Saturday, April 18, 2009

Baby snail

Found him on my rosemary bush this morning!

UPDATE: According to this, snails hate highly aromatic herbs. Which explains why I found this guy on my rosemary bush, right next to my explosively-growing lavender... Hmf.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bringing American freedom to Iraq

I guess the Bush administration can count this among their successes of bringing the American way of life to Iraq:

A shadowy group has posted signs around the Iraqi capital's main Shiite working-class district of Sadr City naming alleged homosexuals on a list and threatening to kill them.

"We will punish you, perverts," the posters say.

And I know, I know, it's not fair to a lot of people to say that America is that harsh on gays, but in so many ways, it is. There are extreme examples and less extreme examples, but ultimately I don't see how close you have to get to the issue before it looks like there's not a fundamental underpinning of "we don't like you and you're not welcome here" to the whole thing.

Also, "puppies" (first link above) is about the coolest slang term for 'you homos' in history. American gays might get some traction with a little Lakovian reframing, eschewing "queers" or "fags" for "puppies". Who doesn't like puppies?!

Credit: Pirate Scott, Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Conservatives love teabagging

UPDATE: I was gonna stay away from the obvious, sophomoric teabag humor, but when I saw that, indeed, they teabagged the Wabash, I'm sorry, but you freakin' asked for it.

No doubt -- I'm away from the TV but I have no doubt -- there's much excitement in the conservative punditsphere over the apparent populist uprising taking place against taxes, which the conservative punditsphere doesn't bother to differentiate from "big" (i.e., wasteful) government. I'm with MSNBC on this little family dispute:

[CNBC's tantrum-throwing NYSE floor reporter Rick Santelli] also said despite the claims from others in the media, including people at CNBC’s sister network MSNBC, calling the movement “Astroturf,” Santelli declared it a grassroots movement.

“I think from a grassroots standpoint, I’m sure some of the media out there is not going to peg it that way, but isn’t it about as American as it gets – for people to roll their strollers and make their signs and go voice their opinion about the direction of the country?” Santelli said. “Good, bad or indifferent – that’s a great thing. There’s not a lot of countries, of course, that afford their people that, that type of right. It’s a great thing.”

Yes, why on earth would 'some media out there' not call this 'grassroots' effort grassroots? Because, quite simply, 'Astroturf' is what this is:

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, a lobbyist whose corporate clients including Verizon, Raytheon, liquor maker Diageo, CarMax and drug company Sanofi Pasteur.

That, people, is not a grassroots, populist uprising. That is an uprising brought to you and underwritten by big business and big government. That is not the peasants sharpening their pitchforks, it's pawns being played in the game. It's simulacrum. Well, and to be fair, it's very effective politics. The slick political insiders convinced the peasants to do the insiders' bidding while convincing the peasants that it was their own idea; and that it is for their own good. Deceptive, but incredibly effective. Or in other words, the usual old-guard Republican game.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Indiana preparing for Obama's gun ban

Evidently word has made it to Indiana that the liberals, progressives, hippies, peaceniks, treehuggers, atheists, gays and communists -- and oh yeah, that guy they supported for President -- are coming to take their guns. Hoosiers are a scrappy bunch though, and it seems as though preparations are already underway for the coming firearm prohibition:

"A man died Monday, days after he was involved in a swordfight with the grandson of a woman who was killed when she tried to intervene in the fight, police said.

Keep it classy, Indiana :)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Senior Seating

Well, you know as well as I do that when someone leaves their blog unmolested for two straight months, that's the end of that. So don't be surprised if and when this all goes kaput. On the other hand, dear reader, since you're here, may I pass this along?

I've often wondered about the politics of the ADA seats on BART. They're labeled that "Federal law requires these seats be made available to seniors and people with disabilities" -- doesn't seem super-political, right? But what about pregnant women? It's considered good etiquette to offer pregnant women -- well, to offer them any seat, but those seats in particular. But on the other hand, how do they feel about their condition (or child) being called a disability? I still don't understand that. But the other day the "senior" thing finally happened: A guy walked in and a lady offered him her seat. He asked "Oh, are you getting off at the next stop?" and she said "No, seniors..."

Fortunately, the guy had a good sense of humor about it; in fact, everyone in the immediate area did. He gave her a hard time, but did end up accepting the offer, as most of us in the vicinity chuckled. I guess from now on my standard response to such questions will be "No, it's OK." Maybe 'cause it's just the nice thing to do.