September 2006

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This Month:

1 Gee, mail
5 Aunt Katie
6 Too negative?
8 It's yesterday's news
11 What's on the CW?
12 The fence, and how to get off it
12 Another reason KPTK is lame
13 Where's Greg?
15 Now they've done it
18 Hard work
20 Messy but effective
23 Festival of lights
27 War on Terra
28 Hooray for Tajiwood


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Posted September 28, 2006
Hooray for Tajiwood

Item: Iraq Police Academy a 'disaster'

"Steve Gutenburg will never work in this town again," a spokesman for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.

I nearly forgot to thank the Seattle Weekly for running a brief endorsement of Salumi, the artisan cured meats deli near King Street Station. Thanks, as in thanks so fucking much for sending more hoards of tourists and websurfers their way, ensuring that, not only will I not be able to get in the door for lunch anytime soon, but also that locals will have no opportunity to sample the culatello ham prior to the year 2019. Which happens to be the year a band of replicants will escape from the off-world colonies and come to Earth in search of their creator. A hardboiled ex-cop will be recruited to hunt them down, which he will do, one by one, but not before he falls for a replicant in the employ of the Tyrell Corporation. They will flee north together, to the forest-blanketed Pacific Northwest--and when they get here they won't be able to sample the culatello either.

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Posted September 27, 2006
War On Terra

It must be great to be George Dubya Bush. Maybe history will remember him as the Neutron President, because he's just so positive. The glass is always half-full. A National Intelligence Estimate is leaked that absolutely roasts his War On Terror strategy, and he responds that it's "naive".

Sure. I can see how that could be. If you totally ignore the meanings of words like the, Iraq, conflict, has, become, the, cause, celebre, for, jihadists, if, this, trend, continues, threats, to, US, interests, will, become, more, diverse, leading, to, increasing, attacks, and worldwide.

Let's hope our troops are as positive as our Prez'dint (canteens half-full?), when his military-based 'foreign policy' takes them on to Iran, then the rest of the world.

Speaking of the glass half-full, now it can be half-full of gels. TSA announced yesterday that the ban on liquids and gels on airlines is being relaxed. So now you can take small amounts of shampoos, lotions and other grooming products on planes--as long as you purchase them from 'sterile' stores after you pass security. I'm sure the prices will be really cheap.

Thank you, Gels Ban, for your bravery in service of your country. I hereby award you this Congressional Medal of Distraction. The accompanying certificate reads,

On August 9, 2006, the Gels Ban aided an Administration ally when, above and beyond the call of duty, it threw itself on the aftermath of the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary.

TSA has also become the federal agency to clear the cobwebs off the Scales of Justice, which will be used to measure whether you've gone over the 3-ounces-of-gel limit.

Mr_Blog is made possible by a grant from the Kellogue Company, for 100 years making nutritious breakfast cereals for the whole family. Mel Gibson says: "Kellogue's Frosted Sugart*ts--they're GRRRRRRRReat!!!"


  • City Council President Nick Licata was the lone member who cowardly voted to give the citizens he represents the opportunity to vote on the multibillion dollar Alaskan Way Viaduct issue.
  • An apparently driverless van was shaken but undamaged after it was struck by a woman on a bicycle.
  • Two women, 30ish, were lunching at a popular downtown steakhouse:

    Talker: ...and I said to him, "but we'll still be together, right?" And he said, "I've been meaning to talk to you about that."
    Listener: Oh god!
    Talker: And he said he didn't want to date anyone during the summer... "It's summer, I've got a lot of things planned."
    ...If it weren't for that, today I could be living in a trailer in Puyallup with five kids.
  • Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Mr_Blog's newscycle will be weekly for a while. Work and home projects are screaming for my attention, as is a certain Luddite blogger (from out there on the edge of the prairie) whose recent work has been crying out for serious metajournalism by yours truly.

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    Posted September 23, 2006
    Festival of lights

    MiNewt LED bike headlight. NiteRider, $120-160

    Please welcome a new Correspondent to the Mr_Blog staff: Mel Gibson, with his New Products Report.

    G'day. Recently I've become very interested in bicycling as a serious form of transportation. But with the days getting shorter, I'm now shopping for a good headlight for the dark commute.

    The new MiNewt from NiteRider is an exciting entry in the LED category. The head unit copies the famous, minimalist Niterider profile, but in a small, flanged, aluminum package. Several light levels and modes mean you can get up to 6 hours of runtime from the single Luxeon lamp, which NiteRider says is up to three times brighter than the competition.

    Instead of the customary clamp method, a wraparound O-ring system is used to attach the MiNewt to the handlebars. It is reminiscent of the DiNotte method. The rings come in various diameters to work with different handlbar sizes.

    The only drawback of the MiNewt is that the matching Lithium-Ion battery pack, while small, is intended to be carried on the handlebars. An extension cord allows you to mount it elsewhere, but the power/mode button is located on the battery, so on-the-handlebars is the only real choice. Now what's the sense in that? What if you have a backup light, bell, odometer, and bag mounted there already?

    You'd need to buy a bar extension. And who makes the most popular one? A company called Minoura! And what does that sound like? MENORAH!!! Need I say more about who is responsible for all the handlebar-crowding in the world???

    I'm Mel Gibson, and this has been the New Product Report.

    Thanks, Mel. An awful long way to go for one joke. Oh, and please call your parole officer.

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    Posted September 20, 2006
    Messy but effective

    The game of Democracy held several contests yesterday, but overall appears to have emerged only lightly singed.

    Parliament Division
    (Japan) Shinzo Abe was elected Prime Minister, ensuring a smooth transition of power for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

    Abe acknowledges applause from LDP MPs having won a landslide victory to become the party's new leader.

    South Asia Conference
    (Bangkok) Tanks gave protection to the Royal Palace following a bloodless military coup that toppled the government of premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
           Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin said the military would institute a policy involving basil, pork or chicken, and green and red bell peppers prior to returning control to civilian authority. He said Thai voters would be able to choose between traditional and "country-style" rice noodles when elections are held late next year.

    Western Hemisphere League
    (New York) President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela referred to George W. Bush as "the Devil" in remarks today before the United Nations. White House spokesman Tony Slow angrily fired back: "President Bush will roast Mr. Chavez on a spit over hot coals for all eternity," Slow said. "Bush, or El Diablo Mas Grandé, will possess the souls of the Chavez children, as well as rain mud and toads down on Caracas." A contract for mud and amphibians was issued to the KBR subsidiary of Halliburton.

    Northwest League
    (Washington) It looks like anti-environment interests bankrolling the Supreme Court campaigns of John "Bulldozer" Groen and Jeanette "Paver" Burrage have to scurry back to their mahagony & leather-appointed holes. A spokesman for the Building Industry Association of Washington said the organization planned to return Groen and Burrage to Nordstrom for a full refund, despite lacking receipts.
           BIAW also plans to exchange Sen. Stephen Johnson for a different Johnson in time for a November runoff against Justice Susan Owens. BIAW is considering Magic Johnson, Arte Johnson, Howard Johnson, and Raymond J. Johnson Jr. (also known as Ray, Jay, Johnny, Sonny, RayJay, RJ, RJJ and RJJ Jr.--but not necessarily Johnson).

    (Seattle) King County voters gave the thumbs-up to new electronic "accessible" voting machines (Diebold's Accuvote TSx). With 92% of e-votes counted, heavy Democratic turnout in the 43rd and 37th Districts spelled defeat for Sekou Bunch, who became the first competitor to leave CBS's "Survivor: Cook Islands."

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    Posted September 18, 2006
    Hard work

    Article III of the Geneva Convention is hard for a lot of citizens to understand. George W. Bush

    And this helps determine U.S. policy how? "A lot of citizens" don't need to understand Common Article III of Geneva. The only people who need to are in the White House, Justice, National Intelligence and Defense. That Bush is one of those who does not understand--he thinks it's "so vague"--raises the question Why Doesn't He. Furthermore, why is he the only President since ratification of the third and fourth Conventions (1929 and 1949, respectively) for whom such understanding seems to be a problem?

    Let's see if I can put it this way for people to understand--there is a very vague standard that the Court said must kind of be the guide for our conduct in the war on terror and the detainee policy.

    "Must kind of be"??? I detest the expression nuff said, but I think we have found the one context in which it may be used. Ironically, it's torture: Torture of the English language by this giggling lame duck of a President.

    Article III

    Torture is all in the subtext
    The Geneva Conventions
    Olbermann: "Apologize"

    Bye bye zoning? Give a listen to NPR's report on "property-rights" advocates' attempts to conflate Kelo with any government regulations that might affect property values.

    The snarling dog
    Absolutely NO! (on I-933)
    Also today: Tax pollutants, not payrolls

    Overheard: on the Metro #5, Sept. 15, 2006:
    Bus Driver (after shutting the doors in the face of a woman about to board the half-full bus):"No. No more."

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    Posted September 15, 2006
    Now they've done it

    Fallout continues from "Path to 9/11":

    Madeleine Albright on the warpath.

    (News services) Still outraged over the revisionist history offered in ABC's "Path to 9/11," former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warned ABC and the Bush Administration of dire consequences should the network and the White House not disavow the content of the fictionalized TV-movie.

    Albright is asking for a retraction and apology for the film's many inaccuracies, including one falsely showing Albright disclosing missile-attack plans to Pakistan, allowing Osama bin Laden to escape.

    "If my demands aren't met I'll take action," said the former Secretary. "I'll send my close personal friend Rory Gilmore to meet with George Bush," Albright said. "She will speak to him in a rapid-fire delivery, using multi-syllable words and dropping many literary and pop culture references."

    "I doubt the President wants that," said Albright. "No one wants to see that."

    White House press secretary Tony Slow accused Albright of overreacting. "Why the need for her to call in the big guns?" Slow asked.

    "The President is not a sparkling-repartee kind of guy," said Slow. "Threatening him with the prospect of trading back-and-forth witticisms with a WASPy slip of a girl is uncalled for. It's tantamount to unleashing a political weapon of mass destruction."

    Added Vice President Cheney: "Rory Gilmore needs to support the President, and stop hating America."

    By checking himself into rehab following his guilty plea, ex-Ohio rep Robert Ney becomes the first Resmuglican to try the Mike! defense (Foster Brooks for US Senate, 9/5): "I was drunk."

    Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct need not be replaced, according to a new study. The report, by the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, says Seattle has more capacity than the state Department of Transportation claims to absorb viaduct traffic.
           The report faulted the department's use of Sim City for the inaccurate estimates.

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    Posted September 13, 2006
    Where's Greg?

    Got millions to spend on condo? Plenty to pick from downtown

    It's the kind of luxury living that was not a big part of Seattle's market a couple of years ago, but these days, high-priced condominiums are becoming popular with buyers seeking the city lifestyle.
    At Fifteen Twenty One's groundbreaking last month, developer Tom Parsons said the building takes luxury condo living even further.

    "What no one had done was create an entire building that was a more expensive neighborhood," said Parsons, senior vice president of Opus NWR Development. Source

    WHY oh why is Mayor Greg Nickels's name not all over this story? Where is his enthusiastic quote about a vibrant, 24-hour city? Why is he not taking personal credit for this, the direct result of his Taller-Skinnier downtown development strategy? Where's Marianne in all this? She needs to be reminded of the meaning of "ceaseless" in "ceaseless self-promotion."

    Don't hide from your achievements, Greg! Now is not the time to suddenly go all publicity-shy, now that your efforts are bearing million-dollar fruit.

    The memory hole: His old promise

    Item: Vote Chambers, Owens, Alexander (Outside PAC money in state supreme court races)

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    Posted September 12, 2006
    Another reason KPTK is lame

    So it seems this morning's KPTK report was incomplete regarding ballot invalidation up Snohomish way. Left Shue says:

    "...voters didn't pick their party affiliation - a task of connecting the front and back of an arrow with a simple line."
    There, in the 1st column on the left as you look at the full ballot, there they sit - two lonesome little arrows, one blue - one red; one Democrat - one Republican. Yep, there they sit with no little line connecting the two halves of the little blue arrow that will validate my choices in this primary election. Source

    Arrows??? In King County we have straightforward bubbles to fill in. I wish I could see what these arrows look like, but a search of turns up zilch in the way of sample ballots.

    KPTK annoys me. The lack of a 5-day-a-week local host is still grating, and now the under-investment in reporters translates into poor quality news.

    How does KPTK expect to be a beacon to progressives when they only have one reporter who just seems to read from wire services? Tip: take some of the Cougar sports revenue and go headhunting.

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    The fence, and how to get off it

    Alarming report this morning on the KPTK local news segment: a fifth of all absentee ballots test-counted by Snohomish County have been invalidated. The reason? The voters didn't pick a party.

    News flash, people: the Open Primary is dead.

    How many times have I told you: It's policy positions that matter! Clinging to this "I vote for the person" crap is tantamount to saying I vote on personalities, not issues.

    It's not like the Resmuglicans have anything to offer anyway. What Resmug position is so correct that you have to keep open your split-ticket options? I'll tell you--there isn't one. So what's the problem?

    Want your vote to count in a close race? Get over it, ya babies, and pick a party.

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    Posted September 11, 2006
    What's on the CW?

    It appears the White House's "Path to 9/11" infomerical isn't paying off.

    Editing changes made by ABC to the first part of its miniseries "The Path to 9/11" were cosmetic and didn't change the meaning of scenes that had angered several former Clinton administration officials, a spokesman for the former president said Monday.
    The movie was flattened in the ratings by the debut of NBC's Sunday night football, matching Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts against his younger brother Eli of the New York Giants. The football game had an estimated 20.7 million viewers, while "The Path to 9/11" had 13 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.
    ABC resisted calls to cancel the $40 million miniseries, airing commercial-free over two nights. Part two was scheduled for Monday, with an interruption for President Bush's address to the nation. Source: CNN/AP, 9/11/2006

    So many questions!

    Will ABC bill the RNC for the $40 million loss? Will Dick Cheney appear on "Entertainment Tonight" and question the patriotism of Americans who didn't watch? What will he wear for the interview?

    Will Cheney attack Americans who don't even own TVs? How about the Colts, the Giants, the Manning brothers and the National Football League? Will Condi claim Nielsen Media met secretly with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague?

    Will the Bush Administration be the first to be cancelled due to low ratings?

    Will the Resmuglicans feel any shame over tying this propaganda to the fifth anniversary of September 11? I know, probably not.

    Neocon TV Guide. Here's what's on tonight:

    (ABC) Movie- "Path to 9/11." Teen girls everywhere will tune in to see more of ex-New Kids heartthrob Donnie Wahlberg, who will perform a medley of Toby Keith songs. David "Joe Isuzu" Leisure as Bill Clinton.

    (NBC) "Dateline NBC." Three bachelors are interviewed by a certain State Department bachelorette as potential husband material.

    (CBS) "Everybody Loves Joe Wilson." Series debut! New comedy about the Bush White House's favorite diplomat and how much they would never target him or his wife for retalitation. Richard Armitage co-stars.

    (FOX) "Elimidate 24." Kiefer Sutherland is the host for the revamped series, now a dating contest that sets Mary Lynn "Chloe O'Brien" Rajskub up on dates with a different right-wing talk show host each week.

    (COM) Movie- "Billy Madison II." Now a born-again, untreated recovering substance abuser, Billy must run for President or risk being cutoff from the family fortune.

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    Posted September 8, 2006
    It's yesterday's news

    What we know:

    On BA Level alone, Paris Hilton, at .08, is more than twice as qualified to represent Washington in the US Senate as Mike! McGavick (.17). Or Mike! is twice the drunk Paris is. One of those.

    The White House must have entrusted the missing Iraq reconstruction funds to Lindsay Lohan.

    You might not get prosecuted for blowing a CIA agent's cover if you're really, really sorry.

    CBS News is trying really, really hard to suck up to the Right.*

    So is ABC/Disney, but there is still some justice in the world.

    Resmuglicans continue to have an endless supply of hypocrisy.

    Katie Couric did ask Bush one tough question, but the answer was cut for national security reasons. It was about the new al-Qaeda safe haven in Pakistan: "Of course I'm lettin' 'em have a safe haven," Bush said in an outtake on DVD (handed to me by Mark Felt in an underground parking garage across the street from the Marie Callender in Fairfax; he likes the coconut cream). "Give 'em a few weeks to get in there; it'll make a nice big radioactive crater sometime around late October," added the Prez'dint. "Early November at the latest."

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    Posted September 6, 2006
    Too negative?

    Bad day today for the alternative energy and alternative transportation movements:

    a successful production test in the Gulf of Mexico--potentially the largest American oil find in a generation--was seen by experts as ushering in a new era in ultra-deepwater offshore drilling.

    Chevron, Devon Energy and Statoil ASA, the Norwegian oil giant, reported that they had found 3 billion to 15 billion barrels in several fields 175 miles offshore, 30,000 feet below the gulf's surface, among formations of rock and salt hundreds of feet thick.

    ...the oil companies expressed hope that they had the potential of being even larger than those at Prudhoe Bay, off the northern coast of Alaska. Source

    Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be big as they think. It might be a step toward energy independence--but the wrong kind of energy. With the current White House occupant and his boys making the macro decisions, it will be back to business as usual for the Dominant Paradigm. Say So Long to pressure for switches to hybrids, biofuels, cycling, mass transit, fuel cells and innovative transit technology.

    Those things might still happen, but with less urgency in the R&D, testing and implementation. It will take longer to bring innovations to market, except for the minority who can afford to be early adopters. If I had money and no ethics, I would be buying stock in companies that control the status quo: auto manufacturers, oil companies, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Halliburton and Bechtel.

    In a few decades we'll be wondering why the oceans are still rising, why the air is still dirty, why the roads are still crowded, why light rail and buses are still the most advanced transit systems, and where the next oil reserve is going to be discovered.

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    Posted September 5, 2006
    Aunt Katie

    Katie Couric takes over the CBS Evening News with fanfare tonight, an actual fanfare written by James Horner. We'll see if people start calling it Evening News II: The Wrath of Khan, or My Headlines Will Go On. Couric says the broadcast will be trying new things:

    It is going to be a work in progress; everything we want to implement won't necessarily be ready by day one, but I think we're making a lot of strides and having a good time doing it. ..."Whether you're talking about the music and saying, 'Can the trumpets be a little brighter?' or figuring out the sets and the graphics, it's a lot of fun. Source

    I'm sorry--what about editorial policy? Investigative stories?

    And what about her sign-off? I'm kind of hoping for something now-contempo yet paying homage to the golden age of the Tiffany Network, something like And that's the way it is spun by official spokespersons. But maybe Uncle Walter Cronkite, who reportedly taped an intro for tonight's debut, will help her with that.

    Likability trumps credibility

    Foster Brooks for US Senate. Now that I've joined NWroots, I've felt motivated to check out the NPI's prolific blog more regularly. Last Friday's entry on Mike! McGavick's kinda-sorta disclosure practically forced me to comment:

    Maybe he was just too drunk to clearly remember what happened!

    Just think how useful that excuse would be for Mike!, as in --"a preemptive disclosure was a bad idea; man, I wish I hadn't been drunk when I decided to do that." Source

    And imagine what will happen if voters let Mike! get away with it: everyone will start doing it!

    Dick Cheney: "I just want to come clean and admit that when I denied linking Iraq to al-Qaeda, I was drunk. I'm sorry."

    Bill Frist: "It's not that I claimed I didn't own HCA stock, the truth is that I was drunk. Forgive me?"

    Katherine Harris: "I'm pretty much drunk all the time."

    Mel Gibson: "I was honestly too drunk to remember blaming Jews for war. I hope everyone will accept my apology. Uh, maybe if I saw the sugart*ts in question it would jog my memory."

    But you only get to use the drunk excuse once.

    Also today: Digital Trek

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    Posted September 1, 2006
    Gee, mail

    I'm not an email nerd, I've never tried Eudora or Thunderbird. I tend to use whatever POP client is already on the computer I'm working on--usually Outlook on a Wintel and Entourage on Mac.

    As far as webmail goes, I use that almost exclusively for personal email now, and until now I've used the webmail du jour provided by my website host. For a long time it was some no-name system that allowed me to change the background theme to things like River Rocks and Mountain Meadow. Then for the past month or so they switched me to something called @Mail which, I have to say, is the stupidest, inflexible, least intuitive, most poorly supported email program known to man.

    Thank god, therefore, for the amazing people at Northwest Progressive Institute, who this week issued invitations to join NW Roots, their new beta communications/organization networking service for progressive activists.

    The "" webmail component is powered by Google Gmail, and I'm totally into it after only two days. Everything about it so far is intuitive and logical, from the customized message labeling (no folders!), to the keyword filtering, to the way messages are displayed in threads (sort of like posts in Google Groups). Best of all is the ability to send messages that bear any of my other email addresses as the From address. So really I don't even have to let people know I have a new address, I just have to forward my old accounts to the new one, and use the appropriate address when I reply.

    Maybe this is all old hat to webmail powerusers, but its new to me.

    Color me skeptical. My King County absentee ballot arrived yesterday, along with the Playbill, aka the official voter guide. I'm thumbing through said Playbill, and there's a big explanation of a new ADA-compatible Accessible Voting Unit. Get this: it's a touchscreen, you swipe a card to ID yourself to it, and it prints, displays and securely stores a paper record of your vote-- the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail!

    Question: how is a Blind person supposed to verify a printed audit ticket?

    King County approved it and says it's secure, so I gotta wonder: what's wrong with it? It's the Accuvote TSx by Diebold. Turns out the TSx is the infamous San Diego Sleepovers machine, and that it is vulnerable to external tampering.

    So pick a party, mark your paper absentee ballot, mail it in (use a stamp), and then hope the county posts a web page of rejected ballots, as it did for the 2004 election.

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    There are 2 comments
    September 25, 2006 - 04:08
    Subject: Messy but effective

    I think that we know who the real "Devil" is. Only a minion of Satan would show up at the UN in a 4-button, shiny black, Euro-trash suit that went out of style about 5 years ago. man...when your tailor said "Hugo" he didn't mean Hugo boss.

    Reply to kvatch
    September 26, 2006 - 01:32
    Subject: Re: Messy but effective

    Hold on Kvatch-- red tie; Chomsky book. Obviously he's an al-Qaeda-type Lieberman-hating liberal Democrat!

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