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2006 March — Why Now?
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Posts from — March 2006

How Complicated Is It?

Nice catch from ‘Lights at Exit Stage Left: Mike Leavitt the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services put his parents in the wrong Medicare Part D plan and they had to switch before losing benefits.

This is not a slam on Mr. Leavitt, because he didn’t design the system, but if he can’t figure it out, how are people without his resources supposed to make the choice?

March 31, 2006   2 Comments

The Style Police

NTodd is just too nice to these people in his post: The Clothes Don’t Make The Person.

The woman was held captive for almost three months, so her clothes would be pretty gamey if she hadn’t changed them. She was dumped in the street outside the office of the Iraqi Islamic Party wearing what her captors gave her to wear. Last time I checked there are a shortage of malls open in Baghdad right now and going down the side streets looking for a Gap or Banana Republic was probably not on the woman’s agenda. She would probably be thinking that she would like something in desert camo and Kevlar that featured the aroma of Hoppe’s gun oil.

This isn’t the “Stockholm syndrome”: it’s called common sense. She wanted to avoid notice and get the hell out of there before another group of Iraqis decided to grab her. In addition to the political kidnappings there are an obscene number of garden variety kidnapping for ransoms going on at the moment in Iraq.

Everyone who questioned Ms. Carroll’s wardrobe should be sent to Iraq and required to walk two blocks in the middle of Sadr City wearing West Coast casual Friday.

March 31, 2006   2 Comments

Making The Switch, Part Two

Since I do almost all of my text creation off-line I don’t worry too much about the editor in blogging software, but WordPress has one feature that I really like, the ability to break a long post up so people who aren’t interested don’t have to scroll through it. I looked at a couple of ways of doing this in Blogger, but they were too much trouble to do it the way I wanted. WordPress has the feature built into its editor.

It also allows you to schedule posts. For example, I can set up a Friday Cat Blogging post anytime before Friday, and it appears at the time I designated. I don’t have to wait or fake the post time.

Another feature I like is the way that WordPress allows you to maintain your blogroll, and to create multiple blogrolls. If you are just starting out, this is a lot easier than editing the template in Blogger.

However if you have a large blogroll and don’t want to type it all in again you have a new adventure waiting for you: OPML [Outline Processor Markup Language]. Apparently this format was created for RSS feeds and it is the only import format that WordPress recognizes. I go into that below the fold.

The other annoyance was the way the default linking works. I prefer the blogroll links to open in a new page, but not the internal site links. I also needed to establish the header graphic as a link, as the original template puts text over that graphic and ties a link to the text, as at The Yellow Doggerelist.

This site, Oliver Willis, and The Yellow Doggerelist all use the default Kubrick template, but we have derived different looks from the same basic layout. Steve’s site is closest to the original.
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March 31, 2006   2 Comments

Rude, Crude & Unglued

They’re not angry, they’re mad, barking at the moon mad.

TBogg has some fun with a Florida condo association who are upset because someone has taken down their American flag and replaced with a Mexican flag. The referenced article implies it was those terrible “illegal aliens”.

Reality check – you are working without documents in a foreign country, making $50 a day if you get paid and hiding from the authorities. You are going to buy a flag of your nation to put on the flagpole of a bunch of rich people who will call the police?

How about, you are a native born landscaper who has lost a maintenance contract for a condo association because your competitor is using undocumented workers and you want everyone to know what the condo association has done? You take the American flag that was on the pole, because real Americans would hire American workers.

House Republicans apparently don’t like the Senate immigration bill:

“I say let the prisoners pick the fruits,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate bill that offers an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants an opportunity for citizenship.

“Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be branded with a scarlet letter ‘A,'” said Rep. Steve King of Iowa, referring to a guest worker provision in the Senate measure.

If my name was “Rohrabacher” and I was born in Coronado, San Diego county, California and went to schools in Palos Verdes and Los Angeles I don’t think I would be questioning whether people named Garcia were in the state illegally. I might have questions about guys named Schwarzenegger who have heavy accents.

Somehow I don’t think the rural communities of the Central Valley are going to be quite as receptive to hundreds of convicted criminals bussed in as Dana seems to believe, even if the concept didn’t smack of slavery.

As for King, see Mustang Bobby on Obsession. After the impeachment of Clinton, Republicans should have learned not to invoke The Scarlet Letter. They forget that Ronald Reagan was the only President who had been divorced. [Jackson doesn’t count, it was his wife who had the divorce problems.]

March 31, 2006   Comments Off on Rude, Crude & Unglued

Friday Cat Blogging

A Cuddle of Kittens

Friday Cat Blogging

Go away!

[Editor: I stumbled onto this group out back under a tarp next to a back-up air conditioner. They must have been born during the first week of March, which is early.]

In Memoriam: Hank and Sheena.

Friday Ark

March 31, 2006   8 Comments

Justice Department Subpoenas

The Associated Press is reporting that the magazine, InformationWeek, has learned that in addition to Google, the Justice Department has subpoenaed internal files from dozens of Internet Service Providers and security firms.

Comcast Corp., EarthLink Inc., AT&T Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Symantec Corp have all received subpoenas in this absurd, wasteful attempt to resurrect a pathetic law.

If these jerks were as ready to provide food and health care for children as they are to “protect” them from the possibility of ‘Net porn, I might feel differently.

Update: Mustang Bobby is right, it is part of their Obsession.

March 30, 2006   Comments Off on Justice Department Subpoenas

The Hamster Conspiracy

What are hamsters up to?

Glen at Brooklyn Bridge notes that Jack Abramoff included a night-time search for a missing hamster in his request for sentencing leniency.

Everyone should remember John Kerry’s hamster CPR episode.

There are hamsters in politics and television. There are even hamster porn sites.

Do you know where hamsters come from: Syria, Russia, China, and the central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union.

Have you heard about Hybrid Hamsters?


March 30, 2006   4 Comments

Roger, Roger

The other Roger Ailes comments on Scalia and scatology.

March 30, 2006   Comments Off on Roger, Roger

Another Storm Hits Australia

CNN reports: Cyclone Glenda hits Australia and Australia Broadcasting says: Glenda weakens, flooding expected. Cyclone Glenda came ashore as a category 4 with winds of 150+ miles per hour on the northwest coast of Australia.

That’s two major cyclones in less than a month. Both had stronger winds than Katrina when they made landfall.

March 30, 2006   Comments Off on Another Storm Hits Australia

Jill Carroll Freed

Reading the Christian Science Monitor story with the jaundiced eye of an old intelligence analyst it looks like a deal was cut by the Iraqi Islamic Party who didn’t receive a “ransom” through the US embassy, and the Iraqi police officers who really aren’t members of the Iraqi Islamic Party’s militia “discovered” her.

I wonder how large the “campaign contribution” was to the IIP, and how they managed it with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay sidelined.

It is possible that she was targeted because she worked for the Christian Science Monitor and her captors misunderstood the newspaper’s relationship to the Christians that are seen on American television. It must be fairly confusing for non-US people to understand that Falwell and Robertson don’t actually represent the majority of Christian thought in the United States.

It is sort of difficult to report on the “good news” in Iraq when reporters keep getting kidnapped and/or killed.

While Ms. Carroll was released, it should be remembered that her translator, Allan Enwiyah, was murdered when she was kidnapped.

March 30, 2006   2 Comments

The Toilet From Hell

I spent my day engaged with another leak from The Toilet From Hell®. This is a half-century-old chunk of porcelain with which I have an ongoing battle over the past several years.

It always starts the same way:

It’s leaking.

I’ll replace it.

It doesn’t need to be replaced, it’s a good toilet.

Good toilets don’t leak.

It would be replaced with one of those new toilets that don’t flush properly.

They work now, and it will be quicker and cheaper to replace the miserable thing.

That would mean re-papering the bathroom to cover the space behind the tank.

Okay, I’ll fix it.

Four hours, three foam gaskets, two complete sets of tank bolts [I asked for stainless steel and one of the known properties of stainless steel is an absence of RUST SPOTS!], plumbers putty, ½-inch open end wrench, medium channel lock pliers, large vise grips, spud wrench, large flat blade screwdriver, wet/dry vacuum, towel, first aid kit, and a large wad of chewing gum to mute the curses.

If I didn’t hate hanging wall paper more than a root canal, The Toilet From Hell® would be providing drainage as shards in the bottom of dozens of flower pots.

March 29, 2006   4 Comments

Say What?

An example of undeserved blame for bad work came from the Shrubbery who is blaming Saddam Hussein for the current civil war in Iraq.

I guess we aren’t supposed to remember the “suggestions” to the Kurds from Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Let’s ignore the cheerleading directed towards the Shi’ia by George H.W. Bush after Gulf War I. Let’s ignore the support for Saddam’s murderous regime by the Reagan and Bush I foreign policy team, including the neo-colonials who were screaming for the man’s head under Bush II.

No, we have to forget all of that, or the Shrubbery would have to admit that “he broke it” and we have to pay for it.

A humble suggestion: before you vote for anyone for anything, why don’t you check to ensure that the individual has actually done something on their own.

March 29, 2006   4 Comments


Via Holden at First Draft: Hunter College has announced the The James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism.

The magnificent Molly Ivins has been given a lifetime achievement award and Juan Cole has been recognized for his web log, Informed Comment.

Well deserved recognition for good work.

March 29, 2006   2 Comments

Israeli Election

A low turn out [about 63.2%] and new major party have led to confused results for the Israeli election. With 75% of the vote counted Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party appears to have won 28 of 120 seats in the Knesset which gives them the opportunity to attempt to form a governing majority with the other Israeli parties.

There is no natural fit with the other parties, and no clear direction from the voters.

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for creative policies, and expect the voters will be given another chance to express their wishes in the near future.

March 28, 2006   4 Comments