Friday, December 14, 2007

Bill O, In Song

This is hysterical. A musical performance of Mackris v. O'Reilly, the sexual harassment case which Bill O'Reilly quickly settled. The transcript of the recording of Bill O'Reilly's phone call is sung by baritone Charles Robert Stephens.

Excerpt from "Mackris v. O'Reilly", a baroque oratorio composed by Igor Keller. Libretto uses verbatim transcript of sexual harassment complaint brought against Bill O'Reilly in 2004.

Pia Rocks

Video from USSoccer of the first two practices under new coach Pia Sundhage, including the song she sang to start things off! The times they are a changing, for sure.

The War on Play

Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times

At Oakdale Elementary School in Montville, Conn., tag, dodgeball and other potentially hazardous games have been restricted.

Modern life doesn't encourage unscripted play. Parents are afraid to let their children play outside. They schedule their children's lives including their free time. Kids are let out into fenced pens where an adult can see them at all times. (What fun is that?) Schools have eliminated daily phys ed, and according to this New York Times article, recess is now in the sights of school administrators. God forbid kids should just go out and play. No, now their recess activities are carefully monitored, and in one Connecticut school, the use of balls was prohibited. Balls? Good grief. Let them play.

NYTimes: School Recess Gets Gentler, and the Adults Are Dismayed

NYTimes: Before Children Ask, 'What's Recess?'

Guardian (uk): Playgrounds too soft, mean streets too hard Having scabs from scrapes is part of childhood!

New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty

AFP: A decommissioned electric chair

Newark Star-Ledger: Assembly OKs measure to end N.J. executions

After more than two hours of emotional debate about justice and retribution, the Assembly yesterday gave final approval to a bill to abolish New Jersey's death penalty, sending the measure to the desk of a governor who is eager to sign it into law.

The lawmakers voted 44-36 to replace the state's never-used death penalty with life in prison without parole. The Senate passed the bill Monday. Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he expects to sign it in a matter of days, making New Jersey the first state to repeal its capital punishment law in more than 30 years.

Interestingly, all the non-US papers that cover this story illustrate it with a picture of some method of execution.

ITN (uk)

BBC News

EuroNews, France


The US papers just have pictures of the Assembly, or Governor Corzine.

Reactions To Roger's a 'Roider "News"

Clemens throws bat at Mike Piazza, Game 2 of 2000 World Series. 'Roid rage?

The most prominent name in George Mitchell's report on steroids in baseball is 7 time Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens. I've suspected the Rocket for a long time because he got too big and stayed too good long into his 40s. I couldn't even play once a week competitive (and that's stretching it) softball after the age of 40 because my body was so beat up. He's been striking out 22-year-olds well into his middle 40s. That's just not normal.

Here's a roundup of media reaction:

Tom Boswell, WaPo: The Rocket's Descent (The Australian paper that picked up this article gave it a much better title: Twin peaks just freaks in steroid circus)

Harvey Araton, New York Times: All-Juice Team Has Finally Found Its Ace: Clemens

Dan Shaughnessey, Boston Globe: Tainted Gloves

Peter Gelzinis, Boston Herald: Did Rocket tell son about moon shots?

Bill Madden, NYDailyNews: Roger Clemens' bid for Cooperstown likely will end with strikeout

Jose De Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle: Scandal to cost Clemens support for Hall
Baseball writers have mixed views on whether pitcher will get their vote

Wallace Matthews, Newsday: Clemens must be judged same way as Bonds

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MLB Steroid List: Leaked, Yanked, Here It Is (Updated)

Raw Story

Only one surprise to me: Jason Varitek. But if you look at him, it makes sense. Update: Should have remained surprised. Here's the pdf file of the Mitchell Report; Varitek's name does not appear (I used the search function).

I'll post a better list when ESPN makes it available; obviously the one yanked from WNBC was not correct.

Update 2: Here's the real list, from the New York Times:

Chad Allen
Manny Alexander
Rick Ankiel
Mike Bell
David Bell
Gary Bennett Jr.
Marvin Benard
Larry Bigbie
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Paul Byrd
Ken Caminiti
Jose Canseco
Mark Carreon
Jason Christiansen
Howie Clark
Roger Clemens
Jack Cust
Brendan Donnelly
Lenny Dykstra
Bobby Estalella
Matt Franco
Ryan Franklin
Eric Gagne
Jason Giambi
Jeremi Giambi
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jason Grimsley
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Matt Herges
Phil Hiatt
Glenallen Hill
Darren Holmes
Todd Hundley
David Justice
Chuck Knoblauch
Tim Laker
Mike Lansing
Paul Lo Duca
Nook Logan
Josias Manzanillo
Gary Matthews Jr.
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Bart Miadich
Hal Morris
David Naulty
Denny Neagle
Jim Parque
Andy Pettitte
Adam Piatt
Todd Pratt
Stephen Randolph
Adam Riggs
Brian Roberts
John Rocker
F.P. Santangelo
Benito Santiago
Gary Sheffield
Scott Schoeneweis
David Segui
Mike Stanton
Miguel Tejada
Ismael Valdez
Mo Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Fernando Vina
Rondell White
Todd Williams
Jeff Williams
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard
Kevin Young
Gregg Zaun

We Love Lists

SI Neg. 95-9614. Date: 1995...Slab containing fossil crinoids (Pentacrinus subangularis), Jurrasic period, between 203 million and 185 million years old. ..Credit: Laurie Minor-Penland (Smithsonian Institution)

Bonanza of lists:

Time: 50 Top Ten Lists of 2007

Told Ya

NYTimes: As Baseball Braces for Report, Pettitte and Clemens Cited

As I suspected:

MainstUSA, 10/1/06: Clemens a 'Roider?

Disgraceful: WaPo Runs Reviews of Presidential Candidates' Clothes. Really.

Robin Givhan, How I Think She Looks:
Wears glasses in vain attempt to look intelligent

The Washington Post is running a series on the leading Presidential candidates. They call it The Front-runners: A revealing look at each of the leading presidential candidates

Good luck to you in finding any actual substance in this series. It is a vehicle for the most puerile and vapid information to be dispatched to the American voter. For example, WaPo Style writer Robin Givhans has a daily article. Originally headlined "How He Looks", now each piece is given an individual title and listed as "[Candidate's] Style".

But the pieces are still completely superficial discourses on the candidate's look and how that reinforces Robin Givhan's belief in the conventional wisdom about that candidate. So far, she's riffed on Hillary Clinton's pantsuits (damn feminist! Robin wants you to wear a dress, or at least show cleavage so she can vamp about that); Romney's perfect hair (too perfect; manufactured); Edwards down-home clothes (fake); Fred Thompson's boring clothes (doesn't really care) and McCain's too young clothes (too old). We breathlessly await her discourses on Obama (too young, inexperienced), Huckabee (hanging off him; not ready for primetime, or bariatric surgery?), and Giuliani (ambition, ambition, ambition).

There are also "tag clouds" called Free Association for each candidate (really), a summary of the candidate's stump speech, 4 things you might not know about the candidate, and a five-page story outlining the candidate's life.

Markedly, there is no special section for each candidate on anything of substance, like "Policy Positions", or "Record on Issues" or anything serious like that. It's all horserace and no soul.

How Robin Givhan looks for writing these empty pieces: Stupid. How the Washington Post looks for running them: Sad.

Journalism is dead. Long live the corporate media!

What Romney Left Behind

Another parody ad. Living in Massachusetts is really tough since the Mittwit left us!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Have You Written to the FEC Yet?

ActBlue is not a PAC! Don't let the FEC penalize small donors who give to political campaigns through ActBlue.

You can use my letter, or use this handy form on the John Edwards campaign site.

Mike Huckabee Parody Ad

It's only a minute, and you will laugh.

Rudy Giggliani

Rudy Giuliani laughs off many questions about his questionable clients and ethics on Meet the Press this weekend. He really is creepy. Ghouliani is more like it.

2007 Is Second Warmest Year Ever

The climate crisis continues unabated. "The Arctic is screaming" says climate scientist Mark Serreze. The Bush Administration position at the climate talks is: Hurry up and wait. Wait until January 20, 2009. Bush will do nothing. He is the greatest do nothing in the history of do nothings. What has he done to stop global warming? Nothing.

And I'd like to give a shout out to the five morons on the Supreme Court who seven years ago today gave us the Master of Disaster George W. Bush as President, over the vote-winner, now Nobel Prize winner Al Gore. Thank you very fucking much for seven years of the plague of Shrub, Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas, Injustice Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy (four appointed by Ronald Raygun, one by Buckfush41). Equal protection, my ass. Equal protection for rich malevolent assholes.

ClimateProgress: NASA: 2007 Second Warmest Year Ever, with Record Warmth Likely by 2010

Through the first 11 months, 2007 is the second warmest year in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean has entered the cool phase of its natural El Niño — La Niña cycle.

… barring the unlikely event of a large volcanic eruption, a record global temperature exceeding that of 2005 can be expected within the next 2-3 years.


The six warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 15 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1988.

DailyMail: World told to act now on climate change as 'Arctic is screaming'

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, a senior US scientist.

Edited to add, oh, and by the way, American scientists told the American Geophysical Union meeting this week that there may be NO ARCTIC ICE by 2013. That's six years, folks. Wave goodbye to the polar bears.

Save the Vince Lombardi Rest Stop!

I have a ritual. When I drive through New Jersey I always stop at the Vince Lombardi rest stop (by Exit 18). It's the last stop before you drive through the city as you are heading to New England. A brief respite before the Cross-Bronx Expressway. As I go through the doors I say "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing!" (Doesn't everyone?)

(A side note: Vince Lombardi actually said, "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is", but what fun is that? It just doesn't have the same blood & guts, fight to the death connotations.)

George Vecsey has lent his clout to the fight to save the historic names of the New Jersey Turnpike rest stops (the Molly Pitcher, the Clara Barton, the Walt Whitman, to name a few). And really, who wants to be reminded of some corporate-welfare-receiving corporation while trying to get a break from the turnpike rat race?

George Vecsey, NYTimes: Call to Arms to Retain Name at a Garden State Rest Stop

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pia Sundhage: Total Football

Johan Cruyff: 'God's gift to football'

All football fans sigh with pleasure to hear the phrase "total football". It brings to mind the legend Johan Cruyff, and his Dutch team's creative, flowing, dynamic, beautiful football.

That's what Pia Sundhage is preaching to the USWNT. Hurrah! Weekly soccer column: Sundhage revives the U.S. team

Not surprisingly [] Sundhage preaches a European-style "total football" approach, where Greg Ryan, her predecessor as U.S. coach, emphasized defense first .

"She's making everybody defend and everybody do the offensive side," said midfielder Shannon Boxx, the former South Torrance High star. "Greg was very much on the defensive side and Pia is very much on the offensive side."

Presumably, that will eliminate the reliance on low-percentage long balls out of the back and then hoping goal-scoring machine Abby Wambach can get on the end of them.

Finesse and tactical awareness will replace brute strength and strategic naivete.

And players will be asked to do more, rather than simply fill a niche and perform a specialized role.

hat tip to USA Women's Soccer blog.

Nick Hornby's New Audience

The British author of such bestsellers as "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy" -- whose main characters resist the conventions of grown-up life -- has now turned to the young adult literature market.
Photo Credit: By Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post

Teens, with his new novel Slam marketed to the so-called 'young adult' market. I'm a big fan of Hornby, starting with High Fidelity, and of course Fever Pitch. The Arsenal fanatic is missing three games to do his US book tour.

WaPo: A New Shelf Life Begins
To Find Nick Hornby's Latest Novel, 'Slam,' You Have to Think Young

Huckleberry Huckabee Leads National Polls

Republicans really are desperate. Nutjob Mike Huckabee is leading the national polls.

LATimes: Huckabee does a flip-flop on Cuba

Five years ago, in favor of ending embargo on Cuba trade. This week, embargo away! Last week, favored education for illegal immigrants in Republican debate. This week, wants them all deported within 120 days. Sounds practical to me. I think he could start with Mitt Romney's yard workers.

And he's a religious fanatic. This is a quote from Huckabee in 1998: "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, He did sign the Declaration of Independence, didn't He? (I am reliably informed of his participation in the events of 1776 by White House Hostess With the Mostest Press Secretary Dana Perino, with her encyclopedic knowledge of American history.)

dailykos: Top 10 Moments in Mike Huckabee's Extremism (Go to the post for an individual write-up of each moment)

1. Huckabee Calls for the Quarantine of AIDS Victims
2. Huckabee Enables the Politically-Motivated Parole of Repeat Rapist/Murderer
3. Huckabee Offers Faith-Based Pardons
4. Huckabee Undermines the Teaching of Evolution
5. Huckabee Speaks for God
6. Huckabee Speaks to God
7. Huckabee Claims God Behind His Rise in the Polls
8. Huckabee Proclaims His Theology Degree a Unique Qualification to Fight Terrorism
9. Huckabee Flip-Flops, Calls for Federal Abortion Ban
10. Huckabee Calls for Consumption Tax, Abolition of the IRS

Greenland Ice Sheet Air Temps Have Risen 7 Degrees F --- Since 1991

Melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (

The response of the Bush Administration to these alarming facts? The Republican representative at the UN climate talks in Bali is Larry 'I am not gay, there is no global warming' Craig (R-Wide Stance). Perfect. The man lives in Denial. In the real world, we are terrified as the weather becomes more extreme every year.

Reuters: Greenland ice sheet melting at record rate

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The Greenland ice sheet melted at a record rate this year, the largest ever since satellite measurements began in 1979, a top climate scientist reported on Monday.

"The amount of ice lost by Greenland over the last year is the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps, or a layer of water more than one-half mile (800 meters) deep covering Washington DC,
" said Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado at Boulder.


In recent years, melting has started earlier in the year than normal. Air temperatures on the ice sheet have risen by about 7 degrees F (3.9 degrees C) since 1991, mostly because of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the scientists said in research presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

This is in keeping with persistently gloomy news about the state of the Arctic this year. In October, a U.S. government "report card" found less ice, hotter air and dying wildlife.

In May, a U.S. expert at the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado found that Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Isiah Thomas & MSG: $11.5 Worth of "Innocence"

She's smiling now!

Isiah Thomas, October 2, 2007:
“I want to say it as loud as I possibly can. I am innocent. I’m very innocent. I did not do the things that she accused me in the courtroom of doing. I am extremely disappointed that the jury did not see the facts in this case. I will appeal this.”

Isiah Thomas and MSG today settled with Anucha Browne Sanders for $11.5 million dollars. That's $11.5 million worth of innocent, very innocent.

I have one question. What would they have paid if he were guilty?

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy and a nicer bunch of schmucks.

ActBlue is Not a PAC

John Edwards has asked the Federal Elections Commission to rule on whether he can get public matching funds for the contributions that have been made to his campaign by ActBlue.

The FEC is making it difficult. It says ActBlue is a PAC (Political Action Committee) even though obviously it's not. It's just a mechanism that allows small donors to donate, and to ask their friends to donate, to candidates they like. The FEC is interpreting the law literally (do you really care about the details? Kos explains them here) rather than upholding the spirit of federal election laws which are supposed to let small donors participate.

They are accepting public comments. Your comment can help the FEC interpret the laws the way they were meant to be interpreted. Sent public comments to to the FEC Secretary, Mary Dove, at this address:

The deadline for the submission of comments is 12:00pm noon (Eastern Time) on December 13,2007.

You can use my letter if you like (note that it says I am voting for Obama, you'll need to change that if you are for another candidate). My letter is adapted from a letter helpfully posted by Lynne at BlueMassGroup (thanks Lynne!).

Dear Ms. Dove,

Please accept this email as an official public comment in opposition to the FEC categorizing ActBlue as a PAC for purposes of a candidate's eligibility for public matching funds.

ActBlue is simply a mechanism to set up online fundraising. The rules governing public matching funds are intended to keep big money out of politics, so that small donors can still have influence on the political process.

ActBlue encourages small donors to campaigns, by allowing individuals to set up a place for people to send the same sort of individual donation that you might do directly through a candidate's website or by sending them a check.

By ruling them ineligible for matching funds, you would be stifling small donor participation in the process of donations. While ActBlue only allows one political party to participate, there is nothing stopping any other party from setting up the same mechanism online, and I believe any political party should be accorded the same ruling.

Please allow ActBlue donations to count towards public matching funds. I say this as a voter who intends to vote for Barack Obama in the primary, so I have no reason to want Senator Edwards (who is as I understand the impetus for clarifying this rule) to gain advantage by getting this money. I just believe in fairness and want to ensure that the rules governing our elections encourage instead of discourage public the rules were intended to do. ActBlue is a poster child for the spirit of democratic participation. Please do not let your ruling stifle that.


Multiple Choice Mitt: He'd Say Anything!

Dana Milbank, WaPo: Romney: Anything Goes

Romney has shown impressive versatility on the campaign trail, adopting new positions as he goes along on abortion, gay rights and immigration. This flexibility also makes him an exciting candidate: He seems willing to say just about anything.

Reminds me of the song from the Oliver! musical:

I'd Do Anything (from the musical Oliver!)

I'd do anything for you dear
for you mean everything
to me

I know that
I'd go anywhere for your smile
for your smile
everywhere I see

Would you climb a hill?
Wear a dafodill?
Leave me all your will?
Even fight my Bill?
What fisticuffs?

I'd risk everything for one kiss
Yes I'd do anything
Anything for you

[Nancy]Now you try oliver just as we did anything you forget i'll tell you

I'd do anything for you dear
for you mean everything
to me

I know that
I'd go anywhere for your smile
for your smile
everywhere I see

Would you lace my shoe?
Paint your face bright blue?
Catch a kangaroo?
Go to Timbuctu?
And back again

I'd risk everything for one kiss
Yes I'd do anything
Anything for you

I'd go anywhere for your smile
for your smile
everywhere I see

I know that
I'd do anything for you dear
for you mean everything
to me

To me!
To me!
To me!
To me me me me me!

I'd do anything for you dear
Yes I'd do anything
Anything for you

Would you rob a shop?
Would you risk the drop?
Though your eyes go POP!
When you come down PLOP!
Hang everything

We'd risk life and limb
To keep you in the swim
Yes we'd do anything
Anything for you

Oh My

Consider the source, but:

The Sun (uk): JURGEN KLINSMANN is in the frame to become Liverpool boss — if Rafa Benitez gets the sack.

That change would make one coach I know very, very happy.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Four Democrats Briefed About Torture in 2002; Silent Ever Since

Nancy Pelosi
Jay Rockefeller
Jane Harman
Bob Graham

were informed by the CIA in 2002 that the US planned to torture prisoners, and said nothing. Nothing. They did not speak out against torture.

Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left
to speak up for me.

Waterboarding is torture. It has been considered torture for centuries, since it was used in the Spanish Inquisition. It is also a technique favored by the Gestapo, the Khmer Rouge, and now by the United States of America. It is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, the international treaties which are supposed to set the standards for international humanitarian behavior.

The fact that these four supposed Democrats stayed silent about this method of torture for five years is a failure of the highest order. They may have written letters that were stamped "Top Secret" and stored in a dusty file cabinet. But they have stayed silent ever since, protecting the Bush administration as it descended into the lowest depths humans can go.

No wonder impeachment is off the table. The Democrats have been aiding and abetting the very war crimes that would form the basis of the impeachment trial.

WaPo: Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002
In Meetings, Spy Panels' Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.


With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Lambert at Corrente says: Barney Frank for Speaker. He wouldn't have kept his mouth shut about torture.

Corrente: We are Democrats. They are enablers.

WaPo Ombudsman Punts Obama Rumor Story

WaPo, Deborah Howell, Ombudsman: Refuting, or Feeding, the Rumor Mill?

Howell whines that people are angry that the WaPo put rumors about Barack Obama's Muslim ties on the front page and didn't identify them as false. Now, horrors, readers are saying bad things about the WaPo and the breakdown of journalistic standards! She may as well have published a column entitled: "Wahhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Here's how I'll describe Howell, using the immortal stylings of the author of the Obama hit piece, Perry Bacon:

"Despite [her] denials, rumors and e-mails circulating on the Internet continue to allege that Howell (Ombudsman), is a "Potted plant" in a conspiracy against America, and that, if elected dogcatcher, she would take the oath of office using toilet paper, rather than the Washington Post, as Perry Bacon Jr. did in his front page article on Obama in the Washington Post last week."