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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, October 31, 2008
I THINK WE'RE WINNING RIGHT NOW. Rachel Maddow asks Barack Obama questions you've wanted to know the answers to. Fine stuff.

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Senator, you criticize the Bush administration frequently. But, you almost never criticize the Republican Party itself. Other Democrats --


[GARY: She laughs here]

MADDOW: Well, yes, actually. I mean, other Democrats, you will hear them talk about the GOP as the party that's been wrong on all the big stuff. Creating Social Security, civil rights, the War in Iraq. But, you don't really do that. Do you think there is a stark difference between the parties?

OBAMA: Well, I do think there's a difference between the parties, but here's my belief. That I'm talking to voters. And I think they're a lot of Republican voters out there, self-identified, who actually think that what the Bush administration has done, has been damaging to the country.

And, what I'm interested in, is how do we build a working majority for change? And if I start off with the premise that it's only self-identified Democrats who I'm speaking to, then I'm not going to get to where we need to go. If I can describe it as not a blanket indictment of the Republican Party, but instead describe it as the Republican Party having been kidnapped by a incompetent, highly ideological subset of the Republican Party, then that means I can still reach out to a whole bunch of Republican moderates who I think are hungry for change, as well.

MADDOW: Now, they do that to you the same way. When they talk -- when John McCain calls you a socialist --

OBAMA: Right.

MADDOW: This redistribute the wealth idea. He goe -- he calls you soft on national security.


MADDOW: That's not just an anti-Barack Obama script.


MADDOW: That is -- he's reading from an anti-Democrat, and specifically an anti-liberal stance.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

MADDOW: And so, you have the opportunity to say John McCain, George Bush, you're wrong. You also have the opportunity to say, conservatism has been bad for America. But, you haven't gone there either.

OBAMA: I tell you what though, Rachel. You notice, I think we're winning right now so --


OBAMA: Maybe I'm doing something right. I know you've been cruising for a bruising for a while here, looking for a fight out there. But, I just think people are tired of that kind of back and forth, tit for tat, ideological approach to the problems.

Now, there is no doubt that there is a set of premises in the reigning Republican ideology that I just think are wrong. This whole notion, and then it's been captured by this back and forth about whether I'm a redistributor, I think is a great example. The notion that the progressive income tax, which was instituted by Teddy Roosevelt, supposedly John McCain's hero, is somehow un-American, I think is an example of how people have gone way off track.

The Republican Party has gone so right when it comes to how we think about our obligations to each other, how we pay for things. And as a consequence, because most people think it's pretty important to pay for roads and bridges, schools. What we've ended up doing is tax cuts, no spending cuts, huge national debt. There's a core hypocrisy to how they have governed over the last several years, that I think has to be reversed.

And so we're going to challenge those things. The important thing though is, I just want to make sure that I'm leaving the door open to people who say to themselves, well, you know, I'm a member of the Republican Party and I remember people like Chuck Percy in Illinois, or Abraham Lincoln, a pretty good Republican. That there's some core values that historically have been important to the Republican Party, but just have not been observed over the last several years.
He goes on to endorse "an FDR-style infrastructure building program" and lots more good stuff. Check it out.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5.

10/31/2008 11:32:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, October 25, 2008
ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — If you felt that the atmosphere in the new hip Club Watt was somehow electric, you would be right: Watt has a new type of dance floor that harvests the energy generated by jumps and gyrations and transforms it into electricity. It is one of a handful of energy-generating floors in the world, most still experimental.

With its human engineering, Watt partly powers itself: The better the music, the more people dance, the more electricity comes out of the floor.

At Watt, which describes itself as the first sustainable dance club, that electricity is used to power the light show in and around the floor. “For this first club, we thought it was useful for people to see the results,” said Michel Smit, an adviser on the project. “But if the next owner wants to use the electricity to power his toaster, it can do that just as well.”


More than a year in the making, Watt is a huge performance space with not just the sustainable dance floor, but also rainwater-fed toilets and low-waste bars. (Everything is recycled.) Its heat is harvested in part from the bands’ amplifiers and other musical equipment.


Still, the energy produced by an average person dancing is about 20 watts’ worth, so two people could light a bulb, Club Watt’s scientific consultants have found. Aryan Tieleman, one of the club’s owners, hopes his sustainable dance floor will ultimately produce 10 percent of the club’s electricity. Green innovations at the venue will reduce energy use by 50 percent and water use by 30 percent, compared with the previous club in the building, he said.
Okay, so it won't solve all our problems. But you'll worry less while dancing!

And Rotterdam is a place with an interest in global warming:
[...] Located at sea level, Rotterdam would be one of the first cities to go under if global ice melted and sea levels rose significantly
Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. Doing things with my feets isn't on my mind at all.

10/25/2008 12:22:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Friday, October 24, 2008
MY FRACTURED NATURE. So, in response to last Friday's fall, I finally made it to WakeMed's emergency room tonight. We got there about 5:45 p.m., and made it out a couple of minutes after midnight.

Almost all of which was waiting in various stages.

They concluded that I may -- or may not -- have an avulsion fracture of one of the bones in my left foot, which is to say:
An avulsion fracture is a bone fracture which occurs when a fragment of bone tears away from the main mass of bone as a result of physical trauma. This can occur at the ligament due to the application forces external to the body (such as a fall or pull) or at the tendon due to a muscular contraction that is stronger than the forces holding the bone together.
So, after many hours of waiting after the x-ray, which took several hours of waiting to get to, they finally splinted me up, put a temporary cast on, gave me a prescription for, and doses of, vicodin, and emphasized that I had to follow up with the orthopedist clinic as soon as possible.

So either it will turn out to be just a ton of bruising, plus an old fracture showing up on the x-ray, or that I fractured it last Friday, in which case I'm in for somewhere between 8-16 weeks of healing, assuming no complications requiring surgery or anything.

It definitely feels better in the cast -- which will make for fun showering, since I'll have to keep it sealed up in plastic (they advised garbage bags sealed with tape), to keep the cast from getting wet. The hydrocodone also helps a lot.

Plus, free crutches!

Except, of course, that they will doubtless charge me for them when the bill comes. Based on the ~$1300 they charged me for the last ER visit, a scant 7 weeks ago, I'm guessing that with the x-ray, this visit will run $2K or so.

But, hey, make your entries in the pool now!

It doesn't help that my gout pains keep coming and going, in both feet, as well. Or that my bedroom is very narrow, and on the second floor.

But, hey, that's the breaks. Oh, I crack myself up.

Somebody's got to take the fall for this.

ADDENDUM, 6:37 a.m.: Soon enough, I expect to be running like this again!

Who needs feet?

ADDENDUM, 7:32 a.m.: They were really emphatic that I shouldn't put any weight on the foot, which I have to agree with, since it hurts like crazy if I do, and that lasts for something like an hour or so. Which makes perfect sense of a piece of the bone is torn away.

But, sheesh, using crutches takes getting used to, as does putting my not inconsiderable ~240 pounds either under my arms via the crutches, or on one foot, or any combination therefor. Even just moving to the bathroom next to my bedroom becomes a big, literally breath-taking, exhausting, effort.

And, incidentally, I found out at the hospital that I don't recommend trying to pee standing on one foot. Unless you're opening a new comedy act, with no audience.

10/24/2008 09:37:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Thursday, October 23, 2008
The reason I'm not posting more, by the way, is that my foot hurts like hell, and it especially hurts if I sit at the computer. So for the moment, I'm not online much.

Back more when my foot is less broken.

View The Rest Scale: 3.5 trout out of 5; it hasn't jumped the shark yet, has it?

ADDENDUM, 10/25/08, 1:51 a.m.: John Robinson points out Hayden Panettiere's fine "endorsement" of John McCain.

10/23/2008 09:55:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Saturday, October 18, 2008
[...] "If you ask me what the color of this paper is, I will tell you the color is white," Hamdan said. "You say no, it's black. I say white, you say black. I say fine, it's black. Then you say no, it's white. This is the American government."
The Bush administration is seeking to recall a military jury that gave a light sentence to Osama bin Laden's driver in one of the first trials at Guantanamo Bay, arguing that the judge improperly credited the defendant for time he had already spent in the detention facility.


According to military prosecutors, that distinction also allows the government to hold any detainee even after he has been tried, convicted, sentenced and has served his time. The government said in court papers that prosecution for violations of the laws of war is an "incidental fact" to a detainee's "wartime detention as an enemy combatant."
Why bother with trials?! Why bother with "courts"?!

It's all incidental.

Read The Rest Scale: 4 out of 5. There's no business like show business and no trials like show trials.

But, after all, this could never happen to a relative of yours. So why worry? It's just Arabs and Muslims and terrorists!

10/18/2008 06:56:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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RACISTS FOR OBAMA. It warms the heart.
[...] Franklin explored those contradictions in a large, national survey taken in mid-September, when the Illinois Democratic senator's rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), led in many polls and the nation’s economic woes had not yet produced a deep crisis. The poll asked voters whether they agreed with the statement that “African-Americans often use race as an excuse to justify wrongdoing." About a fifth of white voters said they “strongly agreed.” Yet among those who agreed, 23 percent said they’d be supporting Obama.

“This result is reasonable if you believe that race is not as monolithic an effect as we might easily assume,” Franklin said, noting that 22 percent of those who "strongly disagreed" said they'd be supporting McCain.

Anecdotes from across the battlegrounds suggest that there’s a significant minority of prejudiced white voters who will swallow hard and vote for the black man.

“I wouldn’t want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I’m voting for Obama,” the wife of a retired Virginia coal miner, Sharon Fleming, told the Los Angeles Times recently.

One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are … undecided. They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy.”


“If you go to a white neighborhood in the suburbs and ask them, ‘How would you feel about a large black man kicking your door in,’ they would say, ‘That doesn’t sound good to me,’” said Democratic political consultant Paul Begala. “But if you say, 'Your house is on fire, and the firefighter happens to be black,' it’s a different situation.”

“The house is on fire, and one guy seems like he’s calm and confident and in charge, and that’s the only option,” he said.
Almost. But wait! Is there a flip side?
[...] One senior congressional Democrat mused about prejudice among his own supporters. “They’ve all got one black friend,” he said, “and they won’t stop talking about their black friend.”

“That’s Obama,” he said.
Probably so, for some folks. But I'm happy to see all their votes, regardless.

And maybe the second African-American friend will come more easily!

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5.

10/18/2008 05:58:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Friday, October 17, 2008
HOPALONG CASSIDY. So, about six hours earlier today, I fell, and have been trying to decide since whether I've broken my left foot, or just badly sprained or bruised it.

Still an open question.

It's distracting, though.

UPDATE, 10/18/08, 2:20 p.m.: Iced, and wrapped in an ace bandage, the foot still hurts like hell, but given that it would like cost something between $2K and $3K to get an x-ray, I'm going to give it until Monday before deciding whether I need to get taken to the ER (again!) or not.

Meanwhile, good thing I have the cane from my gout, though it's of limited use.

10/17/2008 06:08:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Thursday, October 16, 2008
TORTURING DEMOCRACY. That evil leftwing commie terrorsymp organization, PBS, won't show this documentary until after the inauguration of the next president.
[...] Ms. Jones began talking to PBS about the film early this year, and PBS executives received a version on May 5. On Aug. 28 PBS, which relies partly on federal funds, offered the January airdate, citing “scheduling difficulties,” [...]

PBS executives also asked Ms. Jones to make changes to the film, including adding the panel discussion. By the time that happened, the fall schedule was set, said John Wilson, the PBS senior vice president for programming. He called the film “ultimately an impressive work of journalism,” and said, “our goal was to have it in a good slot.” That the first date offered happened to be the day after the Bush administration is to leave power “absolutely is coincidental,” he said. “It was the date that offered itself up.”

View the film, and read all about it here.

Don't fall back on the learned helplessness.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5.

10/16/2008 09:57:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
SADDAM REACHES OUT FROM THE GRAVE to influence John McCain's transition team. More awesome judgment from McCain on who he hires:
William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.

The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.

During the same period beginning in 1992, Timmons worked closely with the two lobbyists, Samir Vincent and Tongsun Park, on a previously unreported prospective deal with the Iraqis in which they hoped to be awarded a contract to purchase and resell Iraqi oil. Timmons, Vincent, and Park stood to share at least $45 million if the business deal went through.


Timmons declined to comment for this story.


Virtually everything Timmons did while working on the lobbying campaign was within days conveyed by Vincent to either one or both of Saddam Hussein's top aides, Tariq Aziz and Nizar Hamdoon. Vincent also testified that he almost always relayed input from the Iraqi aides back to Timmons.

Talking points that Timmons produced for the lobbyists to help ease the sanctions, for example, were reviewed ahead of time by Aziz, Vincent testified in court. Proposals that Timmons himself circulated to U.S. officials as part of the effort were written with the assistance of the Iraqi officials, and were also sent ahead of time with Timmons' approval to Aziz, other records show.

Moreover, there was a major financial incentive at play for Timmons. The multi-million dollar oil deal that he was pursuing with the two other lobbyists would only be possible if their efforts to ease sanctions against Iraq were successful.


An investigator who worked on the U.N. investigation of the oil-for-food program told me that Timmons clearly should have or did understand that he was the possible recipient of oil contracts from the Iraqi government because of his lobbying and back channel diplomatic efforts on behalf of Saddam: "He would have to be the most naive person in the world to believe that was not the case," the official told me. "I guess William Timmons is just a natural born oilman. He is either deceiving himself to rationalize what he has done or taking the rest of us for fools."

Between 1997 and 2001, according to the Volcker report, Vincent received five such contracts from Saddam's regime.

In his guilty plea agreement with the Justice Department, Vincent admitted: "I received those allocations because of the work I had done on behalf of the Government of Iraq in helping set up the oil-for-food program."


Vincent, an Iraqi-born American citizen with whom Timmons worked most closely, pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges in January 2005 that he had acted as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein's regime. Tongsun Park, the second lobbyist who Timmons worked closely with, was convicted by a federal jury in July 2006 on charges that he too violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

As part of a plea bargain agreement with the Justice Department, Vincent agreed to testify against Park and others in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. He was the government's chief witness against Park during Park's trial. Park was sentenced to five years in prison after his conviction.

A U.N commission headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker conducted an exhaustive investigation of the oil-for-food program, in which various individuals were found to have paid illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein. The findings of the Volcker Commission detail the roles of Vincent, Park and Timmons in trying to ease the sanctions.

Timmons testified that he first introduced Vincent to Tongsun Park and encouraged him to hire Park to work on the deal.

At the time Timmons introduced the two men, Park's notorious background was well known:

In the 1970s, Park had admitted to making hundreds of thousands in payments and illegal campaign contributions to U.S. congressmen on behalf of the South Korean government. Park was indicted on 36 counts by a federal grand jury, but fled to South Korea before he could face trial. All of the charges were later dismissed in exchange for Park providing information about which public officials received funds from the South Korean government.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, not long after Timmons suggested that Vincent hire Park to assist their influence, lobbying, and back-channel diplomatic efforts on behalf of Saddam Hussein's government, much of that effort became increasingly bizarre, corrupt, and - on occasion - illegal.


Samir Vincent was well positioned for the task at hand when he began his influence and back channel diplomacy campaign with the Iraqis; he had been boyhood friends of two of Saddam Hussein's closest advisers, Nizaar Hamdoon and Tariq Aziz.


According to Vincent's testimony, Timmons immediately opened doors for the Iraqi-American lobbyist. He talked to then-Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger on Vincent's behalf. He also contacted then-Sen. Bob Dole and John Bolton, then-undersecretary of state for international affairs, to discuss Vincent's plan.

In a meeting with U.N. officials, Vincent pressed his case armed with "talking points" that Timmons had written for him. Before using them, Vincent said that he first sent the talking points to Nizaar Hamdoon and Tariq Aziz, with Timmons' approval.

After the meeting, Vincent traveled all the way to Baghdad to report back to Tariq Aziz what had occurred. Later, he had another meeting with Hamdoon and Aziz at the United Nations mission in New York to plan on next steps. Vincent testified he made formal minutes of that meeting, typed them up, and then traveled to Washington to personally give them to Timmons. This was routine practice as Vincent, Timmons, and the Iraqis worked together.
And on and on it goes. Incredible.
[...] Later, when Timmons pressed the case even more aggressively that sanctions against Saddam's regime be eased, he, Vincent and Park hoped to profit as well, according to the Volcker report. "Continuing through 1994 and 1995, Mr. Vincent and Mr. Park, along with Mr. Timmons and others, persisted in their efforts to establish a foothold in the Iraqi oil business," the report stated.

At one point, Timmons even boasted to investigators that it was his ideas that later became the basis for the United Nations' oil-for-food program.
But this is the head of John McCain's transition team.

Just imagine who he'd put into office in sub-Cabinet posts if McCain were somehow elected.

And imagine what the right would make of this if it were Obama who had hired and appointed Timmons to run his transition.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5; more if interested.

ADDENDUM, 10/15/08, 10:21 p.m.: But if you're John McCain, of the Senate Commerce Committee, you never have to worry about your cell phone coverage.

And this has nothing to do with it:
[...] Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his campaign have close ties to Verizon and AT&T. Five campaign officials, including manager Rick Davis, have worked as lobbyists for Verizon. Former McCain staff member Robert Fisher is an in-house lobbyist for Verizon and is volunteering for the campaign. Fisher, Verizon chief executive Ivan G. Seidenberg and company lobbyists have raised more than $1.3 million for McCain's presidential effort, and Verizon employees are among the top 20 corporate donors over McCain's political career, giving his campaigns more than $155,000.
No, nothing.

10/14/2008 07:38:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5.

10/13/2008 08:48:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Thursday, October 09, 2008
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.

Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."

She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and "collected on" as they called their offices or homes in the United States.


Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of "cuts" that were available on each operator's computer.

"Hey, check this out," Faulk says he would be told, "there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, 'Wow, this was crazy'," Faulk told ABC News.

Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall's "smoke pit," but ended up feeling badly about his actions.

"I feel that it was something that the people should not have done. Including me," he said.


Asked for comment about the ABC News report and accounts of intimate and private phone calls of military officers being passed around, a US intelligence official said "all employees of the US government" should expect that their telephone conversations could be monitored as part of an effort to safeguard security and "information assurance."

"They certainly didn't consent to having interceptions of their telephone sex conversations being passed around like some type of fraternity game," said Jonathon Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University who has testified before Congress on the country's warrantless surveillance program.

"This story is to surveillance law what Abu Ghraib was to prison law," Turley said.


NSA awarded Adrienne Kinne a NSA Joint Service Achievement Medal in 2003 at the same time she says she was listening to hundreds of private conversations between Americans, including many from the International Red Cross and Doctors without Borders.

"We knew they were working for these aid organizations," Kinne told ABC News. "They were identified in our systems as 'belongs to the International Red Cross' and all these other organizations. And yet, instead of blocking these phone numbers we continued to collect on them," she told ABC News.


Both Kinne and Faulk said their military commanders rebuffed questions about listening in to the private conversations of Americans talking to Americans.

"It was just always, that , you know, your job is not to question. Your job is to collect and pass on the information," Kinne said.


Kinne says the success stories underscored for her the waste of time spent listening to innocent Americans, instead of looking for the terrorist needle in the haystack.

"By casting the net so wide and continuing to collect on Americans and aid organizations, it's almost like they're making the haystack bigger and it's harder to find that piece of information that might actually be useful to somebody," she said. "You're actually hurting our ability to effectively protect our national security."


Both former intercept operators came forward at first to speak with investigative journalist Jim Bamford for a book on the NSA, "The Shadow Factory," to be published next week.
Figures Bamford would expose an NSA story.

As your Amygdala has always tried to tell you about surveillance technology: if you give someone a hammer, they're going to start nailing things.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 6:57 p.m.: See also Charlie Stross on Britain's Interception Modernisation Program.

10/09/2008 06:50:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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OLD FRIENDS. My former roommate and housemate (once each), and friend in the past, longtime sf fan and freelance copyeditor, and more, Soren deSelby, aka "Scraps," the former Tom Weber, has had a stroke and is in intensive care.

Please, if you're the sort who think it can help, put him and Velma in your thoughts and prayers.

Also, keep an eye out for any funds set up to help them with expenses; the medical bills for an uninsured freelance editor will be astronomical beyond belief.

Read The Rest Scale: 5 out of 5. Via Avedon.

ADDENDUM, 11:58 p.m.: Donations for Scraps can be made at the PayPal link or address found here.

10/09/2008 03:40:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008
SCRAPING THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL of undecideds. Nate Silver looks at what Obama's ceiling for support might be, in light of Ben Smith's anecdote. Silver:
If Obama is ahead by something like 7-8 points ahead nationally, that means that he has persuaded just about all of the persuadables, and he's left looking to covert people like those in Ben Smith's anecdote.
An Obama supporter, who canvassed for the candidate in the working-class, white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, sends over an account that, in various forms, I've heard a lot in recent weeks.

"What's crazy is this," he writes. "I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are f***ing undecided. They would call him a n----r and mention how they don't know what to do because of the economy."
If those sorts of people are the undecideds -- and when Obama is winning Pennsylvania by 12 points or something, that's probably what we're looking at -- then Obama really is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Further gains are going to be difficult to come by, which means that his polls are more likely to go down than to continue going up.
This in light of Gallup's finding:
The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking report shows Barack Obama with a 52% to 41% lead over John McCain.
Of course, the beauty contest doesn't matter: only the state polls. But those are all looking good, too. Silver, again:
There simply isn't any good news in here for John McCain (all right, he's kicking butt in Oklahoma). The only swing state poll that he leads is the SurveyUSA result in North Carolina, but even there, Obama has bounced back from a 20-point deficit in a SuvreyUSA poll taken shortly after the Republican Convention.

Moreover, Obama's position in the electoral vote remains even stronger than his position in the popular vote. We project him to win all of John Kerry's states by at least 6.9 points (New Hampshire remains the weakest link). We also project him to win Iowa by 12.5 points, New Mexico by 7.7, Virginia by 7.3 and Colorado by 6.9. Getting this race back to a tie might not be sufficient for John McCain; he might need to pull ahead by 1 or even 2 points nationally to mitigate Obama's edge in the battleground states.
But a month is a long time.

Meanwhile, McCain is having flashbacks:
Don't so many of us indeed feel like we've been prisoners in George W. Bush's America?

And gotta love the insanity, speaking of scraping the bottom: Did Ayers Write Obama's Autobiography?

The "evidence" is fucking hilarious. They both use the word "privilege"! And "[h]e read all the books Obama did—James Baldwin, Leroi Jones, Richard Wright, The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

Yep, that sure proves it. Case closed. Great stuff.

More seriously, the whole thesis is straight-out racist: it's all based on the premise that this Barack Obama guy couldn't possibly be capable of writing well himself, or be responsible for any of his other accomplishments (getting into Harvard, etc.), so the only possible explanation is a conspiracy of Islamic-commie-leftists using him as Manchurian candidate tool. "The whole story smells of purposeful intervention. The whole book does."


Read The Rest Scale: 1 out of 5, but more for the Cashill nonsense if you like cesspools.

By the way: the Maverick family is pissed off.

ADDENDUM, 10/11/08, 4:22 p.m.: The fever king of NRO, Andy McCarthy, latches onto the Ayers wrote Obama's book claim.
[...] My narrow point here is that we don't really know Obama.
But they sure do know Sarah Palin, just ever so much better. Funny, that.

10/08/2008 01:24:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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B VS. D. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Congressional report card on how members of Congress have done on veteran's issues is out. Check by name, if you like. Here is the basis for the Report Card.

Here is the short list of Senators who earned a "D":
Tom Coburn, OK [R]; Michael Enzi, WY [R]; John McCain, AZ [R]; Jim DeMint, SC [R]
But the Republicans are so good for the military!

And John McCain is the vetiest vet evar!

Specifics: Obama:

(5 out of 9 votes with IAVA Action, plus 2 points for Post-9/11 GI Bill cosponsorship)

(3 out of 9 votes with IAVA Action, not a Post-9/11 GI Bill cosponsor)
Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5 or more if you want the fine detail of the votes.

10/08/2008 04:23:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008
IT'S THE ONION'S WORLD. We only live in it: U.S. debt grows too big for National Debt Clock.

View The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5.

ADDENDUM, 10:45 p.m.: lord, this George Packer piece is depressing. So many ill-educated, ignorant, racist, Americans.

10/07/2008 04:58:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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Monday, October 06, 2008
[...] In a series of particularly relevant experiments, psychologists Todd Rogers and Michael I. Norton recently showed that most people are extremely poor at spotting even dramatic discrepancies between questions and answers.


The psychologists found that irrelevant answers delivered fluently and with poise scored higher with audiences than answers that were accurate, on-topic, but halting. And when they had actors deliver the same answers to audiences -- once fluently and once with "ums" and "ahs" -- audiences judged the hesitant responses as intellectually inferior to the fluent ones.


Norton and Simons suggest the reason audiences find it difficult to pick up on skillful dodges is that the human brain is not very good at keeping track of smooth changes, especially when distracted.

In another series of experiments, Simons has shown that when people are intently focused on something -- a basketball game on TV, for example -- large numbers fail to see a man dressed up in a gorilla suit walking across the screen. In another experiment, Simons stopped people on the street and asked for directions. Halfway through the answer, he arranged for two men carrying a door to walk between him and the person giving the answer. After the door passed by, Simons was gone -- and one of the people carrying the door was standing in his place. Half the time, people did not notice the person they were talking to had changed.
We now return you to Orwell Diaries.

Read The Rest Scale: 2.5 out of 5. Not incidentally, the resentments of Sarah Palin.

ADDENDUM, October 7th, 3:25 a.m.: This Jew-hater is Sean Hannity's idea of a source. Fox News did a whole program on this crap.

10/06/2008 09:29:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 3 comments

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SLIPPING AWAY. Terry Pratchett writes about his Alzheimer's dementia.

It'll happen to someone you know, odds are. You should read it.
[...] It seems that when you have cancer you are a brave battler against the disease, but when you have Alzheimer’s you are an old fart. That’s how people see you. It makes you feel quite alone.
People should never feel unwillingly alone.

Round here, the household kitty, barely six months old, died today, in a freak reaction to anesthesia from being spayed. The 18-year-old, the daughter of my sweetie, whose kitten Kameko was, and my sweetie as well, are very broken up. I'm sad as well, as she was the most darling of kitties. Don't send me condolences, as it's my sweetie's daughter and my sweetie who most need them, though I can pass them on. I'm just sad; they're devastated.

Read The Rest Scale on Pterry: 4 out of 5. Hat tip to David Klaus on the article.

10/06/2008 05:27:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Saturday, October 04, 2008
J. EDGAR HOOVER WOULD BE SO PLEASED. I spy Efraim Zimbalist, Jr. near you.

Good news in the war on traitors, infiltrators, commies, terrorsymps, and dhimmis everywhere in our country!
Justice Department officials released new guidelines yesterday that empower FBI agents to use intrusive techniques to gather intelligence within the United States, alarming civil liberties groups and Democratic lawmakers who worry that they invite privacy violations and other abuses.

The new road map allows investigators to recruit informants, employ physical surveillance and conduct interviews in which agents disguise their identities in an effort to assess national security threats. FBI agents could pursue each of those steps without any single fact indicating a person has ties to a terrorist organization.


Justice Department leaders rewrote a key section of the guidelines concerning agents' infiltration of groups and attendance at demonstrations. Under the new language, agents would be able to investigate the likelihood of violence stemming from a planned demonstration for as many as 30 days, with renewals subject to supervisory approval.
That's to say, investigate the likelihood based on no evidence at all! They'll be able to infiltrate and spy based on just a hunch! I feel so much safer, because I trust my government!

Don't you?

And don't worry about internet surveillance! No government could have a massive scheme like that!

Certainly the Pentagon has proven trustworthy!

All the FBI wants to do is this:
[...] It would allow an agent, for instance, to pursue an anonymous tip about terrorism by conducting an undercover interview or watching someone in a public place. Such steps are now prohibited unless there is more specific evidence of wrongdoing.
No worries!
[...] The guidelines replace existing bureau guidelines for five types of investigations: general criminal, national security, foreign intelligence, civil disorders and demonstrations. [...] The new guidelines reduce standards for beginning “assessments” (precursors to investigations), conducting surveillance and gathering evidence, meaning the threshold to beginning investigations across the board will be lowered. More troubling still, the guidelines allow a person’s race or ethnic background to be used as a factor in opening an investigation, a move the ACLU believes may institute racial profiling as a matter of policy.
No, it's all good.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5, though why bother? Just trust your government! (Whaddya bet that if we have a President Obama, the right may suddenly discover they don't trust the government quite so much? Nah, hardly likely, is it?)

10/04/2008 01:22:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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GOOD NEWS FOR FORMER CAB DRIVERS. The economic crash need not affect you! There are good jobs awaiting you in Iraq as senior advisors to General Petraeus and others!
The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to "engage and inspire" the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.


The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to "engage and inspire" the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.


But Defense Department officials think their own products have become increasingly imaginative and competitive. Military and contractor-produced media campaigns, spotlighting killings by insurgents, "helped in developing attitudes" that led Iraqis to reject al-Qaeda in Iraq over the past two years, an official said. Now that the insurgency is in disarray, he said, the same tools "could potentially be helpful" in diminishing the influence of neighboring Iran.

U.S.-produced public service broadcasts and billboards have touted improvements in government services, promoted political reconciliation, praised the Iraqi military and encouraged Iraqi citizens to report criminal activity. When national euphoria broke out last year after an Iraqi singer won a talent contest in Lebanon, the U.S. military considered producing an Iraqi version of "American Idol" to help build nonsectarian nationalism. The idea was shelved as too expensive, an official said, but "we're trying to think out of the box on" reconciliation.

One official described how part of the program works: "There's a video piece produced by a contractor . . . showing a family being attacked by a group of bad guys, and their daughter being taken off. The message is: You've got to stand up against the enemy." The professionally produced vignette, he said, "is offered for airing on various [television] stations in Iraq. . . . They don't know that the originator of the content is the U.S. government. If they did, they would never run anything."

"If you asked most Iraqis," he said, "they would say, 'It came from the government, our own government.' "

The Pentagon's solicitation for bids on the contracts noted that media items produced "may or may not be non-attributable to coalition forces." "If they thought we were doing it, it would not be as effective," another official said of the Iraqis. "In the Middle East, they are so afraid they're going to be Westernized . . . that you have to be careful when you're trying to provide information to the population."
Upward mobility for cab drivers, you remind me? Sure!
[...] Some of the new doctrine emerged from Petraeus's own early experience in Iraq. As commander of the 101st Airborne Division in northern Nineveh province in 2003, he ensured that war-ravaged radio and television stations were brought rapidly back on line. At his urging, the first TV programs included "Nineveh Talent Search" and a radio call-in show hosted by his Arabic interpreter, Sadi Othman, a Palestinian American.

Othman, a former New York cabdriver employed by Reston-based SOS International, remained at Petraeus's side during the general's subsequent Iraq deployments; the company refers to him as a senior adviser to Petraeus.
Chances of propaganda being picked up by other Middle Eastern media, and then repeated in the U.S.? Couldn't happen!

Why? Um, er, ah, the surge is working!

Best part: I'm sure there must be a number of Afghan cab drivers in NYC! The war in Afghanistan is as good as won!

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 for new tips in propaganda.

10/04/2008 01:15:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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PALIN CAN READ. Watch this quick compilation of her clearly reading her notes:
Via ThinkProgress.

View The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5. Hey, at least she can read. Although with $2.1 million in assets, maybe she doesn't have to.

And it isn't news, but migod, David Broder is a fucking idiot.

By the way, you've all read about McCain's ties to gambling, and history of gambling, right?

But I'm still bathing in the glow of this Palin quote:
[...] "It's time," the Republican vice presidential nominee said, "that normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency."
Which, of course, reminds one ineluctably of Richard Nixon's Supreme Court nominee, Judge G. Harrold Carswell:
[...] As the Senate last week began its long-awaited floor debate on President Nixon's latest choice for the Supreme Court, opponents and at least a few supporters of the nominee seemed agreed on one point: Judge G. Harrold Carswell is a mediocre choice. Far from denying it, Carswell's advocates almost claimed mediocrity as his prime qualification.

"Does it not seem that we have had enough of those upsidedown, corkscrew thinkers?" Louisiana's Russell Long asked. "Would it not appear that it might be well to take a B student or a C student who was able to think straight, compared to one of those A students who are capable of the kind of thinking that winds up getting a 100% increase in crime in this country?" After Roman Hruska finished with it, the argument even had a certain logic—if somewhat upside down and corkscrewed. "There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers," said the Nebraska Republican. "They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? We can't have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos."
Which, alas, does cause one to wonder if they've stumbled into this future, after all.

And speaking of morons, Barney Frank smacks one who is too dumb to understand how his stupidity gets in the way of rational discussion.

Also, Rick Perlstein on the Community Reinvestment Act blood libel. More.

10/04/2008 11:38:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 2 comments

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Friday, October 03, 2008
BETTER GET BACK TO BEING ALARMED AT MUSLIMS, THEN. Fewer People Entering U.S. Illegally, Report Says.
A report released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center indicates that fewer people are trying to enter the United States illegally and that there has been no growth over the last year in the number of illegal immigrants living here.

The Pew center report, which is based on census data, showed that for the first time in nearly a decade, the number of people entering the country illegally was lower than the number arriving through legal channels.
Fear not! I'm sure the Republican Party won't run out of scapegoats any time soon.

Read The Rest Scale: 3 out of 5 as interested.

10/03/2008 04:16:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 0 comments

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THEIR MOVIE CHOICES SAY IT. Less noticed than their other interview choices, and, um, media appearances, will be these last questions asked Biden and Palin by Katie Couric, broadcast on Thursday's evening news.

There were several, including what they thought of Dick Cheney, and what they thought of former Veeps, but this one was on their favorite movies. (Roger Ebert will be so pleased!)
Katie Couric: What’s your favorite move and why?

Joe Biden: "Chariots of Fire" is, I think, probably my favorite movie. But the truth of the matter is the thing about it, there is a place where someone put personal fame and glory behind principles. That to me, is the mark of real heroism, when someone would do that.

Couric: Do you remember your favorite scene from that movie?

Biden: I think the favorite scene is when he is making the decision and talking to his ... about do I do this? What do I do? He so desperately wanted to run, but concluded he couldn’t.

It was that, you know, that moment of decision, I think that was my favorite scene. I also like the scene on the beach where, you know, he’s just running.

Sarah Palin: I love those old sports movies, like Hoosiers, and Rudy, um, those that show that the underdog can make it and it’s all about tenacity and work ethic and determination, and just doing the right thing. So it would probably be one of those two old sports movies.

Couric: Do you have a favorite scene from either of them?

Palin: At the very end, the victories! Yeah! Rudy, where he gets to run out on the field and he gets to participate and make a difference. And then in Hoosiers, when they win.

Biden: it's all about principle.

Palin: you don't need brains or principles -- it's just bulling through that counts, and lets you "win."

And what's the most important thing, for Sarah Palin?


We're #1! We're #1! Yeah!

Says it all, doesn't it?

Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5, 'cept maybe for Roger Ebert on the presidential candidate's movie choices.

Michael Froomkin has quite the collection of Palin links and video, by the way.

10/03/2008 03:05:00 AM |permanent link | Main Page | | 1 comments

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008
THE BLANKNESS. Sarah Palin and Joe Biden answered more questions from Katie Couric and the answers were broadcast half an hour or so ago.

Among the responses, this of Palin on Roe v. Wade:
Couric Why, in your view, is Roe v. Wade a bad decision?

Sarah Palin: I think it should be a states' issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, also, though, it's no secret that I'm pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that's what I would like to see, um, further embraced by America.

Couric: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.

Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.
Of course, if the inherent right to privacy is in the Constitution of the U.S., then determining how it plays out is not up to the individual states, or the will of the people. She's directly contradicting herself. Either it's up to the states and the people, and the right isn't in the Constitution, or vice versa. It can't be the way she stated it. (Video.)

But there will be even more play on this amazing vamping:
Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

Palin: Well, let's see. There's, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …

Couric: Can you think of any?

Palin: Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
The blankness... the blankness....

Lastly, they were asked about separation of church and state.

Katie Couric: Thomas Jefferson wrote about the First Amendment, building a wall of separation between church and state. Why do you think that's so important?

Sarah Palin: His intention in expressing that was so that government did not mandate a religion on people. And Thomas Jefferson also said never underestimate the wisdom of the people. And the wisdom of the people, I think in this issue is that people have the right and the ability and the desire to express their own religious views, be it a very personal level, which is why I choose to express my faith, or in a more public forum.

And the wisdom of the people, thankfully, engrained in the foundation of our country, is so extremely important. And Thomas Jefferson wanted to protect that.
I can't find any trace of Thomas Jefferson ever having said "never underestimate the wisdom of the people," or the American people, or any close variant. Can you?

For some actual statements by Jefferson on religion and public life, see my sidebar quotes.

Read The Rest Scale: 3.5 out of 5 on the overall link.

10/01/2008 04:04:00 PM |permanent link | Main Page | | 6 comments

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