Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Killing Fowls Sarah Palin's Interview

Leave Sarah Palin Alone! The Turkey Interview

Putin nicer than Palin to birds

urban knitting: the world's most inoffensive graffiti

there's a new form of graffiti in town, and it's extremely pleasant. so pleasant that i can't imagine even the harshest critics of regular graffiti getting wound up. i mean, who in their right mind would come face to face with a sweater-wearing tree and do anything but smile?

i've scoured all yarn covered corners of the intertubes to find some of the best examples of knit/crochet graffiti (legal or otherwise), we'll start with a video from a crew by the name of knitta please, a renowned and nimble fingered group of rebels who have been covering public property with guerilla knitting for some time.

first up, trees....

above: entitled 'tree cozy', this incredible crocheted outfit was made by carol hummel, took 500 hours from start to finish, and stood for 3 years outside cleveland heights city hall until just recently.

Codgers! Don't Let Cloud Computing Confuse the C**p Out of You

My grandmother didn't know diddly about computers but she used to wax lyrical about all the changes that she had seen in her life and wonder out loud - to anyone who would listen including her cats - whether or not life had been better without those transformations. She hadn't seen a car or a plane until she was ten but it wasn't long after that she heard news about related fatalities. So much for them being safe! It was a great mistake, too, to start her on the subject of nuclear weapons - we just didn't go there unless we had an afternoon to spare. It was a really good job that she died before she woke up, like Keanu Reeves' character Neo in The Matrix, in an enclosed pod encased in vile pink stuff with a USB port stuck in the back of her head. That would have been way too much for her to take - let alone the rest of the family. Having said that, the thought of her doing slow-motion kung-fu puts a wry smile on my face.

Digression aside, I used to wonder whether or not I would be able to measure my life against such changes - ones which had so many global repercussions. Surely the internet's next big phase will be something I can look back at but will I understand it then let alone now? When I reach her age will I be able, in the supermarket, to turn with childish glee and announce "I'm ninety three you know!" (one of her many habits in that sometimes inevitable journey of the mind back towards infancy) and then pinpoint in an obviously well-rehearsed fashion the great changes I have seen? Or even better, will I be able to word process it in to a poem (of sorts), upload it and share on a zillion social networking sites instantly, while drawing attention to my great feat of old age by zapping the store with my PDA to let everyone know it?


Vatican Forgives Lennon's Controversial Jesus Slam

By Scott Thill

Better late than never. The Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano finally forgave John Lennon's infamous 1966 claim that his band was "more popular than Jesus."

And, yea, it was all good.

In a curious twist, the way-past-due change of heart and mind came on the 40th anniversary of The White Album's 1968 release. Look Vatican, we don't want to tell you how to do your job, but you might have wanted to forgive Lennon's statement in 2007, the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' epochal Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Sure, we'd argue that The White Album, which is really named The Beatles, is a more lasting classic than its globally influential predecessor. But you might want to consider the fact that Charles Manson misread the double-album as a code for an apocalyptic class and race war, George Harrison suggests "a damn good whacking" for "Pigs" in power, Lennon calls for "Revolution" not once but twice (that is, after he claims that "Happiness is a Warm Gun"), and McCartney kicks off the effort with a sex parody about Russian girls.

We're just saying.

The GOP attack on democracy continues in Ohio

By Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

The Ohio Republican Party has escalated its attacks on democracy on two key fronts.

It's trying to steal a hotly contested congressional seat. And it's moving to restrict voting rights for coming elections.

In the bitterly embattled House race in central Ohio's 15th Congressional District, Republican State Senator Steve Stivers has a slight lead over Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy.

Two years ago, Kilroy essentially defeated the previous incumbent, fourth-ranked House Republican Deborah Pryce. In an extremely tight race, a wide range of dubious voter eliminations and manipulated vote counts stole what appears to have been a clear victory from Kilroy. The GOP's infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell was still Ohio's Secretary of State. The Democrats declined to take him on, and the seat remained in Republican hands.

This year Ohio's Secretary of State is Democrat Jennifer Brunner. It would appear Kilroy has won again.

But the Republicans are on their usual anti-voter attack. With the help of Matt Damshroeder, Deputy Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, the GOP has used a range of insider information to challenge about a thousand provisional ballots cast in heavily Democratic areas of the district. In particular they argue that a minor voter omission on the ballots should disqualify them. If they win that case, Stivers might well take the seat.

Brunner has gone to federal court asking that all the votes be counted. A decision from Judge Algernon Marbley was expected on Thursday.

Damshroeder's role reflects a classic Democratic indifference to election protection. Damshroeder is a past chair of the Franklin County GOP. He also served as the county chair for the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign.

Prior to that election, while acting as Director of the Franklin County BOE, Damshroeder accepted a $10,000 check from a Diebold representative in his office at the BOE. The board was deciding at the time whether or not to buy Diebold machines.

Damshroeder asked that the check be made out to the Franklin County Republican Party. When the incident surfaced in the media, he apologized for the "impropriety." But the GOP kept the check. And Damshroeder was "punished" with one month's paid leave, even though Democrats could have had him removed.

Damshroeder is now Deputy BOE Director. His insider enabling role in the attempt to disenfranchise a thousand voters in his own district is problematic at best. The Ohio Democratic Party has finally issued a few angry e-blasts about it. But Brunner has the power to actually remove Damshroder. Doing so would send a message the Dems are finally serious about election protection.

The Republicans are also trying to make it harder for the general public to vote in the next election. In the lame duck session after the theft of the 2004 election, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed an extremely restrictive bill aimed at disenfranchising thousands of Ohioans and making recounts of federal balloting virtually impossible.

But the GOP inadvertently included a provision that allowed new voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day. In 2008 the GOP sued Brunner to try to close that window. But Brunner prevailed in court, and tens of thousands of first-time voters came out to the polls in late September and the first week of October. By some news accounts these early voters backed Obama by margins as high as 12:1.

Ry Cooder’s American West

WHEN Ry Cooder and I got to El Mirage Dry Lake, it was 110 degrees and heading to 117, hot enough to cook your head inside your hat. The Mojave Desert in daylight will cut the gizzard right out of you, Tom Joad once said, which is why the Okies crossed it at night.

Touring Ry Cooder's CaliforniaI put away the map and Ry pulled the S.U.V. through the gate and stopped. The gravel road fell away below us and vanished into the bone-white lakebed. The mirage was working: a shoreline shimmered wetly in the distance, made of bent sunlight and sand.

El Mirage Dry Lake sounds like a place one step away from nonexistence, but it's about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, out among the Joshua trees. It's not far from Edwards Air Force Base, in the Mojave's military-paranormal sector, where secretive government installations lie low among the jackrabbits — a land of spy planes, space aliens, off-road vehicles, sturdy reptiles and people with freaky desert habits, like racing vintage hot rods on dry lakebeds.

It is, in other words, a critical stop on Ry's California trail.

El Mirage Dry Lake, California

Ry Cooder — the rock and blues guitarist, roots musician, record producer, songwriter and composer — is a son of Santa Monica who has spent nearly 40 years exploring all corners of the musical planet, like a sharp-eared extraterrestrial on a lifelong voyage of discovery. (His two-CD career anthology, released last month, has a perfect title: "The U.F.O. Has Landed.") But even that barely covers it — it's strictly from his solo albums and the haunting scores he wrote for films like "Alamo Bay" and "Paris, Texas." If you add all the records he has made with other musicians, like Gabby Pahinui, Flaco Jiménez, Ali Farka Touré, Mavis Staples, the Chieftains and, most famously, the Cuban all-stars of the Buena Vista Social Club, you can only wonder where on earth he could go next.

The answer: his own backyard.

Tuning out the braindead megaphone

by David Sirota

If you're having trouble remembering what the recent election was all about, rest easy: you're probably not going senile - you're likely experiencing the momentary effects of brainwashing. For weeks, your television, newspaper and radio have been telling you America is a "center-right nation" that elected Barack Obama to crush his fellow "socialist" hippies, discard the agenda he campaigned on, and meet the policy demands of electorally humiliated Republicans.

This is the usual post-election nonsense from the Braindead Megaphone, as author George Saunders famously calls our political and media noise machine. When George W. Bush wins by 3 million votes, the megaphone blares announcements about a conservative mandate that Democrats must respect. When Obama wins by twice as much, the same megaphone roars about Democrats having no mandate to do anything other than appease conservatives.

It's confusing, isn't it? We hazily recall backing Obama and his progressive platform. Yet, the megaphone's re-educative shock treatment aims to wipe away that memory and conjure eternal conservatism from our spotless minds.

Luckily, we have polling to maintain our sanity. Public opinion surveys show most Obama voters knew the Illinois senator is a progressive when they cast their ballots - and those votes for him weren't just anti-Bush protests, they were ideological. According to a post-election poll by my colleagues at the Campaign for America's Future, 70 percent of Americans say they want conservatives to help this progressive president enact his decidedly progressive agenda.

Sensing the enormity of these numbers, Obama seems ready to back a "big bang" of far-reaching initiatives. "We can't afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign," he said in his first radio address as president-elect.

Based on advertisements, Obama identified no more important priority than guaranteeing health care for all citizens. As the Campaign Media Analysis Group reported, he devoted more than two-thirds of his total television budget to ads that included health care themes. Consequently, a Pew poll found 77 percent of Americans said health care would be a decisive concern in their presidential vote.

The moral case for universal health care is obvious. In the world's richest country - in a country that builds lavish sports stadiums and showers Wall Street with trillion-dollar bailouts - 18,000 people die each year because they lack health insurance.

Diebold Vote Company Whistleblower and GOP Cyber Security Expert Both Say That 2002 Chambliss Senate Race Was Rigged

WASHINGTON, Nov 21, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- In an exclusive interview, a former Diebold vote machine contractor who was in charge of preparing the 2002 election between Saxby Chambliss and Max Cleland has stated that the software patches placed on the voting machines in the weeks prior to the election could have rigged the election in favor of Republican Chambliss. The contractor, Chris Hood, was ordered by the President of Diebold, Bob Urosevich, to install uncertified software patches on machines in predominantly Democratic counties, according to Mr. Hood. Saxby Chambliss won a surprising victory after trailing badly in the pre-election polls.

The interview with Mr. Hood, posted by Velvet Revolution ("VR"), a DC based non-profit dedicated to a clean and accountable government, can be seen on YouTube at Rebecca Abrahams, a former ABC News producer who conducted the interview, states, "Jim Martin should be concerned about the veracity and validity of the November election results after anomalies in the last election and the statement by Chris Hood. In fact, voters should demand to know if Chambliss had any knowledge that the 2002 election was rigged and whether he knew that Georgia citizens voted on electronic voting machines that had been patched with uncertified software days before the election in clear violation of Georgia law."

Ship of fools

Political parties die from the head down

Illustration by KAL

JOHN STUART MILL once dismissed the British Conservative Party as the stupid party. Today the Conservative Party is run by Oxford-educated high-fliers who have been busy reinventing conservatism for a new era. As Lexington sees it, the title of the "stupid party" now belongs to the Tories' transatlantic cousins, the Republicans.

There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party's defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South.

The Republicans lost the battle of ideas even more comprehensively than they lost the battle for educated votes, marching into the election armed with nothing more than slogans. Energy? Just drill, baby, drill. Global warming? Crack a joke about Ozone Al. Immigration? Send the bums home. Torture and Guantánamo? Wear a T-shirt saying you would rather be water-boarding. Ha ha. During the primary debates, three out of ten Republican candidates admitted that they did not believe in evolution.

Deceived by their parents' flattery, today's teenagers believe they will rise to the top. They're in for a shock

Alex Chancellor
They are calling them the "smug generation". These are the children of American baby boomers who are inculcated by their parents with such faith in their own brilliance that they are shattered in later life to discover that they are not actually much good at anything.

It is, of course, impossible to get things right as a parent. In the old days, it was common, especially in America, for parents to assume the worst of their children and to believe that the only way to bring them success in life was to launch them unprotected upon the world to make their own way. Such parents would unquestioningly accept the verdict of schoolteachers on their children's abilities, however derogatory, and concur with enthusiasm in their efforts to discipline them. This could make children feel unloved and unappreciated.

Now, according to research by American psychologists, it is the other way round. Modern parents praise and flatter their children to such an extent that they believe they are the cat's whiskers and destined to rise effortlessly to the top of every tree. Teenagers today think they are bound to outshine their parents in all fields - as workers, spouses, and as parents themselves - and so succumb to depression when it turns out that they are fairly mediocre at everything.

Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Andy Borowitz

by Andy Borowitz

In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama's appearance on CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday witnessed the president-elect's unorthodox verbal tic, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama's decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it "alienating" to have a president who speaks English as if it were his first language.

"Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement," says Mr. Logsdon. "If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist."

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, "Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate -- we get it, stop showing off."

World Leaders Won't Shake George Bush's Hand