Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Beagle Blogging

Because Strannix asked for it.

Baxter is ALWAYS the center of attention.

This photo is actually from Christmas 2005. MrsDocLarry, the boy and I have made the trek north to spend the holiday with her family every year we've been married, except for the odd year when weather made traveling unwise.

This year I had to work (the newscast doesn't stop for holidays, although sometimes the news does) and Mrs. DocLarry planned to stay in town with me. But the death of an aunt forced her to head north on her own Christmas day. And since the boy no longer deals well with being alone for long periods when it's dark outside, Baxter spent a few days at Caroline's Pampered Pet Motel in Ozark (special thanks to Caroline for taking him in on short notice despite being full).

We're all back home now. Mrs. DocLarry is battling a cold. Baxter is battling boredom (he NEVER gets to have any fun). DocLarry is battling deadlines and must be going.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ron Paul Stuck in the (18)60s

Kos highlights a 1992 article from Ron Paul’s self-published newsletter, The Ron Paul Political Report:

Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action…. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the “criminal justice system,” I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Text Messaging

Contrasting stories about trends in text-messaging:

LONDON (Reuters) - U R dumped -- one in seven say they have suffered the same fate as Britney Spears' ex-husband and been told it's all over via text message or email, a survey said Friday.

While hiding behind technology might appear a cowardly way of splitting up, it contrasts with the four percent who simply drop all communication with their lovers without notice.
and:
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Text messaging is playing a growing role in the 2008 presidential race as a handful of candidates look to the technology to reach younger voters often glued to their mobile phones.

The three leading Democratic candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- are providing "mobile updates" to supporters who choose to receive SMS or short message service updates on their cell phones.
Ain't technology grand?

Iraq: US Troops Needed for 10 Years

Reuters:

Iraq will need foreign troops to help defend it for another 10 years, but will not accept U.S. bases indefinitely, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

"Of course we need international support. We have security problems. For 10 years our army will not be able to defend Iraq," Dabbagh told the state-run al-Iraqiya television in an interview broadcast late on Sunday.

"I do not think that there is a threat of an invasion of Iraq, or getting involved in a war. (But) to protect Iraqi sovereignty there must be an army to defend Iraq for the next 10 years," he said.

"But on the other hand, does Iraq accept the permanent existence of U.S. bases, for instance? Absolutely no. There is no Iraqi who would accept the existence of a foreign army in this country," he said. "America is America and Iraq is Iraq."

The United States now has about 155,000 troops in Iraq, formally operating under a U.N. Security Council mandate enacted after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate for what it says will be a final year to the end of 2008, and conditions for U.S. troops to stay on beyond that date are to be negotiated in the next few months.

Violence has subsided after the United States dispatched 30,000 additional troops to Iraq this year, and Washington now says it will bring about 20,000 home by mid-2008. Troop levels for the second half of the year are to be decided in March.

We Never Learn

In 1876 kudzu was imported from Japan and promoted as a forage crop and ornamental plant. Starting in the 1930s the government encouraged farmers to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion. Unfortunately, kudzu quickly grew out of control and the USDA declared it a pest weed in 1953.

Similarly, cotton thistle was introduced to the US as an ornamental plant in the late 1800s and quickly became a noxious weed. Cotton thistle can sometimes form tall, dense, impenetrable stands, creating an impenetrable barrier to humans and animals.

Diffuse knapweed, on the otherhand, was introduced accidentally in the early 1900s from contaminated seeds. It can damage the mouth and digestive tract of animals that feed on it and it greatly reduces crop yield. The USDA considers diffuse knapweed an invasive species.

The point, dear readers, is that we are notorious for introducing non-native species which end up being difficult to control and often harmful. And we're doing it again. This time, however, what is being introduced can kill.

The Observer reports that wounded US troops are bringing back a new, virulent bacteria from both Afghanistan and Iraq that may spread to civilian hospitals:

The bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii, first emerged as a 'mystery infection' afflicting US service personnel returning from the war in Iraq in 2003-04. It was described by a scientific journal specialising in hospital epidemiology as the 'most important emerging hospital-acquired pathogen worldwide'. The journal added that it was potentially a 'major threat to public health' due to its ability to mutate rapidly and develop a resistance to all known drugs.

Although different types of acinetobacter have been known for decades in hospitals, the new 'T' strain identified in the injured troops is particularly virulent and has been observed to appear in US servicemen within two hours of being admitted to a field hospital. It affects the spinal fluid, bones and lungs, causing pneumonia, respiratory failure and other complications. Equally worrying is its resilience. Extremely difficult to eliminate from medical facilities once established, the bug can survive for up to 176 days in a human host. US officials concede that, once established in the medical evacuation chain, the germ is almost impossible to stamp out.

It's possible this "superbug" will be worse than MRSA. The current danger is to those whose immune systems are weakened, such as the ill, elderly and children. Still, this bacteria can cause an uncontrollable infection that can be deadly. Just one more byproduct of the war.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mrs. DocLarry

The most important person in the lives of Baxter and DocLarry is celebrating her birthday today. An angel arrived in Omaha, Nebraska on December 5, 1961. She brightened my life on May 11, 1994. Baxter found her in February 1995.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. DocLarry!

Fun with the Weather Guy

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is stuff like this. Always a good day when you have some fun with the weather guy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Klum & Seal Have Not Aged Well

(click for a larger view)

Heidi Klum is 34. Seal is 44. Neither look it, now do they? Can't wait to see how Klum looks in the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" (CBS, today, 9 p.m.).

I did NOT photoshop this. The photo caption reads ""Project Runway" host Heidi Klum says home life with her husband, singer Seal, is "colorful" and that Seal is the perfect dad." Here's the original.

[mortar-board tip to Mrs. DocLarry]

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Uncounted

Ran across this post about the death of Sfc. Anthony Raymond Wasielewski from Ladysmith WI. My father was born in Ladysmith, and that's what initially caught my attention. He's never mentioned the Wasielewskis (and I DEFINITELY would have remembered the name) so I don't assume any connection other than that my dad was born in Ladysmith...a town name I've always liked. But back to the post.

[Sfc. Wasielewski] had been injured in Iraq last May and died at his home in early October. It appeared his death was related to his comabat injuries but from the article that was not conclusive. I wondered if he would be counted as a casualty of the war. I checked Iraq Coalition Casualty Count site and found he was not listed.

Recently I checked back at the site and found that Sfc. Anthony Raymond Wasielewski is listed in a separate count of "Post Iraq Deaths Not Confirmed By the DoD".......


It seems there are several soldiers who died from wounds received in Iraq, but the DoD does not include their deaths in the official count of the soldiers killed in Iraq.

Coupled with the news that the Pentagon has underreported the number of US servicemen and women wounded in Iraq by a whopping 40%, I wonder if anyone at the Pentagon could pass a 5th grade math test.

LIVE Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry


This struck my funny bone. Hard. Chortle. Snort.

Memo to the masses: The phrase "deer in the headlights look" will now be replaced with "are we live look" or "rabbit in a live shot look."

Must Be a Record

Here's an item you may have missed this week. I've always heard the "land of sky blue waters" has "the water best for brewing," but never knew it meant brewing babies.

La Crosse Doctor Delivers Four Sets Of Twins In 24 Hours

Physician Delivered Nine Babies During Shift

UPDATED: 12:08 pm CST November 27, 2007

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- You can excuse Dr. Kenneth Merkitch if he's seeing double these days.

Merkitch has been an obstetrician-gynecologist at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse for 19 years, but he's never experienced a 24-hour on-call period like the one he put in over the Thanksgiving weekend when he delivered four sets of twins on Friday and Saturday.

Merkitch said that he probably has never delivered two sets of twins during an on-call day before. He said the odds of it happening are astronomical.

He also delivered another baby during his shift. He can't recall ever delivering nine babies on a similar shift.

Another set of twins also was born at the medical center on Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Elderly Parents

My father has Parkinson's Disease. It's fairly advanced and is affecting his mind. A week ago he went into the intensive care unit with a urinary infection and had become very disoriented. He doesn't recognize his own family much of the time, and doesn't know how he got to the hospital. He does joke with the hospital staff and at least recognizes his surroundings as a hospital.

My mother can no longer take care of my father, so my father may never go home again. He needs the care a facility can provide. He needs the nursing and physical therapy that he cannot get at home or at his children's homes.

I know this is necessary. I know it is what is best for him and my mother. I know we're not sticking him in a home because we don't want to take care of him. I know it is the right thing to do.

It still feels wrong. It still hurts. And I feel guilty. Time can be cruel.

Surreality

Working away at preparing a newscast and the phone won't stop ringing. Most of the calls are directed toward the sports department with high school scores. Based on the number of them I know I need to allow some extra time for sports.

Then a phone call is answered by someone else in the newsroom...and I pause upon hearing one side of the conversation.

"No, ma'am, I don't know how the voting works on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
"I'm sure they're aware of the problem, but you could call ABC."
"Well, I hope you'll keep trying. I'm sure it will be OK."

The things people will call the news department about, I think to myself.

A few minutes later, another phone call. This time I get both sides of the conversation.

"I've been trying to vote on 'Dancing With the Stars' all night and all I get is a busy signal."

"I'm sorry to hear about that, ma'am. I guess a lot of people must be voting tonight."

"I've never had this much trouble getting through before and I've been calling all night and only get a busy signal. There must be something wrong. Or have they turned off the voting early?"

"I don't know ma'am, I'm not aware of any problems. I'm sure the system must just be overloaded. But that's ABC, not a local program."

"Well, I've been trying to vote all night and just get a busy signal and they're going to cut off the voting here in just a few minutes and something seems to be wrong with the voting."

"I'm sorry you've been having difficulties, ma'am. I'm sure there are many people trying to vote and the system is overloaded."

"Well on other weeks I haven't been able to get all my votes in. You're supposed to get up to three votes from a single phone number, and I've got three different phones with different numbers and I never get more than five votes before they cut me off, and I'm not getting all the votes I'm supposed to get."

"I'm very sorry, but I don't really have any information on how the voting works. It's an ABC program and you will need to contact ABC."

"Well, I thought you'd want to know because you run the program on your station and there's something wrong with the voting on that show and people need to know about it."

"Yes, ma'am. And I'll pass along your concerns to our program director, but we really have no control over that show. You really should call ABC. Would you like their number?"

"No, I just think there's something wrong with the voting on that show and people need to know because I've been trying to call all night and can't get through and I'm not getting the votes I'm supposed to get."

"Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry about that. I'll pass the information along to our program director."

"OK, but I really think you should investigate because I don't think the voting is correct on that show."

Millions are unemployed. Millions are homeless. Millions are hungry. Millions are uninsured. There is turmoil in many parts of the world. But for this caller, the most important news story of the day is that voting on "Dancing With the Stars" may be corrupt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hi There!

Yes, I've been a very bad blogger lately. My last post was in October. Wow. Just, wow.

I'll try to have more to say in the coming days. But here's a funny for my faithful readers:

Many of us are guilty of looking at others our own age and thinking, "Surely, I can't be that old". If you've ever done this, then you'll appreciate the following.

My name is Alice Smith and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist.

I noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on way back then?

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, grey-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.

"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a mustang," he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.

"In 1965," he replied. "Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely ... and then that ugly, old, bald, wrinkled, fat ass, grey-haired decrepit son-xx-x-xxxxx asked, "What did you teach?"

Ba-dump-bump. Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Backstreet Boy-d

Like 'em or not, the Backstreet Boys had/have plenty of fans. Go check out this one. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Still Need Fact Check on Aisle Nine

(click to enlarge)

Above is the latest article posted on the News-Leader site as of 10:15 a.m. Friday. Drury University has not been "college" since Jan. 1, 2000. The photo caption at least gets Tindle Mills right.

Fact Check on Aisle Nine

(click to enlarge)

Some one on the night desk at the News-Leader needs to fact-check better. Drury University has not been named "college" for nearly eight years (since January 1, 2000). And TINDLE Mills has been TINDLE for over 100 years. I captured this screen at 1:53 a.m. October 12. The story was posted at 9:47 p.m. October 11.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hats, Men, Chill

On this chilly October morning, a bit of nonsense. That damn hippie Atrios posted a YouTube video of the 80s tune "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. I made the mistake of watching, and now can't get that tune out of my head!

The group's (or was it just the one guy?) name circled my brain for a bit last night, eventually landing on a scene from "The Big Chill." Tom Berenger, enters the living room late at night to find William Hurt sitting on the couch watching an old movie on late-night television:

Berenger: What's this?
Hurt: I'm not sure.
Berenger: What's it about?
Hurt: I don't know.
Berenger: Who's that?
Hurt: I think the guy in the hat did something terrible.
[shot of TV shows a man being thrown through the glass window of a door. All characters are wearing hats]

Why I chuckle every time I think of that scene, I don't know.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Because Granny Asked for It









A double-dose of Beagle-Blogging. These were taken with my cell phone. Quality isn't as good as I'd like, but the flash upsets Baxter when he's not expecting it.

One More Way NOT to Support the Troops

In it's never-ending efforts to make sure your children's future income is spent as efficiently as possible, the Army is ensuring National Guardsmen returning from 22 months in Iraq do not qualify for full educational benefits under the G.I. bill. Those clever bean counters at the Pentagon deployed more than 1,100 of them for only 729 days… exactly one day short of the 730 days needed to guarantee thousands of dollars a year for college.

When they came home from Iraq, 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed longer than any other ground combat unit. The tour lasted 22 months and had been extended as part of President Bush's surge.

1st Lt. Jon Anderson said he never expected to come home to this: A government refusing to pay education benefits he says he should have earned under the GI bill.

"It's pretty much a slap in the face," Anderson said. "I think it was a scheme to save money, personally. I think it was a leadership failure by the senior Washington leadership... once again failing the soldiers."

Anderson's orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

"Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month," Anderson said.

[snip]

Both Hobot and Anderson believe the Pentagon deliberately wrote orders for 729 days instead of 730. Now, six of Minnesota's members of the House of Representatives have asked the Secretary of the Army to look into it -- So have Senators Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman.

Klobuchar said the GI money "shouldn't be tied up in red tape," and Coleman said it's "simply irresponsible to deny education benefits to those soldiers who just completed the longest tour of duty of any unit in Iraq."

[snip]

Senators Klobuchar and Coleman released a joint statement saying the Army secretary, Pete Geren, is looking into this personally, and they say Geren asked a review board to expedite its review so the matter could be solved by next semester.

Minnesota National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Kevin Olson said the soldiers are "victims of a significant injustice."
Hobot and Anderson must be some of those "phony soldiers" Rush spoke of this week.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Make Your Day Count" To the Extreme

Lindsay Roberts, daughter-in-law of Oral Roberts, and "First Lady" of Oral Roberts University, is the host of "Make Your Day Count"

an uplifting half-hour daily program aimed especially at the needs of women.
She certainly knows how to "uplift" her daily needs:
Twenty years ago, televangelist Oral Roberts said he was reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him to raise $8 million for Roberts' university, or else he would be ''called home.''

Now, his son, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, says God is speaking again, telling him to deny lurid allegations in a lawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal.

Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay.

She is accused of dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes, awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children and sending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones to people described in the lawsuit as ''underage males.''

[snip]

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by three former professors. They sued ORU and Roberts, alleging they were wrongfully dismissed after reporting the school's involvement in a local political race.

Richard Roberts, according to the suit, asked a professor in 2005 to use his students and university resources to aid a county commissioner's bid for Tulsa mayor. Such involvement would violate state and federal law because of the university's nonprofit status. Up to 50 students are alleged to have worked on the campaign.

The professors also said their dismissals came after they turned over to the board of regents a copy of a report documenting moral and ethical lapses on the part of Roberts and his family. The internal document was prepared by Stephanie Cantese, Richard Roberts' sister-in-law, according to the lawsuit.

An ORU student repairing Cantese's laptop discovered the document and later provided a copy to one of the professors.

It details dozens of alleged instances of misconduct. Among them:

-- A longtime maintenance employee was fired so that an underage male friend of Mrs. Roberts could have his position.

-- Mrs. Roberts -- who is a member of the board of regents and is referred to as ORU's ''first lady'' on the university's Web site -- frequently had cell-phone bills of more than $800 per month, with hundreds of text messages sent between 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. to ''underage males who had been provided phones at university expense.''

-- The university jet was used to take one daughter and several friends on a senior trip to Orlando, Fla., and the Bahamas. The $29,411 trip was billed to the ministry as an ''evangelistic function of the president.''

-- Mrs. Roberts spent more than $39,000 at one Chico's clothing store alone in less than a year, and had other accounts in Texas and California. She also repeatedly said, ''As long as I wear it once on TV, we can charge it off.'' The document cites inconsistencies in clothing purchases and actual usage on TV.

-- Mrs. Roberts was given a white Lexus SUV and a red Mercedes convertible by ministry donors.

-- University and ministry employees are regularly summoned to the Roberts' home to do the daughters' homework.

-- The university and ministry maintain a stable of horses for exclusive use by the Roberts' children.

-- The Roberts' home has been remodeled 11 times in the past 14 years.

Tim Brooker, one of the professors who sued, said he fears for the university's survival if certain changes aren't made.

''All over that campus, there are signs up that say, `And God said, build me a university, build it on my authority, and build it on the Holy Spirit,''' Brooker said. ''Unfortunately, ownership has shifted.''
Texting underage males in the wee hours of the morning. Tens of thousands of dollars for clothing in one year. A Mercedes and Lexus SUV. God's work. Oh yeah.

Gov. Blunt Trying to Steal Credit

Gov. Matt Blunt is behind the curve on one of his latest toutings. Thursday, Blunt announced:

he is shining a bright light for consumers on Missouri businesses not paying taxes, launching an Internet site that lists businesses that have failed to comply with state tax law, www.whoisnotpaying.mo.gov.
All well and good, except the Missouri Dept. of Revenue has had such a web site up for over a month:
Beginning August 28, 2007, Senate Bill 30 gives the Missouri Department of Revenue authority to publish the name of any business which has a revoked sales tax license. A sales tax license may be revoked for either failing to remit sales tax collected from customers or for failing to remit income tax withheld from employees.

The list will be maintained on the department’s website at www.dor.mo.gov.
Senate Bill 30, sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler (R-Joplin) and handled in the House by Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R-Webb City) cleared the House and Senate on May 16th and signed by the governor on June 13th. Specifically,
Section 144.083 would require a business to obtain a no-tax-due statement from DOR to obtain a local business license and would allow DOR to publish the status of a revoked business account without revealing confidential information.
So the Dept. of Revenue announces its web site listing businesses with revoked sales tax licenses on August 29th. KSPR News at 10 broadcast a story on this web site and some Springfield businesses listed on it on Sept. 11th. And now, on October 4th, Matt Blunt wants to take credit for the web site, saying "he is shining a bright light for consumers on Missouri businesses not paying taxes"? Riiiiiiiiiiggghhttt.

The guv's release also states:
The department has contacted businesses listed on the revocations site by mail or phone several times. Thirty days prior to actual revocation of a business’ sales tax license, the business receives a certified letter explaining its noncompliance with state tax law and the repercussions to occur as a result.
Yet, when KSPR asked the owner of Blimpie Subs and Sandwiches why he was operating without a sales tax license, he said he had no idea why he was on the list. Michael Clemons says he never received a certified letter from the state.

Watch the video. Clemons seems genuinely surprised. The DOR MAY be spinning. Clemons MAY be spinning. But for certain, Matt Blunt IS spinning, and trying to take credit for something he had little to do with.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sprucing Up The Place

I haven't changed the look of the blog much since I started, so I'm going to slowly install some upgrades. Comments will now be through Haloscan. Unfortunately, that means all previous comments are gone. Eventually I want to move to three columns. But life calls.

Give a Listen


So I was watching this movie this evening for the umpteenth time (love the kids who portray Nathan, and Kurt Russell's subtle facial expressions) and became intrigued by the music used during scenes of "Todd's" education on aspects of life other than soldiering.

The song is entitled "Night Ride Across The Caucasus" and was written and performed by Loreena McKennitt. It may be found on her album "The Book of Secrets."

Checking the trivia section on Internet Movie Database led to the discovery of inside jokes contained within the movie, including references to "Blade Runner", also written by David Webb Peoples, and many other Kurt Russell films.

But my favorite is that "Todd" is trained in the use of the "Illudium PU36 ES,M." For those familiar with Bugs Bunny cartoons, that would be the Illudium PU36 Explosive Space Modulator, the weapon Marvin the Martian is always threatening to use on Earth.

Class dismissed.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe ...

to go back in the water:

PHOENIX - It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

Even though encounters with the microscopic bug are extraordinarily rare, it's killed six boys and young men this year. The spike in cases has health officials concerned, and they are predicting more cases in the future.

"This is definitely something we need to track," said Michael Beach, a specialist in recreational waterborne illnesses for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better," Beach said. "In future decades, as temperatures rise, we'd expect to see more cases."

According to the CDC, the amoeba called Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL'-erh-eye) killed 23 people in the United States, from 1995 to 2004. This year health officials noticed a spike with six cases — three in Florida, two in Texas and one in Arizona. The CDC knows of only several hundred cases worldwide since its discovery in Australia in the 1960s.

[snip]

Though infections tend to be found in southern states, Naegleria lives almost everywhere in lakes, hot springs, even dirty swimming pools, grazing off algae and bacteria in the sediment.

Beach said people become infected when they wade through shallow water and stir up the bottom. If someone allows water to shoot up the nose — say, by doing a somersault in chest-deep water — the amoeba can latch onto the olfactory nerve.

The amoeba destroys tissue as it makes its way up into the brain, where it continues the damage, "basically feeding on the brain cells," Beach said.

People who are infected tend to complain of a stiff neck, headaches and fevers. In the later stages, they'll show signs of brain damage such as hallucinations and behavioral changes, he said.

Once infected, most people have little chance of survival. Some drugs have stopped the amoeba in lab experiments, but people who have been attacked rarely survive, Beach said.

"Usually, from initial exposure it's fatal within two weeks," he said.

Researchers still have much to learn about Naegleria. They don't know why, for example, children are more likely to be infected, and boys are more often victims than girls.

[snip]

Beach cautioned that people shouldn't panic about the dangers of the brain-eating bug. Cases are still extremely rare considering the number of people swimming in lakes. The easiest way to prevent infection, Beach said, is to use nose clips when swimming or diving in fresh water.

"You'd have to have water going way up in your nose to begin with" to be infected, he said.
Duuuuuuuhhhhhhhh dun. Duuuuuuuhhhhhhhh dun. Dun duh dun duh dun duh dun duh .......

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Your Tax Dollars at Work

So President Bush says we can't afford to spend an extra $30 billion over five years to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. But, he wants to spend another $42 billion more just next year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(side note -- this would raise the total spending on the Iraq war alone to more than $600 billion -- or TWELVE TIMES the $50 billion cost the Pentagon estimated in 2002)

I wonder if the president's request includes money to fix this:


That's an aerial view of a U.S. Navy barracks in Coronado, Calif. It's been that way since 1967.

Since it was not visible from the ground, officials decided not to make any changes.

But aerial photos made available on Google Earth in recent years revealed the buildings' shape to a wide audience of computer users.
Glad we have our priorities straight.

Alas, Poor Hyphen! I Knew Him, Horatio ...

Pity the poor hyphen. Mis-used by so many, so often, for so long. Reuters informs us that some 16,000 words have lost their hyphens in the new edition of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary:

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).

The hyphen has been squeezed as informal ways of communicating, honed in text messages and emails, spread on Web sites and seep into newspapers and books.

"People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week.


Some of the 16,000 hyphenation changes in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, sixth edition:

Formerly hyphenated words split in two:

fig leaf

hobby horse

ice cream

pin money

pot belly

test tube

water bed

Formerly hyphenated words unified in one:

bumblebee

chickpea

crybaby

leapfrog

logjam

lowlife

pigeonhole

touchline

waterborne

"Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on a roar?" (Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Act 5. Scene 1)

Stories I Love

I'm pleased to have been involved in a couple stories lately that have turned out to be bigger than originally thought. In fact, I was originally against airing one of them because it just didn't seem that important to me. Instead, it drew quite a response from viewers and will remain a story for several more days.

The other story just aired and has also caused quite a stir. I'm enjoying the feedback email we receive on these, which leads us to do follow-up stories providing additional information.

Neither story has been covered by any other outlet in town. We're not trumpeting them as "exclusives," but I do think both stories demonstrate strong efforts to be a better news operation.

And I truly appreciate all the feedback on the new KSPR. Keep it coming.

Be Careful What You Wish For

So after being struck down with a nasty cold going around the news room, I go to work today thinking it will be a fairly simple newscast. After all, we had a lot on the planner for today, including at least three reporter packages. After the five-thirty cast I believed I had a pretty good grasp of the rundown for the 10 p.m. cast, including a couple national stories.

At one point I said to no one in particular, "gee, I almost wish we had some breaking news tonight." Not too long after we began to hear scanner traffic on what appeared to be a robbery spree. One night side reporter (who really is the weekend weather guy), one photographer, two anchors, and me.

Along about 9 p.m. everything went crazy. Police were running all over town. Decided to send the live truck to the last robbery along with the night side guy (who stepped up and volunteered). That meant changing the rundown, especially since the reporter had already packaged what was to be the lead story. Then it got better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

A fourth robbery on East Sunshine, out near where I live. Send the live truck and reporter there, get on the phones gathering info, let the production staff know everything is changing less than an hour before air...including doing live promos.

Knowing he loves reporting, I called the Chatter guy who rushes toward the fourth robbery location. While on the phone with me he sees two police cruisers rushing away from that location, heading west. At the same time I hear scanner traffic indicating an arrest is imminent. Chatter dude does a U-turn and chases the police, swearing at drivers who won't get out of his way. I announce this to the newsroom and the entire production team lets out a laugh. Yes, we do have fun at our jobs!

If you watched the 10 p.m. cast Wednesday night you know the rest. The adrenaline rush hasn't stopped. This is what I love about the news biz! After the cast, Chatter guy informs us our intrepid weathercaster/reporter dude stole the SPD officer from a briefing for the competition in order for us to have a live interview! We're playing with the big dogs now!

What a night. What a crew. What a business.

And yes, several people reminded me what I'd wished for earlier in the evening.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There!

Long time, no post. I've been gearing up for the NEW KSPR news at ten the past couple weeks, and finding little time to blog. Hopefully, that will change soon.

So the new KSPR News debuted Sunday at 10 p.m. and yours truly produced the very first newscast. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, although there's always room for improvement. I'm proud to be a part of something new, and excited to be trying something different. Please give a look and tell me what you think. Or, you can leave comments at the station's new web site: kspr.com.

You'll find some of the stories we did for the first cast on the site. If you watched Sunday, what did you think?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blonde Joke No. 2

Miss Teen USA 2007 finalist, Lauren Caitlin Upton of South Carolina, on her fellow Americans' poor grasp of geography:



Remember, it's not a beauty pageant. It's a scholarship pageant.

Today's Funny

Two blondes are walking in a forest and come across a pair of tracks,
1st blonde: "How cute deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Those are dog? tracks!"
1st blonde: "Deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Dog tracks"
1st blonde: "Deer tracks!"
2nd blonde "Dog tracks"
They argued for almost an hour before they got hit by the train.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Family Time

A few weeks back Mrs. DocLarry and I traveled north to visit the parental units as well as my Canadian niece and nephew. Oh, and their parents, my sister and the Canook. Given the many miles between Ozarkland and Canada I don't often get to see my only niece and nephew, so I consider such visits special. My parents are also getting up there in years, my father suffering from Parkinson's.

This trip proved to be extra special as we viewed a DVD of my niece performing at a national Orff conference. Never heard of Orff? Neither had I until this happened. And it is really quite fascinating. From the Orff Canada web site:

Carl Orff (1895-1982) is probably best known as the composer of such works as Carmina Burana and Catulli Carmina, but it is his work with "Music for Children" which has inspired a global movement in music education.

The Orff approach to Music Education is holistic, experiential and process oriented. It is for all children, not just the most musically or intellectually gifted and encompasses aural, visual and kinesthetic learners.

Orff's philosophy is based on solid, pedagogical principles. A structured, sequential development of knowledge and skills encourages joyful participation, creativity, and personal musical growth from all participants. The Orff approach taps the very essence of our beings. Children learn through doing, exploring and improvising. They are active participants in an integrated, guided process, one which allows for differing musical abilities. In the Orff approach, no child is neglected.

The Orff philosophy combines the elements of speech, rhythm, movement, dance, and song. And at the heart of all this is improvisation - the instinct children have to create their own melodies, to explore their imaginations.
The organization holds a national conference every two years and schools compete to perform at the conference. My niece was a member of a group chosen to perform, and ultimately wowed the audience. It's hard to describe an Orff performance. Students play recorders, the metallophone, xylophone, glockenspiel, and other percussive instruments, as well as perform dance and some voice work.

The effects of Parkinson's are showing in my father, but seemed to lessen somewhat when he was around his grandchildren. I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines watching the interaction between grandparent and child, especially when both would end up with big grins.

And while I know it's not a competition, I've often felt a bit overshadowed by my brother when it comes to being an uncle. He lives in Iowa so the Canadians always see him when visiting the grandparents. His location also makes a trip to Canada a bit easier and he's visited them far more often than I.

However, this visit, I got to be the "fun" uncle. On our last day I got into a pillow fight. My nephew started it, but my niece soon joined in for a two-front attack. The nephew had no qualms about climbing aboard Uncle Doc Larry, putting a pillow across my face blinding me to the flanking attack of his sister. Silliness abounded, noise was made, photos were snapped, and DocLarry napped on the drive back to Springtown.

The best part? The smile on my father's face and the laughter in his eyes.

No There, There

We've all encountered individuals whom we've considered lacking something between their ears. And we all know of a place or two we think must be the absolute emptiest place on the planet. Now astronomers have discovered a "there" where there really is nothing.

Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe. That's got them scratching their heads about what's just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light years across of nothing. That's an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, a University of Minnesota team announced Thursday.

Astronomers have known for many years that there are patches in the universe where nobody's home. In fact, one such place is practically a neighbor, a mere 2 million light years away. But what the Minnesota team discovered, using two different types of astronomical observations, is a void that's far bigger than scientists ever imagined.

"This is 1,000 times the volume of what we sort of expected to see in terms of a typical void," said Minnesota astronomy professor Lawrence Rudnick, author of the paper that will be published in Astrophysical Journal.

[snip]

"It looks like something to be taken seriously," said Brent Tully, a University of Hawaii astronomer who wasn't part of this research but studies the void closer to Earth.

Tully said astronomers may eventually find a few cosmic structures in the void, but it would still be nearly empty.

Holes in the universe probably occur when the gravity from areas with bigger mass pull matter from less dense areas, Tully said. After 13 billion years "they are losing out in the battle to where there are larger concentrations of matter," he said.
"Void" doesn't seem the best description. Perhaps a new word will need to be created to describe this "nothingness."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Regular readers may have noticed the relative quiet here at Chez Lost Chord. It's partially due to some traveling, partially due to family, and partially due to work. My current employer has been gearing up for a major change beginning this weekend involving lots of techy stuff that I so thoroughly enjoy. And I truly have been having fun with this job.

However, it is time to move on. Sometime in the not-too-distant future I'll be joining the Chatter guy in the KSPR newsroom. I'm honored to have been hired and excited about the opportunity to build the news department. Most of my professional journalism career has been behind the scenes, and that will be true here. A new set and lots of new faces await me. The big roll-out is September 9.

The blog will continue, but it may undergo a face-lift. As they say on the TV, stay tuned.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

On This Date. . .

▪ Mongol Genghis Khan died, in 1227.

▪ Pope Adrian V died, in 1276.

▪ Pope Alexander VI died, in 1503.

▪ Pope Paul IV died, in 1559.

▪ Virginia Dare (granddaughter of Gov. John White of the Colony of Roanoke) became the first English child born in the Americas, in 1587.

▪ Italian composer Antonio Salieri was born, in 1750.

▪ American explorer Meriwether Lewis was born, in 1774.

▪ The Spanish established a presidio at a location that came to be called Tucson, Arizona, in 1775.

▪ French astronomer Pierre Jules C├ęsar Janssen discovers helium during an eclipse, in 1868.

▪ A. Montgomery Ward issued the first mail-order catalog, in 1872.

▪ Cosmetics entrepreneur Max Factor, in 1904.

▪ Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki presented Washington, D.C. with 2,000 cherry trees, which President Taft decides to plant near the Potomac River, in 1909.

▪ Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was born, in 1917.

▪ American actress Shelley Winters was born, in 1920.

▪ Tennessee ratified the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women's voting rights, in 1920.

▪ First Lady Rosalynn Carter was born, in 1927.

▪ Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was born, in 1928.

▪ Academy Award-winning film director Roman Polanski was born, in 1933.

▪ American attorney and author Vincent Bugliosi was born, in 1934. Bugliosi is perhaps best known for prosecuting Charles Manson and other defendants accused of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski, was eight-months pregnant when murdered.

▪ Robert Redford was born, in 1936.

▪ The FCC issued the first FM radio station construction permit (W1X0J (WGTR) in Boston MA), in 1937.

▪ The Thousand Islands Bridge, connecting New York State, United States with Ontario, Canada over the St. Lawrence River, was dedicated by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1938. Nearly 54 years later (short by a few days), Doc Larry drove across the bridge.

▪ Comedian Martin Mull was born, in 1943.

▪ Comedian Elayne Boosler was born, in 1952.

▪ Actor Patrick Swayze was born, in 1952.

▪ Actor and comedian Denis Leary was born, in 1957.

▪ Betsy Palmer joined the Today Show panel, in 1958.

▪ Verne Gagne beat Edouard Carpentier in Omaha, to become National Wrestling Alliance champ, in 1958.

▪ Actress Madeleine Stowe was born, in 1958.

▪ Floyd Patterson TKOed Roy Harris in 13 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title, in 1958.

▪ The TV quiz show scandal investigation began, in 1958.

▪ Blogger Doc Larry was born, in 1958.

▪ Collins Radio (in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) bounced a photograph off a satellite for the first time, in 1960.

▪ Construction of the Berlin Wall was completed, in 1961.

▪ James Meredith became the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi, in 1963.

▪ The first major American ground battle of the Vietnam War (Operation Starlite) began, in 1965.

▪ California Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton threw a pitch which hit Red Sox outfielder Tony Conigliaro in the face, severely damaging his left retina, in 1967. Hamilton later opened restaurants in Morning Sun and Washington, Iowa. He now operates Jack's Plaza View Restaurant in Branson.

▪ Jimi Hendrix played the unofficial last day of Woodstock, in 1969.

▪ Musician Everlast was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Edward Norton was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Christian Slater was born, in 1969.

▪ Actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born, in 1970.

▪ Ohio nurse Donald Harvey, after poisoning 24 people, received triple life sentences, in 1987.

▪ Republicans selected the Bush-Quayle ticket at their national convention in New Orleans, in 1988.

▪ Psychologist B.F. Skinner died, in 1990.

▪ Dennis Rader received 175 years in prison for the BTK serial killings, in 2005.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now We Have Everything

The Springfield News-Leader informs us of the latest effort to curb drunk driving -- talking urinal cakes.

Missouri’s annual, end-of-summer campaign to stop drunken driving has added a new tactic, Missouri Department of Transportation announced today.

Organizers of “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” will have talking urinal cakes placed in restrooms at Missouri alcohol-serving establishments.

The effort is aimed at men ages 21 to 34, who are the most common offenders.

Male patrons will receive the following message from a female voice:

“Hey big guy, going out tonight? Having a few drinks? Make sure if you’re drinking, you find a sober driver. Because if you drink and drive, the next urinal you use could be in jail. Remember, your future is in your hand.”
We wonder how some bar patrons, likely in a bit of a stupor, will react to that female voice. Coming from the urinal. And will some patrons talk back?

Of course, that female voice is making an assumption about some patrons. But perhaps flattery will work. Love the tag line.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

When Did Matt Blunt Move?

At 9:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 12, CNN had this posted, updated 37 minutes ago. (I've enlarged the relevant portion of the screen grab)




I didn't know the Blunts are Mormon.

CNN -- "The Most Trusted Name in News"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Seen in Springfield

Didn't have a camera to photograph the bumper on which this appeared, so a replica from the Web will have to do. Takes a brave soul to display this in MegaChurch-field.

U.S.S The Romneys

(Inspired by this)


"One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

-- Mitt Romney, explaining yesterday why it's okay that none of his five sons enlisted in the military.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baxter's Back

Light posting for a while. Some stories to tell in the coming days.

The Bush View of the Constitution

Based on recent events, Bush must think this fine print is part of the U.S. Constitution:[inspired by Josh Marshall]

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friday Beagle Blogging (Early Edition)

Baxter surveys his kingdom. Or maybe he's just checking out the cute girl doggie next door. Yes, the lawn needs mowing.

Memememememememememe

Having been tagged by Desdinova, Thinking Things, and Sniderman, I present 8 Things You Didn't Know About Me, the secretly fun meme going around:

1. Demographer Larry Long* found that a hypothetical cohort of 100,000 individuals would move to a new residence 10.5 times over their lifetimes. I've moved 17 times to 16 different homes in four states. Having finally purchased a mortgage, Mrs. DocLarry (who's moved nearly as often) says we're never moving again.
*Larry Long, Migration and Residential Mobility in the U.S. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1988)

2. My parents live 30 miles from the University of Iowa and have been Hawkeye football fans for years. No one in my family ever attended the school, but it was Big 10 college football close to home. They and my brother regularly purchased season tickets and attended nearly every home game. All three missed my wedding-rehearsal dinner in order to attend a game. Not sure if it was fortunate our wedding wasn't on Saturday.

3. In October of 1979, Pope John Paul II officiated a mass in suburban Des Moines, Iowa. Some 300,000 people gathered at Living History Farms. Most of Des Moines closed for the weekday event. Working for a local TV station, I shot news film of the lack of vehicle traffic, among other things. I was hanging out of a helicopter in flight at the time. I was much younger and lighter then.

4. Even in the most tornado-prone parts of the U.S., the chance of a particular square mile of land being struck by a tornado of any intensity is about once in 1000 years. I've been in three locations in three states when tornadoes hit. I've seen two additional funnel clouds that did not touch down. One turned clockwise. Most tornadoes in the United States turn counterclockwise. And no, I'm not a storm chaser.

5. Harry Chapin is a favorite singer/songwriter. I met him at a fund-raiser concert for Tom Harkin in 1976. I attended two other concerts Chapin gave with his band. Chapin died July 16, 1981. I had tickets to see him in concert for the fourth time on July 19th.

6. Tony Wright holds the record for the longest period without sleep, 266 hours, 4 minutes and 8 seconds. My record is 92 hours. I was trying to make 96 hours (4 days) but I forgot what I was doing. Too many stimulants, I guess.

7. As a child adults nagged me to keep my head up not realizing the unnaturalness of doing so. I was born with two fused vertebrae in my neck, causing my head to tilt forward. It also keeps me from sleeping on my back without extra head support, which I also require in the dentist's chair.

8. I've visited 38 states and three Canadian provinces. I drove to every one of them.

And now, Duane Keys, Granny Geek, Strannix and Betty B., you're up.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

In Case You've Forgotten

Today is the 2,120th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre of killing nearly 3,000 people is still at large.

Why are the men responsible for the deaths of 3,578 American soldiers in a country which had nothing to do with 9/11 still in office?

What Will We Tell the Children?

A certain weather person at one of the THREE local television operations did an excellent job keeping Ozarkers informed of the quick-moving severe storms on Saturday. However, my SPIDEY sense tingled when this weather person appeared on camera in the afternoon sans suit coat. I thought casual day was Friday?

Sunday Factoids

The June edition of Harper's Magazine includes several articles explaining how much work is needed to undue eight years of the Bush misadministration. It's worth the read at the library.

Harper's each month also includes a list of statistics chosen and arranged for ironic effect. The online version for the past six months is only available to subscribers, but it may prove educational and fun to read through pre-2007 indices:

From January 2005:

Number of House members in 1979 who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday : 133

Number who are still in the House : 9

Number who are Vice President : 1

[Moral: Dick's a dick]

Average number of suicides per 100,000 residents in states carried by President Bush in November (2004) : 13.5

Average number of suicides in states carried by John Kerry : 9.9

[Moral: Buch kills]

Another Edition of Things That Make You Go AAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHH!

The Sunday News-Leader has a story about Reeds Spring biology teacher Mike Collins returning to his classroom. Toward the end is a discussion of an incident in 2005 when Collins admitted to forging a parental permission slip for one of his students.

Collins spoke to the News-Leader in March about the forgery. He acknowledged doing it, but said about 15 minutes after he turned the forgery in, he reminded it and confessed.
"He reminded it?" I know we live in the Ozarks and people don't always use proper English, but this was not a direct quote. Rather, the reporter wrote this phrasing and a copy editor approved it. According to my dictionary reminded means "To cause to remember; put in mind." So the above sentence says Collins caused the permission slip to remember, or Collins put the permission slip in mind. That latter one sort of fits, if a few extra words had been included in the reporter's sentence.

However, I don't think that's what the reporter meant at all. I'm betting the word the reporter meant to use was "remanded" which my dictionary defines as "To send or order back." In other words, Collins ordered the forged permission slip back, and cofessed to having forged it.

Simple typo? Maybe.

The more egregious error is contained in a graphic linked to the story, and reported in a side-bar story about the joint statement issued by three school board members who voted against reinstating Collins. The graphic is of the scanned statement with signatures of the three board members. It includes contact information, listing the phone number of board member Hank Smythe, followed by "not for publication" enclosed in parentheses. Smythe obviously did not want his phone number published. The News-Leader ignored that request. Why?

Smythe's phone number could have been blacked out, leaving his name and the parenthetical request. No reasonable reader would have wondered what had been blacked out and accused the News-Leader of hiding something.

I wonder, will the reporter and/or editor will apologize to Smythe?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Republican Reality

Thursday is the 2,117th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large.

"It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."
— Mitt Romney, in an interview with the Associated Press, saying that the country's safety would not benefit significantly from catching Osama Bin Laden.

"I want justice...There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive,'"
— George W. Bush, 9/17/01, UPI

"But bin Laden has been a top priority for us from the very beginning, he continues to be a top priority today. That hasn’t changed."
— Dick Cheney, 9/10/06, Meet the Press

“Nothing,”
— George W. Bush, responding to Cox News reporter Ken Herman's asking what Iraq had to do with 9/11, August 21, 2006

Friday, June 22, 2007

"we will not rest until we find him"

Today is the 2,111th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large.

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
- G.W. Bush, 9/13/01

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Where's Osama?

Today is the 2,110th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A New Slogan

Jonathon Alter has an interesting column in the June 25th issue of Newsweek. The premise is finding a slogan which will explain Democrats' plan for withdrawal from Iraq "without looking like surrender monkeys."
Alter notes that Congressional Democrats want to get out of Iraq and get tough on Al Qaeda at the same time, but that message isn't getting through. He has a suggestion:

Now, Democrats should embrace what I like to call "pull and strike"—pull forces from the streets of Baghdad, but strike hard at Qaeda positions in the Sunni areas and in Afghanistan, mostly from air bases outside Iraq. In other words, saying no to the folly of intervening in a civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites isn't enough. Critics must also say yes—loudly—to calling in airstrikes on foreign fighters, who are increasingly being identified by friendly local sheiks determined to chase them out of their country.

The idea behind pull and strike isn't new, but its predecessor catchphrase—"strategic redeployment"—lacked a certain muscular quality and never caught on. Whatever it's called, the logic is clear. Pinpointing the whereabouts of Qaeda strongholds requires beefed-up intelligence, which has little to do with the large-scale presence of American ground forces. In fact, when we leave, and remove a major source of irritation, intelligence on the true terrorists will likely get better.
I like Alter's idea. To me, there is no question that we must remove our military from Iraq. We cannot win the civil war taking place there. But we also must deal with the terrorist threat from al Qaeda. Certainly the Iraqis no more want al Qaeda in country than they want the U.S. military.

Alter also notes that Democrats must deal with their forgeting to bring up Al Qaeda and bin Laden when they talk to voters. Every time one of Bush's minions mentions 9/11 Democrats must respond by reminding voters the man behind 9/11 remains at large because Bush stopped looking for him. Every time a Republican says war critics are forgetting what happened on 9/11 we need to respond by pointing out it is Republicans who have forgotten who was responsible for 9/11 and ask why bin Laden is still at large. Reporters need to be reminded of this, as well.

Alter's last two grafs are also notable:
To get a sense of how inept Democrats are at framing the debate, imagine if 9/11 had occurred under a Democratic president. You can bet that Republicans would go on the floor of Congress (and on cable TV) and say, "This is day 2,110 since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large." The next day, they would say it again, and again the day after that.

Whether Democrats call it pull and strike or something else, they've got to better communicate the two-pronged nature of their approach. This isn't about sloganeering. It's about clearly and memorably conveying the complex truth that leaving Iraq is not enough.
Keith Olberman reminds us each evening how many days have passed since "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. It's time we all start reminding the American people how many days have passed "since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large."

Today is the 2,109th day since 9/11 and the man who ordered the massacre is still at large.

[cross posted at Watching Those We Chose]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Please let thar be uh bottle uh Jack in muh room"

AP Photo/Ron Edmonds

"So is the little lady here ennuh good in bed?"

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

"Yo! Ennuhbuddy here habahlo englese?"

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

President Bush spoke Thursday at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast.

"Ima Fiscally Responsuhble Preznet"

REUTERS/Jim Young

"For months, I've warned the Democrats in Congress that I will not accept an irresponsible tax-and-spend budget." I pruhfur a no-tax-and-spend budget, along with billions in supplementals tuh fund muh war. Heheheheheh.

Friday, June 15, 2007

NASA Seeks Help with Space Station


Baffled by the failure of all six main control computers on the international space station's Russian segment, NASA enginners call the Elite Task Force for help.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Assemblies of God Does Reefer?

Who knew?


This sign is in front of Praise Assembly of God, 3535 N. Glenstone Ave. in Springfield, Missouri.

Friday, June 08, 2007

But God Created Sex, Didn't She?

A "sex scandal" hits the Creation Museum in Kentucky:

The man who plays Adam in a video aired at a Bible-based creationist museum has led a different life outside the Garden of Eden, flaunting his sexual exploits online and modeling for a clothing line that promotes free love.

[snip]

The actor, Eric Linden, owns a graphic Web site called Bedroom Acrobat, where he has been pictured, smiling alongside a drag queen, in a T-shirt brandishing the site's sexually suggestive logo. The Web site, which has a network of members, allows users to post explicit stories and photos.

He also sells clothing for SFX International, whose initials appear on clothing to spell "SEX" from afar. It promotes "free love,""pleasure" and "thrillz."

Linden, a graphic designer, model and actor who grew up in Columbus, said he is no longer affiliated with the Bedroom Acrobat site, and had handed the domain name off to somebody. Ownership records available through the NetworkSolutions database show Linden registered the site 18 months ago.

He also said he no longer posts to the site.

Linden said he is very proud to play Adam. "But just because I'm Adam on the screen, that doesn't mean I'm Adam off the screen," he said. "What I do shouldn't have anything to do with who they think Adam is."

[snip]

The museum pulled the clip after learning about his online activities from The Associated Press.

Linden, who now lives in Los Angeles, said his modeling work for the clothing line is just one of the many jobs that make up his career. He said he has great respect for the founders of the Creation Museum and their vision.

"For the Creation Museum, I did what I did as an actor. It doesn't necessarily mean I believe in evolution or a believe in creation," Linden said. "I'm hired to get a point across. On the flip side, if I was hired to play a murderer, that doesn't mean I'd go out and kill somebody. It's make-believe."
I'd think all those creationists would be quite happy with this. Heck, it fits right in with the story line of Adam and Eve being driven from Eden. Why are religious fanatics so uptight about sex?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Another "AAAAAAAAGGGHHHH" Moment

The News-Leader does it again!

Professor awarded two grants for more than $40,000
Dr. Lynn Robbins, professor of biology, was awarded two grants for more than $40,000 from Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. to determine the presence or absence of Indiana bats in specific areas of northern Missouri.

The projects will determine the presence of the endangered bats and the species composition of other bat species on a site that is under consideration for the construction of wind generated electric turbines.

“The firm representing the power company is working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a pro-active manner to determine if there would be any adverse consequences to wildlife if the project is to move ahead,” Robbins said. “My part is to use nets and ultrasonic detectors (Bat Detectors) to look at the presence and abundance of all bat species in the area.”
Anyone notice anything missing? Anyone?

At which college or university is Dr. Lynn Robbins a professor of biology? It's not like there's only one in Springfield. I'm certain the news release from which this was copied included the name of that institution of higher learning.

Was there truly a need to post this to the Web under "Latest News Updates" without this highly relevant bit of information? Could it not have waited until Friday morning?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"And oh, what heights we'll hit!"

"On with the show, this is it!"
(with apologies to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck)

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"I Am the President!!"

The man is SO out of touch with reality, it's scary. Perhaps it's time for a 12-step program:

The White House sees terrorists as born, not created by history, bearing the mark of Cain, not the mark of circumstance. There is a scarlet "T" written on their foreheads at birth and the only answer is to destroy them. This kind of thinking, of course, relieves the thinker of any responsibility for the presence of the insurgent-terrorist-whatever in our innocent midst.

What's more, there is not much real give in the administration's policies. True, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other American diplomats met Memorial Day weekend with the Iranians in Baghdad (a good first move but limited, since the Iranians have most of the power because of our incredible stupidity in Iraq). But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
[emphasis added]

I know 5-year-olds who can't throw a better temper-tantrum. Some of them are smarter, too.

[cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blogger, News-Leader Tell Tabby Tale

Springfield blogger Larry Litle has a post on his displeasure with the reaction of some unnamed people have had to the passing of Jerry Falwell. He uses a large brush to paint broad strokes:

My issue is squarely on the shoulders of those on the left that (sic) have been celebrating his death. I have been hearing about the parties that have been thrown in honor of his death. The jokes have not stopped in two weeks. I find this behavior to be morbid and disgusting.

The kicker of the situation is the hypocrisy. The left wing preachers of tolerance are leading the bandwagon. If you hate someone enough to throw a party at their death, then are you living a tolerant life? I don't think so.
[emphasis mine]

Litle presents no evidence that any such parties have actually been thrown "in honor of [Falwell's] death." Litle merely says he's been "hearing" about them. Where have these parties taken place? What evidence does Litle have that this assertion even vaguely resembles reality?

Litle further asserts "left wing preachers of tolerance are leading the bandwagon." Who are these bandwagon leaders? For that matter, are they truly "preachers of tolerance?" Or is Litle merely lumping everyone on the left together? We don't know because Litle provides no support for his assertion.

A Google search for "Jerry Falwell death party" produced 1,140,000 hits, none stating a party had been or was being thrown to celebrate Falwell's death. Some contain statements clearly indicating the authors are not saddened by Falwell's death. A few even outright indicate happiness over the death. One would need to read a great deal more from these authors to determine if they are truly "preachers of tolerance." None of them are popular progressive bloggers. Your mileage may vary.

The closest thing I could find to fit Litle's assertion is an "anti-memorial" staged by members of San Francisco's gay and lesbian community. Not much of a party.

What I did find were many conservative blogs parroting Litle's assertions. One resembles Litle's post a great deal, right down to the lack of evidence:
I did a search of blogs and so-far, 99 out of 100 are praising his death.
And which 100 blogs did this author search? He doesn't tell us. The author doesn't include a single link to support this assertion. Could it be that these bloggers are merely parroting each other?

Ya' know, I keep hearing several Freepers like to beat up women and spit on them and go all crazy. Those right wing preachers of faith are leading the bandwagon. What? You want me to back this up? Provide an example? Uh, that'd be too much work, dude. I'd rather just repeat what I've "been hearing."

Without any sort of supporting evidence, repeating what one has "been hearing" is nothing more than peddling gossip.

Even the Springfield News-Leader got in on this gossip gabfest by reprinting Litle's post in Wednesday's (May 30th) edition. We know the News-Leader editorial board believes signed blogs have "a higher standard," implying signed blogs are more credible than unsigned ones. To quote the editorial board, "the best blogs in Springfield and Missouri have names attached to them."

Poppycock.

What sort of high standard is set by spreading gossip? By making grand assertions with no supporting evidence? It doesn't matter whether the gossip monger signs his name or not. It's still just peddling gossip.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Six Month Rewind

Six months ago Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said:

his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.
To which President George Bush replied:
“We’ll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people.”

He said the United States — which now has about 140,000 troops in Iraq —will stay “to get the job done so long as the government wants us there.”
On May 8,
more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
Maliki said Iraqi forces would be ready to assume security command. Bush said our troops would stay as long as the Iraqi government wants us there.

June '07 begins Friday. A majority of the Iraqi government wants us to leave.

When will US troops begin withdrawing?


[cross-posted at The Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus]

Monday, May 28, 2007

Is This Heaven? No, it's Poland.

And you thought you'd heard the last of Jerry Falwell:

Poland to probe if Teletubbies are gay
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies.

Ewa Sowinska, government-appointed children rights watchdog, told a local magazine published on Monday she was concerned the popular BBC children's show promoted homosexuality.

She said she would ask psychologists to advise if this was the case.

In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: "I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy."

"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby ... Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."

Poland's rightist government has upset human rights groups and drawn criticism within the European Union by apparent discrimination against homosexuals.

Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych has proposed laws sacking teachers who promote "homosexual lifestyle" and banning "homo-agitation" in schools.

But in a sign that the government wants to distance itself from Sowinska's comments, Parliamentary Speaker Ludwig Dorn said he had warned her against making public comments "that may turn her department into a laughing stock."

The 10-year-old Teletubbies, which features four rotund, brightly colored characters loved by children around the world, became a target of religious conservatives after Falwell suggested Tinky Winky could be homosexual.
The hate of bigot Jerry Falwell lives on, even if he doesn't.

Things to Make You Go....Hmmmmmmmm

What's the matter with the Springfield News-Leader? OK, too broad a question. Let me be specific: Why is the writing so bad? Here are some examples from the May 28, 2007 edition:

Sarah Overstreet's column about Chuck Wooten:

At a long table, not even a desk, former state representative Chuck Wooten sits, the phone near his elbow ringing constantly.

A Bible and a book of funeral services for many religious faiths are an arm's length away.

Nearby on a coat rack is Wooten's suit jacket, which he will put on in 30 minutes to walk to the committal shelter to help with a funeral.

Sometimes, he reads from both the Bible and the book of funeral services, at a family's request.

"A lot of the funeral directors know me, and a lot of times they'll call out here ... they'll ask me to say a few words and I will," says Wooten, now cemetery program representative for the cemetery. His job is to advocate for the cemetery with legislators, the Veterans Affairs department and anyone else who will listen.
Uh, what cemetery would that be, Sarah? Obviously, you are referring to a veterans cemetery. Springfield has two. Three paragraphs later (the EIGHTH graf of the story) Sarah finally tells us which of the two veterans' cemeteries in Springfield she means:
If it weren't for Wooten, who was a Republican state representative from Springfield at the time when state leaders began talking about how quickly our veterans cemeteries would be full, our Missouri Veterans Cemetery wouldn't rest on 58 acres of gentle, rolling hills of grass with young trees lining its paved roads, surrounded by mature trees that lay in the countryside around it long before it was even an fleeting idea in someone's mind.
The cemetery should have been fully identified upon first reference. Bad writing, compounded further by this:
Wooten introduced legislation to push the impetus for a cemetery here, among other Missouri sites. He thought it was on track. Then, one night as Wooten was in the capital about 10 p.m., then-Rep. Jim Montgomery, D-Cabool, stopped by to have a talk. "Chuck, I'm pulling Springfield out of the bill." Montgomery wanted a cemetery in Cabool.
Wooten took to the mattresses, marshaling everyone he could to lobby citizens, veterans and state leaders to choose Springfield as one of the sites for five proposed vet burial grounds.
"Wooten took to the mattresses?" What in blazes does that mean? I'm not a native Ozarkian, so perhaps this is some colloquialism I've yet to hear. But I doubt it.

I hope Sarah forgot to delete a word in the following quote:
"It's so beautiful that a lot of weekends I'll just come down out and drive through it," he says.
"Come down out and drive?" Another Ozark colloquialism? Or just poor editing? With Sarah, probably the latter.

Here's another story from the May 28 edition, "Water feature to be built at Smith Park." Springfield has a Smith Park, located at 1536 E. Division Street. According to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board web site, the park has:
1 lighted softball field, 2 lighted tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, restrooms, horseshoes, drinking fountain, children's & adolescent's play equipment, open play area, picnic tables & grills, open shelters
So reading the above headline one might believe a "water feature" will soon be added to that list. One would be confused, then, reading the first graf of the story:
The Board of Aldermen agreed 4-2 this past week to spend up to $115,000 to pay for a new water feature for the Howard Smith Community Park.
"Board of Aldermen?" Springfield has a city council, not aldermen. The News-Leader did not include a dateline, nor does it ever identify the community to which the story refers. My best guess is Branson because of the second graf:
The water feature will be similar to those at Silver Dollar City and Celebration City, but on a smaller scale with 6 sprayers on a 30-foot-by20-foot concrete pad.
Is this really acceptable to the News-Leader? I'd be happy to identify the reporter who wrote this, but said reporter is not identified. Maybe "Larry Little's" (sic) friend Tony Messenger will convince the News-Leader's news room to quit printing/posting stories anonymously. Can't wait for THAT editorial.

Here's one from last Tuesday's (May 22, 2007) edition, filed in the "newspapers in education" section: Tips on saving money.

Allow me to quote the whole article:
Did you Know?
Did I know what? That article has kept me awake all week wondering what I'm supposed to know. And when will the News-Leader tell me?

Perhaps "they" don't want me to know, so "they" are keeping it a secret.

Paranoid? Me?