July 2nd, 2009


I am pretty sure they would yell if it was anyone else

According to Politico,

For $25,000 to $250,000, The Washington Post is offering lobbyists and association executives off the record, non-confrontational access to "those powerful few" — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health-care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."


"Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate," says the one-page flier. "Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth ... Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama Administration and Congressional leaders …

“Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No. The relaxed setting in the home of Katharine Weymouth assures it. What is guaranteed is a collegial evening, with Obama Administration officials, Congress members, business leaders, advocacy leaders and other select minds typically on the guest list of 20 or less. …

“Offered at $25,000 per sponsor, per Salon. Maximum of two sponsors per Salon. Underwriters’ CEO or Executive Director participates in the discussion. Underwriters appreciatively acknowledged in printed invitations and at the dinner. Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 … Hosts and Discussion Leaders ... Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post ... An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done. ... A Washington Post Salon ... July 21, 2009 6:30 p.m."

Washington: it's all about who you know. If THE WASHINGTON POST is literally selling political access, that instantly vaults to into the top tier of media malfeasance. It also illustrates a major downside of large government: it winds up being not so much power to the people as power to the people who are politically connected.
catwoman and holly

request for aid!

OK. You have an assignment!

I have a young friend (one of three daughters of my former first grade teacher) who has just turned 14. Her mom mentioned a while back it'd be nice if they could get Jenny a little laptop of her own. Yesterday, I just belatedly realized that I could do that. About a year ago I bought an Asus eeePC netbook for use as a con computer. It worked admirably, but I've got my Kindle now, and it can do pretty much everything that I needed the Asus for -- and the Kindle fits in my jacket pocket. So the Asus has mostly been gathering dust, except for the times I've loaned it out to friends as an emergency replacement while theirs was in the shop. I figure I'm not using it, so I talked to her mom and she said it'd be wonderful if I passed it along as a hand-me-down. I just got a long-overdue paycheck, so I'm thinking while I'm at it I'll spring for a wireless router, which they don't currently have, to prevent squabbling over the connection and preserve family harmony. All told, I think this is a pretty awesome birthday present.

I'll be going up their way in a couple of weeks, so I have a little time to delete the pr0n get it ready, and then I realized: I AM ABOUT TO SET A FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL LOOSE ON THE INTERNET.

So! I request advice.

I want to preload some useful bookmarks. She doubtless has her own websites of interest, but what websites would a fourteen-year-old girl find useful and fun that she may not already know about?

I avoid Harry Potter fandom like the plague, but she loves Harry Potter. What are some good Harry Potter fansites? WITHOUT PORN, PLEASE. Fic, art, stories, reference works are all good and useful things, too.

The machine runs Linux. What is a good book on Linux that a 14-year-old would find relatively accessible? The Dummies series, or O'Reilly, or is there something better?

Other suggestions welcome.
H. Beam Piper

APED: "where you were"

Yes, I do miss my ex-girlfriend. Why do you ask?

I'll write something funny tomorrow! I promise!

The old chair in the living room is empty.
We each fought for the sofa, now it's free.
And so is the remote control, and so it's like the days of old
before you ever came to live with me.
And there are lots more spaces on the bookshelves,
and in the closets, and in all the drawers,
and tabletops and bassinets, and I won't miss that bedroom set,
but the heart is never empty, only sore:
and it's nothing and it's everything, the silence you confer
on all the empty spaces where you were.

And that tiny bathroom closet's gotten bigger now,
and I can use both pillows if I choose.
I'll get my way in everything. Once again, I am the king --
so why is it I only feel I lose?
All my things stay just exactly where I put 'em,
even if I shouldn't put 'em there.
It's been six days since I caved, that's the last time that I shaved
but I just can't bring myself to care.
And our photographs are put away, our history interred
in all the empty spaces where you were.

I've still got the sofa, and the bookshelves,
the remote control, and that torn old chair.
I've still got more things than that. I've even got the goddamn cat.
Everything important still is there.
Everything I need and ever wanted,
Everything that makes me who I am
Everything, I guess that's true, everything except for you:
life happens when you're making other plans.
The things that I still have are mine, but empty's all I see
like the empty spaces in your heart
the empty spaces in your heart
the empty spaces in your heart
where I used to be.