Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pic of the day

A debate among MPs in Turkish parliament via Activate

All of that which was privatised, let it be nationalised

The title of this blog comes from Chavez back in January. And you know, while I am more than sympathetic to the idea that resources like oil refineries should become public resources so that the rising tide can lift all of the boats, I am genuinely saddened to read about Chavez' battle with the media. Is it possible to have a socialist state that's not totalitarian? I was an English major in school and I confess I haven't read enough political theory (outside of Habermas, god help me) to be able to understand why movements driven by a desire for economic parity seem to inevitably end up denying people personal liberties. I find it exceedingly depressing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Line of the day

"Dr. Kenny said he thought that Spanky 'found a nest of ground squirrels' that carried the plague."

I mean, is it just me or does that sound to anyone else like the South Park guys are writing NYT articles?

It's all Goodling

Subtitle: I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused

What with my impending move, my bloated dysfunctional kneecap, and my usual level of business/stress at work, I haven't had time to weigh in on the latest criminal activity in our administration--that is to say, Monica Goodling's testimony. Rest assured, my bloggish silence this week in no way indicates a lack of interest.

Though I need to share that the more I read blog coverage of the Justice Department investigation, the more uncomfortable I get. Responses seem to range from vitriolic to smugly pleased. The schadenfreude just feels over the top to me. For my part, I find myself developing some sympathy for the devil. It's not as if, Goodling meant to break the law, and it's not as if this whole regime administration should be tarred by the brush of one little scandal. C'mon--have some compassion folks.

(YouTube clip courtesy of Firedoglake)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Site of the day

Nietzsche Family Circus
(Thanks to Colin for the link)

They call you heartless; but you have a heart, and I love you for being ashamed to show it.

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.


I am finally back in the saddle more or less. Back at work, in any case. My leg is still in that crazy splint and I'm still on crutches (no driving!). I go back to the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow armed with my MRI films and that's when I'll find out just what exactly I tore and whether it needs surgery or just patience. It still is uncomfortable for me to sit in a chair for an extended period of time, but I'm managing. If the blogging is even more peevish than usual this week, you will know why.

D-day (moving) is still scheduled for the first. Thanks to my amazingly great friends I am not overly worried about how that's all going to be possible given the fact that I cannot carry a cup of coffee from the kitchen into the living room safely. Six or eight of said amazing circle are coming over Saturday for a packing party. I have sold my refrigerator (it leaves home Friday night) and found a home for my desk. If I can just find a buyer for the fabulous mid-century gold sectional sofa at least some of my movers' bill will be taken care of. [As an aside, those of you who live in more normal places might be thinking "sold your refrigerator"? Don't you live in an apartment?? Yes, I do. This is one of the most retarded things about LA apartment life. Rental units here tend to come fridge-free. I'm not sure what the logic is in that, but it's a fact. So I bought my first real appliance when I moved in and now I have no desire to shlep it across town and have sold it to the nice Persian grandmother who lives downstairs and happily didn't spy the Hannukah candles lurking in the back when she checked it out.]

Aside number two: K tells me I am not a "hipster" anymore, that I now have to think of myself as a kneester. (Good cooking and bad puns, it's no wonder I adore that boy.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The view from here

This is not what you want to be looking at two weeks before you move. It's also why I haven't posted all week.

I could use some help coming up with a better explanatory story. If anyone has any ideas about something sexy sounding but still possible let me know (I don't think anyone will buy a surfing accident, for instance).

What really happened is that i was trying to put the seats backs up in my car after unloading some boxes out of the back and my knee just bent in a way that knees don't bend. It's either a torn meniscus or a torn ligament they think (we are hoping for the former, as the latter means surgery for sure according to the doctor). So they're ordering an MRI, and I'm mastering the art of carrying things in my teeth.

You know, I joke that there was obviously a 40-year warranty on this model, but it's really just supposed to be a joke! Now I'm kicking myself for not buying the extended warranty.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lede of the day

"A man who threw a puppy at a police car is accused of grabbing a police officer by the genitals and squeezing."

Courtesy of our correspondent in ABQ

Buy me some peanuts and CPK

Went to Dodger Stadium for the first time this weekend, and oh my god was it fun. It was a bit of a nail biter up until the seventh inning, at which point the Dodgers kicked the Reds' asses. So we had both kinds of fun games in one--a nail biter followed by a drubbing. Great seats, great company (bbiw*), beautiful day. And while it's true that they sell CPK pizza alongside DodgerDogs and they were giving away Smashbox lipgloss, there were almost no other "LA moments." In fact, I don't know if I've ever been somewhere that I saw so few bluetools and texters.

So that's my endorsement. Go Dodgers!

*the best boyfriend in the world

Friday, May 11, 2007


The day can't really be that bad when you're wearing gold shoes.

Fuck that "turn the other cheek" shit

Via Mikipedia comes the link to [adult swim]'s awesome Bible Fight video game. Sadly, Lot's wife is not among the character choices.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

36 minutes of my life I'm not getting back

My conversation with Time Warner today:

Me: I'm moving the first weekend in June and I'd like to transfer my Internet service from my old address to my new address.

TW Lady: Sure. What is your current address?

We spend 10 minutes or so going through all of the information I'd already keyed into the phone tree (address, account number, new address...yada yada).

Me: Ideally I'd like to keep the Internet hook-up at my old address through June 3rd, and start a connection at my new address on the 1st because I'll be back and forth through the weekend. Is that possible?

TW: Well, no. We actually can't disconnect your old service from here. You'd just have to call on the day you want it disconnected.

Me: You can't schedule a disconnect date?

TW: No, because the technician doesn't need to come out for that, and it won't let me do that from here.

Me: Wow. Well, okay.

TW Lady: Oh, dear. It's not letting me actually transfer the account because you're moving from a bulk account, where your building pays for your cable, to a regular individual account.

Me: Well, I know I have two different account numbers--one for the bulk cable TV and the other for individual Internet access. Does that help?

TW: Well, not really. I'm going to have to treat this as a new account. I'm sorry--can you give me your address again?

We spend 5 or 10 more minutes going through all of the information I'd just told her. Again.

TW: Do you have a current RoadRunner email address that you use?

Me: Um. Yeah.

TW: I'm not sure if you'll be able to transfer that.

Me: You're telling me I might not be able to use the address I've had with you all for years even though I'll be an ongoing customer?

TW: I'm not sure. I'm not able to transfer it here because you're switching account types. I need to call the help desk and ask. I'm going to put you on a conference call with them.

Ring Ring.

TW2: Hello this is Sally at Time Warner. How can I help you?

TW1: Hi. This is Naisha at Ontario Time Warner. I have a customer here who is transferring from a bulk account...

TW2: Hello this is Sally at Time Warner. How can I help you?

TW1: Hello Sally this is Naisha at Ontario. Can you hear me?

TW2: Hello this is Sally. I can barely hear you.

TW1: Is this better Sally?

TW2: I can barely hear you.

TW1: This is Naisha at Ontario. I have a customer here who is transferring from a bulk account to a regular...

TW2: A what? A bulk account?

TW1: Yes, she's transferring from a bulk account to a regular...

TW2: What is a bulk account?

TW1: A bulk account where her building pays for her cable to a regular account. She'd like to transfer the same email address. Can you help with that?

TW2: No. I can't do that here. Only tier three can do that.

TW1: Well can you transfer me to tier three?

TW2: No. I can't. I would need authorization and I can't get that.

TW1: Is there a number I can call?

TW2: No. You can only reach them through a transfer. But you need authorization.

Me (unable to contain myself): Unbelievable!

TW1: Who needs to authorize it?


TW1: Hello?

TW1: She hung up on me. She just hung up on me. It's no wonder people hate calling here.

TW1: Okay, I'm going to call the technician here and see if she can help...Oh. I don't know what's wrong with my phone. It's telling me I'm going to lose the connection. Quick--what number can I call you back at?

Me: The cell number you have for me.

TW1: Okay, I'm going to try to...


Cell phone rings.

TW: Hello, this is Naisha at Time Warner. I'm sorry about that. I had to restart my telephone program. Anyway, the tech support person here said you are able to access live chat support?

Me: Yes, I've used that before.

TW: Well, I'm going to give you your new account number. You just need to log onto live chat and tell them your old account number and your new account number and that you want to keep your same email address. You can tell them that you called but they were unable to do it for you over the phone because you're switching from a bulk account to a regular one.

Me: Um. Okay.

TW: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: No. Thank you for trying.

TW: You're welcome. Thank you for your patience. And I'm really sorry you had to witness that call. That girl was absolutely retarded. I don't know what was wrong with her.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And I thought our cops were bad

Six minutes really is a while and the poor dog.

The war

This is from a Sunday WaPo article on wounded Iraqi soldiers who fought alongside Americans, but have no medical care once their leg gets blown off:
Decent military hospitals existed under Saddam Hussein, but they were looted during the war and their doctors fled. So while some seriously injured Iraqi soldiers now receive initial treatment at sophisticated U.S. military facilities in Iraq, they must recover in public hospitals where medicines and highly trained staff are scarce. There is one military prosthetics clinic in the country, little in the way of mental health services and no burn center.
And this is from an AP article today about the deterioration of the Green Zone:
Because of the "recent increase of indirect fire attacks" — the military term for mortar and artillery barrages — the order told embassy employees that until further notice, "outdoor movement" must be "restricted to a minimum."

"Remain within a hardened structure to the maximum extent possible and strictly avoid congregating outdoors," the order said.

Government employees who work outside of a "hardened structure" such as the current embassy building or travel "a substantial distance outdoors" must wear "personal protective equipment," meaning flak jackets and helmets, the order said.
This is from Salam Pax's BBC blog:
...our esteemed Iraqi politicians were too busy squabbling for spoils or following narrow minded sectarian agendas instead of stopping the Americans from using us as lab rats for their failed experiment in democracy.

An old Iraqi song says “If you’ve lost a lover, maybe in a year you’ll forget. If you’ve lost gold, from gold markets you can replace it. But if you’ve lost a country where do you go to find a new one?”
And this is from a recent White House FAQ:
We Are Seeing Positive Indicators Under The New Strategy That We Hope Will Translate Into Positive Trends. General Petraeus has been carrying out this new strategy for just over two months. He reports that it will be later this year before we can judge its potential for success. Yet the first indicators show that the operation is meeting our expectations. While there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, the direction of the fight is beginning to shift.
How many years do you think it would take before Bush and his henchmen would cut bait? It's been more than four years, and it still leaves me outraged and dumbfounded.

The only two newsworthy events in this town

There are, it seems, only two newsworthy events in LA this week. First, the city is on fire. Though here's hoping that status changes soon. LA Times breaking news has regular updates, and Metroblogging Los Angeles has some pretty amazing photos. I got nothing. Here in the Valley, it's just hot and smoggy. Business as usual.

And then there's the only other news story in LA today... I realize I have shirked my bloggerly duty by not yet mentioning Paris Hilton. Perhaps ever, actually. So, lest I get booted from the blogosphere, here is my obligatory Paris Post with a couple of links.

First, Metroblogging LA responds to the "Pardon Paris" petition that is circulating.

Second, there's this

"Paris Hilton" from Citizens for a Better America. Citizens on Vimeo

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More from WaPo

Check out the gallery of tornado pictures. Pretty amazing.


I don't know how long they've been offering the page, but I just noticed--WaPo has a Congressional votes database going back to 1991. It's more user-friendly than Thomas and it has an RSS feed for the most recent Congressional votes in general or a Congressperson-specific feed. Tres cool.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fun with algorithms

If looking in the bedrooms of future porn sets isn't entertaining enough for you, here's another Monday afternoon distraction: playing with Google's search algorithms. Apparently, when you type in "she invented," Google helpfully asks you, "Did you mean 'he invented'?" Similarly, when you type in "he cooked" it asks "Did you mean 'he looked'?"

Here's an interesting one: "She stalked" is fine, but "he stalked" comes up "did you mean 'he talked'?"

Anyway, if you're a tweaker like me that should amuse you for a bit.

There's no place like home

I grew up in suburbia and swore I would never go back. And yet, for the last five years, here I am. But if you have to live in the burbs, you might as well chose the porn capital of the world, that's what I think.

Via Metroblogging LA comes this fun diversion: the company that scouts Valley locations for porn movies.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great news!

Bush just promised to veto any further war funding! This is from a letter delivered to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid today:
"I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage," he wrote.
That sounds like a commitment to stay out of Iran and to discontinue our current war to me. Halleluyah.

My head is exploding


Worth thousands of words

I love myself too much to read the transcripts of the Republican debate. It was hard enough to slog through the Dems. So you will be spared a host of posts today grousing about right-wing idealogues.

That said, these tag clouds over on are pretty damn interesting--especially when you compare them to the tag clouds from the Democratic debate. (Hat tip to Shakesville.)

More May Day footage

BradBlog has more coverage of May Day in LA. I find the protesters who were interviewed mostly unsympathetic actually. They sound like they're acting out a scripted parody of SDS or something, but try to get past that to see the last few minutes of the tape when people are running down the streets of LA followed by a mass of riot police shooting at them.

I know it may seem like I'm giving the LAPD's May Day target practice more blog coverage than it's worth, but when the cops start firing on a peaceful protest including the media people covering the event it just reminds me way too much of Naomi Wolf's article on fascism in the Guardian that I blogged about last week. If you haven't read Wolf's article, take the time to do that today. Then watch that video clip at BradBlog and tell me it can't happen here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Moving right along

From today's White House press briefing:

Q Any results of the meeting today between Mr. Bolten and Senator Reid?

MR. SNOW: Not that we're going to announce. It was a good meeting. So Josh met with Harry Reid and Senator McConnell, and they will continue to meet.

Q So no movement at this point.

MR. SNOW: I'm not going to characterize. Both sides had an opportunity to express their views, and exchange views, and all that sort of thing, but I don't think -- what we've all agreed to do is to conduct these in a way that is going to allow those involved to go ahead and do their business and not to try to litigate through the press, but allow them to go ahead and move toward a bill that is going to meet the requirements the President laid out, and at the same time is going to give the forces what they need.

Q Does "good" mean that it's leaning your way at the meeting?

MR. SNOW: The "good" means I'm not going to characterize, period.

Q Is there another meeting today, or is the next one tomorrow?

MR. SNOW: I don't know what the schedule is, in terms -- again, we're sort of meeting at -- we're responding to members of the House and when they want to talk, we're making our people available.

Q Are there other meetings, like Portman and Hadley, off in separate sessions with other people?

MR. SNOW: Not that I'm aware of today. Now, again, as I said, there are going to be times -- and certainly there are going to be phone conversations. I know Rob has been in contact with some people. There will be some meetings where we have one, two, or all three of the negotiators on Capitol Hill, but there are certainly going to be opportunities to talk by phone, and so on.
That certainly fills me with confidence that we're moving toward a solution.

Some people call me the space cowboy

Some call me the gangster of love.
The woman, who had been trying to end the relationship over the last several weeks, was questioned and released.
I don't wonder.

Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown

Today's LA Times has an article on my fine city's efforts to "instill a more pedestrian culture" through fancy porta potties. Cara Mia DiMassa (Addam's Family anyone?) reports: "Though the luxury public toilet has become a status symbol in cities around the world, in L.A. it's a slightly complicated tale--one of the city's efforts to create a more pedestrian-oriented life, but also a story about its bureaucratic struggles to achieve that goal."

I myself was completely unaware that the public toilet had become an "urban status symbol," but apparently the company with LA's fancy-pissoir contract, JP Decaux, has a long list of distinguished cities among its clients. San Francisco has 22 coin-operated APCs (automated public conveniences) and they give free tokens to the homeless who account for a third of the customers. London, Singapore, and Athens have 500. New York has been shy about giving any one company a monopoly on such a lucrative recession-proof business. But that's not the only thing stopping them from jumping on the baño bandwagon. The parks commissioner, Henry Stern, explains that there is a trifecta of toilet "misuse": people commit crimes, do drugs, and have sex in public toilets. New York won't be party to encouraging that sort of behavior.

In the role of dad on a family road trip ("you should have thought of that before we left") Stern admonishes, "People have to exercise restraint, and people have to know when to go. This is not something that was discovered in the year 2000. It was a basic part of the human condition, and people out on the streets should make arrangements to take care of the physical needs."

If the answer in New York is "just hold it," Los Angeles' extravagent outhouse situation is just as telling a reflection of our city. Six months ago, the first five luxury APCs were installed downtown. The plan is to install up to 150 throughout the city. How's that working for us? Well, only one of the five installed six months ago is operational. It seems that the different city departments that have to communicate to get the units working (sewer, power, water, phone) aren't cooperating, and of course, everyone is blaming everyone else. You can, however, track progress through blogdowntown's Toilet Watch.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I'm just grateful that I was able to get a PhD with these meager A-cups. I'm smarter than I look really.

More rubber bullet footage

Via BlondeSense comes a link to CNN's footage hosted at Think Progress.

Who is Bruce Bartlett?

Well, he worked for the Heritage Foundation at one time. He was a policy analyst in Reagan's administration, and he worked for Jack Kemp as well. He wrote the article that inspired Bob Dole's flat tax plan. In short, he's a conservative's conservative. AT present he's a writer with a column on

And who is he encouraging his readers to vote for in the next presidential election? Clinton that's who. Because Clinton is the most conservative of the democrats running, says Bruce. First of all, it's a "real act of courage" for Hillary to not apologize or admit wrong-doing in voting for the war in Iraq. And then there's her domestic policy:
On economics, it is reasonable to assume that Sen. Clinton’s policies would not be altogether different from Bill Clinton’s. This is not a bad thing. On trade, his record was outstanding and on the budget was far better than George W. Bush’s. While Clinton raised taxes in 1993, it should be remembered that he cut them in 1997, including a cut in the capital gains tax. On regulatory policy, Clinton was no worse than the current administration and probably better on net.
When I try to explain to people why I didn't support Mr. Clinton in his second presidential run, I always mention capital gains tax cuts and NAFTA (and welfare "reform" and broad wire tapping provisions). It's nice to know that at least one conservative has noticed as well.

The comments thread is at least as entertaining as the editorial itself. I particularly like the claim, "As for domestic policy, she runs as a centrist and will govern like a Marxist." Would that it were so. I'd vote for her.

Why people call them pigs

Yesterday was May Day, and also time for the annual immigration marches. Here in LA police took advantage of the light turn out to assault demonstrators. Much as I hate to do it, I include links here from FOX, which seems to have the best coverage if only because one of their camera people ended up getting knocked over, shoved and yelled at. I'm not ashamed to say the video clips made me cry. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that the demonstrators were all easy going and that the police didn't feel provoked, but the video clips make clear that the police were firing rubber bullets on people who were running away and clubbing people who were not using violence of any kind. Next year we all have to go to the May Day demonstrations folks.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And while we're on the subject of gender politics

This is mildly interesting. Type in your URL and it gives you a ratio for usage of the words "he" and "she." I'm a respectable 34/66.

Disturbing story of the week

This just blows my mind on so many levels. It's like what if Baudrillard became a surgeon or something.