Just go read the whole thing

Who owns love?

Here’s why: No matter what the final outcome, this past week will go down as one of those defining moments, a seminal point in American history. It hearkens back to the civil rights movement and to women’s suffrage, though with less screaming chanting effigy-burning marches and beatings by angry cops, and more roses and warm-hearted grins and life-affirming smooches on the steps of city hall.

It was a delicious and heartwarming historic spectacle indeed, and there was simply no way for any person of any elevated consciousness or spiritual awareness — anyone with any heart whatsoever — to witness the huge line of happy, eager same-sex couples snaking around city hall and not be deeply moved, profoundly touched.

I was there. I saw the lines, the smiles, felt the intense emotional energy. It was simply irrefutable: These are people in love. These are couples who have been together for years, decades, who have started families and raised children and set up homes replete with dogs and dinner parties and antiques and regular shopping excursions to Safeway and the mall. You know, just like “real” Americans.

And one other thing was very apparent: It was a situation in which you simply could not imagine anyone hurling gobs of intolerant hate at it. It would have required a serious amount of nasty, inbred ignorance and appalling nerve to march up to any of the passionate and committed couples waiting patiently in line for their marriage ceremony and say, you know, God hates you for this, you immoral disgusting sodomites, and it’s intolerable and unacceptable that you wish to love and honor each other till death do you part.
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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

These guys seem to have one trick up their sleeves-

Convertino also accused Justice officials of intentionally divulging the name of one of his confidential terrorism informants (CI) to retaliate against him.

The leak put the informant at grave risk, forced him to flee the United States and “interfered with the ability of the United States to obtain information from the CI about current and future terrorist activities,” the suit alleges.

Don’t like what someone is doing? Reveal their identity and put their life at risk- Hey, it shut Valerie Plame’s husband up… oh, wait…

More of the Terror Department’s War on Justice.

From the land where vibrators are illegal…

This quote keeps rolling around in my head. I heard it on the radio back last summer, and it just astonishes me every time I think about it:

Debbie Riddle, a state legislator from Houston: “Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell.”

I can’t stop thinking about the fact that someone would say that in public and then not back away from it immediately.

I have a dream, too

This guy is my new hero.

If hydrogen can be created from ethanol in a reactor that’s small enough to fit easily into a car…. it’s time to start buying property in Indiana. Ethanol, obviously, comes from corn. Imagine the reinvestment in rural infrastructure (which is an issue that is near and dear to my heart) that would occur if the world’s automobiles were running on a fuel made from corn. A clean burning, non-polluting fuel made from corn. PLUS: ethanol is a RENEWABLE resource.

Imagine what it would do for the economies of countries where agriculture is more practical than industrial production- it could potentially revive the economies of Argentina, Mexico and a wealth of others.

Fringe benefit: Imagine what it would do to the strategic importance of the Middle East. Oh, all those uneasy alliances that could be consigned to the dustbin of history…. I could ramble on for 500 words about how excited I am about this.

Steve! Your thoughts? Anyone else? C’mon, all you science geeks…

Rain, heavy things, and a large yellow truck

Sorry for falling off the face of the planet over the weekend. I left work on Friday and drove back to the cabin to fetch up the rest of my life. After having moved four times in the last three years, I have become intimately familiar with the Rental Truck Industry. Here are some hints:

1. Make more than one reservation. Plan to cancel one. Double check, as they may be getting wise to this, but for the last couple of years, I have found that having a reservation for a rental truck does not guarantee that one is going to be there when the day of your move comes. I reserved two trucks, and true to form, there was only one there on Saturday morning when I called to confirm. Budget/Ryder may be getting wise to this strategy and may be charging if you cancel on the day of your rental, but I can’t confirm this. Since you have two reservations already, don’t be shy about telling Budget/Ryder that UHaul is offering you a truck at a lower rate and vice versa. I knocked $50 off this move that way.

2. Drag the rental agent out in the rain, and open the back of the truck. Confirm that the truck is not leaking. Of the four trucks that I have actually ended up renting in the last three years, half of the ones that I was offered leaked. Only the first one actually ended getting any of my stuff wet. (And, somehow, it has rained every day that I wanted to move. Some moving luck I have, huh?) Each of the other leaky trucks I have been offered I have bargained for another truck. If no other truck is available, I don’t know what to do- but I would suggest demanding a cut rate.

3. When getting a truck, it doesn’t hurt to be a little curt. Try not to let the terms be dictated to you, and try to give the impression that you are the sort of person that calls corporate headquarters to file a complaint. When turning the truck in, be Mr. (or Ms.) Congeniality. This is one way to try to insure that you don’t get stuck with a dog of a truck when you get a truck, and also to insure that you get most (or all) of your money back when you turn the truck back in. So far, I have gotten all of my deposit money back each time.

4. Do not drive off the lot without doing the walk-around inspection to point out the scratches and dents that are already in the truck. That way you don’t get stuck paying for someone else’s damages. Also, get them to write down that there are tree-branch scratches all down the side of the van, even if there aren’t that many. This way, when you get more scratches down the side, you can point to the inspection report and say “Those were there.”

5. Get the insurance. Just do it.

6. Pay helpers in food and beer. It’s the right thing to do.

7. Box as much stuff up ahead of time as you can. Again, it’s the right thing to do, as painful as it is.

Right now, we are living in a forest of boxes. LTGF is home putting things into cabinets and doing laundry. I don’t know when I have ever been so relieved to see Monday morning arrive in my whole life.

Here it comes…

I have been saying for days that there was another thread to this AWOL in ’72 story that had something to do with a crime and subsequent community service in Texas.

Helen Thomas was pulling that thread at the White House today. Scott McClellan’s non-denial denial seems to raise more questions than it answers.

Deeper and deeper. I bet Ari Fleischer is sitting in his living room with a glass of something expensive and watching all this thinking “There but for the grace of God, go I…”

My favorite question today: “Q: Why does a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ elude you on this?”

A Modest Proposal about Email

I have an idea that might finally beat spam forever and make email an even better way to communicate. (better= safer and more effective)

I think that all email should be encrypted. All of it. I think that your address book should cache people’s public keys along with their email addresses. I think that when an ISP stores one’s email address, they should also store that person’s public key, and email programs should integrate the private key as a plug-in. Any unencrypted email will be disregarded as spam and deleted. Email programs could also be scripted so that when an email address is added to the address book, it automatically queries the online database of the ISP that hosts the address and downloads the public key for that address to the address book. Perhaps there could be some sort of dialogue at the server level that requires some input from the user- “Do you want to download patrick@giantisp.com’s public key? If yes, type the following sequence of numbers: *******” This would prevent the mass downloading of public keys that spammers would have to do to continue to mass email offers of penis pills to my step-mom.

For anyone that doesn’t know how encryption works (and is still reading this), it works like this:
Encryption programs work using two “keys.” The first key is a Public Key, the second is a Private Key. These are generated by you when you first use an encryption program.
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First Class

Last night’s Capoeira class was too much fun. Since it was my first class ever, I was a complete klutz. I was already a little tired from having biked everywhere yesterday, and Capoeira is really heavy on the quads. But I think that I will hang in there and get it. It was really fun.

The class was supposed to start at 9pm. I got there early. The class started late. People were trickling in in ones and twos until 9:20, and then we started the warmups and stretching. Interesting to me- I am more flexible that I thought, and my shoulders are weaker than I thought. Also, I can do a cart wheel- not gracefully, but I can get upside down, which I didn’t know.

I got taken aside pretty quickly and tutored on the basic moves. It was really thoughtful and informal- the rest of the class was off to learn some more advanced moves, and this young guy named Jay walked me through some of the foundation moves and shapes. My legs and hips are nice and flexible. My upper body, not so much. Capoeira will definitely strengthen my abdominal muscles, back, thighs, butt, shoulders and calf muscles. The workout moves up and down the body. It’s something else.

After an hour or so of practicing moves and sparring (which Capoeiristas call “play,” which I think is indicative of how Capoeira is unlike most martial arts classes I have been to), the group forms into a big circle and the instruments come out. Two people (I was one of them) play samba tambourine, and one person plays the berimbau. Everyone else claps and sings while two people take the center of the circle and Play. (flying. (please note that the upside down flying person in that photo is a woman!)

I think I have found a new hobby.