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August 29, 2004

Open thread 9. Unlike certain other blogs on nielsenhayden.com, we don’t let our open threads get up to 500 messages before starting a new one. (Cough, cough.) [08:40 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Open thread 9.:

Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 08:56 PM:

You should all be frightened when I am the first to post on an open thread...

How about this? http://slashdot.org/articles/04/08/29/174220.shtml?tid=219&tid=1

Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 08:58 PM:

Forgive my ignorance. Try this!

Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 10:17 PM:

Is that a gun on your front page, or are you just happy to see us?

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 10:42 PM:

Well, we may as well pull out of Iraq now.

Allah is sending chair-sized giant spiders whose hairs cause blood cells to explode to aid the devout in Fallujah with the struggle against the eeevil American invaders:


Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 10:52 PM:

Yes, but did PNH hit the broad side of the barn?

And, are handguns good for dispatching giant radioactive spiders of doom sent by OBL? Inquiring minds want to know.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 11:43 PM:

The last three DVDs I watched all had Tony Shalhoub in them. I expected him in Galaxy Quest, because I've seen that before (and it's back at the bottom of my Netflix list again), but he also had parts in The Imposter and The Siege. The Siege was only a so-so movie, but the things that happened in it certainly resonate six years later.

lightning ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2004, 11:45 PM:

Larry --

No, handguns aren't good for dispatching "giant radioactive spiders of doom", or anything else. They're Magical Talismans (Talismen?) of Protection from Evil. If you have a handgun, the spiders and other nasties won't come anywhere near you. They'll go eat your liberal neighbors.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 01:21 AM:

Have you seen "Big Night", Marilee? Shaloub again. Nice movie.

No spiders, or guns.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 03:08 AM:

Not to mention The Man Who Wasn't There, which is a masterpiece.

Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 06:54 AM:

If Saddam Hussein's giant alien scorpions didn't help against the U.S. military, I don't see much danger for the Americans this time either.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 10:21 AM:

Stefan Jones: I find it hard to believe that there is anyone so credulous as to believe the giant-spider story. Perhaps my imagination is just not sufficient.

You realize that many people will be after this sheik for his smoking materials? (Not me, I hasten to add; my brain is screwed up enough.)

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 11:19 AM:

I'm torn between thinking of the giant spiders as extruded fantasy product inspired by Shelob and her family and fanfic by some fan of Tor books after blogging about Camel spiders.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 01:10 PM:

Speaking of alien activity in Iraq, this page would make one heck of a resource for someone's Stargate SG1 RPG campaign.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 01:16 PM:


There are (probably photoshopped) pictures of GIs holding giant spiders. Mix that with boredom and frustration and I can easily picture some people believing in divine giant spiders.

Just like some people o'er here actually think patterns of frost on windows or dark spots on tortillas are a message from Mary.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 01:49 PM:

The "giant spider" story might be based on this photo of a camel spider that made the email forwarding and blogging rounds a few months back. (DO NOT follow that link if you're arachnophobic!)

That doesn't appear to be a Photoshop trick, but rather an older form of lying-with-photography -- the spider is held close to the lens, and the photo's cropped so that the only object in view that you can readily compare it to for scale is a soldier's leg. The camel spider looks like it's a foot or more long; actually they grow to maybe five inches.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 02:19 PM:

Of course, Patrick (considering the picture), an alternate motto here might be "Shooting from the Left" . . .

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 02:29 PM:

Ooo, Claude! That's GOOD. I hope PNH will consider it.

Not that I don't like the current one. But.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 02:30 PM:

Avram, as is pointed out in the text of that link, those are multiple camel spiders holding on to each other. It's amazing to me how many people don't see that the moment they look at it.

Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 02:46 PM:

Patrick, in that picture, are you firing an M-1911A1?

Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 02:48 PM:

Speaking of jet-powered wheelchairs, which we weren't, here's one now.

If my grandma had wheels...oh never mind.

T ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 04:01 PM:

If you scroll down a bit on the link that Avram provided you can get to the Camel Spider care sheet Fabulous!

Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 06:19 PM:

I wasn't aware their was a Stargate SG1 RPG but seeing as how thier are RPGs for just about everything, it makes sense. And given the set up of the SG1 series, it's actually a perfect form for the RPG: Yur team gets to be anyone from SG2 to SG3000, you can go anywhere in the galaxy, have a wide array of alien bad guys and good guys to run into and if anything goes wrong, the GM can call in the SG Marines.

God, I'm such a geek.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 07:13 PM:

Thanks, Stefan & Robert! Those are now the 132 and 133 dvds on my queue (not counting the dvds that aren't released yet that are in the SAVE queue).

Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 07:23 PM:

Patrick is firing a standard-issue military .45 automatic. On arrival back after shooting, the first words I heard him announce were, "Pow! Bang! Ka-BOOM! That was FUN!" The smile was worth the price of admission.

BTW, he not only hit the side of the barn, but I have a photo of the man-shaped target, with nice little holes through the heart area. I will leave it to him to upload those pics, along with their caption which was written on the target. It is his punchline to reveal, so to speak.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 09:09 PM:

That is indeed an M1911A1.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 10:01 PM:

"Yes, but did PNH hit the broad side of the barn?"

Answer here.

claire ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 10:52 PM:

Wow. An editor with a gun.

Can I have one?

--claire (a body who is really trying to Be Polite this week)

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2004, 11:30 PM:

Very impressive shootin', Mr. Nielsen Hayden. Very impressive indeed.

Now, about those radioactive Al Qaeda spiders...

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 12:52 AM:

The whole Stargate / Stargate SG1 scenario looks a LOT like the background for an old RPG game, "Fringeworthy."

Crappy, overblown mechanics, but a wonderful concept: Walk through one of the teleportation rings left by ancients and end up on another world. In Fringeworthy's case, an alternate-timeline Earth, but the resemblance is too close to easily brush off.

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 01:00 AM:

Claire, forgive me in advance, but the logical* T-shirt would be:

It's Payback Time.

*I am sometimes very mean to this word, and this is one of those times.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 04:11 AM:

Actually, the cuff in the foreground give a decent referent. Those are fairly large camel spiders but not too much larger than the ones I saw.

Spooky things. They aren't really spiders, but they look like them, and that makes them seem even more strange, and fearsome.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 04:18 AM:

Poking around the internet I discover that the Camel Spider has a relative in the States.

Solpugid Eremobates

John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 06:29 AM:

Solpugid Eremobates.

Any relation to Norman?

And I'm sure we're all aware that scorpions glow under UV light. As far as I know, there hasn't yet been a direct-to-Skiffy-Channel dime-budget horror epic making use of this fact, and I can't imagine why.

cd finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 06:47 AM:

Not in this thread, but the recent comments list sure makes it look like there's another surge incoming...

Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 08:19 AM:

I hope the new photo doesn't come from one of the Viable Paradise workshops.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 09:53 AM:

Upon perceiving the Nielsen-Hayden handgun picture & the accompanying thread, I could not resist drawing your attnetion [serendip!] to this:
       Making Holes In pieces of Paper.
His conclusions are Not Without Merit, IMHO.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 10:37 AM:

Keith, I'm even more of a geek than you about Stargate. I finally yielded to the temptation to learn Middle Egyptian so I can understand the dialogue in the movie, some of which isn't captioned. So far I haven't made much progress.

And also I think I'm leading a discussion (or something) at NorEasCon on "Why Stargate SG-1 sometimes makes me scream," or "Bad Linguistics in Skiffy," or some such thing. But the people who could tell me whether I am have been swallowed up by the pre-Worldcon maelstrom, so I may have to wait until I arrive to find out for sure.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 10:42 AM:

Randall P.: You should all be frightened when I am the first to post on an open thread...

Actually, you've done it before, and since it was so mild then, we're now immunized.

See how that works? :-)

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 02:58 PM:

Bu the way, blackboxvoting.org, Bev Harris voting machine critique site, has been suspended. One hopes it is only for non-payment of bills.

volosong ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 07:10 PM:

Questions We Need to Ask Bush

1. Why is it that you claim to be a friend of veterans and yet have proposed so many cuts to programs benefiting veterans including the closure of some V.A. hospitals?
2. If you believe Sen. Kerry's military service was "honorable" and something "about which he should be proud," then why do you refuse to specifically condemn the Swift Boat Veterans? Aren't values more than something to which one gives lip service?
3. Former Sen. Max Cleland left half of his body in Vietnam. Yet when he came to your ranch with a letter signed by 9 other Congressional war heroes, neither you nor any of your immediate aides had the courtesy to accept the letter. Why are you afraid of a triple amputee in a wheelchair?
4. The almost 3,000 victims of the WTC attacks did not die for politicians or political parties. How do you justify hijacking emotions related to that tragedy for your own personal political gain?
5. You are quoted as having said, "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." Is that why you continued to read "My Pet Goat" for almost 17 minutes after Andrew Card informed you that the US was under attack? Why wasn't the security of America more important than reading a kiddy book?
6. What possessed you to use the 9/11 national tragedy as a punch line in your 'Trifecta' joke? And to follow up, why did your partisan republican audiences laugh with you?
7. Sen. Kerry has been accused of flip flopping. But is it not true that you have flip flopped on issues such as the 9/11 Commission; on calling for a UN vote on Iraq; on creation of the Dept. of Homeland Security; on a Constitutional amendment on gay marriage; on use of the military for "nation building;" on the issue of tax credits for hybrid automobiles; on extending the assault weapons ban; on steel tariffs; on spending the Social Security surplus; on the patient's right to sue; on the Federal Government's position on tobacco buyout; on disarmament incentives to North Korea; on lobbying OPEC; on the Condoleeza Rice testimony; on your pledge to issue regulation based on science; on the presence of WMD in Iraq; on restricting Free Trade; on the importance of capturing Osama Bin Laden; on mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions; on an investigation into intelligence failures in Iraq; summits in the Palestinian crisis; campaign finance; on providing financial support for the First Responders; on military benefits; on who was responsible for the "Mission Accomplished" sign; on the fingerprinting and photographing of Mexicans entering the US; on refusing to pass budget deficits; your positions on stem cells and human embryos; about your support of the Low Income Energy Support Program; your position on abortion; on racial profiling; 8. Why did your administration lobby Daschle to drop investigation of the Sept. 11th tragedies, and why haven't you released the 9/11 Commission Report to the public?
9. How many federal employees were fired following the catastrophic intelligence failures on 9/11?
10. Can you explain why did NORAD deviated from Standard Operating Procedure on the morning of 9-11, failing to scramble jets? If not, can you tell us the status of that investigation?
11. Can you explain why $50 million allocated to investigate the Columbia Shuttle disaster, yet only $3 million was allocated to investigate 9-11?
12. How did you get an Honorable Discharge when you failed to complete your service?
13. Your tax cuts have been described as "WealthCare." Why did the top 1% income bracket receive a 32.4% tax cut while the lower 60% received only a 8.5% tax cut?
14. Why did you attempt through the Secretary of Commerce to relax the definition of "dolphin safe" so commercial fisheries could catch more tuna known to be contaminated with mercury?
15. Why are two Belgium owned and operated equine slaughterhouses in your home state of Texas continuing to butcher American horses, many stolen family pets, for export to Europe and Japan as a "delicacy"?
16. How do you justify the budget cuts for veterans benefits at precisely the time you are ramping up the military for permanent war?
17. Where are the WMD?
18. Would you still go to war knowing that there were no WMD?
19. You used the term "catastrophic success.粕 What exactly does that mean?
20. Forty (40) per cent of homeless men are VETERANS. What are you doing about that situation? Isn't this inconsistent with your statement that, "Home is important. It's important to have a home."覧Crawford, Texas, Feb. 18, 2001.
21. 45 million people lack health coverage. Do you think basic health care is an American right? Health care costs have gone ballistic during your Administration. Why haven't you made health care more affordable?
22. "As you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say." 覧George W. Bush, Oct. 28, 2003. When will the press and American people be able to ask you questions?
23. "I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things." 覧George W. Bush, aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003. Recently, you admitted to making mistakes in Iraq. Don't you think being more analytical and erudite might help promote success and security?
24. You are quoted as saying, "When I take action, I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." 覧George W. Bush, Washington, D.C. Sept. 19, 2001. Then why are Americans still dying in Iraq almost one year after you declared "Mission Accomplished?"
25. What exactly are the limits and parameters of the US commitment in Iraq?26. Your father has had several skin lesions removed from his face. Why do you oppose environmental legislation that would reduce skin cancer rates?
27. Regarding the patient's bill of rights, you are quoted as having said on June 13, 2001: "I haven't had a chance to talk, but I'm confident we'll get a bill that I can live with if we don't." What did you exactly mean by that?
28. At the DNC Sen. Kerry challenged you to run a positive campaign on current issues. In 2001 you said, "It is time to set aside the old partisan bickering and finger-pointing and name-calling." Do you think your current campaign is consistent with those statements?
29. If universal healthcare is important for Iraq, why not here?
30. On Jan. 14, 2001 you said, "The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants." What does your Administration intend to do to make the US energy independent with renewable fuels that protect our ecosystem & pocketbook?
31. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." 覧George W. Bush, Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000. Then why are millions of fish now dying in our lakes and streams? Why are there warnings in many states advising people not to ingest fish because of the dangers of mercury poisoning from industrial pollution?
32. Despite your tax cut program, the American economy is still ailing. You said, "A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness." 覧George W. Bush, The Edge With Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000. Then why are were still in an "economic illness?"
33. When was the last time that you spoke before a crowd of exclusively "invited guests?" ("This is what I'm good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them." 覧George W. Bush, outside Pittsburgh, Sept. 8, 2000.)
34. Where is Osama bin Laden? You have flip flopped on this topic, what is your current opinion of the importance of apprehending Bin Laden?
35. Why did you renege on your campaign promise to support the Kyoto Treaty on global warming?
36. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." 覧Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004. Do you really believe that national policy is beneficial to the United States?
37. With Homeland Security initiatives like First Responders being underfunded, how do you reason that creating more foreign enemies is making us any safer?
38. "The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself." - Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003. If that were true, why did we have to go after Hussein in the first place?
39. On Aug 22, 2002 you proposed deforestation as a means to combat forest fires. ("We need to understand if you let kindling build up and there's a lightning strike, you're going get yourself a big fire.") Isn't your support for deforestation actually just pandering to logging and timber financial interests? If not, do you think that we should test your theory by setting experimental fires in certain areas of Texas?
40. Why did you fail to fund your "Leave No Child Behind" initiative?
41. If you are so concerned about unemployment, why are there no unemployment extensions?
42. How can you expect people to be excited about your 涛Ownership Society粕 when they cannot pay their bills and put food on the table?
43. What are your real plans for Social Security?
44. On June 15, 2001 when advised of the extent of the US nuclear arsenal you said, ''I had no idea we had so many weapons, ...what do we need them for?'' Please tell us what you have done to reduce our nuclear arsenal.
45. "There's no cave deep enough for America, or dark enough to hide."覧Oklahoma City, Aug. 29, 2002. Is that really how you envision America and her future?
46. "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."覧as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002. Is that really why you decided to invade Iraq?
47. How do you propose to form international alliances and coalitions to prevent future wars like Iraq and to protect American security?
48. "My plan plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt."覧Budget address to Congress, Feb. 27, 2001. This year we have an astounding $478 billion dollar deficit. Do you think that your "plan" has been successful?
49. "We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House覧make no mistake about it."覧Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2001. How many cases of AIDS did you find in the White House? What are you doing for AIDS research?
50. "Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."覧Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000. Natural gas is not found naturally in most US neighborhoods. Does that make them non-hemispheric, and what are your proposals to solve the current energy crisis?

Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 07:44 PM:

volosong, can I borrow that?

You've forgotten a question, though:

51. How can you say the economy is improving when the number of people under the poverty line grew by 1.3 million people in the last year?

Probably my ONLY question. I haven't seen it addressed anywhere but on the bbc website.

Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 09:02 PM:

Man. I love shooting, and I'm actually quite good at it, but I haven't been to the range since my sister sent me an article about increased blood lead levels in persons who frequent indoor shooting ranges. I guess I'll go back in, uh, two years or so, when I'm no longer the primary support system for a developing brain.

I liked to shoot the Ruger 22/45, which is the exact same frame as the Model 1911A1, but .22 caliber. A couple of times I shot a Ruger 9mm that I liked as well. I wrote about my first time shooting here, in case anyone's interested.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 10:12 PM:

I am much relieved to see blackboxvoting.org back.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2004, 11:23 PM:

Also quite true that the lead folks bring home to the family may be more damaging than exposure on the range - washing clothes by themselves (before visiting a nursery and such should go without saying) and other precautions are entirely appropriate.

On the other hand there are a variety of reduced lead munitions, lead free sintered metal bullets or lead encapsulated - total metal jacketed - bullets combined with reduced or lead free priming compounds -
(reloaders should watch for odd flash hole and primer sizes)
- such that shooting on a clean well ventilated range is relatively safe - for small children pregnant women and nursing mothers I'd suggest taking advice.

Notice also the use of precision air - or CO2 - guns in which the absence of combustion products reduces lead exposure though pellets are mostly lead. The pellets can be fired into a sticky medium - modeling clay, caulk kinds of things to reduce any dusting at impact. This allows regular indoor at home practice fairly safely - wash the hands and watch what you touch when handling lead always (the pellets will oxidize a little as time passes after manufacture and so may dust there as well).

Then too outdoor ranges are more fun as well as generally healthier - though shooting .22 rifle prone from in front of the firing line where lead accumulates might be going a little far if done often.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 01:12 AM:


Come to Calif. and I'll take you to an outdoor range.

We can shoot just about anything you like... I have friends.


Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 05:14 AM:

I would assume that blockboxvoting got slashdotted; there was an article there mentioning that she had succsessfully demonstrated a Diebold exploit which allows arbitrary substitution of vote totals after they have been tabulated.

And by "exploit," I mean, "intentional back door." This is fucking nuclear.

Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 07:10 AM:

Terry - right now, I'd worry that the really big stuff would have undesirable vibration effects. But anytime after April, you may be hearing from me. :-)

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 11:09 AM:

Randolph & Ray: I can't raise anything except a "Welcome to your new web site" placeholder at http://blackboxvoting.org We are having our own wibbles with designing e-voting, so it's of local interest here too, but I can't find the story I read in the last few weeks to link to.

A separate, but related, site at blackboxvoting.com is still there -- it has a story headlined "Diebold Shuts Down Blackboxvoting.org With Legal Threats", but the dateline is: "Wednesday, September 24 @ 00:55:36 CDT" which is not related to recent dates at all - even substituting August for September.

The entry reads: "Claiming that links on the bbv.org site were infringing on their copyright, Diebold has temporarily shut the site down.

The issue at question is links to a database of Diebold email provided by an insider that documents Diebold's ongoing campaign of fraud and deception in the design, manufacture and sale of its computer voting machines and software.

Diebold originally objected to emails being posted in their entirety on the bbv.org site. When the material was taken down, Diebold then claimed that links to sites outside the US were infringing their copyright, and the ISP complied with the demand.

This will not stand. We are searching for new home for the site and it will go back up as soon as we can manage it."

Is anyone able to illuminate more?

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 11:16 AM:

We can shoot just about anything you like...I have friends.

Obviously, and to spare, if you're inviting Rivka to shoot them! Heavens. :-)

JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2004, 10:00 PM:

Sort of off-topic....
Well, it's not about camel spiders or glow-in-the-dark scorpions, but it IS about rumors, because I know how out-of-hand those can get at a WorldCon.

Susan Casper and Gardner Dozois were in a cab accident last night. Susan's okay but Gardner's right shoulder was broken in three places. Tomorrow they'll be operating on him to replace the ball joint in his shoulder.

I've spoken to both Susan and Gardner, and to Chris, who'll be staying with Susan as long as the US mil will let him. That's why Gardner and Susan will not be at WorldCon this year. Save up some good stories and gossip for them both, okay?

I'd post this to Making Light, too, but I can't reach the end of a thread there tonight.

We now return you to the camel spiders.

Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2004, 05:13 PM:

Oh...WorldCon! That started, didn't it? I was wondering why everything was so quiet today...

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2004, 06:45 PM:

If you're worried about it, then fine, but it has less vibration than riding a horse (unless you shoot very strangely, and want to rest the buttstock against your belly... in which case I'll protest).

The offer stands... anytime you want to drop in.


Chris N ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 05:36 AM:

Virgin poster here.

I came to this blog after searching for guidance on how to write query letters, and finding the thread about the guy who advised making stuff up. Hope it's OK to post this to an 'open thread'.

My wife's a new author (-ish: she got her DPhil thesis published back in the 1990s), and last week she sent snail-mail query letters to three agents in London. The big two being CL and CB. The MS is complete.

CB, her second preference, replied by email as soon as they got her letter , asking for the entire manuscript.

CL, her first preference, haven't replied yet.

How should she read CB's action? Is this standard operating procedure? Or did someone think "this could be juicy, so let's make sure we get to read the MS before she sends it to someone else".

She was expecting replies saying "please follow our preferred procedure and send us a synopsis with three specimen chapters", or alternatively, if they read the query letter all the way through, saying the same thing more courteously.

I guess she'll get replies from the other two agents very soon - she didn't forget to enclose saes - but what would 'you' do?

1) Send the entire MS to CB right away?
2) Wait until CL reply and if they ask for three chapters then send 'em three chapters and ignore CB?

Maybe it would be silly to think that having CL would be so much better than having anyone else?

We're kind of thinking CB must be eager but this may be wishful thinking.

If she sends the entire MS to CB she won't be sending anything to the other agents

Advice welcome - many thanks.


Chris N ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 05:46 AM:

oops, apologies for posting this twice. I thought it failed to show up the first time.


Chris N ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 05:48 AM:

oops, apologies for posting this twice. I thought it failed to show up the first time.


Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 10:18 AM:

Chris, in case you missed the implications of my last post, there, a substantial portion of this blog's regulars, including its host, are at the WorldCon for the next 4 or 5 days. IOW, someone knowledgeable may pop in with a response...but it could be a bit.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 04:28 PM:

Chris, I replied on "No Bottom."

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2004, 04:29 PM:

I'm sorry -- I meant "The Beginning Place".


Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2004, 01:46 AM:

This thought hit me yesterday:

Just out of sick curiosity, I hope that in 2008 the Democrats field a candidate who's won the Congressional Medal of Honor. I really want to see all the clever merchandising opportunities that arise at the RNC.

JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2004, 03:24 AM:

WOW! Gardner's home!

...Was that ever fast for a ball-joint replacement?!

[Hmmmmm. I can't seem to strike the proper interrobang to go with that last line. rzzl-frzzl.]

l'll leave this at a WOW! and a WHEW!

Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2004, 03:03 PM:

Thanks for the update, JM. I know many folks are wishing that Gardner's recovery continues to proceed apace.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2004, 07:27 AM:

Keeping up the hunt, I find www.blackboxvoting.org is again back.

(Have looked at some Worldcon blogs & photo sites, meanwhile. Happy recovery, all - esp. GD.)

fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2004, 02:40 PM:

Just in case WorldCon and other distractions have kept folks around here from noticing, the Shrill have arrived. Current events and Lovecraft--fun for all. Even billionaires can be Shrill, it seems.

Cut and paste to learn more about the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill:

fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2004, 10:09 PM:

Congratulations on your induction:


Avram ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2004, 05:47 PM:

I couldn't figure out why you linked to "110 Stories", till I remembered what tomorrow is.

In other news, have you noticed that all the blogosphere is plunged in flamewar over typefaces, kerning, and the relative capabilities of high-end IBM typewriters? I guess SF fandom really has taken over. Which candidate will propose saving 33% on federal stapling costs by moving to two staples on all US Printing Office publications?

Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2004, 03:03 AM:

Tke a look at this old NTSB report. It's a 1974 report on an a blown tire on a DC-8.

This was a typewritten document, scanned into Acrobat. Note the funny font substitutions, even though the original was certainly typed on a Selectric.

When a document is scanned into Acrobat, it tries to do some basic OCR so that text is treated as text rather than just a graphic image. For example, you can copy and paste it as text. On a fuzzy original, this leads to the font substitutions seen in this document.

The Bush memos I've seen are also Acrobat documents. Note that you can copy/paste text on the Bush memos -- you can highlight text and copy it into another programs. If whoever prepared the copies did it by scanning into Acrobat, you can't rely on the fonts and spacing staying the same. You'd need to see a GIF of the original.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2004, 11:48 AM:

Last night on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather I heard someone say blogosphere. It is the end of civilization as we know it.


Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 12:05 AM:

Garrison Keillor:

Here's what happened to the Republican Party

(by way of Out of Ambit)

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 01:08 AM:

Andy - A Prairie Home Companion still makes me wince, but Garrison Keillor is making more and more sense every day. Thanks for the link.

Lucy Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 04:19 PM:

September 13th sidebar disclaimer: Dudes. Seriously. I did not invent the blogroll. Alison has got to stop eating Welsh rarebit before bedtime.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 04:23 PM:

William Safire has repeated some of the loonier Freeper stuff on the recently-discovered Guard memos in his NY Times column today. He's actually given the address of the Freeper site. Just like Dave Neiwert predicted, these guys are now almost mainstream.


Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 04:55 PM:

Lucy, did you see someone else do it before you did, or just assume others would do it because it seemed so logical and sensible?

In the latter case, you could just be an Innovator without knowing it. In the absense of any documentable case of anyone doing it before you did, you might very well have invented it.

In the former case, we actually have to speak to Alison about her late-night eating habits.

Lucy Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2004, 07:28 PM:

Xopher, I did it because I was tired of combing through two hundred diaries looking for the good ones. I was aware there were websites that picked out interesting web pages to visit, but no one had done it for diaries. It seemed perfectly logical to create an anthology of my own, and I assumed everyone else would think it was a cool idea and do their own webrings. Instead, the online diary community thought it was a terrible idea and I got hate mail...and then they all did their own webrings.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 12:24 AM:

The sidebar story on abortion is appalling -- not surprising, but appalling.

But is it utterly heartless of me to wonder about a woman with three children who wants a fourth? It would be nice if she could think globally. (Yes, there's an assumption here; statistically it's valid.)

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 12:40 AM:

But is it utterly heartless of me to wonder about a woman with three children who wants a fourth?

In a word, yes.

The reproductive freedom coin has two sides. If someone feels that they have the ability to care for four, six or (heaven help them) nine children, that's their right. Even if they can't care for them, for better or worse, it's still their right.

By the way, I'm the last of six, and I don't think my unplanned arrival made my family any more or less screwed up. In fact, I think I turned out pretty well, thank you.

Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 08:25 AM:

I opened the Pseudo-Elizabethan Place Name Generator and thought "China Mieville, you are so busted."

(And then I copy-and-pasted a bunch of the good ones, because you never know.)

Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 10:10 AM:

Hi, folks. I'm going to try to be measured in my words and mindful
that this is Patrick's forum I'm standing in, but I'm a bit peevish,
so I'll ask your indulgence beforehand. Please excuse any
intemperance of tone.

------ * -------

Posting this little hit-and-run and then not sticking around to answer the
proprietress's entirely reasonable questions may not be the most
classless thing you've ever done, Patrick, but I dearly hope it ranks
in the top twenty.

For someone who is as eyes-on-the-prize, stick-together-dammit about
the prospects of this election as you are, that's a truly breathtaking
way to give the impression that you do not give one single damn about
the opinions of your staunchest allies. Way to make left-leaning
women feel welcome there, pal -- tell them that if they're
squicked/offended by people throwing words like 'bitch' and 'pussy'
around, well, they're just too sensitive and they'll have to get used
to it, and if they dare to suggest that they find it actually hurtful
and counter-productive, then they're attacking people and harming the
cause. You've really internalised that 'one person's oppressor is
another person's victim' meme, haven't you? Someone stands up and
says 'this is not the way to treat me as an ally,' and you're right
there with the oh-so-superior-and-sardonic 'oh, good, let's beat each
other up, that's so helpful.' Saying 'ouch' is not an attack.

I don't find the aforementioned words particularly notable in
political discourse myself, but does it injure me to have some
consideration for those who find them squicksome/offensive? It does
not. It's not all about me, if we're to win. I hear there's some
gold in that thar rule. In that spirit, I ask you to please consider
reading the rest of that thread, and responding to Jeanne's questions
and concerns; she certainly puts them better than I ever could.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 10:27 AM:

By the way, I'm the last of six, and I don't think my unplanned arrival made my family any more or less screwed up. In fact, I think I turned out pretty well, thank you.

I'm third of six, and my parents -- well, first of all they never should have had kids in the first place, but that really wasn't an option for them. They should have stopped after two. I'm here, and I'm not going away, but I believe my family was MUCH more messed up with six than it would have been with two.

If I'd been an only, they might have paid more attention to my physical and neurological problems. As it was, they had kids that were sicker, and my troubles got short shrift. And if they hadn't had me (and my younger sibs), they would have been happier themselves, and able to live as they now do much sooner.

I chose to survive, and now I choose to make the best of it, and contribute to the world as best I can. Only one of my sibs has had children (I'm unlikely to, and the others in order are too old, too old, disinclined and arguably too old, and dead), so my parents' (forgivable given the times) genetic greed is just a temporary bump.

I think I turned out OK. But it was very much despite my family size (among other factors), which made it a hell of a lot harder.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 10:52 AM:

Perhaps "Karl T.", whoever he is, could consider the possibility that rather than "not sticking around to answer the proprietress's entirely reasonable questions," I've been reading the discussion in question and thinking about it before shooting my mouth off further.

"Ouch is not an attack." Likewise, taking three whole days before commenting further isn't evidence that I'm "not sticking around", much less for the lengthy and vivid opinions that "Karl T." falsely attributes to me.

Jeanne D'Arc I respect a lot, even when I don't agree with her. People like "Karl T.", who show up pre-loaded with a sense of entitlement to my energy, time, and attention, can kiss my ass.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 11:16 AM:

Would someone like to explain the Singer bowls thing? I have a singing bowl, and I've met Jon Singer, but what do glow-in-the-dark bowls have to do with lactose intolerance, ciliac sprue, or any other digestive problem?

I'm more than sure it's All A Metaphor, but I appear to have missed the metaphorical catch with my metaphorical glove. Help?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 11:41 AM:

It's not quite All A Metaphor. More like one of those folktales that's even more true than the truth.

Jon does make amazing pots, along with his many other technical accomplishments. And he really has become progressively allergic to more and more foodstuffs, a terrible irony for someone who did so much for so many years to introduce generations of us to Amazingly Good Weird Things To Eat.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 11:57 AM:

Jon does other bowls too. The one I bought at worldcon has a marvelous tortoiseshell glaze and rockets painted on the inside.


Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 04:32 PM:

I'm tired of political debate, so I'm going to say something no intelligent person could argue with: Jo Walton is awesome.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 04:38 PM:


The reproductive freedom coin has two sides. If someone feels that they have the ability to care for four, six or (heaven help them) nine children, that's their right. Even if they can't care for them, for better or worse, it's still their right.

I disagree that choosing not to have a child and choosing to have many children are comparable aspects of reproductive freedom. I won't try to address the question of whether people who believe themselves fit parents actually are; other posters have touched on this, and it's not an issue that can be decided easily. But having children beyond the number needed for stable population puts a load on society as a whole -- even in poorer societies, but especially in the most consuming society in the world. That is an action with permanent consequences -- which, even aside from how you read the consequences, makes it different from the decision not to have a child right now.

Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 06:20 PM:

Who am I? I'm not sure it matters much; I've been reading here and at Making Light for quite a while now. I don't post unless I have something that I feel urgently needs saying, which isn't that often. I was pointed here by many people whose opinions I value. I certainly don't expect any more of your time, attention, or energy than anyone else who reads here frequently and posts occasionally.

I saw your gracious and thoughtful reply in Jeanne's thread. I should have known that something like it was in the hopper; being out of the habit of posting, I forget that three days isn't a terribly long time in a thread full of very busy people. For that, as well as for my rhetorical excesses, I feel I owe you an apology: I'm sorry, and I shall try not to let it happen again.

Back to lurking for me, I think, at least for a while.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 06:31 PM:

Okay okay. For my part I apologize for being bad-tempered in my response to you.

I do have a hot button about any suggestion that I somehow have a greater obligation to be on top of everything than other people do. This isn't actually news to anybody who knows me. At any rate, please don't feel obliged to only lurk.

LisaJulie ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 07:37 PM:

It's not quite All A Metaphor. More like one of those folktales that's even more true than the truth.

Well said. And true as well.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2004, 02:36 AM:

I'm not sure how exactly glowing bowls relates to digestive disorders in other than dream-logic; I'd guess that Jo wanted to throw in the fact that Jon Singer is in fact making glowing bowls. I have the one he displayed at Minicon: it's a pretty blue outside, and a nice porcelain white inside -- under normal light. Under ultraviolet, a glowing Angerthas "G"-rune appears, surrounded by four diamond shapes. The interior is painted with rare earth element oxides that fluoresce. (In a very Singeresque touch, it's painted with not just one rare earth oxide, but a mixture -- Singer was unsatisfied with the color given off by just the one.)

Jo pushed me to buy the bowl because she felt that it ought to be owned by someone whose name starts with "G". I'm glad she did.

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2004, 10:58 AM:

Well, this is a complete change of subject, but this is an openn thread, and I'm agitated and need to sound off.

My daughter's school teachers (different district from the one where I used to work) are so frustrated with their district, so angry, so determined to get listened to, respected, and given a decent deal, that they're . . .
working to contract.

Yup. They're working their contracted hours! That ought to show 'em!

Actually, it probably will. It means they won't be coming in two hours before and leaving three hours after school starts: they won't be going to evening committee meetings, parent meetings, extracurricular activities, etc. beyond the three called for in their contract: won't be working through lunch . . . you get the picture.

(there are exceptions. The coaches, drama and music teachers can't figure out how to do their job at all unles they work out of contract. The band director has been explaining to parents that she does support the work-to-contract policy in principle, though)

The sticking point is medical benefits, naturally.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2004, 12:13 PM:

It's a job action called "Working to Rule." The subway workers nearly crippled NYC Transit with it in my living memory. This only works if the contract doesn't specify what they actually do. There's very little Management can do about it in most cases. Legally, I mean.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2004, 06:49 PM:

Lucy, my mother worked-to-the-rule several times in her career. It's frustrating because there's so much to make up after the school board gives you what you want.

ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 06:10 PM:

I'm just posting this here so someone sees it. I'm in the army, on active duty, and strangely enough, one day after another soldier stumbled over my blog, I can't access it because it's too tasteless.

Your tax dollars at work. Then again, if they can treat a decorated veteran the way they've been doing, what hope do grunts have?

Kai Jones, formerly Kris Hasson-Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 06:53 PM:

ginmar, you mean they banned all of Livejournal from access by soldiers, or just your journal?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 07:19 PM:

Ginmar, what Kai asked. Do I have this straight: you can no longer access your own LiveJournal?

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 07:57 PM:

re:Ginmar, there's a new post on her blog (by one of her friends) that says that she can't get to LJ at all

ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 08:59 PM:

I cannot get to livejournal at all. For a few minutes, it was only my LJ that was blocked: I managed to log out after I'd posted this morning's post. Then I got the Websense page that said I was blocked from LJ because it fit the category of 'tasteless.'

Tasteless. Don't tell me someone isn't making a judgement there.

ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 09:07 PM:

Also, I cannot get to making light. then again, they defined 'java jane'---a coffee clatch type website---as 'weapons.' But you can get to Jane's Fighting Ships just fine. It's either really really crappy programming or...I don't know what. I hope it's just something stupid, because it's got me thinking Big Brother in a really bad way.

silence ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 09:20 PM:

Filtering companies have a LONG history of blocking things for veryy dumb reasons. They're commercial organizations, and have no accountability other than public embarassment. Unless we raise the issue very loudly, it will not go away.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 09:25 PM:

Actually, Websense has a site lookup tool to see how it categorizes sites in its "master" database. Livejournal is "Message Boards and Clubs"

Now I would assume that organizations can add their own private filtering list, perhaps specifically blocking a competitor's site, for example. But LJ doesn't appear to be wrongly categorized by websense, which implies that this is some decision somewhere in the military chain of command.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 09:29 PM:

Also, I cannot get to making light
Weird. I just looked it up in the websense database, and it's categorized as "Business and Economy" which should be inoccuous.
Again, may be a decision made by a websense admin between the master dB and ginmar's computers.

Angela from Phoenix ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 09:40 PM:

Had to "chime in" about the Sopugid/camel spider/wind scorpion/sun spider. I live in North Phoenix and have several that live around my house. Most are are small as a dime or a quarter, but we did see two on our front porch as big as small fist. They are pretty cool and I like them much better than the scorpions I keep finding in the house. Many thanks to my cats for fighting mighty battles and killing those scorpions.

Sorry to hear that ginmar is having such problems, it's all so wrong.

Loved the story about PNH and the racoons. I don't think the racoons will like the story about the guns???

My best,

ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 10:02 PM:

When I just checked, Livejournal was characterized as 'tasteless'. That's not a judgement at all.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 10:31 PM:

"Also, I cannot get to making light"

Teresa has just read this, and...You know the phrase "a towering rage"? Think Barad-Dur.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 10:51 PM:

When Patrick told me that Making Light is (apparently) blocked, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, and it took a while.

Blocked? Making Light? ------ -- --------! What kind of complete ------- ------- thinks there's a single ------- thing on Making Light that can't safely be read by any reasonably sentient citizen? Who the ---- do they think they are?


Giblets would never stand for it! I can do no less. That's why I'm sitting down here and typing.


------- outrage.

Maybe I could arrange a spot for Ginmar to post her responses to Making Light, then move them over there myself?

Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 11:02 PM:

Ginmar, how about starting a journal on another site. Blogspot, Journalscape, Blogger, etc. I know this isn't an ideal solution, but it's a possibility.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 11:02 PM:

Like I said above, I've been looking up URLs in websense's own Site Lookup Tool, and they give both LJ and nielsenhayden.com innocuous categories.

That either means (a) there's an updated database with different rankings, or (b) somebody within the organization has taken it upon hirself to assign site-specific categories to LJ and this site.

I sent websense an email asking about this in general terms, extremely careful not to identify Ginmar in any way, and we'll see what feedback I get.

In the meantime, might *not* want to give this more publicity until she sees if she can't take care of things on her end.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 11:06 PM:

TNH, PNH, one more thought.
I'm trying to figure out why MakingLight might be blocked, while Electrolite isn't. Teresa, I believe you've linked to ginmar's posts from your main page (outside of comments). Patrick, have you?

I'm wondering if somebody didn't do some kind of search for links to Ginmar's posts, and put those sites up for blocking.

Just speculation, and it would partly depend upon ginmar finding other sites she's visited or sites that link to her to look for a pattern.

Alex ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2004, 11:11 PM:

Ginmar, is it possible that the continuing discussion of "rape" in your journal has caused the Websense program to catagorize your stuff, or even all of Livejournal, as porn? I think it's unlikely, but some filtering software does use keywords, and unfortunately there are plenty of rape porn sites out there, (which an occupying army, for obvious reasons, wouldn't want their troops to to visit.)

BTW, keyword software counts the use of each keyword, and the timing would be about right for a comment to send the uses of "rape" over the numerical limit for that word, at which point Websense _might_ have dropped you in the shitcan.

Perhaps someone who has their surfing filtered through a different installation of WebSense can verify this. If Ginmar's site is cut off by all installations of WebSense, perhaps the WebSense logs can give us some clues.

ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 12:17 AM:

I don't think that would tip it over, frankly. In the time I've been here, there's been other similiar discussions. It doesn't explain why 'making light' is blocked as well, and it doesn't explain why only MY lj was blocked.
I think, too, that it's important that I mention that I've spoken--so to speak---from the soldier who I had thought might have had something to do with it, and I'm satisfied that he had nothing to do with it.
Other people have told me that LJ is categorized as something very different from their end, which makes me wonder what's happening at my end. I keep wondering if some SBVT-type found my LJ, and....there are those. All it takes is one.
I literally have no clue. It's worked just fine for eight months; it's email that was the problem before. And if it screens out 'fuck' well, it would have done it a long time ago.
What I don't get, either, is why that coffee clatch website was categorized as 'weapons' and blocked while Jane's Fighting Ships was not. It's quite one thing to face censorship; it's quite another when it's illiterate.

Debbie Notkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 12:41 AM:

For what it's worth, WebSense blocked LJ for me from my work for about 48 hours some six or so months ago and then it came back with no problem.

This could be a temporary glitch ... or not.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 01:45 AM:

I've had some back-and-forth emails with websense, and I think things may not be as bad (nor as malicious) as they first seemed.

I'll post the details at a more decent hour when I'm more awake, but I was quite impressed by how responsive the folks at websense have been.
Teresa, you might want to email them to say somebody told you that your site was blocked, and ask them what's going on. I asked them about javajane and LJ, and they acknowledged overbroad errors and claim to have fixed them both.

If you do, let me know how it goes, ok?

crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 03:35 AM:

In order from last read:

Lis Riba - I'll be glad if it's an administrative glitch that can be fixed in short order. Here's hoping.

ginmar - as above, but with added *whimper* for having to miss your writing on LJ.

TNH and PNH - I've had the experience (in a *Dutch* internet café facility!) of encountering blocks on both your websites: I attempted to complain on-site and file an internet complaint, but as I was travelling at the time, I couldn't follow it up. Also, the desk was staffed by a pair of "jobs-worths" who attempted to tell me I was clearly trying to do something unsavory if I wanted to view any blocked website. End result: the internet and mobile phone provider, O2, is on my dog-house list forEVER.

Xopher - re: work-to-rule... a major public services strike in the Netherlands, ca. the mid '80s, actually made use of contract specifics, and also things like safety rules; stuff like not sending out vehicles if a tail-light was burnt out, which in normal times was more honored in the breach than the observance.

Crazy(and closing with a greeting to our host, thank you!)Soph

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 03:44 AM:

I know that when I was in, "The Box," LJ, and other blogs were listed as message/chat, and so blocked.

Making Light and Electrolite were both allowed (to my inexpressible gratitute).

I'd like to think this was not a direct response to Ginmar's stuff, but sadly I don't have anyone I can ask, directly, who is not in her immediate A/O (which means I can't tell if this is local, or regional).

If it's local... someone with eagles (i.e. at least a COL) was offended. If it's regional, then it is something at Websense.

As for Teresa being cut off... "I pity da foo."


Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 06:53 AM:

For what it's worth "zargon" posted in ginmar's lj last night (timestamp appears to me as 22:08) that "his girlfriend from work" had just emailed him to report the same filters in place that ginmar reports: i.e., LJ="Tasteless" and JavaJane="Weapons". So he thinks it's not the military but the net-nanny.

Of course, he doesn't say where his girlfriend works.

Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 06:57 AM:

Oops! that should be "his girlfriend at work"

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 07:00 AM:

Oh, geez.... I'm so sorry ginmar is going through this. Trying to figure out why these things are instituted (machine-mind vs. allegedly human) can be incredibly difficult. When I worked at NASDAQ, we had both web and e-mail filtering. I would get a new client (a NASDAQ-listed company), try to find out about their business, find out the site was blocked (for "sexual content" or some such thing) and run across that "If it's blocked, it must be a bad site" reaction from tech. And these sites were generally innocuous (nay, boring) telecoms providers.

In some ways, e-mail was even worse. One of the VP of marketing's internal, business e-mails was bounced back to her as "inappropriate." It turned out that the text she had included (for a mailer) was flagged because she didn't know the response phone number that was to be used and she had substituted XXX-XXX-XXXX for the number. At a different point, I had a bunch of clients who made the "Hot 100" list for growth companies. When I sent congratulations notices to them, I got a bunch of aggressive bounce-messages from the system telling me that I was trying to send inappropriate content. I contacted tech (and luckily got a semi-helpful human - I had to put the text of the suspect e-mail in a Word document just so I could e-mail it to him) and we finally determined that it was probably my three (three!) iterations of the word "hot" (it was the "Hot 100" list, after all) that tripped the switch.

I'm convinced these things foil more real work than anything else.

Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 08:16 AM:

I don't think that would tip it over, frankly. In the time I've been here, there's been other similiar discussions. It doesn't explain why 'making light' is blocked as well

I don't really believe that this is the explanation, but it might be that the link to the insanely inappropriate tribute to 9/11 set someone off. It would be exceptionally stupid, but that's nothing new in web filtering.

(My favorite dumb filter problem is the Los Alamos physics preprint server, which for years was available at "xxx.lanl.gov" (I still use that address, and jokingly refer to it as the "porn server") but had to add "arxiv.org" to circumvent web filters.)

Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 10:08 AM:

Of all the many things I never thought I'd see, and have seen in the last four years, not the least shocking is Teresa, beyond words at being censored.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 11:34 AM:

Somehow reminds me of The Marching Morons and the pleasant little river town with its grainary (O Wise Ones may the memory of how they spent their lives live forever) that was the example for the letters home from Venus in that story.

ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 01:54 PM:

I'm not sure why ginmar's LJ was censored, but I could make a couple of guesses about Making Light (absolutely no offense intended Teresa). I think it depends on just how dumb their software is.

I suspect the bits about Risk Assesment, Safety, and Patriot Missiles + Troops and What to do in an Emergency are the culprits, if it is software induced. Some filters are set up to screen for any site that "promotes" violence. Due to sheer stupidity, this also axes out almost all prevention sites or even sites that talk about it. I really really hate net nannies. Some of them are also set up by weirdo right winger groups and axe certain sites out of prejudice. (I know this from my library work where net nannies are sometimes used on public computers to stop weirdos from surfing porn sites in front of kids on purpose.) I have no idea if Websense is one of them.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 02:09 PM:

Some net nannies screen out all Wiccan sites, even innoccuous ones like COG's.

Alex ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 02:28 PM:

Maybe it's the close proximity of "rape" and "Bush" and "fuck."

That's clearly porn. I'll leave the making of example sentences to someone with worse taste and more time than I have.


Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 03:50 PM:

For whatever it's worth, today another person on my LJ friends list is reporting a new inability to read or reply to LiveJournal from work because Websense is blocking it as "tasteless." (She is, oddly enough, able to post to LJ at work via Semagic, one of the third-party LJ client programs, but she can't read what she's posted.)

Given that Websense has a page on its site where absolutely anybody can suggest a URL for blocking, the party ultimately responsible for the block could be anyone from a Colonel in a snit to the manager of a cubicle farm somewhere in Iowa.

Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 04:25 PM:

In the "it's worse than we thought" department, via BoingBoing:

VerifiedVoting is reporting an International Herald Tribune article on blocking of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website from overseas Internet providers "for security reasons".

Of course, the likelihood that overseas American voters may be more likely to vote against Bush doesn't have anything to do with it, right? If it did, they'd say "for job security reasons".

Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 05:39 PM:

One angle on the blocking of LJ is that the election is looming, and there is an obvious temptation to try to control the news coming out of Iraq.

And not every soldier is a raving Republican supporter.

The LJ in question was, for a while, pretty hopeful. It was seeing the ordinary Iraqis, and reporting on what they were doing. Recently, it seems, things have changed for the worse in that corner of some foreign field.

So, Bush or Kerry? Carry on into chaos, or change things and try something new?

fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2004, 06:16 PM:

Ginmar's back up and running, at least for now. And loaded for bear, as if that needed saying.

Tayefeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 08:48 AM:

Of course, the likelihood that overseas American voters may be more likely to vote against Bush doesn't have anything to do with it, right?

The Republicans are, from what I've heard, counting on ex-patriots to overwhelmingly support them, actually. Particularly the thousands of ex-pats living in Israel and still registered in swing states. The kicker in that article isn't the fact of the blocking, but the reason for it: rather than improve the site security, they're just blacklisting overseas internet providers.

Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 09:19 AM:

Ah, nobody knows really how overseas voters will vote. For one thing, I don't believe they've ever been polled. But I have read that they are requesting absentee ballots in much larger numbers than usual.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 10:31 AM:

There are campaigns afoot in many major foreign cities to get these folks to vote. I think we can count on expats in Europe to heavily favor Kerry.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 01:25 PM:

I have been getting reports of rumors (some from service members) of Guardsmen being treated like Swiss Soldiers, and being issued weapons, and a basic load to take home.

I happen to think it impossible (both logistically, and to keep truly secret) but I worry that such thoughts are given credence.

As Teresa says, I hate it that this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.


Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 02:34 PM:

The usual sources say to me that the Army is doing much more oversight on blog's - to include LJ - than the other services. The presumption is gunshy over the Army interrogator/MP/prison hearings. Anybody with real knowledge in a position to comment?

The only thing I know about Swiss Army style is that when I was there the combat loadout was issued shrinkwrapped (actually cellophane with a tear strip like a cigarette package - it was a long time ago)and left so for inspection. Of course all the ammunition anybody cared to shoot was available packed loose.

ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 04:01 PM:


I confess I don't understand what the Swiss Soldier thing means. I tried googling but got hits on the Swiss Army knife. Can you explain further?

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 04:13 PM:

Swiss soldiers are given weapons and amunition to keep in their homes after they have completed their tours of duty and are once again civilians. It's the whole "citizen militia" concept again.

Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 04:42 PM:

The Minutemen had muskets, musketballs, and powder in their homes. They also used the muskets to shoot moose and bear with...

I remember some of the re-enactors of Patriots' Day showing off their (unloaded) muskets explaining that an antique gun, or replica, that can take down a moose, is going to do even worse things to people, and that the things are kept unloaded and under very close supervision at home, and everywhere else. They're loaded only during e.g. musket shooting competitions.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 06:41 PM:

Last I knew Swiss soldiers were not given weapons and ammunition after aging out but were allowed to retain what they had or of course to buy as they wished - often with a P for privately owned stamp added to the serial number and other such. Uncle Sam's Misguided Children have nothing on the Swiss for ...this one is mine....

This has substantially changed in recent years and has become much more restrictive.

On the other hand they don't complete tours of duty but rather age out of category. There is a cadre on active duty and an element of trainees/AIT/active duty at any given moment. The whole body of the citizenry not already mobilized is the reserve. Those younger men who might be light weapons combat infantry (e.g. ll- but not limited to that in particular in either U.S. of A or Swiss Army) keep all their load at home to include weapons man portable. Those not assigned individual weapons are not issued any - officers will have sidearms as desired and appropriate. Cooks and bakers don't have stoves (often older men anyway - who will have their own old gun but not issue) redlegs don't have cannon - not even lanyards. As noted above their issue gear is often sealed one way or another or not depending on what it is.

The F/A-18 Hornets are flown only by cadre - other perhaps less demanding airplanes are flown by reserves as well.

I'd be curious what the rumors are for Guard units not infantry - clearly Guard and reserve elements are being given tasks for which they have no current training or aptitude in order to fill ranks. The only Guard I have anything like a current connection to are heavy equipment operators - fully capable of the first we dig it then we die in it routine but .....

Dave Wyman ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 07:14 PM:

George Bush today said insurgents in Iraq have brought "beheadings and death." I'm still not sure about the latter, but I'm cheered to learn the former is survivable.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 08:35 PM:

Last I was dealing with the Swiss, they all got a rifle (just as the US, everyone has a weapon, even if they are in the rear... and Switzerland has a lot less rear) and a basic load.

Some things (like AA) could be checked out... by the passed out reservists, so as to avoid a predicatable pattern of distribution. Again, the ammo is cased, can be insepected, and using it will cause the neighbors to complain... with dire consequences.

Pilots are not cadre, but put in a lot of extra duty. They are probably the best trained Air Force in the world, though the Israelis and the US get the credit.

Once they age out, they are still possessed of rifles, but no longer perform live fire excercises. They are also released from the unit they were with when they were in the active forces, and become part of a local call-up. That call up usually spends a week or so with blanks, figuring out the best ways to defend the area.

As for a balck-powder musket... not what I want to be shot with. It can take out moose and bear because it is large, slow and heavy. Lots of tranferred energy. But those same qualities (which make it so lethal against flesh) make it far less so against anything with armor. Those vests everyone was decrying (the ones I got issued to take to Iraq, which were replaced mid-tour) would stop one of those, no problem. It would knock me on my ass, and I might get my throat cut while I cleared the cobwebs and recovered my rifle... but the guy on my left might take him out instead.

Any weapon is useful, application is the problem (and yes, I know how to make one of those black-powder pieces defeat those vests... but I digress)


ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2004, 09:38 PM:

Thanks for the explanations everyone. Scary.

If anyone needs to get someone registered to vote and runs into any web blocking problems, they can also try the libraries' site:

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2004, 09:06 PM:

And now for something completely different. Because this is an open thread and I have an open question, I'm asking it here.

I've decided to not let having only a fraction of a vote bother me so much. I have a voice, and I want to use it. I want to talk directly to some voters who have a whole vote. I've sent some letters to editors of swing-state newspapers, but I was thinking it might be nice to say something on a talk radio thing, because I know a lot of people listen to those and I think I can, if I rehearse, express myself pleasantly enough to help my cause. But I never listen to talk radio. Anybody know what the most profitable talk radio shows are, and when they are (specify time zone, so I can convert to Pacific Time if necessary)? Anybody have tips for best presentation on talk radio?

Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 11:26 AM:

Back on 9/14, Arthur Hlavaty noted that he was "tired of political debate."

(Yeh, it's been a while since I caught up with this thread.)

In recent weeks, I've been finding myself less inclined to peruse or comment on political threads, a habit I'd been moderately prolific at the last several years.

I think I've entered the "waiting-room" phase of political interest. It's as if your loved one (in this case, your country) has been battling a life-threatening disease for several years. You've tried to understand the cause of the disease, tried to mitigate its symptoms and progress, tried to live as normal a life as possible under its everpresence, and now the high-risk surgery has been scheduled.

And you're in the surgical waiting room as your loved one is going thru all the pre-surgical preparation, and it's out of your hands, and you can't do anything, and you WAIT, and WAIT, with hope and dread cycling and cycling through your mind, and you WAIT some more not knowing if your loved one will be returned to you whole again, or still alive but crippled and handicapped by the past ravages of the disease, or if you'll be approached by a surgeon who will tell you "We could not save her. I'm sorry."

(There are still five weeks until the election, and I could still take some [minor] actions to try and influence other people's votes. But it's hard, very hard, to feel that, at this point, anything I could do would make a difference. If there are actually any "undecided" voters out there, I sure don't know any. It feels, in essence, that except for the actual vote-casting and vote-counting, everything about the election except the results has already been decided.)

David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 01:00 PM:

At the risk of lightening the tone: “If all stories were written like science fiction stories,” from the Sidelights, strikes me as a great example of how not to write a science fiction story.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 01:34 PM:

Bruce: I did that. I spent a lot of the summer barely noticing the political scene. Puttered with snakes, and plants and baby mules, and the camera.

The past few weeks, I've been arguing (a long discussion with a friend, [in texas] who says she doesn't know whom to vote for. She loathes Bush, but that's as far as she can commit... given that her vote is meaningless in the electoral issue... I ought to have let it go, but I didn't) all sorts of political questions (if you care to see the things that prompt me, has it all.

For the first time in my life, I care... not just at a level of, A is better than B, but with a deep passion, about the outcome. I no longer believe that either party will engage in caretaking, and four years of drifting to one side, or the other, around a common center is what will happen if the guy I prefer loses.

Sorry, I'm ranting again.

Resignation happens, and it will probably wear off.


JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 06:27 PM:

Re If all stories..., it reminded me more than a little of Randall Garrett and Lin Carter's "Masters of the Metropolis," only dryer and less pulpy. Long live Sam IM4SF+ and his Wonder Sense!

Will Shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 07:16 PM:

Bruce, As those who love to say more than one word love to say, one word: Volunteer. I did a stint blowing up balloons and passing out literature for the Dems at the county fair on Friday and calling voters from the local campaign office on Sunday. Go into it with your sense of humor turned up, and you'll have a fine time. Democracy is not a passive state.

The message is very simple: Only Kerry can beat Bush.

Avoid the trap of thinking that politics end on Election Day. Americans tend to do politics the way they do diets: A brief, strong effort that ends with things as bad or worse than they were before. You've got to accept that change is ongoing, or it's not really change. Think beyond this election to ending the Electoral College or some other aspect of the process that you can affect. Don't try to be a hurricane. Try to be a butterfly whose wings will make a hurricane.

Okay, sermon's over. Everyone wake up!

Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2004, 10:12 PM:

Here's a lovely interview with Stephen Fry.

In a sense, period drama, costume drama, is a bit like science fiction that looks backward rather than forward. It's a way of writing or speaking or addressing your own time without being bogged down in its tedious details.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2004, 12:59 AM:

Re: Voter suppression sidelight

Aside from the fact that it is Fox, I simply suspect sloppy journalism - failure to check a matter of fact and instead going with "common sense" and playing it up with a proper air of moral outrage.

Way back in the mists of ancient time, my fraternity (Alpha Phi Omega - The Co-Ed Goody-Two-Shoes Fraternity) ran on-campus voter registration drives with the assistance of NYPIRG. The big deal was letting potential voters know that they had to be US citizens, live in NY State and not vote in any other state.

I'd think that AZPIRG would have been interested in this. Anyone doing such a drive should try contacting their state PIRG for help.

Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2004, 04:25 PM:

I heard the term "seagull management" applied to George Steinbrenner years ago.

Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2004, 04:27 PM:

Bruce: I got tired of political debate, but I have since broken a second wind.

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2004, 06:34 PM:

At the risk of lightening the tone: 的f all stories were written like science fiction stories, from the Sidelights, strikes me as a great example of how not to write a science fiction story.

My thought while reading it was "I'll have to remember not to do that."

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2004, 08:45 PM:

“If all stories were written like science fiction stories,” The characters would all sound like my kind of people. Much as I do myself on a bad day.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2004, 04:39 PM:

Old topic, new clothes


I'm ranting about this Cold fury and rage

Obsidian Wings is ranting on it.

Crooked Timber is ranting on this...

I know it goes on, but no point in posting more links, when what I want is more people to write about it.

H.R. 10 makes it legal to send any alien, who can't prove he isn't a terrorist, to any country we want, specifically so they can torture him.


Harriet Culver ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2004, 05:45 PM:

Sidelight on a worthy Particle candidate:

Editorial in the Crawford, TX newspaper endorsing Kerry:


(thanks to Elizabeth Moon, who got it from one of her fellow Texans)

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2004, 10:47 PM:

Terry, are those links in your post? I see colored words but no links.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 01:44 AM:

Weird, they are supposed to be.

Here, I'll try again.

Obsidian Wingshttp://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002593.html

Crooked Timber http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002593.html

Pecunium http://www.livejournal.com/users/pecunium/53188.html

Hunh, they are still getting munched, so the raw stuff is added

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 01:43 PM:

Terry, can you find a current status for H.R. 4674? I'm in the middle of composing email to Sam Farr, my rep, but I'm not happy with the fact that I can't find any documents for it -- outside the weblogs -- that are later than a letter from the New York bar on August 4. I'd like to be up to date on the status so I don't look like an idiot.

Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 02:24 PM:

From Thomas Legislative Information:
Title: To prohibit the return of persons by the United States, for purposes of detention, interrogation, or trial, to countries engaging in torture or other inhuman treatment of persons.
Sponsor: Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] (introduced 6/23/2004) Cosponsors (22)
Latest Major Action: 6/23/2004 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on International Relations.

As far as I know, this site (by the Library of Congress) is completely up to date.

Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 02:28 PM:

Sorry, that link is wrong. It's http://thomas.loc.gov

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 04:09 PM:

Lucy: the real question is what happens if H.R. 10 passes, as is, and the two laws conflict. Given the secretive nature of the implementation of sec 3031-3033 of H.R. 10... it may be years before that conflict comes to the courts, years in which suspects are whisked away to be tortured by others.

We are sowing the seeds of legal, and "aboveboard" disparisados.


Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2004, 04:58 PM:

Thank you, Mary Aileen. I should have remembered to go to Thomas instead of googling for this kind of thing.

Terry, my question was not whether I should oppose H.R. 10 or support H.R. 4674. My question was background information, so that I wouldn't say something stupid in my letter to Sam Farr, who is actually kind of on the responsive side on some issues, not entirely reliable on everything, but he has a decent record. I thought I owed him a letter which is up to date on the facts.

You know what happens if you just take a quote from someone's blog and quote it without checking the details? Eventually, stupidity and worse.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2004, 12:16 PM:

No problems. If you hit my blog, or Obsidian Wings (where Sebastian is ranting about how evil it is too) the specific text, and working links, can be found.


ginmar ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2004, 06:54 PM:

Some of my friends have posted links to the bill in my blog. Obviously I can access electrolite again. And making light! But some feminist sites are being blocked because---get this: The Websense category "Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual Interest" is filtered.

It's stuff like that that makes me want to run right out and become Gay or Lesbian or Bisexual just to piss them off.

And as for the bill, I'm beyond words. Remind me again, why in fuck we deposed Hussein if we're going to do exactly what he did, except secretly, cravenly, and under the cover of patriotism? Why? Why did we punish those MPs, then? Jesus, if we had any credibility before it's gone now.

Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2004, 10:20 AM:

In other news, Rumsfeld says there is no link between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

And then immediately recants.

My reaction was, "Seems like they can't even keep their story straight now."

Will Shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2004, 03:55 PM:

Open thread, right? Well, I'm looking for info about Unitarian Universalism, science fiction, and fantasy for an article that a religous mag has asked me to write. Here's what I posted at my writing blog:

I've become very aware that I'm not the expert I would like to be. One of the dangers of becoming a writer is that you may have less time to read in your genre--that's my experience. I checked the web and found one good resource for Unitarian Universalist science fiction and fantasy: http://www.adherents.com/lit/sf_uu.html. But I'm greedy for more. Specifically:

1. Which fantasy or science fiction writers are or have been Unitarian Universalists?

Initial list: Edward Everett Hale, Robert J. Sawyer, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Ray Bradbury, Frederik Pohl, Sydney J. van Scyoc, Lyda Morehouse. Steven Gould, Laura J. Mixon, Emma Bull, and me.

2. Which classic works of f&sf deal with UU concerns (spirituality, humanism, social justice, etc.)?

Initial list: Shelley's Frankenstein, Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, Wells's The Time Machine, Moorcock's Behold the Man, Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.

3. What recent works of f&sf would be of interest to UUs?

And for this, I don't even have the beginning of an initial list. Your help on any or all of these questions will be greatly appreciated!

Answers are welcome here or at the blog.

Ace Parsi ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2004, 08:33 PM:

If we do lose this election you can put the blame in several places. The Democrats and the campaign will bare a good part of it but once again so will Ralph Nader. Republicans know this and that's why they've been working so hard to get Nader on the ballot. This includes everything from Ken Sukhia, Bush's attorney in the 2000 recall who is quoted on the Bush website defending the Patriot Act, representing Nader in his Florida suit, to the Michigan Republican Party collecting 40,000 signatures to get Ralph Nader on the ballot. I encourage everyone to look more into this. It's a huge concern. Bush supporters are helping Nader in every state. Check it out at http://www.thenaderfactor.com/press/072304/.

Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2004, 10:47 AM:

Will -

UU's and science fiction/fantasy writings on "spirituality, humanism, social justice" . . . hmm.

How about the works of Ursula LeGuin, especially The Word for World is Forest? Or Starhawk's book (which I have not read) The Fifth Sacred Thing? Octavia Butler also comes to mind.

Beacon Press describes itself as "a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association". They publish a small amount of fiction, and if you go there and search on "science fiction" you will find some results, mostly about Octavia Butler's Kindred, apparently.

(My mother and stepfather are UU's, but not sf&f fans. I am quite interested in spirituality and sf&f, but I'm not a UU, so these are just my vague impressions of what might be relevant.)

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2004, 10:57 AM:

Ace, do you really think that it's necessary or polite to post the exact same comment twice? Since it's in two threads, I know it's not your computer burping. Since it's exactly the same words, I know it's not your passionate response to two different conversations that involve the same issues.

Anyway, though I think it was the wrong thing for Nader to run this election, I do believe that he's far from the biggest danger to the outcome. The biggest danger to the outcome of the election, I believe, is illegal and barely legal manipulation of the election process. And I believe that the best defense we can put to that _at this time_ is to develop such a large body of legally registered voters against the Bush machine that corruption in the process is obvious. However, it's difficult, because of push polling and other pre-election manipulations. In the medium and long run, real electoral reform is essential -- this campaign finance reform stuff, I've come to realize, is a sideshow, and really only serves to disenfranchise labor and grasroots organizations while allowing the rich to continue to suborn the process.

Oops. too many in one post. (notice I didn't, however, repeat myself on the thing that ticks me off most personally, and which I've been complaining about frequently lately)

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2004, 05:14 PM:

Personally, I think the biggest danger to the outcome of this election is that roughly half of the country *really does like Bush*. Bush is likely going to win Wisconsin. He looks like he may win Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio.

I don't understand how Wisconsin and Minnesota could go for Bush, but there it is.

Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2004, 05:48 PM:

David, I know we hear that claim that half the country likes Bush, but considering the record for lying and all the illegal, quasi-legal, barely legal and legal-but-unethical manipulations that the right wing of the Republican party is _documented_ to have used, I _don't_ trust the claims. I'm a complete agnostic on the subject of how many people really are fixing to vote for Bush. And watching scripted news conferences, biased news reports, and seeing the push polling going on, does nothing for my confidence.

It's worrisome that it may not matter how many really like Bush. But even so, the best thing available is the voter drive. For now.

And continuing to loudly demand actual democracy, for the future.

Julia Jones finds porn comment spam all over the place ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2004, 07:43 PM:

Just in case nobody else has mentioned it - the porn comment spammer has hit lots of threads here as well as Making Light.

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2004, 09:05 PM:

The claim that half the country likes Bush doesn't come from the right wing of the Republican party, it comes from every single legitimate polling company and media organization in the country. Including partisan Democratic polls.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2004, 09:29 AM:

Thank you, Julia. I got home last night, dead tired after teaching at a one-week intensive writing workshop, and had to sit down and kill spam before I turned in. Having you flag it like that is a big help.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2004, 09:51 AM:

Indeed, the point of all the obfuscation & lies & twisting of truth & distraction & distortion is just to encourage people to like him & his cohorts, and support their policies.

The same as here in Australia. You hear people say they voted to return this government because they were worried about their grandchildren, when it's precisely a whole variety of this government's plans & policies & attitudes that will make their grandchildren's (& many others') lives much worse.

Hence my despair. Or at least utter misery at present. One can't despair entirely; that lets them win. (Chocolate is said to be efficaious against Dementors & their ilk.) I summoned up The Inner Mongrel and fought back from right at the brink in 2002 because I had to try to make the effort not to leave the world to this kind. Alas, this isn't Lord of the Rings.

Tappan King ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 12:45 PM:

I just posted this over on Daily Kos:

How Bush Lost

Wow. Weird. I just came here to post a comment with the header "How Bush Lost" in the next open thread. And here's the topic itself.
I believe George Bush and his whole gang of thugs have already lost this election.
But let me be clear what I'm saying.

My gut tells me that John Kerry will not be our next president, even though I believe that in a fair election, he would win. I hope my gut is wrong, but I'm not alone. A number of recent polls show that while a minority of Americans want Bush to be relected, a majority think he will.

What explains this, I think, is a deep understanding that Bush & Co are bastards who will do anything to win.

Like the rest of you, I have my own "October Surprise" scenario:

o Bin Laden turns up in Iran.
o Israel bombs Irani reactors from US carriers.
o Bush gets a "terror bounce"
o GOP operatives perpetrate widespread voting
machine fraud that not only tips states like
Minnesota, Iowa, and New Jersey, but also adds
a million or so votes in places like New York
and California to guarantee a popular
vote "landslide"
o A cluster of retaliatory "terrorist attacks"
in swing states on election day, perhaps with
a Beslan-style killing of school children.
o The FBI deputizes thousands of law enforcement
officers to impound the polls until the
crisis ends.
o When Democrats challenge the results, a
savage campaign of lawsuits, threats,
scaremongering and media manipulation pounds
the nation into exausted acceptance of
a Bush "victory."
o If all else fails, the Supreme Court steps in.

But I still believe Bush has already lost.

That's because I challenge the narrative of the last six years. That narrative says that America is divided evenly between liberals and conservatives, that the last four years have seen that balance tip slightly toward conservatives, and the next election will ratify that slow sea change.

What I think is true is that about 75 percent of Americans are moderate or liberal on most issues, and the "radical right" has been doing a brilliant job of mindfucking us to believe it's not true.

In this narrative, Al Gore won the 2000 by a significant margin, despite massive voter fraud on the part of the Republicans, and a one-billion dollar war chest.

And, despite holding all the cards, despite manipulation of our fears by exploiting, if not creating, the 9/11 attacks, despite iron control over the media, despite stacked opinion polls, more than half of us want him gone.

In short, they blew it.

If Kerry actually wins, the Right is likely to declare total war, and the next four years are going to be very ugly. We'll need to fight them harder than we ever have before.

But even if Bush is inaugurated next January, it won't change the fact that the country has rejected him, and everything he stands for. We don't have to wait for that. It's already happened.

We need to keep repeating that. Over and over. "The Emperor has no mandate."

And we need to take it to the streets.

If that sounds like magical thinking, I plead guilty as charged. I'm one of those people who believe that when John Lennon told us "War is Over," it helped to make it come true.

"Hit 'em in the funnybone,
That's where they expect it least."
-- "The Boss"

Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:42 AM:

Has anyone else had trouble viewing comments over on Making Light? Haven't been able to get a full loading on any topic over there, and on some where Teresa's opening material is lengthy, going to the comments page doesn't even load all of that opening material.

I'm haven't been using my regular machine for the past few days -- the router for the highspeed connection got fried by a power outage, and the new router I bought not only also doesn't work, but gets hot enough I think I could put a pan of water on top of it and get the water up to a simmer fairly quickly -- so that may have something to do with the problem. But it's only Making Light that seems to have the problem.

Applicable techno-geekitude would certainly be appreciated. Thanks.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:06 AM:

Try pressing F11 twice. That sometimes helps.

Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 12:49 AM:

Thanks, David. Seems to work.

On another subject entirely, I was just perusing the list of program participants for this coming weekend's World Fantasy Con, and saw one "Patrick Nielson Hayden" [sic] listed.

In the "H"'s.