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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.
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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
"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.
[...] Well, this is where I actually do think having lived in a Muslim country when I was a child is helpful in terms of giving a world view and a world perspective. Now keep in mind that Indonesia is not the Arab world, so its brand of Islam was always very different.
Now keep in mind, Indonesia is not the Arab world. So its brand of Islam was always very different. Women were riding on Vespas and going to work, and people weren't wearing headscarves until very recently - that was actually an import from the Middle East. But here's what's interesting about Indonesia, it's a good case study. It had had a very tolerant, mild brand of Islam all the time that I was living there and basically up and thru 97. And what happened was that you'll recall the Asian financial crisis hit them extraordinarily hard. Their gross domestic product contracted by 30% - they had the equivalent of a Great Depression, but this was a country that was already extraordinarily poor. So, there was a direct correlation between the collapse of that economy and the rise of fundamentalist Islam inside of Indonesia. Partly it was exported by Saudi Wahhabist schools that were sent in and financing schools there, and suddenly you started seeing head scarves on the streets and Islamic organizations that were parroting some of the fundamentalist and more fanatical brands of Islam that we associate with the Middle East. And the reason I raise that point is that although people will often say, well terrorists are drawn from the middle class and just being poor doesn't mean that you're automatically ascribe to violent jihadist tendencies. What is absolutely true is that in the Arab world and in the Muslim world, I do think there is a correlation between the degree to which those communities function properly, give people hope, give people a sense of direction, give children education, and how vulnerable they are to these violent ideologies.
So what lessons do we learn from that then? I am not naïve. There is a hard core of jihadist fundamentalists who we can't negotiate with. We have to hunt them down and knock them out. Incapacitate them. That's the military aspects of dealing with this phenomenon. Now somebody like a Richard Clarke would estimate that the hard core jihadists would gladly blow up this room maybe it's 30,000 people, maybe it's 40,000 people, maybe it's 50,000 people. But it is a finite number. And that is where military action and intelligence has to be directed. So all the things I've talked about in the past - improving our intelligence capacity, improving our alliances, rolling up financial support, improving our homeland security, making sure that we have strike forces that are effective - that's all the military, intelligence, police work that's required.
The question then is what do we do with the 1.3 billion Muslims, who are along a spectrum of belief. Some extraordinarily moderate, some very pious but not violent. How do we reach out to them? And it is my strong belief that that is the battlefield that we have to worry about, and that is where we have been losing badly over the last 7 years. That is where Iraq has been a disaster. That is where the lack of effective public diplomacy has been a disaster. That is where our failure to challenge seriously human rights violations by countries like Saudi Arabia that are our allies has been a disaster. And so what we have to do is to speak to that broader Muslim world in a way that says we will consistently support human rights, women's rights. We will consistently invest in the kinds of educational opportunities for children in these communities, so that madrasas are not their only source of learning. We will consistently operate in ways that lead by example, so that we have no tolerance for a Guantanamo or renditions or torture. Those all contribute to people at least being open to our values and our ideas and a recognition that we are not the enemy and that the Clash of Civilizations is not inevitable.
Now, as I said, we enter into those conversations with the Muslim world being mindful that we also have to defend ourselves against those who will not accept the West, no matter how appropriately we engage. And that is the realism that has to leaven our hopefulness. But, we abandon the possibility of conversation with that broader Muslim world at our own peril. I think all we do then, is further isolate it and feed the kinds of jihadist fanaticism that I think can be so...
Works for me.
Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5. My other observation was this.
ADDENDUM, 4:53 p.m.: A gaffe is when someone accidentally tells the truth; for instance, Leon Panetta commenting on the Clinton campaign: "'On television, they could have made her someone who came across as more genuine,' he said."
MILDLY AMUSING OSCAR GAME. Load the page with the nominations for each award as they come up, keep reloading the page as the presenters read the list of nominees, and watch the entry change before your eyes as the name of the winner comes out of the mouth of the presenter.
Try It Yourself Scale: likely if you care, you're not reading this in time, innit?
[...] The fourth acting "dis-honor" announced at Saturday's Golden Raspberry Awards went to Lindsay Lohan, who actually was voted two worst-actress trophies for the thriller I Know Who Killed Me, the worst-picture winner in which she played dual roles.
I Know Who Killed Me set a new Razzies record with eight awards, including worst screen couple for Lohan in her double role.
Topping the previous record of seven Razzies for both Showgirls and Battlefield Earth, I Know Who Killed Me also won for worst director (Chris Sivertson), screenplay (Jeff Hammond), horror movie, and remake or rip-off (Razzies organizers viewed it as a cross between torture flicks such as Saw and a twisted update of The Patty Duke Show).
[...] On marketing from the john: "You see all this hype before a movie comes out nowadays. Hype schmype. There was none of that for (1989's) 'Batman.' So at one show, I step into the john, and I run into, God love him, the dearly departed Jack Valenti (head of the Motion Picture Association of America). He says, 'So how big do you think "Batman" could be?' I said, 'Jack, there's nobody in the industry qualified to estimate the top.' ... By the time I had walked out of the john, I had done all the marketing that movie needed. Thank God it actually was big."
[...] The firm that includes Mark Penn, Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster, and his team collected $3.8 million for fees and expenses in January; in total, including what the campaign still owes, the firm has billed more than $10 million for consulting, direct mail and other services, an amount other Democratic strategists who are not affiliated with either campaign called stunning.
Howard Wolfson, the communications director and a senior member of the advertising team, earned nearly $267,000 in January. His total, including the campaign’s debt to him, tops $730,000.
The advertising firm owned by Mandy Grunwald, the longtime media strategist for both Mrs. Clinton and Bill Clinton, the former president, has collected $2.3 million in fees and expenses, and is still owed another $240,000.
For instance, during the week before the Jan. 19 caucuses in Nevada, the Clinton campaign spent more than $25,000 for rooms at the Bellagio in Las Vegas; nearly $5,000 was spent at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas that week. Some staff members also stayed at Planet Hollywood nearby.
As part of their get-out-the-vote effort in Iowa, the campaign came up with a plan to have a local supermarket deliver sandwich platters to pre-caucus parties. It spent more than $95,384 on Jan. 1 at Hy-Vee Inc., a local grocery chain in West Des Moines, Iowa [....]"
What I find interesting about this is a story that got little coverage, because it was on Christmas Day of the past year.
In it, Christopher Drew reported, looking back at spring of 2004:
[...] Though the final tally has never been publicly disclosed, interviews and records show that the five [top Kerry] strategists and their firms ultimately took in nearly $9 million, the richest payday for any Democratic media consultants up to then and roughly what the Bush campaign paid its consultants for a more extensive ad campaign.
Mr. Shrum and his two partners, Tad Devine and Mike Donilon, walked away with $5 million of the total. And that was after Ms. Cahill, in the closing stages of the race that fall, diverted $1 million that would otherwise have gone to the consultants to buying more advertising time in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to defeat Mr. Bush.
Questions about how the Kerry campaign could have become such a bonanza for one small group of advisers — and whether the fees squandered money that could have been used for courting voters — are still reverberating inside Democratic circles as the 2008 campaign moves into high gear. And with more money than ever on the line this time around, resentment has been building, donors and other operatives say, at how, win or lose, presidential elections have become gold mines for the small and often swaggering band of media consultants who dominate modern campaigns.
As a result, the Democratic presidential hopefuls are seeking to impose more controls on the consultants. In doing so, they are moving more into line with their Republican counterparts, who by and large have kept tighter rein on how they handle their media teams, which shape the candidates’ messages, produce their television ads and buy the air time.
The three leading Democrats — Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards — are all clamping down. They are following what has become an almost standard practice among Republican presidential nominees by paying their media advisers flat fees, or placing a cap on their payments, rather than making payments based on a percentage of the amount they pay television stations to broadcast their commercials.
In interviews, aides said Ms. Clinton, of New York, and Mr. Edwards, of North Carolina, had negotiated flat fees with their top consultants. And Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has capped what his consultants can earn, which will convert their more traditional percentage deal into a flat fee once his ad spending passes a certain threshold, his aides say.
“That is a startling change in the way major Democratic presidential candidates operate,” said James A. Thurber, a professor at American University in Washington who has studied political consultants.
So what happened to these startling and dramatic cost-cutting/limiting flat fee measures?
[...] For instance, if Mrs. Clinton were to win the Democratic nomination, her aides say, she would pay a total of $5 million in fees to a half-dozen advisers — including Mark Penn, her top strategist; Mandy Grunwald, her media consultant; and Howard Wolfson, her communications director — for their work on her ads in both the primary and the general elections.
Mrs. Clinton would also pay a commission of just under 2 percent of her television advertising expenditures to a time-buying firm unaffiliated with her consultants. That firm would pick the best moments to run the spots and bargain with the television stations over the cost of ad time.
This means that if Mrs. Clinton were to spend $200 million on ads, she would pay the same total of $9 million in fees as Mr. Kerry did, but gain one-third more air time. Were she to pay her media team under the same terms enjoyed by Mr. Kerry’s team, she would end up paying them $11 million to $12 million in a $200 million television campaign, or $2 million to $3 million more than the Kerry operatives received.
David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, would not disclose the dollar level of the caps on his fees. But he said that the caps were likely to keep the fees for all of Mr. Obama’s consultants “well below” the 6 percent to 7 percent rate that Democratic presidential candidates have paid in the last several elections.
And now Clinton's consultants got at least $5 million for January alone. After these flat fees? Imagine what the cost would have been under the old system. But has this really been the improvement that's been claimed?
For instance, if Mrs. Clinton were to win the Democratic nomination, her aides say, ehe would pay a total of $5 million in fees to a half-dozen advisers — including Mark Penn, her top strategist; Mandy Grunwald, her media consultant; and Howard Wolfson, her communications director — for their work on her ads in both the primary and the general elections.
Eight weeks ago it was $5 million to all of a half-dozen advisers. Now it's $10 million just for Mark Penn? Was there an explosion in the Clinton campaign accounting office, destroying all records, and making them dazedly pay all the consultant bills three times over?
Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5 if interested; there's more good info in Drew's story.
Incidentally, can someone tell me again about how John McCain never does favors for his contribors? After all, repetition makes it true.
Peter Robinson and I still have a bet about the efforts to which the Clintons will go to pull out the election.
We forget that even today, Sen. Clinton leads in both Ohio and Texas.
If she were to win both, and carry that momentum to Pennsylvania, again she will have won the key states in play in the November election — California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It would be no small thing to end the primary season with the biggest states and the most recent victories.
It might not be.
Of course, after Pennsylvania votes on April 22, Indiana and North Carolina will vote on May 6, West Virginia will vote on May 13, Oregon and Kentucky will vote on May 20, and South Dakota and Montana will end the caucus/primary season on June 3, six weeks after Victor Davis Hanson, Very Wise Man, thinks it does.
For his sake, I hope someone else plans his trips for him. And his course schedule.
Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5. (Obama is apt to win all of those elections I name.)
Hanson's utterly shocking, and sure to be absolutely correct, conclusion:
[...] I think this will continue to drag on, and the wounds among Democrats will deepen and fester to the extent that the real question by June is not whether McCain's base will stay with him (it probably will), but how many scarred and hurt Democrats won't cross over to a perceived moderate.
I THINK NOT. The NY Times and veteran Thom Shanker, who should know better, tells us:
[...] Completing a mission in which an interceptor designed for missile defense was used for the first time to attack a satellite, the Lake Erie, an Aegis-class cruiser, fired a single missile just before 10:30 p.m.
[...] Because the Aegis system dominates the ship's architecture, ships equipped with it are sometimes mistakenly called Aegis class ships.
Thank you, Times! (I expect a correction will be forthcoming.)
Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5.
ADDENDUM, 2/21/08, 3:39 a.m.: Compare and contrast Gail Collins making the same points about how absurd the government story is that a gazilion other people have made, to the two lines in the news article coverage that:
[...] Separately, a Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, dismissed suggestions that the operation had been designed to test the nation’s missile defense systems or antisatellite capabilities or that the effort had been to destroy secret intelligence equipment.
“This is about reducing the risk to human life on Earth, nothing more,” Mr. Whitman said.
ACTUALLY, WE THINK HE'S A NICE BOY WHO MADE GOOD. In Tennessee:
If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait 'til you get a load of what's going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area's 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.
"Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus," blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail -- inducing gasps -- last week.
Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn't even in Cohen's district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to "see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election."
Cohen's main opponent in the August 5 Democratic primary in his predominantly African-American district is Nikki Tinker, who is black. The Commercial Appeal wrote an editorial in Wednesday's paper condemning Tinker for not speaking out against the anti-Semitic literature.
"What does Nikki Tinker think about anti-Semitic literature being circulated that might help her unseat 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary next August?" the editorial asked. "The question goes to the character of the woman who wants to represent the 9th District, and 9th District voters deserve an answer. But Tinker declined to return a phone call about the flier."
If Jesus moved next door, we'd invite him over for dinner, actually. Really.
LET US ALL PAY ATTENTION TO HENRY KISSINGER, because he is most wise in the ways of the world. When Kissinger offers advice on policy and the future, who shouldn't listen?
[...] As Mr. Kissinger said in his remarks: “I don’t know what a blog is. I don’t know how to find a blog.” His computer, he said, is used to read newspapers.
Mr. Kissinger said he was skeptical about the digitalization of media, for if his words and sentences “get shortened for cyberspace, there is no telling what will come out.”
The world is undergoing three types of transformation, Mr. Kissinger argued: the collapse of the state system, the shift of the global center of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and an emerging set of problems that can only be dealt with on a global basis. And he largely agreed with Mr. Podhoretz’s assertion that the most important global conflict, which was once the cold war, is now the struggle against terrorism by Islamic radicals.
“This is a war against radical Islam that has to be won,” said Mr. Kissinger, who was national security adviser and then secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, from 1969 to 1977.
Let me get this straight: this is a world in which radical Islamists, who certainly do exist, have a large worldwide web of jihadi internet sites, on which they post war videos, and exhorations.
This distributed network, and its nature, both as an internet presence, and as a form of asymmetric warfare and propagand is absolutely key to the nature of the actual terrorist threat, and we're supposed to listen to the advice of someone who doesn't even know what a blog is?
The thing about cyberspace is the way we're forced to shorten everything, because unlike traditional media, we have a finite limit on how much we can quote, unlike newspapers, radio, and tv? That's Henry Kissinger's keen insight into the flaws of "digital media"?
Definitely the man with the key to understanding 21st century international politics and relations.
Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5 unless you wish to contemplate details of the prestigious Power Line book award, or somesuch, and note who shows up for it. Oh, and of course the award went to Norman Podheretz: who else?
ADDENDUM, 2/14/08, 3:11 p.m.: A Times blog ended up quoting this:
Here’s an interesting trackback to City Room’s Kissinger post from Tuesday [....]
[...] On whether Obama's momentum could impact Ohio and Texas: "I don't think it does. I think those are independent electorates and everybody knew, you all knew what the likely outcome of these recent contests were and, you know, my husband didn't win any of these caucus states. You know, he didn't win Maine. He didn't win Colorado. He didn't win Washington. This is about making a strong case. You know, before Super Tuesday, you all were reporting the same thing about all of the momentum. It didn't turn out to be true. Let's have the election. You know, instead of talking about them and pontificating about or punditing about them. Let's let people actually vote, and I think in Texas and Ohio, I will do very, very well, and I intend to run very competitive winning campaigns there."
Italics mine. Noting for the record.
As I noted here, here is how Texas divides its delegates. Here is a more detailed explanation which makes clear that the caucuses matter greatly in getting delegates, no matter the primary vote. Formal rules here.
Obama will get either a majority of delegates, or be closely competitive in Texas, I bet, and Clinton is fooling herself. Ditto in Ohio, Pennslyvania, and quite possibly in Wisconsin.
[...] “She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.
I really need to overcome my depressed inertia and write up my caucus experiences, and about my awesome new elected powers.
MAYBE I SHOULD READ THE CORNER MORE OFTEN. As a rule, mostly I only read an occasional entry when someone points it out incredulously to me.
I was doing that, and decided to glance at the blog generally, and immediately ran into this:
Meanwhile [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Rasmussen has stopped doing Huckabee polling. 02/09 07:03 PM
So I go to the link and read:
[...] In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, Mike Huckabee had a good day on Saturday. He won the caucuses in Kansas handily, narrowly won the Louisiana Primary, and narrowly lost in Washington State’s caucuses. As a result, Rasmussen Reports will continue to track this race for the time being. Polling since Mitt Romney left the race shows John McCain with 49% of the vote, Mike Huckabee with 29%, and Ron Paul with support from 8%.
Excellent reading skills.
Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5. Incidentally, Lopez also found this part of that Rasmussen entry too uninteresting to mention, but that's utterly unsurprising:
You might become a believer in the power of magic dust, when you see how a special powder re-grew the tip of Lee Spievack's finger.
He sliced off a half inch of his finger in the propeller of a hobby shop airplane. His finger never even formed a scar.
"Your finger grew back flesh, blood, vessels and nail?" CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.
"Four weeks," Spievak said.
If this helped Mr Spievak's finger re-grow, could you grow a whole limb?
"In theory," Badalyk said.
That theory, that it might be possible to re-grow a limb, is about to be tested by the United States Military. The Army, working in conjuction with the University of Pittsburgh, is about to use that matrix on the amputated fingers of soldiers home from the war.
Dr. Steven Wolf, at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, says the military has invested millions of dollars in Regenerative research, hoping to re-grow limbs, lost muscle, even burned skin.
"And it's hard to ignore this guys missing half his skin, this guy's missing his leg," Wolf said. "Is there any way we can make that grow back? Some of that technology exists and now its time to field it."
Several different technologies for harnessing regeneration are now in clinical trials around the world. One machine, being tested in Germany, sprays a burn patient's own cells onto a burn, signaling the skin to re-grow.
Badylak is about to implant matrix material - shaped like an esophagus - into patients with throat cancer.
"We fully expect that this material will cause the body to re-form normal esophageal tissue," Badylak said.
Some of the most advanced tests involve the heart. This patch of material is being put on - like a band aid - to regenerate heart muscle damaged by a heart attack.
And patient Mary Beth Babo is getting her own adult stem cells injected into her heart, in hopes of growing new arteries. Her surgeon is Dr. Joon Lee.
"It's what we consider the Holy Grail of our field for coronary heart disease," Lee said.
This is a pretty sensationalistic, undetailed, report, so I'm naturally highly suspicious.
But I can't say it isn't interesting. More on growing heart valves.
[...] They've made 18 different types of tissue so far.
"That's a heart valve?" Andrews asked.
Atala said: "This is an engineered heart valve."
What he pointed to was a pulsing heart valve to be transplanted into a sheep.
"When people ask me 'what do you do,' we grow tissues and organs," he said. "We are making body parts that we can implant right back into patients."
Unmentioned: no shortage of foie gras, ever, and no need to bother actual geese or ducks for it! Ditto veal.
BECAUSE THERE'S TOO MUCH WORSHIP OF SCIENCE OUT THERE. Thanks, NY Times arts editors, for printing this piece of garbage by Neil Genzlinger (must remember his name):
The world is a better place because of “UFO Hunters,” a new series on Wednesday nights on the History Channel.
Not because the program is particularly good; in fact, it’s as silly and scientifically shaky as a creature feature from the Eisenhower era. But the mere presence of the series means that we collectively have not completely succumbed to the worship of science and Wall Street.
It's bad enough that the "History Channel," and the "Sci-Fi Channel," among others, are chock-a-block with endless "nonfiction" series "investigating" UFOs and psychics and Nostradamus, and the Rapture, and every sort of nonsense out there, and almost always from the POV of adherents, and almost never from the point of view that this is total nonsense.
Better to make money by catering to people's delusions and ignorance.
But does a critic in the NY Times have to praise it? Have to say -- this is unbelievable -- that world is a better place for it?
That it's a blow struck to prove that "we collectively have not completely succumbed to the worship of science"?
Why not just stick a sharp object ino our frontal lobes, now, and stir? We'll all feel so much better after that.
VOLTAGE. The CJR story on David Simon vs. Marimow and Carroll.
What I'd want everyone to take away:
[...] At a 2006 Columbia Journalism School panel on “the crisis of boys,” economist Marcellus Andrews painted a picture similar to Simon’s: social forces that are too strong for individuals to push back against; a lack of skills and education that renders the underclass “redundant” as laborers; the only available jobs offering wages too low to support a family; schools providing an education too shoddy to enable the type of collective social mobility that could raise up a community; an illegitimate economy as the only solution for the underclass and an all-out war in response. “The ‘surplus male’ crisis shows up in the form of violence in streets,” Andrews said, and journalism fails to “show folks how they are pushed by unintentional forces.” He advised journalists to “give a sense of the hardness of this thing, a sense of the blood on the floor…so that when someone finishes reading the story they…will not succumb to simple-minded answers.” (At one point, I read a quote from Andrews to Simon—“the end of the American segregation system a half century ago put black people onto the blue-collar road to the middle class just when the on-ramp shut down”—and Simon perked up. “That’s it,” he said.)
I'm sorry to read that McNulty is back on the booze again; I know it's a bleak story, but I'd hate to think characters couldn't find a way to change for the better.
But I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the idea that I'll approve when I see the whole story in context.
And if David Simon is hit by a errant newspaper truck tomorrow, he could have worse epitaphs than this:
[...] “Consider it a big op-ed piece,” said Simon, “and consider it to be dissent. What I saw happen with the drug war, a series of political elections, and vague attempts at reform in Baltimore….What I saw happen to the Port of Baltimore, and what I saw happen to the Baltimore Sun—I think it’s all of a piece.” Should his premonition of the American empire’s future—more gated communities and more of a police state—come to pass and were someone to say he didn’t know it was coming, Simon said, it will at least be possible to pull The Wire off the shelf and say, “‘Don’t say you didn’t know this was coming. Because they made a fucking TV show out of it.’”
[...] Politicians like John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman and Bill Richardson have called him on the air to welcome him back and take his questions, as have Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and John McCain, who happily accepted Mr. Imus’s presidential endorsement.
Newsmen like Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer and George Stephanopoulos have submitted to interviews, too, along with the authors Michael Beschloss and Doris Kearns Goodwin, and the columnists Maureen Dowd, Thomas L. Friedman and Frank Rich of The New York Times.
While it will be some time before Arbitron has calibrated how many listeners he has on the nearly 50 stations that do carry his show, many advertisers have seen little reason to wait. Bigelow Teas, Accountemps, NetJets, the Mohegan Sun casino, various car makers and a big New Jersey hospital are peddling their wares during his commercial breaks, at least in New York, just as they did before.
I WUV CAUCUSES. Coloradans interested in caucusing on Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m. might find this guide handy; it's from the Obama campaign, as regards the Democratic caucuses, but your eyes won't burn if you otherwise are interested and look.
Read The Rest Scale: how democratic do you feel, punk?
(My favorite part is the front page warning that only people in charge will have to do math!)
[...] Then in 1984, a photo of me (along with eight or so others at the caucus) at the Dem caucus where I voted and spoke in favor of Gary Hart (and was promptly made delegate to the county convention) was on the front page of the P-I the next day (we were the closest caucus, in the Denny Regrade, to the P-I building); just lucky, I guess.
The "P-I" being the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which I'm not sure I may not have been confusing with the Seattle Times when I wrote that; the cartoon in 1980 was unquestionably the P-I, since that's where Dave Horsey is. I'm vaguely thinking now that the photo in '84 was the Times. Say, anyone have free access to the archives of both or either paper?
Incidentally, the video at the Obama caucus guide link comes across as somewhat overly in the tradition of "Our Friend, The Atom," albeit clearly intentionally. It's a tad odd, though. But don't call a mock caucus a "maucus."
ADDENDUM, 2/04/08, 11:50 p.m.: Okay, the e-mails signed by Barack, and by Michelle, seem a bit much to me. Maybe it's just me, but the tone of an e-mail that pretends to be a unique and personal one, in which the candidate allegedly knows my name, just puts me off.
WASHINGTON TAKES ACTION ON THE WRITER'S STRIKE. As much as usual, that is.
[...] Once the formalities were dispensed with, said wizards were finally given the floor, with "The Colbert Report" writers playing the sushi-loving, morally challenged members of the AMPTP ("First of all, I would like to say unequivocally that I had no idea what substance my trainer was injecting into my buttocks," said one role-player) and "The Daily Show" members portraying the insufferably intellectual, ink-stained wretches ("When the Hegelian dialectic is imposed on the current labor negotiation we're left with a kind of floating signifier. . . . What I'm trying to say is: I went to Cambridge").
"We saw 'Charlie Wilson's War' last night," said "The Colbert Report's" Peter Grosz, playing a studio suit. "We were really disappointed by the lack of strippers and hot tubs here."
Ultimately, this was a decidedly one-sided debate, with the "producers" coming off none too well: "We've reevaluated our stance on the Internet. We now believe it exists. Therefore, we are prepared to increase our offer to the writer from nothing to next-to-nothing." The WGA-ers denied charges of nerds' revenge, defended unions ("Without unions, American workers wouldn't have . . . the 40-hour workweek . . . and hilarious Dilbert cartoons") and, amid the jokes, managed to insert their reason for being there:
"This strike is obviously difficult, because we're fighting just a very small number of very powerful media companies," Tim Carvell of "The Daily Show" said. "It's almost enough to make you wish there were an organization that could -- I don't know, for want of a better word, 'legislate' restrictions on those companies and their ability to monopolize an industry."
"Well, who could do that?" asked Jason Ross, also of the "The Daily Show." "Who has that sort of power?"
"Beats me," Carvell said.
Pause for pointed looks at the lawmakers in the audience.
This was a hearing for those who are in on the joke, the ones inside the Beltway and the ones inside the story conference rooms. So everyone laughed when a man in a pink T-shirt ("The Daily Show" writer Kevin Bleyer) stood up and shouted, "I have no cause to advocate! I am just a lonely man who was not held enough as a child!"
Then Protester No. 2 ("The Colbert Report" writer Peter Gwinn), clad in a green tee, bellowed, "I call upon security to please escort the other protester from the room!" and "Ron Paul for president!" because, of course, that's what you expect on the Hill.
Things wrapped up with a Q&A from the audience. A ponytailed man wanted to know how things were going for the writers. You know, like, how broke are you?
"Have you sold your car?" he asked. "Are you burning up your savings?"
"Everyone has different means," Grosz said. Then, playing to the audience, he added, "We can't discuss what we're doing to get by. It's very . . . embarrassing."
One thing about Congress is that it's all action, and little talk. It's a shame.
But at least you can count on them to take on big corporations.
A New Zealand concern called Crop and Food Research said on its Web site that it had created a tearless onion by turning off the gene that produces the enzyme that causes a person slicing an onion to cry. It hopes it can hit the market within a decade. The breakthrough was featured in the December issue of Onion World, the international onion trade journal.
I don't know how I missed that in my original scanning of Onion World's December issue, since I read each issue avidly, but better late than another layer.
Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5 for the above, but more here and here.
Alas, the December Onion World is not yet online, but I'm sure you're as eager to get to it as I am. I'm going to miss weeping onions.