Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another Action Alert: Net Neutrality

Warm up your keyboard, cuz this is all about you and teh intertubes.

You get a cool little acknowledgement of your comment and request from none other than THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!
Like this:
ECFS Received your Submission/Request at Sat Jan 9 19:13:26 EST 2010
Eastern Time.

Your filing will be available for viewing online one (1) business day after the receipt of this confirmation. Filers are encouraged to retrieve and view their filing by going to and clicking on the "Search for Filed Comments" link. For any problems contact the Help Desk at or 202-418-0193.

Crotch Bomber, Crotch Bomber, Crotch Bomber

There, I said it. And I was !Frist!
Somebody besides me wonders why no one has picked up the obvious term for Mr. I-Am-Not-A-Dinner-Jacket, known tamely even on Gawker as The Christmas Bomber.
(I'm actually not sure about the Gawker reference. Yeah, I just made it up. So I guess I really am a journalist.)
And that astute someone, unlike me, has actual credibility. I mean he sounds like a real journalist, not just someone who plays one on the intertubes.

UPDATE: Okay, the Village Voice was !Frist! But they hyphenated it (which technically, is proper.)

Mr. Smirky

Time mag's Mark Halperin has written another book. This time he took the high road. Instead of like last time, telling America how Democrats should be more like Republicans so they could win the White House and lamenting that neither would happen, the new one goes behind the scenes of the presidential race and:
1. Reveals Elizabeth Edwards to be the harridan we always knew she was (and who the fuck cares?)  and
2. Discloses Bill Clinton still letting it all hang out and
3. Shows Harry Rein understands him some white voters (although he has apologized for using the word Negro, gasp!)
This new book is bound to make piles of money and Mr. Smirky will be at long last, richer than most people in America even dream about. But sadly not richer than Sarah Palin. I hate that.
Also not as rich as he'd hoped, because the wall around Obama apparently has prevented Halperin and his co-author from proving once and for all that Obama is worse than even teabaggers' nightmares.  That's a lot of worse, baby, but still out of reach. We can only hope Halperin has another book in him.
I'm not going to tell you that Halperin and his nobody-you-ever-heard-of co-author, some sort of journalist again (I'm looking at you, John Harris. How'd your gig with Halperin work out? Remainder much?), will be on 60 Minutes tomorrow because then you might watch.
No, wait a minute, I want you to appreciate the smirk, go ahead and tune in.

Honorary Not A Contrarienne

Ah, the Irish Christianists.
Wasn't so surprised by the recent clergy pedophile scandal in Dublin. Sickened, saddened, but not surprised.
Nor this Iris Robinson person.
Patrick Sullivan is positively eloquent today, each word as if lit by flame.
Where there is Christianism, there is usually hypocrisy, corruption and abuse. From Haggard to Maciel, from the Vatican to the Swaggarts, from Rove to Limbaugh, the sheer gulf between their public moralism and their private failings is vast. That's because they're human; and they deserve compassion and understanding, the compassion and understanding they always, always deny to others.

Quote O' Teh Day

There is something delicious and reckless about the pessimism of being 21. And when you get older you feel maybe a little more delicate and hope that things will flourish. You don't want to take a stick to it.
        Ian McEwan

It's All About Messaging

Bob Somerby over at The Daily Howler spends his days ranting about Republican idiots and the Democrats who enable them (along with the media that passes it all along without a thought).
He seems to think that if only Americans were better informed, they would get it. And it's the Democrats' fault.
He's a tough read and I don't often go there anymore, but he's usually got good points because he's, erm, obsessive. And accurate.
Here's a summary:
But do voters know how much extra money we spend for health care, as compared to other developed nations? Do they know that those other nations get health results that are much like ours?
We’d be amazed if voters knew such things. In large part, this is due to the way two tribal groups have behaved in the past forty years.
One tribe has spread disinformation around, through familiar sound-bites. Voters have heard these bites again and again. After that, they’ve heard them some more:
  • We have the best health career in the world!
  • Socialized/national/European health care has failed everywhere it’s ever been tried!
  • Big government never did anything right!
  • Good God! Those waiting lines in Canada!
In response, our tribe has tended to say the following—and has tended to say little more:
  • 47 million remain uninsured!

UPDATE: Somerby likes the OECD data, but I can't download their Excel file. Probably because I don't have Excel, huh?
Anyhoo, here's the UN's numbers. Apparently, we're a lot like Luxumberg, only 20 percent higher. Two to three times higher than any country you ever heard of. Yes, France!
So go for it. Amaze your friends, impress your enemies. Or stun them into silence. Wishful thinking, I know.

Action Alert: Honorary Contrarienne Needs Your Support

Haven't done one of these in a long time. There's this woman named Dawn Johnsen, see, and she's, well, impressive.
So impressive that the R's held up her nomination. So Obama, that wimp, renominated her rather than knuckle under.
You can read all about her here.
And please sign the petition.

Discouraged? You And 1.7 Million Others

About 1.7 million Americans opted out of the workforce from July through December, representing a 1.1 percent drop that marks the biggest six-month decrease since 1961, the Labor Department report showed.
More cheerful job news here.

So I had to go to Google News to find that. Other top stories:

I know, I know, what you really want to know is what Conan's going to do. Stay tuned. Me, I switched to Letterman and found him remarkably entertaining. Course now I'm going without. Early Lenten ritual.

You will be happy to learn, however, that Obama will not, I repeat, will not, give his State of the Union on Feb. 2, during the season premiere of the last season of Lost. I know I was. Sorry, no likey de linkie today. And all the non-peanuts are gone again. Time for bed. Oh, wait, time to get up, I mean. 6:27 a.m. Over and out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dorm Sex

1. Dormitory residents may not have sex in their rooms when the roommate is present.

Wait. Sex with another person? How about sex with yourself. I mean, I'm quiet. I can do it under the covers.
How about vibrators? How about sex with the roommate?

What, you didn't want to go there? Well, I did and it's my blog.

The new stipulation to the campus guest policy not only prohibits sex when a roommate is present, but sex that interferes with the roommate's sleeping, studying, and privacy -- an addition that, presumably, is intended to address "sexiling," or compelling someone to leave a shared room.
This story is great on so many levels, makes me yearn for my old job and the wonderful newsroom conversation while reporting and writing it.
Oh, wait. She's a blogger. No, that's right. We never would have written this story.
"I will never forget the look on my roommate's face the next morning," Daley said. "I could see that he felt his privacy had been violated ... He transferred schools after our freshmen year and has spent the rest of his life living in Asia. I am not saying this experience is what caused him to do this. Just saying.

More Facts Not Fit To Print. Or Broadcast

George Stephanopoulos tries to walk it back. And stumbles again. Richard Reid, anyone?
Through his spokesman, Rudy Giuliani has clarified the remarks he made this morning on GMA regarding terrorist attacks on the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The Mayor’s spokesman says that the remark “didn't come across as it was intended” and that Giuliani was “clearly talking post-9/11 with regards to Islamic terrorist attacks on our soil.”
Whatever the Mayor meant, it’s not what he said.  All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right.  My mistake, my responsibility.   

Random Thought

Since the hyped-up reaction to the crotch bomber seems to have no end, we have been treated to Joan Rivers being kept off a return flight from Costa Rica, somebody shutting down a California airport over three jars of honey, and on and on. Daily silliness. Today they evacuated Union Station in NYC for some false alarm.
So all the sudden it begins to sound oh-so-familiar. Post 9/11 2001 and I was writing at least a story a week about another search on a ferry or at a school cafeteria in Nowheresville, WA, searching for the elusive news about suspicious white powder (spilled sweetener).
One sheriff's deputy gave me a hard time after he was called out to some old lady's house because there was something in her driveway that wasn't supposed to be there. As she watched from behind the curtains, he picked up a copy of my employer's product, rolled in plastic, which had been delivered gratis that day in an attempt to increase subscriptions by giving away copies.
Why are we doing this? Balloon boy, where are you when we need you? And who's taking care of you while the folks are doing their time?
Please, attractive young blond girl,go missing.
We can't keep this up forever.

Jon Stewart On Bruce Springsteen

Only Blogs Report The Truth

Reporter at interminable government event: “This is horrific. I have to pee. My butt is asleep. And there is no news here.”

From Overheard in the Newsroom, only available on Facebook. (I think).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quote O' Teh Day

Tagline from the head bartender at The Violet Hour, a chi chi joint in Chicago.
I think he means WRETCHED.

Terrorism Can Be Hilarious

They did not think he had a visa because of a spelling error.
A-b-d-u-l-m-u-t-a-l-l-a-b. Oh, hell, just put down I-am-a-dinner-jacket. That usually works.
Okay, that's one way to play it. Or how about "sounds like nuke-a-lab," "mute-a-lab?"
C'mon, help me out here.
And while I'm thinking about it, how come nobody's calling him the crotch bomber except Contrarienne? Huh, answer me that!

No Comment

Yes, Men!

Cyberstreet theater strikes again.
Trouble is, sooomebody doesn't think it's funny (I'm looking at you, Canada, the same size as my ego).
I love these guys, I seriously do, and they got two bangs for the buck, revealing Canada's government for the climate change hypocrites they are, and also for the authoritarian bullies they are willing to be.
Couldn't happen here, though. Heh.

Quote O' Teh Day

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist in any other medium and it will be lost. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."
A Martha Graham quote kept and referred to often by Ursula Nordstrom, longtime children's book editor at Harper Collins. A book is just being published of her wonderful letters. She was definitely a contrarienne.
You can read some of the letters from the book and more about her here.

It Snowed In Beijing

More here.

Science Has Proven A Positive Attitude Doesn't Change Anything

so we might as well man up and admit we're in shit city.
It's hard for anyone from Texas to find the chutzpah to complain
about California's state politics. For instance, Enron, a Texas company,
basically decapitated California by illegally gaming the natural gas pipelines,
and then getting surprised and hapless Gray Davis run out of office. Ever since
then, they've been stuck with Schwarzenegger, who's a cartoon figure. California's
never done anything half that wicked to Texas.

As soon as I finish this, I'm going to bed because I have picked all the non-peanuts out of the mix and eaten them.
That last sentence sounds like the germ of a new political movement or religion or something.

UPDATE: Oh, in case you're wondering who this guy is, there are lots of comments on MetaFilter to kind of fill you in. I like this one:
Wow, I think he comes off as perfectly cynical and smart. Plus, he invented vat-grown political consultants in Distraction over 10 years ago

I learn a lot on MetaFilter, which is sort of my only goal in life these days. Maybe ever, come to think of it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You Can Eat A Meal At Ikea

Or make a feast there. That is, if you like their meatballs. I personally do not. I liked my mother's meatballs. She made sour cream by buying cream and letting it sit at room temperature for a day or so. She called them Swedish meatballs. I don't think there were any Swedes or Scandinavians of any sort in our mutt-mix of a family.

Quit Worrying, You ARE Healthy. Mostly.

Some of my friends have resolved to get more sleep this year. I admire that. I have resolved to read about sleeping.
The NYT says that I'm probably okay. I haven't mentioned the smoking.

Amanda Simpson

may be the first transgender person to receive a Presidential appointment.
At Raytheon, Simpson -- a former test pilot who had worked for the company for more than a generation -- transitioned from male to female and was instrumental in convincing the military contractor to add gender identity and expression to its equal employment opportunity policy.

Of interest: the usually vitriolic commenters at the ABC site where this news is discussed seem to be at a loss for words in this instance because the talk is all about the legality of gay marriage for some reason.

Monday, January 4, 2010

'Revolting Hag' Dies. RIP Mary Daly

A bit of bio.
I'll see if I can find a NYT obit.

Web Tutorial: Cat Humor Division

UPDATE: Erm, don't know why the entire picture doesn't post. Click to see full caption.

They call them pooties (dogs are woozles) over at Daily Kos and people write whole diaries, post many pictures and people comment and kibbitz. Often more entertaining than Andrew Sullivan's mental health breaks. Certainly more sentimental and cozy.

horrible things

Then there's always the old standby, icanhascheezburger.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Erm, About Those Resolutions

From Jonah Lehrer:
...the prefrontal cortex has many other things to worry about besides New Year's resolutions. For instance, scientists have discovered that this chunk of cortex is also in charge of keeping us focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract problems. Asking it to lose weight is often asking it to do one thing too many.

They Have Babies Come Out Of Their Bodies

and that is expensive and also...Wowzie!

Are Economists Cheapskates?

Yes, say two University of Washington economists who did a study, which the Wall Street Journal wrote about.
I doubt the validity, having acquired a strong bias against behavioral economics after learning more about the Freakonomics guys' work, but the story had this funny line:
"You might be an economist if you refuse to sell your children because they might be worth more later."