Saturday, February 23, 2008

Off to the Polar Plunge

Wish me luck as I jump into a hole cut into the ice on Lake Winnebago to raise money for charity...



This just enrages me beyond description:
Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond had planned to take their three children on a family cruise. The Olympia, Washington couple had been together 18 years and with their children were looking forward to the holiday.

But just as they were about to depart on the cruise from Miami, Florida. Pond, a healthy 39-year-old, suddenly collapsed. She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami with Langbehn and the children following close behind.

But once Langbehn and the children arrived at the hospital the hospital refused to accept information from her about Ponds’s medical history.

Langbehn says she was informed that she was in an antigay city and state, and she could expect to receive no information or acknowledgment as family.

A doctor finally spoke with Janice telling her that there was no chance of recovery.

Other than one five minute visit, which was orchestrated by a Catholic priest at Langbehn’s request to perform last rites, and despite the doctor’s acknowledgement that no medical reason existed to prevent visitation, neither she nor her children were allowed to see Pond until nearly eight hours after their arrival.

Soon after Pond'’s death, Langbehn tried to get her death certificate in order to get life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. She was denied both by the State of Florida and the Dade County Medical Examiner.


Superdelegates Moving Over

Good news for Obama:
The Democratic superdelegates are starting to follow the voters - straight to Barack Obama.

In just the past two weeks, more than two dozen of them have climbed aboard his presidential campaign, according to a survey by The Associated Press. At the same time, Hillary Rodham Clinton's are beginning to jump ship, abandoning her for Obama or deciding they now are undecided.

The result: He's narrowing her once-commanding lead among these "superdelegates," the Democratic office holders and party officials who automatically attend the national convention and can vote for whomever they choose.


Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Cold Out There...

...but it's warm in bed!

Hey, don't let the cold air in!!

(posted by miriam)


Thursday, February 21, 2008

He's Got Another Win

Obama continues his roll:
Barack Obama won the Democrats Abroad global primary in results announced Thursday, giving him 11 straight victories in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Illinois senator won the primary in which Democrats living in other countries voted by Internet, mail and in person, according to results released by the Democrats Abroad, an organization sanctioned by the national party.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has not won a nominating contest since Super Tuesday, more than two weeks ago.


The Endtimes Are Upon Us

No more fall lineup!

It soon may be time to retire the phrase “fall television season.”

NBC Universal took a big step toward undoing one of the television industry’s oldest traditions by announcing Tuesday that it would move to a year-round schedule of staggered program introductions. The move is intended to appeal to advertisers, who crave fresh content to keep viewers tuned in.

And if it succeeds — and leads other broadcast networks to shift from their focus on a mass introduction of new shows — it could alter an American cultural cycle that extends all the way back to the days of radio, when families gathered around the Philco every September, as the school year began, to sample the new entertainment choices.

NBC plans to announce a 52-week schedule in April, a month before ABC and CBS will unveil their fall lineups at splashy presentations known as upfronts. The decision means that NBC will be committing to a new lineup of shows earlier than any of its competitors, while also inviting advertisers to build marketing plans around specific shows and perhaps to integrate brands and products into the plots of the shows themselves.


Worst. President. Ever.

It's official

George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.

That's worse than Nixon during Watergate.


America Doesn't Have a Monopoly...

on stupid:

An Israeli MP has blamed parliament's tolerance of gays for earthquakes that have rocked the Holy Land recently.

Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party, said the tremors had been caused by lawmaking that gave "legitimacy to sodomy".


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Helped

My walk down to the school on Winnebago Avenue to vote yesterday was not wasted:
Barack Obama has won the Wisconsin Democratic primary.

It's the ninth straight primary or caucus win for the Illinois lawmaker over former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Obama cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock, splitting the support of white women almost evenly and running well among working class voters in a blue-collar battleground, according to polling place interviews.


It Ain't Pretty

The mother of all meltdowns is coming our way.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Robbe-Grillet is dead

Writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet, an "enfant terrible" of France's literary establishment who helped found the New Novel school in the 1950s, has died, aged 85, his publishers said.

Robbe-Grillet became a cult figure among France's postwar intelligentsia with a genre of novel-writing that rejected conventions such as plot, characterisation and emotion.

It effectively launched a type of semi-philosophical fiction in which nothing much happens but a vast amount is noticed, imagined or thought.


Musharraf Out

So it seems at this point:

The trend against Musharraf's government puts the key US ally's political survival in serious doubt.

Preliminary results, announced on state television from 241 constituencies, showed the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) party and its allies had taken a total of 57 seats.

Even if they won all the remaining seats not yet counted, they would not be able to attain a majority in the parliament, which has 272 elected and 70 unelected seats.

The chairman of the pro-Musharraf party, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, conceded defeat Tuesday, telling AP Television News that "we accept the results with an open heart" and "will sit on opposition benches" in the new parliament.


Monday, February 18, 2008

The End of an Era

Time has done what so many US presidents failed to do:
Fidel Castro resigned Tuesday as president and commander in chief of Cuba in a message published in the online version of the official daily Granma.


Staying Stupid

Bush, as usual, is the most tenacious when it comes to his worst policies:
President Bush on Sunday said Congress should renew his global AIDS program and preserve a requirement that steers money into abstinence efforts.


Housing Boom

The mortgage crisis is creating its own bizarre sort of windfall for the nation's poorest:
The nation's foreclosure crisis has led to a painful irony for homeless people: On any given night they are outnumbered in some cities by vacant houses, and some street people are taking advantage of the opportunity by becoming squatters.

Foreclosed homes often have an advantage over boarded-up and dilapidated houses abandoned because of rundown conditions: Sometimes the heat, lights and water are still working.

"That's what you call convenient," said James Bertan, 41, an ex-convict and self-described "bando," or someone who lives in abandoned houses.

While no one keeps numbers of below-the-radar homeless finding shelter in properties left vacant by foreclosure, homeless advocates agree the locations — even with utilities cut off — would be inviting to some. There are risks for squatters, including fires from using candles and confrontations with drug dealers, prostitutes, copper thieves or police.

"Many homeless people see the foreclosure crisis as an opportunity to find low-cost housing (FREE!) with some privacy," Brian Davis, director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, said in the summary of the latest census of homeless sleeping outside in downtown Cleveland.


It's What's for Dinner

An undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts has led to the largest beef recall in the United States and a scramble to find out if any of the meat is still destined for school children's lunches.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sunday ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse that is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Still Losing the "Good War"

Afghanistan continues to spiral out of control:
A suicide bombing at an outdoor dog fighting competition killed 80 people and wounded scores more Sunday, an Afghan governor said, in what appeared to be the deadliest terror attack in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.


Bush Sense

That's the only kind of sense this makes. A "drawdown" that increases troop levels:
The United States will probably have more troops in Iraq this summer than it did before pouring in forces last year -- even after a planned drawdown, a U.S. general said on Friday.

There were some 132,000 U.S. troops in Iraq before President George W. Bush ordered a surge of about 30,000 more to curb rampant violence that threatened to plunge the country into all-out civil war.

By summer, U.S. commanders plan to have withdrawn more than 20,000 combat troops deployed as part of the surge. But officials indicated some support units sent around the same time would remain or be replaced.

"It's likely that... the (total) number will be a little bit larger than the 132,000 or so that was the number of personnel on the ground pre-surge," said Army Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, director of operations on the Pentagon's Joint Staff.