May 19, 2005
Blagojevich refused to say Monday if he had been subpoenaed by a grand jury looking into allegations that his chief fundraiser traded jobs for campaign contributions, but a source close to the investigation confirmed subpoenas had been sent to the governor's office, his major fundraisers, his political committees and some agency heads. But, quoting Theodore Roosevelt, the Democratic governor told reporters that any investigation would show his office to be "as clean as a hound's tooth."
Ah - you say, it looks like business as usual in Illinois - jobs, driver's licenses.... you name it, it can be traded for campaign contributions. Although I think the channelling of Dan Rather (even though it's a quote from Teddy) is a bit creepy, there isn't much to the accusations to make most people in Illinois do more than shake their heads in disgust - it's all too common and certainly nothing to create much of a stir. But Blaggy can't just let it go there he has to keep talking...
When asked about the importance of the public knowing whether a governor has been subpoenaed, given the pending corruption case against former Gov. George Ryan, Blagojevich said he wasn't Ryan and wasn't simply looking the other way when family members benefited.
"This is the kind of thing that I think separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that, knowing what's coming your way?" Blagojevich said. "I say I do."
The man is a Democrat... he's young... you would think he'd have just a slight clue about how to word things in the 21st century style. Honestly... "men from the boys"... not to mention... "testicular virility"!!! What in the world was he thinking? Oh - sorry - apparently he wasn't thinking... he was trying to prove he is the better "man"... he's got it baby... he's the stud! Sadly, it seems no one has told the poor guy - those who need to brag about how much they have - are generally thought to have nothing.
May I suggest to the esteemed gov... the term "intestinal fortitude"? You may want to look it up if you've not heard of it - yet it seems to convey (with much less offense and FAR less idiocy) exactly what is meant.
I also read with even more amusement, the reaction of the women legislators in Springfield.
"It's more of the same guy stuff here in Springfield," said state Sen. Susan Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat. "It always comes down to that, and it certainly comes down to that this time of year."
"It's one thing to make comments like that when you're sitting around having a beer with your family or your friends, but not at a press conference." said state Sen. Christine Radogno, a Lemont Republican.
Several female lawmakers say if there was a little more estrogen in the Capitol, there would be more cooperation among lawmakers. Currently, with less than two weeks to go in the scheduled Spring session, there's little agreement on the state budget.
"I think we need more women to take over and we'd have a lot of compassion, compromising and caring," said Sen. Kay Wojcik, a Schaumburg Republican. "It'd be over with. We'd be out of here on time."
"We definitely need women in charge," Garrett said. "The fact is women would never say anything like that. We just simply do our job and don't take on friends, relatives and other associates."
The only comment I agree with is the one about where the gov's comment is appropriate... sitting around drinking beer with family (I'm not sure if politicians have any friends).
As for the rest - I always howl with laughter when women start making blanket statements about how much better things would be if "they" ran the show. All you have to do is find a few good blogs where women talk about being on various committees at schools and in other groups run exclusively by women. The backstabbing, the sniping, the bitterness, the envy... Yet, all an idiot, like our esteemed gov, has to do is make a stupid statement and suddenly all this is forgotten as women elevate themselves to sainthood and claim they could miraculously solve all the ills of the world if given a chance.
Illinois politics does have its funny moments. This happens to be one of them and I think I'll enjoy it.
May 18, 2005
Yes, it's been one of those days. *sigh*
May 17, 2005
Harvey has looked into the matter and he's not very happy with Arianna.
Arianna - and, indeed, all her group-blog-buddies - have other outlets. Outlets that are higher profile, less prone to criticism and feedback, and far more renumerative. Their natural inclination is to leverage their time into productive activities, and this project goes counter to that. This sad collection of celebrity cat-blogging can't possibly hold any appeal, outside of the opportunity to publicly lick Arianna's backside while appearing to be hip and trendy because they're blogging.
As far as I'm concerned over 300 people is not a group... it's a horde. But I'm pretty sure what will happen eventually is... about 5 or 6 of these people will post things on a regular basis. Most will only post 1 thing and never post again... some will peek in from time to time and leave an inane or incomprehensible post. Readers who are "star chasing groupies" will stop by to see if their favorite celeb has posted. And thus her efforts toward "blogging" will lurch along. Until the core posting group is settled, we'll have no idea if this thing she's created will actually go anywhere. The biggest hurdle being - getting a mish mash of people to put out posts that are worth looking at.
The silliest thing I've seen to date with respect to the group blog is part of a quote Harvey has posted.
...I wanted to make sure that those people, who, as you say, have other platforms, would also have an online platform...
*Knock* *Knock* Hello... Arianna... is anyone home? There is NOTHING stopping these people from creating their very own blogs or even group blogs, if they want to do it. They even have enough dollars in the bank to pay someone to set everything up for them and tell them how to post an entry. It's not hard, it's certainly not rocket science. She makes it sound like these poor little celebs were being "excluded" from the blogging community!
Wow - I never knew I had that much power... I can keep celebs off the blogoshere!!! I guess that means I should be very angry at Arianna for circumventing me and "giving" these high profile types their own little outlet... Nah... it's too much trouble.
Note to Arianna - people who want to blog - will find a way to do it. People who don't want to blog won't even care. The only reason I can see for The Huffington Post to attract bloggers - a built in audience of people who will check it out because of the celebrity lure. Only time will tell if that's enough to fire things up and keep it going.
May 16, 2005
They ran a story that has shaken a fragile democracy [do they really want to see the Taliban and its regular (and almost ritual) rape and murder of females of all ages and atrocities back?], endangered the lives of civilians dedicated to alleviating the humanitarian crisis generated by the Taliban (and not the liberation), and endangered the lives of American and Allied armed forces still fighting the Taliban.
Naturally the answer here is that - Newsweek simply doesn't care. Period. As far as the MSM are concerned - the Middle East is just a news story. If they can find some way to twist it to their advantage... to make it useful in advancing their agenda... then the cost is worth it to them. (funny how they aren't the ones who have to pay it) The fact that we are talking about real live breathing human beings... you know people... with hopes and dreams of better things for themselves and their families - utterly fails to make an impression on them.
No, these pond scum are so focused on making our military look bad and by association making the Bush administration look bad... well, what are a few deaths of some raggedy Middle East losers?
These people have become exactly what they claim to be fighting against... Soulless ghouls using the end they hope for to justify the means of getting there. Sadly, at least 17 people have paid the ultimate price to advance this agenda. How many more deaths will be laid at their door?
"OMG - I forgot all about those chairs! Where in the world am I going to put them?"
"I hope no one has to use the bathroom for a while..."
"How are we going to get you out from behind those boxes?"
"What if I need more than 4 shot glasses?"
"Where's Tammi? Do you see her?"
May 15, 2005
In the meantime... My blog sis Bou has outdone herself with this weeks Carnival of the Recipes there is tons of good eatin' there - so head over and make out your grocery list for the week!!! And extra gold stars... I found out today that she was trying to get that big post written during a huge spam attack at Munu, thus taking twice the amount of time it should!
May 12, 2005
Then I got an email (one of numerous email lists I belong to) pointing to a recent story of data theft. It initially involves the theft of Operating System code from Cisco Systems Routers (these routers are used extensively to direct internet traffic).
Now federal officials and computer security investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band, apparently based in Europe - in which thousands of computer systems were similarly penetrated.
Investigators in the United States and Europe say they have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.
First of all - let me say - yes it is the NYT presenting this story... so we have no idea how reliable the embellishment is from the basic story found on Reuters. Their take is as follows:
Several supercomputer labs in April 2004 reported that computers connected to the high-speed TeraGrid network had been breached.
A spokeswoman for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico confirmed that the facility had experienced an intrusion around the time that Cisco reported its breach, but said no sensitive information was obtained.
Okay guys - whatever you say.
Here is the crux of the matter - large systems with lots of juicy data are HUGE magnets for hackers. Period. Once you put all your information into one neat little bundle, you have made the job of the bad guys about 1000 times easier. Could they have collected all that data from existing systems? Certainly... but why not make them work for it?
I will admit to tremendous paranoia when it comes to computer systems and the data they store. After all, many of the government systems are so very poorly secured, they can't even get a "governmental" passing grade... and that includes the Department of Homeland Security - whose computers flunked the security test completely. Yeah, that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when it comes to them storing MY data.
The Congress people who pushed this are all real proud of how they are doing something to stop... ummmm.... I'm not quite sure what. After all, even with all of the supposed identification needed to get a REAL ID, the ID itself won't stop an attack. If I say I'm Joe Smith and I prove I'm Joe Smith and I have a REAL ID saying I'm Joe Smith... I can still try to hijack a plane or bomb a building. Just because I know who someone is... does not mean it will stop bad people from doing very bad things. For that matter - having an ID system like this could be detrimental. It may cause security people to be less vigilant... after all if you've got an ID - you must be okay... Right? Um - sure.
And what really worries me are the people who can get into the systems undetected. The news stories are about the ones who got caught... it's the ones they DON'T catch that should scare the socks off you. Have a nice evening now...
May 11, 2005
Well, off we went to find a paper and look it up for show times. Turns out it was playing in only 1 theater in the entire St. Louis area - ONE! Hmmm, might be difficult to get tickets we discuss it and decide to drive out to see what show times are available. As it turned out, we bought our tickets that day for a show time 3 days later!!! Holy smokies people. This was amazing! The first time I ever heard of a movie selling advanced tickets. All I could think was... this better be worth it!
The day finally arrived and we piled into the theater with the rest of the sold out crowd. This was one of the few theaters left that still had the HUGE screen. Around that time was when theaters had almost become extra large television rooms - the screens about the size of big screen tvs of today. But this was one of the last of the old time screens - stretching across the width of the back wall, from floor to ceiling. This theater also sat several hundred people. Yeah - this is how a movie was meant to be seen!
Then it began... I can't possibly put it any better than Sgt. Mom who said:
Inside the very modern Cinerama Dome, the atmosphere was electric with excitement and anticipation. The lights went dim, and the music came up, and the great letters of the opening titles swam through dark space. We were sucked in, from the very first opening scene, with the fleeing transport shooting back at the Imperial battle cruiser, which grew bigger, bigger, unimaginably huge, the sound of it rattling your heart in your chest. Ahh, that was an exhilarating, dazzling roller-coaster ride of a movie, with all the classical elements, dashes of wit and adventure, of battered technology and strange creatures, bursting with visual creativity, Robin Hood and Buck Rogers and all. JP and I stumbled out of the theater two hours later, feeling like it had only been twenty minutes or so.
It was all that and more. No one had ever seen anything quite like it before! As the next 2 movies were released, I watched them. Each had better special effects than the first one... neither had the "grab you for the ride of your life" effect of the original. I have a feeling the original movie was a movie for that time and place. If kids today saw it, as I did, on that big screen in the theater - it would fail to impress.
I haven't seen the other 2 Star Wars movies. I have no desire to see them. The last installment (I've heard that Lucas is going to stop there) is all set to hit the theaters... I won't be seeing it either. Why? Because there are fabulous special effects... but there is no magic.
May 10, 2005
17) Even if you only have 7 people reading, work like you have 7000 readers. Because if you don't work hard when you have almost no readers, you're never going to get to 7000.
That speaks somewhat to the point. In other words working very hard at creating good readable posts is a must. If you're like me, you will often look back at your posts and wonder what the heck you were thinking when you worded things "that way". But outside of the time it takes to craft a good post, there is the time spent working on the blog, planning the direction the blog will take, promoting your blog (another point mentioned by John). In other words, you can't just sit down for 10 minutes a day, throw out a post and expect to draw a large readership.
As for me, I don't have the drive to work at being a "big time blogger". It is definitely a huge amount of work and I like to use my extra time to go read other bloggers. As it is, my blog reading took a huge hit when I started my own blog. So, I think I'll just putter about on the fringes - post my rants every day and take some time to get to at least some of my blog roll. The big bloggers have all my admiration - it's a tough job and I don't want it!
Hat Tip Tim Blair who picks his own favorites out of the list of 25.
She just started the new job yesterday and I could tell from talking to her... she's gonna love this job! Oh yeah, this is where Tammi shines - she'll blow their socks off. Once I hear about the furniture delivery date - I will post another update. She's hoping for Friday of this week. So far she hasn't heard from the moving company... we must await events.
May 09, 2005
I’ve decided to start a group blog that will not only expose idiots who do this, but one that will mock the very laws and lawmakers themselves. If I may be so ambitious, I’d like to start a grassroots campaign to dismantle these laws, or at the very least, raise awareness of how unnecessary they are, how open they are to abuse, unintended consequences, etc.
I just bought the domain “FakeHate.com.” Details to follow…
When hate crime legislation was first proposed, I knew it was a bad idea. There are already laws on the books that cover every crime that has been reclassified into the newer "hate crime" category. Therefore, if a crime is committed and can be classified as a hate crime, the news media goes gaga... It's the politically correct thing to do... It looks like you "care" so much more... It's dangerously touchy-feely.
Say you have 2 people killed on the same night in a big city. One is classified as a hate crime, the other is not... maybe the second one was "just a robbery gone wrong". Guess which one gets the attention? Two people are dead, 2 sets of families will have to live with the results, both crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Yet the non-hate crime is marginalized, made less important, because the other crime was supposedly done with "hatred" in mind. As far as I'm concerned this is simply wrong. Differing grades of punishment should be handed out according to the laws punishing murder. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
What we seem to have accomplished with this, is to create a large attention magnet. Therefore, people who are somewhat unbalanced will try to grab attention in this manner. Most recently I remember a woman professor who was vandalizing her own car to create the illusion that she was a hate crime victim. A few weeks ago, a student at a local college, sent emails out threatening all the black students on campus. The college was concerned enough to take all the black students off campus and put them up at a hotel until it was cleared up. The news media around Chicago was in full throated roar about this "hate" crime! It turned out to be another black student who was trying to convince her parents that the campus was too dangerous. Basically, she wanted to go home. (why couldn't she just say so?)
The escalation of fake hate crimes shouldn't come as a surprise at all - given the attention they get. I hope LaShawn is successful and can get some of these stupid laws repealed, let's go back to the system where certain crimes aren't given a spotlight because of "hate".
Hat Tip Instapundit
Once again we are presented with the (not so) subtle dig that the "haves" achieve their standard of living at the expense of the "have-nots".
In a study released today, a Chicago-based fair housing group argues the obstacles that prevent minorities and low-income people from moving next door to more affluent — and largely white — residents is an equally damaging, if more subtle, form of racial segregation.
So, let me get this straight... if I can afford to move into an upscale neighborhood, and a low income person can't, this is a form of racism??? Because we all know that there are NO "white" people in the low income groups - they are ALL (yes folks each and every single one) black or hispanic. Amazing how that works.
Throughout the suburbs, they say, communities are limiting or simply not approving affordable housing. Realtors — subconsciously or not — are steering poor people and minorities to particular towns or neighborhoods, the group says.
Oh the angst that should be felt... if I pay $1.5 mil for a house, I too would feel much better about myself if the house next door to me was a cracker box priced at $150,000. (and yes - for those of you in other parts of the country having apoplexy right now - that is pretty much a "shack" in many parts of the Chicago area)
Then we have Realtors and "steering"... could it be possible (just a thought mind you) that Realtors are "steering" their customers toward housing they can actually afford? Maybe I should be insulted because my husband and I couldn't afford a house in Lake Forest - maybe I should have called it discrimination! Sadly, I didn't realize we were being locked out at the time - I thought it was just the fact that we didn't have a large enough income to afford the mortgage (oh yeah, and I have the wrong skin color too)... silly me!
So how did they score the communities?
Included in the research was data such as average ACT scores, amount of money spent per pupil on education, combined property tax wealth per household, the median year that housing units were built, number of jobs, mean travel time to work and park land per capita.
Each town received an overall score and was ranked from “highest opportunity” — meaning the communities where residents have the best chance of living a healthy and successful life — to “lowest opportunity,” or those towns where schools are poorly funded, asthma rates are highest and jobs are scarce.
I just love how all these disparate things are globbed together and made to fit the pattern. Shall we look at a few...
ACT - these scores are based on student achievement - not on school wealth. I hate to say it, but the reason kids in many poor areas fare so badly on these tests is because they don't care about them! The fact that you have kids who can actually make decent scores at just about any school you can name - should be a huge red flag when trying to say that kids from poor areas can't achieve. What they don't have is a family pushing them to work at their school work, friends who find getting into college "important", or a liberal leadership that tells them they can succeed if they work hard.
Next we have jobs in the community. The very wealthy communities often don't have much by way of "jobs". You don't honestly think that a C-level exec who lives in Barrington - actually works in Barrington? No, they commute to work for the most part - so this analogy falls flat.
Last of all let's look at health - people who take care of themselves tend to be healthier than those who don't. Also, some maladies are inherited and it wouldn't matter where you live as to whether or not you are prone to a certain disease. They use asthma as an indicator - do they think a kid who moves from Elgin to Barrington will suddenly be asthma free? Now if the problem were a diet related illness - then yes, moving up in the world would very likely give you better dietary choices (if you choose to make them!). Asthma is not a dietary condition for the most part. I know of many people in Barrington with asthma - the air quality of the entire Chicago area affects them... the air quality doesn't magically improve when you step over a zip code line.
The study’s authors then looked at where the highest concentrations of blacks, Hispanics and residents living in poverty are.
The result: Those minority groups live almost exclusively in the communities deemed least desirable, or with the lowest opportunities.
Among those communities, according to the study, are Round Lake, Elgin, Waukegan, Carpentersville and Wheeling.
The highest-rated communities included the predominantly white and upper-class Barrington, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Libertyville and Hinsdale.
Yes, I do feel insulted. We lived in Elgin for many years. My kids went to school there and grew up there for the most part. My husband and I worked - and worked hard to move up to a better house and neighborhood. Apparently this is NOT the correct way to get into a better neighborhood.
The better way is to make those filthy rich people realize how wrong it is for them to work hard to achieve a better standard of living. The better way is to make those filthy rich people understand that having a run down shack next to their beautiful house is better for the neighborhood. The better way is to make those filthy rich people pay my way so I don't have to actually do any work to get into their snooty neighborhoods... Yeah, that's the way I should have done it... what could I have been thinking!
Sadly this tripe is presented as the best way for low income people to achieve a better lifestyle. Is it any wonder there are so many poorly educated people who think "rich" people have life easy and are snobbish too? There is no mention in the entire article of any low income person being encouraged to work - and work hard to upgrade their life. No, the only encouragement in this swill is for the "lucky rich" to give give give to the "unlucky poor".
May 08, 2005
There I met TNT, Harvey, Tammi, Contagion, Little Joe, and naturally T1G (since he arranged it all). The biggest disappointment was that Grau wasn't able to get to the dinner and I had looked forward to talking with him again.
First of all the bar/restaurant which is a small town family type place. T1G has lots of friends there and he was brave enough to introduce them to a table full of wacky bloggers. He gets high marks for such bravery (must be the Marine in him). The food was excellent as were the people who work there. Unfortunately, per my usual way of restaurant dining, I couldn't finish the dinner and I knew I wouldn't be able to get the food home in a reasonable amount of time - so I sadly had to let the leftovers go.
Contagion and Little Joe were the new guys on the block. Little Joe is actually a part of Grau's Fizzensparks family... which has strange and twisted connections to the Bad Example family... They had some extremely lively and funny stories of growing up together and drinking together and getting into lots of trouble together. Seems they have both done any number of outrageous things with hilarious stories as a result. I never got around to doing too many outrageous things in my life, so I sound like a bit of a stick in the mud when it comes to exchanging life stories. It's always much more fun to listen to the stuff other people did... Contagion and Little Joe didn't disappoint.
Tammi took some time to go home and bring Cody (her extremely cute puppy) to meet us. He is just adorable. She thinks he's HUGE - and I just laughed when I saw him because to me, he looks so very small! But he is very smart and TNT had him playing fetch with a small stick about 30 seconds after we hit the little park at the end of the block. He has ears that stand up about half way and then the tips flop over and it's so funny to watch him pounce because the ends of his ears flap.
The best part... this time (third time's the charm right?) I got a chance to chat with TNT for longer than 15 seconds. At the other 2 blog meets we just never seemed to be in the same place long enough to have a conversation. This time we both ended up at the same end of the table and finally got some talk time in - it was great. This meant that Harvey was on his own and had his work cut out for him keeping up with Contagion and Little Joe.
As for Tammi and I - well we end up not talking to each other too much at the blog meets - at least compared to our phone conversations *grin*. But that's okay, hanging out together is good.
All in all it was an excellent time. I had to leave earlier than everyone else because my drive was the farthest and I was afraid I'd end up falling asleep if I waited too late to go. I hear through the cellphone vine that they all stayed another 3 hours after I left. That would've put me home at 3 in the morning... hmmm good thing I left a bit earlier...
May 06, 2005
Today there is a story out about Time Warner looking at encrypting the storage tapes in case of another fiasco such as the above loss.
Time Warner Inc. this week said it will "quickly" begin encrypting all data saved to backup tapes after 40 tapes with personal information on about 600,000 current and former employees were lost in transit to a storage facility.
Considering the stature of Time Warner it seems they should have done this ages ago. There could be many reasons for not doing so, but generally you hear from people given the unenviable task of security - they couldn't get the "powers that be" to give them the money to get the job done. Very likely because it's difficult to show an ROI for securing data... or maybe we should say - it USED to be that way.
I have a feeling that the large breaches we have seen in the news lately may be changing that attitude.
The incident is among the biggest in a string of recent data-security mishaps that have also affected companies such as ChoicePoint Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Reed Elsevier Group PLC's LexisNexis Group unit.
Any C level exec who isn't looking at all the bad publicity of these data losses, isn't doing the job they've been hired to do. Not to mention, some of this may just stimulate even more laws on the books for securing data. We can only hope.
We are still in the Wild West phase of the computer era. It takes a while for "the law" to move in and do its job. Until then, anyone and everyone is vulnerable to having their identity stolen. Keep a sharp eye out - check your credit reports and just hope you aren't one of them.
May 04, 2005
"Based on all the evidence in the case, and the rules of engagement that were in effect at the time, it is clear the corporal could have reasonably believed that the AIF [anti-Iraq forces] shown in the videotape posed a hostile threat justifying his use of deadly force," the statement said.
It's about time! What took them so long to get to the point?
UPDATE: Forgot to add a couple of things before I posted this - I hope he gets a chance to get off base and celebrate with his buddies. And the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs...who is a Marine - should, as his first official duty, fly out to Pendleton and pin a medal on this young man... It should be a special medal for surviving a close encounter with the MSM!!!
I should say that young son, who flies in a Chinook has mentioned that they use these blankets on the floor of the helicopter when they transport passengers - mostly troops... So, save a life today - donate for a kevlar blanket!
Hat Tip Instapundit
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