Saturday, September 12, 2009
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: "Don't Come Around Here No More." The original MTV music video can be seen here.
The Vapors: "Turning Japanese." I have, a number of times, bought albums on the strength of a single song and ended up liking most of the album. When, years later, I hear the artist or group described as a "one hit wonder," I'm surprised. The vapors are one such group; they deserved more popularity than they received from this single.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The Big Picture, as always, rises to a momentous occasion with a photogallery from 9/11/01 to 9/11/09.
Sheril Kirshenbaum lets a single picture poignantly speak for her at The Intersection.
Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast asks a profoundly important question that I hadn't considered before: what should we be teaching students about 9/11? Given the differences in perspective in this country, and the fact that this year's high school seniors were just beginning fourth grade that year, this is a fascinating idea to ponder. It will be only a few years before we have young adults who were too young to remember the day.
And finally, BrianR at Clastic Detritus sharply reminded me that no matter how remote one was, and how set on a schedule, the immediacy of communications brought the whole country to a halt that day.
So whatever your own personal reactions to that or this day may be, I hope this is one issue over which we can set aside our differences, take a moment to reflect and offer our quiet wishes for the lost souls, our sympathy and condolences to their loved ones, and renew the feelings— universal in the aftermath— that we could and would work together to strengthen our country, and ensure that such an event might never happen again.
It took 10 months to get my first 10K, but less than six to get my second. I like the trend.
To another political analyst, it's the nature of the accusation -- an elected official calling the president a liar -- that is not only a serious breach (accusations of lying are forbidden under House rules) but also extremely rare in politics.Interesting. My first reaction was that this was sort of unreasonable in that sometimes lies need to be pointed out. Then I realized that there were alternatives that said the same thing without quite using the same words. For example:
- The respected gentleman is clearly having difficulty distinguishing his dark fantasies from reality. He may wish to take a time out and reconsider his statement.
- Facts can be difficult things, unless you choose to ignore them, as so many have in this debate.
- I had been under the impression that the use of hallucinogens was strongly frowned upon on the House floor, but I appear to be mistaken.
- I have little training in psychopathology, and it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on the roots of those previous remarks.
- There are times when the revelation of the facts in all their rawness may cause one to pause and reconsider. This is not one of those times.
You can track this and other satellites from your zip or Canadian Postal code here; there is also a link to a global tracker at this page. I haven't reason to use the latter, so I can't vouch for its quality.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
But I did find a bit of good news. Britain has decided that it is appropriate to apologize for its treatment of Alan Turing, a gay mathematician who was crucial in breaking the German code system during WW II. While the circumstances were horrific, perhaps unforgivable, the sincere statement pleases me. It gives me hope that we, even governments, can learn.
Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely. In 1952, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ - in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence - and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison - was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama's rival for the Oval Office last year, said passing health care reform would be "good for America," but cautioned that the president needs to reach out more to Republicans in order to reach such a compromise.Note that the key phrase is not in quotation marks, but is a paraphrase. Nevertheless, insistence that the left needs to "reach out" more to the right has been a consistent theme of this year's political theater, and one that has become more and more grating to me.
This has been the only real constant of the debate all year. President Obama showed his willingness to compromise by dropping single-payer as a possibility at the outset. He proceeded to signal possible concessions on a public option, a co-op plan, triggers, medical malpractice, reimbursement rates, eligibility rates. Last night, the president literally borrowed from the McCain/Palin platform in presenting new ideas.Once they understand how it would work, most Americans say they want single payer... but that was off the table from the start. Now, the most sensible republican out there is "disappointed" Obama didn't take the public option off the table too. And McCain thinks the dems need to "reach out." Sure.
And then there's the other side -- the one whining incessantly for weeks about killing reform and replacing it with a "bipartisan" approach. After six months of debate, can anyone name a single concession Republicans have been willing to make on reform? Literally, one?
I say we take off, and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
My mind reels.
Followup, a few minutes later: Looks like we have our own GOP creep here in Oregon. Tony Marino pleads guilty to raping his daughter. Via BlueOregon, where you can read about some of his previous shenanigans.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I have not watched the speech, and I may not; I'll make up my mind as I read reports, and I'll certainly read the transcript when I find a copy. However, what is of interest to me is not so much what Obama said (I think the general outlines of that have been evident), but how he said it, and how various factions reacted. I've just seen evidence that at least one faction has decided to "just say no."
Followup: Bad Astronomer Phil Plait offers his personal response to the news and imagery, and here is the full gallery of images released along with the announcement. WOW!
While all eyes seem to be on Obama's health care reform speech this evening, and the news has been focused almost entirely on that issue for the last month or more, we can't afford to forget that there are numerous other issues facing us. This shouldn't detract from the health issue, but I do believe that the climate change and energy independence issues— which are in many ways inseparable— are, over the mid to long term, even more important than health care.
The frustrating thing is that we now have a preview of the right's response to any issue that comes up: obfuscation, obstruction, and falsely inflaming passions with lies and innuendo. An article in today's NYT tries to put a happy, optimistic face on the current situation as regards health:
“At this point, there really should be no doubt where the American people stand: the status quo is not acceptable, but neither are any of the proposals we’ve seen from the White House or Democrats in Congress,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in a statement, adding: “It should be clear by now that the problem isn’t the sales pitch. The problem is what they’re selling.”With all due respect to McConnell (that would be pretty much none), the problem isn't what the dems are selling, the problem is the lies he's telling the voters. If I stood outside a restaurant and protested them for selling ground up puppies, kittens and babies in their burgers, that restaurant could sue me. Unfortunately, there is no process by which I can sue liars who defame and libel the policy recommendations of my party.
Yet Mark McClellan, who ran the Food and Drug Administration and later Medicare under President George W. Bush, said he saw the churning in August as a part of the public’s education, a “necessary step in the process” and not a fatal blow.
And while I find McClellan's comment interesting, I'm not sure why death panels, socialism, fascism, and pull the plug on Gramma were “necessary step in the process.” Does he honestly think that fewer people give credence to those possibilities now than did in mid-July? I'm very worried that we're going to end up with a "reform" that enriches the insurance and medical industries, provides no better, and perhaps worse, actual health care, and serves neither patients nor doctors.
There are at least a half dozen other issues that are of similar importance to health, and the energy and climate issue is probably more important.
And I'm going to have to watch this circus of freaks go through this same theater over and over in the next few years.
I can't wait.
The researchers staked out the cave and spent 22 days observing over two winters. On hearing the bat calls the birds flew slowly along the roof of the cliff where the animals nestled. The birds were recorded killing bats 16 times.So now we know that to protect yourself from vampires, all you need is a bunch of great tits.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
According to meteorologists, the incoming tropical storm could leave as many as 3 million residents every bit as homeless as they've been for the past year or so.
"Those who haven't already lost everything to the housing-market crash are urged to evacuate their homes immediately," said Robert Menken, head meteorologist at the National Weather Bureau. "That should be about 10 or 12 of you. Everyone else, please stay where you are, probably on the couch of some in-law who lives near Atlanta."
Will I ever learn to quit asking pointless questions?
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled “211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post. Hominid skull.” We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents “conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago.” Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be the “Malibu Barbie”. It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to it’s modern origin:
# 1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
# 2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-hominids.# 3. The dentition pattern evident on the “skull” is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the “ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams” you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time. This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Hospitals will henceforth smell like bakeries, but they'll all be shut down, 'cause the fasislamicommie Obama wants everyone to die under his gummint-run antihealth plan.
- The U.S. has the best health care system in the world.
- Private health insurance companies are more efficient and customer-focused than the government.
- Covering the uninsured isn't our problem.
- We don't need comprehensive reform now -- we can wait.
- I don't need to worry. I have good insurance through my job.
The editorial piece linked above does a nice job of taking each of the above sentences and making them into slogans by tacking the word "Myth."
There's not one use of the word Nazi.
Nor of indoctrination camps.
He doesn't encourage anyone to read Marx, or Mein Kampf.
He says being educated takes hard work and persistence.
He says it's unlikely that most will grow up to be wealthy rappers or sports stars.
Not once does he tell the kids to strip naked and have gay sex while they're watching the speech.
He doesn't tell them that Christianity is evil, nor encourage anyone to blow up the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, or congress.
No, all we get is insipid platitudes like this:
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.I feel completely let down. Maybe he'll stray from his remarks; one can only hope.
Students in the state's largest school district may listen to President Barack Obama's education speech Tuesday morning. Portland Public Schools officials say they will allow teachers and principals to decide what's best for students on the first day of school.Criminey... go read the speech, seriously! Can you imagine anyone who honestly thinks of themself as an educator wouldn't want that message to get out to kids? And officials will allow principles and teachers to decide? How... magnanimous... of them.
Also, John Cole at Balloon Juice has an amusing, snarky piece on his predicted response from righty pundits:
BTW- Who do you all think will be the first wingnut to find a hidden coded message in the text of the speech? The odds on favorite for that kind of lunacy would be Glenn Beck, but then again the one lunatic who pushed the “Republican car dealers is being punished!” nonsense would be a good bet, too, as would that clown who freaked out over dijon mustard. There is just so much quality amateur wingnuttery going on these days that there really is no safe bet anymore.You can, in fact, make this shit up. But Beck and Co. will still go you one further, and astonish you with their interstellar conclusion leaping.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Speaking of which, we've been having steady, but fairly light, rains for the last couple of nights, then occasional light showers during the day. I think the precip is supposed to taper off over the next 24 hours, but it's actually been very pleasant. I love the odors associated with the first fall rains, as the parched ground and vegetation come back to life.
I've been referring to this 2-3 day window as "our fall preview trailer." We'll be back to summery weather by Tuesday; 90's are not unknown in September, but I hope we're done with that range for the year.
From Mock, Paper, Scissors; Tengrain then pointed out what the righties are picturing:
This is just so wrong... Skull Swap.
see more Funny Graphs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
He finally got to live his dream of swimming with dolphins... Skull Swap.
Times New Roman... web comics were crap back then. Luke Surl.
Cyanide and Happiness.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
I Hate my Parents, a recent find. I just realized it's put together by the same person who does the Skull Swap tumblr feed.
I find your lack of cake disturbing... No Cats on This Blog.
see more Political Pictures
see more Lol Celebs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
Steven Spielberg's worst nightmare... Skull Swap.
epic4chan. (now I have 867-5309 running through my head again...)
Misery Loves Sherman.
Evolutionary forces are powerful... epic4chan.
Cyanide and Happiness.
My First Dictionary.
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes
moar funny pictures. Via EB Misfit. Probably Bad News. This was sent widely around the innernetz after the disaster, but I'm pleased to see it again. 18 times the speed of light is relatively fast.
This group should be called "Hug." Skull Swap.
CNN Speaks in Tongues! Probably Bad News.Also speaking in tongues... epic4chan
Glenn Beck, however, may not be. From Criggo.
From That Will Buff Out, silly-looking accidents, a recent find. The next two are from the same place.
see more Fail Blog. OSU starts Fall term three weeks from tomorrow; the kids are starting their shopping already though.
Pareidolia for the godless, from Pharyngula.And more pareidolia from LOLtheist: Whatever. Jesus is everywhere, blah, blah, blah. Click over for a very snarky, funny discussion, and a link to an enormous and amazing image of martian fluvial-alluvial geomorphology.
Skull Swap- Awwww!
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal