Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More on the Press Conference Today

Yes! David Corn's comments on the presser today:

"It's no surprise that Bush bobs, weaves and misleads. The real disappointment is that the hound dogs of the press corps do not challenge him when he does so. They sit there well-behaved, wait to be called upon, and rarely think of tossing aside their prepared questions and asking, "With all due respect, Mr. President, you didn't answer the question on the leftover embryos. Can you please tell us specifically what should be done with them. Or do you have no idea whatsoever?" Bush can tap-dance his way through a press conference because his not-so-grand inquisitors do nothing to change the tune."


At his press conference today, the Chimp accused Amnesty International of "disassembling..." in its report about human rights. He even went so far as to define it as "not telling the truth." Suprisingly, he doesn't know that disassembling means to take something apart. The Dope actually meant dissembling, but since he doesn't recognize lying anyway, why should I be surprised?

A small point. But worth noting. I can't help myself.

Big Time Secret Revealed

The revelation of Deep Throat's identity today reminds us of the great need for a similar patriot in the current nutfarm in Washington. Just when those of us of a certain age thought that Tricky Dick was the epitome of evil, and Ronald Reagan was the most dangerous man to have his finger on the nuclear button, we have the idiot currently in the White House,who has made dirty tricks the standard for conducting business.

However, there is a certain hope as the Washington Post speculates that the Chimp has wasted any political capital that he [thought he] had back in November (jeez, can it only be 6 months ago?).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sheesh. Ya Think?

Well, the American people are finally waking up. Took 'em long enough...and who knows how long it will last, but check this out. Apparently, 6 of 10 Americans believe Bush does not share their priorities.

I guess not...since most of us are not liars, cheaters and right wing zealots who are willing to rape the environment, cut the social insurance net out from under senior citizens or send children to die in a war that was instigated for no apparent reason (and then cuts veterans benefits and financial assistance for their families stateside.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Erica Jong Nails It

Sometimes news stories just sort of float past and you have an odd feeling about them but you either get distracted or (as is the case for me most of the time) you have to not listen too closely for fear of blowing a gasket? Well, that was the case with the Laura Bush in the Middle East story. It had occurred to me that it was unusual for her to be traveling alone, but there was something else that bothered me and Erica Jong has nailed it.

"Now that Laura Bush is back from the Middle East and can take off her black scarf, it's time to ask why she is promoting freedom for women in the Middle East when the rights of American women are being systemically eroded by her husband's initiatives. Is it the same reason why her husband promotes democracy abroad while the Patriot Act and the suspension of the Geneva Convention dilute democracy at home?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What a Freakin' Liar!

From Editor & Publisher:

"NEW YORK-At a White House press briefing Monday, Press Secretary Scott McClellan, pressed by reporters and with Afghan President Karzai in disagreement, retreated on claims that Newsweek's retracted story on Koran abuse cost lives in Afghanistan.

He also claimed that he had never said it did, even though a check of transcripts disputes that. On May 16, for example, he said, "people have lost their lives." On May 17, he said, "People did lose their lives," and, "People lost their lives" due to the Newsweek report."

Click the link above to read the transcript. Shame on him.

Newsweek, Bad. Lying about Tilman? That's OK.

This makes my blood boil. It's like we're living in an alternate universe, where wrong is right, up is down. While we're all distracted by the freakin' fillibuster, this may be what we really should be talking about.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pulling the Trigger/New Poll

Well, well, well, we've come to the Night Before the Nuclear Option. Somehow I think they'll come to a compromise in the Senate...they usually do. But, I have to say that part of me is dying to see the business of the Senate just come to a screeching halt, which will result in showing us how little they really do anyway.

But, for we progessives, this new poll should help us all keep our chins up...

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve 46% (50%)
Disapprove 50% (45%)

"... the economy?"

Approve 40% (43%)
Disapprove 58% (53%)

"... the situation in Iraq?"

Approve 40% (42%)
Disapprove 56% (55%)

"... Social Security?"

Approve 33% (35%)
Disapprove 59% (58%)

Ha! Let's see what tomorrow brings!

UPDATE: Well, no sooner had I finished this post, but the announcement of a deal in the Senate became public. Ahhh, compromise...we need some more of that. (Although both sides will claim victory, it seems to me that the far right conservative faction has to feel like their wings were clipped--just a tad--by the moderate middle of the GOP: McCain, Warner, Snow, DeWine, Collins. Good to see that some Repugs have brains.)

Sarcasm Central...

From the ETv website:

"Israeli researchers have discovered the region of the brain responsible for understanding sarcasm. If that region of the brain is not functioning properly, the researchers found that subjects could only understand the literal meaning of another person's words. The results of the study were published in the May issue of the journal 'Neuropsychology.'

The study's co-author, Simone Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa, told 'Forbes,' 'People with prefrontal brain damage suffer from difficulties in understanding other people's mental states, and they lack empathy. Therefore, they can't understand what the speaker really is talking about, and get only the literal meaning.' "

So, that's what's wrong with GWB. And I'm not just being sarcastic either.

Time Flies

Thirty years since Patti Smith's album "Horses" was first issued. 30 years. That means it has been 30 years since I was in college. Yikes.

And it's nearly 30 years since a bunch of friends shared a house by Lake Metacomet in Belchertown -- and we had a male roommate who looked just like Patti Smith. His first name was Chris, but I'm having trouble remembering his last name. Yes, that means it has been 30 years! These are people I never expected to forget.

But back to Patti...I came across an article today saying that she will be performing the album "Horses" in its entirety (in sequence) at an upcoming festival in England. I have a feeling the concert I went to at the Orpheum in December 1976 probably would have been similar to this concert. Funny, this I remember.

Here's a great article, starting with the usual Patti adoration:

Patti Smith today looks as striking as the 28-year-old instant icon who defiantly out-stared the viewer from the cover of Horses. With her strong nose and thin, rangy frame, she's still androgynous, but her appearance, 30 years on, now has something of a 'ragged glory' aura.

But the article ends with pure Patti, and some of the best middle-aged musings I've heard in a while:

Of the Horses recreation, Smith says, 'I wanted to do it while I'm still physically able to execute it with full heart and voice. 'I had nicer hair back then, but my voice is actually stronger now! I'm 58 years old, but I haven't lost anything, 'cos I've learnt to take good care of myself. I want to be around a really long time. I want to be a thorn in the side of everything as long as possible.'

If you know Patti's music, you must read the article.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Which is it?

Believe it or not, the picture below is from a publicity shot of a McDonald's in Illinois. While I might be more inclined to actually go into one of these restaurants, why should I when most everything I might want is at Starbucks?

God only knows who Starbucks ripped off to get their interior design. Is anything original anymore?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stem Cells and Stupidity

From Think Progress...I can't resist passing this one along. The stupidity, the hypocrisy is truly mind-boggling, but what else is new?

The Culture of Life? Yeah, right.

Getting Smarter About This Stuff (I hope)

The conference I attended in NYC on content syndication (via blogging/RSS feeds...and more) ended up benefitting both my work life and my alternative universe (aka this blog). So lately, most of my on-computer time lately has been spent reading other bloggers, especially some of the experienced folks who made presentations at the conference. The results so far? I've added an RSS feed here, as well as a new site meter.

On the less visible side, I've learned about some of the sites (like Technorati and SubPub) where you can find out who may be linking to you and perhaps what others are saying about your work (and you). It's actually incredible to begin to contemplate just how many people are doing this kind of thing -- for busines or pleasure. I will add some of the learnings here in a post next week, as well as links to some of the very interesting blogs that I think a lot of you will enjoy.

Just wanted to explain why there's been not much heft to the recent posts. I hope the end result will be a better, more interesting and user-friendly blog.

AND, of course, there will be more comments about the political doings in DC...which are mind-boggling per usual. (BTW, one of the most interesting presentations at the conference were from folks on the Dean campaign -- and Markos of "DailyKos" fame. Very interesting discussion on their experiences during the last election cycle.)

Later, folks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

the Marriott Marquis Lobby (from 18th floor)..crazy elevators, eh?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Well, this too is not a bad view. I hope I'll be able to sleep with this guy staring at me.

Not a bad view...from my hotel room on the 18th floor....

I Love NY

In NYC for a two-day conference, and staying in the heart of Times Square. It's amazing how quickly one gets into the rhythm of this city...you start walking with that vacant square with no eye contact with anyone, brushing shoulders with people who don't quite cross the street fast enough and avoiding the locals trying to burn the out-of-towners on every other street corner. Aaaaah, I love NY!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A new sign in South Dakota...makes a lot of sense, eh?

The Ladies Beading and Socialist Society

The People's Republic of Cambridge was the site of the first-ever meeting of the International Ladies Beading and Socialist Society. As always, Comrade Grout provided the food and hospitality; soon-to-be attorney Batal assured everyone that no laws were being broken -- and we hope she won't report us to authorities anyway; "Ms. Green Jeans" Melia delivered horticultural tips while slicing the asparagus in precise 53.2 centimeter sections. Associate members Christine and Joanne wondered how they stumbled into a meeting with this bunch of wack-o left-wingers, while Junior Auxilliary Member Jenni earned even more extra credit for her art class...bringing her grade point average up to an astounding 10.5 -- setting the all-time record for freshwomen at Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

All in all, a great time for everyone, with Entertainment Committee Chair (aka Beckperson) delivering the beading equipment and documenting the event as shown below:

OK, which one is the mother and which one is the daughter?

Chris is hoping to get a new title!

I think Joanne's done this before!

Jenni made some beautiful necklaces!

Hey Rita, you have outdone yourself!

Julie's creation!

Is Chris asleep?

Too much wine? Nahhh

Hard at work....

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Best Bumper Sticker Seen in California

But wait, is that a bullet hole next to it? Sheesh.

Write Your Own Caption, Part Deux

Well, I thought the other picture was interesting, but this one tops it, by far! These are kindergarten children in North Korea taking target practice. Have no idea where this came from.

Just Too Damn Easy

OK, write your own caption. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I Love James Wolcott

Here's his latest diatribe against the Chimp, from which I have excerpted the following. He is responding to a CNN reporter saying the administration owes Tony Blair, so perhaps they would work on global warming, something near and dear to the British PM's heart:

Like his party and the rightwing media that pimps for it (about which voice of sanity Molly Ivins has more to say), Dubya places religion over science, refuses to acknowledge that global warming even exists as a planetary peril, and has never shown the slightest interest in conservation, mass transport, or anything else that might prevent the paving over of every inch of countryside. He would plant oil rigs in Arlington Cemetery and shovel straight through the bones of dead soldiers if reserves were discovered beneath the rows of white crosses, and chainsaw the last tree in the rainforest out of pure spite.

I would give a lot to be able to write like Mr. Wolcott, who is now a writer at Vanity Fair. If you haven't read his blog, shame on you.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The Nuclear Option

A lot has been made of the coming fight in the Senate over potential (and current) judicial nominees. For those of you who don't live in places like Massachusetts and California, it may be time to get in touch with your senator to let them know you're paying attention to their votes. There must be hope for Ohio, with Senator Voinovich getting his recent attack of conscience over John Bolton.

Here's a message from Ted Kennedy for inspiration. Here's a link to the Senate directory to make life easy for you. Can't say I never gave you any help, now can you? Good luck!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

FOXBlocker: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Saw this article the other day and wanted to share with all the rest of you non-fans of Fox:

Hunting for Fox: Device blacks out network's news
By Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff | April 14, 2005

It started when Joshua Montgomery and Sam Kimery went to a showing last summer of ''Outfoxed" in Tulsa, Okla. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald's unflattering portrait of the Fox News Channel as a conservative propaganda outlet stirred them to action.

''Josh and I decided in the first 15 minutes of the show that we kind of have to do something," says Kimery, a 44-year-old technical writer who runs a small electronics company. ''It was very obvious that there was something very wrong with calling [what Fox does] news."

Adds Montgomery, a 27-year-old aerospace engineer: ''The problem is they really misrepresent themselves as 'Fair and Balanced.' "

So the partners created a strategy and a company. And if their product with the catchy name -- the FOXBlocker -- hasn't exactly become a household word, it has inspired a small group of activists opposing Fox News Channel to launch a unique boycott that may end up causing headaches for some cable operators.

The operation began by selling the FOXBlocker -- a metal device about the size of a C battery that screws into the back of the TV set and that can filter out the Fox News Channel -- for $8.95. Montgomery says he and Kimery managed to move about 100 of the items by the end of last month. But selling the device for that sum was a flawed business model.

''When you factor in labor," he says, ''we're literally losing money hand over fist."

So the anti-Fox brigades are trying a different tactic. About a year ago, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association announced that a number of cable companies would offer channel-blocking equipment free of charge to any customer who does not possess that capability.

Now the FOXBlocker website exhorts supporters to ask their cable company to come to their home to install a device to keep out the Fox News Channel.

The campaign was unveiled this month, Montgomery says, and more than 700 people participated in the first week. He figures that each trip to install a filter costs the cable company about $50 in parts and labor.

Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the cable association, says the new FOXBlocker strategy adheres to the letter -- if not exactly the spirit -- of the cable industry offer. He says the decision to offer free blocking was ''launched over concerns about indecent content on television," not to respond to complaints about news programming.

Dietz says that many cable users have the technology to block channels through their cable box. But he acknowledges that operators are technically obligated to respond to those who are asking for the Fox filter.

''The purpose of the initiative is to help families control unwanted programming from entering the home," he says. ''And the cable industry is not making judgments about the channels."

Irena Briganti, a spokeswoman for the Fox News Channel, says the FOXBlockers are having no impact. ''Clearly it's not working out, given that our ratings are skyrocketing," she says. (Blah, blah, blah)

According to Nielsen Media Research viewing numbers for the first quarter of 2005, the Fox News Channel is dominating the cable news wars in both prime-time and total day ratings, almost doubling the average audience of second-place CNN.

At the same time, the outlet continues to generate journalistic criticism. A recent study by the nonpartisan Washington-based Project for Excellence in Journalism concluded that when it came to cable news, ''Fox was measurably more one-sided than the other networks and Fox journalists were more opinionated on the air."

The survey said that 68 percent of the Fox News Channel stories analyzed included ''personal opinions" from Fox reporters.

The Fox News Channel has also been a frequent target for liberal media critics. But one such organization, while expressing sympathy toward the FOXBlockers, has some qualms with the unorthodox strategy.

''It's the response of people who are righteously annoyed by Fox's false advertising and who are unable to see their views regularly presented on cable TV," says Steve Rendall, senior analyst for the liberal watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, based in New York. ''Do we endorse FOXBlocker? No, because we would like to see more diversity in cable broadcasting. We think viewers benefit from opinions they don't believe in."

HA Couldn't happen to a nicer network. (All emphases mine.)

Putting Kids First

Anyone want to co-sponsor John Kerry's Kids First legislation? Here's the link -- go for it.

Don't Look Now

But the Yankees truly suck.

This calls for a return of Slappy McBluelips:

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

OK, It's Desert Island Time

As a middle-aged woman's fancy turns to springtime, we look for some new ways to get you lurkers out there involved in this very blog.

Here's the age-old scenario...you find yourself on a desert island with a malfunctioning iPod (or other newfangled) jukebox, but you have a supply of never-ending batteries. So, what 10 "albums" would you want to have available to you? Here's mine (in no particular order):

1. Blue, Joni Mitchell
2. The Grass is Blue, Dolly Parton
3. Diva, Annie Lennox
4. Rythmn of the Saints, Paul Simon
5. Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. Red Dirt Girl, Emmylou Harris
7. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams
8. Live in New York City, Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band
9. The Revolution Starts Now, Steve Earle
10.Bruised Orange, John Prine

Honorable Mentions (I know this is cheating, but how can you pass these classics up?):
Horses, Patti Smith
Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan
Goin' Back to New Orleans, Dr John
Time (the Revelator), Gillian Welch
Moondance, Van Morrison
Any Miles Davis recordings -- I'm not enough of a jazz expert to choose one, but I suppose "Kind of Blue" would work, eh?

What is your list? Care to share?