Saturday, February 28, 2004
WSJ article via Cursor
Lou's "Exporting America" list is available on his portion of the CNN website
Also: remember to check out the outsourced america weblog
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Physical attacks on so-called Gatso cameras -- whose tell-tale flash can result in fines of up to 60 pounds and penalty points on driving licenses -- have been rising.
In recent months a number have been blown up with dynamite, some have been torched, while others have been cut down by aggrieved motorists.
Yay Baseball Season is 39 days away!!
Also see: Bartman Ball's pre-execution press conference.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Fat Tuesday went very well. Overcast, foggy, and damp but no rain. I was cooking a giant pot of red beans so I could only walk down to see parts of Zulu intermittently. I caught most of Rex but was very disappointed to miss the Golden Band From Tigerland in their first Mardi Gras appearance in twenty years. Around noon, Rudolph and I walked through the neighborhood looking for Indians. Caught, I think, two tribes more or less in action on Dryades street. Crime statistics be dammed. I live in one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the world. The rest of the day is a blissful drunken blur. Today, I am completely worn out.. but I'll be back next year.
Now with Carnival out of the way it's time to clean the house, stop spending money left and right, (there isn't any left anyway) and start getting ready for CCC. Perhaps this year I should sign up to run against Bush.
Monday, February 23, 2004
Saturday was less than impressive. We went to see Endymion at the corner of Orleans and Carrollton. This area is pretty much ladder central. As I've already mentioned, ladders suck. We couldn't see much of the parade and left early. Not that I would have remembered much of it as I was in something of an altered state all afternoon.
Sunday made up for it. Beautiful freaking day 70 degrees no clouds. Should have been Mardi Gras day. Four parades came our way. Okeanos, Thoth, Mid City, and Bacchus. Thoth is one of the most overlooked krewes in all of carnival. Only a hair below Bacchus and Endymion in size, they roll during the day on Sunday so the crowds are manageable, and they throw a lot of stuff. Bacchus was, well, Bacchus. Nothing new. Their king was Frodo. Daisy was delighted to learn that the crowd throws their beads back at the King Kong family floats.
So today, I'm taking the afternoon off to clean the house a bit and get ready for tomorrow. I live one block off the Uptown parade route on Third street, so it is my responsibility each year to host the giant Mardi Gras party. Nothing fancy. Lots o' Beer, king cake, and a giant bowl of Jeffrey's special red beans. See y'all in the streets!
Bonus link: This guy has a pretty nice collection of carnival photos up on his blog. Check it out.
Friday, February 20, 2004
Thursday, February 19, 2004
You're The Sound and the Fury!
by William Faulkner
Strong-willed but deeply confused, you are trying to come to grips
with a major crisis in your life. You can see many different perspectives on the issue,
but you're mostly overwhelmed with despair at what you've lost. People often have a hard
time understanding you, but they have some vague sense that you must be brilliant
anyway. Ultimately, you signify nothing.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Not far off at all.
link via Fauxwen
link via 2millionth
Update: It turns out that I am also 13% gay. (you may have to scroll down. Daisy's permalinks never seem to work) I wonder what the other 3% is. I suspect nougat.
Ok now the good news. This week's Gambit has lots of fun Carnival stuff including this story about drum majors. Here is another excellent Gambit feature from '02 on Flambeau carriers.
Last night: Things are starting to pick up. Krewe of Saturn had some elaborately decorated floats. They are known for their political satire, although it is of a rather non-leftist variety. The most annoying unit in their procession was a float carrying the families of soldiers in Iraq. I, of course, am all for supporting these people and honoring their sacrifice but did the float have to feature a large heroic bust of AWOL Bush? If I were in the place of the family members on this float I would have been insulted.
Of course, what we all came to see last night was the Krewe of Muses. By far the best bunch of the season to this point. Great marching bands, the first fiber-optic lights of the year, unicyclists, people on stilts, random brass bands, and the first appearance this year of the girl punk pop band Pink Slip. Things I caught: (mostly after Daisy wusssed out and went home early) Krewe emblem medallion beads from each parade, a string of "shoe beads, " three Muses cups, some beads with lips on them, some teddy-bear beads, and a shoe key ring.
Tonight: I will unfortunately miss the Knights of Babylon and the Krewe of Chaos so that I may fail a quiz I haven't studied for. Oh well, I'm off this weekend. T'will be a good time.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Strategically, I agree with Safire. Dean should endorse Edwards now. In fact, if it is close by the time LA gets to vote, I'm voting for Edwards. Kerry is pro-NAFTA pro-PATRIOT act and pro-war but still easily painted as a liberal by the Bush campaign due largely to the fact that he is from Massachusetts. This accident of geography also makes Kerry susceptible to the gay-marriage distraction that Karl Rove is just salivating to jump on. Add it up and Kerry can not possibly win this thing. Am I the only one who sees this?
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Tonight: Krewe of Ancient Druids (pretty floats but stingy with the throws) followed by Krewe of Morpheus (some of the same floats that Pygmalion used on Monday... but it didn't matter 'cause we were already drunk by then.) Caught a few beads and one cup. It's 9:30 and Daisy has already passed out.
I'm watching the Wisconsin returns. Maybe when I'm sober I'll write more about how Democratic voters have been hoodwinked by the "electibillity" issue. Short version: Bush sucks.. I mean he really really sucks and needs to go. And that fact alone may be enough to defeat him but something tells me that this won't be enough. Worse, Kerry is the candidate most likely to lose to Bush in a major landslide and Democrats have been voting for him purely out of fear of losing in a landslide.. I hope I'm wrong about that but it looks bad bad bad. In December, William Safire of all people raised the spectre of Bush with an actual mandate and what that might mean. I don't even want to think about it.
In fact, screw this I won't think about it. I'm going back to Mardi Gras.
"It is highly scientific, brain fingerprinting doesn't have anything to do with the emotions, whether a person is sweating or not; it simply detects scientifically if that information is stored in the brain," says Dr Farwell.
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- OutKast fans like to "shake it like a Polaroid picture," but the instant camera maker is warning consumers that taking the advice of the hip-hop stars could ruin your snapshots.
Monday, February 16, 2004
A prominent female state senator has said that she does not support the 19th Amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote, and that if it were being considered today she would vote against it.
Sen. Kay O'Connor recently told the co-presidents of the Johnson County League of Women Voters that the amendment was the first step in a decades-long erosion of traditional family values.
via naked furniture, pandagon
Summary of weekend 1:
- Got really really wet watching the Krewe of Oshun roll through a steady downpour Friday night. Didn't mind. In fact, we were delighted. D caught her first beads. They were gay. I caught a short plastic sword and engaged the nearest twelve year old in an Errol Flynn imitation contest.
- Got wet again watching Pontchartrain and Shangri La on Saturday. Delighted to do so once more. The rain keeps the crowd sparse and manageable allowing the hard-core idiots like us to catch more stuff. Caught a stuffed puppy dog. Gave it to Consuela.
- Braved the cold on Saturday night to see Sparta and Pegasus. Bought a hot dog and a funnel cake from the gypsy-carnie-street-vendor type people. Much more fun when you don't have to hold an umbrella. Caught a bean bag football.
- Sunday morning began with the house rattling. Turns out the people who live across the street had set up a large sound system in their front yard through which they began pumping Urban Contemporary hits directly into poor Consuela's bedroom. She had worked until 4am the previous evening and was scheduled to work that night. Needless to say, she was not pleased. I was secretly amused, however, due to the fact that the music existed only to promote the fact that the neighbors were offering off street parking in their back yard for $15.00 a car. The DJ announced this by singing "Off-street parking" over the words of most of his playlist. This became a running joke for the rest of the afternoon as I "entertained" r and Goldschmidt by singing these lyrics over every (and I mean every) marching band in the day's parades. Beautiful (if a bit chilly) weather all day. Watched Krewes of Carrollton, (lots o' bands) King Arthur, and Bards of Bohemia. Bards had trouble raising the necessary funds to roll this year.. and it showed. r says, "They just didn't care did they." It was ok though, they threw a lot.
Tonight, the postponed from Friday Krewe of Pygmalion rolls at 6:45. Happy Mardi Gras everybody.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Thursday, February 12, 2004
The Commerce Department said total retail sales -- a major component of U.S. consumer spending -- fell 0.3 percent to $322.87 billion in January from December levels. It was the first decline since September.
However, excluding autos, a frequently volatile number, retail sales rose a bigger-than-expected 0.9 percent from the previous month.
Of course the big number is the 363,000 initial jobless claims (itself a gross understatement of the actual jobless) which is enormous. Christ if the Bush economic team continues to implement its stated policy, it could hit 400,000 by July.
Also, the Reuters management may give us a bump in that direction as well.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Federal prosecutors withdrew a subpoena Tuesday ordering Drake University to turn over a list of people involved in an antiwar forum in November, as well as subpoenas ordering four activists to testify before a grand jury
How did this happen in the first place?
1) Naked Furniture: Denizen of Blogiana (maybe I need a new category for LA blogs)
2) Basket Full of Puppies: Apparently LA in exile? Or close to that.
3) Rest of My Life: Librarian who wears a "Leave Me Alone" hat at work. Gotta like that.
Monday, February 09, 2004
Update: Super-Ultra-Transcendentally-Derivative MTP Roundup available here.
Howard Dean has joined the list of victims of U.S. corporate media consolidation. Dean shares this distinction with Dennis Kucinich and the people of the formerly sovereign state of Iraq, among many others. Dean was stripped of half his popular support in the space of two weeks in January while John Kerry – tied in the polls with Carol Moseley-Braun at seven percent just two months earlier – rose like a genie from a bottle to become the overnight presidential frontrunner. Both candidates were shocked and disoriented by the dizzying turns of fortune, and for good reason. Neither Dean nor Kerry had done anything on their own that could have so dramatically altered the race. Corporate America decided that Dean must be savaged, and its media sector made it happen.
This commentary, however, is not about the merits of Howard Dean. If a mildly progressive, Internet-driven, young white middle class-centered, movement-like campaign such as Dean’s – flush with money derived from unconventional sources, backed by significant sections of labor, reinforced by big name endorsements and surging with upward momentum – can be derailed in a matter of weeks at the whim of corporate media, then all of us are in deep trouble.
Read more from black commmentator
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Happy Mardi Gras, folks.
Clarification: After publishing and viewing this post, I suddenly find it necessary to state that I stole this photo from the Times-Pic. In other words, no this is not me in drag. (I would have been much prettier)
Another reason to get these goons out of office. Another reason those "if not Dean, then Nader" idiots make my blood boil.
Two important points I think we need to be reminded of here:
1) John Kerry cannot be trusted to reverse the damage done to our civil liberties by the post 9/11 paranoia and the PATRIOT act. Kerry voted for PATRIOT and has publicly stated that he has no regrets about this vote. Plus, even if he was on the right side of this issue, he still has nowhere near the backbone to take a non-equivocating/conciliatory public stand. In short.. if you want to get rid of PATRIOT, or if you want the US to extricate itself from the Iraq quagmire, or if you want any meaningful reversal of the disastrous events of the past four years, John Kerry is NOT YOUR MAN and does NOT deserve your vote.
2) As a Nader voter from 2000, I am extremely tired of being blamed for Bush's "victory." Bush lost 2000 and only succeeded to the throne through the most heinous fraud of our lifetime. Al Gore and his lawyers, in yet another display of moral and fortitudinal bankruptcy argued weakly, and conceded too soon. The Bush restoration was illegal, his presidency is illegitimate and Al Gore and the Democratic party allowed it to happen. With John Kerry as their nominee, I do not believe they can be trusted to get it right this time. Look, I may still (for lack of a better option) have to vote for Kerry, but I will not hesitate to vote for Nader again if he's there. So when we end up forfeiting what's left of our freedom and our dignity to another four years of Bush, don't blame me or other defectors to a third party option for having the conscience and the soul that the Democratic party has long abandoned. There's a reason this is happening, and the Democrats have only themselves to blame for allowing it.
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Friday, February 06, 2004
um.. this is not a trick question. The answer is no.
At a Portland rally, a heckler interrupted Mr. Kerry's speech, shouting, "How about your vote for the war, and the Patriot Act and for John Ashcroft?"
Mr. Kerry, who voted against Mr. Ashcroft's confirmation as attorney general, shot back, "I don't run away from anything — I'll never run away from those votes."
In other words, "Yes I am a pig and a sellout and proud to be one." You know what, kids? As important as it is to turn Bush out of office, I still can't see myself voting for Kerry if the rigth 3rd party candidate comes along. Democrats should not be rewarded for being this hollow.
"I find it a bit sad that there is no photo of me hanging on the walls in the Berlin Museum at Checkpoint Charlie," he told the magazine.
Ha ha ha ha ha.... whew...ohhh man.... look, just go read it here.
Thursday, February 05, 2004
I stopped by Dad's to watch the Super Bowl and hang out. While this was going on, I took the opportunity to load and run ad-aware on his computer. Lo and behold, we discovered 498 items of spyware including really scary sounding things like "possible browser hijack attempt" and so forth. I tried to give him some tips on how to avoid this sort of thing but I kind of gave up when he said, "I open all of my mail because I'm never really sure if it isn't someone I know who needs to talk to me."
Another Kerry adviser was more blunt. "This is not the Dukakis campaign," the adviser said. "We're not going to take it. And if they're going to come at us with stuff, whatever that stuff may be, if it goes to a place where the '88 campaign did, then everything is on the table. Everything."
But then, at the same time, the candidate says stupid equivocating things like,
In a statement on Wednesday night, Mr. Kerry clearly sought a middle ground. He said he believed in protecting the "fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples, from inheritance to health benefits," but added that he believed the answer was civil unions.
"I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court's decision," he said.
This is starting to look really really bad.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
In its decision, the court rejected using civil unions as a remedy, "Because the proposed law by its express terms forbids same-sex couples entry into civil marriage, it continues to relegate same-sex couples to a different status. ... The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."
Good news: This is absolutely the only ruling a moral and just system can produce and it is long overdue.
Bad News: The Repbulicans will use this issue like a giant sledgehammer during this year's elections.
Withdraw from the U.N.
Really shouldn't these people be paving roads or something? And here's another thing, conservatives. What is it exactly about the U.N. (whose rules we feel perfectly free to ignore whenever it's convenient for us) that makes it a greater threat to U.S. national sovereignty than say the WTO or NAFTA whose bylaws undermine the domestic labor and environmental protections generated by our own internal democratic political process? Maybe we can get one of our benevolent state legislatures to take up this issue since they seem to have so much free time on their hands. We haven't heard too much from Idaho lately. I'm sure the enlightened statesmen there would like to weigh in on this one.
Keeping our eye on the ball (or at least the delegate count) we see that this is still wide open. I've been saying that for two weeks now, but unless Dean picks up mega delegates in Michigan and Washington, maybe it's not so wide open anymore.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Cheney, according to a senior U.S. official, began visiting the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency during his first days in office for briefings on Iraq and other pressing national security issues. His staff collected intelligence on Iraq from sources such as newspapers, as well as from regular intelligence channels and from internal Pentagon initiatives directed by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. Those efforts, according to the current and former U.S. officials, combined raw intelligence from the CIA and DIA with information from defectors and Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi, now a member of the U.S.-installed Iraqi Governing Council. The CIA and State Department saw Chalabi, who is close to neoconservatives inside and outside the administration, as an unreliable source of information with a self-interest in pressing the case for Saddam’s ouster. The senior administration official said the assessments on illicit weapons, al Qaida and human rights in Iraq that Libby pressed on Powell were products of Cheney’s office and Feith’s efforts. The bulk of the work on illicit weapons and al Qaida links was rejected after representatives from Cheney’s office failed in a 10-hour meeting to show that the materials were from reliable sources, he said.
On the other hand, don't hold your breath. This bunch is far too arrogant to do anything close to admitting this kind of mistake.
Elsewhere we have further evidence that I should never ever move away from the civilized world where we actually know how to handle our liquor. I've long argued that should the Saints win a Super Bowl the party will be loud, rowdy, and drunken.. but not violent. It would be.. just another weekend... a very nice weekend that lasts about ten days but pleasant nonetheless.