Friday, October 31, 2008

New York Homeowners -- Smarter?

So... a New Yorker's first reaction to this plot is smugness. We're 50th in terms of oweing more or nearly as much as the equity in our homes. But, 50th is 6 %. That's more than one in every seventeen people -- if you look to your left, and you look to your right, and none of the eight homeowners on either side are underwater, you are.

This is something that should roughly never happen, in a world of responsible lending. Tax arrears are really the only thing that should put you here. But, it's more common than the flu.

If 6 % of the homeowners nationally were underwater or near underwater, we'd be in crisis. But, that's the state minimum by state.

Update: And, this should be said

But Wyss said this could change as financial market upheaval transforms Wall Street. This month, New York City Comptroller William Thompson estimated that the city alone might lose 165,000 jobs over two years.

"We're going to see home prices coming down pretty significantly in New York," Wyss said. "A lot of people are losing jobs, and won't be getting their usual bonuses, and that leaves less money for housing."

I'm trying not to be self-concious about the fact that I have roughly the same marathon goal as a woman twice my age

But, you know, she's got a natural advantage, not having been born fat and ungainly.

Update: Joy Johnson did win her age bracket. Bertha McGruder came in more than an hour later. I did beat Ms. Johnson, but much respect is due all five runners in the bracket. An 80-year-old man beat me by more than an hour. Results here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Validated Again

Nephos suggested I start noting all the times that I was right, is why this is coming up so much. I forget why. It's actually kind of time consuming.

In any case, I noticed on StillBlog that not only had Major League Baseball decided to keep on playing even without the Red Sox, but that the Phillies had won.

You'll recall that when Walter Shapiro asserted in
Samuel Alito is a passionate fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, a baseball team so star-crossed that it has won the World Series exactly once (1980) in the past century.
I'd responded
[T]he Phillies aren't unlucky. They've just never been dominant.
So... right again.

The GOP's war on Presbyterianism

Furious about a new political ad in North Carolina that suggests she's "godless," state Sen. Kay Hagan said she'd seek a cease-and-desist order against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's campaign if the television spot isn't pulled in the next 24 hours.

Hagan, a Democrat from Guilford County, and Dole, the Republican incumbent, have both been engaged in a highly negative ad war over the U.S. Senate seat.

Hagan held a press conference Wednesday morning with her family and her minister in Greensboro to denounce the ad at the Presbyterian church where she is an elder and has taught Sunday school.

"Elizabeth Dole is attacking my strong Christian faith," Hagan said.
So, this is Liddy's defense.
The ad is based on Hagan’s attendance at a September fund-raiser... at the home of... Woody Kaplan[, who sits] on the advisory board of the Godless Americans Political Action Committee....

Kaplan, who gave $2,300 to Hagan, said Wednesday that the event wasn’t associated with the Godless Americans.
Dole’s campaign said the ad was fair game in part because Hagan has attacked Dole for being "in the pocket of big oil" just because some of her contributors work for energy companies.
Yeah. That's not the same. If I work for a corporation, I'm a conduit for its money to flow to candidates that think correctly. If I belong to an organization and contribute to a candidate, I'm giving out in two ways that aren't necessarily linked.

I support candidates that my company's executive leadership is not behind, so it's certainly possible that Mrs. Dole is not in the pocket of big oil. But, I think active Presbyterianism should be a clear contraindicator of atheism.

Elizabeth Dole is a Methodist, which while not a reform church isn't one of these wacky GOP charity-free megachurches. I think she actually goes to my aunt's church (my father was raised Methodist,) where I've attended services myself. It's a little surprising that the GOP would accept Methodists and denounce Presbyterians as godless, but then we are consensus-driven and devolved, characteristics that the modern Republican party detests.

This bears watching, is all I'm saying.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting for Obama as a Working Family

I'm sensitive to the fact that you don't want to do something which will increase the chances of a McCain win, like not vote for Barack Obama. But, voting for the Democratic Party -- the party that gave us NAFTA, gave the president the authority to invade Iraq, poured billions of dollars into the missle defense boondoggle, failed to act around climate change and has passed up or blown every chance to give us national universal health care -- just doesn't make any sense.

I know that at least two of those (pick 'em out!) sound like attacks on Hillary Clinton, but that's only because she's a creature of the Democratic Party.

This idea might have some legs. We don't have a parliamentary system, so regardless of whether you vote for Obama as a Democrat or as the Working Families candidate, you're voting for him. I'll let you make these decisions.

I'm passing on a letter from's Bob Fertik. I will say that I was for Bloomberg's undemocratic power grab. And I would have though would have copyrighted "Thanks for all you do," but I guess it's just a generic progressive activist vague statement of gratitude. Anyway, here's the letter.

Dear Activist,

When you vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday November 4, I hope you'll join me in voting for Obama on Row E - the Working Families Party.

Voting for Obama on Row E is exactly like voting for him on the Democratic Party line, only it lets you make a statement that you're a PROGRESSIVE Democrat who supports economic, social, and environmental justice. That's a message the politicians in Albany and Washington DC will hear and act upon.

Below is a letter from a few of New York's netroots leaders that I'm proud to endorse. I welcome your thoughts here:

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Fertik

Democrats are on the ascent, nationally and in states like ours, where the decades-old Republican stranglehold on Albany may finally be broken in less than one week.

If the Democrats are victorious, then the real battle will begin: how do we hold them accountable to progressive values against the enormous pressure they will face to play it safe?

It's going to be a big challenge, so we'll cut to chase: we need your help. New York needs your help. The single biggest thing we can do right now to boost progressive power in the Empire State is to strengthen our very own progressive third party - the Working Families Party.

As you may well know, they've led many of the big battles over the last ten years, from raising the minimum wage to putting paid family leave on the map, to fighting for affordable healthcare for all, public transportation, and most recently taking on Mayor Bloomberg's extremely undemocratic plan to extend term limits without a public vote.

The term limits fight deserves a close look. The WFP, with the help of bloggers and parts of the city's labor movement, was able to turn what would have been an overnight power grab into a very real - and only narrowly lost - fight. They did it by quickly assembling a grassroots coalition, online and in the streets, to put pressure on a City Council that had expected none.

The term limits battle is another reminder that voter anger is not enough - winning means having progressive institutions with the resources to respond when push comes to shove.

The fights of the future will be no different. The more strength the WFP has, the better our chances are of keeping Democrats from drifting rightward in 2009.

To do it, we need to get every progressive we can reach to vote for Barack Obama - and the Democratic candidates for Congress and the state legislature - on the Working Families ballot line.

That's where you come in. Thousands of Netroots activists in New York already vote on the Working Families line, but need a reminder. Many thousands more would find their happy home on "Row E" - if we let them know (repeatedly) about the opportunity.

They've set up a great website to do just that: Vote Change Like You Mean It.

Our task is to make sure enough people read what's there. Tell your friends, family, all your fellow New York progressives. Blog, Twitter - whatever your thing is, do it.

It's simple. Working Families votes not only let us "vote our progressive values," they carry an important implicit threat. The WFP and its allies online and off have a track record defeating incumbent Democrats through primary challenges when those Democrats let us down.

The more Working Families votes there are this November, the greater that threat becomes, and the more likely we are to win the big votes for affordable housing, campaign finance reform, a fair budget, and everything else next January and beyond.

On November 4th we have a chance not just to kick Republicans out of the White House and Albany, but to start making Democrats better from day one.

We hope you'll join us. Go to: -- tell your friends, fellow activists, and every New Yorker you know. The more votes, the more progressive power.

To contact the WFP about helping directly, email Dan Levitan at


Phil Anderson and Robert Harding, The Albany Project
Michael Bouldin, Daily Gotham
Justin Krebs, Political Organizer
Bob Fertik,

GOP warns of one-party power

You remember 2003 - 2007, right? Nobody wants to go through that again. The GOP warning of one-party power is like a crazy man shooting into a crowd shouting, "Do you think you could kill any fewer people with this gun?"

Actually, I think that's a current advertising campaign from the NRA, which might explain why they and the GOP are so aligned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Agreement (with me)

Yeah, I know. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Still, I'm not saying I'm pleased with our economic collapse, just that it validates me.

Anyway, I've been saying for a while now, and on this blog for at least a year, that housing prices will fall 70 % from their peak to 1997 levels. And what's the money quote today?
Peter Schiff, president of broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital... said... "After a decade-long spending orgy, market forces are finally trying to restrict consumer spending and dampen credit. But the stimulus looks to provide a new source of funds after savings, income, and credit have been exhausted. Our imbalanced economy is in desperate need of retrenchment, but stimulus plans will effectively hold the firemen at bay while throwing gasoline on the flames."

Additionally, said Schiff, easy credit means people will spend more on consumer goods and they'll have less to spend on housing. As a result, he expects home prices to fall a lot more.

"They'll surrender all the gains they made in the past 10 years," he said, "and be even lower than they were 10 years ago."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home Sales at 1968 Levels


I don't really draw any inferences from that, it's just surprising. Home sales haven't changed since I was born! 1963, 1964 and 1965, by the way, were all way higher.

A Pet Owner Aspirant Comes Clean

I feel vulnerable and want to exert my will over something.
That's what I said.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So, since around 1998, I've been focused on two coming apocalypses: the economic collapse and the global climate catastrophe. The former is nigh upon us, but the latter may still be up to 20 years away -- anyway, it's not immminent, and I sometimes have hope that we may have a Manhattan island throughout my lifetime. Or, not to mortally jinx myself, throughout my actuarially predicted lifetime. That's a digression.

My approach to the former problem was to start credentialing myself as a high-income worker and hob-nob with the wealthy and powerful. This, then, is pretty validating:
EMMANUEL SAEZ[, the income-share expert and economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley]: Perhaps the best comparison is the Great Depression. During that period, the income share of the top 10% was stable. But that masked a sharp fall for the top 1%. The income share of the top 1% fell from 24% in 1928 to 15.5% in 1931.
[It was such a big drop] [m]ostly because capital gains took a big hit, and I think it will in the coming years as well. One of the most important (factors) during the Great Depression was that profits to business took a huge hit. That affected the top 1%, but the top 10 % as a whole remained stable because the high-wage earners did pretty well during the Great Depression. Those guys rarely lose their jobs and don’t get much of a pay cut.

Can I retract that?

I really don't predict we'll hit the Bush 43 Presidency low of 7286.27 from October 9 of 2002.

So... this statement is looking more challenged every day. We could totally go through this floor. You'll have to forgive me -- this was just mindless boosterism on my part.

I still think we'll pass 10,000 definitively in five years. It'll be part of inflating our problems away.

Tanzania: What Can the Country Learn From the U.S. Campaigns?


I just want to saw I found that headline really disturbing. Stay good, Tanzania!

It must be noted that religious and racial sentiments are tool that can be used to tear apart the fabric of society. That is why some Americans are identifying themselves with candidates of their religion and colour.

Tanzanian politicians ought to avoid the use of such tags in elections or else the unity and peace we have been boasting about may soon melt like an ice cube does in hot water.
Do you even know the corporatist party candidate religions? They're both Christians, as is Cynthia, but to Christians, that covers a lot of ground. They're probably not Eastern Orthodox or Coptic. Wikipedia says they're Roman Catholic[Cynthia], Southern Baptist (née Episcopalian)[Rep] and United Church of Christ[Dem]. So, if people are separating along religious lines, the Greens are in a pretty good position. 

McKinney/Clemente Buttons Available


As penance for my earlier abuse of our candidate, I'm handing out campaign buttons from a big bag I bought. It's not going so smoothly. People seem to feel the Green Party was a factor in installing W in office, but this is why instant runoff voting is so high on our agenda.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Fucktard's Guide To Driving

So, I've been thinking in recent days of writing a book called something like "Why you're a fucktard and how to change." I made up a little definition for fucktard -- someone who out of insolence or self-absorption behaves in a manner suggesting mental disability -- and came up with little explanations of everyday feedbacks like "if you stand in front of the subway doors, the people on the train can not leave, so the car can not leave. It doesn't matter how quickly you get on, as you're not leaving without the train," and "if you stand in the street waiting to cross, or even on the very edge of the curb, motorists will slow down, the street will not clear, and you cross later than you would have had you waited more than 12 inches back from the curb."

Just, you know, a path fucktards could follow to get themselves out of the hell they create and share with other people. I don't have the time to write such a book, and I can't maintain the negativity and self-righteousness it would require. Obviously, this idea only possesses me during my morning commute. Which is full of fucktards.

I was then pleased to see that this has been done for motorists, whom you might suspect start at a little disadvantage crawling out of fucktarddom.

[Tom Vanderbilt, who wrote "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do"] disappeared for three years into the university warrens of road scholars, who, more than 125 years after the advent of the automobile, are legend. "There are people with entire academic careers devoted to off-ramps," he says.
This was my dream in 10th grade, by the way -- to be one of these people. I wasn't even thinking of the beneficial confusion introduction myself as a 'road scholar' might create.
Perhaps most eye-opening is Vanderbilt's declaration that "the way we drive is responsible for a good part of our traffic problems." That's right, it's not what urban philosophers Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, James Howard Kunstler and, well, my brother and I, in our 1993 book, "Where the Road and the Sky Collide: America Through the Eyes of Its Drivers," have been saying all along -- we are burning in traffic hell for our greedy sins of rampant urban sprawl.

No, what's gumming up the highways are hideously self-absorbed drivers who weave in and out of lanes -- creating a chain reaction of people stepping on the brakes -- desperate to get to some utterly inane appointment for which they think they can't be late. It's not that America has too many people and too few highways. Nearly 90 percent of our roads are not congested 90 percent of the time. Look at it this way: If one-fifth of solo drivers hitched a ride with neighbors or friends to the business park or mall, we'd be sailing along Happy Highway every day.

The tall and slender Vanderbilt, a rather soft-spoken scholar himself, doesn't resort to loud adverbs to make his points about congestion. In his book, he gives way to traffic behaviorist Alan Pisarski, who blames affluence for cities jammed with narcissists in BMWs. Congestion, Pisarski says, is "people with the economic means to act on their social and economic interests getting in the way of other people with the means to act on theirs."

NEWCAG missed the agency problem?

In another half-hearted attempt to pretend that he wasn't at the center of an Objectivist conspiracy to bring down the global economic system, NEWCAG
...told the House Oversight Committee that his belief that banks would be more prudent in their lending practices because of the need to protect their stockholders had been proven wrong by the current crisis. He called this a "mistake" in his views and said he had been shocked by that.

Greenspan said he had made a "mistake" in believing that banks in operating in their self-interest would be sufficient to protect their shareholders and the equity in their institutions.
So... he didn't get that banks are run by managers, and managers have primarily short-term interests -- they want big bonuses quarter by quarter, and want to pump, vest and dump their options. He just missed it.

You know how in letters to the editor, and in movies where people are advising policy makers, boring people say obvious things? Apparently, they're really necessary.

I saw W. last night, and it showed a bunch of people telling a policy maker just downright crazy things. Those people? Not so desirable. But, it looks like maybe it's useful to write tedious obvious letters to your governing officials. They apparently want you to believe they don't think things through.


"[P]eak oilers" looking forward to another supply crunch should consider two things. First, recession, by resetting the demand baseline downward, extends the life of oil reserves.
While that makes sense, it misunderstands the peak oil paradigm, which is that consumption will outstrip discovery. By a lot. I haven't checked, but I don't expect that this is yet untrue. However, there's more.
Second, the U.S., energy-consumer extraordinaire, is more aware than ever of its oil addiction. The irony is that, as OPEC stabilizes prices, it will reinforce America's political will to deal with that.
At the risk of sounding cavalier? I can't stop giggling. Everybody feeling aware? How's that will doing?

Running up a third time

If you were wondering how long it's been since I had a running up headline entry, the answer's twenty months. A few weeks ago, I tried to focus on vulgarity and celebrity references, and that's paid off. Here's the headline in question:
How We Ended Up Giving One Another Head, But Not in a Gay Way
So, I'm back in the headline writing roster. But, at what cost?

Really, having cracked the code, I feel like I should keep at this until I win. We'll focus on the moral qualms after they're relevant, which our leaders tell us is what grown-ups do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Regularly Scheduled Maintenance


OK, frankly? What do these guys take me for? I started erroring out on the page at 4 o'clock, and after 6:30 they start giving me this folderol about how they're updating the site and they'd always meant to do it at this time.

Is this really building trust with their other clientele?

Monday, October 20, 2008

That's Not Party Building We Can Believe In


Update: This turns out to have been totally misguided. She's clearly identified as the Green Party presidential candidate all over her web page. I don't know if it just wasn't there when I checked, or I simply missed it. I'm probably laying my continuing sense of betrayal from Ralph Nader at Cynthia McKinney's door, which is patently unfair.

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party Candidate for President, and I'm going to vote for her, as I'm a straight party line voter.

But, and I didn't make any bones about this in the nomination process, I don't particularly think she'd make a good president. I'm voting for her only becuase she's my party nominee.

Now, Cynthia has started sending out a lot of desperate communiques, saying she needs more money, she needs more volunteer time, and she doesn't understand why she'd not getting it.

For my part? I don't understand why the word 'Green' doesn't show up in a search of her campaign home page. She's cobbled together a coalition to lose with. You don't need a coalition to lose! You can lose on your own. And you're not going to get a lot of party activist support if you cast yourself as the leader of a movement and accept whatever presidential candidate nominations are lying around.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Funny enough to pass on

I've got a real fondness for humor based on spam email. This one has kicks off




Thursday, October 16, 2008

Will Call

there's no link.
I'm going to the opera -- Karita Mattila in Strauss' Salome -- tomorrow, which is great. Except I bought season tickets. And this is what's going to happen:

1. I'm going to get the whole season's tickets at once tomorrow night at will call
2. For every other performance, I'm going to spend an hour and a half trying to locate said tickets.

Isn't this majorly stupid? I don't want to manage these physical tokens! I don't want to risk forgetting them! I want to preserve the option to skip my last planned trip home before show! I'm really not optimistic about my ability to convince them that keeping the tickets at will call for the rest of the season is a good thing. But, you'd think, that if they're willing to give me the tickets at all, they'd be willing to give me the tickets every performance.

What I realized earlier tonight is that the tickets themselves are probably unnecessary. They validate me, they give me my ticket, I present my ticket. I feel like if validating me were easier, the whole ticket could go away.

As a Christian, I can't embed any identifying or otherwise commerce-enabling techologies in my body (the Bible only excludes the forehead and the right wrist, but it seems safer to generalize,) but surely there must be something we can do. Maybe tap my RFID-enabled AmEx card? Can AmEx get on this?

Back when the Blue Card was new, the marketers at American Express realized that having a computer chip in the card was very powerful, and the applications were far broader than digital cash. They just didn't know what they were. So, they opened it up for a "give your idea to a major corporation" competition. I submitted this idea of a digital ticket for an event on the card itself, and went on at length about the infrastructure it would require.

I really think the time for that idea has come. Or is still here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Don't Provoke the President

Keep in mind that we have a President who, at the very least, created opportunities for terrorist attacks for the first 8 months of his presidency so that he could claim special powers when one happened, and also invaded a whole other country to help his party in the 2002 midterm elections. In light of that, is this really responsible writing?
[I]f [McCain] does [catch up] it would probably be as a result of a mistake by Obama or some sort of national-security crisis rather than anything McCain does for himself.
We should be really clear here. A national security crisis is not going to help John McCain -- he's not someone people are inclined to turn to in a crisis anymore. Even if there were a crisis impeding Senator Obama's ability to serve, it would help Joe Biden electorally. I'm not super sure what would happen if Senators Obama and Biden were taken out, but I do not think that a McCain presidency would be the most likely result.

And, furthermore, I don't think the President's strong enough to suspend the constitution and stay in office. I don't see that ending well. Seriously, focus on destroying the evidence of your crimes. You can't stay, and you can't put McCain in.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Apparently, Kenya has really strict visa restrictions

The American author of a best-selling book attacking Barack Obama is being detained in Kenya because he does not have a work permit, a senior immigration official said Tuesday.
Obama's late father, whom he barely knew, was a Kenyan economist and the candidate is considered by many Kenyans as a native son. Minibuses are emblazoned with his picture and vendors sell T-shirts bearing his image.
As much as I like the idea of imprisoning propogandists and their sponsors, I can't support it. Restrictions on free speech aren't OK when we like the outcome.

Kenya is supposed to be a constitutional democracy! I know I keep asking Barack Obama to intervene in Kenya, but it would be especially nice in this case. Think of it: After Senator McCain has rolled out, "All Sleaze, All The Time," Senator Obama calls Mwai Kibaki and asks him to let this mudslinger go. It would be a nice contrast, right?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The IReagians

So, if you were, like myself, laboring under the delusion that Reagan was installed by the Iranians' cynical manipulation of American Public Opinion and this somehow formed a relationship that turned into the Iran Contra Affair and Dick Cheney's "Iranian Puppet" Vice Presidency, I've got to tell you that that's not the current conspiracy theory.

Apparently, Reagan, Bush 41, et al, undertook to undercut Carter's attempt to spring the hostages in a successful bid to undercut Carter's reelection. The outcome's the same, I guess, except that it makes it seem like Dick Cheney feels like he's doing the Iranians bidding as his own man.

Mazda is desiging cars for a water starved future

The Kiyora has one very unique feature--rain water is channeled from the roof through a carbon filter, filling up a bottle between the front seats. This is the car for a water-starved future.
It's good that they're thinking ahead, but they're designing for a water-starved future with a lot of rain. They should have run this past the system engineers.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

George Bush Gets Favorably Compared to Somebody

Now that Sarah Palin's on the world stage as "George Bush without connections," it's hard to remember an incident where the sitting President was deemed more capable or accomplished in any fashion than anybody else. Rolling Stone rolls forth to fill the gap.
John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot.
I'll take their word for it.

My Bailout Allegory

You're in the cockpit of a cargo plane in Afghanistan, transporting refugees to Germany. You're scanning the skies for Turkish, Iraqi, Pakistani or Taliban planes, as any of them might want to shoot you down for your own purpose. But, mostly you're there to ensure that pilot doesn't get lost.

The pilot lurches forward in evident abdomincal pain. Turning to him you see that his skin is dessicated. A chunk of dried flesh tumbles from his temple as you watch He is literally coming apart.

You: What the Fuck!
The pilot turns to you. You can see the blackened blood vessels in his yellow eyes. He doesn't speak for a moment, then starts to croak

Pilot: I'm sorry, I thought I had another couple of days. I didn't want it to end like this.
You: What is the matter with you?
Pilot: I'm a vampire. I need to drink human blood to survive. I know that's awful. I'd rather die than take blood from one more human being.
You: There are 200 refugees in this airplane. You, I, and they are all going to die unless you keep operating this aircraft.
The pilot laughs huskily

Pilot: I can't be killed that way. As soon as my blood mingled with yours, I'd be fine again.
He continues to fly on in silence. You turn matters over in your mind After a few minutes, he begins to shudder violently, causing the plane to do likewise. Refugees start shouting and banging on the door.

You: How much blood do you need? Like, if I let you... feed... on our clients, how many are we talking?
Pilot: I know what you're trying to do I appreciate it, but I... OK, this has got to happen. Ten. Ten refugees would be fine. And, I'll just take a little blood from each. They'll survive. And, if they do die, there's only a small chance that they will arise to curse the earth as evil undead themselves.
You: Ten refugees! That's out of the question! Look, just take three.
The pilot dashes out of the cockpit too quickly and silently for you to notice

You: Three refugees. Maybe I'll let you take two more later. But, if you need the other five, we're going to have to call the UNHCR for approval.
The Pilot reappears. His right arm holds the elbows of two struggling Afghanis. His left arm releases one who sinks to the floor with puncture wounds on his neck. One of the refugees breaks free and dives under your seat as the pilot focuses his attention on the other.

Pilot; And, the refugees themselves? At what point will we confer with them?
He begins to drink. The man under your seat begins to shuffle, whine and cry.

You: I can't see them approving any part of this, so we'd better not ask. But, it's for their own good. Is there any other place you could do this?
The pilot laughs and reaches around under you, intent on finishing his meal.


So... in my rôle as a minutiae blogger, I'll tell you this. I was chatting last night about Sarah Palin at the Vice Presidential debate, and the young lady I was talking to mentioned she'd half expected Denzel Washington to take the stage. I replied, "to stop the archangle Azazel?"

Whereas she'd gone
Sarah Palin --> Debater --> "Great Debaters" --> Denzel, I'd gone
Sarah Palin --> Evil Archangel --> "Fallen" --> Denzel.

Now, it's possible you've never heard of "Fallen;" it's main significance to me was to show how much movies where the hero fails aren't enjoyable -- it really justified American cinema's tradition of successful protagonists for me. But, it came out ten years ago, and I may have mentioned it a few times since, but probably not in the last, oh, nine or so years.

I was talking today with an Aramaic couple. I asked the woman if she'd seen Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, which, of course, is in Aramaic. She asked her husband if he'd seen the movie with Aramaic, and he says, "With Denzel Washington? And the angel that passes from person to person by touch?" Apparently, it's got some Aramaic in it as well.

So, it's a little weird that in the space of two days, the same ten-year-old box office flop has been the wrong answer to two different questions in conversations I was in. It's all part of the cosmic unconciousness.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I read Vice Presidential qualifying media!

Sarah Palin, she now claims, reads the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Economist. I read Professor Krugman's column in the Times Mondays and Fridays, and other stories as they come up. I subscribe to the other two.

Not only am I more qualified in foreign affairs than Sarah Palin, I read the right papers. I might end up VB by acclamation.

Mountain Redoubt

Well, of course, the long term plan is to build a retreat at the treeline on a mountain, draw water from the ambient atmosphere, of which we expect a lot on fogball earth, and grow chemosynthetic algae for food.

Of course, buying an actual house now borders on moronic. But, there are apparently great deals on land.
Horton[, the nation's largest home builder by unit volume,] two weeks ago sold about 2,000 house lots in Desert Hot Springs, a blue-collar community in the far reaches of Southern California's Inland Empire, for $7.8 million, according to county records. William Shopoff, a land investor who bid unsuccessfully for the property, estimates Horton paid about $110 million for the land before spending to prepare the property for development by grading and installing infrastructure such as sewers.
So, maybe I should tighten the time schedule for this.

Did anybody hear about planned mountain communities? Or even a resort?

Facts Matter

link -- the WSJ has apparently stopped requiring logins for all its content, btw.
Governor Palin kept decrying 'Greed and Corruption on Wall Street'. I agree that corruption's a bad thing, but could she possibly have meant that they're only bad together? Can you imagine Wall Street without greed? It's not like trading bonds is a particularly satisfying job. You don't do it to create things that matter, change the world for the better or leave a legacy. It's all about the money. Maybe she's pro-avarice, but anti-greed; that's a little hard to parse, but I do have a Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited institution.

Senator Biden's assertion that 'facts matter' responded to Governor Palin's complaint that Democrats felt how we ended up in Iraq was relevant, and he said something similar when she said, to paraphrase, "I can't speak to the causes of Climate Change, but we have to reduce emissions to address it."

I do love how Biden slammed John McCain for refusing to speak to the President of Spain.

Governor Palin held it together pretty well, and the debate was more watchable than I'd thought. I sort of felt her answers degraded as time went on. My biggest laugh was when she accused the abusive mortgage lenders of Putin-like head-rearing. But, this is it for Governor Huckabee, who is not going to fulfill my secret fantasy of swooping in to save the GOP ticket after Palin had been found wanting.

And I expect we'll see her again in 8 years. It's good that she supports fair marriage.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

There's a 20 % chance of a hurricane hitting Ireland Saturday

I know I always seem to be advocating panic, but... can I get a little panic? There's a 73 % chance Laura will at least be a tropical storm when she makes landfall.

This is a great time to leave Ireland.

The big news out of Ireland yesterday was that they're guaranteeing all bank deposits. This caused a run on English banks, as everyone transferred their accounts. Funny, right? Unlike a hurricane.

Look at the Belfast Telegraph. It's not that Tropical Storm Laura gets much less emphasis than "Britney Spears' ex-boyfriend offers sex tape for sale," it's that she's not mentioned at all.

These people had better focus.