YOU"LL BELIEVE A MAN CAN LICK HIS OWN ELBOW:
Here's proof. (Not for the squeamish.)
Jay L. Zilber's commentary on political, social, and cultural fringe matters.
YOU"LL BELIEVE A MAN CAN LICK HIS OWN ELBOW:
APROPOS OF NOTHINGNESS:
"You see," said my Teacher, "how little your words have done. So far as the Monarch understands them at all, he accepts them as his own -- for he cannot conceive of any other except himself -- and plumes himself upon the variety of 'Its Thought' as an instance of creative Power. Let us leave this God of Pointland to the ignorant fruition of his omnipresence and omniscience: nothing that you or I can do can rescue him from his self-satisfaction."
FULL DISCLOSURE: Justin Slotman reminds me to mention that Michelangelo Signorile has long been at odds with Sullivan for one one thing or another.
SULLIVAN UNRAVELLED AGAIN! Stop the presses! Just when you thought the whole manufactured controversey had run its course, Michelangelo Signorile, writing for that "dirty Bushie tab," The New York Press, discloses -- on behalf of a bashful Andrew Sullivan -- that
Sullivan himself has been taking money from a man who is a George W. Bush buddy, a brother of a major Bush fundraiser and a covert p.r. operative who has schemed and scammed for Philip Morris and was exposed a few years ago for creating a front group for Big Tobacco. And Sullivan hasn’t disclosed the cash transaction when he’s written glowingly of this noted gay Republican -– not to mention when he’s penned endless love letters to Bush.
Sullivan lives in a glass house within a glass house within a glass house, and as usual it is shattered by one of his own huge stones. He has a list of benefactors on his website -– you have to search around to find it –- and one of the people at the top of that list is Bush friend and public-relations operative Charles Francis, a man to whom Sullivan gave a glowing writeup only days after Francis appears to have given Sullivan some cold hard cash.
It was last December, about a week after Francis’ name was listed on Sullivan’s site as a Sullivan benefactor, when the pundit wrote in his "Daily Dish" on the home page how "the work of Charlie Francis is of enormous importance –- not just for gay Americans but also for Republicans who want to see their party grow and breathe and unite." (Francis is a founder of the Republican Unity Coalition, a gay-straight alliance.)
Francis was certainly not identified as a Big Tobacco lobbyist, nor was there any disclosure -– within the text itself, as Sullivan is demanding of Krugman and others -– that "Charlie" gave Sullivan a wad of cash to keep his website going; one has to go find that information where it’s buried away elsewhere on his site. When you do find it, Sullivan doesn’t disclose the exact dollar amount (as he also has demanded of Krugman). We are only told that Francis is a Gold Sponsor -– the top donor group, comprising people who gave $1000 and up to the site.
And Francis may be just the tip of the iceberg: there are 59 other contributors named on Sullivan’s site (and then there are the ones he says don’t want their names used), some of whom must have conflicting business interests according to the all-new Sullivan Standards of Journalism.
PARTING SHOTS: Virginia Postrel, in so many words, concedes that the whole KrugmanGate debacle boils down to Andrew Sullivan's one-man crusade against a pontificating gasbag -- and that Krugman's greatest error in judgment was that he rose to take the bait.
MIND OVER WHAT MAILBAG: The eminently sensible Mark Evanier -- whose POVonline website has lately morphed into what I would describe as the preeminent blog about comics, popular culture and show business -- adds this P.S. to my coverage of KrugmanGate:
Did Krugman poison Andrew Sullivan's lhasa apso or something like that? The whole dispute sounds very personal; like the latter has just been waiting for an opportunity to dump on the former. ... Amidst the steaming pile of debris that is Enron, the worst possible interpretation of Krugman's ethics is a gnat-bite compared to some of the tiger maulings that are now being revealed.
Reader John W. Braue, III takes me to task for perpetuating a common misconception:
Enron was only the FIFTH largest contributor to the Republican National Committee in 2000. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top five contributors to the RNC in 2000 were:
$992,115 - AT&T
$988,774 - Philip Morris
$913,905 - MBNA Corp
$900,290 - Credit Suisse First Boston
$888,265 - Enron Corp
For the record, the top five contributors to the Democratic National Committee in 2000 were:
$3,423,400 - American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees
$1,516,100 - Service Employees International Union
$1,358,400 - Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
$1,237,500 - Vyyo Inc
$1,131,500 - Communications Workers of America:
All numbers from the CRP's website at http://www.opensecrets.org/
(...When you add in their contributions to individual races, Enron may well be the largest contributor, but I don't feel like doing the arithmetic).
John ''Akatsukami'' Braue
SULLIVAN UNRAVELS (3): He won't let it go! Andrew Sullivan's latest beef is that Paul Krugman is morally suspect -- not for accepting a consulting fee from Entron per se, but for failing to insist that they knock it down from the original $50,000 to, say, a Sullivan-sized $7,500 or thereabouts.
Reader Glenn Cordua thinks Enron bought the proverbial pig in a poke when they donated the entirety of my great-aunt Zelda's 401k retirement fund to the RNC:
Actually, in terms of the policies implemented and recommended by the Bush administration, I would score this one as a clean and complete wipeout for ENRON. From the rejection of Kyoto, to the strong recommendation to open ANWR, to the removal of Hebert as FERC chair, to the proctological examination of ENRON, DYNEGY, and all the other Californicating energy traders since late last spring under the direction of Pat Wood at the FERC (still under way), and many other details too numerous to list. To those of us in Houston, and familiar with the energy industry, the sweep of ENRON's skunking by the Bush administration in 01 was breathtaking.
RANDOM KITTEN SERVER! They're soooooo cuuuuute!
SULLIVAN UNRAVELS (2): Amidst all the verbiage that spewed from and about him over past week, Andrew Sullivan did say -- and I have to take him at his word -- that "l'affaire Krugman" has nothing to do with ideology, and that his "...criticisms would apply to anyone of any politics on the take from Enron and not disclosing fully, including the fee."
SULLIVAN UNRAVELS (1): By the time I finally had a chance to collect my thoughts, volumes enough had already been written about Andrew Sullivan's eagerness to discover (or imagine) ethical lapses on the part of Paul Krugman, for taking money from Enron before he was hired by the New York Times. Nevertheless, I am still compelled to weigh in, even at this late date.
I'M A FAILURE! I must be. Otherwise, while he was busily trashing the entire, insular WarBlog community for -- what? Not being as clever a group of writers as, say, the typical ex-Suck.com writer? -- Tim Cavanaugh would surely have found some fault with a throwaway kind word or generous remark I'd made in the pages of Mind Over What Matters, lo these past three months.
BLOWIN' IN THE WIND: "So Osama Bin Laden didn't kill Charles Bishop and Accutane didn't either. What did? Mental illness. That's sad. But it's not news."
Look at the numbers. According to the Miami Herald and other papers, 147 out of 12 million Accutane users between 1982 and May 2001, an 18-year span, were hospitalized for depression or committed suicide. That's about 1.25 hospitalizations or suicides per 100,000 Accutane users. But the suicide rate among Bishop's age group, 15-24, is about 15 per 100,000 per year. Which makes it sound that if you don't want your kids to kill themselves, you should put them on Accutane, and fast."
INCREDIBLE! I've hardly posted a worthy paragraph since the holidays, and still you people keep coming back, looking for more. Bless you all. The long drought is nearly over. My DSL connection is back -- Blogger seems to be working reliably (for the moment) -- at this point, fatigue remains the only obstacle to the resumption of a near-daily posting schedule. Stay tuned...
FREE ADVICE: If you are thinking of signing up for broadband Internet service from a company called Edge Connections, do yourself a favor and stick white-hot needles into your eyes instead. Trust me -- you'll suffer far less in the long run.
IT STARTED OUT LIKE ROMEO AND JULIET --
Charles Bishop's mother, Julia, and father, Charles Bishara, entered into a suicide pact after they were denied a marriage license in 1984 ... Bishop's mother, the former Julia Detore, tried to marry Bishara when she was 17 and he was 19, but the couple was denied a marriage license ... The couple stuffed rags into the tailpipe of Detore's car and tried to fill it with carbon monoxide to kill them both ... When that failed, they allegedly agreed Detore would stab Bishara with a butcher knife, and he would slash her wrists with the same knife.
Sorry for the paucity of new content lately. My DSL service is still acting cranky, and at this point, I reserve the right to do likewise.
PAUL KRUGMAN DOESN'T GET IT. At least, not in today's New York Times column, in which he is reduced to making wild guesses:
You might have expected the concentration of income at the top to provoke populist demands to soak the rich ... Indeed, the Republicans have moved so far to the right that ordinary voters have trouble taking it in; as I pointed out in an earlier column, focus groups literally refused to believe accurate descriptions of the stimulus bill that House Republican leaders passed on a party-line vote back in October.
Why has the response to rising inequality been a drive to reduce taxes on the rich? Good question. It's not a simple matter of rich people voting themselves a better deal: there just aren't enough of them. To understand political trends in the United States we probably need to think about campaign finance, lobbying, and the general power of money to shape political debate.
BREAKING NEWS: WE'RE OFFICIALLY BACK TO NORMAL! Sharks have resumed their coordinated attacks against American citizens on -- er, just slightly off -- American soil.
MORE MAILBAG: My thanks to everyone who keeps popping by, looking for new content this week and last, but I'm afraid I've done something to goof up my primary computer's device drivers -- and my backups predate the installation for my current DSL service provider -- so my broadband connection is still problematic this week. (Going in through dial-up is the royal pits.) Hopefully, we'll be more-or-less back to normal in another day or two.
Enjoyed your self-examination piece in "Mind Over What Matters," but once again I find I can't resist taking issue with a part of it: your characterization of liberal dogma that's based on the assumption that all liberals favor strict gun control. As someone who lives in the farming Midwest - where hunting is a fact of life (made some venison lasagna myself this Thanksgiving - but don't worry: I'm not personally packing - too much of a klutz for that!) - I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of left-leaning types who are not so doctrinaire on the matter of gun possession. Characterizing all gun control advocates by claiming that their only agenda is to Ban The Guns is to indulge in the type of stereotypical spinwork that sites like Spinsanity exist to counter. (Thanks for linking me to that site, incidentally!)
In this light, I also take issue with Kopel's futuristic fantasy piece: which indulges in the basic spin tactic of imagining an exaggerated situation (Does anybody realistically believe that we're gonna ban all firearms? Might as well try imagining, as Lennon also did, "no possessions" or "countries.") and then scoring ideological points from this Cloudcookooland. Are there sentimental liberals who believe that the world would be a better place if we banned all firearms (and "never more were to fire 'em," to slightly misquote XTC)? Undeniably. Are there fund-raisers who indulge in shoddy stats and Worst Case Scenarios to get money? Equally undeniable. But I think you'll find such practices as common to the NRA as its ideological opponents.
Me, I believe that guns can be as dangerous as cars - and it behooves a government that's concerned with the protection of its population to maintain some measure of control and overview of the use of both. Will this insure that no one will be injured as a result of the irresponsible or illegal use of either? Of course not. But it still makes intuitive sense to me to support some form of measured gun control - much as I support the traffic laws of the land.