Friday, April 04, 2008

Another UConn Fan

Tuesday evening, March 25, 2008, Arena at HarborYard, Bridgeport, CT

Martin Luther King Assassinated 40 Years Ago Today

dday at Hullabaloo on King's power.

John McCain
and Dick Cheney voted against making Martin Luther King Day a holiday.

Don't you think if MLK were still alive today, Pat Buchanan would be screeching that he is a hateful Afro-centric preacher and condemning all who follow him?

A-Rod: Stay Out of Our House

Alexa Rodriguez was in the upper deck behind home plate, where the tour was being seated. The hawk swooped down as the student was getting ready to leave.
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

A middle school teenage girl on a tour of Fenway Park -- whose nickname is A-Rod -- was attacked by a red-tail hawk in the stands behind home plate. The hawk had a nest in front of the press box overhead, with one egg in it. The hawk scratched the girl's head, and she was taken to the hospital, treated and released. After the attack the hawk's nest was removed:

This spring the raptor used a brown-knit cap and twigs from trees on Yawkee Way to build a nest on a green overhang near the press booth above home plate. She laid a brown-speckled egg last week, but it rolled off the nest, wasn't properly incubated, and was no longer viable, French said.

Wildlife officials removed the egg and the nest yesterday after the hawk lashed out at Alexa.

Obviously the hawk struck out because the girl's name was A-Rod. For all we know, she was in the park on July 24, 2004, during the famous fight where Varitek took A-Rod by the throat.

The hawk wasn't just protecting her nest. She was protecting our house.

The Boston Globe article used above contains a hilarious typo. "Yawkee Way" is actually "Yawkey Way". The writer must have been thinking about the Yankees, not the Yawkeys. Just like the hawk; a little confused, but heart in the right place.

Boston Globe: Teen finds fowl territory at Fenway

Boston Globe Photo Gallery: Hawk attack at Fenway Park

Boston Globe: An omen? Hawk attacks girl with a familiar-sounding name at Fenway

July 24, 2004

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Read From the Left

Two new books deconstruct the arguments from the right that have distorted our national discourse on two important topics: science and politics.

"Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health" (Oxford University Press, 2008) by David Michaels.

From the author himself, writing at The Pump Handle:

In Doubt, I recount how the strategy of manufacturing uncertainty was pioneered by the tobacco industry. Clearly successful, it has been adopted by the asbestos, beryllium, chromium, and pesticide industries, among others, and it is the strategy used by global warming deniers. There are few industries that haven’t tried it - Andrew Dressler at Grist has a new piece on how the Indoor Tanning Association is trying to convince the public that “there is actually no evidence linking sun exposure with cancer.” (I talk about that in my book, too.)

"Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics" by Glenn Greenwald:

From the time I began blogging in October, 2005, I've written about many different topics, but almost all have a similar undercurrent: the Limbaugh/Kristol/Fox-News right-wing faction that controls the Republican Party and has dominated our political life for the last 15 years, and the multiple ways that our political institutions -- and particularly the Drudgified establishment press -- enable them. Marketing packages aside, this book is about them; how they function; the weakness-driven bloodthirstiness, dishonesty and sleaze which defines them; the indispensable eagerness of the establishment media to be used by them; and what can be done by those opposed to them to change all of that.

All of the radical and reprehensible events of the last eight years -- the commencement and endless prosecution of an indescribably disastrous war, the accelerated dismantling of our Constitutional framework, the creation of a lawless Surveillance State and a virtually omnipotent President, the legitimization of truly grotesque torture and detention regimes, the complete corruption of our political discourse -- have individuals and a political movement behind them, causing all of that to happen. They have cultivated the ability to manipulate media behavior, largely as a result of a media eager to help. But what they do not have is popular support for virtually anything they are doing. And yet they continue to win elections.

How and why that happens -- the deceitful electoral tactics and manipulative personality-based myths the Right has perfected and continuously deploys to win elections, and the ways in which our slothful, vapid and complicit establishment press propagates those myths -- is the principal subject of this book. And understanding and exposing that right-wing/media partnership is a necessary precondition for weakening it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's Been a Long Winter


Ice storm, Mass Pike, February 2008

The Real Enemy of Women Soldiers

Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

Congresswoman Jane Harman, Op-Ed, LATimes:
Rapists in the ranks
Sexual assaults are frequent, and frequently ignored, in the armed services.

hat tip to Suburban Guerrilla

"Justice" Department Torture Memo Released

WaPo: Memo: Laws Didn't Apply to Interrogators
Justice Dept. Official in 2003 Said President's Wartime Authority Trumped Many Statutes

The Justice Department's horrifying torture memo, stripped to its bare essentials, argues that the ends justify the means. If the Bush administration is fighting terrorists (so much scarier than Nazis, so to hell with those pantywaist Geneva Conventions) it has the right to do so by all means necessary, laws and treaties be damned. Torture is justified as "self-defense":

Interrogators who harmed a prisoner would be protected by a "national and international version of the right to self-defense," Yoo wrote. He also articulated a definition of illegal conduct in interrogations -- that it must "shock the conscience" -- that the Bush administration advocated for years.

"Whether conduct is conscience-shocking turns in part on whether it is without any justification," Yoo wrote, explaining, for example, that it would have to be inspired by malice or sadism before it could be prosecuted.

The former Army judge advocate general says the Justice Department was claiming it was above the law:

Thomas J. Romig, who was then the Army's judge advocate general, said yesterday after reading the memo that it appears to argue there are no rules in a time of war, a concept Romig found "downright offensive."

The authors of this memo have written themselves a one-way ticket to hell. Incredibly, John Yoo, the primary author, is employed by the state of California as a professor of law at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkley. He's teaching two constitutional law courses this spring. What is he teaching these students? That the constitution is akin to a roll of toilet paper, which can be flushed down the toilet whenever it's expedient?

Hey, I can do a service to his students. I'll outline the course so they don't have to:

Laws, schmaws.

Write that, and you pass.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Downsville Opera House Poster


The poster above is a new donation to the Colchester Historical Society, from the Opera House in Downsville, which burned down many years ago.

The movies Gunga Din and Renegade Trail were released in 1939, so the poster is probably from 1939 or 1940.

It's really in remarkable condition for being almost 70 years old. The back was used to keep score for some game, in pencil, but the colors are quite vibrant.

McCain Unfit to Be President

Great op-ed piece by a former POW who's known McCain since they were in the Naval Academy together, outlining the reasons he won't vote for John McCain.

Phillip Butler, Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain

As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.

When I was a Plebe (4th classman, or freshman) at the Naval Academy in 1957-58, I was assigned to the 17th Company for my four years there. In those days we had about 3,600 midshipmen spread among 24 companies, thus about 150 midshipmen to a company. As fortune would have it, John, a First Classman (senior) and his room mate lived directly across the hall from me and my two room mates. Believe me when I say that back then I would never in a million or more years have dreamed that the crazy guy across the hall would someday be a Senator and candidate for President!

John was a wild man. He was funny, with a quick wit and he was intelligent. But he was intent on breaking every USNA regulation in our 4 inch thick USNA Regulations book. And I believe he must have come as close to his goal as any midshipman who ever attended the Academy. John had me "coming around" to his room frequently during my plebe year. And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes. I could tell many other midshipman stories about John that year and he unbelievably managed to graduate though he spent the majority of his first class year on restriction for the stuff he did get caught doing. In fact he barely managed to graduate, standing 5th from the bottom of his 800 man graduating class. I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates.


I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

Zoological Glass Works

Harvard Museum of Natural History
The glass work of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, now on display at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in an exhibit titled "Sea Creatures in Glass," includes jellyfish, anemones, sea slugs, polyps and many other specimens.

I'm making plans to go to this show of beautiful glass sea creatures that were created to teach zoology, but are seen today mostly as spectacular works of art.

The 58 mostly life-size works on display were drawn from the Museum of Comparative Zoology's collection of 430 of the Blaschkas' glass invertebrates, including jellyfish, anemones, sea slugs, polyps and many other specimens.

When Harvard first acquired the Blaschkas' glass specimens, Sacco said they were important tools for teaching zoology because, unlike actual creatures preserved in formaldehyde, they didn't lose their color or collapse.

Metrowest Daily News: Masters of glass

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is located on 26 Oxford St., Cambridge.

All the HMNH exhibits are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day.

Other exhibits include "Nests & Eggs" through August 2008 and "Arthropods: Creatures that Rule" which is ongoing.

Tickets: Adults, $9; seniors and non-Harvard students, $7; children, 3-18, $6. It is free to Massachusetts residents Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m., September through May.

The museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617-495-3045 or visit the Internet Web site,

USWNT Announces Olympic Qualifying Roster & Schedule

ussoccer: U.S. WNT vs. Denmark - 03-12-08 - Algarve Cup

USSoccer announced the 20-player roster for 2008 Concacaf Olympic women's qualifying tournament yesterday. The squad includes five players who didn't play at the 2007 World Cup: Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Tobin Heath (North Carolina), Kacey White(North Carolina), Lauren Cheney(UCLA) and Amy Rodriguez (USC).

The six players from Greg Ryan's 21-player roster for the World Cup who aren't on the team are: Kristine Lilly, Tina Ellerton, Brianna Scurry, Marian Dalmy, Aly Wagner, and Marci Jobson. Lilly and Ellerton are pregnant and have not retired. Jobson has taken the job as the head women's soccer coach at Baylor. I don't think any of the others have retired, but Wagner has struggled with pace and Dalmy was very young, inexperienced and a surprise addition to the World Cup roster.

As to Brianna Scurry, I think Pia Sundhage handled the Scurry/Solo situation exactly right. She complimented both players when she got the job, invited them both to her early camps, then quietly dropped Scurry, first from the Algarve Cup roster, and now from the Olympic qualifying squad. Scurry was the greatest keeper in the world in the past, but her skills have eroded and her storied mental toughness is no longer enough to keep the ball out of the net. (See Brazil 4, USA 0)

Another omission from the squad I wonder about is Heather Mitts. I thought she would have been sufficiently rehabbed from her knee injury to compete for a spot, but it's her second major knee injury and that can take a long time to heal. This is not the final Olympic roster, either; it's the roster for qualifying, and there could be changes for the actual Olympic team.

GOALKEEPERS: Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);

DEFENDERS: Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);

MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas);

FORWARDS: Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

Here's the qualifying schedule:

USA Olympic Qualification Schedule – Group A
Date Match-Up Kickoff Local / Pacific Time
April 4 USA vs. Jamaica 7:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. PT
April 6 USA vs. Mexico 1:30 p.m. MT / 12:30 p.m. PT

Group A
Date Match-up Kickoff (Local)
April 2 Mexico vs. Jamaica 7:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. PT
April 4 USA vs. Jamaica 7:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. PT
April 6 Mexico vs. USA 1:30 p.m. MT / 12:30 p.m. PT

Group B
Date Match-up Kickoff (Local)
April 2 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Canada 5 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. PT
April 4 Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. PT
April 6 Canada vs. Costa Rica 11 a.m. MT / 10 a.m. PT

Semifinals Kickoff (Local)
April 9 Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group B 5 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. PT
April 9 Winner Group B vs. Runner-up Group A 7:30 p.m. MT / 6:30 p.m. PT

Final/Third-place Game Kickoff (Local)
April 12 Third-Place Game 5 p.m. MT / 4:00 p.m. PT
April 12 Championship 7:30 p.m. MT / 6:30 p.m. PT

Monday, March 31, 2008

On the Subject of Racists on TV

Talking Points Memo: Oops

Racial healer Lou Dobbs explains how he's sick of "cotton pickin'" black leaders tell him how he can and can't talk about race (he catches himself at the last minute -- sorta) ...

Those cotton-picking racists are enough to drive a rich white man crazy, aren't they.

Pat Buchanan: Stone Cold Racist

Patrick J. Buchanan: A Brief for Whitey

America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

And now for the rest of the story, you myopic moron. Black labor, produced by involuntary slaves, used and abused by white people since the first slaves were brought to this country, manufactured a lot of the wealth that white people continue to hold today. When slavery ended during the Civil War, most black slaves got nothing. 40 acres and a mule was a myth. And freedom for many blacks was a myth, as they were forced into a different form of indentured slavery as sharecroppers and second class workers who did the same jobs as whites while paid far less by the white owners.

Oh yeah, and the largest recipients of the benefits of the welfare state? Not white people. Not black people. Children. Children are the largest recipients of welfare benefits in our country. (I'm sure PatRacist would be quick to say they should get a job.) Because the criteria for receiving government benefits is need, not race. Additionally, since there are more whites than blacks, more government money goes to poor whites than to poor blacks. Those programs were not designed to bring blacks into the mainstream. They were designed to end poverty. That hasn't worked, but it's not a racial issue. Buchanan's argument is based on a big, fat lie. He just hates blacks because they are black.

How is it that this Neanderthal still has a prominent position in American political discourse? Give him a fire hose and have him say this stuff and he's Bull Connor. Give him a white hood and have him make these statements and he's a Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke. But he can make these statements on his website in 2008 and MSNBC invites him on as a guest of political programs several times a day as though his opinions are worth anything.

A pox be upon MSNBC for continuing to employ this unrepentant racist.

Maya Moore: Perfect Form

Maya Moore (Renee Montgomery and Assistant Coach Tonya Cardoza in background), open practice, Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT, March 22, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

UConn Fan

Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT, March 25, 2008, before the UConn-Texas game

New Work


This is a plate I made for the Worcester Craft Center's pasta dinner fundraiser. I liked it so much I bought it back! Now I'm working on an entire series to match.

For the pottery geeks out there, it's a combination of temmoku and rutile blue glazes, fired in a cone 10 electric kiln.

Another view



Photo taken over the dam of the Wachusetts Reservoir, January 2008.

I got a camera for Christmas and am finally getting around to learning how to post pictures. More to come.

The End Is Near

With 'Hillary' and 'Clinton' written on their foreheads, Jacob Tow, 9, and his sister Hannah Tow, 11, wait for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., not pictured, as she greets the audience at the Ruby Laffoon Dinner at Madisonville North Hopkins High School in Madisonville, Ky., Saturday, March 29, 2008.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

When campaign staff take pay cuts, or bills go unpaid, it's usually a sign: the end is near. A lot of Clinton's cash-on-hand is only available if she ends up in the general election; it's money she has raised from large donors who've already maxed out on contributing to the primary campaign. So she doesn't really have as much money available as she seems to.

You have to take my opinion with a grain of salt, though, as I pronounced the end of the Clinton campaign a month and a half ago.

Are those kids cute or what?

The Politico: Cash-strapped Clinton fails to pay bills

The New York senator’s presidential campaign ended February with $38 million in the bank, according to a report filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, but only $16 million of that can be spent on her battle with Obama.

The rest can only be spent in the general election, if she makes it that far, and must be returned if she doesn’t. If she had paid off the $8.7 million in unpaid bills she reported as debt and had not loaned her campaign $5 million, the cash she would have had available at the end of last month to spend on television ads and other up-front expenses would have been less than $2 million.

Break Your Oil Habit

Excellent series from the LA Times outlining practical steps you can take to lessen your reliance on products made from oil.

LATimes: The Oil Habit

Changing habits to cut oil use -- one step at a time

Garage presents the worst oil picture

Flush with ideas to cut down on oil use

A power switch and paper trims

'I try to use things as long as I possibly can'
Q & A with actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.

More Jacoby: '[T]he future of the franchise'

At left, in only his third Major League appearance, Jacoby Ellsbury proved he can change a game with his speed and aggressiveness. At right, Jacoby, with his dad (far left) and mom, was honored in Oregon in November. (Left: Globe Staff / Jim Davis; right: William Hamilton / The Oregonian.)

Boston Globe Sunday Magazine: The Jacoby Factor
The question isn't whether he's ready for the Red Sox, it's whether they're ready for him.

[Ellsbury's younger brother] Matt says that with Jacoby, whom he and his brothers call Coby, "Basically, it's not over until he wins."

Nothing personal. Except it is.

That trait was blindingly obvious when it came to running races. "I was always the fastest kid. But I really worked on it. I didn't want to just be the fastest," Jacoby says. "I wanted to be by far the fastest." All through his school years, he never lost a race.