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August 16, 2004

I shook the Internet and stuff fell out. John Battelle:
We love stories. It’s how we understand the world. Were I to tell a friend what happened in tonight’s Giants game, I wouldn’t send him a box score (though I might refer to one as I was talking to him). I’d say something like “Man, we looked terrible in the first two innings, our rookie pitcher was tight and we had back-to-back errors resulting in a three-run deficit by the second. But then AJ nailed a three-run homer that put us back in the game, and in the 5th we rang up three more (including Barry’s 689th!). It was all Giants from then on, and JT Snow was on fire…!” and so on. A story is our way of taking a journey and making it portable—we can give it to others, and we’re wired to enjoy both hearing a good story, as well as telling it.
Laura Rozen:
I think my instinct about intelligence history is by and large correct and not very academic: you can study it all you want, but intelligence failure is basically the almost inevitable consequence not of a lack of information, but of a failure of imagination. The reason the US didn’t foresee Pearl Harbor, Stalin didn’t believe Hitler would invade the Soviet Union, the US didn’t foresee India’s nuclear tests, etc. is not for lack of information. It is about the blindnesses that occur on this side in the processing of information, the inability or unwillingness to yield one’s assumptions to think like one’s adversary, and the moving of such insights within the bureaucracy.
John-Paul Spiro:
I have to say I feel just awful for Jack Ryan. He’s now and forever a political joke and he never even got to hold office. Now every single story about Keyes and/or Obama must end with a reference to Ryan bowing out over “sexually embarrassing allegations.” Not that he doesn’t deserve it. If you’re rich and handsome and married to Jeri Ryan, and having sex with her is just not enough so you just want strangers to watch the two of you get it on because then you’re just the man and everyone knows it because they can always suspect that she just married you for your money and you guys don’t have sex at all so you just gotta prove it to them by actually nailing her with the strobe lights flashing and the music pounding and come on honey stop crying it would be cool I’m sorry I thought you might be into it really I promise I’ll never do it again I just think it might spice things up no I don’t mean things aren’t good but it would just be interesting to try once dammit I want people to gape at us while we’re having nasty monkey love because that’s my way of proving how much I value you as my wife oh hell let’s get a divorce just don’t bring this up ever because I want to serve in our government and make laws for this beloved nation someday and if you do I’ll slander you in the press because God forbid our child find out what a sleaze his father is anyway I’m sorry that Boston Public show didn’t work out I told you Star Trek wouldn’t be the best springboard but oh well I’m going to volunteer at some inner-city schools to build up my I Care About The People bonafides so later babe good luck with that stewardess part in Down With Love

So, sorry, Jack Ryan. You will be missed. Let the real sideshow begin.

Bob Herbert reports from Florida:
The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.

I asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal activity had taken place.

“I can’t talk about that,” he said.

I asked if all the people interrogated were black.

“Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at—yes,” he said.

He also said, “Most of them were elderly.”

When I asked why, he said, “That’s just the people we selected out of a random sample to interview.”

And from the Seattle Times, an miniature Coen Brothers movie. (Via Roger (Not That One) Ailes.)
KALISPELL, Mont. — Until he was arrested this year in his underwear in a motel room with a nearly naked young woman who was behind in her payments to his finance company, no businessman in this town was more respected than Richard Dasen.

Medieval metalwork by Teresa Heinz Kerry’s eldest son.

What Really Happened. (Warning: sound.)

Kip Manley, 11,000,000; Washington Post, 0.

Winner of the Electrolite August 2004 This Guy Is Making Way Too Much Sense Award: Digby. [01:40 PM]

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

Comments on I shook the Internet and stuff fell out.:

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:53 PM:

One question I've wanted to ask about Digby's blog for a long time is this: "Is that Captain Marvel wearing a trenchcoat in the sidebar (shouting to us to cast our searchlights through the clouds of delusion)?"

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:30 PM:

Yesterday's WashPost Style Invitational had five cartoons and people were to say how one had to do with the campaign. The cartoon with an elephant and a man in bikini bondage wear with a whip got this answer:

D Third runner-up: Cartoon D: In a bold attempt to steal the thunder from Barack Obama's convention speech, Jack Ryan makes off with the party mascot. (Janice Eisen, Brookfield, Wis.)

The Letters to the WashPost have been full of people saying the apology/examination of war news wasn't enough.

N in Seattle ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:59 PM:

Lenny Bailes asks:

One question I've wanted to ask about Digby's blog for a long time is this: "Is that Captain Marvel wearing a trenchcoat in the sidebar (shouting to us to cast our searchlights through the clouds of delusion)?"

Not even close, Lenny. That's Peter Finch as TV anchorman Howard Beale in Sidney Lumet's brilliant, scathing film Network (1976). The accompanying speech is also Finch-as-Beale, speaking the words of Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay.

Finch died between the announcement of the nominees for the Best Actor Oscar and the Academy Awards show. My vague recollection is that even before his death the buzz was that he should win the award. His passing made it a slam-dunk. In any case, he absolutely deserved the honor ... it was a phenomenally searing portrayal of madness as truth-telling in the face of corporate evil.

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:43 PM:

N in Seattle:

I'm glad I asked my silly question, since it caused you to appear here. I'm adding your "Peace Tree Farm" to my list of blogs to check into on a regular basis.

(As for my being not even close, I'll leave you to check out this or maybe this to decide whether I'm totally hallucinating.)

Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 07:37 AM:

Lenny: Now that you mention it, in that photo Peter Finch does look something like an older version of The Big Red Cheese, who in turn was modeled on Fred MacMurray.

N in Seattle ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 10:36 AM:

I'll agree with Kevin about the resemblance, though I can't comment in the slightest about the underlying inspiration for Captain Marvel (was it "Double Indemnity" Fred or "My Three Sons" Fred?).

Thanks for your kind words about Peace Tree Farm. I'm neither prolific nor oft-read, but I do my best with what I've got.

Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 04:33 PM:

Wow. The only thing missing from that Spiro post is her role as the Praying Mantis Woman in the first season of Buffy...