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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!)
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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.

Sunday, April 29, 2007
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? I must immediately note that viewing Shattered Glass the other night has me particularly sensitized to issues of reportorial exaggeration or fraud (not that I've ever been short of such sensitivity).

But reading this colorful piece by Jon Mooallem, full of anonymous detail, my first thought is to want a lot more information on these anonymous quotes than is provided in the piece.

This is likely an ultimately wrong suspicion, but, still, it's what one long-time journalism watcher immediately leaps to.

Maybe that's just a comment on the popular view of journalism today, or maybe it's just wackiness out of my head. Pick as you like.

Digressionary note: "Everyone at the company works 10 to 6."

Has the popular usage changed to this, from "9 to 5" while I've been out of the work force, or what? I'm really not in a position to know.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5, though I suppose more if the keywords "hookers," or "porn," lights your alert signals.

ADDENDUM, 4/30/07, 12:41 p.m.: Okay, this was a dumb slant to have taken; I hadn't finished the article when I wrote this, which was stupid, and now that I have, I'd say that I see no reason to question 98% of it, and therefore that it's reasonable to trust the editors on the remaining 2%.

So let's respin this pointer, if you would forgive me, forgetting about what I wrote before, and to a piece on the interesting mainstreaming of BDSM as represented by Kink, and what Kink is trying to do, and you can either read about that, or not.

4/29/2007 12:25:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Saturday, April 28, 2007
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "SOME" AND "THE." Familiar readers know I'm all sorts of cranky about usage, and English.

Here is another case that couldn't be more trivial on the facts, but about which I'm cranky about usage.
[...] The cremated remains of actor James Doohan, who portrayed engineer "Scotty" on "Star Trek," and of Apollo 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper soared into suborbital space Saturday aboard a rocket.
The "cremated remains."

But, as is perfectly readable a few 'graphs later:
[...] Family members paid $495 to place a few grams of their relatives' ashes on the rocket.
The crucial usage thing is that cremated people are a lot more than "a few grams." "A few grams" is just a small sample of a cremated person.

Similarly, we see from AP here:
If all goes as planned Saturday, the cremated remains of the actor who portrayed "Scotty" aboard Star Trek's starship Enterprise will sail into suborbital space aboard a rocket launched from the southern New Mexico desert.
"The cremated remains." Which means the whole remains, the complete remains. That's what those words mean in English.

But it's still only, as this story repeats, "a few grams" of ashes.

Put this kind of reporting in other terms: a major newspaper reports that "the contents of Fort Knox are being sent into orbit"; the fact turns out to be that "a few grams of gold from Fort Knox" were being sent into orbit.

Would it make a significant difference in your life if you'd offered fifty billion dollars for what was being sent up, based on the reputable first report?

The difference between "a few grams" and an entire cremated remains is that distinct, no matter that phrases such as "a few grams" normally sometimes bounce off our heads as "an appropriately small amount."

Because that's not what it means. He said crankily. A whole is not a part, and a part not a whole. It's a major concept, even if of little or no practical importance at times.

This is not remotely, in any way, shape, means, or form, substantially of the least importance. It's simply a complaint about the practices of sloppiness allowed in professional contemporary journalism.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5. Yeah, I wish I had more energy, and less depression, to blog about more important, or at least interesting, stuff, too.

4/28/2007 11:38:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Friday, April 27, 2007
AT THE LEAST, THERE ARE NO CLONES. Spider-Man 3, which opens May 4, sounds promising, as one would hope, after the good work of the first two movies, though some see flaws.

Meanwhile, you can get fake DVDs of the film on the streets of Beijing today! (What the hell, Dan Ackroyd and Tobey Maguire look so alike.)

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5, and warning for plot spoilers in a general way in the first paragraph's links.

4/27/2007 05:43:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THEY CALL ME MR. OBAMA. So Katie Couric is currently narrating a news story on Barack Obama's Chicago days, and here's the thing: she consistently calls him "Barack." "Then Barack had to...." "Now it was time for Barack to...."

And so on.

Isn't he "Senator Obama"? Or, if that's anachronistic when talking about his past life, which is fair enough, then isn't he still "Mr. Obama," or just "Obama"?

(The last is what I'd most expect.)

I don't recall seeing tv news reports all about "George." Or "John" (pick one). Or about Cheney in which he's always called "Dick."

In fact, the only national political candidate I recall ever being referred to in a hard news story, by the reporter (obviously quotes from other people are another thing entirely, and are just quotes), only by their first name, is "Hillary," which gets us into the sexism criticism when that's done. (And there's an excuse, at least, for calling each Clinton by their first name, so as to differentiate them, if you do it consistently for both of them.)

Calling Senator Obama only "Barack" seems, um, weird. And kinda on the inexcusable side.

(My eyes momentarily popped last night, while I was watching this, during which Jack Paar casually called Cassius Clay a "boy" during his interview, but that had the understandable, if still inappropriate, explanation that it was 1962; is it still 1962?)

Read The Rest Scale: nope, just me mouthing off. Here is the online version of the story, though. The text consistently calls him "Obama" where Couric consistently (except for a mention at the end) calls him "Barack."

Shattered Glass was more interesting than Paar, by the way, although the interviews with Nixon (post-defeat, 1962), Goldwater (January of 1964), and Bobby Kennedy (this last from March of 1964) were what I was curious about, and worth viewing; Liberace and Billy Graham, I skipped.

ADDENDUM, 6:58 p.m.: For more substance, this piece by Michael Hirsch on Obama's possible foreign policy is worth a read.

4/27/2007 04:50:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Friday, April 20, 2007
Since Monday, schools and colleges in at least 27 states — from Oregon to Florida — have had scares, hoaxes or lockdowns.
I know I'm somewhat oddball, but it seems clear that most people are crazy, because the incidents are all pretty much like this, or even more insubstantial and hallucinatory:
[...] A Great Falls, Mont., high school was locked down for a time Tuesday after a threatening note was found in a girls' bathroom.

A student found the threatening note at about 12:15 p.m. on a toilet paper dispenser. It stated, "the shooting would start at Great Falls High at 12:30 and it would be worse than Virginia Tech," Assistant Superintendent Dick Kuntz said. He said it was a hoax.

Washington State University's branch campus in Vancouver was evacuated because of graffiti discovered in a campus restroom that threatened harm likened to the Virginia slayings around 8 p.m., around the time a conference on the Patriot Act and the war on terror was scheduled, authorities said. The event was to be rescheduled.
Etc., etc. Most of the incidents turn out to be "reports" that are simply non-existent: pure "I heard that."

But all these schools get closed, and parents rush around like chickens with their heads cut off, "protecting" their children from hallucinations. Christ, why not just give everyone LSD, so they'd have good cause for hallucinating? Schools, and life, are no more dangerous today than they were last week.


Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

Geez, you'd think "the terrorists" would catch on, and just keep America non-stop paralyzed through an endless series of frightening notes.

Or worse, bathroom graffitti.

ADDENDUM, 4/21/07, 1:34 p.m.: More craziness: the Dean of Student Affairs at Yale has banned many weapons... from being used on stage.

This will undoubtedly protect the hordes of student actors who have been dying in such numbers on-stage in recent years.
[...] While shows will be permitted to use obviously fake plastic weapons, students said, those that hoped to stage more realistic scenes of stage violence have had to make changes to their props.


The pair then met with Trachtenberg, who initially wanted no stage weapons to be used in the show, Holdren said, though she later agreed to permit the use of obviously fake weapons.

In a speech made before last night’s opening show of “Red Noses,” Holdren said that Trachtenberg’s decision to force the production to use wooden swords instead of metal swords will do little to stem violence in the world.


Brandon Berger ’10, who plays a swordsman in the show, said the switch to an obviously fake wooden sword has changed the nature of his part from an “evil, errant knight to a petulant child.”

“They’re trying to make an appropriate gesture, but they did it in an inappropriate way — they’ve neutered the play,” he said. “The violence is important to what it actually means. What these types of actions do is very central — it is not gratuitous.”
I find these opinions threatening: lock up Brandon Berger! We can't afford not to: we need to protect the children.

ADDENDUM, 4/25/07, 8:53 a.m.: Someone at Yale has overturned the kooky weapons ban on stage, but the order of events is mildly interesting.

But over the weekend, [Dean of Student Affairs Betty] Trachtenberg, who is retiring at the end of the academic year, said student criticism of the stage weapons ban had been exaggerated.

"I think people should start thinking about other people rather than trying to feel sorry for themselves and thinking that the administration is trying to thwart their creativity," Trachtenberg said. "They're not using their own intelligence. … We have to think of the people who might be affected by seeing real-life weapons."
Oh, the horror, the horror. Just imagine the terror of paying to see a play in which someone or ones had a gun.

I know, I know, you'd probably faint. Or flee the theatre, screaming.

Let's not even discuss what might happen if someone smoked on stage.

But, then, earlier in the story, and since Trachtenberg's little lecture on the selfishness of going to a serious play and not expecting to see Henry IV wave a broom-stick, rather than something that looks like a sword:
Stage weapons will again be allowed in University theatrical productions, in a reversal of last week's ban, Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said Tuesday morning.


Klasky said the University reversed the policy because of concerns about free speech.

"As an institution that has always valued free speech, we wanted to uphold the principles that we have always adhered to," she said.


Klasky declined to name the people involved in making Monday's decision.
Apparently someone appropriately smacked the retiring Trachtenberg upside the head.

An imitation of sanity, at least, if neither comforting nor reassuring.

4/20/2007 05:29:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN. As surely as a lie flows from the mouth of a Bush Administration official, useful attempts to Protect The Kids flow from The Threat Of Campus Massacre. What's the local result? Arresting students for opinions stated in class.
A university is supposed to be a place where the expression of ideas can flow freely.

But, according to Michael Karson, whose son was arrested and suspended Tuesday on suspicion of interference with staff, faculty or students of an education institution, CU is not that type of school - at least not always.

“CU Vice Chancellor Ron Stump demonstrates that he will have students incarcerated if they discuss topics CU officials disagree with,” Michael Karson said Wednesday at his son's arraignment hearing. “CU absolutely overreacted.”


During a Tuesday class discussion about the massacre at Virginia Tech University, Karson allegedly said he understood how someone could be angry enough to kill 32 people. He also allegedly said the color of the walls and florescent lights at CU make him angry, leading many students to interpret his comments as threats.

Michael Karson claims his son uses self-referential mockery in his newsletters, and the comments made by his son Tuesday were Max's way of providing another perspective or side to the conversation.

“He was participating in a purely academic discussion,” Karson said. “He was not playing the devil's advocate, but he was simply trying to show that the shooter was not inhuman.”

According to Karson, Max was using his First Amendment right to free speech by looking for a more realistic solution or answer to what happened at Virginia Tech Monday.

Karson said so many people are concentrating on demonizing the shooter or making him out as monstrous they forget to look at the realistic aspects of the situation.
Scary stuff, eh? Clearly this deadly threat outweighs, you know, free speech, and the Constitution of the United States of America.

It's obvious why:
CU-Boulder Police Commander Brad Wiesley said there is a limit to free speech if what is being said threatens and frightens others. According to Wiesley, that's exactly what Max's comments did.

“Everyone has a clear right to an education without being threatened,” Wiesley said. “Other students (in Max's class Tuesday) didn't take his comments as honest debate, and many said that they didn't feel safe coming back to class. People have a right to an education.”
So they arrested Max Karson. And jailed him.
[...] He was released Wednesday afternoon on $1,000 bail cosigned by his father.
Well, that's perfectly fair. After all, who doesn't deserve to be arrested, imprisoned, forced to come up with bail, and suspended from school, for their observations in a classroom, if the comments make another student nervous? I say we need, however, to make students much safer, so there should be a police officer within yards of every classroom, able to be summoned to arrest an offender, as soon as a student feels nervous, and is thereby deprived of "their right to an education." You recall that that's the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, after all, don't you?

Trumping that dangerous, threatening, and obsolete "free speech" thing -- that isn't a right -- it's the "right to an education" that's so clearly stated in the Constitution that... what's that? There's no such "right" anywhere in the Constitution? The Police Commander of Boulder CU is just making complete shit up?

Oh. Never mind.
[...] Wiesley said that Max's comments are comparable to falsely yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater.

“Certainly context plays a role in this. If you think about yelling fire in a theater, people could get hurt by fleeing from something that doesn't exist,” Wiesley said. “Virginia Tech is important in how people are going to feel and react to (Max's) comments.”

Michael Karson remains loyal to his son, citing that Max had done nothing wrong.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado is on Max's side as well.

“The issue is whether the police overreacted on what was a college-class discussion, or given who Max is, it may have been a bias to begin with,” said Kathryn Hazouri, the executive director of ACLU of Colorado. “I don't care what he has done or said in the past, that's certainly protected by the First Amendment, and it shouldn't supersede in the latest issue which is based on controversy and is what the First Amendment is supposed to protect.”

“Right now we are going to concentrate on getting Max's criminal charges resolved, and hoping that the district attorney will drop all sanctions against Max,” Michael Karson said. “We still believe in the U.S. Constitution.”
Buncha wackos. What do they teach in universities these days? Doesn't anyone know about their "right to an education" and that freedom to utter an opinion doesn't exist any more? Don't they know that 9/11 changed everything?

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5. The Colorado Daily also has a sane editorial here.

Here is the original story of Max Karson's arrest and jailing. (Good thing he was locked up: he might have said something else, otherwise, and the campus could conceivably have suffered mass death as a result.)

ADDENDUM, 2:13 p.m.: Here is a scanty AP report that went out yesterday.

I should probably mention that Max Karson has a history of pushing authorities on the First Amendment, but regardless of his sense of taste, or what sort of person he is, both of which are irrelevant to free speech, I'd applaud him for that.

ADDENDUM, 2:20 p.m.: I should emphasize that Karson is still awaiting trial for his heinous crime.
[...] Michael Karson, a professor at the University of Denver, said he expected his son's charges to be dropped when he appeared before Boulder County Judge Noel E. Blum. Instead, he was officially charged Wednesday with "interference with staff, faculty or students of an educational institution" and ordered to stay away from alcohol, drugs, weapons and the CU campus — unless he's meeting with officials for a judicial-affairs review of his case.

Blum warned Max Karson that now is not the time to push the envelope.

"You don't want to test me on that," Blum said.


A prosecutor on Wednesday argued that Max Karson should be kept in jail because he's a danger to his fellow students. An attorney representing him, though, argued the student should be let out without having to pay a bond because he's never been arrested before, he's not a flight risk and he's not dangerous.

"He was engaging in an intellectual discussion in class," attorney Daniel Williams told the court.

Multiple students in a 9:30 a.m. class told officers they felt threatened by comments he made Tuesday, according to a police report.

A professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication told officers that Max Karson is "a student whom the department has had multiple problems with," adding that he "threatened his classmates," police said.

His arrest report gives the following account of the incident:

The 30 students were discussing the Virginia Tech massacre, and things became "heated" when Max Karson "claimed to understand what would drive someone to kill, especially on a college campus."

He added that "He was admittedly angry about the 'mindless droves' on campus."

When discussion shifted to ways to prevent similar events, he talked about the "faults of the 'institution' and how someone could be driven to kill 32 people because of the injustices of universities."

Karson's father said his son was only trying to argue against the demonization of the Virginia Tech shooter.

"It's comforting to think he was possessed, but Max was just saying we're all capable," Michael Karson said.

Ellen Dubreuil, 22, said she was with the student Tuesday when Vice Chancellor Ron Stump called his cell phone and asked him to come in for a meeting.

After Max Karson left the vice chancellor's office, Dubreuil said he was met by two men who handcuffed him and took him away for questioning.
Given that this is all local, does anyone have any questions for any of the characters involved that they'd like me to try to get answered on the phone, or in person?

I'm a tad unconvinced that Max Karson, whatever his pros and cons, is likely to snap and go on a shooting rampage, based on what I've read. You?

Oh, and one of the comments left on this Daily Camera (the Boulder local non-campus paper) story is apt:
I'm real scared of the multiple students who get scared so easily and who obviously desire a milquetoast nanny-state existence where there are no 'bad' or 'mean' words. Can I have them arrested and incarcerated until they grow spines?
Presumably the "right to an education" includes this necessary safety measure.

ADDENDUM, 2:53 p.m.: More detail in today's story (registration required):
Most of Max Karson's classmates in a women's-studies course at the University of Colorado reconvened Thursday, two days after the junior was jailed for comments about being "angry enough to kill."

But where Karson would have sat, there was an empty seat. And there was an officer in the room, police said.

"One detective was there in case there were questions," CU police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said. "They had a brief discussion, and that was helpful for everyone."
My recommended policy of a police officer for every class room is well on its way to full implementation!
[...] Karson's father said his son — who circulates an underground publication called The Yeti on the campus — never directly threatened any students and wouldn't harm anyone. But Wiesley said Karson's intentions don't matter because students felt threatened and said they were afraid to come to class.

"His words were taken as a threat of force or violence, and people said, 'I'm not coming to class. I'm scared,'" Wiesley said. "So that impeded their education."

Among Karson's controversial comments Tuesday, Wiesley said, was one that directly answered another student's question of, "Are you going to do something Thursday?"

"He said, 'Well, not necessarily this Thursday,'" Wiesley said. "Do you take a chance on coming back to class?"

With Karson banned from the campus, most of the students were back in their seats Thursday, and a class field trip in Denver this weekend should happen as planned, Wiesley said.

"We went from most people not coming to most people showing up," he said. "Now they can get the education they came here for, and that's a good thing."
Fer sure!

And the truly wise have weighed in:
[...] CNN television personality Nancy Grace weighed in on the Karson case Thursday night.

After introducing Karson as a CU student who "says he sympathized with the V-Tech killer," Grace asked a woman whose daughter attends the Virginia school what she thought about Karson's statements.

"Let's take him 100-percent seriously and give him zero tolerance," the woman said. "We cannot afford another tragedy like this."
Clearly, then, we should lock up this woman: she might snap. Zero tolerance! We must be safe!

Incidentally, I'm relieved to know that we have a revolutionary "underground" in Boulder, and that Karson's publication is part of it. Who knew?

If you publish something, and students read it, it's not just a non-official publication, it's part of the "underground."

4/20/2007 12:28:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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DIGNITY AT THE WHITE HOUSE RESTORED. This, via Dahlia Lithwick, is a chart by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, comparing the protocol in the Clinton White House and Department of Justice, as to how many people were authorized to inquire to how many people at Justice regarding ongoing criminal investigations (four in the WH to three at DoJ), to the protocol for same at the Bush White House.
If you're impatient with counting, that's alleged to be 417 people in the Bush White House.

Clearly this is more efficient, superior, and far less political than the dishonest, traitorous, smut-lusted, hippie Clinton Administration.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5.

4/20/2007 10:41:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
SOME OF MY OTHER FRIENDS HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF RHYTHM. And my gay friends have such taste. That's all I'm trying to say.
Republican presidential candidate Tommy Thompson told a Jewish group Monday that earning money is "part of the Jewish tradition," a remark for which he later apologized.

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Thompson told the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."
We're so pleased you approve.
Later, he added: "I just want to clarify something because I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things.
No, no, you're actually talking about... what?
[...] What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."
Makes perfect sense; Moses and the Torah are about nothing if not how to do good business; that's what Judaism is all about.

Also, for the best tax advice, consult a rabbi.

But, wait, that's not all Tommy Thompson was talking about!
[...] Asked about the comments, Thompson spokesman Tony Jewell said the former Wisconsin governor, who is Catholic, was sorry.

"Governor Thompson recognizes he misspoke in his remarks to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and is very apologetic, especially given his strong relationship with the Jewish community in the United States and Israel," Jewell said in a telephone interview.
How do you just wander into accidentally saying this stuff -- that stuff that's doesn't "infer or imply anything about Jews and finances" -- anyway?

As always, the classic gaffe is saying what you think.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 11:58 p.m.: Turns out Thompson also assured everyone that he was a big supporter of "Jewish bonds" (Israel Bonds), and many times noted that he had many Jewish friends, which is certainly grand to know. Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz's U.S. correspondent offers tips:
[...] 3.
Saying again and again that you have Jewish friends - also not good. Jews don't like to be reminded constantly that people of other religions are self-conscious whenever they talk to someone who happens to be Jewish.

Israel might be the Jewish state, but there are no Jewish bonds, only Israeli bonds. American Jews will not appreciate the misconception that everything Jewish is Israeli and vice versa.

Jews in America are generally liberal, and those associated with RAC are even more so. Mentioning Israeli politicians whom one has met can be a good thing, but Benjamin Netanyahu might not be your best choice to name-drop.

And the same can be said about American groups associated with Rabbi Meir Kahane. If you have had any contact with them, don't brag about it, not here.

People will appreciate support for Israel if you convey the sense that you knows what you're talking about (Churchill was not a leader of the Israeli region).
Who knew?

ADDENDUM, 4/18/07, 2:15 a.m.: Original story.

4/17/2007 07:27:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Friday, April 13, 2007
RASHOMON HISTORY. This is the caption:
[...] At issue in the Yad Vashem-Vatican dispute is a photograph of Pius in Yad Vashem's museum in Jerusalem with the caption: "Even when reports about the murder of Jews reached the Vatican, the pope did not protest," refusing to sign a 1942 Allied condemnation of the massacre of Jews during World War II.

Pius "maintained his neutral position" with two exceptions, the caption reads, criticizing "his silence and absence of guidelines." The exceptions were appeals to the rulers of Hungary and Slovakia toward the end of the war, the caption says.

The Vatican's ambassador to Israel, Monsignor Antonio Franco, confirmed Thursday that he would not attend Yad Vashem's annual memorial service for Holocaust victims next week because of the Pius photograph.
The explanation is:
[...] Franco said in his letter to Yad Vashem that he found the Pius XII caption offensive to Catholics.

"I respect the memory of the martyrs of the Holocaust but also the memory of the pope," he said. "The right of one does not infringe on the right of the other."
Could someone explain this to me? Is there some error in the caption? Something untrue, some distortion, some unfairness?

Because the pope isn't entitled to have the facts changed because of respect for him. So that isn't an answer. What's actually wrong about the caption?

The story also gives this quote:
[...] In Rome, the Rev. Peter Gumpel, who is spearheading Pius' sainthood cause, said he was "shocked" by Yad Vashem's portrayal of Pius.

He maintained that historians "say they find it difficult to understand how people can say that Pope Pius XII did nothing for the Jews. To present him now this way, I find it very difficult to understand."
But I'm still ignorant of what's incorrect about the caption. Anyone?

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 4/19/07, 5:16 p.m.: At the last minute, the Archbishop, without comment, changed his mind, and attended the memorial (see last paragraph); so that's something, at least.

4/13/2007 01:17:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Thursday, April 12, 2007
GOOGLEWHACK. Remarkably, at the moment, a search for a certain two short sentences gives this result:
Your search - "Kurt Vonnegut died. So it goes." - did not match any documents.
I was figuring it would be the most cliche way to mark the event.

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 6:00 p.m.: A check on Google Blogsearch within a few minutes after posting this got the result of:
Sorted by relevance Sort by date
GOOGLEWHACK. Remarkably, at the moment, a search ...
6 minutes ago by Gary Farber
And eight other bloggers did use it so far. So a few people did think of it, but only an infinitesimal fraction of the number I thought would.

4/12/2007 04:53:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007
GIVE'M WHAT THEY WANT. Timothy Noah has a long list of offensive statements by Don Imus that goes far beyond anything I've yet seen anywhere else.

Just a few of the lesser-seen gems; you can find source links at Noah's piece:
"William Cohen, the Mandingo deal." (Former Defense Secretary Cohen's wife is African-American.)

"Wasn't in a woodpile, was he?" (Responding to news that former black militant H. Rap Brown, subsequently known as Abdullah Al-Amin, was found hiding in a shed in Alabama after exchanging gunfire with police. Imus is here alluding to the expression "nigger in the woodpile.")


"We all have 12-inch penises." (After being asked what he has in common with Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Latrell Sprewell from the New York Knicks, and Al Sharpton.)


"I remember when I first had [the Blind Boys of Alabama] on a few years ago, how the Jewish management at whatever, whoever we work for, CBS, or whatever it is, were bitching at me about it. […] I tried to put it in terms that these money-grubbing bastards could understand."

"Boner-nosed … beanie-wearing Jewboy." (Description of Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, a frequent guest.)


"That buck-tooth witch Satan, Hillary Clinton." […] "I never admitted it when I went down there and got in all that big jam, insulting Bill Clinton and his fat ugly wife, Satan. Did I? Did I ever say I was sorry for that?"


"Old Kabuki's in a coma and the market's going up. […] How old is the boy? The battery's running down on that boy." (Reference to Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who died the following week.)


"The enormously attractive [NBC political correspondent] Chip Reid, I can say without being accused of being some limp-wristed 'mo."
There's lots more!

Oh, and producer McGuirk? Imus made an...
[...] admission the previous year on CBS News' 60 Minutes that he'd once told a colleague he hired producer Bernard McGuirk to tell "nigger" jokes. ("That was an off-the-record conversation," Imus protested to Mike Wallace.)
Tsk, tsk, Mike Wallace.

Of course, that ended Imus' career in 1998, as we all recall.

Read The Rest Scale: as you care. This includes the transcript and audio of Clarence Page's ambushing Imus to make his pledge, back in 2001:
CLARENCE PAGE: Are you raising your hand, right?

DON IMUS: I have it up.

CLARENCE PAGE: Okay. Okay, number one -- I, Don Imus--

DON IMUS: I, Don Imus--

CLARENCE PAGE: -- do solemnly swear--

DON IMUS: Do solemnly swear--

CLARENCE PAGE: -- that I will promise to cease all simian references black athletes--

DON IMUS: That I will promise to cease all simian references to back--black athletes--

CLARENCE PAGE: -- a ban on all references to non-criminal blacks as thugs, pimps, muggers and Colt 45 drinkers--

DON IMUS: I promise to do that.

CLARENCE PAGE: Very good! How about an end to Amos 'n Andy cuts, comparison of New York City to Mogadishu, and all parodies of black voices unless they are done by a black person, cause you're really not very good at it.
Later came:
[...] MIKE WALLACE: You told Tom ANDERSON, the producer, in your car coming home that Bernard McGuirk is there to do "nigger" jokes.

DON IMUS: Well I've n-- I never use that word.


TOM ANDERSON: I'm right here.

DON IMUS: Did I use that word?

TOM ANDERSON: I recall you using that word.

DON IMUS: Oh, okay, well then I used that word, but I mean-- of course that was an off the record conversation-- [LAUGHTER]

MIKE WALLACE: The hell it was!

BROOKE GLADSTONE: It drives PHILIP Nobile to distraction that Imus can admit to using that word on 60 Minutes and Larry King's show and suffer no consequences.

PHILIP NOBILE: You can never under-estimate the lack of intellectual honesty of America's media establishment.
Ya think?

4/10/2007 05:15:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Monday, April 09, 2007
NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR LARRY "BUD" MELMAN, but Barack Obama will be on David Letterman tonight, by the way.

Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5.

4/09/2007 05:07:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Sunday, April 08, 2007
HELLO, EDITOR? From an otherwise in no way significant, not all that fascinating -- but longish -- NY Times Magazine piece on today's kid tv, a couple of Nickelodeon's new shows, and the executive responsible, a former teen star on “Head of the Class" (a show I never really watched, I'm afraid, not having been a teen for quite some time when it was on, and never having seen a teen school tv show that I didn't find retch-worthy, in any case), comes this factoid:
[...] It’s old news, though, that kids these days spend lots of time online; what’s more eye-catching — indeed, almost counterintuitive — is that they also manage to watch on average about two and a half hours more TV today than they did a decade ago.
That could be interesting. If we had even the faintest clue of context as to whether that's, you know, two and a half hours more per day, per week, per month, per year, per fortnight, per every third Tuesday, or, you know, anything that would give it meaning.

But you don't have to trust that I quoted every relevant word, and that there's no further context: see for yourself, if you like (or do just trust me).

This has been a Where's The Editor? Moment. Whether a copyeditor, or any other kind of editor, it doesn't matter: in a long piece in a venue that prestigious, something like that should be caught, and painlessly killed. Feh.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5, though if you have kids, or are a kid, or are fascinated by behind-the-scenes-of-tv, perhaps more.

4/08/2007 03:25:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, April 07, 2007
I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE, MY NAME IS RUDY. The incoherencies abound here, but one truly has to marvel at this one:
At a house party in New Hampshire, Mr. Giuliani suggested that it was unclear which was farther along, Iran or North Korea, in the development of a nuclear weapons program.
But, hey, that's not all! In just one very short article, Marc Santora tells us that Rudy also declared in South Carolina this week:
[...] At a house party in New Hampshire on Monday, he said the United States would most likely be fighting in Iraq for a long time, “unless there is some kind of miracle.” He attacked the “dangerous and irresponsible” Democratic effort for a withdrawal timetable.

And speaking at a high school in St. Petersburg, Fla., he maintained that the struggle would be over only “when they stop planning to come here and kill us.”
Why do they want to do that?
[...] As for Iran, Mr. Giuliani said that “in the long term,” it might be “more dangerous than Iraq.”

He then casually lumped Iran with Al Qaeda. “Their movement has already displayed more aggressive tendencies by coming here and killing us,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani was asked in an interview to clarify that, inasmuch as Iran had no connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. Further, most of its people are Shiites, whereas Al Qaeda is an organization of Sunnis.

“They have a similar objective,” he replied, “in their anger at the modern world.”

In other words, he said, they hate America.
What the hell, all those swarthy, Muslim-type people, and their "movement," are all the same. Why don't we just nuke Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Mideast (excepting Israel, of course), and get it over with? After all, the "war" will only end when they stop hatin' on us, and "they" never will, so long as modernity exists ("they" are doubtless against post-modernism, as well). We must therefore fight on in Iraq, and elsewhere, forever!

Trust Rudy to run that fight for at least eight years: he's the man with the courage and skill it took to throw Yasir Arafat out of Lincoln Center, so he's clearly most qualified.

Man, anyone who votes for this guy has to be even dumber than the people who voted for G. W. Bush or Ronald Reagan.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5. I didn't even mention “I haven’t been to Guantánamo. I can’t judge Guantánamo.”

ADDENDUM, 8/08/07, 8:04 a.m.: Nice dissection of the crazy Bernie Kerik nomination for Secretary of Homeland Security (I still can't write those two words without thinking when did we become German?); a fine and typical example of Rudy's judgment.

4/07/2007 06:30:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Monday, April 02, 2007
DRUNK AMISH CHICKS; we need more stories about them.
It's Friday night at Twister's. Tina launches the evening with a tallboy of Sparks. Customers eyeball her white bonnet and shin-grazing dress as she sips from her can of malt liquor and caffeine. She's used to the gawking. Impolite scrutiny comes with being Amish.

"Everyone stares at you," she says. "It's not very fun, but I just ignore it."

Besides, Tina's on a mission to get tanked. No amount of rubbernecking can stop her.
I'd not considered this particular fact before:
[...] June was first pinched at 17. She and her friends had killed a six-pack before hopping in a buggy to buy more. They noticed a cop trailing them and stuffed their mouths with Listerine strips just before they were pulled over. It was no use. Everyone was forced to take a field sobriety test. June failed miserably. The cop delivered her home.

Tina was once cruising around town with her cousins when one accidentally dropped a 12 of Bud into the street. They were instantly pulled over. "They'd been trailing us for a while," Tina says. "I wasn't even drunk, but they're always following buggies around."

Locher wags his head in agreement. "You'll never see a buggy parked in front of a bar," he says. "They're instant targets."

Former Chardon Municipal Court Judge Craig Albert admits as much, but cites safety as the reason. "The car will go right into a ditch," Albert says. "But the horses will go right through an intersection. These kids will get in their buggies and pass out and just let the horses head home on their own."
It seems to me that drunken buggy-riding is still probably generally safer than drunken car-driving, but whadda I know?

Read The Rest Scale: 2.75 out of 5 as curious.

4/02/2007 09:28:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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