"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Cheney: Economic Stats Miss EBay Sales

Suggested new motto for Bush/Cheney '04: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Indicators measure the nation's unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.

"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago," Cheney told an audience in Ohio. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay."

eBay does a few billion a year in total transactions, but 400,000 people making "some money" is nowhere near the economic value of 2 million, you know, jobs. Edwards fires back:

"If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking," Edwards said in a statement.

And now your moment of zen:


Just say it once; it feels right. Special thanks to the sloganator.

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Rushing on my Run

Whoa I can feel it tonight. I took a big ride today, the likes of which I haven't been on in a couple of months. I've been getting phyically soft lately, and it's beginning to cramp my psychic style, what with all the mind/body symbiosis I built up in the college.

So twin peaks it was; a little tuning up and then striking out for the foothills, warming up into Noe Valley, starting to really chug on the steep uphill blocks between Castro and Diamond. These are the streets where they post signs reminding drivers to use the e-brake and turn the tires into the curb to prevent runaways, and most are paved with small-grooved concrete. Dropping down to the mightiest mechanical advantage my machine can muster I still slalom to make my way up.

There's a mean headwind too, pouring down the hill from the pacific. This is the same headwind that makes biking home from the Caltrain up Ceasar Chavez such a bitch, but here it's stronger and the street is steeper. I get the idea that this is like that part of the Tour de France that kills people (literally). Luckily for me there are only 5 or 6 serious uphill blocks before I hit Diamond Heights, and then there's a few gentle ups and downs before the final push when you get off the main streets and start the long, sloping curves of the Peaks.

This last part reminds me of the rides I used to do last summer, big long tools up into the hills above Oakland and Berkeley on my old steel horse, the 50-pound swap-meet schwinn I was riding until I took at door (and I mean took it, as in broke it off the hinge) on my way to work coming down Chavez last fall. The best part of those rides was the top, the long shallow uphill curves through above even the fancy-ass houses, pedaling through ecalyptus past that rodeside drinking fountain some saintly person installed, and then breaking out to that great explorer-style bay area panorama. Here it is! Same deal with twin peaks, 'cept I'm looking at it from the other side of things.

It's good up there. A few tourists -- family of very bronze Germans (?) and some homegirls from LA -- and photo people catching what the sunset does. I sit and try to concentrate on nothing, head away from the concrete and stone tourist area up to the top of one of the actual peaks where some guy is chilling and his yappy little miniature terrier goes crazy on my sweaty sweaty legs. By and by he calms down and I watch the sun sink to the Pacific and feel the steady heavy wind sweeping up -- here it's almost strong enough to lean into -- and growing colder as the evening begins to set in.

Feeling jazzed and rested and clean I head down to catch my speed thrills. I set up tunes for the downhill surge; precisely cueing up "Pepito" by Calexico for the begining of Portrola. I wait for the traffic to pass and the light to gate off any more oncomers so I'll have all the lanes to myself for the way down. Portrola is like a little highway coming off the peaks; no intersections or stop signs, road dividers for a lot of it. Unlike the streets I climed to get here it's one long steady concrete power-curve hugging the side of the hill rather than an impossibly steep perpendicular imposition.

I try no hands for a second, but the wind, now coming at me from the side, is still kicking ferice, not to mention I'm going about 30mph and sitting up generates intense wind-drag from my torso. I almost loose it for one sickening moment. I've got a helmet now, but at that speed it wouldnt matter. You leave a lot of skin on the street when you take that fall, usually some teeth too. But I get my hands back on the bars in time to just wobble some and keep them there the rest of the way down, the death-brush adrenaline high kicking in as I hit the slower citified blocks of the Castro.

I start laughing with the high. There's really nothing like boring out and burning that much self-generated kenetic energy so quickly with nothing seperating you from the universe. In the process of climbing -- close to a half-hour's work -- my legs dumped enough total force into the pedals to kill me many times over, as witnessed by what almost happened when I lost control for only a moment. I burned all that in a little over 300 seconds, with many a maneuver attendant. That's a rush. The feeling that comes after is a wave of releif and joy and deep power, like a golden tide rising through your spine. It's a high without shame; a totally selfmade thing.

I stop for good pizza on the way home, thin crust from 16th and Valencia, thinking about the human side of things and how I've been really personally negelgent for a long ass time. My work is important, and I'm once again proud of what I do, but unless I'm also livin' it, what's the point?

A change is going to come. Life is going to return. The process of developing and realizing my philosophical rambles and artistic yearnings will resume. It'll be good. A sea of possibility.

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Bush's National Guard Record, or, The Truth and Why it Matters

This is worth watching a little web-ad for a day-pass. Salon.com News, Stung!, by Eric Boehlert:

Dating back to the 2000 campaign and right up to this day, [White House Spokesperson Dan] Bartlett has routinely changed his stories regarding Bush's service depending on what information was available to the public. As more and more documents trickle out and it becomes increasingly obvious Bush received wildly favorable treatment during his Guard days while doing his best to skirt his duties, Bartlett is left trying to stake out explanations that haven't already been discredited. And those options are shrinking.

I'll tell you why this matters to me. It's not because Bush shucked and jived his way out of National Guard service he string-pulled his way into. It's not because he tried to get out of a flying unit so he wouldn't be drug-tested. It's not because he was basically a spoiled brat from New England who picked up some heavy party habits down in Huston and wasn't about to let the Vietnam war get in the way of a good time. I mean, these are all things I can understand and so some extent appreciate.

What bothers me is that he lied about it, that a fradulent artifice was created to supplant the non-heroic but wholly understandible truth. It bothers me a lot more than Clinton's lying about Monica, and the reason is that Bush and his handlers have made the choice to trot out his stint in the Guard as an example of his character. Clinton tried to dodge the heat on what was essentially a personal matter. Bush and his team have intentionally and wilfully gone out of their way to create a completely false image, and they've used this image as a souce of political power. This isn't the only example of said routine, or even the most egregious or reprehensable (the war, anyone?), but it is a particularly specific one, especially now that all the facts and machinations are coming to light.

Bush and the people he surrounds himself with are sickeningly devoted to the power of public relations, the ability to repeat false things over and over with firm conviction, muddy the factual waters through obfustaction and misdirection, and succeed in making people believe that lies are the truth. Witness:

In 1999, when asked by an A.P. reporter why Bush had claimed to have served specifically with the U.S. Air Force when he'd only been in the National Guard, Bush's spokesperson Karen Hughes insisted the claim was accurate because when Bush attended flight school for the Air National Guard he was considered to be on active duty for the Air Force. That was plainly false, as the A.P. noted, citing Air Force policy, which stated Guardsmen are never considered to be members of the Air Force active duty.

It bothers me very much that Bush and his people are so willfully disrespectful of facts. It bothers me perhaps more than anything else because I believe it gives this guy the real live potential to put major crimps in my personal future, and pretty much trash our potential for national progress.

I also probably feel a little more incensed about this than some of you because I've studied the arts of the theater, and I love them, and I find it revolting to see them put to use for evil instead of good.

Lies are social pollution and these people are habitual polluters, deciples of stagecraft and wordplay and media strategy. They are the most devious elements of Regan and Clinton rolled into one administrative package, and they have no appreciation for science or for truth. Most disturbing, they often appear drunk on this power, on their ability to manipulate. I think this is incredibly dangerous, especially given the fact that there are really important things that we need to get done as a nation and this kind of hubristic disrespect for Real Things will make it very hard to get anything done.

Just one real solid example: can we deal with the threat of terrorism without coming to terms with the role the Saudis play? Fuck no, but Bush's White House has been obfuscating their role in 9-11 and claiming everything peachy when it's cleary not. I'm not anti-Saudi here, I'm just pro fucking truth. We've got to get the whole set of facts out front here if we want to have any chance of solving any of these problems. Telling ourselves nice stories and sending people off to kill other people isn't going to do the job, and I think we all know that.

Like I said, this isn't the most extreme or shameful example of Bush's practice of deception and dishonesty, but it's a particularly specific one. Just like Nixon went down for botching a silly little burglery and not secretly bombing Cambodia, so too may Bush unravel over his own attempts to obscure the collision between his party-hearty lifestyle and the obligations of a cushy spot in the Texas Air Guard.

But what about Kerry? Isn't he a flip-flopper? Well, he's a politician, that's for damn sure, but while John Kerry isn't the straightest tool in the shed, he's usually twisty in an intellectually honest fashion -- understanding things from multiple viewpoints -- and when he's not it's because he's trying to do his job as a Senator. You know, voting for stuff before he votes against it like they all do from time to time.

And I have to say I like Young Kerry, the guy who demonstrated a hell of a lot of nerve fighting a bullshit war, and then a hell of a lot of principle coming back and calling out the bullshit. This was before he trudged down the path of career politician and (of course) lost his edge -- and you'd have to be blind not to see ambition in all he did as a young man -- but the record that he was once a lot cooler than he is now still stands.

I have this crazy idea that maybe if he wins, if he gets there, hits the top and reaches the end of that career politician path, Young Kerry will come alive again, and great things will happen. People are ambitious for all sorts of reasons, and there's an off chance that all of Kerry's career angling has at its core a desire to do some good things. It may be a long shot, yeah, but it's a fuckton better than giving the keys to old cokie McLiarface again.

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Save Betamax - National Call-In Day September 14

The Bright Young Things at Downhill Battle have something for you to do.

The Betamax ruling is the only thing that protects your right to own a VCR, tape recorder, CD-burner, DVD-burner, iPod, or TiVo. It's that important. But new legislation that's being pushed through the Senate by lobbyists for the music and movie industries would override the Betamax decision and create a huge liability for any business that makes products which can copy sound or video. This legislation (formerly known as the INDUCE Act) would essentially give Hollywood veto power over a huge range of new technologies. And if they get this power, they'll definitely use it: just as they tried to stomp out the VCR in the 70's and 80's, the music and movie industries want to force all content to go through their own restricted channels.

This is big important shit. Technology and culture are inextricably wedded going forward in this world, and for anyone who hopes to furthur [sic] the progress of humanity though the development of more humane, progressive, connective and throughful culture -- that's me -- this law is a dagger through the heart.

We have an opportunity here the dawn of the 21st century. With the broadening reach of the net an the democratizing implications of its decentralized nature, we can create for the first time since the early days of the printing press a truly Public Media. However, if laws are enacted -- some are already in place -- which lock down the channels of information and establish large swaths of proprietary "black box" data, this will cement the kind of corporate dominance we now see in the broadcast world.

That's why it's important to participate in this call-in day, and support the mission of those entities (like downhillbattle) which are attempting to promote the interests of the Public and the People in the world of new media.

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Joe Felice looking swas with the ladies

Joe Felice looking swas with the ladies

Joe and I went to ETW together, but our early attempts at collaboration were abortive, though we've maintained a great deal of mutual respect. We were both Deaniacs and now Joe is kicking ass and taking names for MfA.

And I also love that Nica used "swas" to describe the photo.

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Egocentric Pix

Me times four

I took these photos for the MfA online un-store, then noticed a certain cachet to how my mail application arranged them as attachements to send off. Something nice and found-art about the four in a grid with the back in the top left; not the way I would ever have thought to arrange them, but somehow more right.

Anyway, just in case any of you were wondering what I'm looking like lately. A little out of shape and wearing a shirt with my logo; kinda need a haircut. That's me!

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Nerding Out

So far it's 10pm Saturday night and I'm still at home, beating the crap out of my powerbook (localhosted mysql server hanging...) to get some rather complex data migration stuff worked out for mfa. I want to move from the custom hacktackular spaghetti code that I've conjured over the past year to civicspace before Labor Day Weekend breaks and the real campaign season begins.

Civicspace will be fun. The functionality is all there (and more, thanks to all the promises Zack made <g>) but since Neil and the other coders actually, like, engineered the thing, it works a little different on the inside, and stores its data in a much more abstractly structured way. It will also make my life as Technical Director easier as I'll have a wide pool of developers to pull on in the future.

But I'm sitting home alone at 1opm on a Saturday. Damn. They're getting ready to Burn the Man right about now. There's a lot of player-hating around Burning Man, which isn't really new or surprising, but I still think it's a fabulous thing to have happen every year. I'll be headed back to the Playa come 2005, taking anyone who wants to come along with me. Wanna participate? I'll start talking about it seriously this winter. Seriously seriously, 'cause we're going to have to rent a flatbed truck and borrow some welding gear I think.

I've been contemplating with some relish what returning to a more normal social life will be like. You don't go off and do what I've been doing for the past year -- working on the .org boom -- and just pop back into post-student bohemia mode; it's going to be a new chapter. Exciting.

The other thing I want to do this weekend is get through a big pile of personal writing. I want to report on my summer vacation, trips to political conventions, and other assorted things. I also want to switch this site around to re-integrate all the old life-content into things better. I'm thinking about moving the whole works over to drupal, which would let me do that, and also give other people their own voices if they wanted them. We'll see what happens.

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Mistaken Identity Fun

Got a little contact today which was fun. Someone trying to track down a long-lost love:

Well, I loved a Josh Koenig once. Actually, I still do, but you're not him. Of course, I love you too, but only in that earthy I-wanna-love-everyone kinda way which looks real good on paper and comes out with a big soup stain on its shirt. Oh well.

I coulda saved us both the trouble by reading a bit first, but now at least you know that there exists another Josh Koenig who is possibly the greatest poet the universe has ever known. Josh Koenig must be a special name.

I'll take that karmic association. Thanks!

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Scarborough Asks A Really Decient Question

They were talking about Wednesday night at the RNC on Hardball , the episode everyone's excited about because Zell Miller sorta c hallenged Chris Matthews to a duel. But this bit lept out of the transcript at me:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: And is this the agenda now for the fall? Joe?


We are three days into this convention, and we have been talking all year about how this election is going to be about George W. Bush. The Republicans, with their ad campaigns, the third-party attacks, this convention, three nights into this convention, this convention remains about John Kerry.

I can't remember a major presidential election where you have an incumbent that makes the central focus of their convention about the other guy, about the challenger. It is a radical departure from politics as usual. And what does it say about what they think George Bush has done over the past four years, and, more importantly, what the American people think of George Bush?

Good question, Joe!

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Daily Show Bush Campaign Film

President Bush, Because He Says So

This is good stuff. Not everything is funny, though. We just crossed over 1000 US dead in Iraq.

Why? Because he said so.

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