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...