Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the day

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.
-- Charles Morgan
(via A Mindful Life)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A single person still can make a big difference

Great story about a physicist who wondered whether it would be possible to manufacture eyeglasses with user-adjustable prescriptions, so that patients in poor countries wouldn't be dependent on being able to afford (or find) an eye doctor with special equipment. He's found a mechanism and is within a few years of making the whole thing affordable.
The implications of bringing glasses within the reach of poor communities are enormous, says the scientist. Literacy rates improve hugely, fishermen are able to mend their nets, women to weave clothing.
The article estimates that some billion people might have use for such a development. Who'd have thought?!

(via Follow Me Here)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and all good things

From Speck and all of us here in Philadelphia...

Christmas card of a laughing Speck

... or, for the more informal among you ...

elf card

Wishing you blue skies, white snow (if so inclined), and much peaceable fellowship to ring out the year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why I'm a progressive first and a Democrat second

donkeys head to headBecause the pattern of disappointment is so regular. The spinelessness, the backing down to Republican harpies, as though their own positions had no supporting arguments. And so forth...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This just made me really happy

A muppet treatment of Ode to Joy featuring one of my favorite hapless characters, Beeker. (Make sure you hang in for the coda too!)

(thanks to kottke)

Things are indeed looking up

Woot!Not that this was a surprise, but a refreshing change anyway:
"My administration will value science," Obama said, in what sounded like a pointed reference to his predecessor. "We will make decisions based on facts."
Let's hear it for some return to a reality-based approach to the world!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fools rush in...

Yeah, what she said. All of our "planning" about Iraq is embarrassing to read about...

(via Atrios)

Edit: And then there's stuff like this -- just make the numbers up! Sigh.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Leaving a sh**pile on the way out

Senate Republicans, not content with the damage they've done in the last 4-8 years, nuke the car industry deal by avoiding any kind of constructive engagement with the process. What putzes. I certainly hope that Bush/Paulson/somebody can still throw some buscuits to prevent complete collapse -- if these industries go all at once, we're really in for a long cold several decade...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can't wait

I know there's another Speck photo post still on the front page, but I just finished processing a batch of great digital shots taken by local friend Kay, and am dying to get some up to show off. We just have one charismatic kid, even without the Christmas get-up...

look of wonder
I like this image for Advent -- Expect amazing things!

toothy grin = 'midrange 1'
And here's just a (two-)toothy grin at 9.5 months.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Quote of the day/season

Always be ready to see what you haven't seen before.
It's a kind of looking where you don't know what you're looking for.
- Corita Kent
(via whiskey river)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hah (sigh)

It's posted everywhere, but is worthy of noting here too:
[Obama's] going to have to be more assertive than he's been. At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time. I'm afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He's got to remedy that situation.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
Sad but true -- Bush appears to have fallen off the planet (perhaps he's taking a long winter's nap?) except for the occasional apologia. Not that I miss seeing him more, but the country can't just hold its breath for another six weeks while the economy tanks. I don't know that there are quick fixes, but at the least some leadership visibility could calm the waters...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday spawn-blogging

Went for a woodsy hike with a group of parents and babies (in carriers and strollers) at the end of October. One mom was a manic photographer -- thanks to her for these (and more) photos from the day.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Only Nixon could go to China

I like the point being made in the first part here about Obama's array of appointments and what they convey -- i.e., it might say less about his orientation (hawkish versus dovish, change or establishment, blah blah) than about his crafty strategy.
If the great and glorious David Petraeus and the shiny Robert Gates are saying, "Bring the troops home," then you've defused your enemies. It ain't Clintonian triangulation, which involved embracing a watered-down version of your opponents' beliefs. It's just fuckin' smart.
If the onetime hawks are the ones proposing the new (dovish or pick your stupid adjective) policies, nobody can blame it on naivete! Obama has certainly shown himself well attuned to perception and crafty in using or subverting it to enable his own ends, so this is certainly a move within his reach.

Color me still confused about how Hillary as Secretary of State is effective without too much baggage, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised...


burning crossThe biggest shock to me of this story wasn't that Public Radio was encouraging folks to support the Salvation Army, it was that what I've always considered an innocuous bedrock organization (the SA) has transformed itself into an intolerant agent of the Christian Right, even in the context of its federally funded social services operations. In fact, the quotes sound like it's a bit of an agent of Big Brother, tracking down personal information on the habits and affiliations of all its employees and ousting those who don't conform. Creepy!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Surprising nobody

It turns out that the Bushies gutted regulations just 2 years ago that were aimed at reining in the mortgage spiral and preventing just the sort of melt-down that we've had this year. Why? because the big banks (and their friends) asked them to -- many of the same players who are now in need of handouts...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poem of the day/weekend

Had the rare good fortune to hear a reading by Mary Oliver, whose work is a delight of observation and reflection -- I recognize a haiku sensibility, as well as whiffs of Whitman in her writing. She was also quite an amusing character, peppering her presentation with short self-deprecating anecdotes and asides, and mixing more thoughtful works with some sillier ones about her dog. Good stuff. This one particularly resonated with me.


Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

- Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quote of the day

pebble with shadowThe self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.
— John Dewey
(via The Coffee Sutras)

Be careful what you wish for

Not everybody is so desperate to live in interesting times as all this financial collapse is enabling. I just hope that the historicity of the Obama campaign will make it seem like this was a moment worth being around for.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

Via Follow Me Here, the odd perspective that with Obama's resignation from the Senate, we can look forward to a government headed by a black President, but with not a single black Senator. That's pretty striking, and reminds us that there's still some distance to go on the racial equality frontier...

Civics test

It was easy to be snide about the low score that federal elected officials got on this civics test until I took the test myself. It was pretty hard and wide-ranging on government structure, function, and history. Didn't expect to do as well as I did (pat pat). Interesting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The pressure of collective hope

Obama O moonIt's just amazing to me that, some 6 weeks before he's even taken office, Obama is being morphed into Lincoln (both directly and indirectly) and Franklin Roosevelt (this becomes this), among other presumptions. I think this is the release of pent-up hope, relief, natural parallels and historical reverberations, but it's also sort of mind-blowing. I guess we're lucky that Obama is a pretty cool head or he might find that such analogies (and hints of deification) put him off his game...

(all via Bag News Notes)

Good news, bad news

This seems like good news for the government, for the country... yay!

In contrast, this makes me want to bang my head against my desk. Hello? functional legislature needed here...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More signs that a new day is coming

Obama rolls out a weekly YouTube address to the nation. Very intriguing! He's certainly wasting no time getting his Presidential business underway . . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The definition of "risible"

blank stareOne really hardly knows how to respond to this. Indeed, the craziness of the wignuts defies satire.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Am totally tired of Joe Lieberman. Of his being on the wrong side of the war, yes, but also blocking progress in many other areas, rejecting the will of his party when he lost their nomination, and spitting in the face of the Democrats in the recent Presidential race (and yet McCain took Palin to the prom, sniff). He's lucky that Reid is allowing him the option of staying in the caucus, now that he's not the vote that gives them the majority, and there are reasons to wonder why he's holding so hard to his current chairmanship rather than taking his lumps for all the backstabbing...

Edit: here's a whole compendium of Joe-wrongness. It's not just the war. Let's keep up with the "time for a change" mantra and make sure this guy isn't in charge of anything important.
(via Political Animal)

When do we get to kick some asses?

I'm sorry, but when the Fed is paying trillions into private hands as a dole for mismanaged funds, the taxpayers have a right to know where it's going.
The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral
Is there nobody sane at any point in the pay-out chain? I.e., doesn't somebody have to sign and send the checks, and couldn't Congress (or me! let me go kick some butts!) just cut them off until they play by the rules? What kind of crazy banana republic do we live in these days?!?

Good on Bloomberg for filing a Sunshine lawsuit, but by the time that works its way through the courts, the money will be long gone (and probably the lame-duck crooks too)... grrrr.

(via Talking Points Memo)

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Obama team already planning to undo some of the most egregious Bush policies and executive orders immediately after inauguration -- one imagines that some sanity could be restored to environmental regulations, for example -- and will keep a list of anything the Bushies try to force through in the next couple of months. whooooooot!

Edit: I also like the news that Obama campaign offices are donating their supplies to the school systems in each region where they operated...

Saturday baby blogging

Speck is spending the weekend (and part of next week) getting reacquainted with her out-of-town grandparents, which appears to be fun for all concerned. Meantime, she and her parents continue to be this excited about recent election results...

mom and baby via Photobooth

Friday, November 07, 2008

Quote for the week

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.
- Simone Weil
(via whiskey river)

Run for the hills

Radical organization chart for the Obama presidency. heh.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Out of the spotlight

This is the best Obama picture ever. tee hee!

(via mimi smartypants)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More, please

I find I have a near limitless appetite for images of victory and stories of celebration. I wish I'd run out into the streets, but instead we just cried in our livingroom.

O Baby!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A new day coming

Personally, I'm celebrating this with this (although we paid a whole lot less for it 4 years ago in France). Toast in your own style. The improbable has happened.

Warm thoughts about voting

Just taking a short break from working my local polling place (baby nap time!) and caught the following that gave me a warm and/or teary feeling:I hope all my readers have already voted, but if not, don't forget! Mid-day is often the quietest time, if you have that option...


Saturday, November 01, 2008

New source of alarming cuteness

A blog called ZooBorns presents baby animals from zoos and aquariums all around the world, in picture and video form. That's some serious collective cuteness!

(via GirlHacker)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Letting the door hit *us* on his way out

Not content with the devastating effects that deregulation has had on the economy, Bush is attempting to deregulate all kinds of other things in his last couple of months, weakening environmental and consumer protections.
According to the Office of Management and Budget's regulatory calendar, the commercial scallop-fishing industry came in two weeks ago to urge that proposed catch limits be eased, nearly bumping into National Mining Association officials making the case for easing rules meant to keep coal slurry waste out of Appalachian streams. A few days earlier, lawyers for kidney dialysis and biotechnology companies registered their complaints at the OMB about new Medicare reimbursement rules. Lobbyists for customs brokers complained about proposed counterterrorism rules that require the advance reporting of shipping data.
I hope that Congress stays awake long enough to block or modify some of these, or we'll spend most of the next four years just trying to get back to our current beleagured state...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Friday baby blogging

Happy Halloween! (Speck got dressed up last Sunday for a party at Grandma's apartment building, so we have photos in advance of tonight's festivities...)



The building planners were clever enough to provide for the pre-candy set, with cute theme cereal bowls for the tots; Speck was happy to bang hers on the floor for half an hour...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Very spiff

Just watch this short video of a terrain-exploring game in which the 3-D world appears only as you splatter it with paint to make walls and objects visible against the uniform-colored field. Really makes me want to know when the thing launches!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gettin' in that holiday mood

holiday jack-o-lanternLooking ahead to the spookfest of Friday, a little musical amusement:

Mr. Raven

a rap version of Poe's famous poem . . .

(via Mr. Skullhead on KoL Radio)

Sanity in unexpected places

You know your script must be pretty bad when employees of a telemarketing firm would rather walk off the job than make the calls . . . Good for them for making a stand!

A glimpse behind the curtain

A recent New Yorker had an article about the selection of Biden as Obama's running mate -- more specifically, at the negotiations that took place between the two men about what role the Vice President might have in an Obama White House. The article also looks at a range of historic Vice Presidents, including the fates of several with extensive legislative experience akin to Biden's. Interesting to imagine how the two might work together (and what Biden's ambitions are, something rather lost in the Palin eclipse) and to get a glimpse into Obama's managerial style as well.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why it matters

thumbnail of LOVE-style VOTE buttonSometimes I feel dumb knocking on doors in Philadelphia and talking to people about the election -- they're almost all Democrats and the turnout rates in Center City, at least, are very high. However, every vote counts in a close election, so it's helpful to know that such contact makes a difference, even if all you're asking is "do you intend to vote?" which is surely a nonthreatening exchange to have . . .

Dangerous cuteness levels (Monday puppy edition)

Oh. my. goodness.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote of the weekend

Do not kiss your children
so they will kiss you back
but so they will kiss their children,
and their children's children.
- Noah benShea
poet, philosopher, author
(via Starbucks' "The Way I See It" program, #27)

Schmuck alert

forehead smackYesiree, it's clearly the Republicans who love America and what it stands for. Standing tall to prevent legitimate voters from exercising their civic duty.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

We liberals have sappy patriotism too

I just love this music video in support of Obama. It captures the blend of current youthful energy with the sense of 50 years of cultural momentum that have characterized much of his campaign. And, heck, it kinds of makes you feel all misty and hopeful and stuff.

(via local pal Bill)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Thanks, Atrios!

Monday baby blogging

A couple cute recent pictures of Speck in Daddy's lap. (Thanks to pal Don for the iPhone pictures taken at brunch.) She turns 8 months old this week!

A little giggle and waggle.

two cuties
Such cuteness! (le faint!)

Really, I should also point to this pic, which gives a sense of the crazy clowns that all adults become around a cute and giggly babby, heh . . .


Well, the endorsement of Colin Powell is a big deal for the Obama camp, and I'll admit to being surprised -- I thought Powell was making enough of a statement by just not endorsing McCain. But when you see the clips, he really criticizes McCain for all his oversights and crazinesses, as well as identifying Obama's strengths. A dailyKos post pulls together the Powell interviews with some supporting TV clips in what becomes a summary of the two campaigns today. Something tells me the McCain camp is having a grey start to their week...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Talk to your parents...

This is a nice video. A little low on substance, but long on sincerity (and amusement value).
The kids are there for us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not just a metaphor

A brilliant column by Krugman from many years ago helps clarify what is meant by "liquidity" and why economies can go into slumps even when *not* behaving badly. Easy to grasp, incredibly helpful. Somebody should give that man a prize!

(via Follow Me Here)

Poem of the day

XIII (Dedications)

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
stacked stonestoward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.
- Adrienne Rich
An Atlas of the Difficult World
Narcissus Works
(via whiskey river)

If this doesn't give you a smile...

...you might be beyond reach. One. happy. dog.
I mean, that's just the real stuff!

Monday, October 13, 2008

When you least expect it (II)

...you might get a Nobel Prize, despite being some kind of trouble-maker! wow!!

(via Talking Points Memo)

When you least expect it...

...cuteness, from a goose!
A good bit for the start of a new week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Your moment of snobbiness

stupid people pie chartThe Daily Show did a fantastic send-up this week of the Undecided Voter, focusing particularly on the subtypes of stupid people. One has to have some feeling that, between the year of primaries and the months of main race that have already occurred, anybody paying attention would have an opinion on the Presidential contenders by now. I realize that some folks don't know whom to believe, and that others aren't sure that any of this will actually affect their lives, but it's frustrating that such an uninformed group have such power in this election. This kind of humor helps vent some of that frustration, anyway...

Further and further behind

Those of us who are middle-aged know only too well the challenges that our parents face in dealing with modern "conveniences" like the VCR and computers -- perhaps it's inevitable that our children will find us hopeless too, but I like to think that we have a bit of an edge in being Internet savvy, even if some of our knowledge is wasted in the realms of ftp and html, rather than texting and chat.

Anyway, was much amused that it was my mother who sent me to this video depicting the dread that she and many like her feel in anticipating the forced switch to digital cable in another few months . . . (The subheader of the page cracks me up.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday baby-blogging: Implement edition

Speck likes to feel and taste things, so I put together a box full of household objects -- various kitchen tools, a toilet paper tube, a rock, a cork, an apple, a plastic lid, blah blah. This is a great box for grumpy afternoons, as she is totally fascinated by almost all the items and keeps moving from one to another. Subsequently, we've gotten into the habit of taking a wooden spoon or rubber spatula as a back-up toy for brunches and other restaurant outings. Much humor ensues...

biting the whisk
Why wait for batter?

brunch spatula
Extra gentle on new tooth buds!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Quote of the day/week

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
– John Kenneth Galbraith
(via A Mindful Life)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Great visual

A little pictoral summary of the characters running for our national executive offices...
tee hee

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What could possibly go wrong?

Everybody thinks it's a great idea to add lots of off-shore US drilling. Now wasn't there some reason that we used to think that was *not* a great idea?? Sigh.

(via daily Kos)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday baby pics: Voguing edition

Have managed to capture Speck's smile on film in a variety of contexts lately, so lots of cute pictures to share. Will have to budget them out over a few days/weeks, so nobody's cute-o-meter overloads!

costume vogue
A little French-ish costume put on her by Grandma. Cracked me (and her, apparently) up...

naked tadah!
Giggly and wiggly on the changing table -- tadah!

In a nutshell, debate edition

This flow chart perfectly captures how Sarah Palin's debate performance felt to me. She way outperformed low expectations, but still was doing high-level hand-waving on the couple of unexpected questions that she hadn't prepped -- nonanswers mixed with incoherance and some "folksy color" had to do. Yeesh.

Biden was stellar, had dignity, no gaffs. Focused criticism on McCain, which was where the discussion should be anyway, and it kept him from getting pegged as a meanie. Lots of specifics from history of legislation, foreign relations, current facts -- can we afford all that in a national office? heh.

Edit: perfect (and pithy) summary of the entire VP debate here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feist of the day

From our favorite Spinster Auntie:
Because feminization is among the first steps taken to socialize children, and because it is so readily accepted, deeply internalized, and staunchly defended, it is the primary foundation of patriarchy.
Watching grandma put Speck into a series of frilly dresses during her visits, I cringe in anticipation of the larger battles to come -- against Otherness, against the right to just Be. (But Twisty's point applies more broadly as well, of course.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Um, what she said. Really, every *@#$% point. Go, Ohio!

(via Eschaton)

A safety net for the big players only

A pithy comment on the proposed bailout here -- short enough you should just go read it.
In other words, folks spent years making billions upon billions of dollars on risky transactions, more money on the stock of companies that was artificially high based on those transactions, more money bundling all those transactions into more transactions, and made a killing, and when it turns out the whole thing is a big pile of shit, you and I get the god damned bill.
But let's not socialize medicine or provide a safety net for old folks and those caught out by circumstance -- only really bad trading should get you a handout. Free markets, blah blah blah...

(via Medley)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday fun bits

Just a few neat bits that have caught my eye today:
  • Results of a cover design contest held by Penguin Books for a forthcoming novel. Interesting to see a range of artists interpret a concept...
    (via Kottke)

  • A short video on how crayons are made -- simultaneously mechanized and human (at least in this 1970s moment).
    (via Kottke)

  • Main Street's possible response to the proposed Wall Street bail-out? Hey, Washington, Buy my shitpile too!
    Use the form below to submit bad assets you'd like the government to take off your hands. And remember, when estimating the value of your 1997 limited edition Hanson single CD "MMMbop", it's not what you can sell these items for that matters, it's what you think they are worth. The fact that you think they are worth more than anyone will buy them for is what makes them bad assets.

Poem of the day


It could happen any time,
earthquake, Armageddon. It
could happen.grass blades
Or sunshine, love,

It could, you know. That's
why we wake
and look out - no
in this life.

But some bonuses, like
like right now, like noon,
like evening.
- William Stafford

(via whiskey river)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heh heh

From a TPM reader, the quote of the week:
Considering as how the proposed Wall Street bailout will be one of the most intensely lobbied efforts in American history, will there be anyone left to manage John McCain's campaign?
Heh heh heh . . .

Bad choices should have *some* repurcussions

money grows on trees...but, of course, we also don't want the nation's financial system to completely collapse. However, I worry when people with a pretty good grip on economic theory think that the proposed bail-out is a bad idea. If we're giving a number of big institutions a transfusion of taxpayer funds, we'd better be getting something for it...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hey, who's that guy?

Apparently Biden just emerged from his gopher hole to bring some feist. Yes, the economy is doing *so* well..

Monday, September 15, 2008

In a nutshell

Josh Marshall hits the nail on the head on recent shameless McCain advertising:
Basing a campaign for high office on a strategy of deliberate lies is not an issue of tactics. It calls into question the character of the candidate and his fitness for office.
Bingo. I just hope the American public figures it out in time.

Weekend baby sighting

We took Speck on her first hiking trip -- that is, we tested out the baby backpack/carrier on a short walk in the woods.

baby on dad's back
She was generally a trooper, although the combination of the heat and the novelty of the carrier (which seems a bit less comfortable than her usual modes of transport) eventually brought some loud complaints. Still, now we're calibrated for the length of wander we can manage at this age age, and can work from there...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why being a quick study isn't enough

I recommend reading this short article on why it matters that Palin couldn't give an opinion on the Bush Doctrine -- not because she wasn't briefed enough for gotcha politics, but because it shows that she's had a relative disinterest in national/foreign affairs over the last seven years, including the defining issue of that era. Somebody whose head has been that much in the sand has no business running for major office.

(via Talking POints Memo)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


clip art carWhat could be cooler than a remote-controlled car that can climb walls? Well, one that held a longer charge, I suppose, but still, pretty spiff.

Who your friends are

Here's a fantastic graphic that clarifies the differences between McCain's and Obama's tax proposals -- who gets what percentage tax increase or decrease. Of course, the former makes the biggest slashes for the biggest earners (what a surprise!), while the latter gives back the most tangible sums to the majority of working Americans. It's hard to find even a speck of basis here for some of McCain's ads and spin, but that's just par for the course these days. (Did you see this?!?)

(via Bitch, Ph.D.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Quote of the day

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation,
nor does the truth become error because nobody will see it.
- Mohandas K. Gandhi
(via A.W.A.D.)

In case you forget

Am always glad to see writers reminding us of why there's no reason to be ashamed of or run from the label "liberal" -- indeed, it has a legacy to be proud of. The latest here in the NYTimes. His list reminded me of the Brand Dem project which (appropriately) claimed much of the last century's social gains for the Democratic Party:

brand Dem
(article via Atrios)

Monday, September 08, 2008


tv!I guess that Jon Stewart has given up any interest in having John McCain on his show again, after the no-holds-barred career review they gave him last week -- every moment of poor performance, every clip of changing positions, the requisite humorous exaggerations -- not a pretty sight. The last third of the clip is actually titled "abandoning everything he'd always stood for." eep.

Edit: This reminds me of the best summary I've seen of the response to Palin's nomination -- that is, the hypocrisy of the pundits who forgive her for every sin they've attacked in others. Video clips are a harsh truthteller...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Definitely *not* a tin ear

Yeah, who cares about homes when there are real estate investments falling by the wayside? Eesh.

Definitely *not* a senility issue

What on earth?!?
I'll admit I didn't watch, but this is too bizarre.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Piling up the money quotes

The latest from Palin really makes her look dim. Of course, the Republicans have spent 8 years building up defiance in the face of obvious signs of dimness and ineptitude, so perhaps they won't care about the glut of gaffs like this that are pouring out now under closer scrutiny...

Friday, August 29, 2008

News from the home front (or Friday kid-blogging)

Wednesday Speck discovered consonants. That is, she went from sounds like "aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh" and "hah!" to distinct series of "dadada bababa," out of the blue. Some of the phrases even have a sort of conversational intonation. For some reason, this gives me the first sense of what she will sound like when she finally talks (tomorrow, or four months from now, whenever) -- will be amusing to watch the gradual progression from Chat Only She Understands to real words . . .

genius with blocks

Meantime, the day passes mostly like this -- a series of things put into her mouth (plastic, wood, metal, cloth). All those advanced grabbing, reaching, and bending skills in service of turning the world into her chew toy. heh.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good stuff

I didn't watch any of the convention speeches last night after Clinton, but have been watching John Kerry's speech this afternoon (see here) and it was more lively and feistily engaging than anything he managed when a candidate himself. Worth a listen, not least for the way he called McCain on his double-talk and actual record. If only we could have nominated *this* guy four years ago...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Line of the night

From Bill Clinton: "The world has always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power." Ah yes, I remember that America . . .

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday giggles

Well, the video is a couple months old, but when, exactly, do baby videos cease to be amusing?? Here we see the kinds of random tricks that Speck can teach her parents by giggling in response...

Tee hee!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My half cent

I guess I always sort of thought it would be Biden, for age, experience, general feistiness. Yeah, those gaffs could be problematic here and there, but I suspect he'll be pretty tightly handled. Anyway, the man who brought "Noun, verb, 9/11" to Guiliani during the early debates might just have something to say to "P.O.W. is the answer to all things" McCain in days ahead...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the day

zen circle
Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
Love tells me I am everything.
And between the two my life flows.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj

(via whiskey river)

Hah hah hah

Just this. I hate to revel in stupid issues, but if we're fighting about image, I guess we're fighting about image. Tee hee/sigh.

(via dailyKos)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ouch! (the latest)

This amateur political ad seems to me to be extremely on point: the more unpopular Bush becomes, the more McCain supports him and his policies. Something for the Undecideds to think about.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who speaks for the troops?

John McCain likes to say he does, but apparently active military folks are a bit leery of his foreign policy viewpoints: they're donating to Obama at a 6:1 ratio. Put that in your conventional narrative and smoke it.

(via Atrios)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My kid's cuter than your kid

...or maybe not, but still pretty damn cute. Here she is within a day or so of having learned that she could sit up under her own power (5.5 months old). Look at me!

sitting up Speck

Unfortunately, we have hit a bad patch of stranger anxiety just as Grandma is about to become part of a three-person child-care plan, and the extended screaming is taking years off the lives of the adults in the picture. All quite unexpected, given her otherwise sunny disposition. Wish us well...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The man behind the mask

It's pretty clear that McCain isn't the "maverick" that the press would have you believe, but this piece from Digby makes clear that he's not even a very nice man (ok, and a vindictive hypocrite). I'm not sure that the traditional media can let go their well-established narrative slant to allow for such realities to come out, but I think that the voting public deserves a more balanced picture.

Too bad

A year or so ago, I was really rooting for John Edwards to win the Democratic nomination. Obviously, current news indicates that that would have been a disaster. I find myself too weary to read the details of all the coverage, but suffice it to say it tarnishes the moral credibility he's built through his work on poverty, and it also raises questions about his overall judgement. Feh.

sad donkey

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quote of the week

First things first, but not necessarily in that order.
- Doctor Who
(via Honest Tea)

Miscellaneous bits

lightbulbSeveral things that have caught my attention lately and been waiting for me to blog them...
  • A piece from a couple of years ago that encapsulates some truths about the healthcare debate in a useful and enlightening way -- why economists aren't always the best people to evaluate various policies, say.
    (via rc3.org)

  • The trend toward green building in a good one, but equally important may be recognizing the resources already tied up in existing buildings, and finding ways to minimize the waste of them when planning new development. "Embodied energy" seems both obvious and totally overlooked; could be a next wave in thinking.

  • Am very intrigued by this union publicity effort to set the record straight on a number of lies and distortions being spread about Obama. No idea whether they can target the sort of people who have become convinced by the "he's a muslim" rumor mill, but could be a powerful effect if so.

  • And, in case I had forgotten why I love The Internets, this video reminds me -- enough crazy folks around the world with time on their hands, and a few will produce a twisted kind of random brilliance. Mmmm-mmm.
    (via Bitch, Ph.D.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Potty training

I know that legislators have staffers, but there's something to be said for using them for research more intensive than a one-second Google search -- this is just a bit sad...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Painfully slow reorientation

I'm already pretty tired of the fact that the media describes as "far left" a host of views that are held by most Americans -- somehow the Republicans have brainwashed journalists into shifting their goggles to the right and leaving most of the country behind. The thought of how this dynamic will play out during the fall coverage of the Presidential election already makes me feel queasy...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You know you wanted it!

More gratuitous cuteness! Speck wears a sunburn-preventing bonnet while visiting the local playground -- it's almost too much!

amish girl

Friday, July 04, 2008

Leaving the world a little less hateful?

I note the passing of Jesse Helms. One hates to express pleasure at anybody's death, but I will say that I threw a party when he retired (it was full of red, white, and blue foods and scary-looking flowers), so I can't feign admiration now. Still, a striking figure with an unmistakable impact in his time...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quote of the day

Anybody can become angry -- that is easy
but to be angry with the right person
and to the right degree
and at the right time
and for the right purpose,
and in the right way --
that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.

(via NowThis)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This photo deserves its own post

For some reason, she now likes to put her hands behind her head all the time -- it's an amusing effect. She has also decided that bath time is fun even though she can't yet sit up enough to splash in the water or take advantage of the water toys...

(14 weeks)

Have a good weekend, all!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

That McCain -- what a maroon!

old elephantTwo recent stories that shed (the proper) poor light on this fall's Republican candidate, one personal and one policy, but both full of, um, hypocrisy and mendacity:
  1. McCain wants to be free to cite Obama's youth as a thing to worry about but level the charge of ageism against anybody who notes his own age as a point of concern for voters. Meantime, he's the oldest candidate ever, and many of his views have the fossilization to prove it...

  2. What does McCain think about the need to reform Social Security? Depends on when you ask him, despite his claims to have always favored the same line. Another comic opportunity for a debate between a candidate and himself?
Yeah, what a rebel. I look forward to regime change in January!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Was Clinton a stone polisher?

Josh Marshall makes an intriguing argument here, namely that the Clinton-Obama conflict, although hostile and tiresome in many ways, may have generated a stronger, more polished Obama campaign that is far ahead of the McCain machine in readiness for a real battle. There's probably some truth there, although five months is a long time for the McCain camp to catch up.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tunnel vision

I understand that single-issue organizations need to pursue their agendas as they see fit. But if actions that seem to advance their goals are counter-productive in a range of related matters, I think they need to consider a broader view. In the end, there's more to life than a couple of check-boxes, and political organizations should be looking for people worth having in office.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Getting outside

Two recent pictures from trips to nearby parks. I'd hate to think my readers were missing out on glamor shots.

A sundappled day (with Mom and Papou) at 14 weeks old...
(related cute pics here and here)

Speck's first ride in a swing (at 15 weeks)

I hope that the current heat wave (with temperatures in the 90s with high humidity) passes or it could be a long time before we do much more such hanging out, at least after 10AM or so! eep!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What makes a good team-mate

Everybody seems to be touting the notion of an Obama-Clinton ticket, as though the close raise means that "we should have both." But that kind of thinking just makes clear to me why Obama can't possibly afford to pick Hillary for his Vice President: because it would never be clear to anybody who was running things. You simply can't have both, not at the top, not in the Presidency. It needs to be clear that, even with an independent and active VP, s/he always speaks for the President, and isn't working a parallel power structure or agenda. Nobody would ever feel that way about Clinton, especially not those who somehow felt she deserved the nomination despite the outcome of the actual selection process, especially after the way she's pulled out all the stops on the divisiveness and refusal to step aside. Obama needs somebody who's respectable, somewhat known, and perhaps brings a different demographic into play, but somebody who is clearly second in command.

Anyway, I'm sure his choice will be interesting, thoughtful, perhaps a revelation. Am happy, though that so far he's saying "settle down" to the nation and its chattering classes, because there is plenty of time to mull things over and make a good choice. One needn't have the selection ready the day after the nomination is clinched.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Recent brag shots

Here's our little charmer at three months, with and without her magic smile...

pink dress

cutest smile

Just in case anybody wondered, this kind of project is labor-intensive, but totally worth it! Such fun and gradual unfolding of abilities...

Slowly dawning

donkeys head to headRafe has a great take on Hillary's handling of her gradually clarifying loss, framing it as a slow passage through the 5 stages of grief. As he says,
Personally, I’m ready for depression and then acceptance to kick in.
Yeah, I think it's time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fear versus fuctionality

Obama makes a good point about the silliness of refusing to talk to the folks that we think threaten us. I can't subquote -- go read the three paragraphs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This is just seriously funny

Ever helped a parent or other computer-challenged acquaintance with technical woes? Then you might appreciate the humor of this parody in which a user struggles with the new technology known as the book. Tech support in the Medieval era . . .

(via pal Don)

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Mothers' Day!

Here are three generations of redheads (at least, we speculate that the latest entry might turn out that way) together a couple of days ahead of the actual holiday and modelling the relationship(s) it celebrates. Hope everybody had a good one!

three generations
Smile for the tiny camera, all!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Quip of the day

Atrios on current political matters:
Still it's important to remember that the outcome of the Internet Asshole Olympics really shouldn't have much bearing on who you vote for either now or in November.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

In a nutshell, the latest

Rafe captures two good arguments for favoring Obama over Clinton in the Democratic race, each of which captures a major sentiment I've had myself -- one is positive for Barak and the other negative for Clinton. Worth a quick trip.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Look out, world!

The smile has arrived, and it's a killer!

big smile!

Quote of the week

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
- Mother Teresa
(from a local profile in the Philadelphia Inquirer)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Brag shots

You knew it was coming. Now, in our 6th week, we have enough to allow the sharing of some top pics . . .

Speck on mom's knees
Speck on Mom's knees at 2 weeks of age...

sunlit tummy time
Sunlit tummy time at a month old...

Yes, she's mighty cute, and yes, common opinion holds that she'll have red hair. (We're waiting to see as it grows in.) Meantime cute and pretty good-natured, and we're coping better, despite the continued sleep interruptions. Onward, ho!