Thursday, January 31, 2008

Candidate picker

Unsure which candidate best represents your views? Here's a helpful quiz that lets you set your priorities, give your views, and see the results (including explanations of the ways in which that candidate does or doesn't match up with you). Pretty well done, and up-to-date in terms of who's still in the race.

(via Follow Me Here)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If only

two faces of BushA striking editorial in the NYTimes today in response to last night's State of the Union. It largely takes the approach of how different things would have been if Bush had done the right thing in any of numerous arenas along the way.
Monday night’s address made us think what a different speech it might have been if Mr. Bush had capitalized on the unity that followed the 9/11 attacks to draw the nation together, rather than to arrogate ever more power and launch his misadventure in Iraq.
I think what they want is, "if Gore had been elected," but that line is rather passe these days. Anyway, a no-holds reminder of the many lost opportunities of the last seven years...

Monday, January 28, 2008

So much to learn!

Great page of baby do's and don'ts for the new parent (or anyone with general lunatic tendencies). Hilarious.

(via A Mindful Life)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crazy talk!

money treeThat communist Ampersand thinks that the answer to illegal immigration across the Mexican border is to improve economic conditions in Mexico! But that's not nearly as much fun as riding vigilante patrols along the border, so it probably won't catch on . . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Surely you jest

Hillary faces an uphill battle against unconscious misogyny (where even those who "wouldn't mind a female President" don't realize how much their filters for evaluating her include sexist standards of comportment), but this attack genuinely leaves me wordless.

Random midweek silliness

It's been too long...
  • A parental helper with a sense of humor: Momspit cleaner for hands and face.
    (via boing boing)

  • Here's some amazing art that only appears when lit just so . . . (mind-blowing!)
    (via Rebecca's Pocket)

  • Something you've never wondered: what might the internal anatomy of a balloon dog look like?
    (via kottke)

  • Something you didn't realize you might need: a t-shirt that detects wi-fi network availability!

  • A car-shaped tent for the would-be urban camper. Just remember to feed the meter!
    (via Follow Me Here)
Now get back to work!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quote of the week

MLK memorial logoOn some positions a coward has asked the question is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
– Martin Luther King Jr.,
November 1967
(via dailyKos)


I knew that Giuliani wasn't popular in New York, and that he showed many signs of a governing style uncomfortably close to Bush's (in terms of valuing loyalty over competence, for example). But a story in today's NYTimes paints a really grim picture of his penchant for revenge on all opponents, from nonprofit watch-dog groups to individual citizens and anyone associated with the administrations of his predecessors.
"The culture of retaliation was really quite remarkable," said Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, the lawyer who represented Housing Works. "Up and down the food chain, everyone knew what this guy demanded."
You have to read the examples to believe the depth and cravenness of it all . . .

Friday, January 18, 2008

Groggy Friday

Have made it through another week, but barely. This slightly blurry shot of our cats captures my feeling well...

sleepy balls
Pixel and Pasha demonstrate their napping technique.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The safe alternative

Police who view tasing as a safe way to get a grip on an uncomfortable situation are getting some evidence the other way. Whether that's enough to return them from weapon-based action to behavioral intervention is yet to be seen . . .

Latest news on election security

I had only marginally registered that Dennis Kucinich had called for a recount in New Hampshire, but apparently the results are quite interesting. No real reason to assume that the outcome will change, but we've found out a lot about the carelessness with which ballots are handled in the state, the ease with which Diebold cartridges go AWOL, and the good fortune that residents of that state have that paper ballots are retained in case of recount needs. Not sure how much coverage all of this is getting in the press, but those in charge of choosing and overseeing election machinery around the country should pay attention . . . [And those who decry Kucinich's uselessness in this race should give him some credit!]

Right on the mark

new elephantVia Onion TV (when did that come into existence?!): Mitt Romney handles allegations of tolerance. (Another one in that category of things you wish were farther from the truth...)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not exactly an "alacrity" . . .

I thought I was the only one to whom normal words sometimes sound strange, but apparently not. Love it!

More creepy parallels

...between our Middle East warmongering and the great landmarks of Vietnam. Can we have new leadership, pleeeze?

(via Follow Me Here)

Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave

aged parchmentPresidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks the Constitution needs to be amended to aline with God's standards, in this case on abortion and gay marriage. I'm sure 19th-century slaveholders would have agreed with him, as do such folks as the Taliban and other religious nuts around the world. More signs that the right has institutionalized a brainwashed religiosity...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thanks for all the help!

The World Bank is supposed to help countries develop in ways that they can sustain, but it turns out that their beef program is contributing to razing of the Amazon.
In a single project last year, the IFC – part of the World Bank group – handed $9m to Brazil's leading beef processor to upgrade its slaughterhouse operations in the Amazon, despite an environmental study, carried out for the IFC, which showed that expansion of a single slaughterhouse in Maraba would lead to the loss of up to 300,000 hectares of forest to make way for more cattle.
I'm sure that's just what the World Bank's funding nations were looking for -- making the whole planet less healthy . . .

(via dailyKos)

Too bad it's not his decision

The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs thinks the prison at Guantanamo Bay should be closed. Imagine.

(via This Modern World)

Quote of the day

leaf on cobblestones

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.
- James Kern Feibleman,
philosopher and psychiatrist (1904-1987)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Like barking dogs

It's amazing how the media treats Hillary -- a mix of their residual hatred for all things Clinton with their squeamishness about all things female, that results in some real absurdities. Anyway, this cartoon seems to capture the hypocrisy and unfairness pretty well, sparing me from having to explore it more fully here.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Here's an interactive map that shows all the Presidential primaries and caucuses, indicating which have already been held, when the others will occur, and results from each (as well as cumulative delegate totals) as you mouse around. Mighty handy.

(via dailyKos)

The next gift of global warming

dengue mosquitoThought melting ice caps and drowning polar bears were the big threat? Looking forward to milder winters and sweatier summers? Those of you who, like me, live in temperate climes may be surprised to learn that tropical diseases such as dengue fever are expected to spread across the US in coming years, following the northward spread of the range of their favorite mosquitos (previously limited to South America, etc.). Great stuff, should be really fun . . .

(via Follow Me Here)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Poetic justice

Certain types of aggressive idiocy deserve to be punished. Color me completely unsympathetic.

The problem with our national filters

An interesting piece at Salon about the role of political reporters in shaping campaign outcomes. Specifically, they love or hate candidates based more on the access and flattery they receive (see: McCain's miraculous comeback narrative) rather than based on the candidates' positions or even their real standing among voters (see: the only politician surging in nationwide polls is John Edwards, but are you hearing that?). It's a bit creepy that highschool-level interactions are shaping narratives that can drive candidates to defeat or victory; substance, anyone???

(via Eschaton)

Language evolution

Scrabble tilesAm fascinated by this development: "yo" is emerging as an alternative to gendered pronouns among young people in the US. We've certainly needed things better than he/she or "eir" (for his/her), but I suspect this one won't immediately be picked up by English teachers, editors, and the rest of the mainstream, not least because it already has uses as an interjection, etc. Still, intriguing organic development.

(via Alas, a blog)

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's been a long time

I'm backing Edwards for this Democratic nomination, because he feels to me like the real progressive among the frontrunners, and that would sure be good for the policies of our nation. But I have to admit that I wouldn't be crushed by the prospect of an Obama presidency either, because this voice would be good for the battered soul of the nation, in a way that perhaps nobody has given us pride of state since Kennedy. I could just listen and listen . . .

Quote of the day/weekend

However smart we may be, however rich and clever or loving or charitable or spiritual or impeccable, it doesn't help us at all. The real power comes in to us from the beyond. Life enters us from behind, where we are sightless, and from below, where we do not understand.
- D.H. Lawrence
(via whiskey river)

Friday bengals -- about to be upstaged

This is likely to be close to the last set of cat shots that gets uploaded this year, what with the last-minute kid preparations and eventual total upstaging. Who knows. Anyway, got two good ones last month that deserve some airing.

pixel on camoflage quilt
We were testing this quilt on our bed, and Pixel discovered that
she could blend into it perfectly...

blurry Pasha
This shot captures Pasha well, despite being out of focus...

Anyway, the cats have been a bit wigged by all the construction and other disruption, but are falling back into their usual routines now. Just wait, guys . . .

Comparing apples to apples

Kos puts the total Iowa results in perspective. Turnout was way up from previous years, and Democratic turnout, in particular, was up several fold from 2000. A good sign for the motivation level of voters . . .

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who's the Big Bad?

Hilarious: the Republican primary field reconceived as villians from the Buffy series. (A couple of the tweaks suggested by commenters are priceless too.)

(via Alas, a blog)

Our old friend, "compassionate" conservatism

row of pillsAmpersand notes an illogical new statement from the White House official in charge of drug policy, which opposes lifesaving treatment for drug overdoses because they might encourage risky behavior. He summarizes the appropriate reaction perfectly:
Trying to make it more likely that people will die of an overdose, in the hopes that the threat of death will make them seek treatment, isn’t just incredibly ignorant of how people actually work; it’s a disgustingly callous indifference to human life.
Another example of the problem with faith-based reasoning (the facts don't support this one either) as well as with "stern parent" approaches to most of adult public health.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Airplane fantasy

When I make a paper airplane, I'm usually pretty happy if it makes it across the room, but an airplane starting from a skyscraper in New York can have a pretty leisurely and satisfying circuit to the ground . . .

(via boing boing)

I agree

This is a powerful ad, and I think it does a good job of pinpointing one of the reasons that Edwards feels like the right choice to me. He works from the little guys up, not from the pundits and consultants down . . .