no one’s down with a sick baby

Aha, greetings, fair Tuesday.  What’s that you say?  Yeah, I saw Monday yesterday.  She was still dragging from the weekend, and was acting a right bitch.  I’m thinking about calling Wednesday today and see if he wants to hang out with Friday and I; it’s always a good time when Friday’s there.  Alright man, take it easy – say “what’s up” to Thursday if you see his sorry ass before I do.

Let’s get started.

Somewhat related to yesterday’s rant, and the last I’ll talk about it, I think, I stumbled on the full draft text of the Fed’s 700 billion dollar bailout plan online (I’d missed this before, or I’d have linked it yesterday).  In the article I was reading that linked to the text, the author stressed the following language from Section 8:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Holy crap what?  So… the details of this $700,000,000,000 expenditure will be done behind closed-doors, the taxpayers will get no accounting of how the deal goes down, and no single entity on earth can review, question, challenge, or even see the details of the bailout.  A $700,000,000,000 “blank check.”  No one has to say how the money was used, no one has to account for the money achieving the intended purpose, heck no one can even inquire about what that exact purpose actually is beyond generality.

Your money: No longer your business.  Our tax dollars just got Patriot Acted.

Late-breaking edit: Found this article just before midnight.  It will apparently run in tomorrow’s (today, as you read) Wall Street Journal.  Seems the Treasury has decided, under pressure, that they will indeed have to allow some oversight into the whole process.  Man, and I just wrote all that…

Now, before leaving the topic, I wanted to pass along just a few more pieces of required reading for those who are interested in learning more about the bailout.  You can skip the next paragraph if you hate this stuff.

Slate’s finance-centric site has a good article called, Henry Paulson, Socialist, which does a much better job saying some of the things I was attempting to sputter here yesterday.  The NY Times has an interesting piece about how lobbyists (sorry Kristi, like you need more bad press) are already preparing to ask for additional aide on top of the $700B plan.  Fantastic.  And, for those looking to “send a letter” or “make a call” to ease their conscience in lieu of taking pitchforks and torches to the Lawn, check out the all-senators one-click e-mail link over at Mish’s site.  You can do it all in one feel swoop and use their pre-written text (if you’d like) or write your own.

OK enough; moving on…

The second day of this fair week brings a deepening sickness unto our little Keaton, who is new beset with a wet, hacking cough and faucet of a nose.  When she gets sick, the wheezing thing we dealt with a ways back tends to plague her again, so Sharaun busted out her nebulizer and gave her a “treatment.”  It still breaks my heart to see her wearing that noisy thing.  It really does seem to help her tho (I guess a steroid to the lungs would, however), so I’m not 100% against it I suppose.  Anyway, we’re hoping her wellness returns soon, as no one’s down with a sick baby.

And, randomly…

Fishing for a deal, I called our internet provider the other day and told them I was considering switching to a new faster and cheaper provider, hoping they’d offer me some faster and cheaper deal to stick with them.  Luck was with me, and they ended up bumping up me to the 6 MB up / 760 Kbps down package for $17 less per month than I had been paying.  Today the workerman came to hook up the new “filter” at the house and grant us our new speeds.  And, after running a speed test tonight – I think he may have messed up.  I’m getting unnatural speeds, testing consistently around 15-20MB down and 1.5 MB down.  I didn’t even know this connection was capable of those speeds.  I know they probably haven’t yet turned on some filter back at ISP-central, or haven’t re-provisioned my modem or something… but I don’t want the speed to end.  Bummer.

That’s it folks, goodnight and until tomorrow – Dave luh da kids.

millions for execs, not one penny for chemo

Happy Monday people.  It’s around 9pm on Sunday night as I’m finishing up writing this thing.  I’ll do a quick weekend catch-up before diving into my sole topic for the day.

Keaton’s come down with a cold and is coughing and snotting all over the place, I always feel so bad for her when she’s not well.  Saturday night we went to the Oktoberfest celebration at Pat’s church, and drank beer with the parishioners and clergy – fantastic.  Sunday I spent a good part of the day working on Halloween props in the garage.  I got a lot done: rebuilt the ghost, rewired the dropper and the coffin, and did some planning for the new wire-track prop.  And now, I’m busily trying not to listen to the TV Sharaun’s watching while I write (it’s distracting, you know).

OK then, politics and the economy.

I know this point has like already been made (and probably more eloquently and better-researched) elsewhere online, but the thought came to me almost independently, so I’ll go ahead and write up my own thoughts.

A lot of folks, namely my GOP brethren, tend to scoff at Democratic plans to “socialize” the nation’s medical care. I can actually understand this, and will grant that there are several legitimate concerns with any plan to make it happen.   However, with the recent goings-down in our fine nation, I can’t help but see a plank in some of these folks’ eyes.  Why?  Oh, so glad you asked.  (See, I wrote all this crap, and I really needed a reason to post it.)

You see, despite the GOP doomsayers’ collective recoil at the prospect of national healthcare, the current Republican administration has effectively authorized the “socialization” of much of the country’s financial institutions’ failures.  Doing some quick math, the Fed is proffering a near one trillion dollars in taxpayer-funded loans for floundering institutions. This (very roughly) works out to around $10,000 per tax-paying citizen.  Their debt, their fault, your money.

I know, I know, if I only understood the complex world of the global financial markets, I’d realize the Fed is only throwing this “hail Mary” to nip a potential total meltdown in the bud.  Thing is, I do understand this; in the very same fundamental way I understand the unpleasant necessity of amputating a gangrenous limb.  In this way, the government (and ultimately, the taxpayers) must come to the rescue of the festering giants whose mortgage-backed securities are now worthless, and inject them with some “real” money to keep the whole thing from imploding.  At it’s most basic level, I believe I understand both the mechanics and “virtues” of the federal bailouts.

However, I’m not getting any closer to making my point.  So, I’ll make it quickly now and do so being as incendiary as I can:  What the administration seems to be telling me is that it’s OK to socialize the debt of private industries which are failing, but it would be a bad idea to do the same for the cost of providing private citizens access to health care.  To make it more exclamatory: Our money is perfectly suited for providing some AIG CEO with a two-million dollar “severance payout,” but we’d be flirting with Marxist evils were we to propose using those same funds to give your grandmother the drugs she can’t afford.

Sure, that’s oversimplified and pregnant with hyperbole – but it’s the kind of stuff that pops into my head when I think about a one trillion dollar bailout.

Ahh yes, folks, I know… you desperately want to get back to the whole concept of a temporary “necessary evil” versus wanton and unnecessary permanent socialization.  Oh and yes, I know the “administration” I refer to above makes no moves without our illustrious 110th (Democratic) Congress at its hip.  And yeah, I know that bailouts could technically be structured as loans and not handouts, and would then theoretically be paid back (with interest) after time, and a national health plan would be an ongoing expense.  I also realize folks may say it’s something of a reach to say the bailouts “socializing” private debt.

It’s OK, you don’t have to point these things out to me – I know them already and understand.  It doesn’t change the fact that I still feel like the above healthcare vs. bailout thing is an incongruity worth pondering.  I mean, it’s a trillion dollars.  Think of what could be done…

Hope I didn’t lose you, you know I love all of you… goodnight.

bye-bye diapers

Happy Thursday folks.

What a smoky steamy day here in Northern California.  110° and not two miles visibility through the choking haze as California continues to burn.  But, aside from that nastiness, it was a good day.  Got a lot of work done, took my lunch hour (or, y’know, hourish) and met Sharaun and Keaton up at the local “kids bounce” place (which was packed with moms and kids looking for an indoor playground removed from the smoky simmer outdoors).  I brought us some lunch, we ate, and we bounced.  Yeah, it was a happy day.

And, t’would be a good bit happier had the Senate yesterday not followed the House’s shameful FISA legistlation vote, continuing to trash our civil liberties while retroactively clearing anyone of blame.  What a joke; great job “nonbinding withdrawal timeline” Democratic Congress – you sure showed ’em.   Check this, fellow Obamaniacs:

I strongly oppose retroactive immunity in the FISA bill.

Ever since 9/11, this Administration has put forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand.

No one should get a free pass to violate the basic civil liberties of the American people – not the President of the United States, and not the telecommunications companies that fell in line with his warrantless surveillance program. We have to make clear the lines that cannot be crossed.

– Barack Obama, January 28, 2008

Fast-forward to yesterday and check the big fat “Yea” next to “Obama” for the free-pass retroactive immunity FISA legislation.  Did I say no one should get a free pass?  Oh… I meant no one shouldn’t get a free pass… my bad.  Did I say I strongly oppose retroactive immunity?  Oh… what I meant to say was that I strongly impose retroactive immunity… sorry.  Way to go; way to go.

That’s really all I’m going to say about it, for fear of not being able to see my readership from up on this soapbox.  Moving on…

It’s been two weeks since Keaton decided she would suddenly be potty-trained.  And, I’m happy to report that, during that time, we only had one off day.  Other than last Thursday, when we actually had to put her in a diaper because her brain seemingly forgot about her recent conversion, she’s not had a single accident.  I’m going to count that as twelve days.  We put her in “big girl underwear” now (Dad simply can’t bring himself to write, Heaven forbid say, the word “panties”) each morning, and she keeps them dry all day.  Not only has she proven herself to us, but to the workers at the nursery during Sharaun’s mom’s group and to a friend/babysitter last night.  I’m pumped.  Dunno when I can call it “permanent,” but I’m more confident thinking we’re almost there.  Bye-bye daipers!

Well, that’s it for tonight.  A mixed bag I’m afraid.  Hopefully it was somewhat readable.  Goodnight.

wherever i roam

Monday night and, despite my best intentions, I ended up at the bar for St. Patrick’s Day after work instead of home in the garage repairing my downed shelving. It started out as an innocent non-commitment to some friends at work. You know the kind, where you say to your encouraging buddy, “Yeah, I dunno, maybe I’ll swing by after work – I’ll let you know.” Most males know this for a fancy-worded version of, “Nah, I’m gonna pass, but I’ll patronize you with niceties anyway.” It’s understood, you could go, it’s entirely feasible – you just won’t. Occasionally, you’ll be challenged on these non-commitments, and it’s then that you have to decide where your loyalties lie.

For me, and tonight, it was an easy decision: Sharaun was at her pregnant teen-moms thing, and she’d taken Keaton along (man, I hope Keaton doesn’t learn anything from those teens…), so I effectively had a kitchen pass until around 9pm. Even though she’d bought a rotisserie chicken for me, and left me handwritten instructions on the various sides I could make for myself (salad: tomatoes and cucumbers are in the bottom drawer; au-gratin potatoes: the box is in the cupboard; and garlic rolls: they’re frozen, bottom shelf of the freezer), I decided to instead join the crew at the brewpub for a drink to the patron saint of Ireland. I spent about $15 on beer, $13 on a dinner of shepherd’s pie, salad, a side of potatoes, and bread (starch-laden, just the way I like it).

But, I did manage to make it home by 8:30pm so I get to see Keaton before she goes to bed… and that’s where I am now: Sitting on the couch typing while I await the arrival of my family. I even sliced off some of that (now cold) chicken and ate it, just so all my wife’s efforts to take care of her poor helpless lout of a husband in her absence weren’t entirely wasted. The chicken was good, and I’m able to listen to the iPod a little too. So, in all, it was a a good evening – even if I didn’t lift a finger to get the garage shelf (and all its contents) up off their pile on the floor (which, incidentally, happened to fall right on top of our other garage-pile, making some kind of stunning super-pile – read yesterdays’ entry if that doesn’t make sense).

Well folks, that’s about all I have. But, in closing, I just wanted to share an image I received in an e-mail from a dear, dear relative – one who believes all Democrats are direct spawn of Satan, and only Republicans can get into Heaven (I’m not sure she really believes this, it’s just a comedic device – and, really, I do love her… for-serious-real). This was attached to a long mail about how President Bush is the Second Coming of Christ or something (read the thing here, if you’re interested – but note Glenn didn’t really say it all), but it was so good I had to share it all by its lonesome:

See, all the hubbub over that Abu Ghraib business was totally overblown, because… I mean, when you put it in context… look what Kennedy did. I was all like… wow…

Goodnight my friends.

How a B3 sounds through a Leslie

Happy voting day, Super Tuesday friends. Hope, if your state is having a contest, that you go out and exercise your rights today, regardless of which way your favor flows. How we gonna do it without you and me? We ain’t. So, go do it. Me, I’ve got the 7am hour blocked off on my calendar. Was thinking I’d get up early and walk to my polling place, which is quite literally right across the street. Maybe take my travel coffee with me and bundle up against the cold. Could be a fun civics exercise. Oh, I’m on fire tonight… Where’s my sting?

I’m secretly trying to raise a girl so well-rounded in her knowledge of rock and roll music that she stuns her mopheaded male middle-school classmates by knowing who played drums in all the retro-cool 1970s rock band patches on their denim jackets. A girl who’ll know that the latest screamolectric anthem, Murder In My Heart, is a remake of a musty Lee Michaels track. A girl who can describe how a B3 sounds through a Leslie. That’s the kind of girl I’m raising. Well, and also a beautiful princess who will be good at math, kick butt on the soccer field, and is smarter than all the bepimpled punks trying to get in her pants. Yeah, there’s a lot I want for my little girl… but I do hold out hope that my fanaticism rubs off just a wee bit.

Television told me today that Valentines day is coming. I’m glad it did, even though I sort of already knew. We’re going to be in Oregon for the occasion (the third of three trips in as many weeks for me, the second being tomorrow, as you read this), so I’m gambling on time out on the town while Keaton naps and Grammy and Grandpa’s place. A Portlander buddy of mine is helping me pick a nice swanky place to do dinner, somewhere where I won’t feel ten years too old for the crowd. After that I’d like to go see a Pink Floyd laser show. But, Sharaun would totally hate that… especially on Valentines day. So instead, we should probably go see a movie or something. It’ll be nice to get some time out on the town, even though we’ll likely give up early for being old, ending up at a local coffeehouse by 11pm. It’s OK by me as long as she doesn’t bring her crochet.

Gdnight friends and lovers, until tomorrow.

a provider, a protector

It’s coming up on one heck of a storm here in Sunny California. The wind was blowing the spray from my tires sideways away from the car as I drove home from work, big poofed-up plumes of frenzied droplets floating on the gusts. It’s exciting, you know, when you’re all but sure a storm is brewing and you’ve got a nice warm sheltered hideaway from within which you can hole up and observe. Makes me feel safe, and somehow wise, as if the rigid walls and roof of a house I didn’t even build were extensions of my own arms, stretching out and wrapping tight around my family to spare them from the raging elements. A provider, a protector, someone whose work paid for the place that’s keeping you dry and warm. Yeah, I like storms. And, from what “they” say, this one’s gonna be a ribbon-taker, windy, rainy, and cold.

I say bring it on. After my blustery ride home, I was greeted by an empty house. Not so bad, says I. I put the iPod on shuffle and cranked it rather loud, but had to turn it down just a tad so I could hear the horizontal rain picking up speed outside (remember, it makes me feel strong and stuff?). And, even now, as Neil Young screeches out a live version of “Old Man,” I’m excited for the inky wet environment outside the window, and my brain is turning to those stormy-night ship fantasies I’ve written about before. Reclined in my quarters, nose spiced with pitch, stomach contents sloshing at rhythm with the sea, reading some mouldered book by the shifting light of a gimbaled oil lamp on the wall…

Let’s change the subject, before I start calling myself Ishmael and start looking for wrinkled brows and a crooked jaws…

When I was in Florida, my brother-in-law and I were watching TV, and the program on was “sponsored” by the “natural male enhancement” pill, Enzyte. Now, I’ve often wondered why Enzyte is the only “penis pill” that gets advertised in mainstream media. I mean, they have commercials during prime-time TV, a NASCAR sponsorship deal, and tons of print ads in respected circulars. And these aren’t your back-of-the-magazine Mangaian Tribe wiener pill adverts, either. These are real full-page ads that look like they were designed by paid graphic artists. Anyway, during each commercial break, there was an Enzyte commercial offering a thirty-day free trail of the herbal penis-bulking formula. Soon, I was joking with my brother-in-law that I should order them, take them for a month, and blog about what happens. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I even started thinking of funny post-accompanying graphics I could design to chart any “happenings” during my “trial.”

So, I did it.

And that, dear readers, means you should prepare yourself for a weekly Enzyte update here on sounds familiar. This way, you can accompany me while I add all sorts of unclassified and under-researched herbs and proprietary substances to my daily diet, and follow along with me as I analyze the witchcraft of the pills. Now, don’t think I haven’t realized that typing “Enzyte” this many times on my blog will be like lighting a massive signal fire to the penis-enlargement spam lobby, because, I have. But, I think there’s a chance for some funny writing here. And, c’mon people, it’s not like I actually need natural male enhancement or anything… as it’s well-established that I’m 110% OK in that arena of physical attributes. So anyway, here’s hoping it makes for some good blogging, and look for the first update soon!

Before I go, I found these two (one, the other) enthralling (to me) brief stories written by a guy about some of the crazier nights he had back in the underground after-hours clubs in an early-1980s NYC. I thought they were well-written, and very Tarantino-esque (fitting with the post Kill Bill high I’m still coming down from since seeing them again for the first time in a while). You should read the stories, they’re quite entertaining, and, whether truly non-fiction or not, pretty engrossing. And, man, that guy has really done some cool stuff… like burning down a crack house, or surviving a Blackhawk Down hail of bullets in Afghanistan. And, yeah, I think they’re true.

And, I hate to proselytize this early on, but did you guys see Obama’s “victory” speech after his Iowa caucus win last night? I thought it was brilliant. Watch it here, or read the transcript if you’re bookish like that. Thanks Iowa.


gold for the weekend

Sunday. Worked outside in the sun all day, building that barbecue over at Anthony’s. Today we took it from about halfway done to around two-thirds done. It looks good, you can even spot it for a barbecue now – before I could’ve seen mistaking it for some sort of shelving or rack or something. We have the grill and the raise/lower system left to build, and then make a rack to burn the wood on, a tray to catch ashes, and perhaps add some ventilation to the “pit” area. It’s maybe another two work-days of work and then we’ll slap on the high-temp paint and start slow-cooking tri-tip over oak. I’m really impressed with how it’s coming together, even if it will weigh 400lbs.

Anyway, sorry the blog’s been so slow lately… my host has really been sucking it up. In fact, I swear if this thing goes down again or continues to be this dang slow – I’m gonna look into moving. And, similarly, we’ll be camping next weekend. Finally, our first real trip of the summer. Right now, I’m planning on taking Friday off to head up there early and stake out enough campsites for the huge group we’re going with (need to claim the prime sites early for the busy weekend). In fact, today, I toyed with the idea of taking Thursday off too – just for the crap of it – to have a nice long five-day weekend. I can’t wait to get out in the boonies. I plan to sit in the sun and drink beer and throw frisbees and go in the river and take naps. Yeah, hurry up weekend, hurry up.

Has anyone else noticed the humongous web-presence explosion of 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul? I mean, the frontpages of Digg and Reddit have been absolutely blowing up with stories on this guy. First, it was MSNBC’s “cheating” of Mr. Paul via it’s unofficial online “who won the debate” poll; then, it was Guliania’s chastising of him at the GOP debates – a move I bet ol’ Rudy now really regrets. Now, it seems, news pages and blog are just looking for a reason to write about him. I’d say, right now, it’s clear that Rep. Paul has has the internets “en fuego.” It’ll be interesting to see how the GOP machine ultimately responds to Paul if his popularity continues to rise, I’m betting more than a few card-carrying Reds would do a lot to keep him a long way from Pennsylvania Ave. Guess we’ll have to just stay tuned.

OK, I’m gonna be honest – I actually like the new Smashing Pumpkins single that leaked last week. Sure, it’s not exactly classic Pumpkins (the guitar is a little GnR/Prince-ish and loopy at times, but in a surprisingly good way). The more I listen to it, the more I like it – and it’s really raising my hopes for the album. Maybe it’s nostalgia, because I’m pretty sure I’d never pick up a song that sounded like this “off the shelf” and just like it… it’s carried in a big way by the name for me… but still, it’s not bad…