Photos of lots of Wisconsin protest signs. I laughed at this one.
From Green Metropolis by David Owen:
City dwellers who fantasize about living in the country usually picture themselves hiking, kayaking, gathering eggs from their own chickens, and engaging in other robust outdoor activities, but what you actually do when you move out of the city is move into a car . . . .
With minimal or no public transit and everything miles apart, car trips consume a lot of time.
I post this only because so many Colorado Democrats suffer from the fantasy that Bennet and Udall are good guys representing liberal interests.
These credulous Democrats excuse bad votes because Udall and/or Bennet were "forced" to compromise with Republicans. That's just bullshit. A delusion.
Compromise means meeting someone partway with the expectation of receiving something good. It is a deal. You give something up because you want to get something.
Simply pandering to nitwits is not compromising. It is just bad policy. Not understanding the issues is not compromise either. It's just idiocy. And actively supporting bad things isn't compromise. It's just, well, doing bad things.
Here's the latest example of Bennet and Udall pursuing a pandering, idiotic, and/or bad policy: Austerity on the backs of the poor during a severe recession with a high unemployment rate. This is not compromise. This is what they want.
From the Denver Post:
Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet said Monday that President Barack Obama's 2012 budget does not go far enough in cutting spending.
. . .
Both Udall and Bennet think the president's fiscal commission recommendations released last year should be taken to the Senate floor for a vote, even though neither senator likes every aspect of the 57-page plan that includes unpopular cuts to entitlement programs and defense spending.
"Although the president takes steps to rein in spending and reduce the deficit, the budget we pass should contain a comprehensive approach that builds upon the work of the Fiscal Commission," Bennet said.
Clowns. Destructive clowns.
Reagan (D) v. Nutjob (R)? It's a Sucker's Game.
How many times have I heard "He sucks but you can't vote for the Republican! He's a nutjob!" or something like that? And I generally went along.
Things started to change for me when we kicked off the invasion of Iraq with rousing, bipartisan cheers. In the next election, I could not bring myself to vote for anyone, Democrat or Republican, who supported the mass killing of innocent people. My doubts about the mental wattage of anyone who would support such an idiotic foreign policy gaffe also helped.
Not cheering the killing of innocent civilians became a line I just refused to cross. If immoral, moronic people were to be elected it would be without my support. My residence and citizenship made me more complicit than I could endure. I had no wish to compound my guilt with an affirmative action.
Now I'm starting to wonder whether I should simply stop voting altogether.
The Democrats seem to have become more enthusiastic worshippers at the "no tax" altar than Ronald Reagan ever was. We've already seen Obama trade poverty programs for tax cuts and adopt the austerity mantra. I will be shocked if Obama doesn't end up signing a law cutting social security. (Want to bet on that?)
Perhaps most painful is that my friend John Hickenlooper, now Governor of Colorado, has just proposed cutting school funding yet again. That's despite a statewide referendum that voters passed so school funding would increase annually.
So what happens if progressives stop voting and let the lunatics take complete charge? Maybe the backlash to the total idiocy would support real change.
I don't think so, but voting for Democrats doesn't seem to have worked.
“Love” is so short of perfect rhymes that convention allows half-rhymes like “move”. The alternative is a plague of doves, or a kind of poem in which the poet addresses his adored both as “love” and as “guv”—a perfectly decent solution once, but only once, in a while.
The excerpt is from one of the essays Fenton wrote for the Guardian about poetry. The series is called "James' Fenton's poetry Master Class".
I leave the poetry writing to Gerty; poetry reading is my department. Nonetheless, I found the essays enlightening and entertaining.
So much for love, doves, and govs, here's Paris:
Gerty Says Happy Valentine's Day
Gerty says that I should write a blog and call it "36 years." That would be the 36 years from Reagan's election to the end of Obama's second term.
Gerty says that's my personal arc from "this sucks, and I'm going to change it" to "this still sucks, and there's not a darn thing I'm able to do about it because no one gives a shit about anything except their next 'major purchase' and tax cuts, so let's go drink beers in Thailand."
Gerty says "Thirty six years is a conservative estimate, but if we drink enough beers in Thailand we won't care about anything either even if the world gets suckier."
Gerty also says "Come to bed, and I'll read you my Valentine's Day poem. Or, you can read it to me."
Gerty keeps things in perspective.
The most damning part of the recent Sports Illustrated article on Lance and doping (article summary) is the news of unexplained high T/E readings in three of Armstrong's urine samples between 1991 and 1998. Those three samples tested at ratios of 9.0, 7.6, and 6.5. According the SI article, before 2005, any ratio above 6 was considered abnormal. Since 2005, ratios over 4.0 are considered abnormal.
Don Catlin, whose lab reported the high T/E readings, has responded to several parts of the article.
As to the abnormally high T/E ratios found in three of Armstrong's samples, Catlin doesn't explain those results but attempts to put them in perspective.
Catlin says that two of them are not so high that failing to find similarly high results in the B samples would not be "unexpected." He says it's less likely for the sample that showed the highest reading:
It was not an unexpected occurrence to have samples with screen T/E ratios between 6.0 and 7.5 not confirm. It would be less likely, however, that a sample that screens at 9.0 does not confirm.
Not exactly a ringing defense. "Not unexpected" is much different than "happened routinely enough that it was probably an error." And, Catlin's view of the 9.0 reading seems even more jaundiced.
Even with the added context, the results provide more support for the conclusion that "Lance doped" than the conclusion that "he never touched the stuff."
I thought Freewheeling was a great contemporary blog. Little did I know that 9th Century Japanese poets were reading it long before me.
The Sound of Rapids
To avoid noisy places is my nature,
yet I love the gurgling of a stream.
Like a hermit turning his pillow;
like an old zither being strummed.
One old pine -- a silk umbrella on the bank;
scattering leaves -- a boat moored in waves.
Tonight I have not a thing to do --
but read "Freewheeling" in my Zhuangzi!
-- Sugawara no Michizane (845-903)
"Freewheeling" is the first chapter in the great Taoist classic, the Zhuangzi.
That chapter is actually entitled 逍遙遊. Steven Carter, the poem's translator, translates this as "Freewheeling"; James Legge, as "Enjoyment in Untroubled Ease." I prefer Nina Correa's "Carefree Roaming."
Curiously, Freewheeling's latest post is entitled "What A Great Time To Be Alive!." I suppose he should know.
Tea Partiers are good for something. Some of them voted against extending some of the heinous parts of the Patriot Act, including roving wiretaps and non-search warrant access to customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions, libraries, and credit companies.
The Colorado Dems split: DeGette & Polis voted against the undebated extension of part of the Patriot Act. Perlmutter voted in favor of the extension.
My favorite Colorado fake Tea Partier, Doug Lamborn, skipped the vote. (The rest of Colorado's Republican civil libertarians voted in favor of the extension.)
Congress will eventually pass the extension, but not without debate. Obama supports extending the provisions until 2013.
Gerty is glued to Al Jezeera. She takes breaks for exercise, food, and errands, but the revolution in Egypt has her riveted.
Many of the early stories offered Egypt's income inequalities as a partial explanation for the uprising. Trouble is, income inequality is worse in the U.S. than it is in Egypt.
(Another great American myth is that America has tremendous social mobility.)
Post Office on Wheels
Pretty great idea. This Post Office on wheels makes a circuit of senior housing, so the folks who live there can send their packages and buy stamps.
From a February 14, 2002 profile of Rahm in the Chicago Reader:
Ironically, despite his reputation for ruthlessness, Emanuel fit right in with an administration known for its middle-of-the-road policies. For all his talk of punishing enemies, he and Clinton were ideological soul mates, in that they were perfectly willing to compromise their political beliefs if that's what they needed to do to get elected and pass legislation. Like Clinton, Emanuel called himself a "new Democrat," as distinguished from the social activists in the party's past. . . .
The result was a wasted presidency, at least in the eyes of many progressives. As presidential scholars James MacGregor Burns and Georgia Sorenson write in their book Dead Center: Clinton-Gore Leadership and the Perils of Moderation, Clinton abandoned many of his campaign promises, particularly his national health-care plan, which he couldn't pass even though the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress during his first two years in office. "Facing an ideological party, he could not be ideological because he was a transactional broker who was not always persistent and skillful enough to make his dealing stick, and was a would-be transforming leader without the deep conviction necessary to that strategy," Burns and Sorenson write. "No wonder some Americans considered him neither a fox nor a lion, but a chameleon."
Substituting "Obama" for "Clinton" gives a description of Obama's first two years.
It's tempting to say that Rahm's presence resulted in Obama wasting his presidency just as Clinton was wasted his.
There's a couple problems with this. First, Obama presumably knew what he was getting -- he lived through the Clinton presidency. Second, when Rahm departed, Obama appointed a pair of Rockefeller-esque Republicans as his chiefs of staff. Pete Rouse was the utterly inept Tom Daschle's chief of staff and then ran Obama's senate office before joining the White House.
And now, Obama has picked William Daley. The only notable thing about Daley is that he has great potential to be worse -- more inept and more conservative than Rahm or Rouse.
I REALLY hate it when a robotic phone voice masquerades as a real person.
I feel like a fool pretending that the robotic voice is a human. I avoid speaking if at all possible, but it's becoming less and less possible. And the robots are more insistent than ever that they be treated as humans.
When I called to report that our power was out, Xcel's chipper robotic voice even introduced itself as "Mary." Gack.
I can't articulate exactly why I find this revolting. Perhaps because it demeans all real people? But there's plenty of real people who do that to themselves.
In the dark of the moon, in the flying snow, in the dead of winter,
war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.
-- Wendell Berry
Edging away from the edge of American space
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