August 31, 2009

Some Things to Read

Good things from the past few days:

  • My Luddite Summer
    At the lake, the kids were the first to trumpet the news: there was now good cell service. Still, I kept the phone off. At night, thunder rumbled through the mountains, the wind galloped across the lake, pines creaked.

    Staged our own health care debate. All agreed: our parents probably would not be alive without Medicare, that socialized government program. We hit a few rhetorical dead ends. Without Google, realized that memory is selective and colorful, but unreliable.

  • Virginia (a must-read)
    There's something about our country in there, something bone-deep, harking back to the Originals. Something about mini-mansions and hamburgers on demand, something about standardized eateries with playgrounds, music when you want it, cars built on military technology. And then this--video gamers shit-talking each other across the broad American expanse, with no concern of what race. One wonders whether the Civil Rights pioneers defeated white supremacy, or if technology did it for them. One wonders whether white supremacy is in the process of cutting its losses and then getting bigger. We have mastered the land for all, and one senses that the Dream is now so powerful, so potent, so technological innovative that it can be extended to the very people it was built upon--hence Baldwin's integration into the burning house.

  • Green Like Me: What's Wrong with Eco-Stunts
    If wiping were the issue, this would be a reasonable place to end. But, sadly—or perhaps happily—it isn’t. The real work of “saving the world” goes way beyond the sorts of action that “No Impact Man” is all about.

    What’s required is perhaps a sequel. In one chapter, Beavan could take the elevator to visit other families in his apartment building. He could talk to them about how they all need to work together to install a more efficient heating system. In another, he could ride the subway to Penn Station and then get on a train to Albany. Once there, he could lobby state lawmakers for better mass transit. In a third chapter, Beavan could devote his blog to pushing for a carbon tax. Here’s a possible title for the book: “Impact Man.”

August 7, 2009

Friday Afternoon

There's so much amazing stuff out there. Some favorites from today:

June 4, 2007

Links: Back to the Monday Grind

Sometimes you have one of those weekends when it is well-nigh impossible to get back into your workaday grind. To fix it, or at least put off the inevitable, here are some sweet links I've come across over the past week or so.

  • I think my favorite thing about this Vanity Fair piece on the Wainwright-McGarrigle clan is the title: Songs in the Key of Lacerating. But it's a good read, too, especially if you love those Wainwright boys. Note to self: need to check out the music of the female side of the family. (via.. I forgot)

  • A new portrait every day? Photographer Bill Waldman is doing a really fine job of it. Definitely worth a daily visit. (via Coudal)

  • Um, I love this lolcat. (Icanhascheezburger)

  • Disturbing trends with SCOTUS... (MoJo)
    Ginsburg, now the only female Justice since Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement, has gone up against the same five justices (Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas) in both recent dissents. Those five frequently form the core of her opposition, and perhaps not surprisingly, three of these five justices were hand-picked by Bush presidents (Alito, Roberts, and Thomas). The other two were picked by Reagan.

  • Is Google evil? I was actually recently checking out Google's job listings on the foundation/nonprofit side, but this article makes me second-guess that idea. (MoJo)
    If you are a Gmail user, Google stashes copies of every email you send and receive. If you use any of its other products—Google Maps, Froogle, Google Book Search, Google Earth, Google Scholar, Talk, Images, Video, and News—it will keep track of which directions you seek, which products you shop for, which phrases you research in a book, which satellite photos and news stories you view, and on and on. Served up à la carte, this is probably no big deal. Many websites stow snippets of your data. The problem is that there’s nothing to prevent Google from combining all of this information to create detailed dossiers on its customers, something the company admits is possible in principle.

May 23, 2007

Links of the Day

Some miscellaneous good stuff, 'cause there's no point in me linking to the Goodling testimony or the other stuff you'll to hear on NPR at 5 o'clock.

  • YES YES YES. Interface CEO Ray Anderson on sustainable business (NYT):
    “I always make the business case for sustainability,” he said. “It’s so compelling. Our costs are down, not up. Our products are the best they have ever been. Our people are motivated by a shared higher purpose — esprit de corps to die for. And the goodwill in the marketplace — it’s just been astonishing.”

  • Grace Paley has a quietly remarkable new poem in the New Yorker. (Maude Newton)

  • The awesome folks at Bacon Press took a Southern FOOD ROAD TRIP (!) and are blogging about it - hilarious, and full of some very good places to eat. Somebody get me some sweet tea and pulled pork STAT. (Bacon Press)

  • Florida has officially moved its primary up to 5th in line - which may have a big impact on future presidential primaries. For one thing, note the states that come before it: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wyoming. All states with very small (under 3 million), very white (over 85%) populations. Florida has over 18 million residents, and only 72% of the electorate is white. It's also real swingy, with a close conservative/liberal split (like you didn't know that). This new, early primary date could be a very good thing. Too bad they don't let registered independents vote in the primaries. (Facing South)

May 4, 2007

Friday Reads

So many links, so little time.

  • "Already, a power plant uses three times as much water to provide electricity to the average household than the household itself uses through showers, toilets, and the tap." - whoa. Bad news for the water-poor but fast-growing West. (CSM via HCN)

  • See? You CAN do something about global warming without incapacitating the global economy! (ThinkProgress)

  • Weird. Women buy compact fluorescent lightbulbs less often than men do. WTF, women? Also, why the paternalistic tone to the article? (Feministing)

April 16, 2007

Oh man the PEEPS

Here's some distractions for you on this lovely Monday morning. I'm busting it at work, which means, paradoxically, that I get both more working AND more blog-reading done.

- PEEPS DIORAMAS. It is as awesome as it sounds. Wow. My favorite: number eight (note the 'censored' sign - ha!), but the grand prize winner is pretty amazing too. (belatedly via Ellen)

- Some folks from Corvallis (which is, ahem, west of the mountains) got USDA money to do a feasibility study for a windfarm in Malheur County. It's about time! Man, have we got wind. And man, could we use some environmentally friendly economic development. (via the Argus)

- Fainting goats. Maybe you've already heard of 'em, but.. yeah. One of my friends out here has a brother who's about to buy some. You really need to watch this video. Hilarious. (via YouTube)

- TAP has a great short piece on America's Cuba policy. I particularly liked this quote from a WaPo editorial, which they highlighted: "We should unite around a principle that Democrats and Republicans have long embraced, a principle that aided the West's success in the Cold War: American openness is a source of strength, not a concession to dictatorships." (via TAPPED)

March 6, 2007

Tuesday is Gray, But Also Awesome

Here are a few bright spots for a gray Tuesday morning:

  • Sarah Brown on darlin. (Que Sera Sera)
    I’ve always wanted to date someone who’d call me darlin. Of course, you can’t force that. The term of endearment has to happen organically. I dated a guy once who called me sugar, in an exaggerated Southern accent. Shuh-gurr. He wasn’t from the south. Not even close. I acted like I liked it, and at first I even thought maybe I did, but inside I’d cringe whenever he said it.

  • Sky Blue Sky leaked. Of course, I'll still go out and buy that sucker like whoa fast. But 'til May... this'll do. I've been on a renewed Wilco love-kick lately. I was driving to Boise while listening to A Ghost is Born and I almost got out my cell phone and started calling people to ask, "DO YOU KNOW HOW GOOD THIS ALBUM IS?!?" (Stereogum [in comments])

  • Charlie Crist has some great budget items for Florida - given that he's a Republican (albeit a more moderate one than Jebbo) and has been lambasted for some other budget issues, I'm really excited to see this stuff in there. This alone makes my day, y'all. (FL Progressive Coalition)
    — $26 million more to hire 400 additional reading coaches.
    — $3.9 million to continue implementing class size reduction.
    — $295 million to double teacher merit pay bonuses to about $4,000.
    — $1.4 billion more to increase public school spending by 7.5 percent including a $500 per student increase.
    — $25.7 million more to provide an additional 12,673 Bright Futures scholarships.
    — $100 million more to purchase sensitive lands under the Florida Forever Program, a 33 percent increase.
    — $50 million to continue Lake Okeechobee cleanup and rehabilitation.
    — $40 million to help implement rehabilitation of the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.
    — $100 million to fully fund Florida’s share of the state-federal Everglades restoration project.
    — $68 million in new money for grants, rebates and tax incentives to encourage energy conservation.
    — $40 million in new money to establish an Alternative Energy Incentive Fund.
    — $750,000 in new money to create a public education program to encourage energy conservation and alternative energy use.
    — $10 million to continue the state’s Renewable Energy Technology Grant Program.

March 2, 2007

Friday Reads

Some good reads from the past few days:

  • In talking about nuclear power's viability as a clean energy source, Brad Plumer mentions something I didn't know - that we may only have 50 years' worth of profitable uranium from which to make power. Somebody tell me why the federal government should then subsidize the extraordinarily expensive process of developing nuclear power when it might only last us 50 years? (Plumer)

  • Via Feministe, here's a very pragmatic piece in WeNews about the correlation between drinking and rape which offers 3 solid suggestions for addressing the issue. (WeNews)

  • This High Country News piece from 2005 (I just found it) a fantastic science geek discussion of, among other things, the development of dendroclimatology, wherein trees' growth rings (and the historical climate record that they reflect) are being used to understand drought patterns in the West. I research drought at my job, so maybe this is more interesting to me than you, but still, isn't that cool? (HCNews)

February 26, 2007

Some Old Links

Having emerged from the strange and sickly fog that was last week, here are a few things that I read and found interesting/funny/thought-provoking/charming when not sleeping 12-14 hrs/night:

  • It's not just a giant squid, it's a COLOSSAL SQUID! Some unsuspecting fishermen caught a big one. I did not know that there were two distinct species of large squid - for real, there are giant squid and then there are colossal squid. Colossal are, as you might expect, larger. Holy moly. (The AP)

  • Facing South looks at what's happening on the EJ front in North Carolina - grassroots groups are fighting some really egregious side effects of industrial pork farming. When you read about this stuff you've got to wonder how the hell it could ever be legal. (Facing South)

  • Need a little more corporate cynicism? Grist does some muckraking on how a big multinational is bilking working-class Mexicans by price gouging tortillas. Oh, and trying to force people into buying less-nutritious kinds of tortillas or white bread. (Grist)

  • On the lighter side, this graphic designer hand-drew 150 fantastic individual hearts for her friends for Valentine's Day. I really like this idea. I also really like her portfolio. (Marian Bantjes)

  • Dooce actually did a compassionate piece on the whole Britney Spears debacle. Worth a read amidst all of the insanity. (Dooce)

January 18, 2007

The Green Flash

- Somebody photographed THE GREEN FLASH! (it looks better in real life, though) [via edrants]

- Rivers Cuomo's musical favorites of 2006 (hilarious if you think about this for a second). [via morethan7]

14. The Fray—“Over My Head.” I finally realized why this song sounded so right to me the first time I heard it on the radio: My drummer reminded me that Weezer toured with The Fray in 2004 and I so must have heard this song every night through the walls of my dressing room.

15. Tim McGraw—“Live Like You Were Dying” and “My Little Girl.” Country music sounds good to me now that I’m a family man.

- And, from this neck o' the woods, the Top 7 Reasons People Leave Their Christmas Lights Up (#5 makes this list worthwhile) [via Boise Weekly]:

1. To deter burglars. 2. To avoid the grueling, meticulous process of putting them up each year. 3. Some folks are just full of the Christmas spirit all year. 4. They're pretty. Plus, the house feels oh so beautiful with such lovely accoutrements. 5. They're frozen to the house. 6. Makes it easier to give directions to "the only house on the street decked out with lights." 7. They're lazy.

November 27, 2006

Monday Reads: Catching Up

- God Only Knows sounds so good done live, solo, and slow on the ukelele. (swoon)

- Hipster (or, er, yupster) parents dis on my childhood soundtrack. I second Ellen - Don't you talk about Raffi that way! (morethan7)

- Sounds like progress to me: the big corporations are starting to come around on climate change. (Grist)

We have to deal with greenhouse gases. From Shell's point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, 'Let's debate the science'?

- I really liked this piece by Mr. Safran Foer. It's about having a dog in the city and letting her off the leash - and something more, too. (NYT)

We have been having this latter debate, in different forms, for ages. Again and again we are confronted with the reality — some might say the problem — of sharing our space with other living things, be they dogs, trees, fish or penguins. Dogs in the park are a present example of something that is often too abstracted or far away to gain our consideration.

The very existence of parks is a response to this debate: earlier New Yorkers had the foresight to recognize that if we did not carve out places for nature in our cities, there would be no nature. It was recently estimated that Central Park’s real estate would be worth more than $500 billion. Which is to say we are half a trillion dollars inconvenienced by trees and grass. But we do not think of it as an inconvenience. We think of it as balance.

November 21, 2006

Today's Sweet Finds

So many good things on the internets lately! Here are a few.

- How To Make a Pot of Texas Red (Parts 1 and 2): Jeez would you look at how thick that stuff is? 1/3 cup of chile powder? 2 cups of coffee AND a beer? I've never had chili like this, but I totally want to try making it. She also mentions Bobby Flay's recipe, which sounds good too. (Homesick Texan)

Iowa Farmers Learn to Love the Grape. This piece makes me happy because it means that farmers are finding ways to stay on their land - and making pretty good wine! My mom and I actually saw several wineries when we drove through Missouri on the way out West. It's no Napa Valley, but nor should it be. (NYTimes)

- Here's a good interview with my man Al Gore. Doesn't he sound awesome? (GQ)

- The web is all about typography. Period. Nice essay. (IA)

November 16, 2006

Today's Reads

On the Bloglines this morning, some of it old, some of it new, all of it interesting, you know me:

- Fox = still evil. Internal memo urges staffers to look for any statements from Iraqi insurgents who are "thrilled at the prospect of a Dem controlled Congress." (HuffPo)

- San Fran kicks JROTC out of its school system. Sorry, but I think that's pretty stupid. Of course there are problems with the military, and of course we should be teaching a "curriculum of peace," but why target JROTC? (SFGate)

- Wal-Mart's having difficulties with its organic stuff. Namely, they've been mislabeling things. Sheesh. (MoJo)

- I really liked this bit about Abe Lincoln and the tension between personal convictions and "Socratic doubt." Def. recommended. (Andrew Sullivan)

- This piece on designing good posters is pretty on the mark. They're mostly talking about academic posters, but the principles work across... genres? Also they link to this AWESOME Yale MFA exhibit. How come Yale is always so cool? (Design Observer)

- There's rumblings among Florida progressives: they're gettin' excited and gettin' organized! BOUT TIME. Count me in as a long-distance supporter, folks. (FLA Politics)

- And why does Florida need progressives? Well, believe it or not, there are more ACTIVE HATE GROUPS in Florida than in any other state in the country. Here's the Southern Poverty Law Center's map of them in the US and in FL. Many of them are concentrated, unsurprisingly, along the I-4 corridor near Orlando. Told you that place was evil. I should note that many of the hate groups in Florida are chapters of League of the South - whose goal is, yes, an independent Southern nation. (FPCC)

November 8, 2006

Today's Faves

Things I read and liked today: -

EXCELLENT political history and analysis from the American Prospect (from October, but it's perfect reading for today, seriously, check it out):

Indeed, liberals might assess future democratic rule of Congress not with a commitment to specific, abstract principles of process and democratic theory, but rather with an eye toward policy outcomes. From this perspective, a truth emerges: The changes Republicans have wrought in power are, in the long run, better suited to liberals, because the ideology of activist government stands more to gain than conservatism from institutions that allow for easier passage of new laws.

Garrison Keillor on Salon:

I've run into a lot of people over the past two years who said, "I just don't understand why people can't see through Bush," and they were right, they couldn't. They lived in Republican-free neighborhoods and read the New York Times and listened to NPR and so the political feelings of half the country were a mystery to them. To be successful in politics, you have to cross over the river and see where the other half lives. In the races that I know anything about -- in Minnesota -- Democrats managed to cross that line and talk to Republicans and came back winners. A hard-charging Army National Guard sergeant named Tim Walz stumped everywhere in the 1st District, where two years ago Democrats offered up a symbolic candidate, and beat a six-term Republican. The star of the evening was Amy Klobuchar, blowing a White House-picked Republican out of the water by 20-some points. She is 46, feisty, a county prosecutor, a tireless campaigner of the old school who showed up everywhere, didn't camp out in the latte precincts of the Twin Cities, fought on all fronts, and struck an aggressive tone with hints of populism that rang true this year.

Culturekitchen channels some FDR. Word:

Some real progressive grassroots activists helped some moderate Democrats win, and now that we have won, the progressives and moderates have to maintain respect for eachother. Both sides have to remember this: we could not have won without this progressive/moderate alliance. United in respect, we can find the common ground we need to to win big. Divided over the few issues where we differ, or divided through lack of mutual respect, and we lose. Let's remember this lesson. Republicans work by conformity and dictating from above. Democrats work by respecting diversity and listening to eachother. So let's DO IT folks. As I keep quoting these days, remember what FDR said:

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country."


Grist's eulogy for Rep. Pombo, the Anti-Environmentalist:

Who could forget your Ahabian quest to gut the Endangered Species Act? You were like the bad guy from a cheap horror movie, springing to life again and again. Points for persistence!

Then there was the time you put out a report saying mercury's not really so bad for you after all. Again, batshit insane completely hilarious. You cracked us up, Dick.

<3 The Times

The Times is full of good things this morning, and not all of them are political. If you're as addicted as I am, you might've already seen these, but if not:

1) Bread! A whole feature on the virtues of no-knead breadmaking. I'm definitely down with the no-knead camp.

2) Fascinating: what happens to your brain when you speak in tongues. It correlates rather eerily with what people like my grandma say about it.

2) On relationships, marriage, and modern social life:

As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build social trust, they become more dependent on romantic relationships for intimacy and deep communication, and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship breaks down. In some cases we even cause the breakdown by loading the relationship with too many expectations. Marriage is generally based on more equality and deeper friendship than in the past, but even so, it is hard for it to compensate for the way that work has devoured time once spent cultivating friendships.

I couldn't agree more with this. The whole piece is really interesting and, I think, a damning indictment of this idea that a marriage has to be the social and emotional centerpiece of one's life. But it's easy to understand why people place so much emphasis on marriage: we just don't have the kinds of close social networks that people used to have. Even when we do have great social networks, it's all too easy to slip into major dependence on your significant other, especially when everything else in life might seem uncertain. I know. And if you don't have a significant other, well, that pasture sure looks all the greener for it.

Every single friend of mine who's recently graduated from college tells me the same thing - it's really hard to meet people. Especially the kind of people with whom you want to develop close friendships. We are all quietly struggling with this in our respective locales - Oregon, New York, New Hampshire, Georgia, Texas, California - and the folks who feel the most comfortable in a new place are, predictably, the ones in a relationship. I mean, look at me: what happened with the first nice guy I met in Boise? We certainly aren't just friends anymore, and I'm loving having someone to go do stuff and meet people with. But the problem with this, and again I make a good example, is that one close relationship can't replace a deep network of friends and peers whom you respect. And should things go sour with Z, I lose that connection, in addition to his friends, who I also like. That would put me back at square one.

But how the devil do you build a social network from scratch? I know the answers: putting yourself out there and talking to co-workers, seeking out volunteer or activist organizations, simply initiating conversation when you find the opportunity, going to bars, etc. But that takes time - and a whole lot of social moxie that's doubly daunting if you're at all introverted or less-than-socially-adept.

I'm getting off topic. As for marriage - the writer has some excellent advice:

Paradoxically, we can strengthen our marriages the most by not expecting them to be our sole refuge from the pressures of the modern work force. Instead we need to restructure both work and social life so we can reach out and build ties with others, including people who are single or divorced.

True that. When/If I ever marry, I want it to be on those terms.

November 1, 2006

Morning Evening News

Most of it late and/or old, as usual, but interesting!!

- Hey, guess what? Britain says that global warming is gonna start costing us big if we don't do something - within the next 20 years. (source)

- Clifford Geertz has died. He was one of the first researchers to get me interested in anthropology - and in critiquing it. (source)

- Taste of Africa is closing (again) in the Upper Valley. Man, their food is SO. GOOD. It's too bad that they can't keep things going, though they will still do catering, and their location in a gas station probably didn't help either - I certainly never made it out there and I love their food. (source)

- New Bloglines feed of the day: Endangered Ugly Things. Yep, just what the title says.

September 22, 2006

Linking Before Packing

I'm packing today; I'll try to post some later today. Right now I've got a big fat backlog of paychecks to deposit and a big stack of books on tape to check out from the library...

Some miscellaneous links from the morning:

- There's got to be a point at which this tide shifts:

If the industry needed a wake-up call, it got one last month, when Luisel Ramos, an Uruguayan model who had been advised to lose weight, died of heart failure after taking her turn on the catwalk. She reportedly had gone days without eating, and for months consumed only lettuce and diet soda. (NYT)

- Pam Spaulding talks about talking about race better than I could. Definitely check it out. (Pandagon)

- Told y'all Morgan & Morgan (where Charlie Crist's running mate works) was a trashy law firm:

The trial lawyer who co-hosted a major fundraiser Thursday in Orlando for Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is under investigation by the Florida Bar for what was described in a complaint as illegal ''patient brokering'' with a chiropractic chain.
The lawyer, John Morgan, heads Morgan & Morgan, which specializes in personal injury cases, among other things. Crist's running mate, state Rep. Jeff Kottkamp of Fort Myers, is a lawyer at the firm. (Miami Herald)

- I just found this blog: White Trash BBQ. AWESOME.

September 20, 2006

Links o' the Day

  • - Go Jimmy Carter! J.C. shoots down yet another Georgia attempt to nudge evolution out of schools. Gotta love the South. (Culturekitchen)

  • - The hypocritical Pope. Hitchens on ze Pope and his big Islam blunder. (Feministe)

  • - Andreadis encouraged the Class of 2010 to take a stand against sexual assault. Dartmouth Student Assembly Prez Tim Andreadis got a standing ovation at Convocation this week! Yeah! I just read his speech and it's stellar - read it here. (Last year Dartmouth made headlines when its then-SA President urged the audience to seek out Jesus)

  • - Michelle Malkin believes that only Christian terrorists deserve due process. Oh the hypocrisy. Seriously, you gotta read this. (Glenn Greenwald)

  • - Sharing a bed helps couples. Interesting stuff - strikes me as very true. “The bed is where they found privacy and were able to leave behind the distractions and separate interests that keep them apart during the day. There’s also something about late night that allowed them to open up and connect.” Several interviewees reported that difficulty sleeping together or sleeping apart had led to the dissolution of previous marriages, and that sleeping together was essential to maintaining their relationships. (NYT)

  • - Why does God not allow couples to be involved in pre-marital sex? Actual question from a fundamentalist "Marriage Quiz" website funded by the federal government. (Tennessee Guerrilla Women) (quiz here)