Archive for January, 2008

Portable eBook Readers

January 31, 2008

For everyone’s info, here is a list of portable ebook readers and related websites:

eBookwise eBook Reader

iRex iLiad eBook Reader

Kindle� eBook Reader

Sony Portable Ebook Reader

The above are the four main readers available to the public. I personally do not have any preference, but all four readers have received good reviews and they do serve a valuable service in promoting reading. Check out each site, and should you decide to buy one you now have more than one option.

Another related website:
ebook Website Gallery

Michael Shermer, the Self-Described Skeptic Turns Gullible on 911

January 31, 2008

Disciples Share "Obama Conversion Stories"

January 31, 2008

. . . But the clincher came on March 17, when she met the Democratic contender face to face. She describes how he lit up the room with his wide smile, shook her hand and thanked her for volunteering.

He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words,” said Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and whispered something in her ear � she was so thrilled she doesn’t remember what it was. […]

Values are not just concepts, they’re feelings,” Ganz said. “That’s what dropped out of Democratic politics sometime in the ’70s or ’80s.” […]

Just follow Barack’s lead and be honest with them,” [Obama’s] site advises. “You don’t need to debate policy or discuss the day’s headlines. You have a very personal reason for investing your time and energy in this campaign � that is the most compelling story you can tell.”

Indeed, participants in the Saturday morning precinct-captain training were already adept at telling their Obama-conversion stories.

Libbie Coleman, a 61-year-old microbiology teacher at McClatchy High School, read Obama’s books last spring.

“I’ve been a voter for 40 years,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been needing to hear these things for 40 years.”

“Obama basic training”, by John Hill. January 31, 2008.

Canada’s Oldest Book Store Closing — A Sign Of Things To Come

January 31, 2008

From Global National:

The Book Room in Halifax – billed as the oldest bookstore in Canada – is shutting its doors after 169 years.

“The staff and I are both really sad about having to do this,” Charles Burchell, president of The Book Room Limited, said Tuesday. “But we just realized that after watching the sales for the last year that it just wasn’t viable anymore, as far as we were concerned. There were too many other factors at work.”

Business actually started slipping slightly in the last couple of years, culminating this December in “the worst Christmas ever,” said Burchell, who has been with the store 42 years.

Read more ….

My Comment: I visited this store 5 years ago when i was staying in Halifax for the summer. I am involved with a project that I know will put all of these independent stores out of business. Regrets …. yes of course I feel them……progress usually is.

GOP Economics: Keep on Doing Whatever Makes You Sick!

January 30, 2008

You can’t understand the Bush legacy until you come to grips with the GOP mentality best summed up thus: just keep repeating failed strategies, just keep on doing whatever makes you sick, just keep on drinking from the poisoned well.

Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834 wounded in Iraq, and finally say, �Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me� � only to follow that by proposing to repeat the identical mistake … in Iran.

Keith Olbermann

It’s not only in Iraq that the GOP hitched its wagon to a falling star. “It’s the economy stupid”. Though every GOP tax cut since 1982 are causally connected with huge deficits, slow growth and obscene inequalities, the GOP is on the stump for tax cuts. Naomi Klein reports that “the fix is in” and the National Association of Manufacturers must be ecstatic to know that whomever the GOP nominates, he will put more tax cuts at the top of “to do” list. Given Ronald Reagan’s record and given the Chinese origin of the crap I find in Wal-Mart, I am somewhat surprised to learn that there remains in this country enough “manufacturers” to make up an association!

A GOP sacred word is “stimulus” and people naively support them expecting a trickle down effect which never comes. Dogs are trained by giving them a treat at the end of a trick. It is doubtful that a dog will jump through the hoop if there is nothing on the other side. Humans and especially the GOP inclined are not nearly so smart. Year after tiresome year, those susceptible to GOP propaganda will fall for the same old GOP bullshit: let’s give business a “stimulus” and wait for the trickle down that never comes. I am weary of posting, year after year, the cold hard stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (primarily) that prove conclusively that there has never been a “trickle down” effect from any of those sacred GOP stimuli. GOP “stimuli” never work because they are always inequitable. They never reach nor benefit the people whose work and purchases drive the economy. GOP “stimuli” stop trickling at the bottom of an increasingly tiny elite who simply squirrel them away in ways that never trickle down.

It was Nixon who turned Republicans into “liberals”. When he acceded to a significant deficit, Nixon famously said “We are all Keynesians now!” That’s not entirely true. Keynes never proposed that tax cuts that would benefit only the very wealthy. Keynes, like every real economist, subscribed to the “labor theory of value”. That is most certainly the reason he is reviled by the American right wing. The right wing not only hates labor as a class, it associates the “labor theory of value” with Karl Marx, though every other reputable economist had already done so. Marx was not all that revolutionary.

The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it…. Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things.

–Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

To this day, Adam Smith, of “invisible hand” fame, is the guardian angel of conservative economics. Since that time Ricardo articulated the most clear-cut, effective statement of the labor theory in Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

The produce of the earth�all that is derived from its surface by the united application of labour, machinery, and capital, is divided among three classes of the community; namely, the proprietor of the land, the owner of the stock or capital necessary for its cultivation, and the labourers by whose industry it is cultivated.

The value of a commodity, or the quantity of any other commodity for which it will exchange, depends on the relative quantity of labour which is necessary for its production, and not as the greater or less compensation which is paid for that labour.

-David Ricardo, The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

Ricardo eliminated the confusion between labor, a source of exchange-value, and wages, as a component of price. Modern conservatives will never forgive Ricardo his having been cited by Karl Marx, the American right wing’s boogie man of choice for some 150 years.

Insofar as modern socialism, no matter of what tendency, starts out from bourgeois political economy, it almost without exception takes up the Ricardian theory of value. The two propositions which Ricardo proclaimed in 1817 right at the beginning of his Principles, 1) that the value of any commodity is purely and solely determined by the quantity of labour required for its production, and 2) that the product of the entire social labor is divided among the three classes: landowners (rent), capitalists (profit), and workers (wages)–these two propositions had ever since 1821 been utilized in England for socialist conclusions, and in part with such pointedness and resolution that this literature, which had then almost been forgotten and was to a large extent only rediscovered by Marx, remained surpassed until the appearance of Capital.

Statement of the Classical Labor Theory of Value

American capitalists, otherwise called “robber barons”, never really subscribed to “laissez-faire” economics. Rather, they preferred monopoly if they could pull one off or, failing that, oligopoly.

Bush’s failures in Iraq as well as his numerous calamities in the economic sphere are bound up with one another as well as with his every other failure. The panoply of right wing calamities cannot be considered in isolation. All parts make up a gestalt, a whole of many parts –lies, myths, tortured logic, simplistic homilies, slogans, platitudes, claptrap, propaganda, and class warfare. The Iraq quagmire, for example, is not merely a war of naked aggression, it is an economic vampire sucks the life out of the US economy, harming the middle and lower income class most. Bush is unconcerned. His job has been to make Iraq safe for the robber barons of big oil. Bush proposes to do it with permanent bases. Trickle down theory will be disproved yet again. The oil profits that will ensue will only enrich the Dick Cheneys of this word. The “people” will continue to pay higher prices at the pump, they will continue to lose ground vis a vis the upper ten percent of the upper 20 percent (the upper quintile). That’s why we fought the war.

Should –God forbid –another Republican steal the White House, he will go back to well. Indeed, the GOP candidates are on the stump preaching the same old crap. Nothing, absolutely nothing has been learned from the Bush debacle. Republican remorse is akin to crocodile tears. Republican are, indeed, sorry; they are sorry that Bush got caught. They are sorry that the failures and inadequacies of right wing economics have been laid bare.

But of all the cynical scrambles to package pro-business cash grabs as “economic stimulus,” the prize has to go to Lawrence B. Lindsey, formerly President Bush’s assistant for economic policy and his advisor during the 2001 recession. Lindsey’s plan is to solve a crisis set off by bad lending by extending lots more questionable credit. “One of the easiest things to do would be to allow manufacturers and retailers” � notably Wal-Mart � “to open their own financial institutions, through which they could borrow and lend money,” he wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal.

–Naomi Klein, Why the Right loves a disaster

Klien has picked up the trail, researching “a little-explored area of economic history”. She is interested in how manufactured “crises” are exploited by the right wing and, in fact, have “paved the way for the march of the right-wing economic revolution across the globe.” Social Security, as I have pointed out repeatedly, is a case in point. The GOP will break Social Security in order to “fix” it. But the fix will enrich only Wall Street Insiders and leave retirees worse off. Even now lemmings in the financial establishment are demanding that because Bush’s deficits are so huge, “spending” on Social Security will have be cut dramatically. I wonder –does this include the benefits already being paid to current recipients? If so, how is this justified morally? Or –is it a threat to those who, because of GOP lies and fiscal incompetence, have only Social Security to look forward to?

Thanks to the Bush’s immoral blunder in Iraq, this issue will loom large. Bush, if he indeed leaves the White House, will leave the nation this horrible legacy, a stench that will befoul the air and hang around, like an unwelcome, unkempt guest who moves in, stays, and refuses to just go away. Down and Out in Beverly Hills comes to mind.

Addendum: Bush’s Legacy in Official Stats (you might want a drink before you look at this)

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BU$Hitlers FINAL SOTU speech…BLAH BLAH BLAH, MORE FUCKING BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!

January 30, 2008

Did any of y’all manage to listen to ANY of that fucking goddamn piece of SHIT yap on and on and on last night?! I swear to Lord Satan, the ONLY way I did was via the great Mike Malloy CLOWNING out the Chimp! To all you 19%ers out there, I hope y’all didn’t hurt your private parts TOO badly while you jacked off so hard you shit the bed! Actually, I take that back, I hope y’all got something painful stuck up your assholes and had to go to the ER to get it removed!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and what REALLY cracked me the fuck up was how Man Or Monkey said this, get ready to fall out of your chairs, and I quote: “Seven years have passed since I first stood before you at this rostrum. In that time, our country has been tested in ways none of us could have imagined. We faced hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy, and the health and welfare of our citizens. These issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve answered the call.” VIGOROUS FUCKING DEBATE?!?!?! EXCUSE ME YOU SCUMBAG MOTHERBUTTFUCKER, but, you have done EVERYTHING within your power since you stole office in 2000 from my backyard of Palm Beach TO SQUASH DEBATE!!! Oh yeah, like we forget you and your goddamn “FREE SPEECH ZONES”!??!!? And how anyone who “dares” to go on a freakin airplane wearing a t-shirt that’s even the slightest bit critical of Your Holy Majesty gets interrogated by Nazi Thugs for 900 hours?! BLOW IT OUT YOUR FUCKING ASS GEORGIEPOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got something VIGOROUS for you, RIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT HEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Piece of shit. And gods help your sorry bitch ass if you even THINK of Martial Law and not leaving office. Pack your shit and go to fucking Paraguay like all the other cowardly Nazi scum.

"’Da Monks Crib"

January 30, 2008
Didn’t have these pics downloaded earlier…wanted to post the pics to go with this weekend.
The top picture is of the Retreat house that we stay at. I LOVE SUBIACO!
The second picture is of the monastery side where the monks live, attached to the chapel…also known as “‘Da Monks Crib!”

tales from the young and the restless

January 29, 2008

Life has been moving at its usual pace, propelling us ever onward as a strong wind takes a balloon. Since last I wrote a few things have happened. I wound up getting the part-time Children�s (Infant�s-5th grade) Librarian position, receiving the call last Tuesday; she offered the job with the question, �Can you start tomorrow?�

And I did.

The position is only 20 hours a week but offers some interesting responsibilities that I haven�t yet had the chance to do, so I am excited for it. I am responsible for four regular programming elements:

  • Babies Storytime* (one/week for five week sessions)
  • Young Toddlers Storytime* (once/week five week sessions)
  • Afterschool Group* (1-5 grade)
  • Bedtime Stories* (Infant-11yrs.)

(* denotes a name change) as well as being responsible for updating the displays every other month, doing some collection development: working with the audiovisual collection for the Children�s DVD�s, audiobooks, and books on CD; and also helping with the occasional party, etc. I also get to work the Reference desk @6 hours/week.

Last week I had my first Babies Story time group (only 1 baby and her Mom showed up) and yesterday I had my first Young Toddler Storytime (31 attendees), and also began working on my displays for February�February birthdays of children�s authors, American History month, and National Weatherperson’s Day (2/5) (I am really trying to have some fun with weird notable days so I can showcase some fun books)�and assembling the sample art activities for the Valentines Day party which I am helping plan�while doing this I had a �I can�t believe I get paid to do this� moment. I also had my first reference shift today and really enjoyed that.

Have not heard back yet from the other part-time Adult Reference position I interviewed for last week. Did however hear from another library about a position I applied for a month ago. The position I applied for was already filled but the Director said that she was impressed with my resume and asked if I would be okay with being considered for their Children�s/Young Adult�s Librarian position. Whoa�need to check out what I sent to them�hang onto that one! So, I have an interview this Wednesday for that as well.

Otherwise, life has been…happening. I went out of town on retreat this past weekend, staying at Subiaco, a beautiful Benedictine retreat house about 50 minutes from my house. This was my 8th winter retreat there in the past 9 years; my church group goes there every January; so being there is almost like going home, being able to scout out my favorite corners, mold myself into a couch or the loft where I can sit and write for hours.

I spent a lot of time reflecting and enjoying the beauty of being in the middle of nowhere–something I miss about my old life, which at times seems a million miles away. The silence is an opportunity not only for reflection and an ability to calm the mind, but it is also a time to experience the beauty around, the views of Michigan pines topped with snow, set into a gray January sky full of brooding clouds, a hardened lake, the tracks from rabbits and deer gently pressed into an unused canvas of downy white. All this wonder and reflections and discussions based on some of the writings of Henri Nouwen made for an amazing weekend.

In other news: I finally received the paper copy for my degree in the mail. So funny how receiving that made it seem more real. I think part of me was still expecting a call from someone at school saying, �Oh, yeah, we changed our minds…you didn�t graduate after all. Sorry.� Now all my end of semester nightmares about not graduating can make way for nightmares about inadequacy as I begin my new library job.

Also, just learned that B1&B2 and TSOldtimer are coming out for a visit in a couple weeks�YAY for friends. Well, I have blathered on long enough though, guess that�s it for today.

"I couldn�t recall a single thing that he had said, and the speech dissolved into pure feeling, which stayed with me for days"

January 29, 2008

It was the day before the primary, and Obama began to improvise a theme, almost too much in the manner of Martin Luther King: �In one day�s time.� It carried him through health care, schools, executive salaries, Iraq�everything that Clinton had invoked, except that this was music. Then came the peroration: �If you know who you are, who you�re fighting for, what your values are, you can afford to reach out to people across the aisle. If you start off with an agreeable manner, you might be able to pick off a few folks, recruit some independents into the fold, recruit even some Republicans into the fold. If you�ve got the votes, you will beat them and do it with a smile on your face.� It was a summons to reasonableness, yet Obama made it sound thrilling. �False hopes? There�s no such thing. This country was built on hope,� he cried. �We don�t need leaders to tell us what we can�t do�we need leaders to inspire us. Some are thinking about our constraints, and others are thinking about limitless possibility.� At times, Obama almost seems to be trying to escape history, presenting himself as the conduit through which people�s yearnings for national transformation can be realized.

Obama spoke for only twenty-five minutes and took no questions; he had figured out how to leave an audience at the peak of its emotion, craving more. As he was ending, I walked outside and found five hundred people standing on the sidewalk and the front steps of the opera house, listening to his last words in silence, as if news of victory in the Pacific were coming over the loudspeakers. Within minutes, I couldn�t recall a single thing that he had said, and the speech dissolved into pure feeling, which stayed with me for days.

George Packer, New Yorker

Kennedy passes "Treasured Covenant" to Obama

January 28, 2008

I am convinced we can reach our goals only if we are “not petty when our cause is so great”– only if we find a way past the stale ideas and stalemate of our times – only if we replace the politics of fear with the politics of hope – and only if we have the courage to choose change.

Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can bring us that change.

Barack Obama is the one person running for President who can be that change.

I love this country. I believe in the bright light of hope and possibility. I always have, even in the darkest hours. I know what America can achieve. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it–and with Barack Obama, we can do it again.

Excerpt: Ted Kennedy’s Endorsement of Barack Obama January 28, 2008

“In the civic religion that is Democratic politics, the most treasured covenant was passed to the young Senator from Illinois.”

From CBS’ “Early Show” Harry Smith