Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I don't generally get e-mail forwards for two reasons: 1) I tend to "reply to all" debunking them and 2) I'm not a conservative. When I reply to all and debunk, I'm taken off the sender's forwarding list for the rudeness of correcting them. Because I'm not a conservative, I'm just not in line to receive 98% of e-mail forwards anyway. I'm not sure why false e-mails seem to be so pervasive in right wing circles but they are.
Anyway, it's amazing to me how a tool that has so much information to offer has, in one respect, been turned into a massive generator of bullshit. Here's an idea on how to fight it.
A/Brisbane/59/2007(H1N1)-like virusAfter my shot, I plan to talk serious trash to any of those bugs I happen to see hanging around.
A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus
Also, while the city may have spent $50,000, how much did it make from the event? Thousands of people came to the city and presumably spent at least some money. I live here and wound up spending money downtown I otherwise would not have. I’m not convinced the city is really out 50 grand.
In a related story, Peoria is considering charging the Aaron Schock campaign for the costs the city incurred during a fundraising visit by President Bush in July. The Schock people (of course) say they shouldn’t have to pay.
PEORIA — A policy examining how much city services should be used to secure a visiting president of the United States or other high-ranking public officials will be explored in the coming weeks, the Peoria City Council decided Tuesday.And tying the two together:
The policy came after a discussion about newly released information from city staff members showing that President George W. Bush's July 25 visit to Peoria for a private campaign stop in support of state Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, cost city taxpayers $38,252.
Schock's campaign manager last week said the federal government will be reimbursed for the use of Air Force One according to a governmental formula that has been in place since the 1980s. The manager also said that no campaign has ever had to pay for local police protection requested by the Secret Service whenever the president visits.
PEORIA — State Rep. Aaron Schock's campaign manager said Friday that if U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign pays the local costs of police and fire protection during a visit to Springfield last month, then they might consider doing the same for Peoria.I previously questioned the wisdom of this sort of visit by the president (any president) for purely political reasons, but the least that could be done in this situation is the benefiting campaign pays the costs. As Rich Miller wrote yesterday:
"If (Obama) ends up paying for it, things might change," Steve Shearer said, referring to $38,000 in city of Peoria costs for police, fire and public works services on July 25, when President George W. Bush visited for a private fundraiser for Schock, R-Peoria.
Schock, who is running for the 18th Congressional District seat vacated
by retiring U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, earlier this week said the request
for his campaign to pay the money to the city is political.
Might consider?The only sympathy I have for Schock or Obama is on whether the campaigns have been traditionally charged for such things. But even if they have not been in the past, maybe it’s time they are. I would leave that decision up to the governmental entity providing the services, but it should be applied equally in a nonpartisan way.
Considering that Springfield is billing Obama’s campaign for a public event that could be attended by anyone for free (unlike Schock’s purely private event that charged an admission price), Schock may have to do more than maybe consider a refund…
Monday, September 29, 2008
And this seems real to me:
Friday, September 26, 2008
Call it the Blagojevichian Political Tone Deafness Syndrome (BPTDS) or whatever you like, but it just makes no sense to needlessly make enemies that can harm you. Lying to Letterman was just dumb. My guess is that had McCain just cancelled and been done with it, he might have gotten a few snarky jabs thrust at him but not two nights of full-blown comedic tirade. Judgment matters.
Just as an aside: My, Letterman is looking and sounding old. I haven’t been a regular Lettermen viewer since the mid-1980s. (Almost any television show has no more than a three or four year shelf life with me.) That’s not to say I haven’t seen his show at all, I just don’t tune in regularly and I rarely, if ever, see the whole thing. I tuned in two nights ago to see the McCain bashing fun but that was a special occasion. I came away kind of shocked that while Letterman seems as mentally sharp as ever, his delivery is much less energetic and his speech is a little “old” sounding these days.
Not that I’m getting any younger. In fact, that may be the problem. Even the young, brash icons of my youth are now getting old. And then there’s the fact that, with increasing frequency, I find that I’ve never heard of the host and/or musical act on any given Saturday Night Live.
And here are some shoes allegedly made out of beer cans.
They sure do look comfortable.
Corona flip-flops anyone?
And here’s some beer footwear that’s made more for drinking out of than wearing.
Have a great weekend! And remember, happy feet can be had for the price of a beer
Thursday, September 25, 2008
PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We-- we do-- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is-- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to-- to our state.
40 Days until the election. That’s good news for those of you who don’t appreciate the total quadrennial fun of presidential races.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia man who police said passed gas and fanned it toward a patrolman has been charged with battery on a police officer.
Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.
As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and “passed gas loudly,’’ the complaint said.
Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.
“The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons,’’ the complaint alleged.
He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.
Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn’t move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.
“I couldn’t hold it no more,’’ he said.
As Jessica Cantrell fights to recover from traumatic brain injuries she sustained in a motorcycle accident, her family has been fighting [Southern Illinois University] insurance administrators to pay for her care.That’s just crazy. It shouldn’t be that hard to get coverage for your medical bills while you are in a coma. You should be using the services of doctors not lawyers. What a wasteful and unnecessarily expensive “system” we have.
Since the Aug. 23 accident, Cantrell has been in a coma and unable to attend class. In accordance with university policy, her insurance coverage stopped the last day she attended classes.
University insurance administrator Jim Hunsaker confirmed the policy to Cantrell's brother, Jonathan, in an e-mail dated Sept. 15.
"Basically, if you can come back, you're covered," Jonathan Cantrell said. "If a student gets hurt and misses classes, even if they paid the university, they withdraw the student and say their insurance ended."
Sievers said interim Chancellor Sam Goldman met with other university administrators Tuesday to discuss reinstating Cantrell, a senior from Galatia studying French and Spanish.
A possible solution could allow Cantrell to use the $250,000 policy if she pays her tuition and fees, Sievers said.
Jonathan Cantrell said his family is willing to pay the semester's tuition and fees if the university will allow her to use her insurance coverage.
"It's worth paying $7,000 for $250,000 of coverage," he said. "After hearing it was possible, I was excited, but her bills are higher than the insurance money."
The medical bills she has already accumulated would probably exhaust the insurance policy of Lawrence Thompson, the driver of the pick-up truck that struck Cantrell on the motorcycle, Jonathan Cantrell said. It could also exhaust the university policy,
"There may be nothing left for her care in the future," he said.
Although Jessica Cantrell served in the Army, her brother said she was denied veterans' healthcare benefits because she was not treated at a military facility.
Sievers said insurance benefits from the university could affect her ability to qualify for Medicaid or other assistance.
"We've learned that there could be other options that would be more in Jessica's best interest," Sievers said. "It could be that they do reinstate her as a student, but it's not a done deal."
Jessica Cantrell remains in intensive care at St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis following emergency surgery to remove a portion of her brain and skull, Jonathan Cantrell said.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
But then came the digital revolution.
I don't but CDs anymore. Haven't in years really. I download to my computer from the iTunes store. I then upload the music to my iPhone. I use the iPhone when I'm away and listen to music straight from the computer when I'm home. (In my truck, I listen to satellite radio so I know what to download.)
Anyway, it struck me the other day that the buttons I push on iTunes to download music say either "Buy Song" for individual tunes, or, tah-dah, "Buy Album" if I want the entire album. The term is back! No more CDs! What's old is new again!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By the way, take a look at the main page of the Capital Airport website.
Update: Video here.
“Barack Obama has brought the sleazy gutter politics of Chicago to our national stage…”And how many times have we heard “San Francisco” values invoked and derided by the right. Or “East Coast” elitists, or Massachusetts this or that, or Hollywood leftists?
I’m trying to think if there are similar geographic punching bags used by Democrats or the left. I don’t think there are. And that’s fine since I think the practice is silly. It generalizes and, frankly, alienates entire sections of the country. I don’t see that as a particularly effective way to gain control of national office. It may work well regionally, though. I can certainly imagine running against Chicago for some district seat here in Central Illinois might be effective. Nationally though? To coin a phrase, “Why do they hate (parts of) America?”
Monday, September 22, 2008
Am I missing any?
Flag burning (see also: flag pins)
But it did get me wondering. Would Chicago and the whole Cubs universe ever, EVER, stand for the demolishing and replacement of Wrigley Field? I can’t imagine it. I can imagine riots preventing it though. I just can’t think that anyone, not even someone so politically tone deaf as, say, Rob Blagojevich, would ever even consider the idea.
Or am I wrong? Are there hints of such an idea brewing in Chicago? Again, if a story is limited to the sports section, I probably don’t know about it. I just can’t think replacing the Ivy Walls with new, greener, faster-growing ivy walls will ever happen.
Why have I not seen anything about what is happening to the unit’s pilots? These guys live (or used to) in the community and if the planes are gone, did they go with them? Or did they have the option to? I’ve followed this story for years and I don’t think I’ve seen or heard an answer to that question. The military has a lot of money wrapped up in the training of these guys, certainly some provision was made for them. Right?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The last F-16 jet assigned to Springfield’s 183rd Tactical Fighter Wing is expected to leave the city some time Tuesday or Wednesday.
The 183rd’s F-16 Falcons started leaving Springfield early in the summer. The unit had around 15 jets, and since then, they have been leaving a few at a time. F-16s from Springfield have gone to other units across the country including squadrons in Texas, Vermont and Indiana.
Sheedy said that as of Sunday, there was only one 183rd aircraft remaining in Springfield.
Just a few weeks ago, when the B-17 was here, I drove past the 183rd's plane parking lot (that's technical aviation jargon) and there were at least half a dozen still left.
Now just one.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
For me, the Obama plan has me paying slightly less than the McCain plan, but both give me a good sized tax cut. Not sure tax cuts are what we (the country) needs now that we are planning on spending a trillion dollars on bailing out financial institutions, but I'm not going to refuse the money if they give it to me.
GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- The world's largest atom smasher, which was launched with great fanfare earlier this month, is more badly damaged than previously thought and will be out of commission for at least two months, its operators said Saturday.And for the sarcastically impaired, I'm not really worried the LHC is going to destroy the earth. But I'm training an army of white holes in my basement just in case.
Its start came over the objections of some who feared that the collision of protons could imperil the Earth by creating micro black holes, subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.
Friday, September 19, 2008
With my daughter a month into her freshman year at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, I've been thinking a lot about my own freshman year there 30 years ago. Tonight, I got to wondering about my roommate from that year, Tim. I haven't thought a lot about him over the years because we kind of parted ways after that first year at school. We would occasionally run into each other in succeeding years at Carbondale, but I really didn't hang with him at all after our first year.
I decided to hit the Google to see if I could find him. A quick search on just his name didn't result in anything that could plausibly be him. Suddenly, I remembered the last encounter I had with him sometime late (I think) in my stay at SIU at a party. He told me he was going to enlist in the Air Force. I didn't think much of it at the time, but for some reason I remembered him telling me that. So I refined my Google search to include his name and "USAF". Before hitting "enter", I figured this was a huge long shot since even if he really had followed through and enlisted, it was probably just a minimal stint in the military and he had already been out for a long time.
Hah! I immediately found this and when I clicked on the link, I recognized him instantly.
Here's a picture of us taken in late 1978. That's him on the right and me on the left. By way of explanation on height difference, I'm sitting on my bed which sat pretty high because it sat atop the edge of the heating unit and the edge of my desk, and he's standing. (Don't ask about the cat or I'll have to tell you tales of "cat bowling").
(For Dave Bakke, if you're reading this, notice the Beaker Street poster next to Tim's left shoulder.)
And now...here is the picture of USAF Col. (fucking Colonel!) Fowler today:
I hate to say it, and I'm not sure why I hate to, but I'm really proud of him. I knew him (and him me) as sort of an aimless kid of 18 in the year we lived together. And believe me, we did lots of things the military would not approve of. But what the hell, way to go Tim!
Behind the bar a new employee was being trained on the proper way to pour draft beer from the tap. The old hand was demonstrating the various ways to fill glasses and pitchers of beer. And when done with a particular demonstration, the old hand would dump out the beer. When the newbie practice the same techniques, the end result was he same -more beer down the drain.
To make matters worse, there is apparently a different technique to pouring Bud Light vs. Blue Moon. So the demonstration/practice routines had to be applied to both taps. And everything was dumped down the drain.
I'm told my son was fascinated by the process. Honestly, he hasn't seen a lot of beer poured away and certainly not in such quantities. Well, not poured down the drain anyway. I hope he's OK and not too traumatized by the experience. Or maybe I'm just projecting.
Anyway, my wife thought it was best that I hadn't been there for the event lest I had wept uncontrollably right there on the bar. And I'll have talk with my son later.
Have a great weekend! And don't pour out all the beer -that's alcohol abuse.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
…yesterday John McCain was interviewed on the Florida affiliate of Spanish radio network Union Radio. And in the interview McCain appeared not to know who the Prime Minister of Spain was and assumed he was some anti-American leftist leader from South America.
After the interviewer presses him a couple times on the point and tries to focus him on the fact that Prime Minister Zapatero isn't from Mexico and isn't a drug lord either, McCain comes back at her saying, "All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region."
Then there's a moment of awkward pause before she says. "But what about Europe? I'm talking about the President of Spain."
McCain: "What about me, what?
Interviewer: "Are you willing to meet with him if you're elected president?"
McCain: "I am wiling to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for humans rights, democracy and freedom. And I will stand up to those who do not."
At this point, the interviewer gets tongue-tied presumably because she can't get over McCain not knowing what Spain is.
I can excuse not knowing a random foreign leader's name, but the dementia-esque “What about me, what?” thing is a little weird.
Update: And yes, it's also bizarre that McCain seems to think Spain is in Latin America.
Update II: Ha - John McSpain. The name McCain really is a pretty versatile for those prone to mockery.
As the McCain ad says of Obama, “How disrespectful!”
It’s unimportant to note that the old west was full of black cowboys because cowboying was hard, shitty work back then. And guess who got to do the hard, shitty work.
So yes, Obama is being a bit uppity and, of course, Disrespectful™ towards whites who are the real cowboys.
Good to see Pam can still spew the stoopid and historical ignorance from afar.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Yeah, it's one of those hair ties your wife/GF/daughter leaves around and they always wind up on the floor and you are the only one who can pick them up. I don't think they really use the things, or at least not as many as are on the floor, but rather scatter them around to piss us off.
I took the above photo in our kitchen and I know I had picked that one up at least twice already.
That is all.
People who prattle on about "the free market" are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to… get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created.And:
The real issue is that you need a sensible regulatory framework to prevent financial crises from happening in the first place and criteria and practices for dealing with them when they do, along with a sensible and consistent broad social safety net for individuals and families for when crises happen to them.It’s always interesting to me how much people rely on “regulations” and laws and courts to make life and everything associated with it run more efficiently and more smoothly, at least in the big picture. It’s fine to argue the merits of rules at the margins; that’s part of the process, a process that needs constant attention and tweaking with changing circumstances. But those who bemoan any kind of “regulation” as a bad thing simply have been spoiled by its benefits. It reminds me of the teenager who whines about their parent’s rules, runs away to be “free”, and then rudely finds out how much they took for granted.
It might have been the right thing to run down to the river with buckets to collect water to throw on the burning building, but it would have been much better to have better fire codes and a functioning fire department.
I wish I had a dollar for every person I’ve heard whine about a litigious society and “frivolous” lawsuits only to go running to the courts when they’ve perceive they’ve been aggrieved. Their lawsuit, of course, isn’t so frivolous.
Update: Related, there is this:
One metaphor the Democrats don't use, that I think of over and over when I hear Obama speak about the need for regulation: the markets operate like team sports -- like say, a football game. Team sports don't operate well without referees, and that's exactly what's happened under the Republicans.
...the fact is, the Republicans under leadership of such brain trusts as Phil Gramm have methodically removed the referees from the games, and look what's happened. One of the primary reasons investors shy away from putting money into third world countries is an ABSENCE OF REGULATION.
Why doesn't Obama encapsulate his ideas in this way? Democrats believe in free markets, but free markets need rules and referees, just like a football game does, otherwise chaos and destruction.