Blacknell.net

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

Month: February 2009 (Page 2 of 4)

Tour of California, 2009 Edition

The Amgen Tour of California is arguably the kickoff of the 2009 pro cycling season for American cycling fans.   And lucky for them, there’s lots of great coverage out there on the race.  My three recommendations:

  • Watch it live at the Adobe Tourtracker.  Even if you don’t give a damn about cycling, you have to check this out.  A brilliant use of technology.  It’s only running from just before until just after each day’s race, so check in between noon and 4pm PST.
  • Use Steephill.tv’s fantastic (as usual) Tour of California “dashboard”, featuring route info, video feed links, and highlights to find and follow the action.
  • Read Lyne Lamoureux’s Podium In Sight for thoughtful analysis, interviews, and daily pictures.

I’ll be heading to watch the ToC later this week, but strictly as a fan.  Any interesting coverage or good shots that show up here will be little more than a happy accident, so go check out the links above.

Moving

DCA

Returning to regularly scheduled programming soon, though.

West Virginia: Seceded Where Others Failed

kanawhamap

Here’s another map from Strange Maps (one of my favorite places on the internet). It shows:

the seceding part of Virginia as Kanawha (as yet still without its eastern panhandle and some of its southeastern territory). It is a Map of the States of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, as Proposed To Be Re-Organised by the Secretary of War. In this proposal, Delaware expands to include all of the Delmarva peninsula, including its Virginian part in the south, but more importantly, Maryland annexes all of Virginia between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the sea. As a consolation prize, Virginia gets Maryland’s western protrusion, making Hagerstown a Virginian city. But then there’s Kanawha seceding, leaving what remains of Virginia proper to look like an unseemly leftover.

Follow the link for more of the historical context.

Midweek Makeover: Just Like

The Cure’s US breakout hit Just Like Heaven belongs to me, and me alone – just like a few million other people.   I am entirely uninterested in covers of it, from the painfully misconceived to the anesthetized pablum.  Because there is simply no way you could ever improve on this:

And yet, I find myself hitting repeat on this, a mashup which lays the Cure’s vocals over the Commodore’s Easy:

Strange what works, sometimes. (I suspect it just won’t, for many of you. Good thing you still have your copy of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, eh?)

Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va) Office Has a Little Problem With Context

From Greg Sargent:

This isn’t going to make the big unions very happy. GOP House leader Eric Cantor’s office has come up with an intriguing response to the AFSCME ad bllitz targeting GOP leaders: Sending over a video that portrays AFSCME union members as 1970s-era goons.

Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring emails me the vid, stressing that it’s meant as a joke:

YouTube Preview Image

Now, I think that’s a pretty funny parody.  I saw it sometime last year, and might have even passed it along.  But you know who I’m not and what I wasn’t doing?  I’m not the spokesman for a member of the GOP leadership, and I wasn’t sending to the press as a response to a legitimate issue ad.   Cue Republican whining in 3, 2, 1 . . .

Senators and Taxes

Politico has an interesting survey of US Senators and their problems (or not) with getting their own taxes right.  Nothing particularly shocking, other than clearly illustrating that the Senate is something of a glass house.  There are also some nifty details.  Whereas most Senators appear to have a local CPA/accountant prepare their taxes, moneybags Herb Kohl has Deloitte & Touche do his.  My favorite answer explaining problems with taxes came from Tom Coburn’s office:

After Dr. Coburn left the House, the House continued to pay him for three months. Apparently, they were very pleased with his service. However, because the payments were made in error Dr. Coburn returned all of the checks to Treasury. Yet, the House sent a W-2 to the IRS, but not to Coburn, reporting income that had been returned. After a long fight, the House and the IRS admitted their error and the IRS sent Coburn a corrected W-2. This is the government in charge of “stimulating” our economy.

Go, Rocky!

Okay, this is a little out of character, but I just had to link to this.  For context – over the past month, I’ve been biking by Lost Dog posters with pictures of Rocky.  I stopped and looked at them, just in case.  I was even interested in enough to check out the associated blog.    The last time I did it was about a week ago, and I pretty much came away with the thought that I felt bad for the owner of such an obviously gone dog.

And yet Rocky – with the help of scores and scores of area residents – was found 36 days after he was first lost.  No one will ever accuse me of being an animal person, but hearing news of the reunion was a really bright spot in the day.

The Best Write Up of the State of Virginia’s Democratic Prospects

If you care a whit about Virginia Democratic politics, you should read Hank Bostwick’s What we learned about the VDP at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner right now. I’ve not seen – anywhere – a better write up of what Democrats are facing in this year’s gubernatorial primary and general elections.

So Ralph Northam, Jeff Frederick, and Tim Kaine . . .

walk into a bar.

Anyone want to tell us more about the rest of this joke?

Sen. Feinstein Wants To See Your Packets

Just got this from Public Knowledge:

Hollywood’s lobbyists are running all over the Hill to sneak in a copyright filtering provision into the stimulus package. The amendment [presented by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) will] allow ISPs to “deter” child pornography and copyright infringement through network management techniques. The amendment is very, very controversial for a couple of reasons:

  1. First, infringement can’t be found through “network management” techniques. There are legal uses for copyrighted works even without permission of the owner.
  2. Second, it would require Internet companies to examine every bit of information everyone puts on the Web in order to find those allegedly infringing works, without a hint of probable cause. That would be a massive invasion of privacy, done at the request of one industry, violating the rights of everyone who is online.

Right now, we need you to contact a few key Senators: Majority Leader Harry Reid, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee Daniel Inouye, and Chairman of the Commerce Committee Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Finance Committee Max Baucus, and senior member of the Appropriations Committee Senator Barbara Mikulski, and tell them to leave out this controversial provision.

Click here for Public Knowledge’s suggested letter/fax.  Also, California, can you please do us a favor and make Feinstein your governor so the rest of us don’t have to suffer her any more?  And don’t give me any noise about what a bad governor she’d be.  We already know you have no standards.

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