Saturday, March 17, 2007

Adventures in Dell Hell

Yesterday I received new "Service Tags" in the mail for a Dell computer. Problem? Well, I did buy a computer last month. However, I bought it as a birthday gift (from my siblings and me) for Coach Mom. So the computer, while charged to my credit card, was shipped to her house in New York. It's her computer. The service tags should have gone to her.

So I called Dell. As usual, I got a person speaking English with a heavy accent -- India would be my guess. He read to me from the customer service script. I explained the situation and asked for the service tags to be reissued in my mother's name. He tells me he understands the problem. Simple, you would think.

Oh no. There is no way for Dell to do this, my helpful friend tells me. They cannot send my mother a new set of service tags in her name. Why not, I ask? It's your fault, after all. I placed this order over the phone, and the salesman knew it was a gift, and she was the owner. You shipped it to her. But there is no way for Dell to do this, he responds. It cannot be done.

The only way he could issue new service tags would be to ship her an entire new computer.

I burst out laughing, and then, I must admit, I berated him for a few minutes. That's the stupidest thing anyone has ever said to me on the phone! You'd rather send an expensive piece of hardware than a .39 cent letter! Are you an idiot? Do you want me to write about this on my blog? I have to write about this on my blog! Dell, descending to new depths of stupidity in customer service.

Finally, he agreed to change the Dell records to record Coach Mom as the computer owner, so all future correspondence will go to her. As for those customer service tags? I have to mail them to her. There's NO WAY Dell can reissue them.

Morons. No wonder their stock is tanking.

This blog will remain fairly quiet for the next few days as I am heading to New York today to pick up Coach Mom to go to Hartford to see the NCAA women's first and second round games there.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy 115th Birthday, Liverpool FC

One night in Istanbul

Yes, you heard that right. The world's greatest football club celebrated its 115th birthday yesterday. (OK, I'm a little late here. Bygones!) Here's the history of the club's founding, from the club website.

So, to celebrate, here's a roundup of club news.

The Reds got the best possible draw in the Champions League final 8, where they will face PSV Eindhoven. None of the English teams remaining (Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United) face each other.

PSV Eindhoven star Alex suffered a hamstring injury last week, which was initially thought to end his season; now he's going back to Brazil for an MRI and hoping to play in the second leg at Anfield on April 11th.

Liverpool's new American owners suspended work on the new stadium; Bloomberg reports that they may add capacity to increase the seating in the new stadium from 60,000 to 75,000 seats so as to rival Manchester United (Old Trafford capacity 76,212).

The club signed 17 year old midfielder Gary Mackay Steven from the Scottish First Division Club Ross County.

Crouchie had surgery on his broken nose last week; there are rumors that he will be transferred for either Tottenham's Berbatov or Juventus's Trezeguet. P.S., Berbatov is a dead ringer for Andy Garcia.

Pepe Reina may be Spanish, but he's bleeding Liverpool Red now (from Who Ate All the Pies)

'My wife and I have just had our first child and she's a Scouser.' Pepe Reina is now fully integrated into the Liverpool way of life.

And, finally, a song.
The Stevie G. Song: (To the tune of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You")


You're just too good to be true,
Can't take the ball off of you,
You've got a heavenly touch,
You pass like Souness to Rush,
And when we're all drunk in the bars,
We can't believe that you're ours,
You're just to good to be true,
Can't get the ball off of you...

Oh Steee-ven Gerr-aaard, da da da da da da (etc)

I prefer the Que Sera, Que Sera song (scroll down to see the Manc fans lyrics).

Walter Reed Has a VIP Ward

No mouse droppings for the President or Congress:

VIP ward at Walter Reed gets scrutiny
House investigators ask if it hurts care for GIs

The large, comfortable suites on the hospital's top floor are reserved for the president, the vice president, federal judges, members of Congress and the Cabinet, high-ranking military officials and even foreign dignitaries and their spouses. The only enlisted members of the military who are eligible to stay there are recipients of the Medal of Honor.

The suites have carpeted floors, antique furniture and fine china in the dining rooms. That's a stark contrast to mold- and mice-ridden housing that some wounded troops had been found to be living in.

Valerie Plame on C-Span Right Now

Tune in.

C-SPAN live feed.

Blogtopia* Roundup, Friday March 16, 2007

My dream

Having a hard time keeping up the US Attorney Purge? Talking Points Memo has created a complete timeline.

Firedoglake speculates: Will the off-the-books email accounts used by the Rove minions attacking the US Attorneys be the Alexander Butterfield/White House taping that brings down Bush?

Swing State Project says, Farewell, Marty Meehan (D-MA, leaving Congress to head UMass Lowell) and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out with $5,000,000 in your campaign accounts. Gee, I can't think of any candidates who could have used that money in the last election cycle, can you? The Boston Globe is encouraging Marty to donate the money to the school.

The New York Times profiles Richard F. Scruggs (or as lawyers who know him call him, Dickie Scruggs. If you've read any of those John Grisham books about oily Mississippi mass trial lawyers and Gulfstreams, I've always thought they were about Dickie.)

Kevin Drum links to an article about women "choosing" to opt out of the work force. Choice being an illusion; the modern workforce talks a good game about family friendly policies, but they're only friendly to men.

Steve Gilliard of the News Blog is still sick, still hospitalized, still needs our thoughts and prayers.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Email Florida Governor Charlie Crist: Free Richard Paey

Another outrage in our ridiculous war on drugs and the absurd minimum mandatory sentences that have filled our privatized prisons with nonviolent offenders. Send an email to Florida governor Charlie Crist and ask him to grant a pardon to this poor man. The Florida Supreme Court which upheld this long, cruel sentence said he should petition the governor for clemency. Let's help him.

Pain Relief Network: About Richard Paey

Richard V. Paey was sentenced on April 16, 2004 to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and fined $500,000. Paey, in his wheelchair with a morphine pump sewn into his ruined back, will live out-what for him is a death sentence-in a Florida prison for possessing the medicine that he requires to survive.

Judge David D. Diskey heard Linda Paey’s pleas for mercy, but could not exercise judicial discretion because of a mandatory minimum sentencing. “This is the problem for the Florida state legislature and the governor,” Judge Diskey said.

Alternet (from HuffPo): Multiple Sclerosis Sufferer Serving 25-Year Sentence for Taking Pain Killers

Florida's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Richard Paey, a wheelchair-using father of three who is currently serving a 25-year mandatory prison sentence for taking his own pain medication. In doing so, the court let stand a decision which essentially claims that the courts have no role in checking the powers of the executive and legislative branches of government when an individual outcome is patently unjust.

Richard Paey -- who suffers both multiple sclerosis and from the aftermath of a disastrous and barbaric back surgery that resulted in multiple major malpractice judgments -- now receives virtually twice as much morphine in prison than the equivalent in opioid medications for which he was convicted of forging prescriptions.

He had previously been given legitimate prescriptions for the same doses of pain medicine -- but made the mistake of moving to Florida from New Jersey, where he could not find a physician to treat his pain adequately. Each of his medical conditions alone can produce agony. Paey has described his pain as constantly feeling like his legs had been "dipped into a furnace."

The Ivy-league educated attorney has no prior criminal convictions, and weeks of surveillance by narcotics agents did not find him selling the medications.

The Florida Court of Appeals had upheld his conviction -- despite the lack of evidence of trafficking and despite the fact that most of weight of the substances he was convicted of possessing (higher weights lead to longer sentences) was made up of Tylenol, not narcotics. The majority suggested that Paey seek clemency from the governor, claiming that his plea for mercy "does not fall on deaf ears, but it falls on the wrong ears."

In a jeremiad of a dissent, Judge James Seals called the sentence "illogical, absurd, unjust and unconstitutional," noting that Paey "could conceivably go to prison for a longer stretch for peacefully but unlawfully purchasing 100 oxycodone pills from a pharmacist than had he robbed the pharmacist at knife point, stolen 50 oxycodone pills, which he intended to sell to children waiting outside, and then stabbed the pharmacist."

Pain Relief Network: Cruel and Disgusting: Pain Patient Appeal Denied

November Coalition: Help Free Richard Paey!

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Is The Easter Bunny

I have this Easter Bunny scoop EXCLUSIVELY here at Main St. USA based on superduper topsecret authority. Bushco is suppressing that particular confession for obvious reasons, as it does not fit into their "get Gonzo off the front pages" plan.

Apparently, while we've been torturing Mohammed for the past five years, he's confessed to EVERYTHING they've ever asked him about. 31 terrorist acts in total. Who'd a thunk it? Torture works. We get everything we want. He has also confessed to being the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Borat.

WaPo (front page): Alleged Architect Of 9/11 Confesses To Many Attacks

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confessed at a Guantanamo Bay military hearing that he planned and funded that al-Qaeda operation and said he was involved in more than two dozen other terrorist acts around the world, according to documents released by the Pentagon yesterday.

In a rambling statement delivered Saturday to a closed-door military tribunal, Mohammed declared himself an enemy of the United States and claimed some responsibility for many of the major terrorist attacks on U.S. and allied targets over more than a decade. He said that he is at war with the United States and that the deaths of innocent people are an unfortunate consequence of that conflict.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z," Mohammed told a panel of military officers through a personal representative, who read off a list of 31 terrorist acts that were either carried out or planned but not executed. According to transcripts released by Defense Department officials last night, Mohammed later spoke in broken English and Arabic, saying, "For sure, I'm American enemies."

This last sentence proves that he is the real Borat.

I mean, really. The "hearing" at which Mohammed "testified" (in a language other than his own) took place on March 10th. The purpose is to determine whether he is an enemy combatant. The Washington Post has a pdf link to the entire transcript. On page 10, Mohammed asks to present witnesses. His request is denied on the grounds that his witnesses are not relevant. The 31 terrorist acts to which he confesses are presented in the form of a written list which is read into the record by his "Personal Representative" (question, was this a lawyer? Embarrassing if so.) This list was clearly written by someone other than Mohammed as his broken English is miraculously repaired. He says things like "I was the Media Operations Director", "I was the Operational Director", as though al Quada was really a modern US corporation. Jeez.

The whole thing is a kangaroo court and the corporate media is jumping up and down as though this farce had some basis for respect. It is a farce. The guy may be guilty as hell, but the US makes him look like a victim by torturing and railroading him. Couldn't we just have subjected him to the greatest legal system in the world? Just another way in which the Bush Administration has used 9/11 to attack our Constitution and degrade us in the eyes of the world. The shame.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fox Hates Black People

You knew that already, but watch this anyway for the evidence.

I saw this at ThinkProgress.

Tim Johnson's Improving Condition

WaPo: Ailing Senator Issues Photos, Statement

WASHINGTON -- The first public photos of Sen. Tim Johnson since his December brain hemorrhage show him looking pounds lighter and sitting in a wheelchair. According to a spokeswoman, he now has limited use of his right arm and leg.

See all the photos on his website:

Senator Tim Johnson website

This must be a great relief to his family.

Blogtopia* Roundup, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, greets workers during his visit the Labradores Mayas Packing Station in the village of Chirijuyu Tecpan, Guatemala, Monday, March 12, 2007. Labradores Mayas is an agriculture cooperative for indigenous farmers from this region of the Guatemala highlands. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Jurassic Pork at Welcome to Pottersville has a second in his series of FauxNewsChannel screencaps. (I have blog identity and blog title envy. Pottersville! Bedford Falls!)

Rhonda Bourne at Blue Mass. Group with a thoughtful post about Governor Patrick's wife Diane's depression diagnosis.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo says
this whole US Attorney purge was designed to get rid of Carol Lam of California who was prosecuting Duke Cunningham, Jerry Lewis, and getting close to Dusty Foggo and Porter Goss and the corruption in the CIA.

Atrios sez the Republican knives are out for Abu Gonzales; he's a dead man walking.

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast points out another Bush privatization initiative gone horribly, horribly wrong: The levee repair in New Orleans:

Another "heckuva job" company gets a nice fat government contract in exchange for its contributions to Republicans, and this one is owned by a buddy of would-be Republican savior Jeb Bush.

Republicans love to say that government doesn't work, and of course the wags say that when Republicans are in power, they go about proving it. It's funny, though -- when Democrats are in office, government programs help people through the Great Depression, we win World War II, the Civil Rights Act is enacted, there's the longest economic expansion in American history. Democratic presidents leave little to no deficit, and Americans who are not among the wealthiest are almost always better off under Democrats than they are under Republicans.

So isn't it time we stopped trusting the government to these people?

*yes, skippy coined that phrase!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You Can Run

But you can't hide, Torture Guy. How long til he's gone? I give him 10 days.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales departs after holding a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington March 13, 2007. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES)

No News (Updated, below)

Nothing significant has been reported on the Pokey Chatman story today. Many visits to this blog from people trying to find out who the player she was involved with was. I didn't find one speck of rumor on the 'nets about the player's identity. They must have been very discreet.

Or maybe Pokey is just a really nice person who made a mistake. Her star center, Sylvia Fowles, was fulsome in her praise of her now former coach yesterday. The ESPN selection show had Stacy Dales going on and on about how great a person Chatman is, even going to far as to predict Pokey will be back in coaching soon. They've toned down Stacey Dales on ESPN, but I still don't think she's the sharpest knife in the drawer. Or maybe she just doesn't know the history of women's coaches.

Male coaches can come back from anything. They go to strip clubs (Mike Price, fired by University of Alabama, hired by UTEP), kill people with their cars (Craig McTavish, killed a woman while driving drunk in 1984, now coach, Edmonton Oilers,), lie on their resumes (George O'Leary, fired by Notre Dame for lying on his resume, now head coach of the University of Central Florida), you name it, if they're a good coach they've got another head coaching job in a few weeks.

Female coaches? Transgress and work no more. The case in point is Marianne Stanley. Now, you may not like Marianne Stanley, as she seems to be fairly abrasive, but she is one of the winningest womens's college basketball coaches of all time. She's still the youngest coach ever to win the NCAA Championship (Old Dominion, 1985, age 31). First, she got shitcanned by USC because she dared -- she dared to ask to be paid equally as the men's basketball coach, George Raveling, since they did the same job. Oh, you know they fired her for that. And she lost her federal lawsuit, don't get me started on how the federal courts have eviscerated the Equal Pay Act (but for you law junkies out there, here's a law review article reviewing the court's mishandling of Stanley's federal court claim). That's a whole other post.

It took her two and a half years to get another job, at Cal Berkeley. Stanley then got forced out of Cal because she stupidly told one of her assistants who got pregnant that she should get an abortion or quit. (That laser beam focus on winning -- how can you get out there & recruit if you're pregnant -- definitely overrid Stanley's common sense.) But that didn't come out at the time. She just got fired for having a losing record as far as the world knew. And again, it took her two years to get hired as a head coach again, by the WNBA Washington Mystics. When the Washington Post dug up that she'd been fired by Cal for the pregnancy discrimination claim, out she went again. And she has been nothing but an assistant ever since, currently beside Vivian Stringer at Rutgers. I have a sneaking suspicion that is she were male, she'd be a head coach again.

Pokey can only hope that Stacey Dales is prophetic. I doubt it, and doubt that she'll have an easy time getting back into coaching. Maybe the WNBA; but they only hire men these days.

UPDATE: My sister calls to remind me of the most recent case of a male coach who transgressed and was immediately rehired: Larry Eustachy, head basketball coach at Iowa State until 2003. In 2003 he was photographed at a student party after a basketball game, drinking and posing for pictures kissing students. He was the highest paid employee of the state of Iowa at the time. What happened to Larry Eustachy for this public drinking and cavorting with impressionable young people? Well, he did resign from Iowa State and admitted he was an alcoholic. But it wasn't so hard for him. He got a $960,000 settlement on his way out the door (male coaches always have long-term contracts; women's coaches rarely do) and didn't miss a step in coaching, as he was hired by Southern Mississippi where he continues to coach today. Just another example of my point. If a man messes up, he can always get a job again. Always. Here are the photos that ended Eustachy's career with Iowa State (but not his coaching career). Party on, dude.

A Bit of Shameless Self-Promotion

Worcester Craft Center
25 Sagamore Road
Worcester, MA 01605

The Worcester Craft Center, where I take ceramics classes, is having a Studio Sale (pdf link) on March 24th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the studios in the center will be represented (clay, glass, photography, metals/jewelry, textiles, and wood) though I think there will be more pottery than anything else, as we are the largest and most active studio.

Brave (or crazy) soul that I am, I have signed up to sell my pots. No, those pictures up there aren't of my work, although they are available in the Center's gift shop. I do mostly handbuilding, and those pieces are all thrown on a wheel. I took a couple of wheel throwing classes, but wheel throwing is a much more physical process than handbuilding, as you lean and use your whole body as your hands push the clay into place, always fighting the spinning of the wheel. It tired me out. I wish I'd started at a younger age. I do love handbuilding though. There's nothing like playing with clay to clear your mind.

I am currently unpacking the many boxes of work in my spare room deciding what is good enough to sell, and then deciding how to price things. I'm bringing tiles, Christmas ornaments, vases, platters, and several raku pieces that aren't functional. (Raku is a Japanese firing technique where you take the pieces out of an outdoor kiln while they're red hot and quickly cool them. You get great colors, but the work isn't sealed and isn't food safe. Just fun to look at.) I have to get over my inner critic voice which sees the flaw in every pot rather than the beauty. So, stop by and check us out. There's a bake sale, too.

I wish I was as talented as my wheel throwing teacher, Kristen Kieffer. Check out her website:

Kristen Kieffer Ceramics

Shorter Abu Gonzales Statement

I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Quote from interview with Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director of U.S. PIRG.

Why do Democrats continue to talk about the Bankruptcy Bill? Sure, it effects how people are treated in bankruptcy. But, in its essence, this was a bill bought and paid for by the credit card industry to feather its own nest and screw consumers.

Why aren't we calling it the Credit Card Welfare bill?

Heckuva Job Kiley Resigns

Good riddance.

ThinkProgress: BREAKING: Kiley Resigns

Some highlights of his tenure over the past few weeks:

– He allowed a wounded soldier to sleep in his own urine even though he was begged to do something about it by a congressman’s wife.

– He blamed the Walter Reed conditions on “a failure of leadership at the junior level in that building.”

– He ripped the Washington Post’s revelation of the squalor at Walter Reed as “yellow journalism.”

Blogtopia* Roundup, Monday, March 12, 2007

Must view post of the day: Welcome to Pottersville with a series of screencaps of the FoxNewsMachine's fairly unbalanced news coverage. They are serial liars and should never be trusted. (It also reminded me of these pictures which someone photoshopped a few years ago.)

Digby on Russert and the craven corporate media as revealed by the Libby trial. I had forgotten that James Carville and Tim Russert's son have a sports radio program together. No wonder Mary Matalin could tell Scooter Libby that Russert hated Chris Matthews. Pillow talk! exposes the Army for sending injured soldiers back to Iraq. (Send the twins, I say.) See, also, Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast, who says the only way to support these troops is to demand impeachment.

And while you're at, head over and read Glenn Greenwald's piece Our right-wing arbiters of masculinity with a couple of hilarious pictures of manly wingnuts as an added bonus.

ThinkProgress reports that Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has called on VA Secretary Jim Nicholson to resign. You go girl.

MCCASKILL: [] And with all due respect to the head of the Veterans Administration, this is a man that was chairman of the Republican National Committee. The appearance isn’t right. You know, this looks like a Brownie situation. Let’s put somebody…

SCHIEFFER: Brownie as in FEMA.

MCCASKILL: As in FEMA. You know, this is a political appointment. This is somebody who has spent a whole lot of the last few years defending everything about the White House. Really, that’s not the right person to be leading the agency that’s supposed to protect our veterans.

And I really think it’s time we put somebody in charge of the Veterans Administration whose first priority are the veterans and not the politics surrounding the agency.

Talking Points Memo is following the fired US Attorney story most closely. NYTimes called for Abu Gonzales to resign in an editorial yesterday.

*yes, skippy! coined that phrase.

Rats, Sinking Ship, Etc.

WaPo: Halliburton to move headquarters, CEO to Dubai

And why are they moving? According to this diary at dailykos, to skirt the laws of the United States by locating in the UAE where they can sell arms and nuclear technology to countries like Iran and Libya.

All of which is illegal in the US. Halliburton, subverting democracy in the pursuit of profit. Your federal dollars from the Iraq war at work.

Dick Cheney (Halliburton CEO 1995-2000; Halliburton unindicted conspirator, 2000-continuing) is only public enemy number two because Chimpy McMembersOnlyJacketWithThePresidentialSeal is public enemy number one.

No Excuses

The Pokey Chatman saga at LSU continues to play out slowly and gets more and more ugly. ESPN is reporting two significant facts: (1) the player with whom Chatman had a sexual affair was a player on the team at the time; and (2) assistant women's basketball coach Carla Berry is the person who reported Chatman to LSU officials.

If Chatman had a sexual affair with one of her players while she was their coach, she had to go. If this is the allegation, I am amazed that LSU accepted her resignation and is paying her until April 30th. You would think that with allegations of this nature and this enormity, that the school would have taken immediate and decisive action. Instead, they initially allowed Chatman to resign and to issue a statement that she was leaving to pursue other career opportunities. (Hmmm. Maybe that's why the LSU board tabled a vote on giving AD Skip Bertman a new deal.) She should be pursuing something outside the realm of coaching young, vulnerable athletes. Maybe she can get a job with Granny Basketball in Iowa. Those women wouldn't take any crap from her.

I feel a lot of resentment towards Chatman. Her actions sully all of women's basketball. They reinforce the absolutely false stereotype that lesbians (or gay men, for that matter) are sexual predators who shouldn't be allowed to work with kids because they'll be cruising them. If there were statistics on this kind of thing I'm sure they'd show that heterosexual coaches are just as likely to violate social norms and get involved with players.

On the other hand, I feel sorry for Chatman and all the other people who live their lives in the closet. I only know of one women's basketball coach, Tara VanDerveer (Stanford, former US Olympic coach), who is out as a lesbian. (And I'm not even sure if she's really "out", see this Washington Post article on negative recruiting.) There are certainly many other coaches in Pokey Chatman's situation: lesbians who are cowering in the closet, afraid to live their lives out loud.

Imagine what her life was like. She is gay, but pretending to be straight. Think of all the things she does to keep in the closet. She doesn't hang out with gay friends in public. Maybe she is even afraid to have friends who are out of the closet. She doesn't go to gay clubs or gay events. She doesn't acknowledge her partner (if she has one) in public in any way. This is no basis for a relationship, so her partner leaves her. Or maybe she has never had the courage to have a partner at all. Eventually, her life becomes constricted to one thing: basketball; and one group of people: her team. This becomes her social life. These are the people she spends time with. When she leaves the team, she goes back into her protective shell, but on the basketball court she can be, for the most part, herself.

And sports are intense, intimate, expressive, and emotional. (If you doubt that, go watch the Celtic fans singing in the post below.) Just the dangerous mix where a repressed gay person can make the biggest mistake of her life, on the public stage, and lose everything as a result.

I am writing all of this based on what has been reported. You hope it isn't true. But if it is, even though I feel sorry for Chatman, there are no excuses. She had choices and made all the wrong ones. Now she can do what she should have done from the beginning. Live out loud, be who she is, and walk on with her life.

You'll Never Walk Alone

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the Madrid train bombings. 191 people died and 2,050 were wounded. The Champions League games scheduled for that day went on (controversially) although UEFA arranged for a moment of silence before each game, and the players wore black armbands. This weekend while I was Liverpool surfing I found this stunning version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" which was sung by the Celtic fans prior to their match against Barcelona on March 11, 2004, in tribute to the victims of the bombing. ("You'll Never Walk Alone", the Gerry and the Pacemakers version, is the club theme song for Liverpool and Celtic as well as for all these other clubs:

* England: Ipswich Town,
* Austria: SK Rapid Wien.
* Netherlands: FC Twente, Feyenoord Rotterdam and Ajax Amsterdam.
* Germany: FC St. Pauli (also Borussia Dortmund and Alemannia Aachen).
* Greece: AEK Athens FC (AEK fans adopted a Greek version of the song).
* Japan: F.C. Tokyo.
* Italy: Hellas Verona F.C..
* Portugal: SL Benfica

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Obesity Caused by Plethora of Plastic?

WaPo: Chemicals May Play Role in Rise in Obesity

[S]everal recent animal studies suggest that environmental exposure to widely used chemicals may also help make people fat.

The evidence is preliminary, but a number of researchers are pursuing indications that the chemicals, which have been shown to cause abnormal changes in animals' sexual development, can also trigger fat-cell activity -- a process scientists call adipogenesis.

The chemicals under scrutiny are used in products from marine paints and pesticides to food and beverage containers. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one chemical, bisphenol A, in 95 percent of the people tested, at levels at or above those that affected development in animals.


"Exposure to bisphenol A is continuous," said Frederick vom Saal, professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Bisphenol A is an ingredient in polycarbonate plastics used in many products, including refillable water containers and baby bottles, and in epoxy resins that line the inside of food cans and are used as dental sealants. In 2003, U.S. industry consumed about 2 billion pounds of bisphenol A.