athelind: (Default)

Survey says: Tea Party has Lower Approval Rating than Muslims and Atheists.



Can we stop pandering to them now?

Can we stop letting them drag our nation into the abyss in the name of "compromise" and "balance"?

Can we stop pretending that they're influential or even relevant to political discourse in the Untidy States?

They are not the change I voted for.

They are not the "American Values" my ancestors fought to forge and preserve.

athelind: (hoard potato)
Ah, summertime. Warm weather, ice cream, barbecue, and big-screen blockbusters -- and, as the broadcast networks settle firmly into Mid-Season hiatus, cable TV brings us new episodes of shows far better than anything the mainstream offers.

Two of my favorite shows have their season premieres this week: Burn Notice returned on Thursday, and Leverage debuts tomorrow night. Both shows, of course, involve ensembles of quirky characters, experts in a variety of extralegal activities, who band together to help the Victim of the Week get revenge on the bad guys making their lives difficult, while pursuing the not-entirely-benevolent agendas of their nominal leaders.

The big difference is a matter of resources: the Burn Notice team tends to scrounge and improvise, and have to stay off the grid most of the time; they deal with gangs, drug dealers, and the occasional international terrorist. The Leverage crew, on the other claw, scored big on their first outing, and have huge wads of cash to finance bleeding-edge technology; their adversaries are unscrupulous corporations and con men who screw the little people in ways that make them hard to touch in a court of law..

They both fall into my favorite genre: cool, competent people being cool and competent.

When you have two shows that are so similar in so many ways, you just have to ask yourself ...

Who'd Win?

If the team from Burn Notice somehow wound up on opposite sides from the Leverage team, who'd wind up on top when the dust clears? Let's ignore all the logical reasons about why they wouldn't ever get in a head-to-head; maybe it's mistaken identity; maybe David Xanatos arranges it all; maybe Nate Ford and Sam Axe meet in a bar, get drunk, and make a really, really stupid bet ...

... you know, that last sounds the most plausible.

[Poll #1755797]

Please explain your answer in the comments!



I voted.

Nov. 2nd, 2010 10:38 am
athelind: (veteran)
Have you?

For the record, I did not vote straight-ticket Democrat.

There were some promising-looking Green Party candidates for several offices.


athelind: (cronkite)
Due to recent events, I haven't been as politically vocal in this forum as I once was. So It Goes.

We've got an election coming up in this country next week, though, and The Big Picture matters, especially with Big Media so happily wedded to Big Stupidity these days.

Let's lead off with Senator Al "won by 312 votes" Franken's reminder that every vote counts. Even yours. That's right, you. He also opines:

The month Barack Obama was sworn in we lost 750,000 jobs in this country. With all due respect to the President, I think his analogy that the economy was a car in a ditch when he took office is just a little too static. Here's my analogy, which, in my opinion, is both more kinetic and, frankly, far more accurate.

When the President took office, not only had the car gone into a ditch, the car had flipped over and was rolling down a steep embankment. We, the American people, were in the back seat, and the Bush Administration had removed all the seat belts, so we were all flying around the interior of this car as it was rolling and flipping and careening down this steep embankment, headed to a 2,000 foot cliff. And at the bottom of that cliff were jagged rocks. And alligators.

Now, at noon on January 20th, 2009, as the car was careening toward the cliff, George W. Bush jumped out of the car.

President Obama somehow managed to dive in through the window, take the wheel and get control of the thing just inches before it went over the precipice. Then, he and Congress starting pushing this wreck back up the embankment. Now you can't push a car up an embankment as fast as it careens down the embankment, especially if some people are trying to push against you. But we got it going in the right direction. And slowly we've gotten ourselves up the embankment, out of the ditch and onto the shoulder of the road.

[Italics mine ... and I confess I'm not quite as optimistic as Sen. Franken that we're quite "up the embankment" yet. Then again, I count things like "war without end" and "condoning torture" as part of the mud on the slippery slope.]


To expand the "every vote counts" theme into one of Solidarity, [livejournal.com profile] velvetpage gives a concrete example from this week's Canadian elections:

Toronto: the vote on the left was split several ways, while the vote on the right was concentrated on one right-wing ideologue who got the ear of the suburbs by promising an end to corruption and a drastic reduction in social services that the suburbs use less anyway. Want to know how it is that a country where most people lean to the left of centre manages to keep electing these clowns? Here's how: there are so many good ideas and decent people on the left that people can't settle on just one, and with a first-past-the-post system, it means the right-wing guy with less than a majority often comes up from behind.


And with the preliminaries out of the way, some Quick Links:




Thanks to Mark Evanier, [livejournal.com profile] velvetpage, and most especially [livejournal.com profile] pseudomanitou for links and leads. Seriously, folks, [livejournal.com profile] pseudomanitou's LJ is the best Progressive News Aggregator I've encountered. I have a lot of news feeds, but PM's news posts put all the best stuff in one place.
athelind: (AAAAAA)
Last night's poll about "The Green Hills of Earth" inspired a wave of "Other" responses, all listing a different song in the Common Meter.

Some of them work for me; some of them don't. (The Yellow Rose of Texas? Seriously??)

But one thing's for sure: after a while of trying to sing these lyrics to all these different tunes, the tunes all start to run together in your head ...




athelind: (green hills of earth)
It's late, and we're in the hotel bar. Maybe it's the starport hotel, or maybe it's just this year's convention. It doesn't matter. It's late, and maybe we've been drinking a bit too much, but someone starts singing, and, by the last three verses, we're all singing along.

All of us who know the lyrics, anyway, and what philistine doesn't know at least the chorus of "The Green Hills of Earth", by Rhysling, Blind Singer of the Spaceways?

The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
"ALL HANDS! STAND BY! FREE FALLING!"
And the lights below us fade.

Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet ---

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.


[Poll #1625842]


... can anyone think of something a little more hard rock that uses the Common Meter?


And here's the X Minus 1 radio adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's biography of Rhysling.
athelind: (Warning: Group Intellect)
Question:

When responding to a job posting that doesn't list a specific contact person, what's the best way to open a cover letter? I've been using "Dear Sir or Madam", but that sounds a little vague, a little stiff, and a lot like the opening to a Beatles song.

Obviously, the ideal option is to address a cover letter to a specific person, by name, but this is not always possible.

Should I stick with "Dear Sir or Madam", use some other gender-neutral salutation, or just leave it off entirely and dive right into the "Look At Me, I'm Wonderful!" part of the letter?

[Poll #1561114]


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