Friday, July 29, 2005


In case you were wondering just what kind of problems the defense authorization bill -- the bill that the Republican leadership pulled from the Senate floor to push through the GOP/NRA's pet gun bill -- would have addressed:
Two-thirds of the nearly 6,000 Humvees deployed across Iraq are factory-armored, coming off an Ohio assembly line with an extra 2,000 pounds of protective plating and bulletproof windows, and the Iraq mission has priority for getting new ones. With some members of Congress complaining that the work has been too slow, about 300 more vehicles are being upgraded each month by private contractors at bases in Iraq and Kuwait.

U.S. troops using Humvees and other vehicles are still not out of danger. On the highways, streets and alleys that are the battlefields of this conflict, soldiers traveling in the vehicles never intended for front-line combat now face suicide drivers and more powerful bombs capable of penetrating new defenses. -- LA Times
Note to GOP chicken-hawks: On the battlefield, 66% is a failing score.


Today would be a good day to kiss-up to the men and women that keep our little electronic worlds functioning.

Note: A study conducted at MIT showed that a properly appreciated sysadmin is much less likely to go snooping in your internet history and cookie files.


In the early days of the invasion of Iraq, war supporters often spouted some variation on the claim that "a 20-something male is more likely to get killed in the inner-city than in Baghdad."

Well, the Senate Republicans just increased the likelihood of that 20-something male getting killed in both places.

From your Chicago Tribune:
After years of battle, gun rights advocates are poised to win one of their biggest victories, as the Senate moves toward shielding makers, dealers, distributors and importers of guns from liability lawsuits.

A result of increased Republican majorities in Congress, the passage of legal protection for the gun industry would mark an enormous setback for gun control advocates and for leaders of cities such as Chicago, who have filed suit against gun dealers and manufacturers. ***

Infuriated Democrats on Thursday sought to play up the fact that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yanked a defense authorization bill from the Senate floor, at a time of war, to push the gun bill through. ***

The legislation would provide immunity from civil lawsuits to gun manufacturers, gun dealers, distributors and importers of firearms and ammunition. In addition, trade groups would be protected and any pending legal action against gunmakers would be moot. ***

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who has taught law at the University of Chicago, said the courts have done a good job of handling, and disposing of, the suits that have been filed. And, he said, gun manufacturers and dealers are not going bankrupt from those cases.

"There is no crisis," Obama said. "Guns are plentiful. We have multiple guns for every man, woman and child in this country."

Some Democrats said they were stunned that Republican leaders would stop a defense bill designed to help American troops on the eve of Congress' monthlong recess.

"I can't imagine what's going through the mind of Sen. Frist to take the defense bill off the floor for this special-interest legislation," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the assistant Democratic leader. "What can that be saying to the men and women in uniform?"
Remember: Guns don't kill people, Republican legislative priorities kill people.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Larry may think that Peter Roskam is the winner of the month, but it's the Christine Cegelis camp that is having a party this weekend.

From the Cegelis website:

Honorary Co-Chairs for the Event Illinois Attorney General LISA MADIGAN, Alderman GENE SCHULTER (47th Ward), and Alderman JOE MOORE (49th Ward) invite you to join them for a a potluck/fund raiser for Christine Cegelis, a pro-peace, pro-environment, and pro-choice candidate for the 6th Congressional District.

In 2004 Christine got 44.2% of the vote against 30-year Republican incumbent Henry Hyde, and in 2006 we are going to win!

Date: Sunday, July 31, 2005

Time: 4:00 pm

Location: The riverside home of Julia Fabris McBride and Bill McBride, 2556 West Berteau, Chicago (Julia and Bill are leaving Chicago and this may be our last opportunity to enjoy their wonderful home and hospitality and thank them for being great neighbors.)

Host Committee: Kevin Anderson, Jerry Jaecks, Ann Breen-Greco. This is not a ticketed event and there is no minimum donation. Please bring your checkbook or credit card and make as generous a donation as possible. All proceeds go directly to campaign. And bring food and/or beverage to share. Please email Kevin ( or call him (773-583-7042) to respond and let him know what you are bringing.

For information:,

Directions: In Chicago, from Western Avenue, head west on Berteau (north of Irving Park and south of Montrose). The house is the last one on the block, on the river, on your right. Call 773-509-0162 if you need further directions.
Or, if you have other plans for Sunday afternoon, you can always contribute here.


I love belly-aching as much as the next guy, but I usually don't enjoy blog posts dedicated to a bad customer service experience. There are just too many poorly trained and poorly motivated people giving wretched customer service to make those stories compelling.

But when PayPal's customer service jerks around a raconteur like Mark Evanier -- well brother, that's good readin'.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Farm Aid announced today that it will activate its Family Farm Disaster Fund in support of Illinois family farmers hardest hit by this summer’s drought. Farm Aid will channel emergency assistance to distressed areas, pledging an immediate $10,000 in relief funds.

“Every family farm helps secure the future of America’s food supply,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “We cannot allow this drought to cause the loss of a single family farm. Today we are activating our Family Farm Disaster Fund to welcome donations so that farm families get help in a timely manner.”

Individuals can contribute to Farm Aid’s disaster fund on-line at

Although I like a good George W. Bush joke as much as the next guy...

Although I like a good George W. Bush joke as much as the next guy, some of them seem gratuitous and mean-spirited

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Does Illinois really need death penalty reform to make it harder for State's Attorneys to use capital punishment for political purposes?

Uhh... yeah.

From the Sun-Times:
Former Will County State's Attorney Jeff Tomczak helped coerce a bogus confession last fall from the father of 3-year-old murder victim Riley Fox in a last-ditch bid to win re-election, an amended federal lawsuit filed Monday charges.

The new allegation comes in a lawsuit filed by Kevin Fox, who spent more than eight months in custody after being charged in October 2004 with sexually assaulting and murdering his youngest child. Charges against the 28-year-old Wilmington man were dropped in June after DNA tests failed to connect him to Riley's death.

The revised federal lawsuit contends Tomczak -- locked in a tight political race -- worked in the final days before the Nov. 2, 2004 election with nine Will County sheriff's department officers to pry a confession from Kevin Fox.

"Defendant Tomczak's quest for power led him to abuse the power he already possessed,'' Fox contends in his lawsuit. ***

Tomczak, a Republican, narrowly lost his re-election bid to Democrat James Glasgow.

Immediately after that loss, the suit contends, Tomczak ordered an investigator to call a halt to DNA testing that could have cleared Kevin Fox.
See also: Zorn - Birkett's zeal is questionable in Nicarico case


Cancel your hotel reservations in Leroy, because the Bottle Rockets are playing in Chicago!

That's a Friday night, so let's not hear any nonsense about having to get up the next day.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


The Bottle Rockets -- America's finest rock and roll band -- have released their summer tour schedule. There aren't any Chicagoland dates (yet) but the band's sound -- Tom T. Hall meets Crazy Horse? -- makes it well worth the trip to any of these appearances:

If you don't think the Bottle Rockets provide the perfect soundtrack for summer beer drinkin', you should probably stop drinkin' beer.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A group of anti-war senior citizens calling themselves the Tucson Raging Grannies say they want to enlist in the U.S. Army and go to Iraq so their children and grandchildren can come home.

Five members of the group -- which is associated with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom -- are due in court Monday to face trespassing charges after trying to enlist at a military recruitment center last week.

The group has protested every week for the last three years outside the recruitment center.

"We went in asking to be sent to Iraq so our kids and grandchildren can be sent home, but rather than listening to us, they called the police," said 74-year-old Betty Schroeder. "It was their place to tell us the qualifications, but they wouldn't even speak to us. They should've said, 'You're too old.' "

Thursday, July 21, 2005


The Army Times reports that this week the Defense Department has quietly asked Congress for permission to raise the maximum age for military recruits from 35 to 42.
The Pentagon’s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of “urgent wartime support initiatives” sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee.

At that hearing, David S.C. Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said he felt the military’s recent problems with recruiting were improving, but that additional incentives would help.
There was no confirmation that the Penatagon also requested permission to count the 42 year-old recruits as two 21 year-old recruits in an effort to make up for recent recruitment shortfalls.

"Professionally Stupid, If Not Worse"

Your Chicago Tribune reports that Joe Birkett, DuPage County state's attorney and a possible Republican gubernatorial candidate, plans to meet next week with local newspapers to discuss the 1983 slaying of Jeanine Nicarico.
But the unusual meetings have been met with criticism that the veteran prosecutor is trying to put to rest longstanding questions about how he has handled the controversial case. R. Bruce Dold, the editor of the Tribune's editorial page, said that he could not recall a prosecutor coming to the paper to preview a case.

Legal experts say the meetings raise ethical issues, as well as some criminal law issues for Birkett, who is bound by the state's rules on the professional conduct of attorneys.

Birkett, who inherited the case when he was elected in 1996, said he had asked for the meetings because he wanted to "set the record straight" about the role he and his office have played in the case.
But the Trib reports that Birkett's move may be risky:
Charles Rose, a former prosecutor who teaches ethics at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Fla., said, "Sounds like he's trying to spin you before the case goes to trial, either for political gain or to affect the jury pool."

Bob Cummins, a former chairman of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board who for three decades has lectured on ethics to lawyers and judges, said Birkett's efforts "may be politically savvy, but in my judgment are professionally stupid, if not worse."

"Maybe my ideas are old-fashioned, but aren't we supposed to try cases in the courtroom? Isn't that where you demonstrate the evidence?" said Cummins. "If Joe Birkett were my client, I would tell him to fire the guy who set this up and get a new political advisor."
The meetings were arranged by Dan Curry, Birkett's political consultant.

Updated From Comments:
Funny, the guy who says I ought to be fired is a law partner/friend of Tom Cronin, a man who Joe Birkett defeated for SA about 75 percent to 25 percent a few years back. Interesting that the Trib didn't disclose that obvious axe to grind in their story. -- Dan Curry

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


From you Chicago Tribune:
For nearly a year, Sen. Barack Obama has been toying with the idea of accepting an invitation to be a guest of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central.

It came close to happening this week, because the junior senator from Illinois was scheduled to spend Friday in New York. But a heavy Senate voting schedule prevented Obama's staff from even trying to schedule a television appearance.

So instead of yakking it up with funny-guy Stewart, Obama visited the United Nations.
The man has some messed-up priorities.


Sen. Barack Obama's official statement:
I take very seriously the Senate's advice and consent role regarding a Supreme Court nomination. I will be closely following the Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Roberts and will thoroughly review his record before deciding whether or not to vote to confirm him. I hope that this process will be civil and deliberate, because that is what the American people deserve.
From the LA Times:
"I don't think there's any doubt he has the qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court," said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a former professor of constitutional law who said he did not have enough information yet to decide whether to support or oppose Roberts. "The question is going to be whether he has the wisdom and sense of balance ... to serve for 25 years on the highest court of the land."


The Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay group, announced that Cook County Commissioners Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman (17th), Gregg Goslin (14th), Carl Hansen (15th), Anthony Peraica (16th) and Peter Silvestri (9th) have asked that their names be removed from the resolution in support of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, which passed unanimously on June 21.

The Free Press quotes Peraica as saying, "I never really supported the resolution to begin with. *** I have always been supportive of family values, which does not include the gay and lesbian agenda."

But the Gay Games didn't get any queerer since the board's unanimous vote. So just what exactly has changed since June 21?

Well for one thing, Jack Roeser, Illinois Family Institute board member, stopped payment on a $5000 check to Peraica.

Jonathan Kelley of Selfish Hedonist concludes, "It seems pretty clear that Tony Peraica can be bought... and not for much."


From your Chicago Tribune:
He was drawn to conservative politics after seeing -- and not liking -- anti-war sentiment on [Harvard's] campus near the end of the Vietnam War.
Roberts, "captain of the football team and a talented wrestler", was born in 1955 and would have been 18 years old when the draft ended in 1973 -- but like so many conservatives, he preferred to fight the war in Vietnam by proxy.

James Montgomery Doohan (March 3, 1920 — July 20, 2005)

James Doohan participated in the invasion of Juno Beach on D-Day as a captain with the Royal Canadian Artillery.

At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. The chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

Despite his wounds, Doohan remained in the military, trained as a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and flew an artillery observation plane, though he was once labeled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces".

Later in life, Mr. Doohan did some acting.

AP obit.


"[W]e must remember the high standards that come with high office. This begins with careful adherence to the rules. I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems. This means checking and, if need be, doublechecking that the rules have been obeyed. This means never compromising those rules." -- George W. Bush, at the swearing-in ceremony for senior members of the White House staff on Jan. 22, 2001.

And hiding information from an FBI investigation certainly appears to be a problem.

From Murray Waas at The American Prospect Online:
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.

Also leading to the early skepticism of Rove's accounts was the claim that although he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a journalist, he said could not recall the name of the journalist. Later, the sources said, Rove wavered even further, saying he was not sure at all where he first heard the information.
"This means never compromising those rules."


"Does the Constitution recognize and protect an unenumerated right of privacy?"

Craig Crawford explains:
I'll never forget the stunned faces among senators and spectators on the day 15 years ago when Supreme Court nominee David Souter answered that question in the affirmative. It was the first answer of his Senate confirmation hearing, and it showed that he embraced the legal underpinning of Roe v. Wade's protection of abortion rights. Conservatives were furious, never forgiving President George H.W. Bush for naming Souter. Liberals were shocked, but pleased, and many quickly endorsed his nomination. ***

It should be the first question put to President George W. Bush's nominee, John Roberts. If, like Souter, he says yes, then he's unlikely to provide the next vote needed to overturn Roe. If he says no, then abortion-rights activists probably should prepare to take their battle to the states and no longer expect the high court to stand in the way of state legislatures that would outlaw abortions.

And if Roberts refuses to answer the question, or dodges it in some clever way, he should not be confirmed. Anyone seeking to hold a swing vote on such a critical issue owes everyone -- conservatives and liberals -- an answer to that question.
Crawford is a columnist for Congressional Quarterly Weekly and a news commentator for MSNBC and "The Early Show" on CBS.


"[Bush] promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done." -- Tony Perkins, president of the ultra-conservative Family Research Council via NYT

"A More Controversial Confirmation Process"

“The President had an opportunity to unite the country with his Supreme Court nomination, to nominate an individual in the image of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Instead, by putting forward John Roberts' name, President Bush has chosen a more controversial nominee and guaranteed a more controversial confirmation process.” -- Sen. Richard Durbin


George Bush has nominated the first white man to ever replace a woman on the United States Supreme Court.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


From your Chicago Tribune:
A Criminal Court judge on Monday took prosecutors to task after they argued for the death penalty in a case where they previously had approved a life sentence in plea talks.

Judge Stuart Palmer raised his voice when he said from the bench that all the facts in the case against Raul Lemus were known in April 2003, when prosecutors told Palmer they would accept a sentence of life in prison if Lemus would plead guilty.

"Not a single fact has changed," Palmer said, adding that state's attorneys told him they felt a life sentence was appropriate."

"And today you don't," he said after prosecutors finished their arguments at a sentencing hearing for Lemus. "We're talking about a man's life here, and it appears to me that the state's position is he deserves the death penalty because he didn't plead guilty fast enough."
Previous capital punishment gamesmanship

Sunday, July 17, 2005


From your Chicago Sun-Times:

Fellow Republicans warned House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Tom DeLay more than a year ago that the government would come up short -- by at least $750 million -- for veterans' health care.

The leaders' response: Fire the messengers.


New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, had told the House GOP leadership that the Veterans Affairs Department needed at least $2.5 billion more in its budget.

The Senate passed a bill with that increase; the House's bill was $750 million short.

Smith and 30 other Republicans wrote to their leaders in March 2004 to make the point that lawmakers who were not the usual outspoken advocates for veterans were troubled by the move.

Failure to come up with the additional $2.5 billion, they contended, could mean higher co-payments, rationing of health care services, long waiting times or other problems.

Still, the House ignored them.

Smith was rebuked by several Republicans for sounding the spending alarm, and House leaders yanked his chairmanship in January.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The World's Finest Brother™ has this to say about State Sen. Rev. James Meeks confrontation with the Chicago police department:
This seems like a pretty classic hollywood, "Don't you know I'm famous?" move...

What would the officer have done had Rev. Meeks done the right thing at the traffic stop and stayed in the car? We'll never know.

Did the officer do anything wrong during this traffic stop? Maybe.

Did Sen. Rev. Meeks? Oh hell yeah.

If I ever, Ever, EVER was stupid enough to get out of a car I wasn't driving during a traffic stop and got to go home that same night, I'd count myself lucky.
Remember boys and girls: Hands at 10 and 2 -- hands at 10 and 2.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I. From your Chicago Sun-Times:
A day before he was to return to active duty, a U.S. Marine stood on a Chicago street and begged his cousin for help.

Moises Hernandez had just come home from Iraq last month and was having nightmares and didn't want to go back to the war, he told his cousin, according to prosecutors.

"Shoot me," Hernandez allegedly told his cousin.

The cousin was hesitant at first, then relented and allegedly shot Hernandez in the leg early Saturday morning. ***

Moises' father, Ray Hernandez, said his son was obviously troubled when he returned home at the end of June. He had nightmares, would roam the house flipping the lights on and off, and sometimes would shake at night.

His son had been sent to Indonesia after the tsunami hit last December and talked about the dead bodies he saw floating in the ocean. In Iraq, he also saw death up close, his father said.

"It hurt me to hear him say what he had to do,'' said Hernandez, 43. "Whatever he experienced changed him totally." ***

"I am sure my son is not the only one affected,'' he said. "I am sure a lot of them don't come back with a straight mind. ... The only thing my son is guilty of is making a bad decision. I still love my son. He made a bad decision.''
II. From the LA Times:
[Sgt. Brent Cox's] wife was five months pregnant when she announced she was leaving him and going back home to Lawton, Okla.

[Pvt. Ray Hall] visited the Internet trailer less often after he checked the phone messages on his home answering machine one day and heard another man tell his wife he loved her.

[Spc. Jason Garcia] stopped hearing from his girlfriend and started tracking his bank account. He said thousands of dollars of his saved pay was gone and she had found somebody else. ***

Divorce rates among active-duty personnel in all branches of the U.S. military:
  • 2000: 19,223
  • 2001: 18,774
  • 2002: 21,629
  • 2003: 23,080
  • 2004: 26,784


Jeff Berkowitz reports that Peter "Just Disgusting" Roskam will be the ultra-conservative GOP nominee for the 6th congressional district.


From the LA Times:
On the way to passing a $31.8-billion Homeland Security spending bill Thursday, Senate Republican leaders beat back a series of attempts — pressed by senators from states with large urban centers — to increase money for mass transit protection by as much as $1.4 billion. ***

In the Senate's spending bill, rail and transit safety measures were allotted $100 million, a drop of $50 million from last year.
From CNN:
Meanwhile, the death toll in the July 7 [London bus and subway] bombings rose to 54 after a man wounded in the bus blast died in a hospital, Scotland Yard said. Thirteen others on the bus also died.

Some 700 people were wounded in the four bombings. Forensics experts have said it could take weeks to identify all the bodies recovered, many of which were mangled.
So when terrorists blow up trains and buses, the GOP leadership cuts funding of rail and transit safety in half.

I must admit it -- I remain puzzled by the Republican leadership in the war on terror.


Former DuPage County Recorder J.P. "Rick" Carney has bowed out of the race to replace Henry Hyde in the 6th Congressional District. Carney says he is now throwing his support behind ultra-conservative Peter Roskam. And "ultra-conservative" is Carney's word for Roskam, not mine.

From your Chicago Tribune:
"Yes, Peter Roskam is a very conservative man and he's too conservative for my taste, but he's a likable ultra-conservative," said Carney, who described Roskam as an articulate public speaker. "We agree on fiscal things but we disagree on social issues."

Carney, who has said he believes the district has become less reliably Republican since Hyde took office, said he discussed with Roskam the need to have "tolerance and patience" of different viewpoints.
So in his endorsement Carney says Roskam is "very conservative," "too conservative," "ultra-conservative" and that he lacks "tolerance and patience."

If that's Carney's version of throwing Roskam his support, I wonder what throwing Roskam under the bus would look like.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


From the AP:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has attacked violent video games as "a silent epidemic" among children, said she wants a federal investigation into one of the most popular, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas."

Clinton, D-N.Y., is asking the Federal Trade Commission to probe how users of the game can access "graphic pornographic and violent content" for the game from the Internet.


From the Daily Herald:

Former DuPage County Recorder Rick Carney won’t run for Congress next year and instead is backing state Sen. Peter Roskam to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde.

“Peter Roskam was born to be a congressman, and he wants it real bad,” Carney said Wednesday. “He has far more fire in his belly than I do.”

The pullback leaves the March Republican primary, at least for now, as a one-on-one tilt between Roskam, a Wheaton personal-injury attorney, and state Sen. Carole Pankau of Itasca. Pankau, who got into the race last month, previously had said she hoped several male candidates would run and split the vote. ***

Carney said he met with Roskam on Tuesday to inform him he wasn’t running. “He was pretty happy, actually,” Carney said.

“I stood a real good chance of losing,” added Carney, displaying a trademark candor. “I was really starting to believe I was not going to win.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


"It doesn't seem to dawn on our pundits and leaders that when two dozen Iraqi police recruits are murdered by a car bomb it sends a shock wave through entire communities, leaving untold grieving widows, parents, siblings, children, friends, and co-workers behind to nurse their pain and rage. Imagine the impact it would have if 50 police or army recruits were wiped out over the course of a week in this country. Now imagine 50 dying every single week with no relief in sight and tell me the U.S. wouldn't be suffering a national nervous breakdown." -- James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

"I've been on lots of programs, including very prominent news programs, but the amount of people, sometimes on the street, who would stop me and say, `I saw you on "Jon Stewart,"' is just stunning. You have a new world in which it's not at all clear where America is going to be getting its news from in five years. I'm grateful that Jon Stewart is so thoughtful, but we cannot exist as a nation dependent on the thoughtfulness of our comedians." -- Floyd Abrams in the Chicago Tribune

"The worst part, right up there with an aged elephant being abused to death, is that the entire affair forces even the most hardened, sirloin-chomping cynic to wonder: my God, maybe PETA's right . . ." -- The Sun-Times's Neil Steinberg on the death of Lincoln Park Zoo's elephant Winkie.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Survey USA has released its July tracking poll for the nation's governors and Blagonad is lucky number 13 with 38% approving and 55% disapproving -- the same numbers as June.

Monday, July 11, 2005


I'm back from my Independence Day holiday in Red(neck) America, where broad-minds and broad-band connections are few and far between.

Today's plan is to catch up with my blog-reading -- and if there's time, maybe catch up on some work.


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