Saturday, March 22, 2008

Nostalgia 2008

A friend passes along this video including his nephew.
Portland high school students protest the war

Breaking News

More Weekend Entertainment

Also see Big Dog.

Gold!! Your Lawmakers At Work

Yeah, I know, they probably decided to take the hearing through lunch and we've probably all been to such lunch meetings. But still, priceless.

Oh, and (from The Onion of course) this:
Scientists Discover Gene Responsible for Human Capacity to Eat Whole Goddam Bag Of Chips
ITHACA, NY—In an announcement with major implications for future generations of big fat hogs, Cornell University geneticists announced Monday that they have isolated the specific DNA series that makes an individual susceptible to eating a whole goddamn bag of chips.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hillary Action Alert!

If you love Hillary, dig deep. She's outta money.

Faux News

was so bad today that one of their anchors walked off the show in protest and even Chris Wallace called them out.
MoveOn's got a little video of how bad all the news channels have been, a petition and a fundraising plea.
I think the video is pretty good.

Iraq Is Like A Knee Operation

This week is the anniversary of five years in Iraq and I've been following a lot of commentary and debate over what comes next. But Glenn Greenwald reminds us that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Money quote:
Imagine if you went to a hospital to have an operation on your knee, and your surgeon completely botched it, permanently shattering your knee instead of fixing it and, in the process, needlessly removed your healthy kidney and recklessly damaged your heart and lungs. Then, as you tried to decide what you should do to rectify the damage -- and you sought out the advice of doctors who presciently warned you not to have that doctor operate -- the guilty surgeon insisted that he be allowed to operate again to fix it and that you listen to him regarding what should be done.

And when you screamed at the guilty surgeon -- as every sane person would -- to stay as far away from you as possible and that he was the last person from whom you wanted advice, he kept telling you: "Oh, forget about the past. This isn't about assigning blame. What matters is figuring out what to do now, how to fix this." You would think such a person insane for that line of thought. But that's exactly what war advocates like Anne-Marie Slaughter -- and John McCain -- are insisting that we do. That's how the establishment can insist that the Iraq War is an asset for John McCain even though Americans overwhelmingly think that his support for it was a grave mistake. "Forget the past."

What Voters Really Want Is More....

you guessed it, and The Onion tells you all about it.

Face It, Hillary

Give it up. Politico says you aren't going to win, no way, nohow.
One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

Under the headline "Reports of Clinton's Political Demise Have Been Greatly Underexxagerated" Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo says it's about time everyone in the media began saying it, too.

Come To Jesus, Um FSM Moment

Today is Good Friday, but I really hadn't given it any thought because I converted to the String Theory of Universal Truth (STUT) a few years ago, a church (so far as I know) of one.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear today but the formal announcement that the Pastafarians have installed a statue in honor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the lawn of a Tennessee courthouse that not too long ago welcomed a chainsaw Moses and Nativity scene.
Clearly, my new religion has arrived. And it's kinda stringy, too. But with balls.
As sister artist Ariel Safdie put it:
All Pastafarians, Rejoice!

Statement at Installation Ceremony
March 21, 2008

We are lucky enough to live in a country that allows us, its citizens, the freedom of speech. I have chosen to put up a statue of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to represent the discourse between people of all different beliefs. The many faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds of Cumberland County’s residents make our community a stronger richer place. I respect and am proud that on the people’s lawn, the county courthouse, all of these diverse beliefs can come together in a positive dialogue. Here, we are all able to share the issues close to our hearts whether it is through a memorial to the soldiers killed fighting for our country, the Statue of Liberty honoring our nations welcoming promise to all, a group’s fight to stop homelessness, or powerful symbols of faith. I greatly treasure this open forum between everyone in the community.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a pile of noodles and meatballs, but it is meant to open up discussion and provoke thought. Being able to put up a statue is a celebration of our freedom as Americans; a freedom to be different, to express those differences, and to do it amongst neighbors— even if it is in a noodley way.

My Sisters, Slurp! Enjoy!
As I've not said before, we here at Contrarienne (that is me and the mouse in my pocket) welcome the faith of others. But not religiously.

The Angry Black Past

"The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past."

A lot of commentators were impressed when Barack Obama used this William Faulkner quote in his history-making speech on racial unity earlier this week.

Obama was careful not to make it too raw, as raw as this memory of Mary Ellen Noone broadcast today on NPR's Morning Edition.
You can read it at the link, but listen to the podcast in her own soft voice. It only takes three minutes. We need to own up to these things, not turn away if there is going to be healing.

"Every time I look at enamel red finger polish, I have a flashback, and I see red," Noone says. "I still have that anger inside of me that someone would have that control over one person just because they wanted to feel like a woman."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Girlllly War!

Relax, it's The Onion. Still.

Paul Krugman

I like smart people. Even when they get so technical I can barely follow, I follow anyway in the hope that some sort of osmosis will occur and I'll get at least some of it.
Paul Krugman's like that. I am chart-averse, but I read him anyway.

The other day, he wrote about George Orwell, another smart person.

Everything in the essay is memorable, but the section that influenced me most was Orwell’s translation of a passage from the King James Bible into Greenspanspeak. The original:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

The modern version:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

You Write the Caption

Erm, About Those CFCs

There's this tiny problem with the energy-efficient light bulbs considered the greenest thing most of us can do, easily that is. Each of those 10,000-hour light bulbs contains a tiny amount of mercury. If you break one, clean-up is a bitch — something to do with duct tape, I'm not kidding — not to mention just a little scary, especially if you've got kids.
Then there's the matter of how to dispose of them. Washington is one of the 40-plus states that still has no recycling for the little buggers. Unless you want to drive all the way to Southcenter and hand yours over to Ikea.
Yeah, that's right, apparently Ikea takes them.
To read all about the issue, go here.
Me, I guess I'll just save them when they start burning out until they figure this out. And hope I don't break any. Luckily, I've always got duct tape.
Good resource here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hillary Clinton and 'The Family'

Is this the reason she's been silent on Obama's pastor problem, asks Barbara Ehrenrich. Or are we looking for another reason to hate her?
I dunno. Hillary apparently hasn't spoken about this since Mother Jones explored the topic last year.

Money quote:
The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes...According to the Fellowship's archives, the spirit has in the past led its members in Congress to increase U.S. support for the Duvalier regime in Haiti and the Park dictatorship in South Korea.

Sylvia Plath

"The bees are flying. They taste the spring."

I loved Sylvia Plath's poetry, it wakened something in me I had only barely guessed about.
Novelist Margaret Drabble takes a shot at telling us why. It's short. Must go find my Plath.

Iraq Invasion: By the Numbers

Happy anniversary! We've been in Iraq for five years now.
According to the Huffington Post:
3,990 Americans killed
29,395 Americans wounded
2,100 Americans in Iraq tried suicide
88 % of military officers say we're stretched too thin
82,000-89,000 is the low estimate of Iraqi casualties
4,500,000 Iraqi refugees

There's more here.

The New York Times is getting a lot of flak for its Iraq anniversary coverage. It included no war critics, apparently.

Reuters' "Bearing Witness," however, is broadly praised.
Here's one female journalist's story.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama: More Than Soundbites

If you want to read what he said, or watch it, go here.
Me, I'm kicking in some more money.

Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good

They call him Big Dog. He pretty much goes anywhere, under any conditions. He likely costs M(B) illions.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Speaking of the Iraq War

I can't remember whether I read any of the Knight Ridder stories or not. But I knew it wasn't true, you probably knew it wasn't true, but hardly anybody else was saying it wasn't true.
These guys were.

"Is this true" is the basic question any journalist must ask any time a government, any government, makes an assertion

Crones Love Story

Been saving this for a rainy day, dry day really. Possibly one of the best nuptial stories I've ever seen. It got a lot of attention when it was first published by the New York Times last May.

Thea Clara Spyer and Edith Schlain Windsor were married in Toronto on Tuesday. Justice Harvey Brownstone of the North Toronto Family Court officiated at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.

She is 75 and she is 77 and they had been together 40 years.

“Everyone lived in the closet,” Ms. Windsor said of lesbian life in New York in the 1960s. “The only place to go was bars, and they were rough.”

End Iraq War Plan

was announced today by Darcy Burner, who is likely to beat Bushbot Rep. Dave Reichert this fall, and a number of other freshman House Democrats and challengers.
You can read all about it here
and sign on to pressure your representatives.

I'm Irish

but not seriously so.

No More Junk Mail?

The group called Forest Ethics has a petition you can sign to put something in place like the do not call list to put a stop to all that snail mail advertising. The Web site also has a tool to help you reduce your junk mail now, although it warns it's a little tricky. You have to actually mail THEM and tell them to quit. And it takes 6-8 weeks to become effective.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ACTION ALERT: Out of Iraq Petition is among the groups organizing various actions for Wednesday, March 19, the five-year anniversary of our attack on Iraq.
They have a Congressional petition campaign going here.

"It's essentially over"

The real kos at Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, cast his lot with Barack Obama a long time ago.
He's a trustworthy, although biased, evaluator of campaigns, strategies and the primary and electoral process, more so than most mainstream journalists I read, in my experience.
So when he says so, I tend to believe him. Of course, that's because I want to.
Money quote:
Meanwhile, in Iowa Saturday, Clinton lost a delegate while Obama picked up nine of them in the state's county conventions. In Oregon, the state AFSCME broke with the national organization (which endorsed Clinton) and endorsed Obama for its primary. The party's activists continue to move in large numbers toward Obama while Nancy Pelosi has essentially cast her lot with Obama. Clinton supporters are increasingly paranoid as the walls close in on their candidate's campaign, but it's essentially over. They may rail against Pelosi, or the media, or Howard Dean, or Keith Olbermann, or Daily Kos, or whatever and whoever. But what they are seeing is a consolidation of the party around the primary's winner, and that is already Barack Obama whether the Clinton campaign and her shrinking number of supporters wants to acknowledge it or not.