Archive for December 2nd, 2007

New & Improved Photoblogging

Thanks to what can only be called a Christmas shipping miracle, I managed to get my new D300 camera in my hot little hands less than two hours before I had to leave for my grandfather’s 90th birthday. So without further ado, here’s the first crop of photos taken with the new photobeast:

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When life hands you a wing seat, make, um… wingseatade.

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The Newark airport, in glorious living color.

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And in black & white.

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I was mainly looking to test the D300’s high ISO performance. It’s pretty good – definitely better than the D200 was.

2 comments December 2nd, 2007 at 09:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Aerial,Photoblogging

Sabotage

Hey, remember 2004?

Remember when Cheney were telling us that if Kerry was elected, we would be attacked by terrorists? I have to wonder if BushCo. wants to actively invite a terrorist attack under their (presumably Democratic) successor’s watch:

The Bush administration intends to slash counterterrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments across the country by more than half next year, according to budget documents obtained by The Associated Press. The Homeland Security Department has given $23 billion to states and local communities to fight terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks, but one document says the administration is not convinced that the money has been well spent and thinks the nation’s highest-risk cities have largely satisfied their security needs.

The department wanted to provide $3.2 billion to help states and cities protect against terrorist attacks in 2009, but the White House said it would ask Congress for less than half – $1.4 billion, according to a Nov. 26 document. The plan calls outright elimination of programs for port security, transit security, and local emergency management operations in the next budget year. This is President Bush’s last budget, and the new administration would have to live with the funding decisions between Jan. 20 and Sept. 30, 2009.

Yeah, they’re real committed to the War On Terror, all right. Fortunately, it sounds like Congress isn’t real enthusiastic about the administration’s Cunning Plan. Hopefully the Democrats will be able to make some campaign hay on this next year. Being labeled soft on terror is pretty much the worst thing that could possibly happen to the GOP.

(h/t ellroon)

1 comment December 2nd, 2007 at 05:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

Spamamine

I sure do love the Random Gibberish Spam. This one is titled “homotopy,” and purports to be from ArnulfogeometricianStark@icio.us.

slab inexperience voracity voracity kombu goldsmith
bullfrog delaney bullfrog emerald individuate upswing goldsmith bullfrog headroom burlesque
instillation cornish
hangman hermetic temptress fabricate fabricate inexperience geometrician electric
individuate slab hadnt rang burlesque avesta
hangman kombu
burlesque westward avesta flank
electric flank geometrician throughout crackle shatterproof
walkout

Mr. Stark likes his bullfrogs, doesn’t he?

I especially like that “walkout” at the end to indicate that the performance is over. It’s almost like a stage direction: “I have stopped spamming you; go home!”

1 comment December 2nd, 2007 at 03:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Naive York Times

Today’s NYT lead editorial is about the dire need for campaign finance reform, which is absolutely true:

By next Election Day, the two presidential nominees are expected to break the $1 billion mark in combined spending – a 50 percent rise over the outrageously high price of the 2004 campaign. Congressional races will total out at hundreds of millions beyond that, while party organizations and their mushrooming stealth operations will run up their own deluxe tabs.

Even if the Supreme Court has started treating the cash of wealthy corporations and special-interest groups as free speech, there are responsible ways to put brakes on a runaway money train that promises to generate little in the way of voter turnout or issue elucidation.

The Federal Election Commission, normally weighted with machine loyalists from the two parties, has to become more of an enforcer of the law than an enabler of law-evaders. It must crack down harder on such blatant abusers as the noxious “527 committees” of 2004 that tapped illegal fat-cat donations to pass off bare-knuckle partisan operations as tax-exempt initiatives.

(…)

A second needed measure harks back to the felonies of Watergate, which resulted in the creation of publicly subsidized campaign financing as an alternative to special interest and private donations. The option worked well for the major nominees for 30 years, but Congress failed to update its subsidy levels for inflation. That – and the frenzied, early and decisive primaries – finds most of the current candidates rejecting the $65 million it would provide as so much chump change.

A worthy bill to restore public financing’s relevancy is scheduled to be introduced this week. It is solidly bipartisan and bicameral, sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold and Susan Collins and Representatives Christopher Shays and David Price. The subsidy and spending formulas would be repaired to allow candidates to be competitive without plunging into the money maelstrom.

The measure would take effect in 2012, so there’s no good reason why the current array of presidential candidates – some of them already burned by tainted fat-cat donors – should not join Senator Barack Obama in endorsing this step back toward campaign sanity.

Oh, NYT, NYT, NYT. In 2012, whichever Democrat gets elected will be running for re-election, as will most of Congress. Do they really want to make it easier to run against them? This is the fundamental obstacle to campaign finance reform, and always will be: Laws are made by incumbents, and incumbents will never pass a law that benefits their future challengers.

Serious campaign finance reform can only get passed if public disgust reaches such epic proportions that opposing it becomes political poison that it overcomes the natural advantages of incumbency, and I don’t see that happening any time soon, if ever.

December 2nd, 2007 at 01:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Media,Politics

Sunday Mr. Deity Blogging

I gotta be meek.

2 comments December 2nd, 2007 at 10:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Mr. Deity,Religion


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