January 2005

I called Senator Dianne Feinstein today to tell her I appreciated her “No” vote on Alberto Gonzales, author of the torture memos, distainer of the Geneva Conventions, Attorney General nominee and future Supreme Court pick. Feinstein chose to champion Condelezza Rice’s nomination for Secretary of State despite the administration’s continued unwillingness to admit errors in Iraq, so the Senator’s vote breaking from the White House was particularly pointed and important, though it didn’t stop the Gonzales selection from moving to the full Senate. If you live in California, you can call her too and encourage her and other Senators to do what they can to block a man who ignores the rule of law from the highest law enforcement post of the land. Phone: (202) 224-3841

This is exactly the kind of book I hate.

The Bush inauguration party will cost $40 million. That’s quite a bit more than both the $15M and then $36M we offered to help with the tsunami. Infuriating. And now Seymour Hersh is reporting that plans are afoot to attack Iran. Are we living in a Philip K. Dick novel? Speaking of Dick… what’s your favorite one? I think mine is Martian Time Slip, the one with the autistic. And speaking of autistics, I really liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. See, its easy to forget what we do.

Life is too short for The New Yorker
Interesting, and great drawings, but plagued by a weakness characteristic of memoir: self-importance.

Shirley Chisholm died today. She was our first black congresswoman. She wanted to be known for her pragmatism, and complained that her constituents misunderstood her. Yet it was against her character to say the expedient thing. Jesse Jackson said of her, “she refused to accept the ordinary.” She said of herself, “my greatest political asset, which professional politicians fear, is my mouth, out of which come all kinds of things one shouldn’t always discuss for reasons of political expediency.” My father used to say that you have to keep quiet to some extent to have power, to be a member of the establishment. Most interesting and admirable are those people, like Shirley Chisholm, that disregard this particular piece of advice.