the thing about Wisconsin

A little reality check on the Wisconsin State Senate: I love the drama and the crowds that the fourteen Democratic senators have helped along by fleeing the state to avoid a vote. And if the aim of this move is just to slow the rush to union-busting and allow for more debate, ok. But as an opponent of super-majority requirements like the cloture rule in US Senate and its de facto 60% super-majority, I have to point out that the denial-of-quorum strategy is analogous. If the Wisconsin electorate is going to elect a Republican majority in the Legislature and a Republican Governor, ultimately they should be allowed to vote/sign and then feel the heat unless what they’re doing is patently illegal or unconstitutional.

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Fitz and the Tantrums

Pickin’ Up the Pieces. Love this record. A little Motown, some War, AWB, BS & T, echoes of pop rock from the sixties, seventies, and eighties. I like Arcade Fire all right (though less so with each album), but for me this is Album of the Year.

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the end of Fannie and Freddie

I just heard Robert Scheer give a talk to Media Studies at Pomona College today. He discussed this Obama move, which was the subject of his column this week:

“Home Sweet Wall Street”

He is right both about how terrible and radical this is, and how meekly covered it was in the media. The federal government, whose deregulation and poor enforcement set the stage for the speculation binge that killed the housing market, now no longer wants to do anything to help lower-income Americans become homeowners?!

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black swan

Nina's wound

Leda and I saw Black Swan on Valentine’s Day. Not the most romantic choice, I know, but we hadn’t seen a film together in a theater in ages, and that’s what was on both our “to see” lists. I squirmed and winced way more than I thought I would, or that I would have earlier in my life, probably. Hmm. I thought the acting was excellent and the film looked great. I can’t say it was enjoyable to watch. Leda liked it more.

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new blogging platform

I just successfully converted my nearly moribund blog from Movable Type, which stopped offering affordable licences and support for older versions long ago, to WordPress. Yay WP! Maybe I’ll blog again occasionally, especially with this nifty FB integration. (This post is mostly to see how the latter works….)

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Lytle Creek hike, San Bernardino National Forest

A new way for me up into the San Gabriels. I got a late start, so thoughts of Cucamonga Peak were quickly dismissed, and I settled for Commanche Camp at just under 6,000′.

It was a beautiful day with great views, interesting rocks, and lots of good wildlife: a gorgeous mountain kingsnake, a handsome southern pacific rattlesnake,a deer, some songbirds, lizards everywhere, in pairs and complicated trios, this being springtime and all. There were quite a few flowers I don’t recall seeing over on our south side of the mountains. It was also the first buggy hike I’ve ever done in Southern California. Black flies were in my eyes, ears, and hair the whole trip, with mosquitoes as well in the shade. No rest breaks longer than five minutes; I just couldn’t stand it. Must be because of the wet winter. Two hours from trailhead to Commanche Camp, one and a half down. Forty-five minute drive from Claremont. The road up to the trailhead is in bad shape; I made it in my Honda Fit only because I’m stupid and stubborn. Low-clearance vehicles cross several dicey parts. The trail needs some work as well. There were a couple of stretches across eroded, unstable scree with terrifying exposure, literally hundreds of feet nearly straight down to unseen death on rocks hidden below. I won’t let my kids hike here until they’re twenty or so. :-0 I felt a little spooked at one point myself, and I’m kind of a mountain goat.

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“In defense of Polanski”–??

A screenwriter named Michael Chase Walker has been twittering, commenting, and, yesterday, letter-to-the-editoring, variations on this line:

Artists must by definition redefine their own moral universe, and this can be a terrible, ugly and devastating process. But what they “pay back” to us, what they contribute to society are enduring legacies we would barely fathom in our quotidian lives.

Is this guy for real? It sounds so much like satire. We’re supposed to walk away from confessed child rape in exchange for the great art mined from the abhorrent behavior?

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Mt. San Antonio, record time, record sore

Last Sunday I snuck away and climbed San Antonio for the first time this year. Only tiny patches of snow near the summit and clinging to north slopes. It was cool and breezy and the top, lots of hazy sun. I made the Sierra Club ski hut in 55 minutes, 20 minute snack, and then 1:40 to the summit. I had lunch on West Baldy, a little less crowded than Baldy summit on Memorial Day Weekend! I bombed it straight back to the car, 1:50 and a couple of blisters. Sore thighs ever since! :-(

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Luiza’s First Day of Real Walking

January 29, 2009 (click picture for video):

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