Thursday, June 30, 2005

[politics] Liberals wanted 'therapy'...

I'm still pissed off about Karl Rove's remarks of a week or so ago. Why? You mean, apart from the fact that he's simply full of shit? On September 11, 2001, I was working as an IT contractor for the St. Louis Airport Authority. Not too long after I got to work, our partner called me on my cell. Something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, terrorists, so on, so forth, and how a coworker of hers was meeting clients in NYC and had been evacuated from her hotel at the WTC. I blew her off. I'd just seen the AP news wire on the internet - they'd mentioned that a plane had hit the Trade Center, but had given no indication of the plane's size. I'd thought Cessna or some such. Later that day, as the internet crawled to a halt and the planes (and finally the towers) came down, I couldn't watch any of the televisions that people had turned on. I couldn't wrap my head around it. "They must have killed everyone on board first", said a coworker, "I can't imagine anyone didn't fight." "Yeah", I agreed. I got another call, this time from a former coworker who'd moved to Atlanta. "You watching the news?" he asked, his voice hoarse and hushed. "Yeah." I lied. I'd been hitting "Refresh" on CNN.com like a rat in one of those addiction experiments. I couldn't make myself watch anything live. "This is big fucking trouble. We're gonna nuke someone for sure." "I know." Silence. "You okay?" "I don't know. You?" "I don't know either." Reassured that we were each alive, we hung up. Numbly, I pretended to work for the rest of the day. Driving home down St. Charles Rock Road, I passed the Westfield Mall. Police cruisers blocked the entrances; the parking lot was deserted. Part of me wanted to weep; part of we wanted to grab some of these knuckleheads and knock their heads together. Who the fuck was going to bomb a second-rate mall in the middle of nowhere? The next couple of weeks were some of the spookiest I ever imagined I'd ever experience. We lived in the flight path of Lambert-St. Louis International - we could almost tell time by airplane noise, and we could certainly predict the weather by the changes in flight patterns. We lived in near-silence for almost a month, no plane noises apart from the shriek of the MOANG F-15s. This all changed in early October. At around 2AM one morning, I suddenly woke up, sitting bolt upright in my bed. I could hear planes. Plane after plane after plane after plane. Weeks of near silence were being broken in one long continuous drone of jet after jet after jet. Ever see the movie 'A Bridge Too Far'? If you have, do you know the scene where the Dutch kid wakes up one night and hears the Allied warplanes droning overhead, plane upon plane upon plane? That's what it felt like. "We're at war", I whispered into the darkness, sad that it had come to this, happy that we were finally taking revenge. Of course we were at war. We'd been at war the moment the first plane crashed into the first tower (can you remember the shriek of the second plane, engines protesting as it slammed into the second tower? do you remember the shape of the plane outlined in fire as it slammed through how many floors? remember the horrified gasps and wails of the crowd around the videographer?), but now, finally, we were making sure that the fuckers who'd done this to us were paying for it. There are other days that stand out starkly from those first months. There was the day when the news was a-twitter with rumors of planes planned to crash into nuclear plants. All day, whenever I stepped outside for a smoke break, there were 2 F-15s circling all day, lazy, low-flying loops and figure-eights across the St. Louis sky. Two drop tanks, a full load of air-to-air missles: these planes were loaded for bear: there were two fully-armed and fully-fueled planes in the sky at all times that day. I made a passing remark about it to a coworker who'd served in the Air Force. "Yeah, I noticed it too. They're flying protective cover; they're expecting something." I didn't do the math until I got home: I'd forgotten about Callaway. They were expecting more than they were telling us: there were no F-15s scrambled on the days they talked about planes crashing into chemical plants or crop dusters spreading bioweapons, but there sure as fuck were planes the day the talking heads on television were calmly discussing the properties of containment vessels and whether or not reactors could survive a fully-fueled 757 crashing into it. Then there was the wedding. Shortly after the air war over Afghanistan started, we went to a wedding in New York City. We had friends and coworkers tell us we were crazy to go, that we should stay in St. Louis "where it was safe.". We flew TWA into JFK. As we approached Manhattan, a hush fell over the plane. Think of the most serious moment you've witnessed, sacred or secular. The atmosphere in our plane was even more so. You could feel the tension in the plane as necks craned this way and that, trying to see The Pile. The flight attendants were scurrying up and down the aisles, hunched over, whispering to passengers like acolytes in a temple, answering the questions posed by the faithful and seeking alike: "No, you can't see the smoke any more." "You can't really see Ground Zero on the approach to JFK any more." "It stopped being visible about a week ago." "No, it's over there - no, over there, further that way." Hushed, serious, we landed at JFK. No one spoke until the plane stopped at our gate - when they did, it was as people leaving the funeral of a loved one. The next day, we attended a reception for family members in a mid-town loft. The stench of Ground Zero filled the air - mostly it reminded me of burnt insulation, but you couldn't help but think of the other things that were in that smell. As the afternoon wore on, our then-infant son was wearing out fast. We took him to a large, airy bedroom at the end of the loft, thinking we'd try and put him down for a nap. A cousin was in there, watching CNN: Giuliani, surrounded by public safety officials, was telling everyone about anthrax at NBC Studios. Trying not to watch, we finally get our son to sleep. We spend probably 30 minutes in the bedroom after he's asleep, watching CNN in mute horror, wondering what we risks we were subjecting our son to. So now, almost four years later, when this fat fuck comes on and dismisses everyone who doesn't support Augustus Bush the First wholeheartedly as traitors because we've started a war of dubious legality against a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and we think that might not have been the best thing to do for our country and the world, can you understand perhaps why I might get a little fucking pissed? You see, I didn't want therapy for the terrorists. I wanted us to kick the shit out of them. Hell, I still do. I want every single motherfucker involved in planning, facilitating, and executing the 9/11 attacks dead. I just want it done legally. You know, with regard for those conventions our Attorney General has deemed 'quaint'? With some respect for, oh, you know... the law? Decency? Human rights? Due process? I want it done the right way. I want to be able to be proud of my country and the manner in which it conducts itself. I want to be able to teach my son to share that pride. I want to be able to tell him that we are still able to act in accordance with established norms, that we believe in laws, that we believe in justice, that we believe in truth. Right now, I cannot do that. The best I can offer is that we have mechanisms which present to us the opportunity to correct the mistakes that our country makes. The best I can offer is the hope that someday we can make things right. The best I can offer is that as of now there are many Americans who are also seeing the truth of this corrupt Administration and their deceptions, evasions, half-truths, untruths, and lies. The best I can offer is that as of now, things can still change. I fear, though, that a window is closing; a window we weren't even really aware was open. I fear that a time may be coming where change (or at least, peaceful change) may not be an option any longer. I fear that Bush and his crew may be actively squandering my child's birthright, depriving him of any chance of knowing how great this country can be. This, then, is the source of my anger. Not that Rove has impugned my character or idly dismissed my political beliefs; rather, it stems from the fear that our generation may be the last to know true dissent. If that constitutes wanting therapy for those who would harm us, so be it - my conscience is clear.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

[politics] Fuck. You. Karl.

Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies.
Understand this, you fat fuck. You want savage? Look in the fucking mirror: your man has killed how many thousands of civilian Iraqis? Look at your paleolithic-theocon allies trying to go all Savonarola on us. Kiss my hairy white ass, Mr. Rove: I already understand. I understand that your boss is sinking in the polls. I understand that Iraq is now the world's largest terrorist training facility. I understand that you've lied to us from the beginning of this war. I understand. You're in no position to question my sympathies. [On a less satisfying but far more pragmatic note: I fired off email to McDermott, Murray & Cantwell asking them to denounce Rove's remarks in the strongest possible terms. As I understand it, the White House is standing behind Rove's remarks.]

2 Comments:

Blogger Carnacki said...

Great rant. :)

6/30/2005 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

Thankee, kind sar...

6/30/2005 09:58:00 PM  

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

[geek] 30-second science blogging - Blue Origin

Via MSNBC's Cosmic Log, I found this:
As a commercial venture, Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) proposes to develop a launch facility to operate its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), which is expected to carry paying passengers on suborbital, ballistic trajectories to altitudes in excess of 325,000 feet above sea level. Blue Origin proposes to locate its launch facility on privately-owned property in Culberson County, Texas. Operations at the launch facility would include development testing, pre-flight processing and flight, landing and recovery activities.
While this probably isn't really news for anyone who's been actively following what's been going on with privately funded space flight, it definitely caught my eye. Blue Origin is based here in Seattle, and is funded by Jeff Bezos' deep pockets. The launch vehicles will be designed and fabricated here in Seattle, and then trucked down to Texas for launching. So... is the Jet City about to become the Rocket City? Regardless, I gotta ask: how cool is that?

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Friday, June 17, 2005

[random] Vintage freakshow culture

Via Boing Boing: a site in the Netherlands offering an online archive of vintage circus posters - print, download, purchase prints. Pretty cool stuff.

While being able to read Dutch would definitely add to the interest of the site, the navigation isn't too bad; many of the posters are of American or English origin, but let's face it: no translation is necessary for most of this.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

[random] ping

Reply from 69.25.212.134: bytes=32 time=142ms TTL=51
Reply from 69.25.212.134: bytes=32 time=159ms TTL=51
Reply from 69.25.212.134: bytes=32 time=131ms TTL=51
Reply from 69.25.212.134: bytes=32 time=145ms TTL=51

Ping statistics for 69.25.212.134:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 131ms, Maximum = 159ms, Average = 145ms
Eh. Still here... Not a lot of time for writing lately, but I have started on a new story over at slow memory leak (one chapter posted - another .5 or so of a chapter saved as a draft...).

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Friday, June 10, 2005

[politics] Ain't it the truth...

Sheer brilliance:
With the foresight inherent in pissing your pants to stay warm, Republicans, with the help of talk radio, have fostered an angry culture of no new taxes, no matter what.
Read the whole piece - it's an illuminating exposition on the state of talk-radio politics in WA (and the rest of the US, by implication)... It's a good reminder of the degree of damage we have to repair in this country.

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[geek][random] blah, blah, blah

Work's been hectic, life's been busy, and I've managed to bollix up my arm (Thanks, Kristina - it feels a lot better this morning), so I haven't been doing a whole lot of writing lately... So what's a bored geek gonna do? Why, buy a domain name, of course: introducing protectedstatic.com. It redirects you here, but *shrug*. You can also email me at that domain - the alias to use is 'static'.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kristina said...

Geek.

:)

Congrats on the new domain. Hm. I might just need one of those one of these days.

And I"m glad the shoulder is feeling better. Hope you were able to take it easy today.

6/10/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

According to my registrar, livelywrithing is available in pretty much any of the TLDs that they register... .net, .com, .org, .name, .us, .info...

I'm just saying...

6/11/2005 10:31:00 AM  

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

[cultcha] Something wicked this way comes...

The 'dark carnival' is a fascinating recurring theme, certainly among science fiction and horror writers. Well, for the months of June & July, Seattle will have its own 'dark carnival': Circus Contraption's Grand American Traveling Dime Museum. Operating in the spirit of European-style one-ring circuses, Circus Contraption is sort of Tom-Waits-meets-Kurt-Weil-meets-Tim-Burton-meets-PT-Barnum. Evoking the 1920s and 1930s with their mix of vaudeville and burlesque (oh yes, don't forget the burlesque - this is not a show for kids), this troupe of multi-talented clowns juggle, contort, climb, balance, spin, clown (duh), and do the hoochie-koochie to music largely of their own composition. Klezmer-ish in style, the lyrics that are just post-modern enough to keep you off-balance. It has some rough spots, but all-in-all this is excellent theatre. Very little of this is done with 'the greatest of ease' - you are acutely aware just how fucking hard these stunts are - and that only adds to the overall experience. The current show is built around a freakshow motif, complete with ghostly automata and a surreal chorus of pickled punks. And their final number should, uh, really blow you away. Go. See. And if you know anyone in or around the NYC area, let 'em know that they're taking this show on the road: CC will be performing on the Lower East Side for the month of September (last show on October 1st).

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Friday, June 03, 2005

[random] Developmental milestone...

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later... I know, I know: it's totally normal for kids his age to experiment this way. It's probably just a phase, but it's going to be rough on the household... the best we can do is guide him without inflicting too much psychological damage. The boy has discovered knock-knock jokes. Discovered? Sort of. He's 'discovered' knock-knocks the same way Columbus 'discovered' a new route to India... He doesn't entirely understand the rules of the knock-knock joke yet, so these are quite painful. Right now we've resorted to stonewalling:
Q: Knock-knock! A: Eat your breakfast.
Send lawyers, guns and money...

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

[geek] 30-second science blogging - War of the Worlds, in reverse!

Earth bacteria could invade Mars How does one pass up a headline like that? But on to the content:
Earth-bugs might just be able to survive on Mars, according to new research, although the circumstances do have to be perfect. The research team from the University of Florida warns that at least one type of earthly bacteria could survive long enough to hitch a ride to the red planet, and leave a biological signature in the Martian soil. Any future missions hunting for life on Mars will need to take care to distinguish between Martian life, and any possible alien invaders, the researchers say.
Of course, this post in my RSS aggregator was followed almost immediately by Bird flu: we're all going to die... So maybe we won't get the chance to contaminate Mars after all. Gotta love the Reg for keeping things in perspective, with a commitment to calm, mature, rational discourse ;-)

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

[random] magpie blogging

Oooohhh... look! Shiny! And so it is that these quotes are plunked into my nest, courtesy of the fine folks over at Making Light
"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire." (Gustav Mahler) "The man who tries to make the flag an object of a single party is a greater traitor to that flag than any man who fires at it." (Lloyd George) "I’m a fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberal, and I think fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberalism is an ideological stance that needs defending—if necessary, with a hob-nailed boot-kick to the bollocks of budding totalitarianism." (Charles Stross)
A hob-nailed boot-kick, indeed! ;-) And, if you're looking for musings on the world in general and science fiction (and writing as well, but mostly science fiction) in particular, you could do much worse than Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog. And participate in the comments! The comments are a tremendous amount of fun; there's often quite a real dialog that takes place between P&TNH and their readers, often adding as much substance to a given post as the post itself already contained.

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