From Midwest Bureau Chief Phil Compton:
If you think you can play the guitar, you should really listen to this guy...
Tourist #1: I wonder how they build streets on top of the subways.
Tourist #2: Hmm. You think they're strong enough that they can support the street all by themselves.
[From Overheard in New York]
Tourist #1, after some thought: Nah, there's gotta be a layer of dirt between them or something.
The simple facts are that Blago is still Governor, the Illinois constitution still calls for gubernatorial appointment to fill US Senate vacancies, and Roland Burris is constitutionally qualified to sit in the Senate. That should be enough to settle the matter....
In other words, there's not much of a legal argument to avoid seating Burris, and not a lot in the way of ethical grounds, either. Sure, Blago sucks, but Burris isn't Blago, a Blagoite, or even mentioned in the Fitzgerald documents. It's not as if Blago had appointed Jesse Jackson Jr., or even Valerie Jarrett. Burris isn't just completely untainted by the investigation -- he's untouched, unmentioned. And as the Senate Dems waste valuable political capital by engaging in the sideshow of forcibly barring Burris from the chamber, the first days of the new Democratic majority will be spent not on the people's vital business, but on an unnecessary circus. One that seems likely end up with egg on the faces of the Democratic leaders.[From Daily Kos: State of the Nation]
WILSON, Wis., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A Sheboygan County, Wis., man has been sentenced to six years in prison after he was convicted of breaking into a home and stealing from a piggy bank.
[From Man gets prison for piggy bank theft - UPI.com]
Prosecutors said Ryan Mueller, 30, broke into a Wilson, Wis., home and took $20 from the piggy bank of a sleeping 2-year-old girl, WISN-TV, Milwaukee, reported Monday.
Stan Friedman captured his second straight title Friday in the Ultimate Couch Potato Competition, spending nearly 19 hours reclining in front of the TV.[From He's the Ultimate Couch Potato: Stan Friedman wins 2nd straight title]
LUDLOW, Vt. - For owners of the kind of mom-and-pop business that has been getting crushed in the recession, Ann and Doug Rose have had a pretty good year.
A steady stream of customers has been snapping up sweets from the shelves of Green Mountain Sugar House, their red-roofed shop at the foot of the Okemo Mountain ski area. Maple sugar, maple nut brittle, maple fudge, leaf-shaped maple candies, and big plastic jugs of syrup - all of it has been selling surprisingly well.[From Vermont syrup producers tap gold - The Boston Globe]
While millions descend on Washington for the historic inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, some Republicans see it as an occasion to get out of town.[From Republicans To Flee DC For Obama Inauguration]
Midwest Bureau Cub Reporter Paul Knue has been on duty in beautiful Titusville, Fla....
...where they dropped the ball at 10 p.m. last night, because we older folks get tired, plus we know it's midnight somewhere.
Jan. 1, 2009 | Befitting an administration that has spent eight years obliterating America's core political values, its final year in power -- 2008 -- was yet another grim one for civil liberties and constitutional protections. Unlike the early years of the administration, when liberty-abridging policies were conceived of in secret and unilaterally implemented by the executive branch, many of the erosions of 2008 were the dirty work of the U.S. Congress, fueled by the passive fear or active complicity of the Democratic Party that controlled it. The one silver lining is that the last 12 months have been brightly clarifying: It is clearer than ever what the Obama administration can and must do in order to arrest and reverse the decade-long war on the Constitution waged by our own government.[From Another brutal year for liberty | Salon ]
Noted by Midwest Bureau Cub Reporter Paul Knue.
Noted by our Midwest Bureau.
The "snowwoman" towering over this village features eyelashes created from discarded skis and bright red lips made from painted car tires. She wears a giant red hat and a 100-foot-long scarf, and her blond tresses are made from rope. She gets a little bling from a snowflake pendant that's 6 feet long.
"She's a beauty. Gotta love those eyelashes," said Robin Zinchuk, executive director of the local chamber of commerce and a chief instigator of the town's offbeat project.
A short while back the Fed announced a new program to buy up to $600 billion worth of mortgage backed securities. Remember, this was what the TARP was originally supposed to do. But then Paulson decided to invest money directly into the banks to recapitalize them. And then the Fed decided on its own to do basically the same thing on its own. They've already bought up $100 billion worth and they've now hired BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, PIMCO and Wellington Management Company to purchase and manage $500 billion more worth of the stuff.
Why did these four companies get the contract? That's none of your business. The Fed just decided.[From Talking Points Memo | The Feds New Plan To Buy Toxic Assets]
Alberto Gonzales, who has kept a low profile since resigning as attorney general nearly 16 months ago, said he is writing a book to set the record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in the Bush administration.[From Gonzales To Write Tell-All Book]
Now he remembers everything!
The Illinois Senate appointment is a truly strange story. Or perhaps not. At the very moment when liberals are talking so smugly about moving into a post racial society, the Senate Democrats have voted not to admit a black man because they are embarrassed by the white guy who appointed him. Roland Burris would be the only black member of the Senate. If blacks were proportionally represented, there would be 13 of them.[From UNDERNEWS: AN EARLY BLACK VICTIM OF THE POST RACIAL SOCIETY]
Lake Superior State University "maverick" word-watchers, fresh from the holiday "staycation" but without an economic "bailout" even after a "desperate search," have issued their 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. This year's list may be more "green" than any of the previous lists and includes words and phrases that people from "Wall Street to Main Street" say they love "not so much" and wish to have erased from their "carbon footprint."[From Lake Superior State University :: Banished Words List]
"You know how they are -- they're going to sneak it if they can. They don't listen to their parents, but they listen to their iPods..."[From Blow into the iBreath and your iPod plays a blood-alcohol alert -- chicagotribune.com]
With apps and gadgets, iPods or iPhones become breathalyzers, prevent you from making phone calls you might regret in the morning, even hail you a cab.
The Treasury Department said Monday that it will provide $5 billion to GMAC Financial Services LLC, the ailing financing arm of General Motors Corp., from the $700 billion bank rescue program.
The government will receive preferred shares that pay an 8 percent dividend and warrants to purchase additional shares in return for the money, the department said.
Treasury also said it will lend up to $1 billion to General Motors so that the company can purchase additional equity that GMAC is planning to offer as part of its effort to raise more capital.[From TPM: News Pages | Talking Points Memo | GMAC receives $5B in bailout funds ]
UMD (University of Minnesota at Duluth) Bulldogs win NCAA II national championship.
The Bulldogs, buoyed by a defensive unit which has been nothing short of stifling all year long, put a huge exclamation mark on a season for the ages by holding off No. 3 Northwest Missouri State University 21-14 in the NCAA II championship at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Ala. With the historic victory, UMD finishes the year a perfect 15-0 -- one of only three NCAA II schools to ever reach that mark.[From UMD Bulldogs - News]
Dude - pocket calendars, on paper!
[Just the first one that popped up on Google Imprinted Calendars for your Business from Amsterdam ]
Really. Paper. We have some at the office we're handing out, even. Who knew these things still existed, even?
"This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it...[From Websites could get cinema-style ratings | Technology | Reuters]
Brits hope to involve Obama in drawing up rules for English language web sites. It's all for the kiddies, of course.
WASHINGTON — A tight-knit group of former senior government officials who were central players in the savings and loan bailout of the 1990s are seeking to capitalize on the latest economic meltdown, enjoying a surge in new business in their work now as private lawyers, investors and lobbyists.
With $700 billion in bailout money up for grabs, and billions of dollars worth of bad debt or failed bank assets most likely headed for sale or auction, these former officials are helping their clients get a piece of the bailout money or the chance to buy, at fire-sale prices, some of the bank assets taken over by the federal government....
Some of these former federal officials, like L. William Seidman, the first chairman of the R.T.C., are serving as advisers — sharing ideas with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama — even while they are separately directing investors or banks on how to best profit from this advice.[From Veterans of ’90s Bank Bailout See Opportunity in Current One - NYTimes.com]
New Yorkers put the tanking economy at the top of their list of things to forget about 2008.
Scores of people headed to Times Square Sunday to feed this year's bad memories through an industrial-sized paper shredder on the second annual "Good Riddance Day."
[From '08 goes straight in the shredder]
"I'm shredding my 401(k)," said Barbara Backer, 55, a recently retired professor from Manhattan...
Also into the shredder: Bank statements, letters from former lovers, and a sock without a mate.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Those eager to put 2008 behind them will have to hold their good-byes for just a moment this New Year's Eve.
The world's official timekeepers have added a "leap second" to the last day of the year on Wednesday, to help match clocks to the Earth's slowing spin on its axis, which takes place at ever-changing rates affected by tides and other factors.[From Tick tock ... tick - Extra second added to 2008 | Reuters]
They've screwed that up too.
A Gold Coast cat has lived up to its name of Voodoo by magically surviving a 34-storey plunge from a high rise building.[From Magic cat survives 34-storey fall - New Zealand, world, sport, business & entertainment news on Stuff.co.nz ]