Saturday, March 17, 2007

(3089/898) Freedom of the Press

772) Just because freedom of the press [is] in the Constitution[doesn't] mean that people [are] able to stop thinking about what press freedom means in real life, and fighting about it and suing each other about it. We Americans have lots of problems with our freedom of press and our freedom of speech. Problems like libel and slander. Incitement to riot. Obscenity. Child pornography. Flag burning. Cross-burning. Race-hat propaganda. Political correctness. Sexist language. Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Council. Movie ratings. Plagiarism. Photocopying rights. A journalist's so-called right to protect sources. Fair-use doctrine. Lawyer-client confidentiality. Paid political announcements. Banning ads for liquor and cigarettes. The fairness doctrine for broadcasters. School textbook censors. National security. Military secrets. Industrial trade secrets. Arts funding for so-called obscenity. Even religious blasphemy such as Salman Rushdie's famous novel Satanic Verses, which is hated so violently by the kind of people who like to blow up the World Trade Center. All these huge problems about what people can say to each other, under what circumstances. And that's without computers and computer networks.

Every single one of those problems is applicable to cyberspace. Computers don't make any of these old free-expression problems go away; on the contrary, they intensify them, and they introduce a bunch of new problems. Problems like software piracy. Encryption. Wire fraud. Interstate transportation of stolen digital property. Free expression on privately owned networks. So-called "data-mining" to invade personal privacy. Employers spying on employee e-mail. Intellectual rights over electronic publications. Computer search-and-seizure practice. Legal liability for network crashes. Computer intrusion. And one and on and on. These are real problems. They're out there. They're out there now. In the future, they're only going to get worse. And there's going to be a bunch of new problems nobody's even imagined.
Bruce Sterling
"Good Cop, Bad Hacker" in
Wired (5/95)
[Note: Adapted from a speech given by Sterling at the High Security Technology Investigation Association (11/94).]
773) If the freedom of the press is to be determined by the judgment of the printer of a Newspaper in preference to that of the people, who when they read will judge for themselves, then freedom is on a very sandy foundation.
Thomas Paine
letter to a Philadelphia newspaper editor
quoted by Jon Katz in
"The Age of Paine" in
Wired (5/95)
[Note: cf. #489 Liebling]

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 674 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/17/2007 10:55:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Doing it the odd way

Here's a couple of interesting sites that rolled in through the e-mail slot. The first has photographs of some strange houses and buildings from around the world, including this saucer-shaped house.

The other site has drawings of diners, service stations, vending stands and novelty buildings -- like this bubble building -- drawn from patent applications filed in the 30's through the 50's. (There're also cars, trains and toys on the site, and there are planes here.)

Update: From a friend...

click for larger image[Thanks to Shirley]

More: I don't own a house, but if I did it would probably be in this class:

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/17/2007 09:58:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Richardson re-think

Three recent facts to mull over:
  • In an AOL online Presidential poll done about 10 days ago (see below) one of the few surprises was that Bill Richardson consistently placed just behind the Democratic Big Three (Obama, Edwards and Clinton).

  • In the Daily Kos straw poll, although Edwards and Obama are the clear favorites, Richardson is the candidate who came in third in the most recent iteration. As Kos noted, that makes 6 out of the last 11 polls that Richardson's numbers have improved, and he's now drawing double what he was back in August 2005. (He's also beating Clinton -- although they're both well behind Edwards and Obama.)

  • Richardson's relative popularity with the Netroots is confirmed by the MyyDD March poll, which also had Richardson in third place.

While this is quite interesting, it's not enough to start considering Richardson to be one of the top contenders -- the Big Three remains a trio -- but it is enough to begin to think of him as a legitimate Second Tier candidate, the first one in the Democratic field, in fact (unless you count Wes Clark, who's hampered by his apparent inability to declare his intentions). While I've been saying for a while that the big ones were the only really serious candidates, I think it's a good idea to keep an eye on Richardson and not count him out quite yet.

Here were the results for that AOL poll when I looked at it with about 100,000 votes counted:

Ranked by overall support (adding together those who would "Absolutely" vote for the candidate and those who would "Maybe" vote for the candidate):
1. Obama - 55%
2. Edwards - 53%
3. Clinton - 43%
4. Richardson - 40%
5. Biden - 32%
6. Dodd - 25%
7. Kucinich - 18%
8. Gravel - 14%
Ranked by strength of support (percentage of those who would "Absolutely" vote for the candidate):
1. Obama - 31%
2. Clinton - 23%
3. Edwards - 19%
4. Richardson - 11%
5. Biden - 6%
6. Kucinich - 5%
7. Dodd - 3%
8. Gravel - 1%
Ranked in inverse order of negative approval (those who said they would not vote for the candidate):
1. Obama - 45%
2. Edwards - 47%
3. Clinton - 55%
4. Richardson - 60%
5. Biden - 68%
6. Dodd - 76%
7. Kucinich - 82%
8. Gravel - 86%

On the Republican side, there were no surprises at all -- their Big Three dominated:

1. Giuliani - 65% support, 32% strength, 35% negatives
2. McCain - 58% support, 20% strength, 42% negatives
3. Romney - 48% support, 15% strength, 52% negatives

If I were an unscrupulous and immoral GOP political consultant, I think I would advise John McCain that he'd better start smearing Rudy pretty darn soon.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/17/2007 06:13:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Friday, March 16, 2007

(3089/898) Cynics and sages

757) Predict the worst and you will be hailed as a sage.
Benjamin Franklin (attributed)
posted by Gilbert Payson [IQM] (4/21/95)

758) Suppressed panic turns him into a prick every time. It's what he does instead of running in circles screaming. A way of coping I suppose.
Lois McMaster Bujold
Mirror Dance (1994)
posted by Vickie Cooper [UAQ] (4/21/95)

759) [He is] one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.
Saki (H.H. Munro)
"The Feast of Nemesis" in
Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914) [ODQ]
posted by Michael Fuchs [IQM] (4/24/95)

760) It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
"Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar" in
Following the Equator (1897) [CQ]
posted by ballard [IQM] (4/24/95)

761) The greatest blessing of our democracy is freedom. In the last analysis, our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves.
Bernard M. Baruch (widely attributed)
posted by ballard [IQM] (4/24/95)

762) There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mohandas K. Gandhi (widely attributed)
posted by ballard [IQM] (4/24/95)

763) All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
James Thurber
"The Shore and the Sea" in
Further Fables for Our Time (1956) [WQ]
posted by ballard [IQM] (4/24/95)

764) The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
Jane Wagner
for Lily Tomlin's act [WQ]
posted by ballard [IQM] (4/24/95)

765) Quality isn't a thing. It is an event.
Robert Pirsig (attributed)
posted by George Osner [IQM] (4/24/95)

766) So it is something of a homiletical commonplace to say that the outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where one question grew before.
Thorstein Veblen
"Evolution of the Scientific Point of View"
Lecture at the Kosmos Club, U. of California (5/4/1908)
University of California Chronicle (v.10 no.4, 1908)
posted by Don Fearn [IQM] (4/24/95)

767) The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.
Arthur C. Clarke (widely attributed)
posted by Deven Naniwadekar [IQM] (4/23/95)

768) Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.
Lord Chesterfield
Letters To His Son (1774) (11/1/1750) [B16]

769) The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
William James
The Principles of Psychology (1890) [B16]

770) Facts are ventriloquists' dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they made be made to utter words of wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing, or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism.
Aldous Huxley
Time Must Have A Stop (1944) [CQ]
spoken by the character "Bruno Rontini"
[Note: Cf. #286 Dick, #739 Huxley, #2338 Sowell]
771) The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke (widely attributed) [B16]
quoted by Roger Rosenblatt in
"Teaching Johnny To Be Good" in
New York Times Magazine (4/30/95)
[Note: According to both Wikiquote and Bartlett's 16th, although this may be a paraphrase of some of Burke's ideas, after extensive searching it has been determined that neither the quote as given, nor any of the many variations on it, exist in Burke's writings. The Yale Book of Quotations gives the first citation as in the Washington Post (1/22/1950). <[YQ]]


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)
[CQ] - The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993)
[ODQ] - The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 4th edition (1992)
[UAQ] - Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup
[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list
[WQ] - Wikiquote
[YQ] - The Yale Book of Quotations (2006)

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 674 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/16/2007 10:20:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Your Homeland Security apparatus at work

AP via Seattle PI:
Suspected members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said, "Parents and children have nothing to fear."

Asked about the alert notice, the FBI's Rich Kolko said, "There are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern," although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids' safety.
I see this bulletin as a template for a continuing series, warning about every aspect of American life, one by one. We'll be told that suspected members of extremist groups may be taking jobs as vendors of soft ice cream, presumably in order to destroy America through (even more) rampant obesity, but cautioned that there are no threats, no plots, in fact no evidence at all to support the warning, and that we have nothing to fear. Then the next week it'll be high school custodians, or construction workers, or dental assistants who be nefariously undermining our fragile society.

Talk about job security! They can keep this up forever -- with every occupation getting their chance to be suspected. ("Suspected terrorists have infiltrated the ranks of Fortune 500 CEO's, but there is no reason for alarm") How very egalitarian!

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/16/2007 05:05:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Friday Photography: Museum Silhouette

click to enlarge

Daryl Samuel

Location: Agora Museum
(looking at the Temple of Hephaestus),
Athens, Greece

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 / Paddlewheel / Olive Trees / Madison Square Park in the Snow / Pagoda / Ferry / Sand Tracks / General Store / Taverna Tables / Finger Piano / Bridge at Sunset / Snowfall in Cambridge / Boats / Grandma in Motion

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/16/2007 01:31:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Clarke's Laws (with a Heinlein chaser)

[#110 CLARKE'S FIRST LAW: If an elderly but distinguished scientist says something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.]

751) Perhaps the adjective 'elderly' requires definition. In physics, mathematics, and astronautics it means over thirty; in the other disciplines, senile decay is sometimes postponed to the forties. There are, of course, glorious exceptions; but as every researcher just out of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!
Arthur C. Clarke
comment on Clarke's First Law in
"Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" in
Profiles of the Future (1962; rev. 1973)
posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
752) When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion - the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
Isaac Asimov
comment on Clarke's First Law
Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (c.1977)
posted by Joachim Verhagen [UAQ] (4/24/95)

753) CLARKE'S SECOND LAW: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke
"Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" in
Profiles of the Future (1962; rev. 1973)
posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)

[#109 CLARKE'S THIRD LAW: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.]

754) Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
Gehm's Corollary to Clarke's Third Law
posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
755) Any sufficiently retarded magic is indistinguishable from technology.
Gehm's Other Corollary to Clarke's Third Law
posted by Deven Naniwadekar [UAQ] (4/23/95)
[Note: Clarke's Laws - First Law: 110, 111, 751, 752; Second Law: 753; Third Law: 109, 647, 754, 755, 1013, 1057, 1402. Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas: 1853.]
756) A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long (1973)
posted by Thomas Lundberg [UAQ] (4/20/95)


[UAQ] - Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup
[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list

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 675 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/16/2007 01:25:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Thursday, March 15, 2007

(3089/898) Quoting

745) By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Quotation and Originality" in
Letters and Social Aims (1876) [B16]
posted by idiaz [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: Cf. the headnote to this collection.]
746) One must spend time in gathering knowledge to give it out richly.
Edmund Clarence Stedman
Poets of America (1885)
posted by idiaz [IQM] (4/21/95)

747) Why are not more gems from our great authors scattered over our country? Great books are not in everybody's reach; and though it is better to know them thoroughly than to know them only here and there, yet it is a good work to give a little to those who have neither time nor means to get more. Let every book-worm, when in any fragrant, scarce old tome, he discovers a sentence, a story, an illustration, that does his heart good, hasten to give it.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (widely attributed)
posted by idiaz [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: "Exclusively of the abstract science, the largest and worthiest portion of our knowledge consists of aphorisms: and the greatest and best of men is but an aphorism." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Aids to Reflection (1825) [CQ]]
748) I do not speak the minds of others except to speak my own mind better.
Michel de Montaigne
Essays (1580) [B16]

749) The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages are perpetuated by quotations.
Isaac D'Israeli
Curiosities of Literature (1791-1823) [WQ]
posted by idiaz [IQM] (4/21/95)

750) Stronger than an army is a quotation whose time has come.
W.I.E. Gates (attributed)
posted by idiaz [IQM] (4/21/95)


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)
[CQ] - Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993)
[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list
[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 676 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/15/2007 09:34:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Extra! Extra! Historic crime solved!!

Al-Qaida Leader Says He Kidnapped Lindbergh Baby
Pentagon Transcript Contains Confession


WASHINGTON (March 15) - Suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to the kidnapping of the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh in 1932, and a central role in a number of other infamous crimes in U.S. history, and also claimed to be the instigator of various daily household inconveniences, said a revised transcript released Thursday by the U.S. military.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, shown at his capture in 2003,
claimed responsibility for the Lindbergh kidnapping,
according to a document provided by the Pentagon.

"I snatched with my blessed right hand the baby of the famous American, Lucky Lindy, in Hopewell, New Jersey," Mohammed is quoted as saying in a transcript of a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, released by the Pentagon.

"For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his dirty diaper," he added.

Mohammed's claimed involvement in the infamous 1932 abduction of the 21-month old baby was among 4,768 attacks, plots, unsolved crimes, and household inconveniences he took responsibility for in a hearing Saturday at the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said.

It released the bulk of the transcript late Wednesday, but held back the section about the Lindbergh incident to allow time for Fox News to locate a Lindbergh relative to appear on air, said Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that it had learned that the transcripts released Wednesday evening had blacked out the reference to Mohammed's confession about the baby snatching. Charles Lindbergh Jr. was abducted in March 1932 from the Lindbergh estate in Hopewell, New Jersey while asleep in his bed. Mohammed has never been a suspect in the kidnapping, which took place before Mohammed was born.

Aviator Charles A. "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh,
shown with his plane, "Spirit of St. Louis", and
his son, Charles Jr.

Sealing a legacy of historical notoriety, Mohammed portrayed himself as al-Qaida's most ambitious operational planner in a confession to a U.S. military tribunal that said he planned and supported a series of terrorist attacks and household annoyances. Many plans, including one that would cause all non-stick pots and pans to turn food cooked in them a garish neon purple, were never carried out or were foiled by international authorities.

"I was responsible for all this stuff," Mohammed said in a statement read Saturday during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "whatever you've got, I did it. Keep 'em coming." Mohammed's confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative.

The Pentagon had released a 26-page transcript of the closed-door proceedings on Wednesday night. Some material was omitted, and it wasn't possible to immediately verify details. Whitman said authorities would decide how credible it is that Mohammed participated in so many plots and plans -- especially those which occured before his nominal date of birth -- if he is tried by a military tribunal, which many expect will eventually happen.

A Pentagon official, who spoke anonymously because it was more convenient for him to do so, said "We think there might be some stuff that he's confessing to just to take the heat off of others, so we're really going to be going over that list of confessions with a fine-toothed comb. Personally, I really doubt that he's responsible for waxy kitchen floor build-up, while some of my colleagues are dubious that al-Qaida would have spent so much time and energy on stealing socks from washers and dryers across the country."

Socks such as these have been reported missing
from home laundries and laund-o-mats across the country.
Officials are closely examining Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's
claim that al-Qaida is involved in the disappearances.

The official continued, "We know that they are a widespread and nefarious network with tendrils in every country of the world, with the singular exception of Saudi Arabia, so they're certainly capable of much more than the average Joe Sixpack would imagine, if they ever gave any thought to it. As responsible agents of the United States government, we have to assume that what Mohammed is saying is true until it's proven otherwise."

Officials in Hopewell had no comment.

Update: Officials: Plotter exaggerates claims (No shit.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/15/2007 04:46:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


(3089/898) Thinking, dreaming, working, living

photograph by Daryl Samuel, manipulated by Ed Fitzgerald
729) It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.
Robert H. Goddard (attributed)
posted by Jason Cloutier [IQM] (4/21/95)

730) The degradation of the position of scientist from that of independent worker and thinker to conscienceless stooge in a science factory has been far more rapid and thorough than I had believed possible.
Norbert Wiener (attributed, possibly paraphrased)
posted by Victor Yodaiken [AFU] (4/19/95)

731) The independent scientist who is worth the slightest consideration as a scientist has a consecration which come entirely from within himself: a vocation which demands the possibility of supreme self-sacrifice.
Norbert Wiener
The Human Use of Human Beings (1950) [B16]

732) The future offers very little hope for those who expect that our mechanical slaves will offer us a world in which we may rest from thinking. Help us they may, but at the cost of supreme demands upon our honesty and our intelligence. The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.
Norbert Wiener
God and Golem, Inc. (1964) [B16]

733) Among all the world's races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not a consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong.
John Kenneth Galbraith
"The United States" in
New York (11/15/71)
reprinted in
A View from the Stands (1986) [CQ]

734) I'll not listen to reason [...] Reason always means what someone else has to say.
Elizabeth Gaskell
Cranford (1851-1853) [B16]
posted by Jason Cloutier [IQM] (4/21/95)

735) I don't want to talk. When we talk it means you talk and I listen.
Ain Gordon & David Gordon
The Family Business (play, 1993)
spoken by the character "Annie"

736) Be wiser than the other people, if you can, but do not tell them so.
Lord Chesterfield (attributed)
posted by Jason Cloutier [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: Also "Advice is seldom welcome; and those who want it the most always like it the least." (1/29/1748) Letters To His Son (1774)]
737) A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Knut Rockne
quoted in Reader's Digest (10/1927) [YQ]
posted (with misattribution) by Howard J. Lambert [IQM] (4/21/95)

738) The boy has a fine mind, but it’s overtaxed. That’s the trouble, it’s too good a mind. A weak mind isn’t strong enough to hurt itself. Stupidity has saved many a man from going mad.
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
A Matter of Life and Death (film, 1946)
(aka Stairway to Heaven),
spoken by character "Dr. Frank Reeves",
played by Roger Livesey

739) Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley
Proper Studies (1927) [WQ]
posted by Howard J. Lambert [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: cf. #286 Dick, #770 Huxley, #2338 Sowell]
740) Drawing a conclusion brings a halt to the thinking process. As an alternative, continue to think the issue through even after you discover an "answer".
posted by Howard J. Lambert [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: cf. #1031 Einstein]
741) Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Self-Reliance" in
Essays: First Series (1841)
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (4/21/95)

742) In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (attributed)
posted by Todd McMasters [IQM] (4/21/95)
[Note: "Innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics." quoted by Marcel Haedrich in Coco Chanel: Her Life, Her Secrets (1971) [CQ]]
743) Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work.
John G. Pollard (attributed)
posted by Jason Cloutier [IQM] (4/21/95)

744) I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Bill Cosby (attributed)
posted by Jason Cloutier [IQM] (4/21/95)


[B16] - Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 16th edition (1993)
[CQ] - The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993)
[IQM] - Internet Quotations mailing list
[AFU] - Usenet alt.folklore.urban newsgroup
[WQ] - Wikiquote
[YQ] - The Yale Book of Quotations (2006)

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 676 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/15/2007 12:26:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

(3089/898) Dicking around

724) I, for one, bet on science as helping us. I have yet to see how it fundamentally endangers us, even with the H-bomb lurking about. Science has given us more lives than it has taken; we must remember that.
Philip K. Dick
"Self Portrait" (1968)
republished in
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (1995)
Lawrence Sutin, ed.

725) If you have not lived through something, it is not true.
fifteenth-century Sufi poet,
quoted by Philip K. Dick in
the Introduction to The Golden Man (1980)
republished in
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (1995)
Lawrence Sutin, ed.

726) Spinoza saw [...] that if a falling stone could reason, it would think, "I want to fall at the rate of thirty-two feet per second per second."
Philip K. Dick
"The Android and the Human" (1972)
republished in The Dark-Haired Girl (1988)
and in The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (1995)
Lawrence Sutin, ed.

727) An EEG of a person watching TV shows that after about half an hour the brain decides that nothing is happening, and it goes into a hypnoidal twilight state, emitting alpha waves. This is because there is such little eye motion.
Philip K. Dick
"How to Build A Universe That Doesn't
Fall Apart Two Days Later"
(written 1978, published 1985)
republished in
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (1995)
Lawrence Sutin, ed.

728) One long-past innocent day, in my prefolly youth, I came upon a statement in an undistinguished textbook on psychiatry that, as when Kant read Hume, woke me forever from my garden-of-eden slumber. "The psychotic does not merely think he sees four blue bivalves with floppy wings wandering up the wall; he *does* see them. An hallucination is not, strictly speaking, manufactured in the brain; it is received by the brain, like any 'real' sense datum, and the patient act in response to this to-him-very-real perception of reality in as logical a way as we do to our sense data. In any way to suppose he only 'thinks he sees it' is to misunderstand totally the experience of psychosis."
Philip K. Dick
quoting an unknown psychiatric text in
"Drugs, Hallucinations,
and the Quest for Reality" (1964)
republished in
The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick (1995)
Lawrence Sutin, ed.

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 677 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/14/2007 10:49:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE



Congressman Pete Stark of California announced this week that he doesn't believe in a Supreme Being.

Today the Bay Area, tommorrow... The World! Massachusetts?

(Stark is a Unitarian, which has been described as the closest thing to atheism a religion can be, and he's from a safe district which has re-elected him to office for decades.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/14/2007 12:58:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

(3089/898) Explanations

720) The producers of "The Other Side" (Four Point Entertainment Inc.) [a show on NBC-TV] evidently determined that the time was ripe for a new kind of morning show to combat's the medium's neglect of out-of-body experiences, psychics, UFOs and how-our-government-is-conspiring-to-hide-the-truth-about-them. [...] Clearly the show, like the daytime talk-freak shows generally, is based on the calculation that its audiences will believe any story put before them, however outrageous, if presented with passion and conviction. [...] The arrival of this show - worse, in some ways, then the standard morning assortment of sex addicts, molesters with multiple personalities, and other lunatics - is, in short, not good news. Trial defense lawyers, further, would do well to pray nightly for a jury pool consisting of people devoted to programs like this, people nurtured in the belief that every claim is possible.
Dorothy Rabinowitz
Wall Street Journal (11/14/94)
quoted in Skeptical Inquirer (May/June 95)

721) We are here for this - to make mistakes and to correct ourselves, to withstand the blows and to hand them out. We must never feel disarmed: nature is immense and complex, but it is not impermeable to the intelligence; we must circle around it, pierce and probe it, look for the opening or make it.
Primo Levi
The Periodic Table (1975)
quoted by David Freedman in
The Brainmakers (1994)

722) I have reached the conclusion [...] that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area [obscenity] are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it; and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
Potter Stewart
Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964)
(concurring) [ALQ]
posted by Fred Shapiro [UAQ](4/10/95)
[Note: cf. #1242 Auden.]
723) Duct tape is like the Force: It has a Light side and a Dark side and it holds the Universe together.
Carl Zwanzwig (attributed)
posted by Alfred M. Kriman [UAQ](4/13/95)
[Note: In the theatre world, it's gaffer's tape that is indespensible, and holds everything together.]


[ALQ] – The Oxford Dictionary of American Legal Quotations (1993)
[UAQ] - Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup

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 678 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/13/2007 10:06:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Read this post by Kevin Drum for an explanation of why:
  1. Liberal policies can go over well with voters if properly presented; and

  2. Politicians who are slapped with the "liberal" label frequently have trouble getting elected.

It all stems from a disconnect between the programs people want and the way they think of themselves politically: they approve of, and want more of, liberal social program, but, at the very same time, more of them think of themselves as "conservatives" than "liberals," by about 2-to-1.

Liberal policies, re-dressed in other clothes are winners, but the politicians who espouse them cannot be seen to be "liberals." I see this as another reason to go for progressive populism, in which a progressive agenda is presented in populist terms, and also yet another reason why the Democrats should shy away from politicians who are, for one reason or another, incapable of shucking off the label of "liberal."

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/11/2007 11:07:00 PM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


From the Cheese News Network

I cannot believe that I missed the 4th 2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational last month! I didn't even know about it until I saw it on Eliot Gelwan's weblog Follow Me Here (Eliot missed it too). Geez, I could've been a contender, instead of a grilled-cheese-contest-missing bum, which is what I am. When I'm really on my game, I mean really on, my grilled cheese sandwich is a work of art, and with none of those trendy ingredients, either, I'm talking about a world-class, blue-ribbon, A-1 quality white-bread-and-Kraft-American-processed-cheese-food-singles-made-with-2%-milk masterpiece!

Of course, I keep hoping that some lovely day one of my sandwiches will spontaneously display the face of Darwin (I'd even settle for Daniel Dennett or Richard Dawkins), but the best I've been able to get so far is Sponge Bob Square Pants (just the basic outline) .

How on earth can we atheists compete with the opposition if we don't do our best to narrow the grilled cheese gap?

(Writing this made me so hungry that I had to go downstairs and make myself a tasty grilled cheese -- unfortunately, there was, again, no face on it.)

Ed Fitzgerald | 3/11/2007 12:09:00 AM | | | | GO: TOP OF HOME PAGE


Ed Fitzgerald

Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,
Here I am...
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Progressive populism!
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Cast the candidate
Persona is important
Iraq, not "national security"
Prefer governors over senators
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(Alex Gregory - The New Yorker)
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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)
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George W. Bush
Saxby Chambliss
Bruce Chapman (DI)
Dick Cheney
Lynne Cheney
Richard Cohen
The Coors Family
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Michael Crichton
Lanny Davis
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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
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Aphex Twin
Isaac Asimov
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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
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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"
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"Singin' in the Rain"
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"2001: A Space Odyssey"
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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


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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


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