Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today's Question

Hey, where's the National Intelligence Assessment? Wasnt that due out on December 14th? What could possibly be delaying its release? Surely it will support the President's position on the War in Iraq, right?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

ho ho ho, it's a late christmas present
Found this while trolling, at spiiderwebs, and just had to swipe it.

of green-eyed monsters

So, I'm quietly watching TV, when from the bedroom comes a scream: "David, come here!" (plus some random shrieking). I get there, expecting to find large cockroach, or a really hairy spider. What I found instead is my wife waving the NEA's magazine in her hand. "Look at this!", she says, pointing to a short article. The "article" turns out to be one of several quotes from the blogs of various educators, including her.
Now, granted, while she's been doing this blogging thing for longer than I have, you could count the number of posts for her current blog on two (maybe three) hands. Her previous blog (deleted because despite the hype we do not have freedom of speech in this country, even anonymously)(just ask the Phantom Professor), had more posts, but not that many more. Now, I dont write this blog for fame or money or glory, and I'd continue to write even if no one read it (and looking at my sitemeter account lately, that's very nearly the case), that doesnt mean I wouldnt welcome a little recognition from a nationally published glossy periodical. So, yes, I'm jealous, I admit it.

Feel free to quote me on that.

movie time, the sequel

Two weeks ago, I pointed you in the direction of God, Inc, a webcom about the travails of God's underlings. This time, as I kind of bookend, I'll point you to a (completely unrelated) show about the Big Guy himself, Mr. Diety.
no, this doesnt take you there, use the link for cryin' out loud!

business inertia

A person, once in management, tends to stay in management, regardless of actual competence.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

big game hunting

Okay, have you been wondering how you could help change the course of America? Do you not have the time to attend rallies or demonstrations? Do you believe (rightly) that any letter you may send to your Congresspersons will be utterly and completely ignored if it doesnt contain a fat check? Well, try this solution, proposed by the author David Brin: Adopt an Ostrich! Brin's idea is that each person picks a Conservative who still doesnt get that the Bush Administration has totally betrayed America, conservatism, and simple human decency, and then work on them, steadily, patiently, until, faced with overwhelming information given on a personal level, they're forced to capitulate (or at least lie low).
Do it. Pick an ostrich and grab his or her lapel. Do not let go. Make lists and keep citing one travesty after another, while asking: “What would you have said if Bill Clinton did this?”

And “would you have LET Clinton send our entire army, marines and reserves to be ground down in a hostile foreign land, on the excuse of pure lies, in a grunt land war of attrition without any goal, run by meddling politicians who never saw a day of combat, all in a futile attempt at so-called nation-building?”

They will sputter and fume. They will try to claim that “Whitewater” -- involving $80,000 -- represented corruption equal to Halliburton stealing tens of billions from our boys and girls in Iraq. They will claim that Clinton’s fib about Monica was worse than outright lies about WMDs or terrorism or promises to “listen to our generals.” Or that an administration dedicated to decreasing secrecy can even be compared to one that has multiplied darkness and unaccountability one hundredfold. Or that political activity by today’s eviscerated labor unions can be compared to outright control of our government by a new feudal, kleptocratic caste.

They will writhe and squirm and try all of this -- and dozens of other contrived excuses and polemical tricks. Denial is powerful and you must gird yourself to be utterly relentless. Even if you live in a “blue” state, you will still be a soldier for civilization if you do this.
It may not be easy. Your ostrich might be your own flesh and blood, and they will not take it well (no one does when their own self-delusions are pointed out to them). But it is important, and unless you want (an underground*) history to recall the United States of America as a noble, but failed, experiment, you need to do it. While the nation dispises Lord Bush and his Cabal more than ever, he still has a rabid core of supporters, and while you may not be able to get to his "base" (really, really rich white dudes), you can get to that guy at the office who bitches about "liberals" and how they are Helping The Terrorists Win. If you can stop his support, you will have done this nation a great service. It may not be easy, but it will be patriotic.

*As opposed to the Official History as Approved by His Majesty's Ministry of Education (the only acceptable history, all others will be unlearned under pain of "alternative methods" of education)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dave's 2006 book list

I know, I've been slacking lately, slacking bad. But that's no excuse for my having yet to've posted my 2006 booklist. So, here they are, all the books I read in 2006. It was not a good year for non-fiction, I must admit, especially when compared to last year. I'll try to do better in 2007, I swear. I've also vowed to read more "classics", though we'll see how that goes. Anyway, here's the list:

Fiction
  • Adams, Douglas : Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
  • Adams, Douglas : The Long, Dark Teatime of the Gods
  • Aidan, Pam : An Assembly Such As This
  • Aidan, Pam : Duty And Desire
  • Almond, Steve + Baggott, Jullianna : Which Brings Me To You
  • Austen, Jane : Pride And Prejudice
  • Aylmer, Janet : Darcy's Story
  • Broach, Elise : Shakespear's Secret
  • Cherryh, C. J. : Chanur's Homecoming
  • Cherryh, C. J. : Chanur's Venture
  • Cherryh, C. J. : The Kif Strike Back
  • Clarke, Aurthur C. : The Fountains of Paradise
  • Collins, Suzanne : Gregor and the Curse of the Warm-bloods
  • Cox, Richard : The God Particle
  • Delinsky, Barbara : Lake News
  • Elliot, Kate : the "Jaran" novels (all 4 of them)
  • Gaiman, Neil : Anansi Boys
  • Gayle, Mike : Turning Thirty
  • Gerald, Morris : The Lioness and the Knight
  • Gliori, Debbie : Pure Dead Trouble
  • Hamilton, Peter F. : Judas Unchained
  • Hamilton, Peter F. : Pandora's Planet
  • Harriot, James : All Creatures Great and Small
  • Henderson, Zenna : Ingathering (the last 1/3 of)(it's an omnibus)
  • Hiassen, Carl : Basket Case
  • Hiassen, Carl : Lucky You
  • Hodgell, P. C. : To Ride A Rathorn
  • Jones, Diana Wynne : Howl's Moving Castle
  • Kinsella, Sophie : Can You Keep a Secret?
  • Kinsella, Sophie : The Undomestic Goddess
  • Kotzwinkle, William : The Amphora Project
  • McCaffery, Anne : The Harper Hall Trilogy (3 books)
  • Modesitt, L. E., jr. : The Eternity Artifact
  • Moore, Moira J. : Resenting the Hero
  • Nimmo, Jenny : Charlie Bone and the Hidden King
  • Niven, Larry : Ringworld Children
  • Nix, Garth : Sir Thursday
  • Pederson, Laura : The Big Shuffle
  • Pollen, Bella : Hunting Unicorns
  • Pratchett, Terry : Hat Full Of Sky
  • Pratchett, Terry : Only You Can Save Mankind
  • Pratchett, Terry : Wee Free Men
  • Pratchett, Terry : Wintersmith
  • Reeve, Philip : A Darkling Plain
  • Reeve, Philip : Infernal Devices
  • Reeve, Philip : Mortal Engines
  • Reeve, Philip : Predator's Gold
  • Riordan, Rick : The Lightening Thief
  • Riordan, Rick : The Sea of Monsters
  • Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Sagan, Carl : Contact
  • Sanderson, Brandon : Elantris
  • Simmons, Dan : Ilium
  • Simmons, Dan : The Fall of Hyperion
  • Simmons, Dan : Hyperion
  • Simmons, Dan : Olympos
  • Smith, Alexander McCall : 44 Scotland Street
  • Smith, Alexander McCall : Expresso Tales
  • Twelve-Hawks, John : The Traveler
Non-Fiction
  • Morrissey, Jake : The Genius In The Design (Bernini, Borromini and...)
  • Noxon, Christopher : Rejuvenile
  • Pellegrino, Charles : Unearthing Atlantis
not finished
  • Diamond, Jared : Guns, Germs and Steel
  • Le Gault, Michael R. : Think!
I recommend the Philip Reeves books, especially if you've got young teens (or enjoy a good adventure book). Terry Pratchett is always good, as is Charles Pelegrino. Dont bother with Janet Aylmer's Darcy take on Pride and Prejudice, Pamela Aiden's are much better.

Past lists: 2005, and 2004.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

toy


Having recently got an I-pod, this little beauty caught my eye. Isnt it spiffy?

Props to tranism, though this is from here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

movie time

I could embed the first video into this blog, but... well, no I couldnt because I dont know how. Anyway, Poobah led me to these films about what Heaven might be run like, assuming God is just a big CEO in the sky.

1st reel
2nd reel
3rd reel
home

Saturday, January 13, 2007

today's comix

After spending the last hour or so perusing Shannon Wheeler's comics, I thought I might as well share. Start from the beginning.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

bribery as the high ground

Imagine this: Suppose, at the begining of the war, instead of invading, we had announced that we would pay every man, woman and child in Iraq $5000 dollars (American); all they had to do was depose Saddam Hussein, and install a (nominally) democratic government. Can you imagine the outcry here in the U.S.? What?! Give away over $100 billion???
Do you think the Iraqis would have done it? I dont know either, but I think for many Iraqis, 5000 $US would be nothing to sneeze at. Hell, here in America we gave away millions to our own rich for a mere 600 pieces of silver, and that was more of a payday loan than anything.
It would have been a bargain, though. We've since spent over three times that, to say nothing of the lives lost on both sides. We all would have benefitted from such a plan, excepting perhaps Halliburton.

The crazy thing is that this is America, a land where most people are actually convinced that they can buy whatever it is that they want. I guess what we wanted more than anything was a bar fight.

Yee-ha.

Incidentally, using the figure given in the link above, so far the war has cost us over $1000 for every man, woman and child in America. How's that for a bargain?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

sacrifice for country

This story proves that you dont have to go to war to make a sacrifice for your country.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

war plan

I have a quick solution for ending the war, and it's soooo simple. Just write your congressman, especially if they're a Democrat (they campaigned on the idea of "no more business as usual", you know), and tell him/her that in the future you want all money for the Iraq War to be part of the regular budget process, not some "emergency spending" measure that doesnt show up whenever the government's budget gets talked about. Get the Dems on that train (and maybe a few true Conservatives), and Cindy Sheehan will be able to go home at last.

bad things

If you would like a good example of just how far things have gone from the ideals of the Founders, look no farther than this article from Morning Edition (listen) today. It doesnt matter how big a scumbag Pedilla may be, what matters is the precedent set by the policies of the Bush Administration. Whether BushCo are fascists or fools, the government has crossed a line, an action which has been enhanced by the Military Commissions Act. With Pedillo's treatment comes the possibility that anyone may be treated in this manner. We are standing at the edge of a very slippery slope, and right behind us is George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the twisted thing that was once the Republican Party, and they're ready to give us a push, all in the name of keeping us "safe" from terrorists.
Indeed, there are even some within the government who think it might be best if Padilla were declared incompetent and sent to a psychiatric prison facility. As one high-ranking official put it, "the objective of the government always has been to incapacitate this person."
If this statement had been made after a fair trial, and a guilty verdict, it wouldnt bother me. But this has been done before a trial, on the say-so of a government that has apparently never read the document which is supposed to govern them. What has happened to the America that learned of growing up? Because I dont like this new America.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Years


Here is a new years resolution for a fame and money obsessed America:
"I will seek elegance rather than luxury, refinement rather than fashion. I will seek to be worthy more than respectable, wealthy and not rich. I will study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly. I will listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with an open heart. I will bear all things cheerfully, do all things bravely, await occasions and hurry never. In a word I will let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common."
-- William Ellery Channing

Let's hope this year goes better than the last few...

Funny, funny dogs

Okay, I've got to make a note of this, because it's so funny, and I may never find it on Poobah's site again.

oh good grief

Here's a bit of idiocy, just to remind you that the good fight will never be over