Thursday, July 31, 2008

ABC News Correspondent Gives McCain The Attention He's Been Asking For

Checking for Elitist Celebrity Status. You can go read the rest.

The Elitist Celebrity Quiz

July 31, 2008 9:07 AM

Whose wife once
told Vogue
, explaining the purchase of a 7th or 8th house, this one
a beach house, "When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach
person, said, 'Oh this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go. Then it
got to the point where they used it so much I couldn't get in the place. So I
bought another one.”

Whose family credit cards have been known to ring up more than $500,000
in charges in one month

Just askin'…

Silver Buckles, Brass Huevos

It takes big ones to call someone else "presumptuous" or "elitist" while you're wearing $500 shoes.

I won't pretend for a minute that McCain's shoes have anything to do with his ability to run or not run this country. But they surely do say a lot about the way he's running his campaign of personal vilification against Senator Obama.

Owen Calls For Gonzalez' Head On A Plate

Not really. He didn't say a word about the criminal hiring practices at DoJ under Alberto Gonzalez and GWB. But he did say,
I’m sure that these men served honorably, but accountability stops at the

I'm certain that he'd want to be consistent.

Technical Colleges In The News

Laid-off workers are looking to the Tech Colleges for the skills they'll need to recover.

The Technical College System is working to rehabilitate those who haven't been productive members of society and to teach the soft skills that employers have said they desperately need.

The Technical College System is reaching out to build Career Pathways for high-schoolers who won't be attending a four-year school.

Oh, yeah. While the Technical Colleges in Wisconsin are working to build a better workforce for Wisconsin employers and for the adult learners there are some who are short-sighted enough that they want to stop paying for their share.


Um, guys? I have Cardinal fans to answer to at work and I was wondering if, um, you could actually, um, stop the suckage. At least against the Cubs, please.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Think I Know Why

For the record, I nominated Jack Fischer for Idiot Politician of the Week over at the Library and Pub. Let's face it. If you get to the point where the Irish think you're rambling you need to go and sit down.

I also don't know why he chose to hire a car instead of taking a taxicab. It may have been poor judgement. It may have been the proper choice under the circumstances. I don't have enough information to form a judgement or enough interest to find out.

But I do think I understand why some folks have their knickers in a twist over this. They know that bad things can come out of the back of limousines.

Updated: Limos make somebody else think about John Gard, too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Patriotism! On the Internet!

It has not been confirmed that this was second runner-up in the John McCain Pick Your Video Whine-Off.


An Andy Rooney Moment

Remember the kerfuffle when Senator Obama's campaign put up a shield on a lectern that looked kind of like the Presidential seal? Remember the spittle flecked commentary about how it must be illegal to make a seal that kind of looks like another seal to convey a connection to government that isn't, ya know, really real?

Remember when Congress declared the brush -entangled, well-disclosed, oft-visted Presidential hideout to be an arm of the government? Yeah. Me neither.

Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Hard

It's hard to not point fingers and say, "See? See where those thoughts can take you?"
The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s
mass shooting
at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church
was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot
until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this

In my head I know that most people who think the way that Jim Adkisson do will never start shooting.

It's just hard to not make comparisons when this blogger says she's okay with roughing up illegal immigrants, "a little," or that one says that gays should be put in prison for getting married in a state that allows them to celebrate that occasion.
The letter, recovered from Adkisson’s black 2004 Ford Escape, which was
parked in the church’s parking lot at 2931 Kingston Pike, indicates he had been
planning the shooting for about a week.

“He fully expected to be killed by the responding police,” the
police chief said.

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its
beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

Most of the right-wing bloggers who thrive on hateful speech will say they're standing up for their "values" as if they never gave a moments thought to the values of others.
“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal
stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs
announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and
Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

I asked one of these absolutely certain bloggers how she knew that her values took precedence over the values of another blogger. She replied that her values were true. Nothing else but the dead certainty of the unquestioning mind. In that one four letter word she was able to dismiss the 80 percent of the world who believe differently than she.

What did the congregation of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church do to deserve Adkisson's death sentence?
The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial
harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current
ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for
the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and
lesbian high-schoolers.

I'd like to be the better person when I see these anti-immigrant/gay/Liberal/choice/Latino/black/coexistence/anti-anti-anti rantings. I wish I could see through to the kernel of goodness at the heart of their argument but it's damnably hard sometimes.

So often their arguments come cloaked in the mantle of religion or wrapped in the flag. So often they don't even see the hatefulness in their postings. This time hatefulness came with 76 shotgun shells in a fanny pack, having left a raving manifesto behind.

Sometimes it's hard to not see those emotions in a blog post.

What's The Hub-Bub, Bub?

There's a bit of giggling and sniggering on the right side about the refusal of Wisconsin Democrats to allow Debra Bartoshevich to be a delegate to the National Convention. The fact that she has said she would be supporting the other candidate for President, they say, should have nothing to do with anything.

Here is a news flash for those who think this should be big news. The parties pick their own candidates. They do that by their own rules. The Greens pick a candidate by holding a Druidathon. The Libertarians by holding a blimp race. The Republicans pick a candidate by deciding whose turn it is. The Democrats don't have an organized way to chose a candidate but they have every right to decide, as a party, who will be their nominee.

For those right-wingers who want to talk about exclusion I offer a couple of alternatives. Go ahead and write about the Washington County GOP making one of their candidates stand outside their big tent. (ht Owen) Or you can blog about Iowa's GOP making their Senior Senator stay off the floor at their very own convention. Apparently Senator Grassley wasn't deferential enough to the coalition which has seized control of the state party.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's An Honor To Be Nominated

I suppose that being selected to lead the National Lieutenant Governor's Association is a great honor for Barbara Lawton and we congratulate her for being chosen by her peers. Still it's tough to not think too much about the whole concept of this organization.

It feels like being elected Recording Secretary of the AV Club or Grand Poobah of the Criminal Henchmen's Society.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Way To Go, Good Kid!

On this date Robin Yount became the first player inducted to the Baseball
Hall of Fame in a Brewer's jersey. Yount entered the major leagues at the age of eighteen and spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers as number 19 at short stop and center field. His awards are numerous, including being selected as an all-star three times as well as American league MVP twice.

That was back in the days when it fun to go to the ballpark and you didn't feel as if you needed a second mortgage to take the family to the ballpark.

Thanks for the memories, Robin.

Controlling The Message Leads To Obstructing The Message

Now the Bush Administration thinks that even the act of listening to a dissenting opinion is intolerable.
The U.S. Embassy in Berlin has instructed Foreign Service personnel
stationed there not to attend Sen. Barack Obama's public rally today,

American workers are being told they cannot attend an event, even though that activity would be legal on American soil.
Government employees serving in the United States are permitted to attend
such events under the Hatch Act, which bars other partisan activity, such as
contributing money or working in behalf of a candidate...

Mr. Clueless Rides Again

Because Frank thinks it runs on Magic Government Dust and that the Gasoline Fairy fuels the busses.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is Our Children Learning?

Not if they're watching Fox News.

The Medium Is The Message

How does the McCampaign view their candidate? What lofty physical metaphor defines their worldview?

Now you can have your very own John McCain doormat.

Whatcha Got Left?

You can tell how desperate a candidate is by what gets thrown against the wall in the last gasps of their campaign. The worst of the silliness gets slung as the flopping on the bank looks terminal.

Owen buys into the latest weirdness surrounding the floundering campaign of John McCain.

McCain all but dared Senator Obama to take a trip around the world to see how he would measure up there. Now that the Senator has taken him up on that dare, and taken the full glare of the media with him, McCain is left to whine that Senator Obama is getting all of the attention. What could McCain's team have expected? With a media cycle that cares more about the sizzle than the steak why would they have expected any coverage at all of their message of, "Same ol', same ol'?"

Now that Senator Obama is swinging back through our allies in Europe Owen joins the whiners.
Just in case you thought Obama was already the President on a foreign tour,
printed flayers in German (sic) for his appearance there. Clearly, this is a campaign event, which makes the slobbering media coverage all that more

"Printing flyers in German?" "How dare he?" This meme has been rattling around the nattersphere for two days. But the real fun starts in the B&S comments section.

Usually B&S draws a little better class of commentator than some of the others but the smearers are tasting blood this time. "He's pictured like a Communist," they cry. "No, a Nazi!" The heedless smears swoop down and circle one another in a resounding chorus of boobishness.

If this is what the McCampaign has left then they are truly doomed. John McCain has basked in the glow of soft-lit media attention for more than a decade. He's been The Maverick Who Strides The Center. Now that the attention has moved past him he grimaces and fumes and cries, "Foul."

It's sad to see him brought down to the level of the least of his supporters. But they'll be slinging mud long after this one is over.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Little Inside Baseball From The Public Works Meeting Last Night

  1. The range in cost estimates for redoing the lake is because of the difference in disposal of the dredged soil on adjacent properties vs having to haul it to be dumped.
  2. There is a price to be paid even if the lake is left to go back to wetland and never be a millpond again. That price could be as high as $600,000. That is the "do nothing-get nothing" cost.
  3. The difference between the "do nothing" cost and the lower, most likely alternative to restore the lake is somewhere around $1.1M. That's a far cry from the $3M dollar figure being tossed about by people who have only gotten a fraction of the story.
  4. The best cure for bad information is good. None of these meetings are held behind closed doors, including S.O.L.E. which is having an open house next week. Attend a meeting instead of getting your information from the comments section of the Gazette.
  5. Once the city has committed to a project then outside fundraising can begin in earnest. It would be irresponsible of S.O.L.E. to collect funds for a project that may never happen so they have been forced to wait. Once there is a commitment to a solution then a major fundraiser will be held and grant writing can begin as well.
  6. The lake and our parks are just as much of the infrastructure of Evansville as the streets and sidewalks. The Council has a duty to maintain them in the most responsible fiduciary manner for the benefit of all of us. One of the major "needs" to come out of the Economic Summit was to make Evansville a destination. Lake Leota was once the focal point of travel to Evansville. It can be again. If we lose this how do we build a new focus for our city?
  7. Because of the number of natural springs in the lake bed there is no chance of reclaiming that land for ball fields or skate parks or anything. It will be a lake or a wetland. Sorry
  8. This will most likely go to referendum at some point, probably in November.

I Dare You To Watch This Without Smiling

I present this as it came to me. There is a link at the end if you want to know more. The links below are all Matt Harding's.

Please, enjoy.

Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth

Credit: Matt Harding & Melissa Nixon

Explanation: What are these humans doing? Dancing. Many humans on Earth exhibit periods of happiness, and one method of displaying happiness is dancing. Happiness and dancing transcend political boundaries and occur in practically every human society. Above, Matt Harding traveled through many nations on Earth, started dancing, and filmed the result. The video is perhaps a dramatic example that humans from all over planet Earth feel a common bond as part of a single species. Happiness is frequently contagious -- few people are able to watch the above video without smiling.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Didja Ever Notice?'s the losers who whine the most about the umpire?

Oh, Nertz!

I hate it when I agree with Jeff Wagner but there is no excuse for the Elkhorn School Board and the District Administrator getting involved in the political business of their employees.

Prior to the last election, Hensel sent out an e-mail supporting the
write-in candidacy of Paul Martell. In the e-mail, Hensen argued that the
incumbents had become entrenched and that it was time for "new people, new
blood". In other words, as political discourse goes, Hensel's e-mail was
pretty mild. [snip]

To that point, last week Hensel received a voice
from Elkhorn High School Athletic Director Dean Wilson.
Here's what Wilson had to say:

"Steve Hensel, this is Dean Wilson.
I didn't want to leave a message with this, I wanted to talk to you, but that's
not happening. Okay, a couple of things. Number one, as far as you
coaching 7th grade football, I got the word from Wescott [DIstrict Administrator
Greg Wescott] - and this is based on the Martell letter and the Carlsons things
- that he would not allow me to allow you to coach 7th grade football.
It's a loyalty thing and all of this stuff, and I talked to him about it and
argued with him and it was like, 'Nope, it's a done deal.' And I know how
much you enjoyed it and I know how good you've done because I like you coaching
kids. Anyway, that's where we are right now as far as the coaching

If the coach can't support whichever candidate then all candidacies are debased.

Better Late Than Never

It was time to coordinate this in 1974 but the state is finally getting involved. Rock County is out in front of the curve and can help lead the way.
With gas prices on the rise and laid-off workers looking farther from
home for new jobs, is it time for mass transit?

That’s a question that might not be answered anytime soon, but the
state Legislature is taking a step in that direction.

A new legislative study committee with members from Rock County
soon will begin looking at a way to unite local governments to create
transportation options.

Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, is the committee’s vice chairwoman.
Members include Larry Arft, Beloit city manager, and Richard Johnson of
Janesville, an advocate for the visually handicapped.

The committee has 22 members from across the state. Its chairman is
Rep. Alvin Ott, R-Forest Junction.

Mass transit in 2010 will have more to do with vanpools and intercity busses than light rail in this area but you've got to start somewhere.

What's In Your Pulpit

There's been a lot of chatter and natter about what type of preaching is acceptable in 2008. All I have to say is that my Father would have been against this:
A pastor brought out a dirt bike during a church service to demonstrate the
concept of unity. Now he's demonstrating the concept of healing.

Jeff Harlow, the senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church, broke his wrist when he lost control of the motorcycle at the start of Sunday's second service,
driving off a 5-foot platform and into the vacant first row of seats. He
underwent surgery on the wrist Monday.


Where would Jesus build the whoopdies?

You Use The Word "Friend" Rather Loosely

The headline pretty much says it all.
Men sentenced for setting friend's crotch ablaze

That could not have been the "best night ever" for any of them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Elliott

I know I've posted these before but this post just made me go back for old-times' sake.

A new one.
And an old favorite.

You'll Crue The Day

h/t to IT for one of the funniest rock n roll reviews ever.
Mötley Crüe has done something smart with Crüe Fest, which stopped at
the Marcus Amphitheater Saturday night.

Like Ozzfest, this package tour
stacks a lot of fairly popular opening bands in front of an aging

That meant Mötley Crüe was able to fill an arena to two-thirds
capacity and thus retain dignity.

Read the rest of John Gilbertson's take for yourself.

When Politics Is Just Too Wimpy For You

Nikolay Sazhin almost knocked out his opponent with a blow to the chin
in the second round. But he had to take the queen to win the match.

In front of 1,000 cheering fans one recent Saturday night, Sazhin
moved his bishop to go in for the kill and won the world championship of chess
, a weird hybrid sport that combines as many as five rounds of pugilism
with a game of chess.

It sounds a little bit like fizzbin. Doesn't it?

Volunteer Database In The Works

VOAD is building a list of skilled volunteers in order to be ready for the next emergency. From Senator Erpenbach's newsletter:

State Launches Volunteer Initiative – In the wake of spring floods, the
Citizen Corps Council and the Wisconsin Voluntary Organizations Active in
Disaster (VOAD) have launched an initiative to encourage and prepare Wisconsin
citizens to volunteer during emergencies and disasters.

The partnership will also work with local governments to better use and
incorporate volunteers in disaster response and recover plans. Over 35 different
nonprofit disaster service organizations and more than 200 local chapters are
listed at .

Additionally, a statewide volunteer registry currently in development will
allow citizens to enroll in a volunteer database, giving emergency responders
the ability to search for volunteers with particular skills – medical training
or permits to use heavy machinery, for example – and call on them when the need

Go take a look.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Knot A Good Knight

Just a note to Christopher Nolan from Polonius before I start:

[B]revity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward

Somewhere inside The Dark Knight's bloated carcass is a really, really good 108 minute movie that gets talked to death. Nolan flogs it into a 152 minutes that feel like 200.

It has the same affliction as the latest Indiana Jones attempt. You shouldn't have to be checking your watch during the chase scenes wondering when the next lecture kicks in.

We get it, Chris. We understand that the Joker and Batman aren't so different. We get it that Harvey Dent is the Great Hope Of Gotham and deserves to get the girl. We get it that it's not all just black and white and you have to make choices. We get it. We get it. We get it. There's no need to ramble on like Frank Herbert on an absinthe bender.

Chris, we loved Batman Begins. You made good use of Christian Bale and Michael Caine in The Prestige. Why, oh why did you have to get all preachy on us?

I know the critics love that stuff. And, truth be told, it's nice when a movie can be more than the sum of its explosions. Just, why in the world did you think you needed to go over and over the same ground like a Tim Powers novel? Powers gets paid by the word. There's no need for your movie to hang around like a drunken brother-in-law.

To be fair there are some good set pieces. The bit with the light poles just after coming up from "Lower 5th St" made me stand up and cheer. Morgan Freeman delivers a line to the accountant just after, "Let me get this straight," that may be the funniest in any of the Batman flicks. But that isn't enough.

Christian Bale became THE Batman for me in Batman Begins. In this movie he's just a pawn in a suit that's more important than he is. The conceit of running his voice through a fuzzbox is only the second most annoying recurring tech bit in the movie.

Large swathes of the cast are wasted. Cillian Murphy is back as The Scarecrow but only for a minute. He then pops up later in a role as mere window dressing. Eric Roberts is very good in a role that could have been played by most any of the out of worker Sopranos second unit. He also comes in billed behind Chin Han as Lau in billing reminiscent of Hawaii 5-0. Anthony Michael Hall is the TV interviewer that you can't quite place.

And speaking of that TV interview. In this movie there are more people who know Batman's secret identity than frat houses with a copy of the Paris Hilton video. My God, it's the worst kept secret since The Crying Game.

Maggie Gyllenhall does yeoman's work in a thankless reprise of the Katie Holmes role. At least she's not looking down the barrel of a Scientology wedding. Aaron Eckhart does a great job as Harvey Dent but things don't look good for a sequel. But these are not the performers you'd go to see.

The late Heath Ledger does give an amazing performance as the Joker. Try to imagine what Jim Carrey might have done with The Riddler if someone had the huevos to actually direct him. Ledger swings from tightly threatening to wildly raving with little rhyme or reason. This is truly his movie. Oscar? I dunno. But an incredible performance, nonetheless.

I'll leave you with an example of the degree to which this movie sails out over the top.

Early on Nolan sets up a new villain who pulls off a perfect Gotham City crime. Batman then chases halfway round the world to get next to this supervillain both technologically and in the flesh. In a magnificent set-piece the Batman takes advantage and turns this villain to leverage. The villain then disappears for most of 90 minutes and is brought down in a denouement that left me wondering, "That's it? What about the other half? And which one of Gamble's men made the grade and what about...?"

But Nolan has moved on to the next dialogue of exposition. He'd rather tell us what he thinks the story means than let us figure it out. Based on Batman Begins I thought he had a higher opinion of his audience.

Meet And Greet Today

Assembly candidate Kris Wisnefske is having a meet and greet at Real Coffee on Main Street in Evansville today from 12-2PM.

If nothing else you can ask her why she hasn't taken Al's advice.

Twenty Second Time's The Charm

You can have you Dark Knight, your Incredible Hulk and Hellboy II. I'm getting ready for November 7.

Or visit here for the official trailer.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Caption This

Trip Checklist

New trailer? check

Quick stop at the bank before we go? check

Plenty of clearance? I said, Plenty of clea...

Apparently, They've Changed The Definition Of "Ultimate"

First off, who knew that there were seven flavors of Tang?

Beyond that, how can this headline come close to being true?
Tang Partners with Major League Soccer and Actor Adrian Alonso to Provide Young Latinos with the Ultimate Summer Experience

Somewhere an advertising copywriter is getting paid by the word.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Speed Roundup

A fixture gets a ride.
Tracy gets IRL ride for Edmonton

Unrealized potential moves on. That seems to happen a lot at Penske South.
Another big 2008 silly season rumor came a little closer to coming true
today when
Ryan Newman announced that he will leave Penske Racing at the end of 2008. This makes him officially available to join Tony Stewart at his new Stewart Haas Racing team for 2009. Newman's departure also lends a bit more credence to the rumor that Casey Mears will be joining Penske Racing for 2009.

A NASCAR official dies too young. NASCAR technical director Peterson dies at 58
Al Unser is back in the headlines again. For the wrong reason again.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Sr. contends sheriff’s deputies
violated his civil rights and harmed him physically when they arrested him in
2006 during a fracas at a roadblock.

You so seldom see the word "fracas" anymore. Say it four times really fast. Go ahead. I'll wait.

"Manufacturers pull back support from NASCAR" That was a headline in the late 50's, the 60's and the 70's. NASCAR has been on a roll for nearly twenty years but there have been a number of high-profile companies that jumped off the bandwagon in the last 18 months. GM is next.
Troubled General Motors has notified two racetracks that run NASCAR
events that their current contracts will not be renewed as part of an overall
$10 billion cost-cutting program.

That seems to be just the first step in what could be a huge drop
in support by GM, Ford and Chrysler for tracks and teams in NASCAR’s top three
professional divisions, the NHRA and other racing series in the face of the
weakest U.S. auto sales in a decade.

Finally in Speed News, we see vigilante justice at its finest.

11-year-old Landon Wilburn is on patrol in the Stone Lakes subdivision
in Louisville. Landon told The Courier-Journal he used to shout at speeders to
slow down — then had a better idea.

Dressed in a reflective vest,
wearing a bicycle helmet and armed with a Hot Wheels brand radar gun, he points
and records the speed of passing traffic.

The boy also carries a flashlight with a built-in siren.

Subdivision resident George Ayers said he has seen drivers lock up
their brakes when they saw Landon clocking them.

Way to go, Kid.

Thickening; Isn't It?

Ahh, the plot thickens.
The Green Bay Packers have filed tampering charges against the
Minnesota Vikings alleging the team made inappropriate contact with Brett Favre,
a person familiar with the Packers' complaint told The Associated Press
Wednesday night.

The person, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the
subject, said Packers officials have expressed their belief that interest from
the Vikings was driving Favre's sudden change of heart about playing football in

While being dreadfully tawdry, tampering would go a long long way toward explaining some of the smack that's been laid down this week.

There is zero chance that the Packers want to see that mullet in a purple helmet.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One For Mr Reliable

When facts no longer matter, when you can no longer distinguish between reality and fiction, it's time to revel in your wrongitude, Dude.

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

One bite at a time. From the Gazette.
The Evansville Economic Development Committee made final changes to its
economic development plan and all but voted on it Tuesday.

The plan brings together work from more than 30 business members
who worked on five task forces to create goals and action items. The task forces
developed after the city’s economic summit in January, which brought together
nearly 100 city leaders.

This is far from being a done deal. The hard work is just starting and, as has been said many times, it will take more than just the City to make this happen.

The other thing to remember about eating elephants is that you can't take them all in one sitting. It will take years for some of these initiatives to come to bright but Mary Poppins told us that, "Well begun is half done."

Stand Up! Sit Down! Look Fabulous!

I got in trouble over here for intimating that Texas wasn't a stand-up kind of state. Now they send a fallen woman to the Miss Universe pagaent.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Break It To Him Gently

Just tell Brett Favre that his comeback has been intercepted.

It's a concept he's familiar with.

Whither The Big Tent?

Now that the GOP has turned on Jeff Wood, can an attack on Brett Davis be far behind?

What does the future look like for moderate Republicans in Wisconsin?

Monday, July 14, 2008

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me!

1) Maybe the Packers should pick up Annika Sorenstam to back up Aaron Rodgers. At the very least she didn't cry like a little girl when she walked away.

2) Barack Obama will apparently not be invading NASCAR on BAM Racing's car. It would have been a win, win, 42nd proposition. Obama gets exposure in a place he normally wouldn't while John McCain is still sputtering. Beth Ann Morgenthau gets to bring a car to the track again and Ken Schrader gets to run for the James Hylton fuel money.

3) Switch-hitting batter vs ambidextrous pitcher with a six-fingered glove. Hilarity ensues.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ahhh, Tradition

There are some cultures where it would be gauche to bring anything other than cash as a wedding gift. There are other cultures where it's just not done.

I'm still old-fashioned enough to believe that the couple should act as if the gifts are a surprise rather than something they've angled for.
Guests at an Israeli wedding hall can now insert a credit card into a
machine at its entrance, tap in a sum and leave a gift for the bride and

[...] She said couples pay 500 shekels ($155) to rent the device,
which resembles an automated teller machine, and the recorded funds are
transferred into their bank account the next day.

The machine [...]prints out a "deposit" slip with the guest's name,
which can be put into an envelope along with a congratulatory note and inserted
into a slot in the device for the couple to retrieve.

The wedding ceremony and reception are for the couple to declaim their vows in front of Creator, family and friends. It isn't a transaction to transfer funds despite the best efforts of some to make it so.

How Bad...?

How bad do things have to be for a team to say, "Here's seven million dollars. Go away?"
Seattle Mariners out-of-form slugger Richie Sexson was released by the club
on Thursday, despite having little more than $7 million still owed him on his
four-year, $64 million deal.

What was the final straw for ex-Brewer Sexson? Was it a tirade or a snit? Was it thrown bats or knocked-down management?
The final straw for Sexson came when he showed his displeasure with
being put on the bench for Wednesday's game against the Athletics, baseball
website reported.

"He has been in the lineup every day, until yesterday, and when he
wasn't, he was not happy about it," interim manager Jim Riggleman told
reporters. "Nothing was said, but his body language indicated that he was a
little perturbed by that.

"I thought, 'You know what? This is the way it's going to be in the
near future.' So rather than have that, I felt it was time to do this."

"Be careful how you sit," is now the official motto of MLB.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No, Judge Jones, That's Not What It Means

There's plenty of real racism around without starting to make stuff up. Not every expression with the word "black" in it is racist. From the Dallas City Hall Blog:
Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that
central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has
become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a
loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become
a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an
apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

When The Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro

The title quote is from Hunter S Thompson. This quote is from Jesse Ventura
"All you Minnesotans, take a good hard look at all three of us. And you
decide, if you were in a dark alley, which one of the three of us would you want
with you."

Ventura created a mini-tizzy today by joining Republican Norm Coleman and DFL nominee Al Franken in the Minnesota Senate race. This could turn devoutly weird before it's over. You've got your Democrat turned Republican. You've got your comedy writer turned radio squawker turned politician. And you have a wrestler/actor/Governor/actor with a huge forehead and a bigger following.

Laissez le bon temps roullez.

Aww, nuts! Jesse says he was speaking metaphorically. Who would have thought he knew what "metaphorically" meant?

It's A Horse Apiece

There are those who snicker and giggle because Troofer Barrett is running for Tammy Baldwin's seat but nuttery isn't limited to one party or another. The perpetually paranoid David Redick is running for the same seat on the GOP ticket.

Bruce has noted the update on his post. We can all just vote for the grownups and leave the conspiracy theorists to their own ramblings. It'll be okay.

Correction of my own: Troofer Barret is running for Ron Kind's seat in the House.

Update: Somehow, Redick couldn't muster the requisite signatures and Barrett decided he wanted to be a Libertarian instead of a D. You just can't count on anybody anymore.

Who is running in the 2nd? Check out page 2 of this 64 page pdf.

"Get Out!" He Explained

What do our Iraqi allies think about John McCain's hundred years of occupation?
Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, said
the government would reject
any security agreement that did not
include a schedule for the departure of foreign troops.

“We will not accept a memorandum of understanding without having
timeline horizons for the cessation of combat operations as well as the
departure of all the combat brigades,”

Does that sound familiar? It should. In 2005 we had this report.
Iraqi leaders reached a tentative agreement Monday to demand a timetable for
the withdrawal of foreign troops from their war-torn country during talks ahead
of a reconciliation conference to be held next year.

The Iraqis want us out of their country. Two thirds of Americans want us out of Iraq. Why does McCain have such a hard time with the concept?

Maybe he's too busy coming up with inventive ways to aggravate the situation in the Middle East.
Presidential candidate John McCain, who once sang in jest about bombing
Iran, on Tuesday reacted to a report of rising U.S. cigarette exports to the
country by saying it may be "a way of killing 'em."

McCain, known for acerbic comments and for sometimes firing verbally
from the hip, was responding to a report that U.S. exports to Iran rose tenfold
during President George W. Bush's term in office despite hostility between the
two states.

A rise in cigarette sales was a big part of that, according to an
Associated Press analysis of seven years of U.S. trade figures.

Straight Talk?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What's The Chance?

What do you think the odds would be that the Grand Prize was the last one sold every time?

It's a parimutuel game kids. It depends on collecting for all the tickets to pay out the prize pool.

Wisconsin routinely tells retailers how many large prizes remain in each game but retailers seem loathe to pass that information on.

h/t Chasin

It Doesn't Say What You Think It Says

Fred has it wrong but only because his source got it wrong.
Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy

Sean got it wrong as well and I'm not sure why. He at least links to the source document so we can see where the fallacy is. On page 8 of the 58 page pdf we learn that...
In particular, rising corn-based ethanol production has accounted for about ¾ of the increase in global corn consumption in 2006-7. This has not only pushed up corn prices, but also prices of other food crops and, to a lesser extent, edible oils (through consumption and acreage substitution effects), and poultry and meats (feedstock costs).
Note the high lighted phrase.
75% of the increase in corn consumption is attributable to biofuels.

That's a far cry from Sean's hyperventilated World Bank:
Biofuels Pushed Food Prices Up 75%

I won't argue that ethanol production has had no influence on food prices. It's clear that they've had an influence and we can discuss what that influence is.

But to make the leap from 75% of that portion of corn consumption which is an increase to being the total driver for three quarters of the increase in the world's food prices is just sloppy reporting, sloppy reporting led by The Guardian.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Observer Has The Proof

Who is that handsome fellow in the 4th of July parade?

The Observer has Susan's gallery posted.

Definition and Clarification

Some are struggling this morning with defining their own constituency. I offer this clarification from Online Etymology Dictionary via Annotation and linkage are mine: "
A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with
community decline
(see Harris or Sykes), humiliation or victimhood (see The War On Christmas and Your Liberal Media) and by compensatory cults of unity (see AFP, CFG, WIL, and CRG), energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites (i.e. banks and oil companies), abandons democratic liberties (P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act) and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion (The GWOT)." [Robert O. Paxton, "The Anatomy of Fascism," 2004]

Another Face In The Race

Kristin Wisnefske knocked on my door yesterday afternoon and asked for my vote in the Primary. She's running against John Waelti for Brett Davis' seat.

Here's her website and here is Mr Waelti's. Both have been added to the blogroll along with Rep Davis'.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ahead Of Schedule and Under Budget

Good news from Milwaukee. The Marquette Interchange is nearly ready to go. The Gazette has the story.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Nobody Asked Me, But...

I don't believe that the World's Largest Music Festival is the place for either Grand Theft Auto IV or Shia Splatter (or whatever we're calling it.)

But I also believe that if your idea of "supporting the troops" is based on whether or not a video game gets played you might want to recalibrate your sense of outrage.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Snake Bites Consumers. Conservatives Shocked.

A parable for our times.

Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood.

One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow.

I will test myself against that mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world. He could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride.

Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake.

Before he could move, the snake spoke: “I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

“No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.”

“Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.”

The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass.

Suddenly the snake coiled, rattled and leapt, biting him on the leg. “But you promised—” cried the poor youth.

You knew what I was when you picked me up,” said the snake as it slithered away.

Gracious, How Time Does Fly

Five years gone in an instant.
'''There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they
can attack us there,'' Mr. Bush said. ''My answer is, bring them on. We've got
the force necessary to deal with the security situation.'''

That was July 2, 2003. Someone should ask Candidate McCain if that means only 95 more years in Iraq.

Of course, the clock's still running on this canard.
Asked then about the missing Iraqi WMD, Bush replied, "It's just a matter of
time, a matter of time." Fleischer said the burden was on those who had always
said there were no WMD -- to find out how Saddam had destroyed all of them.

Annointed? I Think Not

Aaron Rodgers said what?
“I don’t feel I need to sell myself to the fans,” Rodgers responded. “They
need to get on board now or keep their mouths shut.”

That'll buy him plenty of boos in his first two-interception game.

If it takes that long.