This collection of entries is from the Category "Current Events".
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I can't imagine a car crash like this...
In Florida, on I-4, imagine not being able to see in front of the hood of your car. Normally, in fog or smoke, you could see pavement at least a little bit in front of you. In this case - no. I never heard that there are "Fog Warnings" that have a scale to them - 1-10. Anything over 7 is supposed to be risky for driving. the alert was for a 10.
Now, add to that a wildfire that started as a controlled burn that got away from the Florida Division of Forestry.
Sometime after 4am is when it all hit at the same time... and the horrendous collisions began.
I guess it wasn't just one crash, but rather 10 crashes involving 70 vehicles. 38 injured. 5 died. In a 2˝ mile stretch of road.
Responding fire crews had to walk in front of the engines to guide them through the smoke & fog because the drivers just couldn't see.
There were reports of people hearing erie sounds of crashes, screams, people calling for help all around them... popping of tires from the vehicles engulfed in flames... and not being able to see any of it.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Way to go, Albert Arnold!!!
Early, early this morning (well, at least for us in the U.S.), it was announced that the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ... and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr.!!!!
"for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"
Now... people... all those people that are trying to get Al to run for president when he doesn't want to, remember this:
this country is screwed... it won't REALLY matter who occupies the white House because of the significance of the damage that has been done with relations between the United States and just about the entire rest of the world.
That being said... Gore is in a position to MAKE A DIFFERENCE not to the U.S., but GLOBALLY... and that is SO MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT... and, let's face it, fulfilling...
SAVE THE PLANET
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The Nobel Peace Prize for 2007
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
Indications of changes in the earth's future climate must be treated with the utmost seriousness, and with the precautionary principle uppermost in our minds. Extensive climate changes may alter and threaten the living conditions of much of mankind. They may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the earth's resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world's most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.
Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent.
Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.
By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control.
Oslo, 12 October 2007
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Sunday, October 07, 2007
It's October. Baseball is over. It's fall...
it's not supposed to be 87 degrees outside.
That's why the Chicago Marathon is scheduled at this time of year.
The race started today at 8am. At 11:30, for any runners that didn't make the half-way point, they were diverted to the Finish Line.
The organizers shutdown the marathon.
It was already too late. A 35-year-old guy from Michigan died after 19 miles.
24,931 of the 35,867 that started actually completed the race (about 4,000 finishing under 3˝ hours) - when the officials stopped the race. And about 10,000 registered runners took the heat warnings to heart and didn't even start the race.
Still, over 300 were hospitalized.
On top of that, there were many reports of the water stations were depleted... many runners not getting any water until mile 8... or mile 13, depending on the reports I was hearing.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
When somebody just doesn't get "it"...
...is it wrong to think that somewhere... someone... has started a Dead Pool... for Lindsay Lohan?
I mean, in my opinion, she's gone through all of this "alleged" rehab... and she has no one ... and I mean NO ONE... that is stepping-up to help this girl...
so...it's just a MATTER OF TIME... when she is going to KILL someone with her vehicle... perhaps even HERSELF...
No rehab will help her if she has no support in her life (yeah, like her own family are good role models)... it's obvious that she doesn't get "it"...
... and I don't believe I was actually compelled to even blog about this...
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Woke up this morning... and had forgotten about the date today. The Today Show was talking about the significance of this day... and at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas where over 700 weddings were scheduled for today alone... and in Chinese culture 8 is the lucky number, not 7, so China announced that the Beijing Summer Olympics will start on 08/08/08 at 8:00pm...
I rolled around in bed for a bit, scanning through the satellite guide... and stumbled on to the Sundance Channel and saw that they were covering the Live Earth concert, apparently since it started this morning in Australia (it's running 24 hours with concert venues on all 7 continents, in the cities of New York, London, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, and Hamburg ... and the British Antarctic Research Station in Antarctica where Nunatak, the band of the British Scientific Team played, just to make sure all the continents were covered)... I'll have to watch some of this... maybe grab some audio so that I can listen to it when I want ... the other interesting aspect of this event, even though it's all about saving the planet, saving the future, reducing our carbon footprints... was watching the acts at these venues... many are local to the region, so I have no clue on what I am watching...
UPDATE: Would you believe MSN has clips of every single act at every single venue? You can pull up any of them and watch... even if you never got the chance to watch them broadcast on the feed in your country... even if you don't have a clue who they are ... Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis
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The Live Earth Pledge
To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;
To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become “carbon neutral;”
To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;
To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;
To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;
To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,
To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.
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Friday, March 02, 2007
Yes! No Paris Hilton!
I saw this today and I have to personally congratulate the Associated Press for the stand it took...
The editors at AP actually put an experimental weeklong embargo on any stories about Paris Hilton
AP: We ignored Paris Hilton
None of the thousands of media outlets that depend on AP called in asking for a Paris Hilton story.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I always have a large assortment of emotions when I hear the news of someone's death... like former President Gerald R. Ford. You felt in coming some day... he was 93, and had been having health issues. I still remember his announcement of pardoning Richard Nixon... and the feelings that went along with that (should he have done it?) I love the phrase that he was tagged with - The Accidental President. He's the only guy this has happened to... appointed Vice President when the former one resigns in disgrace... and then assumes the office of President... when the former one resigns in disgrace. He was never elected into the White House - as Vice President or President.
But, I really liked this guy. He healed a nation, in a way... something, that "The Uniter" or "The Decider"... or whatever the hell Bush is calling himself... the only tag that seems so appropriate for that idiot is "The Divider". The nation is so friggin' polarized... I wish we had a guy like Ford to heal it again...
Update: I knew I liked this guy... Ford was interviewed by Bob Woodward in 2004, his comments embargoed until his death. (I always liked that press term - "embargo".) It turns out, that in that interview he said "[Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld and [Vice President Dick] Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq." "They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction. And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."
Here's another tidbit: Cheney was Ford's chief of staff, and Rumsfeld also was defense secretary in the Ford administration.
"I just don't think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security."
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I never thought today would come...
I JUST WANT IT ALL TO END...
It's Election Day in the United States.
Campaign Advertising has just gone downhill over the years... I can't tell you what the hell any candidate stands for because it feels like all I hear & see is what is wrong with the other candidate... attack, attack, attack... and it's not just radio ads... or TV ads... our mailbox has been stuffed with material for the last week or so... and what about the damn pre-recorded telemarketing??? (I have to admit, Carol was ecstatic that Bill Clinton called and left a message... just for her...)
I strongly believe that there should be some kind of legislation passed to limit the length of time that candidates can run ads... like maybe 4-6 weeks, and that's it...
Update: I went to vote.. what a mess and it was because of our poling place, a grammar school a few blocks away. First.. the kids have the day off (and that's a great idea... you just don't want adults roaming the halls of a grade school). For some reason, they setup the voting stations in a back hallway of the school, which made it almost impossible to move around, between the voting stations, tables, judges, voters...
It was a choice of a paper ballot (connecting two halves of an arrow with a special pen, with the whole ballot being scanned when you're done) or electronic (touchscreen). Issues? They're were down to just 4 pens to mark the ballots if you used paper, causing long lines), and down to 5 smartcards for the touchscreens (again, causing lines).
I chose to use the touchscreen.. I had to - I'm a geek and wanted to experience this. I loved it... it's a very easy experience, easy to read and follow. The slowest part?... OH! BEFORE I FORGET!!! THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY TO HANDLE THE ELECTION AND RETENTION OF JUDGES! How many were there? It went on for pages and pages and pages on the touchscreen... anyway... The slowest part? Verifying your votes. When you use paper, well... by default, you are verifying what you're doing. On a touchscreen, it'll show you all of your votes, and if you under/over voted for anything highlighted in red. Your votes are stored on the smartcard that you use to activate the machine. But, as a backup and a physical record, there's a paper tape that is printed, and you must review it as it's printed after you have verified your on-screen vote. When you're done, the smartcard is ejected from the machine. You bring the card to a judge, who copies the data, erases the card, and hands it to the next person waiting in line. I enjoyed using the machine.. now I wish they had more cards/machines/pens.. and why the hell weren't we in the gum like the last time???
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
America just seems to be a strange place
Things rush through your head... and then you almost feel your head whip around when you hear another fact...
Initially I had heard about a plane that crashed into a high-rise apartment building in New York. 5 years 1 month away from the Day That Changed America. Your mind starts to wander... terror again? A General Aviation aircraft? Nothing organized... perhaps a radical wanting to make a point, at the most... maybe just a suicide... what are they doing in Manhattan?
Flew around the Statue of Liberty? Flying up the river? This is allowed? Naw...
And then... a strange little piece of information comes out...
The pilot of the plane? Yankee's Pitcher Cory Lidle.
And America suddenly seems such a strange place... or perhaps just stranger...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Are you there?
There's a few stories that have popped-up in the last month, that I find disturbing, unsettling... perhaps even scary... and they both deal with PVS - Persistent Vegetative State
Slate magazine ran an article - The Unspeakable - Buried alive in your own skull - about a UK woman, who had a car accident, is non-responsive, and is diagnosed as PVS. There is no response to verbal questions. Or is there?
Guardian - Persistent vegetative state Is not irreversible
Monday, September 04, 2006
I woke up a little early...
and, oh my god... what a shocking, sad story all over the news.
'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin dead
Now, I have always had a feeling - one that I bet you shared as well - that Steve's life wouldn't be long... and that he would die, doing something he loved.
NEVER thought he would be killed by a stingray. As of 1996, only seventeen worldwide fatalities had been recorded due to stingrays - ever.
May he rest in peace, may Terri find comfort, and may his legacy live on.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
A great sidekick
I really enjoyed the characters he played in his movies, especially the friend/buddy parts in "When Harry Met Sally," "City Slickers"...
Bruno Kirby died of complications related to leukemia.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The world became a strange place.. .again
The first pieces of my morning ritual:
- alarm clock goes off
- shutoff alarm
- turn on satellite receiver
- turn on tv
- watch local news on NBC affiliate
I hate hate hate the feeling of dread when - reading the crawl at the bottom of the screen - something major has happened in the world.
Welcome to our morning.
A new terror plot against US Airflights from the UK.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
I'm not sure what's going on, but the Primary elections yesterday are really screwed-up in Cook County and Chicago. There's a bunch of ballots that won't be counted until after 1 pm today.
They used new voting machines yesterday (to get around the damn punch-card paper ballot "hanging chad" thing that we have been part of until this election) and they warned that - for some reason - that voting will take longer. Nobody expected this though. I Board of Elections stopped counting somewhere around 3am and "took a break" until 1 this afternoon.
Great. Now there's calls about the "integrity" of the ballots and election process because people don't "know" where some of the ballots were (or are?) and who may have had them.
i don't understand this - they're calling this a technology breakdown. I hope we'll find out more later today.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
State of The Union
It's time for what has become my annual Boycott of the State of The Union message.
Can't stand the guy, can't stand his public speaking persona, can't get past the fact that I don't believe him anymore (not that I did before, but now it's just worse).
Sorry. Just can't do it. Rebuttal? No way - just more politics I can't stand right now.
Now... what to watch instead? TiVo is always good. We've always got something there.
I guess there's always Dog The Bounty Hunter on A&E... (I could make some crack here about going after bad guys and actually catching them and bringing them to justice, but I won't)
We'll find something to watch...
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Richard, the jury has spoken *snuff*
What the hell was he thinking? Did he REALLY think he could get away with this?
Good ol' Richard Hatch, winner of the first series of "Survivor" back in 2000 was found guilty of tax evasion for not paying taxes on his $1 Million prize (not to mention of evading taxes on $327,000 he earned as co-host of a Boston radio show and $28,000 in rent on property he owned). He had seven bank, mail and wire fraud charges that he was acquitted of. He was deemed a flight risk an immediately taken into custody.
His future? Possible maximum 13-year prison sentence and $600,000 fine.
I mean, this guy had a deal on the table last March and he rejected it.
What an idiot. Outwit? I don't think so...
Somewhere, Susan Hawk is laughing her ass off...
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Too many changes in the city
I'm getting upset again.
First, there's the disregard for name recognition of not only a landmark of a store, but of the quality that it invokes of the chain - Marshall Field's. Thank you so much, Federated, for shoving the Macy's name down our civic throats. Macy's is New York name - get it the hell away from here. Field's is what belongs. And you idiots just don't have a clue.
Now, it's a restaurant - Berghoff's. The owners - the third generation owners - are retiring. Can't blame them. they're leasing the building to their daughter, who's in the catering business. OK, not so bad. She's going to reopen the bar in spring - changing the name to 17 West at The Berghoff. Hmmm... OK. But she's taking the restaurant, closing it, and reserving it for private catered events (she's the owner of Artistic Events by Carlyn Berghoff Catering Inc.)
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Now, that's the part I don't like. The bar opened in 1898. The original owner - Herman Joseph Berghoff' - wanted to showcase his Dortmunder-style beer in his bar for a nickle a mug and free sandwiches. It got Liquor License No. 1 after Prohibition ended in 1933. The place expanded to add a full restaurant in 1936. You know - they had an actual Men-Only bar until 1969? In the restaurant, the waiters (and there are only male waiters) wear black jackets and white aprons. And what a great German restaurant it is with what I think are reasonable prices.
This place was around for generations. The daughter is in the "food" business - find a way to keep the restaurant open!
The Tribune is running a poll for Which Berghoff item will you miss the most?
Bratwurst & Knockwurst
What's not on there is their great Root Beer.
Hey, all you people out there! Quit screwin' with city landmarks!
Think I'm nuts? Here are businesses that have disappeared from Chicago that may not have been headquartered here at all, but they were all well known by the people here. (A lot just folded-up or disappeared in a merger somewhere, and quite frankly, most were no where close to being "landmarks") They all had a spot in our lives, though not as deeply rooted as Berghoff's and Field's, which we feel were ours. (BTW, a lot of these names are from Eric Zorn's blog at the Tribune)
Kroch's and Brentano's
Kohl's Food stores
Playback-back-back-back (the electronic playground!)
Venture (they replaced Turn-Style)
Zayre (bought by Ames Dept. Stores)
Bigsby & Kruthers
Bargain Town (Bargain Town! Bargain Town! Bargain Town!)
Chas. A. Stevens
Community Discount Stores
Golden Bear Restaurants
Wag's Restaurants (missing Golden Bear - Wag's, not so much)
Plywood Minnesota (I did 10 commercials for them!)
Galyan's (Gee, they were hardly here in Chicago before Dick's bought them out)
John M. Smyth's Homemakers
Boushelle (HUdson 3-2700!)
Wimpy's Hamburgers (another not missed so much)
Arthur Treacher Fish 'n Chips
Zum Deutchen Eck (Now, there's great German food... or was...)
Come Back Inn (great burgers and you had to sit by the fireplace with the back-end of the moose!)
Lumm's (Hotdogs - especially in Old Town)
Shakey's Pizza (not around here)
Stop & Shop
Hillman's grocery store
Fritz That's It!
Lawrence of Oregano
Chicago Claim Company
Nelson Brothers ("Nelson Brothers loves me ... and they'll love you too!")
Karoll's Red Hanger Shops ("When you think of Christmas, think of Karoll's!")
Jack in the Box (I still miss the place - I visit them in any town that still has them - gotta get me some tacos!)
United Audio (now Tweeter's - liked them better before)
The Axle Roller Rink
Frank's Nursery and Crafts. ("Beautiful things begin at Frank's")
The Thirsty Whale
Poplar Creek Music Theater
The Buffalo (NOT the same since it moved from Irving & Pulaski to Buffalo Grove)
Hippos in Schaumburg
Is Par King still around?
Old Chicago Amusement Park
The Playboy Club
The Millionaires' Club - Golf Mill
Andy Frain ushers
JoJo's restaurants (big fishtank up front?)
Wanzer Dairies, "Wanzer on Milk is like Sterling on Silver."
Farrells Ice cream parlour
Skrudland (photo/camera store on Diversey and in Palatine)
Shoppers World on Fullerton and Narragansett.
Lechter's kitchen store.
Candlelight Dinner Playhouse / In-The-Round Dinner Playhouse
Wait... is Kiddieland still alive?
(Here's something that's gone now that I'm still pissed about - Meigs Field!)
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It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!
I don't know how I stumbled over to Capitol Hill Blue, but I can't tell you how pissed-off I got reading this article. Here's a little excerpt:
GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the [Patriot] act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Sliding on the South Side
I'm riveted to the live coverage of a plane crash on the south side. It's been snowing for quite a while. There were reports of the snowfall being 8.3". Southwest Flight 1248 from Baltimore "landed" around 7:15pm on runway 31C at Midway (6, 522 feet long, but only 5, 826 usable for landing). Don't know what happened, but the plane never stopped. It just rolled off the end of the runway, went through the fence, and landed in the intersection of 55th Street and Central Avenue. The front nose gear collapsed, and the plane pinned at least one car, maybe two, underneath it.There was a family in one of them - just heard an 6 year old boy died from being in one of those cars. 98 people were on the plane. And the snow just keeps coming down. Midway is closed until 6am tomorrow.
Would you believe there was a crash at Midway 33 years ago today? The story of United 533 is below.
Still snowing outside my window, though it doesn't look as bad. We got hit hard - the rush hour was bad. I heard a story of travel times at 4 hours from Lake Cook to downtown on the Edens.
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Flight 533 left Washington D.C. for Omaha, Nebraska stopping in Chicago. Approaching Midway the pilot was instructed by the control tower to execute a "missed approach" pattern. The pilot applied full power to go around for another landing attempt. At 2:27 p.m., 1.5 miles from the airport, Flight 533 hit the branches of trees on the south side of 71st Street. It then hit the roofs of a number of neighborhood bungalows before plowing into the home of Mrs. Veronica Kuculich at 3722 70th Place, demolishing the home and killing her and a daughter, Theresa. The plane burst into flames killing a total of 45 persons, 43 of them on the plane, including the pilot and first and second officers. Eighteen passengers survived.
Among the passengers killed were U.S. Representative George Collins (7th), a former 24th Ward Alderman, and Mrs. Dorothy Hunt. Her husband, E. Howard Hunt, had been indicted on charges of conspiring to break into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Found in the debris was a purse belonging to Mrs. Hunt containing $10,585 in cash. There was immediate concern that the money might be linked to the financial dealings surrounding the Nixon "slush fund" to which defendants in the Watergate case had access and that the crash therefore might be linked to sabotage. In the end sabotage was ruled out, but the mystery surrounding the money and the deaths of such prominent, politically connected individuals insured a very thorough investigation.
The NTSB issued its report after recreating the last minutes of the flight based on the flight and voice recording instruments, interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses on the ground, and physical evidence. According to the report, when Midway's control tower directed the crew to abort the landing and try again, they became distracted and failed to prepare a proper landing. As they attempted to pull the jet from the landing descent, the crew forgot to deactivate the wing spoilers. The plane stalled. And then it crashed.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005
You don't know how much I want this to be a FARK job...
During the 60th General Assembly of the U.N. yesterday, during presentations and debate about the U.N., our president was caught writing a note to Condoleezza Rice.
Not unusual, right?
Part of the note was actually caught - in focus - by a camera. What's visible reads:
"I think I may need a bathroom break"
Monday, September 12, 2005
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Wanna bet that he didn't really do this voluntarily?
FEMA director Brown resigns
Update: His replacement (David Paulison) is the same FEMA official who, two-and-a-half years ago, suggested that Americans stock up on duct tape to protect against a biological or chemical terrorist attack. Keith Olbermann has another great insight:
But in light of the response to this hurricane, another comment he made at the time of the Duct Tape announcements rings especially loudly. Paulison said in February, 2003, that in the first 48 to 72 hours of an emergency, many Americans would likely have to look after themselves.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Four Years On
The pain and anger and loss that I felt four years ago on September 11, 2001 somehow has changed.
Hurricane Katrina seems to have taken a brush and re-colored those feelings, and then re-amplified parts of those and introduced others.
I can't shake these feelings now that maybe we could have been just plain lucky that our government worked well during in the aftermath of a terrorist attack when - if somebody would just figure out that the government response should have been the same - in the aftermath of a natural disaster, our government had no reaction for days.
The phrase is the same, but perhaps it takes on additional meaning:
Thursday, September 08, 2005
THAT's a fine????
Back on March 30 of 2003, under cover of darkness, without telling anybody and without any advanced warning, Mayor Daley rolled backhoes through the city to Meigs Field to tear it apart. An airport. In the middle of the night.
He didn't even tell the FAA.
Well, the FAA finally got around to fining the city.
A city fined $33,000 just sounds ridiculous. I mean, that's pin money to a man that rules a city like Daley does!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
It's been well over a week since Katrina hit.
When you have a moment, please go over and read Keith Olbermann's blog Bloggermann from the 5th if it's still available on the web.
Why should this disaster, though natural, be treated any differently than a known terrorist attack? Why can't you just deploy some of the same assets in a similar manner and secure the ground-zero of the attack?
If you look at it that way, consider this quote by Mr. Olbermann:
"...these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the "chatter" from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern... a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.
It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water."
Consider that. Do you feel safe right now? This isn't some media smear campaign. DAYS passed where nothing happened - and the President signed emergency orders (which I thought was odd) a day or two BEFORE the hurricane hit
- and by doing so, immediately put the federal government in charge. When did FEMA - a part of the Department Of Homeland Security - not only arrive but started to do anything?
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Crimes of Opportunity
There is a certain mentality of an action that I cannot understand.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I just can't get my head around the amount and severity of the devastation from Katrina.
I can't imagine being without a home that was perfectly fine, intact, and holding all of your possessions from your entire life just hours before and now having NOTHING.
Add to that hardly anywhere to turn to for shelter. There is no electricity to power anything - air conditioning, radio & TV transmitters (not that you have anything left to receive the information), refrigeration for food - which also doesn't exist, water treatment plants for drinking water - which also doesn't exist.
I can't imagine.
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Having said that, I can't imagine looting homes and stores. I see people stealing food - when they can find it, and drinks of any type. I see people stealing diapers and formula.
But what about the friggin' IDIOTS stealing ANYTHING they can get their hands on - TV''s, jewelry, piles of Nike shoes... WTF????
A Crime of Opportunity. Anarchy. Get the National Guard in there and get these people the hell away from the buildings that they're raiding. What the hell are they thinking? What gives them the right to do that?
I almost feel that anyone stealing food or drink (I'll extend that to diapers as well) should just be left alone - they are trying to survive through a horrendous event. You steal something else - like a friggin TV for a house that you don't have anymore, should just be friggin' shot on sight. Period. Then you hear (whether true or not) about "roving armed gangs" just going house to house and taking whatever is there of value. Hell, I think I heard a report of a rape.
A rape? In the middle of all this?
Shoot them all.
A bit severe? Yes. Where's my compassion? Where is theirs?
And like I said, I can't get my head around what must be going on down there - but survival vs pillaging is just ridiculous. Great citizens of the United States. Yeah, I'm real proud to call them citizens of my country...
... when they shouldn't even be considered part of the species called human.
Is this what mankind has bcome?
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Monday, August 29, 2005
been watching ABC News Now at my desk, watching the coverage (such as it is, considering 1) there's no power, 2) you can't keep the feeds active if your transmission mast keeps blowing around in hurricane gust winds).
I wonder what it's really going to be like when it's over - could be better or worse. It's such a "The Sky Is Falling" environment right now, without visual verification of some of the things being reported (like - how bad is that hole in the roof of the Superdome?) it's hard to discern good reports from invalid reports.
Heaven help them.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Gas jumped almost 20 cents at our gas station(s) in the last week. This is crazy.
And Premium gas just jumped over that magic number, and is now $3.04.
It's worse in the city.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Peter Jennings 1938-2005
Carol & I were watching TV before going to sleep when, as we were scanning the channels to find something to watch late on a Sunday night, I skimmed past CNN and saw the shocking graphic before Carol saw it...
When something was breaking somewhere in the world, this was the man we always turned to. If he covered something, he was the voice we wanted to hear, he was to perspective that we wanted. What a great reporter and presenter.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
And the world turns upside down again
I'm actually working from home today, but I didn't sleep-in. I heard about the London bombings and that was it for me - I had to get up and just watch it all unveil.
Damn the evil in the world - it doesn't need to exist. Damn them all and their supporting organizations to the deepest, darkest, hottest ring of hell and despair.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
White Smoke - New Pope - Benedict XVI
78-year-old "Frontrunner" Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany made it on the 3rd vote.
Now, does this mean that - because he's 78 - he's one of these "interim" Popes?
Monday, April 18, 2005
First Vote - Black Smoke
I don't know, but there's something cool about watching the execution of long standing rituals. It doesn't matter what they are.
In this case, we've had our first Pope Vote, but the black smoke means no one was selected. I think that was it for today - one vote and that's it. We got two more rounds in the morning and then two more very late in the afternoon. My feel - we'll have somebody by Thursday. I can't imagine it going longer than that.
It's weird knowing that John Paul II appointed all but three of the 115 cardinals who will choose his successor. Wonder if that means anything...
Friday, April 15, 2005
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR TAXES ARE?
Oh, and it's been 7 years since I was released from my longest full-time job (9 months shy of twenty years).
On a brighter note, McDonald's 50th Anniversary is today. You should see the HUGE McDonald's downtown that replaced the Rock & Roll McDonald's over on Ohio/Ontario. They were working hard to get it open for the company's anniversary today.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Karol Józef Wojtyła - May 18, 1920-April 2, 2005
"The Holy Father is deceased this evening at 9:37 in his private apartment," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a written statement.
"Our beloved Holy Father John Paul II has returned to his home. Let us pray for him," he added.
"The Holy Father, John Paul II, died at 9:37 p.m. (1937GMT) in his private apartment," the message read. "All procedures foreseen in the Apostolic Constitution `Universi Dominici Gregis' (`Of the Lord's Whole Flock'), promulgated by John Paul II on February 22, 1996, have been activated." - quote from something so high-tech from an institution so old - Vatican email
The pope's death marks the beginning of a carefully scripted ritual that culminates in the election of a new leader for the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics.
It starts with a formal deathbed pronouncement in Latin, that the pope is "truly" dead.
The Vatican's chamberlain, now Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo of Spain, verifies the papal death -- which in the past was done by striking the pope's forehead with a silver hammer. The chamberlain, or camerlengo, then calls out to the pope three times by his baptismal name. When the pope does not respond, the camerlengo then announces "the pope is dead."
He destroys the symbols of the pope's authority: the fisherman's ring and the dies used to make lead seals for apostolic letters. He seals off the pope's bedroom and study, takes charge of the Holy See's property and arranges the funeral and the conclave at which the College of Cardinals will elect a new pope.
Universi Dominici Gregis (February 22, 1996)
Sunday, January 23, 2005
So Long, Johnny
Damn... this is such a sad thing to hear...
Late Night television was never the same after he left. The guy had class. The guy was funny. They guy WAS television.
Only recently did I hear the words "emphysema", and, at 79, that's what took his life.
I felt really happy and warm inside when this other story surfaced this week: he had been sending jokes to David Letterman.
Damn it, Johnny, I've missed ya.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I. DON'T. CARE.
I think the Inaugural of a 2nd Term President DOES NOT NEED all of the pomp and circumstance as his first Inaugural. Do we need all these damn parties? (Oh sure, let's raise some more friggin' money for your party. Jeez.)
Do we NEED an elaborate parade???? IS THAT NECESSARY????
I got really pissed this past weekend when I heard Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation. This will be the first time DC taxpayers have to foot the bill for the damn parade (in the past, the federal government reimbursed DC for its expenses). Not only that, they had THE GALL to suggest that DC "use federal funds that had earlier been earmarked to fight terrorism"
To quote Bob:
"Why would an administration, already under severe criticism for sending soldiers into battle without enough armor, put itself in a position where it appears equally indifferent to equipping those charged with fighting terrorist at home?"
The Anti-terrorism President wants DC to use Homeland Security money to pay for grandstands at his parade so his supporters can sit in them????
All this with a friggin' war going on????
SCREW THIS. I ain't watching the "festivities".
God Bless America.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
I came out of my office building today and was startled at the sight of the flags being at Half Mast. I just can't imagine what it must be like to be out in those areas affected by the Tsunami. You just can't quite put your arms around it. Indigenous tribes possibly wiped off the face of the earth. Towns losing 2/3's of their residents. 140,000 dead and so many missing. There's 4,000 Americans alone that are missing.
Message? Pray and Give. Pray for the survivors to give them strength, prey for those who were lost. Give to charities trying to make a difference in the region.
NOTE: I am getting HAMMERED with people coming to my website looking for information about designer Nate Berkus and photographer Fernando Bengoechea. I only wrote about what I have read online and in the papers. Thank you for visiting my site, but I have no information. Nate is home safe - if you are interested, Oprah has a message from Nate at her website.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Gorillas at a wake
A touching little story about something that happened at Brookfield Zoo - after Babs the gorilla died at age 30, zookeepers allowed the other gorillas to pay their respects.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
Watching CNN's coverage of Arafat returning to Ramallah and it looks pretty damn near - but not quite - out of control as the helicopters are landing in the compound with thousands and thousands of people swarming in.
Betcha this doesn't go off exactly as planned...
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
It's not over yet?
I thought by now, when I woke up, that all of the votes would be counted, states declared, and we'd have a damn President elected.
Nope, unless you're the goddamn Fox News Network...
No concessions, no acceptances...
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I made it to the local grade school - my polling place. The people working the tables with all of the registration materials were all - grumpy. Just plain ol' grumpy. What type of voting devices do we use? PUNCH CARDS! Yes, the county hasn't made it out of the 20th Century yet. So, I did what I came to do - VOTE! The ballot wasn't long and was a snap to get through - except for the section that has always bin the bane of me - Judges Seeking Retention. Like the average citizen knows how the hell each of these 70 judges are performing! Fortunately I found a website that has the recommendations of 11 different Bar Associations so you can find out who can stay and who should get the hell off the bench. It just takes time to punch all of these selections.
So my I have executed my right to vote. Now it's time to sit back and see how it does or doesn't make a difference.
Polls are open!
MUST GO OUT AND VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Oh, please, let the time pass quickly this next week. I'm tired of all the political rhetoric right now. I just want it to be OVER. I'm tired of the radio and TV ads. I'm tired of the mailings. I'm tired of the phone calls/ (When did the phone calls becime customized? "Hi Michael, this is Dennis Hastert...").
Nothing's changed my mind in the last 4 months and nothing is going to make me change in the next week - let's get this over with already!
Monday, October 11, 2004
I've never seen a celebrity fight so God damned hard as an advocate for anything in their lives as he did for Spinal Cord Research. He wanted and believed he would walk again.
I've got this nagging feeling that no one will take up the cause with the same convictions as he had.
This is just so sad... and it was all due to a typical problem with people and this type of injury - a pressure wound that had become severely infected, resulting in a serious systemic infection, and then before you know - cardiac arrest and coma.
A link from Erin: The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Just couldn't do it
Sorry, I just couldn't do it tonight. I couldn't get myself (or Carol for that matter) to watch the debates.
This entire presidential campaign is making me angry. ANGRY! It's just pushing all my buttons and my blood pressure goes up (which is bad because I have not been taking my medication regularly) and I get overwhelmed by the need to throw something at the TV set.
Best to avoid this crap and vote the way I intend.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
We must never forget.
Nothing much else to say. Just that.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
"I am Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq."
Not that I'm surprised, but he doesn't get it...
Friday, June 11, 2004
Hard to ignore - Part II
Put on C-SPAN this morning and left it on all morning. In times like these, I feel it's important to listen and watch all of the events without a single person narrating or interpreting what I'm seeing. It makes the moment more poignant, perhaps bigger than life. It makes you feel like you're there, part of the process, part of the mourning, part of the celebration.
I just hope to God that the shot of Bill Clinton with his eyes closed was just his way of being in the moment and listening to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and not sleeping...
UPDATE: C-SPAN is definitely the way to go... I've had it on all day, and the final ceremonies tonight were riveting. Watching Nancy saying her final goodbye, was just heart wrenching... C-SPAN kept the camera's running into the dark, showing everyone viewing the casket for the last time before they left the grounds, lit by a single light... this was a great experience to be part of, even though it was miles away and only via television, the coverage just seemed to bring you there...
Thursday, June 10, 2004
What'd I Say
How could this be? Ray Charles died. I didn't even know he was sick. What a voice, what a career...
My favorite song? How about his version of "America the Beautiful", although, I have a special place in my heart for "It's Not Easy Being Green."
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Hard to ignore...
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Twenty five years ago I was sitting at my desk at a former company. We had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the Forest Preserves next door. From the 4th floor, we could look out over the treetops for miles. Then we saw this enormous, black balls of smoke rising in the distance.
American Airlines Flight 191, a DC-10-10, was in its takeoff run down runway 32R at O'Hare when its left engine and mounting pylon tore off about 6000' down the runway. The plane took off, but only got up to about 300 feet when it banked to the left and eventually went past vertical and crashed just 90 meters away from a trailer park, killing all 270 aboard the aircraft and 2 people on the ground.
It is still the worst airline disaster in the US (minus terrorist attacks).
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Glad that's over...
Today was Election Primary day in Illinois.
Did I vote? No. Why? Because in Illinois, you must declare a party to vote, something I refuse to do. I believe in choosing a candidate based on merit and not party. Depending on the race, I may choose to vote for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate - whoever I think will best represent me.
The laws must be changed.
Now, when it comes to the full-bore elections, hell yes I vote.
I hate this time of year just because of the political commercials on radio and TV. I'd love to see a restricted time frame for advertising - like only the 6 weeks leading-up to an election. I hate the ads - I feel many are confusing and misleading.
So, we get a slight reprieve for now, as the ads will slowly ramp-up toward November.
Friday, March 05, 2004
Martha, Martha, Martha...
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
100 Years of Flight
100 years ago today was Wilbur and Orville Wright's first successful manned, motorized flight at Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1903 - the first manned flight. Mind you, it was only a 12-second, 120-foot flight, but it was the first.
11 years later was the first commercial air service - flying passengers 22 miles across Tampa Bay in 20 minutes for one dollar.
Under 44 years after the first flight, on Oct. 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager flew a plane faster than the speed of sound.
65 years after the first flight, Apollo 11 lands on the moon.
Today, commercial flights are like taking a bus ride. Ordinary. Common place. Mundane.
It's too bad, for many people, the excitement of flight has been lost.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Saddam, when the 4th Infantry Division and Task Force 121 find him his "spider hole: "I am Saddam Hussein I am the president of Iraq, and I want to negotiate."
Soldiers: "President Bush sends his regards."
Now that Saddam is out of his hole and cleaned-up, he's back to being his ol' pompous self, replying to interrogators' questions with nationalist or patriotic rhetoric:
From Time magazine correspondent Brian Bennett:
"He was offered a glass of water, and Saddam said, 'Well, if I take that glass of water I will have to urinate, and if I have to urinate, I will have to go to the bathroom, and how can I possibly go to the bathroom when my people are enslaved?' "
"He also said he didn't play nice with U.N. [weapons] inspectors so that he could protect the privacy of his presidential areas."
Sunday, December 14, 2003
One down, one to go
Osama bin Laden is still out there (the ultimate bastard to catch), but at least the other bastard has been caught - Saddam Hussein is finally in custody. He was captured yesterday at 8:26pm in "Operation Red Dawn" in the town of Ad Dawr, which is just south of his old hometown of Tikrit. His identity was confirmed today. He looked like hell. He "was found in a "spider hole" underground, about two to two-and-a-half meters (six to eight feet) deep with a ventilation pipe to enable him to breathe. The hole was camouflaged with bricks and dirt." He was wearing a white T-shirt, dark trousers and a long-sleeved dark shirt, and was thin and dirty.
Good for him.
He was found with about $750,000 in U.S. $100 bills along with two AK-47s, a pistol and a white and orange taxi. A white and orange taxi???
Saturday, November 22, 2003
JFK + 40
I realize that perhaps many of you out there may not have been around 40 years ago. I was. I remember I was in first grade and the principal was playing the radio over the P.A. system so that the school could hear what was going on in Dallas. I remember going home early from school. I don't remember much else, except watching the funeral cortčge on our TV a few days later. I guess when you're 6 years old, you don't have a good grasp of the enormity of this event. Hell, I barely understood what a President was.
I have a tendency of believing that conspiracies exist in some situations. Sorry, people, I don't believe it about this one. Yes there's some oddities about what happened, but I think there was a lone gunman.
I wonder, around this time every year, what would have happened if the event in Dealey Plaza never happened. How much different America - and possibly the world - would be?
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
First there was Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin on April 12, 1961.
Then there was John Herschel Glenn, Jr on February 20, 1962.
Today, Yang Liwei is expected to make 14 orbits of the Earth during a flight lasting just short of 24 hours before coming back to land in Inner Mongolia.
China now officially joins Russia and the United States as having sent men into space. He's been up there about half an hour so far. No word on how he's doing.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this. I think it's great that other nations are looking to manned spaceflight. It's just... it's just... it's China and why do I feel that they will never share their experience with the rest of "us". And why do I have this nagging feeling that there is some other reason behind this? Is it just because... it's China? Is that fair?
Friday, September 05, 2003
Big Deadly Thunder Mountain
I can get Carol on just about any attraction at any of the Disney parks. She's deathly afraid of some of the more, um, "exciting" rides, but she'll go on them anyway. Why? Her answer: "Walt Disney will not hurt me." She truly believes this. She firmly believes in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Disney organization.
Having said that, Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad jumped the tracks today and killing a man and injuring 10 other people. The accident took place inside a tunnel section of the ride.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Amish tomato death?
This has to be a case of road rage by somebody just not familiar with the area...
Every year, around Labor Day, Amish kids hide in cornfields and toss tomatoes at passing cars as a prank. Well, this time, about 10 people, ages ages 15 to 23 were tossing tomatoes, when one motorist got out of his car and fired three to five rounds into the 7-foot-high corn, killing a 23-year-old. Does tossing tomatoes warrant murder???
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
The Governator? Is he a Running Man because of a Total Recall?
I would love to live in California. And then, there are times when I'm glad I don't live in California. I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger announced during a Wednesday afternoon taping of NBC's "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno that he's running for governor.
Now, as I write this, there are 389 other people that are running right now, including Gary Coleman, who played Arnold Drummond in the 1980s sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt , the melon-smashing comedian Gallagher, comedian D.L. Hughley and socialite-turned-columnist Arianna Huffington. Oh, and then there's Bob Dole and Michael Jackson, but not the people that you're thinking of. You can check out the Candidate Status Report here.
It only takes $3,500 and 65 people to sign a petition. I can't wait to see who actually qualifies and gets certified to run.
Monday, April 14, 2003
One of my favorite baseball movies has got to be Bull Durham. There's so much in that movie about how I feel about the game. Great quote, great storyline. Well, The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located in Cooperstown, New York was going to hold a celebration April 26-27 marking the 15th anniversary of the movie. Notice the word "was". I am ssoooooo pissed. Why? They canceled the celebration. OK, now why did they cancel???
read more of this entry »
"In a free country such as ours, every American has the right to his or her own opinions, and to express them," Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey wrote to Tim Robbins in calling off the anniversary party. "Public figures have platforms much larger than the average American's, which provides you an extraordinary opportunity to have your views heard - and an equally large obligation to speak and act responsibly. We believe your very public criticism of President Bush at this important - and sensitive - time in our nation's history helps undermine the U.S. position, which could put our troops in even more danger. As an institution, we stand behind our president and our troops in this conflict."
And then, he's got to re-state this in a press release????
April 11, 2003
President, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, is a special place. The Game’s greatest players, managers, umpires, and executives are honored here, and it’s where The Game’s rich history is preserved. Those who have served in the U.S. military are also honored here. Active duty and retired military personnel receive free admission, and last Memorial Day, a plaque was dedicated to honor the 64 Hall of Fame members who have served this country in the armed forces during wartime.
As much as The Hall of Fame honors our armed forces, this institution should never be used as a platform for public pro-war sentiments – nor public anti-war sentiments. Given the track record of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, and the timing – with our troops committed in Iraq – a strong possibility existed that they could have used The Hall of Fame as a backdrop for their views. Mr. Robbins and Ms. Sarandon have every right to express their opinions. But The Baseball Hall of Fame is not the proper venue for highly-charged political expressions, whatever they may be.
So, he censored them before
they even had a chance to speak, even though they weren't going to say a damn thing
about the war???? This celebration was about a friggin' baseball movie!!!!
Robbins said this week that he had planned to talk about baseball, not the war and politics.
Damn you all to hell, President Petroskey.
"This was just a celebration, a chance to see some friends from the movie and make what's become almost an annual trip with our boys," Sarandon said.
"As far as I knew, we weren't speaking. I wasn't even planning to wear makeup. And to politicize baseball is to violate the spirit of what it's all about," she said.
« hide the extended part of this entry
Sunday, April 06, 2003
So, he complains about leg pains and cramps. Not a big deal - we all seem to get them every once in a while. Hell, riding around in a specially modified M-88 tank recovery vehicle for as long as he has must make you uncomfortable. But, I'll bet you, there's no way in hell either he, his family, the folks at NBC, hell even the 3rd I.D. that he was with could have seen this coming when David Bloom died of an apparent pulmonary embolism. This news is just an absolute shock. You see a guy, younger than you (he's 39, I'm 46) and you see someone that seemed to really enjoy his work (something that I truthfully cannot say). He was always on top of his form, no matter what he covered - OJ Simpson, the Washington Sniper, the war in Iraq... riding a mechanical bull for the Weekend Today Show or getting dunked in a dunking tank on the plaza. I really enjoyed this work and was fascinated with his little gyro-stabilized camera and reports from the desert. It's sad, just damned sad to lose a guy like this. He had this wonderful way of making the story "fit", and making it understandable to us doofuses out here. You hear of other correspondents dying, you hear of coalition forces dieing, but hearing about his death has a different "feel" to it. Just one of sadness and loss, perhaps because he was good and perhaps it was because it wasn't as a casualty of war (though, in the grand scheme of things, it probably was). I know NBC will miss him, and I guess I will too.
Monday, March 31, 2003
... the boys in the newsroom got a running bet...
Note to all News Producers, both at national networks and on local stations: knock it off with dragging widows and families of war casualties on the air and asking "how do you feel?" or "what are you going to do?" or "what are you going to tell your children?" and other crap like that. The American public doesn't want to see this. The American public doesn't need to see this. Is it absolutely necessary to personalize the war, to "put a face" on the war, that America must endure the grief and suffering of every casualty or MIA? I'm tired of what feels like the need to fill time about the war during every newscast or, heaven forbid, each segment of the national news channels. Is it necessary to show a wife bawling over her lost husband, in front of all of America? Enough already. Report the facts, cut down the speculation, and stop humiliating these poor families in their time of grief and sorrow.
Meigs Field is gone???
What the hell is Richie up to??? Overnight, he closed Meigs Field indefinately and had backhoes carve large X's into the runway so no one can land there. He demolishing Meigs Field and didn't tell anybody!?!?!?! Problem? How to get the 12 planes that are stranded there off the field. What the hell is he doing? Why was this a secret??? What is the mayor up to??? Homeland security concerns?
Update: WGN video report at Chicago Tribune FeedRoom
Friday, March 21, 2003
As we were watching the media last night, there was a point where every local channel as well as CNN was covering the anti-war protests down on Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. We couldn't get away from seeing Chicago on the TV. I saw this at Robyn's site and had to republish it here. Between seeing the demonstrations, hearing about the Dixie Chicks, hearing about a lawyer being arrested for trespass by security guards in a mall for wearing a Peace t-shirt, it just seems appropriate:
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
- President Theodore Roosevelt
So, we may not see this "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq after all. Now, it seems like we going after Baghdad with what's being described as "exemplary destruction." There's anti-aircraft fire in Baghdad now, so there's something going on, though someone said that it's "too early" for the attack. Humpf. It's sounding more like Saddam is alive and the speculation about... Oops, no here we go. Here comes the air assault on Baghdad...
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Is he dead?
Interesting story that's coming out in tomorrow's Washington Post - Hussein's Fate Still Uncertain. It has some very interesting pieces of information, such as:
U.S. intelligence officials believe Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, possibly accompanied by one or both of his powerful sons, was still inside a compound in southern Baghdad early yesterday when it was struck by a barrage of U.S. bombs and cruise missiles.
"The preponderance of the evidence is he was there when the building blew up," said one senior U.S. official with access to sensitive intelligence. The official added that Hussein's sons, Qusay and Uday, may also have been at the compound. "He didn't get out" beforehand, another senior official said of the Iraqi president.
A third administration official said "there is evidence that he [Hussein] was at least injured" because of indications that medical attention was urgently summoned on his behalf. The condition of Hussein's sons, and any others who may have been at the compound, was also unknown, officials said.
... the government also consulted Parisoula Lampsos, who the Defense Department believes has passed a polygraph examination in support of her claim that she was Hussein's mistress in Iraq for many years. Lampsos has previously distinguished Hussein from his doubles in more than a dozen cases, one official said, and this time she said he was not the man in the broadcast.
Carol and I are watching the ABC coverage tonight and we keep hearing this word "shockenaw". It took us a while to realize that the word is actually the phrase "shock and awe", pertaining to the alleged big attack (that hasn't happened yet). It's just weird hearing everyone speculating about "shockenaw", which sounded like some Native American tribe somewhere. I think the pundits and analysts as well as the newscasters need to either drop the phrase or start pronouncing it a bit more distinctly.
Live from Iraq - II
I had mentioned CNN correspondent Kevin Sites blog, but now comes news of another blog - Where is Raed ? This is a blog that's hosted on blog*spot, but the author is apparently in Baghdad, and Paul Boutin has done a little research and believes he is REALLY there.
In case you wanted to see it, here's the link to the United States Central Command commanded by General Tommy Franks. There's an entire gallery of all the leaflets that they've dropped since November.
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
EMail the video?
Did I hear this correctly tonight - that the video of the cruise missile being launched from the USS Donald Cook in the Red Sea was emailed to the Pentagon and released to the media from there?
Operation Iraqi Freedom is GO
Ari Fleischer says "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun." Air raid sirens were heard in Baghdad about 15 minutes ago. Of course, it's sounding like it's only a few smart bombs/cruise missles striking some tragets of opportunity. The air raid sirens may be going off, but it's getting to be daylight and there's no sound of bombs, aircraft, anti-aircraft. I don't know - I say it's just a few strikes to get their attention and take out a few strategic targets along the way.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
A little disturbing
Anybody else out there a little disturbed by this Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) bug going around? I mean, I don't have much doubt that it's just a naturally occurring bug (versus an engineered one), but it's just a bit nasty and a bit scary. Hopefully it can be identified. At least they've figured out it's not as infectious to the public as airborne viruses. One tourism industry official estimated new tour group bookings to Hong Kong had dropped between 80 and 90 percent over the last few days amid growing fears of the disease.
Maps! Git yer maps here! Can't tell your region without a map!
Back in the last Gulf War, I had purchased aeronautical maps of the entire region, from Iran to the Mediterranean, just to be able to tell where things were and what kind of terrain they were talking about. Well, I dug them up again and scanned a few areas in case you are interested. First, a couple of caveats: 1) These are aeronautical navigation maps - if you know how to read one, you'll understand some of the notations. If you don't, at least you'll see what some of the area looks like 2) Though these are Aeronautical charts, please note: <disclaimer>Not for Navigational Use</disclaimer> 3) The maps are old - 1985 and 1990, so even though the terrain and towns/cities would not have changed, other items like the main 6-lane highway from Kuwait through Iraq didn't exist on the map. I'm sure some of these airports that are listed don't exist either 4) Files are in PDF format
Map 1 - Baghdad - area around the city of Baghdad, Iraq (1.69Mb)
Map 2 - Basra - area around the port city of Basra, Iraq and the gulf (1.727Mb)
Map 3 - Kuwait - the country of Kuwait, up to the city of Basra, Iraq (1.725Mb)
Map 4 - Qatar - the countries of Bahrain and Qatar (1.828Mb)
Map 5 - Tikrit - area from city of Baghdad to Tikrit (Saddam Hussein's hometown) north to Kirkuk (1.804Mb)
For a very complete set of maps, look at the University of Texas at Austin library on Iraq Maps.
Monday, March 17, 2003
Yellow to Orange
The Department of Homeland Security has raised the national terrorism threat level from Yellow (Elevated) to Orange (High) after the speech tonight, because intelligence officials believe terrorists will attempt multiple attacks against U.S. and coalition targets worldwide.
We're on the clock
Well, this is it. We're going to war. Yes, I know, no one has actually said that. Do you honestly believe that something is going to stop this from happening? The amount of military assets in the Gulf region is just too staggering. I think this nation was committed long ago to this war, though we paid lip service to diplomacy - and that's about it: lip service. Now, we just have to embrace and support our troops over there and hope they get through this alive. I may not agree with what they've been told to do, but you must support them doing it. (I think that's where a lot of people have gone haywire recently, thinking that being against the war means you do not support the men and women fighting in it. That's not the case. I can whole-heartedly support them in their assigned duties. I just don't agree with the assignment. And I believe there's a difference between the two.)
Pray that we don't get attacked on our soil as retaliation. Pray that the rest of the world doesn't turn it's back against America for doing this without the support or sanction of the U.N (Even though 1441 can be interpreted as giving the approval). The U.N. has ordered their people out of Iraq, so we're on the clock now.
Any side bets on when it starts? 72 hours? By NCAA start? (Notice I didn't say "March Madness" because, after all, isn't this March Madness???) By the Oscars? By baseball's Opening Day?
Any other side bets, like are the oil fields booby-trapped? Will we see the use of chemical or biological weapons that Iraq said they didn't have? (And if so, will they blame us for their usage?) Will Iraq launch attacks westward (say, toward Israel)? How many of their troops will surrender? Will we even get close to Saddam? How many civilians will die because Saddam has used them as a Human Shield, placing military targets right in the middle of populated areas or near sensitive civilian buildings, like hospitals?
Oh, just in case it's not clearly obvious - I am not taking bets on any of these events.
Friday, March 14, 2003
Live from Iraq
Kevin Sites is a CNN correspondent, usually working as a solo broadcast journalist, using portable, digital technology to report, write, edit and transmit his stories from around the world. Add to his arsenal Blogging. He's keeping a blog (with Audblog entries as well!) about his journeys in Kuwait, Iran, and it looks like Northern Iraq. Check it out for a journalist's first-person view from "over there".
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
I just got my CNN Breaking News email: Missing teenager Elizabeth Smart found alive in Salt Lake City suburb, police say.
She's been missing since June 5, 2002.
Salt Lake City
Today, March 12th at approximately 13:00 hrs Sandy Police received a call from two citizens reporting a possible sighting of the male suspect that was wanted for questioning by Salt Lake City Police in the Elizabeth Smart case. Officers responded to the area of 10200 S State and located a male and two females at the side of the road. Sandy Officers questioned the three and determined one of them was possibly Elizabeth Smart. All three were transported to Sandy Police Department, where SLCPD was notified. Upon further investigation, positive identification was made on Elizabeth Smart. Salt Lake City Police Detectives arrived and took over the investigation. There will be a joint press conference today at 17:00 in front of SLCPD at 315 E 200 S. It would be premature to answer any questions at this time. Please wait for the press conference.
Sgt. Michelle Burnette Sandy City Police Department
There were reports earlier today that the family was frustrated with the police.
Monday, March 10, 2003
It started already?
I know this is a bit old, but I had to link to it. An article in London's Sunday Mirror says that Iraqi troops have already tried to surrender.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Orange to Yellow
So, we've been under Orange Alert for 20 days. The Department of Homeland Security has lowered the national terrorism threat level from Orange (High) to Yellow (Elevated) citing the end of the Muslim hajj pilgrimage as a key factor.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Has it really been 10 years since the World Trade Center truck bombing? I've always wondered where we would be today if the bombing back then would have significantly damaged or collapsed the one tower. And now I wonder where we'll be just a year from now - after the "inevitable" war against Hussein happens. What could get unleashed? Will we be better off? Will the economy survive? Will Bush survive his next election bid? Will we be attacked again on our soil? Way, way too many questions before my first cup of coffee...
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
So, we're supposed to be Ready?
So, the U. S. Department of Homeland Security is at it again. They've opened-up a new website called Ready.Gov that we could use to get prepared in case of a terrorist attack. They've got info on how to make a kit of emergency supplies, how to make a plan for what to do in an emergency, and how to be informed about what might happen, specifically about Biological Threats, Chemical Threats, Explosions, and oh, those Nuclear Blasts and subsequent Radiation Threats. There's a PDF of the brochure "Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now." available, too. Just four days ago, Bush told the American public not to panic, and "Americans should go about their lives." HUH??? After reading Ready.Gov???? I don't think so!!! And this is all under Orange Alert. What happens under Red Alert? The proverbial "kiss your arse goodbye"???
Monday, February 17, 2003
Carol & I actually heard this unfolding this morning over our scanner, both over Chicago Police and Chicago Fire frequencies as everyone tried to coordinate the efforts to try and save as many people as possible. Sheer panic and sheer confusion. We knew there was trouble when they were taking some of the ambulances and having them go to the rear of the club so they could remove the bodies. Latest: 21 people killed in the stampede at the E2 Club on South Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
Friday, February 07, 2003
Homeland Security Advisory System Threat Orange
The Department of Homeland Security has raised the national terrorism threat level from Yellow (Elevated) to Orange (High) indicating a "high risk of terrorist attacks." (Gee... I wonder why?)
Check out the FEMA publication Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Thursday, January 16, 2003
I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing...
CNN is reporting that U.N. weapons inspectors found a 11 empty chemical warheads and another one that is still being evaluated, and the warheads are in "excellent condition". I'm not sure how I feel about this. Are these warheads just for chemical delivery or can they be used for something else? Just because they have them, does that prove their guilt that they have delivered a chemical WMD or does it just prove that they were capable of assembling a chemical WMD, or what? Is this a smoking gun or does that only come when we find the actual chemical compounds? And why am I uneasy about the one warhead that's requiring further examination?
Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Do you have a swollen bubo?
How do you lose 35 vials containing samples of the bubonic plague???? Well, they're missing from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Lubbock City Council member Frank Morrison said it is premature to say the items were stolen.
Update: The FBI says "All of the vials reported missing from Texas Tech Health Sciences Center have been accounted for."
Update: A university scientist was arrested for making false statements to the FBI. He had accidentally destroyed the vials but told his laboratory safety officer that they were missing.
Friday, November 22, 2002
I was in grammar school. I remember listening to the radio broadcast over the P.A. system (which, looking back on it, was a bit of a technological feat). I remember watching the funeral procession a few days later on our TV. I know a lot of you out there weren't even around when this happened, but this event really changed America. Considering how much the human race has become more violent in these 39 years since his assassination, I think it's absolutely remarkable that the U.S. Secret Service has been able to step up and handle Presidential security.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Why am I awake?
I've been up for the last half hour and I don't have a clue why. Was it the elections weighing heavy on my mind? Well, maybe a little - I don't like the idea of the House and Senate being under control of the same party - the same party as the President. (According to CNN this morning, the Senate is 51 Rep, 46 Dem and 2 undecided, and the House is 226 Rep, 203 Dem and 5 undecided.) If the President decides to do something (cut taxes, go to war) that you don't exactly agree with, there's no one to stop him (so to speak). Saw an interesting exit poll question yesterday on one of the local channels - 38% of the people polled said that corruption was the major reason why they voted the way they did.
I think the other reason I woke up is that my right ankle is killing me. I sort of tore it up almost two years ago getting off a train. I misstepped and must have bruised and tore up ligaments because it got all black and blue. It hasn't been the same since.
I'm not a morning person. I like sleep.
I wonder what's going on downstairs? I keep hearing Carol quietly yelling at Indy. Sounds like she's being bad, and Carol is trying not to be loud so she doesn't wake me up.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Vote early, vote often...
Just got back from doing my civil, patriotic duty - I went to vote. I remember the days when you would get accosted from pollsters and "workers" to see what you were going to do, or get you to change your mind. The streets were empty. Our pooling place is a grade school, so it's always weird going in there - seeing the classrooms with the little desks. Didn't see any students or teachers, though. This time, everything wasn't setup in the gym - it was setup in a single back hallway, so between the tables, the booths, and the people, it was a bit hard to maneuver. It didn't help matters that there were NO signs to help you with where you should start (because, you know, that one person can't do the whole job - it must be done by a series of people. The voting booth was a little flimsy - definitely something you can't really lean on. I'm still upset that we're still using the punchcard voting system. After Florida 2000, I think this system should be banned. I had found a website (VoterInfoNet) that, once you key-in your address, it produces a list of items on your particular ballot. I always try to do something ahead of time to make sure I know how I'm going to vote before I get there. Not only that, it helps me as a cheat-sheet to remember which judges I want to retain or not (a long, tedious process). Then it was just a matter of poking holes, taking the ballot to a checking machine to make sure everything is OK, and I was on my way.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
My eyes are burning...
I have been glued to CNN all day... it's been simultaneously rivetting, gut wrenching, astonishing, and confusing to watch everything unfold with John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, and how it all unfolded coast-to-coast. Let's all pray the terror is over... and all I want to know is "Why?!?!?"
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Another killing, another murder today in Virginia. And the kicker is that the police have received another communique that says "Your children are not safe anywhere, at any time". How lovely, ya bastard...
Friday, October 11, 2002
Hey Rocky, watch my pull a sniper out of my hat...
Let me start this by saying that this is probably "wrong" and "bad", but... why is it then when I hear about still another sniper shooting, this time in Spotsylvania County, and hearing Police Chief Charles Moose, is it wrong to think of Bullwinkle?
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Illinois 2003 Quarter
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Saturday, September 14, 2002
Crazies around the world
OK, so I guess there was a bunch of stuff that happened in the world recently - Ramzi Binalshibh was captured after a shootout during two raids in Karachi, Pakistan. (Wonder if The U.S. will ever see him?) Al-Jazeera broadcasts another "documentary" titled "Top Secret: The Road to September 11" that has Binalshibh on tape talking about the planning, including coded messages. Five men were arrested during a raid on an apartment in Lackawanna, NY that allegedly "disrupted an al Qaeda-trained terrorist cell on American soil." And the three Muslim men that were detained yesterday in Alligator Alley are pissed. Do you blame them? They came up clean and accused the waitress who made the call of "flat-out lying."
Friday, September 13, 2002
The damn Alligator Alley terror alert could be a prank... In any case, nothing going on here, move along... move along...
Allegators and terror
Hey ... there's a "terror alert" down in/on Alligator Alley (I-75) in Florida, with two suspicious cars, with plates from Illinois - one from Hanover Park which is just one suburb over from me.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
OK, be honest - how many of you breathed a sigh of relief today when yesterday passed without any apparent attack on U.S. interests somewhere? Perhaps it's time to finally move on. Never forget - but move on...
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Remembering one year ago
It has been one year. The United States is still alive and free, though not the same.
al Qaeda is still alive and kicking, perhaps within the United States. The United States is under a high terrorism alert. Afghanistan is struggling to move forward with a democratic government. An overwhelming majority of Muslims do not believe the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Osama bin Laden, or by Arabs, or by Muslims, even though Al-Jazeera broadcasts tape of the hijackers planning the attacks and broadcasts tape of Osama bin Laden praising the hijackers. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has escalated. And, instead of helping the region by stepping in and help resolving the conflict, the United States wants to piss off the entire world by going after madman Saddam Hussein by playing the terror card with no solid, tangible evidence.
The world is no longer the same.
We were all touched one year ago, one way or another. My sister Diane worked for a company that is headquartered in New York, blocks from the World Trade Center. Somebody that she worked with had bought a disposable camera after American 11 had already impacted the North Tower. He was in a conference room, taking pictures out the window, when United 175 streaked through the sky, impacting the South Tower. Here are a few of the pictures he took that day. If the first picture looks familiar, it was on page 328-329 of the September 2002 issue of Vanity Fair, as well as in the book Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs. I remember when Diane emailed the photos to me. It gave me a "link" to the event and I finally felt a little bit connected from hundreds of miles away - though I'm sure it's only a fraction of a percentage point of what it was like to actually be there.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
The Pentagon is considering put live ammunition in weapons that are going to part of the "Clear Skies 2" exercise that's going on September 11. Some military bases around the world have gone to Condition Charlie, while bases in southeast Asia are now at the highest level - Condition Delta. Others here are at Condition Bravo. It sounds like they don't believe that there's a threat domestically, but that the state of alert here is being raised as a precaution. Last year, intelligence people heard of threats to overseas interests on 9/11, but the attacks happened here instead. That's why the threat level was raised here. Possible targets are Military facilities, US Embassies, monuments, and possibly transportation and energy targets.
The Homeland Security Office on Tuesday is raising its nationwide terror state of alert from Yellow Alert Status - Elevated to Orange Alert Status - High on the Homeland Security Advisory System because of "a significant uptick in "chatter" that could be traced to al Qaeda". God, don't let this happen... Just let the day pass in remembrance of last year and let's all just get pass 9/11/2001 and move forward...
Friday, September 06, 2002
West Nile Tote Board
Illinois now has 224 cases of the West Nile Virus, the largest in the nation (according to the latest CDC data) and higher than Louisiana. This week, the village sprayed the neighborhood. I hadn't seen the mosquito spraying trucks in years. They're hard to miss - they make an outrageous amount of noise as the generators on the back of the truck spew out the chemicals as they drive slowly through the neighborhood. It's hard to fathom that people are dying from mosquito bites. That and transplanted organs. I know the incidence is low, and most people probably don't exhibit symptoms, but damn, this just feels scary. I don't know why. Fortunately, I haven't seen any dead birds around, and really haven't been out in the prime mosquito time.
Monday, August 19, 2002
Walking on broken glass
Crap. We just went to see the Chihuly exhibit yesterday, and then I hear about this today: Glass art shattered at Chihuly exhibit. I guess it happened Friday during a private anniversary party, when somehow a $70,000 glass sculpture on display in the middle of an ankle-deep pond was shattered. Bastards... (hey, I've been saying that a bit lately, haven't I? Well, I'm not feeling well and that just pissed me of...)
Saturday, August 17, 2002
Monday, August 12, 2002
Bill Biggart's Final Exposures
Speaking of 9/11, there was a photographer - Bill Biggart - that was killed on the ground when the second tower collapsed. He was shooting as he was walking toward the WTC after the first plane had hit. His personal belongings were returned to his wife. He had two Canon EOS1 film cameras whose backs didn't survive. Neither did the film he had already shot. But - he had Canon D30 digital camera. The compact flash card survived. Here are his last pictures.
Clear the skies
Was looking at USA Today this morning. Looks like they're doing a series on events around 9/11. Today's piece is about the unprecedented event in Air Traffic Control - get all flights on the ground and clear the skies.
Friday, August 09, 2002
What the hell is going on in Florida and adoptions? Is this still another ultra-conservative ploy by Governor Bush??? There's a new law going on the books requiring the birth mother to notify the birth father about adoption proceedings - and if she doesn't know the birth father or can't find him (oh, like due to rape or just multiple partners) she's "must place legal notices about the adoption in a local newspaper where the baby was conceived - the mother must list her name, describe herself, name or describe the possible father(s) and list the date and the city or county of conception." Can you say INVASION OF PRIVACY???
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
West Nile Tote Board
Oh, great, I feel REAL safe... I just heard on the news that Illinois registered it's first case of the West Nile virus. It was 22-year-old woman, a student from Maryland. OK, fine. The kicker? She lived in HOFFMAN ESTATES - WHERE I LIVE. Man, now I better pay attention to dead birds around here and get myself covered in DEET...
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Oh my God...
I'll tell you about my day at another time, but I'm watching CNN and Reuters is reporting all 9 miners trapped in the mine in Pennsylvania since Wednesday ARE ALIVE!!! How cool is this!!!
Friday, July 19, 2002
American Flight 11
Speaking of ABC, they have an exclusive about what happened before the crash of American Flight 11 on 9/11. It shows how professional the flight attendants were in trying to relay crucial information to the ground after the hijackers had taken over the plane. Riveting stuff.
ABC just broke into network programming to show the close of the NYSE. The dow is down over 400. They're showing 8004.50 right now, so it's not a final yet. Great. Update: Here's the final - the Dow closed down 390.23 to 8,019.26, to its lowest level since January 1998. The Nasdaq composite index lost 37.94 to 1,319.01. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 34.03 to 847.53.
Thursday, July 18, 2002
In case you are interested, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has posted the Concept Plans of the six finalists for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and adjacent areas.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
I DON'T Pledge Allegiance???
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
The difference between "thermos" and "Thermos™"
So, Carol is upset at reading the news this morning. She works at Thermos. They make some great container products that I love. Well, she's surfing the net, reading some news when she sees this article at CBS News. The INS has ordered that all Yemeni nationals be searched before entering or leaving the United States. However, the memo says: "under no circumstances will an inspecting officer open a thermos bottle." Great. "Law enforcement officers discovered dozens of thermos bottles, some rigged with batteries; wire was also found. Authorities say these components could have been used in manufacturing bombs." This is just going to be great for her business...
Monday, June 10, 2002
al Qaeda in the hood
So, yesterday, as we were sitting around gabbing on Joe's patio, Carol turns to me and says, "Oh! You don't know about this!" and proceeds to tell me a story she heard from my mom at Saturday's bridal shower. I guess the FBI has been in their neighborhood. Why? Well, in the middle of the block, was an Arab family... that moved out suddenly on September 10. I guess the FBI is going back over their data (about damn time) and is checking out the neighborhood. Mom said there had been a lot of arguments between a man and a woman at the house (she really didn't know them), even with an incident where he woman was across the street talking to someone, there was yelling back-and-forth between her and her husband who was in front of their house, leading to the man coming across the street, dragging the woman back into their own house and beating the crap out of her. Nice neighbors. Makes you wonder about whether or not September 10 was just a coincidence or not.
Now, this morning, the big breaking news on TV is about a suspected al Qaeda operative that was arrested on May 8th. At O'Hare. A former Chicago gang member. Hmmm... it's getting closer to home. And this time, this guy - Abdullah Al Mujahir -- a U.S. citizen who was born Jose Padilla and converted to Islam - was involved in a plot to build and explode a radioactive "dirty bomb", probably in Washington D.C.
Great. I'm feeling really safe, right now. The only solace in this is that they caught the guy before anything happened. I feel good about that.
Thursday, May 30, 2002
The recovery is over
It's all over at Ground Zero. At the World Trade Center recovery site at 10:29 this morning - the time that the North Tower collapsed 37 weeks ago, there was this very solemn ceremony to mark the closing of the site. The closing of the site also marks another item - there are over 1,700 people that have not been found. Rescue workers carried an empty stretcher with an American Flag draped inside to signify those that are missing, walking it out up the main ramp from the site, with ranks of Fire & Police at attention, as they had done so many times before to a waiting ambulance. The last girder that remained at the site was cut down Tuesday night, put on a flatbed truck, draped in black and an American Flag. It was then driven up that ramp to signify the end of the recovery. Taps was played. Helicopters flew in formation over the site. No speeches. A pipe and drum corps played God Bless America as the Police ranks left the site. And then it's over. But we can't forget.
Friday, May 24, 2002
I saw this over at 2Hats and, boy, I don't see a problem with signing this at all. I would love to see this debated.
To: Government of Australia
Calling on the humanitarian ideals of the People of Australia as represented by the government.
That the government of Australia act immediately to bring on a debate at the United Nations to declare clearly and unequivocally that the practice of suicide bombing is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. This crime and its promoters, organisers and supporters are guilty of a crime which has been committed against the perpetrator (who has been indoctrinated) as well as the victims of the crime.
Further, that there is no moral, religious, or political justification for this crime and that the results constitute genocide.
The criminals should be prosecuted and punished by the international courts of justice.
If you're interested, you can sign here.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Summer of the Shark
So apparently, last summer's "Summer of the Shark" was just a media frenzy. Here's a great stat for you: In a typical year, 10 people are killed by sharks worldwide. During the same year, 150 people are killed by falling coconuts. I don't seem to recall seeing the "Summer of the Coconut" media coverage...
Great, here we go again - an alert that there could be possible terrorist attacks against New York city landmarks. Great. Those damn people know how to push our buttons now, and they're just twitchin' on them. What can we do? Be vigilant. Stop these bastards. Watch what goes on around you. Be aware - just don't move through your day in a haze. We all have to do this so we don't have to endure again what they did to us.
Monday, May 06, 2002
Keep him away from the punch
Another tidbit from the 88th Annual White House Correspondents dinner on Saturday night - USA Today had an article that had still another great quote from Ozzy & Sharon: And Ozzy, when asked if he was ready for another season of the show, said, "Yeah!" Then he turned to Sharon, "Can I have a drink? Please?" "Just one," she said. "You're going to fall down."
Sunday, May 05, 2002
Dubbya and Ozzy?
Anybody catch last night's 88th Annual White House Correspondents dinner on C-SPAN? Caught it on TiVo and sure enough, in the middle of the crowd, there's Ozzy! You gotta love Dubya's quote: "The thing about Ozzy is, he's made a lot of big hit recordings -- "Party With the Animals," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," "Face in Hell," "Black Skies" and "Bloodbath in Paradise"...Ozzy. Mom loves your stuff." And Ozzy stands up and cheers...
Saturday, April 27, 2002
Trouble in Laughlin
A little digression... last September Carol & I along with our Friends Barry & Buffy were in Las Vegas for our annual (or last year - our semi-annual) trip. After spending 4 days at the Rio, we were off driving about 80 miles to a little town called Laughlin (population 8,000) on the Colorado River, next to Bullhead City Arizona. It's a very small gambling town. We stayed at Harrah's, right on the river, where we had tickets to see Patricia Yearwood at the amphitheater. Well, it was hot. Our room faced an asphalt parking lot. We found the rooms small, almost motel-like. The air conditioning just couldn't keep up with the heat. Then we find out that the amphitheater is outside and it was 105°. Well, after being really spoiled in a Rio suite for 4 nights, we decide that we're not going to stay in Laughlin the second night and we make reservations back at Rio. We also return our Yearwood tickets (the concert was oversold, so they were happy to get them back). We just didn't enjoy being in Laughlin - I guess it wasn't our "style". We're out of there at 8:30 in the morning and are back in our rooms at the Rio by 10:30.
Flash forward to today.
At 2:15 am this morning, 3 people were killed and 13 others injured when members of Hell's Angels and The Mongols started fighting in the Harrah's Laughlin casino, escalating into gunfire. The gangs were in town for the 20th annual "River Run," an event which annually draws 50,000 to 80,000 motorcycle enthusiasts. Police, who said it was the worst shooting incident in the history of Nevada casinos, actually locked-down the town while they searched for possible combatants. Las Vegas SWAT even went room-to-room in the hotel itself.
Friday, April 26, 2002
Oh, God, this is sad... Robert Cringely of InfoWorld and PBS-TV miniseries "Triumph of the Nerds" fame writes this article about his son Chase Cringely, who only lived 74 days. The article is worth reading - maybe we can help.
No more TLC
Another celebrity death... I didn't follow her career, and I liked a few of her hits, but Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes (of TLC) was killed in a car accident Thursday in Honduras. I hate when famous (or semi-famous) people die.
Friday, April 19, 2002
All kinds of weirdness
The world seems upside-down.
It's the 7th anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing - the first terror attack on the US from within. Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. We wind up accidentally bombing Canadians in Afghanistan. Thank you, Illinois Air National Guard. A single-engine private plane crashed into Pireli Tower in Milan, Italy. An Amtrak train derails in Florida.
The Seattle Times is reporting that the White House has said they are considering the use of "The Evil Empire's" (Microsoft's) Passport technology to identify citizens online - Sort of a Virtual National ID Card. Somebody is actually recording George the 43rd's (aka George W.) misspeaks at DubyaSpeak.com, where they do their best "to keep up with the gravy train of strained English."
Then in something that did not surprise me at all, Robert Blake arrested for murdering his wife.
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Nuts. I hate hearing about celebrities passing on, especially if you enjoyed their work. Robert Urich died this morning of synovial cell sarcoma. He had his own website, too.
Monday, April 15, 2002
OK, this is a bit too political, but DAMN, THIS PISSES ME OFF.... Look at the photo. Look at where this is occuring. And remember, holding up two fingers doesn't always means "peace" - it also means "Victory". And who do you think she is trying to be - a "suicide bomber" or a "homicide bomber"?
Saturday, April 13, 2002
The Great Chicago Flood
Today is the 10th Anniversary of what was called "The Great Chicago Flood". Remember that? That's when a construction crew on the Chicago River was sinking pilings into what they thought was riverbed, but turned out to be part of the vast underground tunnel system that used to be part of of a system that serviced many buildings downtown. Well, guess what? Yep, the tunnels flooded with 250 million gallons of river water (you could actually see a whirlpool in the river where the water was "escaping") - and many people and institutions didn't know about the tunnel system. Before you know it, buildings started to flood all over the downtown area, causing millions of dollars of damage.
Monday, April 08, 2002
Ozzy in the House?
Was just watching Greta Van Susteren on The Tonight Show. She invited Ozzy Osbourne and Sharon to go with her to the White House Correspondants Dinner on May 4! Oh, man, I've got to make sure I TiVo C-SPAN that night!!!
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
You know, if you've read this blog, that Carol & I go to hockey games regularly - we support the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. I have been hit by a puck once - took one on the chin after in bounced off some seats in front of us. It hurt, but did little damage. Now, in what is believed to be the first death of a fan hit by a puck at an NHL game, a 13-year-old girl died after being hit in the head by a puck that was a slapshot by Espen Knutsen from the left circle, shot over the high glass and glanced off another spectator at a Columbus Blue Jackets game against the Calgary Flames. I just saw the tape - she got up, and had a towel or something to her forehead. You have to watch the game and keep on your toes - you have no idea how startling it is to see a puck coming at you. This is really sad...
Well, at least those damn campaign ads are off the air... for a while. Today is Primary day in Illinois - a day that both Carol & I do not exercise our right to vote. Reason? We don't want to declare the party to vote for - we believe in voting for the candidates that we think will do the best job, and not having to vote just for Republican or Democratic candidates. I understand that there are other states in the US that allow this, but not here.
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Aw, man... I thought Chicago had cornered the rights to dying the Chicago River green... I just saw that the Venetian in Las Vegas dyed their gondola canals green. Just doesn't seem fair... The Chicago River gets dyed at 10:45am this morning.
Wednesday, March 13, 2002
The War On Terrorism has had me worried since the beginning. Why? Because I don't trust the people that need to do some specific things to bring this phase to an end. I don't trust the new Afghani forces to actually bring the remaining Taliban and al Qaeda to justice, let alone kill or just even capture them, when wide spread corruption has existed in the war lords world for way too long. I don't trust the Pakistani's to do the same with any escaped Taliban or al Qaeda. And now, I'm not feeling too good about our own Government when the INS on MONDAY MARCH 11, 2002, just two days ago, Huffman Aviation of Florida received from the INS M-1 Student Visas for hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi six months to the day they flew planes into the World Trade Center. Couldn't anyone in the government catch this before they were mailed???
Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Joseph D. Konopka - Terrorist???
I don't know if you know about this - it seems to be a local story - but there was a guy that was arrested saturday on the UIC campus on suspicion of burglary. Big deal, eh? Well, now the guy is in federal custody, charged with possession of a chemical weapon!!!! He's 25 years old, and has been living in the subway since jumping bail in Wisconsin. He had a pound of Cyanide stashed away in a CTA vault that was on the Blue Line subway downtown. Scary enough for you? Could you imagine what could have happened??? He's got a nickname - "Dr. Chaos". Sgt. Teri Vogel of the Door County sheriff's police said Konopka "definitely has the propensity to commit mass destruction." Gee, I feel safe... not!
Direct from the Shawano County Wisconsin Sherrif's Office Most Wanted List:
Joseph D. Konopka (06.24.1976) AKA Tim Whiting, Doctor Chaos, Doc Chaos, Doc Chaz. Konopka is wanted for Felony Failure to Appear on multiple Burglary, Theft and Criminal Damage charges (Door County); Felony Bail Jumping and Felony Criminal Damage/Solicitation of a Child to Commit a Felony/Arson (Shawano County); Felony Burglary and Criminal Damage charges (FBI); Felony Failure to Appear for Pretrial Conference (Kewaunee County); and, Felony Criminal Damage to Property - Business (Marquette County). If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local law enforcement agency or call the Shawano County Sheriff's Office at 715.526.3111.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPREHEND ANY OF THE LISTED PERSONS.
Monday, March 11, 2002
We must never forget.
CBS ran 9|11 last night, and it was so moving, to watch the events through the eyes of firefighters (actually a documentary crew following the firefighters) on that day. Unbelieveable. A great record of the tragedy.
Saturday, March 09, 2002
OK, this is bad - when the thunderstorms came through, it also brought high winds. The house is creaking and occasionally we hear a bang or bump something from somewhere. This is the worst we have heard. The furnace is doing something weird, too - sometimes it won't turn on. We're hoping it's related to the wind. The highest wind gust recorded was 58mph at Meigs Field (52mph out here at O'Hare). There was a bad accident downtown. Some scaffolding that blew off the Hancock building (what the hell was scaffolding doing on the Hancock with these kind of winds????) crashing into a three cars on Chestnut Street, killing three people. The rest of the scaffolding just swung around crashing into windows of the floors around it. This looked bad. I saw on a news broadcast a car with no roof (probably cut off), that had two people in the back seat in cervical collars - the people in the front seat had been killed. There's going to be lawsuits coming out of this...
Wednesday, March 06, 2002
Tribute of Light
Hmm... two more job postings to answer today, one at monster.com for a Sr. Notes Administrator and another at JustNotesJobs.com for a Lotus Notes Administrator. These people must be getting swamped - I'm not getting any call backs in months. I'm guessing that they're getting tons of resumes to try to sift through.
In case you haven't heard, the first memorials to the World Trade Center attacks will be unveiled on March 11. One is the "Tribute of Light," two beams of light to simulate the towers, the other is the original 27-foot bronze sculpture by Fritz Koenig called "The Sphere" that used to stand in the plaza of the World Trade Center. The lights will be illuminated from sunset to about 11pm, and talk is that it's only a temporary memorial. "The Sphere" will be at Battery Park until a permanent home could be found, perhaps back at the original site.
Monday, March 04, 2002
Gee, Chicago turned 165 years old today...
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
The Muslim poll that pissed me off was also reported at CNN.com.
Muslims, mismanagement, and Grammy's
Read USA Today this morning and I got pissed. Right there, front page, an article that says that only 18% of those polled in six Islamic countries say they believe Arabs carried out the attacks, even though all 19 guys involved in the hijackings and crashes were Arab men. 61% say Arabs were not responsible. HUH? Is this because the local news reporting is a little skewed in these countries?
Then I pick up today's Chicago Tribune only to see a big article on the front of the business section about my old company - marchFIRST, stemming from the bankruptcy trustee filing court papers saying "top officials directed or approved a pattern of wasteful dealings that last year drove the company into bankruptcy". Sounds all too familiar, and, even though none of this was surprising to me, it's the first time that I've actually seen it in print.
Watching the Grammy's tonight - still a bit boring. It's a long awards show that spans so many different areas of music that it's hard to get excited about. And I'm not sure how to make it better.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
Radiation Therapy Chauffeur™ duty
Well, I can see that this will start getting old very fast. Took Dad for his first radiation treatment. Just another 30-some to go. I asked Dr. Emami something we've never talked about - how far "down" does Dad's tumor go? He showed me a diagram that he produced for the radiology computer showing the radiation areas. It shows the tumor in his throat which looks pretty substantial, and must be about 3cm tall. The thing that got me was that there are 2 tumors down in the lungs that are being radiated as well. I didn't expect it. Well, yes I did - after I saw how dad was drawn on with blue markers by Jack and Leela yesterday. I wasn't ready for this. I'm just stunned. I don't know what I should read into this. So maybe this time I'm spending with Dad driving him back and forth isn't so bad after all.
The world has turned upside down this afternoon. First I hear that kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearlis dead - at least he looks that way on a videotape that the US has. And I'm sorry, but I don't trust the Pakistani police to find everybody involved. I saw a show on DirecTV the other day, I think it was on the WorldLink channel, called "Karachi Kops". Let's just say it wasn't as good as Fox's "Cops" and it sure was suspiciously edited. I don't trust these guys.
Then I hear that the US Olympic Committee has turned over all of fthe evidence they have to the FBI on death threats against Apolo Anton Ohno. It started after his first race, and after the disqualification of Kim Dong-Sung last night, the death threats apparently really escalated. Jeez. Oh, and there's increased security around the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia because of a possible attack. It's not over - a US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in about 120 miles northeast of Mindanao in the Philippines with 12 aboard. This is all part of the war against terrorism - this time it's Abu Sayyaf, an offshoot of al Qaeda. What the hell is going on today?!?!?
Tuesday, February 12, 2002
On my way home from my parent's house, I was listening to NPR. There was a story that kind of upset me. Every year, monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico to spend the winter, basically November to March. Last month (January 12-13), there was this cold front that moved over the Michoacan region (filled with hills and pine trees). Well, it was a weird little weather front and it killed (according to the World Wildlife Fund) up to 250 million monarch butterflies. Here's a quote: "This is not about the extinction of the species, although we cannot know for sure what is going to happen."
Tuesday, January 29, 2002
State of The Union
OK, State of the Union... eh. Everything about the War on Terrorism was fine. For some reason I was uncomfortable with Hamid Karzai being there - he could be viewed as a puppet of the US, which I think would be a bad thing. Wasn't real comfortable singling out North Korea, as well as Iran and Iraq. I mean, you knew Iraq had to get mentioned (with special mention of "Weapons Of Mass Destruction" and UN inspectors). But I felt that there are voices in Iran that could turn the country a bit so that we can communicate again. I just didn't see the North Korea thing coming. I mean, it's true and I agree, but I just didn't think they would get mentioned.
I remember more boisterous State of The Union speeches by Clinton. I seem to remember a lot more "yea-ing" and applause. Perhaps Congress is a bit more "somber" now with the war, the recession, the unemployment... but that Enron thing sure came through, with him saying corporate America should be "more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct". Damn right.
Geese and Satan
The geese are back... now I'm starting to think they're inviting friends...
Got the mail and saw a letter from Unemployment... lots of things run through your head when you see a letter like this, all of which have to do with losing your benefits. Turns out, it's just a letter saying that the calculation changed for calendar year 2002. Unfortunately, I made too much money during my 6 months of work last year for that new calculation to make any difference - I'm still at the max allowable.
OK trust me, the next two things aren't related (I don't think...)
We have to sit through another State of the Union speech tonight by George the 43rd. Look, I'm behind the guy absolutely 100% when it come to the War On Terror, but I never liked his domestic policies. I hope we start turning up the heat in the Philippines, and, after seeing Black Hawk Down over the weekend, I hope that Somalia gets "cleaned-up" as well, but the rest of the policies? Fahgetaboutit.
Now - not related (I don't think), the Mayor of Inglis, Florida (Carolyn Risher) issued a proclamation that declared the Prince of Darkness persona non grata. "Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis." Think the ACLU is happy?
September 11 Sourcebooks
Saturday, December 22, 2001
Friends and beef
Carol finally called Teri this afternoon and talked to her a good while. It's good to know everything is well with them. Found out that Rick & Kathy really did move to Wisconsin. Joey played football this year instead of baseball. Sounded like everything went well with that. They finally had to put Cocoa down - she was 11 years old.
On our way out the door this evening I see a breaking news story on ABC about American Flight 63 from Paris to Miami being diverted to Boston with an F-15 fighter escort. A guy with a British passport was trying to set his shoes on fire, because they had detination cord and C-4 in them!!! Two flight attendants were hurt and the guy was subdued. Great. I really feel safe. Jeez.
Carol & I had dinner at Magnum's in Rolling Meadows with Barry & Buffy & Debbie as our holiday get together. Definitely a carnivore night. Very good Green Apple martini's. I had a great appetizer - sea scallops wrapped in bacon (yum!) and had my first escargot (I'm almost 45 and never tasted snails). I had a char-broiled 24oz ribeye that was like buttuh with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Unbelievable. Barry had the same. Debbie & Buff had London Broil and Carol had a filet & lobster tail. Great waitress (Char). Actually had a piano bar at the end of the room. The bar actually had a piano built into it. A guy sang & played all night. Was great. The room was great. All in all, I'd definitely recommend this place if you're a carnivore.
Buff filled us in on her cousin TJ's wife Patty. She had gone back to France quite a few months ago. They had separated and she was allegedly back in France to try to get treatment for her MS. TJ wrote her about 2 months ago and told her that he wanted a divorce and wanted to start the process. She never contacted him about it. Buff talked to hear on the phone around thanksgiving. She was moving out of her parent's and into her own place.
Buff found out this past Wednesday that Patty was found dead in her bathroom in her apartment. She had been dead 1-2 weeks. An autopsy was being performed, since there was no indication of why she had died.
Needless to say, this was a bit of a shock to all of us, not to mention Buff's family and especially TJ. I'm Shocked. I'm stunned. I don't now what to say. I don't know how I feel. It's just a numb feeling. I had met her a few times - great french accent. It's just weird knowing that she was found dead in France. Weird.
Same day - Buff finds out that her sister Karen's place had been robbed - jewelry only. Very specific. Karen's house is just 5 blocks away from my parent's house.
All in all - Wednesday December 19 was not a good day for a bunch of us.
Thursday, December 20, 2001
It's hard to believe that 100 days ago was September 11. The FDNY reported that yesterday was the first day that there hasn't been a fire burning in the rubble. Terrorists must be stopped no matter where they hide...
Mayor Richard J. Daley died 25 years ago today. I remember seeing him just days before at the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Daley Center... wait... was Daley Center called "Daley Center" when Richard J. Daley was alive? Hmmm.....
Wednesday, December 19, 2001
Keystone Cops in Pakistan
What the hell is this???? We spend all this time bombing Afghanistan to go after Al Qaeda. Some actually survive and find their way to Pakistan, where they're captured. Then 21 of them grab some guns and escape when they're being transported by bus. Why can't we get this right????? Now I see a story on the news about an Eastern Alliance commander that has a Pakistani Taliban fighter locked in a house. He's bartering with the guy's family for money to let him go. And this is a normal occurrence in the region.. I DON'T TRUST PAKISTAN TO DO THE RIGHT THING RIGHT NOW. What's left of the Taliban are dispersing. What's left of al Qaeda is dispersing. What's left of bin Laden himself is "dispersing"... We got rid of the majority of the evil ones, but it won't be over until they're all killed or captured...
Just heard that they found Marilyn Lemak guilty of murdering her three young children in their Naperville home. Is it wrong to say "Good!"???