They've been running ads in the New York Times. They have the ads available together with other information worth checking out.
And yeah, I've got my membership card in my wallet right now.
For the next forty minutes, we talked about the differences between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, Clinton and Bush. We did it respectfully, quietly, honestly, and openly. It was about as far removed from talk radio as you can get, and the man I was talking with was not the man I portrayed in my essay. When I left, I felt closer to my dad than I have in years, despite all our political differences.(Yeah, that Wil Wheaton.)
A few of my readers may feel particularly strongly about a word that jumped out at me from a good review of the illegal wiretapping story provided by Jim Macdonald at Making Light.
I was just musing about the oath in question the other day. If any of my readers have an in with the Norns, now might be a good time to have a word with them.
I recently discovered the Carfree Cities website, and feel a little bit foolish for having bought the Carfree Cities book, because I think the web actually tells the story better than the book. I suppose that I'm paying for the cost of the site, so that's not too bad.
J.H. Crawford is entirely serious in proposing that a city of a million people or more can function entirely without cars or trucks. My own image of utopian urbanism — setting aside my dreams of arcologies — has long excluded private cars but included taxis and trucks. Crawford has convinced me that these aren't necessary, that a truly carfree city is possible. After all, observes Crawford, Venice manages just fine without cars, and this helps to make it arguably the most pleasant city in the world.
Crawford's argument is, in fact, full of surprises. There's some crafty number-crunching that shows that in principle a city of a million inhabitants could be structured with 80% green space, four-story buildings, and a metro system that takes people from anywhere to anywhere in no more than 35 minutes, with no more than a 5 minute walk at either end. The metro system in Crawford's reference design is very cunning: there are only three lines, and everything is reachable with a single transfer.
Part of the trick is discussed in the book: most folks don't understand which parts of the public transit system to optimize. Where does the time go? Train accelleration is not so important, but designing the doors to start opening a moment before a train stops cumulatively shaves more significant time off of a long trip. There's a lot of good, deep thinking like this in Crawford's proposal.
The website also includes a fun pattern language of good stuff to have in a city, very much taking after Christopher Alexander. Crawford is a fan of a Mediterranean model: open courtyards in the centers of blocks, twisty little streets, arcades, little squares, and so forth.
Oh, and he wants to convert the interstate highways system into rail, too. My kind of guy.
Anyway, in the '90s there was this guy who went by the name Kibo who wrote a little script that checked every day to see if anyone had posted anything mentioning his name anywhere on Usenet. If you said something witty he'd respond, usually with something even wittier. Many folks didn't know how Kibo managed to read all of Usenet, which even then was far too big for a human being to truly survey. It was sort of a sign of good fortune to get a post or an email from the mysterious, omniscient Kibo, and Usenet was eventually humming with the faux religion "Kibology."
No, I myself have never received email from Kibo. (Though who knows? Maybe he checks Technorati periodically these days, and may turn up here.) Which is why I only just now learned the reason for this post --- that he apparently used an extraordinarily long email signature.
In December 1955, when it was actually called CONAD, Colonel Harry Shoup was ranking officer when the phone rang. The phone --- the red phone that you really don't want to ring, on your watch or any other time. He answers the phone, and has a very confusing conversation. The voice on the other end of the phone is asking a vexing question.
"Can I talk to Santa Claus?"
It turns out that the local Sears has placed an ad in the paper with a phone number so kids can call and talk to Santa. There's a misprint in the ad, and so NORAD has kids calling in every day. One can imagine that first call. Col. Shoup may have let slip who he was and what his job was. The kid wants to know about Santa, and NORAD tracks anything that enters US airspace ...
In 1955, the big board was a sheet of glass with a map, marked up with grease pencils. To help answer the incoming calls, the CONAD team marked the position of a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer. The following year, the folks at CONAD preëmted any confusion by changing the number of the Red Phone and running their own ad with the number of the Santa Phone.
Mind you, these folks are government employees. Their job is to look for Russian planes. So they're doing this unpaid, on their time off. And every year they got more callers.
Needless to say, as aerospace technology advances, so does NORAD's Santa operation. And of course there's a website. I particularly recommend the videos from the Santa tracking systems test done last month, as they tracked Santa leaving the North Pole to attend the Hollywood Christmas Parade.
It looks as if people have preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identities. But for Iraq to succeed there has to be cross-ethnic and cross-sectarian co-operation.That's from a brief article in the UK Independent which says that indications are that religious groups and political parties are in the ascendency, ethnic/regional divisions are sharp, and Iranian influence is powerful.
We're not exactly seeing a flowering of democratic institutions.
Mr Khalilzad said yesterday: "You can't have someone who is regarded as sectarian, for example, as Minister of the Interior." This is a not so-veiled criticism of the present minister, Bayan Jabr, a leading member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the largest Shia party. He is accused of running death squads and torture centres whose victims are Sunni Arabs.Emphasis mine. I'm excitable about that sort of thing.
What's remarkable about Posner's Op-Ed is that his whole point is that the FISA law on this presently is (in his view) woefully inadequate to the task. He never even mentions the serious implication of this point, namely, that if he is right that FISA currently prohibits this -- and he is right -- then the Administration's data mining for the past four years has been a violation of criminal law. (No specious suggestions from Posner, who knows better, that this was authorized by the AUMF: He's forthright that the law needs to be amended.)Felonies. Impeach Bush. Impeach Bush now.
Posner may be right that current law is too restrictive. Congress should have that debate. But isn't it troubling that an esteemed federal judge seems so indifferent to the fact that, in the meantime -- before the Nation and the Congress have had the opportunity to debate Posner's proposal -- the Nation's Chief Executive is systematically authorizing criminal felonies?
There are four forces in the universe. Gravity bends the universe into its shape from end to end, attracts and never repels, but is by far the weakest of these forces. Electricity and magnetism, one and the same to the divine eye --- attracting, repelling, and turning --- is the second weakest force, far stronger than gravitation. This second force accounts for almost everything we know: the strength of stone, the flow of water, the kiss of wind, the source of fire's energy. Even light itself is a ripple in it.
In the heart of the Sun, the press of the Sun's enormous weight makes a world unlike anything we can touch. In the heart of the Sun, the hydrogen and helium we know as wisps lighter than air are a dozen times the density of lead --- pressed until they are no longer gasses, nor even anything like the liquids or solids we know, but a plasma like a soupy flame.
In the heart of the Sun, there are not atoms but the hearts of atoms, nuclei rattling among the electrons which would cloak them on Earth, shoulder to shoulder but not bound together. The second weakest force in the universe tries to drive the nuclei apart from one another while the weakest force presses them together and the heat whirls them in a mad dance. In this unearthy mælstrom those nuclei collide. And then another force, one with far greater strength and far lesser reach then its two familiar sibilings, takes hold and grafts the nuclei together.
A fire is powered by the release of energy bound in knots of the twins electricity / magnetism. So is your flesh. But the Sun is powered by the release of energy bound up in that far stronger force which circumscribes the nuclei. The strength of the hearts of atoms warms the heart of our Sun. As nuclei cleave together, energy escapes as a ripple of light. Thus the inconceivably thick plasma deep in the Sun is awash in light, which bounces and spins through it.
It takes time for a ray of light to find its way to the Sun's surface, where it can finally live its destiny to soar unobstructed through the vacuum of space --- and perhaps to come to rest on the world we know. The light you see today was born before anything human walked. It has been a long time coming.
Remember the Sun's gifts today.
President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.Yes, "presidential order" means Bush's actual signature on an actual piece of paper. And Hilzoy reminds us
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years ...
This is against the law.This is what impeachment is for, folks. Follow the link to Hilzoy's article and you'll see that though she has hesitated to say "impeachment," now it's time.
Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."
Bruce Wayne has an answer to Vicki's charge of abnormality:Wilson seems to miss that Batman steadfastly refuses to kill. I don't blame him; it's not underlined in the picture, which is one of the many reasons why I had mixed feelings about it. The recent Batman Begins is much closer to the sort of Batman picture I want to see. Still, Wilson has a point --- and is always a provocative read.
"What's 'normal' in a world like this?"
And that has always been, of course, the logic of surrealism. After World War 1, the surrealists hung toilet bowls in sculpture shows and painted things like Debris of an Automobile Giving Birth to a Blind Horse Biting a Telephone precisely to force everybody to ask, "What's normal in a world like this?"
Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper.I bet you got it in one, didn't you?
Recall, this is a man who stood up with his hand on a Bible held by the Cheif Justice of the United States Supreme Court and swore a brief oath that went like this:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United StatesImpeach Bush. Impeach him now.
Update: Digby has observations which illuminate how unsurprising this is.
Update: How credible is this anonymously-sourced story? The original publisher's defense of it sounds pretty credible to me.
We get tips about Bush’s temper and his comments all the time. Most of the tips don’t get used because we don’t go with information from just one source. The tip about "the goddamned piece of paper" seemed destined for the byte bin until a second aide, in casual conversation, mentioned the comment.Granted, that's not rock solid. But it's as good as you could hope to get in a story like this one; none of the staffers who were in the room could be expected to go on the record.
So I called a third source who has confirmed information in the past. At first he was defensive.
"Who told you about that?" I told him I’d picked it up from two other sources.
"Look, you know how the President is," he said. "He gets agitated when people challenge him."
All I wanted to know was did the President of the United States call the Constitution a "goddamned piece of paper."
"Yeah. He did."
Update update: Digging further into Capitol Hill Blue produces epistemological distress. I've not been able to find a comprehensive analysis of CHB as a source. They do seem to have a rep for publishing rumors, and it seems that sometimes the rumors turn out to be true, including some big stories. I expect that on this one, we'll never know for sure.
to prove that I was someone(December 12, 2005)
Dare I take My tattoo the master-slave connection my tattoo a step further is a rebel flag, to point out a rebel flag to point out roughly 3"x5" that many people on my lower back many people Having known people of all races and ethnicities that had enlisted in the military have allowed themselves enlisted in the military to be with tattoos modern-day slaves with tattoos such as swastikas, iron crosses, etc. Indeed, a person does not have to etc. I though it wouldn't be black cause a problem. to exhibit a slave mentality. Apparently though, it has. Unwittingly, too many of us — The Army, the Air Force, and the Marines and it does not matter whether we are black the army asian the air force chicano and the marines or white have told me or white that any tattoo to perpetuate “the Master's will” considered racist or sexist through our own self-hatred will keep you from enlisting in the military and destructive behavior. Is this some new policy since 9/11? For those individuals who are in denial, Is there anything I can do? for those individuals who are in denial, I am 17 and have here are some recognizable signs of a future ahead of me self perpetuation of slave behavior: I have come from be it the bottom of society in prison and worked my entire life in prison to prove that I was someone or to prove that I was someone in society who was capable of status in society other than white trash. Somebody please help me out.
All text in left column by Stanley “Tookie” Williams, “My Letter to Incarcerated Youth No. 2”. Tookie Williams was executed by the State of California on December 13, 2005. All text in right column by a writer identified as “dingo the CGP” on the Legal Issues forum of Stormfront White Nationalist Community at http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=121583 posted on March 13, 2004, found after a search on Tookie’s execution offered a link to the Stormfront page.
Daphne Gottlieb, December 12, 2005. This poem was finished at midnight.
Ms. Gottleib says “it is absolutely fine to point to this piece or redistribute as long as ‘authorship’ is credited to me and no money is garnered from its reproduction.”
Madonna: Its complement is Gevurah. You’ll see that image is from I’m Breathless.Let me add that Colin Low has done the same thing for us, using Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Britney: Pardon me?
Madonna: The soundtrack to Dick Tracy?
Britney: I’m sorry. It’s not ringing a bell.
Madonna: Never mind. Tracy is a lawman; my single, "Hanky Panky" was all about punishment, spanking. Gevurah shows us order and restraint; it keeps things as they are. Chesed and Gevurah are at odds and in balance. It’s difficult to explain, my sweet, perhaps because you’re not yet a woman of grand experie …
Britney: Is it like when you reinvent yourself as a more adult performer, perhaps with an r’n’b edge, but you have to make sure that you don’t alienate your core demographic?
Madonna: You are a fine pupil, Britney, wise beyond your years.
Worf is a brilliant depiction of Gevurah. His dominating motivations are duty and honour, so his behaviour is tightly constrained by whatever he considers to be dutiful and honourable. He is not afraid to die upholding duty and honour and exhibits something close to a death urge --- he would make a good Kamikaze.And I have at least a picture of the RHPS execution of the Tree.
Chaos Magicians tend to be very (you guessed it!) chaotic people. The kind of people who would dream up things like this Rocky Horror Picture Show Cabbala (pictured to the right). Yep, that was designed by one of the most famous chaos magicians out there: Phil Hine (it's scanned from my (signed) copy of Condensed Chaos).I'm still working on my own superhero tree-of-life and Firefly tree-of-life. I'll let you know.
Stanley "Tookie" Williams III
1953 - 2005
Not a martyr
He founded a deadly and ruthless street gang. He apologized for doing it. He was a committed and effective anti-gang activist. There are plausible reasons to think that he was innocent of the crime he was convicted of committing. He was certainly not an innocent man. He was loyal to his friends. Some of those friends were bad, bad men.
Judge not, lest ye be judged? But we live in a world in which we must exercise judgement; to refrain from judgement is itself a judgement. Yet the world conspires to baffle our judgement. What to make of Mr. Williams' life?
People called for clemency. People called for the most severe punishment. Personally, I felt sympathy with both arguments. I am baffled.
We cannot step into the same river twice. We cannot punish the same person who committed a crime, nor can we reward the same person who did a good deed. We are all the inheritors of the legacy of our younger selves. Yet only a fool would say that we should neither punish crimes nor reward good deeds.
There's a lot I don't know about Mr. Williams, and how we should respond to him. In a baffling world, I want to know what he would have made of the rest of his life. And in a baffling world, I don't want the State of California to have the power of life and death over its citizens. But I don't know much more than that.
Update: Daphne Gottleib commemorates the moment with a poem that will take your breath away.
Oh, and be sure and roll over the wiggly thing in the upper left corner of the page with the Incompetent Design article.
It's so geeky that it collapses into a geek singularity and falls behind the geek event horizon. But you gotta click that link and check out the little Lego monsters.
Via Poor Mojo.
1940 - 2005
In the event that you've only been exposed to him in the form of his stupid later films, mark the day by finding one of his old standup routines on CD or DVD and go see him invent contemporary stand-up comedy.
There's a whole generation of comics now who learned his trick of digging into the dark places of pain, anguish, race, sex, violence to win laughter from an audience. Most of them are using that trick for cheap laughs, while Pryor earned those laughs the hard way. You paid for them, listening to him. And he paid, himself --- he paid dearly. And was ten times funnier than almost everybody in the business in the process.
While we're here: As I was trawling for a quote for this post, I stumbled across an amazing story about him working with Lily Tomlin. It says this about his work:
Instead of adapting to the white perspective, he forced white audiences to follow him into his own experience. Pryor didn't manipulate his audiences' white guilt or their black moral outrage. If he played the race card, it was only to show how funny he looked when he tried to shuffle the deck.
And then it says a whole lot more. Check it out.
Update: Digby says some fine things about Pryor.
He was right up front, saying it all clearly and without restraint. He wasn't being polite and pretending that race wasn't an issue. And it didn't matter. Nobody, not one person, in that audience was angry. In fact, not one person in that audience was anything but doubled over in paroxysms of hysterical laughter. He had our number, all of us, the whole flawed species.
Also long, also worth a read.
Via Warren Ellis.
I get drafted by the Space Marines. I'm me, only in a you-can-get-drafted-by-the-Space-Marines world. After a lot of shuffling around from room to room as I'm processed into the system, I get deposited into a military based disguised as a large disused old fire station together with the rest of my unit, all dressed in our civvies as we wait for what's next. Most of us are in our Hi-Viz Lime Yellow Aerostitch Roadcrafter one-piece motorcycling suits.
Before we find out what fiendish psychological experiment has brought us all together, I wake up.
I tend to think that there was a certain artistic genius to Nazi evil that makes it worse than Stalin's reign in an important way. But I won't argue with folks who call Stalin worse than Hitler, since Stalin killed more people, which is an imprortant metric that transcends questions of style. On the other hand, I'm not letting Pol Pot off the hook; the Khmer Rouge may have killed piddling numbers of people by Hitler and Stalin standards, but there are ways in which they make even the Nazis look like the Boy Scouts of America.
If you are going to go by the numbers, though, I learned recently that Mao is the champion of twentieth century evil. So Uncle Joe has at least that much going for him.
Here are the percentages of Americans who say they are "fairly or very satisfied" with their own health system:Meanwhile, Ezra Klein reflects on the propaganda triumph thus puzzle represents.
- Poor: 45%
- Elderly: 61%
- Everyone else: 34%
Americans in general are highly dissatisfied with their healthcare system --- the one that's supposedly the "best healthcare in the world" --- and yet they've been conned into thinking that a national healthcare system would be even worse. This is despite the fact that people in America who are enrolled in a national healthcare system (most of whom have previous experience with private employer programs) like it better than the working stiffs who have private coverage.
We've so fully demonized government-run health care that we won't even believe it can work when it already is. The totality of propaganda's triumph over not just the facts, but our subjective interpretation of the facts (i.e, how satisfied we are with our health care) is truly stunning.Having done some recent work for foks in the insurance biz, I have to say that I'm convinced that the government could not possibly screw things up any worse than the current system. I doubt even the Bush administration could find a way to do it.
our commitment to civil rights cannot be separated from our commitment to reasonable taxation in service of a stable society. In our culture they are inextricably bound to one another and we will never achieve one without achieving the other. As I wrote in my earlier post on this topic, racism is America's original sin. Until we politically and socially emasculate it, we will continue to be shackled by a fantasy of individualism and a Hobbesian worldview that can no longer be ameliorated by an endless frontier or global economic dominance.If you didn't check it out then, I recommend taking a look now.
I'm reminded of it by a post on the same subject from Cervantes, who blogs about health care policy.
Almost everyone in Fishtown claimed to be a conservative, and expressed scathing contempt for liberals. So what were some of their conservative ideas? .... nationalizing the oil companies ... government sponsored health care, a higher minimum wage ... massive investments in public transportation ... cleaning up the air pollution -- all kinds of radical right wing ideas.I don't know whether this makes my head or my heart hurt more.
What's going on? I confess I have left out the most important issue that the good people of Fishtown were worried about. In their own words, it was the niggers. They were all on welfare, and they were taking all the jobs. (That's right, I often got that in consecutive sentences. And by the way, I would estimate that 1/4 of the households in Fishtown consisted of single mothers on welfare, or disability pensioners.)
Racism has divided the working class, and made the white majority mistrust social programs which they have been persuaded somehow favor the other at their expense.
I be Zeus! King of the clanThere's more, if you follow the link. But ow, it hurt my brain.
You talk to me you talkin to The Man
Got gods and goddesses up the yin-yang
Mess wit me you messin wit a gang.
Instead, I offer you Peggy McIntosh's essay White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. If any of my white readers are not familiar with it, they should have a look at it --- at least the middle section, "daily effects of white privilege." The sections bookending it may not be so digestible for someone who hasn't drunk pretty deeply from feminist or lefty culture, but the list is necessary reading for any white American.
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.Sobering stuff.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.