Monday, January 31, 2005

Examiner photog dies in car wreck

This is a real shock to those of us who work or did work at the Examiner. Susan was the photog their for 15 years. It's hard to know what to say or feel right now. For some reason, one of the first thoughts I had when I heard the news was about all those times I gave her a photo assignment at the last minute or otherwise made her life hard by not giving her enough info on a photo request, asking her to take a picture of something lame like a building, etc.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sosa trade to Baltimore

OK, it's not the end of the world that Sosa is leaving Chicago. Could everyone please relax? Shees. The Cubs ain't winnin the freakin pennant either way.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sharon Stone raises $1million in five minutes

From today's SF Chron:

Sharon Stone raised $1 million in five minutes Friday for mosquito nets in Tanzania, turning a panel on African poverty into an impromptu fund-raiser. About an hour into the panel, when a U.N. official said 150,000 African children were dying of malaria every month because they didn't have bed nets, Stone suddenly rose from her seat in the audience. "I'd like to offer $10,000 to help you buy some bed nets today," Stone told Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa, who was on the panel along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and others. Stone then implored others in the hall -- packed with several hundred well-heeled executives and political leaders attending the World Economic Forum -- to reach into their pockets. "Just stand up. Just stand up. People are dying in his country today," she said. "And that is not OK with me today." Immediately an unidentified man promised $50,000. Around 30 others quickly followed, and within five minutes, Stone had raised $1 million, said Sen. Bill Frist, the Senate leader who moderated the panel discussion on how rich nations can best fund the war on poverty. The money will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The nets can be had for as little as $7 for pretreated models that last up to five years. Also in the audience was actress Angelina Jolie, a United Nations goodwill ambassador for refugee issues, who later said she thought it was "wonderful" what Stone had done. "We can all contribute in our own way," she told The Associated Press.

Letter to America

This is so great! I have issues with 6b, but other than that, sounds good! Oh, maybe 16 wouldn't be so great :-)

Blogs I've read this week

At some point I'll actually have time to figure out how to get one of those blog role thingies on the side of my blog, but for now I'll just post this weekly listing:

Meathook Reality: Adam at lawschool
Big Sur Marathon trainingSome dudes I know running a lot
David Wagner, who is cool
Jack is a conservative wacko, but he reads my blog, and comments too! So I like him despite his misguidedness.

Cheney clothing choice criticized

Fashion wasn't really what we were supposed to be focusing on yesterday, now was it? Knuckleheads.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Blogburst: Remembering the Wannsee Conference and the Liberation of Auschwitz

I've never heard of a "blogburst" before, but I guess it's something lots of bloggers link to on the same day.

The article below was written by Joseph Alexander Norland of Israpundit as part of the January 27, 2005 BlogBurst to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.

On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.

Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that "45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz"! (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004)

On January 20th, we marked the anniversary of the 1942 Wannsee Conference. In the course of that Conference, the Nazi hierarchy formalized the plan to annihilate the Jewish people. Understanding the horrors of Auschwitz requires that one be aware of the premeditated mass-murder that was presented at Wannsee.

Highlighting these events now has become particularly important, even as the press reports that "45% of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz"! (Jerusalem Post, December 2, 2004)

The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaigns. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.

As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.

After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942.

The Wannsee Conference formalized "the final solution" - the plan to transport Europe's Jews to eastern labour and death camps. Ever efficient and bureaucratic, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office. The record represents a summary made by Adolf Eichmann at the time, even though they are sometime referred to as "minutes".

Several of the Conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. One notorious participant, Adolf Eichmann, was tried and convicted in Jerusalem, and executed in 1962 in Ramlah prison.

The mass gassings of Europe's took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation before they were murdered or allowed to die. All were subject to brutal treatment.

In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka. Adding the toll of these and other camps, as well as the mass executions and the starvation im the Ghettos, six million Jews, men, women, the elderly and children lost their lives as a consequence of the Nazi atrocities.

Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.

For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it.

George Will is a hypocritical windbag

Here's proof.

During the 1980 campaign, he drew fire when it was learned he'd secretly coached Republican candidate Ronald Reagan for a debate with President Jimmy Carter using a debate briefing book stolen from the Carter campaign. Immediately following the debate, Will appeared on Nightline (10/28/80) to praise Reagan's "thoroughbred performance," never disclosing his role in rehearsing that performance (New York Times, 7/9/83).

Meathook Reality

Adam at lawschool

Training for the Big Sur Marathon

A bunch of 20-something guys running and having PMS. Or something.

Dowd sells out to conservatives!

I still have many Christmas bills to pay. So I'd like to send a message to the administration: THIS SPACE AVAILABLE. I could write about the strong dollar and the shrinking deficit. Or defend Torture Boy, I mean, the esteemed and sage Alberto Gonzales. Or remind readers of the terrific job Condi Rice did coordinating national security before 9/11 - who could have interpreted a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" as a credible threat? - not to mention her indefatigable energy obscuring information undercutting the vice president's dementia on Iraq.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Gay marriage: Understanding conservative arguments

I posted the following on The Charging Elephantin response to a general post on conservatism. It's a very interesting topic to me and I thought I'd put it out on my blog to get some responses:

Here's a conservative argument I sincerely don't understand, with regard to gay marriage. I completely understand why people don't want gays marrying in their church. That is totally up to them. But legal marriage, as it is today, is a governmental institution, not a religious one. My marriage ceremony took place inside a courthouse in the office of the judge who performed the ceremony. Why would it make marriage "something it is not" to allow two people of the same gender to take part in that same exercise?

I am even more preplexed by the people who say that "real" marriages will be degraded if gays are allowed to marry. I strongly believe that, if people *really* want to "defend" marriage, they should be going after people who marry, say, five times, or people who, ala Brittney Spears, get married sort of as a joke and get an anullment or divorce right away. Why is gay marriage more threatening to straight marriage than that?

Looking forward to your comments...

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wagner's Ramblings

I like Dave. You will, too.

Right-wingers support bullies' rights to call kids "fags"

Discourage a liberal from trying to do some good so you can advance your own political agenda; yeah, that's pretty Christian.

Bob Johnson, director of marketing for the Pro-Family Coalition of America, said No Name-Calling Week is unnecessary. "The fags should do what my kids do when others call them 'Bible-thumpers' or 'Jesus-freaks,'" he said: "turn the other cheek."

OK, I made that up. But it's not far fetched, is it?

Support your local farmers market!

Yesterday I rode my bike five miles, as I often do on Sundays, to visit the Menlo Park Farmers Market. Not only is the market open year-round, but it features many great vendors, including "Phil the Prune Man." Yesterday I met a wonderful woman named Alison, who has been coming to the market here for many years and is a chef, so she sometimes makes food (this time it was chili, with vegetarian and pork options available) for the farmers, just to say thanks! I stayed for a while and chatted with her and some of the farmers. What a great way to spend an hour on Sunday afternoon!

So, why should you buy produce, flowers, etc. from the farmers market instead of your neighborhood [insert giant-corporation-owned supermarket here]? Well, you get to meet great people like Phil and Alison. The food is fresher, which means it's more tasty and nutritious. And buying local means saving the environment from the pollution produced by shipping the produce from across the country or across the globe.

Look up your local farmers market here or here, or do a Google search for "[your state] farmers market directory."

More on the WalMart front

Killing small businesses -- and in the process, small newspapers.

It's a sad day

This sums it up. Not many celebrities manage to keep from turning into cheeseball hams at some point. Carson was one.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Moderate Liberal

The Moderate Liberal

Focus on the Family at it again

Christian groups issue "gay warning" -- whatever that is

Sponge Bob is gay

Still, Dobson assistant Paul Batura told the Times that Focus on the Family stands by its complaint. ''We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids,'' he said.

Leave it to the good doctor, James Dobson, to make American Christians look like a bunch of idiots.

Lightning Bug's Butt

Lightning Bug's Butt
Fairly entertaining.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Blogs I've read more than once

So, here's a little list of blogs. I don't necessarily think they're good , but they are at least somewhat interesting:

The Charging Elephant
people in every direction...
matters of the heart(less)
DHP: Embrace the ki of the DHP
(this is my favorite link from this last one; too funny!)
News Snipet 'Blog

Black Thursday

Cheer up -- think about this:

President, by Dan Bern


Raised up my hand & said I solemnly swear
One January day
And just like that I was the president
Of the U.S.A.

There were limos, bands & speeches
Parties to go to
I said all that will have to wait
There's so much to do

My first day I offered statehood
To Cuba & Mexico
Cuba: 1 state, Mexico: 6
All or nothing, that's how it goes
No more border patrols & human smuggling
We'll deal with our own neighborhood
And a few more stars & some green in the flag
Seems like, it might be good
And maybe Israel & Palestine
Will follow our lead and just combine
And then become Israelstine -- who knows?
Anyway, that's my first day

Second day I told Detroit Start makin' cars that don't use gas
And I give everybody a big rebate, 'n' they
Started sellin' fast
We'll stop burnin' up the air we breathe
And makin' the planet boil
And we won't have to kiss the ass
Of whoever's got the oil

Since before Hoover, the farmers have got
The short end of the stick
With the help of our Cuban brothers
We'll go communistic (collective farms!)
Capitalism is a fine thing
If it works, then great, OK
But if it don't, you gotta try something else
That's what I did on my 3rd day

The 4th day all of our troops came home
From all around the earth
Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran
More trouble than they're worth
And I was tempted to say "I'm sorry
We'll rebuild you with money and men"
But I just said, "You're on your own
And don't fuck with us again"

My 5th day I changed the army
So it's all of us or none
We'll all tie knots and walk through mud
Pitch tents and fire a gun
With just a few of us as warriors
And the rest of us gone soft
Martians could come and zap us
Ain't gonna happen on my watch

Day 6 I swore no prisoner more
Would face his death inside
Thou shalt not kill, applies to us all
Too many mistakes besides
Day 6 I swore no prisoners more
Would ever face his death
At least until my jury hears
The crimes of President Bush

Day 7 was hot, I legalized pot
And none of this decriminalizing crap
Let it grow in glory, end of story
Then I burned one & took a nap
Hemp will help the farmers
We'll grow hemp everywhere
One acre of hemp's like 10 acres of trees
And hemp grows back next year!

My 8th day I made health care
Apply to everyone
If you get sick, see a doctor
That's how my government's run
And by the way abortion
Is included in this plan
No one tells a girl how to treat her body
Least of all some man

My 9th day I said sorry
This government is no fool
Ain't gonna play you exra to send your kid to some
Weird-ass, wacko school
We'll do our best to make our schools
The best anyplace on earth
If they ain't good enough, think about it
Before you go give birth

My 10th day I made it OK
To marry whoever you
Would be willing to ride with
On a bicycle built for two
Marry a woman, marry a man
Marry a monkey too
Marry a big old rhino
And visit him at the zoo

And that was my first 10 days
My first 2 working weeks
Lots of work for the bureaucrats
And the paper-pushing geeks
Next we'll need a time
To go and just have fun
So we added some new holidays
The next week, one by one

Monday was national nude day
Everyone disrobed
Tuesday was national stoned day
Everyone got stoned
Wednesday was national painting day
Thursday no television
Friday was tennis, John McEnroe helped
From his cabinet position
Saturday, sex with impunity day
With no repercussions
Sunday, do it all: Nude, stoned, tennis, painting, sex, no tv -- enjoy!
Just be ready for work on Monday

My cabinet, as previously mentioned
Includes John McEnroe
And Wavy Gravy and Michael Franti
And Ani DiFranco
Muhammad Ali, Madonna, Maya Angelou, Brad Pitt (for the ladies)
And Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky
And we'll watch 'em both go at it
Next we'll get that Stephen Hawking
And make him a citizen and stuff
He's the smartest guy in the world
England's had him long enough

And I will not run for re-election
Four years enough of this
'Cause between you and me
I hate politics

I raised up my hand & said I solemnly swear
One January day
And just like that, I was the president
Of the U.S.A.
Just like that
Just like that
Just like that I was the president Of the U.S.A.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wal-Mart Is Working For Everyone!

"Some of our critics are working only for themselves."

Well, thank goodness WalMart is setting the record straight

View WalMart's new ad

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hello - ello - llo - lo - o

Is anyone actually reading this thing (besides Peter -- thanks, bro'!)? Seriously. Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Filter out the fair-and-balanced

This is just funny: The Fox News Filter

Friday, January 07, 2005

Democrats already expected to screw up again in '08

He never quite came out and said it, but Kerry sounded very much like a man who was running for president again. He has a mailing list with 2.9 million names and an organization in every state. His moneymen have not backed away. By and large, Kerry has not been blamed for the defeat, at least not the way former vice president Al Gore was after the 2000 election. Some of Kerry's followers are already plotting how Kerry can defeat Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses in 2008. The conventional wisdom, already congealing before Bush's second Inaugural, pictures Kerry and Clinton as the early Democratic front runners.

I can't think if a legitimate Republican candidate who wouldn't beat either of these two. Note this survey.

Obama in '08!

Actually, I've often wondered which will happen first: a female president or a black president. I lean toward black. Stated simply, I hold this view because sexism is an institutional value for the group that's claimed a majority mandate to leadership in this country: the religious right.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fascism at Walmart -- imagine that

(Photographer Duane) Roy said a store official told him not to take pictures or publish them without getting permission. Then, a man in a suit who identified himself as a store security official ordered him to surrender his camera, Roy said.

Roy said he refused, so the man demanded the film in his camera, unaware that it was a digital camera.

Again, Roy refused. He locked the camera in his car.

"He said if I didn't turn the camera over to him, he would have me arrested" and ban him from the store, Roy said."

Gosh, wouldn't it be sad to be banned from Walmart!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Congrats to Ryno!

Ryne Sandberg was elected to the Hall of Fame today. He is the all-time leader in homers and fielding percentage for a second-baseman. He won nine Gold Gloves and was chosen for the All Star Game 10 times. If that's not enough for you, you can read about more of his accomplishments on-line.

Here's a break-down of all the players on the ballot. One needs 75 percent of all votes to get into the Hall, and 5 or more percent to avoid being dropped from future ballots. Players are eligible starting five years after retirement and are allowed to return to the ballot up to 15 times.

Also, Nathan and I got a seven-year-old orange tabby at the local shelter yesterday. We changed his name from Strinberg to Sandberg.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Body Worlds

Nathan and I saw this exhibit with his siblings and parents earlier this week and found it to be interesting and educational, if a bit overwhelming. It obviously is the result of a very impressive amount of effort and expertise. But the scope of the exhibit itself was overly large and, at the end, gratuitous.

None of us found it to be offensive or disrespectful in any way.