First came heat. Now, code-worthy wiring and electrical capacity! A real, “live” electrical outlet in the bathroom and TWO live outlets in the rooms with computers, stereo, TV and power-sucking kitchen appliances! Gone are the elaborate daisy chains of insulated extension cords and surge protectors! (OK, more like neural networks than daisy chains. The electrician nearly had to be defibrillated when he saw my handiwork.) Three leaky, fragile windows are being replaced next week.

What’s next for our charming little 1929 rental home?! (A “For Sale” sign?)

  • I have to admit that I have not yet been able to read the text of Bush’s “State of the Union.” But who hasn’t seen the big “spontaneous” moment when a US mother who lost her son in Iraq hugged an Iraqi woman who voted for the first time on Monday? A Daily Kos diarist was curious about the Iraqi woman, and did a little googling. (Does anyone remember a guy named Chalabi? As the diarist notes, he sat in that special guest seat last year. Do you think Karl Rove knows about Google, yet?)
  • Do read this article on the unvarnished truth about the administration’s 2nd term agenda: political dominance.
  • NIH employees will be barred from excepting payments (stocks, consultancies, directorships, etc) from pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies. Shh… this is a rare sighting of applied ethics…
  • I think I’ve linked to this Bad Reporter comic before, but a friend had saved the hard copy for me (thanks, B!), and it’s a perfect lead-in to this story on the “controversial new theory” of intelligent design. A couple of quibbles: (a) not new, (b) not a “theory” – which is something designed to organize and explain facts and observations.

    The brilliant Pennsylvania senator who believes that gay marriage will lead to man-on-dog sex (I can’t make these things up; I simply don’t have the imagination) also calls evolution one of the “big social issues of our time,” along with abortion and gay marriage. Evolution? Big Social Issue? Where is this headed? Are scientists going to be forced to recant their work in theocratic inquisitions?

  • (An aside: sadly, they’re aren’t many compelling reasons to read the San Francisco Chronicle, but Bad Reporter is one.)
  • It so happens that one of my assignments this week was a reading on the process of creating the NRSV. So this item in The Revealer caught my eye. Priests for Equality has produced an Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures and an Inclusive New Testament that is giving Richard Ostling conniptions. He refers to PFE as “militant feminists.” I’m wondering if I would know a militant feminist if I saw one: do they where identifying uniforms and carry weaponry?
  • I guess there’s a reason I think of them as the White House Press Release Corps… I wonder if this one – the latest to raise suspicions – happens to be the same guy who lobbed the following editorial softball to Bush at his press conference last week: “Q Mr. President, Senator Ted Kennedy recently repeated his characterization of Iraq as a, quote, “quagmire,” and has called it your Vietnam. And the questioning of Alberto Gonzales and Condi Rice in the Senate has been largely used by Democrats to criticize your entire Iraq program, especially what you’re trying to do postwar. I wonder if you have any response to those criticisms? And what kind of an effect do you think these statements have on the morale of our troops and of the confidence of the Iraqi people that what you’re trying to do over there is going to succeed?”
  • Not that it does any good to point out conservative hypocrisies, because they are so untroubled by them, but Daniel Macguire does so elegantly here. The picture that he quotes Sr. Joan Chittister’s description of was on Truthout last week or maybe the week before, but it was so upsetting that I couldn’t even find words to introduce it here. Body and Soul nabbed it and linked to it, though.
  • Catching up on Sirotablog I just saw this item: in 1978, then running for Congress, one George W. Bush claimed that unless Social Security was privatized, it would go broke by… 1988.
  • I’m thinking maybe I’ll start a fun little feature where, from time to time, I’ll just post a “says it all” kind of sentence grabbed from a story somewhere, with no introduction or explanation other than it’s being part of “a fun little feature where, from time to time, I’ll just post a ‘says it all’ kind of sentence grabbed from a story somewhere.” I’m thinking I’ll call it “A Fun Little Feature Where” — well, I’ll work on that. Here’s today’s: “Mr. Watt said Mr. Bush seemed surprised by some of the statistics he was given on how black Americans were lagging in income, employment and health insurance coverage.”
  • Absolutely shameful: six Democrats joined Republicans in confirming Gonzales for Attorney General. (And of course Bush’s new favorite Democrat Joe Lieberman was among them.)
  • “…it’s a hell of a lot of fun to to shoot them.”
  • Read this story about the military grade .50-caliper rifle that California is wisely banning. And take note of the end:

    Under the Brady Bill, sales records of guns used to be kept for 90 days, which enabled the FBI to check the names of gun purchasers against terror watch lists.

    A year ago, at Attorney General John Ashcroft’s initiative, Congress reduced the period of record keeping from 90 days to 24 hours. That’s the policy that’s in effect today.

  • A sad truth about California schools and the lottery…
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