Friday, May 09, 2008

The 75 skills a man should master

Esquire lists 75 skills a man should master. How many have you mastered? What skills are missing from the list?

Godfather and Banished Books

I have not seen the Godfather movie. Hard to believe, I know.

On the topic of reading books that were not age-appropriate: I was in junior high when Michael was in college. He mentioned in a letter that he was reading Kurt Vonnegut (maybe for class?). Because I thought Michael was the COOLEST, I wanted to read Kurt Vonnegut too. My father was distressed. Instead of taking Breakfast of Champions away from me, though, he made a deal with me. He made a list of books he wanted me to read. It was heavy on Hemingway and Jack London and other manly, classic offerings. (How much do I wish I could find that list? I know that none of the books illustrated an asshole with an asterisk.) For each book that I read from his list, I got a flying lesson.

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Interviewed by HH (I've linked before the audio is available but that is where it will be) tonight in the first half hour. I agree with HH that he still needs to do some work in the "Sportsman's Paradise" before seeking national office but this guy really is impressive. First time I've heard him but I'm about ready to shout, "Jindal for Prez in 2012!"

Re: Lions/Service Organizations

Ended up there by default more than any other reason. I had been a board member on a local charity here for a couple of years and wasn't really interested in looking elsewhere...but THE FIRM required that I get out there into a group with more, shudder, "networking" possibilities. ("The other group just helps poor are you ever going to get clients from there?")

The firm had most of the area Rotary clubs covered. I was in the youth Kiwanis (Key Club) in high school so I considered them but had difficulty finding anything about them here in the Hill Country. Easily found info about Lions and joined in around September '03. They saw me coming because I was club secretary about a month later and will start my 4th full year as sec. on July 1.

I may have joined kicking and screaming but within a very short time I was very happy to be there. I really enjoy the weekly lunches/speakers and roughly quarterly projects but mostly I enjoy the other members more than anything else. As the "oldest, continually chartered" Lions Cub in the world, we have a few members well into their nineties. The don't make it to the projects any more but almost never miss a lunch. Surprisingly to me, I love talking to those guys. Former biz scions and congressmen, they can teach me a lot. We also have a pretty good smattering of members in their thirties but I'd say most are in the 40-60 range with the next largest segment being the recently retired set. I'm 48.

We just sponsored a new club in the SW part of town that already has about 25 members and I'd say the age range there is 25-40.

I used to volunteer teach when I lived in Denver and that took about 10 hours a week in prep and teaching time for 32 weeks a year. That was a bit taxing. I certainly couldn't do that year in year out.

Weekly lunch, monthly board meeting, 10-12 days (mostly on weekends) worth of projects per year and maybe another 2 weekends worth of training and regional or statewide events. Much easier and I still get to pretend I'm a better person than Michael or LJ because of it.

The Godfather

Bagged. I read it once about ten years ago and really liked it. I couldn't stop myself from comparing it to the movie this time and it was too distracting.
I bought it in junior high school and my mother took it away before I could start it.
My paperback copy dated 1978 says it is "The all-time bestselling novel in publishing history." I wonder if that's still true; probably not since the blurb on the book on the left doesn't say it.

Service Organizations

I'd like to hear from Scooter about how/why he selected the Lions Club and from anyone else who's a member of a service organization as to how you made your selection. Also interested in hearing what you think about your experience and your club.

My dad was a Kiwanis member. It's occurred to me on occasion that I ought to look into it. Scooter's mentions of the Lions Club got me a little more curious.

Hill -- playing a full deck of race cards

Michael mentioned that Begala played the race card. Here's Hill on May 7 going all in on race/class:

This isn't going to get her anywhere. Black people's votes do count: a whole vote, not just 3/5. A Democrat does need to win the black vote to get elected and she's completely lost it.

Michigan and Florida will get seated in some manner that won't take victory from Obama. The 69-59 split that Michigan proposed is completely reasonable, for example.

I believe the only projections that show her leading in the popular vote leave out the popular vote in the four caucus states that do not report popular vote totals. But if you roughly project the votes based on the delegate proportions in those four states, Obama wins the popular vote too, even with Florida and Michigan counted. I haven't tried to check these numbers, but I've seen similar analysis/conclusions elsewhere:

including FL and MI, weighting MI vote by CNN exit polls assuming Obama was on ballot.

Obama 16,475,239 rounded to 16,480,000.
Clinton 16,073,239 rounded to 16,070,000.

Obama leads by approximately 400,000.

I don't think she can make that deficit up in remaining contests.

Sure Hill and the Republicans will try to label Obama as an elitist latte-sipper, but it won't work as well as it worked against Kerry, Gore and GHWBush.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


answers more eloquently than I (as usual) why Wright and Ayers matter (in the context of how Hill finally figured it out):

"The line of attack is clear: not that Obama is himself radical or unpatriotic, just that, as a man of the academic Left, he is so out of touch with everyday America that he could move so easily and untroubled in such extreme company and among such alien and elitist sentiments."

And the conclusion:

"There’s only one remaining chapter in this fascinating spectacle. Negotiating the terms of Hillary’s surrender. After which we will have six months of watching her enthusiastically stumping the country for Obama, denying with utter conviction Republican charges that he is the out-of-touch, latte-sipping elitist she warned Democrats against so urgently in the last, late leg of her doomed campaign."

I'm not convinced, however, even at this late date that Hill is done. Begala played the white folks card today and they're ramping up the Michigan and Florida rhetoric.


I was just reading about how Hill needs to loan herself several more million and I actually felt sorry for her. Ack!

A Drink Before the War

This is the first of five crime novels featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro as a PI duo in the tough neighborhoods of Boston. I worked backwards through the series and I think this one is the best. Gone Baby Gone, the last, was recently made into a movie, which was okay. Casey Affleck was too young and too wimpy for Patrick and Angela's character was reduced to bimbo, which she definitely isn't in the books.
Lehane also wrote Mystic River, which was also made into a movie, which I haven't seen.
My favorite Lehane book is Shutter Island, which is unlike anything you've ever read, and which I recommend to anyone who will listen. Scorsese is directing the movie with Leo DiCap as the lead so read it while you can.

Lion's Lunch Today

Lt. Gen. Brett M. Dula (Ret.) spoke today. Interesting.

In his mind, the whole excursion into Iraq accomplished three things. One: get rid of Saddam. Two (and primarily the point): let the Saudis know they need to stop/curtail the funding of the Wahabbis. Three (and most comforting to me since my gut, not my knowledge, always thought Iran the greater threat than Iraq): put US forces on either side of Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Praised the Stratfor guys whom I occasionally laud here.

Goldberg's Liberal Fascism

Important, extremely informative, well written book that I'd been meaning to write ever since my old college and law school roommate called Ronaldus Magnus and me fascists. I never, ever understood how "everything for the state, nothing outside the state" could be considered anything but socialist. I never understood how a limited government, pro-individual liberty position could ever be considered fascist given the extraordinary control of almost everything and everybody in German and Italian regimes. For that matter, I never understood how the National Socialists could be considered anything but, well, socialists.

For the birth of and history of the origins of fascism, well told. Links and similarities between Wilsonian (and even TR) Progressivism and Italian Fascism also well documented. The use of FDR of the various crises of the time to greatly expand government has always been well documented so that was a bit less informative.

The post JFK arguments resonated less with me. Not a truly difficult read though I did have to keep somewhat of a list of defined terms handy. For whatever reason, I think the only two books that have taken me longer to read cover to cover are the Bible and City of God.

Phantom Prey

I am a BIG fan of the Prey series books. This one follows the same basic format of the last several - that being that you know, to some extent, who committed the crime(s). In some of them, you know EXACTLY who it is. I'm not sure when in the series Sandford decided to go to that format, but I'm not thrilled about it. I want to see if I can figure it out before the main character does. That being said, if you like the Prey series, you'll like this. But Sandford needs to shake things up with the next one - Davenport needs someone in his inner circle (work or family) to bite the dust.

Stephanie - just curious if you read these since they are set in the Twin Cities?

Under the Banner of Heaven

Do I really need to review this, since I believe the other 3 of you have already read it? I found it very interesting, since although I knew the general history of the founding of LDS, I didn't know about much about the dofferent splinter groups. Plus, I like all of Krakauers' stuff.

Hold Tight

Compelling mystery that incorporates current computer and cell phone surveillance technology (which Coben says in the preface is all commercially available) that I didn't know about and I suspect you don't either. I've liked all of Coben's recent stuff, his earlier series with Myron Bolitar (sports agent/detective) less so.

Child 44

Crime fiction set in 1953 USSR. As one of the cover blurbs notes, comparisons to Gorky Park (which is one of my all-time favorites) are inevitable. This debut novel has had a big advertising push in the NYT Review of Books. It's not Gorky Park, and Tom Rob Smith isn't Martin Cruz Smith, but it's worth reading.

Weapons of Choice

Bagged it (for the second time) about halfway through. US-lead fleet in 2021 (deployed to south Pacific to fight the Caliphate) time-travels to 1943 and chaos ensues. Future war toys meet WW II battles.


I think it's a good idea to post a review (even if it's short) of what you've been reading. I know that I check out what's on the currently reading list, but without feedback it's hard to know if it's something I would want to pick up.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Who Killed Homer Revisited

VDH on the lamentable effect of his book--Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom:

Second, theories of exploitation were divorced from the real world. While relatively well-off students anguished in class over perceived gender and radical oppressions, the United States remained the number-one destination of the world’s immigrants fleeing political bias, poverty, and religious intolerance. The first-generation Mexican national who ran as fast as he could from the oppression of Oaxaca, and clipped the bushes outside the tasteful faculty office, instinctively knew and appreciated the advantages of Western culture far more than did the leisured professor inside.

Feminists insisted that Harvard’s president Larry Summers must be fired for insensitive remarks regarding the under-representation of women on math faculties; elsewhere, thousands of honor killings and millions of female circumcisions transpire yearly. In Saudi Arabia, feminism is not second-guessing the remarks of a college president, but simply wanting to drive a car; on the West Bank, it is not being murdered when dating someone your father and brothers don’t like; in the Sudan, it is avoiding genital mutilation; in Iran, it is escaping stoning when accused of adultery. In contrast, Greek learning had emphasized that deeds must match words; otherwise, to paraphrase Aristotle, it is easy to be ethical in our sleep.

Lengthy but worth reading. Similar themes to Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind.

Fair trade?

Pundits are busy discussing what Clinton could get from Obama in trade for bowing out.  Many people suggest that he could/should give her the VP slot (he shouldn't and won't).  Here's something else I've seen suggested a couple places:
One of the most inviting is the near certainty that the Obama campaign would agree to pay back the $11.4 million she has loaned her own bid, along with an estimated $10 million to $15 million in unpaid campaign expenses. (Thomas Edsall at HuffPo.)
Is there precedence for this? I can't imagine his supporters would want him to do this.
[Update:  And would it be legal?]

Unwanted visitors

This Mallard couple showed up a couple of days ago. When it gets dark, they get in the pool and stay/sleep until early in the a.m. Plenty of duck-poo in the pool to clean. C and I are animal friendly (for the most part), but I need to get them to stop dropping by. I'll be waiting for them this evening, hoping to convince them to move on to a real lake.....or at least someone else's pool.

Bookcase Update

Mentioned in a post back in early April. To refresh memories, here is the before picture:

Here is the after picture:

Here are the overflow pictures:

The overflow picture on the right are books that would not fit on the shelves. I couldn't believe that I had THAT many books. I am very stubborn about getting rid of books, so I'm glad we had the foresight to make the shelving adjustable. We'll get 4 shelves made and stained, then move everything down a couple of slots and the overflow should fit, with room for additions. The left 2 rows are non-fiction, alphabetical by author. The 2nd row from the left, 3rd shelf down are travel books and pet books - the shelf below that are gardening books. The right 2 shelves are fiction, alpha by author. The 2 bookcases have all my Grisham, Clancy, Child, Crichton, Sanford, true crime, history, sports and Iraq/9-11/conspiracy theories.

The groupings are a work in progress and are subject to change.

Real estate update

As I mentioned in this post earlier in the year, C and I were in the market for some property up in Wisconsin. A couple of weeks ago, we made a quick trip up there to check it out. The nearest town (population of about 1,000) was 10 minutes or so from the property. It was wooded (though not as much maple, birch, oak as we expected) and it certainly was "rolling hills". Nice road leading into the property, gravel roads within (that will be paved). Saw lots of deer and turkey. Location is about 5 minutes or so from 2 state parks, 1 state forest borders the property and a national forest is also close by. 4 golf courses (ranging from a 9-hole course to a 27-hole course) within a 15 mile radius. A sportsbar in the town that supposedly Brett Farve (who owns hunting and fishing property in the area) regularly frequents. Numerous "supper clubs" (a staple of northern Wisconsin - though if you ask anyone from there what one is, they can't really tell you) in the area. We ate at one of them on Saturday and we were the talk of the place. "What are folks from Dallas doing up here this time of year"?

We really liked the area and the property and made an offer on 2 lots (about 7 1/2 acres). Our offer was accepted yesterday, so we are now officially land barons!

The Disease-o-sphere

From yesterday's NYTimes, here is a fascinating graphic that illustrates genetic relationships amongst diseases.  Click on it to magnify a section to see more detail.

Polyamory marriage

We each get one life. What consolation is it to polyamorous people – good, decent people who have found others "precious" to them and who want to make a family together, with the security, social legitimacy, and benefits that come with “marriage” -- that maybe, if the majority ever gets comfortable with it, we’ll let future generations of polyamorous people get married, but not you?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Please may we have a new poll?

Re: Mrs. Loving

Just a quick comment so Stephanie's post is not misinterpreted: this is not an issue I have deep feelings about. I could sleep easily if gay folks were allowed to marry.

My pell-mell post was intended to be more a states' rights/grand laboratory post than anything else. If it came across differently, I did not make my case very well.

Update: It is clear to me that I did not make my case or, if I did, I chose a terrible subject with which to make it.

RIP Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving passed away on May 2. I make note of her passing as a continuation of our earlier exchange about gay marriage.

Mildred was a black woman who, in 1958, married a white man. Their home was in Virginia where interracial marriage was banned, so they were married in Washington, DC and then returned to Virginia to live.

In a statement Mrs. Loving made in 2007:

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the "crime" of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed.

The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

Mr. and Mrs. Loving’s case wound its way to the Supreme Court and in 1967 the Court struck down Virginia’s scheme to preclude interracial marriage (citing both due process and equal protection violations under the 14th Amendment), saying: "The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men," a “basic civil right."

Hear, hear.

In her 2007 statement, made to mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Mrs. Loving reflected on her experience and applied it to the issue of gay marriage:

The majority believed ... what the [trial court] judge said, that it was God's plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation's fears and prejudices have given way, and today's young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

Mr. and Mrs. Loving’s life story illustrates for me the answer to Scooter’s question as to why we must “rush pell-mell” into legalization of gay marriage. We each get one life. What consolation is it to gay people – good, decent people who have found someone "precious" to them and who want to make a family together, with the security, social legitimacy, and benefits that come with “marriage” -- that maybe, if the majority ever gets comfortable with it, we’ll let future generations of gay people get married, but not you?

H/t to Meteor Blades at Kos for Mrs. Loving's 2007 statement.

Re: Eddie's INaccuracy

I just found his sympathies a little surprising. Probably shouldn't have given he's a NYer.

In my office email today...

Dear Executive,

The rapid development of the Islamic finance and Islamic banking industry, not only in the Middle East but across the globe, has produced new Shariah compliant products and structures, which have in turn resulted in a substantial growth in demand for Islamic financial services. The number of Islamic institutions and their assets grew approximately at an average annual rate of 20 % in the world.

Western countries are now developing more competitive Islamic Finance products which are no longer considered as a specialised structure developed for religious purposes. Except for London, European financial centres do currently not have a suitable offer to those who wish to invest a part in conformity with Islam, comparing to Dubai, Bahrain and Singapore. Although having a net delay in Islamic banking financial centres like Geneva manage today up to 300 billion dollars asset Moslems.

This conference aims to examine some critical issues arising from the implementation of Islamic Finance from jurist, legal, and practical perspectives with a focus on how to create Shariah Compliance in Financial Products, and how to incorporate Islamic Finance into the financial mainstream.

Compliance practices, governance and standards, and enforcement issues will be reviewed through the visions, theories & practices of the competitors across the leading centres of Islamic Finance.

Special emphasis will be given to the Sukuks as they are the hot topic of the year.

We will also present a comparative study between conventional and Shariah compliant financial practices to highlight similarities and differences.

Specific topics for this discussion include:

Islamic Finance:

Growth & current trends
Global Impact
Incorporating Islamic finance into mainstream finance -The Challenge?

Examining the needs of Customers within Islamic Retail Banking:

Current Products in the Market - Are they meeting the Needs of Customers?
The Need for new innovation
Case Study-The Islamic Bank of Britain

The Need for a central Approval Body Governing Islamic Finance:

Examining The role of Shariah Scholars
Creating Shariah Compliance in Financial Products
Examining Future challenges towards Shariah Compliance
The responsibilities of a Shariah advisory Board
How the lack of standardization ofShariah board ruling is considered as one of the main challenges in Islamic finance

Islamic Sukuk & main Islamic funds:

A critical examination of Islamic Investment Certificates: One of the fastest growing areas in Islamic finance
The role of Shariah board in Islamic finance "Sukuk"innovation
Review of the Islamic equity funds, property funds and commodity funds with an emphasis on the investment criteria, structuring and performance

Shariah Compliant Corporate Governance:

Leadership.-and its role in the creation of Value driven organisation.
Does Islamic finance naturally deliver ethical corporate Governance?
Strategic perspectives delivering a robust Halal model of Corporate Governance?

Islamic finance - delivering socially responsible investments Model:

The Growth of Ethical Funds
Its impact on the environment
Its total compatibility with Shariah - Potential new force in finance

Takaful Insurance (Islamic Insurance)

The Growth of Islamic Insurance
Fundamental Shariah concepts’ underpinning Takaful Insurance
Takaful-Defined-Difference between conventional
Developing a Takaful- Model in Europe.
Why the demand will Soar?
Islamic Insurance: main models of wakalah, mudarabah without surplus sharing, and mudarabah with surplus sharing.

Ed Koch's Prediction Accuracy -- or should I say INaccuracy

In October of 2006, Ed Koch predicted that the Republicans would hold onto both houses of Congress.

Apparently we can't rely on Ed to predict election results, unless maybe he's more accurate seven months out than he is one month out.

Ed Koch on Obama in November

He doesn't like the senator's chances. From JWR:

I believe that, if he is the Democratic candidate for president, Senator Obama will lose in November. There are many people in the Democratic Party and its leadership who feel that way. They are told that, nevertheless, the party must accept Obama even if he arrives at the convention with fewer committed delegates than needed to win the nomination. They say that to deprive him of victory under all of these circumstances would so enrage his supporters that they would either stay home in November or cross party lines and vote for Senator John McCain.

Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?

Thought we learned a long time ago that young boys in the cockpit was a bad idea. Via Drudge

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mountain Lion in the Hill Country?

I'll believe it when I see it.

From the Statesman:


Mountain lion in subdivision?

The Williamson County sheriff's office said Sunday that it received a report of a large cat, "possibly a mountain lion," in southern Williamson County. Detective John Foster said in a statement that the animal was spotted in the area of Great Oaks Drive and Racine Trail in the Brushy Creek subdivision at about 11 a.m.

Foster said the sheriff's office reported the sighting to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Residents are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter such an animal, rather than approaching it.

"Patrol units are in the area, and will continue throughout the night," Foster said. "Due to the animal being in a populated area, the sheriff's office urges that citizens use extreme caution when using the hike-and-bike trails in the area (until) the animal is either located or naturally removes itself from the area."

Foster said a resident took a photograph of the animal. The photo shows what appears to be a long tail barely visible through some brush; the body is concealed by a tree.

Re: Liddy

If one is going to pick a Watergate vet with whom to hang out, why not pick Chuck Colson?

What happened while I was sitting in Mrs. Curry’s 2nd grade classroom...

Excerpts From City Journal:

Christopher Hitchens:

Cuba was an unusually good vantage point for the 1968 phenomenon since it advertised itself as a new beginning for socialism that would avoid the drabness and conformity of the Eastern bloc. I was able to test this proposition in practice and in two ways. At a "cultural seminar," I heard the distinguished Cuban film director Santiago Álvarez say that any form of criticism was allowed in Cuba, except direct criticism of Fidel Castro. This seemed a rather large exception, but when I tried to be funny about it (so often a mistake in revolutionary circles), I had my first experience of being denounced, in unsmiling tones, for "counterrevolutionary" tendencies. It was a slight surprise to find that people really talked like that.

The second moment of truth came when the Warsaw Pact invaded what was then still Czechoslovakia. As a Trotsky-Luxemburg partisan, I had long bet that this invasion would happen and that it would bring the hoped-for split in the Left that would discredit what we called "Stalinism" for good. Many, if not most, of the comrades in our summer camp felt the same way. It was actually possible in Havana to dish out leaflets giving our views and to talk to Cubans who had demonstrated outside the Russian embassy. But Castro’s eventual verdict—in effect, a strong endorsement of the repression in Prague—was to install a gray regime in Cuba itself and to help dispel the Third-World-as-revolutionary-vanguard illusions of at least one section of the Left. When I last revisited Cuba, it was hard to buy a cup of coffee, so my efforts at planting the stuff, and in such hospitable soil, seemed a double waste of time.

Kay S. Hymowitz

But for most female mortals, the rules of the new regime were elusive at best. You kind of liked a guy you had just met, so what next? What did you do when he pressed, "Are you hung up or something?" The old order was built on guilt, shame, and inhibition; you sure didn’t want to go there. Susan Sherman, a self-professed radical poet I came to know years later when we both taught at the New School, wrote in America’s Child, her recent memoir, that though she didn’t have much interest in sex with the many men she befriended—she would soon come out as a lesbian—she "slept with all of them, finding that easier finally than saying no." Only a miscarriage changed her strategy. A friend who was at Berkeley at the time remembers that at political demonstrations men would yell, "Chicks up front!" They knew that the police would shrink from bashing female demonstrators’ skulls, while they themselves could march on, free of all chivalrous demands. That’s what women wanted, too, wasn’t it?

Stefan Kanfer

The student protests began in April 1968. They took aim at several targets: a gymnasium that Columbia proposed to build in Harlem—a project that had been approved by community leaders seven years earlier, but that was now characterized as "Gym Crow" by the undergraduates; an affiliation between the university and the Institute for Defense Analyses, a weapons-research think tank; and, above all, the Selective Service System, which was drafting college-age men for Vietnam duty.

Guy Sorman

Yet the profound impact of May ’68 went beyond local circumstances: it radically changed customs, values, and social relations in the West. In short, an individualistic society replaced the hierarchical one. Individualism pervaded the private domain. May ’68 was the moment when sexual liberation coincided with the availability of the birth-control pill. One of the sparks that set off the "events," in fact, was an altercation between the student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit and the French minister of education over banning male university students from women’s dormitories at night. The new sexual freedom also reduced the importance of marriage, and divorce eventually became commonplace.

Authoritarianism in business, too, began to founder, and a more participatory management structure came to replace employers’ old hierarchies. Many ’68 leaders became entrepreneurs and contributed to the new managerial style. Churches followed the antiauthoritarian trend, carrying forward the liberalization articulated at the Second Vatican Council. Universities around the world, in varying degrees, broke away from the mandarin system: students now had to be consulted and teaching made more participatory. The aftershocks affected political life, too. Governance became more relaxed, more focused on citizens’ daily concerns. Gaullism, the legacy of the French monarchic tradition, was unable to withstand the impact of May ’68. De Gaulle resigned a year later.

Harry Stein

In the summer of 1972, while Woodward and Bernstein were still alone among the national media in doggedly pursuing the Nixon gang, a dozen or so of us were 100 miles away in Richmond, Virginia, launching an alternative weekly called the Richmond Mercury. The Mercury actually featured some decent local reporting, but many column inches were also devoted to such matters of community interest as Watergate and feminism. Naturally, we went after Republicans with particular relish. My own contribution was a hit piece on William Scott, the GOP congressman running that fall for the Virginia Senate seat held by a moderate Democrat. Scott was a fat target: an unwavering Nixon ally, undistinguished, and widely disliked by his colleagues. In fact, Washington Monthly had already savaged him a few years earlier. All I had to do to portray him as a mean-spirited, irredeemably incompetent nincompoop was reinterview those sources and add a few of my own. My Scott piece received ardent praise from colleagues and readers, proving, in case there was any doubt, that this kind of journalism had very little downside.

By early 1974, I was at a magazine in New York called New Times, brought there by my closest friend from the Richmond paper, Frank Rich. Featuring highly regarded journalists like Jimmy Breslin and Murray Kempton as contributing editors, New Times aimed to be hip and forward-thinking, and young editors like Frank and me had plenty of freedom. Thus it was that we hit upon the idea of resurrecting Bill Scott, now Senator Scott, as the subject of a cover story. We would call it "The Ten Dumbest Congressmen" and crown Scott "The King of Dumb." Since I obviously couldn’t do essentially the same piece again, the assignment went to the magazine’s newly minted Washington correspondent, Nina Totenberg, and I gave her all my notes. She did a masterly job, not only hunting down new material on the hapless Scott but also including among her nine other victims a few Democrats, for "balance."

We could scarcely believe what came next. Scanning the masthead of this obscure little magazine and finding his old nemeses from the Mercury, the infuriated Scott called a press conference, thundering that this was all the doing of some left-wing kids from Richmond with an agenda—thereby turning it into a national story and confirming the thesis of the piece.
Scott never lived it down—even his obituaries mentioned the controversy. But what was never noted—there or anywhere else—was that he was right.

Sol Stern

Sometime later, after the events of 1968, I would look back at Hayden’s Bratislava speech as a turning point not only in the short history of the New Left but also in the history of American radicalism. Protesting against America’s wars has an honorable tradition, running from Thoreau to Eugene V. Debs and Norman Thomas. But starting with Hayden and continuing in the turbulent outbursts of 1968, that tradition of legitimate democratic opposition morphed into outright collaboration with the enemy. It wasn’t just that Hayden was rooting for the other side—abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison had done the same during the Mexican War—but that he was proposing to sabotage the American war effort by all means necessary. Soon enough, as members of the once-idealistic New Left and SDS crossed the line from dissent to treason, it became clear that those means included deadly violence. Within 18 months, some of Hayden’s followers were bombing military installations and public buildings in solidarity with their Vietnamese allies.

Guilt by association: McCain+Liddy sittin' in a tree

OK, fine. Let's play the guilt by association game as well as the blogosphere echo-chamber game. Let's talk about McCain and his buddy G. Gordon Liddy.

Liddy of course is famous for his role in Watergate and was convicted and served time. He has since made some stunning comments.

After Waco, Liddy said: "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. . . . Kill the sons of bitches."

He later backed off, saying he meant merely that people should defend themselves if federal agents came with guns blazing. But his amended guidance was not exactly conciliatory: Liddy also said he should have recommended shots to the groin instead of the head. If that wasn't enough to inflame any nut cases, he mentioned labeling targets "Bill" and "Hillary" when he practiced shooting.
(From the Chicago Tribune.)

That story also mentions that he has no regrets about the role he played in the Constitution-subverting crimes of Watergate.

And on a personal note, Liddy has described how listening to Hitler on the radio made him feel: "made me feel a strength inside I had never known before," he explains. "Hitler's sheer animal confidence and power of will [entranced me]. He sent an electric current through my body." (From

The Chicago Tribune describes McCain's relationship with Liddy this way: How close are McCain and Liddy? At least as close as Obama and Ayers appear to be. In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns—including $1,000 this year.

H/t to Bill in Portland Maine writing at Kos

I'm not suggesting that McCain holds any belief held by Liddy or that McCain is not a good American because he cavorts with a man encouraging people to shoot federal law enforcement officers doing their jobs.

I just want to point out that if you're more inclined to conjoin Obama with Ayers than to conjoin McCain with Liddy, you're filtering.

"Guilty as hell, free as a bird, it's a great country."

Nice associate, Barry. Via Ace.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dark Side of the Rainbow

All this talk about the synch between Dark Side of the Moon and Wizard of Oz got me exploring the subject. Here is just one of the YouTube clips:

Maybe it's just me, or maybe I'm not stoned enough, but I don't really "see" it. Going to Wikipedia gets you this on the whole subject. What I found interesting were all the denials from the band and engineer of DSOTM regarding doing it on purpose. Also, that Turner Classic Movies actually aired the movie with DSOTM as the soundtrack. Bet that freaked out some folks who happened to tune in. And, being the conspiracy theorist that I am, the whole section about other movies and other Pink Floyd albums was fascinating.

There is a link at the end of the Wikipedia entry to a full length, full screen synched version. I might check that out.