What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.



By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.



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03/14/02 10:15am link

George W. Bush lies, unnoticed. The occupant of the Oval Office held a news conference yesterday, and after reading the prepared script he even allowed reporters to ask questions. Here is a snippet of the transcript of that event:

Q Given that you've not convinced everyone in your own party of that, to what degree are you trying to recalibrate the power between Congress and the presidency?

George W. Bush
THE PRESIDENT [sic]: Mike, I'm just doing my job. We'll let all the kind of legal historians figure all that out, you know.

First of all, I'm not going to let Congress erode the power of the Executive Branch. I have a duty to protect the Executive Branch from legislative encroachment. I mean, for example, when the GAO demands documents from us, we're not going to give them to them. These were privileged conversations. These were conversations when people come into our offices and brief us. Can you imagine having to give up every single transcript of what is -- advised me or the Vice President? Our advice wouldn't be good and honest and open.

Although only by implication, Mr. Bush told a whopper, and none of the reporters present called him on it. So for the record, let it be noted that the GAO is not asking the White House for any transcripts. The original July 18, 2001 GAO letter to Dick Cheney did include a request for the transcripts of all National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG) meetings. However, in an August 17, 2001 letter to Mr. Cheney, the GAO explicitly modified the request to exclude such transcripts or minutes.

Observers ranging from SpinSanity to the National Review have published detailed articles on the issue, mostly focused on the blatant dissembling of Ari Fleischer and Dick Cheney about nature of the GAO request. By implying that the GAO request for the list of meeting participants puts the administration in the position of "having to give up every single transcript", Mr. Bush has joined the liars' brigade on this issue.

No real journalist has called Mr. Bush to task for this. Why am I not surprised?

03/12/02 09:50pm link

Thanks for the link, Ted Barlow. The header font color has now been changed for better contrast.

Before going with "a view from the radial center", I considered using "radical center", among others. I ruled it out for two reasons. The first is that mathematically, the radical center (also called the power center) is the intersection of the radical lines of three circles, which is undoubtedly a neat metaphor for something but not particularly for the way I see the world.

The second reason was that the term had already been adopted by others, ranging from Peter Kussi's Karel Capek Reader to Ted Halstead and Michael Lind of the New America Foundation. And none of them used it quite the way I would were I to use it.

I chose "radial center" because the term vaguely expresses the centrist, compromising, mushy, relativistic, liberal point of view to which I generally subscribe. One point I intend to expand upon is that liberals logically occupy the center of any reasonable left-to-right political spectrum, and that this is valuable territory that they ought not to relinquish. Another is that the political center of gravity in this country has shifted so far to the right that until some balance is restored liberals should not expend too much energy on demolishing everyone to their left. They get no points for this, and with no-one visible to the left of liberals, they just end up looking like radicals.

And I'm no radical.

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Busy, busy, busy.

What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.



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