Friday, September 28, 2007

Iraq: It Doesn't Add Up.

In today's Huffington Post, Bill Maher says, "Stop Saying Iraq is Another Vietnam, it's Another Enron":
Iraq is Enron, and President Bush is Ken Lay. He's fighting a war with phony accounting tricks. The Bush administration fudged the numbers to get us into Iraq, and cooked the books to keep us there. "The surge" is simply another in a long series of inflated stock quotes. This past weekend Marcel Marceau passed away at age 84. Doctors say he went quietly. Thus proving that evil thrives when good men stay silent. And just like with Enron, the good men and women who are blowing the whistle on Iraq contractor fraud are being vilified, fired, demoted, and those are the lucky ones.
Of course a significant difference is that the primary villain in the Enron crimes is now dead.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Big Brother is Reading You

Wired news asks, "Do You Write Like a Terrorist?":
You might think your anonymous online rants are oh-so-clever. But they'll give you away, too. A federally-funded artificial intelligence lab is figuring out how to track people over the Internet, based on how they write.

The University of Arizona's ultra-ambitious "Dark Web" project "aims to systematically collect and analyze all terrorist-generated content on the Web," the National Science Foundation notes. And that analysis, according to the Arizona Star, includes a program which "identif[ies] and track[s] individual authors by their writing styles.
But that AI analysis will only be effective if the anonymous internet writer also had writings published under his or her true name on the Internet.

Check and mate, Dark Web!

DC's Master Plan

Mmmm... now that's sarcasm.

I hope.

The Future of Newspapers in a (Pea)Nut Shell

The sorry state of your Chicago Tribune comics page -- we miss you Candorville -- makes perfect sense when you consider that their target audience remembers the comedy stylings of Mort Sahl.

Hell, the Trib's target audience probably remembers Beethoven.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Black Kids in a Red County

From your Chicago Tribune:
In Chicago-area public schools, African-American students are five times as likely to be suspended and nearly eight times as likely to be expelled as white students, according to a Tribune analysis of state data.

The expulsion disparity was greatest in DuPage County, where blacks were expelled at a rate nine times as high as whites. African-Americans represent 6 percent of the public school population in DuPage yet accounted for 32 percent of all the students expelled in the last school year, the data show.
The state with the highest ratio of black student suspensions to black student population in the nation was Iowa with 4.39.

DuPage County's disproportionate black student suspension ratio tops that at 5.33

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tribune Okays Shoe Fetish Cartoon

Just one day after your Chicago Tribune ran a piece in which Geoff Brown, associate managing editor for features asserted his prerogative to ban cartoons containing "vulgarities, double-entendres or untruths even in jest" they published the following comic strip:

This proves one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt: Even the associate managing editor for features doesn't read Shoe.

Only In Wheaton

This young couple was spotted at a coffee shop in downtown Wheaton.

The young lady was reading an article entitled, "Were the Puritans Right About Sex?"

Good luck, fella.

You've Been Warned

IMDb's "plot keywords" for Good Luck Chuck:"Character Name In Title"?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Testy Trib Sacks Fuzzy Nut Crunch Toon

Here is the Sept. 14 Get Fuzzy strip that so rocked your Chicago Tribune they lacked the editorial cojones to print it:
Here is the bollocks behind the Tribune's nutty decision:
[Geoff Brown, associate managing editor for features] said he might determine that a particular comic's content is offensive once or twice a year. "Some people claim it's censorship, but I call it editing," he said. "We don't allow our own reporters to write vulgarities, double-entendres or untruths, even in jest."

He thought the "nut-crunch" joke was just vulgar.
Of course, Mr. Katt' observation in
the third panel -- "All goons are idiots" -- is axiomatic. But this question remains: "Must all editors be humorless goons?"

It is so disappointing when the Tribune lives up to Neil Steinberg's sour caricature.

UPDATE A correspondent asks, "If the Trib doesn't allow '
vulgarities, double-entendres or untruths' how do they explain this headline?"


Thursday, September 20, 2007

GOP: If You Got 'Em, Smoke 'Em.

Late last night, Senate Republicans blocked a proposal to require more time between combat tours for U.S. troops.
"To stop the majority of this body from acting shows yet again that most of my Republican colleagues are much more concerned about protecting their president than protecting our troops," [Sen. Harry Reid] said.
Currently, American soldiers are deployed to Iraq for 15 months and return to the US for 12 months, which includes time away from their homes training for their return to Iraq.


A New High in Low

Don't Click This Link!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CBC Ya Later, Cruickshank

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
Chicago Sun-Times Publisher John Cruickshank has resigned to head Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s news division.
But when Cruickshank hits the bricks will he take the Sun-Times Barack Obama correspondent with him?

What will Chicagoans do without
her deep insights?

Dammit Update: From Crain's:
Mr. Cruickshank’s wife, Jennifer Hunter, has been covering U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for the Sun-Times. She said in an interview she plans to stay on her beat and in Chicago, where the couple’s daughter and son are students at the University of Chicago.

“We’re keeping our house, our children are here, and I’m going to continue my job at the Sun-Times,” she said.

If Ms. Hunter really isn't leaving, will the S-T's "absentminded editors" finally begin applying their craft to her columns?

A Friendly Reminder About DuPage County's GOP-Only Government

From your Chicago Tribune:
Fred Backfield, county finance director, released projections for the next five fiscal years that show county revenue will be $21.7 million short of the $138.3 million needed in 2008 to maintain the present level of staffing and programs and to perform needed maintenance on county buildings.
Just when DuPage County should be growing, the all-Republican county board will fall sixteen-percent short of even maintaining the county government.

Single-party government didn't work in the Soviet Union and it sure doesn't work in DuPage County.

It's Your Choice

The Naperville Sun wants to know:
Do you think a Planned Parenthood facility should go into operation on the Naperville-Aurora border?
Click here and scroll down (it's in the right column) to vote.

Friday, September 14, 2007

James Fallows: Like George W. Bush? You'll Love Rudy!

James Fallows, stationed in China for the Atlantic, watched Bush's gibber-gabber and the post-speech follow-up on CNN.

And proving beyond a doubt that he is made of stronger stuff than me, he watched it a second time at the gym.

The most interesting part was Fallows new first impression of Rudy Giuliani:
He looks like a man who is crazy. Making no clinical diagnosis here, just talking about his affect as it comes across on TV.

I am sure this is partly just my unfamiliarity with his tic of stressing a point by opening his eyes so wide you can see the whites all the way around. He does that a lot, and at first glance it's odd.

But beyond that is the eerie sense of how strongly he resembles the earlier, cockier G.W. Bush of two or three years ago.

That Bush - the one who hadn't yet lost the Congress, who hadn't yet seen Rove, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, et al driven from his inner council, who hadn't glimpsed the tragic possibilities for his dreams in Iraq -- combined certainty of bearing with sketchiness of factual information. That's just how Giuliani comes across if you haven't seen him for a long time. Great certainty about "staying on the offense" against terrorism; zero displayed knowledge of what that means or indeed what he was talking about at all. Giuliani added to this sloganeering impression with his repeated invocations of "General Petraeus" as the answer to all problems, notwithstanding Petraeus's deliberate narrowing of his claimed expertise to the progress of his own mission, not the largest strategic questions about Iraq.
And when Fallows watched the Mayor of 9-11 on replay, his impression of Rudy as W-2 did not improve:
[O]utrageously worse. Is this how he's been all along?

To start with, he doesn't know anything. To be more precise: not a single sentence that he utters suggests any familiarity with what people have been saying and arguing -- about terrorism, Iraq, the situation of the military, security trade-offs, etc -- for the last few years.

He's out of date in two ways: He displays the "fashionable in 2003 and 2004" assumption that if you say "nine-eleven, nine-eleven, nine-eleven!!" enough times, you end all debate about military policy. He displays the "fashionable about three weeks ago" assumption that if you say "General Petraeus, General Petraeus, General Petraeus" enough times, you've offered an Iraq policy.

And through it all he seems totally self-confident. Hmm, have we seen anything like this combo before?
The U.S. has twice made the mistake of a George W. Bush presidency -- we simply can't afford to make that mistake again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Preparing for the Fight in DuPage

Jake Parrillo, Giuliani supporter, took a gander at the DuPage GOP's new website and determined "It Couldn't Be Worse".

Although the sorry state of the Republican website doesn't interest me much -- the DuPage Democratic Party's website is still piggybacked on the site of the Lake County party, for pity sake -- Jake's premise is noteworthy:
We need to do better. The suburbs and DuPage County is battleground territory right now. The Turn DuPage Blue guys or whomever seizes control of the DuPage Democrats will certainly be more proactive and engaged online.
Jake's right. There's a storm brewing in DuPage and the Republicans are going to have to struggle to maintain their single-party control of the county.

And while I certainly hope that whoever runs the party organization next year retools the website, some Democrats aren't waiting till next year;
Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is already very proactive and engaged -- online and on the ground.

In fact, being proactive was one of the reasons that Naperville Township Chair Tom Wronski, cited for joining the OTDB steering committee:
Their "roll-up our sleeves and get to work" approach is inspiring. Although the Naperville Township Democratic Organization adheres to a policy of "self-sufficiency" -- that is, we do not ask for help from outside organizations if at all possible -- OTDB has repeatedly reached out to the NTDO on a "proactive" basis.

Most recently, OTDB sent a large contingent to the Naperville Labor Day parade. One of our key members, Michelle Barton, is also an OTDB member. OTDB has done these things without setting pre-conditions for the assistance, and without asking for anything from NTDO in return.

That is my definition of leadership.
Proper websites are nice, and I hope my party gets one someday, but leadership -- real leadership -- will be the answer to the problems facing DuPage County.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

American Heroes Killed in Iraq

From Editor and Publisher:
Two of Seven Soldiers Who Wrote 'NYT' Op-Ed Die in Iraq

The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.

Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident which was reported just as Gen. David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress in the "surge." The names have just been released.

Gen. Petraeus was questioned about the message of the op-ed in testimony before a Senate committee yesterday.

The controversial Times column on Aug. 19 was called "The War As We Saw It," and expressed skepticism about American gains in Iraq. “To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched,” the group wrote.

It closed: "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."
Would this be a bad time to ask how the Congressional investigation into "friendly fire" death of NFL athlete-turned-Army Ranger-turned Bush critic Pat Tillman is proceeding?

Today Only: Free Printer Cartridge Refill

Thanks Walgreens!
Print this coupon page. Bring it with your empty printer cartridge to a Walgreens Photo Center on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.

Note: Offer excludes Canon and Epson cartridges -- like mine -- but if you have an HP or Lexmark, get in on this.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

George F. Will: The Surge Has Failed

George F. Will in the Washington Post:
Before Gen. David Petraeus's report, and to give it a context of optimism, the president visited Iraq's Anbar province to underscore the success of the surge in making some hitherto anarchic areas less so. More significant, however, was that the president did not visit Baghdad. This underscored the fact that the surge has failed, as measured by the president's and Petraeus's standards of success. ***

The purpose of the surge, they said, is to buy time -- "breathing space," the president says -- for Iraqi political reconciliation. Because progress toward that has been negligible, there is no satisfactory answer to this question: What is the U.S. military mission in Iraq?
The U.S. military mission in Iraq, as Will well knows, is to run out the clock on the Bush administration and hand this quagmire over to its successor.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Rock Out of Iraq

“One great rock show can change the world!” -- Jack Black, School of Rock

From the
Daily Herald (my links):
Peace concert planned Saturday

Bands Not Bombs, a free outdoor concert for peace [link to .pdf flyer] sponsored by a coalition of area peace groups, will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Old Town Park, 111 Third St., Bloomingdale.

Featured bands will be: Agents of Change, Expendable Youth, La Armada, and Phillip Morris. A special collection will be taken to support Midwest Homeless Vets Shelter in Aurora.

From 3:30 to 4:40 p.m., there will be a peace walk and street vigil march to Congressman Peter Roskam's Bloomingdale office four blocks away, and attendees are invited to bring their own signs expressing support for the troops by bringing them home from Iraq.

For details, call Kevin Lindemann at (630) 690-4031.
I don't know if this will change the world, but I sure wish something like this had transpired in my neck of the woods when I was a youngster.

As a kid I had to drive 360 miles -- one way! -- to see Metallica's "Damaged Justice Tour".

And yes, that was before Metallica sucked.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Show of Support

TO: US Senator Larry Craig
FROM: Austin Mayor
SENT: {ts '2007-09-10 16:52:02'}
SUBJECT: General - Railroading

Sen. Craig,

Please do not let your enemies railroad you out of the Senate. I hope and pray that you will stand and fight against this injustice. So many Americans are behind you in this trying time.

-- Austin Mayor

Sparks Fly as Flynt Strikes Again

From the AP:
A former New Orleans prostitute who says she had an affair with Sen. David Vitter has passed a lie-detector test and will provide details of the four-month relationship at a press conference Tuesday, according to Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

Wendy Cortez, whose real name is Wendy Ellis, says she had a sexual relationship with Vitter, R-La., in 1999, when he was a state legislator.

Copies of the results of Cortez's polygraph test, which she took at Flynt's request, will be provided to reporters at the news conference at Flynt's office in Beverly Hills, Calif., Hustler said in a news release Monday. ***

Vitter, a first-term senator elected in 2004, has denied having relationships with New Orleans prostitutes. In a call-in radio show during the Senate campaign, he dismissed as "absolutely and completely untrue" that he had a relationship with a Wendy Cortez.
I suppose that Sen. Vitter (
R) just met Ms. Cortez while reaching for some toilet paper on the floor.

And now seems like a good time to run down the long list of high profile Republicans recently caught up in hooker scandals, so take it away Rachel Maddow:

Thompson: Not Freddie For Prime Time

From the NY Daily News:
Freshly minted GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson puzzled Iowans yesterday by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason freedom-loving Iraqis bolted to the U.S. side.

"They said, 'You gotta quit smoking,'" Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting. ***

"I don't know what that was about," said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.

Prediction: Freddie "What's He Smoking?" Thompson will drop out of the race before the Iowa Caucuses.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Work is Sometimes Unpleasant -- That's Why They Call It "Work" Instead of "Fun"

One of my operatives recently forwarded* an e-mail originally sent by a DuPage Democrat "concerned" about Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.

The note's gripe was that OTDB is too "divisive".


Because they are "too critical" of some of the leadership in the Democratic Party in DuPage County.


Here is a little fact that I would have thought went without saying:
Anyone trying to fix the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party will necessarily have to identify the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party.

Ignoring the problems will not make them go away.

Taking an honest, i.e. critical, look at the county party's shortcomings is essential to ever making the DuPage County Democratic Party effective.
DuPage Democrats can't let a few fragile egos keep Democratic activists -- OTDB or anyone else -- from doing the work necessary to make the Democratic Party effective in DuPage County.

And make no mistake, that will take work.

*Here's some free advice for citizens of the 21st century: If my e-mail box is any indication, it's not a matter of if your nasty, backbiting e-mail is eventually forwarded to someone you would rather not read it, it is a matter of when your nasty backbiting e-mail is forwarded to someone you would rather not read it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Freddie Thompson's Hollywood Good Looks

From Truthdig:
Fred Thompson bears a striking resemblance to Vigo the Carpathian (played by Wilhelm von Homburg) from the movie “Ghostbusters II,”
a character who, coincidentally, also had delusions of grandeur.
Right idea, Truthdig, wrong Dan Aykroyd movie.

Fred Thompson most resembles Judge Alvin Valkenheiser (played by Dan Aykroyd) from the movie "Nothing but Trouble",
a character who, coincidentally, also had a well-deserved reputation for laziness.

Good News and Bad News

The good news is Francesco Marciuliano, the brains behind Sally Forth* and Medium Large is blogging.

The bad news is that he started in July and I only just found out about it.

Maybe I'll write him a letter to complain about this.

He should have notified me.

I am his biggest fan.

*Like you, I used to think that Sally Forth sucked.

But then I realized that the strip isn't a comic strip about
domestic life in the suburbs of 21st Century America, it's a satirical commentary on domestic life in the suburbs of 21st Century America.

Well, Ted's decent into the abyss was a pretty big clue.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Mercurial Mr. Thompson

From Mark Silva of your Chicago Tribune:
[I]t turns out that the newest candidate's name in the Republican race for president is, in fact, not Fred D. Thompson.

It's been a family secret for many, many years, uncovered only by the most diligent reporting. Few people know this. But Fred Thompson's actual first name isn't Fred.

It's really Freddie.

No, seriously.

Official marriage, birth and divorce records in Alabama and Tennessee show that the newest Republican presidential contender was born Freddie Dalton Thompson.
Rudy, Mitt, Huckabee, and now, Freddie...

And folks worried that Barack Obama had a funny name.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Baby Steps, Man, Baby Steps...

Jake Parrillo gamely tries to convince readers that a Republican candidate who has a disfunctional family-life, a disfunctional business relationship (or two) and a disfunctional website should be in put charge of the country.

Update: After rereading that sentence, I realized that I need to be more specific about which disastrous GOP candidate Jake is backing --

-- it's Rudy Giuliani.

Candorville: The Cartoon Still Too Good For the Tribune

Take a quick trip over to Candorville, where Darrin Bell is pondering Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Corporate Media.

Hanrahan Nation

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown... there would be reason for grave concern." — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006.

From the Cato Institute:
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night.

But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map aims to refute that notion.
Radley Balko's Cato Institute paper on the rise of paramilitary police forces can be downloaded for free here.

But as Balko warned the kidz at Boing-Boing, "[I]t's already out of date. There have been a couple of dozen more botched SWAT raids since I left Cato for Reason magazine last November."

Parting question: How many police troops must storm the home of law abiding citizens, before the police become stormtroopers?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Republican Toilet-Stall Sex... answers your questions about cruising signals, congressional privilege and the logistics of bathroom sex.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

"And then we saw the bull starting to run after people..."

From the Pioneer Press:
A bull named Saber got away from its owner today at the Minnesota State Fair and died after running into a fire hydrant.

The incident occurred about 9:15 a.m., said State Fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette.

Thursday was a changeover day and new animals were being brought to the Fair today.

As the 1,600-pound bull was being unloaded, it got away and "ran about a block down the street to the All You Can Drink milk booth" near Judson Avenue and Clough Street, Schuette said.

"It got spooked and head-butted a fire hydrant," she said.

A flatbed truck took the bull away.
"We feel like the Lord took the bull away and got us out of a very bad situation," said Jim Wulf, owner of Saber.


Blog Archive