Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Open Thread

Yep, another open thread. I got nothin'. Will try to at least update the shared items before the end of today, though.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, August 24, 2007

YouTube Open Thread

After seeing Evan Almighty, I got a hankerin' to see some videos of Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader.

Do you have any fun links--video or otherwise--to share?

Haloscan comment thread

Open Thread

This looks interesting...

Explore the sky with Google Earth

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tightening the leash on "Bush dog Democrats"

Via Open Left

Tighten the leash on Bush dog Democrats

So who specifically are these people? As Chris Bowers noted, the two biggest defeats for House Democrats so far in 2007 have been the capitulation vote on Iraq, and the vote to allow Alberto Gonzales warrant-less wiretapping powers. We're calling the Democrats who capitulated on both bills 'Bush Dogs', as these are the most likely to capitulate on important fights in the future.

The first step in stopping this behavior is to identify the people engaging in it and offer up criticism. There are a few reasons for this. One, many of these members feel no pressure to vote correctly or uphold progressive values. Criticism is the signal they are relying on to let them know when they err. Two, some of these members may need to face a primary challenge, and it's useful for potential primary challengers to know that there is criticism of these members. Three, other members considering joining the Bush Dog caucus may be dissuaded if they know there will be criticism. Four, candidates running for office will finally have a signal on how they should talk about being good Democrats that are willing to take tough votes.

So here's my ask. Would you profile one of these Bush Dogs? What we need is a brief profile of the member, their voting record, their personality, and the district and its politics. Is there a primary challenge? Is the member well-suited for his or her district? Did the member do something to mitigate this criticism? Remember, this is not an attack, it's a profile so we can get to know these people and eventually persuade them to do the right thing. It doesn't have to be comprehensive or long, just enough to get a sense of who this person is and how they do their politics.
Click here for the rest.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Open Thread

Hat tip to Donna for pointing out the newest article about Charlie...

Grapski says he will start eating, hopes to be released from jail

New post about Charlie at Democratic Underground.

On a totally different topic, you can see some new designs by Demetrius here.

Barack Obama will be a guest on The Daily Show tonight.

And finally, a baby otter.

(Video here.)

Haloscan comment thread

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Charlie hospitalized

Thank you to Denise for the heads-up that there is a new story about Charlie Grapski in the High Springs Herald:

On hunger strike, Grapski taken to hospital with faint vitals

Political activist Charlie Grapski, who has been on a hunger strike since he was taken to the Alachua County Jail Monday, Aug. 13, was taken to a hospital this morning, Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Grapski is dehydrated, and his vitals are faint, according to Alachua County Sheriff Sgt. Keith Faulk, spokesperson.

"We are concerned with his well-being," Faulk said. "His vitals are weak. Hopefully, he'll start eating on his own."
Click here for the rest.

Update: DFA Radio is on tonight at 9 p.m. EST
Dial In Number (646) 716-8150

Haloscan comment thread

Monday, August 20, 2007

Open Thread

Snarky graffiti via I am

Written on a brick wall right next to an army enlistment poster are the words "Don't be a robot"

Haloscan comment thread

Words mean something

I haven't really weighed in much on Charlie Grapski's situation, other than to try to keep people updated with any new information I had, about Charlie's incarceration, his current needs, and how people can help. But I've been reading the comments as member of this community have reported on their efforts on Charlie's behalf, including the correspondance between listener and State Attorney Bill Cervone. While listener has been, as always, gracious in the tone of her letters, the tone of Mr. Cervone's responses has been somewhat unsettling.

In his most recent response, we were troubled by these words:

Please understand that I have no personal feelings one way or the other concerning this situation. I do not, however, live in a vacuum and have had to deal with Mr. Grapski and his various criminal problems a great deal over the last year.
We are not aware of Charlie having been convicted of any criminal acts in the past year--if he has been, I'm sure his detractors will quickly set the record straight--so why the use of the word "criminal"? One would think that a States Attorney would choose words carefully. The use of the words "criminal problems" would seem to belie the claim of having no personal feelings concerning this situation.

I am not an attorney, nor am I a reporter, but my recollection of the past couple years is that Charlie has been the one filing charges at least as often as he has been charged with something. Again--just my impressions without going to the labor of constructing a timeline of the events. I do know, from my contact with Charlie over the past few years, that he is a strong proponent of government of, by, and for the people, and that, in his estimation, Alachua County has fallen short in that regard.

If it is your job to safeguard justice, then, well, that is your job. And I'm pretty sure the way it is *supposed* to work, is that you even defend the rights of those you might personally find annoying. Something about "equal treatment under the law", I think...

In any event, I hope we can see better evidence of impartiality as this moves forward.

Update: I just remembered when the charges against Charlie were dismissed last November, and jc created this:

Haloscan comment thread

Mini-Deanfest Weekend

By Subway...


Got home at 9:30.

What a freakin' weekend!

First of all I have to say something about the Deaniacs gathered in Bellows Falls, Vermont. Geez, where to begin...

As folks here know I missed my bus on Friday morning and that meant I was going to be 7 hours late. So I called my friend, Paul in Staten Island. He's one some of you called when I was in the hospital last year.

He tried to email Jessica, but for some reason, the email didn't go through, so I had him email Rene, in Ohio, knowing if she got the email, she could post something here so that someone might get a message to Thankful, who had been on the road from Chicago.

Denise, in San Diego saw the post and called Thankful, who ended up spending a wonderful afternoon with Reed in Vermont while she patiently for 6 hours for a street musician on a bus.

So now it's 8pm and the three of us are in the parking lot of the station talking as if we've been neighbors for years.

Reed was arriving at The Raised Ranch the next afternoon, and after showing off pictures of his trophy wife, he pointed the way to Jessica's place and and said he'd see us on Saturday.

Now when I got the bus ticket here in New York, I was told that Bellows Falls was the nearest stop to the Mini Deanstock in Pittsford.

So 40 miles later we arrive at The Raised Ranch, Jessica's children have me enthralled. Elijah is showing off his video games and his collection of Star Wars Light Sabers(tm) and it was the first time this grandfather has had a chance to hear the wisdom of one who is about the same age as my grandson.

All the while, daughter Melody at 4 years was the model of politeness and affection and innocence and wonder.

Everyone was up till nearly 4am talking and blogging and generally having a good time.

At The Raised Ranch, they have a 13 year old black Labrador Retriever whose name escapes me at the moment because I spent the whole weekend calling him "Puppy." Editor's note: Jessica told us in the comments that the dog's name is Opus, but he thinks he's a puppy.

Having known all along that large dogs prefer deep tissue massage, we engaged in mutual therapy that was very relaxing for both of us.

My late cat, the former Mrs. Wattles, told me on more than one occasion that animals refer to me as Dr. Rubbins, because they know I understand the art of animal massage where ever I go.

Apparently, this is why large neighborhood dogs have been known to drag their owners a half a block or more just to say hello to me. One owner of a black lab named "Rambo" around the corner has been literally been pulled off his feet in such incidents.

So I'm sitting on the on the floor in the living room, playing ith the kids and the dog. Deaniacs are blogging and Jessica's husband is playing blues guitar riffs...

So I wake up the next morning, the rain that persisted throughout the night gave way to the sunshine of dawn. After about 4 hours sleep I stepped out on the upstairs and took a deep breath of Vermontster air.

Broke out in health and it nearly killed me. Fresh air in the home state of Howard Dean, in the home of one of my heroes...(Sorry, Jessica, but I've been around here for a long time and you ARE one of the unsung progressive heroes among us.)

Early Saturday afternoon I set up Gizmo up on the main computer in the house and one by one, most of the folks there tried both heart and brain feedback games. This was very good for me in that I'm eventually going to be selling lots of Gizmos, and it gave me the opportunity to get comfortable with presentation.

Reed in Vermont had a marvelous plan for a Progressive 'Edutainment' Cable Access Network.

The way this would work is to have progressives across the country would obtain local cable access training and present a unified theme each week. Promotion of each week's show would be promoted through the blogs.

Cable companies have their own in house ratings system, and such a network would be quickly noticed.

It would be really easy to have the skeleton of such a network in place in a few months.

Then Mataliandy gave a presentation on framing issues in discussion, and Jessica talked about Instant Runoff Voting.

Quintas, later in the evening, talked about his efforts in New Orleans and how both sides seem to get caught up in the spin and stereotypes. He also detailed his 'mapping' project.

I was worried that Hurricane Dean could wipe out all of the progress made since Katina. But Quintas was also pointing out that the dead trees from Katrina were being turned into mulch, when they could have been used to shore up the barrier wetlands.

Very interesting...

What impressed me most this weekend past is how just a handful of Deaniacs can get so much done in a single weekend.

I'm very excited about Reed's idea of a community based cable action network that dealt with weekly themes.

We discussed perhaps trying to introduce Instant Runoff Voting into the Democratic Primary system.

We got a concise, spin free view of New Orleans, and I got to introduce to a small but important segment of progressives, a technology that will soon alter the course of Civilization itself.

But there was much more to it than that. I can't stress enough that this community is unique in the blogsphere.
It's a sense of community that I have not seen in many churches.

Deaniacs are going to be at the forefront of the next election cycle. They not only have the Power, they have the Wisdom and Compassion and insight to lead. I have no doubt that at the heart each victory there will be the heart and mind of a supporter of Howard Dean.

Finally, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to my hosts and friends who helped me make this journey go far more smoothly than I had anticipated. It lasted for what seemed like a moment, but it was liquid silk from start to finish.

Jessica's mom even gave me a spare laptop, which will not only help with my impending retirement from the subway, but will also lead to my showing it to Judy and other friends at the nursing home and elsewhere.

This loving, compassionate community has changed my life many ways.

I've often said that I hand out the Love that has been given to me in thimbles.

In the not too distant future, I will be delivering it by the truck load.

I may have to change my handle.

How about "Astral Technician?"

Imagine playing "Stairway to Heaven" and Heaven is actually up the stairs.

Thank you all.

Celebrate the light.

Haloscan comment thread

Blocking ads

Subway wrote up some of his experiences at mini-Deanfest in the comments--starting here. Continued here.

I find some interesting links via BBspot. Under today's Daily Links, I found a link labeled "Blocking Firefox", with the caption, "There's so much wrong with this page, it's laughable."

Here's a portion of what the page says:

The Mozilla Foundation and its Commercial arm, the Mozilla Corporation, has allowed and endorsed Ad Block Plus, a plug-in that blocks advertisement on web sites and also prevents site owners from blocking people using it. Software that blocks all advertisement is an infringement of the rights of web site owners and developers. Numerous web sites exist in order to provide quality content in exchange for displaying ads. Accessing the content while blocking the ads, therefore would be no less than stealing. Millions of hard working people are being robbed of their time and effort by this type of software. Many site owners therefore install scripts that prevent people using ad blocking software from accessing their site. That is their right as the site owner to insist that the use of their resources accompanies the presence of the ads.

Incidentally, Ad Block Plus does not *come* with Firefox, but is an extension/add on that you can install.

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, August 19, 2007

James, you ignorant slut...!

Scanning the titles of blog posts over the past few weeks, I've seen a number of people touting Hillary Clinton for one reason or another. It always seems to boil down to "strategery"--some sort of calculus that states, no matter what we think of her personally, HRC is the Dem who can win. For the most part, I stay out of those discussion. Once you've said "No way, no how am I ever going to support her!", and ticked off the reasons, what is there to say?

But the bottom line is this--no matter how well Hillary does in debates, or how "electable" she is deemed to be, I can't overlook this unsightly growth she has attached to her candidacy. Not even if she does a complete turnaround and actually apologizes for her Iraq vote. That would be nice, but if she doesn't have that thing removed, it would be for naught.

"That thing" is James Carville. A trip via the wayback machine to November 2006 reminds us...

Carville Says Dems Should Dump Dean over “Rumsfeldian” Incompetence

What James Carville refuses to "get", no matter how hard we might try to (proverbially) shake him, is that this isn't about Howard Dean, no matter what he might think of Howard as a person. Attack Howard, and you attack all of those who supported him for DNC Chair. Whether or not they liked Howard personally, a lot of Democrats agreed with the 50-state strategy he promised. And they agree with him when he said things like this about the effect the internet has had on politics

It is an extraordinary evolution. An extraordinary evolution. Essentially it means that politicians have to acknowledge something that's been true for a long time. Which is, power is loaned to us--we don't own the power, and we need to earn the power every two years.
Does James Carville believe that? I doubt it. I imagine he must live in fear of the day that the majority of Americans actually start to think that way.

Haloscan comment thread

Stick figure warning guy

The most recent update from Grapski Defense Committee can be found here.

In dire need of something a little lighter, I turned to Cap'n Wacky's web site. This is my favorite page of The Deadly Follies of Stick Figure Warning-Man and Family.

Boy, do I remember the day we shot this one.

Normally, I get to work alone, but every once in a while they bring in somebody else I gotta deal with. For some reason it wasn't good enough to just send hazardous voltage coursing through my body. Oh no! No, this time they gotta send sentient anthropomophic hazardous voltage coursing through my body.

This guy isn't acting either. He's every bit the jackass he looks like in the picture.
I also got a few chuckles out of Harry Potter Fanfics We'd Rather Not Read.

Update: Jessica posted some pictures from this weekend's house party

From Left to Right: Reed in VT, Dogma, jjem!, Melody, Thankful, Anne from VT, Quintus, Subway, mataliandy. Not pictured: Jason and Elijah

Haloscan comment thread