Buddy Miles and Mike Smith both died this week. Miles played drums with Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys and with Mike Bloomfield's Electric Flag, as well as with Carlo Santana. He was also the lead voice for the Claymation California Raisins, the sketch ads for the fruit in the 1980s.
Smith was the lead singer and keyboardist for The Dave Clark Five (Clark was the drummer). The band had a string of big hits in the 1960s, including "Glad All Over" and "Because." I always thought the latter was one of the prettiest ballads of the time, and I'm glad to see Avedon agrees with me. She dug up a performance of the song, too.
Kane was a slack-key guitar master and a very self-effacing man. He always had singers fronting with him because he didn't feel he knew the Hawaiian language well enough to sing it. Here's a link to Amazon where you can hear some clips of his music.
From the teaser last week it appears we'll see Sayid and the helicopter. Will it arrive on the freighter? When? Will we get any hints to the names of the still-unidentified members of the Oceanic Six? Whose flash-forwards will we see?
Oh for cryin' out loud. They have to add time travel into this, as though there's not enough confusion already?
No hints as to who else survives; no flash-forwards, just flashbacks with contemporaneous events mixed in. And how could 2004 Penny tell Desmond on the phone that she knew about the island from "your friend Charlie?"
Questions, questions! I want answers!
Poor scheduling, part 327: Dental examination to mold a crown for me at 11:00 AM. Mom's dental checkup immediately following my stint in the chair. Refrigerator repair (again; I wish there were a lemon law for home appliances!) between 1:00-5:00 PM.
I feel like the White Rabbit.
Update: Numbed, I am.
Last year I went in for the annual auto inspection preparatory to registering my car and had to buy two new front tires in order to pass. I should have known that I'd have to buy two new rear tires in order to pass this time.
Anyway, that little expenditure taken care of and the inspection sticker gotten, I went down to the Satellite City Hall this morning to renew the auto registration and was shocked. There were about ten people in the line in front of me, and I was prepared to wait a while. Not so. I got in and out of there in under ten minutes.
Now that's what a DMV experience ought to be.
No, not the movie. A rewrite of the second-holiest book in Islam (the Hadith) to bring it up to twenty-first century thought.
Turkey in radical revision of Islamic texts
Turkey is preparing to publish a document that represents a revolutionary reinterpretation of Islam—and a controversial and radical modernisation of the religion.
The country’s powerful Department of Religious Affairs has commissioned a team of theologians at Ankara University to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith, the second most sacred text in Islam after the Koran.
The Hadith is a collection of thousands of sayings reputed to come from the Prophet Muhammad. As such, it is the principal guide for Muslims in interpreting the Koran and the source of the vast majority of Islamic law, or Sharia.
Via Making Light, which has many more quotations and commentary.
I think it's safe to say there are some very powerful groups practicing Islam who are not going to like this idea at all. The clerics in Saudi Arabia and Iran, for two.
Who'd have thought that a government run largely by a secular Islamist party would take on such a large and controversial task?
This could have monumental consequences worldwide. I wish them luck.
Greater love hath no man than to drive twenty-six miles round trip to get pain pills for his dog.
"The Herblock Prize is awarded annually for distinguished examples of original editorial cartooning that exemplify the courageous independent standard set by the late Washington Post cartoonist. The winner receives a $10,000 tax-free award."
Much as I love Kristin Chenoweth's talent and voice, the material she had to work with couldn't come close to the winner. And I loved that ratty beat-up guitar!
Post concept blatantly stolen from Lance.
News item: Ralph Nader to run for President again.
This time his rationale is that both parties are too close to big business.
I'm sure the National Federation of Independent Business will be delighted to have such a well-respected candidate representing its interests.
Seriously, if anyone donates a dime to another Nader vanity candidacy, he needs his head read.
Cate Blanchett will win for I'm Not There because A. She was good. B. She plays a man. C. The man she plays is Bob Dylan. D. She's Cate Blanchett. E. Tilda Swinton's her only real competition and Swinton's part in Michael Clayton isn't as integral to making that movie work as Wilkinson's was [in the same film].
Makes sense to me.
I went to the neighborhood post office today to mail off some tax forms. The wait was only about ten minutes.
Not bad for a Saturday morning.
Oh, I heard a clip of Bush's radio address today in which he said, "Somewhere in the world, at this very moment, terrorists are planning the next attack on America. And to protect America from such attacks, we must protect our telecommunications companies from abusive lawsuits."
Right. At no time during the Cold War was anyone planning an attack on America; this is the most dangerous period in our history. But if we indemnify America's telecomm companies for their past and future misdeeds we'll all be safe.
That's George Bush's guiding philosophy for you: protect the wealthy at all costs.
Senator McCain's anti-lobbyist screeds notwithstanding, he sure seems to take their advice.
. . .when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JPMorgan and U.S. Airways.
Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O' Lakes, UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae.
Public Citizen, a group that monitors campaign fundraising, has found that McCain has more bundlers -- people who gather checks from networks of friends and associates -- from the lobbying community than any other presidential candidate from either party.
By the group's current count, McCain has at least 59 federal lobbyists raising money for his campaign, compared with 33 working for Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani and 19 working for Democrat Clinton.
I've always thought he was PlasticMan.
Entertainment Weekly has an interview with Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, producers of that miserably addictive and confusing program called "Lost."
It's called "Eggtown," for reasons subtle and unknowable in advance. Here's Ryan's post.
You do know that he and Jen have started their weekly "Lost" podcast up again, don't you? After each week's post, the following one is a podcast of their thoughts about it. They did this for season 2, I think, but life got in the way of them doing it for last season.
Eight survivors. The Oceanic Six plus Ben plus who? Juliette? Desmond?
It looks like Claire isn't among the Six if Kate has Aaron. But then why would Jack be averse to seeing the child? He surely knows Claire didn't make it and the baby did. Man, what a puzzlement.
Kate in heels was a treat.
Last night (5:36pm HST) the USS Lake Erie supposedly shot down that oh-so-threatening hydrazine-laden satellite (I've seen no physical evidence that it really did, which is why I use the word "supposedly"). I still wonder about the actual motives behind this action. In an online chat yesterday at the Washington Post, Ivan Oelrich, the Vice President for Strategic Security Programs at the Federation of American Scientists said this:
To put this in some perspective, the US produces 36,000,000 pounds of hydrazine every year. The world 130,000,000 pounds. This is transported around the country in trucks and on trains. At any given moment FAR more hydrazine is being shipped on the country's highways, through towns and cities and inhabited areas, than the amount on this satellite. (And far more dangerous materials, like chlorine.)
Oelrich thinks this was more a demonstration of anti-missile defense systems (Star Wars) to the rest of the world, and he's not alone. From Dan Froomkin's column this morning:
Bruce W. MacDonald and Charles D. Ferguson write in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that "the administration put at risk multiple U.S. security interests -- a high price to pay to offset that highly unlikely danger.
"The administration has insisted that it was not trying to test the anti-satellite capabilities of the Navy's Aegis missile defense system, but that was exactly the result. The action was similar to China's unwise anti-satellite test in January 2007: An interceptor missile was launched, releasing a warhead meant to destroy the target satellite. . . .
As I said below, if we hadn't been lied to repeatedly over the past seven years I might believe the stated purpose. As it is, I don't. I hadn't given much thought to the possibility that doing this might militarize space and encourage other countries (China and Russia) to do so, but I should have.
Froomkin's column cites other editorials which express doubts; read pages 1 and 2.
However much the aging revolutionary has done for his people, he refused ever to trust them — to openly debate political questions, and to choose wisely in a genuinely competitive political system. Instead, it was Father knows best, on an epic scale.
Hmm. Not much different from the American Republican party's guiding principle, huh?
That post is recommended reading.
It was no surprise that Obama won the Hawai'i caucus; that was expected. What was not expected was the high number of people who showed up to vote.
Excitement about Obama, who graduated from Punahou School and represents Illinois, raised interest in last night's caucuses to record levels. Party officials had expected a larger-than-normal turnout and printed 17,000 ballots. It proved well short of the more than 37,000 votes cast and many precincts resorted to handing out scraps of paper to voters to write in their choice.
In comparison, the last caucus in 2004 had a total of nearly 4,000, which had been considered a strong turnout.
The late local news showed pictures of people still in line to vote at 10:00pm over in Kailua. All over the state the lines resembled South Africa in 1994 when the first general election was held.
I suggested that the sure way to get voter turnout up here was to put a local guy on the ballot; Mom reminded me that when Jasmine Trias came in third on American Idol it was Hawai'i voters who overwhelmed the show's voting system.
The political class in this town is positively giddy. Hawai'i' is actually having a nationally meaningful election (ok, caucus) this evening. Usually we're an afterthought; in fact, in 1980 Carter conceded to Reagan before our polls had even closed, which may have driven down our already anemic turnout.
Caucus turnout has never exceeded 5,000 but party officials believe that figure could double tonight and could reach as high as 12,000. Local volunteers for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois are suggesting that turnout could even climb into the 15,000 to 18,000 range, which would likely overwhelm party volunteers conducting the presidential preference poll.
Tonight's vote selects 20 of the 29 delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August; the other 9 break down as follows:
It should be exciting.
Via Making Light's Particles comes this astonishing list: A Timeline of Science Fiction Inventions (I'd have called it Imaginations), from weightlessness in 1638 (Francis Godwin) to Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (in 2000 -- Larry Niven, and under development even now).
It's damned amazing. Heinlein thought of a cellphone in 1953 in Assignment in Eternity.
"How come," he asked as he came abreast, "they had to search for you?"
"Left my pocketphone in my other suit," Coburn returned briefly. "Did it on purpose - I wanted a little peace and quiet. No luck."
If I were a speechwriter for either Democratic candidate tasked with writing a short text to be delivered on this President's Day, I'd give a few bullet points about Bush's depradations (wiretapping, signing statements, the destruction of habeas corpus, the national security state), and then I would be sure to work in something along these lines:
On January 20, 2009, "this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
If we want to bring down a wayward satellite because we'd prefer what's on it not get into the wrong hands, why don't we just say so?
This nonsense about toxic gas hasn't even convinced the JCS:
Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright cast the threat from the satellite in much less dire terms. Even if the hydrazine were released, he noted, the effects would likely be mild -- akin to chlorine gas poisoning, which can cause burning in the lungs, and elsewhere. The area affected would be "roughly the size of two football fields [where you might] incur something that would make you go to the doctor."
If there hadn't been so many lies fed to us over the past seven years I'd be more likely to believe the "dangerous gas" explanation. More discussion here.
Here's Bush in Benin, his first stop on a five-nation Africa tour.
"This is a large place with a lot of nations and no question not everything is perfect. On the other hand, there are a lot of great success stories and the United States is pleased to be involved with those success stories."
And God forbid we should be involved with the disasters.
I can haz smart President, plz?
Punxsutawney Phil may have his fans, but the true harbinger of spring is the first utterance of the phrase "Pitchers and catchers report."
What better new blog to discover, then, than Spring Training '08? It's a group effort with a main page showcasing breaking news and team pages on which "you'll find a cheat sheet to Spring Training written by a blogger and updated throughout the Spring, as well as all news stories, featured posts and photos relating to the team."
Yes, it's got an RSS feed.
via Baseball Musings
Here's Ryan's post at The Transmission.
RG? Who the hell is RG? And why were similar bracelets (if not the same one) worn by Naomi and the German blonde? Who are the bad guys and what are they after?
So now we know Sayid makes it off the island (a friend of mine who just saw this episode calls him Oceanic 815's Jason Bourne), and so does Ben. I don't think Ben counts as one of "The Oceanic Six" since he wasn't on the plane.
We know Locke and now Sawyer have little desire to leave; who else is a candidate to voluntarily stay behind? Rose and hubby? I gotta believe Claire wants off, and so does Juliette.
"You are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike."
For all the unattached: Hank Williams.
Hey! A Beagle won Best in Show at Westminster!
It's the second time in four years a breed I've owned has won Westminster.
It won't do a lick of good unless it serves as a reminder of just who the ultimate employer is, but nonetheless:
I note with dismay your vote today against stripping immunity from telecommunications companies for potential crimes committed at the request of the Bush Administration. Was the lobbying effort on the part of these companies successful in persuading you that their profits were more important than the American system of law?
I think you owe your constituents an explanation for this vote. How can it be that illegal wiretapping of American citizens doesn't automatically trigger a negative response from you, particularly in light of your experience on the Senate's Watergate Committee?
How far you've come since those days.
I'm ashamed of you and of my state's complicity in this affirmation of government criminality.
There are days when I don't understand why elected officials call themselves Democrats; if they're just going to align themselves with the Republicans, the Bush Administration, and Big Business in the form of telephone companies, why claim otherwise?
The Senate voted today to preserve retroactive immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies that cooperated with a government eavesdropping program, decisively rejecting an amendment that would have stripped the provision from a bill to modernize an electronic surveillance law.
Senators voted 67 to 31 to shelve the amendment offered by Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). A filibuster-proof 60 votes had been needed for the amendment to move forward.
The Republican Senators voted entirely against stripping immunity, 48-0. The Democrats were split, 30-18. Here are the 18 sellouts to the Bush Administration; sadly, one of my Senators is included.
Evan Bayh, Thomas Carper, Kent Conrad, Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Inouye, Tim Johnson, Herb Kohl, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Mikulski, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Kenneth Salazar, Debbie Stabenow, Jim Webb.
If your Senator is among those and you feel outraged, you might want to call his or her office to register your discontent. I intend to.
Glenn Greenwald has more.
Funniest 1:39 you'll see on YouTube this month.
Between 11 & 12 on Sundays HPR runs a New Age radio show called New Dimensions. I don't listen to it.
The manufacturer of my new phone tells me I can send my old one to them (postage paid; give Motorola credit) for recycling, but that I should remove all personal information from it first.
I can't even get it to boot up.
My understanding is that all personal info is stored on the SIM card in a cellphone. If that's the case I could just remove the card and send the phone off with no worries, right?
Not that there's any info other than about a dozen cellphone numbers on there anyway. I certainly never stored PIN numbers or anything like that in the phone.
Charlie Pierce says what I've been saying, but better:
For the past couple of weeks, they've just gotten blatant about it. The administration of George W. Bush is bound by no law, bound by no precedent, bound not even by the forms of democratic self-government, let alone its actual substance, which is being used as a throw-rug in John Yoo's den these days. They will torture and the Congress can do nothing. Their powers to spy, to search, and to seize are unlimited and Congress is not remotely entitled to know even what those powers are. They can imprison without trial. They can force corporations -- and, indeed, individuals within the government -- to violate the law. They are not subject to treaties. They are not subject to oversight, nor even subpoenas. Read this swill from yesterday. Through his actions, and from the mouths of his minions, George Bush is now claiming fully the powers of a tyrant, by any reasonable definition of the term.
And what are our Democratic representatives doing about it? And where are our Presidential candidates on this? (There may be some speeches by Senators Clinton and Obama on the trail I haven't heard about.)
He has more; read the rest.
via Susie Madrak.
Fast forward to last night. I unplugged it from the charger and turned it on when I went back to the bedroom, and there was no display, just a backlit screen. I fiddled for a while, digging out the manual to see if there was a troubleshooting section (no), then gave up. I called the cellphone service provider (Tracfone) this morning and after much hemming and hawing the customer service rep told me the phone was "damaged," and since it was beyond warranty I'd have to replace it. After being assured I could transfer my remaining time to the new phone and retain the same phone number I hung up.
But shouldn't a phone which doesn't get very much use at all (one 10-second call every morning when Mom wakes up and maybe a dozen calls longer than a minute in 18 months) last longer than this? Or am I just a cockeyed optimist?
Here's Ryan's post at The Transmission.
So okay, Ben's not liked by people on the outside either. I'm not surprised.
What an oddball group of people to send on a mission, though, even though tall skinny Mr. Congeniality told Naomi they each had a purpose. And gimme a break -- a physicist named Faraday?
Mukasey said that because waterboarding was part of a program approved by Justice lawyers, there is no way the department can open a criminal investigation into the practice.
"Waterboarding, because it was authorized to be part of a program ... cannot possibly be the subject of a Justice Department investigation," Mukasey said in response to questions from panel Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).
So said the Attorney General of the United States today in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
Um, wasn't "I was only following orders" thrown out as a defense about 60 years ago at Nuremberg? Yes it was.
Displaying the number of controversial pardons Bush is going to issue on January 19, 2009 may need scientific notation.
Batty, newly returned from a long blogging hiatus, tags me with something called the 123 Meme.
The 123 Rules:
1) Pick up the book nearest you with at least 123 pages. (No cheating!)
2) Turn to page 123.
3) Count the first five sentences.
4) Post the next three sentences.
5) Tag five other bloggers.
Crap. Worse, the nearest book is a caper novel, not Al Gore's "The Assault on Reason" or something nice and highbrow.
That realization was all it took. Carla was not going back to prison, not if she could do anything to stop it. Running was the only answer.
If you want to find out what happened to Carla you'll have to find a copy of Once A Thief by Kay Hooper. As you may have noticed, when I find a new author I tend to read everything he or she has written, usually trying them out from the library first. That's what I did here. I saw a reference to Ms. Hooper's thrillers about a psychic FBI unit and thought they'd be worth a try, and I got interested in her other books as well. The FBI books aren't bad, but you'd better have a willingness to suspend any disbelief you have about ESP if you expect to enjoy them. This book is much more along the lines of Topkapi, The Thomas Crown Affair, or It Takes a Thief.
Tag yourself; it's an amusing little exercise.
Republicans filibustered the larger bill and then sustained the filibuster on virtually a party line vote. Why? Because it had a few billion dollars of spending targeted at Democratic priorities. There's nothing more to it.
The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period. Presidential hopefuls, take note.
That's why I think Hillary needs to be President. Barack's rhetoric is full of bipartisan hope, and I take him at his word that he believes it would work. I don't. I think Hillary knows it and knows how to shame them (Harry Reid apparently doesn't do shaming well).
Monkeyfister issues a plea for help for tornado victims:
This Is My Best First Start To Help My Region.
As Scout Prime is to NOLA, I am, suddenly, to the Mid-South area (I LIVE here, and was Live-Blogging these horrible storms all night), and have started to get the help-ball rolling down here. Some of you know where I work. I started a Food Drive there today for the Mid-South United Way Food Bank.
As the area affected is so broad and detached, and everyone in the Country was distracted by politics last night, as yet, there is no central assistance hub set-up. So, at the link, above, you'll find the two agencies with the broadest radius to help the area right now. Both take DIRECT donations.
Bush told the victims today that all of us were praying for them. If I prayed the Deity (if such there be) would laugh and say "who are you and where the hell have you been?", but I can help publicize the needs of all those poor people.
Goodness gracious. There's approximately a 100-delegate difference between Senators Clinton and Obama after Super Tuesday.
Hawai'i's Democratic caucuses scheduled for February 19 might actually mean something. Twenty committed delegates will come out of those meetings, with nine more uncommitted.
Given that Senator Obama more-or-less grew up here, I'd say most of those twenty delegates will go to him. One of the more peculiar and peculiarly insular aspects of Hawai'i is the importance of your high school. When you first meet someone, you can bet one of the first things you'll be asked is "Where you wen' grad?"
Senator Obama went to Punahou.
If you live in one of the 24 states holding primaries or caucuses today, I have one word for you:
Hawai'i doesn't hold its caucus until February 19, so all I can do today is exhort folks to go to the polls or meetings and Express Yourself.
From Josh Marshall:
Rove goes to work for Fox News.
When I was in high school I read Mad Magazine religiously, so I remember the Presidential lampoons they ran back then. Now the editors there have commissioned several Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonists to draw their impressions (slideshow in sidebar) of Bush v. Global Warming. There are also several bonus images of the earlier cartoons, including the famous one of LBJ lifting his shirt to show reporters the scar from his gall bladder surgery, only to display SE Asia on his belly.
That play where Manning was nearly sacked, got away and threw that pass that Tyree caught against his helmet was the killer.
Since there are about five hours of idiotic pre-game analysis ahead of me, this song seems appropriate: Ronstadt singing Petty's "The Waiting."
Petty and the band singing "The Waiting."
I heard Linda's version before I heard the original, but I can't choose between them.
I'll take the Patriots by a touchdown.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will be performing the halftime show at the Super Bowl Sunday. Here they are singing "I Won't Back Down."
Notice the drummer.
I just read about this in Sports Illustrated; Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors made a video asking fans to vote for him in the NBA All Star Game. The intent was serious, but the method was parody. It's pretty funny.
From the SI article:
Bosh initially planned to pretend to be the President making an impassioned plea to send him to New Orleans. "But I've seen a lot of crazy car salesmen," says Bosh. "I thought that would be funnier."
Dude. You parachute into a jungle clearing where there are two people, one male and one female, and you ask, "Are you Jack?"
More after the break.
So we know Jack, Kate and Hurley survive, and three more (the Oceanic Six). We know Charlie's ghost can appear. We know Hurley regrets going with Locke, which implies something bad happened to that group. We know there's a guy who wants to move Hurley into a private institution, ostensibly as a favor from Oceanic Air.
And I'm as puzzled as ever.
Ryan hasn't posted his thoughts yet, but I imagine he will shortly at The Transmission.