URLs du Jour


  • As an ex-physics geek and a sometimes SF geek, I found this exploration of the practicality and likelihood of manned interstellar travel really good; it should be accessible to anyone who doesn't get the vapours at seeing a hyperbolic arccosine in an equation. (Via Slashdot, whose poster seems astounded that the article uses "actual physics and math." As opposed, I guess, to just making stuff up.)

  • A number of my local blogger buddies have officially Lost Patience with our congresscritter, Carol Shea-Porter, who's been less than two months on the job. First, Drew Cline posted (without comment) her remarks on opposition to the "surge". Then Ed Mosca used the transcript to fisk her "illogical and pointless rant." And Patrick Hynes today comments on a Manchester Union Leader report that Shea-Porter herself is calling up constituents who dare write letters to newspapers criticizing her positions; one woman reports being on the receiving end of a 20-minute harangue.

    Pun Salad is happy to report that it has not lost patience with Carol Shea-Porter, because you can't lose something you never had. If Carol Shea-Porter calls me, I fully expect that our Caller ID feature will save me from picking up the phone.

  • And speaking of the amazing Patrick, Instapundit nominates this young blogger to take over recent vacancies in the John Edwards campaign.

    Mainstream political bloggers freaking suck. What a bunch of egomaniacs. They are worse than politicians.


    Wednesday night, Feb. 13, I traveled to the Dole Center and watched in horror as four rich (though several insisted to me that they are NOT wealthy; however, by world standards they ARE ALL disgustingly wealthy), middle-aged, white men and one, rich, middle-aged, white woman talked about political blogging and how blogging is changing America and how awesome bloggers really are!

    Those individuals represented two Democratic Party perspectives (Jerome Armstrong of www.mydd.com and Joan McCarter, mcjoan, of www.dailykos.com) and three Republican Party perspectives (Patrick Hynes of www.anklebitingpundits.com, Scott W. Johnson of http://www.powerlineblog.com/, and  Erick-Woods Erickson of www.redstate.com).  ALL FIVE OF THEM SUCK HARDCORE.  AND the moderator of the event was yet ANOTHER RICH, MIDDLE-AGED, WHITE MAN.

    "Unfortunately" for Edwards, she's more into Kucinich. I don't find that to be an utter shock.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 3:08 PM EDT

And Her Biscuits Are Flaky, Too

[Reposted here.]

Last Modified 2007-02-22 8:53 PM EDT

Lying About Lying About Lincoln

Here is, in its entirety, a recent Andrew Sullivan post titled "Lying About Lincoln":

It says everything you need to know about the state of the Republican Party: that they would knowingly lie about the words of the greatest Republican president in American history.

This is irritating. Why? Follow the link. It goes to a TPM Cafe post about a recent speech on the floor of the House of Representatives by Don Young (R-Alaska) where he attributed this quote to Abraham Lincoln:

Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.

This quote is, indeed, bogus, as a little querying of the Google will tell anyone. For example, here is a Washington Post article examining the controversy. The TPM article links to a Factcheck.org article with even more detail. Young was wrong and stupid to use the quote.


  1. Sullivan turns this single Republican example into "everything you need to know" about Republicans generally. For anyone with all hinges attached, that's a ludicrous overreach.

  2. Worse, there's no evidence presented at the TPM article that supports Sullivan's slanderous "knowingly lie" charge. In fact, Sullivan's charge is exactly the opposite of the TPM author's explicit point that he doesn't know whether Young was intentionally recycling this bogus quote.

Since we don't share the prejudices of either TPM or Andrew Sullivan, we can ask the simple question that any reasonable person would: is it likely that Young and his speechwriters knew about the bogosity of the quote—which would mean that they would also certainly know the bogosity was relatively well-known—and then decide to use it anyway? What would be the point of doing that? None whatsoever; there's no upside, and an almost certain downside when you're caught.

So Sullivan's "knowingly lie" charge is evidence-free and almost certainly false.

But I should point out that the title of this post is not to be taken literally; Sullivan is not deliberately "lying" about this, or at least I doubt it. And the reasoning is the same as I applied to Young: Sully would have to be incredibly stupid to lie about something that's so easy to check by clicking the link he provides in his own article.

No, almost certainly this is a result of ideological self-delusion, the knee-jerk willingness to jump to a desired conclusion, to "know" your opponents' evil dishonesty in your own mind, and "see" supporting facts in an article that doesn't, in actuality, contain them.

In short, it's example number 463 in a continuing series: "Why We Don't Take Andrew Sullivan Seriously Any More, and Are a Little Ashamed That We Ever Did."

People with blogospheric memories going back more than a few months may recall the equally bogus "Jefferson quote" uttered by, among others, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Nadine Strossen of the ACLU:

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Now (similar to the Lincoln quote) this would be idiotic even if it weren't bogus; but it is. The definitive history of the quote is offered by Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy here and here.

There may have been some folks at that time who had mirror-image reactions to Sullivan's: who said something equivalent to "It says everything you need to know about the state of the Democratic Party: that they would knowingly lie about the words of the greatest Democratic president in American history."

But the vast majority of responses were in the derisive ridicule category. That's the appropriate treatment for Young. And Andrew Sullivan.

Brendan Nyhan has more.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 3:08 PM EDT

The Black Dahlia

[Amazon Link] [1.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

This got pretty negative reviews; I thought it was OK. Set in post-WW2 LA, Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart play cops who are assigned to investigate the Black Dahlia slaying; Scarlett Johansson plays a woman with a turbulent past who's trying pretty hard to turn things into a love triangle. Things are complicated by other unresolved cases.

Much of the good stuff is at the beginning, where the movie is hardboiled and noirish. And Scarlett Johansson is, as always, extremely easy on the eyes.

Things go downhill some as the movie grinds on. The plot twists around itself a couple times. Scarlett Johansson never really gets to do anything except look good. The ending is over the top, but you kind of expect that in a Brian De Palma movie.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:42 PM EDT