greensword: (he saves children)
Finally, someone to help Talula Does The Hula In Hawaii feel better about her name.

Yes, that's right: someone named their child Adolf Hitler.

That poor, poor child. :(
greensword: (Default)
Man, this is sad to say, but if I played basketball against her? This five year old would own me.


This was totally supposed to be a feel good post but I can't resist pointing out that no matter how good this girl gets, she won't be allowed to play in the NBA.
greensword: (Default)
7 more days and I'll stop posting incessantly about politics.

Here's a question for you all, though - what other races are you watching, besides the Presidential?

I have a special interest in:

the Minnesota senate race - Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken. Franken is currently up by a point or two. This is Paul Wellstone's old seat and I and everyone else I know would love to see Coleman lose and a liberal - and friend of Paul's - win the seat.

NJ-05 - Scott Garrett vs. Dennis Shulman. This is the district I grew up in, in NJ. It was held by a moderate republican for over a decade before Garrett came along. Garrett is one of the four or five most conservative members of the house. Conversely, Shulman is pretty liberal - plus he's a rabbi, a clinical psychologist, and blind. If nothing else, he'd make the most interesting new addition to congress.

Georgia senate race - Saxby Chambliss vs. Jim Martin. Although Saxby has an awesome name, he's a complete asshole. He won in 2002 by showing ads that compared then-incumbent democratic senator Max Cleland to Osama bin laden that questioned his patriotism. If we're not allowed to question McCain's patriotism for being a POW, I don't see how Chambliss got away with questioning the patriotism of a guy who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam. Like the Minnesota race, this is mostly about me wanting to see an asshole lose.

Prop 8 in California - Gay Marriage - Prop 8 is a referendum to end gay marriage in California (and, I believe, retroactively invalidate marriages that have been performed there?). The yes-on-8 folks have been almost entirely funded by out of state mormons. Go figure.

What are you guys keeping your eyes on??
greensword: (Default)
Alan Greenspan, re: capitalism:

“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms,” Mr. Greenspan said.

Referring to his free-market ideology, Mr. Greenspan added: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.”

Mr. Waxman pressed the former Fed chair to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Mr. Waxman said.

“Absolutely, precisely,” Mr. Greenspan replied.

Andrew Lahde puts it less delicately:

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

Don't look now, I think the invisible hand is giving you the invisible finger.
greensword: (they call me a cock-eyed optimist)
Today had an exciting break from routine - Al Gore came to campus and gave a speech. Given that Gore is probably my favorite living politician and that I've never seen him speak before, I decided to get there early and camp out in the good seats, raging head cold be damned. (Harvard, ridiculous but lovely place that it is, provided free apple cider and squash soup to everyone attending. It made the two hours of sitting in the frigid, rainy weather a little more bearable.)

Gore gave a great speech in which he talked not just about global warming (which was to be expected, given that he was speaking for Sustainability Day) but about how we live in a culture where reason and truth are no longer the prime motivators for anything we do. He linked denial about global warming to the false premises behind the Iraq War (75% of Americans polled the night of the congress' vote thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11) and the brazen assumptions that were the fuel of the subprime and credit default crisis. He blasted the media for helping foster a culture where what's entertaining is more important than what really impacts us and where all we have is the pretense of objectivity, a poor substitute for truth.

He quoted Theodor Adorno on Germany under the Nazis: "Questions of fact had become questions of power."

There was then a brief but deep silence as everyone digested that remark. Then Gore frowned and said something along the lines of, "Of course, America isn't Nazi Germany." But you could tell that he wanted the audience to draw the comparison.

I don't believe that all the world's problems could be solved if only everyone were reasonable about things. I don't think that truth is something easy to find, or even something that always exists. But, like Gore, I think that any government - any media - any culture who does away with facts, who treats them like little weights or bargaining chips that should be evenly balanced between all sides, who pretends to to objectivity without acknowledging their own deep biases, is in trouble. Facts, reason - that's how we communicate with each other. That's how we convince each other, without resorting to force. If reason is useless, than there is no defense against power but power. If reason is disregarded, then the powerless are also the defenseless.

I'm glad that Obama's probably going to win. That the democrats are going to control both the executive branch and congress. And I think it's incredibly exciting that Obama's making the shift from foreign oil to alternative energy a centerpiece of his campaign - I think that's the single most important change that America needs to make.

But I'm still frightened. I don't know why Obama's winning now, when Kerry lost in 2004 and Gore in 2000. I get the feeling that it's not because the American electorate suddenly started listening to reason.


On a brighter note - we have a new puppy!


Oct. 15th, 2008 10:29 pm
greensword: (Default)
John McCain on ACORN:

We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.

I think this is objectively repulsive.

There is a long and ugly history of voter suppression in this country, primarily of minorities and people living in impoverished areas. Urban areas given bad machinery that throws out a greater percentage of votes. A much higher ratio of voters to voting machines, so that lines at polling places in urban areas stretch out for blocks. People who have to work to eat forced to take the day off so they can stand for eight hours in line - while others who can take a day off can speed through the process in twenty minutes. Florida illegally removing the votes of (mostly minority) people who committed crimes in other states - and then also removing non-felons as well. Partisans challenging the residency (and therefore eligibility to vote) of people who are homeless or who have recently lost their homes. Flyers in minority neighborhoods advertising the wrong day to vote or falsely telling people they can't vote if they have outstanding fines or parking tickets.

But does anyone want to talk about that? No.

Look, what ACORN is being accused of is voter registration fraud. What is very different from voter fraud. Registration fraud just means some fake names are being registered. Well, I say, no harm, no foul. I don't care who's registered, so long as only eligible people actually come out and vote.

How exactly do you commit actual vote fraud? Well, to start off, you have to find someone willing to vote multiple times under different aliases. Given that the penalty for vote fraud is prison time, you'll have to pay these people a lot. And unfortunately, you can't risk them going to the same polling place twice, otherwise they might be recognized by poll workers. So you have to drive them around to all the different places they've fake-registered. Maybe you'll hit up a dozen polling places in a day. Maybe even two dozen. It's easier if you do it absentee, but even then, you've got to provide identification... identification that's a lot harder to fake than just filling out a form and saying your name is Mickey Mouse. Why would anyone try to register as Mickey Mouse? No one would. Most of these registrations are made up by lazy workers at registration drives who just want their $10 an hour, please. No one is going to try to get an extra vote out of these things.

And look, ACORN specifically has done everything they can to combat registration fraud. They're legally required to hand every single registration card they get over to authorities, but they've been patiently checking and double-checking and flagging anything they think is suspicious so that the local authorities can look into it further. Frequently, this information has been ignored. In Nevada, the authorities are accusing them of voter fraud, citing the same registrations that ACORN told them they should look at several months ago.

So there you have it. While voter suppression is blithely ignored, nonexistent voter fraud is suddenly the big scandal of the 2008 campaign. I mean, damn, has anybody been paying attention to what happened with the U.S. attorney firing scandal? Where the Bush department of Justice illegally fired U.S. attorneys - most of them Republicans - because they refused to follow up on allegations of voter fraud that were patently unfounded? Has anyone ever even heard of someone - anyone - going to jail for vote fraud?

And you know what? I'm going to go there: This is racist. This is completely racist. And classist, too, while we're at it.

They're actively suppressing the vote of poor people and minorities, and when groups like ACORN try to increase voter turnout among those groups, they try to smear them and say they're committing fraud.

I'm not saying the democrats wouldn't do exactly the same thing if they had the opportunity. But the fact of the matter is that right here, right now, the Republicans are trying to keep minorities and poor people from voting. And that's pretty damn disgusting.
greensword: (Default)
Spider Jerusalem, on the importance of increasing voter registration among people on your side:

Full size here.

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Great State of Pennsylvania -- as well as in Texas, and probably also in several other states. So if you're a US citizen over the age of 18 with no recent felony record and you're not registered, for heaven's sake, get out there and do it! You can find out if you're registered and locate your polling location at this nifty site.
greensword: (Default)
The subprime housing crisis as explained by stick figures.

Also, my sister and I have been playing Credit Default Swaps all day.


Also, a question:

Do you think there will be/could be another great depression?
greensword: (Default)
I swear to god, if one more guy says something "ironically" sexist to me, about me, or even anywhere near me, I am going to staple a fucking shredder to my vag and set out to castrate the entire male population.
greensword: (i fight the world!)
I think there is an art to amusing yourself when you're alone, or when the power goes out, or when you lose internet access. I remember a period of months - or was it even years - when I was growing up, before we had a computer in the house, but after Nickelodeon's prime years were past and I wasn't really watching t.v. I read every book in the house, from my sister's awful fantasy collection (Robert Jordan, people) to my father's collection on suicide prevention. I read every book at least three times. But sometimes I just ran out of books.

I remember spending hours in the forest behind my house, making up stories in my head as I followed the muddy paths to the lake. I remember bringing all my dolls and stuffed animals down to the basement, where I ran an orphanage. Or on nice days, I would lie on the hill in my backyard looking up at the sky and make up lives for myself, because when all you can see are clouds and all you can feel are damp blades of grass, you can be anyone and anywhere. (Well, anywhere that there's clouds and grass, that is.)

I think there is something to be said for days that stretch out endlessly, that you don't know how to fill. Sometimes I hate that my first impulse, when bored, is to go online. I can always fill my time now, but with what?

What about you? Do you wish you spent less time online, or do you wish you had more time? Are you too busy, or are you restless? If you were granted an extra day, every week, what would you fill it with?
greensword: (Default)
Eight years ago, I liked John McCain. Not a lot, of course, and definitely not enough to support him - at fifteen years old, I littered the roads of my little town with Gore for President signs, and even spent a few nights phone-banking for him. But I still liked McCain. Which was no surprise - I was never a partisan democrat. In addition to phone-banking for my congresswoman, republican Marge Roukema, when I was 18, I spent a semester interning for another republican congresswoman of mine, Connie Morella. (Who was, by the way, completely awesome.)

Anyway, I never agreed with McCain's opinions on social issues - gay marriage, abortion, etc. - but I always had the sense that he was a man of integrity, who was loyal more to the principles of his party than whoever happened to be in power at the time.

I have grown more cynical since I was sixteen. I am less willing to give politicians the benefit of the doubt. I am less willing to trust them to do the right thing. I have changed.

So has John McCain.

Over the past eight years, he has been positioning himself for another presidential run. Unable to do this as a maverick, he has abandoned his positions - if they ever were his positions - and fully embraced George W. Bush's philosophy.

Of course, if you're not paying attention, you wouldn't necessarily notice this. You might think he's still a maverick. But he is not a maverick. In 2007, he voted with Bush 95% of the time. This past year, he has voted with Bush Every. Single. Vote.

What sorts of things has he voted on?

- He voted against Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, but voted to make them permanent in 2006. He is running now on his own set of tax cuts which sound just up Bush's alley: lots of tax cuts for wealthy people and for corporations, with low-income and middle-class families passed by. (My favorite part is how corporations such as Wal*Mart will now pay the same percentage of their income in taxes as I do! Awesome. My second favorite part is how he and his wife themselves would get $300,000 in tax refunds. Check that website for a nifty graph comparing how the McCain and Obama tax plans would affect the McCain and Obama households.)

- He voted against the U.S. ban on torture, despite being a former prisoner of war himself and having previously led opposition to U.S. use of water-boarding and other types of torture.

- He has voted against funding health care for veterans at least five times and against increasing money for safety equipment for troops in Iraq at least twice.

Then, of course, there's his votes on Iraq, on the Patriot Act, his support for telecomm immunity - I could go on and on, but I'll spare you all (and myself).

Of course, there are plenty of things he hasn't made the wrong vote on. Those, he didn't vote on at all. According to the Wash Post he's missed 60% of senate votes as of late May - by contrast, Obama missed 40% and Clinton missed 30%, during the primary season. (The only senator who missed more than McCain had a brain hemorrhage.)

The only thing McCain had going for him in 2000 was his integrity and his maverick positions on a few important issues. With those gone, what exactly about John McCain am I supposed to like and respect? Am I supposed to be charmed by his off-color, frequently misogynist, racist, and homophobic sense of humor? Am I supposed to identify with the lifestyle of a man who owns seven houses? Am I supposed to give the benefit of the doubt to a man who believes that my friends shouldn't be allowed to adopt or marry and that the government can control what I do with my own body?

There are precious few things left to like about McCain. I like that he supports stem cell research - but Obama supports that as well. I like that he's for providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship - but, again, Obama supports that as well.

I mean, I just don't understand how people - democrats, friends of mine - can take him seriously as a presidential candidate. I just don't. What do people possibly see in him? Are they ignorant? Do they have such very different values from me? Or am I missing something obvious, some shining example of character or good judgment that mitigates his abhorrent positions and decisions?

Am I?
greensword: (Default)
Here is a hypothetical question. Does owning seven houses worth thirteen million dollars make a person incapable of empathizing with or understanding people who live in poverty? Do you think it makes them less likely to empathize or understand?

If someone can be very rich but still favor helping people in poverty, does that mean that someone else's life experiences as a very wealthy person bear no relation to feelings that poor people should just pull themselves up from their bootstraps?
greensword: (<3)
In a few days my paid account is going to expire, so I figured I'd get one last poll in. And the princess discussion on my last post got me thinking about fairy tales, which got me thinking about children's literature in general, which got me thinking about my childhood in general... and, well, it all spiraled out of control.

SO. That said, I give to you the best, most ridiculous poll ever! I couldn't possibly come up with all possible answers to half of these questions, though, so feel free to vote "other" and explain in the comments.

[Poll #1245008]
greensword: (apathy kills.)
I'm going to do these every once in a while and see how many I get before the election is over. Clumping them in groups of 10 or more to save everyone's sanity, though.

1. Tax breaks and campaign contributions. Maybe it's not a quid pro quo, but doesn't it make you a little uncomfortable that corporate CEOs are donating 10:1 in favor of McCain, while their employees are donating more to Obama? Of course, it makes sense, since McCain's tax plan gives $45 billion in tax breaks to the nation's biggest companies, including $4 billion to the largest oil companies and $1 billion each to Wal Mart, Bank of America, and many others. But hey, maybe McCain's not doing it for the CEOs... after all, he and his wife will get $300,000 in tax cuts!

2. He's against gay adoption. Asshole.

3. Also, against choice. A zero % rating from NARAL. One really has to work for that, huh?

4. Thinks the situation in Georgia is the "first probably serious crisis" since the end of the Cold War. I think this has to be a misspeak of some kind... because otherwise... Gulf War? Invasion of Afghanistan? Iraq war? 9/11?

5. Of course, this isn't the first misstatement McCain has made. After all, he can't really think that Iraq and Pakistan share a border, right? That Somalia and Sudan are the same country? Or that Czechoslovakia still, y'know, exists?

6. We'd better hope those are all just misstatements, since I don't think even losing the election will quell McCain's need to interfere in foreign affairs. Inappropriate, much?

7. Lies about inventing things. I actually don't care about this either way, but think of how the media jumped all over Gore for once misspeaking about his role in supporting the creation of the internet.

8 & 9. Misses crucial alternative energy votes - and then lies about it. McCain says he hasn't missed "any crucial energy votes"... from this link: John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote. Not to mention a piece of renewable energy legislation which failed by one vote... John McCain's...

10. Does not know how to use a computer. My grandparents have learned to use AIM and they're a) older than McCain and b) not running to be leader of the free world. I'm just sayin'.


That's all for now, folks. Except to say:

John McCain loves you. Isn't that enough?
greensword: (Default)
Do you have any good biographies and/or books about interesting periods or events in history that you'd like to share with me?
greensword: (Default)
I'm pretty sure Glamour is the worst, most soul-sucking magazine I've ever read.

There are a couple at Gwen's apartment, so I picked one up and flipped through it. At first it was merely annoying - all stories about socialites and how to decorate your summer homes. There was an article about Chris Evert that was actually what made me pick the damn thing up, but it ended up being about how her style had changed over time. I would rather read about how her tennis game changed.

Anyway, this was all fairly unoffensive, inasmuch as one can read glowing praise of how eco-friendly some rich chick's six cars are without being offended, until I reached the "health and beauty" section.

One article on micro-surgery. Which is cosmetic surgery that no one notices you've had - small, slow changes to the tip of the nose, the jaw, the sides of the eyes. Another article on brides buying botox or boob jobs for their bridesmaids. (I mean, really, Debi. You held out on us.) But the kicker? An article subtitled 'In the quest for beauty, has one body part been overlooked?'.

That's right. An article about just how fucking ugly our armpits are.


That is some sick shit right there.

Cool, huh?

Jul. 25th, 2008 09:50 am
greensword: (to bake an apple pie from scratch)
So, if a black hole doesn't spontaneously swallow the earth, I'll be visiting family friends who work here sometime next spring or summer.

Yet making mini black holes may be possible when the world’s largest particle accelerator—the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—goes online outside Geneva, Switzerland...The charge, then as now, is that microscopic black holes produced at the collider might coalesce and engulf the earth, ending all life as we know it. LHC scientists have publicly dismissed the lawsuit as bunkum while quietly double-checking their math just to be sure.
greensword: (nothing could possibly go wrong)
Things You Can't Name Your Kids:
Talula Does the Hula
Sex Fruit
Yeah Detroit!

Things You Can Name Your Kids:
Number 16 Bus Shelter

What do we think? Will "Sports Interviews" or "Carface" ever make it through the courts?
greensword: (Default)
I know that as active, intelligent American citizens we're supposed to make decisions based on Serious Issues, and not be swayed by little things like how well the candidate bowls or how much his haircut cost or whether he's ever committed an impeachable offense. However, I just had to start off my John McCain series with something a little superficial... his sense of humor.

God, I love a man with a sense of humor, and isn't it true that I just love John McCain? I think he should consider a career as a stand-up comic. In fact, I think he should get started with that immediately.

Here are some of his best - trust me, they had me howling (with laughter, of course!).

From 1998:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno!

From 1992:

Cindy McCain: My, you're getting a little then up there.
John: At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.

Most recently :

Responding to a question about a survey that shows increased exports to
Iran, mainly from cigarettes, McCain said, "Maybe thats a way of killing them."

He quickly caught himself, saying "I meant that as a joke".

(Which of course, reminds me of this video, where McCain shows off his sense of humor and his singing ability...)

And, my favorite...

From 1986:

[Have you heard] the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? ... When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, "Where is that marvelous ape?"

Now, in all fairness, McCain denies ever telling the cunt joke and the ape joke, but given his track record and his non-denial denials, I tend to believe he did.

Anyway, time for another poll!

[Poll #1227362]

Did I miss a favorite McCain joke of yours? Tell it in the comments!
greensword: (Default)
So, I'm planning on doing quite a few posts on John McCain, but before I do, I wanted to get a sense of how my friendslist feels about him. So - a poll! (God, I love polls. How have I lived without them?) I changed the settings so only I can see your individual answers- if you really want to be private about this, you can also answer anonymously in a comment to this post.

[Poll #1224285]


greensword: (Default)

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