Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dead Contrarienne O' Teh Week

Karen Dalton, the most famous folk singer you never heard of.
Dalton could sound like Billie Holiday, and she had the striking beauty of a Walker Evans dustbowl portrait. Bob Dylan called her his favorite singer from the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s.

This is from an NPR story and you can listen to some of her music there.

Carol Kreck: Contrarienne O' Teh Week

Greetings from the little old librarian.

It's been quite a week for me, McCain, the police and the Secret Service. While I may write more later, there are a couple issues I would like to address now -- but first, an excerpt from today's Denver Post story by Felisa Cardona:

It was Sen. John McCain's staff who asked security at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to remove people holding protest signs at the venue -- not U.S. Secret Service agents, who were not involved in Carol Kreck's ouster from the galleria.

The sign read McCain=Bush, pretty obvious stuff, really. Read all of it here.

Sand, Summer, Play! OFF THIS WEEKEND
Go, just do it, waste a few hours or so. It's summer.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nostalgia: Trip, Dip, And Double Dip, DROP

I had no idea there were still wooden roller coasters in this country, what with all the fancy dancy, high-tech stuff at all the the theme parks.
But not only are there wooden roller coasters like the one I loved so much at the now demolished Ramona Park in Grand Rapids, Mich., but they're still designing and building new ones.
If you scroll down and look for it on the left, you can find today's NYT video tour of the 15 wooden roller coasters in Pennsylvania. It's still fun.
I think it's that old clickety-clackety ride to the top of the first drop that is the real thrill. Ramona had the big drop right up front.
You can search wooden roller coasters on YouTube to relive your youth as well, but I didn't find any worth linking and began to feel a little sick to my stomach.
Interesting fact: People make backyard roller coasters.
And only upon discovering them did I realize they are largely self-propelled.
So much for my physics. I think I want one.
Oh, okay.

Demo Derby Diva

Contrarienne O' Teh Year
From the Kitsap Sun:
Suesan Heroux, 63, of Port Townsend, (WA) begged her son to outfit a car for her so she could participate in destruction derbies. "It makes me feel very alive," she said...

..."When I'm waiting out there for them to give me the flag, my whole focus is on the ramp," Heroux said. "I don't want to miss the ramp."
She's never missed it. Known as "Grandma Hook," Heroux showed a knack for "rolling" from the beginning. On her first try, she turned her car all the way around and finished right side up, garnering five points.
She also broke the skin on both of her knuckles...

But before she could roll, Susan Heroux faced another challenge — she needed to lose about 100 pounds. Because the doors are welded shut, the windows are the only way to enter the car.
"I really had to prove how serious I was, and I was very, very serious," Heroux said. "I needed to get small enough to crawl out of a car window."

Rove Belongs In Jail?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oh, My

The Big Penis Book is out. Bet you didn't know there was a Big Breast book, too, but you're not surprised. Okay, nuff said.
Big shoulders, big lapels, and big hair may come and go, but the big penis never goes out of fashion. With those possessing more than 8 inches (20 cm) making up less than 2% of the world’s population, this rare accessory will always fascinate.

The 'I' Word — Whoaa!

They can say it now, apparently
UPDATE BELOW Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this morning that the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on an impeachment resolution offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Kucinich is expected to offer a "privileged resolution" this afternoon calling on the House to look at whether President Bush should be removed from office for lying to Congress and the American public when he sought congressional approval back in 2002 for taking military action to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Pelosi has said previously that impeachment "was off the table," so her comments this morning were surprising, and clearly signaled a new willingness to entertain the idea of ousting Bush, although no one in the Democratic leadership believes that is likely since the president has only six months left in this term. "This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee," Pelosi told reporters. "Not necessarily taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject." Pelosi added: "My expectation is that there will be some review of that in the committee." A spokesman for the House Judiciary Committee had no immediate comment when asked whether Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the panel's chairman, planned hearings on Kucinich's impeachment resolutions.
UPDATE II:Once they have called for hearings and they are taking place THEN they have to turn over the documents and they can't claim privilege!!! (from a Daily kos commenter) That means Rove, Meirs, Bolton, not Bush. The House Judiciary Committe can try them for inherent contempt.

Hamster Elevator

What Flip-Flop?

Basically, I think Gail Collins puts more thought into what she writes than just about anyone who is called a pundit these days, and I think she's sensible. Sometimes she's just stupid, but that's better than Dowd, who's always stupid. Tidbit:
You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats. Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

Natural Wonders

© UNESCO/Sigurdur Á. Thráinsson

From BoingBoing:
The World Heritage Committee added eight natural sites and 19 cultural sites to UNESCO's World Heritage List of cultural, natural, and mixed properties that have "outstanding universal value."
The new natural sites include:
Surtsey, a volcanic island in the North Atlantic, approximately 32 km off Iceland’s south coast, has scientific importance because of the detailed records kept of the eruption that formed it, its modifications by later geological and geomorphic processes, and its ongoing colonisation by plants and animals.

Must Read: What Are We Becoming?

This is not about FISA, or the presidential election, or the Iraq War or climate change or the potential attack on Iran or nuclear war. This is about you. And me. If you're reading this, then you should read this, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?," by Nicholas Carr, in this month's The Atlantic. I took it with me on vacation, but didn't read it until this morning upon Andrew Sullivan's recommendation. Teasers:
Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.
...Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms, such as the Chinese, develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language employs an alphabet. The variations extend across many regions of the brain, including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli. We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works. Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become exhausting and painful, often bringing on crushing headaches. He had been forced to curtail his writing, and he feared that he would soon have to give it up. The typewriter rescued him, at least for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing, he was able to write with his eyes closed, using only the tips of his fingers. Words could once again flow from his mind to the page... Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler, Nietzsche’s prose “changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Try African Food

Boiled Sweet Potato

  • Sweet potato
  • Salt
  • Water

Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Boil in water until ready.Peel the potatoes.Serve hot as a meal with any legume stew, groundnut stew, sour milk, tea, porridge or mashed with beans. It can also be eaten hot or cold as a snack.


I Spy

Got a son or daughter in Iraq, a mother touring Finland, a business colleague on a company trip to London?
Well, Big Brother can watch you, listen to you, scoop up your emails any time you are in contact them.
Welcome to Oceania. Or is it East Asia? Something Orwellian like that.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation and the ACLU will challenge the new FISA law that passed the Senate today — with Obama's yea vote, Clinton's nay vote and McCain's usual absence.
As soon as Shrimpy signs it, they will file lawsuits. Maybe Scotus will not like it. Maybe they will find it is a violation of the 4th Amendment. I know, I know, but look, they've been good on the detainee issue.
Anyway, both my senators, Cantwell and Murray are good gals on this.
Takeaway reminder from Greenwald:
What is most striking is that when the Congress was controlled by the GOP -- when the Senate was run by Bill Frist and the House by Denny Hastert -- the Bush administration attempted to have a bill passed very similar to the one that just passed today. But they were unable to do so. The administration had to wait until Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats took over Congress before being able to put a corrupt end to the scandal that began when, in December of 2005, the New York Times revealed that the President had been breaking the law for years by spying on Americans without the warrants required by law.

'God's President' Deserves Another Term

The People's Party

Hmm, this is interesting. The Obama campaign is organizing party platform meetings in communities throughout the country. They will be held later this month and, as usual, they've got a real cool web tool to help you find one that's convenient for you.
Outcomes from the grassroots will be reviewed by the platform committee as it puts together the final version.
Me, I want campaign finance reform at the top, then restoration of the Constitution, strong climate change commitment, and foreign policy statements that recognize the futility of past approaches. End nuclear weapons. Commit to assist underdevloped nations.

World Leaders Discuss Global Hunger

Here is their menu. Click to enlarge. A lot better than those dirt cookies in Haiti, eh?

FISA: Why the Democrats are Doing This

We'll lose the vote today, but we already knew that.
Would help to know why, but here are some theories.
FISA: Quick and Dirty, Really Dirty. 6 1/2 min.

Love The McCain Music

The Democratic National Committee has used this creepy musical moment repeatedly. A little Psycho-delic. This is the new one out today.

$40 Million Health Care Reform Campaign Launches

Elizabeth Edwards is a lead supporter, as are many unions and other groups, with the intent of showing voters where their interests lie.
If you want to support it, MoveOn is soliciting donations toward their $500,000 obligation.
Here's their first ad.

Viral Video

4 million views in two weeks, for a dancing fool. The NYT even did a story on it.

Carbon Tax, Anyone?

Bill Gates, 10,000. Vegetarian student, 300.
Tidbit from an article on Ecogeek about the MIT study of the carbon footprint of different lifestyles:

What the researchers at MIT found was that even in the U.S. people with the lowest energy usage, a homeless person, a five-year-old and a Buddhist monk, all have a carbon footprint twice as large as the average global citizen. This is because the services provided for every American, including infrastructure and public services, guarantee set a baseline that no American can drop below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tom Wolfe

always seems like a self-parody when I see him, sort of like Maureen Dowd.
But he's a better writer and thus a better mind than she is so maybe you'd like to read or view a 9 1/2 minute video of:

Tom Wolfe + Michael Gazzaniga

Wolfe, who calls himself “the social secretary of neuroscience,” often turns to current research to inform his stories and cultural commentary. His 1996 essay, “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died,” raised questions about personal responsibility in the age of genetic predeterminism. Similar concerns led Gazzaniga to found the Law and Neuroscience Project. When Gazzaniga, who just published Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique, was last in New York, Seed incited a discussion: on status, free will, and the human condition.

If so, go here. (No, I haven't. Not enough time. But I will. Soon. Tomorrow, maybe.)

Abortion, Obama, et al

If you want to be absolutely clear, check out the links at Andrew Sullivan's post on Monday.
I don't have time to read everything, and personally I trust him on this.

Be One of 75,000 in That Denver Stadium

just go to Obama's Web site, make a donation of $5 or more, and you (along with a gazillion others) will be registered to win one of 10 free trips to Denver for his acceptance speech.
(Yeah, I did, but I was gonna anyway. Hey, last time they sent me a t-shirt.)

Why August 8 Is Important?

On that day in 1974, Richard Nixon was forced to resign from office for his lawbreaking and surveillance abuses.
Tomorrow the Senate will rubber stamp an update of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that indemnifies from civil lawsuits the telecommunications companies — AT&T, Bell South, Verizon — that cooperated with the Bush administration's equally illegal wiretapping that went from at least right after 9/11 through much of 2007.
Without these lawsuits, and the discovery process they bring, it is doubtful we will ever know the extent to which the government spied on Americans without warrants.
What can we do about it?
A new coalition of diverse groups, left and right-leaning libertarians, will target members of Congress for election defeat to show them and their colleagues that there are consequences to the failure to uphold our Constitutional protections under the 4th Amendment.
The group Strange Bedfellows has already raised more than $300,000 toward this effort and has set Aug. 8, 2008 as the date of their "money bomb" effort, being run by the same people who were so successful raising money over the internet for the Ron Paul campaign.
I urge all contrariennes to pledge toward the money bomb campaign.
Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer and blogger at, has numerous informative posts on this topic. Here's today's.

Sex With Animals

There's a whole list of odd sex laws, and I don't plan to go to to see how many of them are urban legends.
However, here's the one from my state I'm pretty sure isn't true:
Sex with animals is perfectly legal for men in Washington state, as long as the animal weighs less than 40 pounds.
The reason I suspect it is because we had a local story in the newspaper I used to work for in which a woman who happened to be holding her cell phone went to the screen door to the call her husband in and found him fucking the family dog. She took his picture with the phone, then called the cops, who arrested him. He was arrested and convicted of animal abuse. Did it weigh less than 40 pounds. I'm not sure. I just don't believe there is such a law in Washington, home of Passado's law.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gotcha, Senator Flip-Flop!

No, it's not a real McCain ad, it just plays one on YouTube. Lee Stranahan is a geuius.

Christianists Take On Obama

From David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting
Oh my. The fight against Barack Obama on abortion has officially begun. The Christian Defense Coalition, who are known to shock folks from time to time, have come up with a new campaign called: “Barack Obama: The Abortion President”. They are going to make clear that Obama wants taxpayers to foot the bill on abortions. They are also going to lay bare his record on abortion. They’ll conduct a news conference Tuesday in front of the Hart Senate Office Building where Obama’s Senate office is located.

ACTION ALERT: Call Your Senator on FISA Now

This is so easy. You get put right through. Cantwell's line was too busy, so I left a message. Now on to Murray.

My New BFF

With a name like Emily Rackcheck, how could she not be?

The whole shootthemessenger site is pretty good.

What About 'End The War'

do they not understand? It isn't just FOX News, it's George S., Charlie Gibson, Mr. Smirky Mark Halperin (once at ABC, now at Time), and Mara Liasson (on Fox, I think I need to write to NPR and tell them to cut her loose), and wasn't that Juan Williams as well? What this all means is that you can't believe anything they say on broadcast television, and maybe not much of NPR either. Watch it again. Listen to what Obama says. Then listen to what the commentators say. He says clearly what he will do. They say he's not clear, then try to conjure up some circumstance under which commanders on the ground will tell him they can't leave Iraq after all. Notice, too, the similar phrasing of so many of them, especially the use of the term "box." Almost as if they all had the same script. I tend to think they did, and it was in the McCain press release.


McCain Camp 'Concedes' Obama Is Patriotic
In other news, he also is "of good character."

This at TPM today, found buried in a Politico story.
Comment of the day goes to Publico Hussein for:
Importantly, though, they did not concede that he was not a muslim or that he's not a scary black man.....

Tune in later today for McFuddle's big economic plan that 'saves' money by not borrowing from the Chinese to finance a war whose cost is not included in the federal budget.

An American President: The Speech

Those Hollywood lefties and their socialistic notions. 5 min.

'If This Is Modern Feminism...

then it makes me a little sick to my stomach," said one commenter of two controversial young women who blog on Jezebel, a popular site for young, wannabe hip women.
I read it, couldn't watch the video.
Passing it along FYI, for(ewarned) your information.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Talking Heads

By Jason Linkins at Huffpo is pretty good today, at least the bottom part about how good John Kerry was, which is all I'm going to read right now.
Sample Linkins:
One last question on Guantanamo. What to do with all the prisoners? My opinion? Well, seeing as we have all of these gentlemen who have been incarcerated as prisoners of war, before we release them, we ought to thoroughly vet these prisoners to see if any of them have crashed five planes. I've been told that wartime incarceration, when combined with pilot incompetence, makes for the ideal GOP candidate.

2nd Thought: Kerry for veep? Hmm.

Plamegate 5 Years Old Today

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame">Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame" border="0" alt="" />
In case you want to refresh your memory, go here.
(I don't know why the HTML code for this caused a double post and I don't feel like figuring it out.)

Gas Prices: 'It Didn't Have To Be This Way'

One analysis on today's NYT:
According to energy policy experts, it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s — during the administrations of President George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton — that things began to go wrong. Before that point, the country reaped the benefits of the first fuel-economy standards, passed in 1975, known as corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE. Between 1974 and 1989, the efficiency of a typical car sold in the United States almost doubled, to 27.5 miles per gallon from 13.8. LARGELY as a result, oil consumption in 1990 totaled 16.9 million barrels, basically on a par with the 17 million barrels consumed in 1980, even as the economy grew substantially. Oil prices were in the middle of a long downward slide that would take them from well above $30 a barrel in 1980 to a low of just under $10 in late 1998 and early 1999, interrupted only by brief spike in 1990 after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
Wait, it's Jesse Helms' and Carl Levin's fault that I paid $4.41 a gallon yesterday? At Costco, mind you. And John Dingell and Newt Gingrich? I like Carl, always peering over those glasses way down on his nose. And I like Dingell. How could they? Detroit, honey, Detroit. And Slade Gorton was one of the good guys. Who knew? The Dutch pay $10 a gallon for gas, more than half of it taxes. But Newt still contends Americans would never accept an attempt to control consumption with heavy taxes. No-o-o, the R's want to open up new drilling fields and so far 70 percent of Americans think they're right, according to polls, despite:
A recent study by the federal government’s Energy Information Administration estimated that under the best-case scenario opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would reduce prices by $1.44 a barrel by 2027. Drilling in broader swaths off the continental United States wouldn’t affect prices until 2030.
It's mostly supply and demand (what's sitting in your driveway?), the article says, although it quotes one economist who attributes about 20 percent to the falling dollar. It dismisses speculation, which is unregulated, without examination. But I watched that panel of experts testify a couple weeks ago, and they convinced me. The NYT writer quotes a couple energy company people also dismissing speculation, but there was one, from Exxon, I think, who agreed that speculation played a big role. At the time, they were saying as much as 25 percent. Krugman doesn't buy the speculation argument either and has the numbers to prove his case, basically that there isn't enough hoarding going on to indicate speculation. Nobody seems to be blaming the oil companies except Maria Cantwell. So, okay, it's all our fault. Kind of reminds me of the JFK assassination, when some TV newsman like Howard K. Smith said we were all to blame. Blame everybody, then nobody's accountable.

Making History

The LA Times analyzes Republican prospects this fall. They ain't good.
"If you have an R in front of your name, you better run scared," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who says the party will do well if it holds its losses to three or four seats.
Which is why Dino Rossi has registered his affiliation as "GOP Party." Which translates to Grand Old Party Party. Heh.

Another Gift

Especially good if you email a lot of links.
You're welcome.

Is It Down For Everybody Or Just Me?

is the name of a Web site that tells you. Unless it's down.
Don't say I never gave you nothin'.

This Won't Be Happening Much Longer

Kinda makes me feel sorry for the Obama family.

We Are All Jews

or something like that. Well, not all of us, but those of us who inherited the tradition, what is called Judeo Christian. That's the first thing I thought when I started reading this NYT piece about a new interpretation of the writing on a stone dating back to the time of Jesus. Bottom line, Jesus died for Israel's sins. Not for yours or mine. UPDATE 12:28 p.m. Thought this one over. I am not a Jew. Back to the religion of string theory, I guess. No, wait. I am a Jew. We are all Jews. Jew. String theory. Jew. String theory. Can't decide.