Friday, November 28, 2008

You know by now that I'm fascinated by beetles and bees, and

You know by now that I'm fascinated by beetles and bees, and many other members of the class insecta.

Did you know that they make up more than two-thirds of all known organisms?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GMC Public Service Announcement

When passing through certain counties in Missouri, such as Pemiscot County, an out-of-stater like me should know: if you are stopped and ticketed for a moving violation like a speeding ticket (I so was not doing 86 mph), they will arrest you and take you to the county courthouse (jail) until you can post bond and pay your fine.

I kid you not, and I am grateful to Officer Parrot of the Missouri State po po for not taking me down. And I was not doing 86.

And happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Home for the Holiday

Ahhh. Thanksgiving! Glorious foodstuffs, family and friends!

Maybe you're looking down the nose of a squab(ble) instead of just turkey. Here's help so you'll have something to be thankful for. At my house, we just watch Home for the Holidays.

'Really, Taft?'

Speculation over at Owen's about Osama bin Laden being 'cave temperature' reminded me of this.

"Would I still be anchor if Zimbabwe invaded us?"

If only I could figure out how to embed the thing...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

News Qs

Funny article about Ashley Dupre, the hooker who took down New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, about her 'worklike' appearance in People versus her granny-style outfit for her Diane Sawyer interview. C'mon. Who ever expected Dupre to do something smart?

Also from Fox is a piece about the cyber-bullying trial of the woman who created a personality that sent a 13-year-old over the edge. It's all about TOS, and not about causing the suicide or even stalking. Should it be? I'm torn on this one. And I'd bet the jury and judge will make her pay because of the outcome. I also expect that the local police, who ignored the mom's early concerns about the fictitous boyfriend, are next in line.

Hmmm... whom to believe? "UAW to Congress: Get a deal done," or "No need for bailout, say diners near thriving car plant." Just because those average Joes see the Honda plant thriving, with a recent $75 million expansion, doesn't mean they know more than union bigwigs. Then again, once you start hand-outs, expect a line to form quickly. Who do you think will jump on board next?

Related: "Big Three auto CEOs flew private jets to ask for taxpayer money."

Monday, November 17, 2008

The White Stag

This beauty was found - and legally harvested - in Rock County. Sure, they may be a dime-a-dozen up around St. Germaine and Eagle River, but they're the mythical white stag down here.

“I didn’t believe him at first. I thought he was pulling my leg,” Avery said.

Hanewold and his friends returned to find the deer the following day.

They saw the albino lying dead. It was much different than normal deer. It had soft, fine white hair like a rabbit. It also had a bushy tail like a horse.

“It’s body was glowing in the woods as white as it was,” Avery said. “I’m telling you, I’m at a loss for words.”

It was one of the best days the men have had in the woods. They had only previously seen albino deer displayed in museums or shows.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'Oh Bwunhiwduh, you'we so wuvwy'

Though Bugs chirps the less-than-demure response to Elmer Fudd's adulation, the question remains: Does he know it? Can he help it?

Bugs Bunny: flamin' mo, or mere transvestite?


See discussion here and here. He's also rumored to have a lot in common with Sammy Davis, Jr.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is it just me, or is it kinda late for this?

ABC News interviews Bill Ayers.

Bonus news, political tolerance edition:

The Catherine Vogt Experiment

"One person told me to go die. It was a lot of dying. A lot of comments about how I should be killed. "

..."In one class, I had one teacher say she will not judge me for my choice, but that she was surprised that I supported [read the article to find out]," Catherine said.

If Catherine was shocked by such passive-aggressive threats from instructors, just wait until she goes to college.

"Later, that teacher found out about the experiment and said she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said," Catherine said.

One student suggested that she be put up on a cross for her political beliefs."He said, 'You should be crucifixed.' It was kind of funny because, I was like, don't you mean 'crucified?' " Catherine said.

Hard to follow up "the weight of glory" - things like Flanders

Hard to follow up "the weight of glory" - things like Flanders Fields and the courage to outlive evil when it makes the world its hell - with stories about how Jennifer Aniston is mad at Angelina Jolie, and finally says so, or Barack patted Bush on the back, then blabbed too much of what they talked about.

I should paint. I have a marvelous shot I took while driving back from town yesterday on one of my favorite roads west of the Rock - an amazing sky full of taupes, greys and mauves, and a landscape full of blue-black, greens and browns.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

Humble thanks to all our veterans. A Veterans Day message from Corporal Acevedo:

His message on this Veterans Day, he says, is never to hold animosity toward anybody.

"You only live once. Let's keep trucking. If we don't do that, who's going to do it for us? We have to be happy. Why hate?" he says. "The world is full of hate, and yet they don't know what they want."

Remembrance Day poppies to all our good men and women.

'We had to sign an affidavit ... [saying] we never went through what we went through. We weren't supposed to say a word'

I've been fascinated since childhood by WWII Europe. My shelves are lined with personal accounts; the first books I read on my own were The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place.

But many personal accounts were supressed "to protect escape and evasion techniques and the names of personnel who helped POW escapees," said Frank Shirer, the chief historian at the U.S. Army Center for Military History.

Thankfully, brave people like Anthony Acevedo, a 20-year-old medic who was captured and sent to a Buchenwald satellite camp, are sharing their experiences for modern generations - crucial to understanding how such inhumanity can flourish and its untenable price.

That is our true hope for 'never again.'

Monday, November 10, 2008

Screw 'drill here, drill now'

I want one of these things: "Portable Nuclear 'Hot Tubs' Could Power America."

I may have to wait for the smaller version. Maybe we can get the township to go in on it with us...

More bad fiscal policy coming?

How much more do your representatives want you to pony up?

Could be a lot, especially if you're older, you've worked longer, you're more frugal, and you make more than others:

"Dems Target Private Retirement Accounts: Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs."

This mother of all redistribution programs could dwarf the recent trillion-dollar bank fiasco.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More transition fun

After eight years of wearing Milkbone underwear, Bush finally turns the tables on reporters:

Get 'em, Barney!

Via Wendy.

Additional thoughts: What idiot approaches a strange dog with his hand palm-down and above the dog's head? And then - yes, I know the White House doc gave the advice and is being extra cautious here - takes antiobiotics for the nip he gets?!? Do not take this man to the zoo.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spent the day getting a spinal injection - fun! - and having a

Spent the day getting a spinal injection - fun! - and having a friend take delightful care of me.

Two items I'm gonna read/view when I'm up to it:

"Donna Brazile: A letter to the losers."

"Dr. Gupta: Obama's health promises."

Now, to watch the snow fall and then off for a hot shower.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Got up to get a drink of water, then wandered over to my compy

Got up to get a drink of water, then wandered over to my compy to noodle while I drank it.

Can't get the ad outta my thoughts that ran tonight - think it was on the TVLand station during the 3rd Rock From the Sun hour - that had me and you and them and everyone pledging to support President Obama in any way we can.

The h377?!? I didn't do that for Bush. There are many issues on which pols and the people don't agree, to whom pols should be held accountable, and I'll uphold democracy to the gulag. So don't push it, folks.

Is he just trying to burn off that kazillion in "small" donations while extending the media "feel good" support? Save it for a rainy day, dude.

Rifling the cupboards

The Chicago Tribune reports Pres.-elect Obama's cabinet picks.

Who should take over for Condi?

Sen. John Kerry? Sen. Richard Lugar (Indiana, ranking Repub on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)? Or Gov. Bill Richardson? I don't know about Lugar, but I'm leaning toward somebody else altogether. Condi, for one. Since the di is already cast, I consider it a two-way race between Richardson and Lugar.

Of course, Kerry could be a ridiculously delightful return to the Madeleine Albright days.

Defense secretary could be a more intensely scrutinized pick, currently between yet another senator, Chuck Hagel, Sen. Sam Nunn (former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee), Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates (ha! I say), the real pick being Obama's campaign advisor on national security, former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, and last on the list, Clintonite deputy defense secty. John Hamre, in a nod to the Clintons.

I think AG is either still up in the air, or Chicago-based U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Scooter Libby Plamegate/grand jury fame has it in the bag.

Protesting democracy

May feel good for awhile, but it accomplishes little: "Several Gay Marriage Ban Protesters Arrested in Clashes With Police in California."

As the Yes on 8 lady notes in the article, the voters have spoken on the matter - twice. What she leaves out is the change in the numbers.

In 2000, similar prop 22 passed by 62%. Prop 8 passed by 52%. In four years at the outside the numbers will invert, and voters will carry the issue - no more contentious rulings that seem to flout the will of the people.

Will ban supporters protest then? Unlikely.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

*L* has me up late watching the WEC replay from last weekend.

L has me up late watching the WEC replay from last weekend.

Guess there's no point in live-blogging it, but we really thought Jaw-breaker Pulver was gonna blow away that freaky little spaz guy, and we were both totally disgusted with Filho's disqualifying weigh-in, the decision to let him keep his belt (by whom, we wanna know), but most of all by his embarrassing - shall we say - "floor" display.

Yup, no point in live-blogging - Mike Brown just mopped the floor with Urija Faber, mugging him of his WEC Featherweight belt. Catch the replay when you can.

The Good News

Is salvation through grace.

We got some of that in this election. What I'm glad about:

For people of color the world over, race can now be seen as a positive issue in getting elected, even to the highest office. Like conservatives over the past eight years, they will come to know the joys and pains of having someone you voted for try to make crucial decisions that everyone will have to live with. Congratulations.

The popular vote leaves conservatives not completely dismayed, while the electoral trouncing ensures we won't go through any battles like in 2000.

There is a national focus for race issues to play out - may we get more of them behind us and draw closer to MLK's dream.

Conservatives will have time to reconsider why they are out - they could come to the conclusion that they are too much like their Dem colleagues and reembrace conservatism. It certainly would have been little more than the discussion it's been for the past eight years if McCain - RHINO that he is - had won.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Assume crash position, but go vote first

How long have people been talking about high voter turnout and voter fraud? So you'd expect some preparation was done, you know, checking voter rolls and being prepared for all of them to show up; checking driver's licenses at check-in, etc.

In one of my favorite editorial stretches of late, Fox puts up on it's main page, "Government on High Alert for Voter Fraud."

What color is that?

Anyway, the article has a more appropriate title - "Expected High Voter Turnout Has Government Officials, Watchdog Groups on Alert."

If you want to know what the next two months' fight will be over (mostly preparation and technology - Virginia, for one, isn't worried about its machines breaking down, so they aren't going to have paper ballots on hand), read it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Meet axolotl.Or not. This cool little guy may be a salamander,

Meet axolotl.
Or not. This cool little guy may be a salamander, have regenerative powers, and be a major player in the Aztec pantheon, but he's also choking to death in stinky Lake Xochimilco.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

European Court of Justice could weaken the fight against terrorism

Problematic: "Terrorism Financing Blacklists At Risk."

In September, the European Court of Justice threw the future of the United Nations' sanctions program against al-Qaeda and the Taliban into doubt when it declared the blacklist violated the "fundamental rights" of those targeted. The Luxembourg-based court said the list lacked accountability and made it almost impossible for people to challenge their inclusion.

Courts in Britain and France have also questioned whether European countries can enforce the U.N. sanctions and other blacklists without violating local laws, including a defendant's right to see evidence. The United Nations keeps such evidence secret.

The list should be regulated, and those who are put on it should have an appeals process (which they do, though currently they must appeal through their home country), but here's the problem with a European Court of Justice: the UN needs to keep much of the evidence secret, though not all of it, in order to protect sources. Otherwise, the program is dead in the water. Of course, opponents of the list - terrorists - know this.

The Court can't have it both ways, protecting global interests while putting individual countries' laws first, undermining another "governing" body like the UN in the process. Inconsistent enforcement doesn't imply that the ban is wrong. And there need to be cross-lists; the UN doesn't consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist group, so they're not on the UN's list, free to travel and transfer funds unimpeded.

Just because terrorists have learned some tactics to evade the lists is a specious reason to end the program. Abandonment of the blacklists would force bodies like the UN to revert to sanctioning countries instead of the individuals they're trying to reach.

It's a bad time to re-fund terrorists.