Friday, December 22, 2006

I'm outta here

Am offline (mostly) and out of town until the middle of the first week of January. Hope all my readers are getting some time off for enjoyable activities during the same interval. To keep you company until I come back to the keyboard, here's a little holiday look at Pasha around 12 weeks old:

Pasha elf

Happy holidays!!

Update: Oh, and in case you have an afternoon to fritter, Jason Kottke offers a compendium of little online games that should provide some amusement...

From his keyboard to God's ears

Is right-wing religious fundamentalism about to jump the shark? Knock wood...

(via Medley)


Haven't blogged this story, perhaps because it dismays me too much. Plants raided and (brown) workers rounded up, green card holders along with illegals, parents cut off from their children (many of whom are citizens)... And, of course, no punishment for the companies who employed illegal workers. Then it turns out that maybe the motive wasn't immigration but union-busting. And now it looks like we're headed for a new era of detention camps complete with the tried-and-true (Gitmo detainees love it!) system of indefinite detention, no contact with the outside world, and generally an abdication of everything we say this country stands for. Firedog Lake gives an outlet for the anger and frustration, suggesting that we take action by flooding Congress with holiday pleas to bring this injustice to an end. Consider adding your voice -- we can't just stand by and try to wait out the two years until we can take our country back from the monsters, because by then we'll all be monsters...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quote of the day (sadly unillustrated edition)

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
- Dr. Seuss,
author and illustrator (1904-1991)


Very cool flash map/history of the Middle East, covering some 700 years in a minute and a half. See how many different empires and invasions have controlled the region -- my favorite part is the final map with all the colors overlaid. Puts the current elbowing in some perspective...

(via kos)

Undermining normal presumptions

This post at Making Light does a great job of capturing something that I've felt in a visceral way about Bush, which is that much of why he confounds pundits of all stripes is that he just doesn't respond to developments in the way that we expect of "normal people."
I think that Bush violates those assumptions. He is more or less completely irresponsible. You can see this tripping people up over and over. For instance, when Colin Powell gives Bush his ‘hey, think really hard about Iraq; you break it, you own it’ speech: that seems to have been, for Powell, a big deal to do, and for him, assuming responsibility for a whole country would be a big deal as well. I don’t think Powell understood that he was dealing with someone to whom those words would mean nothing.
. . .
The problem is that Bush is not, in this sense, a normal person. … [The] sense of “can’t” that’s at work in statements like “he can’t just ignore the combination of the ISG report, the election, his own unpopularity, and the unanimous advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” has no purchase on him whatsoever.
Worth reading the whole thing, as it also picks up on the key distinctions that can be observed between Empty Rhetoric from Bush and co, and The True Beliefs that transcend the intervention of facts or circumstances...

(via Medley)

This country needs to get over its puritanism, already

No honor student should end up with the choice of ten years in jail or a lifetime stamped as a child molestor for having consensual sex with another teen. There are much better things to be doing with our prisons. This is really a contortionist's vision of justice.

(via Medley)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Net neutrality, unpacked

A fantastic short movie clip explains what's at stake, in a clear but lighthearted manner. Watch it, and get on board before the corporations have squozen us all out of our right to be heard.


The image hosting site ( at which I have kept all the small images that I use as "emoticons" to react to particular stories, or that I clip to use to illustrate one-time stories, appears to have had a major crash, and they tell me they have only recovered 50% of images and accounts (which appear to include none of mine). I boggle at the lack of back-up that this implies, for folks who host data for a living.
snow cloud from Photobucket
Anyway, a bit bummed at the resulting visual state of my blog(s), and also at the immensity of the task necessary to replace all of those images (not all of which I even have on hand anymore), let alone fix links to point to the replacements. Guess I'll be showing a slimmer bloggy profile for a while...

[Snow taken from the half-dozen images left behind at my former Photobucket test site.]

The monster under the bed

This story makes it pretty clear that not all terrorists threatening large sections of the US strike equal terror in our government (or equal excitement in our press).
On Nov. 28... Demetrius "Van" Crocker was sentenced to 30 years in prison. David Kustoff, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, where Crocker was prosecuted, tells Salon that "It was one of the preeminent anti-terrorism cases of 2006 nationwide." Whether or not that is true, few outside of the greater Memphis metropolitan area have ever heard of Crocker. Only one reporter, John Branston of the weekly Memphis Flyer, even covered his entire trial.
This guy wanted to unleash chemical weapons in a major metropolitan area (or maybe nuclear materials near the US capital), idolized McVeigh, was putting together the pieces of his plan in real time. But he was white and American, so no help to the bogeyman scare that's keeping hundreds of uncharged brown people in cruel detainment camps, and we didn't have to break the Constitution to catch him. [Full story at Salon, complete with the obvious comparison to Padilla.]

We are not only governed by children, but by the kind of children who like to fry ants with magnifying glasses, at least as long as nobody's watching...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Forget the whole "it can't happen to me" line...

American contractor, and even whistleblower, held in dehumanizing conditions in Iraq. Because once they're behind bars, we appear to presume they belong there. I'm more than a little tired of this.

Wow -- that is just precisely it

The AntiWar Blog takes on the specious argument that antiwar folks got Iraq wrong too. The scale of the difference is almost immeasurable, but really, the analogy made here boils it down better than anything I could say. Soooo tiresome.

(via Medley)

The good life

I sometimes wish that I had been born a cat. At minimum, I envy our house cats their lives of nap and play...

(via Medley)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Inner child

Make a snowflake with paper and scissors -- at least, a virtual one. You can save the result, and view others' flakes as well.

(via kottke)

The Emperor's new troops

slaps forehead...I find it incredibly depressing to consider that the Bushies' response to their midterm defeat and critical ISG report may be to send more troops to Iraq to pursue their losing aims, rather than to try to find ways to start a pull-out. But I think Rafe is onto something with his analysis:
Psychologically, this is the only option available to President Bush. He has to make a change for political reasons, and despite the fact that victory is no longer an option, sending more troops is a tangible change in course and makes it look like we're still trying hard to win.
Too bad for the troops who have to be sacrificed to make Bush feel better about himself, I guess...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sometimes I just watch, mouth agape

... as Pundits With a Platform endorse the concept of a Pinochet for Iraq. Digby has this one exactly right:
Sorry bub. Support for Pinochet's mass killing and torture is inherently immoral. And justifying your support because the Chilean economy is doing better than Cuba's is just plain disgusting. This is what has become of the grand neocon experiment in Iraq: phony rhetorical battles with leftist ghosts of thirty years ago. It would be sad if it weren't so sick.
The right wing of our country has led us all into a brick wall. It's time they stepped aside, kept their ideas to themselves, and let the adults people with some grip on reality try to straighten things out. Yeesh.

Not the best strategy move I've heard this week

"Maverick" Senator John McCain declares war on blogs. Don't want the general populace to think that that "free speech" allows them to share their opinions with one another . . .

(via Medley)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Kittens taking a long winter's nap...

Are cats at their cutest when they're sleeping, or is that the only time they hold still long enough to catch on film? Can't say for sure, but here are a sample of our few recent bengal photos, and they're of the napping variety. Meant to get these up last Friday, but they got lost in transit from home to work...

curl of Pixel
Pixel (18 mos.)

curl of Pixel
Pasha (16 mos.)

Previous bengal-blogging: 71, 70, 69, 68, 67, 66, 65, 64, 63, 62, 61, 60, 59, 58, 57, 56, 55, 54, 53, 52, 51, 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, 44, 43, 42, 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0

A reminder of mortality

Anybody who bookmarked my link to the 2006 Advent Calendar may have wondered why it stopped updating on the 7th, leaving us itching for more spiffy animations and lore. Well, it turns out that the creator/compiler of these great phenomena passed away unexpectedly, and to the great dismay of all who loved her writing and other communications. For those still looking for some holiday spirit, I recommend this archive of past Advent calendars; pick a good one to carry you through the end of the month. And don't forget to hug the people you value (or send an e-hug to online friends).

Update: who knew that the real Santa had a website??

Putz alert

CNN gets the jump on visual ad hominem attacks against Barak Obama, presenting him in split screen views with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Yeesh.

(via Talking Points Memo)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Quote of the day

Sometimes you have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.
- after Ray Bradbury
(via wolfmoon71's KoL profile)

Two different visions on division

How to handle the ordination of gays is an issue that many religious communities are wrestling with. Certainly, my own Presbyterian church has had several heated summit meetings on the topic, with much concern that it could split the denomination in two -- see, e.g., this deferral of a more open policy, and this example of a local Presbytery torn apart by disagreement. Most denominations are still struggling to balance their desire to defer to Biblical teachings with their desire to accept the heartfelt commitment of homosexual members, especially in light of more recent medical and psychological views.

Thus, I found fascinating the recent decision of an important group of Conservative Jewish rabbis, brought to my attention by a friend. star of DavidSpecifically, their highest legal body passed conflicting resolutions, one in favor of the ordination of gay rabbis, and two against. (This is possible because rulings require not a majority, but merely a minimum number, in this case 6/25.) On its face, this could be viewed as a ludicrous result, or as an abdication of authority. But in fact, as my friend explained, it is consistent with the long Jewish tradition of respecting a diverse range of arguments and interpretations of its text and laws. By voting to endorse two opposing views, the council was saying, in essence, that intelligent people of good conscience can disagree. It is up to the individual synagogue (and presumably seminary) to consider the issues and reach its own decision -- to weigh the arguments and decide whose guidance they trust.

It's a fascinating third way. On the one hand, I find the "we won't always agree" position quite instructive and human. On the other hand, I'm not sure that every congregation wants to have to handle this struggle on its own; that's one of the reasons that they elect governing bodies. The effect may merely be to trickle down the dissent and division. But if the local groups have the same view as their leaders -- that it's not a matter of waiting for consensus to emerge, but of choosing among similarly valid viewpoints -- then perhaps they can survive even internal dissent. Anyway, it will be interesting to find out.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday laugh

This video is inspired: things people do in pools that look ridiculous out of context. Cracked me up.

(via kottke)

Last day for the 109th Congress

matters of stateThe TPM folks have a little snarky reminiscence to bid them farewell. Truly an abysmal showing...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Meanwhile in Korea

Bushies find their way back to Clinton's plan after six years of watching things go to hell.

Iraq Study Group shouts into the hurricane

Kos gives a round-up of reactions to the report. Atrios has my favorite:
Tony Snow on the ISG:
The one thing they thought was absolutely important was to rebuild a sense of national unity on this, and that was their overwhelming objective.
There is national unity. To get the fuck out.
Uh, pretty much yep. Also on point is some hearkening back to the Vietnam era (oh! unspeakable!):
Welcome to 1968: everyone knows the war must end and victory is unachievable, but the will to actually withdraw in full remains unpalatable to the political class. Bush will have a very hard time recommitting the country to a chimerical "victory" in Iraq. But in the name of “responsibility,” thousands more will die, for years and years, as the situation deteriorates further. Someone, at sometime, will finally have to say "enough," and get the United States out.
Sigh. I hope that's wrong, but the troops sound pessimistic too...

Who is this Obama?

Obama photoBarak Obama is very much in the public eye this month, as he undertakes a variety of travels and discussions that appear to indicate an interest in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Is it too soon, in terms of his experience at a national level, or in terms of the nation's readiness for a mixed-race leader? Is he too centrist, too disappointing to progressives at touchstone moments? Or is his ability to reach out to a wide variety of Americans and touch their sense of national pride and community spirit exactly what the country needs? Everybody has an opinion, nobody knows.

Some interesting takes: Pastor Dan at Street Prophets says that Obama is not a political triangulator, but genuinely trying to change how national politics are done.
Obama is going to drive progressives up a wall because they'll be looking for him to take their side in the partisan dogfights, and he's practicing a ministry of reconciliation. Which doesn't mean that he doesn't agree with them on the issues: it just means that he defines leadership in a very different way. Unlike many in the netroots, Obama doesn't believe that liberals need to do the same thing, only better - ie, outwork the Republicans. He thinks that it's time for fundamentally new tactics and a fundamentally new strategy.
. . .
People talk about Obama's limitless ambition coupled with his odd lack of apparent passion for controversial topics. It's all there, but the ambition isn't to build a stronger party and the passion isn't to craft legislation. It's to fundamentally change the way Americans talk to one another, and the way they go about solving problems.
He might be right -- it would certainly make sense of many of the seeming conflicts in Obama's behavior. If he's right, is that something liberals will get behind, or are we so aware of the damage done in the last eight years that we need a push on policy now, and are willing to leave reconciliation and transformation of the dialogue for a different era? Can both happen?

Meanwhile, over at Hullabaloo, Digby is worried that Obama seems to be running against his own party by arguing against straw-man sketches of liberal positions (see also Bauers). I agree that that's frustrating, but it could be a sign of inexperience as much as of ill intent. However, intriguing to me is that Digby's conclusion runs thusly:
This is the political moment for the Democrats to seize the mantle of the mainstream --- to argue that we are the big tent, where people of conscience from all over the political spectrum are coming together, concerned about our nation, ready to work in common cause. The Republican party has abandoned the concerns of the American people. The Democratic party is the party that will secure the future.
That sounds an awful lot like what Pastor Dan thinks Obama is working on. If he can get his rhetoric in line with his larger goals, maybe his campaign would become unstoppable . . .

(links via kos)

Crocadile tears

That's what I'm crying for our poor congressfolk, facing the terrible spectre of a 5-day workweek. Medley skewers the conservative complaints quite aptly.

Quote of the day

grass blades
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
–George Washington Carver
(via A Mindful Life)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Comments off

This blog is under assault by a comment spammer, who's adding an average of 4 crap comments to every post containing a photo. I've turned off comments (or changed them to "registered users only") until I can get that in hand. Sorry about that.

Update: ok, I think I've got it in hand for now. Will leave comments as "moderated" for a few days to see if I get another attack, but otherwise things should be back to normal...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I remind myself it's still early days

Because the more I hear of McCain, the more I fear the 2008 election...
If people like what Bush has been doing these past six years, they're gonna love McCain. He too is a big believer in the Classical Shitstopping school of foreign policy.
Heh... sigh.

Poem of the day


You don't solve problems.
You experience them
Like days which, once passed, are gone.
Like old clothes
You've outgrown
Slipping off your shoulders
And you enter
The final door naked and free
Like the dawn.
by Leopold Staff
(via ginkgo)

This year's Advent Calendar

Belatedly reminded of the fantastic on-line advent calendar put together every year by Leslie Harpold -- it has a mix of thoughtful, artistic, and diverting bits to keep you coming back all month. Bookmark it!

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Good news, bad news

glazed lookJust can't catch a lasting wind...
  • Good news: John Bolton resigns, as Bush folks concede he'll never be confirmed.

  • Bad news: A dailyKos piece reveals the human price of deregulation, as the Bushies cater to their corporate pals.

  • Good news: Harry Reid may set the Senate schedule to prevent recess appointments in future, although the usual 10-day wait is only tradition, meaning that the President may just ignore it and appoint people over lunch break (or the Senate may revolt over their short holidays).

  • Bad news: Bitch, Ph.D, is feeling a bit ill about our breaking of Jose Padilla, who appears to have lost touch with reality through his years of confinement and interrogation.

  • 20-20 Hindsight: Washington Post notes that the reasons given by Congressfolk who voted against the Iraq war have largely been proven true. Too bad not a word of their thoughts made the paper at the time . . .

That's some serious cute

Perky toddler-tude here. Wow.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Digby rocks

Talking about Iraq war planning and Americal public support or lack thereof...
This isn't the 1970's. They aren't going to get away with blaming the cowardly public this time. There are no hippies to hate ---- just millions of average, taxpaying, middle class Americans who know damned well when they've been lied to. And if they don't, there are many of us out here who will remind them.
Indeed. We've learned to recognize a con, the hard way...

(via Atrios)

Another drive-by appearance...

I'm feeling quite holiday-ish this week, with the unable-to-work feeling that usually comes a day or two before vacation. The timing is unfortunate, as I have a series of very short days in which to do the usual heap of work, and I also have some additional distraction due to holiday festivities in the context of my online addiction frolic. So just two shorties today:
  • Very funny take on Holiday Cheer here, compliments of Dave Barry.

  • In a more painful vein is this commentary on White House holiday priorities. Yeowch!
    [Note: premium Salon content, requires membership or watching ads]

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just passing through...

No time to blog today, but I highly recommend this essay by Digby on the importance of the Presidency, and this pair of adorable cute puppy pics. Perhaps more substance tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


This Calvin and Hobbes strip is more than 10 years old. And yet, it seems like just yesterday...

small strip

(sorry, can't fit the whole thing legibly)

New class: not like the old class

Webb not dazzled by Presidential pretense. Excellent.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We came here to work

new donkeyI like the way that the Democrats have started their engines. Not with calls for impeachment or by making lots of self-congratulatory speeches, but by putting their priorities in view. Things that already look good to me:
  • Nancy Pelosi says the House will actually do business in January, rather than adjourning between the swearing-in of rookies and the State of the Union address. Lord knows there's plenty to do!

  • Harry Reid says Senate will work 7 straight weeks to start '07, waving goodbye to the "do-nothing Congress" that came before.

  • Meanwhile, even before the election, they had listed their top priorities for the first 100 hours (as well as their general goals here), so they should be able to hit the ground running on a number of issues that really matter to a wide range of Americans, from better healthcare to implementing the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. Be still, my beating heart...
Only time will tell how unified they'll be, how successful at getting legislation enacted, and how capable of maintaining their focus on ideals once they get the taste of power, but I feel we could have some good times ahead for those who love real people and actual democracy . . .

Yes, it does sound strange, doesn't it

An excellent point, subtly made (with lots of links in case you're confused).
Remember, Rep. Boehner is a man. There's no way he could expect female American voters to be able to listen to his opinions. Uppity men are so... unnatural.
Do the talking heads in our media ever listen to themselves?

Monday, November 27, 2006


Apparently Twisty has issues with Thanksgiving. Not hers, but the whole thing. I mean, I opted out from both feast and football this year, and I still feel slightly dirty . . .

Quote/poem of the day

calligraphy from Lao Tsu's Poem in a Time of WarWhat it is
I know not,
But with gratitude
My tears fall.
- Saigyo
(via whiskey river)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Press arises from deep sleep, notices reality

Or, at least, the Boston Globe has noticed that Dick Cheney has spent much of the last 30 years trying to give the Presidency imperial powers . . . Sigh. Anyone else for a new generation of Puppet-masters??

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Holiday fun

Well, I don't expect to be hanging around these parts pumping out coherent thoughts over the next few day, but I thought maybe I could share a heap of amusing and diverting links of the sort useful for providing distraction from family goings-on... Enjoy!
  • From the Department of Why, we have some slightly creepy stuffed hands to comfort your baby in the crib. (via mimi smartypants)

  • From the Department of Fab, we have The Executive Coloring Book, giving a glimpse of life under The Man. (via coworker LP)

  • Tired of the same old things? Try a pinball game from the ball's perspective. Nothing will ever look the same. (via boing boing)

  • If that doesn't do it, try reprogramming your brain with one of these crazy Japanese watches, each of which seems to use a new and different way to display time. (via boing boing)

  • Where youse from? Take this very brief American accent locator to find out. Surprisingly accurate. (via PhillyFuture)

  • Buffy fans might get a kick out of this study of the population dynamics of vampires (PDF)... (via no_nym at Bitch, Ph.D)

  • And finally, in honor of the season (and more for the cuteness than the guilt), here's a cute baby turkey photo. (via Cute Overload)
hand turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Behaving irresponsibly

Abyss2hope at Alas a Blog has a good piece about definitions of rape, and what types of framing "empower" women versus simply blaming the victim. Seems like it would be a simple distinction, but recurringly otherwise -- when popular culture latches onto "she should have known better than to be drinking," we've lost sight of the implicit entitlement being assigned to the victimizer. The take-home is really this:
If we truly want to empower women we must stop making them responsible for other people’s actions directed at them and we must stop blaming them when their exploiters succeed at reaching their goal.

The full responsibility for rape must always be put on the rapist whether he uses a knife or manipulation to control the person he wants sex from. To call a rapist who uses tools other than brute force anything but a rapist is to disregard the harm done to that person’s victim.
It's worth reading the whole thing, especially if you haven't explored these questions much.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An odd monopoly

Could all pink flamingo lawn ornaments really have been produced by one manufacturer? Will they go extinct now? (I've never seen one in the wild, but they represent something amusing to me...)

Just to prove that humor is lost on them

on the TV!Fox News will launch a right-leaning satire show, presumably to counter intelligent liberal shows like The Daily Shows. Their descriptive quote?
It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows.
Lesse, Stewart does a pretty good job on Kerry, Dean, the Clintons, Gore, and even Carter, so what "sacred cows" does that leave? They're going to riff on Ghandi and Bobby Kennedy? Slam Martin Luther King? Skewer the search for truth, trash civil liberties more than the Bushies? I'm already cringing, but it's not from the deflation of any cows...

(via a commenter at dailyKos)

Lessons of Vietnam

Keith Olberman gives Bush a primer on what are and aren't reasonable lessons to take away from our Vietnam experience (and apply to Iraq).
"We'll succeed unless we quit."

No, sir. We will succeed — against terrorism, for our country's needs, towards binding up the nation's wounds — when you quit — quit the monumental lie that is our presence in Iraq.
[Video and transcript both available at the link.]

(via Medley)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Oh yes, what a maverick.

McCain supports overturning Roe v. Wade. But all that ring-kissing of Fallwell et al.? Just for show. Suuuure....

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sins of the mothers?

This one will get the wags chatting: environmentally induced changes in gene expression can be passed down *two* generations. It sort of makes sense that a female offspring's eggs would be affected by her in-utero experience, since the eggs are set up so early (and involve so many regulatory factors produced by the mother). Still, surprising in many ways.

I expect this to further complexify the lives of geneticists trying to tease out small risk factors (for weight, disease, etc.), and to give scientific journalists lots of fluff to write about blaming our problems on our forebearers...

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Friday cuteness blogging: 2nd cousin edition

Well, really a first cousin once-removed: Dax, the son of my first cousin Mark (and, of course, his wife Anina). That's a mighty cute sack of potatoes there! Looking forward to meeting him in person...

newborn much Dax

Previous nepotism-blogging: 4, 3, 2, 1, the brag page

Quote of the day

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
Dean William R. Inge
(via The Daily Bridge Calendar)

You better watch out, you better behave

UCLA student doesn't have ID during a library sweep, ends up tasered by police on his way out of the building, police who threaten to taser other students who try to intervene (and reinstate perspective). I'm with Digby in finding taser use a frightening and disturbing problem, which converts a reasonable desire for compliance into a brutal (and sometimes lethal) attack. The Patriot Act is making this country a scary place to live.

Update: not that it really addresses the larger issues, but perhaps this should surprise no one -- the officer involved here has a history of using excessive force.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh, jeeeeez

Humbled by the voters' message? Heck no! Bush appoints anti-abortion exremist to be head of family planning services to low-income women.
At the Annual Abstinence Leadership Conference in Kansas, Keroack defended abstinence (in an aptly titled talk, "If I Only Had a Brain") by claiming that sex causes people to go through oxytocin withdrawal which in turn prevents people from bonding in relationships. Seriously.
This guy is really terrible...

Latest t-shirt buy

And one of the few nonpolitical ones of late! (Lord knows it's true...)

bad grammar T


Hard to disagree with this.
Huge two-chamber take-over, including victories in states that the DLC and congressional campaign committees had written off, "Rumsfeldian"?? Ludicrous.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More tea leaves

Two interesting posts by Markos on the meaning of last week's election for the American political scene. The first looks at the regional shifts in power that are leaving the GOP increasingly isolated in the South.
For the first time in 50 years, the party that controls both chambers of Congress is a minority party in the South. And in the last four presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has either garnered 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to win, or has come within one state of doing so before a single Southern vote was tallied. Outside the old Confederacy, the nation is turning blue, and that portends a new map for a future Democratic majority.
This has meaning both for Republicans (time for a new plan!) and for Democrats (you can win without the South, but you'll need to make inroads there in the long run). The second post looks at the ideological shift that has brought freedom-loving Westerners (libertarians, in essence) back into the Democratic fold in the face of an increasingly fascist GOP.
Democrats have the chance to become the party that stands for the right of adults to make decisions about their own lives free of moralistic governmental interference and regulation. Those who cast their votes based principally on such libertarian sentiments -- driven by the belief that the government should, to the greatest extent possible, stay out of their lives -- will view the Democratic Party as the far more attractive choice.
Lots of other interesting points made in both of these posts, so I encourage you to go read the rest. I'm sure this is only the tip of the analytical iceberg to come...

Your midweek giggle

Those crazy Aussies, indeed: who has and hasn't learned the lesson of the Trojan Horse?

(via pal DD)

Martin Luther King memorial

snip of its logoAm I the only one who had no idea plans were underway for a King memorial in Washington, DC? Apparently they've already broken ground, not far from the Lincoln memorial! How did I miss hearing anything about this??

(via the Philadelpha Inquirer)

Webb notices that there are two Americas

One for the uber-wealthy (stock market up!) and another for the working poor (wages down, health care elusive). There might be some folks in the middle, holding their own, but I suspect that more of them are looking fearfully down, one bad illness from the trench, than are looking sunnily upward.
The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.

With this new Congress, and heading into an important presidential election in 2008, American workers have a chance to be heard in ways that have eluded them for more than a decade. Nothing is more important for the health of our society than to grant them the validity of their concerns. And our government leaders have no greater duty than to confront the growing unfairness in this age of globalization.
Imagine! American labor, American everyday folk, standing up for their rights to have dreams, to do more than survive. I'm excited to hear more of this kind of talk! Let's get down to what's really ailing our nation...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

These guys are operating on a different level

I'm a political junkie, but it's clear I'm in the minor leagues. Over at DailyKos they've got a lesson on the 50-state strategy and its power in even unrelated races, followed at mind-numbing speed by advance analysis of the Democrats' pick-up prospects in the 2008 elections for House and Senate. Geez, it would take me a month just to piece together who's up each time!! Exciting to contemplate, but, um, the rest of my life has been on hold for a bit too long already...

Quote of the day

blur of fall colorNothing influences our ability to cope with the difficulties of existence so much as the context in which we view them; the more contexts we can choose between, the less do the difficulties appear to be inevitable and insurmountable . . . the more complexities, the more crevices there are through which we can crawl.
- Theodore Zeldin
(via whiskey river)

Joe Lieberman

Latest pronouncement: I'll stick with the Democratic caucus as long as I feel comfortable there. Translated: big prize for whoever is willing to kiss my butt more. I hope that kos is right about the inevitable outcome of such assholery...

In a nutshell

Let the term "liberal media" nevermore be uttered: compare and contrast.

(via Medley)

Monday, November 13, 2006


this modern GOPIf the only way that you could win an office was by deceiving voters, would you really feel excited on election night? I'm just amazed that 99% of this stuff comes from Republicans, but somehow that never registers with the voters. Makes me feel unclean just to read about.

Another splash for retro-medicine

Joining leeches and maggots in the indespensible armory of the modern doctor is honey, which can kill off antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections (of the localized kind, anyway). Pretty neat, those biologically evolved solutions...

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Scared of public discourse

computersApparently even technology journals are afraid of the power that the Internet provides for the dissemination of news and especially of damning video of politicians being idiots. Medley notes that their headline "Sen. Allen's Collapse Shows Dangers Of Web Era" could easily have been replaced with a more (reality-based) variant such as
Sen. Allen's Collapse Demonstrates Potential of Citizen Journalism
Sen. Allen's Collapse Teaches Politicians to Avoid Hypocrisy
Sen. Allen's Collapse Reminds the Watchers They're Watched
or even, heh, "Sen. Allen's Collapse Exposes Reporters as Complicit." But maybe that last would be coming a little too close to home...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In case it hasn't really sunk in yet...

Here are more celebratory front pages than you can possibly take in -- but don't let me stop you from trying!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A lesson in thinking long-term

This is just a great story, and it also has lessons in fighting an uphill battle and in getting in from the outside of The System. Just go read it, I don't want to wreck it for you. These are heady days...

(via kos)

We welcome our new [rorschach] overlords

Atrios points out what passes for conservatism, according to the meme that the new Democratic electees exhibit such an ideology. (See also this for further poo-poohing of the whole ridiculousness.)

Friday kitten, debauchery edition

Here's Pasha, showing the signs of her non-stop partying since Tuesday night...

Pasha at play

Previous, more dignified, Pasha appearances: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, arrival, teaser3, teaser2, teaser1, homepage

Brilliant, if belated

Wish I'd seen this before: one of the best summaries out there of the extent of Republican corruption -- it was a "Don't forget to vote" ad, but still makes a point about what needs cleaning up. The Democrats have their work cut out for them.

(via The Tattered Coat)

Quote of the day/week

A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.
– Thomas Jefferson,
Letter to John Taylor, 1798
(via The Tattered Coat)

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The Onion has an amazing response to the Rumsfeld resignation announcement.
Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon, saying that he had "proudly accomplished everything [he'd] set out to bungle."
Unbelievably biting. (Side note: I didn't know they did real-time articles between regular issues!)

(via Atrios)

Update: Not really related to the above, BooMan has more on Rumsfeld's successor, which makes him appear to that rare bird, the competence (not loyalty) promotion. Interesting.
(via dragonballyee)

Wow, I thought lawn envy was bad...

In South St. Louis there was a joke that one guy gave upon the competitive lawn maintenance scene and just had his lawn paved and painted green. Anyway, that kind of neurosis has nothing on the bizarreness that is the South Austin lawn humps... Takes all kinds!

Dangerous cuteness levels

Wow! You were warned...


A sharp political analyst offers a brief but chewy reflection on the real significance of Tuesday's election results, arguing against the media meme that conservative Democrats were triumphant, and instead pointing out that a regional realignment took place that is the counterpart of the Republicanization of the South:
purple mapThe regional realignment over the past 40 years, which slowly converted Dixiecrats into Republicans, has now entered its final stage, as voters north of the Mason-Dixon line and west of the Mississippi provide a countervailing response to the southern-led Republican majority.

This transformation is occurring at the Senate, House and gubernatorial levels. Indeed, because Rust Belt Republicans will be replaced by progressive Democrats, regardless of the final totals tonight, the 110th Congress, in both chambers, will become more progressive as the Democratic shares grow and less conservative as the Republican shares shrink.
Worth reading the rest (this is about half of it). I hope that at some point the conservative narrative will stop distorting reality, so that the Democratic party can start acting as the sum of its actual parts.

(via Medley)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We were always at war with Eurasia

I'm not yet cynical enough to not get the creeps from things like this; rewriting history indeed. Two more years of these frightening, frightening men?

Ok, it didn't last a whole day

Here's a round-up of interesting responses to the election results, their significance, etc.:
  • In theory it could take a month to get Webb/Allen results in VA. However, some speculate that Allen will concede...

  • Only after the fact is the media interested in what Democrats might do with their majority. The fact that the agenda had been spelled out, was available, and might be of interest to voters apparently didn't worry their little heads...

  • Similarly, the meme of the conservative Dem class is pretty much crap. Some conservatives and moderates, a lot of liberals, voters apparently not afraid.

  • Thanks very much due to Howard Dean for pushing his 50-state strategy, against the wishes of the incumbent-protecting machines in both houses. It paid off, both because of having people placed to take advantage of unexpected developments, and just because support of good candidates will sometimes give them a chance. Imagine the machines that have been brought into existance, and what they might accomplish!!

  • Getting less coverage than the Democratic takeover is important progress on issues:

    1. South Dakota says no to an abortion ban, indicating that extremist positions may be on their way out.

    2. Six states increase the minimum wage above federal levels, raising the quality of life of millions of low-wage workers.

  • In related but less serious news, NPR has an interesting interview with voice-over experts on how to make a scary attack ad. You gotta hear the demonstrations, using nursery rhymes!!
    (via Alas a Blog)

Update: Hastert will step down from leadership. Better late than never.
(via Talking Points Memo)

Didn't see *this* coming

Rumsfeld to resign. Republican insiders were saying otherwise just this morning (see this, e.g.). Did yesterday's election results actually deliver a message, did the Ghost of Veterans Future come to call, or is this an attempt to change the headlines and cover pages from weak-GOP images like this? Impossible to know...

(via pal BF; that will teach me to eat lunch out!)

Oh, and one other thing

Fuck Rahm Emmanuel.

(via Atrios)

Soaking it in

some ass was kicked!Man, I'm whipped. Long day, short night, had to drop off polling place materials this morning, now a heavy work day ahead. Excited by many of the returns, especially those like Missouri's Senate race, that nobody thought could happen a year ago. Lots of recounts to come, some excitement and some disappointment in the greater Philadelphia area, so a bit of waiting. But like BAGnews, I just want to enjoy the moment a bit, maybe get a good night's sleep, and then I'll dig into the details and think about what it all means. It's been a long dry spell, and the rain feels good on my face today...

Not able to stay up much longer...

On the edge of my seat over Senate races and hot Philly-area House races. But it will be tomorrow, at least, before the final tallies are determined. 14 hours working the polls, worsening cough, and I just gotta sleep.

Meantime, the Onion was all ready with their topical headline: Politicians Sweep Midterm Elections. *Very* well done.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Misc. links

Need more time. Have to go get election day materials from my Ward Leader. Here's some interesting stuff to bide your time until you vote...
  • Republicans in New Hampshire trying to annoy Democrats into staying home, with repeated robo-calls puporting to be from the Dem side.
    (via Medley)

  • American press covers Saddam's sentence while apparently forgetting that we backed him for several decades before we decided he was the embodiment of evil.

  • Bitch, Ph.D. looks at the ugly truth encounted by feminists who think they've got the freedom to direct their own lives, only to run up against societal expectation and structural inequalities later on. Giving up isn't a choice, but hanging in isn't a flower bed either.
That's all for me. Don't forget to vote for a change tomorrow. The country is depending on you!!

Did I forget to mention this??

kids say vote!
It's Election Day tomorrow! Go do your part.
I'll be at the polls until late...


Have been very impressed with Howard Dean as DNC chair, both his strategy and his handling of public appearances. Anyway, this one-minute address is a good summary of what the Democrats hope to do if given power, and also something of an up-revver for tomorrow's big day of hoping...

(via dailyKos)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Signs of desperation, installment the next

Bush declares Missouri a disaster area four months after actual disaster, but fortuitously just days before the election. You must be kidding -- if I were in MO now, I'd feel my intelligence being insulted...

(via NowThis)

A fight we're less interested in

While the US is busy spending tons on the possibility of avian flu (not to mention, Iraq), many countries are waging war on hospital-borne infections, especially the antibiotic-resistant ones that are becoming ever more common and threatening the safety of our health system. When kids are starting to pick up resistant staph on playgrounds, we've perhaps waited too long...

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

This is just bizarre

donkey having to carry an elephantLieberman staff refuses to let Lamont attend his own event. This is honestly crazy to me, and well beyond simple incivility. Have they lost all grip??

(via Atrios)


An amazing gallery of insect photos -- loving up-close shots of beasties I don't recognize at all. Some a bit fearsome, but many deserving of being made into posters or desktop images. Wow!

(via boing boing)

Not letting them change the subject

Colorado activists are, as kos says, playing offense on a stupid anti-gay marriage amendment bill; they're pointing out that (a) this issue is already law in their state, and (b) that the only reason it's on the ballot is to distract from the real issues in this year's race, like the war and the average guy's pocketbook. Good for them! (Extra snark fun via their Bush impersonator too...)

Eject the whole set

Brilliant: Tough Guys of the GOP trading cards. I don't know if he's actually made a whole set of these, or just this one (what with Sen. Allen being such an easy mark), but it's a natural fit. Too funny.

(via dailyKos)

Update: oh yes, there's at least one more...

Friday niece-blogging

Halloween! Sophie was a peacock!! I don't think I had any costumes this ornate as a kid, but it's sure cute!!

Sophie the peacock
Fanning her tail

row of costumed toddlers
Row of costumed revellers (?)

Previous Sophie appearances: 3, 2, 1


Apparently among the "noncombat weapons discharge" deaths in Iraq was one protest suicide by a soldier troubled by the interrogation techniques being used by her intelligence unit. It seems symbolic of much of the tragic waste (lives, reputation, purpose) of the last few years...

(via This Modern World)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Final push -- don't wait for others to make it happen

The best thing is to join a campaign, help with their final push of field operations, voter contacts, and spreading literature. But if you just have a few minutes here and there and would like to help make a difference, try Move-On's Call for Change program, which makes it easy to reach out to voters in nearby races or around the country. Personal contacts are more effective than PAC mailings and robocalls every time.

campaign logo

(via Atrios)

Tickles my funny bone

The second of these two Lamont ads makes me giggle. I hope it also makes its point to Connecticut's voters (if not, maybe that Iraq-war-oriented first ad will catch their attention)...

Things are really going great now!

peace ribbonYou know that your pet war isn't going that well when even the guys who are most benefitting from it, the contractors, are pulling up stakes. Just raking in the bucks doesn't seem fun, I guess, once most of your outlay is for security, not construction, when your projects get blown up in infighting on the ground, and when your employees are getting killed. (Wait, doesn't this sound a lot like the military? hmmm.)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Art in action

Here's a neat little movie in which you get to see an illustrator draw a wasp, starting with the rough pencil sketch and ending up with a funky color image. All in time-lapse style. [about 6 min. total]

(via boing boing)

Encouraging creativity

I just want to give a hat-tip to Google for their consistently creative and surprising artistic holiday logos. They've been having one a month since shortly after they went live, and they range from major holidays (e.g., Halloween and Thanksgiving), to minor holidays of various cultures (St. Patrick's Day, or Chinese New Year), to artist birthdays and international events. Pretty neat sideline.

(thanks, Mom, for reminding me to check out yesterday's surprise)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quote of the day (stand-in for actual blogging today)

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
- Friedrich Nietzsche,
philosopher (1844-1900)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

In honor of the season

jack-o-lanternScience applied to everyday things is one of my favorite topics, whether it's the lifespan of a twinkie, the response of a marshmallow peep to extreme treatments, or what happens to various foods when they're overcooked. Today, in honor of Halloween, I offer you a comparison of methods to preserve a carved pumpkin. Unfortunately, none of them work super-well, but the best might buy you a few extra days, if you got out the knife a bit too early this year...

(via boing boing)


Twisty mocks the rush to restore a brothel at Pompey, but the snark sort of comes off the story when you realize that priceless ancient texts are being left to moulder for lack of funds for real (read, non-titilating) archaeology... Sigh.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

NYT weighs in for Lamont

Don't know how much weight the NY Times holds with CT voters, but was impressed that they really nailed all the reasons why Lamont offers a better choice than Lieberman.
Mr. Lieberman has changed his tone but not his underlying conviction that he has been right all along. He and Mr. Bush are still on the very same page, encouraging the American people to believe that there is a happy ending for American involvement in Iraq, and that all it takes is the perseverance to keep marching toward the end of the rainbow.
There's more, and it gets beyond snarky to very thoughtful. yay!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Happy birthday, to a one in a million

ladybug on a leafWho is wise,
The eloquent or the quiet man?
Be quiet,
And loving and fearless.
-- The Dhammapada
(tr. Thomas Byrom)
(via gingko)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday random

Because what's more random than a find-your-own diamond mine? The only one in the world. Probably most folks find nothing, but a couple this year have found multi-carat beauties... Wacky.

(via GirlHacker)


Here's a quote worth repeating, from Friday's Cheers and Jeers at dailyKos:

The election is three [less than two] weeks away and there are rumors the Republicans are getting ready for an election night disaster, which would be a first---a disaster they were actually prepared for.
---Bill Maher
Let's make it happen! !!

For the Scrabble fan

Wow is all I can say to this set of couches. Brilliant.

(via GirlHacker)

Can't go another week without kittens!

Here are a couple of cute shots from shortly after we brought home our second bengal kitten (last September). The two took to each other immediately, as though they'd just been waiting for a familiar playmate to show up -- but it did take some faith on our part that the chasing and wrestling was all in good fun...

games through the stair banister
Hard to remember they were ever this small!

tense moment pre-pounce
Wait for it . . .

Previous kitten games (reverse order of posting): foursome, playtime!, window-gazing, random, overheads, portraits, rest and romp, three-fer, snuggles5, doubles, power-napping, (return of themeless), (themeless), snuggles4, shower games, sun snuggles, sunbathing2, catnip!, twofers, sunbathers, posh lighting, treehouse, friends, snuggles2, more lounging, snuggles, Thanksgiving, cones, forms of love, lounging, more games, P&P wrestling, Pixel and Yogi, catspage

The experience of depression

Dooce has a great post up, giving snippets from a columnist who found out the hard way that clinical depression really exists and isn't all that much fun.
I hate being dependent on a drug. Hate it more than I can say. But if the alternative is a proud stoicism in the face of sorrow accompanied by prolonged and unspeakable despair — well, I’ll take dependency.
Dooce herself has struggled with depression since the birth of her child (and has been quite open with her readers along the way), so she's a pretty good person to trust in identifying useful depictions for those whose loved ones might be wrestling with a dark cloud. You don't have to live through Katrina to get there...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The brain is an amazing, amazing beast

rainbow brainCoolest story I've heard in a long time: turns out that Scott Adams, creater of Dilbert, has been unable to speak for some 18 months (not the cool part, but who knew?). That is, he could give public speeches (e.g., perform) but not carry on a conversation (create simple meaningful and audible sentences) -- sounds weird, but my neuroscientist pals will recognize that the brain compartmentalizes different tasks in unusual and sometimes unintuitive ways.

Anyway, despite being told that nobody has ever recovered from this syndrome (i.e., see here), he kept tinkering and experimenting, and then stumbled upon a way to retrain his brain to find a route to his lips.
When I say my brain remapped, that’s the best description I have. During the worst of my voice problems, I would know in advance that I couldn’t get a word out. It was if I could feel the lack of connection between my brain and my vocal cords. But suddenly, yesterday, I felt the connection again. It wasn’t just being able to speak, it was KNOWING how. The knowing returned.
Pretty darned cool, that brain -- guess that's part of what drew me to neuroscience in the first place. How things develop, fix themselves, work. The more you know, the more you're blown away by increments in our understanding, and by the adaptive leaps the system can make every day.

(via boing boing)

Interesting things I haven't blogged

Have been reading a lot, even while I've been too groggy to post much. Two stories in particular struck me this last week, one in a hopeful way and the other of the more dread-inducing variety:
  • Chris Bowers, local Philly guy, has been focusing activist energies on Democrats with big warchests and no or token oppositions, in his Use It or Lose It campaign -- telling those folks that this is the year that they should be giving back to the party in its attempt to take back Congress, and that we'll be remembering during the next election cycle whether they ponied up now or sat on their moneybags. The "deep target list" of winnable seats means lots of money can be put to good use, so he's actually been asking those with no race to pitch in 30% of their hoards. Happily, the publicity and pressure are paying off, with some big names stepping up with serious contributions to the DSCC, etc. Yay for accountability!!

    protest fists

  • Meanwhile, on the grimmer side of the ledger, ABC has gone over to the Dark Fox side, giving up any pretense of balanced reporting in its scramble to make sure that conservative feathers aren't ruffled. That augers poorly for the longer haul -- I've pretty much lost any sense of humor about the tired phrase "liberal media" at this point -- so I find it almost too depressing to consider. Perhaps after the election, progressives can start becoming the kind of loud critics (beyond late-night TV comics) that make broadcast stations afraid to let conservative blowhards go unchallenged . . .

Look after your sandbox

A wombat seems like a strange source, but this little flash thing is truth, of the "everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten" variety, the stuff we seem incapable of remembering... As Bob says, heed the wombat!

(via This Modern World)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quote of the day

We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don't.
- Frank A. Clark,
writer (1911- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Meant to blog this before, but somehow forgot...

This is quite funny to anyone who was raised in a Christian church, and probably to many who weren't: Real Live Preacher does a taste test of communion wafers, searching for one that might make passable food (rather than, say, styrofoam). fish sign Probably most jarring is watching him cram in two or three, like snack chips...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Support the damn troops, already!

Silly Hunter! What matters is who supports the troops on their way over there, not who supports them once they come home! Don't try to inject your silly reality games into this rhetorical airspace!

Visual illusions

Check out the latest Photoshop contest entries -- things sliced to show unexpected features in their cross-sections. Pretty neat.

(via boing boing)

Thank God for TNT

It's hard to peg the worst part about being sick at home for a week (ok, it's coughing yourself awake all night), but one of them is having 10% your usual brain function and needing entertainment. TNT logo The last New Yorker was *way* too intellectual for my feeblemindedness, and I couldn't have faced hour after hour of game shows and people arguing about who was the better spouse (or whatever it is that's going on on those daytime shows!), but TNT came gallantly to my rescue. In addition to such standbys as Law & Order, it offers paired installments of E.R., Judging Amy, Without a Trace, and other things that offer just enough plot to carry your feeble attention along all day long without challenging or confusing it (or causing more nausea than you already have).

The odd show out is definitely Charmed ("We know drama." Charmed??), but it's a measure of how sick I was that I grasped gladly at every episode -- "yes! these are nice girls who just want to live normal lives but never can! I too, stuck here on my death couch, long only for the pencil-pushing normalcy of my office -- I understand!!" (ahem.) Anyway, I don't think I've ever watched so much TV for so many days in a row, let alone been so grateful for the option. Even the computer was just hard...

That all by way of explanation to anybody who wondered where I've been. I even missed my Ward meeting last night. But I hope that today's bundled foray to the office will be only the first of many, and that no evil spirits arrive to challenge my pretense of everyday life everything's fine from here on out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nothing's the matter with us!

A number of Kansas politicians have noticed that national GOP moving ever rightward, and are switching to the Democratic party this year, giving the winger nominees a run for their money. Welcome to the sanity game, kids!

clashing heads
(via Medley)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Can't afford complacency

This report at dailyKos is a needed wake-up call about the effectiveness of the Republican get-out-the-vote machine. No spiffy poll rankings will help if one side gets all their supporters out on Election Day while the other side lets its supporters get wrapped up in taking the kids to soccer and forget to vote. We need feet on the street, everywhere!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Did I forget to mention this?

Remember the Club for Growth, those guys who thought that Arlen Specter was too liberal? Apparently Joe Lieberman is right up their alley... I don't know how the guy sleeps with himself anymore, or how his wife does, for that matter.

The trials of being a girl

Two pithy pieces from Echidne make excellent points:
  1. There have been several headline-grabbing school massacres in recent weeks, and for some reason the media studiously avoids mentioning that girls were targeted. Echidne has noted this silence before (e.g., here), but it finally got mentioned in print:
    Imagine if a gunman had gone into a school, separated the kids up on the basis of race or religion, and then shot only the black kids. Or only the white kids. Or only the Jews.

    There would have been thunderous outrage. The country would have first recoiled in horror, and then mobilized in an effort to eradicate that kind of murderous bigotry. There would have been calls for action and reflection. And the attack would have been seen for what it really was: a hate crime.

    None of that occurred because these were just girls, and we have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that violence against females is more or less to be expected. Stories about the rape, murder and mutilation of women and girls are staples of the news, as familiar to us as weather forecasts. The startling aspect of the Pennsylvania attack was that this terrible thing happened at a school in Amish country, not that it happened to girls.
    Not pretty, either the events or how we accept (or ignore) their symbolism.

  2. A shorter post notes the ways that right-wingers ignore the successes of feminism because they've bought their own spin that it's only about man-hating (and maybe witchcraft) rather than a more general empowerment of girls and women in all aspects of their lives. femsign The specific story here rang a particular bell for me -- I know that my own aunt didn't pursue a veterinary career 40 years ago, despite her obsession with all things animal, because women didn't do such things at the time -- nobody would think of telling a girl today that teacher and secretary were her only choices, whether for career or Halloween costume. But apparently those systemic changes happened all by themselves... idiots!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

For those who know him

Pal Jeremy has been wandering the world, most recently a trip to Japan to play commentator for a backgammon tournament there -- we should all have such glamorous lives. Anyway, for those of my readers who know him and/or might randomly be interested, he's posting lots of photos to his nonce travel blog for the amusement of others. Great stuff -- makes me wonder why I ever tried to put together photo albums!!

Sometimes I think Orwell was too complacent

More propaganda-as-entertainment on the way. eesh.

(via Avedon at Eschaton)

My favorite story in a long time

Yunus' smiling faceThis year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this weekend to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, who together pioneered the idea of "microcredit" -- tiny loans of $50 or $100 that allow people to pull themselves out of poverty, often by starting a small business raising chickens or rabbits. Many of the success stories involve women -- married, widows, single -- who have gone from begging for food to supporting their families and even employing several of their neighbors. The system uses social pressures to make sure that ideas are sound and loans are repaid, and it's been hugely successful, as a business and as a mechanism to improves lives in many impoverished regions (and it has spawned many related charities and businesses specializing in microfinance, such as this, which I support). A great concept, and an apt recognition. And wow! what a smile...

Quote of the day

Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.
- Lewis H. Lapham,
editor (1935- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday niece-blogging

Around the time of the YearlyKos meeting, we stopped in to visit our charming two-year-old niece Sophie (and her parents too) -- somehow I forgot to upload this cute shot of niece and uncle "reading" some books...

Sophie & Rob

Previous Sophie-cake: 2, 1


This Modern World draws some uncomfortable comparisons between what's going on in Dafur and what's going on in Iraq. At least, they'd be uncomfortable if you cared about reality on the ground, the lives of brown civilians, etc. -- the Bushies are busy with alternative spin and proving that this isn't Vietnam.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quote of the day

I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.
-Frank A. Clark,
writer (1911- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Fools and fallacies

Three good pieces, not enough time to do them justice here:
  1. A new book by a former Bushie reveals that the Administration manipulated the evangelicals as patsies for their own ends.
    The book is reported to chronicle Kuo's growing frustration and eventual realization that the Republican Party in general and the Bush White House specifically were shamelessly using Evangelical Christians to advance a secular political agenda with little or no connection to the concerns of the religious right.
    Not really a surprise to those of us who've seen the lack of integrity on every other front, but may poke further holes in the unquestioning support of the right.

  2. Rice is a twit, and Bush lost North Korea on his own watch, whatever crap she may be trying to sell.
    "Failure" =1994-2002 -- Era of Clinton 'Agreed Framework': No plutonium production. All existing plutonium under international inspection. No bomb.

    "Success" = 2002-2006 -- Bush Policy Era: Active plutonium production. No international inspections of plutonium stocks. Nuclear warhead detonated.
    Truthiness is selling less and less well. Unfortunately, it's too late for factuality to make any difference.

  3. A psychologist explains the "sunk-cost fallacy" being used to justify our stupid Iraq policies (and the "cut and run" accusations aimed at opponents). It's bad economics and it's bad foreign policy.
    How should we honor the sacrifices of those who have died or suffered serious injury in a U.S. military conflict? The best way to show how much we respect and value their lives is by not risking other lives unless future prospects for success fully justify putting more people in harm's way.
    But no, throw live soldiers after dead, "stay the course." The price, I suppose, of being governed by idiots.