2.20.2006

Community Shares of Illinois on March 14th

On March 14th, if you have a meal out at one of the participating restaurants, the restaurants will donate a portion of the proceeds to Community Shares of Illinois and the member organizations. You choose what organization you'd like to help out.

Local participating restaurants include Kennedy's (lunch or dinner), Milo's (dinner), and Silvercreek (dinner). The following Champaign-Urbana organizations are Community Shares members:

Champaign County Health Care Consumers(CCHCC)
Champaign County Humane Society
Champaign-Urbana Tenant Union
Habitat for Humanity, Champaign County
Homestead Corporation of C-U
Illinois CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Illinois Disciples Foundation
PACE
Prairienet
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
WEFT - 90.1 FM

2.16.2006

Been busy lately

My mom was in a car accident.















No tickets were issued. My mom was turning from the left turn lane and a guy hit her. No skid marks---he never hit the brakes. Both of mom's airbags deployed. Mom says the guy who hit her kept saying "I had a green light!" Another guy who saw the accident happen kept saying "You were going to fast!" Still waiting for the insurance company to do something....

Mom's got a broken collarbone and some bruised ribs and some scratches and scrapes. Plus, now she's got no car, and even if she did, her arm is in a sling.

Me and the sis are taking turns driving back and forth to Chicago to help her get groceries and stuff. She's using public transportation in the mean time. Plus she's been down here a lot to visit.

In other fun news, the tile in the sewer line has collapsed (according to the landlord). I can still shower, I can still wash dishes, but I can't wash clothes....

*sigh*

2.11.2006

Download Google Desktop with caution

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued an alert regarding the new "feature" of Google Desktop.

Google Copies Your Hard Drive - Government Smiles in Anticipation

Consumers Should Not Use New Google Desktop

San Francisco - Google today announced a new "feature" of its Google Desktop software that greatly increases the risk to consumer privacy. If a consumer chooses to use it, the new "Search Across Computers" feature will store copies of the user's Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other text-based documents on Google's own servers, to enable searching from any one of the user's computers. EFF urges consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password.

"Coming on the heels of serious consumer concern about government snooping into Google's search logs, it's shocking that Google expects its users to now trust it with the contents of their personal computers," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "If you use the Search Across Computers feature and don't configure Google Desktop very carefully—and most people won't—Google will have copies of your tax returns, love letters, business records, financial and medical files, and whatever other text-based documents the Desktop software can index. The government could then demand these personal files with only a subpoena rather than the search warrant it would need to seize the same things from your home or business, and in many cases you wouldn't even be notified in time to challenge it. Other litigants—your spouse, your business partners or rivals, whoever—could also try to cut out the middleman (you) and subpoena Google for your files."

More at the link.... I'm really sick and tired of different industries assuming I won't mind if they use my computer as a playground.

2.07.2006

Just for Steeler fans....



And Roeth-lis-ber-ger fans....

Video and other tasty tidbits

Hmm...Did you know that President *Washington* authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale that W? Gonzalez said it so it *must* be true....

Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowry speaking at Coretta Scott King's funeral. If church was like this, I might actually want to go.

A Colorado music teacher will seek legal redress after she was put on administrative leave after a meeting with school officials where it was determined that she was "not a good fit." Why?
The controversy began after Waggoner, who teaches elementary, middle and high school students at the K-12 school in a small town about 25 miles east of Denver, tried to pique the curiosity of the first, second, and third graders in one of her classes about opera. She chose a video of Gounod's [I]Faust[/I] (which she found on the classroom shelf) to teach the children about bass and tenor voices, the use of props, and "trouser roles" in opera.

The latter, she says, led to accusations that the married mother of two was a lesbian promoting homosexuality; the plot of Faust, where the title character sells his soul to the devil to recapture his youth, led to her being labeled a devil worshipper.

The uproar began about a week later, when Waggoner was contacted by a mother asking why her daughter had watched a video on the devil. Waggoner believes that the incident was a catalyst for parents to express their frustration about the school's December 9 annual concert. According to Waggoner, the parent said, "I don't understand why you wouldn't let the kids sing Christmas songs, but you'll show them a video on the devil." Ironically, Waggoner says, she had chosen a diverse repertoire for the concert in order to avoid offending the community's non-Christians.
I thought it was Christmas that was under attack, not opera....

2.03.2006

Chappelle was on Oprah today!!!!

If you have Insight Cable in CU, Channel 3 out of Springfield re-runs Oprah at 10pm.

The provocative comedian denied reports that his mysterious departure was caused by mental or drug problems. But he told Winfrey that other people were trying to get him to take psychotic medication when he decided to leave the show and country, without telling anyone except his brother before he left.

Chappelle stressed that the fame that grew as his show became increasingly popular wasn't the problem, but the environment he faced at Comedy Central.

"I would go to work on the show and I felt awful every day, that's not the way it was" he said. "I felt like some kind of prostitute or something. If I feel so bad, why keep on showing up to this place? I'm going to Africa. The hardest thing to do is to be true to yourself, especially when everybody is watching."

More at the link....

You know, too many comedians end up self-destructing. At least Chappelle was smart enough to stop the insanity before he became another comedian dead way too soon---you know, like Belushi, Farley, and Freddie Prinze, Sr.

Jam-packed weekend

Tonight: poker

Tomorrow: bridal dress shopping with a friend, hanging with the nephew, bachlorette party in the evening

Sunday: pre-game poker, mexican take-out, Super Bowl with friends

Frankly, I haven't watched one minute of football this season so I guess I can watch the Super Bowl.

2.02.2006

Odd Day




















First, I discovered that the jeans I bought on Saturday already had two holes in them. The rivets on the back pockets apparently tore holes in the pants during manufacture. Didn't notice it 'til I wore them.

Then, I see the T-shirt a friend got me for Christmas isn't sewn up all the way in the armpit. Weird. My "RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!" T-shirt isn't that commanding with a little pit peek-a-boo.

Then, when I went home for lunch, I took my squeaky sneakers off and I realized I had a hole in the heel of one of my socks. Odd.

And my shoes, they aren't glued properly or something so when I rock back and forth in my shoes---or, you know, walk---they make this weird shoe farting noise.

Really, it's the shoe....

First a T-shirt, now a cartoon

More on the T-shirt tonight. Thought I'd post this real quick before heading back to work.

Pentagon trying to censor Washington Post cartoon

Here's a link to the letter the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote. It's a pdf file. Here's the Post's response.

And the origination for this cartoon? Rummy.

I found this take interesting. I, too, find it interesting that the Generals declare the cartoon "tasteless," "calloused," or "reprehensible" but not the lack of accountability by this administration to provide for these very veterans portrayed in the cartoon.

Body armor, anyone?

2.01.2006

Whole bunch o' stuff

Catching up tonight.

Keith Olbermann is just really stinking funny. Here he's doing his best O'Reilly impression.

"Let us leave our bosses out of this, Bill, or I'll have to call yours, and you know how much Satan hates to be disturbed while American Idol is on."

He clarified that he wasn't calling Rupert Murdoch Satan....

Tonight, as I'm typing this, he's playing some video of Bush's speech today.

Oh boy, I hope there a link to it tomorrow somewhere....

Telling the truth isn't illegal....

Starforce, which makes "advanced encryption and activation technology for CD/CD-R/DVD and electronic software distribution," is threatening someone with legal action for pointing out the crap they dump on your hard drive:

A group of gamers has started a site to spread a pledge to boycott video-games that come with a dangerous anti-copying mechanism.

Starforce is an anti-copying program that some games covertly install when you install the game. The software causes system instability and crashes. The company that makes Starforce refuses to address the damage their software causes; instead, they blame the people on whom their malware has been forced: "According to our research those of users [sic] that do run into compatibility problems are beginner-level-hackers that try to go around our protection system."

Boycott Starforce
List of games that have this program
Starforce driver removal tool (found via Wiki and Google---know what you are downloading before you do it. Don't trust me---do your own research.)

The company is in Russia and, apparently, they like to write letters.
From: "Dennis Zhidkov"
Date: January 31, 2006 9:55:40 AM BST
To: "doctorow@craphound.com"
Subject: StarForce Response to Cory Doctorow

StarForce Inc. response to Mr. Cory Doctorow

Dear Sir, calling StarForce "Anti-copying malware" is a good enough cause to press charges and that is what our corporate lawyer is busy doing right now. I urge you to remove your post from http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/30/anticopying_malware_.html because it is full of insults, lies, false accusations and rumors. Your article violates approximately 11 international laws. Our USlawyer will contact you shortly. I have also contacted the FBI , because what you are doing is harassment.

Sincerely,
Dennis Zhidkov
PR-manager
StarForce Inc.
www.star-force.com

Some blogs and podcasts

Since some of the blogs in my regular rotation have kinda fizzled out recently, I've been checking out a few other blogs. Check them out and see if you like them (if you aren't reading them already).

Exploding Aardvark

Burning Oak

gin and tacos (They have a "Drinking in Champaign" guide that's outdated and consists mainly of campus bars. A similar item for real bars---and people over the age of 22---might be interesting....)

rose has a blog (This would be Rose of Poster Children and The Hub. She also does a podcast called Radio Zero. You could also subscribe through iTunes.)

Schreiner's Media Landscape

Swimming in Champaign (FYI: not always work-safe)

Speaking of podcasts, apparently my favorite Lost podcast, The Transmission, is halting production due to personal reasons. They posted a short "Aloha" podcast recently. I always looked forward to that podcast each week. Almost as much as I look forward to the Ricky Gervais podcast. I saved Ricky for tomorrow---especially since I won't have my Thursday morning Lost podcast.

Cindy Sheehan and Free Speech

I'm sure you already heard about Cindy Sheehan's removal and arrest last night prior to the State of the Union address. She also posted what happened on the internet after she got out of the clinker last night.

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like "I'm going, do you have to be so rough?"....

The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, "That's Cindy Sheehan." At which point the officer who arrested me said: "Take these steps slowly." I said, "You didn't care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps." He said, "That's because you were protesting." Wow, I get hauled out of the People's House because I was, "Protesting."

Another woman was also removed from the Capitol prior to the SOTU address, but she wasn't arrested---Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida — chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee.

Standing in the well of the House chamber, Young held up the T-shirt , which read "Support the Troops -- Defending Our Freedom."

Young says his wife was told she was removed because "she was a protester."

She told the St. Petersburg Times she was sitting about six rows from Laura Bush when she was asked to leave, and that she then argued with police in the hallway.

She says they told her they considered her shirt a "protest," and that she responded, "Then you are an idiot."

Now I could rant and rave about how sad it is in this country that people can't express their opinions---even if they are the *right* opinions. Or I could crack a joke (an unfunny one at that) about how the Capitol police must have thought they were at a Bush rally or something.

Instead, I'll point out that the Capitol police dropped the charges against Cindy Sheehan. They also said
The Capitol Police official said officers never should have approached Young.
All this makes me wonder whether all those restrictions on free speech seem perfectly reasonable to people who've never protested before---mostly because they probably never believed *their* speech could be curtailed.

Not much *manufactured outrage* about Sheehan---especially since a Republican was thrown out. If Sheehan had been the only one arrested, all I woulda heard and saw today would be...hey...wait....

That's right. Only Sheehan *was* arrested.