Blogging With No Exit

Crossposted from my EchoDitto blog.

I am not a developer. I’m a writer with just enough technical knowledge to be dangerous. So there’s probably a lot I don’t know about creating blogging software. I’m not the guy who builds the platform. I’m the guy who comes goes comes in, redecorates, adds some content, and makes the place his own.  

I’m also in the process of having a house built.  Now, I’m not a builder either, and there’s definitely a lot I don’t know about building a house. However, I know the one I’ll soon be living in has a front door, a back door, lots of windows and several other ways to get in and out. It’s something I almost take for granted. So, why is it that my blogging platform has a way to get in (via import) but no way to get out? Why do developers build blogging platforms with no internal export function?

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links for 2006-05-22

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A Playlist for Hillary

Hillary Clinton has an iPod. Yeah, and so do Condi, Dubya, and at least half of Washington, based on my observations during the morning and evening commutes. What’s on it is the real interesting question.

“I’ve got everything — a total smorgasbord,” the 58-year-old senator said.

Songs from Clinton’s youth figure heavily in the selection of about 1,000 songs, said Clinton, who called herself “a child of the ’60s and ’70s.” The mix includes Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Take it to the Limit” by The Eagles, she said.

C’mon Hillary. Gimme some titles that say something about you. Put Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” on there. And if you’re into Aretha, I might suggest “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” And while we’re at it, if you want to hint at your politics of late I’d suggest “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror. (I’m specifically thinking of the lyrics “It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right…”.)

Those are my suggestions, anyway. Anybody out there got some more appropriate suggestions for HIllary?

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I know the Bush economic plan is to stick our kids with the bill for their war, tax cuts, etc. I just thought they’d be out of high school when the bill came due.

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links for 2006-05-21

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Shorter Power Line

I don’t read the Power Line blog that often, because I don’t often read right wing blogs, but when I saw that the Daou Report had linked to their post about Ray Nagin’s election win in New Orleans, I went over to read the whole thing.

The short version is this: Dumb niggers elected the wrong person.

Ray Nagin, who came up so short during Hurricane Katrina, has been re-elected mayor of New Orleans. A recent Tulane University poll had shown Landrieu leading Nagin by 10 percentage points. But the race was hard to predict because the electorate was scattered by Katrina, and no one was sure of the extent to which it had returned….

Having witnessed Marion Barry repeatedly elected mayor of Washington, D.C., I can’t say I’m surprised at Nagin’s success. Re-electing an unsuccessful or disgraced mayor apparently can become a source of civic pride, particularly when the racial politics are right.

It goes back to something I’ve said before about what conservatives usually say about black voters who fail to vote Republican, even though Mitch Landreiu is also a Democrat.

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Posted in Current Events, Katrina, Politics, Race | 1 Comment

links for 2006-05-20

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Find Me Some Fiction

As I’m just starting to revise the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, and it might be a good idea to change that.

So, I need some suggestions for fiction reading. I’ve got a copy of The Plot Against America waiting to be read, and I’ve made an note to get a copy of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. I’ve also had a desire recently to finish Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which I started a while back but never finished. I’m also thinking of rereading The Third Life of Grange Copeland, an old favorite of mine by Alice Walker

I’ve also started reading Anne Lamot’s Bird by Bird : Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and I realize I’ve never read any of her fiction. And the same goes for Anne Tyler, whose Digging to America sounds interesting too.

So, I’m asking for some fiction recommendations. You can leave them in the comments here, or at my should-read list on All Consuming.

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Oklahoma Court OKs Gay Adoptions

I covered Oklahoma’s anti-gay adoption law — which not only prevented gay adoptions in the state, but also prohibited the state from recognizing adoptions granted in other states to same sex couples — when it was passed by the Oklahoma House and Senate. I wondered then how it could possibly stand. Well, it didn’t.

A federal court Friday struck down an Oklahoma law described as being so extreme it had the potential to make children adopted by same-sex couples in other states legal orphans when the families are in Oklahoma.

Although single gays may become the parent of adoptive children same-sex couples are barred from adopting and law allowed the state to invalidate adoptions where couples have been awarded joint parenting rights in states where co-adoption is legal.

In a 31 page ruling the court was highly critical of the state legislature for passing the law.

“The very fact that the adoptions have occurred is evidence that a court of law has found the adoptions to be in the best interests of the children,” wrote U. S. District Judge Robin Cauthron.

It’s a relief, not because we ever plan to travel to or through Oklahoma, but because gay parents in Oklahoma don’t have to live with the possibility of having their relationships to their children nullified by state law. And their kids don’t have to worry about the state making them orphans.

But it’s also a sign that homo-haters are shooting themselves in the foot through the sheer virulence of their hatred. Georgia’s overreaching attempt to not only ban gay marriage but also nullify any legal relationships between same-sex couples was recently overturned. Now Oklahoma’s similarly overreaching ban on gay adoptions, which would effectively nullify our legal relationship to Parker if we ever found ourselves in Oklahoma, has met the same fate. There’s a good chance that Virginia’s law, which also nullifies any legal relationships between same-sex couples — driving some from the state — faces a similar challenge.

I know some people would like to legislate us and our families right out of existence, if possible. But for the time being, at least we have a court system that still protects the rights of minorities, which means minorities still have rights. For the time being, anyway.

Posted in Current Events, Family, Gay Rights, Politics | 1 Comment

links for 2006-05-19

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Wow, Calories Really Do Count

I almost hesitate to write about this, because the subjects of diet and weight are pretty well loaded. But I saw this over on the miniblog at Waveflux, it struck me funny because I am one of those people who buys that food in 100 calorie packages.

The message is clear: Don’t open that big Pandora’s box of sweet temptation! Reach for a controlled calorie portion of foods you know and love but thought were off-limits if you were watching your weight.

The mastermind is the Nabisco company (marketed by Kraft Foods), which latched onto a number — 100 — that doctors and nutritionists approve of for a snack. Nabisco launched the line in July 2004 with five varieties of the company’s popular cookies and crackers reformulated to meet the 100-calorie limit. They’re more expensive than the originals (see “Paying for Portions,” Page 2), they’re definitely less substantial and they don’t taste exactly the same. But consumers like them enough to have generated more than $100 million in sales within a year. Other companies have followed.

The idea seems to appeal to people who care about portion control but don’t want to count calories, those who yearn for familiar foods in calorie-controlled portions, people in search of a convenient packable treat and the weak-willed — meaning most of us — who find it hard to eat just one cookie. After all, with an open box nearby, it’s easy to eat a whole lot more than 100 calories.

And ya know what? It actually worked for me. Or at least the handy 100 calorie packaging helped a lot.

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Fatwa in Effect

It’s as I suspected. Yesterday I posted an update on the situation with religious anti-gay death squads in Iraq, after seeing an article describing ongoing attacks despite reports that Iraqi cleric Ali al-Sistani had lifted the fatwa against gay men (though not lesbians) and deleted it from his website.

I suspected that the fatwa might still be in effect, despite previous reports, and it looks like I was right. David Ireland, who’s been reporting the story from the start, reports that Sistani has retreated on the anti-gay fatwa.

The fatwa itself, however, remains in force, and has not been publicly repudiated by the grand ayatollah, who is the supreme religious authority for Iraq’s Shia Muslims.

… While welcome, the removal of the murderous fatwa from Sistani’s Web site is unlikely to affect the situation on the ground in Iraq, where death squads of the Badr Corps—now operating in police uniforms with the authorization of the Iraqi Interior Ministry—continue their lethal campaign of terror against gay people. Absent any public repudiation by Sistani of his fatwa and its formal withdrawal, the wave of organized intimidation, violence, and murder directed at Iraqi gays is likely to persist unabated.

… “We welcome the decision to remove the most murderously homophobic part of Sistani’s fatwa from his Web site,” gay Iraqi refugee Ali Hili, coordinator of Iraqi LGBT – UK, said from London. Ali is also Middle East Affairs spokesman for the British LGBT rights movement, OutRage!, which works closely with the Iraqi gay group.

But, Hili, said, “This decision does not go far enough. The fatwa has been removed from Sistani’s Web site only. It has not been revoked. We want the entire fatwa withdrawn, including the hateful denunciation calling for the punishment of lesbians. We urge Sistani to apologize and revoke, in public, his fatwa calling for the murder of homosexuals, and to issue a new fatwa condemning all vigilante violence, including vigilante attacks on gay and lesbian people. We believe that Sistani’s fatwa has encouraged and sanctioned the current wave of execution-style assassinations of lesbians and gay men. He owes gay Iraqis an apology. He owes all Iraqis an apology for setting straight Iraqis against gay Iraqis.”

When the histories of our misadventure in Iraq are written, I hope Ireland or someone else close to the story will document what has happened to the Iraqi gay community in the aftermath of the invasion, and during the occupation.

I don’t expect most Americans to care, and perhaps not many people in the world. But it’s an atrocity committed on our watch, and one that no one who has the power and resource to do the job is doing anything to stop. Iraqi gays & lesbians are left on their on to be hunted by religious death squads, with no help except fro those who can do little more than report their stories and spread news of what’s happening.

So, I hope someone records all of this, in of only so that if someone has the conscience to examine it later they can.

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Friday Random Ten – “The Thursday Night Edition”

Just in case I’m to busy to post on Friday, this was easy enough to put together and schedule on Thursday night.

And-a-one: Fire up the MP3 player

And-a-two: Shuffle the whole collecttion

And-a-three: Away we go with the first ten.

  1. Mrs. McGrath from the album “We Shall Overcome – The Seeger Sessions” by Bruce Springsteen
  2. War of Words from the album “Necks Move” by Deep Thinkers
  3. Free Your Mind from the album “Best Of En Vogue” by En Vogue
  4. Was That All It Was from the album “70’s & 80’s” by Jean Carne
  5. Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves from the album “Cher Greatest Hits” by Cher
  6. Looking Up from the album “Buddha Lounge (Disc 1)” by Dave Warrin, Julius Papp & Lisa Snow
  7. Stand By Me from the album “Higher Ground” by The Blind Boys Of Alabama
  8. Siya Dengelela Kgonyama from the album “Kharma Beats – Joy” by Sangomas
  9. Remind Me (Radio Edit) from the album “Melody Am” by Royksopp
  10. Them There Eyes from the album “Billie Holiday Remixed Hits” by Pearl Mix

Care to share?

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Apology Not Accepted

Kudos to Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams has recommended that minister Alfred Owens apologize for blatantly homophobic remarks made during a sermon.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams threatened yesterday to remove a prominent minister from his interfaith council if the minister does not issue a public apology for derogatory remarks he made about gay men during a Palm Sunday sermon last month.

Williams (D), who made his position known at his weekly news briefing, said he had been unsuccessful in trying to contact Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr., pastor of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church.

… The mayor said yesterday: “If you can be shocked, saddened and disappointed all at once, I really am, because I really have to condemn remarks made like that whenever they’re made against any group on the basis of sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity or anything else.”

Williams said he expected public contrition from Owens. “Otherwise, we would have to discontinue that relationship, and I would really regret that because he really has been a great leader in our city.”

The “minister,” true to form has issued a pseudo-apology in the form of a letter to the editor in the Washington Post.

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Posted in Current Events, D.C., Gay Rights, Politics, Race, Religion | 1 Comment

links for 2006-05-18

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