Archive for November 2010

Hey! I’ve Read One Of The NYT’s 100 Notable Books Of 2010

November 30, 2010

I’m not surprised. Most of my reading is of books from the library, which is hardly a cutting edge collection. When I do buy books, they’re either used, or trade paperbacks, or both. Again, not a good way to be on top of new releases.

Anyway, the one I have read, Solar, by Ian McEwan, was notable to me for starring one of the most irredeemable characters I’ve ever encountered. As the Times summarizes:

In McEwan’s funniest novel yet, a self-deluding physicist cheats on his wives, sends an innocent man to jail and tries to cash in on another scientist’s plans against global warming.

That’s not even the worst of him.

Here’s the whole list. If I could remember half the stuff I’ve read this year, I would do a post on the most notable ones. Maybe I will, even though I’ve forgotten half. I mean, if I forgot them, they probably didn’t belong on the list in the first place, right?

 

I’m Done With College Football This Year

November 27, 2010

Now that Auburn is the national champ, there ain’t much to get excited for. I’ll watch LSU’s remaining games, but knowing Cam Newton will soon hoist the Heisman and the BCS trophy has sucked the joy from the season, no matter how LSU finishes. It sucks when the bad guys win.

Oh sure, Auburn still has to actually beat South Carolina for the SEC title, and then humiliate some second tier team in the BCS title game. But after the Iron Bowl, is there any doubt?

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2010

From Louisiana, where it’s closer to eighty than seventy, and I just found these about to bloom in my front garden:

If you can’t tell, that’s three gerbera daisies. I planted them last May and enjoyed the blooms all summer. And now fall, too.

Land Of The Obsequious

November 22, 2010

Heh.

Of note: He can’t do anything about it, and this is less than clear opposition, but Jindal questions the TSA screenings.

I’m Not Saying I’ll Vote Palin In 2012, But . . .

November 20, 2010

As for Obama, I’m quickly  moving from disappointment to hostility. This doesn’t help:

President Barack Obama on Saturday acknowledged some travelers’ “frustrations” with having to go through full-body pat-downs and scans at airports, but he said the enhanced security measures are necessary to keep America safe.

Wrong on both counts. One, they aren’t making anyone safer. Two, they aren’t “frustrating;” they’re humiliating:

A retired special education teacher on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla., said he was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers recently at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

“I was absolutely humiliated, I couldn’t even speak,” said Thomas D. “Tom” Sawyer, 61, of Lansing, Mich.

Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who now wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine from a stoma, or opening in his stomach.  “I have to wear special clothes and in order to mount the bag I have to seal a wafer to my stomach and then attach the bag. If the seal is broken, urine can leak all over my body and clothes.”

On Nov. 7, Sawyer said he went through the security scanner at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. “Evidently the scanner picked up on my urostomy bag, because I was chosen for a pat-down procedure.”

He asked for a private screening, and received the same eye-rolling look of disdain anyone who has ever been to a DMV, or who has ever shopped at a Wal-Mart knows well. Sawyer’s attempts to explain his condition were ignored. And then, the finale:

“One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants.”

The security officer finished the pat-down, tested the gloves for any trace of explosives and then, Sawyer said, “He told me I could go. They never apologized. They never offered to help. They acted like they hadn’t seen what happened. But I know they saw it because I had a wet mark.”

Humiliated, upset and wet, Sawyer said he had to walk through the airport soaked in urine, board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean up.

“I am totally appalled by the fact that agents that are performing these pat-downs have so little concern for people with medical conditions,” said Sawyer.

I’m not surprised at all. To the TSA employees and Obama, neither Sawyer or anyone else is a person at all. We’re animals who have no right to our own security or dignity. That’s why I’ll never fly again.

I Don’t Care How We Execute People; I Care About Who We Execute

November 19, 2010

Debates like this one, in Oklahoma, over what mix of chemicals to use in lethal injections truly annoy me. Who cares how the person dies? They’re murderers. Personally, I’d prefer a return to public executions. Set the scaffolds up on the courthouse lawn and make a real example out of them. Even if that won’t happen, though, lets not have vapid arguments about the ingredients in a drug cocktail.

Instead, lets use our energy on the real problem with the death penalty: How we decide who’s going to be executed and who isn’t. Stories like this are what really bother me, and ought to bother anyone with an independent mind:

(Houston – November 12, 2010) The Innocence Project today released DNA test results proving that crucial hair evidence found at the scene of a murder, the only physical evidence linking the accused Claude Jones to the crime, did not belong to Jones. Although he always maintained his innocence, Jones was executed for murdering Allen Hilzendager on December 7, 2000. George Bush, who was awaiting a decision from the Florida Supreme Court on whether the presidential election recount would continue, denied Jones’ request for a 30 day stay of execution to do DNA test on the hair sample. The memo from the General Counsel’s office that recommended against the stay did not tell Bush that Jones was seeking a DNA test of the hair.

At the trial, of course, the hair was the key evidence against Jones. Turns out, it wasn’t his. He tried to have it tested, but Texas officials, more interested in getting things done than in getting them done right, killed him without bothering to do it.

Oh sure, Jones could have done it. Texas officials will respond by saying the disproved hair does not prove Jones is innocent. But that’s exactly the problem. However we do it, does anyone out there feel comfortable executing people who could have done it?

This Song Is Great When Your Car Is Rocketing Towards The Limits Of Its Speedometer

November 18, 2010

Not that I’d know. It’s also awesome in the last half mile of a run when you really want to pick up the pace.