In a perfect melding of the Keystone Kops Meet O'Brien, Janet Napolitano is coming to a Walmart near you. Her video, urging "If You See Something, Say Something," is rolling out at W emporia all across the country:
The message will be continuously looped on TV monitors at the 588 Walmarts in the U.S. One can only imagine the hilarity that will ensue when one gun-buying customer doesn't like the looks of another. But then maybe Napolitano doesn't really know the People of Walmart that well, after all.
"Report suspicious activity to your local police or sheriff. If you need help, ask a Walmart manager for assistance.” Ah, yes, ask a manager for assistance! Next time you get in a tug-of-war with another customer over the last Game Boy in the store, just report that sucker to management for "suspicious activity."
Ballgame just brought this column by Naomi Wolf to our attention in another thread, but I think it deserves its own post. Excerpt (bolds mine):
. . . These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans' ignorance of their own history -- an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act -- a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used -- was designed deliberately to be used -- specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.
The Espionage Act was crafted in 1917 -- because President Woodrow Wilson wanted a war and, faced with the troublesome First Amendment, wished to criminalize speech critical of his war. In the run-up to World War One, there were many ordinary citizens -- educators, journalists, publishers, civil rights leaders, union activists -- who were speaking out against US involvement in the war. The Espionage Act was used to round these citizens by the thousands for the newly minted 'crime' of their exercising their First Amendment Rights. A movie producer who showed British cruelty in a film about the Revolutionary War (since the British were our allies in World War I) got a ten-year sentence under the Espionage act in 1917, and the film was seized; poet E.E. Cummings spent three and a half months in a military detention camp under the Espionage Act for the 'crime' of saying that he did not hate Germans. Esteemed Judge Learned Hand wrote that the wording of the Espionage Act was so vague that it would threaten the American tradition of freedom itself. Many were held in prison for weeks in brutal conditions without due process; some, in Connecticut -- Lieberman's home state -- were severely beaten while they were held in prison. The arrests and beatings were widely publicized and had a profound effect, terrorizing those who would otherwise speak out.
. . . I call on all American citizens to rise up and insist on repeal of the Espionage Act immediately. We have little time to waste. The Assange assault is theater of a particularly deadly kind, and America will not recover from the use of the Espionage Act as a cudgel to threaten journalists, editors and news outlets with. I call on major funders of Feinstein's and Lieberman's campaigns to put their donations in escrow accounts and notify the staffers of those Senators that the funds willonly be released if they drop their traitorous invocation of the Espionage Act. I call on all Americans to understand once for all: this is not about Julian Assange. This, my fellow citizens, is about you . . . .
Well, I've been saying it from the beginning. But what the hell.
Not only can you buy tons of kitschy (as well as serious) Obamamabilia on the streets of Washington these days, you can buy even more kitschy, serious, and imaginative stuff on-line. There's an Official Inaugural Store at Union Station, but for the truly avant garde, a simple button or pin or poster just won't do. These nifty shoes by FetePromotions are available at Zazzle. (There are many other designs, as well, but some of them are downright weird -- like with a photo of Obama on the vamp, where it looks like he's looking up your dress!)
(Thank god Neil isn't here to see another shoe post!)
Okay, okay, you know how it is: we all like to lay claim to a little bit of glory now and then, and to bask in the glow -- well, in this case, blinding light -- generated by a hometown
hunk hero. I'm no different. Michael Phelps grew up four miles from where I live, near where we take our kitties to the vet; he used to eat breakfast at this little place on 32nd & Greenmount, a few blocks from our house; and no, we've never run into him:
And I just found out he bought a house in a beloved neighborhood called Fells Point. So after Beijing it's Baltimore-bound the boy will be!
We're all bursting with pride here in Charm City. And yes, I'll probably go to the celebratory parade to see him, along with thousands of other starstruck fans, camera in tow, cheering and screaming and tearing up with the rest of them. In a world of misery and cynicism, it's wonderful to be able to watch hard work and sheer talent in action. Congratulations, Michael Phelps. And thank you.
Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, my ears and whiskers! Oh, my fur! There is -- gasp -- gambling going on in the NBA! And one of its nefarious practitioners has at last been brought to justice! He's going to jail.
Thank god we will now be safe from the horrors of betting on sports. What next, pray tell? What other social depravity lurks 'round yonder corner? Poisoning, perhaps, apple pie?
O, America! How it gladdens my heart to see ye taking on this scourge, especially since you can't be bothered to get upset at the number of assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes routinely committed by our beloved athletes, in numbers disproportionate to their population. But I'm weary of writing about this, even in the watered-down version that, after much fighting of the old boys' network, eventually appeared (Hold Athletes Accountable, Baltimore Sun 2003). And I'm weary of pointing to evidence in reputable books like this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. After all, what difference does it make? Much easier to get worked up about gambling than about -- ho-hum -- crimes against women. Yawn.
Adrienne So is a young freelance writer living in the San Francisco Bay area. Like any good 21st century curiosity-seeker, you can do what I did and Google her, where you'll find that some of her pieces, such as this one, are available on AlterNet -- coincidentally appropriate, since it addresses the power of cartoons in general and the purpose of satire in particular. But I digress.
My real reason for introducing her is a cheeky, hilarious, yet scientifically minded article she wrote for The Independent of London. Titled by some clever copywriter, Bionic Bra: Victoria's circuit, it details her search for a bra that can power her iPod. Don't laugh. (Okay, laugh.) But nanotechnology is showing up everywhere, including in clothes (whaddya think all those new stain-resistant fabrics are?). So her quest is perhaps not so quixotic after all.
But I still say: Bounce Is Bad. And despite the impressive mathematical calculations in this article, I just don't believe you can create enough bounce to get the power you need without ultimately harming the girls. (And don't even get me started on the self-cleaning underwear! Do we really need to encourage the worst habits of our male counterparts even more??)
In October of 2000, Robert and I drove to Savannah, Georgia to attend the bi-annual racing clinic and get-together known as Targa 66, an event that's organized and conducted by the legendary and much-decorated British racing champion, Brian Redman. During the day, veteran drivers and retired champs (like Brian) coach those who are relatively new to the sport (like me), and the track is also open to aficionados and current contenders interested in sharpening their skills and testing their vehicles in a non-competitive environment. On Saturday night, there's always a lovely black-tie banquet complete with an intriguing keynote speaker (for example, the president of Jaguar, or one of Brian's pals from the good old days when race car driving was even more dangerous than it is now, which is saying something.) Of course, there is also plenty of drinking and the telling of stories both hilarious and hair-raising.
Anyway, that Saturday, Robert (who'd win a major series himself the following year) and I (who, come 2003, would start my own racing adventures in a little '61 Porsche 356), were joining everyone in the hotel lobby for after-dinner drinks when American Indycar champ and current team-owner Bobby Rahal stood up, clinked a spoon against his glass, and announced that he'd like to introduce someone special.