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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!)
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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.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
The former national director of the National Security Agency, in an appearance today before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., today, appeared to be unfamiliar with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when pressed by a reporter with Knight Ridder's Washington office -- despite his claims that he was actually something of an expert on it.

General Michael Hayden, principal deputy director of National Intelligence with the Office of National Intelligence, talked with reporters about the current controversy surrounding the National Security Agency's warrantless monitoring of communications of suspected al Qaeda terrorists.


QUESTION: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I'd like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use --

GEN. HAYDEN: No, actually -- the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: But the --

GEN. HAYDEN: That's what it says.

QUESTION: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

GEN. HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: But does it not say probable --

GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says --

QUESTION: The court standard, the legal standard --

GEN. HAYDEN: -- unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: The legal standard is probable cause, General. You used the terms just a few minutes ago, "We reasonably believe." And a FISA court, my understanding is, would not give you a warrant if you went before them and say "we reasonably believe"; you have to go to the FISA court, or the attorney general has to go to the FISA court and say, "we have probable cause."

And so what many people believe -- and I'd like you to respond to this -- is that what you've actually done is crafted a detour around the FISA court by creating a new standard of "reasonably believe" in place of probable cause because the FISA court will not give you a warrant based on reasonable belief, you have to show probable cause. Could you respond to that, please?

GEN. HAYDEN: Sure. I didn't craft the authorization. I am responding to a lawful order. All right? The attorney general has averred to the lawfulness of the order.

Just to be very clear -- and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it's the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you've raised to me -- and I'm not a lawyer, and don't want to become one -- what you've raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is "reasonable." And we believe -- I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we're doing is reasonable.


Here's the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Courts issue warrants. Not the Attorney-General. Not the President. Not the King.

That was, and is, the point.

Read The Rest Scale: 1.5 out of 5.

This Jacob Weisberg column on our attempted monarch is also worth a read. Apparently "aumf" is the sound of a democracy exhaling its civil liberties. (I'm sure Bush supporters will be as steadfast in defense of the unlimited rights of the King or Queen when it's Queen Hillary or King Al.)

ADDENDUM, 2:04 p.m.: As always, Fafnir explains how it all works.

1/26/2006 11:07:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 19 comments


But the general is correct. The standard for warrantless searches is reasonableness. The standard for issuing a warrant - which is not always required for a search - is probable cause. Look at it this way. We can search people without a warrant before they get onto airplanes because it is reasonable to do so. However, if we required a warrant to search people before getting onto airplanes, probable cause would be required.

It seems anomolous but there are historical reasons. At the time of the founding a victim of an illegal warrantless search could sue the officer who conducted it. But if the officer got a warrant, he could not be sued and the victime of an illegal search had no legal recourse. Thus the standard was higher for warrants than for warrantless searches.

By Blogger Charley Foster, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 11:42:00 AM  

"We can search people without a warrant before they get onto airplanes because it is reasonable to do so."

We can search people without a warrant before they get onto an airplane because they are voluntarily submitting to the search.

There is no Constitutional right to enter private property, which is what an airplane is. There is no Constitutional right to fly on someone else's plane. No one is forced to get on a plane (unless they are a prisoner in custody, which is another matter, of course, or they're in the military, etc.).

This is utterly distinct from being involuntarily searched in one's home, etc., where there is a Constitutionally-guaranteed expectation of privacy according to the Supreme Court of the United States and United States law.

FISA bans warrantless eavesdropping, save under the exceptions it specifies -- which are exceedingly generous. In time of war, warrantless eavesdropping may be carried out for fifteen days, at which time they no longer can (that's per war, not per person), as that is deemed sufficient time for Congress to address and change the law as needs be. Otherwise, warrantless eavesdropping may be carried out for three days on the signature of the Attorney-General, and then the FISA Court must issue a retroactive warrant.

If there's some other current (not historical, current) legal or Constitutional provision for warrantless eavesdropping, I invite you to provide a citation.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:54:00 PM  

I think the problem is that these people have somehow gotten the notion that it is up to them how things are defined.

They're arguing the importance of these taps. It's not for them to decide. That's why they need to get a warrant. If what they are saying is correct, I'm sure they will have no trouble convincing a judge.

The arguement shouldn't center around the wiretaps, themselves. It should be focused on what really counts. This gov't perception that they are all powerful and that they can do whatever they want.

But, as long as the sheep continue to get led astray, focusing on the meaningless social contraversies brought to the forefront to distract them, who can blame them.

Ethan Potter

By Blogger secretstash, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:30:00 PM  

My point isn't to compare a search before boarding a plane with eavesdropping (although the idea that such searches are voluntary is a legal fiction. And anyway your right to not be unreasonably searched has nothing to do with whether what you are otherwise doing is constitutionally protected. The government searches your person at the airport. To be constitutional that search must be reasonable, whether flying is a constitutionally protected act or not). My point is only to show that the general is correct. The standard for warrantless searches is reasonableness. Your point about whether the eavesdropping in question ought to require a warrant is a different argument about which I don't have an opinion.

By Blogger Charley Foster, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 1:55:00 PM  

"My point isn't to compare a search before boarding a plane with eavesdropping...."

Um, I'm a tad unclear why you therefore brought it up and made the comparison.

Be that as it may.

"The government searches your person at the airport. To be constitutional that search must be reasonable, whether flying is a constitutionally protected act or not)."

I'm not a lawyer. However, I'm fairly sure that any search I volunteer for is constitutional. You're asserting that a voluntary search is unconstitutional? Cite, please?

"The standard for warrantless searches is reasonableness."

Okay. Cite, please?

Ethan: "But, as long as the sheep continue to get led astray, focusing on the meaningless social contraversies brought to the forefront to distract them, who can blame them."

You unknowingly pushed a button of mine there, Ethan. I'm afraid I think very poorly of the use of the word "sheep" to disparage fellow citizens of our democracy.

Aside from the general dismissal of the principle of democracy inherent in it, and the general contempt it displays for fellow citizens, it's an unwarranted assumption of superiority on the part of the user.

Perhaps you are, indeed, far superior to the "sheep" of your fellow citizenry, but if you wish to use the term around me and not have me object, I'd ask you to first prove said inherent personal superiority.

Elsewise I might suggest a tad less arrogance, and implicit self-proclaimed superiority might be slightly more becoming.

Naturally, my writ only extends to this blog, so my dogs will not otherwise hunt you down and punish you, rest assured.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 4:37:00 PM  

"The standard for warrantless searches is reasonableness."

Okay. Cite, please?

Well, the Supreme Court case that called random, suspicionless searches of people at airports reasonable and therefore justified even sans probable cause is Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491 (1983). Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646 (1995), called certain searches in public school settings reasonable even where there is no probable cause (drug tests of athletes, for instance). Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) famously allows police to stop and question without a warrant if they can show a reasonable suspicion - as opposed to probable cause. Regulatory searches were deemed reasonable and therefore constitutional even without probable cause by Donavan v. Dewey, 452 U.S. 594 (1981). Exigent circumstances render searches reasonable and thus constitutional under Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978).

By Blogger Charley Foster, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 5:04:00 PM  

"My point isn't to compare a search before boarding a plane with eavesdropping...."

Um, I'm a tad unclear why you therefore brought it up and made the comparison.

As I said, it's not a comparison. The example of airport searches proves the point that the standard for warrantless searches is reasonableness. It was not to in any way say eavesdropping is like airport searches. As I said, that's a different argument.

By Blogger Charley Foster, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 5:25:00 PM  

This just in:
Kerry will try Alito filibuster.

Test of the boomerang, bro.

It would make me happy if you choose to publicize, support, telephone, etc -- talk to your Amygdala readership. Observe the hasty signal beacon from Gondor and stand with the remnant of Westernesse against the Shadow.

Alternatively, creeb about the presumption of appeals such as the one I'm now suggesting. Re-assert your right to be a cranky iconoclast and chastise me for the drama. I'll eventually send you some more Justice League episodes, either way -- but I will have second thoughts about your honorary JLA membership card if you decide to shine it on.

By Blogger Lenny Bailes, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 5:57:00 PM  

Thank you responding to my request, Charley. Florida v. Royer is here, by the way; a direct link is most useful, but even though Findlaw is mostly behind a firewall now, and I don't have Lexis-Nexis access, lots of stuff, as you can see, can still be easily found with just the word-citation.

Having read it, however, I am utterly baffled as to how you think that it supports your assertion.

The SCOTUS reversed, and tossed out the conviction, ruling that the search was involuntary, invalid, and un-Constituional.

"Because we affirm the Florida District Court of Appeal's conclusion that Royer was being illegally detained when he consented to the search of his luggage, we agree that the consent [460 U.S. 491, 508] was tainted by the illegality and was ineffective to justify the search. The judgment of the Florida District Court of Appeal is accordingly


Earlier: "The Florida District Court of Appeal reversed, holding that respondent had been involuntarily confined within the small room without probable cause, that at the time his consent to search was obtained, the involuntary detention had exceeded the limited restraint permitted by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 , and that such consent was therefore invalid because tainted by the unlawful confinement.


The judgment is affirmed."

This would seem to, in fact, completely refute your assertion.

I'm not a lawyer, but I know how to read a decision that is not blindingly technical, and Royer isn't in the least.

"When the detectives identified themselves as narcotics agents, told respondent he was suspected of transporting narcotics, and asked him to accompany them to the police room, while retaining his airline ticket and driver's license and without indicating in any way that he was free to depart, respondent was effectively seized for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. At the time respondent produced the key to his suitcase, the detention to which he was then subjected was a more serious intrusion on his personal liberty than is allowable on mere suspicion of criminal activity.


(b) Probable cause to arrest respondent did not exist at the time he consented to the search of his luggage. P. 507."

The search was tossed. Perhaps you had some other cite in mind?

As regards Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, naturally the fact that minors don't have full civil rights renders it irrelevant to our discussion. (IANAL, but I would have gone straight to Griffin v. Wisconsin, were I you, but I'm not. If you had, I'd point out that "Special needs" haven't been established even remotely as regards the NSA act, as yet, at best.)

Terry v. Ohio I don't even have to double-check; we're not discussing questioning people, either.

Len, thanks for the head's up, but the notion that there's somebody out there who needs me to inform them of a Senate filibuster is, well, ridiculous. If I posted right now, probably a handful of people might know hours before they'll otherwise hear tomorrow, but that's all. It will be front page news if it goes anywhere. If I have anything to add to the discussion, rest assured I will.

I do thank you very much, indeed, for thinking of me. Really, and no irony in the slightest.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 6:26:00 PM  

Len, Google News currently lists 2,442 incarnations of that single story on Kerry announcing his filibuster, plus 269 more entries, most of which also have hundreds of iterations. As I said, the notion that I could possibly inform anyone is ridiculous.

And, of course, it's all over the blogsphere. And that's just at 8:15 p.m. RMT; wait until tomorrow when, you know, the word spreads.

With all due respect, I am not Headline News, and it would be insane of me to think I was.

Respectfully. This is not being contrarian (whether I think a filibuster is tactically wise, I'll be considering as more information comes in); this is paying attention to reality.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 7:15:00 PM  

The Royer court explicitely states that had the officers been more expiditious - used dogs for instance - the search would have been legal. The Court objected to the fact that officers had him locked in a closet. Further, the case bristles with examples of warrantless searches that are reasonable and, therefore, constitutional without probable cause. See Section II.

The fact is, under the law some searches are legal without a warrant and those searches demand a mere reasonableness standard - not a probable cause standard.

By Blogger Charley Foster, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:19:00 PM  


My point is that I believe We All should call our Senators. Tell them we support Kerry's proposal for a filibuster -- because Samuel Alito is an intolerable choice for a Supreme Court Justice.

The prospect of this self-interested, compassionless individual being a Supreme Court justice for the next 30 years makes a mockery of the word "justice."

It's not about *informing* people that Kerry is floating the idea of a filibuster. It's about trying to mobilize every literate individual who professes a love for justice and is within reach of a telephone to call their Senators and make their feelings about Alito known.

It's about encouraging the Senators who understand what Alito is to get their nerve up -- enough to join in a public statement about it that can't be ignored by the media.

The Republicans may prevail anyway in the Senate. The Wormtongues will go to work on any Democrats with the courage to stand up for the legacy of the American system of checks and balances. Frist will almost certainly return to huffing and puffing to repeal the right of filibuster.

But the point is that if we don't tell our Senators to denounce the destruction of 200 years of American government now, when are we going to be able to do it in the future? It's the Sartrean gamble that opposing evil is the right thing to do, even if you can't see that you're going to win.

My guess is that Amygdala may have a certain number of regular readers who are sympathetic to the evidence that Alito is a corrupt, unprincipled manipulator. Inspiring them to go to telephones and fax machines and share their feelings with their home state Senators is what it's about.

By the way, here are telephone numbers for all members of Congress.

By Blogger Lenny Bailes, at Thursday, January 26, 2006 10:17:00 PM  

"My point is that I believe We All should call our Senators."

It's not clear to me, Len, that you realize that just about the only possible outcome is a symbolic protest by the Democrats -- one already made by the "no" votes -- and a sure defeat, and the sure loss of the judicial veto for the remainder of a Senate Republican majority.

There are 55 Republican votes. They're not going to be turned around. Period.

Then you have the fact that Democrats Tim Johnson, Robert Byrd, and Bill Nelson are committed to voting for Alito. Incredibly unlikely any will turn around, although there's an extremely faint possibility of Byrd; the other two, not impossible, but not far from it. That's 58 votes. Mary Landieu has committed to opposing a filibuster. 59 votes.

Then there's an almost surety that Lieberman will also vote "yes." 60 votes. End of story. And then the judicial filibuster gets nuked.

And what have we accomplished? A symbolic gesture, not vastly greater than everyone simply voting "no," save that the judicial filibuster is no longer an option for when the Gang of Twelve thinks its reasonable.

This is why I'm not yet sure this is a wise move and worth it. Maybe it is. There are times symbols are worth making a stand, and throwing away one of your major weapons, possibly forever, and thus damaging our democracy (yes, this is a heinous Republican thing, but meanwhile, we wisely have it staved off; if we do this thing, we've enabled the tossing away). Maybe this is one of those times. I'm open to the argument, and may come down there.

But it's hardly an open-and-shut case. Politics isn't about feeling good and stomping one's feet, it's about trying to get things done.

And Frist won't "huff and puff"; if there's a filibuster in this case, where the gang of twelve has agreed there are not "special circumstances," he has the votes to nuke it, and it's gone. Period. Think about that. Maybe it's worth it for more symbolism. Maybe.

If I see an opening for a filibuster to hold, that will be entirely different, and my support will be full for it. Meanwhile, I'm not rushing into such a thing precipitously. Sorry.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Friday, January 27, 2006 5:28:00 AM  

It's singularly unimpressive that John Kerry's passion about Alito was so strong that he chose to not bother to show up for the debate, but chose to party in Switzerland, instead, which is where he made his announcement from.

It was obvious from the first minute that this was purely a desperate attempt to gain support for 2008, but that he was in Switzerland I only just caught up to. Geez.

I'm not particularly interested in supporting Kerry's attempt to be renominated, as it happens.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Friday, January 27, 2006 6:27:00 AM  

For the record, some other points of view that you may already have read:

Summary of opinions:

a) Kerry's personal political motivation for organizing the filibuster is beside the point. He doesn't necessarily have that much to gain from it, personally, and it's an existentially heroic gesture, all the same.

b) a filibuster of Alito may be the most effective way to focus public attention on the intrinsic heinousness of what the Bush administration is doing -- vis-a-vis their notion that the President is above the law.

I understand your question about whether this will be perceived as an act of courage or of foolishness.
But it's part of the Republican attack strategy to prey upon fears over this issue. "Let's be reasonable and civilized," they say to the media and to the public. But they're not reasonable and civilized. Democrats need to get the voting population to realize that truth. A filibuster before the SOTU address may show the point more clearly than a willingness to "play by the rules" and lose a straight-up vote.

What are the rules, again? That they should sanctify Bill Frist's "civilized" threat to play Calvinball with the Senate? When is that time in the future going to be for a more effective filibuster? After "civilized" Republicans have voted their conscience and placed more Democratic Senators in Congress?

In the meantime, here's a scorecard on who in the Senate is planning to doing what, right now -- with telephone numbers. If you don't want to overtly support a filibuster, do you think it will hurt things to call Salazar and tell him what you, as a voter, think of Samuel Alito? (My opinion is that it might not hurt if you remind your Amygdala readership about that.)

By Blogger Lenny Bailes, at Saturday, January 28, 2006 3:53:00 AM  

Well, Len, all the prominent left/liberal bloggers who are decrying this move, as well, may have escaped your attention.

You might not appreciate it if I compiled said list and posted that, but I thought I'd not do that, either.

I'm content, instead, to let people make up their own minds. People don't need my notice of the event here, nor my urgings to not agitate for a filibuster, or to hear all the reasons why it likely ranges from somewhere between a bad idea and a hideously bad idea. Don't you think?

I mean, if you insist, then as a friend, I'll make a post saying what I think. But I thought I'd instead stay neutral, and as a friend, keep my mouth shut.

" you think it will hurt things to call Salazar and tell him what you, as a voter, think of Samuel Alito?"

I've done that in two past phone calls, one on Thursday. I, as I've previously posted, strongly oppose the ascenion of Alito to SCOTUS, and I urge Senators to vote against him. Which is what Salazar intends to do. Allard, of course, is hopeless.

Meanwhile, we have an excellent chance of electing a Democratic Governor in the next election, the first here in many years, and in the last election, we won back both state houses of the legislature for the first time in decades, and it's really really important we don't blow that with foolish moves.

People actually tend to know their local political situation, and what's best to be done for it, than outsiders, more often than not, wouldn't you agree?

Not that I'm any kind of authority on Colorado politics. Which is why you almost never see me comment on it. I'm content to continue to learn, slowly, the ins and outs. I'd recommend several longtime local Colorado bloggers on Colorado politics to those interested in learning about the situation here.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Saturday, January 28, 2006 6:21:00 AM  

If you're still reading this, Len, you might check this for another explication from a prominent Democratic activist about the downside of the politics of stamping one's foot so as to feel good (which is all the filibuster can possibly accomplish).

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Sunday, January 29, 2006 5:56:00 PM  

I agree with Len 100%, Gary. I don't care if Kerry announced for a filibuster while vacationing in Hawaii (I also don't care whether he's renominated in 2008).

You and Aravosis and Stoller are all being too careful for your own good here. An attempt to filibuster will re-ignite the issue of the unitary executive on our terms, not theirs. It will steal the SOTU thunder, where I'm betting dollars to donuts this son of a barbara is planning to defend the NSA program yet again.

I don't care if it goes down in flames, and I don't care if it drags the Democratic Party down in flames with it. It simply has to be done. I don't care how it looks, or that it was started too late to suit someone. Let's not start channeling Bob Shrum yet again here. You stand for something, then you act that way. You lose, you get up and try again.

By Blogger Thomas Nephew, at Sunday, January 29, 2006 9:22:00 PM  

"I don't care if it drags the Democratic Party down in flames with it"

Perhaps that's the key difference (maybe not, but perhaps).

I care about that. I care about that a lot. I think Aravosis (whose only exchange with me consisted of him sneering at me for being for having praised him in a backhanded way, but that's neither here nor there) and Stoller do, as well (and I seem to recall Kos also pointing out the futility and silliness of the effort, although otherwise giving it his blessing to go ahead; I myself, with the exception of comments here, and my outburst in your comments, have kept my mouth shut, as I've said).

I care about electing more Democrats to the House and Senate in the next election, which is coming up upon us very soon -- we are already well into that political cycle and only have 9 months to go, and these are the crucial formative months, not the later ones -- and being able to actually block SCOTUS and other federal judge nominees, and not be fucking impotent and engage in fucking impotent gestures.

I want us to have power again, not petulance. I want us to be effective, not to engage in gestures.

That's what I care about, that's my priority. YMMV. Well, that's being a Democrat, too. Unfortunately. Circular firing squad, and not caring about actual elections.

"It will steal the SOTU thunder"

On lefty blogs and in your dreams. To the majority of Americans, it will look as pointless as it is. But, hey, I'm not stopping anyone, and if the delusion makes anyone happy, well, I actually thinks that's a pretty bad thing, but it's going to happen anyway, and there's nothing I can do to stop it, so carry on and enjoy yourselves. I like to jerk off now and again, too.

I'd rather fuck over the Republicans, though.

And then get some vaguely decent Democrat in as President again, as well, in 2008. (I wish it weren't too soon for Barack Obama, but the best I could hope for there is Veep; instead, it will be some lame-ass, although of the even remotely likely possibilities, I'd look most favorably on Al Gore, if that were realistic.)

I also want to get a Democratic Governor here in 2006, which is highly likely if we don't blow it, and then get Allard out in 2008, as well, since he's a flaming fucktard.

Them's my priorities.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Sunday, January 29, 2006 9:46:00 PM  

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