Sunday, December 31, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
N.Y. Giants at Washington
Oy! Besides all their efforts to the contrary the NY Meltdown's might still make the playoffs. I don't think they can recover enough to beat the improved Skins. Joe Gibb's ends the season on a winning note and the Giants slip to 7-9. What then for the Gints? They need Green Bay, Carolina, Atlanta and St. Louis to all lose on Sunday, which is entirely possible.
Sunday, Dec. 31, 1:00 PM
Carolina at New Orleans
Does rookie coach Payton play it safe and sit his A-team? Odds are he does. New Orleans has the division and the bye clinched. Carolina has everything to play for, especially if the Giants lose on Saturday. New Orleans puts the starters on vacation and Carolina wins.
Cleveland at Houston
Yikes! Aren't the college bowl games on New Years Day?? Houston in a rout, like anybody gives a damn.
Detroit at Dallas
Can the Lions beat the playoff bound boys? Well the Lions ain't the Eagles, so Dallas wins... big.
Jacksonville at Kansas City
A big game even though both teams are barely over .500. A win by either team can change the playoff picture, but both need a lot to happen make that happen. I like KC in this one.
New England at Tennessee
Can Tennessee's comeback kid douse the playoff clinched Pats? Hard one here, but I take New England.
Oakland at N.Y. Jets
Okay win or lose the Jets season shocked everyone. Credit Mangini, and a relatively injury free season. The Jets seize their own destiny by stepping on Oakland's throat.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Can Pittsburgh finish a substandard 8-8 or finish a somewhat more humiliating 7-9.? Last year's Super Bowl champs get steamrolled by a hungry pack of Bengals.
Seattle at Tampa Bay
Tampa was saved the embarrassment of not being Detroit, Cleavland or Oakland, but not by much. Watch Seattle fold, spindle, and mutilate the Bucs.
St. Louis at Minnesota
Toughie this one...... (flips coin) Minnesota but only by a field goal
Arizona at San Diego
Kurt Warner goes behind center, maybe for the last time. Nostalgia's nice but he's no Steve McNair. Chargers zap the Cards.
Pick: San Diego
Atlanta at Philadelphia
The boys from Philly show Vick the love, by sacking him almost a half dozen times. The Eagles and the seemingly re-born Jeff Garcia leave Atlanta dangling from Independence Hall.
Buffalo at Baltimore
Baltimore. Baltimore. Baltimore
Miami at Indianapolis
Miami in the last couple of week has shown glimpses of the team they could have been. Colts hide Manning from Z-Tom's hurtin' bombs and come up winners in a close one.
San Francisco at Denver
Sunday. 8:15 PM
Green Bay at Chicago
Farve's last game?? Pass me the Kleenex, seriously. With the possible exception of McNair Brett might be the toughest SOB in the league. This is pure nostalgia talkin' but Farve pulls one last rabbit out of the hat.
Pick: Green Bay
And there we have it week 17!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
(July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006)
38th President (1974–1977) and 40th Vice President (1973–1974)
I am writing to urge you to keep the moratorium on drilling in Alaska's Bristol Bay.
The Bristol Bay is home to the threatened Steller Sea Lion and critical habitat for the endangered Northern Pacific Right Whale -- a creature still recovering from centuries of whaling. It is also the world's largest Sockeye Salmon run and brings in $500 million annually in snow crab, cod, sole and other commercial fisheries.
After the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill, your father, President George H. W. Bush, wisely placed a moratorium on drilling in these waters. Lifting this moratorium -- as you seem to be planning -- would threaten wildlife in this precious part of the Pacific, including valuable fisheries vital to the economy.
The short-term gains brought by new leasing in these sensitive waters do not out-weigh the risk of long-term damage from any potential disaster that comes with oil drilling.
It is time to go beyond fossil fuels and reach for a cleaner, safer energy future, bolstered by alternative energy sources and greater energy efficiency.
Please do not lift the moratorium on oil exploration and drilling in one of our most precious and valuable places.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
George Bush is responsible for as many American deaths as the Saudi terrorists who planned and executed the September 2001 attacks on the United States.
There’s been a lot of bitter anticipation of this “milestone” in the blogosphere. Now that it’s here no one really seems to know what to do with it.
To Bush, the ventriloquist’s dummy whose sole purpose in life is to make Alfred E. Neuman and Mortimer Snerd look good, it means less than nothing. All the people fighting and dying in Iraq have never been more than a hazy abstraction to him, about as real as the empty faces Rove hires to shout his praises at photo ops and campaign stops.
To the right-wing wankosphere, our soldiers are comic-book heroes, useful as clubs to bash traitorous lefties. They are not fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They’re those little shapeless faceless “troop” pieces you find sealed in a plastic bag in a game of Risk.
There’s been a lot of armchair psychoanalysis done on Bush. There have been whole books about it. A lot of labels have been slapped on him – narcissist, psychopath, sociopath, Oedipal figure – none of it matters. We all know he’s a stupid, cowardly, angry man, profoundly unequipped for the responsibilities he carries. Sometimes such a man will grow under the pressures of office to surprise everyone with his stature and depth.
And sometimes, like Bush, he’ll just grow smaller, meaner, more resentful, more isolated from reality.
As a blogger, I’m supposed to reach some sort of profound conclusion about all this, but I just can’t. There are people for whom peace is anathema. They have been planning and dreaming of this war for years. In 2001, they got their excuse. It didn’t matter that they declared war on the wrong country, for the wrong reasons. It was enough to have a war.
Maybe, just maybe, we can drive these people back under their rocks for a few years. That’s all we can hope for, I guess. Because they never learn, and they never go away. Eternal vigilance really is the price of peace. Because vampires and ghouls are real. They walk the corridors of power and sit on the boards of giant corporations.
Well, that’s about it. I don’t have an ending for this post, but maybe that’s okay. There’s no easy sum-up out there in the real world, either.
I was thrown for a loop, that my Pats v. Jags pick almost came through. Damn did Jacksonville play that good or were the Pats just showing more chinks in their armor. Its irrelevant in the long run, 'cause those Damn Patriots just keep winning.
My wife was shocked when I picked Philly over Dallas, but I knew, as good as Romo seems to be he is not ready for prime time. T.O. just looked awful to me as well.
If the Jets season could be summed up in a movie title it would be "Waiting to Exhale." Well with Miami out fo the way, I am all set up for the crushing defeat at the hands of the Keystone Kops of 06..... Da Raydahs! Or will my Cardiac Jets surprise me?
As far as the Giants are concerned , They plummeted off "Heartbreak Ridge". The Saints defense impressed me as much as their sterling offense. I never understood why the Chargers gave up on Brees like that or why Deuce never received the recognition he has deserved for years. Wanna freak out a NYG fan walk up behind 'em and go "BUSH!" or "DEUUUUUUUCE!" If you are married to a Giants fan, as I am, take it from me... don't. Seriously.
8 PM Tonight
Chiefs (7-7) vs Raiders (2-12) Pick: Chiefs, Correct
Panthers (6-8) vs Falcons (7-7) Pick: Panthers, Correct
Giants (7-7) vs Saints (9-5), Pick: Saints, Correct
Titans (7-7) vs Bills (7-7), Pick: Titans, Correct
Bucs (3-11) vs Brown (4-10) Pick: Browns, Wrong
Bears(12-2) vs Lions (2-12) Pick: Bears, Correct
Skins (5-9) vs Rams (6-8), Pick: Redskins, Correct
Ravens (11-3) vs Steelers (7-7), Pick: Ravens, Correct
Pats (10-4) vs Jags (8-6), Pick: Jags, Wrong
Colts (11-3) vs Texans (4-10), Pick: Colts, Wrong
Cards (4-10) vs 49ers (6-8), Pick: Cardinals, Correct
Chargers (12-2) vs Seahawks (8-6), Pick: Chargers, Correct
Bengals (8-6) vs Broncos (8-6), Pick: Bengals, Wrong
Monday 5 PM
Eagles (8-6) vs Cowboys (9-5) Pick: Eagles, Correct
Monday 8:30 PM
Jets (8-6) vs Fins (6-8), Pick: Jets, Correct
Okay signing off until I get a better handle on Week 17; more specifically the all important injury report.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Happy Holidays All!!!!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Bill O'Reilly Is Not A Bigot
CALLER: I don't think that any religious symbol other than the Nativity should be put up during Christmas because Christmas is a federal holiday. Hanukkah is not, and winter solstice isn't. If they want them that way, pass the law and then you can put them up.So how does the Culture Warrior respond to this idiot? I think he is trying to be magnanimous here:
O'REILLY: All right. So goodwill toward men means you're generous. And then if you're generous, you put up all the symbols. There is only -- there's really only one symbol, and that's the menorah. There's no Kwanzaa symbol. Maybe -- is there a 50 Cent that we have to put up or something? Is there a Kwanzaa symbol? What is that? It's a candelabra like Liberace had? All right. We'll put that up, too. I don't mind.
Media Matters Provides the transcript:
From the 4 p.m. ET segment of the December 20 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:That's right Wolf cause as we say in New York: That and $2.00 gets me on the subway. There is no legitimate reason for Harry Reid, or anyone for that matter, to believe this president. Bush squandered every last shred of his, questionable, integrity back in '03 for jimminy's sake. Please Wolf stop making an ass of yourself , you really don't need to drop to your knees and perform journalistic fellatio for these people anymore. Unless of course your really believe the jumbo sized portion of crap you are being served? If so please refrain from holding it out to the rest of us and asking, "Gee, does this smell okay to you?"
MALVEAUX: Well, Wolf, really, the final news conference is a chance for the president to press the reset button, to give his New Year's resolution, if you will. The president vowing several times not only to work with Republicans but Democrats as well to come up with some sort of Iraq policy that is successful, but also one that the American people can get behind....
BLITZER: Meantime, the top Senate Democrat is taking a new jab at President Bush on Iraq, despite his talk of bipartisanship during his news conference.
These picks are purely for fun, I do not bet on football nor do I pick against or with a spread (not even a nice port wine chedder). These are strictly win/lose.
8 PM Tonight
Chiefs (7-7) vs Raiders (2-12)
The Ray-dahs! suck this year, badly. The Chiefs have defined inconsistency. Look for Green to light up Oakland's piss poor defense and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Panthers (6-8) vs Falcons (7-7)
For all his talent Vick has the worst receiving corp in the league. This forces Vick to run to much and since he holds a ball like a two year old holds a doll, watch the Panthers finish off the ATL's playoff chances.
Giants (7-7) vs Saints (9-5)
This pick might have me locked out of the house this weekend. My wife's beloved Gints takes on the Saints. Here's the keys to this game: Brees, Bush, and DEUUUUUCE! Giants make for a great soap opera but they fall off heartbreak ridge this Sunday. Saints make it look easy as Giants finally crumble.
Titans (7-7) vs Bills (7-7)
Since starting the season 0-5 Tennessee has gone 7-2. Rookie QB Young has shown poise as much as he has shown a propensity for rookie mistakes. However that is more than the Bills have got. Titans continue to march forward.
Bucs (3-11) vs Brown (4-10)
Dear Lord who cares. Okay I'll flip a coin. Browns.
Bears(12-2) vs Lions (2-12)
Another "does it really matter game". Even with Grossman playing like crap the Lions are tamed easily.
Skins (5-9) vs Rams (6-8)
DC playing halfway decently lately topple Rams by a touchdown.
Ravens (11-3) vs Steelers (7-7)
After "should have worn a helmet" had the most schizo season evah, they are simply no match for the Ravens who seem to be Superbowl bound.
Pats (10-4) vs Jags (8-6)
Jags defense has been a monster as of late. Brady looks a bit shaky behind center the past couple of weeks. Okay this is the upset, Jags maul the Pats offense and come up a winner in a squeaker.
Colts (11-3) vs Texans (4-10)
Colts play a full game contact scrimmage and leave the Texans sorry and bleeding.
Cards (4-10) vs 49ers (6-8)
The improved 49ers versus the unluckiest team in the league. Look for their luck to change, like it matters, as they upset and put the nail into the coffin of San Fran's minuscule playoff hopes.
Chargers (12-2) vs Seahawks (8-6)
Along with the Ravens the Chargers are looking Superbowl. The one thing Baltimore doesn't have is two letters L.T. Chargers in a walk.
Bengals (8-6) vs Broncos (8-6)
So much rides on this for both teams, making this one of the most interesting match-ups this week. A pick em if ever there was one, but I am going with Cinci by a field goal.
Monday 5 PM
Eagles (8-6) vs Cowboys (9-5)
While Tuna has done a lot with the 'Boys this year the Eagles have won three in a row and Monday makes it four. Romo goes rookie and T.O. is double teamed into irrelevancy.
Monday 8:30 PM
Jets (8-6) vs Fins (6-8)
I shouldn't be allowed to pick this game, I am a Jet fan. One part of me says Pennington throws the game of his career in this one. The other side says remember all the heartbreaks, Jets will collapse. Okay I am going down the middle. Pennington skewers the somewhat resurgent Dolphins and that sets me up for the BIG LOSS next week.
U.S. Killed since war began (3/19/03): 2957
U.S. Killed since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 2820
U.S. Wounded: 22,235
U.S.EstimatedWounded: 23000 - 100,000
Coalition Killed: 239
Afghanistan (From Icasulaties.org)
U.S. Killed: 357
U.S. Wounded: 1062
Total Wounded All Causes: 5,994
Coalition Killed: 158
Iraqi Killed (From Iraqi Body Count)
Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also helps Vietnam Vets- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (Formerly Operation Truth)
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
United Spinal Association (aka Eastern Paralyzed Veterans)
Walter Reed Medical Center
Casualty Lists and numbers from: The US DOD via Antiwar.com, & Iraq Body Count, & ICasualities.org
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Bush Should Be Heard!
Some network somewhere needs to put this on in prime time. Uncut. Now.
It’s about time the American people see what we’re really dealing with. Not tidied up in 3-second soundbites. Not filtered through some soulless right-wing mouthpiece on a cable newstainment show. Not read off a nice clean White House-approved transcript.
Because the reality is terrifying.
I don’t know if it’s drugs. Or drink. Psychosis? Depression? Maybe all of them? I don’t really care. All I know is, the man is on a par with the drunks who mutter to themselves on the subway, smelling of stale liquor and abject failure.
He sputtered. He stuttered. Babbled fragments of stale slogans. Droned on and on in long disconnected phrases that ended miles from where they began. Some of his sentences contradicted themselves before they were out of his mouth. Most made no sense. The only coherent words out of his mouth were clichés and catchphrases. He sweated. He grimaced. He whined.
Then, for no discernible reason, he bolted from the podium, with barely time to announce he was leaving.
The sad, scary fact is that there is no one in charge in the United States right now. No one sane and certainly no one competent. Everyone’s whistling past the graveyard hoping it’ll be okay: The ISG will rein him in – didn’t work. The Democrats will rein him in – sure, that’ll be the day. His daddy will rein him in – nope, Daddy’s busy crying to whoever will listen to him.
It’s about time someone showed the American people their president – the real thing, not carefully gussied-up photo op guy. ‘Cause a helluva lot more people would be shitting bricks if they knew what we’ve come to.
Add some doom-laden horror movie music and you might even have a ratings blockbuster on your hands.
Dick Morris (born November 28, 1948 in New York City) is an American political author, newspaper columnist, and commentator who was once a successful pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant.Yes and Rowlands revealed that "Morris's favorite sexual fetish was toe-sucking". His ad hominem attacks, through his commentary and what can loosely called writing, is now the fodder of Fox News and that "so bad I wouldn't train a puppy on it rag" the New York Post. Oddly, writing for the Post might be the equivalent of toe-sucking.
Morris is best known for managing Bill Clinton's successful 1996 bid for re-election to the office of President of the United States. His tenure on that campaign was cut short two months before the election, when it was revealed that he had had an extramarital affair with a prostitute (named Sherry Rowlands) and allowed her to listen in on conversations with the President.
Media Matters offers up this recent tid bit of Toe-Suck's latest diatribe:
From the December 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANRETTY: So what you're proposing is a ticket of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama. And you think that America is ready for not only the first female president of the United States, but for a black man to be president and next in line?
MORRIS: Well, first of all, I'm not proposing it. I'm leaving the country if this happens.
COLMES: Oh, come on. You promise?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
Democrats Promise Interest Relief for Student Loans
by Brady Averill and Rob Hotakainen
Alarmed by a rapid rise in student debt, Democratic leaders in the coming Congress are promising to lower payments on new college loans by cutting the interest rate in half.
During the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, Democrats plan on reducing the interest rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. They contend that would help the typical undergraduate student borrower - who graduates with $17,500 in debt - pocket $5,600.
Across the nation, debt loads are rising for students, the highest being in New Hampshire, where the class of 2005 graduated with an average debt of $22,793, according to The Project on Student Debt. (Your state's average debt can be found at http://projectonstudentdebt.org/).
"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."
(7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870)
A Hump Day Joke.
A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.
He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."
The abbot goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives, in a locked vault, that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.
The young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees the abbot banging his head against the wall and wailing,
"We missed the R! We missed the R! We missed the R!"
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"
With A choking voice, the old abbot replies,
"The word was... CELEBRATE !!! CELEBRATE!"
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
From Rahm Emanuel:Well thats nice but who the heck is this guy. Someone, supposedly, tapped by DLC Rahm gets me a little worried. After looking at this guys record I am impressed. Van Hollen (D-MD 8) is ranked as a Liberal Populist by Issues 2000 and a Rank and File Democrat by Gov Track. This move should partially put to rest the meme that Election '06 was a move to the center. We will have to see if Van Hollen and Dean can play nice, something Rahm and the DNC chair couldn't seem to do. During the 109th Congress Van Hollen served on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Committee on Government Reform, Committee on the Judiciary. Looking at the district he captured in 2002, a historically red one, and his fundraising work this is a guy who can bring in the bucks for '08
I am pleased to announce that Congressman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland will be taking over as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2008 election cycle. Chris came to Congress in 2002 by upsetting one of the most entrenched House Republicans in one of the most Republican election years in memory, defeating Connie Morella in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Here is a sample of Van Hollen's record from Issues 2000:
Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record.
Voted NO on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)
Voted NO on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
Rated 33% by the US COC, indicating an anti-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 8% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 87% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
Voted YES on providing $70 million for Section 8 Housing vouchers. (Jun 2006)
The bio of Joseph Barbera at NNDB descibes him as " a banker who doodled", indeed that is how he began his career. After his first payed work Joseph Barbera's rise was less than meteroric. Turned down for an interview by Walt Disney himself, Barbera wound up working for Terrytoons, the company responsible for the operatic Mighty Mouse.
Moving on to MGM, 1957, Barbera was teamed with another unknown, William Hanna, for the production of Puss Gets the Boot staring Gene Kelly and Jerry the Mouse in a dance number that pre-saged "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Once the two cartoonists moved off on their own, the rest is ..... history. A VERY brief list follows but a much more complete one can be found at "Wingnutoons":
Huckleberry Hound (1958)
Yogi Bear (1960)
Josie & the Pussycats (1970)
Scooby's All Star Laff A Lympics (1977)
Flintstone Kids (1986)
Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1997)
Johnny Bravo (1997)
Dexter's Laboratory (1997)
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I offered "adoption" of her favorite animal to my daughter as a reward for potty training. It was a great motivator. With Christmas coming maybe you can get that friend or relative a unique and worthwhile gift. Adopt one of the many animals through the DWL's Adoption Center or maybe a cash donation in their name
Almost forgot to mention when you adopt you get an adoption certificate and a plush of your chosen animal(s).
Got any weird weather stories to share?
Friday, December 15, 2006
Actually Rev. one would think that would stop you from commenting on it, but that has never stopped you before.
DOBSON: There is a movie that's out now, called Happy Feet. It's about penguins. It's obviously designed to pull children in and yet, you don't like it. I've read some of the things you've said about it. I haven't seen it and don't plan to see it but from what I've heard, I don't like it either. Explain why.
MEDVED: Because it's depressing and it's dark.However when you folks tried to turn March of the Penguins into Christian-o-fest that was fine. Talk about depressing and dark, March was the equivelent of an aquatic fowl snuff film. Don't get me wrong, I did like it as a documentary, but dragging you kids to see March was like the morons who wondered why their five year old had a spas out during Jurrasic Park.
MEDVED: And then there's this whole subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality. Not that the penguins are gay -- they're not gay -- but the one penguin hero doesn't fit in and the religious authorities -- the so-called religious right in the penguin world -- are very judgmental. They say, "You are not a penguin. You're not a real penguin." And then he makes this heartfelt plea, he says, "Dad, you have to accept me as I am. I can't change." And --Wha? Where did that come from, shit I have heard of segues but that was a freaking highway.
DOBSON: Are they getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic? Is that what the subtle implication is?THE STUPID! IT BURNS US! BURNS US!
MEDVED: Well, how many times do we hear that in the media? That it's not a matter of choice, it's not a matter of change, and my problem with that -- as I understand, that there are some people, who -- for whom that may be true, but they're other people -- and you and I know them -- who have changed their lives and have turned around their lives.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
It Must Be Christmastime, I'm Getting Sappy
I haven’t read the book, but probably neither did any of the media handwringers who gave it so much airtime. I’m sure you remember the premise: Thanks to all those evil modern inventions like TV and cable and the internets, Americans are isolating themselves from their good old-fashioned communities, sitting home, staring at screens and wondering why they feel so isolated and alone.
And the proof of this? People weren’t joining bowling leagues as much as they used to.
(Hey, I know this is probably a criminal over-simplification of the man’s thesis. I know he probably has all sorts of fancy sociological charts and graphs to buttress his points. But if Big Media can criticize a person’s lifework based on the information on the book jacket, I don’t see why some two-bit blog hack like yours truly can’t do the same.)
This being the “holiday” season (sorry, Bill-O!), thoughts of family and community are naturally to the fore. It’s a shitty time to be alone. It’s a shitty time to be lonely. It’s a shitty time to be a modern isolated American – damn you, internets!
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gone to two wonderful get-togethers. Neither was a traditional family gathering. But both were heartwarming gatherings of folks who simply like each other very much. Both were internet-based.
The first was a brunch for the New York-based denizens of a certain internet political crack den. It wasn’t the first such event, nor will it be the last. There have been lunches, dinners, movie nights, bad movie nights, trips upstate, trips out-of-state. All by a bunch of people who would never have met if not for their computers.
The other was a gathering of fans of a particular TV reality game show to watch the finale together in a bar in Manhattan. There were folks there from all over the country. Nerdy? You betcha! Not only fans were there, but contestants from that show, as well as contestants from other reality TV shows. It wasn’t an officially sponsored event; there were no news or network cameras there. We just got together because it’s fun and it’s become a tradition to do so, and some folks were good enough to make all the arrangements. Again, none of this would have happened without the dreaded internet.
It’s not a new or particularly deep insight but it’s always good to remember, especially at this time of year: Community, and family, are where you find them and where you build them. Blood families can be wonderful or awful things (often at the same time), but they’re not the only kind of family. Thanks to the internet, I’ve met some wonderful people I would never have encountered otherwise, including Our Illustrious Host here, and my life is richer for it.
So, Mr. Robert D. Putnam, if you can’t find community on the internet, may I suggest you’re looking in the wrong places? Or maybe you just don’t want to find any evidence to contradict your precious premise.
In which case I’m sorry for you, ‘cause you don’t know what you’re missing.
" What will those same anchors (referring to CNN coverage of Sen Johnson's illness) say when Jack Abramoff takes out Thad Cochran?"
Email: Abramoff Associate Urged Funds for GOP Sen. Who "Never Said No"
By Paul Kiel
December 14, 2006, 3:07 PM
Washington runs on money -- no one understood that better than Jack Abramoff, who built his empire directing huge volumes of sometimes clean, sometimes dirty money from interest groups to politicians (and directed political favors back the other way).
Another man who understands the maxim is Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), a senior lawmaker who has helped control the flow of billions of dollars from his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee for many years....
An email obtained by TPMmuckraker and never before published provides perhaps the best example of a lobbyist hitting up his colleagues for donations to a friendly lawmaker. In it, one of Abramoff's lobbyists makes a strong pitch for contributions to Cochran in the midst of his 2002 re-election campaign because "Sen. Cochran's office [had] never said 'no'" to the Mississippi Choctaw -- the casino-owning tribe that was one of Abramoff's prime clients since the beginning of his lobbying career.
Wuhan, 13 December 2006 – The Baiji Yangtze Dolphin is with all probability extinct. On Wednesday, in the city of Wuhan in central China, a search expedition, under the direction of the Institute for Hydrobiology Wuhan and the Swiss-based baiji.org Foundation, drew to a finish without any results. During the six-week expedition scientists from six nations desperately searched the Yangtze in vain.For more info on the baiji click here
"This might be amusing if I didn't know this was the White House Press Secretary talking about the mess that is Iraq and President"Now what could Tony Snow have said that could get this reaction from that fine blog's writer and apparently Froomkin. This from the daily White House Press Gaggle. The issue at hand was the Presidents clear and definite indication that he had no clear, definite, nor immediate plans on making a decision at this juncture on Iraq, all things being considered, at this critical time.......:
Very cautious, careful, and is almost true, a rare event so "rock da houze" Tony. Well it is true that the President hadn't " the President learned something in the last week that changed his mind". He learned it TWO WEEKS AGO. What happened to keep the in-decider from deciding:
" Q Did the military leaders encourage him to just take a little bit more time?
" MR. SNOW: No, no, no. The President is the Commander-in-Chief; he issues orders. He decided, frankly, that it's not ready yet. . . .
" Q So some might infer that the delay means he doesn't know what to do.
" MR. SNOW: No, well, that would be the wrong inference to draw. . . .
" Q So just to get this clear, the reason for the delay is, number one, the complexity of the Iraq issue, and not because the President learned something in the last week that changed his mind?
" MR. SNOW: That is correct. . . .
December 13, 2006So now we have at least a partial answer as to why the Saudi ambassador resigned abruptly. We now know why the Saudi's have been dumping dollars for Euro's. Next step in slapping Shrub into line will be to start pumping oil like a teenager with hyper-acne. Lower the price, screw Big Oil where it hurt$, and watch Shrub and Cheney fall back in line with its master's (Saudi) voice.
Saudis Say They Might Back Sunnis if U.S. Leaves Iraq
By HELENE COOPER
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 — Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq’s Shiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according to American and Arab diplomats.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that message to Vice President Dick Cheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney’s whirlwind visit to Riyadh, the officials said. During the visit, King Abdullah also expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, and pushed for Washington to encourage the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, senior Bush administration officials said.
We have acquired a photo, secretly taken of Cheney as he entered the King's presence:
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
October 18, 1935 – December 12, 2006
Peter Boyle best remembered for his role in Everybody Loves Raymond, but for me, more so as the Creature in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein". Truly a brilliant actor he was able to convey menace, sadness, a comedy while having a paucity of lines.
I learned something about Mr. Boyle as I was putting together this post. He was a friend of John Lennon and worked with Jane Fonda in the anti-war movement. After his first big role, in the 1970 release "Joe", Boyle was so disturbed by the audience cheering his violent biogetd character, that he refused the role of Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection". Classy, talented, and widely respected within the industry, Peter Boyle will be missed.
Yeah Superman has got the whole alien super power thing. Batman is the world's greatest detective and a billionaire. For my money, I have always favored the The Green Lantern. I grew up on the Hal Jordan, Silver Age version and learned about the original Nodell creation as I grew older. Another legend and pioneer of the comics industry has passed.
In doing a little research, for this post, I happened to find the text for the original GL oath, as printed in ALL-AMERICAN # 16. Thanks goes out to the keeper of the Green Lantern Corps Page for finding and posting just about all of them.
For the dark things cannot stand the light,
the light of the Green Lantern!"
Quote Of The Day
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Saudi Ambassador Abruptly Resigns, Leaves WashingtonMore later.
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; Page A23
Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, flew out of Washington yesterday after informing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and his staff that he would be leaving the post after only 15 months on the job, according to U.S. officials and foreign envoys. There has been no formal announcement from the kingdom.
That being said, the United States policy toward our southern cousins has never been peaceful, benign, or in most cases smart. As far as we were (are?) concerned anything South of the Rio Grande fell under our sway (Monore Doctrine), and key to our economic interests. However, the U.S. did not create the "banana republic", we did however learn to manipulate the internal fragility of these emerging nations from almost day one. You could say we helped perfect it.
The case study for that is Augusto Pinochet, one, if not the longest ruling American installed dictator in the region. He was in some ways the most successful. However, this Wa Po editorial by Fred Hiatt, is just completely ridiculous:
It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world, where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president, Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.Let's do the math. Pincohet in power from 1973-1990, its 2006 and six.... hmmm.... um Fred? Fifteen years ago was 1991. Work it out. Leaving behind semantics, and math for that matter, Hiatt's basic premise is not far from the truth. This next bit, well.... Oy!
The contrast between Cuba and Chile more than 30 years after Mr. Pinochet's coup is a reminder of a famous essay written by Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the provocative and energetic scholar and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who died Thursday. In "Dictatorships and Double Standards," a work that caught the eye of President Ronald Reagan, Ms. Kirkpatrick argued that right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ultimately less malign than communist rulers, in part because their regimes were more likely to pave the way for liberal democracies. She, too, was vilified by the left. Yet by now it should be obvious: She was right.To quote the President: WHAT ABOUT POLAND!!! and Hungary, Romania, the former Czechslovakia, et al. former Communist nations who became liberal democracies?
One could argue, and Kirpatrick did, that the establishment of a liberal economy within the framework of a dictatorship, allows for an emergent bourgoisie (I would have used "middle class", but European and US versions of the word differ markedly) that will seek greater liberalism politcally. Yet even with the bastion of Communism, the ex-Soviet Union still produced a bourgoisie, even if it was never called that explicitally. The same can be said for former members of the Warsaw Pact.
While an excellent essay, it is almost pure ideology and does not stand up well to scrutiny. Kirkpatrick's work was a merely a salve for the morally questionable choices our country was making. Hiatt's faulty logic in connecting p->q via Pinochet and Kirkpatrick's thesis is one also. It doesn't take much of a look-see, even if we confine ourselves to Latin America to see this thesis crumble. Let's start with Haiti, Batista's (pre-1959) Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama.
All went either from Right-wing thug to Left-wing thug or vice-versa. The only time the countries of Latin America were able too choose democracy was when we stopped sticking our noses: i.e. United Fruit, The Sugar Trust etc , down their throats.
As for, the now deceased thug, named Pinochet, I wish him off with the three words I keep close to my heart, just for these occasions: BURN IN HELL.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
(NOTE TO TOURISTS: Please, if you need to consult a map on Broadway and 45th Street, step to the curb or the wall of the building! You'll do us all a favor.)Jesbus on a one horse open sleigh! YES! YOU TESTIFY! Why do you people insist on stopping dead in the middle of the freaking street only to consult some tourist map or even worse, lift your head towards the sky in that ridiculous "WOW! That's tall! look.
When crossing the street at a "Don't Walk" sign, please DO NOT block the cut in the curb. We are trying to cross here! Those buttons at those crossing signs, stop pressing them please. They don't work, never have. My theory is they were installed simply to give tourists something to do while they wait for the light to change.
If you are on one of those gods foirsaken busses let me clue you in. WE ARE NOT GUPPIES or MAKO SHARKS! Stop looking at us! Christ I go out to have a smoke and I feel like an attraction in a people aquarium!
Oh and don't let me forget, the last thing New Yorker's want to hear on their morning, mid-day, or nightly commute, is your 15-18 year old testifying about the love of Jesus. Why do you do this to your children? Daniel only had to get out of a lion's den. You throw you children on a "Q "train with us? Savages!
So when in New York remember have a nice time, obey our laws.... and then.. go the HELL HOME! We got other things to do than entertain your ass.
Friday, December 08, 2006
[Commenting on a "human" condom]
Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco: And that fits?
Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes: Well... Yeah, it's rubber. It stretches.
Det. Samuel 'George' Francisco: And still it fits?
Condoms 'too big' for Indian menOkay stop snickering! No really! There is an overlaping serious issue here:
By Damian Grammaticus
BBC News, Delhi
A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.
The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.
It has led to a call for condoms to be provided in smaller sizes designed for Indian men.
The two-year study was carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research....
The issue is serious because about one in every five times a condom is used in India it either falls off or tears, an extremely high failure rate.I don't even know what to say abou this next paragraph, except I do have Clapton's "The Way That You Use" It welded into my brain right now.
And the country already has the highest number of HIV infections of any nation....
But Indian men need not be concerned about measuring up internationally according to Sunil Mehra, the former editor of the Indian version of the men's magazine Maxim.
"It's not size, it's what you do with it that matters," he said.
"From our population, the evidence is Indians are doing pretty well.
"With apologies to the poet Alexander Pope, you could say, for inches and centimetres, let fools contend."
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Serious use for Silly StringThis does however raise a couple of questions, foremost in my mind is:
By REBECCA SANTANA
Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 6, 3:14 PM ET
STRATFORD, N.J. - In an age of multimillion-dollar high-tech weapons systems, sometimes it's the simplest ideas that can save lives. Which is why a New Jersey mother is organizing a drive to send cans of Silly String toIraq.
American troops use the stuff to detect trip wires around bombs, as Marcelle Shriver learned from her son, a soldier in Iraq.
Who brought the first can into Iraq anyways?
Second, who was the genius who thought this trick up?
That being said, or asked, this is the perfect time to plug Any Soldier. This group provides an easy way to find out what our troops need and a way to get it to them. For suggestions they have teamed up with several companies who have created care packages. Most of the requests are simple: phone cards, hygeine items, sunscreen, socks etc. Take a look choose any soldier, sailor, etc. and make the holidays a little brighter. As they post on the front page of the site:
A soldier in Iraq can't see your ribbon,
Or the flag at your front door.
But a letter they hold in their hands,
To them means so much more.
Supporter Liam Sweeny
Below are two examples of the lovely, intelligent, and socially conscious women who inhabit the contents of this visually pleasing date minder.
The ecobabes calendar portrays passionate, driven women pursing a vision of sustainability by modifying their daily actions and initiating systemic social change.
The ecobabes calendar is a tool supporting the works of the Climate Protection Campaign. It inspires and educates people of all ages to make changes in their personal and professional lives that help create a more sustainable world.
I don't know about you but there is just something about a pretty girl standing on farm equipment that is just damn sexy.
So, you can support a good cause AND be rewarded for it all year. A link to the EcoBabe calendar order page is right over here.
Labels: activism women environment
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
However here it is, and damn if they don't have a plan for Iraq and the Middle East. Over 5000 words that makes the PNAC mission statement read like the Beatitudes. To sum up the "Master Plan": BLOW EVERYTHING IN THE MIDDLE EAST UP. Where the troops and money come from.... who knows.
This is what happens when you play Age of Empires a wee to much, you come up with horseshit ideas like this one (link).
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Software used to predict who might killThe other unasked question is, what is our criminal justice system for? Is it a rehabilitative system or simply punishment? When one is released from prison should they have a clean slate, the proverbial second chance or do we metaphorically brand them for life.
By Michael Matza
The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT) via The Kansas City Star
PHILADELPHIA - University of Pennsylvania criminologist Richard Berk, a trained statistician, never met a data set he didn't like.
Now, using fresh data from the Philadelphia probation department, Berk and three colleagues have built an innovative model for predicting which troublemakers already in the system are most likely to kill or attempt a killing....
...The central public policy question in all of this is a resource allocation problem. With not enough resources to go around, overloaded case workers have to cull their cases to find the ones in most urgent need of attention - the so-called true positives, as epidemiologists say.
"If we have 100 probationers I can accurately find the one murderer who statistically will be in that group if I devote resources to all 100 as if they are murderers. The problem is that for that one murderer who is a 'true positive,' I have 99 false positives. We all would agree that's not a good use of resources.
"Now suppose I can identify the 10 at highest risk. For that one true positive I now have nine false positives," Berk said, "and that may be something we choose to live with."
I am not sure where I fall on this for violent criminals and parolees. We are not talking about some kid who got busted for a dime bag or a purse snatching. When it comes to violent criminal, murderers and extending this to sex offenders, do they or should they get the benefit of the doubt upon release and or parole?
Since most murders are spur of the moment, crimes of passion if you will, is the repeat rate high enough to condone this type of monitoring? In regards to sex offenders, particurally child molesters, the repeat offence rate may warrant such predictive software.