Friday, July 30, 2010

Mr. Smith is a little pissed off

That is, Sen. Weiner takes his GOP colleagues to task for filibustering health aid to 9/11 responders.
Weiner attacked those who "stand up and say, 'Oh, if only we had a different process we'd vote yes.' You vote yes if you believe yes! You vote in favor of something if you believe it's the right thing! If you believe it's the wrong thing, you vote no!"

"It is a shame! A shame," he exclaimed.
Really worth watching the video -- genuine righteous anger seems in short supply in these crazy times of kibuki partisan bickering, and it does the heart good.

Friday baby-blogging: boot camp for toddlers

"Hit that playground, yes we can! Take the kids on, man-on-man. Climb the slide and push the swing; we can do most anything! Sound off.... get wet.... 1-2-3-4: play now, some more!!"

Speck climbs a playground ladder up to the top of a favorite slide
Up that ladder, up, up!

Speck stretches to step onto a stump in our neighborhood
Across the moat, stretch, jump!

Speck performs the obligatory bar-hang before going down a slide; Tsah lies waiting her turn
Hang from that bar! now give me pull-ups!
(what, no? ok then, down you go!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A small blow for sanity

Well! unexpected good thing of the week: disparity in drug sentencing reduced. Not sure what the rationale is for keeping the remining differential, but every little bit helps...

(via a tweet from FreeRangeKids)

It's hard to sustain activism

I agree with Matthew Yglesias that progressive activists are depressed -- not so much in terms of literal mood, but in terms of the sense of hope that anything can be accomplished. The Obama record has been mixed and on many fronts disappointing, and onetime (or potential) activists are simply redirecting their energies into parts of their lives more likely to reward the investment. Perhaps large-scale movements inevitably run out of steam after a few years, and perhaps the absence of Bush-fueled rage has speeded that deflation, but I think that there are still a lot of folks who would get back in the trenches if something made them think it would make a difference. There's just not a lot of tangible evidence out there to encourage them...

sad donkey

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday link roundup: Bits related to kids and parenting

  • This is a sad tribute to the state of modern America: Why I Didn't Help a Lost Girl. I suspect that fear of being branded a pervert probably keeps all sorts of men, parents or otherwise, from having meaningful interactions with the kids in their communities.

  • The same sentiment is captured by this comic routine.

  • Also bucking the received wisdom, 'Don't Talk to Strangers' is Dangerous Advice. It's more important to learn whom to avoid and whom to run toward in an emergency!

  • From the Department of Snark comes this advice column exchange in which a single friend suspects that her stay-at-home-mom friend is just lounging around all day doing nothing. I have to say that I thought that the columnist's tone was not entirely out of line, although I will also admit that no amount of warning could have prepared me for how entirely a baby or small child can absorb all available time and energy from its caretakers.

  • On the sublime parental artistry front, I offer this blog of baby daydreams as imagined (and made real) by the mother of a newborn; it's the cutest! But man! in those early days, nobody in my household was functional enough to even consider such an enterprise!

  • And finally, from the Department of Entertaining Toddlers and Their Parents Too: Sesame Street makes a segment based on Mad Men. So right and so wrong...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Taking charge of your response

I think this talk is one of the most inspiring things I've seen lately. One woman's ability to make overcoming her injury into a role-playing game, involving her friends and relatives, is a testament to mind over matter (or, you know, mind over brainmatter), and to old-fashioned community-supported cures over modern medicine. And, you know, just a brilliant way to make lemonade.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Secret language

I love this article about the private language developed by couples over time. My spouse and I already have a wealth of inside jokes and references and figure that by the time we've been married 25 years, we'll be completely incomprehensible to others. Of course, with kids around, it only gets worse, as all their favorite books, zany mishaps, and malaprops become incorporated into family lore. Hopefully detangling the content from the insider hugging will become part of a future lesson in Knowing Your Audience, but it's possible we'll just become more and more eccentric . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Economic policies that might surprise you

money growing on a tree
  • Raising the retirement age gets a lot of discussion right now, and Ezra Klein notes that life expectancy has been going up for high wage earners but not so much for those at the bottom of the spectrum. Another policy that bludgeons the already overworked and underpaid.

  • From the Department of Republican hypocrisy, a chart that compares the long-term effects of the estate-tax cuts (that they love) with those of the unemployment benefits (that they hate). Guess which one really screws the deficit??
    (via rebecca's pocket)

  • I hope that a special place in hell is reserved for people with job openings saying that the unemployed need not apply. That should really pull the economy out of its current hole!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Quote of the day

One moment it was there, another moment it is gone. One moment we are here, and another moment we have gone. And for this simple moment, how much fuss we make! How much violence, ambition, struggle, conflict, anger, hatred, just for this small moment! Just waiting for the train in a waiting room in a station, and creating so much fuss: fighting, hurting each other, trying to possess, trying to boss, trying to dominate - all the politics. And then the train comes and you are gone forever.
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
(via whiskey river)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sometimes graphs can be encouraging!

Hard to remember that, in light of all the grim economic news lately, but there are things that appear to be trending in the right direction worldwide, even if the US isn't exactly leading the way...


Everybody needs friends (Monday baby-blogging)

Speck sleeps on top of a heap of stuffed animals, most of which she never plays with at any other time (although the oldest got some carry-around time in early days). Here she demonstrates her ability to hold them all in her arms at once, tucking the droopers back in like a mother hen...

little girl, gritting her teeth as she squeezes her half-dozen or so sleeping toys
Quick! take the picture while I have them! (27+ months)

close-up of the armload of stuffed animals
A close-up of the pile. From top: Feel-Better Bear, Oscelot (just foot visible) Stubby Bear (originally intended as a back-up for primary bear), Tsah, two elephants on left, mouse nose barely visible in lower-right. (Red bird not visible here, but glimpsed at left above.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More on the personhood of children

crying babyAnother very interesting dissection of language and how can reveal underlying bigotry where children are concerned. Acceptable behavior for children is not the same as acceptable behavior for adults, but they're people all the while...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday tab dump

Really large number of interesting things in the hopper, but a week of solo parenting means I have neither time nor energy to do them justice. So here they come!

Some things will never change

Fat cats think they deserve all their breaks and that the poor and out of work must deserve their lot too. Maybe Republicans voting against extension of unemployment benefits need a little help in seeing the problem; for empathy they might read this guy's story, or for plain old facts, this graph makes the challenges pretty clear (to those who want to understand, anyway)...

Said hey old man how can you stand to think that way
Did you really think about it before you made the rules
He said, Son

That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
Ah, but don't you believe them . . .
- Bruce Hornsby

Friday, July 09, 2010

Security theater

Man, I can't decide among these t-shirts. The whole ineffectual charade of airport security has succeeded in making me (a great lover of exploring the world!) dread travel, and all to accomplish virtually nothing. Does it really even make people feel better?

(via boing boing)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Holy crap, it's Christmas in July!

cartoon figure with arms raised, saying woot!Can it really be true, that the FDA is finally going to do something about antibiotics in animal feed?!?!? This has been one of my major causes for years (and a reason for supporting the Union of Concerned Scientists), and this misuse of antibiotics is behind the very real health threat posed by drug-resistant diseases in this country and around the world. It's irresponsible that we've let policy lag so far behind scientific warnings -- kudos to the Obama folks for getting changes underway! w0000000000t!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Those crazy innovators

I want some of these: convertible suitcases that allow for use as baggage carts, scooters, and/or chairs, depending on your family conformation and style needs...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Rarely seen: Black-and-white shots of Speck

Ok, they were grayscaled from color via Photoshop, but I still like the effect, just for variety. Both come from our recent Poconos expedition, at just short of 28 months of age. Speck enjoyed the lake here, which had such a shallow wading area that she could walk out pretty far without getting too deep...

Speck looks at something in her hand, with lake and canoes in the background
I like the rustic backdrop here.

Filling a bucket with sand and water
Playing with a bucket and shovel...

(In case it's just too traumatic for you, color versions are here and here. Don't worry, color will be back soon!)

Quote of the day

hunched figureThe propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
- Aldous Huxley,
novelist (1894-1963)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Why are there people there?

This photo of the oil-filled waves off the Alabama coast is really striking -- it would be enough to make me feel fearful of nature if I lived there, I think. I understand that if you live or vacation in affected areas, you still want to get outside, but wouldn't you pick the pool over oil-lump-studded beach for your kids to swim in??? It boggles the mind.

(via BagNewsNotes and dooce, respectively)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hope on the horizon for the orally fearful

That is, if a trip to a dentist fills you with fear of drills and other painful intervention, you may thrill to the news that a new passive treatment induces tooth cells to regrow damaged tooth surface, so that neither drilling nor filling are required. Still a couple years of clinical testing to go, but could be pretty neat (and greatly lower the stress levels of jobs in dentistry as well)...

(via kottke)