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Today's Ride:

53.4 miles. Novato -> Tomales Bay -> Point Reyes Station -> Novato
marin county flowers
harp on bike
mat on bike
marin county

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1 Story, 5 Ledes:

Which One Of These Is Not Like The Others?

MSNBC : Republican lawmakers seek to discredit Clarke
Senior Republicans in Congress sought Friday to declassify testimony that former White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke gave in July 2002, saying he may have lied under oath and discredited his scathing criticism of President Bush’s response to the terrorist threat.

New York Times : Leaders of G.O.P. Try to Discredit a Critic of Bush
Republican Congressional leaders said Friday that they would seek to declassify past Congressional testimony from Richard A. Clarke, President Bush's former counterterrorism chief, in an effort to demonstrate that the former aide had lied this week about Mr. Bush's record.

Washington Post : GOP Leaders Seek Release of Clarke's 2002 Testimony
The Senate's top Republican called yesterday for declassifying Richard A. Clarke's testimony before a House-Senate intelligence panel two years ago to determine whether he lied, as partisan exchanges intensified over allegations leveled this week by the Bush administration's former counterterrorism chief.

CNN : GOP: Declassify Clarke's 2002 testimony
The Senate's top Republican demanded Friday that testimony former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke gave before a congressional panel investigating the September 11 attacks in 2002 be declassified to determine whether he lied Wednesday to an independent commission probing the tragedy.

Fox News : Republicans Want Clarke Testimony Declassified
Former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke may have lied under oath when he faulted President Bush's handling of the War on Terror, key Republicans in Congress contended Friday.

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Word Photo

I really like the concept of Word Photo:
This site presents photographers with a challenge - take a new photograph specifically for the word of the day, and post it for the rest of us to see. The only description and caption you get to include with your image is the word of the day (which the site does for you).
I've uploaded a couple of pictures now. But one thing that bothers me about the site is that people don't seem to be following the spirit (or letter) of the instructions.

For example, look at today's word, "fearless." You'll see a photo I took of my (city) bike helmet that I uploaded last night. When the automated email came in last night at 9:45 PM, pacific time, I thought about the word for a bit, and then went and snapped a few photos of my helmet (which has saved me from more than one bad tumble on Market Street). When I first checked the site, I noted that nobody had uploaded any images. I spent a few minutes importing and editing my picture, then went back to upload it. But when I got there, I found four other photos had already been uploaded--all of them taken during the daytime. When I checked back in today, I saw a (fantastic) photo by hbomb that I had seen (and enjoyed) a few weeks ago on another site. This already seems to be a common occurrence on WordPhoto, people uploading photos that they've taken previously that fir the word theme, rather than taking a photo specifically for the word. It doesn't bother me, I still get a lot of value out of the exercise myself, but it does seem kind of weak.

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1000 Words:

Bush Campaign Gear Made In Burma

Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 and Executive Order

President George W. Bush

Washington, DC
July 28, 2003

Today, I have signed into law the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 and an executive order sending a clear signal to Burma's ruling junta that it must release Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, along with all other political prisoners, and move down the path toward democracy. These measures reaffirm to the people of Burma that the United States stands with them in their struggle for democracy and freedom.

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act is the result of close cooperation between my Administration and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, especially Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Tom Lantos. Among other measures, the legislation bans the import of Burmese products. The executive order freezes the assets of senior Burmese officials and bans virtually all remittances to Burma. By denying these rulers the hard currency they use to fund their repression, we are providing strong incentives for democratic change and human rights in Burma.

In May of this year, the Burmese government tightened its grip on the people of Burma when it organized an attack on the motorcade of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Since then, Burmese officials have ignored requests from around the world to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the NLD and to re-open NLD offices.

The repression of the Burmese regime contributes to problems that spill across Burma's borders, including refugee flows, narcotics trafficking, and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. These problems affect Burma's neighbors, and these nations must play an important role in resolving the current crisis. I urge the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to continue to make clear to the regime that its behavior is inconsistent with ASEAN's standards and goals. Burma should not be permitted to tarnish ASEAN's record as a positive force for progress. I also welcome the measures taken by the European Union and Japan to bring about democratic change in Burma.

The United States will not waver from its commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights in Burma. The United States has raised the situation in Burma at the United Nations Security Council, and will do so again as developments warrant. The world must make clear -- through word and deed -- that the people of Burma, like people everywhere, deserve to live in dignity and freedom, under leaders of their own choosing.

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Share an MP3: Go to Jail
(But you gotta tell us, okay? Better yet, just swing by the jail. Bring evidence. Thanks, yo)

Two new bills in California seem intended to scare the bejebus out of file-sharers.

S.B. 1506 and A.B. 2735 "would provide that it is a crime, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,500, imprisonment in a county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment for a person who is not the copyright owner to knowingly electronically disseminate a commercial recording or audiovisual work without disclosing his or her true name and address, and the title of the recording or audiovisual work."

In other words, if you're going to violate copyright law, please notify us. Isn't this sort of like requiring the bank robbers to be fingerprinted during holdups?

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Get Real: That Kerry Quote

It's so obviously the truth what Kerry said, and the Republicans are just having fun with it--everybody knows it's true. In the last six or seven months, I've been in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. I've met with leaders in all of those regions, and they have overwhelmingly--not unanimously but overwhelmingly--said that they hope that there's a change in leadership.--Former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
The Republican calls for Kerry to reveal which "foreign more leaders" (which does not equal heads-of-state) might have claimed they supported him are just preposterous. It's easy to make a big noise about something when you know that it's completely impossible for the other side to answer. What's Kerry supposed to do? Violate a confidence? Rat out his friends? His critics know he painted himself into a corner, that he can't answer, and they're exploiting it in typical Republican smearfest fashion.

If you think Bush enjoys any favor anywhere in the world outside of the United States; you obviously haven't traveled much lately. He's reviled. He's hated. Think people in California hate Bush? Talk to a Londoner. Talk to a Thai. Talk to a Brazilian. And by proxy, many of these people now hate America too.

Once, we were the good guys. We saved Europe from fascism and totalitarianism. We saved East Asia from Japanese rule. Even in the 90s, well after we became the only major player on the world stage and had a fifty year history of running amuck overseas, the United States enjoyed predominantly favorable opinions abroad. This is no longer the case.

Spain, after South Korea and Germany, is now the third nation in as many years where an election has been decided by one candidate essentially running against Bush. Leaders of these three nations--very publicly and very loudly--have denounced Bush and his policies. Perhaps they might favor a Kerry win? Do they count? If you travel, you encounter people from all over the world who want the man out, be they from Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Americas. Meanwhile, Kerry is extremely popular with our traditional allies. Does anyone really believe that some world leaders don't share this opinion? Why? Because they haven't been foolish enough to, like, you know, say it to his face?

When you announce to the entire planet that "you are either with us or against us," it isn't going to exactly endear you to those leaders who do not believe that the world is entirely black and white. In (sort of) winning the war in Iraq, Bush lost the war for the hearts and minds of world opinion when we needed them most.

Yet as the Bush campaign's Terry Holt correctly pointed out, "Kerry's foreign friends may prefer him as US president, but the election is in the hands of the American people." And popularity abroad has never gotten anyone elected President.

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You Were Eaten By a Grue

Zork for OS X

Or you can just play it in your terminal. Because you're hardcore like that. You go.

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Did the Saudis buy a president?

Salon is publishing excerpts from Craig Unger's new book House of Bush, House of Saud. Although you knew the two families were tighter than J Lo's jeans, some of the passages are just startling:
"In all, at least $1.476 billion had made its way from the Saudis to the House of Bush and its allied companies and institutions. It could safely be said that never before in history had a presidential candidate -- much less a presidential candidate and his father, a former president -- been so closely tied financially and personally to the ruling family of another foreign power. "
(emphasis mine)

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The Tyranny of Beautiful Days.

San Francisco is not known for its weather. We are not LA. We are not San Diego. We have fog, and it actually rains here sometimes, and in July, you'd better bring your jacket.

But when the weather is nice. When it is sunny, and there's not a cloud in the sky. It's unreal, deceptive, unbelievable. You think that maybe, just maybe, you've died. It's all over. Or that, for the weather to be this nice, there must be some disaster on the way. An asteroid. An earthquake. The mighty hand of God, smiting us all. For something that feels this good surely must be wicked. Surely there is a yang to this yin. Today 8:30 AM:

Everything is blue, except the buildings which glow pink and white in the California sun. It's warm, but not hot. Every breeze carries the scent of roses and trees in bloom. The clouds. Shouldn't there be clouds? What happened to clouds?

In Marin county, I top the hills on my bike. The Conzelman Loop my playground and second home. And you look out and you can see so far. So wide, so blue. Look! There are the Farallons. Look! The San Mateo Bridge! Look! San Jose! The only others out, during the week, other cyclists and raptors flying low in the sky. Beneath you, hovering over hillsides, as you fly over them on your bike.

San Jose!

And when I go screaming over the top of the hill there on Conzelman, when I go flying down the back side of Hawk Hill with a hoot and a rush of adrenaline. Or when I ride through the Presidio, or Golden Gate Park in the early morning as the city wakes. Or when I sit in the panhandle and sip coffee while I read the paper. I cannot imagine being anywhere else other than outside.

The great tragedy of adulthood is that it leaves us too often confined indoors. Locked in under fluorescents. Climate controlled. This is one of the things I love about being a freelancer. I set my own hours. If I choose, and work allows it, I can be outside all day, and work all night. And at one point, two years ago, I would throw myself out the door. Without steady work to fill my days, I chose the sun.

But lately, over the past six months or so, things have really taken off. I'm consistently writing for several publications, and am often putting in as many, and sometimes more, hours a week than I ever did when I had a full time job.

And although I can still get out in the week, things are not as they once were. Too often, these days, I am, like you, stuck indoors most of the time. Where is the justice in that? Confined to 15 minute breaks and lunch hour. An hour is not enough! And so I sit at my computer. Staring out the open window. Feeling the breeze hit my face. Wanting out as badly as a Jack Russell with a bladder problem. Suffering from the tyranny of beautiful days.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of his Pants

found in chinatown

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f e e l s . l i k e:

PS: My site is three years old today.

Where's my cake?

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SF AIDS Funding Cut

All the more reason to sponsor Harper or me (or both of us) in the AIDS ride this summer:
The Bush administration slashed San Francisco's federal AIDS budget by more than $4 million, a 12 percent cut and one of the biggest in the nation, which local health officials fear could land more people in the emergency room.

In San Francisco, with about 15,000 AIDS and HIV patients -- the largest caseload in the Bay Area -- the funding cuts will affect legal aid, meal programs, transportation subsidies, substance abuse treatment and alternative health care, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, according to James Loyce Jr., the San Francisco's Department of Public Health deputy director, who oversees the AIDS office.

"The cuts are huge,'' Loyce said. "There's no way in the world I can tell you that the loss will not hurt. These are the kinds of services that keep people out of the hospitals and emergency rooms.'

Your contributions to the ride go to benefit the San Francisco Aids Foundation and people living with HIV and AIDS.

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Say It Ain't So, Barry

Bonds got steroids, feds were told

I used to detest Barry Bonds. I grew up a Braves fan, and one of my favorite moments in major league baseball was watching Barry--then a Pirate--sitting cross-legged in the outfield as the Braves celebrated a NLCS win. Barry was arrogant, cocky, not a nice guy.

But here, I watched him play. Season-by-season, I went from antagonism, to grudging respect, to admiration. Power, poise and grace. It isn't just his ability to smack the ball out of the park, it's how he moves. How he seems to play without effort. The more I saw him, the more I became convinced that he is the greatest player of his generation. Just like he always said. Somebody get this man a Series ring, nobody deserves it more! Slowly, and against my will, he became my favorite player since Greg Madddux, and before that Dale Murphy. I love to watch Barry play.

Don't you?

I've always defended Barry. Even during this BALCO catastrophe. Sure in my heart that, despite his massive gains since his early days, here was a man who cared too much about The Game to juice. Barry is too smart for that, I'd say. He has too much pride, I'd maintain. His off-season weight training program is legendary, I'd argue. He's got a better sense of the history of the game for that to be possible, I'd posit, wishfully. And in my heart, did I know the truth? No. No way.

. . .

When I was a little kid, my favorite player was always Pete Rose. Wasn't yours? Of course he was. He was everything the game should be. He was magic. He was fast. He was a piece of iron. Fuck you, Pete. You smashed my dreams, when dreams were still important to me. You deserve the hall, but I hope it never happens in your lifetime. Charlie Hustle was my hero. But today, Pete, you don't mean shit to me.

And today, this morning as they eat breakfast and get ready for school, there are thousands of kids reading the newspaper, reading the sports page, reading the allegations about Barry. I hope it isn't true Barry, I'm still willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm still willing to defend you, to stand by you. Because I still need heroes. I still need to watch ordinary humans do extraordinary things.

But I don't give a damn about cheaters. And if it's true, Barry, if it's true--and I hope against all hope that it isn't--that's what you have become. And if it is true, I hope they kick you the fuck out of the game. Giambi too. If it's true, well then... Fuck you, Barry. You don't mean shit to me.

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