Thursday, May 31, 2007

Not Hitler, Really

No, I don’t think George W. Bush is Hitler. I mean, he’s not all that bent on military domination of the world…er…OK let me start again. He’s not committing genocide, gassing Jews and things of that sort. He’s not pure evil, mostly just stupid. However, who does this remind you of:

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”

Or this:

…some big money players up from Texas recently paid a visit to their friend in the White House. The story goes that they got out exactly one question, and the rest of the meeting consisted of The President in an extended whine, a rant, actually, about no one understands him, the critics are all messed up, if only people would see what he’s doing things would be OK…etc., etc.

This is called a “bunker mentality” and it’s not attractive when a friend does it. When the friend is the President of the United States, it can be downright dangerous. Apparently the Texas friends were suitably appalled, hence the story now in circulation.

But really, he’s not Hitler so stop saying that!

Air No Show

I guess being hyper-responsible when it comes to money isn’t necessarily a bad thing but canceling Air Rendezvous forever on the chance that it might not make money for the first time seems like an overreaction to me. But whatever.

I do wonder how places like Peoria, the Quad Cities, Rockford, and Terre Haute all manage to have annual air shows but we can’t. (Rockford’s air show is this weekend and features the Blue Angels if anyone is interested). I have no idea how those other places finance their air events but maybe someone here could look into that and come up with a plan.

Also, I was sort of amused by this from the SJ-R story one the subject this morning:
Springfield Airport Authority chairman Frank Vala said Wednesday that he would like to see some version of an air show return to Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, but he does not expect a return of Air Rendezvous.

“Anytime we get an event like that, it lets people see what we have to offer at the airport,” said Vala.
I’m not sure AR attendees really saw much of what the airport “has to offer” since we all gathered in a field off one of the runways. The airport facilities were off in the distance and most of the planes in the show had no relationship to the airport. Occasionally, the air show would be interrupted by an incoming or outgoing commercial flight but that was more of a nuisance than a display of what the airport had to offer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That’s My Bush!

This may be the most infuriating story I’ve read in months:

WASHINGTON: The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

A beef producer in the western state of Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.
Oh my God.

This Kansas company wants to voluntarily test its product. The Bushies say no because it will raise expectations among the unwashed masses that their meat should be safe. Testing can’t be tolerated; it might result in greater expense to large meat producers because they won’t be able to sell bad meat. Thank goodness for the Bush administration which is always there to look out for the big guy.

Worst. President. EVER. And just under two years to go.


Yay! Now shut up about the fucking whales already so we can concentrate on important things like Lindsay.

Simpsons Rumor

Consider this post to be fact-free and only a retelling of a rumor going around.

Supposedly the contest for the honor of being the official Springfield of The Simpsons has come down to Springfield, Missouri and Springfield, Illinois. If Springfield, Illinois is chosen, the site of the premier of The Simpsons movie will be at the Showplace 12 on Wabash.

Like I said, it’s all just local rumor.

But for what it’s worth, here’s a revealing look at our alleged competition.

Lincoln Lockers

This just seems silly.
The city of Springfield could announce within days a plan for where the Lincoln Library homeless people can keep their possessions, Mayor Tim Davlin said Tuesday.

Davlin said the plan is basically “just installing lockers inside a pod.”

“We’re working out some of the logistics about exactly where it’s going to be put and … more about liability issues,” the mayor said.
I’m all for doing all we can to assist the homeless but this sort of half-measure (one-eighth measure?) seems to me to be a way of avoiding the larger problem. I don’t think this is the kind of solution anyone, including the homeless, is looking for. In fact, it’s not a solution; it’s just…silly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You Could Have Fooled Me

I can't believe I missed this 4 years ago:
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (AP) -- When it comes to Abraham Lincoln, some of the people are fooled all of the time.

Remarks attributed to the quotable 16th president have popped up in everything from television commercials to speeches by famous generals, presidents and even recent anti-war protesters. Too often, they are phrases that Lincoln never uttered, experts at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency say.

The preservation agency has added a page to its Web site that exposes famous sayings Lincoln never made. Among them:

-- "To sin by silence, when they should protest, makes cowards of men."

-- "There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There's nothing good in war except its ending."

-- "The strength of the nation lies in the homes of its people."

And then there's this one: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Allegedly part of a September 1858 speech in Clinton, the sentence does not show up in the text printed in the local newspaper, Schwartz said. The best evidence available comes from two people in 1910 recollecting that Lincoln said it in 1856.

Wow. I had no idea the last item wasn't a real Lincoln quote.

But I have to wonder who DID say it? It's a great quote, and it's too bad Lincoln didn't come up with it, but someone did. And they should get credit. Maybe it was someone from Clinton? I guess we'll never know.

Return From Vacation

Well, it was only a few days in Southern Illinois and I've actually been back (and not blogging) since last evening. Today I took an ENTIRE DAY OFF WORK. That's my first whole regular work day off since September of last year. And you know what, it was nice. It's kind of fun not being at work when mot others, especially your coworkers, are.

Now is when I wish I had been, all my life, dedicated to an early retirement instead of goofing off/partying/chasing dreams/under achieving/wasting time on the wrong women/seeking the path of least resistance. Bah, woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Beer Blogging: Simpsons Edition

It's no secret that Springfield is actively (OK, some say half-heartedly) trying to become the "official" Springfield of The Simpsons so that we might be honored to host the premier of the new Simpsons movie this summer. So to mark the effort, FBB presents beer drinker extraordinaire, Homer Simpson...

And his favorite beer, Duff.

Oh, and no truer words were ever spoken when, on one episode of The Simpson's, Homer proposed the following: Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
But look at this. There is a real Duff beer being brewed in Mexico.

But they better look out. A law suit may follow soon.
Two Australian brewers launched Duff Beer brands in the 90s, only to have them pulled when The Simpsons creators threatened lawsuits, the name was registered Down Under. These days, remnant stock of the beer is considered a collectible in Australia and pops up every now and again on eBay.
I've thought we here in Springfield should have a Duff beer to better our chances at becoming the official Simpsons Springfield. But in light of the possibility of lawsuit, maybe we need to be more creative. How 'bout a Duph beer? Or Ffud? Or Spuff?

Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sir Paul

I haven't liked much of anything Paul McCartney has done since the album Band on the Run released in 1973. However, I'm intrigued by this review of McCartney's latest effort. His best work since since The Beatles? I haven't heard it but color me doubtful

Months Rated

I mentioned a few posts back that May is my favorite month. So, with nothing else to write about, I thought I’d post my ranking of the months from favorite to most hated.

May – Everything is lush and green without being overgrown. The weather is warm, school is wrapping up, the days are getting really long, all of summer is ahead.

June – The month with the latest sunsets and the first month of the year with consistently warm weather. What’s not to like?

July – More summer! And my birthday.

August – Even more summer! And the State Fair.

September – Even though in grade school and high school I always dreaded September as the start of the longs school year (it may have been dead last on my list back then), I have since begun t consider the month as part of summer. It’s still quite warm and, at least until the end of the month, is indistinguishable from August.

April – Finally, it’s spring! Warmer and longer days kick off the best part of the year.

October – Cool crisp fall days are wonderful. Colorful trees accented by the angle of the sun make October very unique. Also, warm days still crop up frequently.

March – The weather warms some but March can still disappoint will cold and even snow. Still, even in the worst case, spring really is just around the corner.

November – A few warm days are still to be had and there’s also some of that pleasant Fall crispness, but over all November marks the beginning of the sucky months.

December – Darkest month but there’s the whole holidays thing that, while often overly hectic, takes my mind off the fact that winter is just beginning.

February – While the days are getting longer and the promise of spring is just a few weeks away, it’s still cold out and by February, it’s really starting to piss me off.

January – Dark, cold, spring is too far away, holidays are over, there isn’t much good about January

Now, admittedly, my list is very weather centric, specifically favoring the warmer months. But weather plays a big part in how I feel about things not to mention it often determines outdoor activity. That doesn’t mean I hate winter altogether, I don’t. I enjoy weather extremes, so a good snowstorm is fine with me. However, the persistent cold and early sunsets really start to grate on me at some point. But that’s the price of admission for the kinds of springs and falls we have here. It makes me wonder though, what to people in consistently warm climates base their rankings on?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Age Relativism

Richard Roeper was channeling one of my obsessions an item in his column yesterday.

If she's 46, he must be dead by now

Speaking of age-differential, the 1,000th song I uploaded to iPod happened to be "Hey Nineteen" by Steely Dan, and as I was listening to it, I had this thought: The girl in the song is 46 now.

Do you ever do that? You hear an old pop song on the radio, with somebody singing, "I can't see me loving nobody but you, for all my life," or, "Children behave, that's what they say when we're together," and you realize the "characters" in the song would be in their 60s by now, shaking their heads about those crazy hippie-young-love days of so long ago.

"Hey Nineteen," released in 1980, was penned by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, who would have been around 30 and 32, respectively, at the time. It's the story of a 30ish guy trying to connect with a college girl and lamenting, "Hey Nineteen, that's 'Retha Franklin, she don't remember the queen of soul . . . she thinks I'm crazy but I'm just growing old."

No we got nothing in common
No we can't talk it all
Please take me along
When you slide on down

Like a lot of Steely Dan's best work, "Hey Nineteen" is eclectic and funny and melancholy. But as time goes on, it takes on an added layer. Whether based on a real person or a purely fictional creation, the girl in the song is now middle-aged -- and if she engaged a 19-year-old in conversation, odds are the 19-year-old would have no idea who Steely Dan is.
Oh my God, I do the age math thing all the time. There is an age slide rule in my head that gets right to work anytime is see or hear a reference to age in a book or old TV show or whatever. It doesn’t have to even be a specific reference to age like in Roeper’s Steely Dan example. I could be sitting there watching an old Andy Griffith show and suddenly I’m trying to figure out what year it was made, how old I was, my parents were, Andy Griffith’s age then and now, how much older am I now than Don Knotts was a the time…it’s endless. I do this sort of thing so much, it’s really become second nature.

Oddly enough, it was about a month ago I heard Hey Nineteen on the radio and had thoughts along the line of Roeper’s. For the record I (and Roeper for that matter) was about 19 when that song was recorded. The front end of the baby boom generation is 10 to 15 years older than I am, and throughout my life they have seemed so much older. But I keep catching up to that age that I thought was distant and old. Twenty years ago, while I was in my mid 20s, the boomer rock starts were all cracking 40. 40! How could they possibly still be trying to rock, I wondered. Well now they are over 60 and some of them are still going.

The worst, or at least scariest part of my age relativism obsession, comes when someone, usually some older celebrity, dies. I immediately calculate what year they were my current age and then I project my life to that point. Gulp, Kurt Vonnegut was my age in 1968. I remember 1968. Vonnegut died at age 84. Not a bad age to live to and probably a “best case” scenario for me. So at best, I’ve got the distance from 168 until now to live. And on I go.

A couple of age related notes on the Steely Dan songs:

-- As someone who was 19 or 20 when the song came out, I know that people my age were at least generally aware who Aretha Franklin was.

--It sounds funny to me now to hear the “I’m just growing old” lyric in that song from a couple of guys barely over 30. Hmmmm, let’s see…if they were 30 in 1980, the year I turned 20, that means they were about my age in 1997 when I turned 37 and …oh never mind!

Update: 19 year-olds today maybe DO know what Steely Dan is:
…last night I took a vacation from my problems and went to see Steely Dan at the Beacon Theatre here in scenic New York City. Predictably, the show was crawling with lots of hot, young chicks.

The I-55 Surge

The ISP says it’s going to be out in force on Friday.
Illinois State Police troopers will be stationed every 10 miles along Interstate 55, from St. Louis to Chicago, in an effort to enforce traffic laws and raise safety awareness. The detail will begin at noon Friday and end at midnight.

The "Stay Alive on I-55" saturation detail - which will span 300 miles and require at least 30 troopers - coincides with the start of the Memorial Day weekend.
Lucky me, I’m going to be using I-55 Friday afternoon on my we down to Southern Illinois for my annual pilgrimage to Giant City State Park (which is neither giant nor a city, discuss). Thing is, Mrs. TEH drove down to the Metro East area yesterday on 55 and said there were cops about every 10 miles then too. Pre-surge practice?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Global Obesity

You surely know that, as a nation, we are too heavy. But you probably have never seen that fact presented like this. That’s the plumpest stickman I’ve ever seen.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Driving While Broke

The SJ-R reports DUI arrests are down in Springfield. But the real reason for the decline appears in the comments section of the online story:
At the current price of gas, who can afford to drink and drive? Hence, the decline in drunk drivers.


May is my favorite month for many reasons, including the fact that it usually has abundant rain creating lush landscapes before the onset of the summer heat. As a lawn owner I appreciate this even if it means more mowing. But this year, I’ve noticed numerous lawn sprinklers appearing already. My own yard is already showing the kind of stress it doesn’t normally until July. It’s been unbelievably dry this month. Here’s hoping for a wet June. If not, and we go into official drought, someone is going to “seriously” propose Hunter lake again.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Beer Blogging: Nightmare Edition

So, there's this town in new York that accidentally voted to make the town dry. Oops.

ALBANY - People in Potter thought it was a straightforward ballot question: Should we allow restaurants to sell beer?

Then the state got involved and by the time it was over, residents had accidentally banned beer sales anywhere in town. Now, they're seeking the state Legislature's help in reversing an inadvertent prohibition that threatens to close the town's single grocery store.

Those involved say the incident stems from the state's "arcane" alcohol laws.

The Yates County town of 1,800 is part of the village of Rushville, just south of Canandaigua on the Yates-Ontario County border. In 2005, residents requested a vote to allow the Hitching Rail, the only restaurant in town, to sell beer. But the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, essentially unchanged since Prohibition, mandates that a list of five specific questions be put on a ballot.

The other four questions included a measure to continue to permit the sale of packaged beer for off-premises consumption, a question about hotels selling beer and another about summer hotels selling beer. Voters became confused by the wording of the questions, according to the Potter Town Supervisor Len Lisenbee, and voted down all of the proposals. The beer ban is set to go into effect July 1.

"So-called regulators at the ABC board told us we needed five different proposals on the ballot and voters told me almost unanimously they didn't understand the legalese of the questions," Lisenbee said.

The ABC Law also states that once a proposal is passed, it cannot be put on a ballot again for three years. That would mean the town's only grocery store — Federal Hollow Staples Grocery — would have to go almost 18 months without selling beer, which constitutes 50 percent of its annual sales, according to Lisenbee.

That would put them out of business, said Federal Hollow manager Kati Brown. Potter residents would have to trek 10 miles or so to the neighboring towns of Canandaigua or Penn Yan for food and beer. According to Lisenbee, most of Potter's residents already do the bulk of their shopping in these towns, but Federal Hollow is important for daily staples.

"People in this town use Federal Hollow all the time for news, beer or anything else we need when we don't want to travel," he said.

"They've been selling beer in this joint since 1970,'' said Sen. George Winner, R-Elmira, one of the sponsors of the measure to overturn the ban. "This is a classic example of why there needs to be changes in the arcane ABC law.''

Last week, the Senate passed a measure that would allow Potter's residents to repeal the beer ban. The Senate bill would allow Potter to put the questions back on the ballot this fall and would also extend Federal Hollow's license to sell beer to Nov. 15.

The Potter bill still needs to pass the Assembly by June 21, the last day of the 2007 session, and then be approved by Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Assembly sponsor James Bacalles, R-Corning, said he "doesn't see any reason why it wouldn't come up for a vote." Lisenbee said there has been only "quasi-opposition" from some religious citizens, and the town expects the beer ban to be lifted.

Meanwhile, even the state Liquor Authority admits that the five-question system demanded by the Alcohol Beverage Control law is outdated. The agency drafted bill language in February that would replace the current questions with "plain-English" ones. Winner and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore, have introduced bills to that effect.

Beer is the will of the people and the people will be heard.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lincoln Beats Smallpox


HOUSTON, Texas (Reuters) -- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln may have come closer than previously realized to dying from smallpox shortly after delivering his Gettysburg Address, medical researchers said Thursday.

After giving the Civil War speech, Lincoln became ill with symptoms of smallpox: high fever, weakness, severe pain in the head and back, "prostration" -- an old-fashioned word for extreme fatigue -- and skin eruptions that lasted for three weeks in late 1863.

Lincoln's doctors told the ailing president he suffered from a cold or a "bilious fever" before one physician told him he had a mild form of smallpox.

"Lincoln's physicians attempted to reassure him that his disease was a mild form of smallpox, but that may have been to prevent the public from fearing that Lincoln was dying," said Dr. Armond Goldman, emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Smallpox, which was eradicated in 1979, was widespread in the 1800s and killed 30 percent of first-time victims.

Update: Related story here.

BALTIMORE — Abraham Lincoln might have survived if today’s medical technology
existed in 1865. Given that scenario, the question is whether Lincoln would have been able to return to office, says a doctor and historian who planned to speak today at an annual University of Maryland School of Medicine conference on the deaths of historic figures.

Although the conference traditionally has re-examined the deaths of historic figures to determine whether the diagnosis of the time was correct, this year’s event asks if Lincoln could have been saved and what impact that would have had.

Dr. Thomas Scalea, the physician in chief at the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center, said brain injuries are unpredictable but Lincoln would have stood a good chance of surviving.

My Way or the Segway

Nope. No one looks cool on a Segway. (See SJ-R’s online poll here and scroll down.) In fact, while the one-person transportation devices may be practical in some ways, everyone looks like a dork riding one.

In a related matter, the city of Springfield is trying to become the "official" Springfield of the Simpsons. Details here. To that end, I offer this:
In an episode of The Simpsons, Kent Brockman is finishing a story saying "... making this the latest Segway scooter crash to claim over one thousand lives". In another episode, "The Seven-Beer Snitch", Homer Simpson flees a prison mob on a Segway, proclaiming, "Fly, Segway, fly!" only to fall off the edge of the balcony. Also in the episode "Fraudcast News", Homer is run off the road by a man on a Segway. "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass" has guest star Tom Brady performing an endzone celebration which includes him riding a Segway with a banner that says "Everyone Sucks But Me".

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Snow Vote

So we’re going to be voting a bit earlier in the Illinois primary starting next year. I still think we’re asking for trouble from Mother Nature in trying to hold an election on February 5th. While it doesn’t snow every 2/5, it does so often enough. And it’s almost always cold. The result is going to be varying degrees of voter suppression. Karl Rove would be proud.

It’s also ridiculous that some are justifying the move as a way to help Barack Obama’s chances in next year’s Democratic primary, something that apparently has some bipartisan support:
Sen. Larry Bomke, R-Springfield, who voted for the bill, said he doesn't think the earlier date will be a factor in local elections.

"If it helps (Obama) in the Democrat primary, I'm all for it," Bomke said, adding that his concern is that Illinois have a voice in who will ultimately be president of the United States.
I’m glad Bomke has the best interest of Democrats at heart.

I understand the larger rational: everyone else is doing it. If we didn’t move the primary, we would be all but irrelevant in the primary process. But the result nationally, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, is going to be a lower turnout due to weather. Hopefully, alternative voting methods (early voting, absentee ballots and voting by mail) will somewhat offset this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Farewell Falwell

On the occasion of his death, I can think of absolutely nothing nice to say about Jerry Falwell, so I won’t say anything. I’ll just link to the Naughty and Nice local bloggers.

I See Black Knights

New Springfield blog: Realm of the Black Knight.

Mr Knight claims to be no stranger to the Springfield blog scene. On the other hand, is there anything stranger THAN the Springfield blog scene?

One of his (or her) first acts of blogging is to take on idiot comments from the SJ-R online. An easy target to be sure, but one practically needs to wear a knight’s body armor to wade though the nastiness there.

In a related matter, I was reading the SJ-R story on the Maldaner’s fire the other day and when I got to the comments section, I was pleased to find only three or four comments and all were praising the Springfield firefighters. I didn’t go back and look later but it was nice to, just once, see a story NOT followed by a lot of petty bitching.

H/T to Blevins.

Ursuline at its End

I wish I had more to say about the announcement that Springfield’s Ursuline Academy is closing, but I really don’t have much to add. As a student at Griffin High School back in the 1970s, Ursuline was just the “other” Catholic girls’ high School where no more than a few of the girls from our 8th grade graduating class went. I think I was only in Ursuline once or twice. Still, it seems strange that it will now be going away.

With only 170 students, I’m sure there will be no problem having SHG and the public schools absorb the displaced. It’s sad for them though. And for the many UA alum who will soon have an alma mater that’s going to be relegated to little more then a local trivia question in a few years.

I understand that in a way. When Griffin merged with Sacred Heart, my high school no longer was what, or even where, it once was. As time goes on, I find myself having to explain more and more often that SH was once separate from G. Nothing stays the same and well it should be so.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bombing the Olympics and Abortion Clinics Still Not Terrorism

Eric Rudolph, just some wacky guy who likes to explode stuff. No big deal, we have a real war on terra to fight!


Thing #56 you should know before having kids: sometimes they’re kinda stupid.
Fifteen-year-old Shannon Kelly and her brother used to text back and forth between their bedrooms at night, arguing over who was going to turn the light out.

“You turn it out.”

“No, you turn it out.”

When the $200 phone bill arrived at her Bloomington home, she lost her cell phone. She’s hoping to get it back, along with unlimited text messaging, for her 16th birthday this month.
JMO, but GIAR on the texting.

Is there any parent who hasn’t gotten this same bill? And any teen who hasn’t suffered the same fate? And don’t they text each other about it? And do they learn nothing from others mistakes?


Way Off

That’s odd. This CNN story reports:
Since the war began, 3,388 U.S. military personnel have been killed. Seven civilian contractors also have been killed.
Seven? Hmmm, this list shows maybe half (I’m too lazy to count) of the nearly 400 contractor deaths in Iraq have been Americans. And it’s only a partial list. Where did they get this figure of just seven? Dick Cheney?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Supplemental Beer Blogging: Better Than Wine Edition

Oh, so true...
And speaking of beer snobbery, the bottle of beer you [get] for $9 is much better than the bottle of wine you can purchase for the same. Would that more folks showed up to dinner parties bearing some chilled Chimay than warm Yellow Tail. Nice beer is classy, people!
Beer : Better value, just as classy.

(I now await Jerome "Wine Man" Prophet's rebuttal.)

C. None of the Above

The correct answer is Mel-O-Cream

Snow Freedom Day!

Well, we no longer have to worry about snow until next at least next Fall. From the National Weather Service:

May 11, 1952
A few snow flurries fell on Springfield, establishing the date of the city's latest snowfall on record.

So I can absolutely, positively put the snow shovels away now.

By the way: NWS = More Nanny Stateness. I can look out my window and see the weather; I don’t need the government telling me what my weather is.


I’ve noticed this too.
One of the great discoveries of the Republican Party over the past decade or two is that an awful lot of the rules we take for granted are, in reality, just traditions. Like redistricting only once a decade, for example, or keeping House votes open for 15 minutes. And what Republicans have found out is that if you have the balls to do it, you can just ignore tradition and no one can stop you. It's that simple.

Alberto Gonzales has learned this lesson well. Normally, cabinet officers who have been caught in multiple obvious lies have to either resign or else seriously try to defend themselves. But Gonzales realizes this is just tradition. Unless House Democrats have the votes to impeach him, he doesn't have to do anything. He can just mock them to their face and there's nothing much they can do about it.
Now, depending on you political persuasion, this bucking of tradition might be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. Not being particularly sympathetic to those employing these tactics, I tend to find it arrogant and frustrating. It does make me wonder though, has the mold now been broken for everyone henceforth, or will the “traditions” be re-established after this bunch is gone?

Gnattering Nabobs

The Associate Press has picked up the Central Illinois gnat infestation story. In it, we learn that that the gnats may be so numerous because our water here is so clean:

University of Illinois entomologist Phil Nixon suspects clean water in the region's stream, cleaner than it has been in decades and much like the water that would have flowed in when settlers arrived, may be the cause.

Buffalo gnats lay eggs on sticks, rocks and debris near or in running water, he said, and the larvae use a fan-shaped set of bristles to capture whatever floats by.

"They essentially eat whatever gets caught in that fan," Nixon said. "If what gets caught is pollutants, they're poisoned."

And if the water is clean, he theorizes, their populations will be healthier.
So see, you tree-huggers, there is something to be said for pollution. I blame the gnats on environmentalists! [/Limbaugh]

At least we know Lake Springfield can't be hosting many of these things.

Anyway, we also learn that our pioneer ancestors here in Illinois may have also had to put up with the bugs:

Kevin Black, who scouts for agricultural pests for the Growmark Inc. cooperative in Bloomington, Ill., said large gnat hatches were likely a part of life in early downstate Illinois.

"There's old anecdotal information and old stories from this area of the country when it was being settled that the black flies would drive wild animals basically insane," he said.
Or they can kill, if you’re a bird.

The state Department of Agriculture has heard from several people who lost birds from backyard flocks, said spokesman Jeff Squibb, and tested the poultry for bird flu and other ailments.

"There is no test per se for buffalo gnats in a necropsy," he said. "It's a process of elimination, and all other causes have been eliminated."

The birds could die of blood loss, allergic reactions to the bugs' saliva or even asphyxiation, with their airways clogged with gnats, added Colleen O'Keefe, manager of the department's food safety and animal protection division.

Illinois doesn't have much of a poultry industry, and the few big farmers here raise their chickens indoors, safe from the gnats.

The state's outdoor flocks tend to be like the one Betty Dunker keeps in her yard near Hull, about a dozen miles southwest of Quincy along the Mississippi River. The 76-year-old Dunker has a mix of chickens, peacocks, doves and other birds that she says she keeps for her grandchildren.

About 30 of her birds died over the past 10 days after being tormented by gnats.

"My chickens were so tired from fighting these gnats that they could hardly even walk," she said.

The good news is, the gnats (flies) should be gone in a week or two. I’d say from my experience they are already down by at least half from a week or two ago.

Update: The gnat-flies aren't playing well in Peoria either.

LaHood Stands Up

Wow, if this report is to be believed Ray LaHood isn’t taking any shit from the Bush gang.
Top Bush administration officials lashed out at a pair of House Republicans at the White House yesterday after details about a contentious meeting between President Bush and GOP legislators were leaked to the media earlier this week.

Reps. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) attracted the ire of White House officials for allegedly speaking to reporters about a Tuesday meeting between Bush and centrist Republicans on the Iraq war. Details of the contentious meeting first emerged Wednesday evening and attracted Page 1 headlines yesterday.

Sources said that Dan Meyer, Bush’s liaison to the House, confronted LaHood while White House political strategist Karl Rove rebuked Kirk. It is unclear if LaHood or Kirk were the original sources for the stories, but LaHood was quoted in one of the articles.

Regardless, LaHood and Meyer got into a shouting match as emotions ran high and voices were raised yesterday morning in the White House while lawmakers were waiting to meet with first lady Laura Bush, according to two legislators who witnessed the exchange.
What arrogant little assholes we have in this administration. I’m not a huge LaHood fan but we should all have his back on this one. Bush and Rove and company really do think we have a monarchy (or worse) in this country.

The story goes on with further reflections on LaHood’s presents in Washington:
LaHood, who was passed over to lead the Intelligence Committee in 2004, is not shy about expressing his views.

During the 109th Congress, the 7th-term lawmaker publicly criticized then Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) as well as then House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

A GOP rank-and-file lawmaker said that LaHood’s recent comments were a “nuisance” and made some members “pretty upset.”

“He’s his own man,” said a former senior GOP aide. “A lot of the members and members of leadership say that Ray talks too much.”

Still, some top GOP aides said LaHood’s candidness was not unusual and did not cause a flap within the conference.

“Ray’s been here a long time,” Hastert said. “He’s a stand up guy and he says what he thinks.”
Although I probably disagree with LaHood on almost everything (I’ve never voted for him, probably never will), I would like to see more Republicans like him if we must have Republicans.

Friday Beer Blogging: Be a Beer Expert Edition

All About Beer Online has an article on how to sound like a beer expert. I used to think that meant belching and passing out a lot. But no! Knowledge is power and here is some of that power.

Q: Is there a way to turn non-alcoholic beer into alcoholic beer?

A: People who ask about putting the A back in NA beer are generally a) living in the Middle East, b) under age, or c) in prison. I leave it to you to weigh the consequences of breaking whatever law you are up against. You can add sugar and yeast to NA beer and generate a little alcohol, but it will taste nasty. Homebrewed beer-even bad homebrewed beer-will taste better. Alternatively, our ancestors coped with Prohibition by creating "needle beer"-NA beer with a syringeful of grain alcohol added. Your best and safest bet is to a) change countries, b) grow up, or c) get released.

Q: How many calories in beer?

A: There are about 150 calories in a 12-ounce serving of standard beer, the same amount as those little pots of fruit yogurt dieters like so much. I know which is my choice: when I want a cold one after work, I don't mean a cold yogurt. A light beer will contain about 100 calories. Some hefty styles such as barleywines contain about 300 calories. Remember: it's not the beer, it's the nachos.

Q: What is the proper way to pour a beer?

A: If you pour the beer slowly down the side of a tilted glass, a smaller head is formed, and more CO2 remains dissolved in the beer. If you hold the glass upright and pour straight into the glass, more gas is released, and a larger head will form. Real aficionados will insist that different beers have different ideal pours, but you are a mere expert, not an aficionado. Pour an ale so it has about half an inch of head, lagers with a larger one, and allow a wheat beer to throw a big pillowy head.

Read more here.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Everybody Loves Raymond

Our own Ray LaHood (R-1313 Mockingbird Lane), someone I’ve long considered a LOR (Least Objectionable Republican), was among the group of GOP lawmakers who went to the White House to give President Bush a talking to on Iraq:
This morning on CNN, Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) — one of 11 Republican members to have recently visited the White House and plead with President Bush to change course in Iraq — described the meeting as “unvarnished, about as frank and honest as I have ever been to at the White House.”

LaHood further added that Bush was taken aback by the concerns expressed by the
congressional delegation. “He listened very carefully. I think he was a little — I don’t know if surprised is the right word, probably maybe sobered,” LaHood said. “The fact is that, I don’t know if he’s gotten that kind of opinion before in such a frank and no holds barred way but he was very sober about it and he listened very intently.”

LaHood said the congressional delegation expressed concern about the political impact that Iraq is having on their congressional districts. “People are very war weary and that’s going to be reflected in peoples’ opinions, much stronger in the fall, I believe.”
LaHood can’t be worried about his reelection chances. He’s in one of the safest districts anywhere, never having to run against a serious opponent. But what if he is worried? That would mean most of the rest of the GOP delegation must be crapping their pants.

My (Older) Generation

I’m still not able to post directly from YouTube. Something happened when I switched from old to new Blogger. Anyway, here’s the link.

H/T to TEH Florida Bureau Chief JB.

The Real Online Predators: Fear Mongers

I was reading the SJ-R’s opinion piece today on the positives and negatives of having District 186 students equipped with laptops. Predictably, concern (even if only in passing) was raised about -DUT, DUT, DUUUUH!- online predators!

I wondered just how pervasive online predators really are. Actually, I've wondered this for some time. So I went out to the predator-invested waters of the internet to find some statistics.

The first site offered up by Goggle was this one from the group CyberAngels. Here I came across this alarming stat:

77% of youths are contacted by online predators by age 14, and 22% of children ages 10 to 13 are approached.
Wow! 3 out of 4 kids a re solicited online by age 14! Holy shit! Except common sense tells me that’s can’t be true. So the next Google hit takes me to another site, put up by the cyber monitoring software company that makes SentryPC, where they cite what is probably the correct statistic:

77% of the targets for online predators were age 14 or older. Another 22% were users ages 10 to 13.
- Crimes Against Children Research Center
Big difference between the two. One greatly overstates the problem while the other breaks down the situation, such as it is, by age group. And consider, SentyPC has a financial stake in presenting the most alarming statistic and even they don’t tough the CyberAngels nonsense.

Also from the SentryPC site there is this:

One in 33 youth received an aggressive sexual solicitation in the past year.
That’s about 3% compared to the hysterical 77% figure from the first site. Even 3% sounds a little high to me but I really have nothing to go on.

And finally there is this site that debunks some of the more alarmist statistics.

According to a May 3, 2006, "ABC News" report, "One in five children is now approached by online predators."

This alarming statistic is commonly cited in news stories about prevalence of Internet predators. The claim can be traced back to a 2001 Department of Justice study issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ("The Youth Internet Safety Survey") that asked 1,501 American teens between 10 and 17 about their online experiences. Among the study's conclusions: "Almost one in five (19 percent)...received an unwanted sexual solicitation in the past year." (A "sexual solicitation" is defined as a "request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or give personal sexual information that were unwanted or, whether wanted or not, made by an adult." Using this definition, one teen asking another teen if her or she is a virgin-or got lucky with a recent date-could be considered "sexual solicitation.")

Not a single one of the reported solicitations led to any actual sexual contact or assault. Furthermore, almost half of the "sexual solicitations" came not from "predators" or adults but from other teens. When the study examined the type of Internet "solicitation" parents are most concerned about (e.g., someone who asked to meet the teen somewhere, called the teen on the telephone, or sent gifts), the number drops from "one in five" to 3 percent.

3% is not a trivial number but it's far from the panic-inducing hype some seem compelled communicate. And by the way, I found other sites that cited CyberAngels and thier rediculous 77% statistic. Bad data is infectious.

So while, yes, all kids should be educated on the Stranger Dangers of the internet, I’m not sure this should get in the way of students having access to the internet as a tool for learning. Of course, they should also be warned of the dangers of bogus information on the internet and how to use multiple and reliable sources for information rather than those who feel compelled to lie to achieve some end.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fast Food Shuffle

So…The old Burger King near Meijer is becoming a Monical’s Pizza, the old Wendy’s on West Jefferson is becoming a Burger King and Jolly Tamale in The Yard is becoming closed.

Anything else we should know about?

Withdrawing for Victory

No one outside of the Bush administration or its delusional lackeys thinks Iraq’s future is particularly bright, especially in the near-term. Most serious analysis on what’s next for that country is painted in varying shades of blood red No matter how long the U.S. occupies that country, sooner or later the Iraqis are going to have to settle their own differences. The latest of a very long line of justifications from the administration for staying there has been that we need to stay to defeat The Terrorists™ in general and al-Qaeda in particular. Kevin Drum yesterday put up a post that most nearly reflects my feelings on how unnecessary, and even counter-productive, we are to that end:
It's not just that Iraqis know their own neighborhoods better than us (though that's part of it), but that when it comes to exterminating AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] Iraqis would almost certainly be far more brutal about it than Americans. That's not really a subject anyone wants to bring up in polite company.

But that doesn't make it any less true. If we leave Iraq, the country is unlikely in the extreme to become an al-Qaeda haven. Partly this is because it's rage at the American presence itself that provides a big part of the fuel for AQI's growth. Our withdrawal would eliminate that source of rage and devastate AQI's ability to continue its recruiting. Partly it's because, as we're seeing in Anbar province right now, even Sunni extremists don't like AQI. Left to their own devices they'll kill off AQI jihadists in order to protect their own tribal turf. And partly it's because once we withdraw, non-Kurdish Iraq will be free to finish its inevitable transition into a Shiite theocracy — a transition that's sadly unavoidable whether we stay or not. Yes, this transition will be bloody, but in the end Iraq will almost certainly be composed of the Kurdish north, which has no use for al-Qaeda; the remaining Sunni sheikhs, who also have no use for al-Qaeda; and the victorious Shiite central government itself, which likewise has no use for murderous Sunni jihadists on its soil. Between the three of them, AQI isn't likely to last a year.
In other words, leaving will do more to attain the administrations stated goal than staying. It would have the added benefit of saving a lot of American lives and treasure.

Kevin (deliberately) doesn’t address the issue of how connected AQI is to the al-Qaeda we all know and loathe from 9/11. What few foreign al-Qaeda fighters are in Iraq would not last long once the Americans left as their alliance-of-convenience with Iraqi nationalist fighters would quickly disappear.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking along these same lines for some time and I was glad to see Kevin’s post. Go read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Burrito Sub-par

What has Taco Bell done with Burrito Supremes? I hadn’t had one in many years until last night, but I KNOW they don’t taste the same. When I say the same, I’m talking the same as they did 25 years ago. I had my first BS in 1981 and it instantly became my late night munchie of choice. I loved those things. I’ve had many over the years since then and it just seems like Taco Bell has slowly evolved the BS until today it’s almost inedible.

Now, before you suggest that maybe things like Burrito Supremes do taste the same, it’s just my older and more sophisticated (snort!) palate doesn’t appreciate what it once did. But wait! Other fast food classics like Big Macs, Whoppers, anything KFC, and Wendy’s chili all taste the same to me. Not that I eat much of that stuff anymore, but on the rare occasions that I do, I find no substantial difference from what I remember back in the day. Except for Burrito Supremes.

Thing is, I think TB uses the same ingredients it used to. I couldn't identify anything new. Maybe it's the proportion of the ingredients, maybe the seasoning is different. All I know is, BS's, like everything else, has changed over the years.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Greatest Mystery in the Universe

It has to be gas prices. From pump prices that go up 25 cents a gallon instantly, even when it’s the same inventory, to experts who can’t agree on where prices are headed. Today on the way to work I heard a radio news report that prices would likely stabilize or even fall. Now, at lunch, I see this:
NEW YORK ( -- With gas prices near record highs, experts say $4-a-gallon gasoline is just around the corner.

"I think it's going to happen," said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at Alaron Trading in Chicago. "Unless things change dramatically, I think we're going to see $4 a gallon."
Also of note: crude oil prices are down. That means someone is making TONS of money off these higher prices at the pump. But not to worry, I’m sure it’s being put to good use.

Trying to make sense of all of this is a fool’s errand for mere mortals (that is, non-oil industry executives).

Iraq First

Tornados ravaged parts of Kansas over the weekend. But who cares when we have the great and glorious Bush war to fight.

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) -- The rebuilding effort in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kansas, likely will be hampered because some much-needed equipment is in Iraq, said that state’s governor.

Governor Kathleen Sebelius said much of the National Guard equipment usually positioned around the state to respond to emergencies is gone. She said not having immediate access to things like tents, trucks and semitrailers will really handicap the rebuilding effort.

What babies, expecting the Nanny State to take care of them while brave men and women are dying for, umm…something, over there.

Hat Crimes? What’s All This Talk of Hat Crimes? Oh, Never Mind!

Emily Litella aside, Eric Zorn has one of the best explanations I’ve seen of what differentiates so-called hate crimes from “normal” crimes. Hate crimes legislation has been in the news again and the usual suspects (mainly those who often subliminally or otherwise incorporate hate into their message) are opposed to any expansion of hate crime laws.

I don’t put hate crimes issues at the top of my list of things to worry about, but it is worthy of discussion. Here’s how Zorn makes explains a hate crime:
The simplest answer to this is that when hatred for a particular group or class or race is the obvious motive for an attack, that attack becomes, in effect, two crimes. The first is the offense itself. The second is the implicit threat that offense makes to other members of that group, class or race.

That second crime has new victims.

Consider an incident in which someone uses spray paint to deface the garage of a house into which a gay family has just moved.

The crime is vandalism, no matter what. But to argue against the idea of hate crimes is to argue that it shouldn't matter at all to the law whether the graffiti is a smiley face or some hostile, anti-gay slur

The smiley face is a petty annoyance. The hateful slogan is, in effect, a threat to other gay people in the area -- they might be next.
And he makes the important point that the legal system already takes into account what alleged criminals are thinking when committing a crime:
Lastly, do we punish people for their thoughts? Yes, all the time.

If John fires a gun and kills Bob, the law cares a great deal what John was thinking at the time as it decides if and how to punish John. Knowing that an action by John has resulted in Bob's death is not all the law needs to know. The law needs to know what John was thinking at the time.

Did John intend to kill Bob? Did he plan the shooting for months and murder him in cold blood, or was he in an irrational rage over something Bob did? Was he very afraid -- rightly or wrongly -- of Bob at the moment he pulled the trigger? Or did he fire the gun accidentally while picking it up? Did he shoot into the air on New Year's Eve and strike Bob standing several blocks away?
You often hear the notion of hate crimes dismissed because “all crimes ar hate crimes”. That one drives me buggy because that simply isn’t true. Again Zorn speaks to this perfectly:
An armed robber is not in any meaningful way motivated by or inspired by "hate" for his victim. Indifference probably best sums up his attitude toward his victim. It plays silly word games to try to confuse the idea of hate under these statutes with the garden variety view perpetrators generally have toward their victims, whch may be personal animosity (not a synonym for "hate" as the statute understands it) or, as I say, indifference. The armed robber doesn't "hate" his victim any more than a burglar or shoplifter or online swindler hates his victim -- he's just greedy and he doesn't care.
Just some food for thought yoiu might want to consider before reflexively (i.e., conservatively) rejecting the notion of hate crimes.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Nanny State! Nanny State!

A lot of people like to be nannied I guess. Who knew?

Remember, we are supposed to be the government. Government is a way of pooling resources to assist in leveling out often huge inequities and roadblocks to make life better for everyone. In theory. Often those charged with this mission, even when elected, make a mess of it. Still, the desire to improve our lives and those of others is a strong one.

H/T to Ezra.

Office Talk

Last night’s edition of The Office may have been the funniest episode yet. Women’s issues will never be the same. And while the mystery of the ladies room is an old gag, The Office treatment was truly special.

And speaking of the NBC Thursday shows, is Earl running out of gas? While still funny,
I get the feeling the writers are running out of ideas. Although, Joy on the lam in Mexico might be worthy of a series unto itself.

Friday Beer Blogging: Pretzel Edition

I missed it last week, but April 26th was National Pretzel Day. And no, it wasn't to honor the New Berlin Schools' sports program. It was a day set aside to pay homage to our salty little beer companions.


National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes.

How do you like your pretzel? Thick or thin? Straight or twisted? Crisp and crunchy, or soft? Salted, unsalted, mustard flavored, perhaps? There's no shortage of types of pretzels. If you are having trouble deciding which ones, we suggest you mix a bunch of different types of pretzels in a big bowl, and grab a handful, or two, or three, or...

Did you know? Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. Pretzels date back to 610AD in Southern France. Monks baked thin strips of dough into the shape of a child's arms folded in prayer. Add a little salt, and Voila! ...the pretzel industry was born.

More on pretzel history here.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Disappointment Awaits

The Illinois Times reports on Brian & Kellie’s replacements…

At lite-rock WNNS (98.7 FM), a pair of cute young Gen-Y types are due to arrive May 14 to take over the mics that for years belonged to Brian Pierce and Kellie Michaels, whose unexpected exodus in February is still a touchy topic. “I legally cannot talk about the circumstances of their departure,” says Kevan Kavanaugh, Mid-West Family’s president and general manager. [He won’t say it was me? -Dave]

He’s more eager to talk about the new morning team, Amy Nelson and Bryan Major, who currently host the same time slot at WQQB (96.1 FM) in Champaign-Urbana.

Nelson says that she and Major are looking forward to living in a bigger city. “I think it’ll be a ton o’ fun,” she says. She has worked in the Kansas City area; Major has worked in Grand Rapids, Mich., and they’ve worked together in Jackson, Miss., and the Lansing, Mich., area.

Oooooo, have they been to Springfield? A “bigger city” it ain’t. Not exactly "ton o’ fun" either. Well, they better be good or I’ll get them fired too. And that goes for the rest of you radio riff-raff – straighten up or you’re gone!

And I like this:
[Nelson] won’t reveal their ages, except that they’re “definitely younger” than Pierce and Michaels.
Oh, snap! But hey, really, who isn’t?

A Bargain

You know, this is just stupid. This idea that we shouldn’t ban smoking in indoor public places because the State might lose some tax revenue is crass to the extreme. I’m not sure how anyone at this point can be sure of how the ban (by itself) is going to impact tax receipts on balance (taking into consideration savings on healthcare), but let’s stipulate that the State will lose $30 million a year on lost cigarette taxes. I say hurray! That’s $30 million well spent on the health and welfare of the people of Illinois. 30 mil for preventing deaths from second-hand smoke, and cleaner air, and not stinking like smoke – that’s a bargain.

By the way, the Patrick Fleener who is sooo concerned about the loss of tax revenue works for a right-wing anti-tax organization out of Washington DC called The Tax Foundation. Witness their anti-tax agenda here. So color me unimpressed with this guy’s objectivity on things.

Update: In comments, JP notes Fleener's background and lack of credability on the issue. Way to go Southern Illinoisian for not mentioning who Fleener realy is. Also, the Bloomington Pantagraph had an almost identical story, again featuring Fleener, but it's no longer up on their site.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Cubs vs. Cards with Live Ammo

Who knew the Iraq war was just like a Cubs/Cards game. Rep. John Shimkus fills us in from the House floor today:
Imagine my beloved St. Louis Cardinals are playing the much despised Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals are are up by five, finishing the top of the ninth. Is this a cause for celebration? Is this a cause for victory? No. Unbelievable as it may seem, the Cubbies score five runs in the bottom of the ninth to throw the games into extra innings. There the score remains until 1:00 AM, five innings later. However, at the top of the 15th, the Cardinals fail to field a batter. The entire team has left the stadium. It seems that they are more worried about next day’s 1:00 PM game at home than finishing the game at hand. Who wins? We know it’s the team that stays on the field. Arbitrary deadlines and a date certain accept defeat before the conclusion of the contest. It is our national security interest that continue to take the field and support a moderate Arab state.
Mrs. TEH was just at Saturday’s game between those two teams. Thank God she came back alive.

We are truly ruled by morons.

Deer Insurgency Alert: Code Red

The Southern Illinoisian is wary of a third straight year of deer attacks in Carbondale. In the article, a deer expert offers this advice:

"Don't pick up a newborn fawn," Nielsen said. "Stay away from these animals. Deer need to be respected like the wild animals they are. A lot of people will pick up a newborn fawn. They're cute and they want to pick them up and think they're doing something good, but that's not the case."
Who the fuck would go pick up a wild fawn? I guess it happens but I have little sympathy for the fawn grabbers who then find the mother’s hoof up their ass. Geez, people, stick to teasing grizzly bears.

Springfield Blog Watch

Dave Bakke, who more than anyone else gives column space to the topic of local blogs and bloggers, has a feature today on blogger Job Conger of Honey & Quinine fame. Of particular note is a web address in the story, something the SJ-R has been reluctant to provide in the past.

Driving Me Gnatty

The Gnats are not abating. Since at least Saturday, it’s been impossible (or at least very uncomfortable) to be outside late afternoon until sunset. I’m not sure how widespread the plague o’ gnats is, but I did read something on it in the Jacksonville paper yesterday where people were winding up in the hospital there after being bit. How can these things be so dense over such are large area? The SJ-R has an article on the infestation today but it fails to answer why they are so bad this year. The story quotes a 51 year-old woman who says she’s never seen anything like this here. I haven’t either. Very strange.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Illinois Going Smoke-Free, Baby!!!

CHICAGO – The Illinois House today sent legislation for a statewide smoking ban to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who said he probably – and “enthusiastically” -- will sign the measure.

The House voted 73-42 to approve SB500, which would prohibit smoking in all indoor work places.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, just not around me or anyone else who doesn't want to smoke with you.

By the way, favoring the smoking ban makes me a communist.

And Other Duties as Assigned

Normally I would say that this headline was written metaphorically...

...but with Bush who knows; it may be one of the few duties he's really qualified to do.

Blago Butts Out!

This is what I like to see:
CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich said today he would likely -- and "enthusiastically" -- sign a bill to ban smoking at all indoor work places if lawmakers send him the legislation

Such a measure already has passed the Senate and may be called as soon as today in the House. The legislation would go beyond a 2005 state law that allowed all local governments in Illinois to decide whether to enact smoking curbs.

"Let me see the bill, but it sure sounds to me like that would be something that I will enthusiastically sign," Blagojevich said this morning at an unrelated appearance. And I would be shocked if there was something in that bill that I didn't like that would keep me from signing it."
It’s all up to the Illinois House now. Put that in your pipe and smoke it puff-heads.*

You know, it’s a shame that the new (and all-powerful!) Barrel Head opened and allowed smoking just long enough to stink the place up just before smoking is banned anyway. Oh well.

*Sorry about the early and maybe premature victory dance but I’ve been waiting for this to go through for a long time and can hardly contain my glee at what’s probably going to happen. Or not…I don’t want to jinx it.

Supplemental Beer Blogging: Bad BEE-havior Edition

BEE-ware if you are in Bloomington (follow the link for pictures):
BREAKING 10:15 a.m. BLOOMINGTON -- A beekeeper has been called in to help Bloomington police deal with a swarm of nearly 3,000 bees that have attached themselves to the Illinois Brewing Co. building in downtown Bloomington.
So this is where all the bees have been going. They just want a BEEr.

(BEE I holding the world record for bee puns yet?)

Looking Back Again

I’ve been meaning to recognize Marie for adding a post to the long dormant blog Look Back Springfield. For those of you not cruising the Springfield blog scene two years ago, LBS was a collaborative project where several area bloggers contributed memories of Springfield from the 1960s through the 1980s (roughly). I was part of that, as was Marie and several others (including WMAY’s Jim Leach who has since quit blogging altogether).

Everyone lost interest in the project by late 2005, but it’s posts are still valid and interesting, and because they’re largely first-hand accounts, the site’s posts don’t suffer from “blog rot” where links go nowhere, etc. I’d like to find the time to add posts myself, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon as i can barely keep this blog going. Meanwhile, if you haven’t been there, go take a look at Look Back Springfield.