Saturday, August 23, 2008

Open thread

I've had the words of The Runaway Bunny running through my head lately...

Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, "I am running away."
"If you run away," said his mother, "I will run after you. For you are my little bunny."
Imagining a sequel written years later (when the little bunny has grown into a teenage bunny) entitled The Runaway Mommy.

Would anyone run after her?

These are the sorts of deep thoughts I'm having these days. I'll be okay. I'm working on it. But with all the discussion around the tubes about Obama's choice of VP, all I have to say on the subject is "Meh." Somebody Else's Problem. I'm just not feeling it.

But I will keep an eye on the numbers at the HEP comments blog, and put up an extra thread on days that really need them. I may or may not be around in the comments, so (probably stating the obvious here), if you see a new comment thread, be sure to go back and tell folks in the old thread who might not know about it. Thanks.

{ { { I would run after the Mommy Bunny, Renee. And I'd bring snacks. XOXOXXX listener } } }


Friday, August 22, 2008

Office of the National Nurse presence in Denver!

HEP's own national nurse, Teri Mills, writes:

Thanks to a Healthcare United, a new national movement of nurses and healthcare workers who are coming together to help fix our broken healthcare system, the Office of the National Nurse Campaign will have a presence in Denver at the Democratic National Convention. This is a great opportunity to come together and raise our voices to say the status quo is NOT working in healthcare, it is not working for our patients and it is not working to improve the health of our country.

On Wednesday afternoon, August 27th, the day before Senator Barack Obama accepts the nomination, there will be a large rally and concert at Sunken Gardens Park, on 8th and Speer beginning at 2pm MDT. The event will include a parade to the Pepsi Center (where the DNC is meeting), A-List bands, celebrity emcees, rousing speeches from healthcare activists and key Democratic leaders, and fun activities for the kids.

In the park itself, there will be big "theme tents" on Wednesday. If you're in town, you are invited to stop by The Long Term Care Reform Ward and Art Gallery, The Nurses' Station, The Legislative Emergency Room, (where you will find Teri Mills lobbying for an Office of the National Nurse for prevention) and, of course, The Free Clinic, Alternative Wellness Center and Hydration Station.

Do you have a personal story about how our broken healthcare system and a solution on how to make it better? Healthcare United encourages you to participate in the decision making process and invites you to submit your own ideas on how to fix our healthcare system. Your suggestions to improve healthcare will be delivered to Senator Obama during the convention.

Note: Teri will update us as she is able, from Denver or immediately following!

Incase you missed it:  Just below this thread is a thread from Jessica & Co about D-fest "6.0", 2009!

Click here to continue with Today's Comments

6th Annual DemocracyFest ~ 2009!

Written by: Jessica Falker on Aug 22, 2008 7:11 AM PDT

A huge thank you to all that made the 5th Annual DemocracyFest so great again this year. With your attendance, with participation locally in Virginia and from around the country, you have continued the tradition. To all of the sponsors, speakers, trainers, entertainers, volunteers, and attendees! Thank you!

Click Here to see Gov. Dean's speech at the 5th Annual DemocracyFest on C-SPAN.

We have already started planning to reconvene next summer for the 6th Annual DemocracyFest and will let you know the location and date as soon as possible. (The poll taken at this year's event for current proposals of Burlington VT and Chicago IL came out 50/50!) Your input and suggestions are always welcome! Email us at

The core of DemocracyFest is community. Many of us were first called to action by Howard Dean's run for president in 2004. DemocracyFest carries forth the grassroots spirit of that campaign, and each year we have been delighted to welcome new people who similarly want to take our country back.

It would be great if DemocracyFest could be organized with no money, but the reality is that it takes at least $20,000 to put on an event like this, and quite a bit of that money is needed for deposits on the venue long before we start selling tickets. Also, we always want to be as inclusive as possible and therefor keep the cost of attending as low as possible. Our ticket price averages about 1/4 the cost of attending other political festivals, which means we rely on help from people like you to make that happen. Please make a contribution to help our efforts:

Click Here To Make A Contribution

While we can't list every connection, idea and project that was discussed at, or will grow out of, this year's DemocracyFest, we do want to point out that four great candidates for their state's Legislature attended this year: John MacMurray from California, Ellen Garneau from Vermont, Marcia Moody from New Hamphire, and David Stevenson from Connecticut. These are regular grassroots activists who have put their lives on hold to serve their community and we hope you will support their campaigns.

A special thank you to this year's sponsors: Democracy for Virginia, Democracy for America, Brain Arcade Design Studio, Latinos For America, Virginia Democratic Women's Caucus , IG Publishing, Living Liberally, National Women's Political Caucus , and Dulles Area Democrats

Thank you to the speakers, trainers, and entertainers who donated their time and talents: Gov. Howard Dean, Jeffrey Feldman, Rep. Leslie Byrne, Jim Dean, Rep. Marcia Moody, Charlie Grapski, Matt Blizek, Nathan Gonzalez, Subway Serenade, Bobby Kendes, Ellen Garneau, Jen Sorensen, Scott Goldstein, Bryan Hageny, Dorrie Clark, Maya Enista, Bernadette Vadurro, Linda Brooks, and Jeffrey Richardson

Thank you to Susan Rowe who not only suggested we have a silent auction at this year's event, but then organized the whole thing and raised about $800! Also, congratulations to Sarah John who won the Treasure Hunt this year! The prize is a free ticket to next year's DemocracyFest...and speaking of next year's DemocracyFest...

Please help us start planning for next year by making a contribution to DemocracyFest today:

Click Here To Make A Contribution

We are currently seeking sponsors for the 6th Annual DemocracyFest. If your organization or business is interested, please contact us at

The DemocracyFest Team

David, Ellen, Jessica, Laurie and Quintus

Link to Today's Comment Thread

Friday Open Thread


more animals

A note about comment links...

This is the only link you ever need:

I wish the whole comment thing could be automated like on just about every other blog in the world, but for some reason it can't be. I've tried to make the best of it, but couldn't figure out how to teach other people how to make the links.

So this is the solution I've come up with. I will continue to make sure comment links publish once a day over at the HEP comments blog. One comment link a day--not for each new post. So we really shouldn't need to add the comment link to every post, as it is always going to be the same link. And that link is at the top of the left sidebar. But if it helps make things clearer, we can put that link in each post. But anyone with keys to the blog can do that. There is no special link that needs to go up with a new post, since there is now a new link once a day rather than for each post. Another advantage to this approach is that, if there is not a new front page post for a couple days, people can still follow the link to the newest comment thread. (Because there will be a new comment thread every day.)

I made this change and announced it in this post. At the moment, there is no guarantee that I will be able to read all the comments in a timely manner. So I'm asking a favor...if anyone is confused about the way comments work now, those of you who have figured it out, please explain to those of you who don't.

Thank you to everyone who has had kind words about this blog in the past several weeks, and thank you for the contributions via PayPal and my Amazon wish list. It really is good to be appreciated. (heart thingie)


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Open thread

This video rather successfully conveys Son's current level of enthusism toward starting high school next week...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last week I visited an outdoor labyrinth at a church in Bexley, Ohio. In addition to the labyrinth, there was an interesting sculpture. Here's its description:

"This sculpture was commissioned to convey and articulate the strength, security, and solidarity which parishioners experience from St. Alban's Parish. The text directs our attention to the Divine Source of this parish's strength, and reads: "For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore thy name's sake lead me, and guide me." (Psalm 31:3; KJV)

Thomas Melville Chapin was chosen to create this sculpture, because he works with stone, which has the innate dimension of linking a sense of permanence and strength with the eternal.

White granite, sometimes called "Bethel Moonlight" because of its luminous quality at night, was selected for its pureness of appearance and durability.

The text, written in Braille, reminds us that these are inner truths. Rather than being raised in dots as is the norm for Braille, the inscription is cut in rectangles for aesthetic reasons and to suggest an old fashioned computer card or player piano roll...connoting that this psalm is a code that conveys a meaning broader than just the statement itself.

Projecting a sense of timeless eternal strength, this sculpture spans the ages--leaving an impression of primitivism as well as ultra-modernism."


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fun with screen captures

Thank you to JudyforDean for pointing out the typo in this AP article about upcoming veep announcements.

Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000

And to jc, who told me where to find the screen capture program I just used. ;)


Reports from DeanFest. . . .

Just arrived home tired but happy. The plane ride is shorter than the 3 el trip home from the airport! But all in all it wasn't too bad.

Demfest was a family reunion. It was so great to see so many friends after so long a time.

I thought I would get a little time to relax at the pool, but really, there were just too many friends to visit with.

Last night 15 of us went to dinner at a local Thai restaurant. Since we had decided where to dine at the last minute, the restaurant owners were in a bit of shock when we all walked in. They handled things really well and the food was great.

Subway really loved the food!


O Hai!

May the Eternal Blessings of The Ceiling Cat be a pwn thee...

Herein is my Deanstock 5 report to the community, and first of all I want to thank the folks who not only got this street musician to this event, but made my better two thirds comfortable sending me off to do something that was really important.

Demonstrating Gizmo is a bit moar complicated than I had anticipated, and as Denise saw, I had a problem with the readings that come when two hearts are using the machine. I'll work on this.

My concern was that it was difficult to demonstrate the level of coherence that I can get to when I'm doing my heart dance routine alone.

So when Denise posted that we were working on the demonstration, I was dealing with a number of unexpected glitches.

I spent about 4 hours spinning coherent heart waves in DC.

Some folks got to see me playing with Gizmo as they were leaving, but there was no prime time presentation.

Charlie played Gizmo for about an hour. I'd appreciate hearing his thoughts on what happened.


Something happens in my heart when I sing to Puddle. Something happens in my heart when I sing to Dean People.

It happened on Saturday night.


Monday, August 18, 2008

MY WEEK IN DENVER (not at the DNC )

In some ways it's hard to know what to talk about. Maybe I'll start with something no one would have expected: The campaign to bring the 2012 Worldcon to Chicago. The site of each Worldcon is chosen by voting at the one two years previously, and groups and cities compete for the right to devote two years of their lives to making it happen. This is in fact very much like a political campaign except that instead of going out and knocking on people's doors you throw parties (hotels prefer the term "hospitality suites") at conventions so people come and give you a chance to talk to them. I actually spent the bigger part of the first day helping prepare for the party that evening. The party seemed to go very well, with people enjoying the all-fruit smoothies we served. These were non-alcoholic due to hotel rules, but we expect to offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions in the future.

I was also on three panels, all appropriate for me and yet all totally different. One was on "Technology for the Visually Impaired," one was on "Politics and the SF Fan," and one was on "Future Health: Living Longer in the 21st Century" (we concluded that, while we might be healthier longer, there would be no major life extension in at least the first half of the century). The panel on "Politics and the SF Fan" struck me as a bit schizophrenic. A couple of us wanted to talk about how SF fans relate to electoral politics while the others wanted to talk about how SF stories relate to and perhaps influence political issues.

I went to other panels as well. "A World Made of Birds" was an interesting discussion of what if the Cretaceous meteor had not driven the dinosaurs extinct. (Actually, of course, some dinosaurs did survive. We call them birds. Hence the title.) "SF as a Tool for Social Change" mostly concluded that SF does not bring about social change. It's a way to discuss the implications of change, especially technological change. Some didn't think that technology leads to much social change, but I pointed out from the audience that thanks to the internet I have friends I've never met. I don't think that any are of the canine persuasion, but I could be wrong. And at the panel on new reading technologies I found that there is a portable e-book reader (Bookeen) that will display the type at a large enough size for me to read.

The convention was over mid-afternoon Sunday. Early Monday morning (which happened to be my 72nd birthday) we left on a one-day tour to the south of Denver. First stop was the Air Force Academy, which both Penny and I would have been happy to skip. Although the view from the Chapel Trail was nice. Then on to Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods, which I was surprised to learn is a Colorado Springs city park. As most know from photos, the rock formations are spectacular. Lunch in the Trading Post, with Penny being disappointed there wasn't time to fully check out the gift shop. A few miles more brought us to Manitou Springs and the Manitou and Pikes Peak cog railway. An hour and a half ride to the summit. Hard, cramped seats but spectacular scenery. One view was the inspiration for "America the Beautiful" (the words had never made real sense as a description of America, but they fit that view perfectly). At the summit Penny bought a couple of hats for Marc and I tried unsuccessfully to make a cell phone call home, which didn't leave me time to get to the observation point. Then back to Manitou Springs and Denver, and home the next day.

- Bill Thomasson

Comment Link

Today's Comment Link. . . .

Waiting for a DeanFest Post from Holly J, or Denise, or. . . .

Well, while we're waiting for the Deanfesters to travel home and settle in
and write up the particulars...

and so do honest, interested, adorable faces!

listener is very grateful for your virtual face on HEP!

Comment Link

Sunday, August 17, 2008