Saturday, January 13, 2007

Inauguration Day

Lobster corn dogs? I had no idea such a thing existed.

Party’s party has a rural touch

Democrats from across Ohio are descending on Columbus this weekend as Gov. Ted Strickland and other statewide Democrats are formally inaugurated with pomp mixed with lobster corn dogs and "jazzed-up fair food."

Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who took office Monday, were set to repeat their ceremonial oaths of office about noon today, followed by Strickland’s inaugural address as the state’s 68th governor.
Read the rest here. Another report on today's festivities, with video, can be found here.

Buckeye State Blog promises updates throughout the day.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

How to make a werewolf

You're all just dying to know this, right? Nah, probably not, but I wanted a light, fun topic to post for Friday night. Basically, it's an open thread. ;-)

Anyway, I thought I'd tell you about my Sims. For Christmas we got a couple expansion packs for the Sims 2, including Sims 2 Pets. In addition to being able to adopt dogs and cats, there is the possibility of having your little simulated people become werewolves. I found this guide that explained what you need to do...

In all, there's really no reason not to have a werewolf. Having that instant boost of energy will especially help single Sims have fun out on the town, and it gives newly created Sims a chance to level the playing the field by devoting extra time to studying job skills. Also, werewolf Sims can be called on at night, unlike normal Sims that get all mad when you call them at 2 AM. Really, they didn't need that sleep, did they?

To have a werewolf in your neighborhood, you'll have to work a bit for the first one. First, you'll need a house that has a lot of trees. And when I say "a lot," I mean like two dozen. Literally. Just spend every cent you've got on the pine trees (or any kind of tree really) and place it somewhere on your lot.
The specific wolf you're looking for is one with glowing eyes.

The wolf looks like this

And you need to greet him and pet him and play with him and get to be really, really good Sim friends with him, which can take several nights, before the Leader of the Pack wolf will finally honor you with the "nibble" that is needed to turn your Sim into a werewolf.

When I was finally able to achieve that with one of my Sims, the "nibble" seemed an awful lot like a bite to me. But I guess it's a lot milder than the social interaction whereby Sims spread lycanthropy from one to another--which is by "savaging", or essentially beating the crud out of each other.

But when they're not trying to turn another Sim into a werewolf, werewolves are perfectly normal (if hairy and somewhat lumbering) human Sims. Some of them can even make lobster thermidor.

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Beyond Vietnam/Iraq

Via "TGIF Open Thread"...

Heads up! You can catch Governor Dean on CNN's The Situation Room today at 5:15 p.m. and on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews at 5:30 p.m.
At last night's anti-escalation vigil, I ran into Rev. Tim Ahrens, who is the founder of the We Believe Ohio group. He spoke on camera to reporters, although I haven't found that online yet. He also said a few words to the vigil attendees as we were attempting (unsuccessfully for the most part) to keep our candles lit. He spoke of Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech at Riverside Church in 1964

A time comes when silence is betrayal, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ahrens said that in that speech, King expressed regret for his own ten years of silence on the Vietnam War. He was particulary concerned about the connection between the protracted war in Iraq and poverty...

There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor - both black and white - through the Poverty Program. Then came the build-up in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political play thing of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
You can read the rest here. What Tim Ahrens said last night is that we don't want to be ten years into the Iraq war and regretting our silence, so we need to make sure we are speaking out now.

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On Vermont Public Radio's "Switchboard" Thursday evening was the topic of Vermont seceding from the Union.
See the related item at:

Here are my notes made during the show...for your stress-releasing musings!
XOXOXXX ♥ listener

"Why secede?"
Government has become too big
The US Empire has become unmanageable.

"What about the loss of federal funds?"
We will have more usable funds ourselves than the funds we receive with mandates.

"How would the rest of the country view us, and how would VT be perceived as a Republic? How would it affect tourism?"
50 nations and states in the world are smaller than Vermont.
Other nations may feel MORE willing to visit VT if it were independent.

"What if we had an emergency?"
Two words: Hurricane Katrina.

An immigrant called into the VPR show shocked that anyone would want to secede from a country that has done him so much good. He thinks VT would become a third world country.
(It might anyway, as Karen pointed out.)

Fun irony....the immigrant came from ENGLAND. Given that the USA effectively seceded from England, it was a humorous call, in a way.

VT was a Republic until 1791...the good ol' days. ;)

There is some talk about Peaceable Secession.
I honestly don't think it'll fly...because VT is presently "owned" by the Union. I doubt the rest of the country would say, "Oh well, sure, go ahead."

Caller from Montreal, Quebec (which has had it's own secession idears), Canada ...
suggests it has been great for Quebec to talk secession because Canada woos them! Ha!
Says folks from Quebec (immediately to our north) are sympathetic and would still come to visit! :)
Says to ask ourselves if the issues are a temporary thing or not. Is it WORTH getting out of the USA for what might be limited benefits.

"Canada is Vermont's #1 trading partner."
Would stay the same in the Independent Vermont.
Note: Not intended as an ISOLATIONIST idear...still very friendly toward and open to the rest of the USA.

So, who here would want to move to Vermont if we become an independent Republic?
Would Howard Dean be our leader?
Maybe instead of a President or a King we could just have a Doctor or a Guv. ;)

Another Montreal caller. Pretty sweet how interested our friends from the north are in this process! :)

The guest on "Switchboard" became interested in the idear as a skeptic but also as a professional historian. The more he considered it, the more he liked the idear and the more he was able to articulate why. So there is some very real sentiment toward doing so.
My town Rep is also the Speaker of the House in VT, though, and I know she is skeptical, understandably. I think it would take awhile (years) before it caught on here. But Bush is sure making it sound better and better, so who knows? Stay tuned! :-)

There is talk of Vermont being self sustaining, though not isolationist.
I think Vermont is better suited to this than many states, as the populace is very conscious of the need to be frugal and tending the environment, buying local, etc.. (sounds very Dean, doesn't it?) ;-)

I don't know if it would ever happen, but it is actually COMFORTING to ponder the possibility of Vermont seceding.

I wasn't taking it seriously until hearing the very reasoned and reasonable purposes in secession, and hearing that it's desired to do so peaceably and non-violently!! I LOOOOVE VERMONT!!!

"How would Vermont as a Republic defend itself?"
Well, we already have a National Guard.
(And I'm thinking: And they'd actually be HERE!)

A guy from MI just called in! Apparently the Upper Peninsula wanted to do something similar at one point! It failed because of the dependency on the Lower Peninsula. So he suggests creating ambassadors as a first step.

LOL! A woman called in with a strong British accent and misspoke saying, "I moved to Texas from America..."
She was concerned about people letting go of USA citizenship.
So it was suggested, "Why not dual citizenship?" (VT and USA or VT and CANADA...etc.)
I LOVE the idear of being a compatriot of some of my friends from Canada as well as some of you! Way cool. A new way to be a world citizen, perhaps.

Hey, turns out Americans have a constitutional right to secede.
Ooooooooo. What if we ALL (the whole nation) secede together and just leave Bush alone?
He can have the little peninsula in Kennebunkport where the Bush compound is anyway. ;)

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Peace Action

So, what are people doing where you live?

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"America Says No" Rallies

Crossposted at Daily Kos, Buckeye State Blog, My Left Wing and Booman Tribune.

So, whatever happened to the notion that "Elections have consequences"? George W. Bush, after his narrow "victory" over John Kerry in 2004, claimed that he had a mandate to press forward with his agenda, rather than trying to work in a more bipartisan manner. You know, "Reach across the aisle"? Apparently that is only considered an admirable trait when it's Democrats that are in power.

The midterm elections have been described by many as being driven largely by public dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq. From those elections to any public opinion poll I've seen, the message from the American public has been a resounding "No!" to the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq. Bush's response has been the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling "La la la la la!"

For anyone who is not aware of this...

Volunteers will host actions in cities and towns across the country within 24 hours of the president’s speech with a simple message: "America says NO more troops in Iraq!”

I will be the first to admit that I am tired of trying to oppose a president who is so bound and determined to ignore and isolate any voices outside of his small circle of "yes men" (and women). Do I believe that we can change his mind on the escalation of the war in Iraq, announced last night in a special address to the nation? Sadly, no.

But the world is watching us, and I think it would be a sad commentary on American apathy if these rallies were sparsely attended. What does that say to people in other nations (who used to hold our country in such high regard) if our response to Bush acting in direct opposition to our will, is, "Yeah, whatever."

Click here to find a vigil or rally in your area.

P.S. Please see Denise's comment here, which unfortunately was written just as I was putting up a new post.

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"No, thank YOU" Open Thread

Thank you so much to everyone for the wonderful messages in the 100,000 thread--those of you who are regulars and those I haven't seen for a while. (Of course, it goes without saying that I would love to see those in the latter category stop by more often.) Thank you to jc for letting people at BFA know about the milestone, and for capturing the image of the Sitemeter as it reached the 100K mark. Great new bumper sticker, by the way...

Been tossing around some idears myself, but haven't gotten too far with it. Something along the lines of a car teetering precariously at the edge of a cliff, noting that even a "new" way forward is still going to be a very bad plan.

By the way, here's the cake Demetrius made for my birthday.

The cake is chocolate and the frosting is white chocolate ganache, and yes it is yummy. (But no, we haven't finished it yet...we do have *some* self control.)

P.S. Apparently there was some sort of game thingy that Ohio State lost to Florida. Football, was it? To say we're not really "tuned in" to the local sports scene would be a serious understatement. But I think even many of those who *do* care deeply about such things, take some comfort in our BIG win...

We're getting a new Democratic governor this weekend! W00t!!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Closing in on 100,000 site visits

Update: We did it!

I just scrolled down to the bottom of the page and saw this

Site Meter: 99,976

which means that, most likely some time tonight, it's going to do this

and it will be time for us to do this

Celebrate! (I think it's okay to start a little early!)

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UnState of the Union Thread

My bad...This year's state of the union will be held Tue Jan 23 7pm - Tue Jan 23 8pm. Tonight is the convince Americans to send more troops speech.

As always, you can chat about whatever you like, but if you have anything to say about tonight's State of the Union address, go for it. Some of us can't stand to watch it ourselves, but appreciate it when others fill us in on what was said, how people reacted, etc.

Click here for a parody of last year's SOTU.

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UnBEARably cute

Earlier this evening, I received the following e-mail from listener...

Son*in*Oregon sent this!!! Use if desired

A family just built this playground in their yard last weekend for their 3 and 4 year-old boys. The next morning, the mom woke up to this scene (see attached.) Four juvenile black bears.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Open Thread

I was trying to come up with some ideas for the Cafe Press Anti-Valentine's Day contest. I was going to try to come up with a design using these cherubs, and the caption below was suggested by Demetrius. It's not exactly anti-Valentine, but I thought it was cute, so I made the design.

"So, what are you in the mood for?" "I don't know...Italian? Maybe Chinese..."

Talk amongst yourselves. We're going to watch some of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and enjoy some of the birthday cake Demetrius made for me. Catch you all a little later.

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Medicare action item

From Shelley in the comments

Time to e-mail your Congressperson and let them know we're in favor of allowing Medicare to bargain for lower drug prices, as the VA does.

A year's worth of Fossamax through the VA: $250.

A year's worth of Fossamax through
Medicare: average, $800.

A year's worth of Zocor through VA:

A year's worth of Zocor through Medicare, average: $1500.

(Thanks to Al Franken on right now for the stats.)

Let your Senator know, too. The vote's coming up!
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"Against Nature?" museum display in Oslo

Found out about this via Firedoglake:

Gay animals out of the closet?
First-ever museum display shows 51 species exhibiting homosexuality

A first-ever museum display, "Against Nature?," which opened last month at the University of Oslo's Natural History Museum in Norway, presents 51 species of animals exhibiting homosexuality.
Almost a quarter of black swan families are parented by homosexual couples. Male couples sometimes mate with a female just to have a baby. Once she lays the egg, they chase her away, hatch the egg, and raise a family on their own.

"Homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" are terms defined by societal boundaries, invisible in the animal kingdom.
Like most complex issues, animal homosexuality is challenging and poorly understood. Therefore, educators tend to shy away from covering it in their teaching. Many scientists don't even want to be associated with this type of research.

"I've had primatologists offer to give me their data on homosexual behavior because they didn't want to publish it," Wolfe said.

"Against Nature?" was set up partly to demystify the concept.
It's an interesting article, although it's still a sad commentary that people feel too ootsy about the whole thing to teach or publish the information. And the article referenced, from Live Science, is, I don't know, kind of campy. There's something weird about having to rate each animal picture before moving on to see the next one.

And I'll never be able to look at the "smile" on a dolphin the same way again. (If you want to know why, go read the caption. It's one of those "intended for mature audiences" things that I don't feel quite right posting on the front page.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

March on Washington January 27

Many of you probably know about this already, but I figured I should go ahead and frontpage it anyway. Via the United for Peace and Justice web site...


On Saturday, Jan. 27th, people from every corner of the country will march on Washington, DC. Our message will be clear, our voice will be strong: End the war in Iraq, Bring all the troops home now! We urge you to join us!

On Mon., Jan. 29th, we will take our message directly to the new Congress during our lobby day.
Click here for more.

(Sticker design by jc.)

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Open Thread

This is an Open Thread. You may use it to talk about stuff.

Moose picture via Cute Overload.

And, w00t, The Daily Show is back from vacation tonight!

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Screw "electability"

Mom, if you're reading, sorry about the language. But I really feel like this is something that needs to be worded strongly. Because I just read this (emphasis mine)

On MSNBC last week, Mr. Rangel said of Mr. Obama: “He’s brilliant, he’s talented. He’s not tested, but who could be with the limited political experience?” He said that Democrats “should have as many exciting candidates up front as we can get, so we can find out who’s electable and who can best lead our country.”
Now, the premise there is good--I agree with the overall idea--but that *word* has got to go. As far as I can tell, the word "electability" was only invented recently. It was certainly used in full force by people attempting to convince those who might otherwise vote for Howard Dean to reconsider, and vote for someone they think *other* people will be willing to vote for.

The word has been used to encourage people to doubt their own instincts and second-guess their judgements. To vote, even in the primary, not for someone they could be excited about working for, but for the one who pundits (those people who get paid no matter who wins) say will be acceptable to *other* people.

The time to nip this thing in the bud is now. Stop using that word! Talk about our dreams and our ideals, bringing people together, what's good for America and the world...there are plenty of other ways to talk about the kind of candidate we need. But the word "electability" needs to go away, and it needs to go away now.

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The imperial presidency

I've been really struck by the gall of George W. Bush since the November elections, bullheadedly pushing forward with the same agenda, the same approach, as if the elections don't mean anything. (Yet when he was reelected in 2004 by a small margin, he called it a "mandate" that meant he had "political capital".) I found this article in the International Herald Tribune via Crooks and Liars, and it puts some of that into words better than I've been able to...

Observing President George W. Bush in action lately, we have to wonder if he actually watched the election returns in November, or if he was just rerunning the 2002 vote on his TiVo.

That year, the White House used the fear of terrorism to scare American voters into cementing the Republican domination of Congress. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney then embarked on an expansion of presidential power chilling both in its sweep and in the damage it did to the constitutional system of checks and balances.

In 2006, the voters sent Bush a powerful message that it was time to rein in his imperial ambitions. But we have yet to see any sign that Bush understands that. Indeed, he seems to have interpreted his party's drubbing as a mandate to keep pursuing his fantasy of victory in Iraq and to press ahead undaunted with his assault on civil liberties and the judicial system.

There's more, about the specifics of how the administration has responded to the new Democratic leadership. You can read the rest here.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Borning Cry

Daughter in Ohio sang with the children's choir in church today. The following isn't the song the girls sang, but was the "hymn in procession" before the baptism that was scheduled for today. The actual baptism didn't take place, because the baby was sick, but they still did the renewal of baptismal vows with the congregation--that thing with the "I will, with God's help" that I mentioned in my prayer for the New Year. Anyway, I found the song just tear-jerkingly beautiful--such that I wasn't able to actually sing it along with the congregation. When I turned around toward the baptismal font, I saw another mom of a choir member, and she was dabbing her eyes. So I know it wasn't just me. Anyway, I thought I'd share...

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell."

"When you heard the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living Lord,
to whom you now belong.
If you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I'll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk 'till rising sun."

In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I'll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I've begun.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I'll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise."

"I was there to hear your borning cry,
I'll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold."
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Sunday morning open thread

Thank you floridagal for providing us with a link to video of Howard Dean thanking the activists and netroots for their efforts towards the Democratic victories of 2006.

And in honor of the Epiphany, here's another image from the Episcopal Church and Visual Arts site, entitled Darkness Holds the Seeds of Light.

Update: You can check out Oscar's 'toons and Word for the Week here.

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