Saturday, October 29, 2005

Right and wrong

Well, as I had predicted, Rove wasn't indicted (see here, where they are links to my other posts on the subject), but...
  1. it seems quite conceivable that he still may be, and

  2. it also seems likely that if he isn't indicted, it will be for reasons completely different than I cited in my argument.

That is, even if it ultimately turns out that I was right, I'll probably be right for the wrong reasons.

Of course, I'd be much happier just to be proved wrong and see Rove indicted.

It's actually just a little strange: people who went overboard with their irrational exuberance at the possibility that "Fitzmas" would mark the beginning of the end of the Bush-world are now pretty disappointed at what's come of the investigation so far, because their expectations were so unreasonably high (fed by paragraph after paragraph of rank speculation and fantasy-mongering -- "frogmarch" indeed -- rampant throughout the liberal blogosphere) and are waxing pessimistic about Rove being indicted, while I'm feeling pretty optimistic myself, despite my prediction that he wouldn't be. Go figure.

Update: On reflection, the brouhaha over "Fitzmas" is perhaps an indication that liberals are as susceptible to Messianic impulses as are fundamentalists. I guess that should come as no particular surprise, given the left's response to Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Che, or cults such as Jonestown, La Rouche and the Weather Underground, but I had thought (hoped?) that liberalism, specifically, was more dedicated to rational evaluation and logical thinking. I suppose that means that the mushy emotion-laden liberalism of (for example) Barbra Streisand is much more prevalent than I'd like to believe. In this current flap of irrational exuberance and unreasonable expectations, however, some of our more insightful and perceptive analysts got caught up in the emotional vortex, and wrote some stuff that, I strongly suspect, is going to look pretty damn embarassing in a few years when they read it again.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/29/2005 04:28:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Fitzgerald: Now, the rules are different.

Here's a portion of the transcript of Patrick Fitzgerald's news conference (unfortunately from Rush Limbaugh's website -- it was the first source I found). What Fitzgerald said struck me at the time, and I wanted to verify what it was that he said, precisely:
Now, as I said before, this grand jury investigation has been conducted in secret. I believe it should have been conducted in secret, not only because it's required by those rules, but because the rules are wise. Those rules protect all of us.

We are now going from a grand jury investigation to an indictment, a public charge and a public trial. The rules will be different.

Get that? Fitzgerald said:

The rules will be different.

I take that as a warning shot across the bow of anybody -- Karl Rove, "Official A", whomever -- who was not indicted today, and may still be in danger of indictment. Fitzgerald is not convening a new grand jury (he was explicit on that point several times in the press conference), but will borrow a sitting grand jury if he needs one. His investigation is continuing, but because it's not a grand jury investigation, and is therefore not covered by the secrecy rules which apply to grand investigation, Fitzgerald is not bound to secrecy, which means that he is able to fight a war of leaks, tit for tat, as he was unable to do before.

That should give pause to Rove, since it means Rove's attorney will no longer be able to spin things to the benefit of his client without being answered by Fitzgerald.

Now, it's true you can interpret Fitzgerald's words entirely in another way, as saying that in the case of Libby, we're in another phase, and the rules change, but then it's hard to explain this AP report:

In a sign of the trouble lingering for the Bush administration, the indictment handed up Friday in the CIA leak probe refers to someone at the White House known as "Official A."

The unidentified official could become a courtroom witness against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who left his job as vice presidential aide shortly after his indictment on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury.

Several other unnamed officials mentioned in the indictment were identified Friday afternoon by Justice Department officials.

But not "Official A."

The mysterious official is identified in the indictment only as "a senior official in the White House."

No mention is made of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser who remains under investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.

It has been known that columnist Robert Novak spoke to Rove on July 9, 2003, saying he planned to report over the weekend that Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, had worked for the CIA. Rove told the columnist he had heard similar information.

Friday's indictment says "Official A" is a "senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003" about a chat with Novak about his upcoming column in which Plame would be identified as a CIA employee.

Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A.

Now Fitzgerald's operation has been, up to this point, remarkably fastidious about not leaking anything -- leaks have come from other sources, such as attorneys representing witnesses and targets, but it's hard to see how these "three people close to the investigation" could be anything but inside the investigation, since Rove would have nothing to gain by doing anything which lessens the sense that he's off the hook.

I think we're seeing Fitzgerald use yet another weapon to go after Rove, one that hasn't been available to him before.

Update: Here's another snippet from the press conference (and here's a link to the NY Times transcript of it):

QUESTION: You identified Mr. Fleischer as one of the people that Mr. Libby spoke with. Can you say who the counsel to the V.P. was, and also the undersecretary of state that he spoke with?

FITZGERALD: We've referred to people by their titles in the indictment just because that's a practice. We don't allege they did anything wrong. But we said the White House press secretary and we talked about counsel for the vice president. And I generally don't identify people beyond the indictment.

And I'll talk to Randy Samborn, who tells me what I'm allowed to do, at the break.

If we can provide you those names, we will. I'm not so sure we can, so I better not do it in front of a microphone.

Clearly, Fitzgerald's very concerned about what he can say and what he can't, and anything he was told he could say in public, is something that he could leak or caused to be leaked.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/29/2005 02:48:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Friday, October 28, 2005

Empty tapping

Tonight on CNN's News Night, Senator John Sununu inadvertantly reveals (yet again) the vacuousness and amorality of the Bush administration and the Republican party:
AARON BROWN: Why do you think it- people at the Vice President's right hand -- and whether this was criminal or not will be for a jury to decide -- apparently engaged in this effort to, this is my word, certainly, and not yours, trash Ambassador Wilson?

SEN. JOHN SUNUNU: Well, I think they felt that Ambassador Wilson was a partisan, and he certainly was, politically speaking, a partisan, that he may have had specific motives and goals in mind, that were cer- it was certainly counterbalanced by other evidence and other sources of inteligence gathering at the time, and they felt that there needed to some sort of a balance out there. That doesn't justify the specific way that they approached it, but I think that was their concern at the time.

So if you accept this at face value, they thought Wilson was a Democratic anti-war advocate (which I can believe -- they are people who see things in strictly black-and-white terms: if you're not for me, you must be ag'in me), who was publicly put weight behind one specific piece of information which mitigated against going to war, but they knew of all this other evidence which supported going to war, so their response was not a substantive one, to present that evidence and let the public decide, but instead they attempted to defang Wilson by revealing that his wife was a CIA agent.

That's the Republican idea of creating "balance."

It all just barely makes sense even on its own terms. The only thing that really makes sense is that the outing of Plame was an attack and warning to Wilson: "shut up or else", and, in addition, a warning to the CIA: "get with the program, or else". The information that Wilson's wife is a CIA agent isn't "evidence" for or against anything, it doesn't bear on the Administration's position on the war one way to the other, and can only be justified as a legitimate move by a dimbulb such as Sununu dancing as fast as he can to his master's tune.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/28/2005 10:18:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Hey, CNN!

Maybe I'm alone in this, but you might be interested to know that whenever you have Joe DeGenova on the air I mute the sound or change the channel. Can't stand the guy.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/28/2005 01:36:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why didn't they fall on their sword?

Brad deLong has some questions:
I do not understand why Scooter Libby (or whoever was Novak's source) did not take a dive in the fall of 2003. From the moment the CIA asked for an investigation, it was clear that this could be big trouble--for the administration was guilty as hell. At that moment Scooter Libby should have stood up and said: "I did it. I was pushing back against Wilson's lies and I forgot that his wife's status at the CIA was secret. I'm guilty." He would then resign, go to work for the campaign, get pardoned if there were to be any jail time--no criminal intent, Bush would say--and come back into the administration in early 2005. If you're guilty--especially if you're guilty--that's the dominant strategy. It gets you a sterling reputation as a stand-up guy. It wins you eternal gratitude from all the other guilty people who now escape scrutiny. [More]

I'd guess that at least part of the answer is that the Bushies didn't see the necessity fot anyone to fall on their sword, because they had Ashcroft in the DoJ to protect them by controlling the scope of the investigation. Once Ashcroft had recused himself, perhaps the moment had passed?

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/27/2005 08:29:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


FEMA fails, again

Reed Hundt on TPM Cafe:
Almost unnoticed by the media, apparently, has been the ludicrously poor governmental response to the latest hurricane. Jeb Bush's leap for responsibility was a laudable example of brotherly love, but hardly an explanation of why FEMA, with Brown still on the payroll, still is the gang that can't respond straightforwardly to wind or waves. The current Administration is wildly successful in wealth transfers, but can't seem to award a low bid contract, armor up our military vehicles, freeze ice, keep electricity humming, or look for Osama in the country in which he is located. If in fact Washington's latest remix of High Noon produces a White House cleaning, one positive outcome could be the recruitment to high posts of folks who know how to run a government for practical, and not merely political, purposes.

I thought at the time of Katrina that FEMA's pathetic response at that time put the Bush administration in a no-win situation. If they responded well to a subsequent hurricane somewhere else -- such as in Florida, for instance -- it would be taken as proof that the response to Katrina was deliberately underwhelming because of the race and political orientation of many of the people affected by it. If, on the other hand, Bush's FEMA didn't do a good job on another storm, it would be taken as proof that they're just incompetent.

Well, no one deserves a no-win dilemma more than Bush and his deeply incompetent administration, so I'm not particularly unhappy at the unfairness of it all. The poor response to Wilma (still orders of magnitude better than the anemic response to Katrina) is just another example of a basic fact: it's hard to make government work when you don't believe in the efficacy of government, and your ideology is built around that supposition.

I never really bought into the argument that the FEMA Katrina fiasco was linked to race (although Louisiana's blue-stateness may have lessened any sense of urgency FEMA's minders might have had about stepping in, all policies in Bush's White House being measured by political yardsticks a la Rove), since it seemed apparent from FEMA's statements at the time, and earlier in Congressional hearings, that they just didn't believe in using the Federal government to fix problems -- that was the responsibility of the states and cities. That orientation fundamentally perverted their view of what their job was, which was why they did such a bad job, and (apparently) continue to do so.

The bottom line is that we desperately need someone in the White House who believes in using governmental power to solve problems. Until we do, there will be more Katrinas, more Wilmas and more general incompetence.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/27/2005 05:52:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Was Miers a "head fake"?

Almost a month ago, I wrote about the Miers nomination:
What if the scenario is supposed to play out this way:
  • Bush appoints obviously unqualified personal retainer for the high court;

  • She's a woman: Bush gets points for this with some people;

  • She's not a right-wing ideologue: Bush gets points with certain people for this;

  • However, the right-wing is up in arms with vociferous objections: they want a true believer to reshape the court;

  • The mainstream media latches onto the problems with the nominee (unqualified) and political problems with the nomination (not supported by powerful forces, i.e. the right-wing punditocracy);

  • The media starts talking about Harold Carswell, the Nixon S.C. nominee who was a mediocre choice at best (leading one Senator to say about him "Even if he is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they?"). Carswell's nomination was ultimately defeated;

  • To avoid the "Carswell dilemma," Bush withdraws Miers from consideration (or perhaps Miers, ever loyal to the most brilliant man she ever met, removes herself "in the best interests of the President and the country");

  • Bush them nominates a stealth candidate, someone with judicial experience and a paper trail that conservatives can appreciate, but which is subject to possible innocent interpretation (on the model of Roberts);

  • Happy to have gotten somebody with more potential right-wing bona fides, the right supports this nomination, even though they're not overwhelmed with joy;

  • The Democrats object, but their objections can't find any purchase because the media, having blown its wad pontificating about Miers, can't bring itself to take arms against the new nominee (especially since those same powerful forces that dissed Miers are now supporting the new guy -- and it will most probably be a guy, perhaps even a minority -- more points for Bush);

  • The new nominee is confirmed;

  • Bush and Rove have pulled off a perfect head fake.

So far, things are proceeding pretty much as I (and others) had speculated they might. The questions we've got before us now are:

  1. What will Bush do now -- will he follow the scenario above?; and

  2. Was this a deliberate "head fake"?

It seems pretty clear that Bush will follow my speculative scenario fairly closely -- it's pretty much what everyone is thinking will be the case. I suppose the only question there is whether the new nominee will be a slam-dunk radical conservative, exactly the red meat the right's been hankering for, or whether Bush will go with his inclination to appoint someone close to him who's somewhat more moderate, but still less of a cipher than Miers.

If Bush had any common sense, he'd have learned his lesson from the Miers debacle and would go with someone the fundies and righties will drool over -- but common sense is never one of the stronger inclinations of this president or his administration, so you can't count on it. Absent other circumstances, it's just as likely that he'd do his stiff-necked thing again and appoint Alberto Gonzales or someone like that -- but with his administration under duress due to the Fitzgerald investigation, he might just realize that the last thing he needs is more fracturing within his base, and give them what they want.

So -- was the Miers nomination a deliberate head fake, an elaborate ploy by Bush and Rove to outfox the opposition and put through a stealth far-right justice?

I reserve the right to adjust my opinion as things develop further, but at this point I don't think so -- it seems to me from this vantage point (the outskirts of Lower Blogovia) that things just happen to have happened in a way that follows the head fake scenario.

Bush's reaction to the criticism of Miers seemed too real, and his response (i.e. stiffen the neck, then hunker down to stay the course, then frantically look for an exit) too much in character for it to have been faked. Years of observing Bush on TV with the sound off have convinced me that this man is not a particularly good actor, that he wears his true feelings right out on his face and in his posture for everyone to see -- if they'd ignore what he's saying with his mouth to see what he's saying with his body.

So, my provisional thought is this wasn't a complex bank shot by Bush and Rove. Other possibilities:

  • Miers was completely Bush's idea -- Rove being distracted by other matters -- which is why the choice seemed so badly tone deaf to the current political realities; and

  • (brace for this one) Rove manipulated Bush into nominating Miers, knowing what the reaction form the right would be, and how Bush would respond to it.

That last adds yet another bounce to the bank shot, and probably puts it out of the running as anything remotely real, but it's sure interesting as speculation.

However we ended up here, I suspect that Democrats may soon look back with great fondness on those halcyon days when the GOP coalition appeared to be self-destructing over Miers, and they could sit back and snack on popcorn and watch it develop. With Miers, so obviously underqualified to be on the high court, they had the option of abstaining from the vote, but that privilege won't be available to them with whomever is next -- and the right isn't going to help them out.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/27/2005 01:03:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Well, you don't have to rub it in!

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/27/2005 02:10:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


ChiSox win!

Congratulations to the White Sox on winning their first World Series since 1917, and extra praise to them since they did it by sweeping a team from Texas. (My apologies to any of the 2,832,704 decent, intelligent, reasonable people in Texas who may be Astros fans, but your home state has much to answer for, and doesn't deserve to win a World Series.)

Go ahead, people of Chicago, and all White Sox fans everywhere, celebrate -- you deserve it!

Addenda: Let me add that I love baseball, I spend an inordinate amount of time watching baseball games (mostly on TV, but at the ballpark as well), but the season is so long that by the time it's done I really am ready for it to be over. When my team's in the thick of things, as the Yankees were until they were eliminated by the Angels, adrenaline keeps me going and helps in trying to ignore the weariness the long season provokes, but otherwise... well, it gets to be a little much, and I'm almost glad it's finally finished. I'll miss it, but I'll get over it pretty quickly.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/27/2005 12:31:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hedging my bet?

I've been pretty vocal in expressing my belief (here, here and here) that Rove won't be indicted -- not because he doesn't deserve it, you understand, but for reasons of practicality having to do with Fitzgerald bowing to the reality of power politics. The argument opposing that (held, I think it's fair to say, by most of the liberal blogosphere) is that Fitzgerald will indict without regard to politics or concerns about power.

Now, in reading the current scuttlebutt, I'm somewhat less convinced of my argument, because I see the White House starting to subtly push Rove away and remove him to arm's length. If that's so, it could be an indication that Bush has decided that Rove is dispensable after all, and if that happens it cuts the heart out of my argument.

I'm not saying that I'm wrong, simply that I'm aware that my argument is based on certain assumptions about what Bush would do if Rove was indicted, and if those assumptions are wrong, then inevitably my conclusion is going to be wrong as well. That doesn't give me the right to say "I changed my mind" later on (believe me, if I'm totally wrong about "Fitzmas" I'll be too busy dancing in the street with everyone else to worry about it), but I thought I would at least acknowledge that I could be reading the tea leaves all wrong.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/26/2005 09:13:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


CBS poll: Creationism beats out evolution

Once again, Americans exhibit their ignorance:
(CBS) Most Americans do not accept the theory of evolution. Instead, 51 percent of Americans say God created humans in their present form, and another three in 10 say that while humans evolved, God guided the process. Just 15 percent say humans evolved, and that God was not involved.


God created humans in present form
Humans evolved, God guided the process
Humans evolved, God did not guide process


While the ignorance of the Great American Public is displayed here, the bad news is not quite as bad as the piece would have us believe, since people who believe that God guided the evolutionary process are still people who believe that the evolutionary process exists and is at work. (God's "guidance" can presumably be as light or as heavy-handed as one cares to believe.) Since this is the case, one has to add together 30% and 15% to arrive at a quite different (if still depressing) result:

God created humans in present form
Humans evolved.

(There's another complication, in that the question is framed entirely in terms of human evolution, and there presumably is some percentage of people who would be willing to believe in evolution -- with or without God's guidance -- if it was limited to other forms and life and not applied to human beings.)

Is there another country in the developed world where a majority of the people outright reject the major tenet of biological science?

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/26/2005 02:59:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tracking blog family trees

Commissar of Politburo Diktat is tracking blog family trees. So far, there's a lot of data about blogs on the right, and it would be good to balance that off. What being asked for is:
  1. your blogfather, or blogmother, as the case may be. Just one please - the one blog that, more than any other, inspired you to start blogging. Please don't name Instapundit, unless you are on his blogchildren list.

  2. Include your blog-birth-month, the month that you started blogging, if you can.

  3. If you are reasonably certain that you have spawned any blog-children, mention them, too.

You can e-mail this info here.

My responses were (with comments added later):

  1. Blogfather: Eliot Gelwan's Follow Me Here. (Were I allowed a second influence, it would be Kevin Drum.)

  2. First post on August 31, 2003 (after several years of dithering)

  3. No blogchildren that I'm aware of. (But sometimes the father is the last to know.)

[Via Pharyngula]

Update: Two new instructions have been added by Commissar:

  • Don't email me to tell me that you have no blogfather/mother. If that's your view, that's fine. But what I'm doing here is tracking intellectual heritages, or just strong influences. If the idea of blogging came to you fully-formed and no other blogger influenced you, I do not object. But I'm tracking lineages here.

  • Identify your blog as Left, Right, or Other.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/25/2005 05:15:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Separated at birth?

Billmon had a good one today:

Which suddenly made me remember where I'd seen that face before:

Update: Billmon comments:
There was a scene in the first Batman movie where the Joker stood on the steps of city hall and handed out wads of cash, yelling: "Vote for me! I'm giving away free money!"

Yep, a dead ringer all right.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/25/2005 01:21:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Monday, October 24, 2005

Kitzmiller sidebar

Just a note that I've consolidated the links to the Dover "intelligent design" trial (Kitzmiller v Dover) into a separate section of the sidebar.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/24/2005 07:06:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Give the people what they want

In a previous post, I referred to a statement promulgated by the Discovery Institute, the center for the "intelligent design"brand of creationism -- a "Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" -- that has, after four years, been signed by 400 people reputed to be scientists.

(Some who signed it, such as Bob Davidson regret having done so, and have tried, without success, to get their names removed.)

Now, Carl Zimmer reports that another petition, supporting Darwinian evolution, has been put out, with the sponsor trying to see how many signers he could from within the scientific community in just four days.

The answer: 7,733.
During my short, four-day experiment, I recieved about 20 times as many signatures at a rate 690,000% higher than what the Discovery Institute can claim...

Related: this article in the Boston Globe.

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/24/2005 01:52:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, October 23, 2005

This day in history

Selected events, births and deaths in history for October 23rd:

4004 BCE - According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.
1694 - American colonial forces led by Sir William Phips, fail in their attempt to seize Quebec.
1707 - The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.
1739 - War of Jenkins' Ear starts: British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.
1855 - Kansas Free State forces set up a competing government under their Topeka, Kansas constitution, which outlaws slavery in the United States territory.
1861 - President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C. for all military-related cases.
1915 - In New York City, 25,000-33,000 women march up Fifth Avenue to demand the right to vote.
1929 - After a steady decline in stock market prices since a peak in September, the New York Stock Exchange begins to show signs of panic.
1929 - The first transcontinental air service begins from New York to Los Angeles.
1930 - The first miniature golf tournament finished in Chattanooga, TN.
1935 - Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosenkrantz are fatally shot in a bar in Newark in what will become known as The Chophouse Massacre
1942 - Britain launched a major offensive against Axis forces at El Alamein in Egypt during World War II.
1942 - "Native Son", a play based on Richard Wright's book, opens on Broadway, directed by Orson Welles
1944 - The largest naval battle in history begins in Leyte Gulf, in the Philippines
1946 - The United Nations General Assembly convened in New York for the first time, at an auditorium in Flushing Meadow.
1956 - Thousands of Hungarians protest Soviet influence and occupation in their nation.
1958 - Russian poet and novelist Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1971 - Walt Disney World opens in Orlando, Florida.
1972 - Stephen Schwartz' musical "Pippin" opens on Broadway
1973 - President Richard M. Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations about the Watergate scandal.
1973 - A U.N. sanctioned cease-fire officially ends the Yom Kippur war between Israel and Syria.
1976 - President Jimmy Carter, in a Playboy magazine interview, states that "I've looked on many women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me."
1983 - Lebanon Civil War: U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut hit by truck bomb, killing 241 US Servicemen.
1983 - Two million people march in Western European capital cities demonstrating against the deployment of 'Cruise' and 'Pershing' missiles
1987 - The U.S. Senate rejected the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork on a 58-42 vote.
1996 - The civil trial of former American football player O.J. Simpson opens in Santa Monica, California.
1998 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat reach a "land-for-peace" agreement.
1998 - In Amherst, New York, abortion doctor Barnett Slepian is killed by a sniper in his home.
2001 - The Provisional Irish Republican Army of Northern Ireland commences disarmament after peace talks encouraged by American President Bill Clinton.
2002 - Chechen rebels seize the House of Culture theater in Moscow and take approximately 700 theatergoers hostage.
2004 - A powerful earthquake and aftershocks hit Niigata, Japan, killing 35, injuring 2,200, and leaving 85,000 homeless or evacuated.

1805 - John Bartlett, lexicographer best known for Bartlett's Quotations. (d.1905)
1835 - Adlai E. Stevenson, Vice President of the United States (d. 1914)
1844 - Robert Bridges, English poet (d. 1930)
1844 - Sarah Bernhardt, French actress. (d. 1923)
1869 - John Heisman, American college football coach for whom the Heisman Trophy is named. (d. 1936)
1892 - Gummo Marx, the lost Marx Brother (d. 1977)
1905 - Felix Bloch, Swiss-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1983)
1920 - Frank Rizzo, American politician, mayor of Philadelphia
1923 - Frank Sutton, actor (Sgt. Carter on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C)
1923 - Ned Rorem, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer
1925 - Johnny Carson, television host (d. 2005)
1931 - Jim Bunning, baseball player and conservative U.S. Senator
1931 - Diana Dors, the "English Marilyn Monroe"
1936 - Philip Kaufman, film director (Invasion of the Body Snatchers)
1940 - Baby Jane Holzer, actress
1940 - Pelé, Brazilian footballer
1940 - Ellie Greenwich, songwriter (Be My Baby, Chapel of Love, Da Do Ron Ron, Then He Kissed Me, River Deep, Mountain High)
1942 - Michael Crichton, nutcase American writer
1949 - Nick Tosches, American writer
1951 - Michael Rupert, performer and composer
1954 - Ang Lee, Taiwanese-born director and producer
1954 - Ed Fitzgerald, obscure American blogger and theatrical stage manager
1955 - Graeme Revell, composer
1956 - Dwight Yoakam, American singer, songwriter, and actor
1959 - "Weird Al" Yankovic, American musical parodist
1959 - Sam Raimi, American film director and producer
1959 - Nancy Grace, former prosecutor, now TV loudmouth
1962 - Doug Flutie, American football player
1965 - Al Leiter, American baseball player (Mets, Yankees)
1970 - Linzi Hateley, played "Carrie" in the noted Broadway musical flop

42 BCE - Marcus Junius Brutus, a leading conspirator in the assassination of Julius Caesar, commits suicide after his defeat at the second battle of Philippi.
1939 - Zane Grey, author of Westerns (b. 1872)
1944 - Charles Glover Barkla, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1877)
1950 - Al Jolson, American singer and actor (b. 1886)
1983 - Jessica Savitch, American journalist (b. 1947)
1984 - Oskar Werner, Austrian-born actor (b. 1922)
1996 - Diana Trilling, NY intellectual, wife of Lionel Trilling (b. 1905)
2002 - Adolph Green, songwriter, partner of Betty Comden (b. 1914)
2003 - Madame Chiang Kai-shek, widow of the Chinese nationalist leader, died in New York at age 105.
2004 - Robert Merrill, American baritone, frequent singer of the "Star Spangled Banner" at Yankee Stadium (b. 1919)

[From Wikipedia, This Day in History, The History Channel,,, Those Were The Days, New York Times, Internet Broadway Database births and openings, and Internet Movie Database.]

Note: Updated 10/22/2007

Ed Fitzgerald | 10/23/2005 02:13:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
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Democrats 233 (+30) - Republicans 201 - TBD 1 [FL-13]

Democrats 50 (+5) - Republicans 50

Democrats 51 (+6) - Republicans 49

netroots candidates
awards and nominations
Never a bridesmaid...

...and never a bride, either!!

what I've been reading
Martin van Creveld - The Transformation of War

Jay Feldman - When the Mississippi Ran Backwards

Martin van Creveld - The Rise and Decline of the State

Alfred W. Crosby - America's Forgotten Pandemic (1989)
bush & company are...
class warriors
con artists
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
not candid
not "reality-based"
not trustworthy
out of control
without integrity

Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
recently seen
Island in the Sky (1952)

Robot Chicken

The Family Guy

House M.D. (2004-7)
i've got a little list...
Elliott Abrams
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
David Addington
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
John Ashcroft
Bob Bennett
William Bennett
Joe Biden
John Bolton
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Pat Buchanan
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Saxby Chambliss
Bruce Chapman (DI)
Dick Cheney
Lynne Cheney
Richard Cohen
The Coors Family
Ann Coulter
Michael Crichton
Lanny Davis
Tom DeLay
William A. Dembski
James Dobson
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
Dinesh D’Souza
Gregg Easterbrook
Jerry Falwell
Douglas Feith
Arthur Finkelstein
Bill Frist
George Gilder
Newt Gingrich
John Gibson (FNC)
Alberto Gonzalez
Rudolph Giuliani
Sean Hannity
Katherine Harris
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
Christopher Hitchens
David Horowitz
Don Imus
James F. Inhofe
Jesse Jackson
Philip E. Johnson
Daryn Kagan
Joe Klein
Phil Kline
Ron Klink
William Kristol
Ken Lay
Joe Lieberman
Rush Limbaugh
Trent Lott
Frank Luntz

"American Fundamentalists"
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)

Chris Matthews
Mitch McConnell
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Zell Miller
Tom Monaghan
Sun Myung Moon
Roy Moore
Dick Morris
Rupert Murdoch
Ralph Nader
John Negroponte
Grover Norquist
Robert Novak
Ted Olson
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Bill O'Reilly
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Perle
Ramesh Ponnuru
Ralph Reed
Pat Robertson
Karl Rove
Tim Russert
Rick Santorum
Richard Mellon Scaife
Antonin Scalia
Joe Scarborough
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
Bill Schneider
Al Sharpton
Ron Silver
John Solomon (WaPo)
Margaret Spellings
Kenneth Starr
Randall Terry
Clarence Thomas
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Donald Trump
Richard Viguere
Donald Wildmon
Paul Wolfowitz
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
John Yoo
All the fine sites I've
guest-blogged for:

Be sure to visit them all!!
recent listening
Smash Mouth - Summer Girl

Poulenc - Piano Music

Pop Ambient 2007
John Adams
Laurie Anderson
Aphex Twin
Isaac Asimov
Fred Astaire
J.G. Ballard
The Beatles
Busby Berkeley
John Cage
Raymond Chandler
Arthur C. Clarke
Elvis Costello
Richard Dawkins
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Kevin Drum
Brian Eno
Firesign Theatre
Eliot Gelwan
William Gibson
Philip Glass
David Gordon
Stephen Jay Gould
Dashiell Hammett
"The Harder They Come"
Robert Heinlein
Joseph Heller
Frank Herbert
Douglas Hofstadter
Bill James
Gene Kelly
Stanley Kubrick
Jefferson Airplane
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
John McPhee
Harry Partch
Michael C. Penta
Monty Python
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Prisoner"
"The Red Shoes"
Steve Reich
Terry Riley
Oliver Sacks
Erik Satie
"Singin' in the Rain"
Stephen Sondheim
The Specials
Morton Subotnick
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Tangerine Dream
Hunter S. Thompson
J.R.R. Tolkien
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
Kurt Vonnegut
08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003
09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003
09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003
09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003
09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003
10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003
10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003
10/19/2003 - 10/26/2003
11/02/2003 - 11/09/2003
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11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003
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12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003
01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004
01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004
01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004
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02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004
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10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
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11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
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02/17/2008 - 02/24/2008
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03/16/2008 - 03/23/2008
03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008
03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008
06/01/2008 - 06/08/2008
09/21/2008 - 09/28/2008

search websearch unfutz

Bullshit, trolling, unthinking knee-jerk dogmatism and the drivel of idiots will be ruthlessly deleted and the posters banned.

Entertaining, interesting, intelligent, informed and informative comments will always be welcome, even when I disagree with them.

I am the sole judge of which of these qualities pertains.

All e-mail received is subject to being published on unfutz without identifying names or addresses.

I correct typos and other simple errors of grammar, syntax, style and presentation in my posts after the fact without necessarily posting notification of the change.

Substantive textual changes, especially reversals or major corrections, will be noted in an "Update" or a footnote.

Also, illustrations may be added to entries after their initial publication.
the story so far
unfutz: toiling in almost complete obscurity for almost 1500 days
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the proud unfutz guarantee
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.

If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.

(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)

Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.

original content
© 2003-2008
Ed Fitzgerald


take all you want
but credit all you take.

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