Friday, November 30, 2007

R.I.P.: Evel Knievel

From the WashPost:

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Evel Knievel, the red-white-and-blue-spangled motorcycle daredevil whose jumps over crazy obstacles including Greyhound buses, live sharks and Idaho's Snake River Canyon made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

Knievel's death was confirmed by his granddaughter, Krysten Knievel. He had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Not My Fault...

But daveawayfromhome peeked my interest with the glassbooth test. After taking it, it seems like my candidate(s) would be a tossup between John Edwards and Barack Obama.

But for the record, I haven't made my choice yet.

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Around the Internets

  1. Glenn Greenwald on Joe Klein's lazy lies and Time Magazine's stupidity.

  2. Oliver Willis on the stupidity of Michael Steele (will this guy ever go away?).

  3. Crooks and Liars on the stupidity of John McCain.

  4. Daily Kos diarist Leaves on the Current explains why the GOP debate last night destroyed the Constitution.

  5. I get the feeling that jurassicpork isn't convinced that Musharraf's stepping down means anything significant.


No Main Topic

  1. Last night's GOP debate got nasty.

  2. Downtown DC is raking in the cash (weren't they just involved in a major scandal?).

  3. Or maybe it's related to the fact that 23 DC schools may be closing...

  4. Poisoned toys make video games more palatable.

  5. The increasing danger of lung disease (particularly for women).

  6. Police in Florida believe Sean Taylor's death was due to a "botched burglary."


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Maybe They'll Have a "Greatest Hits" Someday...

This is scary: "The Singing Senators;" a foursome of lyrical legislators comprised of (former) Sen. Trent Lott, Larry Craig, Jim Jeffords and John Ashcroft.

Despite Lott's barely-subtle bigotry, he has a decent voice. And that's probably the only compliment I've ever give the guy.

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A Miami Curse?

I don't know about that, but in light of Sean Taylor's death, the pattern is certainly disturbing.

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The Resolution Won't Be PhotoOped

I mentioned before that the Bush Administration is hoping that by finally getting off their ass and being diplomatic will score major legacy points.

Did anyone from the conference ask what the people in question (namely Israelis and Arabs) think? Well, someone asked some Arabs about this, and:

BEIRUT, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Arab commentators on Wednesday dismissed the relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian talks as a U.S.-staged media event unlikely to lead to Middle East peace.

Some argued that U.S. President George W. Bush's real aim in convening Tuesday's conference in Annapolis, Maryland, was to rescue his image after failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to persuade Arab states their deadliest foe was Iran, not Israel.

"The failure of Annapolis is now clear. (President Mahmoud) Abbas will return to Palestine without anything," said Essam el-Erian, a senior leader in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

"The conference was designed for public relations and the participants were obliged to participate," he contended.

Maybe it was the whopping three hours Bush spent that tipped them off.

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How Grandmas Get Her Groove Back

They go to Kenya for sex tours. I'm not kidding.

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When Rudy Meet Hillary

When Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton first went at each other for the New York Senate seat, the battle tactics were defined:

Mr. Giuliani was going to portray Mrs. Clinton as inauthentic, inexperienced, a liberal champion of big government and a carpetbagger, his advisers said in interviews. Mrs. Clinton was going to paint Mr. Giuliani as divisive and undignified, temperamentally unsuited for the Senate, and profoundly uninterested in national and international affairs, her advisers said.

Well, Clinton's authenticity is definitely up for debate, but her experience really isn't (she's come a long way from heading the health care reform as First Lady). The "liberal champion of big government" is a misleading term because it implies that Hillary has the base behind her (not true) and that all liberals favor big government (also not true). And yes, she moved to New York in order to run for the Senate, but she isn't the first politician to do so, and where does it say that someone with name recognition can't accomplish what someone who's live in a state all their lives can?

As for Giuliani: if he's dividing anything, it's the Republican base. I'd say leaving your wife via a press conference qualifies as "undignified." If being an unstable powder keg makes you unsuited for the Senate, they should be removing more people now. As far as being "profoundly uninterested in national and international affairs," well, you know.

With FoxNews all but crowning Giuliani and MSNBC going ga-ga with Clinton scenarios, it looks like voting may just be ceremonial at this point. Nevertheless, I'd like to remind the media that the primaries aren't over and that there are other candidates on both sides.

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No Main Topic

  1. Musharaff finally takes off his uniform.

  2. The NFL is set to honor Sean Taylor.

  3. A race car driver wins "Dancing With the Stars."

  4. "The formula that doctors use to calculate a woman's risk of breast cancer underestimates the danger for black women most of the time and especially for those age 50 and older -- the age when they are most likely to benefit from screening tests and protective drugs, according to the first major reassessment of the widely used tool."

  5. The question isn't "will Republicans get a question about D.C. voting rights?" but rather "do Republicans get a damn about D.C. voting rights?"

  6. It only took seven years, but the Bush Administration starts to focus on the peace side of diplomacy.

  7. What kind of monster would steal from the Salvation Army?

  8. Can LeBron James avert the Bostocalypse?


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ritz Camera Diplomacy

If you were President of the United States, how much time would you spend on an all-day summit? A summit that may influence the political landscape in a traditionally fragile region for the immediate future? A summit that, if successful, may help your legacy?

How about three friggin' hours?

In the time it takes to watch a football game or a Harry Potter movie, Bush figures that he can wrap up those nasty, centuries-old disagreements. After all, look at what he's done for the political discourse in America?

I was half-joking with my Operation: Middle East PhotoOp riff, but now I see how disturbingly accurate I was. Add this to Bush's previous quacking, and we're seeing a man who's either becoming less and less interested in being president, brushing the important stuff aside for his own personal agenda, or (gulp) both.

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He Should Have Just Given Blood

The Red Cross chief is kicked out for giving "donations" to a staff member.

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Invoking the Reagan Zombie

I thought that in politics, when you're the front runner, you should only be paying attention to #2. That the mid-tier guys are pretty much negligible.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney blasted a rising challenger in the Iowa caucuses Monday, painting former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as a tax-raising, illegal immigrant-coddling liberal and defending his own commitment to conservative causes.

"He may be conservative on social issues, but when it comes to economic issues like immigration, he's a liberal on immigration. He fought for tuition breaks for illegal aliens. He raised taxes time and time again as governor of Arkansas," Romney told CNN.

Oh no! A Republican candidate that isn't conservative across the board? What will the GOP do?

Seriously; is this the best Romney can do? I mean, look at George W. Bush: as president he failed to get an amendment on Gay Marriage like he promised (to the "values voters") his war has shattered our standing in the world (much to the dismay of the Republican-leaning libertarians) and up until the Democrats took power in 2006, there wasn't a spending bill he didn't like (I'm sure fiscal conservatives love talking about that one).

Hmmm...when you look at it, it appears that Bush was a fraud. You could make the case that he paid lip service to various conservative factions in order to get into the White House and used the office to make him and his old buddies rich. Helping out the "movement" that Reagan supposedly started was really an afterthought (just ask Karl Rove) .

In other words: it's not important who's more conservative in what area because (as the polls show) none of these guys is universally appealing to their conservative base...and being universally appealing is the only way to get the bases' seal of approval. It's not like, say, a union, where the people vote and if the majority (like 60%) leans toward a candidate, s/he gets the nod. Nope...for the conservative side it's a Laundry List of Impossibility; a manifest that no mortal (yes, even Ronald Reagan) could ever live up to and still be heavily involved in politics.

The silliness of this exercise will be magnified when one of these yahoos gets the GOP nod, and then fight like crazy to move to the middle (assuming there still is a middle nowadays).

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The Story Gave Me An Excuse To Use This Pic.

Well, Oprah Winfrey is going to stump for presidential wannabe Barack Obama. WashPost's Eugene Robinson shares his thoughts:

Winfrey occupies a unique place in American culture; her show offers a blend of self-empowerment, spirituality and consumerism -- "Oprah's Favorite Things" -- that enthralls millions of viewers every day. Two years ago, sellout crowds filled arenas and convention centers around the nation when she staged a series of motivational events. Famously protective of the
Oprah brand, she has steered clear of electoral politics -- until now.

And in a sense, she's still being cautious. As Robinson notes, Oprah will not be using her show or her magazine as the unofficial Obama Network.

Still, it will be interesting to see how certain political figures address this move, particularly Sen. Clinton (who was hoping to lock up the women's vote on the Democratic side), former Sen. Edwards (who was garnishing the women's vote with some help her his wife) and Bill O'Reilly (who had whined and begged like a baby to be on Oprah's show, and now has to deal with her endorsing a Democrat).

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Operation: Middle East PhotoOp Continues...

No Main Topic

  1. R.I.P., Sean Taylor.

  2. Behold the power of cheese.

  3. All's not so well in Paris.

  4. The battle for slots in Maryland heats up.

  5. The cost of Christmas has risen since last year.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Money, Money, Money...Money!

Things about the Federal Budget that aren't exactly highlighted during presidential debates.

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Around the Internets

  1. jp on Mark Halperin being...well, dumb.

  2. Think Progress reminds us what a hypocritical bastard Dick Cheney is.

  3. Eric Boehlert wonders why Fox News has a double standard when it comes to honoring fallen soldiers. His conclusion: "As I mentioned, this latest round of finger-pointing isn't really about the media and it's certainly not about serious media criticism. It's about desperate war supporters flailing around in search of a target; in search of an explanation for how it's really the media's fault that the war in Iraq has failed."

  4. Fred Kaplan is as much a fan of "Redacted" as Bill O'Reilly, but in his case Kaplan actually articulates his beefs with the movie: "

But as the film slogs on, the real world recedes to schlock fantasy. The key scene comes when two of the Americans—both psychopaths, one fatter than any active-duty combat Marine or soldier would be allowed to be—decide, late one night, to go rape and kill a teenage girl they've seen walking along their patrol route every day and, while they're at it, to murder her family. (The aspiring film student comes along with a helmet-mounted camera equipped with a night-viewing lens.)

The scene, as expected, is horrible. But because the Iraqis are ciphers and the rapist-murderers are cartoon villains (while doing the deed, one of them even goes, "Hooo-wha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"), it evokes no emotion—certainly not the rage that De Palma is trying to elicit. He has said that he hopes the film's "images will get the public incensed enough to get their congressmen to vote against the war." One wonders: Is he a knave or a fool? The real war hardly lacks for horrific images or eloquent critics. Does De Palma seriously believe that his film will be the tipping point? (Dear Senator: I have just learned that ghastly things are happening in Iraq! Please bring our troops home now!)"

Take notes, Mr. O'Reilly; this is how you critique a movie.


The Conservative Double-Standard

When Air America went down, the conservative consensus was that the failure was not due to any bias, but that liberal radio was non-profitable.

So what happens when rumors about Tucker Carlson's show circling the drain start surfacing? Well, via Think Progress, some conservatives see this as a "decision by MSNBC [that] will silence a conservative voice, part of a move by MSNBC to swing left and become ‘FOX for the Liberals,’ dropping any pretense of objectivity or balance."

In other words: the free market doesn't apply to conservative voices (whether in print, radio or television). Let me guess: they need some kind of conservative "affirmative action" because the media is so tilted, right?


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No Main Topic

  1. Yikes: "The first statistics ever amassed on HIV in the District, released today in a sweeping report, reveal "a modern epidemic" remarkable for its size, complexity and reach into all parts of the city."

  2. Republican Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott says he will resign to go make more $$$ in the private sector.

  3. Because they can't get too many Average Joes to donate, Republican presidential wannabes are looking to the rich for cash.

  4. When the malls are busy, everyone is busy.

  5. Washington Free Safety Sean Taylor was shot over the Thanksgiving Break.

  6. Ugh: "A former Ivy League professor pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter for killing his wife as she wrapped Christmas presents last year."

  7. The latest winners of the Hannah Montana concert at the Verizon Center.

  8. At University of Maryland College Park: The Terrapins wait and see if their 37-0 victory this weekend will get them a bowl invitation.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

No Main Topic

  1. The security improvements in Iraq have some Democrats thinking about changing their message, which makes sense because security isn't the only concern.

  2. Hulk Hogan's wife files for divorce.

  3. Football critics continue to piss off the New England Patriots.

  4. Blue-collar women gravitate towards presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Betting the House

It's no secret that the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina has yet to be fully repaired, or that all of its citizens have returned to something resembling home.

But when in doubt (I guess) the best thing to do is...rely on the gambling industry?

While Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has hailed the casino openings as a harbinger of Mississippi's resurgence and developers have proposed more than $1 billion in beachfront condos and hotels for tourists, fewer than one in 10 of the thousands of single-family houses destroyed in Biloxi are being rebuilt, according to city permit records. More than 10,000 displaced families still live in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Now, long-standing resentment over the way the state has treated displaced residents has deepened over a proposal by the Barbour administration to divert $600 million in federal housing aid to fund an expansion plan at the Port of Gulfport. The port's recently approved master plan calls for increasing maritime capacity and creating an "upscale tourist village" with hotel rooms, condos, restaurants and gambling.

Fortunately, not everyone in Mississippi is casino-crazy (at least to the point where it trumps homes for the people of the state):

"We fear that this recent decision . . . is part of a disturbing trend by the Governor's office to overlook the needs of lower and moderate income people in favor of economic development," 24 ministers on the Mississippi coast wrote in September in a letter to state leaders. "Sadly we must now bear witness to the reality that our Recovery Effort has failed to include a place at the table . . . for our poor and vulnerable."

So what will prevail? Homes or casinos? Time will tell. In the meanwhile, will the displaced people still living in FEMA trailer homes get at least one free round of Blackjack? It's only fair.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Look On The Bright Side...

Normally I'd call this spin (in light of Gilbert Arenas' absence and all) but this is Michael Wilbon talking:

Don't get me wrong, the Wizards will need Arenas for the stretch run and in the playoffs should they qualify. Just last week, at 0-5, I thought the Wizards were the biggest disappointment in the league. Now they are missing their best player. Every team in the NBA, and there are no exceptions, is going to suffer without its best player, whether we're talking about Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant or Arenas.

But they've played pretty well without him the last couple of games. The ball flow has been better, as has distribution of shots, as has spacing. Granted, the Hawks, Pacers, T-Wolves, Trail Blazers and Sixers are bottom feeders. But if the Wizards simply beat the stinky teams they're supposed to beat (like the Pacers in the opener), they'll be fine. And the Wizards have been in the process of developing a nice little group of players good enough to do something more than stand around and watch Arenas.

It's true that this situation does present the team with an opportunity to see what they can do sans their best player. If the last threes games is any indication, it's "hovering above .500."

What they'll miss is a closer...but hopefully they can avoid being in too many situations where they'll need one, at least for the next three months

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Something to Be Thankful For.

How about the Hollywood writers, who toil to keep us entertained with via TV shows and movies?

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No Main Topic

  1. More megachurches are beginning to use their resources to help their local communities.

  2. "Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers."

  3. John McCain's latest comeback attempt.

  4. A jail in Boston becomes a hotel...didn't Stephen King write a story like this?

  5. Happy Belated Turkey Day, Everyone!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tragic Irony

The tragedy is what FoxNews would stoop to in order to brainwash their viewer.

The irony is that the subject at hand had more to do with someone close to their intended target. Oh well, let them figure that one out.

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"He's Been Using Brand 'X'"


(WTSP) -- You slather, spray, paint them on and rub them in. Cosmetics are so much a part of your daily regimen that you probably never think twice about them.

But at least some of what's in your cosmetics might not be so good for you. One example is the family of chemicals known as phthalates, which may be linked to developmental and reproductive health risks, says Steven Masley, M.D. with Carillon Executive Health.

The industry says phthalates are safe, but some companies have dropped them in response to public concern. Essie, OPI, and Sally Hansen, for example, are removing dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which is used to prevent chipping, from nail polishes. Other
big-name brands that have reformulated products to remove some phthalates include Avon, Cover Girl, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Max Factor, Orly, and Revlon.

You'll also find phthalates in other personal-care products, including body lotions, hair sprays, perfumes, and deodorants. The chemicals are used to help fragrances linger and take the stiffness out of hair spray, among other reasons. They're also in detergents, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, and plastic toys. And they have turned up in our bodies.

Although phthalates show up in so many places, they're often absent from labels because disclosure is not always required.

Getting your nails done or spritzing on your favorite perfume obviously isn't going to kill you. But the health effects of regular long-term exposure, even to small amounts, are still unknown.

Let's set aside the usual "this may really harm you so be afraid" news story and assume that the chemicals are really dangerous. Why isn't disclosure required? We have labels on our food. If we can have mandatory labels for things that go into our bodies, why can't we have mandatory labels for things that go onto (and sometimes into) our skin, hair and nails?

Besides, this seems a little familiar. Chemicals in our personal and beauty products that could potentially do us harm? Where have I seen something like that before?

Oh wait, I know!

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No Main Topic

  1. I guess I underestimated the guy: Republicans seem to be warming up to former Governor Mike Huckabee.

  2. Meet The Super Bug: bigger than the average human.

  3. In Silver Spring, MD: a car accident of "Final Destination" proportions takes the life of a pedestrian.

  4. "OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) -- Police in Ocean City have solved the mystery behind the strange wooden box found Saturday by a resident in the canal behind his home."

  5. What's the Writer's Strike costing Hollywood? About $21 million a day.

  6. "Maryland's unemployment rate is inching up, but is still lower than the national average."


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Wonderful Wizards

As the Washington-based NBA team pounds the crap out of Philadelphia, some thoughts on this five-game winning streak:

...Looks like the team can win while Brendan Haywood puts up phenomenal stats. And by "phenomenal," I mean "numbers he should have been putting up years ago." I know, I know...Etan Thomas' presence meant less guaranteed minutes, and that affected Haywood's psyche. Well, maybe this experience will lead coach Eddie Jordan to see Haywood as a genuine starting Big Man, and not part of a two-heading center experiment. Regardless, Haywood's noticeable improvement will be a factor in many future games, so let's hope he keeps it up...

...Other than tonight (where Jordan decided to clear the bench) the team has played good defense. Particularly, good team defense. This is significant because teams that rely on one or two players to be "stoppers" don't last very long (those teams get exposed quickly in the playoffs). As much as people joke about the 1999 New York Knicks, it was their team defense that got them to the Finals. ..

...I was under the impression that while this season's bench was younger and more athletic, it would not necessarily mean better production because of the overall lack of experience. But if tonight was any indication, I may be wrong (and if so, I don't mind). Nick Young seems to be an adept scoring machine who can create his own shot. Andre Blatche may be the best scoring Big Man on the team, period (I truly thought it would be Darius Songalia, with Haywood a close second). Add with their length and a new assistant coach who's here to tune up the defense, and these guys can become superb overall players...

...The team is more disciplined on offense with Antonio Daniels at point. Sorry, Arenas, but it's true (not that they don't need Gilbert, because gotdamnit, they do). As a result, they have less turnovers, more assists and a higher field goal percentage...which typically translate into wins...

...This is a classical "when we score we play better defense" team. Teams that like to run and teams that rely on jump shots usually lean this way. It's not too late for them to buck this habit, but with Arenas' status a question mark from night to night, with Thomas out indefinitely and with Daniels as their only true point guard, this may become the status quo...

So in short: they've climbed out of the hole, but there's still aways to go.

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The Kids Are Safe.

Earlier, I saw a story about some missing kids. Well, turns out that they are OK:

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. - Three grandchildren of Southern California Rep. Gary Miller who were reported missing are with their mother, possibly in Nevada, and are believed to be safe, authorities said Tuesday.

Jennifer Dejongh was supposed to drop her three sons off at Miller’s house Sunday for an “extended visit,” according to court papers. Dejongh’s father, Jude Lopez, said his daughter is in a custody dispute with the children’s father, the congressman’s son Brian Miller. The two were never married, he said.

It feels good to follow up a potentially sad story with good news. I just hope Miller doesn't overreact to this mistake and push for some unnecessary law.

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The Truth Comes to Light

I was always curious as to why "Under Siege 2" was made, and the people at were kind enough to reveal the truth:

This movie originally had nothing to do with the original Under Siege. It was a script called Dark Territory about bad guys that have to hijack a train to do bad stuff. It has nothing to do with the Navy. It has nothing to do with the previous movie. Basically, Steven Seagal auditioned for the part and got it, so the producers figured they might as well give his character the same name as in Under Siege and call it a sequel.

What's especially odd is that, around this time, Speed was in need of a sequel, which meant it needed a script about a fast-moving vehicle, explosions and terrorists. Dark Territory would have fit, but it was turned into a sequel to Under Siege instead. This left Speed 2 in need of a script, so they used what was originally supposed to be the script for the third Die Hard movie, about a boat being hijacked. This obviously left Die Hard 3 in need of a script, so they gave Bruce Willis a sassy black partner and used the script that was originally going to be the fourth Lethal Weapon movie. This
obviously left Lethal Weapon 4 without a script, but apparently they went ahead and shot that movie without one.

I always knew there was an explanation. So in short, the second "Under Siege" ruined every action sequel of the 90's.

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Call The Lawyers.

Via Think Progress: former Press Secretary Scott McClellan on the Valerie Plame scandal, and President Bush's involvement.

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Vick's Ruff Turn of Events

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -Michael Vick got a head start on a possible long prison stretch Monday, surrendering three weeks before he was to be sentenced for his involvement in a bloody dogfighting ring.

The disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback surrendered to U.S. marshals in what his lawyer said was another step in his public repentance.

"From the beginning, Mr. Vick has accepted responsibility for his actions, and his self-surrender further demonstrates that acceptance," attorney Billy Martin said in a statement. "Michael wants to again apologize to everyone who has been hurt in this matter, and he thanks all of the people who have offered him and his family prayers and support during this time."

Ya don't say, Mr. Martin. Well, I think that if Vick was responsible, he'd be playing football right now because he would've stopped the dogfighting early on.

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No Main Topic

  1. "The Annapolis city council has killed a proposal to ban retail use of plastic bags."

  2. Rep. Gary Miller from California is looking for his grandchildren, who have been missing since yesterday afternoon.

  3. Former rapper Lil' Romeo (son of Master P) commits to play basketball at USC.

  4. James Adjei Kyem has nine wives living amongst his 21 residences, but that's not why he's going to jail.

  5. Sony BMG and Yahoo make a deal.

  6. “The situation in Somalia is the worst on the continent,” according to the UN.

  7. A simple message from environmentally-conscious office folk: "Save Trees. Print only when necessary."


Monday, November 19, 2007

No Sense Factor

The "outrage" that Bill O’Reilly has over the movie "Redacted" would be somewhat plausible if he and his handlers hadn't allowed Mark Cuban (the owner of the Dallas Mavericks who is producing the film) to buy airtime and put up a commercial for the movie on O'Reilly's show.

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Around the Internets

  1. Meet super villians so lame the Power Pack wouldn't bother with them.

  2. Rudy 9iu11ani, via Think Progress.

  3. Jurassicpork on Mike Huckabee, the Republican preacher who can't get a prominent conservative religious group to back him, so he has to enlist the aid of Chuck Norris. Read that sentence again.

  4. Gilbert Arenas talks about the his new nickname, Sport Guy's recent story, and Starbury.

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What Does a Christian and An Atheist Have In Common?

Well, more than you think. The morale I take is, "Can't we all just get along?"


Read a Book.

If you're reading this, thanks. But all the same, you may want to flip through a book (if you haven't recently). According to this story

Only 30 percent of 13-year-olds read almost every day.

The number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.

Almost half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 never read books for pleasure.

The average person between ages 15 and 24 spends 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day watching TV and 7 minutes reading.

I have to admit I've been slacking myself. There was a point where I'd be reading a novel, two short stories and a rack of comic books in the same week. Now it's like I only read when I'm in the gym. I guess I know what I'll ask for Christmas.

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No Main Topic

  1. Orlando may be our only hope...and that's scary.

  2. In Houston, a police officer was killed while cleaning his own gun.

  3. The DC murder rate is one away for a record high.

  4. Congressional Democrats vow to keep fighting against the Iraq War. I have a suggestion: how about not funding for anything other than what's required for troop withdrawal?

  5. A Hand-Held Heart Attack: the deadliest burgers in America.

  6. Annapolis may move to ban plastic bags in grocery stores.


Wade and Shaq Will Be Fine

I was watching ESPN this weekend and the talk was about the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade's comments about Shaq's recent play. Someone thought it would lead to the teammate conflict reminiscent of Shaq and Kobe (with the LA Lakers) or Shaq and Penny (Orlando Magic).

Well, even with the related story that Shaq's OK with what Wade said, there's the obvious: Wade isn't Penny or Kobe. Penny was a guy who once thought he could average 40pts/game (something even Michael Jordan thought was a difficult task in today's NBA) despite being injury-prone. Kobe wasn't patient enough to inherit the title of team leader form Shaq, and now that he has it, is basically begging for help (like a big man who could score in the post, block shots and clog the middle).

Wade's definitely the most humble of the three, and probably the most durable. Plus (and this is important) he has Shaq's respect. If this team fails to make some noise, it would be because of a Wade-Shaq beef.

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More Time With the Family

The exodus continues:

Fran Townsend, President Bush's top White House-based adviser on terrorism and homeland security, has resigned, it was announced Monday.

Bush had this to say:

With her extensive experience, intellect and candor, Fran has ably guided the Homeland Security Council. She has played an integral role in the formation of the key strategies and policies my Administration has used to combat terror and protect Americans. She has traveled the world to meet with allies in the Global War on Terror and has partnered extensively with first responders at the state and local level to enhance our preparedness. We are safer today because of her leadership.

I wonder if her duties involved routing out Nada Nadim Prouty? Probably not.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

No Main Topic


  2. At George Mason University: a chemical spill sends two to the hospital.

  3. Lindsay Lohan does a whopping 84 minutes in jail.

  4. In Montgomery Co.: Elements of the Crips and Bloods are blamed for recent gang violence.

  5. People in Mississippi are still waiting for their hurricane (Katrina) aid.

  6. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf releases Benazir Bhutto...again.

  7. Higher gas prices aren't keeping Thanksgiving travelers from hitting the road.

  8. Barry Bonds goes from Home Run King to indicted athlete.

  9. In DC: meet Harriette Walters, who was behind stealing $30 million from the DC Office of Tax and Revenue.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

As Long As They Don't Invade...

The Peacock Shows Its Feathers

Funny how when NBC asks questions of the Democratic candidates, they're so tough, but when it comes to the Republicans, they get buddy-buddy.

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My Gym Partner's a Clone


Researchers in Oregon reported yesterday that they had created the world's first fully formed, cloned monkey embryos and harvested batches of stem cells from them -- a feat that, if replicated in people, could allow production of replacement tissues or organs with no risk of rejection.

Successful creation of the cloned embryos, each from a single monkey skin cell, effectively settles a long-standing scientific debate about whether primates -- the taxonomic grouping that includes monkeys and people -- are biologically incapable of being cloned, as some had come to believe after years of failures.

Call me crazy, but if we could use an army of monkey clones to fight our wars, is that so bad?

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No Main Topic

  1. The Washington Redskins decide to give the no huddle a try.

  2. In Annapolis, MD: the debate on slots continues.

  3. In India, a man marries a dog in order to remove a curse (don't tell Rick Santorum).

  4. "More than a dozen students at two Anne Arundel elementary schools have developed pneumonia in the past several months, and 25 other students are being watched to see if they have the illness as well."

  5. The struggles of the 12-year-old, seven-foot-tall Brenden Adams.

  6. Although I always managed to get my own body wash and lotion dumped, "Government investigators smuggled liquid explosives and detonators past airport security, exposing a dangerous hole in the nation's ability to keep these forbidden items off of airplanes, according to a report made public Wednesday. "


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

They Make It So Easy, Don't They?

The Roman Catholic Church (via the bishops) have put out their list of priorities for the 2008 elections:

The document makes clear the broad concerns in Catholic teaching that make it difficult for parishioners to feel fully comfortable with either the Democrats or Republicans.

The bishops say helping the poor should be a top priority in government, providing health care, taking in refugees and protecting the rights of workers, and the bishops highlight the need for environmental protection.

However, they also oppose same-sex marriage, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research, in addition to their staunch anti-abortion position.

The prelates say torture is "always wrong" and they express "serious moral concerns" about "preventive use of military force." But at the last minute Wednesday, they added a sentence acknowledging "the continuing threat of fanatical extremism and global terror."

So all the practicing Catholics have to do is find the pro-health care, anti-gay marriage, pro-union, anti-abortion, pro-environment, anti-torture candidate who also has qualms about the war.

After the election, I'd love to get a survey on what percentage of Catholics decided not to vote "out of outright frustration and/or confusion."

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Unlike Those Other Guys, I'll Be a FAIR Dictator

Regardless of the words coming out of his mouth, Pakistan's "leader" is acting like he's here to stay:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 13 — Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to lift his state of emergency, insisting in an interview that it was the best way to ensure free and fair elections.

He vigorously defended the emergency decree issued 10 days earlier that suspended the Constitution, dismissed the Supreme Court, silenced independent news stations and resulted in the arrests of at least 2,500 opposition party workers, lawyers and human rights advocates.

“I totally disagree with her,” General Musharraf said in an interview with The New York Times at the presidential building here in the capital. “The emergency is to ensure elections go in an undisturbed manner.” He said Sunday that elections would go ahead by Jan. 9.

So Bush's collect phone call (OK, I don't know if it was really collect, but if it was, wouldn't that be a hoot?) went nowhere, and now Mushy's giving Condi the one-finger salute. But it's like he's saying: the best way to promote democracy is with the tight and retraining force of dictatorship.

Or was that Anakin Skywalker who said that? Whatever.

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Nice Try...

From the World's Greatest Cut&Paste newssource, YahooNews:

WASHINGTON - Three leading House anti-war Democrats said they now back a $50 billion bill that funds the war but calls for most troops to come home by December 2008. Their support paves the way for the bill's passage Wednesday.

The trio, California Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, represent a liberal anti-war caucus that last week expressed opposition to the measure on the grounds it was too soft and did not demand an end to combat.

The bill requires that President Bush initiate troop withdrawals within 30 days of its passage with the goal of bringing home most soldiers and Marines by Dec. 15, 2008.

You'd think the Bush Administration was going to have a heart attack when they heard the news:

The White House said Bush would veto the bill if it comes to him. Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino called the legislation the "height of irresponsibility," charging Democrats with merely trying to "appease radical groups" such as and Code Pink.

"Once again, the Democratic leadership is starting this debate with a flawed strategy, including a withdrawal date for Iraq, despite the gains our military has made over the past year, despite having dozens of similar votes in the past that have failed, and despite their pledge to support the troops," she said. "Democrats believe that these votes will somehow punish the president, but it actually punishes the troops."

But really, don't believe the hype on either side. Why? Well first of all, we've done this dance before: where the Democrats in Congress demand a deadline, Bush hems and haws, the Democrats get bolder, than Bush makes some claim that the Democrats don't care about the troops and the Democrats cave.

Also, there's the story I found yesterday about the surge reversal. It would be so easy for Bush to sign the "troop withdrawal" and use his surge reduction as proof that he's "withdrawing troops." And because your average American has a short political memory and the media doesn't care to remind people, the Democrats who are looking for brownie points will say, "See, we've scored a victory!"

Remember, according to that story the (currently unannounced) period for major reduction is between January and July of next year. The so-called "strongest Iraq bill to date?" AS described above it "requires that President Bush initiate troop withdrawals within 30 days of its passage with the goal of bringing home most soldiers and Marines by Dec. 15, 2008."

Again, unless there's something in this legislation that's not being reported, it would be too easy for Bush to kill two birds with one stone here.

If it passes, then great. Our troops need to get out of there as soon as possible. But to frame this event as a victory for the anti-war movement is premature.

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No Main Topic

  1. What better way to teach disaster lesson to kids than through cartoons?

  2. They must be getting desperate: Democratic presidential wannabes attack "the Bill Clinton years." Now what are these guys gonna say if any of them win the primary? "Uh, I was taken out of context?"

  3. The judge who sued a cleaning company $54 million for some messed up pants (and lost)? Well, he ain't a judge anymore.

  4. Speaking of lawsuits, Hannah Montana fans plan to sue the achy-breaky heart out of her fan club.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pure Coincidence, I Swear

Not that I was expecting to see this story, even after my pseudo-rant, but it is related to that earlier post. I mean, if you've gone from Middle Class to broke in 20 years, wouldn't you be pessimistic about American society?

And I'm not surprised to see this either:

Whites have a different view about black progress, according to the survey. Whites were nearly twice as likely as blacks to see black gains in the past five years. A majority of whites polled, or 56 percent, also said they believed prospects for blacks would improve in the future.

Because, since Condi Rice is Secretary of State, Barack Obama is running for US President, Jay-Z is a full-time businessman and Will Smith makes like $20 million a flick, all blacks are doing well. Right.

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The Sports Guys Weighs In On the Wiz

It took a decade, but ESPN's Bill Simmons is putting out his NBA Preview. This go-around he's doing a fourth-parter (the first part came out today). I can't really complain since he did have to take care of his new baby (like a father should) but I still think he needs to post a pic of his kid as proof.

Anyway, Part I includes a review of the Wizards (he does keep his tradition of going from worst to best) where he pulls no punches. Sure, as a partisan Wizards fan I could skip over such commentary, but then I wouldn't be a fair, opened-minded individual. So here goes:

I picked the Wizards to miss the playoffs for three reasons: Gilbert Arenas' lingering knee problems, an improved Eastern Conference, and contract years for two of their top three (Arenas and Antawn Jamison). You know what happens when two of the three best guys on a struggling team are in contract years? Everyone starts gunning for their own stats and the situation turns nastier than the first 30 minutes of "Eddie" right before Whoopi Goldberg took over. And even then, you might be able to get away with some selfishness as long as everyone's playing defense, but the Wiz have been abysmal defensively for three years and counting. So what's left? Why does anyone think this is a playoff team?

If the Wizards keep losing, Gilbert will take a pounding from the purists for the wrong reasons (he's too candid and too much of a self-promoter) and not the right ones (he doesn't play defense or make his teammates better). I always judge players by one simple question: Would I want to play with them? And I'd be miserable playing with Gilbert Arenas. He could still save the Wizards season by either A.) moving to shooting guard and becoming a pure scorer, or B.) getting his teammates involved at the expense of his own scoring (something he did in the victory over Atlanta on Sunday). But that's the frustrating thing about Gilbert: He wants to play point guard and he wants to score 35 points a game. You can't do both. True point guards such as Steve Nash and Chris Paul understand instinctively how to sacrifice their own scoring to get everyone else involved, then look for their own offense only if their teams need it. Gilbert seems to get this sometimes; other times, he just says "screw it" and goes for himself. And that doesn't work if you're trying to win a title. We have 51 seasons of evidence to back this up.

In response to his analysis, I say this:
  1. Jamison is probably the last star player to be gunning for stats. Anyone who's eyeing to snatch him from the Wizards (and really, who's that) would have only needed to see his performance during last season's playoffs against Cleveland. He gave his all. And combine that with his stint in Dallas, well, I don't think this guy needs to "advertise."
  2. The Wizards have been "abysmal defensively for three years and counting." I can't argue that. But strangely enough, their formula still got them into the playoffs (so to answer Bill's question, "The reason they're thought of as a playoff team is because they've averaged over 100 pts during those three years"). I think the reason these guy never gave playing defense the "Umph" they needed was because they were winning. Had they been losing, we'd have James Posey and Shane Battier instead of DeShawn Stevenson and Roger Mason right now. Maybe.
  3. Everyone inside the Beltway will criticise Arenas for the "right" reasons. Simmons needs to check the sports discussion threads on the Washington Post sometime. Then he'll understand. But I have to challenge him on one point here: Jared Jeffries and Larry Hughes seemed to be more productive when they were here with Arenas then where they are now. And I have to pull out the "professionalism card" here: rookies aside, any grown man who needs another person to hype them up, to make them better, doesn't deserve to be in the NBA. Padding the stats of a one-dimensional player is one thing, but being Dr. Phil is another.
  4. I also agree that Arenas would be better off either being a true point or a true scoring guard. Here's the problem: (1) He's too small to be a full-time 2-guard, (2) he's too turn-over prone to be a full-time point guard, and, most importantly, (3) that's not how coach Eddie Jordan runs his offense. He's said from Day One that he has "two guards, two forwards and a center." His ideal team has virtually interchangeable players for the backcourt and frontcourt. I can't remember the last time he's used the words "small," "point," "power" or "shooting" when describing the positions. That's why the whole "Brendan Haywood has more than four double-doubles but it's not January" storyline is so intriguing.
  5. Lastly, out of those 51 seasons, I do remember a small scoring guard who played alot at point winning the NBA title (how many has Nash won again?) Of course, his team played waaay better defense.

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John McCain Gets the Chris Matthews Endorsement

'Tis true. What I want to know is:
  1. How can people consider Matthews unbiased after his comments?
  2. Where was this "he deserves it" rhetoric when John Kerry was running for the presidency?

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Why It's Called "The American DREAM"

Because "dreams" is how you'd like your life to be, without all the jerks and lies and greed and whatnot. But reality says, "Sorry, you'll have to fight through that, and maybe more, to get close to what you want." For minorities, it's even more so, and this story from the Washington Post sums it up:

Forty-five percent of black children whose parents were solidly middle class in 1968 -- a stratum with a median income of $55,600 in inflation-adjusted dollars -- grew up to be among the lowest fifth of the nation's earners, with a median family income of $23,100. Only 16 percent of whites experienced similar downward mobility. At the same time, 48 percent of black children whose parents were in an economic bracket with a median family income of $41,700 sank into the lowest income group.

This troubling picture of black economic evolution is contained in a package of three reports being released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts that test the vitality of the American dream. Using a nationally representative data source that for nearly four decades has tracked people who were children in 1968, researchers attempted to answer two questions: Do Americans generally advance beyond their parents in terms of income? How much is that affected by race and gender?

I'd say that in a way it confirms that the American Dream is just that: a dream. An idolised version of America that doesn't exist; and if it did/does only for a small select group of people.

I always saw the American Dream as an extension of the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) : "the opportunity and freedom for all citizens to achieve their goals and become wealthy and renowned if only they work hard enough." Why? Because everyone wants to be prosperous in some manner or another, but no one can do that entirely on their own. You can make the perfect product, but if no one helps you develop it, test it, manufacture it, market it and deliver it who gives a damn? So you have to hire people to do all of these things, and the unwritten promise is: As I advance, so will you. You will be rewarded for your contribution. So you hire directors and VPs and managers and project leaders who not only know what the hell they're doing, but can work well with people (both employees and customers) and reward them as well. The company does well, and everyone gets a piece of the pie...some larger than others, of course, but the bottom line is: because we were in this together, working as a team, we'll all have a better tomorrow.

But the reality is: I'm looking out for me. Screw you. The idea of helping your fellow man has been deteriorating at a mind-boggling pace. My belief is that somewhere down the line, some people decided to "re-slice the pie," giving those who weren't getting alot to begin with less.

If we're ever going to be able to give every American the ability to see their dream become a reality, the "me first" attitude has to change, and the pie-slicing will have to be revisited.

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The Surge is Being Reversed

With considerably moderate fanfare, President Bush's much-criticised "surge" is in it's final throes:

The current total of 20 combat brigades is shrinking to 19 as the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, operating in volatile Diyala province, leaves. The U.S. command in Baghdad announced on Saturday that the brigade had begun heading home to Fort Hood, Texas, and that its battle space will be taken by another brigade already operating in Iraq.

And just between me, you, and everyone else with access to this AP story:

Between January and July - on a schedule not yet made public - the force is to shrink further to 15 brigades. The total number of U.S. troops will likely go from 167,000 now to 140,000-145,000 by July, six months before President Bush leaves office and a new commander in chief enters the White House.

So what has been learned from this little experiment?

U.S. commanders assert that it is not just the larger number of U.S. troops that has made a difference but also the way those troops operate - closer to the Iraqi population now rather than from big, isolated U.S. bases. Living among the Iraqis, they say, allows for a building of greater trust.

That trust, in turn, prompted more local Iraqis - mostly Sunni Arabs but also Shiites - to join U.S. forces in anti-insurgent alliances, the commanders say. It also has meant more Iraqi help in finding insurgents' arms caches, reducing mortar attacks and in uncovering roadside bombs before they detonate.

OK; anything else to note?

Also important is whether the Iraqi security forces - Iraqi army and police - are ready to take over from U.S. troops. If they are not, Petraeus' strategy could fail and the whole U.S. enterprise in Iraq could unravel. The issue is not whether the Iraqi army and police have adequate training; it's whether they are willing to use their training to enforce order without perpetuating the sectarian divides.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Gledhill, the second-in-command for training Iraqi forces, says he is confident that conditions have improved to the point where the Iraqis are capable of filling any U.S. gaps.

"Our answer is that they not only will be able to - they already are, and will continue to do so as they gain experience, capabilities and capacity, and not only here in Baghdad but all around the country," Gledhill said in an e-mail.

Alright. So here's what I got:
  1. By the time we get to pre-surge levels, Bush will still have half a year in office to play around.
  2. The Commanders On The Ground seem to think it's wasn't the numbers that may helped, but a shift in strategy: namely, getting the soldiers out of the bases and trying to live amongst the Iraqi people.
  3. More of the COTG think that the Iraqis are ready to run certain things, but not everything.

In other words: The next president will be spending all of 2009 fixing this mess.

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No Main Topic

  1. A combination of "meticulous planning, serious salesmanship, and shrewd execution" apparently sets Mitt Romney apart from his fellow Republican candidates for President. I always thought that along with moral ambiguity, it was a common trait.

  2. An escaped patient (an criminal) from a Laurel, MD hospital was found near Route 1.

  3. The Clinton Camp Comes Clean: "On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Sen. Clinton's energy plan at a forum. However, Sen. Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated." Really now; if your campaign is in the lead, why muck things up by doing something stupid like this?

  4. Call it the "Bart Simpson Redemption:" bad behavior in your child isn't the end of the world.

  5. Paris Hilton has a new cause: saving the drunk elephants of India.


Hands Still on The Trigger

Looks like the "gun issue" may be put on the back burner:

The Supreme Court took no action Tuesday in the case involving the District of Columbia's ban on handguns. The justices discussed the case at their private conference on Friday, but reached no resolution.

Four justices must vote to grant an appeal. The court does not always reach a decision the first time it discusses a case.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Don't Leave Home...

If this sounds like deja vu to some people, sorry; but:

The government of President Pervez Musharraf ordered the detention of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, blocking the former prime minister from leading a planned protest procession from Lahore into Islamabad on Tuesday to protest Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule.

The last time this happened (oh, say, a few days ago) President Bush did the oh-so-diplomatic phone call to help get Mushy to change his mind. Wonder what's next? Texting? Carrier Pigeon? Passing notes during Third Period?

How hard is it to use the diplomatic powers inherent in the presidency? Or is making threats and bombing countries the only thing this crowd does well?

Bush and Condoleezza Rice need to meet with Mushy; either in Pakistan or here.

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Click-Click, Bang-Bang

One of America's oldest laws may be reviewed soon:

The Supreme Court could announce as early as Tuesday whether it will take its first serious look at the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years in a case from D.C. City officials are trying to maintain the 31-year ban on handguns. A lower court struck down the ban as a violation of the Second Amendment rights of gun ownership.

The main issue is whether the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own guns or instead spells out the collective right of states to maintain militias. The
individual right interpretation would permit fewer restrictions on gun ownership.

A nice way to once again make "guns" a prevailing issue for the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

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No Main Topic

  1. Apparently, the level of corruption in Alaska politics is historic.

  2. Kudos to Virginia, the state with the most personalized license plates.

  3. FEMA can't even move people to a safer environment: their trailers and mobile homes are literally toxic.

  4. "A Rosedale man who allegedly owes the state more than $10,000 in unpaid tolls has been caught while driving through the Fort McHenry Tunnel."

  5. "Montgomery County appears ready to pass broad protections for transgender individuals in housing and employment."

  6. Finally! The Wizard's win! Put that "We're 9-20 Again" Party on hold!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Theory Revisted (What Teen Sex Actually Does)

Think there's a correlation between teen sex and becoming a juvenile delinquent? Well, a recent study has but that belief into doubt.

It all started with the initial study:

The latest example started when Dana Haynie, a sociologist at Ohio State, and her then-graduate student, Stacy Armour, published a study in February in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. They analyzed data collected from more than 7,000 children as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a federally funded survey that in 1994 began gathering information about the health-related behavior of U.S. schoolchildren who were then in grades seven through 12.

Haynie and Armour divided the children into three groups based on when they first had sex: when they were younger, about the same age or older than the age at which most of their local peers lost their virginity. (It varies by region, but on average, U.S. children lose their virginity at age 16.) They also compiled information on graffiti-painting, shoplifting, drug-selling and other "problem behaviors" by those young people in later years.

Their conclusion: One year after losing their virginity, children in the early category were 20 percent more likely than those who started having sex at the average age to engage in delinquent behavior, even when several other relevant factors such as wealth, race, parental involvement and physical development were taken into account.

Paige Harden from the University of Virginia (in Charlottesville) saw things differently and ran her own tests, using the same data:

Suspecting such an error in the Haynie study, Harden and three colleagues, including her adviser, Eric Turkheimer, an expert in behavioral genetics, studied more than 500 pairs of twins in the same national survey analyzed by the Ohio team. Because twin pairs share similar or identical genetic inheritances (depending on whether they are fraternal or identical) and the same home environment, twin studies are useful for seeing through false cause-and-effect relationships.

The team looked at identical twin pairs in which one twin initiated sex younger than the other, then team members tallied subsequent problem behaviors. If sex really adds to the chances of delinquency, then early-sex teens should end up delinquent more often than their later-sex twins.

"It turns out that there was no positive relationship between age of first sex and delinquency," Harden said.

So what's Harden's overall conclusion?

The new study "really calls into question the usefulness of abstinence education for preventing behavior problems," Harden said, "and questions the bigger underlying assumption that all adolescent sex is always bad."

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An Inside Look At Pakistan

Afsin Yurdakul, a guest writer for the's "Post Global," goes over the a conversation he had with Asma Jahangir ("the country's leading human rights lawyer and activist"):

She spoke quickly, not because she was nervous, but because she wanted to tell the world as much as she could about what is really going on behind the scenes of Pakistan’s current political turmoil. She said the electronic media is completely shut down, and satellite dishes have been removed from the supermarket shelves, ostensibly by the military, to prevent people from getting or spreading any information about the state of emergency.

Jahangir urged the world not to turn a blind eye to violations of democracy and free speech in Pakistan, and called for maximum international pressure on General Pervez Musharraf.

However, as she was telling me that these are defining moments for her country’s future, the police interjected, and we lost the connection. I called back immediately. A male voice answered (she had been home alone only moments before) and told me that ‘she was not allowed to talk anymore,’ because ‘she was with the police.’ At the moment I have no information regarding her status.

Their phone conversation can be found here.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Conservative Writers Learn About the Downside to Capitalism

This story reeks with irony:

Five authors have sued the parent company of Regnery Publishing, a Washington imprint of conservative books, charging that the company deprives its writers of royalties by selling their books at a steep discount to book clubs and other organizations owned by the same parent company.

In a suit filed in United States District Court in Washington yesterday, the authors Jerome R. Corsi, Bill Gertz, Lt. Col. Robert (Buzz) Patterson, Joel Mowbray and Richard Miniter state that Eagle Publishing, which owns Regnery, “orchestrates and participates in a fraudulent, deceptively concealed and self-dealing scheme to divert book sales away from retail outlets and to wholly owned subsidiary organizations within the Eagle conglomerate.”

Excuse me, but isn't this just an example of conservative capitalism...or as I like to call it, "Ferengism"? And by "Ferengi" I mean a people who

are characterized by a mercantile obsession with profit and trade and their constant efforts to swindle people into bad deals.

And have a culture that

is so devoted to unregulated capitalism that concepts such as labor unions, sick leave, vacations, or paid overtime for workers are considered abhorrent, because they would interfere with exploitation of workers. In addition to the Rules, the Ferengi also recognize the five Stages of Acquisition: infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession, and resale. They value similar traits in other species as well — Earth's Wall Street is regarded with religious reverence by Ferengi, who routinely visit Earth to make pilgrimages to the "holy site" of commerce and business. (Star Trek: Voyager episode "11:59")

Back to the news story:

The authors argue that in reducing royalty payments, the publisher is maximizing its profits and the profits of its parent company at their expense.

These conservative writers aren't mad at the scheme, they're just mad that they weren't a part of it. But they shouldn't expect anything less when dealing with an organization whose goal is profit, not the well-being of their suppliers.

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If You Have About $200.00 and a Good Home...

...and you live in the MD/DC/VA area, and you'd like to have a pet, consider adopting a puppy:

The Fairfax County Animal Shelter brought up about 60 of the dogs on Thursday. Some of the dogs were sent to shelters in Alexandria. The Animal Rescue League in D.C. brought back about 105 dogs. The Montgomery County Humane Society has some as well. The shelters will provide safe, temporary homes for some of the dogs.

Why are there so many dogs? Well:

The massive breeding operation came to light after an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States. On Tuesday, Junior Horton, of Hillsville, voluntarily surrendered about 980 dogs, mostly small breed puppies like Yorkshire terriers and miniature poodles.

The last I heard on TV, the dogs go for about $150.00 each. Which is actually a loss for the shelters because it costs about $2,000.00 to care for each canine.

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The Faberge Majority

Ever since the Democrats wrestled the Senate from the Republicans, the American people have been subjected to a new policy: "We can't do anything without 60 votes." Of course, this is a reverse of the Senate policy when Republicans ruled, which was "As long as we have the majority, we can do whatever the hell we want, including the threat of the 'nuclear option.'"

Accepting this distinction makes the news that President Bush's nominee for Attorney General (Michael Mukasey) passed through the Senate a bit confusing, considering he passed with a 53-40 vote. If my math is correct, "53" is seven votes shy of "60," making the Senate Democrats policy of "getting anything done" a load of crap.

What isn't confusing is that one party understands that majority = power (even if they do have a proclivity to push the envelope) while the other party believes that being in the majority is like having a Faberge Egg, something beautiful and delicate that must only be observed and talked about, but never used.

I could go on, but Gleen Greenwald covers this way better than I can.

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No Main Topic

  1. Because rounding them all up would be blatantly racist: "An extensive mapping program launched by the LAPD's anti-terrorism bureau to identify Muslim enclaves across the city sparked outrage Thursday from some Islamic groups and civil libertarians, who denounced the effort as an exercise in racial and religious profiling."

  2. Good thing they're in re-runs: Conan O'Brien has a stalker who's also a priest.

  3. Every aspect of government has some kind of corruption, but stealing money from a school chess club? That's just wrong.

  4. Another holiday, another mugging at the pump.

  5. You better get your fix quick, because cocaine prices are rising (people actually calculate this kind of stuff?)

  6. In MD: a vote to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay is in the works.

  7. In Fairfax, VA: a 19-yr-old Sheriff Deputy is arrested for child, 1,000 images worth of child pornography.