Friday, January 30, 2009

Keeping the pool deep enough

We tend not to think about how our capitalist system works, and what it requires. Nice that way, like a sausage factory that the employed can avoid visiting, but we need to keep the regulators (and safety nets) on the job...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lagging the class

I feel like our Administration is a lot smarter and more effective (already) than the previous one, but apparently it will take the press a while to catch up -- you know, to start using facts and puncturing nonsense, all that journalistic rigamarole...

Wednesday babies

A cold and snowy day here in Philly. What could be more warming than an array of cute babies? This is a group whose folks (mostly moms) get together in various combinations for outings and play, and managed last week to be there en masse for an MLK-day gathering.

babies in a row

(Speck, of course, is in the upper-right, and our host, Jack, is in the lower left)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Yes, this. I guess Spouse and I were well prepared, having been crazy cat-talkers for some years before Speck arrived on the scene. (In fact, I think we use the identical intonation for our narration/conversation with cats and baby -- probably a habit too ingrained to break.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Almost more than I expected

I'm all steeled for the disappointment, but so far the early actions of the Obama folks are all roses for me. There are stories of department after department in the government feeling reinvigorated by the arrival of their new heads -- who crazily seem interested in the agency missions and respectful of their employees. There's already low-key but important action on regulations related to abortion, civil liberties (and national profile), the environment, government transparency, and more. And many of the sub-secretary appointments (following on some impressively telling appointments to the transition team) are showing, even more than their more high-profile (moderate) chiefs, the rationality and law-abiding nature (how sad that that feels noteworthy!) of our new administration.

Happy sigh.

Boggles the mind

I mean, the behavior of the Bushies at Gitmo and elsewhere was terrible, but somehow the way they've left the place in chaos, so any attempt to handle the cases of folks we've detained for years runs into a brick wall of lack of information, is just appalling. It makes you wonder what's under the rug in every department of government...

(via Atrios)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Insight (quote of the day)

blades of grassUnless we are very, very careful, we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves. This indifference can be, in its extreme, a form of murder and seems to me a rather common phenomenon. We claim autonomy for ourselves and forget that in so doing we can fall into the tyranny of defining other people as we would like them to be. By focusing on what we choose to acknowledge in them, we impose an insidious control on them. I notice that I have to pay careful attention in order to listen to others with an openness that allows them to be as they are, or as they think themselves to be. The shutters of my mind habitually flip open and click shut, and these little snaps form into patterns I arrange for myself. The opposite of this inattention is love, is the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.
- Anne Truitt
(via whiskey river)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Making it new again

Ezra Klein has some thoughts on the new President and what this moment of optimism could mean for our country:
The power of Obama's election is that it felt like the country's accomplishment. That is easier in an election: The country votes. Such a direct connection may not be possible in governance. But if governance can feel again like it works on behalf of the public, like it takes seriously their concerns and works daily to meet their expectations, then that would be something better than hope. That would be change.
Let's hope he can make it so.

(via Some Guy with a Website)

Feeling the vibe

Am struck by the good spirits of inauguration ticket-holders who didn't get onto the Mall despite long waits in the cold -- the silence as they huddle around cell phones and share earbuds is particularly touching. Somehow the reality of the thing was more important than whether or not you could actually see any of the particulars...

Quote of the day (hard work ahead edition)

stacked stones
The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.
-- Albert Einstein,
Nobel laureate (1879-1955)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All those ducks in a row

Crazy! Even the White House website is all new!

(via kottke)

I only work on the 6th floor...

...but I swear that the air feels a bit clearer in here! (I don't think it's because of the small amount of weeping's clearing my sinuses...) Ah, for a Tuesday afternoon in January!

Approaching the horizon

Hard to focus today -- a sense of portent, of things About To Happen. I really enjoyed this NYT photo gallery of Obama's People -- mostly unknown now, but many soon to be familiar players, all exhibiting a range of looks, types, personalities uncommon in the political "in" set. I guess their new life has already begun, even if they will only move their stuff into their new offices this afternoon or tomorrow. Can't wait to see them leap from the gates!

one of Obama's future staffers . one of Obama's future staffers

one of Obama's future staffers . one of Obama's future staffers

(via Bag News Notes)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two bits on the modern life of children

I have some links decaying in tabs in my browser, so just quick bits here:
  • Bitch, Ph.D., makes a good point about after-school activities (of the paid or public kind), and especially what it means that for some kids we worry about "over-scheduling" while for others we worry about "keeping them out of trouble"...
    It frustrates the crap out of me when people talk about the social problems of "urban youth" without recognizing that even with all other things being equal, the fact is that *all* kids need *something* to do after school, and that public funding for this stuff shouldn't be about charity or "public safety": it should be something we do because, well, because we *do things for our kids*, even if we grumble about what a pain in the butt it is.
    But really, read the whole thing for the context.

  • Boing boing notes a recent study that shows that the risk to kids on the Internet isn't pedophiles but bullies, and predicts correctly that this will get little or no media coverage. Still, a helpful perspective for parents (and for lawmakers, if they take a moment to catch their breath from panic about the Web).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quote of the week (department of Don't Let the Door Hit Ya'...)

If the truth doesn't save us, what does that say about us?
- Lois McMaster Bujold,
writer (1949- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

The dangers of cuteness

Was just reminded of this cartoon, which applies at least as much to babies as to cats. I mean, the most obvious power of a baby lies in its ability to reduce all proximate adults to clowns for its entertainment...

(via Cute Overload)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Greet every day...

Speck is by no means a constantly cheerful child. But she is basically good-natured, and when she's in a goofy mood, she lights up like nobody else. Here's hoping there are a lot of moments like this in 2009 for all of us!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Signs of hope

Thanks, I needed that.

(via Echidne of the Snakes)


ouch!Hard not to be depressed watching the Israelis reduce Gaza to rubble while they still have Bush to applaud their every move. Particularly tough to read about what the consequences may be in the long run -- the empowerment of Al Qaeda, the destruction of a way of life... Happy f'ing new year.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Via the Onion, the latest from Apple: the MacBook Wheel, a keyboard-free laptop. Many many good lines here...

(via the sidebar at Kottke)

Tough week

Kinda quiet on my end after a tough week on the home front. Here's a little sunshine from good ol' Paula's House of Toast:

morning glory

Hope the new year is off to a peaceful start for you and yours!