Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Just Griping Here

When a baseball player get traded from one team to another in mid-season, how hard is it for Yahoo to get a picture of that player in the uniform of his new team?

I'm checking out the A's and Angels on GameChannel and Jay Payton, the second coming of Jermaine Dye, is batting, and they show a picture of him in a Red Sox cap. Heebus, couldn't they even just photoshop an A's cap on his head?

Speaking of such things, how hard is it to have your agent send a head shot to IMDb?

Sean Hannity is an Ass

Yeah, I know, that's not a great revelation. What prompted it in this case was his calling Fred Phelps part of the anti-war left. In Hannity's binary brain, apparently anybody who disagrees with him on any issue is a liberal. Well, to steal a phrase, sadly, no. Phelps has made an great annoyance of himself by protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. His beef with the war in Iraq is that he thinks the war is God's vengeance on this country for our "tolerance" of gays and lesbians. Other elements of this divine retribution have been the 9/11 attacks and the space shuttle Columbia disaster. At the good reverend's website is a statement that reads, "Thank God for IEDs killing American soldiers in strange lands every day. WBC rejoices every time the Lord God in His vengeance kills or maims an American soldier with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED)."

Yes Sean, he's a wacko, but he's one of yours. Like the murderous Pat Robertson, his problem with America is that it's too tolerant of "deviant" lifestyles. He's part of the anti-war right's culture of death. You're the people who want those you disagree with to die.

Dirty Tricks on the Internet

Via Atrios, I came across this WSJ article about a blog operator, Aaron Wall, being sued by a company called for defamation and publication of trade secrets because of comments posted on Mr. Wall's blog,

I don't do any business with Traffic-Power so I can't cease doing business with them and my boycotting them would have no effect, but if I did do business with them, this kind of tactic, which can't help but chill the free exchange of information on blogs, would lead me to sever my relationship.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Parking Fascists

As injustices go, this may be strictly nickel and dime, but it still rubbed me the wrong way. As cities look for ways to reap more income from paid parking, some towns have installed parking meters that, accompanied by sensors in the parking spot, reset the meter to zero when the car leaves. One of the sweet pleasure of urban living is finding a metered parking spot with time left on the meter. Even if it's only five or ten minutes, sometimes that's all you need to dart into the Post Office or return that library book. With these new fangled meters, that will be a thing of the past. In Santa Rosa, where I live and used to work, there are "elves" who wander the streets and parking lots during Christmas season, dropping quartets into the meters. Will they continue to do this if five minutes after they pay somebody's meter the driver returns to his car and leaves, resetting the meter to zero?

And so the bonds of community continue to slip.

Just Playing With People's Lives

On the heels of a $286 Billion transportation bill that was larded with record amounts of pork, Congress returns to work from its summer break prepared to cut student loans, trim food stamp outlays, slice into farm subsidies in the midst of a regional drought, and cut billions from Medicaid. So, to pay for their home-district vanity projects, they'll be cutting into programs that actually make life livable for some people and give them hope for the future.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Heartbeat of America

From a Chevrolet radio commercial I heard on the way to work this morning:

"For years we've been breaking the rules; now we're rewriting them."

Which is to say...what? That they used to be for radical change but now they're incrementalists? That's what it sounds like, but is that what they mean? Or did they just like the rhythm of the sentence, without giving any real thought to the message?

The Best Possible Constitution (Except for all the other possibilities)

Shorter David Brooks:

The new Iraqi Constitution is great if you ignore the influence of religion and the impact on women's rights (an issue he deftly avoids using at all).

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Debating Evolution

According to scientists, on December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.15 earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered a tsunami that devastated the shores of the eastern part of the ocean, killing between 170,000 and 250,000 people. An old man of the Moken people of Thailand believes that the wave was created by the spirit of the sea. He believes that "the Big Wave had not eaten anyone for a long time, and it wanted to taste them again." The old man could debate scientists about the cause of the tsunami, but what would be the point? One belief is based on superstition and is born of ignorance, the other is based on observed physical phenomena. It would be as pointless as debating the relative merits of "intelligent design" and evolution.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Pops Rocks


Friday, August 19, 2005

Responsible Journalism

This morning, one of the ass hats on Armstrong and Getty, knowing nothing about the woman other than that she's Cindy Sheehan's mother and that she had a stroke, speculated that Shirley Miller's stroke was due to the "stress" of Sheehan's vigil. First Michelle Malkin speculates that Casey Sheehan would not have wanted his mother to engage in her political activities, now this.

These people are a marvel, aren't they?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Joke, or US History?

You decide...

Three Texas Surgeons

Three Texas surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed.

One of them said, "I'm the best surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident. I reattached them, and 8 months later he performed a private concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident. I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago a cowboy who was high! on cocaine and alcohol rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat.

Now he's president of the United States."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

...and into the Fire

On the heels of a very bad Supreme Court decision, the plaintiffs in the Kelo case are now being charged back rent from 2000 to now by the city of New London.

In Support of Cindy Sheehan

Via Tapped, a letter from Elizabeth Edwards supporting Cindy Sheehan:

Casey Sheehan was born May 29, 1979, the first born child of Cindy and Pat Sheehan. It was a long labor. Fifty-one days after Casey was born, our first child, Wade was born, also after a long labor. They started school the same year, played the same games, watched the same television shows, loved the same country. On April 4, 1996, three weeks after going to Washington as a winner in a national contest about what America meant to him, Wade died in an automobile accident. On April 4, 2004, eight years later to the day, Casey, who loved his country enough to wear its uniform, died in Iraq. Cindy and Pat's hearts broke, as had ours.
We teach our children right from wrong. We teach them compassion and honor. We teach them the dignity of each life. And then, sometimes, the lessons we taught are turned on their heads. Cindy Sheehan is asking a very simple thing of her government, and she and her family, and most particularly Casey, have paid a very dear price for the right to ask this.

Cindy wants Casey's death to have meant as much as his life - lived fully - might have meant. I know this, as does every mother who has ever stood where we stand. And the President says he knows enough, doesn't need to hear from Casey's mother, doesn't need to assure her that Casey's is not one small death in a long and seemingly never-ending drip of deaths, that there is a plan here that will bring our sons and daughters home. He doesn't need to hear from her, he says. He claims he understands how some people feel about the deaths in Iraq.

The President is wrong.

Whether you agree or disagree with every part, or any part, of what Cindy wants to say, you know it is better that the President hear different opinions, particularly from those with such a deep and personal interest in the decisions of our government. Today, another voice would be helpful.

Cindy Sheehan can be that voice. She has earned the right to be that voice.

Please join me in supporting Cindy's right to be heard.

I grew up in a military family. My father and my grandfather were career Navy pilots. I saw what it meant to live a life every single day when the possibility of an honorable death is always there, at the dinner table, on the playground, at the base school. Will someone's father not come home tonight? And I didn't just feel the possibility, I saw the real thing, and, believe me, it stays with you, it changes you.

I also saw, then and more recently as I campaigned across this country and spent time with courageous military mothers and wives, how little attention is paid to the needs and the voices of military families. It has to change. The sacrifices that our military men and women make assure us that we have the strongest military in the world, but the sacrifices that their families make are too often ignored. The President's cavalier dismissal of Cindy Sheehan is emblematic of a greater problem. This is a mother who raised her son to love his country enough to serve. This is a mother who lived the impossible life of a mother of a soldier serving in Iraq, unable to sleep when he sleeps, unable to sleep when he is on duty, unable to watch the television, unable to stop watching the television.

And when the worst does happen, when the world comes crashing down and she puts the boy she bore, the boy she taught, the boy she loved in the ground, what does that government say to her? It says we'll do the talking; we don't need to hear from you. If we are decent and compassionate, if we know the lessons we taught our children, or if, selfishly, all we want is the long line of the brave to protect us in the future, we should listen to the mothers now.

Listen to Cindy.

Join me so Cindy knows we believe she has earned the right to be heard.

Elizabeth Edwards

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Random Manhattan thoughts

24 ounce beer cans are a good thing.

Until eating at the Carnegie Deli, I had no idea eating pastrami could be such a transcendental experience.

The seemingly infinite variety of ways the features of the female face can be arranged to produce beautiful results is breathtaking.

Additional Flight Notions

Two more travel related items:

When they bounced us from the flight out of LaGuardia on Saturday, Delta said it was because the heat had caused the airplane fuel to expand, making it heavier, so they had to lighten the cargo and passenger load. Now, I don't claim to be wise in the ways of science, but it seems to me that if the airplane fuel had expanded the fuel that would fit in the tanks would be lighter. Does this make any sense?

Item dos: When we went through security at the Atlanta airport Sunday morning, we found out that the airline had designated us for additional screening. Although this was pretty aggravating, since we were already running through the airport trying to catch our flight, it also made sense, since we'd shown up late at the ticket counter (only 40 minutes before the scheduled flight time) and had only our carry-on luggage. Although I remain skeptical that any actual terrorists will ever be caught in the screening process, it was nice to see that there was an actual reason for singling us out (at least there was if my speculation is correct).

The Joys of Air Travel

I was away on vacation last week, having gone to New York City and Washington, DC, with my daughter to look at colleges and play the tourist. Except for the travel, we both had a great time.

But oh, that travel…

We were scheduled on 2 Delta flights each way and did not actually fly any of them at the scheduled time. Our first flight, from Oakland to Atlanta on Sunday the 7th, was scheduled at 7 in the morning (so we got to the airport at 5:30), but didn't leave until 11:15 because of mechanical problems. Needless to say, that caused us to miss our connection, but then they even delayed the flight they had moved us to by a half hour. As a result, we arrived in New York at midnight instead of 6 pm. That's one evening lost. On our return trip, Delta topped that. Although we arrived at the airport and got through check-in and security and to the gate a half hour before the scheduled flight time, they had already bumped us from our five o'clock flight to a 6 o'clock flight. Which they then delayed a half hour. But that was cool, because the flight they put us on was going to stop in Atlanta, then continue to Oakland. So we got to Atlanta and waited on the plane while the passengers switching planes got off. After about 15 or 20 minutes, one of the attendants came back on the plane and told us that we had to get over to a gate at another terminal right away because this plane wasn't going through to Oakland after all. So daughter and I and about 15 other passengers rushed to the other terminal only to find the plane we were rushing to had left already, 15 MINUTES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. There were no other flights they could put us on, so they put us up in an Atlanta hotel, which we got to after 1 in the morning and checked out of at 6, so we could catch our 7:25 flight to San Francisco. We did manage to actually get on that flight (A United flight) and get to SF without any further ado, but once there we had to catch a shuttle to the Oakland airport where our luggage (yes, somehow that got to Oakland on the right flight) and car were. So after leaving Washington at 10:00 Saturday morning to drive to NYC, we finally got home about 1:00 Sunday afternoon.

Aside from giving me an opportunity to vent, why do I tell you this? Because this headline caught my eye, Delta Faces “Very High Risk” of Bankruptcy.

Gosh, why would that be? Nothing but satisfied customers here.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Back Again, Thanks for Stopping By

Hi loyal readers. I've been out of town for a week or so and just got back. I'll try to update in the next day or two.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Roots of Chaos

Juan Cole gives us a primer on blowback and a graphic illustration of the law of unintended consequences.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by