Tuesday, February 28, 2006

How come they can? Or can they?

I leave McDonald's Shell on Knoxville a little after nine pm last (Monday) night. I pull into the left turn lane on Nebraska, so as to go towards Downtown on Knoxville. The car in front of me is one of Peoria's finest, without a turn signal on as we await the green light. It turns, he turns, still no signal. Next, instead of properly turning into the left lane, he shoots all the way over into the right. Then, after two bad moves, he hits the trifecta with a right turn into Taco Bell...with no signal.

Now, how can those of us who are frustrated daily by terrible drivers that do not properly signal and properly change lanes expect those faults to be corrected when the guys who can write the citations can't even follow the rules? This has never, BTW, been a problem in any city I've previously lived in. Carson City, Nevada; Dubuque and Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa; Rochester, Minnesota. I've never witnessed the lack of regard for simple traffic laws by officers OF that same law in those cities, yet I see it daily in Peoria.

Meanwhile, there are five troopers stationed on an overpass and on-ramp outside of Morton, keeping the that completely flat and straight stretch of I-74 safe from the dreaded speeders during the last week of every month.

Wow, I feel safer just knowing that. Not.

My beef? I'm sick of speeding accounting for about 92% of all tickets written in this state, and I'd be willing to bet any amount that improper lane changes and lack of turn signals cause far more accidents.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Today's News Quiz

Here's a new feature, kids. Let's take a look at recent history and see how much truth we know about what's happened in our country and the world in the last few years. We'll start with this one.

Who is responsible for these words:

MUslims do not "hate our freedom," but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. Thus when the American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.

You will not be graded on your answer, this is open discussion. So, who wrote those words?

Fast Food "Service" - When Did It Go Bad?

Raise your hand if you've had an order goofed up at a fast food drive through in the past week.

No store, no chain, is immune. I can't remember the last time I got exactly what I ordered at a fast food place. Throw in the fact it's darn hard to get a smile and even a simple "thank you, have a nice day" at half of the stores in this town, and it's making one of my favorite things to do an ugly chore.

Yes, I love fast food. Yes, I know it isn't good for me. I'm well aware. I was a sleek 180-pound speedster...the White Hope of Sprinting...coming out of high school. No one who's met me since I moved to Peoria in 1996 would believe that, and obviously I can't blame you. But it's true. Now? My left thigh goes about 145 all by itself.

Be that as it may, when I go spend $15-$25 for the family to eat at a fast food joint, all I'm asking is that the order is right. We'd certainly expect it at a sit-down place. What part of "no tomato" do they not understand? What part of "with a packet of barbeque sauce" can they not compute? What part of "diet" is so hard to figure out? And that doesn't even count the items that simply don't exist when you drive away from the window.

I've learned my lesson. I refuse to leave the window until EVERY item in EVERY bag is checked, which sometimes takes a minute or two. Then, considering how long it takes to get through the line, make your order, pay at window number one, wait until reaching window #2, and finally get your food, (then do the fact-finding mission in the bags)....well, it's suddenly no longer "fast food", is it? Damn.

When McD's and Hardee's and BK and Wendy's first became popular, the speed involved in getting your food was a key selling point. As a 17-year old working in a Wendy's in Minnesota, we had a rule: If the customer sat at the window more than 60 seconds after paying for his/her lunch, we gave them a dollar back for every 15 extra seconds. You think our boss wasn't pushing us to get the order done? Oft times the order was ready, the burger made, the fries bagged, the drink poured, before the guy even got around the building from the ordering board to the window. And we didn't get the orders wrong, either. It was simple. Why is it so hard now?

Meanwhile, beyond the Knoxville lights...

Yes, the red/green lights on Knoxville are still messed up. By design? I'm sure. Someone thinking it's a good idea to have pre-6am commuters stop four times when there's no reason to on their way down Knoxville is supposed to be "safer". When in fact, all it does is bunch traffic that otherwise wouldn't be bunched.

But beyond that, once one crosses I74 on the new ramp and heads into downtown Peoria, credit to the designers is due. The new exits and entrances to the interstate, as well as the new 4-lane wide "frontage" roads on either side of the interstate are simply excellent. Heading back downtown yesterday during rush hour and seeing traffic flowing so smoothly, and all those lanes handling all those cars so easily, it's quite clear that the new design is a huge improvement for Peoria. Same goes for the actual interstate itself. We all cringed at the thought of the I74 bridge being closed for so long, and the highway getting torn up on both sides of the river.

But wow, has it been well done. Are there any complaints about the new highway on either side? Only one I've heard is the little kink in East Peoria heading South under the interstate. That's a little confusing first time you head through there...but it's my guess that there is still more work to be done there. Otherwise, the new flyover ramp on the East Peoria side, the new frontage roads on the Peoria side, the new exits by Northwoods Mall onto Sterling...all are awesome.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Just Read It.

I'm going to just go ahead and print this whole editorial from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, in case the link doesn't work.

A new batch of horrific Abu Ghraib torture photos has turned up on Australian television and at salon.com. It's not getting much attention in the United States, but it is drawing expressions of disgust and outrage abroad. The difference is remarkable, because those were American soldiers engaged in the abuse. You'd think Americans would be most outraged of all, and would want finally to get an answer to the fundamental unanswered question: How far up the chain of command does responsibility for the Abu Ghraib torture go?
The Bush administration is both angry and nonchalant about release of these images: A State Department official said release of the photos violated the privacy of the abused and that it was likely to increase the violence spawned by cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. A Pentagon spokesman said there is "nothing new" in these images; the abuses they depict have been investigated and the perpetrators punished.
Actually, some of these photos and videos are worse than those seen previously, and the American public deserves to see them all. A spokesman for the Australian television network said the images mark a "leap in seriousness" from the previous photos. They show, the network said, "homicide, torture and sexual humiliation." Included in the salon.com set is an image of an Iraq prisoner sodomizing himself with an object that appears to be a banana. An image on another website shows a prisoner giving oral sex to another man. The setting and the photos strongly suggest both behaviors were forced.
The United Nations has said it finds these new photos disturbing; it also has demanded that the United States either charge or release the prisoners it has detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The International Committee of the Red Cross has denounced the behaviors recorded in the newly published photos.
As for this being a "bad time" to have the photos released, they would have been out long ago if the Pentagon hadn't tried every trick in the book to keep them under wraps. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights sued almost a year ago to have them released under the Freedom of Information Act. A federal court judge agreed and ordered their release last fall. But the Pentagon delayed and delayed, then filed an appeal which has yet to be resolved.
It appears that someone in the military finally got fed up and sent a CD with apparently every Abu Ghraib image to salon.com. The source said he was partly motivated by resentment that only low-rank enlisted personnel were being punished.
He makes a powerful point. There has never been a full, independent investigation of how this abusive treatment came to Abu Ghraib. Did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorize it? Did he know about it? Did some other senior civilian or military official order it? This has never looked like the isolated, renegade behavior of a few that the Pentagon has made it out to be.
Congress must initiate a comprehensive, independent investigation of prisoner treatment by all U.S. agencies worldwide. President Bush and his team are employees of and accountable to the American public. It's way overdue that they be held to account for abusing prisoners and violating both U.S. and international law.


How come this isn't bigger news in the SCLM right now?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Heh heh.


Call it "Senator Leahy's sweet revenge". I love it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Great playlist!

I finally found a "station" I could listen to non-stop for over an hour...the looped music at Lonestar Steakhouse this afternoon.

In an hour, I heard (and pretty much in this order, I didn't write it down, but I have a tremendous memory when it comes to this kind of music):

Brooks & Dunn "Rock My World..."
Fleetwood Mac "Say You Love Me"
George Strait's obscure single "Don't Make Me Come Over There And Love You"
Tom Petty "American Girl"
Travis Tritt doing Waylon Jennings' great "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean"
Lone Justice "Shelter"
Dwight Yoakam doing "Suspicious Minds"
Junior Brown's fabulous seven-minute long "Surf Medley" (I couldn't believe it, Junior Brown! Junior Brown is a true guitar god.)
Asleep at the Wheel w/Brooks & Dunn singing "Corrina, Corrina" (from their first marvelous tribute album to Bob Wills)
and the Mavericks "What A Crying Shame"

It sounded like a Saturday night at a great Southwestern roadhouse, wouldn't that be a great idea for a show? You could call it "Texas Roadhouse Saturday Night" and you could get really big ratings on the radio and then some guy from out West could move to town and take it off the air and then....

damn, this sounds soooooo familiar.

...and now I have disappearing posts

Oh, for the love of pete.

This is an offensive foul...

...unless you're wearing #23.

For my friend Bill.

St. Jude Radiothon

I know, I know...don't blog about work, right Bill?

But we're still on quite a high around here after raising more than 22% more money than we raised last year at the St. Jude Radiothon. We had a little hiccup last year, but, how should I say this, the 'hiccup' is gone, back to the Pacific Time Zone.

So this year was a great effort from all of our volunteers, the St. Jude staff, and the staff of the radio station. Most of all, it was a great effort from the people of Central Illinois who made the huge dollar amount happen. We had two great days of phone calls, we all had a great time at Bergner's (at the Shoppes), and I was VERY happy to see Sheriff McCoy doing so well and in such great spirits. And Dan Dermody got a much deserved award to cap off the event.

If you volunteered, thank you. The St. Jude staff? Thank you, you guys were great. Diane? Thank you, honey, for all of the time you put in to help the cause.

If you donated, if you became a "partner-in-hope", thank you most of all!

I don't know why comments aren't working...

...because according to the settings, they are. Guru Dennis is going to have to come to the rescue again.