Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sometimes you just have to applaud ingenuity

It seems that there's a local race in the Washington Heights district where the incumbent has a 7-1 advantage in funding and fund raising.

So this hijo has an idea...

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who ARE these people?

Offered without comment

And once you've wiped the tears from your eyes on that one, get a load of this: signs your son is gay.

And naturally, the left seized upon an opening here, and presented additional signs of gayness, including gay cars

Y'know, back in high school.... :)

(Tip o' the hat to Mike K. for pointing out I needed to edit this)


I'm of two minds in this most recent shuttle launch.

On the one hand, I fully support the thought that after the Columbia disaster, it was important to get back on the horse, so to speak. And naturally, the "bad" news at the beginning of the flight was partly an overreaction to the perceived risks. It seems clear that this insulation problem is one of long-standing, and in fact, if you view footage of the Challenger take-off, you can see chunks of ice falling off the main booster and scraping the underside of the craft. It would not be farfetched to think that Columbia was an accident that was waiting to happen.

On the other hand, the shuttle has turned into precisely what we don't need in the exploration of space: a crap shoot. Delays for this, delays for that, altered landing spots (today's landing was the 50th in California, with one further landing in New Mexico, as opposed to 64 in Florida. Not really good odds.)

The evidence suggests that we need a sturdier and yet more flexible vehicle to really begin a practical exploration of near-space. The X Prize last year was an attempt to pool together the massive parallel "computing" power of the private sector. Make it a competition and watch how evolution works in action.

There are some things that government does extremely well, things that require massive coordinated efforts and large immediate sums of money: research, food distribution, welfare, highways, wars.

And yet, in all of these, there comes a time for the government to step aside and let the private sector enhance what's been done. That doesn't mean taht government turns the entire enterprise over to the private sector, but partners with it.

Because there will come a time yet again when the massive resources of a government are required to nudge a project either back on course or jump it ahead a bit in its progress.

And this, I think, is the major flaw of capitalism: it pays lip service to this rather useful and convenient methodology for advancing great causes.

Pity we are governed by such small men, isn't it? We could be destined for greatness.
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings, RIP

So the last of the big three is officially not coming back to anchor a newscast.

I was never a big fan of Peter Jennings, more because I was a big fan of Tom Brokaw. But I will admit, Jennings had a soothing, calm presence in the worst of times, and was a staple of the American landscape for a long time.

Ironic, I find, that in a time where the newsmedia are under constant attacks by partisan forces hell-bent on warping news to fit their views (wonder how fact suddenly became history?), that we've lost three big names who made their mark during journalism's golden era (Vietnam and Watergate) to various forces, not least of which is simple time.

Was it Gibran who wrote, "The moving finger, having writ, moves on"? Nope, it was Omar Khayyam. Still, this is a passage of time, a marker, whereby the face of journalism will have to change.

It's sad, too, because news is news, and you can't change facts anymore than you can change the stars in the sky. All you can do is spin and slant and manipulate the dialogue. But the truth is there, and the truth comes out, just as it has for millenia.

Peter, if you're watching the world, please know that you tried your hardest and did your best and while you may not have lived to see the world come back to sanity, when it does (as it has to), your voice had something to do with it.

Requiesat in pace.

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Diving, Diving, Diving

Scuba diving in the NYC area is a pretty amazing thing. I was in the water before most of you had breakfast this morning and saw Caribbean tropical fish.

I try to dive as much of the year as possible. Consequently, I see horseshoe crabs mating, hermit crabs switch shells, tropical fish come in, and die off, large open ocean predators like dogfish and the occasional small shark, triggerfish, filefish, and yes lobsters and crabs.

Today, I spotted three juvenile reef butterflyfish . Lovely specimens but the best are yet to come. Stay tuned! Pictures tomorrow if I can "develop" them fast enough from tomorrow's dive.

Hey, what DO you call it when you're waiting to dump out raw photos from a digicam and do a little tweaking in Photoshop? When you bring your film to the drugstore, it's "develop", but "edit" makes it sound so unartistic....

Friday, August 05, 2005

What If The Bible Got It Backwards?

I was thinking over the weekend how, if you examine the Biblical story of God carefully, you come to one inescapable conclusion. It's backwards
The God of the Old Testament is the petulant, reactive child, wiping out the entire planet's population for sin, where Jesus is the forgiving Father, trying to teach His children to love and not taking venegance for them.

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The Teabag of Liberty


You can almost hear the shouts as the rats turn on one of their own.

Robert Novak sandbagged an entire national cable audience on CNN yesterday, and it was worthwhile TV drama (for once, I didn't have to watch IFC to actually enjoy TV).

If you scroll a little down the screen on the link for "worthwhile TV drama," my good friends at Crooks and Liars have provided video of the actual footage, as well as a round-up of blogger reactions. (While you're there, drop 'em a few bucks. This stuff costs money, folks!).

Aside from being the phugliest emotional cripple in the history of punditry, Novak holds the singular reputation of being a rat-bastard, outting an undercover CIA operative while she was still NOC.

Now, "NOC" or "Non-Official Cover" is a status that only the boldest agents maintain. It means, as they used to say on "Mission Impossible", that if you're caught or killed, the Secretary (presumably "of State") will disavow any knowledge of your action. You're up the creek, no paddle, and no boat. We're talking James Bond stuff here.

Two things about this strike me:

1) Not only does he out a NOC agent, but he also outs her cover company (in this case, Brewster Jennings & Associates. Now, Brewster Jennings was in business as recently as 1999 and the agent in question, Valerie Plame, was working for them at that time (thus sharply negating the argument she was not NOC status at the time Novak wrote his article in 2003, since NOC status extends for five years past the termination of your assignment, 2003 - 1999 = 4 years, you see. It is unclear whether BJ&A maintains any other CIA agents on staff, but it is in operation. We may never know, since the only acknowledgement NOC agents get should they be killed is a lone star on a wall at Langley.

2) Novak is the only journalist associated with the Justice Department investigation of the leak (requested by the CIA, which tells you how important this breach is) to not have been threatened with jail, meaning he has already told the grand jury who provided Plame's name. Meaning, what, precisely?

I'll tell you. If you look at the transcript from yesterday's "Bob Boltin'" adventure, you'll find a telling hint:
NOVAK: A couple of points here: The first place, don't be too sure she's going to lose. All the establishment's against her and I've seen these Republican -- anti-establishment candidates who do pretty well. Ronald Reagan, I guarantee you that the establishment wasn't for him. We just elected a senator from Oklahoma, Senator Tom Coburn, everybody in the establishment was against him. She might get elected -- So, wait. Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James. Please, I know you hate to hear me, but you have...
Who is this "we", Bob? You're not from Oklahoma, so it must mean you're a Republican...shame on you, someone who is supposed to be a balanced and impartial columnist, taking such a blatantly partisan position.

And they say the media is liberal? Still, at least we know why he's not stewing in jail like the sometimes and erstwhile "reporter" Judith Miller of the NY Times, who at least has the decency to pretend she's being balanced.

To their credit, CNN issued the follwing blanket form-mail in response to complaints about this episode:
Thank you for your email to us concerning Bob Novak.

Mr. Novak's behavior on CNN during Thursday's broadcast of Inside Politics was inexcusable and unacceptable. Mr. Novak has apologized to CNN, and CNN apologizes to its viewers for his language and actions. CNN has asked Mr. Novak to take some time off.

Isn't that just ducky? A treasonous act against our country in a time of war doesn't trigger the Conservative Nymph Network from dumping this jerkwad, but a simple "bullshit" gets him a forced vacation?

Says alot about this country, dunnit?

Again, going back to CrooksAndLiars, if you scan the list of the blogger round up, you'll see some surprising names listed there: Michelle Malkin, Captain's Quarters (I won't dignify them with a link, sorry. There are some parts of New York I wouldn't send my friends because they are seedy trashy neighborhoods; likewise with the Internets), even Instapundit, a site that is so noxious, I usually have an airsick bag nearby lest I see my name or my beliefs trashed and bandied about in ways even my carpenter father would blanch at, has been forced to acknowledge that Novak has been having a tough time of it, and Glenn Reynolds loves his widdle Bobbleballs!

Anyway, it's nice to watch the rats line up to buttfuck their buddies. You know, in the 90s, I got all sorts of heat for sticking up for Clinton. Not just from the right, but from my liberal and feminist friends.

But these guys bring a whole new meaning to never leaving your buddy's behind...

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

You get a little scared...

....when you sit in the middle of New York City, and hear police sirens streaming past your window in the middle of the day after reading about yet another Zawahiri videotape being played on Al Jazeera, specifically mentioning your city.

And you wonder why they hate us.

Well, not wonder, because you know why. Bush has this unique knack for pissing people off wherever he goes. Makes you wonder how he's ever won elected office.

Actually, no, you don't wonder, you know precisely how. Karl Rove. And then you cringe.

See, I've known a lot of Republicans in my lifetime, and most of them are really fairly decent sorts of people. Maybe they don't get the struggles ordinary people go thru. They've never visited a homeless shelter, or gone to a day care clinic. They don't have parents in nursing homes, or a really troubled teen in rehab.

Or they don't even "know" of anyone who does. Let's face facts. The reason conservatives don't understand these things is they never talk about them in polite company.

The old saying goes that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. I'll go that one better:
a conservative is a liberal who is waiting for therapy.

The bottom line is this: people who fear change won't talk about change and therefore miss out on a lot in life: new ways of looking at the world, of seeing, of learning.

Nothing wrong with being set in your ways, I suppose. Life's pretty easy when it's boring, but I think God put us on this planet for a purpose, and that was to discover who we are, and what we mean to the universe. It's not about glory to Him. His glory comes from ours.

For Karl Rove, you have to in the end pity him. He doesn't stand a chance against the karma about to pour down on him. It'll be fun!

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