Monday, October 31, 2005

Tell no tales

Ah, the war in Iraq is going well.

In Monday's New York Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 31 - The American military today announced the deaths of seven Americans, making October the bloodiest month for United States forces here since January.

Six soldiers were killed today when their vehicles were attacked with homemade bombs in Yusifiya, south of Baghdad and near Balad, north of the capital, the military said in a statement. On Sunday, a marine died in a bomb attack near Amiriyah in Anbar, a Sunni Arab province in western Iraq, the military said.

The attacks brought the number of Americans killed in October to 92, the highest monthly toll since January, when 107 Americans troops were killed in violence ahead of national elections here. That death toll has been surpassed only two other times since the war began in March 2003: In November and April 2004, when Americans battled Sunni Arab rebels in Falluja, west of Baghdad, and Shiite loyalists to a religious leader in Najaf in the south.
No futher comment is necessary. Thanks, W.

And so it goes.

Paper tiger?

Am I the only one who thinks that Harriet 'Bush is cool' Miers was a phony candidate to soften up Congress for a real rightwing nutcase nominee to come? That first the W-imbecile would float such a ridiculous nominee with absolutely no qualifications that after her ANYONE ELSE would look better by comparison.

The Tribune is reporting today that the rightwing idealogue nutcase du jour is Samuel Alito
WASHINGTON -- President Bush swiftly will name a new nominee to the Supreme Court on Monday, tapping Samuel Alito, a longtime federal appellate court judge and former prosecutor, to replace the soon-retiring Sandra Day O'Connor.
The conservatives will cheer. Liberals will scream. Democratic senators will filibuster.
In advancing Alito, 55 and a 15-year veteran of the Philadelphia-based appeals court, the president will offer conservatives within his own party a welcome candidate with strong and well-articulated conservative beliefs who should start the mend rifts within the Republican Party. Many conservatives were outraged the Bush had nominated Miers instead of a conservative jurist such as Alito, and considered him among several of the best choices available for the court.
Nevertheless, it should provide plenty of entertainment.
In nominating Alito, Bush will draw Republicans into a battle with some Democrats who already have indicated they will oppose Alito -- though he is widely perceived as easier to confirm than some of the other more conservative choices that Bush had.
Anyone want to bet Alito was the real nominee from the start?

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

High price

The W-imbecile says it's worth it.

The dead can't argue. The blind won't argue. The ignorant say it's worth it.

What's an acceptable casualty count to a dead soldier? To the soldier's family?

Check THIS link out. Or THIS. Or THIS.

To date, 2,016 Americans have died in Iraq.
Is that acceptable? To whom? Another 15,000 to 42,000 have been wounded (officially 15,353). And that doesn't count the 30,098 civilian deaths. These aren't numbers. They're people.
It has cost us $204.2 billion so far. Instead, we could have built 1,838,952 additional housing units. But does the W-imbecile care? With that money, we could rebuild all of Hurricane Katrina's destruction.
And NO weapons of mass destructions have ever been found.
And NO al Qaida connection has ever been found.
And NO terrorist camps. (Camps operating prior to the invasion).
And NO plans to spread worldwide terrorism have ever been found.
And, given the price at the pump, the oil isn't even flowing. It's good to be in the oil bidness, isn't it, W?

One accomplishment, however: while Iraq under Saddam was NOT friendly to terrorists (despite what the revisionists in the GOP would like you to believe), it's now a major terrorist staging ground.

Anyone read the Downing Street memo yet?

Are the liars still on office? Why? Why have impeachment proceedings not begun?

Why, again, are we there?

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Let's play two

If they're planning on playing any more 5-hour 41-minute, 14-inning World Series games, they'd better be starting them earlier.

What a game!

I need a nap.

And so it goes

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Slow news Tuesday

This, that and the other stuff:

-- Does anyone really believe that lowering the speed limit in Campustown will have any positive effect on the rate of car-pedestrian accidents? No one knows or obeys whatever the speed limit is now. Until drivers start treating the students like the self-absorbed, unaware, oblivious children that they are and until the UI initiates a mandatory Crosswalk 101 class, students will be hit.

-- I see the Champaign County Board is set to review its latest rural zoning ordinance draft, one essentially impacting land at least 1.5 miles outside the municipality limits. Couple comments: ONE: Does it really make all that much sense that a majority of the County Board lives INSIDE the municipality limits? Answer: Yes, because a majority of the population of the county also lives INSIDE the municipality limits. TWO: Why has something like this taken so long to be developed? Farmland's been disappearing for years under the guise of progress. Anyone else afraid it's a case of too little too late? This was needed 10-15 years ago.

-- Has the CU MTD buses hitting people issue taken the heat off the CU MTD annexation controversy? Or did we all just become bored with the issue that quickly?

-- Watching the Illini fooball team this past weekend made me glad the Sox are in the Series. At least there's something positive to watch. But why's it gotta be the Sox when the Cubs are so much more deserving? And remember, UI basketball's only about a week away.

-- Don't know how he does it, but you just gotta admire Ron Zook for staying so positive in the face of ... everything. I wonder if he really realized just how bare the cupboard was that he was inheriting? This is gonna be a loooooooooooooong-term rebuilding project.

-- Anyone else just a little confused by the area GOP's blind confidence that a Vermilion County Republican state Senate candidate (Judy Myers) will be a slam-dunk winner in the 52nd District? State money and Champaign County Democrats just might have a say in things, don't you think? Champaign County's GOP is in a bit of disarray right now, also confounding the perceived optimism. Also, isn't it possible that the more populous of the two counties might balk at being represented by someone from the smaller county? Just my 2 cents.

-- Can't say I was surprised by the news that Gov. Blago was booed at the World Series the other night. He may be (was at one point?) pretty good at playing politics, but he's REALLY miserable at playing sports politics, which is much nastier.

And so it goes.

Monday, October 24, 2005

We know nothing, nothing

I'm not too sure what the point of Saturday's News-Gazette article concerning the Board of Trustees and the Cheef was except to prove just how spineless the BOT actually is.

The reality of the issue is right in front of them -- the Cheef and the name Fighting Illini must go if the school hopes to keep competing in the NCAA -- whenever they choose to confront it.

But it's not clear to many of the BOT members. No, they're still deluding themselves into believing they actually have choices in the matter.
"I know the illusion to the public is we're doing nothing," Trustee Marjorie Sodemann said. "That's not true. We're wracking our brains."
"We would all like to solve this, but so far we haven't come up with the right answer," she said. "We thought we were getting closer until this happened with the NCAA."
Sorry Marge, but there is no 'right' answer. There is only ONE answer. Make the decision you must make and move on.

The BOT still appears to be laboring under the delusion that the NCAA is some kind of democratic organization. It is not. It never has been. It never will be. All you have to do is remind UI athletic folks of the phrase 'lack of institutional control' and you'll understand where they're coming from. If you remember, the NCAA investigated the UI basketball program, looking and looking for recruiting violations to punish the school for. When the found none, the brought out the old 'lack of institutional control' tag and punished them anyway. And they got away with it. Because it isn't the government. It's a private club. You belong, you follow their rules.

Does this sound like an organization that's gonna be in any way democratic? The UI -- and every other school -- has two choices: Follow the NCAA's rules and compete or buck the NCAA and find itself on the outside, a noncompetitive entity.

Appeal all you want. The deck is stacked against you. It's a battle, despite protestations, you can't win.

But what the BOT can do is hide, close their minds and pretend there are options.
Board members say the NCAA should not be involved in deciding the Chief issue.
"I don't believe we needed the NCAA or anyone else to tell us when to make a decision," said Trustee Bob Sperling.
Oh, really? On Feb. 1, 2006, if the UI still stands its pathetic ground, the UI will be locked out. You belong to an organization, Bob. You follow the rules. Simple, right?

The BOT has been debating, discussing, arguing and ultimately stonewalling this issue for what, 15 years? More? Bob, SOMEONE better tell you when to make this decision because if you keep on the way you're going, it'll be 2025 before you do anything.
"The trustees have worked very hard to reach consensus on this issue," Sperling said. "I think we should have been given the opportunity to deal with this issue and we would have dealt with this issue in a timely manner. Giving an artificial deadline does more harm than good because it creates more hostility between the two sides. But we're going to do the right thing for university."
Timely? Timely? Someone better set a deadline, because without one the BOT can go on putting off making a decision indefinitely. And they show all the signs of wanting to do exactly that.

To be fair, not ALL BOT trustees are stonewalling. Some, actually, are pushing to make the right decision, and the only decision left to them. And for the right reasons. Not because the NCAA says so, but because it is the right decison.
Trustee Frances Carroll thinks the NCAA was correct in enacting its policy, but she had hoped the UI would resolve the issue before now.
"For 15 years or more, it's been a debate. If it was OK, there would not be a debate," Carroll said. "My saddest moment was when we hadn't done anything and this policy came out. We hadn't done anything and we have to do something. It's a hard call. It's our responsibility. It's in our lap and we have to stand up."
Huh? That sounds a lot like common sense. You sure that's a BOT trustee talking?

And so it goes.

Friday, October 21, 2005

$400,000? Pocket change

It's so rare that I agree with IlliniPundit (OK unprecedented) that I almost find myself choaking on my own partisan bile. But his take on the Champaign County Nursing Home's latest money problems pretty much mirrors my own opinion.
Is anyone at the County level capable of keeping track of these budgets and working to address these situations before it becomes necessary to borrow almost a million dollars?
I'm maybe not quite as outraged as IP, because I can see some of the excuses they are making have merit. But not all that much merit.

For instance, Thursday's News-Gazette reports
The nursing home administrator, Andrew Buffenbarger, who took over the job from Jeremy Maupin in August, inherited the money trouble.
Buffenbarger, 30, submitted a budget amendment on Oct. 6 that asked for an increased appropriation of $930,060. Part of the cost increase was in higher personnel costs caused in part by the transition from Maupin to Buffenbarger.
Another part of the equation was an error in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund rate. Maupin's previous budget had the rate at 5.55 percent, which was outdated, Frerichs said. The actual rate was 8.13 percent.
OK. I can agree that could be a problem. And it could be a problem that's not really the fault of Buffenbarger.

But they waited until it was necessary to borrow as much as $400,000? They couldn't look at the books a couple months ago -- or when Buffenbarger took over, for instance -- and see that this and this and this just isn't going to add up to the budgeted bottom line?

Again from the NG article:
The budget deficit comes despite a 3-cent per $100 countywide property tax increase for operating expenses approved in 2002. Busey said for fiscal year 2005 the increase has given the nursing home $742,700, which does not cover the IMRF and Social Security expenses it was intended for.
Why wasn't this figured out sooner?

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nothing to report

Thursday's Chicago Tribune reports what an awful lot of folks have been saying and thinking about Supreme Court Stealth Nominee Harriet Miers -- there's less there than meets the eye.

In a pretty much bipartisan rebuke, the Senate Judiciary Committee told Miers to take her questionnaire back and fill the damned thing out completely.
WASHINGTON -- Calling her responses "inadequate" and "insufficient," the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the highly unusual step Wednesday of asking Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers to redo significant portions of the questionnaire she had submitted to the committee just a day earlier.

Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee's senior Democrat, sent Miers a letter seeking more detailed responses to a third of their original questions, covering almost every aspect of her legal work and continuing through the selection process that led to her nomination. And they sought more information from her about her work as White House counsel.
I fear, however, that the committee won't get too much more.

She can't, after all, report a lot of what doesn't exist.
On the balance of her answers, they're incomplete," said Specter, noting she had only provided a "skimpy little group" of cases she had handled.
Leahy said reactions to the questionnaire by senators on the Judiciary Committee ranged from "insulting" to "incomplete."
All this while the White House spin machine was attempting to gain support for Miers by emphasizing her qualifications and her 'distinguished legal career.'

Uh, what distinguished legal career is that?

And qualifications? That she thinks the W-imbecile is 'cool?'

That's about it. Doesn't look like the Senate is ready to roll over and play White House lap dog in this instance. Maybe, just maybe, they might want a qualified candidate. Or at least one smart enough to fake it.

Looks to me like the W-imbecile's approval rating is falling not only in the general populace but on the Hill as well.

About time.

And so it goes.

Out of the loop

From the anyone (everyone) but C-U file: Check out this post from The Eleventh Hour.

But not C-U. Oh, that would be WRONG.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Urbana goes boom

When Home Depot came to C-U earlier this year, I wondered whether the other two super-big box home centers -- Menards and Lowe's -- would be negatively impacted. I wondered if one or both would cut back or go under. It looked to me that our market might be if not oversaturated by the big hardware chains at least fully saturated.

Those worries were pretty much put to rest today when Menards decided to pump a bunch more money into the area. And by a bunch I mean a bunch.

Menards, according to Wedneday's NG, bid $14,700 per acre for 288 acres of prime commercial property -- the Pfeffer property -- adjacent to the new Wal-Mart in east Urbana, along Illinois 130. For those of you mathmatically challenged, including real estate commissions, that comes to $4.5 million. Not exactly chump change. (Unless you're a really rich chump).

So, will Menards build a second home center in the twin cities?
Marv Prochaska, vice president of real estate for Menards, said the company was "possibly" interested in building a second local home improvement supercenter in Urbana.
Prochaska indicated Menards would likely sell much of the land to other interested developers over time and would keep any land that it wanted for a store.
This, to me, is a large investment in the future of Urbana.

My only wonder is whether those same folks who protested so mightily over the building of the Wal-Mart store will again protest mightily? And on what grounds will they protest mightily?

Yes, I still decry the loss of valuable and irreplaceable farm land. I still wish that abandoned properties within Urbana could be redeveloped instead. I also hope that east Urbana doesn't become another ugly commercial blight like North Prospect on Champaign has become. Nevertheless, the land was for sale at auction and at those prices was NOT going to go to a soybean farmer.

But it's getting harder and harder for Urbana to retain its 'bozo' tag. Some losses don't hurt as much.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Say what?

A little of this, a little of that:

-- This likely will come as something less than a surprise: Supreme Court Stealth Nominee Harriet Miers is just as anti-abortion as many of us suspected. According to documents given to the Senate Tuesday (reported in the Sun-Times)
WASHINGTON-- Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers pledged support in 1989 for a constitutional amendment banning abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, according to material given to the Senate on Tuesday.

As a candidate for the Dallas city council, Miers also signaled support for the overall agenda of Texans United for Life-- agreeing she would support legislation restricting abortions if the Supreme Court ruled that states could ban abortions and would participate in "pro-life rallies and special events."
Raise your hand if this surprises you.

-- The News-Gazette editorialized Monday night against a smoking ban in Champaign. Raise your hand if this surprises you.

-- The Houston Astros found out last night what many others in the National League have known for some time: You DO NOT pitch to Albert Pujols with the game on the line. Raise your hand if this surprises you.

-- Although it was a sad thing for student journalists to go through, it's been rightly determined that no laws were broken in the SUI newspaper hoax. And, if any good could to be said to come of this, at least some aspiring journalists have learned very early in their careers to check everything and believe nothing until you've checked again. Valuable advice to carry forward in a career. (Except that some carrers probably came to an end before they started because if the incident. In the Sun-Times:
No laws were broken by a woman who duped Southern Illinois University's student newspaper with a tale about being the guardian of a motherless girl whose father was a soldier in Iraq, according to Jackson County's prosecutor.

-- In Monday's (perhaps October's) biggest non-story, The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce has come out against a smoking ban. Oh, really. they cite an on-line poll they took, supposedly of only CofC members (although I voted) that came out overwhelming against the proposed ban. Of course what they downplay the fact that they had to take two polls before the results matched their previously-agreed-upon stance. From the N-G:
Chamber Executive Director Laura Weis said the chamber took two polls of its membership on the smoking ban issue and got seemingly contradictory votes.
A poll of chamber members asking directly whether they support a city-imposed smoking ban for restaurants, bars and all commercial property received 66.5 percent support.
"When we analyzed that, it told us most of our members prefer a smoke-free environment but they want to be able to choose that as a business owner," Weis said.
Raise your hand if you're surprised with this.

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

More windmills

And it's costing YOU money

The UI's pathetic appeal on behalf of its halftime minstrel show shows just how far out of step with reality the school's leadership really is.

As reported in Saturday's Chicago Tribune, the university has officially protested the NCAA's ruling that the institution's use of the minstrel Cheef Illiniwek and the name Fighting Illini is 'hostile and abusive.'

And the grounds? Get ready for a laugh:
...the Illiniwek confederation of tribes no longer exists.

...the name Illini was introduced as identification for students of the university by the student newspaper in 1874 to honor the state and did not have a direct Native American connotation.

"It's the same with the word `Fighting.' It was never intended to be associated with Indians.'

The letter also contended Chief Illiniwek's halftime performances are not typical of those of sports mascots.
How pathetic is that?

How ridiculous?

And how indefensible?

One gets the sense that this appeal isn't all that serious. Or at least not all that seriously thought-out.

It's almost as if the Board of Trustees, and in particular Trustees Chairman Lawrence Eppley was filing the protest to appease the few remaining Cheef supporters.

And once the protest fails, then the BOT can simply say, 'you can't blame us; we tried.'

It's obvious - and comforting - that this protest won't go far. The only thing that may slow the obvious decision is the time spent laughing at NCAA headquarters.

Although the BOT is wasting good and scarce tax dollars in this little charade. But since when has that been a consideration to those who would tilt after windmills?

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fine times

Ah, it's good to be a Republican.

Tom Delay is under multiple indictments for campaign money misues.

Bill Frist is under serious investigation (and multiple subpoenas) for investment fraud.

Karl Rove is again under investigation in Plamegate.

Fingers are starting to be pointed at Vice Prez. Cheney in the Plamegate investigation.

The deficit is growing so fast it almost can't be counted.

The W-imbecile's approval ratings are falling so fast they may be into negative numbers before the '06 elections; 37 percent and falling fast.

Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas was arrested for drunk driving.

W-imbecile's Social Security fantasy is on life support.

The W-imbecile administration's getting deserved blame for it's handling (or non-handling) of Katrina.

More Republicans (and conservatives) than Democrats (and liberals) are screaming about the misguided Supreme Court nomination of Harriet 'Bush is cool' Miers.

More and more Americans are beginning to understand how wrong the W-imbecile's Iraq adventure is. And what a lie linking it to 9/11 is.

Gasoline prices have 'stabilized' at merely ridiculous levels; the price of fuel may make heating your home this winter simply a warm dream.

Democrats are finding it easy to attack the GOP and the administration's "culture of cronyism and corruption."

Ah, yes, it's good to be a Republican.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Well qualified?

From Wedneday's Washington Post: Religion Was a Factor in Miers's Nomination

First, some background: I am a Christian. I regularly attend church. I belong to a VERY mainstream religion. I belong to a very very mainstream Champaign-Urbana church.

AND: I am not qualified to be a Supreme Court justice. At least not because I am a Christian and attend church.

Nor is Harriet Miers.

From the same Washington Post article:
President Bush suggested today that religion was a factor in his choice of Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bush's comments came in response to a question about why his top political aide, Karl Rove, found it nececsssary to assure evangelical Christian leaders that Miers was one of them.
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush said. "They want to know Harriet Miers's background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Miers life is her religion," he said.
This, frankly, is to me very troubling.

That the main qualification for being nominated to the Supreme Court is that she is an evangelical Christian is appallingly irrelevant. And wrong.

The story continues:
The specific query to Bush, at a photo opportunity with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, followed a statement by Family Research Council leader James Dobson, a major figure in the religious conservative movement. Dobson said that Rove had informed him in advance of the choice of Miers and assured him, in his words, that "Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life."
This, of course, makes her qalified to sit on the highest court in the United States?

And where, exactly, does the concept - affirmed time and again by that Supreme Court - of separation of church and state figure into this?

According the the W-imbecile, apparently it doesn't. Her church is her qualification. Possibly her only qualification.

This is simply wrong.


And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Plowed under

I'm all for progress. I like the idea of living in a growing community.


So the idea of 400 new homes in Champaign/Savoy is appealing. Even if they range in price between $200,000 and $500,000, which means I'll need a passport to even enter the subdivision.

But I have to wonder, just how much beautiful, valuable farmland has to be permanently taken out of production in the name of growth and progress?

The new subdivision, to be called Liberty on the Lake, planned to straddle the Champaign-Savoy boundary, will remove another 240 acres of beautiful, prime farmland. Forever.

I like growth. Really.

But come on, there must be a way to grow responsibly. We need farmland. We need farmers.

But how many more $500,000 brick-and-sod-and-cedar-shingled mausoleums do we really need on the outskirts, eating up more and more farmland?

And so it goes.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Picking up the tab

Any idea why the smoking ban has been delayed in Chicago?

Any idea why Mayor Deep Pockets Daley is opposing the smoking ban?

Look no farther than today's Sun Times:
Mayor Daley has received $94,753 in campaign contributions from restaurant owners over the last four years -- a time when he has bent over backward to appease them in the heated debate over a proposed Chicago smoking ban.
Of course Hizzonor (or at least Hizzonor's spokesflunkies) are quick to point out that the contributions in no way influence da Mare in his opposition to the ban.
"The suggestion that, somehow, he's allowing himself to be used by the restaurant industry or that his opinion is somehow influenced by contributions is patently absurd," [Mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn] Heard said.
And if you believe THAT....

It's nice to have a little humor on a Monday morning, isn't it?

(Anyone looked into campaign contributions to Champaign's Mayor Smokey Schweighart lately?)

And so it goes.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

It's about time

Finally. Some good news: The American people are waking up to the train wreck that is the W-imbecile Administration. King George II's poll numbers are falling so fast it's hard to count 'em. Negative numbers anyone?

See the latest CBS News Poll for proof. And see if you can stop smiling afterwards.

And so it goes.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Whither Harriet?

It's pretty amazing how quickly the firestorm surrounding the surprising nomination of Bush crony Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has died down.

But I suppose it's not surprising. I mean, after all, how do you refute the irrefutable? She has no paper trail, no recordable past, nothing to stand on. Therefore no record to use for approval of disapprove. To put it another way, there's no there there.

The only thing we really know is that she considers the W-imbecile to be 'brilliant.' That alone should be enough evidence to disqualify her from any post that requires brains and common sense.

Therefore, it's heartening to note that leading conservative George Will not only believes she should not be confirmed, he's indicating that her nomination is more proof of the W-imbecile's arrogance and ignorance.

From Thursday's Sun-Times, Will states:
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president, particularly, is not disposed to such reflections.
That is not exactly a ringing endorsement from a longtime conservative commentator of a supposedly conservative president.

Will doesn't have all that much complimentary to say of Miers, either, because:
...there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks.
The nomination, Will argues, is flawed because not only is the nominee flawed, so is the nominator:
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers' nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers' name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution.
After concluding that Miers lacks the ability to be a competent justice, he concludes that the King George II's nomination of Miers goes against what the W-imbecile has preached throughout his time in office.
The crowning absurdity of the president's wallowing in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is, like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a president who, introducing Miers, deplored judges who ''legislate from the bench.''
One wonders if Will is just discovering the absurdity of this president or that he's known about it all along and just now is transmitting that knowledge on to the rest of us.

Sorry, Mr. Will. We've known for years.

And so it goes.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Up in smoke

How can a handful of stuck-in-the-50s in-the-pocket-of-big-business mayors dictate that the rest of us either have to avoid certain 'public' locations or face proven health hazards.

First Mayor Smokey Schweighart blocks the smoking ban in Champaign, bowing to the demands of business and ignoring the health hazards to the voters.

Now Corrupt Mayor Daley in Chicago has managed to delay that city's vote on a sweeping smoking ban. One wonders (not much) just who is greasing his palm behind the scenes (hint: the hospitality industry).

Just exactly when did the rights of a few businesses (and mind-numbed mayors) supercede the rights of the people? Despite what the pathetic apologists may say, it's clear that a majority of the people back smoking bans nearly everywhere.

According to Thursday morning's Chicago Tribune, going smokeless is working across the U.S.:
Nearly 2,000 municipalities, large and small, have enacted smoking bans, according to the California-based American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

As of July 7, 293 cities and towns required 100 percent smoke-free workplaces, 251 barred smoking entirely in restaurants and 185 prohibited it in bars.

Idaho and Utah prohibit smoking statewide in restaurants; California, Connecticut and Maine in restaurants and bars; and four other states, including New York and Massachusetts, in workplaces, restaurants and bars, according to the foundation. South Dakota has a workplace prohibition, while Florida forbids smoking in workplaces and restaurants.
Daley is backpedaling so fast it's comical. Someone somewhere has their hand in this. Guess who:
Mayor Richard Daley renewed his call for a compromise Wednesday.

"Everybody is for a form of smoking ban," Daley said.

"Everybody wants to be healthy, but [the hospitality industry] has a right to present their petition.

"The smoking ban will take effect sometime, but there are legitimate bars that have a right to want smoking. They have a business and they pay taxes."

So do the people, Ritchie, so do the voters. But then again, voters only count on election day, right? Deep pocket business interests can be heard any time they want.

Isn't it curious that at the last minute suddenly Daley 'discovers' the hospitality industry's rights?

And so it goes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Lost in Wonderland

"Curiouser and curiouser!" Cried Alice.

Without so much as a peep, the Champaign City Council Tuesday night voted 9-0 to approve the extension of employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. This act gives the same benefits to domestic partners of employees as those received by legally married employees. You can read the whole story here on the Daily Illini's web site. For some reason, it's not on the N-G web site. (Who's surprised?)

Unless you're a constant peruser of meeting agendas, this one slipped right by you. Certainly there was nothing to be found in the local press (i.e. the N-G) the past two days indicating this issue was to come before the council.

"Curiouser and curiouser!" Cried Alice.

My response: It's about damn time. Or: it's past about damn time.

At the same time:
-- Why now?
-- How did this slip through the cracks?
-- How did a council as conservative and study session-addicted as Champaign's approve what in most areas is a very controversial plan? With no study session? (Or no 'announced' study session...?)
-- How did it pass unanimously?
-- And finally, how can he same council that can't get its mind around something as obvious as a smoking ban approve something as historically controversial as this? Unanmously? With minimal debate?

"Curiouser and curiouser!" Cried Alice.

Good work, council.

You constantly keep us guessing.

And so it goes.

Going green

Whatever happened to recycling?

I watched Monday morning as our waste company dumped our garbage can into the back of his truck. Then I watched as he picked up the carefully separated recyclables and dumped them too in the back of the garbage truck. Crunch. Off to the landfill.

The wife tells me this is a fairly frequent occurrance.

Weren't the waste companies supposed to be actually doing something with the recyclables? I mean something other than landfilling them? I thought that was part of the agreement between the city of Champaign and the waste haulers a few years (decades?) ago.

Maybe it's not really all that profitable right now; but to landfill such reusable products seems to be such a waste. A useless waste.

What happened?

And so it goes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Placing blame

I drove down Springfield Avenue in Urbana Tuesday afternoon. In the short time I was in the campus area, twice college-aged students stepped off curbs into traffic without looking.

Last Friday, a UI student was killed by an MTD bus. Don't they learn? Can't they learn? Won't they learn?

These students may be the best and the brightest, but they sure are not the smartest.

(I blame the MTD).

And so it goes.


I'm sure everyone's already thought of this, but ...

It sure seems that Bush might actually be moving the Supreme Court to the left.

Roberts certainly appears to be to the left of Rehnquist (who isn't?).

And Harriet Miers, being a former Democrat, would appear to be at least at first glance a moderate. Perhaps as moderate (or more) than O'Connor.

Appearances, of course, can be deceiving. Converted Republicans can be the most fervent. Or opportunistic. The next weeks certainly will be interesting.

In the mean time, it's fun to listen to the right-wing conservative wingnuts screaming berayal.

And so it goes.

Monday, October 3, 2005


President W-imbecile named White House Counsel Harriet Miers to be associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court today (Monday).

Nice he was able to find someone with great judicial and public service experience.

Although she's a lawyer, she's never been a judge (nor ever sought a judgeship, apparently). She's only held one public office, it would seem, the Dallas City Council, which of couse makes her eminently qualified to sit on the highest court in the nation.

So, who IS Harriet Miers? According to The Washington Post (free registration required),
Miers, who was Bush's personal attorney in Texas, was the first woman elected president of the Texas Bar Association and was a partner at the Texas law firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp before coming to Washington to work in the Bush administration.
Fair enough. Although I fail to see how that makes her all that qualified.

Is she conservative? Moderate? Fair? Intelligent? Compassionate? Hey, she works for the W-imbecile. The only hint of where she stands on anything is contained in the same Post article:
Miers was active in a 1992 battle in the American Bar Association, arguing vehemently but unsuccessfully against a resolution supportive of abortion rights. News reports at the time did not quote her on the merits of Roe v. Wade , the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, but rather on what she considered the inappropriateness of the ABA taking a position.
So her career highlight so far was LOSING a fight in the ABA over opposition to abortion.

That comforts me immeasurably.

Of all the amazing and troubling of the W-imbecile's recent actions, this is the most amazing and troubling. What, there isn't one conservative judge serving in the US who is acceptable to him (or actually his handlers)?

This should play out in an interesting fashion. How do you confirm someone with no experience and (apparently) few qualifications? (But then, that's the situation the W-imbecile was in a few years ago, wasn't it?)

And so it goes.