Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Something I'm Proud Of

If you enter the phrase "pension-stealing cocksucker" into Google, this site is the only item returned. I'm so proud I could plotz.

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Something Special

Don't ask why, but I baked a pecan pie this morning.

To do so, I used up the last of the Steen's Cane Syrup I bought when I went down South in March. You do want to click through to that site, if only to read this recipe and drool for a while.

And there's something absolutely wonderful about the smell that greets you when you open a can of cane syrup. It reminds me of childhood, warm biscuits, and sweet sweet syrup. If that's not a treat, I don't know what is.

Now let's just hope the pie turns out well. If it doesn't, I have a backup pie. Again, don't ask.

All that's left is to make a nice maque choux, and it'll be a good, good day.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

G & T

Wow, I'm just full of posts today. Now that I'm back in blogging mode, I want to tip my hat (as Jude did) to Donnie's return to blogging over at Left Pedal. A friend and mentor, Donnie has always, always helped keep me on the right path. We're delighted to have him back, especially now that I'm soon leaving the Northeast and we need someone in the this part of the country to keep us abreast of all the goings on.

In tribute to Donnie I want to mention my new favorite gin. If Donnie had his old archives up, I'd point you to his recipe for a gin and tonic which, if I remember correctly was simply equal parts Bombay Sapphire and tonic, with a lime wedge. And really, how could you go wrong?

Thankfully, I've just found Martin Miller's Gin (over 21 only, please). I read a review of it some months ago and have been asking for it at liquor stores ever since. I went to at least 10 spots before I found it in the Boston area. Martignetti's on Soldier's Field road was where I finally hit paydirt. Sure, I'm partial to gin, but Martin Miller's may be the most delightful spirit I've ever tasted. Smooth with bright citrus and juniper flavor, you could certainly drink a Martin Miller G & T without the lime, or even the tonic, for that matter. I don't drink G & T often because they're only worth drinking if you have a nice gin (Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, and Hendrick's are all worth endorsing), and I don't often feel like paying for good gin. I'm notoriously cheap, so shelling out $28 bucks for 750 ml of the stuff wasn't an easy task (when another 5 bucks would get me an extra liter of Tanqueray), but it will be next time.

Every gin fan should go buy a bottle of Martin Miller's, make a G & T, and if you haven't do so already, raise your glass to Donnie's return. Now if we can just get Lenny back onboard . . .
What is a Sport?

Something I've been meaning to discuss for awhile is how we as a society should define sports. Those of you with ESPN know that they frequently have non-sport-like sports, such as poker and cheerleading, on the air. In fact this is one of my dad's biggest complaints these days, even though ESPN carved out its niche in the early 80's showing "fringe" sports like the World's Strongest Man competitions and the USFL.

Recently while having this conversation with my pal Matt, he brought up that he had come up with a series of criteria which should define sports and set them apart from other athletic endeavors. Here are his criteria:

1. There must be defense in the sense that a competitor actually seeks to prevent you from reaching a goal in the contest.
2. It must require significant physical exertion. This criterion is sometimes phrased as: You cannot be able to masturbate while participating.
3. The prime source of energy must be human.

As I'm sure you can tell, these are quite discriminating criteria. Some classic Olympic events like track and field and rowing would fail to make the cut under the first criteria. Matt defines these as "Athletic Competitions." Something failing number 2 (like poker) would be classified as a "game." Finally horseracing and NASCAR would fail under the 3rd prong. Only by meeting all three requirements does an event become a "sport."

I'm not sure if I'm totally on board with this. I think the defense requirement is the most controversial and the most interesting. But I wanted to mention it here in the open forum we call a website. Discuss!
Eatin' Meat

Sorry to be gone for so long. A variety of things have been going on for me recently, none of which involve me being potentially employed. But I have no excuse for such a long absence from my internet home.

So getting back in the action, check out this article from William Saletan on Slate. Saletan is usually interesting to me because half of what he says I really agree with and half seems like utter nonesense. I think one of us is crazy but I can't figure out which.

This piece is interesting because he's taking a firm stance on meat eating:
But 300 years from now, when our descendants look back at slaughterhouses the way we look back at slavery, they won't remember the benefits to us, any more than they'll remember our dried-up tears for a horse. They'll want to know whether we saw the moral calling of our age. If we do, it's time to pony up.
Wow, right? The "moral calling of our age" is to stop eating meat. Also we're "half-evolved" because we still eat it. Ok, so since meat-eating = slavery, I was expecting Saletan to swear off tasty grilled flesh of fellow animals, yet he makes no such promises. Nor does he ever give any sort of explanation about why eating meat is morally reprehensible or why stopping our canivorous lifestyles would make us more evolved. So he ends up making some pretty heavy statements about meat and the progression of the human race without laying any kind of foundation or providing anything to back up his claims.

So I disagree. I like meat eating. For example I had a burger grilling "competition" yesterday, which I think I won but since there was no official vote, I can't really claim victory. However here's my recipe for my Almost Award Winning Burgers. Mix all ingredients and grill.

2 lbs. ground beef
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. whole-grain dijon mustard
1-2 tsp. oyster sauce
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 -2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup of diced onion or shallot
1 clove of garlic, diced

Oh and while we're talking about meat. My favorite graduation gift is a gift certificate to Lobel's. I can't wait to order. My wife really knows me well.
Turning the Corner

You know how, every time something even remotely good happens in Iraq, the dipshits in suits who are in charge of this fucking bloody circus tell us that we've "turned a corner" over there?


Well, today, our Magic Bus to Apocalypse careened around another corner, and the US has deployed its reserve troops from Kuwait to Iraq. You know, because everything's going so swimmingly. Well, it would go swimmingly, if the reconstruction effort could ever get the goddamn water running in the cities.

Yes, friends, it seems that we've turned another corner in Iraq, but it was a wrong turn. We ended up in the bad part of town, I guess. Hell, we've turned so many corners there that we must have gone around the same block some 5,394 times by now.

Or, to quote David Rees, "Iraq has seen more corners than a two-hundred-year-old hooker made out of Rubik's Cubes."

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Dear Jon

Where have you gone, you unreliable bastard? Everyone misses you so.

And don't give us that "I'm moving" excuse again. We've lost patience with that one.


Asshole vs. Bigger Asshole

Bigger asshole wins.

In Chicago, a cop arrested a meter maid for writing a ticket.

Seriously. This actually happened.
Meter maid Jackie Fegan, 40, was arrested for refusing to void a ticket issued to Chicago, Illinois police officer Robert Reid on May 18. Reid had illegally parked his personal white minivan at 700 N. Michigan, claiming he was on "police business."

After seeing the ticket, Reid flagged down Fegan and insisted she tear up the ticket. Fegan refused. When she walked away across the street, she was arrested for jaywalking. She was handcuffed and taken into custody at the Near North District police station.

"They were hurting me. They wouldn't stop," Fegan told the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's unreal. One minute I'm working, and the next minute I'm being hauled off and hurt and thrown into a paddy wagon. He was very, very violent."

Fegan was not charged with any crime and was released after thirty minutes. She plans to sue the city for false arrest.
What a gigantic asshole. How can someone make the meter maid appear to be the sympathetic figure? That's hard work.



Sunday, May 28, 2006


Okay. That last image was just too creepy. With that in mind, I present the following:

That should even the score a little.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Something Everyone Should Read

This piece by Jamison Foser is worth the time it takes. I'm not sure if I agree with his optimistic conclusion, but I think it's an excellent article nonetheless.

I can't provide an excerpt that will do it justice. Please, just go read the whole thing.


What the Fuck?

No, seriously--what the fuck?

I'm told this image is from an "exciting and original" film.

I'm thinking I'll pass.



Friday, May 26, 2006

Damn You, Nabil

Damn you.

You're not off the hook either, Katie.

This will not be forgotten.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thursday Nights

Oh, sweet Echo Tap.

Save some $1.25 pints for me tonight.

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And the Stupid Shit Just Keeps Coming

President Bush appeared in Limerick, PA, yesterday to advocate the building of more nuclear reactors. There's a nuclear power plant there, and the Bush people thought this would be a good backdrop for his speech. More on this later.

Now, as someone who has worked around reactors, I'm not sure what to think of the idea of building more fission reactors. If we could make fusion reactors work, that would be great. But fission reactors can be very dangerous. Of course, they are, in my experience, very well engineered, and quite safe. However, I never worked in a civilian reactor, where profit is the ultimate goal. Suffice it to say that I've got conflicted feelings on the matter. I'd prefer sources of energy other than nuclear fission, but, weighing all factors, I think fission beats oil.

All that said, if you are going to give a speech extolling the virtues of nuclear power, you might want to be more than a hundred miles away from fucking Three Mile Island.

Who planned this shit?

Bonus Stupid Shit points to Bush for again refusing to acknowledge the role of humans in global warming. Huzzah for the ostrich!

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Oh What the Hell

Here's some more Stupid Shit.

The top 50 conservative rock songs.

Seriously. The mouthbreathers over at the National Review came up with a list of the top conservative rock songs.

This will leave you scratching your head, provided that you have at least a half-dozen functioning neurons. What's that, you say? How can you tell if you have at least that many?

Check your underpants. If they're on correctly, you're in the clear.

If you're not wearing underpants, then you're obviously already on a higher plane of existence. Good for you!

But back to the Stupid Shit at hand. For one thing, any "top 50" list--of anything--that includes Jesus Jones and Kid Rock can pretty much be immediately dismissed as the product of an intellect on par with that of a feverish, retarded skink. Also, how you gonna include songs by the Sex Pistols, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Clash, and U2 on your list of the top 50 conservative tunes?

The Sex Pistols? Shit. You could re-animate Sid Vicious, stick him together with Johnny Rotten, make them billionaires, enshrine their capital-gains tax cuts in stone from Mt. Sinai, have them record a song called "George Bush Is Our God," and you still wouldn't have a conservative song.

Punk music is not fucking conservative.

Rock music in general is not conservative. That's why all that "Christian rock" sucks nards. You can't have a spirit of rebellion expressed while at the same time submitting yourself to Jesus. It just don't work.

And would someone please tell me how in the fuck "Who'll Stop the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival is in any way conservative? It's about ending the goddamn Vietnam War. I shudder to think of the torture chambers that lie in the bowels of whatever moat-surrounded bastion of evil houses the National Review. In that accursed dungeon, logic is tortured until it screams. "Yes! Yes! Opposing the Vietnam War is conservative! Aiiiieeeee!!!!!"

Poor logic. You deserve so much better.

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Stupid Shit Thursday

Today's Stupid Shit comes from right here in Madison!

That's right, peoples. Wisconsin sex education teachers are now required to state that abstinence is the preferred behavior for unmarried people. (Thanks to Brenda for the link.)

I'm a bad, bad Sconnie.

Of course, it doesn't matter that abstinence education is not only ineffective, but actually results in outcomes opposite of those desired by the American Taliban who advocate these bullshit plans.

Thanks, Governor Doyle!

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Meet the Newest Prison Bitch

Why it's Ken Lay, that pension-stealing cocksucker from Texas! Or "Kennyboy," as Dear Leader Bush, who knew him so well, was fond of calling him.

I wonder if anyone will be accused of engaging in fraud for trading Lay for a carton of smokes.

In addition to Lay, noted sonofabitch Jeffrey Skilling also heard the jury pronounce him guilty.

It's entirely possible that neither one of these no-good bastards will ever see a day inside the joint, but I'm hoping for the best here. So hope with me, peoples.



Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Just Because

Just because I like it, once again,

All glory to the Hypno Toad!

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Now Where's that Rabbit with a Handsaw?

We haven't talked much lately about how Florida needs to be kicked out of the union, but that doesn't mean that people in Florida have ceased making the case for themselves.

Consider: God Himself is apparently deeply involved in Florida politics. To be fair, we should mention that the source for the Lord's concern is the in-severe-need-of-institutionalization Reverend O'Neal Dozier.
A reverend who introduced Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist during a breakfast with other pastors Monday said the Lord came to him in a dream two years ago and told him Crist would be the state's next governor.

The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said that before the dream he did not know Crist, nor had Crist made known his plans to run for governor.

"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know,'" said Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach. "'Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida.'"

Since then, Dozier has spent time with Crist and talked with him at length about policy. He told the group that Crist would be uncompromising in his Christian faith.

"I introduce to you, as the Lord Jesus has said, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist," Dozier said.

Crist's first words were, "Well, as they say, the praise doesn't get any higher."

Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who is opposing Crist in the primary, wouldn't comment on the remarks after the event.

Afterward, Dozier said he met Crist two months after the dream at a conference of Republican leaders from around the South. He told Crist about the dream, and Crist replied that he would run.

"It's the most amazing thing anyone's every told me," Crist said. "It's beyond overwhelming, but the reverend has a very strong faith in his heart and he's a good man. I'm very grateful for his help and his support and his belief."

Gov. Jeb Bush, who appointed Dozier to a group that nominates judges in South Florida, didn't directly respond to the remark, but praised Dozier.

"Far be it from me to judge about people's faiths and what occurs because of it," Bush said. "He is very sincere. Rev. Dozier's a good man."

All four gubernatorial candidates were invited to the pastor appreciation breakfast organized by the Christian Family Coalition. Crist and Gallagher spoke to the group, both giving an anti-abortion message and discussing their proposals to increase adoptions.

Democrats running for the seat Bush is leaving due to term limits — state Sen. Rod Smith and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis (news, bio, voting record) — did not attend, though Smith's son-in-law, the Rev. Graham Glover, spoke on his behalf.
Wow. I mean, wow.

So what happens if Charlie Crist doesn't win? Does that make the Lord Jesus a liar? Or just a prankster? Personally, I like the idea of Jesus appearing in a jester hat and giving out fake predictions. The Almighty probably has quite a sense of humor, really.

But seriously. Why in the blue hell would anyone not call the Loony Patrol on this man? Jesus appeared to him in a dream and told him who the next governor of Florida was going to be? That's some serious delusion. Not to mention overinflated self-importance. I mean, if I went around telling people that the Lord Krishna had come to me and told me that chuck roasts would be $2.00 off per pound next month, people would, rightly, question my sanity. And they'd probably have me put away--'cause I'd deserve it.

But this douchebag not only gets a pass, he gets lauded in public and hobnobs with the bigwigs of the state. Amazing. Just amazing.

Oh, and Jeb Bush? Sincerity doesn't make everything alright. That was the weakest goddamn response you could possibly have come up with. You know who else is sincere? Osama bin Laden, that's who. He's extremely committed and sincere. Does that make him okay?

Hell no!

I'm just sick of that dodge: "I respect the sincerity of your beliefs."

Well, goddammit, I don't. If your beliefs are batshit insane and downright dangerous, I don't respect the first fucking thing about them. Rev. Dozier needs to stick to religion. In his church, I don't give a shit if he claims that eating Pixy Stix will send you to hell or that 2 +2 = 7,492. But when he gets into motivating voters with God's revealed will, he needs to shut the fuck up.

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He's Back!

Donnie at LeftPedal is once again posting. This is a good day.


Drunk as a Monkey

Wow. Drunken monkeys. And I always thought it was just a saying (or a variant on the monkey style of kung fu--seriously). It turns out that, in Budapest, the apes* really do get wine. Why would you give them wine? Apparently, it helps boost their red blood cell counts.

The zookeepers don't give them a lot--just a bit at a time, mixed in with their tea.

So you've got alcohol and caffeine in your gorillas. When do you just move right on to weed?

*Note to all persnickety types out there: Yes, I know that apes aren't monkeys. Shut up and live with the pretty language.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

George W. Tell

Here's Tom Toles from the Washington Post today:

Toles is one of my favorites. His drawing style is not nearly as beautiful as, say, Ann Telnaes', but he has a great talent as a political cartoonist.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Because It's Been That Kind of Week Already

And it's only Monday.

Fucking VA people.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Personal data on 26.5 million U.S. veterans was stolen from the residence of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee who was not authorized to take the material home, exposing them to possible identity theft, the department said on Monday.

The data included names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for the military veterans and some spouses, the department said, although there had as yet been no indication it had been used for identity theft. The electronic data related to everyone discharged from the military since 1975.

"We are going to send out an individual notification letter to every veteran to the extent possible," warning them of the risk of identity theft, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said.

Nicholson said the theft of the data from the employee's home took place this month, but declined to identify the employee, the location of the burglary or how long the employee had the data at his home. The FBI said the theft occurred in the Maryland area and is being looked at by the FBI's Baltimore field office.

Officials said equipment containing the data was stolen, but Nicholson would not say whether a government laptop computer was involved.

"The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. We have a full-scale investigation going on in this," Nicholson told reporters by telephone.

"We have a system of policies and controls that are in place and operating, and this person violated those," he said.

He said the FBI, local law enforcement authorities and the Veterans Affairs department's inspector general's office were investigating.

"They believe that this was a random burglary and not targeted at this data," Nicholson added, saying there had been a series of burglaries in the community where the employee lived.

"It's highly probable that they do not know what they have," Nicholson said of the unidentified burglars.

Nicholson advised all military veterans to monitor their credit card and banking transactions and be alert for anything that might indicate identity theft.

Nicholson said the government was setting up a toll-free number, 1-800-333-4636, for veterans to call if they notice anything suspicious, as well as putting information on a government Web site,

Nicholson identified the employee as a male career department worker, not a political appointee or senior official, who had legitimate access to the data at work as part of a project.

He said the employee "took home a considerable amount of electronic data from the VA which he was not authorized to do. It was in violation of our rules and regulations and policies."

An FBI spokesman said the matter was referred to the FBI last week and the agency was investigating. The FBI was asked to get involved because it related to the theft of U.S. government property.

Nicholson said there is no indication that the employee intended to do anything wrong with the data beyond improperly taking it home.

Nicholson said it was possible some people whose data has been stolen are dead, and that data on some veterans discharged before 1975 was included. No medical records and no financial information was compromised, Nicholson said.

Now who just takes home the records of 26.5 million people? God damn.


Monster Toad

No, it's not a bad name for an equally bad garage band.

The good people of Darwin, Australia, recently nabbed a giant toad. That's right. A giant toad.
The monster female toad weighing 564 grams and measuring 16.8cm was found at Ludmilla.

Jenny Brooks found the toad in her front yard while gardening.

"I went out to plant some seedlings and it was right near the fence. I didn't know if it was a cane toad, I thought it may have been too big," she said.

FrogWatch NT removed it from the Brooks's yard.

"It's the biggest toad we are aware of," FrogWatch NT co-ordinator Graeme Sawyer said.

Mr Sawyer said he didn't know if the toad had hitched a ride or found its way there.

"It's hard to say how she got here although she's got the potential to walk here," he said.

Lance and Jenny Brooks said it was the first toad they had seen at their house.

Mr Sawyer said despite the toad's size and its closeness to Darwin, the Territory was winning the war on toads.

"By all intents and purposes they should have reached Darwin in their hundreds by now," he said.

Mr Sawyer said now was the time to start checking back yards for toads. The toad will not be turned in to fertiliser but will become FrogWatch NT's mascot.

"We'll take her on trips to shows and schools," he said.
Wouldn't it be nice if we here in America could have a war on toads? Or are they not fearsome enough?

Cane toads got to Australia by human action, as there were no toads on the continent before the 20th century.

Like a whole host of other species that were either accidentally or deliberately introduced to Australia, the cane toad has been a complete disaster for Oz. And down South we thought we had it bad with fire ants and kudzu.

The toad was brought in to eat cane beetles in sugarcane fields. No one bothered to notice that the cane toad doesn't jump high enough to eat the beetles on the upper parts of the sugarcane stalks, and when all the beetle larvae are near the ground (whence they hatch from eggs), there aren't any adult toads around (they mature later in the year). The point is, the toads didn't do anything to control the cane beetles, and farmers had to go back to using insecticides to kill off the insects. The toads, meanwhile, began to establish themselves in a new environment.


So the toads have gone on, multiplied like crazy, and made giant nuisances of themselves. Oh, and eaten up a whole lot of native species, (and everything else) too. In addition, the cane toad is poisonous to predators at every stage of its life. They produce bufotoxin, which isn't nearly as funny as it sounds. So there aren't any animals that can check the toad population by, say, eating lots of the little buggers (though a few birds and rats have learned how to eat them without ingesting poison). The Australians are working on several ways of getting rid of the toads, including a genetically engineered virus.

Poor Australia. It was already home to so many extremely dangerous snakes and spiders when white folks got there. Now they have to deal with fire ants, cats, foxes, rabbits, goats, cane toads, wasps, yellow crazy ants (no, I'm not making that name up), camels (camels!) and the goddamn reef-destroying crown-of-thorns starfish, just to name a few. Of course, the rats and mice that attend Eurasian human settlement made their way to Australia, too.

At least they do not yet have to deal with hypnotoads.

All glory to the Hypno Toad!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Biloxi, FEMA, New Urbanism, and the Sunday Times

Brenda told me about this article in the Sunday NY Times Magazine, in which we revisit the old hometown some nine months after Hurricane Katrina came tear-assing through and leveled everything. So what's new?

Well, a lot. And a little. It's a long article, and well worth a read. Here's the gist of it, plus a little commentary.

A group of architects that ascribe to a particular view of development called New Urbanism. This idea envisions "walkable" cities and towns, mixed-use development, and a notable absence of urban sprawl. Sounds cool, right?

Yes and no. The problem with the architects' visions (well, one problem with them) is that they don't take into account people who don't make over $70,000 per year. And a lot of people in east Biloxi (the area on the peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Back Bay--it was washed away by the storm) don't make anything like that kind of money. I really liked this bit in the article:
New Urbanism is like Whole Foods: it's meant to be good for you, but it's expensive, at least on the front end, and it comes with a set of cultural connotations that generally play best among the prosperous and the self-consciously progressive.
Pretty catchy, no?

All of the reconstruction planning was done just six weeks after the hurricane. At that time, many people were still out of town; those who were around were still clearing out their houses (or what was left of them), looking for food & water, trying to get electricity and phones reconnected, and generally just start their lives over again. The point is, non one in the communities affected really had a say in the vision for the rebuilding of their homes.

Instead, they got the (probably) well-intentioned plans of some well-to-do architects and urban planners.

But it doesn't look like those plans are going to matter, anyway. Even if people living there could afford the houses, the elevation maps from FEMA say they can't be built, anyway. FEMA says that all new houses need to be 21 feet above sea level. Since nowhere on Point Cadet is more than a foot or two above the water, that is highly problematic.

Very little has been rebuilt in Biloxi that's not a casino. And, once the FEMA elevation maps go into effect, nothing will be rebuilt that's not some shitty looking dump on stilts. Those things, which are also expensive, don't even have the virtue of aesthetic pleasure to which large expenditures often lead. They're just expensive because they involve more labor and materials.

So what's to become of Biloxi?

My guess is that most of the affected area (especially Point Cadet) will basically become a company town for the casinos. The lower income people will be pushed out, and the real estate will be turned over to tourist attractions, crappy shops & restaurants, and the inevitable condos for rich folks and compulsive gamblers (not that those two categories are disjoint).

Where will the former residents go? Trailer homes in outlying communities, I guess. Which means they'll have to drive into town to clean the hotels, cook the meals, and deal the cards for the rich jerks and tourists. Same story for the shrimpers/oystermen/fishermen. Point Cadet, meet gentrification.

And yet another thing will just become a pleasant memory.

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Because They Were Tired of Bagpipes, Maybe?

So imagine that you're Scottish. And you wanna have a big hoedown on a 4000-foot-tall mountain. You're gonna need music. What instruments do you take?

Violin? Check.

Guitar? Got it.

Bagpipes? Oh yeah.

Drum? Yep.

Piano? Check.

Wait. Piano?

That's right. Piano. Some Scots took a goddamn piano up a mountain.

And left it there.

Volunteers tidying up Britain's highest mountain have found a piano near the summit, a conservation group said Wednesday.

The instrument was discovered over the weekend under a pile of stones near the top of 4,418-foot Ben Nevis, according to the John Muir Trust, which owns part of the Scottish mountain.

"Our guys couldn't believe their eyes," trust director Nigel Hawkins said. "At first they thought it was just the wooden casing, but then they saw the whole cast iron frame complete with strings.

"The only thing that was missing was the keyboard, and that's another mystery," Hawkins said.

A cookie wrapper with an expiration date of Dec. 12, 1986, was found underneath the piano, suggesting it may have been there for 20 years.

Hawkins said he suspected the piano was carried up as part of a charity fund-raising effort by a group that decided it was easier to bury it under a pile of stones, or cairn, than carry it back down.

"People have played rugby up there, and someone drove up a herd of llamas," Hawkins said. "It does attract a lot of wacky things."

Volunteers, who were also clearing trash left by some 120,000 people who visit the mountain every year, have broken up the piano and carried down the pieces.

So they dragged a piano up a mountain. They then decided it was too much of a pain in the ass to push it back down (this would seem like the easy part of the task to me). And they built a mound of stones over it, so no one would know that there was a piano on top of the mountain.

I'm sure that this seemed like a good idea at the time. But I'm having a hard time imagining the circumstances that would lead someone to such a conclusion.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Something Very Wrong Is Going On

Don't look now, but the Detroit Tigers have the best record in Major League Baseball--tied with the defending champion White Sox.

I know it's very early in the season. But still. Be afraid, everyone.

Correction. Be terrified.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Racism on Fox

As a follow up to Jude's O'Reilly post, I want to alert readers to this little gem. It seems like John Gibson hates brown babies.
On the May 11 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson advised viewers during the "My Word" segment of his program to "[d]o your duty. Make more babies." He then cited a May 10 article, which reported that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: "By far, the greatest number [of children under five] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later claimed: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies."
At least this is the way it was reported on the Colbert Report this week.

It might not be as bad as it sounds though. Apparently his intended message, inspired by Russia's declining population, was "So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can't carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way -- a slogan for our times: 'procreation not recreation'."

So it's hard to tell if he's afraid of a Hispanic Majority or a declining population. Or both.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bill O'Reilly

The man has lost his fucking mind. Doesn't he know that the Irish were once viewed as an unstoppable sub-human tide, beholden to a foreign master (i.e., the Pope)?

Want a little taste of his sweet, sweet insanity? No problem:
From the May 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now in 1986, President Reagan thought he could solve the [immigration] problem by granting about 3 million illegal aliens amnesty. The New York Times was in heaven, editorializing back then, quote, "The new law won't work miracles but it will induce most employers to pay attention, to turn off the magnets, to slow the tide." Of course, just the opposite happened. But the Times hasn't learned a thing. That's because the newspaper and many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed.

According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will. This can only happen if demographics change in America.
Is it just that okay to be an open racist these days? It seems that, ever since Hurricane Katrina fucked up NOLA and the Mississippi coast, it's been alright to be overt with your racism. Why the sudden change?

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I Wonder

That is, I wonder what Jon's going to use for an excuse not to write now that he's done with law school.

Pick up the pace, you slack bastard! Ain't you got nothin' to say about the NBA playoffs? NHL?

Upcoming 2006 World Cup?

Come on, Jonnyboy. We miss you.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

A Fun Use for All Those "Anytime" Minutes

So the NSA has been keeping records of all of our telephone calls, right? They haven't admitted to actually listening in yet. So, for now, we'll run with the assumption that they're "only" recording who you call, and when.

This seems like a great opportunity for all of us to use whatever no- or low-cost long-distance we might have.

Start calling people. Call old friends, relatives, neighbors, teachers. Shit, start calling people at random. Just make half-a-dozen or so random calls a day, in addition to the ones you'll be doing for getting reacquainted with old friends. Make some new friends! Use those free minutes! Don't make Joan Cusack sad!

Those fuckers wanna keep records? Fine. Give 'em some records to keep.

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High Holy Sweet Jesus

May the Lord and saints preserve us.

Every once in a while, occasionally at the prompting of Errol, I go for a quick swim in the right-wing sewer. Today's putrid dip happened in the cesspool of WorldNetDaily, a site that is often approvingly linked to as "news" by the usual right-wing suspects (Malkin, RedState, and so on).

I'm not gonna link to these jagoffs, 'cause I don't want to direct a single hit their way. This particular "editorial" (if by "editorial," you mean "the half-mad rantings of another monkey enamored of white supremacy who actually provides excellent counterevidence disproving that notion") is by a skinhead-wannabe who is unhappy with our Preznit because of his stance on immigration. Anyway, here's what's doing in the sewer (in which I swim so you don't have to):
Dear Jorge plans to address the nation tonight, a speech wherein he will almost surely attempt to deceive citizens into believing that he does not wish the mass migration from Mexico to continue unabated. He will likely offer some negligible resources for law enforcement and border security – resources which will never materialize – in return for an amnesty program that will grant American citizenship to the Mexican nationals who have helped lower America's wage rates by 16 percent over the last 32 years.

And he will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work."

Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.
Ah, yes. Reasoned debate from the right wing.

However, this is a big part of the Republican base (generally believed to be made up of these xenophobes, the Christianists, and the mucho-money men). And they're pissed. Pissed. There's a lot more at the site, and the idiot asshole who wrote it goes by the handle of Vox Day, if you're interested in reading more. Why you would be, I can't imagine.

Here's his bio blurb from the end of the article:
Vox Day is a novelist and Christian libertarian. He is a member of the SFWA, Mensa and the Southern Baptist church, and has been down with Madden since 1992.
Novelist, huh? Well, watch your back, Tim O'Brien. This guy is on his way! Also, it's been my experience that bragging about Mensa membership is a lot like buying a sports car or owning a pit bull--public overcompensation for certain inadequacies.

I don't think that the Preznit's little speech tonight is going to help him at all. Not with assholes like Vox Day, and not with anyone else, either. Especially seeing as how it will delay the start of Deal or No Deal and Prison Break. At least CBS and ABC were wise enough not to change their primetime lineups. Of course, since it's an Oprah special on ABC, I'm sure they were terrified at the thought of crossing her. Lake Michigan is teeming with people who've made that fatal mistake. You don't screw over the Cheesecake Mafia and live to tell about it.

Update: Glenn Greenwald has much better analysis of the phenomenon that's causing the outpouring of crap from buffoons like Vox Day. Check it out, you won't be sorry.

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You Win Again

A british friend once asked me to explain the draft system that we have in all major sports in America. He seemed surprised that professional athletes hoping to enter sports leagues are forced to sign a contract with the team that chooses them, regardless of which team they may prefer. This is once of the most interesting facets of American labor law. I don't think I did very well at explaining the reasons behind it, but the most basic defense is league parity. The worst teams get first crack at the best new players entering the league, thus the Saints (winners of 3 games last year) can select Reggie Bush when the Texans (2 wins) fail to remove their thumb from their ass.

But here's a dreadful article from ESPN that really misses a great chance to talk about the draft system. The first half talks about the lack of parity in many European football (soccer) leagues:
Chelsea, Lyon, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSV all kept hold of their championship titles with matches to spare - and Juventus are in pole position to make it a clean sweep when Serie A concludes next weekend.

And the deeper you scratch, the more unsavory the statistics become.

Lyon's success was their fifth successive Ligue 1 title. PSV have now won the Eredivisie four times in the last six years, Bayern have celebrated the Bundesliga title for seven of the last ten seasons. Juventus stand on the brink of their fourth championship in five years.

Meanwhile, in Greece, Olympiakos have now won nine of the last ten Alpha Ethniki titles. In neighbouring Turkey, Fenerbahçe stand on the brink of their third-successive Super League triumph.
I think he's off to a good start because that is interesting data. But here's his pitiful explanation for the current state of affairs:
But how did all this happen?

It happened because football has been stolen from the fans by a deceitful, shadowy cartel of money-mongers and the most humiliating thing of all is that they did so right under our noses.

While we gazed with open mouths and wide eyes at the circus freaks parading in front of us, we didn't realize that they had an army of shifty little cronies walking amongst the crowd, picking our pockets.
This is the most insightful answer you can produce for this issue? Seriously? The same teams keep winning year after year because . . . the owners are capitalists trying to turn a profit on their businesses? I can't understand this at all. The author exposes an interesting issue, but then can't come remotely close to shedding light on the problem, or attempt to posit a solution. The analysis is so bad I don't even understand the point. No names, no examples, no evidence. What are you trying to say?

I know most of you don't care about soccer, much less a bad article written about soccer. But blogs are not just about informing, they're about venting. And I needed to vent on this shit "journalism."
Blue Monday

How I hate blue Monday.

Especially when it won't stop raining. Come on! A week and a half of this shit is enough!

So listen, Tlaloc, Lono, Nusku, Mehet-Weret, or whatever freakin' name you go by, knock it off with the rain already. It'll be a poor year for your sacrifices if you don't. You've been put on notice.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

More Fun Things

I realize that we here at Punch and Jude haven't been terribly focused on amusing things lately. With that in mind, I'm throwing up a link to the Perry Bible Fellowship.

And we'll soon be back to the usual snarkiness regarding the news.

For now, enjoy the comic.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Poll Dancing

Why? Because George W. Bush's approval rating hit 29% in a new Harris Interactive Poll. Please note that this poll was conducted before it was revealed that the NSA has been monitoring your (yes, your) phone and e-mail activities.

This poll has n = 1003, and a MoE of ± 3%. It's a pretty good estimate of the actual population value, provided that the pollsters had a good sampling frame and didn't ask a crappy question.

If you want a taste of just how odd that is, consider this. A recent Gallup poll of the same characteristics (but from September 2003) showed 33% of those polled approved of the following idea: "Display of a monument with a verse from the Koran, the holy book of the Islamic religion, in a public school or government building."

Seriously. Bush is now less popular among Americans than having verses from the Koran in public schools. Not that I'm against such an idea (well, I am, but not because it's the Koran), but Jesus--that's quite a comparison, don't you think?

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Make Sure You Say "Hail Glorious Leader" When You Answer the Phone

'Cause a simple "hello" might not be patriotic enough.

It turns out that, even though they promised (super pinky swear!) not to monitor to the phone calls of those of us who Have Nothing To Fear (and this should shock no one with more than four functioning neurons), the Bush government lied about that too.

It's too long and too good for me to just provide excerpts. I will say, though, good on Qwest for telling the government to pack sand, even though they were being strong-armed with possible denail of government contracts for not participating.

Do you feel safer? Man, I do.

Oh, and the next time some faux-libertarian jerk tells me to trust business or government with my privacy, he's gettin' punched right in the nuts. See this guy?

He's smarter than Glenn Reynolds.

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The Culture of Life

Yes, here in America, certain people like to crow about the Culture of Life. Life is precious, don't you know. I mean, unless that life is adult. Or is a batshit-insane guy to whom a jury "only" handed a life without parole sentence (Oh, and since when is it okay for the President to piss all over a jury's decision, anyway?).

Well, yet again, we see that rhetoric is more important than results. A recently-released report by Save the Children notes that, of industrialized countries, the United States has the next-to-worst infant mortality rate. Who'd we squeak by ahead of?


That's right. Latvia.

Would someone please explain to me how my country could ever possibly be compared to Latvia? Jesus! Latvia! America is possessed of vast natural resources, a powerful economy, and a nominally stable political system. Here in the US, we have no fear of invasion by powerful neighbors, and the mainland has been untouched by the ravages of warfare for almost two centuries. This country is rich, rich, rich. People here have more shit than anywhere else I've ever seen. Latvia, on the other hand, is a tiny country that has been devastated by war twice in the last 100 years, and, for just over fifty years, had to deal with the inept, corrupt, and occasionally brutal governance imposed by the USSR after World War Two.

Our per capita GDP is three times that of Latvia's. In just about every conceivable measure, the US, thanks to history, geography, and no small amount of luck, is far ahead of tiny Latvia.

Yet we're very nearly tied with respect to infant mortality. Can anyone explain why this situation should exist? I'm kind of at a loss here.

The US tied in infant mortality with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Malta.

I guess you can tell that the Save the Children folks are a little generous with their definition of "industrialized." Yet we still came in near the bottom.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This Must Be Further Proof that We're Winning in Iraq

It's been no secret that the American military is running a bit short of bodies these days (there's also a looming shortage of equipment, but that's another story). The US military, strained to the snapping point, is doing the only smart thing left to do.

What's that, you ask? A drawdown in Iraq?


A draft?

Get real.

The Bush family signing up en masse?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

No. They're deploying Navy and Air Force units to Iraq.
WASHINGTON — The Navy and Air Force are training their sailors and airmen for war duty far from the seas or skies: jobs typically performed by a strained Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Navy and Air Force personnel are replacing Army soldiers to carry out such duties as guarding convoys, patrolling bases and watching for homemade bombs, the top killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.

The Navy also is running a prison in Iraq, patrolling rivers and helping to clear and search buildings.

About 8,000 sailors are on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Rear Adm. David Gove, head of the Navy Personnel Command. By the end of the year, that number is expected to grow to as many as 12,000, he says.

Gove says it makes sense to tap into a broader pool of talent. "There is a realization of capability in other parts of the services that we need to leverage," he says.

The Air Force has not said how many airmen are doing Army jobs.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl Ey says the training gives commanders more flexibility and doesn't signal a shortage of soldiers.

Andrew Krepinevich, a military analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, counters: "If the Army wasn't having recruiting challenges and exceeding rotation rates, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

Krepinevich authored a Pentagon-sponsored report earlier this year that found extended deployments were straining the military.

Frederick Kagan, a military historian at the American Enterprise Institute, says training sailors and airmen to do the jobs of seasoned soldiers is "what you do only when you're desperate."

The Navy's crash course on combat at the Army's Fort Jackson in South Carolina is staffed by Army instructors and trains about 200 sailors every two weeks. It stresses rifle skills, troop movements, first aid, convoy security and identifying roadside bombs.

Master Chief Doug Boswell, 46, who recently completed the course, says he'll rely on the skills to keep him and his sailors safe during their one-year tour in Iraq. "They're trying to get sailors ready for rigors of shore duty in potentially hostile overseas ports," he says.

The Air Force this year extended its basic training course to eight weeks from six. "I see our future as an expeditionary force in this long war on terrorism," Air Force chief of staff Michael Moseley says.
Two weeks of training. Two weeks. Jesus. I'm speechless.

Now you tell me what's gonna happen when these soft-assed sons of bitches have to walk patrol.

In addition, it's not a good sign for the GOP when the jagoffs at the AEI start criticizing you. And attention, Army spokesman Lt. Col Carl Ey: Shut The Fuck Up. Or at least lie more believably. Honestly. Training squids and zoomies to do the jobs of jarheads and grunts doesn't signal a shortage of soldiers? And it gives commanders more flexibility? Please tell me you rolled your eyes when you delivered that steaming pile of shit to the assembled reporters.

Also, the Air Force just recently extended its basic training to eight weeks. That's right. Extended. It used to be six weeks.

Well, at least they extended it. It must be a reflection of the Post-9/11 War on Terra™. That'll show those IslamofascistjihadicommiepervoMingtheMerciless bastards!

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I Don't Know if It's Art

But I know I like it.

Too low-res? Here's a detail:

Wow. Much laziness on the part of one person with respect to cleanliness. Much energy on the part of one person with respect to artistic expression. What really fascinates me is whether or not these two persons are inhabiting the same body.

And, just because we're enamored of disgustingly cute things here at Punch and Jude, try this:

Awww. Cute little guy, isn't he?

Now I'm off to administer a test. Not so much cuteness there. However, there may be a certain special kind of creativity--the kind born from utter desperation.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

The Greatest Tool Ever

No, it's not Jon.

It's the Stanley Tools Functional Utility Bar.

Otherwise known as the Fubar. That's right. The Fubar.

Check it out:

Pretty neat, huh? It would kick ass for demolition work. It is kind of heavy, though--it weighs in at four pounds.

Still--how cool.



Thursday, May 04, 2006

New Comic

In keeping with our deep and abiding interests in cartoons, we have added a new strip: Yourmometer. It's written and drawn by a student at UW-Madison, and it's worth a daily read. What, are you gonna spend time reading crap like Marmaduke or Rex Morgan? Screw you.

Go read Hobbes' stuff. She's got talent and wit.

I'll have more later about Clyde Kennard. Props to Jon for, er, beating me to the punch on that.

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More on Reggie Bush

Writer Chuck Klosterman has been doing the occasional sports column for Page 2 on In his most recent one he talks about Saints Running Back Reggie Bush.

In fact, ESPN Classic just rebroadcast the USC-Fresno State game this very afternoon, and it seems wholly impossible that anyone could be better at running away from people than this particular human.


And the Texans' reasoning (I assume) is that (a) you build a team around defense and pass rushing; (b) they already have a decent running back; (c) Bush might be hyper-expensive; and (d) Reggie's parents appear to be living in a free house, which seems a tad sketchy. This is all fine and reasonable. The only problem is that Gary Kubiak has failed to weigh these points against the opposing argument, which is that REGGIE BUSH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TACKLE. HE IS WAY, WAY BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHER DUDES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE TO BE DRAFTED. WHEN REGGIE BUSH IS RUNNING WITH THE FOOTBALL, THOSE ATTEMPTING TO KNOCK HIM TO THE GROUND CANNOT SEEM TO DO SO. THIS QUALITY IS ADVANTAGEOUS WITHIN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL, AS THAT IS PRETTY MUCH THE TOTALITY OF THE SPORT.
Brilliant. I love it.
Clyde Kennard

I wish I had the time to make this post better but I wanted to alert our readers to an interesting story about my and Jude's alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. Recently I read this article by Bill Minor, a journalist who covered Mississippi during the civil rights era and is still going strong today after at least 50 years of writing about my home state.

The article discusses Clyde Kennard who attempted to enroll at Southern Miss (transferring from U. of Chicago) and was set up by the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, framed for carrying moonshine in his car. He was convicted of plotting to steal chicken feed, sentenced to seven years for a crime that usually carried a 90 day jail term, and died of stomach cancer a short time later after authorities denied him medical care. We know all of this without a doubt. What we don't know, as Minor points out, is the role of USM president Dr. W.D. McCain. Both Kennard and McCain have buildings named for them on the USM campus.

The article, which was reprinted in the Clarion Ledger, prompted a couple letters to the editor. One which requests an official pardon for Kennard and points readers to this website. The other accuses Minor of "dig[ing] the stain of racism a little deeper into the soul of Mississippi" by "plac[ing] the blame of Kennard's initial problems on Dr. W.D. McCain, a former president of Mississippi Southern (now USM)." What Howard V. Blair of Mendenhall fails to realize is that Mississippi is stained by the racisim of McCain, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, the legislators who created it and the governors who continued to support it.

Bill Minor's columns continue to serve as a reminder that there were good people in our state during the civil rights era. People who stood up to W.D. McCain. People who brought to light the crimes of the Sovereignty Commission. If Mr. Blair needs to blame someone for this "stain," he shouldn't be looking at Bill Minor, he should blame the past leaders and politicians of the state who created that reputation. Bill Minor for many years was one of few bright spots on our state's reputation -- he does indeed help us relive the past, but only to bring justice to those who were denied it many years ago.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hometown Update

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King went down to the old homestead, and here's what he has to say:
I sense that we in this country have Katrina fatigue. The New York Times reported as much recently, saying that people in some of the areas that welcomed Katrina evacuees last September are sick of hearing about the hurricane, the flooding and the aftermath.

Well, my wife and I were in a car last Wednesday that toured the hardest-hit area of New Orleans, the Lower Ninth Ward. We worked a day at a nearby Habitat for Humanity site on Thursday, and we toured the Biloxi/Gulfport/Long Beach/Pass Christian gulf shore area last Friday. And let me just say this: I can absolutely guarantee you that if you'd been in the car with us, no matter how much you'd been hit over the head with the effects of this disaster, you would not have Katrina fatigue.

What I saw was a national disgrace. An inexcusable, irresponsible, borderline criminal national disgrace. I am ashamed of this country for the inaction I saw everywhere.

I mentioned my outrage to the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, on Thursday. He shook his head and said, "Tell me about it.'' Disgust dripped from his voice.

What are we doing in this country?

"It's been eight months since Katrina,'' said Jack Bowers, my New Jersey friend and Habitat for Humanity guide through the Lower Ninth Ward, as he took us through deserted streets where nothing, absolutely nothing, was being done about the wasteland that this place is.

"Eight months!" he said. "And look at it. When people talk to me about New Orleans, they say, 'Well, things are getting back to normal down there, aren't they?' I tell them things are a long, long way from normal, and it's going to be a long time before it's ever normal. And I tell them they've never seen anything like this.''

Our Mississippi guide, Josh Norman of the Biloxi Sun-Herald, put it this way: "People outside of here are tired of hearing about it. They've moved on to the next news cycle.''

How can we let an area like the Lower Ninth Ward sit there, on the eve of another hurricane season, with nothing being done to either bulldoze the place and start over, or rebuild? How can Congress sit on billions of looming aid and not release it for this area?

I can't help but think that if this were Los Angeles or New York, that 500 percent more money -- and concern -- would have flooded into this place. And I can't help but think that if the idiots who let the levees down here go to seed had simply been doing their jobs, we'd never have been in this mess in the first place -- in New Orleans, at least. Other than former FEMA director Michael Brown, are you telling me that no others are paying for this with their jobs? Whatever happened to responsibility?

Am I ticked off? Damn right I'm ticked off. If you're breathing, you should be morally outraged. Katrina fatigue? Hah! More Katrina news! Give me more! Give it to me every day on the front page! Every day until Washington realizes there's a disaster here every bit as urgent as anything happening in this world today -- fighting terrorism, combating the nuclear threat in Iran. I'm not in any way a political animal, but all you have to be is an occasionally thinking American to be sickened by the conditions I saw.

The Lower Ninth Ward is a 1.5-by-2-mile area a couple of miles from the center of New Orleans. It is a poor area. I should say it was a poor area. Before the storm, 20,000 people lived there. Fats Domino lived there. So, formerly, did Marshall Faulk. And now you drive through it and see nothing being done to fix it or tear it down, or to do anything.

In Mississippi, we drove through one formerly thriving beach town that has two structures left. We drove past concrete pads with litter and shards of wood around them. Former houses. The houses, quite literally, have been eviscerated. Hundreds of them. This is what nuclear winter must look like, I thought.

I'm a sportswriter. It's not my job to figure how to fix what ails the Gulf Coast. But the leaders of this society are responsible. And they're not doing their jobs. I could ignore everything I saw and go back to my nice New Jersey cocoon, forgetting I saw it. And I know you don't read me to hear my worldviews. But I couldn't sleep at night if I didn't say something.
I was down that way a couple of months ago, and it looked the same to me. Now could someone please explain to me why the hell can't we repair the Gulf Coast and New Orleans?

Does it have anything to do with Freedom being on the march?

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why Florida Should Be Kicked Out of the Union

In our continuing series on why Florida doesn't need to be one of these United States, we present the following item from Delray Beach:
Delray Beach -- Shameka Mosley was breaking up with her boyfriend early Thursday morning. His way of coping was to slam their baby on the hood of their car and throw the 9-month-old into a canal, police said.

"Better get your baby before the alligators do," Charles Edward Tyson told her.

Charles Tyson Jr. was pronounced dead at 4:02 a.m. at Delray Medical Center, police said. His 20-year-old father was arrested and charged in the death.

The saga began about 1:45 a.m., when Tyson and his girlfriend, Shameka Mosley, 17, were returning from Boca Raton Community Hospital with their baby sleeping in the back seat. They had taken him to the hospital to be treated for diarrhea.

Mosley, who had broken up with Tyson several times, told him this time it was for good, Mosley said.

Tyson accused her of cheating on him. The argument got louder and the baby awoke, screaming. That's when Tyson's anger turned on Charles Jr., whom he loved, Mosley said.

"We had a good relationship. He got mad because I broke up with him," Mosley said Thursday afternoon outside the Delray Beach Police Department, wrapped in a hospital blanket, tears sliding down her face. "He was just a happy baby."

At West Linton Boulevard and Congress Avenue, Tyson held his child outside the passenger window and threatened to kill him, Mosley said. She persuaded him not to.

Yet minutes later, when they reached the 700 block of Southwest 17th Avenue, Tyson threw the baby out the window, police said. He landed face-first in the dirt, police said.

Mosley struggled with Tyson, but he picked the baby up by his leg and slammed him into the hood of the car, denting it, police said.

Mosley took Charles Jr. in her arms and put him in the front passenger seat.

But before Mosley could get into the car, Tyson drove off, stopping at a bridge over the canal in the 2200 block of Lowson Boulevard, just west of Congress Avenue. He threw the baby into the water, then drove back to pick up Mosley, police said.

"He told me, `I threw your baby in the lake,'" Mosley said. "I told him he was sick. `Take me where my baby's at.'"

He did. And then he walked off to the pink house where he lived with his grandmother in the 1300 block of Southwest Second Street.

Witnesses saw Mosley screaming, wailing and crying incoherently. She called her brother, Fred, who called the rest of the family.

Mosley said she tried to find her baby but couldn't see him, couldn't hear him.

Police were called at 2:52 a.m. and quickly found Charles Jr. floating in the canal, 10 feet from the shore and 300 feet south of the bridge. It appears he was in the water for about 20 minutes, police said.

Mosley and Charles Tyson weren't supposed to be together Thursday. Citing repeated violence, Mosley's mother, Joanne Mosley, sought an injunction in November to bar Tyson from contact with her daughter except from 5 to 7 p.m. on Fridays. The baby lived with Mosley and her family on Southwest 12th Avenue off Atlantic Avenue. The court order was set to expire in November.

When police arrived at his grandmother's house, Tyson -- who worked at a Subway restaurant west of Delray Beach -- was sitting on the couch, waiting for them, his grandmother, Bernice Tyson, 65, said. Police already had been to the house but Tyson wasn't home.

"I said, "What are the police looking for you for?'" Bernice Tyson said. "He said, `I threw my baby in the water. When the police come, I'm going.'"

Tyson was arrested peacefully at 3:21 a.m.

Bernice Tyson said Charles Tyson called his mother from jail and said he remembered throwing the baby in the canal but nothing before that.

"I'm sad that he will never forget that because that's his child," Bernice Tyson said. "He said, `I can't believe the baby is gone.'"

Mosley, who works in food service at Lake View Care Center nursing home, said Tyson had anger-management issues but had never been violent with her before Thursday morning.

Delray Beach police charged Tyson with murder, aggravated child abuse, child endangerment and violating a domestic-violence injunction. The Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested Tyson in 2002 for misdemeanor battery.

Tyson and Mosley thought they were cousins when they met three years ago at The Palace roller rink west of Lantana, because Mosley's stepfather, Alan Mosley, is Tyson's uncle. When they discovered they were not blood relatives, they started a relationship, Shameka Mosley said. And when the baby was born, he was loved.

"He was everything a father could be, that's why it's so hard to believe he killed him," Joanne Mosley, 47, said.

Charles Tyson Jr., was just starting to stand on his own and trying to walk, Alan Mosley, 52, said.

"It's not right for him to take something that we love," Alan Mosley said of his nephew. "All I can do is cry. I miss him so much. I wish he were here."

The baby even said his first word, Alan Mosley said. It was "Dad."
And some people will tell you that there is a just and loving God in this universe.

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Ahh, May-December Romance

Well, May to December a decade from now.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A 33-year-old man in northern Malaysia has married a 104-year-old woman, saying mutual respect and friendship had turned to love, a news report said Tuesday.

It was Muhamad Noor Che Musa's first marriage and his wife's 21st, according to The Star newspaper which cited a report in the Malay-language Harian Metro tabloid.

Muhamad, an ex-army serviceman said he found peace and a sense of belonging after meeting Wook Kundor, whom he said he initially sympathized with because she was childless, old and alone, the report said.

"I am not after her money, as she is poor," Muhamad reportedly said. "Before meeting Wook, I never stayed in one place for long."

He said he hoped to help his new bride to master Roman script while she taught him Islamic religious knowledge.

The report did not say if any of Wook's previous 20 husbands are still alive.
You get that? Twenty previous husbands.

I wonder if this arrangement was somehow inspired by this picture.

Speaking of pictures, here's the happy couple:

What I find truly amazing is that this didn't happen in Florida.

Thanks to Errol for the heads-up on this article.

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Once Again, Props to the Daily Cardinal

As Jon noted earlier, the New Orleans Saints picked USC running back Reggie Bush in this weekend's NFL draft. What, you might ask, does this have to do with the University of Wisconsin's best student paper?

A lot. Trust me. I've mentioned the Dirty Bird several times before, always with warm words of praise and admiration. It's a fine student paper, even if, sometimes, the insights of 19-year-olds make you want to stab your eyes with plastic forks. But, overall, it's great.

This time, it's young sports columnist Ben Hubner who is deserving of our approbation. Ben, writing his final column for the year, mentions the Saints' draft pick, and he gives us this gem:
at least New Orleans finally has a Bush that might be of some assistance.
Ha ha ha ha!

Looks like someone is angling for a promotion to the opinion desk.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Super 88

For those of you who don't know, this is Super 88. Super 88 is one of my favorite places in the world. I am always happy when I am in the store. Of the, oh I don't know, 80,000 different items in this grocery store, I am familiar with about 16. Most of the labels I can't read because I'm woefully monolingual.

Occasionally, though, I'll buy a package with some amazing translation about the product. Here are two of my recent favorites:

Roast Broad Bean [these are large roasted, salted beans. Interesting but good.]: "This product is made of high quality material new processing methods and under equipments. It is delicious and tasteful, if found any defectiveness, please return directly to our quality control department indicating time, place & store of purchase, we will exchange and comments."

Crackajack he fen [rice noodles]: "Mai lao de crackajack he fen is made of and uniform in sticis. It is good for entertaining quest as well as gift and has been highly welcomed by our overseas customers"

Of all the horror stories I've read about botched translations for products, these are pretty mild. Both of these products are really good and I highly recommend them, but not as gifts.
While We're Noting Memorable Days

Happy birthday, Marisa!

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Oh Yeah

Happy Mission Accomplished! Day, everyone!

That's right. It was three years ago today when Commander CuckooBananas strode the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and told us that "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

Yeah. Tell it to these people, jagoff.

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NFL Draft Weekend

Ahhh, I'm still basking in the glow of the Saints good-fortune. For those of you who aren't big draft crazies like me, the Saints picked Reggie Bush -- a superstar in the making.

Hopefully Jude will return from his sub-par fantasy football season last year and host the league again. Hopefully fantasy sports will still be legal.

Also, the pork loin turned out great, many compliments. I changed the recipe just a bit and added a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. A nice finale to the Brookline-Allston street party barbequing. I'm sure Jude's baked ziti was just as marvelous.

5 days until I'm no longer a law student. Anyone want to hire a young, attractive, gregarious attorney for your litigation department? I'd be a great swingman for the company basketball team. Just leave your contact info in the comments, thanks.
Un día sin un inmigrante

So, how's it going where you are? I'm working on writing tests and, as such, I'm lucky enough to be able to stay home today. (Which is especially nice, since walking to work today wouldn't be very nice. Stupid rain on the first of May.) Anyway, I won't be out and about, so I won't be able to see how much impact the "Day Without an Immigrant" efforts will have here.

Feel free to make comments.

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Human Nature

I don't think I can top Jude's marathon postings from the weekend, so I'll keep it short. I wanted to point everyone to Human Nature in Slate. Lots of interesting bits of news today including circumcisions in Africa to prevent the spread of HIV and Tanning salons marketing to high school girls = tobacco industry. Here's something I think is encouraging for Catholics:
The Vatican is considering whether to condone condoms as AIDS prevention. The church opposes condoms as contraception and thinks promoting them to stop AIDS is counterproductive because it encourages promiscuity. But a leading moderate cardinal says the church should allow condoms within marriage when one spouse has HIV, and the pope has asked his health department to consider whether this might be acceptable as a lesser evil.
I don't have a problem with the Church refusing to allow condoms, but I do have a problem when the Church actively works to misinform the public about the risks of condom use as we have seen recently in Africa. We all know that the Church is slow to change, but maybe in the new century with more information available to more people more quickly, the Catholic Church will have an easier time adjusting to a changing society. Also this might aid Pope Benedict's image as he is usually seen as a hardline conservative.
Unhealthy Obsessions

I have a couple. The one I feel like discussing today is, well, Today. I am fascinated yet repulsed by the morning schlock-fest that is NBC's morning "news" show. Why NBC? 'Cause that's the channel that comes in most clearly for me. I suppose this could just as easily be about half-wit Charlie Gibson and the revoltingly unctuous Diane Sawyer, or about Harry Smith and the other four empty suits on CBS, but it's about NBC's Today Show.

Last week, I almost pissed myself when Katie Couric put on her reading glasses (so you know she's serious) and talked to Tim Russert about President Bush's falling approval ratings. You see, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of 1109 adults, the President's job approval rating was 36%, down one percentage point from the previous month. They give a +/- 3.1% margin of error; I calculated that this MoE means that they're using a 97% confidence interval. If you don't know what confidence intervals are, just know this: We have absolutely no idea what the actual value (of President's job approval) for the population of all Americans is. However, thanks to the magic of the Central Limit Theorem, we know that all possible sample proportions are approximately Normally distributed around the true population proportion, with an estimated standard deviation of 0.0144; therefore, the probability of getting a sample proportion that radically deviates from the true population proportion is pretty small. For those of you who know better: This description is only a rough sketch of how these things actually work. Please do not send nasty e-mails or post snotty comments about how Pierre-Simon LaPlace needs to come back to life and kick my ass. If you want a more detailed and accurate explanation, attend my class some day.

ANYWAY, what I'm saying is that, if done properly, this poll is a pretty good estimate of the actual population proportion for the President's job approval. And it's a really, really crappy number for Bush. Well, Katie Couric, in an astonishing display of ignorance or stupidity or god only knows what, actually had the following exchange with Tim Russert:
COURIC: Let's start with the poll numbers, Tim. This has been -- no doubt about it -- a rough patch for the administration. His -- President Bush's approval rating is down just one point. Do you think in a strange way, the White House is breathing a sigh of relief?

RUSSERT: No. They understand, Katie, that they have to start rebounding, and rebounding quickly. When you look inside these numbers, Katie, the mood of the country is so unsettled. Two out of three Americans say we're simply on the wrong track. The president has to be -- address that, starting with the high prices of gasoline. And that's why you saw his rhetoric change rather dramatically this week.

What the hell? "Down just one point"? One percent of the adult population represents 2.1 million people, dumbass. That's another two million people who are, for whatever reason, dissatisfied with the President's job (again; this is just an approximation, so those of you who are statistically inclined can just keep your electronic traps shut). I'll let you think about how fucking stupid Katie Couric sounded for just a minute.

Done thinking? Good. Today's Today atrocity involved Stephen Colbert. In that they didn't even mention him. Once. They mentioned the Correspondents' Association Dinner. They mentioned Bush's dumbass dual-Bush bit. They showed the powerful and their sycophants yukking it up. But they didn't once mention Stephen Colbert. Not once. He must have really made some press types unhappy. Are they, like the Boy King, whiny-ass titty babies? Yes. Yes, they are. Peter Daou at the Huffington Post has noted that Colbert's routine is being scrubbed from the Official Record of the evening.

Down the memory hole!

Billmon, as usual, has more and better stuff than I could ever come up with. Although, if he keeps going to see dreck like American Dreamz, he might lose enough brain function so that he and I sound like equals.

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