I Want to Save a Child's Sight!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wal-Mart is Shafting Workers Again

Wal-Mart Memo Suggests Ways to Cut Employee Benefit Costs:

"An internal memo sent to Wal-Mart's board of directors proposes numerous ways to hold down spending on health care and other benefits while seeking to minimize damage to the retailer's reputation. Among the recommendations are hiring more part-time workers and discouraging unhealthy people from working at Wal-Mart."

"In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive." [Internal Memo] [NYT] [AAR]

Yet another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart. When my wife worked at Wal-Mart one summer several years ago, she was paid $7.00 an hour, and employees were forced to actually build the new store. No bonuses, nothing. Now, with this announcement, they want to discriminate on who they hire, and take away their ability to earn and save money for the future.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Indictment Mania!

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is indicted on 5 counts, then resigns.

"Libby was indicted on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements, court documents show."

Here are the indictments, courtesy of Think Progress.

It appears there will be a press conference by Fitzgerald later today, but they will wait on Rove. Maybe this means they'll go after Cheney for withholding documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

It's a sad day indeed for the United States. Scott is right, this will only increase the cynicism of many citizens that their vote doesn't matter. I really hope that this shows people that they can make a difference. They just have to use their heads and start voting for their best interests, rather than voting against them.

Special thanks to Scott and Mike.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

No SCOTUS for you!

"Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court this morning after weeks of increasingly heated debate over the depth of her conservative beliefs and her qualifications to fill the seat to be vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Ms. Miers, President Bush's White House counsel, told the president in a letter this morning that she feared that the confirmation process "presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interest of the country." She said that even though her long career offered enough basis for senators to consider her nomination, "I am convinced the efforts to obtain executive branch materials and information will continue." [NYT]

Here is the text of the letter she sent to Bush. [MSNBC]

More: [Tribune] [CNN] [MSNBC]

Basically, she is withdrawing (from her letter to Bush) because she "knows too much." She wants to "protect the independence of the Executive Branch." Right...She is afraid that the "Big Bad Senate" will ask for more documents and try to figure out who she is. How dare they ask who she really is, and where she stands on important issues! How dare they ask to find out what the President is doing!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bringing Out the Absurdity of the News

NYT: "If anything, after one week, Mr. Colbert's half-hour sendup of cable news commentators already suggests that "Saturday Night Live" has outlived its usefulness - or at least is in need of a shake-up. When a comedian from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" has a big enough following to warrant his own spinoff, it may be time to renovate NBC's 30-year-old comedy show. Even last Saturday, when Tina Fey, the head writer, was back at the "Weekend Update" anchor desk after her maternity leave, most of the political jokes were as labored and predictable as the comedy skits."

"And some of the best material on Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert's shows lies in their sadistic use of snippets from real newscasts and political speeches. On Thursday, Mr. Colbert showed a montage of alarmed reports about the avian flu epidemic on CNN, C-Span and MSNBC, then showed a more upbeat Fox News headline: "Bird is the word on the street. Why the avian flu could send stocks soaring." [NYT]

I love to see the reports of the numbers of people that get the majority of their news from the Daily Show, or now from the new Colbert Report. The major media outlets have become such a joke. There is no integrity, only a bunch of people fawning all over every little thing that the president does. Liberal media? That I'd like to see!

Buyers Remorse? 2,000th Death

In that crazy world of hypothetical elections, a majority of Americans said that they would vote for a Democrat, instead of Bush if an election were held this year.

"In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year. Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election." [CNN]

This comes on the heels of the US losing it's 2,000th soldier in Iraq. President Bush repeated again that the best way to honor the men and women that he illegally sent to their deaths, would be to "stay the course." [CNN] [IraqiCasualties] [Yahoo] [CommonDreams]

Feingold disagrees: "Some have argued that a timetable is designed to appeal to the American public, but that it has no relationship to our security, or to achieving policy goals in Iraq. Actually, it is just the opposite – I proposed the timeframe because it has everything to do with improving our national security strategy. Our fundamental national security goal must be to combat the global terrorist networks that attacked and continue to threaten the United States. An increasing number of military experts and members of the public have concluded that our military presence in Iraq is not consistent with that goal – and that it is in fact undermining that goal. It's becoming increasingly clear that we have created a breeding ground for terrorism in Iraq and that the indefinite presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops is often fueling, not dampening, the insurgency in that country."

Apparently, not all think that 2,000 dead is a milestone: "U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center, wrote in an e-mail to reporters, "I ask that when you report on the events, take a moment to think about the effects on the families and those serving in Iraq. The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives." [Ed&Pub]

This is a milestone. This president launched us into an illegal war on sovereign nation, for among many things, oil. I think it's time that we start listening to people like the good Senator Feingold, and set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq. It is not our property; it belongs to the people of Iraq, not a cabal of filthy-rich Texas oilmen and their corporations.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Leak Widens To Include Forged Documents

Bush at Bay: "The CIA leak inquiry that threatens senior White House aides has now widened to include the forgery of documents on African uranium that started the investigation, according to NATO intelligence sources."

"This suggests the inquiry by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the leaking of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame has now widened to embrace part of the broader question about the way the Iraq war was justified by the Bush administration."

"Fitzgerald's team has been given the full, and as yet unpublished report of the Italian parliamentary inquiry into the affair, which started when an Italian journalist obtained documents that appeared to show officials of the government of Niger helping to supply the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with Yellowcake uranium. This claim, which made its way into President Bush's State of the Union address in January, 2003, was based on falsified documents from Niger and was later withdrawn by the White House. This opens the door to what has always been the most serious implication of the CIA leak case, that the Bush administration could face a brutally damaging and public inquiry into the case for war against Iraq being false or artificially exaggerated. This was the same charge that imperiled the government of Bush's closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, after a BBC Radio program claimed Blair's aides has "sexed up" the evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." [UPI]

This looks pretty bad for Rove and Scooter Libby. What about Novak? How is he getting away clean in all of this?

Then comes this gem headline from the NY Times: "Republicans Testing Ways to Blunt Leak Charges."

"With a decision expected this week on possible indictments in the C.I.A. leak case, allies of the White House suggested Sunday that they intended to pursue a strategy of attacking any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor."

That's right, when you want to cover up your pack of lies, smear those that are talking bad about you. If you illegally out an under-cover CIA agent for revenge, it's a "disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Wait 'Till Next Year - The "We Love Suffering Edition"

Looks like my favorite baseball teams aren't the only ones...it's also those of us that SUFFER that must wait for our chance.

"Well, we've been waiting for a Senate vote, and... the bad news is that the stem cell bill we've been fighting for -- HR 810 -- will not be voted on until early next year. But the good news -- according to Senator Arlen Specter -- is that Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised to bring it up as one of the first items of 2006." [StemPAC]

I hope this is just a temporary delay. As surprised as I was that Frist (R-Stock Thief) supported this measure (HR 810), I will be less surprised if this keeps getting put off. Never mind that people are suffering and dying. Welcome to AmeriKKKA, where guns rule, and regular people pay the price.

Hat tip to Brewtown Politico and Xoff.

As Promised

"I'm Hot Tub Tom! What's your question!??"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Go To Jail, Go Directly To Jail

Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Arrest warrant issued for Tom DeLay: "Bail was initially set at $10,000 as a routine step before his first court appearance on conspiracy and money laundering charges. Travis County court officials said DeLay was ordered to appear at the Fort Bend County jail for booking." [CNN] [Yahoo] [NYT]

So, "Hot Tub Tom" is in more hot water. Granted, this is a routine step in this process, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable. "DeLay, R-Texas, could be fingerprinted and photographed, although his lawyers had hoped to avoid this step. DeLay probably will surrender in his home county of Fort Bend, near Houston, but he could go to any law enforcement office in Texas. His court appearance will be in Austin."

How come if an arrest warrant is issued for a "regular person," the police come and get your right away; But if you're famous, they let you come in on your own?

If we get mugshots, they will most definitely be posted here...with glee and giggles.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stem Cell Slide Shows

NYT: "Scientists experimenting with mice have devised two new ways to derive embryonic stem cells without destroying viable embryos. The work is being hailed for its potential to sidestep some of the ethical controversies that have slowed stem cell research in this country. But each of the new techniques raises ethical issues of its own, and neither is apt to be ready for use in humans for many years."

"These and other approaches to deriving stem cells without destroying embryos clearly deserve further research, but they must not be allowed to halt or slow the most proven method of obtaining embryonic stem cells - extracting them from human embryos that are inevitably destroyed in the process." (Emphasis added-mine)

"Some critics consider it morally objectionable to genetically engineer a defective embryo that can't implant. But advocates of this approach believe it can be refined to produce disorganized clumps of tissue that will be deemed biological artifacts, not nascent life."

"It would be great if some way could be found to produce embryonic stem cells of high scientific value without raising ethical objections. But until that day comes, it would be foolish to abandon proven techniques just to meet the ethical objections of a minority." [NYT]

Yes, it would be wonderful to have a scientific method to produce high quality embryonic stem cells without raising the dander of religious conservatives. Currently, that is not possible, except by not trying, and by letting those of us that might benefit from these scientific advances suffer. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of taking insulin injections and checking my blood sugar level constantly. Embryonic stem cells show such a great promise to end the suffering of millions worldwide with Diabetes (like me!), Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, and many, many more. But religious conservatives, who currently control all three branches of government, won't let science help us out. Write to your elected officials and ask them to support HR 810.

Can Cubs Fans Suck It Up?

Tribune: "Picture two ugly sisters--think Patty and Selma Bouvier from "The Simpsons"--spending their childhood living together, arguing over who was prettier, who was more popular, who did better in school--even though neither has much to brag about. That's what Chicago Cubs and White Sox fans have been like for the last 46 years. For seasons immemorial, North and South Siders have bickered and brawled over who won more games, who (before the interleague season series era) won the otherwise meaningless Crosstown Classic, or who (after interleague play began) won the season series. But we never debated pennants or World Series titles because, well, that never was an issue." [Tribune]

This article makes a good point, it's not the team we hate, it's the fans. Sox fans hate the "wine-sipping crowd" at Wrigley just as much as we hate the "mullet-wearing, toothless bunch" at the Cell.

During any given season, I think about the White Sox maybe a handful of times. I don't care about their team. They have no bearing on my mental well-being at all. But, those same Sox fans are just waiting...waiting for any little thing to befall the Cubs, and they jump all over it. Pathetic.

Here's a great story from the article: "Cub fans barely noticed the Sox's playoff failures in 1993 and 2000. But in 1984, when the Cubs squandered a 2-0 National League playoff series lead to the San Diego Padres, Sox fans were elated. They were downright giddy when that ground ball rolled through Leon Durham's legs. I was 11 at the time and, following the last out of Game 5, I rushed outside the house in tears, only to see my friend, one of a family of Sox fans who lived down the street, ride by on his bicycle. This was the same kid whom I had consoled one year earlier after his "Winning Ugly" Sox choked against the Baltimore Orioles in the American League playoffs. His kind words to me? "Go Padres!" he yelled."

"That's a Sox fan for you, whether he's 11, 31 or 81. We don't really root against the Sox, but they live for the Cubs to fail. It's like your younger sister jeering you after you've been stood up for the umpteenth time, even though she's never been asked out on a date herself."

Am I jealous they're playing in the World Series and my Cubs aren't? You bet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Return of the Mike

Sorry about taking a few days off...busy and traveling. I'm in a week-long training class at work, so I haven't even been able to follow headlines for the most part.

Mike is back. After relocating to Madison, Isolated Incident returns from hiatus with a new look. Check it out.

Happy Columbus Day to all! I guess I forgot to put up the tree because there weren't any presents waiting when I got up this morning. To our Jewish friends, Yom Kippur starts today at sundown. Happy atonement.

I hope to make it to Drinking Liberally tonight at 7 at Club Garibaldi. Hope to see you there too!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Time Warp Redux

NYT: "Yesterday, the same day New Yorkers were warned there was a "specific threat" of a bombing on their subways, President Bush delivered what the White House promoted as a major address on terrorism. It seemed, on the surface, like a perfect topic for the moment. But his talk was not about the nation's current challenges. He delivered a reprise of his Sept. 11 rhetoric that suggested an avoidance of today's reality that seemed downright frightening."

"The president's inability to grow beyond his big moment in 2001 is unnerving. But the fact that his handlers continue to encourage him to milk 9/11 is infuriating. For most of us, the memories are fresh and painful. We mourn the people who died on Sept. 11, as we mourn Daniel Pearl and other Americans, not to mention innocents from other countries, who were murdered by terrorists. The administration's penchant for using them as political cover is offensive. It threatens to turn our wounds, and our current fears, into cynical and desperate spin." [NYT]

NYT: "We've lost track of the number of times President Bush has told Americans to ignore their own eyes and ears and pretend everything is going just fine in Iraq. Yesterday, when Mr. Bush added a ringing endorsement of his own policy to his speech on terrorism, it was that same old formula: the wrong questions, the wrong answers and no new direction." [NYT]

Isn't the general public getting tired of the same old Bush rhetoric? The guy has been saying the same thing since 2001. "We have to stay the course." Well, the course is leading us into another quagmire where nearly 2,000 of our brave men and women are dying for oil and to profit the Bush Family Evil Empire. But, a lot of the public is ok with this, just as long as those stem cells don't come and get us. We must stop the stem cells above all else. And those gays, wanting to marry and join the military and the priesthood. What gives!?

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I'm looking for suggestions on what my title bar should say (besides the name of my blog). Currently, it says Eamus Catuli!!!, which loosely translated means "Go Cubs!"

So, now that the Cubs season is regrettably over, I need a new header. I'm having a contest of sorts to help me decide what to put up there...suggestions welcome!

*Disclaimer: No actual prize will be awarded in said contest as writer and wife are currently expecting a daughter in December. Instead, you win the satisfaction of naming my header, which sounds funnier than it is.

Carnival Badger 8

Belle of Leaning Blue has the 8th editon of the Carnival of the Badger. And a fine job indeed...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Barry Melrose!

Time to drop the puck, the NHL is back!!! Finally returning after over a full year off, the NHL comes back better than ever. [Yahoo]

As with all sports, I am again a paradox, as I cheer for the Detroit Red Wings AND the Chicago Blackhawks. But the big constant, and what I am most excited about, is BARRY MELROSE. You know, everyone's favorite west-coast Canadian with the mullet. Best. Announcer. EVER.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Suitable Pick?

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." --David Frum

I agree with Brewtown Politico and Stacie; the SCOTUS nominee does not have to have judicial experience. This is not required, nor does it automatically disqualify her. One, for example, me, would hope that the nominee does have some experience. But that is not for me or anyone but the Senate to decide. I will try to reserve judgement on her until confirmation hearings begin.

What scares me is the blind allegiance to Bush.

Hat tip to Brewtown Politico, Vast Dairy State Conspiracy, Folkbum, and Xoff Files.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Wait 'Till Next Year

Congrats to the Brewers, who finished at .500 this year (81-81), the first time since 1992. The franchise is definitely moving in the right direction. This year brought unprecedented fan interest to the team, along with attendance. Immediately following the game, they fired bench coach Rich Dauer, and third-base coach Rich Donnelly.

As most of my readers know, I love the Brewers, but my heart follows the Cubs. I don't really have an issue following two teams, except when they play each other...which I hate. It brings out too much nastiness on both sides.

Much has been said about the Cubs, and their season. The Cubs get more press because they are a higher-profile team, and because of their history. After their game 7 loss in the NLCS in 2003, then the rising hopes of 2004, destroyed by a last week crash in New York, this season brought renewed hope of the elusive championship. Alas, it was not to be. Too many injuries, too many mistakes, not enough of this or that...

I have many feelings about this year's version of the Cubs, and a lot of questions. What if Nomar wouldn't have gone down in St. Louis in April? Would have have gotten hot like he was in September? What if Kerry Wood would have stayed healthy and returned to the form he was in in 2003? What if Mark Prior wouldn't have gotten hit on the elbow in May? What if that ball would have hit him just an inch or two over, and ended his career? What if the Cubs would have made Dempster the closer on day 1? He went 33-35 in saves, and they still won the two "blown saves." What if Corey Patterson would have really focused on playing this year? What if the Cubs would have won a few more games that they should have easily won. I guess we'll never know the answers to those questions.

They did some things right: they locked up Dempster for 3 more years. Derrek Lee put on a show that this Cubs fan will never forget, in route to winning his first batting title.

What will the Cubs look like in 2006? No one knows yet. I'd like to see Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno get full-time gigs. I'd love to see Todd Walker come back. I wouldn't mind Nomar coming back, and maybe playing left field. Give Felix Pie a shot in CF. I'd like to see Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano really focus on losing some weight and strengthening their lower bodies. I'd REALLY LOVE to see some durability and a major reduction in the number of injuries. I'd love to see some defense, some fundamentals, and some HEART.

Here's some season recaps. [MissedGoals] [SeasonInReview] [Sportsline] [Tribune]

The latin phrase "Eamus Catuli" that I have in the header of my site loosely translates to "Let's Go Cubs!" I'll have to come up with something else to replace it until next spring training. Just remember, hope springs eternal! Keep the faith! Believe!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Baby Update

I haven't written about myself or my family a lot on this blog. I guess I've tried to shelter that as much as possible. I did announce back in May however, that my wife and I are expecting our first child, a daughter, on December 1st (or when she is good and ready to appear!).

Becky is doing well...she is currently 31+ weeks in. She's been uncomfortable, and had some "power outages," where she is just beat-tired, but otherwise fine. I know you'd be tired too if you were a teacher and 31+ weeks pregnant!

We bought a crib and changing table, that was just delivered on Friday. Otherwise, I feel pretty unprepared. Mentally, I'm ready, but we just have to make a space in our house for her.

For anyone that wants to know, we are registered at Target. :)

Illegal Propaganda

"Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party."

"In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States, in violation of a statutory ban." [NYT]

When has this administration done anything within the realm of the law? Will they pay any consequences for this? NO.