President Obama Stalls Islamic State While He Runs Out The Clock On His Failed Presidency — Who is next? President Trump — Obama A Real Loser — Leading On Climate Change — Give Me A Break! — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 551: October 12, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 550: October 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 549: October 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 548: October 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 547: October 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 546: October 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 545: October 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 544: September 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 543: September 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 542: September 28, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 541: September 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 540: September 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 539: September 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 538: September 22, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 537: September 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 536: September 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 535: September 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 534: September 16, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 533: September 15, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 532: September 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 531: September 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 530: September 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 529: September 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 527: September 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 526: September 3, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 525: September 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 524: August 31, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 523: August 27, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 522: August 26, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 521: August 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 520: August 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 519: August 21, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 517: August 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 516: August 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 515: August 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 514: August 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 513: August 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 512: August 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 511: August 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 510: August 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 509: July 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 508: July 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 507: July 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 506: July 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 505: July 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 504: July 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 503: July 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 502: July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501: July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500: July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499: July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498: July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497: July 1, 2015

The Pronk Pops Show 551, October 12, 2015, Story 1: President Obama Stalls Islamic State While He Runs Out The Clock On His Failed Presidency — Who is next? President Trump — Obama A Real Loser — Leading On Climate Change — Give Me A Break! — Videos


climate model vs observationshot-spot-1979-1999

60 Minutes in 60 Seconds (Day 36)

Obama talks Russia’s escalation in Syria on “60 Minutes”

“60 Minutes” interview: President Obama

Earth's_greenhouse_effect_(US_EPA,_2012) GreenhouseEffectevans_figure1


Dr David Evans on Global Warming

50 to 1 Project – David Evans Interview

Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria April, 2015

High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

Emma Sky: “The Unraveling”

Reflections on the Future of War with Gen. Raymond Odierno

Thomas Barnett: Rethinking America’s military strategy

Donald Trump Iran Deal FULL SPEECH, Against Iran Nuclear Agreement at Tea Party Rally Sept. 9, 2015

The Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Bomb

Climate Change in 12 Minutes – The Skeptic’s Case

Climategate: What They Aren’t Telling You!

Krauthammer: ‘Sputtering’ Obama Admin Has No Idea What to Do About Russia, Syria

Donald Trump Fox & Friends RIPS Obama 60 Minute Interview & Biden’s Low Poll Numbers FULL Interview

Donald trump Meet The Press FULL Interview 10/4/2015

60 Minutes Host Destroys Barack Obama On Syria

60 Minutes Host Embarrasses Barack Obama On Syria II

Background Articles and Videos



Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change Pt 1

Professor Fred Singer on Climate Change Pt 2

Global Warming, Lysenkoism & Eugenics Prof Richard Lindzen

Interview with Professor Richard Lindzen

Richard Lindzen, Ph.D. Lecture Deconstructs Global Warming Hysteria (High Quality Version)

Global Warming – Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton | States of Fear: Science or Politics?

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 1 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 2 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 3 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 4 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 5 of 6

Dr Roy Spencer on Global Warming Part 6 of 6

Global warming and the Carbon Tax Scam

The Great Global Warming Swindle Full Movie

Global Warming: How Hot Air and Bad Science Will Give YOU Staggeringly Higher Taxes and Prices

Sen. Inhofe To Investigate ClimateGate

Lou Dobbs: ‘Who The Hell Does The President Think He Is?’

The Free-Market Case for Green

ManBearPig, Climategate and Watermelons: A conversation with author James Delingpole

James Delingpole: Great Britain, the Green Movement, and the End of the World

George Carlin on Global Warming

Americans Skeptical of Science Behind Global Warming

“…Most Americans (52%) believe that there continues to be significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming.

While many advocates of aggressive policy responses to global warming say a consensus exists, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% of adults think most scientists agree on the topic. Twenty-three percent (23%) are not sure. …”

Full Interview: President Obama on ISIS, Putin, Trump on “60 Minutes”


President Obama on destroying ISIS in Iraq:

Steve Kroft: The last time we talked was this time last year, and the situation in Syria and Iraq had begun to worsen vis-à-vis ISIS. You had just unveiled a plan to provide air support for troops in Iraq, and also some air strikes in Syria, and the training and equipping of a moderate Syrian force. You said that this would degrade and eventually destroy ISIS.
President Barack Obama: Over time.

Steve Kroft: Over time. It’s been a year, and–

President Barack Obama: I didn’t say it was going to be done in a year.

Steve Kroft: No. But you said…

President Barack Obama: There’s a question in here somewhere.

Steve Kroft: Who’s going to get rid of them?

President Barack Obama: Over time, the community of nations will all get rid of them, and we will be leading getting rid of them. But we are not going to be able to get rid of them unless there is an environment inside of Syria and in portions of Iraq in which local populations, local Sunni populations, are working in a concerted way with us to get rid of them.

On the “moderate opposition” in Syria:

Steve Kroft: You have been talking about the moderate opposition in Syria. It seems very hard to identify. And you talked about the frustrations of trying to find some and train them. You got a half a billion dollars from Congress to train and equip 5,000, and at the end, according to the commander CENTCOM, you got 50 people, most of whom are dead or deserted. He said four or five left?

President Barack Obama: Steve, this is why I’ve been skeptical from the get go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria. My goal has been to try to test the proposition, can we be able to train and equip a moderate opposition that’s willing to fight ISIL? And what we’ve learned is that as long as Assad remains in power, it is very difficult to get those folks to focus their attention on ISIL.

Steve Kroft: If you were skeptical of the program to find and identify, train and equip moderate Syrians, why did you go through the program?

President Barack Obama: Well, because part of what we have to do here, Steve, is to try different things. Because we also have partners on the ground that are invested and interested in seeing some sort of resolution to this problem. And–

Steve Kroft: And they wanted you to do it.

President Barack Obama: Well, no. That’s not what I said. I think it is important for us to make sure that we explore all the various options that are available.

Steve Kroft: I know you don’t want to talk about this.

President Barack Obama: No, I’m happy to talk about it.

Steve Kroft: I want to talk about the– this program, because it would seem to show, I mean, if you expect 5,000 and you get five, it shows that somebody someplace along the line did not– made– you know, some sort of a serious miscalculation.

President Barack Obama: You know, the– the– Steve, let me just say this.

Steve Kroft: It’s an embarrassment.

President Barack Obama: Look, there’s no doubt that it did not work. And, one of the challenges that I’ve had throughout this heartbreaking situation inside of Syria is, is that– you’ll have people insist that, you know, all you have to do is send in a few– you know, truckloads full of arms and people are ready to fight. And then, when you start a train-and-equip program and it doesn’t work, then people say, “Well, why didn’t it work?” Or, “If it had just started three months earlier it would’ve worked.”

Steve Kroft: But you said yourself you never believed in this.

President Barack Obama: Well– but Steve, what I have also said is, is that surprisingly enough it turns out that in a situation that is as volatile and with as many players as there are inside of Syria, there aren’t any silver bullets. And this is precisely why I’ve been very clear that America’s priorities has to be number one, keeping the American people safe. Number two, we are prepared to work both diplomatically and where we can to support moderate opposition that can help convince the Russians and Iranians to put pressure on Assad for a transition. But that what we are not going to do is to try to reinsert ourselves in a military campaign inside of Syria. Let’s take the situation in Afghanistan, which I suspect you’ll ask about. But I wanted to use this as an example.

Steve Kroft: All right. I feel like I’m being filibustered, Mr. President.

President Barack Obama: No, no, no, no, no. Steve, I think if you want to roll back the tape, you’ve been giving me long questions and statements, and now I’m responding to ’em. So let’s– so– if you ask me big, open-ended questions, expect big, open-ended answers. Let’s take the example of Afghanistan. We’ve been there 13 years now close to 13 years. And it’s still hard in Afghanistan. Today, after all the investments we have there, and we still have thousands of troops there. So the notion that after a year in Syria, a country where the existing government hasn’t invited us in, but is actively keeping us out, that somehow we would be able to solve this quickly– is–

Steve Kroft: We didn’t say quickly.

President Barack Obama: –is– is– is an illusion. And– and–

Steve Kroft: Nobody’s expecting that, Mr. President.

President Barack Obama: Well, the– no, I understand, but what I’m– the simple point I’m making, Steve, is that the solution that we’re going to have inside of Syria is ultimately going to depend not on the United States putting in a bunch of troops there, resolving the underlying crisis is going to be something that requires ultimately the key players there to recognize that there has to be a transition to new government. And, in the absence of that, it’s not going to work.

On Russia:

Steve Kroft: One of the key players now is Russia.

President Barack Obama: Yeah.

Steve Kroft: A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border. Now it’s also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States– America leads. We’re the indispensible nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.

President Barack Obama: In what way? Let– let’s think about this– let– let–

Steve Kroft: Well, he’s moved troops into Syria, for one. He’s got people on the ground. Two, the Russians are conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II–

President Barack Obama: So that’s–

Steve Kroft: –bombing the people– that we are supporting.

President Barack Obama: So that’s leading, Steve? Let me ask you this question. When I came into office, Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin. Syria was Russia’s only ally in the region. And today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria, which they’ve had for a long time, Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. And in Ukraine–

Steve Kroft: He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–

President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we’ve got a 60-country coalition that isn’t suddenly lining up around Russia’s strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.

Steve Kroft: My point is– was not that he was leading, my point is that he was challenging your leadership. And he has very much involved himself in the situation. Can you imagine anything happening in Syria of any significance at all without the Russians now being involved in it and having a part of it?

President Barack Obama: But that was true before. Keep in mind that for the last five years, the Russians have provided arms, provided financing, as have the Iranians, as has Hezbollah.

Steve Kroft: But they haven’t been bombing and they haven’t had troops on the ground–

President Barack Obama: And the fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength, it’s an indication that their strategy did not work.

Steve Kroft: You don’t think–

President Barack Obama: You don’t think that Mr. Putin would’ve preferred having Mr. Assad be able to solve this problem without him having to send a bunch of pilots and money that they don’t have?

Steve Kroft: Did you know he was going to do all this when you met with him in New York?

President Barack Obama: Well, we had seen– we had pretty good intelligence. We watch–

Steve Kroft: So you knew he was planning to do it.

President Barack Obama: We knew that he was planning to provide the military assistance that Assad was needing because they were nervous about a potential imminent collapse of the regime.

Steve Kroft: You say he’s doing this out of weakness. There is a perception in the Middle East among our adversaries, certainly and even among some of our allies that the United States is in retreat, that we pulled our troops out of Iraq and ISIS has moved in and taken over much of that territory. The situation in Afghanistan is very precarious and the Taliban is on the march again. And ISIS controls a large part of Syria.

President Barack Obama: I think it’s fair to say, Steve, that if–

Steve Kroft: It’s– they– let me just finish the thought. They say your–

President Barack Obama: You’re–

Steve Kroft: –they say you’re projecting a weakness, not a strength–

President Barack Obama: –you’re saying “they,” but you’re not citing too many folks. But here–

Steve Kroft: No, I’ll cite– I’ll cite if you want me, too.

President Barack Obama: –here– yes. Here–

Steve Kroft: I’d say the Saudis. I’d say the Israelis. I’d say a lot of our friends in the Middle East. I’d say everybody in the Republican party. Well, you want me to keep going?

President Barack Obama: Yeah. The– the– if you are– if you’re citing the Republican party, I think it’s fair to say that there is nothing I’ve done right over the last seven and a half years. And I think that’s right. It– and– I also think what is true is that these are the same folks who were making an argument for us to go into Iraq and who, in some cases, still have difficulty acknowledging that it was a mistake. And Steve, I guarantee you that there are factions inside of the Middle East, and I guess factions inside the Republican party who think that we should send endless numbers of troops into the Middle East, that the only measure of strength is us sending back several hundred thousand troops, that we are going to impose a peace, police the region, and– that the fact that we might have more deaths of U.S. troops, thousands of troops killed, thousands of troops injured, spend another trillion dollars, they would have no problem with that. There are people who would like to see us do that. And unless we do that, they’ll suggest we’re in retreat.

Steve Kroft: They’ll say you’re throwing in the towel–

President Barack Obama: No. Steve, we have an enormous presence in the Middle East. We have bases and we have aircraft carriers. And our pilots are flying through those skies. And we are currently supporting Iraq as it tries to continue to build up its forces. But the problem that I think a lot of these critics never answered is what’s in the interest of the United States of America and at what point do we say that, “Here are the things we can do well to protect America. But here are the things that we also have to do in order to make sure that America leads and America is strong and stays number one.” And if in fact the only measure is for us to send another 100,000 or 200,000 troops into Syria or back into Iraq, or perhaps into Libya, or perhaps into Yemen, and our goal somehow is that we are now going to be, not just the police, but the governors of this region. That would be a bad strategy Steve. And I think that if we make that mistake again, then shame on us.

Steve Kroft: Do you think the world’s a safer place?

President Barack Obama: America is a safer place. I think that there are places, obviously, like Syria that are not safer than when I came into office. But, in terms of us protecting ourselves against terrorism, in terms of us making sure that we are strengthening our alliances, in terms of our reputation around the world, absolutely we’re stronger.

On Friday, the Pentagon ended the program to train-and-equip Syrian rebels that the president told us did not work. In a moment, he talks about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton’s emails and Joe Biden’s possible run for president.

On Donald Trump and the 2016 election:

Steve Kroft: OK. Mr. President, there are a lot of serious problems with the world right now, but I want to ask you a few questions about politics.

President Barack Obama: Yeah, go ahead.

Steve Kroft: What do you think of Donald Trump?

President Barack Obama: Well, I think that he is a great publicity-seeker and at a time when the Republican party hasn’t really figured out what it’s for, as opposed to what it’s against. I think that he is tapped into something that exists in the Republican party that’s real. I think there is genuine anti-immigrant sentiment in the large portion of at least Republican primary voters. I don’t think it’s uniform. He knows how to get attention. He is, you know, the classic reality TV character and, at this early stage, it’s not surprising that he’s gotten a lot of attention.
Steve Kroft: You think he’s running out of steam? I mean, you think he’s going to disappear?

President Barack Obama: You know, I’ll leave it up to the pundits to make that determination. I don’t think he’ll end up being president of the United States.

Steve Kroft: Did you know about Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server–

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: –while she was Secretary of State?

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: Do you think it posed a national security problem?

President Barack Obama: I don’t think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged and– you know, as a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data. And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it’s been ginned-up is in part because of– in part– because of politics. And I think she’d be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly. But–

Steve Kroft: What was your reaction when you found out about it?

President Barack Obama: This is one of those issues that I think is legitimate, but the fact that for the last three months this is all that’s been spoken about is an indication that we’re in presidential political season.

Steve Kroft: Do you agree with what President Clinton has said and Secretary Clinton has said, that this is not– not that big a deal. Do you agree with that?

President Barack Obama: Well, I’m not going to comment on–

Steve Kroft: You think it’s not that big a deal–

President Barack Obama: What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public. And they can make their own judgment. I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.

Steve Kroft: This administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.

President Barack Obama: Well, I– there’s no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don’t get an impression that here there was purposely efforts– on– in– to hide something or to squirrel away information. But again, I’m gonna leave it to–

Steve Kroft: If she had come to you.

President Barack Obama: I’m going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all these questions.

Steve Kroft: Right now, there’s nobody on either side of the aisle that is exactly running on your record. Do you want Joe Biden to get in the race and do it?

President Barack Obama: You know, I am going to let Joe make that decision. And I mean what I say. I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential. I think he has done great work. I don’t think there’s any politician at a national level that has not thought about being the president. And if you’re sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know wrestling with these issues, I’m sure that for him he’s saying to himself, “I could do a really good job.”

Steve Kroft: I do want to talk a little bit about Congress. Are you going to miss John Boehner?

President Barack Obama: John Boehner and I disagreed on just about everything. But the one thing I’ll say about John Boehner is he did care about the institution. He recognized that nobody gets 100 percent in our democracy. I won’t say that he and I were ideal partners, but he and I could talk and we could get some things done. And so I am a little concerned that the reason he left was because there are a group of members of Congress who think having somebody who is willing to shut down the government or default on the U.S. debt is going to allow them to get their way 100 percent of the time.

Steve Kroft: Do you think you’re going to be able to get anything through Congress?

President Barack Obama: Well, given that– this Congress hasn’t been able to get much done at all over the last year and a half, two years, for that matter for the last four, it would be surprising if we were able to make huge strides on the things that are important. But I have a more modest goal, which is to make sure that Congress doesn’t do damage to the economy.

The president says that means avoiding another budget crisis and another round of threats to shut down the government, which could happen as early as December. Even with congressional Republicans in disarray, he’s hoping to reach a deal with Congress as he did two years ago, to lift some spending caps in defense and other areas while continuing to reduce the deficit.

President Barack Obama: Right now, our economy is much stronger relative to the rest of the world. China, Europe, emerging markets, they’re all having problems. And so, if we provide another shock to the system by shutting down the government, that could mean that the progress we have made starts going backwards instead of forwards. We have to make sure that we pass a transportation bill. It may not be everything that I want. We should be being much more aggressive in rebuilding America right now. Interest rates are low, construction workers need the work, and our economy would benefit from it. But if we can’t do a big multiyear plan, we have to at least do something that is robust enough– so that we are meeting the demands of a growing economy.

Steve Kroft: A few months back, at a fundraiser, you made a point of saying that the first lady was very pleased that you can’t run again.

President Barack Obama: Yeah, she is.

Steve Kroft: Do you feel the same way?

President Barack Obama: You know, it’s interesting. I– you go into your last year and I think it’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished and it makes me think, I’d love to do some more. But by the time I’m finished, I think it will be time for me to go. Because there’s a reason why we considered George Washington one of our greatest presidents. He set a precedent, saying that when you occupy this seat, it is an extraordinary privilege, but the way our democracy is designed, no one person is indispensable. And ultimately you are a citizen. And once you finish with your service, you go back to being a citizen. And I– and I think that– I think having a fresh set of legs in this seat, I think having a fresh perspective, new personnel and new ideas and a new conversation with the American people about issues that may be different a year from now than they were when I started eight years ago, I think that’s all good for our democracy. I think it’s healthy.

Steve Kroft: Do you think if you ran again, could run again, and did run again, you would be elected?

President Barack Obama: Yes.

Steve Kroft: You do.

President Barack Obama: I do.

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Ray Bradbury — Fahrenheit 451 — Videos

Posted on September 20, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Book, Books, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Education, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Fiction, Films, Friends, Heroes, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, Money, Movies, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Talk Radio, Television, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Ray Bradbury – Story of a Writer

A 25-minute documentary from 1963 about Ray Bradbury – by David L. Wolper

Day at Night: Ray Bradbury

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

A short film for the National Endowment for the arts feature Ray Bradbury as he discusses his life, literary loves and Fahrenheit 451.

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury by Lawrence Bridges

Fahrenheit 451 – Trailer

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Full Movie | Julie Christie Full Movies Online

Top 10 Notes: Fahrenheit 451

Feeling More Alive: Fahrenheit 451’s The Hearth and the Salamander

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Full audiobook)

Ray Bradbury on Writing Persistently

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

Author Ray Bradbury joins Dean Nelson of Point Loma Nazarene University for a talk about his craft as part of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. Series: “Writer’s Symposium By The Sea” [4/2001] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 5534]

An Evening with Ray Bradbury 2001

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury regales his audience with stories about his life and love of writing in “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University. Series: Writer’s Symposium By The Sea [4/2001] [Public Affairs] [Humanities] [Show ID: 5533]

Ray Bradbury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the author’s 1975 story collection, see Ray Bradbury (collection).
Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury in 1975

Bradbury in 1975
Born Raymond Douglas Bradbury
August 22, 1920
Waukegan, Illinois, U.S.
Died June 5, 2012 (aged 91)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1938–2012[1]
Genre Fantasy, social commentary,science fiction, horror fiction,mystery fiction
Notable works
Notable awards American Academy of Arts and Letters (1954); Daytime Emmy Award (1994); National Medal of Arts (2004); Pulitzer Prize(2007)
Spouse Marguerite McClure
(m. 1947–2003; her death)
Children 4 daughters


Raymond Douglas “Ray” Bradbury[2] (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an Americanfantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. Best known for hisdystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th- and 21st-century American genre writers. He wrote and consulted on many screenplays and television scripts, includingMoby Dick[3] and It Came from Outer Space. Many of his works have been adapted into comic books, television shows, and films.

Early life

Bradbury as a senior in high school, 1938

Bradbury was born on August 22, 1920[4][5] in Waukegan, Illinois,[6] to Esther (née Moberg) Bradbury, a Swedish immigrant, and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury,[7] a power and telephone lineman of English descent.[8] He was given the middle name “Douglas,” after the actor Douglas Fairbanks. Bradbury was related to the American Shakespeare scholar Douglas Spaulding[9] and was descended from Mary Bradbury, who was tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692.[10]

Bradbury was surrounded by an extended family during his early childhood and formative years in Waukegan, Illinois. An aunt read him short stories when he was a child.[11] This period provided foundations for both the author and his stories. In Bradbury’s works of fiction, 1920s Waukegan becomes “Green Town,” Illinois.

The Bradbury family lived in Tucson, Arizona, in 1926–27 and 1932–33 as the father pursued employment, each time returning to Waukegan, but eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1934, when Bradbury was 14. The family arrived with only 40 dollars, which paid for rent and food until his father finally found a job making wire at a cable company for $14 a week. This meant that they could stay, however, and Bradbury—who was in love with Hollywood—was ecstatic.

Bradbury attended Los Angeles High School and was active in the drama club. He often roller-skated through Hollywood in hopes of meeting celebrities. Among the creative and talented people Bradbury met this way were special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen and radio star George Burns. (Bradbury’s first pay as a writer was at the age of fourteen, when Burns hired him to write for the Burns and Allen show.[12][13])



Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth.[14] He knew as a young boy that he was “going into one of the arts.” In 1931, at the age of eleven, the young Bradbury began writing his own stories. The country was going through the Great Depression, and sometimes Bradbury wrote on butcher paper.

In his youth, he spent much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, reading such authors as H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. At age twelve, Bradbury began writing traditional horror stories and said he tried to imitate Poe until he was about eighteen. In addition to comics, he loved Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan of the Apes,[15] especially Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. The Warlord of Marsimpressed him so much that at the age of twelve he wrote his own sequel.[16] The young Bradbury was also a cartoonist and loved to illustrate. He wrote about Tarzan and drew his own Sunday panels. He listened to the radio show Chandu the Magician, and when the show went off the air every night he would sit and write the entire script from memory.

In Beverly Hills, he often visited the science fiction writer Bob Olsen for mentorship as well as friendship while Bradbury was a teenager. They shared ideas and would keep in contact. In 1936, at a secondhand bookstore in Hollywood, Bradbury discovered a handbill promoting meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society.[17] Thrilled to find there were others with his interests, at the age of sixteen Bradbury joined a weekly Thursday-night conclave.[18]

When he was seventeen, Bradbury read stories published in Astounding Science Fiction, and said he read everything by Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and A. E. van Vogt, but cited H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as his big science fiction influences. Bradbury identified with Verne, saying, “He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a very strange world, and he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally.” [19] Bradbury admitted that he stopped reading genre books in his twenties and embraced a broad field of literature that included Alexander Pope and poet John Donne.[20] Bradbury had just graduated from high school when he met Robert Heinlein, then 31 years old. Bradbury recalled, “He was well known, and he wrote humanistic science fiction, which influenced me to dare to be human instead of mechanical.”[20]


The family lived about four blocks from the Uptown Theater on Western Avenue in Los Angeles, the flagship theater for MGM and Fox. There, Bradbury learned how to sneak in and watched previews almost every week. He roller-skated there as well as all over town, as he put it “hell-bent on getting autographs from glamorous stars. It was glorious.” Among stars the young Bradbury was thrilled to encounter were Norma Shearer, Laurel and Hardy, and Ronald Colman. Sometimes he would spend all day in front of Paramount Pictures or Columbia Pictures and then skate to the Brown Derby to watch the stars who came and went for meals. He recounted seeing Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, who he would learn made a regular appearance every Friday night, bodyguard in tow.[20]

Bradbury relates the following meeting with Sergei Bondarchuk, director of Soviet epic film series War and Peace, at a Hollywood award ceremony in Bondarchuk’s honor:

They formed a long queue and as Bondarchuk was walking along it he recognized several people: “Oh Mr. Ford, I like your film.” He recognized the director, Greta Garbo, and someone else. I was standing at the very end of the queue and silently watched this. Bondarchuk shouted to me; “Ray Bradbury, is that you?” He rushed up to me, embraced me, dragged me inside, grabbed a bottle ofStolichnaya, sat down at his table where his closest friends were sitting. All the famous Hollywood directors in the queue were bewildered. They stared at me and asked each other “who is this Bradbury?” And, swearing, they left, leaving me alone with Bondarchuk…[21]


Bradbury’s “Undersea Guardians” was the cover story for the December 1944 issue of Amazing Stories

Bradbury’s first published story was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma”, which appeared in the January 1938 number of Forrest J. Ackerman’s fanzineImagination!.[1] In July 1939, Ackerman gave nineteen-year-old Bradbury the money to head to New York for the First World Science Fiction Convention in New York City, and funded Bradbury’s fanzine, titled Futuria Fantasia.[22] Bradbury wrote most of its four issues, each limited to under 100 copies.[citation needed]Between 1940 and 1947, he was a contributor to Rob Wagner‘s film magazine, Script.[23]

Bradbury was free to start a career in writing when, owing to his bad eyesight, he was rejected admission into the military during World War II. Having been inspired by science fiction heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, Bradbury began to publish science fiction stories in fanzines in 1938.[24] Bradbury was invited by Forrest J. Ackerman[citation needed] to attend the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, which at the time met at Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. This was where he met the writers Robert A. Heinlein, Emil Petaja, Fredric Brown, Henry Kuttner, Leigh Brackett, and Jack Williamson.[citation needed]

In 1939, Bradbury joined Laraine Day‘s Wilshire Players Guild where for two years he wrote and acted in several plays. They were, as Bradbury later described, “so incredibly bad” that he gave up playwriting for two decades.[25] Bradbury’s first paid piece, “Pendulum,” written with Henry Hasse, was published in the pulp magazineSuper Science Stories in November 1941, for which he earned $15.[26]

Bradbury sold his first story, “The Lake”, for $13.75 at the age of twenty-two.[20] He became a full-time writer by the end of 1942. His first collection of short stories, Dark Carnival, was published in 1947 by Arkham House, a small press in Sauk City, Wisconsin, owned by writer August Derleth. Reviewing Dark Carnival for the New York Herald Tribune, Will Cuppy proclaimed Bradbury “suitable for general consumption” and predicted that he would become a writer of the caliber of British fantasy author John Collier.[27]

After a rejection notice from the pulp Weird Tales, Bradbury submitted “Homecoming” to Mademoiselle which was spotted by a young editorial assistant named Truman Capote. Capote picked the Bradbury manuscript from a slush pile, which led to its publication. Homecoming won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947.[28]

It was in UCLA‘s Powell Library, in a study room with typewriters for rent, that Bradbury wrote his classic story of a book-burning future, The Fireman, which was about 25,000 words long. It was later published at about 50,000 words under the name Fahrenheit 451, for a total cost of $9.80, due to the library’s typewriter-rental fees of ten cents per half-hour.[29]

A chance encounter in a Los Angeles bookstore with the British expatriate writer Christopher Isherwood gave Bradbury the opportunity to put The Martian Chronicles into the hands of a respected critic. Isherwood’s glowing review[30] followed.


Bradbury attributed to two incidents his lifelong habit of writing every day. The first of these, occurring when he was three years old, was his mother’s taking him to see Lon Chaney‘s performance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[31] The second incident occurred in 1932, when a carnival entertainer, one Mr. Electrico, touched the young man on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, “Live forever!”[32] Bradbury remarked, “I felt that something strange and wonderful had happened to me because of my encounter with Mr. Electrico…[he] gave me a future…I began to write, full-time. I have written every single day of my life since that day 69 years ago.”[32] It was at that age that Bradbury first started to do magic, which was his first great love. If he had not discovered writing, he would have become a magician.[33]

Bradbury claimed a wide variety of influences, and described discussions he might have with his favorite poets and writers Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, John Steinbeck, Aldous Huxley, and Thomas Wolfe. From Steinbeck, he said he learned “how to write objectively and yet insert all of the insights without too much extra comment.” He studied Eudora Welty for her “remarkable ability to give you atmosphere, character, and motion in a single line.” Bradbury’s favorite writers growing up included Katherine Anne Porter, who wrote about the American South, Edith Wharton, and Jessamyn West.[34]

Bradbury was once described as a “Midwestsurrealist” and is often labeled a science fiction writer, which he described as “the art of the possible.” Bradbury resisted that categorization, however:

First of all, I don’t write science fiction. I’ve only done one science fiction book and that’s Fahrenheit 451, based on reality. It was named so to represent the temperature at which paper ignites. Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal. So Martian Chronicles is not science fiction, it’s fantasy. It couldn’t happen, you see? That’s the reason it’s going to be around a long time – because it’s a Greek myth, and myths have staying power.[35]

Bradbury recounted when he came into his own as a writer, the afternoon he wrote a short story about his first encounter with death. When he was a boy, he met a young girl at the beach and she went out into the water and never came back. Years later, as he wrote about it, tears flowed from him. He recognized he had taken the leap from emulating the many writers he admired to connecting with his voice as a writer.[36][37]

When later asked about the lyrical power of his prose, Bradbury replied, “From reading so much poetry every day of my life. My favorite writers have been those who’ve said things well.” He is quoted, “If you’re reluctant to weep, you won’t live a full and complete life.”[38]

In high school, Bradbury was active in both the Poetry Club and the Drama club, continuing plans to become an actor but becoming serious about his writing as his high school years progressed. Bradbury graduated from Los Angeles High School, where he took poetry classes with Snow Longley Housh, and short story writing courses taught by Jeannet Johnson.[39] The teachers recognized his talent and furthered his interest in writing,[40] but he did not attend college. Instead, he sold newspapers at the corner of South Norton Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. In regard to his education, Bradbury said:

Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.[41][42]

He told The Paris Review, “You can’t learn to write in college. It’s a very bad place for writers because the teachers always think they know more than you do – and they don’t.”[43]

“Green Town”

A reinvention of Waukegan, Green Town is a symbol of safety and home, which is often juxtaposed as a contrasting backdrop to tales of fantasy or menace. It serves as the setting of his semi-autobiographical classics Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Farewell Summer as well as in many of his short stories. In Green Town, Bradbury’s favorite uncle sprouts wings, traveling carnivals conceal supernatural powers, and his grandparents provide room and board to Charles Dickens.[44] Perhaps the most definitive usage of the pseudonym for his hometown, in Summer Morning, Summer Night, a collection of short stories and vignettes exclusively about Green Town, Bradbury returns to the signature locale as a look back at the rapidly disappearing small-town world of the American heartland, which was the foundation of his roots.[45]

Cultural contributions

Bradbury wrote many short essays on the arts and culture, attracting the attention of critics in this field, but he used his fiction to explore and criticize his culture and society. Bradbury observed, for example, thatFahrenheit 451 touches on the alienation of people by media:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451 I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap opera cries, sleep walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.[46]

In a 1982 essay he wrote, “People ask me to predict the Future, when all I want to do is prevent it.” This intent had been expressed earlier by other authors,[47] who sometimes attributed it to him.

Bradbury hosted The Ray Bradbury Theater which was based on his short stories. Bradbury was a consultant for the American Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair[48] and the original exhibit housed in Epcot‘sSpaceship Earth geosphere at Walt Disney World.[49][50][51] In the 1980s, Bradbury concentrated on detective fiction.[52]

Bradbury was a strong supporter of public library systems, and helped to raise money to prevent the closure of several in California due to budgetary cuts. He iterated from his past that “libraries raised me”, and shunned colleges and universities, comparing his own lack of funds during the Depression with poor contemporary students.[53] His opinion varied on modern technology. In 1985 Bradbury wrote, “I see nothing but good coming from computers. When they first appeared on the scene, people were saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m so afraid.’ I hate people like that – I call them the neo-Luddites“, and “In a sense [computers] are simply books. Books are all over the place, and computers will be too”.[54] He resisted the conversion of his work into e-books, stating in 2010 “We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now”.[55] When the publishing rights for Fahrenheit 451 came up for renewal in December 2011, Bradbury permitted its publication in electronic form provided that the publisher, Simon & Schuster, allowed the e-book to be digitally downloaded by any library patron. The title remains the only book in the Simon & Schuster catalog where this is possible.[56]

Several comic book writers have adapted Bradbury’s stories. Particularly noted among these were EC Comics‘ line of horror and science-fiction comics. Initially, the writers plagiarized his stories, but a diplomatic letter from Bradbury about it led to the company paying him and negotiating properly licensed adaptations of his work. The comics featuring Bradbury’s stories included Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Crime Suspenstories, Haunt of Fear and others.

Bradbury remained an enthusiastic playwright all his life, leaving a rich theatrical legacy as well as literary. Bradbury headed the Pandemonium Theatre Company in Los Angeles for many years and had a five-year relationship with the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.[57]

Bradbury is featured prominently in two documentaries related to his classic 1950s-’60s era: Jason V Brock‘s Charles Beaumont: The Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man,[58] which details his troubles with Rod Serling, and his friendships with writers Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, and most especially his dear friend William F. Nolan, as well as Brock’s The AckerMonster Chronicles!, which delves into the life of former Bradbury agent, close friend, mega-fan, and Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J Ackerman.

On May 24, 1956, Bradbury appeared on the popular quiz show, You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx (Season 6 Episode 35).[59]

Personal life

Bradbury in December 2009.

Bradbury was married to Marguerite McClure (January 16, 1922 – November 24, 2003) from 1947 until her death; they had four daughters:[60] Susan, Ramona, Bettina and Alexandra.[61] Though he lived in Los Angeles, Bradbury never obtained a driver’s license but relied on public transportation or his bicycle.[62] He lived at home until he was twenty-seven and married. His wife of fifty-six years, Maggie, as she was affectionately called, was the only woman Bradbury ever dated.[20]

Bradbury was a close friend of Charles Addams, and Addams illustrated the first of Bradbury’s stories about the Elliotts, a family that would resemble Addams’ own Addams Familyplaced in rural Illinois. Bradbury’s first story about them was “Homecoming,” published in the 1946 Halloween issue of Mademoiselle, with Addams illustrations. He and Addams planned a larger collaborative work that would tell the family’s complete history, but it never materialized, and according to a 2001 interview, they went their separate ways.[63] In October 2001, Bradbury published all the Family stories he had written in one book with a connecting narrative, From the Dust Returned, featuring a wraparound Addams cover of the original “Homecoming” illustration.[64]

Another close friend was animator Ray Harryhausen, who was best man at Bradbury’s wedding.[65] During a BAFTA 2010 awards tribute in honor of Ray Harryhausen‘s 90th birthday, Bradbury spoke of his first meeting Harryhausen at Forrest J Ackerman‘s house when they were both 18 years old. Their shared love for science fiction, King Kong, and the King Vidor-directed film The Fountainhead, written by Ayn Rand, was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. These early influences inspired the pair to believe in themselves and affirm their career choices. After their first meeting, they kept in touch at least once a month, in a friendship that spanned over 70 years.[66]

Late in life, Bradbury retained his dedication and passion despite what he described as the “devastation of illnesses and deaths of many good friends.” Among the losses that deeply grieved Bradbury was the death of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who was an intimate friend for many years. They remained close friends for nearly three decades after Roddenberry asked him to write for Star Trek, which Bradbury never did, objecting that he “never had the ability to adapt other people’s ideas into any sensible form.”[20]

Bradbury suffered a stroke in 1999[67] that left him partially dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.[68] Despite this he continued to write, and had even written an essay for The New Yorker, about his inspiration for writing, published only a week prior to his death.[69] Bradbury made regular appearances at science fiction conventions until 2009, when he retired from the circuit.

Ray Bradbury’s headstone in May 2012 prior to his death

Bradbury chose a burial place at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, with a headstone that reads “Author of Fahrenheit 451”.[70][71][72] On February 6, 2015, the New York Times reported that the house that Bradbury lived and wrote in for fifty years of his life, at 10265 Cheviot Drive in Los Angeles, CA, had been demolished.[73]


Bradbury died in Los Angeles, California, on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, after a lengthy illness.[74] Bradbury’s personal library was willed to the Waukegan Public Library, where he had many of his formative reading experiences.[75]

The New York Times‍ ’​ obituary stated that Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”[76] The Los Angeles Times credited Bradbury with the ability “to write lyrically and evocatively of lands an imagination away, worlds he anchored in the here and now with a sense of visual clarity and small-town familiarity”.[77] Bradbury’s grandson, Danny Karapetian, stated that Bradbury’s works had “influenced so many artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and it’s always really touching and comforting to hear their stories”.[61]The Washington Post hallmarked several modern day technologies that Bradbury had envisioned much earlier in his writing, such as the idea of banking ATMs and earbuds and Bluetooth headsets from Fahrenheit 451, and the concepts of artificial intelligence within I Sing the Body Electric.[78]

On June 6, 2012, in an official public statement from the White House Press Office, President Barack Obama said:

For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world. But Ray also understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values. There is no doubt that Ray will continue to inspire many more generations with his writing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.[79]

Several celebrity fans of Bradbury paid tribute to the author by stating the influence of his works on their own careers and creations.[80][81] Filmmaker Steven Spielberg stated that Bradbury was “[his] muse for the better part of [his] sci-fi career…. On the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal”.[82] Writer Neil Gaiman felt that “the landscape of the world we live in would have been diminished if we had not had him in our world”.[81] Author Stephen King released a statement on his website saying, “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.”[83] Bradbury’s influence well exceeded the field of literature. Progressive house music producer and performer, Joel Thomas Zimmerman, who is most commonly known by his stage name Deadmau5, composed a song named after one of Bradbury’s short stories “The Veldt” which was originally published in the Saturday Evening Post.[84] The EP of “The Veldt” was released days after Bradbury’s death and is dedicated to the memory of the author.[85]


Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories.[77] More than eight million copies of his works, published in over 36 languages, have been sold around the world.[76]

First novel

In 1949, Bradbury and his wife were expecting their first child. He took a Greyhound bus to New York and checked into a room at the YMCA for fifty cents a night. He took his short stories to a dozen publishers and no one wanted them. Just before getting ready to go home, Bradbury had dinner with an editor at Doubleday. When Bradbury recounted that everyone wanted a novel and he didn’t have one, the editor, coincidentally named Walter Bradbury, asked if the short stories might be tied together into a book length collection. The title was the editor’s idea; he suggested, “You could call it “The Martian Chronicles.” Bradbury liked the idea and recalled making notes in 1944 to do a book set on Mars. That evening, he stayed up all night at the YMCA and typed out an outline. He took it to the Doubleday editor the next morning, who read it and wrote Bradbury a check for seven hundred and fifty dollars. When Bradbury returned to Los Angeles, he connected all the short stories and that became The Martian Chronicles.[34]

Intended first novel

What was later issued as a collection of stories and vignettes, Summer Morning, Summer Night, started out to be Bradbury’s first true novel. The core of the work was Bradbury’s witnessing of the American small-town and life in the American heartland.

In the winter of 1955–56, after a consultation with his Doubleday editor, Bradbury deferred publication of a novel based on Green Town, the pseudonym for his hometown. Instead, he extracted seventeen stories and, with three other Green Town tales, bridged them into his 1957 book Dandelion Wine. Later, in 2006, Bradbury published the original novel remaining after the extraction, and retitled it Farewell Summer. These two titles show what stories and episodes Bradbury decided to retain as he created the two books out of one.

The most significant of the remaining unpublished stories, scenes, and fragments were published under the originally intended name for the novel, Summer Morning, Summer Night, in 2007.[86]

Adaptations to other media

Bradbury in 1959, when some of his short stories were adapted for television shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents

From 1951 to 1954, 27 of Bradbury’s stories were adapted by Al Feldstein for EC Comics, and 16 of these were collected in the paperbacks, The Autumn People (1965) andTomorrow Midnight (1966), both published by Ballantine Books with cover illustrations by Frank Frazetta.

Also in the early 1950s, adaptations of Bradbury’s stories were televised in several anthology shows, including Tales of Tomorrow, Lights Out, Out There, Suspense, CBS Television Workshop, Jane Wyman’s Fireside Theatre, Star Tonight, Windows and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. “The Merry-Go-Round,” a half-hour film adaptation of Bradbury’s “The Black Ferris,” praised by Variety, was shown on Starlight Summer Theater in 1954 and NBC’s Sneak Preview in 1956. During that same period, several stories were adapted for radio drama, notably on the science fiction anthologies Dimension X and its successor X Minus One.

Scene from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, based on Bradbury’s The Fog Horn.

Producer William Alland first brought Bradbury to movie theaters in 1953 with It Came from Outer Space, a Harry Essex screenplay developed from Bradbury’s screen treatment “Atomic Monster”. Three weeks later came the release of Eugène Lourié’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), which featured one scene based on Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn“, about a sea monster mistaking the sound of a fog horn for the mating cry of a female. Bradbury’s close friend Ray Harryhausen produced the stop-motion animation of the creature. Bradbury would later return the favor by writing a short story, “Tyrannosaurus Rex”, about a stop-motion animator who strongly resembled Harryhausen. Over the next 50 years, more than 35 features, shorts, and TV movies were based on Bradbury’s stories or screenplays.

Bradbury was hired in 1953 by director John Huston to work on the screenplay for his film version of Melville‘s Moby Dick (1956), which stars Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, Richard Basehart as Ishmael, and Orson Welles as Father Mapple. A significant result of the film was Bradbury’s book Green Shadows, White Whale, a semi-fictionalized account of the making of the film, including Bradbury’s dealings with Huston and his time in Ireland, where exterior scenes that were set in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were filmed.

Bradbury’s short story I Sing the Body Electric (from the book of the same name) was adapted for the 100th episode of The Twilight Zone. The episode was first aired on May 18, 1962.

In 1965, three of Bradbury’s stories were adapted for the stage. These included “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”, “The Day It Rained Forever” and “Device Out Of Time”. The latter was adapted from his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine. The plays debuted at the Coronet Theater in Hollywood and featured Booth Coleman, Joby Baker, Fredric Villani, Arnold Lessing, Eddie Sallia, Keith Taylor, Richard Bull, Gene Otis Shane, Henry T. Delgado, F. Murray Abraham, Anne Loos and Len Lesser. The director was Charles Rome Smith and the production company was Pandemonium Productions.

Oskar Werner and Julie Christie starred in Fahrenheit 451 (1966), an adaptation of Bradbury’s novel directed by François Truffaut.

In 1966, Bradbury helped Lynn Garrison create AVIAN, a specialist aviation magazine. For the first issue Bradbury wrote a poem – Planes that land on grass.

In 1969, The Illustrated Man was brought to the big screen, starring Rod Steiger, Claire Bloom and Robert Drivas. Containing the prologue and three short stories from the book, the film received mediocre reviews. The same year, Bradbury approached composer Jerry Goldsmith, who had worked with Bradbury in dramatic radio of the 1950s and later scored the film version of The Illustrated Man, to compose a cantataChristus Apollo based on Bradbury’s text.[87] The work premiered in late 1969, with the California Chamber Symphony performing with narrator Charlton Heston at UCLA.

File:Ray Bradbury at Caltech 12 November 1971.ogv

Ray Bradbury takes part in a symposium at Caltech with Arthur C. Clarke, journalist Walter Sullivan, and scientists Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. In this excerpt, Bradbury reads his poem ‘If Only We Had Taller Been’ (poem begins at 2:20, full text[88]). Video released by NASA in honor of the naming of Bradbury Landing in 2012.[89]

In 1972 The Screaming Woman was adapted as an ABC Movie-of-the-Week starring Olivia de Havilland.

The Martian Chronicles became a three-part TV miniseries starring Rock Hudson which was first broadcast by NBC in 1980. Bradbury found the miniseries “just boring”.[90]

The 1982 television movie, The Electric Grandmother, was based on Bradbury’s short story “I Sing the Body Electric.”

The 1983 horror film Something Wicked This Way Comes, starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, is based on the Bradbury novel of the same name.

In 1984, Michael McDonough of Brigham Young University produced “Bradbury 13,” a series of 13 audio adaptations of famous stories from Bradbury, in conjunction with National Public Radio. The full-cast dramatizations featured adaptations of “The Ravine,” “Night Call, Collect,” “The Veldt“, “There Was an Old Woman,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed“, “The Screaming Woman,” “A Sound of Thunder,” “The Man,” “The Wind,” “The Fox and the Forest,” “Here There Be Tygers” and “The Happiness Machine”. Voiceover actor Paul Frees provided narration, while Bradbury himself was responsible for the opening voiceover; Greg Hansen and Roger Hoffman scored the episodes. The series won a Peabody Award as well as two Gold Cindy awards and was released on CD on May 1, 2010. The series began airing on BBC Radio 4 Extra on June 12, 2011.

From 1985 to 1992 Bradbury hosted a syndicated anthology television series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, for which he adapted 65 of his stories. Each episode would begin with a shot of Bradbury in his office, gazing over mementoes of his life, which he states (in narrative) are used to spark ideas for stories. During the first two seasons, Bradbury also provided additional voiceover narration specific to the featured story and appeared on screen.

Deeply respected in the USSR, Bradbury’s fictions has been adapted into five episodes of the Soviet science fiction TV series This Fantastic World which adapted the stories I Sing The Body Electric, Fahrenheit 451, A Piece of Wood, To the Chicago Abyss, and Forever and the Earth.[91] In 1984 a cartoon adaptation of There Will Come Soft Rains («Будет ласковый дождь») came out byUzbek director Nazim Tyuhladziev.[92] He made a film adaptation of The Veldt (“Вельд”) in 1987.[93] In 1989 came out a cartoon adaptation of Here There Be Tygers («Здесь могут водиться тигры») by director Vladimir Samsonov.[94]

Bradbury wrote and narrated the 1993 animated television version of The Halloween Tree, based on his 1972 novel.

The 1998 film The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, released by Touchstone Pictures, was written by Bradbury. It was based on his story “The Magic White Suit” originally published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1957. The story had also previously been adapted as a play, a musical, and a 1958 television version.

In 2002, Bradbury’s own Pandemonium Theatre Company production of Fahrenheit 451 at Burbank’s Falcon Theatre combined live acting with projected digital animation by the Pixel Pups. In 1984, Telarium released a game for Commodore 64 based on Fahrenheit 451.[95] Bradbury and director Charles Rome Smith co-founded Pandemonium in 1964, staging the New York production of The World of Ray Bradbury(1964), adaptations of “The Pedestrian“, “The Veldt”, and “To the Chicago Abyss.”

In 2005, the film A Sound of Thunder was released, loosely based upon the short story of the same name. The film The Butterfly Effect revolves around the same theory as A Sound of Thunder and contains many references to its inspiration. Short film adaptations of A Piece of Wood and The Small Assassin were released in 2005 and 2007 respectively.

In 2005, it was reported that Bradbury was upset with filmmaker Michael Moore for using the title Fahrenheit 9/11, which is an allusion to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, for his documentary about the George W. Bush administration. Bradbury expressed displeasure with Moore’s use of the title but stated that his resentment was not politically motivated, even though Bradbury was conservative-leaning politically.[96] Bradbury asserted that he did not want any of the money made by the movie, nor did he believe that he deserved it. He pressured Moore to change the name, but to no avail. Moore called Bradbury two weeks before the film’s release to apologize, saying that the film’s marketing had been set in motion a long time ago and it was too late to change the title.[97]

In 2008, the film Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis was produced by Roger Lay Jr. for Urban Archipelago Films, based upon the short story of the same name. The film won the best feature award at the International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix. The film has international distribution by Arsenal Pictures and domestic distribution by Lightning Entertainment.

In 2010, The Martian Chronicles was adapted for radio by Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air.

In 2012, EDM artist deadmau5, along with guest vocalist Chris James, crafted a song called “The Veldt” inspired by Bradbury’s short story of the same title. The lyrics featured various references to the short story.

Bradbury’s works and approach to writing are documented in Terry Sanders‘ film Ray Bradbury: Story of a Writer (1963).

Bradbury’s poem “Groon” was voiced as a tribute in 2012.[98]

Awards and honors

Bradbury receiving the National Medal of Arts in 2004 with PresidentGeorge W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush.

The Ray Bradbury Award for excellency in screenwriting was occasionally presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – presented to six people on four occasions from 1992 to 2009.[99] Beginning 2010, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation is presented annually according to Nebula Awards rules and procedures, although it is not a Nebula Award.[100] The revamped Bradbury Award replaced the Nebula Award for Best Script.


Bradbury appeared in the documentary The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (Produced and directed by Arnold Leibovit).

  • Anderson, James Arthur (2013). The Illustrated Ray Bradbury. Wildside Press. ISBN 978-1-4794-0007-2.
  • Albright, Donn (1990). Bradbury Bits & Pieces: The Ray Bradbury Bibliography, 1974–88. Starmont House. ISBN 1-55742-151-X.
  • Eller, Jonathan R.; Touponce, William F. (2004). Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction. Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-779-1.
  • Eller, Jonathan R. (2011). Becoming Ray Bradbury. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-03629-8.
  • Nolan, William F. (1975). The Ray Bradbury Companion: A Life and Career History, Photolog, and Comprehensive Checklist of Writings. Gale Research. ISBN 0-8103-0930-0.
  • Paradowski, Robert J.; Rhynes, Martha E. (2001). Ray Bradbury. Salem Press.
  • Reid, Robin Anne (2000). Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30901-9.
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1974). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. pp. 61–63. ISBN 0-911682-20-1.
  • Weist, Jerry (2002). Bradbury, an Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor. William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-06-001182-3.
  • Weller, Sam (2005). The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-054581-X.

External links

Fahrenheit 451

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Fahrenheit 451 (disambiguation).
Fahrenheit 451
Cover shows a drawing of a man, who appears to be made of newspaper and is engulfed in flames, standing on top of some books. His right arm is down and holding what appears to be a paper fireman's hat while his left arm is wiping sweat from the brow of his bowed head. Beside the title and author's name in large text, there is a small caption in the upper left-hand corner that reads, "Wonderful stories by the author of The Golden Apples of the Sun".

First edition cover
Author Ray Bradbury
Illustrator Joseph Mugnaini[1]
Country United States
Language English
Genre Dystopian novel[2]
Published 1953 (Ballantine Books)
Pages 159
ISBN ISBN 978-0-7432-4722-1 (current cover edition)
OCLC 53101079
813.54 22
LC Class PS3503.R167 F3 2003

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works.[3] The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.[4] The title refers to the temperature that Bradbury asserted to be the autoignition point of paper[5][6] (In reality, scientists place the autoignition point of paper anywhere from high 440 degrees Fahrenheit to some 30 degrees hotter, depending on the study and type of paper).[7]

The novel has been the subject of interpretations primarily focusing on the historical role of book burning in suppressing dissenting ideas. In a 1956 radio interview,[8]Bradbury stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of his concerns at the time (during the McCarthy era) about the threat of book burning in the United States. In later years, he stated his motivation for writing the book in more general terms.

The novel has won multiple awards. In 1954, it won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal.[9][10][11] It has since won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award in 1984[12] and a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only four Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004.[13] Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.[14]

The novel has been adapted several times. François Truffaut wrote and directed a film adaptation of the novel in 1966, and a BBC Radio dramatization was produced in 1982. Bradbury published a stage play version in 1979[15] and helped develop a 1984 interactive fiction computer game titled Fahrenheit 451. A companion piece titled A Pleasure To Burn, consisting of a selection of Bradbury’s short stories, was released in 2010, less than two years before the author’s death.

Plot summary

Fahrenheit 451 is set in an unspecified city (likely in the American Mid-West) at some unspecified time in the future[notes 1] after the year 1960.[notes 2][16][17]

The novel is divided into three parts: “The Hearth and the Salamander”, “The Sieve and the Sand”, and “Burning Bright”.

“The Hearth and the Salamander”

Guy Montag is a “fireman” hired to burn the possessions of those who read outlawed books. One fall night while returning from work, he meets his new neighbor: a teenage girl named Clarisse McClellan, whose free-thinking ideals and liberating spirit cause him to question his life and his own perceived happiness. Montag returns home to find that his wife Mildred has overdosed on sleeping pills, and calls for medical attention. Mildred survives with no memory of what happened. Over the next days, Clarisse faithfully meets Montag as he walks home. She tells him about how her interests have made her an outcast at school. Montag looks forward to these meetings, and just as he begins to expect them, Clarisse goes absent. He senses something is wrong.[18]

In the following days, while at work with the other firemen ransacking the book-filled house of an old woman before the inevitable burning, Montag steals a book before any of his coworkers notice. The woman refuses to leave her house and her books, choosing instead to light a match and burn herself alive. Montag returns home jarred by the woman’s suicide. While getting ready for bed, he hides the stolen book under his pillow. Still shaken by the night’s events, he attempts to make conversation with Mildred, conversation that only causes him to realize how little he knows her and how little they have in common. Montag asks his wife if she has seen Clarisse recently. Mildred mutters that she believes Clarisse died after getting struck by a speeding car and that her family has moved away. Dismayed by her failure to mention this, Montag uneasily tries to fall asleep. Outside he suspects the presence of “The Hound”, an eight-legged[19] robotic dog-like creature that resides in the firehouse and aids the firemen.

Montag awakens ill the next morning and stays home from work. He relates the story of the burned woman to an apathetic Mildred and mentions perhaps quitting his work. The possibility of becoming destitute over the loss of income provokes a strong reaction from her and she explains that the woman herself is to blame because she had books.

Captain Beatty, Montag’s fire chief, personally visits Montag to see how he is doing. Sensing Montag’s concerns, Beatty recounts how books lost their value and where the firemen fit in: Over the course of several decades, people embraced new media, sports, and a quickening pace of life. Books were ruthlessly abridged or degraded to accommodate a short attention span while minority groups protested over the controversial, outdated content perceived to be found in books. The government took advantage of this and the firemen were soon hired to burn books in the name of public happiness. Beatty adds casually that all firemen eventually steal a book out of curiosity; if the book is burned within 24 hours, the fireman and his family will not get in trouble.

After Beatty has left, Montag reveals to Mildred that over the last year he has accumulated a stash of books that he has kept hidden in their air-conditioning duct. In a panic, Mildred grabs a book and rushes to throw it in their kitchen incinerator; Montag subdues her and tells her that the two of them are going to read the books to see if they have value. If they do not, he promises the books will be burned and all will return to normal.

“The Sieve and the Sand”

While Montag and Mildred are perusing the stolen books, a sniffing occurs at their front door. Montag recognizes it as The Hound while Mildred passes it off as a random dog. They resume their discussion once the sound ceases. Montag laments Mildred’s suicide attempt, the woman who burned herself, and the constant din of bombers flying over their house taking part in a looming war neither he, nor anybody else, knows much about. He states that maybe the books of the past have messages that can save society from its own destruction. The conversation is interrupted by a call from Mildred’s friend Ann Bowles, and they set up a date to watch the “parlor walls” (large televisions lining the walls of her living room) that night at Mildred’s house.

Montag meanwhile concedes that they will need help to understand the books. Montag remembers an old man named Faber he once met in a park a year ago, an English professor before books were banned. He telephones Faber with questions about books and Faber soon hangs up on him. Undeterred, Montag makes a subway trip to Faber’s home along with a rare copy of the Bible, the book he stole at the woman’s house. Montag forces the scared and reluctant Faber into helping him by methodically ripping pages from the Bible. Faber concedes and gives Montag a homemade ear-piece communicator so he can offer constant guidance.

After Montag returns home, Mildred’s friends, Mrs. Bowles and Clara Phelps, arrive to watch the parlor walls. Not interested in the insipid entertainment they are watching, Montag turns off the walls and tries to engage the women in meaningful conversation, only to find them indifferent to all but the most trivial aspects of the upcoming war, friend’s deaths, their families, and politics. Montag leaves momentarily and returns with a book of poetry. This confuses the women and alarms Faber who is listening remotely. He proceeds to recite the poem Dover Beach, causing Mrs. Phelps to cry. At the behest of Faber in the ear-piece, Montag burns the book. Mildred’s friends leave in disgust while Mildred locks herself in the bathroom and takes more sleeping pills.

In the aftermath of the parlor party, Montag hides his books in his backyard before returning to the firehouse late at night with just the stolen Bible. He finds Beatty playing cards with the other firemen. Montag hands him the book, which is unceremoniously tossed into the trash. Beatty tells Montag that he had a dream in which they fought endlessly by quoting books to each other. In describing the dream Beatty reveals that, despite his disillusionment, he was once an enthusiastic reader. A fire alarm sounds and Beatty picks up the address from the dispatcher system. They drive in the firetruck recklessly to the destination. Montag is stunned when the truck arrives at his house.

“Burning Bright”

Beatty orders Montag to destroy his own house, telling him that his wife and her friends were the ones who reported him. Montag tries to talk to Mildred as she quickly leaves the house. Mildred ignores him, gets inside a taxi, and vanishes down the street. Montag obeys the chief, destroying the home piece by piece with a flamethrower. As soon as he has incinerated the house, Beatty discovers Montag’s ear-piece and plans to hunt down Faber. Montag threatens Beatty with the flamethrower and (after Beatty taunts him) burns his boss alive, and knocks his coworkers unconscious. As Montag escapes the scene, the firehouse’s mechanical dog attacks him, managing to inject his leg with a tranquilizer. He destroys it with the flamethrower and limps away.

Montag runs through the city streets towards Faber’s house. Faber urges him to make his way to the countryside and contact the exiled book-lovers who live there. He mentions he will be leaving on an early bus heading to St. Louis and that he and Montag can rendezvous there later. On Faber’s television, they watch news reports of another mechanical hound being released, with news helicopters following it to create a public spectacle. Montag leaves Faber’s house. After an extended manhunt, he escapes by wading into a river and floating downstream.

Montag leaves the river in the countryside, where he meets the exiled drifters, led by a man named Granger. They have each memorized books for an upcoming time when society is ready to rediscover them. While learning the philosophy of the exiles, Montag and the group watch helplessly as bombers fly overhead and attack the city with nuclear weapons, completely annihilating it. While Faber would have left on the early bus, Mildred along with everyone else in the city was surely killed. Montag and the group are injured and dirtied, but manage to survive the shock wave.

In the morning after, Granger teaches Montag and the others about the legendary phoenix and its endless cycle of long life, death in flames, and rebirth. He adds that the phoenix must have some relation to mankind, which constantly repeats its mistakes. Granger emphasizes that man has something the phoenix does not: mankind can remember the mistakes it made from before it destroyed itself, and try to not make them again. Granger then muses that a large factory of mirrors should be built, so that mankind can take a long look at itself. When the meal is over, the band goes back toward the city, to help rebuild society.


  • Guy Montag is the protagonist and fireman who presents the dystopia through the eyes of a worker loyal to it, a man in conflict about it, and one resolved to be free of it. Through most of the book, Montag lacks knowledge and believes what he hears.
  • Clarisse McClellan walks with Montag on his trips home and is one month short of being a 17-year-old girl.[notes 3][20] She is an unusual sort of person in the bookless, hedonistic society: outgoing, naturally cheerful, unorthodox, and intuitive. She is unpopular among peers and disliked by teachers for asking “why” instead of “how” and focusing on nature rather than on technology. A few days after their first meeting, she disappears without any explanation; Mildred tells Montag (and Captain Beatty confirms) that Clarisse was hit by a speeding car and that her family left following her death. In the afterword of a later edition, Bradbury notes that the film adaptation changed the ending so that Clarisse (who, in the film, is now a 20-year-old school teacher who was fired for being unorthodox) was living with the exiles. Bradbury, far from being displeased by this, was so happy with the new ending that he wrote it into his later stage edition.
  • Mildred “Millie” Montag is Guy Montag’s wife. She is addicted to sleeping pills, absorbed in the shallow dramas played on her “parlor walls” (flat-panel televisions), and indifferent to the oppressive society around her. She is described in the book as “thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon.” Despite her husband’s attempts to break her from the spell society has on her, Mildred continues to be shallow and indifferent. After Montag scares her friends away by reading Dover Beach and unable to live with someone who has been hoarding books, Mildred betrays Montag by reporting him to the firemen and abandoning him.
  • Captain Beatty is Montag’s boss. Once an avid reader, he has come to hate books due to their unpleasant content and contradicting facts and opinions. In a scene written years later by Bradbury for theFahrenheit 451 play, Beatty invites Montag to his house where he shows him walls of books left to molder on their shelves.
  • Stoneman and Black are Montag’s coworkers at the firehouse. They do not have a large impact on the story and function to show the reader the contrast between the firemen who obediently do as they’re told and someone like Montag, who formerly took pride in his job—subsequently realizing how damaging it is to society.
  • Faber is a former English professor. He has spent years regretting that he did not defend books when he saw the moves to ban them. Montag turns to him for guidance, remembering him from a chance meeting in a park some time earlier. Faber at first refuses to help Montag, and later realizes that he is only trying to learn about books, not destroy them. Bradbury notes in his afterword that Faber is part of the name of a German manufacturer of pencils, Faber-Castell.
  • Mrs. Ann Bowles and Mrs. Clara Phelps are Mildred’s friends and representative of the anti-intellectual, hedonistic society presented in the novel. During a social visit to Montag’s house, they brag about ignoring the bad things in their lives and have a cavalier attitude towards the upcoming war, their husbands, their children, and politics. Mrs. Phelps has a husband named Pete who was called in to fight in the upcoming war (and believes that he’ll be back in a week because of how quick the war will be) and thinks having children serves no purpose other than to ruin lives. Mrs. Bowles is a thrice married, single mother. Her first husband divorced her, her second died in a jet accident, and her third committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. She has two children who do not like or even respect her due to her permissive, often negligent and abusive parenting: Mrs. Bowles brags that her kids beat her up and she’s glad that she can hit back. When Montag reads Dover Beach to them, Mrs. Phelps starts crying over how hollow her life is while Mrs. Bowles chastises Montag for reading “silly awful hurting words”.
  • Granger is the leader of a group of wandering intellectual exiles who memorize books in order to preserve their contents.

Historical context

Bradbury’s lifelong passion with books began at an early age. As a frequent visitor to his local libraries in the 1920s and 1930s, he recalls being disappointed because they did not stock popular science fiction novels, like those of H. G. Wells, because, at the time, they were not deemed literary enough. Between this and learning about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria,[21] a great impression was made on the young man about the vulnerability of books to censure and destruction. Later as a teenager, Bradbury was horrified by the Nazi book burnings[22] and later Joseph Stalin‘s campaign of political repression, the “Great Purge“, in which writers and poets, among many others, were arrested and often executed.[23]

After the 1945 conclusion of World War II shortly after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States focused its concern on the Soviet atomic bomb project and the expansion of communism. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)—formed in 1938 to investigate American citizens and organizations suspected of having communist ties—held hearings in 1947 to investigate alleged communist influence in Hollywood movie-making. These hearings resulted in the blacklisting of the so-called “Hollywood Ten“,[24] a group of influential screenwriters and directors. This governmental interference in the affairs of artists and creative types greatly angered Bradbury.[25] Bitter and concerned about the workings of his government, a late 1949 nighttime encounter with an overzealous police officer would inspire Bradbury to write “The Pedestrian“, a short story which would go on to become “The Fireman” and then Fahrenheit 451. The rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy‘s hearings hostile to accused communists starting in 1950, would only deepen Bradbury’s contempt over government overreach.[26][27]

The same year HUAC began investigating Hollywood is often considered the beginning of the Cold War, as in March 1947, the Truman Doctrine was announced. By about 1950, the Cold War was in full swing and the American public’s fear of atomic warfare and communist influence was at a feverish level. The stage was set for Bradbury to write the dramatic nuclear holocaust ending of Fahrenheit 451, exemplifying the type of scenario feared by many Americans of the time.[28]

Bradbury’s early life witnessed the Golden Age of Radio while the transition to the Golden Age of Television began right around the time he started to work on the stories that would eventually lead to Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury saw these forms of media as a threat to the reading of books, indeed as a threat to society, as he believed they could act as a distraction from important affairs. This contempt for mass media and technology would express itself through Mildred and her friends and is an important theme in the book.[29]

Writing and development

Fahrenheit 451 developed out of a series of ideas Bradbury had visited in previously written stories. For many years, he tended to single out “The Pedestrian” in interviews and lectures as sort of a proto-Fahrenheit 451. In the Preface of his 2006 anthology Match to Flame: The Fictional Paths to Fahrenheit 451 he states that this is an oversimplification.[30] The full genealogy of Fahrenheit 451 given in Match to Flame is involved. The following covers the most salient aspects.[citation needed]

Between 1947 and 1948,[31] Bradbury wrote the short story “Bright Phoenix” (not published until the May 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction[32][33]) about a librarian who confronts a book-burning “Chief Censor” named Jonathan Barnes. Barnes is a clear foreshadow of the ominous Captain Beatty of Fahrenheit 451.[citation needed]

In late 1949,[34] Bradbury was stopped and questioned by a police officer while walking late one night.[35][36] When asked “What are you doing?”, Bradbury wisecracked, “Putting one foot in front of another.”[35][36]This incident inspired Bradbury to write the 1951 short story “The Pedestrian”.[notes 4][35][36] In “The Pedestrian”, Leonard Mead is harassed and detained by the city’s remotely operated police cruiser (there’s only one) for taking nighttime walks, something that has become extremely rare in this future-based setting: everybody else stays inside and watches television (“viewing screens”). Alone and without an alibi, Mead is taken to the “Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies” for his peculiar habit. Fahrenheit 451 would later echo this theme of an authoritarian society distracted by broadcast media.[citation needed]

Bradbury expanded the book-burning premise of “Bright Phoenix”[37] and the totalitarian future of “The Pedestrian”[38] into “The Fireman”, a novella published in the February 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.[39][40] “The Fireman” was written in the basement of UCLA‘s Powell Library on a typewriter that he rented for a fee of ten cents per half hour.[41] The first draft was 25,000 words long and was completed in nine days.[42]

Urged by a publisher at Ballantine Books to double the length of his story to make a novel, Bradbury returned to the same typing room and expanded his work into Fahrenheit 451, taking just nine days.[41] The completed book was published by Ballantine in 1953.[43]

Supplementary material

Bradbury has supplemented the novel with various front and back matter, including a 1979 coda,[44] a 1982 afterword,[45] a 1993 foreword, and several introductions. In these he provides some commentary on the themes of the novel,[44] thoughts on the movie adaptation, and numerous personal anecdotes related to the writing and development.[citation needed]

Publication history

The first U.S. printing was a paperback version from October 1953 by The Ballantine Publishing Group. Shortly after the paperback, a hardback version was released that included a special edition of 200 signed and numbered copies bound in asbestos.[46][47][48] These were technically collections because the novel was published with two short stories: “The Playground” and “And the Rock Cried Out”, which have been absent in later printings.[1][49] A few months later, the novel was serialized in the March, April, and May 1954 issues of nascent Playboy magazine.[9][50]


Starting in January 1967, Fahrenheit 451 was subject to expurgation by its publisher, Ballantine Books with the release of the “Bal-Hi Edition” aimed at high school students.[51][52] Among the changes made by the publisher were the censorship of the words “hell”, “damn”, and “abortion”; the modification of seventy-five passages; and the changing of two episodes.[52][53] In the one case, a drunk man became a “sick man” while cleaning fluff out of a human navel became “cleaning ears” in the other.[52][54] For a while both the censored and uncensored versions were available concurrently but by 1973 Ballantine was publishing only the censored version.[54][55] This continued until 1979 when it came to Bradbury’s attention:[54][55]

In 1979, one of Bradbury’s friends showed him an expurgated copy. Bradbury demanded that Ballantine Books withdraw that version and replace it with the original, and in 1980 the original version once again became available. In this reinstated work, in the Author’s Afterword, Bradbury relates to the reader that it is not uncommon for a publisher to expurgate an author’s work, but he asserts that he himself will not tolerate the practice of manuscript “mutilation”.

The “Bal-Hi” editions are now referred to by the publisher as the “Revised Bal-Hi” editions.[56]

Non-print publications

An audiobook version read by Bradbury himself was released in 1976 and received a Spoken Word Grammy nomination.[14] Another audiobook was released in 2005 narrated by Christopher Hurt.[57] The e-bookversion was released in December 2011.[58][59]


In 1954, Galaxy Science Fiction reviewer Groff Conklin placed the novel “among the great works of the imagination written in English in the last decade or more.”[60] The Chicago Sunday Tribunes August Derlethdescribed the book as “a savage and shockingly savage prophetic view of one possible future way of life,” calling it “compelling” and praising Bradbury for his “brilliant imagination”.[61] Over half a century later, Sam Weller wrote, “upon its publication, Fahrenheit 451 was hailed as a visionary work of social commentary.”[62] Today, Fahrenheit 451 is still viewed as an important cautionary tale against conformity and book burning.[63]

When the book was first published there were those who did not find merit in the tale. Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas were less enthusiastic, faulting the book for being “simply padded, occasionally with startlingly ingenious gimmickry, … often with coruscating cascades of verbal brilliance [but] too often merely with words.”[64] Reviewing the book for Astounding Science Fiction, P. Schuyler Miller characterized the title piece as “one of Bradbury’s bitter, almost hysterical diatribes,” and praised its “emotional drive and compelling, nagging detail.”[65] Similarly, The New York Times was unimpressed with the novel and further accused Bradbury of developing a “virulent hatred for many aspects of present-day culture, namely, such monstrosities as radio, TV, most movies, amateur and professional sports, automobiles, and other similar aberrations which he feels debase the bright simplicity of the thinking man’s existence.”[66]

Censorship/banning incidents

In the years since its publication, Fahrenheit 451 has occasionally been banned, censored, or redacted in some schools by parents and teaching staff either unaware of or indifferent to the inherent irony of such censorship. The following are some notable incidents:

  • In 1987, Fahrenheit 451 was given “third tier” status by the Bay County School Board in Panama City, Florida, under then-superintendent Leonard Hall’s new three-tier classification system.[67] Third tier was meant for books to be removed from the classroom for “a lot of vulgarity”.[67] After a resident class-action lawsuit, a media stir, and student protests, the school board abandoned their tier-based censorship system and approved all the currently used books.[67]
  • In 1992, Venado Middle School in Irvine, California gave copies of Fahrenheit 451 to students with all “obscene” words blacked out.[68] Parents contacted the local media and succeeded in reinstalling the uncensored copies.[68]
  • In 2006, parents of a tenth grade high school student in Montgomery County, Texas, demanded the book be banned from their daughter’s English class reading list.[69] Their daughter was assigned the book during Banned Books Week, but stopped reading several pages in due to the offensive language and description of the burning of the Bible.[69] In addition, her parents protested the violence, portrayal of Christians, and depictions of firemen in the novel.[69]


Discussions about Fahrenheit 451 often center on its story foremost as a warning against state-based censorship. Indeed, when Bradbury wrote the novel during the McCarthy era, he was concerned about censorship in the United States. During a radio interview in 1956,[70][71] Bradbury said:

I wrote this book at a time when I was worried about the way things were going in this country four years ago. Too many people were afraid of their shadows; there was a threat of book burning. Many of the books were being taken off the shelves at that time. And of course, things have changed a lot in four years. Things are going back in a very healthy direction. But at the time I wanted to do some sort of story where I could comment on what would happen to a country if we let ourselves go too far in this direction, where then all thinking stops, and the dragon swallows his tail, and we sort of vanish into a limbo and we destroy ourselves by this sort of action.

As time went by, Bradbury tended to dismiss censorship as a chief motivating factor for writing the story. Instead he usually claimed that the real messages of Fahrenheit 451 were about the dangers of an illiterate society infatuated with mass media and the threat of minority and special interest groups to books. In the late 1950s, Bradbury recounted:

In writing the short novel Fahrenheit 451, I thought I was describing a world that might evolve in four or five decades. But only a few weeks ago, in Beverly Hills one night, a husband and wife passed me, walking their dog. I stood staring after them, absolutely stunned. The woman held in one hand a small cigarette-package-sized radio, its antenna quivering. From this sprang tiny copper wires which ended in a dainty cone plugged into her right ear. There she was, oblivious to man and dog, listening to far winds and whispers and soap-opera cries, sleep-walking, helped up and down curbs by a husband who might just as well not have been there. This was not fiction.[72]

This story echoes Mildred’s “Seashell ear-thimbles” (i.e., a brand of in-ear headphones) that act as an emotional barrier between her and Montag. In a 2007 interview, Bradbury maintained that people misinterpret his book and that Fahrenheit 451 is really a statement on how mass media like television marginalizes the reading of literature.[73] Regarding minorities, he wrote in his 1979 Coda:

There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. […] Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the libraries closed forever. […] Only six weeks ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some seventy-five separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel, which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.[74]

Book-burning censorship, Bradbury would argue, was a side-effect of the these two primary factors; this is consistent with Captain Beatty’s speech to Montag about the history of the firemen. According to Bradbury, it is the people, not the state, who are the culprit in Fahrenheit 451.[73] Nevertheless, the role on censorship, state-based or otherwise, is still perhaps the most frequent theme explored in the work.[75][better source needed]

A variety of other themes in the novel besides censorship have been suggested. Two major themes are resistance to conformity and control of individuals via technology and mass media. Bradbury explores how the government is able to use mass media to influence society and suppress individualism through book burning. The characters Beatty and Faber point out the American population is to blame. Due to their constant desire for a simplistic, positive image, books must be suppressed. Beatty blames the minority groups, who would take offense to published works that displayed them in an unfavorable light. Faber went further to state that the American population simply stopped reading on their own. He notes that the book burnings themselves became a form of entertainment to the general public.[76]

Predictions for the future

Bradbury described himself as “a preventor of futures, not a predictor of them.”[77] He did not believe that book burning was an inevitable part of our future; he wanted to warn against its development.[77] In a later interview, when asked if he believes that teaching Fahrenheit 451 in schools will prevent his totalitarian[2] vision of the future, Bradbury replied in the negative. Rather, he states that education must be at the kindergarten and first-grade level. If students are unable to read then, they will be unable to read Fahrenheit 451.[78]

In terms of technology, Sam Weller notes that Bradbury “predicted everything from flat-panel televisions to iPod earbuds and twenty-four-hour banking machines.”[79]


Playhouse 90 broadcast “A Sound of Different Drummers” on CBS in 1957, written by Robert Alan Aurthur. The play combined plot ideas from Fahrenheit 451 and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Bradbury sued and eventually won on appeal.[80][81]

A film adaptation written and directed by François Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie was released in 1966.[82][83]

BBC Radio produced a one-off dramatization of the novel in 1982[84] starring Michael Pennington.[85] It was broadcast again on February 12, 2012, and April 7 and 8, 2013, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.[86]

In 1984, the novel was adapted into a computer text adventure game of the same name by the software company Trillium.[87]

In 2006, the Drama Desk Award winning Godlight Theatre Company produced and performed the New York City premiere of Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 at 59E59 Theaters.[88] After the completion of the New York run, the production then transferred to the Edinburgh Festival where it was a 2006 Edinburgh Festival Pick of the Fringe.[89]

The Off-Broadway theatre The American Place Theatre presented a one man show adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 as a part of their 2008–2009 Literature to Life season.[90]

In June 2009, a graphic novel edition of the book was published. Entitled Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation,[91] the paperback graphic adaptation was illustrated by Tim Hamilton.[92][93] The introduction in the novel is written by Bradbury.[citation needed]

Fahrenheit 451 inspired the Birmingham Repertory Theatre production Time Has Fallen Asleep in the Afternoon Sunshine, which was performed at the Birmingham Central Library in April 2012.[94]


  1. Jump up^ During Captain Beatty’s recounting of the history of the firemen to Montag, he says, “Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.” The text is ambiguous regarding which century he is claiming began this pattern. One interpretation is that he means the 20th century, which would place the novel in at least the 24th century. “The Fireman” novella, which was expanded to become Fahrenheit 451, is set in October 2052.
  2. Jump up^ In early editions of the book, Montag says, “We’ve started and won two atomic wars since 1960” in the first pages of The Sieve and the Sand. This sets a lower bound on the time setting. In later decades, some editions have changed this year to 1990 or 2022.
  3. Jump up^ Clarisse tells Montag she is “seventeen and crazy”, later admitting that she will actually be seventeen “next month”.
  4. Jump up^ “The Pedestrian” would go on to be published in The Reporter magazine on August 7, 1951, that is, after the publication in February 1951 of its inspired work “The Fireman”.

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Plan A (Awful) Hillary Clinton, Plan B (Bad): Joe Biden, Plan C (California): Jerry Brown, Plan D (Dumb): Bernie Sanders — Obama’s Legacy: The Destruction of Democratic Party — Rupert Murdoch Says Biden Very Likely To Win Nomination and Hard To Beat — Videos

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Plan A (Awful) Hillary Clinton, Plan B (Bad): Joe Biden, Plan C (California): Jerry Brown, Plan D (Dumb): Bernie Sanders — Obama’s Legacy: The Destruction of Democratic Party — Rupert Murdoch Says Biden Very Likely To Win Nomination and Hard To Beat — Videos

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Crowd greets Biden with chants of ‘Run, Joe, run!’

Biden greeted with chants of ‘run, Joe, run!’ in Pittsburgh

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Plan C (California) Jerry Brown

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‘Run, Joe, run!’ Adoring Pittsburgh crowd enthusiastically encourages Joe Biden to run for president

  • Joe Biden given a rapturous welcome by Pittsburgh steelworkers at rally
  • The Vice President gave a rousing speech blaming America’s ills on stagnant wages and an unfair tax code that favors the wealthy
  • Biden, who is still grieving his son, Beau, jogged through the crowd 
  • Biden’s popularity numbers are on par with Trump’s 

Hearing chants of ‘run Joe, run,’ Vice President Joe Biden marched in Pittsburgh’s annual Labor Day parade on Monday as speculation swirled about a potential entry into the Democratic presidential campaign.

The vice president donned a black-and-gold United Steelworkers union hat and told hundreds of union members that the gap between the wealthy and poor was hurting the nation.

The 72-year-old exuberantly jogged through the crowd of supportive well-wishers, who were urging him to join the race for president.

‘Give it a go, Joe!’ shouted one woman.

Scroll down for video 

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Vice President Joe Biden revved up the crowd at a steelworkers union event in Pittsburgh on Sunday

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally
Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Biden was greeted with shouts of ‘Run, Joe, run!’ encouraging him to run for president

Recent polls suggest that those who are abandoning Hillary Clinton back Biden for president, according to CNN.

But Biden deflected questions as to whether or not he would enter the fray, only saying ‘I am definitely going to run part of this parade, I feel like I am home right now.’

But he had much more to say in his speech in front of the union.

‘It used to be when productivity went up in America, everybody got a chance to share,’ said Biden. ‘They got a piece of the action… Why in God’s name should a man or a woman working in a steel mill make $50,000 a year when someone on Wall Street makes millions of dollars a year?’

In introducing Biden for his speech, Trumka and United Steelworkers union chief Leo Gerard gave strong praise to Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Biden praises unions as he addressees crowds on Labor Day

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

The adoring crowd flocked around the sprightly 72-year-old, who is still reeling from his son Beau’s death in May, but who looked happy and healthy at the rally

Fans clamored for selfies with the VP, who tends to be known for his verbal gaffes

Fans clamored for selfies with the VP, who tends to be known for his verbal gaffes

‘He has never let us down,’ said Gerard.

Biden, in his speech, said the tax code is to blame for the rich getting a bigger piece of the economic pie.

‘The tax code’s not fair. It’s simply not fair,’ Biden said in a city long associated with organized labor. ‘The wealthy aren’t paying their fair share. There used to be one America.’

Biden greeted United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard (right) who said Biden has never let steelworkers down

Biden greeted United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard (right) who said Biden has never let steelworkers down

Biden was cagey about whether he would run for POTUS but he had no issue with jogging through the streets of Pittsburgh 

Biden was cagey about whether he would run for POTUS but he had no issue with jogging through the streets of Pittsburgh

When asked point-blank by young local business owner Chris Fuget asked whether he would announce a 2016 run, the Vice President coyly said, ‘I haven’t made that decision yet,’ according to CNN.

There was some disappointment in the crowd that he didn’t throw his hat into the ring.

‘We thought today might have been the day,’ said Pittsburgh union worker Jack Gaffrey.

'It's hope,' the VP said about the enthusiastic response the crowd gave him 

‘It’s hope,’ the VP said about the enthusiastic response the crowd gave him

His entry could jumble a Democratic contest that has seen front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lead diminish in early states against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist.

Biden, however, said last week he wasn’t certain if he and his family had the ’emotional energy’ for another campaign. Biden’s eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer in May.

Biden blamed America's ills on the tax code which favors the wealthy as well as low and stagnant wages

Biden blamed America’s ills on the tax code which favors the wealthy as well as low and stagnant wages

But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who walked the parade route with Biden, said the vice president got a strong response from the city’s workers.

‘If you’re looking for energy, this is a great place to get energy today,’ the labor leader said.

Asked what he made of the overwhelmingly warm response Pittsburgh gave him, he replied, ‘It’s hope.’

'I am definitely going to run part of this parade,' Biden said and then made good his promise

‘I am definitely going to run part of this parade,’ Biden said and then made good his promise

In a new NBC/Marist poll of New Hampshire primary voters released on Sunday, Biden had support from 16 percent of Democratic voters.

That’s half the total of Clinton, who herself trailed front runner Sanders by nine points in New Hampshire, a state where Bill and Hillary Clinton have deep ties.

In Iowa, Clinton saw her lead over Sanders decline by half and now leads him by 37 percent to 20 precent with Biden at 20 percent.

But Biden still isn’t as quite popular as GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

The reality star billionaire beats him by a narrow margin in a new national poll 44 percent to 42 percent, according to SurveyUSA.

The Best Second Choice

Forget Sanders and Biden, the Democrats’ best 2016 backup is California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference about transportation in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.

The best bet.

By Aug. 21, 2015 | 10:40 a.m. EDT+ MoreIn assessing Hillary Clinton’s chances of being the 2016 Democratic nominee, Sean Trende hits the nail squarely on the head: “Absent an indictment, she remains the solid favorite for the nomination.” Yes, you read that correctly: “absent an indictment.”

In any other year, with any other candidate, that phrase would be ludicrous. How could a party be so solidly behind a person who is so publicly balancing on a razor’s edge between shady practices andillegal dealings? While there are many reasons for this, three stand out and are worth remembering before asking the next logical question: If not her, then who?

First, two large “anti-in-party” midterm elections decimated the Democrats’ bench. Surviving Democratic statewide elected officials are few and far between. And those who are there need more time to acquire political experience and develop a national reputation.

Second, Clinton has been perceived by her fellow partisans as the next in line for the nomination since the day she conceded the 2008 nomination contest to then-Sen. Barack Obama. That year’s epic contest ended with an unspoken but widely understood deal between the two warring factions of Democratic activists: Support for Obama in 2008 will lead to support for Clinton as his successor. This was a tough pill for Clinton’s backers to take because they had been expecting Clinton to become the party’s next nominee since the day John Kerry lost in 2004. But they accepted the trade because they had no choice.

Third, Clinton is not only unique because her gender combines with the Democratic Party’s sincere desire to follow the first African-American president with the first female one (a right time, right place confluence of dynamics, if you will), but also because the country experienced tremendous economic prosperity during her husband’s tenure in the White House and Democrats largely believe that fact will redound favorably on her candidacy.

Of course, her being a Clinton is also a challenge for her campaign. Aside from the dynasty knock, the Clintons have long rankled the feathers of other Democrats, and it was this “anti-Clinton” sentiment thatObama exploited to full benefit in 2008.

Nevertheless, it’s this strange brew of partisan expectations and political realities that have likely kept Clinton’s (older, but no less ambitious) Democratic opponents on the sidelines. If she were indicted, though, all bets are off and the problem of surfeit ambition would likely arise.

Setting aside the unknown probability of an indictment and the known likelihood of Clinton securing the Democratic presidential nomination before next spring, the question of who could possibly replace her is an interesting one to consider.

At the moment, progressive Democrats are increasingly rallying around one of her few declared opponents, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But his far-left policy stances and past voting record make him a weak general election candidate. Democrats know this; it’s highly unlikely that the party establishment would support him to become the nominee.

There’s also the undeclared, but publicly ruminating Vice President Joe Biden. Despite his gaffe-pronereputation, most reports suggest that he is the party’s preferred second choice.

Still, if Clinton’s candidacy were to implode, I don’t imagine Biden would be on a glide path to the nomination (unless Obama were to endorse him). Secretary of State John Kerry might decide his time is now. As he lost the 2004 election by fewer than 120,000 votes from Ohio, he can legitimately argue he’s been a better candidate than Biden in past presidential races.

But by far, the Democrats’ strongest septuagenarian is California Gov. Jerry Brown. He has vast political experience. He’s well-liked across the Democratic Party. He continues to enjoy high approval ratings and has widely been perceived as an effective governor.

He’d also offer the Democrats two key talking points Sanders, Biden and Kerry can’t: He’s a Washington outsider and he knows how to make government work because he’s served four terms in the top executive office in California. Further, he has a more than two-decade long reputation of being the “anti-Clinton,” which would not only likely endear him to Sanders’ supporters, but would also place him in good stead were the party needing to wash its hands of all things Clinton in the wake of an indictment.

So while Brown’s candidacy may be a far-fetched possibility, from my view, he’s the best “second choice” for Democrats to mount a competitive general election campaign. But then, all of us Brownsfrom California tend to view politics rather unconventionally.


Former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told CNN on Monday that California Gov. Jerry Brown could enter the presidential race.

“If Hillary starts to implode you will see a vacuum that you have not seen in many, many years,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren on her show, On the Record, speculating that Clinton’s mounting scandals could cost her the race.

“[Former New York mayor Michael] Bloomberg, if he shifts, Jerry Brown–I mean, you just don’t know. [Senator]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 15% …” Gingrich suggested.Gingrich also suggested that Secretary of State John Kerry might run, along with Vice President Joe Biden.

Brown has run for president three times before. He would be 78 years old in 2016, and has suggested that age might be an obstacle to a run, though he has not entirely ruled out a fourth attempt at the Oval Office.

He is, however, among the most popular and successful Democratic governors in the United States, and has more experience than anyone else in the field, currently or potentially.

Gingrich said that Hillary’s main worry will be socialist

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 16%, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

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Nobody Does It Better Spying On People of The World — National Security Agency — Turnkey Tyranny Turned On The American People — NSA Budget $100 Billion Plus Paid By The American People — The Patriot Act Expires On June 1, 2015 — Both Republican and Democratic Parties Will Renew It! — Secret Security Surveillance State — Alive, Well and Growing — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: Nobody Does It Better Spying On People of The World — National Security Agency — Turnkey Tyranny Turned On The American People — NSA Budget $100 Billion Plus Paid By The American People — The Patriot Act Expires On June 1, 2015 — Both Republican and Democratic Parties Will Renew It! — Secret Security Surveillance State —  Alive, Well and Growing — Videos

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.

all your data Patriot Act Renewal patriot act patriotact shopping 4 snowden nsaNSA-Shark-cartoonobama-nsa-cartoon-chappatte-495x357patriots duty, obama cartoons

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

Appellate Court Rules NSA’s Phone Data Collection Is Illegal

McConnell to Push for Pure PATRIOT Act Extension


What You Didn’t Know About The NSA Bluffdale Spy Center – From Former NSA Director Bill Binney

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

30c3 keynote with Glenn Greenwald [30c3]

FISA Court: Telecoms okay with NSA data collection

US Supreme Court refuses to let Americans challenge FISA eavesdropping law

FISA Section 215: A Debate about Its Legality, Usefulness and Civil Liberties

The creepy spying power buried in the Patriot Act

Real Talk: The Patriot Act

Patriot Act Powers – GOP Fights To Renew NSA Surveillance Law – Fox & Friends

Marco Rubio blasts colleagues over renewing NSA spying powers

Rand Paul Stalling Patriot Act Extension!

The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers–7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15

Top NSA Whistleblower William Binney Exposes the Tyranny 3/20/15

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

‘NSA owns entire network anywhere in the world’ – whistleblower William Binney

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

Alleged NSA whistleblower warns of “turnkey tyranny” in U.S.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make”

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

29C3 Panel: Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, William Binney on whistleblowing and surveillance

Everything We Know About NSA Spying: “Through a PRISM, Darkly” – Kurt Opsahl at CCC

FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)

The Lame Duck Show: Turn Key Tyranny Solutions

PBS Nova S36E11 The Spy Factory Full Documentary

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

Full Documentaries – National Security Agency Secrets – (NSA) Special Documentary

NSA can spy on 98 percent of the world


Glenn Greenwald on Domestic Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Controversy (2006)

Enemy of the State (1998) Predicts Edward Snowden’s Revelations

Enemy Of The State – The NSA Can Read The Time Off Your F**king Wristwatch!

Will Smith | Enemy of the State 1998 Movie Full HD

Ron Paul to Congress: DO NOT Extend the “PATRIOT” Act!

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?

(Good Will Hunting)

N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules



Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.

But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.

Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.

The documents show NSA analysts celebrating the development of what they called “Google for Voice” nearly a decade ago.

Though perfect transcription of natural conversation apparently remains the Intelligence Community’s “holy grail,” the Snowden documentsdescribe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and “extract” the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest.

The documents include vivid examples of the use of speech recognition in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Latin America. But they leave unclear exactly how widely the spy agency uses this ability, particularly in programs that pick up considerable amounts of conversations that include people who live in or are citizens of the United States.

Spying on international telephone calls has always been a staple of NSA surveillance, but the requirement that an actual person do the listening meant it was effectively limited to a tiny percentage of the total traffic. By leveraging advances in automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening.

And this has happened with no apparent public oversight, hearings or legislative action. Congress hasn’t shown signs of even knowing that it’s going on.

The USA Freedom Act — the surveillance reform bill that Congress is currently debating — doesn’t address the topic at all. The bill would end an NSA program that does not collect voice content: the government’s bulk collection of domestic calling data, showing who called who and for how long.

Even if becomes law, the bill would leave in place a multitude of mechanisms exposed by Snowden that scoop up vast amounts of innocent people’s text and voice communications in the U.S. and across the globe.

Civil liberty experts contacted by The Intercept said the NSA’s speech-to-text capabilities are a disturbing example of the privacy invasions that are becoming possible as our analog world transitions to a digital one.

“I think people don’t understand that the economics of surveillance have totally changed,” Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told The Intercept.

“Once you have this capability, then the question is: How will it be deployed? Can you temporarily cache all American phone calls, transcribe all the phone calls, and do text searching of the content of the calls?” she said. “It may not be what they are doing right now, but they’ll be able to do it.”

And, she asked: “How would we ever know if they change the policy?”

Indeed, NSA officials have been secretive about their ability to convert speech to text, and how widely they use it, leaving open any number of possibilities.

That secrecy is the key, Granick said. “We don’t have any idea how many innocent people are being affected, or how many of those innocent people are also Americans.”

I Can Search Against It

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was trained as a voice processing crypto-linguist and worked at the agency until 2008, told The Intercept that he saw a huge push after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to turn the massive amounts of voice communications being collected into something more useful.

Human listening was clearly not going to be the solution. “There weren’t enough ears,” he said.

The transcripts that emerged from the new systems weren’t perfect, he said. “But even if it’s not 100 percent, I can still get a lot more information. It’s far more accessible. I can search against it.”

Converting speech to text makes it easier for the NSA to see what it has collected and stored, according to Drake. “The breakthrough was being able to do it on a vast scale,” he said.

More Data, More Power, Better Performance

The Defense Department, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), started funding academic and commercial research into speech recognition in the early 1970s.

What emerged were several systems to turn speech into text, all of which slowly but gradually improved as they were able to work with more data and at faster speeds.

In a brief interview, Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, indicated that the government’s ability to automate transcription is still limited.

Kaufman says that automated transcription of phone conversation is “super hard,” because “there’s a lot of noise on the signal” and “it’s informal as hell.”

“I would tell you we are not very good at that,” he said.

In an ideal environment like a news broadcast, he said, “we’re getting pretty good at being able to do these types of translations.”

A 2008 document from the Snowden archive shows that  transcribing news broadcasts was already working well seven years ago, using a program called Enhanced Video Text and Audio Processing:

(U//FOUO) EViTAP is a fully-automated news monitoring tool. The key feature of this Intelink-SBU-hosted tool is that it analyzes news in six languages, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, English, and Farsi/Persian. “How does it work?” you may ask. It integrates Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) which provides transcripts of the spoken audio. Next, machine translation of the ASR transcript translates the native language transcript to English. Voila! Technology is amazing.

A version of the system the NSA uses is now even available commercially.

Experts in speech recognition say that in the last decade or so, the pace of technological improvement has been explosive. As information storage became cheaper and more efficient, technology companies were able to store massive amounts of voice data on their servers, allowing them to continually update and improve the models. Enormous processors, tuned as “deep neural networks” that detect patterns like human brains do, produce much cleaner transcripts.

And the Snowden documents show that the same kinds of leaps forward seen in commercial speech-to-text products have also been happening in secret at the NSA, fueled by the agency’s singular access to astronomical processing power and its own vast data archives.

In fact, the NSA has been repeatedly releasing new and improved speech recognition systems for more than a decade.

The first-generation tool, which made keyword-searching of vast amounts of voice content possible, was rolled out in 2004 and code-named RHINEHART.

“Voice word search technology allows analysts to find and prioritize intercept based on its intelligence content,” says an internal 2006 NSA memo entitled “For Media Mining, the Future Is Now!

The memo says that intelligence analysts involved in counterterrorism were able to identify terms related to bomb-making materials, like “detonator” and “hydrogen peroxide,” as well as place names like “Baghdad” or people like “Musharaf.”

RHINEHART was “designed to support both real-time searches, in which incoming data is automatically searched by a designated set of dictionaries, and retrospective searches, in which analysts can repeatedly search over months of past traffic,” the memo explains (emphasis in original).

As of 2006, RHINEHART was operating “across a wide variety of missions and languages” and was “used throughout the NSA/CSS [Central Security Service] Enterprise.”

But even then, a newer, more sophisticated product was already being rolled out by the NSA’s Human Language Technology (HLT) program office. The new system, called VoiceRT, was first introduced in Baghdad, and “designed to index and tag 1 million cuts per day.”

The goal, according to another 2006 memo, was to use voice processing technology to be able “index, tag and graph,” all intercepted communications. “Using HLT services, a single analyst will be able to sort through millions of cuts per day and focus on only the small percentage that is relevant,” the memo states.

A 2009 memo from the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ, describes how “NSA have had the BBN speech-to-text system Byblos running at Fort Meade for at least 10 years. (Initially they also had Dragon.) During this period they have invested heavily in producing their own corpora of transcribed Sigint in both American English and an increasing range of other languages.” (GCHQ also noted that it had its own small corpora of transcribed voice communications, most of which happened to be “Northern Irish accented speech.”)

VoiceRT, in turn, was surpassed a few years after its launch. According to the intelligence community’s “Black Budget” for fiscal year 2013, VoiceRT was decommissioned and replaced in 2011 and 2012, so that by 2013, NSA could operationalize a new system. This system, apparently called SPIRITFIRE, could handle more data, faster. SPIRITFIRE would be “a more robust voice processing capability based on speech-to-text keyword search and paired dialogue transcription.”

Extensive Use Abroad

Voice communications can be collected by the NSA whether they are being sent by regular phone lines, over cellular networks, or through voice-over-internet services. Previously released documents from the Snowden archive describe enormous efforts by the NSA during the last decade to get access to voice-over-internet content like Skype calls, for instance. And other documents in the archive chronicle the agency’s adjustment to the fact that an increasingly large percentage of conversations, even those that start as landline or mobile calls, end up as digitized packets flying through the same fiber-optic cables that the NSA taps so effectively for other data and voice communications.

The Snowden archive, as searched and analyzed by The Intercept, documents extensive use of speech-to-text by the NSA to search through international voice intercepts — particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Mexico and Latin America.

For example, speech-to-text was a key but previously unheralded element of the sophisticated analytical program known as the Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG), which started in 2005 when newly appointed NSA chief Keith B. Alexander, according to the Washington Post, “wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.”

The Real Time Regional Gateway was credited with playing a role in “breaking up Iraqi insurgent networks and significantly reducing the monthly death toll from improvised explosive devices.” The indexing and searching of “voice cuts” was deployed to Iraq in 2006. By 2008, RTRG was operational in Afghanistan as well.

A slide from a June 2006 NSA powerpoint presentation described the role of VoiceRT:

VoiceRT: Index/Search of Voice Cuts

Keyword spotting extended to Iranian intercepts as well. A 2006 memoreported that RHINEHART had been used successfully by Persian-speaking analysts who “searched for the words ‘negotiations’ or ‘America’ in their traffic, and RHINEHART located a very important call that was transcribed verbatim providing information on an important Iranian target’s discussion of the formation of a the new Iraqi government.”

According to a 2011 memo, “How is Human Language Technology (HLT) Progressing?“, NSA that year deployed “HLT Labs” to Afghanistan, NSA facilities in Texas and Georgia, and listening posts in Latin America run by the Special Collection Service, a joint NSA/CIA unit that operates out of embassies and other locations.

“Spanish is the most mature of our speech-to-text analytics,” the memo says, noting that the NSA and its Special Collections Service sites in Latin America, have had “great success searching for Spanish keywords.”

The memo offers an example from NSA Texas, where an analyst newly trained on the system used a keyword search to find previously unreported information on a target involved in drug-trafficking. In another case, an official at a Special Collection Service site in Latin America “was able to find foreign intelligence regarding a Cuban official in a fraction of the usual time.”

In a 2011 article, “Finding Nuggets — Quickly — in a Heap of Voice Collection, From Mexico to Afghanistan,” an intelligence analysis technical director from NSA Texas described the “rare life-changing instance” when he learned about human language technology, and its ability to “find the exact traffic of interest within a mass of collection.”

Analysts in Texas found the new technology a boon for spying. “From finding tunnels in Tijuana, identifying bomb threats in the streets of Mexico City, or shedding light on the shooting of US Customs officials in Potosi, Mexico, the technology did what it advertised: It accelerated the process of finding relevant intelligence when time was of the essence,” he wrote. (Emphasis in original.)

The author of the memo was also part of a team that introduced the technology to military leaders in Afghanistan. “From Kandahar to Kabul, we have traveled the country explaining NSA leaders’ vision and introducing SIGINT teams to what HLT analytics can do today and to what is still needed to make this technology a game-changing success,” the memo reads.

Extent of Domestic Use Remains Unknown

What’s less clear from the archive is how extensively this capability is used to transcribe or otherwise index and search voice conversations that primarily involve what the NSA terms “U.S. persons.”

The NSA did not answer a series of detailed questions about automated speech recognition, even though an NSA “classification guide” that is part of the Snowden archive explicitly states that “The fact that NSA/CSS has created HLT models” for speech-to-text processing as well as gender, language and voice recognition, is “UNCLASSIFIED.”

Also unclassified: The fact that the processing can sort and prioritize audio files for human linguists, and that the statistical models are regularly being improved and updated based on actual intercepts. By contrast, because they’ve been tuned using actual intercepts, the specific parameters of the systems are highly classified.

“The National Security Agency employs a variety of technologies in the course of its authorized foreign-intelligence mission,” spokesperson Vanee’ Vines wrote in an email to The Intercept. “These capabilities, operated by NSA’s dedicated professionals and overseen by multiple internal and external authorities, help to deter threats from international terrorists, human traffickers, cyber criminals, and others who seek to harm our citizens and allies.”

Vines did not respond to the specific questions about privacy protections in place related to the processing of domestic or domestic-to-international voice communications. But she wrote that “NSA always applies rigorous protections designed to safeguard the privacy not only of U.S. persons, but also of foreigners abroad, as directed by the President in January 2014.”

The presidentially appointed but independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) didn’t mention speech-to-text technology in itspublic reports.

“I’m not going to get into whether any program does or does not have that capability,” PCLOB chairman David Medine told The Intercept.

His board’s reports, he said, contained only information that the intelligence community agreed could be declassified.

“We went to the intelligence community and asked them to declassify a significant amount of material,” he said. The “vast majority” of that material was declassified, he said. But not all — including “facts that we thought could be declassified without compromising national security.”

Hypothetically, Medine said, the ability to turn voice into text would raise significant privacy concerns. And it would also raise questions about how the intelligence agencies “minimize” the retention and dissemination of material— particularly involving U.S. persons — that doesn’t include information they’re explicitly allowed to keep.

“Obviously it increases the ability of the government to process information from more calls,” Medine said. “It would also allow the government to listen in on more calls, which would raise more of the kind of privacy issues that the board has raised in the past.”

“I’m not saying the government does or doesn’t do it,” he said, “just that these would be the consequences.”

A New Learning Curve

Speech recognition expert Bhiksha Raj likens the current era to the early days of the Internet, when people didn’t fully realize how the things they typed would last forever.

“When I started using the Internet in the 90s, I was just posting stuff,” said Raj, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute. “It never struck me that 20 years later I could go Google myself and pull all this up. Imagine if I posted something on or something like that, and now that post is going to embarrass me forever.”

The same is increasingly becoming the case with voice communication, he said. And the stakes are even higher, given that the majority of the world’s communication has historically been conducted by voice, and it has traditionally been considered a private mode of communication.

“People still aren’t realizing quite the magnitude that the problem could get to,” Raj said. “And it’s not just surveillance,” he said. “People are using voice services all the time. And where does the voice go? It’s sitting somewhere. It’s going somewhere. You’re living on trust.” He added: “Right now I don’t think you can trust anybody.”

The Need for New Rules

Kim Taipale, executive director of the Stilwell Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, is one of several people who tried a decade ago to get policymakers to recognize that existing surveillance law doesn’t adequately deal with new global communication networks and advanced technologies including  speech recognition.

“Things aren’t ephemeral anymore,” Taipale told The Intercept. “We’re living in a world where many things that were fleeting in the analog world are now on the permanent record. The question then becomes: what are the consequences of that and what are the rules going to be to deal with those consequences?”

Realistically, Taipale said, “the ability of the government to search voice communication in bulk is one of the things we may have to live with under some circumstances going forward.” But there at least need to be “clear public rules and effective oversight to make sure that the information is only used for appropriate law-enforcement or national security purposes consistent with Constitutional principles.”

Ultimately, Taipale said, a system where computers flag suspicious voice communications could be less invasive than one where people do the listening, given the potential for human abuse and misuse to lead to privacy violations. “Automated analysis has different privacy implications,” he said.

But to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, the distinction between a human listening and a computer listening is irrelevant in terms of privacy, possible consequences, and a chilling effect on speech.

“What people care about in the end, and what creates chilling effects in the end, are consequences,” he said. “I think that over time, people would learn to fear computerized eavesdropping just as much as they fear eavesdropping by humans, because of the consequences that it could bring.”

Indeed, computer listening could raise new concerns. One of the internal NSA memos from 2006 says an “important enhancement under development is the ability for this HLT capability to predict what intercepted data might be of interest to analysts based on the analysts’ past behavior.”

Citing Amazon’s ability to not just track but predict buyer preferences, the memo says that an NSA system designed to flag interesting intercepts “offers the promise of presenting analysts with highly enriched sorting of their traffic.”

To Phillip Rogaway, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, keyword-search is probably the “least of our problems.” In an email to The Intercept, Rogaway warned that “When the NSA identifies someone as ‘interesting’ based on contemporary NLP [Natural Language Processing] methods, it might be that there is no human-understandable explanation as to why beyond: ‘his corpus of discourse resembles those of others whom we thought interesting’; or the conceptual opposite: ‘his discourse looks or sounds different from most people’s.’”

If the algorithms NSA computers use to identify threats are too complex for humans to understand, Rogaway wrote, “it will be impossible to understand the contours of the surveillance apparatus by which one is judged.  All that people will be able to do is to try your best to behave just like everyone else.”

Next: The NSA’s best kept open secret.

Readers with information or insight into these programs are encouraged to get in touch, either by email, or anonymously via SecureDrop.

Documents published with this article:

Research on the Snowden archive was conducted by Intercept researcher Andrew Fishman


Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act

EFF sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2011 for answers about “secret interpretations” of a controversial section of the law. In June 2013, a leaked FISA court order publicly revealed that “secret interpretation”: the government was using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of virtually every person in the United States.

Prior to the revelations, several senators warned that the DOJ was using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what government attorneys called a “sensitive collection program,” targeting large numbers of Americans. The language of Section 215 allows for secret court orders to collect “tangible things” that could be relevant to a government investigation – a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause.  The list of possible “tangible things” the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver’s license records to Internet browsing patterns.

In response to a court order in our lawsuit, in September 2013, the government released hundreds of pages of previously secret FISA documents detailing the court’s interpretation of Section 215, including an opinion excoriating the NSA for misusing its mass surveillance database for years. In October 2013, the government released a second batch of documents related to Section 215, which showed, among other things, that the NSA had collected cell site location without notifying its oversight committees in Congress or the FISA court.

EFF’s lawsuit came after the DOJ failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the interpretation and use of Section 215.  The suit demanded records describing the types of “tangible things” that have been collected so far, the legal basis for the “sensitive collection program,” and information on the how many people have been affected by Section 215 orders.

The lawsuit remains ongoing.

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