Thursday, June 29, 2006

Have a good weekend!

I'll be away from Friday morning until late on the 4th, so don't expect any posting here in the interim. To give you just a little entertainment in my absence, the following silliness:See you next week!


How come *I* don't get to vote for this guy? (latest Lamont ad)

(via kos)

A small blow for humanity

scales of justiceThe Supreme Court ruled that the Bush Administration overstepped its bounds (relative to domestic law and the Geneva conventions) in attempting to try Gitmo inmates via military tribunal.
Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the court, said the Bush administration lacked the authority to take the "extraordinary measure" of scheduling special military trials for inmates, in which defendants have fewer legal protections than in civilian U.S. courts.
Of course, they've also ruled that detainees can't be held indefinitely; will some actual trials begin while there are still inmates alive and sane?

(via The Huffington Post)

Poem of the day

To the Republic

I dreamt I saw a caravan of the dead
start out again from Gettysburg.

Close-packed upright in rows on railcar flat-
beds in the sun, they soon will stink.

Victor and vanquished shoved together, dirt
had bleached the blue and gray one color.

Risen again from Gettysburg, as if
the state were shelter crawled to through

blood, risen disconsolate that we
now ruin the great work of time,

they roll in outrage across America.

You betray us is blazoned across each chest.
To each eye as they pass: You betray us.

Assaulted by the impotent dead, I say it's
their misfortune and none of my own.

I dreamt I saw a caravan of the dead
move on wheels touching rails without sound.

To each eye as they pass: You betray us.
-- Frank Bidart
(from The New Yorker, April 24, 2006)

Thursday bengals: doubles edition

Two pictures of our (no longer-) kittens in their native domains... (It's amusing that Pixel is squinting in each of these. I had a cuter version of the first shot that got somehow double-exposed. sigh.)

bookends under the tree
A pause beneath the Tree of Cavorting

fun with scales
Lounging on the Couch of Relaxation

Previous joint appearances: 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

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Obscure but cool

A few weeks ago, Tom DeLay tried a new maneouver to help his party beat back a credible Democratic challenger by getting his (indicted and unpopular) name off the ballot (see prev. here). Democrats challenged the idea that he could just step aside after having already run in and won the primary. And a judge thinks they may be onto something. At the very least, he realizes that this could set the precedent for a whole new kind of political gamesmanship, which sounds to me like he's thinking about the right questions, at least. Will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Net neutrality

Really, it's important to anybody who researches things on-line or even websurfs. Don't let somebody else decide what sites you can get to. Arguments here, phone numbers here. This week appears to be the crunch.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Settling in for the long haul

A diarist at dailyKos points out the difference between campaigning and organizing -- the latter requires a long-term commitment to repeatedly contacting people, educating them about issues, and converting interest into affiliation, involvement, and/or turnout. An excellent point, and something we should all be doing. (I've started here...)


kicking assI don't think that the war is the only reason to oppose Joe Lieberman for Senate, but certainly his closeness with Bush (rather than other Democrats or his own constituents) is. Anyway, this short Lamont ad is incredibly effective at making the case. If Lamont wins, it will be further proof that the beltway crowd (who wouldn't take his business) is out of the loop on how things are changing right now...

(via kos)

The rats are fleeing the ship

Quite impressive: a Republican candidate for US Senate scrubs all references to President Bush from his campaign website. All the more reason to make sure that the Democrats running against such incumbents point up the flaws in the whole conservative approach to governing, rather than pinning their hopes on poor approval ratings leaking down from the top...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Placing the blame (or, the benefits of running against Reaganomics rather than Reagan)

Lakoff and the Rockridge folks offer some sage advice to folks on the left: blaming Bush alone for his failures means miscasting reality in a way that is not to our benefit (and rather misses the more important point). Better is to place the blame squarely at the feet of conservatism as a whole, for the Bush administration is merely a putting into practice of those faulty ideals.
The mantra of incompetence has been an unfortunate one. The incompetence frame assumes that there was a sound plan, and that the trouble has been in the execution. It turns public debate into a referendum on Bush’s management capabilities, and deflects a critique of the impact of his guiding philosophy. It also leaves open the possibility that voters will opt for another radically conservative president in 2008, so long as he or she can manage better. Bush will not be running again, so thinking, talking and joking about him being incompetent offers no lessons to draw from his presidency.

Incompetence obscures the real issue. Bush’s conservative philosophy is what has damaged this country and it is his philosophy of conservatism that must be rejected, whoever endorses it.
The piece makes clear that this administration has been very successful at getting its agenda accomplished, and that it is that success, not mere incompetence, that has unraveled so many government functions that we have been hapless in the face of real circumstances.
Conservative philosophy has three fundamental tenets: individual initiative, that is, government’s positive role in people’s lives outside of the military and police should be minimized; the President is the moral authority; and free markets are enough to foster freedom and opportunity.
Katrina? folks should have been fending for themselves. Disasterous war? the President needs to carry his moral convictions around the world. And so on. It's a useful lens for understanding Republican spin (and general media coverage) as well as for reconceptualizing the best arguments to bring to the American people in the fall elections.

On religion -- its potential and its foibles

Two quite different perspectives are offered here:
  • A new site called Faith in Public Life would like to help reclaim the legacy of the liberal faith tradition (i.e., the driving force behind the Civil Rights era and many antiwar efforts) from its distortion in the hands of right wing. From their email:
    Faith in Public Life is committed to ensuring religious voices for justice and the common good are included, heard and respected in any national discourse about public policy. ... Our aim at Faith in Public Life is to ensure that those who use religion as a tool of division and exclusion do not dominate public discourse.
    symbols of many faithsThey also appear to be one of several organizers of the first ever Progressive Faith Blog Conference to be held July 14-16 just outside New York city, to look at faith, blogging, public life, and the intersection of all of the above. (I read a bunch of those folks, so am torn about missing it, although my summer is already packed.)

  • Meanwhile, an essay (actually interview) that goes completely the other way -- not toward the right, but away from faith, arguing that the very presence of religion in society is detrimental to our way of thinking and interacting: Why Religion Must End. Color me among those unwilling to just drop a large portion of my belief system for utilitarian reasons, but also of the rare subset that think that much of my internal morality system and world view would remain intact should I choose to dissociate from organized religion. It's hard not to agree with some of the points made here, e.g.:
    [T]his whole style of believing and talking about beliefs leaves us powerless to overcome our differences from one another. We have Christians against Muslims against Jews, and no matter how liberal your theology, merely identifying yourself as a Christian or a Jew lends tacit validity to this status quo. People have morally identified with a subset of humanity rather than with humanity as a whole.
    Some may find the tone flip, but I think it raises serious questions that people of all (or no) faiths need to wrestle with -- I recommend reading the whole thing.
    (via kottke)

Cats, cats, cats

No not mine; everybody's! It's the 188th Carnival of the Cats, full of photography goodness. I sometimes forget to link them, although my kitten stream is often included. Eat your fill!

More "family values" in action

Congress manages a raise for their own 3-figure salaries, while voting down the minimum wage increase that would give full-time employees at the bottom of the ladder the chance to break $11,000 per year. The mind reels.

Warning: new kind of phishing out there

phone stuff!What appears to be a new kind of scam sends emails to people from banks and other businesses, but then, rather than asking them to click a link, asks them to call a phone number, where they are then asked for account numbers, etc., by a recording. It's currently aimed at customers of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, but these ideas tend to spread quickly. Be on your guard for any notice of trouble that asks you to give information to an unfamiliar entity...

(via Follow Me Here)

We're certainly not hearing about this

An officer refusing deployment to Iraq. I don't know how much legal basis there is for his claim that the war there is illegal, but I certainly can empathize with feeling that it's amoral in a huge number of ways. It's heartening to see some resisters, of whatever flavor.

It's just a number *

For those bothered, perhaps, by the milestone of 2,500 American troops dead in Iraq, how's the minimum of 50,000 Iraqi dead sound? (And those are just the ones we can account for. And, um, they're mostly civilians.)

But man, waving the flag feels great!

(via Follow Me Here)


Friday, June 23, 2006

The future is now

A West Coast technology company now has a system that allows users to replace their debit cards with a fingerprint scan...
"People either love it or think it's a sign of the coming apocalypse,'' said Amer Hawatmeh, owner of the new convenience store at 110 E Bearss Ave. who signed up a few hundred customers for Pay By Touch. "But to me, it's the wave of the future.''
all-seeing eye...I can see the convenience of going card-free, but it feels like the beginning of the end of both anonymity and personal integrity. How far off can ubiquitous retinal scans (ahem) be?

(via boing boing)

Think glocally

It's time for niche marketing, and in particular for getting away from the madding hoardes by blogging about your local region, where many folks may feel undereducated and appreciate some interpretation. Hmmm, maybe I'll think about that...

Another revealing moment

The Voting Rights Act, a landmark of civil rights and recipient of wide bipartisan support, has now been stopped dead in the process of renewal by House Republicans including southerners (who find the requirements burdensome) and those banging the "speak English" drum (and thus opposing requirements that voter materials be available in Spanish). An embarrassment to the leadership, who thought this would be a slam-dunk, and a moment of revelation about the priorities of today's GOP.

(via XOverboard)

Just plain useful

A zipcode lookup that uses Google maps for the output -- especially great for figuring out the zip codes of addresses you already know, or seeing where the boundaries are between several zips (you can map more than one at a time).

(via Medley)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Quote of the day (we all need some perspective edition)

buds, the promise of spring
It is worth living long enough to outlast whatever sense of grievance you may acquire.
-- Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
(via gingko)

Very apt

Once again, Philadelpha cartoonist Signe captures the recent numerical turning point in Iraq far better than any verbal editorial...
(apologies: I can't remember whether registration is required)

Net neutrality at a key junction

If you care about unfettered internet access (i.e., not having the web taken over by corporate content providers at the expense of normal citizen voices), then you might want to take a minute to speak up on the Net Neutrality bill currently in a Senate Committee. [If you need a little background on the concept, a definition and more than enough detail is available here.]

Just not getting it

Politicians still don't understand that "the netroots" isn't a couple of rock stars to be courted (who then deliver thousands of worshipful followers) but a medium for discussion and consensus-building that must be engaged and won over.
So how would Hillary ingratiate herself to the netroots if she was so inclined? Here's how, and this applies not to just Hillary, but every single politician seeking netroots love and respect.
  1. Be a leader
  2. Get people involved
. . .
THIS is how you reach out to the netroots. Not by kissing our butts, but by engaging us in tangible efforts to make this a better country.
A keynote speech at YearlyKos doesn't guarantee you anything, nor does a meeting with Markos or Duncan or any other Big Names. Politicians don't understand democratic communities of this sort -- whose loyalty is earned and re-earned, not guaranteed from the top; it appears to me that some bloggers don't fully get the distinction yet either.

(Of course, it's up to readers and commenters to keep the headliners honest. Do some homework, catch the about-faces, judge the evidence for yourself.)

Update: I just love this response from Atrios:
There's really nothing they have to offer me. I'm not much of a star fucker, and whatever minor thrill of meeting politicians there was once has now mostly faded. Some politicians are pretty cool and interesting individuals who might be entertaining to shoot the shit with, but unless the conversation is at that level I'm really just not all that excited by it.
I feel the same way about local celebrities. An informative conference call, maybe, but networking and schmoozing mostly offer nothing needed by my ego or my crowded schedule...

Thursday bengal-blogging: power nap edition

A couple of cute recent photos of our kitties appreciating the excellent combination of comfortable couch with overhead spotlight for warmth...

Pasha diagrams a circle
Pasha (about 11 months) makes a tight ball

Pixel goes shameless
Pixel (13 months) asks for some tummy rubbing
in a groggy moment of weakness...

Past kitteny goodness (reverse order): 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

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A bright idea

Some guy with a blog runs the numbers and concludes that a government program offering trade-ins of conventional lightbulbs for fluorescent equivalents could lead to astounding savings in energy -- as much as a whole nuclear power plant could generate each year (at a fraction of the cost and virtually zero risk). File under mazing ideas I'd love to see in practice, but doubt would ever really be aired.lightbulb

(via kottke)

Ahhhhhhh, the cuteness!

Don't say you weren't warned: groggy kitten.

We've always been at war with Eurasia

Kentucky state government decides to block from all state-owned computers the websites of a number of critics and/or left-leaning blogs. Wouldn't want anybody to hear what interested citizens are thinking about! First Amendment who? I expect a ruckus over this one; it's good to set some precedents that Technology Offices don't get to pick the political slant of material available to state employees (or anybody else)...

(via kos)

"Mass hanging incident"

Guantanamo Bay has largely left the news headlines, owowowwhich allows most of us to go about our days without thinking about the mass of humanity being kept in inhuman conditions, many being tortured on a regular basis, and the complete loss of hope that years of such treatment engenders. But when the recent double (triple?) suicide turns out to pale before a 23-person attempt a few years back, it's hard to pretend it's not happening. They'd already given up all hope three years ago, and there's still no sign that there's any chance that any of them will ever see the outside again. What on earth are we doing?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Well said

An open letter to the DLC on behalf of the blogger set. Really, start paying better attention guys, before the avalanche buries you...

Thanks, Howard

Howard Dean doesn't let Wolf Blitzer snag him on nasty quotes and spin bits from the Administration -- really good rebuttals, excellent points, well made.
The fact of the matter is that you can't trust the Republicans to defend the country, again, not because they don't want to, but they are not smart enough to listen to the military and listen to people who have served, like Jack Murtha.
We can only hope that many of our candidates have the feistiness of their leader. Keep up the good fight, man!!

This is not a kitten

Just wanted to share a photo of our new quilt, obtained a few weeks ago but languishing in the camera meantime. Our bedroom has a very high, sloping ceiling, meaning that it dwarfs most art tried in this spot. However, the quilt is large (some 4' square) and gorgeous, so we are happy, happy, happy. [Thanks to TurboTax for the miscalculation that funded this purchase.]

quilt photo
"Fall Rain/Rainfall"
by Deborah Anderson

Monday, June 19, 2006

Veeeeeeeery interesting...

scales of justiceApparently a well-heeled group, led by Kennedy Jr., are bringing suit against Diebold and other [creepy] electronic voting machine vendors. Sounds like they know what they're doing. Whatever you think about the partisanship of these vendors, their technologies (and the shoddy security behind them) are making everybody have less faith in our electoral system, and that's bad for all of us.

Is it getting warm in here?

Things looking even worse for Lieberman as the "lefty terrorists" of his party are joined by, um, the state party chairman in endorsing his challenger. Wave goodbye, Joe!

Quote for the day

The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.
-- John Burroughs
(via ginkgo)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday kitten-blogging

Because sometimes this is how you feel on Friday... (unless you're sculptural)

groggy baby Pixel
Pixel at around 14 weeks, so long ago...
(Thanks to my father-in-law for this great shot!)

Prior appearances of Pixel (in reverse order):
14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, doh!, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, arrival, teaser, homepage

A test for the Democratic party

What will they do if Joe Lieberman leaves the party to run as an Independent rather than lose the primary to Ned Lamont? They'd better consider that possibility seriously, as the polls are showing this race closer and closer, and the progressive base (is that what we are?) is unwilling to sit calmly if the establishment shows that incumbency is more important to them than party loyalty (see also here) -- surely if Lieberman's continual disloyalty while in office isn't enough, his actually leaving the party should have some consequences. Else, why should common folk put any meaning in party designations at all? Walk carefully on this one, gents...

The beginning of the ugly

ackFirst it's ok to listen to any and all Americans without a warrant. Now it's ok to barge into their homes without even knocking. What next?

Arlen Specter, Joe Lieberman... we won't forget your selling out of the Constitution in order to lick the boots of the Bush Administration. That cloture vote mattered.

(via Medley)

Some last thoughts on YearlyKos

kid oakland offers some challenging questions about what this conference was and about how the "netroots," if trying to become a coordinated movement, should make its decisions and represent itself to the press. He does a good job of capturing some of what was neat and some of what felt funny (or was missing) about this event.
I sympathise with those who revel in how successfully we presented a poised and compelling face to the press...and that the press came to us and gave us our due. That emphasis, however, meant something else had to give. We left "lateral conversation and networking," if not political canvassing and debate, outside the official structure of the event.
To me, it felt more like a Coming Out party (with self-celebration and presentation to the public) than like an event aimed at helping us work together more and do concrete building for efforts on the ground. Some of that comes from being the first such event (given that Eschacon was much smaller and more social gathering than conference), which inherently draws inchoate excitement from the attendees and curiosity from outsiders. I suspect that future conferences won't be able to say "look at this new thing! what might it do?" for session after session, but will have to get some lower-profile but higher-focus experts to help various factions move their work forward, whether that's via on-the-ground political organizing, networking between local and national efforts, candidate recruitment, or media leveraging. All touched on, a bit, here, but not at the level that sends anybody home with an entirely new skill set . . . A challenge for the next set of organizers!!

(via Medley)

Update: Since I'm calling this the "last thoughts," I should include a link to this post by Markos, pointing out that dailyKos isn't a cult of personality but a vibrant and largely independent community that grew up in the fertile space that he provided. Again, this is what perplexes and/or bypasses the media, which is more used to Great Man stories than to Empowered Everyguy stories. So I guess that all that "this is what the blogosphere can be" stuff isn't wasted, given the black hole of ignorance out there...

Update 2: and for more flavor of the event -- the attendees, the hallway scene, the smaller meeting rooms, see this Day1 summary which has plenty of all of that, and the great collage/montages from ePluribus...

Since it's Friday...

The usual whirlwind of post-vacation email and other work piled up here, not to mention several days away from much news. But was just pointed toward this odd little site called the Comics Curmudgeon, which critiques individual comic strips that make no sense, hurt your head, or need a smack-down. More curmudgeonly that I am as a comics reader, but an amusing dose of snark. I particularly like anybody who will call the soap-opera comics the content-free space-fillers that they are...

(via pal BH)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Things you prefer *not* to see while on vacation

Headline in today's Santa Fe New Mexican: "State confirms 3rd case of plague." Yes, bubonic. So, um, stay away from rodents! whee.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Raw footage

By popular demand, I've created a Flickr set of my photos from the YearlyKos convention, with a little description given in the caption of each (of the people depicted, although not of the contents of each session and discussion). Be forwarned that these are pretty much straight from the camera, with only the barest of cropping and lightening to make them viewable, but they're large and need a bit more work when I'm back in range of Photoshop filters. Also, for some reason I seemed to take photos only at large plenary events, rather than photos of bloggers sitting in the hallway with their computers or of small events like the talk that George Lakoff gave about his new book...

Update: tweaked the photos on Friday, so they should be less galling now . . .

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Other Yearly Kos things

kos clipLinks I've collected out of things that happened over the weekend. I'm not sure that I'll attempt any Big Overview, but I will post some photos later (although I may be headed into several days with no internet access, so that might not happen right away)...
  • A 15-year-old peace activist contributed this butt-kicking video, which was shown in the main hall as part of a "who are we?" overview before the keynote by Harry Reid...

  • Markos was on Meet the Press, cleverly scheduled for an episode (is that the right word?) that would be preempted by the French Open (and thus run, e.g., in the wee hours of the morning in many markets). I haven't viewed it yet, but hope to soon.

  • Peter Daou thinks that the significance of this convention is being widely misunderstood (or at least misrepresented) -- that the "coming out" of the netroots doesn't represent their cooptation by the traditional media and political establishment but merely their interface, that they will continue to be a force for change in both, even while occasionally cooperating with each. Eventually They may figure Us out...

  • The New York Times gives their impression, again revealing a surface understanding and perhaps a deeper lack of Getting It, not least because their focus was on how Traditional Politicians view the blogosphere, rather than on how this real-space meeting embodies and generates a new self-perception among bloggers and progressive activists of their own power, priorities, and reform capacity (both within and despite the political system).

Saturday, June 10, 2006

This is what I'm up to

YearlyKos may or may not be a Transformative Moment for progressivism (ahem), but it's clearly an event that's fascinating to a wide range of media and political players. Press pounce on shlumpy bloggers huddled near hallway outlets, hoping to take the pulse of this new species, netroots regulars speculate on revolutions underway or yet to come, politicians shake hands and blink in the glare of well-informed scrutiny. Anyway, it's definitely a hoot, a mix of information and entertainment. Here's a local journalist's take. As good an overview as you're likely to see...

More perhaps later. No promises.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Small bits of good news

One would wish this wasn't ever at issue, but it was -- FDA approves HPV vaccine. yay! (Of course, there's more to come...)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Early kitten

Early in two senses this week, both a day earlier than usual in the week, and an early photo of our first bengal kitten, Pixel, seen here at around 13 weeks of age (now 13 months). Hopefully this dose of cuteness will help tide you through a week without the usual randomness here...

baby pic
She got an early start on complete collapse-style napping.
I should take a lesson here....

Recent Pixel appearances: last week, March solo, Jan back views, Jan nap-mocking


Will be lucky to get this posted on Wednesday at all, as Blogger has been unavailable all afternoon and may be for some time yet...

Am leaving town tomorrow to go roll in blogger politifest. Am very amused by the thought that there are politicians dying to get a glimpse of bloggers in the flesh.
Here, at last, is the impersonal ballroom with garish lighting and folding round tables, the throng of attendees whose hands can be shaken and shoulders gripped.
It's enough to make me want to bring pajamas to wear to every session, just to confirm their mental images...

Anyway, will be gone for additional time, and not back until next Friday. masthead snip I will have my computer with me, but am not sure whether I'm more likely to be revved up and blogging the conference (etc.), or revved up but then exhausted by the end of the day and you-must-be-kidding (as is more typical for my time away from home). For those who wish they could be there but won't, all the sessions are going to be streamed for a nominal fee.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Aversion to learning from experience, I guess

Sure, Guantamo, Abu Ghraib, the recent massacres... This seems like a great time to start lowering the restrictions on soldier behavior toward detainees!

(via Follow Me Here)

That "liberal media" at it again

The Bag has a piece noting that the New York Times has a crusade against this year's progressives, leaders and candidates, and pointing out the way that the visuals chosen reinforce their slant. I see these stories again and again. Yes, there is the occasional Santorum or Abramoff piece, but they're really working through the ranks on the Dem side... tiresome!

About right

a snipCartoonist Tony Auth captures much of my sentiment about the stupidity that is the current push for the Marriage Whatever Amendment. Unbelievable (yet sadly typical) sense of national priorities!

Update: well, yes, and then there's this. More sigh.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A word I never want to hear again

(from this)

As you were.


Even sadder than losing your spouse to war must be watching your spouse re-enlist because it's the only way to be sure that your children have health coverage (or food, or a future). We are inflicting some grim choices on members of our society . . .

In case you don't understand the frustration

...of Democrats with Joe Lieberman, it's not just about the war. It's not just that he let Bush kiss him. It's that he creepily tries both to support the Bush administration (sometimes to the point of wagging his finger at his own party) and to get credit for "voting the right way." He's not been fighting on our side for a long time, and this piece documents the history.
Now it's true that Lieberman earns high marks on Democratic interest group "report cards." That's because he plays a shell game in which liberal interest groups are complicit. He gets the "right" mark for voting against Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, for instance. But he gives the Bush administration the vote it needs to make Alito a judge, by voting to stop a filibuster.

Similarly, he held back on voting for Clarence Thomas's nomination until the first Bush administration saw it had the votes. Then Lieberman could safely vote against Thomas and earn the "right" grade.
donkey with an elephant on its backIt's like that over and over. Or, heck, just being the guy who wants to be first to stand up for prudishness. Or the first to shake Republican hands and give them the cover of "bipartisanship." It's time to evict this faux Democrat in favor of the real thing.

(via kos)

What opposing the Iraq war *doesn't* mean

It doesn't mean being isolationist, or even pacifist. It *does* allow for strategic evaluation of the effect that our blunders on the ground have on the hearts and minds of potential allies and potential terrorists. Being antiwar doesn't mean carrying flowers or hating the country. Hunter does an excellent job of exposing the strawman, beloved of the mainstream media, in his rant here.
And the Iraq War was a boondoggle from the start (1) because it did not address the most serious actual roots or supporters of global terrorism, (2) because it wasted resources that needed to be expended in Afghanistan to assure the success of war and post-war efforts there, (3) because it inflamed tensions that didn't need to be inflamed, (4) because it shredded international support for the real War on Terror -- support that had reached nearly unprecedented levels of global unity, before the war, and which represented the only real way to combat international terrorist organizations and movements, and (5) because it represented a wider Arab conflict with the West that was the expressed goal of Osama bin Laden's terrorist movement. And that's just for starters.

That hardly represents an "isolationist" or other dismissable strawman argument. It represents a not terribly difficult to understand internationalist view widely held by experts in terrorism and regional diplomacy. It represents, point of fact, the proven correct analysis of the current conflict.
The whole piece is long but worth the time. Dismissing dissenters is cutting off an important set of viewpoints on how best to fight the much longer-term threat of terrorism, and right now is not the time to "stay the course" for its own sake...

(via Medley)

Friday, June 02, 2006

A bad day to take up being Republican...

A document in Nevada reveals the "secret" Republican agenda, which includes slashing civic resources that most people support.
new elephantsWhen Eschliman talks about substantially cutting funds for public parks, libraries, and swimming pools, she's just being honest about the Republican party's priorities. It just so happens that when Republicans are honest about these things, they reveal themselves as completely out-of-touch with mainstream voters and their values.
Ouch! Then, from California, a little scandal by way of a (seemingly) typically hypocritical family-values candidate of the "do what I say, not what I do" variety...


Well, the news of the week appears to be Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s, article in Rolling Stone about whether the election was stolen in Ohio in 2004. My friend Albert calls it electrifying, Will Bunch hopes it will start some useful debate; no matter what you think, it's a remarkable consolidation of studies and documentation of a huge array of questionable events (with context from experience in previous elections and other nations).
After carefully examining the evidence, I've become convinced that the president's party mounted a massive, coordinated campaign to subvert the will of the people in 2004. Across the country, Republican election officials and party stalwarts employed a wide range of illegal and unethical tactics to fix the election. A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004 -- more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes
Much debate has ensued about whether the appearance of this article is a critical development (the break-through of this issue to the major media) or pointless rehashing. Chris Bower thinks it's more important to get involved than to place blame with faceless corporations or national election regulations, and I certainly agree, but I'm not sure that being in the room during counts really helps if the machines have been hacked in advance. However, the picture painted by Kennedy is much larger than Diebold, and it seems clear that greater oversight (or maybe foresight) by vigilant citizens could have prevented much of it. Just part of the "all politics is local" reality; the battle must be fought county by county. . .

Art meets science

Or at least, a creative approach to the latter: molecular models made from balloons. They're really good, both simple and really complicated structures. Fabulous!

(via boing boing)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Or maybe just the opposite

stethoscopeEchidne offers an important lesson in reading medical studies. One hopes that journalists who specialize in science and medicine can sort out "lesser/different benefit" from "no or adverse effect," but apparently laziness or ignorance can still get in the way. Or blame the headline writers. Anyway, the key lesson is that consumers should rely on the data more than on the meta-analysis, especially as practiced by the journalistic layman.

Quote for the day

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
- Somerset Maugham
(from my Daily Bridge Calendar)

Thursday bengals -- random cuteness

Newer shots still sitting in camera, so more gleanings from spring...

Pixel poised for wacky
Pixel at 10 months, a good if blurred likeness

Pasha looking intensely
Pasha at 8 months, an intense face
likely to be followed by some chat or action

spotty ball
A little snuggling, just to prove they're spot-a-licious!

Can't get enough? Archives of kitteny goodness: 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

Yeah, I thought of that too

So there appear to be some documented atrocities in Iraq now. And conservatives are shocked and dismayed, and liberals feel a sort of dreaded confirmation of their pre-existing gut certainty. It wasn't too satisfying to have been one of those who believed the intelligence experts saying there were no WMDs in Iraq either. It's all just. so. terrible.

War -- it hasn't been about the chivalric code for a long time now... sigh.