Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wait, is this true? The public just gets free drinks at 7/11?

The Oregonian has a story today about how a 7/11 store in downtown Portland has stopped a longtime practice of giving cops free beverages. The theory is that if a store with a theft problem makes a public show of giving cops free drinks, crooks will think twice before trying to rob the store because odds are decent that a (thirsty) cop could show up at any minute. There's nothing unusual about that--I've heard variations of this story in every city I've ever lived in. However, my eye was drawn to several other items in the story, notably, the idea that 7/11 just gives out drinks to anyone who wants one. For example:

Smith said he also spoke with Amir Gharagozly, the owner of the 7-Eleven, and learned that he offers complimentary drinks to other people who frequent the store. The owner even told him it was a 7-Eleven corporate policy at one time to give complimentary drinks "for anybody who came in and asked for it," Smith said.
Gharagozly said the only thing he does allow police to do at night is use his bathroom -- their presence is good for his business. Like the general public, he said, they also can get a complimentary cup of coffee, fountain soda or Slurpee. [italics mine]
Have I been living under a rock all these years? Can the public really just walk into any 7/11 and get a free drink, even a Slurpee?

Insane pro-Hillary site hasn't bothered to update its polls in over a month

I've discovered that if you venture into the murky world of pro-Hillary Clinton websites, you encounter a potent mixture of rabid delusion, outraged misanthropy, and a gleeful willingness to traffic in ridiculous falsehoods. Take, for example, the shining light of the pro-Hillary movement, "" (named for the fact that Hillary would be the 44th president should she manage to topple Obama's lead in every possible category).

This website, whose vitriol toward Barack Obama is unmatched by even the worst websites in the conservative wingnutosphere, has a list of polls purporting to show that Clinton is leading Obama. One problem? We're a few days from June, and they haven't bothered to update their list since April 15. Observe:

Given the refusal-of-reality present in most arguments in favor of Hillary, this isn't really surprising. Nonetheless, it is quite amusing, and somewhat sad.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your daily embarrassment...

Sigh. Here's a truly lamentable photo of Our President, delivering the commencement address at the Air Force Academy today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary admits she's hoping for an assassination attempt against Obama. Seriously.

There's really no other way to interpret these comments. I wish there was, but there's not.

Hillary Clinton today cited the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign to explain why she was remaining in the race despite long odds.

"We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," Clinton told the editorial board of a South Dakota newspaper. " I don't understand it," Clinton added, alluding to the calls for her to quit.
That is simply beyond the pale. I don't see how anyone rational can be supporting her at this point. Completely inexcusable. But, sadly, completely in keeping with her behavior of late.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Noted racist Geraldine Ferraro says she might not vote for the black guy

Wow. What. A. Surprise. Geraldine Ferraro, half of the losingest presidential ticket in American political history, says she might not be able to bring herself to vote for Barack Obama once he gets the nomination. Says CNN:

Geraldine Ferraro, the outspoken former Democratic vice presidential candidate and a supporter of Hillary Clinton's White House bid, told the New York Times she may not vote for Barack Obama should he be the party's nominee.
Sigh. Not exactly surprising, given the tone of the Clinton campaign, but it's yet another sad commentary on some of the delusional fools who have hitched their bitter wagons to the Clinton campaign, only to find themselves losing to the superior candidate.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun fact: Bush Administration tries to PREVENT companies from doing comprehensive mad cow testing

If there was ever a story to show just how hypocritical the Bush Administration is when it comes to the role of courts in our society, this is it.

he Bush administration on Friday urged a federal appeals court to stop meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease, but a skeptical judge questioned whether the government has that authority.

The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.
Got that? A private company wanted to do MORE testing for mad cow disease in order to placate their customers overseas who care about whether or not the beef they eat is going to cause a tiny bug to eat away at their brains. And, of course, the Bush Administration is actually suing to keep them from doing this. The whole thing is simply so inane I don't even know what to say.

When it comes to allowing two guys or girls to get married, the White House is adamant that courts should stop imposing their views on society, and likes to rail against "unelected judges" deciding important things like marriage. When it comes to environmental law, the White House frequently criticizes those who would put environmental regulations above the economic well-being of a company/industry/etc. Yet here we have a private company doing something above and beyond the government's laughably minimum requirements for mad cow testing because it judges this action to be in its best interest, and the White House is suing them to stop.

I know the world has gone topsy turvy, but this seems ridiculous, even for this administration.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Imagine, for just a moment, that McCain said this...

The following words, spoken by Hillary Clinton yesterday, are probably the most objectionable things she's said in this campaign (and there's some pretty decent competition for that title). They are powerfully, deeply offensive. They should not be tolerated by any Democrat. Imagine, if you will, that Senator McCain had said the following:

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.
If Senator McCain--or any Republican--had said that, he'd be castigated as an out-and-out racist, a desperate relic of America's shameful past trying to curry favor with people who would still refuse to vote for a man simply because of the color of his skin. Yet here they are spoken by a leading member of the Democratic party. Why should the reaction be any different? If anything, we should be MORE outraged because the political calculation behind the remarks is so naked, so obvious.

People read these remarks and say, "Well, is Hillary Clinton a racist?" Past a certain point, the question doesn't even matter. She may not be a racist, per se, but when your remarks are so clearly trying to gain the support of those who are, what's the difference?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Memo to Hillary: Time to End this Thing

"This primary election on Tuesday is a game changer. This is going to make a huge difference in what happens going forward. The entire country -- probably even a lot of the world -- is looking to see what North Carolina decides,"
--Hillary Clinton, May 2

North Carolina:
Obama 56%
Clinton 42%

Those numbers are embarrassing, Hillary, for a state you called a "game changer" just a few days ago. Honestly, it's time to drop out.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Irony: the one word sportswriters should never, ever use

For the past twenty years or so, I've nursed within my heart a small but passionate thirst for vengeance against those who continually misuse the term "irony." Granted, the word itself is difficult to define--many people simply rely upon a Potter Stewart-esque "I know it when I see it" definition. That being said, I have found that sportswriters and announcers are among the most frequent abusers of the term. Too often, they say "ironic" when they should simply say "coincidental." Let's take today's example, from a piece on the tragic Kentucky Derby breakdown of Eight Belles. Take it away, ESPN:

In '06, we had the Barbaro disaster at the Preakness, followed by the long and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to save the Derby champion's life. While that was still ongoing, we saw Pine Island's fatal breakdown in the Breeders' Cup Distaff that fall at Churchill Downs. In a savage bit of irony, the Distaff race was won by Round Pond, who was trained by Michael Matz -- the same man who conditioned Barbaro.
Really, what is ironic about that? The winner of one race was trained by the same guy who trained a horse that broke down in another race. That is...coincidental? Is it even a coincidence? I don't even think it's that--it's something approaching an interesting confluence of circumstances, but hardly coincidental, and certainly not ironic.

Please, journalism industry, I'm begging you: send your writers to an Irony for Beginners class. It's the only way I can stay sane.

Laura Bush says Myanmar government inaction exacerbated cyclone relief efforts. In other news, irony gives up, throws up hands, jumps off a bridge.

Everyone who's anyone knows I hate the Bush administration with every fiber of my being, but I have to admire them for having the brass talks to some up with something like THIS:

U.S. first lady Laura Bush, who has a long-standing interest in Myanmar, urged the government to allow the team into the country, saying she expected Washington would provide "substantial" aid if it could conduct its own assessment of the situation on the ground.

And she blasted the junta, saying the lack of warning before a deadly cyclone hit on Friday was the latest example of "the junta's failure to meet its people's basic needs."
I mean, look, Myanmar has what is without doubt one of the most--if not THE most--repressive governments on earth. There's no question about that. But there's something brutally ironic and galling about a presidential administration whose initial response to Hurricane Katrina was this:

chiding another government for failing to meet the basic needs of its people.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sad story from Portland: long-time Hawthorne business closes to be replaced by...condo parking. Ugh.

There have been rumors for a while, but now it looks like it's official: long time Hawthorne resident Bowers Bakery is closing because the landlord wants to tear down the building and turn it into a parking lot for fancy condos he's building above Noah's bagels. As you can see below, the building also houses FuJin restaurant and Chez Machin, a decent crepe place. Presumably they would get the heave as well.

None of these three are among Portland's elite restaurants, but they are familiar and welcome faces to residents of the neighborhood: my wife and I ate our first meal in Portland at FuJin, wolfing down a plate of their legendary crispy eggplant as we took a moment's rest from our hectic apartment hunting.

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How distasteful is the idea that something like this could be torn down to provide parking for idiots who will move into fancy condos above a bagel store? It's such a typical sequence of events: the dedicated businesspeople who toil for years and make an area "hip" are pushed out by landlords willing to ruin the entire feel of an area just so they can make a quick buck. Lame.

It also creates an interesting conflict between the city's desire for walkable neighborhoods with the city's desire for increased density. Of course, the apartments now above Noah's will be converted into condos, so it's not like the area is going to become more dense. So, will the city just let a building be razed to build parking? I certainly hope not.