nonfamous is back!

So, it’s been quite a while since anything was new here. Post-GWB, there just didn’t seem to be quite the urgency. And the advent of Facebook (yes, this site started before Facebook) introduced new avenues for sharing with friends and family.

After a while, tumbleweeds set in, in the form of spam commenters and bitrot. Eventually, WordPress strained under the attempts of nefarious ne’er-do-wells, and the ISP moved it into maintenance mode to protect the server. After a while even the database failed and the site became barren, empty.

But now it’s a new era. Blogging feels relevant again, and even with the ephemeral sharing of the Twitters and the Facebooks a place to capture one’s thoughts for today and the future seems like what we need. So many many thanks to April for coming to the rescue by upgrading WordPress to a faster, responsive, and more secure version, and for recovering a dusty old backup we found on an old Mac Mini to restore the old content.

And most of all, today is Jay’s birthday. Happy Birthday, love! I hope the resurrection of brings you much joy and a place to celebrate … or vent, as needs dictate!

Much love,

Re-entering the US just got even more painful

I ‘ve always hated the process entering the US, where the immigration and customs policies seem to be more Soviet-Russia-Bureaucracy than Land-Of-The-Free, but since I got my Green Card it’s been a little better.  At least now there aren’t forms to fill out beforehand, and I can use the faster-moving citizens line (and when I’m travelling with Jay, we can at least line up together). But one of Bush’s midnight regulations might make things worse again.  Starting two days from now, Green Card holders will be treated just like any other alien,  and will have to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entry.

DHS said all “aliens” in the U.S. are subject to the biometric requirements of the US-VISIT program, and that lawful permanent residents – even though their backgrounds have been thoroughly examined — are technically still considered aliens.

“US-VISIT enables DHS to determine if an LPR seeking entry has been convicted of any crime that would render him or her subject to removal from the United States,” says the final rule.

Great.  I worry enough about speeding fines and parking tickets enough as it is, without making it ammunition for a surly border guard.  And then there’s this:

LPRs have generally been allowed to use the line designated for “U.S. Citizens” when they arrive on an international flight at a U.S. airport, and this treatment is likely to continue, but that doesn’t give the two groups identical rights, says DHS. “This accommodation does not mean that LPRs are, or will otherwise be treated as, United States citizens,” says the final rule.

I mean, come on. I pay taxes.  I contribute to society. I’m a good citizen legal permanent resident. The least you can do is let me enter the country in the company of my husband.

Pretty please?

Full article:  Green card holders will be fingerprinted and photographed at U.S. borders

Two images of Mt Rainier

Had a great flight from Seattle to Dallas, beautiful views the whole way. And luckily I had my camera with me.  It was in the overhead locker while we were flying by Mt Rainier, but I managed to convince Jay to ignore the seatbelt sign and get it down for me.  By chance, I got two shots of the mountain that happened to line up perfectly but were from slightly different angles.  A friend composed them into this awesome image that really gives you a sense of the mountain in 3-D.

Mt Rainier

(Click on the image for the large animated view.)

Alan Greenspan is an idiot

So Alan Greenspan, former Fed chairman and arguably one of the chief architects of the financial crisis we find ourselves in today, finally acknowledges that he “made a mistake” in rebuffing all attempts to regulate the derivatives market. He said today:

“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”

Mr Greenspan — may I call you Al? — I have a little bit of news for you. Banks are not people. They don’t have brains, or consciences, or any sense of self-interest.  As it turns out, banks are actually run by people.  Collections of individual people, in fact, each whom often have a very well-developed sense of self interest. As in, an interest in themselves, not the bank as a whole. And unsurprisingly, Al, many of them saw an opportunity to do well by themselves, even if it conflicted with the long-term goals of the bank, or even the economy as a whole. As an S&P employee said to a coworker in 2006:

“Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters.”

So let’s not anthropomorphize any more financial institutions, eh Al?