September 29th, 2006

Gunfight at the al-Quaeda Corral

I just saw a news wire story about Zawahri calling Bush a lying failure, and it made me think that it could not get much more obvious that military presence and action by the U.S. is exactly what al-Quaeda wants. I mean, they surely know their principal opponent by now, if there was ever any uncertainty at all. This comment will add a nice dampening affect to any intellectual analysis that might be creeping in.

And then I remembered the video for “When Two Tribes Go to War“, which might suggest a solution. Instead of a wrestling match, though, we could send Bush II, Rumsfeld, Cheney, et al, down to Tombstone Iraq to tell al-Quaeda to get out, and then wait for the gunfight to end.

On Day to Day this afternoon, they talked to an 18-year-old high school student who had recently enlisted in the Army, because she wants to be a doctor. The possibility of death in Iraq? No, she doesn’t know — and doesn’t want to know — how many Americans have died there; it really doesn’t matter, because she’s ”a strong believer in God”, and if it’s a person’s “time to go”, well, there’s nothing to be done about it. Her initial plan with her recruiter doesn’t have her slated for shipping out, but it might not be long until she joins many like-minded individuals in the desert in a philosophy that unites people across lines of conflict.

Biden was on To the Point this morning, calling for a three-state, federalism solution for Iraq (Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites), which is what I’ve thought should happen for a while now — not that I’m anything like an authority, but I’d much rather see my tax dollars going to try this strategy than our current one, whatever it is.

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September 28th, 2006

Who will stand for me?

If one day I am no longer able to disguise myself among the masses,
If one day I am no longer able to cloak myself in economic privilege,
If one day I am no longer able to conceal myself in white skin,
If one day I am no longer able to masquerade among the Christians,
Who will stand for me?

My country no longer recognizes my rights.
I am no longer under the rule of law.
I am no longer innocent until proven guilty.

I am one finger away from being a terrorist.
I am one finger away from being raped and tortured.
I am one finger away from becoming the enemy they fear.

I am afraid, but I will not cower.
I am enraged, but I will not strike.
I will speak my truth with pixel, voice and vote.

I hope that you will all continue to do the same, Terry

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September 27th, 2006

nonfamosi are cool. but cool enough to be vagabonds?

October 23. Only the cool kats in Seattle will be there.

And you-know-who is going to be making dessert.

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September 27th, 2006

N-word used at GOP Event with Tony Snow, Alberto Gonzales and George Allen

And you’d think that after the George “Macaca” Allen fracas, they’d know better.

Well, actually, this didn’t quite happen. Snow, Gonzales and Allen were indeed there, but it wasn’t Allen using the N-word this time. Speaker Wellington Boone used the F-word — faggot — at the Values Voter Summit this past weekend. Many people find this just as offensive as the N-word, but why isn’t there outrage on CNN that this word was used at a GOP-sponsored event? (Hat tip: Reader RF.)

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September 22nd, 2006

Tetris Video

What happens when anthropomorphic Tetris pieces bump into each other? Find out in this great music video from Grand National: Drink to Moving On.

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September 22nd, 2006

Fun environments for fish

Maybe a suspended highway? Or a high-rise tower with a view? (For Ron.)

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September 21st, 2006

Didion on Cheney

By all means, read it with a strong drink in hand.

One aspect common to accounts of White House life is the way in which negative events tend to be interpreted as internal staffing failures, errors on the order of the little dishes of salt with the funny little spoons. Cheney did not take the lesson he might have taken from being in the White House at the time Saigon fell, which was that an administration can be overtaken by events that defeat the ameliorative power of adroit detail management.

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September 21st, 2006

When fascism comes to America…

…it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross – Sinclair Lewis

Tomorrow the Family Research Council is hosting another Value Voters Summit in DC and sporting a roster of conservative politicians and pundits that could make some nauseous watching their heads spin.  It includes the Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline, who wants to invade the privacy of women in order to shut down Planned Parenthood and other low-cost reproductive health providers. There are bigger names in politics attending including Alberto “whatever the prez wants” Gonzales and Newt “I have another revolution left” Gingrich.

They are gearing up for the last month of mid-terms and laying the groundwork for ‘08.  It will be interesting to see what “distractions” they rig up to provide the sub-plot for fear and war.  I imagine the same-old “issues” will be easy for them to recycle. If anybody sees transcripts or some other content from the events, I would love to get the links.  See, I have this idea for a daily calendar – Hate and the hating haters… 

UPDATE Apparently they won’t sink to any level:

From the New York Times:

Even in this crowd of nearly 2,000 Christian conservative activists, some balked at one tactic recommended to turn out church voters. In a workshop, Connie Marshner, a veteran organizer, distributed a step-by-step guide that recommended obtaining church directories and posing as a nonpartisan pollster to ask people how they planned to vote. “Hello, I am with ABC polls,” a suggested script began. 

Some attendees complained that the script seemed deceptive, Ms. Marshner said in an interview afterward. She said that such disguised calls were a common campaign tactic, that it was just a suggested script and that she never recommended answering a direct question with a lie. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who played host to the conference, said he was “upset” to learn of her instructions and condemned any deception. 

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of the liberal group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the tactic “disgraceful” and “a desecration of the church.” 

“seemed deceptive?”  Ya think?  But notice it took a liberal to take them to task while good old Tony was simply “upset.”  Upset at the tactic or that it was being reported on in the Times?

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September 21st, 2006

Find the best place for your satellite dish, using only the Sun’s shadow

But you only have a small window twice a year to use this neat trick, when your DirectTV or Dish satellite passes between the sun and your roof. The next transit period begins September 29, so use these instructions to find the exact time and day to get on your roof and take some photos. Just avoid any areas in the shade, and get perfect reception!

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September 20th, 2006

Big boys and our toys

I have had a few interesting customer service interactions over the past week that have made me reflect on the kind of consumer I am. The short answer: a really good one.

First, I would offer what should be called the “gay male couple” corollary to the “the bigger the boy, the bigger the toy” rule. Pretty much all guys love gadgety stuff, from mobile phones to outdoor gear to expensive consumer electronics. Gay men (if I may generalize) are no different–but a gay male couple has to be every marketers dream because there is no wife to raise the issue of what’s commonly called WAF, or “wife acceptance factor.” Don’t get me wrong–I know lots of gadget-lovin’ gals, but women seem to retain their senses in the presence of silicon in a way that most men can’t. There was little negotiation involved when David and I decided it was time to buy a plasma. “A 42-inch screen, honey? Why not 50?” (As it turns out, 50 was too big for the room as we were both bummed to learn.)

I recently found myself in the Portland Apple store, lovingly contemplating a brand new 15″ MacBookPro when my traveling companion helpfully pointed out how much I’d save on sales tax if I bought one in Oregon. So–going out of my way to be a good partner and looking for a check on my technolust– I texted David a message so short and cryptic that I wasn’t even sure he’d know what I was talking about. He responded within seconds– “Sure– go for it!” I’m glad I asked, but it confirmed my diagnosis that we are gadget junkies. (It’s not a tough call as I’m embarrassed to admit that we have three TVs, three game consoles, two Nintendo DSs and five computers in the house. Clearly we need help.)

Sadly, all was not good in Mac-land… the MacBookPro had some mysterious issues that got worse over time, eventually leading David to declare it “crap” and make my impulse purchase seem foolish. So I dragged it off to the Seattle Apple Store and a Genius Bar appointment. After a 20 minute wait and maybe 30 minutes of tinkering, the geek-in-residence found and fixed a problem relating to file permissions. I decided to spring for another 512KMB of RAM ($100, which is cheap if you have any kind of historical perspective on memory prices) and went home with a machine as screamingly fast as all the ads promised. (Oh, and a laptop bag–another long story I’ll get to later this week). I’m now so happy with it that I don’t even mind the hiccup… it’s like getting a new Mac twice!

Which is a nice segue to a story about something else we are going to have to get for a second time. In a similar WAF-less fashion, pretty much as soon as we saw the Bose Sound Docks for the iPod that came out last year, we wanted one. It didn’t take long for us to get one, either– we just rushed out and plunked down the embarrasing sum. But it sounds amazing and we love it. Especially that tiny little remote.

But just as boys love toys, so do dogs. So imagine our chagrin when we came home last night to a panicked note from the new housekeeper, next to a little plastic tub full of thoroughly chewed up plastic and circuit board. She thought it was an iPod, which would have been… bad. Luckily it was just that lovable little Sound Dock remote. But we both expected a replacement to cost at least $50– it would have fit my preconception of Bose as good but damn expensive. David was irritated at the dogs, the housekeeper and (inexplicably) me. “If it’s more than 30 bucks, forget it!” So I popped open that super-speedy new laptop and Googled for a moment. Image my suprise when I landed here and learned that it was only $9.98 with free shipping!

I’m not sure what all that means, other than that we are hopelessly spoiled. But I suspect that realization lies smack in the middle of the carnival of . If you’re spoiled and you know it, isn’t it the same thing as being thankful? Here’s hoping.

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