The Crackpot Alarm

Darryl Pearce wrote the following in comments to an earlier post: I've already sent my letter-to-the-editor for this month (they've been rationing me). This got me thinking. I work for a medium-sized newspaper (one coworker tells me it's actually the 96th largest paper in the U.S.). We seem to publish pretty much any halfway-well-written, halfway-civil [Read More...]

Book Meme

Got team-tagged for the infamous Book Meme — both by Patrick Nielsen Hayden of ElectroMakingLite, and by James Martin of the wheatblog. Total number of books owned: About 1,500. (The total number of books owned and read would be somewhat smaller.) Last book bought: Perfectly Legal: The covert campaign to rig our tax system to [Read More...]

Hegel’s Bluff

That's what I call it. It's a rhetorical gimmick that's actually much more effective for self-deception than for the persuasion of others. It's a way of telling yourself that "Everybody thinks I'm wrong — therefore I must be right!" It's easy once you get the hang of it. Feel free to play along. Simply find [Read More...]

Torture and clarity

"What do we DO about this?" Katherine asks, cutting to the chase in comments below. Hilzoy answers that question at Obsidian Wings: Here are links to the email addresses of your Senators and Representatives. Write them and let them know that you want things clear. … I wrote to ask my Senators to support S [Read More...]

Image is everything

Style matters. Substance does not. Reality is purely a figment of perception and image is everything. That is the only lesson we can take from the apology made yesterday by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The senator was compelled to apologize following public pressure after he read the following description, from an FBI agent's report from [Read More...]

Civic duty

I'm trying to follow the logic here. It's not nice to call people "Hitler." I get that, really. That much makes sense. Adolf Hitler was a mass-murderer and one of the worst tyrants in human history, so not only is calling someone "Hitler" not nice and not conducive to civil discourse, it's also ridiculously inaccurate. [Read More...]


I'm the screen, the blinding light I'm the screen, I work at night I see today with a newsprint fray My night is colored headache grey Don't wake me with so much Daysleeper – REM, "Daysleeper" I like my job, really. I like what I do, and I'm good at it. But the hours suck. [Read More...]


On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had [Read More...]