Saturday, March 29, 2003
A Day At the Races
The wife and I love dogs. Our original (and very loosely thought out) plan was to get a dog, get married and have a kid. Well, we have a kid and we're married, but no dog. For the time being, it looks to remain that way. Still, we want Angie to get familiar with them, so when we learned that a nearby Borders was having a day with rescued greyhounds, it sounded like the perfect Saturday family outing -- dogs, bookstore and coffee.
This was sponsored by Ohio Greyhound Placement, Inc.
One of around three different local greyhound adoption groups
. We had a nice time. There were two greyhounds there. Very gentle and not at all aggressive. Angie was not afraid of them, but didn't lunge towards them either. As would be expected for a 9-month old, she would stare at them and occasionally touch them; and then totally focus on some kids that were running around. At one point she was patting one of the dogs, with her mouth open and smiling; the dog looked at her and as she moved her snout towards Angie to either lick or sniff, Angie moved her head to meet -- with the result of the dogs nose going right into Angie's open mouth. They both looked extremely surprised by that outcome. A total "awwwww" moment.
I don't have much of a view on dog racing, so I'm not looking to shut down dog tracks. The wife and I, though, are firmly united about wanting a dog and that the dog be from either a shelter or a rescue group. We wouldn't object to getting a greyhound, but at the moment (leaving aside the logistics of breaking in a dog with a baby) we wouldn't get past the screening owing to the limited space we have to give a greyhound room.
If anyone is looking to get a dog and has the space, I hope they will consider rescuing a greyhound
A Protest of Sorts in Cleveland
The "Gridlock a City and Piss People Off for a Smug, Self-Righteous Anti-War Protest" came to Cleveland yesterday
. They picked a beautiful day to do it. It was in the mid-70s and mostly sunny. In response to the expected attempts to block traffic, the Cleveland Police contacted city and county offices in the early afternoon and asked them to let people leave early to minimize traffic problems. (This worked out great for us, since the wife works for the county. She was home around 3 on a Friday. So the family was able to go for a nice family walk in the North Chagrin Metropark
. I was finally able to put Angie in the baby backpack, which she absolutely loved.)
Getting back to the protest. Well, despite the picture perfect weather, there were only about 200 or so that showed up. Pictures on the local news made it appear even smaller. They were flanked by around 100 police in riot gear. The protests lasted for around 4 hours, but they could only block traffic around Public Square for maybe an hour before the police finally kept them out of the streets. Five people were arrested.
Friday, March 28, 2003
Like Eating Potato Chips
When you do one piece pointing out Franco-failure, you just start finding other stuff. An example would be this fine and detailed piece by Steven Den Beste
So in an address delivered in London, Monsieur de Villepin has offered the US an olive branch, after a fashion. All we have to do is apologize and repent, and France won't hold our misbehavior against us. They'll let bygones be bygones. After all, given that France considers the US such a deep and valuable friend of long standing, it certainly can't hold our recent misbehavior against us, as long as we acknowledge the error of our ways and promise not to do it again.
He is also holding out his hand to the British, and fondly recalled Franco-British cooperation in WWII. (One must wonder how the Germans will feel about this given that said cooperation was against Germany.)
His rhetoric focuses on how we "must rebuild the world order shattered by the Iraqi crisis," and how any new Iraqi government could only truly be considered legitimate if it were blessed by the UN. But behind his grand and principled talk is a much more concrete concern: the government of France is beginning to realize that there's a damned good chance that French companies are going to get totally frozen out of post-war business deals for equipment and reconstruction and, in particular, to develop Iraq's oil fields. If the US government controls the selection process, that is extremely likely. But if the French can, by some miracle, move the entire administration process into the UN, then in fact it will have the inside track on many of the most lucrative deals.
To this end, France and Britain "must overcome the current difficulties and remain united," De Villepin said.
France is not only willing to forgive the US, France is also willing to forgive the UK, as long as it, too, apologizes and stops misbehaving. All that the UK has to do is to stop striking out on its own, toe the "European" line, and let the French speak on behalf of Europe, and everything will be hunky-dory. His speech made clear that European unity was vital, and also made clear that the French were right in all of this, which implies that the only way for European unity to be regained is for everyone to acknowledge the superior wisdom and morality of France's point of view.
I can't decide if this means that de Villepin is deluded, desperate, or utterly contemptuous of our mental processes. Likely it's a bit of all three, actually, but there's a strong strain of desperation here. France is in deep trouble.
They have now been deeply damaged diplomatically, and after months on center stage are suddenly revealed as being unimportant. There's now a rising concern that this process actually has effectively killed the UN as anything other than a place to meet and talk. They're also deeply worried about direct US post-war administration of Iraq.
It's good stuff, and classic in Den Beste's Jacksonian view
. I agree with him. What surprised me, was hearing on TV a pundit actually take the French view, and the casual manner in which it was done. I was flicking during a commercial break on NCAA Tourney Basketball, and stumbled across the start of Inside Washington
, which airs on a local affiliate in the Cleveland-Akron area. I ended up watching all of it. Completely Beltway punditry, so it was weirdly engrossing.
Gordon Peterson moderates a round-table discussion with nationally recognized journalists Charles Krauthammer (syndicated columnist), Nina Totenberg (NPR), Evan Thomas (Newsweek), and Jack Germond (Baltimore Sun).
The discussion turned to post-war Iraq, and who should administer it -- with special mention of whether France, Germany and Russia should have a role. Krauthammer immediately said it should be taken care of by US and British, and the UN could go pound salt; but Evan Thomas felt the UN should be involved as soon as possible, especially France, to show, essentially, that there were no hard feelings. Even the moderator was taken aback by this. Thomas's justification was that France has long been an ally, and their help in the UN in the future would be necessary. Even Nina Totenberg didn't buy into this one. Just strange.
Another Loss for France in the EU
I suppose it's childish to take glee in France not getting its way on various fronts, but I don't care. I also don't care that it will still have to go through EU Parliment and then the member states have to approve again to become law.The rest of the EU just slapped France down on rail freight
European Union nations approved a plan Friday to open up the continent's rail freight market to international competition, overriding objections from France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Twelve EU nations backed the plans to liberalize the market within the next five years, The three dissenting nations had sought to protect domestic operators.
Under the proposed rules, companies would be free to operate international freight trains starting 2006, breaking up the national monopolies that exist in some EU countries.
However, the proposed reforms face fierce resistance in France, where powerful railworkers unions argue that the present monopolies provide essential public services. They are worried, too, about losing jobs that provide generous benefits.
I Guess Means That the "National Nightmare" is Back
You know when I read that Keith Olbermann was going back to MSNBC to do a news show again
), something Dennis Miller once said sprang to mind (I'm working from memory, so it may not be exactly correct):
You know, I view East and West German unification much like a Martin & Lewis reunion. I didn't really like old act, and I'm not really sure I want to see the new material.
A month ago, I was mocking Olbermann
for his self-righteousness over the "Sandy Koufax is gay" rumor, and blaming Rupert Murdoch and the entire News Corporation, noting:
There's a reason Olbermann has gone from having been part of the best sports anchor team, to hosting a lousy news show on MSNBC, to taking the money at Fox Sports for a few years, to being a sporadic columnist/scold and host of an ABC radio show that I never heard of. He has a history of scorched earth policy by the time he leaves, that he only partly admits. It took him 5 years to admit his own errors at ESPN (coincidentally, a few months before the ABC radio gig went on the air); he's still got a few years before he'll be willing to admit any fault at Fox Sports Net.
Guess when he left MSNBC? 1998. Five years ago.
By the way, the title to this post is based on Olbermann's self-depreciating, reference to his former news show, in his opening remarks when he premiered on Fox Sports, "The national nightmare is over."
Cleveland Convention Center Recommendation Delays
A couple weeks ago I wrote the following
The Mayor closes with an implied threat/warning to the assembled throng. She mentions that the County Commissioners have moved the Health and Human Services levy to the May ballot, in an effort to clear the way for the CCC in November. Her message is direct, that the HHS levy must pass in May. The subtext of that is A) If it doesn't pass in May, it will be on the ballot again in November; B) If you people want a new CCC and my support, then work hard to make sure the HHS levy passes in May. ... I have to give her credit for being very smart. She has yet to expressly support a new CCC; and without actually saying so, has forced the business community to work for her goals first. Very, very shrewd.
So, this appears to end the public phase for a while. The CCC will fall back to silent jockeying until April, when the final recommendation is made.
Since the meeting in the public meeting in the surrounding suburbs
, this has been exactly what has happened. There has been very little noise about the CCC. Now comes news that the site decision for the CCC, expected next week, will be delayed until after the May elections
The business community has agreed to delay a convention center site recommendation for another month so as not to distract from a countywide health and human services levy.
Convention center backers planned to suggest one of five locations to Cleveland and Cuyahoga County politicians next week.
County commissioners, however, asked them to hold off until after the May 6 vote for the levy, which would pay for day care for the working poor, home health aides for the elderly, job training and other services.
I'm of two minds on this.
On one hand, more delays like this means there will be even less time to sell the CCC; make wildly outrageous claims about jobs and economic revitalization; and generally cram this thing down people's throats.The story strongly implies that the business groups will not even publicly discuss the CCC while they work to push the HHS levy for voter approval in May (otherwise it will be back on the ballot in November and they can kiss the new CCC goodbye).
The negative, means I won't have this issue to kick around for another month. More importantly, though, it means that there will be more time for some serious backroom maneuverings; even less time to actually debate the truth about the costs of a new CCC; less of a chance to breakdown the claims of money and jobs generated; and get to the "studies" reliedd upon by proponents.
Speaking of avoiding the truth about the CCC, Roldo Bartimole explains
that John Nolan, president of the Greater Cleveland Convention Bureau refuses to engage in a debate with Haywood Sanders,a professor of economics at the University of Texas - San Antonio who debunks the value of convention centers at a panel that will be hosted by the City Club of Cleveland.
Roldo also has points out the amount of money the CVB receives from the county to operate.
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Only surprise is that it happened today, rather than next week
In a move that surprised no one. Georgia basketball head coach Jim Harrick "resigned" this evening
(translation, he worked out a deal with Georgia that got him some cash and no litigation over whether he was fired for cause)
Richard Perle resigns
Former Pentagon official Richard Perle resigned Thursday as chairman of a group that advises Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on policy issues, saying he did not want a controversy over his business dealings to distract from Rumsfeld's management of the war in Iraq.
In the letter, made public by the Pentagon and dated March 26, Perle assured Rumsfeld that he had abided by rules applying to members of the Defense Policy Board. He has been chairman of the board since July 2001. The position is unpaid but is subject to government ethics rules that prohibit using public office for private gain.
The controversy centers on Perle's deal with bankrupt Global Crossing Ltd. to win government approval of its purchase by a joint venture of two Asian firms. Perle would receive $725,000 for his work, including $600,000 if the government approves the deal, according to lawyers and others involved in the bankruptcy case.
Global Crossing is also where DNC Chair Terry MacAuliffe made a sizable fortune on an investment.
A Pleasant Afternoon
With clear skies and the temperature in the low 60s, and the promise of colder weather and rain this weekend, I took the baby girl out for a nice walk, at a park around 6 miles from our house. It has a paved trail that I have used for roller blading and running. Since I don't have a jogging stroller yet, I just walked the trail with her regular stroller. Angie was asleep within 15 minutes. Lots of people on the trail today. Running, walking, biking, and blading. And just far too many of them making the same dumbass comment to me about the stroller: "That's the best way to go"; or "Wish I had one of those for me." Yeah. It wasn't cute the first fifty times I heard it. It still isn't. Other than that, it was a nice walk.
Not Everyone Is Afraid to Tour in Israel
Wu-Tang Clan affiliates Cappadonna and Remedy who is Jewish, are planning a short tour of Israel in May. The duo plans to perform in the cities of Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Haifa, Eilat, and Jerusalem.
Cappadonna explained the tour plans in a statement, "As Americans and hip-hop artists, we want to show solidarity with the people of Israel. No one thinks that a Hebrew-speaking country has anything to do with hip-hop, but hip-hop is alive in Israel and we are going there to foster the new generations' way of communicating."
First In Iraq, Now on Campuses
The latest pamphlet drops.
Music Industry Drops Anti-Piracy Pamphlets on Campus
The music industry said on Thursday it had begun cascading pamphlets on universities across the globe in its latest blitz against online piracy.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a global trade group representing major and independent music labels and publishers, said it had begun issuing brochures to universities in 29 countries in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia spelling out the legal and technological snares of online file-sharing networks.
Must be part of their psy-ops to soften up the students.
And When They Came For My Spray Paint and Sharpies...
This is one of those eye-rolling stories
City Councilman Gene Ricciardi reintroduced a bill Wednesday that he hopes will crack down on graffiti throughout Pittsburgh, WTAE's Sheldon Ingram reported.
The proposal, which disappeared without a vote in 2001, would make it illegal for minors to buy or possess spray paint, indelible markers and etching acid.
A final vote is set for Tuesday. If the bill is approved, store owners and minors would be warned upon the first offense and fined $300 thereafter. Parents of minors would also be subject to prosecution.
A Cleveland teenager accused of stealing a disabled man's motorized wheelchair was arrested yesterday after witnesses alerted police to the 19-year-old joyriding through his neighborhood.
E-Check -- All About the Money
In 14 counties in Ohio, there is annual emmissions testing for vehicles. Presently, there is an exemption for vehicles 2 years old or newer. The legislature, perhaps finally figuring out that vehicles have gotten much cleaner in emissions output (but more likely in response to complaints from their constituents who don't like having to find an e-check location, wait in line, and pay $19 for the test), agreed to expand the exemption to vehicles 5 years-old or newer
. Governor Taft, however, has vowed to veto it -- not for environmental concerns, but -- because Ohio needs the revenue.
While Taft praised other aspects of the bill, he said he could not support E-check changes that would leave a $29 million hole in the budget.
"That's something we can't support," Taft said. "So we would look to line-item veto that if it's possible."
Chris Jones, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said changing the terms of the state's contract with Envirotest would have required paying the company $25 million for its lost revenue.
The EPA itself would also have lost $4 million in administrative costs it receives from inspections of the 1.2 million cars 3 to 5 years old, he said.
"We could have lived with it from an environmental standpoint, but it becomes a contractual issue," he said.
As an additional aside, the article notes that Ohio will be lowering the Blood-Alcohol Content for being DUI from 0.10% to 0.08%.
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
"Perhaps no player is more important to his team than..."
Roughly stated, this is a standard cliched story in sports. It may take different forms, but you see it all the time. My beloved Pittsburgh Panthers, with a head coach being ogled by UCLA
, are suddenly (finally) receiving national attention for their play. This has led to a flurry of stories about various players. This is just the latest, and it covers Jaron Brown
. It too relies a variation of this cliche. Stories much like this, have been popping up on Brandin Knight, Julius Page, Chevon Troutman, Donatas Zavackas and Ontario Lett. It's kind of comical and also sad that the sportswriters are all being that lazy.
Late to the Party
I know the Oscars were soooo, this past Sunday, and I've been enjoying reading the posts. I just have to add this from Bill Simmons. His running diary of the Oscars
. Some excerpts:
5:47: As Cameron Diaz comes out to present the "Best Animated Feature" Oscar, my stepdad (visiting with my Mom from the East Coast) says, "Boy, she has no breasts, huh?" That question prompts the Sports Gal to vehemently defend both Cameron Diaz and her breasts. You have to love Oscar night.
6:03: Boy, John Travolta is frightening, isn't he? It looks like somebody covered him with wax, threw some hair plugs on him and plugged him into an electric socket. Was "Pulp Fiction" really just nine years ago? Feels like 20.
6:19: Our next presenter: Mira Sorvino. You think she ever sits around getting ticked off about Zellweger's career? Aren't they the same person? And Mira came first! I'm not even paying attention to the awards, by the way.
(Does anyone care about anything other than the actor categories, best movie, best screenplay and best director? Please. If anything, they should expand the other categories -- Best Cameo, Best Thriller, Best Comedy, Best Performance By An Obviously Gay Actor in a Straight Role, and so on. The Grammys adds relevant categories all the time ... why can't the Oscars? This drives me crazy.)
8:17: The Best Actress category includes two actresses who made themselves unattractive for the roles -- Kidman and Hayek -- then were praised for their "courage" in making themselves unattractive. Now everyone's following suit with the Ugly Trend: For instance, Charlize Theron slapped on 25 pounds for some upcoming movie about a female serial killer. This is a really, really, really bad trend. I hate this trend. What happened to last year's trend, when Halle Berry won an Oscar on the basis of a raw, practically X-rated sex scene? What about that trend? Can that one come back?
And yes, he does have comments on Michael Moore's speech.
Please, Just Shut Up. For a While.
I really don't have a horse in this pissing match between Augusta National and Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations. I really don't care about the controversy. I realize there is a lot of rhetoric flying. Still, this is just stupid
Martha Burk plans to expand her campaign against Augusta National and CBS by contending that televising the event from an all-male golf club "is an insult to the nearly quarter million women in the U.S. armed forces.''
"Broadcasting The Masters now and showcasing a club that discriminates against women is an insult to the nearly quarter million women in the U.S. armed forces,'' Burk said. "CBS should honor its license to operate in the public interest by refusing to make segregation seem acceptable.''
Is there anyone, Martha Burk won't try to drag into this?
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Less Is Not More
InstaPundit has posted a couple sad examples
of pulling any symbols of America or the US military rather than enrage or hurt the feelings of antiwar vandals. Professor Reynolds correctly notes:
Want to see more political violence in America? Then just keep rewarding it this way. Once people figure out that it works, you'll see a lot more.
Sadly, there seem to be those who think this sort of appeasement is a good plan. How about no flags or anthems at sporting events
? I've read this a couple times, thinking Ron Cook was making some ironic joke. I can't find it. He even starts by bringing up the Roseanne national anthem fiasco in 1990. He cites Roseanne? I figured what followed had to be a joke
Shame on us for not banning the anthem at sporting events the very next day.
The good news is we have another chance -- the perfect chance -- to do the right thing now.
Let's not make the same mistake we did in '90.
The anthem is making a lot of news these days, all of it bad. It has become clear it is more trouble than it's worth at our games. If an athlete isn't turning his or her back on the flag during its playing, fans are booing it. I'm guessing President George Bush II would be sickened by it, if he had the time to think about it. I know I am.
It doesn't get much worse than turning on television and seeing the replays last week of Montreal fans jeering the American anthem before the Canadiens-New York Islanders hockey game. Presumably, that was a protest of the war in Iraq, although it's hard to say for sure with moronic fans who frequently do idiotic things in their drunken stupor just for the sake of doing them. But there was no mistaking the retaliatory intent of the Atlanta and Florida hockey fans, who later booed "O Canada." They wanted to prove they were just as tasteless and classless as the Montreal fans.
No argument that booing a national anthem isn't a moronic thing to do, but "more trouble than it's worth" at sporting events? He finds one college girl who, while I disagree with her, has every right to make a non-disruptive protest. A bunch of Montreal morons boo the Star Spangled Banner, and some idiot yahoos down in Atlanta respond by booing O Canada, is hardly an epidemic. In case he hasn't heard, the Star Spangled Banner was cheered loudly in Vancouver on Sunday, and personally I'd rather have support from Vancouver.
There's a way to eliminate this boorish behavior, you know? Eliminate the anthem at the sporting events. While you're at it, take the flags out of the arenas and stadiums, as well.
These aren't six year olds fighting over a toy. These are people who are responding, however foolishly, to events around them by directing their emotion at a symbol -- which beats the hell out of each other. All of the years without a problem shouldn't be taken into account because of some brief stupidity?
Think about it for a second. What place do they really have at our games? Sports are supposed to be about competition, about the best man, woman or team winning. They are not supposed to be about politics.
Yeah! What's with nationalistic pride? The Olympics? World Cup Soccer, Hockey, and other international competition? Why that's as crazy as a Pitt fan taunting a Penn State fan, or a Steelers-Browns rivalry, or the Yankees-Red Sox. Hmmm... Wait, now I know. We'll eliminate all the uniforms and identifying marks on players. You won't know which team is which. You will just get good competition. I mean really, that's all we need.
We get enough politics when we turn on television every day and see the war coverage. We get enough when we turn on the radio talks shows and hear the endless bleating, pro and con. Do we really need it with our sports, too? Aren't the games supposed to be an escape from the real world? Isn't that why they tell us the NCAA tournament is going on as scheduled and your beloved Pitt team is getting ready to play Marquette even as American soldiers are dying in Iraq?
If there were no flags at the games, the world never would have heard of Toni Smith. She's the Manhattanville College basketball player who repeatedly turned her back to the flag during the anthem this season. It's hard to think the world wouldn't be just a little better place without knowing about her.
Ah. Now we know the real reason. Ron doesn't want to deal with any of this. He just wants to pretend that there are no problems outside. Well, Ron, I sympathize. I really do, but I think you're old enough now to know that things never quite work out that way.
If there were no anthems at the games, athletes wouldn't be put in the totally unnecessary position of having to apologize for their fans. Hockey players from Canada on all teams were disgusted by what the Montreal fans did. Mario Lemieux isn't embarrassed by much that happens in his home city and country, but he must have been embarrassed by that.
If there were no flags and anthems at the games, there would have been no Black Power protest by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The message wasn't wrong. That's why we rightfully honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day in this country. But the forum was wrong, dead wrong.
Save the anthem and the flags for the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day parades.
Good grief. 1968? Let it go. And let's limit those patriotic outbursts to state sanctioned days. Same with the protests. Order must be maintained.
Don't give me the tradition argument, either. I don't want to hear it. What are traditions worth these days, anyway?
There used to be day games at the World Series. There used to be no interleague play. There used to be 25 teams in the NCAA tournament. There used to be no instant replay. There used to be a time when Mom and Dad could take the family to a game and buy some peanuts and cracker jacks and not have to take out a second mortgage on their home. There used to be no $10 million players.
Traditions in sports come and go.
It's time the anthem and flag went.
Yes, the tradition of the national anthem before a game is much like the designated hitter rule. If I recall, the national anthem started playing before baseball games during World War II. Things change, but they shouldn't change because of the stupidity of a few. For every negative event he listed in relation to the national anthem or nationalistic pride in sports, I'll put up every Major League Baseball game that took place after September 11. I'll put up the third game of the 2001 World Series in New York City. The 1980 US Olympic Hockey team. There are plenty and they don't have to be US instances.
Misleading With Old News
War news and the deaths of Coalition forces, especially the pubic display of killed servicemen by the Iraqis dominated the Cleveland Plain Dealer
(and most other papers). So, this article title got my attention this morning.
Did the U.S. violate Geneva Convention?
No, the coalition forces haven't done anything in Iraq that violates the Geneva Convention. Turns out the title is based on the old chestnut of the Taliban/Al-queda thugs the US is holding in Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants. Not that the International Red Cross or other human rights groups who have monitored the thugs have actually seen any violations down in Guantanamo, it's just they hate the term. Nothing like using moral equivalence and old news to confuse the issues.
What really is annoying, is the article actually has some useful information as to the Geneva Convention
, and what it says. The title of the article though, is so misleading, it makes it hard to read through the red I see. The article has an quotes from Michael Scharf, law professor and director of the Case Western Reserve University Cox Center's
War Crimes Research Office.
On the matter of the enemy combatants:
"To be a legal combatant, you have to meet four criteria," said Michael Scharf, a law professor and director of the War Crimes Research Office at Case Western Reserve University. "That is, you have a military insignia, carry your arms openly, be under an organized command structure and generally follow the laws of war. And they say that, across the board, not one of the members of the Taliban or al-Qaida meets this definition."
Regarding what Iraq has just done:
Still, legal and human rights authorities say Iraq absolutely has violated the Geneva Convention in recent days - and the videotaping of POWs was just the start.
"The waving of the white flag and then shooting, or pretending to be unarmed civilians and then turning around and attacking, are also grave breaches of the Geneva Convention," Scharf said. "You've got three of them, all in the first few days of the war."
Add to that Iraq's uncapping its oil wells, harming the environment and depleting a needed resource - another violation, says Scharf. "You've got four now," he said.
Football as an Excuse to Arrest for Assembling
A really bad law is being introduced in the Ohio legislature today
Violence that erupted after last year's OSU-Michigan football game inspired legislation that would impose tougher penalties on those who take part in riots and jail bystanders who refuse to leave the scene of a disturbance.
Police can now ticket bystanders who ignore an order to disperse. The legislation, unveiled yesterday, would allow police to arrest them instead.
Under the legislation, those found guilty of "failure to disperse" could receive a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
The bill also would make it easier to convict people for rioting and aggravated rioting. Under current law, prosecutors are hesitant to bring such charges unless they can prove that four or more people conspired in advance to riot, Jacobson said. The legislation would require prosecutors to prove the rioters engaged in a course of disorderly conduct but not prove they planned it in advance.
I do not like this. I suspect the order to disperse will be a vague definition that will be given flexibility and generally will be hard to prove the order wasn't
issued or that anyone could hear it. This is the kind of law that allows the police to just sweep an area, rather than actually evaluate and decide who needs to be taken into custody.
The sad thing is, they are trying to pass it in response to sports riots in Columbus, not any of the anti-war protests.
Monday, March 24, 2003
I Feel Like I Need Another Shower
After reading about this 9-year old girl
The case began when the girl, daughter of an impoverished Nicaraguan migrant worker in neighboring Costa Rica, was found to be pregnant. A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of raping her.
When hospital officials in Costa Rica seemed to oppose an abortion, the girl's family brought her home with help from the Women's Network Against Violence and sought permission for an abortion here.
Nicaragua is a strongly conservative society where Catholic teachings are taken seriously and few pregnancies are ended legally. A law permits only vaguely defined "therapeutic abortions."
As officials debated, the girl's parents pulled her out of a government hospital, and on Feb. 20 the Women's Network announced she had undergone an abortion.
Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo said those involved in the girl's abortion had excommunicated themselves under church law.
I'm amazed this whole story has stayed under the radar.
That prompted tens of thousands of women in Nicaragua - and supporters in Europe - to sign petitions demanding to be excommunicated themselves.
Passions were so inflamed that the nation's Catholic bishops issued an open letter comparing abortions to terrorists' bus bombs. Their main goal was to dissuade Nicaragua's congress, which is studying the abortion law, from making abortions easier to get.
The current law is vague about when a "therapeutic abortion" is allowed. Three medical personnel - not necessarily doctors - have to approve it, but the law gives little guidance about what conditions they should look for.
Legal abortions in government hospitals are rare. The government's Bertha Calderon Hospital for women approved 509 of 860 requests for therapeutic abortions between 1986 and 1991, Pizarro said. Since then, it has performed only 10.
This is insane and tragic.
Sunday, March 23, 2003
NCAA Tournament - Second Round, Day Two, Summary
, 4 upsets, 2 strong steady performances, and 2 games where the final score were not reflective of the bulk of the game. Starting with the deceptive scores, Syracuse had to come from behind to beat Oklahoma St. -- continuing their shaky play that they showed against Manhattan. Syracuse has a ton of talent, just in Carmello Anthony, but has not put together a solid game. They have until Friday to get it together. Texas was another team that, based on talent and bench depth, should have blown Purdue out of the water. Instead, they trailed by one at the half, and never completely shook Purdue despite a 10 point win.
The Midwest bracket saw the two 20+ point final score differentials. Kentucky went up by 14 in the first half, and coasted to a 20 point win over Utah. The box score
suggests that Kentucky rested a lot of its starters by the end of the game, no one played more than 33 minutes.
Pitt played its trademark style of just grind down an opponent with a bruising inside game, with occasional kickouts for uncontested jumpers. Pitt led by 10 going into the half, Indiana made a run to close within 4 in the first 5 minutes of the second half, but then Pitt just slowly, beat down on Indiana to win by 22. The officials basically put their whistles in their pocket about halfway through the first half, and let the teams really battle under the boards. It was a joy and a clinic. It was also a strange thing to actually hear national commentator bias in favor of Pitt. The color guy was Bill Raferty who had coached at Seton Hall. One of his players was Pitt point guard's father. This led to some gushing compliments about the whole Knight family and it carried over to the entire Pitt team.
Now, the upsets. Maryland (6 seed) over Xavier (3 seed) was an upset in seeding only. Maryland, despite their middling seed was expected to beat Xavier, and did it with ease. The game was over in the first half. Even in Ohio, they gave up on this game by halftime. Michigan State (#7), while not widely expected to beat Florida (#2), was not a complete shock either. What was surprising, was the way Florida seemed to roll over in the second half. Listless, lifeless, and uncaring. It was like they didn't even want to be on the floor any longer.
I intensely dislike Rick Pitino. There is something about watching him chirp along a sideline all game long, that makes me gnash my teeth. Seeing him fail miserably with the Boston Celtics was such a double bonus. That was why I cheered the Butler Bulldogs, and so enjoyed watching them slowly dismantle the Pitino Press Defense. In one of those strange NCAA bracket seeding things, no #4 seed made it past the second round this year. Four was not a lucky number this year.
Crow eating time. One of the rare times I agreed with Dick Vitale, was last weekend when he just ranted about how undeserving Auburn was to get into the Tourney. Auburn played a weak non-conference schedule and only 8-8 in the SEC. Still, they beat Wake Forest, a #2 seed -- (gratuitous swipe) albeit a very questionable #2 -- and would have been the biggest surprise in the Sweet 16 if not for Butler.
How my brackets did. Well, the Wake Forest upset loss, kept me from going a perfect 8-0 for the day. Instead, I went 14-2 for the second round (37-11 overall), with all of my Elite 8 teams intact. Can't complain.
Kucinich under the Microscope
, the alt-weekly has a really interesting, and long look at Dennis Kucinich
. Some might see it as a hit piece on his politics and failures, but it is a surprisingly good look at his career in politics, which anyone who wants to believe in this guy should take a look. It doesn't paint a flattering picture of him. He definitely comes across as an opportunist and a lightweight in National politics.
Kucinich doesn't back down from his comments about oil, but he doesn't really stand behind them either. "I said the administration hasn't made another case, and that's true," he says. "But I didn't say it was only about oil."
If Kucinich sounds injudicious on foreign affairs, it is perhaps because he confuses pacifism with peace. Late in the conflict in Kosovo, the congressman beseeched the U.S. to "try to appeal to whatever sense of humanity remains in Slobodan Milosevic." Had the Clinton administration followed that advice, Serb forces might still be torching the countryside. Milosevic, history shows, responded to NATO bombs, not reason.
His foreign policy seems to have been grabbed from a Coke commercial. "We have to get the world community to function as a world community," Kucinich said recently. And there's a hint of fashion to his pacifism: He opposes removing Saddam Hussein from power today, but he supported such efforts in 1998, when he voted for the Iraq Liberation Act. Kucinich says the difference between then and now is that the Bush administration is preparing to wage an illegal war. "The resolution in '98 did not call for a violent intervention in Iraq," he explains. Yet in '98, the Clinton administration ordered air strikes without Security Council approval.
Kucinich also appears to contradict himself on sanctions. In 2000, he addressed a demonstration sponsored by the National Mobilization to End the Sanctions Against Iraq. Now, with war drums beating, he believes sanctions are an effective means to keep Saddam in check.
Kucinich says he has always supported "smart" sanctions and opposed conditions that have kept baby food and incubators out of the country. "There are sanctions which have had a devastating effect, particularly against the children of Iraq," he says.
But at the time of the rally in 2000, sanctions had been so liberalized, Iraq was exporting more oil than it did before the Gulf War, according to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Republicans have run the House of Representatives for the length of his tenure. Minority status cramps his abilities. Asked by a Salon interviewer to list his accomplishments in Congress, Kucinich had trouble coming up with anything substantive. One triumph he thought worth mentioning was a letter he and other Democrats sent to President Clinton on the eve of World Trade Organization talks in Seattle.
Yes, six years in Congress have produced the crowning achievement of . . . a letter.
Even better, is the brief exchange between the interviewer and Kucinich at the end of the article. Priceless.
While fixing some breakfast, the wife and child were in the living room watching CNN. Suddenly I hear the wife say, "Hey Paula, did you not hear him say he was under fire?! Don't you get that?" Apparently Paula Zahn was doing a remote with one of the embedded journalists, and his video feed wasn't too good, so she asked if he could move to get a better feed.
Our daughter will not grow up knowing that the people on TV can't hear us at this rate.
NCAA Tournament - Second Round, Day One, Summary
So far, there are no 4 seeds in the Sweet 16. Dayton went out on day one, and Illinois and Stanford fell to the 5 seeds on Saturday
. Today was exciting without any real upsets. Other than UConn and Notre Dame, the higher seeded teams all won today. Arizona was the big shocker today, as they needed double overtime to beat Gonzaga by only one point. It would have wrecked half the brackets out there, but it would have been worth it. Arizona showed no faith in their bench, playing most of their starters for at least 40 of the 50 minutes of total game play. This was surprising considering all the talent that was supposed to be on the Arizona team from top to bottom. Arizona just couldn't put away Gonzaga and should push the Gonzaga head coach, Mark Few into the hearts and minds of UCLA fans, alum, and the Athletic Director looking for a new head coach (and hopefully pushing Pitt Coach Ben Howland out of the picture).
The games on regional coverage were very good, mostly. Illinois-Notre Dame, you could argue wasn't that interesting since the Irish led almost the entire time, but they never seemed to be able to close out the Illini. There was a sense that one good 3 minute burst would be all Illinois would need.
The mid-afternoon game, Missouri-Marquette was an exciting second half. This was a defense optional game. Marquette dominated in the first half, but Missouri really showed why they were widely considered to be the sleeper team in the tourney. Marquette, just seemed to be hanging on, content to just respond and for the final 5 minutes seemed only concerned with running out the clock. Still, in overtime, they couldn't miss and scored 21 points in OT.
This meant that I missed the UConn-Stanford game. Stanford led at the half, but UConn steadily pulled away during the second half to make the final score look like it wasn't even close.
Wisconsin-Tulsa was a strange one. Tulsa controlled the entire game until the final 3-5 minutes. Then they fell apart, and/or Wisconsin just flipped a switch and did everything right. Until that point, it was not a particularly engaging game. In fact, they broke off coverage to switch to the incredible Arizona-Gonzaga game. They switched back, in the last 2 minutes. Wisconsin played fantastic at the end, but they will have no chance against Kentucky. Kentucky won't let them back in the game like that.
Oklahoma-California never even meritted much of a look-in, as Oklahoma led from beginning to end. The final score made Cal look good, but the outcome was never in question.
Duke and Kansas both won with ease.
How my Brackets did. Very good. Exactly as I predicted, except for the Tulsa-Wisconsin match-up since I was dead wrong on both of these teams in the opening round. Still, with half the Sweet 16 set, I have 7 of 8.