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

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

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"The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson

"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin

"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton

"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan

"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -- and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt

"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley

"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss

"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire, the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind; and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon

"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon

"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon

"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and they love to chatter instead of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
-- Socrates

"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook

"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization. We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr

"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion

"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson

"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices, intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation; a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition -- to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri

"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke

"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology; it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant

"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville

"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis

"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis

"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis

"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon, but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant

"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand

"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.

"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible, and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus

"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814

"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort, are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true, the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated. This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944

"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News

"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas

"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
-- Cicero

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

"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." -- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson

"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example." -- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance." --
H. W. Fowler

"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place." -- Kate Wilhelm

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein

"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms

"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).

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

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

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

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

"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.

"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.

"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128

"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)

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

"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days

"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden

"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
-- Batman


Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit. He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.

The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cute panda. Don't you love pandas?

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

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

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

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

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

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

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

...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow

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

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

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

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

-- Hilzoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber

Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
-- Ogged

I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow

One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.

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

-- Virginia Postrel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged

We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!

Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!

Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog

Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog


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

Recommended for the discerning reader.
-- Tim Blair

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

Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott

Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit

My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal

If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.

Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks

I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes

Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this?
-- Natalie Solent

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

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

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

Blogroll is Always In Progress:

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
WAIT UNTIL WE GET TO THE THIRD STAGE. Michael Ledeen executes a beautiful play straight from the John Birch Society handbook:
Here follows a letter from a woman who recently attended the Texas funeral of her nephew, KIA in Iraq. In many places around the country, members of the Sheehan-Reid-Obama-Clinton cult disrupt military funerals, but I doubt they would attempt to perform their disgusting ritual in a fine place as described here.
Italics mine. The "members of the Sheehan-Reid-Obama-Clinton cult."

Yep, all you Democrats, and supporters of Obama or Clinton (and I've yet to have the personal experience of having anyone I know point me to Sheehan's opinion about anything, let alone do that; the only people I know who ever mention Sheehan are rightwingers, and John Cole) are one big homogenous group of people who disrupt military funerals.

Gosh, that's charming. And so very credible.

Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5.

Ledeen is quoting a much-forwarded e-mail from 2003 and says it's "from a woman who recently attended the Texas funeral of her nephew", incidentally.

5/29/2007 07:19:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 5 comments

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Sunday, May 27, 2007
AND THEN WE CAN GIVE THEM EXPLOSIVE COLLARS. And have colorful characters hunt them down as a reality tv show.
OKLAHOMA CITY 2007-05-24 Legislation that would authorize microchip implants in people convicted of violent crimes was sent back to a committee yesterday.

This after state House members questioned whether the proposal would violate constitutional civil liberties.

The measure, approved by the Senate, authorizes microchip implants for persons convicted of one or more of 19 violent offenses who have to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

The tiny electronic implants are commonly used to keep track of pets and livestock, but several House members questioned whether their forced use in people would be unconstitutionally invasive.
How could anyone think that?

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5.

5/27/2007 12:05:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, May 26, 2007
SCIENCE CONFIRMS EXISTENCE OF COOTIES. Just another example of hardwired irrationality.
[...] Rozin specializes in the psychological study of disgust, and he was demonstrating the universal concept of touch transference. It's a fancy term for cooties. If something repulsive touches something benign, the latter, even if it's physically unchanged, becomes "infected."

Fitzsimons and Morales, who teach marketing at Duke and Arizona State University, respectively, suspected this phenomenon had implications for the consumer marketplace--and in an article in this month's Journal of Marketing Research, they show that it does. In a series of studies, the researchers found not only that some products--trash bags, diapers, kitty litter, tampons--evoke a subconscious feeling of disgust even before they're used for their ultimate messy purposes, but they can also transfer their general ickiness to anything they come in contact with. "We were pretty surprised at how strong the effect was," says Fitzsimons. "This is probably the most robust result in my career."


The idea that negative qualities can be passed by a touch has become hardwired, says Fitzsimons. (That applies to good qualities too, which is why touching a holy object or person is considered a way of acquiring a little holiness for oneself.) So he and Morales set out to see whether toilet paper and other products could psychologically contaminate food in a shopping basket. They used real shopping baskets, though they did not conduct their tests in a real supermarket, and told subjects that the study had to do only with product preference.

Strong preferences were just what the subjects exhibited. Any food that touched something perceived to be disgusting became immediately less desirable itself, though all of the products were in their original wrapping. The appeal of the food fell even if the two products were merely close together; an inch seemed to be the critical distance. "It makes no sense if you think about it," says Fitzsimons. More irrationally still, the subjects were less comfortable with a transparent package than an opaque one, as if it somehow had greater power to leak contamination. Whatever the severity of the taint, the result was predictable.

"We'd take cookies out of the basket and offer them to the subjects," says Fitzsimons, "and we had some really tempting-looking cookies." No takers. Moreover, he says, "everything we did suggested that these feelings were below the level of awareness. If we told someone, 'You didn't take the cookie because it touched the kitty litter,' they would say, 'That's ridiculous.'"

A product does not stay contaminated forever. The aversion tends to fade after about an hour, though that's not much use to the grocery store, since shoppers don't generally return a short while after leaving to reconsider their purchases.
My three-years-younger sister used to be a tremendously fussy eater when we were children: if foods on her plate touched, she'd completely reject eating: "they're touching, they're touching!" was the objection, which I believe is heard in numerous households throughout the nation, although I never had a trace of this, myself.

I was always all with the logic: "But it's all together in your stomach, anyway." I've always been obnoxious in this way.

Meanwhile, I suspect people apply the cooties notion, unconsciously, in all sorts of realms beyond that of foods: opinions, and who is voicing them, for instance, and any number of other, more abstract, ways.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5, although the article is right next to a really gross one. Euuwww.

While I'm pointing at Time, here is one of the innumerable obligatory articles on the 30th Anniversary Star Wars Celebration in LA. Pop quiz! What's wrong with this sentence excerpt (from Rebecca Winter Keegan)?
Those in touch with their dark sides rushed exhibits of tortured druids on a rack, Luke Skywalker's severed head and the Princess Leia slave costume [....]
Man, I loved the end of The Empire Strikes Back, when Vader chopped off Luke's head, didn't you? Too bad Luke had to use an artificial head in the next movie.

And the Empire's dependence on druids to do all the menial work is downright disturbing. But that's what makes them evil.

Still, one of my favorite lines remains: "These are not the druids you're looking for."

ADDENDUM, 7:23 p.m.: Jim Henley explains the errors of my ways.

ADDENDUM, 5/28/07, 5:34 p.m.: It belatedly occurs to me to mention that PZ also had comments yesterday.

5/26/2007 03:25:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Thursday, May 24, 2007
I'M GOING TO TAKE A RADICAL STANCE, way out on a limb, and say that I'm for tough state safety standards for chemical plants.

So this seems -- what's the word? -- oh, yes, bad, to me, what's buried in the 20th paragraph of this story on the spending bill that just passed in tandem with the war funding bill:
[...] The National Association of Manufacturers succeeded in having a provision stricken that would have blocked federal officials from lowering tougher state safety standards for chemical plants.
Does that sound like a good thing to you?

I'm afraid those of you who own chemical plants are disqualified from answering this question.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5.

I'd also note that Representative John A. Boehner is about the last human being on earth qualified to criticize a military funding bill that comes attached with other funding, given how many of the bills his leadership put forward did exactly that. Maybe some other, brand-new, Republican can make that criticism, but not Boehner, nor any of the other Republicans who cheerfully passed such bills.

5/24/2007 11:04:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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NEXT, CHECK THE ENTRAILS. I swear, when the ancient Greeks and Romans saw omens in birds and gizzards and the sky? Totally good idea. Totally.
ABC's Ann Compton reports: An outdoor news conference in perfect spring weather, with birds chirping loudly in the magnolia trees, is not without its hazards.

As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job."

Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off.
Most. Symbolic. Press conference. Evah.

Perfectly climaxed with the classic White House reflex:
Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino promptly put the incident through the proper spin cycle, telling ABC News, "It was his lucky day...everyone knows that's a sign of good luck."
Has anything ever better symbolized the George W. Bush White House? They're literally shit on, and they explain that that's a sign of good luck.

Eight years in a nutshell.

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5, but video here.

5/24/2007 07:59:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007
PROFESSIONALS STUDY LOGISTICS. Admidst a flurry of other stories about a) the gargantuan scale of the embryonic Baghad Embassy; and b) the increasing lack of safety and safe housing in the Green Zone, comes this development:
[...] But mouths turned dry Monday when an internal embassy e-mail announced a "Theater-Wide Delay in Food Deliveries." Due to an unspecified convoy problem, it said, "it may not be possible to offer the dishes you are used to seeing at each meal. Fresh fruits or salad bar items will also be severely limited or unavailable."

If the delays continue, the message said, "DFACs [dining facilities] will be required to serve MREs for at least one meal out of the day."

Instead of rice pilaf with turkey or fish -- Monday night's main entree, according to embassy spokesman Dan Sreebny, who said he topped it off with two cookies -- the staff would have to make do with military Meals Ready to Eat, freeze-dried concoctions with prescribed amounts of starch and protein, capable of withstanding parachute drops and remaining edible for three years after packaging.

"We've run out of some things," Sreebny said. "I miss my yogurt in the morning and my fresh-cut melon."
It almost all comes in via truck via Kuwait. Now, disruptions. Why?
[...] Asked about the convoy problems, Col. Steven A. Boylan, spokesman for Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, cited bad weather in Kuwait and along the routes north. "Visibility was very poor and [it] would not have been safe to drive," Boylan said in an e-mail.
Ah, weather. Mm.

[...] The embassy food is supplied under a U.S. government contract with Houston-based KBR, which separately provides similar services to the military.

Sreebny, who said on Tuesday that the last supply trucks arrived in Baghdad two weeks prior, attributed the delays to paperwork problems on the border, traffic jams and "security issues." He said the embassy stocks three weeks of non-perishable food for use in the event of emergency, so no one was yet in danger of MREs.
So it's also "paperwork" and "traffic" and, ah, "security issues."

Couldn't be anything to be concerned about, or take note of, though.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

5/23/2007 07:03:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 9 comments

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Friday, May 18, 2007
JOHN MCCAIN, ZEN MASTER. The famous calmness that is John McCain:
[...] At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal.

Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. "Wait a second here," Cornyn said to McCain. "I've been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You're out of line."

McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors (not to mention the current vice president, who made news a few years back after a verbal encounter with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont).

"[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room," shouted McCain at Cornyn.
Also, Hilzoy here notes the pets of some of the candidates, which includes John McCain's:
Sam the English springer spaniel, Coco the mutt, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the black and white cat, a ferret, three parakeets and 13 saltwater fish
In comments, KCinDC notes:
McCain needs to bring his ferret to the next debate and introduce it to Giuliani.
My response:
That's a fantastic pick-up of an opportunity I kick myself for not having noticed.

This is a must. I think the entire blogosphere should make an immediate top priority of making this happen.

The whole country should see Rudy-the-hero in his normal mode, telling McCain:
"There is something deranged about you. ... The excessive concern you have for ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist. ... There is something really, really very sad about you. ... This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness. ... You should go consult a psychologist. ... Your compulsion about—your excessive concern with it is a sign that there is something wrong in your personality. ... You have a sickness, and I know it's hard for you to accept that. ... You need help."
Really, all any Republican who wants to beat Rudy has to do is make a bunch of commercials of excerpts of some of Rudy's press conferences and radio interviews and various bizarre pronouncments and hysterical attacks, and other questionable appearances.

His press conference on how he was divorcing his second wife, which was how she heard about it, is a must.
Join the campaign to get McCain to bring his ferret to the next debate! Watch as McCain and Guiliani trade obscene insults with each other! Perhaps a "curse word associated with chickens" will be used! Fun for everyone!

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 for the original story.

ADDENDUM, 10:52 p.m.: Cheery Marc Santora reports on love-fest between McCain and Giuliani in front of the NY State Republicans, but includes this:
[...] Senator McCain was like a jumping bean. He took the microphone in hand and paced the stage. He joked about how speaking so late in the evening, he felt like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s fifth husband – a line that is followed by something a bit more risqué.
Say, Marc Santora, professional reporter: do you think you could, you know, let the rest of us know what McCain said, rather than keeping it to those in the know?

Thanks for considering the notion.

ADDENDUM, 5/19/07, 6:04 p.m.: dr ngo suggests:
What I was going to say was that the McCain quote would presumably have been -
I feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor's fifth husband where on the wedding night he said 'I know what I'm supposed to do, I just don't know how to make it interesting.

That's McCain's version as of this February, but the joke is MUCH MUCH older. Probably back when Zsa Zsa was the Britany Spears of her day . . .
Now that I've heard it again, I recall having heard that one before; sounds plausible. I still think it should have been reported.

Over here, longtime NY media critic and multiple hat wearer Michael Wolff gets it quite right:
Many New York political pros believe Rudy Giuliani—former mayor, hero of 9/11, and now presidential candidate—is, quite literally, nuts. The author asks whether Giuliani's lunatic behavior could be the ultimate campaign asset.


The explanation for what makes Rudy so compelling among people who know him best—including New York reporters who've covered him for a generation, and political pros who've worked for him—is simpler: he is nuts, actually mad.


But it is, too, a considered political diagnosis: every student of Rudy Giuliani—indeed, every New Yorker—has witnessed, and in many cases suffered, his periods of mania, political behavior that, in the end, can't have much of a rational explanation.

So, if you are not from New York, if you haven't had the pleasure of what Jack Newfield, that querulous old-school New York City columnist and reporter, called "the Full Rudy"—also the title of his 2002 book about the former mayor—you perhaps cannot appreciate our sense of emperor's-new-clothes incredulity. Despite what's in front of everybody's face—behavior that's not only in the public record but recapped on the front pages every day—becoming president could really happen for Rudy.

No, that is wrong: virtually every Full Rudy veteran expects the implosion to happen any second. It's in some bizarro parallel reality that the Rudy campaign achieves verisimilitude and even—strange, too, when you consider the cronies and hacks who surround him—appears, at times, adept.

It's a Catch-22 kind of nuttiness. What with all his personal issues—the children; the women; the former wives; Kerik and the Mob; his history of interminable, bitter, asinine hissy fits; the look in his eye; and, now, Judi!, his current, prospective, not-ready-for-prime-time First Lady—he'd have to be nuts to think he could successfully run for president. But nutty people don't run for president—certainly they don't get far if they do.

Newfield, who died in 2004, desperately, and to little avail, tried in his short, apoplectic book to demonstrate the existence of a real Rudy as opposed to the post-9/11 heroic Rudy. "Are you crazy? He's just insane," Newfield kept yelling at me over lunch one day, when I was trying to come up with a strategic explanation for Rudy's wild swings of temperament, judgment, and sense of proportion. (Similarly, Newfield quotes the New York politician Basil Paterson as saying Giuliani has "a devil in him," and Giuliani's former school chancellor Rudy Crew as diagnosing a "very, very powerful pathology," and former New York congressman Rev. Floyd Flake as seeing in Rudy, simply, a deep "mean streak.")
There's a lot more. Of course.

The Rudy story is so astonishing because his image of The Hero Of 9/11 is so wildly at odds with the Rudy who governed NYC, who was so nuts.

But the rest of the country doesn't know Rudy.

Wolf's explanation:
[...] And, of course, his hysteric nature was part of what enabled him to appear so reassuring on 9/11: When everyone is crazy, he, being actually crazy, is calm. When everyone is stunned, he's expressive.
Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5.

I should mention that Judith Nathan Guiliani doesn't seem too loveable, either.

5/18/2007 09:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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WE USED TO BE FRIENDS. Murder most foul has been done. A horrible crime: Veronica Mars is dead.
[...] The show's two-hour finale is scheduled to air May 22 at 7 p.m.
Sucks. I have almost no fictional broadcast tv programs left to watch.

Read The Rest Scale: insofar as you care about the Mars family.

This isn't worth much:
Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president for the CW told that while the show was over, the network is looking at working with Bell again.

She says, "Veronica Mars is over. We're talking about something else. I don't know if it's going to be anything. I'm being honest with you. It could come back in some form, but I don't know what form that would be."
That's nice, but actors are actors: it's the writers and producers who create a show. A good show needs good actors, but the best actor in the world can't save a badly written and produced show. Forget about the cult of the face: where's the deal with the creators?

5/18/2007 10:22:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Thursday, May 17, 2007
LESSONS IN DIPLOMACY. Here's how the real pros do it.
[...] BBC presenter John Humphrys, the main anchor on the broadcaster's flagship Today radio programme, raised Bolton's hackles by asking if the US administration was not a "busted flush" after Iraq.

"You're absolutely wrong ... The people who express the point of view that you just expressed I think were largely anti-American beforehand anyway," said the ex-ambassador.

When Humphrys suggested that billionaire philanthropist George Soros might take that view, Bolton shot back: "Are you kidding me? This is a man of the extreme left."

"I'm sure you would find a great deal in common with him as would many others on the continent," he added, referring to widespread anti-American sentiment in Europe.

The BBC man defended himself, saying he was impartial but just asking questions as a devil's advocate and adding: "Maybe they don't do it like that in the United States."

Bolton: "I know, you're a superior Brit, aren't you?"
As an American, I'm just grateful to have had this man representing us before the world for as long as did, displaying these awesome mad diplomacy skilz.

It was one hit after another for John Bolton:
[...] Moving on, Humphrys asked Bolton if
World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz, under fierce pressure to resign amid a scandal over his girlfriend's pay package, was "about to go."

"I see you're a gravedigger as well," retorted Bolton. "I'm not at all sure I see that demise happening."
And such an excellent prognosticator, as well!

im in ur UN base, killing ur ambasad0r d00ds.

For a finish, this:
[...] "I'm not a neocon, number one, but number two, I don't think the neocon adventure is over," he said.
I think this was how Star Trek: The Motion Picture ended, but my memory may be a bit fuzzy.

Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 5/18/07, 12:16 a.m.: Alternative views:
Richard / EU Referendum: Bolton rampant — It is not often one whoops with joy listening …

Pamela Geller Oshry / Atlas Shrugs: BOLTON BITCH SLAPS BBC HURUMPHREYS!

Curt / Flopping Aces: One More Example Why John Bolton Is The Man!
ADDENDUM, 5/18/07, 9:58 a.m.: Welcome, Crooks And Liars readers. Feel free to look around; I've not been posting much of late, but hope to improve that shortly, so do consider stopping back again in the future.

Meanwhile, if you're fascinated by either Bolton, or the wingnut reaction to him -- they couldn't be more thrilled -- you can even find find audio of Bolton's attack on a premier BBC interviewer none of them have ever heard of (damn commie terrorsymp furriners!).

This incident makes clear yet again the primary reason the wingnut right lurves John Bolton, and it's one word: ressentiment.

5/17/2007 10:45:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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GREAT MOMENTS IN ANACHRONISTIC REPORTING. In a Newsweek piece entitled either "Howard Dean's Web Experts Help 2008 Dems" or "Netroots Renewed," depending on which part of the graphics you look at (maybe Newsweek should recruit some of these "web experts"), Andrew Romano reports:
In February, two Edwards bloggers provoked controversy after posting inflammatory entries on their personal blogs.
Sure, that's an accurate summary. Melissa and Amanda were hired by the Edwards campaign, and then time-traveled backwards to post said entries on their blogs (and they each said interchangeably "inflammatory" things): we all remember that sequence of events.

That, in fact, they weren't "Edwards bloggers" when they wrote those posts, is irrelevant, given their ability to time-travel!

Excellent and accurate job, Newsweek!

Next issue's report: George W. Bush's father several months ago provoked controversy for his son when he initiated the Iran-Contra scandal as UN Ambassador!

Close enough.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

5/17/2007 11:23:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THE REALITY. Testifying on Haditha:
[...] “The reality is then and the reality is now, you let loose marines in a T.I.C. against a hostile situation, taking small-arms fire,” Captain Dinsmore said, referring to “troops in contact,” “they don’t have the training nor do they have the presence of mind to differentiate between civilians and insurgents. It stinks.”
From earlier in the story, the presiding officer of the hearing:
[...] On Friday Major McCann, an experienced Marine lawyer, interjected some unsettling questions about how many civilian deaths it would take to constitute a violation of military regulations.

Alluding to Haditha, he asked, “At what point do we have to scratch our heads that we killed a lot more civilians than enemy?”

Because so many witnesses had testified that civilian deaths from “combat action” need not be investigated, Major McCann said, “I’m trying to figure out what authority they are citing.”

The witness testifying then, Col. Keith R. Anderson, a senior Marine Reserve lawyer now with the Department of the Navy, delivered a succinct and telling answer. “There is no authority,” he said. “I think it’s just a mind-set.”
All of which is amplified a hundred-fold by the Vanity Fair long piece on Haditha by the great writer, William Langewiesche (see also his Q&A here), which I finally finished reading last night.

It's, as is typical of Langewiesche, and many such dense and rich pieces that give so much context to their subject, best unsummarized, and instead read in full.

But a few quotes, for flavor and tease:
[...] But now that this latest offensive had fizzled, they were being asked to do exactly what? They were wandering around Haditha just waiting to get hit.


But the largest measure of their success was a circular one—the continuing discovery of improvised land mines, which were laid each night, but which would not have been planted in the first place were it not for the presence of American troops in town. Indeed, the whole war had become a chicken-or-egg question, around and around with no answer possible.


But the Marines did not sit around Sparta Base and worry this to death. They talked about other things, their exploits, their party binges, the really dumb moves of their friends. They laughed and gave each other hard times. They gave each other names. When they mounted their patrols, they went up and down the designated streets and did their jobs as they were told. Be polite and have a plan to kill everyone you meet? Yes, sir, roger that, and on streets like these that would mean shooting the guy from up close, sir, at any false move on his part—is that what you mean by a plan? If the counter-insurgency mission in Haditha seemed half-cocked, so did any real chance for success in Iraq, but that was for others to decide—not for the soldiers who had to carry out the fights.


But in Iraq the question was moot, and for reasons that give significance to the Haditha story beyond mere crime and punishment. The first and simplest reason is that, because of reluctance to second-guess soldiers in a fight, the rules of engagement allow for such liberal interpretations of threat that in practice they authorize the killing of even unarmed military-age males who are running away. The second reason derives from the first. It is that the killing of civilians has become so commonplace that the report of these particular ones barely aroused notice as it moved up the chain of command in Iraq. War is fog, civilians die, and these fools should not have tried to escape.


Hoo-rah. Iraqis live in an honor-bound society, built of tight family ties. When noncombatants are killed, it matters little to the survivors whether the American rules allowed it, or what the U.S. military courts decide. The survivors go to war in return, which provokes more of the same in a circular dive that spirals beyond recovery. Haditha is just a small example. By now, nearly one year later, hatred of the American forces in the city has turned so fierce that military investigators for the trials at Pendleton have given up on going there. That hatred is blood hatred. It is the kind of hatred people are willing to die for, with no expectation but revenge. This was immediately apparent on a video that was taken the day after the killings by an Iraqi from the neighborhood—the same video that was later passed along to Time. The Marine Corps was wrong to dismiss the video as propaganda and fiction. It is an authentic Iraqi artifact. It should be shown to the grunts in training. It should be shown to the generals in command. The scenes it depicts are raw. People move among the hideous corpses, wailing their grief and vowing vengeance before God. "This is my brother! My brother! My brother!" In one of the killing rooms, a hard-looking boy insists that the camera show the body of his father. Sobbing angrily, he shouts, "I want to say this is my father! God will punish you Americans! Show me on the camera! This is my father! He just bought a car showroom! He did not pay all the money to the owner yet, and he got killed!"

A man cries, "This is an act denied by God. What did he do? To be executed in the closet? Those bastards! Even the Jews would not do such an act! Why? Why did they kill him this way? Look, this is his brain on the ground!"

The boy continues to sob over the corpse on the floor. He shouts, "Father! I want my father!"

Another man cries, "This is democracy?"

Well yeah, well no, well actually this is Haditha. For the United States, it is what defeat looks like in this war.
Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5.

5/17/2007 10:00:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I BLAME THE WIG. Justice in action.
LONDON (Reuters) - A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like "Web site" in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.

Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.

"The trouble is I don't understand the language. I don't really understand what a Web site is," he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms "Web site" and "forum." An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: "I haven't quite grasped the concepts."
Wait until he hears about the tubes.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

5/16/2007 01:51:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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TRY IT YOURSELF. The Food Stamp Challenge:
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) stood before the refrigerated section of the Safeway on Capitol Hill yesterday and looked longingly at the eggs.

At $1.29 for a half-dozen, he couldn't afford them.

Ryan and three other members of Congress have pledged to live for one week on $21 worth of food, the amount the average food stamp recipient receives in federal assistance. That's $3 a day or $1 a meal.


At yesterday's weekly lunch meeting of the House Democratic Caucus, McGovern was mesmerized by an attractive roast beef sandwich with cheese. He noted the potato chips came in two flavors: sour cream and plain. But his own lunch consisted of some lentils he cooked for himself and brought to work in a plastic container.


"No organic foods, no fresh vegetables, we were looking for the cheapest of everything," McGovern said. "We got spaghetti and hamburger meat that was high in fat -- the fattiest meat on the shelf. I have high cholesterol and always try to get the leanest, but it's expensive. It's almost impossible to make healthy choices on a food stamp diet."


At the Safeway, Ryan seemed to grow depressed as he realized the limits of his budget. "It's unbelievable," he said, filling his small grocery basket with peanut butter, jelly and bread. He bought a big bag of cornmeal that he says he'll try to fashion into grits for breakfast and polenta for dinner. And he grabbed some canned tomato sauce and pasta on sale. No money for meat, milk, juice, fresh fruit or vegetables, save for a single head of 32-cent garlic to flavor the tomato sauce.
Too familiar.

(Although I should note that I speak of many years in my life; at present, thanks to the kindness of friends and strangers and perhaps you, I'm able to afford -- for the moment, but let's not go into that -- a decent range of fare.)

Read The Rest Scale: 2.75 out of 5, only because it's there's not that much left to this very short piece. I don't suppose any Republicans would like to try living for a week, let alone a month, let alone a year, on the diet they prescribe for those with no better choices available?

(I'm not even going into the issue of the difficulties of getting food stamp aid in some places, or of being able to keep the aid for long, thanks to increased Republican bureaucratic requirements.)

Helpful hint: baking potatos are cheap. A diet of potatos, ramen, rice, and peanut butter, is awfully monotonous, but, hey, we should shut up and be grateful, eh? Sometimes a luxury such as $1/lb bologna can be worked in!

ADDENDUM, 6:35 p.m.: An alternative view from John Hawkins of Right Wing News:
There's welfare, food stamps, free school lunch and breakfast programs, charities, etc., etc.,...but no, let's pretend that none don't exist, ignore the fact that the government shouldn't be in the business of handing out money for food in the first place, and take one program and announce that people can't pay for their food budget off of it.

Here's an interesting question: what happened before all these government programs existed? People got by without them, didn't them?
Etc. So, clearly, food aid is an unneccesary and foolish waste. Presumably best policy would be to eliminate this complete waste, entirely.

Hunger in America? Not an issue. The USDA?
According to the USDA, an estimated 13.8 million children lived in food insecure households in 2004, an over 1 million increase since the 2001 study. (USDA/ERS, Household Food Security in the United States: 2004)
Buncha liberal whiners.

Glad we've cleared that up.

Incidentally: John Hawkins says we should "ignore the fact that the government shouldn't be in the business of handing out money for food in the first place," which is good, as otherwise one might have to explain the meaning of begging the question.

5/16/2007 10:38:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
APPARENTLY A HUGE HUNK OF ACTUAL FLESH IS INVOLVED, which explains a lot. Literalism watch:
[...] Former CIA director George Tenet has said that in the 1990s, agencies eliminated or didn't fill 23,000 positions. "The intelligence community was literally gutted," Sanders says. "By design or by default, we were downsized dramatically. We lost core capability."
Italics mine. A metaphorical gutting wouldn't phase me. But I'd like to know where the gigantic gastrointestinal tract of the intelligence community resides: Langley?

Let's not discuss what said actual, literal, made-of-flesh, gut, must produce when it's finished digesting.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5; an other interesting, if non-revelatory, article that largely merely repeats now-old reports and details about the outsourcing of much intel work to contractors, and other recent cultural clashes in the intel "community," but which holds some fair perspective, and a few anecdotes that likely are new to those not paying mildly close attention.

Via Matt, whose conclusion is inescapably correct:
[...] The out-contracting of public service has, it seems to me, been a pretty spectacular failure across an astoundingly broad range of different kinds of activities.
Yup. "Privatising" a job when there's only a single-source customer adds costs, rather than saving any money or gaining any efficiency.

Meanwhile, could someone please gut the misuse of "literal"? I don't care if it's a governmental agency, or a private entity, that puts a stop to this linguistic crime. How hard is it to understand that "literal" means literal, which is the opposite of metaphoric?

ADDENDUM, 5/16/07, 11:31 a.m.: Meanwhile, intra-Iraqi intel wars continue. Background. More on Shawani.

5/15/2007 12:45:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Monday, May 14, 2007
MY POWER IS TO SEE PLOT HOLES, and tonight's includes one we've seen before: it doesn't work to have a telepath who is puzzled about what people standing next to him might be thinking.

Thus (Heroes SPOILER WARNING!), Matt Parkman shouldn't conveniently be able to hear the thoughts of someone sneaking up one moment, and a minute later, not hear the thoughts of the next guy who is sneaking up.

Even more unbelievable is his being continuously with Horn-Rimmed Glasses/Mr. Bennet, and yet endlessly puzzled about what the "tracking system" they're after is. "What is it?" asks Matt, the telepath, insistently.

That, and particularly that this sort of convenient inconsistency keeps happening, just doesn't work.

Also, Hiro gets all the "training" he needs, from his father, in a couple of hours? This beats the shortness of Luke's training with Yoda.

And, not a plot hole, but IJWTS that last week's "wait, what motive would Sylar have to blow up the city?" plot could hardly have been more blatantly a Necessary Device that gives considerable appearance of last minute panic in the writer's room when they noticed that they were two episodes from the season's end, and their main villain had no motive for the Constantly Foreshadowed Climatic Threat.

And, hey, whoops, when a character who can move through matter is shot by surprise once, and it doesn't bother him because the bullet goes harmlessly through, you can't have him seriously shot, by surprise, another time.

I mean, I'm not even getting into the problem of having a hero who can bend time and space: now that Hiro has control, and is Ready To Fight, the reason he can't just travel back to a minute before Sylar committed his first murder, and take care of him then and there is?

But aside from this sort of thing, I like the program.

Though The Battle of Algiers turned out to be as astonishingly good as everyone always said.

Oh, I suppose I could mention, in case not everyone has heard, the "second" Heros series, Heros: Origins was picked up. And this is unprecedented, since the norm of American season tv orders, insofar as one remains, went to 22 over a decade ago:
[...] The biggest news out of NBC concerned several of its returning series. NBC wants to get the most out of these as possible, and so it is ordering 30 half-hours of its hit comedy “The Office,” 25 [hours] of its other Thursday night comedy success “My Name Is Earl” and 30 [hours] of “Heroes.” All are above the normal order of 22 [episodes] for a typical show.
Interpolations mine, since the Times couldn't be bothered to be coherent.

As it goes on to say:
“Heroes” will actually be a kind of hybrid of sorts because 24 of the episodes will be regular editions of “Heroes” and the other six will be a related idea called “Heroes: Origins.”
I have noticed that they've taken to dropping hints about predecessor heros, such as tonight's clear mentions of Hiro's father's (George Takei) past with heroic companions, the stuff about the Petrelli father from Linderman, and so on; I'm guessing that this is the foreshadowing/retconning.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 5/16/07, 9:51 p.m.: It belatedly occurs to me that I've not gotten around to posting that the writers of Heroes answer questions about each week's show at CBR; see the links to archived entries for each episode at the bottom. Useful info for followers of the show.

ADDENDUM, 5/17/07, 12:21 a.m.: Nice quote from Masi Oka interview here:
[...] How was that grind on episode 20, "Five Years Gone," where it was primarily focused on you? Was that harder on you? More challenging?

It was so much fun, but I gotta tell you when I was doing scenes with future Hiro, it was awful because he wouldn't give me anything! [laughs] He tape recorded his dialogue – unbelievable! Just because future Hiro's been acting for five years he thinks he doesn't need to show up. [laughs]

5/14/2007 07:45:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | |
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
AND THEN THEY RAN UP THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING. The key detail of the party comes in the second sentence here:
[...] Guests appeared to opt for the Pol Roger champagne over the Earl Grey tea while nibbling cucumber sandwiches, scones with blackcurrant jam, and chocolate and raspberry tarts. The Regimental Band of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards played the James Bond theme as well as "Rule, Britannia."
I quite enjoyed my Netflix rental of The Queen the other night, largely because I enjoyed the illusion that we were seeing inside the private lives of these uniquely privileged people. Seeing (the fake) Ms. Windsor grumpily driving her four-by-four around Balmoral hits exactly that reflex.

But now I suspect one of the corgis of possessing a double-oh-two number.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5. Yes, yes, one needs to have one's people call the royal people. Delaying a film for, say, two days, commonly -- ah, that word -- costs millions.

Hey, Monty Norman is still alive at 79! Enjoy, Monty!

Details I never knew before:
[...] Norman was born in the East End of London to Jewish parents on the second night of Passover in 1928.

5/09/2007 01:26:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007
AND THE WORST THING ABOUT TENET'S BOOK. Literalism watch, via Bob Woodward's review:
[...] In much more vivid and emotional detail than previously reported, Tenet writes that he had received intelligence that day, July 10, 2001, about the threat from al-Qaeda that "literally made my hair stand on end."
I'd like to see pictures, please.

I'd also like to see a CIA Director who understands the difference between "figurative" and "literal."

Read The Rest Scale: 2.75 out of 5.

5/08/2007 12:00:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Sunday, May 06, 2007
ISAAC WOULD BE SO PROUD. Or maybe Phil would have been, but he'd have suspected a plot.

(Isaac was more or less a pacifist; although in real life possibly he might have favored robots dying in combat over humans, his own robots were all ultra-pacificistic by nature of the first law; on the other hand, his robots also gave up their lives in favor of human lives, as per the second law; one notes, though, the complete absense of war robots in his fiction, as well as, for the most part, the completely off-stage and almost non-existent nature of war in his fiction. You know, I really shouldn't have bothered explaining this.)

The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it.

This has bad results, of course, if you're a human. But not so much if you're a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your body. That's why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect, strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says. Every time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear a path through the minefield.

Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.

The human in command of the exercise, however -- an Army colonel -- blew a fuse.

The colonel ordered the test stopped.

Why? asked Tilden. What's wrong?

The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned, scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg.

This test, he charged, was inhumane.
Actually, this line alone does the trick:
[...] Ted Bogosh recalls one day in Camp Victory, near Baghdad, when he was a Marine master sergeant running the robot repair shop.
But there's more, since the story is by the estimable Joel Garreau:
[...] In this fellow's hands was a small box. It contained the remains of his robot. He had named it Scooby-Doo.

"There wasn't a whole lot left of Scooby," Bogosh says. The biggest piece was its 3-by-3-by-4-inch head, containing its video camera. On the side had been painted "its battle list, its track record. This had been a really great robot."

The veteran explosives technician looming over Bogosh was visibly upset. He insisted he did not want a new robot. He wanted Scooby-Doo back.

"Sometimes they get a little emotional over it," Bogosh says. "Like having a pet dog. It attacks the IEDs, comes back, and attacks again. It becomes part of the team, gets a name. They get upset when anything happens to one of the team. They identify with the little robot quickly. They count on it a lot in a mission."

The bots even show elements of "personality," Bogosh says. "Every robot has its own little quirks. You sort of get used to them. Sometimes you get a robot that comes in and it does a little dance, or a karate chop, instead of doing what it's supposed to do." The operators "talk about them a lot, about the robot doing its mission and getting everything accomplished." He remembers the time "one of the robots happened to get its tracks destroyed while doing a mission." The operators "duct-taped them back on, finished the mission and then brought the robot back" to a hero's welcome.

Near the Tigris River, operators even have been known to take their bot fishing. They put a fishing rod in its claw and retire back to the shade, leaving the robot in the sun.

Of the fish, Bogosh says, "Not sure if we ever caught one or not."
There's some thoughtful stuff that follows the color; it's a smart piece, smarter than I am right now, as I fall asleep. But I'll close with this quote:
[...] If a robot performs magnificently in battle, should its operator get a medal? Even if that human is hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the action? The question goes to the heart of a novel issue: Where does the bot end and the human begin?

Last month, the Army announced that it would allow unmanned air vehicle (UAV) operators to earn the Distinguished Flying Cross, the high military honor awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in flight.
I hadn't noticed that. It's a long way from this.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.75 out of 5.

5/06/2007 10:20:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Friday, May 04, 2007
CLARK HOYT, YEA. This seems to be an excellent choice; at least, let's hope so.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5.

5/04/2007 10:20:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
TELLER GOES ZERO-G. I look forward to their first orbital performance.
[...] In fact, when they were at the very beginning of experimenting with this, they took Penn up on a trip with Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). What I heard is that Penn stripped totally naked and vomited into his own hair. That seems like the natural thing to do. That is no longer part of their program. It is actually a very clean cut program right now with everyone in cool official looking space jump suits and a very official briefing. Also, there is a light breakfast; so that you will have the right amount in your stomach and not be inclined to throw up in your own hair. And, indeed, while I was up there no one did.
Most amazing part: TSA still wands you before you get on the padded, soon to be diving, plane. Of course.

Oh, and the sexiest part?
[...] They give you a water balloon to burst and little globs of water come out and it is fascinating to watch.The sensation is rather sexy, because it is so tactile and such a strange sense of difference from the way you usually feel your own body. So, if you don't throw a lot of effort into it, but just kind of let it play on you, it has this very sort of sexy quality.
How long until the first cameraphone zero-gee porn?

Covering some other bits and pieces quickly, you may have noticed or may have missed: Use of Wiccan Symbol on Veterans’ Headstones Is Approved the other week; took 'em long enough.

Local engineering students had their annual egg drop soup recently:
Modified shopping carts, animal kennels and a variety of other strange objects were thrown out of the eighth-story window of the University of Colorado's Engineering Center on Thursday.

The incident wasn't an act of vandalism, but rather participation in the 10th annual "egg drop" organized by the Theta Tau Fraternity for this year's Engineering Days celebration.

The event challenged students to design a device that would protect an egg from breaking during an eight-story fall. Out of the 15 entries from CU students, eight kept their eggs intact.

But there were a variety of categories to win — whether the egg was damaged or not. The categories this year were entry most destroyed without damaging egg, largest-volume entry, crowd pleaser, dean's choice and best use of an engineering principle. Prizes were awarded in all categories.

Allison Lami, a CU senior majoring in engineering physics, participated in the event for the first time because one of her engineering classes was offering extra credit for it. Her entry was made from a children's tiger-shaped laundry bag with a curved plastic tube inside of it spanning from its head to its tail.

She was hoping that when her project hit the ground, the egg — positioned by the tiger's head — would roll down the inside tube, distributing the force of impact and leaving her egg to roll out from under the tiger's tail safe and sound. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and her egg was one of the unlucky ones.


The Engineering Days celebration continues today with a rubber band-powered flight contest starting at 10 a.m. in the Carlson Gymnasium and a balsa-wood rocket-launch competition from 1 to 4 p.m. on the Business Field.
I really should mark this on my calendar for next year.

Familiar with Cheddarvision? It's teddibly English.
The cruel randomness of celebrity became clear to Tom Calver in February, when the cheese got a romantic Valentine in the mail and he did not.

“What has he done?” Mr. Calver asked of the cheese in question, a 44-pound round of cheddar currently maturing on his farm in this Somerset hamlet. (Mr. Calver’s farm, not the cheese’s.) “He’s just sat there and got moldy.”
But the cheddar is an international tv star!

The cheddar's MySpace page.

The 10 Real Reasons Why Geeks Make Better Lovers.

Michael Tomasky's 10 Things Candidates Should Know.

Father of quantum computing David Deutsch talks about the D-Wave Systems quantum computing brag.

My Swiss Army knife is better than yours.

[...] I am in danger of mistaking the reamer for the golf-club face cleaner, or committing the faux pas of attempting to use the fish-hook disgorger to tighten my bicycle spokes. And I admit that I just can't find some of the devices that I know are definitely in there: the mysterious "special key", for example, or the elusive "12/20 gauge choke tube tool".

None the less, I have successfully employed the cigar cutter, the flashlight, the laser pointer with 300ft range, the mineral crystal magnifying glass (rather beautiful, the way such an apparently delicate instrument is honed at its end into yet another screwdriver), the tyre-tread gauge measurer and the corkscrew.
Might as well get one: it has 85 devices, weighs 2 lbs and costs almost £500.

That knife will be handy when you make the perfect bacon butty, about which the breathtaking news recently came:
Should it be slithery or scrunchy, glutinous or grilled? The answer, British scientists say, may be divined by a formula: N = C + {fb(cm) · fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc · ta.
I've been saying that myself for so long, but no one ever listened.

And it's hard to know which to be more excited by: the prospect of the five-minute-Charlie's Angels, or that of the five-minute-T. J. Hooker.

And you've probably noticed that Google told Viacom to go... take a long walk.

Read The Rest Scale: all gold; well, most.

5/02/2007 02:00:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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IJWTS. 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0.

Read The Rest Scale: high-definition 3 out of 5.

5/02/2007 01:56:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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BIG SURPRISE. How uncharacteristic:
WASHINGTON, May 1 — Senior Bush administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that they could not pledge that the administration would continue to seek warrants from a secret court for a domestic wiretapping program, as it agreed to do in January.

Rather, they argued that the president had the constitutional authority to decide for himself whether to conduct surveillance without warrants.
Of course he does.

Unsurprisingly, the Administration still seeks to revise FISA; I think the new language is "trust the President; he's your President; trust the President." What more is required?

Meanwhile, as one of a bazillion articles I've not blogged in recent times, due to my major mental block on blogging, and depression-screwed-up head, the other week Walter Pincus reported:
Less than two weeks after being sworn in as undersecretary of defense for intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr. is moving to end the controversial Talon electronic data program, which collected and circulated unverified reports about people and organizations that allegedly threaten Defense Department facilities.

Clapper, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, "has assessed the results of the Talon program and does not believe they merit continuing the program as currently constituted, particularly in light of its image in Congress and the media," according to a statement released in his name yesterday by a Pentagon spokesman.
So that's one small baby-step in the right direction, assuming they're not just essentially changing the name of the program and shifting it down the hall.

In a not-particularly-connected historical note, save that it bears on Trusting Your Government, there may or may not be new evidence on the Kent State massacre.
An audio recording of the shootings 37 years ago at Kent State University includes the voices of Ohio National Guard leaders ordering troops to fire into a crowd of students, according to a man wounded in the shootings, who obtained a copy of the recording.

If confirmed as authentic, the recording could solve the central mystery of the shootings on May 4, 1970, which became a defining moment in the protests against the Vietnam War.

Alan Canfora, who was shot in the right wrist, played a copy of the recording at a news conference here on Tuesday.

Through grainy static and the high-pitched calls of protesters, it was possible to faintly hear someone shout “Point!” Mr. Canfora said the full command is recorded on the tape, with multiple voices shouting “Right here!” “Get Set!” Point!” and “Fire!” Those words, however, were difficult to discern when he played the recording. A 13-second volley of gunfire follows, during which four students were killed and nine were wounded.
It seems clear to me that a lot of folks these days have no idea how bad our government can get (yes, it can also be very good, but that's not my point at the moment), but I won't be writing a book about that in this comment; it's merely a cautionary observation.

Meanwhile, it's important to stress this part:
[...] The tape originally was reviewed by the Justice Department, which contracted with the acoustics analysis firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman, now called BBN Technologies in Cambridge, Mass., to remove static and digitally enhance parts of the tape. James Barger, the scientist who analyzed the tape more than 30 years ago, still works at BBN. Through a spokeswoman, he said that no National Guard voices were audible on the tape.
The tape isn't authenticated yet as saying what Canfora says. But getting that investigated again does seem worthwhile, to determine the truth or falsity of his claims.
[...] After four days of occasionally violent protests against President Richard M. Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia, thousands of students gathered on the Commons at Kent State for a noon rally. Gen. Robert Canterbury of the Ohio National Guard ordered the students to disperse. When they refused, General Canterbury directed his troops to advance on the crowd with M-1 rifles locked and loaded, bayonets fixed.

Soon the troops found themselves trapped by fences on an athletic field. As they retreated to the top of the hill, a number of soldiers on the right flank turned and fired into the crowd.

“It was very precise. They all turned in unison,” said Jerry M. Lewis, professor emeritus of sociology, who witnessed the shooting, wrote a book and taught a class on the events. “That’s why we’ve argued for years that there was an order or a signal to fire.”

Of Mr. Canfora, whom he has known for more than three decades, Mr. Lewis said, “He’s an incredibly thorough researcher. However, his interpretation tends to be conspiratorial.”
The full truth has yet to emerge. But the fact that the government can -- and has -- massacred student protestors, and innocent bystanders -- remains a fact.

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

Oh, and this piece by James T. Quinlivan and Bruce R. Nardulli on The Counterinsurgency Fight: Think Globally, Lose Locally, is right on.

Truly fanatic fans of my thoughts -- okay, I don't know of any, but I can dream -- who have missed my voice of late can find a bunch of informal observations and arguments from me here in the past few days, by the way, as well as, as is often the case, scattered elsewhere in ObWi comments.

ADDENDUM, 4:09 p.m.: Back on FISA, see also Pincus's take.

5/02/2007 12:01:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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