The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

At the Western Wall

A journalist assigned to the Jerusalem bureau takes an apartment overlooking the Wailing Wall. Every day when she looks out, she sees an old Jewish man praying vigorously. So the journalist goes down and introduces herself to the old man.

She asks: "You come every day to the wall. How long have you done that and what are you praying for?"

The old man replies, "I have come here to pray every day for 25 years. In the morning I pray for world peace and then for the brotherhood of man. I go home have a cup of tea and I come back and pray for the eradication of illness and disease from the earth."

The journalist is amazed. "How does it make you feel to come here every day for 25 years and pray for these things?" she asks.

The old man looks at her sadly. "Like I'm talking to a wall."

Newspapers afraid to print Ryan's party affiliation

Josh Marshall reports that newspapers are reluctant to say that convicted felon George Ryan is a Republican:

As we mentioned earlier, the AP really, really didn't seem to want to mention that George Ryan, the former Illinois governor convicted of corruption today, is a Republican. The AP waited until the very end of the article to note that Ryan is from the GOP.
Time never got around to mentioning it. ... While failing to mention the party affiliation of the guy who got indicted, they did manage to have this as the second sentence of the article ...
On Monday, former Governor George Ryan, 72, became the third of the state's last six governors to be convicted of political misdeeds, and the current administration of Democrat Rod Blagojevich is also being investigated.
It's almost a tour de force of party ID bamboozlement.

Our home-town paper, the Chicago Tribune, identified him as "the Kankakee Republican" in the sixth paragraph.

It's just like Rush says: liberal press bias.

Ryan guilty on all counts

Republican former Illinois governor George Ryan was convicted on all counts of corruption in his Federal felony trial:

A federal jury convicted former Gov. George Ryan today on all charges that as secretary of state he steered state business to cronies in return for vacations, gifts and other benefits for himself and his family.
Lobbyist Lawrence Warner, a close Ryan friend, was also found guilty on all charges against him in the historic trial.
On their eleventh day of deliberations, the six-woman, six-man jury found Ryan, 72, guilty on 18 counts of racketeering, mail fraud, false statements and tax violations. Warner, 67, was convicted on 12 counts of racketeering, mail fraud, extortion, money laundering and evading cash-reporting requirements.

More later.

Krugman: Exxon-Mobil is "enemy of the planet"

Economist Paul Krugman (sub.req.) in today's New York Times lays out exactly how Exxon-Mobil has tried to undermine climate research since the mid-1980s:

The people and institutions Exxon Mobil supports aren't actually engaged in climate research. They're the real-world equivalents of the Academy of Tobacco Studies in the movie "Thank You for Smoking," whose purpose is to fail to find evidence of harmful effects.
But the fake research works for its sponsors, partly because it gets picked up by right-wing pundits, but mainly because it plays perfectly into the he-said-she-said conventions of "balanced" journalism. A 2003 study, by Maxwell Boykoff and Jules Boykoff, of reporting on global warming in major newspapers found that a majority of reports gave the skeptics—a few dozen people, many if not most receiving direct or indirect financial support from Exxon Mobil—roughly the same amount of attention as the scientific consensus, supported by thousands of independent researchers.

I still haven't forgiven Exxon for the Exxon Valdez disaster (and neither have the sea otters, who are still affected). This is just one more nail.

More camera fun

More fooling around with the Canon 20D Anne got me. I love that I can finally do available-light photos in almost all conditions, since the sensor can go up to ISO 3200.

Anne: new job, great gift

Anne got a new job (details to follow), and to celebrate, she showed up in New Hampshire yesterday with a Canon 20D, the camera I've wanted since...well, since before I met her. What a great wife.

Now I can take photos like this, with actual control over the exposure, aperture, and focus:

Terror alert: Pamphleteers

TPM Muckraker reported today that the Dept. of Homeland Security has a new warning about radical animal-rights groups:

Such radical extremist groups may use several tactics—each devastating in its own way—including:
- "organizing protests"
- "flyer distribution"
- "inundating computers with e-mails"
- "tying up phone lines to prevent legitimate calls"
- "sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply from company fax machines"

I particularly like the fourth item, since several Republicans have been convicted recently of doing just that in New Hampshire during the 2002 election.

Religious nuttiness for the holiday

The Chicago Tribune carried two Assoicated Press stories about religious fanatacism this morning. First, Christians were attacked at Mass in Egypt yesterday. When American Christians, who currently run the government, claim to be "persecuted," perhaps they should reflect on the Egyptian situation.

The second story, from Manila, Philippines, tells of Catholics voluntarily getting nailed to crosses to show their devotion. In a concession to the fact that we no longer live in ancient Roman times, the 10 cm (4 in.) nails pounded through their hands and feet—in one man's case, for the 20th time—were "soaked in alcohol to prevent infection."

Happy Easter!

Give us a push

My cousin sent this one to me ages ago:

This bloke's in bed with his missus when there's a rat-a-tat-tat on the door.

He rolls over and looks at his clock, and it's half three in the morning. Sod that for a game of soldiers, he thinks, and rolls over.

Then, a louder knock follows. "Aren't you going to answer that?" says his wife so he drags himself out of bed, and goes downstairs. He opens the door and this bloke is stood outside.

"Eh mate" says the stranger, "Can you give us a push?"

"No, piss off, it's half three. I was in bed," says the man and shuts the door.

He goes back up to bed and tells his wife what happened and she says "Dave, you are a bastard. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to pick the kids up from the babysitter and you had to knock on that man's house to get us started again? What would have happened if he'd told us to piss off?"

So he gets out of bed again, gets dressed, and goes downstairs. He opens the door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere he shouts: "Eh mate, do you still want a push??" and he hears a voice cry out "Yeah please mate."

So, still being unable to see the stranger he shouts: "Where are you?" and he replies: "I'm over here on the swings."