Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Scarborough Gets Schooled
On Thursday's Morning Joe, former U.S. National Security Adviser (And Mika'a father) Zbigniew Brzezinski offered his expertise on the conflict in Gaza. Fast forward to the end of the clip, where Scarborough insists that "you cannot blame what's going on in Israel on the Bush administration." This prompted Zbig to reply, "You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you." Burn!
Anyway, things grew only more awkward from there, as Scarborough batted the insult hither and to, while Mika rolled around in her chair, totally chagrined. Watch:
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Car Wash Robber Makes 'clean' Getaway
Or "The importance of fully understanding and utilizing the tools of your trade":
Crime is no laughing matter, but Portland police say surveillance video from this attempted robbery gave them a good chuckle. A masked man who tried to hold up a car wash gets soaked by a power wand.
If You are Attending the Inauguration. . .
Some very good advice:
For Immediate Release
December 29, 2008
Congressional Inaugural Committee Issues Inaugural Advisory
Washington, DC – In the remaining weeks before the 56th presidential inaugural, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) will be issuing a series of advisories to help people who plan to attend the swearing-in ceremony. The following is a special alert for those people who will have tickets to the swearing-in, but may have questions about getting to and from the event that morning. Because of the large crowds and the potential for inclement weather, those people with special needs are advised to pay careful attention to these details.
While the actual swearing-in will take place shortly before noon, the formal program begins at 11:30 AM and the musical prelude and seating will begin much earlier. Security checkpoints will open for ticketed guests at 8:00 AM, and the committee advises arriving no later than 9:00 AM to ensure that you are through the checkpoints by the time the program begins. Screening will end when the program begins at 11:30 AM and late arrivals will not be able to enter the grounds.
GETTING TO THE SWEARING-IN
Getting to the swearing-in ceremonies that morning will be very difficult because of the large crowds. In addition to the 240,000 ticketed guests, a million or more people are expected to view the inauguration from the National Mall between 4th Street and the Lincoln Memorial, along with hundreds of thousands of others who plan on watching the Inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.
We recommend planning ahead, but also caution that any plans made in advance should be double-checked in the days and hours prior to the event in case of changes to transportation schedules, street and other closures, and other factors that may impact your travel plans. We also recommend developing back-up plans in case your original travel plans need to be changed at the last minute.
The District of Columbia’s inaugural website will have the most up-to-date information on road closures and other travel alerts. We recommend that guests bookmark the site, http://www.inauguration.dc.gov/index.asp, and check it frequently for changing information.
A security perimeter will be established around the U.S. Capitol and the parade route on or before January 20, 2009. Subway stations, bus stops, and streets within that perimeter will be closed. Street closures throughout Washington, D.C., will make traveling by car or taxi very difficult. Bridges from Virginia crossing the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., as well as major roadways from Maryland into Washington, D.C., may be closed to all but bus traffic.
Following are recommendations on how to get to the swearing-in ceremony:
Within 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol
For those people who will be staying within 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol, walking to the swearing-in ceremony will be the most reliable method of reaching the ticketed seated and standing areas. Be sure to carefully plan your return trip as well – it won’t be possible to cross the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route, except at designated points and Metro will be extremely crowded.
Beyond 2 Miles of the U.S. Capitol
Use public transportation to get you as close as possible to the U.S. Capitol and walk from there.
D.C.’s subway system will be running “rush-hour” service all day, but is expecting “crush-level” crowds. Be prepared to wait for space on a train for long periods of time, during which you will have to stand in close proximity to several thousand people. Many Metro escalators will be closed due to crowding and individuals will need to climb Metro stairs or wait to utilize the small number of elevators at Metro stations.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) plans to run Metrobuses on Inauguration Day. Check its website, www.wmata.com, for information regarding routes and schedules. As with any other travel planning for January 20, please allow extra time and prepare a back-up plan.
AMTRAK www.amtrak.com, and regional commuter trains, Virginia Railway Express (VRE) www.vre.org and MARC (Maryland) Commuter Train www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/ will be operating reserved trains on special schedules and are expected to sell out well in advance of January 20. Please visit their websites for more information.
ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
There will be no vehicular access or parking in the areas around the Capitol on January 20, 2009. This includes vehicles with special disability license plates or tags. While there will be locations outside the perimeter of the Capitol that will be designated as drop-off points for persons with disabilities, traffic conditions and restrictions may make reaching these drop-off locations extremely difficult.
As noted above, public transportation is expected to be running at “crush capacity” and WMATA has informed us that while Metro Access will operate for its regular customers, they do not expect to be able to provide pick-ups for people after events.
There will be designated areas for people with disabilities in each of the ticketed seating areas on the Capitol grounds, however these areas are limited in size and available on a first-come first-served basis. Persons in wheelchairs or utilizing walkers should be aware that they will need to move across bumpy surfaces, grassy areas, and possible icy areas (depending on the weather).
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS
The weather in Washington in January is usually quite cold and often rainy or snowy. Please think carefully about whether you can stand outside in cold weather in a large crowd for up to six hours, and whether you are ready for long delays getting home afterwards.
Regardless of the weather conditions, umbrellas will not be permitted in the ticketed areas. Other prohibited items include, but are not limited to: Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated), Explosives of any kind (including fireworks), Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length), Mace and/or pepper spray, Sticks or poles, Pockets or hand tools, such as “Leatherman”, Packages, Backpacks, Large bags, Duffel bags, Suitcases, Thermoses, Coolers,
Strollers, Laser pointers, Signs, Posters, Animals (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages, Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners
Bring with you any medications that you need because there will be very long delays in getting to and from events.
Be aware that it may be difficult to talk or send pictures from your cell phone, according to wireless companies. Please use text messaging to send critical messages.
The JCCIC will provide regular updates of this information to the media and via its website www.inaugural.senate.gov.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Divided States of America
By ANDREW OSBORN
MOSCOW -- For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.
See the full story here.
You Tell Me
Monday mornings after a 4-day weekend really suck ass! At least I didn't have the need to use the facilities in this place. Give me your best caption for this open auditorium view:
Sunday, December 28, 2008
I Heartily Endorse Wii Fit
Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit:
Labels: Wii Fit
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Friday Nite Retro - Crash Test Dummies
In the mid-1980s, Curtis Riddell joined with Brad Roberts to form the decidedly less-than-serious bar band Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs. Over time, the band evolved into the Crash Test Dummies, a name suggested by a friend of the band in medical school. Ellen Reid and Benjamin Darvill became permanent additions. George West, the original bass player, quit and was replaced by Dan Roberts, Brad's brother. Riddell was replaced by Vince Lambert, who later left, replaced by Mitch Dorge around the time of the release of The Ghosts that Haunt Me.
The Crash Test Dummies first began to achieve commercial success in Canada with the release of The Ghosts that Haunt Me in 1991. The album eventually reached sales of 400,000 in Canada, largely due to the overwhelming popularity of the smash hit single "Superman's Song," which earned the Dummies the 1991 Juno Award for Group of the Year.
However, the Dummies didn't acheive much international recognition until the 1993 release of their second album, God Shuffled His Feet. Particularly instrumental in increasing CTD's exposure in the U.S. market was the appearance of a new type of radio format: adult album-oriented alternative rock (AAA). These stations put the first single "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" in high rotation, and the song peaked at #4 in the US Hot 100.
Ironically, in their native Canada, the Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" was a comparative disappointment on the charts, only peaking at #14. However, two other songs from the album went top 10 in Canada: "Swimming In Your Ocean" and "Afternoons & Coffeespoons". This latter track was also a top 40 hit in Australia and the UK, and hit the lower portion of the US Hot 100. The result was that by mid-1994, the album had passed the platinum sales mark in the U.S. (one million), and had also earned the Dummies three Grammy nominations and three more Juno nominations. To date, God Shuffled His Feet has sold more than five and a half million copies worldwide.
In January of 1995, the band released a cover of XTC's "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" as a single and on the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy Dumb and Dumber. The single, credited to The Crash Test Dummies and Ellen Reid, charted at No. 30 in the UK singles chart and was a #4 hit in Canada.
In 1996, the Dummies' third album, A Worm's Life, was released to mixed critical and moderate commercial success. The guitar-heavy singles were warmly received in some markets (lead single "He Liked To Feel It" hit #2 in Canada), but internationally nothing matched the runaway success of either "Superman's Song" or "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". Still, the album went platinum in Canada in less than one month.
Give Yourself A Hand, the Dummies' fourth album, was released March 23, 1999. The album showcased a new sound for the Dummies, as it featured Ellen Reid singing lead vocals on three tracks, and Brad Roberts singing in a falsetto on several others. The whole sound of the album was much more electronic than the previous recordings. Once again, the lead single ("Keep A Lid On Things") was a top 10 hit in Canada.
The Crash Test Dummies parted ways with their record label, BMG, after the end of the GYAH tour. Free from major-label restrictions, the Dummies surprised their fans in 2001 by putting their solo projects on hold for a fifth studio album and tour. After suffering a near-fatal car accident in the fall of 2000, Brad found himself recuperating in the town of Argyle, Nova Scotia. It was there that he met some local "lobster fishermen" who happened to be quite musically inclined - Kent Greene, Dave Morton, and Danny MacKenzie. Together, they recorded the bulk of I Don't Care That You Don't Mind, which was to be Brad's first solo album. Later on, Ellen was brought in to record backing vocals for a few tunes, and Dan agreed to tour with Brad. When Ellen and Mitch agreed to tour as well, the Crash Test Dummies name was put on the record. This album saw the Dummies returning to their acoustic roots. Brad compared this album to the Dummies' first, The Ghosts That Haunt Me, though he calls it more atmospheric and polished.
On November 11, 2008, Roberts announced in his featured blog on the band's website that he and Ellen Reid are presently recording a new album tentatively titled "Toys", adding that the other three members of the band are busy with their families and are unable to commute to New York City to contribute (it is not yet known whether the album will include the Crash Test Dummies moniker or be released as a Brad Roberts solo project).
The following day, Roberts specified in a subsequent journal entry that he has "about 20 songs now, and must pick the best ten." He added Ellen Reid will feature as lead vocalist on one track, which he elaborated on November 18th as "achingly beautiful". On November 23rd, Roberts added that some "very accomplished, high-priced players and arrangers have volunteered to play on it for free, just because they think it is extremely unique" and the record is "falling into place like a finished crossword puzzle."
On December 1, 2008, Roberts confirmed he originally planned to release the album in a digital-only format, but added that, although getting the record to stores is out of the question, he would "consider running some cd's with artwork if there is any fan interest." and mailing them by request to fans.
It remains unknown what direction the album will take musically.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Eartha Kitt has died at 81
Eartha Kitt, the sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 81. Kitt was the original singer of the perennial holiday song "Santa Baby". Watch her perform it below:
In addition to numerous film roles, Kitt portayed the sexy Catwoman on the popular "Batman" series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role. Kitt was a very vocal critic of the Vietnam war, and performed mainly overseas during it's duration.
The Ten Least Popular Holiday Songs
Courtesy of David Letterman. I dunno, I kinda like the number one!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The Lost Ending to "It's a Wonderful Life"
Not only a funny skit, but what a nice little trip down SNL memory lane - Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The 12 Days of Christmas Cutbacks
Effective immediately, the following economizing measures are being implemented in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” subsidiary:
1. The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;
2. Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated;
3. The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;
4. The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked;
5. The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order;
6. The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one;
7. The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement;
8. As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
9. Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;
10. Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year;
11. Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line;
Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.
Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney’s association seeking expansion to include the legal profession (”thirteen lawyers-a-suing”), a decision is pending.
Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.
Inventor's 2020 Vision - Help the Poor to See
"What if it were possible, he thought, to make a pair of glasses which, instead of requiring an optician, could be "tuned" by the wearer to correct his or her own vision?"
More than two decades after posing that question, Josh Silver now feels he has the answer. The British inventor has embarked on a quest that is breathtakingly ambitious, but which he insists is achievable - to offer glasses to a billion of the world's poorest people by 2020.
Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device's tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.
The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered, that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription.
Silver calls his flash of insight a "tremendous glimpse of the obvious" - namely that opticians weren't necessary to provide glasses. This is a crucial factor in the developing world where trained specialists are desperately in demand: in Britain there is one optometrist for every 4,500 people, in sub-Saharan Africa the ratio is 1:1,000,000.
Check out the newest video from the Reality Coalition:
They're the ones who are debunking the myth of "clean coal."
The video is pretty funny, and sadly true. Coal companies are spending huge sums of money marketing coal as "clean" rather than actually making it so. But the truth is in America, burning coal for electricity emits more global warming pollution than all our cars and trucks combined.
Take a look at the video and help pass it on.
Thanks and happy holidays!
Monday, December 22, 2008
On Pastor Rick Warren
From Melissa Etheridge:
This is a message for my brothers and sisters who have fought so long and so hard for gay rights and liberty. We have spent a long time climbing up this mountain, looking at the impossible, changing a thousand year-old paradigm. We have asked for the right to love the human of our choice, and to be protected equally under the laws of this great country. The road at times has been so bloody, and so horrible, and so disheartening. From being blamed for 9/11 and Katrina, to hateful crimes committed against us, we are battle weary. We watched as our nation took a step in the right direction, against all odds and elected Barack Obama as our next leader. Then we were jerked back into the last century as we watched our rights taken away by prop 8 in California. Still sore and angry we felt another slap in the face as the man we helped get elected seemingly invited a gay-hater to address the world at his inauguration.
I hadn't heard of Pastor Rick Warren before all of this. When I heard the news, in its neat little sound bite form that we are so accustomed to, it painted the picture for me. This Pastor Rick must surely be one hate spouting, money grabbing, bad hair televangelist like all the others. He probably has his own gay little secret bathroom stall somewhere, you know. One more hater working up his congregation to hate the gays, comparing us to pedophiles and those who commit incest, blah blah blah. Same 'ole thing. Would I be boycotting the inauguration? Would we be marching again?
Well, I have to tell you my friends, the universe has a sense of humor and indeed works in mysterious ways. As I was winding down the promotion for my Christmas album I had one more stop last night. I'd agreed to play a song I'd written with my friend Salman Ahmed, a Sufi Muslim from Pakistan. The song is called "Ring The Bells," and it's a call for peace and unity in our world. We were going to perform our song for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group of Muslim Americans that tries to raise awareness in this country, and the world, about the majority of good, loving, Muslims. I was honored, considering some in the Muslim religion consider singing to be against God, while other Muslim countries have harsh penalties, even death for homosexuals. I felt it was a very brave gesture for them to make. I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote speaker that night... Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside me said, "Are you really about peace or not?"
I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.
When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.
Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.
Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.
I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.
I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.
Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.
Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women... and everyone in-between.
You Tell Me
Happy frozen Monday morning! Now. . .caption this photo:
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Serious story - Man drowns in manure lagoon
Story Created: Dec 20, 2008 at 9:30 PM EST
WSBT 22 South Bend
BLUFFTON, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a Bluffton man apparently drowned when a skid loader he was operating fell into a manure lagoon in Wells County.
An Indiana conservation officer says 23-year-old Nicholas Cruz had been cleaning out a cattle lot at Sunny Park Dairy and dumping manure into the lagoon Friday morning when he apparently lost control of the skid loader.
A dairy employee found Cruz underneath the skid loader and Wells County firefighters removed him from the lagoon. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Bluffton.
An autopsy was being conducted at a hospital in Fort Wayne
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Friday Nite Retro - New Order
New Order was formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Peter Hook (bass, backing vocals, electronic drums) and Stephen Morris (drums, synthesizers) after the demise of their previous band, Joy Division, following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. The group melded post-punk and electronic dance, becoming one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the 1980s.
The band's 1983 hit "Blue Monday" saw them fully embrace dance music and synthesized instruments, and is the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. New Order was the flagship band for Factory Records, and their minimalist album sleeves and non-image reflected the label's aesthetic of doing whatever the relevant parties wanted to do, including New Order not wanting to put singles onto the albums. The band has often been acclaimed by fans, critics and other musicians as a highly influential force in the alternative rock and dance music scenes over the past 25 years.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Jim Carrey Performs Letterman's Top Ten Live Via YouTub
Jim Carrey promoted his movie "Yes Man" Wednesday by reading a "Top 10 Things Jim Carrey Will Always Say Yes To" on Letterman - via satellite from a bubble bath. The list was hilarious, and watch for the surprise cameo appearance in the end, er, AT the end:
Franken Senate Victory Projected
A mere 40 minutes ago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune projected that Franken would finish the recount process with a lead of 89 votes, positioning him to become the 59th senator caucusing with Democrats in the upcoming Congress:
According to local paper tallies, Franken currently trails Sen. Norm Coleman by a mere five votes, down from the 358-vote margin that the Republican held just last night. The Associated Press has the count even closer, with Coleman ahead by two votes. An aide to Franken told the Huffington Post that, according to the campaign's internal count, Franken has already taken a small lead.
The gains came as the canvassing board sifted through hundreds of ballots that Coleman had contested during the recount process. It became clear early on that the Senator had challenged many ballots simply because they favored Franken and had a minor (non-disqualifying) clerical error.
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry Has Died at 76
There is very sad news today in the Star Trek world. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, widow of Gene and known to fans as Nurse Chapel, the original Number One, Lwaxana Troi, and of course the voice of just about every Federation computer in every show and movie, has passed away at age 76. She had been fighting leukemia for some years, evidently, and unfortunately died of complications from the disease early this morning in California.
Barrett-Roddenberry will be fondly remembered by Star Trek fans forever for her work, which will—fittingly, one might say—end with the upcoming reboot of the franchise, in which she one last time performed the voice of the Enterprise computer. She had reportedly just completed her voiceover work on the movie when she passed away.Reports say that a public memorial for Barrett-Roddenberry is planned for shortly after Christmas or in early next year, and that her family has asked that donations be made to the CARE Organization or Precious Paws in lieu of flowers. Condolences can be sent via e-mail to email@example.com.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Fort Wayne is Killing Me!
A new report by the University of South Carolina, Columbia, appears to indicate that the Summit City is one of America's "most likely places to die". The blue square that is Allen County sticks out like a sore thumb on their "death map". Although the categories of death in the survey are limited to acts of nature and such, one wonders whether or not boredom is a major factor. Other Hoosier locales that appear to be hazardous to your health include Gary (natch), Indy, Kokomo, Anderson, Terre Haute, and Richmond.
Turnout Good for Dems - Bad for GOP
Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate has issued his final report on turnout in the 2008 election. The one thing that really stood out for me is how a higher turnout has consistently favored Democrats (See graph below). Another notable part of the report points out that the GOP is swiftly losing their base:
Within the next few decades, white Americans, the only demographic sub-group from which the GOP draws significant numbers of voters, will be in the minority.
The only way that the Republican Party can restore its majority status is if Obama fails utterly, and they win via the negative vote or if they reconstitute their advocacy and actions (and not with symbols) so that they have some programmatic appeal to an increasing diverse America.
Similarly, the Democrats can solidify their hold on the future only if the Obama administration is seen as effectively responding to the many and deep crises of today in a manner that recalls Roosevelt facing the depression or Lincoln with respect to slavery and secession.
Labels: voter turnout
The Forgotten Heroes of Airport Bathroom Sex
I always wondered who started this trend. This video tells all. . .
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Adam Walsh Murder Officially Closed
Deceased serial killer Otis Toole has been formally declared the killer of Adam Walsh back in 1981. The death of the six year old led John Walsh to pursue not only his son's killer, but criminals in general, with a father's vengeance. Walsh always believed Toole to be the killer of his son, and lobbied numerous attacks against the Hollywood Police Department's work on the case. "It was shocking, inexcusable and heartbreaking."
Adam disappeared from a Hollywood mall on July 27, 1981. Fishermen discovered his severed head in a canal 120 miles away two weeks later. The rest of his body was never found. His father's efforts on his behalf led to putting faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox fliers, the start of fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It also spurred the creation of missing persons units at every large police department. The case also prompted national legislation to create a national database and toll-free line devoted to missing children, and led to the start of "America's Most Wanted," which brought those cases into millions of homes.
Rest in peace, Adam, and may God provide peace to your parents with this closure on your fate. May they take no small comfort in the knowledge that the terrible end to your brief life has undoubtedly saved thousands of other parents from suffering the same fate due to their dogged activism. This world has an empty hole where your life was to have been.
George W. Bush's Nightmare Before Christmas
President Bush crafts his last-minute agenda for health care, the environment, civil liberties, and labor practices:
Monday, December 15, 2008
Jason Linkins weighs in on Bush's ABC interview:
Reality-based observers have long known that the Bush administration's attempts to connect al Qaeda with pre-invasion Iraq have been nothing more than a campaign of misinformation. Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, and even afterward, the so-called "al Qaeda in Iraq" never amounted to anything more than a "microscopic terrorist organization" with "850 full time fighters." But regardless of the facts, one theme has been constant from this administration. The presence of al Qaeda, terrorists, "special groups," and foreign fighters (typically from Iran) is sold as justification for the invasion and occupation, when it is actually the result of the invasion and occupation.
That's what makes this part of the interview between President George W. Bush and ABC News' Martha Raddatz, highlighted by Ali Frick at Think Progress, so extraordinary.
You Tell Me
It's Monday morning once more, and time to show off your best caption for this photo:
Sunday, December 14, 2008
More Insane Christmas Light Displays
Labels: Christmas lights
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Blagojevich Sells More Stuff!
What to Buy a Man for Christmas
Buying gifts for men is not nearly as complicated as it is for women. Follow these rules and you should have no problems.
Rule #1: When in doubt, buy him a cordless drill. It does not matter if he already has one. I have a friend who owns 17 and he has yet to complain. As a man, you can never have too many cordless drills. No one knows why.
Rule #2: If you cannot afford a cordless drill, buy him anything with the word ratchet or socket in it. Men love saying those two words. “Hey George, can I borrow your ratchet?” “OK. By-the-way, are you through with my 3/8-inch socket yet?” Again, no one knows why.
Rule #3: If you are really, really broke, buy him anything for his car: a 99 cent ice scraper, a small bottle of de-icer or something to hang from his rear view mirror. Men love gifts for their cars. No one knows why.
Rule #4: Never buy men bathrobes. Once I was told that if God had wanted men to wear bathrobes, he wouldn’t have invented Jockey shorts.
Rule #5: You can buy men new remote controls to replace the ones they have worn out. If you have a lot of money, buy your man a big-screen TV with the little picture in the corner. Watch him go wild as he flips, and flips, and flips.
Rule #6: Do not buy any man industrial-sized canisters of after-shave or deodorant. I’m told they do not stink — they are earthy.
Rule #7: Buy men label makers. Almost as good as cordless drills. Within a couple of weeks there will be labels absolutely everywhere. “Socks. Shorts. Cups. Saucers. Door. Lock. Sink.” You get the idea. No one knows why.
Rule #8: Never buy a man anything that says “some assembly required” on the box. It will ruin his Special Day and he will always have parts left over. No one knows why.
Rule #9: Good places to shop for men include Northwest Iron Works, Parr Lumber, Home Depot, John Deere, Valley RV Center, and Les Schwab Tire. (NAPA Auto Parts and Sears Clearance Centers are also excellent men’s stores.) It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know what it is. (”From NAPA Auto, eh? Must be something I need. Hey! Isn’t this a starter for a ‘68 Ford Fairlane? Wow! Thanks.”)
Rule #10: Men enjoy danger. That’s why they never cook - but they will barbecue (No one knows why). Get him a monster barbecue with a 100-pound propane tank. Tell him the gas line leaks. “Oh the thrill! The challenge! Who wants a hamburger?”
Rule #11: Tickets to a football game are a smart gift. However, he will not appreciate tickets to “A Retrospective of 19th Century Quilts.” Everyone knows why.
Rule #12: Men love chain saws. Never, ever, buy a man you love a chain saw. If you don’t know why, please refer to Rule #7 and what happens when he gets a label maker.
Rule #13: It’s hard to beat a really good wheelbarrow or an aluminum extension ladder. Never buy a real man a stepladder. It must be an extension ladder. No one knows why.
Rule #14: Rope. Men love rope. It takes them back to their cowboy origins, or at least the Boy Scouts. Nothing says love like a hundred feet of 3/8″ manila rope. No one knows why.
Mount Rushmore. . .
. . .from the other side.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Hall and Oates Honor Colmes on the Daily Show
Anytime you need a token liberal
Nothin' but a body to fill a chair
The barest shadow of a person
Alan Colmes is always there.
But all those years of non-existence
Can really run a person down.
Now he's leaving Hannity forever
Alan, please don't go!
You're the only non-douchebag on that show
He's gone. Bye bye,
He was the Tango to his cash
And he's gone.
To the extent
That I hadn't noticed he was there
But he's gone.
What went wrong?
He's gone. Bye bye
He was the Laurel to his Hardy
Not being seen with his family
What went wrong?
Friday Nite Retro - Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell is another one of those guys who's played in several bands, but is more commonly known for just one; in his case, Soundgarden. Cornell was born in Seattle, Washington on July 20, 1964 - a mere 28 days after my entry into the world in Hemet, California. He spent a two-year period between the ages of nine and eleven solidly listening to The Beatles after finding a large collection of Beatles records abandoned in the basement of a house. He then suffered from a severe case of clinical depression during his teenage years, rarely leaving the house. At one point, he spent a whole year of his life without leaving his house, during which time he would spend his time drinking and playing drums and guitar.
Along with Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden became one of the most successful bands from Seattle's emerging grunge scene in the early 1990s. The band was formed in 1984 by Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, with Cornell originally on drums and vocals. They hired drummer Scott Sundquist, so that Cornell could concentrate on singing. After a year-and-a-half Sundquist was replaced by Matt Cameron, former drummer of Skin Yard, and current drummer of Pearl Jam. But in the days before Soundgarden hit it big, Cornell was involved with another project with future members of Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog - a band formed in tribute to Cornell's former roommate, Andrew Wood. Wood, the former lead singer of Mother Love Bone, died of a heroin overdose the year before. Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard of Mother Love Bone would team up with Mike McCready and Dave Krusen and find a new vocalist Eddie Vedder in 1991, forming Pearl Jam. Temple of the Dog has gone on to sell more than a million copies, thanks in large part to the singles "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Hunger Strike," which features the duet of Cornell and Vedder. This was the first time Vedder was recorded professionally.
Superunknown was the Soundgarden's breakout album. Upon its release in March 1994, Superunknown debuted at number one on Billboard's Top 200 album chart. The album granted Soundgarden international recognition, achieved quintuple Platinum status in the United States, triple platinum status in Canada, and Gold status in the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Rolling Stone gave Superunknown four out of five stars. Reviewer J.D. Considine said Superunknown "demonstrates far greater range than many bands manage in an entire career." He also stated, "At its best, Superunknown offers a more harrowing depiction of alienation and despair than anything on In Utero." Jon Pareles of The New York Times said that "Superunknown actually tries to broaden its audience by breaking heavy-metal genre barriers that Soundgarden used to accept." He added that "Soundgarden...wants something different from standard heavy metal." David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A. He said, "Soundgarden is pumped and primed on Superunknown, and they deliver the goods." He praised it as a "hard-rock milestone-a boiling vat of volcanic power, record-making smarts, and '90s anomie and anxiety that sets a new standard for anything called metal."
Soundgarden's final album was 1996's self-produced Down on the Upside. The album spawned several singles, including "Pretty Noose", "Blow Up the Outside World", and "Burden in My Hand" . The album was notably less heavy than the group's preceding albums, and marked a further departure from the band's grunge roots. Soundgarden explained at the time that it wanted to experiment with other sounds. However, tensions within the group arose during the sessions, with Thayil and Cornell reportedly clashing over Cornell's desire to shift away from the heavy guitar riffing that had become the band's trademark.Despite favorable reviews, the album did not match the sales of Superunknown, and tensions within the band caused it to announce that it was disbanding on April 9, 1997.
In 1998 Cornell began writing work for a solo album, entitled Euphoria Morning, released on September 21, 1999, on which he collaborated with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider of the band Eleven. The album proved commercially unsuccessful although the album's single "Can't Change Me" was nominated for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" at the 2000 Grammy Awards.
Audioslave was formed after Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine and the remaining members were searching for another vocalist. Producer and friend Rick Rubin suggested that they contact Cornell. Rubin played the remaining Rage band members the Soundgarden song "Slaves & Bulldozers" to showcase his ability. Cornell was in the writing process of a second solo CD, but decided to shelve that and pursue the opportunity to work with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk when they approached him. Critics initially described Audioslave as an amalgamation of Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden, but by the band's second album, Out of Exile, noted that they had established a separate identity. Morello described Cornell as: "He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn't believe it. It didn't just sound good. It didn't sound great. It sounded transcendent. And... when there is an irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment, you can't deny it." The quartet wrote 21 songs during 19 days of rehearsal and began working in the studio in late May 2001.
On February 15, 2007, Cornell officially announced his departure from Audioslave, stating that "Due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences, I am permanently leaving the band Audioslave. I wish the other three members nothing but the best in all of their future endeavors." As the other three members were busy with the Rage Against the Machine reunion, and Morello and Cornell had each released solo albums in 2007, Audioslave was officially disbanded. Cornell continues with his solo career today. Check out his website here.