Friday, May 19, 2006

This is a public service announcement....

But without guitar (sorry- but my lack of musical skills means I will never grow up to be Joe Strummer but I will still make regular Clash references.).

Moving On.

Mephistopheles and I drink a lot of cheap wine. I prefer vodka (of holy spirit of the potato) but since the only hard liquors the Devil drinks are gin or scotch, we usually drink wine with dinner. The Devil had been dying to try this box (ohmygawdyoucan'tbuythat-itsabox!) of wine. For several weeks he kept picking it up and putting it down when I raised an eyebrow at him in the grocery store. Then one night he brought the box over along with a back-up bottle in case of serious suckage.

Serious suckage ensued of course. So this is a warning. Even if wine now comes in cute little boxes that look like European juice, DON"T BUY IT!. Is not vomitious exactly, but it is flat, unispired and saccharine. It has the sweetness of Smuckers jam instead of the subtle raspberry overtones and tannic tartness of a proper bottled wine. (That was the Devil spewing adjectives at me- he got even more wordy with his descriptions. I am shortening them because I have to listen- I sleep with him. You all don't. Let's just say my editing of his incomprehensible spouting is the only thing saving you from chewing off your own arm at his references of oakiness.)

To put it in terms much easier to remember if you are a functional alcoholic (see last week's Stranger poll)

The Bandit Sucks!

The Bastard is much better. Ignore the wine stains on the kitchen counter.

Joe Conason on Hayden

I like Joe Conason, enough that after reading this I am trying to consider whether my reaction to Michael Hayden's nomination to head the CIA is a little knee-jerk. Conason thinks that while Hayden may have been in charge of the NSA wiretapping, it is the President who is responsible.
Yet while the president certainly deserves to be investigated (or worse) for his regime's apparent misconduct, the Hayden nomination is not the most appropriate forum for that reckoning. The nomination process is meant to determine whether
the general is qualified to serve as CIA director, whether he has been truthful
in his previous testimony before the Senate and how he intends to rebuild the

So the gist is that since Hayden was acting under orders from the president, he was just doing his job with the wire taps regardless of if they were legal or not. Conason goes on to explain that Hayden is extremely qualified and may be able to bring back former CIA employees who left because of Goss and his political cronyism and mismanagement.

If we applied this same kind of reasoning to say, the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghirab then Lindy England would never have been prosecuted. She was prosecuted even though evidence from Afghanistan and Guantanamo show that the exact same kinds of abuse were systemic instead of isolated incidences.

Maybe what Conason is hoping for is that instead of going for the soldier carrying out their orders we will go for the generals (or the president) responsible for issuing the orders. But that is just good German reasoning and for someone who will have the responsibility of rebuilding the CIA, I want more than just a good German. I want someone who will understand the fine line between intelligence gathering for national protection and intelligence gathering for power consolidation. Hayden's actions at the NSA don't show evidence of knowing where that line is.

Friday Not So Random 10

Since shoes come in pairs, songs are coming in pairs too today

1) Kaiser Chiefs- I predict a riot
2)Kaisser Chiefs- Everyday I love you less and less
3) Margot and the Nuclear So and So's- Barfight Revolution
4) Margot and the Nuclear So and So's - Skeleton Key
5)Seeed- New Dubby Conquerors
6)Seeed- Dancehall Caballeros
7) The Shins- Gone For Good
8) The Shins- Fighting in a Sack
9)Ok Go- You're So Damn Hot
10) Ok Go- Get Over It

Glorious Shoes!

Shoes do help with sore necks. Who knew? But just a few things to say about overly helpful sales people.

1) Do not tell a girl who is looking to spend money in your store that the shoes she is picking out are the worst things in the world for her feet. The heels aren't that frickin high and I am not buying those ugly birkenstock-like things that you wear.

2) Shoes that are not flip-flops should not flop off my feet like flip-flops. If they are high-heeled slingbacks that flop I can guarantee that they will be flopping off my feet while I flip myself into a sprained ankle. I don't care that they get you a larger commission, you aren't paying my emergency room bills. So no- I don't think they are supposed to fit that way.

As for the shoes I did buy- these are perfect for running around in without being ugly or uncomfortable. Not as sexy as my Italian hooker shoes (or my Italian sling-backs) but better than either for city-walking.
On a side note- since I was at *gasp, shock, horror* a mall that had more beauty stores than the republican party has indictments, I could not help but check them out. Of course I went to Sephora (crack house) and L'Occitane (opium den). I passed up Bath and Body Works (ho-hum) but then I discovered Lush. Oh my god- it's like a punk rock pretty store. I may have told the clerk that I would whore myself on a street corner for their salt scrub. I tested the salt scrub on my hands and they are softer than a baby's ass (and don't smell like a baby's ass- which is good)

Oh my aching neck!

I threw out my neck. Don't know how, but it's making sitting in front of a computer screen difficult. Like any girly-girl in pain I am going shoe shopping (cause shoe shopping is like morphine but with style). Posting will be light.

In the mean time- Pat Robertson, king of the loons and a bright shining beacon ripe for an alien abduction and anal probing, has decreed that the Pacific Northwest is going to have a tsunami this year. I'm not running for the protective cover of a red state yet, but how fucked up is that a religious nutbag makes some outrageous prediction and the local news actually runs the story like it's important?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jesus or Nietzsche?

Once again The Ministry Of Unknown Science saves Fursday Funnies from the complete banality. Who knew Jesus likes the Smiths when he's angry?

I'm to sexy for this post

Totaly low-brow humor. The O'Reilly bit was awesome though. Enjoy!

Jedi Politics

I loved Clerks when it first came out and not just because I was a clerk at the time. This little clip on Jedi Politics (or the Morality of Independent Contractors) seems pretty relevant today.

It's Fursday Funnies

Where da funny at? Hit me wit da funny!

Blue is the new red!

Even though I would love to retake red as a color fo the peeps instead of the color of the creeps- seeing these polling maps makes me giddy.

Via MyDD

Google's Book Search

Kevin Kelly has a big article on digitizing books in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. He wades into the swamp of intellectual property issues resulting from Google’s Book Search efforts.

He also fleshes out the copyright "orphan" issue, at least 75% of the books in contention in Google's scanning effort are works that have been pretty much left for dead by the publishing industry: books that are out of print, with unclear copyright status, an unknown rights holder, & are basically unavailable to most readers.

The publishing industry is of course trying to extort money for works that they’ve already abandoned.

There are important decisions happening every day (Net Neutrality, The recent Supreme Court/eBay decision, the EFF’s suit against AT&T) that will impact the digital environment, access to information, privacy, etc. I don’t think we talk/think/debate about them often enough.

Salon's Peruvian Warrior Mama Helped me steal this title: Have The Culture Wars Jumped the Shark?

In case you're not familiar (I wasn't until very recently), "Jumping the Shark" in TV Land refers to the turning point at which it becomes apparent that a show has stayed too long at the party, and is using irrelevant, outlandish, or just plain stupid gimmicks to keep the audence's attention... usually to its detriment (The expression came from the episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz jumped over a shark on waterskis)

Anyhow, Anna contends that the increasing number of officials making public statements against contraception (even between married couples) may well be just such a turning point. She says it better than I can:

McCarthy’s witch hunts stopped when he began attacking the Army. In televised hearings that turned the tide of public opinion against him, McCarthy accused Army Attorney General Joseph Welch of employing a man who belonged to an organization that had been accused of Communist sympathies. Welch asked, “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”


for a topic traditionally confined to individuals, families, and their doctors,
a move into the sphere of public policy is shocking indeed. I think that
ultimately, this shock will have the effect of moving contraceptive choices back
where they belong — with couples themselves.

I sincerely hope so. I want to believe it.

Another post from Anna resonates here -- I have to admit - I'm not a big fan of abortion -- I have doubts about it - real ones, that have nothing to do with the sex lives of people i've never met(hey what you do is your business) little to do with my religious beliefs(did Jesus even say anything about this? seriously, someone who knows the bible help me out here! Redd?) and a lot to do with knowing very well someone who was born so prematurely his mom was not considered "pregnant enough" to merit a bed in the maternity ward after delivery.

But I also don't dare presume to elevate my feelings to the status of law for the most personal decison imaginable.

So it seems to me, that

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Literally fucking chimps

This from the New York Times gives a whole new meaning to hot monkey love.

"If the earliest hominids are bipedal, it's hard to think of them interbreeding with the knuckle-walking chimps — it's not what we had in mind," said Daniel E. Lieberman, a biological anthropologist at Harvard.

I'm afraid to commit to pho....

So there's a place near our house called "I <3 Pho", having never tried we went. Can't really say i liked it, or the accompanying intestinal havoc it brought forth. Anyway saw this video and had to share.....

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

First the good news. I was too lazy to run by the store and grab lunch today and thought the cafeteria at work was closed. Growly belly is a sad thing. But YAY- it's community outreach meeting day so the cafeteria is full of free munchies. I grabbed a bag of chips and a giant muffin and tummy is much happier. There is such a thing as a free lunch after all.

The bad news is that someone spammed the comments. I've turned on comment confirmation. I hate it but oh well.

The ugly: thanks to sitemeter I think I know the spammer's ip address. Anyone know how to kick someone's ass via their ip? Phuxy- I think you are probably best suited to the task.

The sun is shining

And I am having a really hard time getting pissed off enough to write anything today. So instead you get random techy music crap.

I finally got my replacement mp3 player (I bought a new one that broke 2 weeks after I got it). To be fair, I think I had a nasty file on my computer because in the space of a month I killed my hard drive and 2 different mp3 players- so I don't think it was the new player but they were nice enough to replace it anyway.

The big bummer was the 60 gigs of music I lost. Mephistopheles heroically recovered a small part of it and Shakespeare Bill let me hijack his hard drive before he ran away to travel the world (Thanks for the Huey Lewis Bill, it won me some points in the cheesy love song contest) and I am slowly recovering the rest. Lesson learned- back up on external hard drive is now mandatory. The really good news was that i had been better about backing up my photos than i thought, so while I lost my pics from visiting the naughty professor in San Francisco I do still have pictures from Europe. Mephistopheles decided I was officially cool when he saw pictures of me in front of the Max Plank Institute for Theoretical Physics in Germany, so I'm glad I recovered them. (I will never have another reason for being at a school for theoretical physics again- really was a fluke that I was there at all).

Since I have the mp3 player I can now return to regularly torturing students with my own music selections instead of just an internet radio station's playlist. Today it's Ok Go! Get over it is a fantastic, rocking song. Very happy making. You're so damn hot is pretty cool to.

I have to say how much I love this little player. The original one I got was pink (no red, unfortunately), but they were out of pink when they sent the replacement. Now I have the silver. It's cheaper than an Ipod and doesn't require me to use the evil Itunes. Itunes' only value to me is as a glorified radio tuner, I really really hate it. This player let's me use it in hard drive mode so I can just drag and drop files onto it instead of having to make playlists in another program (like windows media player- which I also hate) and then lets me make playlists right on the player. Nice.

Rock on kids. Rock on!

Are we going to play with Bungle's Twanger?

I might have emailed this to y'all a while back, but it's worth watching over and over. Pluck, pluck, pluck away.

Affordable Housing My Ass!

It seems to be local news day, and while it's been good for the environment it's been bad for those of us not making the median income in Seattle.

First I ran across this bit on the Stranger's Blog:

City Calls $1,022 a Month "Affordable "
Posted by ERICA C. BARNETT at 03:48 PM
The city council's housing committee just voted to put off a motion that would grant $1.5 million in tax breaks to a U District developer in exchange for "affordable" rental units that would cost nearly $200 more than the average rent for the neighborhood. In exchange for the tax break, the developer, Lothlorien Apartments, would make 30 percent of its units "affordable" to renters making up to 70 percent of the Seattle median, or $38,150 for one person. For a one-bedroom, that works out to $1,022 a month; for a studio, $953. The average rent for a one-bedroom in the U District is between $757 and $843, depending on whose numbers you believe. Although the postponement won't likely change the deal offered to Lothlorien, the Seattle Displacement Coalition's John Fox said today's discussion "shows the council is serious about reconsidering the criteria" for the tax-break program.
Reconsidering the criteria for tax breaks is great, but they might want to reconsider the guidelines they put on the Section 8 housing program last year while they are at it. Seattle Housing Authority, in an effort to increase the number of people it serves, drastically lowered payment standards and changed minimum occupancy levels (that may be in violation of HUD guidelines) in August of 2005. Now that the economy is going again and rents are on the rise, the lowest income Seattle residents are going to be pushed out into the suburbs in an effort to find housing that is within the payment guidelines, or will find themselves struggling to stay in the city when their rents eat up a larger portion of their incomes. The new guidelines set the rent for a one bedroom apartment in Seattle at $762 including utilities. Knock off the SHA average of $34 per month if the only utility the tenant pays for separately is electric, and the real rental allowance for a one bedroom apartment is $728. If you use the lowball Seattle Times rents then the only areas that fit the voucher standards are White Center, Beacon Hill, Ranier Valley and North Seattle.

This isn't the first time SHA has had a problem with keeping the guidelines too low. Tenants in 2002 claimed that they were paying far above the 30 to 40 percent of their income (the standard set by HUD) because SHA kept the voucher guidelines low and tenants had to make up the difference between what their landlords charged and what SHA would allow. The 2005 guidelines lowered the ceilings even further.

Expanding the Section 8 program so that more people can participate is good, but not if it pushes the poorest people in the city even further into poverty. Either more units need to be created that match the rental standard or the rental standard has to be increased. I don't have a problem with giving a tax break to guarantee more low income housing access, but the guidelines used for those tax breaks should probably mirror the city's own rental standards. Requiring developers to offer more units at SHA levels in exchange for tax breaks would increase the number of truly "affordable" units that are available.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Seattle Envirogeeks Take Heart

King County is going to join the Chicago Climate Exchange. Yay.

The only negative thing I've got is make sure the standards aren't set to low or the market won't have any value.

In case you thought you were more than just a baby making machine

From the Washington Post:
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
That's right chickies. Since you may someday get pregnant you should act like you are about to be pregnant all the fucking time.

No mention that a woman ought to be given advice by their doctors about how to stay healthy because it would be beneficial to her own health. No, it's all about the health of a potential fetus.
Experts acknowledge that women with no plans to get pregnant in the near future may resist preconception care.
Ya think? Now why on earth would a woman with no plans to get pregnant possibly be resistant to being treated like a womb with legs? Just for that I am going to smoke an entire pack of Marlboro 100's, drink a couple of vodka tonics and seriously neglect my folic acid intake. While I'm at it I'm gonna lick lead paint from walls and clean litter boxes with my bare hands.

Miss Indiana Wetpanties finds her roots

So I'm not Peruvian, details smetails. But this story of an ancient female mummy discovered in Peru made me tingly. (Via CNN by way of Salon).
The presence of gold jewelry and other fine items indicates the mummy was that of an important person, but anthropologist John Verano of Tulane University, said the researchers are puzzled by the presence of war clubs, which are not usually found with females
Bone scaring shows that she gave birth at least once. So she was a kick-ass warrior mama. My kinda girl indeed.

While finding warrior women buried with weapons is not common in Peru, a few years ago some archeologists thought they found the origins of the Amazon warrior myth in eastern Europe and traced DNA from a burial site (complete with weapons) to a modern girl in Mongolia.

Archeology rocks.

Sex Ed 101

The kid is at the end of 5th grade and will be going off to middle school next year. As part of "transitioning" he is getting 5 hours of HIV/AIDS education at school. So far I am not impressed with the quality, but being that I am hugely progressive on the issue of comprehensive sex education I doubt that any school program could include the kind of information I want my child to have.

I have a kind of no-censor policy when it comes to talking about sex with the kid. This doesn't mean he gets graphic descriptions of my sex life, but that instead of doing that "shh, kids in the room" when non-personal discussions of sex come up I let them continue knowing that the kid is listening. I know that no matter how open I am about it, kids (particularly mine) are embarrassed about discussing this stuff with a parent. So I figure he'll learn some stuff through osmosis of adult conversations and then I answer his questions honestly when he has them.

The easy part of the sex ed discussions is the biology. How are babies made, what changes is your body going to go through, what are std's (after watching a commercial about HPV the other day I had to explain to the kid about the government withholding the HPV vaccine because they would rather see women die than have sex). But what is going to be more difficult is explaining the emotional and pleasurable aspects of sex.

I know one thing. When it becomes appropriate I am getting him this book. It's a great how-to (and we all know that teenage boys, while having lots of enthusiasm, don't often have a lot of skill).

But what about the emotional part? It would be hypocritical of me to tell him that he should only have sex when he's in love (I don't). But I don't want him to discount the vulnerability of being naked in front of another person either. I'm gonna have to think carefully about how to present it to him so that he knows that sex is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by but is also not to be treated lightly.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Axis of Feeble

It's the day before payday. I have $14.00 to my name and I am out of smokes. I am standing in line at the store to get smokes (because someone will DIE if I don't have nicotine- not a threat, just a reality) . Then this little Economist cover catches my eye.

I had to buy it. The article is ho-hum. Who will be the Decider's foreign policy buddy when Blair is gone? No one except maybe Angela Merkel of Germany (blah). It's lonely at the top, but that's what you get for being the feeble-minded cobag standing on a heap of shit that you've created.

UPDATE: Preliminary skimming of the Economist shows that spending $4.99 on strength of cover is not a good investment. Would have been a fine investment if stuck on plane (I always read the Economist and Atlantic Monthly on airplanes). In depth thing on Poland could be interesting.

Goodbye to the best fictional president ever

Tonight was the finale of the West Wing and like a good little blue-stater I watched. It was mediocre as far as finales go, but I was still reminded that this was one of the only places on television for the last 8 years where my opinions were reflected back at me. Not in the news, or the talking head shows on Sunday, but in a fictional television show about the White House.

On the finale tonight, as the super-fast moving crews were cleaning out President Bartlett's personal items, the camera lingered on a book by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. I don't know which particular text it was, but just the fact that this fictional president would read a dense and difficult philosopher like Foucault is what resonates with me the most. The show didn't treat us like we are idiots. The current administration and even the real Democratic Party do.

The most timely Foucault tome that could have come off that fictional president's shelf would have been Discipline and Punish, which is about the creation of the panopticon state. In the last few weeks we have become aware of the extent the current administration will go to monitor and spy on Americans through the domestic wiretapping and gathering of phone records. Foucault was well aware of the extremes the state (and a subdued society within it) would go to in order to keep constant surveillance and control.

So our fictional president reads Foucault-a French, Gay, one-time communist philosopher- while our real president seeks to create the nightmarish state that Foucault envisioned and feared, has insulted the French, and is working hard to keep gays from having the right to marry and thinkers from having the right to think. Reality bites.

Maybe now that there is nothing on television that reflects our idealism and intelligence we can get to the hard work of finding a president who does think and read (My Pet Goat not included).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Hot Mama!

One more for mother's day- then I promise to quit.
Lyrics from Sleater Kinney's Step Aside

Will you come knocking on my door?
Pull me pick me off the floor
I might need something to get me going
Feel it one time
dig it
When I feel worn out
when I feel beaten
Like a used up shoe or a cake half-eaten
There's only one way to keep on feeling
Move it up one time
dig it
This mama works till her back is sore
But the baby's fed and the tunes are pure
So you'd better get your feet on the floor
Move it up one time
These times are troubled these times are rough
There's more to come but you can't give up
Why don't you shake a tail for peace and love
Move it up one time FOR LOVE
Knife through the heart of our exploitation
Disassemble our discrimination
When violence rules the world outside
And the headlines make me want to cry
It's not the time to just keep quiet
Speak up one time

Happy fricken mother's day

It's mother's day. Why the fuck isn't someone bringing me a vodka tonic and lillies in bed with a nice side of some fried salty meat product? The Kid did go to the store all by himself and bring me donuts, but he forgot the half and half for coffee so I am mostly caffine free today. Blahhhhh.

But is this what mother's day is really supposed to about? One day a year where we offer sappy, craptastic platitudes ala Hallmark so that we can forget everything they do the rest of the year. Just thinking about it makes me need a vodka tonic more than ever.

How about we go back the original idea of mother's day. "What is that?" you may be thinking. Originally started by Julia Ward Howe as part of the Women's Peace Crusade, the idea was that mother's would no longer tolerate the death of their children in war or the death of the children on the other side of the battle.

In her own words:
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts, whether
your baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have
great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
"Our husbands shall not come
to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
"Our sons shall not
be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity,
mercy, and patience.
"We women of one country will be too tender of those of
another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the
bosom of the devasted earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm,
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood does not
wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often
forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all
that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them
meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then
solemnly take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human
family can live in peace,
And each bearing after her own time the sacred
impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

I will arise, just as soon as the Kid makes coffee. Really, I'm gonna get to it.

So I lied

Crooks and Liars Just takes you to the SNL website- but someone has put up the video at Youtube. Go watch it there.

The world as it should be

Al Gore is on SNL as the president in an alternative universe where gas is down to 19 cents a gallon because cars run on trash instead.

Ahhhhhhhhh. I miss him. I want to live in that alternate universe, even if giant glaciers are on theattack and California is part of the new country of Mexifornia.

And in this world, Bushy is the baseball commisioner.

Quick- somebody Youtube the clip. Please, pretty please.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the clip- go watch it!

Quickies- the ITMFA edition

Newsweek is reporting that Cheney was obsessed with Joe Wilson after Wilson wrote in the NY Times about the yellowcake falsehoods. Cheney's notes (written in the margins of the newspaper article Wilson wrote) show that Cheney maybe much more central to the leak investigation than has previously been made public.

A CIA employee for 20 years, Mary McCarthy, who was fired for allegedly talking to the press, is sure that CIA people are lying when they claim no knowledge of torture and abuse of prisoners.

Rove is about to be indicted. Dusty Foggo had his house searched by the FBI.

Illegal wiretapping and data mining are just the tip of the iceberg in constitutional violations. But we will never know more because the Justice Department can't get security clearance to investigate the wiretapping, effectively making the investigation pointless.

Bush's approval ratings are at 29% (before the phone call data mining story came out).

And still the dems in power sit on their fucking hands. Pelosi has said that impeachment is off the table.

All I can say is Impeach The Mother Fucker Already! ITMFA!