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

Month: August 2008 Page 2 of 9

Midweek Makeover: Political Soundtracks

Okay, I had great ambitions for this evening’s effort, but the complete result will have to wait until tomorrow.  For now, I’ll tease it with one of the songs I’d love to see work its way into the rotation at this fall’s rallies:

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(Hey, I never said it would be a good idea.  Just said that *I* would love to see this song.)

The Restoration of Bill

In the first five minutes, he reminded me of how he got elected twice.  Amazing.

On Taking Photos

A post over at Boing Boing pointed me toward this very Utata post on the joy of shooting in natural history museums.  Full of really great stuff – who *hasn’t* thought of what it would be like if it were humans all preserved in the jars by a smarter species? And then came upon this:

I try to look as much as I can, and when I have looked until I have seen, I take out my camera.

That, in a nutshell, is my ideal approach to photography.  I can list the regrets of all the times I’ve not been able to follow this.  And I have no regrets from the times that I have.

US Support of Chinese Democracy

Well, I should point out now that this almost certainly isn’t what you were expecting.  See, this is a highlighting of the fact that your taxpayer dollars are being spent to protect Chinese Democracy, and not democracy in China:

Last week, the Internet was rocked when California blogger Kevin Skwerl posted nine newly leaked Chinese Democracy tracks, including three previously unheard songs allegedly from Guns n’ Roses long-awaited album. [ . . . ]

Yesterday Skwerl was surprised to find himself face to face with two FBI agents who paid a visit to his day job.

I’ve never really seen a compelling case for putting public dollars into protecting the private rights of copyright owners.  That isn’t to say that there couldn’t be a case – it’s just that I can think of a 100 other things that are more important to society than that, and I think we should have seen and debated that case before we committed the resources.

So What Was That About, Gov. Warner?

I saw 95% of Mark Warner’s speech last night, and I have to admit to coming away confused as to why he talked up a claim “that may not go over too well in a hall full of 18,000 partisan Democrats[.]”  If it was saying that it going to be what most of his speeches are – generally uninspiring and constantly reassuring us that he won’t break out and ask us to do anything hard – well, okay.  But it struck me more that he was indulging – on a national stage – what Virginia Democrats have a particular talent for doing: running against the same non-existent scary liberal that populates the imaginations of Virginia Republicans.  It’s an ugly enough bit of theatre here in Virginia, and there was no need to bolster the myth when he had national attention.

Kucinich on “Four more years”

Seems like the editors’ pens kept what would have been the best line of the DNC thus far away from us:

The campaign struck this line, addressing Republicans, from Kucinich’s speech:

“They’re asking for another four years — in a just world, they’d get 10 to 20.”

DC Demands Vote at DNC; No One Listens

That it’s the vapid souls over at DCist who ended up with DNC credentials is probably all you need to know about the state of DC’s political scene.  Nevertheless, it’s DCist who brings us this report that Eleanor Holmes Norton, fake-Rep. and Colbert Report star, called upon an empty hall at the Democratic National Convention to answer DC’s plea for help in establishing its citizens as equals in the United States:

“The nation’s founders staked everything on creating a country where there would be ‘no taxation without representation’ anywhere in America. In that tradition, Democrats proudly support the vote in Congress for the 600,000 citizens of our nation’s capital,” Norton said.

Invoking Martin Luther King Jr., Norton energetically called for the Democratic Party to to follow the principle that all Americans should have equal rights — including full voting rights for the citizens of the U.S. capital.

Norton also spoke to one of the D.C. voting rights movement’s main arguments, that D.C. residents serve and die in the U.S. military, yet lack a vote in Congress.

And no one listened.  Democrats can give all the lip service they want to the importance of representation and equality, but until they take DC’s situation seriously, I’ll not take them entirely seriously.  It’s an easy, straight-forward, basic-American-values problem to solve.  So why are we still fucking around with it?

Obama’s “Bizarre” Life Story

Bizarre” is how NBC’s Brian Williams described Obama’s life story, the other day. This follows on the heels of Cokie Robert’s calling Hawaii some “foreign, exotic place.”  And then there’s the whole father-from-another-country thing.

I am, at best, a cautious supporter of Barack Obama.  Of course, it should go without saying that I find him almost infinitely preferable to the alternatives.  It’s just that I don’t believe the hype, and that I am old enough to know that every of of them will disappoint you, in the end.  And as great as I think Obama may be, he deserves a lot of criticism, on the merits.

That said, I am surprised by my deeply personal and visceral reactions to those that attack Obama’s status as an American.  He and I share a lot.  Our “foreign” fathers married midwestern American mothers, we’ve lived all over the world, and neither one of us desperately need to present America as the savior to the world’s problems.  Oh, and we also shared that Hawaiian experience.  This is my world, growing up:

What a foreign bunch, eh?  No matter what, there are going to be more like me and Obama than there are those like John McCain and Mark Penn.  We.will.win.

Registration for Bike DC Is Open

After a multi-year hiatus, Bike DC is back.    A previously annual ride in the tradition of Bike New York, Bike DC got to be too much trouble, as every city authority, Federal agency and ANC council wanted WABA (the organizer) to go through their own special permitting process (for “security”, natch.) Bike DC I’d hit a couple of Bike DC’s before the shut down, and quite enjoyed them (especially the one that put us on the George Washington Parkway for a few miles – *that* was fun.)

This year’s edition is a little less ambitious – at 17 miles – but adds in a couple extra DC bits of fun.  The first rest stop is on the grounds of Taiwan’s embassy (Twin Oaks, near the National Cathedral) and the far western turnaround point of the ride involves a loop around the former Grand Prix/current RFK Crit track.  The organizers are saying that it’ll be a “car-free” route, so I’m assuming rolling road closures.  Definitely family friendly

Bike DC is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, 2008.  More information, including registration ($35), route maps, and volunteering opportunities is here.

10:15/Saturday Night: Sunday Edition

Was a good ride yesterday.  Not particularly hard, but it left me pretty wrecked (I would have sworn – during the ride – that I was doing a good job of hydration.  In retrospect, I was a mess).  Fell asleep early, and then today passed by far too quickly.  Oh, and I pretty much failed the whole “if I can do this ride, I can race!” test.  So there went my last racing hope of the season.  Ah well.  Here’s some good stuff (you’ve heard this before, but in the wrong language.  This is the right one):

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