03/09/08 07:21 - 22ºF - ID#43595
Chinese death camp for cats...
I'm not gonna lie - this is disturbing.
02/29/08 04:50 - 28ºF - ID#43510
Watch the video too.
You won't be hearing about any of this on Radio Havana Cuba, by the way.
EDIT: Interesting story about Obama's leftward-leaning economic policies and how even people sympathetic to him are beginning to worry - - I told you people he is naive.
02/27/08 06:49 - 15ºF - ID#43486
William F. Buckley, Jr.
Today is a sadder day in American life if you are into political and civic discourse. William F. Buckley, Jr. is one of the people that influenced my interest in politics. For many years he hosted a debate program on PBS called Firing Line, which was the best debate show on any network before or since. He routinely hosted legends of political, cultural, intellectual, political and academic persuasions - the roster of his past guests is without peer and is pretty impressive.
He was the only conservative in American public life for many, many years. He is generally credited with laying the groundwork for the modern conservative movement, which is something the evangelical conservatives have utterly, utterly bastardized and twisted around into an embarrassing mishmash of bigotry, hypocrisy and hubris. Buckley was famous for denouncing the John Birch Society and he was criticized by conservatives for doing so. If he's the grand poobah of the conservative movement, if you ask me which side I'd pick in a debate I'll take the guy who was the grand poobah of it all. He and Barry Goldwater were virtually identical in terms of political and philosophical outlook, although in Goldwater's case what he lacked in eloquence he made up for in humor.
Buckley was a Connecticut WASP, Yale educated and spoke with an aristocratic patois that you'd certainly pin to his upbringing... and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong. What people do not know is that English was Buckley's third language that he had learned by the age of 7. He had spoken Spanish and French prior to that, having lived in Mexico and France with his parents at an early age. As a result, his English accent was idiosyncratic and sounded somewhere between northeastern WASP and English. During his life he routinely described himself as a libertarian or a conservative, which in the absolutely purest academic sense of conservatism that he subscribed to, could ultimately be interchangeable terms although in today's society what it means to be a libertarian is defined a hundred different ways. When Bill Buckley was around, conservatism and the church were not intertwined as it is now.
Hands down - the best debater to ever have appeared on television. He was an intimidating person to debate against because of his deep intellect, verbosity, steely gaze and sometimes uncomfortable line of questioning. The Hoover Institution at Stanford University has archived his past television shows; links to 5-minute clips from various shows have been provided. Many of the shows topics are provocative and at least one should pique your interest. Click here -
In London they now charge $15 or so if you want to drive a car into the city center. A lot of people think its a great idea. Guess who proposed that 43 years ago when he ran for mayor of New York? He also proposed installing bike lanes. Bloomberg has been suggesting ideas like this for New York these days and people think he's a genius. Buckley finished third in that race.
The main reason why we are poorer for his passing today is because he was the last remaining credible debater/pundit who insisted on intelligent, polite, civil public discourse in our society (with the possible exception of the Gore Vidal debacle). The days where we could simply talk to each other seem so long gone when you watch Firing Line. We don't talk to each other like this any more. Buckley showed that it was good, even great, to argue with each other if we're going to thoughtfully consider the issues in our society. What makes him different from most is that he maintained great personal friendships with people he had vehement philosophical differences with. Its an incredibly telling thing, when you are greatly loved by people who otherwise would be considered an "enemy."
I don't know if we'll ever have people like this anymore. Its a shame because our country needs more people with the same outlook on how to proceed with civic discourse as he had. I hope its our generation that returns to this way of thinking and talking. And why can't we be funny about it? Buckley was interviewed in Playboy in the late 60's/early 70's and people wondered why he agreed to appear in a bawdy publication such as that. His response was classic - "to communicate my views to my son!"
02/25/08 11:28 - 28ºF - ID#43453
Obama Ad Spoof
As for Nader - shrug. I think the liberals hate him despite the fact that he's done more good for the common man in America than they ever will. Like I always say, as a voter if you like to pontificate about how you hate the 2-party system, don't bitch when a third candidate actually enters the race! He will take Democrat votes, but how many remain to be seen. I think I agree with (e:james) in that he will have a limited effect, with the libs having been down this road before and feeling like they are hip to the political game. Then again, another side of me knows all too well that many Democrats feel beholden to vote for the party despite not really liking either Obama or Hillary... this I believe is why Nader entered in the first place. Throw in the independent vote and I could be totally wrong about Nader's effect in the election. He knows he isn't going to win, but he knows that he has a constituency that in his mind should be represented in the vote. Call it "spoiling" if you will but like I always say, if your case to the American people was strong enough to begin with then you wouldn't have had to worry about a Ralph Nader.
02/21/08 10:51 - 11ºF - ID#43414
NYT hands GOP tool to galvanize party!
Why they will never learn their lesson, I do not know.
NYT has been guilty practitioners of partisan yellow journalism for decades. This is merely another example of a 100% unsubstantiated story based on "anonymous sources" with the utterly transparent intent to cause harm to John McCain's candidacy and to demoralize political enemies. Let me repeat it again - THERE IS NO JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY ANYMORE! Under any definition of ethical journalism or journalistic integrity, the NYT has once again failed the American people. I won't be holding my breath for an attack on Obama that will never happen, by the way, and I have news for you - it ain't because he's clean as a whistle.
How many times have I written political blog entries telling you - my readers past, present, future, occasional, etc. - that liberal Democrats are not and never will be as good at the political game as the GOP are?
I see this article as an incredibly short sighted gambit that was going to blow up in their own faces the minute it was published. Journalists at the NYT are blinded by their partisanship and have convinced themselves that their partisanship is not in fact a detriment to their profession but an enhancement, which in any rational persons estimation is laughable. Its obvious why this has been condoned over the years, but the real interesting part of it all is how ideological partisanship has transformed the culture of the newsroom. The lengths to which these people go to justify their unprofessional behavior are interesting to watch. At times its like watching an accused criminal squirming in a chair at a police station while the detectives ask him uncomfortable questions. Other times the complaints are simply ignored, as if they owe no explanation to anyone.
Journalists, YOU ARE WRONG and your profession is dying because of your lack of ethics and your inability to restrain yourselves when a juicy rumor comes around. Aren't you the same idiots that believed Bill Burkett in 2004 and ran with it because it was, as they say, sympathetic to the cause?
Journalists believe that anonymous reporting is essential to their work because otherwise they would not be able to report stories that are of vital importance to the American people. This is marble mouthed idiocy that I simply cannot tolerate as a person who refuses to allow an insult to his (and by extension, your) intelligence go unnoticed. That is merely an attempt to justify a complete lack of journalistic integrity, pure and simple.
The bottom line is this. Can you trust a paper that as standard operating procedure prints controversial and accusatory articles, knowing that they are unwilling to publicly substantiate what it is that their printing?
This is classic journalistic muckraking, but the joke isn't on John McCain.
Why They Got It Wrong - 2008's Biggest Political Miscalculation Thus Far
The title of this journal entry is provocative but is ultimately true. I truly believe that the NYT has made a colossal mistake that may end up costing the Democrats far more than it will cost the GOP. Read on to find out why.
The essence of the gambit the NYT has played is this. Who do conservatives hate more - McCain or the New York Times? The liberals making the decisions at the Times have severely miscalculated how efficiently their own behavior galvanizes conservatives across America.
Trust me on this - I know these people like I know every inch of my glorious naked body. Conservatives will never believe anything that the New York Times prints and will never hold up an article from the NYT as evidence that John McCain is the GOP version of Bill Clinton. Siding with print from the New York Times is simply not part of the equation and never will be. The NYT has made an assumption about how readers perceive them that is ultimately inaccurate. They have undermined themselves in a most stunning fashion.
NYT has risked waking the GOP up merely because they wanted to play what will widely be perceived as a transparently dirty trick. I am not saying that conservatives will be in lockstep with McCain, but they certainly will not allow a sworn political enemy like the NYT to slander McCain. This sort of thing is going to affect how many GOP voters come out in November, I guarantee it. It just won't be in the way the NYT were hoping for. Things just got more interesting. Is it possible that this year the candidates will be civil but the press will not?
02/20/08 12:02 - 12ºF - ID#43399
barack oBLAHma and mcbane
I think its fairly well established that John McCain will be the nominee on the Republican side and is now only a matter of academics. Since this is incredibly boring, I'm focused more on the Democrats. The delegate count difference is only 70 or so despite Barack Obama winning 10 straight primaries. This is scaring Obama supporters because of the DNC's arcane "superdelegate" model, which in my estimation is going to cause Hillary Clinton to get the nomination in August unless Obama wins Ohio and Texas in two weeks.
Before I continue, I want to say that I think this year's Democratic convention could potentially be as troubling as the 1968 convention because of a clear lack of understanding of how the rules in their own party work. Why is it that liberals never find fault with the system until for some inexplicable reason, their candidate loses or may lose? Its incredible to me how panicky Obama liberals are - it is becoming almost conspiratorial in tone lately... and this is a primary for God's sake! Democrat against Democrat. When Democrats eat their own, as they routinely do, bad things happen.
A lot of liberals are out there who typically do not participate in primaries, and as a result have not considered the rules for their own party. Winning primaries does not get you the nomination - gaining delegates does. This is done differently on a state by state basis - for example in California delegates are broken down by district and are divided proportionally along percentages. In other states the "winner takes all" approach is employed. The bottom line - if you do not lay out a strategic plan to gain as many delegates as possible, you are actively working to lose. Period. End of story. One thing that is blatantly obvious is that Obama and his people are political amateurs in comparison to the Clinton camp, who are loaded down with people that worked in previous Democrat administrations. I should emphasize that I say that with some hesitancy, since you'd expect the Clintons to know better than to let Slick Willy routinely act agitated to potential voters and single handedly torpedo her candidacy. Which brings me the question - could Slick Willy ever play second fiddle to his wife if she won the election?
John McCain has all but won the nomination. Mike Huckabee, a Republican I will never vote for, remains in the race. Presumably, he is staying in the race to let the conservatives know that there is another choice more suitable to them. I think he's doing it simply to stick it in McCain's eye - Huckabee has no legitimate shot at the nomination.
To put it plainly, many conservatives are panicking and threatening to separate from the Republican Party because McCain is winning. You've never read a strong criticism of conservatives from me - here we are. I'm angry with conservatives because of their recent petulance - if they don't get their way, they want to pick up their ball and leave the playground. What the fuck? For years the conservative wing has marginalized moderates in the party, myself and my brother included. We were told in 2004 to vote for President Bush, even if we didn't like everything about him, because the alternative was, well.. John F-ing Kerry. Fair enough - I do not want a staunch liberal to ever be the President of the United States, and when push comes to shove, I only support less than a handful of liberal social initiatives. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, look how they are acting... its a god damn pitiful shame. What is good for the moderates is not good for the conservatives. This is what happens when one element of your party is dominant for many years - these people feel entitled to boss the rest around and dictate to their EQUALS how the party should vote. Christine Todd Whitman wrote a book called "Its My Party Too." Conservatives laughed at her and called her a RINO. Now who is laughing?
This is why I've just finished filling out the forms to switch my registration to independent. Thats right - I'm disassociating myself with the party, or any party. I'm deeply unsatisfied, and to be perfectly honest, I don't have a home in any party at the moment. I'm not even sure I have a presidential candidate to support - we'll see how the chips fall over the course of the next eight months or so.
This is the story - conservatism right now is not palatable to Republicans, let alone independents or conservative Democrats. If you ask conservatives who is at fault for their situation they blame moderates. Can you believe that? These are the same people who have always told liberals that if you complain about losing, don't blame the voters or the system; blame your own inability to convince the voters that your ideas are better. Now conservatives are losing the battle of ideas even within their own party and arrogantly refuse to blame themselves. They are wrong and I won't associate myself with them anymore. As of whenever the ECBOE gets my form, I'm now a registered independent.
So, for those of us who follow the political scene how will the next eight months shape up? I predict that we will only know the Democratic nominee when the delegates are counted at the August DNC convention in Denver. I hope I am wrong about that because I really believe that such a situation will bring chaos. I'm also predicting that we will have the least negative general election in decades. If you ask me for one positive that I truly believe will come to fruition it will be this, and to that extent I think voters will punish any candidate that plays dirty. Picking on McCain's age will yield him a victory in the same way that it benefited Reagan 25 years ago. I don't believe Obama would pursue that angle. In fact, I don't know why Obama doesn't copy Reagan and ask the question, "are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?" I won't bother with Hillary - she is hanging in there. She knows how the system works. Everybody knows how the Clintons operate. Nuff said. Because the delegate count is so close, Hillary doesn't have cause to believe her candidacy is over. However, where the momentum lies is obvious. If Obama can win big on March 4, I don't think Hillary will have much of a say in the matter anymore and we can move on. We have two candidates who believe they are the heirs presumptive to the throne, based on puzzling and narcissistic presumptions of having destiny and history on their side. Watch this space.
Last thing. I am picking on Obama supporters for freaking out over the DNC's superdelegate rules, but in all honesty they are right. I've talked with (e:jason) about this many times and we both believe that no voter should even be in the position to have to understand such bizarre rules and regulations. It should all be scrapped - ALL OF IT. Superdelegates, the electoral college, all ridiculous rules both within each party and in general elections. The reason why these rules were created are transparent - aspects of the government (and in the case of the feds, the founding fathers themselves) did not believe that the people have the intelligence or the ability to choose the leader of their own country. Any scenario in which the popular vote loses to the electoral college vote is unacceptable to me and should be unacceptable to all Americans, because in fact a majority of the country (when Bush won in 2004 liberals referred to this as 'mob rule') did not vote for the person who is taking the office. Bottom line - that is not democratic and everybody knows it. So many people missed the point in 2000. Four different independent organizations certified the Florida results, yet to this day many liberals argue that Bush somehow stole the election. The crime wasn't that President Bush won through a flawed system - the crime was that the system was flawed in the first place.
02/19/08 10:35 - 21ºF - ID#43390
Community Supported Agriculture
CSA - A Primer
Community supported agriculture - Wiki - is essentially a method by which consumers and farmers can forge a mutually beneficial partnership. This not only stabilizes local farmers early on in the growing season when cash can be short, but guarantees you a share in the crop harvest on a weekly basis. You can read the Wiki page if you want more details, but I will briefly overview how it works.
Small family farms are a dying breed, just like the mom and pop stores we used to see prior to the advent of large corporate chain stores. As I alluded to you earlier, CSA is a clever scheme by which small farms that focus on organically/ethically produced foods can mitigate financial risk by approaching consumers directly and asking them to purchase a "share." Typically a "share" costs around $300-$400 per growing season, and many farms offer a variety of options. Want your 22-week season to start in the summer, or do you want a winter citrus package, or maybe you want to participate year round - no problem. As consumers, we outlay this cash to the farms, who then use the money to stabilize their businesses early on. Our return on investment yields a share in the crops - every week for 22 weeks your money buys you a variation of different fruits and veg, depending on what is being grown.
I should stress the mutual risk and reward element of this idea, and the concept of eating seasonally. You eat what the farmers are able to grow - you may still find yourself trailing off to Weg or the Co-op if something you really want isn't grown locally but is shipped from Chile to be sold here. Yield may vary as well, but farmers are incredibly good at knowing how much they will need to grow and how to achieve it. However, the benefits of eating seasonally and sourcing from local, organically focused farms who know what they are doing can yield you some truly amazing, restaurant grade (if not better) produce.
So - you help local farms sustain themselves, and in return you get to pick up a load of fabulous produce every week for 18-22 weeks. For less than $20 a week all the thinking you need to do (with the possible exception of making a substitution in your share because you hate radish) about your produce is that you need to go pick it up. I'm thinking about doing this for the summer. There is a farm that allegedly does pickups at (e:drew)'s church but I cannot confirm that, and I need to do some more research before I'd make a recommendation. I'd prefer to just have a list of local farms that have a program such as this and allow you to choose for yourselves.
EDIT: Buffalo Rising article from Sept.
And since I wouldn't endorse visiting links from their site -
Porter Farms -
Native Offerings -
I am not informed enough to suggest one or the other - check out the different options, pricing, etc. and see what is best for you. Sure, $350 up front (or more if you want the larger share) may seem like a lot, but in the context of your entire summer food budget is it really that bad?
02/16/08 05:14 - 23ºF - ID#43363
Even netgeeks can be funny
Once upon a midnight dreary while I pr0n surfed, weak and weary,
Over a many a strange and spurious pr0nsite of hot XXX galore;
While I clicked my fav'rite bookmark, suddenly there came a warning,
And my heart was filled with mourning, mourning for my dear amour.
"'Tis not possible!" I muttered, "give me back my free hardcore!"
Quoth the server,
If you didn't get the Poe reference... I don't think I can talk to you anymore.
02/14/08 08:18 - 31ºF - ID#43331
New Mexico Democratic Caucus
I really wish I took his name down. Note to anonymous sir -
You've never heard of the Bull Moose Party and you claim to be a leading Democrat in your state? Have you ever heard of Teddy fucking Roosevelt, or the fact that the Bull Moose Party was simply a popular name for what was (and still is) formally known as the Progressive Party? Have you ever taken an American history course in your life? Hang your head in shame, sir. You are no politico.
02/08/08 05:53 - 31ºF - ID#43248
Village Beer Merchant
The prices are generally higher - I'd say a buck or so higher than Consumer's. The sixers ranged in price from $8 to $20. We are talking about a selection that carries some hard to find things and/or relatively rare things - I wasn't exactly outraged by some of the prices but be forewarned of impending sticker shock on some stuff. I don't freak out about pricier beers because, frankly, I am in it to enjoy it and I'd rather spend more and drink something nice at home than bar hop, spend far more money and not enjoy any of the alcohol at all. Not everybody is the same though, so I wanted to give you fair warning if you are accustomed to spending no more than $7 for a six-pack.
I bought a bottle of Schneider Weisse (suggested as an alternative to my much desired but hard to find locally Hacker-Pshorr Weisse), a bottle of Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout and a six-pack of Smuttynose Old Dog Brown Ale. I'll let you all know the sloppy results later!
They are not just about beer - they also have a general store that carries specialty/upscale items as well as a small deli. It is a generally upscale store, with dim lighting, reddish hues and smart decor. The guys that work there are cool and know their beer. For someone who rejects gentrification like a baby spitting up involuntarily, I say that this store is a most welcome addition to our community. I would recommend it to anybody in the mood to check out a nice store with high quality beers, knowledgeable staff and a small but neat general store. Well done Village Beer Merchant - we'll be back.
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