I am a huge geeky dork

You Can't Take The Sky From Me

In slightly less than 12 hours, I will be in the movie theater with my huge geeky dork of a husband, and probably about 100 other borderline insane fanboys and girls, to watch Joss Whedon's Serenity. I'm starting to get twitchy with anticipation, and I've already seen the Big Damn Movie!


Reading, Watching, Listening


Two days ago, I started reading In Cold Blood, because I wanted to be familiar with it before I check out the movie Capote. I recently read that Capote's goal was two-fold - to write a true crime novel and to argue against the death penalty. I haven't finished the book yet, but thus far, I haven't seen any anti-death penalty proselytizing, although Capote is so deft a writer that perhaps it is subtly implied. His first goal is met masterfully, however.

Up next, I will be reading Adam & Eve's Diary, found and translated by Mark Twain. And Sio is trying to convince me to read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, which was the textbook for her AP World History class last year.


Because of school and choir, and because I canceled most of our cable, I haven't been watching much television. But we signed up for Netflix and I've been re-watching I, Claudius. Loki and I are also gearing up to see Serenity this weekend. He's getting together a group of his college friends to go to a midnight showing on Friday at midnight, we're seeing it with his sister and her husband on Friday evening, and we'll probably see it one more time this coming weekend. Is this entirely insane? I don't think so, I feel so personally invested in the film, and I so want it to do well, because I'm not ready for this to be the last story with these characters.


I am completely OCD when it comes to music - I listen to the same artist, the same CD, the same song, over and over and over again. Ben Folds Five and Ben Folds' solo CDs have been on constant rotation at my house. I listen to Rufus Wainwright as I surf the web late at night. I recently added a CD of David Bowie songs my sister burned for me. And Monkey likes to hear The Talking Heads when we're in the car (and I'm totally willing to oblige; More Songs About Buildings and Food may be one of my all-time favorite CDs. I'm thinking about getting something by The Decemberists on The Chemist's recommendation. I picked up a Kings of Leon CD, but haven't listened to it yet, and I've still got that Le Tigre CD that I haven't listened to.

So what about you? What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to?


Bush's $3000 Bike

I know, it's a lot of money for a bicycle, but if you look carefully, you'll see it has some key equipment that Bush really needs.

Shorter Tony Blankley

We must destroy America to save America from America's enemies!

Alternative Shorter Tony Blankley:

America's enemies want to destroy her, but they can't if we do it first!

Halfway there

I was just checking over the list of the Top 100 Banned Books, and I've read almost half of them (47 out of 100). Although I don't think you can actually read Sex by Madonna, it's more of a looking at type of book, and yes, of all the books that are on that list, that is the one that most deeply shames me. Well, that and the Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series, which makes me wonder why Monsieur deSade has fallen so out of favor, because everything that was in the Sleeping Beauty books was written by deSade first.

(I'm not even a little bit into BDSM in real life, but I like reading about it sometimes.)

Loki's reached the end of his rope

My husband's outrage-o-meter has reached a new high.

I don't know where Loki is planning to live, though. Me and the girls are registered foreign born nationals of Ireland, so we could live anywhere in Europe (if we aren't pragmatic and don't care whether we have jobs or places to live or food to eat, anyway), but Loki is all American. How does one become an expatriate?

Barbie was right

Math *is* hard.

I only got a 75 on the test, which was disappointing, because I thought I did better. I have a few bones to pick with the teacher. First of all, she only gave partial credit for three questions about what property was demonstrated by the question - because I only wrote commutative or associative or distributive, and didn't include the operation. However, the question asked us for the property, not the operation, so I think I should get full credit for those questions.

Also, it was only by chance I found out that that particular section was worth 12 points. The teacher took one point off each question for not listing the operation, but instead of taking off 3 points, she took off 6 points from my test. I only discovered this when I overheard someone else ask the teacher why she got 6 points for the section when the person who sat next to her, who had the exact same answers, got 9 points.

So I'm going to go to class early on Wednesday and point out that the questions asked for the property only - the problem itself told us the operation. And I'm going to ask that on the next test, we are told how much each question is worth, so we can tell on our own whether it was graded correctly.


That was the post that was

Via Shakespeare's Sister

The name of my 23rd post was Everything's Okay.

The 5th sentence was: Monkey got out of the car to hang with him, but she locked all the doors so no one could take her stuffed animals.

I'm not sure if that is at all representative of the nature of this blog, but there it is.


1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

Passed on to whomever wants to do it.

A Sunday Sermon on Reason

Go read Driftglass.


Civil Union, Table for Two? Right this way, please

Gay Marriage? I'm sorry, you're not on the list.

There is good news and sort of bad news for gay folks who are thinking about coming to Connecticut*.

The good news?

"Civil unions performed in other states are entitled to full faith and credit in Connecticut..." said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

The (sort of) bad news:

Out-of-state same-sex marriages have no legal force and effect here," Blumenthal wrote in a legal opinion requested by the state's Department of Public Health, which administers marriage licenses.

I say this is only sort of bad news because if you have a same-sex marriage, that means you live in a state where (even if only temporarily), sanity has prevailed and you are living with the full rights and privileges that all of us are supposed to have. So why would you want to leave?

The other part of the sort-of bad is that I think this sets a precedent, in the first state that approved civil unions via the legislature, of a "separate but equal" status for gay people who just want to pair bond, already. Civil Union yes, Gay Marriage, no.

*If you are thinking of coming to CT, you should come right now because we are having California weather. Nice and cool at night, perfect for sleeping (which is what we do in CT at night, because unless it's Thursday, Friday or Saturday, everything is dead by 8pm) and warm and sunny during the day. You can't stay at my house, though, because I haven't done much cleaning recently and we don't have a spare bed.

Firefly Friday

Just a quick reminder that a really excellent episode of Firefly is airing on the Sci-Fi Network at 7pm EST, tonight.

On a related note, Josh Marshall has a special offer going on for Talking Points Memo readers: you can see an advance screening of the Firefly movie, Serenity.


flotsam and jetsam

I think I did a pretty good job on the test last night. I know for a fact that I got three wrong - I never learned how to do prime factorization, and our textbook, which I paid $84 hard earned dollars for, sucks mightily, so even though I studied the chapter summary, as directed by the teacher, I didn't see anything about how to do prime factorization. (I did, however, see that the list of prime numbers excluded 5 and 7. Nice going, editors of the what might be the worst math book ever published!)

Lots of stuff on my mind today, but I'm having trouble putting anything together. On my moms list, we're discussing the sad state of science in America, particularly as it relates to evolution vs. intelligent design. We're also discussing the poorly written NYT articles about the Ivy League "Future Stay At Home Mothers" Club, and I think we are in agreement that although the topic provides much food for thought, but there was little more than a mouthful of crap in this article.

At home, we're talking about the plan to land another man on the moon, which has Loki excited even though he said he doesn't trust the Bush administration to do anything correctly, and he assumes that this is just another step towards the militarization of space. He just can't help it, the idea of space travel makes him giddy.

Sio is talking about college. She went to a presentation by MIT earlier this week, and she came home gushing. In October, she's going to presentations for Yale and CalTech. And we're going to try to visit WPI and RIT within the next two months. She didn't get cast in the fall show, but she was tapped to write the script for the drama club's float in the Homecoming Parade*

Monkey is showing a huge amount of progress on the school front. I think my math class is helping her, actually, since she and I can do our homework together. She also is proving to have some serious creative writing skills - the teacher gives them writing prompts a couple of times a week and asks the kids to write a paragraph based on the prompt. Monkey's paragraph about being in the desert gave me the chills - there was an underlying tension in the paragraph that impressed me.

*I went to a regional high school in a rural community, and there was no football, and therefore no homecoming. But homecoming is a big deal in our town. The high school has a parade, and each grade and several clubs compete for the best float. The best float is not merely something that looks good - at the grandstand, every club does a skit or a dance or something special. The winning club/class gets either $500 or $1000. The Drama Club has built in advantages: kids who are comfortable performing, really excellent costumes, and set building skills that blow away the competition. (Last year, they had a set that looked like a regular building, but when they got to the grandstand, the building opened up into a lab set. After the experiment went horribly wrong, from the middle of the set exploded into a 20 foot high monster, handled by student puppeteers. It was awesome; they lost because they went over the time limit by 3 seconds.)

This year, the theme of the Homecoming Parade is something about Books or Stories, so the Drama Club is doing Harry Potter. Sio wrote a 3 minute long skit that combines highlights of all 6 books, using The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged as her guideline.



Last Saturday, we were at my brother-in-law's birthday party, and Loki, me, Loki's sister Sue and her husband, (who I'll call Stinky, because he was smoking cigars all day), were trying to hook Loki's dad into the show Firefly, so we watched the pilot episode, "Serenity".

If you've seen it, the opening seen is a battle taking place in Serenity Valley. Our heroes, the Independents, are having a tough time fighting the Alliance. They are waiting for reinforcements, because they are badly outnumbered and outgunned. Sgt. Malcolm Reynolds isn't worried, though. He tells one of his charges that they are going to survive because they are too pretty for God to let them die. Just about then, they hear some ships flying in overhead. Sgt. Reynolds tells the young private he's talking to "Hear that? Those are our angels."

But they aren't angels. They are reinforcements for The Alliance. The leadership of the Independence is surrendering Serenity Valley, they say the battle is too hot for them.

At the end of that scene there is a beautiful and terribly sad shot. Sgt. Malcolm Reynolds stands up and sees the huge show of force The Alliance, and he stands there, despairing, losing his faith. We see the young private get shot and blown backwards, a hail of fire directed towards the small group of Independents. And still, Sgt. Reynolds stands there.

That scene captures what it feels like to be a progressive, liberal Democrat.


More quiet from me

I may be quiet for the next couple of days. I have a math test on Wednesday, and because I have a New Attitude(TM), I am planning to study for the test. In class tonight, we were reviewing the concepts we've already learned as well as learning about fractions (have I mentioned that I am retarded in math?). Every time I was confused (and believe me, it happened often - I swear, I have dyscalculia, my brain starts to swim when I'm looking at numbers and I can't keep track of what I'm doing), instead of looking out the window, like I did when I was in high school, I raised my hand and asked the question, no matter how stupid it sounded.

The one question that didn't get answered was my question about how the test was going to be graded. I wanted to know if we would get partial credit for displaying we understood the concept, even if we made a mathematical mistake. Unfortunately, I asked the question after the class ended, and there was so much going on I didn't get an answer. I may actually pull out Monkey's multiplication flash cards to bone up on my multiplication tables, because that is how lacking in confidence I am.

Avast, ye scurvy bastards!


This cheesy picture, btw, was taken at the Pirate Museum in Salem, MA. The museum is pretty lame, but I had to admit, I had the metaphorical shit scared out of me by one pirate who I thought was just a mannequin, until he lunged at me.

I told Loki that today was Talk Like A Pirate Day, so he quoted his favorite line said by a pirate in film: Put the kettle on!


I know, I've been quiet

All the usual excuses: sick, burnt out, tired, busy, etc. After having allergies kick my ass all summer, I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever breath through my nose again. I am hopeful that it will happen, although it may have to be through the liberal application of various pharmaceuticals.

In addition, I seem to have done something horrible to my right shoulder. I think it's some sort of pulled muscle, because it does feel a little better when I stretch it out.



We've got this theatrical event going on in Washington right now. Roberts sits there non-answering questions, Senators are straining to decipher some meaning from his non-answers, everyone is admitting that Roberts will win the appointment and the whole thing is really just ridiculous.

I mean, if Roberts isn't entirely upfront and honest, it's not like they can recall him from the Supreme Court, right? Clearly it is in his best interest to avoid committing to any positions. And if he did commit to an opinion, if the same sort of issue came in front of the court again, he could just plead that the facts of the case were different than the question he was asked during the Confirmation hearings. The whole process is flawed.

I don't think Roberts should be appointed. I know we've had judges on the Supreme Court with less experience, but they also had a public record that a Committee could assess. In Roberts, we've got a candidate with a limited public record. All we know about him is from work he did as a lawyer. He's made no stunning legal decisions from the bench. There is nothing in his career to distinguish him as an exceptional mind, and his association with the Reagan administration should give all Democrats on the committee pause.

Intelligent Design In CT

Last night, I went to Open House at Sio's school. They hand you a schedule and a map, and you get 10 minutes in each classroom.

When we hit Sio's AP Bio class, Loki asked the teacher about intelligent design. She said: "We address ID on the first day of class. I explain to the students that ID is not science and so we will not be discussing it in my classroom. I think that's all any AP Bio student needs to know about the subject."

Loki and I were pleased.


Taking Responsibility

The story is faux serious (IOW, it would be serious if it wasn't an act), but the URL is pure hilarity.

Post stolen shamelessly from my sister

You can get yours here. (All proceeds for Katrina victims)

via Growabrain

Smoke over Belfast

This news sucks.

Three nights of rioting in Belfast.

My father was pro-IRA, as were most of his drinking buddies. They would pass the hat to raise money for NORAID, which was essentially the Irish-American fundraising arm of the IRA. In the late 80s and early 90's, though, my father and his friends changed their tune. Long before 9/11, my father was disgusted with the IRA's tactics of intimidation, terror and violence.

After Clinton was elected, things turned around in NI. My dad would always get a little antsy during marching season, when the Protestant loyalists would march through the Catholic enclaves. It was heartbreaking to see Catholic school children mocked by adult Orangemen as they attempted to go to school. But it seemed like the violence had ended.

So this news is really depressing.


Good question

Shakespeare's Sister asked a good question today:

So what's the Dems' best move in exploiting Bush's catastrophic incompetence and freefall in support? Give him enough rope? Start calling for his impeachment? What do you think the Dems ought to be doing right now?

My answer:

I think the Democrats need to hammer home that the response to Katrina was not a *mistake*, but the natural result of Republican policies:

-cutting funding for improving and "arming" the levees because the money had to go to Iraq instead
-having a significant percentage of the National Guard, which is supposed to respond to this kind of catastrophic event, in Iraq
-the social Darwinism favored by the Republicans - it's literally "sink or swim" when applied to their reaction to LA.
-focusing on pet partisan issues instead of actually working on solving the problems that affect all Americans
-Economic policies that both add more poverty and hurt those who are poor.

The call for impeachment, if it comes, must come from a groundswell of people, and not from our elected officials.

My main point is that, like the Iraq debacle, the disgraceful response to Katrina is not a mistake or an error in judgement - it is exactly what this administration planned for. If only because they didn't plan for anything better. This is the response we can expect from a Republican administration in the event of a catastrophe. And they've learned at least one valuable lesson: next time there is a catastrophe, the press must be controlled immediately. If the press hadn't responded so quickly, we would not know how bad it was/is in New Orleans.

Remembering 9/11

I didn't write anything about 9/11 yesterday because it was a beautiful day and I took the girls to the Hebron Harvest Fair, where we had lime rickeys, Thai food, and the best doughnuts money can buy.

But I wanted to write about it, so I went to my Mom's list (the one on which I was recently called a racist by someone who has since apologized) and checked back to 9/11/2001, to see what I wrote then.

Here's one response I wrote...not sure what the person I was responding to wrote:

You know, the scientists on the space station could see the smoke
billowing, but there is something else you *can't* see when you're
orbiting the planet - you can't see the borders between lands. Like
it or not, we all share this world and we are all obligated to care
for it, and IMO, we are all obligated to care for each other.
Sometimes, American actions indicate a short-sightedness about the
world - sometimes it seems as if we think we are the only people on
this planet, and only our needs are important. I know that most of us
don't personally feel this - look at how American people rally into
action when there is an earthquake or some other disaster. But our
policies must sometimes sting like a smack in the face to the rest of
the world. This doesn't mean I think we deserve an atrocity like what
happened yesterday.

I also wrote this, under a post called "Interesting Change of Timeline":

Last night before GWB spoke, the timeline on CNN said that at 9:49am,
the FAA grounded all flights. After he spoke, the timeline changed to
show the FAA grounded flights at 10:30am - the only significance I
can see is that if the FAA did ground flights at 9:49, then they
would have been on the lookout for other flights - like the one that
hit the Pentagon - maybe this is more like Pearl Harbor than at first

I wrote this on 9/14/01:

I am feeling so out of step with everyone in regards
to how we should react. We are going to kill innocent
civilians too. Is it wrong to do so or not? Is it only
right when we do it?

And this just a couple of hours later:

I realize that almost everyone disagrees with me. I
want those responsible brought to justice, just like
everyone else. I disagree that we need to get involved
in a full scale war to do so. I will just have to
stand as a voice of dissent.

Here is a response to another post, with some of their text included:

> > HOWEVER, I don't think that this is the week to do
> that. "Give peace a
> chance" is NOT the mood of - not just this country -
> but the *world* right
> now. I'd like to think that as people are allowed to
> move naturally through
> the stages of grieving, including anger, that reason
> will prevail and enable
> us to make smart and effective decisions about how
> we proceed so that this
> doesn't happen.

****, I wish this were true, but we've already moved
past a point where our leadership is making smart and
effective decisions - listen to the language -- it's
all about war. I fear our leaderships response will
lead to a horrible outcome. I hope against hope that
calmer heads prevail. But I doubt it.

On 9/16/01, I wrote this:

I myself am contemplating putting a bumper sticker on my car:
Justice, Not Retaliation.

As I was scanning through these old posts, I also found a link that no longer works. It was to a website of pictures from around the world, people who were sharing our grief after 9/11. The Bush administration and all the scoundrels therein put an end to that world.

3 events, 2 parents, 1 car, same time

Tonight, there are 3 events on our calendar

1. Parent Information night at Monkey's School
2. Informational meeting for students and parents who are considering Yale University
3. My math class

Each one of these events starts at 7pm. We have one car. Loki worked last night, so he's unconscious right now, so even though there are two parents, realistically speaking there is just me. I am loathe to skip class, because 20% of my grade is attendance and participation. But we've already missed one big school event because of school.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet.

UPDATE: Sio realized she put the Yale info meeting on the wrong date on the calendar, so I went to math class, Sio went to Parent Information Night, and Loki and Monkey stayed home and read more of The Green Pearl


Everyone buckle up

Sio got her driver's permit today, so we can now take her out for driving lessons (legally, unlike her first driving experience, when her less than entirely sober father and uncle had her drive them up the Berlin Turnpike. In a 5 speed. When she was a smidge over 15 years old.)

I'm using the royal we in the first sentence. I am well known for being a laid back, easygoing sort of person in real life, but get me in an automobile, and I become a massive control freak. In the passenger seat, I am literally a bitch on wheels.

Loki wants to teach her to drive, but considering his record (he's been to driver retraining *5* times because of his inability to observe posted speed limits and/or red lights and/or stop signs), I'm aiming towards signing her up for driving lessons.

I took private driving lessons when I was in high school just for the insurance discount. My teacher was slimy - he wore polyester shirts buttoned halfway up, and several gold chains around his neck, and he reeked of Aqua Velva. He seemed like the kind of guy who would make a pass, but I wasn't the kind of girl who ever received passes (I was very boyish, and my mohawk was surely off-putting to some).

Anyway, Sio and I spent a healthy chunk of our morning at the DMV, which is always a beautiful place for people watching. We saw a very good looking young man, a guy who looked a lot like Sam Rockwell, and a poor kid with an unbelievably overbearing mother (the officer who was taking her son out for his driving test had to speak harshly to her to get her to realize that she was not going to be allowed to go on the test with her baby).


How can I keep from singing?*

Our summer break from choir ended last night. We had a great rehearsal, and I impressed myself with my ever improving sight-reading skills. But the greatest news was that this year, for our Pops concert, we are finally going to pay homage to the most brilliant lyricist since Cole Porter, and my favorite contemporary showtune composer, Stephen Sondheim. Now I will have to work carefully and try to gently persuade the choir director that the song "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will absolutely be appropriate and that the audience will love it. Even though it's a celebration of cannabalism.

*this is the title of an Appalachian hymn. My favorite arrangement of it was arranged by Sio's chorus teacher.


Like a slap in the face

I've been a member of an e-mail list of moms for 10 years now. There are people on there from around the world, of all kinds of political persuasions and education levels and economic backgrounds. We've had our ups and downs, our flame wars, and people who couldn't stand a debate left, often to just sign back up again after a month or two.

Everyone on the list knows that I am a liberal, and that I will loudly and proudly stand up to defend liberal principles when they are challenged. Everyone knows how I feel about George W. Bush.

Today, we were discussing Katrina, and someone forwarded Tom Friedman's recent column Osama and Katrina (shorter version: Gaw-aw-lly, Mr. Bush shore did look tuff on 9/11! Garsh, I'm naive.)

I pulled out Friedman's statement about how he felt that George Bush was the right man for going after Osama bin Laden, and stated how something that added to my heartbreak on 9/11 was that I knew Bush was president and he was going to fuck it up.

I then said perhaps I was a little too biased, since I hated Dubya from the first moment I saw his smirking face and heard his phony Texas accent.

And one of the moms, who is ordinarily a lovely person, but definitely under the hypnotic sway of the right-wing, called me a racist.

I have never been called a racist before, and even though it goes without saying that she was 1. way out of line, 2. wrong and 3. how the fuck does criticism of Bush equal any kind of racism, particularly since I'm white and from Connecticut, just like Bush, it hit me like a slap in the face. That's the worst thing anyone has ever called me.

Ain't that the truth

Sometimes they get it right

hat tip to Burb Rocking, who tips the hat to Planet Dan


The Bush Response team is winning the war on the public's perception of their response to Katrina

Here's a Blog of Notice on the Blogger main page. Here's the first paragrahp of his response to Michael Moore:

Dear Mr. Moore,My name is Josh Norman. I am a reporter with the SunHerald of Biloxi, Mississippi. Last Sunday and Monday, I was in Biloxi when the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head as a category 4.It was terrifying.Immediately after the storm, I went out and reported on the disaster. I met families destroyed, saw neighborhoods reduced to their concrete foundations, smelled death and dispair and heard the disbelief roll off of everyone's toungue. Disaster, perhaps, is therefore not strong enough of a word.What will be a disaster is a divided and bickering nation.

I understand what Mr. Norman is saying, but boy howdy do I disagree with him that Michael Moore is the problem here.

My comment:

By the time Karl Rove is done manning the PR campaign for Bush, the hurricane will have been caused by the 9th ward.

Geez, how many get out of jail free cards does Bush get? He's not the only person to blame, for sure - more could have been done for the people of NO prior to the storm, but he was eating cake and pretend strumming a guitar with a freaking presidential seal on it while people were drowning. He set the tone for the entire rescue effort: we'll get to it when we're done raising money for fellow Republicans.

The aftermath of Katrina is being treated like a trial balloon for privatization of emergency response. This response is what we can expect in a future under the Republican party - except they've learned some valuable lessons: keep the media out, make sure there are scary stories about the people who are left behind so everyone will think they deserve to die. FEMA will become the agency that manages the media's access to emergency response.

I don't give a shit about Michael Moore, but Jesus Christ, don't let Bush get away with doing nothing in response to a crisis!

I really don't give a shit about Michael Moore. I suppose it's his job to be a media gadfly and poke, poke, poke at the Republicans. Whatever. The criminal negligence of the Bush administration in the aftermath of Katrina could not possibly involve Michael Moore less.

Mr. Norman is getting a lot of positive, anti-Democratic responses to his post. Right now, I'm almost as pissed off at the Democrats as I am at the Republicans, but there is a better and a worse, and right now, Bush's evil shitbag of a handler, Karl Rove, is managing the PR and actually convincing people that the problem here is criticizing the Bush administration response...while at the same time smearing and sliming the locals and the victims.

On the bus

The ladies on my bus are angry. They believe that George W. Bush and the whole administration want to kill the poor black folks in New Orleans so their friends can make money buying up the property of the dead and building hotels and vacation properties. They are outraged that the Bush administration is trying to blame the people who didn't leave for causing their own problems. They don't believe there have been any rapes or gangs shooting at rescue workers. They believe that the Bush administration took advantage of the flood to rid themselves of a population they don't like. And the ladies on the bus believe that this is how a whole lot of white people feel about black people - they feel that they are seeing how White America really feels about black people.

And you know, I really can't say anything to argue with them. Some of that is tinfoil hattish, but I certainly couldn't argue that the Bush administration showed that poor black folks have any value. When the rebuilding happens, it's going to be Bush administration cronies who get the contracts to do the work.

The rotten apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Barbara Bush is an appalling, heartless bitch. (scroll down to Barbara Bush-Audio).


Of all the stupid tax cut ideas the floated, this is the latest

Here in CT, gas prices are creeping ever closer to $4.00 gallon, and people are starting to get worried, not just about how much its costing to fill their cars, but how they are going to manage heating their homes this winter. With oil refineries in LA going offline for who knows how long, prices are not going to be decreasing anytime soon.

I'm just a lowly secretary, but I had a great idea: what a perfect time to encourage people to use mass transit! It would give people an opportunity to conserve and sacrifice in a time of crisis, something that I think a lot of people need, so they don't feel so helpless and detached. I suggested to a transportation planner that right now, Governor Rell should be giving some more money to CT Transit and Rideshare, and ask them to add more bus routes from the capitol to the suburbs. Ask people to give up their cars for a workday or two. Conserve our resources.

But our Connecticut government is instead looking to either cap gas prices at the pump or, in a move sure to win the moderate Rell some accolades from her more right-wing brethren and sistren, is thinking about using the opportunity to temporarily get rid of the gas tax! Yes, let's band together in a crisis to find ways to *encourage* consumption of a finite resource.

Answers to last week's quiz and a countdown

1. How wonderfully eccentric while at the same time being a complete waste of our time.
Answer: Mystery Men

2. You know, they tell ya to never hit a man with a closed fist but it is, on occasion, hilarious.
Answer: Firefly - score one for Christiana

3. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Answer: Oscar Wilde - I think that is one for the Tart.

4. You know, I wish my parents played Mozart when I slept because half the time I don't even know what the heck anyone's talking about!
Answer: The Incredibles - one point to John Howard, author of the hottest blog on the internets

5. I don't need none of yo' tired ass country club, ya freak bitch!
Answer: Arrested Development - the line was uttered by Franklin, Gob's puppet.

6. She can't act, she can't sing, she can't dance. A triple threat.
Answer: Singin' In The Rain - said by Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) about Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen - who interestingly enough dubbed Debbie Reynold's singing voice for the movie in which Debbie Reynold's character dubs Hagen's characters voice when talkies become the hot new thing.)

7. Your Majesty, you're like a big jam doughnut with cream on the top.
Answer: this was my trick answer, as the line was uttered by Oscar Wilde (as portrayed by Graham Chapman) in a sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus

8. My ox is broken!
Answer: from The Amazing Race, Season 5. That line just cracks me up.

9. America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.
Answer: Oscar Wilde

10. They had this look in their eyes, totally animal. I think they were young Republicans.
Answer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie, which was funny, because Joss Whedon wrote it, but pretty badly directed by someone who wasn't Joss Whedon.)

Also: tonight is Firefly Friday - the SciFi network is airing reruns of the killed-before-its-time series, at 7pm this evening. And that reminds me that it is only 27 days until the movie based on the series, Serenity, is released, and if you love me, like me, are moderately fond of me or merely wish me no ill, you will help make sure this movie has big Box Office on opening weekend so I can get sequels. Remember: it's all about me.


Just a little corporate reshuffling/ and a rant

I was just over at Political Animal, and Kevin Drum had a nice post up showing what's been going on with FEMA.

2001: FEMA designates a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the three "likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing this country."

December 2002: After less than two years at FEMA, Allbaugh announces he is leaving to start up a consulting firm that advises companies seeking to do business in Iraq. He is succeeded by his deputy, Michael Brown, who, like Allbaugh, has no previous experience in disaster management.

March 2003: FEMA is downgraded from a cabinet level position and folded into the Department of Homeland Security. Its mission is refocused on fighting acts of terrorism.

Darned if that doesn't look like every corporate reshuffle I've ever survived. This is corporate thinking at work, and as is nearly always the case with corporate thinking, the guys at the bottom get the shaft, while the CEOs move on to better positions and leave their sycophantic buttboys to maintain the status quo. Or maybe even do a little more reshuffling, renaming, lots of meetings, a shitload of jargon about new paradigms and proactivity and campaign launching, but really, it's just a bunch of usually white guys who sign pieces of paper but never do a fucking lick of actual work in their lives, just trying to make the stock prices go up, and the worker bees who lose their livelihoods so all the little Hunter Hilton III's and Genevieve Waldorf's can go to the same pre-school Mumsy and Daddums attended are just a bonus - we lowered the payroll by a million dollars, the shareholders will be ever so pleased!

This is what we get with a corporate administration in the White House. Talentless hacks who were born into the right kind of family and went to the right kind of schools and manage to convince people that they are getting the job done.


Another thought that occurred to me this evening is that NOLA is like Africa right now - people are donating, people are looking for a way to help, but we can see from the eyewitness reports, the pictures on the news that no help seems to be reaching the people who need it. Every time I read stories about what is happening in Africa, I immediately look for how I can help, who can I send a few dollars to...and I inevitably hear that there is almost no point, because the aid doesn't get to the people who need it. I was reading about tourists who scraped together $25K to hire buses, but the buses were commandeered by the military. People in NOLA are told to go to the Convention Center for help, but there is a scene right out of freaking Bosch waiting for them - how could these people not lose hope? Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter - isn't that what the door to hell says?

All the comfortable wingers in their New York apartments and D.C. townhouses and Dallas mansions are surely tut-tutting the acts of those who are left behind in NOLA - "looters should be shot on sight!" They lack both the imagination and the empathy to put themselves in the shoes of these people, because they want to believe that they are better than that, that they are above such depravity.

If I had no food, no water, no electricity, no car, no means of escape, I'd be the first one to throw the garbage can through the window of the 7-11. I'd feel guilty about it, because I was raised Catholic, but I have children, and I want them to survive. The people who are clutching their pearls about looters...these are people who get itchy if the server takes too long delivering their drinks to the table.

If Peggy Noonan or Jonah Goldberg were at the Convention Center, they'd be pushing elderly infirm people and starving children out of the way if a truck carrying water swung by. If they were trapped in their dwelling with no resources, they would be looting left and right, and then after they were rescued, they would probably write a book about how their courageous actions helped them survive the disaster.

Right now, for the people in New Orleans, it looks like a sucker bet to do as you're told and then help will be on the way. Yeah, there are actual evil people who are taking advantage of the human misery, but most of these people are just average folks who have the distinct disadvantage of being born black and poor, and they are trying to survive. They are fighting for their lives, and anyone who says they would be different, that they would just wait patiently without a complaint until the cavalry rode in is either a sucker or a liar.


I've been reading a few news reports on the situation in NOLA, and I'm starting to feel a horrible combination of panic, furious rage, helplessness, and a healthy amount of WTF!?!

Over at Americablogthere are a couple of posts up about Health & Human Services and DOJ departments sending an e-mail out yesterday to push the Yay! War! March. I can understand everyone's fury over this, but I would be very surprised if the Director of HHS sat down yesterday and composed this e-mail and sent it out. I'm guessing that this e-mail was pre-scheduled to go out at the end of August, and in the wake of the NO crisis, no one stopped it. I am not going to get upset about this.

However, as I'm reading about suicides and rapes in the Superdome, and armed civilians surrounding police, and people shooting at aid workers - so much so that FEMA pulled out to protect their workers, I'm mostly left with WTF!?!

I'm actually feeling slightly worse than I did on 9/11. On 9/11, we had a crisis, and the people of New York responded with astonishing grace. Leaders emerged amongst the firemen and the cops and the people working in the WTC and people on the ground. If Bush hadn't been president, I think I would have felt better about my nation and my species than I ever had at any time in my life. (The fact that Bush was at the helm made me very concerned, and I think history has proven my concern to be well-founded.)

But here, I'm just feeling incredibly hopeless, and I'm not even in NOLA - I cannot even imagine the hell those people are going through.

I was reading TBOGG's post about Bush's speech, and how the Cornerites were displaying a lack of faith in their dear leader for a moment, but they seemed to be talking themselves out of it, hoping that as the water recedes, so to will the chaos and they can then pretend that George W. Bush, resolute leader, did everything right, everything a leader should do when there is a crisis. But we should not forget his detached, lackluster, inhuman response to this tragedy. And we should not forget the political decisions that were made by this administration and Congress that kneecapped the preparedness of this city, that essentially allowed this to happen.