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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?

I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.

Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.

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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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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, Newshoggers.com

"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.
-- oakhaus.com

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

Favorite....
-- 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 FARBER IS MY AROUSAL CENTER. -- Justin Slotman

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


Archives:
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
AlterNet
The American Street
The Aristocrats
Avedon Carol
Between the Hammer and the Anvil
Lindsay Beyerstein
The Big Con
bjkeefe
CantBlogTooBusy The Center for American Progress
Chase me Ladies, I'm in the Cavalry
Chuckling
Doghouse Riley
Kevin Drum
elementropy
Eschaton
Fables of the Reconstruction
Gall and Gumption
Gin and Tacos
House of Substance
Hullabaloo
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
Afro-Netizen
American Conservative
American Footprints
Andrew Sullivan
Angry Bear
Attackerman
Attempts
Balkinization
Balloon Juice
Beautiful Horizons
Bitch Ph.D.
Brad DeLong
Cato-at-liberty
Cogitamus
Crooked Timber
Cunning Realist
Daily Kos
Debate Link
Democracy Arsenal
Edge of the American West
Eschaton
Ezra Klein
Feministe
Glenn Greenwald
Governing.com: 13th Floor
Hit & Run
Hullabaloo
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
Mightygodking
Newshoggers
Orcinus
Pam's House Blend
Pandagon
Paul Krugman
Pharyngula
Philosophy, et cetera
Radley Balko
Sadly, No!
Shakesville
slacktivist
Southern Appeal
Stephen Walt
Steve Clemons
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Taking It Outside
Talking Points Memo
TAPPED
The Poor Man
The Progressive Realist
The Sideshow
TPMCafe
U.S. Intellectual History
Unfogged
Unqualified Offerings
VetVoice
Volokh Conspiracy
Washington Monthly
William Easterly
Newsrack Blog
Ortho Bob
Pandagon
Pharyngula
The Poor Man
Prog Gold
Prose Before Hos
Ted Rall
The Raw Story
Elayne Riggs
Sadly, No!
Snarkmarket
TAPped
TBogg
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
alicublog
alt hippo
american street
city of brass
danger west
fact-esque
fierce urgency of now
get fisa right
great concavity
happening here
impeach them!
jensscholz.com
kathryn cramer
notes from the basement
sideshow
talking dog
uncertain principles
unqualified offerings
what do i know
balkinization
crooked timber emptywheel
ezra klein
Fact-esque
The F-Word
glenn greenwald
governmentality
hullabaloo
Lifehacker
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
Macadamia
Pagan Prattle
As I Please
Ken MacLeod
Arthur Hlavaty
Kevin Maroney
MK Kare
Jack Heneghan
Dave Langford
Epicycle
Onyx Lynx Atrios
Demosthenes
Rittenhouse Review
Maxspeak
Public Nuisance
Scoobie Davis
MadKane
Nathan Newman
Whiskeyfire
Echidne Of The Snakes
First Draft
Corrente
Rising Hegemon
NTodd
Cab Drollery (Help Diane!
Hullabaloo
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
Frameshop
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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.










Amygdala
 
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
 
BB BS. So, the Sphinx speaks. Some points: first, it's interesting how critical of Vice-President Cheney even the Republican house-channel, FoxNews, is in this article (I don't have cable tv, much as I'd like to be able to afford it, and so won't be able to see the entire original interview on video).

One element I'm immediately struck by in the story is this:
Speaking to reporters alongside Dr. David Blanchard, director of emergency services, Banko said that Whittington was tired but able to sit up and eat food. Banko would not comment on how many BBs remained in Whittington's body, but said of the ammunition lodged in Whittington's heart, "We're 100 percent satisfied that where the BB is it will remain."
Now, as I stated here, on Sunday, I'm scarcely an expert on hunting -- I've never been, and all I know about hunting is what I've read over the years, which isn't a tremendous amount; neither am I any sort of expert, even remotely, on weapons, or shotguns, although I've read a bit more on that topic over the years, including as a sometime editor of crime fiction, crime nonfiction, and as a copyeditor.

But I'm unfamiliar with anyone who is familiar with shotguns referring to shot, including birdshot, as a "BB." A "bb gun," according to every reference I double-check with, is an air-gun. Mostly kids use them, as I did slightly myself circa age 11-13. They're fired via either CO2 cartridge, or pumping the air yourself. The pellets are fired at a grossly lower velocity than you'd find with a Perazzi Brescia shotgun, or with any such 28 gauge shotgun. (The "gauge" is the bore diameter.)

Now, as any kid is famously warned, you can put someone's eye out with a BB gun. But an air-gun isn't remotely as dangerous or powerful as a traditional shotgun, no matter how small your shot is, including 7 1/2, the size Vice-President Cheney is reported to have used (which is what you'd use for quail, particularly since as I've reported, it is illegal in Texas to not preserve your shot quail in "an edible state" -- quail are, be it noted, pretty small birds). (Note that BB-size is smaller than "2" on the shot-size scale, where a 9 is used for skeet [the only kind I've ever fired, myself, last done at age 13 or so].)

Now, of course, we can be charitable, and assume that "Peter Banko, administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial," who briefed the press, as above, on Whittington's condition, doesn't know what he's talking about. Of course, that makes him a peculiar choice to be briefing the press, and renders suspect everything else he says.

An uncharitable person might have an unreasonable suspicion that the administrator is spinning to minimize, just as Katharine Armstrong did in her original account of Whittington's shooting that:
["]It broke the skin," she said of the shotgun pellets. "It knocked him silly. But he was fine.["]
Someone splitting the difference might suggest that "Peter Banko, administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial," simply seized the limelight because he's the administrator, and wanted his moment in the sun, even though he didn't know what he was talking about as regards shotguns and "BBs." He may not even be a doctor, let alone have ever treated a gun-shot victim, for all I presently know. (The "Find A Physician" function at the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System website returns "No physicians were found matching your search criteria" for a search on "Banko.") (Mr. Whittington's spiritual well-being should also be provided for, incidentally.)

This Caller article from January, 2005, doesn't indicate Peter Banko is, in fact, a physician, though it's not dispositive in either direction:
Peter Banko, vice president and administrator of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial [...] worked [...] in New Jersey.
Beyond that, hard to say without further investigation, although Peter Banko does have a record of speaking to the press for the Hospital system.

I couldn't say. You can evaluate the information for yourself.

Onward, or backward towards earlier in the Cheney interview:
"Ultimately I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry," Cheney said in his first interview since the incident. "I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend, and that's something I'll never forget."
Okay. He takes responsibility. That's both politically wise, and the responsible thing to do. Not being a mind-reader, I couldn't possibly say it's not merely Richard Cheney doing the latter. Again, you'll judge according to your own predelictions and prejudices, in most cases, anyway.
"The image of him falling is something I will never be able to get out my mind," Cheney said, somberly. "It was one of the worst days of my life."

[...]

"It was not Harry's fault," Cheney said. "You cannot blame anybody else."
Okay, good, fine. The right thing to say.

Now, the Vice-President's explanation for his handling of the story, and the 22+ hour delay?
[...] . Cheney said he and Armstrong agreed to let her take the lead.

"I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knows and understands hunting," Cheney said. "Then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out. I thought that was the right call. I still do."
"The web site"? Okay, charitably, let's assume he either is referring to some specific, unstated, website, or perhaps he said "websites," and the transcript/story garbled the quote, or, still innocuously, Richard Cheney is as clueless in knowledge of them there online-computer thingamajiggies as President George W. "the internets" Bush is. Hardly difficult to believe the latter, after all.

Still, we can go back to former Republican White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater:
"The responsibility for handling this, of course, was Cheney's," Fitzwater, who served as presidential press secretary for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, told E&P in a phone interview from his Maryland home. "What he should have done was call his press secretary and tell her what happened and she then would have gotten a hold of the doctor and asked him what happened. Then interview [ranch owner] Katharine Armstrong to get her side of events and then put out a statement to inform the public.

"They could have done all of that in about two hours on Saturday. It is beyond me why it was not done this way."
Back to this very Fox News story:
The timing demonstrated another instance of disconnect between the White House press office and the news of the day. McClellan was not notified about Whittington's heart attack until long after the fact, too late for him to withhold a joke he made during the morning press report about a "hunter's" orange tie he was wearing in anticipation of the University of Texas football team's visit with President Bush.

Despite McClellan's apparent ignorance of Whittington's condition, he should have refrained from laughing about the situation at all, said Jerry Swerling, a public relations expert and director of the USC-Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center in Los Angeles.

"To be making light of an incident in which somebody's life could have been at stake is an error for a variety of reasons," Sperling said of light-hearted statements coming from the White House.

Journalists who were flabbergasted at the way Cheney's office handled the incident will probably not be satisfied by his explanation.

"Katharine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement. ... First of all, she was an eyewitness, she'd seen the whole thing. Secondly, she'd grown up on the ranch, she'd hunted there all of her life. Third, she was the immediate past head of the [Texas Parks and Wildlife Department], the game control commission in the state of Texas," Cheney said.

But Cheney is also a hunting expert and longtime frequenter of the Armstrong Ranch, said media critic Eric Burns. And as the shooter and victim, Cheney and Whittington were the best eyewitnesses to say what happened.

"There isn't one thing, actually, that he said that made sense to me," said Burns, host of "FOX News Watch."
Really, nothing more need be said on this point, save: damn those liberal Fox News journalists.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. Endless more commentary from everyone in creation to follow, of course, including endless voices from Bush-Cheney enthusiasts explaining that everyone else should "shut up" and quit talking about this "non-story," while on the farther ends of the other side, we'll learn that Cheney was drunk out of his mind (had he been drinking?; how the hell would I know?).

Previous stories on the Vice-President taking to shooting Republican voters here, here, here, and here.

ADDENDUM, 6:17 p.m.: Here is the official transcript of Brit Hume's interview with Cheney. Some other clarifying details, at least of what the Vice-President's account is:
Q How long have you known him?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I first met him in Vail, Colorado, when I worked for Gerry Ford about 30 years ago, and it was the first time I'd ever hunted with him.

Q Would you describe him as a close friend, friendly acquaintance, what --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, an acquaintance.

[...]

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's in south Texas, wide-open spaces, a lot of brush cover, fairly shallow. But it's wild quail.

[...]

And a group of us had hunted all day on Saturday --

Q How many?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, probably 10 people. We weren't all together, but about 10 guests at the ranch.

[...]

The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction --

Q Away from him?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Away from him -- where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right --

[...]

Q How far away from you was he?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm guessing about 30 yards, which was a good thing. If he'd been closer, obviously, the damage from the shot would have been greater.

[...]

Q What did you think when you saw the injuries? How serious did they appear to you to be?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no idea how serious it was going to be. I mean, it could have been extraordinarily serious. You just don't know at that moment. You know he's been struck, that there's a lot of shot that had hit him. But you don't know -- you think about his eyes. Fortunately, he was wearing hunting glasses, and that protected his eyes.

[...]

Q His eyes were open when you found him, then, right?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. One eye was open.

[...]

Q So this is several hours after the incident?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I would say he was in Kingsville in the emergency room probably within, oh, less than an hour after they left the ranch.

Q Now, you're a seasoned hunter --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I am, well, for the last 12, 15 years.

[...]

Q Was anybody drinking in this party?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No. You don't hunt with people who drink. That's not a good idea. We had --

Q So he wasn't, and you weren't?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct. We'd taken a break at lunch -- go down under an old -- ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch. After lunch we take a break, go back to ranch headquarters. Then we took about an hour-long tour of ranch, with a ranch hand driving the vehicle, looking at game. We didn't go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3:00 p.m.

The five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence.

Q Now, what thought did you give, then, to how -- you must have known that this was -- whether it was a matter of state, or not, was news. What thought did you give that evening to how this news should be transmitted?

[...]

That evening there were other considerations. We wanted to make sure his family was taken care of. His wife was on the ranch. She wasn't with us when it happened, but we got her hooked up with the ambulance on the way to the hospital with Harry. He has grown children; we wanted to make sure they were notified, so they didn't hear on television that their father had been shot. And that was important, too.

But we also didn't know what the outcome here was going to be. We didn't know for sure what kind of shape Harry was in. We had preliminary reports, but they wanted to do a CAT scan, for example, to see how -- whether or not there was any internal damage, whether or not any vital organ had been penetrated by any of the shot. We did not know until Sunday morning that we could be confident that everything was probably going to be okay.
His story is that he didn't want to contact the press until he was "confident that everything was probably going to be okay." Um, interesting.
[...] But we really didn't know until Sunday morning that Harry was probably going to be okay, that it looked like there hadn't been any serious damage to any vital organ. And that's when we began the process of notifying the press.

Q Well, what -- you must have recognized, though, with all your experience in Washington, that this was going to be a big story.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, true, it was unprecedented. I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this. We've had experiences where the President has been shot; we've never had a situation where the Vice President shot somebody.

Q Not since Aaron Burr.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Not since Aaron Burr --

[...]

Q But there were some things you knew. I mean, you knew the man had been shot, you knew he was injured, you knew he was in the hospital, and you knew you'd shot him.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct.

Q And you knew certainly by sometime that evening that the relevant members of his family had been called. I realize you didn't know the outcome, and you could argue that you don't know the outcome today, really, finally.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: As we saw, if we'd put out a report Saturday night on what we heard then -- one report came in that said, superficial injuries. If we'd gone with a statement at that point, we'd have been wrong. And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before, so --

Q Had you discussed this with colleagues in the White House, with the President, and so on?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I did not. The White House was notified, but I did not discuss it directly, myself. I talked to Andy Card, I guess it was Sunday morning.

Q Not until Sunday morning? Was that the first conversation you'd had with anybody in the -- at the White House?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q And did you discuss this with Karl Rove at any time, as has been reported?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, Karl talks to -- I don't recall talking to Karl. Karl did talk with Katherine Armstrong, who is a good mutual friend to both of us. Karl hunts at the Armstrong, as well --

Q Say that again?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I said Karl has hunted at the Armstrong, as well, and we're both good friends of the Armstrongs and of Katherine Armstrong. And Katherine suggested, and I agreed, that she would go make the announcement, that is that she'd put the story out.

[...]

And I thought that was the right call.

Q What do you think now?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I still do. I still think that the accuracy was enormously important. I had no press person with me, I didn't have any press people with me. I was there on a private weekend with friends on a private ranch. In terms of who I would contact to have somebody who would understand what we're even talking about, the first person that we talked with at one point, when Katherine first called the desk to get hold of a reporter didn't know the difference between a bullet and a shotgun -- a rifle bullet and a shotgun. And there are a lot of basic important parts of the story that required some degree of understanding. And so we were confident that Katherine was the right one, especially because she was an eye-witness and she could speak authoritatively on it. She probably knew better than I did what had happened since I'd only seen one piece of it.
What the Vice-President believes his Press Secretary's job is supposed to be is unclear to me.
[...] Q Now, it strikes me that you must have known that this was going to be a national story --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, sure.

Q -- and it does raise the question of whether you couldn't have headed off this beltway firestorm if you had put out the word to the national media, as well as to the local newspaper so that it could post it on its website. I mean, in retrospect, wouldn't that have been the wise course --

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, who is going to do that? Are they going to take my word for what happened? There is obviously --

Q Well, obviously, you could have put the statement out in the name of whoever you wanted. You could put it out in the name of Mrs. Armstrong, if you wanted to. Obviously, that's -- she's the one who made the statement.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Exactly. That's what we did. We went with Mrs. Armstrong. We had -- she's the one who put out the statement. And she was the most credible one to do it because she was a witness. It wasn't me in terms of saying, here's what happened, it was --

[...]

Q There is reporting to the effect that some in the White House feel you kind of -- well, look at what Scott McClellan went through the last couple days. There's some sense -- and perhaps not unfairly so -- that you kind of hung him out to dry. How do you feel about that?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Scott does a great job and it's a tough job. It's especially a tough job under these conditions and circumstances.

[...]

Q Well, perhaps so, but isn't there an institution here present at the White House that has long-established itself as the vehicle through which White House news gets out, and that's the pool?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I had no press person with me, no coverage with me, no White House reporters with me. I'm comfortable with the way we did it, obviously. You can disagree with that, and some of the White House press corps clearly do.

[...]

THE VICE PRESIDENT: All the way. It was recommended to me -- Katherine Armstrong wanted to do it, as she said, and I concurred in that; I thought it made good sense.

[...]

Q Let me ask you another question. Is it your view that a Vice President has the authority to declassify information?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: There is an executive order to that effect.

Q There is.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q Have you done it?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I've certainly advocated declassification and participated in declassification decisions. The executive order --

Q You ever done it unilaterally?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't want to get into that. There is an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously focuses first and foremost on the President, but also includes the Vice President.
All quite interesting. I look forward to finding out which executive order he is referring to, and to reading it.

ADDENDUM, 2/16/06, 9:35 p.m.: Steve Clemons:
Executive Order 12958 on "Classified National Security Information" was promulgated by President Clinton on April 17, 1995.

This Executive Order "prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information."

In this 1995 Executive Order, the VICE PRESIDENT is mentioned only one time -- and only in such a way that the automatic, 25-year declassification of historically important documents can be preempted if declassification would "impair the ability of responsible United States Government officials to protect the President, the Vice President, and other individuals."

Now, let's move to the March 25, 2003 Executive Order by President Bush, No. 13292, that amends President Clinton's Executive Order on National Security Information.

The Vice President's "presence" in the Executive Order increased by 1000%. Instead of just one mention in the Executive Order, Cheney's office is referred to eleven times.
Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5.

2/15/2006 03:42:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 4 comments

4 Comments:

Well, Cheney did say that he'd been drinking beer at lunch.... Given the dodging of the sheriff until Sunday morning and the absence of a blood alcohol test.... There would have to be a *very* good alibi to raise a reasonable doubt.... If I were on a jury, I would find that alcohol was a contributing factor

By Blogger brad, at Wednesday, February 15, 2006 5:00:00 PM  

"There would have to be a *very* good alibi to raise a reasonable doubt."

Yeah, that's not how our legal system works. If there's a "reasonable doubt" that someone is guilty, they get off.

They don't get convicted, or even necessarily investigated, because there's a "reasonable doubt" that they might be innocent. Sorry.

"If I were on a jury, I would find that alcohol was a contributing factor"

I'd hope you wouldn't without that little thing known as "evidence." And if you did, and the rest of the jury did, the judge would toss out the verdict. Rightfully. Again, sorry.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:02:00 PM  

Check This Out:
Cheney: 'I'm the Guy Who Pulled the Trigger'

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,184957,00.html

By Blogger Luther, at Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:06:00 PM  

"Check This Out...."

Thank you for pointing out the story that this post is about.

By Blogger Gary Farber, at Wednesday, February 15, 2006 6:51:00 PM  

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