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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, May 30, 2008
MORE BLOGGING TEMPORARILY DELAYED on account of current return of fairly distracting recurring gout attacks.

Management hopes to see this pass in another day or three. We apologize for the lack of posts, and have sacked the person responsible for inventing gout.

5/30/2008 01:15:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Without arguing about numbers, Memorial Day.

Memorial Day.

Memorial Day:


Read The Rest Scale: yes.

5/26/2008 12:15:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, May 22, 2008
THE NEW HARRISON FORD MOVIE ISN'T as painful as you've heard.

I hope the other new one is even better, though.

View The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5; his role in Apocalypse Now was hairier. And don't forget to practice your whip technique. Also, whatever happened to Karen Allen?

I've read this much of Roger's review, and then averted my eyes until tomorrow, when I saw mild spoilers coming later in the review: be warned!
[...] The very title causes the pulse to quicken, if you, like me, are a lover of pulp fiction. What I want is goofy action--lots of it. I want man-eating ants, swordfights between two people balanced on the backs of speeding jeeps, subterranean caverns of gold, vicious femme fatales, plunges down three waterfalls in a row, and the explanation for flying saucers. And throw in lots of monkeys.
It is as it shall be!

ADDENDUM: 12:57 p.m.: Ok, saw IJaTToTCS, and liked it a lot. Very organic use of Fifties themes and motifs.

See also Roger's blog post:
I admit it: I loved "Indy"
But, really, wouldn't it have been better if a 35 year old midget Short Round burst in half-way through to save Indy? "Howee smokes, Indy, I thought I was like a son to you!? Why you no ask me to be in new movie?!?!"

Ok, maybe not. I would have liked to have seen some more whip action, actually. But other than that, I loved it, too; that makes 3 out of 4 good Indiana Jones features (and I like Young Indiana Jones, too; I'm easily amused).

ADDENDUM: May 23rd, 6:57 a.m.: Dept of Heh:
In a manifesto published on May 22, 2008 the organization of Communists of Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast has fiercely critized the film for "caricature and miserable representation of Soviet soldiers and an intelligence officer, who are cynically and mercilessly exterminated by the American loner superhero Indiana Jones".
(Original Russian, comrades.)

This morning, Rotten Tomatoes gives it 79% positive reviews: Fresh: 136 Rotten:37. Man, it's got monkeys. As we know, all movies are better with monkeys.

5/22/2008 10:49:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008
SIGNZ OF THE TIMES: Katherine Q. Seelye, longtime reporter for the Grey Lady, writes, in a story on Senator Clinton's first group blogger call, organized by blogging veteran Peter Daou:
Many in the M.S.M .have concluded that mathematically, she can’t win.
I was wondering if this was the first time the New York Times has published that usage -- although it's usually used as as an alphebetism, rather than as an initialism -- but it turns out it was in the Times as long ago as 2005 ("the mainstream media - or M.S.M., as they are derisively known").

But while Seelye and the Times have used "M.S.M." before, this may be the first time it's been in the Times without the explanation of what it means.

We now conclude Amygdala Usage Moment. Carry on, readers of the non-mainstream, not so mass, media.

Read The Rest Scale: 2 out of 5. Seelye seems to really like the usage: "The M.S.M. have heard those arguments before and have essentially stopped transmitting them." I predict we'll see it used more and more by her, until or unless an editor Wields A Virtual Pencil.

And, yes, that floating period really does appear that way in the online version of Seelye's story. I feel sic.

5/21/2008 08:40:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Friday, May 16, 2008
97 SENATORIAL PROSPECTS ON THE WALL, 97 Senatorial prospects, if one of the Senators should happen to fall, 96 Senators remain on the wall, 96 Senatorial prospects....

I particularly liked this one of the many responses to whether or not the Senator would agree to be the Vice-Presidential candidate of their party this November:
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)
“I plan to stick with my current job until I get the hang of it.”
And these are interesting:

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.): “When I was much younger I would have probably said, ‘Sure, I’ll be glad to accept it,’ but I’m 70 years [old] and they need a younger person for the job. I would probably tell them, ‘Look for somebody else.’


Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.): “No. I’m too old.”


Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
“I’m too old to be vice president. But I am young enough to be reelected to the Senate.”
Thad Cochran was born December 7, 1937 (must have had an interesting 4th birthday party). Pete Domenici was born May 7, 1932. Charles "Chuck" Grassley was born September 17, 1933.

The Republican nominee for President will be John Sidney McCain III, born August 29, 1936. He's younger than Grassley and Domenici. But Domenici and Grassley are now on record that that's too old to be President. Thanks for the quotes, Senators!

Some other good responses:
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
“Of course. Big house, big car, not much to do. Why not?”

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)
“No. I don’t like going to funerals.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
“No, I’d have Jon Stewart stand in for me. Jon Stewart. That’s my guy.”

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
“No. I don’t cut ribbons well or give eulogies at funerals.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
“I have a unique perspective on this. I am the only senator to have announced I am not running for president because there should be someone here to serve as the Senate’s designated driver. I intend to stay in that position. The Senate needs a designated driver to stay behind and work on healthcare.”
And so on. Apparently no one thinks they'll be the next Dick Cheney. Or will admit it, anyway.

They're not so dumb as they look.

Okay, so it's just that a stopped clock is, y'know.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5.

5/16/2008 04:25:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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PERPETUAL 1980. Peggy Noonan stumbles onto the truth:
"This was a real wakeup call for us," someone named Robert M. Duncan, who is chairman of the Republican National Committee, told the New York Times. This was after Mississippi. "We can't let the Democrats take our issues." And those issues would be? "We can't let them pretend to be conservatives," he continued. Why not? Republicans pretend to be conservative every day.
The rest is pretty much correct, too.

How do the troops take it? Not well:
Is she even relevant anymore? [...]

However voters in 2006 and now coming to 2008 cannot tell that difference. Why? Because the GOP tossed it’s strength overboard in favor of becoming more “progressive” and “responsive” to the problems of people.
Yes, pursue non-responsiveness to voters: keep following that strategy! It's worked so well, so far!

I recommend Kübler-Ross to the troops, who seem to be somewhere between "denial" and "anger."
So, pardon my language, but f*ck you, Peggy, and f*ck the Republican Party.
Works for me.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 for Noonster.

Minor helpful tip: if you want to write stuff for other people to read, you might want to look into the distinction between the possessive "s," and the contraction "it is."

5/16/2008 08:58:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, May 15, 2008
Okay, it just feels a little like that. But it feels good so far.

Neat actual story, though.
Maker Faire is a celebration of the community of people who like to pull stuff apart and put stuff together, but it’s also a draw for those who like to teach. So it was not surprising to find a team from the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Dark Room pavilion, a set-up where you could find a harp whose “strings” were laser beams, bicycle wheels fitted with programmable light-emitting diodes that drew shapes as the wheels spun, and people wrapped in glowing fiber-optic lines. The folks from Santa Cruz (university mascot: the banana slug) had brought their giant Tesla coil.
Maker Faire looks pretty cool. And John Schwartz is my kind of guy.
[...] The crowd applauded like mad. Professor Schalk stuck a microphone in my face and asked, “Do you have anything to say?”

Klaatu Barada Nikto,” I said.
I'd never insert links in something I was quoting, of course, so I also note that it's neat that the NY Times has taken to inserting appropriate links in some stories just like any other blogger.

Elsewhere in Science Times, a report on, and Google Sky, and a shocking crime report of mass murder in the museum.
One of the strangest exhibits at the opening of “Design and the Elastic Mind,” the very strange show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that explores the territory where design meets science, was a teeny coat made out of living mouse stem cells. The “victimless leather” was kept alive in an incubator with nutrients, unsettlingly alive. Until recently, that is.

Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at the museum, had to kill the coat. “It was growing too much,” she said in an interview from a conference in Belgrade. The cells were multiplying so fast that the incubator was beginning to clog. Also, a sleeve was falling off. So after checking with the coat’s creators, a group known as SymbioticA, at the School of Anatomy & Human Biology at the University of Western Australia in Perth, she had the nutrients to the cells stopped.

Though she has said “I felt cruel when I turned it off,” Ms. Antonelli said in the more recent interview that it was, essentially, a simple decision tinged with a bit of regret. “It was the only piece in the show that was alive,” she said. “It really was an amazing piece.”
Oh, moma.

And dig the comparative exploding supernova pictures. More.

Clearly a sign of intergalactic war.

Back at Maker Faire, muffin cars!

And I want Robot Libby for the backyard:
[...] Or it could be the way Robot Libby, the one that emits a horrifying turbine whine from a metallic ball bobbing on a heavy iron chain, spits gouts of multicolored flame. (As Mr. Gray manipulates the remote control, the machine mixes powders into the flame to change its color: strontium for red, copper for bluish green, steel powder for a fireworks effect.) Each burst sends a heat wave that rocks the onlookers back a step or two.
Bring your own marshmallows.

Quote from Xeni Jardin:
[...] As for the family-friendly setting, she said, “It’s like Burning Man without all the icky hippie elements, without the pants-free guy on a bike.”
Elsewhere, it's unsurprising that the platypus has an unusual genetic structure. But I'll just take any excuse to look at a picture of a platypus:
In other recent skyence news, new bridge cables should be built from memory material.

I like to think I have good mirror neurons:
[...] People who are good at interpreting facial expressions have "mirror neuron" systems that are more active, say researchers. The finding adds weight to the idea that these cells are crucial to helping us figure out how others are feeling.

Mirror neurons are brain cells that fire both when you do something and when you watch someone else do the same thing.

Because they allow us to mimic what others are doing, it is thought that these neurons may be responsible for why we can feel empathy, or understand others' intentions and states of mind.
And we've all known people with crap mirror neurons. Apparently blog comment boxes shoot rays that reduce their use.

Bad news for babyfaced smokers:
Cigarette vending machines in Japan will soon be able to judge their user's age from their appearance. The technology has been developed as an effort to have the machines comply with new laws that, from July, require them to check the age of buyers.

Customers must look into a digital camera attached to the machine. The system will compare facial characteristics, such as wrinkles around the eyes, bone structure and skin sags against a benchmark dataset of more than 100,000 people.

The legal age for smoking in Japan is 20 and the country has about 570,000 tobacco vending machines.


Yamamoto said the system could correctly identify about 90% of the users, with the remaining 10% falling into a "grey zone" of "minors that look older, and baby-faced adults".
Yeah, but how are its mirror neurons?

Where's Martian Waldo? See if you can help find the lost Mars Polar Lander. No, really. Though it won't be any use, since the Martians are still studying it. More. Galaxy Zoo!

Activate the cloaking device:
A California nanotechnology research lab says it has created the first 3D material able to bend light in the opposite direction to natural materials.


So far, researchers have created negative refractive-index materials and even an "invisibility cloak" for visible light and microwaves. But they have all been flat, working only in two dimensions.

Now Jason Valentine, a graduate student in the nano-engineering lab at the University of California at Berkeley, US, claims to have made a 3D metamaterial with a negative refractive index.

Valentine's "prism" is made from 21 alternating layers of silver and magnesium fluoride, arranged in a "fishnet" structure. He claims that the refractive index is negative in a small region of the near-infrared spectrum.
Practice delivering Sim Babies.
[...] BirthSIM is a life-size model of a mother's pelvis, with a baby's head hidden inside mounted on a pneumatic arm. During the simulation, the pneumatic arm pushes the baby's head forward, mimicking the movements of childbirth (see video, right).

Both the forceps and baby's head have electromagnetic sensors that track their motions in 3D. The data is used to project a 3D model of the setup onto a screen, so the trainee can see exactly what is happening as they move the forceps inside the pelvis.
The home version is going to sell like hotcakes!

Speaking of Mars, countdown to landing on May 25th!
NASA's Phoenix spacecraft will experience a harrowing few minutes on 25 May when it hits Mars's atmosphere and attempts to land safely on the surface – without any airbags to cushion its fall.

Phoenix launched in August 2007 on a mission to Mars's icy north polar region. Changes in the Red Planet's tilt may have allowed the abundant ice there to melt as recently as 100,000 years ago, raising the tantalising possibility that microscopic life forms could once have eked out an existence in the region. Life might even be present there now in a dormant state.

The lander will dig down as much as 50 centimetres below the surface, collecting samples of soil and ice to better understand the region's past climate and check for carbon-containing molecules that could be associated with life.

But first, the spacecraft must make it to the surface in one piece. A host of critical manoeuvres have to go off just as planned in order to get the spacecraft safely to the surface, all of them designed to occur automatically. If it is successful, it will be the first probe since the Viking missions more than 30 years ago to land safely without airbags.


Critical timing

If all goes according to plan, about 14 minutes prior to landing, the probe will swivel around in space so its heat shield faces forward. Five minutes later, the spacecraft will hit Mars's atmosphere at more than 20,000 kilometres per hour, causing the shield to heat up to more than 1400 °C.

In another 4 minutes, with Phoenix about 13 kilometres above the Martian surface, a parachute will deploy to decelerate the spacecraft. The timing of this is critical – if it occurs too early, aerodynamic forces will rip the parachute to shreds.

A few seconds later, the heat shield will be jettisoned, the spacecraft will extend its legs, and it will begin using radar to measure its altitude and speed.
Rocky hazard

With 43 seconds left to landing, the spacecraft will have slowed down to 200 kilometres per hour. With the ground 1 kilometre below it, the probe will cut loose its parachute, relying on thrusters to slow it down further.

It must also manoeuvre away from its parachute to prevent the chute from falling on top of Phoenix after landing.

Rocks are the biggest hazard for the actual touchdown, which will occur at a speed of 9 kilometres per hour. Anything more than about 40 centimetres tall could punch through Phoenix's underside and cause damage, says the mission's chief scientist, Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson, US.

Fortunately, team members estimate that there are not many "dangerous" rocks at the landing site, nicknamed Green Valley. That estimate is based on counts of the smallest rocks – spanning 1 metre – that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can see.
Unfolding panels

If all goes well, the Phoenix team expects a signal confirming Phoenix's safe landing to arrive at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on 25 May at 1653 PDT (26 May at 0053 GMT).
I just hope we don't trigger a Martian attack.

Sloths aren't slothful. The long-awaited class action slander suit begins next month, I believe.

Tag! You're it.

And may your firstborn child be a female child. Sorry, sis.

IMing is producing linguistic renaissance. OMG.

Robots are finally good for something! Surgical robot gives hair transplants a natural look; also, they do very nice trims and coloring work, but you do have to give them a nice tip in electrical charge.

German mob with torches succeeds at killing the innocent "monster." I don't think those folks concerned about "Frankenfoods" actually understand that the "monster" was innocent and good, and that the mob with torches were the bad guys, fearing that which should not be feared. All domesticated plants and animals, including grains, have been genetically engineered by humans, ever since the Neolithic era. The point is to be cautious, not to superstitiously assume manipulation Must Turn Out Badly.
[...] Last month, the university announced that it would stop its planned cultivation of insect-resistant GM maize in nearby Gross-Gerau after activists occupied the 1,500-square-metre field. Another local field trial of GM maize, in Rauischholzhausen, was also stopped because of massive protests from the public and local politicians. Both trials had been approved by the national consumer protection and food safety body (BVL) and were to be conducted on behalf of Germany's authority for agriculture variety and seed affairs.
So: more people go hungry. How virtuous.

How the pod people will rewire your brain. Oh, wait, look, they already made you not interested; their fiendish plan to conquer earth by destroying curiosity in humans is succeeding.

I will fight on.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 for most, but do read the Maker Faire stuff; you won't be sorry.

ADDENDUM, 1:23 p.m.: It's so sad. Via the most essential blog. Also, of course, important safety tips, and time, time, time, see what's become of me.

5/15/2008 07:34:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008
THE NEW, NEW, COLOSSUS. Give me your tourists, your business travellers,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The superior students of your teeming shore.
Send these, the well off and middle class, your tempest-tost, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door, lock their asses in jail, and let them die.
[...] Ms. Cooper, 23, who had promised to show her boyfriend another side of her country on this visit — meaning Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon — eventually learned that he had been sent in shackles to a rural Virginia jail. And there he remained for more than 10 days, locked up without charges or legal recourse while Ms. Cooper, her parents and their well-connected neighbors tried everything to get him out.

Mr. Salerno’s case may be extreme, but it underscores the real but little-known dangers that many travelers from Europe and other first-world nations face when they arrive in the United States — problems that can startle Americans as much as their foreign visitors.

“We have a lot of government people here and lobbyists and lawyers and very educated, very savvy Washingtonians,” said Jim Cooper, Ms. Cooper’s father, a businessman, describing the reaction in his neighborhood, the Wessynton subdivision of Alexandria. “They were pretty shocked that the government could do this sort of thing, because it doesn’t happen that often, except to people you never hear about, like Haitians and Guatemalans.”


One recent case involved an Icelandic woman who was refused entry at Kennedy Airport because, a dozen years earlier, she had overstayed her visa by three weeks. The woman, Erla Osk Arnardottir Lillendahl, was deported Dec. 10 after what she described as 24 hours of interrogation and humiliating treatment — locked in a cell and barred from making phone calls.


Ms. Cooper said that at the airport, when she begged to know what was happening to Mr. Salerno, an agent told her, “You know, he should try spending a little more time in his own country.”

Another agent eventually told her to go home because Mr. Salerno was being detained as an asylum-seeker.

“The border patrol officer said to my face that Domenico said he would be killed if he went back to Italy,” she recalled, voicing incredulity that, in his halting English, he could express such a thought. “Also, who on earth would ever seek asylum from Italy?”


Ten days after he landed in Washington, Mr. Salerno was still incarcerated, despite efforts by Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, and two former immigration prosecutors hired by the Coopers.
Silent lips, indeed.

How big a problem is this? Even before September 11th:
The 1996 Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) have had the combined effect of dramatically increasing the number of immigrants in Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) detention from 8,500 in 1996 to nearly 16,000 in 1998.


Indefinite detention is a feature we expect of repressive regimes, not of our own. The INS's authority to detain a non-citizen ordered removed derives from one purpose: effectuating removal. Once it becomes clear that removal is not possible, the rationale for continued detention evaporates and the non-citizen's liberty rights demand that he or she be released under supervision. It is grossly unfair to detain a person forever, after they have served their time in prison, just because the INS has been unable to remove them.

The courts are beginning to agree. Several federal district courts have recently ruled that indefinite detention with no realistic prospect of removal is unconstitutional. In July of 1999 a panel of five district court judges in Seattle reached the same conclusion in five cases that should have nation-wide implications. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision on April 10, 2000.

It is time for Congress to agree as well.
But September 11th changed everything.

One start would be to mandate medical attention for detainees so they don't die in custody. One might think that's obvious, but it kinda got overlooked in the shuffle, and besides, they're not U.S. citizens and don't vote, so who cares?

It's not as if you could be held for ten months without treatment for your cancer, and have your penis amputated for lack of treatment, after all.

And that couldn't happen to more than a handful of people, right?
[...] Currently, no government body is charged with accounting for deaths in ICE detention, a patchwork of county jails, privately run prisons and federal facilities. Getting details about those who die in custody is a difficult undertaking left to family members, advocacy groups and the media. Since 2003, at least 83 people have died in immigration custody.

More than 300,000 men, women and children are detained by ICE each year. They include asylum seekers, long-time green card holders with minor immigration violations and families with small children.
It couldn't go on today, could it?
FLORENCE, Ariz. -- Underneath her baggy jail-issue pants, Yong Sun Harvill feels the soft lump just below her left knee. Sometimes it tingles. Sometimes it is numb. Like her cancer felt when it arrived behind the knee a few years ago.

She noticed the lump under the thin, blue cotton in August, five months after federal immigration officers, to her amazement, took her into custody to try to deport her for buying stolen jewelry more than a decade ago. The lump grows slowly. It is now three inches across. And though she keeps asking, no one has done a test to see whether her sarcoma has come back.

Her leg is painful and swollen from hip to foot, damaged by past surgeries and radiation treatments. Some nights, liquid seeps through cracks in her distended skin. Her left ankle is three times as big as her right. For years, she relied on a leg pump to boost her circulation and keep the swelling in check. But as an immigration detainee in this desert prison town, Harvill, 52, has been unable to persuade anyone to get her a pump, or to let her family back in Florida send hers from home.

Nor has she gotten the biopsy that a doctor has told her she needs to determine whether the spots on her liver might be tumors. And it remains uncertain whether her frequent crying spells are part of bipolar disorder, as some records suggest, or a flare-up of old anxieties -- heightened now by chronic pain, bewildering medical problems, and the fact that, three decades after she arrived from South Korea as a teenage Army bride, she is in a jail far from home with the government trying to eject her from the United States.

Harvill is one of 33,000 immigration detainees in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, on any given day. They are locked up in a patchwork of out-of-the-way federal detention compounds, private prisons and local jails. This unnoticed prison system was built for a quick revolving door of detainees -- into custody, out of the country. But often, people linger in detention for months or years.

These detainees, like other prisoners, are by law and regulation entitled to medical services if they are sick. But Harvill's journey through immigration detention provides a glimpse into a medical system that often fails those who need it most. It is an upside-down world where patients have no say, doctors and nurses on site have little power to administer timely treatment, and a managed-care system in Washington operates from a rulebook that emphasizes what is not covered rather than what is.
Why do this?


How widespread is the problem?

But they're just foreigners.

Look at the pictures, listen to the voices, and tell me it's good for America to be indifferent. Are these the values of America today?

No, we also drug innocent people.
The U.S. government has injected hundreds of foreigners it has deported with dangerous psychotropic drugs against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country, according to medical records, internal documents and interviews with people who have been drugged.

The government's forced use of antipsychotic drugs, in people who have no history of mental illness, includes dozens of cases in which the "pre-flight cocktail," as a document calls it, had such a potent effect that federal guards needed a wheelchair to move the slumped deportee onto an airplane.

"Unsteady gait. Fell onto tarmac," says a medical note on the deportation of a 38-year-old woman to Costa Rica in late spring 2005. Another detainee was "dragged down the aisle in handcuffs, semi-comatose," according to an airline crew member's written account. Repeatedly, documents describe immigration guards "taking down" a reluctant deportee to be tranquilized before heading to an airport.

In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse's account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, "Nighty-night."

Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 -- the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

Federal officials have seldom acknowledged publicly that they sedate people for deportation. The few times officials have spoken of the practice, they have understated it, portraying sedation as rare and "an act of last resort." Neither is true, records and interviews indicate.

Records show that the government has routinely ignored its own rules, which allow deportees to be sedated only if they have a mental illness requiring the drugs, or if they are so aggressive that they imperil themselves or people around them.
These are not terrorists. Some of them have violated U.S. law, and some are not criminals of any kind other than than possibly, or possibly not, having an immigration law screw-up.

They might just be your cousin, your husband's sister, your mother-in-law, your friend's dad, if you have foreign relatives. They just come to visit, they get caught up by ICE for some reason, good or bad, and this is what we do to them.
[...] An analysis by The Post of the known sedations during fiscal 2007, ending last October, found that 67 people who got medical escorts had no documented psychiatric reason. Of the 67, psychiatric drugs were given to 53, 48 of whom had no documented history of violence, though some had managed to thwart an earlier attempt to deport them. These figures do not include two detainees who immigration officials said were given sedatives for behavioral rather than psychiatric reasons before being deported on group charter flights, which are often used to return people to Mexico and Central America.


But many of those injected with psychotropic drugs, records show, are neither violent nor mentally ill. They simply do not want to go home.
But, hey: free drugs. So it's fair enough, innit?

Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, May 16th, 12:22 p.m.: Thanks, Crooks and Liars. Blue Girl, Red State writes. Avedon. Comment From Left Field. Hilzoy also posts on the drug issue.

5/14/2008 09:14:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Friday, May 09, 2008
ROGER DOES FANDOM. Again. Fanzines beget blogs:
Fanzines were mimeographed magazines that were circulated by mail among science fiction fans in the days before the internet. They still are, for all I know, although now they're generated by computer printers. I first learned about them in a 1950s issue of Amazing Stories and eagerly sent away 10 or 20 cents to Buck and Juanita Coulson in Indiana, whose Yandro was one of the best and longest-running of them all.
Longest running, anyway.

See also here and here.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 locs out of 5.

5/09/2008 01:14:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 4 comments

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Thursday, May 08, 2008
OH RLY? Steampunk as a way of life:
[...] First appearing in the late 1980s and early ’90s, steampunk has picked up momentum in recent months, making a transition from what used to be mainly a literary taste to a Web-propagated way of life.
Or is it just a goddamn hobby?
[...] and Paul Di Filippo, the author of “The Steampunk Trilogy,” the historical science fiction novellas that lent the culture its name.
Yeah, that's complete crap. K. W. Jeter and Tim Powers and James Blaylock should be calling. Paul's Steampunk Trilogy didn't come out until 1995. The earliest story in it, "Victoria," appeared in 1991.

But steampunk had long been on everyone's lips before Bill Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine came out in 1991, of course; we'd all been referring to the steampunk genre for most of a decade before 1995, after Jeter coined "steampunk" in an April 1987 issue of Locus.

Paul's trilogy was named for the genre, not vice versa.

Apparently on top of being completely incompetent at basic research, the writer, Ruth La Ferla, couldn't even spare two seconds to glance at Wikipedia.

Your New York Times in action: getting the simplest facts completely wrong.

In other news from the same article, who knew that Tony Stark was a robot?
[...] Contemporary fictional parallels in film include the wildly ingenious scientist played by Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man,” who hopes to save the world by retooling himself as a flame-throwing robot made of unwieldy scrap metal parts.
Equally accurate.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 steam whistles out of 5.

5/08/2008 07:13:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED in North Carolina.

It'll be a while until I'm oriented. And after spending something over $1500 to move, I have no idea just now how I'll be able to afford more than my first month's rent, and deposit, on top of other problematic aspectsof securing a new apartment, while temporarily staying with a friend, and still long term pursuing a Social Security disability claim.

But I figured you'd like to know that I made it so far. In time for primary election day, of course. Vote early and often!

5/06/2008 10:58:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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