Saturday, March 31, 2007

Put Your Money Where Your Principles Are: Boycott Circuit City

That means no more shopping at Circuit City. This week Circuit City ("a Fortune 200 company, and the third largest consumer electronics retailer in the United States with over $11 billion USD in sales") announced they are firing 3,400 of their workforce of 40,000. That would be the top-earning 9% of their workforce, those capitalist pigs making $12 or $15 an hour rather than minimum wage. It's going to save the company $110 million this year and $140 million next year, they say. That's what they say. Let's prove them wrong by diminishing their revenue enough that this decision tanks. Boycott Circuit City.

And management? Will there be cuts there? Oh no. They'll probably get bonuses for diminishing the income of those workers. From the WaPo article:

Circuit City chief executive Philip J. Schoonover received a salary of $716,346, along with a $704,700 bonus last year. He also has long-term compensation of $3 million in stock awards and $340,000 in underlying options, according to company filings.


The company saved $130 million in 2003 by eliminating commissions for salespeople, instituting hourly rates and terminating 1,800 jobs.

Executive Pay Watch: Circuit City CEO compensation

April Fools

It's not today, it's tomorrow! Gotcha. April Fool's Pranks Galore

I wish someone had served me ice cream with butterscotch sauce as mashed potatoes on AFD!

Wikipedia: April Fools' Day

The Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time

April Fool's Day Atrocities
The Top 10 Worst April Fool's Day Hoaxes Ever

The Origin of April Fool's Day

What A Poker Face

US President George W. Bush (L) listens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington on 28 March. (AFP/File/Brendan Smialowski)

Pay no attention to that little man in the corner! Seriously, I'd love to have him at one of our poker games. He can't control the emotions on his face.


New article out today on the Pokey Chatman situation at LSU; someone told ESPN reporter Elizabeth Merrill that the last telephone call Pokey Chatman made from the phone in her LSU office was to former player Marie Ferdinand, who graduated from LSU in 2001. Is someone dropping a hint here? Also names Chatman's attorney as "Mary Olive Pierson, a high-profile litigator in Baton Rouge." (Photo of Pierson from an unrelated case.)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cheerleaders

Robert Caplin for The New York Times

The University of Maryland competing at the National Cheerleaders Association United States Championships held earlier this month at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

[Notice the team in the right front, falling.]

Besides the horrible traditional female role indoctrination, the worst thing about cheerleading is that those girls have an unacceptable risk of being maimed or killed. Are parents brain dead? At high school sporting events I watch teenagers being thrown in the air by other teenagers, or balancing on the shoulders or the hands of other stupid teenagers. Disaster waiting to happen. Finally, someone got around to studying the most dangerous 'sport'.

Encourage your girls to play real sports. It will help them in myriad ways: confidence, health, strength, self-esteem, teamwork, and competitiveness. (Guess what? Life is competitive. Get used to it early.)

NYTmes: As Cheerleaders Soar Higher, So Does the Danger
Cheerleaders suffer more catastrophic injuries than female athletes in all other sports combined.

There were 22,900 cheerleading-related injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2002, up from 10,900 in 1990, according to the Columbus study. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, meanwhile, reported there were nearly six times as many emergency room visits for cheerleaders in 2004 than in 1980.

Noting that many other injuries probably occur but are treated by private physicians without an emergency room visit, Dr. Frederick Mueller, director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, said, “The real number of cheerleading injuries could be twice as high.”

NYTimes video: Jessica Smith fell headfirst and broke her neck trying to perform a difficult cheerleading stunt.

News Round-Up, Friday, March 30, 2007

Can't get enough of Knut

I love my Congressman. I was a little surprised when I read the headline saying that my extremely liberal Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) is endorsing Hillary Clinton (who voted for the war he has always opposed), but when I read the article it made sense. He's supporting her because she will make history as the first woman president; he decided after hearing his five-year-old daughter talk about Hillary with her kindergarten classmates. As the daughter of parents who told her she could become President if she wanted, I salute that. And let's face it. There are no bad candidates on the Democratic side. I'd vote for any of them in a heartbeat.

Anti-abortion zealot Dr. Eric Keroack has resigned his position as head of the Office of Population Affairs at HHS under a cloud of scandal; he is being investigated for Medicaid fraud in Massachusetts. Hah!

The Washington Post has redesigned its website. There is now a page where all articles about climate change are listed.

No comment, or should I say, speechless: Video: Rove raps at correspondents dinner.

Rudy Giuliani's caught in another lie: He knew about Bernie Kerik's ties to organized crime.

Via atrios, the new website Politico should be called Drudgico, not surprising given that Politico founder Jim VandeHei is married to a former Tom Delay staffer and reportedly has a shrine to GWB in his house. Ewww.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

You Take The High Road

And I'll take the low road. But if either of us use GoogleMaps to get from New York to Dublin, Ireland, we'll swim.

Yes, GoogleMaps directions from New York City to Dublin, Ireland give you, as Step 23, this direction:

Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi

I saw this on BoingBoing

Get Well Soon, Rick Hoyt

I just found yesterday that I won't be in town for the Boston Marathon (an annual event for me since my first, 1976) and today I learned another fixture will be missing.

When you go to the Marathon, there are certain notable points. The wheelchair leaders, the men's leader, the women's leader, and the Hoyts. Used to be Johnny Kelley, the 1935 and 1945 winner who finished 58 Bostons, was in that list of notables, but he stopped running in 1992 and sadly died three years ago at age 97.

Metrowest News (Framingham, MA): Team Hoyt to miss this year's Boston Marathon due to Rick's surgery

Cellulitis sounds like a fairly benign condition, but to someone in a wheelchair with multiple medical issues nothing is minor. Get well soon Rick & I hope we'll both be back next year.

Gonzo's Deputy Testifying Now

You can watch Kyle Sampson's testimony on C-SPAN3 live, or later.

He has already testified that Gonzo lied (or in his weaselly words, "was inaccurate") when he said he wasn't involved in the process.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You Heard It Here First: Twin Girls Will Play For USA In 2027 World Cup

Not really that bold a prediction given their parents. Maybe Mom will coach?

Boston Globe (AP): Garciaparra, Hamm are parents of twins

Embarrassingly, the WaPo runs the same AP article accompanied by a picture of Nomar. Nomar only. Not Mia. Sheesh.

AOL Sports: Double Play: Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm Have Twins

On Tuesday, Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm became the proud parents of (I'm guessing) two of the most athletically-gifted newborn babies the world has ever seen:

"Both are healthy and over five pounds," Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said, adding the births took place in the Los Angeles area.

Rawitch said Garciaparra left the team late Tuesday to be with his wife, but was in the air when the babies were born.

"He was on a speaker phone with the delivery room speaking with Mia during the births," Rawitch said.

I guess that whole "no cell phones on airplanes" thing doesn't apply to two-time batting champions. I'm putting the over/under on America's T-ball and youth soccer records being absolutely annihilated at five years ... and I'm taking the under.

In the meantime, for the sake of the babies, I'm hoping Nomar's OCD-like routine before every swing doesn't extend to feeding time, or else these kids might just go hungry.

'Patriotic performance art'


People standing around sculpted mud faces

Chinese people take part in a patriotic performance art event in Zhengzhou. About 3000 people joined in, yelling patriotic slogans around faces sculpted in the earth.

Elections Have Consequences

Swift Boat propaganda funder Sam Fox wasn't going to get through the Democratic-controlled Senate for his ambassadorship. Bush has withdrawn his nomination.

WaPo: White House Withdraws Ambassador Nominee

HuffPo: The Truth Wins One Round. White House Withdraws Fox Nomination.

Racism Lives, USA, 2007

Shaquanda Cotton (from Free Shaquanda Cotton website)

Miami, Florida: Tennis player Serena Williams is racially abused by a white male spectator who tells her to "hit the ball into the net like any nigger would".

Paris, Texas: A 15-year-old black girl, Shaquanda Cotton, has been in jail for over a year of a seven year jail term for pushing a hall monitor at her high school in 2005. (The hall monitor was not injured; it was her first offense.) Three months earlier, the same judge sentenced a 14-year-old white girl convicted of arson for burning down her family's house to probation.

Georgia: The Georgia State Senate has dropped the bill that would have freed 19-year-old black man Genarlow Wilson, who will now rot in jail for another eight years for conduct that is now only a misdemeanor under Georgia law.

It's not just the South, either:

Cambridge, Massachusetts: Vaunted Harvard University has 41 varsity sports and not one black coach. This is not surprising given that the AD and his 13 senior administrators are also not black. The AD has hired coaches for 12 sports since he was hired in 2001; all his hires are white.

Run, Toto, Run!

Bush's lapdog out of the basket, running away from Pat Leahy.

HuffPo: Gonzales Runs Out Of Conference To Avoid Scandal Questions

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Of Course He Plead Guilty

Just read the post on Huffington Post and ask yourself, what if this were my countryman? How would I feel about the United States of America holding itself out as a moral paragon? These are the depths to which the Crawford Caligula has led this nation. He may as well have opened a brothel in the White House for the shame and revulsion he will be held by history.

Today Australian David Hicks plead guilty to breaking a law which did not exist until September of 2006; he has been in Guantanamo for five years. The original charges were all dropped. Before the hearing, two of his three lawyers were dismissed by the court; the third was threatened, and his request for additional counsel was denied. Justice, unAmerican style. Unfortunately, this happened under the American extra-legal system established at Guantanamo. It is truly shameful. Some day it will be in the history books along with the unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

HuffPo: Justice Guantánamo Style

David Hicks, the Australian man that has been held in Guantánamo for five years, (the last year or so in solitary confinement) agreed to plead guilty yesterday. There are a few things you should know about his plea. First, and most importantly, Hicks is pleading guilty to a crime that did not exist on the books until September of 2006.

All of the original charges (the serious ones) were dropped against Hicks because the military had no evidence against him. Mr. Hicks was confined at Guantánamo until a new law could be passed that he could then be charged with. Never mind the fact that our constitution prohibits ex post facto (retroactive) laws, I mean that is why we are holding him at Guantánamo right?

The other thing you should know is what was clear to anyone paying attention: there was never going to be a hearing. The most recent evidence of that was when Hicks stepped into his arraignment yesterday and the first thing that happened was that two of his three attorneys were removed from representing him. Hicks' civilian attorney was removed because he refused to sign a statement agreeing to abide by military rules that had not yet been drafted and another attorney was removed because she supposedly did not have the correct credentials for the commission. That left Hicks with only one attorney, his military attorney, Dan Mori. Although Mori has been doing an exemplary job for Hicks, there was a little cloud hanging over Mori: the prosecuting attorney has suggested that Mori should be brought up on charges of misconduct for his zealous defense of Hicks. Mori was still trying to figure out how that threat by the prosecuting attorney would affect his representation of Hicks. Mori sought a short continuance to get legal counsel on this issue but that request was denied.

So yesterday, after two of his three attorneys were removed from representing him and the prosecuting attorney was attempting to intimidate the third, Hicks asked the military judge for additional counsel to help level the playing field. That request was denied... leveling the playing field is not what the military had in mind. The writing was clear on the glistening red, white and blue walls of the commission hearing room and David Hicks did the only thing that could possibly make sense in this abhorrent proceeding. He pled guilty to something that was not even against the law when he was arrested. Hicks' only hope is that he will be sent to Australia to serve his sentence and that perhaps, in time, a court in Australia will agree that pleading guilty to a crime that did not exist when he was arrested should be considered a nullity. Only problem is, Australia does not have a constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws... I wonder if that is how the phrase "kangaroo court' first came to be?

'The President Serves At the Pleasure of the American People'

Best blog post title of the day:

dailykos: The President Serves At the Pleasure of the American People

Monday, March 26, 2007


Three-month-old polar bear cub, Knut, appears to wave during his first outing at Berlin's Zoologischer Garten zoo. Knut made his first public appearance at the Berlin Zoo under the gaze of dozens of photographers and cameramen.(AFP/John MacDougall)

Knut, the abandoned polar bear cub at a Berlin zoo, looks a lot like my sister's dog.


Am I the only person on earth who thinks it's hysterically funny that the LSU-Connecticut game is being called by an announcer named "Jimmy Dykes"? Does God have a sense of humor or what?

US 3, Ecuador 1

Landon Donovan (10) of the United States attacks the Ecuador goal during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, March 25, 2007. The United States won 3-1. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Yesterday the United States Men's National Team played Ecuador in a friendly in Tampa, Florida, winning 3-1 on the strength of three fine goals by our mercurial star, Landon Donovan. (Also known as Landycakes, LandonGone, and InvisiLandon for his habit of disappearing in big games. This was only a friendly.) Ecuador played well in the World Cup so this was a good test.

I didn't really concentrate on the first 15 minutes of the game, because I was watching on a split screen with Marist-Tennessee on the other. Sadly, the Pride of Poughkeepsie succumbed early to the awesome Candace Parker and Pat Head Summit's excellent team, so the Nats got my full attention.

Unfortunately, the game was on ESPN, and they have their terrible trio of announcers: Dave O'Brien, or Dave O'Baseball as I call him; Bruce Arena, the recently deposed coach of the National Team; and Eric Wynalda, the leading scorer in the history of the men's team, who is as terrible an announcer as he was great as a player.

Donovan scored in the first minute, then again at 66 and 67 minutes. The first goal was a gift from Ecuador as a clearance went straight to him. The second goal came off a brilliant through pass from Brian Ching, and Donovan ran 50 yards down the field before putting a nifty shot past the keeper. The final goal was a blast off a great left footed cross from the much-maligned Damarcus Beasley (maligned partly because Bruce Arena played left footed Beasley on the right throughout the World Cup).

The back line didn't play very well, and looked disorganized throughout the first half. It's hard to put together a cohesive team in a matter of days, and of course Jimmy Conrad and Oguchi Onyewu haven't played together very often, as Arena played Eddie Pope in the back line for the Nats far too long. Can you say 'red card, Italy', anyone? There was no mention of Jay Demerit, the 26-year-old American starting for Watford in the Premier League who has never been capped. He was suffering from a groin injury at the beginning of camp, but was supposedly available. (google: Yanks Abroad says he had "picked up a knock". Whatever that means.) Maybe they'll think to mention him on Wednesday when the Nats play Guatemala in Dallas, Texas in their second friendly (minus Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, and Brian Carroll who have all been released to their club teams.)

I hate Dave O'Brien as a soccer announcer so much. First, he still doesn't know the game. He doesn't even know all the US players by sight yet. And forget the other team. When Donovan was running half the field to score his second goal, O'Brien never identified the pass as having come from Ching. Because he didn't know who passed the ball until he watched the replay! Just pathetic. Then, he gives extraneous information, constantly repeating the score and the time remaining (both of which are constantly available on our screen via ESPN's graphics). He describes players by giving their numbers, which is just not done in soccer. I don't care what any player's number is. And then there's his obsession with the weather and the temperature. I don't care! I can see that the sun is shining, I know the game is in Florida, I see the players sweating, I know it's hot. Just shut up and watch the game. And that's the worst thing about Dave O'Baseball, HE NEVER SHUTS UP. You never hear the players calling to each other on the field, or the sound of the crowd. There are no moments of silence. No, he starts saying that Gooch looks like an American football player, or talking about baseball, or telling us what he knows about soccer, which consists of what he saw during last summer's World Cup. Just the constant blare of his basso profundo voice, telling us nothing.

Do you know that ESPN hates me? Yes, it is a proveable fact. Three years ago O'Brien was approached about becoming the radio voice of the Chicago Cubs, but ESPN said no. This year, it was the Red Sox, my beloved Red Sawx, who came calling and ESPN gave him permission. Yes, it's true, Dave O'Brien now ruins the summer pleasure of listening to the Red Sox game on the car radio. Instead of hearing the sounds of the shrine of Fenway, fans chatting, beer sellers hawking, Sawx fans heckling, planes overhead, all I'll hear now are Dave O's stories about when he was the announcer for the Marlins, and the obscure trivia that must be spewed over every sporting event he calls. Oh Christ, just shoot me now and get it over with. Can I be charged with road rage if I run someone off the road with my car while fuming over the empty stylings of Dave O'Baseball?

USSoccer game report

ESPN game report

FoxSports game report

MySoccerBlog: Player grades

The Supine Corporate Media

Go watch this clip from BBC Question Time and tell me if we will ever get intelligent television like this on US media. (Via Brilliant at Breakfast, via Hoffmania) Watching John Bolton taken to task is such a pleasant way to start the day.

On American TV, instead, we get Chris Matthews and other mouth-breathing circus clowns laughing about Bush's crimes, or Katie Couric pummeling Elizabeth and John Edwards for continuing the campaign in the face of her cancer (conveniently, Katie forgets that she herself worked throughout her husband's fight with cancer. Do as I say, not as I do.) Couric phrased most of her interrogatory questions with the preface "Some say", then proceeded to spew right wing talking points.

Democrats must bring back the Fairness Doctrine, or our media will continue to be dominated by right wing, completely wrong perspectives.