July 31, 2008


Oh, man. The Dodgers just got Manny Ramirez as a two-month rental (he'll be a free agent after this season) in exchange for 3B Andy LaRoche and P Bryan Morris. LaRoche has been up with the Dodgers this season but hasn't hit well (and hasn't gotten much playing time); Morris is a Class A prospect. Ramirez has been one of the best hitters in baseball for ten years. On the other hand, Ramirez's defense is awful.

The question is, will he knock in more runs with his bat than he lets in with his glove?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008


I've been trying to remember to carry an insulated bag to the grocery store rather than getting plastic bags. Today I found another reason to do so: I got a $0.03 credit off my bill.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Congressional perks

So Senator McCain had a spot removed from his cheek. It was tested for melanoma and came up benign. Good for Senator McCain. What's interesting to me is that the work was done at the Mayo Clinic. Do you think any of the 47 million Americans without health insurance would like to be treated at such a prestigious clinic as an employment perk? Of course you do. Do you think Senator McCain's health plan would do that? Doesn't look like it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 29, 2008

The pain!

I went into Longs Drugs today to pick up some 25th anniversary cards for my sister and brother-in-law. Got to the checkout stand and the cashier asked me if I had their Senior Advantage card. The age requirement for that thing is 55; apparently I looked older than that to her.


Posted by Linkmeister at 07:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Language lunacy

Could words be defined in limerick form? Of course!.

Found at Making Light; you should read that comment thread for wonderful examples.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008

Murder around the world

Via Detectives Beyond Borders comes a link to an article in the UK paper "The Independent" entitled "Crime fiction: Around the world in 80 sleuths."

It's just what it sounds like: detective stories in 80 different international locations. It recommends books set in Scandinavia, Latin America, St. Petersburg (the one with the onion domes) and the Bering Sea among other places. Some I know, most I don't. They've all been translated into English as needed for a broader audience.

If you've tired of American authors and settings, these look to be worthy alternatives.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2008


A clever guy calling himself John Galt (yeah, I think that's a nom d'internet too) put together a video montage to go with one of my favorite Bonnie Raitt covers, "Angel From Montgomery." She's singing with the guy who wrote the song, John Prine.

Nicely done.

via Firedoglake

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 26, 2008

Adapter update

I chased around Circuit City and Best Buy today and couldn't find any widgets like the one mentioned below. They each had hard drive enclosures which are meant to be permanent additions to your computer configuration, and that's not what I have in mind (desk space is at a premium). Besides, the enclosures are typically about $60.

So I ordered this from Amazon for $19.99.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Adapter advice?

The motherboard on my last machine died in 2005, so I replaced the entire machine (it was time anyway -- moved from 6gb storage to 160gb). I kept the old tower with the two 3gb drives in it. Now I find a need to retrieve some folders off the old drives. I think they're 3.5" IDE or SATA drives -- they're enclosed in an 8" long and 3" wide steel case with ribbon cable extruding.

Does anyone know if the USB Universal adapters like those sold by Newer Technologies and others would allow me to remove the old drives from the old tower, attach the ribbon cable to the new whatsit, attach the whatsit to the newish machine via USB port and copy the folders I want? I'd like to do this with minimal hassle, if possible. The adapters include power supplies to get the old drives running, which seems to be a plus.

Has anyone tried this?

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 24, 2008

Obama in Germany

Obama speech:

Man, speaking to a mass of 200,000 people has to be either the biggest ego-boost or the most terrifying event of one's life.

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Peanuts! (Don't) Git your peanuts here!

The Seattle Mariners will close off two sections of Safeco Park (Field? whatever) to peanut eaters for a pair of games later this season.

Sections 311 and 312 in the right-field upper seating area will be cleaned thoroughly before each of the games. Signs will also be posted nearby to alert fans of a ban on all peanut products in those two sections. No peanuts or foods containing peanut products will be sold at nearby concession stands to ensure the safety of those in the section. People who buy tickets in those sections must agree to obey the peanut ban.
I have no doubt that there are a lot of kids who suffer from peanut allergies, but I wonder: is it actually the peanuts or could it be the land on which they're grown and/or the pesticides with which the plants are treated? I have no memory of any kids suffering from any allergy to peanut butter when I was in elementary school.

I'm sure various agriculture departments and pharma companies have already asked that question, but I've never seen an answer.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2008


Sunday: A gallon of regular unleaded gas -- $4.38


  • A half-gallon of skim milk -- $3.79
  • A pound of boneless thinly sliced pork chops -- $4.99

Lucky you live Hawai'i!

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Word clouds

Have you seen Wordle?

It's a clever little toy which creates a cloud from the words it finds on a blog page or a page of text.

It shows you your most frequent words in larger font, which could be useful. If you think your writing has been perhaps a tad too focused on one subject for a day or two, subject it to Wordle.

Here's the blog front page.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

If Neil Young played Lennon/McCartney

Oh. My. Goodness. Neil Young performing "A Day in the Life" in Madrid earlier this year.


Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2008

One down, one to go

Radovan Karadzic was captured today.

About damned time. He's been on the run since 1995, after being indicted in The Hague for war crimes including ethnic cleansing and setting the policy that led to the massacre of 7,000-plus Muslims at Srebrenica in Bosnia earlier that year.

Let's hope that the prosecutors have figured out how to keep defendants from gaming the system as Milosevic did.

(The One to Go in the title refers to Ratko Mladic, Serbian Army commander during the Bosnia war.)

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2008

One small step for a man. . .

On the anniversary of the first moon landing: Sinatra singing "Fly Me to the Moon."

There's a reminiscence party going on over at Shakesville. I was on Guam and we had no television, but I've seen the film clip so often my memory tells me I saw it live.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 19, 2008

Yes Minister

Hmm. If it's not an explicit endorsement of Obama, it's pretty damned close. I imagine the White House and Senator McCain's campaign are fuming. Prime Minister al-Maliki of Iraq:

In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine released Saturday, al-Maliki said he was not seeking to endorse Obama. The Illinois senator and likely Democratic nominee has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months if he is elected.

"That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," al-Maliki was quoted as saying. "Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause problems."

Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, "As soon as possible, as far as we're concerned."

There's some initial analysis here.

Update: The entire Der Spiegel interview is here, in English.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2008

Solar systems

If you heard Science Friday today you heard a lot about solar energy. If you have a south-facing section of roof, you can probably benefit from installing a solar water heating system. Note: these systems (which we have) are not the kind you hear about which will allow you to sell excess power back to the utility company; those are called Photovoltaic systems. The more common solar heating system is an array of thermal panels installed on a roof with water piped through it. As the sun heats the water it's collected in a water tank and pumped up into the house when the hot water faucet is turned on. Most systems have a backup electric heater controlled by a thermostat to augment hot water in the event of several consecutive cloudy days.

If you're looking for a contractor near you, go to Find Solar. It's got a search function by state/county as well as a humongous list of FAQs.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 17, 2008

Tired of washing

I really wish repair people would arrive on schedule. The part for our dishwasher arrived on Tuesday, two hours after the initial appointment had to be rescheduled. Ok, but then the guy was supposed to come today between 8-12. No sign of him yet.

I'm really bored with washing dishes by hand; I've been spoiled. We had a portable dishwasher as far back as 1963 and maybe earlier; I think we even took it to Guam with us in 1968, although memories about that differ. Anyway, no matter how hard I scrub, I never feel like hand-washed dishes are quite as clean as they would be if they'd been run through a dishwasher.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

Pardon me?

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote ""Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me."

Apparently Stuart Taylor thinks the politicians are different, too; they shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. Specifically, he thinks Bush should pardon "any official from cabinet secretary on down who might plausibly face prosecution for interrogation methods approved by administration lawyers."

He thinks a truth commission would be the appropriate way to find out what's been going on for 7 years.

Pardons would further a truth commission's most important goals: to uncover all important facts, identify innocent victims to be compensated, foster a serious conversation about what U.S. interrogation rules should be, recommend legal reforms, pave the way for appropriate apologies and restore America's good name. The goals should not include wrecking the lives of men and women who made grievous mistakes while doing dirty work—work they had been advised by administration lawyers was legal, and which they believed was necessary to prevent terrorist mass murder.

A criminal investigation would only hinder efforts to determine the truth, and preclude any apologies. It would spur those who know the most to take the Fifth.

"A criminal investigation would only hinder efforts to determine the truth." Um, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the whole intent of criminal investigations was to determine what the truth about a crime was, including who committed it, the circumstances surrounding it, and possibly the motives behind it.

This is the media in "circle the wagons" mode. Who knows, if public officials were tried and convicted, the citizenry might come after the press for possible misdeeds next.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 15, 2008

Priorities, priorities

Why can't the National Institute of Standards and Technology focus on truly important things, like insuring that pickle packers label their dills in such a way that the consumer can determine from the label just how sour the contents are?

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Derivation of a drawing

I'm sure Barry Blitt had Angela Davis in mind when he drew his now-infamous cartoon for the cover of the New Yorker. Apparently you have to be my age or older to remember her, as I'd heard no one outside this house note the resemblance until I heard NPR's Talk of the Nation today, when both Neil Conan and Art Spiegelman mentioned her name.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2008

New Yorker, remixed

Presumably you've heard some of the outrage about the cover of the current issue of the New Yorker. If not, go look at it at that link. I'll wait.

Now see how Mary Hodder has made the satire clearer.

via Kevin Drum

Posted by Linkmeister at 03:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 13, 2008


Sometimes I'm so foolish I have to laugh at myself. We just bought a 7-drawer rattan dresser for Mom's use. It came unassembled. "How hard can it be," I said to myself. After a couple of missteps I managed to get the frame together correctly, but then came the drawers. Each side had to be screwed to the back and front, and the bottom piece had to be screwed onto each of the four sides. Each drawer, then, needed fifteen screws.

I got the first one put together and only then did I remember that a couple of Christmases ago my brother-in-law gave me a power drill to replace the one he'd "borrowed" about ten years back. I began to wonder if it could be used as a screwdriver and whether it had a Phillips-head bit. So I dug it out. You know what the thing is called by Black & Decker?

A cordless screwdriver.

That's right. It doesn't even have drill bits, just two screwdriver bits.


Posted by Linkmeister at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2008

Wheels within wheels

Here's some of the backstory on the EPA'a decision to do nothing about greenhouse gases for the remainder of Bush's term.

after the Supreme Court's slap they divided into roughly two groups: those who felt that regulating under the Clean Air Act was unavoidable, reasonable and best done under Bush; and those who wished to sidestep the law and press for its eventual modification after delay and public debate.

In the former camp, at least initially, was EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, a career official who previously oversaw pesticide regulations, and much of the agency's senior ranks. After the court ruling, in Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al.,"people were bouncing back and forth into each other's offices, saying, 'Can you believe this? Look at this decision; look at the language; this is so strong,' " recalled one agency official, who like the others asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. "People thought, 'We are going to move forward and do the right thing.' "

Then the agencies weighed in, particulary Cheney's energy advisor, F. Chase Hutto III.

Hutto, a former Cato Institute intern and Bush campaign volunteer during the Florida vote recount in 2000, whose grandfather patented at least seven piston inventions for the Ford Motor Company, has "an anti-regulatory philosophy and concern about what regulation means for the American way of life. He would talk, for example, about not wanting greenhouse gas controls to do away with the large American automobile," said the meeting participant.

A spokeswoman for Cheney's office said Hutto had expressed opinions at the interagency meetings, but she declined to discuss what they were.

By late November, Johnson had held a meeting with his staff at which he advocated finding a danger to public welfare and praised the agency's technical supporting document as "excellent." But when Burnett sent the proposal to the White House, the OMB staff refused to open it, and it sat in limbo for months.

Instead, the Bush administration supported legislation to tighten fuel-economy standards, but by less than the EPA had been considering.

It was Charles Wilson who famously said "What's good for the country is good for General Motors," but it appears that the Bush Administration doesn't really care what's good for the country as long as it's good for General Motors and its business colleagues.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Idle curiosity

Here's a list (as of 2006) of the top-selling record albums of all time.

Somehow I wouldn't have expected the Eagles' first Greatest Hits album to top the list. Neither would I have expected to see Britney Spears so well represented. It just goes to show sales volume doesn't represent musical taste.

It's amusing to go through it to see how many are in the personal collection. I count at least a dozen on first glance.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2008


Today the EPA issued a preliminary document explaining how it was going to comply with a Supreme Court decision telling it that the Clean Air Act did authorize the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases; it would request public comment. Its administrator felt compelled to say (pdf):

I believe the ANPR demonstrates the Clean Air Act, an outdated law originally enacted to control regional pollutants that cause direct health effects, is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases.

So he's essentially saying the Supreme Court is wrong and he won't comply. Never mind that the Court is the ultimate arbiter of what's legal and what's not; he and the White House think its ruling shouldn't apply to them.

What agencies complained?

The White House Office of Management and Budget, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Energy.

Hmm. Anyone see a pattern there? Every agency which might have to regulate or limit greenhouse gas emissions basically is behaving like a three-year-old in a tantrum. "Don't wanna! You can't make me!"

Six more months and a thorough housecleaning can begin.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2008

A review

My friend Peter of Detectives Beyond Borders sent me a copy of Walking Back the Cat by Robert Littell. It's the story of a KGB assassin who's been deactivated by virtue of perestroika and glasnost, only to be suddenly called out of his unwilling retirement and sent to kill various people whose threats to Russian security seem marginal at best. After he meets one of his targets, a Gulf War vet (the book was written in 1996, before the current misadventure), he gets suspicious. The two of them combine to determine who it is that is ordering these killings and why, and the result is a wonderfully taut thriller. It takes Littell only 220 pages to do what it took Ludlum 544 pages to do in The Bourne Identity; the plots are very similar.

I unreservedly recommend it.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Vin Scully calls Gibson's home run

Game 1, 1988 World Series. The As lead the Dodgers 4-3 in the ninth inning, with two out. Dennis Eckersley of the As is pitching to Mike Davis of the Dodgers. He throws ball four, and Kirk Gibson comes out of the dugout to hit. Gibson has two bad legs; this would be his only appearance in the Series.

Watching the entire at bat, the drama couldn't be more profound. Gibson fouled off the first three pitches, then took ball one. The As catcher, Hassey, threw behind Gibson to first base and nearly picked off Davis. Then Gibson took ball two outside. Eckersley threw ball three outside and Davis stole second on the pitch. Now all Gibson had to do was get a single to the outfield to tie the game. Instead, Gibson hit the ball into the right field seats, scoring two runs and winning the game 5-4.

People know Jack Buck's "I can't believe what I just saw!" line after the ball landed in the stands, but Vinnie's line is wonderful too. "In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!"

Box Score

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 09, 2008

Bye-bye, 4th Amendment

. . .the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.


Both houses, controlled by Democrats, approved what amounted to the biggest restructuring of federal surveillance law in 30 years, giving the government more latitude to eavesdrop on targets abroad and at home who are suspected of links to terrorism.

What's the point of electing Democrats to office if they vote with Republicans to throw civil liberties over a cliff? Note, as Greenwald does, that Bush tried to get legislation passed allowing this when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and couldn't do it. It took Democrats in control to give him this kind of victory.

Better Democrats, please. I just wrote Senator Inouye to tell him he's already gotten the last vote he'll ever get from me.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:15 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Window$ stinks

Freakin' Windows Updates. I got four automatic updates earlier today, clicked to install them, rebooted, and discovered the updates had killed my ZoneAlarm firewall. Every single program I try to access, be it e-mail (and all the links in e-mail) or Firefox, is refused by ZoneAlarm. No opportunity to bypass the alarm is available. Even ZoneAlarm's website is blocked by its own firewall. The only way to get access is to shut down the ZoneAlarm firewall and rely on the built-in Windows firewall.

Great. Anyone know a workaround or fix?

No, "get a Mac" is not an option.

Update: Aha! Thanks to Joel in Making Light's comments, I found the discussion and fix at the ZoneAlarm forum.

Go to Add/Remove programs in your Control Panel and remove Windows update KB951748; ZA is working on a patch.

Posted by Linkmeister at 02:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


Become a StrangeBedfellow!

What's that all about?

The goal of AccountabilityNowPAC is to become a permanent entity on the Washington DC political landscape which will let our politicians know that civil liberties MATTER. Our message to politicians in Washington is loud and clear: uphold constitutional rights and we will support you; abridge freedom in America and we will not be on your side. Democrat or Republican—it makes no difference to us.

There's a mass donation event planned for August 8 of this year. August 8 is significant; it's the date of Richard Nixon's resignation from the office of the Presidency. Not since Nixon have we had a President so blithely unconcerned about Americans' civil liberties as we now have, and AccountabilityNow is going to be fighting back against members of the political class who sell out those liberties with ad campaigns and other forms of activism.

If you think the government should be of "laws not men," then consider signing up to participate.

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 07, 2008

Media "balance"

Oh, good grief. NPR, you disappoint me. Today on Talk of the Nation you gave 20 minutes of air time to John Fund's attempt to whitewash Jesse Helms's reputation.

It can't be done, but the right-wingers keep trying. See Hilzoy's compilation of their statements. Some of them are beyond ludicrous.

  • George W. Bush: "...an unwavering champion of those struggling for liberty."
  • "He was a conservative icon," Bob Dole, the former senator and Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview on CNN. "He was a good, decent human being."
  • Senator Mitch McConnell: "Today we lost a Senator whose stature in Congress had few equals. Senator Jesse Helms was a leading voice and courageous champion for the many causes he believed in."
Liberty in Helms's mind meant anti-Communists alone; there was no championing of liberty for the poor, the black, or the AIDS sufferer on Helms's part. See Hilzoy for a list of Helms's own statements which pretty much prove that decency and Jesse Helms were twain who never met.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Click and Clack - The Cartoon

Check your local listings -- "Car Talk" is coming to PBS this summer!

It's an animated sitcom with Tom and Ray doing voiceovers for the main characters, but Crusty the mechanic appears as well, as does a radio producer named -- get ready -- Beth Totenbag.

There will be 10 new half-hour episodes over five weeks.

I can't wait!

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 06, 2008

Unexpected vocalizing

Who knew Dan Schorr could sing?

Posted by Linkmeister at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

Nuthin' to say

My sister's neighborhood had a block party and she requested our presence. Ate barbecued chicken, grilled sausage, hot dogs, lumpia, fajitas, and a little pasta salad.

How was your 4th?

Update:Forgot to say, I've had to re-learn how to wash dishes by hand. The dishwasher control panel failed (flashing lights, inability to re-boot; all that was missing was noise) and the part won't be here until around the 15th of this month. Snarl.

Posted by Linkmeister at 12:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 04, 2008

The Star Spangled Banner, on uke

If you've not heard Jake Shimabukuro, this is a good introduction. He's opening for Jimmy Buffet at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

You say it's your birthday

click to enlarge
Note: The image above is the way the Declaration appeared after being typeset by John Dunlap, printer to Congress. It was in this form when sent to the colonies.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Posted by Linkmeister at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Death of a 19th century man

I've probably directed more bad language at Jesse Helms than at any other politician in my lifetime, so I was delighted when he retired in 2002. He might have been a nice courtly man in private, or so his obituary says, but his public positions were a hundred years out of date and his campaign tactics were despicable. Some of those positions are still in effect. He amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1973 to include the following language:

"No foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions."
This has effectively sentenced thousands if not millions of women to hardship if not death, since it's been broadly interpreted to mean that NGOs which offer abortion counseling as a small part of their overall mission can't get funding for the work they do overseas.

Goodbye, Jesse Helms.

Posted by Linkmeister at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2008

It's still not January, huh?

Via George at Skippy's place, the 10 Most Awesomely Bad Moments of the Bush Presidency.

How bad are they? Consider this: Katrina's only number four, and Abu Ghraib can't climb higher than number three.

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is it January yet?

After reading Garrison Keillor's wonderful column about 10-year-old girls here (site pass may be required), I happened across this video from the Onion. Keillor closes this way:

I'm 65 and have a good life and can't claim that the Current Occupant has done me much harm at all. It's when I think about 10-year-old girls I start to get hot under the collar. This clueless man has dug a deep hole for them and doesn't seem vaguely aware of it. He has spent us deep in a hole, gotten us into a disastrous war, blithely ignored the long-term best interests of the country, and when you think of the 4,000 kids who now lie in cemeteries, and for what? -- you start to grind your teeth. For the sake of the girl with the beautiful swing, I hope we get a better president than the disgusting incompetent we've wasted eight years of our national life on. Think twice about who you put your arm around, Sen. McCain.
Read Keillor, then watch the video; they mesh very well together.

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency
Posted by Linkmeister at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2008


Granted I had no internet access during the Clinton Administration, but I sure as hell don't remember being outraged by some political act every damn day like I have been since January of 2001 (technically, I suppose, since December of 2000 or whenever the Supreme Court decided Bush could be Emperor President).

Today it's the news that not only is my country detaining people unlawfully in Cuba, but it's using Chinese Communist interrogation techniques on those prisoners. Apparently the guidelines were taken verbatim from a study written by a man named Albert Biderman.

Mr. Biderman’s 1957 article described “one form of torture” used by the Chinese as forcing American prisoners to stand “for exceedingly long periods,” sometimes in conditions of “extreme cold.” Such passive methods, he wrote, were more common than outright physical violence. Prolonged standing and exposure to cold have both been used by American military and C.I.A. interrogators against terrorist suspects.

The chart also listed other techniques used by the Chinese, including “Semi-Starvation,” “Exploitation of Wounds,” and “Filthy, Infested Surroundings,” and with their effects: “Makes Victim Dependent on Interrogator,” “Weakens Mental and Physical Ability to Resist,” and “Reduces Prisoner to ‘Animal Level’ Concerns.”

The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.”

Hannah Arendt wrote of the Nazi's "banality of evil." I wonder what she'd say about this.

Posted by Linkmeister at 11:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2008

Tunguska, the meteor that ate Siberia

One hundred years ago today, something exploded over Siberia.

Guy knows how to write a lead.

If you don't know much about the Tunguska explosion, here are a couple of places to start. Science News has a nice dry journalistic account. John McKay's (above) is more interesting to read, since he injects revolution, personalities, and cold cold winters into his narrative.

Posted by Linkmeister at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I can't stop watching this

Matt Harding wandered around the world, dancing in public places. A whole bunch of the people who lived in those places joined him.

Here's his video.

Here's his blog.

via Making Light

Posted by Linkmeister at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack