Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spot on!

test tube rackOr should I say stripes? How genetics works in families, a quick visual summary.

Silver lining

The economy is wheezing and GM is scrambling for survival, but at least we can wave goodbye to this monstrosity of conspicuous consumption. w00t!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quote of the day

The Senate is holding a hearing today where several current and former Blackwater employees will be testifying, but honestly the only way Congress would stop giving Blackwater money is if it started registering black people to vote.
- Adam Serwer
(lifted whole from Atrios)

Staying grounded

a pebble on raked sandLike this little bit on staying true to yourself. Whatever your religious persuasion, there's a core you that informs where you need to go in life, and it's good to remember that and check how it's leaning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More, yes! Like this, please!

Wouldn't it be great if Democrats could master a framing war? Especially when all the goodies are just lying out for the taking? "Bad for America, and bad for you" has legs, and seems to apply to all the crazy ideas from the Right right now. Where have you gone, Geo. Lakoff?

Good news, bad news; that's how the day rolls

These things seem cool:These things are decidedly uncool:Not sure what to think of this: swarming display blocks, which can disassemble and reassemble while continuing to carry information.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Out of the gate, at last

stethoscopeObama Administration suggests a healthcare bill based on the already passed Senate bill, offering Republicans a chance to get behind it or face being entirely closed out of the process as the discussion moves to "reconciliation" (= Democratic bicameral discussion). They will almost certainly opt out, which means that a lot of things could happen with only Democrats in the room . . . Will be staying tuned!!

Quote of the day

I believe that we are put here in human form to decipher the hieroglyphs of love and suffering. And, there is no degree of love or intensity of feeling that does not bring with it the possibility of a crippling hurt. But, it is a duty to take that risk and love without reserve or defense.
- Allen Ginsberg
(via whiskey river)

Score one for Joe

I have to admit, I didn't see this one coming...

Edit: ah, I knew that sounded too good to be true. This is more like it. Try to score points with liberals while spearheading a kabuki exercise...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Belated Valentine

Am feeling very infatuated with Speck these days. That's not to say that parenthood is all roses -- as a general undertaking, it's all about additional responsibilities, reduced free time, and long stretches of mind-numbing repetition/explanation/negotiation -- but rather that the particulars of this one personality, and the chance to watch it develop, are enchanting. I suppose that every parent has their moments/stages of appreciation and others of more frustration, so perhaps I'm just wallowing in a little of the former.

Speck has become quite lovey, with lots of hugs and kisses to go around (and not just for her stuffed animals, as it was for a long time). That's made me realize what a long snuggle-free stretch we had. Parenting inherently involves a lot of contact, from carrying to scrubbing, but that's quite different from getting to snuggle your offspring up against you, let alone the feel of her burrowing her head into your shoulder or the sight of her open-mouthed, wide-armed grin as she runs toward you from across the room. These are good times.

Additionally, Speck's vocabulary and communicativeness have both blossomed over recent months, and she's continuing to get more companionable. Mornings no longer require full-time entertainment by one parent while the other gets ready; she can come into the bathroom and join us in brushing her teeth, talking Mom through her make-up, having her toys help pick Dad's clothes, or even sharing a shower. She also continues to like to help a lot, from throwing wet laundry into the dryer to digging at snowdrifts with her little scoop. She sings to herself in the highchair, has memorized a couple of her favorite books, helps look after a 6-month-old who comes to visit with some regularity.

I dunno. Maybe this is my replacement for pining after spring. But it feels like this is a golden time, of dependence mixed with affection, when every discovery and every millimeter of mastery is still cause for celebration and when there are so many new things to share. I'm sure I'll appreciate the greater independence that comes with increasing age, but I still think I'll miss the purity of her emotions right now, the closeness of the connection. Will do my best to drink it up while I can.

Speck's face in a little heart shape, background to match my blog
Two links:

Two amazing things

Evolution in real time, as birds' wings gradually change shape in the face of vast deforestation. Neat, and simultaneously a bit sad.

Shot with a green screen: this pretty much blew my mind. Even scenes filmed on location are often green-screened to allow for addition of background elements that may be pesky to arrange in real life. Lots of familiar TV shows and movies are excerpted here. Fascinating.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A tipping point

I certainly found Admiral Mullen's testimony striking and heartening:mashup of gender symbols (2)
"No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," Mullen said. "For me, personally, it comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."
But this take, that this statement might indicate the tipping point of inevitable acceptance of gays in the military, goes even further than I might have hoped. Certainly, those who've said they'd follow the lead of the uniformed officers have no further excuse for hesitance; I look forward to a growing avalanche of support for the obviously right position here!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Four amazing things

  • Apparently we still keep women out of some sports both to protect the fragile male ego and/or because of some antiquated worry that they'll damage their lady bits.
    (via Atrios)

  • What corporations really think of capitalism: too much competition ruins everything. waaah!

  • Are we turning our kids' education into a Race to Nowhere? I sure hope not, but I can see where all the pressure comes from. Better to foster a love of learning than a fear of not living up, but perhaps best to remember that there are other things important in life, often more so.

  • Here's a really blog about homelessness/unemployment from one parent's real-time perspective. An alarmingly easy condition to stumble into, hard to dig out of.
    (via Bitch, PhD)

Friday, February 12, 2010

That cheery news just keeps on coming

piles of cashCommercial real estate is just starting to be in trouble, with possible repurcussions from empty storefronts to large-scale evictions from foreclosed apartment buildings. Oh, and possible failures of local banks. But wow! what a recovery we're in!

(via Atrios)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Miscellaneous snowy-day links

Because the sidewalks are now shoveled enough to take the toddler to Grandma's! woot!!
  • It's hard not to be impressed by these graphs, which show that the unemployment crisis is disproportionately hitting those with less education. That's partly an explanation for why lawmakers and banksters don't seem too het up about it all; one could also imagine that it has policy implications such as Rafe suggests.

  • A really interesting mental exercise: If Senators Represented Demographics Instead of States. Somehow seems unlikely we'll get anything close to that in either house, as long as corporate spending in politics is unlimited...

  • I'm totally with Rafe in his frustration with constant stirring up of fear by politicians and talking heads on the right. It seems to start with terrorism, and then the worry is easily redirected onto other "suspicious" groups, and suddenly there's no talking rationally about anything. It's hard to see how to fight it when it's so effective as a(n amoral) tool. Sigh.

  • Meantime, healthcare reform seems stalled while people's lives are at stake. Nobody seems to give a crap, when it's clearly a financial and humanitarian crisis right here at home.

  • On a cheerier note, there are some really great videos at the Muppet Studio YouTube site. Heck, I'm just happy to know that there are still videos being made with some of these great characters -- poor Beaker!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Quote of the day

The point here is to take life in all its rich variety just as it is, with its ten thousand opposites, and to go along with whatever circumstances require, embracing things after their own inclination or according to chance, letting things be rather than getting in their way, and thus allowing each and every thing, each and every appearance, to pursue a meaning and purpose distinct from my own.
- Kato Totsudo
(via whiskey river)

Snowpocalypse, redux

Well, there may not have been much snow in New York this past weekend, but we had plenty here (we can't even see this much of our patio) -- something like 20 inches in 24 hours, which is enough to tax the infrastructure in even the snowbelt states, let alone here (or further south). Didn't get any video of the great dig-out (complete with Speck helping with a cat litter scoop), but I do have this video from just before Christmas, after that first big storm, when she first got to walk about in snow and wonder at it. Look, footprints!

Man, if I'd known it would really do more of this, I'd have tracked down a sled. Just hard to justify the storage space when it sometimes snows a total of 0.5 inch two times in a whole winter...

Political radar, not so much

Heckuva job, Brownie! eesh.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Obstructionism writ extreme

Yes, there's really a single Republican Senator holding up all nominations by the Obama administration until his favorite pork projects get some love. No really, and claiming it's selfless concern for national security, of course. I'm pretty sure what that guys needs. Does our government even pretend to be concerned with running the country anymore??

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Time for another spine infusion

Nobody doubts that the Democrats have a hard row to hoe, in large part because of the grim economic situation that seems likely to last a long time. However, they could be doing more to pressure their opponents and keep a little political slack in their options. Let's do something with that giant set of majorities!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

For the Philly audience

Among the hot primaries this year will be that for PA governor. Get an early look at the line-up, and maybe get a question asked of the candidates, at the forum being held the evening of Thursday, February 18 -- full information here.

Philly skyline

Tuesday link-dump

A bunch of things. What mileage a blogger with time might make of discussing such! You can tell these have been collected for a week or two, so apologies for my lost referrers.
  • Wonderful meeting of history and creativity: What Would Martin Luther King Make of Twitter? (captures two sensibilities almost equally well!)

  • An observation from the State of the Union, about the historical anomaly of the President's calling out the Supreme Court Justices in person.
    The Supremes are used to wafting into the House in their black robes, sitting dispassionately through the speech and wafting ethereally out again on a cloud of apolitical rectitude. It's like they forget they're there because they're one of the three branches
    Not this time!

  • Things we're not hearing about Haiti: how aid is getting fumbled by administrative disorganization. A real tragedy, and maybe an explanation for all the scenes of desperation that the media so loves.

  • A bit of optimism in the midst of much criticism of Obama: he's been quietly reviving regulatory agencies that can improve the lives of many if not most Americans. Score one for progressives!

  • On the creepy side: a poll of Republicans reveals the depth of their ignorance and bias. A third think Obama should be impeached? for what?? Many of the results here show the power of high-publicity fringe movements.

  • And finally, just as a poke at my own gizmo-ga-ga reaction, the Onion's version of Apple Finally Unveils iPad.

The 5-second rule

laughing smilie faceI just love this graphical flow-chart for dropped food, especially the acknowledgment of both logistical considerations (was the dropped thing sticky?) and conventional ones (was the observer a Person Who Matters?). And the totally random thread for some dinosaur business...

Of course, people feel quite differently about the question if it's their *kid* that's eating the dropped food rather than themselves. Which is relatively absurd, especially given evidence that dirt helps kids' immune systems develop normally. But fears and heebie-jeebies don't always yield to science!

(via a Momversation comment)

Monday, February 01, 2010

A long way to go

Economics experts keep talking about how all indicators are improving, the recession is virtually over, etc. Yet the jobs numbers keep falling, and it would take a virtual renaissance to replace all the jobs lost, let alone create enough more for the increasing population. Even in my relatively secure circles, things just don't feel better yet by a long stretch, and I was sort of perversely reassured to see this grim graph and quote:
What we see in the United States and some other economies is a statistical recovery and a human recession.
Larry Summers, Davos, Jan 30, 2010
(And now there's this too!) Let's get back to that job-creation business, folks, and stop worrying about corporate ledgers!

(via Atrios)