Thursday, December 22, 2005

God Is In the Details?

This morning a friend pointed me to a cartoon by S. Harris that he felt sums up the difference between theology and science (I'm paraphrasing there, my friend didn't actually say that. In fact what my friend said, exactly, was,
"The epiphany came for me the other day when we were exchanging emails. Believe it or not it came when my mind stumbled on the memory of this cartoon."
And then my friend included a link to this fine cartoon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Censures

I'm kind of hoping that one of the congressional movements to censure and/or impeach actually take place. Not that Cheney would be any better, but not even censuring seems so... well like we're living in a dictatorship, no matter how pleasant. Everyone must answer to the law if they actually get caught, right?

CensureBush.org

Edit, 12/22/05 - It has been brought to my attention in the comments that my statement sounds as if I would like the official hearing part of the process to be skipped. Obviously my statement is misleading. The movement that I am supporting would like to form a special committee for investigation of the administration's possible crimes. When calling for law, I am not imagining that those who enforce it should also circumvent it.

Psst - Heard About HR 550, Yet?

Of course you have. I've written about it all over the place. Lots of people have written about it. It's a fine, fine bill with some bi-partisan support, and it deals with the rights of the voters to have a voting system that's verifiable and accountable. That's all. It's not about Democrats winning, or Republicans winning, it's about the person who gets the most voted (electoral or otherwise) actually being named the winner. It's politics, people, both sides cheat, and it's important to have as secure a system as possible, isn't it?

If you haven't by now (My goodness, whyever not!), please, go look at and sign the petition.

HR 550 Petition

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Faithless

Lifted from The Opinion Mill today, who in turn is quoting Penn Jillette:


Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around. Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something. Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future. Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

PENN JILLETTE
The magician's contribution to the "This I Believe" feature on NPR's Morning Edition.


I find this statement as soothing as a fluffy comforter wrapped around me.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What I'm Doing

Instead of blogging, that is.

1) Organizing a New Year's Eve weekend. It's work!
2) Catching up on reading everyone else's blog. Also work.
3) Learning my part in some madrigals. I've joined up with a group performing at an SCA event. One's in Latin, one's in German, and I have none of them committed to memory, yet. Plus, I'm getting mightily sick of the tenor line on "The Wren", which will not leave my head.
4) Trying to catch up on actual news. I turned on CNN this weekend only to see people talking about Novak and Plame for half an hour. Don't I already know about that? What about the whole "invading privacy" thing? Isn't that important? I think it's probably very important. Running Scared has some excellent posts on this topic.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

HR 550 - You Know You Love It

In an attempt to seem topical witout doing any work at all, I have COMPLETELY lifted this post from DBK over at Blanton's and Ashton's. I'm hoping he doesn't sue.

Liz of Blondesense told me that she wrote to Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio several times about the H.R. 550 petition and Randi Rhodes has said nothing about it on the air.

Well, how about we all write to the show and ask them to publicize it?

Here's the link to write to Randi.

Here's what I am sending to her (feel free to use part or all of it for your letters too):
Dear Ms Rhodes:

Congressman Rush Holt has a petition at http://www.rushholt.com/petition.html in support of H.R. 550, the verified voting bill that is currently languishing in the House Administration Committee. VerifiedVoting.org has called this legislation the "gold standard" of verified voting bills. The bill has 159 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and was also strongly endorsed by the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform. I know you are familiar with the legislation.

On November 30, a blogswarm began in support of H.R. 550 and Congressman Holt's petition. (A "blogswarm" is a loose coalition of web logs that agree to post articles about a certain topic and link to each other's postings on that topic.) The swarm now has about ninety participating web logs, but it is not enough and we need your help. Could you please publicize the Congressman's petition on your program?

Verified voting is not a partisan issue. The possibility that an election could be rigged is a danger to everyone, regardless of political leanings. From the GAO's report on election fraud, issued this past October, to the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform's final report, issued this past September, to the many articles on BlackBoxVoting.org and VerifiedVoting.org, there is no question that current touch-screen voting systems can be rigged. The American people deserve elections that are not only free from fraud, but free from the possibility of fraud. They deserve verified voting, and H.R. 550 provides that.

Thank you for your consideration.

Please join me in writing to Randi Rhodes and pushing her to publicize verified voting and the H.R. 550 petition.


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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I Try to Keep it Clean

I really do try to keep it clean, here, It's not that I mind swearing, or that I frown on anyone swearing in the comments. It's not that I don't swear in my everyday speech, either. It's just that I feel like if I keep it clean, then when I do swear, it'll carry more weight. Like, for instance, when I see this:

Iran's Ahmadinejad says Holocaust a myth


A myth. You stupid, purposefully cruel fuck pig. I hope that comes back to you in your eternal "reward". Hell, I hope it doesn't take that long.

I think you all understand how I feel about this with perfect clarity, now.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Loss of Motor Skills

Great, now I can't make a fist.

Via Jill via Digby, Tai Shan.

HR 550 Blogswarm - Week Two

What else can I say about the importance of verified voting? I've already pointed out how it's in everyone's best interest, no matter what their party, because knowing that the votes are recorded and counted correctly makes a victory unassailable. I've linked to articles about states taking the reigns in their own hands, and I've talked about how paper-only or electronic only is a bad idea because of the possibility of system failure.

I've linked to the petition site over and over.

Well. I guess I've just gone and done it again, then.

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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Busy Signal

I'm guessing that yesterday's loggorhea is the reason I'm so behind at work today. I'm too busy to post quite yet, so I thought I'd throw this up for now:



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Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Freedom of Religion

A bit of background on me right now: I'm trying to buy gifts for my family and friends, because I love buying and giving gifts, I'm trying to keep up with the HR 550 blogswarm, because verified voting is a very important issue to me, and I'm listening, on CD, to Ron Silver reading me "The Plot Against America".

Imagine, if you will, a story about Lindbergh becoming president instead of FDR winning a third term, and holy cow is it a scary story for a Jew. Yikes. It really rams home how people don't want to believe that bad things are happening. They don't want to believe it to the level that they do not stop the bad things. I was reminded forcefully of the same feeling when reading a post at Brilliant at Breakfast about Christopher Hitchens on Joe Scarborough's show. Yes, that's a lot of links.
HITCHENS: This guy from Lynchburg defines progress as teaching junk science to our children, and leaving us the mockery of the world by pretending that we did not evolve.
Scarborough immediately tries to stop this topic because
"We are not going to debate intelligent-we are not going to debate intelligent design right here, but, Christopher..."
It felt, suddenly, exactly like the feelings I get when listening to the story. People who want to stop the teaching of evolution in the classroom in favor of "intelligent design" are doing a bad thing. Religion is religion, and science is science, and no one is saying that some god figure didn't make up the rules that make science science, we're just saying that the rules exist, and that teaching them actually equips children to grow up in an informed manner. It lets them grow up prepared to understand how things work, and solve problems, and exist without fear of simple things because they're unknown. Teaching evolution in a science classroom teaches more than just the idea that men used to be apes, it teaches natural progression, it teaches how larger, more complex things can grow from smaller, simpler things. It teaches them to think and learn and analyze for themselves. If people want to teach their young that a deity is the reason for the rules, fine. They're welcome to do that in the house of worship of their choice. The public schools aren't there for that, they're just there to talk about what those rules actually are.

This brings me back to Scarborough Country. Hitchens said this:
HITCHENS: ... as in Washington, D.C., there are large numbers of public buildings, lavishly financed, usually, in fact, invariably, tax exempt, sometimes even government subsidized by the-—what do we call it, faith-based program.

They are called churches. People can go there if they want to have religious ceremony. They can put up hoardings on their land which say it's Jesus' birthday or Christ has risen, if it's Easter, anything like that. You can't stop them. They do it all the time, and they are very welcome.
And that's true, they are very welcome to do that.
When I say that I don't want religious items on public ground -– and this is a position that I've only come to occupy fairly recently - it's not because I'm anti religion, it's simply because I feel that our government should remain staunchly secular. I wish for public offices to deal with only the cut and dried matters of taxes, and zoning, and civil documents and the like. Should people be allowed to decorate public offices? Sure. No one likes a depressing work atmosphere. Can'’t it be secular decoration, though? Can'’t they just put up some pretty snowflake lights and be happy with that?

Our founding fathers were trying to set up a country where free, white land-owning men could worship in any way they darn well pleased. I lift another link from Jill:
It was during Adam's [sic] administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."


Does this make me "anti-Christmas"? No, it does not. I am not a Christian. That means that I don't have any particular religious significance attached to the holiday. I love all the secular and updated-pagan trappings that go with it, though. I'm crazy for evergreens, love candles in windows, and I think that getting to kiss someone because they're standing under a specific branch with some berries on it is a fun idea. I like to wear green or red in fancy, warm fabrics, and don't even get me started on twinkly lights or silvery decorations! But I'm still not a Christian, and I still don't actually celebrate Christmas. And neither do Hindus, or Buddhists, or Muslims, or any other non-Christians. And those of us who practice these religions that are U.S citizens, well, we're not Christians, but we are indeed Americans. Sure Christians are the majority, but they'’re not the monopoly.

If someone, as an American, decides that they will only say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", they're not trying to exclude anybody from celebrating anything. They are merely trying to include everyone in a wish for a happy season that doesn't make any assumptions about their habits of worship. Here in the U.S we're free to worship, and to celebrate as we choose. That's not a bad thing. Being restricted to do so at non-government locations is not a sign of oppression; it's a sign of freedom.

Taking Action

You know what my .sig file* is at work? It's this: "...well run companies have 'a bias for action.'". That's right, a bias for action.

From a recent AP article by Brian Bergstein:

Even in this election off-year, the potential perils of electronic voting systems are bedeviling state officials as a Jan. 1 deadline approaches for complying with standards for the machines' reliability.
Across the country, officials are trying multiple methods to ensure that touch-screen voting machines can record and count votes without falling prey to software bugs, hackers, malicious insiders or other ills that beset computers.

This isn't just theoretical - problems in some states already have led to lost or miscounted votes.
Problems have already occurred. We can't personally make people build machines that work better, but we can support legislation that will make it illegal for poorly-conceived machines to be used in US elections. By requiring a paper trail we canverifyy the voting results and make the entire process better.

Have you not signed the petition supporting HR 550 yet? Why not? Why not take action?



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* for those of you who just said "Huh?" a .sig file is the few lines of text that you can set up to show at the bottom of your emails

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

More Voting Stuff

OK, so maybe work is keeping me a little busy with... work. I'm still popping my nose in here and passing you all a link to Blanton's and Ashton's where DBK is once again talking about verified voting. I'm hoping that by taking part in this blogswarm, that some of you reading this will learn more about the issue than you would have without me, and that all of you reading this will sign the petition supporting HR 550.

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Monday, December 5, 2005

Carnival of the NJ Bloggers #29

Carnival 29 is up, baby!

Focus on Security

Today I'd like to highlight a small - tiny, even - section of the text in HR 550.
(9) PROHIBITION OF USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES IN VOTING SYSTEMS- No voting system shall contain, use, or be accessible by any wireless, power-line, or concealed communication device at all.
I read this and I though, "Of course! Of course we need a voting system that can't be accessed via concealed communications device! Why isn't that already written down?!"

Security matters are not intended to be afterthoughts. They're an important part of the development process. Not being able to access a voting system from the outside - at ALL - is just as important as the concept that all of the code should be available for audit by the people who buy it. This isn't a word processor that some software company's afraid that their main competitor is going to steal, here, this is the system that will be fueling the engine of our democratic process. It needs to be transparent by its very definition.

HR 550 is a bill worth supporting. Have you signed the petition, yet?

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Friday, December 2, 2005

You'd Catch 'em Votin' at Del Mar...

Back in August, the Mercury News wrote up an article about how important paper ballot validation is and how Governor Schwarzenegger was likely to sign a bill requiring it. The article brings one of my favorite points:
The difference may seem an arcane point, but it's fundamental. If there is a glitch with the software, you won't know it by simply using images that mask the problem. Only the paper copies that voters verified when they voted can offer an accurate check.
This isn't just important for California, but for the whole country, right?

HR 550 includes this aspect. It's a bill that protects our rights as voters, not as members of a political party. It's important to every one of us. Have you signed the petition supporting the bill? No?

Well sign the petition, already!



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Thursday, December 1, 2005

Verified Voting is Cool

Look, I'm all about the technology. I'm a web developer by trade, and a computer nerd by hobby. I'd say by birth, but I was born in 1968, and I'm not sure if full-fledged computer nerddom had evolved yet back then. I love all things having to do with technology, from my TiVo to my iPod to my Playstation, Playstation 2, and my XBox. Heck, I love my cell phone. What don't I love? Paperless voting machines.

Yes, having electronic voting machines is cool. Having no way to verify your vote is not. Let's say that some sort of catastrophic weather event like a hurricane, or tornado or blizzard wiped out a whole bunch of paper votes beyond reading. In that case it would be darned handy to have all of those votes also stored on a handy, not-wiped-out database. It just goes to follow that in the case of data loss, or power outage, or hack job that there should also be paper records of the votes. We should have a backup to our system, just out of common sense, and we should be able to verify that the votes were recorded correctly.

There's a website showing which states have already made verified voting a law, which ones have them proposed, and which haven't taken any action yet. It's a good resource for reading material about this subject, with press/media links and a page helping people to take action. It's called Verified Voting.Org and it's worth reading.

And, of course, you should still go over to Rush Holt's site, if you haven't yet, and sign his petition about HR 550.

Tag world:




Wednesday, November 30, 2005

HR 550 - It Matters

hr550
If we can't feel confident that our votes are counted, and counted correctly, can we really feel that we have a voice in our own government? If we aren't sure that our votes go to the people we intend them to go to, then who is our representative democracy really representing? The answer is "not the individual voters".

That's why HR 550 is important. There's a petition out there on Rush Holt's web site to support HR 550. What is the bill all about? Some highlights, from the site:
The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550) will:

* Mandate a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in every federal election, nationwide; because the voter verified paper record is the only one verified by the voters themselves, rather than by the machines, it will serve as the vote of record in any case of inconsistency with electronic records;
* Protect the accessibility requirements of the Help America Vote Act for voters with disabilities;
* Require random, unannounced, hand-count audits of actual election results in every state, and in each county, for every Federal election;
* Prohibit the use of undisclosed software and wireless and concealed communications devices and internet connections in voting machines;
* Provide Federal funding to pay for implementation of voter verified paper balloting; and
* Require full implementation by 2006
Other bloggers are posting about this important issue today. I'll update the list as I find more. Feel free to read any one of them for more information and opinion.

Blanton's and Ashton's
The Center of NJ Life
Scrutiny Hooligans
Did I say that out loud?
The Opinion Mill
Xpatriated Texan
Blondesense
A Mockingbird's Medley
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Daily Kos (registered Daily Kos people, please recommend this diary)
Pam's House Blend
Shakespeare's Sister
Brilliant at Breakfast

Read up, and please, sign the petition.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Officially Anti-Alito

I wasn't sure yet how I felt about Alito, but Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has helped me make up my mind.
The fact that Samuel Alito was a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, and cited that fact on his 1985 job application, has been in the news recently; and it occurred to me that since I was a Princeton undergraduate (class of '81) while CAP was active, I might be able to provide some useful background on this one.
...
CAP was not about opposing affirmative action. It supported quotas that favored white men. CAP was about opposing the presence of women and minorities at Princeton. Period. Moreover, its tactics were despicable. In retrospect, it was one of the first instances of what has now become a familiar pattern: an extremely well-funded organization dedicated to spreading lies about some opponent in an effort to force that opponent to change course through the sheer volume of vitriol and harassment that a lot of money can buy. Samuel Alito pointed with pride to his membership in CAP in 1985. What relevance this should have now is open to debate; I just wanted to clarify what exactly it was that he was proud to be a part of.
What can I say, racism and sexism bother me.

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Carnival

This week's Carnival of the NJ Bloggers is at Gigglechick. Not that I remembered to send in an entry. I was busy! It was a holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Yeah, Right.

Are you kidding? You really thought I'd write a blog post the day before a holiday weekend? The holiday weekend that happens to fall at the same time as my birthday? Yeah, right.

No, instead, I think I'll tell a parable. Once, when I was young, less that 23 young, but over 21, I went to the doctor. When I arrived at the doctor, he asked why I was there.

"I think," I said to my doctor, "that I have strep throat. It hurts to swallow, and I have a fever, and I have these white spots on the back of my tongue. See?"

My doctor then took one of those fast cultures and came back a few minutes later.

"You don't have strep," he said.
"I don't?"
"No. Here's a prescription for erythromycin."
"Erythromycin? What do I have?"
"Something else," replied my doctor.

I never saw that doctor again, because I concluded from that visit that he was a dick who couldn't stand for anyone else to be right.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Evolution of Political Parties

Today's Reading is about how Israel is dissolving Parliament early, and has set early elections next year. These decisions appear to be based on yesterday's news that Ariel Sharon is leaving the Likud party over disagreements with its far-right members.

Hmmm... leaving a party because it's going too right wing, who does that remind me of?

Seriously, though - even though the article says that new parties don't usually have a history of success in Israel, it also says that polls are favorable:
Opinion polls showed the biggest gamble of Sharon's long political career could pay off, giving his new -- and so far unnamed -- party 30-33 seats in the 120-member parliament, enough to virtually assure him a third term.
I don't think that the US really can have a viable third party yet. What makes it possible in Israel and not here? Is it the popularity of Sharon? Is it the fact that Israel is a much younger country, and they've never been limited to a 2-party system, so that the concept of a new party isn't as shocking to people? Either way, when I think about all the talk of partisan politics today, I find myself wishing we could think more like Israel. With a system that had more than 2 parties supported by reasonable numbers of people, maybe less name-calling would ensue.

The more I write on this subject, the more I'm beginning to think that I'm fooling myself. Oh, well. It was a nice idea.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Enough is Enough, Already

Should I ever improbably find myself with a daughter, I'm going to raise her in a nudist colony. I don't even care about the fact that this means everyone will see my enormous butt in full detail, I'm still doing it.

That way, I never have to worry about what she wants to wear.

I cannot believe that people aren't done with this discussion, yet. Little girls spend half their time pretending to be something magical/fantastic, and the other half pretending to be a grown up woman.
The girls who dress the most outrageously are often those most starved for adult male attention, first and foremost from their fathers.
Ah. So glad I read that gem.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Carnival if the NJ Bloggers # 27

Welcome to the 27th Carnival of the NJ Bloggers.

Carnival-medium


Some people have done fancy maps. Some have done elaborate Shakespeare-style plays. Some have done links grouped up by topic. I, being the laziest of them all have selected a format: I shall list the links in the order I received them.

Joe from Joe's Journal is talking about the weather.
Janet at The Art of Getting By talks about tee shirts and thin skins.
Jim Testa over at Jersey Beat is making lemons out of lemonade.
Tata, over at Poor Impulse Control, finds herself inspired to thought by a comment she saw here. Go figure.
Kelley at Fractals of Change explains APIs and Bubble 2.0 (techie/programmer stuff).
Debbie at Barista reports on an unusual party this week.
Sharon over at The Center of New Jersey Life is happy to report that she finally wrote something she's willing to submit. :o)
Maureen writing at Jersey Writers on NJ.com gives us a review of the Musical "Jersey Boys".
Greg at Greg Gethard's Amazing Journey introduces the concept of positive heckling.
Jane at Armies of Liberation was on Al-Jazeera. I wasn't expecting that.
Snowflake at Wild Snowflake saw Bruce. That's as Jersey as it gets, sometimes.
Are there wolves in NJ? Fred at The Eternal Golden Braid thinks there are!
Shamrocketship wrote this week about bizarre dreams.
RBM at NJ Conservative brings a COAH surprise in to the open.
Mike at Ipso Facto Comic Blog has an amusing take on people who don't think about blocking their IPS for their counters.
Lou at Cinnaman talks about Nancy Pelosi.
Cripes, Suzette! has corn fritters. That sounds really good, actually.
Ken at SmadaNek talks about the price of elections.
The Jersey Shore Real Estate Bubble and a stupid rationalization.
Pre-Thanksgiving pounds and a bridal shower from Gigglechick.
Another beautiful photo from Dimitri.
Professor Kim proves that you just never know. You don't!
It finally clicks for Laughing at the Pieces.
Voting stupidity brought to light at Tammany on the Hudson.
A thought experiment in campaign financing at Xpatriated Texan.
D at "D"igital Breakfast remembers the 80's - economically.
Steve at The Opinion Mill has been listening to the callers on 101.5 again. Don't do it Steve, it just makes you crazy.
Jersey Days talked about Jack Murtha and his comments on the war.

Next weeks Carnival will be hosted by NJ's favorite funny gal, Gigglechick.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Written by Tata

A little while ago, I was exchanging emails with fellow NJ Blogger, Tata. She said that she'd been blogging to beat the band. I jokingly replied that I'd appreciate if she wrote something for me, because I was suddenly very busy with actual work. Then, I wrote the tiny post you see below this.

Well bless my buttons if she didn't actually send me something! Read on...

Send the Politicians to the Moon



Not even little things like death keep Hawking from lecturing on matters scientific.
"They had to resuscitate, and that panicked a few people," Bristol told the audience. "But he's been there before."

And speaking of being there:
What [does Stephen Hawking] think of the program to send American astronauts back to the moon? "Stupid," he answered. "Sending politicians would be much cheaper, because you don't have to bring them back."

It Seems More and More Pointless

You know, people have been telling me that there are different kinds of Muslims, and even amongst themselves they don't get along, but I don't think that anything has ever really made it this clear to me before:

Suicide bombers kill 77 in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers strapped with explosives killed 77 people and reduced two crowded Shi'ite mosques to rubble during Friday prayers in a northeastern Iraq town, deepening the country's sectarian conflict.
Isn't bombing a place of worship a really cowardly and hateful thing to do? That's my impression, at least.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And the Horror Continues

It took me a minute, as I was reading Pandagon, to process the words:
The continuing Shame of America. No respect for the poor and disenfranchised, even when you're dead.

On Anderson Cooper 360 last night there was a report that just makes you sick. I don't know how the clowns in the Bush Admin thought they could convince the public that they found all the bodies after this disaster. When they called off the search in October, there was such an outcry that the effort continued, but folks are coming home and finding the corpses of loved ones rotting in homes. (CNN):
The official search-and-rescue effort was called off October 3, but there was such a backlash, crews resumed searching demolished neighborhoods. They have cleared areas zip code by zip code.

There was no joy for Paul Murphy (ph) in this homecoming. When he walked into his house in New Orleans' Ninth Ward last month for the first time since Katrina, it was shock and anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I'm thinking that, OK, I was going to come and salvage a few pictures or something. And I walk in here. I found my grandma on the floor dead.

DORNIN: Since November 1, 10 bodies have been found in the ruins of the Ninth Ward. The last area, known as the Lower Ninth, will open to residents December 1. Coroner Frank Minyard worries about what people will find.

(on camera): You're fully expecting that more bodies will come in once they open the Ninth Ward?

FRANK MINYARD, ORLEANS PARISH CORONER: Yes. And I think it's -- it's going to come in for a good while. There's so much rubbish around that they might find people in the rubbish. DORNIN (voice-over): They already have. And there are still many bodies left unidentified and unclaimed.

MINYARD: We have 150 autopsies left to do, all on unidentified people. Hopefully, that -- that will help us identify that person, if we can find a pacemaker or an artificial hip or something. Then we're into DNA.

DORNIN: Susan Eaton (ph) asked if she could send a DNA sample and was told DNA samples were not being accepted. Nearly 80 days after Katrina, not one DNA test has been done.

I want to cry, and throw up, and send more money. I cannot imagine why this would be this way in our country, today.

State of the Tami

I feel icky. It is so not fun to feel icky.

Still, I managed to write a short sentence and link a lot over on Running Scared.

I would also like to remind you all that my birthday is now only 10 days away. You shopping time is getting seriously short.

OK, I know, it's very cheesy to ask for presents in my blog. Thing is, last time it worked. I can't argue with results.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Splogging: Is There Money In It?

A friend pointed me at a Newsweek article today that gives us yet another new word: splogs. Splogs are spam web logs, or blogs devoted entirely to advertising that try and suck you in with misleading links. Ugh.

Of course, you know I wish that my blog was popular enough to have that kind of problem.

It's times like these that I go read books. Sure, sure, I pay money for books, but I can be pretty certain that the only thing I'll encounter within is the story I paid to read.

Do people read blogs looking to buy things? Yes, internet shopping has taken off in the way that every single market analyst predicted that it would, but are blog readers really a good target market? I don't think so. People head to the blogosphere looking for opinions. They look for validation, or a good argument. They look for news scoops and gossip. They're not looking for unrelated, unsolicited ads.
I understand that spam works on some people, but blog readers? It seems like a bad choice of a place to waste your advertising dollars.
Here's how they work: first find a subject that draws consumers who may be valuable to advertisers on Google or Yahoo, and register for the programs that let those search companies place ads on your blog. Then set up a blog that automatically sucks in items from the news (via easy-to-set-up feeds) about that subject. If you've done it right, Google's search engines will identify your blog as a prime place for a high-value ad. Then, as Sifry says, "you can pay housewives in India to sit there and click on the ads." Because programs like Google's AdSense pay out each time someone responds to the ad, it's possible to make a bundle from this.
Oh. Well, then, never mind, it's just a scam that inconveniences people looking to read actual writing. Never mind.

*sigh*

Monday, November 14, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day 2005

As a non-veteran civilian, I feel both grateful for those who are willing to lay down their lives to defend the American way of life and resentful that so often they're forced to do so based on falsehoods and poor leadership.

Today, I read Paul Krugman (via Atrios). This paragraph rang particularly true for me:
We finally reached a point where a lot of people are starting to acknowledge the obvious, which is that we were deliberately hyped into war, and a lot of defenses are coming up. People are still trying to pretend that nothing happened and it all made sense, and I felt that it was time to find a way to play how ridiculous that is.
People are starting to acknowledge the obvious. I want to know - what made them so afraid that they tried to hide their heads in the sand for so long? What did that to us?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Green, Unexpected

Admit it, when you think of hybrid cars, Ford isn't the first company you think of. That's why I was mildly surprised (it wasn't painfully shocking or anything) to see that Ford has introduced a mini-fleet of hybrid taxicabs to serve NY City. That's very cool, it's exactly the kind of driving that hybrids are good for.
The Ford hybrid sport utility vehicle gets as much as 36 miles per gallon in city driving, double the mileage of the taxi fleet's current Ford Crown Victoria model. A test model drove more than 500 miles on one tank of gas in New York, the CEO said.


I am thinking about making my next car a hybrid. Only thinking about it because the bulk of my driving is highway driving, and I wonder if I'll actually be conserving anything by owning one. I'm not nearly as green as I should be. I must fix this.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

About the Weather

Having seen Lewis Black make fun of the weather channel in his stand-up act many times, this news is making laugh my butt off.

Maybe someday, if you're good, I'll tell you the story of how I forced Girl Scout cookies on the poor man one night outside the Gotham Comedy club.

If you're good.

You Know I'm Happy With It, Right?

Democrats sweep Virginia, New Jersey races
Corzine, a multimillionaire and former Wall Street executive, linked Bush and White House political adviser Karl Rove to the results of his race.

"I want to thank the people of New Jersey for rejecting the Bush-Rove tactics that are bad for democracy and that were stopped in their tracks tonight," Corzine said in his victory speech in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
Perhaps not stopped in their tracks, per se, but at least not encouraged to go any further.

No, we don't need corrupt officials who line their own pockets with state monies, but we certainly don't need officials who attack the character of others rather than provide information about the kind of job they'd do.

I know that some of my readers are frustrated that Corzine won. To you I extend an olive branch - no matter who won, we were going to have to keep our fingers crossed that the state would be taken forward in a direction that's best for all of us. Let's all hope that together.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Americans Not In Favor of Torture

I cannot believe that the America of my comic book childhood dreams has come to a point where the president declares that we do not torture, and many of us do not believe him. I, as a citizen, am sickened by the idea of torture being used in the name of my country. We're supposed to be above that.

I am not alone in my outrage. There is a fine piece over at Blondesense that inspired me to write this here. It's important to write out our denouncement of torture wherever we can - at least then the people who read it will know that the attitude of superiority over citizens of other nations does not permeate all levels of American society.
We must state our objection. We must tell the world that we Americans are not tolerant of torture and cruelty. We need to have those words on every website in the blogosphere. How will they know if we donĂ‚’t tell them? If we donĂ‚’t state our case, who will? The idea of torturing human beings is not ours and we abhor such actions. We better speak up now and we must be loud. Otherwise be prepared to pay for the damages for the rest of your life.

Vote!

Everyone should vote if indeed voting is an option available to them. Voting is the way we express our opinions, and it's voting that gets us the government that the majority of us deserve. Wait - I think I just scared myself with that sentence.

Anyway, I live in New Jersey, so today I'll be voting for a new governor. I personally am supporting Jon Corzine. I've said many places that his voting record in the U.S. Senate is the kind that makes me proud that he's my Senator. Maybe you don't' agree with me, and that's fine. However you feel, you should go vote.

Don't know where your NJ polling place is? Here's a web page to help you find it.

Really, though, if you like a candidate who's proved himself a fair legislator who thinks things through and is concerned about human rights on a global scale, as well as local, Corzine's your man.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Part Party Pooper, Part Sport

Jill over at Brilliant at Breakfast has tagged me with a meme thingy. I'm enough of a sport to play along, but not enough of one to tag anybody else.

In fact, I think this is the first time I've ever been tagged with one of these thingies. OK, the rules:

  1. Go into your archives.

  2. Find your 23rd post.

  3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).

  4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

  5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.


So, I went back, and I found my 23rd post, back in September of 2004. As it turns out, I was a bit stylistic, and my fifth sentence is just a noun, and I'm not really going to count it. Instead, I'm going to put what came directly after:
I take it back, Jon, you are the political pundit voice of our generation.
I was talking about Jon Stewart. I was so right!

If You Keep Saying It

Saying something over and over doesn't automatically make it true.

Bush Says We Do Not Torture.
Bush would not confirm the existence of CIA secret prisons that The Washington Post disclosed last week and would not address demands by the International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to the suspects reportedly held at them.
This sentence makes me sad because, of course, we all know that refusing to address demands makes you look like the U.S. is a guilty bastard.
Vice President Dick Cheney has been spearheading an effort on Capitol Hill to have the CIA exempt from an amendment by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.
This sentence makes me sad because it makes the U.S. look like a guilty bastard.
He said he was confident that when "people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've got more work to do and that we've got to protect ourselves in a way that is lawful."
Just saying something over and over doesn't make it true. You have to actually carry out that behavior in order for it to be true. The disillusionment factor here continues to make me feel like someone keeps hitting me in the head with a rock. Never hard enough to knock me out, just hard enough to hurt, and they're doing it over and over.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Friday Not-My-Pet Blogging Mark VI

I am not Maurinsky, but I may as well be. Go ahead, read that (the one about it being her birthday), and replace everything about Maurinsky and her birthday with "Tami and her birthday", remove the part about the family not mentioning it, and extra underline the part about telling everyone.

My birthday is on November 26th, pretty much every year. Feel free to buy me a gift.

Now That's Outrage!

Think you're mad at the government? Not as mad as they are in France!
AULNAY-SOUS-BOIS, France (Reuters) - Rioters set fire to hundreds of vehicles in impoverished suburbs of northeastern Paris in an eighth night of unrest that spread for the first time to other parts of the capital and other towns in France.

...

Rioting among young men of North African and black African origin -- mostly locally born citizens who feel cheated by France's official promises of liberty, equality and fraternity -- began last week after two teenagers of African origin died while fleeing the police.
You know, I may be mad about the way the Supreme Court situation is turning out, but I promise not to set a bus on fire over it. You can count on me for this one.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Good Sources - A Guide

A bit of advice to you if you're a reporter - a reporter, not a gossip columnist - unless said ex-spouse is an expert on some non-subjective issue, talking to an ex-spouse is probably not your best idea for an interview.

Corzine's ex-wife claims he's 'compromised his ideals'
She also says his affair with Katz broke up their 33-year marriage


Once again I find myself asking "Am I the only one who...". This time I follow it up with "takes anything an ex-spouse says with a healthy dose of salt?". Is Joanne Corzine a reputable source for talking about her ex-husband's character? She talks about how her husband's relationship with another woman ended their marriage and wants me to think that she's not just talking out of hurt?
"I am not in the grasp of the bosses. Because Joanne says that I am doesn't mean it's so. I think I'll end there and I'll say that, in breakups of marriages, there's pain involved for everyone," he [Corzine] said.
Yes. Pain. When you've been one of the people in pain, talking about someone's morals probably doesn't show you in the best light.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Sounds like a Town Hall Meeting to Me

(Cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's)

Paying to the Crowd?
As Doug Forrester accepted the endorsement of a black minister on a Newark street corner yesterday, more than 100 local residents were on hand to hold up campaign signs and cheer him on.

...

According to more than half a dozen of them, they had been promised $20 apiece for their enthusiasm.

"I don't know a whole lot about who is running, but they are offering $20 and I came out to work for whoever needs help," said Sheree Baker, 50, of Newark.

Shakirah Jones, 22, also said she was promised $20 "to scream out his name, I guess."

And scream they did as Pastor Thomas Reddick praised Forrester in front of his storefront Renaissance Church of Newark. But after Forrester left on his campaign bus, many in the crowd grew angry as word spread that in order to collect they would also have to show up outside last night's radio debate at the WBGO. "We got duped!" yelled one man who declined to give his name.

One woman who asked her name not be used said, "they told us we were going to come down here for an hour and we would get paid, period. I have a family to get home to." She said she was one of dozens of people who were driven on two buses from Forrester's local campaign office in Vailsburg to the event. She said she was stranded without a ride home. Her account was echoed by three others.

Sherry Sylvester, Forrester's campaign spokeswoman, said that "about 40" local residents in Newark were paid $20 yesterday for hanging up signs, knocking on doors and putting literature in mailboxes. She said they attended the rally voluntarily.

"They were paid $20 for the work," Sylvester said. "No one was paid to attend the rally."


Ah, politics.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Playing Catch-up

Blog not dead, blog not dead!

I'm all moved in to my new cubicle, which is twice the size of my old cubicle. I have a PC again, and it works. I'm pissed off about this and nervous about this. I'll get back to my usual wordy self soon, I promise.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bloke's Interruptus Mark II

I'm busy packing my desk up for my move to Mahwah. Yes, you read that right, Mahwah. Apparently it's from the Lenape word for "meeting", because it's where the Ramapo River meets something else. Not that I remember what the something else is. Anyway, if you recall, I don't want to move from the building I'm in to Mahwah, so I'm cheesed off again. I will be writing nothing interesting today, perhaps you should go read Fafblog, or Running Scared, or Blanton's and Ashton's, or something. Maybe now's the time you go check out my old defunct website, Welcome to the Church of Tami. Who knows where the future will take you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Random Question

Am I the only one, who when she hears the phrase "culture of life", immediately pictures a Petri dish?

Is that just me?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Unpartisan Rant

I would just like to point out to you, gentle reader, that Republican and Democrat are not races of peoples, but rather political parties. They are not organized crime families, in which all members are working for the same illegal purposes.

I would also like to point out that although I am a Democrat, I do not consider members of other political parties evil. If someone truly believes that supporting fewer federal aid programs will help the country's economy, well, all I can do is disagree with them, because it seems to me that history shows otherwise. But that still doesn't make them evil.

Likewise, just because someone is a Democrat doesn't mean that they're part and parcel of a culture of corruption in the state of New Jersey.

Basically, what I'm trying to remind you all is that bad people cloak themselves in many different outer trappings. Being a particular party doesn't make you good or bad, every single person in this world is an individual, and deserves to be treated as such.

Still, if you find that you just can't get past the feeling that all Democrats in NJ are corrupt, then what about the Republicans? Are they exempt? Is the scandal breaking on the national level applicable to our local level? Can we trust that anyone who actually wants to be in power can behave morally once that power is achieved?

When someone tells me that they're voting Libertarian, I tell them that's fine with me. I've heard nothing bad about the Libertarian candidate for NJ governor, other than the silly (incomplete) statement he made about the 3 r's in the debate last week. If that man represents what you want, vote for him.

No, what I have a problem with is people who don't listen to facts and reason. I see smear campaigns and ideas with a complete lack of explanation or even credibility, and I see people blindly following the shiny campaign buttons.

Please, people, don't just believe what a campaign ad tells you. Read the papers, watch TV, and try and make a decision for yourself based on what you think the actual individuals running for office are like. Party affiliation is all well and good, but when someone isn't a good candidate, it shouldn't matter.

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Pioneer

CIVIL RIGHTS ICON

"We are saddened by the passing of Rosa Parks. We rejoice in her legacy, which will never die. In many ways, history is marked as before, and after, Rosa Parks," said civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

"She sat down in order that we all might stand up, and the walls of segregation came down."

Parks was a 42-year-old seamstress for a Montgomery department store when she caught a bus in downtown Montgomery on December 1, 1955.

Three stops after she got on, a white man boarded and had to stand. To make room for him to sit alone, as the rules required, driver James Blake told Parks and three other black riders, "You all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats."

The other riders complied but Parks did not.

"No. I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen," she told Blake. Blake called police, who asked Parks why she didn't move: "I didn't think I should have to. I paid my fare like everybody else."

She paid her fare like everybody else. Take this as a metaphor, please - see if you can't try to make sure that you respect the rights of everyone else who's paid their fare. It will make the world a better place.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Pink Ribbon Challenge

You may or may not know that I'm big on cancer research and the American Cancer Society. You may or may not know that at the age of 18 I lost my mother to breast cancer. You may or may not know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Well, you know all those things, now, at least.

Please do me a favor and head on over to The Breast Cancer Site. One free click from your mouse can help provide a service that saves lives.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Never Start a Land War in Asia

And never post about abortion unless you want a lively comment area. The comments are worth reading, especially because there's someone who doesn't agree with me trying very hard to speak reasonably about it. I just don't see that enough.

Anyway, I've been crazy-busy today with work problems, and haven't had time to write more than one post. Rather than make up for it now, I thought I'd just point at a blog post I like over at the Corzine Connection: Doug Decieves on His Business Record

I found myself this morning kind of regretting that John Murphy hadn't won the Republican primary for this race; he seemed like a less frightening opponent. When I say "less frightening", I don't mean that I think his chances of winning weren't as good as Forrester's, I mean that the thought of him winning wasn't really near as scary to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Chapter 11, In Which I Explain It All

All right, I wrote a post that I labeled as offensive. That means that yes, I knew that what I was saying was offensive. Don't fool yourself, though, if I wanted to be really offensive, I would have used the dirty words that women aren't supposed to use. So now you know that.

Why did I resort to offensive manners, if not speech? Why did I go for the one-liner mean thing to say instead of a detailed essay explaining my point laboriously, as I am doing now? Because I was angry, and I expected people to get that.

I get angry at women who think that pro-choice laws should be taken off the books. I get angry when someone with the reproductive organs of her own that might have at some point in her life necessitated a choice tries to tell people that this choice should not be ours to make.

I will once again explain what I think that choice means - it means that you have a minimum of two options - two. If we are specifically talking about the choice to have an abortion or not have an abortion, then those are the two choices. If you find yourself newly but unwantedly pregnant, but you have religious beliefs that would prevent you from ever aborting the baby, then you may choose not to. If, say, religion doesn't play into it, but you find that suddenly you can't choose to terminate what may be a wonderful child, then you also may choose not to have an abortion. That is your business. If, however, there is a woman who finds herself expecting when she knows that she does not want a baby, for any reason at all, and she also finds that she is all right with the idea of pregnancy termination, then it is her right to choose to do so. Too poor, too young, too selfish, too tired, too sick, too single, too scared, I don't care - a woman's body is her own, and she should be able to make the choice about whether or not it bears a child.

Abortion is a serious matter, and either of the two choices will have serious consequences. I understand feeling strongly about it one way or the other. I understand having religious beliefs regarding this manner. I hit Google for the official United Methodist Church's (of which I believe Harriet Miers is a member) stance on abortion because I didn't know. I'm not a Christian, and I admit that I'm not familiar with what all the different factions believe. Well, it turns out that the UMC seems to be all right with the concept of choice, although very aware of how important a choice it is. Huh. So I guess it's not strict religious beliefs that have influenced Ms. Miers' stated position.

Well *now* I'm confused. I was all set to talk about how church and state are separated in this country, and that even if your religion is against something, someone else's may allow it, and it's at that time that we turn to the Constitution, and try and work out a way that people who live in the U.S. can choose what's right for them. The wind has completely been taken out of my sails on that one. If it's not the UMC that has Harriet Miers saying what she has said about abortion, then it must be personal choice, influenced by other factors in her life in addition to her relationship with god. Her personal choice as a citizen of the U.S., and as a woman.

When other women don't agree with me that it's a choice that someone should be allowed to make, it makes me angry. It's as if they're saying, "We, as women and human beings, are not important on our own. We must reproduce to be worth anything". It makes me feel as if they have been brain-washed into thinking that they're second class citizens. This kind of statement from someone who has supposedly been such a supporter of women's rights! It makes me even angrier if a woman past her child-bearing years says it, because it's no longer an issue that she'll ever have to wrestle with. When a woman who has no children, past her reproducing years... argh. When people try to take away the rights of other people to make choices about something they don't have to worry about, I find that extremely selfish and morally reprehensible. When I find something morally reprehensible, often times my temper gets the best of me, and I can become offensive.

Thus, we come full circle, where I feel I've given a pretty complete explanation of my previous post, and why I chose to insult the private parts of another person rather than go into detail. Insults convey anger better than this kind of wordy post ever can, plus people make it all the way to the end of an insult post.


Update: It has been pointed out to me that Ms. Miers is not a member of the UMC, she merely attended Southern Methodist University. Ms Miers, while in D.C., attends St. John's Episcopal Church.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Warning - Offensive Comment Follows

Miers backed abortion ban in 1989-Senate papers
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, as a Dallas city council candidate in 1989, backed a constitutional amendment to ban abortion except when needed to save the life of the mother, according to papers provided on Tuesday to the U.S. Senate.
She probably did it because hers was already dried up and useless, even 15 years ago.

Treason Is a Serious, Serious Thing

I start each day by reading Poor Impulse Control, then Running Scared. PIC because it's just darned entertaining (What will her sister have said today? Did she talk to her daughter last night?) and Running Scared because I'm one of the authors over there, and if I don't see what the other people are writing, I might accidentally double-post. Oh, and of course all the other contributors are really good writers, that's important, too.

Today I was snagged by Jazz's post about Treason and Conspiracy at the Highest Levels. Jazz is talking about a piece on The Raw Story about a White House official "flipping" in the Plame case. The article talks a lot about Cheney being placed at meetings, but Jazz is by-passing the smaller arteries and goes straight for the jugular:
We thought Fitz was going for Cheney, but if he can place Bush at a meeting where the outing was discussed, long before Bush's categorical denial and statement that he would "get to the bottom of this" then all bets are off. If this speculation proves to be accurate, this will make Watergate look like a penny candy heist.
If indeed acts of treason have been committed by either our VP or our President, this is so serious I can't even wrap my head around it. Article II, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution says this:
Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Removed from office. I can't even begin to wonder what would happen. That'd be some legacy, all right.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Well *That's* Sad...

Charles Rocket, RIP.

I thought you were very funny in "Earth Girls are Easy", Charles.

Still Not Writing Original Stuff

But I'm reading it on other people's blogs. Perhaps you're familiar with the governor's race in NJ and my position regarding it. I certainly am, but that doesn't stop me from heading on over to Blanton's and Ashton's (where I'm laughingly considered a "contributor") and reading G.D. Frogsdong's opinions. Bit that I like best:
I've talked to a lot of people in the past few days in a sort of informal, unscientific poll and they all think the negative ads are so ridiculous on both sides that they have no impact.

"As Mayor of West Windsor, Doug Forrester voted to raise property taxes 200% and kill everyone's dogs. Doug Forrester, wrong for West Windsor, wrong for New Jersey, and wrong about everything since recorded history began."

"Jon Corzine voted to raise taxes 4,067,334 times in a six hour period while strangling your best friend. Jon Corzine, wrong for New Jersey, wrong for friendship, just plain freakin' wrong wrong wrong!"

Not At All Important

And yet, when I saw the photo on this MSNBC page, I was HORRIFIED. Horrified enough to share.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Chapter 10, In Which I Am In a Terrible Mood

Oh, I'm in a terrible mood. I just found out that my job is moving 29 miles north of here, and I live 28 miles south of here. I used to work up there. My first week I wrote an essay about how it sucked all the life and happiness out of me to commute to work 57 miles each way.

The gap in the polls for the NJ Governor's race is also making me dizzy with confusion. I cannot understand wanting to vote for Forrester. The man was Mayor of a town, and I really do not like the way he worked there. Corzine is a U.S. Senator, and I really do like the way he works there. Why don't people just agree with me? I'm so often right!

I'm in no mood to write. I probably shouldn't have bothered, but I missed you guys.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

NJ Gubernatorial Debate 2005 Number 2

This time, radio.

I went to what amounted to a listening party at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick. It was, in fact, a benefit for Corzine, with commentary done by Al Franken. It was interesting to learn, by the way, that live commentary at a debate that you're actually trying to listen to works very badly. I did enjoy Franken's words before and after the debate, but perhaps that exact format isn't something that should be repeated.

In fact, I missed quite a bit of the debate because of my irresistible urge to chat. It's like I've got a problem, or something. I did have a few favorite moments, and I'm recalling them mostly by reading the live blogging recount by Juan Melli at BlueJersey.

I loved the bits where the moderator would correct statements that were just wrong, like this one:
Email question: both wealthy individuals. Why take low-paying job? Will you take only $1 in salary?

Corzine: I haven't taken pay in Senate except for health benefits. Will accept a salary of $1 annually. Want job to make sure there is equal pay for equal work. All children insured.

Forrester: will donate salary to charity.

Moderator: taxpayers won't save $180,000 salary.
There was also a lot of "Is that a yes, or a no?" from Eric Scott, the moderator. That's very refreshing, really, because I really hate when the answer to a question gets lost in the cotton wool that they try to wrap their actual opinions in.

Surprising bit: both candidates said that they would sign a bill legalizing medical marijuana if it got to their desk. I'm in favor of that! I am *not* in favor of using controlled substances for recreation, but I'm absolutely in favor of allowing people in excessive pain to use prescribed drugs for relief. How is marijuana different from say, dilaudid in that manner? In my mind it's not.

Weasely bit: Forrester would *not* say the word "embryonic" when the stem-cell research issue came up. Kept hammering that he was in favor of stem cell research, but absolutely refused to say that there was a difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells, even when Corzine asked him that directly.

I grudgingly admit that Forrester sounded good bit: on the question about whether or not the candidates support a new hockey arena in Newark, Forrester went in to a spiel about how doing that would be a gross misuse of Port Authority funds, and how with so many other obvious problems staring us in the face in Newark, the arena is a terrible idea. True, Corzine agreed with him, but I thought Forrester sounded good on this one.

Bit where I thought "finally!": Eminent domain came up pretty fast, with a specific question about Camden (Cramer Hill), and Forrester tried to link it to Petty's Island. Corzine actually got to state clearly that Petty's Island is not the same as the situation in Camden, it's a dump site for an oil company (Citgo), and *not* people's homes at all. Whether or not you support the project to redevelop Petty's Island, none of it involves ousting people from homes that they own.

Bit where I can't believe I didn't get it: Corzine suggested securitizing the tolls collected by the toll roads for a few years to create more profit, and I couldn't figure out what "securitizing" meant. It was as if I'd never heard the word before. It wasn't until I was driving in to work this morning when all of a sudden my brain yelled at me, "Securities! Get it, now?". Oh. Yes, I get it now.

In the end, I remain a strong Corzine supporter. I really feel that he's good at his job, and that he tries to make the country a better place to live, a great place to live. I like his work as Senator, and I believe that this would translate into me liking his work as Governor as New Jersey.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Does He Believe What He's Saying?

I mean, actually believe the contradictory horse poop that comes out of his mouth?

From Senators propose agency to help rebuild US Gulf:
Bush said he told them that, "I don't think Washington ought to dictate to New Orleans how to rebuild."

"My message to them was, we will support the plan that you develop. The point is, is that it comes from the local folks. And I recognize there's an attitude in Washington that says, we know better than the local people. That's just not the attitude I have," Bush said.
So why are all the damn reconstruction projects given out to YOUR FRIENDS?

A Situation I'd Like to Avoid

Guatemala halts recovery effort after mudslides
Hurricane Stan leaves 652 dead, 384 wounded; hundreds remain missing
GUATEMALA CITY - A Guatemalan Indian community, haunted by a government-sponsored massacre during the country's brutal civil war, refused soldiers' help Monday in recovering those killed in a week of flooding and mudslides and conducted its own searches instead.
For the record: I do not want things to get so bad here that the "regular people" don't trust the soldiers.

Also for the record: I think I might be fooling myself that it's not that way already in some area.

Monday, October 10, 2005

All on a Monday Morning

Well, Saturday night came and went. I decided I was being an idiot for being scared. Then it rained really hard and I didn't go anyway. I suck. Thanks to everyone who commented, though, it really helped to be able to discuss it. When it came right down to it, I acknowledge the fact that everything we do is dangerous - everything. It's just that it seemed to me for a short while that actually going to a place where the bomb threat was, on purpose, well, that didn't seem like it was a smart decision.

On a completely different note, this weeks Carnival is up:


On a New Jersey note: once again I found myself listening to 101.5FM and wondering why. This line brought up the question today: "Mussolini? He's been dead since 1948(sic)! Yeah? Well, he's still on the voter lists for Bergen County!" It was followed by a single person in the studio laughing, loudly. It wasn't that it was that bad of a joke, it was just the one-person laugh-track that was really creepy.

On another New Jersey note: Scott at Poetic Leanings has a good post on a recent Bob Ingle article. One of the points that Scott makes that I like best is that he's willing to condemn corruption from a Democrat just as quickly as he will from a Republican. It left me thinking about the fact that it relay seems these days that a lot of voters can't seem to distinguish between a single candidate and an entire party. I have always looked at the candidate as an individual when making up my mind who to vote for. It's an important step that I think everyone should take. Political party be damned, if someone's going to do a bad job, you should never vote for them.

In fact, if you recall, the reason I decided to back Corzine is that I went out and looked at his Senate voting record. You can go ahead and quote meaningless statistics about how many times he voted to raise taxes or against lowering them, or you can go out and look for yourself at those bills and what they actually said. When I did that, I liked what I saw, and thus, I declared my support. Whether or not every other Democrat in NJ right now is corrupt or not, I like the way that Corzine as a separate individual works. They're all separate people, and they need to be treated as such.

There you go: one post, all over the map, all on a Monday Morning.

Friday, October 7, 2005

I've Called in Chicken

A friend of mine is having a party tomorrow night, at a bar in Manhattan.

I find myself afraid to go.

I lived in Jerusalem my freshman year of college. I was in town one night when there was a grenade attack on the Wailing Wall - walking distance from where I was standing. I saw the soldiers who would normally have been standing around eating ice cream on a Saturday night all running in one direction holding rifles in both hands, instead of cones. I calmly went back home, no thought running through my mind about not going to the Wailing Wall ever again.

What was different then? Was it just that I was younger? Was it just that those places were always dangerous?

My plan for tomorrow night was to take the train into Penn Station and take the subway downtown to join my friends. I've done it dozens of times (although of late any city visits I made I usually drove in). Still, this time, I'm afraid. I have a part of my brain screaming at me that going somewhere that I don't usually go that's had a bomb threat against it in the past 24 hours is a stupid, stupid idea. This loud voice says things like no matter how unlikely it is that anything will happen to me, if it does, it will be my own damn fault. The quieter part of my brain that's trying to reasonably suggest that it is very unlikely that anything will happen to me, and I shouldn't miss this because of an expired threat is being beaten down, very effectively.

I don't want to be afraid, but I am. To put it inelegantly, this totally sucks. I wrote an email to my friend saying that I was calling in chicken.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Al Franken Event to Support Corzine

Are you in the NY/NJ/PA area? Are you an Al Franken Fan?
Well, he's going to be at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick on Tuesday, October 11th. He'll be doing commentary on the radio debate scheduled between Jon Corzine and Doug Forrester.

This Tuesday Sen. Jon Corzine meets Doug Forrester in a live radio debate. You can listen to it yourself, or you can listen with Al Franken-- author of The Truth (with jokes).

We'll broadcast the debate over The Stress Factory Comedy Club sound system, and listen to the running commentary and comment by special guest Al Franken. Get to hear a debate like never before-- and join fellow progressives in supporting Jon Corzine and the Democratic party.
Click here to see the whole page (including ticket pricing information). I'm very excited to be going to this!

Stupid-ass Bill Idea Dropped

(hat tip: Brilliant at Breakfast)

Assisted-reproduction bill dropped
A controversial proposed bill to prohibit gays, lesbians and single people from using medical procedures to produce a child has been dropped by its legislative sponsor.
State Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, issued a one-sentence statement Wednesday saying: "The issue has become more complex than anticipated and will be withdrawn from consideration by the Health Finance Commission."
No kidding? More complicated than you thought?

Look the concept that people getting "vetted" for fertility treatments the way that people are for adopting babies isn't all ridiculous. There are seriously evil people out there who want children for very bad reasons - and I don't mean just because you think that no one else loves you, but your baby will. I mean very bad reasons. But the fact is that even if it were OK to do that for people who want to have a baby - and it's NOT, it wouldn't be OK to worry about what their religion or marital status is. It certainly wouldn't be OK to worry about their sexuality. This whole thing smacks so badly of xenophobia that I'm astounded her staff let her show it to anyone else.

Different does not equal bad. Get over it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Tropical Storm Tami

It's tropical storm Tammy, not Tami, guys.

(you're welcome)

Science Still Exists

Amidst all the politics, I caught a headline that had nothing to do with conservatives, or liberals, or religion, and only dealt with some people trying to make the earth a better place: Trio Shares Nobel Prize for Chemistry
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - France's Yves Chauvin and Americans Robert H. Grubbs and Richard R. Schrock won the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday, for their work to reduce hazardous waste in forming new chemicals.
Nice to know that even though this stuff used to be happening in the U.S., at least it's happening somewhere, you know?

Monday, October 3, 2005

Thoughts for a Monday Morning

It's Rosh Hashana tomorrow - expect no blogging from this particular Jew for at least a day. I may blog Wednesday, I'm not exactly orthodox.

The is up over at The Center of NJ Life.

It bothers the hell out of me that someone who has never been a judge is nominated to be a Supreme Court justice. (See also, Running Scared).

Finally, a blogthing that was sent to me, "What's your inner European". Oddly, mine is the same as my outer one.


Your Inner European is Russian!



Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Blasphemy Blogging

Some people just need to lighten up.
Sony pulls "Jesus" advert for PlayStation
ROME (Reuters) - Sony has apologized for an advertising campaign for its PlayStation game console which featured a young man wearing a crown of thorns with the slogan "Ten years of passion".

Some Catholics were outraged by the adverts, which ran in newspapers and magazines to celebrate the product's tenth anniversary.
...
Sony's ad is not the first to irk Catholics in recent months.

"There's no religion any more", read a slogan for IKEA in an advert to inform Italians, whose Church attendance is steadily falling, that its furniture stores were open on a Sunday.


Let it go, people. The truth is that for a whole lot of the world, there isn't any religion any more. But really, the whole dour thing - it's bad for you! Come on, we Jews can laugh at ourselves (Yes, I own his 1st album)! Join the fun! God loves everyone, right? Even the people who shop for furniture on Sundays.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I Get Comments II

A few months ago, I wrote a piece about the murder of Jennifer Parks. My focus was on how I will never understand what happens in someone's mind that makes them think that it's OK to kill someone. Well, let me tell you, I get comments. New ones show up when the accused shows up in the news. At first, they started out as a discussion of whether or not the death penalty has any merit. Seeing as I don't actually know anyone involved in the story, that seemed fine to me, even when it got a little heated with people disagreeing. Next, though, came a personal plea to not judge:
I know this kid ... please stop talking about death penalties ... i think the police should investigate more .. john s a great person i know in your eyes he is just a killer ..... but i believe hes not //// a lot of people think hes just protecting someone else ....if u want keep him on lock but u should se how they got him.... they want to drive him crasy
I was sad for that person.

More recently, I received this message from someone who is obviously hurt by this situation, which I can see how it could be painful and confusing to a friend of the accused.
how can you people talk like that ? you think you know everything about him just because you reas it on the newspaper or watched on the tv . U have no idea . You guys just believe to one version . None of us are perfect , so we cannot judge anybody . He has a family and friends ,too. Damit ,he's just 18 years old!!! so know tell me what the hell you think about this guy who kill more 10 people , he was a nurse and just gave his patients drugs to kill them, as easy as that.U think he deserves death penalty ,too. What about the BTK guy? So please stop talking about anything if you really don't know a shit of this case .


To the first person, I apologize. You're right, I do not know any of the people involved. I cannot say, though, that I do not support the death penalty for someone who has killed another person, then dismembered them. I can say that I personally have no proof about who did this, despite the fact that his attorney has said he plans to use an insanity or diminished capacity defense, not "not guilty". Still, the thought that I should limit my conversations to theory rather than openly discuss news items, well, it's probably not going to happen. I'm sorry that you're upset, though, I'm sure it's a very hard thing to deal with.

The second person, well, I'm pretty sympathetic to her, too. Mostly because she's trying so hard to make it seem like if I don't write about condemning other killers that I condone their actions. To you I say: Yes. I support the death penalty in those cases, too. That nurse guy (Charles Cullen) is beyond insane, and so is the BTK killer. I cannot imagine that they can be made into useful members of society. This is my opinion, and I'm sorry that you don't agree.

Today, though, I got possibly the least eloquent or purposeful comment of my blogging "career". Today, someone thought that because I feel that it's wrong to kill people, then hack them to pieces and stuff the body in a trunk, that the best think to say to me would be "fuck you". Well, fuck you, too, Tom. I'm just a blogger with an opinion about a news story. Get a grip.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Get Comments

I don't really get letters, like some people, but I do get comments. Some of them I feel should be posts of their own, like this one (a comment on my "I acknowledge that I'm lucky" post) regarding making poverty elimination a priority.

I often realize that I'm similarly lucky. But it's way too easy to get bogged down in the tiny problems we have instead of being thankful that our problems are really nothing compared to people who have to live from check to check and a big heating bill could make the difference between being able to pay the rent on time or not.

Even though I am not very economy-oriented, I do feel that poverty is the biggest problem in the country and the world. And it is solvable. I'm not suggesting redistribution of wealth in a socialist state. I'm suggesting that someone in government make poverty a priority already.

Even Clinton, for all the wonderful liberal agendas he pursued, never attacked poverty head-on. I can't understand why not. Let's invest heavily in job training, social and mental health services. Let's invest in drug and alcohol rehab. Let's make sure there are small business loans and councilors for people who want to break the cycle of poverty in the cities. Let's make it something that people are talking about.

The US has long been criticized for having such a huge disparity between the wealthy and poor, and it's just getting worse. It's unconscionable that we're becoming more and more affluent, yet leaving behind those that aren't on the bandwagon. Yes, there are some people that are to blame for their own failures. Yes, there are some people that will never be able to help themselves. But the majority of the poor in the US don't have to be poor, don't want to be poor, and don't need to be poor. They don't need to be stock brokers, either. But it would be better to use them for customer service instead of outsourcing to India. And it would be better that the intelligent and ambitious in the inner city have a better choice for entrepreneurship than becoming a drug dealer.

It isn't just the POTUS that should be doing this. Every mayor should be working on this. Every governor should be working on this. This winter has the potential to break a lot of families that are struggling. And it doesn't have to be that way.

I believe that ideas can be more important than food -- freedom more important than bread. I'm more interested in international politics than state politics. But the next time you answer a survey or get in a political discussion, consider the answer that poverty is actually the most pressing issue today. This issue is that big and its time has come.
Mark Wintle | Homepage | 09.27.05 - 1:21 pm | #

Solving the Democrat Problem

Remember last year when Jill was just damn tired of the Democrats never getting it together? Well, so is Tata.

I'm still sitting on the left, in the same place I always have, the place where education bills aren't boobie-trapped and workers matter and women matter and the poor matter and the minority opinion matters and equality matters and the environment matters and the common good matters. Hopefully someday we'll sit together again as friends.


Jazz, over at Running Scared, also sees problems, and has some suggestions.

These elections need to see Democrats (and their progressive supporters, grassroots workers and bloggers) focusing on state specific issues more than national touch-points.