C’mon Dems, Get Happy!

The good folks of NonFamous know as well as anyone how hard I took the last election. After logging so many hours at the campaign office, I logged a good deal more over the last two years outside the United States. I had the chance to stay, but there was no way I was going to miss this election. I’m not the activist I was last time ’round, but I’ve been hanging out at the rallies lately and I gotta tell you, it’s starting to work.

I’m on the record as being a skeptic about Maria Cantwell, but I’ve been doing my reading and drinking the kool-aid, as they say. While I’m still on the fence, I do understand the importance of Maria keeping her seat. And I understand the imperative for the Democrats to sweep the house in this election. Beaten down by the losses of 2004, I didn’t think I could find enthusiasm for 2006, but hearing Maria Cantwell, Christine Gregoire, Jim McDermott, Darcy Burner, Russ Feingold, and Barack Obama speak over the last week has really revved my engines.

It may be a passing phase and I’m sure to come down off the propaganda buzz as soon as the election is over. But for now, I’m going to take the energy of the high and remind y’all to vote and to work to get others to do so in the upcoming election. If you’re on the fence like I’ve been, I heartily suggest you get yourself to an event to hear your candidates speak. It really helps – it’s way better to hear them in person and there’s something remarkable about being in the presence of your fellow voters.

I’m not quite ready to sing the Hallelujah chorus, but I’m back to feeling like there are some good people out there who really want to affect change. Today, while watching the students at Bellevue Community College nearly exploding with enthusiasm as Barack Obama enter the gym, I thought, “Oh my god, we can’t let them down.” I survived the heartbreak of the last election, but these kids shouldn’t have to.

You know what to do.

US bans import of Vegemite

Reports are coming in that the FDA has banned import of Vegemite, even going so far as to stop and search Australian tourists at the border to relieve them of their yeast-extract goodness. Clearly the FDA has their priorities straight, protecting the US from a product that no American will eat. (Lord knows, I’ve tried to make Jay eat it.) Fortunately, I have enough supply of my favoured hangover cure for at least the next couple of years. I have one jar I’ve had since I first moved here (expiration date: October 2004) and another full jar I haven’t opened yet. Fortunately, the stuff never goes off, and you only use a minute amount at a time.

What I want for Christmas

I’ve always wanted my own pinball machine, but there’s always the problem that you’ll inevitably get bored with just one. It’s a full-time hobby to maintain them, too.

This seems like a great solution. A new digital pinball machine–with a plasma screen for a playfield–from GlobalVR comes with six games, with add-ons available for an extra fee. (Classics like Attack from Mars, Medieval Madness, and Black Knight are available.)

At “just” $6475 it seems like a perfectly reasonable Christmas request :). (Via digg )

Headline from the near future

From New York Times online, November 7, 2006:

New Jersey Secretary of State Detained on Terror Charges

Trenton, New Jersey — Following outrage from news media and local officials, President Bush acknowledged in an Election Day morning news conference that the disappearance of New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells is indeed the result of her extraordinary rendition to an overseas detention center, location undisclosed.

“The revelations about Ms. Wells’ collusion with terrorist agents to falsify the results of the New Jersey elections gave me no choice. I instructed the CIA to detain Ms. Wells and do everything they must to protect the homeland. On this Election Day, American voters need to understand that I will do everything in my power to protect this nation from harm,” said Mr Bush from the steps of his Crawford, TX ranch.

Michael Hertford, lawyer for Ms. Wells, denies she had any involvement with terrorist organizations. “The accusation that my client colluded with Katherine Hanley [the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth detained eight days ago on similar charges] to disrupt the midterm elections is categorically false. I demand again access to my client to defend her against these baseless charges.” The CIA has not responded to his request. As a designated enemy combatant, Ms. Wells has no right to legal representation under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed by President Bush on October 17.

Ms. Wells absence has thrown the results of the NJ election into near-chaos. All eyes are focused on the Senatorial race between Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez and challenger Thomas Kean, on which according to yesterday’s polls the balance of power in the Senate depends. Without a Secretary of State to certify the results of the election, the outcome may not be known for weeks or even months until a new Secretary of State can be elected according to New Jersey law.

According to election analysts and constitutional experts, the Republican party will maintain control of the Senate in the meantime and possibly beyond the beginning of the new term in January while the New Jersey and Virginia election crises are resolved.

Too much paranoia for ya?

(Vote for this post on digg.)

Randall Does Montreal

R.Randall Fransen, mutual friend of the Porter’s and myself, has just spent a week in Montreal with a manufacturer developing some f’in awesome prototype bags for his new company co:labs. Of course he blogged all of it and it is certainly worth a read, especially the post from Wednesday.

instead of being given a ride home by melanie or sasha, a client of theirs was on their way downtown so he offered to give me a ride.  let me set the scene.  his name is tony, he wears a leather jacket, he has thick, black, curly, greasy hair and looks like a wana-be playboy.  he drives a BMW that blares terrible house/techno music and it smells of rich mohogany.  we start down the road back to downtown and tony begins going back and forth on it, waiting for someone else to show up on the side of the road so we can pick them up as well.  in the meantime he begins the challenging chit chat that only comes between a small language barrier. 

“so you like living in new york?” he asks me.  i explain to him that only lived there a short time but that i loved it.  “i hate new york.”  “why?” i ask.  beat.  “too many chinese.  one shows up, opens shop and then 100 more just appear.  they have no imagination…”

Puritan Takeover Watch

According to this NBC story, an award-winning Texas art teacher has lost her job after one of her fifth-grade students saw a nude sculpture during a trip to a museum. Even if there are other factors related to her dismissal as this Tribune article suggests, the fact that a parent complained about art — and after signing a permission slip allowing her child to go on the field trip — just boggles my mind.

Which reminds me — I’ve also been noticing that when art is displayed on TV, like Da Vinci’s Vetruvian Man, I’ve seen the genitalia blurred out. When the media doesn’t have the balls (pun intended) to even show such art on TV unmolested, you can see where these attitudes come from.

digg story