Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Black people "loot", but whites "find" things.

A friend pointed out how differently the AP portrays these two very similar circumstances black people are "looting", but resourceful white people just "find" things.

Editor's note: The "black people looting" link no longer works. The AP took it down after 24 hours.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I have heard many reports of entire communities that have been washed away and it reminds of one poor community called Irish Bayou.

Several years ago, my friends and I left New Orleans after a week of Mardi Gras celebration. We were almost out of gas and we exited I-90 to try and find a gas station. We were not able to fill up, but what we saw was the poorest community that I have encountered in the United States. The little village consisted of several one room stove heated shacks. It appeared that many of them were built upon dirt floors. I saw a few of the townspeople who could be euphemistically described as veterans of hard living. One of them tried to give us directions back to the interstate as it was quite obvious that we were lost.

I read an article on Sunday in the Times-Picayune that predicted the Irish Bayou community would be completely under water as it is outside of the levee system. I am sure there is nothing left of the Irish Bayou village.


NPR had a piece on the widespread looting of New Orleans shops. I thought it was interesting that one reporter stated that the women were stealing food and the men were stealing alcohol and cigarettes.

The Most Unpopular President Ever?

Well, not quite, but he's falling fast. He still only has Jimmy Carter, Bush pere, Richard Nixon and Harry Truman to beat.

Hitting Bottom: It's official—George Bush has crossed the Mendoza line. On Friday, Gallup announced that the president's approval has reached a new low of 40 percent, while his disapproval has soared to a new high of 56 percent.

Every second-term president has his eye on the history books—and with these numbers, Bush has secured his place in them. Of the 12 presidents who've served since Gallup started polling in the late 1930s, Bush has entered the ranks of the most unpopular. He's now more unpopular than FDR, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Ford, and Clinton ever were, and has matched the highest disapproval rating of his idol, Ronald Reagan.

Bush's disapproval rose five points in August alone. At his current pace of losing favor, he could speed past two more presidents within the next month: Jimmy Carter, who peaked at 59 percent in mid-1979, and George H.W. Bush, who hit 60 percent in the summer of 1992. That would leave the current Bush just two more men to pass on his way to the top spot: Richard Nixon, who reached 66 percent before resigning in 1974, and Harry Truman, who set Gallup's all-time record at 67 percent in January 1952.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Governor Daniels Commutes Death Sentence

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mitch Daniels on Monday commuted the death sentence of Arthur Baird II, who was scheduled to be executed this week for killing his parents in 1985.

The order from Daniels changes Baird's sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole. Baird's lawyers have argued he was insane, but the state Parole Board last week voted 3-1 to recommend that the execution proceed.

"Courts recognized Mr. Baird as suffering from mental illness at the time he committed the murders, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm recently wrote that Mr. Baird is 'insane in the ordinary sense of the word.' It is difficult to find reasons not to agree," Daniels said in a statement.


Mr. Baird will still die while incarcerated. I know we're the only nation in the western industrialized world that still has a death penalty, but it is particularly troubling when the inmate is mentally ill. I am glad Governor Daniels had the courage to make this decision.


If my sidebar was down at the bottom of the forum, you'd tell me, wouldn't you? It's not quite as bad as having your fly unzipped, but it's still embarrassing. My tech helper says my site looks fine, but he's on a Mac. I am using IE (I know, I know) and my toolbar is down at the bottom. How does it look to you?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Irish Pub, my arse

It's no secret that I live on the southside of Indianapolis. I moved down here in January after years of northside living. Ok, it was the northwestside, but still. Last night, I met a few friends at a new "Irish" pub. I am not going to divulge the name of the place, but I must say I was disappointed.

I am no barkeep, but I have a lot of experience on the other side of the bar and I have a few suggestions. First, if you're going to call yourself a "Irish pub", you should have Guinness on draft or be original and have Murphy's or Beamish stout. You should have Jameson's or another Irish whisky available. This place had neither. I was able to get an ice cold Budweiser though.

The decor consisted of fluorescent lighting and vinyl booths that haven't changed since the bar changed themes. It looked like a 1950s diner. I really do not know what made the place Irish other than a crude ink drawing of a leprechaun on construction paper and an Irish flag in the corner. I heard the owner was not even Irish. Argh.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Death of a Chippy

Jim reported some time ago that Rob and Jay's Chippy has closed. It was not only a place to satisfy my greasy food needs, but also the only place that I knew of to watch international soccer. Now Brugge Brasserie has stepped up to fill the void. Brugge is advertising that they are showing all Premier League and World Cup qualifiers, so I'll have somewhere to watch all of the World Cup if I am not able to go to Germany.

I support more troops than you!

I have posted somewhere on this blog (too lazy to look for a link) about those damn ubiquitous ribbon magnets. This site has several to choose from or you can make your own. A personal favorite is "why does some hate our troops?--oh that one makes me giggle.

Two sets of rules

The Terre Haute Tribune Star has an excellent editorial about travel by government officials in this age of cutbacks. Here is an excerpt followed by a link.

Lawmaker travel sends the wrong message

About the time the rest of us were finding out the bad news about property tax increases, 27 Indiana lawmakers - about one-fifth of the General Assembly - were packing their suitcases to fly home from Seattle.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Fat of the Land

I have just returned from the least fat state, Colorado. Each morning, I walked six blocks each morning to the local Starbucks like any other good coffee whore (I think 6 blocks is a record distance for any Starbucks) . I noticed so many Coloradoans jogging, walking, and biking. It's no wonder that they are so healthy. The only heavy people that I recall in Colorado were visiting Cubs fans from Chicago.

Land of the fat

Indiana and 47 other states have grown heftier, report says

We're getting fatter. And we have plenty of company.

As the obesity rate rises across the nation, Indiana weighs in as the ninth-heaviest state, with more than a quarter of its adults obese.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Wi-Fi TV

Mikal over at Belicove has listed a new site where one can view television from around the world over your broadband connection. Some of the stations are from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, Latvia, Greece, Iceland, Iran, and Russia. This is very cool.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president

What would Jesus Do?

Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Things to do in Denver when you're...

I spent the last four days in Denver with several friends on our annual trip. The reason for the excursion is ostensibly to see a baseball game. Anyway, here are a few random thoughts about Denver and my experiences:

--Colorado has some blue laws that are worse than Indiana's. One can only buy weakened 3.2 % beer at convenience and grocery stores. Liquor stores and bars are the only place where one can find full flavor beers, but they close at midnight. Bars only can stay open until 2 am and they sometimes start moving you out the door around 1 30 am.

--The crowd of 30,000 at Coors Field for Friday's Cubs/Rockies game was decidedly pro Cubs. One fan even threw a Rockies home run ball back onto the playing field just like they do at Wrigley field. The Rockies' security wasn't amused or maybe even embarrassed. The fan was kicked out of the game.

--Denver is one of the sunniest cities in the United States. It is also prone to some strange weather. I know it is not unheard for it to rain while the sun is shining, but heretofore, I had never been caught in an absolute downpour during a bright and sunny day.

--They really do serve Rocky Mountain Oysters in Colorado. Our waitress, "I see you boys were eyeing the Rocky Mountain Oysters on the menu, are you gonna try 'em?". Me, "No, uh, uh, how about the potato skins instead".

--No one should drink Coors non-alcoholic beer.

--And speaking of Coors, they should be shot for buying up the distributing rights to Caffrey's and Grolsch and then choosing not to import them into the United States. Caffrey's is gone and Grolsch will be after 2006. This decision has implications further than just beer. Grolsch, if you remember, has the fancy ceramic or plastic stoppers on their bottles. Like one of my friends asked, "what will future college kids use for an improvised roach clip?"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Out of town

I will be gone for a few days. Until then amuse yourself with this site

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Welcome to Suburbia

Matthew Tully of the Indianapolis Star has a column detailing the new show based on the life of Marion/Hamilton County Deputy Prosecutor Barb Trathen. The show's official site refers to the setting as "suburbia". Well, there is a city here not that anyone from LA would know about it.

LA actually seems suburban to me in its own way. I mean, downtown is not the focal point and it is far more decentralized than any other large American city. I don't know what it is other than an endless hodgepodge and conglomeration of neighborhoods and small cities that go on for miles and miles. I feel like I am in a city in Chicago or NY, but in LA, I feel like I am in an endless neighborhood with scenery of palm trees and razor wire.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the people and culture from this city are depicted. The main character has to stop by Steak and Shake for a takhomasak one night. Then, I'll be impressed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Access Indiana

You can really find some interesting things if you check out the Access Indiana website.

New laws affecting drivers are available on this page. I am not quite sure how this particular law is going to work.

Accident Reports

Written accident reports resulting from motor vehicle accidents occurring after December 31, 2005 shall be sent by the driver to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

More on John Roberts...

There are plenty of reasons to oppose John Roberts' nomination and one does not have to risk alienating the centrists like the NARAL advertisments did. It remains to be seen whether or not the Democrats will be able to educate the public on Robert's past positions, but there is definitely some material to work with.

Roberts criticized equal pay decision

`Comparable worth' theory ridiculed

WASHINGTON -- As a young lawyer in the Reagan White House, Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts Jr. helped shape the debate on some of the era's most controversial issues, including abortion and school prayer. And he held nothing back when analyzing the revolutionary theory of "comparable worth," a proposal to pay women the same salaries as men even when they were in different jobs.


Monday, August 15, 2005

I am not a customer...

I am weary of Governor Daniel's business-like approach to his governorship. Government is not a business and citizens are not customers. Businesses exist to make profits for individuals or shareholders and to do so they must make decisions that often benefit a few people at the expense of many. Government should follow a more utilitarian role when it provides benefits for its citizenry. There is nothing wrong with these office hour changes as they add convenience to citizens or taxpayers. This change is far more benign than some of the "business" decisions made at the BMV or DNR.

New Customer-Friendly Hours Effective Today at the Department of Revenue

Indianapolis - Today the Indiana Department of Revenue will institute new customer-friendly hours. Effective August 15, 2005, the Department will be open for taxpayer calls and visits from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Governor Daniels has made it a priority of his administration to treat taxpayers as indispensable customers, to make their interests a priority, and our existing hours don’t do that,” said John Eckart, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Some plugs...

Michael Trossman is a friend of mine. He is a painter and has his collection of Blues, Jazz, Rock and Popular Culture portraits on his website. His work has appeared in many forms such as Rolling Stone magazine, The New Yorker, Album Covers, Recording Label Logos, and poster art for David Mamet plays.

Now, I have also plugged my friend David Cordell's book Fire me, please, so it would be unfair if I left another friend's website out. Sure, it's called I don't know if I'd click on the site at work, but it's a relatively harmless site of drunken people dry humping objects. Hey, I never promised that I associated with a sophisticated crowd, did I? He has had the site for years and it pays for itself and he has been interviewed about it on CNBC. His father even admitted that he was proud of him in a very, very strange sort of away.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Groovy man

I just have to laugh at this headline from the Indianapolis Star.

Base-closing panel offers positive vibes

I can dig it, man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

3Ls--stop wasting your time.

Some Question Third Year of Law School

Now a corporate lawyer, Jennifer Leong fondly recalls her third and final year of law school. A job secured, she traveled frequently. Her courses included feminist jurisprudence and a half-semester bankruptcy seminar — each carefully chosen to get her weekend started by Wednesday afternoon.

"A lot of beer and softball," recalled Leong, who got her University of Virginia law degree in 2000. "Third year was probably the best year of my life."


Well, that's great. I am glad Ms. Leong had a wonderful third year of school. On the other hand, I was working full time as a bureaucrat and going to school full time (shh, don't tell the Bar Association). I have always thought that the last year should be less theory and more application. I learned as much in my one semester in the legal clinic as I did in the classroom. I will never forget talking to a paralegal as a 2L and she said she had to file a motion in limine. I remember thinking to myself 'Wtf is a motion in limine?'. I felt so inadequate because the paralegal knew more about practicing law than I did or maybe we covered that in school during the week that I went to Mardi Gras. Who knows...

Lawgeekgurl has posted her thoughts on this as well. I was in the same position as her. I had a job, but I sure was not going to be able to pay the bills with it. I was scared to death.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

More BMV Goodness

BMV announces more changes

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which has closed 15 license branches around the state, is planning to drop its 50-cent surcharge on Internet transactions and experiment with allowing car dealers to handle vehicle titles and registrations.

Commissioner Joel Silverman announced those changes today as he deflected criticism from legislators who are furious over his consolidation plan, which also calls for closing another 18 branches.


I am not sure that giving car dealers the authority to handle government documents is a good idea even if it is experimental. The regulatory body should maintain control over this in order to maintain the integrity of the process. I wonder if this has been tried in other states.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Poker in the front...

It appears that the poker craze is not going to die down. I have been in public and have overheard a person on a mobile phone say "Well, I had pocket jacks and was all in...". I will look over and the person talking looks like she is probably somebody's grandma. Everyone plays, there are games (legal and illegal) advertised on the radio and local magazines. Apparently, the prosecutor in Delaware County has stated that he will not prosecute those who play. This article in the Muncie Star-Press interviews several law enforcement officers throughout the state about the legality of poker and it is no surprise that there is little agreement.

Torpor Indy goes multilingual

In an effort to reach out to a new readership, Torporindy will publish in several languages. Some examples follow below. First, the previous post is translated to the scholarly language of Pig Latin:

Ondaymay, Augustyay 08, 2005

Ethay ismschay inyay ethay AFL-CIOyay

Erethay ashay eenbay ayay otlay ofyay ysteriahay overyay ethay ecentray efectionsday omfray ethay AFL-CIOyay. Iyay asway adglay otay eesay ethay EIUSAY andyay ethay Eamsterstay eakbray awayyay andyay amyay illstay onvincedcay atthay isthay illway ebay oodgay orfay aborlay. Yesterday'say Indianapolisyay Arstay adhay ayay uestgay olumncay ybay Ikemay Ullivansay, ethay eneralgay esidentpray ofyay ethay Internationalyay Associationyay ofyay Eetshay Etalmay Orkersway, mray. Ullivansay isyay oneyay ofyay ethay ewfay eaderslay inyay ethay AFL-CIOyay owhay illway admityay atthay isthay aymay ebay ayay ositivepay angechay.

Next, in the tongue of the Swedish Chef:

Mundey, Oogoost 08, 2005

Zee scheesm in zee EFL-CIO

Zeere-a hes beee a lut ooff hystereea oofer zee recent deffecshuns frum zee EFL-CIO. I ves gled tu see-a zee SEIOo und zee Teemsters breek evey und em steell cunfeenced thet thees veell be-a guud fur lebur. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! Yesterdey's Indeeunepulis Ster hed a gooest culoomn by Meeke-a Soolleefun, zee generel preseedent ooff zee Interneshunel Essuceeeshun ooff Sheet Metel Vurkers, Mr. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! Soolleefun is oone-a ooff zee foo leeders in zee EFL-CIO vhu veell edmeet thet thees mey be-a a puseetife-a chunge-a

You can translate any webpage into Redneck, Jive, Elmer Fudd and other possibly offensive dialects at The Dialectizer website.

The schism in the AFL-CIO

There has been a lot of hysteria over the recent defections from the AFL-CIO. I was glad to see the SEIU and the Teamsters break away and am still convinced that this will be good for labor. Yesterday's Indianapolis Star had a guest column by Mike Sullivan, the general president of the International Association of Sheet Metal Workers, Mr. Sullivan is one of the few leaders in the AFL-CIO who will admit that this may be a positive change.

I had been anticipating this breakup for months and I was glad to see it. I thought more people would be excited, but instead I've heard a lot of grumbling. During the week of the break up, there was a virtual funeral march going on at NPR. Rich Trumka (Treasurer of AFL-CIO) was on there everyday whining about finances and NPR broadcasted a lot of alarmist segments all week. Of course, almost all of the newscast, staff, etc are members with AFL-CIO affiliated unions.

I am still excited. I think the AFL-CIO was a bloated, feckless mess of an organization. Will Andrew Stern of SEIU have all of the answers? Probably not. Will Hoffa and the Teamsters? Hell no. I think they have either left or been kicked out of the AFL-CIO three times over the past 35 years. This is nothing new for them. Historically, they have been more conservative and often aligned with the GOP anyway.

I was surprised that Ralph Nader was not more enthusiastic about the change. Change to Win wants to take money away from lobbying politicians and put that money into organizing unions. This is a good thing. The Democratic politicians were alarmed on NPR as well because they're worried as to how they'll fund their 2006 campaigns.

If labor wants to reemerge, they are going to have to clean their house first and this is what Change to Win is doing. Nader is right. They don't have an answer for many of our problems--yet. I think the first thing to do is to build a solid foundation of new union members. Next, educate those members and the general public and then they can start to attack political issues.

Whatever it is, it is still better than private jets for union bosses and throwing money at politicians and hoping (maybe) that something changes. This is what the AFL-CIO has been doing for fifty years.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Joel Silverman

Joel Silverman has been in the news a lot lately for the BMV closings and his lack of diplomacy. There was one thing that I missed in the story about removing the clocks from the BMV--he stated that government workers have a tendency to be clockwatchers at work. What does he know? Does he have prior experience working in the government sector? The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette jeered him for criticizing thousands of Hoosier government workers.

I am not sure that any other administration has shown such contempt for its workforce. One of Governor Daniel's first executive acts was to strip union bargaining rights from employees, one of his handpicked agency heads has no respect for his own employees, and workers at the FSSA fear for their jobs. This is just the first eight months of a very long four years.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Bush's approval rating on Iraq at all time low

Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also found fewer than half now think he's honest.

A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader, though the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number.

Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to abandon Bush on his handling of Iraq in the last six months.


Novakula storms off of the CNN set.

James Carville made Robert Novak lose his cool today on CNN. The topic was Katharine Harris' bid for a US Senate seat, but Novak was notified in advance that he would be asked about the Karl Rove leak. Perhaps he started swearing and stormed off so he could avoid that line of questioning.

CNN suspended Novak indefinitely.

Watch Novak's tantrum at ifilm.

(note: I don't know who coined "Novukala", but I think it's apt.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Fun with headlines

Our Neighbors hate us

There is an episode of Malcolm in the Middle where the family comes home early from their yearly vacation to find that their neighbors secretly schedule their annual block party during the week that they are out of town. I wonder if my neighbors will plan the same type of activity.

We moved there in January and we were the last house built in a brand new addition. Perhaps we are viewed as outsiders. I try to wave at my neighbors but they are never looking when I do, but after that they will stare at my wife and me.

There is one particular family that we call our nemeses. In seven months, I still haven't figured out how many children they have. I have narrowed it down to 4-6. I have never seen two of them in any type of clothing other than diapers. I think the mother just gets tired and throws them in the fenced in backyard as if she was letting the dog out to answer nature's call. If this is the case, then why the diaper? She acts like the queen bee of the neighborhood and seems to chat everyone but us up. They also have a bunch of Bush/Cheney yard signs in their garage and the husband will actually sit in his convertible and listen to Rush Limbaugh after he has driven home. I've seen sitting there nodding his dittohead.

My next door neighbor's wife will walk right by us when come home without waving. Down the street, somebody's wealthy father has bought a house for his college age kid to use while he goes to University of Indianapolis. The occupants of that house shoot bottle rockets and roman candles toward our home. I'll never understand why. Our yard is clean, the vehicles are quiet and in working order, but I imagine the guy down the street who is on the convicted sex offender's list has more friends in the neighborhood.

I never expected to have a "Wilson" next door, but I never expected to be a pariah either. Perhaps we will buy a large RV and park it on the street outside of our house. I imagine they'll talk to us then.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Surprise, Surprise

Monday, August 1, 2005

We're 11th best!

Anholt-GMI, a Seattle firm, has created the Nations Brand Index to determine "how the world sees the world." The criteria for the national brand are governance, culture and heritage, people, investment, exports tourism. Australia has come out on top. The US was listed as the best place to do business, but came in dead last in Cultural Heritage. The report can read at this link.
Banner eXTReMe Tracker