Monday, November 16, 2009

Something for that Special Evangelical in Your Life

What with the holidays coming around (which were heralded by Christmas ads on November first...), I bet you're looking for the perfect gift for that hard-to-please Fundamentalist Christian on your list. Well, look no further, as Teresa Nielsen Hayden has found for us some Vaccine Waivers for Creationists - just print the pdf on an appropriate page of stickers and you have an instant gift as well as a means to pitch in and conserve the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines for those who need them!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Disconnect in Perceptions

I realize that Cecil's already covered this, but I still have to marvel at how people think that Rogers Park is a lot more dangerous than other places on the North Side. I mean, sure, the area around Howard isn't terribly great, but I don't see stories in the newspaper about that area. Instead, I keep reading about horrible things that happen in Lincoln Park.

Me thinks it's more about who one see's upon stepping off the L, rather than any real crime statistics, that gives the area its reputation.

Friday, October 9, 2009

How Bad is It?

How bad must it be to be the president whose successor is given a Nobel Peace Prize mostly for not being his predecessor?

A bunch of Bush Administration proxies were stressing that history would judge them best.

Well, the historical viewpoint is beginning, and it's not off to an auspicious start for Bush 43.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

He Makes a Good Point

Ramsin Canon at the Gaper's Block blog Mechanics aruges that we really don't have a good idea of what constitutes a 'good' Democrat, and this lack is a major problem when it comes to defining what the party is for and how we are to judge it.

There is a flaw in the motto "Elect More, and Better, Democrats." This motto of the liberal netroots--as a handy shorthand for the current generation of liberal activists--was laid out originally by Markos Moulitsas and adopted to various degrees by the other major netroots networks and organizations.

The flaw is the word "better". With no real left ideology (and therefore, no attendant analysis of the current political and economic situation) there is no real way to gauge what makes a "better" Democrat. With no definition of "better" in this context, we are left with "Elect more Democrats;" not only this, but without an ideology--an analysis--we can't gauge legislative progress--meaning we will never know when we have "enough" Democrats. Electing more Democrats is not a worthwhile goal until we know what makes a politician a "good" or "better" Democrat.

That is to say, without a party-independent movement capable of providing analysis of current political and social crises, we'll end up with a constant tension between those who think espousal of particular issues, versus partisan loyalty, define "progress", "the left" or "progressivism".
It's worth a full read, which you should go give it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Safety is in the Eye of the Beholder

There was yet another set of beatings in Lincoln Park last night, but people still think that Edgewater and Rogers Park are less safe because there's more brown skinned people around here.

Go figure.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

EtOH Observation

I find it interesting that while Pres. George W. Bush was elected partially because he was the candidate you'd be more likely to have a beer with, Pres. Barack H. Obama was the first president to actually put having a beer with someone to good use in recent memory. (I have to add the caveat as I'm sure that people better versed in US history than I can wax poetic about how John Quincy Adams and some guy sat down for a lager and hammered out the whatever bill of 18-something.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthcare NIMBYs

I apologize for the paucity of posts - I'm busy, which makes it hard to find things to gripe about here. Anyhow, here's a decent one: Children's Memorial Hospital is in the process of building a brand-new facility on the Northwestern Memorial campus in Streeterville, the neighborhood that is home to the Mag Mile. Children's Memorial has long had a heliport at its Lincoln Park location, and wants one at its new place in the Near North. The approval for the helipad is nearing the end of a long process, but is meeting resistance from the local block club, SOAR. Their opposition has triggered a series of hearings by IDOT, the first of which was today. While it is currently unknown whether or not SOAR has a legitimate concern, as their day to offer expert testimony is tomorrow, this quote in a Chicago Daily News piece on today's hearing made it seem to me that something else is going on:

“If there’s an accident in this neighborhood, it could be terrible,” said Streeterville resident Hugh Stevens, who came to hear more about the hospital’s proposal. “I’m in favor of Children’s Memorial Hospital, but I don’t think Children’s thought about this enough before they decided to move.”
What struck me about this resident's statement is that he says it as if Children's did not already have a helipad in a Chicago neighborhood. I mean, I do not actually live in Lincoln Park because it is too expensive and a bit too stuck-up for my tastes, but I am there quite frequently for school and I can assure you that it would be just as terrible to have a helicopter accident in Lincoln Park, the only difference being that the victims would have slightly smaller wallets than those in Streeterville. This, to me, sounds like the neighborhood's using a classic NIMBY tactic of claiming safety concerns as a cover for really just not wanting the potential for helicopter noise at any time of the day or night. Tomorrow may see something different at the hearing, but I do not anticipate being surprised.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Used To Live Next Door...

The News-Gazette's reporting a working fire at a campus apartment building next door to where I used to live. Thankfully that didn't happen to my building, which was identical, while I was living there.

UPDATE: The N-G took down their blurb story, breaking the previous link. The new, longer story on the fire is here. My old building's the one next door, though my apartment itself if out of the shot.

Friday, May 22, 2009

As If We Needed His Word On It

Via DailyKos and a whole chain of other blogs is this video of Chicago's own Mancow being waterboarded. Even though he's conservative, he has to admit that it's torture:

Friday, April 24, 2009

For Future Reference

DanK is Back, a diarist at Daily Kos, has done us all the service of putting together the known timeline of the legal non-justifications of torture that occurred under the Bush administration, and the denials that came after.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Reason to Dislike Disney

Via Aaron Williams of Nodwick fame is a video showing how many "classic" Disney movies (ya know, the ones that seemed to make the least coherent sense) really just reused scenes from each other.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Medical Humor

I have now progressed far enough in nursing school to make this parody video funny.

Monday, March 30, 2009

An Observed Phenomenon

Previous screeds of my past blog aside, I do have a number of current and former sorority women as friends on Facebook, and this only increased as I began my current program of study. Over the past few months I have noticed something: a disturbing (and annoying) percentage of them have their presumed middle names listed instead of their last names. Admittedly, this does not affect the sorting algorithm for Facebook, as the site alphabetizes by first name, but for the first month or so that this was going on it was somewhat confusing when, instead of seeing stuff about Jane Doe on my news feed, I get stories about a Jane Sue when I am certain I have never friended anyone with a last name of Sue.

No one has told my why this is going on, as I try to stay on the periphery of such social groups and have not asked directly. However, my best guess is that it's some cutesy attempt to keep people, like job recruiters or admissions officers, from finding their profiles and seeing everything that can be seen there. Using the friend list and other privacy features, not to mention de-tagging all those underage drinking photos, would be a better means of doing this, though, so I am not sure my guess is correct. Anyone know what's really going on?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Continuing Implosion of the Cook County Republican Party

Case in point: quality leadership.

Former Cook County Republican Chairman Gary Skoien is denying a police report that said his wife found him at home with two prostitutes and beat him with her fists and a toy guitar.

The report filled out by Barrington-Inverness police says that’s what Eni Skoien told them — and that Gary Skoien confirmed the account, said Deputy Chief Jerry Libit.

“That’s how it was reported to us,” Libit said.

A police report on the incident said he told responding officers there were prostitutes with him in the play room when his wife caught him.

...Police said he suffered cuts and had blood on his hands after his wife attacked him when she walked in on him at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday.
While the article states that the guy denies everything, let's look at this from a more pragmatic standpoint. If you are a philandering politician, and are smart about it, you do not bring hookers into your home, especially if you are a member of a party that proclaims a "family values" platform. You most definitely do not do this at a time when your spouse has even the slightest chance of being home. Lastly, if you want to cover it up, you start by not pressing charges, rather than by filing the police report and then repudiating it later. I mean, Illinois voters are rather inured to having crooked politicians, but we at least expect them to be competent at it. From my side of center, he loses respect not because of what he did, but because he was dumb enough to get caught doing it.

The Sun-Times article says the Cook County GOP has not won a county-wide office in 17 years. With geniuses like this bozo running the show, is anyone surprised?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Must Be Too Much Real News This Week

How can you tell?'s dug up a twenty-year-old missing white female story.

Honestly, can we just have more real news? I understand that a certain amount of fluff news is good, but this just serves to highlight modern media fetishes that we're all well aware of now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yeah, This Was a Not-Fun Surprise

CTA U-Pass mistake hits DePaul students

Thousands of DePaul University students were met with a surprise this morning: Their CTA U-Passes were no good.

Mistakenly, about 5,000 of the student transit cards were deactivated, officials said.

Earlier this week, a list of students who hold the passes was sent out to DePaul officials for the information to be updated. The card company responsible for maintaining the passes was inquiring about students who were no longer enrolled at the school, said Noelle Gaffney, spokeswoman for the CTA.

But instead of updating the list, someone at the CTA interpreted the information to be "hot listed" and deactivated all the cards associated with the names on the list, Gaffney said.

...The CTA notified customer assistance workers at all the stations near the DePaul campuses and told them to allow students to board by just showing their pass, Gaffney said.

...the Chi-Town Daily News is also on the story, confirming that my U-Pass won't be turned back on 'til the weekend, at the earliest.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

GOP State Rep Pisses Off Every Single Academic In Illinois

Out of sheer political grandstanding, State Sen. Larry Bomke (R-Springfield) has introduced a bill with the sole purpose of forcing UIC to fire Bill Ayers.

State Sen. Larry Bomke...wants Ayers removed from his university post under a proposal that says anyone who has committed an act of violence against the governments of the United States or Illinois cannot work at a public university.
Here's a hint: professors and other academics are really touchy about politicians saying what can and cannot go on in academic settings. It has to do with the whole free flow of ideas thing and all. Thankfully, the Dems control the state legislature, so this will go nowhere. Considering that this guy represents the Springfield area, itself home to UIS and to SIU's Medical School, I'm amazed that he thinks that the political calculus for this stunt will end up on his side.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Problem With Hooters

I've never been impressed with Hooters restaurants. Beyond the "meh" quality of most of the food, the major failing of this chain is that women with respectable quantities of the anatomical feature for which the restaurant is named are usually able to leverage their visage into a better job elsewhere.

Trying Too Hard

A recent story regurgitating GOP hand-wringing over the large size of stimulus package manages to torpedo the one redeeming feature of the piece, the headline "Numb and number: Is trillion the new billion?" by explaining the pun in the text:

" 'Number' itself can be parsed 'number' or 'numb-er.' And maybe in this case, the latter is a better pronunciation," [Temple University Professor John Allen] Paulos said.
The piece does get a bit better in the end by saying that the large numbers are necessary to deal with the large pile of shit that is the U.S. economy, but then flounders with a concluding sentence that makes no grammatical sense. In all, CNN would have been better off not running the story at all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Dad Steered Me Away From These

For those who don't know what a Four-Plus-One is, here's an article that describes them and how they fit into Chicago zoning laws. It tries to defend the four-plus-one, mostly from forty-year-old arguments expressed once upon a time by Yuppies in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, and in so doing kinda glosses over how they were generally not built with an eye to quality, and for a long time were not maintained horribly well (until various areas in the Winthrop-Kenmore corridor gentrified). Needless to say, I was not impressed with the four-plus-ones I was shown while I was looking for an apartment.

Kudos to Gaper's Block for the link.

This Cannot End Well

Via El Reg, Fox has picked up a pilot for an American remake of Ab Fab. Merely thinking about it hurts my brain. Hopefully Fox'll do what it does to any of its shows in the past decade that have even the hint of being successful and cancel it before it finishes its first season.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Zombie Musical!

The Trib reports that some production company has purchased the rights to make Michael Jackson's Thriller into a musical.

The Nederlander Organization announced officially today that is has acquired the rights to Michael Jackson's iconic 1983 music video "Thriller" and plans to turn it into a Broadway musical.

Rumors of the project first surfaced last fall on New York gossip pages. Since the Nederlander Organization controls Broadway in Chicago, that would suggest such a project would start out in Chicago.

"Could be," said James L. Nederlander, the coy lead producer, on Monday morning. "I'd like to."
Apparently Michael will be involved with the creation of the show - which should bode well for the sake of the choreography, at least. The man's a creep, but he can still dance better than more or less any other pop star out there.

Myself, I forsee this being made of either epic awesomeness or epic fail. There really can be no middle ground on it.

Fictional Course: ENG 415 - Ethics and Morality in Speculative Fiction

Essay question: Discuss how the term 'grok' relates to the concepts of agape, philia, and eros.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Don't They Say This Every Year?

Streets and Sanitation is telling residents to get their crap out of the street.

Coincidentally, this is probably the last week for curbside specials this Winter, at least until the various colleges start letting out for the summer.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

As If More Important Things Weren't Happening Today felt the need to bring up a 25-year-old story about a missing white female.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Exploring Chicago, Part Two

Part of an ongoing series of observations.

Lincoln Avenue is a looooong diagonal street.

There are also other streets (e.g. Clark) that appear to be mild-mannered North-South streets, but with a diagonal bit in the middle that puts them out of order depending on which part of town you learned the names for.

Learning the Marker Light system for the L is helpful when one is squinting into the distance trying to tell if that's a Red Line train coming, or just another Brown.

Speaking of the L, the heat lamps on the platforms are great, but only do so much to prevent frostbite.

Hardly anybody takes credit/debit cards in this town. Restaurants want cash, cold and hard, unless they're either nice or are places where people drop loads of money all at once.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

A Chicago Tribune headline asks, "Have we set the bar too low for miracles?"


This has been an installment of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Number 6 is Dead

(Via the Tribune) Patrick McGoohan died today at the age of 80. While not as well-known to more mainline sci-fi geeks as the passing of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, it's significant to those of us who are familiar with The Prisoner, a rather surreal ITV show produced and starring McGoohan. For those who haven't watched the show, AMC (which is remaking the series) has put all 17 episodes online. If you've not seen it before, you should go watch it, and be surprised at the little references to the show that you'll recognize in later TV and movies.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What Do You Mean, "Not Your Job"?

Gov. Blagojevich was impeached today by the IL State House, 114-1. The one against was Rep. Milton Patterson, D-Chicago, who the tribune reports said that it "wasn't his job to vote to impeach the governor," saying things about the criminal process needing to take place instead.

Well, excuse us, Rep. Patterson, but one of your admittedly rarely exercised powers as a state representative is to vote on articles of impeachment of state officers that are put before the Illinois State House. As Archpundit has repeatedly stated, impeachment is a political process, not a criminal one. The object of impeachment is to send to the State Senate a recommendation remove state officers who have manifestly demonstrated their inability to follow the law while doing their jobs, with or without actual criminal charges being filed. If you think part of your job is not your job, you and your constituents need to have a conversation come primary time, hopefully one ending with you not appearing on the November 2010 ballot.

And besides, if you really thought that it "wasn't your job", Rep. Patterson, you could always have abstained.

Monday, January 5, 2009

An Auspicious Start

So I get to the L platform this morning to head to campus for my first day of grad school, and wait... and wait... and wait some more. Two Northbound trains went by, but for us Southbound folks, nothing. The platform was actually almost crowded, which for an 8-car platform at my stop is something of a minor feat, as best as I can tell. Then the CTA attendant came on the PA and told us that there had been a derailment at Howard, the terminus for the Red Line and the location of one of the yards, which was preventing Southbound traffic.

Thankfully, the CTA already runs bus routes parallel to the line which, while it took a long time, at least was warmer than the L platform and involved motion towards my destination.

As for my first day of classes - I currently do not feel as if I have been hit with a sack of bricks, but that should not last long. Maybe a week. If I'm lucky.