Saturday, October 28, 2006

Election Karma

Bush is out campaigning for Republicans in Congress while many Republicans are trying hard to keep the president out of the minds of their constituents. The party would seem to be dying on the same sword they've used to slay the Dems in recent years: the war. Although it was widely agreed today that the invasion of Iraq was a bad idea from the start, for many it's a realization made in the rear-view mirror. Two years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see signs and bumper stickers reading "I Support President Bush and The Troops," as if the two were the same. That was back when we were sold a war that required no "sacrifice."

When I saw the same bumper sticker this week, it struck me that now the distinction is much clearer. People are sending their kids off on second and third tours, with the danger increasing each round. American soldiers are dying more, not less. There is the unforeseen (by some) sacrifice. I can't get over hearing Karl Rove on NPR this week bringing out the line about the unpredictability of war. Thanks, Karl, but you're about 4 years late on that little epiphany. But really, it's the American people who are late to the table, isn't it?

But now that we seem to have arrived (if you pay any mind to the polls), on the other side of the issue, I don't think it means that there is any added nuance to the thinking of the voters. It can be costly to underestimate the intelligence of the American people, but I don't believe that we've learned that much over the past 6 years of the Bush administration's buffoonery and the botched war. After all, it only took 35 years to repeat the quagmire scenario of Vietnam, but this time the outcry doesn't seem nearly at virulent as I imagine it was back then. It seems to me that we have gotten pretty good at blocking it out, and I'm as guilty as the next guy, but try as we might to ignore it, Iraq just keeps coming back up. The alleged about face of the voters in America is reactionary. We're suffering from fatigue, and it's hoped that the other party is the cure. The turnaround isn't sparked by ideas, it's much simpler. It's birthed by a headache looking for relief.

So the tide is swaying Democratic for better or worse. But here in Michigan, there is an issue which is taking precedence over even Iraq. The auto industry's fever is felt all across the state and there is some ire directed against the otherwise popular Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm. Though still leading in the polls, Granholm is getting a run for her money from a guy who she should be able to squash like a bug. The fact that the race is so tight makes me question the intelligence of the voter who believes that Granholm could have single-handedly saved the Big Three and the jobs of those they employ(ed). Here again is the same dynamic. We here in Michigan haven't learned a whole lot yet from the death of American automobile dominance, as evidenced by belief held by some (and propagated upon them by political rivals) that Jenny G somehow dropped the ball on auto jobs. And those folks have a lot in common with the former Bush voters now sore over Iraq.

So despite the pleasing change that the polls suggest is imminent, I'm not exactly optimistic on the capacity of the American people for seeing the big picture. That is, seeing what steps need to be taken on what is an issue of greater long-term import than automotive jobs or Middle Eastern wars; and that, folks, is global warming and the environment. And when that bill comes due, I think it will be much more difficult to ignore. But if we are to cushion the shock, we all need to agree to make a few sacrifices. The problem is that sacrifice is exactly what we don't want.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's in your soap?

Triclosan, an ingredient popular in soaps and lotions, has been linked to accelerated hormonal activity, if I'm reading this correctly. I personally stay away from "antibacterial" soaps due to worries over super-resistant strains of bacteria, but this is a new reason to pay attention to what you're scrubbing with. Go natural!
These results hint that triclosan does not mimic thyroid hormones but instead speeds up their impact, says Cathy Propper, an endocrinologist at Northern Arizona University. Although the mechanism is unknown, triclosan may be making protein receptors in the cell more sensitive to thyroid hormones, Zoeller speculates. Because thyroid-hormone signaling is essential for the development of the human brain and body, the new study raises red flags for human health, Zoeller says.
We're talking about frogs in this study, but this is a tad(pole) alarming:
The triclosan effects included significant weight loss and accelerated hind-limb development. Helbing and co-workers also detected elevated activity in the brain of genes linked with uncontrolled cell growth, and decreased gene activity in the tail fin. The data suggest that triclosan, at concentrations as low as 0.15 ppb, is capable of perturbing a fundamental hormone signaling mechanism that is nearly identical in frogs and humans, she says.
Where can you find Triclosan? From Wikipedia:
Triclosan is used in many common household products including Clearasil® Daily Face Wash, Dentyl® mouthwash, Colgate Total Fresh Stripe®, Colgate Total®, Soaftsoap®, Dial®, RightGuard® Deodorant, Sensodyne Total Care®, Old Spice® and Mentadent®.
We've been blaming the juiced-up milk for the early onset of puberty, but it looks like the list of suspects is growing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lupe Fiasco's got me feeling nostalgic

Have you heard Lupe Fiasco? He's the latest hip hop head to hit the big time. Quite a lot of hype here, by god. But that new tune "Kick, Push," has gotten me missing my skating days more than usual. I just want to grab a deck and go hit the streets. Pulling the occasional kick flip. I wish I still had my old "Goldfish" video. Youth only comes once folks, and ain't it a bitch when you feel like it's just out of reach. The only way I know to cope is to try to enjoy more adult pleasures more suited to my more mature energy levels, bounce back ability and priorities.

And let me just tell you that the latest "better propaganda" podcast is really pulling out all the stops. DJ Jonah Sharp has really turned up the heat this month. This mix, too, has got me longing for the life of days gone by. Or should I say nights. Nights that I could spent out until 9 and not give a damn about the next day. Once again, the onset of adulthood is really stinging tonight.

I was face to face with Henry Kissinger today. I was at Game One of the World Series on Saturday. I shook governor Granholm's hand on Wednesday. Today, before Henry Kissinger, I was in an open but patron-less strip club. I was shooting dancers who were dancing for an audience of a lens and it's wielder. There was something more than a little unsettling about it, especially since one girl asked that I not shoot her face.

Today before the strip club I ran 35 laps on the track at the YMCA. That's 5 miles, and it wasn't really that tough. I ran to the new LCD Soundsystem mix I got on iTunes. It's supposed to be especially made to run to, so I was excited to hear it for the first time on a run. It did not disappoint. LCD fans everywhere will enjoy.

My roommate is gone and his dogs are tearing apart cushions. I'm putting in long hours at work and that means the poor girls are spending an awful lot of time in their "house" in the basement. Today they ran out of food, and I had to pick up a new bag at the store. I don't know what kind of food they eat, I only know what it looks like in their dishes. It looks like dog food. It looks pretty much like the what I saw pictured on nearly every variety of dog food at the supermarket.

Friday, October 20, 2006

"The Imperfectionist"

“If you have enough sheets, towels and blankets to warrant an entire closet I can guarantee that you’ve missed some really good opportunities to do something else.”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Float" = Neat!

Dogs are better than cats.

The debate has likely raged for thousands of years, dating back to man's domestication of the animal kingdom. Today the case is closed. I don't want to ruin it for you, just read this story. The end is the sound of the gavel dropping. All dogs go to heaven, and cats can go to hell (except for Josephine).

UPDATE: Yes, even this cat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An Antonioni film and Detroit Jit

Two things that I think have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The TV Photographer

Every once in a while I check in at Lenslinger, an entertaining blog maintained by an unusually literate TV shooter. The post "Truisms of Newsgathering" (from Oct 9th-I'm unable to find a direct link) gave me a real laugh.
Photogs have three natural enemies: rent-a-cops, rookie reporters and revolving doors.

The best news anchors still consider themselves reporters.

Women who spend an inordinate amount of time on their appearance will readily shun the camera. That guy in the gravy-stained beefy-T will talk all day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Richard Dawkins in Slate Salon

I'm not real familiar with Richard Dawkins, but he's a man after my own heart. He's interviewed at
In the roiling debate between science and religion, it would be hard to exaggerate the enormous influence of Richard Dawkins. The British scientist is religion's chief prosecutor -- "Darwin's rottweiler," as one magazine called him -- and quite likely the world's most famous atheist. Speaking to the American Humanist Association, Dawkins once said, "I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm still here

Hi! I've been away for a while. How's it going? I've been thinking of you, but I've really had my hands full lately. Lovely Fall we're having, yes? Michigan is lovely this time of year. Pumpkins everywhere, and especially good in my beer and in my coffee. What a latte that was from Beaners! So, what's new. Well, here's what a I *can* tell you. Tigers have tied up the series, but I didn't see a minute of it.