10/30/07

Action!

This is really cool. A whole series of pictures of statues at the moment they shatter:



Check out the series here

10/23/07

degringolade

[French]

n.
A quick deterioration or breakdown, as of a situation or circumstance.

Hey, I came up with a new motto for the the Catholic League

"Christianity: An idea so fragile that it is threatened by a fantasy movie for kids!"

Sentences: the taken-for-granted miracles of storytelling

Akandi shook his head, putting aside the sudden realization that hundreds of years of UFO sightings and tales of alien abductions were probably real, and what lay behind them were a race of augmented and gene-tweaked lemurs.


Source: Cusp, Robert A. Metzger, p. 239.

nb: The title of this post is stolen from an entirely different source.

10/21/07

Measurables

Some people say that the Values Voters Straw Poll is meaningless, but all I know is that the wingnut down the street replaced his Bush bumper stickers with Mitt '08 paraphernalia this weekend. Notably, it made me less inclined to key his car.

Unrelated addendum: Speaking of wingnuts...

10/20/07

Card check revisited

No, not really. I'm still working on that post. In the meantime, I think this is the worst television commercial ever made. Oddly, the comments over at YouTube are uniformly positive. Goes to show, I guess.

10/18/07

By the way

I didn't mention this in the comment thread to my post about the Soaring Eagle Casino, but two facts came to light last weekend about the organizing campaign there:
  1. There's very little evidence that the average worker knows anything about the organizing campaign.
  2. In organizing the Soaring Eagle, the Teamsters seem to have violated an agreement among the various Michigan unions laying out how the several casinos in Michigan were to be organized.

As to the second, I'm not quite sure that I care. On the one hand, I don't really think the Teamsters are the ideal union to organize casinos. On the other hand, as stupid as turf wars are, it's also pretty stupid to leave workers unorganized because they happen to be on another union's turf.

As to the first, if an organizing campaign hasn't progressed to the point where all the workers have heard about it, I can't quite understand the point of filing for an election. Unless, that is, you're trying to win a turf war by planting the flag.

Liberal talk radio can't cut it in Austin

This morning, Air America radio was replaced by Tejano music on KOKE Austin. Apparently the station was sold. After taking a look at the ratings, it turns out that maybe I was the only person in Austin listening.

To be fair, Air America kind of sucks. It was just one of many talk radio stations I listen(ed) to while driving, joining a couple sports stations, the usual conservative suspects, and an all-catholic-ministry station.

10/16/07

%&*$!

Here's a line of thought that occurred to me. An iPhone costs about $400. Adding an iPhone to an existing service plan costs about $20 per month. Right now I have two cell phones, one provided by work and the other for personal use. My personal cell phone, which I barely use, costs me about $50 per month. If I were to buy and iPhone and have my employer add it to my account, the cost to me would be $20 per month. So if I got an iPhone and cancelled my personal account, I'd save about $30 per month. So the iPhone would pay for itself in a little over a year.

Pretty awesome.

Except: You can't add iPhone service to a business plan.

10/15/07

In the nick of time, Congress acts!

I hate to embrace any republican talking points, but they have a good one here: Identifying a 90 year old event as genocide is not the poper business of the U.S. Congress.

Here are just a few things Congress should be doing instead of damaging our relations with Turkey over something very few living people remember:

* Address genocide going on right now.

* Engage in oversight of the executive branch.

* Stop a war.

* Stop the next war.

10/12/07

Is there aught we hold in common with the greedy parasite?

Big weekend plans for me. Gambling. Country Music. Good times. And all because AFT-Michigan is hosting an organizer training this weekend at the Soaring Eagle Casino.

There's only one small problem:
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a formal complaint against the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort alleging an unfair labor practice interfering with Teamsters' efforts to organize casino workers. According to federal documents, a hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 17 in Mt. Pleasant. A location for the hearing as not yet been set. Teamsters Local 486 has been attempting to organize the casino workers.

The leaders of the Saginaw-based local filed an unfair labor practice charge against the casino, charging that casino managers threatened that casino workers would be subject to adverse consequences if they went to an organizing meeting, and that workers were told to stay away were handing out leaflets.|link|

In more recent news, the Teamsters filed a request with the NLRB earlier this week asking that an election be held. I think I heard on the radio that they're actually voting this weekend, but that timeline seems pretty quick. At any rate, they wouldn't file unless they expected to win so we shall see what we shall see.

10/10/07

I got a bedazzler so my outfit's tight

Well, I guess it's too late to demonstrate, once again, my uncanny ability to predict the duration of strikes in the auto industry. It's a lucky thing, because I think I might have gotten this one wrong. The news this morning, after all, was that the sides were so far apart that they couldn't even agree who was allowed to sit at the bargaining table. What's more, Chrysler is the smallest of the big three, making it the company that the UAW is most likely to think that it can beat. Add in Chrysler's recent transition to a private ownership and attendant speculation that a major motivation for going private was to insulate the company from shareholder pressure in upcoming labor disputes, and it sure looked like a recipe for one hell of a strike.

Except that it wasn't. Instead:
A new expression is making the rounds here in the nation’s automotive capital: “Hollywood strike,” as in, “just for show.”
...
The brief walkouts appear to have emerged as a way for both union leaders and company managers, at a time of deep troubles in their industry, to prove to their constituents that they got the best deal they could under the circumstances, without the damage of an all-out war.|NY Times|

But who knows. Maybe if I had actually found the time to write a blog post during the strike I would have seen to the heart of the matter. I'll tell you one thing, it sure was a good idea to create a 'uaw on strike' tag.

Being a post in which the finest art confronts the cold calculations of science

Rank among female baboons is hereditary, with a daughter assuming her mother’s rank.

News of that fact gave great satisfaction to a member of the British royal family, Princess Michael of Kent. She visited Dr. Cheney and Dr. Seyfarth in Botswana, remarking to them, they report: “I always knew that when people who aren’t like us claim that hereditary rank is not part of human nature, they must be wrong. Now you’ve given me evolutionary proof!” |NY Times|





The Big Baboon

The Big Baboon is found upon
The plains of Cariboo:
He goes about with nothing on
(A shocking thing to do).

But if he dressed up respectably
And let his whiskers grow,
How like this Big Baboon would be
To Mister So-and-so!

Hilaire Belloc

10/9/07

WSOP

I didn't get home from work in time to watch the penultimate episode. Maybe some good poker was played at that stage. But the last episode? Shit poker all the way through.

10/8/07

I want to be a cowboy

The skies were empty at a charity air show after participants were escorted out of the area by F-16 fighter jets sent up because President Bush was in town.

The president's security no-fly air zone was extended Sunday and included the Hagerstown, Maryland, event, but at least four pilots of antique airplanes who were supposed to join the charity show were apparently unaware of the Federal Aviation Administration restrictions. They were intercepted by F-16s and escorted out of the area, federal officials said. |CNN|

Unlike China, the United States enforces the hightest standards when it comes to food safety

Topps Meat Company LLC announced today that because of the economic impact of the second-largest beef recall in U.S. history involving more than 21.7 million pounds of ground beef products, it is forced to close its Elizabeth plant and go out of business effective today. The company has been in business since 1940. |source|

How did this happen? Well, first George Bush was elected president. Second, the USDA cut back on inspections. Third, the standards slipped at Topps. Fourth, lots of people got sick. Fifth, the state of New York Department of Health launched the investigation which led to the initial recall. Sixth, the USDA finally got into gear, took a close look at Topps, and ordered a recall so large that the company went under.

10/4/07

Till Armageddon no shalam no shalom

When I was a freshman in college back in the eighties, I took an introductory survey course in the humanities. One of the books we read was Into That Darkness, Gitta Sereny's biography of Franz Stangl. This was, of course, at the height of the canon wars, so I suppose that Bloom and Hirsch would have been scandalized to see that book on the reading list. Truth be told, I probably would have sympathized with them. As much as I enjoyed the book, the central question it posed seemed faintly ridiculous. Could the Holocaust happen here? Could decent people, step by tiny step, lose all human moral sense? Of course not.

10/3/07

Misrepresentatives

Via Marc Cooper's math, I see that the average Republican voter is to the left of the average congressional Democrat regarding the Iraq war.

10/2/07

Great moments in wikiped

According to the Wikiped Galactica...
In the phrase “rox0r your b0x0rz,” b0x0rz may not refer to boxers (i.e. underwear) but might refer to boxes (in computer slang: computers, though boxen or b0x3n may be more commonly used in this context). The more na├»ve interpretation "rocks your boxers" is still meaningful, however, as the sentiment is much the same and is often used to carry a connotation that one was 'rocked' so hard they felt it in their boxer shorts. This is also similar to the phrase "to scare one's pants off".[citation needed]

10/1/07

aa

[from Hawaiian ’a-'a]

n.
Basaltic lava forming very rough jagged masses with a light frothy texture.
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