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)