Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wafts of optimism

Another sneaky procedural move by Democratic legislative leaders, this time on an actual bill that is likely to have widespread support, once the trivial GOP filibuster in the Senate is bypassed. You wouldn't want too much reform on Capitol Hill, would you?

It's only Tuesday...

The fundamental problem with this week is that I'm doing way too much of this, and not nearly enough of this. I mean, really, stop the train . . .

sleepy puppy

It's my station, I can lie if I want to!

Fox news (successfully) asserts the absence of law requiring that news be truthful -- let their viewers beware!!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

When kittens go wrong

This cute orange bobblehead becomes... a cat-o-pottomus. Or at least a large and somewhat baffling mop of fur... Cute, or terrifying??


elephantTony Auth pens one of those in-a-nutshell visuals that distill some 6 years of arrogant and heedless power-mongering into a concise image. Sigh.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday silliness

Ever have cardboard tube "sword" battles with your siblings (or maybe college roomates)? Turns out there's a whole organization devoted to the sport, and of course public contests of skill and strength. One can only hope this inspired notion spreads eastward . . .

(via GirlHacker)

Today's crankies

It's not enough that we ship our troops to police a civil war, leave their families to make do, and bring them home with physical and spiritual injuries; now we are charging them for equipment that got destroyed on the job (where "on the job" means "during a war," right?)... insane.

Meanwhile, on the home front, the Airline Pilots Security Alliance notes that none of its security recommendations, all of which were aimed at real vulnerabilities, have been taken, while the TSA busies itself confiscating your toothpaste and peering into your loafers...
(via boing boing)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Modern hotties

Taye Diggs, writ smallA different take on the "Sexiest man alive" contest is provided by AfterElton.com, a gay voters' ranking of the hotties in the public eye (modeled on AfterEllen, in which lesbians offered a Top 100 list different from those chosen by Maxim). Quite a bit of eye candy there, a lot of faces from recent hit TV, and a few surprises of the Nice Guy variety. Looking at the selection, however, I suspect that Clooney's position near the bottom of the list might reflect a certain age bias among the selectors . . .

(via Medley)

"President's war on work"

We've been in the midst of a class war for some time now, and kudos to Edwards that he found a way to make that clear to the average listener and a program of tax reform that might have a fighting chance.

Quote of the day

Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life. This life in the present. Let a man have thought what he will of Nature in the house, she will still be novel outdoors. I keep out of doors for the sake of the mineral, vegetable, and animal in me.
Henry David Thoreau
Journal entry, November 4, 1852


Don't like how things are going, even though it's your guys making the mess? Just relabel the offenders as Democrats and whoosh! problem solved (or, at least, buck passed)...

It's amazing that Fox can keep a license.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get a move on!

matters of stateI swear, I go away for a few days' (much-needed) vacation, and I return to find that we're still in the midst of a Constitutional crisis. What have all the rest of you been up to in my absence?! Sigh.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Two interesting bits on feminism

Actually, they're about/by men who are (pro-)feminist. Both longish but worth reading all the way through.
  1. The first is about the dual need to support women's battles against patriarchy (and make a difference wherever possible) while simultaneously handling the mix of emotions that comes from hearing stories that cast men as haters. It's noteworthy not only for showing equal attention to both types of problems, but for understanding that injecting "this bums me out" into every feminist conversation is entirely unhelpful and can derail necessary conversations of a different type. I applaud the author for helping create a "feminist ally" community where such discussions can productively take place.
    (via Medley)

  2. The second is less about that particular struggle than about how we teach college students to think about consent. In particular, I agree that just teaching "how not to be raped" is sadly lacking, and "how not to be a rapist" is a critical component as well. Even more helpful is his argument that
    The opposite of rape is not consent. The opposite of rape is enthusiasm.
    That certainly reframes the situation where pushing and pushing (against silence or denial) can be seen as an ok form of behavior between partners, not to mention taking advantage of silent or unconscious individuals. Useful thoughts.
I'm out of here for a long weekend, so you'll have to make do without me until Wednesday. cheers!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Somebody finds a way to replicate the joy of sliding down a wood floor in your socks -- by making a sort of boot that lets you skate on carpet! Makes me wish that my house didn't shift from wood to carpet every ten feet or so...

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

From the Department of We Learn Nothing

FEMA finds yet another way to screw Katrina survivors . . .

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A twisted refrain

It's frustrating that a Democratic majority isn't enough to create change on a national level. But even more frustrating is that no argument or maneouver can even get decent factual coverage -- take this distortion as an example. It's the Republicans who are filibustering, thank you very much! eesh!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Image of the day

lawless Bush/Cheney bumpersticker

The news is increasingly leaving me prostrate with anger, frustration, shame. Constitutional scoffing by those sworn to uphold its principles, the souls of our armed forces being sucked into the maelstrom of Vietnam Iraq, and all the rational counter-balances left without teeth. Somehow it all feels summarized well by this single visual, although Bitch, Ph.D., really has the links and rant to go with it . . .

Why impeaching Cheney wouldn't be wasted effort

Because he's still agitating for more war (in Iran this time), and who knows how many other evil schemes are up his sleeve...

(via Follow Me Here)

Well, this explains why they're so happy to have us there!

A soldier explains the destructive and seemingly pointless raids on Iraqi homes that they carried out on a regular basis. Yes, gentle occupiers, we . . .

Monday, July 16, 2007

Adventures in produce IV: Some summer favorites

I'm a bit behind, but here was the haul of our last produce share:

leafy things
First, another head of lettuce, and one of radicchio (bleah!).

potatos and tomatos
A bag of potatos! And several tomatos!!

many veggies
This week's novelty grouping: dreidl-shaped summer squash, cucumbers,
dandelion greens, a sweet onion, and a "lemon cucumber."

And last, but not at all least -- fresh corn!! 12 ears!

Many good meals, including some on the grill, have come from all this -- we hope there will be even more corn (and tomatos and other favorites) in the next batch!

Turning over some rocks

Senate Republicans have been filibustering a huge number of measures, relying on media favoritism to keep their hijinks out of the public eye. Well, Harry Reid is letting some sunlight in, saying he'll keep the Senate running overnight tomorrow, if need be, to force a vote on Iraq withdrawel -- this means that the GOP will actually have to keep up a running filibuster, Mr. Smith-style, rather than relying on an invisible "hold," if they want to prevent going on the record on this bill. Spectacular.

Update: Digby notes that the last time Republicans were willing to stage an all-night obstruction was over Jim Crow laws (you know, overturning them). Will see if this rises to the same terror level...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Amazing idiots

femsignAn absurdly stupid new show idea on Fox gets Ms. Echidne to let loose some appropriate expletives. Really, there are so many ways that this is wrong, from its misconstrual of feminism to its inevitable perversion via Fox-think...

Baby boomers feeling after-effects of rock lifestyle

That is, they appear to be going deaf at an alarming rate:
About one in six boomers have hearing loss, according to the Better Hearing Institute, a nonprofit educational group. The AARP has reported that there are more people age 45 to 64 with hearing loss (10 million) than there are people over 65 with hearing loss (9 million). And more people are losing their hearing earlier in life, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one of the National Institutes of Health.
One positive outcome of all this is that hearing aids are going more stylish than the bubble-gum-wads of yore. Sadly, I fear that the generation *after* the boomers, which pretty much grew up with headphones on, may have even starker effects; we'll have to see if they're any wiser than their parents. Earplugs, anybody?

(via Follow Me Here)

Cuteness break

Beware the wiles of the adorable daschund puppy!
You have been warned!!!!

Republicans show where they stand

The NAACP hosts a forum for Republican Presidential candidates (to match a Democratic one held previously) and only one of the candidates attends, standing in a forest of empty podiums. That's pretty much the whole story in a nutshell, and it's hard to imagine that those in attendance missed the implications for civil rights and race relations . . . GOP elephant

(via dailyKos)

What does progress look like?

Two takes:
  1. Oliver Willis traces the citations of "progress in Iraq" over the last four years, despite, you know, any evidence of improvement there. But here comes another corner! sigh.
    (via XOverboard)

  2. An article at Slate looks at this most recent that Iraq has met half of its 18 benchmarks, showing how little it took to get a "thumbs-up" (and yet how few benchmarks met even that low bar)...
    (via Talking Points Memo)aargh!
Boy, our leaders sure inspire confidence!!

Update: well this is sure to help! Iraqi parliament will take the month of August off to escape the heat...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quote of the day

We love flattery, even though we are not deceived by it, because it shows that we are of importance enough to be courted.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson,
writer and philosopher (1803-1882)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Just another day in the new lawless America

Bush tells Harriet Miers to ignore Congressional subpoena because of some sort of miasma of executive privilege that engulfs all his closest pets. Some note that this is obstruction, and hence a felony. Oh, if only our governmental system had checks and balances!!

(See some interesting options for a Constitutional show-down here.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

These two stories have nothing whatsoever to do with each other

  1. Chertoff warns of a climate of increased threat from Al Quaeda while making no mention of the fact that we've stopped looking for Bin Laden and that he's found a new home base for his troublemaking.

  2. The Washington press corp stands amusedly by while President Bush cuts the ribbon on their new briefing room but refuses to answer any questions.

Just who's running this thing

More Congressional hearings, which I'm not mentioning (although I am watching) -- an interesting exchange from today's notes that many members of the Bush Administration have some lack of clarity about their oaths of office: specifically that they swear to serve the Constitution, and not the President . . . (oh these tiny, tiny, critical distinctions!)

Pasted-on smiles

newspaperThe Bag does a great job of catching an example of how the media cherry-picks images to give a misleading impression of public sentiment. Here we see the rosy-cheeked smiling crowds as the President jokes, while images from the video while he was talking about Iraq paint quite a different picture of how even inside loyalists feel about Bush leadership...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Today's gizmos

Philadelphia has been all a-flurry over new parking meter technology of the 5-10-year-old variety (you pay at the end of the row or something), but that development has nothing on the magic being tried out in Vancouver and Niagara Falls: meters that call your cell phone when your time is about to run out. Brilliant or freaky? or both?

(via GirlHacker)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Decider blog



Talking Points Memo does a great job of showing just what a heap of crap Tony Snow spews everyday, by intercutting his latest press briefing with the actual Congressional testimony being discussed, showing that virtually every claim by Snow is a distortion of what was said by (Republican) Senator Lugar. Wow! shameless.

It's ok if you're a Republican (installment 7429801)

The filibuster is now so common that essentially no legislation, even the most unobtrusive, can pass the Senate without a 60% supermajority of support. Where's the outrage? The firey media coverage? (The education of the public?)
butting heads

(via Medley)

Feeling safer every day!

That is, the Bush Administration is being so careless about open posts at the Department of Homeland Security that nearly 25% of top positions currently empty and experts worried about the organization's ability to do its job. There's also discussion here about over-politicization of appointments, and we know how well that's played out in other agencies...

(via Medley)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday miscellania

Have been collecting links all day, but apparently not posting, so here they are in a heap...
  • A new study puts an end to the image of women as chatterboxes, showing that men and women talk almost identical amounts every day. (Note that the closest thing to a source of the other belief is attributed to James Dobson!)

  • Terrorism doesn't work -- it can create terror, but has essentially no effect in bringing about the purported political aims of the perpetrators. (That is, unless you count the way that Osama has pulled W's strings for several years.)

  • Speaking of which, it looks like Iraqi deaths since we took over their country number close to a million by best estimates (whereas most Americans guess about 1000-fold fewer than that).

  • Whitehouse spokesman summarizes their stance on the state of justice in the United States.

  • A surprising number of Americans are in favor of impeachment proceedings, especially for Vice President Cheney.
    (via Atrios)

  • An amusing photographic demonstration of the obscene building craze that has ahold of Dubai. It's like FutureWorld!
    (via Follow Me Here)

  • Finally, a tired kitten to foreshadow my expected plans for the weekend...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Quote of the day

dry weeds
One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.
- Erich Fromm (1900 – 1980)
(via wood s lot)

Exceeding my capacity for schadenfreude

I think it's absurd that the US government has spent nearly $600 million on a compound in Baghdad (through a company with Cheney connections), and even more absurd that it's a compound on the scale of an imperial village (see previous here), and yet it merely makes my head hurt that the thing has been so badly built that it cannot be occupied by its intended military and diplomatic residents. Electrical fires, slowly emitted chloroform gas -- you couldn't make this stuff up!

Update: Waxman to investigate, everything from the coerced labor to the resulting problems...

Speaking up for our independent nation

Olberman's latest commentary is a good one, however much he may be shouting into the wind . . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences"

messes of stateThat's from John Edwards' response to the appalling commutation of Libby's sentence by President Bush yesterday -- see the rest as all the Democratic candidates weigh in here. I also think it's worth noting that this move could be seen as further butt-covering (giving Libby no incentive to make a deal to keep himself out of jail, while not actually pardoning him and setting him free to air his thoughts that way) -- the proper response to such flagrant obstruction seems obvious...

Monday, July 02, 2007


Isn't it interesting that all the crises of conscience that trouble healthcare providers come at the expense of women? Their health, their safety, their options, in a variety of situations. I agree with the commenter who suggests requiring that emergency personnel be prepared either to do their jobs or find another provider right away -- a shrug is not acceptable health care! (And you can see how the moralistic fervor over, say, emergency contraception is bleeding ever wider into all sorts of nonsensical medical decisions...) grrrr....

(via Medley)