hush, leon, the grownups are talking about science now

Personally, I stopped listening around the time he proclaimed that lengthening the human lifespan presents serious ethical problems, but for everyone else, isn't this sufficient evidence that no one needs to take Leon Kass seriously, ever?

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to January 20th, 2009, but having this asshat out of the White House's inner circle is pretty near the top of my list.


things ain't the way they used to be (but that's why we have reruns)

I caught The Great Escape at the Carolina tonight. Watching war movies on Memorial Day is a pretty weak way to celebrate (I suppose "observe" is a more appropriate verb here) but it beats the hell out of crowding in at the beach or buying furniture.

I find that I am liking old movies more and more the older I get. Not just in proportion with my own increasing age...I'm starting to really like movies that predate me. Some of this is probably that I'm just now getting around to watching so many of them. But even still, I sometimes catch myself getting nostalgic for an era I didn't even live in. (RW...are you reading this...is it contagious?)

Anyway...the print looked amazing (certainly not 45 years old) and I can honestly say that I didn't look at my watch once during the three-hour epic. Also, it's great to see something like this and notice all the things that have been referring to it in more recent pop culture. (The firing squad scene on New Caprica in the thrid season of BSG, for example, is lifted right out of The Great Escape. As soon as the prisoners were invited to "stretch their legs" I knew what was coming. Never trust Cylons or Nazis to be concerned for your comfort.)

Tomorrow night: The Pink Panther. I'll be there.

And I defy you to name one actor currently making movies that is half as funny as Peter Sellers.


in which i lay my political geekery bare*

*r than usual

I realize I'm one of like two dozen people watching it on CSPAN right now, but I feel pretty confident that the Libertarian convention is about 1000 times more interesting than either of the big 2 will be, regardless of your political orientation.

It just went to a fifth ballot, with Barr and Ruwart tied for the lead with 202 votes each (Gravel was eliminated in the 4th, Root is still in it.)

I have a hard time seeing Barr getting many Gravel votes, but then again I have a hard time seeing any candidate getting Gravel votes.

Speaking of Gravel, I'm glad he isn't going to be the LP nominee, but I am going to miss the guy...

UPDATE--The LP has successfully nominated a non-crazy person! I honestly didn't think this was going to happen.


bike commuting, day 2

Weather, scheduling, and (especially) my tendency to not wake up early enough have conspired to keep me off the bike for the last two weeks. But today was worth waiting for.

Little sun, no wind, no rain, and just south of 60° when I left the house. Also, this being Friday of a holiday weekend, traffic was lighter than normal. The signals through downtown (from Chapel Hill St. all the way down to Morehead) were green, green, green; I was on the ATT in no time. Even Cornwallis was a breeze...now I know where pedaling hard for momentum really pays off.

Time from my kitchen to my desk (including locking up and getting into my building): one hour, exactly.

PM Update--the last couple of miles home are downright blissful when you include a stop at Bull McCabe's.


further comment is unneccessary

David Weigel:

"Everyone except CNN calls Oregon for Obama. Bill Kristol informs Fox viewers that Oregonians are all "drinking lattes and sipping granola." I'm confused as to how this is a greater character flaw than the Kentuckyian trend of 'strongly disliking black people.'"


full-blooded 'muricans

Balko nominates this howler from Kathleen Parker for an "early lead in the 'most offensive right-wing column about Obama' competition".

Personally I don't find it offensive (I am pretty hard to offend) but it is tremendously, aggressively stupid.

"It isn't necessarily racist or nativist to worry about what these new demographics mean to the larger American story."

Racist, no, but opposition to immigration rooted in the concern that new arrivals don't reflect "American values" is pretty much the textbook definition of American nativism.

"They can spot a poser a mile off..."

Presumably, quintessential everyman George W. Bush was a rare slip-up...

"...their forefathers fought and died for an America that has worked pretty well for more than 200 years."

Sure, except for slavery for the first century, segregation for another century, and the genocide of, um, full-blooded Americans...

"And, the truth is, Mrs. Clinton's own DNA is cobbled with many of the same values that rural and small-town Americans cling to."

What was that part about posers again?

"That God, for instance, isn't something that comes and goes out of fashion."

A wide enough view of even American history suggests that religiosity absolutely does come and go out of fashion. This is, of course, completely irrelevant for the individual for whom faith is a cornerstone of their values, but since Ms. Parker is speaking about God in the context of some Great American Narrative I think this is a fair point.

"It is not necessary to repair antipathy appropriately directed toward people who disregard the laws of the land and who dismiss the struggles that resulted in their creation.

Full-blooded Americans get this."

Yes, because clearly people who are willing to risk an exceptionally nasty death crossing the desert, to endure separation from their family and friends, to leave everything they know behind...all for the opportunity to lay pinestraw, cook, clean, and care for the privileged spawn of people who will use them as political punching bags every time the economy hiccups...clearly they don't "get" America. And they certainly don't have any appreciation for struggle.

Some of the most fervent American patriots I have known didn't come from West Virginia or Pennsylvania or North Carolina. They come from Egypt, from Brazil, from India, and yes, from Mexico. I--a native-born American whose ancestors came over so long ago that in most cases we don't actually even know when they came over--am no more personally connected to what ancestors I may have had fighting in the American Revolution than I am to Alexander the Great. The struggle to create this country is a complete abstraction to me. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate it--I do--but to suggest that recent arrivals have less of an appreciation for what this country offers and is all about than I do is absurd.

And yes...perhaps even offensive.

this is not an endorsement

A pro-empire Republican losing a presidential election and this loss being credibly attributed to the impact of an ex-Republican LP nominee who is essentially a Goldwater-style conservative would, in my humble opinion, be the best thing that has happened to the Republican Party since Nixon resigned.


where spare time goes to die

We got a Wii this weekend. And Guitar Hero III.

Man I'm really glad I didn't get this while I was still in school.


A good blogfriend lost his sister yesterday in a terrible accident. If you know Gino (or even if you don't), please give him your support.


resisting the urge to vote for mike gravel was tougher than i'd imagined

Activity in the Fighting 21st precinct was moderate and steady at 7:15 (no wait but most of the booths were occupied) and picking up 20 minutes later when I walked by with the dog. Between that and the line wrapped around the Board of Elections this weekend, turnout looks to be rather high...


adventures in bike commuting, day 1

Apparently, $3.60/gallon is my tipping point.

Gorgeous spring weather and a quickly increasing need to diversify my cardiovascular exercise portfolio (knees and hips aren't too keen on running much these days) help, too.

Since I haven't pedaled this far (just under 12 miles, one way) in quite a while, I took it easy (just over an hour, door to door), but I'm pretty sure that time will fall if I make a habit of this. Also, I'm pretty sure I might have to start eating breakfast again...

The Durham Greenway is nice (I live south of the part that hasn't been paved in 30 years), and the American Tobacco Trail is lovely. The few blocks through downtown (Foster/Corcoran/Blackwell) between the two are a little dicey, but really not bad for an urban center. The rolling hills of Cornwallis Rd. going into RTP is by far my least favorite part, but at least the bike lane is nice and wide.

Of course, we'll see how I like it in reverse this evening...

PM UPDATE--A little tougher the second time out, naturally, but I made it in the same time (leading me to think that maybe my house is just a little lower than RTP). Caught a little rain, but it wasn't bad. Northwestbound commuters on Cornwallis, however, really need to chill out. The friendly woman on her bike offering encouragement as I slowly (very slowly) came up the hill by American Tobacco into downtown helped more than she knows.

This is definitely doable 1-2 times a week when I can afford the extra time and the weather cooperates.

Next day AM UPDATE--I am shocked by how not sore I am. The weather is supposed to nice again today, but I think I won't push my luck just yet.


It wrecks me that this song is 20 years old.

Joyeux vendredi