Saturday, April 30, 2005

Random Vacation Thoughts

A bunch of random things pinging around my brain from vacation:

- There are a lot of rich people in San Francisco. Saw a guy fiddling around with his Bentley in a parking lot in Tiburon.

- Everyone in San Francisco owns a dog...and most of them are the precious kind that live in apartments with prissy people.

- People are more environmentally conscious in California. Many containers, in addition to simply soda/beer cans, are redeemable for deposits. And, all public buildings have signs posted in them warning of carcinogens present in them (not sure how good that makes a person feel...but it was interesting to note).

- I swear there is nowhere else on earth that smells better than Sonoma, California.

- On the other hand, there is nowhere else on earth that is tackier than Fisherman's Wharf.

- JetBlue Airlines is fabulous. The seats offer so much legroom, you could actually cross your legs without injuring yourself or anyone nearby.

- I think I could eat get used to eating avocado on a more regular basis.

Our Last Dinner in SF (Greens): April 28, 2005

SF MoMA, April 28, 2005

SF Museum of Modern Art, April 28, 2005

Yerba Buena Gardens, April 28, 2005

The View from Greens Restaurant, Fort Mason: April 27, 2005

Caffe Greco, North Beach: April 27, 2005

More City Lights: April 27, 2005

My Kind of Bookstore: City Lights: April 27, 2005

Pacific Heights, San Francisco: April 26, 2005

California Street (a tale of two architectural styles): April 26, 2005

Redwoods, Jack London State Park (Monday, April 25)

Winery, Sonoma (Monday, April 25)

Telegraph Street, Berkeley (Sunday, April 24)

Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park (Sat. April 23)

Crissy Field, San Francisco Bay (Sat. April 23)

There and Back Again

The restorative powers of a little R&R are quite amazing. We're back from our sojourn on the west coast, and although it's nice to sleep in one's own bed, I am missing San Francisco already. (Although today's weather seems reminiscent of the foggy Bay Area...perhaps we'll take some comfort in that.)

Had a really wonderful time, as I'm sure you're all dying to know. In a nutshell, we did a lot of walking around some new neighborhoods, enjoying the architecture, the shops, the lush, green parks (what a joy to grow flowers all year round!). Took a day trip up to Sonoma, where we've never visited and experienced the calm serenity of the wine country and its beautiful, rolling hills. Also spent a day in Berkeley, soaking in the beautiful blue-ness of that college town. (BTW, it was nice to still see so many "Kerry-Edwards" bumper stickers on cars and buildings around town.)

Unfortunately, our little hotel did not have internet access in the rooms, so I couldn't keep in touch as I planned, but perhaps that's a good thing, eh? Good to give all of us a little break. If anyone's interested in a recommendation for lodging in SF, I recommend the Laurel Inn -- felt like a little apartment, not a hotel, very quiet and had free parking!

Gonna post some sample pictures here shortly, and I'm working on a way to share more of them if anyone's interested in seeing them. Took lots of images with the new camera...many turned out really well (if I do say so myself).

So, while it was great to be away, it's nice to be back here on the blog. More pics coming up!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Left Coast Time

Well, vacation time is now here. We'll hopefully be posting from the west coast - finally I'll be in the same timezone as my brother! Somehow it makes us feel closer, oddly enough, and farther away from the Eastern timezone family. Strange, but true. Have a good week everyone! (Hopefully I'll forget about the crap being inflicted by the chimp for a while)


Monday, April 18, 2005

Selling Social Security

Learning from the "best," Bush tries to sell Social Security.

I Dreamed I Saw...Bob Dylan

Last night, Bob and I saw Dylan at the Orpheum, and IMHO it was fab! For a 60+ geezer, Mr. Dylan was truly energetic and full of life while rocking out on his piano (of all things). Here's the set list. Here's some recent performances. It was a great night, with opening acts Amos Lee and Merle Haggard (yes, Merle fuckin' Haggard). Merle, too, is a bit long in the tooth but he was fun and as happy as any old coot has a right to be. Except he didn't do "Okie from Muskokee," which I was hopin' for.

This concert marks the beginning of our anniversary celebration and we couldn't have asked for more -- the first truly beautiful day of Spring, to boot.

Bad News? No Problem...

We just stop publishing it:

  • Knight-Ridder reports today that the Bush administration announced yesterday that it has "decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered."

  • When unemployment was peaking in Bush's first term, the White House tried to stop publishing the Labor Department's regular report on mass layoffs.

  • In 2003, when the nation's governors came to Washington to complain about inadequate federal funding for the states, the Bush administration decided to stop publishing the budget report that states use to see what money they are, or aren't, getting.

  • In 2003, the National Council for Research on Women found that information about discrimination against women has gone missing from government Web sites, including 25 reports from the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau.

  • In 2002, Democrats uncovered evidence that the Bush administration was removing health information from government websites. Specifically, the administration deleted data showing that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer from government websites. That scientific data was seen by the White House as a direct affront to the pro-life movement.
This administration is an abomination.

Happy Days Are Here Again!

"The last month has not been a good one for President Bush and the Republicans. Most people have opposed the President’s proposals for reforming Social Security and most were unhappy with the positions taken by Republicans in the Terri Schiavo case. The result is that the president’s job ratings have fallen to 44 percent positive, 56 percent negative, the worst numbers of his presidency, and a drop from 48 percent positive, 51 percent negative in February (and 50% positive, 49% negative last November).

This is one of the results of a new Harris Poll of 1,010 U.S. adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive® between April 5 and 10, 2005."

The rest of the happy news here....

Friday, April 15, 2005

And So the Backlash Begins...

86 Reasons to Hate the Red Sox

Ya know what? I think they are just a tad overexposed by now.

7 Days Till Vacation

Springtime Blogging

I can feel the blogging slowing down a tad now that the warmer weather has arrived (along with baseball). Somehow sitting down behind the computer each night doesn't hold the same joy in April as it did back when the blizzards were raging in February. Sooooo, I do apologize to anyone who is expecting more.

It's also increasingly difficult to continue to write and link to political stories. A lot of that has to do with the same old issues going round and round. How do the progressives mount a charge against the convervatives? What kinds of small victories can we claim? Right now we're looking at the Senate going 'nuclear' over the filibuster issue regarding judicial nominations. As other bloggers have said, the Republicans won't be satisfied till they have created a Taliban-like theocracy here in the U.S. But, I think that, like the Schiavo case, the GOoPers are again over-reaching...mistaking the "mandate" of November with a majority of people actually agreeing with everything they do. IMHO people voted for Bush was because they couldn't stand Kerry. (Of course, how the Dems nominated someone who would be less 'likable' than the Chimp is beyond comprehension). But anyway, I digress.

I'm also hearing from my progressive friends that they are getting tired of staying current with the issues and getting endless emails requesting money from Senators, political parties, activist groups, etc. I agree, it will take a lot to actually get me to part with money for anyone in the current environment. So perhaps I'll call a brief moratorium on the political front and actually "" to other things.

On another front, late next week, Bob and I are going on our much-anticipated vacation to San Francisco, where we'll celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! As many of you know, we spent our honeymoon driving from Ohio (where we were living then) to California via a number of national parks. So, we're visiting the scene of the crime - so to speak! And, man, am I looking forward to this trip. It's been a looooong winter, with lots of ups and downs, and we're beginning the warm months on a very up note.

As for the Red Sox...they ended up going 3-3 against the Yankees, pretty anti-climactic after all, eh?

Well, can't promise a lot of blogging in the week or two ahead, but we'll be sharing the trip, hopefully as it happens!

Happy Spring, everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Our Tax Dollars at Work

From this week's Parade magazine in the Boston Globe showing the bizarre priorities of the US government. For instance, did you know?....

"Since the invasion of Iraq, the US government has allocated $19 billion for reconstruction and related projects in Iraq, although much of it has yet to be spent. This figure is more than the combined annual budgets for the National Cancer Institute, Amtrak, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Federal Air Marshals, operation of the National Park Service, Homeless Assistance Grants, the Superfund Hazardous Substance Cleanup, Home-Delivered Meals to the Elderly and youth employment and training programs."

And...this note...

"The government spent more than $40 million for the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations, but only $15 million for the 9/11 Commission to examine the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."


A Wonderful Day For All

Well, they did it! The rings have been doled out and there were many happy faces at Fenway Park -- especially after the Sox won 8-1!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Most Under-reported Stories of 2004

"A free press, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, is an essential ingredient of our liberties. Free speech, perhaps our most important right, includes the right and the obligation to criticize our government. That right is of little value unless we know the facts that only a free and responsible press can provide. Today, saddled as we are with a government more interested in restricting the dissemination of news than the opposite, a free press is crucial.

Sometimes news is overreported. Any incident involving sex, however trivial or remote, receives wide publicity. The display of Terri Schiavo's sad picture was not only needlessly repetitious but also became a thoughtless invasion of her privacy."

The rest of the story here.

Wal-Mart Truly Does Suck

For those of you who value reproductive freedom and civil rights, you'll want read this posting from It's enough to curl your hair. Apparently, Wal-Mart allows pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control pills if they have a personal objection. Read the email exchange between a blogger and Wal-Mart here. Disgusting, truly disgusting.

12 Days Till Vacation

Friday, April 08, 2005

One Final Pope Funeral Thought...

Although I didn't watch much of the Pope's funeral ceremonies, I did happen to see a list of the dignitaries who attended today's Mass. After seeing representatives from Arab nations sitting nearly side-by-side with Jewish leaders, and Iranian ayattolahs mere feet away from European prime ministers...and even the Chimp sitting next to French President Chirac...I came away thinking why don't they just lock all these leaders in the Sistine Chapel for their own sort of "world peace" conclave - and not let them out till they accomplish something worthwhile? Just a thought...

Avoiding the Teenagers

Talk about Desperate Housewives! This woman will do anything to avoid raisiing her teenage daughters. Here ya go...

Warden's wife, girls reunite

The Associated Press

FORT SUPPLY, Okla. — The prison warden's wife who vanished with a convicted killer a decade ago returned to Oklahoma with her husband and was reunited Thursday with her daughters.

Randy Parker, now warden at the William S. Key Correctional Center at Fort Supply, and his wife, Bobbi Parker, returned home about 1 a.m., Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said. The Parkers' two daughters, who were 8 and 10 when Bobbi Parker disappeared in 1994, were at the warden's residence, Massie said.

Bobbi Parker disappeared with Randolph Dial from the Oklahoma State Reformatory, where her husband was an assistant warden.

Dial, 60, was arrested Monday in Texas, and authorities found Bobbi Parker, 42, shortly afterward.

Investigators think Dial kept Parker from escaping by threatening her family.

Bobbi Parker and her husband had a joyous reunion, a witness said.

Dial told reporters he abducted Parker at knifepoint in 1994 and brainwashed her into staying with him. He said their relationship was not romantic.

Martha Rash, who with her husband owns a chicken farm where Parker and Dial lived and worked, said Parker had plenty of chances to escape. But she said she thought Dial had convinced Parker that if she ran, he would have used his alleged Mafia ties to have members of her family killed.

An FBI spokesman said there were no plans to charge Parker.

Travels with Bill

Can't get enough of this kind of article...describing his excellent adventures in Rome, in between Pope-sightings. Bill, come back, we need you!

Pressing the flesh in Rome...

An Oedipal Slump?

People are saying Bush is in a slump? Recently, he's had ever-lowering poll numbers, stumbles on Schiavo and Social Security. This article from today's Washington Post is must-reading for Bush bashers...except that it makes me just so damn sad, not even angry. These are the last few paragraphs:

"Real leadership takes courage. The night Bush's father was inaugurated in 1989, he wrote in his diary that he planned to call the Democratic speaker of the House the next day and begin the painful work of cutting the budget deficit. By working responsibly with Congress, the elder Bush helped create the conditions for the economic boom of the 1990s. But he lost the 1992 election. That specter is now gone for the younger Bush; he won the prize that eluded his father. But what does he want to do with it?

I asked one of Bush's political advisers recently why the president hadn't worked more closely with congressional leaders to deal with America's serious financial problems. He answered that this president has no interest in dickering with committee chairmen over the details of legislation. Bush is a man of large ambition who wants big, bold victories -- who wants to hit home runs rather than singles and doubles.

To me that's the heart of Bush's problem. He's swinging for the fences, on everything from Iraq to Social Security. But leadership isn't just about soaring rhetoric; it's about responsible stewardship. And in the end, it's about solving problems. Perhaps that's the real reason the president has lost momentum since that remarkable Inauguration Day speech. The country elected him to be a leader, not a barnstormer."

Crimes and Misdemeanors?

This story may be a little "inside baseball" as they say, but it's making the rounds of the blogosphere. During the Terri Schiavo firestorm, a memo was circulating noting the potential political advantages to the Republicans for getting involved...legislatively speaking. Because the talking points were not on letterhead or signed (ahem), some Republicans speculated that the memo could have been written by Democrats. In fact, a big deal was made by GOP blogers and the usual suspects, like Fox News, that this was all a trap, and another case of 'liberal media bias' and equating the memo with the Dan Rather problem during the election.

Got that?

Now the other shoe has fallen...a staffer at Republican Florida Senator Mel Martinez's office has been fired. So, has anyone apologized for the mischaracterization? Was Senator Martine more involved than he let on? Read all about it here.

"Martinez said in his statement that he had "conducted a full internal investigation on how this memo came into my possession" and that it was "not a document that would have been approved in this office for circulation under any circumstances."

Remember, Martinez was hand-picked by the White House to run for the Senate. For these people, politics is everything.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Prize-worthy 'toons

Here's the portfolio of Nick Anderson, the latest Pulitizer Prize-winning political cartoonist. Enjoy!

I'm Coming Off the Ledge

Sox win...and beat up on Mariano Rivera. Ha.

Give 'em Hell, Helen!

Here's another American treasure: Helen Thomas, who took on Ari Fleischer and lives to tell the tale.

People Tiring of the "Moral" Agenda...
Ya Think?

In USA Today today:

"WASHINGTON -- The controversy over Terri Schiavo has raised concerns among many Americans about the moral agenda of the Republican Party and the political power of conservative Christians, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds.

In the survey, most Americans disapprove of the efforts by President Bush and Congress to draw federal courts into the dispute over treatment of the brain-damaged Florida woman. She died last week.

Some old stereotypes about the two parties have been reversed:

By 55%-40%, respondents say Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are "trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans" on moral values.

By 53%-40%, they say Democrats, who sharply expanded government since the Depression, aren't trying to interfere on moral issues."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

16 Days Till Vacation

Man the Lifeboats

The Red Sox are 0-2 in the young baseball season. Yikes. Can we get Nomar back?

One of My Favorite Things...

When I bought a new car last year, it came equipped with satellite radio. At the time, I thought it was an unnecessary luxury that I could certainly do without...but it has grown on me so much that I bought another radio for my husband for Christmas. He's now hooked, too. Apparently, a lot of other people are happy with this new alternative for listening to music and interesting conversation. At this point, I can't imagine going back to 'regular' corporate radio. We've learned a lot about obscure blues players, reminded ourselves what we really like about jazz and bluegrass, and (I) have been able to get to really know the Air America shows. Now I hear Jerry Springer has joined the mix...interesting.

If you're looking for an alternative music source, give it a try.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Throwing Us Another Curveball

Can you believe this shit? And Clinton got impeached for Sex? Come on.

"An alcoholic cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq.

According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

The defector, given the code-name Curveball by the CIA, has emerged as the central figure in the corruption of US intelligence estimates on Iraq. Despite considerable doubts over Curveball's credibility, his claims were included in the administration's case for war without caveat."

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bring It On!

Bill Simmons' take on tonight, ending with:

"When it comes right down to it, this blood feud with the Yankees is unlike anything else in professional sports right now. They're the Ali to our Frazier, the Iron Sheik to our Sergeant Slaughter. We need them, they need us. We hate them, they hate us. The rivalry is developing into a self-perpetuating organism – a zero sum game for sports, a de facto Cold War – something that neither team can ever truly win. Both teams jockey for the upper hand all season, the battle resolves itself in October, and then everything starts again in April. That's just the way it is. Until last year, the Yankees always prevailed. Now we have an official rivalry on our hands. Is it better than winning a championship, or pulling off the greatest comeback in sports history? Of course not. But it's still pretty good."

And now, a sports columnist from NY thinks the whiny bunch from the Bronx might not win it all, in spite of the payroll. Read this and enjoy.

Women in Blogging

Recent commentary in the blogosphere has pointed out a supposed imbalance between the number of men vs. women bloggers. Perhaps to counter some of this, the folks at one of the lefty blogs MyDD)yesterday pointed to an interesting site: Blogs by Women. On a whim, since they were accepting listings, I sent a brief email about Left Curve and the nice folks over there added a mention of our little blog. Nice!

If you're looking for some new and wide-ranging topics about, for and by women: check out their directory here. Watch out, I stumbled on some wacky righty's too.

Friday, April 01, 2005

He's Baaaaaack

Former President Bill Clinton speaks after receiving the 2005 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions for his leadership in fighting HIV/AIDS during the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases' Annual Awards Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Va., on Friday, March 31, 2005. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

More here, saying the Prez looks betterthan before his surgery. Good news, certainly.

Swept Under the Carpet...?

In the midst of all the recent media madness, and now, the potential death of the Pope, a new report has come out regarding the abysmal intelligence on WMD in Iraq.

From today's Washington Post:

"As former secretary of state Colin L. Powell worked into the night in a New York hotel room, on the eve of his February 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council, CIA officers sent urgent e-mails and cables describing grave doubts about a key charge he was going to make.

On the telephone that night, a senior intelligence officer warned then-CIA Director George J. Tenet that he lacked confidence in the principal source of the assertion that Saddam Hussein's scientists were developing deadly agents in mobile laboratories.

Mr. Tenet replied with words to the effect of 'yeah, yeah' and that he was 'exhausted,' " according to testimony quoted yesterday in the report of President Bush's commission on the intelligence failures leading up to his decision to invade Iraq in March 2003.

Tenet told the commission he did not recall that part of the conversation. He relayed no such concerns to Powell, who made the germ-warfare charge a centerpiece of his presentation the next day."

We cannot forget the lies.

Stop the Nuclear Option

John Kerry needs us again...ok, stop laughing. Really, you can sign up to be a supporter of a new ad to be run in USA Today next Tuesday that recommends that the US Senate be allowed to filibuster judicial appointments and prevent radicals from being nominated by the Chimp.

Add your name to the roll, or -- of course -- contribute monetarily if you are so inclined.