Meta-Bloggin 15: Psychology of the Blog Style
Trying to make sense of things. Art, Religion, Books, Politics, And So Forth.
12.The trick of this conceit--i.e. writing the interrogator's meditations--is to flatten out the charge of such language. The verses will be read ironically, of course, but the shock of understanding will be more profound if the words are plain (except when obfuscatory jargon is part of the torturers' zen), the syntax direct, and the voice not clearly partisan as such.
A prisoner who is detained
is the foundation of dominance.
A detainee is kept in a room;
that is how we know we are free.
His accusers owe him no explanation
and their biases are not subject to scrutiny.
Or there's Jonathan Vos Post's wonderful rewriting of verse 59:
The Gulag that can be told
is not the true Gulag.
The Nazi that can be named
is not the true Nazi.
Free from the Gitmo, you see only the manifestations.
Caught in the Gitmo, you realize the mystery.
Yet Gulag and Gitmo arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness,
The gateway to all understanding.
Here the partisan tag--well, particularly the last word--comes off more as a Baudelairean smack to the face rather than as a break in the voice.
In torturing others and spinning others,
There is nothing like using restraints.
Restraints begin with giving up one's own ideas.
That depends on Intelligence gathered in the past.
If there is a good database of Intelligence, then nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, there are no limits.
If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler, or at least Secretary of Defense.
If he codify the lack of limits, then he is fit to be Attorney General.
The mother principle of ruling holds for a long time.
This is called having deep roots, family values, and a firm foundation,
The Tao of long life and eternal re-election.
Despite my quibbles with some wording, Mike's Gitmo Sutra is shaping into something very powerful. It's even developing a plot line! With a suprise ending! The most satisfactory end for the interrogator character, as well as for Gitmo itself, would have them blown into very small pieces, but we'll take what we can get.
"I thought the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to create rights that would be protected from the government, so that we wouldn't have to rely on the honor system of the government to do the right thing, but had rights that would be enforced.He notes that Clarence Thomas's dissent points out the obvious: that it won't be the rich and powerful who have their homes repossessed. I reproduce this last primarily because I'm trying to figure out why exactly right-leaning blogs like Thomas so much; here, I agree with him entirely. Nicole Garnett at ScotusBlog praises Thomas's dissent as another instance where, as a conservative, he stands up for the little guy.
As such, the NLDC is not trying to take land for a "public use" such as a public works project, but rather, it is taking land that is not blighted in order to institute vague and unformed businesses and development projects that will generate higher revenues for the city. If this is not an abuse of the eminent domain power, it is difficult to conceive of a situation that is.[...]Under this reasoning, not only will you have to lose your homes for development plans that are still up in the air, the local coffee shop may have to give way to a Starbucks, the local bookstore may have to surrender its property to the creation of the latest Borders outlet, and the local video store may have to vacate in favor of the creation of yet another Blockbuster franchise -- all because a Starbucks, a Borders and a Blockbuster could give local governments more tax revenue. In none of these hypothetical situations is the "public use" requirement satisfied. In none of these situations is an "urban blight" finding required. All that is required under the argument of the New London city attorney is that a local government must find that a current and existing business would yield less tax revenue than a potential incoming business would, and that government could exercise its power of eminent domain.
"Stevens and the other justices in the majority routinely vote to "second-guess" political decisions on issues like abortion, the death penalty, police searches, censorship of pornography, and privacy rights. While Stevens is probably right to assume that judges do not have as much expertise as elected officials do on takings, it is also likely that they have less expertise than legislatures do on most of the other issues mentioned above."I'm not entirely sure I agree with the last sentence--do state legislatures really have more reasonable expertise on privacy rights than SCOTUS does?--but the inconsistent exercise of judicial authority does seem problemative.
go ahead and use eminent domain for economic development, but please try to take property rights more seriously in the future.Merrill thinks that this decision preserves "federalism in this area" while trying to "re-shape" attitudes about the casual use of eminent domain. Similarly, commenters on the thread attached to a (livid, horrified) post by Jammer at the TPMcafe defend the idea that local communities should be able to control, via elected officials, the shape of their community.
I am sympathetic to the defendants, who were forced to sell their property for what seems to me like a boondoggle, and I understand what O'Connor means when she suggests that "for public use" might as well be deleted from the Fifth Amendment. But once the courts start making determinations about what constitutes the "public interest," the Court becomes an all-purpose economic regulator, and history makes it quite clear that this is a state of affairs that is not good for democracy or for progressive interests in the long run. [...]Politics, huh? The Westside Stadium was beaten, I suspect, in large part because of Sheldon Silver's ability to pull the 9-11 card in his favor: how much less sympathetic would press coverage for a hold-out "my district needs this money" representative from a less prestigious district have been? It doesn't seem likely that poorer districts--and, let's say it, neighborhoods whose residents have brown skins--will have that kind of political pull.
The lesson here, again, is the the Constitution does not provide a remedy for every bad public policy. Combining upper-class tax cuts with increased pork-barrel spending, like the current administration is doing, is awful public policy, but it's constitutional, and the same goes for Robert Moses' grandiose road-building schemes. You beat them the way the West Side Stadium was beaten; through politics. Expecting the courts to protect poor property owners by determining which policies are legitimate public interests is a sucker's bet.
Yes, this is a bad decision, but we must think of what the alternative might have been. I don't know what was in the hearts of the justices who ruled the way did, they may be fully on board this apparent belief in the unlimited power of eminent domain. This is not something I support. However, the alternative could've been a conservative written opinion severely limiting the power of eminent domain and the concept of public use, which would've eviscerated a truly necessary government power.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
We Texas progressives are probably more accustomed to being asked why we don't leave job, family and everything we love in order to move to another part of the country where a slightly higher percentage of the population shares our political view than we are accustomed to being congratulated for fighting the good fight in a hostile enviroment.
Quality, not quantity: Here's a new rule for agencies. Never send out more than one or two communications to blogs a day. Use the remaining time to research the industry and relevant issues, study the blogger's hot buttons and craft a finely tuned email. Make the email seem like it's coming from a knowledgeable best friend, not a direct mail house.Well, I guess it was inevitable.
Zawahiri argues that because the terrain in the key Arab countries is not suitable for guerilla war, Islamists need to conduct political action among the masses, combined with an urban terrorist campaign against the secular regimes, supplemented with attacks on “the external enemy”—i.e., the United States and Israel—as a means of propaganda that will strengthen the jihad’s popular support. Zawahiri wants his Salafist readers to keep in mind that the Arab establishments are the real targets, even if “confining the battle to the domestic enemy . . . will not be feasible in this stage of the battle.” Highly visible attacks against external enemies, and the inevitable retaliation, Zawahiri explains, will rally ordinary Muslims to the radicals’ cause, strengthening the main struggle, the one against the current regimes of the Muslim world.
exploit its ties to the existing regimes of the Sunni world in order to combat jointly the revolutionary Salafists. The US struggle against al Qaeda and similar groups will be chiefly a matter of intelligence and police work, with perhaps a role for special forces working with local partners in ungoverned areas. Only the existing Muslim regimes, in coordination with American investigators and spies, can defeat the cells of al Qaeda and similar groups moving among the Sunni world’s masses. The United States needs to support and to engage with these undemocratic regimes even more closely if US security services are to be granted the liaison relationships with local authorities that are essential to the real war against terrorism. Washington should set aside, for now, its ambitions for democratic revolution in the region, at least until the Salafist revolution is contained.Despite the fact that this article was written in Spring 2005, the author doesn't seem to acknowledge the degree to which public diplomacy, at least, has embraced democratic revolution--and not just diplomacy aimed at the Mideast, but political symbolism aimed at true-believing Bush-supporters.
"Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."
[...]"I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"
[...]Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: "Can't you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism... every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you're supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It's not that hard a concept to grasp."[...]
[...]"I'm talking to all of you, here!" continued God, His voice rising to a shout. "Do you hear Me? I don't want you to kill anybody. I'm against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don't kill each other anymore—ever! I'm fucking serious!"
Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God's shoulders began to shake, and He wept.
Of the twenty-four liberal blogs in the top quintile, Dailykos, TPM Café, Smirking Chimp, Metafilter, BooMan Tribune, MyDD, and Dembloggers are full-fledged community sites where members cannot only comment, but they can also post diaries / articles / polls. By comparison, there are no community sites among the top twenty-four conservative blogs. None, zip, zero, nada. This is particularly stunning when one considers the importance of the Free Republic community to the conservative netroots. While it would appear that there are hordes of Glenn Reynolds wannabe's among conservatives in the netroots, Redstate.org sticks out as the only success story for a community oriented blog within the conservative blogosphere. In fact, of the five most trafficked conservative blogs (over 200,000 page views per week), only one, Little Green Footballs, even allows comments, much less the ability to actually write a diary or a new article.
First, I’ll note that polipundit.com gets above 200,000 pages views per week, using the BlogAds numbers that Bowers uses. In fact, we’re in the top 20 conservative political blogs by any reckoning. And we do allow comments. In fact, the four “guest” bloggers on this blog all started out as regular commenters. And other commenters have gone on to start their own highly successful blogs, like Scott Elliott’s Election Projection.
The Bad Glazier [Le Mauvais Vitrier]
There are some temperaments, purely contemplative and totally indisposed to action, which, however, in the throes of a mysterious and unknown impulse, sometimes act with a rapidity of which they would have thought themselves to be incapable.
That man who, fearing getting into a new argument with his concierge, walks up and down for an hour in front of her door without daring to enter it; he who keeps a letter for fifteen days without opening it or only resigns himself after six months to start some paperwork that for a year has been necessary—they sometimes feel themselves brusquely precipitated towards action by an irresistible force, like an arrow from a bow. The moralist and the doctor—who claim to know everything—cannot explain how such a crazy energy comes so suddenly to these lazy and voluptuous souls, and how, incapable of accomplishing the most simple and most necessary things, these people find at a certain moment a luxurious courage to execute the most absurd and often the most dangerous acts.
One of my friends, the most inoffensive dreamer possible, once set fire to a forest to see, as he said, whether the fire would spread as quickly as was generally claimed. Ten times in a row the experiment failed; but, on the eleventh try, it succeeded only too well.
Another will light a cigar next to a barrel of powder, to see, to know, to tempt fate, to compel himself to prove his capability, to play at gambling, to know the pleasures of anxiety, for no reason, out of caprice, out of idleness.
This is a kind of energy that springs from boredom and daydreams, and those in whom it shows up are in general, as I said, the most indolent and the most dreamy of creatures.
Another, shy to the point that he lowers his eyes even at the glances of men—to the point that he has to call up all his pitiful will to go into a café or to walk up to a box-office where the ticket-takers seem to him to have the majesty of Minos, [Éaque], and Rhodamante—threw himself suddenly around the neck of an old man walking by and enthusiastically kissed him in front of a suprised crowd.
“Why?” Because...because that physiognomy seemed irresistably kind to him? Perhaps. But it makes more sense to think that he himself didn’t know why.
I have been more than once the victim of this sort of crisis and excitement that permit us to believe that malicious Demons can slip into us and make us perform their most absurd wishes without our knowing.
One morning, I woke up sullen, sad, tired of leisure, and compelled, it seemed to me, to do some glorious, some brilliant action; and I opened the window--alas!
(I beg you to observe that the spirit of mystification, which, in some people, is not the result of work or conspiracy but rather of a fortuitous inspiration, has much to do, be it only by the heat of desire, with that humor—hysterical according to doctors, and satanic according to those who think somewhat more carefully than the doctors—which compels us, unresisting, toward a multitude of dangerous or inconvenient actions.)
The first person I perceived in the street was a glazier, whose piercing, unharmonious cry rose up to me through the heavy, dirty Parisian atmosphere. It would be impossible for me to say why I was taken towards this poor man with a hatred as sudden as it was tyrannical.
“Hey! Hey!” I yelled for him to come up. I thought—not without some joy—that, as the room was on the seventh floor and the staircase was extremely narrow, the man would have some trouble ascending and that his fragile merchandise would catch in many of my staircase’s angles.
Finally he appeared. I examined curiously all his windowpanes, and I told him: “What? You have no colored glass? pink glass, red glass, blue glass, magic glass, glass of paradise? Impudent man! You dare to walk around in poor neighborhoods and you don’t even have glasses that helps one see the world as beautiful?” And I pushed vigorously him toward the stairs, to which he stumbled, grumbling.
I approached the balcony, and I grabbed a little flowerpot. When the man reappeared at the doorway, I dropped my bomb perpendicularly onto rear edge of his frames. As the shock knocked him over, he managed to break under his back all his portable fortune, poor as it was, which made the glorious sound of a crystal palace shattered by thunder.
And, drunk with my folly, I cried furiously to him: “The world in beauty! The world in beauty!”These nervous jokes are not without danger, and they can end up being rather costly. But what does an eternity of damnation matter to one who has found, in a second, the infinitude of ecstasy?
Many people in government were outraged by the sheer bulk and gravity of the corrupt activities they witnessed in the White House. Reporters were their allies and confidants. Those men, who dealt with the most sensitive national-security issues, had their worst fears confirmed by the revelation, in July, 1973, of the White House’s taping system, which recorded their meetings and conversations with the President.Over the last five years, we've seen tens of government officials sufficiently outraged by the Bush administration that they were willing to go on the record under their own names to denounce its practices. And one by one, they've all been accused of bad faith: "they're just bitter at having been passed up"--"they just want to sell books"--"Bush-hatred will gain them upper-westside cachet" and it goes on. These open leakers are discredited and destroyed in the public realm: enough fog is cast to ambiguite their clear indictments
Weblogging as currently constituted may or may not prove to be an enduring literary form, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the weblog template—episodic, open-ended, easily modified to have sidebars and text jumps and comments and embedded mini-blogs, imposing no relationship on it elements beyond chronological order—outlives everything else we’ve done. When people talk about innovation on the internet, all too often it’s about, say, some ditzy proprietary e-business software nobody’ll remember a few years from now. Inventing a new documentary form is a far rarer thing.Indeed, something in the blogging format is answering a need. The genres will evolve--blogs will probably rapidly scatter into commercial, pop, corporate, left, right, personal, categories, which will bear little resemblence to each other--but the template, the medium, seems to address rather well our current being-in-the-world that requires constant connection and searchable history .
Lawyers would be better at parsing this material than I, but from a layperson's perspective, it seems clear that not only do the comments become largely proprietary of the host, but the blog content would, as well. What content that a subordinate blogger would like to use in a commercial sense would have to be granted by (or perhaps eventually purchased from) TPMcafe.
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"Meet Laura," read another ad. "Laura is a 25-year old D.J. from Denmark. When she moved to New York and discovered that people listen to rock and not house, she became a hairstylist. She is looking to get sponsored for her visa."