Saturday, December 16, 2006

(3089/898) Weizenbaum speaks

355) Surely, much of what we today regard as good and useful, as well as much of what we would call knowledge and wisdom, we owe to science. But science may also be seen as an addictive drug. Not only has our unbounded feeding on science caused us to become dependent on it, but, as happens with many other drugs taken in increasing dosages, science has been gradually converted into a slow-acting poison. [...] [T]he attribution of certainty to scientific knowledge by the common wisdom, an attribution now made so nearly universally that it has become a commonsense dogma, has virtually delegitimitized all other ways of understanding. People viewed the arts, especially literature, as sources of intellectual nourishment and understanding, but today the arts are perceived largely as entertainment. [...] Today [...] the people hunger only for what is represented to them to be scientifically validated knowledge. [...]
Joseph Weizenbaum
Computer Power and Human Reason (1976)

356) The man in the street surely believes [...] scientific facts to be as well-established, as well-proven, as his own existence. His certitude is an illusion. Nor is the scientist himself immune to the same illusion. In his praxis, he must after all suspend belief in order to do or think anything at all. He is rather like the theatregoer, who, in order to participate in and understand what is happening on the stage, must for a time pretend to himself that he is witnessing real events. The scientist must believe his working hypothesis, together with its vast underlying structure of theories and assumptions, even if only for the sake of the argument. Often the "argument" extends over his entire lifetime. Gradually he becomes what he at first merely pretended to be: a true believer. I choose the word "argument" thoughtfully, for scientific demonstrations, even mathematical proofs, are fundamentally acts of persuasion.
Joseph Weizenbaum
Computer Power and Human Reason (1976)

357) [M]an has been seduced into wishing and working for the establishment of an age of rationality, but with his vision of rationality tragically twisted so as to equate it with logicality. [...] Belief in the rationality-logicality equation has corroded the prophetic power of language itself. We can count, but we are rapidly forgetting how to say what is worth counting and why.
Joseph Weizenbaum
Computer Power and Human Reason (1976)

358) Astrology [...] has constructed an enormously complex conceptual framework, a system of theories and hypotheses which allegedly permit the cognizant to control events. [...] But the hypotheses of astrology are routinely falsified by events. How then does astrology, and how do other magical systems, remain at all a force in the minds of men? [...] First, any contradiction between experience and one magical notion is explained by reference to other magical notions. Thus the entire structure of the magical system of beliefs is supported by its own circularity. The way of protecting the system against assaults by reality is especially effective if objections are met one at at a time, for then the very demonstration that an apparently anomalous fact can be incorporated into the system serves to validate the system.
Joseph Weizenbaum
Computer Power and Human Reason (1976)

359) Programming is rather a test of understanding. In this respect it is like writing; often when we think we understand something and attempt to write about it, our very act of composition reveals our lack of understanding even to ourselves. Our pen writes the word "because" and suddenly stops. We thought we understood the "why" of something but discover that we don't. We begin a sentence with "obviously." and then see that what we meant to write is not obvious at all. Sometimes we connect two clauses with the word "therefore," only to see that our chain of reasoning is defective. Programming is like that. It is, after all, writing too. But in ordinary language we sometimes obscure our lack of understanding, our failures of logic, by unwittingly appealing to the immense flexibility of natural language and to its inherent ambiguity, The very eloquence that natural language permits sometimes illuminates our words and seems (falsely, to be sure) to illuminate our underserved logic just as brightly. An interpreter of programming-language texts, a computer, is immune to the seductive influence of mere eloquence. And words like "obviously" are not represented in the primitive vocabulary of any computers. A computer is a merciless critic.
Joseph Weizenbaum
Computer Power and Human Reason (1976)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 766 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/16/2006 10:15:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Friday, December 15, 2006

More on the Johnson/Senate situation

Johnson’s condition immediately raised questions about control of the Senate in the 110th Congress, which convenes Jan. 4. Democrats won a 51-49 edge in the November elections, but the Senate cannot function without the adoption of an organizing resolution.

That resolution is subject to filibuster, and if Republicans refused to adopt it on grounds that Johnson is incapacitated and incompetent to fulfill his duties, the chamber would be at a standstill. At the same time, only Johnson himself — or his family, acting under a power of attorney — could resign his seat, creating a vacancy that South Dakota’s Republican governor would fill. A Republican successor would create a 50-50 tie, giving the GOP operational control as a result of Vice President Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote.

If Johnson survives, the Democrats would still be in control by 50-49 until and unless he resigned.


If Johnson dies or resigns before the end of his term, which runs through 2008, an interim replacement would be appointed by South Dakota Republican Gov. Mike Rounds to serve the remainder of his term. The seat would be filled permanently in the regular 2008 November general election.


Johnson's situation is unique because there is no Congress in session, and his long- term prognosis is uncertain. His family, through its power of attorney, does have the power to resign on his behalf if necessary.


Even if Johnson remains unable to attend to his regular Senate duties for a long period, he can still remain in office, according to Senate historian Richard Baker. There is no constitutional provision for the removal of incapacitated senators.

On the contrary, there is ample precedent for senators being absent for long periods due to health issues, including a former senator from South Dakota, who suffered a stroke in 1969. Republican Sen. Karl Earl Mundt (1948-1973) remained technically in office through the final years of his last term because he refused to resign.

In 1964, California Democrat Clair Engle (1959-1964), who had been absent from the Senate for months due to a brain tumor that had paralyzed him, was wheeled into the Senate on a gurney during the roll call vote on the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. Unable to speak, when his name was called, he lifted his arm and pointed to his eye, indicating an "aye" vote. He died in office.

More recently, in 1988, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., took a seven-month leave of absence to recover from brain surgery.

Baker said, given the history and tradition of the Senate, a senator remains a senator "as long as he’s alive and breathing."

As I thought, the Senate is not historically inclined to force incapacitated Senators out of office, and traditionally leaves the decision up to them. That, however, doesn't answer the question of what happens if Johnson is physically able to serve but is mentally incapacitated -- presumably, Johnson's family, through their power of attorney (if they have one) can resign for him, or they could allow him to continue to serve without actually participating, on the theory that he would prefer not to turn over the Senate to the opposition.

In any case, Governor Rounds doesn't seem to enter the picture unless a vacancy is created by death or resignation, and neither he nor anyone else in the State government seems to have a hand in determining when there's a vacancy -- that power seems to lie totally with the Senate, Johnson and, possibly, Johnson's family.

The potential filibustering of the organizing resolution would be a problem, except that we know that the Republicans are adamantly opposed to holding up the business of the Senate by use of the filibuster -- they made that abundantly clear in recent years.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/15/2006 07:15:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


It's all downhill from here, Chief

The blogging phenomenon is set to peak in 2007, according to technology predictions by analysts Gartner.

The analysts said that during the middle of next year the number of blogs will level out at about 100 million.

The firm has said that 200 million people have already stopped writing their blogs.


Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer said the reason for the levelling off in blogging was due to the fact that most people who would ever start a web blog had already done so.

He said those who loved blogging were committed to keeping it up, while others had become bored and moved on.

"A lot of people have been in and out of this thing," Mr Plummer said.

"Everyone thinks they have something to say, until they're put on stage and asked to say it."

Last month blog tracking firm Technorati reported that 100,000 new blogs were being created every day, and 1.3 million blog posts were written.

Technorati is tracking more than 57 million blogs, of which it believes around 55% are "active" and updated at least every three months.
Whoa! That's a pretty liberal definition of "active" Technorati's using -- how about once a week, or once a month if you're feeling charitable? I don't really think that 4 posts a year can reasonably be considered "activity."

In any case, I have great sympathy for people who've dropped out of blogging, I've been close to doing it myself several times now. It's not only that writing a blog in an interesting, provocative or entertaining way is more difficult than it looks, but the market is so crowded with weblogs that the chance of getting any feedback on a general-audience blog (as opposed to one aimed at a specific coterie of friends) seems quite slim, and without feedback you're basically just blowing off steam. (Although that may be sufficient justification for continuing, as long as the feeling of isolation doesn't bug you.)

I think it's also harder for personal weblogs, written by one or two people at most, to compete with the trend toward group blogs, "magazine" type blogs like Huffington Post and blogging communities like Daily Kos -- which, come to think of it, raises an interesting point. I would imagine that many people who in the past would have been starting their own blogs are instead posting diaries on community blogs, or participating heavily in comment threads -- I wonder if the analysts have made any effort to measure that activity?

In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the type of online activity which used to be represented primarily by the maintenance of individual weblogs is actually growing and will continue to grow in the coming years, but in the form of diaries and commenting as opposed to blogging. When the analysts find a way to measure that form of the same activity, the "levelling out" will be revealed to be an illusion created by the shift in people's focus and the change in the way the blogosphere is structured.

[via Tapped]

Update: I didn't read the comments on Tapped until after I had written and posted this entry, but commenter RT there basically made the same points I did in this comment.

Update: Crooken Timber has more.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/15/2006 05:52:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Friday Photography: Paddlewheel

click to enlarge

Daryl Samuel

Location: East River, New York City

Previous: Hands With Softball / On Alcatraz / Cameras / Lighthouse / Photographer At Work / Patio Chairs / Greek Church / Santa Fe Mailboxes / Rocking Horse / Sunset Sandpiper / Hands / Bird of Paradise / Feeding the Pelican / Sunset Silhouette / Staircase / Mallards / Masts / Greek Column

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/15/2006 12:20:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Opinions and observations

351) Researchers have inferred far too much from the amount of time the TV is on in the average American household [...] Seven hours of TV time per day per household is not interaction. It's a talking lamp.
Bill Machrone
"The Convergence Scam" in
PC Magazine (12/7/93)

352) You see control can never be a means to any practical end....It can never be a means to anything but more control....Like junk [heroin]....
William Burroughs
The Naked Lunch (1954)

353) Anyone who has studied the progress of modern science knows very well that the list of phenomena previously assumed to be indescribable or unknowable in scientific terms has grown progressively shorter.
Robert L. Nadeau
Minds, Machines and Human Consciousness (1991)

354) You're either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Eldridge Cleaver
Speech in San Francisco (1968) [B16]

[Note: Sometimes rephrased as "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem"]


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 767 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/15/2006 12:13:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Greenfield projects

I wanted to extend a bit on what several other bloggers have mentioned, that part of Jeff Greenfield's non-apology was the claim that the misunderstanding came about, in part, because of the "hair-trigger instinct" of bloggers who "need to fill all that space every day, or hour, or 15 minutes."

The irony, of course, is that it's not bloggers who have a pressing need to fill space (I can post or not post as I desire, and I sometimes don't post anything for days), it's CNN and other 24/7 news outlets who are hard-pressed by the need to fill 24 hours of time, 7 days a week, which leads to a lot of stuff getting on the air that should never be there.

As I said, a bunch of other people pointed out the irony, but I haven't seen anyone comment that Greenfield's error is typical of the behavior of Republicans, who have the tendency to project their own faults on others, and blame Democrats for doing things which are actually more typical of Republican behavior.

I'm not saying that Greenfield is a Republican, or their agent, just pointing out that his behavior here is quite similar to behavior typical of Republicans.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/14/2006 11:45:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


"A-S-S-H-O-L-E, everybody!"

Well, here's an absolutely amazing coincidence for you to ponder.

Michael Crowley is a senior editor at The New Republic, a political journalist and a Yale graduate, who once wrote a TNR cover story strongly critical of Michael Crichton's anti-environmental novel State of Fear, the one in which Crichton puts forward the contention that global warming is nothing but propaganda from environmentalists, liberals, celebrities and journalists.

Now, it turns out "Mike Crowley" is a character in Crichton's new novel Next. Not only that, but Crichton's "Mike Crowley" is a Washington political columnist and a graduate of Yale. What a coincidence!

But wait, there's more -- Crichton's "Mike Crowley" is, in his novel, a child rapist, who has anal sex with his two-year-old nephew. And, in what I suppose Crichton thought would be the unkindest cut of all, his "Mike Crowley" has (wait for it)... a small penis.

What a weird, weird co-inky-dink, huh?

Ladies and gentlemen, please make the acquaintance of author Michael Crichton, a bona fide asshole:

Michael Crichton, asshole

[via TPM]

Update: More links at Memeorandum (also here).

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/14/2006 10:44:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Slow and steady

It's easy to make fun of the fact that Bush's staff is taking its time bringing Bush up to speed on the state of the war in Iraq, but I'll tell you, if it was my job, and I had a boss with limited intellectual capacity and a blatant lack of inherent curiosity, who shows a tendency to hold on to an ideee fixe as long as possible, and who has also has a quick temper and an apparently huge lack of self-confidence, I'd probably do the same thing. If I was tasked to educate Bill Clinton, for instance, I'd lay it all out for him, the pros and cons and all the complexities, because Clinton clearly has the capacity to perceive the whole picture and pick out and give proper weight to each element, and then make a decision based on the information provided, which he would have processed quickly and completely in a short amount of time.

Bush, on the other hand, can't do that, and if you give him the whole picture all at one time, he's just going to dig his heels into the ground and refuse to accept it. He'll reject the new information because it doesn't accord with his old ideas about what's happening, so you have to begin by undermining those old perceptions and replacing them with new ones. That you do not all at once, but little by little, so that Bush can live with each new piece of the puzzle and get used to it without feeling as if the new data is threatening his worldview, and therefore his being. (This is especially true if the staff, in fear over inadvertantly trangressing ideologically-determined hard no-go lines, has been reinforcing that old worldview for years.)

Using a step-by-step process, Bush can basically sleep on each new revelation, and come to the next day's briefing with it as part of the accepted background. His lack of intellectual ability means that he won't notice that the totality of what he knows at the moment doesn't make real sense (because it's incomplete and perhaps even self-contradictory) and also that he'll rarely make a bold conceptual leap ahead of what he's being told, so there's little danger of him seeing that his previous conception is gradually being undermined and replaced with a new one. There may be moments where his anger will rise up and he'll want to know "Why wasn't I told this before?," but advisors at the Presidential level should be able to dance around that one -- at the worst, dropping a bunch of new information in advance of his preparedness to receive it should confuse and distract him.

The question of whether any of this will make any difference at all is a good one -- if you look at the public statements coming from the White House and the Pentagon about a "new way forward" and a need for tens of thousands of more troops, I rather think that it won't -- but I don't think you can fault the staff's methodology. That it comes so late in the game, that it has taken so damn long for the Administration to realize that its current policies aren't working, that's a legitimate complaint, but there is no way, given the way the Bush Administration is run, with an obvious attraction to strict authoritarian hierarchy, that staff and advisors could have done this any earlier. It was necessary for Bush to have his nose rubbed in the doo-doo sufficiently to provoke even a semblence of an openness to change, and until that happened, there was no way anyone could push Bush off his preferred pathway (unless it came from Dick Cheney, and he's such a total Neanderthal that he's probably in his undisclosed location right now, brooding about the advisability of nuking Iraq back to the Stone Age).

It's unlikely we're going to get the kind of change we need, but if there's any hope of any change at all, Bush's staff seems to be going about it the right way. (Of course, who knows what the hell they're telling him.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/14/2006 09:39:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


For the Jittery Jeremiahs of Journalism

[Sorry about the silly title, but look what a little alliteration did for William Safire!]

Ballad of a Thin Man
by Bob Dylan (1965)

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, "Who is that man?"
You try so hard
But you don't understand
Just what you'll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You raise up your head
And you ask, "Is this where it is?"
And somebody points to you and says
"It's his"
And you say, "What's mine?"
And somebody else says, "Where what is?"
And you say, "Oh my God
Am I here all alone?"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, "How does it feel
To be such a freak?"
And you say, "Impossible"
As he hands you a bone

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To just give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

You've been with the professors
And they've all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You've been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald's books
You're very well read
It's well known

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, "Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin' around
You should be made
To wear earphones

Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/14/2006 02:15:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Einstein

346) The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.
Albert Einstein
"Physics and Reality" (1936) [WQ]
quoted by R.H. March in
Physics for Poets (1978)
cited by Gerald M. Edelman in
Bright Air, Brilliant Fire (1992)

347) One may say that the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.
Albert Einstein
Out of My Later Years (1956) [WQ]
quoted by Freeman Dyson in
Disturbing the Universe (1979) [CQ]

348) Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem -- in my opinion -- to characterize our age.
Albert Einstein
Broadcast recording for a science conference in London (9/28/1941)
Einstein Archive 28-557 [QE]
Out of My Later Years (1950) [CQ]

349) Everything should be made as simple as possibly, but not simpler.
Albert Einstein
quoted by Marvin Minsky in
The Society of Mind (1986)
[Note: Alice Calaprice in The New Quotable Einstein (2005) reports not being able to find a source for this quote, and suggests that it's either a restatement of Occam's Razor or a paraphrase of some other of Einstein's statements about simplicity, such as:

A theory is more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability.
"Autobiographical Notes"
Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (1949)
Paul Schlipp, ed.]
350) If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts, avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear, and of promiscuous misery.
Albert Einstein
Out of My Later Years (1950) [CQ]


[CQ] - The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993)
[QE] - The New Quotable Einstein (2005), Alice Calaprice, ed.
[WQ] - Wikiquote

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 768 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/14/2006 12:17:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Johnson, Senate, paranoia

Concerning whatever it was that sent Democratic Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota to the hospital today: his office has said that it wasn't a stroke or a heart attack. I'm wondering if that eliminates a transient ischemic attack ("mini stroke") as well? And what about vertigo as a possible cause? [Note: IANAD]

Josh Marshall reports that CBS is saying that "Sources close to the situation tell CBS News the situation is definitely not good," whatever that means.

Meanwhile, Carpetbagger Report delves into what happens if Johnson cannot serve in the upcoming Senate. On that subject, the same CBS report says:
South Dakota state law says that the governor can appoint a replacement when there is a "vacancy," but Secretary of State Chris Nelson tells CBS News political producer Steve Chaggaris that it's unclear whether a seat held by an incapacitated senator would be considered "vacant."

Unless Johnson dies, the state of South Dakota is unsure of how to proceed if he's incapacitated. If he dies, however, the governor, Mike Rounds, would appoint a replacement who would serve until the next general election in 2008, Chaggaris explains.

It was my understanding that the Senate gets to determine if and when a Senator is physically or mentally incapcitated, and therefore cannot serve, and that, historically, that body hasn't been all that concerned to get too close to the subject -- if the Senator wanted to serve, and could get to the chamber, that was sufficient. Perhaps I'm wrong about that -- I'm sure knowledgeable people will be writing volumes on the subject soon.

(U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 5: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.)

Oh, one other thing. I hope that one possibility is being given due consideration by the people examining Senator Johnson, and it's an indication of just how far down the rabbit hole we've fallen that I would think it necessary to say this: they would be well advised to do a thorough physical and toxicological examination for any possible sign of an external cause for Johnson's condition.

I'm just saying.

Update: Philip Klinker, posting on Polysigh, seems certain of his interpretation of the relevant South Dakota law. According to Klinker, the temporary Senator appointed by the Governor would be replaced by the winner of a special election. If the next general election was scheduled within six months of the appointment, the special election would be held at the same time, otherwise the special election would be held 80 to 90 days after the appointment. This means that the temporary replacment would serve for a maximum of 6 months. However, there's still no information on what constitutes a "vacancy" and who gets to determine when a vacancy has occurs. I think everyone seems clear that the death of a Senator creates a vacancy, but whether physical or mental incapacoty does, and who gets to judge the level of incapacity, is still not clear to me.

Update: According to news reports, Johnson had a congenital malformation which caused tangled blood vessels. He had emergency brain surgery to drain the accumulated blood. At the last report I've seen, he was in stable but critical condition.

Given that, my foray into conspiracy-paranoia was unfounded. I hope that, for his sake and for ours, Senator Johnson has an uneventful and successful recovery.

Update: Blue Girl, Red State has more light, less heat.

More here.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 11:05:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Greenfield: It's a joke, son.

Jeff Greenfield says his comparison of Barack Obama's taste in clothing with that of Irananian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was all a joke.

Well, to tell you the truth, I considered that possibility before I posted about it here and here, but in a world in which pundits and bloggers of the right-wing are taking great delight in pressing the fact that Obama's middle name is "Hussein", joyful in the fact that the Democrats' upcoming superstar has such a wonderful handicap, it seemed unlikely to me that someone who's obviously as smart as Greenfield wouldn't see that such a "joke" is not only not funny, it, in fact, plays right into the hands of the people who are trying to destroy the very essence of this country and what it stands for. That Greenfield clearly can't see that (it's obvious in his non-apology apology) is just another indication of how sick things are inside the Beltway (metaphorically, if not always literally).

My advice to people like Greenfield, who are smart and have been known to be perceptive, and are not in thrall to the right -- get out. You'll see things so much more clearly if you cut the ties that bind you to the rotten and corrupt state of being in and around Washington.

Update: Kevin Drum and David Kurtz on Greenfield's explanation.

Two comments from the Political Animal comment thread:
Crust: "It's a joke" and "malice aforethought" are not mutually inconsistent. Even if Greenfield thought what he had to say was somehow funny, surely he knew that it would be unfairly harmful to Obama (and the quality of our public discourse).

Stefan: [I]f it was a joke, it was a joke of the intentional, needling, malicious kind so familiar to anyone who's watched a clique of junior high girls ganging up on someone in action. [...]


[W]e won't let them get away with "jokes" comparing Democrats to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Saddam Hussein. Not anymore.

Digby (as always):

Is it a sin, in and of itself, that Greenfield trivialized Barack Obama for his wardrobe and compared him to a holocaust denying psychopath? Not really. Is it a major goof for Jeanne Moos to simultaneously go out on the street and ask people if they think his "weird" middle name means that he can't be elected? Probably not.

But you'll have to excuse us hotheads for reacting strongly when we see these things because the last time the media decided to have "fun" and tell "jokes," this way, enough people believed them that it ended up changing the world in the most dramatic and violent way possible. We are in this mess today at least partly because these people failed to do their duty and approached their jobs as if it were a seventh grade slumber party instead of the serious business of the most powerful nation on earth.

I don't know what is wrong with them and their social construct that makes them so susceptible to this, or why they fail to see how this bias toward phony Republican machismo distorts political reporting, but it's a big problem for this country. Whatever their psychological or political motivations, we cannot take the chance that these narratives will go unchallenged again. Bad things happen. Wars. Torture. Dead people.

Somebody in this culture has got to be the sober, factual, reality based journalists and it only stands to reason that those who are trained and paid to be sober, factual, reality based journalists would fill that role. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are very good at political humor. (Even Dennis Miller is funnier than Greenfield.) The late night comics do a great job at skewering politicians. Leave them to it.

Until the mainstream press recognizes the extent of their laziness and gullibility --- or pay a price for their political bias --- we will keep reminding them and their audiences of their transgressions even if that makes us thin-skinned hotheads who are trying to fill blogposts. We all have our jobs to do.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 09:39:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


You could knock me over with a feather

Gallup Poll:
Majority Predicts History Will Judge Bush Harshly

Critics of Bush's job performance nearly uniform in giving a negative prognosis for his legacy.
Over half (54%) of those questioned thought Bush would be seen either as "below average" or "poor", with "poor" being the preferred choice:

He suffers by comparison to his immediate predecessors, including his own father:

Bush's supporters (the deadheads still clinging on) may be dismayed that their guy's numbers are pretty darn similar to Nixon's:

I could be wrong, of course, but it seems to me that there is probably nothing that Bush can do in the remaining days of his Administration to turn his numbers around. A withdrawal from Iraq might stop them from falling, but I don't think it would reverse them, since there are just too many other areas where Bush has been decisively bad, incompetent, arrogant, uninformed and ideologically blinkered.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 09:06:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



Dennis Kucinich announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008.

I really wonder why the Kucinich candidacy makes some people happy, since even the most cursory of realistic appraisals will indicate that he hasn't a ghost of a chance of getting the nod. That may be unfair, but it sure as hell is the bottom line. Why play around with the toy candidacy of a doomed guy who gets you all a-quiver instead of figuring out which of the people who have a real chance you'd be most happy with? I don't understand the logic.

I guess I've just grown totally pragmatic in my middle-aged dotage. I don't want a knight in shining armor appearing at the crest of the hill on a white charger to lead us to salvation (as emotionally satisfying as that may be -- I am, after all, a huge fan of Tolkien), I want someone who can win and someone who will take positive steps to move us out of this time of intense crisis created by right-wing rule. The moves don't necessarily have to be the absolute best, they just have to move in the right direction and be implementable. That is much more interesting to me than The Best Candidate In All The World who'll be left in history's dust.

I wouldn't deny Kucinich his candidacy, but I don't see where it does anyone any real good. In theory, if DK was a real threat to the other candidates and looked like he was going to draw off votes, his candidacy might serve to move the others a little more leftward (at least for the primaries), but in reality he's not going to be anything more than a blip, and the only effect he'll have is to draw off a small number of the more leftish members of the party, which will only help to insure that the candidate who wins will be more centerish -- exactly the opposite effect from what he would desire.

Yes, his candidacy can certainly be used a soapbox to keep progressive ideas in front of the public, but, frankly, the progressive blogosphere and the burgeoning progressive infrastructure (Move On, etc.) is a much better instrument to achieve that than a toy candidacy.

Life's too short, and the danger we're in is too real. I don't have the time or energy to play around with non-serious candidates. And Dennis ... watch out, the pathway you're on leads directly to Naderian irrelevancy.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 04:18:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Barney Hughes

Yesterday, people of the New York theatre world turned out in the hundreds to the Walter Kerr Theatre to pay tribute to Barnard Hughes. It was full of love and joy and appreciation for craft and personality of this fine man who touched so many lives, old and young. I am glad to have known him, and to have spent some very formative years working with him on "Da", the play which catapulted him to fame, and which seriously began my professional career (such as it is).

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 05:30:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Signing statements vs. Congressional intent

I have a question which perhaps a lawyer or constitutional scholar can answer for me. With the Democrats in control of Congress again, there will undoubtedly be legislation being sent to the White House that Bush doesn't approve of. With the Republican Congress, Bush mostly avoided vetoing it by attaching signing statements which, in some cases, drastically changed the meaning and intention of the law, but with a Democratic majority (and not a veto-proof one) he may end up outright vetoing more bills than he did before. Still, old habits die hard, and some legislation may be marginal enough for Bush that he may try to get away with neutering it with signing statements instead of vetoing it, avoiding the bad publicity that a veto would bring. (With Bush's approval numbers continuing to drop, avoiding bad press may become even more important to the Administration.)

So... if Congress anticipates this possibility, and attempts to protect their legislation with strong documentation of the intended meaning attached to the bills, what will the courts do if and when those bills are called to pass Constitutional muster, with dueling memoranda attached? As far as I'm aware, the power of Presidential signing statements hasn't yet been tested by the courts, which is not true of legislative intent, which the courts are used to taking into account when interpreting legislation. Does that mean that Congressional Intent will automatically trump Presidential Interpretation? Will the lower courts take it that way, but the High Court take the Bush v. Gore route and decide along political and ideological lines?

I'm not optimistic about the chance of this new Congress getting a significant amount of legislation enacted into law, given the active ideological stance of Bush & Company, but there is still propaganda value in forcing Bush to veto popular legislation, and making the attempt now may help pass the real thing after we retake the White House in 2008. The real value of this Congress (as everyone and their grandmother will have said innumerable times on their weblogs by now) will be oversight and investigation, bringing to light as much of the subterranean misdeeds and malfeasance and corrution of the Bushies so that it can be undone, and to make it clear to the voting public that, with rare exceptions, Republicans cannot be trusted to run the government or represent America to the world. (Of course, the Democratic leadership needs to be careful to parcel out the revelations in a measured way, lest people get bored or jaded by the wealth of misbehavior and incompetence.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 03:22:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Terrible science

344) The pop artist Andy Warhol once approached me at a party and told me that he collected scientific journals, but he couldn't understand them. He drifted away, then came back and said, "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Of course not," I replied. He asked, "why does science take so long?" I said, "Mr. Warhol, when you do a picture of Marilyn Monroe, does it have to be exactly like her, as close to being her as you can make it?" He said, "Oh no. And anyhow, I have this place called the Factory where my helpers do it." I said, "Well, in science it has to be exact, as exact as you can make it." He looked at me with limp sympathyand said, "Isn't that terrible?"
Gerald M. Edelman
Bright Air, Brilliant Fire (1992)

345) The unit of selection in successful [scientific] theory creation is usually a dead scientist.
Gerald M. Edelman
Bright Air, Brilliant Fire (1992)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 769 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/13/2006 03:01:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It just got a little bluer

We just picked up Democratic House seat #233, in Texas-23, when Ciro Rodriguez beat Henry Bonilla.

That just leaves Florida-13, where the official results of the election are being challenged by Democrat Christine Jennings because of the suspiciously large number of undervotes from people who otherwise voted Democratic.

That's Democratic pick-up #30, with #31 still pending.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 11:20:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Greenfield sartorial insight

Jeff Greenfield:
[Senator Barack Obama] was in New Hampshire over the weekend, sporting what's getting to be the classic Obama look. Call it business casual, a jacket, a collared shirt, but no tie. [...] But, in the case of Obama, he may be walking around with a sartorial time bomb. Ask yourself, is there any other major public figure who dresses the way he does? Why, yes. It is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejade...

So, the lesson we have to draw from this is that everyone who dresses in business casual is reminiscent of the President of Iran, right? Or does Greenfield's insight only go for colored folk and other darkies?

Update: By the way, do the same rules apply to this guy as well?

Update: Greenfield says it was all a joke. My reaction.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 09:03:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) How to tell what you think

340) The little girl had the making of a poet in her who, being told to be sure of her meaning before she spoke, said, 'How can I tell what I think until I see what I say?'
Graham Wallas
The Art of Thought (1926) [ODQ & B16]

Note: "How can I tell what I think until I see what I say?" is sometimes misattributed to E.M. Forster

341) I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.
Flannery O'Connor (attributed)
quoted by Richard E. Cytowic in
The Man Who Tasted Shapes (1993)

[Note: Cannot be found in standard references,
may be a paraphrase and misattribution of the above. Also, see #852 Sheehan.]

342) We speak, not only to tell others what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think.
J. Hughlings Jackson
Hughlings Jackson on Aphasia and
Kindred Affections of Speech
quoted by Daniel C. Dennett in
Consciousness Explained (1991)

343) I photograph to find out what something looks like photographed.
Garry Winograd
quoted by Susan Sontag in
On Photography (1977)


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)
[ODQ] - The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 4th edition (1992)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 770 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 07:05:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Some good news

Michael Specter in The New Yorker:
Every week, scholars, governments, ecological activists, and hydrologists produce thick reports about water scarcity and its relationship to irrigation, urban decay, and human health. Perhaps no one is more prolific or authoritative than Gleick, whose biennial report, “The World’s Water,” is a selective encyclopedia of the world’s aquatic resources. Gleick is a reserved, tweedy-looking man with thinning hair, a short, graying beard, and, behind his circular wire-rimmed glasses, the searching eyes of an East Bay idealist. Although he received a Ph.D. in hydrology from Berkeley and studied engineering as an undergraduate at Yale, he knew by the end of his senior year that he didn’t want to build dams for a living. He has spent his professional life searching through obscure collections of data for patterns of water use. He lectures frequently, and can cite dreary statistics, evidence of governmental inaction, and worrisome trends with great rhetorical force. But his central message, which is often ignored by both planners and environmentalists, is surprisingly hopeful. “It is a little-known fact that the United States today uses far less water per person, and less water in total, than we did twenty-five years ago,’’ he said. “It’s a shocker. People don’t believe it, but it’s true. This is an indication that things are not the way people think they are. It is not really because we are trying to cut our water use, although that is true in some regions of the United States, and particularly in the West. But we have changed the nature of our economy, and we have become more efficient at doing what we want to do.’’

The amount of water that Americans used for nearly all purposes rose steadily from the beginning of the twentieth century, through the Second World War, and into the seventies. Every projection indicated that the growth would continue. Yet, in 1980, the amount of water we withdrew from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs reached its peak and then began to subside. Despite increases in wealth, industrial productivity, and the size of the American population, the decline has accelerated.

There are several methods to assess the way we use water. Withdrawals measure how much we actually take from the earth. Some of the water used in factories or homes can be recycled. On the other hand, once water is consumed by agriculture or polluting industries, it is gone—at least until it rises to the clouds, evaporates, and returns as rain or snow. In the United States, total water withdrawals now stand at levels not seen since the end of the fifties; per-capita withdrawals—the amount each of us uses every day—have fallen by twenty-five per cent. This is true even though the population has grown by more than a hundred million. Among the reasons are higher energy costs, which force consumers and industries to become more efficient in their use of water. (More freshwater is used to produce electricity than for any purpose other than farming.) Environmental laws, enacted in the seventies, forced factories to cut back on the amount of wastewater they discharged into American rivers. Many industries quickly realized that the cheapest way to meet the new requirements was to use less water. Conservation is another reason for the changes; federal and state laws now require efficiency improvements for many American appliances. (Toilets, for instance, use more water than any other domestic appliance. Over the past decade, the average amount of water in a standard flush has fallen from six gallons to 1.6.) Most important, perhaps, growing pressure on water resources—particularly for farmers in the West—has forced dramatic improvements in how much food we are able to grow with every gallon of water.

Finland, parts of Australia, much of Europe, and even Hong Kong also have experienced decreases in per-capita water consumption. As countries become more industrialized, pollution and economic inequality increase—often dramatically—and so does the use and abuse of natural resources. Eventually, though, as the gross domestic product of a nation rises, technologies mature, efficiency improves, and so does the amount of attention paid to human welfare and the environment. (This general phenomenon is known as the Kuznets Curve, after the Nobel Prize-winning economist Simon Kuznets.) In 1965, Japan needed fifty million litres of water to produce a million dollars’ worth of goods. By 1989, the figure, after adjusting for inflation, had dropped to thirteen million litres. Such statistics suggest a fundamental change in how people live, and Gleick, among others, has argued that, in order to abandon what he calls the “hard path,” planners, economists, and public officials must begin to address water use in an entirely new way. “The hard path treats our water problems as a simple issue of getting more from the environment, of finding new ways to take water from rivers and lakes and aquifers and move it farther and farther and farther away, completely independent of any analysis of how we are moving that water or how we are using it,’’ Gleick said. “That is what the World Bank guys and traditional water engineers were trained to do. That is what we did in the twentieth century. It brought great benefits, but it has not solved all our water problems, and it is not going to.

“People who build dams don’t understand the concept of efficiency, and neither do water managers,’’ he continued. “I am a hydrologist. I was taught how to satisfy the needs of a hundred thousand people by making a dam. I can design a dam on a virgin river to meet those needs. I was never taught in engineering school to think about how people actually use water.”


Since the nineteen-seventies, nearly all water-demand forecasts issued by governments and international agencies have grossly overestimated future needs. This has led engineers and planners to continue pushing for giant public-works projects. “These are the nuclear people from the seventies, the big-dam people from the sixties, and now they are the desalination people,’’ Gleick said, stressing that, in theory, he was opposed to none of them. “All these people seek large magic bullets to solve the world’s problems. They all have this very strong belief that there is one solution out there and if only we could build enough of it or find it our problems would be over. It drives me crazy.”


“I would argue that almost everything we do on earth we could do with less water,’’ Gleick told me. “And that is the soft path. This is a different way of thinking than in the twentieth century, when the simple answer to every demand was ‘Let’s go get some water.’ That is what led to the destruction of the Aral Sea, the dewatering of the Colorado River basin in Mexico and the Yellow River, in China.” He stopped for a moment and stared at his hands. “This is really good news, you know. Because it means we can do better. We don’t need to run out of water. We just need to think more seriously about how we can avoid using it.”

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 05:21:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Now you've done it

After years of attrition, I've finally lost all respect for Jeff Greenfield. He's not on my list yet, but it's gonna take quite a bit of good work from him to get back into my good graces.

Update: Oh, and the Washington Post isn't doing itself any favors in my eyes, either.

I guess from a business point of view, with the Democrats once again in charge of Congress, hiring a reporter who specializes in baseless smears of Democratic politicians makes a lot of sense.

Update: Hello to all those coming over from the Daou Report -- sorry to disappoint you, since there's nothing here that wasn't quoted over there (except for this part right here). Actually, I used up my allotment of brilliant insights earlier in the year and I'm running on fumes right now, waiting for the next shipment to come in. Still, if you've got a moment to spare, take a look around the place.

P.S. I fixed the "Jeff Greenfield" link above.

Update: Digby, as always. And there's more from me here.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 04:46:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Undoing the deed

Perhaps it's time to admit that the British experiment of combining together the old Ottoman regions of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra into the new country of Iraq wasn't a good idea, and should probably be undone.

(Nothing like undoing the mistakes made under Sykes-Picot almost a hundred years later.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 04:10:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


It got bluer out there

CQ Politics has an interesting cartogram:

CQ Politics 2006 Election Cartogram

The cartogram distorts the size of states depending on "the increase (blue) or decrease (red) in their Democratic vote totals from 2004 to 2006."

Demcoratic votes increased everywhere except Louisiana, Alabama and, perhaps surprisingly, Massachusetts. Of course, what's being shown is not the absolute number of Democratic votes, or whether Democratic votes were in the majority or not, but simply the increase or decrease in Democratic votes.

More here.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 03:11:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Stagnant services

338) [The] cost disease phenomenon [i.e. "Baumol's disease"] occurs when the services [...] are plagued by the cumulative and persistent rise in their cost, increases that normally exceed to a significant degree the corresponding rate of increase for commodities generally, i.e. almost always outstrip the economy's rate of inflation.

The services in question, which I call the Stagnant Services, include, most notably, health care, education, legal services, welfare programs for the poor, postal service, police protection, sanitation services, repair services, the performing arts, restaurant services [...] The common element that characterizes them all is the handicraft attribute of their supply process.
William J. Baumol
from a "Philosophical Society paper" (1966 or after)
quoted by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in
"Don't Blame Democracy" in
American Theatre magazine (2/94) which
originally appeared in the Washington Post (ndg)

339) The bulk of federal Medicare insurance for the elderly is spend keeping people alive in their last six months, trying to prevent what cannot be prevented. That many recipients of this intervention do not judge the quality of their life in those last six months to be satisfactory is a dilemma for which we have no solution.
Richard E. Cytowic
The Man Who Tasted Shapes (1993)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 770 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/12/2006 02:39:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, December 10, 2006

(3089/898) Rules

334) TANSTAAFL [...] There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Robert Heinlein
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (1966)

335) Fear [...] can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don't commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.
Philip K. Dick
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (1974)

336) If it isn't worth doing, it isn't worth doing well.
Donald Hebb
quoted by Daniel C. Dennett in
Consciousness Explained (1991)

337) Orgel's Second Rule: Evolution is cleverer than you are.
Francis Crick
quoted by Daniel C. Dennett in
Elbow Room (1984)

Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began).

As of today, there are 772 days remaining in the administration of the worst President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 12/10/2006 05:03:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am...
site feed
2008 rules of thumb
Progressive populism!
Economic insecurity is key
Restore the balance
Cast the candidate
Persona is important
Iraq, not "national security"
Prefer governors over senators
recent posts
bush countdown
oblique strategies
recent comments
some links
storm watch
(click for larger image,
refresh page to update)

a progressive slogan
Fairness, progress and prosperity, because we're all in this together.

"I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking."
(Alex Gregory - The New Yorker)
new york city
another progressive slogan
The greatest good for the greatest number, with dignity for all.
reference & fact check
write me
evolution v. creationism
humanism, skepticism
& progressive religiosity
more links
election prediction
Democrats 230 (+27) - Republicans 205

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
11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003
11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003
12/07/2003 - 12/14/2003
12/14/2003 - 12/21/2003
12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003
01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004
01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004
01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004
02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004
02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004
02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004
02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004
03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004
03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004
03/21/2004 - 03/28/2004
03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004
04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004
04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004
04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004
05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004
05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004
05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004
05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004
05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004
06/06/2004 - 06/13/2004
06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004
06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004
06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004
07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004
07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004
07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004
08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004
08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004
08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004
08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004
09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004
09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004
09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004
09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004
10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004
10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004
10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004
11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004
11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004
11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004
12/05/2004 - 12/12/2004
12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004
12/19/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/26/2004 - 01/02/2005
01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005
01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005
01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005
01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005
01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005
02/06/2005 - 02/13/2005
02/13/2005 - 02/20/2005
02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005
02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005
03/06/2005 - 03/13/2005
03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005
03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005
03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005
04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005
04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005
04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005
04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005
05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005
05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005
05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005
05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005
06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005
06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005
06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005
06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005
07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005
07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005
07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005
07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005
08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005
08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005
08/21/2005 - 08/28/2005
08/28/2005 - 09/04/2005
09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005
09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005
09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005
09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005
10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005
10/09/2005 - 10/16/2005
10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005
10/23/2005 - 10/30/2005
10/30/2005 - 11/06/2005
11/06/2005 - 11/13/2005
11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005
11/20/2005 - 11/27/2005
11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005
12/04/2005 - 12/11/2005
12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005
12/18/2005 - 12/25/2005
12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006
01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006
01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006
01/22/2006 - 01/29/2006
01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006
02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006
02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006
02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006
03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006
03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006
04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006
05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006
05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006
07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006
07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006
07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006
07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006
08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006
09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006
09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006
10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006
10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006
10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006
11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007
08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
08/26/2007 - 09/02/2007
09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007
09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007
09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007
09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007
10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007
11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007
11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007
11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
12/23/2007 - 12/30/2007
12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008
01/06/2008 - 01/13/2008
01/13/2008 - 01/20/2008
01/20/2008 - 01/27/2008
01/27/2008 - 02/03/2008
02/03/2008 - 02/10/2008
02/10/2008 - 02/17/2008
02/17/2008 - 02/24/2008
02/24/2008 - 03/02/2008
03/09/2008 - 03/16/2008
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
2005 koufax awards


Carpetbagger Report
*Crooks and Liars*
Progressive Blog Digest


Daou Report
Media Matters
Political Animal
*Talking Points Memo*
Think Progress
James Wolcott

2004 koufax winners
2003 koufax award
"best blog" nominees
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.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Buzzflash Bushisms Democratic Underground Impeach Bush Coalition