This Space for Rent

Oct 31, 2004


With pumpkin carving:


And lots of candy to wrestle away from the bears, so they don't become sugar-powered whirling dervishes of doom.

I'm sick, so I'm missing most of the festivities, but the best is taking the bears out to extort treats from neighbors. Unfortunately, I don't have a Dick Cheney mask, so I can't properly terrify other juvenile terrorists as they come up to our door.

Oct 30, 2004

A little gift ?

An article in the New York Daily News claims that a senior B*sh staffer is calling the Osama bin Laden tape a little gift?

Okay. I'm certainly glad to know that the CEO of Al Qaeda is endorsing the Coward in Chief. It's the least he can do after B*sh let him go. But, alas, it's still not enough to make me switch my vote, because on matters of domestic security I'd rather vote for someone who will help keep my country safer.

Oct 29, 2004


Its strikes me as a mark of rank desperation that an administration that ignored a security warning titled Bin Laden determined to strike in US (because it would interfere with something important, like a vacation) would then trot out this miserable failure as part of their campaign.

Vote for us, because we allowed the worst terrorist attack on American soil! is not a particularly compelling argument, unless you're comparing it to Vote for us, because we allowed the worst terrorist attack on American soil, and then we let the mastermind get away!

Perhaps I'm not clapping hard enough.

Oh, how nice.

Osama bin Laden has come out of hiding to do a neener neener neener! You're all idiots and so is your pig of a President! video.

So, tell me, why is this human stain still alive? Oh, yes, the Coward in Chief let him go.

Typical. Doing the job right would have taken some effort, and might have gotten in the way of something important, like a vacation.

1 comment

At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency? Have you no shame?

The Evil Party in Wisconsin:

The Evil Party in Ohio:

  1. Bogus you can't vote mail? No problem!
  2. Thousands of "poll watchers" to slow down voting in neighborhoods that traditionally vote for the Democratic Party candidate? We're right on it!
  3. Sending out GOP fundraising letters to neighborhoods that traditionally vote for the Dems, then challenging voter eligibility when the letters are, understandably, refused. The GOP is here to save the day!

There's no bottom. It's slime all the way down.

1 comment

Oct 28, 2004

At least this time it wasn’t a push poll

The bigots behind the Hate Amendment called me tonight, and their Evil Robot™ started rattling some nonsense about how the righteous were lying to get people to oppose this piece of evil filth. I had two small children in the room with me, so I couldn't go off on a profanity-laced tirade against the hate amendment (and, due to the small children, I didn't even understand that this phone call was from the evil bigots anyway), so after talking over their conversation by saying I already voted, so there's no point talking to me about 50 times, I hung up (and then realized that they said righteous (they actually said opponents, but it's the same thing), so instead of if being a call from the no on 36 people it was from the mouth of Satan himself.)

It almost makes me wish the Christians were telling the truth and there was an afterlife. It would be worth a lot to see the backers of the hate amendment impaled on skewers, roasting slowly over a bed of coals while Satan's kitchen staff prepare the rest of the Friday dinner.

380 tons (part deux)

It's not our fault because....

  • The Russians took it!
  • The troops didn't guard it!
  • It was never there!
  • And, furthermore, it doesn't really count because we've destroyed other munitions!
  • Look, President Kerry speaks French!

Have I missed anything here? A Terror! Alert!™, perhaps?

Oct 27, 2004

The joy of cable modems

Since I live in Darkest Westmoreland, where DSL lines are afraid to tread and where ISDN lines (which, for some odd reason, are now called IDSL; this does not bring the price down to anything reasonable) are few and hideously expensive, I've been using @home at&t broadband Comcast cable to get a reasonably fast (and by reasonably fast, I mean "anything faster than the 20kbaud phoneline connections I used to have".) It's a party line, so I get to see all of the traffic that's on the wire (modulo the traffic that's filtered out at the cable modem; these days that's most of it, but arps still get through), and most of the time it's moderately fast (in @home days, I could routinely get 6-8mbit/sec downstream on the line; it's been rate limited since then.) But, every now and then, viruses get into Windows machines that are directly connected (and immediately owned) to the wire. And those viruses make life an absolute screaming hell for everyone else on the wire, because one of the first things they do is go arp-crazy and loop through all of the networks that are attached to the segment, sending arp broadcasts for 40 million ip addresses or so. When they're doing this (from about 7:30pm to midnight), it's like trying to row a boat in molasses. In December. In Anchorage, Alaska.

It's extraordinarily annoying. The cable modem tries to keep up, but every now and then (at, oh, about 5 minute intervals) it gets so far behind the packet storm that it just pops a circuit and needs to go and have a good liedown before it can process ip traffic again. From the workstations at home, what happens is every single network connection to the outside world (xterms, web browser sessions, dns traffic, remote desktop connections to windows machines at work, encrypted ip tunnels to work) gets confused and shuts down.

This makes it difficult to do anything without feeling like I want to start hurling computer hardware out the window. Perhaps, after the election (assuming the election actually happens, of course; it's quite possible that it will mysteriously vanish, banana republic style) and after Maximum Leader Genius and his crop of evil flying monkeys are spanked back to Kennebunkport. I'll spring for a T-1 line so I can get shittier, but more reliable, bandwidth.

Eeeeeeeeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee!

3-0! The Red Sox won! The Red Sox won!


The long drought is over!


An Iraqi endorsement for the US Presidential campaign.

The Coward in Chief may be bad domestically, but he's a complete and utter disaster for the world.

(from Baghdad Burning)

Following the shining example of the military junta in Argentina

The B*sh junta has been disappearing prisoners.

Will the justification for this evil stunt be But we just torture them; we're not throwing them out of airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean? I see now what the complaints about liberal moral relativism are; it's not that the liberals are willing to allow people differences in their moral code, it's that we've been wasting a perfectly good chance to rationalize being evil.

I didn't realize it was supposed to be a race to the bottom where you win if someone else gets there a footstep ahead of you.

Oct 26, 2004

Something suspicious is going on

Various Evil Party hacks are starting little defeat dances, whining even more piteously about liberal bias, liberal voter fraud (which, oddly enough, happens to be happening against Democrats in left-leaning states that are controlled by Evil Party apparatchiks), and the like. I've been watching the drift in the polls (I am trying to not watch the numbers, because too many political fingers are around the cookie jar), and as much as I'd like to believe this is the beginning of the long-overdue avalanche as every Evil Party minion who isn't a closet royalist bails out of the burning riverboat that is the B*sh junta. I don't believe it.

I smell a trick. I smell a November surprise -- possibly Osama, possibly a nuclear weapon with the serial numbers filed off (possibly Russian; the ex-USSR's economy was wrecked enough so that it would be feasable to argue that Osama and his boys managed to extract one or two) -- as soon as the Democrats think they've got their hands back on the helm of the ship of state.

Why do I smell a trick? This didn't drop the approval ratings for the Coward in Chief down into the single digits. No, all that happened was that the base just clapped harder.

The race is close. Too damn close. Vigilance is the only way to keep the Evil Party from stealing it. Don't believe the polls until after the last lawsuit clears the Supreme Court.

Oct 25, 2004

The Joy of Outsourcing

Microsoft has, apparently, been outsourcing their customer support to India. This may not come as a surprise to people who actually have to deal with Microsoft products for fun and profit, but it came as a surprise to me, when, after sending off a routine abuse complaint to hotmail for yet another Nigerian 419 scam letter, I got a letter back from Microsoft (with headers pointing to an Indian call center. No, I'm not planning on posting those headers) that started:

   Dear Samash,
   Thank you for writing to Hotmail Technical Support.
   I apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail message due to
   high volume of e-mail messages received.
   I understand that you are facing difficulty in accessing your Hotmail

and rattled through a list of stupid Windows-specific solutions to someone else's problem, before helpfully appending my abuse complaint, which started with:

   Sent: Wed Oct 20 23:21:39 PDT 2004
   Subject: 419 scam -- No Loss
   This Nigerian 419 scam letter either originated or was relayed
   through your site. Could you please deal with it?
   -- david parsons, postmaster,
   419 scam letter (with headers) follows:
   |From Wed Oct 20 20:38:08 2004
   |Received: from (
   | (MAIL FROM:)
   | by (TFMTKAYTFO)

Note that, even with the mangling that their stupid Exchange server did, my complaint still contains the not terribly ambiguous phrase « This Nigerian 419 scam letter either originated or was relayed through your site. »

I can imagine the discussions that led to this outsourcing, with the manager who wanted the bonus for making a support process cheaper claiming savings of 50%! No, 60%! No, even better; we'll be able to save 95% on our support costs.! until their supervisor signed off on it and sent it off to Mount Doom on Lake Washington for billg's approval. And when the email from billg came back, this manager all of a sudden had to get the job done.

And rapidly discovered that good techs aren't cheap, even if they're in India, and if you got competent ones you'd only save about 50% over the call centers in the United States. And that would be bye bye to the process improvement bonus. So, time to scramble around looking for the cheapest possible vendor.

And they found one! And because the vendor is already in India, he can't threaten his minions with work harder, worms, or we'll outsource your job to Bangalore! (but, boss, we're already in Bangalore .) We are? (Yes. Look at the address on the piddly little cheques you write us.) And so now Microsoft is having their abuse desk handled by a company that's got about a 45 minute worker retention period, and that, barring using Chinese deathcamp labor, can't be replaced with anything cheaper.

That's the problem with a race to the bottom. When you've won, you're at the bottom, and your customers may not be as enthusiastic about the quality of service coming from people who know that the only reason they have this job is because they're the cheapest possible alternative.

But I'm sure that there were process improvement bonuses and solid gold gazebos for all of the upper management of Mount Doom. And the customers probably won't abandon you for Linux. Maybe.

380 tons

380 tons of nuclear weapon detonator explosive. Gone. Like all the other stuff that's vanished from Iraq since the United States invaded, it's developed little kitty feet and padded away to the friendly arms of the Iraqi Resistance (and everyone else who needs a little something extra in their just-like-mama-used-to-make homemade mines.)

I certainly feel safe. Not as safe than the poor bastards in the Marines and Army, who are reaping the benefits of the Clap Harder! policies that the Coward in Chief has implemented, but other than that the only way I'd feel any safer would be if nuclear devices were exploding in American cities.

And, just think, this justifies the whole preemptive war idea! After all, if the United States had waited until Iraq had nuclear weapons before invading, then the resistance would be hauling away functional atomic bombs from the weapons depots that the White House doesn't think are important enough to guard.

Oct 24, 2004

Trolley fanatics for John Kerry (end of October edition)

Today, the best, the bears, and I went into downtown Portland to participate in a John Kerry rally and march to the post office to mail ballots (neither of us was actually mailing our ballots today; Julie had already mailed hers in, and I'm waiting on a replacement for a spoiled ballot, but that doesn't stop us from going to a Kerry rally.)

This time, I had a camera handy.

On the way across the Broadway Bridge, we saw the tugboat Cascades heading upriver.

Of course, I had to take a picture of the Go By Streetcar sign in the middle of the new development in the Pearl District (I have a photo which I took 26 years ago -- from the Coast Starlight -- which shows that this area was not always a lowrise version of Manhattan Island.)

We parked by Jamison Square, then walked over to the Ecotrust building for the rally. On the way, Silas and I stopped to take a few photos of one of the new Skoda trolleys.

When we reached the Ecotrust building, the Kerry rally was in full swing, so we walked around, took more pictures, listened to the various musicians, and then joined the march over to the post office. Well, Russell and the best joined the march -- Silas and I took a shortcut so we could get a few pictures of the march.

It seemed like a fairly small march, but it was long enough so it bottled up a trolley as it worked its way down 11th Street (if you look behind the marchers on the trolley tracks, you'll see, behind the police car that was following the march, the nose of one of the Skoda cars.

After marching down 11th for a while, the march turned down towards the post office. At 10th, one of the Gomaco trolleys was sitting in traffic waiting for the marchers to go by. (I like the newer trolleys because they are a comfortable smooth ride, but they make a lot more noise than PCCs do. And, of course, they're a lot heavier and they don't have openable windows.)

The post office was a bit of an anticlimax. The march reached the mailboxes, everyone deposited their ballots, the marching band played some patriotic music, and we went on our way. But, before we left (to go to that soul-eating pit of despair known as Home Depot), Russell got his picture taken with a giant Yes on 34 salmon.

American Freedom Train 4449

Around 30 years ago, the Southern Pacific GS-4 4449 was dragged out of Oaks Park, put into operation, and used to haul the American Freedom Train around most of the western United States. The Freedom Train came through La Crosse at some ungodly early hour in the morning, so I missed it. Last summer, Metro (the local uber-government) had just finished converting the west side of the old Portland Traction line into one of the last bits of the Springwater Corridor, and celebrated, in part, by hiring the 4449 (and the SP&S 700) to run passenger trains from just south of the Portland Traction's East Portland yard to just south of Spokane street.

The 4449 was painted in AFT colors, so I ended up not missing it after all:

As an aside, when the 4449 was shoved into Oaks park back in the late 1950s, Portland Traction #100 is supposed to be the engine that did the pushing. It was also the engine that pulled 4449 out of Oaks park in 1974. It appears to be retired now, but it was running up through this spring, and it was also present for the Springwater trail opening.


I've been trying to get into the habit of carrying a camera everywhere I go, so if I see something interesting I'll have a fighting chance of being able to get a picture of it for posterity. Every now and then, I forget the camera. Like, today, when we went on a covert mission into Clackamas County (to Target, to get a bunch of dry goods the warehouse way); I noticed that I didn't have the camera when we were about 10 blocks from home, so we didn't go back to get it.

Not a good idea. Normally, we take 17th into Milwaukie, then 224 over to the neigborhood of the shopping centers where Target lurks. Today, we needed to put some gas into the Prius, so we pulled off 224 in the Milwaukie part of mall-land, then followed Railroad avenue out to 82nd and the malls.

As you can guess, Railroad avenue follows a railroad -- the ex Expee mainline to California, to be precise -- but it's a mainline railroad that we never see trains running on while we're on Railroad avenue. But today, about halfway down the road, I saw a green signal light. Ooops! That means a train will be coming soon.

Sure enough, about 40 seconds later a southbound Talgo train whipped by us at full speed.

no camera!


1 comment

Oct 22, 2004

I have become death, destroyer of computers

A couple of weeks ago, I modified the kernel for the Linux distribution we maintain at work (a modified R*dh*t Linux dollarware 3.0) to get around an unusual problem with the installer. The problem was pretty simple; when booting the system, we use Freedos so we can get an installer cd that works on all of the boxes we lease (some of these boxes won't boot hard disk images off a cd-rom drive, and Linux 2.4+redhat hackery is big enough so it doesn't come close to fitting on a floppy image; Freedos is tiny enough to fit on a floppy image, so it boots, mounts the cd-rom as a dos filesystem, then calls loadlin to load the kernel plus all the rococo crap that our boys in the research triangle stuff into their boot images.

This works pretty well. A few problems crept in because some versions of Freedos move the PC Extended bios data area, but those were solved by upgrading Freedos to a newer (and bigger) version. But a week ago, when the project lead (not me, drat! I wanted to go out east and get a pallet of Cheerwine) was out in North Carolina, he found a SMP machine that our installer insisted on calling a uniprocessor. So, after discussing it with my other cow orkers, I modified the Linux kernel for the installer so it was a SMP i486 kernel instead of a uniprocessor i386 kernel. We did some tests, and everything was happy, so we rolled it into our distribution.

I was taking today off as an anti-head-explosion holiday, and a couple of hours ago I got a phone call from my corporate masters. Our Linux distribution had, apparently, taken a dislike to the IBM x206 PC, and would, if allowed to boot, completely erase the BIOS on it.

Cool. We've gotten rid of all the security problems on that type of machine, and we didn't even have to use a sledgehammer!

Alas, they made me back out the changes :-(

Not the most effective attack ad.

The Boy who cried Wolf administration is running an attack ad with wolves?


I don't know how this ad will work with the true believers, but it strikes me as singularly ineffective that the administration that spent most of 2001 fiddling will be, what, trying to claim that terrorists will take John Kerry unawares? So far, the terrorists have had a much better record of taking the Coward in Chief unawares, and I don't know if running around shrieking Terror Alert! Terror Alert! is likely to make the already whoppingly incompetent administration look any less incompetent. (And, for that matter, the administration that's got the their Homeland Security© and national security secretaries running around campaigning is not an administration that's paying too much attention to Terror Alert!™'s right now.)

Atrios claims that the audience on Crossfire laughed when they saw this ad; this doesn't bode well for trying to terrify the electorate into voting for the wrong person.

Perhaps they are trying to get the vote of the North American Man-Wolf Love Association. I know that some leading lights of the Evil Party are very interested in that sort of thing.

A gentle reminder about the War on Terror

In 2002, the White House refused to attack Abu Musab Zarqawi, because it would get in the way of the PR effort against Iraq.

Sorry about the decapitations!

Oct 21, 2004

Weekend trip to Vichy Iraq?

Is the Coward in Chief planning on a little field trip to pick up a freeze-dried terrorist, or will this simply be another Ha, ha, I'm going back home today and you aren't! loveletter to the poor soldiers who are stuck in this Excellent Adventure™?


Ho, ho, ho!

Even if the Red Sox don't manage to win the world series, it's worth something to see the Evil Empire get nibbled to death by the infamous Fenway duck patrol.

Oct 20, 2004

Train Picture of the day

I was going to the New New New Seasons from work today, and got off the bus at 9th and Powell. As I was crossing the pedestrian footbridge, I heard a not-so-distant toot toooot of an oncoming train, and went at a dead run up to the corner of Milwaukie and Powell to try and get a picture. Just as I got there, the train popped into sight:

Oct 19, 2004

We need a smaller house

We've got a pretty large house; 3600+ square feet of usable space. But the bears have been efficient entropy machines this week, and now almost every one of those square feet is covered with a thin layer of randomly arranged stuff. I can't help but think if we were in a 1200 square foot house it would be a lot easier to sweep everything into a huge pile for sorting and/or tossing.

If it weren't for the teeny detail that even the tiniest little house in Portland now costs $150,000, it would be a lot more tempting. Perhaps there's some acre lot in town that's got a little tiny shack in the corner -- we could move in there and let the pedestrians of the apocolypse spend all day running from one end of the lot to the other.

I need to learn Japanese

USB 2.0 sushi. I see a great need, but the teeny detail of not knowing the language and script is a bit of a stumbling point.

Why is all the really fun kitsch from Japan? Does the United States have a silliness gap? (We don't have a stupidity gap, but that doesn't provide trinkets.)

(Link via Whomp Power)

The Evil Party thinks that Kerry is winning.

Cheney is running around claiming that terrorists will nuke the United States.

And the significance of PTI 961 hasn't even started to work its way out yet.

Better keep those Evil Party vote fraud machines humming, boys!

Oct 18, 2004

My opposition to the hate amendment has just cranked up just a little bit more

I got a nasty little robotic push-poll from the evil bastards backing the hate amendment, which, after I told them that I was not going to vote for their goddamn ethnic purity laws, started rattling on about how Massachusetts is going to Promote The Gay Lifestyle.

I told the robot that they were evil satanists, and that they should fuck off and die, and I kept telling them to fuck off and die until the robot at least fucked off.

Another $100 to No on 36? Why, yes, I believe I will; it's a lot cheaper than emigrating to Canada, and it's far less trouble than trying to get Multnomah County to secede from Oregon and become a part of Washington State.

You know

If it's really such a terrible thing that the Evil Party vice presidential candidate has a gay daughter, perhaps it's not such a wonderful idea to support someone whose judgement may be "tainted" by wanting to protect his daughter. Republicans should be lining up to insist that Cheney either step down or disown his daughter now, just to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

After taking a zillion terrible railroad snapshots

I eventually got a good one. This is a Gresham-bound interurban approaching Gateway transit center under a threatening sky. This picture was taken from our Prius as we returned from a trip to Bonneville Dam.

Field trip!

On Saturday morning, Silas and I went on a bus and trolley ride, taking the #70 bus up to the Rose Quarter Transit Center, the Interstate trolley up to the Expo Center terminal, then back home.

We saw lots of trains.

At Brooklyn Yard, we saw an engine pointing its nose out into an alley

At the Rose Quarter Transit Center (which is still identified as the Coloseum transit center on the bus stop sign near home), we saw trains for every one of the three interurban routes before our train arrived from downtown.

The first train was headed for the Airport.

Followed by a train heading towards Hillsboro.

And finally, just before our northbound train pulled into the station, an Interstate train passed us going south.

Silas started to get bored just before we reached the station at Kenton, but I asked him if he wanted to go over the Vanport bridge, and so we got to see a Union Pacific train parked in the Columbia Avenue parking lot.

And when we reached the Expo Center terminal, Silas spent about a hour playing around the station while we watched airplanes and trolleys come and go.

The spiffy metal bikelockers were carefully investigated.

But the bulk of our time was spent poking around the electrical utilities at the station.

Oct 17, 2004

Ballot endorsements

Now that I've got the time (and now that I've filled out my ballot), these are my endorsements for the various things on the ballot in my corner of Multnomah county.

For the partisan offices, my endorsement is to vote for all the Democratic Party candidates, because voting for everyone else is casting a vote for the Evil Party. And, even if I wasn't voting a strict party line, John Kerry, since he's an intelligent liberal, would be worth voting for (despite his terrible stand against same-sex marriage.)

I don't have any preference for the Portland mayoral race. I used to support Tom Potter, but he's been drinking the anti-trolley coolaid and I'm really tired of living in a part of town that doesn't have a trolley line. I'm going to call the Potter campaign tomorrow to get some clarification on his New! Improved! anti-trolley stance, but until then I'm planning on endorsing anyone. (And our house had a Potter campaign sign in our front yard until this morning.)

I have no preference for commissioner seat #1, so I'm not going to vote for either Nick Fish or Sam Adams; they both seem like good choices, so I'm going to leave the decision to the people who have a preference.

Randy Leonard is running unopposed, so endorsing him seems kind of silly, but I'll endorse him anyway.

As for this year's crop of state initiatives:

31 (postposting elections on death of candidate) YESWhy not?

32 (changing the tax status on mobile homes) YESIf a mobile home is being used as a home, it's kind of stupid to use the taxes on it to pay for the highways.

33 (tweaking the medical marijuana bill) NOI'm not exactly sure what this will do, aside from further enrage the bigot wing of the Justice Department. I'd rather enrage the bigot wing of the Justice Department by kicking them out on their collective butts, so, no.

34 (Balancing timber production with conservation in state forests)NOAfter getting a smarmy little mailing warning me of the eeeevil plans that foreign liberal conservationists were planning to put in, overriding the scientific™ plans that the state logging office set up, I thought I would vote for this one. After seeing some of the whoppingly deceptive ads the No on 34 people were putting on the television, I was more convinced, but then when I did just a little bit of looking into the existing laws, I realized that the logging companies would be able to get around measure 34 without much effort, and the end result would be to drive rural voters into the lair of the Evil Party. But we'd have this spiffy! new! law!, even if it didn't actually do anything.

35 (yet another stupid "liability reform" law)NO!I remain unconvinced that lawsuits are the problem that healthcare executives claim they are.

36 (the hate amendment)HELL, NO!This piece of offal is the old racial purity laws, with NEGRO scratched out and FAGGOT scribbled in. And they're lying nonstop about it, with the chiiiilren being their #1 lie. Remember that gay parents don't need to be married to raise children, and will continue to raise children even if this piece of filth is wedged into the Oregon Constitution.

37 (abolishes zoning for rentiers)NO!There are plenty of local ordinances that make it difficult to farm, log, mine, or otherwise exploit the land you own. Measure 37 won't help with these; it will merely make it easier for wealthy landowners to develop their rental properties while getting the middle class to pay for the damage that development will cause.

38 (Liberty Northwest doesn't want to compete against SAIF)NOI do have a lot of sympathy for private companies trying to compete against government entities, because the government can do the job more efficiently than they can, plus it doesn't need to make a profit. But this measure is just a sneaky way to transfer the monopoly over to Liberty. A better solution would be to regulate the insurance business by regulating the rates that insurance companies and SAIF can charge.

There are some Multnomah County measures I need to endorse, but I'll do them later this afternoon.

Oct 15, 2004

Kids Night (part 2)

Kids night (part 1)

We've got an arrangment with some of our friends to pool babysitting, so that every couple of weeks we deposit all of our children at one of our houses and let them play together while most of the parents go out and do something sans babies. This evening is our turn.

If the house is still standing at the end of the evening, we'll count it as a successful kids night.

Endorsement: No to the hate amendment and the horse it rode in on.

I've been putting off writing a list of endorsements on the various Oregon and Multnomah County measures, but the bigots who are supporting the Hate Amendment have managed, through their nonstop lying (endorsed, of course, by that scumbag Gordon Smith, who fully supports the queer community as long as he doesn't have to support any of our civil liberties), to drive me to the keyboard today.

On measure 36 (the we-hate-queers amendment, round 10,000), my vote will be



Aside from the small detail that it's stripping people of their civil liberties (I've looked the US constitution over, and nowhere do I see any mention of marriage in it), and the small detail that it's yet another part of the right-wing fundamentalist war against our secular state, the bigots are just making shit up about it:

We must protect the chiiiildren
The hate amendment says nothing about children. Not one goddamn thing. It may come as a surprise to the mouthbreathing bigots who are pushing the hate amendment, but people don't have to be married to have children! Really. And making gay people into second class citizens won't take their children away, unless the hate amendment is simply a sneaky way for the Evil Party to start making gays into the 21st century version of the Jews in their national purity party.
Traditional Marriage! Traditional Marriage!
Gay marriages are now traditional marriages. And the Islamic theocracies that the hate amendment people are wishing to remake the United States to look like allow the equally traditional one man/a whole bunch of women marriage (and it's not just the theocratic states; the Mormons used to allow plural marriage until the United States did much the same sort of stunt against them. If Gordon Smith had even the tiniest sense of honor, he'd remember this before supporting the hate amendment).
It's not really an amendment to the constitution
Nonsense. Absolute pure-grade nonsense. Doesn't the Bible say something about false witness? Oh, yeah, it's in a little document called the 10 commandments, which were apparently hand-delivered to Moses by some shifty character called G-d.
Oh, you can get all those rights and restrictions without being married
The 9th commandment would apply here. Unless the translation from the Hebrew is incorrect, I don't think the 9th amendment has any part reading «but if you don't like your neighbor, shoot, lie as much as you want!»
We must defend marriage!
And how does this defend marriage? If someone can only be married if it's a secret clubhouse that says "N0 FAGGOTS ALLOWED!!?!", that's a problem with them, not a problem with the definition of marriage.

The fact that the supporters of this piece of shit feel compelled to lie and make shit up should be enough to make any sentient human vote no with great force.

1 comment

File under locking the gate after the cows got out

The United States government, in a (now-classic) example of putting politics ahead of trivial things like security, just now froze the assets of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's support network. Silly me, I'd thought they would have frozen the assets of that support network several months ago, after al-Zarqawi's boys started decapitating people.

Oct 14, 2004

Ph34r teh Cut3 Ones

The dictionary says that an accordion is «A portable wind instrument...», and Russell is more than happy to demonstrate just what portable means.

Look out! He's got a loaded accordion!

Apologies to Fred Gallagher.


... various Evil Party hacks and fellow travellers are shocked! shocked! that John Kerry mentioned that Mary Cheney is gay. The outrage! The horror! Why, whatever could cause someone to think that an out lesbian who worked as a liason (for the Evil Party pisswater brewery Coors) to the gay community™ is actually gay.

It's not, even in the mouthbreathing circles that the Evil Party has decided to cater to, really a secret. Do they think that the Cheney family is ashamed of their daughter and the only thing to do is hide her away on the stage at the previous debate?

Personally, I think it's just that they're desperate to find anything, anything, that they can use to distract the press from the teeny detail that the Coward in Chief managed to lose all three debates (4 if you count the one the de facto president lost to John Edwards?)

Oct 13, 2004

While President stupidhead fiddled…

... Russell built a small city.

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Oct 12, 2004

That’s a funny red blot

In the middle of the night, the Volcanocam shows nothing more than line noise, because it's too dark for the camera to resolve anything. Except for tonight, where approximately in the place where MSH has been venting, there's a little tiny red blotch. Holy liquid state, Batman, there's hot lava in them thar hills!

Get yer Tootie-Fruitie voter fraud right here!

An Evil Party-funded voter registration company (first in Nevada, now in Oregon) has been "registering" voters and then throwing the registrations out if the registered voters aren't members of the Evil Party.

This is a new twist on the traditional Evil Party policy of suppressing the vote. I'd ask if they had any shame, but, well, no, they don't -- a party that is trying to strip citizens of their civil liberties is not one that's likely to blink at disenfranchising the opposition.

The FBI has been informed of this voter fraud, but I would not be at all shocked if I discovered that this case was assigned to the field office in Inner Mongolia.

More brilliant decisions by the B*sh junta

Not guarding the old Iraqi nuclear research facilities seemed like a pretty dumb idea at the time, and it seemed worse when radioactives started showing up all over the place around the plants.

Well. it was still a really dumb idea to not guard the nuclear research facilities. You'd think that the US intelligence agencies would have noticed when people started dismantling the buildings and taking them away, but perhaps I overestimate the intelligence of the pack of bozos who are running the United States into the ground.

Oct 11, 2004

A victory for the good guys

The Democrats in the House of Representatives managed to get an anti-torture amendment added to the latest defence authorization bill. I don't know which Evil Party arms had to be twisted, but Richard Durbin did a Good Thing by getting the amendment in. Now, apparently, all it needs is to have the Coward in Chief sign it, and the trivially obvious rule that We're the United States of America; We don't do that sort of shit will get a little reinforcement.

I suspect we'll have to wait a few months before the people responsible for the torture in Vichy Iraq and the gulag are dragged off in irons, but I'm willing to wait a little bit for justice.

I guess there’s something to that silly conspiracy theory about B*sh being wired

Indymedia had their servers seized by the US government. I wonder why they did that?

Oct 10, 2004

To the B*sh Junta, war isn’t as important as politics

The headline in the LA Times reads Bush Administration Plans to Delay Major Assaults in Iraq.

The detail is that the USA isn't going to do anything big to try and retake Vichy Iraq from the Resistance until AFTER the US election is over. Pretty rich for a coward who was just strutting around claiming that the honorable candidate would let politics influence the military in this Holy Quagmire.

The Iraqi resistance has net access. They can read the news. Behold, they say, The Great Satan has given us a few more weeks to build up the resistance. And what about the American soldiers who are going to die because the resistance will have time to better prepare their response to the Rovian November Surprise? Well, it's painfully obvious that once those soldiers have voted, their utility to the B*sh junta has ended.

At least this article was printed on Sunday instead of Friday, so there's a fighting chance that people will notice that, yes, once again the Coward in Chief is busily ripping off the heads of the American military so he can piss down their collective windpipes.

Oct 09, 2004

Not quite so trivial project of the day (October edition)

One of the less than attractive things about our house was the kitchen, which, when the house was serving hard time as rental housing for Reedies (sometime in the 1960s or 1970s), was destroyed in a dryer fire (the dryer is, and was, in the basement, but when it caught fire, it burned long enough to eat through the kitchen floor). It was rebuilt with the sort of care you'd expect in a rental -- nothing but the cheapest linoleum, cabinetry, and appliances (including the most hideous stove in all Christendom, but that's going to be another story.) One of the more offensive parts of the rebuild was apparently abandoned halfway through, leaving us with two unfinished kitchen cabinet tops.

This gem of kitchen design (complete with negative space both under and on top of the countertop) lurked in the northwest corner of the kitchen for about seven years after we moved in. This afternoon, after building Silas a Tiny Special Bookcase, I was telling Russell about the plans that the best and I had for redoing that parts of the kitchen. I offered to show him what we needed to do to fix it, and he didn't seem interested, but 35 minutes later he was demanding that I show him what needed to be done. We went downstairs, I told him what needed to be done, said we'd do it later when we had some time, then came upstairs again, only to hear a tremendous racket from downstairs.

He wanted to just do it now.


I still have to

  • rip out the wainscotting,
  • bolt the nasty metal cabinets together.
  • glue the tile down
  • glue small tiles on the front of the countertop
  • grout 'em all; G-d will know his own.
  • build a little shelf on the right side of the cabinets for paper bags
  • relocate the electrical outlets up to above the countertop.

but that's simply implementation details that shouldn't take longer than a month or five.

Trivial project of the day (October edition)

A couple of months ago, Russell and I went pallet-diving for scrapwood and got a carful of pallet slats for furniture building. This morning I used some of that wood to build Silas a Tiny Special(™ Russell Hoban) Bookshelf so he can have a special place to store things that only he can touch (Russell has a store-bought kids bookshelf that's his Tiny Special Bookshelf, so of course Silas needed one too.)

It may not be visible (and it's nothing compared to the crooked legs on the workbench), but almost every plank on that bookshelf is slightly warped. I decided to use screws to fasten the pieces together, because I was worried that if I just glued the joints, they'd just rip out as soon as they were stressed.

Screws might not be quite so good for longevity, but they certainly made it easier to put the bookshelf together. It only took me a hour to measure, cut, sand, and screw the bookshelf together. I may add a back to it to make it a little bit more rigid, but that won't take longer than about 20 minutes at the worst.

Total cost? Maybe US$1.00 for screws, glue, electricity, and depreciation.

Oct 08, 2004

Railroad picture of the day

I'm taking a break from watching Bambi vs. Godzilla, and pulling pictures off my A60.

Today, I took the Sellwood Shuttle down to Powell and Milwaukie. The Sellwood Shuttle is basically the south half of the #70 bus, so it goes up 17th Ave past the ex-SP Brooklyn yards, so there is often a transfer freight waiting for clearance, or an intermodal freight waiting for clearance to go to points north. Today was no exception; at the north end of the Tri-Met Center street carbarn, I saw a line of freight cars, and set up the A60 just in case something interesting was at the head of these cars.

There was! An ex-C&NW engine was just poking its nose out in front of a tree. It's been 9 years since the Lumbering Behemoth of the West™ ate the C&NW, but, in full(ish) yellow and green glory, sat a big C-C diesel, waiting to go.

It’s Bambi vs. Godzilla all over again

And the Coward in Chief isn't playing Godzilla.

Maximum Leader Genius is coming completely unhinged.

It's like the way the guilty party disintegrates under questioning on all of the old detective shows.

Four more weeks, baby, four more weeks!

It’s a good thing that Maximum Leader Genius larded up the public sector

Because that means that the US economy only lost .6% of the job market instead of 1.5%.

Buy €, rand, and renminbi now; The Coward in Chief can do much worse than he's already done, and even if John Kerry doesn't get the election stolen from him, the B*sh junta still has a couple of months to completely wreck the country (and the currency) before he goes.

They found a bomb

In Baghdad.

Inside the Green Zone.

We've lost. Pray we don't lose everything before we retreat from Vichy Iraq.

Oct 07, 2004


In the past week, the US listening audience has been presented with another round of experts saying that Iraq not only didn't have any nuclear program, but had dismantled it in the early 1990s and wasn't even thinking about restarting it. (In other words, Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad and man voted Hitler of the year 2002, was telling the truth, and the United States of America was lying through its teeth.)

In response to this, the de facto president of the United States (followed, closely, by the Coward in Chief) claimed that, well, yes, we all knew this, but that's why we attacked Iraq instead of North Korea (nuclear weapon(s), member of the Axis of people the Neocons dislike) or Iran (building nuclear weapons as fast as they can so they can do a test explosion before the inauguration, member of the AOFTND.)

So, what is the lesson for today, boys and girls?

Nuclear Weapons Are Wrong, And You Should Not Use Them
Nuclear Weapons Protect You From The United States

If you picked the second answer, you are absolutely correct. And, since nuclear bombs are not exactly rocket science, all you need is a supply of uranium and a few friends to help you build them.

Remember the good old days, when nuclear proliferation was considered a bad thing?

Oct 06, 2004

Me and the A60 at Milwaukie and Powell

While waiting for my transfer, I spent some time trying to get a picture of the local carwash with the flashing neon turned on:

And then, by happy coincidence, a UP train came through and I managed to get a not-terribly-blurry picture as it crossed 12th:

Oct 05, 2004

At least the moderators got some thorazine into their water

So it ended up being a tie instead of a Kilkenny cat style battle to the death.

I believe that this is what the Star Wars people call a fully functional deathstar

And that's why Dick Cheney is the de facto president.

It's like the Evil Party convention distilled into 45 minutes of pure hatred.

It’s a lot harder to make snarky comments

When the de facto president is debating John Edwards. Cheney is lying, of course (does anybody in the B*sh junta ever tell the truth?), but he's not even close to the level of incompetence that the Coward in Chief brought to the first "debate"

The Louisiana hate amendment is no more.

The Louisiana hate amendment, which, regrettably, passed by a huge margin, was just tossed, with great force, into the dustbin of history.


Because the bigots were too greedy; in their unseemly haste to make being gay unconstitutional, they spread their net too widely and forced an Evil Party judge to rule against the bill before it made it up to the Supreme Court, where the precedent would have nailed all of the hate amendments oozing around in the United States.

You’re not clapping loudly enough

38% of the membership of the Evil Party does not believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the destruction of the World Trade Center.

That's very disappointing. Apparently some people have not been taking their Soma and are believing treasonous reality instead of the infallible words of Beloved Leader. Remember, if you do not trust Dear Leader, he won't be able to finish his holy crusade.

A preview of the debate between John Edwards and the Evil Party candidate

It sounds pretty sedate to me.

Apropos of nothing

This is not quite true, but it's really hard to do it.

I blame figure skating on being able to circle my leg clockwise while circling my hand counterclockwise, but if I was trying to do this on ice, I'd probably end up breaking something.


It's so nice to see that Maximum Leader Genius can, even while he's driving the United States directly into the ditch, manage to create a disaster where his friends and relations can profiteer like there's no tomorrow.

Oct 04, 2004

Cloudy Portland

This picture courtesy of a cloudy day, the Ross Island bridge, and a Tri-Met bus (route unknown; the #9, #19, and #17 all go from Milwaukie and Powell to First and Arthur, so I ride which ever one gets there first if I miss the three early morning Westmoreland to downtown #19 shuttles.)

Weird Science

Russell and the best did a little science experiment last week with a stick of celery and some unnaturally green dye.

Oct 01, 2004

Oh, now this makes me feel safe and secure (part 2)

An entrepreneur in Kyrgyzstan was just arrested for trying to sell some black market Pu-239.

(Link via the oldman)

Trying to spin victory from defeat the Media Whore™ way

He won big, but it doesn't matter.

So, it's REALLY REALLY important before John Kerry won, but it's meaningless after he outmaneuvered, outfought, and outspoke the Coward in Chief ?

There's a spiffy little invention called a search engine that can easily catch this sort of frantic backpeddling without even having to leave the comfort of your desk. Nice try, but you should just stick with parroting bogus Terror! Alert!s.

Look, look, Mount St. Helens just erupted! Terror Alert! Terror Alert!

Well, that’s certainly one way to try to get out from under a crushing defeat

Have Pravda! just make shit up, and try to roll the press with "undecided" voters who turn out to be Evil Party operatives.

I guess that after having John Kerry point out that the Coward in Chief dropped the boring old search for Osama bin Laden in favor of the carpet of flowers in Iraq, that it would be considered impolitic to crank up a Terror! Alert! after Osama's boys mailed out another kill the unbelievers for the Gipper! video, so all they've got is this sort of lame nonsense to fall back on.

And it's a Friday, too. Tch tch.

Update: Apparently Pravda! has pulled the big heaping pack-o-lies.


Obéir c'est trahir, Désobéir c'est servir


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