December 23rd, 2010



Monday, early Christmas dinner with the parents.
Tuesday, tasty Indian dinner for a cool chick's birthday, followed by a late movie.
Yesterday, taking care of a certain patient, then hitting the bar with some cool people, and an unfortunately late night thereafter.
Tonight, last minute shopping, laundry, and packing.
Tomorrow morning, picking up the munchkin, leaving for South Carolina for the holiday with M.'s family. Driving!
Next Tuesday evening, returning stateside.
Next Wednesday, back to work.


Ethanol, cyberpunk, and the surveillance state

"One of the hallmarks of an authoritarian government is its fixation on hiding everything it does behind a wall of secrecy while simultaneously monitoring, invading and collecting files on everything its citizenry does."

* Good reading: NPR series on the ethanol debate.
* The lame duck session that wasn't.
* Great. New legislation will make it even harder to close Guantanamo.
* Bruce Sterling connect Wikileaks to cyberpunk.
* Israel goes big on settlement expansion.
* The census numbers for Nevada tell an interesting story.
* Huh. Six hospitalized during filming of Uwe Boll's Dungeon Siege sequel.
* Cubone! presents seven dark origins of loveable children's characters.


Party of no

"While many Americans understand that you need 60 votes to break a filibuster, relatively few realize that you need about a week of floor time on the Senate to even take those votes - and the minority has been quick to understand that time is precious in the modern Senate, and so the mere threat of a filibuster on less-pressing items like nominations is enough to stop them cold. It's not that Reid doesn't have 60 votes to break the filibuster, but that he doesn't have a week to spend doing it.

"It's no surprise that some Senate Democrats want to see the practice reworked. What's remarkable is that all Senate Democrats want to see it reworked. It's not just the young senators like Jeff Merkley and Tom Udall and Michael Bennett, but the older veterans like Barbara Mikulski and Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin.

"Their unity stems from an unlikely source Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has mounted more filibusters in the past two years than occurred in the '50s and '60s combined. Uncontroversial bills like an extension of unemployment benefits that passed 97-0 and food-safety legislation that passed with 73 votes frequently faced multiple filibusters and months of delay. The minority has been so relentless and indiscriminate in deploying the once-rare failsafe that the majority has finally decided to do something about it."