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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

You Like Me, You Really Like Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Hilzoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Virginia Postrel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Recommended for the discerning reader.
-- Tim Blair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogroll is Always In Progress:

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

Friday, February 27, 2009
A former top-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency was sentenced Thursday to 37 months in prison for defrauding the government by steering a clandestine contract to a military contractor who was a close friend.

The official, Kyle D. Foggo, was the executive director at the C.I.A. from 2004 to 2006. In that position, Mr. Foggo directed the agency’s administrative operations and budget, including some of its outside contracts.

Prosecutors said Mr. Foggo used that job to ensure the awarding of lucrative contracts to Brent R. Wilkes, a San Diego businessman and childhood friend, who in return took Mr. Foggo on expensive vacations, paid for his meals at exclusive restaurants and offered him a job after he retired.

Mr. Foggo pleaded guilty in September to a single count of wire fraud. Under an agreement with the government, he could not be sentenced to more than 37 months, the exact prison term handed down by Judge James C. Cacheris of Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va.

Mr. Foggo is the highest-ranking C.I.A. official to be convicted of a crime.
I first wrote about Dusty Foggo in May of 2006, and again in August, 2006.

Enjoy your stay, Dusty. What a fine choice of Republican incompetent Porter Goss you were.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

2/27/2009 04:32:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' THREE LAWS. Gosh, Skynet Research's new robots are kewl and awesome! They'll be ever so much help to us all!

Skynet is the future! Remember:
We know that there are frequent claims by start-up companies that they are the ones to watch. The past is littered with the exploded infrastructures of competitors that were here one day and gone the next. You can rest assured that Skynet is committed to the present with an eye on what is coming over the horizon. Our revolutionary AI innovations and complex systems management programs are a solid base that you can count on being around today, tomorrow and fifty years from now. Skynet is the future!
Their synergistic mission-critical metrics will be the paradigm for outside the box repurposing empowerment solutions!

Read The Rest Scale: 3 bots out of 5.

Bonus link: Star Trek's "The Cage" in Legos.

Bonus bonus: Battlestar Galactica drinks.

2/27/2009 01:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, February 26, 2009
NOW PLEASE STFU. Can we finally stop hearing about the nefarious Democratic plot to return the Fairness Doctrine now? Please?
The Senate voted Thursday in favor of an amendment to the District of Columbia voting-rights bill that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which critics say would decimate conservative talk radio.

The Senate passed the measure 87-11.


The amendment, sponsored by Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman John Thune (S.D.), would block the FCC from reviving equal-time requirements by enacting the Broadcaster Freedom Act.

Specifically, it would prohibit the agency from forcing broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on “controversial issues of public importance.”
The Fairness Doctrine won't be returning. Not under another name, not at all. It's just a lie being told to you conservatives by the usual rabble-rousers who make their money off of keeping you alarmed and fearful.

Not that I expect you to believe me.

But you should.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

2/26/2009 08:19:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
GOODBYE TO KILGORE TROUT, and the man who explained how Tarzan was related to Doc Savage, the great writer Philip Jose Farmer.

Farmer wrote innumerable original creations, but also created -- or found -- the elaborate linkages of the Wold Newton family:
[...] The progeny of these travellers were purported to have been the real-life originals of fictionalised characters, both heroic and villainous, over the last few hundred years, such as Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, and Lord Peter Wimsey.

Other popular characters that Philip José Farmer concluded were members of the Wold Newton mutant family include: Solomon Kane; Captain Blood; The Scarlet Pimpernel; Sherlock Holmes's nemesis Professor Moriarty; Phileas Fogg; The Time Traveller (main character of The Time Machine by H. G. Wells); Allan Quatermain; A.J. Raffles; Professor Challenger; Richard Hannay; Bulldog Drummond; the evil Fu Manchu and his adversary, Sir Denis Nayland Smith; G-8; The Shadow; Sam Spade; Doc Savage's cousin Patricia Savage, and one of his five assistants, Monk Mayfair; The Spider; Nero Wolfe; Mr. Moto; The Avenger; Philip Marlowe; James Bond; Lew Archer; Travis McGee; Monsieur Lecoq; and Arsène Lupin.
Regrettably, I'm still in great pain from costochondritis, and not up to a lengthier appreciation of Phil Farmer, but the creator of Riverworld, of the World of Tiers, the winner of the Hugo for "most promising new writer" of 1953, the first science fiction writer who frankly addressed sex, a man who played in more fictional universes than I could list, was truly one of the greats of the field.

Philip Jose Farmer was 91

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 2/27/09, 7:06 a.m.: Excellent NY Times obit by Gerald Jonas, which quotes from Dick Geis' Science Fiction Review of the early Seventies that some of us remember fondly.

Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5.

2/25/2009 04:21:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
[...] In Cook County in Illinois, which includes Chicago, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart directed a lawyer to review all eviction orders to protect people who kept on paying rent after the buildings where they lived had been seized by banks. In Butler County in Ohio, Sheriff Richard K. Jones ordered his deputies not to evict people who had no place else to go.

“This is a cold place in the winter and I will not give people a death sentence for not paying their debts,” Sheriff Jones said in an interview. “These are human beings, responsible middle-class people who fell on hard times, and I just can’t toss them out onto the streets.”
Italics mine.

Irresponsible, poor, lower class, people, though, deserve to be homeless. We can toss them out onto the street.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 2/18/09, 7:54 a.m.: On a related note, it isn't only the young who have to self-diagnose and take care of their own health care this way, but anyone who is poor and without health insurance in America.

2/17/2009 03:13:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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HOUSTON — The fireball that streaked across the Texas sky and appeared to dive toward earth over the weekend remained a mystery on Monday after the military said the event had nothing to do with a collision of satellites last week and did not seem to involve an artificial satellite coming down.


Whatever it was, the fireball on Sunday caused great consternation and wonder across Central Texas. Dozens of people called the police to report sonic booms and a bright fireball plunging toward the ground around 11 a.m.

In Williamson County, north of Austin, so many callers were convinced that the plummeting light was a burning aircraft that the sheriff’s office dispatched a helicopter and several patrol cars to look for debris.

“No one said they saw it crash,” said a spokesman, Detective John Foster. “But it looked like it was going down; it was approaching the earth.”


Whether artificial or not, he said, the object was bigger than an ordinary shooting star. Smaller meteors cannot be seen during the day, and they do not have such a long tail.

One astronomer at the University of North Texas, Ron Dilulio, told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the object had to be the size of a pickup truck to remain visible, as it did, for several seconds.

Some witnesses compared the fireball’s brightness to the sun. Others swore it was a plane on fire. The ball of light flared up at least twice on its descent, which lasted five to seven seconds, according to an amateur video posted on the Internet.

“I saw a ball of fire with a fire streaming out of the back of it — I thought it was a plane crashing at first,” said Doug Schmidt, an engineer from Richardson, a suburb north of Dallas. “Just before it disappeared, I saw a little flash of light.”
Texans should keep an eye out for blobs, body snatchers, and other aliens.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

2/17/2009 09:56:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chris Dodd:
[...] A shot of black limousines gliding up to Capitol Hill sets the stage for one of the most dramatic moments in the narrative, the Sept. 18 meeting in which Mr. Paulson warned Congressional leaders that without a huge bailout, the financial system would melt down. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, recalls the meeting: “There was literally a pause in that room where the oxygen left.”
And that's how we tragically lost so many Senators to suffocation on September 18th, a date we'll never forget. A nation mourns in tears.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5. Oh no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was literalism killed the Senators.


2/15/2009 09:12:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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You just didn't realize it:
[...] The F.D.A. actually condones a certain percentage of “natural contaminants” in our food supply — meaning, among other things, bugs, mold, rodent hairs and maggots.

In its (falsely) reassuringly subtitled booklet “The Food Defect Action Levels: Levels of Natural or Unavoidable Defects in Foods That Present No Health Hazards for Humans,” the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition establishes acceptable levels of such “defects” for a range of foods products, from allspice to peanut butter.

Among the booklet’s list of allowable defects are “insect filth,” “rodent filth” (both hair and excreta pellets), “mold,” “insects,” “mammalian excreta,” “rot,” “insects and larvae” (which is to say, maggots), “insects and mites,” “insects and insect eggs,” “drosophila fly,” “sand and grit,” “parasites,” “mildew” and “foreign matter” (which includes “objectionable” items like “sticks, stones, burlap bagging, cigarette butts, etc.”).

Tomato juice, for example, may average “10 or more fly eggs per 100 grams [the equivalent of a small juice glass] or five or more fly eggs and one or more maggots.” Tomato paste and other pizza sauces are allowed a denser infestation — 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams or 15 or more fly eggs and one or more maggots per 100 grams.

Canned mushrooms may have “over 20 or more maggots of any size per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid” or “five or more maggots two millimeters or longer per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid” or an “average of 75 mites” before provoking action by the F.D.A.

The sauerkraut on your hot dog may average up to 50 thrips. And when washing down those tiny, slender, winged bugs with a sip of beer, you might consider that just 10 grams of hops could have as many as 2,500 plant lice. Yum.

Giving new meaning to the idea of spicing up one’s food, curry powder is allowed 100 or more bug bits per 25 grams; ground thyme up to 925 insect fragments per 10 grams; ground pepper up to 475 insect parts per 50 grams. One small shaker of cinnamon could have more than 20 rodent hairs before being considered defective.

Peanut butter — that culinary cause célèbre — may contain approximately 145 bug parts for an 18-ounce jar; or five or more rodent hairs for that same jar; or more than 125 milligrams of grit.

In case you’re curious: you’re probably ingesting one to two pounds of flies, maggots and mites each year without knowing it, a quantity of insects that clearly does not cut the mustard, even as insects may well be in the mustard.
But, hey: it isn't really bad for you; why be so fussy about mere aesthetics?

Of course, we could lobby the Obama administration and Congress to tighten the standards on fly eggs, maggots, and rodent hairs, but: mmmm, rodent hairs!

Read The Rest Scale: 2.75 out of 5.

I'm tempted to hire the law firm of Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, and sue.

P.S.: Coraline the movie = most excellent. Don't miss the 3D version!

Although there are, you know, insects. And eating of them.

It's a shame, though, that there couldn't have been a Grateful Dead song in the soundtrack; what a long strange thrip that would have been.

Can I work a theme, or what?

2/15/2009 01:07:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Saturday, February 14, 2009
FACEBOOK and the book on my body. I have absolutely no idea why yesterday it disabled my account, and won't respond to questions why, and won't respond at all.

You're told to ask for an explanation why by writing to this address -- -- and this is the only response I've gotten, a single time, in response to multiple queries from me:
[] Sorry, I couldn't find any host by that name. (#4.1.2) I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long.
Very helpful. (And that one was because I typoed the address.)

ADDENDUM: 2/14/09: Facebook members can join this group. Thanks if you do!

I'm also suffering from a problem with my virus protection program, which may be related to the Facebook problem, or completely unrelated; I can't say for now.

And lastly, thanks to reader Brett Thomas for pointing out that the latest ailment I've been suffering severe pain with this past week (and occasionally to much lesser degrees before) appears to be Costochondritis. It's nice to have a name to add to my various other syndromes, even if there's not much to be done for it.

Oh, and conveniently, the local clinic-for-the-poor which only gives appointments 6-7 weeks in advance called on Friday to say they were cancelling my appointment, which was to be my first, which they'd already cancelled once before, which I've been trying to get fulfilled for some six months now, and I should call again Monday to reschedule.

Of course, the alternative is I could once again go the Emergency Room, and once again be charged around $1200. I'm starting to think it would be worth it just to get some hydrocodone, rather than just Aleve or other non-prescription painkiller, though, for the combination of Costochondritis, gout, and toothache.

ADDENDUM, 2/16/09, 4:32 p.m.: Facebook giveth, Facebook taketh away.

A lot of people are complaining. It sucks. And I haven't done any of these things.

2/14/2009 04:06:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 5 comments

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Friday, February 13, 2009
THE MOST BORING STATUS STUFF. I still have a very nasty torn set of muscles in the front and side of my chest and my back, and every time I sneeze or cough it gets worse.

This hurts like hell. The gout has also been acting up a lot, as have the bad teeth.

The medical clinic that makes appointments only 2 months in advance has now canceled on me for the third time; I've been trying to see them since early last fall, after months simply unable to reach them by phone, and now have to call to reschedule yet again, following their message today that they wouldn't be in the office next Teusday anyway..

Facebook mysteriously disabled my account last night for no apparent reason, and hasn't responded to repeated requests for an explanation.

My virus protection software program, AVG, has broken down again, and the only way I can currently access the internet is to have it turned off, while I try to figure out how to fix it. Reinstallation hasn't helped so far.

Life otherwise has a lot of suckitude, and not nearly enough love. Me, I'm full of love, but amn't doing well at finding it the way I'd like to.

More later when I can.

2/13/2009 09:19:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 4 comments

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Monday, February 09, 2009
LARRY NIVEN GOT IT RIGHT. Even without the teleport booths.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. It turns out flash many-to-many communications is sufficient.

2/09/2009 02:15:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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I AM EVER MORE DECREPIT. The reason I've been silent this past week has pretty much been a combination of nasty toothache with a horrible pulled muscle in my chest/back, which has been causing awful pain since, along with resulting in my being forced into a version of Dr. Roboto.

Plus the depression and sadness has been acting up again.

Sorry about all that; we hope to be back to more blogging Real Soon Now. I sure wish it were easier to get some prescription painkillers.

For various reasons, if anyone feels so moved, this would be a good time for donations, too.

2/09/2009 01:32:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Without quite the drama of Alexander Graham Bell calling out, “Mr. Watson, come here!” or the charm of the original “Star Trek” television show, scientists have nonetheless achieved a milestone in communication: teleporting the quantum identity of one atom to another a few feet away.

The contraption is a Rube Goldberg-esque mix of vacuum chambers, fiber optics, lasers and semitransparent beam splitters in a laboratory at the Joint Quantum Institute in Maryland.
Small details to work on:
[...] The method is not particularly practical at the moment, because it fails almost all of the time. Only 1 of every 100 million teleportation attempts succeed, requiring 10 minutes to transfer one bit of quantum information.

“We need to work on that,” Dr. Monroe said.
Hey, one quantum step at a time. We have to work up to drunken quantum teleporting of this quality:
It is normally a moment of cheery reassurance when an airline pilot greets passengers during preparations for take-off. But Alexander Cheplevsky sparked panic on flight Aeroflot 315 when he began to speak.

His slurred and garbled comments ahead of a flight from Moscow to New York convinced passengers that he was drunk. When he apparently switched from Russian into unintelligible English, fear turned to revolt.

Flight attendants initially ignored passengers' complaints and threatened to expel them from the Boeing 767 jet unless they stopped "making trouble". As the rebellion spread, Aeroflot representatives boarded the aircraft to try to calm down the 300 passengers.

One sought to reassure them by announcing that it was "not such a big deal" if the pilot was drunk because the aircraft practically flew itself.
Hey, no problem, then!
[...] "At first, he was looking at us like we were crazy. Then, when we wouldn't back down, he said 'I'll sit here quietly in a corner. We have three more pilots. I won't even touch the controls, I promise'."
Drunken quantum teleporting will be even more fun!

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 charms. Elsewhere in science, Greg Benford proposes one approach to CO2.

2/03/2009 04:09:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Monday, February 02, 2009
GOOGLE EARTH. Now with added water.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 drips out of 5.

2/02/2009 09:40:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Sunday, February 01, 2009
IT'S LIKE WE WERE SEPARATED AT BIRTH. Samuel Johnson and me, that is:
[...] Their hero is poor, sensitive, and mocked for his dirty clothes and strange mannerisms. Overwhelmed by insomnia and guilt, he was also plagued (according to the medical diary he kept in Latin) by flatulence, rheumatism, asthma, palsy, dropsy and gout.
I've got, er, some of those!

Here's another thought:
[...] We tend to go to past authors looking for kinds of writing that remain familiar today: single-authored, volume-length, recognizably literary works, especially novels. But Johnson’s “Rasselas” (1759), an “Oriental tale” whose poly­syllabic pomposity disappointed the young Jane Eyre, is the worst place for readers unacquainted with Johnson to start. His best work was topical, collaborative, and either journalistic (especially the twice-weekly essay-periodicals like The Rambler, which he turned out as regularly as any blogger) or editorial (whether in the form of compilations, abridgments, translations or even a library catalog).
So, in other words, his best work was that which is like blogging, journaling, commenting on the internet, and quoting and commenting on the work of others.

Me, too! We're like twins!

This is also an intriguing passage:
[...] A prolific ghostwriter (both for love and for money) and an easy touch for any friend who wanted a loan, a prologue or a preface, Johnson spent much of his time eating with friends younger (and, as Meyers oddly details, shorter) than he. He formed a club with painters like Reynolds, political thinkers like Burke and writers like Goldsmith; his house sheltered a motley crew of dependents including a former prostitute, a blind poetess and Francis Barber, a boy who had been a slave in Jamaica and ended up being Johnson’s heir.
I must remember to eat only with people shorter than me.

Although that would make for a smallish club.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.75 out of 5, depending on interest; better to read Boswell.

2/01/2009 03:21:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Opera that's moving beyond words.

Lots more puppet Star Trek here.

View The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5. This could so work on the big stage. It's timeless. Partially via Mike Glyer.

Also, new Star Trek movie SuperBowl ad:
I don't really see Jim Kirk talking in the vernacular of a couple of centuries ago, with "man." That's like someone today saying "prithee."

2/01/2009 12:45:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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