Thursday, November 29, 2007

'Austin Mayor loses temper over Downtown traffic tie-up'

"Did I use harsh language? You bet I did."

"I spewed a fog of profanity that is still floating down..."

Washington Post: 'Obama: Threat or Menace?'

From Paul McLeary of the Columbia Journalism Review:
In The Washington Post this morning, reporter Perry Bacon Jr. wrote what may be the single worst campaign ‘08 piece to appear in any American newspaper so far this election cycle.

In the front-page piece, Bacon muses over how the chances of Barack Obama getting elected president might be affected by the fact that he’s not Muslim. Seriously. To build his case, Bacon stumbles artlessly through all manner of rumor, innuendo, and xenophobic smear -- never bothering to refute any of it, even though there is plenty of well-documented evidence to knock down much of this stuff.
Lois Romano, national political reporter for the WP, defends her paper thusly: "But we do chronicle [Obama's] denials."

Hey, now! That's good journalism!

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' 'absolutely' is."

The B-I-B-L-E
Yes, that's the book for me.
I stand alone
on the Word of God
The B-I-B-L-E.

-- First Sunday School Song

tau·tol·o·gy (tô-tŏl'ə-jē) n., An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false.

The boys and girls at the Huffington Post took a look at Multiple-Choice Mitt Romney and his view of Biblical authority.

The bottom line:
"I believe the Bible to be the word of God, absolutely."
+ "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly"
= "I absolutely believe the Bible to be the word of God to the limited degree to which I believe the Bible to be the word of God."
And for some reason, folks accuse this guy of being some kind of waffle-flopper.

NaNoWriMo Winding Down

The "white, male, heterosexual and rubbish novel" is almost complete and regular blogging will resume shortly.

April 18, 1924 – November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Trent Lott and Gay Escort Service

The Huffington Post reports that the rumors about Trent Lott and a gay escort service are false:
A San Antonio-based gay male escort categorically denied Monday that outgoing GOP Sen. Trent Lott had ever procured his services, putting to bed one of the more stunning rumors to emerge following Lott's announcement earlier in the day that he was leaving Congress.

The charge was first published by the Washington DC blog Big Head DC, which claimed to have emails where the escort, Benjamin Nicholas, allegedly playing coy, declined to go on the record because "Trent is going through his fair share of scrutiny right now and I don't want to add to it."

But in an email message, Nicholas himself said the item was false.

"There's nothing to be said, as Lott and I have no connection whatsoever," Nicholas wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. "How these 'quotes' have been fabricated are beyond me. The Senator is someone I have had no personal dealings with, ever."

In a subsequent posting on his own Web site, Nicholas wrote, "I have not, nor have I ever seen or had contact with Senator Trent Lott. It's as simple as that. It never happened."
To recap: There is no truth to the rumors about Trent Lott and a gay escort service.

Monday, November 26, 2007

From the Mailbag

Dear SCAM,

During yesterday's game, the Bears' return specialist ran a punt back 75 yards for a third-quarter score and, 10 minutes later, returned a kickoff 88 yards for another touchdown.

But didn't I read that Deven Hester retired?

-- Confused in Chicago

Dear Confused,

I believe you're thinking of Denny Hastert.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Lardo!

If this AlterNet interpretation is correct, I am very thankful for the Journal of the American Medical Association:
A startling new study by medical researchers in the United States has caused consternation among public health professionals by suggesting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, being overweight might actually be beneficial for health.

The study, published yesterday in the respected Journal of the American Medical Association, runs counter to almost all other advice to consumers by saying that carrying a little extra flab -- though not too much -- might help people to live longer.

Struggling dieters, used to being told that staying thin is the best prescription for longevity, are likely to be confused this morning if not heartily relieved. While being a bit overweight may indeed increase your chances of dying from diabetes and kidney disease -- conditions that are often linked with one another -- the same is not true for a host of other ailments including cancer and heart disease, the report suggests.
So, on second thought, I will have some more gravy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Reason to be Thankful: The Presidential Fury of Future Lincoln!

Chris Sims is a freelance writer and chronicler of Abraham Lincoln's four-color adventures. And he has proved that he is a Truly Great American by culling a particularly stirring panel from issue 210 of The Flash.

This scene of Lincoln doffing his top-coat in preparation for some bare-knuckle action that should bring a thrill to the heart of every red-blooded Illinoisan.

Mr. Sims also provides an explanation of why Honest Abe is fighting a planet-wide Civil War to reunite Earth-East and Earth-West in the year AD 2971...

But is no explanation beyond "Abe Lincoln Kicks Ass!" is necessary for scenes like this:

Yes, friends, Abraham Lincoln lays the Illinois Smack Down... Even in the 30th Century.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Better Fill The Tank Today

The Guardian Unlimited/Observer (UK) reports that a private meeting of Opec leaders, gathered this weekend in Riyadh for the cartel's third meeting in its 47-year history, was broadcast for more than half an hour after a technician had mistakenly plugged the TV feed into the wrong socket:
On Friday night, during what the participants thought were private talks, Venezuela's oil minister Venezuela Rafael Ramirez and his Iranian counterpart Gholamhossein Nozari, argued that pricing - and selling - oil using the crippled dollar was damaging the cartel.

They said Opec should formally express its concern about the weakness of the dollar when the cartel makes its official declaration at the close of the summit today. But the Saudis, the world's largest oil producers and de facto head of Opec, vetoed the proposal. Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, warned that even the mere mention to journalists of the fact that leaders were discussing the weak dollar would cause the US currency to plummet. ***

The weakness of the dollar is one reason why oil prices are so high, as cartel members seek to compensate for their lower earnings. This means a further drop in the dollar is likely to be accompanied by a rise in oil prices.
Commodity and currency traders said this weekend that oil prices would surge again on Monday likely breaking the $101 per barrel record set in the during the Oil Crisis of the 1970s and that the already weakened dollar would plunge further due to the unintentional broadcast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blog Post Commenting on Comments to Blog Postings

My experiment with moderated blog comments has been an abject failure.

Blogger failed to ever notify me of comments awaiting moderation.

Therefore, the instantaneous flow of praise and ridicule will resume effective immediately.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Better to Rule a Hill, Than Serve in Heav'n."

Over at Prairie State Blue, Michael in Chicago examined the source of the marked increase (+100% from 2006) in Democratic Precinct Committeemen candidates in DuPage County:
[W]hen crunching PC recruitment numbers, it was pretty clear that when Township organizations worked actively with OTDB, recruitment was up significantly over Townships in which there was no such cooperation. ***

Note to local Democratic Leadership everywhere: If you want to win in places like IL-06 you're going to have to work with your local activists.

This means you are going to have to listen to the people on the ground who keep saying repeatedly that we are not going to beat Republicans -- especially local ones like Roskam -- by being Republican-lite.

Most importantly of all, stop trying to be the king of the damn ant hill and see the big picture: winning elections.
Although it's a radical idea, I think Michael may be on to something here -- The Democratic Party of DuPage County should be focused on one thing: Electing Democrats in DuPage County.

But I'm afraid I have to differ with Michael on his use of metaphor: without the energy of local grassroots activists, the party isn't even an ant hill -- it's a dung hill.

Friday, November 09, 2007

"Chicago's Progressive Talk" No Longer a Whisper in Chicago?

Robert Feder, of your Chicago Sun-Times, has good news for Chicago's fans of lefty, liberal AM talkers:
Chicago's progressive talk radio station is on the move.

As of Nov. 26, WCPT will switch from 850 AM to 820 AM, doubling the station's power and increasing its listening area.

Both daytime outlets are owned by Chicago-based Newsweb Corp.

As tipped here last week, the move was prompted by Relevant Radio's acquisition of WNTD-AM (950) and the expiration of its deal to air the Catholic talk format on WAIT-AM (820).

"With the 2008 elections approaching, we're thrilled to give progressive talk radio an even stronger voice in Chicago," said Harvey Wells, Newsweb Radio group station manager. ***

Newsweb plans to move WCPT's call letters to 820 and turn 850 into a time-brokered outlet as WAIT.
And their broadcast, including evening programming, is streamed around-the-clock on WCPT's website.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You Granny?"

Ladies and gentlemen, the Sun-Times story you are about to read is true.

Only the names have been concealed to protect the Office of Professional Standards and the Chicago Police Department
The officers were responding to a request from the city's Department of Aging.

Apparently, the department had received an anonymous tip that Lillian Fletcher, who has a history of mental illness, was home alone and in need of assistance.

When Fletcher refused to open her door, police were called. Although Fletcher cracked the door, she still refused to let her visitors into the house.

But police officers wouldn't take no for an answer and pushed their way in. Fletcher ran and got the hammer she keeps beside her bed.

"My grandmother is easily confused," her granddaughter, Traci Taylor, said Monday. "She probably didn't know what was going on." ***

"She can be belligerent," Taylor said. But she's 82 years old, 5 feet 1 inch and weighs no more than 160 pounds, she added.

"I just don't think they should be Tasing 82-year-old women. That's ridiculous."

Reportedly swinging a hammer

According to a police source, when officers arrived, Fletcher was "swinging a hammer" and becoming "increasingly violent."

When Fletcher failed to stop as ordered, an officer discharged a Taser. Also, it's worth noting that Fletcher hasn't been charged with violating any laws.

"The matter is being looked into by the Office of Professional Standards, and the Chicago Police Department will also be reviewing the matter to determine if procedures were followed," a police spokesman said.

[The Alias Kid noted: If there is any doubt as to whether or not proper procedure starts with a wellness check and ends with Tasing an 82 year-old woman, the Chicago Police Department's "procedures" just might be a source of the problem.]
After Tasing Fletcher, officers took her to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where she was treated. Her family is concerned Fletcher may have suffered a stroke. Citing privacy laws, a hospital spokesman declined comment. ***

Fletcher was released five days later, but she is still complaining about her hip and a burn on her abdomen. Doctors told Fletcher's family that she should be seen by a neurologist because she has fluid on her brain and may have to undergo surgery.
Grandma Fletcher probably won't die as a result of this police misconduct. But others will.

Even if it's only because caring and concerned Chicagoans will now hesitate -- quite understandably -- before calling the
City of Chicago's 311 number to request a wellness check on their frail and elderly neighbors.

Bad cops make bad neighbors.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wishing You An Objectively Happy Birthday

"I know waterboarding is torture - because I did it myself"

Lest any doubts linger about the judgment and honesty of attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey; a counterterrorism consultant for U.S. special operations, homeland security and intelligence agencies named Michael Nance clears up the question of waterboarding:
As a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, I know the waterboard personally and intimately. Our staff was required to undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception.

I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school's interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques employed by the Army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What is less frequently reported is that our training was designed to show how an evil totalitarian enemy would use torture at the slightest whim.

Having been subjected to this technique, I can say: It is risky but not entirely dangerous when applied in training for a very short period. However, when performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique - without a doubt. There is no way to sugarcoat it.
You simply don't need to have access to any of the Bush administration's classified documents to know waterboarding is torture.

It always was torture.

Waterboarding was torture in 1947, when the United States prosecuted a Japanese military officer, Yukio Asano, for waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

waterboarding was torture in 2005, when the U.S. Department of State formally recognized "submersion of the head in water" as torture in its examination of Tunisia's record of human rights abuses.

Today, even some Republicans understand that waterboarding is torture.

Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a military lawyer, knows it's torture.
John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam, said it "torture, no different than holding a pistol to his head and firing a blank."

But too many Republicans in Congress still need a magic piece of paper from George Bush to decide:
“I haven’t been briefed on it,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

“You know, you are talking about a classified matter,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “So I am not really comfortable talking about it.”

“Under exigent circumstances like the loss of thousands of citizens, a president would be derelict in his duty if he didn’t use all the resources he had,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), when asked whether he personally believed waterboarding is torture.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it depends.

“The issue may turn on a standard of does it shock the conscience, and that could involve a great many factors,” Specter said. ***

“I haven’t gotten the classified briefing yet,” [Lamar Smith (R-TX) top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee] said.
Let's all pray that GOP leaders don't need a "classified briefing" to tell them whether or not ripping and tearing out fingernails is torture.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 1

2022 Words.

Pure crap but words none the less.


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