Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Killing Zone

Today's Indianapolis Star has an interactive map of all 153 homicides in Indianapolis-Marion County in 2006. It's no surprise the three most concentrated areas are the near Eastside and Haughville. Special recognition goes to 42nd Street and Post Road. Take note those of you who don't believe crime exists outside 465.

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Saddam-a brief photo essay

Saddam and Donald Rumsfeld

We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when...

Yes, we all know the US and Saddam were once BFF, but the dictator from the oil rich nation ran afoul of the US.

One of the many reasons, we invaded Iraq was to establish democracy in the middle east. Of course, other dictators from oil rich countries are still our friends.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Holidays

Posting will be a bit light over the next few days of the holiday season.

Indiana rock star John Mellencamp's song "Our Country" has been used as the theme for many Chevrolet truck commercials. The song is played over a photo montage of Americans for a feel-good patriotic commercial. Of course, there are several spoofs of these commercials on youtube.

The first video directly spoofs the commercial and has a "Vote Democratic" message.

The second one lists many atrocities in which the US government and people have been involved. This is a 3 minute video and is not for the faint of heart.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

No carryout liquor on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Imagine this nightmare. It is Christmas Eve and you're at your uncle's house to celebrate Christmas. Your aunt's side of the family is there too. You panic because you see her deadbeat brother darken the door. The last time you saw him he had just surfaced after being missing for three weeks. He had been whining about his wife brainwashing him by withholding all food from him except for Totino's pizzas. Behind him is his daughter whose voice makes Diane Rehm or Fran Drescher's sound like Maria Callas. The only thing that is going to help you make it through this Christmas is to sit in that comfortable chair in the corner and crawl deep inside of a bottle of your favorite beverage. The only problem is that Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday and you have the misfortune of living of living in Indiana.

Welcome to hell, amigo.

Indiana is one of only three states in the nation which does not allow carryout alcohol sales on Sunday. The other two are Connecticut and Georgia.

This year, Indiana's archaic blue laws will have an effect on liquor stores as they will have to close on the busiest day of the year. Apparently, the legislature could have granted a special dispensation to allow sales on this day, but they did not. Why didn't the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers lobby for special permission to open on New Year's Eve?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Indianapolis drops the ball

The City of Indianapolis chose the the 25-story Marriott design to be the new flagship hotel of the convention center. This selection comes after much buildup and hype over how the skyline of Indianapolis going to change. I suppose this is still true, but the design (pictured below) is truly uninspired. It looks like a tall warehouse building that belongs among the non-descript office buildings of Carmel.

The losing bid was the sleek design of the Intercontinental Hotel chain whose 44 story plan would have made it one of the tallest buildings in the city.

I suppose there is still hope as this is the recommendation of a committee. The talkback forum at the Indianapolis Star is almost unanimous in agreement against this selection.

People have started a campaign to write to the Mayor to ask him to reconsider. You may do so at this address.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Another reason to watch the Colts game tonight...

Apparently, some off duty IPD officers are going to picket outside of the RCA Dome to picket the fact that they do not have a contract and are not going to receive retroactive pay for 2006.

A lot of this grass roots activism apparently began as a web campaign on the Indy Undercover blog, which is a blog ran by an anonymous IPD officer.

The local media have been tipped off and the blogging activists claim that CNN has been as well.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

No, I didn't eat at Olive Garden

That's the first question I have to answer when I tell people here and now around the country that I think I have the Norwalk. You know the dreaded virus that plagues cruise ships from time to time and now a certain bland, allegedly Italian restaurant chain.

I have been sick since Friday and I have discovered a few things:

My laptop does not like to have gatorade poured on it. My Dell XPS is on life support. Pray for him.

Pedialyte tastes kind of like Robitussin, but worse.

This is one hell of a way to lose weight.

As good as it is, there is no real reason to watch Joe Dirt twice a day other not being strong enough to look for the remote.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bush Family Christmas Card

Craig posted this at Reverent and Free.

All I can say is Classy.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh, the places you'll go!

Countries visited.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

I guess I've only been to ten countries. It seems like more.

create your own personalized map of the USA

Physician, heal thyself

Americans take a lot of pride in the fact that we are a democracy. At one point one of the reasons for the war in Iraq was to establish a democracy in the Arab world. This is strange because in the past we’ve overthrown democratically elected governments solely to establish rulers who are more to our liking.

The Economist magazine has created an index to measure the best democracies.

The magazine graded each nation on:

1. The electoral process and pluralism
2. Functioning of Government
3. Political Participation
4. Political Culture
5. Civil Liberties.

The top 5 nations were

1. Sweden
2. Iceland
3. Netherlands
4. Norway
5. Denmark

Noticeably absent from the top nations is the self-proclaimed "city on a hill", the USA, which was rated 17th in the world just behind Spain and ahead of the Czech Republic. The USA falls between a nation that was ruled by a dictator until just over 30 years ago and another nation that was under communist rulenjust over 16 years ago.

Land of the Free?

The US finished tied for 60th in the category of civil liberties. According to the study, citizens of the US enjoy the same level of freedom as the citizens in the African nation of Namibia. Remember that the next time you see one of those “Freedom isn’t Free” bumperstickers.

The full report and ranking criteria can be found here

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The CIA and Princess Diana

I'll be honest and say that the story of the inquiry into Diana's death really hasn't grabbed my interest. What good is it to know almost ten years later that the driver was drunk? Scotland Yard will issue its report tomorrow and one thing is very interesting--The CIA was likely tapping her telephone. Why was the CIA doing this to a seemingly innocuous figure like Diana? Well, probably because she had the audacity to campaign against the use of landmines. The US has had a gentleman's agreement not to spy on Britain since the end of World War 2. Of course, the NSA and CIA deny this, but this is likely going to cause embarrassment for the US intelligence community.

NPR link here

Text here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Playoffs? Playoffs?

Today the Indianapolis Colts may have laid the biggest egg in the history of professional sports in the Great Hoosier State.

The same Indianapolis Colts who began the season 9-0 were completely dominated on both sides of the ball by the Jacksonville Jaguars and ultimately lost 44-17. They didn't even look like a shell of the team who some thought destined to win the Super Bowl. They didn't even look like a team on their way to the AFC South title. I have to wonder whether the talk will change from the Colts battling for the number one seed in the AFC to whether or not they will slide in as a wild card. The way they looked today, I wouldn't expect them to win a game the rest of the year.

The run defense, a great concern all year, got worked over today like no other. In fact the Jags rushed the ball for the second highest total in the history of the NFL: a mere 375 yards. The combination of Fred Taylor and rookie Maurice Jones-Drew torched the Colts at every turn and ended up with a average per carry of around 20 or something. The way the Jags backs were running the football I almost wondered if we played an extra defense player on the field if it would make a difference. But adding insult to injury the Jags put in their third string running back, Alvin Pearman, and he torched us as well. Pearman had rushed for a grand total of 19 rushing yards this year. But in junk time today he rushed against our defense for 71 yards! When a guy named Alvin is working you over, you know you are in for a long afternoon.

But not to be outshone in the suck department, our offense decided to drop a mere seven passes. Many of the passes, if our players had bothered to come to play today and actually tried to catch the damn thing, would have extended the offensive drives and ultimately kept our porous defense on the sidelines. The way the defense is playing, the offense must play a flawless game to even have a chance to win the game. But even our great offense is going to have an off day and when that happens, good night Indianapolis.

I know our defense is playing hurt. But if anything the injuries to our key defensive players has only shown that our defense has as much depth as a shot glass. This is the NFL. Injuries are going to happen. And when they do you have to think that you have players on the bench that can come in and make plays. We don't. I don't want to even fathom how bad the Colts defense would be if they hadn't traded for Anthony McFarland.

And what the hell is wrong with Bob Sanders? Get a pair and rehab. Get back on the field. You look real swell hanging on SportsLocker on WISH TV every Sunday but we drafted you to play and not make excuses.

The fact is, this ship is going down and going down fast. What is the point of limping into the playoffs if you aren't going to go anywhere? None. That is where the Colts are heading. At least this year I won't expect them to go anywhere so my heart will only be partially broken. Just make it painless and quick guys so I can watch the other disaster in this city, my beloved Pacers, blow it as well.

The fact is, there is plenty of blame to go around and most of it has to go on the two men that got us here, Tony Dungy and Bill Polian. Polian put these wimps on the field and Dungy has to get these guys ready to play. Both of them are not blameless. It is time to try to make do with an adequate supporting cast on offense and put some of that money we have thrown at Stokley and Wayne to get some defense players in the free agent market. None of the blame goes on Peyton. That guy comes to play every week but he is not Superman and we can't expect him to win it for us every week. Other players are going to have to step up. Or maybe the right guy isn't in place. Tony Dungy is a wonderful person but maybe he just isn't the guy to get these guys over the hump.

We are going to limp into the playoffs and get run over again. I may have prepared myself for it but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Seminole Tribe of Florida buy the Hard Rock Cafe

The Seminole Native American tribe is unique among the indigenous people in the United States. They are the only tribe not to sign a peace treaty with the federal government and they call themselves "unconquered people". Unlike other tribes, they agreed to allow the Florida State University to use the Seminole nickname for its athletic teams.

The Seminoles were also the first tribe to enter to gambling. The profits from their gambling have allowed them to purchase the Hard Rock Cafe chain for 965 million dollars. The tribe now owns the world's largest collection of Rock and Roll memorabilia. I wonder of all of the possible available investments, they chose the Hard Rock chain.

Monday, December 4, 2006

AP headline: "Chavez vows more radical socialism"

This is a headline on yahoo's main page right now demonstrates the author's strong bias against socialism. Chavez is not quoted in the article as "vowing more radical socialism". He does promise to contribute more of the country's oil wealth among the poor, which is a rare an honorable thing for a South American government to do.

Chavez speaks out against the US's dominance of the hemisphere and has called President Bush a "devil". I don't really blame him for that. After all, the CIA was undoubtedly behind the unsuccessful coup to overthrow his democratically elected government.

Chavez has done a lot for the poor in Venezuela and in Latin America. He even gave free heating oil to the poor in the United States. On the other hand, Chavez has made overtures to ally closely with Iran and Syria. I understand his criticism of US foreign policy, but I do not understand why he would ally himself with states who support terrorism. This may be his downfall.

Bayh's worst kept secret

It's no secret for quite some time that Senator Evan Bayh has had his eye on running for President in 2008. This should have been apparent by all of the time he has spent in Iowa, New Hampshire and even the fact that he initiated a meeting with ten local Indiana bloggers in May. He announced this weekend that he is forming an exploratory committee.

He has an uphbill battle. All the buzz is about Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton. John Edwards has quite a few supporters and of course, there is the resurgent Al Gore. Daily Kos ran a poll just the other day and listed several contenders: including the obscure Governor Vilsack, political corpse John Kerry, and even Jimmy Carter(?!).

They forgot Evan Bayh though.

That's his problem. How will he get the talking heads to remember and include him in the list of serious candidates? I have criticized Senator Bayh ever since he was a 32 year old Governor because I thought he was too conservative. I haven't changed my opinion, but I think he would make a good Presidential candidate for the Democrats in 2008. He is one of the most popular governors in the history of this red state. He is electable and can win votes in the South where other candidates (like Hillary Clinton) cannot. Yes, he voted for the war and the Patriot Act, but he voted that way because he trusted that this administration was telling the truth. He is pragmatic and deliberative. Even when I disagree with him I am assured he has given his opinion careful thought. This will be a welcome change from the Bush administration.

Anyway, it's early. It is not official, but I think it's imminent. If the Democrats want to have a chance in 2008 against the GOP feelgood frontrunners of Guilani and McCain, they should look past Clinton or the inexperienced newcomer Obama and pay some attention to the Senator from Indiana.

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

If there is a hell...

I will surely burn in it for this, but I thought this was funny. No, this isn't me. I saw it posted on a forum.

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