THIS IS IT! It's been done. We've done it. Congratulations everyone.

Studs Terkel, 1912 - 2008

Sad news: Studs Terkel died today. A broadcaster, writer, and oral historian, Terkel is best know by many people for his book "Working:
People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
", which consists of a series of interviews with people about the frank realities of their working lives. Interviewees include a receptionist, a farmer, a miner, a garbage truck driver, and a prostitute. That last one would have got this book banned from my high-school had not a group of parents insisted that the reality of the interviews, including that of the prostitute, provided a startling reality not seen in most more heavily-edited publications. The prostitute's interview does not glamorize the profession; it simply provides a honest look at the working life of one woman. I think that's the ultimate value of
. Lots of people are doing a lot of things all day without having their stories told, and therefore do not get recognition that their lives are valuable and part of what makes our society what it is. Terkel understood that giving these people voices to tell their stories, and giving others their stories to read, increases our understanding of our fellow citizens, and thereby adds to harmony in our society. Thank you Mr. Terkel, you'll be missed.


Awesome news to break at 9pm eastern time on a Friday... Just when everyone's paying the most attention to national headlines. Gawd. Anyway, the investigator in "Troopergate" has found that that Palin abused her power in firing Alaska
Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, and the Legislative Council which commissioned the report has adopted it. What's next? Nothing, probably. It's Friday night, and America's out for a drink.


Good Lord...

Just look at this picture CNN is using of Anderson Cooper.

...Can we just be clear how ridiculous it is to have a photo like this taken of yourself? Is there anyone who can look at this and not laugh? Who would possibly allow this to be used publicly? Anderson Cooper, the greatest man alive, that's who.

The best part is I found it on CNN's "Heros" section. I know who my hero is...

Space Elevator!

So, the space elevator will happen, it's just a matter of when. As Arthur C Clark famously said, it'll be "probably about 50 years after everybody quits laughing." Well, scientists, particularly those who are working on carbon nano-tubes, quit laughing some time ago, but that's far from fulfilling "everybody" in Clark's quote. However, having an article on discussing it in a fairly non-laughing tone is getting considerably closer, even if it's in the European side of the World Edition. Come on, space elevator!

Also, please note the existence of The Space Elevator Blog.

Sarah Palin for President!

Wow, this is great.  This is Sarah Palin cutting funding for a program that provided housing to teen mothers in Alaska (note her initials, SP by the big cut on the top line).  Gotta love Republicans... They got theirs, and that's all they care about.



Apologies to whoever I stole this from, but here's a great infographic, if you're into that kind of thing:

Getting Closer...

Further evidence for the previous post. I'm aware that this could just be election politics for the Iraqi officials as well, but we haven't seen this before, and it's disharmonious with what Bush/McCain has been and is still saying.

Over Before It Started

What a difference four months makes. Since my last post, a lot has changed in this election, first and foremost being the Democrats just dodging a horrible mistake and getting behind Obama. This week, the most important thing that's happened in this election so far, in my opinion, has unfolded: The Iraqi government has gotten behind Obama's plan for withdrawing American troops by 2010, a long time before McCain's timetable...

While I realize that this is largely a political decision by Al-Maliki, who needs to publicly oppose a continued occupation as often as possible, this still changes the calculous of this war, and this election, considerably. I've always assumed that the US disengagement from Iraq will be under the political cover of the Iraqi government asking us to leave: it's clear that a) the "we've got to finish the job" crowd is never going to go away, and b) we're never going to "finish the job." Thus, the only way where hawks and the military won't lose face is to reluctantly leave under the demand of the Iraqi's, thus nobly appearing to give in to the will of the Iraqis. Anyway, this week's news essentially opens the door to this exit. All we have to do now is elect Obama and we're out.

This does to major things to the election: First, it makes it clear that a vote for Obama is a vote to end the war, period. Second, it also makes McCain's standpoint look out of sync with the "liberation not occupation" rhetoric that has been used so often. Frankly, I think this is the beginning of the end of this war, finally.


In case you're reading this in the post-apocolyptic future of a McCain presidency, today was the day we lost the 2008 election:


Snake Oil

The false promise of class mobility, defined:


Later, Tony


I read the almost daily. I do so for two reasons: First, I think it's an interesting way to get news, or at least an interesting way to learn about what the White House is thinking. Second, I think it's neat (and disgusting) to see how issues are over-analyzed, skated around, and ultimately forgotten by both the press and the White House (although in the latter camp, they're usually the ones trying to make the former forget), and that this is an important window into why "mainstream" journalism and media is so bad in this country. Personally, if I had the power, I'd shut the whole thing down to make reporters do some real work, but while it's here and important, I'll keep reading.

Anyway, Tony Snow, former FOX pundit, stepped down as Press Secretary today. In a job that essentially consists of creative non-answers, he did the dance quite well in a time in which it was pretty hard to keep a straight face while saying the administration is anything less than a dismal failure. Tony, I both despise you for your sliminess and admire you for your quick mind. And I sincerely hope you're in good health.

PS, what's with ? That just makes him look like a spoiled fool. Jeez, won't you just say you want to spend more time with your family ?

190,000 Guns

Holy lord. Reuters is reporting today that the Pentagon cannot account for 190,000 AK-47s distributed to the Iraqi police/military between 2004 and 2005.

Think about that for a second. One-hundred-ninety thousand guns. That means almost 200k people other than official military walking around with machine guns. This alone almost outnumbers US and Iraqi government troops on the ground.

And the days go by...

Clear Channel Go Home

So as of August 1st, the Tacoma City Council is supposedly going to start enforcing a decade old ordinance on billboard restrictions within the city. In response, Clear Channel changed a large number of their billboards (they have around 150 total in the city) to say "Constitutions Matter" as some kind of desperate shot at appealing directly to the citizens of Tacoma. Three problems:

1) Nobody associates "Constitutions Matter" with anything other than Bush these days.
2) They didn't even have the $4.95 to buy, and google doesn't place the phrase as having anything to do with their little tirade. Viral marketing failed.
3) Everyone hates billboards. You can't appeal to the public about that. That's like running a "Save Parking Cops" campaign. You can't win this.

However, I can't sum it up better than the guy who spray painted "Death To Clear Channel" Across one of the billboards up north. You appealed to the mob, and the mob has spoken. Go home.

Control of Language

Has anyone else noticed the distinct lack of the word "fillibuster" since Democrats gained control of congress? With all that talk from Republicans about "the nuclear option" in 2006 and how blocking votes with extended debate was the end of democracy, you would think folks would be making hay with with the past few Iraq (non)votes.

Hmm... Let's see... Here's the AP:
Earlier this month, the House voted 223-201 to order troops out of Iraq beginning in 120 days. But the bill stalled in the Senate, where Democrats hold a thinner majority and Republicans blocked the measure from advancing.
How did they block the measure from advancing? Could it be a fi- fil- fi-... Oh, who even remembers? Crap.

Lies, damn dirty lies

Check out this conversation on the White House kids page:

"Q: Fran from Cave City, KY writes:
I and several other of my friends would like to write a note of support and thanks to President Bush for all he has done and continues to do on behalf of our nation.

A: Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff:
Dear Fran:

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your email and for your kind words of support. The President is always encouraged to hear from Americans across the country like you and your friends, and he is grateful for all of the people who think of him and pray for him every day. Thank you, again. I will make sure that the President gets your message. Andy Card"

Yeah right. Look White House, I can make shit up too!

Q: Billy from Carbondale, Illinois writes:
Dear Elliot: I think you're really great and I like reading your blog. Your photography is top-of-the-line. All my classmates agree. Your friend, Billy.

A: John Frankenbrown, Spokesperson for Elliot Levin:
On behalf of Elliot Levin, thanks for your email. Keep praying for Elliot, and have a fun and safe summer. Stay away from drugs and people who are different from you. Thanks again, and I'll make sure Elliot gets the gist of your message. John Frenkenbrown.

See? Anyone can do that, you don't need no fancy oval office, or dog named Boots or something like that.