Saturday, February 23, 2008

I can't win for losing.

Winter: will it ever end?

Another storm targets county
Get ready for a rerun of Friday's wet, blustery conditions. Forecasters say a half inch to an inch of rain could fall at the coast and inland valleys Sunday. And powerful winds should rake the mountains while hyoooge waves pound the beaches.

Fung: one of the 322?

You cool wid dis?

The Bears and Rex Grossman have agreed to another year for $3 million. And you are…

* Fine with it. Nothing better is out there (1242 responses) 50.8%
* Ecstatic. He will lead the Bears to glory (322 responses) 13.2%
* Irritated. They could have shopped around (586 responses) 24.0%
* Breathing fire. This guy is responsible for all that is bad with Chicago sports * (296 responses) 12.1%

* Datz a lot to lay on one person.

That's Gross. Man.

Bears, Rex agree to terms

Friday, February 22, 2008

What this means: ETA to K-Mad: August 12th

Baseball Prospectus 2008 Shipping News
Posted by Steven Goldman @ February 21, 2008, 11:32 PM-->
Due to some scattered shipping dates quoted by various on-line book retailers, we’ve received many inquiries from readers as to just when they can expect to receive their copies of
Baseball Prospectus 2008. Sadly, we’re not told much more about this than anyone else; when you publish a book, it’s a bit like sending your kid off to school, only the school refuses to tell you when they’ll be coming home.
That said, we’re hearing that Amazon should start filling orders very shortly. The books are out there: we’ve glimpsed them, the retailers have them, and it’s just a question of them gearing up their massive delivery apparatus and getting the books out the door and onto the shelves. We understand your impatience because we share it.


Cubs tickets on sale
1:32 PM CST, February 22, 2008

MESA, Ariz. - Tickets for individual Cubs games went on sale at 8 a.m. Friday at Wrigley Field, at 10 a.m. at and at 10 a.m. via phone at 800-843-2827 or 866-652-2827 (out of state).

Don't Be Gay

A Florida school administrator, no doubt a South Park fan, allegedly admonishes his students "don't be gay." And in support of his position he has allegedly suspended several students who wear rainbows or other symbols of gay pride in his school. The ACLU sued.

Of course, the complaint hasn't been answered yet, so we don't know what the school is willing to admit to. However, an exciting letter from a school representative sets up one issue nicely for any court loss. The letter basically says, we don't allow pro-gay statements because they would be disruptive just like we don't allow anti-gay statements. I love it. So if the school loses, presumably the administrator will have his revenge after all. He will allow anti-gay statements, throwing up his arms and exclaiming "I love the First Amendment." And after all, there may well be more students willing to wear anti-gay statements then pro-gay statements. In another letter they apparently compared it to students wearing the Confederate flag. So that's another possibility. Wear your Rainbow Brite shirt and then we will let them display their rebel pride.

I can't imagine what this administrator would do if he actually had gay or lesbian parents attending a parent teacher conference or a basketball game or a school play. I recognize there is a difference, but I can't imagine he would be any less hostile to the open display of homosexuality. Perhaps the schools should refuse to educate gay students or children of gay or lesbian couples. Maybe the next step is to eliminate liberals from public education. Then papists. Then nonwhites. Then non-evangelicals. Then troublemakers. Then those who sin. Eventually, we will eliminate these kind of educational disturbances by really tailoring the kind of mainstream children we are willing to educate. Of course, I doubt that these children should be exposed to the kinds of lies that are propagated by science, and there is little hope for teaching history or literature, almost all of which has been written by flawed sinners. Perhaps a modest schoolhouse, focusing on biblical education where these chosen children can be taught the divine word of god. Oh well.

Those Wacky Dutch

Smiff has been busy...

Triplets born to teenager - again
By Daniel Schweimler BBC News, Buenos Aires

A 16-year-old Argentine girl has given birth to female triplets - for the second time.

The girl, named only as Pamela, had her first set of female triplets aged 15, having first given birth to a son when she was just 14.

All seven children were born prematurely but without any kind of fertility treatment.

While doctors say the three newborns and their mother are well, the case has sparked debate across Argentina.

In bars and cafes, as well as the letters pages of newspapers, there has been widespread criticism of Pamela's alleged promiscuity.

Seeking more
Pamela's family already receives help from the provincial authorities, which donated land and built them a house when the first set of triplets was born.

Pamela's mother, who cleans houses to support her daughter and rapidly increasing number of grandchildren, says they will now seek more assistance from the government for the new additions to the family.

Some Argentines are arguing that perhaps what Pamela needs is more advice on contraception.

The teenager, who will be 17 on Monday, comes from the remote town of Leones in the central Argentine province of Cordoba.

Well, He Should Take Comfort in the Fact that Eugene Debs Spent a Lot of Time in Jail Too...

For, you know, the courage to speak his mind. But this is a speaking of the mind too, in a sense, the kind of mind that wants to get really, really rich on the taxpayers' dime while complaining that government doesn't "work" and that things would be better if we let the pros do it. You know, the pros that pay him off and make things not work.

Arizona GOP lawmaker indicted

* Story Highlights
* Rep. Rick Renzi indicted on federal charges Friday
* Charges include conspiracy, money laundering and extortion
* Indictment of Arizona Republican stems from investigation into land deals
* Three-term congressman has said he would not seek re-election

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, has been indicted on federal charges following an investigation into his relationship with a former business partner regarding land deals, the Justice Department said Friday.

In a 35-count indictment, Renzi is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, extortion and insurance fraud.

Federal investigators also were looking at whether Renzi's father was enriched by the lawmaker's relationship with the ex-business partner, according to the indictment.

Renzi has been under an ethical cloud since the FBI raided a family business last year. The FBI said it was investigating whether the congressman had used his office for personal gain.

He stepped down from the House Intelligence Committee in April after the raid.

Renzi has denied any wrongdoing.

Renzi, a three-term member of the House, announced in August that he would not seek re-election. He represents Arizona's 1st Congressional District.

Federal prosecutors have scheduled a news conference Friday morning in Phoenix, Arizona, to announce details of the charges.

See how he votes! Ethical cloud or not, the man's going to salute hospitalized veterans even though his party fails these same veterans with about the regularity of a healthy goose.

With Heads Up Asses a Candle is Needed to Guide the Way

So we used some airstrips in BritishLand (Diego Fucking Nowhere or some shit...) to transport prisoners singled out for torture even though they didn't want us to do that, but it's cool because it was just an administrative error, like, you know, New Orleans or something like that. As well, London's cool with it because we used "good faith" in handling our soon to be tortured prisoners. As far as they know, the blindfolded and shackled prisoners (who could possibly be innocent and turned in by Afghani or Iraqi soldiers working with militants - as is often the case - see Taxi to the Dark Side ) did not have cattle prods waved near their genitals or water shoved down their throat during the refueling, which is important for English sensibilities. So it's just America being America and that's cool. I mean, it was better that America do all the torture-shit without any British involvement, but you know, protocol in the end has been reestablished, and that's what counts.

Charles Krauthammer meanwhile is on the crack with his idea that the Iraq progress (less suicide bombings - more meetings between rich sheiks and vigilante forces that don't appear to be actively ethnically cleansing anymore now that the neighborhoods have been vetted in Baghdad) could transform the entire Mideast. Because you know, they totally trust us now looking at what's going on there. They trust us in Africa too! So much that the Chinese are going around and cleaning up on the economic future basically by claiming "hey! We're not American."

It used to be the freako-conservatives who haven't been prescient since they didn't like Stalin and even then they were totally cool with staying out of Hitler's way - used to plead with the American public that the economy was good and their homes were worth a lot of money (!!!$$$!!!) but now with the economy drenched in the urine of excess, we are told, hey, at least we're winning the war in Iraq. I mean, in the sense that they are not killing each other or us so much anymore. Though asking them or us what it all means is kind of like asking Bill Clinton to define "is".

Anyway, what follows is the very funny and depressing article from CNN - I read this at a breakfast counter and clapped once (the "administrative error" part) - it's small and means nothing, except that in its bureaucratic ass-headedness in talking about the mechanics of American methods of interrogation and torture it reveals the absolute bungle of American policy during the last seven plus years now. :

LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Thursday that British territory was used to transport two suspects in the CIA's rendition program.

David Miliband said two suspects in the CIA rendition program were transported via British soil.

The British government previously had said it played no part in the program. The foreign secretary said Thursday's revelations were the result of "new information" the United States gave to Britain last Friday.

The U.S. State Department said it regretted Britain was given wrong information and called it "an administrative error."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "We express regret that we initially provided inaccurate information to a good friend and ally."

Miliband told the House of Commons that two flights, each carrying a U.S. detainee, refueled in 2002 in Diego Garcia, a British territory in the Indian Ocean.

Miliband said the U.S. government had assured Britain that no U.S. detainees were ever held on Diego Garcia.

Don't Miss
* CIA flights to Greenland investigated

He said the planes only refueled at the U.S. facility on the island, and the detainees never left the plane.

He said a U.S. investigation showed no record of any other rendition through Diego Garcia or any other UK territory since then.

Then-Prime Minister Tony Blair assured the government's Intelligence and Security Committee last March that the United States had never rendered any detainees through the UK or its overseas territories since Sept. 11, 2001. The committee released a report last June saying it was satisfied with the findings.

Miliband said the government had a "deep disappointment" about the late news of the rendition flights, but he said Britain believed the United States acted "in good faith" when it made the initial assurances that no flights had taken place.

"Secretary Rice has underlined to me the firm U.S. understanding that there will be no rendition through the UK, UK airspace or overseas territories without express British government permission," he said.

Mike Gapes, chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, was less forgiving about the late information. His committee published its annual report on human rights last April in which it already expressed concerns about rendition.

"The fact that the United States Bush Administration has clearly misled or lied to our government has resulted in our government inadvertently misleading a select committee of this house and members of this house," Gapes said. "The United States administration has to bear in mind that this is a most serious matter and we do not wish to see it repeated."

CNN obtained a copy of a message CIA Director Mike Hayden sent to CIA employees in which he said the information surfaced late last year when the agency "took a fresh look" at records of rendition flights. He said it was important to take responsibility for the error.

"Given our mission, CIA could have no interest in a process destined to produce bad intelligence," he wrote.

In his message, Hayden says speculation about a CIA holding facility on Diego Garcia -- and allegations that the detainees are transported for the purpose of torture -- are "false."

"Torture is against our laws and our values," Hayden wrote.

The European Parliament and human rights groups have condemned the CIA's practice of rendition, in which the United States moved a suspected terrorist in CIA custody from one country to another.

Critics claim the suspects are turned over to foreign intelligence services who use harsher interrogation methods, including torture.

As for the two detainees transported through Diego Garcia, Miliband said neither was a British national or resident. One is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay and the other has been released, he said.

mistakes were made, or, Winning Hearts And Minds! (WHAM!) (cont'd!)

"There have been some errors. It's something we regret."

- U.S. military spokesman Maj. Brad Leighton, commenting on how groups of U.S.-allied militias in Iraq have quit working with American troops after incidents in which U.S. soldiers killed their members.

dere is annudder doomsday direkkly behind dis one (cont'd)

News item — Illinois’ mass-transit agencies could lose up to more than $4 billion in federal money for capital improvements and service expansion programs could be doomed if Gov. Rod "Perfect Hair" Blagojevich fails to put more state dollars toward public transportation, two lawmakers warned Thursday.

U.S. Reps. Melissa Bean, D-Barrington, and Mark Kirk, R-Highland Park, sounded their alarm after hearing preliminary details of Gov. Blagojevich’s 2009 budget proposal...

Among the shortcomings, Ms. Bean said, was a plan to spend $1 billion over the next three years on improvement programs at the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Pace.

“That is $1.7 billion short,” she said... Illinois public transportation projects qualify for a total of $4.1 billion in federal funds for capital improvements, she said, but only if the state ponies up a total of $2.7 billion. The state has to provide 40% of the funding for each project in order to get the federal funds for the project.

“If we can’t find the additional dollars, we are going to leave the federal dollars on the table,” she said. “The money is there, but the money will be gone.”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the original whitey keeping darky down

While i was putting together my file for my recent performance review, i was alerted to this article about the website i worked on at Northwestern before i told them to stick dat job and shove it. (If my review goes through and they keep me around dis joint collecting dust, my pay in July will have gone up $26K since i was at NU just a year and half ago, living on what i could forage from Evanston alleys and dumpsters...but i digress...oh, yeah, have i told you how much NU SUCKS? If there was a way Henry Bienen could get away with not paying anyone anything, with no benefits, if that's what the market dictates, he would...oooh, what a further digressment...) Oh yeah, a couple of stories like this came out about the same time, also in the international press. The American press? Not so much.

The Independent: Lost worlds
Independent, The (London, England) - January 12, 2007
Author: Ed Caesar
Joseph Conrad notes, in Heart of Darkness, that "the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much." Conrad's celebrated novella was set against the backdrop of Europe's "scramble for Africa", when its conquest seemed - as it had done for centuries - a very pretty thing indeed. And in a series of 113 maps of Africa - dating from 1530 to 1915 and now available for download from Northwestern University's archives - all the romance and ignorance of Europe's developing relationship with Stan-ley's "dark continent" becomes clear. Because the early cartographers had never been to the places they were attempting to map, some of Northwestern's exhibits are a significant departure from reality. The Nile changes position any number of times, while mountains, lakes and other topographical features mutate like putty. But it is the names that leap out from the maps. One vainglorious example, from 1747, refers to the entirety of West Africa as "Negroland". Other maps, meanwhile, chart defunct civilisations - Dahomey (in what is now Benin); Abyssinia (in modern-day Ethiopia); and the southern empire of Monomotapa (now in Zimbabwe and Mozambique). The skill of the cartographers is undeniable. Indeed, in the luscious example here - drawn by Willem Janszoon Blaeu and published in Amsterdam in 1635 - the continent is rendered in minute, if inaccurate, detail. But the telling evidence of what is not yet known leaps from the page. Whereas Africa's coastline is peppered with place names and the mouths of rivers, much of the interior - particularly the area that is now Congo - is blank. Blaeu clearly considered white space a crime, and filled these gaps in European knowledge with friendly-looking beasts - a chubby elephant; an unthreatening lion; a cheeky monkey. What all these maps display is that the great powers to the north had conquered Africa long before white men stepped ashore and claimed the territory in person. In the simple act of charting and naming, the European imagination had already sliced up the continent.

Fat Blips all around

Australia's postal service makes weighty decision
Sydney, Australia
20 February 2008 01:14

Australia's postal service has increased the maximum weight for its delivery staff after struggling to attract applicants weighing less than 90kg, local media reported on Tuesday.

The old limit was designed to allow "posties", as they are known here, to carry 40kg of mail on their small motorcycles for a total load of 130kg, the Daily Telegraph said.

That was seen as a "safe working limit" for the 110cc Hondas, but because of difficulties in finding suitable staff, the weight limit has been raised to 105kg, a union official said."

How many people weigh 90kg? Not many. They lifted the limit to 105kg after Honda gave them permission," said union organiser Michael Etue.

The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in Australia in the past 20 years, the Australian General Practice Network of doctors said last year.

Australia Post spokesperson Scott McIntyre acknowledged that Honda had approved the weight increase after tests found it "would not have any significant effect on the stability, handling or safety of the 110cc motorcycle".

But unions claim the increased weight allowance means posties cannot carry as much mail and will have to work overtime to meet unrealistic deadlines. -- AFP

For da metrically challenged, dis means dey're going up from about 200lbs to 230lbs. Fung could have been a postie even under the old rules. Apparently I missed my calling...

You know you're old when... don't know your Monroes from your Madonnas

'Rare' Marilyn Monroe nude photo actually famous Madonna picture

Nicastro and his wife, Phyllis, said they had spent about four months researching the origin of the photograph and called in Chris Harris, a publicist and Monroe expert, for help authenticating it.

Harris said it was a dead ringer for Monroe and scheduled a Wednesday news conference to unveil the image to reporters.

So either Madonna did a really good job, or this Chris Harris guy is a lousy "expert." I'm going with the latter - if you're an expert on Monroe you should be an expert on anyone who tried to copy her too. Like LiLo this week.

This Just In...

Barack Obama may be the antichrist, "Mabus."

Or Abbas may be Mabus. Or Sampson. Mabus may not be the antichrist. Nostradamus died before being able to be clear about all his prophesies. Bible may not be entirely accurate. I had sausage skillet for breakfast.

Wait. If Barack is the antichrist, does that mean we should vote for him to bring the end times or not vote for him because he is the antichrist. I'm confused.

finally, some good news

Tokyo marathon runner solves mystery of sore nipples

Fountain of youth = urinating on yourself?

41-year-old Moises Alou doesn't think 2008 will be his last season in the majors.  "I don't know what happened to me," Alou said. "Maybe New York is the fountain of youth. Seriously, the past three years I've been looking forward for the season to be over, for me to go home and retire. But now I'm looking forward to having a good season, so they can ask me to come back and play another year."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The End Times?

Fung has a great view from his front windows...

Total Lunar Eclipse Tonight

speaking of sucking

Isiah Thomas: The George Bush of Basketball Coaches...

New York 36
Philadelphia 72 Half
W. Green: 17 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast

in baseball terms: Dumbya has dropped below the Mendoza Line

Looks like a lot of voters have flip-flopped....what do you have to say for yourselves?

Worse than Watergate: Bush scores lowest presidential approval rating EVER!

George W. Bush is now the most unpopular president in recorded American history.

Overall, 19% of Americans say that they approve of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president, 77% disapprove, and 4% are undecided.

the most idiotic thing i've heard since Dumbya's last news conference

A woman referee was not allowed to officiate at a basketball game at St. Mary's Academy in Topeka, Kan., because the athletic director didn't want a woman "put in a position of authority over boys."

Hmmm, which begs the question, are there mothers in Kansas?

let's hope they don't start with the current president

garbage in, garbage out, if you will...

News Item: ''Machines will achieve human-level intelligence by 2029, a leading U.S. inventor has predicted."

on the plus side, Florida has schools

Yesterday, the Florida Board of Education voted 4-3 to adopt new science standards that, for the first time, would require public schools to teach evolution. Previously, Florida's science standards referred to evolution as "biological changes over time," but those rules "were slammed by scientists as vague and shallow..."

But instead of accepting this scientific standard, the Florida Board approved "a last-minute alternative" following numerous public complaints and objections made by religious conservatives. The new Florida school science standard on evolution will come with a caveat: "The subject will be taught as 'the scientific theory of evolution.'"

if we can't censor it, we'll just have to destroy it

While there is much diversity in the style of Internet censorship among the world's worst offenders, one common thread unites them: Internet censorship doesn't work.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Profiling, Iraqi Style

Iraq orders police to round up beggars and mentally ill

The U.S. military and the Iraqi government have claimed that Sunni insurgents led by al-Qaida in Iraq are increasingly trying to use Iraq's most vulnerable populations as suicide bombers to avoid raising suspicions or being searched at checkpoints that guard access to many markets, neighborhoods and bridges in the capital.

And so we must lock them all up. For their protection. And ours.

life keeps getting better

News item: Kraft Foods Inc. announced Tuesday that it plans this year to roll out focaccia pizza, macaroni and cheese crackers and microwaveable bagel sticks filled with cream cheese.

K-Mad Keeps on Killin'

K-Mad killed him in reverse. How does he do it?? And he's not even a pitcher...

I'm changing my DOA ETA to Jan. 15th...

Dan Johnson had to spend eight days in the hospital last month because of a case of sinusitis.
This went unreported at the time. It was revealed last month that he had spent four days in the hospital for viral meningitis, but this was a different case. According to Johnson, doctors wanted to drill a hole into his forehead to treat him, but that would have cost him two months. He elected to go with antibiotics instead and is fully recovered now, though he has lost about 30 pounds since the end of the season. Johnson may be battling Mike Sweeney for one spot on Oakland's roster.

Smiff's Restaurant Bill

Or rather, what would appear on several bills at Smiff's restaurant...coz he rolls dat way.


50 years of foreign policy finally pay off!
Castro steps down as Cuban leader

anudder crappy week ahead...

Forecast for San Diego, California:
139 PM PST MON FEB 18 2008

Hi: 59°F
Lo: 46°F
Hi: 59°F
Lo: 46°F
Hi: 60°F
Lo: 46°F
Hi: 60°F
Lo: 46°F
Hi: 61°F
Lo: 47°F
Hi: 61°F
Lo: 46°F

Pop: 20% Pop: 40%

Monday, February 18, 2008

where were the UN observers?

A district in Harlem where no one pulled this lever?

Crazy People in Dugouts

There’ll be no holding back in 2008, says White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who blames his own change of style for his ballclub’s decline to 90 losses last season.   
Off to a bad start already...wrong finger, Ozzie...
Though a tip o' the cap to da Huskies...

Crazy People on TV

Fungster's home sick today (too much skillet cookie? Perhaps...) and is watching morning TV. I caught the end of Oprah (?) and she gave out a gift to one of the viewers (it was 2 tix to the premiere of a movie or something) and she acted like she'd just won the lottery - so happy she was about to cry. It can't get more nuts than that, can it? Then I started watching The Price is Right. Now dose people were NUTS! So now I know the secret. You gotta be crazy to be on TV. So I guess dat gives Smiff a chance. The rest of us - we'll just have to have something really, REALLY weird happen to us. Super weird. Waaaaay out there.