free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ... taking an imposing analytic toolkit out of the box, over the wall and into the street ... with callous disregard for accepted wisdom and standard English

reading tea leaves from original angles, we've led with uncannily prescient takes on the federal surplus, the dotcom crash, the "Energy Crisis", the Afghan campaign, the federal deficit.

More where those came from ... stay tuned.

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All "major" articles of older material have now been imported, some with updates worth perusing. We'll keep it all on the main page for a while, will add a few loose pieces of history, will trim the main page and index the archives for convenience later.


free agent, loose cannon, pointy stick ...
... gateway to the next Progressive Era?
Some say it's nothing but a train wreck ... roll in the big cranes, clear the track, see what the crew was smoking. If I thought so, I'd not be writing this ... and if they thought so, they'd not be drumming so hard.

Many thanks to Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs, still shouting 'cross the Potomac at QuasiPundit. Early Camp Enron material can be found in QP's Dispatches department.
Tuesday, March 26, 2002

--- Proofreading Between the Lines: "consistent with" ---

Over at the WaPo, snarkster Dana Milbank has been needling White House flaks re the art of changing direction while keeping one's footprints in a straight line.
Brookings Institution foreign policy expert Ivo Daalder, a former Clinton aide said ... "Even as you change foreign policy you have to emphasize that it will always be the same." It's a trick that predates the Bush administration. "It has the benefit of reassuring outsiders of the continuity of foreign policy".

Bush's aides do this on domestic matters, too: farm policy ("consistent with what he's been saying"), the likelihood of more terrorist attacks ("that's what the president has always said"), even global warming ("the president has always said that the temperature of the earth is rising").

"The best way not to make news is to tell you we've said it before," a senior Bush aide said.
When getting spoked by a spokesperson from any quarter, listen for the phrase "consistent with". For future reference: "consistent with" is consistent with "same as", but "consistent with" is not the same as "same as".

For example, "went for a Sunday drive" is consistent with "died of massive trauma" ... but hardly same as same.

The flip side of "consistent with" is its proper application in cautious scientific testimony, where the speaker declines to go beyond the evidence, e.g., "ice shelf collapse is consistent with the GHG global warming hypothesis". In these cases, irate journalists will generally try to torture the speaker into giving up some turn of phrase consistent with the "either it is or it isn't" story template.