Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Things That You'll Like and That Are Good For You Too

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Reagan Diaries

The image of President Reagan that was created by the press was that of a person detached, concrete in his thinking, and one who saw the world in a way that nobody else did. Stinkin' press...they were right!

The Reagan Diaries reveal a man who experiences the presidency much as Everyman experiences his own job: Mondays are dreaded, days are filled with too many meetings, weekends are anticipated. And after-hours time likewise--evenings spent with one's spouse watching TV or a movie. Some people think that is great (for a president). Personally, I don't. I'd prefer a president more involved, more nuanced in his thinking and more strategic in his planning

I have never understood the view of President Reagan as one of our great presidents. "He won the Cold War, he turned around the economy." The Cold War was won and the economy did turn around but don't a president's intentions count when handing out credit, or assigning blame? President Reagan didn't have a plan that said "We'll spend and spend and spend on defense and they'll realize they won't be able to keep up and they'll just give up and dismantle their evil empire." He didn't think "I bet if I keep to this Star Wars plan that'll be the straw that breaks the commies back." He was thinking that the Soviet Union would continue to exist and be a threat and the missile shield would protect the U.S. from a Soviet threat. So to say that he won the Cold War is like giving a drunk who stumbles off the cliffs of Acapulco a perfect 10 in the high dive. That wasn't planned.

"Reaganomics" was "supply-side" and virulently anti-Keynesian. So President Reagan spent the country out of recession with massively increased defense budgets. That's Keynesian-ism.

The image of President Reagan was also that he was perpetually sunny and deeply devoted to Nancy. Those are also accurate. On to the diary:

"I think we can...gradually take back the Caribbean which was becoming a 'Red' lake," January 28, 1981. That's what I would call concrete thinking, and there's more of it in regard to this region as events happen in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

"Intelligence reports say Castro is very worried about me. I'm very worried that we can't come up with something to justify his worrying," February 11. What a great line. On display here are two other Reagan traits--his humor and humility.

Watched a movie, "Nine to Five." Funny--but one scene made me mad," one in which Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lilli Tomlin smoked pot to relax. Ok, OK, pot-smoking is against the law and is not good for you. That's not what the president was thinking (see intentions above): "A truly funny scene if the 3 gals had played getting drunk but no they had to get stoned on pot. It was an endorsement of Pot smoking for any young person who sees the picture," February 14.

Pot smoking is against the law but that's the only difference between it and alcohol. Both get you impaired, young people should be scared away from both, in fact it's illegal for "young people" if you're just under age to drink. And during President Reagan's own lifetime all alcohol consumption was illegal. The laws were just unenforceable. As are those against marijuana. None of this entered the President's thinking.

Dinner at Camp David with Mr. and Mrs. "Tip" O'Neill, Edwin Meece, James Baker and "Susan & the Friedersdorf's": "It was a nice evening but maybe Tip & I told too many Irish stories." What a good, decent man he was. This is Public Occurrences.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Pvt. Samuel Harris, United States War of Independence.
Sgt. Nathan Bracken, Army of the Potomac, Civil War (Killed in Action).
Pvt. George Gill, World War I.
Lt. John W.K. Harris, World War II (Killed in Action).
Cpt. Miles Ellsworth Harris III, Vietnam.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Economic Democracy

Economic democracy means foremost abolition of inherited wealth. We don't have inherited social position, an aristocracy, we should not have inherited wealth. Enjoying wealth in one's lifetime is what for many is the pursuit of happiness. It is against our principles of hard work, political democracy and legal equality to allow someone to be born on third base. This is Public Occurrences.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Things That You'll Like, And That Are Good For You Too

Phillipe Starck

From lamps to hotels, from chairs to fly-swatters to toothbrushes to coins, this most prolific, creative, and whimsical of designers is the best designer of the last half century. The designer who best exemplifies the New Design style. Herbert Muschamp once said that he likes anything designed by Mr. Starck.

Mr. Starck is the most popular Frenchman in America since Lafayette. Because he is so un-French: unpretentious, down-to-earth, funny. In addition to being brilliant and artistic. What a combination. This is Public Occurrences.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Borat: Cultural Learnings of Judaism For Make Detriment Glorious Nation of Jewry

The Anti-Defamation League has criticized Sacha Baron Cohen, who is Jewish, for his movie Borat because it says the movie reinforces, or creates where none even existed, stereotypes of Jews. Although a satire, Borat, the ADL says may not be taken as such by unsophisticated viewers and so it's satirical play on Jews as money-grubbing, sinister pariahs is dangerous.


Most venerable ADL misses the points. It is the stereotype of Jews as a tricky, devious people that Borat unwittingly, and therefore all the more believably, reinforces. Borat/Cohen puts people in stereotyping situations created by Corat and then says that when those people go along with Corat's stereotypes they are being anti-Semitic or racist.

The most telling example of Corat's deviousness is--perfectly--a scene that Corat excises out of the theater version. It is Corat in a West Virginia animal shelter attempting to buy a dog. He holds the dog up and examines its anus for suitability for bestiality; he tells the shelter-keeper that he wants an attack dog to go after Jews. She responds that Jews are God's children and her dogs are not going to want to do violence to them.

Corat tries to determine if the dog is suitable as a Jew-hunter. He instructs the shelter-keeper--who Corat addresses only as "woman"- to stand at a distance and put an index finger over each temple in simulation of devil's horns. Corat then puts the dog down and instructs him to "attack the Jew." The woman didn't know that that was what Corat was going to do, that was a situation that was totally the creation of Corat's. And when the woman doesn't play along and instead says that if it is for things like this that he wants her dogs then she is not going to sell them to him--when the mark doesn't behave as wanted the scene gets deleted from the movie!

Naughty, naughty, Corat.

Borat is my favorite movie despite this appalling message. I am not Jewish so I can enjoy the movie unencumbered by ethnic sensitivity to its unwitting anti-Semitic stereotyping. It is riotously funny. It is also unique acting. It is one level of difficulty for actors to act with other actors. Borat is a whole other level of difficulty because Cohen is acting with people who have no idea that he's acting. It's similar to the situation where a police officer has to play an undercover role as a drug dealer or hit man. One can never know when cover is going to be blown and your criminal friend is going to try to put a bullet in your head, or in Cohen's case when the rodeo spectators realize something is going on. This is Public Occurrences.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

China's Cultural Revolution, Original Documents

We received this from a former Red Guard in the P.R.C. His comments below.

"The first title says: Eliminate all the villains!
The content of the first article is to instigate people to find out a
subgroup of people in Sun yat sen University who were considered
to have tried to break the process of ‘Cultural Revolution’. (You’ve
already know it was fake accusation, of course)
The second title says: Principles of Evolution and Brotherhood
in Battle."
This is Public Occurrences.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

From morn to night,
I read and write.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Things that you'll like and that are good for you too

Gregory F. Templeton's book Reshaping Intelligence in an Age of Information. This is the book that made the analytical distinction between problems that are puzzles and those that are mysteries. The distinction and the different problem-solving directions that result have changed the way that U.S. intelligence services operate. This is Public Occurrences.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Secrets? What secrets?
Arright fine, TWO male moments.
girlfriend's out of town, OK?
Fuck you. I am Benjamin
Harris and I reserve the
the right to DELETE
THESE POSTS tomorrow.

I'm having a male moment. I'M
IT, I'm just saying. I am
Benjamin Harris.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Google Is Evil

Google Is Evil

The twee young things who run Google invented a slogan as the company's philosophy: "Don't be evil."

Today it was revealed that Google Maps image of New Orleans is an airbrushed version that doesn't show damage done to the city by Hurricane Katrina.

Most notorious of Google's contradictions of its putative philosophy is its aiding and abetting of China's censorship.

Google is too powerful and power has corrupted them. The company should be broken up under anti-trust laws. This is Public Occurrences.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

One of the Greatest Human Beings Who Ever Lived: Nelson Mandela

Against great competition, the thing that is most extraordinary to me about President Mandela is his happiness. How many years did he spend in prison? How many beatings did he take? Yet, look at this photograph--always a smile or a hint of one. His eyes are so kind.
There are some people who I simply am glad to be part of the same species and epoch. I am Benjamin Harris, and I am not worthy.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Rule 110

Universal. The Universe?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Protester Hurls Apparent Flaming Object at Mao's Portrait in Tiananmen

Just an hour ago someone through an object at the portrait of Mao Zedong that looms over Tiananmen square. Apparently the device was some kind of incendiary since soot could be seen on the painting. Mao is the most evil man to ever live. Some day even the Chinese will acknowledge this and take down the portrait and dismantle his mausoleum.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Things That You'll Like and That Are Good for You Too

The Arts and Letters Daily website. There is no better website of any kind.


Monday, May 07, 2007

China's Great Wall of Silence: Cracks

This Friday past Andrew Yang and the China Information Center published an editorial commending this site Our email address,, was provided and Mr. Yang challenged his readers to contact us with evidence on those involved in the torture and murder of Bian Zhongyun.

On Saturday we started to receive emails. All of them came from the People's Republic. This is one of them:

Dear Mr. Harris
It was my father who sent you the
pictures. He know that you are doing a research on the
Revolution. And he was touched. You know what, he was a 'Red Guard' in the
My father has sent you where to find other information. Hope it helps you.
Unfortunately my father doesn't know English at all. I am a senior of university. So probably my English is not good enough. I apologize for the grammar mistakes or something else that make you hard to understand (if there's any)
We're looking forward to hear you opinions.

yours, XXX(the son).


Murder investigation is dark work but occasionally there are moments of light. I am Benjamin Harris.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

China's Great Wall of Silence: Slipping

Red Guards, you're slipping. On the streets, "slipping" refers to someone who is insouciant to one's enemies in this case, the truth.

You've been comfortable for so long, some of you have retired to seeming serenity, you're old. You're Rust Guards now.

But as you can see for yourselves people are beginning to talk. That's not good for you. The real Great Wall did not keep out the emperor's enemies. The Great Wall of Silence of Carma Hinton, Weili Ye, et al will not protect you from your enemy, the truth.

You thought you were brave in 1966 but it was the false courage of numbers, the courage of the mob.

It was also the false courage of official sanction. Mommy and daddy approved, as did The Great Helmsman. That's not real courage, it's false courage. And people who demonstrate false courage are real cowards.

How courageous are you in 2007? Alone. Without your fellow gang members. Without your silly uniforms. Now you wear the uniforms of businessmen and women and of academics. Not intimidating.

You don't act very brave either. You change your names and hide your faces.

In your youth you ran all over Beijing, murdering, looting, and rampaging. You're running now too, but now you're running from, and your stride is no longer youthful, it is slow, crooked and stumbling. And you're looking over your shoulder.

I am Benjamin Harris.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

China's Great Wall of Silence: Cracks

Body of Xu Peitian, janitor at Beijing Sixth Middle School, 70 yrs old, murdered by Red Guards.
Document at top: Red Guard announcement of Mr. Xu's murder. Headline: "Long Live Red Terror!"

Friday, May 04, 2007

This is Public Occurrences

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

People Are Responding

A week or two ago a man in Iowa requested one of the "ISLAM HAS BLOODY BORDERS" bumper stickers.

He recently received it and sent us an email today which he has given us permission to post.

"Ben, I received the bumper sticker and put it immediately on the van. While I was at the service station I had 8 people ask me where I got it. I told them but unfortunately I didn't have your email with me."

Steve in Iowa,

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The New Yorker: More Ads

The New Yorker: More Ads*

The second ad in the April 2 issue is a two-page spread for Visa. On the first page at the top is:

"Things to do while you're alive:"

There's then a list of them. Here are theirs and here are ours:

-"Learn to fly-fish at Inverlochy Castle" [Learn to eat your screenplay]

- "Visit an uninhabited island" [Visit the Big Dipper]

-"Celebrate St. Patty's Day in Dublin" [Celebrate St. Patty's day on Isla margarita]

-"Deep-sea fish and eat your catch" [Deep-sea fish and eat your parents on a vacation]

-"Camp on Seven Mile Beach" [Camp on the Space Shuttle]

-"Write a screenplay" [Write a screenplay on eating an insect]

-"See the Leaning Tower of Pisa"

-"Drink a margarita on Isla Margarita" [Drink a margarita on the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While eating an insect. With your parents on vacation]

-"Shoot a hole in one" [Shoot a penguin]

-"Watch a space shuttle launch" [Watch a space shuttle launch in Dublin]

-"See a penguin in its natural habitat" [See a penguin run with the bulls in Pamplona]

-"Climb an eighteener"

-"Travel with handmade fitted luggage" [Travel with an eighteener]

-"Find the Big Dipper"

-"Look down from the Cliffs of Moher" [Climb the Cliffs of Moher with handmade fitted luggage]

-"Take your parents on a vacation." [Take your parents down from the Cliffs of Moher]

-"Eat an insect" [Eat an insect with your parents on a vacation]

-"Run with the bulls in Pamplona"

-"Attend the Argentine Polo Championships" [Attend the Argentine Eat an Insect Championships]

-"Win a karaoke contest" [Win a karaoke contest at Inverlochy Castle; Win an Eat an Insect contest]

-"Have a museum all to yourself" [Have a margarita all by yourself with your parents on a vacation in Dublin]

I am Benjamin Harris

*See the We Could Be A New Yorker Reader series, January 1, 4, 10, 28 2006.