Monday, July 31, 2006

Progressive Disastro Turfing

The area progressives who attended the DFA training on Saturday and Sunday will want to follow the links on this post from Harold Henderson of your Chicago Reader:
[A]nti-corporate crusaders Russel Mokhiber and Robert Weissman take a week off from Boeing and Wal-Mart to whack liberal/left groups. They draw on a forthcoming book by Columbia University sociologist Dana Fisher, How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America: "Fisher's study finds that most of the national environmental, student, and progressive groups have shut down their internal grassroots operations and outsourced door-to-door fundraising to a handful of large national canvass operations. Fisher says these national canvassing operations are the point of entry for hundreds of young, idealistic and politically aware people. But instead of funneling these people into a lifetime of progressive politics, more often than not the national canvass operations, run as secretive corporate top-down bureaucracies, burn their idealism and spit them out onto the trash heap of politics."
While this is certainly annoying news to believers in true grassroots organizing -- as opposed to those who simply use "grassroots" in their brand -- it is an opportunity for folks like the DFA trainees. Since the big boys aren't in the grassroots business anymore, get out there an start collecting volunteer activists.

Whether it is rock and roll or grassroots campaigning, people with soul will always prefer the genuine article to the corporate simulacra.

Note: As a fan of pseudonyms, I appreciate that Prof. Fisher had to use a false name -- "The People's Project" -- to hide the true identity of the organization that is her book's subject, but the universe of suspects is limited and I'll bet it's one of these two.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dear Netflicks,

Works Related to the Plot Keyword: Shot In The Genitals

The foreign one is the only Shot in the Genitals film I haven't seen.

And Counting...

An enterprising individual has created the US/Iraq Coffin Counter:
This site is a response to this site referencing the current Israeli/Lebanese conflict and the disproportionate death toll. I wanted to similarly show another visualization of the current number of peopl killed in Iraq on both American and Iraqi sides.1 Unlike the Israeli/Lebanese visualization showing a single death per coffin -- this visualization shows an astounding 25 people killed per coffin. The numbers here also came BBC.
Emphasis added.

1SCAM Note: The use of the word "sides" is misleading. It is important to keep something in mind -- every dead American represented on that site is a purported liberator of Iraq and every dead Iraqi is someone our troops were sent there to liberate.

Every single death represented on that site -- both U.S. and Iraqi -- is a mortal failure of the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

N.O.P.E. to NitWTTWits

When I was a youngster, some friends organized a informal protest against some of their alma matter's policies. They were the N.O.P.E. Club -- Not One Penny Ever.

They held no meetings and they collected no dues. They just responded to every single solicitation from their university with, "N.O.P.E. -- Not One Penny Ever because of [whatever their complaint was]."

I have no idea if their protest was as effective as it was simple, but it popped into my mind after reading the stories in Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reporting that WTTW-Ch. 11 is adding commentaries by Mancow -- Mancow! -- to its flagship program, "Chicago Tonight."

I am curious about the financial considerations behind this decision.

Certainly the brahmins at Channel 11 knew that there would be many WTTW members who will spontaneously form autonomous WTTW N.O.P.E. clubs and refuse to contribute any more money to the station on the off chance that their dollar would help finance the broadcast of :::shudder::: Mancow.

But how does WTTW intend to recoup that lost revenue?

With Mancow listeners? Doesn't anyone at Channel 11 understand the nature of Mancow's fan base? I find it unlikely that people who cannot afford $12.95/month to subscribe to Howard Stern's satelite radio will spend their limited income on joining their local Public Television station.

WTTW-Ch. 11 would be better served catering to the tastes of those who watch Frontline documentaries rather than those who are the subjects of Frontline documentaries.

Update: Boing-Boing has another incident in the decline of public television.

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Go Out and See What You Can Find"

A couple of the guys responsible for some of my musical guilty pleasures have gotten together and created another guilty -- GUILTY-- pleasure.

Eat Lunch With a Pitchfork

As part of the big build up to this weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival, the Cultural Center's Randolph Café's Lunchbreak concert series will feature Chicago bands handpicked by some of my favorite venues.

Monday, July 24 through Friday, July 28
Time: High Noon
Location: Your Chicago Cultural Center's Randolph Café; 78 E. Washington St.
Ticket Prices: FREE

The Schedule:
Monday, July 24th: Martyrs' presents: Singleman Affair
Tuesday, July 25th: Metro presents: Walter Meego
Wednesday, July 26th: The Empty Bottle presents: The Hoyle Brothers
Thursday, July 27th: Schubas Tavern presents:­ Office
Friday, July 28th: The Hideout presents: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield featuring Abraham Levitan (Baby Teeth), Nora O'Connor, and more with a 7-piece band led by Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering/The Sea and Cake)

I've only seen one of these bands perform before, but if they all bring it like I know The Hoyle Brothers will, these will be lunchtimes well spent.

Note to Rockers: When the time comes to name your band, remember that a name like "Office" will make it damn, damn difficult for folks to find your site on the web.

Separated at Birth?

Rep. Herseth (D-SD) v. Rachael Ray, Food Network

Sunday, July 23, 2006

"Can't... Stop... Undermining... the Grassroots."

Yes, I'm still catching up on my blog reading.

Over at Soapblox, Bridget provided a report from north of the border reaffirming that they'll be salting the roads in Hell before I send another dollar to the DCCC.

I Didn't Do It!

I swear ta God -- It's not my fault!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fake Eyes Boost Honesty

From the BBC:
The feeling of being watched makes people act more honestly, even if the eyes are not real, a study suggests.

A Newcastle University team monitored how much money people put in a canteen "honesty box" when buying a drink.

They found people put nearly three times as much in when a poster of a pair of eyes was put above the box than when the poster showed flowers.

The brain responds to images of eyes and faces and the poster may have given the feeling of being watched, they say. ***

The scientists believe their findings may have applications in initiatives to curb anti-social behaviour or for law enforcement.

"It does raise the possibility that you could get people to behave more co-operatively or pro-socially by putting up pictures of eyes," said Dr Bateson.

"It would work particularly in instances where people have to make a choice between whether to behave well or badly."
This should substantially improve the veracity in the comments.

New Look


And now I need to address that blogroll.

Crap, I read a lot of blogs.

Update: If any readers have a blog not on the blogroll -- or a relevant1 blog that you think I should be reading -- please leave it's address in the comments.


1 And if you read this site with any regularity, you know that, in this context, "relevant" is a very, very broad term.

Yes Dear, We're Still Getting Your War On.

Posted Solely to Justify the Vulgar Pun

Shit Fit

America's Most Republican County: GOP is in the Dark Ages.

The Wall Street Journal examines how debate on stem-cell research may effect the 6th District race.
While Ms. Duckworth jumps on the issue, Mr. Roskam dodges it. "There are bigger issues going on in this campaign." says spokesman Ryan McLaughlin, declining to make the candidate available despite several requests over two days.
If Mr. Roskam really believes that the utilization of excess cellular clusters that were created as a byproduct of in vitro fertilization causes the death of actual human beings, what bigger issue could there be?

If Mr. Roskam actually believes that those clusters of cells are really human beings, shouldn't he be doing everything in his power to keep them from being routinely disposed of as is done now? Shouldn't he be taking a loud, strong stand against in vitro fertilization?
The Republican's reticence is understandable. While Mr. Bush's position cheers religious and social conservatives in the Republicans' base, nationwide it has alienated many moderates and has some questioning their fealty to a party increasingly defined by its cultural conservatism in emphasizing its opposition to issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

"I think the Republican Party is in the Dark Ages on this," says Mrs. Doyle, a registered Republican who says she now "tends to vote Democratic." ***

"Embryos count, people don't," complains George Strejcek, 62. He and wife Elizabeth, 58, describe themselves as former Republicans. "Goldwater I could tolerate," he says. "But with these Republicans, they forget we live in a democracy, not a theocracy."
Wait for it...

Wait for it...
"They're not fiscally responsible either," his wife says.
Oh, Snap!

Daley's Duty

Note: I wrote the following before seeing today's commentary in your Chicago Sun-Times. Otherwise, I might not have bothered.

In her column in your Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Sneed repeats a question from Judge Edward Egan, the special prosecutor appointed to investigate Chicago's police torture cases:
"I wish somebody would simply ask [former Chicago Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek] why he didn't take action regarding the Burge accusations when he was police superintendent, rather than waiting for a response from Daley."

Answer, please.
I too have a simple question.

Setting aside the allegations of sadistic police torture for a moment, What other attorney would receive such a pass after failing to act on notification that his office/firm had routinely used coerced and perjured testimony in court?

Lawyers are officers of the court and, as such, hold certain responsibilities.

Under Rule 3.3(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer shall not "offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures."

In addition an attorney, may not "participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know the evidence is false" or "counsel or assist the client in conduct the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent."

As the language of the Rule makes explicit, a lawyer is judged on what he should have known given the information presented to him by the facts of the circumstances. So Mr. Daley's habitual defense of forgetfulness coupled with selective ignorance is not an acceptable solution to the problem of police torture and perjury.

By failing to conduct any investigation into the information that Brzeczek provided -- in addition to his dereliction of duty as Cook County's chief law enforcement officer -- Richard Daley does not appear to have even begun to satisfy his bar obligations as an officer of the Court.

And while it may be too late to prosecute anyone for the routine torture of suspects under the reign of John Burge, there is no statute of limitations for a client or other person to complain about the conduct of an attorney -- even a former Cook County state's attorney -- to the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"'Cause It's The Only Thing I Wanna Do..."

The Elk Grove Times provides us with yet another reason to question the judgment of Peter Roskam:
The band rocked out to classics "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Keep On Loving You" and "Time for Me to Fly." They also introduced a few new songs of their new album, which comes out next year.

Peter Roskam, 6th District congressional hopeful and an avid REO Speedwagon fan, was invited by the mayor to attend the bash with his family.

"Hearing REO kind of takes me back," he said. "They're one of those garage bands that made it big."
The 6th District deserves better than a someone who willingly listens to "Hi Infidelity."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When He's Right, He's Right.

Ze Frank explains the recent violence in the Middle East and points out that even a mentally retarded broken clock is right twice a day.

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

The special prosecutors' report on Chicago police torture is out. The bottom line: Too Little, Too Late.

From your Chicago Tribune:
Fired Chicago police commander Jon Burge and several officers who served under him tortured criminal suspects in the 1970s and 1980s, but can't be prosecuted because too much time has passed, court-appointed special prosecutors said today.

Concluding a four-year investigation, the prosecutors also said former Chicago Police Supt. Richard Brzeczek was guilty of "dereliction of duty" and acted in bad faith by not acting against Burge and even praising the detectives under his command despite harboring suspicions that the commander had mistreated prisoners.

"There are cases which we believe would justify our seeking indictments for mistreatment of prisoners by Chicago police officers," said the prosecutors, Edward Egan and Robert Boyle. Egan is a former judge and prosecutor while Boyle is a former prosecutor.

They were appointed in 2002 by Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel to investigate longstanding allegations of torture by Burge and his subordinates, as well as allegations of a coverup in the upper ranks of the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County state's attorney's office when it was run in the 1980s by Richard Daley, now mayor, and his top assistant, Richard Devine, now the state's attorney.

In their report, Egan and Boyle said they could find "no evidence that would support the charge beyond a reasonable doubt of obstruction of justice (or coverup) by any police personnel."
But lest one think that this report fully exhonorates the Office of the Cook County States Attorney under Richard Daley and Richard Divine, keep in mind that the homicide charges against O.J. Simpson were not proved "beyond a reasonable doubt."

The report's conclusion is available here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One Man's Crisis is Another Man's Opportunity

In an article entitled "It's Our War," William Kristol explains that the neocon vision of peace for America is war with Iran:
The right response is renewed strength -- in supporting the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, in standing with Israel, and in pursuing regime change in Syria and Iran. For that matter, we might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions -- and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.
"Why wait?"

Because the last time America acted rashly on the advice of Kristol and his ilk we wound up with over 2,500 of these "healthy repercussions".

Catching Up

Let's see if I remember how this blogging thing works.
  • I guess I was just ahead of my time -- a 21st Century soldier in a 20th Century army:
    Gone are the days when trainees run 'til they drop. Soldiers who need counseling get extra attention, not a screaming drill sergeant. ***

    Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said the approach began in 2003 and was re-emphasized in 2005, after the Army fell behind its recruiting goals. Soldiers who fail tests are often retrained instead of run out of the Army, he said.

    "You'll get guys who have never run a mile," Hilferty said of some recruits. "Rather than throw them out, we said, 'Let's change the training so we don't injure them.' "
    All right, maggots! Drop and give me... uh... some pushups. If you're not too tired.

  • While so many others are disturbed by the president's recent use of the word "shit" to describe the escalation of violence in the middle east, I am much more concerned that he doesn't know what "irony" means:
    "See, the irony is that what they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over," Bush told Blair.
    Mr. Blair, please tell Mr. Bush that "irony" is not a synonym for "the bottom line."

  • On second thought, don't bother. Mr. Bush is clearly, no matter the circumstances, the stupidest man in the room:
    As he chats with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush expresses amazement that it will take Putin and an unidentified leader just as long to fly home to Moscow as it will take him to fly back to Washington. Putin's reply could not be heard.

    "You eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country. Takes him eight hours to fly home. Not Coke, Diet Coke. ... Russia's big and so is China. Yo Blair, what're you doing? Are you leaving," Bush said.
  • Am I the only one who suspects that the person who screwed up the soda order is smarter than the President of the United States?
I'll be back later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Slow/No Blogging


Think it may be the plague.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Libraries Had Fewer Explosions, When I Was a Kid

From the Pioneer Press:
A word to the wise: If you're going to donate books to the local library, don't just leave them in a suitcase outside the building.

Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Unit officers used an explosive June 27 to destroy a large, brown leather suitcase that was left on the sidewalk outside the Chicago Public Library's Roden Branch, 6083 N. Northwest Highway. ***

The suitcase was opened and had what the library employee described as very old books inside. Although the suitcase turned out to be benign, police took all their regular precautions, [Bomb and Arson Section Sgt. Joe Poland] said. "On our end, you can't take any shortcuts," he said. ***

Ruth Lednicer, a Chicago Public Library spokeswoman, said as policy, the Chicago Public Library does not accept donations of used books.
And the library authorities would like you to refrain from dropping dead skunks into the book return slot, as well.

via Bookslut

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

One Hour to Lift-Off

Tonight: The Bottle Rockets, Naperville, 8:30

Sen. Stevens Staff: The Dog Ate My Internets

Sen. Ted Stevens explains why he opposes internet neutrality:
I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially
I would have posted this item earlier -- but it was misplaced in "a series of tubes."


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