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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Thursday, 23 June 2005

Topic: Backgrounder

Dead Guys: Another Birthday This Week

Tuesday would have been Jean-Paul Sartre's one-hundredth birthday, as mentioned here - and Thursday, June 23, 2005, would have been the ninety-third birthday of Alan Turing.


Turning was the famous mathematician who was born June 23, 1912 in London, in Paddington actually. Think of him as the fellow who thought up the modern computer, unless you think the first one was Charles Babbage's "Differential Machine" back in 1822. In any event, Turing was the bloke who led the "Enigma" team that broke the German codes in World War II. That team used the machine he invented, the Colossus, which was the first really practical programmed computer. It was back in 1937 that Turing suggested a theoretical machine, what has come to be called the Turing Machine - the basis of modern computing, and in 1950 he suggested what has become known as a "Turing's Test" - the criterion for recognizing intelligence in a machine. Yes, that led to a whole lot of bad science fiction.

Of course Turing was, along with being a fine competitive runner, a homosexual, a crime in England back in those days - and in 1952 he was tried, convicted and sentenced to estrogen treatments. In 1954 he died of cyanide poisoning, an apparent suicide. Now the computer room at King's College, Cambridge, is named after Turing, who became a student there in 1931 and a Fellow in 1935.

You can find a whole bunch of biographical information about him here.

Andrew Sullivan, the gay conservative political writer, has this to say about Turing on his birthday -
Today is the late math genius's birthday. Turing was a brilliant Englishman, one of the founding fathers of computer science, and a patriot whose cracking of the Nazis' Enigma Code was critical to winning the war against Hitler. His amazing work was rewarded by being offered the choice in 1952 of choosing chemical castration or imprisonment for being gay. Two years later, a broken man, he killed himself. Today is a day for honoring him and the countless men and women over the centuries whose gifts and dignity were obliterated by ignorance, oppression and hate, hate that is still being excused and perpetrated today. May those of us lucky enough to have been born in their wake never forget what they went through, never forget the cruelty and evil they had to confront, and do everything we can to prevent these wounds being passed to the next generation.
It seems Sullivan is angry. Hey, it's an Oscar Wilde thing. Get over it.

But Sullivan also posts an email he received:
Turing might be known primarily as a mathematician and the founder of computer science, but he was truly a full-fledged scientist of incredible insight. A decade ago, as an undergraduate student, I stumbled across some articles on "Turing structures," which were Turing's theory as to how certain complex biological patterns (zebra stripes, cow spots, etc) could arise from relatively simple (and well-understood) chemical equations. Some 40 years after his theory, scientists discovered that his hypothesis had real-world application. Looking at his original paper, I was amazed at how clearly and concisely he wrote, with an obvious concern for the lay reader who lacked his mathematical brilliance.

For a long but entertaining read, I recommend Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon," which includes some highly enjoyable historical speculations on the breaking of Enigma.
Well, "Cryptonomicon" is a fine read, and was discussed in these pages two years ago here.

But let's think about what is being said here. Sullivan calls Turing a patriot, and Turing was one of the very few key men who helped defeat Hitler. But Turing was gay and his own government gave him the choice of imprisonment or castration, and he, finally, took a third out, suicide. No matter what he did, or invented, the evangelical right in power these days would hold him in contempt. We're talking sin here. We're the folks who dismiss people who can translate Arabic and other important languages, and discharge decorated soldiers willing to fight on, because they are gay (see this) - as there are more important things than winning.

And then what's this about how certain complex biological patterns could arise from relatively simple and well-understood chemical equations? Our president tells us that "the jury is still out" on that wacky evolution theory, and more and more public, taxpayer-funded public schools are teaching "intelligent design" as a view of equal validity in all biology classes. Complex patterns are quite logical proof of the existence of God, or if not that, at least proof of an intelligent designer, although post-nasal drip and cancer might prove an intelligent but malevolent designer. And this gay Brit who finally committed suicide can prove otherwise? Who are you going to believe?

Were Turing still around he'd be one grumpy old man.

Posted by Alan at 15:43 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 23 June 2005 15:48 PDT home

Sunday, 8 May 2005

Topic: Backgrounder

Heads Up!

The new issue of Just Above Sunset, the weekly online magazine that is parent to this web log, went live last night around midnight, Pacific Time, or three in the morning Eastern, or for our readers in Paris, at nine Sunday morning. This issue is Volume 3, Number 19 - for the week of May 8, 2005 – and contains much you will not find here – like drole quotes on the subject of Mothers Day.

There are seven pages of high-resolution photographs.

Don Smith of Left Bank Lens sends photos and comments from Paris, if you ever wondered how they actually do get that stuff upstairs. See Moving Paris for that.

Many of the photos in the Just Above Sunset albums (see a list of those in the left column of this page) are done right at the weekly site, as the Earthlink site software used for Just Above Sunset provides far greater detail and depth, and richer colors, than the Lycos photo album servers and software. The photos of note are Cherry 54: A 1954 Chevrolet Corvette in all its glory and Beach Shots: Hermosa and Manhattan Beach (with jazz notes) - and Beach Sports: Surfing and Volleyball and Beach Blooms: Growing at the Edge and May Day: Botanical Detail and Old Birds: The Western Museum of Flight.

Did you know that the new Pope’s old car – a VW Golf – was just auctioned off on eBay in Europe? No? Well, then see Our Man in Paris: Cult Car where Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, explains it all, and adds two cool photos. And I think I was supposed to use the title Kult Kar.

And course the Book Wrangler and The World’s Laziest Journalist is back – Bob Patterson.

The nine other items in the issue first appeared here – and there they are extended with further comment. In Meme Watch: Things fall apart, the center will not hold… and people are buying gay cars! see the footnote, new, where the Christian Values Coalition says what everyone thinks they said isn’t what they said at all.

It’s all good.

Posted by Alan at 16:43 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:45 PDT home

Monday, 18 April 2005

Topic: Backgrounder

From the Department of Useless Information

From Bob Patterson, columnist for Just Above Sunset - the parent site to this web log:
One of our regular readers works near my apartment and we chat often. He asked me if there was a period when Greek literature diminished and then bounced back. He wanted to know when the revival in Greek Literature occurred.

I wondered if there had been one long gradual decline in interest in Greek Literature. I have no idea how to answer this question? Any feedback that I can relay to him?
Ah, yes.

Ah - it comes and goes. What brought Greek literature back from obscurity was Greek fascination with the French Enlightenment (Voltaire and those dudes) that got the proto-nationalist folks there looking at the local roots of the local culture and digging up old texts - Candide may be responsible for that, and much more - and a tad later the Romantic poets, particularly Byron traipsing around Greece with Keats. In fact, Byron died of a fever at Missolonghi in April 1824 - a town in western central Greece, on the north shore of the Gulf of Patras (it was under siege by the Turks in the wars of 1822-26 and he was way pro-Greek as they tried to break away from the Turks). Think also of the Elgin Marbles swiped from the Parthenon being a big deal in England at the time. The Brits still have them. Lord Elgin loved Greek stuff, and stole it when he could. All things Greek were big around 1820 - and not much before and not much since. That was the peak. Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" was first published in 1820 - and so on and so forth.

I must admit I never caught the enthusiasm for all things Greek - but way back in the early seventies I was an eighteenth-century English lit PhD student and thought Keats was for misty-eyed girls, and Byron with his clubfoot and brooding was a bit too Hollywood. My guy was Swift. (Byron was nicely cynical, however.)

You see, from Dryden through Pope and Swift, and on out to Johnson, the model was Roman. That was the Augustan Age, after all. Caesar Augustus. August. Wise. Retrained and controlled. Think Cicero, Juvenal, Ovid, Tacitus and Virgil. You imitated those guys.

Then comes 1798 and Wordsworth publishes "Lyrical Ballads" and all things fall apart. (In fact, I had a professor in grad school at Duke who said English literature itself ended that year.) Anyway, for the next three or four decades you get Homer, Sappho, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Plato. Oh my! George Chapman had translated Homer way back in 1611 and suddenly THAT was rediscovered - and we get Keats' sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" in October 1816. Geez! It's not THAT good a translation! (I used to teach the Robert Fitzgerald translation back in Rochester - and it is mighty fine.)

But I digress.

See this -
Under Turkish rule, Greek literature virtually ceased, except in Crete. In the late 18th cent. two patriots, the poet Rhigas Pheraios (1751-98) and the intellectual Adamantios Koraes (1748-1833), sought to encourage a revival of Greek letters. The revolutionary society Philike Hetairea, founded in 1816, reflected the growing influence in Greece of the French Enlightenment and the rise of European romanticism; both furnished the intellectual framework for the War of Independence (1821-27) and spurred the postwar nationalist revival that awakened a modern Greek literature.
Fascinating stuff? Probably not.

But Greek food is great ? lamb, and spanakopita! Great stuff. And retsina? Fine. Ouzo? Interesting.



From our friend Vince in Rochester, New York ?
Why am I fascinated by meaningless patter?

Curiosity - from the unenlightened peanut gallery... is there a similar reflection of the Greek revival in architectural design (that showed up in North America as Southern plantations or things column-iar? (how would you say that adjectively?). What about the differences in Roman and Greek columns and architectural styles? Also the ebb and flow in those timeframes?

Dumb questions... to go with useless topics?

Bit it is interesting to note in your final quote, however, that the impact of Greek/French attention was bi-lateral - reflected with renewed energies in and on both cultures/societies.
My reply to Vince is that if you think about what is at this site ? Greek Revival Architecture (1800-1850) - and sites like it, you see this is all part of the same deal. And here you don?t blame Voltaire and Candide ? you blame a follower of Voltaire?s ideas, Thomas Jefferson.

Inspirations and beginnings: Thomas Jefferson designs Monticello, Charlottesville, VA in 1770. Influenced by Palladio. Jefferson believed in architecture as a symbol; he despised Williamsburg due to English origins: Williamsburg represented colonial exploitation. In France, Jefferson learned of Roman architecture and its symbolic association with Greek democracy.
Okay, Lord Byron is writing loopy poetry and fighting for Greek independence in the early 1820?s ? and Jefferson was in Paris decades earlier, or was that Nick Nolte? (Jefferson in Paris is an amusing movie.) It was a time for thinking about Greece in its Golden Age.

Think about this. Our revolution in 1776 and that French one in 1789, were efforts towards ?democracy? ? a Greek word, isn?t it? That there AGE OF REVOLUTION (1789-1848) in the history books was full of all sorts of references to ancient Greece. That was the model for all the changes planned and executed, so to speak and not to bring up Robespierre and Doctor Guillotine. Why wouldn?t architecture follow?
To Jefferson architecture was a form of visual education in support of democratic ideal. The Greek Revival movement becomes widely accepted throughout the early U.S. as a symbol of the new democracy.
Of course.
Dominant style in America, 1820-1850. Also called ?national style? due to popularity. Known as the ?Territorial style? in early Western towns, including Santa Fe, NM. Style diffused westward with settlers (especially New Englanders, across upstate New York), first American architectural style to reach West Coast.?
And this? ?Greek place names, street names, and architecture became dominant throughout the Northeast.?

One sometimes contributor to these pages - our high-powered Wall Street attorney - grew up in Greece, New York, just a few miles west-northwest of where Vince sits in Rochester. His mother still lives there. I remember the area. I used to shop at the Greece Town Mall, which our high-powered Wall Street attorney tells us has gotten huge lately. Heck, if Rochester weather were better they would have build it differently ? with outdoor colonnades and Doric columns and fountains ? and called it the Greece Town Agora. But winters there are too harsh. (This web log is published not too far from Agora, California.)

Oh, and on styles of Greek columns see this from Boston College. The page has links to items on the styles. The four JPG examples are from the US northeast, including the Custom House down in The Battery in Manhattan, right in front of the park, the old Bowling Green, where Rick, our News Guy in Atlanta, reminds us, after looking at the picture of the bull down there -
Bowling Green, where the Dutch in New Amsterdam used to go bowling, and where, on the evening of July 9, 1776 - moments after George Washington, in what is now City Hall Park, had the newly-arrived Declaration of Independence read to the troops - a mob of exuberant citizens descended on the park to haul down the equestrian statue of George III (that they themselves had paid for), and to knock the heads of the royal family that were on the posts of that very fence you see there, later melting them all down into shot to be used by Continental soldiers to shoot redcoats. That other building beyond the park is the Customs building, which sits on the spot of the original New Amsterdam fort, which was essentially the first settlement on the island, out of which the whole city grew.
The NYC Custom House columns are Doric. The spirit is Greek and revolutionary.

Minor note ? the scale patterns in music theory are called modes. And they are named somewhat like the columns ? Dorian and such. You see, music had been studied mathematically, and there were many such collections of ?pleasing pitches,? generally called modes. There is the Phrygian. And Lydian. And the Mysolidian. And the Eolian. And the Locrian. There?s a lot of Dorian mode in rock music, and in much of Miles Davis. That?s what I meant by saying this is a minor note ? listen to ?So What? from his best album, ?Kind of Blue? ? as Miles had a Dorian career.

Ah, them Greeks!

Posted by Alan at 09:36 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 19 April 2005 11:46 PDT home

Tuesday, 17 August 2004

Topic: Backgrounder

Follow-Ups: Sensitivity and Madness (Cheney and Keyes)

Item One:

On the matter of the Republicans jumping all over John Kerry for saying this - "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history." - see Sensitivity and its Limits Sunday from 15 August 2004.

Yes, Vice President Dick Cheney ridiculed Kerry's call for a "more sensitive" war on terrorism and said it would not impress the terrorists who took down the World Trade Center or the Islamic militants who had beheaded Daniel Pearl. Cheney said, "Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed."

Clear enough, although we see that the family of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded in Pakistan two years ago, has requested that his name not be used in a political context. Pearl's father, said that the request was a general one and was not directed at Mr. Cheney in particular, and that it was intended to prevent the stoking of moderate Muslim ire. "We don't take sides between Bush and Kerry," Judea Pearl said. "I don't even know who I'm going to vote for."

One assumes Cheney is angry beyond belief about this request that he be a bit more sensitive. If Cheney is more sensitive then the terrorists will have won? Something like that.

And yes, Bush uses the word all the time, with no problem.

Joseph, my expatriate friend in France commented -
A bit or real irony here: "Sensitive" has many meanings - a sensitive document, to be compassionate and so on. But if the way Kerry meant it was in the sense "to be aware of other's perceptions of ones words and actions," then Kerry wasn't nearly sensitive enough. I knew these words would come back to haunt him the moment I heard them. This is the big-time. This is what politics has become in America. Deal with it.

Bush used the same word? So what. He's entitled. He's dropped a lot of ordinance. When he uses the word, he's speaking softly and carying a big stick, no? Kerry's people should have known better.
Okay, I get it.

Then again, Juan Cole, the professor of history at the University of Michigan, the middle-east expert on Iraq who travels down to Washington to testify before congress now and then, and pops up on the PBS "News Hour" every month or two, here adds some historical perspective.
Many pundits pointed out that George W. Bush had used exactly the same language about a sensitive approach to the war on terror, so that Cheney was implicitly criticizing his own superior.

But as a historian, I have to say that Cheney's statement is bizarre and uninformed. Let me just give one example. The practice round for World War II was fought in North Africa, then controlled by the Vichy French. Dwight Eisenhower developed Project Torch, involving the landing of US troops in Morocco and Algeria.

It was essential to the US effort that the French colonial soldiers be quickly won over and convinced not to put up stiff resistance to the invasion. The original plan would have explicitly used British naval power. But the Free French objected loudly to this plan, since they did not want the British Empire's ships anywhere near their North African possessions. The French and the British had old rivalries in this regard. Moreover, there were still French bad feelings about the British attack on the French fleet at Mers al Kabir in Algeria in 1940.

So Roosevelt and Eisenhower asked Churchill to keep the British navy in the background off Gibraltar and out of sight of the Moroccan coast. Churchill agreed.

That is, Roosevelt and Eisenhower had their successful landing in North Africa precisely because they were entirely willing to bend over backward to be sensitive to French feelings.

And that is the big difference between Cheney and Bush as wartime leaders on the one hand, and on the other Roosevelt and Eisenhower. Cheney and Bush are diplomatically tone deaf, projecting nothing but arrogance and being all too willing to humiliate traditional allies. They have no sensitivity. And it is for that reason that they have the U.S. stuck in Iraq with only one really significant military ally, the U.K. ...
So is it really true that at one time we actually cared what the French thought? Roosevelt and Eisenhower asked Churchill to be sensitive?

Well, in that context it made tactical sense. I'm not sure that Kerry wasn't saying the exact same thing. It's just common sense. You don't piss people off needlessly, and expect them to love you for it. Sometimes being sensitive, and, as in this historical case, diplomatic, is just common sense.

But I guess that's wrong now. Common sense and diplomacy, in the traditional sense where it means something like "sensitivity" for tactical and strategic ends, is now inappropriate. See September 7, 2003 Opinion in Just Above Sunset for how we have redefined diplomacy. It's full of examples of how we have scorned diplomacy of this kind for the whole of the latest Bush administration. Win points in the international community with ridicule and scorn? Mock them and they'll deeply respect our power? Could that really be the idea? Many parents seem to feel they can shame their children into appropriate behavior by sneering at them and mocking them. I don't think that works very well but I've certainly seen that applied quite a bit - watch the parents at any Little League game. In regard to international policy, for the last three years the product we were being sold, and have bought, happily, is that, as Americans, we don't take crap from anyone, and we'll do what we want. And if you don't like that? Too bad.

John Kerry is going to change that dynamic?

In defense of his second amendment right to bear arms, even automatic weapons with armor-piercing cop-killer bullets, and as president of the National Rifle Association, Charlton Heston used to famously say of any gun control laws, "The government will have to pry this rifle from my cold, dead hands." Everyone would cheer.

I'm sure Cheney feels that same way about his right to be as arrogant as he wants, and to humiliate anyone he chooses. No one messes with us. And Judea Pearl can go fuck himself.


Item Two:

Last weekend in Just Above Sunset - in Racial Identity: Who Gets to be Black? - the latter part of the item covered the race for the open senate seat in Illinois where Barack Obama is being challenged by Alan Keyes.

Much of the discussion centered on comments that Barack Obama isn't really black - or is a new kind of black - or something. The idea was that Alan Keyes - the guy the GOP just decided to run against Barack Obama - is the real black guy? Whatever.

The item linked to and quoted many assessments of Keyes - and they were not flattering. Since the item was published Keyes has added more fuel to the fire. Keyes suggested it would be a good idea the we repeal the seventeenth amendment, so senators are not elected at all but, rather, appointed by each state legislature. This has something to do with states rights, but that's a bit confusing. And he has moved to the Chicago area from Maryland, as he must be an Illinois resident on the day of the election to qualify for the office. But he has leased a home, on a month-to-month basis. One suspect he knows the polls are showing he cannot possibly win.

Too add one more touch of strangeness to the whole business we get this -

Keyes likens abortion to terrorism
Natasha Korecki and Scott Fornek, The Chicago Sun-Times, Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Does this make sense?
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes said Monday that women who choose to undergo abortions and the physicians who perform the procedure are essentially terrorists because "the evil is the same."

The remarks came as Keyes was explaining why three months ago he said that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were a "warning" from God to "wake up" and stop "the evil" of abortion.

"Now, you think it's a coincidence that on September 11th, 2001, we were struck by terrorists an evil that has at its heart the disregard of innocent human life?" Keyes said in a May 7 speech in Provo, Utah. "We who have for several decades killed not thousands but scores of millions of our own children, in disregard of the principle of innocent human life -- I don't think that's a coincidence, I think that's a warning. ... I don't think that's a coincidence, I think that's a shot across the bow. I think that's a way of Providence telling us, 'I love you all; I'd like to give you a chance. Wake up! Would you please wake up?' "

The speech and transcript of that talk appears on the Web site of a Keyes supporter.

Since he entered the U.S. Senate contest just over a week ago, Keyes has attacked Democratic rival Barack Obama for his support for abortion rights, saying the Democrat holds "the slaveowners' position."

Obama called it "deeply troubling" that Keyes is now evoking the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in his anti-abortion arguments.
Deeply troubling? Maybe it is, but only in the psychiatric sense. Let him rave. The percentage of potential votes swayed by such an argument is so small as to make no difference. And psychotropic medication gets better all the time. Not to worry.

Keyes seems to be burying himself politically, or trying out some sort of new stand-up comedy routine for his next career, which will be back in Maryland.

What to make of this man? If I remember my sub-atomic physics right, the four properties of the subatomic particle known as the quark are up-ness, down-ness, strangeness and charm. These are some times called the quark's flavors. (What you need to know about ultrarelativistic heavy ion physics might be found here.) One thinks of Keyes, the human quark.

Posted by Alan at 19:22 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

Monday, 19 July 2004

Topic: Backgrounder

Bob Patterson, the World's Laziest Journalist, sends along this note on an odd news day.
After I zoom around the Internet and hit three or four sites I check each morning - Romenesko's Media News, Drudge - maybe Instapundit.

I hit a brick wall. What should a person read to find out what's the topic de jour for blogs? Is there a good Washington morning report? Other than Instapundit, who else is worth checking?

You said recently that for your own reading (books) you seem to like serendipity and spontaneity. Do you like unpredictable nonsense? Where do you go to find it?
Ah, good questions.

The daily political topics being tossed about are best found at these sites:

Real Clear Politics - with links to the major editorials of the day, about two-thirds on the right side of things.

Cursor - which by noon eastern time each weekday provides links to the major stories, a bit from the left.

From the left side? Working for Change - which always posts the latest Molly Ivins item, and a daily cartoon, and a quote, and "This Day in Radical History."

Later in the day Slate starts filling up with commentary, some of the best, but it is owned by Microsoft and MSNBC and co-produces the NPR radio show "Day to Day" weekdays at noon. Mainstream. Slate carries good summaries of movie and book reviews too.

For the daily wire stories and everyone's schedule, ABC's "The Note" is useful. That's here. If you want to know just when Bush will arrive in Peoria tomorrow, they have it.

The Blogs?

Here are the majors, and minors....

Andrew Sullivan - issues as seen by a conservative gay right-wing Republican, born and raised in the UK but now living at the tip of Cape Cod. Yep, he's conflicted.
Bartcop - very angry left and not terribly coherent...
The Best of the Blogs - not really, but pretty good.
Whiskey Bar - one of the most thoughtful, with long-form essays, not little nuggets.
Body and Soul - again, mostly long form, but the best of real humanism. Recommended.
The Daily Kos - much into being specific, with lots in individual states and their issues.
Altercation - Eric Alterman Monday through Friday. Forceful. Recommended.
Eschaton - short and sweet entries by Washington insiders. The granddaddy of them all. Highly Recommended.
FafBlog - way off the wall political humor from the Medium Lobster.
Hullabaloo - blunt and essential. One of the best. Recommended.
Political Animal - Kevin Drum's daily blog for the Washington Monthly is a must. Highly Recommended.
Oliver Willis - short, pointed, and spotty.
Semi-Daily Journal - Professor Delong here, of UC Berkeley, used to work in the White House as an economist for the Clinton Administration. So this is mostly about economic issues.
Tacitus - from the middle right, not the left.
Talking Points Memo - Joshua Micah Marshall, the ultimate Washington insider. The most depth. And a careful man. Highly Recommended.
Talk Left - multi-award winning blog on criminal and constitutional law, by attorneys but quite readable. Highly Recommended.
The Left End of the Dial - James Benjamin is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Behavioral and Social Science at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Politics as seen by a psychologist - and some jazz items too, as he's a fan.
The Volokh Conspiracy - a big-gun UCLA law professor, his students and friends hold forth on the issues of the day, from the prospective of constitutional, criminal and copyright law.
This Modern World - the cartoonist Tom Tomorrow and his friends hold forth on the day's issues.
War Blogging - one very angry and very articulate ex-military dude posts every third or forth day.
World O'Crap - "A daily diatribe about current events, bad movies, pop culture, Ann Coulter, etc." And so it is.

Others of note?

Matthew Yglesias
Roger Ailes - no, not THAT one, the other one...
Sadly, No!
Tapped - the blog of The America Prospect
Quark Soup - a science blog from David Appell, and sometimes a bit technical of course
Margaret Cho - the comedienne of the left side of things ...
Patriot Boy - General JC Christian who signs each item "Heterosexually Yours" - the manly man - tries to rid himself of his "inner Frenchman" and wonders why his little general (and two grenades) won't stand up at attention when called upon.... You get the idea. Political satire at its snarkiest.
UggaBugga - often has good diagrams but posts at odd intervals...
Sisyphus Shrugged - wise woman blogger

That should hold you for a bit.

Odd stuff?

For what's up in France try these:

The Tocqueville Connection - for AFP wire items in English updated several times a day
RFI Press Review - Radio France International's daily English summary of the top stories in the French national press
France Daily - an infobot that pops up all stories from the wires that have the word France or Paris in the title or first paragraph
Yahoo - France - current AP and Reuters (and other wire services) stories regarding France

The arts?

Arts and Letters Daily - a service of The Chronicle of Higher Education providing links to stories on music and all the arts, book reviews of note, and some politics
About Last Night - Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal on music, dance and theater, with neat quotes now and then, and no politics at all

Finally, an odd UK tabloid site -

Ananova - and check our their "Quirkies" of course....

That'll do for now.

Posted by Alan at 11:43 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 19 July 2004 11:54 PDT home

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