Friday, July 28, 2006

another shooting

This has been a horrible summer for violence in the Seattle area, and tonight some loony shot up a bunch of people downtown, supposedly because of what Israel was doing against Lebanon.

I've been just as appalled as anyone by Israel's response to the capture of two soldiers on the border, and by Hezbollah's bombing. But were any of the people at the Jewish Federation Israeli citizens? How are they any more culpable than any of the rest of us US citizens, who keep putting madmen into office who excuse and facilitate Israel's strategic blunder and latest human rights violations?

Anyone who thinks these acts will do anything but spawn more violence are simply bloodthirsty.

I am fearful not just for the synagogues tonight and over the next few days, but the mosques as well. After 9-11, some brave souls in the neighborhood kept watch over the mosque at Northgate, to prevent violence by ignorant yahoos. Neighborhoods may need to do this again. How horrible that people can't find a more productive way to express their rage and frustration.

Sometimes I think if it wasn't for blogging, there might be a lot more "going postal" around. Maybe some of these folks should try it.

feel the love

This was linked to from FireDogLake today, and since it's good enough to share:

Michael Moore and friends send some love Fred Phelps' way

I don't know where Moore "recruited" all these gay men, but they sure have a great sense of humor.

pretty typical

Leavitt caught with his hands in the cookie jar:

Part of the funds distributed by a Utah foundation established by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and his family is used to pay the rent for students living in Leavitt-owned apartments. The foundation is under fire for giving away little money -- but securing substantial tax advantages for Leavitt's family.

My parents have some stories (they now live in Utah) that make it plain that this particular kind of self-enrichment (bribes, favoritism, fraudulent kickbacks) is pretty much the norm for everyone in a position to do it in the Beehive State. Gentiles need not apply, of course.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

too funny

Here are some more stories of good government:

Senator's 81-year-old dad busted for lewd conduct

State Department employee crashes government car in which he is partying

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

a bad idea

John Robb over at Global Guerillas explains why Israel's current strategy in Lebanon is a losing one.

This is an interesting site - I don't always agree with Robb (though time will tell if his more dire predictions bear out), but he's a thought-provoking read (when he takes the time to explain himself - sometimes his posts are a bit too abbreviated for me to follow them completely).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


A very interesting article on a paper that just came out in Nature.

The nucleosome is made up of proteins known as histones, which are among the most highly conserved in evolution, meaning that they change very little from one species to another. A histone of peas and cows differs in just 2 of its 102 amino acid units. The conservation is usually attributed to the precise fit required between the histones and the DNA wound around them. But another reason, Dr. Segal suggested, could be that any change would interfere with the nucleosomes’ ability to find their assigned positions on the DNA.

There has been some really great work coming out recently on DNA regulation, the chemical coding by which genes are turned on or off in order to give cells with identical DNA their own functional identities - what makes a skin cell a skin cell and not a muscle or nerve cell.

Not my field, but I've been interested in this since taking embryology way back in biology class. All of the complicated things that happen within and between cells as they migrate and differentiate during development - it was fascinating, because at the time so little was known about the mechanisms behind them. In the last 10 - 15 years, though, they have finally begun to shed some light on some of these mechanisms.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

you'd better believe it

You Are an Excellent Cook

You're a top cook, but you weren't born that way. It's taken a lot of practice, a lot of experimenting, and a lot of learning.
It's likely that you have what it takes to be a top chef, should you have the desire...

blogosphere day

Okay, since Digby says today is blogosphere day, here are some worthy candidates:

Hong Tran (opposing Maria Cantwell in the Democratic primary)

Darcy Burner (Democrat opposing Dave "Green River" Reichert in WA-08.

Now go to it!

gender and science

Go read this. This really rings true for me - all of it - right down to the being constantly interrupted by men comment.

Friday, July 14, 2006

family values

Oh, those Republicans sure know how to raise their sons right:

The youngest son of NFL great and former Oklahoma congressman Steve Largent has been indicted by a Delaware grand jury on charges of soliciting an underage girl for sex, according to court records.

Steve was one of those "family values" Republican congressmen after he ended his career with the Seattle Seahawks.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

more killer whale video

More Antarctic killer whales. Don't know which type they are.

Just a short post, as blogger is going down in a few minutes.

Friday, July 07, 2006

oh, like I couldn't have guessed this....

Your Inner European is Spanish!

Energetic and lively.
You bring the party with you!

h/t to grrlscientist

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

reflections on Independence Day

Some thoughtful posts out there on the meaning of what it means to be an American today:

First, from the General, who quotes from the Declaration of Independence (go read it) and from Ani de Franco.

It seems that many of the grievances listed by the colonists could be echoed today by citizens, against our very own government: Holding people without charge? Check. Depriving people of trial by jury? Check. Sending people overseas to be tortured? Check. As the General's Inner Frenchman is quoting selectively from the Declaration, I can see that he noticed the similarity of grievances as well.

I would add the following:

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.


He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.


He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

Next, an excellent and thought-provoking post from Billmon (I know I say that all the time, but it's true:

If I had to boil our modern kulturkampf down to two words, they wouldn't be blue and red, they would be "traditionalist" and "modern." On one side are the believers in the old ways -- patriarchy, hierarchy, faith, a reflexive nationalism, and a puritanical, if usually hypocritical, attitude towards sexual morality. On the other are the rootless cosmopolitians -- secular, skeptical (although at times susceptible to New Age mythology) libertine (although some of us aren't nearly as libertine as we'd like to be) and less willing to equate patriotism with blind allegiance, either to a flag or a government.

He then goes on to draw some interesting comparisons to Spain during its Civil War, and concludes that

Compared to most countries, America has been very lucky so far -- those kind of passions have only erupted in massive bloodshed once (well, twice if you count the original revolution.) By definition, however, something that has already happened is no longer impossible. It's easy for newspaper columnists to fantasize about disunited states, but only madmen would actually try to make them so. Unfortunately, the madmen are out there. It's up to the rest of us to keep them under control.

On the local front, the weather turned unexpectedly cool yesterday, after a week or more of very summery temperatures. The travel trailer was still parked out back, and our neighbor apparently decided to attend one of the big fireworks displays this year, and didn't buy so many of his own. So we didn't have anyone shooting off fireworks behind our house this year; and maybe because people had to get back to work today, everything quieted down for the most part around 11 pm, instead of continuing on until 1 or 2 in th morning as it has in some previous years. When the neighbor got home, he set off some bottle rockets (from his fron yard - he didn't risk it from the back because of the trailer?), but it was clear he didn't buy as much as he has the last few years. So I am grateful for all of that. I guess my only gripe, as the concussions from the downtown displays shook my house from, yes, 12 miles away, is that I don't understand why people don't make the connection to what many Iraqi cities must be going through every single day now for over 3 years, and how horrible it must be for the people living in a war zone we elected to create.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

this and that

Reading: Just finished Michelle Goldberg's Kingdom Coming. I only wonder why she didn't mention Dave Neiwert, who has been talking about many aspects of this for years. Just started Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy. I must be a complete glutton for punishment. Next up are Glenn Greenwald's How Would a Patriot Act? and Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire.

Listening: What does it mean when I listen to Gary Numan's Jagged one direction of the commute, and an Ella Fitzgerald collection in the other? And then today, OMD's second album, Organisaton followed by an Elvis Costello collection. Just for the record - I do like Jagged. I wandered over to Numan's website a week or so ago, and it was great to see how happy he sounds, how great he looks (at 48!), and I love the pic of him with daughter Raven, she in a carrier strapped to his back. I was very sorry to hear that his and wife Gemma's second child, Persia, didn't make it (someone really ought to update the WikiPedia article).

I spent most of the weekend getting over a dose of food poisoning. Yes, I know exactly where it came from. Yes, I'm going to damn well let the health department know. Dipshits! Don't they know they're supposed to refrigerate those sandwich makin's in between, and not let them sit on the counter all day? What about checking those use by dates, huh buddy?

Also, my parents found out this week that they will most likely have to put their beloved, 8-year-old, Scottish fold kitty Sarah to sleep tomorrow. Sarah, of the soft, soft fur; who likes to play in a stream of tap water running into the sink; who licks your hand when you brush her; who likes to hide in the bushes in front of the house. She is a very sweet kitty. We think that a prolonged course of antibiotics for an inner ear infection may have damaged her kidneys. She has basically stopped eating and is shedding weight, and there probably isn't anything that can be done to reverse the damage. We will find out tomorrow, and if nothing can be done, they will put her to sleep rather than have her suffer, and bury her where her brother Angus can visit her if he is so inclined.

Hmm, a lot of sucky sucky stuff going on. The only bright point is the trailer currently parked in the parking lot behind our house. This normally could be a slight annoyance (I don't really like strangers peering into my bedroom). But I would actually be grateful if they stay for a couple of days. Because a camper trailer will cut down on the number of shitheads who will come and light their fucking fireworks (all of them illegal in the city limits) towards my house and yard. We have this issue every single year, and the police do absolutely nothing. I don't know why the city council even bothers to enact an ordinance that won't be enforced.

And don't get me started on my batshit crazy neighbor, who is one step above (or is that below?) an arsonist. On New Year's Eve, one of the embers from the shit he was firing off landed in the tall pine next to his house. I watched that ember try to catch fire in that tree for three or four minutes before giving up. I watched the tree for 40 minutes to make sure it wouldn't flare up. I hate assholes who think they have to light things on fire or blow shit up to prove how much of a man they are. I'm a chemist, and I don't even like explosions. The closest I ever got was model rocket club - which is now considered so dangereous, they are trying to take that, a supervised teaching activity, away from kids. Oh, but it's alright to watch your drunk shithead dad send some illegal bottle rockets towards the neighbors'. Don't even get me started on the neighbor, man.

Oh, and you kids - get off my frickin' lawn!