Thursday, December 30, 2010

My first book. Kinda.

I just found out that an anthology idea of mine has finally been released by Skinner House Books. Paula did a great job on this.

The idea was a book of poems on the idea of race. Not the strident stuff, or those that paint another race as merely "other," but an anthology of people who are really just trying to figure it out. We can't (and shouldn't) hide our race, gender, or other things that make us what we are, but how does racial differences affect, good and bad, how we interact with other people? The poems aren't answers to these questions, but are genuine grapplings with them.

I was very pleased when both Skinner House jumped on my idea right away, and recruited a book editor who was right on board with what I was getting at. They've done an awfully nice job on this--a great mix of new and old, known and unknown writers.

[BTW, the idea came out of a reading of Lucille Clifton's "my dream about being white" at a particularly receptive time].

Saturday, December 25, 2010

London 360

One of those cool links I meant to post earlier. 360 degrees of London, with magnification. Very cool.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Christmas piano music

Christmas is about choirs and bells and Noddy Holder shouting at you. But if you look hard enough, the [piano] music exists. What is there?

Filibuster reform

The issue of filibuster reform (that is, a change in the Senate's rules regarding the ability of invoke cloture on a bill) has been bubbling for some time. Mostly this is pushed by younger senators (typically, of either party) who find the rules cumbersome, needless, and giving far too much power to the minority party.

Obama recently pointed out that there were more cloture votes last year than in the 1950's and 1960's combined. Since many of the GOP House members from the 80s and 90s started moving to the Senate and continuing the back row bomb throwing strategies they perfected in the lower house, this is an issue with a long track record.

That said, Senate Dems are unanimous in backing filibuster reform. This is an interesting new development that might finally push through reforms that will ensure the long-term health of that body.

First step, IMO, would be to take up Sen Merkley's suggestion about filibuster requirements. There is, at present, no work involved in calling for a filibuster. Making the minority party actually work for the filibuster seems to be the minimum we can do.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

End of year lists

A place to park 'em.

12 insane news stories of 2010

Words of the Year

2010 Viral Video Retrospective

A meta-list: Top 20 Top 10's.

Knocking down one meme, anyway...

Obama really isn't going to give away the country to the Indians.

If reactions of this sort to the crap-makers on the Right were more common in the last election, we might have had people voting with actual facts on their minds. It is no surprise to me that we had such a high percentage of people wrong on the facts who helped put into office Republicans across the board.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Answer: The 2010 Mid Term elections

Question: What will ginning-up voters fed a steady diet of lies and distortions get you? (pdf)

Was your Gawker information hacked?

Gawker has a number of different websites, and if you have been following the tech news lately then you know their database was hacked and over a million email addresses and passwords were taken.

This simple tool lets you know if your email address was included in the stolen information. If you utilize the same password, it might be prudent to change it on other sites if your email address comes up as being hacked.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Best damn marriage proposal ever.

I should probably start a web site about these.

How about: Muppet style?

The trailer is really pretty sweet.

Monday, December 06, 2010

What's the unemployment rate?

Dunno what this means--a Gallup non-adjusted unemployment rate.

Anyone with some experience on this measurement tool? Useful in this economy, or statistical trickery? Or both?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

More "Christian" ministery

MN Christian minister accuses Rep Ellison of recruiting among the gay community to institute Sharia in the United States.

As noted in the comments, "It is called hitting the trifecta of bigotry."

If there is one thing Muslim sharia law is known for, it is the incredible compassion and tolerance for the members of the LGBT community...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More TSA

Our New Safety Overlords

The whole thing is cringe-worthy.

Non-accountable bureaucrats who make up their own rules, appealing to never-attained "safety" the whole time? A lot of silence from the Right, who were up in arms over fake death panels.

Friday, November 26, 2010

TSA ctd

James Fallows with another smart column, this one on the acceptance of risk.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA gropin'

Lots of virtual ink being spilled these days about the new TSA--apparently you can either be photographed nude or be groped by a stranger--your choice! Bruce Schneier has all the latest scoop you'll need.

I rarely fly--maybe once a year or so. The humiliation of going through those security zones is enough to keep me away--sounds like I'm not going to be in a rush to go back.

UPDATE: My man Rush Holt is on the case.

I guess it is a start, right?

Fox pundits dish on Palin during commercial break.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Like a New York line jumper.

What few people outside Central America seemed to notice was that there was a problem with the punchline: in the weeks since Google acknowledged that its map was in error, Nicaragua has refused to remove its troops.

START treaty

Incoming Senators, not content with winning their elections, try to impose their will on the Senate early.

Larrison rightly slaps them around. The START Treaty should be ratified. Now.

More on the START treaty. Like Josh Marshall, I hadn't realized that the old treaty had expired already, and that we have no way to verify or inspect Russia's nuclear weaponry and haven't for nearly a year.

Trust Putin? Then you should cheer on efforts to stall this new treaty.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The tunnel people of Las Vegas

The problem of homelessness isn't one we talk about too much here in the US anymore. Used to be a real talking point, but then the economic recovery of the Clinton Administration took that off the table for many people. But I suspect we'll soon be seeing more stories like this one, of people taking to the tunnels to live.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Truth About Mudlinging

Worst campaign season ever.

I hate blogging about now, because it just makes me frustrated and crazy over all the crap. Longer post to come, but meanwhile:

The Truth About Mudslinging.

Things that make you go WTF?

So many possible captions for this little story...


Damn--story removed already. Basic story: Drunk woman living in a motel goes to her ex's room a few doors down demanding a certain, um, sexual act to be performed on her. He ex says no, but his friend says yes, but then changes his mind because she wasn't "fresh." She then grabs a knife and threatens to cut them if one of them doesn't proceed...

It is the kind of story for which the Internet was invented. Gotta love America.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All sky picture

Its all over the interwebs already, so might as well be here as well. Trying to get the darkest sky possible, St├ęphane Guisard did a lot of prep work and got an amazing, made-for-the-internet shot. take a look.

I'm going to have to lie down after seeing these

World's tallest climbing tower.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More this & that

The 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States. I've actually walked through a few of these. They seemed pretty rough at the time, certainly. But accidentally typing "danderous neighborhoods" somehow made them seem less so...

Some straight talk about the budget deficit.

Judge likely to deny government request to stay DADT order. We're going to look back on this in years to come and go "what was the problem here?" Just like we look back at the arguments about not having women serve on the front lines.

-Government is 2 of 3 against credit card companies.

-working from home myself, I'm a little envious of Jack Prelutsky, who leaves his house and takes a ferry to an apartment across the bay where he works. A work apartment would be pretty bitchin'.

-the most segregated cities in the United States. Love the discussions, especially about lily-white Portland.

-don't forget to listen and vote for entries in the Poets Walk, Rochester.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Typo of the day...

Live in Chicago, and want to vote for a rich whitey this November?

Now's your chance!

If President Obama was a Republican, and he proposed the exact same policies....

The Right would be hailing him as a model of a post-racial compassionate conservative, and:

-his healthcare plan would be lauded as a "commonsense, market-based solution."

-his educational policies would "reflect the reality that parental responsibility needs to replace expectations of entitlement."

-his shifting of troops and attention into Afghanistan would "continue the work to refine and learn from the lessons of the War on Terror that President Bush began."

-his decision to put the question of the future of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to the military first rather than doing away with it by Executive Order "would demonstrate, again, his caution and procedural respect for the military."

-his work to support TARP despite the fact that it was extremely unpopular when passed would be a sign of courage and far-sightedness, and the fact that TARP will turn a profit for the government when all is said and done would be an indication of his being right despite the unwarranted criticisms;

-the inclusion of billions of dollars in tax breaks into the stimulus program and healthcare bills for nearly all small businesses would demonstrate his committment to those small businesses, who "are the economic engine of entrepreneurship and enterprise."

-his willingness to continue to reach across the political aisle despite getting his hand bitten off nearly every time merely reflects how shallow and un-ready to govern the other side really is.

-his amazing rhetorical ability would be sourced as coming from "both his ability to connect with ordinary folks, combined with the hard work necessary to convey difficult ideas in ways people of all political stripe can connect with."

-his continued insistence that, despite America's open hand to others, there is a distinct American exceptionalism that is both our birthright and our promise (and Obama's overseas speeches which continue to make this point time and time again) demonstrates "his commitment to our national identity and way of life."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly?

5 weeks in, he was booted as lead in BACK TO THE FUTURE.

Would have liked to hear/have heard his reaction to this. I also would have like to have seen more than just the snippets of him in the role.

more this and that

Heh:



Germany pays off their WWI obligations. Here's how they did it.

Some solid advice on the budget deficit (and why it doesn't matter as much as the harpies on the Wacky right say).

One of those things you never knew you needed: Female character stereotype flowchart.

The federales are 2 for in settling suits with credit card companies.

Friday, October 08, 2010

This and that...

-"Die Hard" director goes to prison for a year for being an asshole. Just kidding--wiretapping case nabs him.

-Not the best title "How to writer 85000 books"--should be more like "How to have a machine crank out books for you."

-J. K. Rowling plot spreadsheet. Looks like a relationship plot.... I hear she said she could write several more Potter books, no problem. So what's keeping you, J? Anne Rice found a groove and stuck with it, and look at her! So did Anne McCaffrey, for that matter.

-Ted Hughes poem about Sylvia Plath found. Seems to me this is one that should have been found long ago.

Father and son send camera into space on a balloon

Very cool. This is like the ultimate father & son craft.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Racist story of the day

Good stuff, from TDW.

Sun Chips giving up the noisy bags

They were damn loud. If you didn't get one, you'll probably have longer hearing that the rest of us (but try to find one in the store and give it a squeeze. Same looking bag at 5 times the decibel level).

Story.

Oh Michael, Michael...

Michael Steele doesn't know what minimum wage is. And says it doesn't matter.

I guess when your job is to just make crap up while not pissing off your conservative media overlords, he's probably right.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tea Party rallies for beleaguered puppy mill owners!

The Tea Party (including Joe the Plumber) has rallied against puppy mill legislation of all things, claiming that requiring puppy mills to provide basic food, shelter, vet care and so on will raise the cost of puppies so much, "making it ever-more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog-owners."

I hadn't realized there was a puppy deficit in the middle class. I guess all the time I spent re-reading my marxists tracts has caused some things to pass me by.

Meanwhile, about 56% of the millions of dogs entering shelters are euthanized every year....

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ah, that clarifies. Thanks.

Thank you, Village Voice, for clarifying Tea Party brains:

Friday, October 01, 2010

Neil Alan Smith

No, you probably don't know him. He was a quiet man, killed in a hit & run

Saw this via TPM. A nice tribute to a man who seemed to be a decent person, just living his life.

Friday, September 24, 2010

We'll look back fondly on these days and laugh and laugh...

Christine O'Donnell claims the ability to keep the country from having sex:




I'm not certain whether this is a good or a bad thing. But I'm certainly interested in seeing her superhero costume that goes with that.

Keeping it real

Conor Friedersdorf, writing from the Right, continues to help keep us focused, despite the nonsense spouting from GOP talking heads and politicians these days.

His summary paragraph:

Forced to choose, I’d rather live in the ACLU’s idea of the perfect America than a country where we repeal Obamacare, eliminate earmarks, and persist in chipping away at civil liberties to fight drugs and terrorists. The former may be a “road to serfdom.” The latter is a shortcut to the same place

But I don't owe you any money...

Bank of America forecloses upon man's house. But he has no mortgage!

I know this speaks more to a sloppy and overwhelmed court system than anything else. But surely if we can react to Iran getting plutonium by pumping a billion more dollars into the Pentagon then we can react to the housing crisis by pumping more money into a court system before they make things worse.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Advice from the world's oldest man

114-year old Walter Breuning answers some questions from the internet.

Old enough to have fought in World War I

Stop shouting--we're trying to get some work done here

GOP puts out their platform, hoping people won't ask for details.

It is a platform with vague spending cuts, repealing some laws which actually save money for the government, and keeping the military spending machine cranked at 11.

The GOP must think the American people are as stupid as their hard-core base. They are simply unserious about addressing the problems that they themselves claim to be serious ones facing the country.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"I See Dead People's Books"

An interesting idea: Resurrect (so to speak) libraries of famous dead people online.

Wonder how much editing is done to the library lists? I know if someone were to look at mine they would probably scratch their heads at my Leonard Nimoy poetry and kids books that have gotten mixed in ("'Dirk Bones"? What was Fred trying to say with that volume?")

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Way back!

I'm liking the You Tube Time Travel Machine

HT: AS

Daily What video of the day

I love The Daily What. Unlike some bloggers [ahem, Andrew Sullivan] I don't mind linking to them directly every time I find something interesting on their site I want to post.

Where else would you find a video of a group of Canadian soldiers field stripping and rebuilding a jeep. In under 4 minutes?

Back in the saddle

Took a couple of days off to go to Long Beach Island. Great weather, virtually no traffic, and the campground was cheap after the holiday.

Time to get back into it, with something from Cracked.

Friday, September 03, 2010

10 Greatest Accidental Inventions of All Time

I have to admit, I didn't realize any of these were "accidents."

[Don't mean that to sound like an unwanted child. Or do I? A fourth on the way here in January, so maybe I really do....hmmmm....]

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Gods of Soccer Smile Down Upon Us...

UEFA bans the vuvuzela.

Next step, instant replay for goals. But not annoying everyone in the freaking stadium is a good start.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Was it really that long ago?

Remember hearing a song in 1990?

Multi-planetary solar system found

And its not ours!

Sheep! And goats!

Trailer tips in NJ on I80.

I know, I know--I shouldn't make fun of an accident, particularly one that is horrifying for many of the animals that later had to be put down. But that picture, combined with the comments about people seeing the sheep & goats grazing in the median before police arrived, did make me think of this book.

Got a blog? Cough up $300, please.

In Philly, anyway.

Talk radio listeners

A nice piece from Conor about how actually engaging in people can result in, well, dialogue.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cartoon of the day

Is your husband gay???

Well? Is he???

I felt like I should put that in all caps, given the link. Starts out with a fake statistic, then many many words later you realize you've journeyed through the mind of a writer really in a stereotypical groove.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Twitter isn't the universe? Whaat?

Caleb Howe has an insight into Roger Ebert. Unlike many online personalities (and ever fewer right wing political writers), he actually writes about a person he disagrees with being, well, human.

Know hope.

Monday, August 16, 2010

50 Greatest Saturday Morning cartoons

Most of these I either watched (Scooby Doo) or my kids have watched (Recess). A few I've never heard of! And there are some very early ones that didn't make this list. But there you go. Any you remember?

"Our Daughter Isn't a Selfish Brat; Your Son Just Hasn't Read Atlas Shrugged"

Brilliant.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FOX & Friends gets one right.

Praises Obama for standing up for constitutional rights.

I maybe showing my partisanship here, but I just don't believe the old Burlington Coat Factory a couple of blocks from Ground Zero is "hallowed ground."

New York City, Then and Now

A look back at some of the paintings of New York and photos of the same scenes now, via John Sloan.

Steps in interfaith understanding

Despite efforts on the Far Right to paint everything in black and white and to blame certain "others" in uncompromising terms as causing all our problems, some groups are taking baby steps toward interfaith understanding and moderation.

North American Muslim leaders praying at Dachau, for instance.

These days, it takes great courage to advance interfaith understanding and respect, despite the clear problems that arise when we label other faiths as completely evil. This kind of stuff needs to be spotlighted and encouraged.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More on the Senate

As a follow-up to the George Packer piece I linked to below, Michael Kinsley puts some more flesh on the bones of "Washington" dysfunction.

Unfortunately the proper blame isn't being placed in the piece (hint: Which party benefits from a gummed-up Senate?). But awareness is being raised. And awareness is always beneficial.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cool wedding proposal

Stopping time. Nicely done.

"[Y]ou have a Senate that’s designed not to advance change but to slow it.”

An excellent piece in The New Yorker about the problem that is the US Senate. It really started coming off the rails, IMO, when Republicans started moving to the Senate and acted as it it was exactly the same as the House.

This is what the internet is for

Broadcasting cool ways that people quit their jobs. Like via whiteboard.

Poor Spencer. Outed as a Farmville addict.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The GOP Economic plan?

GWB all over again, perhaps?

"We're against whatever he proposes" is really not a plan so much as a political strategy.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prop 8 overturned--next stop SCOTUS?

Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional in US district court

Have only real about half of this decision. It is pretty much a slam dunk decision for the anti-Prop 8 folks.

I followed a bit of the trial, and the pro-Prop 8 people were really battered about by the lawyers for the other side. It was pretty silly at times. David Boies just destroyed them.

The Japanese keep losing their old people

Now the oldest woman might no longer be around.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"He's climbing in yo windows, he's snatching yo people up..."

God love Antoine Dodson. Urban crime watch spokesperson:



Of course, the Auto Tune folks went to town with this:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

London's Secret Underground Tube Station

In an office building.

Vatican on the sex scandal

"Yes it is very, very bad. As bad as ordaining women!"

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, an American priest with the Maryknoll religious order, said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent him an excommunication letter within two months after he participated in a ceremony ordaining women, but that the Congregation had taken years while it considered the requests of bishops to defrock pedophiles.

“What I did, supporting the ordination of women, they saw as a serious crime,” Father Bourgeois said. “But priests who were abusing children, they did not see as a crime. What does that say?”

He added, “It’s leading to this ever-deepening crisis in the church in which so many people have left or are questioning how they can stay.”

They are all over those women-ordaining priests. But screwing kids--they got a process to follow....

Beautiful song

Sometimes I've heard a song for weeks before I actually listen to it--even good songs. That ever happen to you?

I heard "Heaven is a Face" for weeks before realizing who the artist was (Stephen Curtis Chapman). Even then I thought this was one of those nice "daddy" songs by singer/songwriters discovering the pleasures of fatherhood. But after listening to it, I realized it was more of a psalm--a song prayer--about the loss of SCC's 5-year-old daughter.

I won't post about that horrible, horrible accident--look on Wikipedia for more. But in that light that song turns into a beautiful thing.

You tube has a video of him singing it live for the first time, lyrics in front of him as he's still working through the song.

Another youtube video:

Anti-mosque ad rejected

For once, a media company's aversion to controversy causes the right thing to be done.

Cigarette companies using child labor

Can their image get any lower?

Doesn't look like any of these "blood cigarettes" got into the US brands, as if smokers really care.

Ship found in remains of WTC site

NYT story. Clearly 9/11 was planned by a world-wide coalition of archeology buffs.

Amazing that a young country like the US can still find itself finding its past among its midst. Imagine cities such as Rome, London, or Istanbul. You can't swing a cat there without hitting something historical.

A racked workoutC

If you're like me (you know, perfect except for this little flab thing that suddenly arrived about ten years ago), then this workout is for you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The factory method of lawsuits

Debt collection law firms swamping the courts with software-generated lawsuits.

There really should be a better system against suing someone wrongfully than having the suit thrown out.

The limits of online dating

A very interesting video about the limits of online dating, by Dan Ariely. It points to the problem of trying to solve the problem of dating (or, at least how to maximize return) but the limits of online searching actually make the problem worse.

Monday, July 12, 2010

LeBron

I've avoided writing about LeBron--it isn't bitterness, but more a matter of trying to figure out why he made the decision he did. I suspect it is because he surrounded himself by his own "team" and, as anyone following politics these days can attest, an echo chamber is a piss poor way to make decisions.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver estimates LeBron will lose $150 million, in the end

If he doesn't win multiple championships in Miami, he's likely to lost a lot more than that.

Friday, July 09, 2010

What to do if you win the lottery

Some good advice. Even though it is really for me.

120 beagles rescued from bankrupt lab in NJ

Cool video. Great dogs!

My wife and I have only had rescues here (sometimes we foster dogs as well), and we were early volunteers for Petfinder as well. Almost enough to break your heart to see that dog wagging his tail through the van window.

Monday, July 05, 2010

CA State employees now paid minimum wage

The result, IMO, with an out-of-control referenda system.

A bonus kick in the pants: Other employees who are not federally protected by minimum wage requirements, such as some of the state’s doctors and lawyers, will go without pay from California’s government for the month of July.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hi, I'm Troy McClure

and you might know me from such films as...

Saw this on The Daily What a few days ago and it is still funny stuff.

BTW, anyone else notice that Andrew Sullivan appears to be seeding his blog with TDW selections, but typically sourced to the original places rather than TDW? I think if someone (like myself, or you, for that matter) reads The Daily What every other day or so, about half of Andrew Sullivan's posts become deja vu.

He's still got it...

Funny Steve Martin tour rider...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

On best friends, and children

I had the exact same reaction when I read the New York Times piece, but (as usual) E. D. Kain puts it much better that I would have.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New (and in-depth) economic news from the Fed

Lots of information in the Beige Book to digest. 538 notes:

The overall conclusion of both these report is clear: the economy is expanding, albeit at a slower pace. Personal consumption expenditures are in an uptrend, business investment is increasing and real estate -- while not a hot bed of activity -- is not the drag it once was. However, there is still a long way to go. The unemployment rate is still incredibly high and initial unemployment claims need to start dropping soon.

There appears to be little discussion given to the fact that a flat housing market hinders mobility for workers, contributing to flat jobs numbers. Otherwise, we're about where we should be: Conservative purchasing by consumers (including paying down debt) and some green shoots in the economy in areas where we hope to see them.

It does appear that the worries of a double dip recession are behind us, but IMO the longer we are in a slow rebuilding phase the better it is for the economy long-term.

Adolescent humor of the day

Bart Simpson apparently is calling TV stations now:

Rember Gitmo?

Government continues to argue for the indefinite holding of Gitmo detainees. Because it doesn't know what else to do, it seems.

Get outta my lane

A sticker response to cars in bike lanes

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Great Sex Advice

Not.

Funny stuff, though. Something tells me many of those writers have never had sex in a relationship before.

Monday, June 07, 2010

On Netanyahu and Obama

The relationship between Netanyahu and Obama is certainly prickly. But it doesn't really need to be presented as neo-con fiction.