Thursday, November 27, 2003


Count me among those who were. When I saw an ABC News Special Report pop up as we were flipping channels after the Macy's parade, my first thought was "Oh no, what happened?" Two years may have passed since September 11th, but that is still the first thing that pops into my mind when I see a news bulletin on TV. Has there been a terrorist attack?

When I saw that President Bush had flown to Iraq to speak to the troops, I was quite impressed. (Drudge has the logistics of the trip for any that are interested). What a great statement of support to give up Thanksgiving with your family and fly into a war zone to address the troops and boost morale. Richard Brookshiser has this appropriate commentary to offer in The Corner:

"How right that he went; how heartened I am that he saw the rightness. Enjoy the moment. Tomorrow, Maureen Dowd will tell us it was a glitzy, glammy secret sideshow; Paul Krugman will explain that it distracted from the good economic numbers, which are really bad economic numbers; Frank Rich will compare it to some old TV shows; John Kerry will say that the troops should have stayed home in the first place, and by the way, he went to Vietnam. Whatever W's limitations with the talkoisie, he does seem to know how to talk to the Armed Forces."

Washington Post has the full text of the speech. Just one more thing for which I am thankful this evening...
Happy Thanksgiving!

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascription's justly due to Him for such singular deliverance's and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. "

-- Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

To name a few

a. Marie Curie, Nancy Reagan, Sally Ride, Billie Jean King, Natalie Portman, Barbara Bush, Linda Chavez, Patricia Heaton, Condi Rice, Jessica Simpson, Oprah, Eleanor Roosevelt, Geraldine Ferraro, Tipper Gore, Norah Jones, Julia Stiles, my grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister, my elementary school teachers, my next-door neighbor, and every woman I am proud enough to call a friend

q. Just a smattering of semi-contemporary women that I would names to my (hypothetical) daughter as a role model before Britney Spears.

On second thought, a list of the women that would be recommended after Britney Spears might be shorter.
Ben Kepple, Allison Barnes, and Michelle Malkin offer some excellent two-cents on this role model debate. Perhaps a more interesting question to ponder here: What attributes make a role model? But that is a discussion for another evening...

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Chief endures for now

So I got my knickers in a twist last week, and then the vote was postponed. So the Chief will likely live to dance another fall at least...

As some of you perhaps have seen in the Comments section below, The Squire had quite a bit to say about the Chief. He's a student, and he is entitled to his opinion -- offering them in a couple differents comments on the post below. However, I'm an Illinois taxpayer that supports this I think I'm also entitled to my two cents on the matter.

I beg to differ with the idea that the Chief is a racist symbol...on several different accounts. Account one: my husband and my Illini-alum brother-in-law are descendants of the Fox tribe. Not enough that you would know it if you passed them on the street but enough that they can check Native American on the census. They are also the two biggest Chief supporters I know. The fact that they are going to lose this mascot is burning them up. When this vote is held in July, I have been warned that they will be protesting on the quad, holding up signs that read "Fox Nation for Illiniwek".

Account two: While growing up in this area, I had a friend or two who took place in Native American dance competitions. Details may have been different between their competitions and the Three-In-One, but the overall effect was the same: honor shown for the traditions of the group and respect exhibited for their dancing.

Perhaps the best commentary I have read on the subject comes from Liam over at Hey Listen. Liam offers up a rather rambling post here, but it has several humorous digressions and I say read the whole thing. It offers up two valuable links as to the history of the chief: that from Honor the Chief and that from Retire the Chief. He also offers up a reason by which he might support the Chief's retirement:
"My barber the other day mentioned it to me, asking what I thought of the Chief. I said what I said here, I think the halftime show is cool, but if he's gone I'll survive." She(!) said that maybe it's just important to "the townies," a generally derogatory term that I assume she was applying on purpose. It made me want to support her cause, and so I would if it went to a vote of the student body. Wouldn't it just piss off the anti-Chief crowd if the issue were settled democratically, with the student body, drunk football fans and all, voting on the issue, instead of the "Right People," the Rod appointed trustees making the decision for all us hayseeds."

To this point, I must agree with Liam and dispute the Squire's comment that HotRod is staying out of this one. He's not out of it. He appointed four trustees to the board in the months since he took office. Illiniwek was supported by 10 of 12 trustees in March 2001. The fact that Frances Carroll thought she had the votes to pass this measure indicates that either votes changed or every one of Rod's four appointees would be voting for this measure. In that respect, I must argue that he is not representing the views of his constituents well with his choices for the board, as I (editorially) believe a majority of the Illinois populace supports the mascot. As the Herald & Review argues in an editorial today, if the trustees are going to be appointed by the governor, "it's the governor we should blame if we disagree with the board's decisions."

The Illinois Leader offers up a perhaps-unbalanced but informative article on the issue. In this article U of I alum and State Rep. Chapin Rose is quoted as saying, "When you're that little, you don't know who is winning the ballgames, you go to see the Chief".

I'd like to take Chapin's comment a bit further. When Illinois football is terrible (like this year), you don't go to watch who is winning , you go to see the Chief. Here's to hoping I have a reason to go to the games next year, one way or the other.

FYI: I also thought I should probably clear this up -- mentioned it before but it's been a while. Despite my blog's name, I am not and have never been a student at the University of Illinois. I was born, was raised, and still reside in the figurative shadow of the university. Therefore, I grew up attending Illini games and still bleed orange and blue. (Might as well since I attended a liberal arts college instead of a Big Ten institution). While I love most of what Chambana has to offer, I sense that the nonsense quotient might have driven me crazy.

Also for the record, I didn't work for Pat O'Malley's campaign for governor. I think that was Aakash and Former Miss America Erika Harold. I appreciate being confused with her though :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Rod!'s Out to Get the Chief?

I am not happy about this rumor. Downstate can deal with you shunning the Governor's mansion but Rod? If your new University of Illinois trustees manage to take away our honorable mascot Chief Illiniwek, I predict there will be serious political repercussions. Just something to think about.
Thanks and reflection

I was looking for a few fitting articles to post in honor of Veterans' Day. Although it's a too-seldom observed holiday at this point, I thought I would take a minute to thank all the men and women who have served to protect my freedom, our freedom as a nation. Here's what I found:

Freedom Fighters by Ralph Peters
A Day for All Our Veterans, Newsworthy or Not by L.H. Burrus
Don't Quit as We Did in Vietnam by David Gelernter
A Mother's Salute by Julie McPhillips

(On a personal note, these veterans include my dad's service in the reserves and my grandfather's service on the Western Front in WWII. A girl can be a little bit proud, can't she?)
Back to normal?

I'm still getting back in the swing of things...slowly but surely. After my first pool workout in three weeks, I passed out on the couch at 8:40 last night. Given that extreme exhaustion, I took tonight off physically.

Mentally, well that's another story. I'm working on a new project. Let's just say the writing I attempted to do tonight was nowhere near as much fun as blogging. Details to follow at a later date.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Does anyone else feel like the Midwest skipped fall this year? One day we are enjoying a 75F Halloween, and the next the mercury cannot break 50 F.

I know that's just how the seasons change. But this year it seems a bit ridiculous. No nippy afternoons spent raking leaves with a nice mug of cider to warm you up. We went straight to bitter cold and arctic winds, burrowing under the covers and/or hiding inside a warm mall. Or at least that's how everyone in the Midwest seems to be dealing with the cold spell so far. I did find some adorable Nine West boots at the mall this afternoon so I guess winter is not ALL bad after all.

Serious posting to resume soon.
Call it "Raised by French Poodles"?

Jessica Simpson just inked a deal to develop a sitcom for ABC. Ben Kepple, eat your heart out.

She may be vapid, but I'm pulling for her. She may be vapid, but at least Hollywood hasn't turned her into this. And Newlyweds is funnier than any ABC sitcom I have seen recently...
Rod update!

While I have been away, our dear governor has been busy. You've all probably heard that Rod is trying to buy prescription drugs from Canada. Now I'm all for saving money, but if drugs from out-of-the-country are safe . . . why are we wasting all kinds of money on FDA regulation in the first place? It appears I am not the only one thinking along these lines, as an FDA statement Friday suggested savings from Blago's plan would be much less than projected and might put patients' health at risk.

While that may be an interesting question, it's the economic implications of this scheme that have Canadian druggists upset. It seems that the law of supply and demand is at work here -- more Americans in the market means fewer and more expensive drugs for Canadians.

Since it seems that blaming the Food and Drug administration may not work out, Rod decided to go look for another scapegoat this week. Rod has decided that the IL General Assembly is spending like a bunch of drunken sailors. Now generally I might agree with this assessment, but it is just the latest party responsible for thwarting Rod's efforts. Today's Peoria Journal Star editorial summed it up effectively:

"We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Blagojevich needs a villain in order to govern. It may be former Gov. George Ryan. It may be former Ryan employees. Until this week, the target was the Food and Drug Administration, which bans importation of cheap Canadian drugs. Last spring it was the General Assembly, and now that lawmakers have returned to Springfield for the veto session, the General Assembly is the villain again. Not individual lawmakers, but the institution."

So now the scapegoat is the Illinois legislature, because the state budget is not balancing out the way our governor had planned. Here's an excerpt from a Springfield State Journal Register article on the topic:

"While the severity of the situation is debatable, the commission report isn't good news for the Blagojevich administration, which earlier this week conceded it no longer assumes it will be able to sell a 10th riverboat casino license for $350 million. When the budget was put together last spring, officials were counting on that sale."

The whole thing is kind of ironic if you think about it, because single-handedly the governor basically destroyed riverboat gambling in the state last summer, when he led the crusade to increase fees/taxes on all the boats. In my mind though, it makes perfect sense. That's Hot Rod. It's typical Rod. Biting the hand that feeds him...and then naively expecting it to keep feeding him.

Speaking of that hand, the editorial also points out that Rod may be too busy with his daily commute to Chicago to fully commit to governing. Illinois taxpayers are still maintaining the governor's mansion. Why is that we're running a daily commuter shuttle from Chicago to downstate as well? Suggestion for Rod: either move to Springfield or pony up for those daily round-trip flights for you and your staff. Now THAT might make a dent in the budget.

Thanks to A New Can of Worms and Random Act of Kindness for a few link leads.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

why i dig zell

Reason #1: Honesty
Reason #2: Integrity

I honestly don't give a fig whether he switches parties, since his retirement from the Senate is imminent. But I'd be interested in knowing what the odds are in Vegas this week.

(Thanks to Spoons for the heads-up on the memo).

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Things I learned last week

  • DC traffic is WORSE than Chicago traffic. I didn't think it was possible.
  • Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia will not get you ANYWHERE quickly. HOV lanes or no HOV lanes.
  • Western Virginia is quite beautiful in the fall.
  • Rental car upgrades are totally worth it when planning to drive 3-5 hours through mountainous countryside. A sputtering 4-cylinder Dodge Neon doesn't cut it.
  • Monticello is a worthwhile tourist trap. I really enjoyed my time there.
  • The scenic route is sometimes worth it. Keswick - where Ben Domenech's wedding reception was? Gorgeous.
  • Baltimore has a pretty neat harbor and some great Italian food. Not so much else.
  • O'Hare + flying Sunday evening + rain = Thousands of cranky tourists / businessmen = Quite the adventure!
  • Traveling makes me TIRED. May take a couple days off to recover here. Thanks for your patience in checking back, as my posting has been of a less than desirable frequency lately.