November 18, 2007 archive

The Secret History of My Foolish Heart

I asked for a horse the Christmas I was four and was not fooled by the black and white wooden facsimile on springy-thingies I got instead.  That was my first brush with heartbreak.  I did not know to consider the children who got squat, and to be grateful.

My next heartbreak was when one of my older brothers told me there was no Santa, this the night before Christmas when I was six.

We lived in Laos when I was eight and I made a deal with my dad to pay for half the price of a horse if I saved up the other half.  Fifty bucks was the going rate for riding horses in Laos, took me nearly a year to save the twenty-five.  Found a horse and paid for it, we were supposed to pick it up in a week once it was saddle broken.  That was a Sunday.  The Sunday I was to take possession I awoke to the sound of machine-gun fire and the rumble of tanks running up and down the road in front of our house.  There had been a coup.  The fighting would rage for another year.  I was not long for Laos and I never saw my horse again.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 OPEC to study effect of dollar on prices

By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 45 minutes ago

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – OPEC will study the weak U.S. dollar’s effect on the oil cartel’s earnings and investigate the possibility of a currency basket, Iran’s oil minister said Sunday.

“We have agreed to set up a committee consisting of oil and finance ministers from OPEC countries to study the impact of the dollar on oil prices,” Gholam Hussein Nozari told Dow Jones Newswires at a rare heads-of-state OPEC summit.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani also confirmed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was forming the committee, which would “submit to OPEC its recommendation on a basket of currencies that OPEC members will deal with.” He did not give a timeline for the recommendation.

Categories and continua: Are there types of people?

People seem to love to categorize things.  One of the things we love to categorize is other people.  We categorize by sex and gender and race and age and educational level and many many other things.  

Men, women.

Masculine, feminine.

Homosexual, heterosexual.

Black, White, Asian….

Senior citizen, generation X, generation Y, boomer.

Graduate, dropout

Democrat, Republican

Conservative, liberal.

Christian, Jew…..

and so on.

Are any of these categories real?  Do they “carve nature at its joints”? (I forget who came up with that memorable line)

I doubt it.

There are many people who, when asked “Are you male or female?” can only answer ‘No’.  There are people who are masculine or feminine, and there are some who aren’t much of either, and there are some who are so hyper-masculine or feminine that they seem almost parodies of gender roles.  A woman where I work is one-quarter Black, one quarter American Indian, one quarter Scottish, and one quarter a mixture of other European countries; pray tell, what should she mark for ‘race/ethnicity’?  (oh, and she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and speaks some Yiddish).  

People aren’t born in generations, they’re born in years.  And their attitudes don’t necessarily mesh with any particular ‘generation’.  I was born in 1959.  Does that make me a boomer?

I’ve got a PhD, but I dropped out of law school.  My father has a law degree, but no BA.  The best professor I had in grad school dropped out of his own PhD program.

I count myself a Democrat, and have only once voted otherwise, but there is that once; others have split tickets or changed parties many times.

I’m very very liberal on social issues, somewhat liberal on most economic issues…. but even conservative on some issues.

I was raised Jewish, but am an atheist; of the religions I’ve studied, I find taoism most appealing, but I can’t really call myself a taoist.

and so on.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Airplane – Encore

Somebody to Love

State Department official and brother queried on Blackwater

Just a reminder,

I am working on the following story for an early morning release tomorrow.  The concept is to compile as much known information about the situation into one semi coherent essay.  If anyone has research or posts relating to this in any way please post it in the comments.

State Department official and brother queried on Blackwater

Rep. Henry Waxman decided to call State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard and his brother A.B. “Buzzy” to the same hearing after they separately gave the committee conflicting accounts about Buzzy Krongard’s ties with Blackwater, which protects U.S. diplomats and other State Department officials in Iraq.

Thanks for helping.

Preparing to Enter the Candidate Wars

I was a Gore Guy. (siiiiiiiigh)

I have had to admit my powerlessness over Al Gore not running for President. It hurt, but I have kicked the Opiate of Hope and am now willing to settle for some other candidate.

Which means to some extent or another entering The Candidate Wars at Daily Kos. I have mainly stayed out of the candidate diaries and certainly have not dared to participate directly, mainly just dipping a toe in to read a candidate diary here and there. The Candidate Wars make the Impeach Wars look like a game of flag football, and the convention isn’t until, gulp, August?

So it seems like some preparation, since this is obviously not something to be taken lightly, is in order. But since I have not studied up or paid attention to the players and the memes the players are playing, I need your help and advice on preparing myself to enter the fray. Below I will outline where I am in my process so far and ask for your kind and gentle help in completing my preparations.

The No News Is Bad News Media Symposium

I attended a riveting symposium yesterday, hosted by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, titled: No News Is Bad News – The Role Of The Media In Our Democracy. The panels were interesting for who wasn’t included as much as for who was.  

I was intrigued to note that no television or radio-based media representatives were present, but that the blogosphere was more than ably present in the guise of Marcy Wheeler – emptywheel – who blogs at home on The Next Hurrah, provided amazingly detailed live-blogging on Firedoglake of the Libby trial, and who is recognized for her meticulous research and detail into the intricacies of the legal finagling being performed by the Bush/Cheney administration.

The three sessions presented included war reporting, political reporting and the news business and the business of news. The discussions were animated, at times intense, and they were insightful for what was said and asked, and for what was left hanging in the air.

One elephant in the room was walking a circus tightrope and another was flying on a trapeze.

Blog Voices This Week 11/18/07

In the Boston Globe this week we find an article titled Blog is Beautiful: People of color challenge mainstream views online:

These intellectual challenges to mainstream and other viewpoints are some of the opinions Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, and black bloggers are exposing on a growing number of sites focused on social, political, and cultural issues. The sometimes facetiously named blogs range from Angry Asian Man to The Angry Black Woman. Readers can find Latino viewpoints at Guanabee, The Unapologetic Mexican, or Latino Pundit. Those interested in information from an Asian angle head to Ultrabrown, Zuky, or Sepia Mutiny. Sites created by blacks include The Field Negro, Too Sense, and Resist Racism….

These sites – many of which launched in the past year, although a few are older – have become places where people of color gather to refine ideas or form thoughts about race relations, racial inequities, and the role pop culture has in exacerbating stereotypes. The writers often bring attention to subjects not yet covered by mainstream media.

(links added)

I thought this week we’d take a look at the blogs that were highlighted in The Globe to find out what’s on their minds lately. So lets start at the top and work our way down.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective


White Rabbit

Docudharma Times Sunday Nov. 18

This is an Open Thread: Talking Backwards is OK

Sunday’s Headlines, FBI’s Forensic Test Full of Holes, Court rejects challenge to warrantless wiretaps,’Safe’ uranium that left a town contaminated,


FBI’s Forensic Test Full of Holes

Lee Wayne Hunt is one of hundreds of defendants whose convictions are in question now that FBI forensic evidence has been discredited.

By John Solomon

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, November 18, 2007; Page A01

Hundreds of defendants sitting in prisons nationwide have been convicted with the help of an FBI forensic tool that was discarded more than two years ago. But the FBI lab has yet to take steps to alert the affected defendants or courts, even as the window for appealing convictions is closing, a joint investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes” has found.

Md. Officials: Vaccinate Your Kids or Face Jail

From ABC News

county officials sent a letter to delinquent parents and ordered them to show up with their children in court today so standby nurses can vaccinate children. If parents refuse, the consequences are serious.

“They’re grabbing the parents by the collars and saying, ‘You must vaccinate your children,'” said Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

It was very heavy handed,” said Aloma Martin of Fort Washington, of the county’s action. “From that letter, it sounded like they were going to start putting us in jail.”

Any children who still lack immunizations could be expelled. Their parents could then be brought up on truancy charges, which can result in a 10-day jail sentence for a first offense and 30 days for a second.

It’s official, the shit is hitting the fan….

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