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Friday, 31 October, 2003
Good Morning Vietnam

Last Saturday I began my weekend by pulling down Mary McCarthy's book of essays, Vietnam, from my shelf to read. This is a habit I honor somewhat in the breech, trying to get in a couple of hours of pure reading during the unstructured earlier hours of the weekend that does not have the stamp of some weekday deadline on it. Avoiding relevancy is not the issue. I have enough books on my shelf that the suns rays flowing through the lens of the day will bring them to focus on book or another. I just pick from those lit up, knowing the others will become brighter later. One thing about living in a large country - a society - with a reasonably uniform culture and knowledge base; is that whatever I think of, consider, decide to form an opinion on or take action about. This will be done simultaneously by a large of other souls. I took a Philosphy of Science class once and think that this has a name and belongs to the branch of science that measures and models populations. I call it the beach thing because if you ever decide it's a good day to go to the beach, you will arrive at the beach the same time as several hundred others and will all stand in the crushed qhohog parking lot with your boogie boards and half-height sand chairs under your arms and squint darkly at one another.

An adjoined benefit to being associated in group with the human kind as this, is that you often get answers to certain questions very quickly. They will seem to emerge as one, you may then alter your outlook to the best posed and seek from the best rejoined. As patterns in my mind formed that caused me to compare Iraq and Vietnam I was told that this was error for they were and are very different. One is on page 196 (Goode's world atlas 19th ed.) and begins with a 'V' and the other is one page 185 (op cit) and begins with an 'I'. They are not the same at all, and ought not be likened or as'd.

A week or so ago I was talking to my friend Tran Nguyen (who I work with in the Theodore Mckeldin library) She grew up in Vietnam, it was the home of her childhood and youth, a place she says that was haunted by evil spirits and ghosts in those days (1970-1988) that caused people to drop dead in the middle of the street for no reason. I had mentioned Robert McNamara's name in passing and she exclaims "I know a song about Robert McNamara, we learned it in school: 'Robert McNamara he is a baby killer, he is a bad man...'." Here she stops unsure as to how I am taking this. I say, "it goes on to talk about running dogs and paper tigers." I am just guessing, it is really a question, but I have not given it rising inflection. She brightens up:
"Oh, then you know this song."
10:50:55 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, 29 October, 2003
Grand Obsession

As a follow-on to recent discussions of the Bush hatin' phenomenon, where some observers cautiously allowed that certain anti-Clinton manuscripts did see publication during that administration, I would like to present as a Public Service a brief list. These are just from the Regnery publishing house alone. It's a small list (though this particular cottage industry doen't seem to have closed its doors yet ) so I rounded it out with a few other items from their catalogue.

  1. Oakley, Meredith L., 1951- On the make : the rise of Bill Clinton / Meredith L. Oakley. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub., c1994.

  2. Tyrrell, R. Emmett. Boy Clinton : the political biography / R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1996.

  3. Aldrich, Gary. Unlimited access : an FBI agent inside the Clinton White House / Gary Aldrich. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1996.

  4. Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose, 1957- The secret life of Bill Clinton : the unreported stories / Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Publishing ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1997.

  5. * Aldrich, Gary. Unlimited access : an FBI agent inside the Clinton White House / Gary Aldrich ; [with a new foreword by Michael Reagan]. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1998.D.C. : Regnery Publishing ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1997.

  6. Timperlake, Edward. Year of the rat : how Bill Clinton compromised U.S. security for Chinese cash / Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II. Washington, DC : Regenery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1998.

  7. Zelnick, Bob, 1940- Gore : a political life / Bob Zelnick. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : distributed by National Book Network, c1999.

  8. Gertz, Bill. Betrayal : how the Clinton administration undermined American security / Bill Gertz. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1999.

  9. Olson, Barbara, 1955- Hell to pay : the unfolding story of Hillary Rodham Clinton / Barbara Olson. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1999.

  10. Schippers, David. Sellout : the inside story of President Clinton's impeachment / David P. Schippers, with Alan P. Henry. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c2000.

  11. * Timperlake, Edward. Year of the rat : how Bill Clinton and Al Gore compromised U.S. security for Chinese cash / Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II. Washington, DC : Regenery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, [2000], c1998.

  12. Limbaugh, David. Absolute power : the legacy of corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department / David Limbaugh. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub., c2001.

  13. Sammon, Bill. At any cost : how Al Gore tried to steal the election / Bill Sammon. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c2001.

  14. Olson, Barbara, 1955- The final days : the last, desperate abuses of power by the Clinton White House / Barbara Olson. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c2001.

  15. Patterson, Robert, 1955- Dereliction of duty : the eyewitness account of how Bill Clinton compromised America's national security / Robert "Buzz" Patterson. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c2003.

  16. Lowry, Rich. Legacy : paying the price for the Clinton years / Rich Lowry. Washington, DC : Regnery Publishing, c2003.

  17. Miniter, Rich. Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures unleashed global terror/ Rich Miniter. Washington, DC : Regnery Pubishing, c2003.
_ _ _

  1. Coyne, James K., 1946- Cleaning house : America's campaign for term limits / James K. Coyne and John H. Fund. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Gateway ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1992. throw the bums out - ed note

  2. Kamber, Victor. Giving up on democracy : why term limits are bad for America / Victor Kamber ; prefaces by Bob Kerry & Henry Hyde. Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1995. now that our bums are in, lets derail and bury this term limit thing without further ado, we've got our hypocrite house to manage - ed note

  3. Koon, Stacey C., 1950- Presumed guilty : the tragedy of the Rodney King affair / Stacey C. Koon with Robert Deitz. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Gateway ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1992.

  4. Fumento, Michael. The myth of heterosexual AIDS / Michael Fumento. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Gateway, c1993.

  5. Duesberg, Peter. Inventing the AIDS virus / Peter Duesberg. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub., c1996.

  6. Messori, Vittorio, 1941- Opus Dei : leadership and vision in today's Catholic Church / Vittorio Messori ; translated from the Italian by Gerald Malsbary. Washington, D.C. : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1997.

Addendum keeping up with the times and schedules, I've added an additional book to the first list, Rich Miniter's. 31Oct03
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Running things

My niece Nicole is a sixth grader this season, my nephew Lucas, fourth. About a year and a half ago, maybe two they got two little kittens to raise. Pets are good, our family always had animals of some sort about. The cats were quite small when they got them and my niece got into the mind set of thinking them adorable little balls of fur. Cats get bigger though and they get bigger unevenly. Which means they are forever getting into little pissing matches to see which is the top cat. Now with people that would be interpreted as a colorful metaphor perhaps not entirely appropriate for a family-usability enabled web log. Anyone who has lived with a cat in a house knows - that ain't no metaphor. The other weekend one of the two (whose names are Lothlorian - Lori for short, and Lee) came to understand in a gun cotton flash of cat insight that neither one of them is the alpha kitty; it is Nicole. Nicole! Pourer of food pellets in the bowl of life, scratcher of the back of head and ears. She who picks us up and she who puts us down, sister to He who keeps laying down yu gi oh (sic) card matresses for us to sleep on.

So one of the kitties leaves a half eaten mouse next to her bed; just the head, heart, and lungs, carefully licked clean and left as a little love token to their ruler. My niece screams on finding this plinth tribute laid down for for her. Screams loudly. It takes a while to convince her that this was intended as a gift, and a token of feline esteem. It's probably just as well she has never seen Godfather I. She is inclined to think she does not want to be the household Princip Augustus. The hardest part was coming to see the purring, tail tapping things that could once be held in the palm of her hand as a sharp fanged killer. It's an adjustment to make.

Little lamb who made thee
dost thou know who made thee?
gave the life and bid thy feed?
by the stream and o'er the mead...
- - -
Tyger! Tyger burning bright
in the forests of the night
What immortal hand or eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry...
And what shoulder and what art
could twist the sinews of thy heart?
Well, I hope Blake's gone off copyright.
9:53:33 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 24 October, 2003
Madame Chiang

Its hard to describe how much of the last century's history, flowed through or close to this woman. I've never read a biography about her alone. Although she would turn up in nearly everything i would read about post war American foreign policy. I think I first heard of her when I read a book as a kid on the of Chenault's Flying Tiger squadron. Many many years ago.
._._. pb _._

Madame Chiang, 105, Chinese Leader's Widow, Dies. Madame Chiang Kai-shek was a pivotal player in the struggle for control of post-imperial China waged between the Nationalists and the Communists. By Seth Faison. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]
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Wednesday, 22 October, 2003
note found in a mountain dew (tm) bottle

the Copyright tribunal adjuncts will get me. They will rope me to their ropey chair and dunk me in their quickened stream, attempt to drown me in their waters [lifting me from the water singing "shake it, like a polaroid picture"]. Or by not drowning I should prove myself a witch. In latter case they will seek to burn me [burning me like a 99 cent CD-R]. For it is written
Is there a thing of which is said, "See this is new?" It has been already, in the ages before us. There is no remembrance, of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of latter things yet to happen among those who come after.

Yet there is copyright (and trademark) for copyright abides. Copyright is natural right and part of Natural Law and owes no man its being. "It is an unhappy business that has been given to the sons of men, to be busied with." This from the Prime adjunct of the tribunal, He is borrowing words himself, but he is grandfathered in. I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jersalem before me. Here he pauses, dramatically, to let the moment take effect. He examines his fingernails for cleanliness, roundness, inspecting for rough edges. He desires to cut a grand figure for this inquiry. My mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge, I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. He breaks to his own thoughts now, You have paid for nothing! Your experience turns on nought, but that which you have received from comic books, b- movies, or mott the hoople . Your top ten things bill clinton might say to paul wolfowitz, your seven pillars of wisdom, your seven lamps of architecture, your five desiderata of jurispridence, your revolutions numbered nine, belong to me!

"Shooby doo wah", I responded without thinking. But I shouldn't have said that.
10:45:56 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 21 October, 2003
The Texas Redistricting

Politicians picking and choosing their voters. That's how the Washington Post termed it in their editorial last tuesday The Soviet Republic of Texas ('ve followed the Texas redistricting story as have many others - largely for its entertainment value. In that facet, we were well rewarded. Beyond this I considered it a marker for how hard the game was going to be played, an indicator of how much cover the republicans figured they had, the hubris they were willing display in this political season vs. another. Finally I vaguely considered the actual results that would come about; gerrymandering a state the size of Texas could mint enough new republican seats to put the House of Representatives out of reach of a democratic majority for 10 years. Further it would probably make Tom DeLay speaker.

When I was taking classes, I signed up for courses that promised to read Plato, or Alfarabi, Locke and Rousseau, Popper. I avoided like the plague courses that had names like "the american election, or "state and local budget processes". The occasional Max Weber or E E Schattschneider would pass across my field of cognizance, but that was it. I tried not to converse with fellow students who indicated they were "pre-law" such people, I believed, were likely cannibals. Therefore American politics and elections; theory and practice, is a bit of a mystery to me. "one man one vote" I say, then I wait for the laughter. Trying again I say "Elections suffer from preference transitivity, as a means of group choice. They nod and explain that is why the system ought be gamed as much as possible, it's just good political economy.

After the redistricting plan passed I figured it was a done deal and the story was over. Then Joby Fortson's odious memo surfaced and sparked a week long re examination of the Republican plan in the media, [Yahoo! News - Texas Aide's E-Mail Ridicules Democrats] , [GOP Report Feeds Furor Over Texas Redistricting (] and raised the possibility that an appeal of the plan might gain some traction.

The idea for redistricting had been to roll out of office a number of democratic congressmen who were in districts that had gradually gone republican, but who were still getting elected because they were Texas old boys in good standing, and they had seniority and committee chairs. The plan was to get the conservative content of a few districts up past the tipping point, and to try to look pious while doing so. My sister Ann recalled a person on Morning Edition talking up that very line NPR : Texas Redistricting Plan Passes the plan passed in the state legislature because the democrats were the minority party. Fortson's memo lifts the veil from this; saying the unsaid, disclosing its overt political zero-sum-gamesmenship, its forced and visibly contrived nature. Showing its real purpose being to artificially increase and freeze the national status quo. In a line the Washington Post quotes in their 10 Oct 03 story (above): This is the most aggressive map I have ever seen," Joby Fortson wrote in the analysis, which he e-mailed to congressional aides. "This has a real national impact that should assure that Republicans keep the House no matter the national mood.. Democracy republican style.
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Friday, 17 October, 2003

Usually I try to have little to say about Israel and Palestine . The situation there is too intracted, the positions too hardened, and attitudes which ought to be far outlays on the spectrum lie curled at the foot of the median. I am not a middle east expert - abbreviate this IANMEE. Normally I don't bow to the presence of a declared expert in a subject, backing away with lowered eyes, mumbling how I meant no offense in attempting to hold an independent opinion. I make exception here. I would want to hold a post-graduate degree, or have done equivalent reading in the subject before making public statements on the politics of the middle east. I've gradually learned that every country or national aspiration in the world has an idea of a "Greater Freedonia" they can envision, usually involving a set of borders that incorporate most if not all of their immediate neighbors. Narratives are supplied that reference events going back 10s of years, decades, centuries, and millennia. These ideas often seem to have been articulated in their modern sense in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, or about the time that middle classes formed and took themselves off to universities. That is just a coincidence, I'm sure. Still you don't want to get between nationalists and their myth-dreams of living large. From Dodge city to Tombstone all the gunslingers will tell you: "this town ain't big enough for the both of us."

Sometimes you have questions, though. Here is a story I first noticed on Sunday or Monday, this is the story from a Zurich Paper Swiss peace plan irritates Israel (English Window, NZZ Online, 15. 10. 2003). It is revealed that a group of moderate Israelis and Palestinians have completed a draft of an alternative peace plan after working in secret for two years. The reaction of the israeli government was quick and reflexive, they dismissed it out of hand. It was not authorized, and carried no weight, put no obligations on them. Frankly they reacted like someone who has been stung by a bee. Or rather like someone who has just looked out a window to find a brush fire in the yard, hard by the house. I find it hard to imagine Israeli officials didn't know these people were meeting but they do seem to have been taken aback by their starting to hold press conferences and waving peace plans about. All this organization made the Israeli's apparently suspect there were other more professional trouble makers involved in this effort. Which led to this articles description of Israeli ire at such Swiss underhandedness. Israel remains, as does the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Authoritarian, committed to the American Roadmap. A mere nostrum against possible mare tranquillitatus. However; having stalled all traffic on the roadmap's roads, neither side is looking for volunteer efforts. Both sides have effectively decided to wait it out another generation or two, to conduct wars of attrition against the other, and concede nothing in the mean time. Since this is where the principles have gone, it is where the debate and facilitators must follow.

There are many things to consider in this light. Not the least of which is the admission by unnamed Bush administration officials that they are aware that Israeli has modified a number of U. S. supplied Harpoon cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads ( Israel putting nukes on subs / Issue may hurt U.N. bid to halt Iran's suspected program ).

I admire the optimistic mind set, but I do not admire the man who brandishes an empty glass and declares it is full and demands: "now drink from what I pour you."
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Thursday, 16 October, 2003
Margarets muse, see 'em

I noticed over the weekend that even Margaret Cho has a web log, Margaret's Blog. That's Margaret Cho the comedian, Solo show artist. Like other professionals she has it embedded in her larger "I'm available for gigs, contact my agent" site. She has it, and writes in it. She was, the other day when I looked in, "going off" on Anne Coulter (no permalinks, is 10/09/2003 entry, scroll your way to enlightenment boys and girls). Well worth the effort I thought although Ann Coulter, tends to be her own worst enemy. There is an entire class of people for whom this is true, though for some it is simply how they choose to eat at the table. See Ms Welsford for elicitation. Anne Coulter does strike me as a near complete wack-job. Regnery/Crown the publishing company she writes for specializes in books featuring CHARACTER STRINGS ALL IN CAPS, Numerous resorts to Bold face type, exclamation points !. And bullets - lots and lots of • bullets. What seems to have Margaret Cho exercised is this:
[C]onservative men love her, because she is a loyal slave to the status quo. She is Cunta Kinte. ... If Ann were hot, then I could excuse some of her behavior. She only goes to the safe end of her sex appeal, ever so slightly, flossing a North Beach leather mini with her long legs and crazy anorexic body. If she had some integrity, she would go get some straight up phat silicone titties, and part her blonde hair in the middle, take two Velcro rollers and make those stripper forehead curls that make the boys say "Whassup Shorty!!".
Well spoken, heartfelt.

Then I started thinking; I wonder how Margaret feels about Michelle Malkin who is hot, and looks good in black leather. Heck if she weren't already married I'd ask her to marry me, and I don't even get along with republicans much. Too much hanging chad between us. My dad's republican though, he's about as republican as people get. I still talk to him. Well anyway I see no way out. If "hot" is the issue, if thats the line we fight this out on. This whole left - right division thing is just going to break down.
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Tuesday, 14 October, 2003
Drums along the Mohawk, Headhunters out on the back-bay Fens.

The American League Championship series is tied again at two games apiece. The sight of Don Zimmer charging at Pedro Martinez , and trying to take a swing at him (he did really take a swing at Martinez, but I'll stick with 'trying' none-the-less). Martinez grabbing him by the head and throwing him to the ground. Zimmer rolling on the ground with that confused look on his face. That's going to stick with me for a long time, and not in a good way. That just ain't right. I was thinking why do they keep showing this over and over again in slow motion, then I realized 'oh thats not slow motion that's just Zimmer running.' One thing I liked about Earl Weaver is that he didn't think you needed to play headhunter games to to play competitive Baseball. He usually kept the Orioles out of such jv squad mind games. I read that Martinez will be fined $50,000 for doing that - throwing Don Zimmer down That's twice what I make in a year. Hey, is this a great country or what?

I'm still looking for the Red Sox to win this thing, but I find myself now in the position of hoping that something about the contest and eventual outcome serves to redeem this unfortunate moment in some way. But I often feel that way.
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Sunday, 12 October, 2003
the Bush Hating meme.

Hatin' the games not the playa. I was pleased to see the word meme surface again the other day. Hadn't heard it in a while. Meme, why it's like a flash mob for words, or something like that. Pervasive around the web logging world, above it and below, ubiquitous as all your base are belong to us ever was - is the Bush Hating Meme. Bush hating is not strictly writing or pronouncements featuring disparagement of the President. It is the thing named; apprehended, turned and termed. It is a statement. It is an accusation. And it beggers the question: is there a torrent or even a current of irrational anti George W. Bush commentary welling up over the landscape. Well there are the books. Michael Moore's books: Stupid White Men, and Where did my Country Go. Al Franken's book : Lies and the lying liars who tell them. David Corn's book The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception. Paul Krugman's book The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century as well. There are probably others I don't even know about. In addition there have been critical articles appearing in newspapers and magazines. Several. There is even a group of men who are running campaigns to take his job as leader of the world away from him, and many others who support them. I believe this faction call themselves "democrats".

Many of those who talk of Bush Hating seem to have trouble separating irrational personal hatred from simple criticism of the administration and its policies, and lump and damn all things together as one. I will try to keep them distinct. In the post Dixie Chicks era of enforced quiessence, perhaps they have become too used to the sound of their own voices only . All the speech and writings against Bush is referenced to this administration and their war. If he were not part of the current administration; no one in America would be writing a word about George W. Bush. It speaks to the conservative, very conservative heart of this administration. To the arrogant, imperious, & bullying nature of Bush 41 that they do. An adminstration that came to town to pick where Reagan left off, with scarcely a nod in the direction of his father's presidency, and a determination to wash the Clinton administration (if possible the Carter, Johnson, Truman, Roosevelt, and Wilson administrations as well) from history. Until very recently they had no qualms about their aggressive nature and would speak of it in terms of great personal pride. Some of these books listed above have been in manuscript or development for a while. When they were first shopped around there were no takers. For the better part of the last two years the administration controlled the agenda and debate to a remarkable degree, if there seems to be a flood now it is because a manufactured dam has released.

Let's narrow the focus toward the theses as David Brooks states it The Presidency Wars : Have you noticed that the furious arguments we used to have about cultural and social issues have been displaced by furious arguments about the current occupant of the Oval Office The phrase and phenomenon 'Bush hating' was already in use by the time Jonathon Chait used it in an article that brought this into center court The New Republic Online: Mad About You. Here is a quote that brings out all the flavor of that piece. David Brooks samples this same quote for his 30 Sep 03 piece (op cit), but not as fully.

He reminds me of a certain type I knew in high school--the kid who was given a fancy sports car for his sixteenth birthday and believed that he had somehow earned it. I hate the way he walks--shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo. I hate the way he talks--blustery self-assurance masked by a pseudo-populist twang. I even hate the things that everybody seems to like about him. I hate his lame nickname-bestowing-- a way to establish one's social superiority beneath a veneer of chumminess (does anybody give their boss a nickname without his consent?). And, while most people who meet Bush claim to like him, I suspect that, if I got to know him personally, I would hate him even more.
Chait goes on to point out examples of shock and awe among Republican pundits on encoutering attitudes like Chaits. Let me turn one of these around directly from Chaits article (I'm perfectly willing to let professional journalists who are getting paid and have proofing departments at their disposal do the heavy lifting. Cut me a check, I'll start hanging out in libraries)
"Democrats are seized with a loathing for President Bush--a contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological--unlike any since they had Richard Nixon to kick around," writes Charles Krauthammer in Time magazine.
Chait prefaces this with the comment: Conservatives have taken a special interest in the subject. That is an understatement. You have to ask if Krauthammer really believes - can possibly believe - what he has written.

Even Brooks in his article while he does acknowledge that a cascade of Clinton-bashing books hit the lists in the 1990's in his argument that the culture wars are taking an ad homin turn to presidency wars. Then takes subsequent pains to portray Criticism of George Bush as something new and different

The culture warriors were passionate about abortion, feminism or prayer in schools. But with the presidency warrior, political disagreement, cultural resentment and personal antipathy blend to create a vitriol that is at once a descendant of the old conflicts, but also different(emphasis added).
The very next line is his direct quote of Chait: I hate President George W. Bush. It is not hard to see which way he wants his argument to point. I like David Brooks. I think he is a reasonably fair man. But at times his writing becomes cute, too cute and this is one of those times. In his last paragraph responding to what he admits is the obvious question. He says he tried to bring up these points during the Clinton administration, but not loudly enough, which he now regrets as the weeds of public discourse close in over the rostra. I accept his statement as sincerly felt.

Yes, it is true that some of what was said and done about President William Jefferson Clinton during his presidency may be taken as having been arguments against the man. It is true that part of me does not care, what then, is said about President George W. Bush. Part of me wants to see him and Vice President Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Bolton, and Wolfowitz et al. tarred and feathered and ridden out of D.C on a rail, With Bill Kristal riding out on Amtrak behind them. Payback is a genuine mother. Gentlemen, that should have been in your notes!

Brooks seems aware of this. Others, Krauthammer for instance, do not. This is either scurrilous or defective of these people. In general there has been a great reluctance to deal with what was done to Bill Clinton. I fault Clinton for being contemptibly unwilling to deal with his appetites, a bring-it-on call to his enemies. It was a revelation of a chump nature he could never quite overcome. I recall faulting him for letting his personal problems led him to take his eye off the ball - off the job he was hired to do - be president (I recall trying to explain this to my friend Kei Nomaguchi, a sociology grad student from Japan, during the impeachment hearings, who was inclined to view it all as simply American public theatre). I believe this led to great harm. To inattention when inattention could not be afforded. Further thinking back to a book I read many many years ago, I don't blame Queeg and his rattling balls so much as I blame the Cain mutineers. Republicans in general seem loathe to own up to the reality of things like the Arkansas Project. Bush Hating != Clinton Hating not by a long shot, not yet at least. It is neither as deliberate, organized or as funded.

Perhaps this is why Brooks transforms his culture warriors into internet warriors and marks them for special opprobrium: The quintessential new warrior scans the Web for confirmation of the president's villainy. He avoids facts that might complicate his hatred. He doesn't weigh the sins of his friends against the sins of his enemies. By this does Brooks include Matt Drudge and the Freepers, any of the thousands of rabid warblogs that existed recently, does he include sites like the one I saw the other day written by a couple of NC college kids referring to the LA times story on women who said they were groped by Schwarzenegger as puke journalism and predicting the LATimes would lose massive readership for it. (I'd like to see these boys call up Ken Starr and his deputies and explain the puke nature of their beings to them, I'll wait). Or does Brooks just mean the type of Internet writer who keeps Trent Lott's truly racist words in play till the more reasonable professional media are forced to deal with it. Gives pointers to foreign news sources that actually cover antiwar rallies. Notes Pat Robertson's repeated declarations that he thinks a nuclear device needs to be set off in the State Department. Who again are the insane terrorists that VP Cheney says we must defeat any cost? Robertson was talking to Joel Mowbray author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security this last time. This is a book that has been advertised extensively on the website which reprints articles by conservative columnists. See the Novak link from my 03 0ct post.

In the end what this is about is Republican fear that the democrats will cohere most effectively around a candidate who stakes out a strident populist position. So they are sending out clouds of agent orange against grassroots dissatisfaction displaying any degree of passion a candidate could seize upon. It is worth pointing out that many democratic commentators feel as well this is a dangerous route for the party to take, reflexive militancy being inherently unwise. Maybe this is really no different from what David Brooks is saying - allowing him to substitute 'nation' for 'democratic party' if he needs to. I will continue to consider the passional of dispassionate political institutionalism.
9:30:07 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 10 October, 2003
Boston born Boston bred, go Red Sox. (franchise slogan, from way back)

A.L. Pennant championship arrives at Fenway today, with series tied. A statement from Mr. Ruth on the playoffs - "I don't really pick sides anymore, Just let em play, y'know. But I'd like so see the Red Sox win so they'ed know I didn't have no curse on 'em. Be a good World Series too."
10:10:15 AM    comment [];trackback [];
Lessig Web Log.

the web log of Lawrence Lessig, law professor over at Stanford, chair of the Creative Commons project, advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, co-council in the presentation of Eldred vs. ... to the Supreme Court, etc. is now back up.

Has been back up for the past few days apparently. My RSS aggregator seems to boot feeds off its subscription list if they are not updated regularly. The lessig blog had been in radio silence for a month the reason given involved (if the phrase has not been copyrighted or trade marked by Beyonce Knowles) a Baby Boy.

I didn't even know lawyers were allowed to have kids

addendum. use of the word: A (p) Parent (ly) in the above entry may be interpreted as a pun if necessary.
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Wednesday, 8 October, 2003
a toast to Thomas A. Yawkey.

Tonight the Boston (Mass) Red Sox begin playing the New York Yankees for the American League Pennant. So at least today starts with the world in balance.
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Wilson, Plame, Rove round-up

A small list of recent articles mostly from Friday or Sunday on the Plame leak. Overall John Dean's article in Salon addresses the specific case here best and places it in historical context. Ted Gup's piece in Sundays Washington Post makes similar points and asks whether we want our governments to really plug all leaks in the dike of secracy. Frankly most leaks leave me feeling more informed and better off for knowing. This case may be a little different in its being an aggressive and hurtfully intended personal attack which did not materially affect the policy side of the issue.

Stop the Investigation... [Jack Shafers art. Slate 03Oct03] {suggests no crime or provable crime may have occured}

More Vicious than Nixon Administration [John Dean Salon 03Oct03] {suggests Wilsons file civil suit to protect their interests}

Do we really want to stop the leaks? [Ted Gup. Sun 05Oct03 B1] {suggests we not establish fixed rule & practice of criminalizing and prosecuting leaks}

'Slime and Defend' : Paul Krugman {focuses on hypocrisy as angle of injustice}

Capital Games. Spin is not Holding David Corn, the Nation {review, adds Chris Matthews name to Roves call list}

Yahoo! News - Bush Unsure if Name Leaker Will Be Caught {President implies that the truth may never be known, but then seems to change his mind and states that it will. Consider Dean's article (above) where he points out that Charles Bakaly was publicly fingered as the Grand Jury leaker in the Starr investigation, then not charged.}
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Monday, 6 October, 2003
Sound Print Radio

A small gem in the sandy reaches of my weekly habits is Sound Print Radio. A National Public Radio affiliated thing it shows up on my local station at 7:30 am Saturdays. Sound Print Shows are radio documentaries. I image that this is an almost dead genre, I'm more inclined after listening for a few months to consider it more a nearly lost art. What surprises me is how powerful they are. They are true documentaries, someone goes out into the field and records an activity or conducts extended multiple interviews in real time. They are usually intricately edited into a crafted and complex narrative layered on a sound bed for the final production. Sound Print exists as a cooperative partnership with other Radio networks, and airs documentaries from several nations

My favorite so far has been Low Flying Fish a light hearted but skeptical look at the world of corporate team and self esteem building. You can't be too skeptical of corporate culture. I've spent the last several years in a work place filled with managers who will look at you with the most condescending false benevolence it is possible for a human face to achieve and ask you if you are disturbed because someone has moved your cheese. Each show gains its own web page with credits and a brief description, links to things mentioned in the show or further information pointers, and a streaming audio link for the show itself. There's a list of these off the main page: Soundprint Programming for 2003. Another show was about about a hotel in Jerusalem known as the colony . Founded by American expatriates at the beginning of the last century. It has tried to stay neutral if not above the strife for a hundred years. That piece had an interview with actor Peter Ustinov (Baron Von Ustinov morphed the colony into a hotel around the time of the end of the British mandate apparently. Other shows have involved Flamingo dancers in Newfoundland, and this past week an Australian women (the producer/narrator) obsessed by the movie the Sound of Music.

Coming on a such an early hour (for me, 7:30Saturday is early) the big problem I have with these shows is that they don't stick in my active consciousness, but seems to dive down and lodge at some more interior level. From where I only recall them when something triggers their return. It's much the same with what I hear on morning edition , but there what I hear is either news-of-the-day which is usually reinforced by later inputs of news-of-the-day: X bombed Y, then Y bombed X, Z missed a kick - the Z'ettes fall to 1 and 3. Or it is broadcast ephemera passing through and circling around me like the sound of Red Barbers voice. They have longer produced pieces they call features as well Some time ago I heard a piece on Morning Edition on Henri Cartier-Bresson. Bresson talked of his reasons giving up photography to paint instead. I meant to retain that in mind and find a book that shows his paintings as well as his photographs. I will have to make a note for myself.
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Friday, 3 October, 2003
Blogger Con: the Web Log Convention

BloggerCon the Weblog convention starts today up in Boston, Well not Boston - Cambridge. Its at Harvard's Berkman Center. The link comes from Dave Winer's weblog Scripting News. Dave is the progenitor of the web content management tools Radio Userland and Manila. He was hired to a chair over at Harvard to fan the flames of the web logging world. Then, I imagine, take detailed measurements on the varying amount of steam, smoke, fire, and xenon produced and write up a study at some point. I like the Cracked Egg logo, I even like the sparking antenna signifying Rage Boy and Halley. I wish I could be there. Instead I think I'll start a rear-guard action to maintain Web Log as two separate words. ciao
._._. pb _._

A picture named egg.gifGood morning sports fans and welcome to the kickoff day for BloggerCon. It's very cold, in the 30s, but the sky is clear, and they're forecasting a beautiful New England fall day, highs in the 50s. People are starting to arrive. Last night's meeting at Berkman was packed, lots of new faces and old friends. I have a lot of work to do, not the least of which involves writing at least two essays, but for me, the conference planning is over. Now it's time to do. [Scripting News]
10:01:44 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Cakewalk to Frog-march.

The distance between a cakewalk and a frog march is measured along a line between two non-intersecting curves. We didn't need to be at this juncture. We don't need to be investigating the White house for disclosing the identity of Intelligence agency operatives, or expending energy discussing it. The administration and its defenders would agree - and suggest we stop. That; however, is not within the ken of the press or justice department now, but belonged to the administration a few months ago.

I find myself in the awkward position of, if I speak at all, voicing dissatisfaction with the administration's war, while having little against it on pure grounds. No one I note has suggested that we hand Saddam back the keys to the palace, and catch the 5:15 out of Dodge. The Bush administration ought to have proceeded with much broader, genuine, and publicly voiced international support - from peoples as well as leaders. They should have considered the role of credible threat of war, alongside the tipping to actuality of war to achieve their sufficient and necessary policy goals. They didn't. Military logic and timetables set the agenda, not diplomacy - the art of relations between states. All for many and long laid in reasons. The case of Joe Wilson and his wife will find its place at the heart of this.

Enough is being said about this now, at least in the past four or five days that I don't need to say anymore. I wrote about this in passing back in August when it already seemed old news. This brings me to the small set of points I do want to make, which I believe will have increasing meaning as this continues. First is the long White House silence. It was clear from the outset that this story had some serious aspects to it. Serious enough for some official concern. There was nothing from the White house over the last few months, and the spin started two or three news cycles late as the story finally lumbered awkwardly into the headlines this weekend.

Second is columnist Robert Novak's role in this. Somewhere between Joe Wilson and Novak's memories the story seems to be mutating somewhat. Consider Wilson's statement on Nightline the other night that reporters have told him that Karl Rove if not the original source was making calls the next week telling reporters that Joe Wilson's wife was fair game. Think of all that connotes. Looking at Novak's original piece and the column he wrote Monday Robert Novak: The CIA leak I get the impression of a man realizing he had a bit too much sail up and is subtly trying to take some down.

Last, this was not an islolated incident. There was a point in the early to mid summer where it definitely seemed to be the White house strategy to play a calculated game of hardball. They went around trying to get people agitated because they discovered one critical reporter was -- Canadian! Please no one tell them about David (axis of evil) Frum, Peter (Stallin wasn't stalling) Jennings, or Captain James T. Kirk (aka Montreal-bill Shatner). They went after another outing out his gaynithiticy. Perhaps what they really needed was a gay-Canadian whose bona fides they could poor mouth on some self-evident level obvious only to them. The Valarie Plume affair seemed cut from that same cloth when it occurred. All these are related by their consistent MO of phone calls around the news bureaus and a desire to punish, silence, and warn. My recollection is that after a few weeks the futility of this tactic was dawning on them and it was subsequently played down.

Still for the thought, and it's the thought that counts I'll share mine with them. There is nothing wrong with this crowd a Tarpian rock couldn't cure.
12:47:54 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, 1 October, 2003
Halliburton Hallitosis

The connection the Vice President has to his former corporation is continuing to stay in the news . Most recently now for a Congressional Research Service reportCheney's Ties to Halliburton ( This report attracts the attention it has due to the VP's statements that he no longer has any financial ties to Halliburton, which the stipends he still receives from the company seem to argue against. All deferred payments from previous earned salary, statements made on the Vp's behalf claim. Not that they volunteered this information. The amount: $150,000 for last, this, and next year hardly measures against his Vice Presidential salary of $192,600. This occurs upstage, downstage a measurable portion of $87 billion is being organized into contracts for Halliburton by the United States Agency for International Development.

I suppose that Washington - this nations politics - like any other industry or institution must be allowed some degree of latitude for its ways and means of doing business. I sometimes sound things out on my sister Ann, or brother-in-law Al (lawyers both) and am surprised that they will often shrug their shoulders at what seems desperately malfeasant to me. I'm willing to go with the flow. I've known friends who would rail at the crooks in congress one moment then buy a stereo off the back of a truck the next. Some things can never be room temperature.

Still it seems to to me that VP Dick Cheney and his apologists are missing the point here, its not just that those $150gs trickling in might feed the flame of fondness in his heart for his old job. Which he left only when an exhausting search for a suitable running mate for Geo. W. Bush kept bringing his name to the top of the list. The trick there is to set your pen to the top of the sheet and write your name first. It is more that I have never heard him say that he isn't going back. It's the thought that Halliburton has Cheney's old desk, his credenza, and chair in storage someplace awaiting his return. These thoughts of mine turn on nothing sinister, sharp or moments brooding, simply on the Republicans current pains to rehabilitate the revolving door from vaguely sordid reality to positive selling point and career path aggressively owned. I remember reading a notion from Grover Norquist, I believe, around the time that Nicolas Confessore's K Street Project article appeared - that if they could get the revolving door greased up enough - they could go to the business schools and universities and recruit young and bright right-thinking types into short loss leader careers in congress, before they go off and and accept that big rock candy mountain of cash: selling public access and influence for private interest. If I believe that the comfort of a corporate chair lies behind and ahead of political office, sinister I am not bending.

The last question I have on this, and I wonder why I seem to have this concern to myself, is how Halliburton came to be such a diverse enterprise so exquisitely poise to receive these USAID contracts. Ready to go with the right expertise, equipment, and previous vetted contracts with the federal system. Often it is referred to as simply the only company one could go to. When you need to repair war damaged oilfields, or you need a tent city to house an army in the desert. When you need to repair infrastructure destroyed by a modern warfare doctrine that directs targeting infrastructure. The sort of hypermobile Multilayered airwar intensive military that was ushered into being by Dick Cheney and his assistants when he was Secretary of Defense in the elder Bush administration and championed through the following years (the document Rebuilding America's Defenses from the Project for the New American Century details this fairly well). Frontline did a program half a year ago describing how use of this military capability was elevated to the level of national security policy. Maybe it is just the everbourning skeptic within me, but there is something here that strikes me of the joke about the plate glass retailer found driving around at night with a bushel barrel full of bricks in his truck.

Well roll over Bechtel and tell Carlyle the news.
10:50:45 AM    comment [];trackback [];

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Last update: 11/01/03; 12:37:21.