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January 21, 2004

“Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.”

I just wanted to hear that again.

“Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.”

Smoking gun-related activity program initiative!

Conclusive evidence-related involvement postulation enterprise!

This isn’t just moving the goalposts, it’s attaching the goalposts to a booster rocket and shooting them into the Sun. Look, a revitalized space program after all! [02:40 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on "Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.":

Varia ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 03:18 PM:

Ow! Shouldn't read these things while consuming comestibles.

I just snorted Pixy Stix into my nasal ducts. That stuff stings.

Umm, and I don't mean that the cocaine/nose-first type route.

David W. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 03:45 PM:

George Orwell would weep.

David W. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 04:11 PM:

Check out what Quiddity in Uggabugga has to say about some rather Orwellian parallels from the SOTU last night. Brrr...

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 04:20 PM:

This just in:


Or maybe it was a piece of Spam offering steroids for sale found in the Deleted Items folder on his laptop's copy of Outlook.

A smoking gun if I've ever seen one.

Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 05:07 PM:

It's a good thing we invaded Iraq; if we hadn't, the proof of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction-related program activities might have come in the form of a reference to a drawing of a mushroom cloud over an American city!

John ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 10:14 PM:

When I heard that, I almost spat out my cheese food!

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2004, 10:35 PM:

Patrick, that remark has to get the blogosphere quote of the day award, or something else.

john, what, not your lunchment?

Y'know, it would be a better world if more people snickered at the Bushies. But then they'd have to snicker at, oh, lots of things.

That was interesting--I kept looking for "post" button which wasn't. (Maybe it wd. be better grayed out? :-)

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 12:18 AM:

I love it -- they are also trying to rewarm the "all the WMD's went to Syria" line again . . .

tost ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 12:44 AM:

“Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.”

Perhaps we've been a little too glib here. I believe that W. was actually sending a coded message to sleeper cells of Republican operatives. I've haven't been able to decipher the entire thing, but the letters in "program" can be jumbled to spell ramgrop, which I believe is a turn-of-the-century term for group sex.

Alex ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 10:00 AM:

I don't see why everyone is so surprised by this phrase - it's exactly what one should expect from "America's first CEO President".

If Bush is reelected, I predict that next year's SOTU will be a PowerPoint presentation.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 10:45 AM:

Alex ::: January 22, 2004, 10:00 AM:

"I don’t see why everyone is so surprised by this phrase - it’s exactly what one should expect from “America’s first CEO President”.

If Bush is reelected, I predict that next year’s SOTU will be a PowerPoint presentation."

You know, as time goes by, the press doesn't use that phrase. Or 'first MBA president', either.

I guess that, given the economy, either phrase would now be considered a disloyal negative.

Garth ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 10:48 AM:

"It’s a good thing we invaded Iraq; if we hadn’t, the proof of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction-related program activities might have come in the form of a reference to a drawing of a mushroom cloud over an American city!"


Now that is priceless.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 01:30 PM:

Truly worthy of immortalization on t-shirts and coffe mugs along with the occasional billboard.

Daniel Hatch ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 02:44 PM:

It gets better.

The phrase comes from a sentence lifted in its entirety from an op-ed piece by an Ohio Republican congressman and published in an Ohio newspaper weeks ago.

Either Bush's speechwriter's are incredibly blatant plagiarists ...

... or they wrote the op-ed piece too.

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 03:10 PM:

My fellow Americanians, and loyal imported workers. If we had not freed Iraq via the life-giving power of bombing the proof of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction-related program activities might have come in the form of a reference to a drawing of a mushroom cloud over an American city! Mushrooms, like other steroids, are a bad drug. Saddam Hussein had mushrooms, and he used them to become 200 feet tall in meters, and torture Megadon and Mothra.

Saddam Hussein, a known associate of bad people with middle eastern names, like Bin Laden, another known associate of bad people with middle eastern names, sent pieces of paper filled with incomprehensible scribbles that he called writing to that guy in Syria. We knew the Syrians were evil, they had pieces of paper in code from Saddam Hussein, using words that, dependent on context could very well be used in technical descriptions of weapons of mass destruction required for any program implementing such - or the like.

Because of this, because the Syrians are evil people who torture and also know how to say bad words like allah akbar and nuclear fusion, we sent our top secret CIA operative Mr. Maher Arar (address provided on request) over there. It appears now that bad things were done to this true patriotist, by bad people, on mushrooms.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 04:41 PM:

bryan, you did get the 'life giving power', the mushrooms and the steroids, but what about the purity of our precous bodily fluids?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 05:08 PM:

And the sanctity of holy matrimonial program activity projects?

bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 05:17 PM:

What I am talking about here is a simple subject, it is the concept of purity, now purity is an important thing, which is why I've asked Jenna and Barbara to abstain from impure stuff, and stuff like that, and god bless them - they're doing it.

And also I'm talking about the purity of fluid-like stuff, water, good clean non-colored american water, made in the Rockies - you know our water is the purest fluid in america, which is why I'm asking us all to pull together and get rid of the Clean Air act which tries to take the much needed attention from the purity of our water and put in on the Cleanness of our air. And that's just plain wrong.

We have an air force, they did darn good work in Iraq, that place with the bad folks that had activities that like activities related to september 11th were done by bad people. And I don't think our Air Force needs to be interfered with by government regulation like the Clean Air act, when the natural workings of the market place will allow us to have the best air force in the world, an air force that accomplishes missions and looks darn good doing it.

And that's what I mean by the purity. Purity of fluids, specifically the purity of bodily fluids. Now when I talk about purity of bodily fluids, I'm talking about the purity of my bodily fluids. There's a lot of different kinds of folks out there who always want to talk about the purity of our bodily fluids, well I have a great deal of compassion for misguided people that want to share their bodily fluids but Communism has already been tried in this century and it was wrong. Hitler tried it and he was wrong. So when you say: "why don't you talk about the purity of our bodily fluids" there is no OUR bodily fluids, there's only mine.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 07:08 PM:

Bryan, now that's scary -- do you channel Cheyney as well?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 07:23 PM:

I had never thought of it before -- Dubya is Merkin Muffley desperately trying to come off as Buck Turgidson . . .

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2004, 09:50 PM:

"... Critic David J. Skal has written on the connection between vampirism and fellatio. He argues that the unconscious mind does not distinguish between bodily fluids and cites such varied personages as black magician Aleister Crowley and born-again Christian Anita Bryant equating vampirism and oral sex...."


For the Purity of Our Precious Bodily Fluids: an Essay on Eroticism in Vampire Films

Okay, now, what combination of real people was parodied as Dr. Strangelove himself?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:07 AM:

Herman Kahn, Henry Kissinger and Werner von Braun thrown in for flavor. Oh, and Sellers based the voice on Weegee . . .

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:36 AM:

"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bom" was a 1964 film, Directed by Stanley Kubrick, from a Stanley Kubrick screenplay, which in turn was an adaptation of Peter George's novel.

Peter George was born 26 March 1924 in Treorchy, Wales, and died 1 June 1966, in Hastings, East Sussex, England, by suicide.

His novel was titled "Red Alert, aka Two Hours to Doom" and, retroactively, "Dr. Strangelove."

So, what could Stanley Kubrick and Peter George known by 1964 about Herman Kahn, Henry Kissinger and Werner von Braun?

We know what people thought of von Braun, because Tom Lehrer so neatly summarized "'Vhen the rockets go up, who cares vhere they come down? That's not my department,' says Verner von Braun." We'll never know the whole truth, because von Braun died after shaking hands with my father on a massive autobiographical book deal, and before the contract could be inked, and many filing cabinets of notes vanished.

I said on my web domain, in eht e Science Fiction section, for "authors K" the following, which has been questioned by some experts.

Herman Kahn (15 Feb 1922-1981?) Very important person in the history of
American foreign policy and the field of Futurology. Herman Kahn (as
I have determined) was a promising graduate student of Physics at
Caltech, whose professors felt that he had "the right stuff" to
someday win a Nobel Prize, but he felt that sociopolitical problems
were more difficult and interesting. He scored the single highest
level ever observed on the standard U.S. armed forces intelligence
test (equivalent to a 220+ I.Q., some think) and was an obvious genius.
He headed R&D at the RAND corporation (Air Force think tank) then
began his own think tank, the famous Hudson Institute. There he
perfected his analysis of war and peace in international policy,
including the "Scenario" method of forecasting -- in essence, first
crunching the numbers and then writing a series of science fiction
short stories about alternative futures. In fact, he hired an
assistant (whom I've met) whose job it was to read all the science
fiction magazines and record every interesting technical and
sociological idea for further study. With Anthony J. Weiner and the
Hudson Institute, he wrote the definitive Futorology book:
"The Year 2000" (New York: Macmillan, 1968), a must-read for SF
authors, if only for its list of 100 possible future inventions.
He was, in essence, the #1 consultant to the military-industrial
complex. He told me (as I foolishly declined a job at the Hudson
Institute) that he was hired by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the
United States, who sent him in to do the definitive study of the
war in Vietnam. He asked for carte blanche, to be able to go anwhere,
see any documents, interview anyone. On his return, he presented
his massive analysis in writing to the Joint Chiefs, but prefaced it
with this oral summary: "Gentlemen: I have determined that there ar
23 unacceptable ways of winning the war in Vietnam, including nuclear
and biological options, 14 acceptable ways of winning, and only one
way of losing. And, gentlemen, you have found it."
A great Santa Claus of a man, gentle, friendly, and thoughtful,
he was reviled by a leftist public that assumed he was a fascist "hawk" from his
controversial books "On Thinking the Unthinkable" and "On
Thermonuclear War." He invented the words "Megadeath" and "The
Doomsday Device" and thus is part of the composite villain
(with Henry Kissinger) Dr. Strangelove in the Kubrick's nuclear holocaust
masterpiece "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to
Love the Bomb." How do I know all this, gentle reader? Well, I dated
his daughter Deborah in the late 1960s. This was on the summer
retreat of Fire Island, where cars are banned, and people carry their
groceries home on little red wagons. I painted a mushroom cloud on
his wagon, a prank which he found eminently amusing. Just as most of
us can think faster than we can type, which messes up our writing, he
could think much faster than he could talk, and so he tended to leave
out the ends of his sentences, which made conversation mysterious.
He, his brilliant wife (who was a "computer" in the Manhattan Project),
his practical-joking son and pragmatic/romantic daughter seemed oddly familiar to me.
When I asked, Debbie said "Oh, yes. Bobbie Heinlein asked us if he could use
us as the model for the family in 'Podkayne of Mars.'" So I, Jonathan
Vos Post, can say that I once dated the fictional character Podkayne.
This little essay, like everything else on this web page, is copyright
1996 by Magic Dragon Multimedia. All Rights Reserved.

But someone (email, sigh, now lost) said that Kissinger was not well enough known by 1964 to be included in the composite character.

The Nobel eMuseum says:

"Henry Alfred Kissinger was the 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977, continuing to hold the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs which he first assumed in 1969 until 1975. After leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, of which he is chairman.

Dr. Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany, on May 27, 1923, came to the United States in 1938, and was naturalised a United States citizen on June 19, 1943. He received the BA Degree Summa Cum Laude at Harvard College in 1950 and the MA and PhD Degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954 respectively.

From 1954 until 1971 he was a member of the Faculty of Harvard University, both in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He was Associate Director of the Center from 1957 to 1960. He served as Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956; Director of the Special Studies Project for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1956 to 1958; Director of the Harvard International Seminar from 1951 to 1971, and Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971. (He was on leave of absence from Harvard from January 1969 to January 1971).

Secretary Kissinger has written many books and articles on United States foreign policy, international affairs, and diplomatic history. Among the awards he has received are the Guggenheim Fellowship (1965-66), the Woodrow Wilson Prize for the best book in the fields of government, politics and international affairs (1958), the American Institute for Public Service Award (1973), the International Platform Association Theodore Roosevelt Award (1973), the Veterans of Foreign Wars Dwight D. Eisenhower Distinguished Service Medal (1973), the Hope Award for International Understanding (1973), the Presidentia1 Medal of Freedom (1977) and the Medal of Liberty (1986).

He has served as a consultant to the Department of State (1965-68), United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961-68), Rand Corporation (1961-68), National Security Council (1961-62), Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the joint Chiefs of Staff (1959-60), Operations Coordinating Board (1955), Director of the Psychological Strategy Board (1952), Operations Research Office (1951), and Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (1983-84).

From 1943 to 1946 Dr. Kissinger served in the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps and from 1946 to 1949 was a captain in the Military Intelligence Reserve.

He married Ann Fleischer in 1949 and was divorced in 1964. There were two children, Elizabeth and David. In 1974 he married Nancy Maginnes.

Okay, then, by 1964 he'd consulted for State Dept, served on National Security Council, and (more obscure) the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the joint Chiefs of Staff. He'd been Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program Closer to strangelovian concerns, he'd been Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956. Is that enough for the public to see him as part of Strangelove?

My gut says that your triumverate is plausible, but I am not sure that this is conclusive. He was not so obviously (in 1964) the Metternichian Machiavellian bizarro who was outmaneuevered by the North Vietnamese negotiators and lied to us about it, and didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

The above is data. Am I drawing the right conclusion? I don't think I'm taking this too seriously, either. It was an extraordinary novel, unforgettable film, and we lived in fear of nuclear war too long to ignore this ... and we should still be in fear. There are still tens of thousands of weapons. The Russian ones may technically not be pointed at us. But theres, and Chinese ones, and Pakistani for that matter, can have target coordinates uploaded to the guyidance, navigation and control onboard the missile in mere seconds, a minute or two max.

Any thoughts now?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 03:26 PM:

To start off, I managed not to post one correction yesterday (I think I got to preview and got distracted by something else -- typical).

What I was trying to say was that GWB was Merkin Muffley trying to be Jack D. Ripper but maaging to come out as Major Kong. It's Rumsfeld that reminds me of Turgidson. My mistake there.

Nice points, Jonathan. Both Sellers and Kubrick have been quoted as saying that their primary model was von Braun. (I always love Tom Lehrer, but I also like Mort Sahl's suggestion that von Braun's autobiography I Aim For The Stars should have been subtitled "but Sometimes I Hit London.")

One of the better examinations of this question is from the alt.movies.kubrick FAQ where the writer balances the for and against cases for each candidate. Two names not yet mentioned here who might be part of the good doctor are Rotwang (from Metropolis) and Edward Teller (both of which have problems as models for Dr. Strangelove. Also some Dr Pretorius from Bride of Frankenstein of course. Kahn is also cited by many as an influence, but the definite screen take on Kahn is Groteschele in Fail-Safe, of course.

I admit that Kissinger is a bit of a long shot. But before this film came out he had already (as noted in the FAQ) published two books, and I believe that The Necesssity for Choice was a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection. I know that I had heard of Kissinger before Nixon's first election, even through I was just starting high school. But I am a special case -- my father flew B-52's at the time and later was an EWO officer for a SAC base, so you might say nuclear war was the family business. I worked my way through On Thermonuclear War and The Effects of Nuclear Weapons my junior year in HS. (Unfortunatly the school did not offer a letter in Global Domination.) I think that some of the problem is retrospective -- Kissinger just ended up looking and sounding so much like the character that Sellers created.

In my world, the character that had the greatest impact was Slim Pickens' Major T.J. "King" Kong. In the air force, you weren't supposed to go see this movie (you had to go off-base), which meant of course that everyone did go see it. I was told later that while such antics were never considered correct by many commanders, the time would come, maybe during an ORI, when the intercom would click on and out would come pure King Kong:

I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do.

While Pickens lived near here while I was a reporter, I never got to interview him. There is a classic story about him on the Strangelove set told by Terry Southern (scroll down almost a quarter of the page).

Concerning the larger issues, I agree that there isn't enough concern given these days to all the weapons that remain out there -- and our recent record in regard to North Korea is a disgrace. But there are a couple of factors working in our favor. The first is that nukes have always been harder to build and make work than advertised -- something that several smaller countries have apparently discovered in recent years. And many nuclear weapons have a shorter shelf life than you might think. The typical US weapon uses tritium as a neutron booster in fission or fusion primary devices and that stuff simply does not have a long shelf life and must be replace every so many months. Also the nuclear materials in the physics package itself really should be reprocessed and remanufactured every decade or so. You wait long enough. and the weapons start to get unreliable on you. (Hence all the noise since the early 90's on stockpile maintenance and monitoring as well as reopening production lines.)

A question back at you Jonathan (and anyone else interested) on Strangelove. What do you think of the origninal ending?

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:34 PM:

Claude Muncey:
"A question back at you Jonathan (and anyone else interested) on Strangelove. What do you think of the [original] ending?"

Good re-analysis on your part!

I should know this, but, is or in't it the original ending to have the musroom clouds with soundtrack'd "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I known we'll meet again some sunny day..."?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 05:42 PM:

I want spell checking for comments! (I know, real soon now . . .)

In the original ending a pie fight breaks out in the War Room (supplied from the buffet we have already been shown), first between Turgidson and the Russian ambassador, and then between the officers of the different service branches. Terry Southern has the details just below the story I linked to above. The scene actually was shot, and two pictures that I know of have survived. Kubrick wisely chose to cut at 'Mein Fuerher! I Can walk!' which is rivalled as a comic last line only by Some Like It Hot.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 05:56 PM:

Does it help or hurt that nuclear bombs are a wasting asset - a use it or lose weapon if in the hands of NGO's?

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 07:29 PM:

Clark, I worked up a long analysis of that question, but it comes down to a simple relationship -- the more sophisticated and relaible (and in this case, the two do go togeher) a nuclear weapon is, the more difficult it will be for an unauthorized person to set it off. If it is easy to set off, the less reliable it will be and the faster it will age. At one end of the spectrum are modern American nukes, at the other end, presumably could be countries with illegal programs like Korea, that only care if they can set the damm thing off next week when the brass hats are watching. Also, to be useful to a terrorist, the weapon can't be to0 large. The typical early generaation weaponized device weighs somewhere beteen .5 and 5 tons, and in the case weapons made from the high 240 plutonium from power reactors, will be detectably radioactive. This is not something you can sneak on an airplane in either checked or carry-on baggage. There are simpler ways of destroying a city -- just consider LP gas tankers and a bazooka . . .

Most terrorists won't care if the weapons are aging, because even if they fizzle they will be spectacularly dirty bombs, and will inidcate that the next one *might* work.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 07:34 PM:

"The typical early generaation weaponized device weighs somewhere beteen .5 and 5 tons, and in the case weapons made from the high 240 plutonium from power reactors, will be detectably radioactive. This is not something you can sneak on an airplane in either checked or carry-on baggage."

Hence shipping by sea. Fortunately, many, many cities are quite water-accessible. And for those which aren't, railroads are so handy.

Daniel Hatch ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 11:20 PM:

When the right detection equipment is on hand, smuggling a nuclear weapon is like trying to smuggle a siren -- while it's going off.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 11:17 AM:

What that equipment is and where is it is the obvious question, then, Daniel.

Just a bit of trivia -- few peopole know that each of the big state truck scale and inspection stations here in California have a set of radiation sensors that cover all vehciles passing through the facility. The idea is to protect the CHP officers that staff the stations while providing surveillance on truck cargos. The monitoring has been in place for years and gets set off every so often -- which means your placarding better be correct.

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 08:46 PM:

Back on the question of who inspired Dr. Strangelove, I'm quite surprised that no one here nor in the alt.movies.kubrick FAQ mentioned John von Neumann, who spoke with a thick Eastern European accent, attended Atomic Energy Commission meetings in a wheelchair, and advocated nuclear first strike against the Soviets on game-theoretical grounds.

The realization that von Neumann was Strangelove came to me when I read William Poundstone's The Prisoner's Dilemma in the mid-1990s. TPD is a mixture of biography of von Neumann, discussion of nuclear deterrence and the pro- and anti-nuclear movements in the 1950s, and analysis of game theory. The parallels between von Neumann and Dr. Strangelove were instantly clear to me at the time, though I can't remember if Poundstone mentioned them explicitly.

Given the information cited on the alt.movies.kubrick FAQ, I'd say that Kahn is clearly a source, but I'd be amazed if von Neumann weren't at least as big of one. Like Kahn, von Neumann also worked for RAND, and was one of the many fathers of the atomic bomb.

von Neumann was also clearly a model for Felix Hoenikker, the scientist who invented ice-9 in Cat's Cradle--there are odd biographical details they share that I noticed at the time, including the deaths of their wives in odd automobile-related accidents and some others. Unfortunately, some of the details elude me at this late date.

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 10:13 PM:

Kevin J. Maroney:

Good call. Von Neumann and Edward Teller came in the same decade from the same small Jewish corner of Budapest, having attended the same "best high school system in Europe", and enjoyed the same cafe scene, where scientists mingled with poets and philosophers and painters. About 10 world-class geniuses, who won 7 or 8 Nobel prizes, share that description, and some had the same specific teachers. Then they saw their beloved home town ruined by Nazi and Communist invasions.

Wigner and Szilard are two more of that clique. Some did not come to America, but rather to England or France.

The survivors tended to be profoundly driven, ultra-productive, and committed to stopping their common enemy from taking over the world. At Los Alamos, they were varously known as The Hungarian Mafia, and as The Martians.

"Von Neumann" doesn't sound Jewish, but was. His father, a wealthy banker, made big political donations to the right prince, and bought the honorific "von."

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 02:27 AM:

The survivors tended to be profoundly driven, ultra-productive, and committed to stopping their common enemy from taking over the world. At Los Alamos, they were varously known as The Hungarian Mafia, and as The Martians.

Around this house we call them the Hungarian Jewish Martians and theorize there was this sneak invasion from Mars one night that landed in the Jewish section of Budapest....


Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 01:22 PM:

Ga. Official Wants to Replace 'Evolution'

- AP

By DOUG GROSS, Associated Press Writer

"ATLANTA - The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase "biological changes over time."

Okay, Magic Dragon Multimedia proposes striking the word "Georgia" from the national curriculum and with the phrase "devolutionary changes over time."

Are we not men?

The Plaid Adder ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2004, 10:40 AM:

It is a beautiful phrase, isn't it? Let's hear it again:

"Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."

For anyone who wants to hear it a few more times, I used it as a leitmotif in my last Democratic Underground column:

Lipstick On A Pig

When I heard The Phrase, I burst out laughing. Then I said, "Wait, I gotta write this down!" I still have the sheet of notes I made, in which The Phrase is scribbled next to " 'Unleashing the compassion' of faith-based organizations?" and " 'If...then would.'" The last referring to Bush's _conditional_ statement of support for the federal marriage amendment. He's still afraid to outright endorse it for fear of the Constitutional conservatives--although I noticed he almost swallowed both the 'if' and the 'would.'

Looking forward to someone ELSE's SOTU in 2005,

The Plaid Adder

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2004, 11:33 AM:

Saw this, from the Patriots-cheering Boston Globe, linked to from Arts & Letters Daily:

Conspiracies so vast

Conspiracy theory was born in the Age of Enlightenment and has metastasized in the Age of the Internet. Why won't it go away?

By Darrin M. McMahon, 2/1/2004