Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quote of the day

Right now in Boston, the mercury is holding at 269 K with a wind-chill factor of "Oh my sweet Isis why is nitrogen dripping from my fingers?"
--Blake Stacey

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Atheists pwn an "opinion" columnist

The comments here are some of the best, most thoughtful you'll ever read. They're every bit as good as this preening mutton-head's are bad

Via Pharyngula.

Quote of the day

"If you don't read the Anarchist's Cookbook when you are 16 you have no soul. If you are still reading it when you are 36 you have no brain."
--Cory Doctorow

Via Slog.

Olbermann: Live commentary on Sarah "I'm preparing the turkey" Palin

John, I hope you can watch this...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Silly Kitty

Andrew Sullivan would call this a mental health break.

Via Slog.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dan Savage: Canada is the land of the free.

Take a bow:

"Oh, Canada: While we scream and yell about being the land of the free, you quietly live it. I love how my boyfriend magically becomes my husband when we visit Canada, without anyone else's marriage being threatened. Here's hoping that one day soon the United States will recognize the legal marriages of all Canadian citizens, gay and straight."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More Christian Stupidity

This is a classic:

"In 1999, I was hospitalized with a severe staph infection. I’d never known such horrible pain, and while I received excellent medical care, and the strongest antibiotics available, all of that would have been useless if God had not divinely intervened. God literally saved my life, and nothing and no one will make me believe otherwise."
You fucking ungrateful asshat. They should withhold the antibiotics next time. God doesn't have a great track record in the field where there is no modern medicine to back up his mistakes. [/sarcasm]

The title of the article is "Free Speech or Blasphemy?" I'm inclined to Poe's Law. But somehow, I doubt it.

Via Pharyngula.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A YouTube ode to college

I hope someone got an A on this film project.

Frank Rich on the GOP's woes

From the New York Times. Money quote:

Will the 2008 G.O.P. go the way of the 1936 G.O.P., which didn’t reclaim the White House until 1952? Even factoring in the Democrats’ time-honored propensity for self-immolation, it’s not beyond reason. The Republicans are in serious denial. A few heretics excepted, they hope to blame all their woes on their unpopular president, the inept McCain campaign and their party’s latent greed for budget-busting earmarks.

The trouble is far more fundamental than that. The G.O.P. ran out of steam and ideas well before George W. Bush took office and Tom DeLay ran amok, and it is now more representative of 20th-century South Africa during apartheid than 21st-century America. The proof is in the vanilla pudding. When David Letterman said that the 10 G.O.P. presidential candidates at an early debate looked like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club,” he was the first to correctly call the election.

Parting shot:

The worse news for the country is that at a time of genuine national peril we actually do need an opposition party that is not brain-dead.

Obama to give up the Blackberry? Oh noes...

Welcome to the 21st 20th century, Mr. President...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bad Astronomy: Actual pictures of planets outside our solar system

Holy. Cow.

Go here. I'm giddy, but nothing like he is.

Oh, and remember all those jokes about the Hubble Telescope? Who's laughing now?

A compelling commentary on the auto industry's situation

For certain commentators who want to see the big three US auto makers go under, here's perspective:

GM's heavy-duty hybrid technology would be far more revolutionary than Toyota's.

The Toyota technology can only be applied to smaller, lighter vehicles topping out at perhaps the Highlander SUV. Such vehicles are only suited to commuting. In contrast, GM's technology (developed with BMW and Chrysler) can be applied to huge vehicles pickups, commercial trucks, and buses.

In other words, the vehicles that consume vastly more amounts of fuel per vehicle, if not in total, than passenger vehicles. And GM leads the pack.

The post also makes a good point: There is a vast support system based on the auto industry, and this will lead to trickle-down effects of the worst order. We need them for now, and the people doing the design and manufacture need help. The suits, not so much.

I think we could be approaching a certain tipping point in automobile manufacturing. As I see it, the big three became the big three because at the turn of the 20th century, the process was so capital-intensive, it could only be accomplished by capital barons with deep pockets. It took massive amounts of money to put forth the type of plant that could produce a car, an order of magnitude worth of money, and once you got a good chunk of the market, it was tough for others to capture enough of the market for themselves for it to be worth the trouble to go through the loans process.

It's still not cheap: my nephew, Tim, is a finance director for a dealership. He said if I was to take my 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix and make it myself, it would cost me roughly $300,000-$400,000 in custom-made parts, compared to the $26,000 I actually paid for it. Youch.

But, guess what? Things are changing (it's deep insight like this that are the reasons I'm a highly-unpaid amateur blogger). Manufacturing processes are becoming more automated all the time. Custom motorcycle manufacturers are almost commonplace. Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines are available by lease to an increasing degree. The abundance of expertise in the manufacture of carbon-fiber means not only new types of cars, but new processes that are available for making a car, and which do not require massive machinery, thus lowering the bar even further. The brothers Magliozzi from Car Talk on NPR did a fun program for public television earlier this year: Car of the Future. Tom Magliozzi visited with a gentleman who had such a prototype SUV built with a carbon-fiber body. It was nothing for Tom to lift an entire body section with two hands, a feat impossible had it been made of steel.

What we are seeing, in my opinion, is the auto industry gradually heading the same direction that we've seen the telecommunications business go: more players becoming increasingly balkanized because the opportunity to get in on the ground floor gets more cost-effective all the time.

HT: Slog.

Tangled Bank #118: Open letter to Barack Obama

Money quote from here:

"Put an end to manufactured controversies like creationism, and intelligent design, and educate the public about the facts behind evolutionary biology: evolution is the foundational concept upon which all of modern biology - including next-generation genetic research - is based."

Dan Savage on Anderson Cooper's show

A shout out to my friends Mickey, Jenn, and JP.

Via Sullivan:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yglesias: Rachel Maddow is a national treasure.

Watch this, Sarah Palin, this is your opponent:

And a damn fine point: She's hoovering up every media appearance she can find to complain about the media. Can we just not use the term "the media" ever again, please? They aren't all united in their purpose, they're not receiving their marching orders from one source from which they fear retribution if they step off the path.

Well, OK; Fox...

I wonder if Keith Olbermann still wears blue jeans under the anchor desk? Me, I blog naked.

HT: Matt Yglesias.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dave Galloway: A tough cyclist

The image on the header of his blog will make you smile. The picture of his bike a ways down the page should make you cringe.

Via Joe Lindsey.


Holy guacamole, this game is addictive...

Ben Smith: Jews voted against Prop 8

Wonder if anyone's going to be picketing Jewish temples over this?

Have I mentioned how religion leads to bigotry? I wonder how many atheists voted in favor of Prop 8? Maybe nobody bothered to tally those figures. We don't count in this country, after all [/sarcasm].

You ever have one of those days when you get up and down mixed up? That's this post in a nutshell: I had originally intepreted it to mean that Jewish voters had supported Prop 8, but they hadn't; they were opposed to the measure and defending gay rights to marry. I screwed up royally, and I'm sorry. I'll do better.


"I would have preferred more opportunity to speak to the media more often"
-- Sarah Palin.

Is she fucking kidding me? She would have preferred to speak to the trained seals in the right-wing media like Sean Hannity more often.

Via Sullivan.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quote of the day

"My reputation as a ladies man was a joke. It caused me to laugh bitterly through the 10,000 nights I spent alone."
--Leonard Cohen.

Olbermann: Worst Person(s)

On a lighter Countdown note, Billy scores a hat trick:

Olbermann on Prop 8

Overwrought, yes. But so what?

Darwin/Lincoln bicentennial

With all the talk among academia of how Charles Darwin's 200th birthday celebration is next year, what is kinda-sorta overlooked is that Darwin was born the same date as Abraham Lincoln. Follow the links to find bicentennial celebrations for each man.

Digital Cuttlefish is brilliant

Best. Poem. Ever.

God save us from the Atheists--
They're even worse than Gays;
God save us from depravity and wicked, wicked ways.

They reek of impropriety
And decadence and sin
Their morals do not come from God, but rather from within!

Their Bedrock Moral Values
Are discarded in the dust;
No fear of Hell prevents them from succumbing to their lust!

Why, only our profound belief
In God's Most Holy Joys
Prevents us from--well, most of us--molesting altar boys!

As Jesus said, "forgive them"
In His final mortal breath--
We'd never bother cracker-thieves, nor threaten them with death.

Our Faith provides humility--
We know that we are flawed.
And sometimes our appeals for tithes are bordering on fraud

And looking through our history
Of meeting other cultures
It seems sometimes we're not quite doves so much as we are vultures

But through it all, we're moral
Cos we're acting in God's Name;
And when our culture goes to Hell... there's Atheists to blame.

Intelligent design smackdown!

Money quote:

The strongest voices of the evening were an atheist and a Christian who agreed that intelligent design is neither science nor worthy of scientific consideration.
Yup, that about covers it.

HT: Pharyngula

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bill Maher New Rules 10/31/2008

I'm a little late for this one, but the song at the end, I think, applies regardless of political seasons.

Bill Maher: Post-election New Rules

"If (Obama) puts a moon roof in the Presidential limo, he's not making himself fuhrer; he's just trying to get the smell of stupid out of the seats."

Loneliness sucks.

And now we have the evidence to prove it.

People do like to be alone sometimes. But no one likes to feel lonely – to feel that they are alone against their will, or that the social contacts they do have are without deeper meaning. According to Cacioppo and Patrick the feeling of loneliness is the least of it. They present scientific evidence suggesting that loneliness seriously burdens human health. By middle age, the lonely are less likely to exercise and more likely to eat a high-fat diet, and they report experiencing a greater number of stressful events. Loneliness correlates with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. During a four-year study, lonely senior citizens were more likely to end up in nursing homes; during a nine-year study, people with fewer social ties were two to three times more likely to die.
Via Sullivan.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Jeff Buckley: Last Goodbye

Damn, I love this song.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stability ball exercises

It's cold, wet, and nasty here in Iowa today, and I'm staring at my stability ball, which serves as part of my living room decor. I'm posting this as a public service for cyclists for winter, and personal motivation.

Quote of the day.

"I know, putting this in God's hands, the right thing for America will be done on November 4."

--Sarah Palin

Via Ed Brayton.



"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

--Susan B. Anthony

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) folds its cards

Via Joe Lindsey:

The Agency for Cycling Ethics, which conducted independently monitored anti-doping testing for three U.S.-based cycling teams, is going out of business immediately, according to its CEO and the owner of one of those teams.

"I can confirm that the Agency for Cycling Ethics is closing operations," co-founder and CEO Paul Strauss, a Los Angeles anesthesiologist, wrote in an e-mail to "We have no other comments regarding this."

ACE's dissolution after two years leaves Garmin-Chipotle, Team Columbia and BMC Racing scrambling for other options. All three teams felt the program was necessary despite more frequent and intensive testing by traditional anti-doping and sporting organizations and were willing to pay six-figure amounts for it in order to underscore their commitment to riding clean.

Brilliant short piece on the Cassini mission to Saturn

Wonderful narration by Carolyn Porco, the mission director. If you have science admirers, or--even better--know kids who can be awed by the wonders of science, steer the toward this.

Quote of the day

"How on Earth did John McCain let this dim bulb get that close to the White House?"
--Keith Olbermann. And no, your second guess doesn't count (down).

Brooklyn cops accused of radio antenna sodomy

This reminds me of a George Carlin line: "If you need sensitivity training to know not to shove a large, cumbersome object up someone's asshole, maybe you're too fucked up to be on the police force in the first place."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Andrew Sullivan rips Palin for all he's worth

She apparently didn't know or care that Africa wasn't one country. And that's according to Fox News.

People in my own family can't stand the thought of an Obama presidency. My two-word counter is always, "President Palin."
Update: Well, that was a lot of hot air over nothing.

Olbermann: Election Night reax

I get chills seeing the crowd in Grant Park following the big announcement. Wow. Just wow.


Ed Brayton:

In California, exit polls showed that those who attended church regularly voted against marriage equality 83-17%. Those who attended church only occasionally voted for marriage equality 60-40%. Those who do not attend church at all voted for marriage equality 86-14%. There is still much work to be done.
And yes, again, I'm being wildly generalizing. Sue me. Or better yet, try to prove me wrong. I'll wait.

You can have Sarah Palin; we've got Obama Girl!

Total cheesecake, I admit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Leonard Cohen "Democracy"

Edited 11/5/2008: The original.

Leonard Cohen - Democracy Lyrics

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on ...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Obama's speech

My first effort at live-blogging. Let's see how well the typing skills hold up.

Probably half a million people in Grant Park. The guys selling loose joints are making a fortune.

Opening remarks about removing doubts about our founding principles--any doubters still out there?

Nod to the people standing in line all these hours/days.

"We are and always will be the United States of America."

Calls to an end to cynicism. However justified in the past, he's right...change has come to America.

McCain's name met with no boos. See how it's done, McCain supporters? This is how you're supposed to do it.

The girls are getting a new puppy. Cute.

Michelle Obama: First black first lady. Wonder how she feels about that.

Acknowledges David Plouff and David Axelrod. THEY DESERVE IT. He called it right: they put together the best campaign team in the history of politics.

He knows how far he's come in how short of a time. And he knows how many people ponied up their greenbacks to make it happen. "This is your victory."

Damn, this guy can talk.

Shades of MLK: "I know that we as a people will get there."

Good, he calls the partisan bickering "immaturity." And then invokes Lincoln as a contrast in the very next breath. Appealing to unity. Well done.

Gracious to his opponents. Speaks to the world. "A new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

"To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you."

Story of a woman casting her ballot in Atlanta. Ann Nixon Cooper, age 106. A woman who's lived in three centuries, who once would have been denied the vote because of color and gender. Shows how far we've come as a country, and goes into his "Yes we can" theme marvelously.

I'm just enjoying the performance right now.

Thank gunshot. I was more than a little afraid of that.

Rest well, sir; you've earned it.

Quote of the day

"The international reaction is going to be huge."
--Gov. Bill Richardson, (D) New Mexico.

McCain concedes

"Despite our differences, we are fellow Americans."

Well said, sir.

The crowd's reaction was interesting. They booed Obama at first, until he gestured to knock it off. They got it. They showed respect from this point forward.

I think this is the difference between Obama and Bush: a restoration of dignity and respect to the White House. It's about time.

Oh, crap, Palin got the biggest applause yet. Ladies and gentlemen, behold your future Republican party. I think she and Elizabeth Hasselbeck should have their own Fox show. It'd be a drool-fest for neocons.

Wow, is that Jim Brady in the crowd of McCain's speech? I haven't seen him in forever.

McCain conducted himself with class in his concession speech, anyway. One wonders if this is his swan song. He'll be 74 around the time of re-election, and he might not win even if he chooses to run. All I know is this, he can take a break and grab some sleep.

President Obama

NBC News calls it. I'm stunned. I'm as white of a white man as it gets, and I'm getting choked up. I can't quite fathom it. It's incredible.

I think of all the times I've wondered in my life why I choose to continue my life, when the struggles have been so personally difficult for me. Other than the obvious reasons of friends and family, I'm now grateful I've held on. The Bush/Cheney/Rove cancer has been expunged. A black man is president. And it's happened in my lifetime. I think of all the people who have striven for this, bled for it, been jailed for it. And a schlub like me gets a front-row seat.

Funny world.

Andrew Sullivan is right. Know hope.
Note to Democrats: Don't. Get. Cocky.

Election 2008.

How fitting. NBC has been making use of Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, to report on the "youth vote" from Indiana University. Sure, it's a token gesture, but how classy is that?

Interesting how NBC News is teasing us. Brian Williams is exhorting people to stay tuned for breaking news at the top of the hour. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has spilled the beans by saying Fox News calls Virginia for Obama. Looks like a lot of people in the traditional media (tradmed, if you will) still have something to learn from neo-media. Instant gratification hath no greater friend than the Internet.

If Obama wins this thing, I can't help but wonder how much of a trickle-down effect this is going to have. How many organizations are all of a sudden going to pay more attention to promoting minority figures and marketing their products to them as a result of reading the ethnic tea leaves? Katie Couric broke ground as the first female anchor for one of the big three tradmed news organizations. When will we have a black person heading the news division of such a place? All I know is this: racism looks more and more stupid by the day. GOOD.

Now for the next step: an end to the nasty demonization of people of the opposite party. Well, OK, that ain't never going to happen. But the practice will become harder and harder. Matt Yglesias had a smart take on how the right-wing liars have their work increasingly cut out for them to spread their damagogic feces because of an increasingly "progressive" (read: liberal) infrastructure in the media, traditional and otherwise. Fascinating stuff.

Matt Yglesias: Good Riddance

I agree with every word:

(W)e got what we got. Not because the political coalition of which Bush was a part was so rotten that nothing else could happen, but in large part because he was so rotten that he drove or suppressed the best elements of his coalition and spread the rot around.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ben Affleck does a PERFECT spoof of Keith Olbermann

FINALLY, someone does a spoof on KO's Special Comments that is even more over the top than the real thing. And remember, he did this WITHOUT CUE CARDS. You have no idea how hard that is.

Republicans are heartless goons.

Yes, John, I know I'm guilty of wild, blatant generalization. So what?

(T)he California Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, in part because of a visit Sen. Barack Obama made to his dying grandmother.

"Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama's personal use," the release stated. "Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do -- at his own expense -- but it was not travel that his campaign may fund."

The Obama campaign said it was cleared by lawyers beforehand, but I'm not going to pick legal nits...this is exactly why I hate these goons. They had the INFERNAL FUCKING GALL TO DO THIS THE SAME DAY HIS GRANDMOTHER FUCKING DIED!!!!!

And let's be clear...if the RNC has a legitimate beef with the Obama campaign over whether or not this trip was on the up-and-up, handle it behind the scenes, you craven slime. You're not just guilty of being tasteless, insensitive, and tone-deaf, you're also guilty of the worst timing in political history. And you deserve to have your asses handed to you on Election Day.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fixter trickster

I'm not sure if this is the coolest or gayest bike trick video I've ever seen...

Via BikeSnobNYC.

Olbermann: An appeal to McCain

It's been over a week, and it's still relevant.

And McCain is still silent.

The Republican mayor of San Diego supports gay marriage

Wow. Just wow...

That, folks, is what politics in this country should be about...the ability to man up and admit you were wrong.

Via Sullivan.