Friday, March 31, 2006

Obvious in retrospect

Geekonomic: what the economies of online games reveal about the magic of scarcity. It's true -- it's the need to scrimp and strategize that keep one feeling challenged; I suspect that the same thing holds true in life as well. knob-goblin barbeque(Certainly makers of unique luxury items hope so, but I think the real interest would be in application of this concept to general motivations in everyday prioritizing...)

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

More of that disturbing type of humor...

Feeling the pinch of all the misogynist legislation and rhetoric lately? Perhaps you need one of these great t-shirts from Tennessee Guerilla Women: The Red Burka. An image that captures a larger sentiment very well . . .

(via Hullabaloo)

Yeowch (increasing heat department)

I know that the netroots (myself included) are annoyed at Joe Lieberman for his high-profile displays of disloyalty to his party at key junctures, and that the press in Connecticut is starting to echo some of that dissatisfaction from regional sources. But I didn't expect to hear that he'd been booed at a statewide party dinner! The Lamont supporters are getting a little frisky, I guess.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Censure news

Apparantly the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings tomorrow around Feingold's motion for censure of President Bush, and a number of concerned experts will testify. I like georgia's pithy take:
Let's see. We have Nixon's former lawyer saying this program is "worse than Watergate." Reagan's Deputy AG will testify that the President violated the Constitution. And yet Democrats don't want to sign on to censure for fear of appearing partisan.
Also priceless is her observation that Democrats prefer "to wait for Godot an investigation" to keep them from having to act now. Funny line, but the equivocating is wrong-headed, guys. Step up.

Ok then, how about some kittens?

Have a bunch of new photos in the camera, but forgot to download them to my computer, so we'll have to scrape the barrel of past photo sessions today. The first photo comes from January and the second from March, and both show our spotted trouble-makers in calmer moments...

snuggling again
Why does this person insist on waking us up?

two in the treehouse
Poke her so she'll play with me!

Previous combinations of cats: sunbathers, posh lighting, treehouse, friends, snuggles2, more lounging, snuggles, Thanksgiving, cones, forms of love, lounging, more games, P&P wrestling, Pixel and Yogi, catspage

Parallels you hate to draw

A little essay, excerpt from a book called They Thought They Were Free, explaining what it felt like to be in Germany between 1933 and 1945, the gradual change of how government related to the people, shifting the balance of power toward a central command...
To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
Things are always so easy to see in retrospect, and comparisons or predictions can seem so overwrought...
How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.
. . .
You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
(Read the whole thing, which is touching as well as chilling.)
Somebody's got to be the alarmist. I'm willing to say that this fall is the time when we need to make a serious change in the US; by 2008 it may already be too late. If you're not worried, you're just not paying attention.

(via Medley)

Quote of the day (unlearned lessons edition)

War, at first, is the hope that one will be better off;
next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off;
then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off;
and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off.
- Karl Kraus, writer
(via A.W.A.D.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Democrats ramp up their game

kicking assA coordinated effort emerges from the overly quiet Dem camp today, and it looks pretty impressive -- their plan for "Real Security" covers a range of things from implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations to reducing national dependence on oil. Not only does it look good, but it's being highlighted by everybody on the same day; the above party page is joined by a DNC effort and an explication by Harry Reid of "The Democratic Record on Real Security Vs. The Bush Republican Record of Dangerous Incompetence" which enumerates every partisan battle over security and lays out what Democrats are specifically trying to accomplish (and what Republicans have done to make things worse). Pretty nice! The GOP is scrambling to come up with enough lies to diffuse this clear effort.

(via dailyKos)

Continuing the theme of rewarding the incompetent

Andrew Card's replacement as White House Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten, doesn't have much to recommend him, if job performance is the measure. Perhaps he provides other favors for the folks in power, or they just like using that phrase "heckuva job" . . .

(via Follow Me Here)

A bird's life

Pregnancy may be a drag, but I gotta say, sitting all day on a stupid nest just totally sucks by comparison. No morning sickness, maybe, but nothing to do! How do I know? Because I've had a window open for the past couple of hours on the bald eagle webcam, and I think the most she's done is turn her head occasionally and shift position once. I keep hoping to be there when her mate comes by for a shift...

(via XOverboard)

Who do you see when you talk to me?

gender(s)At the Guardian, a fascinating story by a woman who decided to try passing as a man for over a year, from bowling with the guys to dating women met online. It's not a salacious or trivial analysis, but a fascinating account of what was and wasn't different, how she came to see both sexes differently when viewed from the new perspective.
I had lived in that neighbourhood for years, walking its streets, where men lurk outside of bodegas, on stoops and in doorways much of the day. As a woman, you couldn't walk down those streets invisibly. You were an object of desire or at least semiprurient interest to the men who waited there, even if you weren't pretty. But that night in drag, we walked by those same stoops and doorways and bodegas. We walked by those same groups of men. Only this time they didn't stare. On the contrary, when they met my eyes they looked away immediately and concertedly, and never looked back. It was astounding, the difference, the respect they showed me by not looking at me, by purposely not staring.
. . .
That, maybe, was the last twist of my adventure. I passed in a man's world not because my mask was so real, but because the world of men was a masked ball. Eventually I realised that my disguise was the one thing I had in common with every guy in the room. It was hard being a guy.
The piece is long, but I recommend reading the whole thing; it's one of the most interesting things I've read in some time. (I imagine that the total book would be even more fascinating, but suspect I won't find the time.)

(via kottke)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Well, they have to *learn* to use it...

Democracy, that is. Those Iraqis may be getting some as a great big gift from us, but we don't really intend to let them exercise it right away. Of course, the US has a long history of telling people which leaders they want/need, whatever the evidence of elections might say. That's always worked out swell.

Quote of the day

redbud budsRemember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power. Never forget that you can still do your share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and frustrations and disappointments.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel
(via pal L.)

A symptom of how bad things feel.. how teary I got reading a dailyKos post of Jimmy Carter answering some online questions. Some combination of the refreshing directness on political issues, willingness to engage with real people, and the simple gentleness of his soul. Not much more needs to be added.

(via Medley)

Monday, March 27, 2006

But of course

femsignAmpersand gives some good on-the-ground (on the floor?) evidence for what I've always believed as well: that all kids have behaviors that we attribute to one or the other gender, that we see (and probably encourage) what we look for. Trucks, dolls, pink blue green. Let the kid figure out what shape their own pegs are and quit pushing them into one mold or another!

Kitten or tribble?

Cute Overload asks; only The Shadow knows...


Friday, March 24, 2006


A cartoon that really captures the stupidity that is the right-wing mindset on abortion. (And maybe incites readers to a counter-action...)

(via Salon's Broadsheet)

Please say it isn't so

Salon columnist Walter Shapiro looks at the potential Democratic Presidential field for 2008 and concludes that Hillary Clinton is all but unstoppable in heading the race for the nomination. An interesting overview of how the primary candidates may be viewed, what resources they'll need to have in place, and how the shifting around of the primary schedule might benefit some players (mainly Clinton) over others.Dem donkey I recommend reading the whole thing, even if you share my gritted teeth at the prospect of having to support another wooden centrist for President...

(via Follow Me Here)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Junk science meets junk politics

It's not bad enough that Rush Limbaugh feels a few thousand dead in Iraq are barely worth worrying about, but he's making that pathetic argument by bad use of statistics as well -- X out of 300 million (Americans) doesn't compare well to Y out of 150 thousand (troops in Iraq)...

Rumblings from the volcano?

Joe Lieberman is nontrivially rattled by the increasing frustration of his constituents and by the apparent momentum of his primary challenger. Go, Lamont!

Never fear! kittens here

This is the last of the series of photos taken in glowing morning light. Since Pasha got last week's feature, we give Pixel today's solo appearance. (She's 10 months here.)

Pixel in the hole!
A great shot of Pixel's head peering out of her favorite hidey spot

Pixel lolls in the sun
And here's a shot with spots, as she basks in the light...

Previous shots of kittens in the sun: Pasha, lollers, glamor shots

A bold stance in South Dakota

The recent passage of the draconian abortion restrictions in SD -- which allow no exceptions for rape or incest victims -- angered more than national activists. A Sioux tribe leader has pledged to open a Planned Parenthood clinic on tribal land right in the middle of the state, if that's what it takes to protect women's lives. She's bound to bring down the wrath of the right, so if you have a few words of encouragement or even some dollars to spare, you might send some support. It's individual stands that make the difference in circumstances like this!

(via XOverboard)

Quote/story of the day

Lao Tsu's poem in a time of warOnce upon a time a man whose ax was missing suspected his neighbor's son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief, and spoke like a thief. But the man found his ax while digging in the valley, and the next time he saw his neighbor's son, the boy walked, looked and spoke like any other child.
- Lao-tzu,
philosopher (6th century BCE)
(via A.W.A.D.)

We're back!

Blogger has been choking this week, so I wasn't able to post anything here yesterday. Luckily I got a couple of hefty posts in just under the wire over at ASFR, so if you're into news from southeast PA, there's stuff to read. Otherwise, here are a couple things I would have liked to note:
  • NPR may be in its first ever period of relative stability -- will not living hand-to-mouth change the organization? (We think probably not, but only time will tell.)
    (via Atrios?)

  • Al Gore, back in fashion? He still says no run in 2008, but perhaps he can lead the charge to renewed Democratic spine...
    (via kos)

  • Chris Bowers notes that the right-wing blogosphere is disappearing by absorption into the mainstream media (despite its alleged liberalism)...
    The right-wing blogosphere, as it is now constituted, is simply an extension of a larger message machine that developed long before the blogosphere ever existed. The right-wing blogosphere no longer holds any promise to produce new leaders within the conservative movement, or to alter the balance of power within the conservative movement in any way, shape or form.
    Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't still legions of robots ready to step in and keep the noise coming... Anyway, will be interesting to see what the consequences of this observation might be.
Onward into today, and hopefully, more smoothly!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This is bound to create a firestorm

A 40-year study finds that whiny kids grow up to be conservatives.
The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity. The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.
the ThinkerI suspect that these results will bring down a hail of abuse and harrassment from the right. However, more interesting to me is the question of whether this feels so insightful to me for purely self-congratulatory reasons or for real reasons based in my perception of human nature. I think that there's room to believe that "tradition and authority" provide reassurance to the insecure, but also to all of us to varying degrees, and perhaps it can be humanizing to realize that adult world-views are born out of the interaction of our personalities with the world, rather than via simple programming by Good or Evil forces...

(via Follow Me Here)

(p.s.) Blogger is gagging today, so posting may or may not happen. (If you can read this, I'm already way ahead of the game compared to most of the day!)

Ulterior motives

Ampersand has an excellent post looking at the policy positions of anti-abortion activists, and in particular the degree to which their arguments substantiate their claim that their motivation is to stop murder rather than to punish slutty women. It's pretty clear from this analysis that the chosen strategies are much more consistent with the latter motivation.
Almost none of their policies make sense if they really see no difference between the death of a fetus and the death of a four-year-old. However, nearly all their policies make sense if they're seeking to make sure that women who have sex are punished. After years of seeing this pattern repeated again and again, it's difficult to take them at their word.
Indeed. The table presenting the comparison is really great -- go check it out. An amazing number of positions on related matters seem to fall into a consistent framework when looked at in this way.

Monday, March 20, 2006

More cats!

just a sample taste...The Carnival of Cats is two years old this week, with the posting of its 104th assembly of glamor shots and ownerly bragging -- it travels from blog to blog, so check the home site for pointers. Still good for a fix every week, and this batch features bonus thumbnails from all contributors (including the local favorites) . . .

Ah, the clarity of hindsight

One of the major thinkers behind "movement conservatism" lives to regret the beast he helped create:
No longer does he see Republican government as a source of stability and order. Instead, he presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed and dangerous shortsightedness.
Welcome to the new world order, Mr. Phillips. We can always use another set of hands in fighting against the tide . . .

Three years old

A lot has been said about what has and hasn't been achieved in three years of U.S. military involvement in Iraq. I think perhaps Rafe's take is the one that's hardest to shake... Political intervention received as natural disaster; I suspect that's about right. sigh.

Update: oh yeah, this visual also packs a whallop...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Quote of the day/weekend

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
theologian and writer (1906-1945)
(via A.W.A.D.)

In related news

The Onion reports that 86% of Americans don't want to have a country anymore.
Of those who were against maintaining an American nation, 77 percent said they believe that having a country is "counter to the best interests of Americans." Twelve percent said "the time and effort citizens spend on the country could be better spent elsewhere," and 8 percent said they just didn't care.
A very clever piece (read the rest!), if a bit sorrowfully close to home . . .

False prophets

Back when the right was crowing about the "end" of the Iraq war (Mission Accomplished, don't you know), they called on anti-war folks to apologize for their doubt and lack of patriotism. It's being suggested that maybe it's time for the pundits to admit their own blindness, and some of the highest-visibility bloggers might join them...
"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it." (CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years." (Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)
Of course, far from admitting they were wrong, these blowhards have just moved on to the next set of air-filled talking points...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let's leave truthiness to the humor shows

newsiness...because I get pretty darn tired of seeing it in action. Let's disprove the belief that crapola becomes conventional wisdom through mere repetition; the American people are starting to get fed up!

By the way...

Tom Harkin didn't just sign onto to Feingold's censure measure, he put an impassioned argument behind his support.
We have a President who likes to break things. He has broken the federal budget, running up $3 trillion in new debt. He has broken the Geneva Conventions, giving the green light to torture. He has repeatedly broken promises – and broken faith – with the American people. And now, worst of all, he has broken the law.
. . .
Let's be clear: No American – and that must include the President – is above the law. And if we fail to hold Bush to account, then he will be confirmed in his conviction that he can pick and choose among the laws he wants to obey. This is profoundly dangerous to our democracy.
Indeed. Thanks for saying it aloud.

(via Atrios)

Can you hear me now?

Are those who thought that the "pro-life" movement would stop with abortion restrictions beginning to realize otherwise? Missouri is on the verge of discovering what it's like to lose access to birth control, and that's likely to hit a lot closer to home for a much larger swath of people than the previous round of moralization. Is there anybody left standing in the US who isn't starting to see the conservative agenda for what it is? Can we shake them?

(via Atrios)

Thursday kittens! Pasha in the sun

Pasha looking up
Pasha looks maximally pastel in morning light...

Pasha showing belly
...and it even lures her into flashing some belly!

Previous blogging of Pasha (solo):
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, arrival, teaser3, teaser2, teaser1, homepage
Also check out the Carnival of cats

Wave of the future?

Think the fascist trends in American political culture are already scary? Apparently it's slated to get much worse, with conservatives out-breeding liberals, and ethical secularists with their voluntary childlessness are removing themselves from the gene pool. Guess we'll have to crank up the reprogramming in educational settings... heh.

(via Medley)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Poem of the day


We speak of Heaven who have not yet accomplished
even this, the holiness of things
precisely as they are, and never will!
Before death was I saw the shining wind.
To disappear, today’s as good a time as any.
To surrender at last

to the vast current -
And look, even now there’s still time.
Time for the glacial, cloud-paced

soundless music to unfold once more.
Time, inexhaustible wound, for
your unwitnessed and destitute coronation.
- Franz Wright
(via whiskey river)

Bad guys and good guys

political chickensThings are getting ever hotter for Joe Lieberman, and rightfully so. Meantime, Russ Feingold is making a courageous stand, practically alone. It's time for the the rest of the Democratic sheep to decide once and for all whose side they're on, and looking out for your own behind won't cut it anymore...

(second link via Medley)

Markos points out the irony that plenty of these guys felt the need to censure a president, when it was about prissy self-righteousness and sex scandal. Actual matters of state and civic integrity? Not so much.

Update 2: Harkin is co-sponsoring the censure measure, and several others have voiced support, whether or not the media chooses to report it...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A painful reminder

Experience in an online game gives us a shocking reminder of the racism underlying everyday interactions in the real world. I think this is less evidence that "the web isn't colorblind after all" than it is proof that we cannot escape our real-world-based assumptions, biases, comfort zones, even when we know intellectually that we are seeing a person via an arbitrary representation. We've got a long way to go...

(via Follow Me Here)

I guess it never hurts to state the obvious

...although one man's obvious is another idiot's revelation. Atrios on religion and politics.
Moderate/swing/independent voters respond to personal charisma and the perception that somebody "knows what they stand for." You know, spine, backbone, etc. I'm sure some genuinely religious politicians can use their faith to help send this message. There are lots of other politicians who can find other ways to do so.
He laughs at the idea that secularists rule the left, and also calls on Democrats to stop parroting right-wing talking points on that and related matters. Worth a read, although, as my subject line says, I didn't find anything there that seemed to cover novel ground.

(via Hullabaloo)

Quote of the day

No sooner has the ice of Walden melted than the wind begins to play in dark ripples over the surface of the virgin water. It is affecting to see nature so tender, however old, and wearing none of the wrinkles of age. Ice dissolved is the next moment as perfect water as if it had been melted a million years. To see that which was lately so hard and immovable now so soft and impressible! What if our moods could dissolve thus completely? It is like a flush of life to a cheek that was dead.
Henry David Thoreau
journal entry, March 14, 1860
(via the Thoreau Blog)

Monday, March 13, 2006

I take a day off, and look what happens!

Russ Feingold is calling for a censure of President Bush! Georgia at dailyKos suggests that this is the time to speak up: demand that your Senator cosponsor this motion. It's not impeachment, but it might be an outlet for national anger and frustration with the criminal government that represents us.
clash of titans
(via Medley and Tom Tomorrow)

Update: geez, even the Democrats are just looking at this one lying on the floor. what cowards!!

Update 2: MoveOn provides an outlet for your thoughts on this and calls for the Senate to follow up on Feingold's motion.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A new option for the near-sighted

Apparently there are now contacts that you can wear at night and they reshape your cornea to correct the curvature (so you can go without during the day). Sort of like a temporary version of keratotomy/LASIK. Very intriguing. Do you think that things gradually go out of focus during the evening, or that it "holds" until the next reshaping? Anyway, looks like my correction is too severe to make me a good candidate, so I can ignore the allusions to high cost. But it might be a good option for those who'd like to avoid surgery but would like another option than glasses or everyday lenses...

(via Follow Me Here)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Yowza! Sandra Day O' Connor speaks up!

Sandra Day O'Connor, now returned from Supreme Court Justice to civilian status, took the opportunity of a speech at Georgetown to slam recent attacks on the independence of the judiciary.
I, said O’Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.
Tell it, sistah!!

(via Attytood)

Quote of the day (humorous truths edition)

I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
– Douglas Adams
(via A Mindful Life)

More signs that we're evolving into a theocracy

(or a fascist state) Religious charities are getting an ever-larger slice of the federal pie, with seven federal agencies combined giving almost 11% of their budgets to faith-based programs and institutions.
After Congress balked at legislation, Bush began using executive orders and regulations to accomplish his goal.
I'm a person of faith, but I sure wish that the government would keep to its own business. Some of the organizations so funded practice discriminatory hiring practices that shouldn't be part of our national practices, and many of these groups make their religions and our nation both look bad.

(via SusanG at dailyKos)

Just because a new drug is popular...

pills, pills!...doesn't always mean that it is safe. First it was Prozac suicides, and now the insomnia drug Ambien is found to cause sleepwalking and other nighttime activities, most frighteningly driving in a zombie-like state. It's become one of the top drugs found in the systems of impaired drivers, and it appears that such episodes may be particularly likely when people have had any alcohol at all during the evening -- a word of warning to anybody with an Ambien prescription.

(via Follow Me Here)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

To rent or buy?

Watching your friends buy houses, but scared by the downpayment and the possibility that you'll have to sink even more into repairs or improvements? Here's a quick summary of the advantages of buying over renting, from tax breaks to building equity. It may help you figure out what your freedom is worth to you, or whether settling down could put you way ahead.

(via Medley)

Thursday kitten-blogging: sunbathers

They may not be able to compete with our black cats for pure heat-absorption, but that doesn't stop these kittens from basking in the glow of sunlight wherever they find it.

Pixel in the sun (don't blame me)
Pixel disappears into the sunshine...

Pasha in bars of light
Pasha sets up some patterns with the morning light.
(kept a bit darker than reality, so that it doesn't burn out)

Past kitteny goodness (reverse order):
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

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A call to arms for men who care about the rights of women

A fantastic post from somebody who lived through the first fight for women's lives -- their personhood and their bodies -- and who recognizes that the battle has been rejoined. She appreciates that there are men in the fight this time, and hopes that they understand that women can't stop to thank them because everybody is needed on the battlefront, NOW.
But there is no time for us to rest our head on your shoulder in gratitude for your presence. This not a time when hearing your validations of our worth and our rights is enough. We cannot take the time to enjoy this, because the old nightmare is back, in full color and surround sound.
. . .
We need you with us to not just fight the enemy we can all see, we need you to fight those in our own ranks who think this war can be postponed until some cleverly designed political strategy pays off somewhere "down the line."

We need you to stand with us to fight against the arrogant ignorance that fails to see that "down the line" means a path made slippery with women's blood already in process of being shed: our blood, not theirs. This supremely arrogant, willfully chosen ignorance, is deadly to women who are living under fire right now, TODAY.
Read the whole thing. I defy you to not be moved...

(via a Medley furling)

Update: Liberal Street Fighter points out that one of the battlefronts is everyday interactions, being willing to call people on their parroting of misinformation and crackpot logic. Tough, but necessary.


Wow. Feh-muh-nist shares a tale of what it feels like to want to love your body but not be able to, and brings us along on a painful and perhaps freeing attempt to "dance as though noone is watching." Hard and yet a good glimpse of the everyday struggles of those overweight people that many of us often leap to judge.

(via Alas, a blog)

Quote of the day

tree and moonYou can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
- Anne Lamott,
writer (1954- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's primary day in Texas

Go, Ciro!!

Update: :((

Koufax time

The annual Koufax awards recognize the best of the liberal portion of the blogosphere, from the well-known headliners to the smaller entries deserving of recognition. Categories range from best single post to best group blog, serious to comic, and it's a great way to discover some of the best writing of the previous year, and perhaps to bookmark some new favorites. This week, the first round of voting is open, so if you have strong opinions about particular blogs, you can have your say in narrowing the nominees to shorter lists of finalists. Really, just making it this far is a great honor...

Demonstration patriarchy

Feel that we live in the post-feminist era? That "values" issues are somehow separated from gender-driven power relations and other pathologies of our society? Guess again...
  1. South Dakota bans abortion, insists on compulsory pregnancy for incest and rape victims; other states lined up, birth-control next target.
  2. I'd rather my daughter die than have sex -- it's control that matters (and/or denial!), not a woman's health or wellfare.

  3. Wingers think that "keep your legs shut" is a reasonable solution, even for married women, if they can't handle more children. Because this approach would of course have no consequences (for what marriage, exactly?!?).
At some point will the population at large begin to believe that women's rights groups haven't been exaggerating what's going on?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Time to rename the Republican Party?

Tennessee Guerilla Women suggest that the right's increasing fascination with sex merits renaming the GOP as the Victorian Party. They're a bit peeved by the discovery that the Tennessee legislature feels the need to ban dildos and vibrators -- what next, mandatory missionary position? There seems to be an ever increasing need of the uptight to protect themselves from squeamishness (or maybe, gasp, arousal). Freaky.

The unbearable cuteness of pandas

Panda kindergarten. They are just too roly-poly to be real....

(via GirlHacker)

I could hear the smack from here

Apparently the guy who testified in the Intelligent Design hearings in Kansas was just seriously dope-slapped by his own colleagues, who point out the feebleness of his grip on the facts. They actually claim to be embarrassed by some of his testimony.
DNA helixIt is clear from these statements about his own research that Dr. Ely knows literally nothing about the evolutionary processes that he claims to be competent enough to criticize, which is understandable in that he is a physiologist with no graduate-level training in evolutionary biology whatsoever.
A year late, and yet no less gratifying...

A surprise move from Obama

Under some pressure to repay his idolization with some progressive action, Sen. Barak Obama has made a proposal that has caught many by surprise but could make some good things happen: he suggests that the government could help carmakers with their health care costs in exchange for their improving fleet fuel standards -- the carrot instead of the stick, and it addresses two important issues. Typically wiley for Obama The Innovator, and yet Potentially Progressive in impact. Verrry interesting. Will be intriguing to see where this one goes.

[Apologies that the link is to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which requires a registration. It's a Knight-Ridder story, so you can search for other sources if you prefer, or visit BugMeNot...]

What the movies left out

The L.A. Times looks at the five movies contending for the top award at the Oscars, and notes what they bent in the telling, from skipping some Mossad mistakes, to twisting the Capote chronology to make him look even more manipulative, to changing the ethnicity of Proux's cowboys. Fascinating to see what's considered key for dramatic flow...

(via Follow Me Here)

From the department of One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

depressionWow. A Virginia policeman prevented bystanders from giving a heart attack victim CPR because he was gay (and thus presumed to be AIDS-infected). It took the ambulance ten minutes to arrive, and his friend had to stand by and wait. A chilling image of ignorance and heartlessness.

(via Medley)

A small part of the rebuilding

The New Orleans public library system is looking for book donations to help rebuild their collection in the aftermath of Katrina. Hardcover, paperback, fluff or substance, you can send them your extras at special low postage rates. I suspect that most of us have a pile waiting to go somewhere, so this seems an excellent option...

(via XOverboard)

Friday, March 03, 2006


A bulldog that skateboards [photos at the top, movies halfway down the page]. No, his owner doesn't pull him along -- he propels himself around and seems to get a huge kick out of it. The mind boggles.
(Watch the 2nd or 3rd clip to really believe.)

(via Echidne)

Small solace

...that Bush's approval is down in the 30s. I mean, it's not like he's running for re-election, and if this story has any truth to it, there might eventually be an annointed heir who can outrun the whole mess. grump.

Speaking of ludicrous...

Any argument that the McCain torture bill doesn't apply to Gitmo surely goes beyond the realm of the credible, even among legal nit-pickers, yes? Surely someone, somewhere, will respond poorly to this? Please?

[bangs head on desk repeatedly]

Um, say what???!?!?!?!

cross-burning to resume shortlyApparently there's a bill in the Missouri legislature to establish Christianity as the "official majority religion" of the state.
The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs."

The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."
I am speechless.

(via Atrios)

Friends and enemies

A poster at This Modern World notes a striking example of the government shifting its characterization of onetime friends (specifically Saddam) once they fall from favor, and of the media's complicity in their rhetorical rewriting of history...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quote of the day

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
(via my mom)

Thursday kittens: posh lighting edition

Our bedroom gets a lot of morning light (also late evening, but we're usually not there to see it), and the cats all loll and flop to enjoy it. Some good pictures resulted from my enjoying the various effects this week -- will roll them out over the next few weeks...

on her back
Pasha on her back (8 mo)

blurry glamor
A blurry glamor shot of Pixel (10 mo)

Past kitteny goodness (reverse order): 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

The war on the media continues

...even from within its own ranks. The right has somehow stopped worrying about the reality and begun to focus on winning the spin, exclusively. Because, you know, the facts are just an inconvenience.

(via Atrios, kos, etc.)

How does the public think?

I mean the real Katrina crime was failure to have resources ready to respond, failure to get down there are fix things, leaving people to fend for themselves or die trying. Will Americans be angrier after seeing direct evidence that Bush lied about how much they actually knew (and still did nothing)? This actually made me feel somewhat better about Brownie, and yet worse about the will of our leaders to respond to fellow citizens in crisis. As Greg said, it makes you wish we had a parliamentary style of government, so that they could be voted out immediately rather than continuing to bumble (or ignore) the reconstruction and/or the next crisis...

What would our leaders have to do (or fail to do) to justify impeachment? The current list of crimes is almost mind-blowing...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Poem of the day


Blending with the wind,zen sign
Snow falls;
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.
By the hearth
I stretch out my legs,
Idling my time away
Confined in this hut.
Counting the days,
I find that February, too,
Has come and gone
Like a dream.
- Ryokan

Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan
translated by John Stevens
(via whiskey river)

I might have linked this before...

...but it never goes stale: gendergeek's FAQ, applicable to visitors to all feminist blogs. Good tips there for responding to the state of life and intellectual exchange generally.
Do you hate me?

No. We sometimes appear intolerant of gross stupidity and risible arguments. If you feel that we should ignore the gaping holes in your thesis on the grounds of your supposed civility, you are in the wrong place. You might also like to ask yourself why disrespect for your ideas from women provokes such neurosis.
Heh heh. Oh, and the 'geeks have whipped up a new look for their site -- very nice.

Open secret

elephant on his backCT Senator Joe Lieberman is more popular with Republicans than with his own party. Makes sense, given whose feet he's been kissing on every vote and photo opp...