Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Death Cat

Providence, R.I. Oscar the Cat has a knack for knowing when someone in a Rhode Island nursing home is about to pass from their earthly home. The cat will curl up and sit with people within four ours of their passing. So far the cat has successfully predicted the death of over 20 residents. Doctors and nurses call Oscar's visits with those about to pass both poignant and touching. Not all residents would agree. Agnes DiRosa, 97, of Westerly, R.I. spends most of her days screaming "Keep that God Damned Cat Away From Me!"


Since my nephew's posts regarding furniture humping, I've noticed our bar stools have been giving me the 'come hither' look. Will have to monitor this situation more closely.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ottoman Humping Part 2

I was questioned by three readers on posting the YouTube video below. I stuck to my guns and kept it up. I was rewarded, less then 6 hours later The Daily Show did a 5-minute sketch on ottoman humping.

I'm sure most of Jon Stewart's audience didn't get the joke. The video only has only been seen 700 thousand times as of this posting, not even in the top 100. Compare that to "Dick in a Box" at 25 Million (unfortunately unlike "Dick in a Box" ottoman humping was left out of the Emmy nominations) which is only #5. Luckily as a As Good As News reader you got the reference.

I'll edit this post with the clip as it becomes available.

Is this thing on?

Good Lord, it looks like it's up to me to represent the middle ground. On one side of me we have a guy making references so obscure Dennis Miller is saying "I don't get it", and on the other side of me we have his son providing video links of people f-ing furniture. Unfortunately the clip of the chihuahua getting it on with a doberman was down, otherwise we could have all enjoyed that. Glad to see people using this technology for the advancement of society.

Before we continue, you should know a little bit more about myself. I'm a typical almost middle age guy. I could stand to lose 10-15 lbs and I tell everyone I'm working on it. And by working on it I mean not finishing the twelve pack over the weekend this time. Or eating the last hot dog at the table. But damnit, it won't be as good tomorrow, so......I JUST ATE THE HOT DOG!! Oh I wish I hadn't. Now I feel bad about eating the hot dog, I'll probably drink a beer so I won't feel so bad. Man , that was the last of the twelve pack.... As you can see, I live my life in a shame spiral. Oh yeah, I like football, walks on the beach, and 12th century French literature.

Now to the news....

This just in, the NBA had a ref on the take. This is almost as surprising as finding out that Bush does not have an exit strategy in Iraq. All this time I was thinking that road teams that were favored by 4 1/2 were committing senseless fouls in the last three minutes because their heads just weren't in the game. Almost as surprising as.....

Lindsay Lohan caught driving drunk (again) and having some blow in tow. NBA refs are now taking bets on what comes first for Lindsay - bad VH1 reality show or 'comeback' spread in Playboy.

Steelers' training camp is underway in Latrobe, PA. Latrobe is the former home of Rolling Rock (From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe, we tender this premium beer....) and Arnold Palmer. There, I tried to educate you a bit with the blog. Anyway, someone take Roethlisberger's motorcycle keys and put him in a big plastice gerbil bubble until the start of the season. Polamalu is now the best paid Steeler in history. He's versatile, but can he play QB if needed?

Until next time....

If the Internet had only one reason to exsist....

After Scouring YouTube for hours (or I just saw it here) I stumbled upon this gem:

(you might need a YouTube account to see the video)

Don't worry when my dad comes back there will be less ottoman humping and more obscure 10th page of the Metro Section New York Times references.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How to Make a Microwave Burrito

Step 1) Pick your poison, you can choose between beef, bean & cheese, and chicken. I chose chicken.

2) Check the cooking instructions on the back. Use the unwritten microwave burrito rule of doubling the time the package says to cook the burrito. As you can see from the labeling not only are microwave burritos tasty and easy to make, they are also loaded with vitamins! You only need to eat 50 to get your daily need of Vitamin A. Wollaston's bumped up their prices by 5 cents! I'm starting a campus wide boycott as we speak.

3)Stick the burrito in the microwave and wait patently.

4)Enjoy burning the roof of your mouth on brown goo!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Incline is Going Up

After 40 straight days of finding something that passed for humor in the NY Times headlines, As Good As News will change formats for a few weeks, with posting shifting to a more sporadic schedule and features from new contributors, including Chris Reitmeyer and Corey Hassett, originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., pictured above - that is Pittsburgh that is pictured, not Chris and Corey. More humor, fewer headlines, As Good As News is moving on up.

FOR CLINTON, WOOING WOMEN REQUIRES A CAREFUL BALANCE - OK, make it 41 straight days, and this headline stands on its own. Do not even bother to look at the boring story, just appreciate the art of the headline itself, no room for any mention of Hillary or voters, just Clinton Wooing Women. No way this was the result of anything less than a well laid plan. NY Times has at least one Obama supporter composing headlines.

IN A SHIFT, US WILL ALLOW MOST TYPES OF CIGARETTE LIGHTERS ON PLANES - Cigarette lighters allowed on planes where smoking is always banned, thanks for the breakthrough, TSA. Now put on your thinking caps and come up with something really useful, like letting us wear our shoes as we pass through security. Relaxation of lighter ban not totally useless, we can use them while chanting encore if we are ever booked on a flight with a Dylan concert.

A CHAMPION AT CHECKERS THAT CANNOT LOSE TO PEOPLE - Canadian professors announce they have computational proof that Chinook, a checkers playing computer, cannot be defeated. Big deal, I used to go to a restaurant in Chinatown with a chicken that was undefeated in tic-tac-toe. You drew a grid in the dirt at the bottom of the cage and scratched in your X's and O's. The chicken never lost fair and square, but became very confused if you went out of turn. What does Chinook do when you say, "Quick, look over there" and take a checker off the board? It always works on nephews. What about the basic Star Trek (original TV series, not sequels or movies) question - if Chinook plays itself will the two computers compute to their deaths or settle for a dignified draw? The only real proof in this story is that Canadian professors have too much spare time.

CHENEY WINS DISMISSAL OF SUIT BROUGHT BY VALERIE WILSON - First, kudos to As Good As News, we did not use this story to drag in a picture of Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Pittsburgh looked too good. Second, no real news here. Darth and his codefendants, Scooter, Karl and Richard Armitage (nice guy weight lifter who looks like WWE refugee, Armitage was the real Val outer, albeit inadvertently) were heavy favorites to win. Much precedent for immunity from suit when officials are acting within the broad scope of their duties, to rule otherwise would open Pandora's box. W might even be civilly liable for injuries and deaths in Iraq. Wait - let's think about this.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

To The Ramparts Turkmen

STYMIED BY G.O.P., DEMOCRATS STOP DEBATE ON IRAQ - Senate Democrats cut and ran after one all nighter failed to produce victory on proposal to withdraw American troops from Iraq. I put more effort than this into my organic chemistry final. The cots and pizza were at the ready for a prolonged siege. Maybe it was too much to expect Senator Reid to make like Tony Soprano going to the mattresses, but couldn't we at least get Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith goes to Washington?

BEHOLD TURKMENISTAN'S MARVELS! (AUTHORIZED VERSION) - OK, now we are really getting mad. Sarcastic parenthetical ----IN THE HEADLINE; photo of building identified as the "toilet plunger" (above); feature built entirely around quotes from guide named "kaka" and snide counterpoint supplied by the ever objective C.J. Chivers. This piece might have been barely adequate if you had filed it in 2005, Mr. Chivers. But whence comes a story on the Niyazov government by personality cult that fails to even mention the breath of fresh air accompanying Doctor Gurby's arrival? Did you actually visit Ashgabat, Mr. Chivers, or just find this story in the phone book, under kaka. Leave the four S's of blogdom (satirical, snide, sarcastic and snarky) to As Good As News, the official blog of Reclusive Turkmenistan, Mr. Chivers. Your superiors will hear about this in the strongest possible terms as soon as I finish the new Harry Potter. In the interest of fairness (an interest NY Times does not appear to share) As Good As News must note that this is the first NY Time's report ever on Turkmenistan that fails to use the term "reclusive". Time's editors appear to be wavering between authoritarian and totalitarian to replace reclusive as the official Turkmenistan modifier of the NY Times.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's In the Bag

First, please note additions in the As Good As News sidebar. mhass30, aka Matt Hassett, appears as a contributor, now adding content as well as technical advice, and N.E.R.D. grabs a coveted link in Exit Strategy. Note well, N.E.R.D. is an Exit Strategy, not a source of new Material. As Good As News understands that politics is funny, technology is fun. Also, belated recognition to Exit Strategy link Oh My Astigmatism. A rainy day in New York is a good chance to read about a rainy day in Dublin.
-JUST THE THING TO CARRY YOUR CONSCIENCE IN - Like As Good As News, Whole Foods understands environmental do gooders are not saints, and a little recognition never hurts. Anyone can carry a canvas bag, but now everyone will know you are actually saving the environment, not just old fashioned or afraid that puny little handle will rip again on the plastic bag with the soda and the canned goods. Whole Foods also understands that managed scarcity and media hype are critical to any fad. Scarcity is a function of demand and supply. Demand side well covered by appeal to the large environmentalist market. Supply side - that's simple. NY bag sale will cover a "limited edition" of 20,000. 20,000 may not sound that limited, in fact streets of NY will soon be overrun with bag ladies, but perception is all when you are creating a fad. Limited bag release already created a riot in Taiwan. Finally, when it comes to media hype Whole Foods knows how to think outside the box. CEO and Sock Puppetry master John Mackey has been outed as chat room habitue harobed (Deborah backwards), but he's now hunting, pecking and posting avidly in praise of the bag as Doofeloh. Sorry John, you can not fool As Good As News just by leaving off the first and last letter - it's time to move beyond the whole backward alias thing.-----------------------------------------------------------------------
- Cincinnati Bengals Announce Master-Pit Bull Tag Team Tourney - The troubled Bengals, worn down by dozens of run-ins with the Man over the last few years, seek to outdo the Atlanta Falcons and recapture the fan's hearts with a new concept in half-time entertainment. This year's preseason opener will include a single elimination, tag team wrestling tournament. Eight teams will compete, each team consisting of a Bengal star and his favorite pit bull. The tournament rules combine the best elements of tag team wrestling and pit bull fighting, one team member in the ring at a time, hand to paw tag required for change of partners, each match is a no holds barred fight to the death. As soon as one partner dies the team loses. Winners move on to the next round and the final is scheduled for half time of the regular season opener. In an exclusive interview, Bengal's President Mike Brown told As Good As News he hopes the authenticity of the new half time event will recapture the fan's trust, or at least open up some roster spots for players who won't keep getting arrested and suspended.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

iPhone Exit Strategy

-Who Can Resist an iPhone? Guest blogger Matt Hassett looks at need for innovative Iraq exit strategy and solves it the USA way - go high tech with a marketing twist. Let's make those nasty terrorists, thugs and sectarian militiamen an offer they can't refuse - you turn in a gun, we give you an iPhone. Bonus iMac if you surrender a car bomb. Sure some of these guys are fanatic Muslims, prepared to resist luxury, sex and every blandishment the West has to offer, but we are talking iPhone here, irresistibly seductive to that key militiaman demographic, the 15-26 year old male. It's also a well known fact (or at least something I think I heard on Fox News) that no iPhone owner has ever committed a violent crime. This exchange is not just a short term panacea, the Iraqi tough guys will be too busy downloading content to cause trouble for years to come. One technical problem - can't get formal peace talks moving because negotiators all tied up watching America's Favorite Home Video Marathon on new iPhones. Next up - iPhone reward to anyone who leaves the car at home and takes the train to, and in, NYC for a year - come on Mayor Bloomberg, Albany is not buying that congestion fee schtick, let's use a little imagination and sell them on the iPhone carrot.-

-JUDGE REJECTS CHARGES ON 13 FOR TAX SHELTER -As Good As News is a huge fan of increased IRS enforcement budget and high profile criminal prosecutions for tax evasion. Nothing encourages my voluntary tax compliance like fear of audit, unless it's watching a guy in a suit being dragged off to jail in handcuffs. As Good As News also prepared to accept the unpleasant need to encourage dishonor among thieves to get convictions, the time honored plea deal for Bonnie if she's willing to testify against Clyde. Government's conduct here was somewhat different, prosecutor to KPMG "I will blow your head off unless you hang your employees out to dry". Kudos to Judge Kaplan for making sure it won't happen again. KPMG and employees threatened with indictment for tax evasion. As part of a larger deal, US Attorneys say to KPMG - we won't indict KPMG for now, but if KPMG pays legal costs for your employees who are not cooperating with the prosecution then we will indict KPMG. KPMG is a very big boy, but it also has a business that is totally dependent on reputation and government sanction. KPMG understood just getting indicted would mean death for the firm, even if a trial ultimately established it was not guilty. Arthur Andersen actually won the Enron case, but there was no firm left by the time the final decision was announced. The rules for when a firm can and will defend its employees, and fund defense costs in advance rather than after a verdict, depend on several factors (including laws of the jurisdiction of organization, provisions of constituent documents like charter, by-laws or partnership agreement, employment or severance agreements with legal fee provisions), usually including a determination by the firm that the employee did not knowingly or recklessly commit crimes. The firm does not have to advance defense costs for a renegade employee who acted without authority or approval but they should be able to make that assessment based on the conduct of the employee not the survival of the firm. There is no constitutional right to expensive counsel, but there are other rules governing prosecutorial misconduct and when mere indictment is the death penalty, the prosecutors need to consider the circumstances. Hint to US Attorneys, when it smells like blackmail it is probably a bad idea.

DOW JONES AND MURDOCH CLOSE TO DEAL -Buckle up Wall Street Journal, you are in for a crash course. Forget getting the facts straight with staid, unbiased presentation, and say hello to drill sergeant Bill O'Reilly - you are about to join the fair and balanced world of Fox. "Dow hits record low as losers outnumber winners by 9 to 1" - shape up WSJ, - the new lede is "10% of stocks advance". Most will mourn any shift by WSJ to Fox News approach, but trading rooms everywhere look forward to NY Post style cheesecake on WSJ back page. In describing how he looked for a "franchise" in making investments, something that set an enterprise apart from its competitors, Warren Buffet said "There is no across the street from the Wall Street Journal." Rupert understands he is paying for a global franchise built on a tradition that is totally alien to his existing operations. He's not a hands off kind of guy, but also not a guy who wants to wreck his own investment -As Good As News will stay tuned.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Big News in Small Print

Still no word from Ashgabat on recognition for As Good As News as the official blog of Turkmenistan. No news not good news, or even good enough. As Good As News hereby provisionally declares itself the official blog of Turkmenistan, subject to revocation on notice from Turkmenistan's beloved President, Dr. Gurby.

The biggest news in the NY Times today is in very small print, just below the weather in the upper right hand corner. The price went up by 25%, from $1 to $1.25. For this kind of money I expect better news. Not just better coverage, that would be unlikely but not impossible. As Good As News actually expects better news for its exta $.25, a thick paper filled with progress and happy endings every single day. Close reading of today's Times does not suggest any movement in this direction, but it's only day 1 of the new price structure. Maybe a stiff letter to the editor will get things moving.

While the Times is busy charging something extra for nothing more the Washington Post is moving in the right direction. Today it introduced a "hyperlocal" website covering Loudoun County, Virginia. This site will carry important news, like a mail box getting knocked over. I just finished posting a hyperlocal item - the kind of story everyone wants, local flavor with a happy ending. Neighbors walked dog, dog pooped, all arrived home safely.

THE HAND THAT CONTROLS THE SOCK PUPPET COULD GET SLAPPED - "Sock-Puppeting" or better yet, sock puppetry - fantastic term, sounds like an obscure sexual practice that is still a felony in the deep South. The real definition is almost as good, self-promoting internet postings using a false identity to conceal the poster's self interest from the reader. Sock puppetry proved irresistible to Lord Black, Hollinger CEO now convicted fraudster, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. Both undoubtedly got sick of lawyers telling them to limit public comments and, in classic CEO think, decided on their own that they could say anythng they wanted so long as they lied about their identity. As Good As News would be outraged but for fact that selected As Good As News posts have been ghostwritten by US Ambassador from Turkmenistan, private equity tax lobbyist and counsel to Scooter Libby.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cagey Pope Plays Deep Game

It's Sunday morning so As Good As News will focus on, who else, the Pope. A good news, bad news day for Benedict XVI. First the good news, the Pope reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the sole mediator of salvation and noted defects in other Christian faiths. Protestant leaders whined that this would hurt ecumenical relations, but they are missing the subtle strategy pursued by this politically astute Pope. On the surface it looks like the Pope's story is simple and he's sticking to it: " you are going to hell if you are not a Roman Catholic." Not warm and fuzzy, perhaps, but forget the Episcopalians and the Greek Orthodox, this Pope knows where the action is, this is a breakthrough step in establishing common ground with radical Islam. The Pope has just opened a dialogue with another group that shares his my way or the highway belief system. Radical Islamists will not only damn you to hell for modern, Westernized behaviour, they will gladly accelerate your date of departure with suicide bombs and beheadings. Pope has now established his own radical fundamentalist cred, next move is to convince radical Islamists to allow infidels to die a natural death and leave the sentencing to Allah. Nobel peace prize will follow. The bad news? NY Times reports Archdiocese of Los Angeles will settle child abuse claims of 500 plaintiffs for $660 Million. At over $1 Million per plaintiff this dwarfs the $85 Million paid to settle 552 claims in Boston. With more settlements on the horizon the cagey Pope may be looking for more than just the Nobel Peace Prize - how about a new relationship between Vatican Bank and Saudi lenders. This Pope won't hesitate to remind them that Shariah prohibits charging interest. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Pope is pictured above with other fundamentalist leaders:
  • Alireza Jamshidi (on Pope's left), Iranian judicial spokesman announcing continued use of stoning to implement death penalty for adultery;
  • David Vitter (far left), family values Senator from Louisiana - Note to Alireza - Ali, be a fundamentalist bro, do not, repeat do not under any circumstances tell the guys with the stones about Vitter's brothel faux pas - it was a long time ago and he is very sorry;
  • Bud Selig (although Bud's expression is far more menacing than guy announcing stonings - Bud's fundamentalist cred is actually very shaky, designated hitter is an abominable heresy and Bud would have paid dearly by now in any country with a real justice system); and,
  • Mr. Smiley Face derriere graffiti used to surround and harass highly suspect "interdenominational church" in Times Square- Pope and Mullahs may have collaborated on this graffiti campaign, Pope's plan already in action.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Fun Allowed?

-ROVE STRATEGY PAPER FOUND IN NIXON ARCHIVE - A 1973 memo by the young Karl Rove has surfaced. Karl was seeking pointers on his 1974 strategy, a strategy that included building a group of "New Federalism Advocates" (NFAs) by promising them face time with Haldeman and Ehrlichman. This proved less than enticing to potential NFAs when face time turned out to mean looking through thick glass while talking on prison telephone. Most exciting was Rove's suggested use of Reefer Madness showings as a fundraiser. Karl is sometimes accused of dissing the religious righteous behind their backs, Maybe he's been a closet hippie all along? Now Karl is hiding behind memory loss to duck questions about the Reefer Madness reference. Could memory loss be the result of Karl's personal reefer madness? More likely it's just practice for Karl's response to inquiry on US Attorney firings. Come on, Karl, everyone our age remembers Reefer Madness, but we will let that slide if you just tell us what NFA really stood for in the young Republican elite - No Fun Allowed? -

-CONRAD BLACK, EX PRESS BARON, GUILTY OF FRAUD -Earlier in these proceedings Mr. Black had advanced the novel argument that he could not receive a fair trial since a jury of his peers would consist entirely of billionaires. Actual jury did a discriminating job, acquitting on most counts but picking the most indefensible facts as the basis for convictions. Essentially American Publishing, an almost inactive subsidiary of the public company managed by Black, paid Black not to compete with American Publishing if he should ever leave the company. If that did not seem to make sense it's because it doesn't make sense, like getting paid not to compete with yourself. Fact that the payments were made under a backdated contract that allowed Black to receive them tax free under Canadian law the real explanation. "I was only cheating on my taxes, not bilking the shareholders" never a great defense, but here he also seems to duck normal approval process for compensation, so he was doing both. This jury picked and chose among complex charges, which may mean Black's appeal will be difficult. If Lord Black (who is actually a peer of the realm, member of House of Lords) thinks it was difficult to get a jury of his peers wait until he tries to find a cell block of his peers - relatively few titled billionaires in Joliet at last count. Joliet Jake Blues might be available if you would settle for Black & Blues cell pairing with color peer, always good to have a cell mate who plays the harmonica.

-FOR JAMES'S COMPANION, REAL ESTATE PROVED LUCRATIVE IN A HURRY -Maybe No Fun Allowed was the watchword for Nixon-Rove young Republicans, but it was a different story for former Newark Mayor Sharpe James. He faces one set of charges based on use of City funds to cover living large personal expenses for himself and his companions, a second set of charges based on arranging sweetheart deals in sale of city properties to one of those companions, real estate baron Tamika Riley, pictured above. Riley, with no training, experience or capital, managed to earn a quick $620,000 by flipping properties she purchased from the city with James's help. James defends on grounds that extravagant lifestyle was all necessary to promote Newark, jump start recovery. Newark government's incompetence and corruption has been preventing recovery in a city that should have taken off a decade ago. James's personal touch as a politician may work with a jury, could make for an interesting trial when all he needs is reasonable doubt. If James tried to prove he achieved anything as mayor beyond patronage expansion and being in the right place at the beginning of the right time he would lose before he could finish his opening statement.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Laundry List

- Still no news from Turkmenistan on official blog status for As Good As News-

-Yesterday's news was simply too much grist for the As Good As News mill. Although we ran a lengthy post, we did not cover at least four stories that appeared, on the surface, to have comic potential. Today we get a second look, as several items generated follow-up headlines.

-Poland's Jewish culture festival is held without Jews, clearly a line in here for Jay Leno (festival forgot to include Yiddish translation on the invitations? Silly goyim scheduled festival on Jewish holiday?) , but Poland's Jews are missing thanks to pogroms, Auschwitz and Commies- may need cooling off period of several more centuries before this is ready for serious comedy.-

-Libyan court upholds death sentences for five Bulgarian nurses in story that includes a wild tale about Mossad's spread of AID's virus, Libyan Kangaroo Court (and Libyan populace) that will believe any crazy anti-Israel conspiracy theory rather than recognize Libya's medical facilities had sanitary problems and perversion of Islamic justice tradition of compensation into state sponsored kidnap for ransom. Combination of Libyan lunacy and Bulgarian nurses in prison sounds like great sketch material - Monty Python as the nurses, Sacha Baron Cohen as Muslim judge/cleric/Mossad agent, cameo for Juliette Binoche as Mme Sarkozy who visited the nurses yesterday - will be funny when nurses are released.

-China's "government of laws" rushes to justice with instant execution of Zheng Xiaoyu, head of Chinese FDA who confessed to taking bribes. This happened so fast it seems more like a publicity stunt than justice served. Express line execution of one scapegoat, even a guilty scapegoat, shows one party system in a reactionary fit, not a legal system that will consistently enforce health and safety laws. Today's NY times carries three follow up stories: 1) Zheng Xiaoyu had a history as a reformer, maybe some of his old enemies were happy to open that express line for him; 2) China demonstrates commitment to health and safety by refusing to allow the doctor who blew the whistle on SARs virus cover up to collect his medal in the USA, health OK as long as it does not embarrass party leaders; 3) Inexpensive Chinese autos seek European market - how cheap do these things need to be to overcome Chinese record on product safety? Any chance autos come with toothpaste instead of antifreeze? -

-Governor Corzine will stop using e-mail altogether as the result of wrangle over demands for release of e-mail to former lover (also Union leader). Many would ask if he is switching to papyrus scrolls and quill pens or going straight to the chisel and stone tablet. Any lawyer who ever had to collect and review boxes of e-mail print outs as part of pretrial discovery knows the kind of horror stories that inevitably appear. Consider the case of Whole Foods CEO, who uses pseudonyms to post inside information on chat boards touting Whole Foods stock and boasts that Whole Foods is destroying a competitor market by market - just before an acquisition of that competitor that triggers FTC review. This guy's lawyers will definitely have no trouble paying college tuition for large families. So, keyboard a deadly weapon in hands of CEOs. Smart move Guv Corzine, pick up the phone if hammer and chisel gets tiring.

Upstate NY Native Americans establish lacrosse league, including junior programs. Sounds like great combination of tradition and fun (pictured above), no strippers at post game party please.

-Tax Loopholes Sweeten Deal For Blackstone -NY Times includes explanatory diagram on use of corporate structure that allows preservation, and later amortization, of goodwill. Congratulations, the diagram actually works and in-depth explanation a nice first step. Now, could we please see one business tax story that does not use the word "loophole" twenty times, including headline, does not label a deduction as an "annuity" and does not assume that the outcome of the tax question at hand must always be higher taxes in order to preserve truth, justice and the American way. Sure the bias is in expert quotes, but you are the NY Times, do you really think there is only one expert on this?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Adeaqla Ltd CEO Nedalnib Announces Nuke Start-Up

-No word yet on continuing effort by As Good As News to become the official blog of Turkmenistan.

-EX-WHITE HOUSE AIDE SAYS BUSH WASN'T INVOLVED IN ATTORNEY FIRINGS - Of course not, W probably on vacation that week. We call it the Cheney-Rove-W regime for a reason. Darth and Karl only too happy to get something done without having to waste time answering foolish questions from the Decider. Former political director Sara Taylor, above, was able to say three things about US Attorney dismissals - Bush not involved, I didn't do it and no wrongdoing by anyone - but specifics withheld on grounds of executive privilege. This irritated the Democrats on Senate Judiciary Committee, but Arlen Specter says not to worry about contempt charges because Sara was doing her best. A long time Rove aid, Ms Taylor seems to have kindly Uncle Arlen wrapped around her finger, but she wasn't quite so nice when dumping "lazy" prosecutors because they followed the rules instead of the Rove political agenda.

-FOR PARKING SPOT THE PRICE IS RIGHT AT $56,250 A TIRE - The $225,000 parking space on West 17th Street looks like an easy comedic target, but As Good As News knows better. To value the space realistically you need to live with a car in Manhattan and try the alternatives. Move your car every morning at 7AM to stay on the right side of alternate side parking rules, if you can find a space on the good side. Park near the river for less, take two subways and a hike if you ever want to actually use your own car. Forget owning and rent, but wait until you see the line on a holiday weekend. So $225,000 is already looking better, but now consider the kicker. Do not overlook the potential for development as an indoor swimming pool. STUDY PREDICTS FLOODS IN THE CITY IF THE CLIMATE GETS WARMER.

Adeaqla Limited announces plans to construct nuclear facility in Lehigh Valley. Permits granted and procurement already underway as CEO Nedalnib predicts explosive growth for start up operation. Kudos if you noticed Adeaqla is Al Qaeda backwards, run by reverse Bin Laden. Nuclear Regulatory Commission needs you, or someone like you, to think before handing out permits to buy nuclear material. General Accounting Office deserves credit for running a sting that results in today's headline: A NUCLEAR RUSE UNCOVERS HOLE IN US SECURITY. GAO is controlled by Congress, great to see the two party system at work again, and a GAO sting operation used against our own government - wow- could lead to retaliation and a string of exciting headlines. As Good As News can't wait.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paging Doctor Gurby

--------------------------------------------------SURGEON GENERAL SEES FOUR YEAR TERM AS COMPROMISED -Former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona (left) whined to Congress yesterday that a swarm of gnats at the Cheney-Rove-W regime would not let him speak or write about stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, mental health issues, prison health issues or global health issues. Doctor "Bad" Carmona served in Army Special Forces in Viet Nam, earned two purple hearts, ran the Pima County Swat Team and works as a trauma surgeon. Doc - you should have known that Bushies are mostly Jerry Falwell U grads - very uncomfortable around non-creationist science and medicine and always on-message, even if the faith based message is do not help Special Olympics - handicapped deserve God's wrath for getting involved with liberal dems. Doc, you needed to take the lead. Surgeon General's job is to educate the public, hard to do this wearing a gag. What was the worst thing that could have happened if you had done your job? You could have been fired. Wake up - you are a surgeon, prolonged unemployment not likely. Even now you are playing silly games, dancing around the obvious fact that the Kennedys are identified with the Special Olympics and refusing to name Bushy names in open session. Surgeon General not quite the same as an army general, you are supposed to identify public health priorities and alert the public, not just follow orders. One last chance to get off Team Moron and help your successor to do the job right - name some names in public. Too late to be an adequate Surgeon General, but, afraid to say the name Kennedy?? Doc, at this point you are embarassing Army special forces.-------------------------------------------------------------------------

-HEROIN SEIZES TURKMENISTAN, A NATION ILL EQUIPPED TO COPE - Turkmenistan suffers a plague of heroin addiction, the result of access to cheap heroin and head in the sand approach by the previous government. But As Good As News knows what to look for in every Turkmenistan story and we are not disappointed. First, the NY Times has, yet again, proven itself incapable of printing the name Turkmenistan without the adjective "reclusive". Perhaps Times thinks it is part of the name. Second, it's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (pictured top right) to the rescue once again. Turkmenistan's President is a dentist and former senior health official (and from now on he is Doc Gurby to As Good As News readers - I will never type that name again). He has already publicly recognized the serious problem his predecessor ignored, noted the need for a large scale war on drugs and signed Turkmenistan on for an HIV prevention program.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, if we could do it all over again, who is your pick for Surgeon General, who is the real health pro, Doctor "Bad" Carmona or Doc Gurby?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An Amazing Attic Has Harvard

- TAPPING OUR MUSICAL MUSCLE MEMORY - Two new television shows attempt to tap a mutant strain of American Idol fever as regular citizens compete to demonstrate knowledge of pop lyrics - singing in public required. Review generally positive on both Singing Bee and Don't Forget the Lyrics, although some ambivalence on whether the shows are camp or just plain fun. For years I have tortured my family by singing along to the radio on long car rides, often improvising malaprop lyrics. At my worst I have done this in the presence of non-family guests, leaving my children with permanent scars of embarrassment. At least one night of each show will be a must watch for As Good As News - may work as shock therapy to end car singing habit, at the very least should improve knowledge of lyrics. Based on the photo, Singing Bee seems to be recycling, possibly environmentally conscientious, possibly on very limited budget, also amazing that the dancer's outfits from Hullabaloo were still in storage. -----------------------------------------------------------------
-HARVARD'S COSMOS - For only $5 Million you can put your name on a digitized collection of astronomical observations, scanned from photographic plates created across 118 years and four continents. The scanner to convert photographic plates to computer memory required custom design for both hardware and software, but it is ready, all it takes is money and we can have the world's first time domain catalog - the night sky over more than a century with views from both Southern and Northern hemispheres - As Good As News sponsors The Stars Come Out At Night? Sorry, do not have spare $5 Million right now, try me next week after power ball drawing. The photo of the cupboards at the Harvard Observatory reminded me of the rows of specimen lockers I saw on a recent visit to the Harvard Herbaria offices. These plants were collected over centuries from every continent, and the specimens are already moving to digital as the actual plants are placed on the scanner. The "hard copy" libraries at the Herbaria are also extensive, I was lucky enough to get an up-close look at an illustrated plant compendium that was one of the first 50 books ever printed. Some thoughts for future study: 1. An amazing attic has Harvard; 2. What a revolution when this stuff goes digital - scientists all over the world get access to data that can now be organized and manipulated with ease; 3. The old originals, photo plates, illustrations in printed volumes, even pressed plants with diary entries - feel like art, soon to be a forgotten art. ------------------------------------------------------------------
- AS WAR ENTERS CLASSROOMS, FEAR GRIPS AFGHANS - Drive by shooting targets schoolgirls as the Taliban makes war on education in Afghanistan. These are the same Taliban who provided a home to Osama Bin Laden. They still believe the only way to practice Islam is to live in the stone age. They aren't happy to start a commune in the mountains, they insist that the rest of the world join them in the stone age and they will go to any lengths to achieve this. Those who were around in the early 60's will remember that Barry Goldwater had a very direct approach for getting North Vietnam back to the stone age, might work for Taliban. Cheney-Rove-W regime should have finished the job in Afghanistan before getting preoccupied with Saddam Hussein.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Stalin's Ghost Hits Town

Trying To Put Feathers Back On The Peacock - New co-chair Ben Silverman (middle) is trying to get NBC Entertainment back on track. Silverman led an independent company that produced The Office and Ugly Betty. Silverman is clearly a disastrous choice as co-chair. Just look at his shows. Ugly Betty features a publisher led by a soap opera management team that will sacrifice anything, including their own magazine, for personal gain. The Office is a symphony of dysfunction. NBC Universal (VaVaVivendi again) should have gone with Aaron Sorkin as co-chair - West Wing and Studio 60 might also feature soap opera managers, but at least they are functional - put the country, or the show, before personal gain. Why not go with a guy who creates the management dream instead of the nightmare? ----------------------------------------
Police Plan Web of Surveillance For Downtown - A network of surveillance cameras comparable to London's Ring of Steel is underway in lower Manhattan. If fully financed this system could eventually encompass 3,000 cameras. What should we call it? Will Pittsburgh Steelers license "Steel Curtain"? Speaking of curtain, have NYC officials considered the weak spot in the system. Lower Manhattan heavily populated by waitstaff, dog walkers, cab drivers etc. who are actually actors and performance artists working a day job. Chance to play to the security cam may prove irresistible to many, could the surveillance system be overwhelmed by an uncontrollable surge of artistic expression? Civil libertarians, including As Good As News, somewhat concerned, but cameras will be outdoors and in buildings which admit the public, not in your bedroom. As Good As News says security no joke, prepared to accept the cameras as a plus if the security benefits are real and use of tapes is limited to legitimate law enforcement.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dig Up The Garrote And The Moscow Rule Book: Guess Who's Back In Town - Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith gets a rave review. No surprise here. Cruz Smith an As Good As News favorite, Arkady Renko one of the all time great fictional detectives and Stalin a timely theme. See yesterday's post on Vladmania.--------------------------------------------------------------
Dateline Mauritania - Feature on Mauritania locals who hitch a ride on the iron ore train as the best way to cross the Sahara seems to miss the boat. Did we not learn last week that morbid obesity, resulting from a diet that includes force feeding of goat cheese, is the ideal of feminine beauty in Mauritania? These lovelies are riding the iron ore train because the bus just can't handle the load. To be fair, an As Good As News first which may never happen again, this is a very interesting descriptive piece from a truly exotic location which notes that the train ride is too tough to handle for most of the hefty Mauritanian beauties. Why Mauritanian and not Mauritian - Chevalier clan already has short version locked up?--------------------------------------
As Good As News says thanks for comments leading to format changes, thanks to Columbus hosts for allowing remote posts the past few days and thanks for stopping here immediately after you finish the NY Times, definitely the best route to As Good As News.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Putinism? Vladmania? Cult of the Vampire?

Shushers suddenly hip? Librarians were always cool, pop culture and NY Times just took a while to notice. What's in a name? Syracuse turns its school of library science into the school of information science - and it attracts a crowd of computer oriented, mostly male students who find high paying jobs in all sorts of applications where locating, storing and distributing information is critical. Search engines may reduce the demand for one of the librarian's functions but the volume of information available today and the competition to find data, select the right data with discrimination and use it swiftly means the librarian will evolve, not disappear.

Foodies hit the animated screen in Ratatouille, and it's only the first wave. The current spate of cooking shows on television is a big hit with college students. I learned to cook four dishes while fending for myself as a student, now down to instant oatmeal. Only thing I can do with ratatouille is spell it. Today's students growing up on iron chef, Bobby Flay, et al, may be willing to try anything in the kitchen, and enjoy food references everywhere in entertainment. Have the Simpson's done a take off on a food show yet? Homer as Julia Child?

Vlad Putin is a scary guy who keeps getting spookier. KGB background an early warning, but with time in power he has revived xenophobic nationalism whenever it will suit his purposes, shut down media opposition and established his own group of brown shirts, already adept in rowdy intimidation. Today's description of youth camp selection is even creepier, teens used to brainwash teens, reeducating them in the culture of Putinism? Vladmania?. Sounds like a "worst of" collection from Mussolini and Mao, maybe we could convince Vlad to take an extended vacation in Crawford, Texas next time he visits new friend W, say three or four decades.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


YouTube now hosts a video of prison guards stuck outside a Massachusetts maximum security prison cell as inmate John Druse murdered pedophile priest John Geoghan. Druse jammed the cell door closed with a paperback book. Cell not designed well? Guards not really trying their hardest to enter (Father Geoghan probably not winning any popularity contests with guards or inmates)? As Good As News suspects the paperback in question was a real page turner, the guard leading the charge just couldn't put it down.

Universal Music Group (a subdivision of a subunit of conglomerate Vivendi) and Apple are in a stand-off on terms for Apple's license of music released by Universal. Universal a music giant (one-third of US new releases) but Apple is already third largest distributor. iMagine, Apple is already hot on Walmart's heels at the top of the music distribution business and the iPhone has just begun. My favorite story here is Vivendi - twenty years ago a French utility with a boring water business, but now the Vivendi execs are living large. Sure, water is today's hottest commodity and music is a nightmare business as artists get paid while customers download for free, but that is the shareholder's problem. Vivendi execs roll down limo window and shout, "you chase Walmart, Mr. Jobs, we're late for the party with Shakira".

Sixth Circuit panel dismisses no warrant wire-tap challenge on grounds that plaintiffs did not have standing- not allowed to pursue their claims because they could not show they were harmed in any specific way by NSA taps without warrants. Standing argument generally makes sense here, but in a secret wiretap case you may never know you lost a job, a chance to get a new job, a security clearance - all because of something NSA misunderstood when you were calling your great uncle Babaganoush in Lebanon. (Kudos to anyone who remembered Danny Thomas show.) How can you sue for damages caused by a secret wiretap when you never find out about the secret wiretap? Cheney-Rove-W regime will probably not be able to hide behind standing Catch 22 forever as a wiretap case is being heard in a different circuit. The CRW crew will be long gone by the time this reaches the Supreme Court. The conservative coalition CRW will leave behind on the high court may not warm to no warrant taps. Civil liberties, this Court says ho hum, but Executive branch slighting the Judiciary by going warrantless - might draw a rap on the knuckles from J. Scalia and company.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Soprano offspring seeks second career

Minnesota Twins reliever and blogger Pat Nesheck just missed the all star team despite get out the vote campaign on his popular blog. As Good As News will expect more from you if I ever run for anything.

Adult college for a day may be a hit, but you can avoid the fees, for a price. Seeing the beautiful campuses, palatial dorms, great gyms -I too felt the urge to revisit college when doing the preadmission tours with my twins. After my daughter started Skidmore I got my wish. The regular parent's weekend program includes an entertaining slate of classes with professors who come prepared to teach and entertain, seem to enjoy the change of pace. Hint - take the math classes if you want to avoid the crowds. Skidmore program is all fun and no fees - all you have to do is pay the regular tuition for your offspring.

Cheney-Rove-W led EPA takes a narrow approach to jurisdiction over wetlands - this is no surprise. Actually a significant step in the right direction. This crew originally took no responsibility at all for wetlands, the ones located in New Orleans following Katrina.

State beauty pageant winner receives blackmail threats designed to compel resignation from Miss America contest. Guess which state. Only in New Jersey. Did not realize Meadow was trying to gain entree into this field. Fact that the current Miss New Jersey is a Polumbo could make life exciting for the tabloids - Polumbo and Soprano, beauty queens from five families go to the mattresses?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Always Lede with the Pirate Joke

What a day, Turkmenistan redux and a Clam War between NY and NJ featuring a pirate joke, sometimes As Good As News just writes itself.

Kudos to over 4,000 new citizens sworn in yesterday. I would like to see the Disney World ceremony some year. And to Univision, for its successful radio and TV campaign promoting naturalization - Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!

Clam wars - exit strategy wanted. Dateline 2007 - New York Department of Conservation officers use "military grade speedboats" (I have a military grade pocket knife) in crackdown on New Jersey clammers who drift across invisible line into New York waters. Dateline 1862 - "four New Jersey men were accused of piracy after they seized a New York clamming vessel on the Raritan Bay. Their defense, The New York Times reported (sorry - no additional link here, this report was in the 1862 NY Times - no limit to how hard we will look for a good pirate joke) , was that “the sloop was engaged in an unlawful infraction of the piscatorial and bivalvular rights of New Jersey."" As Good As News always on the side of Pirates and who can resist a good bivalvularrr (matey) rights argument - so back off NY... and return Liberty Island to New Jersey while you're at it.

NY Times story of June 21, 2007 led with characterization of Turkmenistan as "reclusive and authoritarian". As Good As News questioned this (see post of June 21, also sent to NY Times as letter to the editor)- objective reporting or a misunderstood recluse created by the media itself, a media afraid to mention Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov because they are intimidated by the mere prospect of spelling his name. Today's "Murky Isolation" headline was more of the same. For those using the electronic link, please note that the headline in the hard copy of today's NY Times uses "Murky Isolation", but bias so obvious that it has already been edited out of the Times on-line. The voice of As Good As News is not just powerful but extremely fast working. Copy under the headline tells a different story. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (pronounced gur-BAHN-goo-lee bair-dee-mukh-ha-MAY-doff, well that certainly made life easier) is hanging his own portrait all over town (recluse? - no way, the man is a publicity fiend). He's letting the internet into Turkmenistan and telling police to be nicer at the many security checkpoints (scenic security check points apparently a quaint local custom). So Turkmenistan President not reclusive at all and less authoritarian than his predecessor - wake up Times - do not judge a book by its title just because you can't pronounce it.

Kudos to MIT for studies that shed necessary light on hidden facts -witness today's story on airline stats that don't show real time lost in missed connections and yesterday's piece on Associate Prof. Amy Finkelstein's work demonstrating that toll rates soar once an automatic toll payment mechanism, like my beloved EZ Pass, has been in place for a few years. I will donate to MIT again this year even though my children are no longer possible admissions candidates.

As Good As News Announcement - Posts may be irregular over the next few days, will be back on schedule by Monday at latest.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


The fourth of July is the Independence Day holiday in the USA. Bet the English are wishing Tony Blair had declared Independence from Cheney-Rove-W Administration, but enough politics. It's a holiday so As Good As News will just go for the easy laugh.

Sturgeon are jumping uncontrollably in Florida's Suwannee River. Sounds like nature at its most beautiful, unless you are doing 30 miles per hour on a power boat or a jet ski and suddenly find one of these 200 pound monsters in your face - WHAP. A real safety issue, but still, I wish we had the video, with soundtrack:

Summertime and the livin is easy
Fish are WHAP jumpin WHAP WHAP
and the cotton WHAP WHAP is WHAP high

The sturgeon have a "pressing, mysterious urge to jump all summer long" but no one knows why. Marine biologists - consider doing interviews at any hoops court. Ballers might be able to explain sturgeon based on comparable experience.

The Chamber of Commerce of Mauritania managed to plant an article on page 1 of the New York Times. The story appears to deal with efforts by the government and the women of Mauritania to change the culture - produce thinner, healthier women. The real motive jumps out on even a casual reading: "To men here, fat is sexy", see also - description of crash feeding programs designed to achieve the ideal of obesity. This is not really a story about a cultural change to address a serious health problem - Mauritania is stealthily trolling for immigrants. And it is working. Just hours after this story appeared the Air Dubai counter at JFK Airport was swarmed with a gleeful throng of new Weight Watchers dropouts, force feeding Hershey Bars and begging to get standby seating on the next flight to Mauritania.

Prius is the best selling hybrid because every Prius is a hybrid. The buyer can make a statement that everyone else will understand. Buy a Honda Civic hybrid and you will do just as much for the environment, but your neighbors might not realize it. My former employer makes a catalyst that converts ozone to environmentally safe oxygen. Among other applications it is sold as a radiator coating on regular automobiles. It doesn't help (or hurt) the car's performance and no one knows it's there, it just improves the environment as you drive along. My former employer also makes pigments for paints and can design any shade with any feature (even a color shift depending on angle of view). The hybrid story encourages me to revive an old suggestion. Why not develop a unique color, "BASF Green" -trademark it and and license it for use only on cars equipped with BASF ozone abating catalyst. As the story on hybrids shows, environmentalists may be better than the rest of us, but they are not saints, they want that E for environmental extra credit. A do gooder product that no one knows about is a tough sell.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Scooter Unchained as Cory beset by Gnats

Terrorist MDs snared in London bomb plot - finally, now we understand why bombs left in Mercedes not Yugos.

W commutes Scooter sentence and As Good As News cheers. Those up in arms need to look at the big picture. First, commutation formally announces the death of the Cheney-Rove-W administration. Immigration loss and polls below sea level were death knell, but with the commutation even W concedes there will be no comeback. Unfortunately W's sole remaining effort to build a legacy seems to be friendship with Vlad Putin - Hitler not available? Second, commutation is no panacea for Scooter. He gets to keep his felony conviction, his quarter million dollar fine, his two year probation, his lost reputation and his lost license to practice law - just no end to the perks when you swear an oath of fealty to Darth Cheney. This might leave enough incentive for Scooter to line up a deal for a tell-all book if he loses his appeal. Third, Scooter devoted his life to public service, most of it before going to the dark side. He did not out Valerie Plame, he said "I don't remember" under oath to protect his boss and colleagues. Sentencing judge pointed to high office as justification for severe sentence. High office giveth prison term, high office taketh away prison term - Scooter is paying a big price here even without time in stir.

Cory Booker is the right person in the right place at the wrong time. Newark has all the ingredients to rebuild a vibrant city - highway, air, water and rail access second to none, a location minutes away from NYC, a cluster of college campuses, a new ball park and arts center, and developers foaming at the mouth. Mayor Booker is smart, dedicated, charismatic and has some credentials. Sadly for Booker, Mayors Gibson and James ran Newark as a patronage cookie jar for so long the grass roots pols don't even know anything else is possible. Ridiculous rumor campaign smacks of desperation, but seems to work anyway. Wake up Newark voters. Government is supposed to provide services, not feather bed jobs for every political hack. Newark government has taken a city with the assets to be Utopia and turned it into a poverty and homicide stricken Inferno. Why listen to rumors from the sore losers who created the mess Booker is trying to fix. Unfortunately for Cory Booker, the top priority of the old guard is recapturing a spot on the payroll, and the payroll needs to shrink before Newark can grow. Sorry Cory, looks like it may be the mayor after the mayor after James who gets to preside over Newark renaissance, but good luck anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Closet NIMBY Emerges

It's Monday and I'm moving backwards, slowly backwards, but we will get to that front page headline reference as always - patience!

Transformers - can a toy change itself into a high tech summer blockbuster movie? Batteries, plot and dialogue not included, but Michael Bay thinks its child's play. As Good As News is sceptical - there's a refreshing change - but then As Good As News kept saying "it's a theme park ride, not a movie" then loved Pirates of the Caribbean (original only - Pirates sequels not recommended here). Today's Time's review generally negative, but "big cars, big guns..big breasts", maybe we will see for ourselves. What we really need is a T class of Mercedes sedans that will - all things come to ye who wait- transform into robocop, disarm any bomb planted inside and apprehend terrorist.

NYU is seeking to engage Greenwich Village neighbors in its expansion plans. Columbia President Bollinger sent a broadcast e-mail detailing the extensive community relations efforts Columbia undertook before finalizing and announcing its plan to expand to the North - a plan which met with immediate resistance anyway. Conflicts disclaimer - I have degrees from both these schools and want to see them thrive - but - for today I am defending the opposite side - quote from NYU President Sexton an ugly reminder of institutional view of neighbors standing in the way of "progress", so As Good As News will play NIMBY apologist.

First the quote - "Once you get past the ..minority who as a matter of conviction are against any growth at all"...and the people opposing NYU for their own political gain, "then you just have to ask people to have a genuine dialogue and not just say, "Not in my backyard"." Sounds civil, but Pres Sexon's unstated assumption shines through - NYU must expand, the only issue is how best to do so. Anyone who disagrees before dialogue is a no- growther, beneath contempt. Anyone who might disagree after dialogue is a NIMBY until proven otherwise. Is there anything so morally or logically wrong with the proposition that NYU is already big enough that it is outside the bounds of civil discussion. Maybe NYU can figure out how to use its existing buildings more efficiently if it wants to grow? If Pres. Sexon was losing a townhouse view of Washington Square Park to an important twenty story low income housing project NYC badly needed he would understand the point, and he might not be too happy if the political debate was limited to whether the housing project should be 18, 19 or 20 stories. The dialogue can include "Do Not Grow" as well as a discussion of how and where to grow, the people that feel this way are trying to preserve an environment that has been part of their lives, they are not necessarily evil curmudgeons.

I own a home in a quiet, leafy, melting pot suburb. When the FAA restructured East coast air lanes it turned my patio into a jet fuel dump. My once peaceful suppers on the back porch suddenly featured the soundtrack from a volcano epic. I did not really care that NY area airports wanted to handle more traffic, I wanted to go back to the old routes. I went to meetings and signed petitions. I had my twin three year-olds explain why they could not sleep into an FAA answering machine at 3AM with a low flying jet on takeoff providing the background noise. Anyone with a home, a home in a suburb, in the Village, in Harlem, has expectations based on a lifetime of experiences. I hope NYU and Columbia find a way to grow, but if they begin a community dialogue believing that their desire for growth is an aspiration shared by a large segment of the neighboring community then the dialogue will produce more heat than light.

Pennsylvania allows sale of fireworks, but not to Pennsylvania residents without permit? New Jersey announces special admissions policy on bars, strip clubs, gun shops - You must be 21 years old to enter, but 14 close enough with Pennsylvania ID.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Batting Cage Dreams

The most popular item in today's NY Times Week in Review is a follow-up story on the relationship between birth order and IQ, including sidebar quiz on celebrity birth order. As Good As News could say - "ho-hum, we did this a week ago, and today's Time's story doesn't even cover confused birth order of Cheney as triplet child (with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia) of Darth Vader" - but this is not our way. Instead - Thank you NY Times for letting us know Cheney is the eldest, and thank you again for including Sacha Baron Cohen in the quiz as a youngest. Sacha seems like the kind of guy who had to go to extremes to get attention at home, older siblings brain surgeon, concert pianist and tortured but brilliant poet so Sacha took what was left?

Massive kudos to Elizabeth Edwards for belated counterattack on Ann Coulter. Coulter one of many blowhards, not all conservative, who bray incessantly with complete disregard for the facts. Question is why does any serious media outlet give them a platform. Coulter a special case because she discovered that vicious, unprovoked and tasteless personal attacks would generate publicity and sell books and rode a cycle of attack and counterattack to a special place all her own in the dark world of punditry. Now Elizabeth Edwards calls Coulter out with a simple, dignified challenge based on the facts, and Coulter is helpless. Even Coulter understands she can't win by slinging mud at target with inoperable cancer, but take away mud slinging and Coulter has no game left. I do not wish inoperable cancer on anyone- period- but maybe Keith Olbermann could just pretend to be a cancer victim. Olbermann's combination of sarcasm and damning facts is already making Bill O'Reilly's life miserable, cancer would put Olbermann over the top.

The story on life in a batting cage brought back a great memory of taking my daughter to the batting cages. As a twelve year old she waited on line for the fast pitch machine, a line that was otherwise populated with adult males eager to hit and annoyed that this girl was wasting their time. The line moved slowly, my daughter finally got her turn. Soon she was ripping line drive after line drive right back at the pitching machine as her sceptical line mates broke the line and surrounded the cage, jaws sagging. Note to Times - please run a story on batting cages at least once a year.