Friday, November 18, 2005

it is coming

the Republican majority in the House received a sudden death shock today as the Budget Bill failed. interestingly, this bill contained a provision to cut $8 billion dollars earmarked for protection against a flu pandemic. in other news today, China reports its first flu fatalities.

House supporters of the bill said that it provided a satisfactory level of federal support for health and education programs and that new fiscal restraint was called for, given the resources needed for the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the war in Iraq.

undeterred in applying fiscal restraint to the poor but not the wealthy, the Republican House majority managed to push through tax cuts for the rich.

though currently ticking like a time bomb across the world, the pandemic is coming. as the country soon may be reduced to cries of 'Bring out your dead,' it makes sense that the GOP seeks now more than ever to put a little cash in the pockets of the wealthy. how else will they all be able to afford islands of their own to ride out the pandemic? sure, we could take intelligent and fiscally responsible measures to develop prevention and response strategies but perhaps it will be more cost effective for major shareholders to sequester and survive, then colonize some less-fortunate country where they can truly enslave the workers...

in the meantime, Democrats seek to hold fast to the spine instilled by Harry Reid. in another move, a bipartisan coalition has written a protest regarding the Patriot Act extension. Democrats are threatening to filibuster if civil liberties protections are not strengthened. the question is whether they are really coming to play or whether they will melt at the oft-brandished threat of the 'nuclear option.' special 'snaps' to Colorado's own Salazar for his part in authorship of the letter.

finally, no blog published today would be complete without a link to the moving oration of Rep John Murtha, the strongest Dem Hawk and the man believed to 'speak for the Armed Forces', in his insistent demand that America pull out of Iraq. of course, it is his response to WH response attacks that most eloquently nails the yellow elephants to the wall:

"I like guys who got five deferments and (have) never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," Murtha said.

the straitjacket of silence is unraveling, from all its many, many, many buckles and straps.

btw, i just love this link

the personal

though i have been kinda busy with local politics and other challenges. there have been a couple bright spots. first off, two weeks ago , i went roller skating for the first time since i was 10. the rink was a quarter of the size of the one we went to in the Midwest and felt a helluva lot smaller than that. cruising around and around, watching the kids and young adult demographic, talking smack with my companion. all very very fun. think i would rather ice skating--we have two rinks in town but they are always closed for hockey games. may try to plan that. last time i iceskated was a couple years ago in SF.

new climber
Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
Sunday i took up a new sport: climbing. struggled with the physics of the thing for about 4 hours on Sunday. Sunday night i read online at Rock Climbing and Monday morning picked up 'the' book: How to Rock Climb by John Long. been reading like a fiend.

Wednesday my plans fell through-my friend is certain she has the avian flu-and i figured the blisters were healed enough that they wouldn't bleed all over the wall. back and arms still sore. a bonus in my mind as it would force me to focus more on applying the better understanding i had gained from Long's book. we climbed for about 3 hours Wednesday and it went great! my hands are still not strong enough to really boulder but the improvement in technique helped a lot. loving where i am sore, i decided to commit and spent two hours yesterday buying shoes and a harness kit. will probably wait to join the gym till i get back from impending travels. was considering going back to the local rock gym today but not sure the hands can take it. plans for a group to go to a cool-looking place in Thorton tomorrow so i don't want to blow them out today. will play by ear.

Tuesday i fly hom to TN to see the fam. it has been months since i have seen everyone, strange after the spring. it will be good to catch up with Mickey (Grandma) and the Christies. of course, 24/7 Mom time is top billing. fly home early Monday morning and then straight from the airport onto another flight to San Diego for a business trip. will be staying at the Hotel Del Coronado so work will be pleasantly cushioned but i definitely have some anxiety about returning to SoCal, even if it isn't LA. i have 5-6 hours to kill on Monday and am considering surfing lessons depending on the weather. may play in the spa. any suggestions?

home Thursday and have to submit my prelim materials to my PhD committee Friday am. not that they are done yet. getting a little dicey on a couple of fronts and my advisor (who promised me some focused feedback) is currently in Sweden. still, i have faith that it will work out.

well, that is all from here on the personal front. back to politics soon enough...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

kickoff content

from Howard Dean's call:

we have done a great job so far and need to build on the success of the past election. the key to succeeding is going to be 'doors.' in order to take back America, we are going to need to engage in a national grassroots campaign, get to know our neighbors and talk issues through the year. this is the key to building a voter base. because really, there are no red states. all states are purple. and because all states are purple, we have the opportunity to swing them.

[some talk about Democracy bonds and a slightly scrambled reference to 'the mother of all lists']

it is going to be hard but we have to work hard if we really want to take back the country.

we will do better in 2006. we need a Democratic House and Senate. sure, we can't make the president sign our legislation but we can keep him from making America worse.

our focus points:
we need to talk about our values and principles because 'most people think we don't have any.'
1. 'bring honesty back to government'
2. we need a strong national defense system that tells the American people the truth
3. we need to focus on jobs
4. uniform, universal health insurance with a balanced budget
5. strengthen public education

when asked how to repeat the success seen in Colorado in other conservative states and maintain it in Colorado (by a CO caller), Dean said:
1. pay for organizers in all states
2. really we haven't anything to tell Colorado--you are the ones that did it. but we agree we need to get rid of Marilyn Musgrave
3. need to defend things we believe in.

we need to more succinctly define our "alternative, positive, proactive agenda," to reduce our 5 focus points to 10 word, one sentence messages. we need to build the Democratic Party, 'neighbor by neighbor, precinct by precinct.'

after Dean's call, we basically agreed America has become an embarrassing disaster and that we need to fix that. we agreed that we need to engage younger voters better and better utilize volunteers throughout the year.

the problem is, nothing was done or said that takes a concrete stab at changing anything. the only discrete actions suggested were to buy Democracy Bonds, e.g., give the DNP more money, and to print business cards that you can hand out to random people you interface with in daily life.

personally, i don't think giving the DNP more money is intelligent. so far they have done a crappy job organizing and leveraging interested volunteers, which should be the work force. before they pay more people, they need to learn to best use the people they already have willing to work for free. 'but isn't most of the money for use on ad campaigns?' i hear you query. like we really need more television ads, more junk mail, more sixth degree of separation recruitment. throwing money at the problem, instead of addressing the problem, is not a solution.

the reality is that the DNP could marshall a formidable army of volunteers of all age demographics if they could grow and maintain a spine. as for ads, there should be less ads. it is not a relative largesse of ad dollars that led to the Republican win, it was the fact that almost no one in America feels engaged and cared for by the DNP.

i can't imagine why this is so.

i mean, it is not like the DNP sold out American laborers and farmers by shoving through 'free trade' legislation that has caused more problems than good in more nations than ours. oh wait. but hey, they have stood by women's rights. oh wait. human and civil rights? umm. social programs backed by fiscal responsibility--e.g., big government but without the pork? Feingold? just Feingold?

anyone sense a trend? the DNP has sold out almost their entire party base to try and capture the centrist, 'soft' Republicans. accordingly, the only people foolish enough to believe they can be trusted are elderly loyalists 'afeard' of third party politics. everyone else just sees them as the [marginally] lesser evil.

if the DNP stopped defending the piddly square foot of plank remaining to it, reclaimed all the planks it has tossed in the compost and started aggressively challenging the opposing viewpoint, Democrats would win in a landslide. check the polls. the spread between Dems and Independents is rarely more than two points, while the Repubs often float 40-50 points away. if the Independents, whose values are similar (based on polling and less negiotiable planks like that of the Green Party), can be mobilized, the war is won. to do that, the DNP needs to believe in things, act on those beliefs (even when not immediately 'sexy' or 'hot'), and stop apologizing for having ethics. this is where the message is. not in some overpriced, underlistened 30 second TV ad. all the ads in the world won't do a lick of good as long as the 'product' for sale is rotten.

if the DNP can get a clue and do the right thing, that makes the news and the news makes history. it is by seeing the message lived in daily life, in local organizations and in the news, that voters are opened to the truth. that should have been the damn message of the phone call--content on how the DNP is going to maintain a spine and live the talk.


that said, i really should point out that i met some cool people, and that we are working on our own plans to do things better locally.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Scalito becomes more fitting

with continued conflicting information emerging on his beliefs, Alito seems more reptilian every day. his actions are cold-blooded, his beliefs clearly defined by current personal agenda, and his fitness for a Supreme Court position more questionable.

Alito claims to respect precedent regardless of his beliefs; he also claims that his comments during the Reagan administration were motivated by want of a job--leaving one to wonder what else he would 'adjust' about his 'deeply held' convictions should the price be right.* in addition, new information has surfaced that strongly suggests his respect for precedent only goes so far:

''There is no explicit textual warrant in the Constitution for a right to an abortion," the brief said. It said the doctrine of precedent should not prevent overturning Roe because ''a decision as flawed as we believe Roe v. Wade to be becomes a focus of instability, and thus is less aptly sheltered by that doctrine."

The Supreme Court rejected those arguments, saying, in part, ''We reaffirm the general principles laid down in Roe."

Alito has told some senators that he has respect for precedent, but he has not said if he would vote to overturn Roe.

One of the key questions about Alito among senators is now whether his statement that ''the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" means that he would try to overturn Roe, or whether his statements about respecting precedent mean that he would leave it intact.

Alito volunteered to work on this case, volunteered to generate arguments protecting onerous and penurious legislation, bragged about this case in a previous job application. Alito bragged about making a difficult decision just that much more horrible for women.

*curiously similar to Scalia, no? Alito has a similar history of shady ethics and failure of recusal, even in the face of written pledges to the contrary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


so i am home from the DNP Kickoff. for those who couldn't attend, i took plenty of notes on everything. unfortunately, i have been fighting a migraine since about 5pm. one of the flushed face, tight forehead, pain creeping through the temples to the brain, tempting a self-induced pithing. so the report will have to wait. i will have it for you soon.

in the meantime, i discovered another cool grassroots group: the League of Pissed Off Voters. [for those out of the loop, don't forget to check out Drinking Liberally as well.]

otherwise, talk amongst yourselves. maybe think of a question to Ask Bush or Cheney for kicks... (i think Cheney is better, possibly because there is a distinguishable difference between satire and reality.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

rearguard recovery

i have gotten horribly behind. just horribly. the white hare would be dismayed.

things i had been flagging include work to rescind habeas corpus in the Senate and House. to view your senators' positions on the first vote, click here. this is an incredibly disturbing step that will undoubtedly be regarded by our grandchildren with shame, much as President Lincoln's decision to do the same is currently considered by many a 'blemish on an otherwise noble war record.' in an interesting turn of events, some senators have been working on a compromise to the original legislation that gives detainees the ability to appeal results of a military tribunal.

the goal of the original legislation was to halt the onslaught of civil litigation currently flooding from Guantanamo Bay, while the Levin measure theoretically helps keep the country 'free.' given the huge problems with military tribunals with regard to limits on representation and lax witness standards, it seems highly unlikely to me that this attempt to skirt the issue will either 1. limit the amount of legislation the Justice Department faces or 2. help maintain the illusory fairness and freedom of the current justice system as applied to dissidents and ethnic minorities. in addition, given the cost of the appeal on top of the initial military tribunal, this system can only be anticipated to increase the financial burden of Bush's megalomanic and even schizophrenic manifest destiny.

one positive of this step is that the bipartisan group involved intends to campaign aggressively to tie the legislation to McCain's amendment regarding torture that Bush has threatened to veto. meanwhile, Cheney continues to further define himself as a villain straight from the Brothers Grimm with his rabid support of torture. astonishing that his polled favorability ratings are down to 19% and his job performance ratings down to 36%, isn't it?

in other news, the liberal blogosphere has done an excellent job dissecting information surfacing on Alito regarding his anti-choice position, right-wing minimization, and Alito's attempts to repaint himself as a tiger without stripes.

led by Charlie Bass, 22 Republicans have broken party line to force removal of off-shoring drilling and ANWR oil exploration provisions from the House version of the Budget Bill. they should be commended and you can do so here.

finally, the NYT runs an article on the report of the Government Accountability Office that convincingly documents meddling in the FDA's review and rejection of the OTC application for the day-after pill and supporting an illegal cover-up at higher adminstrative levels. will this change anything? unlikely. in spite of wide-spread recognition that the FDA review process has been strong-armed by Right-wing special interest groups, the Plan B review continues to be delayed beyond all conceivable or credible limits.

much like the unutterably slow and unmethodical Phase 2 Senate investigation into the initiation of the Iraq War. though even the Senate is finally showing signs of being fed up with the ongoing lack of an 'escape plan.'

Thursday, November 10, 2005

i think i'm in love

fu*k. everything else is stupid...

why not go wild for a science idea?

especially one that simultaneously antagonizes the paranoid, the government, and the paranoid governmentals.

hey, since i am falling in love, i might as well go hells bells.

so sure, life has been


this last week for those few who know,

but hey. i am still just a human, and a woman to boot, that is trying to live one measly day at a time. wouldn't it be ironic if it was my geekdom that saved me?

how very excellent.

unlikely. but excellent.


ADDENDUM: so. ahem. more than one person interpreted the post title as actually indicating i have a beau. not so, cruel world. :) i was actually referring to the tin foil hat project. i am in love with the beauty of a scientific experiment evaluating the effect of tin foil hats on radio frequency transmission...

because i am that geeked out--

or undersocialized--

or both...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

PS2 parental control break

when reviewing log files, i recently noticed a huge number of people coming to the site based on the search criteria "The parental level of the player has been set." this revived my motivation to figure out how to kill the stupid presets for parental control. after much searching online, i found the following solution that i can vouchsafe works. the original is posted here but i have pasted it below for reader convenience.

1. Insert a DVD Movie into the PlayStation®2.
2. You should receive a message informing you that the Parental Level has been set, and asking if youĂ˝"d like to allow the disc to play. Highlight "Yes" and then press the X button.
3. A new window will appear asking you to temporarily change the Parental Control to a different level. Again, highlight "Yes", and then press the X button.
4. Another window will appear asking you to enter your Password. Above that window are numbers (0-9).
5. Do not enter your password, but instead, press the select button on your Controller. This will change the text in the window from "Enter Password" to "Delete Password".
6. Using the numbers above the window, input 7444. If successful, you will receive a message stating "Deletion Complete".
7. Press Select. You will now be asked to register a new password. Please select a four-digit code of your choosing.
8. You will be asked to confirm your password selection by inputting the same code once again. If successful, you will receive a message stating "Registration Confirmed".
9. Now you need to turn off the password altogether. The movie should of started playing by now. Press select and chose Setup. Go to the parental control "tab" and set the level to "off".
10. Now you should be able to watch any movie.

now you can go and watch on!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Limbo-tastic! UPDATED

oh joy, oh joy!

how low can they low?

for the actual breakdown, go here. or to see the figures against historic 'low-performers' Nixon and Clinton, check this out!


more disturbing history on Alito. what other diseases or contagions are grounds for dismissal? if i may, i would recommend we balance this viewpoint on HIV with authorization to fire right-wing fundamendalists because their bigotry and general hatefulness may also be contagious for the uninformed...


this pointed move by Earle after Perkins' removal from the DeLay case is brilliant. he is excellently showcasing the amazing offensiveness of the original decision and forcing the issue of 'stacking the judge' as a public topic.
"Prosecutors believe Schraub to be ''completely fair and impartial, with a sterling reputation of honesty and integrity,'' Earle wrote. ''However, as the recusal of Judge Perkins reflected, such is unfortunately no longer the standard in our state for the judiciary.''"


depressingly, though, the Alaskan wilderness just became 'Unocal North.' ironically, the WH is threatening to veto the bill because it would hurt payouts to insurers. props to Salazar for voting to strip the Alaskan drilling clause* even though it failed and for campaigning to preserve the 'Do Not Harm' National Parks policy.

*you can check out your own Senator's vote through this link as well.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Reid riot

i must admit i am thrilled by Reid's decision to shut down the Senate to force the Republicans to address the Iraq war. Frist has made a total jackass of himself with his whining and absurd allegations that he 'didn't know the Dems thought there was a problem'. if true, it only indicates how completely incompetent and unfit he is as Senate leader.

the trick is that the Dems have to continue to stand firm. if they misplace the collective spine they are finally growing, the party will never recover. for fun, check out video of Reid after the lockdown. then go to here to email Harry.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Referenda C and D

it is friggin' neck and neck with 40% in.

Page updated Tue Nov 01 20:38:55:
C- Yes: 52.6% No: 47.4%
D- Yes: 50.0% No: 50.0%

if this persists, Colorado deserves its future.


update: C passed, D failed. so probably i will still have an university to teach at and probably the kids in town will get a chance to get an education instead of turning to felonies for income.

Halloween is the bestest!

Argh, spicy pirate Jack
Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
i haven't time this sec to write out a full post--i will get back to it later, but i just couldn't wait to share my favorite costume of the year. this is Pokey the pirate with his faithful 'parrot' Henny Penny.

woo hoo! go Pokey!

for the full photo collection from our annual CVMBS Halloween event, you will have to go here.