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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.
INSUFFICIENT ATTENTION is what I've been paying. I only very belatedly noted, just now, the passing of longtime blogger and sf fan Anita Rowland.
Anita and I never met, though we corresponded a reasonable amount some years ago. At one point, circa maybe 1999, she solicited from me a history of the founding of the Vanguard Party in Seattle. I was forever a bit annoyed that she never got around to posting it, or the history she intended to compile, but never more than a bit, since I know perfectly well how such projects can be intended and not accomplished.
Her blog was influential to many, and I'll otherwise leave the memorials to her husband Jack, and friends, here. Yet more here. Another friend of friends, and good person, leaves us.
NO AMNESTY FOR THE LAWBREAKERS OF THE TELECOM INDUSTRY is the correct position to take. Today's details just further that conclusion.
The proper course of action is a full investigation by Congress of all law-breaking done both by the telecomunications companies, and by any government officials.
After such a full and public investigation, decisions can be made as to the proper course of justice, but obviously it's impossible for those decisions to be properly made without investigation and disclosure.
Today adds just a little bit more evidence of both the sweeping nature of Bush-era mass surveillance, and of how the espionage infrastructure and the telecommunications infrastructure have become fused into something resembling the "military-industrial complex."
For months, the Bush administration has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program.
But the battle is really about something much bigger. At stake is the federal government’s extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime. The N.S.A.’s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before, according to government and industry officials, yet that alliance is strained by legal worries and the fear of public exposure.
Exactly. Which is why that alliance needs to be monitored, with full Congressional oversight and sunshine. Not hidden from investigation by immunity granted out of ignorance on the say-so of an imperial presidency.
But it's only terrorists who have to worry! Right?
[...] To detect narcotics trafficking, for example, the government has been collecting the phone records of thousands of Americans and others inside the United States who call people in Latin America, according to several government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. But in 2004, one major phone carrier balked at turning over its customers’ records. Worried about possible privacy violations or public relations problems, company executives declined to help the operation, which has not been previously disclosed.
But I'm not a drug trafficker! And it's only international calls, anyway!
In a separate N.S.A. project, executives at a Denver phone carrier, Qwest, refused in early 2001 to give the agency access to their most localized communications switches, which primarily carry domestic calls, according to people aware of the request, which has not been previously reported. They say the arrangement could have permitted neighborhood-by-neighborhood surveillance of phone traffic without a court order, which alarmed them.
The NSA says that Qwest "misunderstood the agency’s proposal." That's usually the explanation... of a press officer after the fact.
And, of course, Qwest is a rare company that turned down an NSA request (and, coincidentally, the CEO wound up prosecuted for unrelated matters; coincidentally). NSA hits up all the companies:
[...] It claims that in February 2001, just days before agency officials met with Qwest officials, the N.S.A. met with AT&T officials to discuss replicating a network center in Bedminster, N.J., to give the agency access to all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through it.
The accusations rely in large part on the assertions of a former engineer on the project. The engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview that he participated in numerous discussions with N.S.A. officials about the proposal. The officials, he said, discussed ways to duplicate the Bedminster system in Maryland so the agency “could listen in” with unfettered access to communications that it believed had intelligence value and store them for later review. There was no discussion of limiting the monitoring to international communications, he said.
“At some point,” he said, “I started feeling something isn’t right.”
It keeps going:
[...] But lawyers for the plaintiffs say that if the suit were allowed to proceed, internal AT&T documents would verify the engineer’s account.
“What he saw,” said Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the plaintiffs along with Carl Mayer, “was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
The same lawsuit accuses Verizon of setting up a dedicated fiber optic line from New Jersey to Quantico, Va., home to a large military base, allowing government officials to gain access to all communications flowing through the carrier’s operations center. In an interview, a former consultant who worked on internal security said he had tried numerous times to install safeguards on the line to prevent hacking on the system, as he was doing for other lines at the operations center, but his ideas were rejected by a senior security official.
There should be absolutely no immunity in advance of full public investigations.
[...] The telecommunications companies that gave the government access are pushing hard for legal protection from Congress. As part of a broader plan to restructure the N.S.A.’s wiretapping authority, the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to give immunity to the telecommunications companies, but the Judiciary Committee refused to do so. The White House has threatened to veto any plan that left out immunity, as the House bill does.
“Congress shouldn’t grant amnesty to companies that broke the law by conspiring to illegally spy on Americans” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.
If the companies only had Hispanic names, the whole "no amnesty" thing would be so much clearer for a few.
THAT HOLIDAY SPIRIT is epitomized by both the crime and the choice of hero. Daily News version and NY Postversion. From the Post:
December 12, 2007 -- A Brooklyn man whose "Happy Hanukkah" greeting landed him in the hospital said he was saved from a gang of Jew-bashing goons aboard a packed Q train by a total stranger - a modest Muslim from Bangladesh.
Walter Adler was touched that Hassan Askari jumped to his aid while a group of thugs allegedly pummeled and taunted him and his three friends. So Adler has invited his new friend over to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The two new pals - Adler, 23, with a broken nose and a fat lip, and Askari, 20, with two black eyes - broke bread together and laughed off the bruises the night after the fisticuffs.
"A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah - that's a miracle," said Adler, an honors student at Hunter College.
"He's basically a hero. Hassan jumped in to help us."
But Askari, who is studying to be an accountant, shrugged off the praise.
"I just did what I had to do," he recalled. "My parents raised me that way."
Ten people were arrested in the underground attack on Friday night - including two men who have been arrested for race crimes before.
None of the suspects had been charged with a hate crime in the Q train attack as of last night, but the Brooklyn DA's Civil Rights Bureau is handling the case.
It all began when Adler, his girlfriend, Maria Parsheva, and two other pals boarded the subway at Canal Street bound for Brooklyn and someone in another group wished them "Merry Christmas."
Adler and his pal Angelica Krischanovich responded: "Happy Hanukkah."
Apparently, those were fighting words.
"They just came at us so fast. The first thing that came into my mind was, 'Yeah, this is going to be violent,' " said Parsheva, 20.
One of the group immediately hiked up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo of Christ.
"He said, 'Happy Hanukkah, that's when the Jews killed Jesus,' " said Adler.
The group of about 14 men and women then allegedly began taunting Adler and his pals as "dirty Jews" and "Jew bitches."
Amid a huge scrum, Askari jumped in.
"I'm bleeding all over the place, there's lots of people, they're fighting with Hassan still, and I'm like, why isn't anyone else doing anything?" Adler said.
He pulled the emergency brake right before entering the DeKalb Avenue station.
Police came aboard and arrested 10 people, charging six with assault and four with unlawful assembly.
The case for the defense is not compelling:
Joseph Jirovec, 19 - the son of a city firefighter who is currently serving in Iraq - has pleaded guilty to a 2005 bias crime against blacks.
"We are not racist against Jewish people. That whole hate-crime thing is ridiculous," the Brooklyn man said.
He claims Adler's group was drunk and taunted his group, and one yelled, "We killed Jesus."
Jirovec will soon begin serving six months for his role in the attack against four men in Gerritsen Beach.
"I'm trying to stay out of trouble," he said. "When I get out, I want to go into the military."
A conviction for one hate crime, and another incident within six months? Undoubtedly ridiculous. And even if his version is true, beating Jesus-killers is always in order when they lip off, after all.
But interfaith response to bigots is always uplifting.
Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5 for the Post; 2.5 out of 5 for the News.
I really wish people would quit saying that anti-semitism in the U.S. is effectively non-existent, though. It's not actually different than light-skinned people claiming dark-skinned people aren't treated differently every day in endless commercial establishments and elsewhere. It's not that endemic, but it ain't non-existent.
[...] The faithful Jews, willingly martyred themselves to defeat the debauchery of that time both heterosexual and homosexual. Thus Chanukah represents the first ever defeat of a world power's homosexual agenda!
I know my religious education was highly limited, but I had no idea!
One might get a clue from any of the old "sword and sandal" biblical epic movies, though, which show so many manly men's chests gleaming. The temptations must have been unbearable, because everyone knows gay sex is teh hottest!
[...] In the spirit of Chanukah and the re-dedication of the Holy Temple, we call on Jerusalem Mayor, Lopaliansky, the City Council he controls and the Israeli Knesset: The Holy Land and Holy City have a higher standard than San Francisco. Chanukah would be a great time to clean up the Greater Jerusalem from all immoral excesses, heterosexual or homosexual.
That's what Chanukah was and is all about. GET TO WORK!
Heck, with eight days of fire from a single day's worth of oil, we can burn that many more 'o them there hemosexuals! Let's all say a blessing now! Baruch Ata Addonay Eloheynu Melech HaOlam Asher....
Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5. Via Sarah Posner at Tapped. Hey, at least the Greeks got a major sex practice named after them, as have had the French in several ways. "Let's have sex the Jewish way" simply leads to various punchlines.
Steadily lengthening delays in the resolution of Social Security disability claims have left hundreds of thousands of people in a kind of purgatory, now waiting as long as three years for a decision.
Two-thirds of those who appeal an initial rejection eventually win their cases.
But in the meantime, more and more people have lost their homes, declared bankruptcy or even died while awaiting an appeals hearing, say lawyers representing claimants and officials of the Social Security Administration, which administers disability benefits for those judged unable to work or who face terminal illness.
[...] Progress against the backlog, if it happens, cannot undo the three years that Belinda Virgil of Fayetteville has worried about her future since her initial application was turned down. Tethered to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day because of emphysema and life-threatening sleep apnea, Ms. Virgil lost her apartment and has alternated between a sofa in her daughter’s crowded house and a friend’s place as she waits for answer to her appeal.
“It’s been hell,” said Ms. Virgil, 44, who finally got her hearing in November and is awaiting the outcome. “I’ve got no money for Christmas, I move from house to house and I’m getting really depressed,” she said.
It's unclear if she means clinical depression, which is a brain disease, and no more fixable by willpower alone than cancer, but hell is still hell.
[...] Depression affects nearly 10 percent of adult Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people in 1998. Unipolar major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States and worldwide.
The Times continues to explain:
[...] The disability process is complex and the standard for approval has, from the inception of the program in the 1950s, been intentionally strict to prevent malingering and drains on the Treasury. But it is also inevitably subjective in some cases, like those involving mental illness or pain that cannot be tested.
In a standard tougher than those of most private plans, recipients must prove that because of physical or mental disabilities they are unable to do “any kind of substantial work” for at least 12 months — if an engineer could not do his job but could work as a clerk, he would not qualify — or an illness is expected “to result in death.”
Of the roughly 2.5 million disability applicants each year now, about two-thirds are turned down initially by state agencies, which make decisions with federal oversight based on paper records but no face-to-face interview. Most of those who are refused give up at that point or after a failed request for local reconsideration.
But of the more than 575,000 who go on to file appeals — putting them in the vast line for a hearing before a special federal judge — two-thirds eventually win a reversal.
If approved, [...] [t]he poor, and severely disabled children, receive Supplemental Security Income checks that will be $637 a month in 2008.
What I'm still 2-3 months away from:
[...] Charles T. Hall’s law firm in Raleigh has the state’s largest disability practice, with six lawyers representing some 2,500 clients, usually working on contingency and collecting 25 percent of back payments, to a limit of $5,300. Mr. Hall said that about one client a month died while awaiting a hearing. Far more clients, he said, run out of money and are evicted from rental units or lose their homes.
We find needy people repellent. It's programmed into us at some level, as a protection mechanism, I expect, and it's necessary and useful.
As a result, needy people make us feel icky and uncomfortable, and sometimes angry. We can't help everyone, or even many people, of course, and that's a dilemma that's difficult for everyone not a saint to want to deal with other than turning way quickly, and not thinking about it.
People are, mostly, particularly and perfectly understandably, reluctant to help the same person repeatedly, especially when they're pretty much a stranger. Although if their problems require three or more years to solve, and that's the system itself, what then? And if the person is otherwise alone and without family or local support system, what then?
It makes me infinitely more uncomfortable asking for help, by asking that if you've not linked before, or subscribed or donated, if you can spare a dime, well, you know. Help me, interweb tubes: you're my only hope.
If nothing else, you can link to tell people about the facts of what being disabled by the disease of depression is like in the United States of America.
This is the 8376th post on this blog, which will mark its 6th Anniversary on December 30th.
I'd declare this whole month a Pledge Month, but it wouldn't be practical, so I'm calling it a week, with a likely option to extend it for a second week, before giving up in utter despair if my nightmare happens, and I only get a smattering of response during that time.
I hope you'll help me out during Gary Farber Pledge Drive Week. There's no particular reason you should, but I ask for your help, please, if you care to give it.
It's been almost a year since I wrote this on January 11, 2007.
I, in panic-stricken fashion, semi-coherently explained my situation of lifelong recurring clinical depression, as well as other health issues, and that I'd finally decided to apply for Social Security disability, having rightly or wrongly put off that option for decades.
I, with utter shame, loathing, guilt, self-hatred, and a feast of other negative self-directed emotions -- as is my wont -- asked for people's help, and an amazing number of people did help, in many ways, including the most important way to help, which was with hard cash. At the time, I said I was afraid I'd need to ask for help again within three months.
Now it's almost a year later, and I've just paid the December rent of $500 and the phone bill ($35), and I'm now down to a total of $241.00 in my bank account, and $22 in my pocket.
I explained originally that I expected the Social Security disability process to take this long, and that I'd need help again by now, and so I do. It's That Time I Warned You About. I'm asking for your aid again. I only hope people will again be generous. I pray, in my own secular way, that you will.
(The horrible fear that has loomed larger every day and night in my consciousness, and in the pit it creates in my stomach, in the past year is that you won't, in sufficient numbers, again. My fear is that one can't go back to the well again. That I'll wind up with only a few donations, and a few links, and just a bit of response, and have no idea what to do to survive with my disabilities and inabilities and problems until such time as my disability claim is approved. Terror over this has been the dominant theme in my life in recent months, and all I can say is that I'm hoping you'll help it go away, at least for a while.)
The bad news was that it turned out I didn't have the required 27 credits of work, with 20 in the past 10 years, in the Social Security system to be eligible for Social Security Disability.
(I am paid somewhat into retirement; at present, having just turned 49 on November 5th, I'd get $229/month if I took "retirement" at 62, $318/month if I "retire" at age 66 and 8 months, and $403/month if I wait until age 70. I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.)
As I intended, I've been proceeding through the process of applying for SSI, and, as predicted, being denied, and appealing.
I have no idea how much longer it will be, but I'm planning on another year, at least. (Maybe longer, maybe another year or even more beyond that, but presumably that'd be around the limit; if I'm lucky, only another year, or maybe even less.)
I won't bore people with all the figures and possibilities, nor my worries about them, but it turns out that the maximum amount I could get directly from SSI for my disability is $623/month. Which isn't easy to live on.
On the up side, some states supplement that.
On the down side, Colorado doesn't. (I may end up looking into moving in the future, if I can somehow possibly afford it. Big "if.")
Then there's an, as expected, unbelievably complicated series of rules about how the money goes away, mostly, if you have any other source of income, including gifts. On the other hand, there are paths to working.
There are other complications I won't detail.
The bottom line is that it isn't remotely as simple or permanent a step for more, well, security as I'd hoped, but it's still a step, a crucial step, and the best path available to me at present, to continue to take this day by day, step by step, and do my best to get approved for SSI disability, and continue to proceed from there to figure out how best to stabilize my situation long term, and keep away my nightmares of dying alone in my apartment, unloved, or being homeless again, or in threat of eviction, or worse.
And I still have major dental problems, and other health problems, but that's another story. Well, it's the same story, but again too boring to detail.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: For now, three things: Donate. Donate. Donate.
Most of all: Subscribe. Subscribe. Subscribe.
Subscriptions are most important, and far far far better than donations, if you don't cancel them without warning, because they lend predictability to my extremely uncertain life, and act as a substitute for an "income," as most people call it.
You can use the PayPal buttons if you have a credit card -- no PayPal account necessary, though it only takes moments to acquire one for free -- at the top of the blog to donate or subscribe.
The other thing you can do is if you're a blogger, help me by blogging a post linking here, and explaining why people might want to help. (I have little idea, myself, so I'm grateful for your words and notions.) It's absolutely crucial that as many people as possible blog and link right now, ASAP, because one thing I've learned from past donation drives is that they're entirely driven by other bloggers posting; hardly anyone reads my blog on their own.
I'm utterly dependent on and hoping people who linked last time will link again. Dare I hope that people who didn't link last time will this time?
This part, like the other part, is all up to you. I completely hate that, but there it is. Help?
If you're a blogger, I ask if you might write a post linking to this one. That's one of two ways a blogger can help.
Among the blogs that linked last time were: Pharyngula, Crooked Timber, Orcinus, Obsidian Wings, Coturnix, Meryl Yourish, Michael Froomkin, Unfogged, Julian Sanchez, and over twenty other blogs, which Technorati, in typically broken fashion, lists three pages of, but will only keep showing the first one, keeping me from relisting all the others, sigh. Hell and damn. Apologies to all those other bloggers who linked last time. Maybe later I can reconstruct a list with research, but I'm too anxious to tackle that just now. There were a bunch, including, if I'm not mistaken, Pharyngula, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Digby, and various others, whom I hope will link again.
If you'd rather not help, that's perfectly reasonable, but, hey, help someone more deserving, at least. There's no shortage of such people around the world, and if you prefer to help one of them, I understand completely.
But if you would like to help: The fundamental thing you can do, whether or not you're a blogger who can link, and if you can't, or don't desire to, subscribe, is to make a donation, whether one-time, or more than once.
$5 donations are always welcome. As are $10, $15, and upwards. Or in any amount. (But subscriptions are even better! Although it's fine if you can't, and prefer to just donate!)
Please forgive my chutzphah if I observe that, of course, the most astonishly helpful donations last time were the surprisingly large ones, which came from a surprisingly large number of people, who were generous enough to send individual donations of $75, $100, $200, $250, $300, and even a couple of $500 donations.
If you're willing to go that far in helping me out: wow. You're a saint.
There's something ironic about it being hell being dependent on finding some saints, though. But I'm hoping there are still enough of you out there.
HOW IT WORKS: I received a huge amount of help, in the form of donations, during the last two weeks of January, only during those two weeks.
Only a dozen donations came in the two months following, and then only four donations during the next entire six months, and then another three donations in the last two months.
That's it. Donations come almost entirely only in one large burst driven by you, a blogger more prominent than me. It's all driven by the links in other blogs, which only are visible a day or two or so, and once they're gone into archives, almost no donations come in again.
And the record shows that only about one person out of every thousand who comes and reads the linked post here ends up choosing to donate. It's that low a response rate, though I'm grateful it's no worse. (Yeah, I know that response rates to traditional snail mail charitable organizations is even lower, as it is for, eww spam.)
So, practically speaking, the only way to make this work is one big two-week period of Gary Farber Pledge Drive. I hope you'll consider linking and blogging, and I hope you'll consider subscribing, or regularly donating, or simply donating once, and I thank you with all my heart for it.
Subscriptions are fantastic because they mean I can semi-count on a known amount of money coming in in succeeding months. A few $50/month or $25/month subscriptions coming in each month makes a huge difference. Even a $5/month subscription is helpful.
If I know the money is coming in, it also makes a huge psychological difference for me, in lessening my ever-present panic and anxiety and tendency to be fall into states of despair and despondency. It's the single best thing you can do for me, if you feel that generous. Subscriptions bring me a bit of peace of mind, as well as material support.
Unfortunately, my subscribers are the people I've treated worst, and whom I owe the greatest apologies to.
This is because of, again, my psychological quirks/dysfunctions, although triggered by an oddity of PayPal, in this case.
PayPal sends a e-mail notification of every donation. But not of subscription sign-ups, cancellations, or payments.
When I first asked for donations, a number of years ago, I was absolutely horrible for the first few months about not thanking people. I was simply too psychologically incapable of addressing the topic of asking people for donations, and getting them, and I just putting off dealing with it, and as a result, for the first few months, I ended up not getting around to thanking almost anyone, which was horrible and completely wrong of me, of course.
Also, of course, is that my inability to cope with doing most things I need to do is my entire psychological problem: that's my disease. I'm a morass of fear, depression, and anxiety, which combine to make me engage in avoidance behavior for the overwhelming majority of basic essentials of life, which I find myself frequently completely unable to cope with. And things connected to money are among the things I'm most anxious about, although any obligation of any sort makes me anxious, other than very frivolous ones.
It's very hard to explain this sort of irrationality to other people. Insofar as it makes any sense at all, it takes a lot of detail, and that immediately goes back to the who really cares, other than me, and maybe my therapist -- maybe -- fact.
However, I have made progress over the years, learned some coping mechanisms, am in therapy, and do go in and out of good and bad, better and worse, periods. I was able to start coping with sending out thank-yous for donations, in response to the PayPal notifications, after the first few months, and have been doing so regularly ever since for the past few years: sometimes promptly, and sometimes, if I'm not coping with e-mail, after a few days, but rarely longer than after a week.
But I fell down on dealing with subscriptions.
First, I stupidly actually never even realized, or it didn't sink in, that I wasn't getting those notifications, for months.
But then, after I sorta realized, I still didn't cope with responding to subscription sign-ups, cancellations, or payments, at all, because it required me to check PayPal frequently, and my utter anxiety at money issues made it very difficult for me to do that. I tended to only do so every couple of months, and to then overlook and not deal with the subscriptions.
Look, it's crazy behavior on my part: that's all there is to it, and not much more explanation. My whole problem is that I can't deal with the anxiety produced by endless numbers of perfectly normal situations in normal life, and thus I can't, or only with great difficulty, do a lot of things normal people do normally. The more anxiety it causes me, the more I have trouble doing it, and the more I have trouble doing it, the more anxiety it produces, and as a result, I can go years not doing essential things, until I'm homeless.
Over and over again. That's the cycle, or set of cycles, micro and macro cosmic, that I'm dealing with.
Bottom line is I have no excuse for pretty much never thanking or acknowledging people who have been the most wonderful by subscribing, and it's hardly surprising that several people signed up, didn't hear from me, and quit.
That's typical of my self-destructive inability to deal with many things, unfortunately.
So, everyone who as every subscribed: God, I owe you thanks, and oh my god, I'm sorry for my lack of previous thanks and acknowledgement. I have no excuse.
I will try to do better on working a system of regularly checking PayPal for subscriber sign-ups, cancellations, and payments, at least once a month, and to start responding to those and thanking people for them.
WHAT I'M OTHERWISE DOING: Pursuing therapy, and treatment. I've had a generally bad year, but I've made some progress, nonetheless. I continue to learn new techniques which have some effectiveness in hindering some of my dysfunctional behaviorial/thinking loops. I'm still trying anti-depressants, and working on diet, more exercise, and so on. I think I'm pointed in a fairly good direction. I've had good days, and small successes.
I continue to live a simple life: my only entertainment spending continues to be Netflix and the library, and very occasionally, a $5 or $10 computer game. I still lack a better internet connection than dialup, or any tv beyond fuzzy broadcast (much though I have to say I'm increasingly frustrated by that first in particular). Almost all of my spending beyond rent and phone and Netflix goes for food. I'm still in my tiny studio apartment, with the rent raised $25 in the past year to $500, with no lease.
I otherwise frankly can't talk about a lot of stuff, beyond my natural reluctance, because I now have to deal with a variety of legal issues having to do with the requirements to stay eligible for SSI, what work one can and can't do, what help one can and can't legally accept, and so on. I have to expect that my blog posts may be entered into the legal record. Please keep that in mind as regards my likely not answering a variety of questions, although I'll otherwise try to be responsive within my large natural limits, and ability to cope. Where I can work, I obviously will.
The last six months I've found rough in that I saw this day coming every day, and every day and night I dreaded it more and more, and found myself more and more in the sloughs of despondency and self-hatred over having to ask for help again. For months I've told myself to start work on drafting this post, and I've procrastinated and procrastinated and procrastinated,
I told myself to not wait until I was almost out of money, but to give myself a cushion of a couple of months.
But I couldn't make myself do it. So here I am, drafting it on Sunday, for Monday posting. Hell, after I write something like this, I can't even bear to reread it again.
But what's that matter, or anything else about the details of the inside of my head, or my emotions, to anyone else?
That's why my blogging has been progressively less and less in recent months, though. It just became harder and harder to feel decent enough to post coherently, and as a result, lately I've been averaging only about a post a week or so, the minimum necessary to let you know I'm alive, and not enough to pay my way in the entertainment or information I link to. It's been intensely frustrating to me to want to blog on hundreds of stories, but to simply feel unable to cope with simply focusing enough to write something sufficiently coherent.
Apologies for that.
All I can do is hope that I'll get enough of an enfusion of donations and subscriptions and blog post support this time to keep me upbeat for at least a few months, and hope that I'll be better able to blog more again thereafter. No promises, just hopes. Wish I could offer more. Always.
Wrap-up: I've been understandably asked at times why someone should help me. And, truth be told, I can't think of any particularly good reason. So I certainly don't expect help from anyone: if you've done it before, you've arguably done your part. If you've not, there's no good reason you should start, and not help someone more deserving instead.
As well, I'd like to note, as I did on another blog the other day, that I'd be the first to admit that sometimes my blog comments are muddled, wrongfooted, unclear, confused, rambly, irritating, annoying, condescending, insulting, aggravating, superior, cranky, or outright dickheaded. And that's my reaction sometimes.
Though I'm lucky if I can manage all those at once.
So although I'm actually very loveable in a number of ways, if you get to know me, I don't claim to be all loveable all the time.
And if I didn't agree, there are more than a few people happy to point it out.
And goodness knows, I can't begin to find the words to offer proper thanks to the several and various people who have donated several, or in a few cases, many times, over and over, sometimes when it wasn't at all easy. I thank you, thank you, thank you; I am endlessly grateful and thankful and all I can ever do is try to pay as much of it forward as I can.
So all I can do is offer thanks if you do choose to help out, whether for the first time, the second, the third, or after far more, and I will try my best to be worthy of your help, crappy job though I will likely do of it.
So, this week, and perhaps next week's mantra: Gary Farber Pledge Drive Week: We Try To Be Less Annoying Than PBS.
ADDENDUM, 5:20 p.m.: If you use an email address for your PayPal account from which mail bounces, I can't get a thank you to you. This means, among other people, the person using AOL with the initials "JC."
Response so far: 12 donations, for a total of $325, and two $5 subcriptions. It's a start. Thanks to y'all!
On the positive side, Netflix has both Battlestar Galactica: Razor, and the first three disks of The Wire, Season 3, arriving tomorrow, so with luck that'll help distract me from my anxiety.
ADDENDUM, 10:13 p.m.: Several links so far, for which I'm most grateful, but several major bloggers I was really hoping would link, that I dropped a note to, haven't yet. This is making me feel all doomed and nauseated, even though I know it's premature yet.
But, still, when people post all day, and don't get around to linking to you, it doesn't make it likely they'll do it the next day, although it does happen on occasion. Here's hoping.
ADDENDUM, 12/04/07, 4:26 p.m.: I've been trying to stay away from the internet most of the day, due to anxiety, and that's my plan for the next day or two, but current response is... not so good. About another ten or tweleve donations of low figures. Vastly appreciated, but far less than where I need to be. Going away from the internet again for a while, 'cause y'know, not good right now to focus.
UPDATE, 12/05/07, 4:04 p.m.: I've been offline all day, hiking around Boulder. Okay, strolling. My plan is to mostly be offline again until tomorrow, continuing to try to minimize worrying. Currently the Drive is still pretty much on the low side. The current total is ~$2300, and it needs to be a couple or few multiples of that, since trying this again in only two months isn't apt to work.
Meanwhile, I'll be sending out thank-yous again tomorrow to all you kindly and wonderful people who have contributed so generously. Feel good about yourselves! And equal thanks to those who have blogged!
ADDENDUM, 6:22 p.m.: Although trying to stay offline, I can't help but note that most of the links from blogs that have linked have moved to their second page. Perfectly understandable. I'm down to under 40 hits an hour. If anyone feels like moving their post back to the top, that would be fantastic.
ADDENDUM, 12/06/07, 11:34 a.m.: Hits continue to average only ~30/hour, and I've only had two donations this morning. The present stage of the Drive is clearly over, and I regret to report that total is around ~$2600, which is about a third of what I need it to be. Although a number of new subscriptions do help.