Friday, December 7, 2007
December 7, 2007 / FROM SUN-TIMES WIRES
USA Today is reporting that a charity formed by former Bears coach Mike Ditka to help needy retired players has collected $1.3 million and netted about $315,000 after expenses. But the Mike Ditka Hall of Fame Assistance Trust Fund has given only $57,000 to former players in need, according to federal and Illinois tax records. The trust paid more in fees to induce former stars to appear at a 2005 fundraiser than it gave needy ex-players in its first three years.
Click here to read the full report »
Thursday's record-tying 0(degrees) at O'Hare the earliest in 3 decades
December 7, 2007
Not since 1976--a period of more than three decades--has Chicago's official temperature dropped to 0(degrees) so early in a cold season. For five minutes beginning at 4:04 a.m. Thursday morning, Chicago's official temperature bottomed out at 0(degrees)--a reading which tied the 1972 record for December 6. The frigid benchmark isn't typically reached here for another three weeks and didn't occur for another two months a year ago. The first 0(degrees) waited until a -6(degrees) low was recorded Feb. 3 earlier this year. The combination of clear skies, dry air, a fresh snow cover and light winds was behind the sub-zero readings which occurred at a number of west and NW suburban locations early Thursday.
The week's third snow, part of a system which left up to 4.5" on the ground in Iowa, arrived in a weakening state Thursday evening. The 3-5 hour snowfall was predicted to deposit 1-2" in the Chicago and end well before sun-up Friday.
Tom Skilling is chief meteorologist at WGN-TV. His forecasts can be seen Monday through Friday on WGN-TV News at noon and 9 p.m.
At 9 this morning, Lindbergh Field only had 0.18 of an inch. That's far below the early estimates. Initially, the weather service thought the coast would get a total of an inch from the storm. It might come close if Lindbergh ends up under a few intense showers the next couple of days, but that's not too likely*, Miller said. It's hard to determine what happened to the rain at this point, he said. The totals in Orange County are no more impressive. He thinks that perhaps the computer forecast models over-estimated the amount of moisture available. Perhaps the models envisioned more of a tap into that moisture plume that stretched all the way back to Hawaii.
*Of course, this means we will get a few intense showers the next couple of days.
A sex attacker who hid a carrot in his trousers and pretended it was his erect penis has been jailed for 18 months.
Driving instructor Stephen Cooney, 51, groped three female learner drivers in a series of attacks on Teesside dating back to 2002.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of two indecent assaults and two sexual assaults.
Cooney, of Marske-by-the-Sea near Redcar, told the court the carrot incident was a "practical joke".
The court heard how Cooney put the 12-inch carrot down his trousers and told a pupil in her 40s that a perfectly executed manoeuvre was so good that it had given him an erection.
He then took her hand and made her touch the vegetable before showing her the carrot, the court heard.
He denied placing her hand on his groin, but admitted hiding the vegetable in his pocket.
He told the jury: "I admit it was unprofessional, stupid, and I regret doing it.
"I just thought maybe I would play a practical joke, but obviously it was stupid."
Jailing him, Judge George Moorhouse, said: "You were in a position of trust."
Giving evidence, another of Cooney's pupils said when she failed her test he offered to waive the £80 she owed him if she pulled over into a lay-by and had sex with him.
She told the court: "I just said 'No thank you, Steve'."
He regularly groped her during lessons between August 2005 and February last year, the court heard.
When police arrested him they also found naked photos in the glove box of his Vauxhall Corsa.
The Associated Press
Friday, December 7, 2007; 6:56 AM
BALI, Indonesia -- An earthquake on Friday rattled Indonesia's resort island of Bali, where thousands of people were gathering for a U.N. climate change conference.
Countdown Special Comment: The NIE Reflects An “Unhinged, Irrational Chicken Little Of A President”
Finally, as promised, a Special Comment about the President’s cataclysmic deception about Iran.
There are few choices more terrifying than the one Mr. Bush has left us with tonight.
We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War Three about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole — or we have a president too transcendently stupid not to have asked — at what now appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so — whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed, were still even remotely plausible.
A pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction: A critical juncture in our history and, contained in either answer, a president manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency: an unapologetic war-monger who has long been seeing a world visible only to himself.
After Ms Perino’s announcement from the White House late last night, the timeline is inescapable and clear now.
In August, the President was told by his hand-picked Major Domo of intelligence, Mike McConnell, a flinty, high-strung-looking, worrying-warrior who will always see more clouds than silver linings, that what “everybody thought” about Iran might be, in essence, crap.
Yet on October 17th the President said of Iran and its president, Ahmadinejad:
“I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon.”
And as he said that, Mr. Bush knew that at bare minimum there was a strong chance that his rhetoric was nothing more than words with which to scare the Iranians.
Or was it, sir, to scare the Americans?
Does Iran not really fit into the equation here? Have you just scribbled it into the fill-in-the-blank on the same template you used to scare us about Iraq?
In August, any commander-in-chief still able-minded or uncorrupted or both, sir, would have invoked the quality the job most requires: mental flexibility.
A bright man, or an honest man, would have realized no later than the McConnell briefing that the only true danger about Iran was the damage that could be done by an unhinged, irrational Chicken Little of a president, shooting his mouth off, backed up by only his own hysteria and his own delusions of omniscience.
Not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mr Bush.
The Chicken Little of presidents is the one, sir, that you see in the mirror.
And the mind reels at the thought of a Vice President fully briefed on the revised intel as long as two weeks ago — briefed on the fact that Iran abandoned its pursuit of this imminent threat four years ago — who never bothered to mention it to his boss.
It is nearly forgotten today, but throughout much of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, it was widely believed that he was little more than a front-man for some never-viewed, behind-the-scenes string-puller.
Today, as evidenced by this latest remarkable, historic malfeasance, it is inescapable, that Dick Cheney is either this president’s evil ventriloquist, or he thinks he is.
What servant of any of the 42 previous presidents could possibly withhold information of this urgency and this gravity, and wind up back at his desk the next morning, instead of winding up before a Congressional investigation — or a criminal one?
Mr Bush — if you can still hear us — if you did not previously agree to this scenario in which Dick Cheney is the actual detective and you’re the Remington Steele — you must disenthrall yourself: Mr Cheney has usurped your constitutional powers, cut you out of the information loop, and led you down the path to an unprecedented presidency in which the facts have become optional, the intel is valued less than the hunch, and the assistant runs the store.
The problem is, sir, your assistant is robbing you — and your country — blind.
Not merely in monetary terms, Mr. Bush, but more importantly, robbing you of the traditions and righteousness for which we have stood, at great risk, for centuries: Honesty, Law, Moral Force.
Mr. Cheney has helped, sir, to make your administration into the kind our ancestors saw in the 1860’s and 1870’s and 1880’s — the ones that abandoned Reconstruction, and sent this country marching backwards into the pit of American Apartheid.
Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland…
Presidents who will be remembered only in a blur of failure, Mr. Bush.
Presidents who will be remembered as functions only of those who opposed them — the opponents whom history proved right.
Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland… Bush.
Would that we could let this President off the hook by seeing him only as marionette or moron.
But a study of the mutation of his language about Iran proves that though he may not be very good at it, he is, himself, still a manipulative, Machiavellian, snake-oil salesman.
The Bushian etymology was tracked by Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post’s website.
It is staggering.
March 31st: “Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon…”
June 5th: Iran’s “pursuit of nuclear weapons…”
June 19th: “consequences to the Iranian government if they continue to pursue a nuclear weapon…”
July 12th: “the same regime in Iran that is pursuing nuclear weapons…”
August 6th: “this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon…”
Notice a pattern?
Trying to develop, build or pursue a nuclear weapon.
Then, sometime between August 6th and August 9th, those terms are suddenly swapped out, so subtly that only in retrospect can we see that somebody has warned the President, not only that he has gone out too far on the limb of terror — but there may not even be a tree there…
McConnell, or someone, must have briefed him then.
August 9th: “They have expressed their desire to be able to enrich uranium, which we believe is a step toward having a nuclear weapons program…”
August 28th: “Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons…”
October 4th: “you should not have the know-how on how to make a (nuclear) weapon…”
October 17th: “until they suspend and/or make it clear that they, that their statements aren’t real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon.”
Before August 9th, it’s: “Trying to develop, build or pursue a nuclear weapon.”
After August 9th, it’s: “Desire, pursuit, want… knowledge, technology, know-how to enrich uranium.”
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that the National Intelligence Estimate this week talks of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program in 2003…And you talked of the Iranians suspending their nuclear weapons program on October 17th…
And that term suspending is just a coincidence?
And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that nobody told you any of this until last week?
Your insistence that you were not briefed on the NIE until last week might be legally true — something like “what the definition of ‘is’ is” — but with the subject matter being not interns but the threat of nuclear war.
Legally, it might save you from some war crimes trial… but ethically, it is a lie.
It is indefensible.
You have been yelling threats into a phone for nearly four months, after the guy on the other end had already hung up.
You, Mr. Bush, are a bald-faced liar.
And more over, you must have realized that John Bolton, and Norman Podhoretz, and the Wall Street Journal Editorial board, are also bald-faced liars.
We are to believe that the Intel Community, or maybe the State Department, cooked the raw intelligence about Iran, falsely diminished the Iranian nuclear threat, to make you look bad?
And you proceeded to let them make you look bad?
You not only knew all of this about Iran, in early August, but you also knew it was all accurate.
And instead of sharing this good news with the people you have obviously forgotten you represent, you merely fine-tuned your terrorizing of those people, to legally cover your own backside, while you filled the factual gap with sadistic visions of — as you phrased it on August 28th: a quote “nuclear holocaust” — and, as you phrased it on October 17th, quote: “World War III.”
My comments, Mr. Bush, are often dismissed as simple repetitions of the phrase “George Bush has no business being president.”
Well, guess what?
Tonight: hanged by your own words and convicted by your own deliberate lies…
You, sir, have no business being president.
Good night, and good luck.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Fire crew aid in penis operation
Firefighters helped operate on a man who was rushed to hospital after getting a metal ring stuck on the end of his penis.
Doctors at Royal Wigan Infirmary in Greater Manchester put out the alert after fearing the man faced amputation as the ring cut off his blood supply.
Two firefighters used a mini hand grinder to cut through the ring during a 20-minute procedure.
It is understood the man, aged in his 40s, was given an anaesthetic.
The firefighters placed a thin sheet of metal around his penis to protect the skin while removing the ring, which appeared to have been cut off from the end of a pipe.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service confirmed fire crews were called to the hospital at around 12.10 GMT on Thursday to "deal with a situation".
A spokeswoman for Royal Wigan Infirmary said they were unable to comment about the incident.
JOHN GASTALDO / Union-Tribune
Batten down the hatches, again
A second round of rain expected over the next few days again raises the risk of flooding in areas burned in October's fires. The approaching storm should hammer the county with timing eerily similar to last week's storm.
How dry we were; now, another storm near / Weather blog
Surfers, onlookers stoked by monster waves
Big wave photo gallery / Swami's video / O.B. video
Local surf forecasts / Pollution risk closes some beaches
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
If Brian Sabean actually does this he should be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for life in front of a firing squad.
Alex Rios? He ain't bad but...Alex Rios?
Will Carroll: I got suckered on that one (calling it dead). I'm not happy about it, but it was a trusted source with a team.
BREAKING -- looks like Fukudome will decide today. Someone made a big offer. My guess? Cubs.
Tim Lincecum is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Not at all impressed with Bill James. He's boring.
The coffee in Nashville stinks.
If you're chasing the chicken
Around the chicken yard
And you don't have him yet,
And the question is, how close are you?
The answer is, it's tough to characterize
Because there's lots of zigs and zags.
-- Donald Rumsfeld
Skilling: More storms
Wednesday's storm is only the opening salvo of a very active weather pattern which could see at least three additional systems--two of them potentially prolific precipitation producers--over the coming week.
QT Yellowstone Caldera (the eruptions of which can be violent enough to send a layer of ash 6 feet deep as far away as Chicago and which erupts every 600,000 or so years and last erupted 640,000 years ago) Update:
There were 34 earthquakes at Yellowstone in October.
There were 69 earthquakes in November.
There were 11 earthquakes the first three days of December.
The rise of magma beneath the ground continues at a record rate.
Ho, Ho, Ho!
But it wasn't progressive scan
News Item: Burglar breaks into Simply Amish store in Champaign and makes off with 42-inch plasma TV.
Add the Amish to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.
How sad is your state? Depression rates ranked
Cheer up, Utah. That state, with West Virginia and Kentucky close behind, were just named the saddest in the country in a new report by Mental Health America. Rounding out the top 10 saddest states were Rhode Island, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio and Wyoming. On the bright side, South Dakota is home to some of America’s happiest people, followed by Hawaii, New Jersey, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Louisiana, Illinois, North Dakota and Texas.
|Clear||Partly Cloudy||Rain||Chance of T-storms||Chance of Rain|
|69° 52°||64° 51°||58° 51°||56° 44°||58° 44°|
Four days out, and they're listing a 70 percent chance of rain Friday afternoon... Forecaster Stan Wasowski...said the storm could, might, maybe bring the coast--drum roll please--3 to 5 inches.[He'll be here all week.--ed.]...The storm is just southeast of Kamchatka now...We'll see. In this year of the missed forecast, the models could be off again. "I don't see how they (the models) could all be wrong," Wasowski said. "If all of them are wrong, that would be fascinating."[and SHOCKING!--ed.]...we could get quite a bit of rain, and that might not be all. The National Weather Service is also tossing in the possibility of hail, thunderstorms and snow at 4,500 feet or lower...and flying monkeys.
Airline's 'MILF' Promo Not What You Think
Spirit Airlines Claims Ignorance of Promotional Title's Connection to Obscene Acronym
The fire sale by Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines promises "Many Islands, Low Fares" deals as low as $9 for future travel dates between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas.
"The most obscene thing we've noticed," Juan Arbelaez, the director of communications for the company's Latin American market, said, "is what other carriers have charged to fly the Caribbean before Spirit's $9 fares."
In 2006, after receiving dozens of complaints, Spirit scrapped an online promotional game called "The Hunt for Hoffa" that offered low fares and poked fun at the FBI's hunt for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, USA Today reported at the time.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The Yankees maintain that they're out of the hunt for Johan Santana following their Monday deadline. "The deadline is the deadline," Lyin' Hank "The Liar" Steinbrenner (Liar) lied in a telephone interview. "I extended it a few hours more, and that was it. So it’s done," he further lied.
From the rumor mill at Baseball Prospectus:
The blockbuster that might have been between the Tigers and Marlins ... won't be. While discussions took place, the Marlins never got that serious, and don't think the package they'd get for both would be better than the return they could get for Cabrera. This isn't the only frustration the Marlins are feeling, as they watch the Rays making their push with the help of Florida Governor Charlie Crist while still not resolving their own stadium situation....
--Will Carroll, 2:45 p.m. ET
Miguel Cabrera-3B-Marlins Dec. 4 - 7:29 pm et
In addition to Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo, the Marlins will get three right-handers in the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis trade: Dallas Trahern, Eulogio De La Cruz and Burke Badenhop.
Excluding Rick Porcello, who was ineligible to be traded, Trahern and De La Cruz were the Tigers' top remaining pitching prospects. Trahern is a future middle-of-the-rotation starter, while De La Cruz profiles as a setup man or maybe a closer. Badenhop, like Trahern, is a sinkerballer with a modest strikeout rate. He has a chance to stick as a starter, but he's not quite as good of a bet.
Source: Detroit Free Press
GOP leader: Transit logjam could go into January
(AP) — House Republican leader Tom Cross acknowledges it could take until January to work out a gambling expansion plan that would pay for a statewide construction program and pave the way for a mass-transit bailout.
Cross says he'd like something to happen next week but he can't promise anything will. He blames the political climate and personalities involved.
House Speaker Michael Madigan didn't attend a second day of meetings with Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the three other legislative leaders to break a logjam that has transit riders facing threatened service cuts and fare increases.
While state and federal officials laud the bear's comeback, others say it's time to lift the remaining protections that helped them recover. They point to recent grizzly encounters as evidence.
"We've got grizzly bears eating people who come here to hunt," said Vic Workman, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks commissioner, who fended off a grizzly during a Nov. 25 hunting trip near Whitefish. "It's getting out of whack. We've got too many bears."
Monday, December 3, 2007
John McCain: There are No Thomas Jeffersons in Iraq
McCain: When I took my position on the surge — when I was the only one of all these people around me that said you got to do the surge and four years ago that the Rumsfeld strategy was doomed to failure and it was terrible – [12/02/07]
Though he was right on board from the start:
“But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” [NBC, 3/20/03]
“It’s clear that the end is very much in sight.” [ABC, 4/9/03]
“There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shiahs. So I think they can probably get along.” [MSNBC, 4/23/03]
“This is a mission accomplished. They know how much influence Saddam Hussein had on the Iraqi people, how much more difficult it made to get their cooperation.” [This Week, ABC, 12/14/03]
“I’m confident we’re on the right course.” [ABC News, 3/7/04]
“I think the initial phases of it were so spectacularly successful that it took us all by surprise.” [CBS, 10/31/04]
“I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq. Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren’t making progress, I’d be despondent.” [The Hill, 12/8/05]
"The situation now is clearly worse” than under Saddam, White replied.
“There’s no comparison between Iraq now and then,” he told Pelley. “Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. They’ve never known it like now.”
“Wait a minute, Christians have been here for 2,000 years,” Pelley remarked.
“Yes,” White said.
“And it’s now the worst it has ever been,” Pelley replied.
Yes, but this was less of a defeat than when Dumbya & Co. totally had their asses handed to them in the '06 Election...
Bush administration hails Chavez defeat
With only 25% of the vote, there's no way Marvin Miller is getting in under this or any other system Bud Lite dreams up. What a crock.
MLB radio is reporting that the White Sox will acquire Carlos Quentin from the Diamondbacks for Chris Carter. We hope the Diamondbacks are getting a quality pitching prospect in return as well. Quentin's stock is down, especially following shoulder surgery, but he's still a fine bet to have a long career as a regular corner outfielder. Carter, who shares the same name as the first baseman the Diamondbacks traded to Boston in the three-team Wily Mo Pena deal, hit .291/.383/.522 as a 20-year-old in low-A ball last season.
MLB.com confirms that the Diamondbacks are trading Carlos Quentin to the White Sox for first baseman Chris Carter. It doesn't sound like any other players are involved in the deal set to be announced this afternoon.
If true, i would have to say dis is a shteal for Kill Kenny. I would say the D-Backs must have an abundance of OFs, but they were playing Jeff Salazar in the playoffs for chrissakes...
Huckabee has also been accused of paying himself as a consultant to his own senatorial campaign, allowing special interests to pay for airline tickets for his daughter, receiving a canoe from a Coke bottler and — hilariously, if you're wont to laugh at the sheer small-town gauche greediness of it all — setting up a "wedding registry" at Target and Dillard's department stores so citizens could lavish the Huckabees with gifts as they renewed their marriage vows. The long list of desired goodies included twenty-four settings of Lenox "Holiday Nouveau" china, a KitchenAid mixer and a "Jack La Lanne power juicer." If you didn't want to pick out something yourself, the Huckabees were glad to take straight cash. "Message from the couple," the registry noted. "Target GiftCards are welcome."
What really grinds my gears about Huckabee's answer, and the media's rapturous response, is that capital punishment is one of the "WWJD" questions where we actually know the answer. Jesus was, basically, asked by the Pharisees whether he supported executing an adultress, and his response was the famous "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" line. So, Jesus? Basically a "no" on the whole capital punishment thing.
Yet here was have Huckabee, who practically preens over his theology degree and the centrality of his Christian faith, punting on an easy WWJD question. All because the more bloodthirsty part of his base doesn't want to hear the real answer...
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Astros signed second baseman Kaz Matsui, who had been with the Rockies, to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. Matsui gets an extra $1.5 million from what was originally reported. "Kaz is an ideal fit for our club," Astros GM Ed Wade said. "Kaz runs extremely well. He steals bases, moves runners and takes the extra base. He plays the game the right way." Getting redundant already? He's also injury-prone, he doesn't hit lefties and his career high in RBI is 44.
"Everything was revealed exactly as I prophesied," sKILLy said. "In my line of work, you put up with your share of doubters, haters, whiners, and naysayers, but when you're on top of your game, none of that affects you," he said.
"Smiff can bite me," he added.