The State of the Union

The moral seemed to be: constitution-making requires chatter. A chattering class, a chattering medium (coffee houses or blogs) and substantial time for the chattering to take hold. And the Europeans didn’t seem to have a high enough chattering quotient, or to bring their constitutional conversation out of the elite and government-professional circles. The more perplexing and depressing picture we got only obliquely tonight was the spectacle in Iraq today of conceiving a constitution inside the Green Zone, when it’s the Green Zone encasing the US occupation forces that so outrages many Iraqis’ sense of sovereignty. I like the thought posted on our blog tonight: maybe Wikipedia is the model for constitution writers. Call it a Wikitution.

Szymon Czaban

contractor, Polish Contracting

[over phone from London]

Ruth Oldenziel

professor of American history and technology studies in Europe at the Technical University Eindhoven and University of Amsterdam, regular contributor in Dutch media

[by phone from Amsterdam]

Matthias Scherwenikas

actor; he joins us from a payphone in the basement of a theater in Frankfurt, where he is performing in “The Taming of the Shrew.”

[by phone from Frankfurt]

Patrick Muelemeester

investment broker

[by phone from Theil-sur-Vanne, France]

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  • KenLac

    All I can say is, “Wow, what a great idea.”

  • Is this the show sceduled for tonight, Wednesday, 06/08/05?

    Will there be one of those recording boxes as you have had for public comment recording for some previous shows? I guess it is a little late though, if this show will be the one tonight.

    I look forward to this too, KenLac!

  • David

    Yup. This is for tonight’s show. We won’t have a recording box on our site tonight, but we’ll be taking calls live on the air: 877-673-6767.

  • Jackson

    The euro has not bred love. A cheese merchant on market day last August in the southeastern town of Cavaillon in France said the euro had ruined him as he sold me a gorgonzola that smelled way high beyong heaven. It had raised the cost of living without improving the quality of life, he said.

    The European Union works — but where some want all the dancing partners to lock hands, all they really want to do right now is just touch fingertips.

  • Jon

    This show will doubtless go down in the annals of Open Source history as either the cucumber show or the banana show. (While it might be more on topic for this to be remembered as the chocolate show, I doubt this will actually end up being the case). That said, was Garrett having the last laugh on us all, or is the cucumber law for real? Hey fact checkers, Garrett spelled out a specific number for the law (too fast for me to write down, and alas there’s not yet an mp3 available for a replay)–can someone post a link to a no-curves cucumber law, or was this itself a curve thrown back to the Yanks?

  • bft

    “regulation number … one six six seven seven stroke eight eight” 40:05 on the backwards-counting timer

  • Is there a problem with the rss feed? I’ve had to unsubscribe to prevent it from choking my ipodder.

  • bft

    This blog has gone from beta to Warsaw!

  • bft

    Search in

    for “cucumber” in “Title and Text” finds


    Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1677/88 of 15 June 1988 laying down quality standards for cucumbers

    Official Journal L 150 , 16/06/1988 P. 0021 – 0025

  • Jon

    Thank you bft! The regulation you found does indeed include the following:

    “(ii) Class I

    Cucumbers in this class must be of good quality. They must:

    – be reasonably developed

    – be reasonably well shaped and practically straight (maximum height of the arc: 10 mm per 10 cm of the length of cucumber).”

    OK, Garrett, point taken! It’s enough to make one think about a pretty broad “non” vote, I’m afraid. Funny how a lowly cucumber can help clarify such an incredibly larger, geopolitical, and dare I say, even somewhat abstract, concept. And to think that once one dices up the poor cucumber to mix with yoghurt (as is very common in much of the more Eastern parts of the new Europe) or with other foods, the star witness in this indictment has for all practical purposes already been dismembered…

  • rd

    Hey webmaster types: the links at the top of this page for

    the MP3 file seem to be for the wrong show — they get me the

    one on internet-in-medicine when I play it. Could you fix

    this, please? (And feel free to indicate a better place than

    here for inquiries about such matters to be directed to.)

    I’d like to listen to the show actually described here.

    Thanks a lot.