrich to 36 percent," he said. `The only place that does that is Russia."

He added that it was highly unlikely that the Russian government sold Iran the uranium because its scientists could have easily concealed the telltale signature.

Rather, he argued, thieves probably stole the material either from Russia proper or elsewhere in the former Soviet Union and sold it on the black market.

Nations that use Russian reactors fueled with 36 percent enriched uranium, Mr. Levi said, include not only Russia but also the Czech Republic, Germany (in the former East sector), Hungary, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. None of the similarly enriched Russian submarine fuel is exported through legal channels.

Poor security over such materials has been the rule rather than the exception since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Levi said. For instance, in 1993, two Russian naval servicemen stole nearly four pounds of 36 percent enriched uranium from a naval base at Andreyeva Guba, Russia. They were caught and the material recovered.

Mr. Levi said Iran might have wanted a supply of 36 percent uranium because it could ease the production of bomb-grade uranium, making the process much faster and easier.

He estimated, for instance, that enriching one bomb's worth of material would take one year of running 66 pounds of 36 percent enriched uranium through just 25 centrifuges. A set of such centrifuges, known as a cascade, incrementally concentrates the U-235 isotope.

In contrast, if Iran started with natural, unenriched uranium, Mr. Levi said, the same production run would require 13,200 pounds of raw material running through 750 centrifuges. Such a cascade, he noted, "would be far harder to hide than the 15 centrifuge arrangement."

Two-stop shopping: getcher manufacturing ability from Pakistan, and your fuel from the Russian black market, and you're good to go!

Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.

2/29/2004 10:09:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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MY OSCAR PREDICTIONS are here, in case you've forgotten. So far I'm six for six, but, then, I didn't venture an opinion on all categories.

I laugh a mighty laugh, though, at those so brave as to post "predictions" on the day of the Oscars (or any time within the last month), a point at which it's already pretty obvious who most of the winners are; a better trick is to post as soon as possible after the nominations are made, before a million stories in the press and profession make the trends clear to everyone playing the home game. (An even better trick is to predict a list of winners on January 1st, before the nominations are announced, but since I didn't do that, I won't go there.)

Follow-up to come.

10:25 p.m. (MST): Not bad. My only major error of the night was that I went out on a limb and thought this might be the year the Academy finally went for a comedy actor, and picked Murray first and Depp second (in for a penny), and Penn third. Ah, well, the conventional wisdom won that one.

And I went wrong by figuring they wouldn't give everything to LOTR, and so I guessed Seabiscuit for editing. I think I went similarly wrong on Art Direction; everything else I predicted, I got right.

2/29/2004 07:52:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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WHEN DEANIACS ATTACK (EACH OTHER). The Howard Dean campaign had internal conflict; who knew?

Excellent summary story on the dissension and problems between Vermont and the road, Kate O'Connor and Joe Trippi, and how disorganizeed the campaign was; definite must-read for political junkies; others can lay off.

2/29/2004 03:59:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, February 28, 2004
President Bush yesterday dismissed two members of his handpicked Council on Bioethics -- a scientist and a moral philosopher who had been among the more outspoken advocates for research on human embryo cells.

In their places he appointed three new members, including a doctor who has called for more religion in public life, a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported, and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the "threats of biotechnology."


One of the dismissed members, Elizabeth Blackburn, is a renowned biologist at the University of California at San Francisco. She said she received a call yesterday morning from someone in the White House personnel office.

"He said the White House had decided to make some changes on the council. He wanted to express his gratitude and said I'd no longer be on the council," Blackburn said.

She said she had no warning and had not heard from the council's director, University of Chicago ethicist Leon Kass. She said she believed she was let go because her political views do not match those of the president and of Kass, with whom she has often been at odds at council meetings.

"I think this is Bush stacking the council with the compliant," Blackburn said.

The other dismissed member, William May, an emeritus professor of ethics at Southern Methodist University, is a highly respected scholar whose views on embryo research and other topics had also run counter to those of conservative council members. Efforts to reach him last night were unsuccessful.

Asked why Blackburn and May had been let go, White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said the two members' terms had expired in January, and they were on "holdover status." Asked whether, in fact, all the council members' terms had formally expired in January, she said they had.

Pressed on why Blackburn and May had been singled out for dismissal, she said: "We've decided to go ahead and appoint other individuals with different expertise and experience." She would not elaborate further.


The three new appointees are Benjamin Carson, the high-profile director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University; Diana Schaub, chairman of the department of political science at Loyola College in Maryland; and Peter Lawler, a professor of government at Berry College in Georgia. All are respected members of their fields. And their writings suggest their tenures will be less contentious than their predecessors'.

When not performing some of the most difficult surgeries in the world, Carson is a motivational speaker who often invokes religion and the Bible and has lamented that "we live in a nation where we can't talk about God in public."

Schaub has effusively praised Kass and his work. In a 2002 public forum discussing the council's cloning report, she talked about research in which embryos are destroyed as "the evil of the willful destruction of innocent human life."

In a book review in the conservative Weekly Standard in late 2002, Lawler warned that if the United States does not soon "become clear as a nation that abortion is wrong," then women will eventually be compelled to abort genetically defective babies.

Michael Gazzaniga, a Dartmouth neuroscientist who sits on the council, said he was "upset" by Blackburn's ejection.

"She was one of the basic scientists who understood the biology of many of the issues we're talking about," Gazzaniga said. "It will be a loss for sure."

Isn't it wonderful we have a White House and Congressional leadership so open to dissent, that is so skilled at finding moderate compromise, and that is so good at uniting, not dividing?

Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5.

2/28/2004 01:46:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY and it is us, according to the Government.
Writers often grumble about the criminal things editors do to their prose. The federal government has recently weighed in on the same issue — literally.

It has warned publishers they may face grave legal consequences for editing manuscripts from Iran and other disfavored nations, on the ground that such tinkering amounts to trading with the enemy.

Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace "inappropriate words," according to several advisory letters from the Treasury Department in recent months.

Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed.

The Treasury letters concerned Iran. But the logic, experts said, would seem to extend to Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most trade is banned without a government license.

Laws and regulations prohibiting trade with various nations have been enforced for decades, generally applied to items like oil, wheat, nuclear reactors and, sometimes, tourism. Applying them to grammar, spelling and punctuation is an infuriating interpretation, several people in the publishing industry said.

"It is against the principles of scholarship and freedom of expression, as well as the interests of science, to require publishers to get U.S. government permission to publish the works of scholars and researchers who happen to live in countries with oppressive regimes," said Eric A. Swanson, a senior vice president at John Wiley & Sons, which publishes scientific, technical and medical books and journals.

Nahid Mozaffari, a scholar and editor specializing in literature from Iran, called the implications staggering. "A story, a poem, an article on history, archaeology, linguistics, engineering, physics, mathematics, or any other area of knowledge cannot be translated, and even if submitted in English, cannot be edited in the U.S.," she said.

"This means that the publication of the PEN Anthology of Contemporary Persian Literature that I have been editing for the last three years," she said, "would constitute aiding and abetting the enemy."

Allan Adler, a lawyer with the Association of American Publishers, said the trade group was unaware of any prosecutions for criminal editing. But he said the mere fact of the rules had scared some publishers into rejecting works from Iran.

Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, questioned the logic of making editors a target of broad regulations that require a government license.

"There is no obvious reason why a license is required to edit where no license is required to publish," he said. "They can print anything as is. But they can't correct typos?"

In theory — almost certainly only in theory — correcting typographical errors and performing other routine editing could subject publishers to fines of $500,000 and 10 years in jail.

"Such activity," according to a September letter from the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, "would constitute the provision of prohibited services to Iran."

Tara Bradshaw, a Treasury Department spokeswoman, confirmed the restrictions on manuscripts from Iran in a statement. Banned activities include, she wrote, "collaboration on and editing of the manuscripts, the selection of reviewers, and facilitation of a review resulting in substantive enhancements or alterations to the manuscripts."

She did not respond to a request seeking an explanation of the department's reasoning.

Congress has tried to exempt "information or informational materials" from the nation's trade embargoes. Since 1988, it has prohibited the executive branch from interfering "directly or indirectly" with such trade. That exception is known as the Berman Amendment, after its sponsor, Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat.

Critics said the Treasury Department had long interpreted the amendment narrowly and grudgingly. Even so, Mr. Berman said, the recent letters were "a very bizarre interpretation."

"It is directly contrary to the amendment and to the intent of the amendment," he said. "I also don't understand why it's not in our interest to get information into Iran."

Kenneth R. Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, said the government had grown insistent on the editing ban. "Since 9/11 and since the Bush administration took office," he said, "the Treasury Department has been ramping up enforcement."

Publishers may still seek licenses from the government that would allow editing, but many First Amendment specialists said that was an unacceptable alternative.

"That's censorship," said Leon Friedman, a Hofstra law professor who sometimes represents PEN. "That's a prior restraint."

Esther Allen, chairwoman of the PEN American Center's translation committee, said the rules would also appear to ban translations. "During the cold war, the idea was to let voices from behind the Iron Curtain be heard," she said. "Now that's called trading with the enemy?"

In an internal legal analysis last month, the publishers' association found that the regulations "constitute a serious threat to the U.S. publishing community in general and to scholarly and scientific publishers in particular." Mr. Adler, the association's lawyer, said it was trying to persuade officials to alter the regulations and might file a legal challenge.

These days, journals published by the engineering institute reject manuscripts from Iran that need extensive editing and run a disclaimer with those they accept, said Michael R. Lightner, the institute vice president responsible for publications. "It tells readers," he said, "that the article did not get the final polish we would like."

The collapse of the Iranian Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader shall surely follow any day.

Is there any sense in which this policy makes sense?

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5.

2/28/2004 01:33:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Read the whole thing; a near-definitive piece on contemporary France and its Jews. Important, and damaging to excerpt; if you have to pick one article on the subject this year, make it this one.

2/28/2004 07:27:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, February 26, 2004
MY NEW IDEA. In response to this:
From the end of the Second World War until September 2000, it was widely assumed that anti-Semitism was effectively dead in Western Europe. Wrong there. And ever since Vatican II (1962-1965), it was also assumed that the Church had at last put its old teaching about the Jews as Christ killers behind it. The danger of Gibson's film, in which Jewish characters are made to seem more guilty than Pontius Pilate in condemning Jesus to his fate, is that it may reawaken this old anti-Semitic strain, too.

This is a development to which Zionism itself, and therefore Israelis generally, cannot easily be reconciled. For Zionism is more than just a political prescription. It is also a diagnosis. Why were the Jews hated? Because, Herzl said, they were a stateless nation in a world of nation-states. Statehood for Jews, he reckoned, would put paid to the accusation that Jews were "rootless cosmopolitans"; indeed, it would rip out the roots of anti-Semitism itself.

Zionism has done no such thing. The State of Israel has given Jews political self-determination, great cultural freedom and a margin of physical safety. But anti-Semitism is a beast of many faces. If Jews are not parasitic capitalists they are revolutionary socialists. If they are not rootless cosmopolitans they are ethnic chauvinists. If they are not suspect liberals they are suspect neoconservatives. And so on.

Jew-hatred, then, has no end of justifications. It is an irrational phenomenon, yet unlike other irrational phenomena it defies rational explanation. And this has political ramifications. It tells us that Jew-haters will not be mollified by the creation of a Jewish state, as Herzl supposed, or by its destruction, as modern-day binational state advocates such as Tony Judt suppose.

It means that no amount of Jewish charity will erase the charge of Jewish greed. It means that no amount of Israeli political moderation will persuade Israel's critics that it is, in fact, acting moderately. It means that every Israeli strategic concession will be viewed as an act of weakness, not magnanimity or even choice.

It means that Jews are hated for who they are. What they do, whether for good or ill, is quite beside the point as far as Jew-haters are concerned.
I suggest that we give up all that getting liked stuff. Let's just -- bwahahahahah -- rule the world, instead. Y'know, like we're supposed to. We have a talent for that stuff, right? And -- bwahahahahahhah -- you'll get real bagels out of the deal.

I propose to start by my being awarded rulership of the United States. Or your banks.

(I shall start by changing my name to Goldfinger.)

2/26/2004 08:32:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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The church's pastor, Maurice Gordon, upset Denver residents with the message on his church's South Colorado Boulevard marquee - "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus."

By evening, someone had removed "Jews."

"For more than 1,900 years, this accusation has fueled anti-Semitism in the Western world," said Bruce DeBoskey, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

The verse appeared on Ash Wednesday, one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar and the day that Mel Gibson's highly publicized movie "The Passion of the Christ" opened in theaters.

"The purpose was to get people to open up their Bibles and take a look at it for themselves," Nate Hyatt said as he walked into the church to worship. Gordon is his grandfather. "It wasn't meant as a hateful thing to anyone. We don't want it to be distorted like that."

Gordon told The Associated Press he was inspired by the intense discussion leading to Wednesday's release of Gibson's film.

"I had been listening to debate back and forth on talk radio about who really did it," Gordon said. "What I did, right or wrong, was to give a citation from the Apostle Paul."

"You only want to do this maybe once in a lifetime," Gordon said. "At least hopefully it will get people to go back and read the fine print in the Bible."
I guess the fine print says kill the Jews. No? That's what it's historically meant. I guess we should forget about all that, as it couldn't happen again, or here. We should rest easy and fear not.

And here:

DENVER -- A billboard unveiled on Ash Wednesday, the same day that a controversial movie depicting the last hours of Jesus Christ premiered, is sparking criticism from people of all faiths.

The large-size outdoor marquee, which sits on the property of the Lovingway United Pentecostal Church at Colorado and Mississippi, says, "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus" and the word "Settled!"

"It's settled," said Maurice Gorden, Loveway pastor. "The word of God is the final word."

Also settled is the question of whether "The Passion" might stir anti-Semitism. Clearly it has not.

Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5.

Credit to The American Kestrel for good local coverage.

2/26/2004 08:15:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

2/25/2004 06:44:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

2/24/2004 05:54:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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SHOUT OUT and all that there to those organizing bookstore workers, such as Borders and Waldens and the like. I'm deeply pessimistic that it can work -- a field where there is an infinite supply of college students to replace you , alas, suggests that -- but I'm all for you, nonetheless. And I'm honored to be listed on the union website. I'd help any honorable way I could.

2/24/2004 05:31:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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ANACHRONISMS. Regarding the story just below, and "the adult comic-book format": how long has it been exactly, that one found a bunch of eight-year-olds eagerly poring over the comics they brought home from the supermarket? Anywhere?

Comics -- and this is terrible -- ceased to be for kids when the mass-market for them died. Over a decade ago (two? three?). Sheesh. Kids don't drive to specialty shops and pay ten-to-two-hundred dollars for their monthly fix.

I gave up buying comics when it got too expensive. They went over the standard twelve cents a piece. And I was angry and upset. Hint: that was a while ago, and the label "adult comic-book" became redundant last century.

It's weird that this trope is still out there, but there it is.

2/24/2004 01:37:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Monday, February 23, 2004
What do you do 25 years after creating a new artistic genre? If you are Will Eisner, you do the same thing again in your late 80's.

"A Contract With God," set in the tenements of his Bronx youth and published in 1978, established Mr. Eisner as the father of the graphic novel. Now he has taken the adult comic-book format a step further, with a graphic history that applies his dark, 1930's-style illustrations to real events of a century ago.

This latest work, called "The Plot," tells the story behind the creation of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the infamous Russian forgery that purported to reveal a Jewish plan to rule the world. Mr. Eisner, the son of Jews who fled Europe, has reached into the past to say something about the present: a time, he says, when anti-Semitism is again on the rise.

"I was surfing the Web one day when I came across this site promoting `The Protocols' to readers in the Mideast," said Mr. Eisner, 86. "I was amazed that there were people who still believed `The Protocols' were real, and I was disturbed to learn later that this site was just one of many that promoted these lies in the Muslim world. I decided something had to be done."

Sitting in his studio-office, surrounded by the paraphernalia of 70 years in comics — honorary plaques, statues in the shape of a certain cartoon mouse, an Al Hirschfeld drawing of his profile — Mr. Eisner began his research. It did not matter that he was in a strip-mall office building outside Fort Lauderdale, while other elderly former New Yorkers trooped by on their way to the dentist. He was fighting for justice in a bleak world, the way his most famous comic-book character, the Spirit, did in American newspapers throughout the 1940's.

Soon Mr. Eisner realized that the story behind "The Protocols" was too confusing and myth-ridden to rely on the Internet. Enlisting the help of N. C. Christopher Couch, who teaches a course on graphic novels at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the two began piecing together the facts, helped by a French comic-book fan, Benjamin Herzberg.

Historians say "The Protocols," first published in 1903, were fabricated in Russia by the czar's secret police as a way of undermining a growing social reform movement. Jews figured prominently in this movement, and the police theorized that they could discredit it by making it appear to be a front for a sinister Jewish agenda. Mathieu Golovinski, a propagandist, concocted the 24 fraudulent "protocols" or minutes, of an international meeting of Jewish bankers, journalists and financiers outlining a purported Jewish-Masonic plot to dominate world affairs.

The forgery was revealed in 1921 when the Times of London published a series of articles demonstrating that the actual source for the text was a a French political satire published in 1864 by Maurice Joly, in which Machiavelli and Montesquieu discuss a plan for world domination by Napoleon III.

"Golovinski simply took sections from Joly's `Dialogue in Hell' and claimed they were conversations from this alleged secret meeting," Mr. Eisner said. "In many cases he merely copied large segments of Joly's satire verbatim while substituting the phrase `the Jews' for `Napoleon III."

In "The Plot," which is about 100 pages, Mr. Eisner reveals this fabrication through three different methods that draw on all phases of his 70-year career. In a short introduction he provides an account of how he came upon "The Protocols" and learned the truth behind them.

In the main body of the work he depicts the creation and unmasking of "The Protocols" through a comic-book-like series of panels and text. In the concluding section Mr. Eisner displays numerous excerpts from "The Protocols" alongside examples from the text in Joly's satire.

Like other Jewish artists Mr. Eisner entered comics in the mid-30's because he was restricted from more respectable fields like graphic design or illustration. Yet once he was there, he introduced ambitious techniques and themes. From this platform he developed his new genre to take on more serious and personal subjects. In many of these later works he dwelled on the anti-Semitism that had shaped him. His most recent work "Fagin the Jew," published last year by Doubleday, was an effort to construct a back story to "Oliver Twist" in which Fagin's struggles as a Jew help turn him into a criminal.

Denis Kitchen, Mr. Eisner's agent and onetime publisher, described "The Plot," which is still being inked, as more subtle and intellectual than his other creations. "It's closer to a documentary" than an action film, he said.

One sequence of panels depicts a fateful meeting at a Constantinople cafe between a bearded, valise-toting "White Russian émigré with something to sell" and a mustached, pipe-smoking patron with a newspaper sticking out of his pocket, who turns out to be Phillip Graves, the correspondent for The Times of London who exposed the fraud.

"The great irony of `The Protocols' ' continued existence is that they were proven to be false as early as 1921," Mr. Eisner said, remarking that by now the real story had been relegated largely to the realm of scholarship. "I wanted to create a work that would be understood by the widest possible audience."
Too cool. Eisner is, of course, a god of comics. One can barely begin to count the number of greats who turned a stint as one of his assistants.

Chris Couch, who helped Eisner with this project, as mentioned, is an old old friend of mine, going back thirty-plus years. Long a professor of Columbian-era art at Amherst, he's also been an aficionado of comics (and sf) for more decades than me (being a few years older), once publishing the great fanzine Cipher (among others), dedicated to all forms of pop culture, back in the Sixties and Seventies, and spending many years as a comics editor at Kitchen Sink Press, among many other activities. Last time I saw him was at Lou Stathis's funeral, almost eight years ago.

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5; this is the whole thing.

2/23/2004 11:32:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Some class science projects get out of hand.

That is certainly the case with Patrick Miller's graduate course in do-it-yourself supercomputing at the University of San Francisco. On April 3, his students plan to assemble the first "flash mob supercomputer" in the school gym.

While brainstorming about how to build a home-brew computer powerful enough to be added to a list of the world's 500 fastest computers, Mr. Miller and his students, along with Gregory D. Benson, an associate professor of computer science, came up with the idea of an electronic barn-raising. They decided to build on the concept of flash mobs, the sudden Internet-organized gatherings with no particular purpose that became an unlikely fad last summer.

Last week, the class put out a call for about 1,200 volunteers to bring their computers to the Koret Gym here for a day and plug them into a shared high-speed network.


Several universities have shown that it is possible to hook hundreds of off-the-shelf personal computers together to create supercomputers. But until now no one has tried to build an instant supercomputer in one place.

"It struck me as being something of a 60's idea," said Dennis Allison, a founder of Dr. Dobbs, a Silicon Valley magazine for computer programmers. "This could easily be an idea from one of William Gibson's science-fiction novels, where everyone gathers in Grand Central station to save the world by plugging their machines into the Net."


The group has high hopes for its gym machine. It plans to run a speed benchmark program known as Linpack. The group estimates that to make the next Top 500 list, scheduled to be released in June, the machine will need to reach a speed of about 550 gigaflops, or billions of mathematical operations per second. The No. 1 spot on the list is held by the Earth Simulator in Japan, which can run at more than 35 teraflops, or 35,000 gigaflops.


Depending on the size of the problem, Mr. Dongarra said, it could take 1,000 laptops about 4.4 hours to solve. By contrast, a single desktop machine would take about 4,000 hours, while the fastest computer could solve it in 4.8 minutes.

With a thousand people and computers packed into the gym, heat could be a problem, but Mr. Miller said he was not worried because the gym has a high ceiling. After taking a shot at a speed record, the computer will be reorganized to serve as the host of a giant multiplayer video game tournament, he said.

I like that touch at the end. But what happens when we can link the brains together as well as, or instead of, the computers?

Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.

2/23/2004 12:10:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Sunday, February 22, 2004
The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who presides over the theocracy with near-absolute authority, had condemned the reformist boycott as a foreign plot.

"The losers in this election are the United States, Israeli Zionists and the country's enemies," he said.
One hopes that the last chance for peaceful change in Iran didn't just pass.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.25 out of 5.

2/22/2004 10:07:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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IRANFILTER is running translated posts from Iranian blogs on the election. Sample:
Yesterday at the public swimming pool, two middle-aged ladies were chatting by the shallow end... I had also gone to that area... Near where the filtered water is returned to the pool... People like to stand around there... It feels a bit like a Jacuzzi... The older woman who was also a bit heavier was saying; "I'll be forced to vote on Friday... because I'm a retiree... I'm worried that if my ID card doesn't show the election stamp, they may stop my retirement pension... And my daughter is also a university student and it my affect her too..." The other woman who was wearing way too much make-up replied somewhat irritably; "What is all this talk? I'm on a pension too but the section on my card for election stamps, is cleaner than a Mullah's rear-end" ...
Ah, a different culture, but strangely recognizable.

Read The Rest Scale: yes, quite.

2/22/2004 08:47:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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LINUX ON YOUR IPOD. Too geeky for me. Well, maybe not entirely, but I don't have an Ipod, and, cool as they are, I'm not really comfortable walking around listening to music out in the world save under very certain circumstances. Weird of me, perhaps, but there I am.

Meanwhile, go play with your Ipod.

2/22/2004 08:40:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Some people are naturals at manoeuvring their chopsticks. For the three out of five people in Britain who have trouble, two physicists have come to the rescue.

Jim Al-Khalili and Qiang Zhao, of the physics department at the University of Surrey, have devised a formula to coincide with the Chinese new year which claims to put a number on how well you use chopsticks.

"The hardest thing was actually figuring out what the hell we should work out," said Dr Al-Khalili. "We decided the nicest thing was to work out comfort factor - how much energy you need to use to pick up lumps of food."

He and Dr Zhao spent a morning scribbling equations on a blackboard to crack the problem. "By coffee time, we'd thrashed out the formula," he said.

To work out the comfort factor - on a scale of one (for maximum discomfort) to 100 - of picking up a specific piece of food, you need to look at several things, including the number of Chinese meals you have eaten in your life and how many times you eschewed the knife and fork option to use chopsticks.

"Most of the formula is serious physics," says Dr Al-Khalili. "Mass of the food, the size of the food; how slippery it is between the sticks. Then we had to put in the texture of the food, how crumbly it is and so on."

They also found that if your fear of using chopsticks runs deep, you might have some serious practising to do. "If you wanted to pick up a piece of chicken of appropriate size ... it would take you 20 years eating one Chinese meal with chopsticks per week for the comfort factor to be the same as picking the bloody thing up with your fingers," said Dr Al-Khalili.

Not exactly a deep story. More of an example of bad journalism where a good idea for a story is present, but it peters off into a bit of gassing by way of what some guys thought of at lunch. But just sufficiently amusing for me to mention it!

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5; this is all there is.

2/22/2004 08:06:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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NEWS FROM THE RUSSIAN FRONT. Not entirely news, in the sense that students of the history are aware of this stuff, but it's true that it certainly hasn't made its way to popular awareness.
From evidence released from Soviet archives since the mid-1980's, scholars have learned, for example, that Soviet deaths numbered nearly 50 million, two and half times the original estimate; that the Red Army raped two million German women during their occupation to wreak revenge; and that an astonishing 40 percent of Soviet wartime battles were for deacdes lost to history.

In the last few years, academics have lamented that access to Russian archives has tightened considerably. Surprisingly, though, specialists in the field say that what may turn out to be a bigger problem is the dearth of Russian military historians in the West who can take advantage of the documentary material already available, coupled with the lack of money in the former Soviet Union to support those academics prepared to dive into the papers. So far, it's a "missed historiographical opportunity," said Col. David M. Glantz, now retired, the former director of the United States Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, who has written or edited more than 60 books on the history of the Soviet military in the Second World War. The extraordinarily prolific Colonel Glantz said he would need "three lifetimes" to mine the documents that have already been released.


According to the conventional view, based largely on the often-self-serving accounts of German generals, the Wehrmacht was the most operationally advanced military in the war, and Soviet tactics and performance were leaden and unimaginative in comparison; the Red Army ultimately prevailed not because it was skillful, but because it was so large.

By incorporating Colonel Glantz's findings, however, Mr. Murray of Ohio State and his co-author, Allan R. Millett, conclude in "A War to Be Won" (Harvard, 2000), their general history of the Second World War, that the Soviets' brilliant use of encirclement and what they called "deep battle" — extremely rapid, far-reaching advances behind the enemy's front lines — constituted the most innovative and devastating display of "operational art" in World War II. Soviet operations from the summer of 1944 to the winter of 1945, they conclude, were far superior to those of the German Army at its best.

Speaking from his house in Carlisle, Pa., near the United States Army War College, Colonel Glantz marveled that close to one-half of wartime Soviet operations — including major battles involving hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers — are simply "missing from history," either neglected or covered up.

For example, in November and December of 1942 the celebrated Soviet Field Marshal G. K. Zhukov orchestrated a gigantic offensive ("Operation Mars") involving seven Soviet armies with 83 divisions, 817,000 men and 2,352 tanks. The failed operation cost the Red Army nearly 350,000 dead, missing and wounded men, and 1,700 tanks, yet it was methodically concealed in Soviet historiography, in large part to preserve Zhukov's reputation.

Not all of Colonel Glantz's findings would have proved so embarrassing to the Soviets. In one of the most contentious debates that emerged from the war, Western historians and their governments throughout the cold war accused Stalin of deliberately holding back the Red Army from aiding the Polish uprising in Warsaw in 1944, thus tacitly permitting German forces to destroy the beleaguered Polish Home Army. But Colonel Glantz concludes, after scrutinizing the documents, that the Red Army initially made every reasonable effort to come to the Poles' assistance and later chose not to — Stalin's political considerations aside — because such action would have required a major reorientation of military efforts and a consequent slackening of the main offensive against German forces.

Using other newly available Soviet military documents, the British historian Antony Beevor focused on the final months of the conflict in his harrowing study, "The Fall of Berlin" (Viking, 2002), during which Russian soldiers victimized two million German women, 50 years before rape was recognized as a war crime.

And where Colonel Glantz shies away from larger historical or cultural analysis, the historian Christopher R. Browning firmly ties what the Nazis called their "war of destruction" against the Soviet Union to the Holocaust. In Mr. Browning's view, which he details in his forthcoming book, "The Origins of the Final Solution" (University of Nebraska), Germany's mass murders of Jews and non-Jews alike on the Eastern Front crystallized Nazi policy regarding the eradication of European Jewry.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

Brad deLong readers, and all others, are also directed to the post at the top of the blog; if you'd consider donating, I'd much appreciate it. I also suggest hitting the "home" button on the upper left, just under my picture, and scrolling up and down, sampling entries, to see if you find other posts of interest. Don't be a stranger.

2/22/2004 10:14:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, February 21, 2004
WHAT DO YOU CALL...? Nice dialect site mapping out how many people use what version of a where where. Say, what do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?

Amusing, perhaps useful for fiction writers.

2/21/2004 03:21:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Friday, February 20, 2004
Ralph Nader will announce Sunday whether he will make another run for the White House, but all signs indicate the consumer advocate plans to jump into the race as an independent.

After weeks of postponing his decision, Nader will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press'' to make the announcement, said Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee.

"He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election,'' Schade said of the man whose run for president in 2000 is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush. "He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play.''

Everyone knows what it means and feels like "to ralph." From now on the phrase should be "I think I'm going to nader.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5 for more details if you like.

Vodkapundit readers: I'm still scratching for food and work; as libertarians, consider a donation, please.

ADDENDUM: Favorite commentary on this post at Vodkapundit, by a commenter:

The Democratic party is becoming more and more Stalinist with their don't run for president and don't vote for Nader message. Very un-American.
I don't remember this kind of hate being spewed at Perot in 92 or 96. Good to know where the Democrats are coming from though... Nothing like wanting to kill a guy for exercising his rights as an American citizen.
I am grateful that I am opposed for my desire, stated above, to kill Nader. You were doubtless alarmed at my call for his assassination. I am, myself, relieved to be caught at such a call. Stop me in the act of calling for... someone's hallucination.

Also I'm told that the Bush campaign has a Stalinist message: "don't vote for the Democrat!" It's terrifying! When will the Democratic-Communist slaughter begin!?!

2/20/2004 01:14:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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STUPID WHITE MEN. A meeting of the Society of Creative (Racist Nazi) Anarchists:
Aryanfest's gates opened at noon, and about an hour later, the gathering assemblage gradually hushed as all eyes turned upon the young man who had just paid his entrance fee and was casually perusing the hate-rock compact discs, swastika flags and white power watch caps at Panzerfaust Records' merchandise booth.

He was in his late teens or early 20s, had a shaved head and sported Nazi and white power tattoos on both arms, in addition to wearing the white tee shirt with bold, black script.

He would have fit in just fine, except for one thing: He wasn't white. Not even close. There was at least half a cup of Kahlúa in his cream.

Seemingly oblivious to the increasingly hostile stares and menacing murmurs generated by his mere presence, this poor fellow, who seemed on the verge of getting lynched from the nearest sturdy saguaro cactus, was accompanied by three white kids who looked as if their primary aspiration in life was to load amplifiers for Marilyn Manson. They were outfitted in gothic black. Two had long, dirty blond hair, the other an unruly dark brown mop that danced wildly in the cold wind.

About five minutes after arriving, the group of four was approached by a cadre of skinhead security guards. These storm troopers were painfully polite as they informed the brown kid he wasn't welcome. "We're sorry, but we've been asked by the managers of this event to tell you that you have to leave. We're going to escort you out," said one.

"Why?" asked the kid.

The skinheads looked at him incredulously, and not without a degree of sympathy. It was obvious that he actually thought he belonged there, amongst white power kinfolk. "Well, you haven't broken any of the festival's rules," began another skinhead, employing the sort of "I hate to break it to you" tone of voice of a father explaining to his 5-year-old son why a bed sheet tied around his neck doesn't mean he can fly. "The thing is, you're not white."

Crestfallen, the kid stood silent for a few beats, then responded, "Okay, okay. I understand. I respect that. I just hope you know I didn't mean any disrespect by being here. I just wanted to come out and show my respect for the white race and support the cause."

"We respect that, and we appreciate your attitude, you not giving us any trouble," said a skinhead, gently guiding him toward the exit. "It's just we don't allow any non-whites here, and, you know, a judgment call was made and that call was that you're not white. We'll be happy to refund your money. Your friends can stay if they like, and if not, we'll give them their money back as well. "

The four interlopers each retrieved their $30 cover charge, then made hastily for their car. Watching them go, celebrity racist Tom Metzger cackled and said, loudly but to no one in particular, "Well, what in the hell do you suppose that spic was thinking?"


The atmosphere inside Aryanfest was that of a Renaissance Fair gone over to the dark side, with "Heils" in place of "Huzzahs." Costumed attendees wore Iron Cross medallions and black bomber jackets emblazoned with swastika patches instead of studded leather armor and princess dresses. A Nazi memorabilia dealer hawked SS patches and framed photographs of Hitler, Joseph Goebbels and Rudolph Hess in the parking lot. Next to the stage was a picnic pagoda, serving as the Aryanfest day-care center, where little white children in skinhead clothes colored in white power coloring books. Directly next door to the pagoda was a tattoo booth, where the incessant high-pitched buzz of a tattoo gun sounded from behind a blue tarp curtain. Beside the Panzerfaust merchandise stand was the Women for Aryan Unity booth, which sold child-rearing guides and White Nationalist Baby magazines, including one containing a simplified biography of Hitler suitable for bedtime stories: "He was a lifelong lover of animals and children . . . He is invincible and victory shall one day be his."

One Nazi's thoughts:
"Friends, I don't have the answer. If I knew how to do it, no white child would ever be bullied or harassed or raped or robbed by any niggers or spics, ever again. If I knew how to do it, no white man would ever have to pay a third of his hard-earned pay or more to the greedy Jews. If I knew how, we wouldn't have just our own community or even our own state, this whole planet would be ours, as it should be. But I don't know how to do it, yet. I don't have the answer."
A shame, that, but I'm grateful that he can bring the rest of us together. A shame he left out the "race traitors" of his fellow "white race," in this quote, but there are so very many, after all. One vast coalition of kikes, spics, niggers, and race traitors, along with the other foreign degenerate mongrels, plus faggots and queers, united with papists, and mud people, brought together to kick your ass.

You gotta read this whole con report. Gotta. One last excerpt:

While Mahon and Poindexter plotted their attack on Washington, Hansi, a special guest from the fatherland, took the stage. In his late 20s, the German Nazi's glacial blue eyes, chiseled visage, short-cropped light hair and powerhouse musculature combined to make him appear more caricature than flesh. It was as if he'd leapt to the stage off the yellowing paper of a Third Reich propaganda poster for Proud Aryan Youth.

His accent was thicker than his forearms.

He began, "I am coming 3,560 miles vrom ze snow en Deutschland to ze desert en Ari-zoh-nah to tell you zat en Deutschland, ve are under ze pressure from ze nigger gangs and ze Turkish gangs and ze Zionism just like you."

A skinhead in the audience shot Hansi a zeig heil (natch) and cried out: "Deutschland Uber Alles!" (Germany Over All!)

Hansi shouted back, "Dank you!"

Then he pointed to the banners decorating the stage. "I like zese colors, ze black, ze red, and ze white, ja? In Deutschland, ve have our own famous black, red, and white flag, perhaps you know ze flag?"

The crowd cheered and the five or six skinheads closest to the stage yanked up their shirts to reveal gigantic black swastikas tattooed on their chests and backs. Gripping the microphone nervously with both hands, Hansi rushed into the climax of his remarks.

"I am coming here to say to you zis flag shall rise again, in Deutschland, and in America, and in all ze lands of ze Aryan people! Hail ze new dawn! Hail ze new dawn! Hail ze new dawn!"

A barrage of right arms shot skyward with every "Hail," and from the adoring squeals and lustful glances directed toward the handsome Hansi from the Women for Aryan Unity booth as he left the stage, it was obvious that this member of the Master Race would (if girls are his thing) have little trouble boning an Amerikaner Gretel that evening.
Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5 for a combination of awareness and laughter at what nincompoops these dorks are. But take seriously this:
Metzger urged his fans to direct their energies toward political targets rather than pointless street violence. "Don't operate like a battleship," he barked. "Operate like a Nazi submarine! Use your periscope! We have to infiltrate!

"Infiltrate the military! Infiltrate your local governments! Infiltrate your school board! Infiltrate law enforcement."

2/20/2004 12:22:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THE FICKLE FINGER. Suggestion to politicians: don't ever trade anything for the endorsement of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) while Gerald McEntee is in charge. Because when he comes under attack for cutting and running on you, he defends himself by attacking you.
One of Howard Dean's most powerful labor supporters, Gerald W. McEntee, said on Thursday that he had decided that Dr. Dean was "nuts" shortly before he withdrew his support for Dr. Dean's candidacy and begged him to quit the race to avoid a humiliating defeat.

Mr. McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, defended his decision to abandon the campaign, saying he told Dr. Dean that he did not want to spend another $1 million of his union's money "in order to get him a couple of extra points in Wisconsin."


A spokesman for Dr. Dean, Jay Carson, said Mr. McEntee's attacks on Dr. Dean could endanger the party's chances of defeating Mr. Bush. "All Democrats have to be united to win this election," he said. "This kind of personal attack is not going to help us beat George W. Bush."

The remarks by Mr. McEntee came the day after Dr. Dean ended his candidacy. In the speech Dr. Dean made on Wednesday, he went out of his way to praise the other two big unions that had joined Mr. McEntee in endorsing him, the Service Employees International Union and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, for sticking with him.

Ya know, if Dean is "nuts," maybe McEntee should have figured that out before "committing" his union to him. And even if he is, and he's going down anyway, which is worse to lose: a spare million dollars, or 100% of your credibilty for the rest of your career? Who would be stupid enough to seek this union's "endorsement" again when you only get it while you're the front-runner? What political power does AFSCME have left, now that you've led them down this path and off this cliff, Gerald? You thought you were pulling back, but instead, you pulled them, and yourself, over. You worried that your partner couldn't swim, but it's the fall that's gonna kill you.

Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.

2/20/2004 12:03:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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COMPANY STRUGGLES. Predictable tribulations for the CIA in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excellent, meaty, report.

Baghdad is now the largest station ever. But we still have few people who can, like, speak the language. And you can't travel, because you don't look like an Arab, and you'll be shot. I'm sure there are exceptions, and I'm sure they are exceptions. Meanwhile, our stations are revolving doors at hypersonic speeds.

Confronting problems on critical fronts, the CIA recently removed its top officer in Baghdad because of questions about his ability to lead the massive station there, and has closed a number of satellite bases in Afghanistan amid concerns about that country's deteriorating security situation, according to U.S. intelligence sources.

The previously undisclosed moves underscore the problems affecting the agency's clandestine service at a time when it is confronting insurgencies and the U.S.-declared war on terrorism, current and former CIA officers say. They said a series of stumbles and operational constraints have hampered the agency's ability to penetrate the insurgency in Iraq, find Osama bin Laden and gain traction against terrorism in the Middle East.

The CIA's Baghdad station has become the largest in agency history, eclipsing the size of its post in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War, a U.S. official said. But sources said the agency has struggled to fill a number of key overseas posts.

Many of those who do take sensitive overseas assignments are willing to serve only 30- to 90-day rotations, a revolving-door approach that has undercut the agency's ability to cultivate ties to warlords in Afghanistan or collect intelligence on the Iraqi insurgency, sources said.

There is such a shortage of Arabic speakers and qualified case officers willing to take dangerous assignments that the agency has been forced to hire dozens — if not hundreds — of CIA retirees, and to lean heavily on translators, sources said. The agency has also had to use soldiers for tasks that CIA officers normally perform, sources said.

Even without the personnel challenges, Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as so dangerous that it is difficult for agency officers to venture outside guarded districts and compounds without security details, making covert meetings with informants extremely difficult, sources said.


The U.S. official acknowledged that the CIA station chief in Baghdad was removed in December after weeks of increasingly deadly and sophisticated attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and civilian targets.

"There was just a belief that it was a huge operation and we needed a very senior, very experienced person to run it," the official said.

The official declined to disclose the number of CIA personnel in Iraq, but other sources said it exceeded 500 people.

The replacement of the station chief means that the high-profile post has been held by three senior officers since Bush declared an end to major combat in Iraq in May, sources said. The job of Baghdad station chief is a demanding one that includes briefing top U.S. officials in Iraq, providing frequent updates to Washington on the stability of the country, and overseeing all of the operations and analysis done in the nation.

The first of the three recent station chiefs had served at the Baghdad station before the Persian Gulf War in 1991. He went to "run operations [from] across the border" before the invasion last year, was fluent in Arabic and was "extraordinarily experienced" in setting up and running large intelligence operations, according to a former senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But that officer had always planned to leave the job in June 2003, and has since moved on to another station in the Middle East, sources said.

His replacement had served as station chief in a neighboring country and was to stay in Baghdad for at least a year. But he was pushed out in December amid a combination of personnel problems and growing concern in Washington that the agency was failing to get an adequate grip on the Iraq insurgency.

Speculation Over Report

Some speculated that the officer might have angered officials in the Bush administration with a pessimistic report he produced in November saying that a growing number of Iraqis believed the U.S. coalition could be defeated. But the U.S. official denied that the report, which was quickly leaked to the media, played any role in the ouster.

The current station chief is a highly regarded officer who "rose rather meteorically" during operations in Kosovo, which was the agency's last major buildup of assets, a former CIA officer said.

Many of the CIA's employees have been based at secure compounds at the airport in Baghdad, with others working in the so-called Green Zone, the heavily fortified area in central Baghdad around the headquarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority. There are smaller offices, known as bases, in Basra, Mosul and other parts of the country.

Several sources said there had been squabbling over the agency's mission and priorities, with some saying that the CIA had been drawn too much into troop-protection work ordinarily done by the military. As a result, some are concerned that the agency has not been able to concentrate on recruiting the spies that will be needed as crucial sources of information for years to come after sovereignty is transferred from U.S. hands this year.

The CIA is also in charge of setting up a new Iraqi intelligence service, drawing at least in part on former members of Hussein's Mukhabarat. But although candidates are identified and vetted in Iraq, much of the training is said to be taking place outside the country, in Jordan or Egypt.

A number of sources said the main problem confronting the Baghdad station has been security constraints that inhibit the ability of operatives to move about the country.

The U.S. official acknowledged that instability and violence made "it harder for people to do their job. They're not locked down, but it adds to the degree of difficulty everyone faces."

Several sources said that when agency officers venture beyond their secure compounds, they are accompanied by security details or must travel in convoys. The U.S. official said all of the agency's employees being sent to Iraq are given weapons training, and that clandestine officers are given more specialized paramilitary training.


Since Sept. 11, 2001, the agency has brought back hundreds of retirees, dubbed "green-badgers" for the color of the identification cards issued to those who return to the fold under contract. The agency has also turned to young officers without any overseas experience.

New agency recruits with military backgrounds are being sent to Iraq as soon as they emerge from the CIA training academy in Virginia, said one former agency official.

"They don't speak the language, don't know how to recruit," the official said. "It's on-the-job training."


But others said many of the agency's personnel were there for just one to three months. "That was true for the station as well as the [weapons search team]," said David Kay, who resigned last month as special advisor in Iraq to Director Tenet. "None of us were happy about that."

So-called domain experts on Hussein and his associates were "the clearest case," Kay said. "They were over for 30 or 60 days and then get rotated back," he said. "It was a real issue."

Former case officers said such turnover made recruiting spies almost impossible. "To get the lay of the land takes a month," one former station chief said. And if you manage to cultivate a source in that time, "you have to turn him over to someone he doesn't know the next month."

The problems also extend to Afghanistan, sources said. One CIA veteran said he recently spoke with an officer who had served as a base chief in Kandahar for 60 days, an unusually brief tenure for such an important assignment.

The base in Kandahar is one of five or six the CIA established in Afghanistan after the U.S. invaded the country in 2001, all reporting to the agency's primary station in Kabul, the capital. But a number of those remote bases have been closed in recent months, according to current and former CIA officials.

The closures have alarmed some in the intelligence community because they come at a time when remnants of the deposed Taliban regime appear to be regrouping and preparing fresh attacks designed to disrupt elections planned for the summer. The U.S. military is also planning a spring offensive, aimed at catching or killing Bin Laden.

'It's Very Frustrating'

One former senior CIA official said the bases were closed because of security concerns. "It's very frustrating" for CIA officers in the country, the official said. "They are locked down very tightly. There's very little unilateral [intelligence collection] going on, and they closed most of their bases out in the countryside because they feared for the safety of their people."


The CIA has struggled to fill high-ranking posts in other countries, sources said. Four former CIA officers with close ties to headquarters said in separate interviews that the agency struggled to fill its top post in Pakistan last year, that at least five candidates turned down the job of station chief in Islamabad before the agency found an officer willing to take it.

A former senior officer in the agency's Near East Division said he was "badly jolted" by that news, and that most who turned it down did so for family reasons, such as a working spouse or children in school. "They were all the sort of things you'd expect in the corporate world," he said. "But this isn't the corporate world."

Ah, but now the Company has become a company.

This is all unsurprising, but gloomy nonetheless, news. Mind, not that I'm saying it's all a downward spiral, or any such over-drawn conclusion; I see no reason to believe that, and would hope that there's unheard good news that by its nature we can't hear for years to come. But we'll see.

Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.

Addendum: Winds of Change readers, and all others, are also directed to the post at the top of the blog; if you'd consider donating, I'd much appreciate it. I also suggest hitting the "home" button on the upper left, just under my picture, and scrolling up and down, sampling entries, to see if you find other posts of interest; if so, think about, you know, coming back.

2/20/2004 11:42:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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WOMEN WHO LOVE SELLING sexual merchandise to women.

Is there a specific fetish for that, do you think?

2/20/2004 12:39:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, February 19, 2004
STILL WATCHING THE EXTENDED The Two Towers, as I've mentioned earlier, and I just wanted to say that not many actors can pull off intoning the line "The veiling shadow that glowers in the East takes shape."

Ian McKellen can, but few others.

2/19/2004 10:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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I've previously written about the loon Raimondo here, here, and here. If you'd be so kind as to go read about this proto-fascist ("paleo-conservative" is is preferred self-label), and his adulatory connection to quasi-fascist Patrick Buchanan, I'd appreciate it.

Now, a former writer for tells his tale. I don't share many of Anthony Gancarski's views, but.

I moved over to to write a weekly column for them at $25 per pop. The lesson there: ideologues work cheap. That was a raise from my CounterPunch pay.

When writing for either site, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the emails I got regarding my work fell into one of two categories: gushing, disjointed missives from one person or another pushing “anybody but Bush”, and even more disjointed letters from opponents of Israel. Well, not just opponents of Israel -- but also of Jews themselves, and their “imperialist lackeys,” et cetera. An emailer from Germany forced me to block him from my inbox when he asked me to help him “combat the Zionist devil empire.” Along those lines, emails from Iran, Thailand, and Australia warned about the Jewish menace -- the same tired conspiracy theories and rationales that surface when people are trying to legitimize their anti-Semitism.

My work was getting linked to by people I wouldn’t let into my living room. Raving pan-Arabists and Indymedia hacks from four separate continents used my work to support their positions. US interview requests were scarce, but I was sought after by Muslim radio station hosts in South Africa for my wisdom. Always, it seemed, the world’s problems were traced to the “war criminal” Ariel Sharon, while solutions turned out to be generalized support for the “Palestinian cause”.

Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum; I began to have serious doubts about my work that I couldn’t even verbalize. I started to wonder -- is my opposition to the US action in the Middle East, however noble and well-intentioned it seemed to me, actually playing into the hands of America’s enemies, strategic adversaries, and economic competitors?

Such realizations gave me pause.


Indeed, though praise for the Washington government was not to be found in even the most obscure corners of and its sister site, LewRockwell.Com, on the other hand, one could readily find praise for the benign administration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Still, despite crossover traffic from the Southern Partisan and Antiwar.Com’s curiously intermittent links to articles on the website of the John Birch Society, unreconstructed States’ Rights buffs were the least of Antiwar.Com’s PR problems.

Raimondo's weird mix of support for contemptible causes sullies any respectable anti-war people who choose to associate with him.

Read The Rest as interested.

Via Natalie Solent.

2/19/2004 09:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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BRING OUT YOUR DEAD. Those wacky French.
Christelle Demichel, 34, married a dead man last week.

She carried a bouquet of yellow roses and gleefully ducked rice after the ceremony in the Riviera city of Nice. About 40 people later attended her reception at a local restaurant where the Champagne bottles bore custom labels with the newlyweds' names. The only thing missing, besides a wedding cake, was the groom.

"I had what you can call a perfect wedding," Ms. Demichel said the next day, chain-smoking beside her new mother-in-law in a Paris café.

Yes, it is possible to marry the dearly departed in France, thanks to a law that turns the vow "till death do us part" on its head.
If you want to know the rest, you know where to go.

2/19/2004 08:37:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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A BIT OF VULGAR TRIUMPHALISM that it's very difficult to not vicariously enjoy as a former Iraqi Interior Minister is captured by kid Iraqi police who proceed to politely denounce him.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5 for amusement.

2/19/2004 08:20:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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TRADITION. A very calm look at the "traditionalist Catholic" churches (some of whom acknowledge the leadership of the Pope, theoretically, though not really in practice, and some of whom don't really); it does, however, paint a picture of them -- which I see no reason to dispute -- as quite innocuous and unthreatening, and not at all like the raving Hutton Gibson.

Read as interested.

2/19/2004 07:58:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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FIRST PERSON SHOOTER. The life of the professional computer gamer.

Tournaments, babe. Fifty grand a year. Sponsors. Training. Your own company.

Everything I got, I've earned. People think I get all this stuff just because of who I am, but all of it was earned. I sacrificed a lot to do this.
And, let the stereotype yet stand: you live in your father's basement.

Read about the glam.

2/19/2004 07:28:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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At a long-awaited conference, all of the more than 30 speakers acknowledged that anti-Semitism is a serious problem that must be condemned and confronted by European governments and a Union that will soon represent 450 million people.

"A European disease," is how Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, described it.


"We bring a message today and that message is a warning cry, a warning to Europe," said Cobi Benatoff, president of the European Jewish Congress. "We Jews are not able to live our daily lives as other European citizens. Anti-Semitism and prejudice has returned. The monster is here with us again."


But Natan Sharansky, Israel's minister for Diaspora Affairs, a Soviet dissident who spent nine years in a Russian prison, stressed that Europeans had the same right as Israelis to criticize the Israeli government for its policies against Palestinians.

"The politician in Israel who will stop for one day from criticizing his own government has no political future," he said. "No doubt it would be better for all of us if the conflict were solved. But that does not only depend on us."

Still, he stressed that there was only a "fine line" between legitimate differences and anti-Semitic "demonization."


Mr. Wiesel, the Nobel laureate, said it was a useless exercise to talk about the roots of anti-Semitism, which transcended time and place and were well known to all. "A Jew is hated before he or she is born, and therefore it is not a matter of xenophobia," he said.

He painted the status of Jews in Europe in dark colors, saying: "I have seen in the last year communities that contain people who came to me and, whispering in my ear, saying simply, not, 'Should we leave?' but 'When should we leave?' My God, what a question."

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of Germany called the debate between "old anti-Semitism and new anti-Semitism" unimportant. "It boils down to the same thing," he said, hatred and exclusion of the Jewish people, adding, "Ultimately you end up with murder."

Read The Rest as interested. (No longterm link available.)

2/19/2004 04:35:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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BEFORE THEY KNEW: Interviews from the set of the 100th episode of Angel:
With the guest appearance of Tom Lenk [Andrew], you revisited Slayer lore in the Jan. 28 episode "Damage."

Whedon: Yeah. So we wanted somebody from Sunnydale on the show, and we thought Andrew would be the person most likely to annoy everybody on Angel.


You have mentioned if the show doesn't get picked up, this season will wrap up the series as well as the season.

Whedon: Yeah, that's what I usually do, and I didn't do it last year, because I didn't know we were in danger of getting canceled. And I didn't do it the year before, because I knew we weren't going to be. But usually, my philosophy has always been, do an episode that ties up everything, but opens up some other things. And this season is no different. It's very much a good way to go out, and a good way to start a completely new season.


At one point, you had a bunch of Buffy stuff cooking. There was a BBC show based on Giles' character and an animated show. Are any of those going to happen now?

Whedon: Every now and then we get a nibble on the animated show. I'm very leery of it, because I would want it to be wonderful. I don't have the talent pool that I had back then, or the time. And it's hard to get the kind of money it takes to make really good animation. So I'm not sure how that'll work out. The Giles thing I would love to do; again, that's just a question of time.


What's going to happen to Spike in this season of the show?

Marsters: Oh, man, I gave up trying to second-guess these writers so long ago. They go exactly the opposite direction. We just did a big fight between Angel and Spike, right? I would have bet ... my guitar on the fact that Angel was going to win that fight. I was like, "There's no other way you can do it." Of course. Why would you do it the other way? And what they've done is open up Angel for a whole new arc of self-doubt and a whole new reason to try to redeem yourself beyond the reward. Genius. So I have no idea.

What I do know is that there seems to be a lot more dramatic potential between Angel and Spike than I once realized. When Joss wanted to bring me over to the show, I thought, "Well, it will be cool. I'll make Angel's life hard like I made Buffy's life hard. That would be fun." But what I'm discovering, this is also interesting, things like Spike never bought that Angel was reformed. When he first, he was like, "Bulls--t. You're still going to go kill people. I don't buy that for a second." And ... it doesn't register with Angel now that Spike has gotten his soul and is reformed. He does not see himself in Spike at all. And I think that's because Angel has seen Spike do such horrendous evil that he just cannot believe that you can come back from that, and Spike doesn't believe that Angel could come back from what he did. Even though they're hoping to come back from doing what they've done. It's a really wonderful doppelganger for [everything].

There's a bunch more, if you're interested.

2/19/2004 04:28:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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CANCEL THAT PHONE REQUEST. In a stunning display of speed, I seem to have a donated dial-up access, thanks to a benefactor, though it still needs to be properly Tested, which I'll do as soon as I can make my brain focus on something that requires more than Automatic Pilot.

Hitting the tip jar, or posting a link suggesting hitting it, is still more than entirely welcome.

2/19/2004 01:49:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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I HOPE THIS IS NOT GOOD-BYE, LET'S SAY HELLO. I've mentioned my current employment and money and allied troubles before. See (invisible, but outlined) link at top of page, asking you to read it.

A comparatively minor, though significant, part of that was my mentioning that I've been connecting, since moving to this studio apt. in August, on a freebie AOL account. I had originally thought it would close down long ago, but they've kept extending it, they're so desperate for customers.

Compusa has a partnership with AOL where they'll overtly offer you one free month, cancellable at any time, no obligation; just ask, or wait for them to ask you. In theory, if you buy a substantial piece of merchandise, they'll make the same offer for three free months; in reality, many stores, desperate to meet their quota, will offer you the three free months cold, and in some stores, throw in a free $10 item, or some other ploy.

I had one of those three-monthers, and then I lost my bank account, as previously described, and AOL informed me that I had to pay up, but it turned out that if you simply hit "next" and "cancel" in their software a few times, it will go away, and the request I catch up extended into a fourth month, then a fifth month, a sixth, and a seventh, offering me an extended two more free months, as well.

But I've abruptly been informed that I'm actually going to be terminated "on the 20th," tomorrow. (I have no idea of what timing is involved.)

So I desperately need a way to dial-up, and I have no money (or credit card or bank account or way of getting one) for an account anywhere, and won't for a very long time to come.

So if anyone knows of a free dial-up in the Boulder/Denver, Colorado area, let me know ASAP. My phone number is (EXCISED), if you need to reach me after tomorrow, and I've not solved this problem.

Another alternative, if anyone feels generous with their time and trouble, is that you should be able to walk into any Compusa and repeat what I describe above: ask for three free months (you can tell them that the serial number of the equipment to type in can be any random numbers; honest, it works, trust me), or, failing that, one free month, and then, assuming you trust me, e-mail me today, or phone me after, and I'll use that free account for the three or one months, and I promise, cancel it before the time is up, and you're not out a penny; I'll deal with the problem again at that time.

If anyone has any other solutions to offer, please don't hold back. And my apologies for asking.

I hate talking about it, but I'm again also at a loss as to how I'll pay next month's rent, and this month's phone, and am scratching on bus and food money, so if you wish to consider hitting the tip jar buttons on top, even if it's a repeat, that would be great; if not, I understand; I'm immensely grateful to those who have helped, difficult as I find it to talk about this issue, or any money issue, at all.

(You can hit those tip jar buttons indefinitely, even if I'm off-line; the account is in someone else's name, who snail-mails me a money order; I gots no bank account, remember?)

On the other hand, no matter what, the AOL e-mail address will die tomorrow; if I'm online, I'll presumably have a new one, which I'll post, of course.

Sigh. This is not a Feel-Good day. Hope yours is better.

2/19/2004 12:53:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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KA-CHOO! I haven't said anything, because I tend not to weigh this blog down with personal notes very much. The subject here is not Me, but my views and interests. I'll make personalized notes, and give opinions, but only occasionally will I slip in bits about my life or What's Going On With Me; this is a blog, not a personal journal.

But I'm not religious about it. After three days, my plaint: this is the third day of one of the worst colds of my life.

I'm not actually prone to serious colds very often, as opposed to the near-constant cough I've had for decades, and not uncommon mild sniffles.

But this. Woke up Tuesday morning spent the whole day literally going through explosive sneezing-six-times, pause for twenty seconds, repeat, pause for thirty seconds, repeat, pause for twenty seconds, repeat, pause for one hundred twenty seconds, repeat, pause for thirty seconds, repeat, pause for three minutes, repeat, pause for thirty seconds, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Plus the throbbing headache from the previous night. Plus gradually hacking cough gaining all day. Plus non-stop mucuous pouring out of my left nostril. (Only the left; don't ask me why.)

Yesterday, the unbearable sneezing was down to half of the previous day, which was still unbearable; mucuous also down to half; cough, doubled.

Today, sneezing and mucuous about half again of yesterday, cough also half, head still throbbing, but all in all, still absolutely miserable, horrible, yuck, yuck, argh, bleargh, ptui.

I plugged on all of Tuesday and Wednesday without inflicting this info on you, not to mention the lousiness of Monday, but my dam burst, and thus this post. And worse news in the next post, alas.

2/19/2004 12:35:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, February 18, 2004
NOT GETTING IT. Why are any of you bloggers still linking directly to NY Times stories that will be dead of link-rot two weeks after the the original story? A jillion blogs have pointed out how to use permanent links, and it's been eight bloody months. How slow are you, he asked impatiently?

2/18/2004 10:15:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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I GIVE UP, COPPERS! A slightly over-wrought story.
A giant black hole in a galaxy a billion light years away has been caught in the act of butchering a star - the first time this has been seen, according to astronomers. It means that black holes all over the Universe must be eating stars, and that may be the main way they grow.

A powerful flare of X-rays was the star's final scream. The flare, from the centre of a galaxy called RXJ 1242-1119, was thousands of times as bright as all the stars in the galaxy put together.


Komossa suspected that these X-rays might be a brief flare from a dying star, rather than constant emission, but she needed follow-up observations to be sure. In 2001, Komossa, Günter Hasinger and their team looked at RXJ 1242-1119 again with two more space-based telescopes.

The Chandra observatory showed that the flare has almost subsided. Komossa's group also used XMM-Newton to show that the X-ray energies have just the broad spread expected when gas is being consumed by a black hole.

Komossa and her group are now able to reconstruct the murder scene. A star about the size of our Sun ventures too close to the black hole. "It then feels enormous tidal forces exerted by the black hole, which finally rip apart the whole star," she says.

Some of the debris circles the black hole for a while, heating up so much that it shines brilliantly in X-rays, before falling below the event horizon from beyond which no light can escape. But the black hole is a very messy eater - only a few per cent of the star actually goes in. The rest gets flung outwards again by the force of the flare.


This means, she says, that it is not only active galaxies in which black holes are consuming matter. While those black holes are eating continuously, the new discovery shows that those in other galaxies can snack on stars in order to grow.

It must happen in our own galaxy too. "Here we see much milder flares. They could be something the size of a comet being swallowed," says Weaver.

Don't overeat, hon. You don't want to be part of the obesity problem.

Read The Rest as interested.

2/18/2004 09:35:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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COMMENT REFERRAL: Walter In Denver and I discuss libertarianism and worker safety, the history of such, the place of regulation, in America, Britain, and the developing world, and allied issues.

Why do I spend so much time writing eloquent comments to other people's blogs, but get so few comments here?

2/18/2004 08:58:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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GEE, I MIGHT HAVE NOTICED earlier than more than two weeks after the fact that Eric Raymond wrote a quite long, um, response to some stuff I wrote, if he'd bothered to link to me, or e-mailed me, or something. Oh, well.

But I'm grateful to Eric for providing the novelty of speaking up against laws banning private nuclear weapons.

I would prefer the risks of private nukes to the disarmament of the civilian population. But that's not a choice anyone will actually ever have to make, because the intersection of the set of people who want nukes and the set of people who would obey or be deterred by a law against them is nil. A law against nukes would therefore be pointless, except as an assertion of the power and right to enforce other sorts of weapons bans that are harmful in themselves.
I sorta thought the idea might be that if you find someone who has built a private nuclear weapon, you'd have a cause to arrest that person, and not just congratulate them on their ingenuity.

I hadn't realized that deterrence could be the only use for a law. Probably because I'm not an anarchist. I am a supporter of jack-booted thugs of the State threatening everyone with violence as it morphs into totalitarianism. Of course.

Read The Rest as interested. The comments are largely either interesting or funny, in one sense or another.

2/18/2004 06:47:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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SALEM PAX HAS QUITE ENJOYED, I'm sure, being used as a political football over the past couple of years by both right-wingers and left-wingers, isolationists and interventionists, quoted vigorously in support of the postion of the day, and then later excortiated as an ungrateful fool for expressing wrongthink to the writer's orthodoxy. Damn him for having his own opinions! He's not flavor of the day for anyone any more.

Here is a very sensible response to an e-mail from a US soldier as to what he thinks about what should have happened, and what he hopes for.

What I do really and sincerely hope for is that the day you and other soldiers and US civilians here don’t have to stay behind those high concrete walls isn’t too far away; and that you feel safe walking in the streets without those hard and heavy flak jackets, so that we can sit and talk about these things in a Karrada Street tea shop.

There are many challenges Iraqis have to face now, so please stick around a bit longer and try helping us get thru them. One of the more serious challenges is the fact that Iraq has become a sort of an open playground for many political and religious factions who are using Iraq as a fighting ground.

Go long!

Read The Rest as interested. Also, nice little piece on Eid Al-Ghadeer. Amd sensible words on the Kurds and federalism.

2/18/2004 05:56:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE. Heard about Dudley Hiibel? You will.

I well remember living in poorer NYC neighborhoods, where it was common knowledge that if you didn't have proper ID, and the cops didn't like the way you looked, you'd find yourself locked up overnight before being released, unless you maybe could afford a lawyer to get a writ.

In which case you didn't live in that kind of neighborhood, and the cops would assume you were there to buy drugs, but you'd still want to have ID. And no drugs.

P.S.: it'll be heard by the Supreme Court on the 22nd of March, 2004.

You can also watch the video.

You might want to go read about this threat to your freedom, if you're an American. I'm not entirely sure if it's too late for you if you're British or European; feedback welcome.

2/18/2004 04:54:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THOSE PESKY PAGANS. You probably know the type.

Unless you only know conventional people, of course.

It's a funny.

2/18/2004 04:45:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THE 9TH AMENDMENT, oft-forgotten, is briefly -- a a bit sloppily --- addressed by Matthew Yglesias, leading to a comment in the comment thread, and my response:
"I think the framers went mad with commas. Maybe I'll cut and paste the Constitution into Word and see what the grammar checker does to it."

Yes, if only we had Microsoft Constitution 1.0. It was much improved in the Microsoft 1.1 version!

Remember, those Constitutional arguments aren't bugs, they're features!
I too often forget, when someone says "that judge is just reading things into the Constitution that aren't there; it says nothing about a 'right to such&such,'" to point out Article IX:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Read The Rest as interested.

2/18/2004 03:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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A statement by Wonkette:
For the last several days there have been no Internet rumors relating to me and Senator John Kerry. Because I didn't have an affair with Senator Kerry, I assumed the media would splash my name and yearbook picture across their pages with barely constrained glee. But they didn't. Now, I have an embarrassing Friendster profile and I'd like to see it on the cover of the New York Daily News.
A statement by the parents of Wonkette:
We have spoken to our daughter and the allegations that no one has made regarding her are completely false and unsubstantiated. She did not have a relationship with Senator Kerry, though that's probably only because he didn't make a move. Lord knows, she put out for everyone else running -- even Nader. That said, we intend on voting for Kerry for president of the United States. Everyone keeps telling us how electable he is.
I think Kerry is going down over this.

Read The Rest only if you want the Friendster profile.

2/18/2004 02:50:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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DR. DOT'S ATTACKER convicted.

You'll remember this case of the young New York woman, who isn't Jewish, who was wearing a Star of David in a Manhattan kaoke bar, and was called a "Jewish pig" and punched extremely hard in the face, by a German tourist.

just wanted to let you all know that the German who knocked me out for wearing the Star of David and being a "Jewish Pig" has pleaded guilty today in NYC court. Stefan Waxmann was charged with a Misdemeanor Hate Crime and can now leave the country (good riddens) and go back to Frankfurt Germany. His lawyer pleaded with me on the phone to drop charges to "Disorderly Conduct" but I said they had already been dropped from a Felony to a Misdemeanor, AND he won't even get a fine or jail time, just a mark on his record for Jew Bashing.
She calls this a "win."

(Via Kesher Talk, after having meant to blog this for a few days.)

2/18/2004 02:31:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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I'M NOT INTO CASTING BLAME. The "anti-semitism" in America issue.
Last October, Samir Makhlouf, invited to speak at the College of Wooster, delivered a diatribe against Jews.

During his presentation, he presented the fraudulent, antisemitic screed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a factual book that "explains" how Zionists have been taking over the world's political, economic, religious and communication organizations.

Makhlouf's 15-20 minute slide presentation was rife with dead Palestinian bodies "proving" Israeli war crimes. The slide show ended with a Star of David morphing into a swastika, and had frames equating Zionism with Nazism. The "equals" sign was then replaced by a "greater than" sign, suggesting that Zionism was even worse than Nazism.

While no one disputes that this is what Makhlouf presented, to date, no one from the College of Wooster, or Presbyterian Peacemakers, the organization that provided the speaker, has issued an apology or acknowledged those who were offended by the presentation.


Relatively few Jews attend the college, notes Wilson, so there didn't seem to be much of an outcry against Makhlouf's presentations. Nevertheless, he says, an apology should have been issued.


While he's not sure how many students or faculty came to hear Damra, Wilson says there was a "very large turnout of people from the area who cheered him and cheered him."

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, proclaims a "commitment to peacemaking" on its Web site. They profess "a journey of racial justice and understanding" as well as commitment to overcoming prejudice.

Sweet Young, an administrative assistant for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, told the CJN that no one from the organization would be available to comment on the October presentation by Makhlouf until some time in February. She directed questions to Gordon Shull, who hosted the speaker in Wooster.

Shull, a Presbyterian and former professor at the College of Wooster, admits he understands some students may have been offended. He is also aware that non-Jewish students may have come away with erroneous and harmful information about the validity of the Protocols. However, he says, he "would not encourage them (Peacemaker organization) to issue an apology. I'm not into apologies or casting blame."

Shull sent out e-mails to the College of Wooster faculty intimating that the speaker's presence at the college was actually the responsibility of the Israeli government because the Palestinian speaker he had initially tried to get was unable to secure a travel visa. He repeated the charge several times in a phone interview with this reporter that he felt the speaker's appearance could be blamed on the Israeli government. Shull later called back saying he would like to retract that sentiment.

In further deflecting responsibility from himself, Shull said, "I regret that the director of the Hillel Foundation (Professor Peter Pozefsky) chose to be offended by it, rather than take it as a teachable event."

Pozefsky a professor of history who has assumed the Hillel post as a volunteer, has pretty much singly-handedly raised concerns to fellow staff and administration about speakers such as Makhlouf and Damra. He estimates that at least seven such individuals making antisemitic remarks have spoken at the college in the past few years.

"There are plenty of people who are willing to say this is awful, but no one is willing to put their necks on the line," he says. "I shouldn't be the only one making sure Jews aren't trashed on this campus."


Pozefsky e-mailed his concerns on the faculty listserve, but the response he got "was a combination of hostility and complacency." On one occasion, a colleague accused him of trying to violate free speech. Another time, he was accused of harassment.

After the Presbyterian Peacemaker presentation, Pozefsky found himself once again in the position of attempting to rectify the damage made by a speaker's slanderous allegations against Jews. While he didn't attend the lectures, some of the students expressed their concerns to him. One student told him that he found "the illusion Makhlouf painted about Jewish bankers and their domination of the West" particularly disturbing. So was a slide that read, "May God bless our martyrs; may they find peace in the heavens."

"There are very few Jewish students on campus," Pozefsky points out, "and they don't want to be activists or seem like crybabies."


R. Stanton Hales, president of the College of Wooster, did not return calls to the CJN. John Hopkins, assistant vice president for college relations and marketing, e-mailed the CJN to say that Hales will "make a statement once he has determined all the facts to his satisfaction." He did not give a date when that would be.

But let's not be crybabies over this sort of thing.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

2/18/2004 01:53:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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