Adventures of Multiple Man

by Ted on December 11, 2003

My friend Rob Humenik at Get Donkey! is a volunteer on the Dean campaign. He recently had the opportunity to ride along with some of the press corps covering the Dean rally in Houston. It’s well worth reading:

What was most interesting was hearing them interact with each other. I always had this silly stereotype of journalists trying to scoop each other and keeping their information to themselves, but these guys were the definition of pack journalism. What was scary was that a lot of them didn’t really seem to know what they were talking about regarding some of Dean’s policy stances, things he said at the speech, etc. I got the distinct impression that they were interviewing each other for information (instead of, say, the official campaign spokesman that was in the front seat). Honest to Pete, I heard one reporter ask another “How do you think Dean is doing,” and the other went on to answer how he felt Dean probably wrapped up the nomination when he decided against campaign financing, but the test will be if his appeal extends beyond the base of radical liberal supporters…” The exchange was followed by the sound of fingers typing on keyboard.

Everyone must have prizes

by Ted on December 11, 2003

Dwight Meredeth and Mary Beth at Wampum are being kind enough to run the 2003 Koufax Awards to recognize the best in left-of-center blogs. I really enjoyed them last year, and I’m delighted that Dwight is volunteering his time again. They’re taking nominations now, so please feel free to contribute.

UPDATE: Because they’re not accepting nominations for their own posts, I wanted to take the opportunity to say that Dwight Meredeth’s post “Tell His Parents”, about Michael Savage’s cruelty about autism, is one of the very, very few blog posts that I’ve gone back and re-read months later.

Introducing a WSIS guest blogger

by Maria from Geneva on December 11, 2003

Later on today, the magnificent Gus Hosein, will be logging in to CT and giving us his impressions of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Gus is a key figure in a global community of privacy activists – the people who say “huh? you mean what?!” to the proliferation of government initiatives that “seek to balance” the “dynamic equilibrium” between privacy and security in this post 9/11 world.

I know Gus from my time at LSE. Henry knows Gus from a book project in internet governance being organised by Ernest Wilson. I know Ernest Wilson from a conference organised by the 21st Century Trust. Eszter knows Gus too. How, we don’t know yet. Did somebody say something about networks?

Anyway, welcome to Gus. He’ll be blogging here over the next day or so with his thoughts on the WSIS.

Surrealist sportsmen

by Henry on December 11, 2003

“Eugene Volokh”:http://volokh.com/2003_12_07_volokh_archive.html#107107377078741002 blogs on an interesting biathlon, involving both chess and boxing, two competitive endeavours that are usually pursued in isolation from each other. There’s some fictional precedent though; the eponymous hero of Maurice Richardson’s _The Exploits of Engelbrecht: Abstracted from the Chronicles of the Surrealist Sporting Club_ proves to be a dab hand at both activities. Engelbrecht is a boxer by profession, and like all Surrealist boxers, he’s a dwarf who fights clocks. Grandfather clocks to be specific (they fight dirty). In a succession of short stories, Engelbrecht also shows his prowess not only in beating clocks to a standstill, but at a variant of chess (in which the pieces are Boy Scouts and nuclear weapons), at kraken wrestling, at pike fishing, at Surrealist golf (the first hole is several thousand miles long), and at Plant Theatre. In my favourite story, Engelbrecht plays in the Earth vs. Mars rugby game; the Earth team is several thousand strong, and features such luminaries as Friedrich Engels, Origen, Nebuchadnezzar, Attila the Hun, the Venerable Bede, Luther, Ethelred the Unready, and Judas Iscariot. Heliogabalus, Bishop Berkeley and Aubrey Beardsley score for Earth; Engelbrecht wins the game at the last moment by cunningly concealing himself inside the ball.

The book came out first in 1950; I’m awaiting delivery of a first edition, and you can’t have it. Sorry. You can however, purchase the “Savoy Books”:http://www.abel.net.uk/~savoy/HTML/engelb.html edition, which I also own, and which is handsomely illustrated by Ronald Searle among others. You can even browse the “first chapter”:http://www.abel.net.uk/~savoy/engel.pdf for free on their website. But you should, as they say, read the whole thing. Wonderful stuff.

The 50/50 gerrymander

by Ted on December 11, 2003

Gary Farber has a thought experiment posted about a mandate requiring Congressional districts to be drawn to create districts that are as competitive as possible.

That is, the goal in drawing district lines would be that all districts be as evenly divided between likely Republicans and Democrats as is predictable. You know, the opposite of the way gerrymandering has been functioning, overall, since the days of Eldridge.

It’s obviously not going to happen, but it does set one a’thinkin.

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