Tuesday, August 30, 2005

reverend billy & the church of stop shopping

become a Sacred Spy of the Shopocalypse —

I'm pretty sure this is for real. Looks like a bit too much theatrics for my taste, but if they outlaw atheism, maybe I've found a congregation...

Monday, August 29, 2005

quote of the day

If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.

Carl Schurz
US (German-born) general & politician (1829 - 1906)


So, I'm trying really hard to keep a positive attitude. Tell myself, it's not all bad. Think about the good things I can do, try to make a difference, remember to take the higher ground, don't let it get to me.

Hah. Foiled again!

In Georgia, I've seen just about everything stuck to a car, from the moronic to the mean-spirited, and yes, shockingly, even confederate flags on pickup trucks.

But what I saw this morning choked me with bitter, blinding revile. On the license plate holder of a car: "Truth NOT Tolerance."

How many ways is that wrong?

It's wrong to the wrongth degree. Exponentially wrong. Shockingly, willfully, arrogantly, hopelessly wrong.

You shouldn't have to tell someone that, you know? I took a good look at the woman in the car. Black woman. And to top it off, a California license plate.

A little web searching brought this gem from Connie and Carl. I wonder if that actually was "Connie" in that car.

Apparently you can get your own "truth not tolerance" bumpersticker, replete with christian cross and a fist, at Harbor House Gifts PO Box 2601, Fullerton, CA 92837, in case you are interested.

it takes a village

Great article from Responsible Wealth (Sep 04) on how private wealth counts on public investment and infrastructure.

"The myth of self-made wealth is used to justify tax cuts for the rich and reduce public investment in the very institutions and infrastructure that not only enable more Americans to become wealthy, but are crucial to a strong and growing economy," says Scott Klinger, co-director of Responsible Wealth.

An example:
H. Ross Perot, Jr., No. 40 on the Forbes 400, grew his company, Electronic Data Systems (later sold to General Motors), by focusing on computer systems and services for Medicare, a government program. The company's growth – and windfall profits – really took off when it began reselling the Medicare claims processing system it had developed for Texas Blue Cross under a research and development contract paid for by federal funds. By 1971, EDS owned 90% of the Medicare business in the country.

Report can be downloaded here.

While you're at it, you might want to visit the Estate Tax Action Center.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

see what i mean?

Looks like this poor doggie still really loves his master, crochet hook and all.

more quotes

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

Thomas Jefferson
"Founding Father" and 3rd president of US (1743 - 1826)

When I read a qoute like that, I am both proud and furious. Proud that I am right about how and why the US was founded, that our founding fathers did indeed value reason and truth above dogma of any kind. And profoundly angry at how these "fellow Americans" of mine would like to twist our heritiage to become something else entirely. A "christian nation" my ass!

Which leads me to the following quote, from one of my other favorite quippers:

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid."

Friedrich Nietzsche
German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

great bumper sticker

Found the ad for this at Kos, but the link didn't work. The correct link is here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

quote of the day

"Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens."

Michel de Montaigne
(1533 - 1592)

"inattention blindness" in cell phone users

I've long suspected that cell phone use impairs driving ability, whether or not the speaker uses a hands-free device. I've also suspected that a phone conversation distracts the brain in a way that passenger conversation does not. Here are some studies that support those beliefs.

The studies suggest that cell phone use interrupts attention, and it has nothing to do with having your hands on the wheel. The study also shows that listening is just as detrimental as talking, and the effect can linger after the conversation ends. Oddly, there is no similar distraction when listening to "books on tape" for instance, or chatting with a passenger.

I've "felt" this attention deficit when driving. I can just "tell" that I'm not paying as much attention when I'm on my phone. It's like some important part of my brain is focusing on "visualizing" the other party who isn't there. This "visualization" detracts from interpreting my real vision. My theory, anyway.

Friday, August 26, 2005

oil, not just for rich kids anymore

The Chad Cameroon Development Project appears to be helping one of the world's poorest nations improve the lives of its citizens.

Chad, where the per capita daily income is about half a tall Starbuck's, is undertaking a project to improve the quality of life for its citizens by mining its one significant natural resource, oil.

Okay well ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco are sponsoring the project. But the Chadians (Chadites?) don't have many choices, given their extreme poverty and lack of infrastructure. Great big ol' fat oil pipelines ain't free. Watch the progress here.

did you ever have a dog?

Dogs really really really love people. They wanna be your friend, your very best friend of all time, in fact.

All liberals should get a dog. We need all the friends we can get.

oh well...

I do get very disheartened by the news and blogging only seems to make it worse; I can admit I have a very hard time of it and sometimes it seems best just to turn everything off.

I don't like what it does to me, what this all does to me; I feel angry and intolerant, and it reminds me of how angry and intolerant everyone else is. I was a pacifist, always, and tolerance and understanding composed the foundation of my approach to life and to society. Now I feel such rage toward these pigs and their brutal misuse of the power of the country that I love. I have such a profound and overwhelming disappointment in my fellow citizens --- it is difficult to manage those feelings. HOW can they JUST NOT CARE about who we slaughter and why? In the name of Christ... Jesus Christ...

It's enough to make your head explode.

So in the interest of keeping my head from exploding, I may be prone to absences.

My original goal with this blog was to try to publish positive, or at least distracting, stories or comments or news of interest to progressives. I'm not quite giving up totally yet.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Why the certainty? Why the cockiness? Well, there is that gorilla."

During the 2004 election, didn't it seem a bit odd that the Bushcabal were busily finding new ways to keep people out of rallies? A bizarre about-face strategy for a campaign that, from the outside, had no clear guarantee of victory at all. I mean, the whole point of going on the road with an honest campaign is to get people to come to rallies and speeches, and get your candidate heard. Right?

I was suspicious then, and I'm suspicious now. I think the Bushcabal had no need of rallies beyond what could be staged and broadcast convincingly. In fact, I think they had no need of voters at all. They knew they would win, with or without them, and "without" was even easier. Then their candidate didn't even have to smell good. He could stink it up as usual.

As this article by Anthony Wade at OpEdNews points out, we need to be putting our efforts into election reform. Sure bringing down Rove and Rumsfeld would be sweet, but you're dreaming if you think it will make any difference.

Protecting our elections is the only thing that matters now. Make no mistake. Our democracy is threatened. Patriots need to take heed of the warning.

be a pal


I wanted a positive message for patriotic liberals, and here is my first attempt. Show your solidarity and patriotism... check out the products at Cafe Press.

Friday, August 05, 2005

lexical discovery

Very proud of myself as I coined a new word today: miracleware.

Applies to software that no one wants to define, but everyone expects will work when needed.

You know, when you are in a design session and someone poses an uncomfortable question, the consultant might say "Don't worry about that now, the miracleware will handle it" and then you can move right through design, directly to coding, without ever solving a difficult issue!

Very handy for staying on the project schedule.

Monday, August 01, 2005

thirsty anyone?

Water ice in crater at Martian north pole

The photo is color enhanced, but cool nonetheless.

From the European Space Agency:
28 July 2005
"These images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, show a patch of water ice sitting on the floor of an unnamed crater near the Martian north pole... The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice."

Too bad it isn't oil. Cheney would be wetting his pants.

1.21 jigowatts!

Or, almost!

From the Department of Energy, 7-27-2005: "...the 650-ton Atlas pulsed-power generator successfully discharged nearly 19 million amperes of electrical current through an aluminum cylindrical shell, or liner, about the size and shape of a tuna can. The current caused the liner to implode at extreme speeds, with unrivaled symmetry, precision and reproducibility."

Bet that would scare the cats away.

(brought to my attention via slashdot)