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Brass Knuckle Politics and Lit Crit

We know that politics is a brass knuckle sport. It favors the rise of people with nicknames like The Hammer. I assume everyone saw the remarkable Peter Perl piece in Outlook, "Delay's Next Mission From God," demonstrating that Tom Delay is hardly finished with his crusade to make America a "God-centered nation." (Perl: "DeLay's America would acknowledge that the Constitution was inspired by the Bible; it would promote prayer and worship, and would stop gun control, outlaw abortion, limit the rights of gays, curb contraception, end the constitutional separation of church and state, and adopt the Ten Commandments as guiding principles for public schools." Delay: "People hate the messenger. That's why they killed Christ.")

The Plame case is another example of kick-in-the-teeth politics. Joe Wilson attacked the White House and the White House hit him hard with everything they had, and with some stuff they just pretended to have. Gellman and Linzer have described (and have, at last count, 169 Technorati links to demonstrate the importance of their story) how "multiple people in the White House," including Cheney and Libby, sought to discredit Joe Wilson with "evidence" that had been revealed as a hoax months earlier. Today we have E.J. Dionne framing the conversation on the Bush leak, quoting the president's 2003 remark, "I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

It does appear at this point that the president searched for the leaker in his Administration with the same fervor that O.J. searched for the real killers.

Politics may be brutal, but nothing is as harrowing as a brawl in the world of literary criticism. Check out Ben Yagoda's take-down of Michiko Kakutani in Slate and you may feel like you did when you left the theater after seeing "Pulp Fiction." Great dialogue, but kind of violent, no? (Or is it "violence" in quotes, where you laugh instead of flinch? I need lessons in being more post-modern.) Here's Kakutani on Nick Hornby's latest: "this cringe-making excuse for a novel takes the sappy contrivances of his 2001 book, 'How to Be Good,' to an embarrassing new low." Now here's Yagoda on Kakutani's attempts at parody: "They are so awful, from start to finish, that you cannot avert your eyes, much as you would like to."

Ouch. I'm going outside to look at flowers now.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 11, 2006; 6:48 AM ET
 
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Comments

All caught up now.

Posted by: omni | April 11, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Yagoda holds Kakutani to an unusual standard. He admits that she is usually correct in her literary assessments, but complains that she writes with neither wit nor humor. I do not necessarily want my book reviews filled with wit and humor. I just want to know if the books are.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

What was it that Isaac Asimov said in his copious volumes of autobiography? "No one can be a critic until he presents written and notarized evidence to the effect that he beats his own mother," I think.

Posted by: Blake Stacey | April 11, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think I've got 'boodler's block.
I really want to 'boodle, but I've got nothing. (Maybe it's like that ad on TV where a guy is sitting in front of his computer, and a robotic voice says, "You have reached the end of the Internet -- please go back.")

Posted by: Achenfan | April 11, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Achenfan, It's the brass knuckles. They do that to you every time.

Posted by: dr | April 11, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Bush, his statement have all been technically correct. Since he has the power to declassify things he can never be accused of leaking classified information. Unfortunately, this is the same kind of legalistic hair splitting that so many of his supporters hate.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Delay comparing himself to Christ? Kinda puts that whole Gore and the Internet debacle into perspective.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Joel might be a little rough there on O.J.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

DeLay's not the only one, though I'm amused as his comparing himself to Christ (if I read that out-of-context quote correctly).

I noted this in this past weekend's WaPo Book World:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/06/AR2006040601690.html

,in which author Kevin Phillips singles out Christian Evangelicals for a rather extreme assignement of blame, though reviewer Christine Rosen points out that Phillips' assertions are not well supported by facts in his book.

I'll agree that out in the heartland there are people who regard themselves as 'patriots taking back America' (taking it back to what year, I ask 1950? 1850? 1750?) have certainly been waging a war against what they perceive as the "secular world", and using all the means at their disposal to do so (TV, movies, radio, books, music, church activism, and the classic Revolutionary War techniques of cells (aka "small groups") for support and management, with low exposure.

Some may feel at this point that the revolution has peaked, and are uncomfortable with how they've been leveraged to get certain groups and individuals into power, and the results of that power wielded (e.g. approval rating 38% and falling).

My unfounded $.02.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "..., I ask? 1950?..."

Gak. So much of what I write is wrong.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I am sure, somewhere, there is a document claiming that he de-classified the security documents. Can the President retroactively declassify anything, after being CAUGHT? I hope so, it is funnier that way.

The press corps is reacting like that bumbling pro wrestling referee who can never find that foreign object hidden in the bad guy's trunks.

At some point, however, there is a folding chair with the bad guy's name on it.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 11, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Yagoda's complaint seems pretty iron-clad to me: Kakutani is a lousy writer, that's all. Unfortunately, there's no way to say that in the NYT (and once you've got "tenure" they can't just up and fire you, nor admit you shouldn't have been hired in the first place). So they (and NYT readers, and Yagoda) are stuck with her.

I love that article about DeLay. The more this kind of things gets disseminated, the better. The man's a whack job, and his career's over. He can fantasize all he wants, but he's toast. You know it, I know it, and most readers will know it. The only one who doesn't is DeLay--and that's perfectly fine with me. (I especially loved the recitation of DeLay's "family values" background. What is it about religious fanaticism that links it so closely to hypocrisy? It's just amazing how often we see this -- and amazing how the "followers" of these people refuse to see it.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Re. Yagoda and Kakutani: Gotta love critical reviews of critics.

On a note related to the previous Kit, Art Buchwald is thinking about movies and his own death scene:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/10/AR2006041001438.html

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

It seems that, to paraphrase Kissinger, literary cricism is so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.

Judging from the meta-review on Slate, this is a slam against the thumbs-up/thumbs-down method of review made famous by Siskel and Ebert (I still can't get my brain around Ebert and Roeper, and when and where can they still be seen in the DC/Baltimore area).

There is a certain utilitarian value in that. Should I read the book or not? At the low end, that becomes drivel. I prefer wit and style in reviews because I may not ever get to read the book itself and I deserve to be entertained in the meantime.

Unfortunately, a lot of reviews in the more prestigious venues amount to either log-rolling or vendetta settling. Some truly vicious stuff has been printed in the name of impartial reviews.

My favorite example of literary assassination is the review of Vonnegut's "Slapstick" in the New York Review of Books that basically said that not only was "Slapstick" trash (a sentiment Vonnegut concurs with), but that all of Vonnegut's work was just as bad. Only the first paragraph is available on line, but it captures the essence:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=8668

Essentially he says that the emperor has no clothes and that Vonnegut always sucked.

So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Didn't someone say the other day that its not the religious part we should fear, its the fanaticism part? I think the quote actually said fundamentalism, but I think its the same thing. Its not just religious fanaticism we need to worry about, its the whole idea that there is only one way to get to anything, be it politically, or religiously.

Your system of government seems to be particulary designed to stay pretty much to center, to generally be moderate with the occasional hiccup to one side or the other. And it generally works as long as people are aware of where and when the lines are crossed.

Posted by: dr | April 11, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Important caveat to what I said about Bush and decalssification. Da Rules say that you cannot classify something for political purposes. I assume, although I have never seen it clearly spelled out, that you also cannot declassify something for political purposes. The question then becomes, did Bush authorize a declassification for reasons of national security, or for his own political agenda? To him, I imagine, the two are the same. To others, I suggest, this might not be true. Thereby hangs the tale...

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

In the early days of the Plame case, Bush said something to the effect that he wanted the truth to come out, but in a big administration like his, it would be difficult to find the person responsible. I wish two things: the first is that I'd recorded the actual quote somewhere, and the second is that the media, mainstream or alternate, had picked up on the fact that this was a signal to his people that stonewall was the way to go.

Posted by: Spinhawk | April 11, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

It's all just a game, and a bad one at that. You don't de-classify a document because "you want the truth to come out" and then chose as your mechanism of dissemination a leak to a reporter who turns out to not have printed it. That's not how you release information. You hold a &^%$#@*%$ press conference. In short, the explanation is itself a lie. There's no other word for it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Arrogance, hypocrisy and stupidity make my blood boil. This explains why I can’t bear to listen to, much less watch Bush, Cheney, Rove, Delay, Dobson, Robertson, and the rest of the right wing nut jobs. I never thought I could dislike a president more than I did Nixon, but boy was I wrong. It seems the tide is turning and people are seeing these people for the liars and hypocrites they are, but with our 24-hour news/celebrity/missing white woman culture, who knows for sure. We may be on the road to bombing Iran and the public seems to be against it, but if Brangelina has The Baby, in Africa, with a lioness as wet nurse (it could happen), we just might be distracted.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 11, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Re: Da Rules. Are there specific rules regarding declassification that purport to bind the Commander in Chief? At the highest levels, the conduct of a war completely overlaps with politics (Clauswitz: war is the extension of politics by other means). If there is any discretion for the CiC at all, there can be nothing but a political price for the decision to declassify.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"I'm going outside to look at flowers now". Think I'll join you. The entire government is in shambles. No one gives a damn about anything but their own re-election and/or their own personal agenda. What happened to comprehensive health coverage? What happened to eliminating/modifying the AMT? What happened to dealing with Social Security? Etc., etc., etc. Yeesh!

Posted by: ebtnut | April 11, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt - I saw Ebert and Roeper's show a couple of months back. I hadn't seen it in some time and haven't seen it since. They seemed real uncomfortable — and it was uncomfortable to watch — as Roeper tried to get some back-and-forth thing going and Ebert acted as though he was too superior to Roeper for that.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, yeah, yeah, that's the ticket! That's what happened, Yes, sirie.

If the press bothers, Joe Wilson is out there and available to cut the White House to ribbons every time they try to re-explain.

I watched Wilson on with Wolf Blitzer yesterday and he just slices up any and all attempts to pin the whole thing on the Wilsons or on anyone else.

The only avenue left is to obfuscate.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 11, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I know I am stealing someone else's schtick, and not doing it well, but the word of the day is "limn"

limn Pronunciation Key (lm)
tr.v. limned, limn·ing, (lmnng) limns

1. To describe.
2. To depict by painting or drawing. See Synonyms at represent.

[Middle English limnen, to illuminate (a manuscript), probably alteration (influenced by limnour, illustrator), of luminen from Old French luminer, from Latin lminre, to illuminate, adorn, from lmen, lmin-, light. See leuk- in Indo-European Roots.]

See this link for the Kakutani-limn connection:

http://www.mobylives.com/Limning_Kakutani.html

The article quotes Vonnegut in this passage:

"Her over-the-top lambasting of Updike, for instance, may make one recall Kurt Vonnegut's comment that 'any reviewer who expresses rage or loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has just put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or banana split.'"

It makes a good point. What good is getting so worked up about art, movies, or literature? I ask only semi-rhetorically.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

They can all lie, so long as they go to church on Sunday. That makes everything better. And if the lies cost us some non-Christian lives, well so be it.

Donde hay mucha luz, hay mucha sombra.

People should be concerned with the morality, not the legality.

Posted by: beacantor | April 11, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl - That is the question in a nutshell. Where does politics end and national security begin? Unfortunately, I am not at all qualified to answer this question. My gut feeling, however, is that you are quite right in that only political repercussions are likely.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

well...I know the Pres can't be sued while he's in the White House. Can he be sued after he leaves?

Posted by: beacantor | April 11, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about the rest of you Boodler-types, but I think the whole leak thing is way scary. Bush is really scary! I don't think there's any there there! I've never had a favorable opinion of him, but he doesn't even seem to know what he's saying...he declassified it to get the truth out? Yep, Curmudgeon is right...press conference is the way to go and it's as though Bush didn't even imagine that by golly, people might reasonably think of that!

Posted by: Kim | April 11, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Okay - I talked with The Man and he tells me this:

Da Rules say nothing can be classified for political reasons, therefore, theoretically, declassification for political reasons is impossible if Da Rules have been followed. (Whether the original classification was appropriate or not is another issue).

Da Rules also say nobody can declassify something that causes harm to national security, which usually means it is only of historical importance. Normally this determination is associated with it a specific time, but certain people, including the POTUS, can over-rule that.

Therefore, in my personal and totally non-binding opinion representative of my own personal opinion in a personal way - Bush did nothing illegal.

Which is not to say it wasn't noisome.

Now I am going to go out and find some of those flowers I have heard mention of.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

RD, I wonder if there actually will be political repercussions. It's not entirely clear to me - all this smoke indicates the likely presence of a fire, but also makes it very difficult to see!

The apparent personal vendettas of this whole series of events, somewhat suprisingly, make it less interesting. I still can't wrap my head around how 'outing' Plame 'gets back' at Wilson. If this was just about what was going on between Iraq and Niger (it was Niger, wasn't it?), that's an interesting and important story. Wilson says (whenever possible) he found nothing on his trip, but wasn't it a fact that an Iraqi delegation went there? Was it ever found out what they were doing there? I'm thinking not collecting native artifacts.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hypocrisy IS not illegal, either.

I *do* feel for the shovelers who have to follow THESE elephants.

Oh, poop. It's US.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

A press conference? Bush doesn't do many press conferences, so nix on that idea. (I'm just being snarky, Curmudgeon.)

But In lieu of that, they could've just run off copies and handed them out. Maybe one could've been tacked up on the bulletin board of the White House press room or something.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

To finish the thought. I am told that if Congress (and only Congress) decides that anything the POTUS declassifies does, in fact, damage national security and is not for "historical purposes," then it is an impeachable offense. So if you feel strongly about this contact your congressional representative.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, thanks for bringing up Vonnegut. The New York Times Book Review can't stand him? Oh well, they can't ALWAYS be right.

I love to read, and anyone who provides a good story earns my gratitude. But what I appreciate even more is when someone presents me with a new IDEA, and that's especially true when it's an idea that helps me see the world in a new way and that I can keep on hand for future reference. Kurt Vonnegut is on my short list because of all the ideas he has introduced and elaborated, not because of his witty wordplay or great vocabulary--he admits that he is not a brilliant writer, that everything he does is slowly revised from draft to endless draft.

In the prologue to "Timequake," Vonnegut talks about Hemingway's story "The Old Man and the Sea." He says the fish was Hemingway's novel, “Across the River and Into the Trees.” He had fought with it, lost sleep over it, taxed his strength and endurance, finally won the struggle, so to speak. The sharks, then, were the critics, and when they were through, you could understand why the old man would feel bitter and demoralized.

[I have loosely paraphrased Vonnegut and added my own imaginative details. He also mentioned that he wasn’t referring to anything Hemingway had said about the book—it was an original Vonnegut idea.]

My point is: I had read "The Old Man and the Sea" but that idea of Vonnegut's would never have occurred to me. But now whenever the subject of vicious literary critics comes up, I have that image in my mind.

===========

I liked Hornby’s book A Long Way Down, and I have recommended it to several people. It’s light, entertaining reading, but does not feel like a waste of time.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 11, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The question isn't whether there BE political repercussions; these already exist. The fact that everyone is discussing it, and Bush's ratings are dropping, are part of the repercussions. Then there are the pundits who are speculating (hilariously, in my view) that it "may damage Bush's credibility" (the humorous part is the notion taht he has any, at least among an increasing majority).

Here's part of the problem: this whole thing is full of red herrings, smokescreens, false problems and false solutions etc., and it is very hard to keep focused on the one or two key issues.

Whether or not Bush was "legal" in declassifying the document is irrelevant. But his team is using it as a smokescreen, because it diverts attention from the real issue. What they are saying is that if Bush declassified it, then nobody leaked classified info., so no one is guilty of anything. But the true question is, what did they do with the information, and why, not whether it was legal. (By claiming it was "legal" they are trying to get off the hook. And they may be right: it may be "legal," but that isn't the issue.)

So what was the purpose of declassifying it, and how was it used? Was it "to get the truth out"? No; it was to help discredit Wilson. Those are NOT the same two things. Is is legal to try to discredit Wilson? Yes. But was it a good idea? No--it was one godawful idea, and it has nothing to do with "who's right" and "who's wrong."

What is becoming increasingly clear is that all this wasn't about "right and wrong" or about "the truth" of whether Saddam was doing this or that. What is clear is this was a vendetta that got out of hand, pure and simple. In this sense it was like Watergate--something that just got out of hand, and couldn't be explained, excused or --more important-- retracted. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, and that's the hardest thing to learn, and why anyone who tries is ultimately unsuccessful.

What Bush, Libby, Cheney and Rove cannot escape is that they were caught exercising a vendetta, and that it got out of hand when they went after the guy's wife. It's all just that simple. Doesn't matter what parts were legal, what parts were "leaked" when they shouldn't have been, whether Wilson "deserved" it, whether the Niger papers about yellowcake were forgeries (they were), or whether Wilson's report was right, wrong or flip-flopped.

Vendettas are more or less OK among equals, but this wasn't a vendetta of equals--this was about a high-ranking group of the most powerful people on earth being so small-minded and insecure and cowardly that they felt the need to retaliate against a small, relatively insignificant critic, and they went after his wife. That's all. And that is inherently intolerable.

The Rovian strategy has always been to attack and retaliate, but people (not just Americans, but everybody) have an instinctual grasp of "fair" and "the rules." This whole thing is not--and never has been--about politics. It has been about the small-mindedness of big powerful people attacking somebody through his wife. And try as they might, there is no way to get around that.

Rove's tactics just got out of hand, and it was inevitable, because these are mean, small-minded people, and that's how they think and operate. Their fans think it was OK to "Swift-Boat" Kerry, because Kerry (meaning the entire campaign and organization) "deserved it." And from their point of view, maybe he did. And Kerry and his campaign were big boys and able to fight back, so it wasn't seen as a "bully" issue.

But then they "Swift-Boated" John Murtha, which was largely seen as the reprehensible act it was. And it wasn't "neccessary" that's what made it so bad. And in the same way, going after Wilson was "unnecessary," but going after his wife was just the vendetta getting out of hand. And now it's too late.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe there's something to Vonnegut's allegory, via kbertocci, or maybe Hemingway wanted to produce a modern, minimalist equivalent to "Moby Dick." Good thing I was a biology major. Now if only my favorite young king palm in the backyard would unfurl that new leaf that's been sitting there for a month.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 11, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

none of the latest bush-team hinky doings should be a surprise. to review, they stole the 2000 election with an assist from the supreme court. they blew it when warned of the 9/11 attacks, and then used that to inflate their 'mandate'. they went to war in iraq and lied to us every stop of the way re that. they allowed a major american city (that votes democratic) to be destroyed. they deliberately inflated the deficit to record levels and gutted social programs, etc. and they claim that they are on a mission from god.

we have been here before.

impeach bush now.

Posted by: butlerguy | April 11, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I digress.

Someone asked here at work about a place where a written story said you could "drive in" to get coffee. Was it really "drive in?" Should that be "drive up?" Or go to a "drive-through window?"

"Carbucks," I said.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that could be an op-ed in the Post.

You could have added McCain to the list of "Swift-Boat" victims; he now has to not only let bygones be bygones but seek to have this apparatus work FOR him in the next election.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Rove and Co. are bullies. By definition, I think, they are small-minded. They use brute force because there is nothing else for them to use.

So if Bush has a 38% approval rating, do all of us 62% who think he's lost his mojo (or more likely never had it) think he should be penalized in some way? Has anyone polled on that? Why isn't anything happening? All the discussion of what was done, and the legality of it, is just that much talk. Will there ever be any action?

Posted by: beacantor | April 11, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, Curmudgeon, bravo! You have put the whole Plame mess in the proper perspective. As always, your points are clear and right on target.

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I love both the content of your post and your writing style. Always look forward to reading you.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 11, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

So well put, Curmudgeon, I copied it to my file of "good stuff."

Posted by: nellie | April 11, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is a big believer in brass knuckle politics. Hence the Sunday op-ed piece by Fred Hyatt, defending Bush's leaking ways, ignoring the facts and goose-stepping to the administration drumbeat. Check out the post.blog comments and you can witness hundreds of irate readers with smashed up and bloody faces. With an editorial staff like this, who needs enemies?

Posted by: Slats | April 11, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty frustrated with the legalistic manner in which Bush's leaking is being reported. Anyone read Murray Waas over in The National Journal? On March 4th and 30th, he laid out a very well documented case for the political reasoning behind what became the outing of Plame.

And please, don't tell me that Cheney, Rove, Libby AND Bush didn't know that Plame was covert. Libby is so attuned to detail, he would have checked to see the status of Wilson's wife. I simply don't believe this was an accidental outing.

Also, no one seems to be writing about what was NOT leaked. Or that what WAS leaked was misrepresented as a "key finding" in the NIE (uranium yellowcake from Niger). It was not. It was a small part of p. 24. It was not a key finding. And by then, the whole story had been proven to be a hoax, and a crude one at that. I think that Bush, et.al. knew it was a hoax, but figured the documents would never see the light of day.

What was NOT leaked -- was the very fact that this was most likely dubious information -- and this was included in the NIE.

What was also NOT leaked was the cover letter, or cover summary of the same October 2002 NIE, stating that there was strong disagreement in the government about the intended use of those famous aluminum tubes. The ones supposedly to make a centrifuge for enrishing uranium? Bush knew read the doubts that came from State and Energy; that the tubes were for conventional weapons (which, in turns out, they were).

Yet Condi defended him at some point later on, saying he never heard these "counter" arguments. Well, "counter" arguments were part of that NIE.

Waas writes that Rove knew Bush would not be re-elected in '04 if the public got wind of how much he had manipulated the facts to go to war. This particular NIE was seen as a hot potato -- it could indeed show that Wilson was on the money -- that they all knew as early as October, '02 that they were on very shaky ground for claiming that Saddam had a nuclear program.

So the ball was put into play to discredit Wilson, but the only part of the NIE to be "declassified" (although I must admit to a fondness for Padouk's term "decalssified") was that bit part of p. 24.

The rest of the NIE, which largely showed that they were on shaky ground, was left alone.

And by the way, whoever heard of a junket to Niger? I laugh outloud every time I read this -- that Plame sent her hubby on a junket to Niger. Wilson didn't get a trip to St. Andrews to play golf!

I was really taken aback when I saw the "but is it legal?" question show up in MSM. How about, "is it ethical"?or, "what wasn't leaked"?

Any comments on the Post's editorial about the "Right Leak" on Sunday?


Blew my little mind away . . .

Posted by: nelson | April 11, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I think the post should be paying you. Great commentary!

Posted by: Dooley | April 11, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I love you Mudge. That was one lollapalooza of a post! Now I'm going outside to see if the callalillies are in bloom.

Posted by: Nani | April 11, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

For me, the difference is all about whether the action was done in good faith in furtherance of a war aim.

If this was just about Wilson, arguments in favour of declassification would be more supportable. After all, in a democracy an essential element of a successful war fighting strategy is a provable basis for the decision to go to war, and more importantly, buy-in by the electorate for that basis. If an incomplete argument is raised against that basis and gains traction with the public, it has to be countered or the support for the strategy, and consequently the conduct of the war, is undermined.

As Curmudgeon has aptly argued, in this case that argument fails when considering the pattern with which it fits.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Re: ...Delay: "People hate the messenger. That's why they killed Christ.")

I love Delay's logic. However, if it were true, then wouldn't people have also killed, um, I dunno, Paul Revere? Or maybe the bicycle couriers who deliver their mail?

I say, people don't hate the messenger, just criminals who abuse power and try and break down the barriers that ensure the stability of democracy. And people who steal Hank Aaron's nickname.

What do I know...

Posted by: Mr. Cabbage | April 11, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Remember when it was revealed that Scooter Libby's notes showed that he had learned about Valerie Plame/Wilson from VP Cheney, not from some unnamed reporter, as Libby had previously claimed?

Was anyone else struck by the fact that the notes were from a conversation on June 12, 2003, the same day the WaPo printed a front-page article that said the C.I.A. had sent an unnamed "retired American diplomat" to Niger who had debunked the claims?

Cooincidence?

Oops! Gotta go. I think my government is leaking again.

Posted by: Monkeystyping | April 11, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, ya can't help but wonder where rising gasoline prices fit in:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/11/AR2006041100571.html

With an approval rating at 38%, the White House can thumb it's nose at the public, and let the oil companies (who helped put them there, natch) take big profits, and act as if it's hands are tied. After all, the war in Iraq isn't about oil, right?

Or it can ratchet up the military action in the Middle East ("Where's the WMDs? Tour" dates for '06/7/8/9...), , saying that America needs to take action to secure a lasting piece of, er, *a peace in* the Middle East in the name of World Stability.

Interesting gamesmanship, when you think about it.

Iranians betting that the WH can't muster another war right now, probably perked up their ears with this past weekend's saber rattling including the term "nuclear option".

Huh. Might have to reread the Book of Revelation shortly.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

First things first, re: Kakutami. The Yagoda article annoyed me on one level because it's not like it's witty verbal repartee; it's more like witless verbal evisceration and it was done none-too-honorably either, more for sport than in any attempt at providing helpful feedback.

In that regard, isn't Yagoda acting in exactly the same way he's faulting Kakutami for acting?

The thing is, Yagoda is not really being constructive - which seems to be one of his sticking points with Kakutami. He's being clever, cruel and mock-constructive, heavy on the 'mock'.

A review is a snapshot designed to provide the reader with some insight on the material, enough for he/she to make a personal judgement as to whether or not a specific work would appeal on some level.

That's all it is; I've never known anyone to truly live or die on the NYT book reviewer's position on a work. Can it help an author? Possibly so. Can it harm an author? Again, possible. But in the end, people will make their own decisions, won't they? Which is as it should be.

2ndly: Bush. Ah, Bush! Well, the hair-splitting resumed on a level tantamount to Bill Clinton's definition of 'is'. Can he declassify info? I'm sure he can. Was it ethical? Honorable? Moral? Scrupulous? Heck, no.

Does it matter? Only if things like ethics, morals, honor and scruples matter to you. This behavior came from a man who stated during his 2000 election campaign that he would restore honor and dignity to the White House.

Posted by: amo | April 11, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

...Paid?...You mean...I do all this work and I'm NOT getting paid? Joel? Hal? Can this be true?...I just thought there was some kinda automatic payroll deposit thing, like my regular paycheck, and the Post was depositing my weekly pay, and my wife was spending it just like she does my regular check...

..so none of you guys are getting paid either...? Loomis? bc? scottynuke?...

...I feel so...used...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I not only get paid, Mudge, but I also got a raise this year.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat more seriously, I was thinking just this past weekend what an interesting the Post has here, on this and other blogs. Essentially they have lucked/stumbled (maybe not the right verbs) into a set-up whereby they have acquired a "staff" of maybe 15 or so regular "content proividers" (hate that phrase) who work for free, and another 15 or 20 occasionals who drop in from time to time. Talk about Joel being a Tom Sawyer! He bats off a few graphs from time to time (on the payroll), hits the "send" button, and away we all go, sometimes for three or four days. No overhead, no utilities, no paid editor (well, hardly ever, except when somebody says a non-no), no management, no health care benefits.

That's why I'm always curious about the "numbers" this blog attracts. They got quite a little gig goin' on here. No wonder they buckled when we complained about the font size. Maybe we should start agitating for longer breaks, or a better coffee machine in the lobby.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Bayou. Touche.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

mudge,

I think everyone in the boodle gets paid by someone, just not by the Post. A few would even be a little upset at what they're getting for their money.

Great synopsis of the whole Rove-Plame thing. It clearly was a mean-spirited vendetta by a guy that takes no prisoners. McCain must *really* want to be President to get in bed with these guys like he has.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, yellojkt, because he got into bed with *those guys* is the reason I can't vote for him.

Usetacould. Not anymore.

'Course just watch McCain pull a Gore and distance himself from Bush the way Gore did Clinton. Especially the closer we get to 2008.

Unfortunately, Johnny-boy, by then it'll be too late.

Posted by: amo | April 11, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

554 comments on post.blog. I'm not even daring to go over there no matter who pays me. I think Rovestorms are part of their regular weather pattern.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Loved this comment:

The country these days is like a couple in a bad marriage," he says. "Everyone is either shouting at one another or sulking. And when a marriage goes sour, you've got to return to your vows. And the Bill of Rights are this country's vows."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/10/AR2006041001781_2.html

Posted by: slyness | April 11, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Carl Bernstein spent a portion of his address last Thursday night doing a compare and contrast with the Nixon and Bush 43 administrations.

He pointed out that never has a vice president held such concentrated power as Dick Cheney does, in comparison to Spiro Agnew. Never has a White house or its administration been so secretive.

When it was time to halt the overreach of Richard Nixon, Congress acted, as laid out in the Constitution, as the appropriate check and balance, stepped up to its responsibilities, and held hearings. Bernstein asserted that with the current Supreme Court and Congress under Republican domination and control, the system of checks and balances is failing. Because of the upcoming federal elections and because Republicans are fearful of a loss of legislative seats to Democrats, Berstein felt that Republicans *may* still step up to the responsibility of investigating the current administration's misuse of intelligence that led the nation to launch a war in Iraq.

Bernstein stressed over and over the importance of Brit Michael Smith's reporting of the Downing Street Memos and their importance in cracking open the adminstrations ploy to fix "facts" around policy. Yet, toward the end of his speech, Bernstein uttered a non sequitir, that the most reporting by the British press can't be fully trusted. How strange. Yet, Bernstein emohasized that there was about a month's lag by the American press in covering the information within the DSM, as reported by Smith.

Oddly enough, in answering my question about how he would change management at the WaPo, Bernstein slipped in a comment, uttered in passive voice, about the coverage by the WaPo of Bush and intelligence before the war's launch in March 2003. "Mistakes were made," Bernstein said--and that's all that he said about his former employer.

One appointment down (not a difference of 90 degrees from yesterday, or 120 degrees, but 180 degrees)--with one to go this afternoon.

Posted by: Loomis | April 11, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

That DeLay piece got me riled up on Sunday. I love it when "reformed" sinners want to pass a whole bunch of laws to curb my behavior. Oh wait, no. Actually, I HaTe it.

But it appears that some things never change. To wit, a quote from Aristotle:
"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."

And last, but not least, a video clip of Bush's Q&A with the Hopkins' kids yesterday that's so unbelievable you'll think it's satire.

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Bush-on-private-.mov

Posted by: Pixel | April 11, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Pixel.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

It really irks me when people such as Delay (or Bush, for that matter) assume that they are speaking on behalf of Christians everywhere, and then come out and say they stuff they do. gives the rest of us, who have no desire what so ever to be associated with such bigots, a bad name. anyone who thinks that the Constitution was created by distinctly "Christian values" has not studied American, colonial history. A combination of humanistic and deistic values, not Christian, would be a more accurate (in my mind anyway) description.
and Joel, you should go see the flowers while you still can, before the environment is totally sacficed to Bush's oil-driven whims

Posted by: tangent | April 11, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC "sacrificed..." (sigh)

Posted by: tangent | April 11, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I've cheating on Joel over at Wonkette and came across this site about what Post reporters get (and don't get) paid for their PostRadio appearances.

http://www.washingtonian.com/buzz/2006/0407.html

Has Joel been on yet? I've been out of town for while and only listen on the commute anyways?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

re: Curmudgeon agitating on behalf of the blogetariat.

Shows my great negotiating. I've been holding out for italics, and apparently the issue is longer breaks and a coffee machine in the lobby. Breaks? Lobby?

I'm apparently one of the out-sourced positions in the boodle, posting things that Americans won't. Well, back to work. This soccer ball ain't building itself.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Tangent, could you expand on your belief that the Constitution was not created with distinctly Christian values? I am curious to see who else was represented. Judaism? Hindu? Islam? Not so much. Where we lucked out was the fact that the individuals founding our country were able to take off the blinders and see that allowing a political structure to be encompassed by a religious belief system would never allow that types of freedom they were seeking.

That being said, it is truly disturbing how pervasive religion has become in our political system. A candidate can polarize an election based on his/her religious beliefs. Beliefs that should be irrelevant in our (supposed) secular political system. Once we start voting for God in the polling booths, we may never be able to climb back up the slippery slope.

Posted by: grimmace | April 11, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I think we're all involved in reciprocatory renumeration...

Barter, as it were...

With words...

And the odd round of drinks at BPHs...

:-)

And yes, you're dead-center in the bullseye on explaining the bullying...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

We get an edit function or we strike. Who's with me?

And a 401K. What the hell.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

...and I had just begun to look forward to next week's paycheck...

*sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey, some of you IT people: how does one go about setting up a "virtual picket line"? Can the Post hire virtual Pinkertons to come beat us up? I always wanted to be a Virtual Molly McGuire.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the virtual picket line is that once IT sets it up, hackers will start bringing virtual scabs in through the back door. I hope that's not how I got in!

Posted by: grimmace | April 11, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

If a united group of people says there is a twenty-four hour picket line, even one such as the one you are envisioning in cyberspace, then people who act morally should and would respect that line.

I've been on strike numerous times where I've worked since 1982 and we did and do have "invisible" picket lines that were so honored when we were not there to man it.

But--"tongue in cheek"--the working conditions here at the Achenblog don't seem to warrant any sort of job action, especially one as drastic as you are proposing. And I don't participate in "wild cats." Besides where else can we have so much fun "working, and lurking, and boodling, and looking forward to new kits. And those of you able to attend the real BPH are nice enough to share the pic's with the rest of us. There goes the 4:00 p.m. whistle. Gotta dash.

Posted by: aroc | April 11, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for Joel to get back from wherever he is and finds out he's got a virtual labor relations revolt on his hands. Ooooooooh, he's gonna be in so much troubbbbbllle!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Good points, aroc. And I just realized: we can go on virtual strike: we don't have a shop steward.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Somebody referenced von Clausewitz, earlier. I believe that what he is reputed to have said (or written) was "War is diplomacy carried on by other means." Not politics.

Posted by: Tim | April 11, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes we do, 'Mudge. We had a silent, secret, unrecorded vote. Yer it.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC; we can't go on virtual strike

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think I just SCC'ed out of order. Surely that's a first, no?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

A SCCOOO, 'Mudge?

And if you did it by yourself, it's a SCCOOOBY.

*hiding behind the curtains to avoid the tomatoes*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I mainly formed my opinion of a critic's role from reading Algis Budrys (a decade or more in the past) in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Stephen Hunter as a movie critic when he was with the Baltimore Sun. Also, from my 11th-grade English teacher. Neither Budrys nor Hunter is a "reviewer." Each of them used a "review" to write about something a lot bigger and more important than whether a particular book or movie is any good. They wrote about what were the artistic issues addressed by the work, and whether it met them, and how well. As a result, a critical essay becomes something worth reading, even if the particular work that the review launches from is not worth seeing or reading.

Budrys also had the privilege of cherry-picking, so that he only reviewed books that had a spark of something good about them, something to inspire looking to those books for something you would want to see, even if the book ultimately failed to be a really good work. Hunter is not so privileged, as he has to serve the role of making good/bad judgments on movies. He only incidentally gets to address bigger issues, but at least he gets to write the cocasional lengthy feature on thematic elements in movies.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 11, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

SHORTER HOURS! BETTER PAY!

Hopefully, we're not "exempt" employees (as in exempt from having a life).

Posted by: Dooley | April 11, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Tim, the Clausewitz quotation was me. That was off memory, but my search after your post has the quotation as 'politics'.

http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/karl_von_clausewitz/

Here's a better site, which has the quotation as follows:

"War is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means."

http://www.clausewitz.com/CWZHOME/Quotations.html

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I keep thinking back to 1960 when Jack Kennedy's Catholism was a major issue in the campaign. And his eloquent speech in Houston about the separation of church and state. And then later as President speaking against war as the only way to acquire peace. "We all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."

Posted by: Nani | April 11, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm. Dang, I must gotta go get the memory checked in this head thing, along with that there grammar filter thingie.

Posted by: Tim | April 11, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

One of the difficulties of being a West Coast lurker is that by the time I have something to say, the sidewalks are about to be rolled up on the boodle! On the other hand, the minimum wage is higher in California.

I too second Curmudgeon's remarks and add that I am tired of being embarrassed and ashamed of my government.

For a really creepy experience, watch "Three Days of the Condor" (1975) and revel in the ending where Robert Redford figures out the whole conspiracy against him is driven by oil in the Middle East. It's eerily contemporary, except that the CIA guys in the film seem halfway competent.

Posted by: Boodleaire | April 11, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

not much difference between 'diplomacy' and 'political activity', especially when it's probably a translation of "gestellenheimlichmaneuverpolitikengeshaft"

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Hmm.

Blogs and Radio would seem to be fine mediums to shill books, t-shirts, and bumperstickers, don't you think?

I'm sure there are some enterprising journalists who imaginitively leverage their increased media visibility and bandwith to put some extra $$ in their pockets. Ha!

C'mon, take a walk on the Dark Side.
's fun.

bc

Posted by: bc | April 11, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Wait till mo and Achenfan come online and read about the strike. They're a pair of troublemakers if ever I saw one. The WaPo will never know what hit 'em. TBG, too. Say, where's she been all day?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

how does one move a post from one boodle to another? Just checked the happy birthday boodle -- I posted some more stuff on Anasazi cannibalism -- someone asked me to move it to a current boodle.

Don't know how to do this -- is anyone not on strike?

I have Windows XP Media. thanks.

Posted by: nelson | April 11, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I read some of von Clausewitz a long time ago. It was kind of tedious. Nothing as good and solid and punchy as the epigrams attributed to him, unfortunately. It all seemd very orthodox to my militarily-untutored eyes. Of course, roughly 100 years after initial publication, it should be pretty orthodox.

Ages ago, I had a conversation with a friend in the history department at my grad school. He made an interesting point about the intellectual fashions in North American educated circles vs. European educated circles. I can't quite remember who was reading what, but it seemed to nicely explain why the British and their mercenaries favored rigid inflexible tactics, while the colonials were much more flexible and adaptive in their strategies and tactics. It was something on the order of Europeans favoring ancient Greek military writers, while ignoring the brilliant tacticians of the Greeks' own time who had foiled the orthodoxies (Epaminondas, Xenophon, Themistocles -- heck, Alexander the Great). It seems like you should, in general, learn the orthodoxy so that you can be careful to recognize it and avoid it if you find yourself pursuing an orthodox strategy -- the kind that your opponent would expect.

Posted by: Tim | April 11, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I just had a funny thought: Joel going home at the end of the day and his wife says, "How'd work go today, dear?" and Joel says, "My boodle went on strike. We had to bring in some outside muscle and crack a few heads. But we think we got most of the ringleaders. What's for dinner?"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

nelson, easiest would probably be to simply select all the text, copy it, and paste into a post here. Mmmm...Anasazi. Thems good eats.

I'm one of the outsourced, so I don't get to go on strike.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

S-Tim,

Boy is the name Algis Burdys a blast from the past. His reviews always carried some sort of theme and wove the books being reviewed together. That is a great style.

F&SF was the first magazine I ever subscribed to that couldn't also be found in a pediatrician's office. I always like it better than Analog because the story's were more whimsical. Analog just took itself too seriously. I read "Lord Valentine's Castle" by Robert Silverberg serialized in F&SF and raced to the mailbox for each issue.

Somewhere in a storage box I still have the issue with Stephen King's first story in The Dark Tower saga. I didn't like the story and have never read the next bazillion words in the series.

Every now and then I buy an issue out of nostalgia, but I never have time to read them.

Sigh.

I'm such a dork.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Everyone! Been lurking for the past week, but have been kind of afraid to jump in the convo. You're all far too witty for me!

You guys do realize though, that for the strike to be truly effective, we would all have to stop boodling for a while...

Yeah, I know, it's a scary thought. What would we do with all that extra time?

Posted by: VidaBlue | April 11, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

You folks did take a strike authorization vote at the BPH, didn't you?

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 11, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, would you be interested in every issue of F&SF from 1984 through 2001 (I think that's the year that I dropped the subscription), minus a couple missing issues from the earliest years, and inexplicably with a few extra copies of issues in some later years? I tried eBay, and got zero nibbles. They're just taking space, but I don't want to throw them out. I suppose I could shop them in the huckster room at Balticon, but if no one wants them, then I gotta lug them home.

If there were an outcry of desire -- nay, naked wanting (I mean, nekkid) -- then I could hand them out in 1-year chunks at the next BPH, I suppose. I 'spect the ScienceSpouse would approve of anything that gets them out of the house.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 11, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The nice thing about a collection of already-obsolete magazines on the shelf is that their obsolescence was accomplished before you got 'em, and you don't have to feel like you're wasting money if you don't read every blessed word.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 11, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I suppose if y'all went on strike and I was the only one posting to the blog, that would make me a scab.

Bummer.

Posted by: amo | April 11, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Amo, exactly. Don't do it! We need all the support we can get. That includes all you lurkers as well!

Posted by: VidaBlue | April 11, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Silence from yellojkt... he's thinking about what Mrs. yello would say...

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 11, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

How very, very perfect: Cheney's opening-day pitch at RFK Stadium was low and away, and in the dirt. And people think God doesn't have a sense of humor.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think yello already knows what Mrs. yello would say, Tim. I think he's pondering whether there's some way he can sneak them into the garage with her knowing about it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Fellow Slackers:

Striking against a pastime in which we engage to avoid our real work seems a tad... illogical, don't you think?

Posted by: Pixel | April 11, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We demand renumeration for engaging in activities that we would otherwise partake in for our own amusement and/or satisfation! It got millions for baseball. I'm in agreement with Bayou Self though; all I want is an edit feature. That way I can remove posts like this one once I realize it is way out of order and/or makes no sense. Now if only we could get an edit feature that would remove the dirty, dirty feeling of shame that accompanies said posts...

Posted by: grimmace | April 11, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If we are on strike, does that mean I have to do more work? I've worked so hard today that there is no possible way I can spread the work out to fill up the rest of the week, and if the boodle is on strike what in good heavens name am I going to do? I'm going to look pretty stupid sitting here in front of a blank screen. Not that its not anything I have not done before mind, you.

If we are on strike, I'm don't want to be the first one to break the line. this is going to be so hard.

Posted by: dr | April 11, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I ditched my F&SF collection years ago to a book dealer who eplained that the subcription tags made them pretty valueless. Newstand copies are actually sellable. There are tricks to get the tag off, but I was too lazy to try them. Issues with Stephen King or Harlan Ellison stories actually go for money.

This is one of the ones I still have:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Stephen-King-Magazine-Fantasy-and-Science-Fiction-1978_W0QQitemZ7021379946QQcategoryZ280QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I bought the very first issue of Wired and recycled it. It's worth real money now. I also wish I had all the issues of Spy that I donated to the company reading room.

I cull the detrius of my book collection every few years. I have about twenty '50s and '60s era paperback originals I need to get rid of. I bought them just because they were cheap and there may be a reason for that.

I do have a lot of Frederick Pohl. I also collect John D. MacDonald, Sue Grafton, and, of course, Kurt Vonnegut. I have nearly everything I need of KV and JDM except for the too rare and hence too expensive stuff.

Definitely do not need any more old magazines.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 11, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Boodleaire - I like that movie too. Except the whole conspiracy thing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Tim, the revolution in Clausewitz's quotation is that the military strategy should focus on the broader idea of being tailored to the political objective, rather than confined to seeking out and destroying the opponent's military forces in the field.

Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, most engagements were military v. military. By focussing on the aim or objective, force is applied in a concentrated way in furtherance of the objective. At least in theory, this has been part of military thought since that time. In terms of military strategy, Churchill was often criticized as a "peripheralist" in his support of campaigns that did not directly support the objective (ie. Gallipoli in WWI, and North Africa in WW II).

There is a bit of mythology that ideally is avoided in this discussion. Your discussion with your friend(because you mention the British and their mercenaries) was focussed on the American Revolution. I don't really take exception to that theory, other than to point out that in terms of military and strategic thought, the American side was pretty much cut from the same cloth as the Brits. To the extent there was a difference, the Americans' previous experience in the French and Indian War may have been more of a factor. Joel would probably have an opinion on this. Also, the decisive battle of the war was Yorktown, which was more of a 'conventional' battle according to the time rather than an insurgency.

FYI, its also part of the mythology of most of the Commonwealth countries that we have always been the fast moving, adaptable forces while the Brit is the pompous mustachioed inflexible one. The British deserve a much better reputation at least in terms of their adaptability and flexibility. India became British when Clive's much smaller force defeated the French and Indian force at Plessy (1755?) partly due to some strategic diplomacy. Quebec became British through a very daring landing outside the walls of Quebec (1760). I'll leave out the War of 1812 as we've already discussed the Sonic Disruptor in great depth. The Peninsular campaign and Waterloo. Throughout the Victorian era a fairly small amount of British troops kept a lid on a huge amount of territory (with a lot of creativity and adaptability to the local circumstances).

One thing that I think Clausewitz gets too much credit for is his discussion of the "fog of war" or what he called "friction". Essentially he incorporated "s%$^ happens" into doctrine. While the truth of that statement is self-evident, I don't think it needs to be part of policy.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

grimmace:
perhaps I should have said that the Constitution is not based in distinctly Christian values. Example, I am pretty sure that there are no passages in Scripture that reference a citizen's right to bear arms. The idea of "human rights" is Christian, but it also transcends religion; it is not unique to Christianity. Were the Constitution a truly Christian document, we would be in a full theocracy (see Iran).
I have found that I am in the minority in both Christian and non-Christian circles when I present the idea that our country is not based on Christian morals. again, just the way I see it, and I'm no expert.
now, back to the strike!

Posted by: tangent | April 11, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I've got a collection of old magazines, too, but I'm kinda reluctant to tell anyone about it...if ya know what I mean.

Well, OK, you've probably guessed it. Yes, it's what you think it is. Every issue of "Play Chattel" from 1823 to 1839. But I only bought them for the articles. Every issue has cool "service" articles about the latest buckboards and Conestoga wagons; the latest fashions, such as weskits and stocks, and those new full-length pantaloons, and such. There is always a centerfold with the Chattel of the Month, but, er...I never look at them. Nor the lithographs of "Girls of the Oregon Trail," and "Girls of the Erie Canal." There's usually a "Play Chattel" interview with a famous celebrity, such as Big Mike Fink, Aaron Burr, Jim Bowie, etc., too. And then there's the "Play Chattel Advisor," where guys write in to ask questions like: "Is it OK to ask a woman for a glimpse of her ankle on the first date," "What exactly is a bustle, anyway? And who's silly idea was it?"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

To me Clausewitz's quote has always suggested that a nation going to war has to maintain focus on what the war is supposed to accomplish and not let it become an end in itself. His comments on "fog of war" are a warning that maintaining that focus can be really hard to do once the fighting begins.

Marriage counselors should all read Clausewitz. As should certain Rabble Rousing Boodlers! For once the Power to the People blood is runnin' hot, its awfully hard to cool down.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

what? strike? what does striking entail? not posting AND not reading or just lurking but still reading, making the boodle APPEAR to be empty? (you know i can't stay away from the boodle for very long - i'd hafta have something to ease the pain of withdrawal)

lemme see - what would my slogan be? what would i put on my picket sign? "si se puede" ?

Posted by: mo | April 11, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I love your magazine collection post! Actually, have you ever checked out the prices that older issues of certain publications can actually bring in? Puts baseball cards to shame.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

ok - who's the biggest comic book geek here? i have this limited edition, signed by the artist, still in the original box figurine and i'm trying to figure out what to do with it... it's princess somebody or another (gotta look at the box again) and she's kinda crouched on a rock with what looks like a loin cloth...

(oops, did i just cross the picket line?)

Posted by: mo | April 11, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So, yellojkt, you're telling me that if I identify the issues in which Ellison had a story (rather than a movie-related rant), I could get something for those issues? regardless of the darned subscription sticker on the front?

I know that it's weird, but I always had the outlandish feeling that the value of a magazine should be the quality of the words in it, not the condition of its cover. I've known for a long time that this notion is wrong, wrong, wrong, but I just can't seem to shake it off.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 11, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

We're not doing a very good job of collective action. We're doomed to never getting decent blogging conditions in the boodle.

mo, your figurine sounds like the Gollum that came with the Two Towers extended edition.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

You mean, Padouk, something like the December 1953 Playboy, Red Star version, 44 pages, with the indicia on page 5, though the numbering actually begins on page 6, and which has an eBay asking price of $8,500? (http://cgi.ebay.com/PLAYBOY-1-Dec-1953-First-Issue-RARE-Red-STAR-Version_W0QQitemZ7020817256QQcategoryZ280QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)?

No, I don't know anything about that sort of sordid, disgusting trash.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

mo: I work at a company that sells baseball cards. (Oops! The secret's out!) I would use the internet to find some auction houses that deal in that kind of thing. (Sotheby's is a good one, and they're reputable. Unfortunately I don't know any others.) Then call a couple of them (3 or 4) so that you can get a fair idea of what your princess is worth; many of these people are less than scrupulous. Sometimes you can get a good idea of what your figurine is worth by checking out similar items on the dealers' websites. Also, I would call the various comic book grading companies. Don't know what these are, but I'm sure they exist. Oh, and check out eBay to see if there are any other princess figs. That'll give you a rough idea of what it will sell for. Hope that helps.

Posted by: VidaBlue | April 11, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

And please don't ask me about the "infield fly rule". I only sell the stuff, don't know what any of it means.

Posted by: VidaBlue | April 11, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

SoC - lol - SOUNDS like gollum but she's some warrior princess from some obscure comic book - i'll get the name on my way home...

Posted by: mo | April 11, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I gotta tell ya, folks, leading a labor insurrection around here is a pretty discouraging business. I just chaired out first-ever grievance committee meeting a little while ago, and lemme tell ya, it's tough leading a strike like this when you don't have any, ya know, grievances and stuff. We must have sat around for 20 minutes before anybody came up with a grievance: too many grievance committee meetings.

This sweatshop sucks. I'm goin' home, where I hope to have a dinner of a few boiled potatoes and a gruel reduction of swill and cabbage rinds, and maybe three or four hours of sleep before I have to put in another grueling 18-hour day here on the boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl -- thanks for the advice on how to copy a post.

Just got back from reading commentary at post.blog re: the delusional "A Good Leak" editorial. Also watching video (atC&L) of Cheney being loudly, very loudly, booed as he threw (sort of) his pitch at the Nats game today. It was almost chilling to hear the venom in the stands. I guess they screened out the 18% who still think he's a cool guy.

Posted by: nelson | April 11, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, I'll press for management concessions to the boodle. Edit function. Coffee breaks. But forget about parking spaces in the company lot. True story: Been here 15 years, went to the person in charge of such things as parking spaces in the building, she said that there's a waiting list 20 to 25 years long. I said what about the 15 I already spent here, she said that doesn't count unless I already signed up. So if I sign up now, and I finally get a space in another 25 years, I will be.....drum roll....SEVENTY freakin' years old. Yeah, finally got my space at the age of SEVENTY. I don't care if that's the new 50. You know when I was at the Herald not only was it easy to park right downstairs but I had my own OFFICE with a view of Biscayne Bay. Yah, baby, it was rockin'. Now I find that my desk, my pod, my cubiclette, is retreating from the windows into the deep dark interior of the building and I cannot even tell you as I write this whether it is night or day. Soon I will work out of a closet or just... a drawer. They will file me. Under "Has-been." Seriously it's hard to be me, I don't know why no one listens to me when I say that. FYI I wrote a story today which is why I ignored the boodle as it whined and kvetched pathetically in futile hopes of getting paid. As for the accusation that this whole thing is a scam, a Tom Sawyer move, an attempt to get other people to provide content to the Post for free, well, all I can say is....THANKS, SUCKERS!!!!

Posted by: Achenbach | April 11, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Oohhhhh, Curmudgeon, my aging leftist heart go all pitter-patter. You are absolutely right!!!! I second, third, fourth and nth your comments today!

Impeachment and impalement!!!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 11, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the advice vida - i guess i gotta get her name right first huh?

joel - you are on a floor with a window? i'm in the basement of my building - in a room that used to be a storage closet - someone found that it would fit 3 cubicles and stuck us in there! i hafta walk a mile from where i park and i get the privledge of PAYING $140 just to park there! there's no way in hades i'd get a parking spot in THIS building! so what are YOU complaining about! sheesh!

and all we ask for is a stinking edit button and some italics! where'd i put that picket sign! i'm on a rampage now! and 'mudge is right - i can stir up some trouble! you don't want me riled up MR.!

Posted by: mo | April 11, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Joel mean Huckleberry Finn? (*duck*)

Mr. Shop Steward, I have a grievance. While I don't object to being called "Sucker", I think we should press for only lowercase to be used.

Parking waiting list 20-25 years!!! We'll have those flying cars by then (get on the aerocarport waiting list now). On the bright side, Joel's old office at the Herald will be underwater by that time and any comparison will be more attractive.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

No SonofCarl, I think Joel had it right. Check out this site. It was chosen at random, but I love the pictures.

http://ensign.ftlcomm.com/people/TomNhuck/ted.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

If I tell anyone that we have church-pew parking, and first one in gets the best spot, will you be upset with me? Will it help if I tell you that to get to the spots where your front end is not swallowed whole, you have to be here before 7:30?

And my cleaning lady is getting out of the business? Boy I don't know but surely that beats waiting for a parking spot till you are 70.

Posted by: dr | April 11, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I like "Three Days of the Condor" a lot, but it is very, very different from "Six Days of the Condor" the Jim Grady book it is based on. That name change prompted one of my favorite lines from a movie reviewer. John Simon said that "apparently the title had not been Sanforized."

Anyway, it is a well-cast movie and it has that in common with "All the President's Men." Redford was very careful that way in both movies. Max von Sydow and Cliff Robertson really stand out for me in "Condor."

Posted by: pj | April 11, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

RD, just for the record, I knew Joel was correct in the reference to Tom Sawyer. My comment goes back to LL's story that some local newscasters didn't know which one was the fence story.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I wondered if I was missing the point SonofCarl. I do apologize. Also, your knowledge of Clausewitz is very impressive. Rereading carefully I see that all I posted was a simplified version of your excellent discussion. What do you expect. I've been stuck in a little cubicle all day, and you know what that can do to your mind.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Joel, you do have a hard life.

When my daughter was home for Christmas break she worked as a temp at the Sun Sentinel building in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. They gave her a free parking space, covered, in the same building, from day one. She doesn't even have a car--I had to lend her mine so she'd be able to use the parking space. It'd be a shame to let that go to waste.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 11, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

pj - I really did like Three Days of the Condor - the scene with the Asian woman has stayed with me for years. I just have an aversion to conspiracy movies of any kind. I just don't buy them any more. Conspiracies are like orgies, they sound exciting in concept, but are impossible to implement in practice. Not that I have ever been involved in either one (thankfully) but I've heard stories...

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I thought you made a good point about maintaining focus on the aim. The nemesis of this focus is "mission creep".

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

RD,

I know the scene you mean and it is very good. I pretty much agree with you on conspiracies, too. I can live with small conspiracies, for example if Oswald and one or two others conspiried to kill Kennedy, that would be believable. However, the extensive theory that Jim Garrison offered at the end of Oliver Stone's "JFK" does not at all seem possible to me. A large-scale conspiracy, I think, would fall apart at some point.

Posted by: pj | April 11, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Revealing my comic-book dorkery: I liked the extensive multi-fingered conspiracy in the graphic novel Watchmen, which nearly worked because only one person knew the full conspiracy, and he had carefully arranged that some of the conspirators had the sole role of knocking off other conspirators. The last hit man was hired to whack the principal conspirator himself, who then did away with the hit man in the fuss, losing his secretary to stray gunfire in the process.

Of course, it helped that the principal conspirator was a super-"hero" and thus had confidence that no ordinary hit man would be capable of taking him out.

I am, without question, a major dork. Also a geek.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 11, 2006 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I get a very David and Goliath feel from Mudge's series of posts today--the slingshot being Mudge's acumen and ability to write and clobbering of "The Big Guys" being Mudge's ability to cut to the meat of the matters.

Of course, the more Mudge blogs, the more he becomes a chick-magnet. Employee benefits don't get much better than that.

Posted by: Loomis | April 11, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Ah Tim, you imply being a geek is, like, a bad thing. Heck, I think it's actually written into my job description. Speaking of jobs, did you catch how Joel implied that he couldn't hang out at the boodle 'cause he was doing, you know, work-type stuff. Guess it takes all types...

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 7:47 PM | Report abuse

"I am, without question, a major dork. Also a geek." Oh sure, pull rank.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

[nelson must have gotten sidetracked, so I'll repost his Anasazi cannibalism comment, if I may be so bold.]

"more on Anasazi cannibalism -- didn't post about Christy Turner, an archaeologist who believes that the cannibalism at Chaco and other sites in Arizona was the work of a band of Toltec-culture people who came up from Mexico and terrorized the Chacoans and outlier sites.

He has done plenty of work on analyzing butchered bones, in the same manner as Tim White.

But his ideas are still controversial. I don't think he has yet to come up with an physical evidence of another culture inserting itself into Anasazi Chaco. There's no evidence suggesting a wholesale replacement of one civilization by another.

He published a book back in 1999 called "Man Corn," arguing that the end of the classic Anasazi cultures in Arizona was brought about by a reign of terror from the Mexican outsiders.

I am most familiar with the work done in the Colorado Plateau area, the Mesa Verde area. Turner works in the Chaco area.

He argues that cannibalism was used as a terror tool (should we pass that along to al-Qaeda?) to get the local Arizonan Anasazi to submit. I'm skeptical.


I don't know many people who follow his thesis.

He remarks that the present day pueblo cultures aren't cannibalistic or violent - so that it must have been an outside culture imposing the cannibalism.

but the present day Mayan people aren't cannibals either -- they are a peaceful agrarian folks -- yet their ancestors were brought down in no small part by constant warfare and they did sacrifice and eat their conquests.

The absence of cannibalism in modern day pueblo culture does not exclude its being practiced around the turn of the last millenium.

So here's some more food for thought.

Posted by: nelson | April 9, 2006 06:56 PM"


[And what's this about striking? Strike? Who are we kidding? We're addicts, remember? Do smokers go on strike? Alcoholics? Tell 'mudge 'e's dreamin'!]

[Although there must be somebody we can sue.]

Posted by: Achenfan (for nelson) | April 11, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Personal parking space, my butt. The tumbrel I ride in every day has just deposited my weary carcass near home (I live in a Planned Residential Shtetl called "The Hovels at Fagin's Mews," in a spacious one-room hovel close to the open sewer. The combination door/window is a Palladian style and features both cut glass and stained glass. If we could get the ketchup stains off, you'd realize the cut glass was cut from the bottoms of Pabst Blue Ribbon bottles. Soon I shall drag myself over to the stew pot to see if my wife and 14 starving children have left me any gruel. Then, after dinner, I'll help the kids with their homework: pickpocketing, honeydipping, and begging on street corners 101. One of my daughters has a science fair project due soon, and the subject is sorcery, and concerns which is more effective in removing warts, eye of newt or the blood of three dead ferrets (where she got the dead ferrets I'll never know, but she's resourceful, that one--and when the experiment is done we'll eat pretty well next week, I bet).

So I don't want to hear what a hard life it is Being Joel Malcontent, when here all I am trying to do is unionize the meager forces of this boodle and strike a blow for economic freedom from the Chains and Shackles of the Running Dogs of the Capitalist...uh, lost my train of thought. Must be the fact that I haven't eaten solid food in three weeks. Long live the Proletariat of the Boodle!

In a related matter, firsttimeblogger, how come you wait until I'm 59 years old and married 23 years with five kids and 10 grandkids before you tell me I make your little heart go pitter-patter? Like, where were you when I was, ya know, 17?

(I know, I know--you're gonna say you weren't born yet--by 20-some years.)

*sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Help, help, I'm being repressed! Did you see that! I was repressed! This boodle is repressing me! I just tried three times to post something with NO wordy dirds and got intercepted by Hal the Schemer's eveil Interceptor of Doom!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey--that was the blocked post! The one at 7:56! I am the first boodler ever to have escaped from Devil's Cyperspace! I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Pappilon!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 11, 2006 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Come see the violence inherent in the system!

Curmudgeon, you crack me up.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 11, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Major Dork??

I'll have you know, sir, that I am a General Fool.

Third Class, no less!

And we have been paid the highest compliment by my GF:

"Y'all are silly."

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 8:47 PM | Report abuse

*not letting 'Mudge see the lovely filth over here*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

And for what it's worth, couldn't they have boosted da Veep's pacemaker long enough for him to have gotten the damn ball to the plate?

Actually, probably better they didn't. The Nats would have tried to sign him.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 11, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Just read your comment concerning the Plame case, Mudge, and I agree, the Post should be paying you, and your name should be right up there with their op-ed staff. If I understand what you said, and for me, understanding some of what's said is quite hard,they should be paying you. Thanks, Mudge. Good writing as always.

As to the behavior of Christians, I consider myself a Christian, but I don't believe everyone that says they are, really are Christians. There are just certain behaviors that are not Christ-like, and it really does give religion a bad name. I try really hard to show fruit, good fruit, the thing that shows whether one is a Christian or not. We all fall short, and no one is perfect, so in following the example of the one we serve, Christ, we show compassion and love to our fellow brothers and sisters. That's just the way I see it, but what do I know? And when I say fruit, I mean, kindness, love, compassion, brotherhood, and concern for each other and our well being. Of course, some folks may consider me a nut, with all this talk of fruit, but that's okay, I'm still going to love you, because I loose absolutely nothing in loving you, and stand to gain everything in this life, and the life to come.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 11, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think firsttimeblogger has a handful of years on you. Hardly March-December, but an older woman, to be sure.

Is nelson a she? I think nelson mentioned painting terra cotta pots in southwestern hot and brights for her/his backyard and hinted at some tough health problems?

If Achenblog is addictive, as Achenfan pointed out, then think of additional product opportunities. The Achenpatch can't be too far off!

(If you saw the satire "Thank You for Smoking" the tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhardt was practically done in by his enemies who used multiple nicotine patches as their weapon of choice, his skimpily clothed, patch-covered body left in the arms of Abraham Lincoln at D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial. A modern-day Pieta.)

SCC everything. I can barely see the screen, after completing first home treatment for blepharitis of the eyes.

Posted by: Loomis | April 11, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

mo - I am a basement dweller too and my parking lot is also pretty far away. However, it is free. I always park in the same row even if there are open spaces closer to the building. Experience has shown that whatever walking time I might save in the morning will be invariably lost in the evening as I wander about forlornly trying to remember where I parked.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 11, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Thst's funny...I always thought we were an autonomous collective...

Posted by: jack | April 11, 2006 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Dam* she's good.

MoDo's closing graph in her op-ed for tomorrow, "Wag the Camel."

With Watergate, reporters followed the money. With Monica, Ken Starr followed the stain. With W. and his banana's second banana, Patrick Fitzgerald is following the uranium. All he needs is a Geiger counter.

Posted by: Loomis | April 11, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Good morning, peeps, borrowing your word this morning, Mudge, if that's okay? Been up for awhile, moving around, said my prayers, getting ready for this new day. A little stiff this morning, but hopefully that will clear up when I get in the sunshine. Talk to my granddaughter yesterday before she went in the daycare. First words, "I wuv you grandma", of course that made my day. Haven't talk to my grandsons, but I'm still hoping I'll see them. I certainly hope everyone has a good day, and that you are so blessed in this life, and that God blesses each and every heart with gifts and blessings, more than you can imagine through His Son, Jesus. Oh, and Joel, don't you think that perhaps a "thank you" might suffice instead of SUCKERS? Just asking.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 12, 2006 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank you! Thank you Cassandra. You are right, that was the Bad Joel speaking yesterday. I am very grateful for all the contributions to this blog. I am fully aware that without the boodle the blog would be very close to flatlining. Just wouldn't be much of anything. But I haven't figured out the 401k issue and the Schemer is off this week and until he gets back we can't get an Edit Function.

Anyway there is a new kit, of sorts, it's just my story in today's paper, about two new exhibits on climate change at the Smithsonian. I'll be out of pocket all day, on the road, so I hope everyone behaves! THANK YOU!!! [Sincerely, the Good Joel]

Posted by: Achenbach | April 12, 2006 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Joel. I also knew you had an evil twin. The best people always do.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 12, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

We had Joel in our pocket and we let him slip away?? Dagnabitall...

I say we strike for bigger pockets!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 12, 2006 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Jack, I told you, We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune, we take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

This week, Mudgie is definitely in charge!

Posted by: Pixel | April 12, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Allow me to set the record straight: I am also 59, planning the party for the 60th for sometime in the fall. Turning over the egg timer at the end of August, and in the meantime, waiting for others to do the same.

So, Mudgie, I was also 17 when you were. *sigh* So many opportunikies, so little time. Ships what pass in the night, and all that. And, of course, the *greatest* minds think alike.

Perhaps I should show up at the next BPH. Or not.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 12, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

One last post before I check the new one.

Personally, I didn't think it was Bad Joel, I thought it was Achenbro. In suppport of my position, I offer this quotation from "Joel's" afternoon post:

"Yah, baby, it was rockin'."

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 12, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Capital L. DeLay, not Delay. Why is that so darn hard?

The man is guilty of a lot of things, but stalling tactics aren't among the biggies.

Posted by: BW | April 12, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Its sad when Barry Bonds is held to a higher standard than President Bush and his administration. The substance that Bonds allegedly used during the 97-99 season was legal at the time he used it. So was McGuire's substance for that matter. But from congress to players and fans we all agree that no matter if the substance was not banned it was unethical of the players to use it to enhance their performance or tilt the game in their favor. Why is this administration not held to that standard? I actually read post of supporters for the administration who rather argue the legality on the leak issue whom I bet would not be willing to defend Bonds or McGuire using the same rational. I understand politcal loyalty. Us democrats felt a need to support President Clinton in his times of failure during the Monica investigation. I found his behavior not supprising and at the same time not defensible as well. I finally had to say that I understand him lying to save himself public humiliation but could only defend his actions to a point. Republicans should stop trying to defend this administration and start holding it to the same standard you hold Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire to because the administrations behavior is taking this country down path that will not be good for any american in the future no matter which party you support. All Bonds and McGuire did is mislead us in regards to their natural athletic ability. Clinton had an affair and lied about it during an ongoing investigation that had nothing to do with the affair. The Bush administration lied to congress and the american people about the nuclear ambitions of another country to justify invasion and outed the identity of a CIA agent just to get back at the spouse of that agent for disputing what was already proven to be a lie by the administration. Which of the three senerios regarding unethical behavior troubles you the most? At least Clinton and Bonds behavior does not put innocent lives in danger.

Posted by: gmoney | April 12, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Yagoda can complain, but Kakutani mirrors well the general editorial tone of the New York Times, that is, humorless, self-important, elitist, trying so hard to seem intellectual and hip, and intellectually hip. Ever notice how they seem to describe members of the middle class on down either as hopeless boobs or poor, helpless, hopelessly romanticized victims who need the protection of enlightened nobles like themselves? No, NYT, they are not an exotic tribe, they are all around you reading the NY Post or New York Daily News. These may not be the world's best newspapers, but since the NYT is the alternative, who can blame them? The NYT doesn't even have comics! Good Grief! Yagoda should just move over to the Washington Post. From his criticism of Kakutani, it sounds like he'd be a big fan of Stephen Hunter. I know I am. I don't go to movies ("films" for you NYT types) all that often, but all week I look forward to reading Stephen Hunter's new reviews on Friday. His reviews are descriptive, insightful, and always entertaining. They are so personable and personal that you kind of get to feeling like you know this guy, and you feel like he'd be a good guy to have along on a hunting or fishing trip. And sometimes you just want to know exactly what kind of rifle that was, that the sniper in the movie was shooting, made in what year, with what modifications, firing what type of round in what caliber, and with what muzzle velocity.

Posted by: kt | April 13, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I wish all these bible-thumping Jesus freaks like Tom Delay would just go back to Texas and leave the rest of us alone. Organized religion is for people who lack direction in life. They follow people like Tom Delay because they are too slow and ignorant to know what to do with their life.

Posted by: politicalcritic.com | April 15, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

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