Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I've got lots of friends who are public service employees -- firefighters, police officers, FEMA, and the like. I was reading this article in the SF Chronicle about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in NYC and some of the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. The accompanying slideshow really made me appreciate the gravity of what it is that they are committed to doing for our communities.

New York City police officers go door to door in a housing project to take note of which residents are ignoring the mandatory evacuation order as Hurricane Sandy approaches on October 28, 2012 in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. 

So, in light of this, I find what we have at stake November 6 in the United States as even more important.

Romney Says America Doesn't Need 'More Firemen, More Policemen, More Teachers'

plus this excellent, no pulled punches opinion piece from the NY Times:

A Big Storm Requires Big Government

[Eliminating federal disaster coordination and support] is an absurd notion, but it’s fully in line with decades of Republican resistance to federal emergency planning. FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.

The agency was put back in working order by President Obama, but ideology still blinds Republicans to its value. Many don’t like the idea of free aid for poor people, or they think people should pay for their bad decisions, which this week includes living on the East Coast.

Oh Chris Christie, you Romney shill, the irony.

I mean, this is definitely the rotten cherry on top of Romney's willingness to say anything to win, his abysmal knowledge of foreign policy (as demonstrated in the third Presidential debate), plus his views on women, gay rights, birth control, "the 47%" -- you name the right thing to do, and he's on the wrong side of both compassion and history.

It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.

Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, 1788

Let's re-elect Barack Obama.

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Monday, October 29, 2012


This 2013 Cthulhu calendar by John Coulthart is superb. Reasonable too.

Of course, December is my favorite.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Looking to satisfy the 10-year old inside your sophisticated and cultured adult body?

These Japanese Fart Scrolls housed at Waseda University are straight up awesome.

My favorite. Y'all know how I feel about cats. Like so:

Hat tip to Tofugu.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

I get tired of meme-y pics plastered all over teh facebooks, but every now and then one comes along...

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Apparently it is homecoming week at my hometown high school. Being someone who was more inclined in high school to ditch pep rallies to smoke cloves in the drain pipe that ran under the lower student parking lot, I was never a high school sports fan, so strangely my one high school regret is not joining the biggest supporters of high school football, the band. And that is because ours was the world class Golden Regiment, celebrating 30 years this year.

I remember them being amazing when my parents took me to a free concert at the high school gymnasium when I was in middle school. I had a lot of friends who played in band, many during the 200 strong marching band days fueled by the direction of the inimitable Pat Sieben.

This is the closest video of the band in age I could find to my high school years -- ironically, at a parade in Canada -- and while it is short and not particularly noteworthy music-wise, it gives you a bit of an idea of how bitchin' band was at my high school.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

We live in interesting times indeed.

3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine from Desktop Gunsmith

the Wiki Weapon project aimed to eventually provide a platform for anyone to share 3-D weapons schematics online. Eventually, the group hoped, anyone could download the open source blueprints and build weapons at home.


And I didn't know this:

It’s legal in the United States to manufacture a gun at home without a license — provided it’s not for sale or trade. But this doesn’t include all weapons. Machine guns and sawed-off shotguns are illegal to manufacture without a license. There’s also a law requiring “any other weapon, other than a pistol or a revolver … capable of being concealed on the person” to be subject to review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms an Explosives (ATF).

Wow. I love the implications of 3-D printing technology, and I really don't have a problem with the Second Amendment, but ehhhh --  this stuff has to be regulated somehow. I grew up in a gun-owning, hunting home, and I know the drill:  laws tend to keep honest people honest, if you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns, etc., but having a gun blueprint available online, for free, to anyone, for download and printing? That's very different than having to build your own out of metal or go to a shop and buy one (or traffic with certain folks to get one illegally).

Oh jeez, it's a bunch of Libertarians

When asked about the possibility of a Wiki Weapon hypothetically being used by a child or a mentally unstable individual, Wilson, a fierce libertarian, defended the project.

"People say you're going to allow people to hurt people, well that's one of the sad realities of liberty. People abuse freedom," said Wilson. "But that's no excuse to not have these rights or to feel good about someone taking them away from you."

I am a great admirer of the oft-paraphrased Ben Franklin bit, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." But let's be reasonable about "essential liberty." Wilson is right that people abuse freedom, but you know, we're living in a society. We're supposed to act in a civilized way. Liberties such as these are limited to people who play nice -- free downloads for anyone is decidedly not the same thing. It's going to -- and should -- be regulated, and our government (which is there to protect us too, lest we forget) needs time to to figure it out. Cute little law project and 15 minutes of fame there, but it's pretty cut and dried. Give it a rest.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

I hiked 6 miles straight uphill, drank gin lemonades on three bar patios, and both bicycled this way and that in my beloved city and walked around its lake -- all on this past wonderfully hot, hot weekend.

Today is a work day, but I think I may cut out early.

Running up the stairs; gonna meet you at the rooftop.

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