Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quote of the day

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.
- Alexis de Tocqueville,
statesman and historian (1805-1859)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

More TSA madness: Pre-holiday edition

pup asleep on face, airplane-styleLots of ongoing kerfluffle on the Interwebs about the TSA's porn-or-grope screening procedures. Here's a round-up of some of the more interesting bits:

Two thoughts on being tired

man asleep on arms at deskOne, a timeless LOL-cat that appears to be about Mondays and/or parenting.

Two, evidence that smart people sleep late -- does that mean that being forced into a morning schedule actually makes us (parents) dumber, as well as more tired? Inquiring minds...

(both via Medley)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote of the day

The task of genius, and man is nothing if not genius, is to keep the miracle alive, to live always in the miracle, to make the miracle more and more miraculous, to swear allegiance to nothing, but live only miraculously, think only miraculously, die miraculously.
- Henry Miller
(via whiskey river)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fight the power

Looks like there's a growing backlash against the new draconian TSA screening -- the porn-or-grope choice faced by air travelers. Some are planning to make a mess of holiday travel; others have found that passing out literature on the health risks while waiting in line can lead to enough opt-outs that the screeners give up and put everybody through ordinary metal detectors; and finally, one company, at least, is offering modesty pasties to protect one's private parts from photographic revelation (if you're willing to risk the radiation by going through the backscatter scanner). None of these enough to reform the system, but at least small strikes against arbitrary police power (well pilloried here) until we can register our protests with the Powers That Be...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Amusement of the day

golden crown
The Official Website of the British Monarchy.
Yes, they have a Twitter feed too...

So much frustration, so little time

That's right, it's time for a link dump from my Grumpy Tabs file...
  • Is science hard to communicate to the public, or does our society devalue intelligence and expertise to the point that people don't even *want* to hear about scientific findings?
    The problem isn't scientists learning how to tell cool stories, which is a skill of great value in any society because humans relate and learn through stories, but that America has raised generations of people to make fun of anyone who cares about shit enough to learn something complicated and be passionately engaged with their work, and marginalize and ignore what they have to say.
  • Social contract lying in ashes: what happens when we replace government protection of the common good (funded by -- gasp -- taxes) with privately paid services. Ludicrous versions of justice.

  • Rafe calls this Everything wrong with America in one article -- how, among other things, private prison interests are driving Arizona's draconian immigration policies.

  • Of course, Rafe left out the TSA:

    1. At increasing numbers of airports, you are now offered the choice between excessively detailed imaging and invasive pat-downs designed to make you stick with the imager, radiation or not. More on this stupidity here.
    2. In parallel with the Arizona case above, it turns out that these new machines were brought to bear more due to lobbying by manufacturers than because of any real belief that they'll make anybody safer.
    3. Despair, Inc., comes through with some pithy t-shirts to capture your travel experience, if this hasn't driven you from the air entirely.

  • Here's a little bit on military censorship of photos taken in the Mideast and elsewhere.

  • Speaking of the military, looks like the Democrats are throwing them overboard again, planning to abandon DADT in the lame-duck Congressional session.

  • Here's a little reminder that we don't live in a postfeminist era -- the language we use to describe men and women, even when giving a positive review, differs enough to create significantly different outcomes.

  • The Supreme Court may be poised to end class-action lawsuits, which would have a huge impact on the ability of average folks to protect themselves and the rest of us.

  • And finally, from the Department of Brash Hyprocricy, a freshman Republican who railed against healthcare reform complains at a month's delay in getting his own government healthcare. Poooor baby!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I think I'd be pretty happy if somebody wrote a retrospective like this of any endeavor I got involved with, wrinkle-bomb and all. Congrats to Josh and Talking Points Memo for spawning a really engrossing and fact-driven media enterprise, and for keeping the blogger-like feel while going Big. Ten years is amazing, dude!

Monday baby-blogging: Belated Halloween edition

Speck was a frog for Halloween this year -- she had the idea, and Mom and Dad assembled the craft components to make a costume. Amazingly, she not only sat for having her face painted green, but also kept the visor on her head for the entirety of festivities on two different evenings. Net win! (I apologize for the poor lighting of some of these pics.)

full-length shot of toddler dressed as a frog
Here's the full regalia...

close-up of green face and visor, Halloween costume in progress
Good-humored green-faced girl, just post-painting.

Halloween frog in park with Dad and teddybear
In Seger Park with Dad and teddybear...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The emperor's new nonsense

It's one thing to dismiss the crazies as off the deep end, and it's another thing to fail to notice that they're coming into power. The New Yorker had a recent piece on how the GOP has moved gradually from isolating its wingers (the John Birchers et al.) to embracing them to a disturbing degree. I fear that this trend combines financial and racial insecurity with the widespread glorification of ignorance (or, at least, dismissal of expertise and evidence) that passes as populism these days. We dare not continue to ignore these folks or allow them to redefine history to fit their warped views...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

And my eyes will barely stay open after working the polls...

I guess that the only upside of the resounding loss of the House is the ousting of most of the Blue Dog Democrats. I like Patrick Murphy, but I have to say that the bark of this group just gets tiresome; I hope that they recruit nobody going forward.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Stand up and be counted

Reminding all my readers, and especially those in Pennsylvania: be sure to vote today!!

VOTE, formatted like the love sculpture in PHiladelphia

Monday, November 01, 2010

Don't forget to vote tomorrow!

And if you need a reminder why, this video has it in a nutshell. The Republicans are counting on disheartened Democrats to stay home and give them another chance to gut the government and extend the recession, and we need to show up and keep them at bay!!

Rally to Restore Sanity

Looks like Stewart and Colbert did a good thing. The signs and faces are really great -- wish I could have managed to be there, but will console myself with successful Halloween on top of election calls and other stuff. Favorite slogan from the slideshow: "When income determines outcome, democracy dies." Update: worth quoting Jon Stewart's closing too...
''If we amplify everything, we hear nothing," he said, adding: "Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate."
Q: will sanity spread? (sigh.)