Saturday, February 28, 2009

Security Shmecurity. Got to have our tunes.

I saw this on Oliver Willis' blog and followed the link to its source at Holy pile of scary crap!

Employees of Tiversa, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology, reportedly found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.

It seems an employee of a defense contractor in Bethesda had some  file sharing program on his computer.  You know - peer-to-peer. Probably for music. And then poof! The blueprint for Marine One winds up in Iran. 

This is kind of hard to wrap one's mind around this one. A defense contractor employee who had access to sensitive information had a file sharing program installed on his computer. Was allowed to have one. Or else employees workstations are not monitored to see what kind of software they're downloading/installing. I mean, we have the Patriot Act to make sure we don't talk to terrorists - or anyone, apparently - without the government knowing about it. We have warrantless wiretapping and all kinds of eavesdropping to make sure that if a terrorist or other antagonistic entities call you it's going to be picked up, right along with that really awful break-up call you got from your now ex. We have lost civil liberties in the name of national security left and right in the years since 911, but we just send these sensitive files to Tehran along with Coldplay's latest? WTF?

Red State Sinners

First we learned that red states have more divorces than blue states.  And it seems they tend to to have more  teen pregnancies. And now it turns out they download more porn per broadband connection. Seeing a pattern here? Yeah, me, too. And these are the people who are worried about our morality? Maybe they should try out ours for a while. See how it works.

I'm not entirely surprised.  I'm not all that conversant with the red state culture, it's true. I've lived all my life either in New York City or some fifty miles away from it.  We haven't gotten around much due to time,  money and the fact that when we can go somewhere we tend to head to Western Massachusetts because couldn't possibly be a lot of better places to be in the world. 

The closest we normally get to deep red is when we visit my mother-in-law in the Ocala area of purple Florida. The roadside billboards make fascinating reading for the uninitiated such as ourselves. Besides the ones touting tourist attractions the most ubiquitous by turns were huge ads for all manner of ultra-conservative Christian churches and Adult XXX diversions of one sort or another. That kind of says it all.

I think that you have to consider that one reason that red state social conservatives are the way they are is that they like it fine that way. The constant tension between sin and slavation can make every life a piece of epic poetry in a tortured sort of way. Can it be a coincidence that so much of the best American literature comes from the South? It could be all of a piece. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

House Approves Increase for Legal Services

Don't ever tell me there's not a "dime's worth of difference". That's never been true, even in the worst of times. The Obama adminstration introduced, and the House has approved increased funding for Legal Service Corporation, which represents low income people in non-criminal legal cases.
The 11 percent increase would bring funding for the Corporation to a total of $390 million,the third consecutive year (emphasis mine) that the House has supported additional funding to provide civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families. Most of the funding, $365.8 million, would be awarded as competitive grants to 137 nonprofit legal aid programs across the nation.

Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees LSC, said the Corporation "is an important, significant program that provides legal assistance to people who are unable to afford it. We know that the poor are hit hard during economic downturns, and this funding will help more low-income Americans faced with unlawful evictions, domestic violence and other serious legal problems"

Legal Services Corporation programs are often - usually - the only legal representation available to low income people in non-criminal cases.  Other than that, it's just them against whatever system they're up against. Just figuring out how to navigate the courts or a hearing situation can be an impossible task without help, let alone actually going to court, if it should come to that. Demand almost always exceeds resources,  so most agencies have to limit their services to cases related to basic sustenance - food, shelter, income and safety - and even then they can't always help everyone who might be eligible for services.  Republican administrations have been at war with Legal Services since Reagan's time.  After all,  Legal Services represents poor people and poor people are not popular with the GOP. Democrats fund Legal Services. Note that this is the third consecutive year that the House has voted an increase in funding. What else is happening in the House  for the third consecutive year? Yes, that's right. Democratic majorities.  Let me tell you, by 2006 things were really bad for some Legal Service agencies and lack of funding was really hampering them in their ability to represent clients. This current economic climate has been a huge worry, too, because some of the funding for LSC comes from interest on escrow accounts that private lawyers hold for clients. Naturally enough,  these days there's considerably less being held in escrow.  Budget cuts from the states have also cut funding for legal help for the poor. This news is very welcome and is yet another reason to have warm, fuzzy feelings for the Dems.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Die Welt liebt Obama

Or The World Loves Obama (according to Google Translate). Sounds about right, though. I have a lot of faith in the man, but judging by this float which appeard in the Rose Monday parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, expectations around the world might just be a little high.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Apologies about comments

People are telling me that comments haven't been working well on this blog. I don't know what's up with that, but I'm very sorry. If people are nice enough to leave a comment I'd like them to be able to do so without any problems. I haven't done anything to modify the Blogger commenting system, so there's not too much I can do to fix it, but I have disabled the word verification, just in case that was the root of the problem. To avoid extreme spam I enabled comment moderation on posts more that a couple of weeks old.  I didn't even realize that was an option and might be a better solution.  If you find that there are continued problems please drop me a line at patsalzer AT Thanks so much.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Watching the President

It's so good to have a president we can stand to watch on TV, let alone look forward to it.

Michelle looks lovely. Justice Ginsberg is there, very much alive. Hillary Clinton is not afraid of color, but hot pink looks good on her. Rahm Emanuel is concealing whatever blunt instrument he's carrying very well.

Lot of pundits are telling us what President Obama has to accomplish tonight. I can predict that if he gave the Gettysburg Address up there, there'd still be plenty of "constructive" criticism from the same people who kept assuming that John McCain won all the debates that the public thought Obama won.

Well, here we go.

UPDATE: Really, really good speech. Even better than I'd hope for. Jindal's response was pretty lame and designed to appeal to no one but other Republican politicians. If he's planning to go up Obama in an election he's going to have to improve his speechifying.

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The World Almost Ended Today

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

Gmail was down this morning. For a two and a half hours, for God's sake. In some parts of the world that was during the work day. It was a disaster! Apparently. Boy have we got it good these days, emailwise. When I was a girl we had to walk through five feet of snow, uphill both ways, to check our email and it was always down. OK, maybe not a girl exactly. When I was a girl the only computer we knew about was Univac. But when I was in my forties, email was a chore. And even as recently as five or six years ago or so.

I recall something like a decade ago, getting home from work to check my Yahoo mail. It was a big improvement over the first web based email account I'd had which was Hotmail, which was an improvement over my ISP's email. For some reason my account would decide to be inaccessable for an hour or so starting at 6pm more nights than not. But hey, we had 6MB of space. That was incredible. I tried just about every free email account that came along and even paid for an account for a couple of years. There was almost no such thing as a stable email system. Office email was down a lot, too. Nowadays we expect to get our email and get it instantly as the Good Lord intended. And mostly we do. But it helps you to remain calm during these rare outages if you're old enough to remember how it used to be.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Fresh Roasted Wingnuts

Rick Santelli: Paranoid or just a whiny little bitch?

Rick Santelli thinks that the White House is threatening him. And G. Gordon Liddy agrees. There's an endorsement of one's view for you. The whole conservative world is really nutting out, isn't it? It's hard to keep up with the lunacy.

Jim Bunning throws a wild pitch.

His anticipation of the demise of Justice Ginsberg was way over the top, out of bounds and really unkind and rude, too. Dickhead.

Alan Keyes: Unhinged or Totally Unhinged?

This is only a partial list of the sociopathic and occasionally seditious spewing from the extreme right, which is the same ground occupied by most of the Republican Party these days. This doesn't even count Senator Shelby taking a pass, at best, on the birth certificate conpiracy and by now, Michael Steele's plans for infusing the GOP with hip-hop is just old news. What'll they come up with next?

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Zen of Obama

Obama urging calm
see Sarah Palin pictures

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Bush's White House Staff
see Sarah Palin pictures

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Jindal's Kidding, Right?

Louisiana state welcome signImage via Wikipedia

This some kind of sick Republican joke, right? Governor Bobby Jindal couldn't possibly be turning down a significant portion of federally funded assistance to unemployed workers in his state. Could he? In Louisiana? This should work out well for everyone concerned. I mean, we all know he wants to run for president and it'll make better talking points to say that he turned down a lot of the money than to have go through the tedium of explaining why he took it over and over again. But, shit Governor Bobby - are you planning to personally provide those badly needed benefits to unemployed citizens of your state? If not, you'd best be watching out for torches and pitchforks.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking?

1896 Telephone, hand cranked magneto on right ...Image via Wikipedia

Technology can make your head hurt. Now, if you want your phone to display "Blocked ID" when you call someone, well, maybe it will and maybe it won't. A company named TelTech has a new service called Trapcall that will reveal those numbers. Wired explains it all. Now, I don't block my ID and I don't get bent out of shape if I get a call from someone who does, but there are circumstances in having your number identified becomes a serious probem.
The service comes as bad news to advocates for domestic violence victims, who fought hard to make free blocking an option in the early days of Caller ID. "I have huge concerns about that,” says Cindy Southworth, director of technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, in Washington, D.C. Southworth fears that abusers will use the new service to locate partners fleeing a violent relationship.

In a notable case in 1995, a Texas man named Kevin Roberson shot his ex-girlfriend to death after locating her through the Caller ID device on her roommate's phone line.

You can see where there can be real problems as a result of this service.What worries me about it is the sort of person who'd bother with this. Because you know what? If you're not sure you want to take call you can...just not answer it. Really. I do it all the time with call from unfamiliar area codes. I figure that they're most likely sales calls and if the caller really wants to communicate with me he'll leave a message - and a phone number. Works great and requires no effort on my part. It works for Blocked ID calls too. Trapcall also offers paid upgrades which allow the user to gather more information about

If privacy is worth some money to you, the same people who are bringing you Trapcall already run a service called Spoofcard, which allows you to display any number as your caller ID. What could go wrong with that? Well...
TelTech is no stranger to controversy. Its Spoofcard product lets customers send any phone number they want as their Caller ID. Among other things, the spoofing service has been used by thieves to activate stolen credit cards, by hackers to access celebrities’ voicemail boxes, and by telephone hoaxsters to stage a dangerous prank called "swatting," in which they spoof an enemy’s phone number while calling the police with a fake hostage situation. The goal of swatting — realized in hundreds of cases around the country — is to send armed cops bursting into the victim's home.
Just what the world needs. But the new service creates a whole new market for the first service which is not lost on TelTech CEO, Meir Cohen.
The only way to block your number after this is released is to use Spoofcard,” he says with a laugh.
Mr. Cohen wears his dickishness proudly. This seems very much like a protection racket doesn't it. Maybe TelTech could go full circle and allow us to pay to protect our numbers from being spoofed. Or maybe someone will be seriously damaged and sue these buggers for everything they've got. Whatever that may be.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Google is Street Legal

A lawsuit filed against Google's Street View in a Pennsylvania District Court has been dismissed. I'm selfishly delighted. I love Street View. You can meander down country roads or stroll through the streets of Paris, New York and San Francisco all in one afternoon. Best of all are the small cities that are not widely photographed and that you only go to if you travel on business. I'm totally curious about small cities and you can see quite a lot of them with Street View. What's not to like? Well, actually I do get why some people wouldn't like it, but I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eric Cantor, you've got competition

One of my most favorite blogs is That's Right Nate. Nate is a conservative in the Jon Swiftian sense and an up and coming star of Blogtopia. He created this video in response to Eric Cantor's most recent creation:

You can go thank him or yell at him right here. OK, it's back to work today. See you all much later.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Liberal Identies

Via Annette, via Blue Gal - check yourself. Here's mine:

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

I guess that's right, but right now I think I'd rather be a New Left Hipster like Annette. Sounds more entertaining.

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Happy Presidents' Day

George WashingtonImage via Wikipedia

Today is the day that I think of as George Washington's Birthday, even though it's not. That would be February 22nd. At some point Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's got conflated into Presidents' Day and met on the Monday closest to the middle or something, but it's not so easy to make these adjustments after a certain age. Plus, at my office, Lincoln's birthday is a floating holiday, resulting in a four day weekend for me!

According to C-SPAN's Survey of Presidential Leadership, Lincoln and Washington are still Number 1 and 2, respectively. That makes sense. They both got quite a bit done. In retrospect, of course, we have some criticisms. More with Washington than with Lincoln. While there is endless debate about just how much of a priority freeing the slaves was to Lincoln, nonetheless, he did it and did it unambiguously. In the end there wasn't any nonesense about providing slaves with "access to freedom" or a "path to freedom" or any of the blather we have to listen to these days.

Washington, on the other hand, owned slaves. And so did Jefferson. Let's face it, founding fathers from what became slave states tended to own other human beings. This is a distasteful fact that every school child has to digest and try to place into the context of history. It's one of our early lessons in living with cognitive dissonance, which turns out to be a damned handy skill.

Now, as if owning people and all the evils that entails weren't enough, I recently learved via Barking Up the Bodhi Tree (Best blog name ever? Could very well be.) that both Washington and Jefferson killed the dogs belonging to their slaves. They were concerned that slaves were using the dogs to steal their sheep. Don't try to think that one over too deeply. It hurts the 21st century brain.

Because, ever since last November, I've become a veritable Pollyanna, I think that what I'm going to take away from that piece of information is that despite what appears to be evidence to the contrary, society does progress. The open and common practices of men who were respected enough to forge an entire new nation and make it work would not only prevent them from founding a nation today; that stuff would get them arrested. If they were here now instead of there then they would probably agree that neither keeping slaves nor mass dog murder should be in the realm of acceptable - or legal - human behavior.

There was a time when raping, pillaging, burning villages and killing every man, woman and child in them was just a way to make a living. Now we frown upon that. We have international laws against those things, even. It's not that we don't violate the laws that try to govern our behavior. Some do and some probably always will. What shows progress is man's inhumanity to man and other species becomes more and more unacceptable as we go through time. Might as well be encouraged by that. It's what we've got.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fineman Wins Battle with the Bottle

We were all relieved to see our favorite Howard overcome. Ever since - oh, right around the election - he's been letting his gray hair grow out. It's not such an easy thing to do all at once like that if you're just a private citizen who has to show up at work each day. Imagine how it must be if your head is on television night after night. Not even all of you. Just your big old head.

Change we can believe in

At first, as he grayed literally before our eyes we thought that covering the campaign season had just been exceptionally hard on ol' Howard. Or maybe he had been worried that McCain might really win. But no, it gradually became clear that he was going natural. That's change we can believe in. A new transparency, as it were. But change isn't easy. There are bumps along the way. While things started out well enough, as in the photo above, it wasn't all smooth sailing. Things got a little ugly for a while. Fineman's nadir came this past week when he made his usual media appearances with his pate in what I can only call disarray. His hair was mostly a nice silver color but there was still a hugish patch of oxidized brown, kind of in the middle of his forehead. You just wanted to take a scissors to it. Didn't look good, but it just goes to show that it really is darkest right before dawn.

A Brand New Day

Today, Mr. Fineman appeared on Chris Matthews with his head held high. He was freshly coiffed and the brown patch gone. He looked dignified and all elder statesmanish. He looked together again. He had prevailed against whatever temptation there might have been to just say. "Screw it" and go back to the bottle. What he just said was, "no". We congratulate him on his victory. It can't have been easy, but the results are worth it. And gray hair hasn't hurt Keith Olbermann any, not to mention David Gregory. I doubt he'd have gotten MTP at his tender age without that hair to give him a look of authority.

Now, can anyone think of any females with silver locks in who are in the media a lot? Donna Brazile comes to mind. Any others? I'm thinking of keeping track. It's a personal decision and people should do what they like about their grayness, baldness or any other "ness" that comes up, but I do think it would be nice if persons of both genders could continue to be considered relevant throughout without being required to masquerade as someone much younger. Also, after a while that just doesn't work so well.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stimulus Bill Passes

And it's a go. Republicans will now point out that it's been several minutes and there's no sign of improvement in the economy. And of course they'll be freed up to campaign full time against increasing access to healthcare for all of us.

I don't know what the Republicans really wanted to happen with the stimulus. Whatever it is they wanted or want down the road I still say: Obama -1, GOP -0. And that's just this week.

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Slow Down, Tweety

Chris Matthews at presidential debate in Dearb...Image via Wikipedia

Did I just hear Chris Matthews award his shiny new Hardball award to Judd Gregg for staying true to himself? Why yes, I believe I did. Chris Matthews' whole persona continues to conjure up a vision of an over eager, kind of goofy Catholic school kid who's grown too large for his uniform. He's soooo emotional and so in love with politics it's kind of creepy at times.

In this case, we don't really know exactly why Gregg pulled out. There's some interesting stuff about Gregg having an Abramoff problem posted at Daily Kos. Personally I'm going to wait until the fact are in before assuming that principles of any sort were involved in Gregg's decision.

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A Zealot By Any Other Name Would Stink, Too

Via Washington Monthly the Religious Right wants a new name. "Religious Right" can cast a negative connotation, they say. Others worry that "Christian Right" is too limiting. They want fundamentalists of other denominations to feel free to join in their quest to force public policy, and thereby the rest of us, to conform to their rather narrow religious beliefs. They seem to hate affectionate alternatives such as "American Taliban", which is a shame because it seems so apt.

I've always favored "Religio-fascist". I think it really works. It could be considered pejorative, I suppose, but it should only bother you if it applies to you. If you're minding your own business then there's no reason to care how socially conservative your religion requires you to be and you're not a religio-fascist, except to those closest to you. Fair enough?

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Another landmark birthday - Miep Gies

exploris39Image by via Flickr

A happy 100th birthday to Miep Gies this coming Sunday, according to AP. She is the last surviving "helper" of the Frank family during the holocaust. She told AP that she doesn't quite deserve all the accolades she's received from her heroism.

On Sunday, the last surviving helper, Miep Gies, celebrates her 100th birthday, saying she has won more accolades for helping the Frank family than she deserved — as if, she says, she tried to save all the Jews of occupied Holland.

"This is very unfair. So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work," she wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press this week.
I have to respectfully disagree. While it's probably true that it's because she preserved the writings of Ann Frank that we are hearing about this woman as opposed to all the others, the fact that she was not the only hero doesn't diminish her own courage and humanity. And don't we all wonder what we'd do if we were in her position? I know I do from time to time.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obama's Address in Springfield

If could just keep giving us a speech like that - say every month or so - this country will follow him anywhere, through anything.

Judd, we hardly knew you.

Judd Gregg, U.S. Senator from New Hampshire.Image via Wikipedia

So I get home from work and Mr. Yenta tells me that that Judd Gregg has withdrawn as Commerce Secretary. Apparently the senator just noticed that the Obama administration was of the Democratic persuasion. So now what do we do with all that Gregg gear? I mean the t-shirts, the bobblehead dolls, the Judd Gregg posters? We were so sure we were going to make a killing on Ebay.

No, really, the logical reaction to this development is, to quote John Boehner, "Whatever." Unless you're a member of the chattering classes, in which case you need to report that Washington is "shaken". Maybe it is, but I think the rest of the country will probably not particularly notice. I give the President all the credit in the world for making good faith efforts at bipartisanship, but it might just be better to put the Republican party out of its misery. Out of kindness.

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Happy Lincoln's Birthday

It's been an Abraham, Martin and John kind of year so far, hasn't it?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top Dog is a Senior Citizen

Ten is the new five in the canine set. An elderdog who goes by the name of Stump just won Best in Show at Westminster. The Sussex Spaniel has already survived a serious health crisis and came back to show the young whippersnappers how it's done. He even sat up on his hindquarters upon winning, looking a lot like he thought a snack should be forthcoming. Immediately after that he appeared to be taking a victory nap.

Congratulations to Stump and his family. Way to represent for the older folks of all species!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh, and by the way

Obama's presser was great. Articulate. Deeply knowledgeable. Coherent. Pronounced "nuclear" correctly. Called on Huffington Post and Helen Thomas. I still can't really believe we have a real president.

Class Warfare We Can Believe In

They're storming the castles in Connecticut. I heard a teaser for this on local TV last night, but this is the first article I've found about it. Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a non-profit advocacy organization led a march on the CEO side of the tracks in Stamford. Some people are getting just a little pissed off about the CEO class living more than comfortably while so many are losing their homes. Now we're talking!

Fiscal conservatives love to scream, "Class warfare! Envy!" if you so much as approach the subject of increasing economic inequality, the shredded safety net or any form of economic injustice with them. Well, it looks they're finally right. It took long enough. Americans are amazingly not resentful of the wealth of others. At least until very recently. Estates and mansions were fun and interesting to drive past and look at. Likewise yachts and exotic cars. We'd read about their extravagant lifestyles and be entertained. Americans don't mind of some people have more than they do, as long as we're basically doing OK themselves or at least think it's within our power to do better. When you put more and more pressure on the middle class to the point when staying or becoming middle class becomes too much of a reach for a critical mass of people....well, then you've got Trouble with a capital "T".

Maybe our problem is not class warfare, but that we've had way too little class warfare in the last few decades. This kind of economic climate should have some castle dweller laying in supplies in case the masses decide on a seige. After all, if you have no job and no prospects you have plenty of time.

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It's Almost Obama time!

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 24:   President-elect Barac...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I can't remember being this psyched for a press conference! Our president is going to speak to us and answer questions - which he will understand - in clearly recognizable English. And if he so chooses, he'll smile, not smirk. What a long time we've waited for this.

Oh, I'm such a fan. I know that's really not the way to approach a political figure, but I'm enjoying it so much.

Domestic Terrorism

I'm sure Jim David Adkisson is mentally ill. But then, most terrorists aren't tied too tight in my opinion. Most especially the ones who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for their hatred of others. Like suicide bombers. Like Adkisson. He apparently never had any intention of getting away with shooting innocent people. In fact, he wants everyone to know why he went to a Unitarian-Univeralist church last summer and shot and killed some total strangers who never did a thing to him.

"This was a symbolic killing," Adkisson wrote. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I knew these people were inaccessible to me.

"I couldn't get to the generals and high-ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chicken (expletive) liberals that vote in these traitorous people."

The killing, of course, wasn't symbolic to the victims or their families. I'm sure that not one member of the rightwing noise machine who like to throw the term, "traitor" and other inflammatory and false rhetoric around would accept even the smallest responsiblity for this man's acts. That's not the way they roll.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Yet another Zogby poll

Zogby's interactive surveys seem more like push polling every time I get one. This latest one was about the stimulus plan. An awful lot of the questions seemed to repeat Republican talking points about it and then ask for agreement/disagreement. In fairness, it seems like there should be at least one like this:

Congressional Republicans oppose the stimulus plan because:

  1. They'd rather see the nation go down in flames than see a Democratic administration succeed.
  2. They believe that if we apply the Bush economic policies over and over again there will eventually be a different result.
  3. They're the greediest, most selfish bastards on earth and don't want you to have your tax dollars wasted on anything but further tax reductions for the extremely wealthy.
  4. All of the above.
Something along those lines might balance things out.
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No One Really Wanted to go to Auschwitz

Auschwitz IImage via Wikipedia

The Holocaust denying Bishop who got his excommunication lifted by the Pope will possibly reconsider his position on the subject, but not really. The Vatican is insisting and Bishop Richard Williamson says he'll do some more research and get back to them. You know, see if he can turn up any evidence that Jews were gassed by Hitler. Because, really, what's a Nazi sympathizer to believe? And there are complaints about a few glitches in the Obama administration's vetting process?

One thing Williamson is not doing is going to Auschwitz. For one thing he lives in Argentina, so it's damned incovenient. Um...Argentina...Isn't that where a bunch of Nazis escaped to after the war? I think it is. And anyway, who really ever wanted to go to Auschwitz. It's a fair bet that no one ever did. Of course, Williamson would be free to leave whenever he wanted.

If my father were alive he would be all, "I told you so." He never really got over what he saw as shortcomings of the Roman Catholic Church during the Holocaust. That might have been unfair, or at least not totally accurate, but he'd be all over this if he were around.

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New Depression Blog

Watergate Summer is using the "D" word and she's started a new blog for the express purpose of telling the human stories behind the appalling stats. Seems like a pretty good idea. Probably Woody Guthrie would have done something like that if there'd been blogs when he was around.

Deal or No Deal?

So, I fell asleep in front of the TV last night while everyone was breathlessly reporting that maybe there was a deal on the stimulus package, yes there was a deal, maybe they'll vote on it on Sunday if no one changes his or her mind by then. They took a lot of good stuff out, even though the economy is speeding south even as they dickered, but still, at least it looks like they're going to get something done. And a a lot of that good stuff could reappear in other spending bills. We hope.

So how's that bipartisanship going? The Republican senators who are willing to be somewhat bipartisan about this seem to number in the low single digits. Empowering them is good, of course. It would be a lot less scary out there if so much of the Republican party wasn't batshit crazy. That's an uphill climb at best these days.

Going forward, as they say, it seems like President Obama is going to have to spend a lot more time on TV. He's got to be out there, reminding people how much they like him. And most people do like him. He managed to turn two, normally formidable, candidates into poster children for multiple personality disorder when he ran against them. He can probably do a fair amount of damage to his opposition by speaking to us like adults and then delivering a few devastating lines, flashing his billion dollar smile and reminding us that he's a very, very smart person. It's just going to take up a fair amount of time he probably was planning to use for running the country.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Republican Strategist

Joe the Plumber, your days could be numbered. If life is fair (and I have to admit that's an iffy proposition at best) our blogging friend from across the aisle shows real potential in the strategy department. He takes Pete Session's assertion the the GOP must take a leaf from the Taliban playbook and improves upon it. I have to admit that this might just be Nate's best post ever. I can only hope the GOP continues to fail to appreciate him properly.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Tough Living Up to a Higher Standard

If Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer had been Republican nominees in the Bush administration we'd either be expected to thank them for paying any taxes at all or else take their tax problems as just more evidence that we're asking too much from the well off. As it is, they're Democrats and so that means that names must be withdrawn, mea culpas made and media hand wringing can commence.

In other news, while Michael Steele might be the head of the RNC, it's Joe the Plumber who commands the GOP's respect and attention. Don't forget that when Joe the plumber-reporter-pundit-economist first appeared on the national scene he owed more in back taxes than Nancy Killefer ever did. And he wasn't even wealthy or anything. Ain't America grand?

I rest my case.

Monday, February 2, 2009

B.A.D. Housekeeping

New blogs usually come with some sort of inaugural post, but this is B.A.D. times so I kind of plunged right in with that. I do owe a couple of words of thanks and that fits right in with the spirit of B.A.D. because it involves linking to blogs.

SinceI went to try Wordpress, Blogger has added some spiffy features. I haven't explored them all, but I particularly like the blogroll. Due to space considerations, I only chose to have the time of the most recent post for the blogs on the roll, but that's real handy. It makes it very easy to keep up with your favorite blogs, at least until the list gets really, really long.

"Follow" is another new-to-me feature. At first glance it seems a tad redundant, what with the blogroll, but it's nice and I'm pretty sure it'll turn out to have a thousand and one uses, so I put it in, Imagine my surprise when I had a follower! Hell, I'm not even sure where I'm going, so following could be kind of futile. It turned out to be Shelly of The View From Here and many other blogs! Thanks Shelly. It was a real boost to see that after one day. Following you right back. Then came Jon Swift. Yes, that Jon Swift. The Jon Swift who has become a legend among bloggers. I had put him on my own list to follow and Jon is incredibly kind, a true gentlemen and apparently his policy of reciprocation extends beyond the blogroll. I never expected that and I thank him very much.

Finally there's my new blog header. A modest thing, it's true. But it's me. As soon as I saw it, with the mugs of tea, the hand drawn is absolutely me. But I didn't do it. I got it the way people on the internets get things. By wandering around the series of tubes. First I went looking for a new Blogger template and landed on Eblog Templates, which has a great selection of them, most of them free. I downloaded several of gorgeous templates which I didn't end up using because I followed a link from there to Smashing Magazine which was offering, among tons of other goodies, free blog headers designed by artists in their community. I chose one made by Maria who is in Spain. Her blog is in Spanish, which I can't actually read, but I can at least say "Gracias" to Maria.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

OK, the Super Bowl's over

We can all return to our regularly scheduled lives. No big upset, close score, excitingish game, Bruce Springsteen did not have a wardrobe malfunction, so the world remains safe from nipples for another year. Congratulations to Pittsburgh and my good friend, Sherry, who doesn't come from there but is a devoted fan. She's got to be a happy camper tonight.

B.A.D. day for a new start?

Small Bad2

It's Blogroll Amnesty Day from now until February 3rd, which is the real Blogroll Amnesty Day. I know this is true because I read it on Jon Swift and Skippy.

There are some rules for participating. One is to link to five blogs with less traffic than your own. Another is not to whine about how there are no blogs with less traffic than your own. I hope there can be an exception for a blog that was just started TODAY. I haven't really finished setting it up. And I have only just begun to blogroll! There are lots of favorites that aren't up there yet. This is not a whine. This is something I do to myself.

Actually, I'm kind of hoping that amnesty could extend to people who annoy other people who have been kind enough to link to them by changing URL's a little too often. More about that in another post. This one is about linking to other blogs. It is worth noting, however, that in between my old blog here and this new one, I blogged at Wordpress for a bit and met some lovely blogs that were new, or at least new to me. Some of my favorites:

That's Right Nate is a blog I came across this past year. It's relatively new, but Nate is building traffic very quickly because he's just that good. You read one post and you've got to go back for more.

WriteChic Press is another. She's a news pro who's doing her own thing now and has excellent analysis, lots of videos and a very cool take on things.

Soup Is Not a Finger Food - Well, with a name that's reminiscent of a Jean Kerr title, I had to check this one out. What I found was a woman, about a generation younger than myself, who you just have to like. She's witty, warm, sometimes reflective and always a good read.

Blog de Ford - A fellow from Indiana. He might have been the vote that put Obama over the top there. I was so happy for him when his state went blue. He went to the inauguration and has a wonderful post about it- with pictures.

Roadkill Refugee is political news, opinion, satire, lots of good videos and a daily visit won't hurt you a bit, unless you're a kind of thin skinned Republican.

Falling on a Bruise - Not new and it's here on Blogger. I only got to know this one recently, however. Lucy, whose blog it is, is British and very liberal. She writes on politics a lot. I hope I never get over the thrill of us regular people being able to have transcontinental exchanges without so much as a long distance charge. I imagine if you're only twenty-something that's just kind of ho-hum. At pushing sixty it remains a miracle.
That's six I think. There could be a lot more, but I have to get going with my son's birthday brunch. He's thirty today. Oy!