Charles Sanders Peirce on His Craze for Trichotomies

"I fully admit that there is a not uncommon craze for trichotomies. I do not know but the psychiatrists have provided a name for it. If not, they should. "Trichimania," [?] unfortunately, happens to be preƫmpted for a totally different passion; but it might be called triadomany. I am not so afflicted; but I find myself obliged, for truth's sake, to make such a large number of trichotomies that I could not [but] wonder if my readers, especially those of them who are in the way of knowing how common the malady is, should suspect, or even opine, that I am a victim of it." ('On trichotomies', CP 1.568, 1910)

Cap tip Ben Udell

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President Obama's Prudent Distinction Between Lobbyist Experts and Special Interests

PolitiFact Rates the President as Having Broken His Campaign Promise on Limiting the Power of Lobbyists, but it Ignores the Big Picture. Anyone Can See It

PolitiFact | Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials - Obama promise No. 240:: "Obama was very clear with his promise. He said no lobbyists would 'work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.' No means none. Promise Broken."

There it is, the verdict on what PolitiFact rates the most controversial of its verdicts. Why so?

Because there were reasons behind the President's admittedly confusing reliance on former lobbyists to help achieve some of his agenda.

Lobbyists are not all special interests. Some have vital savvy on issues that are really about the people's business.

Here are some complementary elements of this story that are generally ignored.

Ethics Update | The White House: "Because the rules are so stringent, it is important to have reasonable exceptions in case of exigency or when the public interest so demands. That is why the Order provides that a waiver of the restrictions may be granted when it is determined '(i) that the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction, or (ii) that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver.' Sec. 3(a). The Order goes on to explain that the 'public interest' may include, but is not limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy and that de minimis contact with an executive agency shall also be cause for a waiver. Sec. 3(b). As we discuss below, this provision was intended to be used sparingly, and has been so used."

This explanation is buttressed considerably by other elements of the argument. See the full Ethics Update for details. And read the following.

DAEOgrams -- DO-09-008 -- February 23, 2009-- Authorizations Pursuant to Section 3 of Executive Order 13490, "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel": "It is the President's intention that waivers will be granted sparingly and that their scope will be as limited as possible. All waivers must be in writing."


The most salient argument that the President has indeed been vigilant in dealing with the lobbyist issue is precisely that he did provide exemptions from the start. The issue was never to see the lobbyists as a pariah class, but to limit the power of special interests.

By creating the strictest rule ever, and allowing a few crucial exemptions, the President more than kept his promise.


If more proof is needed, note that the President has not hesitated to continue faulting the influence of special interest lobbyists. If anything, the President's attack has become sharper in the face of massive special interest activity in the current campaign where anonymous money is flowing to the GOP and attack ads are wall to wall, serving the very interests that are also lobbied to death on Capitol Hill.

The President had two choices - a stringent rule with careful exceptions or more of the same porous access. He chose stringency and depended on the intelligence of observers to see that to every rule there is an exception and that the proof lies in intent and execution not in knee jerk adherence when it makes no sense.

It was and is, after all, the President's Rule. And it has not changed.

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Obama Has Been the Most Open President Within Memory

The Media Has Been Lavish in Noting the Few Times when the President Has Been Less Transparent, but the Bulk of His Actions Have Been More Transparent Than Those of His Predecessors

Federal News Radio 1500 AM: Obama memo calls for openness and transparency: 

"Q: What are the details of the Obama administration's transparency and openness initiative? 
A: There are a number of parts to this. One important part is that they are asking everybody for ideas about openness. The White House has launched a new Web site, http://whitehouse.gov/open and from there, you can offer your ideas about what information and data should be made available, but also how that information should be made available. The administration also has unveiled another Web site, data.gov, where existing data is being made available to the public."


If you think the President has gone back on his word, spend some time at the site that he set up almost on day one. I bet few journalists even know it exists.

Open Government Initiative | The White House: 
"Social Security Administration CIO Frank Baitman announces the winners of the SSA video contest that was launched in late July. 
Additionally, more than 600 people have responded with stories of how disability and survivors benefits made a big difference when tragedy struck."

And here is the second site mentioned in the early dispatch that starts this post.

http://data.gov: "Data.gov is leading the way in democratizing public sector data and driving innovation. The data is being surfaced from many locations making the Government data stores available to researchers to perform their own analysis. Developers are finding good uses for the datasets, providing interesting and useful applications that allow for new views and public analysis. This is a work in progress, but this movement is spreading to cities, states, and other countries. After just one year a community is born around open government data."

President Obama reminds me of the designers and architects who built Radio City in my home town of New York. The care they took exceeded the normal standards and the buildings speak for themselves in the lesser environment around them. The President has not touted his achievements. But they will be a monument to his intent long after the wing nuts have tired of telling us that Obama has failed on transparency.

Barack Obama President: More Openness and Transparency Than He Gets Credit For. And the proof will be found by following the leads provided in this post. The President walks the walk.

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President will create a smaller military footprint over time

President will create 
A smaller military footprint over time 
And we will be the stronger for it
Barack Obama President phased out 
The F-22 that wasn't even used in recent years

Barack Obama Commander in Chief 
Cut Reagan's missile defense extravaganza 
And saved a billion plus

Barack Obama Commander stopped planning missile systems 
in Poland and the Czech Republic 
and opted to build smaller better systems

The President knows a large foot 
gets mired in deathly stasis 
He makes smaller feet than can 
move lithely

He knows that the battlefield of the future is 
and prepares

The President has made 
and will make more and more progress 
In the area of nuclear disarmament

No weakness is perceived in any of 
these acts

We will move to a smaller and 
more mobile foot 
We will not try to force nations to 
accept our ideology 
We will defend only

We will economize enough 
to enable needed expenses at home 
because national security is threatened by 
the polarization of our society 
by irresponsible 
bearers of untruth

So I shall support the President 
and warn against 
those who would march in lockstep 
to restore the very mentality 
that created the massive footprints 
of Iraq and Afghanistan 
War is what 
we can no longer do 

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Forgive the wrongs that we have done is my parsing of Forgive us our trespasses

Forgive the wrongs that we have done is my parsing of 
Forgive us our trespasses or Forgive us our debts 
These archaic sentences 
do not have the contemporary meaning of 
wrongs we've done 
Many never think daily confession of wrongs 
has much to do with anything 
But on Abba's way such a confession 
is the foundation of an overcoming existence 

Because we are powerful people 
We occupy space 
We violate others 
We get exuberant and it ends up in wrongdoing
We know the drill 
Once we do wrong it either gets forgiven 
or it mounts up until all the power we have 
begins to shrivel and our potential starts to tank 

Note that when we say this 
we are not talking about me but we 
We make a corporate confession 
We are confessing social as well as individual wrong 
The Lord's prayer is a we prayer 

Be aware that we are asking Abba for forgiveness 
Abba us within us 
We are asking to be realigned 
with the best within ourselves 
and with the values that make for minimizing wrong - 
tolerance helpfulness democracy and non-idolatry 

We are powerful because we are intended to be good 
That is what makes us human 

You are reading one sentence 
of the most powerful words 
a human being can utter.

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Graceful Security

The Slow as Molasses Press