Monday, November 29, 2004
Sunday, November 14, 2004
I had to put my beloved 12-yr-old dog down this morning after a short struggle with lymphoma. She was such a good and sweet dog -- usually, at least. I'd had her since I was only 20, and I feel like the best part of me just died. She was very clever and could escape from almost anything, and there's lots of funny stories to go along with that, but I'm crying too much right now to tell them. I miss her so much already. I know it was her time, but she didn't deserve the pain she experienced in her life, especially at the end. When the vet injected her, the look of peace in her eyes was almost too much to bear. I told her I loved her and that she was a good dog, the best dog. Then I told her to go to sleep, and her heart stopped.
Aw, Molly. You were my constant companion as I became an adult. You were the best thing that could have happened to me when I found you, and you brought me to the best things in my life. I wish I could have been a better owner for you; you deserved better than you got. I loved you so much. I miss you terribly.
Here's my sweet dog at 7 months with her puppies and first bad haircut.
Here she is in summer of that year, running on the beach:
Here she is with me at Lake Jordan, NC, in the fall of 1997:
Here she is with the girl who is now my wife (she took an instant shine to Em, which helped bring us together) at Lake Jordan on the same day:
And here we are up in a tree that day:
She was very lively then, bounding through the undergrowth and diving into the water without a care in the world.
Here she is leaping through a field on an excursion to East Carolina in the summer of 1998:
Here she is showing affection to my best girl on the same trip:
Here she is with my best girl in the mountains of NC in the fall of 1998. One of my wife's co-workers used to think that Molly was a monkey from this picture.
Here she is at Guadalupe River State Park in TX. Thanksgiving 2001. Look how happy she is!
Here's me & her at the Hill Country State Natural Area, TX, in April of 2002.
Here she is with my wife by a little creek on that same trip. What a pretty couple!
Here she is on her back for some belly-lovin' at my 30th birthday party in May 2002:
This is two weeks later, shorn for summer, with my wife.
Shorn for summer in our backyard later that day. Everybody always thought she was a puppy with this haircut. She's 10 yrs old in this picture.
This is her in her crate with the cat in Spring of 2003.
And, finally, here she is in a field of beautiful Texas flowers, looking like I always want to remember her, in Spring 2003. I didn't include any recent pictures because she started declining in Summer of 2003, and I don't want to remember her in decline. I'm sorry to ramble. I loved her so much, and she's gone. She was one of a kind. RIP, sweet Molly.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Baby music last night:
Both mother and baby fell asleep before the end of "He Loved Him Madly."
I also finished Neal Stephenson's excellent Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World, which are all damn bricks) at last. The ending was a bit deus ex machina, especially the unlikely and uncharacteristic coda for Jack and Eliza (c'mon Neal, couldn't you have built a bit more foreshadowing in there -- I mean, I know you love the characters, but I'd like to know how the hell you end up with the three of them together in such a situation), but I like how Stephenson built the slight magical reality of the end of Isaac Newton's arc and foreshadowed the Industrial and American expansionist future with the Waterhouse & Shaftoe arcs. Stephenson is a very compelling writer (at least when he's not writing awful science fiction), and he seems to be as unwilling to end his narratives as I am to finish reading them. I loved his Cryptonomicon, which follows the descendents of these characters through World War II and the late 1990s.
I'm not the only one disturbed by the statistical unlikelihood of the election results.
A poster named 'TruthIsAll' on the DemocraticUnderground.com forums laid out the questionable results of Tuesday's election in succinct fashion: "To believe that Bush won the election, you must also believe: That the exit polls were wrong; that Zogby's 5pm election day calls for Kerry winning Ohio and Florida were wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that Harris' last-minute polling for Kerry was wrong (he was exactly right in his 2000 final poll); that incumbent rule #1 - undecideds break for the challenger - was wrong; That the 50% rule - an incumbent doesn't do better than his final polling - was wrong; That the approval rating rule - an incumbent with less than 50% approval will most likely lose the election - was wrong; that it was just a coincidence that the exit polls were correct where there was a paper trail and incorrect (+5% for Bush) where there was no paper trail; that the surge in new young voters had no positive effect for Kerry; that Kerry did worse than Gore against an opponent who lost the support of scores of Republican newspapers who were for Bush in 2000; that voting machines made by Republicans with no paper trail and with no software publication, which have been proven by thousands of computer scientists to be vulnerable in scores of ways, were not tampered with in this election."
Monday, November 08, 2004
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I'm getting choked up listening to mp3s of Barbara Jordan addressing the 1976 Democratic Convention.
Keynote Address -- listen to it, dammit.
>A nation is formed by the willingness of each of us to share in the responsibility for upholding the common good. A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in shaping the future of this nation. In this election year we must define the common good and begin again to shape a common future. Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.
>And now, what are those of us who are elected public officials supposed to do? We call ourselves public servants but I'll tell you this: We as public servants must set an example for the rest of the nation. It is hypocritical for the public official to admonish and exhort the people to uphold the common good if we are derelict in upholding the common good. More is required of public officials than slogans and handshakes and press releases. More is required. We must hold ourselves strictly accountable. We must provide the people with a vision of the future.
>If we promise as public officials, we must deliver. If we as public officials propose, we must produce. If we say to the American people it is time for you to be sacrificial; sacrifice. If the public official says that, we [public officials] must be the first to give. We must be. And again, if we make mistakes, we must be willing to admit them. We have to do that. What we have to do is strike a balance between the idea that government should do everything and that idea, the belief, that government ought to do nothing. Strike a balance. Let there be no illusions about the difficulty of forming this kind of a national community. It's tough, difficult, not easy. But a spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that we share a common destiny. If each of us remembers when self-interest and bitterness seem to prevail that we share a common destiny.
>I have confidence that we can form this kind of national community.
>I have confidence that the Democratic Party can lead the way.
>I have that confidence.
>We cannot improve on the system of government handed down to us by the founders of the Republic. There is no way to improve upon that. But what we can do is to find new ways to implement that system and realize our destiny.
Here's the mp3 of her Statement on the Articles of Impeachment of Richard Nixon.
>My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution.
Jesus, Barbara. We need you more than ever.
I had a post prepared yesterday on the hypocrisy of electing a lying, cheating, self-righteous creep for his moral values, but you can pretty much write it yourself in your head.
Check out some of my links on the left, especially Ludic Log:
America is not a place: it has never been a place. It is an idea, and it travels with you. Give up on the people if you feel the need; they're people just like any other. Give up on the place, if you must; it's a wonderful place, beautiful and satisfying, and I have never seen its like, but it is just a place. But don't let go of the idea. We made the idea, and we can do anything we want with it, regardless of other people's notions of what it should be. That's the real strength of America: it can be anywhere, even with one man alone in a room, anywhere in the world.
And Tom Blog:
How one should react to these circumstances seems entirely a matter of personal choice, but right now I can sympathize equally with the suicidal, the expatriate, and the armed revolutionary. “Don’t mourn – organize,” is what Joe Hill supposedly said before a Utah firing squad cut him down, and that seems like an outstanding posture for all true-blue activist types to adopt. On the other hand, the real problem is America itself, and that’s a question even the smartest political animals on the left rarely seem to get a handle on.
From Salon, asking what now?:
Mark Crispin Miller is a media critic, professor of communications at New York University, and author, most recently, of "Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order."
First of all, this election was definitely rigged. I have no doubt about it. It's a statistical impossibility that Bush got 8 million more votes than he got last time. In 2000, he got 15 million votes from right-wing Christians, and there are approximately 19 million of them in the country. They were eager to get the other 4 million. That was pretty much Karl Rove's strategy to get Bush elected.
But given Bush's low popularity ratings and the enormous number of new voters -- who skewed Democratic -- there is no way in the world that Bush got 8 million more votes this time. I think it had a lot to do with the electronic voting machines. Those machines are completely untrustworthy, and that's why the Republicans use them. Then there's the fact that the immediate claim of Ohio was not contested by the news media -- when Andrew Card came out and claimed the state, not only were the votes in Ohio not counted, they weren't even all cast.
I would have to hear a much stronger argument for the authenticity, or I should say the veracity, of this popular vote for Bush before I'm willing to believe it. If someone can prove to me that it happened, that Bush somehow pulled 8 million magic votes out of a hat, OK, I'll accept it. I'm an independent, not a Democrat, and I'm not living in denial.
And that's not even talking about Florida, which is about as Democratic a state as Guatemala used to be. The news media is obliged to make the Republicans account for all these votes, and account for the way they were counted. Simply to embrace this result as definitive is irrational. But there is every reason to question it ... I find it beyond belief that the press in this formerly democratic country would not have made the integrity of the electoral system a front page, top-of-the-line story for the last three years. I worked and worked and worked to get that story into the media, and no one touched it until your guy did.
I actually got invited to a Kerry fundraiser so I could talk to him about it. I raised the issue directly with him and with Teresa. Teresa was really indignant and really concerned, but Kerry just looked down at me -- he's about 9 feet tall -- and I could tell it just didn't register. It set off all his conspiracy-theory alarms and he just wasn't listening.
Talk to anyone from a real democracy -- from Canada or any European country or India. They are staggered to discover that 80 percent of our touch-screen electronic voting machines have no paper trail and are manufactured by companies owned by Bush Republicans. But there is very little sense of outrage here. Americans for a host of reasons have become alienated from the spirit of the Bill of Rights and that should not be tolerated.
Dan Payne is a Democratic media consultant and columnist for the Boston Globe.
1. Forget the unity stuff. When Republicans lose, they set out the next morning to challenge, undermine and overthrow the Democrats. Democrats are no less united against George Bush than they were the day before Election Day. Stay unified; stay on Bush's case.
2. Hire a strategist, not a fundraiser, to run the Democratic National Committee. The ability to raise money is valuable, but the ability to design and execute a strategy is crucial.
3. Develop values issues, such as Internet censorship, the export of white-collar jobs, stem cell research, etc. The DNC should send every Democratic official "What's Wrong With Kansas?" by Thomas Frank. Learn how the Republicans ate our lunch, using values issues to smother economic self-interest.
4. Target baby boomers. This cohort is anti-authoritarian because they grew up during Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate. Now, this demanding audience is facing retirement pretty much clueless. They need (and expect) economic protections, like long-term care and a solid Medicare.
5. Get thee out of Washington. Move the party apparatus out of D.C. Democrats are cut off from the real world and talk to each other too much.
6. Admit Karl Rove beat us. He outsmarted and out-organized unions, 527s and party organizations. Getting anti-gay marriage measures on 11 state ballots didn't hurt either.