Friday, November 30, 2007

Get in on it

Spending money on stupid slogans is a global problem, apparently.

But 'Welcome to Scotland' is worth something, right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

No Playoffs this year

After a loss to San Diego, (that's 5 in a row if you are keeping track), the Ravens are out of the playoff hunt.

Very dissapointing given the high expectations this year. So what now?

Boller plays the rest of the year. He needs to get some solid experience with less pressure. He's playing fine so far.

The defense needs to step it up. We are going to lose Rex Ryan in the offseason, this defense needs to be clicking, and right now, they are not (two 30 point games in a row?)

Leave Billick alone. He didn't drop the ball.

Get healthy, and evaluate where we are with talent. Ogden is done, McNair probably is, too. There are others who may not come back next year, and they need to plan for replacements.

Oh, and maybe beat New England. That would be neat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Support the Troops!

Well, maybe notsomuch.
The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

One of them is Jordan Fox, a young soldier from the South Hills.

He finds solace in the hundreds of boxes he loads onto a truck in Carnegie. In each box is a care package that will be sent to a man or woman serving in Iraq. It was in his name Operation Pittsburgh Pride was started.

Fox was seriously injured when a roadside bomb blew up his vehicle. He was knocked unconscious. His back was injured and lost all vision in his right eye.

A few months later Fox was sent home. His injuries prohibited him from fulfilling three months of his commitment. A few days ago, he received a letter from the military demanding nearly $3,000 of his signing bonus back.

"I tried to do my best and serve my country. I was unfortunately hurt in the process. Now they're telling me they want their money back," he explained.

It's a slap for Fox's mother, Susan Wardezak, who met with President Bush in Pittsburgh last May. He thanked her for starting Operation Pittsburgh Pride which has sent approximately 4,000 care packages.

He then sent her a letter expressing his concern over her son's injuries, so she cannot understand the U.S. Government's apparent lack of concern over injuries to countless U.S. Soldiers and demands that they return their bonuses.

Here's your nice letter, now please send the money back.

There's no question who is in charge.

Hat tip: The Agitator

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007



How is it we get the offense (well, and some D) to score 30 points, and lose??

Kyle looked pretty good. I think that's good for the future, if they can bring back pretty much the same team again next year, and maybe hold on to the football, next year will be a playoff run.

The only way this year works out is to win out, and I just can't see that happening.

Welcome to the Machine

Get your kids vaccinated, or go to jail.
Scores of grumbling parents facing a threat of jail lined up at a courthouse Saturday to either prove that their school-age kids already had their required vaccinations or see that the youngsters submitted to the needle.

The get-tough policy in the Washington suburbs of Prince George's County was one of the strongest efforts made by any U.S. school system to ensure its youngsters receive their required immunizations.

Two months into the school year, school officials realized that more than 2,000 students in the county still didn't have the vaccinations they were supposed to have before attending class.

So Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols ordered parents in a letter to appear at the courthouse Saturday and either get their children vaccinated on the spot or risk up to 10 days in jail. They could also provide proof of vaccination or an explanation why their kids didn't have them.

By about 8:30 a.m., the line of parents stretched outside the courthouse in the county on the east side of Washington.

Many of them complained that their children already were properly immunized but the school system had misplaced the records. They said efforts to get the paperwork straightened out had been futile.

"It was very intimidating," Territa Wooden of Largo said of the letter. She said she presented the paperwork at the courthouse Saturday and resolved the matter.

"I could be home asleep. My son had his shots," said Veinell Dickens of Upper Marlboro, who also blamed errant paperwork.

Aloma Martin of Fort Washington brought her children, Delontay and Taron, in 10th and 6th grade, for their hepatitis shots. She said she had been trying to get the vaccinations for more than a month, since the school system sent a warning letter. She had an appointment for Monday, but came to the courthouse to be safe.

"It was very heavy handed," she said of the county's action. "From that letter, it sounded like they were going to start putting us in jail."

School officials deemed the court action a success. School system spokesman John White said the number of children lacking vaccinations dropped from 2,300 at the time the judge sent the letter to about 1,100 Friday.

After Saturday's session, 172 more students were brought into compliance, including 101 students who received vaccinations at the courthouse and 71 whose records were updated.

That still left more than 900 students out of compliance with vaccination requirements, White said.

One more argument to get your kids out of government schools. By the way, note the Orwellian use of the word 'compliance'.

Compliance indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Think you are tough?

You aren't.

She is.
Now, she's focused on her next hurdle -- returning to school. Doctors have cleared her to start classes Monday. Her mom wants her to do so in a wheelchair. Markwardt, the competitor, won't have it.

"I haven't used the wheelchair since I was in the hospital that day," Markwardt said. "I'm fine on crutches. I'm not going to school in a wheelchair. I'm fighting that wheelchair off."

Friday, November 16, 2007


A survey finds that black Americans feel like they are worse off than they were 5 years ago. I'm sure most of that is the fault of Republicans, but I'm confused by something: how is it that we are still hearing about the plight of black Americans after 40 years of expanding government handouts?
The survey by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, shows that only one in five African Americans asked said life in the United States is better for them than it was five years ago, and only 44 percent of African Americans said they expect their prospects to brighten in the future. The Pew Center says this means that blacks are more pessimistic about progress now than at any time since 1983.

Most white Americans have a different perspective. Whites are nearly twice as likely as blacks to see blacks gaining ground over the past five years, and 56 percent of whites say life will get better for blacks in this country.
And why do they continue to vote for the same freaking people 90% of the time?

Well, it's a nice gesture...

But we didn't need Congress to roll back expanded Federal wiretapping power, we just need to enforce/uphold the Constitution.

Of course, the President plans to veto the bill, because it doesn't give telecom companies immunity for violating our privacy in the past when the government asked them for information they had no legal right to request.

But hey. They're keeping us safe. Or something.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Alrming Environmental Catastrophe!

Well, not really. Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog has an outstanding post showing an example of how poor the science really is when it comes to Catastrophic Global Warming, and how the media eat it up.

Read up. And if you have the time, check out his video and paper, linked in the post.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lost to the Bengals

There's still 1:55 left, but I have little hope.

I did realise I could be an NFL coach, as I thought McNair should have been benched at halftime in the Pittsburgh game. Boller's the future, it's time to let him win some games. If he can't cut it now, the Ravens need to make some serious moves at QB in the offseason.

Kudos to the defense. The've been struggling a little, but you can't ask for much better than what they are doing. They didn't drop the ball. Over and over again.

Friday, November 9, 2007

One more reason to hide all your money now

The Maryland legislature is in a special session to decide what taxes to raise in order to close a defecit on a budget that has not been proposed yet.

As part of the tax bills, one proposal is to require the issuer of a gift card or certificate to send the value of that item to the state if it is not redeemed within a year.

I heard this on the radio today, and googled to see if I could find it in the news. I'm shocked that I can't. Nary a mention. It's like the media is in cahoots with the bandits in Annapolis.

One thing I keep saying to people who are complaining: it was no secret that electing the Teflon Leprechan was going to result in much higher spending and increased taxes... he never hid his plans to do so. And he was elected anyway.

Thursday is the new Friday

Had a late afternoon meeting with our financial advisor (the lovely and talented Miss T), then, since we were over at Harbor East, we planned dinner at Pazo with K and her man A.

Fantastic, as usual. One to many martinis, and one to many bottles of wine. Food was awesome. Both couples got the Classic Table for Two. Everything was better than expected, but the empanadas really stood out.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Well, I'm going to bed early

35-0 with just over a minute to go in the first half, 3 lost fumbles and an interception. 3 turnovers by the starting QB (is that more than Boller had in his 2 starts?) That as many touchdowns in one half as the Ravens have all season.

It will take a miracle to get into the playoffs, which is extremely frustrating given this is pretty much the same team that went 13 and 3 last year. Sure, the schedule is a little tougher this year, but there is just no way to justify the lack of execution this year, on both sides of the ball.

Convenient Cheese

My wife just told me we don't have any convenient cheese.

There's a market for someone - make it happen.


Ron Paul has raised over $2 million online today.

Grass roots is making a comeback!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nelly's Echo

In a world where every time I turn on a radio, I'm attacked by the likes of Nickelback and Daughtry (oft I can't tell the two apart, much like you can't tell what dog dropped that pile you just stepped in), it is both encouraging and discouraging to know there are folks out there like Nelly's Echo.

Encouraging, because there are lots of people out there this good, and if you look hard enough, you can find them in your town. Discouraging because they are all playing in tiny bars that hold 50 people, when they could be selling millions of CDs and playing arenas, but for some reason we are all listening to Coldplay.

We saw them at the Austin Grill at the Can Company (not a place known for live original music - who knew?). Joined by our friend K, and our neighbors R and D, had a couple of beverages, but really focused on the guy playing.

Those of you who know me, know this is certainly not normally my cup of tea. However, I can see remarkable talent when it is presented to me, and this guy is the real deal. If this is your cup of tea, pick up his CD, and if you are local, catch a show.

Maybe he'll make it, and music will be better for all of us.

A Smalltimore aside: The bass player is married to the old guitar player for my brother's old band, Unprovoked Moose Attack, which has morphed into The Yellow. They reconnected with J buying a house.

Friday, November 2, 2007

More on the President

This time, some more news on how we got into Iraq.

There are going to be more of these - the administration will not be able to hide them forever.
An Iraqi defector made up his claim that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons, a threat cited by the Bush administration as a key reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. news program "60 Minutes" said on Thursday.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan, codenamed "Curve Ball" in intelligence circles, claimed to be a chemical engineering expert but was instead an accused thief and a mediocre student, the program said. He arrived at a German refugee center in 1999.

"To bolster his asylum case and increase his importance, he told officials he was a star chemical engineer who had been in charge of a facility at Djerf al Nadaf that was making mobile biological weapons," "60 Minutes" said in a statement.

Now, somehow, people like me know this wasn't enough, way back when...
But no such weapons have been found and what was supposed to have been a short U.S. engagement in Iraq is now in its fifth year, with more than 3,800 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands Iraqis killed.

"60 Minutes" said it found an arrest warrant for Alwan in relation to a theft from the Babel television production company in Baghdad where he once worked. It said he studied chemical engineering at university but got low marks.

The report, a culmination of a two-year investigation by journalist Bob Simon, is due to be broadcast on the CBS network on Sunday.

"The (then) CIA director George Tenet gave Alwan's information to Secretary of State Colin Powell to use at the U.N. in his speech justifying military action against Iraq," "60 Minutes" said.

That was, the program said, despite a letter from German intelligence officials saying that although Alwan appeared to be believable, there was not evidence to verify his story.

"Through a spokesman, Tenet denies ever seeing the letter," "60 Minutes" said.

"Alwan was caught when CIA interrogators were finally allowed to question him and confronted him with evidence that his story could not be as he described it," the program said.

"Weapons inspectors had examined the plant at Djerf al Nadaf before the fall of Baghdad and found no evidence of biological agents."

No suprises here. Unfortunately, no one will be held accountable other than the dead people in Iraq.

I feel faint.

At first, I thought it was from actually going to the gym today.

Alas, it wasn't that. It was that President Bush actually vetoed a spending bill today.
U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday vetoed a popular bill that would authorize hundreds of water projects across the country, escalating a battle with congressional Democrats over domestic spending.

Bush had long threatened to veto the $23 billion bill, targeted for projects including coastal restoration in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and improving the Florida Everglades, saying it was too expensive.

Democrats said they would try to override the president's veto as early as next week. The measure passed both houses with more than the two thirds majorities needed to override a presidential veto.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the measure "fiscally irresponsible" and said Bush cast the fifth veto of his presidency before leaving for a trip to South Carolina.

5 entire vetos. Wow. He must have a cramp. And it would figure it's something that passed with enough votes for an override.

And how dare anyone in this administration call something "fiscally irresponsible". This entire Presidency has been fiscally irresponsible.


Even in being denied the ability to run for President by the South Carolina Democratic party, Stephen Colbert points out flaws in the system. A system where 15 people get to decide who a state can elect in a primary.

The most humor in a quote so far today, at least:
But executive council members were apparently more swayed by a letter from Donald L. Fowler. The former state and national party chairman wrote that Colbert had failed to register with the Federal Election Commission, to maintain a campaign staff in South Carolina and to meet other requirements to establish a viable campaign.

"He seeks to make a travesty of our primary," one that could even taint the value of a victory by a mainstream candidate there, Fowler wrote.

Dude, you so didn't need any help making a travesty of your primary.

And another tidbit that's a little troubling:
Colbert told his audience Wednesday that the Republicans' $35,000 entry fee was too expensive for his campaign -- which was trying to remain under a $5,000 federal limit -- and that he would not file for the GOP primary
That's $35,000 just to run in one state!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The smell of freedom

This is the second Drew Carey film from Reason TV.