conuly: A picture of the Castleton Castle. Quote: "Where are our dreams? Where are our castles?" (castle)
Eva has to make a "persuasive poster" encouraging her friends to vote for one of two Kevin Henkes characters, thus teaching children that elections aren't about issues but are simply popularity contests where you can divide neatly into two "teams". She's not allowed to enter a write-in third party character, because they only have two choices.

Pretty much the truth, really.

You know, even more than spelling reform (and for the last time, spelling reform would NOT need to fix everything, we could get by quite well just fixing the most glaring problems with our orthography!), we really really need some sort of voting reform system. There are so many different types of voting out there, and they don't all of them make it impossible to have more than two viable options at any given time.

But I think we're even less likely to get that.
conuly: (Default)
The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.

Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.

It’s a requirement that was tacked onto the law during the bitter debates over it last year.

In other news, this jerk in Michigan wants to require that foster care kid only get their clothing used. Because right now they're living the high life with designer clothes at the extravagant cost of $107 a year. (You'll see people in the comments talking about an $80 limit, but I don't know where they got that number. I got mine directly off the Michigan foster care website.) $107 is juuuuuust barely enough to buy school uniforms for one child - assuming you plan on the kid rewearing the clothes at least once between washings. (If your kid is likely to play in the mud, paint in school, or squirt ketchup on that shirt during lunch? Tough luck. You want to do a midweek laundry day?) It doesn't pay for a coat and shoes as well. Of course, your hypothetical foster kid might not go to a school with a uniform policy. Great - you only have to buy one set of clothes... and now everybody will know if he or she wears the same shirt twice in a week!

Of course, that's buying clothes new. That's not driving all around town in the hopes that you'll be able to find enough thrift store clothes in the kid's size to make a full wardrobe. Undoubtedly foster kids in Michigan already have some of their clothing from thrift stores, as I can't work out any other way to make it work, but why not, novel idea, why not let the kids and/or their foster parents determine the best, thriftiest way to spend that clothing money?
conuly: (Default)
The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.

Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.

It’s a requirement that was tacked onto the law during the bitter debates over it last year.

In other news, this jerk in Michigan wants to require that foster care kid only get their clothing used. Because right now they're living the high life with designer clothes at the extravagant cost of $107 a year. (You'll see people in the comments talking about an $80 limit, but I don't know where they got that number. I got mine directly off the Michigan foster care website.) $107 is juuuuuust barely enough to buy school uniforms for one child - assuming you plan on the kid rewearing the clothes at least once between washings. (If your kid is likely to play in the mud, paint in school, or squirt ketchup on that shirt during lunch? Tough luck. You want to do a midweek laundry day?) It doesn't pay for a coat and shoes as well. Of course, your hypothetical foster kid might not go to a school with a uniform policy. Great - you only have to buy one set of clothes... and now everybody will know if he or she wears the same shirt twice in a week!

Of course, that's buying clothes new. That's not driving all around town in the hopes that you'll be able to find enough thrift store clothes in the kid's size to make a full wardrobe. Undoubtedly foster kids in Michigan already have some of their clothing from thrift stores, as I can't work out any other way to make it work, but why not, novel idea, why not let the kids and/or their foster parents determine the best, thriftiest way to spend that clothing money?
conuly: (gravity still_burning)
Surgeon creates new kidney on TED stage

Let's state that again: He basically made an organ using a 3D printer. Like something out of Star Trek, isn't it?

Here's an article with one theory about why Henry VIII had so many problems producing an heir.

A hundred years ago, our food-safety regulators were willing to eat formaldehyde on our behalf. What are they doing now?

I'm still goggling over the printed organ. Did you read that article yet?

A video from Fox News showing protesters in a suspiciously snowless and bepalmtreed Wisconsin.

The Republicans’ War on Congressional Recycling. It's spiteful and petty is what it is. I can understand the anonymous email that goes "Somehow this bothers me more than the EERE cuts."

And finally, insulating yourself is more efficient than insulating your home, though you'd be wise to do both. All those times your mom told you to just put on a sweater, she was right.

And finally, in case you missed it - they basically used a replicator to print a kidney. I'm half hoping this is a hoax, because... it's scary stuff, living in the future! (In the present, should I die suddenly, I expect every one of my organs to be donated away. I can't take 'em with me, after all.)
conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
Which is now several situations and counting.

Evangeline was somewhat interested in it because a classmate of hers moved to Egypt a few months into the school year. Ana mostly rolled her eyes, to which I said that although I know she doesn't think it's interesting now (or maybe she does - she can be SUCH a teenager sometimes about letting us know she's interested in ANYthing!) she'll be glad when she's a grown-up to be able to say she knew about this as it was happening. She doesn't believe me when I say this is a very exciting time to be alive, but I think she'll understand when she's older. (She doesn't have a friend in Egypt, after all, unlike her sister. Evangeline is torn between hoping her friend saw all the excitement and worrying that he and his family aren't safe.)

We talked about it, and we went over to our free Doctors Without Borders map on the wall to see where all these countries are, and it occurs to me that because I read my news online Ana is missing out on something important. She's not reading the newspaper. Doesn't watch TV news much either.

My father was a history and current events geek. I mean seriously. There is a reason I know more world capitals than is quite reasonable. (I can assure you, I have never in my life needed to know that the capital of Suriname is Parimaribo. For crying out loud, spellcheck doesn't even recognize it! I have found memorizing 7! to be more useful*, you know!)

So he read the paper every day, and we talked about it a lot, and he was always well-versed on what was going on in the world. If we ever had a question about the political situation or recent events in some small country nobody else had even heard of, he would be able to answer it.

But I read my news online, and Jenn does too I guess (saving trees, of course), and we haven't been talking about this at dinner, much less incessantly. Their education is lacking, and I need to find time for it. It's probably not that useful to know more capitals than you can count, but it *is* useful to have a basic understanding of current events. It's not something you do once a week on Friday.

*My sixth (or maybe seventh) grade math teacher believed in reviewing old material on every single test. This meant that after we learned how to do factorials, we got tested on them every few weeks, one question per test. For some reason she picked 7! several times in a row. This caused me to do two things. First, I figured out that my calculator had a factorial button and it wasn't necessary to work it out step by step. I'm not sure anybody else noticed this. And second, I learned that 7! is 5040. I'll know that to the day I die, and it has come in handy exactly once, in college, where I used that fact to accidentally make a professor (in Classics) think I was some sort of math genius. I'm not. The number is simply emblazoned upon my mind, and when he mentioned that one or another thinker thought 5040 was the ideal population, the phrase "Why, that's seven factorial!" popped out before I could stop it. Sure, it's only once that this random factoid has been useful, but as I never expected it could be useful to have that memorized I think I've beaten the odds there. Even once means it's come in handy far more often than I ever would have anticipated.
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Obama Tries to Calm Religious Tensions

Read more... )

Notice how he just kinda slides that mention of his deep Christian faith in there. I don't know why he bothers. The people who think he's secretly Satan-worshipping Muslim aren't going to believe him anyway - and the real problem is that these folks have this idiotic idea that it matters.

City Disavows Pastor’s Talk of Burning Koran

Read more... )

Chock Full o’Nuts Returns to Manhattan. But Is That Salmon on the Menu?

Chock Full o'Nuts is the <i>heavenly</i> coffee.... )

You know, the original words to that jingle said that "better coffee Rockefeller's money can't buy". My mother all of a sudden remembered that a few years ago, and talked about it for three days.
conuly: Quote: "I'm blogging this" (blogging)
And I'm not even reading that many! But everybody links to some articles, and then I read Pat's Papers (which is awesome), and then the articles and stories there have links on the side, and all of a sudden I have ten pages of links up.

*sighs*

Well, the non-not-a-mosque articles up first.

First, a video clip that's not entirely about space toilets, except that it pretty much is. I gotta say, this is something I never contemplated while eating dehydrated astronaut ice cream!

One on a boy's school that's going to "cater to boy's learning styles". Good idea in theory, but it again makes the foolish assumption that all boys have the same learning style, and that's universally different from girls (who ALSO all have the same learning style), and that the "sit down and shut up" method of education is great for girls and ONLY detrimental to boys.

The comments are hilarious. Half of them are "Oh, these spoiled boys, they're never going to get a job and they're going to be bullies and they'll be on welfare just wait and see" and the other half are "Oh, see, this is all because of feminism and feminists are why we don't have gym class because girls are weak and pathetic and feminists want to hurt everybody and the idea that girls and boys might have ANYthing in common is a lie". Then there's this one person who works for the people who made this school and who wants to comment to EVERYBODY telling them how wonderful it is. There's a small handful of comments going "I'm a woman/I have a daughter, and this would've suited me/her" or "I'm a man/have a son and this would be TERRIBLE" or even "Well, of course, there are many many MANY learning styles and they don't match up evenly the way you think, even if there is some correlation...." but they're being voted down by damn near everybody, which is a shame.

More on bedbugs

An article on kids who don't want to give up their pediatrician even when, well, they're not kids anymore.

The youngest kids in the class are more likely to get (mis?)diagnosed ADHD

The newest set of college kids was born in 1992, and look - the reference list is updated!

Here's some nifty school supplies. Gotta say, the dry-erase crayons work really well.

And finally, a post about a guy who got a call in the middle of the night from a prostitute in his office.

~~~~~~~~~~~


Dear Rest-of-America: Take This Map, It's Why You're Wrong About the "Ground Zero Mosque"

The Ground Zero Coat

Where's the Ground Zero Terror Mosque? 39 Experts Explain!

I especially love “on the ash-strewn site of 3,000 dead Americans”. Guys? It's been nine years. We've, uh, we've kinda swept it up already. Although if you'd like to volunteer for clean-up efforts, even though the ash is gone I'm sure I can find you some gum to scrape off the sidewalk for us. You know - so the terrorists don't win and all.

The Wikipedia article on Mohammed Salman Hamdani

GOP calls Obama insensitive over stand on mosque

Nothing new there, but I love how it's written up. For some people, writing an article is an excuse to break out the melodrama. "Recalling the emotion of that deadly day" indeed! It was 9/11. You don't need to spell it out for us. We were (most of us) there. Or not, but you know what I mean.

Senate races in Louisiana and Nevada are suddenly about a construction project in distant Manhattan

The absurd controversy over the proposed Islamic center in New York shows that many Americans need to meet some Muslims.
conuly: A picture of the bridge at night. Quote: "Spanned with a poem" (poem)
The disturbing one about abusive relationships, "How to keep somebody with you forever"?

Go read this (How Conservative Values Create Sick Systems) now.
conuly: (Default)
Our president is exactly as geeky as my brother-in-law.

I'm... actually not that surprised.
conuly: (Default)


Read more... )

It gets very dry and factual and mathy midway through - if anybody could sum it up, that'd be great, I sort of glazed over even though the individual facts were interesting. (Gee, that's an incentive to read, isn't it?)
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
So, over at Conservative Free Republic they have a forum. Lots of places have forums.

And over there, occasionally they have people making and commenting with objectionable matter. Lots of forums have that problem.

And hey, there it's racist and people are attacking the President's young daughters, which is abhorrent. Okay... it happens... but hey, their policy forbids racist content! (And anything which advocates for rebellion and secession as well.) So you'd think that they'd deal with that fast before it made them look bad... right?

Well... no, don't make me laugh. They waited a day, and then only removed it because a guy doing research made a complaint. And... then they put it back up, only removing it for good once liberal blogs got a hold of this.

Link one
Link two
Link three.

Now, everybody is commenting on the vicious comments left about the President's kids, which is as it should be. Attacking anybody's young children (and 11 is still young) with slurs and misogyny (as well as racism and some basic classism, they've hit the trifecta there) is wrong, that goes without saying.

But what gets me is the comment about Obama's Mother-in-Law, that she's "free-loadin'". I've heard that before, but without the overt racist subtext, and it makes no sense to me, firstly because she is, as I'm told, there to help keep things normal for her grandkids, and second because she's seventy-one! Seventy-one! What sort of family values allow you to insult people for taking care of their parents? If she were sitting around doing nothing, isn't she entitled? Surely, after 71 years, she gets to rest and be with her family? (Well, I suppose those are the same family values that tell you it's okay to insult defenseless 11 year old girls who haven't even done anything.)

Some choice comments cut for offensiveness: )
conuly: (Default)
On a woman's effort to speak Hindi in NYC

Read more... )

Daughter Against Use of Father’s Name to Subvert Neo-Nazis

Read more... )

When an Ear Witness Decides the Case

Read more... )

An article on beekeeping in the city

Read more... )

An article on how feeding cows a different diet not only reduces their methane output but - surprise! - makes them healthier

One on the proposal in the UK to stop teaching the specific mnemonic "I before E except after C". I personally have seen people claim this is due to "political correctness gone amok" (there's a term that no longer means anything if I ever saw one!), that it's due to "Obama's election" (these people seem to think that the UK is synonymous with the US), that it's due to not wanting to teach children how to spell, that there's NO way to learn how to spell without reciting inane jingles at every turn, and that all the rules are flying out the window. Not to mention the people who don't understand the rule in the first place. Why is language always ostensibly defended by people who lack the reading comprehension skills to understand that it was never under attack in the first place? WHY?

An article on why ethnic jokes aren't that funny

An article on octopi that "walk" to get past predators. COOL.
conuly: (dreamwidth)
Remember that it's in closed beta, so don't go getting overenthused. And remember that the best way (I'm told) to get a code is to sign up for an OpenID account and hang around, or else to wait until open beta.

I have three codes, and I already promised one away. Anybody wanting one of the remaining two can comment here with their email - and [livejournal.com profile] kynn, you can do the same if you don't know my email, I know it's you!

I'd rather give these to people I have name recognition of, so if you're not using your main account, seriously, tell me who you are. Comments are screened. I'm heading into the city to buy books. (No, really, that was always my plan, even before this weekend!)

For those not interested in Dreamwidth, I present this unintentionally hysterical letter to the Obamas about organic gardening. Another link is here.

Listen, if you're gonna get your nose in a snit because the Obamas dare to not want icky pesticides all over their garden, at least get your grammar standard. I'd never stoop to such a thing, but others are just sitting and waiting for their time to pounce. The concept of organic gardening doesn't make "so-and-so and I shudder" it makes "so-and-so and me shudder"! Except it doesn't, because I don't, in fact, shudder at that concept. Because that's silly. Links courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] l33tminion.

I'll eventually be by to unscreen comments about the farming.

Edit: Codes are gone, and spoken for in the future as well. Sorry!
conuly: (Default)
I didn't before, other than not liking her mom, but now she officially has a few plus points in my estimation for her view that abstinence-only education, despite what her mother thinks, is a bad idea.

And she would know. Of course, her failure to communicate that effectively, when she must have known it would be asked, does count against her in my mind... but meh, she's only 17 (18?) and she grew up with her mother, queen of the inarticulate. And besides, a lot of people freeze under pressure.
conuly: (Default)
I didn't post about it, but I read the articles. This legislation, that one - oh boy, did I read this.

Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] ginmar:

From CNN site:

January 20, 2009
Obama Chief of Staff puts a stop to pending Bush regulations
Posted: 07:07 PM ET

From CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry


President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel issued a government-wide directive Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Obama has wasted no time handling the Bush administration's unfinished business.

White House officials tell CNN Obama Chief Staff of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo Tuesday to all agencies and departments of the federal government. The memo halts further consideration of pending regulations throughout the government until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the Obama administration.


Legal reviews! My goodness, does this mean that somebody might actually consider the law for a change? Be still my beating heart.

I've been laughing all day, and this is just... I love it.

I need a new, HAPPY politics icon.

LOL

Dec. 11th, 2008 12:02 am
conuly: (Default)
We were reading a book today that mentioned, briefly, that our heroine's mother gets "more mail than the President". I pointed out again to Ana that Obama isn't the president yet, and does she know who's still the President?

"John Bush?"
"George. George Bush." (I left out the W. without thinking, but why complicate the issue?)
"Oh, George. Hey, George! LIKE THE MONKEY GEORGE!"

Indeed, Ana, indeed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I feel like I have to match cute stories, so here's a lesser one from Evangeline. The other day she randomly commented to me that she thought bathrooms were "discusting". So I asked her why, of course. "Because... because... because... because you go to the bathroom in them!"

I think she realized that was a strange way to phrase that answer, but what else could she say?
conuly: (Default)
I left Evangeline with my mom because wrangling two children (and she'd skipped nap!) under the age of six seemed a bad idea, but I took Ana.

I carried her, too. Not because she asked, but because I don't carry her very often anymore.

We went in, were signed in (by another lefty! YEAH!), and voted. And Ana had a big job - she pushed the lever for me!

Our voting booths are not just antiquated, I believe they may actually be antique by the way that one creaked and stalled. But it's for the best, you know? At least my vote was (probably) fairly counted.

Ana was thrilled she recognized my candidate's name when said aloud - and however coy I am, I'm sure it'll come as no shock to you when I tell you tomorrow whom I voted for.

Go out and vote. Especially if you and I are voting for the same folks, of course :P
conuly: (Default)
But since I've barely even posted about politics at all, I share this interesting editorial about hacking into Palin's yahoo email.

I must ask what sort of politician, exactly, uses a yahoo email? I've been told that yahoo is pretty easy to hack (and anyway, most people, their passwords are gonna be easy to guess no matter what...!), which is largely why I don't do anything important via email. (I also firmly believe that one should never write in a letter - or say in an email - anything that one wouldn't want to see on the front page of the NY Times. So... yeah.) Once you get elected to public office, isn't it time to get a better email provider, at least for official business?

Two things

Sep. 10th, 2008 06:44 pm
conuly: (Default)
First, this is why I'm voting the way I am. (I'm not exactly subtle, so I bet you all know whom I support, but anyway!)

Second, best way to get in touch with me is through my journal or by emailing me directly. I'm not sharing state secrets when I say my email name is the same as this one, but over at yahoo :) LJ messaging means I have to click extra clickies. (Or if I don't, I sure don't know that, so same difference.) I'm not annoyed or upset by this, but it speeds things up by a few seconds if you take the direct route :)

Third, it's interesting that the media is making a big brouhaha over that "lipstick" comment (and I have no idea if it was intended as a snide jab at anybody or not, neither do I care) but nobody is mentioning the fact that he basically pulled a "doesn't she look tired" line. And I scoffed when I saw that posted around, too! Huh.
conuly: (Default)
SF voters will be asked if they want to rename a sewage plant after G. W. Bush.

Totally inappropriate, of course.

A sewage plant, after all, provides a vital service. I know it's not an often-appreciated one, but trust me, you'd miss that plant if it were to suddenly up and die on you. And it's not as though the poor sewage workers really deserve less respect than they already get.

Let us never forget that the Romans, above all else, considered their Cloaca Maxima, their big sewer, to be a crowning glory in their city. They had a goddesss for it!

In short, waste management is nothing to scoff at or make light of, and this proposal is, therefore, entirely inappropriate.

If you are in the city and a registered voter, please vote "no" on this issue. Your sewage system deserves better.
conuly: (Default)
One on picky eating.

Let me be fair - I don't think picky eating is entirely a good parent/bad parent thing, although I do think there are probably things you can do to exacerbate it. However, I do think that until you know if your kid will be picky or not, it is wise to restrict their diet to healthy foods. If your kid is so picky that they'll only eat liver, green veggies, and persimmon, that might be annoying, but at least you can rest assured that, right or wrong, nobody will judge you the way they judge the parents of the kid who only eats fluffernutters and chicken mcnuggets.


Read more... )

One on veggie gardening.

Our garden is kinda half-assed this year for a few reasons. Next year - fully assed! Yeah!


Read more... )

One on city farms in Cuba

The Daily Kos piece, John McCain wants to kill me.

An article on sustainable food
conuly: (Default)
And how many Chinese are urging boycotts of Western companies because of the normal non-Chinese stance on Tibet.

It has a video.

They ask one Chinese woman why, exactly, people in the West are protesting the next Olympics, and do you know what she says? She says that we're just jealous. We wouldn't protest or boycott or anything if we weren't jealous of China's success.

Boy, does that sound familiar. Y'know, I didn't really think the "they're just being mean because they're jealous" argument was very compelling when my own country used it after 9/11 - why the fuck would it convince me on anything China says?

Read more... )

There is a related article about "China's Loyal Youth" here.

Read more... )

Actually, if you want to read something truly interesting, go read the comments to this NYTimes blog. The entry itself is so-so, but the comments are fascinating.
conuly: (Default)
One on amazing options for new uses of asphalt to make energy. MUST READ.

People keep saying it, and it's true. The future will belong to the people (that is, the nations and regions) that jump on these new energy sources now instead of later. You can count on it. If there is a future, that is. If there isn't, the future will belong to the cockroaches, as always.

A post on two people finding the middle and falling in love when they had had totally incompatible religious views.

A NYTimes blog post on the stupidity of air travel regulations

Read more... )

One on cooking and heat - more interesting than I just summed up

Read more... )

An article on (too?) early education

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
I don't think I've ever felt less reassured in my life.

(Reassuring speeches do tend to have that effect on me, of course - but I'm even less reassured when, apparently, they're given to the tune of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You all have to read the article, by the way - you won't regret it.)

WTF?

Jul. 21st, 2007 08:58 pm
conuly: (Default)
Is this shit for real?

Seriously. All patriotic (or at least minimally sane) Americans ought to read that post, and the related links.
conuly: (Default)
We watched the tail end of Sound of Music the other day. God, I love that movie. I mean, we watch it, and we sing, and we cry, and it's nothing at all like what really happened, but I love it anyway.

And we all hugged and rocked and sang Edelweiss, which prompted me to look up Edelweiss (a song not very well known in Austria, apparently), and this led me to the Edelweiss Pirates, and I just....

I guess I'm just in one of those moods, but I'm filled with admiration for them. I mean, I'm filled with admiration for anybody who did anything in those times....

But still. I was mildly impressed.

In not-at-all-related news (but I think of them together anyway), the Boy Scouts are getting some more of their special privileges taken away. This is because atheists run this country and hate Christians. Yes, somebody tried to tell me that.
conuly: (Default)
Anybody in close contact with religious folk who think Bush speaks for them? Anybody have more information on this?

Because the idea of that man insulting evangelicals while getting them to vote for him... that's worth a few thoughts.
conuly: (Default)
1. Outrage fatigue is all well and good (in that it's not well and good at all), but is there any way to counteract that? I find I get more overwhelmed the more helpless I feel. I need simple, concrete steps I can take to stop feeling overwhelmed - and no, voting isn't going to help much. Things that don't rely on other people (huge protest marches, for example) are good, as are things that *feel* productive. Writing a letter doesn't feel productive if I'm not sure it's going to be heeded.

2. Regardless of whether or not the act is enforceable, it's still troubling. But I guess we shall see what we shall see, sometime after the elections.

Now, I'm off to watch something decidedly non-current-eventsy, aka Veronica Mars. I've already seen it, but it'll keep me from having to think about real things for a while.
conuly: (Default)
A set of essays by Republicans on why they want their party to lose in 2006. I haven't read them yet, I had to spread the linklove first.
conuly: (Default)
So I completely missed the article on The Impending Police State.

Don't forget to check out the comments to the article after you read it.

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