Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
MIT has created a planktonic ecosystem on a microscope slide. They're using it to study the carbon cycle in the oceans and they wanted to focus on plankton without all the other creatures getting in the way. It's the perfect new conversation piece for our downsized economy!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Via Palaeoblog there's an interesting paper by a father and son research team out of Finland that considers why life arose. Not why-because-God-was-bored why, but why an assemblage of chemicals on an infant planet became flora and fauna.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Now that the election is over, I don't have as much to get riled over, so I'll have to find something else to blog about. Of course, our economy's collapsing due mostly to Republican policies, so if I lose my job, that should give me fodder. I'm not in imminent danger of that. Yet.
41 more days.
Friday, November 28, 2008
We're here at Lee J's parents again for Thanksgiving and I brought the laptop with me so I've done a ton of web-surfing and caught up on a lot of the blogs I haven't been to lately. It took us a bit to find the password for the wireless, but Beverly, my mother-in-law called tech and got it.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Senate Democrats let turncoat Joe Lieberman keep his Committee chair today. Harry "thank you sir, may I please have another" Reid (D-Spineless) said, "we're looking forward, we're not looking back." We donated, volunteered and voted these dickheads into office and this is the thanks we get.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Jazz piano legend Ahmad Jamal performing in 2005, in a set of mostly originals, accompanied by drums legend Idris Muhammad and James Cammack on bass.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last night, at some friends' house, we watched our first black President-elect give a call to a new nation. The long horror of the Bush administration will end soon. The country has repudiated conservative ideology. We are not a conservative country and never were. The slumbering electorate, long content to be led by simpleminded dogma, has awakened to the need for thought again.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Catalogue of Organisms, HMNH and Pharyngula have more insight into this mystery.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Huffington Post has a live one: William Timmons, the lobbyist heading up John McCain's transition team, lobbied for Saddam Hussein. It's a long post, but read the whole thing anyway. Two guys working for Timmons were convicted of acting as unregistered agents for Saddam, and Timmons bragged that his ideas led to the disastrous oil-for-food program. MCain want's to bring up Obama's associations in the debate tomorrow. We can only hope.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Since we're on the subject of past associations with supposed terrorists, what might we find? For starters, McCain doesn't think bombing abortion clinics is terrorism. He also hangs out with several convicted criminals, such as G. Gordon Liddy, Carl Lindner and Ollie North who've all supported terrorists. When Clinton was trying to warn everybody about Osama bin Laden, McCain didn't think bin Laden was such a bad guy. And, of course Todd Palin's membership in a party that seeks Alaska's violent secession from the US should also be in our tally.
When it comes to rubbing shoulders with religious crazies, Obama can't touch McCain or Palin. McCain's associations with bigoted and unstable preachers such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley is well-known as is Palin's pal, witch-hater Thomas Muthee.
Oh, and McCain's oft-told war hero story might be not what it's made out to be.
Since the economy is on everyone's mind, the Obama Campaign made a little documentary on McCain's role in the Keating Five scandal:
McCain was supposed to be contrite about that and called it one of his worst mistakes. Seems that he's apparently only sorry he got caught. McCain is right; his only way to victory is to distract voters from the collapse of the free-market economy that he championed. The only problem is, if he's going to resort to cheap smears, Obama is rubber and McCain is glue.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Dasornis, an enormous relative of geese lived 50 million years ago in southern England. It had a 17-foot wingspan and teeth-like structures on its beak. It soared over the waves much like an albatross. I wonder what the white meat tasted like.
Image courtesy of Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum.
Friday, September 26, 2008
With John McCain growing more infantile by the minute, there is no shortage of reasons to vote against him. This makes us forget that there are just as many reasons to vote for Obama. Here's another one; 61 Nobel science laureates endorse him because he understands the importance of research.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Other than that, it was a nice weekend. The weather was good, there was plenty of sports on the TV and the extra day let me relax before getting back to the phone bank and voter registration. Lee J had a cake made for me in the shape of my car (shown here) by Patty's Pastry Creations. She also got me a cell phone, so I'm part of the Borg, now. She also took me out to dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Jhanthong Banbua.
I got a gift card from my mom, money from my in-laws and the present I got for myself showed up on time. I spent the day like I've usually done in recent years by puttering about the house, surfing the net and napping, with a loud soundtrack of guitar rock, with Tool, Tantric, T Rex and Stereolab all conveniently located near each other on the CD shelf.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Prop. 1A Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act. I've been on the bullet train from Paris to Lyon and it's amazing. Whisper-quiet at 250 mph. This would get people of the overstrained highways and airports. Good for the environment, too. Yes.
Prop. 2 Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute. I like meat, but there's no reason for my meat to live in misery. Yes.
Prop. 3 Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute. Single-payer health care is what we need, but this is a step. Yes.
Prop. 4 Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Another cut at Roe v. Wade. No.
Prop. 5 Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute. People shouldn't be in jail at all for these offenses. Until people get common sense over drugs and legalize them, we can limit the effects of this witch-hunt mentality. Yes.
Prop. 6 Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute. More lock-ups for kids? No.
Prop. 7 Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute. Badly written and counterproductive. No.
Prop. 8 Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Deny gays the right to marry? Hell, no.
Prop. 9 Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. More punishment and prison overcrowding. No.
Prop. 10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute. Swift Boat funder and oilman T. Boone Pickens is behind this. That's snake oil you smell. No.
Prop. 11 Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. More election game-rigging by the Republicans. No.
Prop. 12 Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008. Extends benefits for veterans. Yes.
Take it for what you will. See you at the polls, bitches.
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, put it Friday morning on the ABC program “Good Morning America,” the congressional leaders were told “that we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”
Mr. Schumer added, “History was sort of hanging over it, like this was a moment.”
When Mr. Schumer described the meeting as “somber,” Mr. Dodd cut in. “Somber doesn’t begin to justify the words,” he said. “We have never heard language like this.”
We're in trouble. But something about that meeting seems familiar... why do the words weapons of mass destruction and civil liberties keep popping into my head? As usual, Glenn Greenwald explains why:
What's most vital to underscore is that the beneficiaries of this week's extraordinary Government schemes aren't just the coincidental recipients of largesse due to some random stroke of good luck. The people on whose behalf these schemes are being implemented -- the true beneficiaries -- are the very same people who have been running and owning our Government -- both parties -- for decades, which is why they have been able to do what they've been doing without interference. They were able to gamble without limit because they control the Government, and now they're having others bear the brunt of their collapse for the same reason -- because the Government is largely run for their benefit.We're being played again. Yes, this is a serious problem, but anything these people say is probably a lie. So how we deal with it is something we should be careful with. One way of being careful is making the choice between John McCain, who said this;
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.and Barack Obama, who said this:
First, there must be no blank check when American taxpayers are on the hook for this much money.Time for new management.
Second, taxpayers shouldn't be spending a dime to reward CEOs on Wall Street.
Third, taxpayers should be protected and should be able to recoup this investment.
Fourth, this plan has to help homeowners stay in their homes.
Fifth, this is a global crisis, and the United States must insist that other nations join us in helping secure the financial markets.
Sixth, we need to start putting in place the rules of the road I've been calling for for years to prevent this from ever happening again.
And finally, this plan can't just be a plan for Wall Street, it has to be a plan for Main Street.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
One thing that's great about YouTube is I can see videos of tours I never got to see live. This is Peter Gabriel-era Genesis from 1974. There are several versions of this tune from different tours and venues of varying quality.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Two houses away from us live a pair of ladies, Kate and Anne. They're the kind of neighbors that everyone knows. They've been together for 27 years, and have lived in our neighborhood for most of that time. The kind of neighbors who take care of your pets when you're away, give great gardening tips, and will readily share their tools.
They got married on Saturday because they finally can. California has given gay people full marriage rights. Kate and Anne had the legal ceremony on Friday, at the courthouse. Their family, friends and many of us neighbors joined them in their back yard for the reception. It was a sweltering afternoon, but it was a joyous atmosphere with an undercurrent of pride; we were all proud to be a part of something good, to be on the right side of history.
It's hard for me to understand why conservatives want to stifle something positive like this. Where's the threat from two people love each other, who have already stood by each other for more than a quarter-century and want to commit forever after? I can now say from experience that gay marriage is not a threat to "traditional" marriage. Just the opposite. Lee J spent three nights assembling blow-bubble party favors for this wedding. On Saturday, I would look over at her proud to be married to a progressive, lucky to be with someone who loves love, and helps me do the same.
This is what happens when progressives drive policy. People in California are free to love, and are celebrated for loving rather than hated for it.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
If you were out doing fun things or yard work this holiday weekend you may have missed one of the most entertaining news cycles of this campaign- the emerging absurdity of Sarah Palin. McCain's camp insists that she was thoroughly vetted before the decision was made, but vetting must have been done over beer and mooseburgers. So far we have learned that:
Monday, September 1, 2008
On Sunday we attended the opening of the local Democratic party headquarters in downtown Santa Rosa. They had optimistically expected 100-150 people on a holiday weekend that usually means few people would stop by. Not this year. Well over 300 people showed up, overwhelming the office space and spilling out over the sidewalk. Buttons, bumperstickers and signs vanished as people waited in line to volunteer. Our local representative, Lynn Woolsey spoke and even though I was only 20 feet from her, I could barely see the top of her head through the crowd.
We're in an indigo-blue district, so I'd expect Democrats to be popular. But people can be complacent out here, with progressives winning regularly and with comfortable margins. There's a buzz this year, however, even more so than '06. Obama is deadlocked in the polls with McCain so far, but when I look at the trees instead of the forest, I see energy like never before. Something is happening in America.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I'm keeping the tank, lights and equipment in the hopes that maybe at a later date when I have the time it'll need I can restock it. Maybe I'll get a chiller and stock it with critters from the local coast. We'll see. I admit I feel kind of liberated right now.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Play the McCain POW POW POW Game: No matter what the question is, the answer is POW!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
McCain is so rich (or so senile) he doesn't even know how many houses he owns. McCain doesn't give a shit about us. It'll be 4 more years of neo-feudalism under McCain. But nothing he will ever do is wrong, because he was a POW! Check out more great video from Brave New Films.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
I know it's much hipper to worship Billie Holiday, but I think Ella was the greatest female singer ever. She never fails to lift my mood and she swings like nobody's business. This is from 1965 and her fellas on this one are the Tommy Flanagan Trio, with Flanagan on piano, Billy Yancy on bass and Gus Johnson on drums.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The state senator from my district, Pat Wiggins, has been acting strange lately. She can be heard off-camera a ways into the video saying, "I think it's bullshit." Her term does not come up for a couple more years, but this needs to be looked into.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Roundabouts are way better than stop signs. Other improvements will be bike boxes, which give bicycles the right of way over cars at intersections, bulbouts to shorten crosswalks by schools and bioswales to improve drainage and clean water going into stormdrains.
The meeting had a lot of people and a lot of comments. There were the usual grumpy old men complaining about "young people" ignoring traffic laws and people complaining about crazy drivers. Outside of that, it looks like it'll be a positive development. This is what happens when progressives have a governing majority: common-sense solutions that make a city better.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
LeeJ and I went to the Sonoma county fair on Saturday for our 11th wedding anniversary. We didn't go on any rides but we ate a lot of junk, looked at a lot of arts and crafts and I won her some Mardi Gras beads by hitting a balloon with a dart. Our first stop was the Hall of Stuff. That's where people sell all kinds of miracle things that you see on late-night infomercials. LeeJ got an EZBun for her hair, a directional nozzle for the sink, a glow-in-the dark pendant showing the phase of the moon on the day she was born, and some moisturizer. She also got her horoscope read. I got some ratchet clippers because I can never find them at the hardware store.
We also stopped by the Democratic party booth. They were doing a brisk business selling Obama '08 stuff. I got the last white t-shirt they had in extra large, two buttons and a bumper sticker. LeeJ got four buttons. The Republican booth had three guys twiddling their thumbs. I strolled back and forth between the two booths while LeeJ was entertained by sales pitches, and it was still the same; the Democrats were selling merchandise like crazy while the Republicans were ignored.
The polls show McCain closing in on Obama now that Karl Rove and his acolytes have taken over McCain's campaign, but the enthusiasm gap is clearly visible out on the street. I live in a pretty Democratic district, but it's different this year. People want to be a part of history.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
One of the greatest jazz tunes ever. Miles Davis with the second quartet. This is from the Steve Allen Show in 1964. Burt Lancaster is hanging out on the set. The quality is not so good, but it shows this quartet at the height of its powers. Watch Ron Carter's fingers fly over the bass.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
John McCain put out a new ad comparing Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. The truth is, when you look at Britney's political views, she agrees with him; you should support the President. Since none of the other Republicans would be a good fit for him, he should pick Britney! She's young, photogenic and needs a job.
Friday, July 25, 2008
McCain shows himself to be a sore loser by whining for attention, trying to steal Obama's plays, and making shit up.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I was going to wait until Obama's world tour was over to blog about it but there's just too much juicy stuff happening. It's already clear that this trip has been an unmitigated disaster for... John McCain. Earlier this spring McCain had belittled Obama for not going to Iraq and Afghanistan to see for himself the conditions there. So Obama went.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I just had to include some live stuff by Bruce Cockburn. He's my favorite songwriter. He's also a terrific guitarist and a great live performer. This is off his Breakfast in New Orleans, Dinner in Timbuktu album. If you dig him as much as I do, check out the fan site over in the sidebar.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.
"We've never been more dominant; we've never had more natural advantages than we have today," he said. "We have benefited greatly" from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We'll be at the Chevron on the corner of Mendocino and College for MoveOn's Rally for an Oil-Free President tomorrow from 5-7 pm. We'll be waving signs and passing out flyers contrasting Obama's and McCain's positions on energy. It's supposed to be 104 degrees tomorrow so hopefully we won't pass out.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
My in-laws are having the house painted and I had to connect their computer back together so I could blog this. Does this mean I have a problem? LeeJ thinks so. Fortunately, my in-laws don't mind me playing with their computer. One fun thing is that LeeJ's parents are also staunch liberals so political conversations are among kindred spirits. It's worth the cross communication because I get most of my politics via the blogosphere and they get theirs from TV and we can compare the two. The consesus is that libereals are kinder, smarter and just plain better than conservatives.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
We are a nation of stoners. 16.2% of us have tried cocaine, 42.4% have smoked weed. That's just the ones who admit it. By contrast, 1.9% of Dutch have used coke and 19.8 have smoked weed. That's from a country where marijuana is legal and is supposed to be like a permanent Dead show. Shows how well the War on Drugs has worked, hasn't it?
Monday, June 30, 2008
"I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president."
Friday, June 27, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Passage of the FISA Destruction Bill by Congress today was a total collapse of integrity by congressional Democrats. This bill, which will bury forever any knowledge of how far our government has gone to undermine our rights. The President has given himself the right to eavesdrop on anyone, without a warrant, for any reason purely because he wants to.
The Democratic Congress, who we spent hours on the phone for and donated money to, betrayed us. Nancy Pelosi let herself be steamrolled by Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel, then gave a mealy-mouthed defense. Barack Obama had a golden leadership opportunity pitched right down the center of the plate and didn't even swing.
The Democrats are still better than the Republicans, who are just plain crazy, but we have a lot dead weight to get rid of before we can turn this country back to the light.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Less than a month after graduating, LeeJ found a job. Starting Monday, she will be officially a paralegal. She's contracted for 5 months, which is perfect, because it will give her experience without locking her in long-term. Plus, it's close by so she doesn't have to spend all her money on gas.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We spent the day at our friends Gretchen and Mike's for their son Cody's 3rd birthday. There was a backyard barbecue and a zillion little kids running around squirting each other. Getting hit by the occasional errant shot felt good actually because it was 100 degrees out. That's pretty temperate for Modesto.
We're watching The Stand on the room TV. Isn't this fascinating? OK I admit it. I'm doing this because I can.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I dunno. I thought it was a little too Da Vinci Code. The other people in the room seemed pretty skeptical as well. But LeeJ got a handmade replica of the Philosopher's Stone, although the way Pietsch described it was different than anything we had heard. Pietsch claims to be in possesion of the Stone, and said it explains the mysteries of the universe. So why hasn't he gotten us out of Iraq?
McCain and Obama are polar opposites in this regard. Obama supports it and McCain is against it. Also, to use a familiar lightning rod, McCain wants a judge who will overturn Roe v. Wade and Obama does not. For the future of this country we can't afford a McCain presidency.
P.S. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) hates our rights so much he wants to amend the Constitution to overturn this ruling.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
By now everybody's getting familiar with Cindy McCain, the beer-heiress second wife of John McCain but what about his first wife? The Huffington Post points to a story about her in the venerable London tabloid, the Daily Mail. We have to go overseas to find news the media here will ignore.
"My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens...it just does."
Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.
He first met Carol in the Fifties while he was at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.He was a privileged, but rebellious scion of one of America’s most distinguished military dynasties – his father and grandfather were both admirals. But setting out to have a good time, the young McCain hung out with a group of young officers who called themselves the ‘Bad Bunch’. His primary interest was women and his conquests ranged from a knife-wielding floozy nicknamed ‘Marie, the Flame of Florida’ to a tobacco heiress.
I suppose everyone has their wild oats to sow. But I'm sure his experiences made him the straight-talking maverick he is today, right?
Whew. Apparently she forgives him. But this old family friend hasn't:
And yet despite his popularity as a politician, there are those who won’t forget his treatment of his first wife. Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is – deceit.
‘When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.
‘Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.
‘This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.’
But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.
‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory,’ he said. ‘After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’