Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I hate disappointing people. Shut up, it’s true. This is what accounts for my near-psychotic-level work ethic, I suppose. So it’s hard to look someone in the eye and tell them that you’re sorry that the timing sucks but you found something better.
I have grown found of this place in the 7 years I’ve been here, and I felt as though the new owners of my current company were really counting on me to adapt our old systems to their new strategy, so I felt needed, which is essential for me. And when the job interview opportunity had arisen, I said to myself, “I’m not desperate. I’ll only leave if it’s a good position, with good people, making a good product, and they give me what the work is worth, dollar-wise.”
All those things happened.
While I was explaining to my current employer that the deal was so great I could not pass it up, I got the strangest, strongest feeling of déjà vu. I felt as though I had definitely dreamed that moment before living it, and not so recently so as to be a mere imagining of an encounter I knew I would have. I feel like I dreamed it many months ago, before the first phone call, before the interview.
Is it possible, I wonder? To have mentally set in motion this chain of events?
Just yanking your chain. Seriously. I don’t go for that new-age malarkey.
Still, that déjà vu thing is disconcerting.
I remember once I told my dad that I had a déjà vu experience, and he said “When you get that feeling, try to remember what happens next before it does!”
It’s never worked. Déjà vu remains a powerful but indistinct feeling for me, like when you stand up too fast, and you feel out of control but you’re not sure why.
Scientists theorize that the phenomenon of déjà vu is a really just a small mental malfunction, and that the parts of the brain that record memories and those that recall them are erroneously engaged at the same moment.
Psychiatrists will tell you that crazy people get déjà vu a lot. They might not put it quite that way, however…
Also, psychiatrists will tell you that crazy people get déjà vu a lot. They might not put it quite…that way…
Anyway, psychiatrists will tell you that I’m crazy, but a lot of people are…that way.
So, I quit my job today…
I stole it from Salon's War Room:
Metaphorically speaking, it turns out, Bush did get such a PDB -- and he got it years ago. Experts have warned for years that New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage. And as the folks at the Center for American Progress note, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report in early 2001 that identified the three catastrophes most likely to hit the United States: a terrorist attack on New York, an earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane in New Orleans.
As of this week, FEMA is now two-for-three. That leads us to think that the residents of the city by the Bay might think about scoring some flashlights and bottled water just about now. But it also leads us to wonder what the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress did with the warning that FEMA provided.
Here's what: They cut funding for flood and hurricane projects planned by the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers. According to one published report, the New Orleans district had $147 million to spend on such projects in 2001. In fiscal year 2005, which ends next month, the district will have had about $82 million, a drop of about 44 percent. As we reported earlier this week, the Bush administration proposed further cuts for the district for fiscal year 2006.
To say nothing of the National Guard members that won't be able to assist in the hurricane recovery effort, because they are in Iraq.
Except without the allies, and the moral imperative, and the competent leadership, and the backing of the American people...
No, I'm not kidding.
The worse it gets for him, the more brazen he becomes.
Reaching back into history, Bush repeatedly cited Roosevelt's steadfastness as the model for today's conflict, comparing the Japanese sneak assault on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Much as Roosevelt fought pre-Pearl Harbor isolationism, Bush urged against a return to what he called the "pre-9/11 mindset of isolation and retreat."
The story is from the Washington Post, which is, unfortunately, about as good as it gets for print media in this country.
Except nowhere in the story do they point out that the war in Iraq has NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11.
Whoops. There goes your analogy, asshole.
Besides, we now know that they were planning Iraq before 9/11, so why does the press let him get away with this shit?
And, oh yeah, W also blamed 9/11 on Clinton.
While praising Democratic presidents Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, Bush implicitly criticized Bill Clinton for showing weakness during the 1990s. Citing a succession of terrorist attacks in recent times, all but two during Clinton's presidency, Bush said the country's enemies took heart from the lack of forceful response. "They concluded that free societies lack the courage and character to defend themselves against a determined enemy," he said, without naming Clinton.
Wow, what a good time it would be to play back all the shit that Clinton took from Republicans for every military action taken during his presidency. I hope Clinton fuckin' smacks the shit out of him at the next state funeral.
In fact, I'm going to pause for a moment and just fantasize about that.
Mmmm.....sucker punch....wow, cold cocked him....jeez that's a lot of blood....what is he, a hemophiliac?....heh heh, Bush is screaming like an 8-year-old girl now....holy shit, the Secret Service are just standing there....wait, they're placing bets on Clinton....
Okay, so, where was I?
Oh yeah. Our president's a liar and a moral coward.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Do it. It's funny.
I responded with my own piece. They posted it here.
Or you can just read it below:
Monday, August 29, 2005
Six Feet Under. Gone. Beautifully, beautifully gone.
The Sopranos. Was gone, but apparently will now sit up on the autopsy table and spit out one more mouthful of blood before expiring forever.
So I really wanted HBO's new series, Rome, to be good, or at least engaging. And the opening credits (animated graffitti scrawls), while stupid, at least promised a fresh approach.
But no go. Bor-ing! Honk-shoo television at its most expensive.
First of all, why oh why oh why did they not break the first commandment of the staid "ancient Rome" drama: British accents! All the Romans speak with British accents! It's like they're not credible as villains, or important people otherwise.
My advice? Rent "I, Claudius" the wonderful BBC series from the 70s. Sure, the studio sets are cheesy, but there's never been a better villian than Livia, as played by Sian Phillips. And Derek Jacoby in the title roll and John Hurt as Caligula so own their roles that they sorta make you understand why everyone thinks the ancient Romans were British.
It hasn't taken John Bolton long to undermine U.N. reform efforts. Weeks before world leaders from 170 countries are to gather in New York to discuss "the most
sweeping changes at the United Nations in its 60-year history," the U.S. delegation led by Bolton has "thrown the proceedings in turmoil" with demands for a "drastic renegotiation" of the draft reform plan...
...Bolton was sent to the UN not to reform it, but to weaken it, and he’s already hard at work.SENDING REFORM BACK TO STEP ONE: Bolton has also suggested that one option "would be to return to square one and launch line-by-line negotiations on the document." With diplomats warning that the "most determining factor is shortage of time" between now and September's summit, this strategy is a clear effort to throw a wrench in the gears of U.N. reform.
Scott McClellan is the Undertaker of Information. With the gentle sterility of a mortician, McClellan puts a dark suit on every day and tells us, in a soothing voice, how comfortable our beloved information will be now that it is dead and resting in an attractive coffin. The press -- outraged family members of the strangled Truth -- wail, "But Scott, it wasn't dead before you guys got your hands on it!" And the Undertaker, unruffled, sympathetic and appropriately somber, politely informs you that it is part of an ongoing investigation, and he believes he has already told you what the president's comments were on that.
After a while, it is sickeningly passive-aggressive.
But the bottom line is, Scott is telling the truth: The truth is dead. And you're never going to see it again. It's in heaven now, with Chandra Levy and JonBenet Ramsey and Nicole Brown Simpson. He understands your grief, but getting angry won't bring it back.
Worst of all, where to put the blame in Washington is never entirely clear -- all the alleys are big and dark, and everyone knows that if blame is ever placed anywhere higher than the collective navel, it will only get deflected.
Okay, it's a long story, and you have to sign up for a day pass if you're not a subscriber, but it's a real eye-opening account of the lapdogging of the press by BushCo.
They give you no useful information at all, and like most public service wank-offs, they completely ignore reality.
It is, of course, and no matter what these killjoys tell you, NOT a crime to drink and drive. It is a crime to drive while impaired, or "under the influence."
So what constitutes impairment? Good fucking question!!! And one you'd think they would address, because knowing how much alcohol it takes to impair your judgement (and push your blood alcohol level over the legal limit) might actually be a handy thing to know. And knowing that that 3rd drink in two hours might be what pushes you over might actually affect someone's behavior for the better. And wow, that might actually save a life or two for real.
But no, ever the puritanical approach with us. "Don't drink and drive." It's bullshit. Don't drink too much and drive is what we mean, of course, but god forbid we should actually come out and say that. That would mean admitting that what we all do (drive after drinking a non-impairing amount of alcohol) is okay. Except it IS okay, of course. I mean, if you asked someone personally, they would say "yes it is okay to drink and drive as long as you are not impaired," but to admit, in a public forum that there is a middle ground here that is okay, is somehow NOT okay.
Meanwhile these meaningless PSAs get sandwiched in between commercials for beer and low-carb grain alcohol confections.
I love this fucked up country, right? Whatever. Just say no. Stay in school.
Friday, August 26, 2005
About 50 members of the White House press corps accepted President Bush's invitation last night to come over to his house in Crawford, eat his food, drink his booze, hang around the pool and schmooze with him -- while promising not to tell anyone what he said afterward...
...And in spite of all the recent press demands for senior administration officials to stay on the record more often, the press corps can't resist an offer of face time with the president, pretty much no matter what the conditions.
Nevertheless, I'm told that several reporters expressed squeamishness about last night's event, particularly as the press-pool vans drove by antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" site. And later, a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved.
Oh, well, at least they had the good grace to feel squeamish...
In fact, I'm feeling a little squeamish myself after reading that story.
At a time when record oil prices are becoming an ever-increasing burden, the leader of the world's fifth-largest oil producer is offering flexible financing not only to his close ally Cuba, but to most other Caribbean and Latin American nations. Chavez also promises more jobs and revenue in the region with plans to build a $2.5 billion oil refinery in northeastern Brazil and purchase Argentine oil tankers.
Just last week, when protesters crippled oil production in Ecuador, South America's second largest supplier to the United States, Chavez jumped to the rescue. Responding to requests from Ecuadorian officials, Chavez agreed to cover Ecuador's oil commitments, helping to calm the global market and to reduce the strike's fiscal impact on the struggling nation.
It's just so typical of us, that this is biggest bad guy we can find in South America. It's so old school, so Reagan-esque of us, that we think we gotta send down a cadre of spooks to coup him just because he talks smack to the U.S. and makes the wealthy class in Venezuela nervous.
I'm not fucking kidding.
See, the earth is kinda like a cherry cordial. There's the chocolate outside, which we are busy trashing, and the nasty, vaguely liquor-tasting goo inside, which is the outer core, and the cherry: the solid iron inner core.
Well, apparently scientists have just determined that, because it floats in that goo, the inner core is free to rotate at a speed completely different than the rest of us are rotating.
It goes faster.
Wonder what the intelligent design people will have to say about this.
Probably the whole cherry cordial analogy will go way over their heads.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 - A long-awaited C.I.A. inspector general's report on the agency's performance before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks includes detailed criticism of more than a dozen former and current agency officials, aiming its sharpest language at George J. Tenet, the former director, according to a former intelligence officer who was briefed on the findings and another government official who has seen the report.
Mr. Tenet is censured for failing to develop and carry out a strategic plan to take on Al Qaeda in the years before 2001, even after he wrote in a 1998 memo to intelligence agencies that "we are at war" with it, they said, speaking about the highly classified report on condition of anonymity.
Wait a minute, wait a minute, didn't that guy Tenet get a FUCKING MEDAL?
You know, George "slam-dunk" Tenet?
Although if you look closely, the medal says "For Meritorious Ass-Kissing and Sword-Falling."
Thursday, August 25, 2005
We know now that Rove and Scooter Libby were involved in the outing of Plame. But how is it, the Times asks, that their roles remained secret until after George W. Bush was re-elected?
The answer, at least in part: Their roles remained secret because some members of the mainstream press helped to keep them secret. According to the Times' report, Time magazine's Matthew Cooper chose not to ask for a waiver of confidentiality from Rove until this summer -- in part because his attorney advised against it, and in part because "Time editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year." As a result, the Times says, "Cooper's testimony was delayed nearly a year, well after Bush's reelection."
Translated, as John Aravosis explains at AMERICAblog today, that means that Time's editors didn't want Cooper to reveal information that could be damaging to Bush's re-elections hopes until after the election was over. "It's one thing for Time to do its job and ignore the effects of its reporting and overall work on US elections," Aravosis writes. "It's quite another for Time to make decisions based on whether they'll influence US elections."
In a way, it may be even worse than that. By not seeking a waiver from Rove -- by not reporting what its reporter knew to be true -- Time allowed Americans to go the polls believing that which the magazine knew to be false. Until Time turned over Matthew Cooper's email messages to Patrick Fitzgerald this July, the White House was free to proclaim -- as it did, repeatedly and vociferously -- that Karl Rove had nothing whatsoever to do with the outing of Valerie Plame. That's the false story Americans had been told when they cast their votes for the presidency in November. Time knew better but didn't say.
It's the Bizzarro World Time Magazine, where they do the opposite of reporting, the opposite of journalism, the opposite of informing the public, the opposite of telling the truth.
He's so fucking crazy that to blog him is kinda like shooting fish in a barrel. After all, this is the guy who's praying for Supreme Court justices to die faster, and who said that we brought 9/11 on ourselves by outlawing school prayer.
And he's also called for the assassinations of other world leaders, like Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Osama Bin Laden. It's not the above choices that one would argue with, of course, but the method. Assassination so rarely brings about the consequences one intends.
But calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. That's a little different. Not that Chavez isn't scarily Juan Peron-like, but the people of Venezuela elected him, and they should have to live with that choice, just like we have to live with ours.
Excuse me for a moment. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Anyhoo, it's interesting, how Robertson attempted to justify taking Chavez out:
''You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop.''
Well, there you go. Cost effective, won't interrupt commerce...I can't believe the CIA hasn't already attempted to at the very least oust this loose lefty cannon from office.
Oh, they have? Oh.
And long story short, Robertson's now apologized, so no harm done. Well, first he lied and said he didn't say anything about assassination, but of course they had the above quote on tape because HE SAID IT ON HIS TV SHOW so after confronted with that, he did really and truly apologize, with Jesus as his witness and everything.
So I think the only Christian thing to do is forgive him, right?
But she finally seems to have snagged a part that she can play.
No, I'm not kidding. The actress who's known for copping Katherine Hepburn is actually playing Katherine Hepburn in Tea for Five at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Can you imagine the conversation with her agent that led to that gig?
Kate: Ira, you've got to get me a job. It's been a long time since that Star Trek rehash went belly up. What happened with that MOW?
Agent: No go. They passed.
Agent: They wanted someone different. Less Katherine Hepburn-like.
Kate: But I can be less Katherine Hepburn-like.
Kate: Okay, okay... (thinks) I know, I could play Katherine Hepburn!
Agent: Cate Blanchett already did that.
Kate: Bitch! So get me another Katherine Hepburn role.
Agent: But Kate...
Kate: Find one! (slams down the phone)
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Wait a minute. I'm confused. I just looked up "maverick" in the dictionary, and it does not say anything about kissing the President's ass.
At issue is the concern among Hagel higher-ups that the Nebraska Senator will not be able to outshine Sen. John McCain in a GOP primary. Hagel and McCain are reported to be close friends and share a similar profile: both are Vietnam veterans and both enjoy reputations as “mavericks” in the Senate.
No mention of rubber-stamping his piece of shit agenda either.
But McCain is an 800 lb gorilla; Hagel a mischievous lemur, at best.
Oh, come on, I say Hagel is at least a cigar-smoking chimp
Oh, yeah. Do I smell Perot?
So one idea being considered heavily by Hagel and his senior staff and top financial backers is for the senator to launch an independent bid for the presidency, thereby avoiding a rough-and-tumble, uphill climb with unpromising results. Should Senator John McCain win the GOP primary, Hagel would likely endorse his friend (and maybe even angle for a #2 spot on an “all maverick” ticket.) If McCain were to lose and the GOP to nominate a right-winger, Hagel would try to tap into the disaffected McCain primary vote in a three-way general election.
Oh please oh please oh please oh please
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.
Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names...
...Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That hasn't always happened.
Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval...
..."In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact."
The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too.
"It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics."
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Serial Bomber? The term seems to have been invented by the media to describe the Unabomber, but the media had no problem also referring to Kaczynski as a terrorist. Why so shy with Rudolph then? I'm sure it has nothing to do with Rudolph's sickening popularity in certain red states, and the media's perennial fear of being labeled as "liberal."
Monday, August 22, 2005
KANSAS CITY, KS—As the debate over the teaching of evolution in public schools continues, a new controversy over the science curriculum arose Monday in this embattled Midwestern state. Scientists from the Evangelical Center For Faith-Based Reasoning are now asserting that the long-held "theory of gravity" is flawed, and they have responded to it with a new theory of Intelligent Falling...
...The ECFR, in conjunction with the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservative action groups, is calling for public-school curriculums to give equal time to the Intelligent Falling theory. They insist they are not asking that the theory of gravity be banned from schools, but only that students be offered both sides of the issue "so they can make an informed decision.""We just want the best possible education for Kansas' kids," Burdett said.
So almost 2 thousand Americans have died to create another Iran? You know, I'm pretty sure we don't like Iran.
The United States has eased its opposition to an Islamic Iraqi state to help clinch a deal on a draft constitution before tonight's deadline.
American diplomats backed religious conservatives who threatened to torpedo talks over the shape of the new Iraq unless Islam was a primary source of law. Secular and liberal groups were dismayed at the move, branding it a betrayal of Washington's promise to advocate equal rights in a free and tolerant society.
If approved, critics say that the proposals would erode women's rights and other freedoms enshrined under existing laws. "We understand the Americans have sided with the Shias. It's shocking. It doesn't fit with American values," an unnamed Kurdish negotiator told Reuters. "They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state."
Dozens of women gathered in central Baghdad yesterday to protest against what the organiser, Yanar Mohammad, feared would be a "fascist, nationalist and Islamist" constitution. "We are fighting to avoid becoming second class citizens," she said.
The US embassy declined to discuss the negotiations but a state department official in Washington told the New York Times that the draft document should be judged in its entirety.
"In its entirety." Uh-oh. Washington code for we don't give a good goddamn who gets fucked as long as we got us a piece of paper with some signatures on it. You may remember this bit of DC doublespeak from the battles over the Patriot Act and the 87 billion dollar bill that funded this war.
Well, sort of. The Republican is testing the waters for a run in '08.
"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," [Nebraska Senator Chuck]Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."
Wow, Chuck. So pulling out and leaving a vacuum with destabilize the Middle East, staying there will destabilize the Middle East, but it's too late anyway because we've already destabilized the Middle East?
As much as I'm looking forward to the slew of '08 presidential candidate rats jumping off BushCo's sinking ship, I sure hope they develop better administration critiques than the above.
(thanks to RanMan for the link)
In 2003, two players, one from each team, were accused of sexual assault. Both cases were eventually dropped. But the similarity ends there. Kobe Bryant was supported by the organization privately and publicly, and allowed to play throughout the investigation. Latasha Byears, the Sparks' power forward and Lisa Leslie's on-court bodyguard, was almost immediately dropped from the team.
Byears was a thug player and a poor sport, but her appearance on the Sparks roster marked the end of their sentence as the Western Conference also-rans and marked the beginning of what should have been a 3 or 4-year dynasty, at least.
LA Times Magazine:
In a wrongful termination suit filed last fall in L.A. Superior Court against Los Angeles Lakers Inc. and LAL Women's Basketball LLC, Byears points to the organization's treatment of Kobe Bryant as evidence of gender discrimination against her. She also alleges that her sexual orientation played a role in her release...
...Whether Byears will be invited back to play for the Sparks or another WNBA team is unknown.Only one thing is guaranteed: Latasha Byears is not about to retire quietly. She believes that she deserves to play again—even if it's just off-the-bench dirty work—with the best female basketball players in the world. "I want justice," she says. "I want to continue to play ball. It's what I do."
Friday, August 19, 2005
BY JAMES ERWIN
Burning the flag.
Touching the flag less than 30 minutes after eating.
Picking the flag last for dodgeball.
Staring at the flag's cleavage.
Assuring the flag that you consider it a really good friend, and then pressuring it to sleep with you.
Sleeping with the flag and not calling the next day.
Sullenly agreeing to meet the flag at the coffee shop and staring into your coffee without talking.
Cutting off the flag's pleading questions by yelling, "Get a life!"
Calling the flag's best friend at 3 in the morning to talk about how the flag doesn't understand you.
Coming within 100 yards of the flag in violation of the restraining order.
In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title
- Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.
But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.
I know, I know. I am supposed to have "moved on" from this. Moved on from this heinous theft, and not think about how many Americans would be alive today if Gore had become president, and not fantasize about living in a country whose government the world respects and whose citizens they do not want to kill. See, that's just the selfish latte-swilling liberal in me, to dwell on that shit.
Imagine how the history books will write about us. What will future generations think, that we were distracted? Stupid? Lazy?
They try to keep their beaches private by blocking public access roads, obscuring or removing official signage, and erecting erroneous "no trespassing" signs. They've even been known to bulldoze huge sand berms to prevent the hoi polloi from getting to the coastal beaches which, by law, belong to all of us and cannot be owned.
Now, apparently, the residents of Serra Canyon in Malibu are trying to claim a state park for themselves. But that's so typical isn't it? People with money want to live next to parks, and oceans, and lakes, and on riverfronts, but they don't want the great unwashed masses to come anywhere near them and ruin their own private enjoyment of public assets. And when they can't keep them out by trickery, and hiring guards, and building gates, then they call their city councilmen and get them to shut down the attractions and events and festivals that inconvenience them so.
Some who have hiked Malibu Lagoon and upstream to Malibu Creek State Park,
which ties into a vast trail system in the Santa Monica Mountains, said they are
outraged by what they consider a denial of their rights by Serra Canyon
"Malibu Creek is one of the most scenic areas and beautiful creeks in Southern California," said Mark Abramson, stream manager of Malibu Creek for Heal the Bay, an environmental group in Santa Monica. "But some of the richest people in the world live in there, and they're using this state park as their own personal park, and not providing access to anyone else."
The Serra Canyon fight is a classic clash between public access and private property rights that has played out all over California since 1972, when voters approved creation of an agency to control coastal development and protect public access rights.
The 27-mile Malibu coastline has had more than its share of those disputes, officials said."It's not a big problem statewide: The ones I really think of are in Malibu," said Linda Locklin, access manager for the Coastal Commission. "In this case, the issue is not only access to the state park but to the whole Santa Monica Mountains trail system that's being blocked."
There's a great story in the NYT this morning about the dangers of MRI (MAGNETIC resonance imaging) scanners.
The pictures and stories are the stuff of slapstick: wheelchairs, gurneys and even floor polishers jammed deep inside M.R.I. scanners whose powerful magnets grabbed them from the hands of careless hospital workers.
The police officer whose pistol flew out of his holster and shot a wall as it hit the magnet. The sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building.
But the bigger picture is anything but funny, medical safety experts say. As the number of magnetic resonance imaging scanners in the country has soared from a handful in 1980 to about 10,000 today, and as magnets have quadrupled in power, careless accidents have become more frequent. Some have caused serious injuries and even death.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
BY JOHN MOE
1. The Devil won that fiddling contest, right?
2. Because isn't that totally amazing fiddle feedback thing the Devil plays (which sounds like Hendrix gone bluegrass) a hundred times better than that high-school-band piece-of-crap tune Johnny plays?
3. I mean, come on, right?
4. And since the Devil is so clearly better, why does he lay the golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's feet?
5. What kind of one-sided bet was that anyway, your eternal soul for a fiddle?
6. Shouldn't it have been something like Johnny's soul or the eradication of Evil?
7. Or maybe a golden fiddle against some object Johnny placed great value upon?
8. If the Devil went down to Georgia 'cause he was looking for a soul to steal, why does he arrange what appears to be an honest competition?
9. Was there actually some hidden theft or scam going on here on the part of the Devil?
10. Then why not explain that, Mr. Daniels?
I was 6 on 12/7/41 and I can remember that something very significant was happening afterwards as my parents were listening to the radio. I kept persisting to be told what was going on and getting more anxious because facts were not forthcoming and my parents were clearly anxious themselves. I know I was finally told in terms a 6 year old might understand. Of course, I couldn't really understand, but I was reassured that I would be OK and satisfied. I was 9 when the war ended and it was a time of great rejoicing.
I grew up with used paper collections, metal collections, and ration books. We used to save used up toothpaste tubes and after a food or other can was opened and emptied, the bottom would be cut off and the top and bottom would be placed inside the can and the can was then stepped on to flatten it for better storage until the metal scrap drive came. School children were the main collectors of the scrap metal and paper and we would go through the neighborhoods with our wagons, knocking on doors. We had contests by grade as to who could collect the most, but of course the older grades always won.
Ration books were precious because you could not buy certain items, like meat, unless you had a ration stamp for each family portion. I can remember finding a nearly full ration books outside and owners address and name were in it. It was right in front of the house. So I knocked on the door to return it thinking whomever would be extremely grateful. As I stood waiting for the door to open, I thought maybe I would get rewarded with a dime. (A dime would buy a load of bread then) As it turned out, the book was no longer needed to buy food. Sufficient time had passed after the war's end to not need them anymore.
I also remember buying US saving stamps. As I remember, I bought one 10 cent stamp a week and would paste it into my special saving stamp book. The 10 cent stamps were red (carillon) and the 25 cent stamps were green. As I remember the picture on the stamp was of the Minute Man statue but I am not positive. I doubt if young people nowadays even know about the Minute Man, but we sure did.
Movies were a big source of entertainment back then. No TV you know. Admission was 10 cents for under 12 and 25 cents for adults (no senior discounts). Usually there were double features and between films they would show cartoons and a newsreel which usually started with the war progress before getting to the lighter stuff. When the Japanese or Nazi flags were flashed on the screen, almost the entire audience would boo and hiss and occasionally someone would yell out "Dirty Japs" or other heart felt derision. There was a great intensity of hatred toward the "Japs" and "Krauts". When a movie with a war theme played, there was a marine in dress uniform in the lobby to make it easy for young men to sign up for the service. There would also be collection plates passed through the audience and the funds were sent for the war effort.
We didn't have a car, but I know that rubber inter-tubes were very difficult to get and when a nail got into a tire, the inter-tube would be taken out and patched, then blown up and submerged in water to see if the leak had be patched well enough. Bicycles were the same.
There were no war protestors because everyone knew our freedom and way of life was at stake. There probably has never been a more unified United States than during WWII.
It is with this background that I look at where we are today. Since then, we have made tremendously strides in Civil Rights in a multitude of areas, some of which are still being fought. Over the long haul our country has become stronger and more unified as a result. But today, we are more divided as a nation than any time in my memory. Is there a just and unifying cause we can get behind?
Spooney says though he is willing to take his chances, and I got him to sign a waiver that states I am not liable for any injuries. So I guess that's good enough for now.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
They understand the part about gathering intelligence. What they don't get, is WHAT TO DO WITH THE INTELLIGENCE
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - A military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based terrorist cell that included the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a veteran Army intelligence officer who said he had now decided to risk his career by discussing the information publicly.
The officer, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, said military lawyers later blocked the team from sharing any of its information with the bureau.
Colonel Shaffer said in an interview on Monday night that the small, highly classified intelligence program, known as Able Danger, had identified the terrorist ringleader, Mohamed Atta, and three other future hijackers by name by mid-2000, and tried to arrange a meeting that summer with agents of the Washington field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share its information.
But he said military lawyers forced members of the intelligence program to cancel three scheduled meetings with the F.B.I. at the last minute, which left the bureau without information that Colonel Shaffer said might have led to Mr. Atta and the other terrorists while the Sept. 11 attacks were still being planned.
"I was at the point of near insubordination over the fact that this was something important, that this was something that should have been pursued," Colonel Shaffer said of his efforts to get the evidence from the intelligence program to the F.B.I. in 2000 and early 2001.
He said he learned later that lawyers associated with the Special Operations Command of the Defense Department had canceled the F.B.I. meetings because they feared controversy if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.
1) Rehnquist won't announce his retirement until Roberts is confirmed, because BushCo wants Roberts as Chief Justice. So they'll confirm Roberts first, and then appoint him Chief later, when Rehnquist retires.
2) BushCo wants Roberts to be the anti-Bork. The Bizarro World Bork. The Bork antidote. Just as Bork set a precedent for nominee opposition, they want Roberts to reverse that precedent. They want to be able to point to a confirmed Roberts and say "See? Conservative, and confirmed without a fuss. Therefore no future objections to conservative ideology are legitimate."
Hey, I'm not saying it would work. I'm saying that's what they want. But will Democrats roll over and play dead on the nomination? Yeah, I'd take that bet, too. But it really depends on how many documents they can get released, and what hay they can make of them. WaPo:
The groups are now highlighting several items found in documents from Roberts's days as a lawyer in the Reagan White House and Justice Department. They include his calling a memorial service for aborted fetuses "an entirely appropriate means of calling attention to the abortion tragedy," and his reference to the legal underpinnings of the right to an abortion as the "so-called 'right to privacy.' " The groups note that Roberts once wrote that a Supreme Court case on prohibiting silent prayer in public schools "seems indefensible." Roberts, they say, had also called a federal court decision that sought to guarantee women equal pay to men "a radical redistributive concept."
Senator Kennedy attempts to get it started in here, yo:
In his letter to colleagues, Kennedy said recently released evidence "shows that he was on or beyond the outer fringe of that extreme group eager to take our law and society back in time on a wide range of issues of individual rights and liberties, and on broad issues of government responsiveness to public needs." For instance, Kennedy said, he "opposed effective voting rights legislation, and wanted to restrict laws vital to battling discrimination by recipients of federal funds."
Senate Minority Leader Reid tries to sound like he has a pair. Unfortunately he comes off like a high schooler doing Noel Coward:
Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement: "All this talk about whether Democrats will support the Roberts nomination is laughably premature. . . . The White House has so far refused to produce relevant documents, and the documents we have seen raise questions about the nominee's commitment to progress on civil rights."
Did you hear me? Laughably premature! Good day to you, sir. I said good day!
And then this unintentionally hilarious remark by WH spokesman Steve Schmidt:
"Hopefully, these letters do not signal the abandonment of a dignified process by the Democrats."Oh, I think we can pretty much count on an abandonment of a dignified process by the Democrats, Steve.
Look y'all, here's the real question that is raised by the release of the Reagan administration documents: Is Roberts really that conservative, or is he really that big of a toady?
Only time will tell. Well, time, and maybe a subpoena.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Boozehound Hitchens wakes up, mumbles something incoherent, sends it to Slate, and passes out on the bar again.
Firstly, Hitch pretends not to understand that, regarding the "two versions" of Sheehan's first meeting with Bush, reporters select and edit quotes to fit their stories. Come on, you boozy, played-out excuse for a neocon, you really want to pitch that second-hand shit to me? Even Michelle Malkin is more original.
Secondly, Hitch repeated confuses Maureen Dowd with the woman she is writing about (Sheehan). He takes statements from Dowd's article, and then attributes the thoughts and motivations behind them to Sheehan! It's quite a trick. You have to wonder whether the bitter old prude is even aware if he's doing it, though, since he's frequently barely conscious.
Thirdly, the quote. He's hitched his whole thesis to its objectionableness, whether he admits it or not. He better hope it's not fake.
When the going gets tough, the tough realize that they do not need a fuckin' tank to drive 10 blocks to their Beverly Hills salon.
DETROIT, Aug. 15 - The Bush administration is expected to abandon a proposal to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummer H2's and other huge sport utility vehicles, auto industry and other officials say.
The proposal was among a number of potential strategies outlined by the administration in 2003 to overhaul mileage requirements for light trucks - sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans. It had been seen by industry officials as likely to be adopted.
But the impact of the tougher requirements would have been borne almost solely by the increasingly troubled domestic auto industry, a concern for the administration.
See, they're concerned about the auto industry. That's why.
And the auto industry deserves our concern. Because they really have done everything within their power to make more fuel efficient vehicles. Really. And they have NOT dragged their feet on developing new electric and fuel cell technology. Not at all. They are the blameless, innocent victims in this risky, ill-advised, and shall I say, more than a little communistic fuel economy scheme.
It is a little known fact that the Klingons aided the Confederacy during the war and would've been victorious had the Romulans not interfered and given the Union their cloaking device.
Monday, August 15, 2005
"I got a right to fire up in the air," Mattlage said. "I am getting ready for dove season and you all are messing up my dove huntin', so if you all could please leave and go somewhere else, this whole community would be behind you."
Yeah, you protesters! We are so behind you fucking off! We really, really support you gettin' the hell out of here. I mean, can you feel it? Can you feel the love we have for y'all turnin' tail and runnin' like the devil was at your heels? Can you?
President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and "it's also important for me to go on with my life," on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.
Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.
"But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job," Bush said on the ranch. "And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But, I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."
Yeah, that's what's important. It's important for you to get on with your life. In fact, wasn't it Abraham Lincoln, president during a time of great internal strife in this country, who said "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- just as soon as I get back from vacation. Now watch this drive!"
In essence, the Iraq war is a contest over which side's assessment turns out to be correct. The insurgents are betting that by exacting a toll among supporters of the government and collaborators with America, they can frighten an increasing number of civilians into, at a minimum, staying on the sidelines, thereby undermining the government and helping the insurgents by default. The Iraqi government and the United States are counting on a different kind of attrition: that possibly the insurgents' concentration on civilian carnage is due to the relatively small number of insurgents, which obliges them to conserve manpower and to shrink from attacking hard targets; hence, the insurgency can gradually be worn down.
Because of the axiom that guerrillas win if they do not lose, stalemate is unacceptable. American strategy, including a withdrawal process, will stand or fall not on whether it maintains the existing security situation but on whether the capacity to improve it is enhanced. Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.
Go Fug Yourself quite rightly noted that "Something about this picture is like looking into a crystal ball."
Friday, August 12, 2005
I went to buy a CD after the show, 'cause that's the kind of gal I am, but they had none at the merch table. So I walked right up to Dave Aaronoff himself, 'cause that's the kind of gal I am, and complained. So he takes my address and says he'll send me one, right? Right.
But he actually did send me one. How awesome is that? And seriously guys, it's a mighty fine CD. It's called the Devil's in the Details, and it's kinda rambunctious and yet kinda sophisticated, and there's definitely a 70s-80s British new wave/pop influence, so how cool is that?
I suggest you check out the website and at least get yourself on the mailing list so you can see them when they hit your town. Or even buy a CD or two. Check it, you can listen before you buy.
I must therefore conclude that America needs to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's, cry, get drunk, call her sister, pass out, and feel better tomorrow
People have asked what it is I want to say to President Bush. Well, my message is a simple one. He’s said that my son -- and the other children we’ve lost -- died for a noble cause. I want to find out what that noble cause is. And I want to ask him: “If it’s such a noble cause, have you asked your daughters to enlist? Have you encouraged them to go take the place of soldiers who are on their third tour of duty?” I also want him to stop using my son’s name tojustify the war. The idea that we have to “complete the mission” in Iraq to honor Casey’s sacrifice is, to me, a sacrilege to my son’s name. Besides, does the president any longer even know what “the mission” really is over there?...
...Casey knew that the war was wrong from the beginning. But he felt it was his duty to go, that his buddies were going, and that he had no choice. The people who send our young, honorable, brave soldiers to die in this war, have no skin in the game. They don’t have any loved ones in harm’s way. As for people like O’Reilly and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and all the others who are attacking me and parroting the administration line that we must complete the mission there -- they don’t have one thing at stake. They don’t suffer through sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones.
See, that's the great thing about all those right-wing hypocrites, is that they're so obviously, well, hypocrites. Not just because they trumpet a cause that they will not personally sacrifice for. Hell, we all do that, right? I mean, how many of us lined up for duty in the Balkans, or Rwanda, or Somalia, or any other place where perfect storms of greed and prejudice and well, fucking evil have touched down and torn the joint apart? No, they are hypocrites because they seek to deify the U.S. soldier and his sacrificing loved ones, except when those same people disagree with them, and then the Cindy Sheehans of the world are no better than any other of the liberal traitors they abhor.
Because the point has never been that Iraq and the rest of the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein. The point is, at what cost? At what cost do we do this for Iraq? And can it ever be truly successful, if we do it FOR them?
I don't deny that women were imprisoned and raped and tortured in Iraq under Saddam's regime. It's unspeakably horrible. But if you look at how many women in Iraq were brutalized by Saddam, his sons and henchmen, and then look at how many women in the country now stand on the brink of systematic government disenfranchisement and oppression... How much better will they fare in an Islamic state, overall? And is that OUR government, making that call? Really? Well, how fucking dare we?
And, then, the whole issue of military adventures like this making us a bigger target for terrorists, well, that's just common sense, now, isn't it?
When have we ever been more hated in the world than we are right now? Hell, I hate us, and I fucking live here.
Just kidding. God forbid I should play into the hands of the freepers and actually proclaim my hatred for America. Except I do kinda hate us. The same way I hate myself when I've bullied someone weaker to get what I want. Or when I've lied about a situation so that I can do things my own way. Or when I didn't do the right thing, because I was afraid of being criticized or mocked. How I feel about my country right now is the same way I feel when, steeped in my own moral cowardice and dubiousness, I stand before my bedroom mirror and indict my own reflection thusly:
"You suck. I hate you."
"I have not, and do not, intend to announce the timetable for our program, and there are obvious reasons for this decision which I’m sure you will understand... An announcement of a fixed timetable for our withdrawal would completely remove any incentive for the enemy to negotiate an agreement. They would simply wait until our forces had withdrawn and then move in.
In speaking of the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal, I mentioned that our allies would lose confidence in America. For more dangerous, we would lose confidence in ourselves. Oh, the immediate reaction would be a sense of relief that our men were coming home. But as we saw the consequences of what we had done, inevitable remorse and divisive recrimination would scar our spirit as a people.
We have faced other crises in our history and we have become stronger by rejecting the easy way out and taking the right way in meeting our challenges. Our greatness as a nation has been our capacity to do what has to be done when we knew our course was right."
Did the speaker's facility with the English language give it away?
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Just last year, the investigation was a laughing matter for Novak. He appeared onstage at the annual dinner at the Gridiron Club, the exclusive inner circle of the Washington press corps, of which he is a long-standing member. As a gag, Novak was attired as former diplomat Wilson, wearing top hat and cutaway coat, singing to the tune of "Once I Had a Secret Love": "Novak had a secret source who lived within the great White House ... so he outed a girl spy the way princes of darkness do ... Now John Ashcroft asks Bob who and how, could be headed to the old hoosegow." He belted out his last line with panache: "Cross the right wing you may try, Bob Novak's coming after you." The press corps hooted and clapped. They loved that Bob.
In this month's Esquire, Bruce Springsteen, god among men, tells a reporter the story of one concert in Jersey through the use of off- and on-stage musings, and his lyrics. Here, he addresses the crowd:
Is this posting just an excuse for me to gaze lovingly upon the still-hot visage of the finest rock god ever?
"Evolution. Back in the newspapers. Eighty years after the Scopes monkey trial, the Kansas Board of Education has decided to take another look at evolution. Now, the president says that the jury is out on evolution. It's very iffy. Can't trust it. Dover, PA -- they're not sure about evolution. Here in New Jersey, we're countin' on it."
"Did God make man
in a breath of holy fire
Or did he crawl on up
Out of monkey mire?
Well the man on the street
Believes what the Bible tells him so
But you can ask me, mister,
Because I know
Tell them soul-suckin' preachers
To c'mon down and see
Part man, part monkey
Baby, that's me."
You got a problem with that?
Yes, fine, a parade is a good idea, too.
A reader points out that the 9/11 "Freedom Walk" celebration has some unsurprising sponsors, and a few wild cards, too:
Stars and Stripes
Pentagon Federal Credit Union
ABC WJLA-TV Channel 7
News Channel 8 WTOP Radio Network
Washington Convention & Tourism Corporation
Wow, I hope Subway films a kick-ass commercial at the event! And then I would get to watch it on tv every five minutes during the ball game!
Hey, I know! What if Jared compares the fat content of a 6-inch roasted turkey sub to a MRE?
That would be awesome.
But seriously, the Washington Post? I guess they enjoyed sponsoring Bush's inauguration so much, they decided hey, why mess with a good thing?
WTF? Why is a newspaper sponsoring events they will cover in their newspaper? If WaPo has so much freakin' money that they can sponsor fuckin' BushCo propaganda parties, why don't they put it back into their news reporting instead? Cause honey, their coverage ain't all that.
Cindy Sheehan is still camped out in Crawford, Texas, asking to meet with President Bush, who is on a 5-week vacation. LATimes:
"I don't believe his phony excuses for the war," she said of Bush in an interview with a CBS reporter for the network's Northern California affiliates. "I want him to tell me why my son died."If he gave the real answer, people in this country would be outraged — if he told people it was to make his buddies rich, that it was about oil."
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Oh, and if you arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, the person on the RIGHT GOES FIRST, you ignorant troll.
When you turn left, give the right of way to all vehicles approaching you that are close enough to be dangerous. Also, look for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. On divided highways, or highways with several lanes, watch for vehicles coming in any lane you must cross. Turn left only when it is safe.
So to all you douchebags trying to turn left into the same lane I am trying to turn right into --
I have the right of way!! And no, it does not matter how many available lanes there are to turn left or right into, because I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY, FUCKERS!
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 10 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia. In continuing violence, the United States military announced today that four American soldiers were killed on Tuesday and six others were wounded when insurgents attacked a patrol near Baiji in northern Iraq. Two Iraqi policemen and four civilians were killed in a suicide car bombing today in western Baghdad, the Interior Ministry said.
But, on the plus side, we're getting a parade!
Yes, the Pentagon is organizing a event on the 4th anniversary of 9/11. They are planning a "march" from the site of the crash of flight 77 to a Clint Black concert on the National Mall. The focus of the event will be to "honor our troops" in Iraq.
Yeah, I'm sure W's low poll numbers on support for the war have NOTHING to do with this. But isn't this a clever way for BushCo to once again attempt to equate the war in Iraq with 9/11?
Administration supporters insisted Rumsfeld was right to link Iraq and 9/11, and hold the rally. "We are at war," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.). "It's essential that we support our troops." He also said attacking Iraq was necessary after 9/11. "You do not defeat Al Qaeda until you stabilize the Middle East, and that's not possible as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."
Oh, that's why attacked Iraq? To stabilize the Middle East? Is someone keeping track of the list of reasons why we attacked Iraq, by the way?
This one must be the most depressing one yet, because, of course, we have done exactly the opposite of stabilizing the Middle East.
Kinda makes you nostalgic for the cold, empirical logic of the Domino Theory, don't it?
"We know that 55 percent of all U.S. employees are not engaged at work. They are basically in a holding pattern. They feel like their capabilities aren't being tapped into and utilized and therefore, they really don't have a psychological connection to the organization," said Curt W. Coffman, global practice leader at the GallupOrganization, whose large polling group measured employee engagement.
They interview Bruce Bartlett, assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury under George H.W. Bush, who admits that he went to movies when he was supposed to be working, and even says that he met another senior official doing the same thing one day.
Me-ow. WaPo sneaks in a little snap!
Bartlett's problem was that he was deputy assistant secretary for economic policy when the president "just didn't care about economic policy, only foreign policy. . . . Because the White House didn't want to do anything, there wasn't anything we could do," he said.
That problem -- a lack of autonomy and a job that has very specific instructions -- hits workers from the highest to lowest echelons of the working world. Many spend their days surfing the Internet, writing e-mails or taking care of personal business.Or posting to their blogs.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Stage 1: Denial
The Sox will fade. They can't be this good forever. The bubble will burst. The exuberance will become rational. If we can just pick up a game a week. Just a game a week. Well, maybe, um, two games for a couple of weeks…
Stage 2: Anger/Questioning
Why would a just God allow such things to happen? Why is evil rewarded and goodness punished? Why would Torii Hunter get struck down in the prime of his youth while Bret Boone was allowed to remain in perfect health? Who replaced the regular bats with ass-bats? Why JC Romero, why?
Stage 3: Bargaining
If the Twins can sweep this five-game series against Detroit, I'll go to the game every Sunday. I'll be good from now on. I'll wear my Joe Mauer jersey all the time, even if it does give me a rash. I'll collect all the Twins medallions. I'll won't complain about what a horrific pile of steaming crap our stadium is. I'll never call Carl Pohlad a black hearted tight-ass again. I'll…
Stage 4: Depression
I can't believe we lost three out of five to Detroit.
Stage 5: Acceptance.
Wait a minute, acceptance? Are you crazy? There's still two months of baseball left to play!
I turned around and the dogs were there in my bedroom, heads lowered, staring at me. Comet had her tail tucked, giving me her "I'm freaked out. Can I follow one inch behind you and get in your way until you yell at me?" look. Buster was doing his slow, steady tail wag, meaning he was up for anything.
I pulled on my bathrobe and walked out my front door and into the street, scanning the horizon and waiting for the sirens to start.
Weird, it sounded so close. I mean sure, I was asleep, but it shook the bed, it woke me up. And it wasn't an earthquake.
My neighbor Tom appeared at his front door and confirmed that whatever it was, it woke him up too. Down the block I saw someone else wandering into the street in their bathrobe.
Still no sirens.
I went back to bed, uneasy, until it struck me: Discovery.
They said yesterday that they might land the space shuttle at Edwards Air Force base, in the desert north of LA. But this early? In the dark?
Last time the shuttle landed at Edwards a couple of years ago, I was at work. And I called the Facilities Manager because I thought something really heavy had been dropped on our roof.
Me: Do you have a crew working on the roof?
Me: There was this big thud, and the building shook.
Him: Space shuttle.
Me: What? Space shuttle?
Him: Whatsa matter? Ya never heard a sonic boom before?
At 6 a.m. when my alarm clock radio finally ended my attempts to get back to sleep, I learned that sure enough, the shuttle had landed at Edwards at 5:11 a.m. this morning. So, welcome back, astronauts.
Next time, try to keep it down, willya?
Monday, August 08, 2005
It's the way they cannot understand the window
they buzz and buzz against, the bees that take
a wrong turn at my door and end up thus
in a drift at first of almost idle curiosity,
cruising the room until they find themselves
smack up against it and they cannot fathom how
the air has hardened and the world they know
with their eyes keeps out of reach as, stuck there
with all they want just in front of them, they must
fling their bodies against the one unalterable law
of things--this fact of glass--and can only go on
making the sound that tethers their electric
fury to what's imposssible, feeling the sting in it.
Mr. Bush, of course, was in the less exotic blast furnace of his Texas ranch, settling in for a five-week stay on the prairie that will be his longest time away from Washington as president. His return to his full August idyll - Mr. Bush cut short his time at the ranch last summer because of his re-election campaign - is not only the length of a classic French vacation, but grist for some Democrats, who have accused the president of fleeing Washington to escape the federal investigation into who leaked the name of a Central Intelligence Agency officer to reporters, a potential crime.
I have 2 issues with this:
1.) Anyone who continues to spend vacations in central Texas in August after having spent a vacation in central Texas in August is someone truly desperate to be perceived by the public as "authentic" and "loyal," when in fact they're really "arrogant" and "asshole-ish."2.) He can cut his vacation short because of his presidential campaign, but not because it's unseemly to pretend to be a cowboy while real men and women are dying for his mistakes?
Remember the president's big Iraq speech in June -- the one in which he vowed not to "yield the future of the Middle East" to men like Osama bin Laden? "For the sake of our nation's security," George W. Bush said, "this will not happen on my watch."
We said it then, and a new report in Newsweek prompts us to say it again now: If Bush had been as concerned about yielding the future of the Middle East to bin Laden as he was about overthrowing the government of Saddam Hussein, perhapshe -- and we -- wouldn't still be worrying about bin Laden today.
During the 2004 presidential race, Bush attacked John Kerry for suggesting that he'd taken his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and let bin Laden escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. The president called Kerry's charge "the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking," and he said that "intelligence reports at the time placed bin Laden in any of several countries."
But as Newsweek reports this week, the CIA field commander at Tora Bora says in a new book that he and other U.S. commanders knew for a fact that bin Laden was at Tora Bora because intelligence operatives had tracked him there. Gary Berntsen says that the United States could have captured bin Laden but that the Pentagon failed to provide enough support to either the CIA or its own special forces at Tora Bora to get the job done.
Except for the occasionally slip into Canucky (How aboot it?), we would never have known that one of the smartest Americans on tv was actually Canadian.
Ah, the big 3. The eccentric Rather you either loved or hated, Brokaw was much more accessible, maybe a little too much so, but Jennings' personality was hardly ever the story.
He became a citizen of the United States in 2003, 39 years after he left Canada. "There's no explaining the timing," he told USA Today. "Did 9/11 make a difference?Yes, it did make a difference. Did working on [his book] 'In Search of America' for the last several years, which kept me on the road a lot and dealing with both contemporary and historic national issues -- about which I felt very deeply? That made a difference."
Friday, August 05, 2005
Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to disapprove of Bush on his handling of Iraq in the past six months.
I had to read that paragraph about 8 times to make sure I wasn't reading it wrong. It just seems so unlikely, and yet so...Hallelujah!
Midwesterners? Really? High school education or less? Really? It seems too good to be true, and yet...
Indiana, is that you? Is that you there, darling, after all these years, back on my doorstep with your hat in your hand and your heart on your sleeve? Oh, Indiana, I know we've had our disagreements, but seeing you here, with me, not against me, but really with me...I don't know what to say.
Indiana, if you mean it, if you really mean it, then all is forgiven and I am ready to start again. I am ready, baby, to love you again. To walk those corn fields and those gravel roads of my old beloved Indiana and to feel us together, just like it used to be. To feel that old Hoosier magic come alive again, darling.
I've been waiting for you in the disapproval side of Bush's polls all along. Come and get me.
An Atrios reader weighs in:
If you review exactly what Carville said that triggered Novak's meltdown, it was essentially "You have to show the right wingers that you are a stand-up guy, and the Wall Street Journal is watching your every move." Carville may have known that Novak has to make a hard choice: save himself, or throw his sources to the wolves. It's possible that Novak is looking at hard time here: perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917. He's safe from the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which pretty much exempts reporters, but the 1917 act was the ostensible basis for the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, no joke at all.As Jon Stewart asked last night: geez, is it my birthday or something?
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I used to have one boss. If I needed authorization, or an answer, he was the one it came from. The end.
Now, I have five people supervising me, and none of them REALLY knows what it is I do or why.
They all come in here and tell me conflicting things, and when I point out that they are telling me conflicting things, they don't apologize. They don't blush, or seem embarrassed. They don't say to me "I am so sorry. I'll tell you what. We'll get our collective shit together, and then I'll come back with a plan that everyone has agreed upon."
No, instead I get lectures about the importance of "stepping up," and on the value of their own particular viewpoint on what our new processes should be, regardless of whether it's what I've been instructed to do by someone else.
I'm half expecting one of them to come in and ask me if I need a copy of the memo on the TPS reports...