Sunday, October 30, 2005

Newspapers!!


I finally got my newspaper rack in. I now carry the finest pubs on the rack. I got all the finer local rags from the Whirl to the Post and all in between. I also picked up subscriptions to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. You can read them everyday on the newspaper sticks. I encourage anyone to come in and leave your favorite periodical.

I noticed the Post tried to pull a stunt by putting in a "special advertising section" in the paper with what appeared to be fake articles on Friday. It was an "Education for Life" titled section. I didn't get a chance to check the sources, but I am almost certain it was all non-content advertising that looked like articles. They tried to pull that a few years ago with their Reader's Choice Awards in the Get Out section. It was a travesty. I complained about the fix with I assume many others so they changed to to the Advertising Department's Reader's Choice Award. They have since scrapped that type of fake poll and now do a normal one.

Hot Rod Lincoln


This is the new to me 79 Lincoln Mark V, Bill Blass edition. My winter car.

Men, Women and Minorities

Saturday, October 29, 2005

RIP Bob Broeg

I always very much enjoyed his writing when I was a kid. He passed away yesterday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

RIP Rosa Parks

Monday, October 24, 2005

Greenspan on his way out


Alan Greenspan is going to retire as Chairman of the Fed Reserve Board soon. I have posted this pic before. I drew this picture when I was in high school when he was first named Chairman. Greenspan has an interesting story and has an interesting job. The new head will be named at 1pm today. Perhaps I should draw a picture of the new guy.

Brazilian gun vote

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Why we are losing the war

Frontline has an absolutely amazing piece on torture in our war. It is really straight. This is the kind of thing that we will look back to in thirty years, fifty years and longer and see what we were doing as a country, as a people.

I am taking a break. I am over at Custom Auto Care, the place where I get my car washed on Grand and Chippewa. I reinstalled wireless internets and watched this online. I caught part of it earlier this week.

John McCain is really an amazing man. I don't know why he is so rare in his party these days. He is really doing something interesting with his push for the anti torture bill. It is sad that we have to pass a law to put our government in check in terms of torture and upholding the Geneva Peace Accords- agreements that Nazis even generally honored with Americans. Unfortunately while it is the right thing to do, it is too late to pass anti torture laws to make the difference in this war.

The home video the soldiers made not with the prisoners are also disturbing. It is telling of what was going on. The methods and the change the was pushed from the top down on this "new way" policy of working against the Geneva Peace Accord. It is interesting that it was initially resisted by the military authorities.

It is nice to take a break. I need to get some food.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Old man bony bottom

I went to Saint Raymond's for lunch last Wednesday with my assistant Jen O'Hare. She works with me at the Royale and at the Panda Athletic Club. She is very very helpful. She wanted to go get some good Lebanese food and I haven't been in a while. I wanted to go visit my friend Reuben who volunteers, but he wasn't there.

We had a tasty lunch of spinach and wheat, grape leaf rolls, kibbi, spinach pie, stuffed squash and more. We rolled out of there and over to Jen's car and as I was about to sit in the car I saw this old man across the parking lot standing in the doorway to his van waving at me. The van was white and worn in personalized in the old man way. The senior was hunched over with one leg on the step to get in. He had his hand waving at me to come over.

I sighed. I really had to get back and I didn't want to get in the middle of whatever he wanted. But I walked across the lot to see what he wanted.

"Help me to get in."

"Uh, okay. How about I grab your shoulders?"

I look at him. He was wearing old dickie work pants, a mesh hat and a large windbreaker. He was a small Lebanese man. His van was very much of a old man van. He seemed pleasant enough, but it was just such an unusual situation.

So I get ready to grab his shoulders and he turns to me.

"No, I need help here."

He points to his right buttock. His right leg was up on the step.

I am momentarily reluctant. This is just a weird situation, but it is not going to kill me either.

I put my hand on his bottom and heave him up. Joy is brought to his face.

"What is your name?"

"Steve Smith."

"I am going to tell the Bishop what a good man you are."

"Uh, okay. Take care."

I get back to the car. Jen is laughing her ass off. Some people we were talking to inside the Cedars were also laughing. I am sure from a third party perspective it was rather amusing. I then started to laugh. It was pretty amusing.

****************************************

I am just about to head out of Toledo. I just visited my grandmother. My father's mother. She likes scotch. We went out to dinner last night and I visited with my uncles and cousin. They are doing well. There was a race riot just a few days earlier in town. Nasty. No one was killed, but there were a lot of injuries. Neo-nazis were involved.

The Toledo Blade is a heck of a paper, especially considering it is such a small town. Very news oriented and well rounded.

Funny poll on the Mayor website

The Mayor's website has an amusing poll about street names. I have long wanted and supported the name changes in neighborhoods to more closely tie in to the residents and tip the cap to our heritage. We have a lot of tips to our African American, German and Indian roots. I would like to see more tips to Bosnian, Vietnamese and Mexican. Cherokee really should be renamed.

The poll is quite amusing in the wording. I like how it makes fun of old reactionary people in the multiple choice answers. For example one answer one could choose is:
I hate change. Leave the street names alone.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

On the lam

I am in Ohio right now. I just got off a plane and picked up a car. I am going to visit my grandmother in Toledo and then head back and should be back in the STL by Friday eve. I have eaten two bananas, an apple, peanuts and an apple danish today. After I picked up the car I stopped at a real taco stand set up in the gas station and had a taco and quesadilla. It was outstanding. I need to remember to eat properly and to get enough sleep. I have been cheating too often. I have had the feeling that I may pass out on more than once in the past few weeks. Waking up to deliveries and phone calls and falling asleep working on the computer. I wouldn't have it any other way. It is great.

On another note, Boondocks is going live action animation. Maybe someday I will see it live on ice.

And on yet another note the nation of Brazil is considering outlawing guns on a national referendum. Brazil is in a particularly interesting situation. They suffer from 40,000 gun related deaths a year, nearly four times the number in the US, and they have over a third less people than the US. I am curious what will happen if they get this ban through. It will be an interesting thing to watch from a third party perspective.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Newsier

I nearly fell down laughing so hard when I heard Tom Weber's interview on KWMU with the editor Ellen Soeteber. They discussed the sale of the paper, the new and exciting look and the restructuring.

There was nothing all that surprising so far. I am waiting to see the changes, for the verbal reassurance only holds as much as the actual changes. I worry about the news. Now Ellen did say she would love to expand the travel section. Sure. Yeah.

Now what got me to lose it was the reassurance on the news. Ellen reassured that there was more local news. Listen to this snip about 15:45 into the interview:

Tom Weber:
It is not necessarily more news, but repackaged news.

Ellen Soeteber:
Well... (awkward moment of silence) uh... it is newsier.

It sounds like something the President's press secretary would say.

I am still curious to see how this all pans out. I am not particularly encouraged, but if the paper was seen as a credible and deep source of news. The new look is okay and all, but when I fail to see news on the front page, it concerns me. When I see illustrations of hamburgers or a TV show on the front page, it concerns me. A stately masthead is reassuring. It can have color and sharpness.

We are a nation at war. We are in a very tough time for as a country. We are changing as a nation. We have been changing as a city. There are a lot of things that are not working well for us right now that are just passing by us every day. I think we need to remember that what is being reported on in the news is what will ultimately keep us together or tear us apart. And if the newspaper puts non-news as the tip of the paper, I am very, very concerned. I am very concerned if there are no exploratory and investigative articles. Good national news. The Post, despite its repeated transgressions on the face, still has a relatively filled out news department. I worry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Training

I am going to start running training again on Monday at the Panda. We started a tutoring program with some kids from Wash U and it is going to need a little, um, structure and discipline.

The fights went well over the weekend. I find it interesting that some people think that the fights have "lost the edge" or that it needs to be real again. I find this very funny. The fights are more real than ever. The every man stars are not stepping up to fight as often. Not sure why. I have opened an accessible gym with regular training hours. The older rock star fighters have found plenty of excuses to not train. I love to have them on the card because they sell tickets, but I am more concerned with the overall mission.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Good pieces

American Experience has a new documentary on Vietnam. It looks quite interesting. It is going to be on tonight. I love me some American Experience. They did one on New York a bit back and another on Chicago that were mighty fine. I think it would be great to do one on the STL. Neal Primm could be one of the commentators.

There was also an outstanding series on the News Hour by Paul Solman on China. It is quite fascinating. China has a commie command economy that is running business at a loss to get ahead. It also has interesting insight to the social situation in China. It is both fascinating and so, so screwed up. I thought we won the cold war, but I guess it is okay to play ball with the bad guys because we benefit at this particular moment for they are working for us. Communism is not dead, they are now in our most favored crew.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Hoosierweight Boxing this weekend

I have been swamped, but we have the card together for the Hoosierweight Boxing at Bastante this Sunday with fights starting at 4pm. It is over on 3315 Watson Road at Fyler.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nine years of last throes

"The average counterinsurgency in the 20th century has lasted nine years. Fighting insurgencies is a long-term proposition, and there's no reason that we should believe the insurgency in Iraq will take any less time to deal with."

Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 10/7 by General Casey, the Commanding General of the Multinational Force in Iraq on Rumsfeld's comments that the insurgency was in the "last throes".

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Nobel Peace Prize

Mohamed ElBaradei, the General Director of the International Agency of Atomic Energy and the IAEA itself have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here is an excerpt of statements made by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei addressing the United Nations March 7th, 2003 just before the invasion:

In conclusion, I am able to report today that, in the area of nuclear weapons - the most lethal weapons of mass destruction - inspections in Iraq are moving forward. Since the resumption of inspections a little over three months ago - and particularly during the three weeks since my last oral report to the Council - the IAEA has made important progress in identifying what nuclear-related capabilities remain in Iraq, and in its assessment of whether Iraq has made any efforts to revive its past nuclear programme during the intervening four years since inspections were brought to a halt. At this stage, the following can be stated:

* There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.

* There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.

* There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminium tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuges out of the aluminium tubes in question.

* Although we are still reviewing issues related to magnets and magnet production, there is no indication to date that Iraq imported magnets for use in a centrifuge enrichment programme.


And here is a response by Dick Cheney to IAEA's ElBaradei report that Iraq has not reconstituted nuclear weapons.

We believe [Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong.


And on a final note, the The current administration even opposed ElBaradei in his post with the IAEA just a few months ago.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Cardinals are helping us lose money

According to the Saint Louis Business Journal, the Cardinals playoffs is having a negative effect upon wages to the tune of 9.5 mil in lost wages.

Ouch. The price of good baseball.

I just got back from the game. It was great. I can't walk through crowds anymore. It was downright funny.

Shady Jack

I met a guy up at Produce Row who owns a joint on North Broadway across from the boxing gym, just off the river. His name is Shady Jack. I was buying exotic melons. He sought me out. He was very friendly to me. Shady Jack. Sounds like a chapter from Huck Finn.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It is getting bad

I have been watching c-span. I can't get enough nerd news on Sunday morning, I just have to get it straight.

This Harriet Miers is a weird one. She really believes in the President and feels that we are very blessed among many blessings. She likes teams and is delighted and has been incredibly vauge and optimistic.

What happened to our newspaper?

I haven't been able to read the paper like I usually do. I typically try to get from the front page and plow through all the way to Carolyn Hax and Mark Trail. I have been reading since I was a kid.

I am not sure what happened. I haven't been able to read the paper until later at night and I thought I got the wrong section. It seems that the front page was removed in favor of some picture at the ballpark. I don't understand what happened to the masthead. I think it is floating somewhere over the riverfront.

The college newspapers look more like trusted papers than the Post. The University News looks like a very established and trusted source. The new Post cover looks like the "slick stuff" ads and content in the Sunday.

I do like the new font.

And if the Post is going to abandon serious looking news and go all glam and outrageous it would be great to find a little more Whirl in the Post.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Panda AC fundraiser results

Things went well. We had some very generous donations for some much needed funds. I would like to give some big props to all that donated.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

FEMA Disaster Cycle


This was lifted directly from the FEMA website under the title of "What We Do". Check out where the "disaster life cycle" winds up. FEMA turns a disaster right back into a disaster.

Check out the transcript of the former FEMA director Michael Brown from when he testified for a house investigative panel last week. It is unreal.

Presidential Flight of Mental Illness and Incompetence

I caught these two gems listening to the nerds on the early morning nerd news show.

There are few presidents in our history more lost than that. (Laughter.) For him to find this desperate pathway from Katrina, from lives lost because of government mishandling of the hurricane that hit New Orleans, to get a path from there to his war on terror and somehow link the hurricane to al Qaeda is as large a possible flight of mental illness as we've seen in the president.

Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC
Comments on George Bush comparing the hurricanes to terrorism.

John, the president's reputation for strong, decisive, engaged leadership suffered as bad as New Orleans did from Katrina. I don't think he's ever going to recover what he once had. And it's being used against him by his adversaries as a metaphor for incompetence in the entire administration, and I think he's been permanently damaged by it.

Patrick Buchanan, MSNBC

Check out this next quote from Brian Williams of NBC that I caught off of Matty Fred. It sorta reminds me of stories of Catherine the Great taking her tours of the painted peasant towns in Russia. This is the second time the Prez has reminded me of this particular Czar.

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

New Blog

This is a new blog by Kevin Sites. His first entry on the field is rather interesting. It is in Somalia. When the street reporters go into a new country, they hire fixers. And these fixers are something else. They act as interpreters and guides through rough lands and cities. They get them to places off the radar and through tight situations. These fixers are an amazing mix of cool hard edged sanity amid chaos.

I have been describe as a fixer by a few different people. I am unsure if this is a positive comment or description. I have been retained by a couple of different out of town hacks to find people for stories. Although I had done nothing at all like what this guy in Somalia does. Read the story. I am glad I don't have to live there. I would like to visit and see for myself.

The hotzone is an intense blog. It is very forthright and you can read the stories directly from the people. The observations by Sites are very straight and the stories are not imposed upon the situation.

Culture of Life

From ABC News:

Sept. 29, 2005 - After pondering on his radio program how aborting every black infant in America would affect crime rates, best-selling author and self-styled "Values Czar" Bill Bennett is vehemently denying he is a racist and defending his willingness to speak publicly about race and crime.

On the Wednesday edition of his radio show, "Bill Bennett's Morning in America," syndicated by Salem Radio Network, a caller raised the theory that Social Security is in danger of becoming insolvent because legalized abortion has reduced the number of tax-paying citizens. Bennett said economic arguments should never be employed in discussions of moral issues.

If it were your sole purpose to reduce crime, Bennett said, "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.