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Amygdala will move to an entirely new and far better blog template ASAP, aka RSN, aka incrementally/badly punctuated evolution.
Tagging posts, posts by category, next/previous post indicators, and other post-2003 design innovations are incrementally being tweaked/kludged/melting.
Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
I'm sometimes available to some degree as a paid writer, editor, researcher, or proofreader. I'm sometimes available as a fill-in Guest Blogger at mid-to-high-traffic blogs that fit my knowledge set.
If you like my blog, and would like to help me continue to afford food and prescriptions, or simply enjoy my blogging and writing, and would like to support it --
you are welcome to do so via the PayPal buttons.
"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
DISTRACTIONS. On Wedesday, the 29th, tomorrow, I get the remains of one of my teeth pulled (left bottom farthest back, which at least means people can't see it), along with a root canal, with no nitrous oxide, at the really broken-down and seedy Dental Aid clinic (several of their examining couches are broken; there are no real dividers between the different patient areas, so you can hear everything happening to everyone else simultaneously, and they're all just a few feet away from you).
The next question will be whether I can afford to get the next tooth after that root canalled, but then capped with a crown, rather than just pulled. For all that people extremely generously donated many hundreds of dollars (quite a few in amounts measurable in hundreds of dollars, though most were in smaller amounts -- and I couldn't be more grateful and thankful to you all! -- far more than I can ever say!), I don't seem to have quite enough to pay for the thousands required for the crown, and saving the tooth over the relatively cheap extraction (especially given the need to get to fixing/removing other teeth after that; this is still doing only the emergency teeth), so we'll have to see about that.
So currently and recently I'm trying not to think about this, while tomorrow, I'll be praying to the god of painkillers.
I was a touch irate after my previous set of interactions with the People's Clinic and Dental Aid, because after the initial 3-day treatment of antibiotics, the pain came back after a few days, and it seemed clear to me that the infection had been lessened, but not fully gone away, and that I needed another, full, course of antibiotics, before receiving dental treatment.
Which I explained to "Amy" at the People's Clinic, who, since my then-seen-only-once new Dr. was on vacation, "consulted with another practioner," who announced that they wouldn't give me any more antibiotics, just hydrocodone, and that I should see Dental Aid.
Whom when I saw them some days later, said that my antibiotic course had been too short, that the infection had come back, and that I needed a full week's worth, and put me on the penicillin.
Why hadn't I thought of that?
Anyway: tomorrow. No nitrous oxide. (Assuming I don't have a panic attack and find an excuse to cancel the appointment.)
One fun thing in the mix is the way my gout keeps making intermittent little visits, so I can have some distraction from my teeth!
Oh, and I'm scheduled to have a sleep exam, since I probably have sleep apnea, although I also can't afford the test, of course, let alone treatment. And I'm commanded to see a nutritionist, to put me on a strict diet, to lose weight. And I'm on new drugs for blood pressure because it's still sky high, and the enlarged heart valve is worriesome.
I sure am glad I don't have to worry about the ruination of the American health care system with a single-player plan, or any sort of universal health care, though! I value my freedom most of all!
ADDENDUM, 11/29/06, 2:51 p.m.: Surgery called on account of blizzard that's been continuous since yesterday late afternoon, and the dental office being closed; many feet of snow around here; extraction rescheduled for December 11th.
IT'S A GREAT BIG SWIRL. Because I'm not up to writing more complicated stuff: the little-known lyrics to the Stargate SG-1 theme music, as written by a couple of the writers, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, and sung by them and Peter DeLuise (who also directed that episode), on a commentary track from Season 4, the episode "Prodigy."
In the Montana Legislature, the balance of power is so exquisitely delicate that a single person can change it, and on Friday, a veteran state senator who was re-elected last week as a Republican did just that.
The senator, Sam Kitzenberg, a former high school teacher, filed papers with the secretary of state to become a Democrat, thus swinging what had been an evenly divided chamber, with 25 seats for each party, into Democratic control.
“I’m 59 and I’ve been a Republican since I was in high school, and 12 years in the Legislature,” Mr. Kitzenberg said in a telephone interview.
He described himself as a moderate who had felt increasingly out of step in recent years with his party’s more conservative bent.
“It’s kind of like a family, it’s kind of hard to leave,” Mr. Kitzenberg said. “But I didn’t leave them — they left me.”
Ties in either house of the Montana Legislature can be paralyzing, since there is no mechanism for a tie-breaking vote.
Also keep an eye on this:
[...] In the Pennsylvania House, a 15-seat Republican majority before the election was shrunk to a single seat, with a recount under way that could switch even that narrow majority, currently 102 Republicans to 101 Democrats, into Democratic hands.
Meanwhile, things in Montana are still complicated:
[...] Ten days after the election, the Montana House still remains effectively tied, with 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and 1 Constitution Party member who has said he plans to vote mostly with the Republicans. There is also one undecided House race, from a town near Billings, that could break the House logjam. But that race is locked in a tie, too, with 1,971 votes for each candidate and a recount pending.
“We’re tied in knots,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, said in a telephone interview.
If the recount in the House race tips even a single vote toward the Republican candidate, Krayton Kerns — a veterinarian making his first run for public office — the Republicans will gain control of the House, including the committee chair appointments and the right to name a Republican speaker.
If the tie is affirmed, Montana’s Constitution allows Mr. Schweitzer the right to pick his choice, and he has said he would select the Democratic incumbent, Emelie K. Eaton. That would keep the House tied.
And the implications of a continued tie are just as intense, since Montana law says that a tied House automatically gives the speaker’s chair to a member of the governor’s party. A tied chamber would have Democratic Party leadership. The recount is scheduled for after Thanksgiving.
FREE STUFF. It's worth pointing out, if you haven't noticed yet, that AOL, in going from being a crap ISP to a content provider/intermediator, is offering loads of free content, both to a fair degree even if you don't sign up, and to a larger degree if you give your name and an e-mail address, etc. (but no money involved).
For instance, check out all the older tv programs you can view or download (don't miss pages 2 through 6, with more being added all the time). Stuff like Babylon 5, The Adventures of Superman, Batman:TAS, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Kung Fu, Lois and Clark, Maverick, Max Headroom, Pinky and the Brain, Superboy, and plenty of other oddities, both older and more recent (devastated because Joey was canceled?).
Ditto music videos. They also offer free e-mail addresses, lots of online storage, virus protection, and other such stuff, if you're interested.
HIRO'S FATHER, SULU. If you'll forgive me a moment's Heros blogging, it says here:
[...] In other George Takei news, word has surfaced that he will make a guest appearance in NBC's sci-fi hit Heroes. He will play the father of time-traveling fanboy Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) in the season cliffhanger on Monday, January 29. The official announcement is expected to be made in the Nov. 27 issue of TV Guide, due out next week.
I'm not wild about Heros, at least as yet, but I'm finding it watchable and mild-to-moderately enjoyable.
Which is rare enough for me and network shows these days.
Read The Rest Scale: only if you want to hear about how George Takei thinks Star Trek: The Animated Series should be revived (his getting the voice work is completely incidental!; and speaking of incidentally, he's 69; and he's the youngest surviving member of the main cast; hell, Walter Koenig, one-time teen idol, is 70).
ADDENDUM, 11/18/06, 7:36 p.m.: Slightly more here.
[...] "I just hope I get to say, 'Dad! Sulu is my hero, not you!' The sci-fi fans would love it!" Oka said.
And in particularly intriguing news, among other film projects Frank Miller hopes to see done, he says this is in the works (I always take such announcements with salt):
[...] The writer-illustrator-director also confirmed that things look good for The Spirit, a film he'll write and direct based on the comic strip and comic-book hero created in 1940 by the legendary Will Eisner. "The Spirit seems to be happening," Miller said. "I'm typing away."
My concern is that I'm not sure I'd like to see it taken out of the period, but that period comics-type pictures seem, so far as I've noticed, to not do all that well (The Shadow, for instance).
Warner Home Video and Warner Brothers Television announced the start of production on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales, a made-for-video movie that will tell two new stories set in the B5 universe. WHV will be the home-entertainment distributor for the made-for-DVD release, which will include two new stories under the collective subtitle "Voices of the Dark" in one film, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
The stories will be written and directed by executive producer and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Executive producer Doug Netter also returns in that role. Actors from the original series that have signed on to participate in the project include Bruce Boxleitner (President John Sheridan), Tracy Scoggins (Capt. Elizabeth Lochley) and Peter Woodward (Galen).
The Lost Tales picks up several years after the events of the original Babylon 5 TV series and follows several of its major characters in new adventures set against the backdrop of the B5 universe. The movie will be released sometime in 2007.
THE LAST REMAINING REVEALING FLASH of the true Nixonian nature of this evil administration is complete! The enemies list! No proper successor regime to Nixon is complete without one!
Untrustworthy terrorsymp liberal Peggy Noonan:
[...] It is assumed by everyone, and accepted as truth that hardly needs expression, that the brilliant and independent Michael Steele was not chosen as head of the RNC for the simple reason that he doesn't look like someone who'd simply take orders. Mel Martinez was chosen for the reason that he will. I heard talk of what is called "the list"--the lengthening White House list of those who are to be treated as enemies.
Hope everyone's psychiatrist has burglary insurance.
Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5; it's Peggy Noonan, and thus largely predictable; but she goes on the record here in a way that will be interesting to look back on in a year and then in two.
[...] I suspect the president will over the next two years do to Republicans what he did to Donald Rumsfeld: over the side, under the bus and off the sled.
He doesn't need them. They're not popular. They're not where the action is. He'll work closely with Democrats, gain in time new and admiring press--"Bush has grown," etc.
WELCOME YOUR MINORITY UNDERLORDS. Overshadowed by Trent Lott, the Republicans today formally did what had been a done deal for months, almost years, electing Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as Senate Minority Leader.
If you're not considerably familiar with McConnell, here's who is is, from this piece written in October.
[...] He has an unblinking, vaguely android-like stare and gives the impression, even when speaking, of wanting to avoid being noticed.
Indeed, McConnell’s political persona—with its focus on bare-knuckled partisanship and support for a money-driven legislative system—embodies the very qualities that have helped reverse Republican political fortunes so dramatically over the last year and a half, and have led directly to a series of government scandals and slipups. In uniting around Mitch McConnell, Republicans are, in effect, doubling down on the governing style that got them, and us, into this mess in the first place.
Since arriving in Washington, McConnell has used two major tactics to get to the top. He has ensured himself a steady flow of campaign dollars by going all out on behalf of the Republican Party’s financial backers—and has then used these contributions to build his own, and his party’s, political power.
McConnell cut his teeth by running the Ethics and Rules committees in the ‘90s. These were low-profile positions, but ones that gave him crucial leverage with his colleagues on the quality-of-life issues—assigning office space, and overseeing the Senate restaurant, for instance—that senators care about. In 1997, he took over the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—a position that allowed him to decide which GOP candidates received money and other electoral help from the national party, and so helped build his support within the caucus. The following year, with voters angry over the Republican Congress’s impeachment of President Clinton, many expected the GOP to lose Senate seats. But McConnell counseled his candidates to adopt a strategy of barraging their opponents with negative advertising, and it proved enough to avoid any losses.
HOW TO BE FUNNY WHILE.... This past week's New York Times Magazine (the November 12th issue) is on humor, with a variety of pieces, most reasonably interesting or funny.
This one compiles short pieces from a variety of folks on various situations in which one can be, you know, and how.
How to Punch It Up By Patton Oswalt, actor and screenwriter
I do a lot of punch-up in Hollywood. Punchup is where they get a bunch of screenwriters and comedians together to sit around a table and add jokes to a yet-to-be-filmed script. It’s fun. They usually have it at a nice hotel, and there’s coffee and bagels, and later they bring in lunch. Then snacks.
Lately I’ve been doing punch-up on computer-animated films, but the trick with doing punch-up on these movies is that unlike the live-action script, which hasn’t been filmed yet, the computer-animated film is usually 80 percent complete by the time we see it. And when I say 80 percent complete, I mean, “We’ve spent $120 million on this, so we really can’t change anything.”
“Uh, well then,” you’ll ask, through a mouthful of takeout Chinese, “what exactly do you want us to do?”
“What we need is for you guys to come up with funny off-screen voices yelling funny things over the unfunny action.”
I didn’t know you could make comedies that way! This is comforting news. Can I take old super-8 footage of a kid’s birthday party, where none of the other kids showed up? And he’s sitting at the kitchen table, and he’s got his little birthday hat on, and a lonely little cake, and he’s crying, and just when you’re about to kill yourself from the pathos, someone offscreen yells:
“I just fell on my fanny in some butterscotch!”
Wow, you’ll think, suddenly cheerful. Someone I can’t see, or will ever see, just fell into some butterscotch and is now talking about it out loud the way no one does or has, ever!
Did I mention there’s lunch?
How to Do a Deadpan By Bob Balaban, actor
Deadpan: a vaudeville term coined in the 1920s to describe a comic with an expressionless face, pan being slang for face, and dead being dead. Think Jack Benny. Buster Keaton. Christopher Guest. Deadpan is the double take without the take, the mysterious, hysterically funny nothing.
In “Steamboat Bill Jr.,” Buster Keaton walks into a neighborhood that has been devastated by a cyclone. He stops in front of a house. The house begins to fall. Keaton, of course, is unaware of it. The shot is wide enough for you to know that Keaton is really there and that the house is really falling. Audiences reportedly shouted: “Look out! Look out!” at the movie screen during this sequence. The house falls, the audience gasps, the dust rises, and when it clears, there is Keaton, expressionless, standing in the safety of an open attic window that has fallen around him. He walks away as if nothing has happened to him. That’s major deadpan.
Here are some rules for deadpan:
1. This thing works better the less you do. You could actually be dead and get pretty good results. Lowercase yourself — clear your mind, silence your inner voices, disappear, be nothing. Don’t forget, nothing can be really something. An accomplished deadpan can create a force field akin to a black hole.
2. Don’t act. Deadpan is, by definition, the antithesis of acting. Deadpan allows the audience to imagine your reaction. You are the ultimate Rorschach test. You are Peter Sellers in “Being There.”
3. Like the proverbial dark gray suit, deadpan is appropriate for almost every occasion. It’s the way to go whether you are on the receiving end of spoonfuls of baby food thrown by a peckish infant, or in a speedboat and the female bass player to whom you have just proposed takes off her wig and tells you she’s a man, or if you are about to have a house fall on you.
4. And this is an absolute absolute — do not comment on the deadpan. The audience must never know that you know a house has fallen on you. You are not in on the joke, and the audience will love you for it. They will feel superior. Let them.
Doing nothing is not for everyone. A great deadpan is a rara avis. But who knows? In the brave new world of Botox and Restalane, today’s Jim Carrey may become tomorrow’s master of the expressionless expression.
How to Play the Straight Man By Luke Wilson, actor
I think I’ve been playing the straight man ever since I first realized I was in over my head academically. Math in particular. And science, come to think of it. Not to overlook foreign languages. Not really knowing what was going on in class — and not really caring to understand or actually taking the time to study — I put a great deal of effort into my expression. Earnest yet vacant. Yearning yet lost. I had one simple goal for the teachers. I wanted them to think: This Wilson kid might not be that bright, but damn it, he’s trying. The poor bastard.
There's a whole bunch more, some fairly funny.
Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 if you were amused by any of these. Plus, as I said, quite a few more articles in that issue, which doesn't have a permalink.
So I'm doing my usual flip through, back and forth, amongst the three evening tv network news broadcasts, and CBS has a short story on how only 35% of hospitals treat heart attacks with the recommended angioplasty within 90 minutes, and how many people die because of this, and about a program to shave various minutes off of that time (getting info from the ambulance, having the cardiac team called with a single page, starting treatment without a cardiologist, etc.).
The conclusion is a typical "but most hospitals have a long way to go."
And, to say, lastly, that there will be a guide published to the average cardiac/angioplasty response time of every hospital ER.
And Kate Couric does her typical smiling close-out, asking in her chipper-but-mechanical fashion: "So we can all be educated consumers, right, Bob?" "Right, Katie."
Sure. Because when you're having a heart attack in a strange city, or in a part of your city that isn't convenient, you're going to stop and check the guide so you can give directions as to which hospital across town you want to be driven to.
And the best way to look at health care is as a shopper. I must remember to check for coupons!
(I tend to be particularly conscious of this sort of thing for reasons illustrated by how, last night, I ended up watching a few minutes of Seventh Heaven before getting bored, and switching away, and the scenes I saw included an explanation about how Kindly Reverend Dad had a hypertrophied heart, and how serious this could be, and how quickly it could become serious, and how he likely only had a year or two to live.
Now, I don't take my diagnoses from tv draymas (that aren't even medical ones), but it was a reminder that I have a hypertrophied heart valve....)
GATES NOT THE SECOND COMING. I'd urge people not to get too enthused about him, just because he's replacing Rumsfeld, and is touted as being part of the Bush 41 admin. Actually, he's fairly close to being a weasel.
In the early months of 1989, the overriding foreign policy issue for the new George H.W. Bush administration was how to deal with Mikhail Gorbachev. Did the Soviet leader represent fundamental change, or was he merely a new face for the same old policies?
The administration was divided. James Baker, the secretary of state, wanted to test out Gorbachev. The anti-Gorbachev hawks were led by Robert M. Gates, the deputy national security adviser. Gates's principal ally was then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.
Baker vs. Gates/Cheney: That alignment should serve as a warning to those who view Wednesday's appointment of Robert M. Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as representing the triumph of Bush the Father's administration over Bush the Son's. Any such analysis is far too simplistic.
For one thing, that analysis depends on a selective view of the Bush 41 administration. Yes, it included Gates; then-national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, a determined opponent of the current Iraq war; and Baker, who is now head of a bipartisan group searching for a new Iraq policy. But Vice President Cheney was a charter member of the Bush 41 administration. So were Cheney's former aide Stephen Hadley, the current national security adviser, and Condoleezza Rice -- who have been among the principal architects of the war in Iraq.
Moreover, as that 1989 debate over Gorbachev illustrates, the Bush 41 foreign policy team was hardly united. Its members bickered about the Soviet Union, about China, about the Middle East.
Gates is being characterized as a "realist," but his record is more complex than that, too. He was an ardent Cold War hawk who did not shrink from moral judgments. "The Soviet Union was an evil empire," Gates wrote in the concluding chapter of his 1996 memoir, "From the Shadows." Gates believed he was simply being skeptical when he insisted that Gorbachev was just another Soviet leader. But others in Washington saw this stand as ideological in nature. Former secretary of state George P. Shultz complained that Gates and the CIA had repeatedly tailored intelligence to fit the policy interests they favored. "You deal out intelligence as you deem appropriate," Shultz complained to Gates in one icy confrontation he recounted in his own memoir. "I feel an effort is made to manipulate me by the selection of materials you send my way."
And that's the key thing to remember about Gates: when his hardline bosses wanted to hear how evil and threatening the commie Gorbachev was, he made sure to tell them what they wanted to hear, and what those who had it right didn't want to hear, and wasn't true.
Same thing as regards Iran-Contra, which he never came clean about.
And dig Ken Adelman whimpering and stabbing the guy he "loved like a brother" in the back.
Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. Meanwhile, I'll be at the dentist again in a couple of hours, so blogging is still expected to be light. But here is a picture to warm the heart of anyone who has ever done any copyediting.
Ministers are considering whether race hate laws should be revised after BNP leader Nick Griffin was cleared of charges relating to speeches he made.
First of all, the approach shouldn't be to construct a law you consider fair, and then when a jury fails to convict someone, you contemplate whether to rewrite the law to make sure it "gets" them. It should be to be pleased that you wrote a fair law.
[...] Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said Muslims were offended and must be sure that the law would protect them.
Second, well, hey, if you want to decide that people have a right to be "protected" from offense, it's your country, and you're entitled to do so.
But I won't approve. So there!
I'm very happy that I fully supported the ACLU, in this country, when they defended the rights of Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois, a heavily Jewish area with a significant number, at the time, of concentration camp survivors.
Because I believe no one has the right to have their desire to not be offended triumph in law over the crucial right to say what you think, no matter how vile, despicable, and offensive.
The proper response, I've always believed, is to say that said speech is vile, despicable, and offensive. And to respond to it, with argument, marches, and any and all other peaceful acts that are appropriate.
But not to use the law to suppress people's right to speech. Without the right to say what we think, we embark on the path to a totalitarian society.
RUBBING IT IN. The place to go for pre-election predictions (made on November 7th)? NRO. Remember, when you want wildly inaccurate political views, that miss the factual mark by miles, with not a single prognosticator getting it even remotely right, you want National Review Online!
[...] Jonah Goldberg Dems +17 (whatever that math means).
Senate: R 53 - D 47.
Steele wins, Corker wins, Webb-Allen won’t be decided until recounts are finished, at which point Allen wins very narrowly. Chafee comes very close.
Laura Ingraham The only person to trust on predictions is Michael Barone, but my guess is that in the House Dems will pick up 18 seats (221 to 214).
In the Senate, Dems will pick up 3.
My surprise prediction: Maryland’s Michael Steele and Virginia’s George Allen will both defeat the Washington Post. (Now won’t that be a fun front-page Post headline on Wednesday.)
Larry Kudlow Thanks to John Kerry’s mouth, Saddam Hussein’s death sentence, a strong economy and stock market, and George Bush’s indefatigable campaigning, the Republicans will come out of this election in better shape than almost anyone thinks.
My range on the House spans from a most-optimistic one-seat GOP hold to a 15-to-20-seat loss.
Republicans will keep the Senate.
This in effect will be a stunning defeat for the Democrats.
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Mike Steele will win in Maryland. Sticking by my contention all along: The shock of the evening will be Rick Santorum’s reelection to the United States Senate.
Amendment 2 — the cloning amendment — will be defeated in Missouri, a great success for the culture of life.
I figure a Republican majority in the House of three-to-five seats, and the Senate not so different from what it is now, except for the loss of Lincoln Chafee’s seat.
In the House, I think both the Foley and DeLay seats will be retained.
If I’m wrong, of course, it will be a sobering moment: The American people will have chosen to reward a September 10th party mired in sour oppositionism and cobwebbed boomer pieties. Don’t get me wrong. Both wings of the political class have underperformed since 9/11, and this unlovely election is the consequence. But even a narrow Dem victory will embolden the media: Unlike 2004, they’ll have succeeded in dragging the dead horse of the Democratic party across the finish line, and they’ll be even more audacious in two years’ time.
You guys keep considering Steyn a genius. That'll work out fine for ya.
HOT JETS, SPACE MARINES! I only just noticed this over a year old post about the SUSTAIN concept. Jeepers.
Although the chuckle factor hasn't altogether disappeared, the Air Force Research Laboratory and Darpa are beginning a study of options for a reusable upper-stage space travel vehicle -- the same kind of technology that the Marines might need for a ride halfway across the globe.
The effort is called "Hot Eagle," and it could be the first step forward in the Marine Corps' hopes for space travel. Within minutes of bursting into the atmosphere beyond the speed of sound -- and dispatching that ominous sonic boom -- a small squad of Marines could be on the ground and ready to take care of business within 2 hours. [One presentation muses that the capsule might later be picked up by a Osprey or by a "balloon cable and C-17" transport plane. Or, the Marines might "hike out," and "leave [the] crew capsule behind." -- ed.]
The Marine Corps calls the concept the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion Capability (Sustain). This plan, a growing group of Marine supporters say, is the natural evolution of the service's proclivity for expeditionary warfare that began decades ago with amphibious landings...
The concept is to deliver strategic equipment or a small squad of soldiers to any point on the globe -- even the most hard-to-reach location -- within hours of need. Once on the ground, those soldiers can carry out strategically critical missions like reconnaissance or destroying a specific target.
At least, that's their pitch.
I'd say that it seems a tad premature for now, but, of course, these studies do actually look as much as thirty or more years ahead, so if regarded in that context and terms, it's not as crazy as it sounds.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN, BUT MINI-SIZED. It's two days after a national election, and I'm reading a story about an extremely close vote, in Florida, lawyers heading there, Katherine Harris, a recount, undervotes, and court challenges.
If it weren't for the fact that I want the Democrat to win, of course, I'd moan.
In another odd result, same URL, this:
[...] Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the Republican candidate for former Representative Tom DeLay’s seat who lost her write-in campaign in the general election but won a special election to complete his unexpired term, announced that she would resign her seat on the Houston City Council in order to serve during the lame duck session in Congress. Rumors had previously circulated that she might decline to take the seat in order to finish her last year on the council. Ms. Sekula-Gibbs suggested she might try to take the seat again in 2008.
And, of course, the district being otherwise heavily Republican, Nick Lampson will have to work hard to convince the voters to re-elect him in '08.
A bit more here on the Two Month Congresswoman's decision (well, it looks good on the resume, anyway). Curious note:
[...] She added that she still believes she can accomplish some improvements such as lowering taxes during that time.
Well, they are still the majority until January, so I suppose the only restriction on them is the Democratic ability to use what rules they can, during the special session that is still on, last I looked; or maybe it's just hot air. We'll see.
Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5, if fascinated.
ADDENDUM, 8:12 p.m.: It just occurred to me that the final two Republican (and arsehole) Senators to concede are one of the more well-known comedy teams of the 20th century.
[...] To underscore in the public mind the extent of her determination as a presidental candidate, Gracie began making the rounds of other radio programs, frequently bursting in unannounced to offer her views on the burning issues of the day. Delighted listeners never knew when she would pop up; The Texaco Star Theatre, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Jack Benny Program, and even Dr. I.Q., the Mental Banker received visits from the candidate, who then outlined her offbeat political positions with little or no prompting.
When Ken Murray on The Texaco Star Theatre asked with which party Gracie was affiliated, ahe heatly retorted, "I may take a drink now and then, but I never get affiliated."
Gracie was the only candidate to encourage the American people to take pride in our national debt, boasting that "it's the biggest in the world."
Shortly after the series of whirlwind radio announcements of her candidacy, Gracie appeared in Washington, D.C., as quest of honor before the Women's National Press Club, at the special invitation of Eleanor Roosevelt.
The wave of growing support crested when the citizens of Monominee, Michigan, a town of ten thousand on the southern tip of the upper peninsula, elected Gracie mayor. She was disqualified from assuming the office, however, on the grounds that a non-resident couldn't legally serve as mayor. "A person can't live everywhere," Gracie remarked philosophically as she continued her bid for the presidency.
Gracie even received the endorsement of Harvard University. (This must have been a serious blow to Roosevelt, who was an alumnus of the school.)
Upon her arrival in Omaha, the National Broadcasting Company--the Burns and Allen show's new network--carried her speech live.
On May 17, 1940, thousands of wildly enthusiastic delegates congregated in Omaha's Creighton University Stadium to unanimously nominate Gracie Allen for president of the United States. There was no vice-presidential candidate, however; Gracie had warned all along that she would tolerate no vice in her administration.
I like these two provisions of her platform:
[...] Among the key provisions: (1) Put Congress on a comission basis. Whenever the country prospered Congress would get ten percent of the additional take. (2) Extend Civil Service to all branches of government, because "a little politeness goes a long way."
ADDENDUM, 10:43 p.m.: The losingest person elected to the 101st Congress? This is a decent piece highlighting some of the more satisfying wins; one entry has stuff about Chris "Count" Chocola's opponent I didn't know:
Who is the losingest man elected to the 110th Congress? It may well be Joe Donnelly, who took out struggling incumbent Chris Chocola, pummeled for his connections to pharmaceuticals and big oil. Like Lincoln, Donnelly did serve in lower offices, spending one year on the Indiana State Election Board and five on a local school board. But, more significantly, he lost a campaign for the Democratic nomination for Indiana attorney general in 1988, a campaign for state Senate in 1990, and a campaign last year against Chocola for the House seat, though the district was originally considered close.
This year, the DCCC and MoveOn.org came to his aid, plastering anti-Chocola "Red-Handed" advertisements on the sides of buses. The race was an exceptionally bitter one, with Donnelly emphasizing Chocola's tax deliquency, which included such offenses as late payment on $66 worth of property taxes. But sometimes, as they did for Lincoln, the political winds change so that options that looked bad before start to look good, and Donnelly wiped the floor with Chocola last night 54-46.
A DIFFERENCE WHICH MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. Venturing onto the entirely unsafe ground of abortion, I'm struck by one thing in reading Linda Greenhouse's brief account of the arguments yesterday at the Supreme Court in the two cases regarding the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003":
[...] One example was his response to the assertion by Solicitor General Paul D. Clement that it was never necessary for doctors to use the banned procedure because a more common procedure, one not covered by the statute, “has been well tested and works every single time as a way to terminate the pregnancy.”
Justice Kennedy responded: “Well, but there is a risk if the uterine wall is compromised by cancer or some forms of pre-eclampsia and it’s very thin. There’s a risk of being punctured.”
His comment reflected arguments that the doctors challenging the law have made. They say that “partial-birth abortion” — known medically as both “intact dilation and evacuation” and “D and X,” for dilation and extraction — is often safer because the removal of an intact fetus avoids injury to the uterus. The more common method of second-trimester abortion, in which the fetus is dismembered, can leave behind bone fragments.
My observation is in no way a legal one, but a logical one. It's simply this: the reason this law was passed was, of course, as an attempt by the "pro-life"/anti-abortion advocates to slice another slice off of Roe v. Wade.
But their argument, as we all know, is that the fertilized cell/embryo/fetus is morally identical to a grown adult, a baby, a human life by any measure.
Although I don't agree, let's set that aside. Stipulating arguendo their point for a moment: how does this law, in fact, if found Constitutional, actually protect that fetus in any way?
Because, as witness the argument above, the law merely addressed the technique of “intact dilation and evacuation." At risk of being flip, dismemberment, I'm pretty sure, isn't any kinder to the fetus; the outcome remains identical.
So where, on the face of it, rather than either as simple and pure political strategy, or simple and pure emotional revulsion/appeal over the words or concept of "partial birth abortion," is the logical case for this law as regards the stated rationale of its proponents?
Just curious. But I'll probably regret having asked, so be warned that I'm extremely apt to not respond to any arguments about this, if made, since I'm not actually that curious.
RIP, ED BRADLEY. I'm sorry to read that; I have no great insights to offer about Mr. Bradley, but he's one of the occasional tv reporters whose work (all at the cursed-by-conservatives CBS) has always struck me as having integrity, as well as often being quite good.
THE BROADNESS OF THE WIN. This tells the pleasing story.
Democratic gains in Congress and governorships were matched on Tuesday by a surge involving state legislatures, where more than 275 seats and nine chambers switched from Republican to Democratic hands.
New Hampshire beats Colorado for historicity.
The victories, combined with the six new Democratic governors, have given the Democrats one-party government in 15 states, including New Hampshire for the first time since 1874, and Colorado for the first time since 1960.
No party has totally controlled as many as 15 states since the Republicans achieved that level after the 1994 election.
Ah, total control. [puts little finger to side of mouth and twirls]
The rich, chewy, goodness just goes on and on.
What is equally remarkable, said Tim Storey, a senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures, is that the gains occurred across the country, even in the South, where Democrats had lost ground in every statehouse election since 1982.
The Southern gains were tiny, about 21 legislative seats across 14 states, but the direction, Mr. Storey said, was the important factor.
“I think it’s very significant; they’d been losing ground and they turned it around,” he said.
Republicans now control the executive and legislative branches in 10 states, down from 12 before the election. They did gain control of the Montana House by one vote and fought to a tie in the Montana and Oklahoma Senates, which had both been under Democratic control.
Twenty-four states are now split, and one, Nebraska, has a nonpartisan legislature.
Control of state capitols has effects far beyond local laws. The parties running the statehouses will control redistricting for the 2010 Census and can groom rising politicians for national office.
Political analysts said an equally important nuance was how the shift played out state by state for the Democrats. The party added five governors — in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio — from seats held by Republicans who had chosen not to run or were barred by term limits.
Democrats picked up a sixth seat in Maryland, where Mayor Martin O’Malley of Baltimore edged out Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
That shifted the advantage in governors to Democrats for the first time since 1994. The Democrats now control 28 governors’ seats to the Republicans’ 22. Before Election Day, those numbers were reversed.
The legislative gains, by contrast, were concentrated in the Midwest, where Democrats picked up about 104 seats, along with control of both chambers in Iowa, the Indiana House, the Michigan House and the Wisconsin Senate, and in the Northeast, where their net exceeded 140 lawmakers.
About 67 Democratic seats were added in the West.
And on and on.
Get a load of New Hampshire, which also elected another Democratic Governor:
[...] New Hampshire accounted for more than 80 new Democratic lawmakers, bringing the state more firmly into line as a party bastion than any time since just after the 1870’s, when Democrats last ran the House, Senate and governor’s office, according to the New Hampshire Political Library, a nonpartisan education group in Concord.
Remember when New Hampshire used to be famously the most conservative state in the nation? The trend lines on that (and the increased immigration from their liberal neighbor of Massachusetts, as well as elsewhere), render that gone for the foreseeable future.
Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5 for more of the same. The bit about Colorado at the end I entirely agree with as an accurate (if obvious) analysis.
I should emphasis the most important point above: The parties running the statehouses will control redistricting for the 2010 Census....
The question to be answered is: use this power to a) repay the Republicans in kind until they promise to play nicely; b) go to non-partisan commissions to do redistricting in the states that don't already do this; c) try to somehow reform the entire system, or as much as possible, in as many states as possible, to make redistricting's goal to be for each district to be as competitive as possible, as permanently as possible?
LOCALLY. This was at least briefly touched on during the regular evening national tv news broadcasts earlier.
Some of the city's 55 voting centers reported waits of more than two hours as polls closed at 7 p.m. Election officials at 8th Avenue and Corona Street passed out voter cards to 400 people standing in line, assuring all of them they would get to vote tonight. The Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lodo reported 275 voters waiting in line at 7 p.m.
Voters said buses pulled up to the Convention Center, which had a two-hour wait late in the evening, and took nearly 100 voters to the La Alma voting center at West 11th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, where the wait was about 30 minutes.
Anna Navarro, who rode the bus, said she voted at 7:50, and walked outside where the bus was still waiting to take the voters back. She asked the driver who paid for the bus. "He said he couldn't tell me but said it was one of the gubernatorial candidates," she said.
Secretary of State Gigi Dennis announced as the polls closed that voter turnout in Colorado was "very high."
This is the result of the failings in the wonderful new electronic system inaugurated this year, which also (I think uniquely nationwide, though I could be wrong) allows anyone in Denver to vote anywhere in the city, at any of the "Voting Centers" set up.
So how did it work out?
[...] Denver Election Commission spokesman Alton Dillard II said the system's "e poll book" laptop computers--which were used to verify each voter--were bogged down early in the day, forcing election judges to manually call other election officials by telephone to certify the voters. The system became so bogged down by 1 p.m. that election officials were forced to shut down the computers and reboot them, Dillard said.
Around the same time, officials put out an urgent call to all city employees with election experience to come down and be sworn in as additional election judges on an emergency basis.
A total of 100 additional judges had been sworn in by 3 p.m. and deployed to some of the city's 55 voting centers [....]
In a nice touch:
As election officials scrambled to speed up the voting process, Denver District Court Judge Sheila Rappaport denied a emergency request from the Democratic Party to keep Denver's voting centers open for an additional two hours this evening due to the faulty computers.
Attorney Mark Grueskin, representing the FairVoteColorado.org, had asked the court to extend the voting hours to 9 p.m., because voters were becoming disenfranchised from the numerous incidents of computers crashing and because of the abnormally long lines at the polls.
But attorney Richard Westfall, representing the Republicans, countered that there had been no evidence that voters couldn't go elsewhere to vote or return to the same poll at a later time.
Rappaport told lawyers for both parties she didn't have the authority to keep the polls open, citing case law from the states of Missouri and Arkansas.
The local news stations have repeated numerous anecdotes of people leaving the polls without voting, due to their unwillingness to wait for hours; various people-on-the-street said that was what they did.
Stuff like this:
[...] At Denver Botanic Gardens, a line several hundred voters long stretched out of the gates and down the block more than half way to 11th Avenue.
"We will not get to vote today," said a frustrated Lauren Brockman as he left the Botanic Gardens.
He lined up at 6:45 a.m. hoping to beat the rush, only to stand in line for close to an hour before leaving.
But an hour wait was short, compared to some.
At Corona Presbyterian Church, voters were being told to expect about a two-hour wait as they snaked around the building.
There's a long list of other complaints and problems, and it's only just after 9 p.m. here. But people are still waiting on line, tv news is just saying.
On the positive side, there's no doubt that Democrat Bill Ritter has been elected Governor of Colorado, and that Ed Perlmutter has been elected to Congress in the CO 7th.
Oh, incidentally, this story, like many local stories in the Denver Post in the last couple of years, is written by George Merritt and Jeffrey Leib; the amusing, small world, part? George was my housemate for about a year, almost 4 years ago, when he was still a senior at the University of Colorado, and interning both at the Greely newspaper, and the Denver Post.
Read The Rest Scale: well, y'know, if you're interested in Colorado politics and/or the Denver polling problems, but there will be innumerable more stories on both.
There was a sudden heavy wave of Angie Paccione (against Marilyn Musgrave) tv commercials since yesterday, I noticed, by the way, all from the Democratic Congressional Committee. Right now it's too close to call (actually only ~100 votes apart, but with only 16% of the ballots counted). Just this moment:
U.S. House - District 4 - Colorado 73 of 446 Precincts Reporting Name Party Votes Pct Musgrave , Marilyn (i) GOP 46,708 44.78 Paccione , Angie Dem 46,563 44.64 Eidsness , Eric RP 11,040 10.58
Incidentally, in the department of oddness, tomorrow the weather report says it will be 80 degrees out, a new record (today it was merely 75. In mid-November. In Colorado, over a mile up.
But I'm sure global warming is nothing to worry about. (Yes, yes, it's just anecdotal; I know.)
ADDENDUM, 9:21 p.m.: Despite all these problems, here's the Governor's results at this early moment (the Lt. Governor, Jane Norton, is mournfully not-quite-conceding in an interview on tv just now -- "it's still early," etc., but she's talking about all the negatives they've had to fight).
Governor - Colorado 240 of 3161 Precincts Reporting Name Party Votes Pct Ritter , Bill Dem 257,664 55.26 Beauprez , Bob GOP 196,091 42.06 Winkler-Kinateder , Dawn Lib 6,151 1.32 Fiorino , Paul Una 3,208 .69 Harkins , Clyde AmC 3,132 .67
So, tell me again about how Colorado is a "red" state. Not.
And the race has already been called by everyone. Blowout.
Democrat Bill Ritter defeated Congressman Bob Beauprez Tuesday in the hotly contested race to become Colorado's 41st Colorado governor.
Ritter pulled to a commanding lead in the important swing counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer counties that supported President Bush in 2004.
Ritter secured the win after scrambling Tuesday to secure the Democratic stronghold Denver as long lines threatened to scare away voters.
I'm less optimistic about the referenda I most care about (the anti-gay-marriage, and domestic partnership ones, 43 and I), and I doubt the legalize pot (44) will pass, but the minimum wage hike (42, raising it to the princely sum of $6.85 per hour) is holding its own just now. But we'll have to wait until at least later tonight to really know.
And congrats to Senators-Elect Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, Bob Casey, and Sheldon Whitehouse so far! I still have high hopes for James Webb, Jon Tester, Harold Ford and Ben Cardin. Well, some hopes, anyway, for a couple. (I'm not as optimistic as I might be about Webb or Ford, but here's hoping.)
ADDENDUM, 11:28 p.m.: This is the first time since 1958 that Colorado has had a Democratic Governor and a State House and State Senate majority, all at the same time. (Plus a majority Democratic House delegation in the U.S. Congress, along with a Democratic Senator.)
And, of course, the Democrats won the U.S. House, as everyone knows (I thought it would be ridiculous for me to blog the same national results news that half the population of the country is blogging). Yay, us.
Oh, and apparently the Democrats have won a State Senate seat in Colorado Springs!
UPDATE, 11/08/06, 12:19 a.m.: Super congrats to Claire McCaskill, who appears to have won the Missouri Senate seat:
Claire McCaskill (D) 912,815 49% Jim Talent * (R) 876,078 47% Frank Gilmour (Lib.) 42,911 2% Lydia Lewis (Prg.) 16,268 1% Key: * Incumbent | Red Checkmark Winner Precincts: 89% | Updated: 2:12 AM ET | Source: AP
I'm going to bed shortly, but at this moment it appears to be fingernail-biting time for James Webb, leading by a hair; condolences to Harold Ford; congrats to Ben Cardin for a solid win; and it's too early to call Montana, with only 65% of the ballots counted, but Jon Tester remains ahead by a few thousand votes, so I hope to wake up to good news from Big Sky country.
ADDENDUM, 11/08/06, 8:31 a.m.: According to the local tv news, people were still voting past midnight; at least one guy was asleep on the floor, waiting to vote; lord knows how many people left before voting.
[...] Democrats edged past Republicans in several key races, including in traditional Republican strongholds.
Democrats expected to expand their 18-17 advantage in the Senate by one or two seats and pick up at least three in the House. Democrats took control of both houses in 2004 for the first time in more than 40 years.
"Can we say trifecta?" said Democratic House Majority Leader Alice Madden, who was celebrating wins in the House, Senate and governor's race.
She was thrilled by Democratic wins in predominantly Republican districts.
"This means Republicans voted for Democrats," Madden said. "My worst nightmare was to be a one-hit wonder, but we've earned their trust."
Read The Rest if you care about individual state races in Colorado.
On the other side of the aisle, nationally, I love this from uber-loyalist Hugh Hewitt:
[...] President Bush will not flag in the pursuit of the war, and Senator Santorum is now available for a seat on the SCOTUS should one become available.
In other advice, possibly not meant for the Democrats, Hewitt advocates:
The long and short of this bad but not horrific night was that majorities must act like majorities.
TOM RICKS' INBOX. Ricks being a longtime military correspondent for the WaPo. He quotes Noel Koch here:
Our daughter left for Iraq yesterday, a few hours after John Kerry was suggesting how only the dumb and uneducated get to go to Iraq. I think her academic achievements stack up pretty well against his, and her military achievements stack up pretty well against all the macho guys who seem to feel threatened by women in the military. She graduated 7th in her class at USMA. She is a Rhodes scholar. She is Air Assault qualified and a Master Parachutist. She made Jumpmaster at the first pass (not many of either gender do, as you know). She commanded a company in 18th Airborne. She taught at USMA. She was Exec Assistant to Steve Hadley, and then was held back in the White House to be Exec Assistant to Condi Rice. She is a great Mother, and so the 25 month old son she leaves behind is especially inconsolable at finding his Mom not home when his Dad brought him home tonight from day care. Nothing special about any of this, I know; too many in this audience have endured the same emotional storms. But it does sting a bit when it comes with people lobbing emotional grenades into a war they lost. The "Old Grad" has had enough? Good. Let him shut the hell up. If his military is being challenged by "egregious cowardice and mediocrity," and I don't doubt that it is, it has more to do with the way its leaders and future leaders are brought up than with their gender.
She served with the 25th in Haiti; she served in Kosovo, in Bosnia -- nothing exceptionable about any of this. I'm not claiming anything to the contrary. It's the normal career track, isn't it? But it is a little bit harder, I think, for a woman, for a Mother, choosing Duty to Country over other obligations. I am not entirely sure how to parse this. I don't think any of us hurt more than others with loved ones in this idiotic enterprise in Iraq. Bob just got his Marine back safely and I know he has still to be taking short breaths. I just wish we could get past this . . . cheap-shot approach to women in the military, seized on at every opportunity. . . . Let's just stop this gender-based foolishness. Those who don't or won't or can't are going to look back on it someday and be ashamed. We need to get war out of the locker room. Valor is not gender-based.
ABOUT DOSE BOIDS ON DOITY-DOID STREET. I don't actually sound like that. But apparently I sound like this:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast
Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.
[...] During the beginning of the war, when some of us called an insurgency an insurgency, our patriotism was questioned. Is there any question now? Are there just a few "dead-enders" that we are still "mopping up"? When I called a civil war a civil war a full year ahead of the media, out came the dogs. When I predicted success in Mosul even while the guns were hot, many mainstream journalists thought I was hallucinating. But these were all things I learned from being embedded for months with our troops. There was tremendous progress in Iraq in 2005, and I reported it, all while warning about the growing civil war that could undermine everything. I reported extensively on a unit that was getting it right--the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (Deuce Four) of the 25th Infantry Division--and as I traveled to Mosul, Baqubah, and other places, I was mostly alone as a writer.
Early this spring, when I reported from Afghan farms about this year's bumper opium crop, people thought I was using that opium. Now it is common knowledge that the opium trade is fueling a Taliban comeback. Mark this on your calendar: Spring of 2007 will be a bloodbath in Afghanistan for NATO forces. Our British, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, and other allies will be slaughtered in Afghanistan if they dare step off base in the southern provinces, and nobody is screaming at the tops of their media-lungs about the impending disaster. I would not be surprised to see a NATO?base overrun in Afghanistan in 2007 with all the soldiers killed or captured. And when it happens, how many will claim they had no idea it was so bad and blame the media for failing to raise the alarm? Here it is: WARNING! Troops in Afghanistan are facing slaughter in 2007!
I wish he'd quit equivocating.
Remember! If you repeat this opinion, you, too, are a traitorous terror-symp, and a Democrat besides! Just like the guys at The Weekly Standard.
EATING THEIR YOUNG. Ralph Peters, long a fervid denouncer of the "MSM" for not reporting the "good news from Iraq," who has in the past few weeks begun, finally, sounding gloomy, turns fully on the Leader.
President Bush insists that we have no conflicts with the al-Maliki government. The president isn't telling the truth — or he himself doesn't support our military's efforts. He can't have it both ways. Bush appears increasingly desperate just to get through the upcoming elections.
Iraq is failing. No honest observer can conclude otherwise.
And he makes the New Line clear, the line we've already been seeing of late from various formerly pro-Iraq-War bloggers:
[...] Yet, for all our errors, we did give the Iraqis a unique chance to build a rule-of-law democracy. They preferred to indulge in old hatreds, confessional violence, ethnic bigotry and a culture of corruption.
Yes, the New Line: It Wasn't Our Fault.
Classy, eh? Way to espouse the traditional conservative virtue of Taking Personal Responsibility.
Anyway, Peters goes on in that vein for sometime, with a pause for this silliness:
[...] All those who rooted for Iraq to fail are going to be chastened by what follows.
These people who "rooted for Iraq to fail," aside from actual jihadis, and a few crazed extremists, are quite imaginary; of course, imaginary friends and enemies are always quite comforting for some.
But moving on, it's silver lining time!
[...] Islamist terrorists have chosen Iraq as their battleground and, even after our departure, it will continue to consume them. We'll still be the greatest power on earth, indispensable to other regional states — such as the Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia — that are terrified of Iran's growing might. If the Arab world and Iran embark on an orgy of bloodshed, the harsh truth is that we may be the beneficiaries.
Woo-hoo! Let's root for that orgy of bloodshed, eh!?
Jim Henley was pointing out the Coming New Line back in July, as well:
[...] Briefly, the agenda of the column is [...] b) To ready the Administration’s new excuse for the pending, final and undeniable failure of its grand project of bombing the Middle East free: Wasn’t us!
The Peters conclusion?
[...] It's time to face reality. Only Iraqis can save Iraq now — and they appear intent on destroying it. Après nous, le deluge.
Iraq could have turned out differently. It didn't. And we must be honest about it. We owe that much to our troops. They don't face the mere forfeiture of a few congressional seats but the loss of their lives. Our military is now being employed for political purposes. It's unworthy of our nation.
I shouldn't neglect to point out the murmur dropped early in the column, though:
[...] Only a military coup — which might come in the next few years — could hold the artificial country together.
A Diem/Mossadegh/Arbenz variant would hardly surprise me at this point, and it seems clear that the possibility worries al-Maliki, as well.
But, otherwise, expect to see endless refrains of: it was a great and noble idea; a shame those primitive Arabs weren't up to handling democracy; we will redeploy our troops, which is nothing like what the traitorous loser-defeatist Democrats called for!; let us rethink nothing!; Michael Moore is fat. (And John Murtha is still a loser-defeatist traitor!)
Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5, but more if you like marveling at Peters.
As a trivial historical note, one reads this:
[...] Since then, the strength of will of our opponents -- their readiness to pay any price and go to any length to win -- has eclipsed our own. The valor of our enemies never surpassed that of our troops, but it far exceeded the fair-weather courage of the Bush administration.
[...] NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin said yesterday that his 18-month review concluded that the mission could be safely accomplished. His announcement, made at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, home to much of the Hubble workforce, was met with an eruption of joy.
The 11-day mission -- most likely to be on the space shuttle Discovery -- is expected to keep the orbiting telescope operating for five more years by replacing worn gyroscopes and batteries. The astronauts will also install new instruments that will increase the telescope's capacity to study even more distant galaxies and to explore the mysteries of dark energy, intergalactic gases and the early expansion of the universe that followed the big bang.
On shuttle flights to the space station, NASA now sees the orbiting laboratory as a temporary haven for the astronauts in case of trouble, but it would not be any help to astronauts headed to the telescope. That is because Hubble orbits 380 miles above Earth, on a path and at an elevation very different from the station's -- making it impossible for the shuttle to reach it.
Instead, Griffin said, NASA will take the unprecedented step of having a second shuttle ready to be launched on short notice should anything go seriously wrong. Griffin said that while the chances of needing it are slim, that step would somewhat reduce the risk to the astronauts.
The universe willing, the mission, and all other remaining shuttle missions, will fly safely.
Meanwhile, good news in the short term alike for astronomers, and appreciators of beauty.