Sunday, July 30, 2006

Feeling sweepy?

If only.

If only the Cubs could play the Cardinals every day.

I believe that's 10 of 13 ...

How sweep it is.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Well, the death toll at the World Free Fall Sky Dieing Convention in Rantoul is at one with almost four days to go.

We've been told in the past that there is an 'acceptable' death toll for an event like this.

From the NG:
There have been no other reported accidents nor any other problems reported so far this year, he said.

This death brings the total number of sky divers killed to five since the World Free Fall Convention came to Rantoul in 2002.

This year's event began July 21 and ends Sunday.

Rantoul Village Administrator David Johnston said the event is primarily set up to support the sky divers.

"They've been doing this a number of years, so they pretty much have it down to a science," Johnston said.

"They are very up front with people concerned about safety," Johnston said. "This is a high-risk hobby or sport, like racing. It depends on equipment or the user judgment."
Acceptable death toll indeed.

And so it goes.

Fielding questions

I'm surprised.

The field for the open Champaign City Council position keeps getting more and more crowded. Along with perpetual candidate and county board member Deb Feinen, county board member (and former board chair) Patricia Avery (who hasn't formally filed) and council groupie Bill Githero, new to the fray are Karen Foster and Garrett Anderson.

I'm surprised because asking to serve on the Champaign Council is akin to volunteering for a public flogging.

Still, so many candidates is not a bad thing.

The last two to seek the seat -- Anderson and Foster -- are pretty much political blank slates. Anderson is a veteran of the Iraq war who suffered serious injuries while serving in the Presidolt's little quagmire. That alone should make someone think twice about running. After all, how much pain is one supposed to endure?

Foster, meanwhile, is the former director of the Champaign County Nursing Home's child care center. She does have a bit of a political pedigree since she recently was named Republican precinct committeewoman in Champaign precinct 23.

She's also had the joy of dealing with the county board while in her former position at the child care center. That alone should be enough to deter her.

I'm frankly amazed. Given the amount of crap a Champaign Council member has to put up with (from the public, from the mayor, from various political and business forces, from assorted activist groups and even from bloggers) I really don't see the council as being the place one wants to be.

It's encouraging that people WANT to serve. It's actually a positive in a growing sea of negative. The filing deadline's Aug. 1. It's altogether likely that other candidates will surface.

Who do I support? Dunno yet, but I gotta say right now I'm leading toward one of the unknowns -- Foster or Anderson.

Sometimes the devil you don't know is preferable to the devil you do.

And so it goes.

Sportin' life


So this is what sports has come to in this day and age.

It seems as though no one is (justifiably) above suspicion anymore. Does anyone compete and NOT cheat? Are you sure?

From The AP:
LONDON (AP) -- Tour de France champion Floyd Landis tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the race, his Phonak team said Thursday on its website.

The statement came a day after cycling's world governing body said an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.

The Swiss-based Phonak said in a statement on it website that it was notified by the UCI Wednesday that Landis' sample showed "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone" when he was tested after stage 17 of the race last Thursday.

"The team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result," the statement said.
Surprised at the levels or surprised they were detected?


And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

You know you're in trouble when...

A president knows he's really screwed up when members of his own political party are preparing bills to allow Congress to sue him for his obviously unconstitutional actions.

This post is actually a followup to yesterday's which revealed that the American Bar Assn. said they believe the Presidolt's writing exceptions to laws he's signing is unconstitutional. Not to mention stupid.

So, today a GOP senator is preparing a bill to allow Congress to sue the Presidolt for his Constitution-trashing actions:
WASHINGTON -- A powerful Republican committee chairman who has led the fight against President Bush's signing statements said Monday he would have a bill ready by the end of the week allowing Congress to sue him in federal court.

"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will...authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of those signing statements with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on the Senate floor.
Seems our friend the W-imbecile is attempting to set himself up as king and court of all things government. Congress? Who needs 'em! The Supreme Court? Ha! Separation of powers? No one separates MY powers!
Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

"That non-veto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he added "is harming the separation of powers."
Seems our Presidolt will leave no constitutional stone unturned to get his way. Sorry, Georgie; being a party that preaches (but doesn't practice) smaller government doesn't really mean ignoring two thirds of it in order to rule by fiat.

You go, Arlen. Someone's gotta protect the Constitution. While a shred still exists.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bush league

Raise your hand if this surprises you:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's penchant for writing exceptions to laws he has just signed violates the Constitution, an American Bar Association task force says in a report highly critical of the practice.

The ABA group, which includes a one-time FBI director and former federal appeals court judge, said the president has overstepped his authority in attaching challenges to hundreds of new laws.
So, what's the Wimbecile doing that's so all-fired wrong?:
The attachments, known as bill-signing statements, say Bush reserves a right to revise, interpret or disregard measures on national security and constitutional grounds.

"This report raises serious concerns crucial to the survival of our democracy," said the ABA's president, Michael Greco. "If left unchecked, the president's practice does grave harm to the separation of powers doctrine, and the system of checks and balances that have sustained our democracy for more than two centuries."
Seems our Presidolt plans on leaving the office after leaving no part of the Constitution unviolated. "The Constitution? They're just guidelines, really."

Anyone yet spoken the words 'high crimes and misdemeanors'?

Why not?

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I see the World Free Fall Convention is underway through July 30 in Rantoul. Or as some like to call it, the World Sky Dieing Convention.

Wonder what the acceptable death toll is this year?

The over/under is set at 5.

Natural selection at work here, people.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A puff of sanity

Pay attention, Jerry. Looks like going smoke-free might actually work. From Thursday's News-Gazette:
Enforcement plan in place for smoking ban:
"URBANA -- With only 11 days to go before Urbana restaurants must become smoke-free, the city and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District have reached a tentative agreement on how they'll jointly enforce the smoking ban.

The biggest emphasis will be on education, with several city officials planning to fan out across the city next week to visit 53 Urbana restaurants to explain the smoking ban in detail to restaurant owners and managers.

A copy of the city's smoke-free ordinance, brochures explaining the law and signs advising that a table or business is smoke-free also will be provided.
Well, Jerry, since you indicated that enforcement would be the biggest problem to going smokeless (other than you having to step outside of Carmons about every 15 minutes) you might check out how your neighbors are handling it.

It looks like it might actually work, don't you think?

The article continues with more common sense:
The public health district and Urbana have a tentative enforcement plan worked out... Under the plan, people who witness illegal smoking can file a complaint with the public health district by telephone or complain in person at the Urbana Police Department.

If a serious complaint is filed, where people are seen smoking or ashtrays are out, the public health district will send an employee within three business days to investigate the complaint. The visit will be educational, with the employee giving the restaurant manager information about the city's smoke-free ordinance and their role in enforcing it, said Diana Yates, the public health district's director of health promotion.
If more complaints about a particular establishment are filed, those will be passed along to the city, Yates said.
The public health department won't write tickets for violations, but will be able to serve as a credible witness -- "enough for the city to issue a citation," Yates said.
How about that? A plan that actually makes sense. One that sounds like it'll work. (Can't wait until the smoking busibodies begin their predictable spin).

I wonder what the next pro-pollution excuse will be?

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

To the right

Nice to see the GOP is much more interested in posturing than running the country.

The House today is going to be voting on the Gay Marriage Amendment. It's a symbolic thing, since the issue has already been killed by the Senate. And since they already know that it'll fail in the House as well.

But, hey, it's all about the politics, right?

This is an issue they think they can use as a pathetic hammer in the fall elections to attempt to instill fear in a populace that really does not fear or oppose.

To the conservative wingnuts in Congress, marrige is 'between a man and a woman' because anything else would 'destroy the institution of marriage.' How it might destroy it is never explained. Because it can't be explained. But it will. Trust us.

Nevertheless. the vote today in the House is even more blatantly political than past actions. From the AP:
WASHINGTON - A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages is expected to fail again in the House, frustrating conservatives who have made it a legislative priority but also giving them an issue they can put before voters in November.

The House vote scheduled for Tuesday has little legislative significance because the Senate has already effectively killed the proposal for this waning session of Congress. But President Bush has asked, and social conservatives demanded, that gay marriage be on the agenda in the run-up to the election.
In other words, the issue's dead in every sense except to be used as a campaign issue.

How sad. How pathetic. And just to attempt to pull a few votes from a few evangelicals and assorted conservative wingnuts. And some uninformed voters who are susceptible to fear-mongering.

We've got a faltering economy. A never-ending war in Iraq. A deficit that will haunt our great grandchildren. Hunger. Homelessness. Major problems in our public schools. Cancer, AIDS. MS. A host of other diseases that need our immediate attention. Racism. Sexism. Hate.

And they're worrying about a gay marriage amendment? An amendment that's already justifiably dead.

Think about it: Two people love each other. They want to get married. To pledge to live their lives together as one, as a couple. Committed to each other; to monogamy. Exactly how does it hurt ANYONE what sex the partners are? You're not invited into their bedroom anyway.

But, if it can become a campaign issue, the GOP will make it one.

Maybe that's why the GOP's running scared in this midterm election. It can't find the issues for the rhetoric.

My suggestion: Want a gay marriage amendment? How about this one: "...marriage in the United States shall consist of the union of consenting adults. Neither the Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of consenting adults."

There. Did that hurt? Threaten your marriage? Didn't think so.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Two in one

Sunday was the best.

The Cubs gave up two grand slam home runs IN ONE DAMN INNING against the Mets.

And from the look in the Cubs dugout, not a single player, coach or manager seemed to care.

I notice Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker are still employed.

The Cubs are a beaten team. The players have given up. It looks as though Baker has given up. And given the inaction from Hendry, it looks as though management has given up.

Time for a Florida-style house cleaning. No one's exempt. Start at the top. End with the batboy.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Call me a prude but ...

I enjoy a well-turned ankle as much as the next guy, but....

Then again, maybe I am a prude. Maybe it's just a sign that I'm getting older (a LOT older).

But am I the only one who is bothered by having 13-, 14-, 15- and 16-year-old high school girls in swim suits or tight short shorts and belly shirts (or whatever they call those cutoff things) standing on street corners waving signs for charity car washes?

Is that what schools are teaching our daughters? That the way to get what they want is to use their bodies, their sexuality? At age 14?

Where are their parents? What are they thinking?

It bothers me. It's the wrong message.

And it doesn't make me want to get my car washed at their event.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Idle speculation

Little birdy told me the race for the open Champaign City Council seat is all but decided.

All because someone shot herself in the foot.

Only three candidates have emerged for the open position: County Board member Patricia Avery, political oddball Bill Githerow and perennial candidate Deb Frank Feinen. (Although it's officially a 'nonpartisan' council wink wink nudge nudge knowwhatimean, that's Avery D, Feinen R and Githerow ??)

At first glance, Feinen would seem the strongest of the three. It took some nasty back-room shenanigans after the last opening to deny her the position before. (And that ended up blowing up in the shenanigan-ee's face.)

So what's Feinen do? She pulls out her shotgun and blasts her left foot off. She announces she'll not vote against the already passed smoking ban while she's an appointee, but after she's then elected to the post she'll work to repeal the law.


'Bout the only way Deb's gonna get elected is as an incumbent. She ain't gonna become an incumbent unless she becomes appointed. She really doesn't have all that much political capital in the community outside the small dedicated R circles. She's spent so much time trying and running and hoping and talking that she's yesterday's news without ever becoming today's headline.

Last time I counted there were 5 votes for the smoking ban and 4 against. Think those 5 votes are gonna vote to appoint someone who will reopen a dead and buried promised and passed can of worms?

Not likely.


Had Deb kept her mouth shut...

That leaves Githerow and Avery.

Githerow's pretty much a political flake.

Leaving Avery.

Welcome to the council, Pat.

(Wonder who's gonna take her county board seat? Let the speculaton begin!)

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006