Friday, March 28, 2008

And now, your president

From an AP story on the escalating violence in Iraq:

"Basra has been a place where criminality has thrived," Bush said. "They are fighting some pretty tough characters ... and yes, there's going to be violence, and that's sad."

Also, the president declares Iraq still "purty as a Pecos sunset" and pledges that Administration policy will "git-r-done."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

But they've got lapel flags and yellow-ribbon stickers, so it's OK

Because nothing says you love America like subverting one of its most basic principles and a cornerstone of democracy:

Can GOP Voters Spoil the Dem Race?

By Hilary Hylton

As if Democrats didn't have enough problems deciding upon their presidential nominee this year, now they must contend with the possibility that Republicans are deliberately crossing party lines to prolong the bitterly contested race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In recent weeks, conservative talk radio stars Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham have urged loyal listeners to vote for the much-despised Clinton in open Democratic primaries so as to prevent Obama from sealing the nomination, and there are some indications that their calls have already been heeded in states like Texas and Mississippi.

Here's the quote that made my gut twist.

"As Republican participation increased, Hillary got more votes," Mann said. Some of them came from Allison Cavey's family. "My whole family actually voted for Hillary in the Texas primaries and we are all McCain supporters," said Cavey, 32, a Dallas resident who works for a medical software company. "We all thought it would be easier to beat Hillary in the fall. Also, we all agreed that if for some reason a Democrat won the election we would be better off with Hillary than Obama ... scary thought!"

I just have one question: What is WRONG with you people?! Do you really think it's just been seven years of George Bush farting rainbows and rose petals? Stop acting like a bunch of brainless, adolescent gangsters and do the right thing. If you can't handle even that much, at least stop doing the WRONG thing.

Gah - read the whole article if you think you can do it without your head exploding.

The ocean hates you

I'm beginning to think the creatures of the sea are conspiring against us, and the rays are behind it all. According to Reuters:

Jumping eagle ray kills boater off Florida Keys

By Jane Sutton
MIAMI (Reuters) - An eagle ray leaped onto a boat off the Florida Keys on Thursday and stabbed a woman with its barb, knocking her to the deck and killing her, a Florida wildlife investigator said.

"It's a bizarre accident," said Jorge Pino, an agent with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Accident my ass — we're screwed, man! Screwed!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama makes history — and the poor man's Billy Joel

One of these days I'll actually write a coherent, full-on post about a specific topic again, but in the meantime here are some random thoughts:

• I have never felt as proud or as committed to a politician as I am for Barack Obama tonight. His speech on race today will be considered historic, and if he is not our next president it would to America's shame. Time has a good analysis of the speech.

• For what it's worth, I think Rev. Wright's statements weren't expressed in the best way, but I don't think he was wrong, either.

• Speaking of race, I thought this was interesting:

Immigration Reduces Crime Rates

By LiveScience Staff

Contrary to popular stereotypes, areas undergoing immigration are associated with lower violence, not spiraling crime, according to a new study.


Not only does immigration appear to be "protective" against violence in poverty areas, violence was significantly lower among Mexican-Americans compared to blacks and whites. Sampson refers to this as the "Latino Paradox," whereby Hispanic Americans do better on a range of social indicators — including propensity to violence — than one would expect, given their socioeconomic disadvantages.

Sampson’s analysis also revealed that first-generation immigrants were 45 percent less likely to commit violence than third-generation Americans. Controlling for immigrant generation even narrowed the violence gap between whites and blacks in Chicago by 14 percent.


Immigration is therefore not just a Hispanic issue; although little noticed, increasing foreign-born diversity among blacks (e.g., from the West Indies and Africa) is associated with lower crime even within segregated black communities.

The whole article is right here.

• Holy shit — is that Apollonia in the Shakin' video?!

• So right now I'm going through about four years of photos on the ol' laptop, so expect to see photos popping up here on a fairly regular basis. Y'know, random stuff like this picture from the 2004 Austin Kite Festival:

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Farewell, Dungeon Master

I know I said I was tired of obits, but I couldn't let the death of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax just go by without comment.

Even if you don't game, you've more than likely felt the influence of the granddaddy of role-playing games. I only started playing myself a few years ago (I could never find anyone who actually knew how to run a game), but it was the sort of thing you just sort of knew about, even if it was in a roundabout way. In the same way Robert E. Howard's Conan influenced the makers of D&D, D&D influenced other media.

If you're old enough (or geeky enough) you might remember the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, which is still one of my favorites. When I was a teenager I also played a lot of Gauntlet — I always chose the barbarian — and of course there were tons of movies and books that owed a lot to D&D. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Dungeons & Dragons-inspired script floating around Hollywood right now. And even today, right this second, there's a d20 hanging from the zipper on my messenger bag.

I haven't played D&D for a few months now, and I miss it. I like hanging out with friends and doing something that's inherently silly but also creative, imaginative and just fun. Gary Gygax deserves thanks for giving people a way to do that.