Albert Einstein at Halloween!


No particle is an island:
Leave it to Obama!

Only Obama would have us set our clocks back on Halloween night, giving the kids an extra hour to collect free candy.

The rest of us are handed sweet-sounding nostrums promising an “extra hour of daylight.” Our view? There’s no way these schemes are going to work. Big government never does!

We don't know which is worse in these schemes, the tooth or the moral decay. Meanwhile, we promised a special Halloween post. For reasons beyond our control, we’re forced to postpone.

As an intermediate treat, we’ll link you to the news report which will form the basis of our eventual post. Here it is, live and direct from the October 22 New York Times:

"Sorry, Einstein. Quantum Study Suggests 'Spooky Action' Is Real."

At the new Salon, the possible errors discussed in this report are now mockingly described as “Einsteinsplaining.” As always, we were struck by the types of journalism which are used to report such matters.

No particle is an island! We believe John Donne said that first.

Yesterday, it became clear that we modern Americans refuse to apply this lofty approach to political figures in the Clinton/Gore/Clinton orbit. We refer to attempts by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent and Glenn Kessler to challenge Marco Rubio’s recent attacks on Candidate Clinton as a “liar.”

Alas! Sargent threw Susan Rice back under the bus as he “debunked” the charge against Clinton. Meanwhile, in his Fact Checker post, Kessler awarded only two Pinocchios to Rubio for his heartfelt attack on the world's new biggest liar. That struck us as a pitiful tap on the wrist, given the material Kessler presented and given the fact that the Salem witch trial Rubio extended has now distorted our national discourse for roughly 23 years.

Do we moderns have the decency, and the smarts, to confront such long-running witch trials? In our view, the posts by Kessler and Sargent ran riot with conceptual confusion. Beyond that, we moderns plainly lack the courage to confront such panics when powerful interests promote them.

What actually happened at Benghazi? What is the current state of the intelligence? In the wake of last week’s congressional inquisition, such questions should have been explored on the Washington Post’s front Page, not in a pair of obscure blog posts.

That said, when we see the weakness of those posts, perhaps it’s better that the Post leaves this matter under-reported.

The liberal world has tolerated this rolling witch trial for the past 23 years. You don’t have to be an Einstein to ask these questions about our own unimpressive tribe:

Are we smart enough, and decent enough, to keep Rubio out of the White House? Based on 23 years of conduct, the answer would seem to be no. For our money, Robert Frost put it best:

Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living...

Frost recited those lines at Dear Jack's inauguration. Times were different then. Ranking players didn't spend the next three years pretending that Jack was the world's biggest liar. At that time, our witch trials remained in the shadows.

We’ll explore that pair of posts next week. This weekend gives you an extra hour to gaze on those works and despair.


  1. My Costco Connection magazine lists books available for the holiday season. There are new books by David Limbaugh (Rush's son), Dinesh D'Souza, a bio of George H.W. Bush, Donald Trump's Crippled America, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bob Woodward writing about Nixon's last days. Not one single book that could be characterized as liberal, unless you want to count the book on the Salem witch trials. What's up with that?

    1. To clarify "David Limbaugh (Rush's son)": David is the brother of the talker Rush III and the son of the lawyer and fighter pilot Rush Jr.

    2. AnonymousOctober 31, 2015 at 10:43 AM -- Here's a possible explanation: Liberals mostly control the media. They dominate communication in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. So conservatives write more books.

    3. This is just part of the wingnut welfare circuit in this country. It's another way for right wing billionaires to funnel their funds to the troops out their lying for their billionaire benefactors.

      Wingnut welfare is an important, underrated feature of the modern U.S. political scene. I don’t know who came up with the term, but anyone who follows right-wing careers knows whereof I speak: the lavishly-funded ecosystem of billionaire-financed think tanks, media outlets, and so on provides a comfortable cushion for politicians and pundits who tell such people what they want to hear. Lose an election, make economic forecasts that turn out laughably wrong, whatever — no matter, there’s always a fallback job available.

    4. @mm

      "Here Are 5 Big Things Paul Krugman Says He Got Wrong Over The Years"

    5. 1. Krugman has the intellectual honesty to admit when he's wrong, unlike cicero and his cohort

      2. Krugman has gotten much more right than wrong over the years

      3. imagine composing a similar list of things Republicans/conservatives have gotten wrong during the same time frame. seriously, just imagine how big a list that would be. just one example: "In 2008, the Center for Public Integrity completed a project in which they went over the public statements by eight top Bush administration officials on the topic of Iraq, and found that no fewer than 935 were false"

      4. notice how cicero changes the topic whenever someone lands a point against his side

  2. Einstein's view of quantum mechanics is explained in this very amusing poem

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. as concerned with Hillary's alleged lying as cicero and David are, i can only assume they're absolutely distraught over the disconcerting change in the way presidential candidates conduct themselves during debates, as explained by Kevin Drum:

    "CNBC's Becky Quick has come in for some criticism for being unprepared during Wednesday's debate. To refresh your memory, here's what happened during an exchange with Donald Trump:

    QUICK: You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him "Mark Zuckerberg's personal senator" because he was in favor of the H1B.

    TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

    ....QUICK: My apologies. I'm sorry.

    In fact, Trump had said that in his own immigration plan. Why didn't Quick know this?

    I think we all know what happened here. Someone on Quick's staff prepared some notes that included the quote, but didn't specify where it came from. So when Trump denied saying it, Quick was stuck.

    Now, sure, the staffwork here was bad, and Quick should have been better prepared. But that's not the real problem here. The real problem is that Quick was unprepared for bald-faced lying. She expected Trump to spin or tap dance or try to explain away what he said. She didn't expect him to just flatly deny ever saying it. That's the only circumstance that would require her to know exactly where the quote came from.

    This was a real epidemic on Wednesday night. Candidates have apparently figured out that they don't need to tap dance. They can just baldly lie. Trump did it. Rubio did it. Carson did it. Fiorina did it. They know that time is short and they probably won't get called on it. The worst that will happen is that fact checkers will correct them in the morning, but only a tiny fraction of the viewing audience will ever see it. So what's the downside of lying?

    Future moderators are going to have to be aware of this sea change. Modern candidates understand that they don't need to bother with spin and exaggeration any more. They can just lie, and etiquette limits how much debate moderators can push back. I don't think debate etiquette is going to change, so this probably means that moderators are going to have to learn to ask questions a little differently. We live in a new era."

    1. Mike -- like you, I deplore the lying and the fact that politicians get away with lying. I was sorry to see Trump get away with his false statements.

      I don't know which party lies more. Bill Clinton lied when he said, "I didn't have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Hillary told the nation that the Lewinsky scandal was caused by a right wing conspiracy, although she must have known about Bill's hanky-panky. The Clinton's didn't lose much if any popularity because of these lies.

      I think part of the problem is excessive tribalism. We tend to support our tribe and attack the other tribe, regardless of the objective truth.

    2. In fairness Hillary referenced a "right wing conspiracy from day one" (circa '92), not specifically in regards to the Lewinsky matter, but prior. The Conason-Lyons book does a fine job documenting what she was more likely talking about.

      Ah, social media back in the day. The days of black helicopters, the Clinton murder list, where every conservative was an Allen Keyes/Randy Weaver loyalist.

    3. There is a school of thought that says it is OK to lie when someone asks you a question about something that is none of your business. Women, for example, are told to give whatever answer they think will get them the job, when asked by a prospective employer about marriage plans, plans for having children, religious beliefs, etc.

      It was no one's business what Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky. Most men would have lied in that situation -- and do. Clinton's popularity did not decline because the American people understood that. Hillary's popularity didn't decline because she forgave her husband and showed class under fire -- as she did again in 2008 and again during the Benghazi hearings. People admire that kind of character, whatever their political views.

    4. Sorry -- typo, should be "none of their business"

    5. Anon 5:13, you're right, but it's not a strong excuse. First of all, there never was a vast right wing conspiracy. A conspiracy is something secret. Conservatives spent years openly attacking the Clintons, just as liberals openly attack leading Republicans like Trump and Carson. Second, she was referencing various false charges made against the Clintons, but she must have known that the Lewinsky charge was valid.

      Anon 10:59 -- Presidential adultery is the people's business. Recall how adultery destroyed the campaign of Gary Hart. Moreover, doing it in the Oval Office surely made it the people's business. You say most men would have lied in that situation. Well, most men would not have been in that situation.

      But, the people didn't mind the Clinton lies. And, I don't think they mind the lies (if there were lies) about Benghazi. IMHO this is not a good issue for the Republicans to focus on.

    6. Dave the Republican, you cited a Hillary "lie" by dishonestly paraphrasing, and then play as if you're so dismayed by all the dishonesty you see around you. That's some Snarly Carly sized projection you've got going on.

  5. Whether TDH wants to admit it or not the issue has more than two sides. The Benghazi attack was followed by an increase in US weapons in the region which ended up in the hands of Mali terrorists. Supposedly Media Matters debunked the reports of "stand down" orders but I didn't find their evidence very convincing. It came down to trusting the government's internal investigation. It's possible the attack was staged or somewhat orchestrated by US intelligence, more or less what Republicans are eager to accuse Obama of. To Democrats this is unthinkable, and really that's the tribalism that bugs me more. I mean, for god's sakes Obama has a secret assassination program. But would Media Matters, a group actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton, want to tell us that?

    1. @ 1:57AM - Independent Russian news media estimate the Internet Research Agency employs 400 trolls. A former staffer, Ludmila Savchuk, told Mr. Chen that over two 12-hour shifts she was expected to produce propaganda amounting to five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and at least 150 comments on posts created by co-workers, often criticizing the American or Ukrainian government. Russian trolls sometimes pose as American liberals or conservatives on U.S. news sites, giving a false impression of public opinion.

      Mr. Putin has focused on undermining the Internet since 2011, after political opponents used Twitter and other social media to organize protests against a rigged parliamentary election. Last year he called the Internet a “CIA project.”

    2. TDH has been writing since the 90's. I don't think he's a troll.