Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Voters v. Wingnuts

Remember that draconian abortion ban in South Dakota? The one that made no exception for maternal safety or rape victims, and that launched a one-woman crusade to make indian reservations the sanctuary of the state's beleagured women? Well a major volunteer-driven petition drive across the state has put a repeal measure on the fall ballot for voter approval. Supporters of the repeal say that the state's residents didn't ask to be the testing ground for a radical agenda, and they have both moral and economic reasons for asserting themselves. Go, ordinary folks!!

united resistance!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Isn't it time to move on?

Tristrero notes the complete absence of Iraq from MoveOn's issue agenda. I agree that they're the ones to take a bold stand, rather than waiting for some fearful politician to do it -- the need to get out of Iraq is becoming pretty clear to even the most resistant of Americans, and the slogan is all ready to go...

Quote of the day

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.
– Robertson Davies
(via A Mindful Life)


I know that yesterday was Memorial Day, and that did seem more meaningful in light of our endless overseas war. And yet I was caught off-guard while walking near Philadelphia's Independence Mall on Sunday evening to see this display in the grass in front of the Constitution Center:

rows of faux tombstones
(original image lost and Arlington substituted...)

Perhaps all the more impressive when seen not as part of a news story or civic event, but just silently there as part of the landscape (sans installer). I found it quite powerful.

Was also caught off-guard by this and this. The Sunday comics -- who knew to be emotionally prepared...? (and we miss you, Kylan!)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Criticism raised to the level of art

I don't read David Brooks' columns, both for sanity preservation and because of the new paid-only firewall. But I almost wish I did, just to more fully appreciate the fine artistry with which Tom Tomorrow dissects and slaughters the latest piece.
At some point in every David Brooks column, you reach the "has he ever...?" moment. As in, "has he ever actually met/seen/spoken to a representative of the group about which he is making wild unsubstantiated generalizations?" That moment comes rather quickly in this one — in the second paragraph, to be exact. Allow me to repeat that last bit for emphasis:
For example, inequality is much lower when measured by consumption than by income because poorer people now spend much more than they officially report as income.
What I believe he’s referring to, with this glib reference to inequality "measured by consumption," is what the rest of us call "crushing consumer debt."
But really, this is the serious part; as Brooks spins off into space, Tom conjurs a cotton candy ball to muffle him with. Go, read!

What *else* don't we know?

The BBC is reporting research that shows shocking levels of uranium contamination among civilians in parts of Afghanistan. Not only does that indicate a health crisis on the horizon there, but it raises questions about whether spent-uranium weapons and/or "bunker-busting" nukes were used there by coalition forces. As in us, the, um, "good guys"...

(via Follow Me Here)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stories from beyond the grave

Well, from beyond attention span, anyway: Ken Lay of Enron fame gets convicted on many many counts. That's pretty slow karmic comeuppance by my reckoning, but better late than never!

Thursday bengal-blogging

No real theme today. I have some cute new shots that I keep forgetting to upload, so here are a couple of random ones from a couple of weeks ago. Neither quite perfect or in focus, but both capturing a very good likeness of the cat in question...

lounging Pixel
Pixel in typical lounging pose (1 yr.)

Pasha wonders whazzup

Pasha caught without flash (10 mos),
to show her blue eyes (and kittenish look)

Past kitteny goodness (reverse order): 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


Philadelphia cartoonist Signe hits the nail on the head again today with her cartoon about America's love of oil and big cars... (I hope you don't need to register to see it.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday art outing

subway glass snipNot Friday, but feels a bit that way for some reason (perhaps lunching under a tree helped), so here are some arty and interesting bits I've collected recently, to share some diversion.
  1. Maurice Sendak is working on a pop-up book of classic movie monsters. What a great collaboration...
    (via boing boing)

  2. Here's a remarkable gallery of original origami -- each photo on the first page links to a whole collection on some theme. Fabulous.
    (via Follow Me Here)

  3. Cityscapes cast in jello. I don't know why either. But they're otherworldly.
    (via boing boing)

  4. Wonderful found art that is simply discarded things -- alone for their beauty (a rusty pully) or in collections for combined effect (e.g., 1950s toy ray guns).
    (via boing boing)

  5. And finally, a guide to the artwork in the New York subway system, including snapshots and locations.
    (via kottke)
Update: you gotta check out this artist, who seems to be working somewhere in the zone between M.C. Escher and Rene Magritte...
(via kottke)

Satire continues to provide more truth than the news

The Onion chips in with a brief story of Bush deploying National Guard to public relations duty. Why not -- every hand to bail the boat...

Again and again

Tom Tomorrow's most recent cartoon exactly captures the cycle of hope and disappointment that characterizes the informed citizen's experience of current events . . .

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Re-bluing from the top?

Markos predicts a strong Democratic take-over of Governors' mansions in 2006, which would be great for the other competitive races in those states as well as a good indicator of potential for 2008. I sure love the look of that second map...

Looking over their shoulders

wedding ringsAmpersand has an interesting theory about why anti-gay-marriage forces are in such a rush to get a federal law or other heavy duty smack-down for gay rights: because it won't be long before theirs is the minority opinion, as younger voters with more tolerant viewpoints replace their older counterparts.
Why is the leadership of the anti-equality movement so desparate to get marriage banned in the Constitution? Because they know that if they don’t win soon, and in a way that will be incredibly hard to undo, they won’t win at all.
He's got the opinion polling stats to back up this heartening claim.

More volcano rumblings

Joe Lieberman's challenger really puts out some unexpected tremors, taking a third of the delegates at the state party convention (he needed 15% to get on the ballot without a big petition effort). And that's just the insiders -- I think that the state at large is even more impatient with Mr. Luvs-Bush-Alot . . .

Monday, May 22, 2006

Quote of the day

We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love.
It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
-William Somerset Maugham,
writer (1874-1965)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Relative freedom

Speaking aloud what we all suspected they believe, Gonzales goes on record as thinking that the First Amendment isn't absolute, like all the other Constitutional provisions (remember that crazy separation of powers?) that are being let fall by the wayside . . .

(via Medley)

Friday, May 19, 2006


woeI am ashamed to admit that I was appreciating the lull in coverage of Gitmo. Because it's in a hellish holding pattern, and association with the place taints everything else that America attempts to achieve. Four suicide attempts in a day, riots by prisoners, detainees who haven't been considered worth questioning in years... It chills my blood.

You knew it was coming, and yet...

The first documented massacre by American troops in Iraq. As Tom Tomorrow says, "Not-Vietnam now has its own Not-My-Lai." I recommend skipping the depression of the original story and getting Tom's gloss with some reactions from around the blogosphere. It's hard enough.

Shrinking ourselves

tumble of lettersApparently the Senate voted yesterday to declare English the official language of the United States. It's largely symbolic (for example, it carefully skirts the provisions that allow official signs and forms to be provided in Spanish or other languages), but what a sad symbolism to choose. As Bob Harris says,
The idea that a language unifies or defines a culture is based on a bizarrely narrow, uninformed, and misplaced sense of what makes a culture worth having.
Or a national identity as the welcomers of poor, tired, and hungry...

(via This Modern World)

Thought for the day

Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it but don't swallow it.
- Hank Ketcham,
comic artist (1920-2001)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

These two stories have nothing to do with each other

Among the two best pieces I've read this week:
  1. An explanation for opposing prostitution from a feminist perspective -- a "choice" in the context of an oppressive set of constraints is no choice at all.
    Why are we so willing to believe that impoverished, drug misusing, abused women living under patriarchy - where we are explicitly told that we are the sex class of humans - are not at all influenced by this context in selecting prostitution as the lesser of other evils?
    Long, but worth the time, especially if you haven't thought about this issue.

  2. An assortment of questions you'd love to see put to administration spokespeople.
    Why is it wrong for the judiciary to redefine the law but right for the president? Or: why is "activist judge" bad but "signing statement" good?
    Very much on point (and this is just the tip of the iceberg), and sadly unlikely to happen.

If only...

Another funny by way of the Onion. I have to say, this makes me think of the old slogans about fully funding our schools and having bake-sales for the military... may that day come!

Thursday bengal-blogging, snuggle edition

I guess I have to stop saying "kittens" now that Pixel is a year old! Anyway, she deserved a cuter photo for her birthday, so here is some blatant cute snuggling from a few days ago. Hard to look and not be able to touch...

cat pile
So soft and sparkly...

Previous cat combos (in reverse order): 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

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quote of the day

When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.
- Thomas Carlyle
(via A Mindful Life)

Just to lower the outrage meter

This is one of the funniest things I've read in some time.

(via Tom Tomorrow)

Surely you jest

Some people have been telling feminists to shut up, that they're being hysterical in their depictions of the right-wing agenda as aiming to start with abortion, continue by attacking birth control, and eventually end up at complete dictatorial control over the lives and wombs (reduced to the same thing) of women. !!!Well, the alarmists are being proven accurate:
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.
Surely you jest. Surely the lives and health of women are concerns for their own sakes, and not just to preserve the health of lives that don't even exist? But no! As a dailyKos poster put it,
Those imaginary babies are important members of society!
Don't miss the part/link about the woman being deprived of anti-eplilepsy medication because she's of childbearing age (even though she has NO plans to become pregnant).
My neurologist does not trust me to not get pregnant. My neurologist puts a potential fetus's potential health over my health.

And now the government wants to officially sanction that.
I find this in no way funny. Doctors are patronizing enough, without being encouraged to discount their actual patients in service of future possibilities. Women need the right to make their own family planning decisions as well as to keep control of their own current health. Appalling!

(via Medley)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

May flowers

One of my big container-planting experiments is a dwarf lilac that I bought last year. It should top out at about 5 feet (it's about 2.5-3 feet now) and bloom three times per year (say, April, July, and September). I gave it all the best soil, but will it survive with the light limitations of the patio and the limited space for roots? Only time will tell.

We're off to a good start, with a heap of great-smelling blossoms.
(This picture is from about two weeks ago.)

Here's a wider view, with nibbling by our chrome bumper goat.

(p.s.) There won't be much more posting from me today, as it's Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania and I'm going to be working at the polls all afternoon.

Listen to my words only, please

That must be the President's stance, if he wants us to be impressed that he's sending 5,000 National Guard troops to the Mexican border (where they can be even less prepared for an Iraq deployment), after he funded only 210 out of 10,000 actual border guards approved by Congress last year. Will this inconvenient truth make it into the news coverage? Not with Fox News running things...

(via georgia10 at dailyKos)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Wondering what all the fuss is about?

who's callin?Why should I mind if the government knows who I've been calling, as long as they don't listen in, right? Well, you might feel differently if you were a whistle-blower, especially from a government agency...
Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
We'll track down those truth-tellers and punish them but good! Great...

(via boing boing)

Rove going down?!

He apparently expects to be indicted by Fitzgerald, and will resign when such an indictment is announced. That would certainly be big news!

(via Follow Me Here)

I love randomness

A public-art improv group stages a sort of flash-mob visitation to a Best Buy, harmless and amusing, or terribly threatening, I guess, if you're management. Most entertaining, well documented, good for Monday giggles.

(via Medley)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday silliness

Things you never had any reasons to go looking for:Or, if known silliness doesn't float your boat, try random crap on sale for one day, with most amusing descriptions... (via a commenter at Bitch PhD)

More good news

More and more personal data is being attached to airline reservations, leading to a huge potential for not only abuse of individual rights but for sophisticated identity theft.
... using the frequent flyer number on his boarding pass stub, without typing in a password, [we] were given full access to all his personal details - including his passport number, the date it expired, his nationality... and his date of birth. The system even allowed us to change the information.

Using this information and surfing publicly available databases, we were able - within 15 minutes - to find out where Broer lived, who lived there with him, where he worked, which universities he had attended and even how much his house was worth when he bought it two years ago.
Big Brother's EyeBe careful where you drop your boarding pass stubs, and be wary of government assurances about the need for TSA intrusions and ever-expanding databases.

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Better late than never

Bush's approval ratings drop into the 20s -- the big question is, will this stick to members of his party in 2006, let alone to his party's nominee in 2008? 20-20 hindsight just gets us rammed into a tree . . .

(via "Bill in Portland Maine" at dailyKos)

Let the thwack resound!

When I was a kid, we trained our dog in part with a rolled-up newspaper, the effect of which was to make a loud (and disapproving) sound when banged on the hand, chair, or whatever. I was reminded of that when I read that telephone companies that gave phone records to the NSA could be liable for billions in damages according to a pretty simple reading of the law. It's heartening to think that, if we are as helpless as we seem in reining in our actual government, there might at least be punishment available for those who help them in their oppressive goals. Think TWICE, corporate collaborationists! [thwack!]

(via Medley)


This guy over at dailyKos took a lot of time to assemble the reason(s) that I'm saying less and less (here, at least). forehead-banging It's not just outrage overload, it's gaping-mouthed disbelief. But I guess all those photos mean it's all true -- seeing them put together doesn't make things any better. However, I don't think this is just the feeling of being in the minority party; I think this is the feeling of watching your civic beliefs crumble around you.

(via Medley)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Once more down the rabbit hole

No really, I had to bump into this story a second time before I could even blog it, let along process what it says about the world we live in now.


Remind me again...

...who is it that I'm supposed to be afraid of? I am sometimes losing sleep, but it's not falling buildings I see at night; it's the All-Seeing Eye.

(via Medley)

Quote of the day

reflectionsWe either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.
- Carlos Castenada,
mystic and author (1925-1998)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Logical extreme

The Onion offers a masterful projection of the right-wing agenda relative to women and "the unborn." Typically funny in an unfunny way.

(via I Blame the Patriarchy)

Letting the unfortunate slide

This Modern World points us to some bad news: the US is the second worst developed nation in terms of infant mortality.
American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found.
We're not a third world nation, nor have we been devastated by a domestic war in recent memory; we just abandon a whole swath of our residents to fend for themselves at the bottom of the undiscussed class ladder. It's not a pretty picture.

It's good to be king

Apparently the Bush Administration thinks it's ok to pass over contracting bids from non-loyalists. By which I mean, folks that have the audacity to let on that they don't love the job Bush is doing (or maybe that he isn't wearing any clothes).

(via Medley)

well, at least this story has created a kerfluffle. Not that I expect anybody to actually be held responsible...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hard to believe

...but Pixel is a year old. Guess that means we've had her for some ten months, also amazing. Anyway, in honor of her birthday, a little Pixel action shot.

bitey face
A fierce bitey face to invite a wrestle and romp!

(for comparison, you can see her as a tiny beast here...)


Over at This Modern World, a comparison of Bush's and Nixon's popularity, which shows that W could come out as the least-loved and most-hated President of the last century. (Not that it's much help at this point...)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Quote of the day

philosopher's journeyThe greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.
- Andre Malraux
(via whiskey river)


Upyernoz puts Bush's reflections on his presidency into some historical context.
Geez, what an idjit.

(via Kos)

Faux fear and real fear

What the Republicans are rabble-rousing about is the possibility that crazy liberals want to impeach the President. What they're covering up is their fear that what Democrats actually want is some oversight of how our nation is being run.
Because heaven forbid Americans should be reminded that Democrats with subpoena power will investigate gas prices, no-bid contracts, billions missing in Iraq, the stifling of science at the FDA and the EPA, secret and ineffective surveillance programs, torture at detention camps, innocents stranded at Gitmo, Big Pharma, and more.
Bingo. W is just a figurehead for everything that's being mismanaged at the top these days, not least the lapsed responsibility of the legislative branch.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Lieberman is a putz

showing his stripesAnd this guy found an effective but civil way to point that out.

(via Atrios)


Listening to Harry Shearer's "Le Show," and thence the first I've heard that an option being considered for Iraq is partition. Can't get the kids to play nice? Just send 'em to separate rooms. That's worked so well for, say, Yugoslavia, or India and Pakistan... sigh.

Out with the trash

News released on a Friday is often called "the trash" because it gets lost in the slow Saturday news cycle. But I suspect that Peter Goss' resignation as head of the CIA won't go unnoticed. Scandal-plagued of late, unpopular since his appointment (and gutting the organization of disloyalists systematically), both the reasons for his departure and the candidates for replacement are likely to be chewy sources of debate.

Information overload

too many balls in the airI suspect that many folks will empathize with this rant about information back-log in our lives. How many emails waiting in your in box, how many unread books on your nightstand? You are not alone. (His solution may or may not work for everybody, but a little defiance feels good!)

(via Medley)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ah, there it is

I've heard a lot over the last few days about Steven Colbert's performance for the White House Press Correspondants' Dinner -- how Bush gritted his teeth, the awkward lack of laughter at the unfunny truthtelling, what is humor and what is rudeness, why the press took so long to admit that it all took place. But I think that this post by georgia10 best captures my own feeling about the event and the kerfluffle both: where were these same critics when President Bush was disparaging the voters, the Constitution, and our national reputation, all in service of short-term political (and financial) self-interest?
Yes, Cohen is right. Colbert, obviously, is the bully. A man who leaks info to discredit his critics? A man who launches a war to feel tough and be a War President? A man who uses the the press as a punching bag? Nope, not a bully.
. . .
Cohen refuses to see the truth in Colbert's jokes, because to acknowledge that truth would be to acknowledge his own failure as a member of an incompetent fourth estate.
Watching Colbert slam the President when he was only a few feet away wasn't always fun. But it was a rare chance to pop the info-bubble in which Washington insiders seem to operate, and I applaud him for saying what he felt needed saying. Sadly, those things haven't been funny to most of us for a long long time.

here are the video links, with the whole performance captured in three parts, 1, 2, 3.
(thanks to BagNewsNotes)

Have I mentioned that I love mimi smartypants?

Because sometimes I laugh quite hard when reading her brain-rambles:
. . .
Empty Cheeto Bag: I am but a husk, friendless in an uncaring world. Emptied of my cheesy snack goodness, I was cast aside without a care. I drift hither and yon, the lowliest of the low, buffeted by the wind and by the unseeing feet of vast multitudes. My future is dark indeed, and I long for merciful unconsciousness.
Me [walking past]: Christ, that's enough. Get over yourself.
Empty Cheeto Bag: Shut up, bitch! I wasn't even talking to you!
Me [turning around to flash the "L For Loser" signal on my forehead]
Empty Cheeto Bag [calling after me as I walk away]: Fuck you!
There's a lot of other random goodness in this one too, but really, this part takes the cake.

Thursday cat-blogging (non-kitten edition)

Thought it might be time for a feature of one of our older cats. This here is Yogi (age around 13), baking herself senseless in the sunlight.

Yogi baking herself
And yes, she has quite a number of toes...

Previous cat-blogging (including lots of spotted kittens):
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

Quote of the day

Life is this simple: We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the Divine is shining through it all the time.
- Thomas Merton
(via whiskey river)

Want to become a doctor?

This personality flow chart is extremely funny. I feel that way, thinking about the medical students and doctors that I know, and I think that they would find it funny too.

(via Follow Me Here)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Malaprop city

gigglesEver discover that one of those old linguistic tropes was completely different than you thought? Ever get annoyed by somebody that appears not to know their own language? Editor? nitpicker? Then feast yourself on these "dreadful phrases" that are filled with auditory (and mental) inversions... Remember, it's a doggy-dog world!

(via Follow Me Here)

President Hypocrite

Our Bush, multicultural embracer or flaming xenophobe, whichever is expedient.

oh, this is too rich!
(via XOverboard)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

News from the world of science

Land of Cool Findings: how bees make collective decisions. It turns out to be an incredibly effective way of assessing everybody's commitment to the possible choices, and thus picking the best.

Land of Potential Importance: a powerful new antibiotic identified from wallaby milk. They say it's 100 times more effective than penicillin. Can we do a better job of using this one judiciously, say by keeping it out of animal feed??

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Imagining the netroots

Chris Bowers at MyDD takes a look at the stereotypes concerning political bloggers and takes them apart one at a time, from youth to rabidity. Much of the dismissal can be boiled down to one simple metaphor:
In the Joe Klein / Mike McCurry narrative, the netroots are teenagers, while career political professional are adults.
Such analysis dismisses a growing and active group of political activists, and also overlooks the importance of the consensus that they are building on a number of issues (and which differs from the Insider take on many of those same issues) and which is starting to bubble over into the mainstream pond. Georgia10 offers some additional thoughts on this matter, especially on the notion that new tactics or different priorities automatically stem from ignorance of the real political process.
The reality, of course, is that we do understand how D.C. works--we just refuse to accept the status quo. It is precisely because we know how D.C. works that we call for change. It is not naïveté that compels us to demand that the gloves be taken off; rather, such calls for courage stem from a rational realization that the current system is broken.
donkey head-bashing If the Democratic aristocracy continues to treat all newcomers as upstarts who need disciplining, rather than as sources of new ideas and input from different parts of their constituency, they're going to bring an intra-party war down on their heads, and we are much better off going after the real crazies over on the right, there. The big Insider ideas haven't provided many victories in the last decade on that front, so I can't see why they're something to hold over the heads of anybody with a different plan.

Yesterday was...

...Blog Against Disablism Day. And I heard that and didn't think much either way, but then I read this brief tale, and was instantly reminded of the following poem, by a great poet and a friend for many years, Michael McNeilley. I bumped my previous post in honor of this more topical entry. We miss ya, cranky old man.


I am not a man with wheels,
although it is the wheels you see
when I roll in.

I am not a chair that speaks.
Still, you are surprised to hear
a voice come from this chair,

as if perhaps, a miracle,
I suddenly had healed, and next
would stand and walk.

I am not chairbound,
confined to a wheelchair, or
physically challenged;

I will not be defined
by my appliances:
rendered by my limitations.

I am not some kind of
disabilities recruiter, nor is my
lack of leg power

contagious. But you back up
as I speak,
as though you might

have something I would take
if I could reach it.
Oddest of all: the way

you race to grab your children,
shoving them aside, crying
"look out, Suzie...Billy please!"

as if I'd planned
to run one down.
The kids are better.

Many stare but most just say hello
the first time, before they're
snatched away.

Children see in me a grownup who
will meet their eyes, and wink,
and mean it; who rides

a funny indoor car;
their look is curiosity,
as they have yet to live

those bleak grey mornings of the soul
that shadow us down with the prospect
of our dying.

They've never stared at death,
and so they do not misconstrue
that I am in some way

connected; serve somehow
as death's signpost, its harbinger,
its minion.

I've heard many times:
"I hope that I go quickly,
and not end up that way,

stuck in a wheelchair," to which
my only answer must be to say
then, go ahead.

And in the end, I will be who I am,
and not just what I do,
and I am not resigned

to be defined by what
I use to
get things done,

for what you see of me may
reveal more of the observer
than it informs of the observed.

I know you say
you only want to help,
and I would never ask so much

as that you smile, but it will be
enough for now, at least if you
will gently move aside.

Park it

Here's a little piece extolling the virtues of public transit and walking, from the free time gained (i.e., reading on the train rather than cursing at fellow drivers) to the lifetime expanded (more than repaying your foot work). If gas prices aren't enough to convince you, maybe that extra year of healthy life will catch your attention.

(via Medley)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Perplexity, the latest

Apparently Rush Limbaugh has been arrested on drug charges. Several questions jump to mind:
  1. Wasn't this the news of a few years ago? Isn't he all reformed and returned to his High and Mighty ways? Who will claim the High Road (of nasty flameage) now?

  2. Rush who? I mean, I know he's continued to be a crazy blowhard, but didn't he jump the shark as a media matter some time back? (If not, please, why not??)

  3. Schadenfreude, the return. I am not proud of that.
(via Echidne of the Snakes)

I'll take irony for $400, Alex

scales of somethingThe White House has officially declared today, May 1, "Law Day."
This year's Law Day theme, "Liberty Under Law: Separate Branches, Balanced Powers," honors the wisdom of the separation of powers that the Framers of our Constitution established for the Federal Government. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention recognized the risks that accompany the concentration of power and devised a system in which the Federal Government's authorities are divided among three independent branches. James Madison highlighted the importance of our Constitution's separation of powers when he wrote, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands . . . may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
No really, this was their own creation. As though every move of the last six years hadn't clearly demonstrated the Administration's disregard for the legislative and judicial branches of government as well as it's feeling that the President was above any restriction of law. Timely that the Globe itemizes some 750 laws disregarded by the President thus far.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
And those are just the ones that were passed *since* he took office...

(via dailyKos & Follow Me Here)


Many states are taking action to offset the stalled federal minimum wage with higher state minimums (Pennsylvania is among the states discussing a long-overdue hike). Turns out that some of these states are addressing the issue via voter referenda, which might have the side-effect of boosting turnout for Democratic candidates. I never know whether to grit my teeth or applaud when the Dems pull a page from the GOP playbook, but this is an important time for a double-header like that!