Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here are the rules

When Bush's cabal commits the leaks, they obstruct justice and commit perjury.

When someone else leaks classified information about the Bush cabal's crimes, then the Department of Justice swings into action - to investigate the leak. The underlying crime is ignored.

By the way, warrantless and court-prohibited spying does qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors," and as the Repubicans reminded us over and over again during President Clinton's terms, the President is NOT above the law. Unless it is a Republican President.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Let me get this straight

U.S. citizens cannot travel to Cuba but we can fly to a warzone? Even better - MINORS can fly to warzones.

Farris Hassaid, a 16-year old Florida student, was taking a course in immersion journalism. The course assignment was to report on an international topic. Hassan chose the Iraq War. Can't immerse yourself in the war if you're in Florida. So he went to Baghdad.

His mother, Shatha Atiya, said "He's going to lose access to his passport for sure."

While we're at it, why don't we pull the passports of those so-called journalists who are allegedly reporting on the Iraq War.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a good summary of how Hassan pulled this off.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Picking the Pentagon's kickball team

These clowns couldn't get it right for Hurricane Katrina, but when it comes to Order of Succession they are Johnny-on-the-spot.

President Bush, in an executive order on 22 December 2005, modified the Order of Succession for the Department of Defense.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence now gets bumped up to the #3 spot, right after the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

He passes up the Secretaries of Army, Air Force, and Navy. (Spots 5, 6, and 7 respectively.)

They're so thorough in stupid crap like this, they go out 13 places. And, true to form for this Adminstration, they phone it in for places 8 - 13.
For example, #12 reads: Under Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
You couldn't break those apart?

By the way, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence is Stephen Cambone. And what does our Under Secretary do? He oversees policy & budget for agencies such as NSA, NIMA (Natl Imaging and Mapping Agency), DIA, and NRO (Natl Reconnaissance Office). Peachy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

It's a push

To balance the numbers Bush Co. is feeding us on the economy (it’s going up, up, up!), the casualties numbers are being kept down (only 2400 killed! That’s low, folks!).

Do you know your draft number?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Can I get a refill on that Vitamin A prescription?

Life Extension Magazine has an article from March 2001 titled "Vegetables Without Vitamins."

The article reports the disturbing news that our vegetables have far less nutrients now then they did 20 and 30 years ago. The first 75% of the article seems straightfoward, but then you comes to the real reason it was put out there:
Vitamin supplements work
The first 3/4 of the article guided us to the conclusion that we can't possibly eat enough vegetables, fruits, and nuts to get our daily requirements. But not to fear! Vitamin pills to the rescue! They even make the argument that absorption from the pills is 100%, while food is suspect. You just never know what you'll get in that carrot.

Who could gain from such an article? Not Big Pharma, who is in the supplement business. And it certainly does not have anything to do with the fact that the Pharma Trust wants to license vitamins and require you to have a prescription to get the said vitamins.

Alliance of Natural Health points out 3 flaws in "vitamin studies:"
1) They fail to consider micronutrient deficiency and the benefits of nutritional supplementation (i.e. get the nutrients through the foods you eat).
2) Design flaws such as using synthetic forms of vitamins (see #3), inadequate follow-through periods, excessive dosages, or combinations thereof.
2) Use the synthetic forms of vitamins, which often do not have the same chemical makeup as the natural forms the human body actually requires. For example, synthetic vitamin E uses alpha-tocopherol. The natural form that the body actually metabolizes is gamma-tocopherol.

The DoctorYourself web site has some helpful tips for scouting news reports on vitamin studies and finding the anti-vitamin biases. For example, who did the study? Check the dosages used. Were the vitamins natural or synthetic?

Those are good tips for any study.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Why didn't he use the horn?

ABC News, first in news, first to put out something - anything - has this:
An aircraft mechanic at Midway told WBBM-AM radio that the plane's nose gear had collapsed and the jet appeared to have been hit by a vehicle.
Now how the hell did a car get involved in this?

We've got breaking news from Chicago, which is under siege by a December blizzard. [Ed. note: While the blizzard is not a suspect at this time, police officials confirm it is being regarded as a "person of interest."]

Jetliner slides off runway at Midway Airport
The Southwest 737, Flight 1248, landing at Midway Airport (airport code MDW), skidded off the runway at the northwest corner of the airport, breaking through the fence and ending at the intersection of Central Avenue and 55th Street.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Say, this is awkward

Baku Today reported on 9 February 2005 that Azerbaijan will redenominate the currency and peg it to the U.S. dollar. [That would be the MANAT.]

The redenomination, 1 NEW Manat for 5000 OLD Manat , becomes effective 1 January 2006.

Now, in a show of spectacularly bad timing, Armenia announced on 6 December 2005 that it could recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. They're not saying they will, but they could.

Azerbaijani Defense Minister Abiyev said that if Armenia did that, then war could resume. They're not saying it would, but it could.

For the 2 or 3 of you not up to date, Azerbaijan and Armenia declared a truce in 1994 after 6 years of war, and the mostly Armenian province of Nagorno-Karabakh fell under the responsibility of Armenia.

This is going to ruin the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

How about a good old-fashioned tar-and-feathering?

And the winner of The Biggest Democratic Tool Contest is Joe Lieberman!

It seems either at breakfast or while he was showering, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) channeled PM David Lloyd George. Unfortunately for us, it wasn't the Peoples Budget David Lloyd George but War Cabinet Lloyd George. He wants a collection of White House and Congressional leaders to provide advice and direction to the war effort.

In case you were wondering, he was serious. A collection of worthies like that would come up with Gallipoli Redux. If we were lucky.

Then Lieberman took a swipe at everyone who distrusts the President (i.e. the majority of us), saying that we better deal with the fact that Bush was going to be Commander in Chief for 3 more years. And stop undermining Bush's credibility.

Will the people of Connecticut please call Lieberman home? And keep him there. NewsMax is giddy over the speculation that Lieberman could replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense before the Congressional elections in November 2006. Then let's make Anna Nicole Smith Secretary of the Treasury AND Federal Reserve Chairman while we're at it. Outside the improvement who could tell the difference? Well, E! would be covering more Beltway events but maybe that's what this country needs.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Kilroy was here. No, Kilroy is still here.

[Ed. note: Thanks to Bagnews Notes for the great picts.]Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhat kind of hopped-up midshipman does Bush & Co have to drag out for his speeches?
Here's what they were looking at:
The Newlywed Game, with Bush & Iraq
That's right. It's a revival of the "The Newlywed Game." We couldn't get Bob Eubanks because he's busy becoming the next Dick Clark. But we got his old microphone from the show and the Commandant from the U.S. Naval Academy to fill in.

Our first newlywed couple is George and Richarda. They finally made it official in November 2000. It took us awhile to get those crazy kids on the show but they're here so let's give them a big welcome. (See the first photo for the audience reaction.)

Commandant: George, tell us how you and Richarda got together.
Richarda: I'll answer that. His father asked me to find the perfect mate for George, so I started conducting the search, vetting the nominees when it occurred to me - I'm the one.
Commandant: (Taken aback.) We're going to go to the first question. George, what was the one thing Richarda told you not to talk about.
George: He told me that my brother and cousin planned to kill my uncle for the insurance money.
Commandant: Uh...
George: (Reflecting) Yeah, he definitely told me not to talk about that.
Commandant: OK, well, Richarda, what was your answer?
Richarda holds up sign reading: His brother and cousin are going to kill his uncle for the insurance money.
Commandant: Uh - really?
Pause while Richarda glares and George stares blankly at Commandant.
Commandant turns to camera: OK! These two get a year's supply of Rice-a-roni, the San Francisco treat.
Camera fades on a Richarda menacingly reaching for the Commandant.
Don't forget special teams

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mad rush to year end

Illinois is playing North Carolina in a rematch from last season's NCAA Championship game.
[Ed. note: It's the 2nd half and Illinois is up, 40-37, 18:00.]

Chicago weather dipped to 11 degrees wind chill (yes it does count) then rebounded back to 60. Now it's back to 20-30 degrees. It's going to be a cold winter. That damn groundhog is never going to come out on February 2 at this rate.

Could talk about a white hetero woman going into South Shore's gay bar. And it is definitely gay. Gloria Gaynor will live forever. The Coronas are a little on the high-priced side.

Could talk about why a white hetero woman would go into South Shore's gay bar. That would necessitate explaining the Little Black Book. Harken back to December 2003, when this editor and her brother were discussing New Year's resolutions. This conversation was taking place in the car and in mid-conversation the brother pointed a tavern and said it wasn't a bad place.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 46-38, 15:32.]

This editor glanced over and said it was alright. Or was it? Couldn't recall if I had been there or meant to drop in sometime. Which led this editor and brother to bring up the long lamented case of not always being able to tell if we had been to the bar in question, or merely meant to go.

And the Little Black Book was born. For 2004, every bar patronized by the brother or the editor got one unique entry.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 49-41, 13:26.]

Halfway into the year this editor reluctantly realized that the brother was a great field reporter but not so hot at filing reports. A reverse Jayson Blair. So this editor gamely trod on, solo. And only filled half the Little Black Book.

Only one thing to do. Demarcate the book showing where 2005 began, and start the safari again. Wipe the slate clean. Bars that made the Book in 2004 could make the book again in 2005.

Then, in Detroit International Airport the day after Thanksgiving, on the way home from Austin (TX), the Little Black Book was pulled out. Seemed there were more blank pages than this editor expected. A quick count revealed 34 blank pages. And some more simple math turned up 36 days left in the year.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 51-44, 15:39.]

Maybe a dipsomaniac could make that marathon run. This editor is a piker at best. Now I have to put on the half-court press the rest of the way to fill the Book. With this grueling time-compressed schedule, this also means no old favorites can be visited until next year. No time!

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 58-48, 8:15.]
Big Ten/ACC Challenge

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 64-55, 4:42.]
Dee Brown is back, and better than ever.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 64-62 ,3 19:.]
Illinois (5-0), North Carolina (3-0). Illinois ranked 12th, N. Carolina unranked.
A NC 12-0 run. Not happy.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 64-62, 2:05.]
Illinois calls timeout. Illinos has possession arrow. Illinois is great.
Dick Vitale just can't stop rooting for NC. Dick Vitale sucks.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 64-62, 1:26.]

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 66-62, 1:03.]
ACC 3, Big Ten 1 so far in this tournament.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 66-64, 0:40.5.]
Nuts. Timeout North Carolina. Dick Vitale likes Bruce Weber a lot. Dick Vitale is not completely sucky. Illinois ball.

[Ed. note: 2nd half, Illinois is up, 66-64, :26.6.]
NC fouls IL. This game is coming to you from Chapel Hill.

:17.4 NC fouls IL freshman Smith. He backrims it, IL rebounds, Dee Brown fouled.
:13.5 Dee Brown makes 1st, 67-64. Makes 2nd one, 68-64.

:04.0 IL fouled on NC's possession. Dee Brown back at the line and misses.

Illinois wins, 68-64. Take that, North Carolina!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Just try to get an answer from the FAA

Greg Szymanski, of Arctic Beacon, filed a report last week with updated information on the four 9/11 flights. What triggered the report is that United Airlines finally got around to delisting flights 175 and 93 (crashed into the South Tower and Pennsylvania, respectfully), in September 2005.

United's in bankruptcy, but come on - 4 years to get around to delisting those flights? American delisted their's, Flights 11 and 77, a few months after 9/11. And the cause given for delisting: destroyed. United's cause: cancelled.

That's one way to describe a plane crash.

Szymanski also points to Gerald Holmgren's research on the 9/11 flights, which can be found at :
Holmgren points out that there is some duplication of names on American Flight 11 and United Flight 175.

Roaming around the FAA web site ( which redirects you to the NTSB for aviation accidents) you find this terse summary of the 4 incidents on 9/11:
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and this material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.
So there.

More to follow.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Support the President, not the troops

One of Ohio's own demonstrates how tp support the troops. And brings the Hall of Shame spotlight back home.

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), who barely beat former Marine Paul Hackett in the Ohio District 2 special election - and there are investigations of "irregularities" in that election - made an ass out of herself Friday, 18 November 2005.

While the House was debating a GOP resolution to withdraw the troops from Iraq, Schmidt made the tactical error of opening her mouth. You can see the video here.

Straight from Rep. Schmidt:
He [Ohio state rep Dan Bubp] asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.
The House erupted into boos and catcalls. And let's hear it for Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN), who charged down the aisle yelling that her comments were a personal attack. The House told Schmidt to shut up (in House-speak she was directed to suspend) and had a 10-minute recess.

It gets better. Schmidt went on to apologize to lawmakers in THESE words:
I did not intend to suggest that they applied to any member, most especially the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania. I therefore ask for unanimous consent that my words be withdrawn.
Except for that part where she passed along a direct attack from a lowly state rep in Ohio on U.S. Rep. Murtha. By NAME.

Like everyone else in the House, ole Jean is running for election next year. Ohio 2nd District voters will probably be seeing that clip a lot.

And an update on Paul Hackett - he's running for Senate against incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

When the numbers get ugly, stop publishing the numbers

Today's reading is from the Book of the I Federal Reserve 19:11-12. Let us prey.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the dais before the CHAIRMAN. And, behold, the CHAIRMAN passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the markets, and broke in pieces the rocks before the CHAIRMAN; but the CHAIRMAN was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the CHAIRMAN was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the CHAIRMAN was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
And it was so, when the markets heard it, that they wrapped their faces in their jackets, and went out on the trading floor. And the voice said unto them, "What doest thou here, suckers?"*
Very quietly, under the radar, the Federal Reserve slipped a 4-sentence press release into the ether on Thursday, 10 November 2005.

Here's who picked it up:
Scoop, of New Zealand
A newsletter, Free Market News.
And another newsletter, The Daily Reckoning.
And that's the the whole lot. Perhaps the WSJ had already started celebrating Veterans Day.

The Fed baldly states that as of 23 March 2006 they will cease publishing the M3. They are also going to stop publishing: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (aka repos), and Eurodollars.

Maybe now that M3 has crossed over the $10 trillion mark, it's getting a little harder to argue that inflation is still under control. Today (11/16/05) the government released inflation numbers. Reuters somehow manages to sound upbeat: Prices up but core inflation tepid. But Reuters reports that prices were up 0.2% while Wall Street had forecast 0.0% increase.
[Ed. note: Wall Street's forecasts aren't worth the spit on Wall Street.]
By the way, and Reuters notes this too, that 0.2% gain exists even after food and energy are excluded.

Back to numbers. The actual report, found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has some other gems in it. For instance, the October '05 index 199.2 was 4.7% higher than October '04. You can draw your own conclusions.

[Ed. note: The KJV has a slightly different version, found in I Kings 19:11-12.]

Monday, November 14, 2005

Let's get up there!

WISC-TV in Atlanta reports Delta Air Lines said Monday that a strike by the pilots would be "murder-suicide." And there's a lovely photo of a Delta airliner accompanying the article. And it isn't crashing.

NBC Cincinnati adds that Delta is cutting flights out of the Cincinnati Airport by 26 percent. There is no accompanying picture.

The Salt Lake City Tribune can't even bring themselves to comment on today's events. Their latest article was filed 10 November 2005, titled
Delta Continues Its Losses.

We now turn to one of the Arctic's embedded field reporter's on the Delta situation and why their management is making it sound like a couple's therapy session gone horribly wrong.
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2005 5:19 PM
Subject: RE: Murder-suicide!

The important thing here is that this Showdown at the OK Corral has been brewin’ for a while now. It started in 96, when the Delta pilots accepted what they called “B” scale to fly Delta Express (the pre-cursor to Song) flights. Of course, they conveniently forgot that more than 300 pilots were recalled from furlough to make Delta Express happen. And those pilots quickly moved up the ladder to higher paying jobs within 2 years.
So then between ’96 and 1999, United fucked up and tried to buy US Air without telling the pilot sitting on the Board of Directors. (So much for “employee-owned,” right?) In retribution, United pilots glared really hard at the management team, which quickly crumbled and offered a COMPLETELY insane 30% increase as an apology for trying to go around the pilots’ backs. (Remember the horrible summer of 98 or 99 – when United couldn’t keep to the schedule AT ALL? – all based on the pilots being pissy.)
Because the pilots are organized, they have pattern bargaining down to a science. There is ALWAYS an airline pilot group bargaining – and the stated goal of each group is make a little more than the group before them. Great strategy – and highly beneficial but those annoying little things like recessions and downturns force the airlines into massive layoffs about once a decade. Which is fine with the union, because it keeps the membership angry. And an angry membership needs a leader – reminds me a little of Germany in the ‘30s.
So anyway – after United totally screwed up, it was the Delta pilots turn to negotiate their contract – Contract 2000, they called it. They had a couple of nice little rallying cries: “United Plus 1%” and “My Union Speaks For Me” come to mind. So because United screwed the pooch on the % increase they gave the pilots that held their operation hostage over the summer, the Delta pilots figured, “I do the same job as the United guys – I should make more.” Logical.
Contract 2000 comes around and the Delta pilots are so OFFENDED at the MEASLY wage increase they actually conducted a wildcat strike over Thanksgiving 2000. It was finally settled – for exactly what the pilots wanted (United Plus 1%) in the summer of 2001. Just in time for 9/11.
And since 9/11 the pilot group has taken exactly ZERO self-generated actions to pull the company out of the tailspin its in. The hostility has only grown between the pilots and management – and there’s certainly a valid base for the malcontent. When senior leadership took bonuses in 2002/2003, the coffin was nailed shut not just on Leo Mullin’s career there, but also on any chance of a peaceful resolution. The union got more virulent, the company got more content to blame it all on the pilots, and the rest of the employee groups got more and more scared that their jobs were either going away or not worth keeping.
So here we are today, with the pilots threatening Murder-Suicide. What is it about Atlanta-based airlines that make them all want to implode? Nothing was ever learned by the abortion that was Eastern Air Lines in the end. It is a tale of arrogance, pride and unjustified belief that your side is right, and all others are wrong.

Let's hear it for our embedded reporter, out there somewhere in the wilds of Starbucks, and keep those reports coming.

In market news, it was a bad day for the Dow Jones Transportation Average - 14 finished down, 6 up. Outside the index, United Airlines (UALAQ) finished up, at $0.69.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fact-O-Rama translates to Crap-O-Rama

Cybercast News Service is not your typical news gathering operation. Hold on, they ARE your typical news operation. They feign neutrality in gathering and reporting news. But get a load of this "report:"
Fox News CEO Warms to Climate Change After Heat From Left
Here's my favorite line from the article: "A Fox News Channel documentary on 'global warming,' set to air Sunday night, provides only the liberal take on the controversial issue."
The article quotes Clay Rawson, a FNC producer of the special: "the project was a little bit different for us."
Or maybe not. Just because you call it liberal doesn't make it so. Just like you call your network fair and balanced doesn't make it so, either.

CNS follows this article up with another:
Greens Praise Fox News 'Global Warming' Documentary

This is how Bush partisans bury anything they don't like - by telling you that your enemies are for it.

In other news, RedState and the Washington Post misread yet another poll:
Only half see press as fair to Bush
The simple minds at Moonie Times think this means that the American public feels the press is being UNFAIR to Bush. But the correct reading is that the American public feels the White House and (Republican-controlled) Congress are not getting as many free passes.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And first out of the gate is . . . TOLL BROTHERS

Homebuilder stocks are being watched, and the first one to stumble is Toll Brothers. They filed an 8-K on 8 November 2005, regarding their press release with preliminary information of projected revenues for 2006. To sum up: not good.

On 11/07/05 Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL) closed at 39.41 on 2,812,800 shares traded.
On 11/08/05, after the announcement, closed at 33.91 on 16,612,300 shares traded.
Down 14%. And don't forget that trading volume!

But they didn't go down alone - they took their buddies with them:
WIlliam Lyons Homes (NYSE: WLS), down 10.7%.
Stanford Pacific Corp (NYSE: SPF), down 8.06%.
KB Homes Inc (NYSE: KBH), down 5.56%.

It's getting close to the end of the year, and the boys will have to start going on the record with projections for next year. It'll be fun. And don't forget all the mortgage lenders out there - are your ears burning, Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) and Countrywide (NYSE: CFC)?

As for Toll Brothers, their press release started off with the fluff of how they've had 13 consecutive years of record profits. That should contrast nicely when the bottom falls out in 2006.

Robert Toll, CEO and chairman, did go on to say "we observed buyers taking longer to make their purchasing decison."

That would be one way to put it.

In other news, AP is reporting that former CEO of Refco, Phillip Bennett, has been indicted of conspiring to commit securities fraud.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Maris can relate*

Just a thought, but if the Supreme Court is waiting on a replacement for O'Connor, do the rulings they make in the meantime get marked with an asterisk? We all know that when athletes announce their retirement, in their heads they've already retired. Supreme Court Justices aren't any different.

For those keeping score at home, here's what the Eight Men Out have done so far:

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Workers at meat-processing plants must be paid for the time they spend walking between their work stations and the locker rooms where they don and doff protective gear, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.[Bloomberg]

Citing jurisdiction over Dr. Phil, the Supreme Court got involved in domestic disputes. Namely, what happens when one spouse refuses consent to search and the other spouse gives consent.
A majority of the justices appeared concerned that the spouse giving the permission would override the wishes of the other spouse and they questioned why the police could not get a warrant instead. [Reuters]
But not Clarence Thomas! Regretfully, Reuters did not expound on "appeared to support the search." Well, whoopee for you, Reuters. I can do that kind of slackjawed reporting too.

In a separate story, it took the Southern Baptists to figure out that if Alito gets confirmed to the Court, then for the FIRST TIME EVER the majority of justices will be Catholic. From the Baptist Standard:
Alito would join Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas as Catholics on the high court. . .Two current justices are Jewish—Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—a fact also surprising to many. Justices David Souter and John Paul Stevens are Protestants.
Here comes the Vatican.

Flag on the play

The Republicans, who under Clinton were going to save us from jack-booted thugs, ARE the jack-booted thugs.

Pogo had a better way with words.

Before getting to the story, let's run through the headlines. Don't worry - at the time of this writing there are only 8.

From The Hill:
FBI called in on Hill

From WOI-TV Ames/West Des Moines:
Aide to Senator Grassley attacked at her Virginia home
[Ed. note: Who knew Des Moines was big enough to have a West Des Moines?]

From RadioIowa:
Senator Grassley asks FBI to investigate attack on his aide

From Des Moines Register:
Top Grassley aide attacked; investigation under way

From WTOP-FM Washington:
Capitol Hill Staffer Attacked At Fairfax Home

From Cedar Rapids Gazette:
Grassley aide attacked in D.C.

From KWOC-TV Quad Cities:
Aide to Senator Grassley attacked at her Virginia home
[Ed. note: Can you name the Quad Cities?*]

From WQAD-TV Quad Cities:
Aide to Senator Grassley attacked at her Virginia home
[Ed. note: The Quad Cities tv stations share their stories. ]

I can't understand what's holding up the heavy hitters on this story (I'm talking about YOU Washington Post, NY Times, Chicago Tribune).

And now, for the story. Emilia DiSanto is the chief investigator for Senator Grassley (R-IA), who happens to chair the Senate Finance Committee. And the Senate Finance Committee is investigating RNC bagman Jack Abramoff. Not up to date on it? Go here for a good recap.

Last Wednesday, 2 November 2005, DiSanto was unloading items from her car when a white man dressed in black struck her repeatedly with what is believed to be a baseball bat. She was treated for significant upper body injuries and a head wound that required nine (9) staples. She returned to work the next day.

Republicans will spin it that the injuries could not be that serious if she went to work the next day. Come on, folks! Why, guys take 3 days to get a hangnail removed.

The Hill also reports, no doubt in an unrelated story:
Ney sets up defense fund on Abramoff
Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) reported to the FEC that he hired Vinson & Elkins to defend him against potential trouble arising from the Jack Abramoff investigation. So far he's coughed up $136,000 to Vinson & Elkins. Since he didn't cash in as much as others (read TOM DeLAY here), and he faces a stiff reelection fight next year, he has to stop dipping into the reelection fund and set up a defense fund.

Sounds like Ney made a good guess now that he's received a subpoena from a federal grand jury on the Abramoff thing.

*Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline, Rock Island.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Checking the insurance policy right now

NewsNet5, covering Akron and Cleveland, reports:
Explosion Outside Ohio Wal-Mart May Have Been Caused By Meth Lab
Can't make this stuff up.

A nice confluence of items here. Ohio. Wal-Mart. Meth.

This happened in the state that went to Bush because of values. Apparently all those polls didn't drill down far enough to discern those values.

Wal-Mart, destroying rural and urban America with equal disregard. With this unprovoked attack by the drug dealers, Wal-Mart will target them and drive all the mom-and-pop corner drug dealer outfits out of business. Don't go crying to your methadone clinic when Wal-Mart chases all your dealers away because you wanted to be able to do all your shopping in one store.

Meth. America's last great export, and wouldn't you know it? It's too damn incendiary for transport. Of all the &(@$# luck.

In other news, Elliot Spitzer is running for Governor of New York. How the hell did I miss that?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush, War President or Scaredy-Cat?

Reuters headlined the non-meeting at the Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas this way:
Bush avoids direct battle with Venezuela's Chavez
By Steve Holland, MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina: US President George W. Bush carefully avoided taking on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez directly at the 34-nation Summit of the Americas.
Now there's a war president for you!

According to, the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) is dead in the water. Supposedly Mexico is in favor of FTAA, which is odd, since they are so unhappy with NAFTA. Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay are opposed to FTAA. So is Cuba, who sounds like they were not at the summit meeting.

Time and Matthew Cooper (does that name sound familiar?) softshoe the debacle at Mar del Plata. It helps when Cooper writes the revisionist history from Brasiliera, Brazil. The best the White House could do was have Stephen Hadley change the expectations of the summit from putting FTAA into effect by April '06 to "
We went from a summit which was supposed to bury FTAA to a summit ... in which all 34 countries actually talk in terms of enhanced trade and an FTAA."

Science Daily puts a different spin on it.
MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Leaders of South, Central and North American left the Summit of the Americas in Argentina Sunday with no trade agreement and none in sight.

The International Herald Tribune reports how Bush was able to escape without running into Chavez:
Bush abruptly exited an international summit meeting as talks over a U.S.-promoted trade deal hit an impasse.
The next day, an administration official said Bush would skip a two-hour Saturday lunch with the leaders because of "time served" at dinner the night before. But the president's planned escape was soon moot because the contentious summit talks ran so late, some three hours over schedule at that point, that Argentina simply canceled the lunch. So by 3:30 p.m., evidently on an empty stomach, Bush said he was sticking to his plans - his itinerary called for a 4:05 p.m. Air Force One departure from Argentina to Brazil - and he did.
He left an assistant secretary of state to sweat out the trade talks. In the words of IHT, "they ended hours later in failure." Matthew Cooper, would you like to go over your column again? Lousy administration hack.
The IHT also gets this dig in:
In short, the president of the United States is not in charge when he is one among many big-winded leaders and another nation's guest.
A quick survey of headlines around the world could explain why newspaper circulations (WSJ) are falling off precipitiously:
ABC News
Bush Loses Nothing, Gains Little At Summit
Taipei Times
Bush opposed both inside and out at summit
Bangkok Post
Americas summit ends in free-trade split

Did we slip to the Southern Hemisphere?

Tornado Kills 15, Injuries 200 in Indiana

Over the weekend of November 5-6, 2005 a tornado struck southernwestern Indiana.

A tornado in November. Hmm.

Indiana Homeland Security reported that 10 people are confirmed dead at the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park on the southeast side of Evansville.

So the strangeness of a tornado in November is counterbalanced by the tornado's inerring ability to hone in on trailer parks.

The Weather Channel reports a rain/snow forecast for Chicago today. Great.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Great Kimchi Crisis of 2005-06

Could this be the start of the next grand regional conflict?kimchi

There hasn't a rousing squabble in Pacific Rim in quite some time. And this is home to the Opium War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 which led to the great Russian Revolution of 1905 (and that great baby buggy scene in "Potemkin"), and the Great Leap Forward.

And now - the Sino-South Korean Kimchi Crisis.

In October the Korea Food and Drug Administration found parasites in imported Chinese brands of kimchi. China replied that the department should be called SOUTH Korea Food and Drug Administration.

When So. Korea told China to bugger off, China responded by banning some South Korean food products. And they emphasized the "South" in South Korean. Miffed, Saigon replied "as if NORTH Korea has anything to export."

In the meantime, (S)KFDA announced on 3 November 2005 that it discovered parasites in 16 brands of kimchi from China. And these were different parasites than the ones found last month. The Parasites of October are normally found in human feces. The second round of testing found roundworm, which usually hang out in dog and cat neighborhoods.

And here we are obsessing over bird flu.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day, not for the faint of heart

Feigning shock, the People's Daily Online reports today that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby pled not guilty in the CIA leak case. Then they indulged in some idle speculation of what the "I" stands for - Ignatius? Iago? Ichabod? Well, Ichabod would work, as he works in a headless Administration.

Mar del Plata, not just for summits anymore. Reuters reports that at least 70 federal police fell ill to lasagna.

President Bush immediately raised the terror alert to marinara and made menacing gestures to the fettucine alfredo.

I could let the cynicism/skepticism run rampant on this one, but I'll restrain myself.

Please celebrate Guy Fawkes Day sensibly.
According to a web site that I cannot vouchsafe, Blair for sure - and maybe Bush! - are planning false flag ops on Saturday, 5 November 2005. This is distressing. Guy Fawkes Day is one of my favorite holidays of the year. You may know it better as The Popish Plot. In the best Catholic tradition, Guy Fawkes was found hiding in the cellar of Parliament with a bunch of barrels of gunpowder. But the guy who had the matches stopped at a pub and one thing led to another, and he forgot about Guy. So Guy is huddling in the cellar, getting bent out of shape, finally hears a noise and jumps out yelling "It's about time, you lousy rotten &$(@#." Needless to say, the MP who snuck down there for a swig without sharing with those cheapskate MPs from Wales, was taken aback.
Anyway, no matches, damp cellar - Guy never stood a chance.

Kind of ironic, really. After Spain and Portugal pulled off all those auto-da-fes and then in London - nothing. Not even sparklers.

What they're not telling us about the bird flu. You'll lose your feathers. Naked chickens. All over the place. Worse, naked Canadian geese. I harbor no ill will towards Canadian geese, but they are flying sacks of poop (this is a family blog). Picture that naked. And not just birds.
But President Bush has a plan. We're going to give Rumsfeld's company, Gilead Pharmaceuticals, a gabillion dollars. Then they're going to help us fight the Killer Flu with vaccines made from last year's flu. Ha ha! That's like facing a pitcher with nothing more than his stats from last season. Wait, that's a bad analogy. Give me a moment.

And finally, Hawaii took upon themselves to conclusively prove that you should NOT pour concrete into sewer pipes. The Hawaii Channel informs us that if you do indeed pour concrete into sewer pipes, raw sewage gets detoured. In this case, into people's homes and parking lots. Alertly, signs were posted stating "Warning, this is toxic and dangerous."
A big thanks to Hawaii for setting that straight.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Colorado broke loose, but Pennsylvania is as dumb as ever

Breaking news! Rockettes are going on strike!

And now, back to your mundane little world. What's that? You want some details on that Rockettes thing? According to NY1 News, the Rockettes walked out in sympathy of Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, also known as Radio City Hall's 35-piece orchestra.

And now, back to wacky Colorado. Grover Norquist is deeply, deeply dismayed by you wayward sheep in Colorado. From his web site, Americans For Tax Reform(Hah!):
"Young Republican children years from now will be scared in campground campfires by stories about Bill Owens - the tax-cutting Republican who magically turned into a tax-increase bad guy...and they will not be able to sleep all night."
--Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform

What kind of summer camp did Grover go to, anyway?
If young Republican children are going to be scared that easily, then what's the point in having them in the first place?
Maybe they'd be able to sleep at night if there was healthcare in America. Now they have to get ludes on the streetcorner, after the Chicago blue light camera goes out.

[Ed. note: That's not a riff on KMart's blue light specials. Chicago really has blue light cameras, the police like to call them surveillence pods - as if that's supposed to make us feel better.]

But I digress. The Associated Press tees up and takes a big honking whack at Pennsylvania. Their headline is So-Called Taxpayers Bill of Rights is Proven Failure. Too subtle? Here's the subtitle:
Only State To Enact TABOR Just Voted To Suspend It.
Tom Wolfe, spokesman for the Coalition for Common Sense Priorities, is quoted "The only state that actually has to live under TABOR just voted to suspend it. Why would Pennsylvania want to adopt policies that have failed in Colorado?"

I could toss off a guess here, but let's wrap this thing up with some statistics. From the AP article:
-- Dropped from 35th to 49th in the nation in K-12 spending as a
percentage of personal income
-- Dropped from 30th in 50th in the nation in average teacher salary
compared to average pay in other occupations
-- Raised in-state tuition by 21 percent at its colleges and universities
over the last four years
-- Plummeted from 24th to 43rd in the nation in the share of children
receiving their full vaccinations, and
-- Dropped to last among the 50 states in the share of low-income
children covered by health insurance.

Take that, Happy Valley, and your stupid Nittany Lions!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Holy smoke - Dems sighted on Capitol Hill!

Breaking News

Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and Vice President Cheney tripped over each other to raise the terror alert to RED. Seems there was a sighting of Democrats in the Senate Chamber.

CNN reported earlier today that Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) were apoplectic over Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) surprise move invoking Rule 21. See the video here.

Associated Press reports:
"The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership. They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas."
That would be your Senator Leader, Bill Frist. And if anyone knows about lack of principles, he'd be the guy.

More from the same Associated Press article:
"They have repeatedly chosen to protect the Republican administration rather than get to the bottom of what happened and why," Democratic leader Harry Reid said.

Early Las Vegas betting lines have the President choking on pretzel at 6-5.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Safety Last

I am as pessismistic as they come, but somehow I failed to get on the "Bird Flu is coming! The Bird Flu is coming!" bandwagon.

It's come to Canada. According to, the H5 flu virus (aka Bird Flu, Avian Flu, Asian Bird Flu) has shown up in Quebec and Manitoba. Quebec immediately notified the H5 virus that if they don't speak French they can hit the bricks.

But, you exclaim, H5 is not the lethal H5N1 subtype! Aha, WHO officials reply, there there are 15 known subtypes to infect birds. To date, outbreaks of the pathogenic form have been caused by influenza A virus subtypes H5 and H7.

WHO officials can fill in some answers here, too. Type A influenza viruses are genetically labile. They also lack mechanisms for the "proofreading" and repair of errors that occur during replication - as a result of these uncorrected errors, the viruses' genetic composition changes as they replicate. These constant permanent (usually small) changes are known as "antigenic drift."

The WHO officials add another caveat: influenza A viruses, and this includes subtypes from different species, can swap genetic materials and merge. This is known as "antigenic shift." Rather poetic naming conventions. What this means to us is that a new subtype is created, different from the parent parent viruses, and the host populations (that would be us) will not have immunity and there would be no vaccines for protection. And that's why antigenic shift is responsible for lethal pandemics.

On the other hand, the infected birds are still alive. Hmm.

The same CTV article reports that 121 people have been infected in Asia and caused more than 60 deaths in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia. We've been getting warned (run for your lives!) about the imminence of a pandemic bird flu for months, but that fatality number is stubbornly hanging on at 60. What a terrible showing for a pandemic.

As I have noted in an earlier blog, we have more to fear from ATVs (particularly if you're in Kentucky).

When that big bad flu comes raging through, I think we will have very little warning. And our medical system will be unable to handle the crushing load of infected patients and those who think they may be infected. We should focus on staying healthy and keeping the immune systems in tip-top shape. Don't see much of that advice in those scare articles.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Here's one with an O. Henry Twist

That Japan Today, they have all the best stories.

From the Saturday, 29 October 2005 edition:
21 diners sickened by gas attack
The fire department said said about a dozen others at Denny's Minami-Okazaki restaurant felt sick and complained of eye irritation.

No, can't blame Denny's this time. Turns out some of the diners had a quarrel and one of them sprayed an unindentified substance and fled.

C2H5OH, on the rocks, with a twist

Do you ever see a headline and think "why is that a big deal?" And then you really read the headline and think "Holy smoke!"

From Japan Today:
Two Russian sailors die after downing alcohol for industrial use
The two surviving crew members said they and the two fellow crew members were having drinks believing the substance was drinkable alcohol, according to the coast guard.

Here's the part that caught me by surprise: they thought it was regular alcohol. Apparently I held the belief that Russian sailors will knowingly drink anything. Whoops.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Terrorists cut off from bingo - in Kentucky

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:
FRANKFORT - State officials have won a $36,300 federal homeland security grant to keep terrorists out of Kentucky bingo halls, although not everyone agrees that's much of a threat.

Off-the-record sources say that if terrorists want to buy the permits for charitable gaming, then Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee are open for business.
[Ed. note: Does "charitable gaming" sound as weird to you as it does to me?]

But for all you terrorists out there with your hearts set on knocking off some Kentuckians, try ATVs.

The Lexington Herald-Leader also reports that
Kentucky and West Virginia were No. 1 and No. 2 for ATV deaths from 2002 to 2004. The numbers are even more troubling for the Mountain State when you consider its relatively small population.

But you'll have to hurry - Kentucky is taking care of its own with great dispatch.

But state politicans wouldn't be worth their gratis UK basketball tickets if they couldn't come up with some lame excuse.
Some say it's thousands of ATV tourists who flock to the state's rocky, mountainous terrain every year.

Maybe, except most of those perishing are natives.

We have an alternate hypothesis:
Most safety experts, health care officials and ATV dealers and riders, however, say it centers on poor-decision making by the user.

White Sox Sweep Astros in World Series!

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Have you heard the news - White Sox Win!

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From Australia - White Sox Win World Series!

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Look who fell off the wagon

Just when you think the Roman Catholic Church has hitched their wagon to the gibbering fundamentalists, they inhale some common sense and fall off the wagon.

The Catholic News reminds us that Dei Verbum (aka Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) from the Second Vatican Council makes a deliberate distinction between intrepreting the Bible in the literal and spiritual senses.

Straight from the Vatican's copy:
But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.

[Ed. note: The key part here is authentically interpreting the word of God. . . has been entrusted EXCLUSIVELY to the . . . Church.]

All you Baptists out there who have been giving us a hard time about the Bible - wow, did you bet on a bad pony.

Bishops in England, Wales & Scotland (Catholic bishops in Wales - really?) condemn fundamentalism for its "intransigent intolerance." Take that, you raving pentacostals!

And if you drooling glossolaliaics had thought about it for 5 seconds, you would have realized that you can't out-Bible the Catholics. We're the ones who assembled it, for chrissakes. Stop being a glossalgia and get with the program.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Check Is In The Mail

The Washington Post recounts Mier's responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, 18 October 2005:
11. Bar and Court Admission:

a. List the date(s) you took the examination and date you passed for all states where you sat for a bar examination. List any state in which you applied for reciprocal admission without taking the bar examination and the date of such admission or refusal of such admission.

State Bar of Texas Examination administered in July 1970. Admitted to the State Bar of Texas on September 18, 1970. Reciprocal Admission to the District of Columbia Bar on April 4, 1997.

Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia Bar were delinquent and as a result my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended. I immediately sent the dues in to remedy the delinquency. The non-payment was not intentioned, and I corrected the situation upon receiving the letter.
[Emphasis mine]

How perfect - the President's counsel was not allowed to practice law in Washington D.C.

Battlefields, apartment pools - very dangerous places

Straight from Centcom:
Sunset Blvd pool scene
ARIFJAN, Kuwait – A U.S. soldier was pronounced dead after being discovered in an apartment pool in the Salwa district, south of Kuwait City, at approximately 11:00 p.m. Monday.

Paging Gloria Swanson!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Calling unsportsmanlike conduct on Iraq

NFL Unsportsmanlike signal

This is a real newspaper article, reprinted by the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), from the Boston Globe:

Cars stolen in US used in suicide attacks

By Bryan Bender in Washington
October 4, 2005

The inquiry began after coalition troops raided a Falluja bomb factory last November and found a Texas-registered four-wheel-drive being prepared for a bombing mission.

Investigators believed the cars were stolen by local car thieves in US cities, then smuggled to waiting ships at ports in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston, among other cities. Terrorism specialists said they believed Iraqi insurgents preferred American stolen cars because they tended to be larger, blended in more easily with US convoys, and were harder to identify as stolen.

Yes, that must be it. From the "it's so crazy, the dumbass American public just might buy it" school of thought.

Maybe we're using the Army all wrong

Maybe we're right, but Ireland's Army (oh yes, they've got one) has an Equitation School. Their goal is to promote Ireland and the Irish horse.
to promote Ireland the Irish Horse
Do we have this whole Army function wrong?

According to the Irish Army's web site:

Army riders have represented Ireland at Olympic, World and European Championship level in Show jumping and Three-Day Eventing.

But it hasn't been all Guinness and Harp. In 1927: "at the tough Nations Cup meeting, at Olympia, London. 'Our horses and riders could not cope with the tight confines of the Indoor Arena,' Captain O' Dwyer recalled of their chastening experience, when they placed last of six teams in the Prince of Wales Cup. "

Naturally, this meant war. At the Great Colic Battle in the fall of 1927 the Irish Army did a lot of lip curls but after they were moved to different pastures tensions ebbed.

If the British Army worked more on their cavalry (and we're talking about you, Queen's Royal Hussars), maybe they wouldn't have these problems to deal with:
From the UK Mirror:

17 October 2005
Captain's body is found at barracks
By Chris Hughes Security Correspondent

Now, me - I'd come to radically different conclusions than the Army/Mirror.

From the article:
THE Army officer in charge of investigating abuse of civilians by British forces in Iraq has been found dead, it was revealed yesterday.

Nothing suspicious there.

There's more:
Royal Military Police Captain Ken Masters, 40, is believed to have killed himself. . . . Ministry of Defence sources said last night it is not believed Capt Masters had left a suicide note and it is not yet known how he died.

That crazy, suicidal bastard. Always trying to keep things secret.

More incriminating press:
The married father-of-two is not believed to have been suffering from depression, mental illness or physical injury and had not been due to appear as a witness in any cases relating to mistreatment. . . . A military source said: "This has come as a total surprise to Ken's forces colleagues."

It came as a surprise to Ken too.

One last thing:
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the captain was "responsible for investigating all in-theatre serious incidents".

Definitely a suicide.

The WS in the WS!

From the Chicago Tribune: "Party Like It's 1959!"
White Sox Pennant Winners!
From the Sun-Times: Sox are go-go-going to Series!

Sox win the pennant!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Misreading the Acts of the Apostles: Thou Shall Coverest Thy Butt

From the Los Angeles Times:


Study Reveals Vast Scope of Priest Abuse

  • Clerics accused of molestation worked in three-fourths of the 288 parishes in the L.A. Archdiocese, a Times analysis finds.

  • I'm at a loss here. In Luke's groundbreaking history, "The Acts of the Apostles," he recounts the Ananias and Sapphira episode where they told the church they were going to sell a property and donate the proceeds. But they reconsider and keep the lion's share for themselves and give a fraction to the church. And claim to give the entire proceeds.

    Apparently God was a lot more hands-on back then, and this hypocrisy really hocked him off. He had the Holy Spirit tattle on them to Peter. Peter asked Ananias why he welshed on his promise and Ananias dropped dead.

    Peter sat back and waited for Sapphira to show up. It took her about 3 hours (Acts 5:7) and when she finally swung by, Peter asked, "So, you sold the land. How much did thou getteth for it?"
    And Sapphira said, "I did thou get a niceth chunketh for it."
    Peter replied, "The Holy Spirit telleth me something different."
    Sapphira exclaimed "Holy smoke!" And dropped dead.

    Now that's what I call a religion.
    *By the way, nice bit of detail on Luke's part to mention that Peter had to wait 3 hours on Sapphira. Women and their shopping.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    Run, AJ, run!

    Jon Garland, who hadn't pitched since 1 October 2005 in Cleveland, hit the mound tonight and went the distance, allowing 4 hits and 2 runs. Unfortunately for the Angels, the White Sox scored 5 runs (and this reporter had 3 in the strip card, so I'm out $5).
    Pierzynski congrats Garland in ALCS 3

    Tripping through the headlnes, as the White Sox lead 2-1 in the ALCS:

    No Doubt This Time: ChiSox Beat Angels 5-2, ABC News.
    Univ of North Dakota Fighting Sioux
    White Sox pull up Angels, take lead in ALCS, USA Today

    The Chicago Sun-Times makes an attempt to cover the other sports in Chicago:
    In Heisman Watch, All Eyes On USC-ND

    And for anyone who still cares, the Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche tonight. 3-2.

    And in breaking news, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees finally made a decision, of sorts, on Chief Illiniwek: they are challenging the NCAA policy that labels Chief Illiniwek, Fighting Illini, and plain old Illini as "hostile and abusive." And we're sure that if any Illini had survived the genocide campaign conducted against them by the U.S. government at the turn of the 19th century, they wouldn't be too keen on it either.
    From the Chicago Tribune:
    A six-page letter of appeal from Trustees Chairman Lawrence Eppley was sent to the NCAA, arguing that the governing body of major college athletics acted "incorrectly and unfairly" in August when it cited Illinois as one of 18 schools to be in violation of its policy on Native American imagery and nicknames that will take effect on Feb. 1.

    It really hurt our feelings, and just for that, we're not going to any of your reindeer (bowl) games.
    [Ed. note: The FIghting Illini are taking gas this season, and just lost the Big Ten Pillow FIght at Indiana last weekend.]

    There's more:
    Four other schools have appealed and three of them have been removed from the list—Florida State (Seminoles), Central Michigan (Chippewas) and Utah (Utes)—because they have the support of the respective tribes for use of the nicknames and accompanying imagery. North Dakota's appeal to continue using the nickname Fighting Sioux was denied because of opposition of some Sioux.

    How can you NOT like the Fighting Sioux? I mean, come on!

    Univ of North Dakota Fighting Sioux

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    ALCS 1 goes to Angels

    Chicago White Sox lose to the Angels, 3-2, in Game 1 of the ALCS.
    Chicago White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi of Japan tosses his bat after popping out softly to shortstop Orlando Cabrera in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

    In other news, Judith Miller goes under Fitzpatrick's microscope Wednesday, 12 October 2005.

    Raw Story reports that DeLay's attorney subpoenas Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Raw Story is also reporting that Cheney was visibly absent from a high profile dinner last Thursday (7 October 2005) for the 50th anniversary of National Review magazine.

    And Bloomberg and WSJ are both working on stories that Fitzpgerald's investigation is heading towards Cheney.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Just waiting on the Yankees-Angels outcome now

    White Sox sweep Boston.

    First post-season series victory since 1917.

    By the way, tickets for the ALCS went on sale yesterday (Thursday, 6 October 2005) at noon. By 12:17pm CT they were sold out.

    If only the Red Sox had paid attention to their horoscope in The Onion:
    You won't be hit by a bus this week, exactly. Circumstances will unfold so that you're traveling at almost 100 miles an hour when you strike a stationary bus.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Say buddy, can you spare a White Sox post-season schedule?

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comSometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. Or tiptoe through the headlines.

    Today's poll on the White Sox web site:
    Who poses the biggest Divison Series challenge for the White Sox?
    Angels 51%
    Red Sox 30%
    Yankees 19%
    It's a beautiful day when the White Sox faithful can disparage the Yankees and Red Sox.

    From our very own Chicago Sun-Times:
    Crazy like a Sox
    Okay, that one is about manager Ozzie Guillen.

    From the NY Times:
    Early Swagger Belongs to White Sox
    At the end of the first inning, they were down by five runs. At the end of the sixth, they were down by 10. At the end of the game, they were down 1-0 in this best-of-five series, having suffered the most lopsided loss in their postseason history

    From the Indianapolis Star:
    Last year Red Sox, this year White?
    Headlining the Reuters sports page:
    White Sox trounces Red Sox in series opener
    That's the headliner! On Reuters! The White Sox! Alright, let's go across the other ocean and see what they're saying.

    From the Asahi Shimbun:
    MLB/American League Division Series White Sox chase first title since 1917
    As always, the restrained Japanese sum up history in a pithy headline.

    From the Los Angeles Times:
    Chicago Socks It to Boston Early, Often

    "I have no excuses," Clement said. "I was bad. They took advantage of a guy who was struggling."
    "We wanted to get him [Clement] further in the game," Francona said, adding later, "It fell apart in a hurry."
    Seattle Times:
    Bet on it: White Sox will win it all

    Maybe you shouldn't read too far into this one. Seattle Times reporter Larry Stone goes on to predict that San Diego will topple St. Louis. However, he does recover himself nicely at the end:
    When it ends, the White Sox will be dancing down Michigan Avenue. Next year, the Cubs. Nah. White Sox in 7.

    Santa and Danish Air Force collide

    Santa and Rudolf

    Danish Air Force Kills Reindeer

    Danish Air Force pilots, trying out their spanking new F-16s, screamed over the farm of Olavi Nikkanoff at an altitude low enough to induce heart failure in Nikkanoff's reindeer, Rudolf.

    After checking flight data and vet reports, the Air Force concluded that they did indeed cause Rudolf's death. They paid Olavi $5000 in compensation.

    Alas, poor Rudolf, we hardly knew ye.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    And now, going live to our embedded reporter, Sr. Glenn Anne McPhee

    Sr. Glenn Anne McPhee OP is the secretary for education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She's also on the government's no-fly list.

    From the AP story:
    "This was the beginning of nine months of hell," McPhee said.

    If anyone can report authoritatively on hell, it's going to be a Dominican nun. They're the ones that ran the Inquisition, so they recognize beastly treatment.

    Continuing from the article:
    Before flying back to Washington, D.C., McPhee called a family connection who works at an airline and who had access to the watch lists provided by the government to the airlines.

    Sister McPhee was being stopped because the list said that an Afghani man was using the last name McPhee as an alias. The list had no first name for him, and the intensive checks would continue until she cleared her name with the ombudsman at the Transportation Security Administration, according to this family connection.

    Well, there you have it. An Afghani man, going by the name McPhee and impersonating a Dominican nun, is threatening our skies.

    One last thing: acerbic comments are not appreciated by the police. Sr. Glenn Anne McPhee reports:

    "I said something to the effect that 'If this were Northern Ireland, I would understand,'" McPhee said. "And the police officer said, 'Ma'am, I'll pretend I didn't hear that, or otherwise I would have to arrest you.' After that, I didn't say anything."

    Why, if we had Stormont open, we'd do something about that!

    By George, I think he's got it!

    From White House, Tennessee, WFTV reports:
    Alderman Darrel Leftwich is proposing that the city establish new Sunday hours for White House Municipal Park so sporting events could only be held in the afternoon.

    Leftwich solemnly intoned that God intended the seventh day to be one of rest and worship. He had been driving to services at Temple Baptist Church (ed. note: natch) and noticed the park was full of people at a soccer tournament.

    But before we despair, Alderman Farris Bibb (ed. note: we're not making these names up) to the rescue:
    Alderman Farris Bibb Jr. said the city should go slow before enacting a change. "With all due respect to Alderman Leftwich, the seventh day of the week is Saturday," Bibb said.

    You took the words right out of my mouth, Farris.

    Sunday, September 25, 2005

    Quote of the day!

    Wilbur and Orville Wright
    From Wired Magazine:
    How do you explain to the FAA that we had a rabbit strike at 1,800 feet?"

    Among the Smithsonian's nooks and crannies is the Feather Identification Laboratory. [I am not making this up.] Tissue swabs from bird-plane collisions are sent to the lab for analysis. The scientists call this carnage "snarge." [Still not making this up.]

    Forensic ornithology covers a wide swath. These guys just don't whoop it up - they need to know things like feather topooly and apply their keen insights to wildlife enforcement, archeology, and phylogenetic studies of birds. And of course, bird-aircraft strikes. A properly leveraged career could land you a gig on CSI.

    The first recorded bird strike was by WIlbur Wright in 1905. We just have to take Orville's word for it. Which reminds me, if you thought their names were a little out of the mainstream, they had 2 other brothers - Lorin and Reuchlin. Their dad was a bishop in the United Brethern Church. Do what you will with that information.

    Saturday, September 24, 2005

    Let's hear it for the City of Los Angeles

    Police Captain Andrew Smith of Los Angeles ran across an urban legend in the act:
    the police dumping the homeless, mentally ill, and criminals in downtown Los Angeles.

    From the Los Angeles Times:
    Smith said he was out on patrol with his partner about 10 a.m. Tuesday when he noticed a Los Angeles County sheriff's car driving down 6th Street. The cruiser, he said, turned south on San Pedro, then west on 7th Street to San Julian Street. There, Smith watched in disbelief as two deputies "pulled over, took a guy in handcuffs out of the car. They took off the cuffs and handed him a bag," Smith said.

    The captain and his partner immediately got out of their car and questioned the man and the deputies. Smith said the deputies told him that the man had been released from the Men's Central Jail and was standing outside on the street when a supervisor ordered them to take the man to a downtown mission.

    "But there was no mission nearby," Smith said. "Only a line of guys sitting on milk crates."

    Let me interject here that I do not believe this is limited to Los Angeles. I hope to see other newspapers ferret out this despicable practice.

    More from the article:
    Late last year, after Santa Clarita decided not to reopen a winter shelter it had operated and instead opted to pay a social service provider to bus the homeless to shelters in the San Fernando Valley and downtown,

    People suck.

    Why is this becoming an issue now? More from the article:

    Estimates place downtown's homeless population at 9,000 to 11,000. Most live in skid row, located in the older section of downtown around 5th Street. But in recent years, the area has become an epicenter for a dramatic revitalization of Los Angeles' central core. Many of the long-derelict banking buildings around skid row have been transformed into luxury lofts as a new residential community of upscale urbanites takes hold.

    Luxury lofts, of course! These urban interlopers want the character of the neighborhood without the characters. And with property values are at risk, now they are concerned about "police dumping." Not concerned about the humans who are getting dumped, though.

    I'm not guessing about the lack of concern - continuing from the article:
    "How dare they," said Lopez, of the Central City East Assn. "How dare they take someone with a criminal record of the magnitude this person has, and put him on the streets? … My organization is spending $1 million a year on safety. What disrespect."

    But we've got rationalizations:

    "A lot of communities are not equipped to handle homeless men and women and children," said Kim Ferraro, vice president of development and community affairs for the Weingart Center near 5th and San Pedro streets. "This is a community known for helping the homeless."

    In a related story, the Baltimore Orioles told Rafael Palmiero not to bother returning. No confirmation on whether the Baltimore Police also dump their unwanted in downtown Los Angeles.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Say God, it's a little soon for a make-up quiz

    Category 5 hurricane Rita is bearing down on the Texas coast. The Governor of Texas has asked you to declare that part of Texas a federal disaster area. What do you do?
    A. How close is Crawford to the coast?
    B. Does anyone know Chertoff's extension?
    C. There is no freaking way God would do this to me again.

    Rita's pressure has dramatically dropped to 898 millibars. What does this mean?
    A. It's a line from the Beatles "Lovely Rita."
    B. That's the drink special in Galveston on Wednesdays.
    C. Just so I'm on the same page, 1 millibar = 0.75 torr = 100 Pa, right?

    The Weather Service has just told you that it is very difficult for a hurricane to maintain a Category 5 status for a lengthy period of time.
    A. You note that it is true - they tend to slacken remarkably once they make landfall and destroy everything in their path.
    B. Reply that near-perfect weather conditions are necessary to create a Category 5 in the first place, and well - here we are.
    C. Notice that the Weather Service guys are wearing galoshes and have boxes of bottled water.

    Your chief of staff alerts you that Philippe has weakened to a Tropical Storm.
    A. Philippe? Really? Who names these things?
    B. You walk him over to the stairway, then push him down it.
    C. Sarcastically ask about all the other hurricanes out there.

    If you picked C, bad move. On the other side of the landmass, there is Hurricane Jova in the eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Kenneth (what's the frequency?), and Tropical Storm Max. [Above, photo of Tropical Storm Max gathering strength.]

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Ethiopia has to request aid first

    From CNN:
    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- A pride of lions has killed and devoured 20 villagers, wounded 10 others and eaten at least 70 cattle in southern Ethiopia in the past week, police said Tuesday.

    We now turn to the White House for their reaction.

    Q: What was the President's reaction?
    Scott McClellan:. . . President had his usual intelligence briefing. . . . following that, we'll be going to New Orleans.
    Q: The lions are in Ethiopia.
    SM: We urge people in the regions that could be impacted by the hurricane to follow the advice of local and state authorities.
    Q: The problem is lions.
    SM: I'll get it to you later. It's an OTR event for now.
    Q: What does OTR mean-
    SM: I think the State Department indicated as well yesterday, if they need some more time to reflect on it, the agreement, we'll give it to them, but everybody is operating off the agreement that was signed.
    Q: Does that include the lions?
    SM: . . . seniors have waited long enough for prescription drugs, particularly low-income seniors.
    Q: Does the Administration plan to feed them to the lions?
    SM: Yes. But you ought to check with FEMA.
    Q: Is there any consideration of declaring . . . an incident of national significance and triggering the national response plan?
    SM: I don't think so. Okay, that's all. Thank you.

    Monday, September 19, 2005

    When no one was looking, New Zealand went to the polls

    Reporting trackside, Saturday, 17 Sept:
    It is a beautiful day for a horse race. Helen Clark of the Labour Party broke first from the gate and held on, despite a furious push by National. At the quarter mark, Labour, National, New Zealand First, Green, and Maori were bunched up. At the half-mile marker, Labour broke free with National close on their heels. National tried to close but ran out of track and Labour pulled away with the win.

    The Labour leader, Helen Clark, on reelection:
    I am very excited by another chance to form a coalition government, although I insist that the Maori Party eats first before they come to the negotiating table.

    Post race wrap-up:
    The Kiwis marched to the polls on Saturday, 17 September 2005. In a real nail-biter, the Labour Party was first past the post with 832,425 votes. The National Party was right behind them, at 809,674. Rounding out the top five were:
    New Zealand First Party (119,336)
    Green Party (103,617)
    Maori Party (40,488)

    OFF AT5:07 StartGood. Won driving. Course yielding.
    TIME :23, :45©, 1:10¦, 1:35 (:23.07, :45.89, 1:10.26, 1:35.08)
    $2Mutuel Prices:
    1 - Labour 3.30 2.80 2.20
    9 - National 13.10 6.60
    8 - NZ First 5.30
    $2 EXACTOR 1-9 PAID $58.00 $2 TRIACTOR 1-9-8 PAID $397.70
    $1 SUPERFECTA 1-9-8-3 PAID $1,511.65

    The Maori Party, for their part, reiterated their party's planks:
    Mad Human Disease be fully covered by the National Health Plan
    Eating their enemies, particularly the National Party, is a recognized part of their heritage
    We did NOT kill the last dodo. Whitey did.

    And a special announcement to all those interested in supporting theMaori Party:
    Our next potluck dinner will be Friday at 7:00pm. Just bring yourself.

    In other election news:
    Keith Locke, Green Party foreign affairs spokesman, pledged to run naked through the streets if he lost his parliamentary seat election.

    Keith lost.

    The Newmarket Business Association is organizing the run down Broadway in Epsom. It's a "straight and wide strip - ideal for such exposure." Mr. Locke added, "We haven't set a date, we've got preparations to do in terms of choreography. It will be artistic and it will involve body paint."

    Thursday, September 15, 2005

    The Vatican rodeo round-up

    Just got the word from Vatican City - the U.S. is getting an apostolic visitation.

    Seems that the anger of American Catholics is not fading, and the collection baskets are not getting filled, so they better make another swipe at this pedophile scandal.

    According to Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the prelate overseeing the Apostolics:
    "The same-sex attractions have gotten us into some legal problems.''

    And after much learned discussion, the boys in the Curia decided to conduct a seminary review (aka Apostolic Visitation).

    From Reuters:
    In a possible hint of the ruling's contents, the American archbishop supervising the seminary review said "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations," should not be admitted to a seminary.

    The Times said Edwin O'Brien, archbishop for the United States military who is supervising the seminary review, told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more.

    Interesting. I thought the criteria was celibacy, not virginity.

    And in view of the celibacy requirement, if you are gay but don't have sex, isn't that like no one being around to hear a tree fall in a forest?

    While they are at it, maybe the Apostolic Vistitation crew can keep an eye out for pedophiles, embezzlers, and adulterers.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Rain Delay Theater

    The White Sox are at Kansas City tonight, and they made it all the way to the bottom of the 2nd before the rain showed up.

    The Sox will announce tomorrow that Damaso Marte will be put on the disabled list for the rest of the season. Sure, he has a sore neck and shoulder. He was also sent home on Sunday because he showed up late. If you're a betting man (and if you're a White Sox fan, then you are), it's probably easy money that Marte will not be a Sox next year.

    Rain delay theater forces you to cruise around the channels - Cincinnati at the Cubs, tied 3-3 in the 6th. The Cubs were mathematically eliminated from winning the division yesterday. Finally a ray of sunshine.
    [Ed. note: At the time of this writing, the White Sox magic number is 14.]

    Noticed that the baseball players are sporting a Red Cross insignia on their batting helmuts. Apparently baseball fans have contributed $6 million to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

    Meanwhile, I'm having the opposite problem of New Orleans: I can't keep water in my car. The water pump sprung a slow leak. Maybe it's the same problem after all. I want to keep the water in my car; the New Orleans pumps were supposed to keep the water in the canals and Lake Pontchartrain. Instead, I'm leaking water on Stony Island, and Lake Pontchartrain annexed New Orleans. How's that for eminent domain?

    In other news, the FAA noted that pigs were seen flying in the airspace of Dulles Intl Airport. President Bush announced:
    "And to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility. I want to know what went right and what went wrong,"

    Fortunately, he stopped short of giving an actual apology. Greenspan had signalled that the enunciating "I'm sorry" would cause a stock market crash.

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Op-Ed News has great Katrina Disaster timeline

    It really shows up the Bush & Co callous disregard for a disaster in a part of the country they don't care about.

    Just one of my favorite items:
    Tuesday, August 30
    3 p.m. – BUSH TRIES TO PLAY GUITAR WITH COUNTRY SINGER MARK WILLIS: In the photo, Willis looks like he’s trying to take the guitar back before Bush hurts himself [AP].

    Look for the silver lining

    Say what you will about those whacky guys running the country, but they certainly know how to make hay while the sun shines.

    NY Times reports:
    On Thursday, President Bush issued a proclamation suspending the law that requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to construction workers on federally financed projects. The suspension applies to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

    And Barbara (My Dog Millie) Bush made this keen insight:
    "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this is working very well for them," she said.

    And from Laura Bush, maybe we'd all feel a little better if we called it Hurricane CORRINA.
    Here's the video.

    And don't forget Halliburton. No resume needed - we've seen the spectacular work those boys have done in Iraq. Why, let's just skip the whole bid process too.

    The Army sees a bright spot:
    From the Wall Street Journal (subscription only):
    OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Ten U.S. Army recruiters are offering volunteer help for Katrina evacuees at Houston's Astrodome. But the recruiters, struggling to keep enlistment up during Iraq war, are also available with options for the jobless. "Our intent is to approach the evacuees at the right time for them,'' says Army spokesman Douglas Smith.

    And maybe we know what FEMA's real role is these days: setting up and running detainment camps. Follow the above link to read a harrowing account of a detainment camp in Oklahoma.