Saturday, August 9, 2008

Was K-Mad at the game?


Contreras could miss the start of next season with what is typically a 9-12 month injury.

Nate Silver on K.O.

story #3

His prediction: the Cubs will not win the World Series.


Apparently, they have some standards

Zimbabwean strongman/asshole Robert Mugabe kept out of China...

Beijing sends Mugabe packing Sydney Morning Herald

ZIMBABWE'S President, Robert Mugabe, has been forced to return home following intense political pressure from the Chinese Communist Party not to attend Friday night's opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games. The Herald understands high-powered lobbying from political leaders who will be attending the ceremony prompted the highest levels of the Chinese Government to convince him not to attend. It is understood he had arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday but could get no further.

The two countries have a close relationship
(really? that is a surprise--ed.) and it took intense persuasion to convince Mr Mugabe to return to Zimbabwe and not cause embarrassment to the host country. A Mugabe spokesman, George Charamba, wrote in a Zimbabwean newspaper: "President Mugabe attaches great importance to the ongoing talks [between the Government and Opposition], which is why he is not going to China for the grand opening of the Olympics." (also known as total bullshit--ed.)

The US President, George Bush,
(but they let this asshole in?--ed.) and the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will be among heads of state attending the opening ceremony.  The pro-Tibet supporter and Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans will respect the Olympic rules and not protest at Games venues, says the Australian Olympic Committee president, John Coates.

Friday, August 8, 2008

a tribute to LoC?

Local Idiot To Post Comment On Internet

good thing we didn't nominate this maroon

Edwards admits to affair, denies fathering child

His maverickyness is what I like best

Check out his afro.

When I pointed out that the Rocchios' job titles seemed to jar a bit with the size of their donations, Ms. Rocchio said that no one could guess the real income levels of other people.

When a New York Times reporter contacted the owner of a discount stereo store who gave $9,200 with his wife to help elect McCain, here's what happened:

"He's like a worse copy than Bush," Mr. Makhlouf said of Mr. McCain. When a reporter initially contacted Mr. Makhlouf, he denied giving to the McCain campaign. After eventually admitting to the donation, Mr. Makhlouf added, "I'm still not going to vote for him."

Well, you know what Ohio will vote for: more of the same economic policy via McBush III

America's Fastest-Dying Cities

Washington, D.C. - The turmoil of the mortgage market granted a temporary reprieve from hearing about the woes of America's Rust Belt. That doesn't mean things are better. Despite a decade of national prosperity (huh??--ed.), the former manufacturing backbone of the U.S. is in rougher shape than ever, still searching for some way to replace its long-stilled smokestacks.

Where's it worst? Ohio, according to our analysis, which racked up four of the 10 cities on our list: Youngstown, Canton, Dayton and Cleveland. The runner-up is Michigan, with two cities--Detroit and Flint--making the ranking.

2016: we're ready

News item: The run-up to the Beijing Olympics has been marred by a well-documented surge in violations of the rights of free expression and association, as well as media freedom. In addition, abuses of migrant construction workers who were pivotal to Beijing’s infrastructure improvements have increased, as have evictions of Beijing residents whose homes were demolished to make way for that infrastructure.

News item: Arlene Benson isn't leaving, even if the bulldozers come... About 30 other families in a 300-acre stretch of Bensenville targeted for demolition are hanging on to their homes, according to village representatives. But their time may be running out. A DuPage County judge Thursday ruled to lift a public health injunction blocking Chicago from demolishing hundreds of homes and businesses in Bensenville to make way for the next phase of the O'Hare Airport expansion.

These two stories just seemed to go together for some reason.

so much for that theory

From EU Observer, August 5

Some analysts believe the situation is beginning to thaw after some 15 years of tense ceasefire, as separatist authorities weigh up the option of semi-autonomous rule in a prosperous Georgia against continued isolation and increasing Russian domination.

Brett Favre update

Favre, the New York Jets' newest quarterback, was introduced to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a packed City Hall press conference Friday.

A wide-eyed Favre walked into the Blue Room and was greeted by dozens of flashing camera lights. He got a number of gifts from Bloomberg, including a couple of cheesecakes.

LoC will keep you posted on what kind of cheesecakes they were as soon as the information becomes available.

LoC posters - you are hereby relieved from jury duty for the rest of your natural lives

News item: As personal information becomes more widely available on blogs, MySpace, Facebook and other social networking Web sites, the Internet has become an important tool for jury consultants and trial lawyers. Such sites are a treasure trove of information about potential and seated jurors that can be used in picking the right jurors, bouncing potential jurors and even influencing jurors during trial and in closing arguments. Jury consultants have begun turning to private investigators, some of whom have started niche businesses offering Internet jury research and "personality profiling" of jurors.

Hey Red China - go phokk yourselves

Where Once He Was Lost, Now He Is Found

For seven years, China has dreamed of orchestrating every detail, athletic and political, of its glorious Opening Ceremonies to the Olympics. Now, one lean 1,500-meter runner from the United States, chosen by his teammates in an act of open defiance, may steal the show. Lopez Lomong, one of the Sudanese "Lost Boys" and a member of the anti-genocide group Team Darfur, has been chosen by his 595 U.S. Olympic teammates to carry our flag on Friday. What, we couldn't find a Tibetan monk on the team?

What a coincidence. Just hours before U.S. team captains met to decide on the flag carrier, Chinese officials rescinded the visa of Joey Cheek, a speedskating gold medalist who carried the U.S. flag at the Closing Ceremonies at the 2006 Winter Games and later co-founded Team Darfur. After that slap at Cheek, U.S. athletes here had almost nothing to say on the topic. One even referred to the subject as "the question they warned us about."

Perhaps they didn't answer individually. But the entire U.S. team gave its answer -- as a group and in capital letters -- with Lomong's selection. You jerk Cheek's visa. We put Lomong in your face. And do it proudly.

You have to hand it to the Chinese Communist Party: They certainly know how to muzzle Americans. Cheek, a Princeton grad, might have held a seminar. Four billion people around the world will see Lomong carrying our flag.

People - we need to do something with this:

Go here and you can leave comments and accumulate points to redeem for John McCain merchandise!

Basically, go around and seed blogs with comments following talking points from John McCain and then go and report them. Somebody will check it out, verify it, and then you get some points. Get enough points and you get a book that John McCain "wrote" - autographed. Or some other such bauble of love.

I'm going to leave a post over for Brain Dead Bob as well - letting him know he might be able to get an autographed hunting rifle or something....maybe this if you're really lucky!


Kansas City 24
Chicago 20


By his 2nd term he should pass the trillion mark...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Who is with the terrorists now? Hand-picked U.S. military officials...

Gitmo jury gives bin Laden driver 5 1/2 years

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - A U.S. military jury gave Osama bin Laden's driver a surprisingly light sentence on Thursday, making him eligible for release in just five months despite the prosecutors' request for at least a 30-year sentence to deter would-be terrorists.

Salim Hamdan's sentence of 5 1/2 years, including five years and a month already served at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the life sentence he could have gotten for aiding terrorism by driving and guarding bin Laden. It now goes for mandatory review to a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence but not extend it.

Sounds pretty bad, but what kind of beer was it?

Woman kills boyfriend for drinking her beer, officials say
Bail set at $500,000 in West Side stabbing death in car

A West Side woman who allegedly stabbed her elderly boyfriend to death because he was drinking her beer was ordered held Thursday in lieu of $500,000 bail. Regina Williams, 55, of the 1000 block of North Waller Avenue appeared in Cook County Bond Court before Judge Israel Desierto, charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Willie Anderson, 77, of the 2200 block of West Monroe Street.

About 6 p.m. Wednesday, the two were sitting in Anderson's car outside his home when Williams became angry that he was drinking her beer, authorities said. They began to quarrel, and Williams allegedly pulled a knife she carried for protection and began stabbing Anderson.
Anderson yelled for help, but Williams continued to stab him, Assistant State's Atty. Susanne Groebner told Desierto.

Afterward, Williams got out of the car and called down the street to Anderson's nephew, saying, "You better come get your uncle—I just killed him," according to her arrest report.
Groebner said Williams got back in the vehicle and finished drinking her beer.

Williams is on probation for a 2007 felony conviction for aggravated battery. In that case she was convicted of spitting in the face of a Chicago Fire Department paramedic who was giving her medical treatment. Williams has a history of mental illness, according to the Cook County public defender's office. Her next court date was set for Aug. 26.

More on the race - this New York Magazine article is good stuff...

I'm not happy with the passivity of Obama's campaign over the last five or six weeks, however, there's this feeling I have that Obama might be attempting to ride over this wave as a kind of inevitable reaction of fear to his candidacy. By allowing the fear to his candidacy to grow as ugly as possible as the Republicans seek to provoke him into a stupid response with their veritable chest-thumping "Obama's a traitor who wants to suck the gas out of your car and give it to the hoot owls while you eat out of a grocery's dumpster," it might be that at the end of this road he can come out with a some kind of sane response that gains some traction with voters in swing states like Ohio and Florida while at the same time giving the Republican attacks the true shape of their idiotic ludicrousness.

I fear though, that this isn't going to work. That the Republicans, on a national level, are very good at giving the electorate a framework through which to view the presidency and its responsibilities and necessities. I believe American voters have proven time and time again that they want somebody in there who is a ball-breaker, who won't take bullshit and who is kind of macho. This was where Hillary had her greatest success among Democratic voters and she rolled up pretty huge victories in some of the swing states - she wasn't talking issues when she was beginning to win.

As well, I think, and I know I am speaking in great generalities here, that the Republicans have done an excellent job of making decisions about things like the environment seem, time and time again, like a decision between pragmatism and loony-we-don't-care-how-much-this-hurts-you-as-long- as-it-doesn't-hurt-a-dolphin arguments. In fact, environmentalism, in pretty much every study when dealing with energy delivery or car-design and in many other directions, shows tremendous potential to actually grow the economy in some pretty exciting directions.

It's hard to imagine at this point that the election is going to be won on issues, it's another popularity contest and the way to win those is to paint mustaches and boogers on your opponent's face. I mean, who wants to hear about the detail points of saving a bleeding and rocky infrastructure when you can hear about how Obama did or did not visit troops and how come? It would be refreshing to hear more opinions about what needs to be done voiced by the American voter rather than on their opinions on one candidate or other. I think when voters are asked to respond on issues, many of them have salient and insightful points to make, sadly when asked to respond to the actors in this campaign, they seem, increasingly, to respond with the conventional fallacies that are taking the lead in determining where this election will lead.

This little article at New York Magazine seems like pretty good reading - and it's quick.

The Biggest Piece of Shit in America:

Steve Schmidt is a veteran campaign strategist and public relations expert. In his career to date he has been (from sourcewatch):

* Communications director for Senate campaign of Matt Fong. (1998)
* Chief strategist in charge of Supreme Court nominations of Samuel A. Alito. and Chief Justice John Roberts
* Counselor and spokesman for Vice President Dick Cheney.
* Member of the exclusive "breakfast club" led by top White House adviser Karl Rove that ran President Bush's re-election campaign. (2004)
* Campaign Manager for re-election campaign of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. (2006)

Currently Steve Schmidt is working as a campaign strategist and advisor to 2008 Presidential campaign of Senator John McCain. On July 2, 2008, Schmidt was promoted to heading up day to day operations of the McCain campaign in response to concerns that the McCain campaign was losing ground to Obama.

Since that point, July 2, 2008 - the Republican attempt to win the presidency has reached new lows almost daily as McCain appears willing to sell whatever was left of his soul and the shine of his one heroic act to win the White House so that he can give his friends more money and fritter away whatever's left of the American economy and its standing in the world in the pursuit of giving that money to his friends.

This was the man who helped Frenchify John Kerry and who seems to understand that his position is basically only made in negative assertion of the other because his own candidate's positions are antithetical to any sane approach to government.

I despise McCain for his willingness to leave important issues in the stink of name-calling and pointless assertions of gym-attending, but it's the Steve Schmidts of the world who I hope to God one day are forced to give account of their actions to an awakened American public. And I hope on the day that happens that after giving account, he will have to climb back into the sewer he's emerged from and is never seen again.

Fung - still going broke

Fung went to a club with no entry fee, but you had to drink $50 worth of booze. Now Smiff woulda been all over dat, but dat's a lotta sprites, even in a bar. Den today he got caught with a work crisis/internet crisis just as the weather got nice (and da internet is a ripoff too), and resolved both just as the wind kicked up and kicked folks off the beach. Woe is me.

A Fitting End

The Messiah, Brett Favre, has been traded.

To the Jets.


But ya know, Paul DePodesta didn't know what he was doing...

Joe Torre said before Thursday's game that Jason Schmidt probably wouldn't return this season. Schmidt doesn't have his next side session planned, and he has less than a month before the minor league season ends, so he might not even make a rehab appearance this year. Two years into his three-year, $47 million contract, the Dodgers have six starts and one win to show for Schmidt.

Then there were Ned Colletti's brilliant signings of Juan Pierre ($44m) and Andruw Jones ($36m).

I saw L.A. Times sportswriter, Bill Plaschke, commenting on Around the Horn about Billy Beane after the Rich Harden trade. Like most brain-dead sportswriters, Plaschke hates Beane and all things sabermetric (probably because it requires them to think - it's much easier just to look at pitcher wins or RBI, and how many "guts" a player has....), and certainly hated DePodesta while he was there. Of course, he hated the Harden trade, and it surely looked like his head was going to explode while talking about Beane. Plaschke has been "writing" for the L.A. Times since 1987. Since then, they have won one World Series ('88) and been to the playoffs 4 other times (inc. one of DePodesta's two seasons), losing in the first round each time. Since Beane became the A's GM in 1997, they have been to the playoffs 5 times. Seems like his track record is better than the GM buffoons L.A. has had, with a lot less money to work with. But he's never won the World Series, so obviously he and his ilk are all morons (also see: the Red Sox two World Series wins since they hired Bill James). But the fact remains, the Dodgers haven't been in the World Series since 1988, and ain't going to be there this year, either. Maybe if they had Beane spending the $127 million they wasted on Schmidt, Pierre and Jones they would have a team closer to contending.

And thank God Colletti finally traded Andy LaRoche away...

puzzling things

Especially Update III.

why Obama will always be a Muslim

Truth: Can You Handle It?
Better Yet: Do You Know It When You See It?

while QT has our attention...

A Republic, If You Can Keep It:

A Canadian contestant on "Last Comic Standing" was told to avoid mentioning Canada because it might "confuse" American TV audiences.

more Olympics shenanigans

News Item: "Extra innings will have a new look in what could be baseball's last Olympic appearance. Each team's at-bat in the 11th inning and beyond will begin with runners on first and second base. Teams may start the 11th at any point in their batting order. . . ."

Or put it another way: The game of baseball has already had its last Olympic appearance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

McCain: Words to Avoid

negro league


The Olympics have started and the U S and A women's soccer team lost to Denmark, 2-0. In soccer, excuse me, football, parlance that's a blowout. Just pathetic.

Denmark? Not only are they the happiest country happy in the world, but they have the hottest women in the world (i was there for a day and just walked around wiff my tongue scrapping the ground), and now they're kicking our ass in "football." I want to be Danish. Plus, they taste good. Raspberry? Almond? Dat's good eatin'.

Smiff is back and he has this off-shore drilling thing all figured out

It's simple: states filled with dumb-ass crackers who voted for George W. Bush twice and will most likely vote for John W. McBush will get the off-shore drilling. So that will most likely be the entire coastline of Alaska and from Brownsville to Norfolk. And none of this "150 miles from the coast" bullshit. I say, a mile from the coast with an oil rig every mile. Even if it's shown there's no oil there, you get a fucking oil rig there anyway.

Meanwhile, the northeast and from San Diego to Seattle will remain pristine because these places weren't dumb enough to vote for the troglodyte homunculus and the guy who forgets to put on his pants.

Why doesn't the NFL re-locate a team to Mississippi?

The agent for Brett Favre says a resolution involving his client and a trade is close. "It looks like it's going to be New York or Tampa Bay," said agent Bus Cook. "We're waiting to find out and we could learn in the next hour or so." Of course, this was said hours ago. The Jets are reportedly offering the most compensation, while the Bucs are probably Favre's preferred destination. Stay tuned.

nice try @ss#ole

Forecast from National Weather Service As of 11:39 am CDT on August 6, 2008
This Afternoon... Partly sunny.
Current conditions: Mostly cloudy.

Backe v. Marquis: Duck and Cover

Top 1st: Houston
- K. Matsui fouled out to third
- H. Pence flied out to right
- L. Berkman grounded out to second
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Houston 0, Chi Cubs 0
Bottom 1st: Chi Cubs
- A. Soriano grounded out to third
- R. Theriot lined out to second
- D. Lee grounded out to pitcher
0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Houston 0, Chi Cubs 0
Top 2nd: Houston
- C. Lee grounded out to third
- G. Blum grounded out to third
- T. Wigginton doubled to deep left
- D. Erstad grounded out to pitcher
0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors
Houston 0, Chi Cubs 0
Bottom 2nd: Chi Cubs
- A. Ramirez flied out to right center
- J. Edmonds doubled to right
- M. DeRosa doubled to deep left center, J. Edmonds scored
- K. Fukudome flied out to right
- G. Soto walked
- J. Marquis fouled out to first
1 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
Houston 0, Chi Cubs 1
Top 3rd: Houston
- H. Quintero flied out to right
- B. Backe grounded out to third
- K. Matsui ground rule double to deep center
- H. Pence walked
- L. Berkman singled to right, K. Matsui scored, H. Pence to third
- C. Lee homered to deep left, L. Berkman and H. Pence scored
- G. Blum grounded out to first
4 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors
Houston 4, Chi Cubs 1
Bottom 3rd: Chi Cubs
- A. Soriano popped out to shallow right
- R. Theriot singled to right
- D. Lee flied out to deep right
- A. Ramirez walked, R. Theriot to second
- J. Edmonds walked, R. Theriot to third, A. Ramirez to second
- M. DeRosa homered to deep center, J. Edmonds, A. Ramirez and R. Theriot scored
- K. Fukudome doubled to right
- G. Soto intentionally walked
- J. Marquis doubled to deep right, K. Fukudome scored, G. Soto to third
- A. Soriano homered to deep left, J. Marquis and G. Soto scored

Maybe because he gave them the money?

DRIVING THE CONVERSATION 3 – WashPost, front page, “Bundler Collects From Unlikely Donors,” by Matthew Mosk: “The bundle of $2,300 and $4,600 checks that poured into Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign on March 12 came from an unlikely group of California donors: a mechanic from D&D Auto Repair in Whittier, the manager of Rite Aid Pharmacy No. 5727, the 30-something owners of the Twilight Hookah Lounge in Fullerton. But the man who gathered checks from them is no stranger to McCain -- he shuttled the Republican on his private plane and held a fundraising event for the candidate at his house in Delray Beach, Fla.

“Harry Sargeant III, a former naval officer and the owner of an oil-trading company that recently inked defense contracts potentially worth more than $1 billion, is the archetype of a modern presidential money man. The law forbids high-level supporters from writing huge checks, but with help from friends in the Middle East and the former chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit -- who now serves as a consultant to his company -- Sargeant has raised more than $100,000 for three presidential candidates from a collection of ordinary people, several of whom professed little interest in the outcome of the election. …

“Some of the most prolific givers in Sargeant's network live in modest homes in Southern California's Inland Empire. Most had never given a political contribution before being contacted by Sargeant or his associates. Most said they have never voiced much interest in politics. And in several instances, they had never registered to vote. And yet, records show, some families have ponied up as much as $18,400 for various candidates between December and March. Both Sargeant and the donors were vague when asked to explain how Sargeant persuaded them to give away so much money.”

A Terrible Word to Lose

This deplorable error in an Associated Press wire dispatch Monday is surely the result of the demise of copy editors in the news business. The wire carried news of conservative political commentator Robert D. Novak -- who, by the way, was always gracious and helpful to us, despite his cranky public persona -- and his retirement from the biz after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

And then a terrible gaffe: "Novak has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades. He announced late last month he has a brain."

getting curioser

More from Greenwald on Iraq/anthrax stuff:

Last year, when I first wrote about ABC's broadcasting of this false Saddam/anthrax story, I spoke with numerous experts in "journalistic ethics," such as they are, and all of them -- journalists, Journalism Professors, and media critics alike -- agreed that while the obligation of source confidentiality is close to absolute, it does not extend to a source who deliberately exploits confidentiality to disseminate lies to the public. Under those circumstances, it's axiomatic in journalistic ethics that a reporter is not only permitted, but required, to disclose the identity of the source who purposely used the reporter to spread lies.

Who were the "four separate and well-placed sources" who told ABC News, falsely, that tests conducted at Fort Detrick had found the presence of bentonite in the anthrax sent to Tom Daschle, causing ABC News to aggressively link the attacks to Iraq for five straight days in October, 2001?

LoC in the Southern Hemisphere!

Fung's reporting from Rio, adding South America to his list of continents traveled to. I think that leaves Australia (if that's a continent), Central America (if that's a continent), and Antarctica (which I believe is a continent, but the chances of getting there are remote, geddit?). So far, it's been one word: expensive. Really, really expensive. Apparently there are issues with security here so you pay to be safe. Our hotel is situated quite nicely just steps from the beach, but it's bloomin expensive. Methinks I shall have no money by the time I get back...

Why do we even need to electorate a new president anyway? The one we have is doing a heckuva job.

News item - A man interrupted a speech by presidential candidate B. Hussein Obama by shouting out the pledge of allegiance - sorry, Pledge of Allegiance, in Berea, Ohio yesterday.

Also, I hear he is a Muslim

News item - Barack Obama may be the fresh face in this year's presidential election, but nearly half say they're already tired of hearing about him, a poll says.

America rules - we don't need no stinking world court

We'll need a "World Court" when it comes time to execute the Saucer People for invading da Earf. Until then, they can go phokk dereselves.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I have a whole new respect for Paris Hilton

brain-dead Cub fan knows all, reveals some

Way too much time on your hands

Thank God I had to go back to work this afternoon, you guys citing PECOTA and all the other stuff have way too much time on your hands..It doesnt take a numbers genuis to tell you the Cubs always suck against a pitcher they never faced, that is mental, got a theory to figure that out ?..How many times have we seen the Cubs roll , only to take a team , a triple A team in the Pirates kick their butts ? As I have said many times before, nice to see Theriot and DeRosa sit, Sotto needs some more time off as well..
. . .
Eat your numbers. They beat the Brewers because they scored runs...

Republicans enamored with the magical powers of the Twitter

Aim it at Cheney's pacemaker, maybe it will explode.

GOP: Oil markets 'responding' to our protest

House Republicans issued the boldest claim yet in their three-day energy protest, insinuating on Tuesday morning that their demonstration may in fact have already begun to lower gas prices.

“The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Republican Rep. John Shadegg.

Republicans embrace the Twitter (cont'd)

A Stunt-Driven Agenda

"Eighteen times over the past 90 days, the minority tried, unsuccessfully, to force the House to adjourn. Now the House has finally adjourned -- for a five-week recess, no less -- and Republicans are demanding that the chamber be called back into session," the Washington Post's Dana Milbank observed. Believing "they have struck political gold with American voters," conservatives are lauding their stagecraft in the most grandiose terms. "Today is the 2008 version of the Boston Tea Party," exclaimed Rep John Shadegg (R-AZ). "[L]ike the founders of this country we're going directly to the American people," boasted Rep. Tim Price (R-GA). "This could be America's greatest hour," crowed Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL). Conservatives extended the theatrics yesterday and have declared they will continue their floor protests for "as long as it takes."

Interesting Analysis of Evan Bayh by Nate Silver

Evan Bayh: Latent Liberal?

Speaking for a moment as a Democratic partisan, I can't say that I'd be thrilled with the selection of Evan Bayh as Barack Obama's VP nominee. But this has more to do with personality factors -- my feeling that Bayh is a little dull and drab, and that Obama may underestimate the importance of maintaining high levels of excitement among the Democratic base -- than anything having to do with his voting record......

I look forward to Dana Perino's indignant denial

I mean, I know they've been fullas#i+ about everything else, but why would they lie about this?

Book says White House ordered forgery

A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

Suskind writes in "The Way of the World," to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery – adamantly denied by the White House – was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.

Monday, August 4, 2008

In fact, we have hardly heard his name mentioned lately... is he playing football again? I did not know that...

Favre flying under radar in Green Bay on Monday

Something to think about...

The idea that the anthrax letters were traceable to Iraq and the actual anthrax came from the same lab:

From Salon comes this article - which is longer there:
Glenn Greenwald
Friday Aug. 1, 2008 05:36 EDT
Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News

The FBI's lead suspect in the September, 2001 anthrax attacks -- Bruce E. Ivins -- died Tuesday night, apparently by suicide, just as the Justice Department was about to charge him with responsibility for the attacks. For the last 18 years, Ivins was a top anthrax researcher at the U.S. Government's biological weapons research laboratories at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, where he was one of the most elite government anthrax scientists on the research team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID).

The 2001 anthrax attacks remain one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 era. After 9/11 itself, the anthrax attacks were probably the most consequential event of the Bush presidency. One could make a persuasive case that they were actually more consequential. The 9/11 attacks were obviously traumatic for the country, but in the absence of the anthrax attacks, 9/11 could easily have been perceived as a single, isolated event. It was really the anthrax letters -- with the first one sent on September 18, just one week after 9/11 -- that severely ratcheted up the fear levels and created the climate that would dominate in this country for the next several years after. It was anthrax -- sent directly into the heart of the country's elite political and media institutions, to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt), NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and other leading media outlets -- that created the impression that social order itself was genuinely threatened by Islamic radicalism.

If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab, sent by a top U.S. Army scientist at Ft. Detrick. Without resort to any speculation or inferences at all, it is hard to overstate the significance of that fact. From the beginning, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax attacker to create a link between the anthrax attacks and both Islamic radicals and the 9/11 attacks. This was the letter sent to Brokaw:

The letter sent to Leahy contained this message:

We have anthrax.

You die now.

Are you afraid?

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Allah is great.

By design, those attacks put the American population into a state of intense fear of Islamic terrorism, far more than the 9/11 attacks alone could have accomplished.

Much more important than the general attempt to link the anthrax to Islamic terrorists, there was a specific intent -- indispensably aided by ABC News -- to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In my view, and I've written about this several times and in great detail to no avail, the role played by ABC News in this episode is the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade. News of Ivins' suicide, which means (presumably) that the anthrax attacks originated from Ft. Detrick, adds critical new facts and heightens how scandalous ABC News' conduct continues to be in this matter.

During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax -- tests conducted at Ft. Detrick -- revealed that the anthrax sent to Daschele contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since -- as ABC variously claimed -- bentonite "is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program" and "only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons."

ABC News' claim -- which they said came at first from "three well-placed but separate sources," followed by "four well-placed and separate sources" -- was completely false from the beginning. There never was any bentonite detected in the anthrax (a fact ABC News acknowledged for the first time in 2007 only as a result of my badgering them about this issue). It's critical to note that it isn't the case that preliminary tests really did detect bentonite and then subsequent tests found there was none. No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.

That means that ABC News' "four well-placed and separate sources" fed them information that was completely false -- false information that created a very significant link in the public mind between the anthrax attacks and Saddam Hussein. And look where -- according to Brian Ross' report on October 28, 2001 -- these tests were conducted:

And despite continued White House denials, four well-placed and separate sources have told ABC News that initial tests on the anthrax by the US Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have detected trace amounts of the chemical additives bentonite and silica.

Two days earlier, Ross went on ABC News' World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and, as the lead story, breathlessly reported:

The discovery of bentonite came in an urgent series of tests conducted at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and elsewhere.

Clearly, Ross' allegedly four separate sources had to have some specific knowledge of the tests conducted and, if they were really "well-placed," one would presume that meant they had some connection to the laboratory where the tests were conducted -- Ft. Detrick. That means that the same Government lab where the anthrax attacks themselves came from was the same place where the false reports originated that blamed those attacks on Iraq.

It's extremely possible -- one could say highly likely -- that the same people responsible for perpetrating the attacks were the ones who fed the false reports to the public, through ABC News, that Saddam was behind them. What we know for certain -- as a result of the letters accompanying the anthrax -- is that whoever perpetrated the attacks wanted the public to believe they were sent by foreign Muslims. Feeding claims to ABC News designed to link Saddam to those attacks would, for obvious reasons, promote the goal of the anthrax attacker(s).

Seven years later, it's difficult for many people to recall, but, as I've amply documented, those ABC News reports linking Saddam and anthrax penetrated very deeply -- by design -- into our public discourse and into the public consciousness. Those reports were absolutely vital in creating the impression during that very volatile time that Islamic terrorists generally, and Iraq and Saddam Hussein specifically, were grave, existential threats to this country. As but one example: after Ross' lead report on the October 26, 2001 edition of World News Tonight with Peter Jennings claiming that the Government had found bentonite, this is what Jennings said into the camera:

This news about bentonite as the additive being a trademark of the Iraqi biological weapons program is very significant. Partly because there's been a lot of pressure on the Bush administration inside and out to go after Saddam Hussein. And some are going to be quick to pick up on this as a smoking gun.

That's exactly what happened. The Weekly Standard published two lengthy articles attacking the FBI for focusing on a domestic culprit and -- relying almost exclusively on the ABC/Ross report -- insisted that Saddam was one of the most likely sources for those attacks. In November, 2001, they published an article (via Lexis) which began:

On the critical issue of who sent the anthrax, it's time to give credit to the ABC website,, for reporting rings around most other news organizations. Here's a bit from a comprehensive story filed late last week by Gary Matsumoto, lending further credence to the commonsensical theory (resisted by the White House) that al Qaeda or Iraq -- and not some domestic Ted Kaczynski type -- is behind the germ warfare.

The Weekly Standard published a much lengthier and more dogmatic article in April, 2002 again pushing the ABC "bentonite" claims and arguing: "There is purely circumstantial though highly suggestive evidence that might seem to link Iraq with last fall's anthrax terrorism." The American Enterprise Institute's Laurie Mylroie (who had an AEI article linking Saddam to 9/11 ready for publication at the AEI on September 13) expressly claimed in November, 2001 that "there is also tremendous evidence that subsequent anthrax attacks are connected to Iraq" and based that accusation almost exclusively on the report from ABC and Ross ("Mylroie: Evidence Shows Saddam Is Behind Anthrax Attacks").

And then, when President Bush named Iraq as a member of the "Axis of Evil" in his January, 2002 State of the Union speech -- just two months after ABC's report, when the anthrax attacks were still very vividly on the minds of Americans -- he specifically touted this claim:

The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade.

Bush's invocation of Iraq was the only reference in the State of the Union address to the unsolved anthrax attacks. And the Iraq-anthrax connection was explicitly made by the President at a time when, as we now know, he was already eagerly planning an attack on Iraq.

There can't be any question that this extremely flamboyant though totally false linkage between Iraq and the anthrax attacks -- accomplished primarily by the false bentonite reports from ABC News and Brian Ross -- played a very significant role in how Americans perceived of the Islamic threat generally and Iraq specifically. As but one very illustrative example, The Washington Post's columnist, Richard Cohen, supported the invasion of Iraq, came to regret that support, and then explained what led him to do so, in a 2004 Post column entitled "Our Forgotten Panic":

I'm not sure if panic is quite the right word, but it is close enough. Anthrax played a role in my decision to support the Bush administration's desire to take out Saddam Hussein. I linked him to anthrax, which I linked to Sept. 11. I was not going to stand by and simply wait for another attack -- more attacks. I was going to go to the source, Hussein, and get him before he could get us. As time went on, I became more and more questioning, but I had a hard time backing down from my initial whoop and holler for war.

Cohen -- in a March 18, 2008 Slate article in which he explains why he wrongfully supported the attack on Iraq -- disclosed this:

Anthrax. Remember anthrax? It seems no one does anymore -- at least it's never mentioned. But right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, letters laced with anthrax were received at the New York Post and Tom Brokaw's office at NBC. . . . There was ample reason to be afraid.

The attacks were not entirely unexpected. I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip had come in a roundabout way from a high government official, and I immediately acted on it. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.

For this and other reasons, the anthrax letters appeared linked to the awful events of Sept. 11. It all seemed one and the same. Already, my impulse had been to strike back, an overwhelming urge that had, in fact, taken me by surprise on Sept. 11 itself when the first of the Twin Towers had collapsed. . . .

In the following days, as the horror started to be airbrushed -- no more bodies plummeting to the sidewalk -- the anthrax letters started to come, some to people I knew. And I thought, No, I'm not going to sit here passively and wait for it to happen. I wanted to go to "them," whoever "they" were, grab them by the neck, and get them before they could get us. One of "them" was Saddam Hussein. He had messed around with anthrax . . . He was a nasty little fascist, and he needed to be dealt with.

That, more or less, is how I made my decision to support the war in Iraq.

Cohen's mental process that led him to link anthrax to Iraq and then to support an attack on Iraq, warped as it is, was extremely common. Having heard ABC News in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack flamboyantly and repeatedly link Saddam to the anthrax attacks, followed by George Bush's making the same linkage (albeit more subtly) in his January, 2002 State of the Union speech, much of the public had implanted into their minds that Saddam Hussein was not just evil, but a severe threat to the U.S., likely the primary culprit behind the anthrax attacks. All along, though, the anthrax came from a U.S. Government/Army research lab.

Critically, ABC News never retracted its story (they merely noted, as they had done from the start, that the White House denied the reports). And thus, the linkage between Saddam and the anthrax attacks -- every bit as false as the linkage between Saddam and the 9/11 attacks -- persisted.

We now know -- we knew even before news of Ivins' suicide last night, and know especially in light of it -- that the anthrax attacks didn't come from Iraq or any foreign government at all. It came from our own Government's scientist, from the top Army bioweapons research laboratory. More significantly, the false reports linking anthrax to Iraq also came from the U.S. Government -- from people with some type of significant links to the same facility responsible for the attacks themselves.

Surely the question of who generated those false Iraq-anthrax reports is one of the most significant and explosive stories of the last decade. The motive to fabricate reports of bentonite and a link to Saddam is glaring. Those fabrications played some significant role -- I'd argue a very major role -- in propagandizing the American public to perceive of Saddam as a threat, and further, propagandized the public to believe that our country was sufficiently threatened by foreign elements that a whole series of radical policies that the neoconservatives both within and outside of the Bush administration wanted to pursue -- including an attack an Iraq and a whole array of assaults on our basic constitutional framework -- were justified and even necessary in order to survive.

ABC News already knows the answers to these questions. They know who concocted the false bentonite story and who passed it on to them with the specific intent of having them broadcast those false claims to the world, in order to link Saddam to the anthrax attacks and -- as importantly -- to conceal the real culprit(s) (apparently within the U.S. government) who were behind the attacks. And yet, unbelievably, they are keeping the story to themselves, refusing to disclose who did all of this. They're allegedly a news organization, in possession of one of the most significant news stories of the last decade, and they are concealing it from the public, even years later.

They're not protecting "sources." The people who fed them the bentonite story aren't "sources." They're fabricators and liars who purposely used ABC News to disseminate to the American public an extremely consequential and damaging falsehood. But by protecting the wrongdoers, ABC News has made itself complicit in this fraud perpetrated on the public, rather than a news organization uncovering such frauds. That is why this is one of the most extreme journalistic scandals that exists, and it deserves a lot more debate and attention than it has received thus far.

UPDATE: One other fact to note here is how bizarrely inept the effort by the Bush DOJ to find the real attacker has been. Extremely suspicious behavior from Ivins -- including his having found and completely cleaned anthrax traces on a co-worker's desk at the Ft. Detrick lab without telling anyone that he did so and then offering extremely strange explanations for why -- was publicly reported as early as 2004 by The LA Times (Ivins "detected an apparent anthrax leak in December 2001, at the height of the anthrax mailings investigation, but did not report it. Ivins considered the problem solved when he cleaned the affected office with bleach").

In October 2004, USA Today reported that Ivins was involved in another similar incident, in April of 2002, when Ivins performed unauthorized tests to detect the origins of more anthrax residue found at Ft. Detrick. Yet rather than having that repeated, strange behavior lead the FBI to discover that he was involved in the attacks, there was a very public effort -- as Atrios notes here -- to blame the attacks on Iraq and then, ultimately, to blame Steven Hatfill. Amazingly, as Atrios notes here, very few people other than "a few crazy bloggers are even interested" in finding out what happened here and why -- at least to demand that ABC News report the vital information that it already has that will shed very significant light on much of this.

UPDATE II: Ivins' local paper, Frederick News in Maryland, has printed several Letters to the Editor written by Ivins over the years. Though the underlying ideology is a bit difficult to discern, he seems clearly driven by a belief in the need for Christian doctrine to govern our laws and political institutions, with a particular interest in Catholic dogma. He wrote things like this:

Today we frequently admonish people who oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide or capital punishment to keep their religious, moral, and philosophical beliefs to themselves.

Before dispensing such admonishments in the future, perhaps we should gratefully consider some of our country's most courageous, historical figures who refused to do so.

And then there's this rather cryptic message, published in 2006:

Rabbi Morris Kosman is entirely correct in summarily rejecting the demands of the Frederick Imam for a "dialogue."

By blood and faith, Jews are God's chosen, and have no need for "dialogue" with any gentile. End of "dialogue."

It should be noted that the lawyer who had been representing Ivins in connection with the anthrax investigation categorically maintains Ivins' innocence and attributes his suicide to "the relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo."

On a note related to the main topic of the post, macgupta in comments notes the numerous prominent people in addition to those mentioned here -- including The Wall St. Jorunal Editors and former CIA Director James Woolsey -- who insisted rather emphatically from the beginning of the anthrax attacks that Saddam was likely to blame. Indeed, the WSJ Editorial Page -- along with others on the Right such as Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report and Fox News -- continued even into 2007 to insist that the FBI was erring by focusing on domestic suspects rather than Middle Easterners.

The Nation's Michael Massing noted at the time (in November, 2001) that as a direct result of the anthrax attacks, and the numerous claims insinuating that Iraq was behind them, "the political and journalistic establishment suddenly seems united in wanting to attack Iraq." There has long been an intense desire on the neoconservative Right to falsely link anthrax to Saddam specifically and Muslims generally. ABC News was, and (as a result of its inexcusable silence) continues to be, their best friend.

UPDATE III: See this important point from Atrios about Richard Cohen's admission that he was told before the anthrax attacks happened by a "high government official" to take cipro. Atrios writes: "now that we know that the US gov't believes that anthrax came from the inside, shouldn't Cohen be a wee bit curious about what this warning was based on?"

That applies to much of the Beltway class, including many well-connected journalists, who were quietly popping cipro back then because, like Cohen, they heard from Government sources that they should. Leave aside the ethical questions about the fact that these journalists kept those warnings to themselves. Wouldn't the most basic journalistic instincts lead them now -- in light of the claims by our Government that the attacks came from a Government scientist -- to wonder why and how their Government sources were warning about an anthrax attack? Then again, the most basic journalistic instincts would have led ABC News to reveal who concocted and fed them the false "Saddam/anthrax" reports in the first place, and yet we still are forced to guess at those questions because ABC News continues to cover up the identity of the perpetrators.

UPDATE IV: John McCain, on the David Letterman Show, October 18, 2001 (days before ABC News first broadcast their bentonite report):

LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?

MCCAIN: I think we're doing fine . . . I think we'll do fine. The second phase -- if I could just make one, very quickly -- the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may -- and I emphasize may -- have come from Iraq.

LETTERMAN: Oh is that right?

MCCAIN: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

ThinkProgress has the video. Someone ought to ask McCain what "indication" he was referencing that the anthrax "may have come from Iraq."

After all, three days later, McCain and Joe Lieberman went on Meet the Press (on October 21, 2001) and both strongly suggested that we would have to attack Iraq. Lieberman said that the anthrax was so complex and potent that "there's either a significant amount of money behind this, or this is state-sponsored, or this is stuff that was stolen from the former Soviet program."

As I said, it is not possible to overstate the importance of anthrax in putting the country into the state of fear that led to the attack on Iraq and so many of the other abuses of the Bush era. There are few news stories more significant, if there are any, than unveiling who the culprits were behind this deliberate propaganda. The fact that the current GOP presidential nominee claimed back then on national television to have some "indication" linking Saddam to the anthrax attacks makes it a bigger story still.

UPDATE V: I tried to be careful here to avoid accepting as True the matter of Ivins' guilt. Very early on in the article, I framed the analysis this way: "If the now-deceased Ivins really was the culprit behind the attacks, then that means that the anthrax came from a U.S. Government lab," and I then noted in Update II that Ivins' lawyer vehemently maintains his innocence. My whole point here is that the U.S. Government now claims the anthrax attacks came from a Government scientist at a U.S. Army lab, and my conclusions follow from that premise, accepted as true only for purposes of this analysis.

It's worth underscoring that it is far from clear that Ivins had anything to do with the anthrax attacks, and someone in comments claiming (anonymously though credibly) that he knew Ivins personally asserts that Ivins was innocent and makes the case as to why the Government's accusations are suspect. As I see it, the more doubt there is about who was responsible for the anthrax attacks, the greater is the need for ABC News to reveal who fabricated their reports linking the attacks to Iraq.

UPDATE VI: I'll be on Rachel Maddow's radio show tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST to discuss this story. Local listings and live audio feed are here.

Numerous people have advised me in comments and via email that ABC News is deleting any mention of my piece today in the comment section to their article on the Ivins suicide (though many such comments now seem to be posted there). Last year, ABC was in full denial mode when responding to the stories I wrote about this issue. The key here, I think, will be to try to devise the right strategy to induce the right Congressional Committee to hold hearings on the false ABC News stories and the anthrax issue generally. I hope to have more details on that effort shortly.

UPDATE VII: Two prominent journalism professors -- Jay Rosen of NYU and Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University and a practicing journalist for 25 years -- have added their names to the list of people calling on ABC News and Brian Ross to reveal their sources for ABC's false bentonite story that was used to link the anthrax attacks to Iraq. Rosen and Gillmor both write that ABC and Ross should answer three questions which they jointly outline, and they both set forth the reasons, grounded in widely accepted principles of journalistic ethics, as to why ABC and Ross should do so.

Can't wait for the audio

Man calls 911 after Subway left sauce off sandwich

Published: August 4, 2008
Filed at 3:01 p.m. ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Jacksonville police say Reginald Peterson needs to learn that 911 is not the appropriate place to complain that Subway left the sauce off a spicy Italian sandwich.

Police said the 42-year-old man dialed 911 twice last week so he could have his sub made correctly. The second call was to complain that officers weren't arriving fast enough.

Subway workers told police Peterson became belligerent and yelled when they were fixing his order. They locked him out of the store after he left to call police.

When officers arrived, they tried to calm Peterson and explain the proper use of 911. Those efforts failed, and he was arrested on a charge of making false 911 calls.

Peterson did not have a listed phone number.
Information from: The Florida Times-Union,

"My friends, I forgot to put on my pants this morning..."

"I know how to win wars."
John McCain, January 2007

"I am very certain that this military engagement will not be very difficult."
John McCain, September 12, 2002.

"Look, we're going to send young men and women in harm's way and that's always a great danger, but I cannot believe that there is an Iraqi soldier who is going to be willing to die for Saddam Hussein, particularly since he will know that our objective is to remove Saddam Hussein from power."
John McCain, September 15, 2002.

"But the fact is, I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But any military man worth his salt is going to have to prepare for any contingency, but I don't believe it's going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991."
John McCain, September 15, 2002.

"He's a patriot who has the best interests of his country at heart."

John McCain, on Ahmed Chalabi, 2003.

Saw this on our printer

Well, not the whole blog, just the featured picture. I found this article on the pic.

A man of the people

In 1998, the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”) began the process of securing a new facility for documents in Alaska. In 1998 and 1999, Sen. Stevens earmarked more than $1.7 million for a site selection study to determine where in Anchorage NARA’s new archives building would be located. A particular piece of property owned by a group of retired school teachers was selected for the site, but the teachers were never told. Sen. Stevens earmarked more money to purchase the land. At that point, Mr. Rubini and Mr. Hyde bought the land from the teachers and then turned around and sold the land to NARA at a significant profit. Despite the government’s purchase of the land, the new NARA building was never built.

It's not a symbol of slavery - it's a symbol of the bravery of the men who fought to preserve slavery

Battle over Confederate flag hits highways
Yoooge displays along interstates raise old debates over the history of war and slavery.

Despite years of boycotts, schoolyard bans, and banishment from capitol domes, the Southern battle colors are flying, higher than ever.

Indeed, the Tampa Confederate Veterans Memorial and its 139-foot flagpole features one of at least four giant "soldier's flags" flying over bumper-to-bumper interstates in Florida and Alabama. With more planned in Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and possibly South Carolina, the interstate show of force, experts say, highlights the potential backlash from banning nostalgic symbols from the public square.

Unlike the flags that were taken down from the capitol domes in Columbia, S.C. and Tallahassee, Fla., these new auto dealer-sized flags – sewn in China (of course - Ed.) – may be legally untouchable. Raised on private property, the Tampa flag was OK'd by county zoning officials and the Federal Aviation Administration.

This just in: Jon Voight is profoundly developmentally disabled

Jon Voight's Obama Op-Ed: "[He] Falls Short In Every Way"

The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.

Assuming Pfleger et al have a "need to demoralize the country," could the U.S. and A. possibly get much more demoralized than they are already?

Modern Eugenics: how we can cull the herd and save money at the same time

Prescription Data Used To Assess Consumers
Records Aid Insurers but Prompt Privacy Concerns

Health and life insurance companies have access to a powerful new tool for evaluating whether to cover individual consumers: a health "credit report" drawn from databases containing prescription drug records on more than 200 million Americans.

Collecting and analyzing personal health information in commercial databases is a fledgling industry, but one poised to take off as the nation enters the age of electronic medical records. While lawmakers debate how best to oversee the shift to computerized records, some insurers have already begun testing systems that tap into not only prescription drug information, but also data about patients held by clinical and pathological laboratories.

Another way that we, a grateful Nation, can help our Noble Plutocrats through this difficult time of cheap caviar and less lavish pieds-à-terre

Companies Tap Pension Plans To Fund Executive Benefits
Little-Known Move Uses Tax Break Meant For Rank and File
Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2008; Page A1

At a time when scores of companies are freezing pensions for their workers, some are quietly converting their pension plans into resources to finance their executives' retirement benefits and pay.

In recent years, companies from Intel Corp. to CenturyTel Inc. collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.

The practice has drawn scant notice. A close examination by The Wall Street Journal shows how it works and reveals that the maneuver, besides being a dubious use of tax law, risks harming regular workers. It can drain assets from pension plans and make them more likely to fail. Now, with the current bear market in stocks weakening many pension plans, this practice could put more in jeopardy...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

tough times for plutocrats (cont'd)

Rich begin feeling the pain in down economy

They are investing more conservatively, spending less on luxury goods and are being more thrifty with their credit cards. Many are asking their personal shoppers and private-jet travel providers to seek the best deals rather than over-the-top extravagances.

on the plus side, this is the first person he's hit with a bat all season

Elijah Dukes is day-to-day after his leg cramped up during Saturday's game.
Dukes was benched to start the contest after showing up late, but he entered in the sixth. In the eighth, he managed to hit himself in the leg with the bat while grounding out, causing the cramp.

Ozzie - the wisdom and panache...continued

Lots of fights but no first place...and maybe Olivo figured, down what - 8, 9 to nothing - you weren't thinking about come-backs so much:

“Olivo overreacted to the situation,” Guillen said. “I wonder why a guy (plate umpire Tim Timmons) thought we were going to hit the guy with the bases loaded with a pitch in on the hands. This is my 20-something year in the big leagues and I still don’t understand what commonsense they have when they make those decisions.

“I’m not going to bring a guy in that throws 85 miles an hour to hit somebody. I guarantee it. I’ll bring (Octavio) Dotel, I’ll bring (Matt) Thornton. Then I will tell them to throw at them. That’s the way I do business.”