Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun


I Am the Very Model of A Modern Kerry Democrat
I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat, I'm an information animal, a medal-dripping technocrat, I know the Kennedys of Camelot, and hide my votes historical, While my Deaniac supporters consult the Usenet Oracle; I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters matrimonial, I understand rich heiresses, and lust for figures patrimonial, About Republican recessions I'm steaming up my views, With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.... American Digest: I Am the Very Model of A Modern Kerry Democrat

By Their Bumper Stickers Shall Ye Know Them
April 28, 2004 An interesting announcement appeared on The Daily Kos yesterday. It seems that, after many years and many bazillions of words by Kos and his Kosocrat Cohorts, a publisher has decided to publish a book of the best -- in bumper stickers. Ten to be precise. Yes, of all the screeds, analysis, commentary and fearless insight, the "ideas" that a publisher deems worthy of preserving from The Daily Kos are ten for a total of 45 words. Now that's a data compression algorithm that Stuffit's Aladdin Systems might want to emulate. More at: American Digest: By Their Bumper Stickers Shall Ye Know Them

"Desperation Politics:" Revenge of DemNerds
November 03, 2003 Driving through a host of dying rural towns out west last September, one of constants were the community-based wall murals that decorated this or that building on vacant Main Streets. In a town in Nevada where the mines had died, there was an art gallery called, fittingly, "Desperation Arts." Next to Desperation Arts was a parking lot and on the wall was a 80 foot by 30 foot mural depicting the glory days of the town. Down the main drag there were about five other murals with the same sort of community spirit themes. My traveling companion, who had seen a lot more of small western towns than I had, gave a nod to the last one we passed heading out and said, "When the big murals show up, the town has pretty much had it.".... More at:American Digest: "Desperation Politics:" Revenge of DemNerds

And the Bleat Goes On
January 27, 2004 Today, the Junior Varsity is at their never-ending rumble in the jungle in New Hampshire. The voters go in and the exit poles come out, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, to see which dreamboat will still float. It is our way and our ritual. But at this point, wake me when it's over and include me out.... More at: American Digest: And the Bleat Goes On

The Democratic Candidate Cartoon Laws of Motion
January 30, 2004 Candidate Cartoon Law I : Any hopeless Democratic candidate in the race will remain in suspended in the race until made aware of personal bankruptcy by his campaign finance manager. Howard the Duck steps off a cliff on the plains of Iowa, expecting to run along in front until the nomination. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to speak to his supporters. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.... More at: American Digest: The Democratic Candidate Cartoon Laws of Motion

Walter Cronkite's 10 Point Plan to Destroy the Democrats
One of the most distressing things about our retired pundits is that they fail to retire. Just when you'd hope that somebody who made millions blathering into a camera would just finally fade away to a robe, slippers and a hot, steaming cup of STFU, here they come again telling you to "leave your delusions at the door, sit down, open up wide for a big ole' slice of truth, with a side of wisdom." Today we have Walter Cronkite with his mind-numbing "Ten propositions for the Democrats...." More at: American Digest: Walter Cronkite's 10 Point Plan to Destroy the Democrats

The BlogBorg Candidate
December 31, 2003 Why all the guessing about the high RPM Lazy-Susan smorgasbord of Howard Deans positions these days? Whats up with the professed puzzlement of mainline Democrats about Deans need to commit public seppuku with his mouth over and over again? Theres no mystery about where Howards coming from. All you have to do is follow the money to find out whats manipulating Howard Dean. Dean is a creature of the BlogBorg; a man thrown up by the Matrix; a Matrix Reloaded and a Matrix Revolution.... More at:American Digest: The BlogBorg Candidate

Animal White House: How Clark Decided to Run
September 26, 2003 Our far flung correspondents have finished reviewing the set of tapes made by the Committee to ReElect the President, 2003 (aka Creep, the Return) and have supplied American Digest with the following transcript. We take no position on its credibility. August 15, 2003 Little Rock: Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark are knocking back a few while pouring over Clinton's collection of Oval Office Polaroids at the Clinton Library. Clinton: this one's name was Amanda. They never even got a whiff of her. Worked in the kitchen. Man, she could put quite a froth on your latte. Clark: C. U. T. E. ! Bill. You old hush puppy.... More at: American Digest: Animal White House: How Clark Decided to Run

House of Sand and Fog and Septic Issues
If you've ever lived in the country you know that there's only one result from years of flushing toxic wastes into your septic tank -- sooner or later it fills up, flows over and begins to percolate up to foul everything in and around the your house. Democratic spewfests like the one today at MLK's tomb underscore the bad maintenance the Democratic Party has been doing on its house for decades.... More at: American Digest: House of Sand and Fog and Septic Issues


We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown. -- Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
I. The Sleepwalkers
"We haven't had a real-time nuclear demo since Japan, 1945, and that was with one of the prototypes. We've never had a real-time nuclear demo live on TV, but it is on their scheduling. What we can't face is that the next time, many more than 3,000 will die and a lot of the dead will be our children. Just what do you think our mood will be the morning after they slaughter not only thousands of adults at their desks like they did on the 11th, but thousands of our children as well?" -- In conversation, July, 2004
A foolish people grown fat in the long peace
THE RUTHLESS DEDICATION OF OUR ENEMIES TO OUR DESTRUCTION was written across our sky with two pillars of flame and smoke in our largest city. We've seen that dedication continue, punctuated by car bombs, mortars, and random attacks against our soldiers. Our unluckiest citizens have had their heads severed from their bodies as pilot episodes of what promises to be a long running reality television series in which American heads are held up, to our horror and for the delight of those many millions that support those that take the heads. The message beyond this madness is that they would be pleased to extend this television series to 300 million beheadings in which each of us would have his "star" turn. Our enemy has not yet taken a woman or a child for a beheading, but both clearly on their programming schedule. All these things we know. We know the nature and goals of our enemy well. Our army is at the ready and in the field. And yet we hesitate. We hesitate because we are having an election in which we think the outcome will somehow determine what actions our enemy will pursue. We are a foolish people grown fat and fearful during the long peace. We stay our hand and hobble our warriors and walk on wrapped in our suburban slumber. Our President and the man who would be President cruise about the country on buses or play electric guitars surrounded by doting egoists whose own celebrity removes them from the sense of their doom. MORE AT: American Digest: The Sacrifice and the Reckoning: Part One

The Degeneration of the Democratic Party
April 13, 2004 In a way, what the Democratic party is now is somewhat like a first wife thought about at a safe distance from the divorce. You know you loved her at some point but you can't really remember why. You know she was beautiful to you then, but now you can only see the ruins of that beauty, and you are glad you got the best years. You know that, yes, you must have been happy with her and had a lot of good times. But now you can't remember where or when. In fact, when you think about her now you can't really believe you wasted all those declining years with here just because you believed that somehow, some time, she would grow sane, beautiful, and young again.... More at: American Digest: The Degeneration of the Democratic Party

Small Moves, the Spirit of America, and Doing What You Can
April 29, 2004 On the radio news at 3 AM this morning, the phrase "Camp Pendleton Marines today in Fallujah...." It's early and dark, but I'm awake and sitting down with coffee when I hear those words. I hear them often these days. News of a brutal firefight in and around that forsaken city on the far side of the world is always attached to that phrase. Less often, but more distressing, the phrase includes "...were killed in action." I always wonder if among those killed were any of the young marines I stood next to for a day last January.... More at: American Digest: Small Moves, the Spirit of America, and Doing What You Can

Small Moves
January 23, 2004 Organized chaos amidst organized clutter and the distinct sense that somewhere there was a war on. Driving from the main gate to the mustering area you glance in your side mirror and notice two Apache attack helicopters cruising just above you right down the center line. Very persuasive looking machines. You're glad they're on your side and you are on theirs. Just before you park you pass a road sign reading, "Drive Carefully. Tank Crossing".... More at: American Digest: Small Moves

AIN'T IT COOL?: A Tale of Two Cultures
April 11, 2004 We were two and a half years into the war and none of the kids of Orange County would fight in it unless they asked for it. All of the parents in Orange County knew their kids were crazy. After all, they were teenagers in high school. Few thought any of their kids were that crazy. Less than 20 miles south of where we sat last Friday, there was another kind of youth culture. I saw it for a day last January. You don't see it very often around here because it doesn't hang out at the malls. You can't see it from the freeways because its center is far back in the hills. It has its own malls and towns and sporting and educational complexes. It doesn't deal in "the culture of cool." It deals in the culture of carnage. It's the Camp Pendelton Marine Base.... More at: American Digest: AIN'T IT COOL?: A Tale of Two Cultures

The Wound
February 10, 2004 Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke. You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow's shawl as the fires burned on for months. You don't know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River. You supress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being "held for police activity at Penn Station." Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks you barely knew it was there.... More at: American Digest: The Wound

The Subconscious Yearning for American Defeat
December 11, 2003 American media personalities and American celebrities with nostalgie pour la dfaite are derived from decades of beliefs in an America that is best as a "pitiful, helpless Giant." It is literally the only America they know and their entire professional and personal lives, from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills are based on this grand assumption. They've had Presidents that, commuting to and from these locales, have confirmed it to them. Their coworkers in their jobs confirm it to them. Their significant others, drawn from the same ranks, confirm it to them. The parties they attend, the awards they give and receive, the places they vacation, the books they read and the films they make and see, all confirm it to them over and over again. It is not only the only America they know, it is the only America they can know. More at: American Digest: The Subconscious Yearning for American Defeat

On Abortion in America
April 26, 2004 Like most serious people in America today, I've had to struggle with my "views" on abortion. You are required, in this deadlocked and soul-locked society to have a view on this issue. "Don't know" just won't cut it. You've got to know. It says so right here in "America: The Instructions." But what *do* I know? Here's what I thought I knew then and what I think I know now. Why today? Because I read the news today. Oh boy. More at: American Digest: On Abortion in America

Mars: "Man, You Gotta Go"
February 1, 2004 For quite a few years now, I've been a bit unpopular when I suggest that we need to consider the fact that we might, indeed, be all alone; that we might be a fluke or a seed or simply something of no purpose struggling to no avail and heading towards an ignominious ending in a backwater of a third-rate galaxy.... More at: American Digest: Mars: "Man, You Gotta Go"

The First Terrorist War
October 1, 2003 In war, language is a strategic asset. Indeed, we see daily how language, here and abroad, is used to weaken the resolve of the United States. The central problem in calling The First Terrorist War the "war on terror" is that the phrase soothes us into accepting less than victory, and resolves the war to a new normality where terror is accepted as the status quo. This is the state in which Israel has existed for decades as terrorist violence becomes the scrimscreen against which life goes on. Although our present foreign policy may impose this on Israel, it may, over time, prove less popular at home. We are not yet the kind of country that easily accepts The Forever War. More at: American Digest: The First Terrorist War

Happy at Last in Israel
September 21, 2003 Louis was a radical. Louis smoked a lot of weed. Louis dropped a lot of acid. Louis started, and had no little success with, a publishing company that printed up a lot of radical images that proved very popular. As a result, Louis was paranoid. He was paranoid about his politics. He was paranoid about his stash. He was paranoid about his money. He was paranoid that "they must bust in early May,/ Orders from the D.A."Louis was a history major, and Louis was an American Jew with communist parents. As Louis said, "I've got my reasons to be paranoid and they're not little ones...." More at: American Digest: Happy at Last in Israel

Patience Please: An American Empire Takes Time
November 25, 2003 And yet who can blame this multitude of wafflerers among us. We've all been feeding on flesh of the opium honeydew for too many decades. Sweet and soft mush has been the mainstay of our cultural diet since the rise of the Monkees. Not only that, but a generation that has been drenched in the moist sop of the marijuana and psychedelic cultures, has schooled yet another two generations in the value of tofu over Toynbee and to admire Gurdjieff far above Gibbon. We've been, in essence, on a binge of soft-thinking, soft-hoping, and soft Tofutti covered philosophical slop for so long it is little wonder we haven't the patience of a June Bug in heat when it comes to having, holding and controlling this empire that has fallen to us.... More at: American Digest: Patience Please: An American Empire Takes Time

Memo from Israel to Palestine
August 22, 2003 From time to time we have accepted your written word that, given adequate resources, you would be working to resolve "your issues." We note, for the record, that at no time has your word proven to be worth the paper which we both so ceremoniously signed. Indeed, it has been our bitter experience that the working out of "your issues" most often involves explosive episodes on the streets of our country. It has come to our attention, through a continuing rain of the body parts of our citizens onto our streets, that "your issues" do not seem to be resolvable through considered and mutually agreeable negotiations. The outcome of these 'negotiations' in the recent past seems to us to be one of we give and you take and then you kill us. We have decided that this is not a program that we wish to continue.... More at: American Digest: Memo from Israel to Palestine

On American Liberty and Destiny
October 20, 2003 One would think that with 3,000 dead and the nation's economy suffering a body blow from which it has taken two years recover, Americans of all political persuasions would still possess an adamantine unity. We all know this is not the case. Our politics of faction grows more bitter and divisive by the day and, absent another blow from terrorism, will continue in this wise through the 2004 elections and beyond.... More at: American Digest: On American Liberty and Destiny

A Quiet Rage: On Slaughter, Bad Americans, and Vile Iraqis
November 23, 2003 Before he became a simpering dottard the once lucid Norman Mailer wrote a book entitled: "Why Are We in Vietnam?" The snide defeatism of that title and the content spewed after it are, for the moment, out of fashion with the majority of Americans. But should the apologists and appeasers among us have their way, this will not always be the case. Still, that will be then and this is the now. For now, were I to take the time to pen a short treatise in the Mailer vein, mine would be titled, "Why Are We Not Killing More of Our Enemies Wholesale?...." More at: American Digest: A Quiet Rage

On the Most Ancient Virus to Infect the Soul
October 15, 2003 Following the publication a couple of days ago of a particularly shocking attack on Hollywood Jews by Greg Easterbrook at the New Republic, Hollywood screenwriter Roger Simon has been particularly outspoken against Easterbrook%u2019s small chunk of anti-Semitism. Simon believes that small eruptions like Easterbrooks signal a larger breakout of anti-Semitism in the world at large. He's correct. But the metaphoric cause he ascribes it too is "something in the air (residual Cyclon-b)." I agree on the situation but not on the cause... More at: American Digest: On the Most Ancient Virus to Infect the Soul


The Plague of Big Media's Increasing Attention Deficit Disorder
Media types are, by heredity and training, unemployable in any other industry you can think of except, perhaps, sanitation and politics. It takes a special kind of team to design a program that requires the talking head to say: "In Iraq today, yet another innocent, much-loved American soldier was shot in the head by a member of the Resistance. Is this another step into the deepening quagmire of an administration with yellowcake on its face? We'll interview the soldier's weeping grandmother in just a few minutes. But right now, is fast food fat food?...." More at: American Digest: The Plague of Big Media's Increasing Attention Deficit Disorder

An Actual Majority Do Feel This Way
With rare exceptions, people in publishing, like, I suppose, many in academe, are not in it for the money, but for the status. I've been to Park Avenue dinner parties thrown by the likes of Bob Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, where never is heard a conservative word. Don't get me wrong, Bob's a fine fellow, but you'd no more find any other than carefully vetted liberals at his table than you'd find a magic mushroom in the soup course at the White House. And you have to reflect that for decades, Bob was the head of Random House. Much has changed during the years since he headed the house, but third generation hires directly descended from Bob's reign persist in bringing like-minded souls onto the payroll.... More at: American Digest: An Actual Majority Do Feel This Way

The Myths of Eric Alterman
Alterman is a type you come across often in the New York Media World - the 'pleasing ideologue.' He doesn't please everyone, he doesn't have to. He merely has to locate a patron in some postion of power who has friends in other positions of power, and please that single person. If that person is pleased than so are the others, and that's how media careers are born. Indeed, that's how many different careers are born, but we just don't have to read about them or witness them on a semi-regular basis. More at: American Digest: The Myths of Eric Alterman

Gore, "Liberal TV", and the Investment Method
But perhaps this was Gore's plan all along. He's working the Investment Method That's the method that says the only way to the only way to winkle seed money out of liberals with far too much of it is to assure them that: 1) It is for a "good cause", 2) It is a sure fire bet to lose money 3) It will, dare I say it?, SAVE THE PLANET! Only under these perverse circumstances, are certain folks willing to open their checkbooks.... More at: American Digest: Gore, "Liberal TV", and the Investment Method

The Sunday New York Times Lite
Let's face it. You've got better things to do with a summer Sunday than wade through this hulking block of over-thought, over-wrought, over-written, and over-weight newsprint. Take a quick look here and you'll know all you need to know about this Sunday's massive emission from 43rd street.... More at: American Digest: The Sunday New York Times Lite

The Salon Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Bitter Fruit
One could go on at great length on the question of "Whatever happened to Salon?" Many have, more will. The real story on Salon can be given in just a few paragraphs.The decay of Salon parallels the decay of the Left, the liberal establishment, and the Democratic Party since 9/11. Once the shock wore off and time passed, the process of laughter and forgetting took hold and the old obsessions came swarming back. As Gary Snyder wrote, "Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there's no cure." More at: American Digest: The Salon Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Bitter Fruit

Maureen Dowd: The Jimmy Olson of the New York Times
The decline of Dowd into dotage has been painful to watch. At first, many years ago, she could easily match such comic giants as Bill Maher quip for quip. And she had the added advantage, unlike Maher, of actually being an attractive person. But the years and the unrelenting stress of -- can you imagine? -- 1200 words a week for six figures a year has taken a toll even Botox cannot burnish. And while this toll can be hidden behind the flattering picture that has been consciously not updated for years, it cannot be hidden from those readers in search of something, anything, that signals Ms. Dowd is on the cutting edge of anything other than the shared spleen of the disenfranchised.... More at: American Digest: Maureen Dowd: The Jimmy Olson of the New York Times

Down the K-Hole of K-Street
It isn't news that Carville revels in his standing as Lizard King of DC. What is shocking is discovering that he is actually looking more and more like a lizard with every passing year. The camera isn't doing the shaved head look any favors, and of his on-screen persona the less said... well, suffice it to say that it is little wonder that his wife, Mary Matalin, spends a lot of time away from home. Even if that means she has to hang with career Republicans. More at: American Digest: Down the K-Hole of K-Street

Bozo Speaks: Mouth. Foot. Maher
The problem with being a bad comedian is that the more your jokes bomb, the more you start to think they are "serious ideas." Bill Maher, the man known for TV shows in which he proves again and again that he is not funny, has taken to writing "think pieces" in order to keep his hand from attacking him between bombs.... More at: American Digest: Bozo Speaks: Mouth. Foot. Maher.

Praise the New York Times but Pass the Ammunition
[T]hose in the media that continue to wish for and work for the downfall of this country are the least likely to see themselves as others see them. They cannot. They exist in a bubble of mutual self-regard and congratulation that is, in the end, impervious to outside correction. They see themselves as 'patriots of the human race and citizens of the world.' They exist in the pampered realms of international ease and, being surrounded with others like themselves and their sycophants, they cannot perceive any other universe. East Side, West Side, Hamptons, Bel Air, Vail, the Colony. It is a rarified air they breathe and they depend on lesser mortals to keep them in oxygen and their friends and toadies to keep them in certainty.... More at: American Digest: Praise the New York Times but Pass the Ammunition

Busting Greg Easterbrook
Of course, the fact that Disney "silenced" this "great sports writer" [and repentant Jew-baiter], quickly became a corporate attack on "free speech," an example of the crass vindictiveness of Michael Eisner, and a shining example of the continuing evil kingdom that is Disney. This is, of course, all complete and utter hogwash... More at: American Digest: Busting Greg Easterbrook

The Poets of Popular Science
In today's wild, wild world of new age magazine design, it is always difficult to tell whether or not a known and trusted magazine is trying to become cutting edge, or is merely sinking into functional illiteracy... More at: American Digest: The Poets of Popular Science


Saturn's peaceful beauty invites the Cassini spacecraft for a closer look.... NASA TV/webcast coverage of Cassini's arrival at Saturn begins June 30, 6:30 pm Pacific time. Check this page frequently for mission updates.
My up-close and personal relationship with Saturn is brand new. Sure, I'd seen the pictures and the "artist's conceptions" all my life. I'd read the stories, both science and fiction, and I believed. I had faith. I had faith that Saturn existed and that it had the rings that made it the single most miraculous object in the solar system, save Earth -- which may also be, except for our belief and faith in numbers, the single most miraculous place in the universe. But my belief in Saturn and its rings was just that, "belief." After all, I had never actually seen Saturn -- only pictures and paintings. Saturn to me was only hearsay. That all changed a month ago thanks a friend with a passion for astronomy and actual possession of a serious telescope, coupled with a moonless night at the edge of the pacific here in Laguna Beach. MORE AT: American Digest: The Greatest Show Off Earth

CHAD EVERETT @ Don't Back Down: Rustle or Jingle is asking about the fact that the dollar coin has not replaced the dollar bill.
The long term cost [of the Sacagawea Dollar coin] is lower, the hassle factor is lower, the speed is faster. Yet dollar bills are still far more prevalent in the US than dollar coins. Why is that, exactly?
He's gathered a few interesting responses in his comments and yet they don't quite get to the real reason: People just don't like them. Case in point: While waiting in line at the Laguna Beach Post Office to speak to a clerk, a woman came in and rustled to the front to ask a question. She was clutching this bronze object that at first glance seemed to be a quarter, but was of course the dreaded dollar coin. She'd been purchasing stamps from the PO's vending machine with paper money and had been given several dollar coins in change from the machine. She then decided that she needed a few more stamps and had tried to use the dollar coins. But of course the machine that gave them to her wasn't configured to accept them. This, needless to say, peeved her. But since today the US Post Office exists only to drive customers away and put itself out of business by 2010, the clerks only shrugged and went back to their SOP of imitating every slo-mo work film you've ever seen. The hapless woman interrupted them again and asked if she could please have some dollar bills for the coins so she could use the stamp machine. The clerk said, "We're not supposed to give bills for the coins, but we can give coins for the bills." There were about 12 people waiting in the snake line for the clerk and I think I saw each and every one slump down and despair at this perfect government employee epiphany. The woman just shook her head and made for the exit. MORE AT: American Digest: Coin of the PC Realm

Thom Gunn
I remember the craggy, pitted face easily moved to laughter and a sensibility moved to kind despair when he was forced to experience a particularly bad line. I remember that the class was formed of about 12 students and that on any given day at least ten were baked to a crisp. But that didn%u2019t mean Gunn didn%u2019t get our attention. How could he not? He was not only an elegant poet, an inheritor of the Tennysonian tradition in English poetry, but he was an elegant man.... More at: American Digest: Thom Gunn 1929-2004

The Hubble: Saving a National Spiritual Strategic Asset
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, If so, the Hubble speaks volumes daily ... indeed, it speaks whole libraries. It is our eye turned to gaze, with all the power at our command, as far out into the deep and as far back towards the origins of the universe as we can look. It is not too much to say that the Hubble reads the face of God, and in small bits and bytes, shows it to us. Should we allow this eye to be put out, to be blinded?... More at: American Digest: The Hubble: Saving a National Spiritual Strategic Asset

Cruising Off Baja
But should you have a taste for tedium, should boredom be like mother's milk and daily bread (lots of it) to you, you will be surfeited by this otherwise antiquated mode of travel. Indeed, for sheer, mind obliterating tedium, for the kind of vacancy induced only by event horizons with no events and fewer horizons; for a feeling that arises in no experience other than incarceration, there is nothing that can beat the tedium induced by that modern masterpiece of torpor, stupor and pointlessness, the Cruise Ship. More at: American Digest: Cruising Off Baja

The Creche By The Side of the Road
Small moments in long journeys, like small lights in a large darkness, often linger in the memory. They come unbidden, occur when you are not ready for them, and are gone before you understand them. You "have the experience, but miss the meaning." All you can do is hold them and hope that understanding will, in time, come to you.... More at: American Digest: The Creche By The Side of the Road

Small Fires on the Surface of the Deep
These days my wife Sheryl wakes before dawn. The sound of the automatic coffee grinder and the aroma of the dark brew is her alarm. Today, out on the deck overlooking the Pacific, she was gazing at the sea and saw, across the flat miles of ocean stretching out to Catalina, bright flashes come and go like wet fireworks exploding under the waves. Binoculars brought the flashes closer but didn't explain them. They were scattered all across the wide water except where the full moon sliding down the sky towards the western horizon lay a bright white band down on the dark sea. More at: American Digest: Small Fires on the Surface of the Deep

Something to See
This morning before dawn I had drifted back for the third time to a series of disturbing dreams. Dreams always disturb when they take place in some distorted mindmap of Las Vegas -- even if you are winning, which I was not. More at: American Digest: Something to See

Fear of Fritterware: The Nightmare Before Christmas
The truth is that, over the last 20 years that personal computers have been a part of our lives, we have been trained to expect computers to fail. We've accepted that they will screw around with our lives and our fortunes. We have slowly and without any organized protest, been suckered into being the Beta Testers for new software and hardware that not only screws up in predictable ways, but is known by the manufacturers to screw up in predictable ways ("The inability for the program to connect with the Internet? Oh yes, that's a known bug. We'll have a patch soon. Just connect to Internet and download it.").... More at: American Digest: Fear of Fritterware: The Nightmare Before Christmas

New York Life
They will be snapshots of his personal celebrations; the birthdays, anniversaries, shared summer houses, days in the park and nights on the town. He'll be in some of them. Friends will proliferate in others. And the city will persist, implied, either in the background or intruding in the middle distance; like the air, unnoticed until absent. When you leave her, this is what you will carry away. It will fit in a medium-sized cardboard box. We've all packed this box. Mine was labeled, "New York...." More at: American Digest: New York Life: An Exhibition and Open Invitation


The Name in the Stone
Awebstonenames.jpg MY NAME, "GERARD VAN DER LEUN," IS AN UNUSUAL ONE. So unusual, I've never met anyone else with the same name. I do know of one other man with the name, but we've never met. I've seen his name in an unusual place. This is the story of how that happened. It was an August Sunday in New York City in 1975. I'd decided to bicycle from my apartment on East 86th and York to Battery Park at the southern tip of the island. I'd nothing else to do and, since I hadn't been to the park since moving to the city in 1974, it seemed like a destination that would be interesting. Just how interesting, I had no way of knowing when I left. August Sundays in New York can be the best times for the city. The psychotherapists are all on vacation -- as are their clients and most of the other professional classes. The city seems almost deserted, the traffic light and, as you move down into Wall Street and the surrounding areas, it becomes virtually non-existent. On a bicycle you own the streets that form the bottom of the narrow canyons of buildings where, even at mid-day, it is still cool with shade. Then you emerge from the streets into the bright open space at Battery Park. More at: American Digest: The Name in the Stone

Goodbye to the Way We Were
We were young. And we were very, very stupid for college kids. Check that. We were stupid because we were college kids. Many of us, decades later, are still there and even dumber. We're professors now and our ability to be dumb has never been deeper. Others of us are well ensconced in the various parts of what passes for the media. We're there with a lot of others just like us and, even if we thought differently, we'd never say it for fear of losing regard, position, grants, or promotion. Besides, we've been around others who think like us for so long its no problem at all to top up the latte and nod in blind agreement. We never sold out. We bought in. But we kept the Che poster in our hearts.... More at: American Digest: Goodbye to the Way We Were

The Aliens Among Us
Ok, you've read it all. Roswell. Crop Circles. Close Encounters. Slashdot. All of the hubs of Alien Conspiracy. You've parsed it out, you know it all, and you've made your call. Well, you're wrong. The Aliens are here, and blending into your everyday life in ways so insidious you regard them as .... should I say it ... annoyances. Here is a brief guide to three of the many Alien races you meet every day and don't even know it.... More at: American Digest: The Aliens Among Us

The Age of Miracles and Wonders and Bunless Whoppers
We have in America, right now, what all other cultures and nations and empires have dreamed of since before the dawn of time. We have, finally, created a society that produces Way-Too-Much-Food (TM). After aeons of the nightmare of Never-Enough-Food we now awake into the brave new Bunless Whopper World. We are the kings and queens of the Global Food Court, and our national sport is double dipping at the salad bar as we supersize everything from soup to nuts. In fact, we are now so firmly established in the way-too-much-food universe that we are about to pass through a chronosynclasticinfandibulem into the alternate universe where a kid at the cash register says, "Would you like to downsize these fries?" More at: American Digest: The Age of Miracles and Wonders and Bunless Whoppers

In a valley hidden in the foothills of the La Sal mountains, my old friend and I sat on his stone porch in the fading light and watched the sun disappear behind the soaring red rock of the Maob Wall ten miles to the west. As always from this perch along the fault line between range and basin, the view revealed four different American landscapes: desert, farmland, rolling ranch land and high mountains.... More at: American Digest: Contrails

The Brand Extension Blight
OREOS -- This was, without a doubt, America's greatest store bought cookie ever. And it dominated the market. But was that good enough for the sleazoid 90s "marketing" department? No. They wanted more and even more. As a result they have 'New-Coked' this cookie into oblivion with endless variations on the theme. The heresy began with "Double Stuffed" Oreos. This simple-minded d-oh moment came when somebody thought, hey, let's double the stuffing! It did not matter to them that the perfect proportion of white cream stuffing had already been achieved. Nope, this is the DoublePattyWhopper school of marketing drool: 'If one is good, two is twice as good.' Actually, if one is good, two in the same bun or cookie wafers is a bloody mess.... More at: American Digest: The Brand Extension Blight

Sherman to Sunni Triangle: Leave Now
You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Iraq can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop terrorism, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. We do not want your oil, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have an end to terrorism. That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.... More at: American Digest: Sherman to Sunni Triangle: Leave Now

On the Field of Life, On the Battlefield of Truth
Was Frederick Turner the only one of our poets who felt a wave of revulsion sweep over him when the "herd of independent minds" that fancy themselves as 'important' American poets formed a viscous slab of drivel around opposition to the war?.... More at: American Digest: On the Field of Life, on the Battlefield of Truth.

Self-Inflicted Terrorism Evident in Blackout
What we have here is, absent terrorism, is a case of slow and "self-inflicted terrorism." It is what is bound to happen, on any summer day, when you run a power grid that has been strangled for years by the awful NO-MEN of our society.... More at: American Digest: Self-Inflicted Terrorism Evident in Blackout


Origins of the Faith
They expose the unwanted infant On a hot, flat stone or throw it, By the feet, whirling into the ravine For the ravens' obscene brunch, And walk back down The barren brindle hill To the village of rocks, Hearing the mother moan, Noting the father's stern smile. All male, the state demands, And sound.

The Interface
--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun 1. The empty rituals and dusty opulence of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle, and the sounds of departing automobiles fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac. Inside the house my mother sits quietly, surrounded by the plates of finger food that everybody brought and no one ate, and wonders if she should begin to take clothes from the closet, call the Goodwill. Some blocks away, the Methodist minister hangs his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch. Later, I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise, park the car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out at the far mountains where, in June, the winter lingers. On the seat beside me, a well-taped cardboard cube contains what remains of my father. I climb out and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below. The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I, beside the snow-chilled stream. The place we have come to is where the pines lean out from the boulders at the edge of the stream, where what the stream carries builds up in the backwater, making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year: rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds, diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings, laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees, gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles, the rasping windwish of leaf fall crushed to dust, the thunk of bone on bark, of earth on wood, the silence of ash on water. And in such silence, he fades forever. 2. The stream, its waters revolving round through river, ocean, clouds, and rain, bears away the hands and eyes, but still the memory remains, answering in pantomime the questions never asked: Are these reflections but the world without, carried on but never borne, onward, westward, towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh? Or are such frail forms shaped upon this water all the things that are, and we, immersed above in air, the forms that fade, mere mirrors of the stream? Is this life all that is and, once lost, the end of all that was, with nothing left to be, with no pine wind to taste, nor sun to dapple mind with dream? Is all that is but ash dissolving, our lives but rain in circles falling? Or are we yet the center of such circles, our fall the final fall of night because we are contained within that single soul, held within that heart of stars, that place where sun and water meet, that golden hand whose wounded palm, once we have shimmered into sunlight, remains forever open in the coldest light of day? American Digest: The Interface

Beneath my sea, my tongue was tied by lies That said I loved you not when love lay still, And that false tongue denied your clearer eyes That saw that love will always conquer will. But now, as our first year in time has turned To moments honed from diamonds, now I find My love for you refracted and returned In samite nights beside you in that blind Dark within which only one light burns. Which is your love, and in such love I sleep The deeper sleep of one to whom Love turns When, gasping like some being from the deep, I first was flung upon your wave-smoothed strand, And shown beneath your present sea my future land. American Digest: Atlantis

Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve
Throughout the night, the cold loomed close, And wrapped the house in shawls of frost. Within, four candles gave us light, And returned to us all that was lost. Around us, all the village slept. It's children safe, their breathing slow. Four candles gleamed beside our tree, Their flames burned long, burned low. More at: American Digest: Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve


Preparing for the American Political Priesthood
No, to be elected today a man (or a woman) must prepare at an early age to either leave no trace of a human existence, or determine never to have one in the first place. Like the pagan religions of antiquity or the cloistered Catholic orders that persist into our era, today%u2019s politicians must be -- according to our media -- the last surviving virgins over 18 in the United States of America.... More at: American Digest: Preparing for the American Political Priesthood

Improving the Pledge of Allegiance
At your command Newspeak Central has spent some time reviewing the "old and in the way" Pledge of Allegiance. The result, below, is what we have -- after six months of multicultural diversity focus groups and self-criticism sessions -- come up with. It's just a start but we think it is in the right direction. We hope you give us hugs for it.... More at: American Digest: Improving the Pledge of Allegiance

California Recall Row
Now the deficit's exploding The Democrats are beginning to hide The Letterman and Leno Shows Are working up their monologues inside. All except for Coleman and Gallagher And that aging porno dame Everybody is laying odds Or else expecting fame And the Terminator, he's dressing He's getting ready for the show He's orchestrating the Carnival On California Recall Row.... More at: American Digest: California Recall Row

Let Moore Be More Moore
Leftists and liberals and Democrats throughout the country suck down these lies because they are, by now, addicted to The World According to Michael Moore. Like heroin addicts, they constantly need Moore to feel 'normal.' Even more, they need Michael to up the dose by providing ever more outrageous lies for them to skin-pop or mainline. It's the only way they can get off.... More at: American Digest: Let Moore Be More Moore

Something Strange in the Neighborhood
There are a lot of people here in 21st century America who are fed up with a political structure built in 19th century America. Worse than that, much worse than that, they are bored with it. Bored, numb, disbelieving, untrusting, unenchanted and retroactively neither amused nor entertained. They know in their bones, and have known since September 11, 2001, that joke time is over. Up until now the popular way of expressing this deeply disgusted feeling with American politics was, whenever we have an election, to stay away in droves. And for the waning decades of the 20th century, this implicit "None-of-the-Above" vote grew larger.... More at:American Digest: There's Something Strange in the Neighborhood

On Democrats and Pollywogs
When I was a boy I lived in a rural town in Northern California. Behind our house was a fallow field with a small stream cutting through it. In that stream, at certain times of the year, frogs mated and laid eggs which, in time, became pollywogs (aka "tadpoles"). Collecting a group of tadpoles was a simple matter of quick hands or a small net. Either way, my brother and I, in the manner of wanton boys, would collect a dozens in a jar on idle summer afternoons, and transfer them to a small pond we'd scooped out of the dirt a yard or so from the main stream and filled with water. Since there were a lot of pollywogs in the stream we always had a lot of pollywogs in our ponds. Once there, we'd sit down and watch what they did.... More at: American Digest: On Democrats and Pollywogs

Where Bush Hate is Heading
Bush Hate, at the rate of festering intensity currently observable, is headed towards only one singular event: An attempt on the life of George W. Bush by an American citizen.... More at: American Digest: Where Bush Hate is Heading

Traitors' Grate
It seems to me that I can, or you can, or any person can call another a traitor, or say that his or her behavior is treasonous, at any time and on any pretext. At most the speaker risks a suit for libel or slander from his target. Thus it would seem that it is the accuser that is much more at risk here than the accused. The accuser, in this case Anne Coulter, is not - at least as far as I am aware - a lawfully empowered agent of the Federal Government. She is as free to call any individual or group a traitor as, say, James Carville would be to call Coulter a "whacked out bimbo with the political morals of a ferret and an inexplicable attraction to unbald Republicans." Not that such a southern gentleman as Carville would ever utter such a sentiment.... More at: American Digest: Traitors' Grate


No More Letters to the Editor

Quit Being a Chump and Start Being Effective: Here's How to Make Your Views Matter to the Mass Media

EDITORS LOVE IT when you write outraged letters to them, but not for the reasons you might think. Editors love your outraged letters because it tells they you're reading them. They love your letters, even when you scold them, because it shows you care. Editors love printing your letter that takes them to task because it shows they are pleased to balance a large chunk of airtime or copy with a few seconds or inches of dissent. But the dirty little secret beneath the editors' love for your outraged letter is that means, almost all of the time, that you didn't send that letter to one of the editors' advertisers. Editors hate it when people write to the advertisers. If enough people write, editors have to have a conversation with their advertising director. Not that anything will come of it, but they hate the casual watercooler conversation that begins, "We're getting some heat from Nike about that dingbat Robert Scheer, can't you get him to..." "Now, now, you know there's a wall between news and advertising." "Sure, but I just want you to know that Nike is..." If you don't think conversations like that happen, you just don't know the "media business." If enough letters get written not to editors but to advertisers, the editor then gets to have a conversation he really hates -- a conversation with the publisher.
"When the advertisers get nervous, the publisher gets nervous."
MORE AT: American Digest: No More Letters to the Editor

The Toolbar Times
--Or -- "Everything I need to know I learn from my toolbar" nytgraffiti.jpg AFTER THE NICHOLAS BERG BEHEADING was shelved (to make room for the new major media show called "All Abu Ghraib Apprentice/Survivor All the Time"), disgust with traditional media reached tsunamic proportions across the Internet, as well as in the population at large. On the Internet this revulsion was expressed by a plethora of commentary, fact-checking, and pointers. Still, it all has a "been there, done that, have the T-shirt" feeling to it. And it masks what the continuing failure of the major media are doing to themselves, every day in every way, as -- following their benighted blisss -- they become worse and worse. There's another quieter way, in which users are, day-by-day, having their say about the sealed fate of the moral and ethically compromised major media, the evolution of The Toolbar Times. To paraphrase John Gilmore, "Users are seeing the work of traditional news media as system damage and routing around it." Like Scoop Nisker, we'd don't like the news so we're going out and making some of our own. Somewhere someone is updating a graph. The graph has two lines. The first line depicts traditional media (a combination of audience numbers for television and radio news and the circulation of newspapers and magazines). It is a line in decline. The second line depicts the use of the Internet to gather information, news and opinion. This line is ascending. At some point, perhaps not too distant, the two lines will cross. At that point the angles of decline and ascent will steepen until, at some other point, the line for traditional media will drop off the significant part of the chart forever. MORE AT: American Digest: The Toolbar Times

Woodpulp, Ink, and Glue
1) No "advanced" technology required. Ability to manufacture present in all areas of the globe. 2 ) Crude but functioning units can be made by kindergartners with pencil, paper and glue.... More at: American Digest: WOODPULP, INK AND GLUE: A MATURE INFORMATION RETREIVAL SYSTEM

All around you are booksellers with full size shopping carts jamming every freebie they can get their hands on. Posters, buttons, stuffed animals.....Simon is publishing CATMOPOLITAN, a slavish bid for the cat market, a send up of some magazine, and booksellers can duck behind a large six foot blowup of a cover, stick their faces in a hole and get a free Polaroid of themselves as the cover cat of Catmopoliton. A thrill, a real thrill! There's a line.... More at: American Digest: THE HORROR, THE HORROR

O'Reilly's Last .Wav
American Digest has located a complete transcript deep within the cached pages of Google itself and presents it here without comment. We note that this is one of those rare documents in which you can actually hear the voice of Google by clicking on its links.... More at: American Digest: O'REILLY'S LAST .WAV: The Voice of Google

Salon's Dollar Dave
SALON'S PRECARIOUS FISCAL STATE has obviously become dire. The "premium" subscriptions which began at, I believe, $35 a year have now been discounted down to a dollar a year. Today, this email has been making the rounds.... More at: American Digest: DAVID TALBOT: SALON'S "DOLLAR DAVE"

Books of Lies
Interesting also that Mr. Simon will continue to sell Wright's first book with the elimination of the Introduction. I suppose that means the log rolling boosts written for Wright by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut will stay. One might ask what they are doing there in the first place? Why would writers with the stature of Zinn and Vonnegut weigh in on a book that only displays political bile photoshopped onto public domain images? In turns out that the logs do not roll far from the tree. Zinn and Vonnegut both have books published by Simon's grisley little house.... More at: American Digest: Micah Wright's Second Book of Lies Canned. First Book of Lies Lives.

"Vision" books have a long history of being dogs from pub. date to remainder bin. This is somewhat confirmed by the fact that Kerry's book is 5,696 in the Amazon sales rankings as of this writing; a shabby showing for the standard bearer of a major party that is currently driving several tomes onto the bestseller lists. So, how much did Viking pay Kerry for this dog? It%u2019s not readily known, but I'd say the likely figure would be $250,000 to $300,000 as an advance. More at: American Digest: "Royalties? They Don't Got to Pay Him No Stinking Royalties"

Modern Book Doomed by Antique Industry
What could go wrong is that this is a book that is being published with a list price of $50.00. And, like so many others of its ilk, it can run aground on the shoals of instant remainderism due to the single fact that the entire trade book publishing industry simply cannot and will not look at in the clear light of day: the price of books fare exceeds their perceived value. Perceived value is the key to the buying of books by ordinary people, and ordinary people not only think that books are overpriced, they are taught that they are overpriced by the publishing industry itself. More at: American Digest: Modern Book Doomed by Antique Industry


Psychedelic Slang
ACED:"We aced him out!" AX:"He blows a bad ax." BAAAD:"Hey, I checked out yer old lady today.She's baaad,man." BARF:"You barf after the peyote milkshakes, bro, but, hey, it's beautiful." BALLSY:"She is one ballsy chick." More at: American Digest: Psychedelic Slang

Liberalosis: A Disease Killing and Crippling Millions of Our Fellow Americans
Liberalosis is a psychiatric classification for a mental state in which the perception of political reality is distorted. Persons experiencing a "Liberal episode" may experience hallucinations (often Clintonesque or Deantastic hallucinations), hold paranoid hate of the United States and/or its President or delusional beliefs in Utopia, and exhibit disorganized thinking such as " would be better to let America's enemies strike first", and "...a Democrat can be elected President by promising to raise taxes and pin a big "Kick Me" sign on America." This is often accompanied by a lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of their behaviour and a compulsion to give money to any number of Democratic losers.... More at: American Digest: Liberalosis: A Disease Killing and Crippling Millions of Our Fellow Americans

The Last Word on Word
I despaired over Microsoft Office. I wanted to end my years of servitude to Microsoft. When I married OS X I thought I had at last made a clean break with the past, but "Just when you think you're OUT, they pull you back in." Using Word from Classic required me to boot Classic on a daily basis and, just as it had in the past, Word would crash in Classic at least once a day for no reason at all other than Word's deep inner perversity. It was like getting a daily harassing phone call and hang up from an old girl friend in the midst of a happy second marriage -- you're not happy, your new OS is not happy, the only happy thing is some deeply antisocial nerd in the Microsoft basement who wrote the deepest code inside of Word that instructed it to leave you high and dry with no warning if you hadn't purchased any Microsoft products within the last 14 days.... More at: American Digest: The Last Word on Word

On First Looking Out of NASA's Rover
Much have I imagined the arcing vaults of space, And many fiery launches and cold orbits seen; Round the darksided moon have I been And raised a flag above Tranquility base. Oft on one Red Planet would I place Dreams of deep-brow'd Bradbury's Morning Green Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I saw Spirit gaze upon our brother's face: Then felt I like some sentinel in strange skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like those at NASA, when the Spirit's eyes Delivered them an image through the stars, Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-- "All green" upon the dusty plains of Mars.... More at: American Digest: On First Looking Out of NASA's Rover

Father Forgive Me for I Must Fisk
The thing known as "The Daily Kos" continues his limp attempts at revisionism. Today he poses as the victim in his latest attempt to obscure the fact he revealed his soul to be a very ugly place last week. His latest report on the state of his existence is even weaker than his vapid pseudo-apology of yesterday. But not so weak that I can resist an idle afternoon's fisking of his "status report:" .... More at: American Digest: Father Forgive Me for I Must Fisk

Mario Savio's Speech Before the 2004 Democratic Convention
"There is a time when the operation of the Democratic Party becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the phony baloney party online apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the idiots that are crashing this once great party into the center of the sun, to the morons who've manipulated this conventions, that unless you're free to be a real Democrat, the Party will be prevented from existing at all! ".... More at: American Digest: Mario Savio's Speech Before the 2004 Democratic Convention

Beatles Songbook, Revised
You say you want a War of Civilizations Well, you know Everybody wants to rule the world You tell me to join Allah's Nation Well, you know Every god wants to rule the world.... More at: American Digest: Beatles Songbook, Revised

Frequently Answered Questions
Everywhere you go you see "Frequently Asked Questions" scattered about to help you find out what everybody else apparently knows. Nobody, as far as we know, is helping you with the essential questions of life, the Frequently Answered Questions (tm).... More at: American Digest: Frequently Answered Questions: I


Redrawing the Middle-East
The Situation in the Middle East in 2004 - Click for larger view === Note: This is a repost from a February 2, 2004 item -- American Digest: The Facts on the Ground

Sitting in the Same Room, Inhabiting Different Universes
FOR MANY YEARS I LABORED under the impression that being a columnist for the New York Times meant, at the very least, you were somewhere north of blood simple. But I was young and blood simple myself. Blood simple is, it would seem, part of the job description for many Times columnists. It may have something to do with the dyslexia of the Publisher or it may simply be post-mortem effects as the Times, having lost large chunks of circulation thanks to bias and bogus reporting that is woven deep into its corporate culture, strives to hang on to the true believers that are left it. In any case, one simply cannot take on all the blood simple pap that these scribblers spew. Life is too short and lunch is too long. Still, every so often, there's a real poser that creeps through the shields and lands on the retina with a resounding d'oh -- a hit, a palpable hit. Exhibit A from today is Bob Herbert's The Real Enemy Staring Us in the Face in which he is not referencing the mirror. MORE AT: American Digest: Sitting in the Same Room, Inhabiting Different Universes

Notes Made on 11 September 2001
Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07 Saw the first tower collapse from the Promeade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down. Military jets overhead every five minutes or so. Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles. Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water -- fully loaded. This is monstrous.... More at: American Digest: Notes Made on 11 September 2001

I try to become more cynical...
In the vein of trying to "become more cynical," I'd say that this country does not yet have it's game face on for what it really confronts. I'd say that this country is still happy to be having a busman's holiday of a "war on terror" that does not really involve 99.99% of the population in anything other than lip service, be it for or against. I'd say that we still have not, as a people, looked into the face of the monster that confronts us and taken the full measure of what defeating it may involve.... More at: American Digest: "I try to become more cynical every year, but lately I just can't keep up."

The Killing Father of Two
Try to imagine, if for only a moment, the insect mindset that gibbers and crawls behind the smiling and proud face above. He's getting ready to "live the dream," to 'Just Do It,' to launch himself on "a mission from God." His calling? To strap on a belt of explosives, kiss his two children on the forehead, bid his wife goodbye, and head downtown to kill Jews. Men, women, children, infants, babes in the womb .. it is all grist to the chittering insect soul of this man and his supporters and compatriots. Who is he? Why he is a "a man of God", an exponent of the religion of submission and peace. He is the father of two children, but that doesn't stop him from viewing other chidren as just so many vermin to be exterminated.... More at: American Digest: The Killing Father of Two

Plan? There Is No Plan.
Instead of the hundreds of thousands of people pictured walking across the bridges, we would have seen more running across the bridges in fear of their lives. Traffic, wedged as it was, would have become immovable. The tunnels to New Jersey and Long Island would have been overwhelmed by people on foot struggling to leave the city; to find refuge at home or anywhere else that was not in Manhattan. The panic, like the power failure, would have cascaded to the boroughs and the bedroom communities. The overall situation would have been a riot as big as the city itself where the stronger would seek to get to the front of the "save your life" line at all costs. Assuming you could muster the National Guard, they would be days away from controlling the situation in terms of basic logistics alone.... More at: American Digest: Running Home: Plan? There Is No Plan.

Killing Fields Witout Borders
If we have learned anything in the past century it is this: The longer genocidal tyrannies are allowed to exist the more lethal they become. When they can they expand their territory and export their virus of sadistic killing to any country that cannot stand against them. They feed on expanding populations. When they cannot expand, they turn inward and gnaw at the bones of their own people.... More at: American Digest: Killing Fields Without Borders

The War of Two Religions
Through the violent attacks of a Radical Islam, two religions have been brought into conflict. The first is that of Islam, a faith that at its core requires absolute submission from its adherents, and looks towards the subjugation of the world as its ultimate apotheosis. As the youngest of the monotheistic religions, Islam is at a point in its development that Christianity passed through centuries ago. And it is not with Christianity that Islam is currently at war. Islam is saving that for the mopping up phase of its current campaign. The religion that Islam has engaged is a much younger one, the religion of Freedom.... More at: American Digest: The War of Two Religions

Condition Orange Forever?
It is no longer a question of whether or not thousands or tens of thousands of Americans will die here upon our soil, it is a question of which Americans they shall be. If not this year, next year or the year after. It is a "when" not an "if." It will happen in a major city or a major suburb. Yours? Theirs? Near or elsewhere? No real sacrifice equal to that asked of our Armed Forces has yet been asked of American civilians. We have been left pretty much undisturbed in our urban stupor. But our day is approaching. The question of why our leaders have not "made America safe" from this day of reckoning is a fair one but the answer is a hard truth. They have not made America safe from the next catastrophic attack because we have not yet, as Americans, been ready for them to do so. Strange as it may seem, 3,000 of us slaughtered at their desks has not been enough to stir us. As a society we have become so sodden with peace and so frightened of history that we require more deaths among us before we can act. And so we shall have them.... More at: American Digest: Condition Orange Forever?

What It Would Take -- A Simple Scenario
In the wake of the Spanish outrage, an email asks what it would take for the global terrorists to take the next step in the United States.It turns out that, as in Spain, it wouldn't take much at all. Here's what you'd need and how it could be done. But it is just one way. There are many.... More at: American Digest: What It Would Take -- A Simple Scenario

Dear Sec. Rumsfeld, Regarding Your Memo
The stork brought me your memo on the Global War on Terrorism this morning. I don't know why but it seems that everyone in America received a copy of it -- either from the stork or cranked out on some illegal mimeograph machine and stuffed into the morning paper with a note attached that read "Courtesy of Bill and Hill, 2004. Smooches and Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow..." More at: American Digest: Dear Sec. Rumsfeld, Regarding Your Memo on The War

Autumn of the Mid-East Process Queens:
Over the years, the Process Queens who strut on the runway of the International Arena have made successful and comfortable careers out of "The Peace Process." As long as there is a "process" the vast establishment in the middle east and Europe and the United States that battens of the Neverending Peace Story has secure jobs and access to the fountain of funding from various sources. A Peace Settlement would close this showroom of Process Queens overnight and their next jobs would neither be as lucrative nor as fulfilling.... More at: American Digest: Autumn of the Mid-East Process Queens:

When the War on Terror Goes Wholesale
The terrorist mindset is no more to be admired or suffered to live than the flickering thought patterns that wink and die in the neural networks of a scorpion. Indeed, the scorpion may possess a higher kind of morality than a terrorist. The spider, at least, kills out of a need rather than a twisted compulsion. The spider, at least, does not know what death is.... More at: American Digest: When the War on Terror Goes Wholesale

These Clowns Set My Teeth On Fire
"Nobody, but nobody, outside of about 50 Islam-addled whackjobs high on burning donkey dung, would have been able to believe on September 10, that a cadre of crazed fanatics were going to hijack four airliners and drive them into three buildings and a field. "Nobody stopped it because nobody could imagine it other than those that did it, and those that ordered it done. It was, and is, an act of sheer evil so large and so outside the ability of a rational and civilized mind to entertain that we just couldn't see it coming. I resent that both of us have to sit here strapped into these drool cups and pretend somebody should have...." More at: American Digest: These Clowns Set My Teeth On Fire

Try to imagine, for only a moment, what those actions entail. Try to put yourself, if for only a moment, on the ground and in the boots of Capt. Chontosh. Try to envision what it is to walk down a trench filled with people whose only mission is to kill you. They number more than 20. You are one. They are all armed. You have one rifle and one pistol. When you run out of ammunition, you have to take up the arms of the enemy. You don%u2019t know if they are loaded or to what extent. But you keep going. In time, after you have killed 20 soldiers and wounded others, the shooting finally stops. Somehow, you are still alive. Somehow, your comrades are still alive. For now.... More at: American Digest: Courage

Wilsonian Dreams, Jacksonian Realities
The overarcing rules or policies of engagement are based on two long standing fantasies of the United States government, its military and its people. The first fantasy is that we can be victorious and still minimize casualties among our troops. The second fantasy is that we can be victorious and avoid any significant collateral damage. While either one of these fantasies alone might have some reality, both together add up to pure delusion. A delusion that flatters us and our vision of ourself as a kind and caring nation, but a delusion just the same. Our shared delusion is that, with enough planning and care, you can have a war where only the enemy dies; that you can have cake all around and on the house and the same cake tomorrow. A new American dream.... More at: American Digest: Wilsonian Dreams, Jacksonian Realities


New and Notable

When I post under an assumed name or funky handle, I can get in closer touch with my Inner Sociopath. I have the power to channel my perceptions of my enemies into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia. I assume full responsibility for my posts, especially the good ones that are just links to someone else's. I no longer need to punish, deceive, compromise or reveal either the extent of my blogging or the URL of my secret blog where I post the truth about my co-workers' bodily functions. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed. At either Indymedia or Little Green Footballs, most of what I post would be considered normal. I honor my grammatical flaws, for without them I would have no writing style at all.

Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat
JOHN BATTELLE'S INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE Toward the Endemic: What's missing in PPC/Behavioral/Contextual Ad Nets has a lot to say about why advertisers and blogs just don't understand each other. More at: Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat

Brain Jazz
We don't fill in a formula of departments and features every week, we're jamming. We just make up our content on the fly. No going back. No edits. Mainlining others thoughts. It's like an endless assortment of brain musicians high on brain jazz. If you can type and have something to say, you can sit in and jam. You can play. ANY NUMBER can play a number and that number is always an unknown number. But if you can play unknown numbers you can sit in on the session. If not, you can just login and kick back and watch the others go at it.... More at: American Digest: Brain Jazz Across the Decades

The Solitary CyberCrowd
Going online and being online are not solitary experiences. If they were, few would bother with them.Quite the contrary, online is a state that evolves from the wish not to be solitary. It arises from the desire to be "connected" on a new level of abstraction to others -- to their knowledge, their businesses, their tastes as they choose to reveal them, to their personalities as they choose to construct them. That's the draw to people who are online -- other people.... More at: American Digest: The Solitary CyberCrowd

When You're A Blog
I appreciate the longing for a kinder, gentler nation; for simpler times. for a world like yesterday but with broadband connections on the house. I just don't see it happening until a few very large issues spelled, for starters, "Korea," "Africa," "AIDS," "Globalism," "Global Freemarket Capitalism," "Global Terrorism," and "Global Thermonuclear War" are put to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Like Gay Marriage in the near and far term, Big Government is a done deal for the duration. A lot of people don't like it, but a lot more accept it than pine for its demise. And in a Democracy, numbers count.... More at: American Digest: When You're A Blog Every Blogging Pol Looks Like a Winner

Milking the Digital Divide
Joi Ito, a man who's been to lunch with everyone and everything online, and whose blog is becoming the society page for geeks, is on yet another mission to make the world safe for Technocracy. His cause this time out is the always widening, ever-threatening, yawning wider and seldom closing "digital divide..." More at: American Digest: Milking the Digital Divide

Raymond's Rules of Cosmic Order
Years of online communication with jef gave me some insight into the kind of personality that is either drawn to Unix and to programming, or is shaped by Unix and programming. I've come to believe it is a symbiotic relationship, at best. So, even though I can't code, I was interested to see what lay at the core of Raymond's Unix epic.... More at: American Digest: Raymond's Rules of Cosmic Order

Stop the Spaminsanity
The Zero-Spam Tolerance cult is just another manifestation of the Nanny Culture where individuals want someone, somewhere (aka "The Government") to solve their quite stupidly simple and simply stupid problems by "passing a law," "making a regulation," and then "enforcing it" across the World Wide Wimpdom. This from a group of users who can actually go in and wade through the process of correcting the Windows Registry? Simps and weaklings the lot of them. Cowboy up, dudes and dudettes!.... More at: American Digest: Stop the Spaminsanity

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"The days dwindle down / To a precious two..."


Thanks to Mindful Webworker for the countdown art. The Morning Report 1/18/17

"Pssst, pass it on!" The Secrets of Facebook


It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

List of inventors killed by their own inventions

The 1930s Ice Cream Parlor Tucked Away in Cincinnati's Union Terminal


Union Terminal in Cincinnati is one of those happy examples of a defunct historic building finding new use. Rather than meeting with a wrecking ball, the art deco building now houses multiple museums– and features a priceless Rookwood tiled ice cream parlor. | Thought & Sight

California Megaflood, 1861: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

In early December, the Sierra Nevada experienced a series of cold arctic storms that dumped 10 to 15 feet of snow, and these were soon followed by warm atmospheric rivers storms.
The series of warm storms swelled the rivers in the Sierra Nevada range so that they became raging torrents, sweeping away entire communities and mining settlements in the foothills—California’s famous “Gold Country.” A January 15, 1862, report from the Nelson Point Correspondence described the scene: “On Friday last, we were visited by the most destructive and devastating flood that has ever been the lot of ‘white’ men to see in this part of the country. Feather River reached the height of 9 feet more than was ever known by the ‘oldest inhabitant,’ carrying away bridges, camps, stores, saloon, restaurant, and much real-estate.” Drowning deaths occurred every day on the Feather, Yuba and American rivers. In one tragic account, an entire settlement of Chinese miners was drowned by floods on the Yuba River. - - Scientific American

Trump voters are plentiful and they’re everywhere. You’ve encountered them without knowing it.

They know how you think. You don’t know how they think.

Keep that in mind snowflake, you’re surrounded by people you constantly berate. They know you’ve equated their vote with murder. They know you consider them evil (though not full beheading evil). They know you would “defeat them or wait for them to die”. They move around you, past you, next to you, talk to you, interact with you, and yet every moment of that interaction they know you’re a fuse ready to be lit. They assess your level of crazy and exhibit greater self control than you can imagine. I Love America; Including The Americans | Adaptive Curmudgeon

The Cult of Ugliness [Bumped]


The docent told us that she would take us through the Corcoran collection chronologically so we could observe the development of styles over time.
Then she said, “Personally, I prefer the old works. Much of the modern art is ugly, and I doubt I am the only one here to share that view. However, we must not blame the artists. As you will see, in any age, art is a merely a reflection of the culture and times. And we are living in ugly times.” -- The Thinking Housewife / The Woman at the Museum

New ABC / WaPo Poll Shows Drop In Trump Favorability Courtesy Of Aggressive "Oversamples"

Thus doth the bullshit forever flow on:
In the month leaded up to the election on November 8th, we repeatedly demonstrated how the mainstream media polls from the likes of ABC/Washington Post, CNN and Reuters repeatedly manipulated their poll samples to engineer their desired results, namely a large Hillary Clinton lead (see "New Podesta Email Exposes Playbook For Rigging Polls Through 'Oversamples'" and "ABC/Wapo Effectively Admit To Poll Tampering As Hillary's "Lead" Shrinks To 2-Points"). In fact, just 16 days prior to the election an ABC/Wapo poll showed a 12-point lead for Hillary, a result that obviously turned out to be embarrassingly wrong for the pollsters. But, proving they still got it, ABC/Washington Post and CNN are out with a pair of polls on Trump's favorability this morning that sport some of the most egregious "oversamples" we've seen. The ABC/Wapo poll showed an 8-point sampling margin for Democrats with only 23% of the results taken from Republicans ...while the CNN poll showed a similar 8-point advantage for Democrats with only 24% of respondents identifying as Republicans."A total of 1,000 adults were interviewed by telephone nationwide by live interviewers calling both landline and cell phones. Among the entire sample, 32% described themselves as Democrats, 24% described themselves as Republicans, and 44% described themselves as independents or members of another party. | Zero Hedge

Who Says There's No Good News? Reality Bites.


‘Never Trump’ national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted
They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again. But their phones aren’t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are “PNG” — personae non gratae. Their transgression was signing one or both of two public “Never Trump” letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.

"I have a dream...."

10 Killed, 29 Wounded In MLK Day Weekend Shootings:
About 1:10 a.m., 36-year-old Marlon Pollard was standing outside in the 2200 block of West Chicago in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood when someone in a black SUV opened fire, striking him in the abdomen, face and left leg. The Evanston resident died in less than an hour at Stroger, authorities said.

Wasn't Jesus supposed to save us from this bullshit?


What I want to say is that Jesus (by which I mean the whole tradition that flows from him) saved my mind.
From what? Well, for starters, from mountains of bullshit. Before the transition, my mind was a vast and fertile field for the cultivation of bullshit. Matters were only made worse by an extensive education, for The learned fool has a wider field to practice his folly, and He who understands the least is he who insists on understanding more than what can be understood (NGD). One Cʘsmos: Lord Save Us From the Bullshit

On Martin Luther King Day

As for the more problematic aspects of his life—well, I think they can be summed up by saying that King was a flawed human being.

In other words, a human being. Perhaps MLK himself would be the first to agree; he was a preacher, after all, and he knew a lot about human sin and error. It’s pretty much certain he was a philanderer as well as a plagiarist, and in later life he seemed to veer ever more leftward (some think that’s a feature, not a bug). Does that diminish his achievement? I don’t think so. I’ve always been more interested in real human beings who accomplish great things despite their own weaknesses than I am in a pretended (and mostly unachievable) perfection. - - neo-neocon

Why the Left, Particularly the Hollywood Left, is Losing It Over Trump


Meryl Streep is panicking because for the first time voters have rejected HER, and everything her faith has taught her to believe.
There is a new faith rising on the right, not an explicit religious faith like old-school Christianity, but a wicked kind of counterculture movement. We laughed at the hippies in 1968, but by 1978 they were teaching in classrooms and sitting behind school administrator desks.

Where will the hippies of 2016 be sitting after eight years of Trump? How many of the shitposting Twitter bad boys will start up alternative media outlets, until one of them becomes the new Saturday Night Live?Never Yet Melted サ

Donald Trump Inhabited Body of Hillary Aide

Reines purchased four podiums on Amazon, two for his home and two for the secret office the Clinton campaign lent him at the PerkinsCoie law firm in Washington, D.C.
He searched eBay for a 2005 Donald J. Trump signature collection watch, which he purchased for $175. He experimented with a self-tanning lotion on his face. Before prep sessions, Reines began suiting up with velcro knee pads (to keep his legs straight), a posture enhancer (to keep his arms back), and dress shoes with three-inch lifts (to match Trump’s 6’1 frame). His longtime tailor fit him for a loose-fitting suit with large cuffs. His goal was not a “Saturday Night Live”-style caricature of Trump, so he didn’t try to replicate Trump’s famous mane. But he wanted to approximate his physicality so that Clinton would grow accustomed to Trump’s looming presence when she saw Reines in her peripheral vision. Politico/ Newsbusters

The moonbeam left has traded in God for Global Warming as its universal answer to everything.


Sultan Knish: A Drought of Sanity in California
"California is currently in the grips of an extreme drought with record low precipitation," it gloomily began. Then the Sacramento River flooded, the downtown rainfall record was broken and copies of the report came in handy as makeshift umbrellas by scurrying staffers. So there was nothing left to do but blame Global Warming. If the rain doesn’t fall, that’s Global Warming. If it does fall, that too is Global Warming. The moonbeam left has traded in God for Global Warming as its universal answer to everything.

I am deeply touched by the sudden progressive concern for the security of the United States.

Most of the same people now screaming "RUSSIA!" and accusing President-elect Trump of being the Siberian Candidate, historically have opposed a strong US military, opposed efforts to fight Soviet Communism, laughed at "a Red under every bed" paranoia, derided the CIA as murderers and coup-plotters, wanted immediate US nuclear disarmament, made fun of Romney's concerns about Russia, defended Hillary's use of an insecure server, etc. Lots more, you can fill it in. The DiploMad 2.0: On Russia, Again

Power corrupts. And America’s political class has so much power that it is hard not to let the corruption consume everything.

I recently read a blog by Robert Reich, laying out the strategy for “civic resistance” as if he was a college student in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.
It was comical, coming from a former Cabinet Secretary; it was a little pathetic, reading his final point ‘sit down with your family at your table and come up with your own resistance’, as if the majority of the country were not celebrating so great a change; and it was refreshing. Because if somebody who was at the top of American power is reduced to conspiring over a bowl of cheerios at their kitchen table as a result of the decision of a bunch of ordinary folks on a brisk November morning, then there is hope for America yet!On Destroying New Nobilities | Joel D. Hirst's Blog

Send home the clowns.


After 146 years, the curtain is coming down forever on “Ringling Brothers: The Greatest Show on Earth.”
Its last performance will be May 21 at the Nassau Coliseum. The show stoppers included high operating costs, declining attendance and changing public tastes. Not to mention a long and costly legal battle with animal rights advocates, which ended with its hugest stars — the elephants — being pink slipped. New York Post


Speculation on what’s fair begs the main question: how did my health concerns become your problem?
If my kids get sick, why is it your obligation to pay? If I get AIDS, why do you have to pay for the expensive drug cocktail needed to keep me alive? And ironically, that cocktail was discovered through the expenditure of tax money, some of which you paid, and now its discovery lays on you the obligation to buy it for me. Why? Where did you get this obligation to save me? You didn’t have that obligation until you paid for its discovery; now my life depends on it, I can’t pay for it, so you must buy it for me; and if you don’t, well, the tax collector can call armed men, and you better not resist them. Or you could join with others to lay the obligation on the rich; all the same to me so long as I get my drug cocktail.

Of course few AIDS victims think this way and none talk this way, but that’s how entitlements work: you’re obligated to pay for them, and you’ve no choice in the matter. You got the obligation because lawmakers say you have it, and none of this nonsense about religion, either. You have it because we say you have it, and we’ll hire people to make you pay, don’t doubt that. - – Jerry Pournelle

Revised George Carlin: "It's a very small club and you ain't in it."

Oxfam used Forbes' billionaires list that was last published in March 2016 to make its headline claim. According to the Forbes list, Microsoft founder Gates is the richest individual with a net worth of $75 billion. The others, in order of ranking, are Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of fashion house Inditex, financier Warren Buffett, Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle's Larry Ellison and Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York

Let’s plan a party

There should be a complete cleansing of the White House … with fire.
All the feces and urine soaked rugs, drapes, whatever dragged out and turned into a bonfire. Hose down and scrub the exterior with a surgical disinfectant, rip out the grass and shrubs and plant afresh. Turn that arugula garden into an oil stained parking lot reserved for the military who serve the new President. All day long play John Philip Sousa marches at an ear splitting volume and shoot fire works into the sky while Air Force and Navy jets practice strafing runs on DNC headquarters. The military aircraft will also jettison air-born canisters filled with recruitment notices for a full time Marine firing squad whose sole purpose will be to execute traitors. – - IOTW Report

Can Peter Thiel Save California?

Hollywood is a ghost of itself and, frankly, everybody in the Bay Area to down here in Lalaland
is living out the umpteenth lifestyle rerun of old Doors and Jefferson Airplane albums fifty, or is it sixty, years later. Hell, we’ve got the same governor we always did for what seems like a hundred years (actually a record 13 years in two sessions) -- His Grooviness Zen Jerry who was supposed to be this great original, this innovator. But can anyone tell me what he has innovated, other than an unbuilt bullet train the Japanese had in 1962 (true -- look it up) and nobody wants anymore? So what if grass is legal. Was it ever really illegal? | Roger L. Simon

David Brock's "creepy letter" to Bernie Sanders craving forgiveness in exchange for a job.

Give me a job and I'll say anything.

In this hope of employment Brock joins thousands of progressives who find there's "a vastly smaller job market for their skills" in 2017. The job market is about to get even more crowded for Washington Democrats, as thousands of Obama appointees join the hundreds of Clinton campaign staffers looking for employment. There’s rarely been less demand for their services. The End of the Malevolent Familiar

Russian "Hacking:" The Early Years

The Russian Spy Who Convinced America to Take ESP Seriously |
He told them that the Soviet government actively encouraged such study, and name-checked prominent Russians (from astrophysicists to philosophers) who supported parapsychological inquiry. He described studies in which subjects had been able to perceive images from over a distance of nearly 2,000 miles.

Musso and Frank Grill


For decades Hollywood legends have hung out at Musso and Frank Grill. It opened in 1919 and is completely entwined with stories of the stars who have dined there.  Charlie Chaplin ate there so much he had his own booth, and the menu still features his favorite dish, grilled lamb kidneys with bacon. Los Angeles, California | Atlas Obscura

I don't write the headlines. I just report them.

Left Wing Vegan Denied Swiss Passport Because She's 'Too Annoying'

Japanese rock band destroyed a concert venue with a bulldozer as a part of their performance<

The most extreme performance of the band also happened in 1985,
when Eye drove a smallbulldozer through the back wall of the venue and onto the stage.The act shocked both the audience and the unwitting owners of the venue. The concert hall suffered significant damage, and the police stormed the venue. Eye was arrested and spent several months in prison, and he also had to cover theexpenses for the repair of the venue, as well as paying a considerable fine. -- Vintage News

There’s so much being written, by so many people, that it’s also difficult for great minds to be ‘found’.

Not in the same way as for Solzhenitsyn; an impenetrable insurmountable obstacle between himself and the free word.
Today it’s more like Murkwood forest of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination. The darkness of irrationality in our post-truth world; the swamp of “celebrity” like a sort of toxic sponge sucking up pages and word counts and column inches; the spiders’ webs of political correctness where our fearlessness gets snagged and sucked dry – our new censors all. Solzhenitsyn, Writing and Our New ‘Curtain’ | Joel D. Hirst's Blog

He was always the smiling black guy on the brochure. [Bumped]


Good Riddance:
That’s something the liberal media will skip over as they write their re-imagined histories of the Obama years. The other thing they will skip is the very superficial appeal of Obama. He was always just a black guy. Liberal whites and blacks supported him because he was a black guy, not because of anything he said or proposed to do as President. It’s why no one ever quotes an Obama speech. He was always the smiling black guy on the brochure. His efforts to promote Democratic candidates failed because that narrow charm is never transferable.

Best opening sentence of the year, so far

– Knowledge is Power

Mystakes Wur Maid


If that won't immanentize the Eschaton, what will?


An early paragraph in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas goes,
The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. - - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis

Call it Information Laundering:

Each step along the way, the dirty, unverifiable information is cleaned up just slightly enough to get the next laundromat in line to pretend to clean it up just a little bit more. Easy-peasy: If you can't verify the story itself, report the rumors of the story -- see, the part that this is "rumored" is verifiable. If you've heard it, it is, inarguably, a rumor that's going around. So just shift the narrative frame of the story from "These are the facts" to "The fact is, people are spreading this rumor, which is very important, if true." Always throw that rhetorical hedge in there: if true. You can add a smiley-face-wink emoji to indicate "And man, you better believe this is true, baby!!!" Ace of Spades HQ

Why Oreos Taste Worse Today Than You Remember Them Tasting In the Past


As for the stuff between the intricately-designed cookies, the filling- it was made partially of lard – pig fat – until 1997.
In 1994, Nabisco embarked on a nearly three year revamping process of the filling to take the lard out. In charge of this was Nabisco’s principal scientist Sam Porcello, otherwise known as “Mr. Oreo.” By that point, Porcello was already a cookie legend, holding five Oreo related patents, including Oreos encased in white and dark chocolate. By December 1997, the Oreo cookie was lard-free, but there was another problem – the lard had been replaced by partially hydrogenated vegetable oil; yes, the very much not good for you trans fats. As the Chicago Tribune put it, “Later, research showed that trans fat was even worse for the heart than lard.” Finally, in January 2006, healthier (and more expensive) non-hydrogenated vegetable oil was put into Oreos instead. Today’s filing is additionally made with loads of sugar and vanilla extract creating a cookie that still is delicious, but slightly better for you. Or, perhaps more aptly, less bad for you. - - The Origin of the Oreo Cookie

PigLife: Amazon's Bezos buys largest house in DC


Part of the former Museum will serve as a Home for Jeff while Most will still remain a museum called The Museum of Honest Journalism...
where the public will be able to see examples and displays of Actual Reporters researching a Story unlike today when the Press gets its stories off the internet. Most interesting is the Fourth Estate room showing how Reporters once did not Care about being Invited to Parties at the White House , but actually Worked for the People, and sometimes actually walked around outside and asked folks questions, and were Proud to be Members of the Fourth Estate, and kept an close eye on Everyone in Washington not just those that disagreed with them. Those were the days when News Reporters did not make a Million dollars a year to be on TV. Unfortunatly if you want to see an actual Journalist , the only place to find one will be in this Museum. Most interesting is the Woodward Bernstein display showing how two reports actually Reseached a Story for years, rather than just reporting it First, in less than two minutes. - - taosnow • | TheHill

When a company that appears to doing real work hires a powerskirt to bring diversity to the firm,

it means the insiders have cashed out and no longer think the firm is a good bet. Yahoo made that clear when they hired Marrisa Mayer to diversify the company. She immediately went berserk and started firing men and turning the place into an estrogen circus. Diversity and Reality

As Barack Obama gives his farewell speech in Chicago and Donald Trump gets ready to assume office,

it may be useful to reflect on the oath the incoming president will take.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." It is an oath not to an Arc of History, the Planet or some progressive vision of the future. It's not an oath to Mexico or Europe or the Liberal world order. The text of the oath is a declaration of allegiance to permanent interests of the United States and the people who live in it, as determined by the Constitution and the laws of the land -- or it is nothing. The End of the Hyphen

“The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind,

knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will.
As they say in the United States: “to be different is to be indecent.” The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated.” - - 3 Bits Of Wisdom From The Philosophy Of José Ortega y Gasset



"Looking at unemployment figures first, while the unemployment rate is currently very low, the number of Americans of working age not in the labour force is currently at an all-time high of over 95 million people.
Discouraged workers who stop looking for work are no longer classified as unemployed but instead become economically inactive, but clearly many of these people really should be counted as unemployed. Similarly, while government statistical agencies record inflation rates of between one and two percent, measures that use methodologies used in the past (such as John Williams’ Shadowstats measures) show consumer prices rising at annual rates of 6 to 8 percent. In addition, many people have noticed what has been termed ‘shrinkflation’, where prices remain the same even as package sizes shrink. A common example is bacon, which used to be sold by the pound but which is now commonly sold in 12 ounce slabs - - Hypernormalisation

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