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Archive for October, 2008

Please stop the ride, I want to get off now

Posted by Lissa on October 27, 2008

Via Michelle, we get this gem from 2001:

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy [sic] to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. [all bold emphasis is mine]

Perhaps that was pandering.  Perhaps that snippet isn’t nuanced enough.  Perhaps that opinion is no longer valid, is outdated, doesn’t reflect recent developments and new understanding.

I don’t particularly care.

That is not something I *EVER* want to hear coming out of the mouth of my (future) President.  And a Constitutional lawyer, at that.

We are SO screwed.

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Oh. My. God.

Posted by Lissa on October 24, 2008

No.  NoNoNoNoNo.

Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey could be appointed as U.S. ambassador to Britain, according to rumours stoked by a former senior British diplomat.

Journalist Peter Jay said today she would be a ‘sensible choice’ for the role under an Obama administration

You know what?  Screw it.  I hope this DOES happen.  I want this conversation to happen, on-camera, live-feed to the entire bloody civilized world:

OPRAH: So, Lady Thatcher.  How does it fee-hee-heel to be you?  To have once been a powerful albeit evil woman leader, now relegated to the dustbin of time?

IRON DAME MARGARET THATCHER: My dear lady, surely you realize that you are single-handedly responsible for the ubiquitous Viagra and Cialis advertisements that contaminate the telly.  Your campaign to turn grown men and women into crying nancy-boys and wobbly-girls has set civilization back by decades.  What on earth makes you think you have the right to ask me ANYTHING?

OPRAH: Now, now, I can see that you’re weak and hurting inside.  Cry, why don’t you?  It’s okay, you can cry.  Just let it all out!  Let us feel and revel in your pain!


Now THAT would be some quality television. 

(h/t Bookworm)

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My brain needs to come with an auto-shutdown switch

Posted by Lissa on October 24, 2008

Finished the sixth Black Dagger book last night, when I shouldn’t have.  But I was SO CLOSE to the end and it wasn’t THAT late and . . .  all right, all right, I was up till 1:30 AM.  Dammit.

And then I check the news this morning and bad stories are cropping up from all over.  I thought about blogging them — about an incident that’s either a hate-crime* or a disgusting hoax, and awful either way; and about a book that, if you buy a copy and read it I will so never talk to you again; and about what SHOULD be a campaign scandal splashed all over the news, only it’s not a Republican scandal so it won’t be — but I’m too tired.  And I’d rather not start my weekend with news that depressing.

So, have a kitty pic, while I fantasize about naps!  (Please ignore the mess.  That was the Hobbit Hole, my very first apartment.  I’m much neater now.  Swear.)

Yes.  Sometimes he is content to sit in his Lissalounger.  Cats are not to be understood, only petted.

*I’m with John Stossel and Thomas Sowell on hate crimes — I think that if a person hits another person in the head with a brick, their respective skin colors matter not at all compared to the fact of brick meeting head.  Your mileage may vary.

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Three-picture Thursday: 10/23/08

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2008

These boots are made for walking.  Or strutting.  Or simply lounging about.

In honor of the massive shoe-fetish-indulgence the media’s been putting on Palin . . .

 . . . I would like to share some of my nearest-and-dearest with y’all.

These are my usual commuter boots; classy-but-sturdy, comfortable for walking and standing and occasionally running across the street:

Whereas the next set?  Totally impractical.  Boots to wear out to a dinner, NOT to tackle the cobblestones outside Faneuil Hall:

And finally, my SUPER-practical black boots.  They’re actually wonderful snow-shoveling boots because they’ve knee-high and have awesome traction.  They’re also terrific crotch-kicking boots, but, well, you knew that without being told.  (Click to embiggen.  Really.  Do it.)

Awwwww yeah, baby.  Lara Croft meets Catherine Banning.  You know you want them 🙂

(h/t Acefor the Palin-shoes)

P.S. I’ve actually got one more pair of knee-high black boots.  Maybe next week?

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Official LookingForLissa Product Endorsement

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2008

O happy, joyous day!!!!

I’ve mentioned before that when I like books, I read them over and over until I have passages practically memorized.  This is all very well when I have a copy of the book, but can occasionally cause problems: sometimes I remember passages but not the title, or author, of the book.  It’s like having a half-remembered song in your head that you’re DYING to sing, but all you can come up with is half a refrain.  (Think Canadian Bacon: “Booorn in the USA! . . . um .  . . Boooorn in the USA! . . . . uh . . . . Booooooooorn in the USA!”)

I would therefore like to give a big, hearty, enthusiastic honkin’ endorsement to this site:

Loganberry Books
Stump the Bookseller!

It costs $2 to submit a stumper and my money was very, very well spent.  This is what I sent as a query:

G492: Girl growing up in tsarist Russia
Girl loves languages, cannot learn math; older brother ends up leaving Russia and going to England, breaking with family; she meets Catherine the Great when her sleigh breaks down; at the end marries an up-and-coming young noble who introduces potatoes to the region.  Help please!

And the hint I received:

E. M. Almedingen.  May be one of the books by Almedingen.  She wrote several set in Tsarist Russia, mostly based on family history.  I didn’t read them all, and those I read didn’t include one with math being an issue for a female main character.  Still, it may be worth checking out this author’s works.   The description sounds like Almedingen’s work.  (You can ignore Young Mark.  Except for the Tsarist Russia setting, it has no common elements with your story.)

Bingo!  It’s Anna, by E.M. Almedingen.  I received a copy from Worldbooks.com (by way of Amazon) and I swear to you I will sleep better tonight.  Purrrrrrrrr.

(Oh, and the fact that Mike comes home tonight will probably help, but seriously.  I love that site and would bake it cookies.)

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So easy, even a Poli-Sci Major can understand it!

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2008

By way of Bookworm:

Other nations have tried the ideology of fairness in the place of incentives and found that reward without work is a recipe for decline. In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher took on the unions and slashed taxes to restore growth and jobs in Great Britain. In Germany a few years ago, Social Democrat Gerhard Schroeder defied his party’s dogma and loosened labor’s grip on the economy to end stagnation. And more recently in France, Nicolas Sarkozy was swept to power on a platform of restoring flexibility to the economy.

The sequence is always the same. High-tax, big-spending policies force the economy to lose momentum. Then growth in government spending outstrips revenues. Fiscal and trade deficits soar. Public debt, excessive taxation and unemployment follow. The central bank tries to solve the problem by printing money. International competitiveness is lost and the currency depreciates. The system stagnates. And then a frightened electorate returns conservatives to power.


UPDATE: IAMB linked.  Thanks!

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Business continuity, my butt

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2008

So, we had one of those Business Continuity Planning meetings and it ate up an hour and a half of my morning.  Joy!

For those of you poor, unlucky souls who don’t have BCP obligations, the idea is to take a possible disaster scenario — in this case, a bird flu pandemic — and realize all the ways that your business will be affected.

As a pure business measure, it’s actually pretty interesting.  It makes you aware of the need to cross-train, to have step-by-step procedures available in a shared space so that others can cover for you in a pinch, the functionality of being able to work from home, how to delegate necessary tasks in a time of crisis, etc., etc.  You start with a 25% absenteeism rate at week 1-3, bump it up to 49% in week 3-6, imagine a recovery period from weeks 7-10, and take people out of the game accordingly.

Of course, working in Boston as I do, there was one big honking gap in their disaster scenario.  Can anyone guess what it is?  Anyone?  Bueller?

And, yes, I pointed it out.  At the end of the exercise, when the coordinator asked if there would be any other concerns besides those listed on the slides, I raised my hand.

“I don’t know if this is outside the scope of this exercise,” I said politely, “but if there were actually a pandemic to the extent that you’ve hypothesized — supermarkets are rationing basic goods, there’s a curfew in place, schools have shut down — then we’d be worried about the breakdown of public safety.  I mean, if we have a 49% absenteeism rate at week 6, then the police probably have half their force out too.  Unless the National Guard gets called in — assuming they’re healthy — as a strict point of fact NO ONE is going to be coming to the office, unless they have an armed escort, and since Boston’s a gun-free zone I imagine that’s only the President.”

No, I did not go into my lecture about the stupidity of Boston being a gun-free zone, let alone being a knife-free zone if it’s longer than 2.5 inches (ASININE).  After all, this is Boston and I don’t want to be viewed as a crazy person amongst my colleagues.  But I did go so far as to ask, in the elevator, if anyone had ever lived in the South.  When I found one gentleman who had lived in Texas, we laughed together about how when the slide listed “supermarkets rationing basic goods,” in the South it DEFINITELY would have been followed by “gun stores rationing ammo purchases.” 

By virtue of my Alas, Babylon thoughts I’m already way ahead of most of my colleagues when it comes to disaster planning . . . because I view disasters as a possibility.  You know, something that could happen in real life, as opposed to on the movie screen.  Most of them have yet to get that far.

(P.S. Breda, the bittie pocket knife you carry?  How long is that blade, and it is double-edged?  Double-edged weapons are verboten too.  Stupid.)

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How the hell did THAT happen?

Posted by Lissa on October 22, 2008

I lived on my own, in my own apartment, starting in July 2004.

I’ve only lived with Mike since this past May.

Yet he’s gone on a business trip and suddenly I rattle around, at a loss, unwilling to turn out the light and curl up by myself to sleep.

Even with the cat’s constant company in my lap.

Does that make me weak, that suddenly I *really* don’t like being alone at night?

Or does that mean we have a strong relationship, and is a good sign?

Hope it’s the latter. 

P.S. On the other hand, if you’re going to stay up until four in the morning on a whim, I highly recommend the Black Dagger books.  Not high-class literature by any stretch of the imagination, but entertaining and funny and sexy and well-written.  Finished three books last night 🙂

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It’s called moderation, folks.

Posted by Lissa on October 21, 2008

A happy medium, for cryin’ out loud.  Don’t be too fat, don’t be too thin.  Don’t eat too much, don’t starve yourself.  Don’t be a lazy bum, don’t be an exercise-obsessed ‘roider.  Don’t be wasteful with resources, but don’t turn into a dirty hippy crazy loon.

Anita Lavine and Joe Turcotte, a couple in Seattle, reuse the same Ziploc bag for a year.

When her two small children return from kindergarten, Miss Lavine scrubs the bag that held their soiled clothes and biodegradable nappies so she can use them the next day.

She keeps the thermostat in their home at 60 degrees Fahrenheit and is about to acquire three chickens to enhance the family’s recycling and self-sufficiency.

Because even E. Coli deserves a chance at a long, happy life, y’all!  Seriously, when my younger bro’s were growing up we couldn’t always afford disposable diapers.  Now that I think about it, suspending cloth diapers in the toilet to allow them to, um, “remove solids” may have started my lifelong phobia of the Golgathan.  Gah!

The article wasn’t about the icky aspect, though, it was about the psycho-craziness part.

But some mental health experts are worried. “If you can’t have something in your house that isn’t green or organic… if you’re criticising friends because they’re not living up to your standards of green, that’s a problem,” said Elizabeth Carl, a psychologist and specialist in obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Dr Jack Hirschowitz, a New York psychiatrist, said such behaviour qualified as a disorder if it was taking precedence over everything else in the subject’s life.

David Zucker, a sustainability specialist at Porter Novelli, a PR company which has studied America’s “dark greens”, said they were inordinately influential over other people’s behaviour.

He said the “deepest dark greens” were “bordering on the fanatic”, adding: “They’re pushing towards a lifestyle of zero consumption”.

Bingo.  Or better yet, just zero life.

Seriously, people.  Turn off lights/TV when you’re not using them, see if your lifestyle could support a car with better gas mileage, recycle where you can, use the twisty light bulbs please.  (Notice the please — there’s a difference between ASKING and ENCOURAGING people towards a behavior, and TAXING or REGULATING them towards it.)  But, please, do not turn into dirty hippy crazy loons.  That’s just gross.

(h/t Hot Air)

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Joe-sephina the Plumberess*

Posted by Lissa on October 20, 2008

Anyone reading this obviously reads blogs that are bigger and better than mine, i.e., this is Old News to you.  Nonetheless, I’m going to take a moment and jump on the pigpile.

It does not matter what Joe’s political affiliation was or is.
It does not matter whether he goes by his first or middle name.
It does not matter whether he has tax liens against him.
It does not matter how many times “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned in a Presidential debate.
It does not matter whether he has an official “Sanctioned by the State” Plumber License.

Joe is not running for a political office.  He did not ask to be on TV with Barack Obama.  He did not ask for a handout from the government.  He did not volunteer to be a poster-child for a program, or law, or reform.

He is a guy who happened to be on a front lawn playing football.  Barack Obama came by door-to-door-ing and Joe the Plumber asked him a question.  Obama’s answer was revealing, or controversial, or wonderfully eloquent and perfect — no matter.  What you think of Obama’s response has nothing to do with the shameful treatment of Joe the Plumber.

No private citizen asking a simple question of a political candidate should EVER, repeat EVER, be subjected to the horrific and disgusting media feeding-frenzy that has surrounded him.  We have no right to know his divorce or tax or job records.  HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

That is so freaking simple it should not require any explanation.

I am Joe-sephina the Plumberess.  You mess with him, you mess with me.

(P.S.  Okay, not really a plumberess, because I have an absolute horror of clogged toilets dating back to an encounter with the Golgathan.  You don’t want to know, trust me.)

UPDATE: Jay G and Chris linked, thanks!  And TOTWTYTR, Ted and JD were among the thousands who beat me off the starting line for this one.  OrangeNeck, I can’t send you a bumper sticker because they haven’t yet set up a company or third-party that would send the proceeds directly to Joe; Iowahawk’s asking you to print ’em out and make your own.

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