Blacknell.net

Politics, technology, and society. And the seasonal incursion of pro cycling.

Month: October 2009 (Page 1 of 4)

Weekend Music: Part II

The Kids Don't Stand A Chance (and Who Gives a Fuck About an Oxford Comma?):

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Weekend Music: Tip Jars Aren’t Enough

To start:

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Another Step Towards Rejoining the Civilized World

Obama finally ended the US travel ban for HIV-positive people.  In signing it, he noted:
Twenty-two years ago, in a decision rooted in fear rather than fact, the United States instituted a travel ban on entry into the country for people living with HIV/AIDS.  Now, we talk about reducing the stigma of this disease -- yet we've treated a visitor living with it as a threat.  We lead the world when it comes to helping stem the AIDS pandemic -- yet we are one of only a dozen countries that still bar people from HIV from entering our own country.If we want to be the global leader in combating HIV/AIDS, we need to act like it.
Small, but important, steps.

Friday Notes. Sorta.

I was going to link to Mike@Blueweed's excellent The Tyranny of Quaint with a bit of mocking about how he needs to write more, but I think I need to take some Windex to this glass house, first.  So, here goes: Remember, no matter what happens next Tuesday, "it's good for conservatives":
There is nothing, nada, zilch, zero, nothing, that is bad news for conservatives. When they win elections, it proves we’re a conservative country. When they lose, it proves it. When we pass health care bills, it proves it. When we lower taxes, it proves it. When we raise taxes, it proves it. Everything proves it always.
Always. ~ Of course, Democrats do have a pretty solid claim on the suckage:
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) has proposed a variety of ideas on how to advance the [DC voting rights] bill. But the reaction from party leaders, as the Web site Politico reported, seems to be "forget it." No doubt Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), looking ahead to his own tough reelection battle, sees no gain in irritating the powerful gun lobby. In fact, Mr. Reid voted for the Ensign amendment, making it easier for other Democrats to follow suit. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says that she's looking for opportunities to pass the bill, but to date that hasn't involved pressing members to put principle ahead of political interests. President Obama, who sponsored voting rights legislation as a senator, has done nothing on the issue.
~ This man built a Pan Am 747 First Class cabin in his garage.  I'm not saying it's okay, but I understand. ~ There are, in fact, clever people with a sense of fun in DC. ~ Aww, are "good white people" are under threat in the US?:
Here's one of the "questions" asked in the poll, tailor-made for Fox News Channel:
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions.  Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?
It's worth noting that this question only elicited 51 percent support.
Hilarious. ~ The willingness of Redskins fans to support an organization that does this continues to be beyond my grasp.   I'm not a football - or really even a sports - fan, but I moved to DC right after Jack Kent Cooke died in 1997, and haven't been able to escape Redskins news since then.  And you know?  It's been uniformly shitty the entire 12 years.  Why, people? ~ Former Murky Coffee owner, tax cheat, and douchebag extraordinaire Nick Cho finally got booked on tax charges. ~ If you ever leave me again, I'll down a bottle of baby aspirin:

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Update: Wait, forget that crap copy.  Go here and enjoy the extraordinary talents of Subtle Sexuality's  fabulous KELLY KAPOOR (and erin hannon).

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Readability helps with exactly that.  I like it.  Very much.

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How the public lost out on the battle between Big Pharma and generics.   It's a short but informative look into one of the many battles with big consequences for the costs of health care.

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I find my stuff in the most interesting places.  (Okay, it's probably not that interesting to too many people beyond me, considering the dearth of entries.  But still.)

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I know it's supposed to be satire, but I kinda wonder if Ken Cuccinelli wrote this.   Cuccinelli is the GOP candidate for Virginia Attorney General, and is such a bigot that even the normally spineless VA Log Cabin Republicans not only won't support him, but are calling for his defeat.  That link also helps illustrate why I think libertarian support for GOP candidates is misplaced (and that's putting it very kindly):

No real libertarian has a record (like Mr. Cuccinelli does) of · Opposition to repealing the state sodomy law, even though it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court · Opposition to allowing private companies to offer health and life insurance benefits to domestic partners of their employees · Opposition to prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for state and local government employees · Opposition to allowing local governments to choose what benefits they give their local employees · Opposition to any kind of legal protections for gay and lesbian couples, even the limited rights embodied in domestic partnerships or civil unions · Support for banning gay/straight alliances in public high schools · Support for state funding of abstinence programs

Each one of those stupid little Gadsen flags ought to have an asterisk at the end of "Don't Tread on Me", leading to a "Tread On Him, Instead."  That would be a far more honest and accurate portrayal of the beliefs of the vast majority of "libertarians."

Ads Occasionally Surprise

This shockingly useful gadget is running as an ad on TPM:

Uncommon Bravery

I very much recommend this article on Matthew Hoh, a Marine and Foreign Service Officer who recently resigned because:
"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department's head of personnel. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."
Read more about him, as well as a copy of his resignation letter, here. Update: Glenn Greenwald takes a closer look at the resignation letter.

We Are All Connected

In case you've not seen:

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Midweek Diversion: Not VA Govs Edition

Today's topic is Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - descriptors that don't bring either of the guys running for governor in VA to mind.  So, a bit of distracting fun. Daft Punk has the original - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.  I think I first tuned into it during my 2004 trip to Hong Kong, and it fit perfectly:

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The original video is here, but I can't embed it because the record company hates you.  So we move on to some fan vids.

This one attempts, you see, to match the lyrics to the moves.  Very clever.

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But it was inspired by an original - which I just don't think can be topped:

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It's amazing, the admirable skills in this world that are utterly useless.

iWatch (My Community Torn Apart By Fear and Paranoia)

A video produced by the LAPD

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Hitting the C&O Towpath? Stay in a Lockhouse!

Just picked up this press release, which I'm passing along in its entirety, because it's such a great idea:
C&O Canal Trust to Hold Open Houses to Launch New Canal Quarters Program “Stay the Night, Remember Forever!” Hagerstown, MD – The C&O Canal Trust, in partnership with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, has scheduled open houses at three lockhouses that will be available to the public for the first time ever for overnight stays as part of the innovative new Canal Quarters Interpretive Program.
  • Lockhouse 49—Saturday, October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Lockhouse 22—Sunday, November 1, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Lockhouse 6—Sunday, November 8, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The open houses are free and open to everyone. Seasonal refreshments will be provided. Visitors will be able to see the inside of the restored lockhouses, learn local lore from park rangers, and find out more about this unique interpretive program. The Canal Quarters lockhouses have been painstakingly rehabilitated and furnished to evoke different eras in the canal’s history. The furnishings in Lockhouse 49 at Four Locks near Clear Spring in Washington County, Maryland, reflect the period of the early 20th century, toward the end of the canal’s operations. Lockhouse 22 at Pennyfield Lock near Potomac, Maryland, will show what life was like during the establishment and construction of the canal in the 1830s. Lockhouse 6, near the Brookmont community off of Clara Barton Parkway, is furnished as it may have been in the 1950s to tell the story of the campaign to preserve the canal led by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Immediately following the open houses, the public will be able to make online reservations on the Trust’s website, www.canaltrust.org, to schedule their own stay. According to C&O Canal Trust President Matthew Logan, ―Nothing quite like this has ever been offered to the public in a national park. We are excited to provide a new way for people of all ages to experience this world class resource.  Kevin Brandt, Superintendent of the C&O Canal NHP, says, ―Our lockhouses are over 170 years old and we know that the best way to save these invaluable buildings is to use them in an appropriate manner. This program allows us to accomplish two key goals: protecting our historic structures while offering an extraordinary interpretive experience.‖ There are 26 lockhouses, the residences of the men and their families who operated the lock gates, in the C&O Canal NHP. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All told, the C&O Canal has more than 1,300 historic structures, more than any other park in the country. Founded in 2007, the C&O Canal Trust is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect, restore, and promote the C&O Canal National Historical Park. As the official ―friends‖ organization for the park, the Trust seeks to ensure that the C&O Canal’s natural, historical, and recreational potential is fully realized. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves and interprets the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the C&O Canal. Over 3,000,000 visitors a year enjoy the opportunities for recreation and understanding that the park has to offer. For more information, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/choh.
I am absolutely doing this.  For those of you who don't know what it is, the C&O Canal Towpath is what's left of a 185 mile canal that was originally constructed with the idea of connecting the interior midwest to the Potomac River. It's super flat, and runs through some of the best scenery this part of the country has to offer.  I've done day-long rides from Harper's Ferry, but have never ridden the full length of it.  I definitely will now.

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