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About the Rick Warren debacle...

After taking some time to calm down and get through denial, anger, and bargaining, here are my thoughts on the matter. Politically, it was a potentially shrewd move for Obama to to invite one of the not-quite-batshit-crazy megachurch leaders to give his inaugural invocation. Because even though Rick "Purpose-Driven Life" Warren thinks that legalized gay marriage would be on par with legalized incest and pedophilia ,he also thinks that Christians are the stewards of the earth and should probably be looking out for the environment and the poor (although that may involve lying to the people of Africa about the effectiveness of condoms versus abstinence*). And Obama can thereby build a bridge of common cause to the people who keep getting told in church that Democrats are automatically demonic.

But personally, it hits like a punch to the gut.

Plaidder sums up the feeling of expected disappointment well. On DailyKos the war between the factions of "Obama SUXXORS now" versus "sit down and shut up" has been raging, predictably. But out of that screaming match has come a beautiful diary, called I'm Sorry, You're Right To Be Angry. I can't do it justice in a paragraph, but here's the gist if you're on a tight schedule:

At first I tried to argue with him [the diarist's abused brother] saying that they are still our parents, but then I saw his look... the look where he retreated... where he accepted that nobody cared about what he felt... and then I couldn't disagree with him.

I remember that. And I realize that gay people are experiencing that same thing right now. And even though I want to say that they should try not to be so extreme and how these people are still people...

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I was wrong. Be angry. Tell everyone how angry you are. Fuck them if they can't take it. Fuck me if I can't take it.

You deserve to be free.

Yes. These are the words of someone who *gets it*. And it is so good to have caring people at your back.

*Update: yep, I was right. RH Reality Check's article confirms that the "new faith-based arm of the AIDS movement Warren had energized asked for, and got, a number of obstacles to prevention services: a prohibition on needle exchange programs for drug users; a ban [on] family planning services in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission clinics; and the anti-prostitution loyalty oath, which required all groups receiving PEPFAR funding, including those that work with sex workers, to condemn prostitution."

OMFG (Your Palin Clearinghouse)

Here's Plaidder's rundown on the VP debate. In short: we win on substance, they win on style - again. It went a little differently from the debate in her head, which pretty well sums up how I feel about Obama as I oscillate between hope and despair of ever reversing the policies of the last 8 years.
Snips under the cutCollapse )

Plaidder also figures out why Palin is so much more polarizing, but I won't spoil the surprise.

If you need a break from being angry, and would rather feel like you've dropped into a world run by Kafka, check out the excellently surreal Palin Disney movie trailer over at CollegeHumor.com. In an age where satire often doesn't work anymore, it's the perfect vehicle to convey how fucked up this election cycle is.

Finally, rile yourself up with Matt Taibbi's rant on Palin at Rolling Stone, and rise up against the suburbs where you were born.
Right-wingers of the Bush-Rove ilk have had a tough time finding a human face to put on their failed, inhuman, mean-as-hell policies. But it was hard not to recognize the genius of wedding that faltering brand of institutionalized greed to the image of the suburban-American supermom. It's the perfect cover, for there is almost nothing in the world meaner than this species of provincial tyrant.
So, sure, Barack Obama might be every bit as much a slick piece of imageering as Sarah Palin. The difference is in what the image represents. The Obama image represents tolerance, intelligence, education, patience with the notion of compromise and negotiation, and a willingness to stare ugly facts right in the face, all qualities we're actually going to need in government if we're going to get out of this huge mess we're in.

Here's what Sarah Palin represents: being a fat fucking pig who pins "Country First" buttons on his man titties and chants "U-S-A! U-S-A!" at the top of his lungs while his kids live off credit cards and Saudis buy up all the mortgages in Kansas.

I still haven't talked to my parents about the election. I'm gobsmacked that I even have to worry about them voting for a ticket that includes a guy who keeps voting against veterans' benefits and a gal who doesn't believe in evolution.
Welcome to Mussolini's America, folks. Please pass this on to anybody who hasn't heard. Talk about it, blog about it, and maybe we can get some media coverage. Also, please see update at bottom.

FBI/local police raid *suspected* protesters in St. Paul - before the convention.

From the Salon article, emphasis mine:

Several of those who were arrested are being represented by Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild.... There was not a single act of violence or illegality that has taken place, Nestor said. Instead, the raids were purely anticipatory in nature, and clearly designed to frighten people contemplating taking part in any unauthorized protests.

Nestor indicated that only 2 or 3 of the 50 individuals who were handcuffed this morning at the 2 houses were actually arrested and charged with a crime, and the crime they were charged with is "conspiracy to commit riot." Nestor, who has practiced law in Minnesota for many years, said that he had never before heard of that statute being used for anything, and that its parameters are so self-evidently vague, designed to allow pre-emptive arrests of those who are peacefully protesting, that it is almost certainly unconstitutional, though because it had never been invoked (until now), its constitutionality had not been tested.

The New York Times story is here.

Video of Amy Goodman, a reporter from Democracy Now, being arrested on charges of "conspiracy to riot." She has been released circa 9 pm, but her producers are still incarcerated.

In case anybody has forgotten their Bill of Rights:
First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Spread the word.

Edited to update:
I'm having a discussion over at yi_sen's lj, since he has friends in law enforcement that are reporting a very different view of the situation. Some of the same issues that Gaidig touched on in the comments, especially the issue of what items the intended-protesters did or did not possess. Here's what I said:

The NY Times story was published early on in the raid, but the only thing it says about the police is that their pretense for inspection was fire code violations. I know they got Al Capone on tax evasion, but at least they had the case airtight before they started knocking down doors and arresting anyone.

Obviously the (eyewitness) coverage has been coming from the protester side, and they're not going to want to make themselves look bad by claiming they have various objects. But notice that your friends (through the grapevine, I assume) are not claiming that the protesters had guns, which are far more dangerous yet legal... and don't make the people accused of having them look "weird" and "other" and "like they deserved what they got, the damn hippies."

When the police are also busy arresting journalists with conspicuous press passes, confiscating a bus used for education about urban homesteading, and pepper spraying innocent people, I think the burden of proof is clearly on *the cops* to come out publicly with the information indicating these arrests are not politically motivated.
for a serious WTF.

Apparently the millionaire McCain family has several hundred thousand dollars in AmEx debt... and AmEx has been floating them a 0% interest rate since at least 2007.

Marx is pointing his cold, dead finger and laughing.

P.S. Why haven't there been gas riots yet?


Clearly I have not been livejournaling very much. I am trying to read my friends page on a regular basis.

I updated my journal template (not sure about that weird olive green on the edges) and my links to approximate what I *have* been looking at in the past couple months.

Fellow knitters should join me on Ravelry - the resources are amazing, and the forums are way more awesome (if not necessarily on-topic) than any other website I've belonged to. I won't post my username here in a vain attempt to keep people from connecting all my online personas, but drop me a line if you want it.

There's also a link up to The Extraordinary Contraptions myspace page, which I'm attempting to redesign to take the myspace fug out of it. Why is myspace css/html so EVIL?! Coders, any help is appreciated. This is forcing me to dabble in photoshop so I might even come up with a personalized graphic and css overlay for this journal. Or not, you know me.

In other milestones, I rode 76 miles (to Rockmart and back) on the Silver Comet trail on the last day of 2007. And I did not collapse at the end. Although I bonked at about 7 miles out from the trailhead (where the car was) in the fading daylight. Then I found an apple that I was smart enough to put in my bag that morning but had forgotten about, ate The Best Piece Of Fruit I Had Ever Tasted and it was enough to get me home.

My first quilt is almost done (one side of binding to hand-sew). Then it's on to a bed-sized one - useful art, woohoo!

I'm going to take a hacksaw to a candlestick and a toy pistol and hopefully create an Energy Weapon fit for Tesla's daughter. I am so saw-and-metalcraft clueless though. I can has arcwelder?

Watching the democratic primary horserace has been interesting. Pennsylvania people, you still matter! I'm in the Obama camp, although not completely star-eyed about all his policies.

And other non-public-post developments.

...then the mundane.

Ok, so when I last posted in May, my compy was on the fritz and I was freaking out about whether my data was intact and whether I could fix the thing, stubborn bastard that I am. I am proud to say that I have repaired a 15" Powerbook and recovered my data. (Well, ok, stuck a new part in, but you should've seen the number of screws I has to keep track of and all the other things I had to move around to do it!) I am letting the geek cred just wash over me... Also, I bought an enclosure and a hard drive for backups - and I am serious, some of you are getting backup drives for Assorted Winter Holiday so you don't have to go through my pain. It isn't worth it!

Of course, I didn't get around to the fix until July. In the meantime I was using a somewhat broken 12" Powerbook "inherited" from our friend Alex when he left for London. It also needs to be repaired and I'm slowly moving toward it with tools... However, it needs parts which I don't yet want to buy because we are right now in the running for a HOUSE. Yes, an edifice with a mortgage attached. We're still in negotiation, haven't signed a contract or done an inspection. Updates when we hear something.

dfunkman and I visited juniperesque in Chicago in early August - also saw some of his less insane relatives and The Police (wow. cannot describe.) at Fenway Park. Yes, that was the first time I'd ever been inside a baseball stadium. (And my mom never made apple pie when I was a kid either. Bad, bad American suburbanites!) We came back wanting to pack up and move to Chicago, especially since juniperesque's awesome friends would be waiting to receive us with open arms, more karaoke, and MORE KWAK!

Labor Day weekend, as always, was DragonCon, the humongous Atlanta convention for all things remotely sci-fi/fantasy. I didn't have a camera this year, but I did have a costume! dfunkman and I were matching steampunk bicycle riders on Friday. We're not nearly as elaborate as the airship crew we saw sashaying around, but still got invited to a steampunk party! That's a split riding skirt I'm wearing - part of the "Rational Dress" movement of the 1890's. Bicycle history is very tied up with women's lib/feminism in that era... I'm reading up.

I have done lots of biking during the summer, commuting to work & back (9.2 mi round trip) almost every day. This culminated in the Faster Mustache 24-hour Urban Alleycat Race on the 8th and 9th of September. Not only did I ride 4 laps (for a total of about 60 mi) but my (and dfunkman's) fledgling band The Extraordinary Contraptions played out for the first time as during-race entertainment. People seemed to like the music... and I found that a shot of vodka directly before the show seemed to help with the nerves. We started to record tracks for the demo (the songs up on the webpage are from live rehearsal with just two mikes) last weekend and I get to do the keys for 2 songs on Sunday.

I also got strep this week, but I think it was probably worth it.


all of these spirit voices

If you've never read Plaidder's Women On Fire series, the following is going to make much less sense to you. (But you should really go ask Plaidder for all 2000+ pages of her series, because it's THAT good.) I guess lovessong can nod her head sagely in response to my insight, but for the rest of you I'll try to explain without terrible spoilers or too much fannishness. I guess it doesn't hinge too much on the actual story...

Under the cutCollapse )


...because my laptop died, out of warranty. Although this has been discussed a little on dfunkman's journal, to recap:

1. It just stopped working, no warning, no falling off of things
2. Everyone seems to think that it's the logic board
3. I looked at it literally the day before it up and died and thought, "I should make a backup of things" but did I? Nooooooooooooo...
4. I am probably going to crack the case to get my HD and data out. I've even bought the tools to do so. If the logic board is unplugged or something stupid, I'll fix that too.
5. I'm more dubious about my ability to install a new logic board, especially since the part costs anywhere from $300-$400. I really don't want to fuck up a $400 part.
6. Apple will fix for $375 flat fee, but only if I don't open the case to get my data out! They want an extra $150 for backup. Rrrrr.
7. Therefore, if I can fix this thing for less than $525, I suppose I've come out ahead. Plus mad geek cred for opening a Powerbook and surviving to tell the tale.
8. The laptop-opening guide is here: http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/PowerBook-G4-Al-15-Inch-1-1-5-GHz-BT-1-1/Logic-Board
9. If I truly fuck things up, there's a repair guy in Missouri (on eBay) that might save my butt even if I've opened the computer already. He wants $399 plus $18 shipping... less if I have the part and send that to him as well.
10. Kind and gentle electronics repair thoughts are very appreciated.
11. Also, I have a test on Friday and a Scottish dancing weekend to go to, so I probably won't be doing anything to it until Sunday.



I'm thinking about sustainable urban living. (Well, sometimes anyway. Other times I'm just thinking about bikes and beer.) These urban homestead folks provide a grand example.

Also, a thought-provoking article about veganism, factory farms, ethical responsibility, and sustainability was posted on the bikers' board. Not the standard guilt-tripping boilerplate about meat-eating, but a good consideration of the many sides of the issue. I recommend that everybody read it. I don't have time to comment now (when do I ever?) but hopefully I'll throw in a few lines in the State of the Household post that's coming up.