Newsweek asks this week if it may be time for a New Patriotism. I’d say yes.
…Was it patriotic for the White House to instruct the EPA to put out a press release after 9/11 saying the air around Ground Zero was safe when there was no evidence for it? Was it patriotic to invade Iraq when there was no sign of an imminent threat and plenty to suggest that it would seriously detract from the war on Al Qaeda? Was it patriotic for the White House to allow American companies that reap millions in contracts with the Department of Homeland Security to incorporate in Bermuda in order to avoid paying taxes?
Perhaps most important, is it patriotic to define patriotism the old-fashioned way — as a kind of narrow nationalism? That jingoistic definition is carrying a price for the president, who must now go on bended knee to allies he so recently scorned. When you’re spending \$1 billion a week in Iraq, dissing our friends, as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have done consistently, seems to be a tad … counter-productive. Those “freedom fries” in the House cafeteria are burning us now; those gibes that John Kerry “looks French” don’t look so clever.
(via Robert Scoble)
Feedster is currently my favorite search engine for finding topical, up-to-the-minute information, and they just released a really nifty new feature today — the Feedbot.
Add ‘feedbot’ to whatever IM client you use, send it a message like ‘find apple imac’, and get the search results IM’d back to you. Very handy!
In 15 minutes, he attempted to make up for 15 months of misleading the American people and 15 weeks of mismanaging the reconstruction.
— Howard Dean responding to President Bush’s address to the nation, via CNN
The American Library Association’s list of the 100 most challenged books of the last decade. Titles in bold I’ve read:
- Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
- Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
- Forever by Judy Blume
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
- My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
- Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
- A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Sex by Madonna
- Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
- The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
- Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
- The Witches by Roald Dahl
- The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
- Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
- The Goats by Brock Cole
- Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
- Blubber by Judy Blume
- Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
- Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
- We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
- Final Exit by Derek Humphry
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- The Pigman by Paul Zindel
- Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
- Deenie by Judy Blume
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
- The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
- Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
- Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
- Cujo by Stephen King
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
- Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
- Ordinary People by Judith Guest
- American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
- What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
- Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
- Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
- Fade by Robert Cormier
- Guess What? by Mem Fox
- The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
- The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Native Son by Richard Wright
- Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
- Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
- Jack by A.M. Homes
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
- Carrie by Stephen King
- Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
- On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
- Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
- Family Secrets by Norma Klein
- Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
- The Dead Zone by Stephen King
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
- Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
- Private Parts by Howard Stern
- Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
- Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
- Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
- Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
- Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
- Sex Education by Jenny Davis
- The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
- Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
- How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
- View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
- The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
- The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
- Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
It’s an interesting, and somewhat sad list. Does Judy Blume get some sort of prize for being on the ‘questioned’ list so many times?
I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Sean Hannity Show, as reported by CNN
Here’s one hell of an “oops” — a greatly publicized study detailing the harmful effects of popular drug Ecstasy has been retracted after the scientist realized that instead of Ecstasy, methamphetamine had been used in the experiments.
“We write to retract our report ‘Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of MDMA (Ecstasy)’ following our recent discovery that the drug used to treat all but one animal in that report came from a bottle that contained methamphetamine instead of the intended drug MDMA,” Ricaurte said in the retraction, to be published in the Sept. 8 issue of Science.
While I’m certainly not going to promote drug use in general, or Ecstasy in particular, that’s one hell of a mistake to make, especially for such a widely-distributed report. Truth to tell, I’ve always been a little suspect of studies on both sides of many drug issues — for every study that comes out that claims any given drug is fine, causes no problems, and should be de-regulated, another will come out claiming that said drug will cause major biological and psychological disorders for the user and their descendants for the next twenty generations, and often both studies will come from groups apparently equally well credentialed. So who do you trust?
Jeffrey Zeldman has posted two ‘favelets’ for easy one-click site validation. Drag them onto your browser bookmark bar, and with one click, you can run any page you’re at through the W3C’s beta page validation service. Very handy.
On a related note, every page of this redesign validated from the get-go. The single issue I ran into was with a link in a story earlier where I’d forgotten to escape the ampersands in the link. The ampersand character — & — should be coded in valid HTML as
&, and failure to do so will result in broken validation. Unfortunately, because many database-driven sites use a URL format of
http://www.server.com/option1=“sample”&option2=“sample” or some such, you occasionally need to remember to fix the link so that it looks like
http://www.server.com/option1=“sample”&option2=“sample”. A minor annoyance, but not insurmountable. Once I got that link fixed, I validated without any further changes needed. Go me!
Jonas posted what to me is an absolutely fascinating post yesterday:
People often ask me, what – in my opinion – is the biggest of all differences between European and US-American societies. Most expect me to answer along the lines of crooked politicians (sorry, no difference, there), or the food, beer, and wine quality, but nawp. The most fundamental of them all, the mother-lode of differential lifestyles, the one thing that gives the deepest, most sincere, look into the respective societies, is the drivers test, and the DMV in general.
He then goes on to describe the amazingly different approach that Europe takes with people before letting them get behind the wheel of a car. To sum up:
- A six- to nine-week class (minimum).
- Actual in-car learning doesn’t start until around week three.
- Mandatory test driving situations, “including night-drives, driving in bad weather, and the no-hold-barred-no-speed-limits-anywhere Autobahn.”
- First-aid and roadside assistance training and testing is madatory.
- Final driving tests with an approximately 20% failure rate.
- A two-year probationary period after receiving your licence. Infractions within this time send you back to driving school.
That system is so much better than the ludicrously simple system we have here in the states. We get, what, a written test that a badly-trained monkey could pass, and a driving test that usually involves going around the block a few times? Then we’re allowed to get on the road, no holds barred. It’s really frightening when you stop to think about it — or when you get cut off at 65MpH on the highway.
Jonas sums it up quite nicely at the end of his post:
We expats get to hear a lot about the Second Amendment and its application back home. “They give guns to everyone?”, my friends ask. “Don’t mind it,” I usually reply, “they do much worse. They give cars to everyone.”
And here we go, folks — step one of the new design. It’s not completely finished yet, as all I’ve got active at the moment is the primary content, but the rest will follow soon enough.
Update: Okay, I should have thought to check this first, but this redesign has just proven — again — that Internet Explorer sucks. This may or may not get fixed in the future — I’m tempted to just leave it as-is. I’m doing things correctly, dammit, and it’s not my fault that that program doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Grrr.
Update: That’s it — we’re live. The only page I have yet to dink with is the ‘About’ page, but considering it’s 4:22am, I need to get to bed. All pages linked in the navbar now work, and there are even more choices for RSS feeds available (Full posts with comments, full posts without comments, and excerpts only). I still haven’t looked into the IE wierdnesses, but that will come. Maybe.
Emily and Amy in Pioneer Square, Seattle.