Saturday, May 26, 2007

He's Beck!

Real Madrid's David Beckham leaves the pitch after beating Deportivo la Coruna 3-1 in a Spanish league football match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. Beckham is back in the England squad for the first time since last year's World Cup after Steve McClaren opted to swallow his pride and pick the Real midfielder for Friday's friendly against Brazil and the following Wednesday's crucial Euro 2008 qualifier in Estonia.(AFP/Pedro Armestre)

Finally, manager Steve McClaren recalls Beckham to the England squad. 'Ol Bleached Teeth was happy to shitcan Beckham after the World Cup, to show us who's boss; now he comes crawling back to England's best dead ball specialist. You can listen to a long interview with Beckham (recorded before the recall was announced) here on the BBC (click on podcast) or a shorter interview here.

MLS and American soccer are roundly derided in all these articles:

"Beckham will soon be off to an international backwater"

"What a waste of talent."

"His career seemed to be easing into a more comfortable twilight zone when in January Beckham announced he would move to LA Galaxy."

"He is going to be playing at a significantly lower level when he moves to Los Angeles. It is the first step to retirement."

"After their trip to Tallinn, England play Israel and Russia at Wembley on Sept 8 and 12 respectively. Estonia then visit on Oct 13 before the difficult trip to Russia on Oct 17. From July 1, Beckham will only be up against the best that America has to offer so it is unlikely that he will be ready for such challenging matches."

"As far as I am concerned, Beckham retired the moment he announced he was off to play the equivalent of non-league football in America.”

"He looked like a spent force at the World Cup, and if that was not the case would he really be heading for the elephants’ graveyard that is North American “soccer”? Out there in the galaxy of mediocrity that is the rough equivalent of our Nationwide Conference, he cannot hope to be fit enough, or sharp enough, to complete the European qualifying series with England next season. "

"This is the pattern of Beckham's career and it is unlikely to be touched by the fact that in practical terms his forthcoming move to the soccer boondocks of America means that his return to the international stage should be brief."

I watched an MLS game tonight and can't disagree with any of these comments. The level of play, the technical ability, the speed are all lacking. David Beckham will be the best player in MLS the moment he steps onto the field.

Happy Memorial Day €Fallen Flag, an artwork by Boylston artist Rebecca Fellows in the Worcester Center for Crafts student show, is made from portraits of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Below, the artist talks about her work.

Worcester Telegram: For those who died
Sorrow inspires art to honor fallen troops

Rebecca Fellows knows the numbers exactly. “When I did it, as of April 17, there were 3,682,” the Boylston artist said. “Since then there have been 120 more. There were 3,802 as of the 19th of May.”

It is a grim accounting. The figures refer to American troops who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq so far. Fellows completed a piece of enameled art commemorating those troops on April 17, in time for the opening of a student show running at the Worcester Center for Crafts through Friday.

The piece then will be displayed in the windows of 339 Main St. as part of the “Worcester Windows” program, which places the work of local artists in downtown storefronts and office windows, many of which otherwise would be vacant.

From a distance, Mrs. Fellows’ piece, 43 inches wide and 32 inches high, looks like a beautiful rendering of an American flag waving slightly in the breeze. But take a few steps closer and you see faces looking back at you — soldiers, Marines, men, women, a uniformed father hoisting his baby girl in the air.

They are the faces of 3,682 fallen troops, each one in a tiny portrait, half an inch by half an inch, against a background of red, white and blue.
This very powerful piece is currently hanging in the Worcester Craft Center's student show.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Al Gore on The Daily Show last night:

Part 1

Part 2

Obama on criticisms from McCain & Romney:


A211243, Double bird and Owl Effigy Pipe, Virginia, Scott County (Smithsonian)

Courtney Prince, the former New York Rangers cheerleader, has filed her response to MSG's third motion for summary judgment. She says MSG told her to tell the other cheerleaders to act sexy; she also says she did not realize she had been fired for several months. MSG must have raised a statute of limitations defense. Discrimination claims have some of the shortest time limits of any civil claim. You have three years to file suit if you slip and fall or get hit by a car; for sexual harassment, it's six months. MSG immediately issued a press release saying that her claim is baseless and without merit, but as the article notes at the end, George Bush's (read, very conservative) EEOC "has recommended that MSG have its employees undergo sexual harassment discrimination training and pay Prince $800,000 in damages."

The albatross released on Sunday was found waddling on Route 25 in Plymouth yesterday; it's been returned to the Tufts wildlife rescue facility where it was initially nursed back to health.

A reporter for the LATimes tried the Food Stamp Challenge as a vegetarian; she ended up snacking at the sample tables of Whole Foods. Excellent column in the Worcester Telegram lauding Congressman McGovern and his efforts to fight hunger.

Yesterday, while George W. Bush was defending Abu Gonzales, a bird shit on his suit. You cannot make this stuff up.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Is Voter Caging?

Cage him for stealing elections.

What the heck was Maniacal Goodling talking about when she testified about voter caging? It was a very confusing moment in her testimony. The Congresscritters seemed flummoxed. She said it was a direct mail term. That made no sense to me. Tonight I stumbled upon the answer.

Here's how reporter Greg Palast describes voter caging:

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived?
The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation --- and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.

Palast has 500 emails -- many of them Karl Rove's emails that the White House now claims are lost -- because they were sent accidentally to, a domain that is owned by a friend of Palast. (They meant to send them to -- Doh!)

So our soldiers registered to vote, then went to Iraq. The Republican party sends mail to their official address, but it is returned as undeliverable, because the soldier is in Iraq. So when that soldier's absentee ballot comes in, and the elections personnel go to count that ballot, they find that the ballot has been challenged as being from a phony address. Because the soldier was overseas in George W. Bush's war for democracy. And the guy who led this effort was Tim Griffin, Karl Rove's protege, who is now the USAttorney for the District of Arkansas. The chicken now guards the henhouse.

Some of the emails (SUBJECT: caging) are in the middle of this post on Palast's research.

I highly recommend watching all three Youtube clips, below, in which Palast lays out the caging scheme and how it related to the US Attorney scandal. These are felonies and impeachable offenses.

Part 1 (8:18)

Part 2 (4:58)

Part 3 (9:07)

Republican Memory Loss

hat tip to Americablog


That's my ideal ticket: Gore-Obama. Experience + charisma. The politics of hope. All that good stuff. Here's another GoBama supporter:

Jim Sleeper, TPMCafe: Gore, Obama, And A Coalition Against The Politics of Fear

P.S., Al Gore is on The Daily Show tonight. Run, Al, run.

Farewell Leetchie

Another of Coach Mom's favorite players hangs up his skates. We knew this was coming, but it's still sad. Brian Leetch is the only American to ever have won the Conn Smythe trophy as the NHL playoff MVP. Good luck Brian and thanks for the memories. Lots of fans can say "Now I Can Die In Peace" because of you. (click on this link to see the famous sign held up by Rangers fans after their 1994 Championship win; it's the first picture, but the website appears to have been taken down.)

ESPN: Leetch, only American-born playoff MVP, retires Brian Leetch retires from NHL

Blueshirt Bulletin: Leetch Rides Off Into the Sunset

The Unofficial Rangers Blog: Brian Leetch Retires

Another Modest Proposal

DOJ Barbie: I don't know nothing 'bout vote caging!

In Re Monical Goodling's testimony yesterday (Monical is a typo, but I'm inclined to let it stay) I must apologize for my aborted attempt at liveblogging. I think I was distracted by the prospect of the Champions League final in the afternoon, and didn't want to get tied down to the computer.

But I did listen to much of the testimony, and it struck me once again that most members of Congress couldn't cross examine their way out of a paper bag. Watching the rows and rows of Congresscritters lined up to question DOJ Barbie reminded me of the Watergate hearings, back in the day. Remember when the committee investigating the breakin used staff to do the questioning? Remember attorney Sam Dash, who was appointed committee counsel by Senator Sam Ervin? It was Sam Dash doing the questioning the day Alexander Butterfield revealed the existence of Nixon's secret taping system.

I wish the Congressional committees questioning these witnesses would appoint a professional to assist them. Now, who is both qualified and has the time? How about recently fired New Mexico USAG David Iglesias? He's not working and he certainly knows the issues here. He's handsome and telegenic. There may be complaints that he's partisan, but he's a Republican. Besides, this isn't a criminal trial. It's a political hearing, and both sides are allowed to be as political as they want.

John Conyers, hire David Iglesias. Let him question. Would there be any
better showdown ever, than to watch Iglesias question Karl Rove? YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! (A Few Good Men was based on a case tried by Iglesias.)

Dems Capitulate on Benchmarks

Yesterday's Keith Olbermann report on the Iraq funding bill:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Red Sox Go Toe Sox

Not the actual Red Sox Toe Sox

NYTimes: With a New Sock, The Red Sox Add Some Distance

In 2004 Curt Schilling’s bloodied socks — the ones he wore that October while he conquered the Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals on the way to Boston’s first World Series championship in 86 seasons — were the symbol of the Red Sox.

Now the Red Sox are riding high again, far ahead of the Yankees in the American League East. Appropriately enough, a sock is the team symbol again. Only this time it is a five-toed version popularized by their two new Japanese pitchers — Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima.

The socks, which fit like a glove with each toe individually encased, were met with curiosity in Boston’s clubhouse during spring training. Before long, Matsuzaka began offering pairs to anyone who expressed an interest. And a number of players did, including Mike Lowell, Álex Cora and Doug Mirabelli, who are now playing in them regularly. Looking for a reason for Boston’s great start to the season? Maybe it is the socks.

“At first they feel kind of weird,” Mirabelli said. “They got some sticky things on the bottom, like little kids would have on the bottom of their socks. But you get used to them.”

The socks that Matsuzaka wears are covered with hundreds of tiny rubbery beads on the sole for better traction. As for Okajima, the individual toe slots help with his balance because he can firmly grip each toe, he said.

Before the Red Sox played the Yankees on Monday, Matsuzaka ran in the outfield wearing his five-toed socks and no cleats. The pitching coach, John Farrell, could not figure out why, so he asked Matsuzaka’s interpreter, Masa Hoshino, for an explanation.

“He likes the feel of the grass on his feet,” Hoshino said with a smile.

AC Milan Are Champions of Europe

My caption: Too little, too late. Crouchie and Kewell should have started; at least they should have been on at half.

Official caption: Benitez brings on Harry Kewell for Bolo Zenden as Liverpool struggle to get back on terms in the second half (BBC)

Well, as a Liverpool fan, that was a bitter disappointment. Liverpool dominated play in the first half, all from the right side of the field where Jermaine Pennant ran rampant. The announcers kept talking about Zenden's lack of pace, as though this were some new thing; he has spent the season half lame, or huffing and puffing, clearly having lost a step or three from his salad days, which were not Merseyside. I heard Peter Crouch say in an interview that Bolo speaks four languages; perhaps he has used one of them to bewitch the manager. "I put a spell on you/'cause you're mine..." Harry Kewell looked a little rusty, but he is a world class left wing, had pace, and forced at least three corners as a result. Including the one at the end where Kuyt scored.

So those were Rafa's brilliant tactics: to start an old, slow, and injured left wing and stick with him for 57 agonizing minutes; and to leave out the second leading scorer in the Champions League until 12 minutes remaining. Rafa is hailed as a great tactician. Coach Mom has always doubted, and I have to agree with her today. That was just awful. The substitutions were so late. And why did he take off Mascherino, rather than Xabi Alonso? Mascherino had had a fabulous game. Alonso will be best remembered for the foul that gave Milan the free kick for their first goal, and a yellow card. When Inzaghi scored his second goal, I was appalled that the entire Liverpool backline had stopped dead to watch him go at Pepe Reina. If Mascherino with his young legs had been in the game, would he have made the run back to save that ball off the line? We'll never know. But he's got all the energy in the world compared to the other players out there, as West Ham left him on the bench all season. (And after watching him -- and Tevez -- play, you have to ask: Why? Were they nuts?)

I just don't get why Rafa doesn't trust Crouchie. As Tommy Smyth said in the post-game aftermath (in the seconds before ESPN2 whisked us off to some tractor pull), the game changed when Crouch entered. Liverpool suddenly had a man in the middle to make things happen, and shortly thereafter they scored on the corner kick. Crouch is not really that good in the air, because although he's tall he's rather willowy. But he's fantastic with the ball at his feet, has great touch, passes well, and sees the game like a creative midfielder. And there he sat, for 78 minutes, while Dirk Kuyt, who hadn't scored in the Champions League all season, ran around in circles. Kuyt has the worst first touch on the team. Half the time he can't even receive a pass, the ball just bounces off his dead feet. I'm always suspicious of players who get applauded for their workrate. I'd rather have fat Ronaldo, loafing up the field but scoring early and often. Workrate is overrated. Give me results any day.

ESPN had their usual muddled coverage. Why can't they show the substitutes bench? Then you can plot who you'd substitute in as the game goes on. Derek Rae and Tommy Smyth have their annoying verbal tics, but at least know the game; better than the moronic announcers we get for the USMNT games. But an hour before the game, they ran a promo that went thusly: "AC Milan. Maldini. Kaka. Versus Liverpool. Crouch. Gerrard." I said to myself, don't they realize Crouch might not even play? Of course they don't. They're ESPN, with the rights to soccer, but not the love. They cut away so quickly at the end, if I was a Milan fan I'd be screaming with outrage. I bet they'd stay for hours for the post-game interviews for some stupid NAIA college football tournament. Or a tractor pull.

NYTimes: A.C. Milan 2, Liverpool 1
Milan Wins 7th European Crown

BBC: AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool

Paul Doyle, Guardian BLog: Liverpool got everything right but their selection
Rafa Benitez found the perfect formation to stifle Milan, but he lacked the players to win.

Guardian (uk): Liverpool fans injured in ticket row
Two taken to hospital after fight breaks out

Guardian (uk): Liverpool have bravery but no breaks as Inzaghi inflicts Milan's revenge

Telegraph: Picture Gallery

SkySports: Gerrard gutted by Athens loss

The Sultan of Smack

One of the Juice Boys is back in the headlines:

On the left is Jason Giambi in 2006; to the right is his rookie card.

Boston Globe: Report: Giambi failed amphetamines test

NYDailyNews: Exclusive
Giambi meets with MLB officials

Red Sox Nation will never forget Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, (aka the Bronx Robbery) where long before Grady left Pedro in too long, long before Aaron Boone put himself into history with his walkoff homer against Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning, juiced Jason Giambi hit two solo homeruns. No juice, no comeback, no win. I repeat my call for the tiny hypodermic needle to be placed next to the stats of every one of these cheaters.

US Attorney News

LATimes: 'Cowboy up,' Alberto Gonzales
A fired U.S. attorney calls on the attorney general to serve the people, not politics.

LATimes: Goodling: a Power player behind Justice's scenes
The former Justice insider, a mystery to many, is set to testify under immunity in Congress on the U.S. attorneys' firings.

WaPo: Officials Describe Interference by Former Gonzales Aide [Monica Goodling]

Monica Goodling: Liveblog

She asserts her Fifth Amendment right in a helium-squeaky voice. I cannot stand professional women who sound like children.


Higher and higher her voice goes. Now she's five.


She knows nothing! Nothing!


Took politics into consideration in hiring; "may have gone too far."


Her long, sad history to this chair. She worked as hard as she could! That is why she got promoted five times! She cares deeply about my Justice Department family!

Liveblogging is boring. I'm just going to listen.

Out Long National Wait Is Over

Monica Goodling, the former Justice Department's White House liaison, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 23, 2007, to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A new photo of Monica Goodling.

We're all so tired of the old one:

Looks like she's had an extreme makeup makeover.

Cheap Like Me


Get Rich Slowly: Festival of Frugality #75

Welcome to the 75th edition of the Festival of Frugality. Here you’ll find a mass of money-saving tips from 44 different bloggers. I’ve organized the entries into broad subject areas, and noted my favorites with a happy star: *. Thanks to everyone who participated! (And tune in next week at Blogging Away Debt where Tricia will host the 76th installment of this roadshow.)

hat tip to The Consumerist

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another One That Never Gets Old

Liverpool Vs AC Milan Champions League Final 2005

Another Reason To Love Al Gore

His messy office makes me feel better about my office. Except that triple screen monitor. That is way cool.

hat tip to BoingBoing; photo in Time magazine.

'Family Guy -- The World is Beautiful with Gore as President'

From the YouTube poster's description:

Fox ran a train on their loyal Republican audience last night with scathing episodes of The Simpson and Family Guy. In this Family Guy episode, Death allows Peter to go back in time, but when he returns to the present he discovers he is married to Molly Ringwald and Lois is married to Quagmire. An alternate version of the world is presented in which Al Gore is president,...Basically, it's paradise on earth. Enjoy the fantasy.

hat tip to Down with Tyranny

"In a World Where Law Is Meaningless...."

Yes, you've entered Bushworld. The Godfather, Part IV: Fredo's Revenge.

RemDawg on Guitar

NESN has been showing this hilarious clip during our many spring rain delays. Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo have to be the funniest team in the booth ever. Rock on, Dawg.

Cool World Series Montage

Sawx wouldn't have been in the World Series were it not for The Steal

World Series Montage

What World Series, you ask?

But of course, 2004, the night of the orange moon.

I miss Dave Roberts.

hat tip to Touching All the Bases

Just For Laughs

For your enjoyment, a BBC Radio Four parody:

Jose The Musical Click on the link and under "Recommended", click on "Feature: Jose The Musical"

Hat tip to Coach Mom, who can't stop laughing about it.

Bye Bye Bernie

Boston Herald: WRKO dumps McGuirk drive-time tryout

Boston Globe: WRKO cancels appearance by McGuirk

After several days of criticism for inviting a former Don Imus producer to its airwaves, WRKO cancelled an appearance by Bernard McGuirk today.

McGuirk was slated to begin a three-day stint Wednesday as an on-air guest of former House speaker Tom Finneran -- an appearance that station officials said last week was designed as a try-out for the man who first said the word ``ho'' in the on-air conversation in which Imus referred to the champion Rutgers University women's basketball team as ``nappy headed hos.''

George Regan, a spokesman for Entercom Communications, the parent company of WRKO, declined to say why the invitation was rescinded. But over the weekend, a 1997 interview on CBS' ``60 Minutes'' surfaced in which Imus was quoted using a racial slur to say that McGuirk was hired for his show to tell jokes about blacks.

Wouldn't it be nice if they read it here on Main St.? Man, it would just frost my cupcakes if we helped take down stone racist Bernie. I think it's funny how they say the interview "surfaced". On Saturday (I think that would count as "over the weekend"), I linked to a piece (published in 2000, archived on the web in 2004) that contained the 60 Minutes transcript:

Imus N*****-Joke-Telling Sidekick Getting Boston Radio Audition

WRKO, a Boston AM radio station, is giving a tryout to Imus co-host Bernard McGuirk. McGuirk was hired, according to Imus, "to do nigger jokes".

Plus, both the Herald and the Globe use that ugly Fox photo I used. I am so taking credit for this.

Monday, May 21, 2007

News Round-Up, Monday, May 21, 2007


McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder) has an important article on the success Karl Rove and his minions have had in suppressing legitimate votes, all in the name of faux voter fraud.

ThinkProgress: TSA Confiscates Congressman’s Last Meal During Food Stamp Challenge Stupid, stupid TSA liquids rules. Did they think Congressman Ryan was going to blow up the plane with a jar of peanut butter? I can't wait until saner minds prevail. The confiscation of liquids is just as stupid as the 15 years that we endured the Lockerbie questions. (Did you pack your own bag? Has your bag been out of your possession at any point? Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry anything? Arrgh.)

Great anti-war piece in the Chicago Sun-Times: Bring troops home now (hat tip, Suburban Guerrilla)

TalkLeft: Here Come The Detention Camps: Immigration Legislation
No wonder George W. Bush supported the new immigration compromise legislation; it lets him build more gulags.

Brilliant at Breakfast: Why can't a First Lady have a career? Michelle Obama has left her job at a Chicago hospital.

Best health care system in the world, my ass: The LA Times reports the heartbreaking story of a woman who was allowed to die writhing in pain in a hospital ER in Los Angeles County. They had told her to leave and call her own doctor in the morning.

The Boston Globe reports on the resuscitation of a (southern hemisphere, really lost) albatross that was found in a field in Maine.

The WaPo discovers left blogtopia; better late to the party than never, I guess.

Champions League Final Previews

My prediction

From the press and the blogs:

ITV's Champions League predictions

BBC Sport: Team News, AC Milan v Liverpool

Guardian (uk): Special Report: Champions League (several excellent articles)

TimesOnline: Champions League (another compendium of excellent articles, plus a podcast from Rafa, Carra & Pepe!)

Independent (uk): Crouch: 'Once we have won the Champions League final I will look back and think how far I've come' (our brush with fame; Crouchie watched the Champions League final in Istanbul with Joe Cole in a bar in Chicago; we met him in the elevator of our hotel in Chicago two days later!)

BBC Sport: Alan Hansen's column: History will count for nothing in the Champions League final in Athens on Wednesday.

being sven: Shades of Red: A Liverpool Fan Roundtable

kopblog: Should Kewell Play In Athens? (if you want to skip the suspense, here's the answer: "ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY!")

The Soccer Blogger's Soccer Blog: Champions League Final Preview CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL ? LIVERPOOL TO BE GREEK HEROES?

myliverpoolfc: PREVIEW - New classic possible between Liverpool and Milan

Sunday, May 20, 2007


The latest news in some stories we've covered previously.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)
, the federal agency charged with making our nation's mines safe, has issued fines for the Sago Mine disaster in which 12 miners died. Only one died as a result of the lightning strike said to have started the fire; the other 11 died subsequently. They were each wearing self-contained self-rescuers (SCSRs); there were numerous code violations in these, and obviously they failed. The MSHA issued a fine of $60 to the mine operator. Yes, $60. 12 deaths, divided by $60, that's $5 per death.

In the wake of the resignation of Boston College women's ice hockey coach Tom Mutch for an inappropriate relationship with a player, one incoming freshman has chosen another school, and a freshman was released from her scholarship. Neither is the player reportedly involved with the coach. In similar news, the women's golf coach at the University of Georgia, Todd McCorkle, resigned May 7th after being accused of sexually harassing his players. He showed them the Paris Hilton sex tape, talked about their bras and underwear, and touched them inappropriately. Like Mutch, McCorkle is married to a former player, Jenna Daniels, who is now on the LPGA Tour. But he met her while he was her golf coach at the University of Arizona, when she was 18 and he was 36. Warning bells!

Don Imus is suing CBS Radio for $120 million. Did he have a clause in his contract saying that he got to stay if advertisers bailed? I'm sure he'll donate whatever he gets to charity.

When Rudy Giuliani reported his finances this week, we learned a weird fact: He has Judi Nathan on the payroll, to the tune of $125,000 per year. So those campaign contributors are putting their money right into the Giuliani/Nathan kitty. It's all about the Benjamins.

Congressman Jim McGovern's Food Stamp Challenge made the front page of the Boston Globe yesterday.

No Chinese, Please

Smithsonian neg#77-1965 Neon Sign Display in A Nation of Nations at Museum of American History. SI photo by Dane A. Penland

Big Food has been importing cheap food and food "ingredients" from China. There's no FDA in China, and our own FDA barely inspects a fraction of the foodstuffs coming in to this country. The FDA has even been sending tainted products back, rather than destroy them; the producers just send 'em in again. And probably succeed most of the time, as so little is actually inspected, just 0.9% in 2006. I'm writing to my Congressman today in favor of a mandatory label on food products listing country or countries of origin.

litbrit at Shakesville: It's Time For America To Legislate Mandatory Country Of Origin Labels

WaPo: Tainted Chinese Imports Common
In Four Months, FDA Refused 298 Shipments

Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.

Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics.

Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria.

Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China that the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught -- many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

NYTimes: Poisoned Toothpaste in Panama Is Believed to Be From China

International Herald Tribune (reprinted from the Boston Globe): U.S. proposal to allow chicken imports from China raises health concerns

Chicago Tribune: Big holes frustrate food import safety net
China trade reveals gaps in FDA system

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

SI Neg. 93-10226.14a. Date: 1993...A series of spectacular fireworks bursts cover the Washington skyline, with the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in the background. ..Credit: Nicholas Parrella (Smithsonian Institution)

Yesterday was the third blogiversary of Main St. USA. Thanks to all who have read and commented.

Newsweek Gives Right Wing Fruitcake Forum to Attack Title IX

This book, and its author, tilts to the right.

Newsweek: Is Title IX Sidelining the Boys?
While federal law made sports more accessible to women, critics charge it works against male athletes.

Jessica Gavora's at it again. This time on the pages of Newsweek magazine, where she is described as "the vice president for policy of The College Sports Council and author of 'Tilting the Playing Field'". In reality, Gavora is a former speechwriter for radical conservatives Newt Gingrich, John Ashcroft, and Alberto Gonzales. Five years ago when Kathy Jean Lopez was reviewing Tilting the Playing Field on NRO, Gavora was described much more accurately: "Today, Gavora is chief speechwriter to attorney general John Ashcroft (and wife of NRO editor Jonah Goldberg)".

[Yes, that's NRO editor Jonah Goldberg, the famous chickenhawk who, while exhorting soldiers to the killing fields of Iraq, said he can't go because "I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry"; so Jessica Gavora, Title IX-attacker, is the mother of said daughter. Sad.]

Of course, Newsweek provides none of this biographical information. She's the vice president of The College Sports Council. Doesn't that sound all even-handed and above-board? The fact that this is a group advocating for the interests of wrestling, swimming and gymnastics (small, expensive sports that get cut so schools can have 85 or 95 or 105 man football squads) is not mentioned. That would have involved reporting rather than stenography.

But I digress. Back to Jessica Gavora. The wingers' first attempt to dismantle Title IX failed miserably; public blowback ended their chances of eliminating equality by legislation. So the Bush Administration put out regulations that allow schools to say girls aren't interested in sports by administering a survey; these regulations were roundly and soundly criticized, but they're still in effect. They've only got 1 3/4 years left to attack Title IX, so they're trotting out the new tactics.

Jessica sounds so pro-equality as she attacks Title IX. She's just a pal trying to make things even more equitable:

Do you advocate getting rid of Title IX?

I do think we still need title IX. I think that everybody in our educational institutions deserves protection against sex discrimination. I think that’s an important part of equality in this country. But we need to change the way we are judging schools. They need to be able to offer sports on the basis of student interest. That’s why we applauded the student interest survey, [which surveyed the student body based on interest in athletics, allowing for representative sports teams] because right now we have this very arbitrary numerical formula that we are applying and it’s hurting athletes. Not just male athletes, but female athletes on small roster squads. Women who play smaller roster sports don’t get the same opportunity.

Who's radical? It's all us equality folks, that's who! We're out there trying to brainwash women into thinking they're athletic or something:

What do the people on the other side of the issue argue?

The people on the other side of this believe that it isn’t the role of the university to accommodate the interests of women; they believe it’s the role of the university to create interest. They believe it is the role of the university to educate women on how athletic they are.

No one on the equality side of the ledger has ever said or advocated any such thing, but Newsweek lets it go.

Jessica blames everything on us old women (as Gloria Steinem said, women may be the one group that grow radical with age):

What do female athletes say?

I know that I’ve heard from lots of female athletes who are starting to say that this law has outlived its purpose. They don’t understand what this law means because they’re seeing it limit the opportunities of the men they travel and train with and who make them better athletes. And they think it’s insane. There’s a big generational divide here. Some of the women who are of the “if you build it they will com”’ mentality are older women and they lived at a time and went to college at a time when women were being given the short end of the stick in a major way. But these women today have had a very different experience and they don’t agree with what this law is doing to their male colleagues.

See, from Jessica's perspective, these young women, they're being given the short end of the stick in a minor way, and that's all right. If only us old women would only shut up and know our place. We say it's all about football. What does Jessica think of this argument?

What about the big-money sports, like college football teams, that have 80 players [n.b., actually, there are Division I schools with over 100 men on the football team; the University of South Dakota has 113) when they only really need 30. Do you think they are taking up spaces for smaller men’s sports?

Some people like to say it’s all football, because schools are spending all their money on football teams, but that’s not what this is about. Those football players aren’t taking any opportunities away from females. The money they spend on football is not the reason they can only have 15 guys on their baseball team, when if they took their walk-ons they could have 50. Women don’t come out and play for the team without scholarships the way men do. Women have a lot more things they want to do. Look at the gender balance for every extracurricular activity and they’re all dominated by women, except sports. Women have more diverse interests; men are more maniacally interested in sports. Some people say that’s gender heresy but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

"Those football players aren't taking any opportunities away from females." That's the crux of the Title IX haters argument: Just take football out of the equation, and you'll see that men are getting screwed. Like it isn't male athletes who are playing football. They're an alien race of large-boned androids, or something. That's what they'd like to have us believe, but football players are indeed male athletes, and get counted toward Title IX compliance.

"Women have a lot more things they want to do. Look at the gender balance for every extracurricular activity and they’re all dominated by women, except sports. Women have more diverse interests; men are more maniacally interested in sports. Some people say that’s gender heresy but I don’t think that’s a bad thing." Gavora used to call this "The sportsmania gap"; but she's abandoned that and other incendiary phraseology like "affirmative androgyny" for more palatable, but still sexist, words:

This mostly applies to college sports, but how is it relevant to high schools?

This proportionality has so far been pretty much confined to colleges and universities and it would really be a tragedy if it were applied to high schools. Like I said, look at who’s doing what extracurricular activity in high schools and then tell me we need to force equality of participation in sports. You’re going to hurt a lot of boys because a lot of girls are busy after school doing other things, so I think it would be terrible if we expanded this to high schools.

"[T]hen tell me we need to force equality of participation in sports...". That's what she's against. She's against equality. Newsweek doesn't hear that dog whistle, but we do. Gavora is for Title IX, but against forced equality. But you can't have it both ways. Either you're for equality, or you're not. She's clearly in the anti-equality camp, and Newsweek should have called her on it. But that would have involved journalism. And this is just stenography, letting another right-wing fruitcake have her say in the corporate media.