Jan 31, 2011

We are in StormWatch™

For those of you in the flyover country - you're about to get spanked. Hard. And on the bright side, O'Hare Airport will be clogged - which will pretty much grind the entire nation to a halt tomorrow. Hope you folks have your provisions prepared.

Kent: Let's check the death count from the killer storm bearing down on us like a shotgun full of snow.

Weatherman: Well, Kent, as of now the death count is zero. But it is ready to shoot right up.

Kent: Oh my God. [shakes fist at heaven] Damn you snow!

Judge Throws a Strike Against Healthcare

Strike Two.

Federal Judge Rules Health Care Law Violates Constitution

A federal judge in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that the entire health care overhaul enacted last year was void because one provision, requiring nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance, was unconstitutional.

A previous decision in a Virginia case found that the mandate provision was unconstitutional, but did not say that it necessarily affected the whole law's validity. In two other cases tried so far, the law passed muster.

As in the Virginia case, the judge in Pensacola stayed his decision pending an appeal, which could take more than a year to decide, so the law remains in effect for now.

Constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro praises Judge Vinson's ruling today, writing that it "represents the latest and most significant victory for federalism and individual liberty."

Jan 30, 2011

Sunday Comics - The Week in Review

We're at the end of our week, and Egypt is starting their workweek right now - and they're not going to the office- they're going to the streets.

But to review - The State of Union was, until the Middle East got all Democrat-y, the biggest political stage of the week.
The 14 Trillion dollar man in the room...
And in the lamest attempt of 'candor' the members of the business party put down their partisan blinders to sit next to each other listen to Mr. Obama give the State of the Union. Take that crazy gunmen everywhere!
Meanwhile, ClimateFaith continues on and on. I, for one, look to the sun to decide what's going on - and since earlier in the week, not even NASA knows what's going on with the sun - It sure is funny to hear climate change deniers and ClimateFaithers debate as they shovel 19 inches of snow.
And, in case you've missed it, there is a revolution happening right here, right now in the Middle East. The US and the West have a tightrope to walk - a tightrope that is as thin as dental floss. While they've supported the regimes in the region to support status quo - good for business and the flow of oil, there will be questions of why we supported Mubarak, and where we were when the Egyptian Army trained their guns on the people.

It's an uncertain, scary time - wondering about the future, and the present. As a person who wishes for justice, free expression, free press, and human rights - I fully support the people of Egypt. I only warn them that with freedom requires great responsibility. It's too easy to lose that freedom to people who would use them for their own goals. I'm thinking immediately of Napoleon, but also how quickly America has lost it's ideals. Best of luck to you all.
And finally this week, this cartoon comes from Iran (note the green shirt). One can only hope that the final domino is strong enough to knock that old fart out of his chair.

Hopefully we'll all make it to see next week. Until then.

Jan 29, 2011

Internet Kill Switch Bill Back in Action On the Same Day Egypt’s Internet Was Shut Off

After making it through the Homeland Security Committee in December, Senator Susan Collins Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 faded from view during the mid-term and assumptions were that it would stay faded away.

Unfortunately, Wired Magazine was informed by the bill’s sponsor on Friday that Collins plans to reintroduce the “internet kill switch” bill to a Senate committee again. Friday, of course, was also the day that Egypt shut down it’s own internet in a futile effort to stop mass protests. (An action that, if it continues past Sunday, may be significantly damaging to Egypt’s economy.)

The bill itself can be found here (PDF). Collins said of it:

My legislation would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency…. It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat.

And she of course makes sure to say that the bill would not give the President free reign to shut down every ISP, as has happened in Egypt.

But, there are still some significant worries about the bill. Wired puts it best:

An example, the aide said, would require infrastructure connected to “the system that controls the floodgates to the Hoover dam” to cut its connection to the net if the government detected an imminent cyber attack.

What’s unclear, however, is how the government would have any idea when a cyber attack was imminent or why the operator wouldn’t shutter itself if it detected a looming attack…

…The proposal prohibits the government from targeting websites for censorship “based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Oddly, that’s exactly the same language in the Patriot Act used to test whether the government can wiretap or investigate a person based on their political beliefs or statements.

Of course, this is a bad idea. And since it does violate the first amendment - it'll be struck down. However, that'll take thirty years (See the second amendment vs. Washington DC and also Chicago Illinois).

Most of this story is a cut'n'paste from Geekosystem

Also made in the USA...

Of course, you could make an argument that this kind of giving away food actually hurts these people... the 'give a man a fish, vs. teach a man to fish' philosophy.

But hey, haters gonna' hate, right?

Good Advice

Irony is, it's a Pharaoh - but, good advice none-the-less.

A commenters on Al Jazeera made an observation: "Disabling the Internet in Egypt has backfired big time. Instead of sitting at home, on Facebook or Twitter, people are now out on the streets."

Please note, that what's going on in three (maybe four now) countries in the Middle East isn't about the Internet. It's about suppression of freedom and individual rights, to assemble and of expression. It's about a 'democracy' that has been a dictatorship since 1967. It's about zero opportunity for a large population of young people. It's a revolution about survival. Please don't think that the Egyptian government turned off the Internet and suddenly people started rioting in the streets - it was a reaction to people rioting in the streets...

The Internet is a part of that, but it is not the only part nor is it the most important part.

Hey, Hey! This was Made in the USA!

Oh, that's tear gas, ain't it? Uh, well, would you be happier if it was Russian made tear gas? Israeli tear gas? And it's not like anyone is buying American cars... hell no. But you'll sure buy our weapons. Must be what the Egyptians were using that 1.5 Billion in aid for... for tear gas and American weapons?

I'm sure the brothers and sisters of the revolution won't hold that against us... right?

Jan 28, 2011

Nat'na Healt', Gubna'

How's that national health working out again? X-ray delay cancer patient dead, 18,500 X-rays not carried out.

Just sayin' - it's preposterous!


Okay! Okay! I'll take the Thin Mints!

Palin in New Steampunk Comic Book

Sarah Palin is everywhere these days and now Palin can be seen in the panels of a new comic book. On the heels of Sarah Palin giving fans a new television series with Sarah Palin's Alaska on TLC, Palin is now featured in her own comic book called "Steampunk Palin."

According to Comics Alliance, Antarctic Press recently released the latest comic in their Steampunk line, Steampunk Palin, which features former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a sexy steam-powered cyborg on a mission to save the planet.

Check out Sarah Palin on the cover of Steampunk Palin after the synopsis below:

Steampunk Palin Synopsis:

Energy catastrophe has struck worldwide! Massive oil spills, nuclear meltdowns and more leave us desperate for viable energy sources to rebuild global society and technology. Inspired by a little tea party, Sarah Palin hits upon the answer: steam power! She begins the “Steam Initiative”, touting geothermal energy as the cure for what ails ya. The heads of Big Oil and Nuclear Power are less than happy with this trend, and they send their agents to do in the Rogue Republican. Luckily, she comes prepared with a set of steam-powered armor! (Standard equipment, don’cha know.)

Thank you : Written by Troy Rogers

¡Viva Revolution!

Tweet of the Day: Give me Internet Porn, or give me Death! (Context: Severe Internet service disruptions reported in Egypt ahead of a large-scale demonstration planned for Friday.) [@arabist.]

Tweet of the Revolution: Give me Internet Porn, or give me Death!

Important context: Severe Internet service disruptions reported in Egypt ahead of a large-scale demonstration planned for Friday.

UPDATE: Egypt's Internet Traffic

Jan 27, 2011

I give you Pharaoh Mayor Rahmses!

Oh, look how surprised he's pretending to be!

The Illinois Supreme(ly Corrupted) Court ruled today that future Pharaoh Rahm Emanuel can stay on the ballot for mayor of Chicago. The decision comes without a moment to spare; early voting for the Feb. 22 city election begins Monday.Whew! That was a close one!

Winds of Change in the Middle East

The issues in Tunisia, Lebanon, and Egypt differ, but yesterday anger boiled over in all three countries as grievances were brought to the streets.

In Tunisia, where protests have already overthrown President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, continued demonstrations sought to depose his allies still in their positions. Meanwhile Tunisia's interim government has issued an international arrest warrant for the former president and members of his family.

In Lebanon, Sunni supporters of ousted Prime Minister Saad Hariri took to the streets in a "day of rage", burning tires and blockading roads in Tripoli and Sidon.

It was in Egypt where the most dramatic events unfolded as the largest protests in a generation rocked Cairo. Demonstrators, many inspired by events in Tunisia, called for an end to nearly 30 years of rule by President Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters in Egypt Defy Ban as Government Cracks Down


Protesters marched against President Hosni Mubarak for the second straight day. In Suez, protesters set fire to a government building.

Egypt's Young Seize Role of Key Opposition to Mubarak


Hosni Mubarak's traditional foes have been displaced by the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out this week to demand an end to his 30-year rule.

I'm at first, very excited to see pro-democracy boom in the Middle East (whoa, isn't that what George Bush said we were fighting for over there, and EXACTLY what would happen if we took out Sadam?!) My hesitation to get really super excited is that, well, who's to say they won't 'elect' a crazy imam to replace their totalitarian masters?

Of course, this author is quick to note that the GOP has backed crazy imams (Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee) too!

Eh, screw it: Viva Revolution!

Tip of the Fraud Iceburg

Tarnished Aid Fund Says Others In Worse Shape

A $21.7 billion health fund championed by the rich and famous [Bono] has come under harsh scrutiny amid revelations that it's bleeding money to corruption. But fund officials and outside analysts in the field have a stark message for global development: Other aid agencies are in much worse shape.

"The others should follow our lead," the fund's inspector general, John Parsons, said Monday at a news conference organized by the fund's top officials to discuss an Associated Press story about $34 million in losses in several African nations.

Read more ....

It's so bad, Germany is cutting them off. The response has been... yeah, we're skimming - but it's not that much. Besides, you should see what everyone else is getting away with!

Foreign aid is one of those many tools that not only alleviates world suffering, but it also helps to stabilize regions that would otherwise descend into conflict and war. Any disruption in aid .... through corruption or incompetence .... would only escalate any possibility of conflict.

Jan 26, 2011

Savior or Fraud?

This is either another Cold Fusion - or it's the Manhattan Project

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.

According to Stephen Voller CEO at Cella Energy, the technology was developed using advanced materials science, taking high energy materials and encapsulating them using a nanostructuring technique called coaxial electrospraying.

“We have developed new micro-beads that can be used in an existing gasoline or petrol vehicle to replace oil-based fuels,” said Voller. “Early indications are that the micro-beads can be used in existing vehicles without engine modification.”

“The materials are hydrogen-based, and so when used produce no carbon emissions at the point of use, in a similar way to electric vehicles”, said Voller.

The technology has been developed over a four-year top secret programme at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, UK.

The development team is led by Professor Stephen Bennington in collaboration with scientists from University College London and Oxford University.

Professor Bennington, Chief Scientific Officer at Cella Energy said, “our technology is based on materials called complex hydrides that contain hydrogen. When encapsulated using our unique patented process, they are safer to handle than regular gasoline.”
Of course I'm skeptical. That's my nature. And as excited as I am about shutting down all dollars and reason for humanity to stay in the desert that we call the Middle East - that $1.50 gasoline will still be hovering close to $5.00 a gallon when the politicians get their taxing hands on it. Europe and in the US.

And upon further review - the company's website; their claims are not nearly so optimistic as the ones in this article. Here

Still, this really could be a game changer for humanity.

She hanged the dog from a tree and burned it to death for Chewing on the Bible

Authorities have charged a South Carolina woman with felony animal cruelty, saying she hanged her nephew's pit bull from a tree with an electrical cord and burned its body because the dog chewed on her Bible.

Animal control officers said Monday that 65-year-old Miriam Smith told them she killed a female dog named Diamond because it was a "devil dog" and she worried it could harm neighborhood children. Authorities said bond wasn't immediately set for Smith, who remains jailed in Spartanburg County after her weekend arrest.

Officials said she didn't have an attorney yet.

She faces 180 days to five years in prison if convicted.

Authorities say the remains of the dog were found under a pile of grass with part of an electrical cord around its neck.

Which leads me to believe this really was a Demon Dog!

I told you kids...



The 2011 State of the Union Address, enhanced with White House Power Point! [whitehouse.]

For those of you in a hurry - here's the word cloud.

I'd say that sums it up pretty well. People Make America American Jobs New

Jan 25, 2011

Rahm's Back On!

The Illinois Supreme Court will consider Rahm Emanuel's appeal, and demanded that his name stay on the ballot.

There will be no oral arguments, only the same briefs as heard by the Illinois Appellate Court, sources say.

These two actions - the stay, and the announcement that they'll take the case pretty much show where they're going to rule on this. And for those of you in International Waters, such as myself, please note that the Illinois Supreme Corrupt is a political biased and influenced group. They're not immune to the political winds of Chicago. Also, one of the judges is friends or related to - maybe married? to one of the candidates. Don't assume that she'll recuse herself. That'd be silly.

But why is everyone so pissed about this story?

Rahm's breaking the law.

The rules are set up in Cook County to keep carpetbaggers from running for mayor. Not Senator or Rep or to vote. To run for mayor.

He defended himself based on the voting requirements, and the court saw right through it and denied him.

If he had not leased his house out - it probably wouldn't have been questioned. He claimed that because he left some boxes in the crawl space that it showed "intent."

Also, the City of Chicago has strict rules about city residency for people who are employed by the city. Police and teachers, for example. When they let Rahm scoot out, then all the Police and teachers could convert their homes to rentals, and live in the burbs - with the 'intent' to move back 'someday'.

But the future Pharaoh is above all that. Rules? Laws? These are not for important people such as the great Rahmses.

Besides, now that the people of Chicago have had 24 hours to digest the idea of 'mayor' Carol Mostly Wrong, they're sighing a collective sigh that Rahm's back in it.

Media's Plaything Broken

Ted Williams, the homeless man turned America's Media's One Minute Sweetheart / Plaything, with a face for radio - not to be confused with the ball player who's head is frozen in a block of ice - has left rehab.

According to sources - Ted vowed to television's Dr. Phil to get clean, get off the bottle for good and not take this second life opportunity for granted.

Dr. Phil put the Media's New Plaything into a rehab facility in Texas and he was supposed to stay there a few months to deal with his addictions to booze and the self destructive lifestyle he's maintained, well, his whole life.

The fairy tale of good intentions and tons of money being thrown at a problem to make it go away is not going as intended. Not surprising, as it seems this philosophy is the entire foundation of liberal society. So now that the fairy tale is over, what's happened to poor old Ted?

What reality is, Ted has left the rehab unit and checked out of there after only two weeks. He's pointing a finger at all the people who were using him. And I don't think that's his pointer finger.

On the bright side, he's back to doing what he loves most: Crack and Thunderbird.

Obama Pulls for Rahm

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarret appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday with some insight as to where the president stands regarding his former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's having been booted from the Chicago mayoral ticket by an appellate court ruling.

"I think that he believes that he is eligible, and that he believes that Rahm will pursue his appeal in the courts," Jarrett said.

An Illinois appellate court ruled Monday that Rahm Emanuel cannot run for mayor of Chicago, a decision that shocked the city's political establishment and triggered a rapid appeal from the former White House chief of staff to the state Supreme Court.

Well that's super, Mrs. Jarret, and Mr. Obama. What's the saying? "If Wishes and Buts were candy and nuts..." That doesn't change the letter of the law, does it? Or does it?

Why would the President allow one of his people to speculate on a previous employee's job prospects? And, with that, be so completely wrong about this issue? Isn't Mr. Obama a Constitutional Law professor? Obviously, this is not an issue, politically, that Mr. Obama or his staff should be sticking any of their noses or opinions on. It shows at once that they're wrong. It shows that they believe that if they wish away the law - it'll conveniently just go away in their favor (Rules? Laws? Come on! We're Chicago Machine Democrats! These are merely suggestions!)

And they're reminding everyone how Democrats in Illinois roll -- and worst of all -- they're reminding everyone that they're from Chicago.

On a day where Mr. Obama is on the tipping point tonight of his success or failure - based on the State of the Union speech - you'd think he would have put a gag order on everyone... at the very least, a gag order on the events in Chicago?

Taco Bell; Not Meat - Rented Food

An Alabama law firm claims in a lawsuit that Taco Bell is using false advertising when it refers to using “seasoned ground beef” or “seasoned beef” in its products.

The meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as “beef,” according to the legal complaint.

Attorney Dee Miles said attorneys had Taco Bell’s “meat mixture” tested and found it contained less that 35 percent beef.

They're not looking for money - which surprised me... “We are asking that they stop saying that they are selling beef,” Miles said.

Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch said the company denies that its advertising is misleading.

“Taco Bell prides itself on serving high quality Mexican inspired food with great value. We’re happy that the millions of customers we serve every week agree,” Poetsch said. He said the company would “vigorously defend the suit.”

He forgot to mention that the word 'food' in this context is also highly subjective. Much like Ex-Lax is considered 'chocolate.' But that's all in the colon of the beholder, isn't it?

The lawsuit says that Taco Bell’s “seasoned beef” contains other ingredients, including water, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent and modified corn starch.

Jan 24, 2011

80's Cat Fight!

A welcome distraction to my day...

Appellate court rules against Emanuel

Heir Apparent Rahm Emanuel was thrown off the ballot for mayor of Chicago Monday by an Illinois appellate court panel, according to the Cook County Appellate Court's office.

The panel ruled 2-1 that Emanuel did not meet the residency standard to run for the city's top office. Perhaps they actually read the law and agreed that it was pretty clear... except for the other guy.

In December, the Chicago Board of Elections determined he was a resident, but that decision was appealed. Emanuel served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff, a position he left last year to return to Chicago. But that's the very simplified version of events... He rented out his house, but he kept a couple boxes in the house, so that constituted residency, according to Rahm.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune/WGN survey, 44 percent of the city's voters backed Emanuel, 21 percent backed former Sen. Carol Mostly Wrong and 16 percent backed former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico, and the Man.

Here's the .pdf of their decision

No doubt, this will go to the State of Illinois Supreme Court.

Kevin Smith Gets Press

[Kevin Smith takes on protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church outside the screening for his church horror movie 'Red State' at Sundance yesterday. Image via AP]


You should really throw babies overhand if you want a tight spiral.

Terror in Moscow

The explosion that killed at least 31 people Monday at Moscow's busiest airport appears to be an act of terrorism, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on state TV.

Medvedev ordered additional security at Moscow's other airports and transportation hubs, and Moscow police went on high alert in case of additional bombs.

The explosion occurred about 4:30 p.m. at the entrance of the international arrivals section of Domodedovo Airport, Itar-Tass said, citing a spokeswoman for the Russian Investigative Committee, Tatyana Morozova.

I'm sure there's a tasteless thought floating around that they shouldn't have allowed nail clippers or Gatoraid into the airport - but this is sicking.

Jan 23, 2011

Atheist Murderer Billboard

Bizarre Christian Billboard Compares Atheism To Murder?

A group calling themselves "Answers in Genesis" recently took out a billboard in Texas depicting a young boy holding a gun.

Here’s how Answers in Genesis describes themselves:

An apologetics (i.e., Christianity-defending) ministry, dedicated to enabling Christians to defend their faith and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively…we also desire to train others to develop a biblical worldview, and seek to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a “millions of years old” earth (and even older universe).

[..]Personally, I can’t believe they are implying that non-believers, or to whom God “doesn’t matter,” are going to take a gun and shoot someone in the face.

Striking yes; thoughtful, absolutely not.

Although supposedly their beef is with evolution, I don’t see how that point is conveyed with this picture. So, according to them, believing what Darwin had to say means a person is lawless and will go on a killing rampage?

Amazingly I have a problem with this. First, on a long list - is the name of this group of rabble rousers. "Answers in Genesis?" Really? That's your name? There are more questions than answers in this book of the bible... let's start with why chapter two directly and completely contradicts the first chapter!? They're obviously written by a different set of Rabbi's and about 100 years apart. If god created Adam and Eve together, but then in chapter 2 has to take a rib out of Adam to make Eve... hold on I'm confused. And what about Lilith? Fan fiction? And if Cain and Able are the only children of Adam and Eve, and one gets murdered --- WHA? Wait a second! It seems human life didn't mean much to the THIRD human... and he was LIVING during Genesis! He even TALKS to god!

I'm going out on a limb here - but God didn't mean much to Cain.
9Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I know not," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

He even smarts off to the all mighty after committing the first homicide. Pretty ballsy.

So, idiots can put up a billboard and not be called hypocrites? Fine. Luckily, there are some other people on the internet who don't care for insane billboards. Here's one that I hope we can all raise money for and put up right next to the other one.

Jan 22, 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Rocky And Bullwinkle

It's Over

MSNBC Says It Has Ended Keith Olbermann's Contract

In a statement, MSNBC said, "the last broadcast of 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' will be this evening."

Maybe he and Craig Kilborne can team up and do some wacky sports commentary?

Or maybe they can reboot the 80's power duo "Keith and Craig" - where they go around in a van solving crimes; dumpster diving.

I wonder if MSNBC fired him because of poor ratings or if they were just tired of him?

Jan 20, 2011

Angry Sun Less Predictible

Anyone want to bother remembering when I went out on a limb and told everyone not to worry about man made global warming - since, you know, most of our planet's warming is a direct result of the nuclear fireball that we're in orbit around? Yeah, I don't even feel like looking it up either. Well, I'm fairly sure I said, don't worry about carbon - worry about the sun. Even though, there's not much to anything you can do about the sun. You can't predict it accurately either. Much like climate change. Just ask NASA....

It seems that solar scientists did not, and still do not know what the hell is going on with the sun. The GIF animation below from WUWT illustrates the changes in predictions over the last 3 years....
This will be at the level of the Maunder Minimum of 1675 -1715.
Previous NASA predictions below:
2010 October: Predicted peak 60-70
2009 May 29: predicted peak: 80-90 range
2009 Jan 5: predicted peak: 100-110 range
2008 Mar 28: predicted peak: 130-140 range

From the NASA page:

Current prediction for the next sunspot cycle maximum gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 59 in June/July of 2013. We are currently two years into Cycle 24 and the predicted size continues to fall. _WUWT
They still are just totally guessing at this point. Why does any of this matter? Because, even if man IS heating up the planet with some puny CO2 molecules - it doesn't hold a tiny match to the almighty sun. And right about now, the angry sun god isn't producing. Which means farmer Jack isn't going to either. And given the price of oil (*pst*- it's going up because we haven't got much left) is going to make things very comical on this rock pretty damn soon! Well, for humans anyway. Whales and dolphins on the equator are going to get a good laugh at how this plays out for the hairless apes.

dot dot dot - Epic Game Review

Seriously, I don't think we need another game review of anything ever, from myself included. This pretty much covers anything.

Now you want to play this game... don't cha?

Jan 19, 2011

Black Letter

An official letter written in 1997 by the Vatican and issued to the bishops of Ireland, who at the time had proposed a new policy of reporting abusive priests to law enforcement, has surfaced. The basic translation: the Vatican is insisting that the current policy stay in place -- that the bishops keep cases of sexual abuses to themselves and within the church.

Now, the church is saying that the letter is not being interpreted correctly, and is out of context.

Hmmm. I wonder if the victims see it the same way?

Dinner at the White House

My Fantasy Team

Something has been on my mind, quite a bit lately, and I haven't really shared it too much.

You see, my fantasy team has been doing really well this year. I got stuck with Jay Cutler and, what seemed to be terrible receivers and also a noodle strainer for an offensive line. And, apparently no run game to speak of.

My defense was always good, and luckily very healthy - oh, and I had Devin Hester on my special teams.

The first four times I took the team out in a simulated situation, they got their asses handed to them, and I figured I'd be looking forward to my fantasy hockey league. I was fairly sure my choice of fantasy coach was going to be joining me on the unemployment line before the end of the season.

But, somehow, my fantasy team worked on their offensive line problem. They decided not to continue the issues that plagued them so much the previous year. Special teams were back to 2005 levels. My defense stayed healthy. I was also blessed with some games against third string quarterbacks and some interesting situations that just happened to fall into my favor.

Next thing I knew, it was my team against a team comprised only of Green Bay Packers. Incredible, I know! What were the odds? Unfortunately, my fantasy team thought it'd be a good idea to throw the run game out and only concentrate on an air based offensive. I mean, who did we think we were? Green Bay? It didn't work out - well, at all, it seems. Our loss, despite keeping the starters in, elevated the Green Bay team into the playoffs.

And, again, lucky break for me, another guy lost - which gave me and my team an automatic bye and the second seed in the playoffs. Surly, the Green Bay team had no chance to advance in the post-season fantasy league. Especially since that QB Rogers never got past one game.

Then the Saints lost. Then the Colts. The two defending champions. It was as if the current 'down with the incumbent' attitude in politics was wafting over to my fantasy league? Then, wouldn't you know it, the Packers beat the Atlanta Falcon team. What nonsense is this?

And if that weren't enough, the Jets beat the Patriots?! Wha???

Suddenly, it looked as if my goofy team of all Bears could really get back into the Big Game... and play the Jets? Not the Patriots -- which is what I feared, as the 30th anniversary of that game was coming up -- and it seemed as if NO ONE could have matched up against the Patriots. Especially not the Bears, who did, and got their cleats handed back to them. It was not a match up that I wanted to see. Again.

So this weekend, it's my all Bears fantasy team against the all Packers fantasy team. I figure, as long as the running game is established and not left on the bench, the guys have a chance at getting back into the Big One again. Sunday is coming. My mind and gut are focused on that event.

Pleistocene Park?

So they've been extinct for about 10,000 years? Bah, woolly mammoths will soon be back on Earth! In just five years, according to Japanese scientists who plan to use frozen DNA to resurrect the behemoth. Last summer, researchers plucked skin and muscle tissue from an ancient mammoth's carcass that was found preserved under permafrost in Siberia. A nearly complete body of one of the animals was found there and has since been kept in a special freezer in a Russian research lab. Researchers from Japan's Kinki University have found a way to isolate DNA from the frozen mammoth's tissue. Now they plan to insert that DNA into the egg cells of a normal, modern African elephant and then plant the resulting embryo into the elephant's womb. How's that mom going to react to that little fuzzball? I suppose it'll be a lot like Dumbo - but more racist and less flying.
[read more]

Since it's the Japanese doing this - I'm going to assume it's to eat the thing, or to turn it into a giant robot.

Jan 18, 2011

One Nation, Indivisible - Except Alabama

Robert Bentley, the new Republican governor of Alabama, delivered an oddly exclusionary message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Birmingham News (via Political Wire) reports:

''I was elected as a Republican candidate. But once I became governor ... I became the governor of all the people. I intend to live up to that. I am color blind."


''But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister."

Bentley added, ''Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."

His press secretary later told the News, "He is the governor of all the people, Christians, non-Christians alike."

This is hardly the first time a Southern governor has gotten in trouble for making statements that offend non-Christians. At a 1992 Republican governors conference, Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice famously said:

"The United States of America is a Christian nation, which does not mean in any way to infer any kind of religious intolerance or any kind of particular dogma that that is being forced on anyone," Fordice said. "It is just a simple fact of life in the United States of America. ... And the less we emphasize the Christian religion, the further we fall into the abyss of poor character and chaos in the United States of America."

At that point, South Carolina's Carroll Campbell stepped up to the lectern and hastily extended that point to include America's Judeo-Christian heritage. The Washington Post reported what happened next:

Campbell then stood back, put his arm on Fordic's shoulder and said quietly: "I just wanted to add the Judeo part." Fordice, appearing to glare at Campbell, said: "If I wanted to do that, I would have done it."

Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at jelliott@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More: Justin Elliott

Quick Hits

1. Tom Delay is appealing his 3 year jail sentence.

2. WikiLeaks releases leading to Tunisia Revolt.

3. China imposes 25% tariff on US imported goods. USA tariff on China is 2.5%. The head of the party is visiting our head of the party. I wonder if this will come up at dinner?

4. Regulatory reform is being setting up for another financial collapse/bailout by the people making the reforms.

5. States are facing Bankruptcy. Some, including California are making budget cuts - but not Illinois. Illinois cousins and cronies raised taxes, as their credit rating was about to be cut. They have YET to make any program cuts.

Just a couple items I'm keeping my eye on.

Gun Control NOT the Answer

Ron Paul's weekly message

Death Wears Bunny Slippers

Good post from the blog In From the Cold about Air Force missile launch crews, their habits, attire and much more. An excerpt:

"But before a missileer can unleash Armageddon, he/she must be properly attired: In a favorite missileer uniform patch, the Grim Reaper sits at an ICBM console, dressed in bunny slippers. In the real world, death wears a campus T-shirt, JCrew bottoms and the ubiquitous Snuggie. The silly blanket-robe hybrid is suited to the missile force, keeping an officer toasty while allowing him to interact with the weapons console unobstructed.

Missileers learn that on alert, comfort is as important as humor. One enterprising fellow liked to string a hammock between the two command chairs and stretch out for his long shifts at the console. Videogame systems are forbidden, a rule that was mocked until it got out that wireless Nintendo Wii controllers could cause the system to detect a false electromagnetic pulse attack and shut down.

I used to imagine that I’d have some sort of stiff-upper-lip moment should I receive “the order,” where I’d shed the Snuggie and slippers, zip up my flight suit, and make imperial references about “going out proper.”"

How's this for an awesome crew patch:

Yogi, Help!

I wish this was the remake of Yogi Bear... instead the world got Dan Akroid and a CGI nightmare.

I may have watched this already. Yeah, it was called Grizzly Man.

Jan 17, 2011

Starbuck's Big Gulp

Starbucks announced today the impending introduction of its own version of the Big Gulp — a gut-punching 31-ouncer called the “Trenta.”

When forced to drink that burnt swill, I order "coffee of the day. Medium." It usually pisses them off.

Somehow Relevant Today

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." -MLK

Nice story from This American Life:

Jan 16, 2011

The Week in Review: Sunday Comics

Not sure how, but we made it through another week. It's been a bit busy for me, so I haven't kept up my usual at least three comments a day -- but I'm also so burnt out from the Arizona shooting story... both sides have been unusually loud and obnoxious. I've heard liberal friends actually discuss the idea of scrapping the first amendment. This disturbs me more than when they discuss scrapping the second one.

Sorry, it wasn't discourse - it was that the shooter was an unstable sack of excrement. He didn't watch MSNBC or FOX News - he didn't even watch television. In fact, if you look at the numbers, hardly anyone but reporters watch the cable 'news' channels. 9 things I've learned about the shooter are that he took a picture of himself, his gun and a red thong and dropped that off at Walgreens. He's not nuts - he's f-ing with us. He also got stopped for a moving violation on the way to the Safeway. His parents are messed up, and the neighbors were unnerved by them.
He was a conspiracy nut, and played video games (Earth 2025, specifically). And he turned to drugs after his girlfriend dumped him... 5 years ago. But he loved his dog.

But everyone else is allowing this thing to be a metaphor for everything else in the country... and I'm getting really, really sick of it. I prefer this method...
Rational discourse...
And the media is completely innocent...
Oh, and Illinois debated ending the death penalty (failed by a vote) and under the cover of darkness, the lame duck State House raised the income and corporate taxes... a lot. So Illinois is still killing people, and business too, apparently.
Meanwhile, half a world a way...
And the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti has come and gone. The Red Cross has spent 50 cents for every dollar raised. The other 50 cents is, er, you know, overhead. So, please, give more!
Hopefully we'll be able to regroup and gather again next week?