Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rummy gets a smack-down!

Wow, Kieth Olbermann sticks his neck out to call a putz a putz.
The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.elephant!

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.
And that's just the opening! Go read (or watch) the whole thing. Better yet, let MSNBC hear your support for truth-telling, since it will surely hear the outrage of the wingnuts.

Visual nutshell

Offered without additional comment: the latest from Signe.

Oh yes, we live in a postfeminist era!

Because we're getting a female nightly news anchor -- how much more serious could that be? Well, apparently they're not so impressed with her brain that they didn't need to photoshop her skinnier before releasing a shot to accompany a profile . . . Every part of that photo was manipulated to slim and sleekify it -- wouldn't want America's women getting the idea that you're ok as you really are! Ick.

(via Knotted Knickers)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Well, this speaks well of my fellow Americans

tv!They are fleeing from Fox News in droves . . . (Perhaps they are noticing the discrepancies between things said there and things as they turn out to be.)

Little rays of sunshine

Amid the enormity that is the destruction of Katrina, tales of progress, one house and a few volunteers at a time. I'm really proud of my spouse, who went and worked for a week with a church group helping rebuild along the Gulf Coast (although not in New Orleans itself) -- a real work-out for body and spirit. Good to see some making headway, even while not forgetting that many may have no choice as to where they end up...

(via boing boing)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We've got your macacas right here!

A poster at DailyKos offers some advice to Sen. Allen about who is and isn't an American, and reminds him of the contributions of many Indian immigrants and other "brown folk" to our national history and our technological advances. Amen.

Housing BUBBLE teetering?

I've been pretty unworried about news of a slowing of the housing market, because in Philadelphia we're still making up for years of underpriced housing and generally undervalued downtown living. But it's hard not to think again after looking at this breathtaking graph showing that nationwide, at least, home prices are in an unprecedented price-spike. We don't intend to sell our house anytime in the foreseeable future, but somebody looks to get caught in an unpleasant situation when this bubble (and the unconscionable lending practices that are fueling it!) finally bursts...

(via Atrios)

If you read only one story on New Orleans

real folkThere will be a deluge today, on the one-year anniversary of Katrina's landing, on the hope and the rebuilding and the almost unchanged acres of destruction. It can be hard to believe that so little has been done; we want to move on to other things. Matt at the inexplicably named, gives a moving overview of a recent visit to New Orleans, with wonderful images to accompany his ruminations on the place, the political sideshow, and what it all means. I recommend it highly.

(via Albert at dragonballyee)

What marriage can offer

In case you've missed it, there's been a big kerfluffle over the last week because a doofus at Forbes advised men not to marry career women, for their own good. A laughable piece, but one that pushes the buttons of many women who've had to defend against a similar line of palaver from their parents, as well as a constant assault of retro-mommification (uxor-ification?) of all things woman from popular culture. Forbes actually pulled the piece until they could get a rebuttal piece to post alongside it. [If your stomach is strong, you can see the pair here.]

Anyway, many of these (perpetually recurring) debates weary me too much to blog, but feminist ally Hugo Schwyzer has a good post on the difference between marrying to protect your limited field of world expertise (by finding somebody to cover the rest) and approaching marriage in such a way that you can both grow in your mastery of what life has to offer:
The goal of a marriage is not comfort, but growth. It might be more comfortable for some men to work outside the home but never do a load of laundry; some women might be more comfortable handling all the cooking but never pursuing a profession in the wider world. But when we only do what is comfortable, we atrophy. If we only lift the weights that are easy to lift, we will never build muscle. If we only run until we begin to sweat, and then stop, we will never finish a race. If we only do those tasks that our culture, parents, or peers suggest that those of our gender ought to do, we never become the complete human beings we have the chance of becoming.
Well observed and thoughtful; go read the whole thing.

(via Medley)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday fun-links

In honor of the last gasps of summer, a last burst of pointless and unrelated fun and/or cool links that I've collected over recent months:

Today's contribution to the death of satire

School bus driver orders black children to the back of the bus. No, really. (She's been suspended. But, um, what on earth?!)

(via dailyKos)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fact-checking for the masses

Now it's not just news anchors (and Jons Stewart) that can pull up a clip of file footage and catch somebody denying their own statements: the increasing prevalence of video cameras, combined with hosting and sharing sites like YouTube, is allowing regular folks to hold politicians accountable. Indeed, the rules are changing. Dare one hope that the result would be selection of better representatives, or will this just lead to more scripted events with prescreened audiences? (I'm going to hope for the former, clicking my heels along the way...)

File under "Surprising no one"

Joe Lieberman campaigning exclusively with Republicans. Yeah, he's sure his own man...

Overhead cat-blogging

Fun with spots and sleepy cats. I gotta get the tripod out soon...

curl of Pixel
Pixel napping

curl of Pasha
Surprise! Pasha also napping.

Can't get enough bengally goodness? See prior appearances here (in reverse order): 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 tiny victory

The FDA is allowing nonprescription access to Plan B contraception (the "morning after" pill) for women 18 or older. It only took them three years to give in to the advice of their own experts...

(via XOverboard)

femsignTechnical note: this drug prevents pregnancy (seemingly by preventing ovulation, and/or fertilization); it is not an after-the-fact abortifacticant. This battle was all about a woman's right to control her bodily processes (and, you know, not carry a rapist's baby). Just in case you wondered what the right's focus really was.

So little to hold onto

Six years into an anti-Constitutional presidency, two years since he created waves, and Howard Dean is still the only Democrat calling crap when he sees it.
You don't make a permanent commitment to a failed policy.
. . .
Finishing the job? The job was finished. We went in there to get rid of Saddam Hussein. We got rid of him. Then we decided we were going to occupy the country, and then we decided that we would try to mitigate a civil war, which we're now in.

The problem is, the job, as far as the President keeps defining it, is a moving target. He doesn't know what the job is. He doesn't know what the end point is.
Lots more on a variety of subjects. Why am I so excited to hear any public figure say these things? Don't we have actual candidates who might want to make the same points? Hello?

(via Medley)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So much for getting a good night's sleep

Yellow-jacket nests the size of cars. As Kos says, who needs sci-fi when you have global warming? eek.

In a nutshell (quote of my life)

ladybugIf the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. It it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
-E.B. White,
writer (1899-1985)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Crazy Alaskans take matters into their own hands!

Or rather, a sitting Governor is ousted in a primary, press reports nothing out of the ordinary. This despite weeks of chest-beating over the end-of-times specter of Jomentum getting a thumbs-down from residents of Connecticut (crazy leftists on the loose! al Quaida candidate! a victory for our enemies and for the Forces of Evil!). As Kos says,
I forgot that booting an incumbent is fine if you are a Republican.
Everything IOKIYAR (is ok if you are Republican) . . .

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

If only this were satire...

Talk about reducing Christianity to a cartoon of itself: I can't imagine a better symbol of religion as security blanket than this. Every time I look at that link, I just stare, transfixed by the awfulness...

(via XOverboard)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Belated invocation of good ideas

Almost two years ago, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggested taking the rhetorical war back to the Republicans, as by suggesting the use of the term "birth tax" to refer to the ever-growing pile of national debt being assigned to each American of the next generation.

parties bumping heads
This seems like a powerful theme (among many new ones being brewed of late) that has not been put to much use. But a Pennsylvania Congressional candidate has rolled it out as part of her criticism of her opponent's record. Better late than never -- let's put those Rockridge Institute guys to work, and show them something can come of their efforts!

(via the Philadelphia Inquirer)

Once more down the rabbit hole

A Philadelphia Daily News columnist does a good job of summarizing the number of ways in which up is down for the Bush Administration when it comes to national security...
• They cut 40 percent of the money for security in New York City, a proven terror target, and gave it to states like Indiana and Wyoming that just happen to vote Republican and have such potential "targets" as Amish dairy farms and ice-cream stands.

• They knew that terrorists in Britain had a plot to use liquid explosives, yet tried to take millions of dollars from a program developing new explosive detection technology meant for that kind of threat.
Hard to pick just a couple out of such a wealth of perversity...


Here's an ad with an unexpected grab!!

(via Follow Me Here)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Who can stop him???

It turns out that Joementum is hiring a GOP consultant to play to his conservative constituency.
That means his whole GOTV operation for November will require him to bring Republicans to the polls (assuming no new entrant in the race to replace Schlessinger from the Republican side). This will hurt the three local House races the Democrats are counting on to help them win back the House.
monkey on the party's back!If he believed in his party at all, would he jeopardize its chance of taking back the House? The Republicans know how it swings: they'd rather have Joe than run a real candidate of their own and end up with Lamont -- this is ridiculous!!! Will the Congressional leadership wake up and pressure him not to run?!?

Doublespeak, redux

There's no civil war in Iraq; it's a set of sectarian violence operations. Don't you feel better?

(via dailyKos)

Quote of the day

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
- James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Stop it, stop it, stopitstopitstopit!

From Seymour Hersh's latest in the New Yorker (about the Middle East mess):
ack!"The Israelis told us it would be a cheap war with many benefits," a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. "Why opose it? We'll be able to hunt down an bomb missles, tunnels, and bunkers from the air. It would be a demo for Iran."
I hardly know where to begin with how many ways this is wrong...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sanity asserted?

A federal district court has ruled the NSA wiretapping program unconstitutional. (I'd say "well, duh" here, but in the Bush/Gonzales age, statues have little or no stable meaning.) Apparently the wording didn't dance around, getting right to the heart of the Bushies' willful misinterpretation of the Constitution and rejecting it. Man, that's hopeful stuff. The right will cry crazy judges, and one presumes a Supreme Court appeal, but still, somebody's noticed The Emperor's lack of clothing...

(via Echidne, Kos, etc.)

Thursday bengal-blogging: Portraits in spottiness

We have this tall cat tree that sits in the middle of our family room -- it replaced the little scratching column once the kittens needed a bit more athletic challenge. Climbing, clawing, batting, jumping; this baby has it all! The topmost tier is the setting for the elevated portraits featured here today...

Pixel looks on
Pixel watches the world go by

Pasha caught lounging
Pasha caught lounging

Past joint appearances: rest and romp, 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

One has to wonder...

...just what Our Leaders think would represent the terrorists winning. Will we be victorious in the WoT when our laws are just like those in Saddam's Iraq?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This is very funny

A sports commentator approach to political coverage. Wondrous, as a general spoof and particularly the jabs at various recent characters and events.

(via boing boing)

Quote of the day

dry grass headsJustice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
- Benjamin Franklin,
statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Time for NARAL to wake up and reevaluate their priorities

That is, they supported Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary, despite his enabling of the Alito nomination, disregard for the importance of Plan B, and other crimes. But now the results have given them the opportunity to set things right and back a candidate that actually cares about their agenda, and they're hemming and hawing. Their endorsement could be a real boost to Lamont in this race, open the eyes of odd Joe-bedfellows like Barbara Boxer, and generally reclaim the high ground on their own agenda and issues. They need to get on board before people stop caring who they back -- add your two cents to the call for them to wake up and endorse Lamont in the general.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Yep, that's a classy bunch

It's not enough to call the Democratic Party the "Democrat party," as though the yokel shortening will conjur bureaucrats and other hated sorts; now the GOP has stooped to pencilling a Hitler moustache onto a photo of Howard Dean before putting it on the RNC's front page. A little scared by the shifting tides, eh boys?

(via TPM Cafe)

But we *talk* about terror a lot!

As though talking (and fomenting fear) were all that was important in the war on terror: the Bush Administration has advocated cuts in funding for explosives detection technology -- of exactly the sort that might catch liquid explosives going onto planes (or, imaginably, similar threats in subways, etc.). But who cares about real danger (unsecured ports, anyone?) when there's hay to be made over, um, crazy leftists in Connecticut!

Help !(when cute goes very very wrong)

hello!kitty!Please say it isn't so -- Hello Kitty credit cards?? There should be some built-in penalty. (Maybe the secret scorn of those around you is enough.)

(via boing boing)

A sense of scale

Ampersand offers a little graph to help demonstrate how the income of the ultra-rich sliver of our country compares to the incomes of the other segments. eep.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Independence is a two-edged sword

I know that the Democratic leadership is giving Lieberman a few days to think over his primary loss and the subsequent flocking of his previous backers to the new official nominee. But they've got to talk to him eventually, and I think they need to make clear that if he insists on running in the general as an Independent, he'll lose the committee assignments that he currently holds as a member of the Democratic party -- that Homeland Security spot, in particular, shouldn't be trusted to somebody off on a bender. Now's the time to let your elected officials know what you think about the distribution of privileges.

Not titanium, but still sleek and aerodynamic...

I can't decide what I think about news that Frank Gehry has designed jewelry for Tiffany. On the one hand, simple, abstract forms in a variety of materials (some quite unusual). On the other hand, stuffy self-important store, appearance of selling out. Then again, more Gehry!!

abstract brooch
(via GirlHacker)

Crass-tastic product of the year

Where to begin to describe this . . .

Undertake token efforts much?

glazed lookYou know all those airport delays that involve removing liquids from people's carry-on luggage? If they really thought they'd be finding explosives, would they be having people pour them into bins right in the midst of the crowd? (And if they don't think they're going to catch anything, why are they tormenting a huge stream of passengers?!) Amazing.

(via Medley)

Update: and Rafe points out that they knew about this threat for months and yet only instituted this screening after the arrests were made, adding to the impression that this is mostly kabuki for the masses...

Nipping the conspiracy drama in the bud

The whole ridiculousness with Lieberman about his website being "hacked" is pretty easily debunked -- wouldn't you expect a huge spike in traffic on the day of a primary receiving national attention? Then, um, maybe you should have a system in place to handle it (or at least not cry wolf when your system crashes)...
Waaah, waah.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


The New Haven Register endorsed Lieberman in the Democratic primary, but even they can see clearly that he needs to stay out of the general election.
Somehow, the irony of a general election strategy that relies on Republican votes to win seems to have eluded a politician who touted his Democratic credentials during the campaign. It merely supports Lamont supporters' charge that Lieberman is a closet Republican.
With friends like these...

Take the hint, Joe!

Quote of the day

If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages.
- Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen),
author (1885-1962)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday bengals -- rest and play

A couple shots of Pixel and Pasha, who are frequently together, whether at rest or in ferocious romping and chasing festivities...

A nap interrupted for some mutual head-cleaning.

pounce (with open mouth)
Pixel on the attack (some 3 feet off the ground, but why worry?)

Previous cat combos: 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

Of bombing and news coverage

BagNewsNotes makes some interesting observations about the before and after shots of Beirut making their way around the news via the AP -- both how they're presented, and the info that isn't mentioned. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Surely they jest...

Profiling a top golfer "off the course" requires that she be in the kitchen? In various evening wear? Ewwwwww...

(via Salon's Broadsheet)

Yes, exactly

Simon Rosenberg offers an insightful take on "the meaning of" Lieberman's defeat:
In this new era, partisanship is a virtue. The conservatives rise to power, and their utter failure to govern responsibly or effectively, requires a new progressive politics of confrontation, not accommodation. This new politics may be uncomfortable to those used to an America governed by Democrats and progressive values, but for our politics and values to triumph progressives must and are learning how to resist “cutting deals,” working to “get things done” on terms set by an irresponsible governing majority.
. . .
I have great sympathy for those wishing our politics could be more genteel, where both sides could come together to work things out for the common good. But we live in a different time, and our the rising partisanship in the Democratic Party is a necessary, pragmatic and I believe virtuous response to the circumstances we face today at the dawn of the 21st century.
It's not your father's Republican party, Joe. To the barricades, or out of the way!

(via kos)

Gotta get 'em when they're young

Gender programming starts appallingly early -- it's not just the oppressive toy choices, but even their diapers are teaching tiny tots what they're expected to appreciate . . .

(via Bitch, PhD)

Lieberman speculation

He lost the primary to Ned Lamont, with huge turnout. But says he intends to run as an independent. People are starting to line up behind the elected nominee; but will they try to bring Joe back off the ledge?

Sore Loserman bumper sticker

Update: here's a rather apt, if snarky, open letter to Lieberman . . . It didn't have to be this way.

Update 2: the best summary I've seen of what just happened to Joe Lieberman -- and what it does and doesn't mean -- is in this Time article by Josh Marshall.

Open letter to Gov. Ed Rendell and Rep. Bob Brady

I'm writing to ask you to take action on behalf of the Democratic Party. Specifically, I ask that you contact Senator Joe Lieberman and urge him not to disregard the will of the Democratic voters in his own state by undertaking an independent run in the general election. He owes it to his party to support their chosen candidate in that race (as a former DNC chairman, Mr. Rendell, I'm sure you'd agree), he owes it to his consituents to respect their right to have their votes respected, and he owes it to the country not to distract from other issues and races that need national attention.

If the Democratic Party asks him not to run, and/or removes him from his Senate positions if he takes up an independent mantle, then his argument from "experience and status" falls away and his bid is revealed for the desperate act that it is. Please help let him know that we expect more dignity and loyalty than that. That Connecticut and the Democratic Party deserve more respect.

Thank you for your attention to this delicate matter.

[I urge everybody to contact their local officials too.]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Twisty is my hero

Not just for Bravery in the Face of Surgery, but because of her amazing leaps of vocabularious noncitude, such as "gazongal," "nonboobalosity," and "obstreperal lobe." Really, even normal language sounds good here, as in "a bra on a boob-free person amounts to an entirely gratuitous entanglement of the upper torso in pointless, gender-role-affirming cloth." I loves me some smart snappy attitude.

It's primary day in Connecticut

Will be waiting to hear the results of the Democratic Senatorial primary pitting Joe (you shouldn't question the President) Lieberman against challenger Ned (remember the constituents) Lamont. Thoughts on this race: good reasons for supporting the newcomer; an explanation of what this campaign isn't; what the Lamont campaign could teach other message-less Democrats about standing for something; and predictions for how the media and Washington insiders will see the "message" of this race, depending on which of four possible outcomes occurs.

Go, Ned!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Quote of the day (duh edition)

head to headBipartisanship only works when the other side compromises, too. Otherwise it's just capitulation.
- McJoan at dailyKos
(via digby)

Spiffy geek project of the week

Make yourself a simple electric motor in under a minute. Spiff!

(via boing boing)

Another one-time say

The American voter decided that Bush could do no wrong when they re-elected him in 2004 (or so he believes). forehead smackApparently the Iraqis proved that they weren't interested in civil war by, um, ceasing to have one showing up at the ballot box last year.

Well, that's that, then. On to the next question!

Hillary hate

Was a little surprised by the degree of distaste expressed by these Democratic voters in New Hampshire, but at the same time a little relieved, as I just can't imagine Hillary Clinton as having any chance in a nationwide election. If some of the key primary states don't intend to go her way, then perhaps she'll give more thought to other outlets for her political energies.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Gratuitous reference (it's Friday!!)

You know what's the best thing about a Knob Goblin barbeque? You can enjoy it indoors in the air-conditioning, because it's just too hot to live right now!

goblin bbq!

Have fun doing whatever it is you plan to do...


Another funny-and-yet-not Onion headline:
Bush Grants Self Permission To Grant More Power To Self
Very well done, right down to the supporting/opposition quotes.

Tee hee

Steven Colbert's advice on how to be an expert on anything (in his unique "it's what I feel, not what the facts say" style).
Be Sure to Use Lots of Abbreviations and Acronyms. Someone who says the words operations security may be educated, but the person who uses the military abbreviation Opsec is clearly an expert. If I use the term Gitmo, that means I’ve actually been there. If you say, “We’re going to Defcon 1,” it means you probably have the launch codes. Real experts don’t have time for extra syllables.

(via boing boing)

Quote of the day

pebble with shadow
Lower your voice and strengthen your argument.
- Lebanese proverb
(via A.W.A.D.)

More signs of the end times?

Apparently Sweden is under assault by some kind of tent caterpillar that encases anything that holds still in a sheath of cotton filled with squirming larvae (warning: big page of photos) -- not just trees, but parked bikes, parts of houses... Major yuck!!

(via boing boing)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The shifting center (etc.)

Digby has a great piece today on the increased partisanship of recent years and how it calls for a change in strategy on the left to offset that on the right -- i.e., the old rules don't hold, and yelling at "newcomers" for insisting that the Democratic party stick to its principles isn't helping. That's a poor summary of a good piece (which is why I've had this link open all day), so just go read it.

(via Medley)

Needs no further comment

"Now that they've changed the name of the french fries back, maybe they will admit their other foreign policy mistakes were wrong, too," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader.
(via XOverboard)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


fruit-bearing treeIt's strange to watch cultures disappear in real time. I always feel sad to hear that some language is now spoken only by a handful of old people, and I get the same feeling in response to news that there are only four living Shakers, who could end up being the last of their faith. I take heart in this, however:
One of the group's members, Ann Lee, earned the role of leader in the 1770s. Known as Mother Ann, she was persecuted and jailed for preaching unorthodox beliefs such as sexual and racial equality, pacifism, and that God possesses both masculine and feminine traits.
At the very least, the passage of time has allowed these threatening concepts to seep into many branches of faith and into modern culture more generally. Perhaps the Shaker movement helped accomplish something more lasting even than its private community of believers.

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Everything old is new

I like when ancient remedies prove their use to modern doctors. First it was leeches to drain excess blood from surgical sites, and maggots to clean a tangle of infected flesh away from the healthy part (see previous here); and now it appears that honey can promote healing in the face of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Fantastic on many fronts (and no squeamishness either).

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

I'm still here

Somehow the incessant heat has taken more out of me than I realized, and in combination with some morning appointments and a deadline at work, has left me cautious with my energies, measuring out every keystroke. Not so much reading of my regular sites, not so much blogging, a little slow throughout the day. To capture the feeling, another napping kitten photo...

Pasha reclining
Pasha takes her ease.

Eventually, more here, I'm sure.