Friday, January 28, 2005
- The Chicago Transit Authority has ordered 700 new New York style subway cars [i.e., the seats face the aisles, as opposed to the current Chicago layout of double rows facing foward on the right, rearward on the left with a few odd seats tossed in the corners]. I'd feel more sanguine about the idea if CTA hadn't planned on service cuts due to budget shortfalls. [Chicago Tribune]
- Mother, taxpayer and PBS viewer Cindy at EclecticEveryday writes a letter to the new Secretary of Education
- Listening to: free 1960's Brazilian pop music mp3's on Sabadabada.com [via del.icio.us]
- From I Love Sandwiches (yes, a blog about sandwiches): "The trickiest, sleaziest, cheapest sandwich we've seen so far. And we've seen a lot." [via KIPlog's FOODBlog]
- Not your kid's cocoa: Moogdrenk caffeinated cocoa puts the zip back in shoveling out parking spaces, though it might lead to more dibs-related fistfights:
..."dibs,"...what Northbrook lawyer Daniel Schaeffer elegantly refers to as "droit du shoveleur" (dwah duh shawvel-YUH), pidgin French for "the rights of the shoveler." -- Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune[via FuckCorporateGroceries]
- "But ossifer, I'm minty fuuuuh-reshh. (*hic*)"
- Will Gillette™ now be accused of manufacturing hell razors?
- Newsflash: a 2 million pound pile of bullshit is burning; not in D.C., but in Nebraska. Film at 11.
Thursday, January 27, 2005Two "gay cartoon" media flaps in one week? Must be a record. Yesterday, Sponge Bob. Today, it's a PBS episode of the Arthur spinoff, Postcards from Buster that's caught the ire of our new Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings.
The offense? The
...[N]ew US secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, denounced PBS for spending public funds to tape an episode of a children's program that features Pike, a lesbian, her partner, Gillian Pieper, and their 11-year-old daughter, Emma. The installment of "Postcards From Buster," which is produced locally at WGBH-TV (Channel 2) and which had been scheduled to air March 23, was promptly dropped by PBS, which is refusing to distribute the footage to its 349 member stations.According to Champlain Channel.com/WPTZ, "Vermont Public Television plans to air the program on March 23. Several other affiliates have also agreed to air the show." Good on you, Vermont ETV, for standing up to this backlash.
"It makes me sick," said Pike, a 42-year-old photographer in Hinesburg, Vt., who united with Pieper in a civil union in 2001. "I'm actually aghast at the hatred stemming from such an important person in our government. . . . Her first official act was to denounce my family, and to denounce PBS for putting on a program that shows my family as loving, moral, and committed."
The decision by PBS caused a ripple across the nation yesterday. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee chairman, charged in a statement that the secretary is "confined to a very narrow and selfish agenda if her first action in office is to threaten an American institution like PBS. While America's schools are crumbling and our students are falling behind in basic skills, Republicans in Washington are too busy pursuing an intolerant agenda to try to solve the real problems." [read full article]
At least one member station said that it would not air the episode, even though WGBH will make it available. Jeanette Thornbrue, a manager in the programming department at OETA-TV (Channel 11) in Oklahoma City, said her station will download whatever is on the PBS satellite feed that day instead.Ms. Spellings: I know you're new in the White House, and you've been charged with upholding the administration's party line in regard to education - and by extension, educational programming funded by Federal money. But as Terry McAuliffe pointed out, you could have chosen a more pressing policy issue as your first public act in office.
"Oklahoma is very conservative," she said. "We've had off-the-wall phone calls when nothing was happening." She added that one viewer complained about an episode of "Teletubbies" in which the characters were dancing. "They thought that was too much," she said. [Boston Globe]
Is lashing out against a children's PBS show because it dares to show that loving, committed same-sex familes exist genuinely the most pressing item on your agenda? Considering one of the first things your boss and his party did since inauguration was have the now-festering Federal Marriage Amendment stitched together like Frankenstein for another go-round through Washington, it's clear that annoying little educational problems - like crumbling public school infrasructures, student violence and disenfranchisement, dropping test scores and an increasing "technology gap" with the rest of the world just aren't as pressing as ideological steering and censorship.
As we'd say here in Chicago, now we know what side yo' bread be buttered on.
MORE: New York Times, "Culture Wars Pull Buster Into the Fray"
The Boston Globe
"PBS Gets Spongebobbed," BlueMassGroup
- Harvard researcher Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan has uncovered some of the secrets of Venus Flytrap [via BoingBoing]
- Paper of the Day: "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination" by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, which studies
...race in the labor market by sending fictitious resumes to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. To manipulate perceived race, resumes are randomly assigned African American or White sounding names. White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. Callbacks are also more responsive to resume quality for White names than for African American ones. The racial gap is uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size. We also find little evidence that employers are inferring social class from the names. Differential treatment by race still appears to still be prominent in the U.S. labor market.
- William Safire's mordant advice on how to read a political column [New York Times [reg. req.], via Rebecca's Pocket]
- Listening to: El Ten Eleven's "Connie," described perfectly on 3hive as a "two-musician" "Tortoise meets the Cure (at least on this track)" - and that's no small achievement. It's a dreamy little 6:24 chunk of anthemic twilight guitar nirvana
- Careful what you wish for: [Suicidal] Man Accused in Deadly Train Crash May Face Death Penalty
- From Jeff Jarvis' BuzzMachine
"Advertisers: You have lost control of your message. Get over it. VW is going berserk over the parody ad that showed a terrorist blowing himself up inside a small but tough sedan. The company is demanding apologies and threatening to sue. Sorry, guys. That VW has already left the barn."
- Read the full text of The Cluetrain Manifesto: the End of Business as Usual, © 1999, 2001 Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger; you may want to start with the 95 Theses.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
- This comes two days too late, but Cardiff University [UK] researchers believe Monday, January 24th
iswas the official Worst Day of the Year:
The formula for the day of misery reads 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA; where W is weather, D is debt - minus the money (d) due on January's pay day - and T is the time since Christmas. Q is the period since the failure to quit a bad habit, M stands for general motivational levels and NA is the need to take action and do something about it.
- Winter weather always puts me in a cooking mood, and I've found a simply delightul collection of English recipes at Old Scrote's. He's posted a host of classics like Toad-in-the-Hole, Steak-and-Kidney Pudding Without the Kidney, and Bangers and Mash (I used to order these loverly onion-gravied creatures at the Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington - with a pint of good stout, and sides of coarse mustard and apple chutney. Absolutely heavenly - let no one tell you English food is boring!) Scrote's also got a recipe for Goan Egg Curry (more precisely, a vindaloo) I'd love to try...perhaps this weekend.
- Eggsbaconchipsandbeans follows Russell Davies' search for the perfect British trencher of...you guessed it, eggs and bacon and chips and beans. [via Burnin' All Illusions]
- Ken Nordine's Word Jazz, with archived shows. Salon.com's interview with Ken, a May 1977 article by Jeff Lind in Illinois Entertainer, and an interview on ProSoundWeb.
- James Lileks' new opus, Interior Desecrations, is up. If you like the website, you'll love the book.
- Gapers Block has noticed something interesting about old episodes of M*A*S*H (which we watch obsessively, as well):
After watching hundreds of episodes of the television show "M*A*S*H" hundreds of times, Dave [Elfving] started to notice something: Though not a single main character hails from Chicago, the city is mentioned repeatedly throughout the series. Not just passing mentions, but entire scripts and monologues are devoted to Chicago.Listen to GP's audio compilation [streaming or .mov download] of Chicago in Korea. Plus: Tony Coppoletta's CTA Stuff page, including audiofiles of the Voice of the L. (the "L" train, not me, silly.)
- No Milk points us to a great photo of O'Hare's funky underground concourse; having seen it in person, I can say it's almost worth the traffic and price of airfare alone.
- On an unrelated note, fantastic food photos at Moonmilk [via Boing Boing]
- An intriguing article exploring the psychological roots of Abu Ghraib: "You Can't Be a Sweet Cucumber in a Vinegar Barrel," by Philip Zimbardo, researcher of the infamous 1970's Stanford Prison Experiment [Edge.com]
- Paper of the Day: "The Rabbit in Drag: Camp and Gender Construction in the American Cartoon" (Journal of Popular Culture) [via Boing Boing]
- Quote of the Day: "The Internet is often mistaken for the world's greatest bathroom wall, in that anyone can scrawl just about anything they care to upon it with little or no regard given to being factual, fair, or evenhanded." [Snopes.com]
Tuesday, January 25, 2005UPDATE: Pete at Drug WarRant hit the nail on the head when he named the problematic kernel at the heart of Monday's Illinois v. Caballes decision:
"...this notion that a device (in this case a dog) that can detect specifically illegal items is not, by definition, an invasion of privacy, since there is no right to possess illegal items."By using this standard to define what constitutes a "search," the Supreme Court has set a very dangerous precedent. Potentially, any police efforts to search you for 'contraband' might fall outside Fourth Amendment protection, since "you don't have a legal right to possess those items" in the first place! Some would answer, "well, if you aren't doing anything illegal, you've got nothing to worry about." Sorry: that's not how our system is supposed to work, and that's not what the framers of the Constitution intended. The Fourth Amendment does not say you're protected against unreasonable search and seizure without a properly issued warrant - unless you're doing something illegal, in which case, tough luck, Charlie.
Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when police use drug-sniffing dogs during routine traffic stops, without probable cause (or even reasonable suspicion) that narcotics laws have been broken, the practice does not constitute a search. In its decision re: Illinois v. Caballes,
The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision Monday, ruled that police do not violate the Fourth Amendment when they use a drug-detecting dog to locate illegal drugs in the trunk of a car during a legal traffic stop. In an opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court declared: "A dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment."Drip, drip, drip...is that sad, hollow sound of civil liberties being eroded one drop at a time. Since the 1980's, the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure have shrunk and receded like ice floes in spring...or perhaps Antonin Scalia's hairline...but please, how does one rule with a straight face that allowing a dog to sniff your vehicle for contraband is not a "search"?
The Court majority stressed that it was ruling only narrowly, in a situation where a dog was used only to check out the exterior of a car stopped for speeding. Thus, the Court appeared to leave open the question of conducting a dog-sniff investigation outside of a home, if that were capable of detecting legal activity going on inside the residence. A number of cases are pending at the Court challenging the use of dogs to sniff the exterior of homes.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter dissented, but each indicated they were not saying police could not use dog-sniffs to detect explosives or biological weapons, perhaps used by a terrorist. [SCOTUSBlog]
Apropos, Fourth Amendment searches were the subject of my last term paper, and I recall that a similar, if more high-tech, means of indirectly detecting evidence (using infrared cameras to "see" excessive heat generated by drug grow-lamps emanating from buildings) was held unconstitutional (Kyllo v. U.S. (2001)). I wonder: would the Court have ruled similarly if police were not using dogs, but rather, portable electronic "sniffers" (another type of "off-the-wall," or passive, detection device; as opposed to "through-the-wall" or active devices like radar or X-ray machines) that would detect traces of drugs, explosives, etc., during routine traffic stops? What if traffic patrols were outfitted with "sniffers" as part of their standard equipment, and an officer would not have to wait for the nearest K-9 unit to arrive to perform a sniff search?
My understanding is that if a traffic officer has reasonable suspicion that the occupants of a vehicle may be in possession of narcotics - i.e., the driver or occupants seem intoxicated, or there is a suspicious odor in the car - then the officer may legally perform a search, dog or no dog. Without this sort of reasonable suspicion, using an animal or mechanical device to detect drugs amounts to a "fishing expedition."
If an officer performing a routine traffic stop must call for a narcotics dog unit - to sniff the vehicle - the assertion that no search is taking place is absurd.
While today's ruling may strike some as a narrow, well-defined provision to assist law enforcement in the "War on Drugs," I (and without a doubt many others) see it as nothing so benign.
The word arrived in my inbox via ACLU Alerts, and good commentary is available at Drug WarRant, The Volokh Conspiracy [who cover the Kyllo aspect], and Grits for Breakfast. Freespace takes a closer look at the "gaping holes" in the Court's decision, and further links a detailed analysis over at Jurispundit.
- News Flash: The Lone Gunmen will be released as a 3-disc DVD box set March 29th, 2005! And, X-philes will be excited to hear
Variety has revealed that ABC has greenlit Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a new pilot re-imagining the cult classic horror television series that first aired on the network during the 1970's. Fans of Ten-Thirteen Productions will know that the original Kolchak, featuring an intrepid investigative reporter's explorations of the paranormal, inspired Chris Carter to launch the supernaturally-driven The X-Files decades later and served as one of his foremost influences.[via The Millennial Abyss]
It's no surprise, then, that the man behind the new project is former Millennium and The X-Files writer/producer Frank Spotnitz. There is no word yet as to who may be starring as the show's iconic title character, once brought to life by Darren McGavin (Millennium's Henry Black), or if other Ten-Thirteen regulars might be added to the show's cast and crew. Visit Variety or the Sci-Fi Wire to read more about the potential television series.
- The Pew Internet and Family Life Project has released the results of a study that shows "Internet searchers are confident, satisfied and trusting – but they are also unaware and naïve." Survey sez:
[via Geek.com; CNet.com's take on the survey]
- 56% of Internet users utilize search engines on a regular basis
- 68% of users trust the results given to them by search engines (though users under 30 are more confident with their search engine use and its results than are adults)
- 44% only use one search engine when looking for information, 48% use 2-3, and 7% use four or more
- 38% of users are able to distinguish between paid advertising results and search engine results
- 45% of searchers said they would stop using a search engine if they thought that the paid ads and search results were not clearly differentiated.
- "Prehistoric poultry": researchers find evidence that birds and dinosaurs were contemporaneous
- "Now Starring, the City of Chicago!" The Second City (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) appears in many feature films, as in these "Chicago: 2035" CGI's from the film, I, Robot [Chicagoist]
- Police hunt poo protesters:
[Ananova] Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature US flags into piles of dog poo in public parks. Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth, said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time."[via LDMA's Life In The WOR Zone] Great quote: "Legal experts say there is no law against using faeces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue." Amendment proposal, anyone?
The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq...[a]nd then when it continued it was thought to be a protest against President George W. Bush's campaign for re-election. But it is still going on and the police say they are completely baffled as to who is to blame.
- Word of the Day: GOOVAR, which are odd-looking Indian cluster beans. There are currently only about 30 web references to goovar on Google™. Afterthought: there are over 500 references under an alternate spelling, guvar.
Friday, January 21, 2005Remember the great "Tinky Winky is Gay" Teletubbies® scandal? Well, James Dobson's Focus on the Family has discovered another alleged sexually subversive stuffed toy - this time, it's everyone's favorite Poriferan, Sponge Bob:
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Conservative Christian groups accuse the makers of a video starring SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney and a host of other cartoon characters of promoting homosexuality to children.Somehow, the image of James Dobson railing against the sins of Sponge Bob at a coalition dinner strikes me as absurdly funny. After the outing of Tinky Winky, media pronouncements like this only give frightened conservative parents nightmares about the Pedophiliac Sponges of Sodom.
...The video is a remake of the 1979 hit song "We Are Family" using the voices and images of SpongeBob, Barney, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, the Rugrats and other TV cartoon characters. It was made by a foundation set up by songwriter Nile Rodgers after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in an effort to promote healing. Christian groups however have taken exception to the tolerance pledge on the foundation's Web site, which asks people to respect the sexual identity of others along with their abilities, beliefs, culture and race.
"Their inclusion of the reference to 'sexual identity" within their 'tolerance pledge' is not only unnecessary, but it crosses a moral line," James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement released Thursday. Dobson was quoted by the New York Times on Thursday as having singled out the wildly popular SpongeBob during remarks about the video at dinner this week in Washington, D.C. [read full article]
Nile Rodgers responded in yesterday's New York Times,
...[Rodgers] said Mr. Dobson's objection stemmed from a misunderstanding. Mr. Rodgers said he founded the We Are Family Foundation after the Sept. 11 attacks to create a music video to teach children about multiculturalism.In this case, however, the Reverend Dobson seems to be beating not only a dead horse, but a straw man:
The video has appeared on television networks, and nothing in it or its accompanying materials refers to sexual identity. The pledge, borrowed from the Southern Poverty Law Center, is not mentioned on the video and is available only on the group's Web site.MORE: "Conservatives Pick a Soft Target: A Cartoon Sponge" New York Times, 1/20/2005
Mr. Rodgers suggested that Dr. Dobson and the American Family Association, the conservative Christian group that first sounded the alarm, might have been confused because of an unrelated Web site belonging to another group called "We Are Family," which supports gay youth. "The fact that some people may be upset with each other peoples' lifestyles, that is O.K.," Mr. Rodgers said. "We are just talking about respect."
Mark Barondess, the foundation's lawyer, said the critics "need medication."
- Two Chicago-area chemists are putting their money and energies into founding a home-grown pharmaceutical company to manufacture drugs in Africa:
...Paul Lartey and Alexandra Graham decided that something big needed to happen if Africa is ever to eradicate the diseases that ravage its people...the couple hopes their brainchild, LaGray Chemical Company, will make a measurable difference in the treatment and spread of diseases throughout Africa.
The facility that will house LaGray is currently being built in Ghana. It is the first company of its kind on the entire African continent and will employ a trained African labor force to manufacture medicine to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and hypertension, among other illnesses. 'The basic critical needs of the continent in terms of drugs aren’t being met,' says Graham. ...[O]n a continent where three out of four adults suffers from hypertension, medicine to fight the disease is about as difficult to come by as a glass of uncontaminated drinking water. [read full article]
- North Shore Magazine's list of the best ethnic restaurants in Chicago features truly unusual offerings like Skokie's Kabul House (Afghani) and St. Rustaveli's (Georgian/Russian), Evanston's Mount Everest (Nepalese), and Flowers Pot on Clark (Belizean)
- Sorry, I was busy Polishing the Bean: Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park (aka 'The Bean') is temporarily closed for maintenance of its metal seams. Since the Bean "was made possible by a gift from the SBC corporation," I fear it may someday be called the "SBC Bean." Oops - someone beat me to it.
- Word of the Day: VOXEL. Correctly played, this would make a good Scrabble™ word, especially with that "X" in a Triple Word Score box. Crafty (or cheap)? Here are instructions for making your own "Scrabble" board.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
- Satan's Laundromat, "a photolog of New York, with an emphasis on urban decay, strange signage, and general weirdness." [via ReallyBoring.net] Not to be confused with The Devil's Radio
- Fun Geek Toy: download the free student version of Altium's Circuitmaker, which lets you design and "test" virtual analog and digital circuits on your computer; sort of a 21st Century version of the Radio Shack® 150-in-1 Electronic Project Kit (seen below)
- My kinda funny: Email Shorthand That Civil War Soldiers Would Have Likely Used In Letters Home Had The Technology Been Available To Them. [via Brutal Women]
My favorites? y:( [Yanks], iwot [in want of tobacco], and ~ [body lice]
- Gillian Anderson weds journalist/documentary filmmaker Julian Ozanne
- Quote of the Day:
...'old' is a four-car pile-up that happens to you while driving on the freeway of youth, singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs.-- No Milk, Please
- The Chicago Tribune's classic Scared of Santa Gallery [via LDMA's Life In The Wor Zone]: yeah, yeah, it's a month late, but we still have our Christmas tree up. So what?
- Search for your favorite tunes in old-school MIDI format! [you'll need a MIDI-compatible player like Winamp to listen]
Wednesday, January 19, 2005Or: The No Child's Behind Left Behind Program.
It almost goes without saying that the seeds of a good idea often bloom into twisted weeds in the hands of politicians. Case in point: a bill proposed by Sen. Letitia Van de Putte [D-TX] that would require Texas schools to include information on students' Body Mass Index [BMI] on report cards. Considering that one third of Lone Star State kids would be classified as "overweight" or "obese," I can (in a way) understand the bill's "good intentions," for alerting parents about children's potential health problems caused by excessive weight. However, as Eric Allen of the Association for Texas Professional Educators stated,
'...most parents don't need to be told their child is overweight...'Neither would most students, I might add.
In addition there is a logical error in Van de Putte's argument: BMI alone does not actually calulate body fat based on height [a "pinch" test, waist-to-hip ratio or ideally a hydrostatic (underwater) weighing is needed], as this online BMI calculator from the Centers for Disease Control shows - but mass in proportion to height. Although statistically there are more of the former than the latter, a "heavy" (over-fat) youngster and a heavily-muscled high school wrestler of the same height could both have 'unacceptably' high BMI indexes.
Rather than being a useful indicator of students' overall health, BMI indexes on report cards seem to unfortunately associate body weight/appearance with scholastic acheievement - and personally, I think the last thing kids need is another "number" to live up to.
Frankly, reporting student's BMI numbers to parents is probably next to useless. As Eric Allen stated above, parents don't need report cards to tell them their child is overweight, and getting a report of a "bad" BMI doesn't automatically translate to the long-term motivation and lifestyle change required for kids (and in most cases, their families) to achieve lasting weight loss and improved overall health.
Here's a better idea, I think: have school health departments screen kids for serious but "invisible" problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and send home basic health reports in which student BMI's could be also included. Considering that many students from poorer or uninsured families may not receive even routine checkups, this sort of preventive screening might be a more effective way of catching chronic disease early and saving lives.
Now if only schools would stop cutting physical education programs and budgets - and stop accepting soft-drink and fast-food onsite sales dollars - maybe we'd make some progress (and as Cindy mentions in the comments, if schools would address the issue of the "six hundred candy bars [kids are] supposed to whore around town so the school can have [a] computer lab?" Indeed!)
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
- University of Chicago Magazine has an official weblog, UChiBLOGo
- Gapers Block looks back at CTA Worst Case Scenarios (including its two worst train accidents, in 1974 and 1970
- Vermont's new renewable energy resource: It's Cow Powered!
- Centerstage Chicago's Virtual L™ Guide: pick a hood, any hood
- Beleaguered Krispy Kreme Corp. has ousted CEO Steve Livengood. I predict KK will eventually see a return to vigorous sugar-bomb sales - though likely not as high as at the height of the Krispy Kraze. There are, after all, more Homer Simpsons in the world than there are Dr. Atkinses, and people did (do?) wait for unconscionable lengths of time to get their Krispy Kremes at the Loop.
- Fishermen off Nova Scotia have trapped a bi-colored, bi-gendered lobster [CBC News, pics]
Monday, January 17, 2005
- Here we go again? News outlets worldwide report that Iran is considered the next U.S. military target [Google news cluster]. One of the main sources cited is Seymour Hersh's [widely credited as the "breaker" of the Abu Ghraib scandal story] piece in The New Yorker detailing U.S. reconnaisance missions seeking possible WMD's, reportedly initiated last year:
According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them..."This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the former high-level intelligence official told me. "Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism." [read full article]
- Holy WMD-M.A.D., Batman! For a mere ¥3,990, you can press your very own Self-Destruct Button by Livedoor! [via Dottocomu]
- Want to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels, but can't afford a hybrid car, or a full-scale wind farm? How about generating your own electriciy with the Windsave Personal Wind Generator? It's manufactured by Windsave company of Glasgow, Scotland (no doubt inspired by gusty highland slopes), "Euro-ready" with 240V/50Hz power output, and retails for £995 - now if only they could make a U.S. version. [Gizmodo]
- Delicious and no dishes: they may be in their share of hot water, but I'm still grateful the FDA is keeping some things off grocery shelves. For your gustatory pleasure, the often stomach-churning FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs [ORA] OASIS listings of refused import food and drug products, and the reasons the shipments were rejected:
- Reason: FILTHY
Section: 402(a)(3), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION - Charge: The article appears to consist in whole or in part of a filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance or be otherwise unfit for food.
- Reason: POISONOUS
Section: 402(a)(1), 801(a)(3); ADULTERATION - Charge: The article appears to contain a poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health.
- Reason: HEPATITISA
Section: Section 801(a)(3), 402(a)(1); ADULTERATION - Charge: The article appears to contain Hepatitis A Virus, a poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health.
- Reason: FILTHY
- Would you believe there's a fanlisting for Red Lobster™ Cheddar Bay Biscuit aficionados?
- Lizzie Borden reincarnated in Malone, NY? [WPTZ-TV]
- One of the most extensive Pocky™ flavor galleries I've seen can be found here; including images of rare regional Pocky™ editions like Hokkaido Yubari Melon, Kyushu Giant Mikan and Nagano Grape flavors. There are also three "seasonal" pocky flavors shown: winter chocolate-ganache, spring honey and kiwi-mango summer Pocky™ oddly, the unusual pumpkin variety (which I've found for sale here at the Broadway Market) isn't listed as a seasonal flavor. Probably because it's available in Chicago?
Friday, January 14, 2005
- China's Deficit of Women Increasing Despite Economic Gains: "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Relative Female Income on Sex Imbalance," by MIT grad student Nancy Qian, examines the paradoxical finding that China's 'female deficit' is actually increasing, not decreasing, with greater economic prosperity:
Many Asian populations are characterized by highly imbalanced sex ratios. For example, in 2002, only 48.4% of the populations of India and China are female in comparison with 50.1% in western Europe. Amartya Sen (1990, 1992) coined the expression "missing women" to refer to the observed female "deficit" in comparing sex ratios of developing countries with sex ratios of rich countries. An estimated 30-70 million women are "missing" from India and China alone.But, beware the post hoc, ergo proper hoc fallacy: is the rising gender gap truly a consequence of increasing wealth, or are some other factors causing correlation?
This phenomenon is almost certainly due to behavioral factors that reflect a preference for male children (selective abortion, infanticide and/or neglect). In the long run, male-biased sex ratios can benefit women by increasing their price in the marriage market (Angrist, 2002; Samuelson, 1985). A more immediate concern, however, is that to select the sex of the child, parents without access to pre-natal gender revealing technologies must resort to infanticide or other forms of neglect which ultimately lead to the death of a child.
Economists, beginning with Becker (1981), have long argued that sex imbalance responds to economic conditions. The negative cross-country correlation between income and sex imbalance corroborates this argument. However, the sex imbalance within China is increasing, not decreasing, despite rapid economic growth. [read full article, PDF file]
- "The Lethal Effects of Three Strikes Laws" [Journal of Legal Studies, January 2001 - Researchers Thomas Marvell and Carlisle Moody (among others) have evidence to show that many states' tough "Three Strikes" laws are actually increasing - not decreasing - the number of homicides:
"...when committing an ordinarily nonlethal felony, a criminal might kill victims and others at the crime scene in order to reduce the chances that they will overpower or identify the criminal. Everything else being the same, when the penalties for a crime and for an exacerbated version of that crime are similar, the criminal can be expected to commit the exacerbated version if that reduces the chances of apprehension and conviction." [read full article, PDF file]
- Is graying hair an unintended consequence of tough talk?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush says he now sees that tough talk can have an "unintended consequence." During a round-table interview with reporters from 14 newspapers, the president, who not long ago declined to identify any mistakes he'd made during his first term, expressed misgivings for two of his most famous expressions: "Bring 'em on," in reference to Iraqis attacking U.S. troops, and his vow to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive."Then again, Bill Clinton might have a thing or two to say about gray hair...seems like the last president to use hair dye was Ronald Reagan?
"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," Bush said Thursday. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case." On other points, Bush said:
- He wants Congress to approve major changes in the Social Security program before the end of May. Many Democrats and some Republicans in Congress oppose Bush's proposal, which may entail steep reductions in future benefits.
- Baseball's new policy for steroids and other drugs is "a very strict policy and I want to congratulate both parties."
- Four years as president have changed him. "They say my hair is grayer. But I come from a pretty white-haired gene pool. At least half of it."
Thursday, January 13, 2005Even the least paranoid would now concede the government is watching us...so, wouldn't you love the chance to watch back? Well, now you can...after a fashion.
Technorati's announced the winners of their recent Developers' Contest, which challenged folks to find innovative uses for Technorati API data - in other words, "the information is out there...put it to good use!" The $2,500.00 grand prize winner is Joshua Tauberer, creator of a dandy site called GovTrack.us:
Want to know the status of a bill on the floor of Congress, who misses the most votes, or who gets the most bills passed? GovTrack.us is like School House Rock on steroids for adults (oh, and children). Govtrack.us uses the Technorati API to show what bloggers are saying about bills as they work their way through Congress.The site automatically tracks governmental statistical data, compiles it, even allows to place a "watch" on specific representatives' proposed bills and voting records. In light of the way intrepid bloggers cast Virginia HB 1677's fate to the wind, we should all find good use for this portal! The stats page also features some informative (and fun) political numbers, such as the representative with the highest voting absentee rate, the lowest bill success rate, and the most talkative (currently Nancy Pelosi [D-CA], who has reportedly given 5 speeches so far this term).
Wednesday, January 12, 2005There's another bad bill in the Virginia House, as seen on Democracy for Virginia: HB1807, which aims to make some instances of providing contraception to minors a felony.
HOUSE BILL NO. 1807 :: Offered January 12, 2005 :: Prefiled January 5, 2005First of all, "knows or has reason to believe" is a criminal element that might be tad hard to prove or disprove. Notice the wording doesn't say "adult" - but "three years or more older" - and "provide," not "sell." This stretches the bill's scope to include cases where the contraception is given free of charge, and where both the minor and their sexual partner(s) are under 18.
A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 18.2-63.2, relating to providing birth control to a minor in certain circumstances; penalty.
Patrons-- Marshall, R.G. and Black, Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:
1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 18.2-63.2 as follows: § 18.2-63.2. Providing birth control to minor in certain circumstances; penalty. If any person knows or has reason to believe that a minor is engaging in sexual relations with a person three years or more older than the minor and such person provides the minor with a contraceptive or contraceptive device, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony*.
2. That the provisions of this act may result in a net increase in periods of imprisonment or commitment. Pursuant to § 30-19.1:4, the estimated amount of the necessary appropriation cannot be determined for periods of imprisonment in state adult correctional facilities and $0 for periods of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Essentially, any Virginian who gives their teenage child, brother, sister or friend a condom might be setting themselves up for felony jail time if said teen engages in sex with someone three years older.
I think the main gist (and the main problem) with HB 1807 is that its loose wording also potentially makes the selling or giving of contraception to minors by pharmacies or clinics (like Planned Parenthood) a legal minefield, which (cynical me!) I suspect may have been the sponsors' intention. Consider that anyone who was found guilty of violating such a law would have to list themselves as a "convicted felon" in many instances (job applications, for example) - which seems ridiculous, and ridiculously harsh.
While never directly addressing the issue of sex between minors and older teens or adults, HB 1807 aims to criminalize efforts at preventing teen pregnancy, or the spread of sexually transmitted infections. What would be the public benefit of such a law? It's the proverbial case of creating a second wrong, in a misguided effort at preventing or correcting the first.
Have these Virginia legislators nothing more useful to do than making sex-related criminal laws? You'd think there weren't any more pressing matters; like child poverty, failing schools, and the War on Terror.
On the other hand, let's not give them any bright ideas.
* Other crimes classified as Class 6 felonies [punishable by prison terms of one to 5 years] in Virginia include:
- § 18.2-51. Shooting, stabbing, etc., with intent to maim, kill, etc.
- Abduction or kidnapping by a parent
- Improper disposal of 500 or more automotive tires
- § 18.2-60.1. Threatening the Governor or his immediate family
- Planting a fake bomb
- Breaking and entering an occupied dwelling, without a deadly weapon [possessing one at the time of the crime bumps the severity to a Class 5 felony]
- Cross-burning, or displaying swastikas with intention to intimidate
- § 28.2-518. Dredging for oysters in James River
- Hiding Grandma's will
Fascinatingly, no traditional major news outlets picked up on the story. Only a few local television newscasts bothered to mention HB 1677, and then only after Del. John Cosgrove withdrew the bill in the face of a grass-roots uproar stirred up when blogger Maura Keaney of Democracy for Virginia "broke" the story on January 6th. Yesterday's Virginian-Pilot carried this unusual piece about the blogs that killed the bill:
Del. Cosgrove pulls bill after Internet fuels fiery protestV-P Columnist David Addis has a good follow-up story today in that paper. He writes,
By CHRISTINA NUCKOLS, The Virginian-Pilot
© January 11, 2005
RICHMOND — A Chesapeake lawmaker withdrew a bill on Monday that would have required women to report fetal deaths, after he received more than 500 e-mails from people concerned that the measure would punish women who have miscarriages. Opposition to the bill, HB1677, was generated by "blogs," personal Web sites set up by individuals who post information and encourage discussion about topics of interest to them.
Del. John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, was shaken by the speed and volume of the response as word of his bill traveled across the country via the Internet. "I’ve never been blogged before," he said. "The tone of the e-mails has been disgusting. It’s, 'You’re a horrible person. You ought to be crucified.' And those were the nice ones." [read full article]
"I first heard of [the bill] late Friday, from a reader in Charlottesville who'd picked it up from an Internet source. The reader, Eric – I'll protect his family name here, for privacy reasons – was angry. His wife, he said, had lost five children in four pregnancies over the years.Personally, the news of HB 1677's demise came as a very nice birthday "present" yesterday. I'm breathing a little sigh of relief, and have a little extra spring in my step knowing that we bloggers helped spread the word about a bad piece of legislation, and genuinely made a difference; then again, it might have been the Geritol®. Addis adds,
They didn't believe that their personal trauma needed any enhancement from the cops or the legislature. Each event had left his wife 'heartbroken,' he said. 'Our country,' Eric wrote, 'is turning into a frightening place – e.g., where the government pays media personalities to back their policies, where the wealthy create a faux 'crisis’ to rid themselves of the burden of social security – but, thankfully, it doesn’t appear that we’ve slid completely off the edge into a police state yet.'
When I shared these developments with the woman who shares my household, her reaction was a 'WHAT?!?' that might have loosened shingles on the roof. Putting our heads together, we came up with four such traumatic pregnancy losses – they’re called 'fetal death' in Cosgrove’s bill – among our immediate family. And those are just the ones we know about.
The idea that those women, who are so close to us, might have been required to call the police on themselves within 12 hours of the event was repugnant. We wondered about the workings of a mind that would require it." [read full article]
"Poor Cosgrove. He said he’d never been "blogged" before – nailed by the Internet’s "Web log" community, which heaped e-mail on him, some of it nasty, from all corners of the nation.Chalk one up to the power of a free press.
Well, I have. From the political left, the political right, and the political sideways. It can be painful, but it can be instructive as well, as we all learned over the weekend. A lot of the bloggers are morons, but a lot are savvy, dedicated, and on target. Just ask Dan Rather.
My parting advice: Grow scales, Cosgrove, or do a better job of writing your bills, because these people aren’t going away. And good on ’em, too."
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
- January 11th in history, from Wikipedia
- The History Channel
- Alexander Hamilton once said, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
- In the Celtic zodiac, January 11th is ruled by the fir tree, "The Mysterious."
- January 11th according to the Beeb, and 100 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Year
- "On This Day," from the New York Times
- January 11th is a day of importance in smoking history; this anti-tobacco cartoon was published on the date in 1868, and in 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General first issued the famous official warning that "cigarettes are hazardous to your health."
- Famous Capricorns
- At left, today's date on the Mayan calendar, displayed as a graphic stela. You can enter any date in Mayan Long Count* [convert Gregorian or Julian dates at Mayan Calendar Tools first] and generate your own stela image at Stela of the Day.
Monday, January 10, 2005
- A poignant observation on disaster death tolls, by Bryan over at Trout Fishing in South Central Wisconsin:
A severe earthquake in the United States kills three people, while an earthquake of nearly identical severity in Iran kills 30,000. A hurricane in Florida might kill dozens, while a monsoon in India will kill thousands. Why is it that the poorest nations are always the hardest hit by natural disasters?
From The American Enterprise, March 2004:
According to the Red Cross, in the last ten years "on average 13 times more people die per reported disaster in [poor] countries than in [wealthy] countries." Very simply, wealth makes health. Richer countries have the resources to build stronger buildings, to maintain better emergency communications, to rescue the trapped, and to prevent the injured or sick from becoming the dead. Certainly, poorer countries benefit from the wealth of richer countries (through, for example, drugs developed by pharmaceutical firms), but they require their own prosperity.How "natural" are natural disasters, when so much of their destruction is a direct result of the selfishness and short-sightedness of human beings? A lot of us are wondering how God could allow something like this to happen. But maybe we're blaming the wrong party.
- Buying - not paying - lip service: Women's eNews looks at the strange recent popularization of surgical labiaplasty, and why many women are choosing to get nipped and tucked
in their netherlandswhere the sun don't shine. [Not entirely safe for work, but that depends where you work. Via Back to the Kitchen] Isn't that illegal in Georgia these days?
- No Milk, Please offers a link to what may be the ultimate nerdy bod-mod: Star Wars Tattoos, many apparently covering several square feet of body surface. Lucas should be sending these folks some serious royalties, IMHO.
- Paper of the Day: Francisco Conde, et al., "Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Smoke Used to Smoke Cheese Produced by the Combustion of Rock Rose (Cistus monspeliensis) and Tree Heather (Erica arborea) Wood", from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
- UCLA study suggests curries may help prevent Alzheimer's disease; key ingredient is curcumin, found in turmeric:
Turmeric has already been found to slow prostate cancer and can be bought in capsules. It could eventually be used as a drug or supplement to prevent people developing Alzheimer's in much the same way as statins are used to prevent heart attacks. Doctors agree that amyloid plaques (abnormal build-ups of a protein fragment known as beta amyloids) are responsible for memory loss in Alzheimer's. The latest study, at the University of California, Los Angeles, used mice.[read full article on NEWS.com.au]
The results, published in the Journal Of Biological Chemistry, suggest that curcumin would not only prevent the build-up of plaques in patients with the degenerative brain disease, but would block the plaques developing in the first place. Scientists found that a chemical in the yellow pigment of the spice was responsible for prevention and dispersal of beta amyloid. The team has started human trials that could eventually lead to the development of a drug.
Doctors believe the low levels of Alzheimer's in India and other curry-eating countries could be due to the effects of curcumin. The UCLA study found curcumin crossed the blood-brain barrier to eliminate amyloid plaques. It also reduced the build-up of beta amyloid by up to 21 per cent. In earlier studies, the same research team found curcumin was a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, which scientists believe help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
- Researchers have trained a group of lab rats to distinguish between spoken Dutch and Japanese [Boing Boing]
Friday, January 07, 2005[UPDATE: Eternal Vigilance and the Power of the Blog. Democracy for Virginia's posting on HB 1677 has provoked a rapid, vigorous response from both the 'blogosphere' and other concerned individuals - to the extent that John Cosgrove has
Yes, Virginia, the bright shiny New Year brings yet more draconian Handmaid's Tale-ish proposed legislation, this time from VA delegate John Cosgrove. The proposed law? Making a woman's failure to report her miscarriage to police within 12 hours a crime, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2500.00 fine. From Greengrl:
Delegate John Cosgrove (R-VA House of Representatives) has introduced a bill that will make it a Class 1 misdemenor in VA to have a miscarriage and not report it to authorities within 12-24 hours. Now, most (all, I would assume) women who experience miscarriages are in tremendous pain and trauma, but if HR1677 [the link is the full text of the bill] is allowed to become law in Virginia, they will also have to report to the cops with very personal information at such a painful and traumatic time.Read more at Democracy for Virignia; the post is both enlightening and greatly disturbing. So this is the "compassionate conservativism" we're getting as a result of the so-called "new Republican mandate"? I think it's utterly misguided, misogynist legislation.
According to the blog, Democracy for Virginia:...this bill means that a woman who experiences a spontaneous loss of pregnancy will have her privacy violated significantly more than if she had chosen an abortion. Though Virginia requires that induced terminations of pregnancy be reported, those reporting forms require only a “patient number” and information on the procedure. The “report of fetal death” asks for the woman’s full name, her history of prenatal care, her marital status, her education history, her previous deliveries (if any), and a number of other very intrusive data items.I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so f***ing insensitive and downright cruel in my life. Add to a woman’s misery at losing a baby by treating her like a criminal? My God, what the hell is wrong with this guy?
If the miscarriage occurred under a physician’s care, all of this information would be provided by the physician out of the patient’s medical records. Physicians and/or funeral directors are given 24 hours to file this report. Delegate Cosgrove’s bill gives women who experience miscarriage without a doctor only 12 hours to report, adding insult to injury. [Thanks, Democracy for Virginia. Emphasis mine.]
I suggest other bloggers pick up on this story, in the hopes of giving it national coverage. It’s shameful what Delegate Cosgrove is trying to do in VA. Knowing the amount of trauma miscarriage causes, it’s absolutely reprehensible what he’s trying to do with this bill.
Importantly, nowhere in the wording of the proposed bill is there any mention of how old the fetus must be before the proposed law would be triggered; which is a problem since many women may not know they are having a miscarriage, especially in early stages of pregnancy. Early miscarriages can also present as nothing more than heavy, prolonged menstrual periods: will these need to be reported to the local police department, as well?
HB1677 isn't a law to protect women, children, mothers, fathers, or "family values." It seems designed to placate the twisted consciences of those heartless enough to attempt to criminalize one of a woman's deepest personal (and family) tragedies - as evidenced by the bill's provision calling for personal information, such as a woman's prenatal health care, education level, and previous birth history. In other words, information that might be able to place blame on the woman for her miscarriage.
Shame on you, John Cosgrove; I'm quite sure there's a special place in Hades for "philanthropists" like you. [Click on link for his contact info, if you feel like letting him know how you feel about HB1677] Let's hope this House bill gets soundly flushed down the crapper.
* John Cosgrove is also the chief sponsor of 2004 HB1, Virginia's broadly (and vaguely) worded feticide law*, VA Code Ch. 1026 Section § 18.2-32.2.
Thursday, January 06, 2005Today's lunch features another interesting packaged noodle product, manufactured by the Vifon-Acecook Company of Saigon.
Forget the old standby college ramen noodle brands like Nissin, Marukan, or Top Ramen (sorry, guys) and give your nearest Asian grocery's typically well-stocked and diverse instant noodle section a whirl. Granted, you can often buy whitebread college ramen noodles for less than a dime per bag, but for a few cents more (between $.25 and $1.00) you can have an authentic Instant Noodle Experience.
With imported brands like Korea's NongShim (makers of Honey Twist, Cuttlefish, Sweet Potato and Onion Ring snacks!), Vietnam's Vifon, Thailand's Wai Wai or Kung Fu (from Taiwan, I believe) you'll still probably get more than a day's worth of sodium and fat in each packet - but you can make a healthier version by opting for non-fried noodle packs (or those with rice noodles, which are generally prepared without the traditional palm oil-dunk) and using only part of the enclosed flavor packets, rather than emptying the whole salty bag into your bowl.
Unlike the hallowed chicken-beef-pork college ramen trimvirate, noodles prepared for palates abroad tend to have unusual noodle textures* and seasonings - like pho, squid and seafood, pumpkin, curry pork, kimchi, Chinese Onion...and rather than a single one-size-fits all seasoning packet, imported instant noodles often have three or four separate packets containing not only the main flavor mix, but a flavoring oil (often onion-scented), a "heat" packet with ground chillies, and "toppers" like dehydrated vegetables, seaweed, etc., so there is considerable leeway for customizing your finished noodles.
Which brings me to this post's title. Intriguingly, the above Vifon package from today's lunch contains translations in English, Czech and Slovak: why? Are Czechs in the U.S. especially fond of Vietnamese instant noodles (I suppose I could answer that question myself) - or is there a supply line of noodles being exported to Eastern Europe? It turns out the latter is true, in part because many native Czechs have been introduced to that nation's dishes, brought there by a vibrant Vietnamese community now residing in the Czech Republic:
The Czech Republic boasts a large Vietnamese community, dating back to the days when the two countries were part of the Communist bloc. Today there are an estimated 40,000 Vietnamese here, the large majority of them working as market traders. The focal point of Prague's Vietnamese community is a huge open-air market known to Czechs as "Little Hanoi", and to Vietnamese as "Sapa", after an area of outstanding natural beauty in Vietnam.More: Radio.cz's Rob Cameron interviews Mimi Nguyen, a 26-year old woman who has lived in the Czech Republic with her family for more than a decade.
* One brand of Vietnamese "won ton" style instant soup has the product name transliterated as "Hoành Thánh," but rather than the expected noodle wrappers stuffed with filling, hoành thánh are square "flocks" of noodle in broth.
Monday, January 03, 2005
- Time to vote for your favorite weblogs in the 2005 Bloggies!
- Art scholars say Michelangelo's "David" needs more protection from dusty, dirty tourists. Perhaps "David" should become a "boy in the bubble"?
- Surreal crunch: Cereality is a new-concept breakfast cereal takeout bar (!) where patrons can mix and match their Sugar Bombs and assorted toppings to their hearts' (and pancreas') content.
Cereality® is more than a place to get cereal. It's a new way of thinking about cereal. A new choice in fast food. And an idea whose time has come. In fact Cereality is so unique, we have a patent pending.Great slogan, too: "95% of Americans like cereal. 57% like sex. We've got cereal." More: NPR talks with Cereality CEO David Roth.
At Cereality, customers choose from their favorite brands and toppings. Pajama-clad Cereologists™ fill the orders. And customers choose and add their own milk, just the way they like it.
- NPR's Renee Montagne talks with Brookings Institution senior fellow Sarah Binder regarding Senate Republicans' "nuclear option" for ending judicial nomination filibusters
- Elephants helping to clear debris in tsunami-ravaged Thailand
- Mattel's new Chicagoland Barbie dolls! [Chicago Report, via Gapers Block] There are similar version for other cities; most of which are only funny to residents, alas.
- Niles, IL-based Shure Corporation (the microphone people) maintains an interesting "Diary of Our Madmen" artist blog [also via Gapers Block]
- In terms of damage and loss of life, this event pales in comparison with December 26th's tragic Asian earthquake/tsunami, but on July 17th, 1998 over 2,000 people died in Papua, New Guinea's tsunami triggered by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake [USGS site: includes detailed computer animations and graphics]
- Views of the Asian tsunami disaster through the philosophical lenses of Dave at Temperantia and Jason at Positive Liberty
- Something new from the O'Reilly folks: Home Hacking Projects for Geeks!
Remotely Monitor Your Pet[via BoingBoing]
Make Your House Talk
Remotely Control Your Computer's MP3 player
Create Time-Shifted FM Radio
Watch Your House Across the Network
Build a Home Security System
With [programming director Neal] Sabin at the helm first as vice president and general manager of Channel 26 and, since 1997 as executive vice president of Weigel Broadcasting, the station has grown in ratings, revenue and respectability. On some days, in some time periods, it's even been known to lead the market. No less an authority than Joe Ahern, who's been president and general manager of both WBBM-Channel 2 and WLS-Channel 7, marvels at what Sabin has done with so little. "He's taken chicken s--- and made chicken salad out of it," an admiring Ahern says.It may not be 'fresh,' but I'll take classic Boomer TV fare over Extreme Makeovers any day. With ingredients like All in The Family, Mary Tyler Moore, The Carol Burnett Show, The Jeffersons, The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Barney Miller - and even Underdog, MeTV is pretty tasty chicken s--- - ahem, salad. I wish both the "U" and "Me" best of luck in their new venture.
On Saturday -- 10 years to the day after he launched "The U" -- Sabin will serve up more chicken salad when Weigel's low-power WWME-Channel 23 premieres as "Me-TV" (for "Memorable Entertainment Television"). Boasting a full-time lineup of classic reruns, "Me-TV" will be available initially over the air on Channel 23 as well as on DirecTV, Comcast Digital Cable (in the city of Chicago only), RCN Cable and WOW Cable. Dish Network will begin carrying it later in 2005.
WCIU and WWME broadcast schedule (from TVtitan.com)