Will.Whim

A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: May 2005

'Deep Throat' revealed

It appears that the Washington Post is confirming that Mark Felt was Deep Throat. The Watergate hearings and Nixon’s resignation dominated the news the summer between high school and college for me, so Watergate coverage always has a special coming of age tinge for me.

For some reason–probably because I’ve never liked him much–I’m also glad that none of John Dean’s five possible candidates for Deep Throat was Mark Felt.

Here’s an article by former Washington Post reporter James Mann, (via kottke) from the May 1992 Atlantic, that suggested someone high up in the FBI was Deep Throat–over 10 years ago. The interesting thiing about the article is not so much that Mann was right (he even named Felt as a candidate), but the institutional reasons that would lead someone like Felt to talk to Woodward. The FBI was striving to remain independent from the White House (in the wake of Hoover’s death in 1972), so it was institutionally savvy for Felt to keep pressure on the White House via the Post. Quote:

The Watergate investigation demonstrated that the Nixon White House had dishonorable motives for wanting to gain political control over the FBI. Yet the FBI’s motives for seeking to retain its independence were not entirely pure either. Under Hoover the Bureau had become an autocratic institution, mistrustful of change and modernization, secretly engaging in a number of activities for which it had no legal authorization.

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Trump University

So Donald Trump has started himself a university, and Roger Schank, who headed the Institute for the Learning Sciences when I was a grad student at Northwestern, is the Chief Learning Officer.

Roger writes an “occasional column” called “Educational Outrage. He talks about the press reaction to some comments he made about the pedagogy to be used at Trump University in Is Trump Academic?

One reaction from another grad (who will remain nameless):

I just took my degree from Northwestern out, and watched it for about a minute. I was sort of expecting it to fade into thin air, like in one of those movies about time travel…

Have Space Suit, Will Travel

Just finished reading–for the first time–Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel. It has the perfect Heinlein Golden Age of SF quote:

I tell you, the slide rule is the greatest invention since girls.

Morse Code Music by David Tulga

More evidence against Bush's early WMD claims

Prewar Findings Worried Analysts (reg. required)

More evidence that Bush et al. cooked the evidence for WMD in Iraq:

…Bush said in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address that Hussein was working to obtain “significant quantities” of uranium from Africa, a conclusion the president attributed to British intelligence and made a key part of his assertion that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program.More than a year later, the White House retracted the statement after its veracity was questioned. But the Senate report makes it clear that even in January 2003, just before the president’s speech, analysts at the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center were still investigating the reliability of the uranium information.

(via NTI)

Remarks by the President at Calvin College Commencement

I don’t like President Bush much, but he did give a good speech at Calvin: “Remarks by the President at Calvin College Commencement:”

As the Class of 2005 goes out into the world, I ask you to embrace this tradition of service and help set an example for all Americans. As Americans we share an agenda that calls us to action — a great responsibility to serve and love others, a responsibility that goes back to the greatest commandment. This isn’t a Democratic idea. This isn’t a Republican idea. This is an American idea. (Applause.) It has sustained our nation’s liberty for more than 200 years. The Founders knew that too much government leads to oppression, but that too little government can leave us helpless and alone.

Which is not to say that I don’t also agree with the Open Letter to the President.

Opening and closing hymn choices in 2004 singings

I posted this note to the fasola.org mailing list (Sacred Harp singing discussions):

Hello all,

I did a frequency analysis of the songs led as either the opening, or
the closing, hymn during the 222 singings reported in the 2004 minutes
book.

Here are the songs most frequently led as an opening song (five or
more times):

Freq Hymn
---- --------------------------
  28 59  Holy Manna
  14 32t Corinth
  10 82t Bound For Canaan
  10 31b Webster
   9 30t Love Divine
   8 49t Old Hundred
   8 48t Devotion
   8 34b St. Thomas
   6 75  I would See Jesus
   6 37b Liverpool
   5 52t Albion
   5 31t Ninety-Third Psalm
   5 171 Harmony

Here are the songs most frequently led as a closing song (five or
more times):

Freq Hymn
---- --------------------------
  66 62  Parting Hand
  32 46  Let Us Sing
  18 347 Christian's Farewell
  10 146 Hallelujah
   5 45t New Britain

The following songs, not in the Denson book, etc., were sung once each
as closing songs: "I Cannot Find My Way Alone," "Not Made with Hands,"
"Sweet Beulah Land," "The Christian's Love."

There were 82 different songs led as opening songs, and 81 songs led
as closing songs. Both show a 'long-tail' frequency distribution (a
few songs chosen a lot; many songs chosen a few times), with the
closing song distribution dropping off more sharply than the opening
songs--the frequency almost perfect halves each time in the numbers
given above. My analysis of song selections overall from the Denson
book in 2002 also manifests this long-tail distribution. (I hope to
report on overall song selections for 2004 soon).

The 'traditional' opening and closing songs--Holy Manna and Parting
Hand--are, in fact, the most commonly selected. Still, it's
interesting that other songs are chosen over 70% of the time. Eight
singings led with Holy Manna and closed with Parting Hand--less than
4% of the singings.


Will Fitzgerald (still learning the words to Parting Hand...)

“Holy Manna” is also known as “Brethren we have met to worship.” “New Britian” is the tune to which “Amazing Grace” is usually sung.

Social networks of social networkers

Physcists and sociologists don’t cite each other much while doing social network research.

Base closings as payback?

Was there political pressure placed by the Republicans to reward “Red” states, and punish “Blue” states during the recent round of base closings, as some have said?

Perhaps some, as indicated by the chart above. Click on the chart for a bigger picture. Number of electoral votes accounts for about 16% of variance in job losses.

German spam?

I’m getting hundreds of spam emails in German today — it looks like this started in general about a year ago. I’m surprised the spam filter in Gmail isn’t catching them.

They pretty much all start ‘Lese sebst:’ followed by a URL.

Anyone else getting these suddenly?

Update I guess it is a worldwide attack, according to the Beeb.