One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Life isn't fair.

I figured that out in 1990 when my dad died of terminal cancer.

He was 43.

Had things been different, he'd have been 58 tomorrow.

Happy birthday, Dad. I miss you.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Friday Bird Blogging

Canadian honkers, paddling idly on Radnor Lake.


Oh, deer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I (heart) American jurisprudence today.

"Any further action by our court or the district court would be improper," wrote Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who was appointed by former President Bush. "While the members of her family and the members of Congress have acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come for dispassionate discharge of duty."

Birch went on to scold President Bush and Congress for their attempts to intervene in the judicial process, by saying: "In resolving the Schiavo controversy, it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people — our Constitution."

Couldn't have said it better.

Now that the ice is broken, will a fucking DEMOCRAT stand up and say the same thing??? Just one? Please?

UPDATE: Thanks to Rachel Maddow on the final broadcast of Unfiltered on AAR this morning, I was directed to my answer (sorta):

Two Democratic senators who have thought [the Schiavo issue] through, Tom Harkin and Ron Wyden, took very different positions. Harkin, of Iowa, was a prime mover behind the Senate decision to join with the Republicans to urge federal judicial review. Harkin is close to the disability community, which worries about "right-to-die" issues, and Senate Democrats deferred to him on Schiavo. He forged the coalition with Republicans Frist, Santorum, Martinez and, according to two sources, had the support of former President Clinton for his actions. While Mr. Clinton apparently didn't talk to Harkin until after the vote, one source described Mr. Clinton as "egging him on."


Someone please remind Harkin that in his time as president and consiglieri, the Democrats show net losses in (a) state Democratic governors, (b) state Democratic legislators, (c) Democratic House memberships, (d) Democratic Senate memberships, (e) registered Democratic voters, (f) Democratic Party identification, and (g) 0-2 versus the GOP nationally since he was term-limited out. He even managed a net loss in the 1996 midterm elections, which was nigh unprecedented.

Whether or not you like Clinton, and whether or not you thought we were better off under Clinton, that's food for thought.

You keep doing what you're doing, and you expect different results.........

Monday, March 28, 2005

"Predictable... if Ghoulish"

Remember this next time someone says that the Schindler family are a bunch of innocents caught up in a desperate bid to prolong their daughter's life:

The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of donors to their legal expenses, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"

This seriously undermines their claims of non-involvement. These people are conservative activists, folks. That's why they openly associate with terrorists like Randall Terry.

I wonder when they ink their first book deal with Regnery.
Self-Confessional Housekeeping
.....or, "You Goddamned Kids Get off My Lawn!"

Greetings, to those of you reading this blog from here and from afar. Whether you found your way here from PF or from SKB's blog or Bubba Blab, I genuinely welcome your visit.

Despite the overall irksome tone, I do value my readership, such as it is. Granted, I often have little to say, other than to post the odd photo or "what's playing" list.

That, and political rants.

And herein lies the self-confessional stuff.

I've been reviewing the length & breadth of my own output in the wake of the fifth installment of The High Hat. I find myself in some ways awed to be in this company, and in other ways dismayed because lately I've found I haven't written much other than pissed-off-ness because it's one of the few things that gets my blood coursing these days. It's mostly residual disgust with the complacency of our populace in the face of tyranny (and in some measure, active disgust with my job situation, but that's a longer story than I care to tell here).

While my patience with the morbid stupidity that is modern conservatism has worn my nerves threadbare, I recognize how embittered that this confluence of events has made me appear. Um, "humorless prick" might about characterize the general gist of it -- at least that's my inner critic talking to me upon a second reading of some of my output here on One Reporter's Opinion. If that's the vibe you're getting around here, my apologies. Well, unless you're one of those asshole Republicans who really deserve it, and you know who you are, you flaccid, fatuous denizens of conservabot twitdom. I'm an unapologetic lefty, and if that's not in keeping with your tastes, I'm sure you can find the BACK button on your browser.

Sorry -- it really has become a conditioned response, even without much more than imagined stimuli.

Anyway, I'd like to believe that I wasn't scaring people off with my escalated rhetoric of rage and occasional fits of barb.

If you're still interested in hanging, genuine thanks for your patronage. I'll endeavor to make this more joyful encounter, as joy is something I think that I need to seek more actively, both online and off. I have added comments and an RSS feed to streamline, modernize, gadgetize, hippify, and otherwise "encoolen" the blog microclimate.

Oh, by the way -- I figured out my Javascript woes vis-a-vis the Blogger upgrade. Anybody using Mac should be warned that Allume's Internet Cleanup 2.0.3 (specifically NetBlockade) can interfere with your blog's behavior. NetBlockade selectively targets JavaScript actions as popup advertising and blocks them. The only fix I've found is to turn off NetBlockade, and I'm less than impressed so far with Allume's technical support.
The Wu-name generator has spoken:

...from this day forward you will also be known as Violent Prophet.
In Praise of the iPod Shuffle

This very well may be the gee-whiz device of the young year.

My wife gave me one of these for a Valentine's Day gift. I've been an iPodder for some time now, and I didn't immediately appreciate how cool this concept really was. I thought, "Yeah, well, it's an iPod that you can use to get a random bunch of songs out of iTunes. Big deal."

Well, I was wrong.

Having several thousand songs ripped from my CD library, it is often difficult to quickly pick and choose among songs. I often find that I wind up listening to the same tracks if I'm selecting manually. This little shuffle function is darned swift. I should have known, really. I use iTunes shuffle mode all the time to broadcast music out onto the back porch, as well as playing my 300-CD carousel on full random. I'm continually amazed by the variety and depth of my collection, and especially when I'm at the mercy of the shuffle algorithm. "I own that???" is a common response. The only drawback to the shuffle is that it doesn't have a display. Well and good, though. It is genuinely much slicker than I had thought, conceptually speaking.

Not to mention that this device includes a battery, up to 1GB flash memory, a battery indicator, volume, play/pause and track controls, a three position shuffle switch, a USB connector, a headphone amp, and all in less than a one-ounce package in approximately the same dimensions as a pack of Wrigley's.

Holding this little stick in my hand, I'm struck by the technological marvel that it is. This much computing power five years ago was inconceivable for $149, even using state-of-the-art ASICs. The flash memory alone would have put it out of commercial reach, even if it had been small enough to fit in the Shuffle's tiny profile.

If you're even thinking about getting one, I wouldn't hesitate. This is a killer little device.
Face Down in My NCAA Pool

Congratulations to this year's Final Four, Michigan State, Louisville, Illinois, and yeah, even North Carolina.

This year, I should have gone with my instincts. Looking at the brackets, I thought that there was no way to avoid suffering through yet another Duke-Kentucky regional final, and the Spartans managed to exceed my lowly expectations, taking out both Kentucky and Duke to reach the national semis. It's a welcome outcome. It's always good to see Coach K splashing tears of defeat at the press table rather than that wincing grin of his (sorry Hayden). Yet I had Duke going out against MSU, if only on principle.

Those boys from East Lansing are lookin' mighty tough this year. Reminds me of another NCAA tournament, where Lute Olsen's Arizona Wildcats knocked off North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky in successive games to clinch the national title.

Yep, I sure do recall that year. March Sadness. To watch the mighty Kansas Jayhawks steamroller through the regular season, stacking up 29 wins and 1 loss, and yet they still managed to fall in yet another post-season choke, and that year to the (admittedly talented and eventual champion) squad from 'Zona. Still, you had to see it coming from the opening moments of that game -- Bibby was unconscious, and combined with the 'Cats off-guard counterpunch of Miles Simon, their guard tandem made hash out of Jacque and the Beanstalks. That vaunted KU inside game couldn't make up for the FGs raining into the bucket from downtown. (Eventual NBA recruits) Pollard, LaFrentz, and Pierce were neutralized as a defensive force. And if their defense was stalled, their offense was positively in the ditch. I watched helplessly as the Jayhawks fell to a 19-5 deficit early in the game. Once you see that, you know that the rest is pretty much academic. Granted, they wound up losing by a mere 3 points, but one thing I know about KU basketball is that they're not a team that ever plays well from behind.

Well, there's always next year, right?

Roy Williams brought the Jayhawks to the threshold against Maryland… and Syracuse… only to lose each time. Now he stands at the precipice yet again, only this time, at the helm of another program.

The difference between you and me, Roy, is that I still don't give a shit about North Carolina.

Thankfully, I don't have to root for Duke to whoop your backside to a bright shade of KU crimson.

I'm taking the Spartans to win the Championship.

(edited for clarity)