Friday, January 29, 2010

Iron Horse Roundup: December 2009/January 2010 Edition.

RUSSIA- Investigators from Russia's FSB and Transportation Police are looking for four suspects thought to be involved in the terrorist attack on the Moscow-St. Petersburg Nevsky Express on November 27, 2009. The blast and resulting derailment killed 27 passengers and used the equivalent of 15 lbs of TNT. A smaller bomb near the derailment site was detonated the following day, targeting rescuers and investigators. There were no fatalities in the second blast and security services believe that both bombs were detonated by remote. The suspects are thought to have rented a house in the nearby village of Lycoshino to monitor train movement on the Moscow-St. Petersburg Line.

This is not the first time the Moscow-St. Petersburg train has been the target of terrorists or saboteurs. Two men previously held on terrorism charges by authorities were found guilty of lesser charges of trafficking explosives and unrelated counts of armed robbery this week that carried 4 and 10 year prison sentences last week in connection with the August 2007 bombing of the Nevsky Express. The blast derailed the train just outside the town of Malaya Vishera, but resulted in no fatalities.

IRAN: Eight people were killed and twelve hospitalized when two coaches of a speeding passenger train derailed at the Azadvar Station in Joqati, in the northeastern part of the country some 430 miles east of Tehran. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been experiencing problems with it's deteriorating transportation network over the last several years that have resulted in numerous and deadly plane crashes and derailments [YET- they'll somehow get it right with a 'peaceful' nuclear energy program- NANESB!].

(Mariana Bazo/Reuters)
PERU: Heavy rains in southern Peru earlier this week stranded over 2000 tourists in the area around the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu when floods and landslides blocked off the railway line connecting Machu Picchu and the nearby town of Aguas Calientes with the rest of the country. Peruvian military officals evacuated the visitors using seven helicopters flying between the town of Aguas Calientes and Cuzco on a rotating basis. The railway line between Cuzco and Aguas Calientes is said to be obstructed by at least 40 landslides and will require several weeks worth of work in order to reopen.
(Victoria Times Colonist)
CANADA: Canadian Pacific hosted a ceremony this week featuring the Olympic torch at Craigellachie British Columbia, site of the ceremonial last spike driven on Canada's transcontinental line in 1885. The Canadian Pacific [NYSE: CP] is a corporate sponsor of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The special train continued on to Revelstoke, BC where the torch resumed its journey through the Canadian Rockies. The 2010 Winter Games opening ceremonies are scheduled for Febuary 12, 2010.

USA: The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic has announced the layoff of 75 employees in their 315-employee workforce. The news comes a few months after one of the railroad's largest customers, the Katahdin Paper Mill of Millinocket, ME shut down due to increased fuel costs for the plant's $150 million No. 11 Machine. Currently, the Toronto based paper company is exploring alternative fuels for the No. 11 Machine, but more than 200 workers from the plant are out of work.
(Dan Tracy)
The Iowa Interstate has taken delivery of their two new ES44AC GEVO locomotives this month. What separates these two from the first dozen that IAIS ordered was that these two have been painted in vintage Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific colors.....on locomotives that were made nearly some 30 years after the Rock Island ceased to exist. Appropriately, the Iowa Interstate hauls commodities on the former CRI&P Blue Island, IL-Council Bluffs, IA line. Here, the Rock Island/Iowa Interstate #513 hammers the diamonds at Joliet, IL with a train of ethanol in tow on January 29, 2010. The #513 is using Metra trackage rights and the tracks in the foreground belong to Union Pacific and BNSF.
(Gary McLean)
A CSX track inspector in Alabama was in for a surprise when he was inspecting the tracks around the Birmingham, AL area in the wake of last week's cold snap down south. An unfortunate puppy, believed to be 8 weeks old was frozen to the rails after his wet fur froze to the steel rail. Track inspector Gary McLean was able to cut the puppy's fur free from the rails before a freight train was scheduled to traverse the line. McLean had the frozen pup warm up in his hi-rail vehicle while he sent some pictures of the critter to his wife. The couple already had 3 dogs and couldn't keep the puppy Gary found, but Mrs. McLean posted a photo on her facebook page when a local meteorologist got word of the little canine's plight and his tale made its way to the blog of the local ABC affiliate. The e-mails came pouring in and Terry Walls of nearby Bessemer, AL persuaded the McLean's that she could provide the best home for the baby pooch. Appropriately enough, the puppy's name is Track.
[Hat Tip: PiGuy]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bloody Sock Factor: How the 2004 World Series and Red Sox Nation May Have Influenced This Month's Massachusetts Senate Campaign

So we're a little over a week removed from the Massachusetts special election where Republican Scott Brown won- the Monday morning quarterbacking continues.

One aspect of this that's garnered some attention is what role (if any) Red Sox Nation played in the election.

In a Boston Globe piece a few weeks ago, Democrat Martha Coakley came off as snide and dismissive of Scott Brown's campaigning outside of Fenway Park on New Year's Day for the NHL Winter Classic. Never shy about airing his opinion, Curt Schilling had earlier stepped into the fray and announced his enthusiastic support for Scott Brown earlier this month and began campaigning for him. When Coakley was being asked in a relatively friendly radio interview about Schilling endorsing Brown, she had this to say:

Interviewer: Yeah, but now Scott Brown has Curt Schilling, OK?’
Coakley: “And another Yankee fan.’’
Interviewer: “Schilling?’’
Coakley: Yes
Interviewer [pressing]: Curt Schilling a Yankee fan?
Coakley [backpedaling]: No, all right, I’m wrong on my, I’m wrong

Look- this isn't like she flubbed some obscure stat like who played shortstop for the Red Sox in 1981 [Glenn Hoffman, BTW]. Even if you lived outside of New England and knew nothing about baseball five years ago, you still knew that the Boston Red Sox had broken the 'Curse of the Bambino' and won their first World Series title in 86 years. However, Red Sox Nation is without a doubt the most passionate and knowledgeable fanbase out there- hell, Baseball was practically invented in Massachusetts.

Now comes the question of what role did Red Sox Nation and, by extension, Curt Schilling play in all of this? It would be quite misleading to convey the impression that every last Red Sox fan in the Bay State was waiting for Curt Schilling to announce which candidate he was going to endorse. Hell, his unabashed red-state tendencies make him very much the contrarian in one of the bluest states in the union- much of Red Sox Nation was used to tuning him out when he wasn't discussing anything baseball related. To be honest, it doesn't take much to be a conservative in the land of Barry Goldwater or John McCain. However it certainly requires some chutzpah to be one living anywhere east of Route 128.

Schilling's endorsement of Brown wasn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but Coakley's inept response to Schilling demonstrated how out-of-touch she was with the Bay State electorate. The Massachusetts voters seemed to be applying the same line of reasoning to Coakley and Schilling that I applied to regarding Barack Obama's initial response to the Sgt. Crowley/Prof. Gates incident in Cambridge could be applied to Coakley:
"If Coakley botched a relatively small thing like professional sports as badly as she did, why should we trust her on the bigger issues of more consequence?"

Also, hardly anybody should be surprised that Curt Schilling has a blog this blogger...he uses to express his opinions and insight. Seems a little hypocritical for the Democrats and Coakley supporters to jump on there and start shrieking 'OMG! STFU- you're just a dumb Richie rich who throws a baseball and doesn't know anything!!!1111oneone' in the comments section yet have nothing to say about the remarkable insight on geopolitics and climatology offered by such intellectual luminaries as Danny Glover or Sean Penn.

Then there's the matter of the man who's passing made this election necessary in the first place.

As for healthcare being the late Sen. Kennedy's 'legacy': he wouldn't have had to have lived with the consequences of a rationed, state-run healthcare system.

Ted Kennedy never inspired thousands of New Englanders, their voices still hoarse from celebrating and tears still in their eyes, to make a solemn trip on a sunny autumn day to the cemetery with a little Red Sox pennant or trinket in hand so that they could tell their departed loved ones 'They did it!' and leave a memento on their headstone.

It seems kind of sad that a pol from Massachusetts should even need to hear this advice, but for all the tributes the 'Liberal Lion' garnered shortly after his passing, do not underestimate how sacrosanct that New England institution at the corner of Yawkey Way and Landsdowne Street is.

Today's Train of Thought- Just Chillin'; Jan 28 2010

Who knew the Dakotas could get so cold this time of year!?

The Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western operates a couple of disconnected lines in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Not surprisingly, it's main traffic source is wheat but they also haul oil as well as oil drilling and exploration equipment for the Bakken oil shale, ethanol and coal for Great River Energy's Coal Creek Power plant, located just outside of Underwood, ND.

And that is where contributor Jeff Terry caught DMV&W GP40-2LW (ex-Canadian National) leading GP35 862 (Ex Chicago & Northwestern- still in C&NW paint) and GP20 3043 (ex- Santa Fe) on a frigid February 2009 day. The Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western has also added some former Wisconsin Central SD45s and Canadian National SD50Fs to their fleet in recent years.

State of the Union- Not Another New England Sports Blog's Highly Anticipated Reaction

Well, first and foremost, I posted yesterday that last night's State of the Union address was an opportunity for Obama to demonstrate what he's learned since the stunning Republican victory in Massachusetts last week. Apparently the answer was a resounding 'not a damn thing'.

Now, granted I came in and out of the speech- partly because it was being broadcast on my way home from work and partly because prolonged exposure to the sound of President Obama's voice could send me into a frothing, near-homicidal berserker frenzy. From what little I did catch, it sounded like he was trying to take credit for all those 'jobs saved', which is far more speculative and difficult to track than the very real and still-rising national unemployment rate. The most telling thing I heard last night was his willingness to try and cram through Cap and Trade.....which was followed by what sounded like hoots and guffaws when he mentioned the 'overwhelming scientific evidence' of global warming or climate change or whatever the latest spin is these days. Also, he doesn't seem willing to give up the fight over healthcare just because we the people who ultimately have to pay for it can't see what a brilliant idea it is or something.

I swear, if the Obama Administration drafted legislation that required every American regardless of age, gender or race had to get up at 4 in the morning and repeatedly smack themselves in the face with a ball-peen hammer and the Republicans wanted to block it, I remain convinced the Dem strategists would be on CNN and MSNBC shrieking their usual 'GOP is the party of No!' talking points at the top of their hysterical little lungs instead of discussing the merits of...well...getting up at 4 in the morning and repeatedly smashing oneself in the face with a ball-peen hammer [Think of all the hammer manufacturers that will be put out of work! -NANESB!].'s a thought. Maybe the GOP is obstructing passage of some of this legislation because it's really REALLY bad. Seriously, can anybody name me the upside of Card Check, Cap and Trade or a second stimulus?

Come to think of it, it's the Democrats who had, until last week, a seemingly unassailable supermajority in both houses where they could've hypothetically passed whatever they desired. To effectively block that would mean that a good number of Democrats would be in direct opposition to President Obama's agenda as well. Hmm....wonder how come that little factoid doesn't get much play on CNN or MSNBC?

So I'm not sure what I could've taken away from what sounded like yet another vacuous and lengthy campaign speech from the President. Did he even mention national security or terrorism last night? Giving foreign nationals detained by foreign intelligence or security services on foreign soil (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pick up the white courtesey phone) the same Constitutional rights as a 12 year old busted for stealing a pack of Yu-Gu-Oh cards from Wal Mart doesn't exactly smack of "tough on terrorism" to me.

Frankly, his taking more than a year to address the jobs situation and willingness to revisit cap and trade was about all I needed to hear.

More of the same, none of it good no matter how enthusiastic the spin.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The State of the Union and the White House's Lessons Learned From Massachusetts

The economy is still in the crapper and his own party, with a seemingly insurmountable supermajority as recently as 10 days ago, is reeling. And apparently President Obama's solution to these problems and others is....another prime-time speech. Technically this will be Obama's first State of the Union address, but one wouldn't know it from the number of times his mug has appeared on TV in the last year. Whether it's catching a pass from Drew Brees on the White House lawn or fielding puffball questions from Ed Schultz in a staged press conference, one can't accuse the President of being camera-shy.

So shortly after Republican Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat with a 'populist' campaign against big government and out-of-control spending, Obama tried re-establishing his populist cred by railing against financial institutions that took TARP money (as opposed to GM or Fannie Mae). That sort of backfired when the Dow-Jones Industrial Average slid down about 500 points in two days.

Of course, liberals are angry too and actually blame the results of the Massachusetts election on Obama not being liberal enough, not spending enough taxpayer money and not cramming through dubious legislation and reforms fast enough. Hell....some dolts were stupid enough to try and convince us that Bush is to blame for a Republican winning in Massachusetts.

Whatever the case, the punditocracy doesn't think the public will be buying whatever Obama's trying to sell tonight. The President himself is probably aware about that, which is why we can probably expect his address to be peppered with vague platitudes about pressing national issues like 'Don't ask don't tell' or high speed rail while trying to paint himself as a fiscal hawk and highlight his Potemkin spending freeze while in reality, his economic policies have already poured fuel on the proverbial fire.

This probably will come off as unkind, but is it too much to hope that the election of Scott Brown will have made this used-car salesman we call a President a lame duck in his first 365 days in office?

In any event, 2010 is shaping up to be a pretty rough year for Obama and his party- reminds me a little of that Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times'. Regardless, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over whatever circumstances are hindering this President's agenda.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Long Overdue Sports Chowdah Update: Saints Go Marching on To 1st Ever Superbowl, Colts Ground Jets, Bruins Winless Woes Continue

Sorry about dragging my feet regarding the sports updates. Seems like political developments and posting photos of buxom actresses has taken priority over the sports chowdah recaps. And with the way the Bruins have been playing (Celts have at least shown some improvement), can you blame me for my being distracted by sweet sweet eye candy?


Besides the new links I put up, I also have a new poll up speculating on where the 2011 NHL Winter Classic will take place. Feel free to vote and add to some of the speculation yourself.

[Thanks to design czar and Pi Guy over at Correspondence Committee for walking me through some of the blogspot features and how to use them. I told them at the time they'd probably have an easier time into talking a border collie into landing a 767 with jammed landing gear- NANESB!]

The Bruins in the last 10 days:

@ Los Angeles- 3-4 L(SO)

Ottawa- 1-5 L

Columbus- 2-3 L

Ottawa- 1-2 L

@ Carolina- 1-5 L

In that span of time, the Bruins have dropped from 2nd to 4th place in the Division, being overtaken by Ottawa and Montreal and are now 13 points behind division leader Buffalo. This includes getting hammered by the last place teams in the Central and Southeastern Divisions (Carolina and Columbus). The Bruins don't play again until Friday when they travel to the HSBC Arena to take on division-leading Buffalo Sabres.

So....yeah. The last week plus has pretty much sucked as far as that was concerned, but I'll try not to distract myself with more ocular sweetness.

OK- that didn't last long.

On the other hand, the NFL Conference Championship weekend turned out to be pretty good. Despite all the bold predictions from Rex Ryan and despite the early 17-6 lead, the Indianapolis Colts came from behind and shut the Jets out in the second half to win 27-17 and advance to their second Superbowl in three seasons.

However, the instant classic was the showdown in New Orleans with Drew Brees and the Saints hosting Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. The game was knotted at 28-28 with the clock ticking down in regulation, the Vikings had the ball at the first and ten on the Saints' 33 yard line. However, the ball was handed off to Adrian Petersen and Chester Taylor for no gain, then the Vikings were flagged for 12 men on the field, putting the ball on the 38 yard line, putting the potential game-winning filed goal out of Ryan Longwell's range. However it was all academic as Brett Farve desperately chucked the ball with a sidearm throw that wound up intercepted by Saints DB Tracy Porter, sending the game into overtime. The Saints won the coin toss and methodically marched down the field after the kickoff return started them on their own 39 yard line, including a 4th down conversion that drew a lengthy review from officials in the booth. Replacing long-time veteran John Carney earlier in the season, Garret Hartley came on for the Saints' 40 yard FG attempt, which connected and catapulted New Orleans to its first ever Superbowl.

So there you have it- most of the teams that got bounced out earlier in the playoffs left with a whimper and we now have a New Orleans/Indianapolis Superbowl. Seems like this was the way it should be when both teams were making their undefeated runs earlier in the season.

OTHER NFL NEWS: Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have declined invitations to this years Pro Bowl. The game will be played January 31, 2010 in Miami, FL. This marks the first time the NFL's All Star game hasn't taken place in Hawaii.

A group calling itself the Women's Media Center is demanding CBS pull an ad featuring Florida quarterback Tim Tiebow and his mother that is slated to air during the Super Bowl. The ad is paid for by Focus on the Family which the National Association of Women and Feminist Majority complain will likely carry an anti-abortion message.

NBA: The Celtics are doing considerably better than the Bruins, although that's not saying much at this point. Still, as of today, they're riding a 2-game winning streak coming off home wins against the Portland Trailblazers and LA Clippers, beating LA 95-89

Archie Andrews is expected to return from Riverdale after missing the last two games with a separated shoulder....oh wait...that's Brian Scalabrine. Anywhoo, Scalabrine is slated to be in the lineup for Thursday night's game at Orlando.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HAITI UPDATE: Aftershocks Rattle Port Au Prince; USNS Comfort Arrives; Chunky Venezuelan Conspiracy Theorist Rambles on; Cruise Ships Not Welcome?

(File photo; US Navy)
The US Navy Mercy class Hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived near Port Au Prince last Wednesday and took on it's first patients. The first two were flown in by helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and included a 6 year old boy and a 20 year old man. The 894-foot vessel can accommodate 1000 hospital beds and has a compliment of over 900 medical personnel.

ELSEWHERE: Aftershocks as strong as 5.9 on the Richter scale jolted Port Au Prince on Wednesday, sending survivors out into the street fearing a repeat of the devastating quake that struck 8 days prior. Reuters is reporting that looting and sporadic violence has subsided with the arrival of American Marines and soldiers to provide security and oversee distribution of aid. Both the Haitian government and United Nations peacekeepers suffered casualties in the initial earthquake.

*Actor George Clooney and singer Wyclef Jean organized a live telethon simulcast from Los Angeles, New York and Haiti that managed to raise $57 million in relief efforts towards Haiti.

*French and Greek rescuers pulled out a man from the ruins of a collapsed grocery store in Port Au Prince some 11 days after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake levelled the Haitian capital. Rescuers discovered 24 year old Wismond Exantus under the rubble the same day the Haitian government ordered search and rescue teams to call off their search.

*Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines [NYSE: RCL] has come under fire for their decision to dock at a resort in northern Haiti shortly after the quake. The company defended the docking of Navigator of the Seas at Labadee, which was largely unaffected by the quake, saying that the company employs hundreds of Hatians and the devestated island nation's economy could use the infusion of capital that tourism provides. The company also said it was forwarding rice, fresh water and beans to the disaster stricken island nation. Two other vessels from the Royal Caribbean Lines, including the worlds largest ocean liner- Oasis of the Seas, are scheduled to dock in Labadee later on this month.

And finally, might I suggest tHugo Chavez help himself to a nice big, steaming cup of shut the fuck up? Particularly when Los Angeles County is sending more aid to Haiti then the oil-rich tropical paradise that he seems intent on pile-driving into the ground called Venezuela. This time, the Venezuelan dictator is claiming the devastation wrought in Haiti was a byproduct of a sooper-seekrit 'tectonic weapon' deployed by the US Navy and that it was used on the island nation of Haiti so we could help ourselves to the country's vast oil reserves? Wait....scratch that. It was clearly so the gringo yanqui imperialists could help themselves to Haiti's nearly limitless mineral wealth, with all those gold, platinum, copper and palladium mines- wait, that's not it either. I got it! It's all those skilled baseball players.....oh no- that's the other half of the island.
This kind of begs the question.....if the US military had such a weapon at their disposal, why not use it against Caracas, using their logic, they already know too much and have all those precious energy and mineral deposits that a rapacious imperialistic war machine just can't get enough of. If such technology exists, I beseech the United States Military to deploy it only when Danny Glover and tHugo Chavez are meeting together.

And yes, I'm well aware of what Pat Robertson said shortly after the quake...and frankly, I thought the comments themselves were sanctimonious, self-righteous crap, but would also serve as a convenient and intellectually lazy way for people who disdain religon in general to harp on Christians as being intolerant and self-righteous. Patricularly disengenuous when you consider how many Christian charities and aid groups were active in Haiti before the earthquake. I mean...seriously- what kind of piece of crap would go out of their way to defend Danny Glover's statements?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Northampton Arson Update- Court Documents Allege Suspect Sought to Establish Alibi By Text Messaging

Police serving a search warrant on 25 year old Northampton resident Andrew Baye earlier this month found five text messages sent from Baye's iPhone sent in a 10-minute span in an effort to fabricate an alibi on the night of the December 27th 2009 arson spree in the Western Massachusetts town. The fires allegedly set by Baye killed Paul Yeskie Sr, 81, and Paul Yeskie Jr, 39, just two days after Christmas.

Baye entered a 'not guilty' plea to two counts of murder and single counts of armed burglary and arson of a dwelling. According to affidavits, Baye was stopped twice by police in the vicinity of the fires in the early morning hours of December 27th. Northampton Police noted that Baye had a lighter in his pocket and was soaking wet (it had been raining that night) when he was taken into custody. A detective for the Northampton police said Baye appeared nervous and said he was visiting his girlfriend before changing his story under further questioning.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old Grey Lady Vs Voluptuous Blonde Who Plays Voluptuous Redhead on TV Update: NYT Runs Distorted Image of 'Big Girl' Christina Hendricks

(side by side images courtesey of Gothamist)

After being referred to as a 'big' girl by one of the NY Times style editors, the Times website ran with a distorted photo of Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks' appearence on the red carpet (giggity) prior to last weekend's Golden Globes (giggity).

The Old Grey Lady explained the gaffe as follows:

"The photo was slightly distorted inadvertently due to an error during routine processing. The photograph has been replaced."

Well, while not quite on the same scale as photoshopping additional smoke over the Beirut skyline during the Israeli-Hezbollah confilct of 2006, seems like a page out of the same playbook. Interesting that the distorted photo would be run accompanying the stylista's column trying to illustrate how 'big' she is.
This quote from the Gothamist was too good to pass up:
" ...this is the kind of top notch journalism you'll soon be asked pay more for!"
UPDATE: Gothamist has thoughtfully updated their article with a 'throbbing' Christina Hendricks image.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blue State Graft Watch: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Ordered to Pay over $300,000 in Restitution; Faces Jail

I have to be honest- when I figured I should make 'Blue State Graft Watch' a recurring feature on Not Another New England Sports Blog! I had this winner in mind, even though it might not have been timely.

Kwame Kilpatrick, billed as America's first 'hip-hop mayor', was sworn in as mayor of Detroit in 2002. At age 31, Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor elected to office in the Motor City and it's been downhill ever since.

Not an easy feat in Detroit, mind you.

To say that Kilpatrick's two terms were marked by scandal and controversy would be a gross understatement. In his first term, Kilpatrick was known to have use city funds to finance a lease for a new car, charging wine and spa massages to a city-issued credit card and redirecting $700,000 slated for the re-opening of the Belle Island Zoo and Aquarium to a friend of his.

In 2003, it was alleged that Kilpatrick's wife came home unexpectedly to a party at the Mayor's Residence (Manoogian Mansion) featuring strippers and attacked one of the women. One of the exotic dancers alleged to have performed at the party, 27 year old Tamara Greene, was shot to death in April 2003. The murder weapon was determined to be a .40 Glock, similar to the sidearms issued to the Detroit Police Department, and that the vehicle made more than one pass wile firing on Greene, seemingly ignoring a passenger in Greene's vehicle.

Investigators from Detroit's Homicide Division say that they were stonewalled from the very onset of the investigation into Greene's murder. The case remains unsolved, but spawned separate civil suits against the city of Detroit from the homicide investigators who were transferred elsewhere within the department and Greene's next of kin.

It got worse for Kilpatrick with a separate whistleblower trial initiated by one of his former bodyguards and Deupty Chief of Police for an internal probe into Kilpatrick's actions, which Kilpatrick's chief of staff and mistress, Christine Beatty, committed perjury. Six months later, the Detroit Free Press uncovered the existence of more than 14,000 text messages between Beatty and Kilpatrick sent each other on city-issued cellphones that not only reveled their extramarital affair but also their conspiring to fire then-deputy Chief of Police Gary Brown and preferential treatment in steering city contracts towards friends of Kwame.

Of course, while under fire, Kilpatrick wasn't the least bit shy about trotting out the race card, even though many of his critics were black themselves.

In March 2008, the Wayne County prosecutor issued a 12-count criminal indictment against Mayor Kilpatrick, including obstruction of justice, perjury and misconduct in office that ultimately led to his resignation and a 4-month jail sentence while forfeiting his pension and the FBI is investigating his friends, family and associates for activities while in office.

However, given Kilpatrick's arrogance and sense of entitlement, it seemed inevitable that he could stay out of trouble and the spotlight. A Wayne County judge this week has ordered Kilpatrick to pay back more than $319,000 in restitution or return to jail.

Talk about the 'failed policies of the last eight years'. This guy never seems to be able to stay out of the spotlight for reasons of his own making. It's almost like he revels in it.

Dead Air America: Anti-Capitalist Liberal Radio Network Goes Bankrupt

Guess they ran out of funds from inner-city Boy and Girls clubs to help keep them afloat.

This week just keeps getting better and better. First the election results in Massachusetts on Tuesday, and I get word of this the other day:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Air America, a politically liberal talk-radio network, said on Thursday it would cease operations and file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection to begin an orderly wind down of its business.

So a liberal media enterprise that caters to other liberals has no idea how to run a business or get any advertisers on board? Color me shocked.

I tried listening a couple of times and I can say without a doubt that going bankrupt and shutting down will undoubtedly be the high point of Air America's 5 years of existence.

Considering that conservatism in America was all but dead and buried according to Air America and their ideologically-aligned counterparts in the mainstream media this time last year, I'd say that the purportedly dead and buried American right is having a pretty good week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CATFIGHT: Old Grey Lady versus Voluptuous Blonde who Plays Voluptuous Redhead on TV

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

I normally don't get into these fashion and entertainment industry pissing matches, and to be honest I haven't seen a single episode of Mad Men. But apparently one of the New York Times stylistas liveblogging the Golden Globes had this to say about Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks:

"You don't put a big girl in a big dress. That's rule number one."

Umm......define 'big', please. From what I see, Ms. Hendricks has curves. I can't say with certainty she has curves in all the right places- closer firsthand examination will need to be undertaken by yours truly to reach a more definitive conclusion- but from what I see so far, she's off to a good start. Aren't curves on a woman supposed to be healthy and feminine and even celebrated? It's not like we're talking about Susan Boyle without the singing ability here. I think all these news stories about the uptick in obesity in Americans has us looking for signs of that problem when there are none....or it could just be petty schoolyard name-calling and cheap shot that are supposed to be clever. I wouldn't put that past somebody on the Time's payroll.

I also feel compelled to speak up on Ms. Hendricks behalf because, although technically not a pin-up, she's a leading actress on a show set in the early 60s, so I suspect she'd have to have the look down for the role. Plus, if Philly blogger Wyatt Earp taught me anything, it's that you can't have too much eye candy (Hendricks-centric or otherwise) on your blog.

Given the Old Grey Lady's already-established 'journalism' practises like denying Stalin's engineered famine in the Ukraine was taking place (and a Pulitzer being awarded to the 'reporter' who ignored it), having liar and plagirist Jayson Blair on their payroll for 4 years and routinely publishing national security and intelligence information during the Bush administration, I'm not above dogpiling on the publication. Or laughing as their stock [NYSE: NYT] circles the drain.

Blue State Graft Watch: NY Representative May Have Broken Ethics Rules w/Sweetheart Loan and Stock Deal

US Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY) obtained private stock in a defense contractor with a collateral free loan worth $14,000 from one of the biggest shareholders in 2002, the NY Daily news reported.

Ackerman hosted a meeting between the firm Xenonics, Inc [AMEX: XNN] and Israeli military officials was able to profit from the eventual sale of the stock purchased with the money loaned to him. It was also discovered that Ackerman obtained an additional loan worth between $15,000 and $50,000 from the same individual in 2007, although the terms of that deal were not disclosed.

[Hat tip: Jammie Wearing Fool; Lonelyconservative]


The crack research staff at Not Another New England Sports Blog! has just uncovered Senator-elect Scott Brown's (R-MA) ties to a heavily armed militia group known to congregate in New England. Reportedly the group assembles one weekend a month and two weeks a year and was reportedly active in the Boston area during the 2004 Democratic National Convention and has also been seen with weaponry in and around Logan airport.

The group has a long history in the region and is best known for inciting violence against authority figures shortly after it's founding.

A spokesman for Scott Brown was unable to take our inquiries seriously and declined to comment, but this photo NANESB! obtained would indicate that Brown has risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel within the organization.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grim Milestone Watch- The Innaguration of Barack Hussein Obama One Year Later & the White House's Reaction To Scott Brown (R-MA)

Does anyone remember that episode of South Park where Mr. Hankey debuted? Among other subplots, the school winds up putting on a Christmas pageant devoid of any reference to religion that really and truly sucks. Then, when they roll credits, it shows a lonesome, mopey Jesus Christ all by himself in his studio with a single candle in a cupcake singing 'Happy Birthday to me....' while trying not to cry.

Somehow, I couldn't help but think that was how President Obama might've been observing his first year in office; dejected, isolated and seemingly jilted after the Democrat stronghold of Massachusetts selected a Republican who campaigned against much of Obama's agenda to fill the senate seat once occupied by Ted Kennedy. A single waxy candle jabbed into a stale cupcake when 365 days prior, the bubbly was flowing freely, banquets galore and the whole world seemingly eating out of the palm of his hand. And the South Park analogy isn't completely without merit, as it's been reported that aides during his fairly brief time in the Senate would sometimes refer to him as 'Black Jesus'.

As a messiah, sometimes one must take the good with the bad.

Now, the easiest thing in the world for me to do is probably sit here and take cheap shots at the President after his agenda was delivered a staggering blow by the voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, of all places. Maybe I should start off with some of the things I've thought he's done right.

Well...let's see...the airstrikes from drones against Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets in places like the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Afghanistan or the tribal areas of Pakistan seem to continue unabated. Like the marksmanship demonstrated against the pirates taking the MV Maersk Alabama, I imagine that needs executive-level approval to be acted upon.

And yes, Kanye West is still a jackass. Actually, I thought the President was being a little charitable in that instance.

As for what he's doing wrong? My my.....where to start?

I suppose the most recent and high profile debacle would be his proposed healthcare 'reform'....the one that was crammed through on Christmas Eve thanks to numerous kickbacks and buyoffs with the Democrats and their media cohorts chirping what a glorious win this was for President Obama without bothering to try and sell the public on why the legislation would've benefited the American people. I remain certain that it wouldn't have, and the fact that media outlets sympathetic to the White House didn't even try to spin it that way was quite telling. So was not living up to the campaign promise of televising the conference on the final version of the bill on CSPAN or proposing a tax on 'Cadillac' healthcare plans to cover costs for the proposed 'reform' but then exempting unions from that tax increase. The tax increase would've had the added bonus (at least if you're a Dem hack or union head) of being Card Check-Lite by creating artificial demand for union enrollment in previously non-union workplaces. Also, if this healthcare and health insurance situation in this country is so dire and has to be taken care of now now NOW NOW NOW DAMMIT! come most of the proposals in the legislation won't go in effect until sometime around 2013?

There was also the American Investment and Recovery Act, which was marketed as infusing cash into shovel-ready projects aimed at creating jobs, preventing rising unemployment from going beyond 8% and improving America's crumbling infrastructure. Instead, it turned out to be a giant sinkhole into which about $787 Billion disappeared and we're looking at an unemployment rate of more than 10%. Yep- one year on, we still have crumbling infrastructure and we're $787 Billion poorer.

But somewhere along the way, General Motors, Citi financial and AIG were more or less nationalized by this administration. How does the president respond to increasingly vocal concerns on the economy? By waging a jihad against the banking industry, apparently including ones that never took bailout/TARP money or the ones that took it but paid it back with interest. And I'm sure, in his infinite wisdom, that the president somehow failed to realize that no matter what tax he levies on the financial sector, they will find a way to pass the cost along to the consumer.

Of course, that same line of thinking probably didn't occur to him when he was pom-pom waving for Cap and Trade both here and in Copenhagen. Look, I have nothing against wind or solar- frankly, I think it's a good idea to try and harness energy from something that's always going to be there pretty much every day. But they don't seem to be able to provide energy on the scale that's needed. And making Americans pay more for their energy in this economy while cutting off entire industries at the knees (coal mining, petroleum exploration and drilling, refining, natural gas exploration and drilling) borders on the stupid and malicious. Yet that's exactly what kind of legislation the House passed- at President's urging- over the summertime. Mercifully, it seems to have disappeared somewhere on it's way to the Senate and hasn't been revisited since then.

It would also be nice if this White House could work up half the anger and harsh rhetoric they demonstrate when Dick Cheney shows up on TV or Bank of America turns a profit for occasions like a botched attempt to blow an airliner out of the skies or Iran's Basiij militia thugs picking off unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators for all the world to see.

You know, once upon a time I assumed that when the current Administration proposed some really shitty idea, like having veterans pay for their service-related injures out-of-pocket through private insurance, it was actually a ploy on their part. What I thought was happening was they would be intentionally proposing something so stupid and untenable that they'd back away once the public uproar began, repudiate whatever stupid, idiotic and shitty proposal that caused all the fuss and then propose something marginally less shitty by comparison that would turn out to have been their idea all along. Turns out I was giving them waaay too much credit- it's looking more and more like every stupid and idiotic policy proposal they come us with is sincere.

Of course, on the one year anniversary of his taking the Oath of Office, President Obama did what he apparently does best- blame George Bush for his problems and make it all about him, such as when interviewed with ABC News:
"Here's my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: the same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,"
"People are angry and they are frustrated. Not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

If Obama wants to keep this 'last eight years' mantra up, so be it. But at some point, he has to realize the failed policies of the 'last eight years' is going to include the entirety of his Administration.

Sports Chowdah Recap- Jan 18-20; Sens Filibuster B's, Pistons Motor Past C's, Red Sox Close Deal W/Papelbon

Well, that sure sucked. After a 1-1-1 California road-trip the B's returned to Boston on Martin Luther King Day for the privilege of getting their asses handed to them by the Ottawa Senators. Tim Thomas was chased from net halfway through the second, Boston didn't get on the board until the 3rd period and Sens captian Daniel Alfredsson had a hat-trick in Ottawa's 5-2 win over the Bruins at the Garden. Alfredsson's third goal beat Tukka Rask about 2 minutes after he replaced Thomas in the 2nd period. The win puts the Sens ahead of Boston for second place in the division, and the B's will play the Columbus Blue Jackets at the garden Thursday night.
The Celtics aren't doing much better, having dropped two in a row coming into tonight's game against the Pistons. This was Rasheed Wallace's first game in Detroit as a former member of the Pistons, and it was pretty forgettable unless you were a Piston's fan. Wallace had 16 points overall and was 5 for 13 while Rajon Rondo was 8 of 16 with 21 points. Kevin Garnett will reportedly be in the lineup when the Celtics will take on the Portland Trailblazers Friday night. Boston has gone 4-8 since their nationally televised Christmas Day win against Orlando.

The Red Sox and closer Jonathan Papelbon have avoided arbitration by reaching a 1-year $9.35 million contract. The deal also includes incentives for closing 60 or more games, winning an MVP or Cy Young award or an appearance in the All-Star game.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown Surges to Senate Victory

The race has taken on national significance because Brown campaigned on being the pivotal 41st vote against President Obama's healthcare proposal [You know, the one that was rammed through on Christmas eve when even the most die-hard politico following this probably had other things to do? -NANESB!] which would effectively kill it barring the reconciliation process. He also campaigned against other Obama policies such as Cap & Trade or Card Check in a state that Obama won handily a little over a year ago and still has a relatively high approval rating.

It should probably go without saying that this blogger is very happy (and a little surprised) with the outcome of the election. According to Brown's own campaign website, he's also pro 2nd-Amendment, anti same-sex marriage and a few other things that would be considered an anathema in deep deep blue Massachusetts (spelled with one E, Martha). Whether he votes that way or even has the opportunity to vote on such issues remains to be seen.

Make no mistake about it, President Obama invested alot of his political capital in this race and got burned badly- no matter how the Press Secretary Gibbs or MSNBC tries to spin it. Not counting two fruitless trips to Copenhagen, this marks the second time in less than three months that he's campaigned for a candidate in a very dark blue state and that candidate lost decidedly. This could also spook enough 'blue dog' democrats that were on the fence about healthcare (or had their votes basically purchased, Like Ben Nelson: D-NE) into withdrawing their support for the so-called healthcare reform bill after seeing poll numbers drop and now a republican in what's been called 'Ted Kennedy's seat'. Simply put- the Democrats overplayed their hand in the Bay state. They assumed the population at large would vote for anybody with a (D) after their name....a plate of haggis, a Jack Russel terrier, that hobo that sleeps under the King St. overpass and mumbles to himself.....anybody. Or at least anybody besides Martha Coakley.

But to point out what a gaffelicous candidate Coakley was would mean one wouldn't be giving enough credit to Brown's campaign. The national GOP basically gave up on him as a lost cause as recently as New Year's Eve, but he continued on, meeting people outside the Winter Classic and appealing to the working class and blue collar New Englanders that were supposedly the backbone of the democrats in the Bay State. He even had Curt Schilling, Doug Flutie and Cliff Clavin stumping for him towards the end....addressing thousands of enthusiastic supporters at a time while Coakley was meeting with lobbyists in DC and big-name, big money politicians and sporadic Union or academic gatherings. Not only was it appealing grass-roots stuff on Brown's part, it also showed the disconnect between the Bay State democrat establishment and the working-class citizens on Coakley's part.

This is probably the first time I can say it about anything political, but I'm very proud of my home state tonight. I highly doubt that it's going to turn a Texas shade of red on the electoral map, but the voters finally saw that the Bay state democrat establishment was treating the state like it's own little fiefdom and decided enough was enough.

Well played, Massachusetts (one E, attention). Well played, Senator Brown (R-MA).

UPDATE- Scott Brown's daughter's are hot.
And single.
And over 18.
Just thought I'd mention that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

HAITI UPDATE: tHugo Chavez Claims US 'Occupying' Haiti; Wyclef Jean's Charity Questioned; US GI Finds Kin in Haiti; CNN Doc Pressed Into Service

(Haiti's Presidential Palace before the earthquake- Garrett Crawford)

(and immediately after the earthquake- hotindienews)

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez took time from his busy schedule of nationalizing private retailers and rationing electricity to second-guess the American Aid efforts in Haiti.

"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on his weekly television show. "They are occupying Haiti undercover."

Chavez said he did not wish to diminish the humanitarian effort made by the United States and was only questioning the need for so many troops.

Nooo....of course not. Seems kind of silly that the soldiers and Marines we're sending to Haiti should be armed. I mean it's not like there's no functioning government, the UN Peacekeepers assigned to the capital were killed in the earthquake or rampant gangs of machete-wielding looters might attack aid groups distributing supplies or anything.

French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet was also critical of the American Military presence in the devestated capital of Port Au Prince. 'This is about helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti' Joyandet said from the comfort of Brussels.

Speaking of imperialist American soldiers occupying Port-Au-Prince, I came across this story earlier of a Hatian immigrant who's now a staff sargeant with the 82nd Airborne Division now deployed to Haiti.

Quake survivors implore the soldiers in halting English for more food and water and for medical help. Florestal responds in Creole — and surprised Haitians waiting in lines slap him on the back and shake his hand.“They feel good that there are Haitians in the U.S. Army,” he said.
Amazingly, he found one of his cousins, who told him most of his family survived. Later, he called his mother, who had been crying and still unable to reach any relatives in Haiti from her Orlando, Florida, home. She was overjoyed to hear that her sister and brother were alive, he said.

ELSEWHERE: CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, was the only doctor remaining at a field hospital set up in Port-au-Prince after Belgian doctors and staff had evacuated over security concerns. Some 25 patients were left in the doctors care as the Belgian medical personnel departed and took their supplies with them. [Full disclosure, I'm no fan of CNN, but way to go Dr Gupta!- NANESB!]

The Smoking Gun, Associated Press, Better Business Bureau and others have brought into question the
spending practices of Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti charity over the last few days. Art Taylor of the BBB's Wise Giving Alliance said that IRS tax returns for the Yele Haiti Foundation between 2005 and 2007 were filed on one day- August 10, 2009- which can be considered a red flag. Also, in 2007, the foundation's spending of $411,000 exceeded its revenues of $79,000. It's revenue in 2008 was en estimated $1.9 million. Jean had been imploring the public to raise funds for Yele Haiti this week by texting 'Yele' to 501501 to donate $5 for earthquake relief. Estimates are that he managed to raise nearly $2 million via text, however the foundation cannot collect until the phone bills come due for each respective donor. Foundation president Cliff Locke said that the organization is seeking bridge funding for between the time the funds were pledged via text message and when the donors pay their bills.

UPDATE: For whatever reason,
Goodsearch has Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti featured under their 'Who's Doing Good?' section on the main page. Maybe this has been cleared up to a degree, or the organization will perform beyond expectations with the increased scrutiny. Or maybe Goodsearch is still unaware of the accusations leveled against Yele Haiti.

Terrorists That Martha Coakley Says Aren't In Afghanistan Attack Targets in Kabul

Taliban Launches Brazen Attack on Afghan Capital:

KABUL — Taliban militants wearing explosives vests launched a brazen assault on the heart of Kabul today, as suicide bombings and gun battles near the presidential palace and other government buildings paralyzed the capital for hours. Afghan police and NATO troops managed to restore security after at least three blasts and machine-gunfire that echoed across the mountain-rimmed city. Given what might have been, the casualty toll was relatively low: 12 killed including seven attackers.

Look- I disagree with about 95% of President Obama's policies, but as far as I know, even he isn't naiive enough to think that Afghanistan is free of terrorists. Or is Martha Coakley simply going to re-brand Taliban suicide bombers that target US and NATO troops and Afghan civilians as 'freedom fighters'?

Massachusetts Senate Race Update: Obama Campaigns for Coakley, Brown Picks up More Endorsements From Unlikely Sources

The Cape Cod Times, hardly anybody's idea of a right-wing mouthpiece, has endorsed Massachusettes GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown this weekend. Another Massachusetts newspaper, the Lowell Sun also endorsed Brown while the somewhat misleadingly-named Springfield Republican announced their support of Coakley.

Elsewhere in the Bay State, the 212 member Cambridge Police Patrol Officers Association has endorsed Scott Brown. The announcement was made despite the fact that Martha Coakley's husband was a veteran Cambridge Police officer and a member of the same union. [No word from the President on whether or not he thought the Cambridge Police acted stupidly- NANESB!]

Meanwhile, President Obama showed up at Northeastern University over the weekend to support that candidate who thinks Curt Schilling is a Yankees fan, was standing not three feet away from a reporter getting roughed up by her aides after meeting with union, insurance and pharma lobbyists in DC yet saw nothing, can't spell Massachusetts correctly, thinks that Catholics have no place in the ER and who's name apparently isn't worth remembering for one member of the Kennedy clan. An estimated 2000 people showed up for the President's appearance while only 1500 were let in- others were redirected to a student center where they could watch a live feed of the event.

The same day, Brown held a competing rally in Worcester that drew roughly 3200 supporters and featured Curt Schilling, former BC and Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie and actor John Ratzenberger, best known for his role as know-it-all mailman Cliff Clavin on Cheers and host of Made in America on the Travel Channel.

Polls in the Bay State open in less than 24 hours.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sports Chowdah Recap for January 16-17: Comeback Kings- US Olypians Face off In City of Angels; NFL Divisional Weekend Roundup

In a daytime matchup that pitted US Olympic goaltenders Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick against each other, the LA Kings came from 2 goals down in the 3rd period to force overtime and then a shootout with the Bruins on Saturday. Although Boston got out to a 3-1 lead in the second period with goals from Blake Wheeler and Micheal Ryder- scored 11 seconds apart, the Kings came back to tie it on goals from Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar- scored 2:22 apart. With no score in overtime, that brought up the shootout where Brown and Kopitar would score again while Quick stopped shots from Krejci and Satan to give LA the 4-3 win in the shootout.

The Bruins went 1-1-1 on their west coast road trip and will face the Ottawa Senators tomorrow in a matinee at the Garden.
The NFL's Conference championships are all set after this weekend. Less than a week after embarrassing the Patriots at Gilette Stadium, the Ravens season came to an end with a 20-3 loss against the Colts on Saturday night. The only upset and close game of the weekend was the finale down in San Diego, where the underdog New York Jets took advantage of some turnovers late in the game to stun the Chargers by coming away with the 17-14 win.
In the NFC, the Saints handled the Cardinals pretty easily for a 45-14 win. The loss for Arizona has fueled speculation on whether or not this was QB Kurt Warner's final season.
Under yet another dome, the Vikings dispatched the Dallas Cowboys 34-3 on Sunday. I don't think Jessica Simpson was in the building for this one, so Cowboys fans will have to blame this playoff loss on something else.....maybe....I dunno- Tony Romo?

Notorious Yankee Fan Curt Schilling Endorses Scott Brown; Draws Ire From Coakley Campaign

First off, I have to admit that it's getting increasingly difficult to parody Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley's Senate bid when her real-world campaign has made numerous gaffes in the last week or so.

Normally soft-spoken and reserved former teammate of Manny Ortez and infamous Yankee fan Curt Schilling has waded into the Massachusetts senate race and not only endorsed GOP candidate Scott Brown, but has started campaigning for him while writing several entries highly critical of Martha Coakley's campaign in his blog, 38 Pitches.

Although retired from baseball, Schilling still resides in Massachusetts and has started up 38Studios, an electronic entertainment and gaming company. Those of you who don't remember the Red Sox starting pitcher's bold proclimation that "I'm not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up." prior to the 2004 ALCS against the archrival New York Yankees and Game 6 of the series- sometimes known as the 'bloody sock' game- where the Schilling was the winning pitcher and the Red Sox had come back to tie the series 3 games each after being down 0-3, chances are you probably weren't alive yet!

In response, the Coakley campaign has fired back with a pair of devestating ads questioning Scott Brown's connections to the NY Yankees and former Red Sox 1st baseman Bill Buckner [feel free to KGB it if you want to know when he played- NANESB!].

[Hat Tips: 38Pitches; The Nose on Your Face]

Blue State Graft Watch: California Lawmakers Fail To Report Gifts From Lobbyists

Some 38 active members of California's state Assembly and Senate had failed to declare gifts paid for by AT&T, Chevron, Pechanga Casino, Boeing, the California Associaton of Health and Life Insurance Companies and others.

The gifts included a weekend at a luxury spa in Pebble Beach, free passes to Sea World and Disneyland, tickets to Keith Urban, George Strait or Billy Joel concerts, lunches at upscale resturants in Sacramento and tickets to a Sacramento Kings home game or the 2008 Holiday Bowl.

To be fair, the California state Fair Political Practices Comission names politicians from both parties, but it seems the more extravagant gifts went to those who chaired regulatory committees like the state Senate Financae, Banking and Insurance Committee- or their families.

Democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello appeared to have failed to report more than $2,300 worth of gifts for himself and his wife, Ana, including an October 2008 stay at Pebble Beach Resorts, known for its stunning oceanfront view and world-class golf course.

The Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies reported that Ana Calderon received $1,000 in food, drinks and spa treatments, and the commission questioned whether the senator should have disclosed the gifts.

Calderon is chairman of the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee, which oversees the industry.

According to the California Fair Political Practices Comission, failure to disclose such gifts comes with a $5000 fine for each violation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Night Cuppa Chowdah: B's Jump The Shark; C's Can't Run With The Bulls, Agent Zero's Costly Gunplay, NFL (Somehow) Continues on Without Pats

Tim Thomas looked every bit the Vezina winner he was a year ago in a physical, low-scoring game that was worth staying up for Thursday night. Even by West Coast standards, the game got off to a pretty late start- 7:30 Pacific Time- but pitted Joe Thornton against his former team. [Hmm...notice how nobody ever markets a San Jose-Boston matchup as 'pitting Marco Sturm against his old team'- NANESB!] so there might've been some appeal for the non-Bruins/non-Sharks fans to tune in as well. The game came the night after the Bruins lost 4-3 at Anaheim.

Danny Paille finally got the biscut past San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabakov 2:50 into the second. Joe Thronton would come back with one of his own just before the 10 minute mark in the same period. With the score tied 1-1, that would turn out to be the last goal Tim Thomas allowed that night. As physical as the game was, there were no penalties called until the 3rd period and both the third period and overtime were scoreless, which led to the shootout. The first three shooters for the Bruins (Ryder, Satan, Recchi) would miss, but Zdeno Chara- winner of the 2008 All-Star Game's Hardest Shot competiton with a 103.1 MPH slapshot- got the only goal for Boston in the shootout. Thomas would make the save on Patrick Marleau's shot on a must-score situation for San Jose, giving the Bruins the 2-1 win courtesey of the shootout.
Thursday night marked the third straight game that the Bruins played without Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard. Boston's record is currently 23-16-7, good for second place in the Northeast division. The Los Angeles Kings (28-18-3) will host Boston at the Staples Center tomorrow afternoon.

Still without Kevin Garnett or Rasheed Wallace, the Celtics skid continued (I'm not sure that win against the 3-34 Nets technically counts as a 'victory') with a loss against the Chicago Bulls Thrusday night. Once the second half began, Boston never got any closer than within 4 points of the Bulls. Throught the whole night, the Celtics were never able to do any better than 54% from the free-throw line. Chicago almost sleep-walks away with this one, 96-83. The C's next game is at home against Dallas on Monday night- the game will be broadcast on TNT.

Elsewhere: Apparently football season isn't over, as there's still two weekends worth of playoff football as well as the Superbowl. Despite the lack of any teams whose name begins with 'New' and ends with 'England' in this weekend's matchups, the NFL has taken the rather risky and unorthodox move of continuing the postseason without them. This weekends games are as follows:
Saturday, January 17:
Arizona @ New Orleans- 4:30 PM ET
Baltimore @ Indianapolis- 8:15 PM ET
Sunday, January 18:
Dallas @ Minnestoa- 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets @ San Diego- 4:30 PM ET

The nuances of the Supreme Court's ruling in District of Columbia vs Heller were apparently lost on Gilbert Arenas. Although the Supreme court ruled that Washington DC's prohibition of handguns was unconstitutional, that did not mean 'Agent 0' could bring his collection to the Verizon Center's locker room and brandish them whenever a gambling dispute arose. Arenas pled guilty to carrying a pistol without a liscence in a Washington DC court Friday and could face a 6-month jail sentence. Arenas is already on an indefinite suspension from the NBA and will be sentenced in late March.

The Haiti Earthquake and Surprisingly Simple Things you Can Do To Help

I planned on putting in a plug for goodsearch in at some point, but the situation in Haiti has made it rather timely.

If you head on over to the Goodsearch homepage, you'll see a grey bar towards the bottom of the page marked 'Who do you goodsearch for?'. You can type in a phrase in the bottom search area and it will come up with a list of charities, shelters, museums, aid groups, schools and charities with that phrase that will show up in a drop bar.

For a timely example, if you type in the phrase 'Haiti' into the 'Who do you goodsearch for?' function, more than 50 organizations that were active in Haiti before the earthquake- including Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti- will show up on the drop bar. Simply select an organization- let's say Haiti Lumiere from the drop bar and begin searching via goodsearch. Goodsearch will then donate $.01 per search you use through them. Now, sometimes this blogger is intentionally vague in his search terms, which means that goodsearch will automatically suggest other, more specific phrases to search with.....which means you bump up the total raised while searching.

Also, people enrolled in American Airlines AAdvantage programs can earn bonus frequent-flyer miles when donating to the Red Cross' Haiti relief through a link on the airline's website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SEIU Spends $685,000 on TV Ad Attacking Scott Brown; SEIU-Affiliated Worcester Local Endorses Brown

The same day TV ads bankrolled by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to the tune of $685,000 slamming Scott Brown were set to air throughout the Bay State, the Republican State Representative and challenger for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy picked up endorsements from two of Worcester's police unions:

Local 911, New England Police Benevolent Association, and Local 504, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, handed their endorsement to the state senator. The endorsement comes one day after a debate in which Mr. Brown and his main opponent, Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley, squared off.

Feel free to visit the International Brotherhood of Police Officers homepage linked here. You might see a logo in the upper left-hand corner that looks something like this:

So the same day one of their affiliated locals endorsed Scott Brown, TV stations in Massachusetts air anti-Brown ads paid for by the national SEIU honchos. This comes about a month after the SEIU paid $214,000 to air radio ads for Martha Coakley at the end of the primary, bringing the total Bay State Coakley campaign-related expenditures by the SEIU alone to just under $900,000. Sounds like union dues well spent, Andy.

Of course, the New England Police Benevolent Association is an AFL-CIO affiliated union. The two Worcester Police unions announcements come on the heels of the State Police Association of Massachusetts endorsement of Brown on Monday.

At face value, the endorsement of a Republican by any labor organization in the bluest of blue states comes off as more than a little unusual. However, there may be one glaringly obvious reason as to why some of the unions haven't backed Coakley (who said she would cast the deciding vote for 0bamacare).

Another likely reason the police unions have kept themselves at arm's length from Deval Patrick's AG is because they're still waiting for an apology from the governor. You know- the governor with the approval rating in the 20 percentile who basically called Cambridge PD Sgt James Crowley racist and hasn't backtracked since. Turns out cops have a memory that lasts longer than one beer, and I suspect they have damned little incentive to throw their support behind Gov. Patrick's Attorney General.

Of course, that's all just speculation on my part. But the fact remains that what was supposed to be an uncontested cakewalk for Martha Coakley in the bluest of blue states is now approaching a dead heat with Scott Brown, draining resources and funds from the national DNC and their labor allies- even with their own in-state Locals backing Coakley's GOP challenger.

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Levels Capital of Country That Wasn't In Great Shape To Begin With

Port-au-Prince, Haiti was rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that was followed by magnitude 5.9 and 5.5 aftershocks yesterday afternoon. Casualties are feared to be in the thousands, according to most relief agencies in the impoverished nation.

Already the FBI is warning about opportunistic scams masquerading as charities to play on the public's concern over the scope of the disaster.

Concerned readers can find out more about donating through relief organizations like the Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stolen Valor Update: Suspect in Vermont Scam Flees Country

Jay Agg, Communications Director of AMVETS, e-mailed me with an update on the case of Simon George, who scammed a Brattleboro, VT auto shop out of $1000 worth of repairs and labor last month by lying about his military service.

The AMVETS website reports that George has since fled to his native England to avoid facing charges.

Iranian Nuke Professor Killed In Tehran Bomb Blast

The BBC is reporting that a professor of nuclear physics at Tehran University was killed when a remote control bomb was detonated on his motorbike earlier today. Professor Massoud Ali Mohammed had just left his residence and was on his way to work when killed by the explosion.

Iran's press TV and security forces are blaming "counterrevolutionaries and elements of arrogance" for the bombing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Global Warming Plays Havoc With European Transportation Network

Airports, Railways and highways across Europe ground to a halt in the wake of severe winter weather last week with more snow and ice forecast for this week. Service on the London to Bussels or Paris Eurostar was often delayed or cancelled and airports in Dublin, Lyon and other cities were shut down completely.

All I can say is good thing the UN had that 'Global Warming' crisis summit in Copenhagen when they did. Kind of difficult to sell the masses on melting glaciers and rising sea levels when they have to shovel their way out of 20cm of snow just to get to the store.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stolen Valor: Phony Purple Heart Recepient Scams $1000 Worth of Parts and Repairs From Vermont Auto Shops

The Bennington Banner has more:

Less than a week after pleading guilty to impersonating a public officer, Simon George, 26, walked into Vianor on Putney Road and told a hard-luck story of being wounded in Afghanistan and having no money to pay for repairs to his truck before being redeployed.

The story was not true.

"He lied," said Gary Yake, Vianor store manager, about George’s visit to his auto repair shop just a few days before Christmas. "If he comes around here, there are three guys that would like to settle the score with him."

Army records indicate that George enlisted in September 2007 and underwent training as a cavalry scout at Ft Knox, KY. However, there are no records of him deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan let alone receiving any combat citations.

George allegedly told Yake, Lozeau and Meyer that he had served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan.

A typical tour of duty overseas is 12 months long, with 12 months stateside in-between tours, said Wright, which makes it highly unlikely that George was telling the truth because of his enlistment date.

George has a court date of January 19 for separate charges of impersonating a public official. Court documents in that case allege that he identified himself to a Wilmington, VT woman as an undercover state narcotics officer.