Friday, April 27, 2007

First Democratic Primary debate watched on TV

(All photos link to something because I'm compulsive.)

The first Democratic Party primary debate was held last night in South Carolina. There was a gathering of Obama supporters at Sputnik, a swanky Soviet-themed lounge in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

There were about 20 people there as the broadcast began at 7pm and by the end there were easily 40. I hope that is representative of the overall TV audience (in the sense that people don't usually gather in bars to watch political primary debates like it's a football game).

Richardson looked a bit nervous and stumbled verbally but weirdly that wasn't until the 4th or 5th question asked of him. Clinton is a total screecher (seriously; there's a mic right there and she can't seem to get out of outdoor-rally-voice mode; apparently, and ironically, Chris Matthews agrees with me). That ugly thing called The Consensus says Obama won, but overall I thought all the candidates did quite well and they were all strong and knowledgeable and electable.

(of course, the bar having been
lowered to the level of a municipal
sewer over the last six years,
that was of little surprise).

Well, maybe not all the candidates. These two guys
probably deserve the presidency more than the
rest of the candidates combined; will they get it? No....

... and unfortunately.
click here and here
to make dennis speak
and here to hear mike

This is Jordan, our main Brooklyn organizer.

He runs a grass-roots pol org called Brooklyn4Barack.

We were also joined by a news crew from the CBS Evening News who interviewed a few of us afterwards (myself included). I was told that if they use it it will be on tonight's (Friday) broadcast. Set your Tivo's to "stun".

There was also a leprechaun, helping to elect the second Irish-American to the Presidency.

(that's a four-leaf clover in place of the apostrophe; very cute)

they also had these great lamps there
that took me exactly 15 seconds to
find in the ikea web site

kitty porn!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Political Ouroboros, pt 2

In the end, indeed, it will be just George Bush and Osama Bin Laden who are for the continuation of the war in Iraq. Funny how things go 'round full circle.

Could we please hurry up and impeach? I'll take one for the team and blow him myself if I have to. (er.. maybe not. )

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Pi Equals
better than garfield
(carl sagan says "it's fascinating...")

Shill Clearinghouse Hires Shill (stop the presses!)

(link goes to BoingBoing)

Cory "BoingBoing" Doctorow comments (in a "shocked, shocked!" manner) on how the Democratic National Council has hired a former Director of Communications for the Recording Industry Association of America, Jenni Engebretsen.

The point Cory misses is that lobbyists are for the most part amoral. They are paid for their connections and the persuasiveness with which they can put out their clients' message in an undiluted fashion. Consider that for a second; they become True Believers with an unvarying and unshakable opinion that happens to coincide 100% with that of the person whose name is on a check handed to them.

I once had the pleasure of dining at the home of Hillary Rosen (CEO of the RIAA '98 - '03) and Elizabeth Birch, her partner at the time (and Executive Director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-funded equal-rights lobbying group). The occasion was that I and a small team of co-workers had donated our time to setting up a write-a-letter-to-your-congressman web site for HRC (first of a kind in '95). They both seemed like lovely people.

Three years later Ms. Rosen would become the head of an organization that, instead of recognizing that their business model is not sustainable given new technology, litigates (then and now) against twelve-year-old girls for downloading N*Sync songs. For a check.

(have these people never read Anthem ? synopsis: in a dystopian "future" society a man is legally prosecuted for putting candle makers at risk of obsolescence by having invented the light bulb).

In 2004 she then went on to serve as interim director for HRC. (Whiplash!).

So, I'm not really too concerned who they hire to do their shilling for them. It is what it is.

A Periodic Table of visualization strategies

(scroll to the bottom of the linked-to page)

created by these good people

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I was there - Obama speaks at Sharpton's National Action Network convention

"I've said to Rev. Sharpton and I'll say it today, if there is somebody - I don't care whether they are white or black or they are male or female - if there is somebody who has been more on the forefront on behalf of the issues you care about and has more concrete accomplishments on behalf of the things you're concerned about, I'm happy to see you endorse them. But I am absolutely confident you will not find that."

I was at the National Action Network (presided by Al Sharpton) meeting where Barack Obama spoke yesterday (midtown Manhattan Sheraton, 12 noon). It wasn't a huge crowd but I'm sure that's because it wasn't widely publicized that he would be speaking there that day (I only got an email from a fellow pro-Obama person less than 36 hours before). Hillary had been invited to speak the day before and apparently she did quite well.

His remarks, often addressed directly to Sharpton himself, were actually more pointed than the linked-to article depicts; he told Sharpton almost in as many words (and right in front of "his people") that he is wrong in his unofficial endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Also, the article doesn't really do justice to the incident with the cell phone. It wasn't quite as quick and by compressing it they make it sound like the intent of his joke was something other than how it was meant.

What happened, in order, is that a buzzing sound was heard for about 5 seconds while he was speaking. He paused and said "What's that buzzing sound? You hear a buzzing sound?" (pause) "I think it's Sharpton's Blackberry." (quiet general laughter).

Sharpton takes out his phone to turn it off.

Obama: It IS Sharpton's phone. (laughter) Is that Hillary calling?

(the implication, as far as I took it, was that Hillary and Sharpton are in constant contact, perhaps several times a day, in order to coordinate their efforts; a natural thing since they both have region-specific complementary interests).

Sharpton: No, it's your wife.

(Consider what plausible scenarios would explain such a thing happening.) At this point I'm covering my face with my hands from embarrassment; what an awful, stupid, positively Don Imus-like thing to say. I was actually expecting the crowd to go "oooohhhh..." (pronounced: "I can't believe he went there"). Instead there was raucous laughter and clapping so the moment was saved. Perhaps the subtler implication of the joke was lost on them, or they chose to ignore it in order not to damage either of the two men on stage.

Obama: (Obviously also trying to defuse it) Tell her I'll pick up the groceries on my way home. (or something like that; I'm doing this from memory).

In any case, I'll try to go out of my way to go see him whenever he comes to town; it's fun to get these things live and then see them reported nationally.

There are photos I took of the event here:

And random video clips (unfortunately not of any of the above-described moments) I shot here:

Also, my new favorite Harry Chapin song; photo taken at the event yesterday:

Friday, April 20, 2007


Catholic Church buries limbo after centuries

Gee, they just caught up to the inherent irony in their screaming about the priceless souls of aborted babies (and ones yet to not be aborted through the forbidding of contraception) having to spend an eternity in Limbo because of their own arbitrary and cruel means of psychological control?

Strictly in Game Theory terms, this means that a woman who is seriously considering having an abortion should then automatically decide to go ahead and DO SO, as it guarantees that at least her baby will go to Heaven, whereas the alternative, to give birth and hope that her child will "earn" its way in, only provides the POSSIBILITY of a better outcome (and, given the rules of the game, very very low possibilities of even breaking even).

So, remember folks: The pope wants you to have abortions so your babies can go to Heaven.

Maybe I wasn't raised by such bad people after all....

The West New York town man who repeatedly raped his teenage daughter and ordered her to kill two of their babies faces up to 35 years in prison when sentenced for his obscene crimes on Thursday.
Prosecutors say he began having sex with his daughter two weeks after she arrived from El Salvador five years ago and continued until two weeks before their second child was born in November 2005, officials said.
Jose Ventura's vile relationship with his daughter came to light on Nov. 13, 2005, when their second child was found crying at the bottom of an air shaft in the building they lived in. Lucila said her father told her to throw the baby down the shaft, officials said.

full story

Dream Ticket

Somehow my Dream Ticket doesn't have a great ring to it

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A modest proposal for an alliance

(updated 4/18; added links to external sites and a ps; text remains the same)

I despise guns. Having had one pointed at my head on one occasion, I'm not speaking in a vacuum. But never mind that.

Before we get to the proposal, click on the lovely image to the right to see a (non-violent) video that explains how quickly a 9mm semiautomatic can be repeatedly fired and reloaded (answer, 0.25 seconds and 2 seconds, respectively). Alternatively you may read up on it on Slate's Explainer. Then, try reading aloud without pausing for a breath the following words that describe the loading of a Revolutionary era musket:

To load, a soldier opened his cartridge box, grabbed a cartridge, bit off the end to expose the powder, and poured a small amount into the pan of the lock, closed the pan, dropped the cartridge (powder first) into the barrel, removed his rammer, rammed it home, returned his rammer, and then "made ready" to shoot by cocking his lock, and "presenting" or pointing, his piece to the enemy. There were no sights, just the bayonet lug near the muzzle. The soldier just looked down the barrel. Soldiers were expected to be able to fire a shot every 15 seconds for at least 4 minutes before needing to slow down because of the fouling in the barrel.

(Thanks to: Glenn and Georgeanne for the above text which I 100% did not ask permission to use and for all I know they threaten their children with an elephant gun if they don't pray hard enough -- j/k G's! )
I would like to propose the formation of an unlikely alliance between those of us who believe that the right to "the pursuit of happiness" goes hand-in-hand with a sense of personal responsibility and those individuals, present or future, who as a result of yesterday's massacre in Virginia will feel their voice reinvigorated whenever they speak of "the right to bear arms" being their favorite words in the Constitution (the argument going something like "if the students / teachers / everybody had guns the killer would not have been able to take out more than one or two people").

The proposal is as follows: People who are for the de-criminalization of drugs (be it possession or use) and any other victim-less "crime" (the defining characteristic being that there is no answer to the question of "who is directly harmed?") will from this point on also become ardent defenders of the Second Amendment.

Similarly, in keeping with an intellectually consistent and honest philosophy, Second Amendment supporters will become equally vocal supporters of the repeal of all laws criminalizing victim-less activity, as per the right to "the pursuit of happiness". (Folks, trust me, you have more to gain from this offer; nobody ever died because somebody accidentally dropped a joint.)

These two things must travel together in order for the words that define the USA to make sense, and it is the only way that both groups can have their way honestly.

Either that, or we could just repeal the Second Amendment. There is certainly a precedent for that sort of thing.



a fundraising letter i received yesterday

vive la différence

Monday, April 16, 2007

this is a new one for me

Look at this pair of faces from close range (<7")

Now get up out of your chair and look at them again from 7 feet away or so.

The faces will have switched positions.

(link goes to a site that explains how it works)

Brooklyn for Barack activism short film features yours truly

On March 31 almost 100 people in New York City alone opened their homes and invited their neighbors and friends to join them in a live Web telecast of Barack Obama holding a town-hall meeting in Iowa.

Paul Boyer and his film crew bicycled to over a dozen such open houses and documented the energy and enthusiasm that Mr. Obama's campaign enjoys at the grass-roots level in the Brooklyn area.

I first appear at the "8:35-remaining" time mark.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I'm not sure how to feel about this

I'm not sure how to feel about a day when I find myself in complete agreement with both Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. Is it a 7-day thing? Can my husband catch it?

Our love is like an infinite-loop
recursive B-tree-search of ecstasy

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

my next phone

please note it floats

my Siemens SX66 phone, a sturdy, mind-spinningly hip-for-one-year-after-I-bought-it (which was two years ago) died yesterday of suspected total failure error. it was in my pocket at the time so it's hard to say of what cause (no "it probably got hit by a stroke while in your pocket" jokes pls; we've been through enough), although I'm told that it was probably quick and painless. donations to the Free Software Foundation are encouraged as a means of honoring lil' Thrummer.

(another theory, since my 2-year contract ended two weeks ago, is that Cingular told it to take a hit for the team)

the new boy doesn't come out until september. in the meantime, this is the piece of shit i'm stuck with. i swear to god, i've had it up to my eyebrows about iraq and darfur; some of us have real problems.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

this week's photo

caption contest


My winner:

"...and then we're going to Washington DC to

take back the white house! WHOOOAHH!"

Howard at April 7, 2007 7:52 PM

(link goes to hundreds other submissions,
most of them very good)

Some thoughts on "You people" -- Open letter to Al Sharpton

I don't give a shit about Don Imus. He wears a cowboy hat indoors, for god's sake; if you place more trust and value in his words than you would in a used car salesman's it's your fault and your problem. He is paid to go on the radio and say things that will get advertisers to give up their money, the intermediate steps in that equation being fairly clear and understood (who would listen to him otherwise?).

Having said that, there are some events related to his appearance yesterday on Al Sharpton's radio show which must be commented on (which is also on video here; unfortunately I can't now find the full-length one I watched yesterday).

Let's recap a few facts: Don Imus used some stupid, ill-thought-out words to refer to some women who are part of a college basketball team. Refer to the first paragraph for my thoughts on this. Al Sharpton then calls for Imus to be fired. Please note that it is not WHAT Imus was saying that merits his dismissal, according to Sharpton, but what WORDS he used. This is the same attitude in people who recoil in horror of the word "nigger" regardless of WHAT is being said (if the reader has an issue with my using that word now then please stop reading as that is the only thing you will remember anyway; I applaud your efficiency).

Imus then invites Sharpton to his show so they could talk things out. Sharpton understandably is reluctant to do that; instead he invites Imus to his show. I personally see this as reasonable and comparable to

"You called my cousin a cunt."
"OK, that was a mistake. I would like to apologize in person in front of your whole family. Would y'all like to come over this afternoon?"
"Actually, I'd rather you came over."
"No problem."

i.e., one person knows who has the upper hand and is willing to play in the other party's "home field".

So, now Imus is on Sharpton's show. He is unqualifiedly apologetic. He does not try to defend his words; barely even attempts to explain what was being said (i.e., meaning and intent) at the time he used the words (which any reasonable person would consider a necessary step; how can you apologize for something if it is not understood for what you are apologizing?)

This is the point at which Revered Al Sharpton, a self-described man of God and a follower of Jesus Christ, having invited to converse a man who has "sinned" (and who is expressing deep, personal, remorse for his transgression and is seeking personal as well as public forgiveness), chooses to do this during a call-in segment with a member of congress (quoted from the NY Post, linked off the entry header):

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, questioned whether Imus fully understood how he hurt black women. That's when Imus lost it.

"I do understand that. How do you assume that I don't understand that? Of course I understand that! It's like the old country song, 'God may forgive you, but I won't. Jesus loves you but I don't.' So I can't get any place with you people, but I can get some place with Jesus"
"Who is 'you people,' Mr. Imus?" asked Sharpton.

"You and this woman I'm talking to," Imus responded to Sharpton. "Don't try to hang that on me. That's jive."

"What's jive?" Sharpton shot back.

" 'What do you mean by 'you people?' You know what I meant - you two people," Imus angrily answered. "That's not even fair. You said you were going to be fair. Keep your word!"

"I'm being very fair, I'm being fair. I'm keeping it real," Sharpton said. "I'm in charge here, I'm in charge here. I asked you the question!"

(The phrase "you people" is associated with Ross Perot having used it in an ill-received way during a speech to the NAACP in 1992 and has since been used to "out" those who speak it and will not obligingly manifest themselves as racist as the listener would like them to be. Please note that, with a very small sucking sound, the nature and content of the speech has been lost to the ages.)

This is what I take exception to; it may seem a small matter (or worse, a defense of Imus; it is not) but my point is that Don Imus is a radio jock. He is neither, to take three random examples, a man of the cloth, nor a person who at one point expected to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, nor somebody who is seen as a "civil rights leader" by enough people for it to be a problem.

Mr. Sharpton, you have built a career out of slicing racial indignation into thinner and thinner slices, always choosing to loudly vocalize about that indignation rather than making the truly hard choices that peaceful resistance leaders in the 50s and 60s made in order to be taken seriously. You incite strife where there is none; you self-servingly destroy where there is an opportunity to learn and create.

I imagine you think to yourself, "Why would anybody listen to me otherwise? How could I make the advertisers give up their money otherwise?"

Mr. Sharpton, you people make me sick. And by "you people" I mean disingenuous, self-serving, race-baiting jackasses who prey on the intellectual weaknesses of others.

-- Juan Molinari, April 10, 2007, NYC

Monday, April 09, 2007

David Lynch on product placement

no, really, tell us how you feel...

(link goes to his site, which includes a daily weather report delivered by mr. man himself)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Our Man of the Q1 Fundraising

valiantly guarding
a fragile statue of Superman

I was born in the year 1973

(updated 4/8)

I've always wondered what it was like to live in the mid-70s and not soil myself every 2 hours. My only thought ever about Gerald Ford has been that it was a bit of a disconnect awarding him the presidency for having invented the automobile.

Also, (speaking as somebody who hates to dance) obviating any consideration to disco music, I'm keenly aware that 70's music kicks the 60's ass.

With all this in mind, I am very gratified to note a growing trend in today's zeitgeist:

The 70s are back (um... again).

Here are the top five
(admittedly anecdotal) signs
that it is 1973 again:

5. America Ferrera's

outfits in Ugly Betty

4. The U.S. military state of readiness

is starting to resemble

a certain painting by Bosch

3. While remakes of eye-gougingly-bad
70s movies and
other TV fodder is
being thrust upon the unwashed.....

2. is also true (as in the 70s) that crotch-grabbingly good, character / dialogue / script- driven indy movies are coming out every day. You just have to know where to look
(hint: not blockbuster or most movie theaters)

and finally...

1. Next year's headlines.

ps there is also the small matter
of what i have been wearing
to work recently

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: