Friday, August 31, 2007

An Actual (and Fitting) Quote By an Appropriately-Named Iowa Anti-Marriage Bigot

"Republican House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, said the ruling illustrates the need for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage."

An appropriate surname for a bigot.

I wonder if he's been coming on to men in public restrooms the way that soon-to-be-ex Senator Craig did? After all, Craig also opposed homosexuality, at least, for committed couples who wished to marry. Homosexual sex in a public bathroom with a total stranger, that's fine. But, heaven forbid, not part of an actual legal relationship!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Forbes Magazine Reports U. S. Corruption in Iraq

This article was in Forbes magazine recently. No, not Mother Jones or some left-wing periodical. Forbes magazine, a magazine about as absolutely mainstream Republican as you can possibly get.

The key point of this article is that our military (not someone else's army or some group of insurgents) is detaining American citizens who work in Iraq and report fraud. In short, they've been treating some whistle-blowers like terrorists.

Our government has done many disgusting, obscene things over the last few years, but, please tell me, if there are any Bush-supporters left out there, how in the world can you support a government that treats people in this manner? It's bad enough to torture possible terrorists. But there's something so much worse about torturing people who are doing nothing but their jobs.

I wish I could be surprised by this, but I'm not, given the depths to which our federal government has sunk.

Monday, August 27, 2007

New York Times Reports Gonzales Has Resigned!!!

It's probably not time to break out the champagne, but it's good to see that another Republican liar has left the most corrupt administration I've ever seen (yes, W is worse than Nixon).

Some good news at last, however, it's tempered by the fact that many of us thought Bush couldn't find anyone worse for Attorney General than the small-minded Ashcroft. And yet, Rove...err, Bush managed to do just that with Gonzales.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ron Paul's "Libertarian Paradise?"

Jim and I were in Texas last week, and spent last Wednesday night in Galveston. We'd never been to the Texas coast before, and Galveston always sounded like an interesting place to go.

It wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped. The downtown is OK, but, unlike many coastal areas, it's extremely hot. Not much in the way of sea breezes at all, unless you're actually on the water. We took a harbor cruise, which was interesting as Galveston is a main shipping harbor. We also saw quite a few dolphins.
We had a good dinner at Fish Tales (I had four kinds of shrimp!) and drove around the island.

So how does presidential candidate Ron Paul relate to Galveston?

Well, it's part of his Congressional district. For a place that has both industry and tourism, the infrastructure is in need of repair.

For example, we decided to take a walk from our B&B that was on a residential street down to the beach at about 9pm (just after sunset). The street had almost no street lights. We should have brought a flashlight with us. Worse, the sidewalks were in poor repair, so we had to walk very slowly and carefully (me a bit more than usual as I'd recently had surgery and didn't want to risk a fall).

But what does that say about crime? Decent street lights are usually a helpful crime deterrent. Luckily, other than running into at least one old guy who was drunk, stoned and/or homeless, we got to the beach area safely.

While I'm not a huge fan of Florida for many reasons, almost every beach area in Florida has benches, where you can sit and watch the ocean. No such luck at the public beach in Galveston. Now, maybe if we wanted to drive down to the pay beach, there might have been benches. Or, if it had been daylight, we could have rented a beach chair and umbrella.

We walked out on a somewhat lighted fish pier. If we'd wanted to fish, it would have cost us money. That's something else I don't remember seeing in Florida. They might charge you money for bait, but charge you to just stand on the pier and fish?

Driving to Galveston from Austin, we'd hit a mess of highways under construction in the Houston area. We decided to avoid that by taking the toll beltway back to Austin. The beltway cost about an extra $4.50, but it was worth it to avoid the construction. It turned out to be a better choice than we expected as a bad accident closed part of 45 in Houston that day!

And speaking of road construction - Texas has bizarre customs regarding how road construction areas are signed. In some states, like, say Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, construction areas are clearly marked and the reduced speed limit is also clearly marked. In Texas, there are signs saying "Construction area, reduce speed" with no info on what the construction speed limit is or how long the construction zone is. These areas can go on for 10 or 20 miles. When you finally do see workers in the road, the traffic is speeding by at 65 or 70 miles an hour. So if you want to do road work in Texas, better be extra careful because the state isn't going to do much to protect you from the nutty drivers.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Armadillocon, Here We Come!

We're going to Texas for about a week in August (remember, we're the same people who go to Massachusetts in December and February). We're going to do some touristing, go to Galveston (if there's no hurricane in the area), and go to Armadillocon. Rene was looking for help, so I'm going to help out with Registration. I was also asked to be on Program, so here's my schedule:

Sa1000PN The Interactive, Sci-Fi Channel Line-Up
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Phoenix North
LMann*, Caine, Swendson, Miller, JMann, Kosatka
Join this fun panel while our panelists take a marker
and a whiteboard and create the perfect weekly line-up
for the Sci-Fi Channel. Audience participation is

Sa1100PN Patty Wells, We Hardly Know Ye
Sat 11:00 AM-Noon Phoenix North
LMann*, PWells, Bobo, Boucher, JMann, Levine
Fan guest of honor Patty Wells sits on the hot seat as
her fellow fans hit her with the most bizarre
questions they can think of.

Sa2100Dz Women in the SF field
Sat 9:00 PM-10:00 PM de Zavala
PWells*, November, LMann, Mills, Oliver, Davis,
When did feminist become such a bad word in the SF
field? Who are some of the up-and-coming female
authors out there that you have to read?

Sa2200PN Will the best Doctor Who please stand up?
Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Phoenix North
Bey*, JMann, LMann, Osborne, Roberson, Sullivan
Which one was the smartest? Best looking? Most
useless? Worst of all time? Audience participation is
welcome in this light-hearted look at the beloved
British show.

Su1500De Authors and the fans who love them: maybe a
little too much
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM DeWitt
Babcock*, Shinn, LMann, Hogan, Chester, Spencer
Ever wonder why your favorite author looks a little
scared when they see you? The panelists will talk
about the tale-tell signs of a stalker and tell
amusing stories about what has happened to them in the
past. (For instance, did they call you at home during
a baseball game?)

Hope to see you there!