I write like
Cory Doctorow

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick update to the blog on the left

In light of the two large earthquakes in the south Pacific recently, I've gone to the Red Cross site and have installed a widget to the left. Click on the story of interest and be taken to the Red Cross site to read the latest update. Then, click on the Help Now link just above that story in the new page to find ways to make donations.

As getting supplies flown/shipped to Sumatra and the Samoa/American Samoa area is difficult and time consuming, a contribution placed on plastic (credit card) is the fastest way to help.

I'll be offering prayers as well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A little nip in the air at dusk

Another beautiful Southern California sunset. Unlike the one six days ago, this one came with a nice cool breeze from the ocean. Sadly, the cool breeze is fast on its way out of here.

I'm also getting the impression that a "public option" component of health insurance reform is slowly sinking down the drain after today's Senate Finance Committee meeting and 13 votes against both proposed "public option" amendments.

Other bills in the Senate and Congress include a "public option" for those whose employers do not or cannot provide group coverage for their employees. A comfortable majority of Americans want to see a "public option" in the health insurance reform, yet there were some Democrats in the Senate who get all kinds of nervous about having this "option" in legislation.

Are they filled with dread at the promise of folks in the U.S. that will thank them endlessly and re-elect them when they pass insurance reform with a "public option" component?

Who could pass up all of that love and support from their constituents?

My guess is it's those Legislators who are well funded by those who want nothing to do with health insurance reform. Nothing in politics speaks louder than love these days than money and fear.

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P.S. I'm an SEIU member as a home health-care worker. I still haven't seen any benefit to me directly with SEIU's affiliation with ACORN. If there's a left-wing conspiracy between my union and the much-maligned community organization group, no one is inviting me to the secret planning meetings.

When/if that happens, you know I'll write about it here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hotter than blazes today

The only upside to the miserable hot, dry Santa Ana winds today is a beautiful sunrise Los Angeles skyline.

For the moment, the newest wildfire in the Moorpark/Fillmore CA area has not blown its smoke in the direction of L.A. However, I am reading/hearing predictions of full containment of this fire by this weekend.

Then, speaking of wildfires, at least the metaphorical sort, comes a story of a Census employee who was found hung in eastern Kentucky earlier this month. The story itself hints at all sorts of circumstances, from suicide or a crime committed by someone with which the man was related to the not-so-big-of-a-leap toward this being some sort of creepy hate crime. Will have to wait to see what happens, but it appears readers of this blog have a whole slate of theories of their own.

And, if you haven't been enjoying the General lately, check out today's post on the fight against Halloween. I'm still one of those odd gay dudes who does not like Halloween at all. However, if there's a good scary movie playing on that night, you'll find me there. Better to be in a group than on one's own on such a creepy night like that.

Maybe this year's Halloween is well worth looking forward to if it's at least 40 degrees cooler than today was!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Peggy Noonan: Obama Media Tour "Boorish" (VIDEO)

It was right after Ms. Noonan made this comment that I shut off the TV. Normally, I enjoy the back and forth of the Roundtable on This Week, even when the right-wing panelists are just parroting the talking points of the right.

However, I suspect the President would not have even considered appearing so frequently on TV lately had we not had to face the bombardment of shrill, stupid, dead-headed empty thought drones we've had to endure sound clips from in the past few weeks. The only way to try to match that piercing whining is to start doing so on the left, but louder, more shrill and more empty-headed.

Liberals are just too nice, too smart and too rational to take that approach. So, we just try and show up often, speak the same coherent facts often and hope for the best. What a surprise, then, when the best we can do to back up the facts is the critique "boorish".

In the words of our President: "ENOUGH!!"
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fresh from the Blvd.

A scene becoming awfully frequent these days -- another wreath, flower and candle arrangement at one of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blessedly, the daily struggles for Patrick Swayze are over. On the Blvd, the camera operators, photographers and tourists (and me) are all struggling for the best view/photo of the newest temporary shrine.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One post-September 12 question

I suppose most people who blog use this outlet to provide answers they have crafted to questions that have been asked over and over again in the two topics no one should bring up in polite conversation: religion and politics

And while this is a Sunday and it would seem apropos to ask questions about religion, I cannot get out of my head the briefest of clips of yesterday's protest march/rally in Washington D.C. It seems to have incited such partisan passion in many in the media that it was nearly impossible to find an unbiased yet thorough coverage of this event. BBC's reporting seemed most dispassionate, yet it was all too brief. Fox News went into the most detail, but there's not much need to go into the point of view their written reporting adopted.

I'm just left with one question to ask: Why hasn't the debate about health care insurance reform been based in love rather than fear? It could well be that some in the crowd yesterday were willing and able to express their opinion from a place of love (how to make something work better for the most number of people); however, all of that got overshadowed from those who . . uh . . "argued" from a place of fear. The words, pictures and voices I kept experiencing yesterday all came from a place of fear.

If ever I write opinion from a place of fear, please call me on it. I'm a little worn out of the "place of fear" discourse I keep hearing and reading. So, for the moment, I'll let the video below be the line which I'll not cross. It's the first time I'd heard of Rammstein and the video splices in scenes from the movie XXX. Strong song whose title in English means, roughly, "Fire at will". I cannot wait for the new song from them later this week and the new album next month.

I'll try to listed from a place of love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

As the work week ends

One of the great joys of living in Southern CA: gorgeous sunsets nearly every day! While I know that moisture, dust, smoke and other particulates in the atmosphere and the sun's position in the sky determine the colors present in the sunset, the little child in me can't help but stand in awe and give praise to God for the amazing artwork done just for lil' ol' me.

I do the same thing with star-strewn skies or a full, bright moon in the night sky and photos from the Hubble telescope, knowing full well the science involved in it all.

A nice way to end a very turbulent week for many around the nation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"We don't need no water let the m***erf**ker burn . ."

(the post's title comes from the chorus of the song "Fire Water Burn" by Bloodhound Gang)

The latest photo from my little corner of SoCal of the Station Fire. The website for our local "The CW" station is reporting the Station Fire is over 70% contained (basically, 70% of the fire cannot burn any further in any direction without dying out). Part of the containment efforts today was setting backfires to the east of Mt. Wilson (the large hill on the left in the background) and you can see the smoke still rising from the backfires on the far right of the photo.

While we're talking about backfires, I'm with Rep. Frank on the "You lie!" cat-call from the right side of the Chamber. Here's what he had to say on the Rachel Maddow show last night about Rep. Wilson's little outburst:

I don‘t think it‘s a big deal. Look, I think free speech—you know, heckling is a tradition, obviously, in the British parliament. They even have mikes that come down to hear the heckles.

I think what we should take it as—it is unusual—it‘s a sign of how effective the president was. These guys just couldn‘t handle it. I looked at John Boehner and he looked about as glum and as dour as—as possibly he could be.

So what Joe Wilson did was just scream out in frustration because the president was nailing it. So we‘ve got to be very clear, Wilson lied when he said the president lied. And he talked about illegal immigrants. It‘s clearly excluded from the bill.

My guess is that those who are participating in fanning the flames of nastiness in last month's Town Hall meetings across the country realized the truth was being spoken at the front center of the room last night and the "You lie!" was a feeble last gasp at trying to draw attention away from the President and the message of the evening.

If you believe the polls taken after the President's speech, it makes it even more clear that the demonstrations being put on by the far-right conservatives and health insurance industry lobby are much like the Station Fire has become around here in SoCal.

Something easier to defeat with every passing day by starving the fire of its fuel. Let the fires from the far-right. No water necessary -- let the (metaphorical) fire burn so everyone sees what the "argument" from the far-right is fast becoming:

Lots of wispy, white smoke - the last gasp of fire soon extinguished on its own.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 2 - "indoctrination" speech

If you missed today's "indoctrination" speech by the President today, click here to read the transcript because, well, the "indoctrination" works extra well with the full video, the background and complete audio. And, as it is, apparently, "indoctrination", I'd hate to be responsible for "catapulting the propaganda"

Or, just gaze at the hypnotic toad (direct from Futurama. I'm sure Matt Groening had something to do with today's "indoctrination". Hypnotic toad/"indoctrinating" President of the U.S. Po-tay-toe/Po-tah-toe, anyone?) below:


Monday, September 7, 2009

Obama Labor Day Speech At AFL-CIO Picnic: FULL VIDEO, TEXT

How nice is it to have a President who speaks eloquently at a labor union event and refers to those in government in attendance by their proper names. Please remember, in spite of whatever disappointment the current President may be delivering all of us liberals, that we have a President who can speak at a Union-sponsored event (the last one wouldn't be seen within a hundred miles of one) and not have cutesy, annoying nicknames for everyone.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I lasted about 36 hours

I was all set for a politics-free weekend. The "honey-do" list I had was long and, as of now, is not yet complete so I can finish it up today and still have tomorrow to goof off. I finally saw Inglorious Basterds (expected gory and chatty, got both. Didn't expect funny and got that, too) and am rocking out to the Sonisphere festival, highlights of which are being broadcast on Palladia as I type.

I had only heard of Van Jones in the last few days from various radio chat show hosts. I then checked in with Crooks and Liars to find that he had resigned effective yesterday. I would be the first person to call this sort of thing routine, supposing that many an Administration's appointees had resigned in the past rather than sink deeper into controversy and bring their President down along with them.

Then, the comment in the article I read said:

So this is what we can expect from Obama: When the right gets into full-froth rabid attack-dog mode, he folds. He'll even throw one of his best friends and most loyal liberal allies under the bus.

Best of all, he's just handed the most rabid of the haters who are undermining his agenda -- namely, Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox crew -- their biggest scalp yet. The crowing that will follow is just the start.

They certainly won't be satisfied with this. Hell, this is just the appetizer. Beck has already made clear that Valerie Jarrett is the next one in his sights.

I'm watching Press Secretary Robert Gibbs chatting with Stephanolopolous and it seems to underscore the C & L article above. In the long term, sunny, sweet and smart wins over all else. Sadly, this is not a long-term fight . . the Legislature will have some sort of bill to vote on in the next three months and either it passes or it falls to pieces for another 10-15 years.

By my nature, I'm not inclined to anger, vitriol or puffing up grains of truth in to a tubful of b.s. I've signed an online petition posted by Howard Dean making my opinion known about health insurance reform. Whatever your take on all of the facts may be, it is time to make your voice heard as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

So pretty, so cool and so weird

Yet another smoke and humidity and heat inspired cloud tower appeared on my ride home tonight.  Finally, the fires in the area are getting more and more in control and, for the first time in over a week, the setting sun looked like  . . .  a setting sun!

I even watched a 10 minute clip of Sen. Franken of Minnesota chatting with a few of his constituents at their State Fair.  As to how those who appear in the video were chosen or if this crowd was grown organically, I cannot say.  As these sorts of things go, it was just lovely to hear people with genuine disagreements with Franken speaking in a civil tone and wonderful to hear an elected official who had studied up on the Health Insurance reform movement in the Legislature!

For those who need to cut their pure, unfiltered political chat with something non-sensical and not nausea inducing, please feel free to cue up the video clip below after you pause the 10 minute Franken video at the "10 minute" link above:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Creepy Yet Cool, day two

Today's "creepy yet cool" photos were taken on the Blvd.  The top photo is facing west toward the Pacific.  The smoke from the Station Fire has drifted over the Hollywood Hills and has turned a normally bright blazing ball of sunlight into . . well . . something like an amber traffic light (like the one I photographed today just a minute after I took the photo of the sun).

I keep swearing I'm going to stop noticing the atmospheric changes caused by this fire; however, every day has been something different and fascinating.  However, I'll enjoy the first day with no big event in the sky.

Whenever that's supposed to happen

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