Shirley Graham was astonished to learn that a lawyer from Norm Coleman's campaign on Tuesday blocked her absentee ballot from being added to the U.S. Senate recount.
"I'm an election judge," said Graham, of Duluth. "I expected to be the last person whose ballot wouldn't be counted."
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
The New York Times has an article, so useful, which shows precicely when Larry Summers, with his co-conspirators Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin tanked our economy.
In 1997, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a federal agency that regulates options and futures trading, began exploring derivatives regulation. The commission, then led by a lawyer named Brooksley E. Born, invited comments about how best to oversee certain derivatives. Ms. Born was concerned that unfettered, opaque trading could “threaten our regulated markets or, indeed, our economy without any federal agency knowing about it,” she said in Congressional testimony. She called for greater disclosure of trades and reserves to cushion against losses. ... In early 1998, Mr. Rubin’s deputy, Lawrence H. Summers, called Ms. Born and chastised her for taking steps he said would lead to a financial crisis, according to Mr. Greenberger. Mr. Summers said he could not recall the conversation but agreed with Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Rubin that Ms. Born’s proposal was “highly problematic.”
And then, in 2008, due pretty much entirely to unfettered derivitive proliferation, our economy tanked. The same article, mentions, delicately, that
The Wall Street debacle that swallowed firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and imperiled the insurance giant American International Group, has been driven by the fact that they and their customers were linked to one another by derivatives.
As to Tim Geithner, he just handed over somewhere around $320 billion to a friends' company.
Tim Geithner, former President of the Federal Reserve, has been appointed Secretary of the Treasury. He's a protégé of Robert Rubin, who is now director and senior advisor of Citigroup. Luckily for Rubin, the government has-completely coincidentally-agreed to insure Citigroup against losses of upwards $300 billion. This is in addition to an allocation of $20 billion from the $700 billion bailout package, which followed an earlier $25 billion injection. Quite an expensive coincidence.From Laney Tower.
As to his analysis, don't forget that Zbig is a hawk. If he says Israel overreacted, we should maybe pay attention.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I just read an interesting article(please read) describing how people who feel less in control of their lives find more spurious patterns than those with more control. Looking at my own pattern, I feel free to suppose that those with less brainpower find more nonexistent patterns than the smarter among us. Yes, I think we're hardwired to find patterns, even when none exist. It is actual difficult work for us to determine which patterns are real and which are figments of our inborn overactive imaginations.
Why, you say? Uh, well, one totally non-scientific data anecdote. I've noticed that when I feel especially vertiginous, I assume the actions of my beloved fiancee (take a bow, Geebee), my family, and assorted souls with walk-on parts, have rather more significance (mostly negative) than warranted. That is, I see nonexistent patterns in their behavior. More specifically, I am much more difficult, more touchy, seeing slights where none were intended. Matching nonexistent patterns willy-nilly, and, as it seems to me, oh-so-cleverly. When my vertigo clears, the patterns, the significance, the pattern disappears. The actions are just people doing stuff. No global significance attached. That is all.
Look, it's in an article, all sciency and everything! So, all, be loving, accepting, and stock up on instant oatmeal.
Here's the cite. See? All together now. "Love you, sweetheart; of course I trust you to be home by midnight."
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Bring In the Gods - Jack Gilbert
Bring in the gods I say, and he goes out. When he comes
back and I know they are with him, I say, Put tables in front
of them so they be may be seated, and food upon the tables
so they may eat. When they have eaten, I ask which of them
will question me. Let him hold up his hand, I say.
The one on the left raises his hand and I tell him to ask.
Where are you now, he says. I stand on top of myself, I hear
myself answer. I stand on myself like a hilltop and my life
is spread before me. Does it surprise you, he asks. I explain
that in our youth and for a long time after our youth we cannot
see our lives. Because we are inside of that. Because we can
see no shape to it since we have nothing to compare it to.
We have not seen it grow and change because we are too close.
We don't know the names of things that would bind them to us,
so we cannot feed on them. One near the middle asks why not.
Because we don't have the knack for eating what we are living.
Why is that? she asks. Because we are too much in a hurry.
Where are you now? the one on the left says. With the ghosts.
I am with Gianna those two years in Perugia. Meeting secretly
in the thirteenth-century alleys of stone. Walking in the fields
through the spring light, she well dressed and walking in heels
over the plowed land. We are just outside the city walls
hidden under the thorny blackberry bushes and her breasts naked.
I am with her those many twilights in the olive orchards,
holding the heart of her as she whimpers. Now where are you?
he says. I am with Linda those years and years. In American
cities, in København, on Greek islands season after season.
Lindos and Monolithos and the other places. I am with Michiko
for eleven years, East and West, holding her clear in my mind
the way a native can hold all of his village at one moment.
Where are you now? he says. I am standing on myself the way
a bird sits in her nest, with the babies half asleep underneath
and the world all leaves and morning air. What do you want?
a blonde one asks. To keep what I already have, I say. You ask
too much, he says sternly. Then you are at peace, she says.
I am not at peace, I tell her. I want to fail. I am hungry
for what I am becoming. What will you do? she asks. I will
continue north, carrying the past in my arms, flying into winter.
This is my touchstone. I will continue north, carrying the past in my arms, flying into winter.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I hate hate hate MOST christmas music. "Most christmas music" is a handful of warhorse canonical songs that have been sung unto death. By Sting. For this post, I'll try to acquaint you with some christmas songs that you never heard playing in Wal-Mart.
First, Lightnin' Hopkins singing a song variously named "Santa," or "Santa Claus." Quite the red suit and white beard.
Here's Freddy King, having a less-than-optimal Christmas "Everybody's singing Merry Christmas, as they watch the sky fill with reindeers. I'm smiling on the outside, but inside, I'm crying Christmas tears."
And, an actual Christmas Chestnut, except it's sung by Nat King Cole, and is about chestnuts during Christmas. I, at various times in my life, have been forced to listen to to that genre terribly terribly misnamed "easy listening." Easy for some, one can only assume. Anyhoo.... every once in awhile a song would come on that I thought was not only beautiful, but all the way to sublime. They were always sung by Nat King Cole. Here's his Christmas song, probably the only standard Christmas song (I keep repeating that phrase, would an abbreviation help?) that might, perhaps, move me to tears.
Finally, Leadbelly, the man who was released from Parchmen Farm TWICE for murder, because the warden liked his singing. A lovely, sweet Christmas song. My fave. (Of the Blues.) "Children all be so happy on a Christmas day."
There's a wealth of stunning Christmas blues not available on Youtube. Assuming the world does not yet again begin to spin to fast for comfort, I'll see if I can post some of the old great Bluesmen's songs.
And, now for something completely different: Bach - Christmas Oratorio: Cantata #1 BWV248 - Mov. 1/9. I love his choir music. Actually, I love all his music, but the choir music has a special place in my heart, and this one is even seasonal!
Second, looks like churchgoing may make you less honest. So, once a year, month, week, skip church and have fun with your kids instead!
Here is an enjoyably impudent piece of research from Innsbruck University. People were observed buying newspapers, using an honesty box to pay. They were interviewed later - so the person with the clipboard seemed unconnected with the newspaper purchase - and asked about age, occupation and attitudes. Men cheated more than women; people over 50 cheated more than the young; higher education made no difference; and by a long chalk churchgoers cheated most. This may be a statistical anomaly. But we all know one thing: religion no more makes people good than lack of it makes the rest of us bad.From The Guardian.
And to get everyone even more in the spirit: "Christmas 1979" by Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire. Not to give the plot away, but "Merry F****** Christmas to you all."
And as a final Christmas present, yet another Pogues song, live, "If I should fall from grace from God." My youngest, Snapdragon, listening to the Pogues when she was all of, what, five? Said "Irish Punk is just like normal Irish music, only faster."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Mary O'Nazareth: Hello. I am Mary O'Nazareth and I am excellent. Today, I shall be mostly visiting my boyf Joe Carpenter becoz we r very much in LUB in a proper, chaste manner. Also, I like kittens and ponies
TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD: Hello. I am TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD and I am excellent. Let's see if she recognises me...
M. O'Nazareth: Hello TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD. Sup?
TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD: Message from upstairs. U R up TEH duff. LOL
M. O'Nazareth: FTW! Will I be havng a puppy? And wait... is that a false beard?
TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD: Errr... nothing. TEH boss say u hv 2 marry J. Carpenter and call teh baby JEBUS. LOL
M. O'Nazareth: JEBUS? Is he going to be Mexican?
TEH ANGLE OF TEH LORD: JEBUS H CHRIST
J.Carpenter: Here's three nails, put me up for the night.
Receptionist: LOL, that's an Easter joke, sir.
Monday, December 15, 2008
A CNN commentator declared Bush was no lame ducker.
Considering that we all have to remove our shoes to pass through airport security after the shoe bomb incident, how will this change the security protocol for press conferences. Will we be seeing barefoot journalists? Or will we design special restraints that clamp their feet to the ground? In what spectacular way can we over-react?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
OK, here's an Oil Bubble Chart, courtesy of those fine folks at Calculated Risk.
Compare and contrast. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“Madoff”) has created a Business Continuity Plan (“BCP”) designed to enable a rapid recovery and timely resumption of critical operations following a significant business disruption (“SBD”).
So, if you're one of the investors who lost some of that Fifty Billion Dollars (doesn't it look like more when written out?) when the Madoff hedge fund turned out to be a ponzi scheme, not to worry! There's a plan B!
How did he get away with it?
According to the NYT,
The Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigated Mr. Madoff in 1992 but cleared him of wrongdoing, appears to have been completely surprised by the charges of fraud.The SEC also conducted two inquiries — in 2005 and 2007 — into Madoff's company, according to the AP. Ooops. Drat. Sorry.
Further, according to Bloomberg:
Maxam [Madoff's accountants] provided audited financial reports showing that the assets were held in custody at Bank of America Corp., Flatto said. Flatto said he learned this week that the reports were wrong: The assets were kept in custody at Madoff’s firm.
It's clear we have, what? essentially NO securities regulation in this country. That's quite the discrepancy. Thank you, Bush.
On a slightly different tack--Bernie Madoff admitted to the fraud and his sons turned him in. Why? Perhaps they're guilty too? And Dad saved them by sacrificing himself? Or maybe Bernie just figured his time had run out.
And look! Here's someone else, (a high-flying lawyer with his very own law firm that employed 250 lawyers, cut it out you guys!) busily swindling innocent investors! But, only of 380 million, plus another 35 million in escrow accounts. You have to understand, in an escrow account, which holds client money, misplacing a couple of hundred dollars, putting money in or taking it out at the wrong time, are all serious legal errors, which may put a lawyer's license to practice law on the line. 35 Million? Wow. Who needs that much money?
Monday, December 8, 2008
After presiding over the unprecedented loss of $11 billion in assets, and the sale of the company,
Merrill Lynch & Co. chief John Thain has suggested to directors that he get a 2008 bonus of as much as $10 million, but the battered securities firm's compensation committee is resisting his request, according to people familiar with the situation.
They are only resisting paying him royally because people are watching. For too long ridiculous executive compensation has been the rule rather than the exception. It's not in the stock holders' interests to pay like this, but since it is difficult for small time investors to effect company policy, the fat cats who sit on one another's boards keep authorizing these outrageous packages.
For a long time, executives have argued that the companies need to pay top dollar to attract the very best management. Hmmmm, loosing $11 billion, that's certainly exceptional performance. I guess he is in a league with other corporate earners such as Mulally at Ford who got on the order of $28,000,000!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
There is pressure on Obama to have the US join other countries in the Kyoto Treaty (and the new version of it that is being worked on) to reduce carbon emissions. Critics say that the cap and trade structure of that agreement does not work because the enforcement and regulation make it too easy to get around. Furthermore, some "progress" only exists on paper as far as reduction of CO2 goes. For example, China was planning to build hydroelectric dams, and under the Kyoto Treaty would receive carbon credits which it would be free to sell to other countries. But since China was planning to build those facilities anyway, there has really been no reduction of carbon fuel use on their part, and now some other country will have a license to pollute more.
A leading climate scientist, James Hansen of NASA, endorses a different approach: Impose a carbon tax, but distribute the revenue evenly amongst the citizenry. This offsets the economic burden of adding a new tax during these difficult times but still incentivizes reduced use of carbon fuels. The tax would increase over time to motivate people to shift over to other energy sources.
This approach would tax people with huge houses, gas guzzling cars, wasteful habits, and busy travel calendars more than people who make choices to conserve. It seems worth a shot, but since we are Americans after all, everyone will probably just keep going on as before thinking that they'll just be getting the money back anyway if most people make few changes. After all, even when we tax stupidity, people keep right on buying those blasted lotto tickets.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
What happened? The McCain campaign spent the princely sum of $110,000. for Sarah Palin's makeup and hairdressing, according to the New York Times, plus another $55,000 for her fashion stylist. I clearly need to change jobs. Good to know today, when we also found out that over a half million people lost their jobs in November.
These garments, mirdles-----man-girdles----are being marketed ostensibly for providing lumbar support. Yeah, right. Seems more like they are for love handle containment. Or perhaps, as the model on the right seems to think, they are meant to provide extra sock storage. You decide.
In any event they help close the gap between men and women in terms of quality of life. Not the jump forward for women we all hope for, but a giant step back for men. Aahhh, progress.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Even worse however are the animals that tamper with the garbage cans. Raccoons knock our cans over and unlatch the "tamper-proof" garbage lids. After they finish festooning our yard with edible tidbits, the skunks arrive. Evidently something keeps startling the blasted skunks, for we frequently detect their acrid essence. The crows have even gotten in on the act. One of them pecked a hole the size of an orange in one of the lids (plastic, obviously), and now they visit that can regularly and pull out tempting morsels.
But we don't have coconut crabs! (This is not photo-shopped.) These creatures live in places such as Guam, and can crack coconuts easily with their powerful claws. I sure would not care to run across one while taking out the trash. So I guess I'll quit complaining and count my blessings-----oh wait, there are fifteen friggin' turkeys!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
She was the Complete Ubernerd. I suspect (and this is high praise), that she was even more boring than me. Wanna learn about finance? Go read one of her posts. I double dog dare ya'.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Not the point of this post. My favorite singer of the group was Richard Manuel; unfortunately, there are few videos out there with him singing. I found one; it's a bit grainy, but the audio is lovely. In March 1986 he hanged himself in a Florida hotel room while on tour with the Band (minus Robbie Robertson.) Those boys didn't seem to get much out of their genius and fame. Love, Djinn.
"Rocking Chair." Happy Thanksgiving.
Click here to hear one of Richard Manuel's most beautiful songs, "Whispering Pines."
Surely you've figured out by now I'm a hopeless romantic.
Just found this, I need to fly away for thanksgiving in a couple of hours, perhaps I should go to bed; King Harvest live and even well recorded by one of the best bands ever. Enjoy.
And, if you insist, after many tryouts, here's my favorite Levon Helm vid.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
My, sez Djinn, prediction. Next year. Or 2024. It's a long post, I know, but this is as short as I can make it. Want more info? Just ask.
California put on its ballot, this year, a citizen initiative to change the California constitution to declare marriage as allowable between only a man and a woman. The famous Proposition 8.
Subsequently, the California Supreme Court declared gays a protected class, subject to strict scrutiny; which means under the 14th amendment to the Constitution, they have a right to marry.
All discrimination is not created equal. In US law, there are three distinct categories, strict scrutiny, intermediate scrutiny, and rational relationship.
Strict scrutiny, as you may be able to ascertain from its name, is the strictest, and only applies when a fundamental right is infringed, or when a "suspect classification" is used. Race is a suspect classification. Under suspect classification, for example, blacks and whites cannot have separate water fountains, "separate but equal" does not win.
The California Supreme court has determined that Sexual Orientation is a "suspect classificaion" with the effect that laws applying to sexual orientation must be justified by a "compelling government interest," must be "narrowly tailored," and must be the "least restrictive means" of achieving the compelling governmental interest.
Gays in California used to have, and currently have the option of entering into "domestic partnerships" which have most, but not all, of the benefits of marriage at the state level. They have no benefits at the federal level.
Under "strict scrutiny," such "separate but equal" rights are clearly disallowed. It's why you or I cannot put up separate water fountains for blacks, or whites.
So.... The people of California have amended their constitution (with only 52% of the vote! But that's for a different rant.) to require marriage (this is a completely civil right, in that the benefits are granted totally by the government) to be between only a man and a woman.
But, under strict scrutiny, there are only two possible ways to handle one group being denied rights granted to another group. 1. Give the rights to the denied group (integrate schools, no separate water fountains) or, 2. Take the rights away from the privileged group. Bang, Zoom, thank you m'am, or sir.
The California constitution, by disallowing marriage between two people of the same sex, has now invalidated reason 1 of the possible solutions. Gays cannot be given marriage rights. However, reason 2 is still open; that is, Marriage can be denied to all. This is, I suspect, what the actual outcome will be. There is 3; another choice, the amendment could be declared a "revision," and thus subject to stricter standards to pass, that is 2/3rds majority in both CA governmental houses and a vote by the people. This would invalidate it, but there is very little case law to determine the probability of this, so let's think of the exciting possibilities.
Assuming the court doesn't choose revision, the only option available is to deny Marriage to all Californians, and give them all civil unions. This has serious consequences, as civil unions are not recognized by the US government, which would deny those couples now able to get married that right.
That is an important point, because state constitutions can add extra rights not guaranteed by the US constitution, but cannot subtract rights guaranteed by the constitution to all.
So, when (or if) California declares all marriages invalid under their constitution, we will be in a unique situation. For the very first time, the issue of Gay Marriage will be "ripe" to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Currently there are four almost 100% probable no votes for gay marriage, one unknown vote (Kennedy, the only vote that counts, because he is the swing) and four at least potentially probable yes votes. So, there's probably even odds, if the Supreme court hears this issue, that they will say "No."
However, Kennedy wrote the opinion in "Lawrence v. Texas," the ruling that gave gay people the constitutional right to have sex (in 2003!) and so is at least a probable "yes" vote.
In Lawrence, Kennedy penned that
"our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education." ... "Persons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.”Sounds like he sees Gay marriage as a fundamental right. If so, then Americans might soon have a constitutional right to gay marriage, fueled, (ouch. My irony meter just broke...back to the shop.....) by the diligent efforts of the "Yes on 8" people in California.
Scalia, in his angry dissent in Lawrence agreed, stating:
Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned.
Assuming Kennedy votes "no", I ran a statistical analysis on the ages of the conservative justices to determine the average year one would die. (I possess such superpowers; but, to compensate look somewhere between silly and stupid in a bodysuit and cape. Not true, I can rock the cape, but no bodysuits or tights for me.) It's just about 16 years from now. If there is a Democrat in the White House in 2024, and an interceding Republican administration hasn't installed an anti-gay conservative (bit, uh opinionated, Djinn? Hell Yeah!) we, after every single other country in the first world (assuming we're still in that group) will finally decide that gay people have the right to get married. Pretty depressing.
Postscript. There are only five conservative justices, so the error bars on my prediction are pretty wide, but I used what material was at hand for my prediction. So there.
And Winter is just starting! Soon I will be shoveling during snowstorms as well.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Beck -- Debra. Sample lyric: "I've got to get with youuuuuu, and your sister, I think her name's Debra." Plus bonus perfect falsetto, and cute little wiggle; not Beck's fault that he's somewhat lacking in the Booty department. Though I'm sad than no fishnets or high heels are directly involved. Lady, step inside my Hyundai.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sorry, guys, I was going to put up some inappropriate Prince song, but ran across this Public Image Ltd. song, Careering, off "Metal Box," instead, and could not resist. Metal box is a three album set released in what appeared to be a metal film canister, recorded at 45 RPM. Needless to say, I love it. Check out Jah Wobble's immense base line.
Here's John Lydon and Keith Levene (PIL's guitarists) on a talk show insisting that PIL is not, actually, a band, and they certainly don't play rock and roll. "They play rock and roll at airports." "A bunch of gits on stage."
Knocking on a door near you soon! Best news ever! I'd happily talk about the Bible with him, 'specially those good friends David and Jonathan, why God hates Shrimp, and if you really dislike your mother-in-law, how would you go about turning her into a pillar of salt? (What can I say, I spent years, years of my life in church with no reading material but the KJV, which has some rather fun bits.)
He told the magazine that he attends meetings at a local Kingdom Hall, and
he leaves his gated community in Los Angeles at times to knock on doors and
proselytize. "Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they're really cool
about it," he said.
Oh, and Prince, I promise I'd be cool about it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This study from the "American Association of Wine Economists" (as an aside, who knew such people existed, and what are their lunches like?), and its all scientific and everything, explains in excruciating detail, with graphs even that, well, let them speak:
Our main finding is that, on average, individuals who are unaware of the
price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In fact, they
enjoy more expensive wines slightly less.
Two-buck chuck, here I come.
If you actually read the paper (not recommended without a bottle of your favorite plonk nearby) you'll also find out that if you think that wine A is more expensive than wine B, you may, indeed, prefer wine A. Paper bags all around, or that old standby, pour the cheap stuff into some expensive bottles you found lying around. Everyone will enjoy the fun!
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Bureau of Land Management is offering over 350,000 new acres of land in Utah for leasing by oil and gas companies.
This is the fire sale, the Bush administration's last great gift to the oil and gas industry," said Stephen Bloch, a staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
"The tracts of land offered here, next to Arches National Park or above Desolation Canyon, these are the crown jewels of America's lands that the BLM is offering to the highest bidder," he said.
An examination of the parcels, superimposing low-resolution government graphics onto Google Earth maps, shows that in one case drilling parcels bordering Arches National Park are just 1.3 miles from Delicate Arch.
"If you're standing at Delicate Arch, like thousands of people do every year, and you're looking through the arch, you could see drill pads on the hillside behind it. That's how ridiculous this proposed lease sale is," said Franklin Seal, a spokesman for the environmental group Wildland CPR.
This news was a surprise to the National Parks Service, but the head of BLM in Utah said notifying them was not required by law. The sale is scheduled for Dec. 19. Write your representatives now.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Living in exile in Paris while studying the Kamasutra with communists, Mickey now plans a return to his native country. Obama's inauguration should again make this country a haven for sexually depraved, french-speaking, commie-pinkos.... at least that is what Mickey has read in some blogs. Plus, he thinks Euro-Disney blows.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here's my favorite John Lennon Song, sans Phil Specter. Such raw emotion. He deserves his ranking. Mother. "Mama don't go, daddy come home."
One actual Live John Lennon song is not enough. Instant Karma.
"Why on the earth are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear."
All you people who (theoretically) read my (and kerfuffler's) blog, but don't listen to the music videos, I know you're out there. I understand if you don't like the early 20th century 12 tone stuff, or the punk rock, or the riot grrrrrls, but you should really make an exception and listen to these two beautiful John Lennon songs. No downside. Plus there's bonus Japanese captions. Everybody now--"We all shine on. Like the moon and the stars and the sun. On and on and on and on."
I have to do something to help the world be even slightly better. Why on earth are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear.
One more, "Imagine." And the world will live as one. A guitar version! Usually, John played it on piano. So it's special. Alright?????
Now off to bed with me, to dream of anonymity. I remember, vividly, where I was when I heard that John Lennon had been shot. I was in a humanities class at the University of Utah. On the 2nd floor. Of some building that my brother James free-climbed. The name? Lost to history. I burst into tears; for me, the only possible response. Still. Good thing I have allergies to blame my red eyes on.
As an exercise for the reader, and to keep this post from being any longer, look up "Working class hero."
Highlights: "I know that humans and fish can coexist peacefully." "Breast and Brightest." You'll have to listen to the rest.
Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.
To which Bob Cesca, journalist, responded:
Fact: not only is the president-elect one of the finest orators in modern political history, but he far exceeds President Bush in terms of intellectualism and verbal discipline. In other words, a Bush gaffe reveals an inherent lack of intellectual curiosity and a general ineptitude when it comes to, well, talking. An Obama gaffe is an isolated incident, exclusive of his ability to speak, think and reason.
I live in a small upstate New York town with limited shopping choices. I found these dreadful offerings at our town's highest end department store, the Bon Ton. I didn't bother with rotating the images because with such ugly clothes, why bother?
My kids taught me a slang term, fugly; it would seem to apply here.
The following three sweaters all intermingle the same unwholesome shade of olive green with brighter colors (robin egg, cantaloupe, and lemon yellow) to gravely ill effect. Seriously, these look way better here than in person. These are all by Evan Picone. I suspect the designer is suffering from cataracts in both eyes.
And then there are these excrescences. The unabashedly grisly colors distract one from the horrible cut. The sleeves are bell shaped, an unfortunate choice for such a chunky textile. In real life, the taupe-grey background color of the second sweater ( the "unifying" color) appears more dominant, and brings to mind bruised flesh.
Here's a closeup of a top so you can see it's "floral" pattern clearly.
These last two are from the ritziest section of the store. Notice the green splotch on the ribbed neckline----it looks just like a guacamole stain. In a desperate bid to be bold, this designer threw together colors that just don't go!
The very existence of these preposterously horrid clothes makes me wonder about the efficacy of a free market society. How can competitive pressures to create superior products lead to such dismal results?
Begich, who was losing after election night, now leads Stevens by 814 votes -- 132,196 to 131,382 -- with the state still to count roughly 35,000 more ballots over the next week.
The state Division of Elections tallied some 60,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots on Wednesday. The ballots broke heavily in the Democrat's favor, erasing the 3,000-vote lead Stevens held after election night Nov. 4. ......
The state still needs to count at least 15,000 questioned ballots and an estimated 20,000 absentee ballots that made it to the Division of Elections after election day last Tuesday.
Since Democrats were encouraging their voters to vote early, the remaining ballots are likely to favor Begich.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I really can't recommend visiting this garden in the Fall highly enough. I was lucky that the sun was really bright the day I was there. The only challenge was taking shots that didn't have other photographers in them. The camera bugs were out in force.
(A Day in the Life of a Conservative)
Joe gets up at 6am and fills his coffee pot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. That medication is safe to take because some stupid Commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and efficacy.
All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- and now Joe gets it, too.
Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat-packing industry.
In his morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much of what it contained.
Joe gets dressed, walks outside, and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and DIED for these working standards. Joe's employer adheres to these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.
If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed through no fault of his own, he'll get a worker's compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
It's noon and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.
Joe is finally home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm in the country. He gets in his car, ready for the long drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.
He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't even have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.
Joe is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so that Joe wouldn't have to.
Joe gets back into his car for the drive home and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. The host doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day...indeed, throughout his LIFE. Joe agrees. "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of himself, just like I have."
A woman was just killed trying to leave an initiation ceremony for the KKK. (This man has been arrested in connection to this crime.) Read more here.
When will the FBI treat the KKK more like the terrorist organization that it is? With Obama as our President elect, this group will probably be inspired to commit more crimes against our citizenry and government.
The KKK and other extremist militias will need careful monitoring in the years ahead.
(I came across this at Andrew Sullican's The Daily Dish. It was also included in the "magically appearing" videos that accompanied this cat's 13 second debut on adizzylife. I was afraid people might miss this, so I posted it separately for people to enjoy.)
This cat has a great hobby, huh?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We saw them in Boston a couple of times and had a really great time. You may know them from their Pentium processor ads from a few years back, but they also do shows in many locations around the country that feature funny conceptual skits and loud thumping music.
This pic was snapped in the Japanese Garden in Portland in mid October, 2008. I'd use it for my desktop except the icons don't show up well against it. (The picture has much more clarity from the file on my computer. I'm not sure why this image is so fuzzy here when enlarged.)
Consider these French models. (Pictures were taken in Paris, 2008, at an outdoor energy and transportation exhibition.)
This first specimen, the Biotop, not only uses alternative fuel------I'm guessing because of the name. Everything was in FRENCH! Merde.-----It also appears to feature a state of the art spin cycle. (And it's soooo cute.)
This next high concept vehicle is quintessentially French with it's existential approach to the very notion of a conveyance. Alas, even with the umbrellas it is unlikely to protect the "occupants" from rain or other inclement weather. (In fact, to me it looks more like he is trying to get struck by lightening than trying to move.) Just maybe, our automotive industry can come up with an alternative that outperforms this sublimely minimalist contender.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
- - Langston Hughes
Shame on the Mormon Church.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
"It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election. "
The Mormons provided Just over 50%(updated numerous times--trying to get it right here) of the funds and most of the actual effort to get Prop. 8 passed (also updated). An amazingly well-run campaign. Non-alcolhoic champagne all arround. You should be proud! Why this whine? You did it. Step up to the plate and admit it.
What a bunch of sissies! Grow a pair, boys, (and they're all boys, so it's at least a theoretical possibility). Why this sudden unwillingness to take credit? The sudden realization that the 18,000 people whose marriages you just destroyed might be just a tad upset?
(Grammar conodrum; "are a bunch of sissies?")
The recount has not started yet, but already election officials in Minnesota say:
The difference between Coleman and Franken, which stood at 725 votes in Coleman's favor Wednesday morning, has changed several times since then as county officials have checked results, and was 221 by Friday evening.Norm Coleman, the incumbent, is involved in many scandals:
This one's the creepiest-sounding Coleman scandal, and, if true, the worst.Houston businessman Paul McKim, formerly the CEO of an oil-rig servicing company half-owned by Nasser Kazeminy, introduced a lawsuit accusing Kazeminy of -- get this -- forcing him to funnel $75,000 to Coleman ( the Senator's wife) through the Minnesota insurance firm she works at. Juicy detail: McKim alleges that Kazeminy told the oil-rig servicing company's CFO that "U.S. senators don't make [expletive deleted]" and that was why he was ordering payments to the Minnesota firm.A Franken victory would increase the Democratic majority even closer to that 60 seat majority, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
On the dirty-trick side of the evidentiary ledger: Its too-perfect timing, as well as rumors flying around that the suit has been or will be withdrawn (as of this writing, it still stands). On the this-is-legit side: McKim is apparently a Republican donor, not a Democrat; he's retained serious Houston counsel (unlike, say, Obama tormentor Larry Sinclair, whose disbarred, kilt-wearing lawyer did not cast, er, a respectable sheen on his lawsuit); and Coleman initially reacted fearfully to the suit, briefly cancelling some campaign stops.
About one out of eight people in prison is there solely for Marijuana offenses, costing the government 9 billion dollars a year. However, marijuana is not addictive--unlike alcohol and cigarettes--is not a gateway drug, and seems to be bizarrely good for you.
What do I mean by that? Compounds in Marijuana protect against lung cancer, and block cancer growth in leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the breast and skin. Why?
This study discovered that pot use "reduces the invasiveness of cancer cells." Here's a study, from Harvard, that finds that it "cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread." In fact, it seems to be the magic bullet that researchers have been looking for--it looks like it kills the malignant cells without harming healthy cells.
But, the US has not allowed any human trials of this most promising cancer drug, because the war on drugs has trumped the war on cancer. Go Drugs.
A main reason for marijuana prohibition is that it is said to be a gateway to harder drugs. The opposite seems to be the case. A recent comparison of drug use in Amsterdam where Marijuana is legal, and San Francisco, where it is not, showed very similar rates and patterns of marijuana use in both populations; however pot smokers had a much higher use of other, harder, drugs in San Francisco.
So, counterfactually, decrimilization of marijuana would appear to not change marijuana use, but would lead to lower rates of all-around drug use. Not only that, duh, people don't commit crimes, (other then the obvious one) when they smoke up. Perhaps we should pass out joints to violent offenders.
Anyway, the point of this post, which seems to have gotten away from me, is that there were 10 marijuana decriminalization initiatives in the US this election cycle, and 9 of them passed!
Maybe in another twenty years or so, we can start with the cancer cures.
Friday, November 7, 2008
22 some-odd million dollars, out of a total of roughly 35.8 Million dollars for Proposition 8 (that changed the constitution in California to outlaw gay marriage) was contributed by Mormons (2% of the population), plus a bonus 6.7 Million was contributed by Mormons to ensure that partners with the wrong set of genitals can't marry in Arizona, either. In 2004, Prop. 3 in Utah ensured that same sex couples couldn't have any rights AT ALL.
I'm very sorry, my family, and random mormons, I adore you; I have known so many painfully sweet, kind, decent mormons. Then this. The institutional church itself worked very hard to link a "yes" vote--a vote that will disallow the wrong kind of family--with being a moral person. A family church for very small values of family.
(Updated the amounts of money spent)
(Also updated to state that Mormons believe in a strict hierarchy. Their Prophet, Thomas Monson, told them to vote for Prop 8, and donate to Prop. 8. For many Mormons, this is the equivalent to a commandment from God; thost that voted "Yes" could very well have no animus toward Gays at all. This is why I am so pleased to see that Equality Utah is introducing five bills into the new Utah legislative session that would give some legal protections for gay families--the exact set of civil protections the Mormon Church said they didn't mind. Let's see if they pass.)
Djinn, spinning gently