Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank goodness for small favors

matters of stateColeman to respect unanimous court verdict and let Franken be seated as Senator. Can we get back to the real world now?

That wacky, wacky, healthcare reform effort

Via Tom Tomorrow, a cartoon that had me going hah hah hah hah waaaaaahhhhhh (descends into weeping). This is why I never finish his books, but usually buy them. Sigh.


Two bits having nothing obvious to do with one another...
  • A selection of classic 8-bit video games rendered in Legos (stop-motion style). Fanatastic.

  • My favorite of the many tributes being offered on the occasion of Michael Jackson's death: a montage of all the classic dancers who went before him, and from whom his classic jerky-smooth dance moves clearly derive. Includes clips of many folks we rarely get to watch.
(via boing boing)

Tuesday grins

Too good to not share -- Speck photo from pal Don, from a brunch this past weekend at Michele's. Good time all 'round, and some bonus pics! yay!!

grin (with bear)
flirting with the camera...

Poem of the day -- say YES! edition

In the morning I mused
It won't return, the magic of life
it won't return

Suddenly in my house the sun
became alive for me
and the table with bread on it
and the flower on the table
and the glasses
And what happened to the sadness
In the sadness too, radiance.
- Zelda Schneurson Mishkovsky
The Spectacular Difference
(via whiskey river)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Generation gap

Hilarious: 13 year old kid reviews a 30 year old Sony Walkman -- a real glimpse into how much we old fogies take for granted about older technologies...

No hope for the hopeless

'solitude' = a hunched figureI'm beyond disappointed in the news from the Obama folks that they appear to be dodging the Gitmo issue -- I'm positively devastated that there appears to be nobody left in a position of power who cares about fundamental human rights and decency. Years of deprivation and torment, without hope of appeal, fairness, the possibility of release... is this what America wants to stand for? Even the right wing used to hold up gulags as a sign of moral bankruptcy! Also chilling is this quote from a guy from the Center for Constitutional Rights:
If the last eight years have taught us anything, it's that executive abuses, left to continue unchecked for many years, have a tendency to congeal into precedent.
I sympathize with the nearly impossible position in which Obama finds himself, with terrible situations not of his creation, and the solution of which involve opposition from many sides. But at some point, he has to provide more than rhetorical leadership on the fundamental issues of our times.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday cooling break

Man, it's gotten hot suddenly around here, I guess because the sun has somewhat emerged (after two months of clouds and rain), and the difference is a shock. Luckily for Speck, she has a little play sink in our back patio for splashing, slurping, playing in the running water, and generally getting cooler...

(Waving a pitcher to free every drop onto her toes.)

Update: Video of sink-related festivities now available here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quote of the day

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are -- chaff and grain together -- certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
- George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans),
novelist (1819-1880)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trending in the wrong direction

Looks like unemployment numbers are starting to look funny (not in a hah-hah way) because people are starting to exhaust their unemployment benefits (and thus are no longer claiming compensation) rather than finding new jobs. This is ugly stuff -- soup lines, anyone??

(via Atrios)

Whom, exactly, do you represent?

Capital HillTo listen to the recent coverage, Congress is finding it nearly impossible to put together any sort of healthcare bill at all, let alone to face the possibility of funding a public option. But it's not their constituents that they're afraid of -- the public supports a public option by a huge margin!
The poll found that most Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so everyone could have health insurance and that they said the government could do a better job of holding down health-care costs than the private sector....
Which raises the question, of course, as to who is striking such fear into our legislators . . .

Edit: Digby notes that there are differences between the parties, with Republicans out to block any compromise and thus hoping to block any meaningful reform.
Republicans, (Schumer) suggests, are standing lockstep even against efforts to create a private co-op system that could offer an alternative to for-profit insurance. Their concern with the co-op plan is not that the government would be taking over the health-care system. It's that the current insurance providers would face unexpectedly aggressive competition in the marketplace. Which raises an interesting, and potentially clarifying, question: Are Republicans in this to preserve the healthy functioning of a competitive private market or preserve the profits of the currently dominant insurance companies?
Hmmmmm.... If only the Democrats can pay attention, look to their constituents, and just get something done! I like this quote (from the Times) too:
The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by "centrist" Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around "centrist," by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.
That's not the least of it, pal!

Monday, June 22, 2009

That old double standard

Just a little more chat about how identical behavior is found acceptable in men and offensive in women, documented this time in Judge Sotomayor:
  • Somehow it's everyday for a male judge to refer to his own experience in making a judgement, but the idea that a woman might do the same (let alone, that her experience might have led her to a different conclusion) is biased, biased, help and run away!

  • Identical questioning of lawyers appearing before them lead to charges that the female judge is a meanie (while her male colleagues are, I guess, tough but fair). A professor friend of mine ran into almost this exact dichotomy when her tenure case came up -- students expect female professors to be all nurturing and warm, so if they're demanding and intellectually rigorous, they're seen as terrible people. (terrible!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday baby-blogging: Playground!

A little amalgam of Speck at the playground, covering a host of beloved activities . . . (all at 15 months old)

chalk 1
Ohmygoodness, chalk! Sidewalk chalk! Yay!

Not really sipping, just sniffing the chalky fumes...

Lots of walking, with and without assistance...

And, of course, the swings. Wheeee!

And to see what we look like heading out to the playground, piled up with potential fun, have a look at this! A glimpse of a parent's life, hah.

Snark quote

From Hunter's twitter stream:
GOP health care reform plan delayed three days to add glitter, stickers of cats.
tee hee...

Not the headline I was looking for

Healthcare reform: DOA? What's needed is big and bold and scary and probably expensive. I have no idea whether our nervous and compromise-driven legislature can do something like that (at least without plague victims dying on their doorsteps)...

(via Talking Points Memo)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh, so true, so true

computer or TV?The Onion makes another semifunny funny...

Al does The Doors

Inspired, as usual: Weird Al combines classic rock with contemporary shopping, in Craig's List. Really well done.

(via a tweet from NowThis)

Heck, I'd been wondering what ol' Al was up to. Some answers in video: White and Nerdy (rap), or, um, Amish Paradise (hip hop, and very odd as video, at least), Smells Like Nirvana (heh, makes fun of their incomprehensible lyrics), Bedrock Anthem (Chili Peppers fun), Headline News (Crashtest Dummies meet 15-year-old current events), and of course the classic Virus Alert -- man, there's just a lot of good stuff to waste time with! (He even has some videos of other artists whose videos he directed. Crazy imaginative stuff!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tiny and cute

This squirrel, that is. Ridiculous! (Almost enough to make me reexamine my hatred of the varmints that dig in my flower pots, but not quite...)

O man

One hates to see any headline that starts with comparisons between Obama Administration behavior and that of his predecessor, especially the sort that seems so cleary doomed to legal challenge. Transparency, ho!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Things about parenting

a momtiniI have a lot of tabs saved for eventual blogging, but all my comings and goings from work and baby and what-all leave me squeezed for non-photographic blogging. Anyway, I noticed a theme (!) among several tabs, resulting in this deep post.
  • How (and why) to teach a kid to argue. I suspect that Speck will have to master these skills (and early appreciation for sarcasm) to survive in our household as well.
    (via kottke, I think)

  • I suspect that I've blogged this article before, but it's worth another visit: what's wrong with Cinderella? That is, with the re-shaping of all things girl into the form of a princess.
    “Playing princess is not the issue,” argues Lyn Mikel Brown, an author, with Sharon Lamb, of “Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers’ Schemes.” “The issue is 25,000 Princess products,” says Brown, a professor of education and human development at Colby College. “When one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice: it’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing.”
    (via kottke, in the context of Pixar's plans...)

  • Every parent's fear: facing down bullies -- turns out you need to involve everybody, most especially the spectators, if you want the best outcomes for all involved.
    “Olweus’s genius,” he said, “is that he manages to turn the school situation around so the other kids realize that the bully is someone who has a problem managing his or her behavior, and the victim is someone they can protect.”
    (via rebecca's pocket)
Update: here is one more, making the interesting argument that a cure for teen driving fatalities is to change patterns of development to create communities where teens won't need to spend so much time in cars. (Let me add that this benefits the elderly, as well, as driving safety declines long before other forms of mobility and independence dissipate.)
(via Atrios)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Twitter quote of the day

From Hunter, of course...
It's difficult to remember, during times like this, that the real threat to the nation is gay Americans in committed relationships.

Friday stroll

Speck's that is, not mine. Will hold off on more photos, but have to share this video of Speck demonstrating her prowess at walking, a mere week after she first walked more than a step or two... (in pursuit of the camera, of course!)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


A lot of people, referring to subprime loans and other foreclosure-inducing circumstances like to blame borrowers who "should have known better" than to get into too much debt. But when you read descriptions of some common practices, it's pretty clear that borrowers were not only misled, but were sometimes completely manipulated.
Some ... reps actually falsified the loan applications in order to steer prime borrowers to subprime loan officers. These were loans applicants who either should not have been given loans or who qualified for a prime loan. One means of falsifying loan applications that I learned of involved cutting and pasting credit reports from one applicant to another.
There are scenes that evoke Midas sifting through his heaps of gold coins. And yet it's the lenders we're bailing out...

Can't-hold-it-in baby blogging

It's Wednesday -- that's long enough to wait, yes? So many photos, crying out to be shared! This batch is hot off the presses, taken by my friend Don while we were at a gathering this past weekend. I'm picking three faces of Speck...

floor2 -- playing with Jan's wooden toy
1: totally focused. "Can't talk now; busy working this thing!"

2: grin-tastic. "Daddy just made a funny sound!"

Moms_arms -- Speck with Golden Bear, leaning on mom's hip
3: quiet. Watching some unfamiliar folks...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oh, Barak...

...how can you let us down so? I'm sure this won't be the last of the disappointments, but it does prick sharply.

Privacy -- nothing in the face of data analysis

I read something recently that said that attempts to remain anonymous online tend to give way pretty easily to probes of usage (and even alias choice) patterns. It turns out that in the real world, too, it's pretty easy to pinpoint somebody, given even such vague data as the zipcodes where they work and live. Given how broad that data is, one can imagine that finding overlaps in the highly particulated environment of the Internet is child's play. Sigh.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Quote of the day

You can out-distance that which is running after you,
but not what is running inside you.
- Rwandan Proverb
(via A.W.A.D.)

Monday morning baby-blogging

Finally uploaded a heap of photos from the last couple of months (sigh), and there are some real winners there, so it's time to blog some!!

laundry helper
Here's Speck helping put laundry into the dryer.
(13 months)

underwear2 (on head)
And here she is modeling some of the clean underwear, heh.
(14 months)

egg eater
A gratuitous Easter shot, just since the others are less than flattering...
(13.5 months)

goofy1 (with grin!)
Oh shoot, and one more, just because it's been so long and I love so many of them...
(13.5 months)

Will save the fun 15-month playground shots for next time. (Also, a couple of videos still to process, but hope to have some documentation of Speck walking by the end of this week...)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday bits

  • How much sugar is in various foods and drinks? See it visualized in terms of stacks of sugar cubes . . .
    (via Boing Boing)

  • If you're 25 now, here are some life skills/lessons you should have acquired, from having something to talk about other than school to knowing how to do things for yourself.
    (via kottke)

  • Very spiffy interactive map of the White House -- especially detailed on the bits that underlie the residence. You can see what's where, and there's a lot more than you might think from watching The West Wing!
    (via Atrios, I think)

  • A fantastic visual on what it means to say that America has become socialist . . . (That is, um, thinking such a thing reveals your goofiness!)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I love Improv Everywhere, which stages crazy events with large groups in public places just for the fun of doing so (here's a great review of a participatory outing). This most recent, where they threw a wedding reception for a random couple, brought a little sunshine to my day. (The video wasn't working when I went there, but who cares!)

(via kottke)


burning crossSometimes the mind just reels at the level of baseness of some rightwingers. Of course, the killing of a doctor who performed abortions was just karmic comeuppance and not the result of twenty years of spittle-flecked violent/eliminationist rhetoric from the right . . . (One hopes that there's a big bucket of karmic comeuppance out there for this guy someday!)

Edit: Wow, when you read this, I guess it makes the depth of gall less surprising. They really took the phrase "peaceful and legal" to its outer harrass-y limits!
(via Hunter's Twitter stream)