Category Archives: verbose

Dear 1%: Stop whining, you cry babies. #OWS

If the 1% “job creator” class doesn’t like seeing people out on the street “whining” who don’t they go out an create some more jobs in the U.S.? When unemployment drops to 2% then they can complain about “slackers”. Until then, shut up, build the wealth that apparently only they, with their non-taxable income can create, and be thankful the protestors aren’t competing in the same dwindling job pool and the rest of us.

Dear Barnes & Noble: Stop making it so difficult for me to give you my money.

I don’t have a Kindle and I don’t want one. I don’t have a NOOK but might get one. I have a Kobo ereader which reads epub. The reason I didn’t buy a Kindle is I didn’t want to locking into the Amazon’s format or their store. Kobo has a store, but they don’t sell everything I want. In fact what I want right now is eighteen titles by Lawrence Block that are now on my NOOK wishlist. Eighteen books for which I would happily have already given you my money, were it not for one little snag. You don’t have a shopping bag function for ebooks.

And believe me I looked. I couldn’t quite believe this could be true — that the ONLY way I can buy ebooks in ONE. AT. A. TIME. That’s eighteen transactions. Eighteen entries on my debit card ledger, eighteen confirmation emails.


You would have already had my money by now, if you had a way for me to bundle my ebook purchases. I’ve looked for other sites, but so far I’ve only found these particular editions on Kindle and NOOK. If they were on Smashwords, Kobo, or Diesel, etc you would have lost my sale for good. I’m pretty determined to get these books so I will probably go through your laborious process to get them. But you are making me crazy, and I hope this complaint makes someone over there start to wonder how many sales you are losing from potential customer who like to binge on low-cost ebook purchases.

Best wishes,

Michael Canfield

>Lesson learned buying the cheapest Apple iTouch.

>I bought an iTouch a few months ago, and I got the cheapest one I could find, because I didn’t have a need for it. I had just bought a new nano a few months earlier, but I wanted to explored the app store and also test out ebook reading on a device without committing to a Kindle or on Nook or whatever. I got the cheapest one I could: 8 gig, previous generation, refurbish, and I love it.

Absolutely love it, but this post is not about that.

It’s about this:
My 8 gig iTouch is about half full. I have hours and hours of music on it, hundred of free classic novels via Project Gutenberg, and a dozen or so books I’ve bought for the Kindle or Stanza ereader apps, and about 18 different apps half of which I hardly ever use. I’ve never had a frustration with speed or usage. This thing more than meets my needs.

I’ve always made an effort, when upgrading, to get the best of everything: the fastest speed, the biggest drive, etc, on the theory that it will pay off in the long run with an extended life cycle. Well from now on I’m getting the cheapest and the slowest.

Whatever I buy today will be faster and bigger than what I am using right now, and I’m most likely going to upgrade everything in a few more years again anyway, and the slowest and smallest available then will be better than the fastest and biggest available now. I’m web surfing, I’m doing very minor photo editing, I’m creating prose documents with either my ten-year-old (and therefore eminently usable) version of Word, or occasionally a version of OpenOffice for Mac called NeoOffice. I’m not editing “Lawrence of Arabia” or producing studio-quality rock albums.

So, never again.

Except for screens. I put money towards the biggest screen I can afford, because that makes a huge difference to me.

Slow and cheap, is my new credo.

>1 way I’m saving time on the internet.

>When Gawker Media user accounts were hacked I went through my passwords to various things, tightening up security giving some thought to all the little accounts for various bullshit I have signed up for over the past decade. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never sign up with anything for the privilege of making blog comments again. The reason has nothing to do with security, it’s just the blog commenting is a waste of time. Huffington Post, Gawker, boingboing, The Daily Beast, etc all get thousands of comments a day, most of them in written to protest the point of view of the blogger or some of the other comment-leaver, and, I suppose, correct their thinking on the subject at hand. This sets other people off, who comment in outrage to correct the corrections and soon you’ve a threat of a couple hundred comments, that if you really want to keep up on the post you will have to scan and rescan frequently. By then, unless your comment is especially outrageous or obnoxious your contribution will be lost in the crowd. You will see that others are still making the argument the you so succinctly demolished pages earlier, and then you will consider posting again.

I say don’t do it! The only way you can have an impact is if you are one of those power comment-leavers and have the time to leave dozens, if not hundreds of comments a day. I know you; you have better things to do, many more useful and satisfying ways you can contribute. If a big registration-required blog has an article you really feel passionate about just share the link on facebook, your own blog, or tweet about it. Don’t sign in the blogs using your facebook or twitter: not that there is a security danger. Linking a blog to one of you existing accounts will save you time and convenience in set-up, but you’ll lose more time in the end if you start leaving comments. The real danger is time-suck.

McCain’s “macaca” moment.

"That One," McCain Calls Obama in Debate (VIDEO)


This could be McCain's "macaca moment" not that one was needed. Some are saying that too much is being made of this phrase: McCain contemptuously referring to Obama as "that one." But that's a very dismissive way to speak about another human being, let alone a candidate for the most powerful office in the world. A lot of women, a lot of people of color, a lot of young people, a lot of people who have felt social disadvantage of one kind or another in their lives, will recognize that tone and that phrase of McCain's, will recognize what it feels like to be on the receiving end of this dismissive objectifying characterization, and they will not think better of McCain for it, nor should they.

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My week: The Democratic National Convention, and even more about Gov. Palin

So sometime in the last couple weeks I became convinced that Obama would lose, because the same thing was happening that always happens. The Republicans manage to convince everyone that the Democrat is an effete, traitorous foreign-born agent sent to destroy our freedoms and impose mandatory homosexuality. Outlaw meat and Jesus, legalize pot and pay welfare queens to smoke crack. At the beginning of the week, I thought the only chance Obama had was to pick Hillary for VP so she could fight dirty for him and appease the PUMA’s, but when he picked Biden I thought, “oh it won’t be enough, he didn’t take the bold way of picking his chief rival — he’s going to play it safe now, and lose like Gore and Kerry.”

But I watched the convention anyway, which was incredibly well organized and on message. Great 20 minute speeches, not self-serving two-hour ones. Loved Michelle Obama’s speech. Love her anyway, she’d make a great First Lady (I hate that term, but that’s the term I guess). She’s a real woman, not like that creepy Stepford heiress that McSame is currently married to. I love the whole Obama family, the kids seems so grounded, adorable little sunbeams. My impression is that the Obamas have a marriage that is a true partnership, two people without a lot of the personal character flaws that hold too many of us back in life. I saw the so-called (in Fox-News-speak) “terrorist fist jab” and I thought “wow, these two are so connected, so in sync, such an admirable, beautiful marriage.”

So when Obama passed over Clinton I thought he messed up, because picking her would have caused a sensation, and shown his confidence and fearlessness. People say, “oh he doesn’t want to have to deal with Billary once he’s in power”. But I felt he should man-up. If he’s ready to run the country he should be able to handle the Clintons. So like with his earlier moves to the center, I started getting less enchanted. Then Hillary spoke and then Bill spoke. And they really did NOT phone it in. Ted Kennedy wouldn’t even stand next to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Carter was done for. Hillary was tough on the sore losers and she needed to be. I think she gave a great wake-up call to people who were resentful of Obama beating her. She said “It’s not about me, it’s about what I wanted to accomplish”. (And that is exactly opposite to the kind of thinking that makes McCain pick Palin, or George H. W. Bush pick Clarence Thomas, or W. pick Harriet Miers — the Republicans claim to hate preferences and affirmative action, yet they go right for the identity politics if they think that’s what will get them over. This is exactly what is meant by “not getting it.”)

Then Biden spoke, and though I still think Obama blew it, passing over Clinton, I sort of started to get his thinking on this. Biden’s speech sounded so unpompous and natural. He can communicate in an ordinary style, not a career-in-Washington style. I thought: “He’s going to bitch-slap Romney or Lieberman — whoever McCain picks.” And Obama greatly admires him from their time working together in the Senate. Unfortunately, Palin totally takes Biden out of play. A man of Biden’s generation can’t go too hard on Palin, he will look like a bully. If he goes too soft he will look condescending. It’s a no-win. Hillary would have buried her. Of course, if Hillary were the VP, McCain never would have picked Palin anyway. He’s not fooling anybody here — well, maybe himself, is all.

Then Barack spoke and I cried, (real tears — not metaphorical ones) because he acted like a grown man, and that’s not something you see a Democrat doing every day. A grown man who’s not going to stand around looking at his note cards, and pretend he doesn’t hear it when they attack his patriotism, when they says he’s not up to the job or out and out lie about his tax plans, and his life story. It’s what we’ve all waited so long for a Democrat to stand up there and do. So win or lose, at least he is going to take the fight to them, and that’s why I’m proud to support him, even if, in the end, he doesn’t attain all I hope he will.

I think he will be a centrist, and do things in office that I would rather he didn’t, but so did Clinton, and Reagan and Nixon (in some areas anyway) were centrist too. Only a moron (W.) tries to govern as if only half the country existed. And with predictable results. The reason Nader is so discredited now is that his central message turned out to be completely mistaken. There really was a difference between Bush and Gore. True, Gore would not have been as liberal a president as he is a private citizen speaking out now, but he would not have invaded Iraq and he would not have appointed his poker buddies to run FEMA and the other agencies, and he might have even acted on the Aug 2001 CIA memo to the President entitled “Bin Laden determined to attack within United States” because he would have been in his office, not out at the Crawford ranch for the summer. The entire world would be a much better place today. The legacy of Bush is that: why yes, one person actually does make a difference.

And then Obama got to the part of the speech where he nailed Republicans for misunderstanding Obama’s whole rise, “because it was never about me, it’s about all of you,” at that moment I realized that Obama had been about five steps ahead the whole time. It was classic rope-a-dope, Hillary started the week out saying “it’s not about me, it’s about what I want to accomplish what I want to change,” and Obama closed with the same message, and I realized it had all been managed to communicate this point. THE point. The reason he can win, and the reason he should win, namely: things in this country have got to change. This is organization, this is vision, this is how you GET STUFF DONE. He took all these factions, all these different egos, ambitions, agendas in the party and he unified them. If that doesn’t say leadership, then nothing does. That was never a foregone conclusion. In fact, many pundits predicted a clusterfuck. And he did it all outside, with 100,000 people on the waiting list to get in, and he did it all on HIS timetable, flawlessly. All week the pundits were saying, “there’s no red meat here,” it’s all too touchy feely. Occasionally Obama would pop in and make a toothy cameo, but he never showed his real teeth until just before the final bell. Obama showed the whole country (well 38 million viewers anyhow) that the opposition had — even at this late date — severely underestimated him — STILL. And the Republicans were stunned. The conservative pundits, Peggy Noonan and the rest, looked positively shame-faced as they forced themselves to spew their pre-scripted pre-approved “analysis” on the cable networks calling Obama’s speech fluff, boring, and short on specifics.

And McCain was an hour late to his own VP announcement Friday and local radio stations had trouble giving the tickets away.

So, Obama can win, and that will be a good thing, and we will regain some self-respect in this country. And if he doesn’t win, well things will get even worse before they get better. That’s possible too.

So that’s what I thought that night, but the next day with the Palin pick I felt worse again. The Palin pick was such a bizarre turn that I think it really took a lot of the heat away from Obama’s stellar performance. BUT. there are two polls out today ALREADY however, showing that Palin has FURTHER DAMAGED McCain’s standing with women. Total backfire on that front, dude. True, it helps him with the Christian right, but they weren’t going anywhere anyway. Palin does scare me though, because she is no Dan Quayle — she isn’t a moron, and she isn’t a mannequin. Listening to her speak on youtube she sounds really confident, engaged, and capable. And she believes all the family values stuff that Bush, Cheney, McCain et al. don’t give a rat’s ass about but exploit to gain the family-values vote. So she’s pretty dangerous I think because she really is different, and I think she really could handle being President. Certainly, not the kind of President I want. I could be wrong, lots of stuff is already coming out about her wrecking her hometown economy while she was mayor etc, but she strikes me as someone with the mind and temperament to hold her own with the big guns, I don’t think Dick Cheney would be able to keep her in his back pocket like he does W. for instance. I hope people realize this. I don’t think we can just merely joke about her the way we could about Dan Quayle or Katherine Harris or Alan Keyes or any number of other Republican nutburgers. And even if we could, Quayle and Bush Sr. DID get elected after all. So I think McCain may have made his best possible pick, albeit, for all the wrong reasons.

And that’s where I’m at right know.

John Edwards – Asshole

Yes people have a right to privacy, and it's no one's business but the principals that Edwards conducted an extramarital affair while his wife undergoes cancer treatment. But he wanted to be president and he had to know how damaging this would be if it got out. If he had been nominated the Republicans could have used this against him. If he had been elected the Republicans could have effectively shut down his administration as they did in Clinton's second term. All these candidates have huge egos: McCain, Obama, the Clinton, sure. But Edwards' hubris could have resulted in four more years of Republican rule, yet he, secret life and all, felt the he was the best person to lead right now. Coming from me, this isn't much a rebuke: to be honest, I never thought much of him: an empty suit of a man, all haircut and platitudes, dimples and teeth. Now we'll have to listen to his staged mea culpa, his withdrawal from public life "to be with his family" while Elizabeth stands by the podium, humiliated and ashen. Yet another sideshow to distraction from the important business to be done in the next ninety days. Thanks Edwards, you asshole, thanks a great steaming pant load.

Edwards admits he had affair after heated denials – Yahoo! News

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Why I am still for Obama

Yes, yes he has all those horrible qualities like charisma, optimism, and hasn’t spent the last twenty years in Georgetown, but …

I like Obama because he spent time overseas in school as a kid, has a varied and multi-cultural background, and might be able to stand on the world stage with other world leaders and not be so arrogant. He’s the anti-Bush. I really think a President can only set a tone (or invade stuff).
No matter who is the next President there won’t be any universal health care and we will be Iraq for another decade.
But the longer this goes on, the more Clinton makes me sick.

Any other the three front runners would be better than Bush because they are all competent. McCain is the hardest to read, because he has reversed himself this year on almost everything he has ever stood for, in order the get the Republican nomination. So the hope with him, is that he is really just I liar and isn’t really planning on serving W.’s third term. One thing about him that is consistent is his world view — namely that war is the natural state on humankind. Maybe that comes from his background from a family of officer-class military elites, maybe it is even true, but it’s a little too Julius Caesar for me.

Clinton just depresses me, because she is really invested in the 50/50 blue/red divide. She enjoys perpetual political war. She courts it. In ’92 the thinking in congress was that they were going to have to give something in terms of health care reform to the Clintons. Maybe not everything they wanted but something. However, she walled herself and her team off completely, came up with a giant plan in secret, presented it in a take-it-or-leave it manner and accomplished the near impossible in allowing a Democratically-controlled congress to reject it. As President I don’t believe she will work with people. She will work against them. Why? Because she would rather fail and be self-satisfied in her superiority, then get something achievable. If nothing gets done in her administration she will always have the Republicans and the media, or sexism to blame. I see it every day in the way she campaigns. Temperament-wise she is closest to W. than anyone else who has run this cycle: “I am right. My side has all the good ideas. If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.” It scarcely matters what the issue is, or who the opponent is: could be Obama, or Kenneth Starr, or MSNBC, or whoever. It doesn’t matter to Clinton, an enemy is an enemy.

I don’t want to sit through four more years of that.

I think getting a new guy in there, one who hasn’t been entrenched in Washington power for close to 20 years is the best chance of shaking things up. The worst thing for our decaying republic is to continue the concentration of power into the few. A McCain or a Clinton presidency won’t do much to reverse the Bush years of steady-slide into soft fascism, because it keeps the same people in power that have been in power, and those Bush power plays against the constitution won’t be given up easily because power is difficult to give up. But if you get a new group, there is a chance at least. Maybe. The alternatives are either rewarding the party that has destroyed the economy by borrowing billions from China to prosecute an unnecessary war for fun and (by openly embracing torture and trashing habeas corpus) given aid and comfort to radical Islam. Or to put the spouse of a popular former leader into power like a banana republic would.

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I can’t figure out why McCain wants to be president.

Why? Just because?

I know he doesn’t want to swiftly withdraw troops from Iraq. I know he doesn’t want to do anything about health care. I know he doesn’t have any great interest in economic issues.

I think he would maybe attempt to ban torture, and would not be a cruel on immigration issues as any of the Republican candidates he’s already defeated, but none of them are running now, and either Democrat will be better on torture and immigration than McCain.

I’m sure he’s for tax cuts. I’m sure he’s for reminding “us” daily that the world is a dangerous place, and that he will work to “keep us safe” possibly by applying as much muscle around the world as we have left in the arsenal.

This seems like a delusional campaign. He’s running is if there is a yearning among the electorate of four more years of the same.

The press is geared to presenting both sides of an issue, which often implies the two sides are equal. The race in November is not really going to be that close. It’s glaringly obvious McCain and the Republicans are hold very weak cards.

Obama is close to 1 Million individual donors.

This is an unprecident number of donors. If you want Obama to be your next president would you consider giving a small amount. Even $5.00? It’s easy and will make you feel good.

Here’s part of an email pitch sent around by the Obama campaign (bolding, mine):

We’ve crunched all the numbers and discovered that we are within striking distance of something historic: one million people donating to this campaign.

Think about that … nearly one million people taking ownership of this movement, five dollars or twenty-five dollars at a time.

We’re already more than 900,000 strong, including over half-a-million donating so far this year. This unprecedented foundation of support has built a campaign that has shaken the status quo and proven that ordinary people can compete in a political process too often dominated by special interests.

Unlike Senator Clinton or Senator McCain, we haven’t taken a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. Our campaign is responsible to no one but the people.

One million donors would be a remarkable feat — something that’s never been done before in a presidential primary and something no one ever thought would be possible for us. And your generosity made it possible.

But it’s going to take an incredible organizing effort to bring in 100,000 new donors before March 4th.

Be a part of this historic effort. Make a donation as part of our matching program, and you will bring in a first-time donor by doubling the impact of their contribution. You can even choose to exchange notes and let them know why you are part of this movement.

Caucus Update

Well I did end up going. There were about 100 people at my caucus, as opposed to about 15 in 2004. We had six delegates to election this time. With about 67 votes for Obama (my choice) about 22 for Clinton and 4 undecided on the first vote. This meant about 4.25 delegates for Obama and 1.5 for Clinton. Of course they rounded so that was 4 for Obama and 2 for Clinton. Then time was given for speeches to try and sway votes. Someone pointed out that if the four undecideds changed to Obama that would switch the final slate to 5 Obama delegates and 1 Clinton delegate.

One of the undecideds switched to Obama, on switched to Clinton. Two delegates chose to stay undecided, and so they shall remain — at least until November when the will have the choice of candidates chosen by others. Fair enough, but that’s an interesting way to spend two-and-a-half hours on a Saturday — sitting around a grammar school gym for the purpose of not voting. If not then, when?

I hate politics.

Less than three hours until my caucus …

… and I still don’t know if I am going to go. I went to the supermarket this morning. Of course the supermarket is open, and the coffee shops, the DVD store and everything else. On one street there are hundreds of employees who have to work today and won’t have to change to caucus. That sucks. I used to work Saturdays at a job I held two years ago. We had primaries then, which was good for me, or otherwise I would not have been able to participate.

This year, because of the new schedule and (holy law of unintended consequences, Batman!) a dead heat provided by un-Super Tuesday, the Washington State delegates are actually important. I hope the Democrats are not counting too heavily on the disenfranchised shift workers in this and other caucus states next November. Even though this seems to favor my candidate Obama, right now in primary season, this sucks.

It’s disgusting.

Fuck you Washington State Democratic Party apparatus.

Update: I restated it all here.


I guess I’m not doing so good putting the election aside yet. I read about the Clinton camp’s tactics and here’s how I feel:

This week I’ve gone from thinking the Bill Clinton was a great man with some character flaws, to feeling more like he is a ruthless machiavellian who managed to balance the budget back in his day.

Maybe this is what it takes to win, and the Clintons, having been the recipients of so much Republican anger and abuse over the years, just happen to know this better than anyone. I used to wonder how McCain could stomach working with W. all these years. Now I’m starting to get it. I thought we were better than that over here, but nope, we really aren’t. I hope something is left of this party after Bill finishes putting the boot to Obama. But right now I think the party will end up divided against itself in a way that will make the red/blue state (and even the Republican neocon/evangelical divide) look like pillow fights. That is some legacy you got going here Bill!

Steinem says “A woman is never the front runner,” but it isn’t true. A Clinton is always the front runner.

Since I’ve been following the election non-stop the last 24 hours, and found myself repeatedly posting to the Huffington Post, I figured why not use the same content here as well, and expose how my momentary flirtation with optimism way back on January 3rd and document a gradual return to my usual (since November 2004 anyway) cynicism. I suppose I really should just shut up, as any questioning of Clinton or (heaven forfend) support of a rival candidate, brings with it an accusation of sexism, or — even worse — idealism, from the Clinton faithful, the primary is going to get increasing ugly and divisive in the months to come. The Clinton’s will do anything to win, least of all, alienate old Bill fans like me, who can only look on in disgust at the swift-boat style attacks on Obama. Obama will have to follow suit to stay in the race. I can’t totally blame the Clinton’s, who after all, had their swords forged in the fires of the culture wars, learning from their Republican enemies even as they defeated all comers. I can’t blame them, will probably even end up holding my nose and voting for Senator Clinton in November, but I can’t be proud of them either. Fearmongering, misstating your opponents record, while adopting all his or her winning ideas, casting yourself as the underdog even though you have every advantage, these are time-tested winning strategies in American politics, now for the Democrats as much as the Republicans. Lucky us.

Or maybe it will turn out a little better that I expect, and I can look back on this day and laugh. Yeah.

I’m using kwout here, which is a great page capture program, retaining working weblinks. All links in green are the titles of the original Huffington Post blog entries I commented on. Notice the high number of pro-Clinton posts that accuse the HuffPo of pro-Obama bias. I am guilty of favoring Obama is well, so I guess that is why I like it over there. Older posts appear at the bottom:

And, for the record, I no longer believe that Clinton’s “misty” moment were actually “crocodile tears” as I stated in a weak and vindictive slip in the comment above. I believe her emotion was sincere and not a Nixonian ploy. However, I still retain the impression that she was mourning her own candidacy there, though it was widely interpreted as evidence of how deeply she believes in the stakes of the election. If THAT interpretation is accurate, then she must really believe that Obama and Edwards are as bad as the Republicans.

Your own private Annika

The most recent read I’ve enjoyed most is Bob Harris’ Prisoner of Trebekistan. It’s a book about the author’s experience playing Jeopardy, only it’s about a lot of other things too.  Harris is a life-embracing kind of guy. He’s also a fine writer, funny, honest, and thoughtful. In this passage Harris looks back at the day he met his current girlfriend with the certain knowledge that that relationship is now over, though neither will admit it to the other yet:

I had met Annika in a coffee shop in Cleveland a couple of years earlier. Her eyes were the same color as my drink that day, and are now the color of whatever type of coffee you like best. (No matter what I write, you’ll conjure your own private Annika anyway. All I ask is that you make her anatomically correct, petite, and extraordinarily lovely. Whatever shade of coffee you would find the prettiest, that is the correct color for your Annika’s eyes. Her hair, however, is the same color as the hair of someone you loved once and no longer know.) My own personal Annika had eyes which were one cream with a touch of cocoa. Which is to say: eyes you’d consider spending your whole life looking at.

Harris makes a lot of friends in the years he was involved with a TV show, has a lot of adventures, and even find true love with a Hugo-winning-Buffy-writer. Not that the path of true love is … well, just read it and see for yourself.