Friday, October 26, 2007

I wish I had a University of Florida education...

Channing Crowder of the Miami Dolphins, playing an NFL game in Merry Olde England:
I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries. I swear to God. I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that. I know London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That's the closest thing I know to London. He's black, so I'm sure he's not from London. I'm sure that's a coincidental name.
He was also surprised they spoke English. I would also suggest that he visit Brixton concerning the statements at the end there.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Well, that's good to know

I'd heard White House Spokesliar Dana Perino's blather the other day about how there were "benefits" to climate change, but I wasn't sure what she meant by it.

She clarified:
Q: And one more. You mentioned that there are health benefits to climate change. Could you describe some of those?

MS. PERINO: Sure. In some cases, there are -- look, this is an issue where I'm sure lots of people would love to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true that many people die from cold-related deaths every winter. And there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas of the world would help those individuals.

First of all, we don't really need studies to tell us that if it got warmer, it would be less cold, right? Secondly, go jump in a woodchipper.

Some good news

Ryan loses appeal, looks to Supreme Court
By Michael Higgins and Jeff Coen
Tribune staff reporters
2:57 PM CDT, October 25, 2007

Former Gov. George Ryan will ask to remain free while he appeals his corruption and fraud convictions to the U.S. Supreme Court, which now is "the end of the line," his lead attorney said this afternoon. Jim Thompson, himself a former governor of Illinois, made the announcement at a news conference held hours after the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided not to overturn Ryan's convictions."[On Friday] we will file a motion with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals asking that Governor Ryan's bail be extended to allow him to remain free while we ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review this case," Thompson said."If they agree to hear our appeal, that will be the next step, making an oral argument," Thompson said. "If the Supreme Court does not hear our appeal, that will be the end of the line, and Governor Ryan will have to report to his designated facility."Thompson said Ryan will stipulate to a reporting date of Nov. 7. If the appeal for bail extension is not decided by that time, Ryan will report to prison and await a decision from there, he said.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided this morning not to review the work of a three-judge panel that voted 2-1 to uphold Ryan's convictions despite a series of juror controversies at the end of his historic six-month trial last year.A majority of the nine judges who took up the matter issued a one-paragraph denial of the Aug. 28 motion without comment."A vote on whether to grant rehearing en banc was requested, and a majority of the judges in regular active service have voted to deny the petition," the order stated.

[Editor's note: from a legal standpoint, he's toast. ]

Tribune Publishes Anti-Science Commentary

News flash--frequent Chicago Tribune contributor Dennis Byrne is an idiot (and the sun rises in the east.)

While I enjoy knocking his teeny intellectual legs out from beneath him, I never complain to/about the paper for printing his ridiculous op eds. This one, however, completely crosses that line, dragging out the tired old breast cancer-abortion link canard. He whines that "a new study reported that abortion is an important breast cancer risk factor, yet I couldn't find a word describing the research in mainstream media."

I wonder why that may be? Why didn't anyone mention this "study" by "Patrick Carroll?" One simple reason--this "study" is a joke. Mr. Carroll of course has no medical training and this is not a medical study. He claims to have a master's degree but his credentials cannot be verified, and his statistical methodology is certainly suspect. His "group," of which he appears to be the only member\employee\whatever, the impressive-sounding Research Pension and Population Research Institute has no Web site, and seems to do nothing else except on rare occasion produce research for whomever pays him. Naturally, this "study" was indeed commissioned by activist anti-abortion organizations.

The "journal" in which it appeared is even more comical, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. They clearly are a political organ, not a scientific journal. How many science journals publish pieces arguing the earth is 6000 years old? How many publish (glowing) book reviews of pap books by Michael Savage and Ann Coulter? What about articles by various Schlaflys and the medical ethics of Ayn Rand?

This piece was an embarrassment to the Chicago Tribune and journalism.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strategy change

During the Cold War, we built up our military on the theory that the Soviets would never attack us, because they knew we could blow them to smithereens. Now, we invaded Iraq and Shooter and the Chimp are beating the drums for an invasion of Iran because of threats that they might attack us. With the Russians, we had the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction, but does anyone really think that Saddam was and Ahmadinejad is stupid enough to not realize that a real attack by their country on ours would result not in mutual destruction, just the squishing of their country like a bug? Iran's not going to attack us, because they know they'll lose.

I know that logic is irrelevant when chatting with the wingnuts, but I can't help myself sometimes.

Nice work, Mr. Lieutenant Governor

California Lt. Governor Garamendi. on Hardball:

I have got some doubt about the value of President Bush coming out here.
That—you know, how many times did he go to New York—to New Orleans, and still made promises, but hasn’t delivered? We have the Terminator out here, Governor Schwarzenegger, who is doing a good job. And we will see.

MATTHEWS: Do you think it’s public relations, rather than action?

GARAMENDI: Of course it’s public relations. The action is taking place by the hardworking firefighters, the men and women, the police that are out there on the line, and the community that’s pulling together to support each other. That’s where the action is taking place. And I know—OK, President Bush comes out. We will be polite. But, frankly, that’s not the solution. How about sending our National Guard back from Iraq, so that we have those people available here to help us? ...

MATTHEWS: Do you think the president’s arrival will distract from the efforts to fight the fire?

GARAMENDI: Absolutely, no doubt about it. The president goes someplace, you have got a huge entourage. You have got Secret Service all over the place and all the chaos that comes with whatever the president arrives, wherever the president happens to arrive. But, listen, what we really need are those firefighters. We need the equipment. We need—frankly, we need our troops back from Iraq. We will get on here. Whether he comes or not, that’s not really—really the issue. I just hope that, if he does come, he brings more than he brought to New Orleans.

Grotesquely politically incorrect, but

it is official, from the Saudi embassy, and in my mood, I found it amusing. Take a look.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Response from Durbin

Canned, of course. You'll notice that it doesn't address the key point, although I suspect that his is not one of the votes we have to worry too much about:

Dear Dr. and Mrs. drmagoo:

Thank you for your message regarding the surveillance of American
citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA). I appreciate hearing
from you on this important issue and share your concerns.

Protecting both the security and the freedom of the American people is
among my highest priorities. I share an obligation with my fellow
senators to ensure that the federal government protects and defends the
people of the United States while preserving the civil liberties that
have helped make the United States the greatest and most enduring
democracy in the world.

President Bush has stated that he authorized the NSA to conduct
warrantless electronic surveillance of communications made by American
citizens living within the United States. At the time of the
President's authorization, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
(FISA) required the government to seek a warrant from a special court in
order to conduct electronic surveillance of communications between
American citizens and anyone outside the country. The NSA did not
obtain approval from the FISA court or from any other court before
initiating its domestic surveillance program.

For most of its existence, the NSA's program has operated without
meaningful oversight. Few members of Congress were briefed about the
program until its existence was revealed by the media, and those members
were sworn to secrecy. The majority of the members of Congress still
have not been fully briefed about the program's operational details.
The Administration has also shut down its own Department of Justice
internal investigation into the NSA's program. In essence, the
Administration has attempted to operate this program without any
supervision or oversight. The lack of a mechanism for correcting
potential abuses in the program undermines our Constitutional system of
checks and balances and raises serious concerns about the possibility of
excessive intrusion.

In addition to the disclosure of the NSA's domestic wiretapping program,
it has been alleged that the NSA has undertaken a massive effort to
gather the telephone records of tens of millions of innocent Americans
into a searchable database. Again, this program has been conducted
without court approval or Congressional oversight.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas to the Justice
Department, the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and the
National Security Council for documents relating to the legal
justification for the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. Although
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the committee, has
extended the deadline for subpoena compliance on two separate occasions,
the Administration has failed to comply.

Congress has tried to work with Administration officials to update FISA
in light of technological advances in communications. Too often,
however, the Administration has taken advantage of the program's secrecy
in its negotiations with Congress. In August 2007, the Administration
proposed a bill to amend FISA. I believe the bill provided too much
opportunity for excessive intrusion and potential abuse by the NSA and
other intelligence officials. I voted against the measure, as did
Chairman Leahy and the Intelligence Committee Chairman, Senator Jay
Rockefeller of West Virginia. Nonetheless, Congress passed the bill and
the President signed it into law. Fortunately, the law will expire six
months after the date it was signed.

When the President and his Administration order actions such as the
surveillance of American citizens, these actions must be conducted in a
manner consistent with the rule of law and the Constitution's commitment
to civil liberties. I am deeply concerned about the manner in which the
Executive Branch has initiated and conducted the NSA surveillance

I will continue to work to ensure that government surveillance of
American citizens is conducted in a manner consistent with the
Constitution, the rule of law, and our security needs.

Thank you again for sharing your views on this issue with me.


Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator


P.S. If you are ever visiting Washington, please feel free to join
Senator Obama and me at our weekly constituent coffee. When the Senate
is in session, we provide coffee and donuts every Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
as we hear what is on the minds of Illinoisans and respond to your
questions. We would welcome your participation. Please call my D.C.
office for more details.

Simple Answers

"Bush to ask Congress for $46 billion more in war funding"

The answer, Congress, is "No."

It doesn't matter if he's asking for a quarter because that new gumball machine at the Wal-Mart sends the gumball through a cool maze, and the look of pure joy on his learning-disabled sociopathic chimpanzee face is oh-so-cute. The answer today, tomorrow, and for all time whenever he asks you for money, is "No."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Separated at Birth, Redux

A simple question

Our 9 year old niece is visiting for the weekend, and she's writing in a little Alice in Wonderland journal she has.

"Dear P. Bush,

Why must there be wars?"


They write letters

Senator Durbin,

We write to you in your role as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee will have (as we understand it) an important role in putting forth a bill to extend the role of the FISA court. While it is necessary to do everything within the Constitution to seek out those from outside the United States who wish to do harm, we must stand vigilant against those within our own country who will, if given their wishes, will wreak more harm on us than any terrorist attack ever could. There is absolutely no need to grant massive corporations immunity for actions they may have taken in the name of security. If what they did was Constitutional, they have nothing to fear. If they violated the 4th Amendment and let the Bush Administration scare them into ignoring one of our most fundamental civil rights, well then, there should be a price paid for that. You have often stood strong against this administration's attacks on the American people and what makes us strong, and this is a time when you must do it again. A very small number of your fellow Senators have spoken out against this bill, and we fully expect you to join them in preventing this from happening. The only way we will ever reclaim our country from those who falsely proclaim they love it, only to do everything they can to tear the Constitution to shreds, is to stand and fight when necessary. It's necessary now. You will not bear a political price - your reelection is all but assured. But you would bear a personal price for failing to act, knowing that it was one more step in the destruction of our nation.