Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Politics: shake-up on Kerry Street?

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Mary Beth Cahill, and I think Kerry has blown lots of opportunities to draw attention to things that matter by talking so damn much about his Viet Nam record (and subsequently, his anti-war record... which no doubt some Bush surrogate group will hit on the head over and over again come late October), and the campaign is pretty sluggish to defend itself properly, it's still not a good omen when these sorts of rumors start going around. I remember when Howard Dean was doing the same thing after Iowa, and we all know how that turned out *cry*.

Politics: idiocy at the RNC

Some jack ass delegates decide to sport band-aids w/ purple hearts drawn on them. That's great. Demean people who get wounded in battle. Good job, 'pubs!

Not that everybody at the convention is an idiot. Bo is there blogging from a PDA or something. He's getting swept up in the moment, but I'll leave him alone for liking his party. Just this once.

Sports: gay reporter blocked from interviewing Paul Hamm

I’m sure the Hamm brothers are very nice. I just wish we gay people were given the same opportunity to find that out.

Cyd Zeigler Jr. is an associate editor of the New York Blade, a gay newspaper. Here's his story of how he was kept from interviewing Paul Hamm, suggesting that the world of sports REALLY has issues with the acceptance of homosexuality.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Politics: every once in a while

even I have to criticize Dems for spinning.

I don't think it's a secret that the Today Show crew aren't exactly big fans of Republicans. Katie Couric kicks ass, and Matt Lauer has taken good notes. So when Bush gave Matt Lauer an exclusive interview today, Lauer went to town. He was hard on George. And I thought George came off as a prick. No surprise. Everytime Matt would say something about "why do you think the world hates our guts now? why did we burn up all that good will after 9/11?" the arrogant prig would respond "'cuz I had to make some hard decisions." Hard decisions? Whatever. Bad decisions. Arrogant decisions. Dangerous decisions. But not hard decisions.

But Bush did say one thing that I thought was smart and honest, and sure, it caught my ear, because it was something very different than he normally says. He admitted that the war on terror could not be won.

Now, he didn't mean we couldn't fight a good fight. He meant that all you can really do is minimize the ability of terrorists to operate. You can't knock terrorists down to zero. But you can minimize their threat, and that might be the equivalent of "winning the war."

But John Edwards, Joseph Biden and co. have TOTALLY JUMPED ON BUSH'S ASS for saying that the war on terror could not be won. Now, it probably wasn't a smart thing to say--but nobody expects Bush to say smart things. We know better. But the guy, for once, was being honest. And what, the Dems punish him for being honest? I mean, come on, guys. The guy never makes any sense, and the one time he says something that does, you pounce him for it? Shoot straight, kids!

Politics: Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va), 2nd most conservative representative, caught in gay phone sex scandal

Gotta love this stuff, it's circulating most of the liberal blogs right now.

“Uh, hi, I weigh 200 pounds, I’m 6′4″ (inaudible) blond hair….very muscular, very buffed up, uh, very tanned, uh, I just like to get together a guy from time to time, just to, just to play. I’d like him to be in very good shape, flat stomach, good chest, good arms, well hung, cut, uh, just get naked, play, and see what happens, nothing real heavy duty, but just, fun time, go down on him, he can go down on me, and just take it from there… hope to hear from you. Bye.”
So this guy was one of the authors of the Federal Marriage Amendment, calling an end to gay marriage. He's the uber-religious right conservative. He resigns over allegations that he's gay, and the above text is from a phone message that fell into the hands of a gay activist. Here's the audio.

This shit is too great.

Politics: Dave Barry on New York as the RNC site

You may be wondering why the Republicans decided to hold their convention in New York. According to an explanation issued by the GOP site-selection committee: "We considered such factors as hotel space, meeting facilities, transportation, and the financial incentives offered by the city. Then we smoked crack."

Politically, New York is very liberal: 68 percent of the city's registered voters are Democratic, with the remaining 32 percent evenly divided between Che Guevara and Mao. It is believed that, at one time, there may have been Republicans in New York City; archeologists have found what appear to be the remains of a primitive golf course under what is now Central Park. But this early GOP settlement was apparently wiped out by what one historian has described as "some kind of terrible catastrophe involving Al Sharpton."

Politics: Kerry's greatest heroism

Here's a fairly intelligent editorial on Kerry's anti-war activity after Viet Nam.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Mountain Dew: Pitch Black

This stuff is great. Only until Halloween.

Check out the website too, it's on CRACK!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Medicine: freaky sci-fi stuff

In what might be a nice poster for stem cell research:

German doctors have given a man the ability to have his first solid meal in nine years, by rowing him a new jaw bone on his back. The 56-year-old German man lost part of his lower jaw to mouth cancer, leaving him with limited ability to eat only soft food and soup for the past nine years. Doctors were able to reconstruct the man's face by growing a new jaw bone for transplantation on the man's back. For the bone graft, doctors constructed a titanium mesh cage and filled it with bone mineral, morphogenetic protein and stem cells from the patient's bone marrow.

Now sure, these aren't embryonic stem cells. But as a general approach, this is some pretty cool medicine that gives a patient back his ability to eat solid food. And that's awesome. This won't be common practice anytime soon, but we gotta start somewhere.

Politics: cyclists arrested at Critical Mass demonstration at RNC

Some 264 cyclists were arrested. Now, Critical Mass has historically been one of the most peaceful, benevolent forms of civil protest in existence. A bunch of people who want cyclists to be recognized as a part of normal traffic all get together and ride around. Sure, it slows traffic some, but if 5,000 people in cars decided to do the same thing, it'd be annoying, but it's not like it's illegal. I mean, I can understand how police might be a little jumpy at the RNC, considering that 95% of the people in this world that don't live in the States disagree with 95% of the things being said at the RNC. But come on! They're riding bikes!

Politics: shameful tactics

The Bush camp tricks are no secret to anybody. I mean, I haven't seen one conservative blogger even try to refute that Bush/Rove played dirty against John McCain, Max Cleland, etc. Now, plenty of conservative bloggers seem to think its just not that big of a deal. I can handle that as fair play: I don't give a flip about what Kerry did or did not do in Cambodia, or if he flip-flopped about whether he wanted mustard or relish on his hot dog campaigning in Podunk last week, and lots of conservatives do. I don't know why they do, and they don't know why I care about the Bush camp trashing people who got shot at for their country (damn effective strategy, apparently). So we'll just have to agree to disagree on some things.

But it's nice to see that even Bob Dole, hardly a Kerry-lover, thinks Bush campaign tactics are piss-poor.

Politics: the first twins

Maybe I'm alone here, but I miss Chelsea. A lot.

Politics: you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone

The Bush daughters are planning on attending a gay wedding.

How can the administration continue the fight against homosexuality when the children of the administration, the generation that will soon lead this country, has moved on? The truth is, they can’t. Eventually, right outsmarts might. And in these final moments, one can practically picture the blond and buxom Jenna Bush sticking her tongue out at her father and saying, “I’m going anyway, Dad. And you can’t stop me.”


Assholes: insensitivity paraphenalia

Which is sicker?

this toy, depicting a plane flying into the twin towers
the Wack the Iraq game?

Friday, August 27, 2004

Politics: more Kerry on the Daily Show

Here's a USA Today editorial on Kerry's aim (and success at that aim) on the Daily Show: to just get himself "out there."

Glass: McKinley Moore

A buddy of mine, Ken Moore, blows glass. And he's damn good at it. Like professional. Like if you have money, you should give it to him. Check out some his stuff here and here.

Police Abuse: 2 cigs for a blowjob?

A Jefferson Co., KY (that's Louisville, to you outsiders) sheriff deputy is suspended for trading two cigarettes for a blowjob from a female inmate. Apparently they hopped from cell to cell so they wouldn't get picked up on the security camera (that's what the article says, I don't get it either). And the inmate claims she isn't the only one he's made similar deals with.

Nice abuse of power, asshole.

Sports: Big Ben has emergency appendectomy

But he's doing fine and will be back in time for training camp Oct 4.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Politics: John Kerry on The Daily Show

Link via Bo, though obviously not the commentary.

Kerry wasn't funny, but I left that clip feeling like Kerry talked straight. Which is a smart thing, because the 18-34 demographic just doesn't go for the mixed metaphors and empty abstract ideas that fill political rhetoric on both sides. This appearance won't go down in the books beside the Bill Clinton playing sax on Arsenio Hall incident, but Kerry certainly established himself as a clear choice from his opponent.

And as far as John Stewart obviously working with a liberal slant, come on kids. As long as Fox News is on the air, the Right can shut their collective pieholes about the liberal mainstream media. One episode of the O'Reilly Factor out-biases an entire day's worth of NPR, CNN, and the New York Times combined.

Film: two tidbits

First off, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World must be the most overrated movie ever. The giant tortoises the crew sees on the Galapagos Islands can waddle faster than the movie's plot develops. And not to be heartless, but I couldn't give a shit when anybody died. Seriously, I saw Dodgeball last night, and I think those characters were much more loveable. The only bright spot in MaC:FSotW is Paul Bettany as the ship's surgeon/naturalist. Unlike in A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe's character is so flat and devoid of any appreciable human conflict (wah! wah! i have to show the men discipline!) that Bettany's character overwhelms him. For more fun w/ Bettany, you might want to check out his performance as Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight's Tale, by no means a great piece of cinema, but an underrated comedy at least.

Second, a group of scientists polled chose Blade Runner as the best sci-fi movie ever. Great call. Blade Runner is Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford at their best, and so many movies before and after have emulated the theme (including other renditions of Philip K. Dick fiction), and failed evoke the so-near-but-so-far-away presence of barely-futurisic BR Los Angeles.

Politics: O'Reilly idiocy watch

Courtesy of Oliver Willis.

Wild Bill mixes politics with Olympics, and makes a full of himself:

In other countries, the emphasis on self-reliance has been beaten down by nanny states and entitlement cultures. Just take a look at Australia and Canada, for example. The Aussies have 20 million people to draw from. Canada has 30 million. Yet the Aussies have 35 Olympic medals, Canada just five.
"Talking Points" believes this is reflective of the systems in those countries. Australia is a place where self-reliance is emphasized and competition is celebrated. Canada has become increasingly socialistic, as big government programs ensure everyone is marginally taken care of. I may be wrong here, but I see the entitlement culture as a force against self-discipline and motivation.
Willis makes the following observations:

2002 Winter Olympics:

Canada 17 medals

Australia 2

All Time Winter Olympics:

Canada: 96 medals

Australia: 4 medals

So, what can we conclude?
2. Bill O'Reilly is an idiot.

Willis, an employee of MMFA, is a wonderful, wonderful blogger.

Politics: absurd media

Here's an interesting article from a Canadian perspective on why Kerry's appearance on the Daily Show is the sort of coverage a candidate now needs to establish legitimacy in a sea of illegitimate media sources.

Derby gets his first bath in Michigan Posted by Hello

Medicine: the Roman Catholic Church makes me want to smoke crack

Celiac Sprue is a condition where the person who suffers from it experiences extremely bad symptoms after ingesting gluten, which can be found in many foods, namely ones that contain wheat. This isn't something ultra-rare or anything, though usually I believe it develops/is found later in life.

Halle, an 8-year old girl, suffers from Celiac Sprue.

But the archdiocese of Trenton, NJ says her first communion isn't valid, because her wafer contained rice, insead of the church mandated wheat.

Well, I guess at least she'll go to heaven after her intestinal epithelia is destroyed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Politics: dropping like flies

At this rate, there won't be anybody left in the Bush campaign. A Bush lawyer resigns now. Nope, no coordination. Nope. Nope. Nope. Wouldn't stoop to that level. NosirreeBob.

Politics: John Kerry: Stop Whining and Take the Fight to Bush

This is a great editorial on Kerry's tactics, or more, what he needs to be doing instead of piddling around about Viet Nam.

Sports: Brian Smith going to Ole Miss

Brian Smith, the third basketball playing son of UK coach Tubby Smith, is headed to Mississippi. I'm sure he would have been welcome to come to his papa's school, but after the way the state of Kentucky (wrongly!) persecuted Saul Smith during his tenure at UK, I don't blame the kid for staying the hell out of dodge.

Politics: Bush lawyer tied to Swift Boat group

No coordination? We'll see. Maybe nothing that can be legally fingered as coordination, but when there are that many guys on Bush's rolodex involved with this thing, it's hard for the party of Mighty Max to buy it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Politics: why should the states decide?

Bush wants an amendment banning gay marriage, with a loophole to let civil unions and the such be legal on a state by state basis. John Kerry and Edwards and even Dick Cheney, proving that he has some humanity, want the states to decide.

Why is this a federal-vs-states rights issue and not a human rights issue? Why does the Church get to tell the State who it can say is married?

If we have a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between and a man and a woman, allowing potentially for civil unions that, for legal purposes, are equal to marriages (except for the gender differences of the participants), then we have an amendment that is pure semantics. It has no PRACTICAL consequence, ONLY a semantic one, to not offend those whose religiosity defines marriage as between a man and a wife. Now sure, maybe the Founding Fathers put a few God references in the constitution in between bonking their slaves and stuff like that, and maybe some of them thought that they were good Christians and maybe even thought of the Bible as an absolute. But it is not in the best interest of anyone for the State to behave on those assumptions. If the State can choose a religion or religious tradition to base its policy upon, it can also change that religion. And so while it might sound great to the Christians if Bible-fearing nutcases take over the government, they'll be sweating it 200 years from now when Bokononism becomes the new State religion, and all the Christians are executed on the Hook. You'd think watching the Middle East conflicts would show the Christians of America that theocracies are dangerous, not for when they are doing the Will of God, but for when someone not interested in the Will of God pushes the "good" people out of the way and abuses power. This isn't revolutionary thought.

I'm no Islamic scholar, so if what I say now is wrong, forgive me. But, I don't think the Islamic community, on the whole, is as fractionated as the Christian community. Sure, a Bible-thumper might lead the country, but is he Catholic? Presbyterian? Baptist? I mean, there are some SERIOUS differences of policy that could come out of partipants of those faiths having too much power. While there might be some common Christian values that permeate our society, the specifics, things like Constitutional amendments aimed at establishing a semantic definition of a religious rite manifested into public policy for legal protection of the parties that enter into it, get messy really really really fast. I mean, sure, there's Sunnis and Shiites and all that stuff that I know little to nothing about. But those differences are big, big enough that I don't think those people work together all that much. But Christian denominations are really good at thinking they all believe the same sorts of things, until they really sit down at a table and start hammering out their irreconcilable differences. They all reference God as the same God. But the way they know God differs widely.

So why should the states decide? Why do small concentrations of the socially ignorant get to tell those that live within the same borders as they who they can (legally) sleep with? Why doesn't somebody besides Ralph Nader stand up and say that our country isn't in the business of arbitrarily limiting the freedoms of those who live here?

Why can't people mind their own business, and not worry about whether someone's life partner, who happens to be the same gender as he or she, gets to be present at the end-of-life? Why can't a woman draw another woman's pension, when they have functioned as a family their entire lives? Why is it so terrible that people do what is natural to them if it isn't hurting anybody else? Sure, a natural born killer can't be let loose. But a guy who wants to walk in the park holding the hand of another guy instead of a girl isn't hurting anybody. He isn't corrupting my children. He isn't molesting them. He isn't trying to recruit them into something hateful or destructive. He's trying to be himself. And that's all any of us should be trying to do.

Monday, August 23, 2004

how to keep a dog occupied forever: stick a treat inside hard rubber! Posted by Hello

Politics: anti-gay marriage proposal won't be on Michigan ballot

Despite getting more than enough signatures, a Michigan state board voted, on party lines, not to put the proposal on the ballot in the Fall because they were worried it would affect same-sex partner benefits (which are a HUGE issue at the U).


Film: say it ain't so

I admit, I grew up a Star Wars nerd. Somewhere in my teenage years, I bailed out when I realized what exactly that meant, and how much money it might take to maintain the hobby.

But I was still thrilled when Lucas announced episodes 1-3. About time, my dad had been telling me about the 9-episode saga since the early 80's. But then they came out, and Lucas just isn't the storyteller we once thought he was.

So now, bluelemur has semi-credible evidence that episodes 7-9 might indeed be on their way. I don't understand how, given the complex universe that has been developed by the freaks who've written all those books that are just above fan fic--and I can say that, since I read a dozen of them or so. Hopefully George will let the sleeping dog lie.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Politics: signs of the apocalypse

Even every Dem's favorite wanker, Bill O'Reilly, thinks the Swift Boat Veterans are out of line. Though still a partisan editorial, Bill shows a few shreds of dignity I never knew he might have. I wouldn't jump the gun too quickly though.

Politics: Kerry's new ad - straight for the jugular

Is the Bush campaign guilty of coordination w/ the Swift Boat Veterans? It wouldn't be hard to believe, given what he and his campaign cronies have pulled off in the past.

Check this out. Straight from every Dem's favorite Donkey, John McCain. I mean, does anybody question the crap the Bush campaign pulled on McCain in 2000? The push-polling and such? Is there any doubt about this stuff? I think it's been all very well documented. Though I'm sure someone will say "show me," to which I say, "Is your Google broken?"

And does anybody else wonder why McCain was campaigning for Bush in Arizona and New Mexico and the such? I mean, this guy was a potential Kerry VP pick! Is it really dems vs. pubs anymore, or is Bush and his supporters vs. everybody else on the planet?

One thing for sure. This is going to be the nastiest election in anyone's memory.

Politics: only in Kentucky

At the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, there's a foot-and-a-half tall head from a damaged statue of Saddam Hussein on display. Craziness.

Politics: Michelle Malkin is an idiot

First, she wrote a book called "In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror," which, at time of posting, was no. 6 on Amazon's selling list. I'm pretty sure most intelligent individuals and even sixth grade social studies textbooks get that internment in WWII wasn't a good thing. Now, I haven't read the book, and maybe this chick is smarter than me. But somehow, I really really really doubt it. And here's some decent proof:

She goes on Hardball and tries to spread the rumor (using the FoxNews "some people say" method) that John Kerry shot himself on purpose to get the wounds for his Purple Heart. This link contains the Quicktime video as proof--I wouldn't believe it either without seeing it. Chris Matthews tears her apart. Actually, he feeds her a grenade and watches it explode in her stomach.

This is AMAZING. Oh my God, go watch this clip.

Politics: what rules?

The United States Olympics Committee is questioning the referencing of the Olympics in a Bush-Cheney ad. From the article:

An act of Congress, last revised in 1999, grants the USOC exclusive rights to such terms as "Olympic," derivatives such as "Olympiad" and the five interlocking rings. It also specifically says the organization "shall be nonpolitical and may not promote the candidacy of an individual seeking public office."
Now, how ambiguous is that, really? It's a little absurd, granted, but it's still law, and the Bush campaign seems to be giving the law the middle finger since it refuses to pull the ads. Imagine that. The Bush campaign says that the law only protects the USOC's ability to make profit off the terms and symbols, and since they aren't selling anything, they're ok. The rest of the law isn't written in the article (if there is a rest of the law), but that seems like a pretty out-of-nowhere interpretation to me.

Politics: web of connections

insomnia strikes again.

While this can easily be written off as a mistake of a low-ranking but overzealous individual in the Bush camp, apparently Swift Boat vets materials were being distributed at the Bush-Cheney headquarters in Gainesville. The Bush-Cheney headquarters in that county is also the Republican headquarters, but still. This is a screw-up that doesn't look too good either way.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Wowsers: the greatest website ever

Like seriously. A friend of mine got a call today from Mr. Belding of Saved by the Bell congratulating him on a new job. How cool is that?

Politics: getting messy

Mr. McClellan needs to understand that John Kerry is not the type of leader who will sit and read `My Pet Goat' to a group of second graders while America is under attack.
That's what Stephanie Cutter said when McClellan accused Kerry of "losing his cool" over the Swift Boat ads. Wow, that's harsh.

Politics: Kerry-Edwards filing complaint w/ FEC

Apparently the new Swift Boat Nut-Jobs ad takes Kerry quotes from the 70's entirely out of context and manipulates them into things they really aren't. Imagine that! The complaint alleges that Swift Boat Wankers are coordinating w/ Bush-Cheney, which doesn't seem all that impossible, given that Bush won't even denounce these guys, whom no one of any credibility gives any bit of credence.

Also, the CNN quickvote shows that (at time of linking) 68% of people think the Swift Boat group is not working independently. And CNN polls, though not scientific, tend to reflect the general population fairly consistently.

Medicine: taking down the Gunners

Joe Wright occasionally does pieces for all things considered. I met the guy when I interviewed at HMS, and he's exceptionally nice and genuine. His latest piece on Gunners is worth a listen.

Politics: a serious problem with reality

The NJ college prof who has been claiming he was a lover of Golan Cipel was arrested for impersonating an FBI agent. This guy seems to be a nut-case, and maybe Cipel is a straight dude after all.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Politics: war vitriol from me

My mother just called and told me that her PCP was just called back to active duty (he went to medical school after leaving the military). So let me get this straight--this guy is worth more to the military than he is to his patients? Is he not "serving his country" by practicing a primary care medical field?

And while federal law protects people who are called up from losing their jobs when they come back to civilian life, physicians build up a practice, and if they leave, so does their practice. If his patients get settled with a new PCP, they'll likely stay where they are, because people get sick of changing doctors all the time. So what does he have to come back to? Federal law isn't going to make his patients come back to him.

Maybe I'm just sick of the consequences of fighting a war I never wanted to begin with.

Politics: NJ soap opera

The college professor who came forward yesterday claiming to have been Golan Cipel's lover has even more to say in today's New York Daily News. The highlights: Cipel is still in love with McGreevey, and is in Israel not to visit his family, but in case extortion charges are brought against him.

Of course, this guy also would only speak to reporters in Spanish because he hates the United States so much. So don't think I'm reporting this guy's claims as facts (or saying that they aren't), but it at least thickens the plot.

Cipel, to no suprise, still denies he's gay.

Politics: Swift Boat Liars

The Washington Post got a hold of some of Larry Thurlow's (one of the head honchos of the nut-job Swift Boat group) military records, and it seems like he's full of shit.

Here's Kerry's response to the whole episode, which he gave this morning at some firefighter convention thing:

Over the last week or so, a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has been attacking me. Of course, this group isn't interested in the truth -- and they're not telling the truth. They didn't even exist until I won the nomination for president. But here's what you really need to know about them. They're funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Republican contributor out of Texas. They're a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won't denounce what they're up to tells you everything you need to know -- he wants them to do his dirty work. Thirty years ago, official Navy reports documented my service in Vietnam and awarded me the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Thirty years ago, this was the plain truth. It still is. And I still carry the shrapnel in my leg from a wound in Vietnam. As firefighters you risk your lives every day. You know what it's like to see the truth in the moment. You're proud of what you've done -- and so am I. Of course, the president keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that. Well, if he wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: 'Bring it on.' I'm not going to let anyone question my commitment to defending America -- then, now, or ever. And I'm not going to let anyone attack the sacrifice and courage of the men who saw battle with me. And let me make this commitment today: their lies about my record will not stop me from fighting for jobs, health care, and our security -- the issues that really matter to the American people.

I'm surprised how absolutely direct Kerry is about linking Bush to the Swift Boat group. I mean, has anything smelled so much like Karl Rove as the Swift Boat controversy?

And what exactly of this will the public buy? Will veterans care--most of them hate the guy for being anti-war after coming back to the states? Will moderates notice the page torn from the Karl Rove election survival manual? Or will people simply vomit about hearing about 3 purple hearts, the bronze star, the silver star... zzz...zz...z...?

Or will we fade into this simple formula: if the economy does well in September - November, Bush wins; if it does poorly, Kerry wins. Or throw in the possibility of a terror attack, which could lead to a) we need the cowboy to protect us for four more years, or b) the cowboy is clueless, give us somebody else. I really doubt that anything else other than late summer economic activity or a massive terrorist attack will have any bearing on this election whatsoever.

Politics: Jim Bunning is getting old and senile

No kidding. Apparently the guy is asking police in Paducah, KY for extra bodyguards to protect against an Al Qaeda terrorist attack. This is very funny, especially after Bunning said his democratic opponent Dan Mongiardo looked like Odai and Qusai, the dead sons of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Maybe he thinks his democratic challenger Dr. Dan (an Eastern Kentucky physician of Italian heritage) is plotting a terrorist attack against him? First link from Bluegrassroots.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Politics: Cipell caught in a lie?

Golan Cipell, NJ Governor Jim McGreevey's cuddle buddy, has been playing the "I'm a straight guy who got harrassed by the queer powerful guy" card. Most of that statement may or may not be true, but at least the part about him being straight seems to be apocryphal, as a NJ college prof is claiming to be Cipell's ex-gay lover.

Politics: Who would Jesus vote for?

a donkey or an elephant? would he be anti-choice, anti-gay rights, and anti-social welfare programs? no way to tell. I'm pretty sure Paul would vote straight elephant. Anyway, this article is at least moderately interesting, and points out that there are some liberal churchgoers in even the most conservative of places. glad to see i wasn't totally alone.

Wowsers: Silly string banned in Los Angeles

10-0 Council Vote. Crazy stuff.

Politics: a dangerous, costly mess

From the beginning of the conflict, it was doubtful that we for long would be seen as liberators, but instead increasingly as an occupying force. Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world.
That from retiring Republican Nebraska representative Doug Bereuter in a letter to his constituents. Bereuter is a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Sick Jerks: what's that salty stuff the dentist is using?

I'll give you nothing more than the headline here: Dentist Loses License in Semen Case. Enter at your own risk.

Sports: Griffey going under the knife, expected back for 2005.

Sure. Didn't we hear that in 2002, 2003, and 2004?

Politics: hasta la vista, teacher tax relief

My mother is a kindergarten teacher, and she forks over tons of money for supplies in her classroom in a school that is well about 50% free-lunch. Apparently in California, teachers were at least given some tax relief for this sort of spending. Not now, says the Governator. Cutting teacher benefits also seems to be a favorite pasttime of Kentucky's Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, who has done a great job deep-sixing my mother's supplemental health insurance. So, we can cut taxes for CEOs, who are paid very well, and pass them down to teachers, who aren't. Great idea guys! Maybe the teachers can get part time jobs on all your yachts to make ends meet.

Politics: you know your military is spread too thin when

you have to call 57-year-old partially deaf cancer patients back to active duty, and it isn't some sort of mistake.

Medicine: VA beats managed care in diabetes outcomes

A nationally funded health-care system can provide excellent quality of care. The VA has instituted system-wide standards, integrated care, and a way to track and monitor how their patients are doing. Other organizations can learn from the VA
and how they achieved their quality improvements over the last 10 years.

~Eve Kerr, MD. VA Ann Arbor~

Praise for the VA system is always fun.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Right-Wing Nut-Job Alert: Keyes wants to exempt African American from taxes

From Blue Lemur/Chicago Tribune, the right-wing nut-job Illinois Senate candidate cites the Roman empire for his latest nut-job idea: “When a city had been devastated [in the Roman empire], for a certain length of time–a generation or two–they exempted the damaged city from taxation.” Right. Keyes, a brilliant nut-job, though a nut-job all the same, points out that African American employees would be attractive for employers for their tax-free status, and would still have to pay Social Security, since it isn't really a tax (he says).

Should we start making Spitzer/Obama 2008 signs?

picture by Aashoo Posted by Hello

Medicine: let's get on with it

"In 10 years, a child with a spinal cord injury may be able to walk — if we start now,"

"Advances in stem cell research are being held hostage by the extreme right... This is emotional. This is about our future, our children, our parents, and we cannot let ideology determine our future."

A fair article calling for stem-cell research, in that it actually identifies a handful of reasons why the right is ignorant of the issue.

Entertainment: the Happy Prole

Apparently Oprah has been selected for jury dury in a murder trial. Read the article for some nice class warfare.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Politics: McGreevey's approval rating doesn't suffer

This is nuts. Apparently his approval is actually up two points, not that it was amazingly high to begin with. Several interesting tidbits in this article.

the dumbest olympic event ever has to be

synchronized diving. though i haven't seen trampolining yet.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

classes start tomorrow

sign that this year is going to be miserable: first day of classes starts at 7:00 a.m.

and thus concludes the last free summer of my life. glad i got that whole getting hitched thing out of the way now.

Politics: the Governator on Kerry

"I promised myself that in this campaign I would never talk negative about him, because he's a terrific human being," Schwarzenegger said. "I just happen to have a different political philosophy."
Here's the rest of the article, mostly on whether foreign-born citizens should be allowed to run for president.

Derby's full-time job. Posted by Hello

Sports: Wolverines debut at no. 8

in the first AP poll.

Medicine: video game teaches nutrition to food stampers

Apparently some ppl at MSU have designed a series of video games for people on federal food assistance to learn about nutrition, storing food, how to buy it cheapest, etc. I think this is a fabulous idea for educating people on how to make the most of what little they have, and I hope projects like this get funded like crazy in the future.

Garrett Quote of the Day

"A total lack of plot is much better than a shitty plot."
~in defense of the Friday the 13th movies we've been watching lately

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Phish: they just got out of their cars... and walked

Phish's farewell concert(s) are going on right now up in Vermont, and apparently the place was too muddy to handle any more cars, so police set up roadblocks and started sending people away, but apparently 6,000 people just got out of their cars and walked to the concert some 12 miles away. This is quite an appropriate addition to the mythology of that wonderful thing that has been Phish.

Medicine: Woman jailed for smoking around kids

This is awesome. As part of the custody deal, this woman was barred by a judge from smoking around her kids. She did, and got ten days for it. "But this violates my rights!" Wah Wah Wah. I will be happy someday when the only rights that smokers have is to smoke in little airtight cubbyholes and forced to take a shower and launder their stinkyshit clothes right after.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Politics: oh those slurs were just jokes

Jerome Corsi, a co-author of Unfit for Command, published by those wacky Swift Boat Vets for Truth nutjobs, apparently has been busy on the ultra-conservative FreeRepublic bulletin board, smattering homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim and anti-Semetic comments around. This article has the whole story, and samples of some of the posts this asshole has written.

Medicine: kids without insurance miss visits

Not to overstate the obvious, but here's a report on how uninsured children do not get the doctor's visits they need. And apparently plenty of kids are eligible for Medicaid and their parents simply don't know it.

Politics: GOP wants NJ Gov out NOW!!!

So McGreevey tells everybody he's a "gay American," has apparently been having an affair with some Israeli artist guy while his wife sits at home with their two-year-old wondering what happened, and so he resigns his post.

Here's the 'Pub spin I've seen so far: McGreevey was corrupt, so he's using his sexual orientation and affair (hardly something that would force a governor to resign by itself) as a way of getting out of office before other shit hits the fan.

McGreevey says he was being threatened with blackmail, and that the scandals that would likely arise from his extramarital activities would cripple his administration's ability to get anything done.

Plenty of people in his administration, apparently, have been linked with various scandalish type things. And the GOP is pissed because McGreevey's resignation is effective in November. If he resigned before Sept 15, a new election would happen. Obviously, the dude who is replacing him is a Democrat, and with a scandal by a democrat in office, a 'Pub could prolly win the election by pointing to 'corruption, corruption, corruption... and, um, gay sex'. The GOP is doing all it can to force McGreevey out before Sept 15, with a thinly legitimate claim that it's not fair to the people of NJ to have a lame quacking governor for three months.

But the GOP has two options: first, link McGreevey to a scandal other than being gay or unfaithful, which is his business, not theirs; or, second, shut up. You lost the election, and you can't force the dude out without some sort of legitimate impeachment. You can't recall him and replace him with Mel Gibson or something, simply because by the time you got the election together and spent a few 100 million bucks of taxpayer's money, it'd be November anyway. So shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Liberals have a million reasons already to think that the mass of the GOP is anti-gay. Don't confirm our fears with a witchhunt you can't win.

Update: Cipell is now alleging that McGreevey was pulling some serious sexual harassment on him.

olympics: crossing fingers

I know the IOC has bragged like crazy on Athens getting their crap together, but here's hoping that terrorists can chill for the next two weeks. Maybe it's the Classics background, or just being an idealist at heart, but dude, the Olympics. Come on. For those of you that are shocked that there's no partisan spin here, Cheers!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Politics: Bush on affirmative action, legacies in admissions

This has been pretty widely published, but Bush made it very clear the other day that he feels that college admissions should be based on merit. He didn't steer very clear of insinuations that his own Yale days might have been the result of his family's history w/ the university.

Merit. What does that mean? The proposed Ronald Reagan university (that Nancy axed) was supposedly not going to admit students with SAT scores under 1400. The Right seems to want numbers, objectivity in a subjective process. There are of course a few good ways to argue against such a proposal. First, who is smarter (on average): a white kid whose parents can afford SAT classes who gets a 1420, or a black kid whose parents are poor and scores a 1340. Now, of course every white kid isn't rich (I wasn't--my 1550 wasn't the result of expensive preparation, but probably a result of parents who wanted their kid to do better than they had), and every black kid definitely isn't poor. But still, on a demographic level, these trends exist.

But aren't we eventually going to start seeing race as merit in itself? Isn't their something meritorious about having a different culture? Not like being from Laos is some sort of bonus point that makes Laosdude inherently more valuable, but isn't it valuable to the other students to have a diversity of world-view around them?

So for once, I agree with President Bush. Admissions should be based on merit. But I don't think that he and I would agree on what "merit" is.

Now, is the affirmative action system broken? Somewhat. Was Michigan's admissions policy "fair" to all involved? Not entirely. Is there a better way to promote diversity in colleges? There are other ways, but none seem drastically more effective or fair than current approaches.

I would personally like to replace the current race-based admissions with socioeconomic-based admissions. One of the greatest criticisms of current affirmative action systems is that rich minority kids who have all the advantages of rich white kids get more preferential treatment than is probably warranted. So, instead of race, look at pocketbooks. Minorities tend to have a little less in their bank accounts than whities, and some of their potential as students is undoubtedly masked by this disadvantage. While I'm sure it's harder to be rich and black than it is to be rich and white, it seems a little harder to be poor and white than it does to be rich and black.

Politics: Heimleich Maneuver

Link from Instapundit: Here's a pretty humorous article about the friendship of John Kerry and former U.S. Sen. Chic Hecht (R-Nevada). Apparently Kerry stepped off an elevator in '88 to find a choking Hecht and successfully Heimlich'ed him. And there still seems to be some pleasant warmth.

This might sound weird, but it almost makes me feel good that John McCain can be such good friends w/ Kerry and still plug for Bush. It gives me hope that there is some humanity in politics. That these are human beings with real opinions and real psychology who are not just pawns of lobbyists and donors and get-the-vote ideologists.

Evil Empire: The end of Toys'R'Us?

Apparently, Walmart is killing more than mom and pop stores. Anybody know of a good giraffe rescue?

Politics: Porter Goss, foot in mouth

Apparently Michael Moore (or apparently some of his cronies) got an interview w/ Porter Goss while working on Fahrenheit. And Goss has some pretty interesting things to say about his qualifications for a job in the CIA, i.e. that he couldn't get a job nowadays with the CIA, siting deficiencies in his cultural/language and technical skills.

Now, it seems to me Goss is talking about being a CIA-JamesBondesque spy or whatever, and not being a suit up top. I haven't read enough about the guy to say either way, except he's got an impressive resume. He also sounded like an arrogant prick in a speech I heard him give on NPR, the same "nobody needs to like us as long as we can kick their ass" rhetoric the current administration uses so well to promote senseless blind nationalism.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Ann Arbor: Freecycle

On All Things Considered the other day, a segment focused on Freecycling, which basically matches up people who have crap they don't want and people who want their crap, all for free. The NPR segment followed an Ann Arbor Freecycler (AA is listed on the website as one of the most active freecycling communites) who was giving up a diving suit she had back in her closet, and apparently freecycling helped her find some random woman whose son wanted to snorkel or something. But anyway, the Freecycling listings are fun to browse, and you might even be able to unload some crap (or get somebody to unload their crap on you). The website is for general freecycling, the Ann Arbor specific portion is linked on the front page.

Medicine: evil drug companies redux

Eli Lilly has a new cash cow: Cymbalta (duloxetine). Lilly is still sore about losing its patent protection (and tons'o'cash) for Prozac back in 2001. This one, like Effexor, is a "dual reuptake" inhibitor, meaning it affects synaptic transmission of serotonin and norepinephrine. Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft are all selective reuptake inhibitors for serotonin. Does this make the drug better? Nobody has a clue why antidepressants work. I mean, there are accepted theories. But the direct links between physiology and perception of mood are shoddy as hell.

Here's a Cymbalta conspiracy theory website (take it for what it's worth) I found on Google. Some of this website's claims look pretty legitimate, some manipulative and pretty ignorant of medicine.

As a Paxil-user, I'll say this: the stuff saved my life. That might imply that some of my own problems have had a strong physiological component that was somewhat correctable through SSRI use. But who knows. The bottomline is, these are good drugs. The line right under the bottomline is, the industry that produces and distributes these drugs is also responsible for some serious exploitation of the mental health of human beings. And it's fairly disgusting.

Sports: too good to be true

despite having his most effective season as a Red, Griffey Jr. will be out the rest of the year w/ a torn hamstring. Griff should be rehabbed in time for spring training so he can get hurt yet again.

Medicine: Britain OKs embryo cloning for stem-cell research

Britain granted its first license for human cloning Wednesday, more than three years after becoming the first nation to authorize the technique to produce stem cells for medical research. A team of researchers at Newcastle University hope eventually to create insulin-producing cells that could be transplanted into diabetic patients.
Yup. Cloning embryos. Test-tube olympics. I dunno about you, but my sense of human decency is pretty well intact. And possibly, for the first time since this country was founded, the United States is going to be on the dull edge of what might be a sort of medical revolution akin to the discovery of antibiotics. Don't worry, there are plenty British universities who won't mind America's best and brightest taking jobs in their country and leaving the red tape to the land of the red states.

Politics: coordinating FBI-CIA softball games

and other duties of the new intelligence chief, according to the Onion.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Pop Culture: Sunni debate

not the Muslims. the gummi bear.

Courtney and I found this site while we were debating whether Sunni Gummi was a child or an adult (the official word--teenager). I said child, she said adult, yet she says that I'm not right. Though I'm pretty damn sure Sunni is a kid, and I won. If I won, we went to Taco Bell. If she won, we went to Subway. We're going to Subway anyway since I'd prefer to not be a fat hoss for the rest of my life, but if you agree that Sunni is a kid, please leave a comment.

So this site, yeah, it has like fraggles and knight rider and stuff. It rocks.

Politics: can of worms

The EU says the Sudan situation isn't genocide. U.S. Congress says it is. And Sudan says if anybody messes with them, they're declaring holy war. Now hunger, disease, hepatitis. Estimated 100,000 out of their homes. Numbers killed around 5,000 if you're the Sudanese gov't, or 30-50k if you're not. The UN says Darfur has 3 weeks to shape up before sanctions hit. Damn this is getting messy.

Politics: those wacky Wisconsiners

The Janesville, WI sheriff thinks the Kerry campaign should be paying his overtime for protection during the candidate's visit to his town. According to this article, another town in western Wisconsin sent a bill to the Bush campaign for a May visit. I'm all for creative budget solutions and all, but if I remember Janesville, Wisconsin for any reason (not likely), I'll remember it for fiscal idiocy.

Pop Culture: the Family Guy returns

Looks like Fox is bringing back The Family Guy.

Politics: Franks takes the heat for "Mission Accomplished"

Retired general Tommy Franks says Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" because he "asked him to."

"I wanted to get the phase of military operation over as quickly as I could, because a lot of countries on this planet had said as soon as that major stuff is over, we'll come in and help with all of the peacekeeping," Franks said.
I dunno if I buy that, but I guess when you're retired, it doesn't matter much if extreme political arrogance is your fault.

Blogging: Top Fives

Gotta plug for my wife. Courtney's devoted her livejournal to Top Five lists, vis a vis Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. Monday's list: Top 5 Monkeys. Don't ask. Everyone needs a way to express his or herself.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Laura runs her mouth about stem-cells

I understand that some people have quasi-legitimate beefs about stem-cell research, but I find most anti-stem cell arguments to be irrelevant, unsophisticated, and positively ignorant of science and the history thereof. Case in point--Laura Bush:

"We don't even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything — much less that it's very close" to yielding major advances, Bush said.

Good call, Laura. That's why scientists and physicians spend many years and billions of dollars doing research. But the fact of the matter is, stem-cells have some mega potential. And while we dick around about what cell lines scientists can use, people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and diabetes et al. are suffering like crazy. And maybe, just maybe, they won't need to suffer come five, ten, twenty, fifty years from now.

dissent in Oakland County

An Oakland County exec reversed his refusal to fly flags at half-staff to honor troops killed while on active duty, after saying that it "politicized the war on terror and promoted opposition to it." So, by ignoring the reality of war, that people die while fighting, he was somehow doing something good? Showing respect to the fallen is politicizing? Politicizing how? Is it liberal to be respectful? Conservative?

I have no clue if John Kerry was a war hero or a war wanker. But I think it's pretty clear the guy almost got blown up or shot a handful of times. And while that doesn't necessarily make him some sort of military strategic genius, it would at least (hopefully) make him think twice about sending kids who love their country into harm's way. And I wish Kerry would approach his campaign messages with that sort of simplicity and honesty. But he doesn't. Presidents are not mythical creatures anymore, if they ever were. And I wish he'd quit campaigning like he's Ewan McGregor's character from Big Fish, which is Tim Burton's finest effort in quite a while, btw.

prozac in the water?

now a reality, only in Britain!

4500 bucks

to attend the RNC. apparently the DNC was free.

Update: Bo has cracked the system. Check the comments.

the Stern effect

seems like Uncle Howard might have quite an effect on the 18-34 male swing voter crowd.

you have nothing to lose but your job

seems like i've run across this before, but billionairres for bush is a pretty funny site.

nine flavors of coke

via Beth's livejournal, a pretty excellent political cartoon.

Saturday, August 7, 2004

poor Ralphie

Nader didn't make the ballot in California, getting only about 100k of the 150k signatures he would have needed.

"It was very difficult collecting these signatures, as you can imagine," he said Saturday. "We tried to get some help, but the paid signature gatherers did not work for more than a week or two. They all quit. They said it was too abusive, the attacks that went on" from people opposed to Nader's candidacy.

At least Ralph has a pair. Courtney still loves you, buddy.

John Kerry has no testicles

Kerry said in an interview published yesterday that he would have voted for the gay-marriage ban passed overwhelmingly this week by Missouri voters.

States rights my ass. Fascism by any other name smells just as shitty.

Civil unions civil unions blah-blah-blah. I mean, it's better than nothing, and maybe it's necessary to even have a chance at beating Bush in November, but it'd be nice if a politician with a true moral conscience could grow a pair.

Hedwig co-writer moving to Lexington

Michael Trask has just been added to the UK English faculty, and he brings with him his long term partner, Stephen Trask, who co-wrote Hedwig and the Angry Inch, one of the most important works of gender studies media in the past decade.

I don't know what's the most bad-ass about this: UK English getting a marquee gender studies faculty member (instead of one leaving), Lexington getting a killer songwriter, or the UK homepage having the balls to post something about a faculty member and his "partner" in its headlines. No matter, hurray!

Ireland as Atlantis?

Just like Atlantis, Ireland is 300 miles long, 200 miles wide, and widest across the middle. They both have a central plain surrounded by mountains... I've looked at geographical data from the rest of the world and of the 50 largest islands there is only one that has a plain in the middle -- Ireland.

As a classicist-wannabe, I thought this article was cool as hell.

Friday, August 6, 2004

be back Monday evening

We're taking Derby back to Ashland to chill w/ my folks for the weekend.

more from The Onion

don't miss more brilliance this week with The Onion's take on Ralph Nader's platform.

"Outfoxed" in theatres

The documentary that demonstrates Fox's persistent right-wing bias is supposedly coming on in theatres today somewhere. Not Ann Arbor, sadly. Previously, it was only available on Amazon, I think. Only 9.95, but then that pesky shipping.

the Bush administration will "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people."

a new Bushism. fabulous!

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Giant Microbes!!!

This is the most fabulous site I've seen in weeks. If you've ever wanted a plush ebola virus, here's the place.

RAWR!!! Posted by Hello

Derby is a fan of the belly rub Posted by Hello


If you're looking for some slightly more fashionable John Kerry shirt, you might find it here.

useless for useless

To free up some cap room, the Pistons traded Scoreless Corliss for Derrick Coleman.


will be played by Ralph Fiennes in the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Convention Bounce

Slate makes the argument that Kerry actually did receive a post-democratic convention bounce.

Tigger Cleared Of Molestation

Maybe you haven't followed this case as close as I have, but here it goes. A 13-year old girl accused a Disney Tigger of touching her breast during a photo shoot. Now, this is a sad case, because I'm sure this girl has probably been through a lot of hell over this, and if she genuinely does feel violated, I feel very sorry for her, because that sucks. On the flip side, this dude had a Tigger costume on. And chances are, as the jury agreed, there's no way in hell you could feel a girl's breast with that costume on. It's just too restrictive, too ungainly. So it's really sad for all parties around. Now this poor guy probably can't even get a job back w/ Disney, and definitely not as a character, because in cases like this, suspicion virtually equals guilt. And this girl, if she weren't just being litigious, is freaked as hell cuz she thinks that Tigger felt her up. Damn.

Vote for Change

Here's the Vote for Change Artist Tour Schedule. Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, R.E.M., DMB, and Pearl Jam, plus lotsa other fun ppl. More pop culture gone liberal, woohoo!

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

for the love of the game

Jim Caple turns a story on Roger Clemens being ejected from his sons little league game to a manifesto on what is wrong with kids playing our national pasttime. There's so much emphasis now on all-star travelling teams that regular kids (like I was) don't even get to play enough to matter, and their season is too early and too short to even get out of the spring rainy season.

Bush's blog a national security risk

the Onion never seems to jump the shark.

greetings, senator affleck

If John Kerry wins the election, might Ben Affleck make a move to fill his vacant senate position? Likely not, but the Boston Herald has fun w/ the idea.

our most sacred institution

by that, i mean the Simpsons!

but what happens when you mix Rupert Murdoch, Matt Groenig, and gay marriage?

I don't know, but it probably won't be on DVD for another 15 years, given how slow the seasons are doling out as it is.

mark of the beast?

Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes.

Zombie post

Sparkgrass zombie enthusiast James Rodgers ran across what he says may be the second most important zombie text ever, former University of Kentucky Honors professor Peter Dendle's The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Prediction Markets

Bo says he's fascinated with prediction markets, and this Time article he found on them is a pretty interesting read. His posts seem pretty aware of the politics of the situation, and I thought were worth a read.

MBA: you want fries with that?

A GMAC survey shows that getting an MBA from a less than top-notch program is becoming even less useful.

My message for most MBAs: rot in hell, rat bastards!

No, plenty of good people I know are interested in the MBA, but as long as MBAs are running health care instead of physicians (or simply people with some serious policy experience), pretty much anybody in med school has to at least crack a joke about the capitalist cocksuckers. Since we aren't capitalist cocksuckers or anything. *sad irony*

but i'm voting for him anyway

Anshu told me about this sight a long time ago: