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January 02, 2011

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Happily, of course, as things ended up, given that cooler heads prevailed, even Phyllis Schafly is free to duck into the House of Representatives Men's Washroom, open the trap door on her bunny suit, and take a unisex pee without fear of prosecution, although Eric Cantor has been known to flee shrieking when it happens.

That she pees standing up is a fact that makes John Boehner cry the tears of a man who feels deeply the bedrock Constitutional principle that all corporations are created equal.

The funny thing is, the power of the SCOTUS to decide what is constitutional and what is not is not in the Constitution. That power was established (based, apparently, on penumbras emanating from the common law and maybe the Federalist Papers) in Marbury v Madison .

But it's not in the Constitution.

So if we want to be really, really originalist, Scalia has bugger-all to say about what is and what is not Constitutional. Or, at least, his opinion carries no more weight than anyone else's.

To be honest, I'd completely forgotten about TiO. When I first heard about it (and its predecessor) I appreciated the idea, I just didn't think it'd be constructive for me to take already-unproductive arguments somewhere else so that they can get flogged to death. That's not to say it doesn't serve a good purpose, just that it wasn't for me.

I just clicked through the link provided upthread for why Marty stopped commenting, and was surprised at what I found--that I was mentioned by name as the catalyst for someone else to leave. So I hunted down the offending thread and reviewed it.

I remember it well now, but it simply hadn't stuck in my mind past the day it happened. If anything, I was in agreement with the person who said that most of us were probably failing to communicate rather than holding substantially different beliefs.

The exception, of course, was my disagreement with JamieM. Try as I might, I just can't even in retrospect reconcile our two worldviews. That's unfortunate, but it happens. People believe different things, and our worst conflicts come when we get too invested in trying to make other people think the way we do. I'm guilty of plenty of that myself.

Still, I'm looking at the thread again and having trouble seeing exactly just how I pissed JamieM off so much. We weren't flaming each other, just disagreeing very passionately about a point which appears to be a critical way in which our first principles differ.

But clearly it was enough to drive him/her away. To tell the truth I've never seen anyone write about me with the depth of loathing JamieM did on TiO. I hope never to again.

With all of that said, I'm keenly aware of how abrasive I can be when I think someone is egregiously wrong about something, and it's something I've been working on for a long time. It's part of the reason I don't spend a lot of time commenting on political blogs anymore: as I mentioned in a recent thread, the criminal negligence of today's Republican Party and the kind of damage they are doing to this country has pretty much robbed me of any ability to be even-tempered with anyone who has the poor judgment to try defending that party and its agenda. And this is a perfect example: this is about as much as I was able to sanitize this paragraph of loaded language and still be honest about where I stand. I don't like the spillover that has had on my interactions with non-Republicans.

So consider this my unqualified apology to JamieM.

"Finally, I'm not sure why we should be forever bound by the failure of an Amendment to pass."

We're not. You can try to pass it again.

I'm old enough to remember the argument over the ERA, and the opponents weren't saying it was redundant. They were saying it was redundant with regards to the areas where women and men should be treated equally, and excessive in that it would mandate equality where men and women shouldn't be treated equally. (Like combat, or mandating unisex bathrooms.)

In other words, they were quite clear that it would in fact change the Constitution, that the 14th amendment did not imply the ERA's substance.

You've come up with a series of proposed failing amendments, but they don't connect with what I'm saying, because they aren't amendments to change what the Constitution is currently understood to mean. You're just pretending that taking a dive on a ginned up amendment to restate current understanding is the same as seriously trying to change the Constitution and failing.

What's been done with the ERA, effectively implementing it through the courts after it was defeated, just underscores what living constitutionalism is about: Providing a way to circumvent Article V, so that the states are stripped of their power under that Article to reject changes.

As for the civil rights act, the conservative position was that the 14th amendment, by it's very language, only permitted the federal government to regulate state governments, not individuals. The federal government was authorized to require state governments to treat their citizens equally. Not to require individual Americans to treat their neighbors equally.

Maybe you think it should have been written to extend that far, but that's not what the text that was actually ratified did.

It is so handy to perceive the Constitution as only protecting the rights of the individual doing the perceiving and no one else.

Just like its so handy to conceptualize government as having a legitmate role only in serving one's interests and no one else's.

Just as it is handy to think that the only legitmate expenditures of tax dollras are on one one's pet issues and but money spent on anyone else or anything else is wasted.

That's how conservatives roll.

... I feel guilty stirring the pot like this - but why are we having this debate - in the past when discussions regarding the interpretations of Constitution came up Brett's belief was that anyone who didn't share his interpretation - was a fundamentally dishonest liar.

Catsy:

The exception, of course, was my disagreement with JamieM. [...] The exception, of course, was my disagreement with JamieM. [...] Still, I'm looking at the thread again and having trouble seeing exactly just how I pissed JamieM off so much. [...] So consider this my unqualified apology to JamieM.
I suggest apologizing to JanieM instead. :-)

[...] I feel guilty stirring the pot like this - but why are we having this debate - in the past when discussions regarding the interpretations of Constitution came up Brett's belief was that anyone who didn't share his interpretation - was a fundamentally dishonest liar.
It's my experience that it's best not to assume that someone stands by words written many months ago, over a few moments, without asking them again if they still stand by those words.

People who have never written anything they've ever changed their mind about, or in retrospect considered that other wording would have more accurately represented their views, are exempt from this observation. :-)

Also: people have debates because they have them. One might also ask "why have comment threads on blogs?" or "why have conversations with other people whose minds we can't read?"

People debate and converse because it's what people do.

Like you just did. :-)

That's why.

wonkie:

[...] That's how conservatives roll.
Gentle reminder that the Posting Rules say:
[...] Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool)
Consider your reaction to a comment that included "That's how [PROGRESSIVES/LIBERALS/LEFTISTS/DEMOCRATS/GREENS] roll," perhaps?

People remain individuals. Everyone.

Everyone. Everyone. Everyone.

If anyone wishes to be treated as an individual, not a label, I'm not clear what justification they might have for ever complaining when other people respond, or originate, by responding as if their interlocutor is homogenous with tens of millions of other people.

I've yet to meet a person who is interchangeable with another person.

I've yet to meet a person who wishes to be treated as interchangeable and their entire life and worldview treated as reducible to a one-word label.

I'd be very interested if anyone could introduce me to anyone who works that way.

Does anyone know anyone like that?

I've yet to meet a person who is interchangeable with another person.

Of course. And that's why, when you meet a new person, your first reaction is always and everywhere to ask them if they speak English. Right? I mean, no one in interchangable with anyone else. And since people are all unique and special snowflakes, you can't just assume things about them like what languages they speak. Right?

The truth is that for many questions, people are actually quite interchangable. For the question of 'will this person speak english', white folks in America are generally interchangable. Obviously, when we're dealing with sets consisting of hundreds of millions of people, no statement will apply to all of them, but lots of interesting statements will apply to a very large fraction of them. Statistics are useful.

So I think talk of whether individuals are completely interchangable misses the point. In practice, for a sufficiently narrow question, it is quite easy to reduce people to a one word label. For example, 'who did you vote for in the last Presidential election?' reduces almost the entire pool of recent Presidential voters very nicely into two classes...differentiated by two...labels. Whether you know the right word or have a sufficiently narrow question is a different matter, but that's not the issue you raised.

Featherless bipeds, all...

What's been done with the ERA, effectively implementing it through the courts after it was defeated, just underscores what living constitutionalism is about: Providing a way to circumvent Article V, so that the states are stripped of their power under that Article to reject changes.

Nothing's been done with the ERA. What has been done is that both the courts and Congress have ruled that women are persons, and that rights, protections, or privileges that apply to persons apply to them.

And that is prohibited precisely nowhere in the Constitution.

Congress makes law, the courts rule on what law means and how it applies. I don't see a problem here.

Maybe you think it should have been written to extend that far, but that's not what the text that was actually ratified did.

The Constitutional warrant for the Civil Rights Act includes not only the 14th Amendment, but also the 15th, and the commerce clause.

Also, basic human decency, but I digress.

It only requires people to treat their neighbors equally in those areas that are within scope of what Congress can legislate.

Unfortunately, Congress has no power to legislate on stupidity, ignorance, or unthinking hatred.

They were saying it was redundant with regards to the areas where women and men should be treated equally, and excessive in that it would mandate equality where men and women shouldn't be treated equally.

Here is the entire text of the proposed ERA. Can someone highlight the part about bathrooms for me?

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

They were saying it was redundant with regards to the areas where women and men should be treated equally

This is hilarious considering that the Ledbetter bill just became law LAST YEAR.

They were saying it was redundant with regards to the areas where women and men should be treated equally, and excessive in that it would mandate equality where men and women shouldn't be treated equally. (Like combat, or mandating unisex bathrooms.)

Aside from the silliness that Phil already pointed out, wouldn't the truth of this argument still mean that Scalia is wrong, considering the bolded part, Brett?

I suggest apologizing to JanieM instead. :-)

Bah, that's what I get for trying to post when tired.

Brett: You've come up with a series of proposed failing amendments, but they don't connect with what I'm saying, because they aren't amendments to change what the Constitution is currently understood to mean. (Brett's emphasis)

Understood by whom? What evidence do you have that there is this current (your word) belief that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not bar overt discrimination on account of sex by state governments? Scalia would say that "no one" believed that at the time it was adopted (despite what appears to be evidence to the contrary) and thus it can't be the case that it bars state sanctioned sex discrimination, despite the "plain text" of the 14th Amendment to which he is supposedly trying to be faithful to.

Bretty: What's been done with the ERA, effectively implementing it through the courts after it was defeated, just underscores what living constitutionalism is about: Providing a way to circumvent Article V, so that the states are stripped of their power under that Article to reject changes.

Why can't it be that the people behind the ERA and who voted to ratify it in state legislatures were dunderheads who didn't realize that the principles of the ERA were already enshrined in the Constitution under the 14th Amendment? Or that believed that such principles were in fact enshrined in the 14th Amenmdent but didn't want to leave those that didn't believe so any wiggle room? OR, indeed, that there was any single reason why the people who supported the ERA did so (and why those who opposed it did so) such that you can draw the conclusion that the failure to ratify it means that its principles can't already be in the Constitution?

It's my experience that it's best not to assume that someone stands by words written many months ago, over a few moments, without asking them again if they still stand by those words.

Well, I really don't care if a certain commenter still thinks I'm a homophobic, misogynist borderline rapist or not - but it sure put me off commenting here for a while.

Russell said:

"Here is the text of the entire of the proposed ERA. Can someone highlight the part about bathrooms for me?"

In Section 1, the "u" in "under", the "n" in "not", the "i" in denied, the "sex" in "sex", the "b" in "abridged", etc. etc. clearly spells out unisex bathrooms.

Plus, if you listen to Phyllis Schafly's stemwinders back in the day, you can detect very clearly in the background the sounds of toilets flushing.

Now, for the strict constructionist conservatives among us, the fact that the ERA did not pass spelled out as clear as skywriting by word of mouth that Lester Maddox may prevent, through the wielding of ax-handles, Rosa Parks from utilizing the bathroom in his restaurant, despite the fact that Republican Steve King is permitted to use Maddox's bathroom to go Number Two, but that may be a good thing, because it reduces the incidence of King going Number Two all over the floor of the House of Representatives.

If "Do Not Discriminate" is not clearly spelled out in a Constitutional Amendment and voted affirmatively on by whatever number of individuals in whatever number of the 50 states, then the writing on the wall of the men's bathroom at the National Republican Committee headquarters shall maintain precedence, which clearly states "Discriminate to your heart's content.", among other suggestions.

It's like when Michael Steele reads his favorite book "War and Peace" and quotes its memorable opening lines "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."

Kind of.

"Here is the text of the entire ... " ah, crap!

Could the Sargeant at Arms please read the text of Russell's question to me out loud?

Turb:

Of course. And that's why, when you meet a new person, your first reaction is always and everywhere to ask them if they speak English. Right?
No. I listen to or read their English, and use my skills to determine whether to ask them, at an appropriate moment, only if necessary, if English is their second language.

It's rarely necessary to even indirectly ask.

Well, I really don't care if a certain commenter still thinks I'm a homophobic, misogynist borderline rapist or not - but it sure put me off commenting here for a while.

If I cared anything at all for the opinions of people who treat all conservatives as part of a single, evil monolith, I wouldn't, either.

For good or ill, though, I don't have that particular concern.

The trick is, I think, to have a much thicker skin where it comes to discussion than you do in all other aspects of your life. Blog commenting is, after all, just words.

novakant:

Well, I really don't care if a certain commenter still thinks I'm a homophobic, misogynist borderline rapist or not - but it sure put me off commenting here for a while.
Entirely understandable.

We all have feelings.

All of us.

If I cared anything at all for the opinions of people who treat all conservatives as part of a single, evil monolith, I wouldn't, either.

liberals could be substituted for conservatives in the above sentence without losing any of the flavor of it.

If I cared anything at all for the opinions of people who treat all conservatives as part of a single, evil monolith, I wouldn't, either.

To distill down much of what I said, above: it isn't about you. It's about someone's cartoon version of you.

Being gone doesn’t mean not peeking in now and then. Then one thing leads to another.

Seeing what Gary was up to in this thread, I’ve been following it desultorily -- and unfiltered. Having ignored my own advice to myself and read Marty’s comments along with the rest, I was going to go away again as usual, but Catsy’s comments made me change my mind.

*****

Catsy, thanks. I apologize in my turn. I’ve already said (both here, at the time, and later, at TiO) that I was having a bad day and was unhappy with my own part in the exchange we had, not just with you.

Also, you were not “the cause” of me leaving, it was more like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I explained this as well, I believe, both here and at TiO, and am not going to go over it at length now, especially in a thread where Gary is trying to revitalize the blog. Speaking only for myself, I need a life. Sitting around all day reading and sometimes participating in Obsidian Wings threads had come to be a major impediment to that quest. The repetitiveness of the arguments about things like marginal tax rates and wealth distribution didn’t help, nor did what I felt to be the increased rancorousness of a lot of threads. (I was here for less than 3 years; I’m sure some of the older hands could point to times when the rancor was far worse and more pervasive, but I’m talking about my own tolerance levels, plus my own preferences about how to spend my time.)

A discussion about where we disagree about first principles would be valuable, in theory. In practice, that particular day, my worst (most hair-trigger, heavily primed) buttons were pushed. All I can say in brief is that I felt condescended to, both in the abstract and in the back-and-forth, and I wasn’t feeling well, and it was a bad day in general, and I reacted badly. Ultimately, it was watching myself, more than anything else, that made me decide to try to put Obsidian Wings aside.

[More in another comment, probably.]

Gary wrote:

I've yet to meet a person who is interchangeable with another person.

Brett wrote:

The federal government was authorized to require state governments to treat their citizens equally. Not to require individual Americans to treat their neighbors equally.

There has to be an entire riff on the nature of the relationship or non-relationship between those two sentences, but in deference to Cleek I'll observe brevitity (Gary's spelling ;) up thread but I'll leave it alone) and retire for the day or the week.

It occurs to me that one's mother (with the exception of Ma Kettle) does not believe in the interchangeability of each of their beloved children with other people, but that one's Drill Sargeant in the Marines, in the carrying out of his or her duties, will mold you into an interchangeable part of a cohesive unit.

And when your cannon fodder body is sent back in a body bag, you'd better believe the Marines will find another interchangeable you to take the next bullet.

I doubt all but the most sensitive mothers can pick out, even with a magnifying glass, their individual offspring from an aerial photograph of the Marines mustered for parade on any given Sunday. Those mothers would have the same

And why is it that "on the job" in America, we're told that everyone can be replaced? All of us are expendable, blah, blah, blah?

See ya.

"Those mothers would have the same"

The same what, John?

The same problem picking out their individual child as a North Korean mother would have identifying their individual child in an aerial photograph of the North Korean Army on parade.

Nice to see you again, JanieM.

Nice to see you again, JanieM.

Ditto. And I just today saw for the first time your comment in the "offending thread" inviting me to e-mail you, Janie, in case you ever get down to Philly to visit your friend, so we might get together. I will be e-mailing you presently, after however-many months. Hogan and I have gotten together for happy hour. Perhaps we can all three (and whoever else) do so at some point in the not too distant future.

Make sure it's only for the day, John. No one is expendable, least of all you.(Of course, I'm a Marxist Kenyan Atheist mulatto. Grain of salt, natch.)

(Of course, I'm a Marxist Kenyan Atheist mulatto. Grain of salt, natch.)

And, worst of all, you listen to metal.

I would be up for that happy hour. (I also have a sister in South Portland; I'll try to find you, JanieM, next time I'm up that way.)

hairshirthedonist:

And, worst of all, you listen to metal.
I am compelled to say that that made me laugh quite loudly.

Shackleton the cat did sleep through it, but he'd practically sleep through being thrown against a wall. :-)

Thanks.

And, worst of all, you listen to metal.

That I do, my friend. BTW, gotta rep the hometown boys made good -- make sure to check out London, Ontario's finest party metal mavens, Baptized in Blood, on tour with Devildriver and Cancer Bats. BiB's Roadrunner debut is one of 2010's best releases, regardless of genre. Even the mighty Dave Mustaine is on the BiB bandwagon -- he's now their co-manager.

Keep it dirty in 2011, y'all.

One of, perhaps, but Enslaved and Barren Earth and Agalloch should be doing quite the number on those best of lists.

\m/

I have a hard time keeping up with the ever-expanding genres and numbers of band in metal these days. It was easy when I was in high school (if you didn't listen to total crap): Iron Maiden, Metallica, Dio, Ozzy, Judas Priest; then you had your Slayers and Megadeths and Anthraxes. Now there are more genres than there were bands back then.

Lately I have High on Fire, Decapitated, and Meshuggah in heavy rotation. Then there's my seemingly perpetual Clutch kick, if they're even metal anymore, if they ever really were. I like some of the instrumental post-rock/ambient metal stuff I've heard on Pandora - Isis, Pelican, Russian Circles.

There's just so much stuff out there, and I just know a lot of it's really good. I don't have the time to find it and I'm not sure I would know where to start if I did.

It was easy when I was in high school (if you didn't listen to total crap)

Hey, I listened to total crap. Still do, as a matter of fact. What's it to you?

Thanks, Hogan and hairshirthedonist. It’s nice to see you here. :)

hairshirt, I saw your email and will answer soon.

Hogan, it would be fun to get together in Maine -- you can write to ObWiBoston at gmail and I’ll answer from my own email account, then we’ll have a way to be in touch. (ObWiBoston is in effect a group account -- I’m not the only one who can access it, just FYI.)

hairshirthedonist - "There's just so much stuff out there, and I just know a lot of it's really good. I don't have the time to find it and I'm not sure I would know where to start if I did."

Try lastfm and do a tag search (i.e. post-metal, given your Isis/Pelican/Russian Circles there to find bands like Cult of Luna, Jesu, The Ocean and Baroness) or find a band you like and look for similar artists. Don't wade into the comments on the artists much if you value sanity, but it's a great resource for finding new music without much effort.

Also, once you find a smaller label artist you like a lot be sure to hit their label to see if there's anyone else there you like. A little traction goes a long way. I got up to speed pretty quick this way.

Roadrunner only signs bands once they are big. For the really vital scene you have to find the smaller labels and then keep the bands you like going through shirts and tickets.

Since I’m here today and probably gone tomorrow, I’d like to say a few things for myself in case anyone is tempted to mistake the Janie-figment in Marty’s imagination for me. Marty is coy about naming names, lumping me with the other villains over at TiO who, he complains, are lumping him together with...oh, never mind. I will simply out myself as one of the people he’s referring to, if not the only one.

He writes, "I haven't used cleeks magic code to screen people I disagree with.” This is aimed at me, but it’s the figment-Janie in Marty’s imagination, not me, who filters people she disagrees with. Me, I filtered a tiny handful of handles, not because of disagreement but because of...not to weasel around it...dislike.

I filtered Marty, Catsy, and one other commenter: one I virtually never agreed with and confess to disliking intensely, one I almost always agreed with but who pushed some of my buttons one day in a way that made me dislike both him and myself, and one there’s no need to mention.

I never stopped reading McKinney, Brett, GOB, bc, or von -- to mention a few commenters I disagreed with more often than not. I love reading intelligent arguments in favor of positions I don't agree with. That's why I not only kept reading McKinney but in a bloggy way considered him a friend.

cleek said it more succinctly: “disagreement is fine with me. being an ass for the sake of being an ass is not.”

In this very thread, Marty still misses the point of things I’ve said, still ascribes other points to a figment of his imagination onto which he has slapped my name, and is still unpleasant about it. This is vintage; see http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2009/11/wanted-thread-or-alive.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e20120a65de398970b#comment-6a00d834515c2369e20120a65de398970b>here and http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2010/04/ears-and-noses-will-be-the-trophies-of-the-day.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e2013480588cd5970c#comment-6a00d834515c2369e2013480588cd5970c>here for more. I put Marty in the filter because I don’t have time to waste on someone who declines to distinguish me from the voices in his head (see the second link; I am not making this up) or from other commenters, and who can’t be troubled to clarify his thought trains when they make no sense. Which is often, as when (first link) he says people campaigning for same-sex marriage are bad (“they will get theirs and screww the rest”) because they’re not campaigning for the rights of unmarried heterosexual couples to....what? In a thread that lasted for almost two weeks, in which Marty was asked more than once to clarify this and other things he wrote, we never found out. The fact that same-sex couples simply want the same right that heterosexual couples already have -- to go down to the town hall and get married -- seemed completely lost on him.

*****

Blogs are voluntary. Who and how much we read, to whom, to what, how, and how much we respond -- all up to us, as long as we follow the posting rules. Marty is complaining (incoherently as usual, in my opinion) that people who have left here and gone to TiO (which is only me, as far as I can tell), and things that are being said elsewhere than here, are ruining it here. For me, Marty was helping to ruin it.

Sh*t happens. People come together, they part, it happens all the time. I don’t know the magic for getting people to come back here; for me it would be a combination of what’s going on here and my ability to balance ObWi with other things.

We’ll see, on both counts. I miss a lot of people from here, however merely pixelish we may be to each other. Happy 2011 to all.

I know I value what exchanges we've had, JanieM. I've also seen you get your buttons pushed, but I tend to stand back and let you vent, rather than talk you down. Sometimes people just have to let it out, even if it means deviating from some conversational ideal they have.

It's only words. You haven't damaged or abused anyone, as far as I can see. AFAIC any beef between you and Marty is ONLY between you and Marty, and doesn't affect my relationship with either of you.

Such as it is.

It's good to see you back here, and I look forward to further participation by you here, in the event that you choose to.

Since this is an open thread, though, this story is likely to cause some of the no-vaccines-for-my-child crowd a little heartburn:

(CNN) -- A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."

Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.

RTWT as inclined.


some of the no-vaccines-for-my-child crowd

Vaccination for communicable diseases should be mandatory, regardless of parental wishes. This is such a no-brainer that even my former right-wing nut self thought this should be the case.

Vaccination for communicable diseases should be mandatory, regardless of parental wishes. This is such a no-brainer that even my former right-wing nut self thought this should be the case.

Note that there are some people who for medical reasons cannot take some vaccines.

And while I agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure this is the hill I want to do die on. People get completely irrational when you talk about government coercion and their children in the same sentence. Making it completely mandatory would trigger a firestorm of outrage and create a vast opportunity for demagogues. There are a lot of people who right now will happily get their kids vaccinated because the nice pediatrician said they should but who will totally flip out if a heavy handed mandate compels them to. Nice pediatrician can turn into an arrogant overbearing thug who "KNOWS BETTER THAN ME WHAT's GOOD FOR MY CHILD" in a heartbeat.

I think anti-vax sentiment and anti-GM sentiment that debbie raised in the other thread are closely related. People feel that the physical environment isn't safe (i.e., there are chemicals everywhere, Monsanto is resequencing genes left and right, etc.), but they have no clue how to protect their children from those invisible dangers. Impotence leads to rage and a certain gullibility. I mean, Jenny McCarthy, really? For real? Are you serious?

In the thread on Bradley Manning's conditions of confinement, I said that the Obama administration had countenanced the torture of at least one U.S. citizen.

Make that two.

Yes, their Kuwaiti clients did the actual torturing, but anyone who thinks this was done without the knowledge of the U.S. government is wilfully naive.

Gulet Mohamed's treatment is easier for many people to name as torture than the extended solitary and sleep deprivation to which Manning is being subjected.

But remember! "America" doesn't torture.

I do have to say that this whole business of the U.S. gov't using its foreign allies to torture U.S. citizens by proxy and then barring those same citizens from re-entering the U.S. by placing them on the no-fly list is a bit unseemly. Perhaps we shouldn't be doing that. Shining city on a hill and all.

Oh, this was a "Mr. Mohamed"? Nevermind.

Nell, of course, beat me to it. Stupid, non-comment-updating-preview-function.

Turb - not sure I disagree with any of that.

But remember! "America" doesn't torture.

Let's look on the bright side. America has always commanded its allies to torture or murder random people often for little or no reason. Traditionally, American citizens have been exempted. But now, that exemption is falling away! Now, American citizens can partake in the glorious treatment meted out by our government, without discrimination!

That bending you see isn't Mr Mohamed's tibia shattering in response to a club; it is the very arc of the universe bending towards justice.

I think anti-vax sentiment and anti-GM sentiment that debbie raised in the other thread are closely related.

One thing that seems common, from what I've seen, heard and read, is that anti-vax and anti-GM arguments tend to ignore or underestimate the problems with not having vaccinations and GM food. The ones making those arguments haven't experienced the horrors of, say, polio or, as Gary pointed out on the other thread, mass starvation. Vaccines and GM food didn't come about for nothing, or solely for profit.

Note that there are some people who for medical reasons cannot take some vaccines.

Which makes it that much more important that everyone else be vaccinated, thereby not serving as hosts for the organisms that will harm those who cannot be vaccinated. (But I agree about the likely bad reactions to gov't mandates.)

Shining city on a hill and all.

ease of defense against rabble and ease of waste elimination are the best reasons to put your city on a hill in the first place.

ease of waste elimination

Another pithily elegant restatement of "sh!t rolls downhill".

Second what Slartibartfast said at January 06, 2011 at 10:21 AM to you, JanieM, particularly the last 'graph.

Slart:

Since this is an open thread, though, this story is likely to cause some of the no-vaccines-for-my-child crowd a little heartburn
After most of that crowd have died, possibly.

People fixate on a cause like this because:
1) it's their child. The most important thing in the world to them, naturally, is the Find The Answer.
2) People will go for the easiest answer they can understand and latch onto.
3) "Vaccines" are an easy answer.
4) People have now fed and supported that answer, no matter they have no qualifications whatever to give an accurate answer, and don't, and in fact, make a cause and a living out of, to be sure, their own ignorant good faith, and belief they are helping others in need.
5) Once people have an idea in their heads, and it comforts them, they're far more resistant to changing their minds than they even normally are, and most people are resistant to changing their minds on anything, let alone anything important, let alone what they think will save the life of their child, and other people's children.

So I don't suggest any breath-holding on this.

It'll happen as soon as people stop believing in astrology, ghosts, life beyond the grave, auras, crystals, past lives, channelling, that all "radiation" is dangerous, that nuclear bombs can destroy all life on earth, or humanity, that the moon landings were a hoax, that aliens stuck probes up their rear end, and a gazillion other things people firmly believe that are far less important to them than their own children.

In my opinion. I could cite research, but won't. :-)

Turb:

[...] People get completely irrational when you talk about government coercion and their children in the same sentence. Making it completely mandatory would trigger a firestorm of outrage and create a vast opportunity for demagogues.
Firmly agree.

Sad, but true.

It would be nice if we lived in a population where everyone were high-information, trained in critical thinking, and applying the scientific method, but that isn't something I expect to see in my lifetime absent the arrival of a Singularity I don't actually expect to "live" to see.

Though anyone who wants to freeze my head as soon as I'm dead, and is willing to pay for it, has my full permission, let me state for the record.

Put me in your freezer, where you can wave hi to me whenever you get out some frozen veggies or chicken. I'd like that.

:-)

Also, the rest of what Turb said, Nell said, Ugh said, Ugh again, Turb again, hairshirthedonist, and Slart, through 12:08 PM.

Now we're even, Gary. I made you laugh yesterday. You made me laugh today.

Also, what cleek wrote at 12:03 PM. Sorry, cleek: omission was purely accidental.

Cross-posted. I owe you now, since you made me laugh again.

The alternative to GM food is not mass starvation.

The alternative to vaccinations is mass disease.

Putting people who object to one in an "anti-science" bucket with the other and dismissing them both thereby is an un-thoughtful and uninformed move. Not up to the usual hsh standard.

Open thread on its last legs, but I thought this was funny. Well, as funny as ignoramuses can be funny:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/06/two-house-republicans-vot_n_805423.html

Washington Monthly has more about the difficulties this might pose for those Constitutional scholars who voted before being sworn in, as the Constitution demands under the stupidity clause.

But then, not to many elected morons were listening:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/1/6/933803/-If-a-Constitution-fell-in-the-forest...

"It'll happen as soon as people stop believing in astrology, ghosts, life beyond the grave, auras, crystals, past lives, channelling, that all "radiation" is dangerous, that nuclear bombs can destroy all life on earth, or humanity, that the moon landings were a hoax, that aliens stuck probes up their rear end, and a gazillion other things people firmly believe that are far less important to them than their own children."

Disbarring lawyers who buy fraudulent 'research' designed to give them an excuse to sue innocent people for a gazzillion dollars might be a good start, though.

When the anti-vaccine thing came up last time, I wrote something about the motivations of the anti-vaccine crowd and it might be worth repeating here, especially since the label 'anti-science' has come up. While I'm not against vaccines in any way, I think it is a bit harsh to paint with such a broad brush and it is useful to see what points led to their conclusion, aside from questions of emotional attachment

-autism seems to share a constellation of symptions with mercury poisoning
-there has been a rise in the number of children diagnosed with autism that correlates with the advent of mass vaccination
-the Thimerosal, (46% mercury) used in vaccines had never been tested (as indeed, most things have never been) for harmful side effects
-When reviewed, many of the studies that dealt with mercury toxicity noted a correlation between body weight and amount of mercury, which potentially could magnify effects in a new-born
-a number of conservative effects were seen when thimerosal was questioned, including companies trying to preserve their bottom line and lag time to create alternative vaccine delivery systems.

While on some levels, vaccines cause autism may have been an easy answer, but the history of science is replete with stories of easy answers that have turned out to be correct. (my favorite one, peptic ulcers and H. pylori, though this piece tries to argue that it's all in a days work for modern medical research. While I agree there is some mythmaking involved here, I don't believe that the medical establishment comes out smelling like a rose in this)

I say all this not to defend Wakefield in any way, nor to claim that anti-vaccine folks were right, but it seems that in a lot of scientific controversies, the desire to paint opponents are being anti-science leads to a narrative of 'gee, how could any idiot believe that'. You often get this flavor in looking at recountings of debates about ether as a medium of transmission of light, phlogiston as the burnable essence or early theories of motion as impetus. We would be much better served by understanding what things led people to posit and believe things that are subsequently proven false and how the proof addressed the issues that were initially raised. Often times, the proof doesn't directly address the issues raised, but creates a compelling framework that fits in better with our knowledge of other things. I suppose part of this is our natural impatience and our desire to have a knockout fact or observation that can be deployed rather than taking the time to draw together a range of facts, or as Gary says, the desire for an easy answer. But (and I am addressing this to myself as much as to anyone here) that temptation can really be problematic in both directions.

sorry I should have had this link for mythmaking

Not up to the usual hsh standard.

ouch!/thanks?

open thread, right?

Gary, you're looking very slim on facebook - excellent!

RE: increase in autism.

Is there really and increase in the number of children with autism spectrum conditions? Or just an increase in the number of children diagnosed?

wonkie, I'm agnostic on that question, which is why I phrased it that way. I had an idea for a paper with the working title of 'The Japanese language student as autistic' because many of the behaviors of Japanese students in the language classroom (and in classrooms in general) have similarities to the autistic spectrum conditions so I spent bit of time reading about broadly about autism. Unfortunately, I couldn't really get the paper to the point of what I wanted to suggest, which was that we should look to the techniques used in teaching the autistic and try and adapt them to the language classroom without sounding dismissive of autism. I still have some vague notion of an argument that the Japanese classroom culture creates a sort of cultural autism in Japanese students that helps certain kinds of learning but hinders other kinds.

I didn't mean to imply, if I did, tht autism is over-diagnosed. However I do wonder if the increase is due to wider knowledge about autism, better screening, and a broader definition than an actual increase in occurance. Autism used to be called "childhood schzophrenia" and was a rare diagnosis of a pretty extreme condiditon. Now people who are quite functional in most respects (even exceptionally functional) are diagnosed as having one of the conditions within the spectrum.

I just don't buy the connection with vaccines when a simpler explanation is available.

Washington Monthly has more about the difficulties this might pose for those Constitutional scholars who voted before being sworn in

I loved this:

The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised.

Comedy gold. All the money in the world can't buy that kind of pure and unadulterated boneheadness. It's a heaping helping of stupid, pressed down and shaken together. It's transcendent. Incandescent, even. It shines, gleaming in the light like a rare and precious diamond.

Sorry, am I being unkind?

THEY WATCHED THE SWEARING IN CEREMONY ON THE TV WITH THEIR HANDS RAISED AND THOUGHT THEY WERE SWORN IN.

Jeebus H Christmas, with bells on. Words fail me. We've become the Winky-Dink Republic.

The next two years (at least) are gonna be like a Three Stooges marathon.

Paging Rep. Howard, Rep. Fine, and Rep. Howard!

Gary,

Regarding guest blogging, I may very well take you up on it. I have been extremely swamped at work for the past few months and had some personal/health issues that arose and demanded my attention. Nothing serious, but it resulted in less time available for blogging.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks.

THEY WATCHED THE SWEARING IN CEREMONY ON THE TV WITH THEIR HANDS RAISED AND THOUGHT THEY WERE SWORN IN.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I love it when idiots make asses of themselves. On the other, I'm not keen on making a fetish of ritual.

Swearing an oath is a ritual, like shaking hands to conclude a deal. Performing the ritual in proper form is good manners, and good manners count for something. But it is only good manners.

I do laugh at Sessions and that other guy for trying to pass off their bad manners as honest ignorance of the proper form of the swearing-in ritual. The "I'm too stupid to know better" defense is always amusing. Coming from Pete Sessions of Texas, it's also believable.

--TP

Randy: do. Please.

hairshirthedonist: 193.5 lbs. this morning.

It helps that all I found time for as I went past the fridge today was a swig of milk in the morning, later a tangerine, then later a bit of cucumber, and three baby carrots.

I'm now nibbling something before falling asleep, having finally found time to do that while, hey, writing this.

This was after, well, let's just cut and paste an excerpt from Facebook, shall we? Yes, I thought you said "yes"! I must have misheard, but that's what I heard, so:

I hobbled down to Telegraph Avenue ( a couple or so short blocks, then down Telegraph a couple of long blocks, found a place where I bought a compass to add to my keychain of solar flashlight, combination tool, emergency whistle, turned around, hobbled back.

Extremely painful. Took from 4 p.m. to about 6:45 p.m. Pain much worse half way out, ever worse until back here.

Good to do.

Would have gone to DMV if I'd gotten out at 3:30 p.m., but instead chose to rant on FB for just enough minutes [about 15 to keep me from getting back to DMV in time, in fashion that is exactly why I'm trying to limit my FB for now to posting links to such like this, which I just posted: [link to my latest post, quoting Andrew on gays in military]

I'm being more efficient since arrving in Oakland, because I have to be. And thanks to the Buspirone and Lamictal since late 2008, I can be; only circumstances in Raleigh, specifically, living conditions and environment, aka the tiny room I was in, and people I was surrounded by outside the room, prevented me from better mental health, because I need three legs on my tripod to do okay, I've learned; no particular order, because all three are necessary:
a) meds that work (for me, for now, Buspirone and Lamictal
b) environment that I can cope with, and I'm ultra super sensitive to my environment, and most specifically, the people in proximity to me, or who will be if I open my bedroom door.
c) cognitive therapy techniques and knowledge I've 99.5% taught myself from my own reading and research, like almost everything else I know in life.

If I don't have these three legs on my tripod, my stool falls over, and I fall down.

C I've mostly had for quite some time, and only been increasing.

B I had in Colorado from mid 2002 through early 2008.

A I've only had since late 2008.

First time in my life I've had all three is now. We'll see how long I can have all three, and if that's enough, or I'll fall down again, get better, or what.

Got tons else done today. Wins all around, aside from typical mistake of otherwise saying something on FB.

Meanwhile:

Back to cats. And, oh, yes, now I can finally eat something besides the snatched couple of carrots, and tangerine I had early today.

And must fall over only in the sense of something called sleep, if I can manage it. But so many other tasks: some combination of relaxation that's also productive is in order, while eating, and....

Just like everyone else's life, really. Only different. Which is just like everyone else.

Only different.

Not an unintentional repetition.

There, that saved my time, but not yours.

Nobody asked, but it's my open thread, so hoo rah.

And now I must get up in about 5 hours, but still won't be asleep for a while, but I doubt I'll comment, because oooh, squirrel!

Expect a post tomorrow about Roy Edroso. Yes, I can.

Make sure you click through and read that whole HuffPo story about those two clown shoes that weren't properly sworn in, BTW. One of them may already have been conducting forbidden fundraising, too.

THEY WATCHED THE SWEARING IN CEREMONY ON THE TV WITH THEIR HANDS RAISED AND THOUGHT THEY WERE SWORN IN.

I did the same thing when Obama was sworn in, which...doesn't that make me President?

Arm-waving doesn't count.

John McCain, along with the rest of the Republican caucus, was swearing AT President-elect Obama during the ceremony with their fists raised and believed it made them all President.

What if the word "mendacity" was in the Constitution?

Is this one of the trash-can citizens we want parsing the meaning of Constitutional mendacity:


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/rep-steve-king-accuses-gop-leaders-of-mendacity.php?ref=fpi

"Email Me" at the top left sidebar still says "[email protected]"

It's as wrong as ever. It won't work. Don't send email there, please.

ObWings At gmail Dot com

Send Obsidian Wings related email there.

Apologies to all.

One of them may already have been conducting forbidden fundraising, too.

Well, you can't expect Fitzpatrick to know all those pesky rules and stuff. It's not like he ever served in the House befo . . . oh crap.

Expect a post tomorrow about Roy Edroso.

Speaking as a longtime fan of Roy's, thank you in advance for that, Gary.

Here, here. Viva Edroso!

I *will* do Roy, but I need some brain cells to return first.

More cells, less pain, less exhaustion.

Comments I can babble. Posts = at least 3 brain cells necessary. 5, even.

Or, why I spent endlessly more time between 2004-7 responding, much of the time, to every single comment on ObWi, for thousands and thousands of words, rather than blogging on my own blog.

It was selfish, but more people did seem to like it than not.

That was then, this is now, of course, and I'll not do that much any more, save on, perhaps, threads of my own.

Meanwhile: Roy could still use the help later today, or tomorrow, and in fact, my experience tells me, there are some advantages to spreading out people linking to such a situation over a few days, in any case.

Right now: read this, and PayPal him some bucks, folks. We all owe him.

Yup, the folks he skewers owe him, too. Think of all the extra page views! And increased fame!

Do it NOW!

GO HERE!

Or if you can't use PayPal (and it only takes seconds to create an account, if you're... not one of the people who takes longer, and you can just USE ANY CREDIT CARD INSTEAD):

If you want to send checks instead, you can use C&L's PO BOX and I'll make sure to pay out the amount. Just write 'Roy" in your note section.

C&L
POBOX 66310
Los Angeles, CA 90066

I just sent ten bucks.

And I'm currently homeless, couch-surfing, staying with a kind friend.

As I've done far too much of my life, during which I've spent far too much time either being homeless and couch-surfing, or being evicted.

I have no idea where I'll be living after August 31st, though a few hopes and clues, and I hope it will be in the Bay Area, where I can con or pay someone to drive my limited amount of stuff, which all fits in one room.

And I CAN AFFORD TO SEND HIM TEN BUCKS, in my opinion.

So I kinda think YOU may be able to spare it, too. Give till it effing hurts, people.

I'd never ask anyone to help me in any way they would notice the spending.

But for someone else: yeah, I'll guilt-trip you all I have to and can, if that'll help. I have no trouble being an ar**h*le for a friend, since I have no trouble being an ar**h*le in general.

And I know exactly why Roy, or anyone would never want to ask for help.

There are people who become suicidal for long periods before they'll ask for help, and then just barely manage to ask, in hysterical and crazed and desperate fashion, and then loath themselves forever thereafter until they can cope with it eventually, maybe, in the future.

Then there are more mentally healthy people, who simply hate it.

Roy is, I'm sure, mentally healthy; but nobody should EVER need to ask for private charity to put a roof over their heads, find secure shelter that they can depend on for the future, to eat, or to meet any basic need in a country as rich as the United States of America.

Meanwhile, we have endless INVISIBLE homeless (to those who don't want to look, or those genuinely isolated or in rural areas, but there are other forms of extreme poverty, and still homelessness there, too), and hungry people in this country, most of whom are too crushed to ask for help, and don't want the shame and lack of pride that it's difficult for many to avoid feeling.

You can spare a few bucks, and for someone else, I'll beg for them without a moment's hesitation.

Help Roy. He needs it.

You never know when someone you really know and love might need help. Tomorrow, there might be an earthquake, and not only will you lose everything around you, but thousands of people will die in front of you; it happens all the time around the world.

Katrina can happen again. Disaster can strike you or your loved ones at any time, and eventually, we all suffer loss, pain, experience fear, and must cope.

Make it easier for someone else. Someone with a face you can know, and whose writing you can read.

It shouldn't take that, but it sometimes does.

Help out the Edrosothon.

Help Roy.

DO IT NOW.

And feel free to do it next week, too, and the week after.

The worst that will happen is that he'll get more then he's comfortable with, and PAY IT FORWARD.

That, or maybe he'll spend it all on hookers and heroin.

But is that for YOU to judge?

Yes, you get to make up your own mind about that. As you do about any and all of this.

But I'm here to tell you exactly why you shouldn't.

When I can.

Meanwhile, this comment requires no proofing or being careful, and I can delete it or edit it if I said something stupid.

A post I need to write more carefully.

This is a placeholder; post coming, Roy, when I can do that.

As of Wednesday, December 29th, the address to email the kitty has been: ObWings At gmail Dot com
Ten days, and it hasn't happened. Does Obsidian Wings have a plan for when this will happen? A timeframe? Is there someone in charge who can answer this question?

If so, could they please respond here? Private email isn't getting any answers.

Could perhaps someone responsible who can answer this question respond, please?

I offer to take responsibility, with no authority whatever, to solely make changes to the template authorized by the ObWi collective, if someone will let me have the password.

I'm not going to abuse it any more than I've abused the fact that for many months I've had the ability to edit, change, delete, rewrite, or do whatever I want to my heart's content, and obvious madness, to everything Eric Martin has ever posted on Obsidian Wings, Democracy Arsenal, Newshoggers, and every single person's comments on every single one of those threads.

Ditto last I looked, I still had a working password for Winds of Change.

If there's some reason I can't be allowed to change the posted email address, please do let me know what it might be.

If there's an alternative plan for posting the new email address, please do let me know what it might be.

If there's a timeframe for when we'll have a plan in place, please do let me know what it might be.

If we have any plan at all besides wait indefinitely, please do let me know what it might be.

If you'd prefer to respond in email, please do so.

Meanwhile, I'm going to ask these questions in public, awkward as they are, until either there's some actual change, not just intent, or until someone tells me my posting services are no longer required.

I've asked these questions since 2005, and I'm used to being ignored, so that's not the issue. My issue is that we're still seeing no more update to the Posting Rules, Banning Rules, or EVEN THE EMAIL ADDRESS, which has gone unanswered for years, and I'm now 1/6th of the people responsible for answering questions about this.

I'd like to know what I'm supposed to tell people.

What's the answer to that question that I should respond with?

Does anyone who is otherwise a commenter have any questions or answers about this? If so, you're free and encouraged to respond in this open thread, the next open thread, or to ObWings At gmail.com

And, hey, if you get an answer from someone besides me, wouldn't that be interesting and nice?

Because I'm already having a lovely chat there with myself, but it'd be nice to talk with someone else beside just me.

Anyone?

This is quite shocking. NPR is the only place that has news on it so far.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event, Arizona Public Media reported Saturday.

The Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at the Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

At least five other people, including members of her staff, were hurt. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson. Her condition was not immediately known.

Giffords was talking to a couple when the suspect ran up firing indiscriminately and then ran off, Michaels said. According to other witnesses, he was tackled by a bystander and taken into custody.

Giffords was first elected to represent Arizona's 8th District in 2006. The "Congress on Your Corner" events allow constituents to present their concerns directly to her.

The Pima County, AZ sheriff's department now confirms that Rep. Giffords and six others are dead following the shooting.

Rep. Giffords, btw, was one of the 20 congresspeople represented by a set of crosshairs on Sarah Palin's infamous map, following her "Don't retreat, reload" statement. But I'm sure it's a coincidence, since witnesses report the gunman walked straight up and shot her in the head.

The shooting is horrifying. I'm so sad for the victims and their families, and so worried for the rest of us.

Sully also posts Dear Sarah's map and titles his post "An Assassination?"

Actually, Phil, Rep. Giffords is still alive. Amazing considering a through and through GSW to the head. Of course she is still in critical condition. And this is a tragedy. 6 or 7 people who were shot have died. One of those was a nine month old baby.

The shooting is nothing short of political terrorism and it's high time the people of this country say "no" to the type of anger and malcontent that Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and their ilk project and spread like cancer through our civil and political discourse.

She was reported as dead by the Sheriff and three news organizations at the time I posted. WTF kind of amateur-hour law enforcement organization reports someone as dead to the media without confirmation?

Given this is an open thread, I'm going to mention this unexpected email.

Richard Viguerie: Our Thoughts and Prayers are with
Rep. Giffords and the Victims of the Arizona Shooting

(Manassas, Virginia) The following is a statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, regarding the shooting in Tucson, Arizona of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

"I was with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on a panel just last week at Renaissance Weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. Gabby is a warm, upbeat, and cheerful woman who I've been blessed to know.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family of Representative Giffords, as well as all the families of the wounded and deceased in the wake of this truly traumatic event.

"Regardless of political party, Americans are drawn together at this time of tragedy, and our prayers go out to the families of all the victims of this shocking act of violence.

"We are all Americans, and there're no Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, or liberals at times like these. When the violent acts of an individual aim to tear our society apart, they instead cause Americans to come together and unite stronger than ever.

"We pray for the lives lost, and for the full and speedy recovery of all who were wounded."

As I just wrote a friend in email: [...] Not that it's from my old pal (he said sarcastically), Richard V., but gee, even he has a small, shriveled heart. (He faithfully sends me his missives daily: along with anyone else whose email address he can find, of course; have I mentioned I get a lot of mail? :-))

This is part of why I try to give everyone a chance, even those who might most suprise me. None of us *mean* to be evil.

And you never know when you might be surprised.

Pleasantly.

I know I'll be back to totally disagreeing with his next missive, and probably outraged and appalled (though mostly I'm just clinical; it's not as if his POV and precise views are little-known to me, nor those of so many of his friends), but I still let him in my inbox.

I don't always read it all, mind, or necessarily any of a given email from him, or various similar sorts of of folks whose mailing lists I'm on (trust me, or not, when you've been blogging as long as I have, your inbox gets very full every day with all sorts of... stuff that isn't spam).

But.

At times: it's educational. And informative. One way or another.

And once in a blue moon: surprising.

Life is full of those.

If we are open to finding them.

The old kitty email box is now open again: obsidianinfo at yahoo dot com

Don't use the gmail address, please, although that'll now get read, too. But it'll only be used for emergencies if Yahoo is down, and that's all.

The old kitty mail box is now functional.

And if you wrote to obsidianinfo at yahoo dot com in recent years, and received no answers, which has happened to many of you -- in fact, there was nothing personal about it, I assure you -- you weren't being singled out to be ignored.

Honest. It wasn't you. It's me.

I apologize. Blame me.

I'm fine with that.

But now you have an answer as to why you didn't get a response. Just assume it was me screwing up, as usual.

Meanwhile, your new mail will at least be read. If you wish to resend old mail, do so. No answers promised, nor any promises made as to when your new mail will be read.

Although simply mentioning the subject header, or sufficient keywords from your past email will enable, um, someone to find it immediately, so that works, too. What I can't promise are responses.

But efforts will be made, and it's now possible.

More formal announcement saying this, and not much, if anything else, to come later today, probably, but if not, as soon as we can get to it. From someone.

Don't worry, be happy.

If anyone would like to volunteer to help work on ObWi in any administrative ways, your applications will be accepted. Send email to the kitty, or to gary underscore farber at yahoo dot com

Again, when we'll get back to you: dunno.

What else may happen? Dunno.

But good things, I hope. Eric has have great writers, -- and also my prolix crap -- and I hope to see even more great writers here.

Again: guest posts solicited.

*You* are invited to submit. See same addresses, same story as above.

Got any complaints? Send them to me either at the kitty or my personal email box. If you have to pick, use the kitty, but either will work for now, until you hear otherwise.

All praise: send to Eric, and Slarti, for all their amazing and unsung work, and particularly to Eric for administering the blog, and to Slartibartfast for endless invisible scutwork that none of you have any idea how much work he does on it; all praise to Jacob and Doctor Science, and Sebastian for their posts, and to Sebastian for his years here longer than any of us still left.

Complaints? Make them at me, publically or privately, and I'll do my best to respond as best I can, when I can.

Have fun: that's what blogging is all about.

Almost all.

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