Stitch By Stitch is on our minds this month, as we salute those bright journalists and writers who dismantle the elaborate cloak of illusions fed to us by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, by folks under the Buttonwood Tree, and by the ever-eager media.

We begin with our favorite television grouch, Andy Rooney, who frequently concludes the "60 Minutes" television time slot with wit and laughter. One of Rooney's recent comments apparently provoked over 30,000 pieces of mail as he called Mel Gibson a "wacko" and applied the same epithet to Pat Robertson for claiming that he had a conversation with God. In response to a comment about his age (85), Rooney replied: "I didn't get old on purpose. It just happened. If you're lucky it could happen to you". Read about it at

http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/03/15/passion.rooney.ap/index.html (As of 5.11.04. this link is no longer available. We suggest you try a search instead.)

Alan Greenspan called it "irrational exuberance". Maggie Mahar calls it just plain Bull, in her book of the same name. Mahar, formerly a Professor of English at Yale University, is now a senior writer for Barron's. With knowledge and precision she describes the follies on Wall Street and Main Street that began in the 1980's and eventually led to the recent severe market decline. Mahar's lively narrative style and depth of understanding give us a fascinating picture of what went wrong and who is responsible. If you only read one book on investing this year "Bull" will be your choice. (HarperCollins Books, 2003).

From the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania comes "Fact Check", subtitled "Holding Politicians Accountable" and available at

http://www.factcheck.org. Whether you access their site or opt to receive their bulletins via email, Fact Check examines the most egregious claims of politicians from every political spectrum and checks their reliability.

Fund Race will help you find out how much money your friends and neighbors have contributed to each of the political parties. You can search by neighborhood or by city map, by zip code or by name. You might even find yourself listed there.


If you haven't heard the word "infoganda" then you aren't watching John Stuart as he lifts the fog of bulloney on the "Daily Show", seen three nights a week on television's Comedy Central. Stuart pokes holes into much of the nonsense that passes for news these days, with irreverence and wit. His courageous insights into media foibles and politicians' fakery are a refreshing alternative to the pablum that most of the media feed us.

Finally, we salute those feisty individuals that dare to defy the Party Line. Elizabeth Blackburn was a co-discoverer of the enzyme telomerase which accounts for the "malevolent immortality" of malignant cancer cells. A distinguished researcher and recipient of numerous prestigious awards, Blackburn was fired from the President's Council on Bioethics recently, apparently because of her objection to the introduction of politics into science policy. Dr. Blackburn's laboratory can be found online at


President Bush's Council on Bioethics is available at


As the Emperor reveals himself to be quite naked, we value those who show us the truth, stitch by stitch, especially when they leave us in stitches as well.