Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: October 2007 Page 3 of 4

Talk to your daughters (take 2)

This was the video I meant to link yesterday, and it’s worth a second post to get your attention:

(It seems I’ve made a mess of all things YouTube in the past couple of days. Sorry about that.)

Hardly Strictly Anything

Enjoyed some time at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this weekend. The festival is entirely free to attend, and is a gift to the public from the pocket of one Warren Hellman. It was so good that I’m thinking of making a trip back for next year’s show.

At the moment of this picture, we were all digging a bluegrass rendition of “That’s Just the Way It Is” with Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs. The park was filled with pot smokin’ porn watchin’ hippies, singlespeed ridin’ Pabst swillin’ hipsters, and Redman dippin’ truck drivin’ rednecks. And we all loved what we were hearing. Then, just after this picture was taken, the US Navy Blue Angels soared overhead in formation.

And the crowd cheered.

This is my America.

Talk to your daughters

In case you haven’t seen this:

YouTube Preview Image

Leave Them Kids Alone

I’m not much a fan of kids in politics.  Sure, I was calling Reagan “dogface” during his debates against Jimmy Carter (much to my father’s chagrin), but I had no clue what I was talking about.  And just as our decisions of today will absolutely affect the world we leave our children, they have no real ability to comprehend the matters behind those decisions.

So I wish we really would just leave them the hell alone.

Cyclists Getting Tickets in Alexandria

I can’t say that I’ve got any sympathy for anyone involved here – not the cowering pedestrian, headphone wearing cyclist, or BS’ing cop who claims that this is about safety.  But what I *do* like?  The few seconds of the cop trying to catch the roadie.  Hi-larious.

Anyway, watch out in Old Town next weekend, or you’ll get a ticket.

Maryland’s Steny Hoyer: Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

Democrats like Steny Hoyer are the sort that make people vote for Ralph Nader (you’re still an idiot if you do, of course).  It seems that old Steny has decided to sell out the Rule of Law for . . . well, hell, I have no goddamn idea what he thinks he’s going to get out of it.

A top Democratic leader opened the door Tuesday to granting U.S. telecommunications companies retroactive legal immunity for helping the government conduct electronic surveillance without court orders, but said the Bush administration must first detail what those companies did.

What a pathetic joke.  Kneejerk partisan Democrats ought to remember actions like this the next time they start make excuses for a favored candidate’s failures.  I’m particularly interested in how the RK folks are going to respond to the position Sen. Jim Webb takes on the new FISA legislation . . .

Travel Music

Sorry about that gap – back from a very long weekend in San Francisco. Most places I go manage to generate their own playlists, but I’ve definitely developed a playlist that – while slowly evolving – is native to the aircraft cabin. Some of my favorites from that list:

  • I’m not sure why, but I love Brazilian Girls’ Don’t Stop. Please, do *not* watch the video. Just turn off the monitor and dig the music.
  • Roger Miller’s classic King of the Road.
  • And finally, one of my favorite tracks in the world.

I’m linking YouTube videos because that’s about the only place where you can reliably find music tracks that are easy to access and directly linkable. Sure would be nice if some place like Last.fm could step up and provide an alternative.

Oh, and while I’m on about music, I happened upon my new favorite artist of the moment at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – Dan Reeder. His site is here, and you can check out a few tracks of his music here. He links iTunes, but you can get his albums at Amazon’s new MP3 service (which also includes clips of everything – try Three Chords). I bought everything he’s released.

Hillary, my vote’s not for sale. Try leadership and ideas, instead.

So, first we’ve got $5,000 “baby bonds” from the Clinton campaign.  And now we’ve got $1,000 “matching funds” to help shore up retirement savings.  At least, that’s what I think this latest scheme is about.   I’m not entirely clear on the details, but I suspect that a generous reading of it would find that it’s a redundant effort (don’t we already have IRAs?  401(k)s or SEPAs?) with an extra bit of money kicked in.  A less generous analyst might wonder where and when this ties into privatization of Social Security.

Blue Angels Over the Bay

Blue Angels

Lucky enough to catch the end of today’s practice for tomorrow’s Blue Angels air show (part of Fleet Week in San Francisco).

Fighting the Good Fight

Two stories reminded me of the importance of fighting the good fight, today.  First up, we have the Amish of Nickel Mines.  I’m generally rather critical of the Amish belief system, but I have to give them much credit for their actions in the wake of the loss of their daughters a year ago.  Not only did they attend the funeral of the shooter, but it was recently revealed that they have even given financial assistance to the murderer’s widow.

Think about that.  Not only did they show their forgiveness through their public presence at the funeral of the man who killed their children, but they followed that through with private support of the person they’d expect to be closest to the killer.  Honestly, that is breathtaking.

I don’t know that I could do the same.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I could not.  But that does not stop me from recognizing that it’s something we’d all be better off emulating.  Bitterness and hate are ugly things, and forgiveness goes a long way towards countering them.  Hatred will get you nowhere, and the sooner we can excise it from ourselves, the better off we all are.   Anger, however, is not the same thing.  Which brings me to the second story.

Brandon Mayfield.  You may recall him as the lawyer who was wrongly accused of masterminding the Madrid train bombings.  He, too, found a way to forgive the FBI for ruining his life by fingering him as a terrorist (tho’ I’m sure the $2m settlement made that a bit easier than one might otherwise expect).  He dropped all personal claims against the FBI, but retained one very important claim – “that two provisions of the Patriot Act were unconstitutional on their face.”  Mayfield is moving on with his life while vigorously pursuing an action against the sneak-and-peek and related sharing provisions of the Patriot Act.  His is a rare position – he has solid standing (the basis on which many claims against the Patriot Act have been thrown out) to challenge these Constitution-circumventing provisions.  Mayfield puts it this way:

“We have a perfect balance between liberty and security, between criminal investigation and privacy. It’s called probable cause,” he said. “We ironed out these issues a long time ago. That’s why we’re such a wonderful country.”

Indeed.  Would that we all could put aside our bitterness and hatred while continuing to fight the good fights.

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