I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Friday, December 31, 2004

Armor, Tragedy, & Ethics, OH MY!

Frank Rich: "Such is the disconnect that Washington and the news media react with slack-jawed shock when one of those good soldiers we support so much speaks up at a town hall meeting in Kuwait and asks the secretary of defense why vehicles that take him and his brothers into battle lack proper armor." [NYT]

Bob Herbert: "Any tragedy is awful for the relatives of those who perished. But this is a catastrophe of a different magnitude. "This," as one observer noted, "is like confronting the apocalypse." [NYT]

House ethics are going by the wayside with this Republican plan. "After a summary of the Republican plans became public on Thursday, officials of the organizations said the changes appeared to represent a step backward and could cripple the ethics panel in efforts to hold lawmakers accountable for suspect conduct." [NYT]

Are We Stingy? Yes

Are we stingy? YES!
"We hope Secretary of State Colin Powell was privately embarrassed when, two days into a catastrophic disaster that hit 12 of the world's poorer countries and will cost billions of dollars to meliorate, he held a press conference to say that America, the world's richest nation, would contribute $15 million. That's less than half of what Republicans plan to spend on the Bush inaugural festivities."

I'm glad that Bush decided to step up his initial offer of $15 million, and offer aid of $35 million. Yeah, that's LESS than what Bush is spending on his coronation ceremony on January 20th ($40+ million). But, one has to ask, is that it? Wow...we're sending an aircraft carrier! [NYT]

Price of Inauguration (coronation) too rich for even the 'haves.' [NYT]

Thursday, December 30, 2004


UNC destroys Cleveland State 107-64 Thursday night to improve to 11-1. They have one more tune-up game (January 2nd versus William & Mary) before starting ACC play on January 8th against Maryland. [CBS] [UNC] [Box]

Untold Horrors

Tsunami death toll reaches 125,000+ (as of 8 PM EDT). [Yahoo]

Olbermann reports that Reuters saying maybe 400,000+ dead. "Now, the latest Reuters count, is 125,282. But according to Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia, three days from now, we may find it equally impossible to believe that this number was so low." [MSNBC] [Malaysia] [Yahoo]

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

2004 Misinformer of the Year

I want to wish a hearty congratulations to the King of the Douchebags, Bill O'Reilly. [Media Matters]

Here are the 10 Most Outrageous Statements of the Year:
Ex: "Rush Limbaugh on the Abu Ghraib photos: "I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?" [Media Matters]

The Year the Earth Fought Back

The year the earth fought back [NYT]

Most reported totals of the devastation are around 80,000 dead and climbing. [Buzzflash] [Yahoo] [CNN]
And the Earth wobbled, and began to spin just a little bit faster. [CNN]

UNC wins 96-75 over UNC-Wilmington last night, for their 10th straight win. [UNC] [CBS] [Box]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Experts now fear that over 44,000 people may have died in the tsunamis in Southeast Asia. "Mourners in Sri Lanka used their bare hands to dig graves Tuesday while hungry islanders in Indonesia turned to looting in the aftermath of Asia's devastating tsunamis. Thousands more bodies were found in Indonesia, dramatically increasing the death toll across 11 nations to around 44,000."
[AP] [NYT] [Yahoo] [Tribune] [Red Cross] [Blogs] [Help] [Geology] [Supermodel]

Monday, December 27, 2004


The Chicago Bears were robbed yesterday in Detroit on an apparent 43-yard TD pass with 1:26 to play. The replays CLEARLY showed that Bernard Berrian caught the ball, and that it was a TD that would have put the Bears ahead by 1. Officials called it an incomplete pass, giving the Bears their 10th loss of the season. [Tribune] [CBS] [Bears]

Bob Herbert: "You might think that the debacle in Iraq would be enough for the Pentagon, that it would not be in the mood to seek out new routes to unnecessary wars for the United States to fight. But with Donald Rumsfeld at the apex of the defense establishment, enough is never enough." [NYT]

Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy Consumer-Mas!!!

Before I leave today to go to see my Wife's family in La Crosse and Eau Claire (WI), I wanted to wish you all a "Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!"

BenPac will return to its regularly scheduled programming on Sunday night or Monday. Have a wonderful Consumer-Mas!!!

Bring Them Home

Bob Herbert: "This week's hideous attack in Mosul reminded me of those long ago days. Once again American troops sent on a fool's errand are coming home in coffins, or without their right arms or left legs, or paralyzed, or so messed up mentally they'll never be the same. Troops are being shoved two or three times into the furnace of Iraq by astonishingly incompetent leaders who have been unable or unwilling to provide them with the proper training, adequate equipment or even a clearly defined mission. It is a mind-boggling tragedy. And the suffering goes far beyond the men and women targeted by the insurgents. Each death in Iraq blows a hole in a family and sets off concentric circles of grief that touch everyone else who knew and cared for the fallen soldier. If the human stakes were understood well enough by the political leaders of this country, it might make them a little more reluctant to launch foolish, unnecessary and ultimately unwinnable wars." [NYT]

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Why We're Losing 2

This is why the Democrats are losing! Just give the right control over another one of our core issues: the issue of choice over a woman's body.
We CAN'T move to the middle, or to the right...This is sacrificing the very principles that Democrats supposedly stand for when this happens. Do we really need/want an pro-life Democratic Party chair, just to pick up a few more so-called "moral values voters?" I say NO!!!!!!!!! We want Howard Dean!
Stand for something, or you'll fall for anything! [Yahoo]

Why We're Losing

Thomas Friedman: "We may lose because of the defiantly wrong way that Donald Rumsfeld has managed this war and the cynical manner in which Dick Cheney, George Bush and - with some honorable exceptions - the whole Republican right have tolerated it. Many conservatives would rather fail in Iraq than give liberals the satisfaction of seeing Mr. Rumsfeld sacked. We may lose because our Arab allies won't lift a finger to support an election in Iraq - either because they fear they'll be next to face such pressures, or because the thought of democratically elected Shiites holding power in a country once led by Sunnis is anathema to them."
Bringing democracy to Iraq is a worthy goal, but at what cost? What has happened to the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein is unconscionable. Yet, this continues through the insurgency; the Iraqi people. They want to bring Iraq back to theocratic control. [NYT]

MoDo the Dragon Lady: "President Bush finally acknowledged that the Iraqis can't hack it as far as securing their own country, which means that America has no exit strategy for its troops." [NYT]

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Ninth Staight Win

Even with star Rashad McCants showing up late, and sitting on the bench to start the game, he scored 19 points, and the Tarheels defeated the Vermont Catamounts 93-65 Tuesday night. Sean May had 20 points and 8 rebounds, and Raymond Felton had 10 and 7. The Heels held Vermont star center Taylor Coppenrath to 13 points and 5 rebounds. That's 9 straight for UNC! [UNC] [CBS] [Box]

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Attack in Mosul Kills 24

A rocket attack on a mess tent while US troops were eating lunch has killed 24, and wounded 60. "A radical Muslim group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack on a U.S. base in Iraq. The dead included U.S. military personnel, U.S. contractors, foreign national contractors and Iraqi army, said Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of Task Force Olympia in Mosul." [NYT] [Tribune] [Yahoo] [CNN]

Researchers have found male fish in the Potomac River (DC area) that are carrying eggs. Due to pollution in the river, these male fish have become females. "Nine male smallmouth bass taken from the Potomac near Sharpsburg, about 60 miles upstream from Washington, were found to have developed eggs inside their sex organs, said Vicki S. Blazer, a scientist overseeing the research for the U.S. Geological Survey." [Yahoo] [CNN]

Just announced: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book of the Harry Potter series, will be released on July 16th. [JKRowling] [CNN] [Yahoo]

Monday, December 20, 2004

When Grown Men Cry

Bob Herbert: "The Bush administration, which has asked so much of the armed forces, has established a pattern of dealing in bad faith with its men and women in uniform. The callousness of its treatment of the troops was, of course, never more clear than in Donald Rumsfeld's high-handed response to a soldier's question about the shortages of battle armor in Iraq."
"From the earliest planning stages until now, the war in Iraq has been a tragic exercise in official incompetence. The original rationale for the war was wrong. The intelligence was wrong. The estimates of required troop strength were wrong. The war hawks' guesses about the response of the Iraqi people were wrong. The cost estimates were wrong, and on and on.
Nevertheless the troops have fought valiantly, and the price paid by many has been horrific. They all deserve better than the bad faith and shoddy treatment they are receiving from the highest officials of their government." [NYT]

What happened to Freedom of the Press???
"Among the strange wrinkles in this case is that Mr. Novak, who first published Ms. Plame's name, seems to be in no jeopardy, while Mr. Cooper faces jail time stemming from an article he wrote exposing the administration's seamy motive of retaliating against Ms. Plame's husband for criticizing Iraq policy. Stranger still is Mr. Fitzgerald's decision to entangle Ms. Miller, since she never wrote a single article about the Plame controversy" [NYT]

Welcome to the ACC!

UNC dominated Virginia Tech on Sunday, 85-51, in Virginia Tech's first ever ACC game. Sean May and Jawad Williams each had 17 points, and the Heels won their eighth straight. [UNC] [CBS] [Box]
UNC moves up to #4 following a loss by then #3 Georgia Tech to Gonzaga. [Poll]

Breaking News: TO will miss the entire NFL Playoffs with a fractured right fibula, and will have surgery on Wednesday to repair the sprained deltoid ligament in his ankle. His trainer predicted that the earliest he could start running is two weeks before the Super Bowl. Big blow to the Eagles title hopes.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Environment

Here is a link to the LCV (League of Conservation Voters) scorecard that rates how each member of the House and Senate did on voting for the environment. On the right hand side, there is a box to input your zip code, and it shows how your Representatives did. Both of my senators, both Democrats, rated 100%. My Congressional Representative, Jerry Kleczka, rated 100%. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Republican from my district was rated at 18%. Most of the ratings had to do with a few issues: the failed Energy Bill, environmental funding, public lands, and transportation. [LCV]

Bush is going to freeze or significantly cut domestic spending. I've got an idea: instead of cutting domestic spending, why don't we stay out of illegal wars that kill thousands! Or, how about not giving tax cuts to the rich. Or, reduce the trade deficit. Or the deficit! "But House and Senate aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said cuts appeared destined for such programs as housing, grants for community development, purchases of new equipment for the Federal Aviation Administration, and Army Corps of Engineers water projects." Yep, now that it gets cold out, we can cut funding to get people off the streets, help low-income families afford housing, develop communities, help the FAA make our air travel safer, or help protect our water resources. [CNN]

Morning Reading

Bob Herbert: "The White House seems to have slipped the bonds of simple denial and escaped into the disturbing realm of utter delusion." If we gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three people who did such a bad job in Iraq, what do we give to those who actually DID their jobs? [NYT]

Paul Krugman: We can learn a lot from other countries that have gone the privatization route. This really just isn't a good idea. Yeah, we need some reform, but the system is solvent until 2052. If it isn't broke, don't fix it! [NYT]

Frank Rich: "What is this about? How can those in this country's overwhelming religious majority maintain that they are victims in a fiery battle with forces of darkness? It is certainly not about actual victimization." [NYT]

The American Express Green-Zone? MoDo the Dragon Lady explains. [NYT]

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bush Monkey Art

You will notice the picture that I just posted...here are some links to the "controversy" over this piece of art.
"From afar, the painting offers a likeness of Bush, but when you get closer you see the image is made up of chimpanzees or monkeys swimming in a marsh. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-bred artist said he was happy for all the attention paid to his work but said the decision to shutter the exhibit was "a blatant act of censorship."
Welcome to Bush's AmeriKKa, 1984 style.
[Mirror UK] [Reuters UK] [Yahoo]
Here's some other pics: [Google] [PoliticalHumor]

The resemblance is eerie!
[BenPAC] Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

New Features

I got my start in the "blogosphere" just over a month ago. I can't tell you how much I love this!!!
I have listed my favorite blogs along the side, political websites and resources, as well as my favorite links. These are my favorite sports teams, favorite beers, and websites of interest, including the American Diabetes Association, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

My newest feature is to add headlines from Buzzflash.com. Excellent website! These 10 headlines will update continously as Buzzflash is updated.
Tell me what you think! [Email Ben]


I stumbled across this article in the NY Times about how geology has effected the production and taste of beer for centuries. "Beer is more than 90 percent water, and because almost all brewers use water from wells, not rivers or lakes, the different styles of beer were traditionally derived from the rocks that the breweries sat upon." Fascinating article about the origin of beer, how brewers had to change how they made beer (or the ingredients) because of geology, and what makes each beer different. [NYT]

The One Ring

The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition) comes out today on DVD. It comes with 4 DVD's, and 50 minutes of extra footage that is incorporated into the film.
To me at least, this is a once in a lifetime movie series. The Lord of the Rings is definitely my favorite book series, and now, my favorite movies.
[LOTR] [Amazon] [OneRing]

Monday, December 13, 2004

Majority Rules

Republicans are going further than ever to take away the rights of the minority party in the Senate. Democrats have blocked the confirmation of only 10 of Bush's 229 judicial nominations. This is much less than the Republicans blocked in Clinton's second term. "If they, for whatever reason, decide to do this, it's not only wrong, they will rue the day they did it, because we will do whatever we can do to strike back," incoming Senate Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said last week. "I know procedures around here. And I know that there will still be Senate business conducted. But I will, for lack of a better word, screw things up." Just remember, you won't be the majority forever, and turnabout is fair-play! [Yahoo]

Meanwhile, John McCain (and the rest of the sane world) give a vote of "no-confidence" in Rummy. [Buzzflash]
The daughter of Strom Thurmond and his then 16-year old black maid speaks out. Just remember, as Al Franken says, "the pecker knows no bigotry." [Tribune]
Two careers ruined [NYT]
GOP "tough-guy" was having TWO affairs at the same time. [Buzzflash] And was corrupt as hell. [MSNBC] We almost let a guy that dropped out of High School in the ninth grade run the Department of Homeland Security...nice.


The Milwaukee Brewers traded CF Scott Podsednik and RHP Luis Vizcaino to the Chicago White Sox for OF Carlos Lee today. The Brewers lose a MLB leading 70 stolen bases, but gain a 28 year old .305 hitter with 31 HR and 99 RBI last year (and a $16.5 million salary over the next two seasons). [MLB] [CBS] [Brewers]
Ron Santo is a finalist for the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award. This gives him a chance to be named to the MLB Hall of Fame as a broadcaster. He is also on the Veteran's Committee ballot to be named as a player. [Cubs] [MLB]
Complete MLB Winter Meetings coverage [MLB]
UNC moved up to fifth in the newest AP Poll (and sixth in the Coaches Poll) today after a 109-60 rout of Loyola-Chicago last night. [Poll] [CBS] [UNC] [Box]

Eventual Cure?

"A vaccine against the most serious form of diabetes is to be tested on humans for the first time, raising the prospect that a cure could be widely available within 10 years, The Times reported."
Oh, I read this article, and it made me very hopeful for a cure to this NASTY disease. I've had Type I Diabetes for 9 years now, and the thought of a cure (even if it's 8 years away) gets me SO excited.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sunday Morning

Sports Roundup:
Complete MLB Winter Meetings coverage [MLB]
Notre Dame has found a new football coach to replace fired Tyrone Willingham: Charlie Weis of the New England Patriots. The Chicago Tribune says its final, but CBS Sportsline says a deal has not been finalized, and could still fall apart. [Tribune] [CBS]
Atlanta Braves acquire closer Danny Kolb from the Milwaukee Brewers and get P Jose Capellan in return. [CBS]
Marquette tops Wisconsin for state bragging rights. [CBS]
USC QB Matt Leinart wins the Heisman Trophy. In other news, who cares! [CBS]

This weeks sign of the apocalypse:
Six soldiers find themselves accused of felonies after "scrounging" supplies. They went and found abandoned vehicles, spare parts, and used them for the benefit and safety of their fellow soldiers, and now they are being charged with felonies? These soldiers were just doing what they had to do to survive and protect themselves, and all the army can do is court-marshall them and charge them with felonies. [Tribune]

How has George Carlin kept it going so long? He's figured out how to offend everyone.
"Of course, Mr. Carlin appointed himself. Since at least 1973, when he performed his famous routine "Filthy Words," describing the seven words you can never say on television, Mr. Carlin has made a point of saying things no one else would dare and mocking the sacred — religion, patriotism and every conceivable political group and ideology. Along the way, he has managed to find the holy grail of show business: a constantly renewing audience, a steady stream of moderately disaffected people with a high threshold for being offended." [NYT]

MoDo the Dragon Lady on the REAL 12 days of Christmas. [NYT]

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Tests now confirm that Ukranian opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin in his soup. I'd rather have a fly. [NYT] [Yahoo]

Bush to start search for new Homeland Security Director after Kerik withdraws over immigration concerns involving a family housekeeper. How can you control National immigration, when you can't control your own household? [Statement] [NYT] [Yahoo]

Can you spare a brigade? Nicholas Kristof continues his mission to drum up support and troops for Iraq. As a frame of reference, of the 28 Allied countries that still have troops in Iraq, only eight have more than 500. "Most are there as window dressing. And because of language and equipment difficulties, some contingents - like Macedonia's 28 or Kazakhstan's 29 - may be more trouble than they are worth." [NYT]

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Democrats Da Vinci Code

How do we win? We have to turn the debate to the things that matter most: the economy, the poor, education, and healthcare, not God, guns, and gays. It's still about the economy, stupid.
David Sirota offers seven lessons for the Democratic Party to find its way out of the wilderness.
1. Fight the Class War: emphasize economic populism
2. Champion Small Business Over Big Business
3. Protect the "Every-Man" and the farmers
4. Appeal to Hunters, Conservationists, and Exurbs
5. Actually Be Tough on Crime-Don't be afraid to take on the "Goliaths" of corporate crime
6. Clean up Government-Cut Government waste, deficits, corruption
7. Use the Values Prism-use values to our advantage; the environment, economy, workers rights and welfare are all values.
"In the aftermath of the recent election, the stale cadre of campaign consultants who helped run the party into the ground now say the solution is for Democrats to simply invoke God more often and radically change their positions on social issues. But the point is not to impulsively lunge rightward in some cheap, unprincipled gesture to red America that would reek of political strategizing.The point is to follow red-region Democrats who have diminished the electoral impact of traditional social issues by redefining the values debate on economic and class terms." [AlterNet]

Borrow, Speculate, and Hope

Krugman: "For it is now apparent that the Bush administration's privatization proposal will amount to the same thing: borrow trillions, put the money in the stock market and hope." Why do we want to let market forces decide when we retire? Personally, I can't think of anything scarier than diverting payroll taxes into a personal account to be played in the stock market. Who is the big winner in all of this? Wall Street, due to all of the HUGE brokerage fees we'd be paying them to manage these funds. I'll keep my money with the Government run program, thanks. [NYT]

OPEC is going to cut oil production by 1 million barrels a day starting January 1st. I can't wait for gas prices to go up! The American people will have to foot the bill and do without, while the Saudis get rich. Oil prices are still up by a third this year. [Yahoo] [NYT]


Frank Rich discusses "The Plot Against Sex in America." Why has our culture shied away from discussing sex? Then you have pharmacists that won't fill a person's prescriptions based on their own "moral" grounds. You now have schools that are trying to get rid of science curriculum based on the Theory of Evolution. The government will only provide funding for abstinence-only sex education. Nevermind the fact that the religious-right comes up with such crazy notions that "masturbation causes pregnancy."
Science shows that abstinence-only programs don't work..."A recent Columbia University study found that teens who make "virginity pledges" to delay sex until marriage still have premarital sex at a high rate (88 percent) rivaling those that don't, but are less likely to use contraception once they do. It's California, a huge blue state that refuses to accept federal funding for abstinence-only curriculums, that has a 40 percent falloff in teenage pregnancy over the past decade, second only to Alaska." [NYT]

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Air America Radio

Air America radio host Al Franken has signed a 2-year extension to his contract with Air America Radio. Randi Rhodes signed a 3-year extension to stay with Air America Radio.
I stream both of these shows on my computer, the O'Franken Factor, and the Randi Rhodes Show everyday. Most of you probably remember Al Franken from his recurring stint on Saturday Night Live as Stuart Smalley. Well, he's even funnier on the radio. If you haven't heard of Randi Rhodes, what's wrong with you!? I love listening to her! She's very intelligent, funny, and just tells it like it is; Randi doesn't pull any punches. [Air America] [Tribune]

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Coalition of the "Willing"

US troops in Iraq get the chance to complain to Rumsfeld over the issues they face in Iraq. Soldiers listed such "non-issues" as lack of body and vehicle armor and extended deployments. Now there are reports that US soldiers were forced to look through dumps and Iraqi landfills for pieces of ballistic glass and scrap metal just to try to protect themselves. Excellent way to support the troops. [Yahoo] [CNN] [NYT]

Nicholas Kristof tries to recruit more troops for Iraq from our coalition of the "willing." The tiny country of Estonia currently has 55 troops in Iraq. By the basis of their understanding, Estonia has sent 55 soldiers to Iraq, therefore, if Estonia should come under attack or invasion from Russia, the US is expected to "get their back."
"And that's the problem with our coalition: it's mostly made up of leaders counting on rewards, rather than of nations that are really behind us." [NYT]
By the way, eight of our "partners" have fewer than 100 soldiers in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Hooray for Morals!

Great story out of Iowa. So, who gave the Republicans control of the moral high ground? What with Rush, O'Reilly, Gingrich, Bennett, Swaggart, Bakker...the list just keeps on going...

[Yesterday] "Bush introduced Mike and Sharla Hintz, a couple from Clive, whom he said benefited from his tax plan. Last year, because of the enhanced the child tax credit, they received an extra $1,600 in their tax refund, Bush said. With other tax cuts in the bill, they saved $2,800 on their income taxes. Mike Hintz, a First Assembly of God youth pastor, said the tax cuts also gave him additional money to use for health care. He said he supports Bush's values. "The American people are starting to see what kind of leader President Bush is. People know where he stands," he said.
[and Today] "A Des Moines youth pastor is charged with the sexual exploitation of a child. KCCI learned that the married father of four recently turned himself in to Johnston police. Rev. Mike Hintz was fired from the First Assembly of God Church, located at 2725 Merle Hay Road, on Oct. 30. Hintz was the youth pastor there for three years. Police said he started an affair with a 17-year-old in the church youth group this spring.

What a difference a day makes!

My favorite Senator, Russ Feingold on Condoleeza Rice: " I admire Dr. Rice's obvious intellectual gifts and her communication skills, and I congratulate her. But I am deeply troubled by the signal that this nomination appears to send -- a signal suggesting that the modest moderating influence of the State Department over the last four years will disappear, and that the next four years will be guided even more closely by the voices that shouted loudest in the first term, and that led our country into seriously flawed foreign policies. Our country cannot afford to continue down the foreign policy path that was forged during the first term of the Bush Administration." [Feingold]
With Powell leaving, any moderating influence is gone.

Inventing a Crisis

Paul Krugman takes a vacation from his vacation for a quick hit on why we shouldn't mess with Social Security.
"Projections in a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (which are probably more realistic than the very cautious projections of the Social Security Administration) say that the trust fund will run out in 2052. The system won't become "bankrupt" at that point; even after the trust fund is gone, Social Security revenues will cover 81 percent of the promised benefits. Still, there is a long-run financing problem.
But it's a problem of modest size. The report finds that extending the life of the trust fund into the 22nd century, with no change in benefits, would require additional revenues equal to only 0.54 percent of G.D.P. That's less than 3 percent of federal spending - less than we're currently spending in Iraq. And it's only about one-quarter of the revenue lost each year because of President Bush's tax cuts - roughly equal to the fraction of those cuts that goes to people with incomes over $500,000 a year.
Given these numbers, it's not at all hard to come up with fiscal packages that would secure the retirement program, with no major changes, for generations to come." [NYT]


Nomar Garciaparra gets to keep his 'r' for at least one more season in Chicago, by agreeing to a one year deal worth eight million, plus incentives. Reports are saying that the Cubs may re-sign 2B Todd Walker today as well. I for one welcome these two signings. The Cubs are obviously saying they prefer offense to defense, but Walker is a .981 career defender, and Garciaparra is a career .969 defender. I'll take those numbers. Walker excelled last year when starting for Mark Grudzielanek, and Nomar hit .297 for the Cubs in 43 games since the July 31st trade.
[Cubs] [ChicagoSports]

To Your Health

Hardee's Monster Thickburger...only 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat! [Tribune]
I'm literally having a heart attack just thinking about the three slices of cheese, four slices of bacon, two delicious 1/3 # angus beef patties, all nestled deliciously between two buttered, sesame-seed buns, and mayo dripping off. Oh God, I need to find a Hardee's!

Hangover cures? Maybe that would be the Monster Thickburger from above. [NYT]

Or, maybe try a Kamikaze! [DrinkNation] Happy Pearl Harbor Day!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Religion and the War on the Environment

I heard about this article here, and Mike is right: we need Bill Moyers now more than ever. Check out this article about the "upcoming" rapture, and why the environment really just isn't that important. [AlterNet]

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Weekend Roundup

Secretary of Health & Human Services, Tommy Thompson has stepped down. His parting shot was to say that he can't believe that terrorists haven't struck the US through the food supply yet. Yeah, good idea to let them know that we're WIDE OPEN. Do you feel safer?? Another day, another terror warning downplayed by Bush. Does this guy even have a pulse? [Yahoo]

The Chicago Bears beat the Minnesota Vi-Queens 24-14! Final line on Chad Hutchinson: 18-30 for 213 yards, and 3TD's. I think he'll probably start next week at Jacksonville! :) [Bears] [CBS]

Big win for the North Carolina Tarheels Saturday! UNC beat eighth ranked Kentucky 91-78 to improve to 6-1. Rashad McCants had 28 points, and Sean May had 14 points and 19 boards to lead the Heels. [CBS] [UNC] [Charlotte] [Box]

Friday, December 03, 2004

Choose The Blue

I found this website through an e-mail that I received on the Wisconsin for Kerry Yahoo group mailing list. The site tells you which corporations donated to which political party in the 2003-2004 election cycle, and how much. It gives a good guide to buying goods and services from causes that support Democratic causes. [Choose The Blue]

Check out this cereal bar! They opened it up at Arizona State University a while back, and it's been a big hit so far. Here's what the website has to say: "At Cereality, customers choose from their favorite brands and toppings. Pajama-clad Cereologists™ fill the orders. And customers choose and add their own milk, just the way they like it." Sounds like they have something like 36 toppings for the cereal including malted milk balls. [Cereality]

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Welcome to Nascar-Land!

Frank Rich welcomes all of you to Nascar-Land! So, does that mean that we live either in a Jeff Gordon State, or a Earnhardt Junior State? Liberal media my ass!!!!!! [NYT]

The 9/11 Bubble by Thomas Friedman. So, which generation is going to foot the bill and the debt for this Administration's inept policies? Yes, that would be you, 20-year olds. [NYT]

MoDo the Dragon Lady asks if maybe it's time we have a woman or a black person take over a nightly news desk. I guess it's still a man's world on the boob-tube. (Is that an FCC violation?) They can put whomever they want on the nightly news, I still won't watch it, The Simpsons are on!!! Of course if they had put Katie Couric in Tom Brokaw's spot, I'd probably start drinking heavily. (oh...wait) [NYT]

Oh, and those "new" 12,000 troops going to Iraq? Yeah...10,400 of them are ALREADY THERE. They are just extending their tours of duty by 60 days, even though they've already been there for a year. Great idea! [NYT] [Tribune] [WP]


UNC survived a superb effort by Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge to win 70-63. UNC looked particularly weary, but won it's 5th straight to improve to 5-1. Marvin Williams had 12 boards, Rashad McCants had 19 points, and Raymond Felton contributed 18 points in the victory. Sean May struggled in front of his "home" crowd. He is a former Mr. Basketball in Indiana, and is from Bloomington. His father, Scott May, was the Player of the Year for Indiana in 1976. There were chants of "traitor" all night. [CBS] [UNC]
[Box] [Roy] [Photos]

UWGB won a tough road game in Chicago, to improve to 3-1. [GB P-G]

A Plan to Win

What's the matter with Democrats?
That's what Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" asks. It's a good question. Where do we go from here? How do we pick up the pieces and move forward? Changing our core beliefs is certainly not the answer, but that seems to be the way the party is moving under current leadership.

"Having already moved to the right on economic issues, the party seems ready to don the mask of social conservatism – as in the appointment of an anti-abortion Harry Reid as the Senate Minority leader – to hold on to a sliver of power.
That's exactly the wrong strategy to beat the Republicans, says Tom Frank. The solution is not Bible-thumping but economic populism. Liberals need to respond to the faux populism of the GOP – which pits "real" working class Americans against over-educated, snotty liberals – with the real deal. Frank argues it's time for the Democratic Party to return to its roots, to rediscover its lost soul. To become once again the champion of the working class." [AlterNet]

I think it all comes down to selecting the right person at the top, Howard Dean. He started the largest grassroots organization in history, and can change the entire direction of this party. While trickle-down economics doesn't work, trickle-down leadership does.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

World AIDS Day

Today, December 1st is World AIDS Day. [Google] [website] [Studentsfight]
HIV/AIDS is something that I feel very strongly about. My uncle Scott died of AIDS in 1994. I think of him constantly.
We need to do more as a society, as a country, as humans, to spread awareness of this deadly virus. I heard a statistic today that 70% of 18-year olds have had sex at least once. The Bush Administration has not only stopped all efforts to try to teach safe sex to our students, but has thwarted any attempts to educate our children about safe sex. They preach abstinence, which is good...but it can't be the only option (and well, try to tell a horny teenager to keep it in his pants). We need to teach everyone about safe sex: condoms, protection, selecting partners carefully, etc, and yes, abstinence. [Advocatesforyouth]

Tom Brokaw retires tonight. I'll actually be sad to see him go. He's one of the few with integrity. Brokaw coined the term "The Greatest Generation" referring to the World War II veterans. His swan song airs tonight on NBC at 5:30-6 PM Central time. [MSNBC] [CNN]

Kristof on China. Sounds more like the US all the time. We don't even protect our journalists or their sources anymore. Well, not the right ones anyways. [NYT]

Psych Test

Under pResident Bush's "New Freedom Initiative" that recently passed Congress, schools will now receive funding to perform mandatory psychological testing on students, WITHOUT parental consent. So...how are already stretched schools going to find time to test students? Who is going to do the testing? What are they going to do with the results?

Yet another aspect of "Big Brother" from Orwell's 1984 is coming to pass. Let's just take the parents out of the equation when it comes to health choices for their own kids. [InfoWars]