29 September 2006

Google Reader

Hmm.. looks like Bloglines. Congrats, Google. You finally made the reader we were all using already.

Google updates Reader

26 September 2006

19 Year Old Diebold Technician Wins U.S. Presidency

Buwhahahahaha!
In a dramatic development that has come as a surprise to pundits and the public alike, a youthful technician with Diebold, Inc. has emerged as the unlikely winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. The president-elect, 19 year old Billy Pustule of Green, Ohio, reached via SMS at the garage apartment by his mother's house in which he currently resides, said he was "real psyched about being the president" and "had big plans for the inauguration party".

Link

21 September 2006

How to Know When You Game Too Much

You write articles discussing the hand-edness of video game characters.

You create distrubing art of video game characters.

You have a category for gaming on your.. web... sitecrap.

Intelligent design OK for science class, DeVos says

And another interesting race became a moot point. It's too bad because DeVos had everything going for him: he wasn't Jenny, he was a DeVos, and he wasn't Jenny. But then he had to go and do something stupid like this.
"Lots of intelligent people can disagree about the origins of life. In the end, I believe in our system of local control,” he said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “Local school boards should have the opportunity to offer evolution and intelligent design in their curriculums."

Sigh. Sorry Dick, not even Lee Iacocca can pull you out of this stupid, stupid maneuver. You just lost my vote.
Let's say this one more time: Intelligent Design is religion. As someone from the unbelievably religious West side of this state (which is the only reason DeVos made this statement, sucking up to the old, Dutch protestants), I know religion's effects on a young mind. Note to all you old (and not so old) Dutch protestants: not everyone believes what you believe and you have zero right to force them to hear your cosmological views, especially in a science class.

You can read all the ass-kissing at the Freep; hat tip to Stupid Evil Bastard for the link.

20 September 2006

NOLA Bloggers in the news

Congrats to Karen, Bart, Michael, Alan, and Maitri for the write-up in the San Antonio Express-News. A nice summary of some of the activities going on in New Orleans.

19 September 2006

Network Weaving: NOLA Networks

Kudos to Sarah Lewis, Operations Director for ThinkNOLA, and Valdis Krebs from Network Weaving for their continued work on making sense of all the New Orleans groups involved in the recovery. Valdis has posted the first network map of the more than 1,000 groups, people and orginizations that Sarah catalogued. You can see the map on Valdis' blog.

14 September 2006

Motivational Moment

I. Effing. Hate. those insipid managerial motivational posters. The Demotivational posters [purchase] jumped the shark a long time ago, too. But, you have to have something in your mental back pocket to jump start yourself (as my last post illustrates). Mine is from Hugh MacLeod at gapidvoid.com and came from the Hughtrain, his response to the Clue Train Manifesto. It's simple, true, and hits a certain spot for me.
Merit can be bought. Passion can't. The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.

I see this over and over in people like NOLA bloggers, national figures (both Left and Right), and even in my team. I can buy my way into a meritocracy; I can't make someone passionate. And only the passionate see those fundamental things that really and truly matter.

I will work to be one of the passionate.

Doldrums

Warning: This post contains petty whining, references to winter, and cathartic material. I am not depressed, I just play it on the Internet.

Fall must be on the way; I'm feeling the demotivating doldrums coming on. J-- and I talked about this last night about how, in the middle of the day, I felt as if anywhere but where I was would be better. Not the "I want to quit my job and join the Peace Corps" kind of anywhere, just the "not my butt in that seat yet again" kind. Maybe it's a leftover from a disastrous Labor Day vacation attempt (which I now realize I didn't blog). Maybe it's the realization that I just helped justify my team (most of which hasn't even been hired yet) into $5 million. And, oh yeah, we have to build a complete ERP system in two years.

Maybe it's the onset of fall and the realization that snow is right around the corner. I actually don't mind the snow, just the constant dramatics that come with it ("a whole FOOT of snow" Booga booga booga). You'd think each flake was a harbinger of doom the way people prattle on about it.

Maybe it's not feeling motivated to work on ThinkNOLA, and the guilt that comes with not working on ThinkNOLA, which leads to less motivation, which.. you get the picture. I need to make a concrete list of items I can work on; I know I work better with tasks and items I can cross off.

Maybe it's looking at my blog and thinking "no one cares". Not that I want to have thousands of people flaming the hell out of my posts, but this is really, more than anything, vanity. And I don't like to think myself vain (seriously). So I don't blog, which doesn't add good to the equations.

I don't say these things so people will heap encouragement on me (please don't) but to, well, confess. These are not excuses, these are ruminations. I know from reading my feeds that there are others not that far removed from me who have far, far more to be depressed about. And this, too, makes me feel guilty. Guilty for wallowing. Guilty for being apathetic. Guilty for sitting on my ass doing nothing to help.

I hear a resolution coming; god let it get here.

Confessions of an Angry Blogger

I have to 'fess up; I got snookered, hoodwinked, and down-right tricked. My previous post about the Humane Society of the US (Don't We Have More Important Things to Do) was, in short, wrong.

Thanks to Dan for pointing out my ironic reaction to that false report about Wayne Pacelle's statements; the Animal Agriculture Alliance apparently either placed comments out of context or made them up completely. Dan's right when he says "They've got plenty of reasons to be mocked, but the use of the silly "canine American" term ain't one of 'em." So true. So, sorry for the mis-info, I was wrong.

That said, my comments about animal activists still stand. Reading Mr. Pacelle's Statement of Beliefs gave me pause. The euphemism-laden statement is a bleach-faded version of more radical activist propaganda. His profile in the Washington Post (linked by many vegan sites) shows a more radical side to Mr. Pacelle, including his agenda to "ban hunting, species by species, state by state, and the use of animals in research". Check out some other (older) quotes from Mr. Pacelle. Google returns many interesting articles about Mr. Pacelle; I encourage you to check him out.

However, the statements I ranted about earlier were taken out of context and I bit. Hard. For that I apologize to Mr. Pacelle and anyone who I may have offended. But, if Mr. Pacelle continues on the road he has been on since his college days, I don't think a similar statement is too far off and will be met with the same reaction as before. And for that I will not apologize.

12 September 2006

Don't We Have More Important Things To Do?

UPDATE: Welcome Googlers. Check out the follow-up post before you flame this one.

Remember kids, if you want to advance your cause, personalize the subject and rev up your logical fallacies. Today's example: they're not dogs, they're "Canine Americans". No joke.

And animal-rights groups wonder why we don't take them seriously. I'm not advocating random acts of brutality against dogs, cats, or rodents, but are we so confused about this issue that we have to anthropomorphize our pets?

I love my dog, he's the closest I ever hope to having a child. But even I know that, at the end of the day, he's a dog. Yes, he has feelings and emotions and desires, but he also has no opposable thumbs, would run away at the first chance you gave him, and would knock down a door to get peanut butter. I am responsible for that animal, but that doesn't make him anything more than that, an animal. He has primal instincts and motivations that, with education, I have been able to use to train him.

However, he is not an "American" anymore than I'm an executive by virtue of sitting in a high-back chair. That identity is meaningless simply because it is based on convenient accoutrement of my present situation. If my dog is moved to Canada, does he lose his "American" rights? What about a country where it's customary to eat dogs?

If my dog has any rights, he has the right to be happy and free from abuse, rights which are my duty to ensure. I am constantly disgusted by these moral bigots and busy-bodies who think they have the burden of telling me how awful I am for using certain words. I'm not a pet "owner", I'm a pet "parent". He's not a dog, he's a canine American. Oh, please.

We have laws to punish those who mistreat animals; enforce them. Instead of these idiotic agendas--which cost millions of dollars to create, market, and legislate--how about tossing some money to the people who are protecting animals? Animals are not people. I'll say it again. Animals are not people. As much as I love my dog, I would save a person over him. That doesn't mean I wouldn't miss him terribly. That doesn't mean I hate dogs. And it doesn't make me unworthy of being a pet "parent". It means that I am able to distinguish between people and animals, something that groups like the Humane Society of the United States have apparently ceased to be able to do.

Crooks and Liars » Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Bush: Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you

I've talked about Keith Olbermann before. I'm doing it again. Edward R. Murrow would be proud.

Video here. Text below. Read it, watch it.


And lastly tonight a Special Comment on why we are here. Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space.
And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.



I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.
And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.
However. Of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast — of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds… none of us could have predicted… this.

Five years later this space… is still empty.
Five years later there is no Memorial to the dead.
Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.
Five years later this country’s wound is still open.
Five years… later this country’s mass grave is still unmarked.



Five years later… this is still… just a background for a photo-op.
It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial — barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field, Mr. Lincoln said "we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We can nto dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground." So we won’t.

Instead they bicker and buck-pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they’re doing — instead of doing any job at all.
Five years later, Mr. Bush… we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir — on these 16 empty acres, the terrorists… are clearly, still winning.
And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation.
There is, its symbolism — of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.



The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it… was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.
Those who did not belong to his party — tabled that.
Those who doubted the mechanics of his election — ignored that.
Those who wondered of his qualifications — forgot that.



History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government, by its critics.
It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation’s wounds, but to take political advantage.
Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.
The President — and those around him — did that.
They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused; as appeasers; as those who, in the Vice President’s words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."
They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken… a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated Al-Qaeda as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ’something to do’ with 9/11, is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase, is "impeachable offense."



Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space… and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.
Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible — for anything — in his own administration.



Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced — possibly financed by — the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.
How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death… after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections… how dare you or those around you… ever "spin" 9/11.

Just as the terrorists have succeeded — are still succeeding — as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero…
So too have they succeeded, and are still succeeding — as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.
This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney’s continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."
In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm.

Suddenly his car — and only his car — starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man’s lights go on.

As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced.
An "alien" is shot — but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help.

The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials areseen, manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there’s no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it’s themselves."



And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight.
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men.
"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American…
When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"… look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:
Who has left this hole in the ground?
We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
You have.
May this country forgive you.



As a born-in-the-blood Republican, and someone who voted for Bush, I've given up. I'm also someone who examines the facts and, while not everything from the Left is the truth, the lies from the Right are profoundly worse.



[via Crooks and Liars ]

07 September 2006

The New and Improved Auchtoon! (now with Blog)

Awesome cartoonist and all-around great guy (no, seriously) John Auchter has a new and improved website/blog. John's been cranking away learning all about Wordpress and servers and hosting (oh my) and he's finally up and running. Check out his new site and leave a commnet.. he'll even talk back.

01 September 2006

Cool

In a follow-up to a post on Boing Boing about New Orleans a year after the Big K, I dropped a link to point out that ThinkNOLA's been around for a tad bit longer.

Damn if that suggestion didn't make the front page (on a holiday weekend Friday, but hey, it's better than a knitting blog).