Wednesday, May 12, 2004
The Mrs. E.-apparent has informed me that I will re-commence my blogging no earlier than Saturday afternoon.
This blog is barely a week old, but I've been a reader for a while. Just in case you need something to read, or would like to know where I'm coming from with this blog:
A Dream Three Times the Size of Texas by Rebecca Solnit is the article that convinced me to finally start a blog of my own. Thanks to Tom Englehardt for helping me maintain my sanity over the past two years.
This Somerby article in the Daily Howler is the most important thing I've read all year, and it's also the article that I took my blog title from. I wasn't happy with the title I started with, and I'll point everyone who wonders about the name to it in an effort to make them aware of what I consider the most important issue of our day.
David Neiwert at Orcinus turned me on to the Howler article. His "Media Revolt Manifesto" gives me hope that it's possible to restore substance to our political discourse and tame propaganda monster that the SCLM has become.
Keep it peaceful. Work within the system.
The Shield of Achilles, by W.H. Auden. To me it seems he's taking aim at the assumptions of the Western literary tradition as an enabler for facism. I didn't really understand that at the time. I just knew he was pointing at something unpleasant and true. The passage that pushed me over the edge:
A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.
Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.
I still manage to get a chill when I read it. Full text here.
I guess "high crimes" only cover things done while high, and "misdemeanors" is code for sexual indiscretions.
And don't forget about the outing of that CIA agent. What was her name again? You know . . the one who was working to prevent the proliferation of WMDs?
No so long ago,some people were saying things like "I really believe that the President of the United States should be held to the very highest of standards."
And " I am genuinely concerned that the institution of the Presidency not be harmed, either by the President's conduct, or by Congress' reaction to his conduct."
And "In my view, the confessed facts of the President's conduct in the Oval Office make his continued presence an obstacle to the healing our culture."
Confidential to Republicans in Congress: looks like it's time for one of those meetings.
update - to correct minor error
When the Master governs, the people
are hardly aware that he exists.
Next best is a leader who is loved.
Next, one who is feared.
The worst is one who is despised.
If you don't trust the people,
you make them untrustworthy . . .
Whoever relies on the Tao in governing men
doesn't try to force issues
or defeat enemies by force of arms.
For every force there is a counterforce.
Violence, even well intentioned,
always rebounds upon oneself.
The Master does his job
and then stops . . .
If a country is governed with tolerance,
the people are comfortable and honest.
If a country is governed with repression,
the people are depressed and crafty.
When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.
-Tao Te Ching
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Disclosure: Lots of theory here
I have the feeling that the word "blog" is the linguistic equivalent of a Rorschach image: Everyone who's heard it knows it has something to do with the internet, and beyond that they paint in details from their own experience.
In this post, I use blogosphere to refer to political and activist blogs, though I'm not necessarily excluding anyone who is willing to link or echo a meme. I do not limit my definition to liberal or leftist blogs.
Why does the blogosphere need a specific policy initiative?
When we talk about moving ideas from the public's peripheral vision to the center of their view, and we become very specific about the necessary conditions, we come down to two issues: Credibility and Visibility. Consider this equation: Credibility + Visibility = Legitimacy.
I assert that a RMA would become much easier to accomplish if an unquestioned track record of policy success were established.
In order to declare an unquestioned success, activist bloggers need an issue that cuts across partisan lines and has an immediate impact on the mind of the average person.
Such a success could solve a couple of problems if managed correctly. It could demonstrate that yes, the bloggers do have an influence on the public discourse, and that influence is surging.
It could provide a starting point for some bloggers to move toward a more productive dialogue than the point-counterpoint bloodletting that we see every day, because it would give us a historic incident that would could point to and say "remember when we did that, together?" And is an opportunity for bloggers to become newsmakers, and gain exposure in the SCLM.
Certainly, there are those on all sides of the ideological spectrum who simply will not work together. It is equally certain that media coverage of any policy success will be grudging at best, and the SCLM will make every effort to give all credit to politicians or themselves. But bloggers will get some exposure to the wider world, and at least a few lawmakers will begin to take bloggers more seriously if a policy victory can be achieved.
Why RFID for Nuclear Materials?
I think an initiative to put in place a system which provides RFID tracking for all radioactive materials in the U.S. by April 15, 2005 meets all the conditions outlined above.
Why April 15
It's a date that's already significant in many peoples' minds, because it's tax day. The possibilities for sloganeering here are without end.
It coincides nicely with the first 100 days of the next presidential term.
It gives enough time to research, push for it, and see an outcome one way or another.
We don't have much time to secure this stuff. It should already be more secure than it is, and RFID seems a good way to do it.
It is a policy that will make all Americans more safe in their persons.
It is a policy that Americans can easily be made aware of, and approval will be near-universal if it reaches the larger population. The Bush administration and their allies have seen to it that the U.S. is a nation on edge. They have been moving their agenda using negative, hateful, and fear-inducing language since He took office.
It will ultimately make the world more safe, as it will reduce the amount of unmonitored nuclear material in play.
It will decrease the chance of a large-scale terrorist attack destroying our democracy.
Very few credible arguments against it exist.
It will play well in an election year, once it is in play.
Moderates of all persuasions will probably go for it.
The government may have an established time-frame to do this, and may argue that it can't be done any sooner.
It may be ruled technologically impossible. I believe this argument is without merit, but expert advice is required to be sure.
Privacy activists may oppose it with slippery slope arguments.
Corporations who would be directly affected by the costs of implementation may fight it with money and influence.
I'm out of time for this evening. Over the next week or so, I'll be googling up a feasibility study as I have time. Things I need to know, if anyone would like to help:
1. What tracking practices are already in place?
2. Who else is working on a similar project?
3. What are the limits of RFID technology?
4. Any other data that you deem useful.
5. Criticism, of course.
I can't be the only person to think of this. Where are the people who have been on this for longer than two days? Pass me on to them, if you know who they are. I need to know whether or not this is a winner.
Don't mind going out on a limb all alone, but boy do I hate to waste my time.
-Updated to correct mispellings, because I simply can't abide them.
"The purpose of the Manifesto is not to create an organization or impose rules. It's mainly intended as a call to arms with an outline of how to fight back. More later."
If CEOs and soldiers can run on and on in serious conversations about winning without fighting, then surely bloggers can organize without an organization. I will be glad when the "more" arrives.
I'd like clarify one earlier point from my post last night. What I'm getting at when I talk about blogosphere as lobby or lobbies is not some faux-corporation or NGO with a headquarters and administrators. I'm talking about finding a different way to achieve the same effect.
It's a vague idea at this point - I don't have any particular expertise to help me pin it down. It seems to me that something is needed beyond the grassroots flood 'em with mail campaign but also different from the K Street/Corporate Gov. Relations model. And it needs to have the wherewithal, eventually, to reform the lobbying industry itself through legislation.
We have a crisis of political power in this country. It is a long term crisis. I believe the media problem is one of a handful of second-tier causes for this crisis. It's so near the foundation that it looks like the root cause at times, but it's not. It is feeding a cycle founded on something else. That "something else" is the hypercitizenship we grant to corporations.
Corporations have just as many, or more rights than any citizen. They can prey on one another and on every citizen with impunity. The tax laws favor them, allowing them to accumulate an ever-increasing share of the total wealth we all generate. I'll engage in reckless metaphor here: They are the privileged archons, the praetorian guard, and the immortal titans of our society, all rolled into one. So the last thing we need to do is just form more of them. Instead, we need to reform our laws. The People built these titans, and only The People can restore them to their appropriate place in the polis.
The problem as I see it: The only way to get to the corporate citizenship problem is to deal with the media issues first. I believe that. The group that controls the biggest share of the transmitters will win, the debate, time after time, by swaying a majority outright or convincing them to be apathetic. That's why the "Media Revolt Manifesto" inspires such hope for me.
Just in case it's never occurred to you, perhaps you'd like to know Who Owns the Media? It's not a list as long one might think. I love Mediachannel and Take Back the Media.
- The 4th Geneva Convention is here. A cursory scan will tell you much about the Total Failure of Leadership that's damaging our nation.
I won't be re-writing the draft I posted last night for a while. If you happen to find it, please help me sort out the good ideas from the ones that are based on false assumptions, undue optimism and plain old desperation. I find it difficult to critique my own work. The idea that I'm going to focus the most on for the immediate future is A Specific Policy Initiative for the Blogosphere - RFID for All Radioactive Material in America by Tax Day, 2005.
If you know that the government already has a schedule to do this, please fill me in so I don't waste my time on it. I have only Google to work with, but all I can find is that some people think it will happen eventually, and are advising investors that RFID is a good investment. Before I'm done this evening, I'll provide a post that explains why I think it's important to find an issue that all bloggers can get behind, why I think this is the one, and what, exactly I mean when I talk about the "blogosphere."
Changes to the blog
I'll be posting from here on out as E. It's a better stand-in for my name. Enkidu seemed like a good idea when I started this. I find the Epic of Gilgamesh to be instructive many different levels. Perhaps one day I will post my thoughts on it and invite comments. In any case, the name now seems a tad pretentious.
Also, it occurred to me today that Enkidu has six letters and starts with a vowel. I think that's setting the bar a bit high for a neophyte pseudonymous blogger, if you know what I mean.
Monday, May 10, 2004
All the Freepers and Dittoheads who have been calling people like Enkidu traitors since it all began will believe we've actually won.
Think about everything else they've swallowed over the last 3 years. They'll believe it. They want to believe it. They'll go on and on about how right they were.
And GWB will still lose the election.
After considering the Orcinus Manifesto and Lambert's follow-up at length, I have ideas.
Mainstreaming the Blogosphere
The blogosphere represents a small segment of the population, but it seems to be a segment ripe for mobilization. It seems to me that historically, the most rapid and massive political changes within states have occurred not because a great collective realizes a paradigm shift and changes the way it does things, but because a small, persistent and vocal minority drags everyone else along.
It goes with out saying that others must be drug along peacefully and legally, adhering strictly to methods consistent with civil politics. This part is essential. When a democracy veers off course, it is my theory that it can only be set right with reform. Once the stage of foundation has passed in a democracy, any violent conflict, even with the "purest" of motives, will only weaken it further or destroy it altogether. This has been one of my major concerns with the War on Iraq all along, and one of the reasons I've been railing to friends and familiy about the militarization of our police forces since the late 1980s.
The problem of bringing blogs to people who don't have computers is a big one. A smaller, and more easily surmounted problem, is bringing blogs to people who have access to the web, but don't read blogs. This should be a primary area of focus early on for those of us with expertise in marketing with technology.
Methods of transmitting URLs without technology should also be considered. I think t-shirts, bumper stickers, and fliers emblazoned only with a URL, or with a short, catchy slogan and a URL, might produce a measurable positive result. Such campaigns should be focused not on transmitting a complex message, but on generating traffic and expanding an economy of scale. Keep in mind that grassroots movements grow one person at a time.
The Times of Blogistan (not my idea, but one with merit)
Someone - I don't remember who it was, but it wasn't me, - posted an idea in comments at Orcinus and Corrente for a Blogistan Times. This has real promise. If we can hammer out a selection process, and a method of quality control, it's my opinion that this will prove to be an idea whose time has come. The genius of such a project is that it would allow me, and anyone else with a printer, for the cost of paper and toner, to distribute some of the best posts the Blogosphere has to offer to a wider audience.
For example, I might print 100 copies on a weekly basis, if that's all I could afford, and place them at two distribution points in my hometown (I can think of at least 5 proprietors to approach with this, and I live in that gothic cultural bubble known as the Deep South.) This should be even easier in areas with larger and more tolerant populations. I might even work out a deal to insert it in my free weekly shopper from time to time, if I had the resources to do so.
If only 15 of those copies of Times were actually read, and only half of those readers actually go to a site, and only half of those who go to a site take anything away, or contribute, I can consider my effort worthwhile - the blogosphere has just grown by 3 or 4 people. One of those people might eventually become a blogger. Two might pass something on to an acquaintance.
This wouldn't be cost-effective for a company or as a business, but by distributing the cost and urging people to do only what they can afford to do, we minimize the impact these diminishing returns will have on any individual. I know the idea needs a lot of work, but I see potential. If I could engage 6 to 16 fellow citizens in the blogospheric discourse every month for less than I pay for a carton of smokes, I'd do it. Wouldn't you?
I'm sketching these numbers out from memory, based on my experience with small newspaper advertising in the early 90s. I think they're very conservative. Perhaps there is an expert out there who can provide a more informed calculation.
Speaking to Power:Blogosphere as lobby
It's my theory that, in order to truly foment a revolution in media affairs, it is essential that the blogosphere spawn a coherent lobby or lobbies all its own. FCC regulations are not amended unless someone offers amendments. Elections are only one small aspect of the way government frames and directs people's lives (credit: I believe Matthew Yglesias put me onto this one - I seem to remember him bringing up this issue of direction and framing during the latter half of April.)
In order move one's own agenda forward, it is necessary to have some say in setting the agenda for the public discourse. The Fairness Doctrine will never be reinstated until fairness activists have real allies in Congress, and an executive branch that is at least neutral on media issues. Likewise for the corporate citizenship problem, which is really the problem that seems to be at the base of all of this.
Lobbying is the only way I can see to gain these needed allies. I know that, at least as I read it, the focus of the Manifesto is on accountability in the media, and on finding alternative streams of distribution for vital, truthful information. Consider, though, that knowledge is power only when it is applied to the world.
Over the long term, political organization and action in ways that move beyond and around the strict partisan way of doing business is a must. Think of David's information bottlenecks and how the blogosphere flows around them. A way must be found to inject a similar fluidity into the realm of politics, but I don't know how this is to be achieved.
Beyond this point, I run into a paradox: How do you put a face on the blogosphere? How to give it enough direction and coherence to lobby while it remains the wild and wonderful thing that it is? Who can speak for the blogosphere? It it even conceivable that one face could do so? I'm really not even comfortable speaking of "the blogosphere" in this context, but I must call it something. I'm stuck here. My own intuition tells me the lobbying model will be nothing like a lobby as we now comprehend it. But I think that in some form it is a must, so I proceed under the assumption that a lobby for the blogosphere is possible:
In order to succeed, I theorize that the following principles or conditions must be adhered to strictly:
First: the "lobbying offspring" of the blogosphere, however it evolves, shouldn't be for profit. It must only support itself, at best. It cannot be a business. This is not a utopian flight of fancy. It's realism. As soon as the lobby becomes a business, it is for all practical purposes co-opted, whether by customers, advertisers, regulators, or its own "leadership."
Second: It must be bipartisan or non-partisan, and never exclusive. The purpose of this second condition is to help inoculate the blogosphere lobby from the very real danger of being highjacked by an existing political party or corporation, and to ensure that fresh ideas and censored information can always flow freely.
My basis for this entire line of reasoning is Mao's principle of transforming the guerilla force into the conventional one. This is perhaps the most useful case of stripping away context that I have ever encountered. Old Mao was an intelligent, perceptive man, his other qualities notwithstanding.
I suggest you read his treatise, but remove the baggage associated with communism and forget he's talking about warfare. (As I stressed earlier, I believe this must be affirmatively un-warlike, and a stringently lawful endeavor. That being said, I can't resist the slight overstatement that readers are the ocean that bloggerfish swim in, and Alert Readers [thanks yet again, Lambert] provide them with sustenance, without which they wither and die.)
I will even be so bold as to suggest a course of action: As a first step, go out and join the political party that most closely matches your ideology. Do what you can to gain influence locally and at the state level. This takes a lot of time, but a little money goes a long way in local politics.
The only way to have a say in the agenda, is to have a connection to the people who set the agenda. Just maintain a little perspective and keep in mind that the important thing is to move your party back in the direction of sanity. This idea may seem counterintuitive at first, and it may also seem odious if you just don't like our party system. I certainly does to me, but I'm going to hold my nose and do it.
We can vote and complain, and leave it at that, or we can be serious and begin a long journey toward our bid for true representation, for all people. That's the choice that I myself am faced with at the moment, and I'm tempted to view it as a choice faced by all Americans in general. (Of course, one could choose not to vote. To my way of thinking, casting your vote, complaining, and leaving it at that is practically the same as not voting these days.)
Don't think: how much power and influence can I, personally, wield in the near future. Think about weak connections. Think about distributed systems and degrees of separation.
Think: where is the 20-year-old that will represent me in Congress or the state legislature 10-15 years from now? Find that person, and be the person who always has a cigarette when she needs to bum one. Smoke one with her and talk about ideas. Find out what she thinks, tell her what you think. Remember (warning: more theory here) money and concentrated corporate power are not the only reason we have bad policies, any more than they are the only reason we have MWs. Rhetoric and psychology are key. Intellects are malleable, and there is value in repetition when it comes to convincing people to transform ideas into action.
The Significance of Academia (possibly jumping the shark here - that's why it's called a draft)
The academic community, if dealt with effectively, has the potential to become the queen's rook on the blogosphere side of the political chessboard. I mention this here because the condition of our universities should be a subject of concern for the politically active, left and right alike.
Academia seems to me a part of the problem we have with our media. Journalists come from all academic disciplines, but guess what? A lot of them come from journalism schools, as well. I work with academics, and I hear them say that universities are becoming more and more like businesses every day.
They tell me that employers have more to say about policies than they themselves do. They tell me that tenure is under attack. They tell me they don't feel academically free. I don't have research about this, but based on my personal interactions with faculty, college students, and administrators, I see a prima facie argument that universities are becoming corporations. True? Not sure. But if so, we're moving in the wrong direction.
I do know that at least one university journalism department in my state is "embedding" the school newspaper staff with ROTC when they go out for maneuvers. Think about that for a moment. As long as universities keep turning out "new" journalists, there is a good chance we will have the quality of journalism we see right now in America.
Those of us in academia should be thinking of ways to use the power of the blogosphere to shore up the tradition of liberal arts ed. The replacement of one of the L.A. electives in core curriculum with an ethics requirement, and giving it in-discipline status across all fields, so that everyone has to make a C in it to get their degree, would be one step in the right direction.
I readily concede that all of this particular point may be beyond the scope of the conversation we're having now, but at least think about ways of laying the groundwork for a later move, as it relates to a RMA. It may be discovered that principles which work for media reform can be adapted and applied to academic publishing, and provide us a more liberated academic ecosystem.
Pressure the Weakest Link
Jimpit posted the following comment in response to the Orcinus Manifesto:
I think a mail campaign to all the main editors/anchors/reporters/editorialists--actual physical mail--politely asking that they denounce the vast falsification we pretend is news, and that they acknowledge that current practice is killing America.
Here again, an idea with real merit. Jim suggests letters. I suggest going further than that. I suggest email, clever sign campaigns and consideration for ideas that other folks might have for doing this. Imagine the impact of even 100 people standing outside the big glass window at the Today show studio with signs that say things like: "[insert anchor name here], tell us the truth." and "[name], save your country!! Especially if they did it every day for weeks. This may not be the perfect example, but you get the idea.
For email and letters, great care should be taken to avoid astroturfing, since that would make it easier for the SCLM to call it astroturf. They'll do that anyway, but if it's really not astroturf, at least we can have evidence that it isnt, or scream "Not astroturf!" Not astroturf!" and be credible to some people for doing so.
There are two models for action that I think might be useful in an effort to persuade a few MWs to come clean and fess up. One is the tactical playbook of the anti-globalization crowd.
Another has such despicable associations that I dare not speak its name.
Warning: read entire next sentence before you scream. Most of us have heard of a movement notorious for targeting individuals, and it might be worth looking at their organizational tactics to see if they offer anything useful (other than the intimidation and violence, which are wrong, wrong, wrong - I condemn them no uncertain terms! I'm serious!)
But if they had something that could be adapted to a peaceful approach, something that could be used, without hurting anyone, to transmit to particular individuals that thousands, if not millions are on to them; that we and our families know they are lying to advance the agendas of a wealthy few; that they are standing on a stage and selling The People out to enrich themselves every day; that people are dying because of their malfeasance and we could all be next; well then, I'd say those methods should be given due consideration.
This idea strikes me as a long-shot, but hey, it's worth a shot. If there's even a chance it could work, it's a chance that should be taken. If we could convince one influential MW to come out on the air, then another, and another, it might be possible to force a point of critical mass that results in certain individuals using their celebrity status to discredit the entire pyramid. If enough people do it, it will become the cool thing to do. Imagine: what if the SCLM itself sets in motion a chain of events that unravels the entire ball of string?
There must be psychologists, sociologists and labor or other movement organizers out there who are willing to give advice on what's likely to work and how this should be carried out.
A Specific Policy Initiative for Blogosphere
Something simple and in the interest of every Earthling: Radio Frequency Identification tags on all hazardous material. Sooner, rather than later. I know this is coming eventually, but when I Google I find few specifics. I do find it mentioned as possible in a whitepaper written in April of this year by a homeland security firm. I'll dig up the link when I have a chance. Let's get on the horn to our friends on the right and make a real effort to get this done.
If we all say: "RFID on all radioactive material in America by tax day, 05!" loud enough and long enough, perhaps the Kerry campaign will see the wisdom of promising to do this during his first 100 days in office. This would be a tangible, immediate plank for his platform, and provide an opportunity for JK to butt heads with everyone who says it's impossible and show the country how resolute and decisive he can be when it comes to urgently needed policy.
It would also provide JK a chance to make real history: he could be the president who achieved something positive for all Americans during his first 100 days.
Privacy freaks (I'm one! I'm one!) should put aside their reservations on this specific point in favor of the greater good. Eventually, those of us who have identophobia are going to have to fight RFID cards for humans, whether we like it or not. We should at least get something positive out of it. We shouldn't let our fear stand in the way of a bipartisan, urgent effort to get RFID up nationwide for radioactive materials. WalMart is forcing their vendors to do it for consumer goods by 2005. So is DoD. If the Dept. of Energy, the President, and the Nasdaq players want this to happen, it can happen.
Don't think it can't be done. Think Apollo Program. Think Manhatten Project. It's a matter of priorities. Which would you rather have:
a. A missile defense system that doesn't defend us agains missiles.
b. A space crew on the way to Mars, when we aren't even sure yet that we can equip them to survive the trip
c. All radioactive material in the U.S. tracked with RFID, and before April 15, 2005.
It's win-win. Kerry strengthens his position, we gain credibility and visibility, the odds of survival increase for every person and every democracy in the world.
A Final Word
It seems presumptuous, I know, but I'd like to suggest further reading. Jim's comment set me to thinking about the various movements across Eastern Europe in the last century.
Jonathan Schell's The Unconquerable World provides a good survey of those and other peoples' movements, regardless of what you might think of his conclusion. I would suggest it as a starting point for a close examination of peaceful political movements in modern times. What strikes me most about Eastern Europe is the number of ways they managed to communicate and coordinate without the infotech that we have today.
The 20th century doesn't have to be viewed as the century when corporations and governments took over the world, because history is still being acted out. Rather, it could be viewed as the century when The People learned, finally, to innovate quickly enough to establish a new dynamic between techno-superiority and hegemonic political power. It could be the century that taught us not only that it's never enough to just be right; but also that it isn't enough to just have all the force or most of the wealth; and that no single group of people can ever own all the cameras, all the words, or all the winning ideas.
It would be great if someone actually read this and didn't consider it a waste of time. I don't know if anything here has merit, or is particularly new. I'd love for some real experts to tell me what they think, even if they think it's all balderdash. Copy it, link to it if you're inclined. It doesn't belong to me*. Tear it to shreds line by line if you're so inclined. The act of ripping it to pieces just might give you a VeryImportantIdea.
Will be revising, adding links to improve quality where I can, after it sinks in a little. I use a slow connection and work 8-5. I'm posting this as a draft in the interest of using my own abilities to move things along.
I've been working in something of a vacuum for the past two days, and haven't had time to keep up with the blogs. If anyone out there has a post that contains any of these ideas, email me. I'll gladly give you credit, link or trackback to your post, and inform my OneLonelyReader that your genius is bigger than mine.
*Caveat on subhead and ownership: Don't know if this is the best subhead for the post as it exists, but I believe "Deregulating the Marketplace of Ideas" is a meme-quality soundbite for the RMA that our more reasonable friends on the other side of the GreatCulturalDivide could really sink their teeth into. It also has an ironic up-is-down feel that makes me happy. If this turns out to actually be a good slogan, please remember me with fondness, and drop by now and again.
Re-posted to correct a few egregious typos.
Have we mentioned the Total Failure of Leadership our country is scrambling to deal with?
More to come.