Thursday, June 30

Almost makes me want to read the newspaper again

I've long since given up reading the newspaper. Partly because the Oregonian is so damned annoyingly-conservative, but mostly because I never seem to have enough time at home to sit down and actually read it. So we end up with a pile of dead trees in the living room that have never been read.

This guy, however, might almost make getting a paper worthwhile again.

Bravo, España!

Apologies for the wacky formatting, but I just don't have the heart to make the image any smaller. It deserves to be a damn billboard!

Wednesday, June 29

Google Earth rocks!

Holy cow!

I'd played with the Keyhole stuff back when they first released it. Fun toy but not really useful. Last night I downloaded Google Earth. Pretty. Very pretty. And useful, too! I plugged in Kaphine's and RealSuperGirl's address (gotta see where we're going for the wedding!) and our hotel address. Not only did it give simple, clear step by step directions, but it gave a literal fly-through (yes, the image really does go zooming along like you're in a helicopter or airplane) of the route from aerial/satellite photos. The images are clear enough that I could actually see and will be able to easily recognize each intersection/turn.

Stunning eye candy for a visual junkie like me that's useful, too! Sadly, it's 'Doze only right now. Hopefully Google will rectify that soon.

Tuesday, June 28

Quote of the Day

Google's Quote of the Day seems particularly apropos today:
Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.
- Mark Twain

Oh, Mr. Clemens. If only you'd lived to see the development of the blog.

These are great!

I love these Communist Propaganda-style posters:

Hmm ... I wonder if I can get some of these before the end of next month. There's a certain table that might need some.

Monday, June 27

Compulsively clicking

So the civil union bill was supposed to be in front of the Oregon Legislature today. I find myself compulsively clicking around the Legislature's web site looking for any information. I hit the streaming audio for the House chamber just in time to hear the gavel and someone say "... adjourned until 8:30am ..." Arrgh!

I'm in the dark here! Someone tell me it passed already!

Sunday, June 26

Hats off!

Hats off to Marjorie from the Portland Mercury, Toto from the Oregon Bus Project, and Lauren the intern from NARAL for taking off their hats (and a whole lot more) for a good cause at tonight's NARAL benefit at No Fish! Go Fish!'s Strip Jeopardy!

TRP, Swankette, Al and I all dropped in for a bit of fun. Raunchily entertaining. Good drinks, and entertaining staff. On Strip Jeopardy nights, much more entertaining. They play Strip Jeopardy every Friday night but tonight was a special case - a benefit for NARAL. Cover charge and bar profits go to the organization.

You see, one of the owners apparently has this thing about Alex Trebek. They came up with a game where he dresses up in a jacket and bow tie and has three volunteers come up to answer questions. Through a complicated set of rules, not enough right answers cause the players to lose articles of clothing. Double Jeopardy involves "Alex" removing clothing if the player gets the right answer. The players are given a hat. The rules are that the player may choose to take off clothing until they no longer feel comfortable taking anything else off, at which point they have to take off their hat and bow out of the competition - but they have to stay up at the bar in their current state of undress until the game is over. Toto "won" when Marjorie took off her hat and conceded, but I think she earned the win for staying in the game far longer (with far more ... er ... off the top) than anyone expected. Sorry, Toto. The red white and blue jockey shorts and the dancing on the bar were both fabulous, but Marjorie's dedication wins out in my book. Bravo for going the extra miles for a great cause, Marjorie!

Now, for you non-Portlanders out there, the Portland Mercury (who was well-represented in tonight's game by one of their editors - Marjorie) has a bit of a reputation regarding reproductive rights. One of the more humorous newspaper covers I've seen in a while was on their newsstands this spring. The cover was a letter sent out by a radical anti-abortion group "threatening" to put organizations that support Planned Parenthood on a "Boycott List". Oh no ... don't throw me in that briar patch!

The Cover:

The Letter:
Whoops! I guess they don't want us to see it.

Due to the serious nature of the problems that can arise by the dissemination of inaccurate information and since frequent changes are made to The Boycott List, it is copyrighted by Life Decisions International and all rights are reserved. The Boycott List may not be reproduced, altered, or placed on the Internet, in whole, or in part.

The Editorial:

We have struggled long and hard to provide corporate and moral support to Planned Parenthood, and until now, it felt like no one had even noticed. But now that the Portland Mercury is featured in The Boycott List, we can shove it in the face of all those other liberal organizations, and say, "You think you love abortion? Well… look at THIS! We reaaaaaaaalllly love abortion!"

The Bluster from the Fundies:

As previously noted, a company is not added to The Boycott List unless its chief executive refuses to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for support in the future. LDI sends a letter requesting that Planned Parenthood receive no more funding along with information about Planned Parenthood to every chief executive, even if we believe there is no chance he or she will end the philanthropic practice. Take, for example, The Portland Mercury, a “newspaper” of the radical left, which used a photograph of LDI’s letter to the publication (signed by LDI President Douglas R. Scott) on the front page of the “newspaper.” In fact, LDI’s letter was the front page! William Steven Humphrey, editor of The Portland Mercury, printed his response to LDI’s letter in the same edition (the following may include extreme profanity and/or other highly offense text):

(Emphasis is theirs)

They then go on to print the Mercury's full letter verbatim.


WASHINGTON, April 20 /Christian Wire Service/ -- The Corporate Funding Project (CFP) is the primary means by which Life Decisions International (LDI) challenges the funding of the world's leading pro-abortion entity. The chief component of the CFP is a boycott of corporations that fund Planned Parenthood.

LDI policy states that no company may be added to The Boycott List until its chief executive officer has been given a change to stop funding Planned Parenthood. In order to afford business leaders such an opportunity, LDI sends a letter to asking that their confirmed support of Planned Parenthood cease. Accompanying the letter is information about Planned Parenthood's agenda. The letter and information are sent to every company that has been identified as a supporter of the abortion-committing group, even when it is highly unlikely that the chief executive officer will have a change of heart and agree to stop supporting the group with corporate dollars.

Take, for example, The Portland Mercury, a weekly publication of the radical left in Portland, Oregon. William Steven Humphrey, editor of the publication, placed a photograph LDI's letter on the front page of the weekly. He also published a response to LDI's letter in the same edition. It was titled, "Boycott Us…Please!"

Yet again, the full text of the letter is published verbatim.

The Last Laugh:

TO OUR READERS: Last week the Mercury printed a letter on our cover from Douglas R. Scott, president of Life Decisions International. In the letter, Mr. Scott warned the Mercury that we should stop supporting Planned Parenthood, or risk being picketed and placed on their "Boycott List." Naturally, we told them to cram it up their ass.

I love Portland.

Wednesday, June 15

As if there was any doubt, the autopsy has been released

Not that anyone who reads here is likely to be surprised: Schiavo Autopsy Shows Massive Brain Damage

Yo! Frist! Didn't you say, "She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli." Dude, she was blind. Her visual cortex was an inert tub of jello, you evil opportunistic bastard.

THIS is love!

I was thinking about the concept of "love" last night and the contrast between what some people (and I use that term loosely) think of as "love" and what I and so many of my peers believe.

Four of my favorite people in the whole world are getting married this summer within a few weeks of each other on two different coasts. The two weddings are about as different as could be - one a (mostly) traditional formal wedding in a cathedral with a bride in a poofy white dress and really cool shoes, one an informal interfaith wedding outdoors in a park with two brides. One will assuredly be swank while the other will be delightfully quirky and artistic (and swank in its own oblique way). The long-anticipated invitations came in the mail within a few days of each other. One is the traditional white and silver with double envelopes, while the other is typically artistic with a strip of fabric sewn onto it (with an RSVP on a Tux postcard).

In short, the two weddings couldn't be much more different except for one extremely important thing: the obvious love these two couples have for their future spouses and the unconditional love of their friends and families around them. Not some narrow judgmental puritan power play but simple healthy intelligent respect, affection, and happiness.

So as I was thinking about this last night, the contrast between the joy of these two impending weddings and the invective currently echoing from the Oregon state capitol around a proposed civil union law and the story from yesterday in Memphis. It makes me wonder how anyone can object to something as personal and private as who one loves and chooses to spend their lives with? Why is it that my wife and I get all these benefits simply because there is only one member of the household with a Y chromosome? Why does race or gender or religion ever have to enter the discussion at all? What gives anyone the right to tell anyone else who they can or cannot love?

Tuesday, June 14

They call this "love"?

I am speechless at the cruelty our society is capable of. I really don't know what to say, so I'll just post the sources and let them say it.

Zach's blog
Zach in Bartlett, Tennessee
Love in Action: Brainwashing camp for gay kids

Funding education

Our illustrious Oregon House Majority Leader, Karen Minnis, was on the radio this morning spouting off on her plan to "save" education funding in Oregon.

I'm pissed, so I'm going to do a bit of spouting of my own.

  1. "Half of all income tax revenues will go to education"
    Gee, that's nice to see education gets higher billing than prisons for once, but what about all the other programs state government provides? How many more of them are going to be cut so that Mrs. Minnis can beat her little drum and pretend to care about funding state services? Oregon Health Plan, it's gone - go bleed somewhere else. Services to Children and Families, those foster kids can go live under a bridge - it's not that cold out there and they're all delinquents or illegal anyway. Roads, oh quit whining and just drive around that sinkhole pothole - that's why you bought that massive SUV.

    Moreover, how do we know "half of all income tax" is even an adequate number? As we precariously balance on this lovely but completely insufficient little two-legged financial stool of property taxes and income taxes, does sawing off half of one leg to give to education really do any good? Especially in a state that is (if I recall correctly) 48th in the nation for total per-capita tax burden. I find it excessively hard to believe that half a leg will ever be enough to properly fund our schools.

  2. "Reward schools that are doing well"
    This one really pisses me off. The schools that are doing well are exactly the schools who need extra funding the least! Time and time again it's been shown that poverty has a strong negative impact on student achievement. (Hey! That's why they call it the "achievement gap"!) Students also tend to do as well as the other students around them, regardless of other factors. Poor students in rich districts do disproportionately better while students in schools that have a high number of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch programs - even if they themselves are not poor - do not do as well academically as their counterparts in other districts/schools.

So. What does that leave us? Poor schools, who already have greater need for things like after school programs, lunch programs, health programs and the like are now being financially penalized because they are "failing" academically while schools in wealthier suburbs (where they have foundations and booster clubs giving money to the school to pay for that librarian who was laid off last year) are being given even more state funding. Toss in "No Child Left Behind" and you've got an exponential curve. Going the wrong way.

Gotta love that math. Too bad nobody gots enuf skoolin no more to know what dat 'eggpoonetnil' ting meanz.