Friday, August 17, 2012

Recent Political Photo Captions

I enjoy creating this sort of thing. The main images are usually taken from somewhere else, but the text is all my own:

Iraq WMDs: How can anyone forget the lies?

I can't BELIEVE there are still people claiming that everybody thought there were WMDs in Iraq just before the invasion.
I just got that line from a guy I knew in college; a fascist who defends torture and state murder on the grounds that, well, it doesn't SAY in the Constitution that you can't torture foreigners, so something. It's really disgusting; creeps like that stank up the listserve of my college friends to the point where I can't go there anymore.
So he comes onto my facebook page and posts his trash. But there I feel comfortable bitchslapping him with the truth, and with citations to the truth.
It's a total lie: our administration KNEW there was no evidence of WMDs, but the lies keep flying around.
Here's a thorough debunking:
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/06/alterman_wmds.html
I don't need to feel grumpy often, but I draw the line at torture and state murder. And this is a scrapbook so it gets the bad with the good.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yes, It's Hot!

Me and My Favorite Fountain
Yeah, it's hot today. Real hot!
My friends in the Midwest and South may laugh at the temps we're having, but look: Seattle is melting!!!
(Actually, this is the fountain at Westlake Park that Kris and I walked through so many years ago. It was very hot that day, and I think she like the cool-down, except she was wearing a white blouse which made it awkward....)

...and speaking of hot: this video, much of which was shot in Westlake Park:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aloha Leslie!

Leslie and Kris Hug Goodbye!
Our friend Leslie Ching Allen has been a good buddy for years. But sometimes work can screw things up; she's been a prosecuting attorney at the Washington State Bar Association longer than anyone else. Naturally, when the time came to downsize, her number came up and she was put onto the street.
The downsizing was not the fault of management. A pack of complainers organized a surprise referendum to cut Association dues by more than 25%, without any sort of plan as to how to do it;  they just wanted to save $125 a head and expected the grown-ups at the Bar to figure out how. The complainers had all the time in the world to organize their campaign and then spring it on the Association; by the Bar's foolish rules, only two months were allowed to elapse between the ambush and the vote. This was not enough time for a rational discussion, and indeed there was very little discussion of the issue; a couple of articles in the newsletter, a few posts on a website, and that was it. Half the membership didn't bother voting, probably because most of us are really, really busy and don't read the newsletter.
Under these circumstances, it's not surprising the cut passed. Organizers had a few thousand votes in the bag by circulating the petition for the referendum, and they were careful not to make the petition generally known so those likely to oppose it could think it over. When only about 10,000 people vote, starting off with a couple thousand is a hefty advantage, and as an additional factor, the proponents of the cuts were making a basic "free money" argument: vote for the cuts and you'll get a refund, and it won't otherwise affect you. Under these circumstances, it's remarkable that the opposition pulled within a few hundred votes of blocking the change. But the cut passed and so the Bar had to reduce staff. Fewer prosecutors doesn't mean there will be fewer complaints filed against lawyers; it just means that it'll take longer to resolve matters.
I certainly feel compassion for any lawyer who thinks that saving $10 a month is going to make his practice a success. The plain facts are that there's a shortage of work for lawyers at the rates lawyers have to charge to stay in business. If costs came down, the rates they have to charge could come down and the amount of work available would increase, but $10 a month isn't going to do that. It's just going to make it harder for lawyers whose businesses are sinking to stay afloat.
The complainers may have a problem, but the Bar isn't it. The three law schools in this state alone churning out nearly a thousand lawyers a year into a saturated market are being irresponsible, but the loan money they extract from students is an awfully strong enticement toward corruption. And, of course, if they don't do it, there are hundreds of law schools nationwide willing to indenture students (since student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy, law school works out to a form of indentured servitude to the schools with one advantage: unlike classical slave owners, law schools don't have to find work for the students - if the students can't pay, interest increases the debt!)
So anyway, a hard choice had to be made at the WSBA, and Leslie got the ax. I don't envy the person who had to make that choice, since it must have been difficult, but what is Leslie to do?
Fortunately, Leslie had a pretty good record; in fact, it was so good that had been being recruited by another bar association! Even better, it was the bar of her home state! She had turned down the job offer because her first loyalty was to her current employer but once that loyalty became moot, she accepted the offer and is happy about going back home after so long. We will miss her since she's moved away, but talk about being dumped in a sewer and coming up with a mouth full of gold!
I'm going into perhaps more detail than is strictly necessary because this is a story that in other forms is being repeated around our nation and perhaps the world. An economic crunch is being manufactured as a side-effect of greed, and one reaction is to tear down the structures of civilization to provide fuel for a campfire. Whether it's Planned Parenthood, ACORN or bar associations, the organizations that make the weak able to live in a world dominated by the strong are under attack; organizations that spread the Enlightenment are being engulfed by the Endarkenment. This movement is difficult to fight because it's operating at a level difficult for humans to perceive, but its results are felt by every person thrown out on the street.
But there is hope. In Leslie's case, it's turning out alright. For others, maybe not so good.
There's no neat ending to this story; this is just a dispatch from a work in progress. We're all glad Leslie's going to a better position, and perhaps we've learned a little bit more about the larger problem.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You Know You're an Ancient Skier If: A Book Review

"You Know You're an Ancient Skier If"
is a delightful little book of quips and cartoons for those who are young at heart but not so young elsewhere. With drawings by Bob Cram and text by Irv Pratt, this slim volume collect humor by and about the Pacific Northwest's "Ancient Skiers Club" but relevant to those who have grown into the role without the title.

The Ancient Skiers Club was formed by skiers who remembered skiing with friends at Snoqualmie Summit, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Stevens Pass and Mt. Hood before World War II and before there were any lifts. You may recognize yourself in some of these one-liners or you might remember names such as Wally Burr or Ken Syverson. 

If you know what a "Ruade" is or if you ever wore a long skirt when you first started skiing ... or you want to learn about those who did ... this is for you!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Truly a Garden Salad

Collecting Chard In The Yard!
It's hot today (...hot for Seattle anyway...) and we wanted something light to eat. I stepped outside with a pair of garden sissors, and collected a bunch of chard, a few tomatoes, some herbs and mint. These went into a board chopped up. I added a can of garbanzos for protein, and the last of the homemade ricotta. To dress the salad, I added a little brine from a jar of olives, plus a few of the olives, then oil and vinegar. We're done!
The bulk of the salad came right from our yard, and let me add that it was remarkably little work for most of the elements. Tomatoes do require care, but it's a meditative sort of thing tying of the leaves an so forth, so it doesn't really count as work. The other elements (chard, mint, herbs) were basically "plant-and-forget"; they are nice-looking enough to be floral elements in our yards, as well as a food source.
Much of the rest of the salad was tag-end leftovers, which a frugal person enjoys to use. Only the oil & vinegar and the garbanzos didn't fit into this category; I was careful to toss the garbanzo can into the steel scrap bin, so eventually it'll be re-used (...and when we take the bin to the scrap yard, we'll get something like a penny for the can, based on weight. It's not riches but what-the-heck.)
I can't imagine being a subsistence farmer; that would be way too much work for little old me. But as today's salad shows, doing a little bit on the side is fun and healthy.

4freeCLE Newsletter - August 12, 2012

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August 12, 2012
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