Sunday, July 31, 2005

Still testing Audioblogger

this is an audio post - click to play

Testing audio blog

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, July 29, 2005

'We are not afraid'

These brave Brits are showing they aren't goign to let some terrorists get the better of them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Welcome Peoria Pundit readers

If you are here, the chances are greater than not that my site at the domain is out of service because of payment issues.

If you choose to take pity on me, there's a PayPal button to the right.

I'm hoping to get some money to the hosting company on Monday, and switch to a month-to-month payment plan for a while, then use some of the Google Ad Sense and BlogAd money I have coming to pay for a new year of service.

But it looks really likely that I'm going to be re-learning how to blog on Blog*spot again, for a few days or a week at most.

I'm spending some time tonight putting several days worth of posts here so readers will have something to read besides the occasional eye candy post, and posts about how to blog.

Despite the t-shirt, this guy isn't associated with Woodruff High School

But I certainly knew people there stupid enough to try getting stoned by huffing a full can of spray paint.


Much ado over John Roberts' addition to the Supreme Court

Using an easy-to-understand chart, Ixlq takes look at what will change and won't change if John Roberts is confirmed to the Supreme Court. Not much, it looks like.

Oddly enough, Peoria City Hall isn't mentioned, even once

The Journal Star took a long look at recent political scandals in central Illinois, including Pekin Mayor Lyn Howard, former Bureau County Sheriff Greg Johnson, and former Woodford County Sheriff Bill Myers.

Journal Star news snobs find unfunny sitcom superior to cable news

According to Steve Tarter's column about Journal Star staffers' picks for the best and worst of television, "Reno 911" is a better program than anything shown on any cable news station.

No. 2 in the "10 TV shows" category:

Reno 911: "Somebody tell me again the Peoria connection on the best ensemble cast on television."

Ugh. This premise to this show -- a fake "COPS"-like camera follows Reno, Nev., officers around -- might have made for an interesting Saturday Night Live skit, or perhaps Mad TV. But a weekly series? No. And I really don't care about the "Peoria connection."

Listed No. 2 in the "worst" category:

All cable news: "Take random bits of out-of-context information, add arguments presented as debates, mix in a few commercials and you've got this junk."

I'm recalling some of the coverage of the Iraq War. I sat rivetted to the screen by the live reporting of an engagement in progress by doctor-turned-war-correspondent Dr. Bob Arnot.

I didn't like "Crossfire" either, but I won't judge CNN by that alone, anymore than I would judge the Journal Star only on its carrying a column by Cal Thomas, who is one of those talking heads on cable television that some anonymous staffer finds so objectionable.

The Journal Star has it's fair share of junk reporting.

We get it, Mr. Finke: Blagojevich is a publicity hound

It's Sunday, and Doug Finke, Copley Press' statehouse columnist, is once again complaining about Gov. Rod Blagojevich behaving the way virtually every other politician behaves.

The latest version of this oft-repeated scenario has Blago criticizing video game violence, specifically the latest version of "Grand Theft Auto." Legislation was drafted, and Blago promised to sign it. But the signing was cancelled, says Finke, because all the scandals coming out of Chicago will knock the signing off the front pages. But all is not lost for Blago. The CBS Evening News did a segment on the issue and Blago agreed to an interview.

Gee, it's like the guy might run for office some day.

There's a story like this in virtually every Sunday column that Doug Finke writes and the Journal Star prints.

We get it: Blago likes publicity. He does press conferences. He gets interviewed on national television. It may come as a shock to Mr. Finke, but Blago is hardly the only politician afflicted with a love for seeing his name in print and his face on television. I'm fairly certain that George Ryan and Jim Edgar held an occasional press conference during their careers, because I've been to a few of 'em.

Yet week after week, Finke makes it the main point of his weekly column.

There's a lot of news coming out of Springfield. I know because I read the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times. The Chicago Tribune's John Kass writes about the "Combine," a partnership between the Chicago Machine and the Illinois GOP to basically share power in Illinois.

Copley -- the California-based newspaper chain that owns the Journal Star and the State Journal-Register in Springfield -- has four reporters covering the capitol, yet there's maybe one or two articles a day about state politics in the Journal Star. And one of those articles is Finke's Sunday column that seems to exist these days for the purpose of raising Blago's "negatives," rather than raising readers' awareness of the substance of what is going on in Springfield.

I'm not defending Blagojevich; I'm trying to defend readers' right to be informed.

Finke's obsessive complaining about Blago fits a script that much of the downstate media followed for years on its editorial pages, namely that all upstate Chicago politicians are bad, while downstate Republicans are good.

The reality is much more complicated.

The Paris video


Media won't give Condi a break

Sudanese government thugs were roughing up journalists who had come to cover Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to the African nation. Condi came to their rescue and angrily demanded an apology.

One would think this would earn her a few Brownie points from the media. One would think that if one wasn't familiar with how the press operates.

To illustrate, consider this blogger:

while visiting the wartorn nation, rice did not ask for an apology for the campagin of genocide supported by the government that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, raped even more, and displaced 2 million. the genocide does seem to have quieted as of late, though not because of any us policy. rather, the janjaweed militia has simply run out of villages to loot and burn. run out of people to rape and kill. wow. "they have no right to push and shove," rice said. unbelievable arrogance, criminal ignorance. *

So Rice cares more about journalists than she does about the innocent people slaughtered in Sudan, huh? Ummm ... but that's why she was in Sudan, to pressure them into cleaning up their act. In what way -- short of an invasion -- is Rice not trying to help end the problems in the Sudan?

On a hunch, I cruised this person's site and discovered, no surprise, he opposed the War in Iraq. Not our business, he says. Big surprise.

Why is it that the people who whine and complain the loudest that the United States allows genocide to take place in other nations are those who whine and complain the loudest when the United States goes to war against genocidal maniacs?

What does this mediocre blogger have to do with the press reaction to Condi's defense of the press?

Because an illustrious an organization like the Columbia Journalism Review chose to link to it, as opposed to any other blog. This particular site hasn't been around that long, and there are better left-wing/liberal sites out there, not to mention better sites that have a less paranoid view of the Bush administration. Why would CJR do that, except maybe this blog fit that writer's desire to comment on the Sudan incident in a way that didn't make Condi look good.

Hat tip to OmbudsGod, who predicted the press would thank Condi in exactly this manner.

* Note to Dave Dahl: The spelling and capitalization errors in the above quote belong to the original author. Any others belong to me.

Shame on these two new Peoria bloggers


They are called Peoria Crack House and Shame on Peoria. The goal of these two anonymous Blog*Spot sites is to shame the owners of homes where drug dealing is going on, and do the same to the owners of run-down properties.

Names and addresses are included.

I have NOTHING to do with either one. Trust me. But I completely applaud the idea of pointing out the crack houses. It seems to me that if there's crack dealing going out of a house, it's easy to shut down. Just set up a cameras to monitor the activity, arrest the customers four or five blocks away. Nothing closes up business quicker than arresting customers and taking their cars.

My two cents: Hey, if you don't want people to call you a slum lord, don't let your property get in that condition. I used to live right across the street from one of the properties on the crack house site. Nothing anyone did had any effect.

crack, johns, prostitutes, Peoria Police Department

Ray LaHood shows backbone and common sense in voting against Patriot Act extension

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

I want the government to be able to track down terrorists before they blow up a grade school or a day care. But I also don't want the Feds to break into my home and copy my hard drive because I sent a nasty letter to someone about Karl Rove. Therefore, I want some oversight over how these broad powers are being used.

LaHood, a Peoria Republican was one of just 14 Republicans who voted against extending the Patriot Act.

At issue was the act's lack of adequate oversight, including sunset provisions that would have made the act expire is not renewed.

LaHood is a member of the House Intelligence Committee that recommended the sunset provisions, which were later blocked by the House Rules Committee.

"You're giving law enforcement an enormous amount of power, and I just think there has to be oversight. I think all of those things are tools that law enforcement needs, but when you have good, strong sunset provisions, that really holds law enforcement's feet to the fire. Somebody's going to be looking over their shoulders."
LaHood didn't dispute [Judiciary Committee Chairman James] Sensenbrenner's assertions that Congress had provided adequate oversight of the law and that no abuses had been uncovered. But, he added: "I think, in part, the reason was because of the sunset provision. If you eliminate that, I think people become very complacent. I don't think we'd be having this big debate that we're having (on the Patriot Act) over the last few days if it weren't for the sunset provisions."

Rep. Tim Johnson from Champaign/Urbana also voted against it, according to IlliniPundit.

I think Central Illinois breeds the kind of Republicans who take a more common-sense approach to conservatism, not the doctrinaire stance you see out of so many collar-county GOPers.

These votes will play well among mostly-moderate central Illinois voters, and probably positions LaHood well in the race for governor.

They also send a message about the need for the Senate/House compromise bill to include the senset and oversight.

Of course, there's also the possibility both these guys simply voted the convictions this time around, and weren't pandering for votes.

We've started a trend: Pekin man tried to shame mayor

Pekinite* Randy Price is trying the send a message to Pekin's mayor::

"The old City Hall is telling (Mayor Lyn Howard) that we want him out," said Price, who is vice president of Enviro-Safe Refrigerants Inc., 400 Margaret St. The building was the home of City Hall from 1951 to 2002. "Pekin has taken a black eye and everyone is fed up."

The signs appeared in front of the business Wednesday and were becoming a hit by Thursday.

With messages such as "We Accept City Credit Cards," "Mr. Howard, Do the right thing for our city - resign," and "Mr. Mayor, Shame on You," the signs have been catching people's attention.

* I don't usually blog about Pekin, but until someone steps forward to be Pekin Pundit, I'll try to pick up the slack, occasionally.

And besides, it's always fun to see Pekin following the lead of Peoria.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Erosion woes

Molly Parker has pretty decent article about the erosion problems neighborhoods face because of the storm water drainage system that hasn't been repaired.

Across the street on Devereux, Gina Wetzel, a mother of three, said she's concerned about the growing creek because it has become a safety issue.

"It's literally like a raging river," she said. "We're just real careful around storm time."

While her children are getting older now, Wetzel said all residents are a bit tired of hearing politicians promise to do something about it and then not delivering.

"At election time people would come by and say, 'Oh, we'll help,' but then not much would happen," she said. "We're very lucky they're willing to look at it now."

The council did vote to make this a priority when it sets its capital budget.

Apple idea needed a bit more polishing

I understand that the entire $19,000 Peoria School District spending to promote itself isn't going toward those dumb apple bill boards, one of which rest atop the Beewolf meeting hall at the corner of Prospect and McClure across the street from my house.

But still, that's an odd way thing to spend money on when the district is planning to close schools, one of which is Glen Oak School, where kids in the Glen Oak Park neighborhood currently attend.

But then, these people don't strike me as having much of a clue when it comes to public relations. They are about to choose Double Talk Dave Ransburg, a notorious sayer of things that are not true, as a board member.

Where's Dave Leitch's Website?

I get the most interesting email:

Bill, I have been looking and looking for Rep. Leitch's website ... But cannot find it can you help me out...I know he has one, because on the semiannual report he filed. On 9/01/04 he paid Ben Leitch $1,018.50 for website design and again on 11/10/04 he paid him another $1,018.50 for a website he must have one ... but I cannot find it.

I don't have an answer. I'll let mre readers give it a try?

UPDATE: It's here:

I assume full responsibility

The Spring 2005 Arbitron ratings are out, and I am pleased to report that WXCL FM's ratings rose from a 4.8 share last quarter to a 6.4 percent share this quarter. That's a 1.6 point increase. And it's a 2.6 point increase from the same period last year, when we were tied for seventh place. Now, we're in fifth place.

Woo hoo!

These results cover the period from March 31 to June 22. I started my Wednesday appearances on June 1. I shudder to think of the ratings juggernaut WXCL would have become had I started back in April.

Of course, some of the credit belongs to B.J. Stone, my radio cohort and program director. He had the foresight and wisdom to give me a tryout.

I'm going to go on the air solo on weekends very soon, and I'll readers know details as soon as I know them. I'll be by myself in the studio announcing songs, but I'll be able to talk about current events throughout my shift.

And I'll probably still do Wednesdays with B.J.

Peoria media discovering that Dave Ransburg is, indeed, a liar

I've been spreading the word for months. But the guys at WEEK got a first-hand look at Double Speak Dave in action today:

At about 3 P.M. on Wednesday, sources told News 25 Ransburg would apply for the board seat vacated by Aaron Schock. But when asked point blank, Ransburg told News 25 it had a scoop if that was true.

About a half hour later, his resume landed on the fax machine at District 150 headquarters.

When asked why the change, Ransburg said: "There was a deadline. Had to get in by four."


I saw the interview at 10 p.m. and I about laughed my butt off. The best part wasn't the complete non sequitur nature of his answer, but the look on his face -- as if he were sincerely stunned that anyone could possibly see the conflict in his two different answers -- was priceless.

Even the non-political Edgar Sandoval noticed and commented. Ransburg isn't worried about making enemies in newsrooms. When election time comes around, he's just going to open his checkbook and buy more advertising than has been spent on all District 150 campaigns during the last 10 elections. And no matter how many reporters he ticks off, his friends on the Journal Star editorial board will write that he walks on water.

There was more double talk when Ransburg said that anyone who followed his campaign for mayor knew that he made improving education as issue. What people who actually did follow his campaign remember was that his opponents made it an issue. This forced Ransburg to start talking about it in slightly less vague terms than he did previously. His record during his single term as mayor was to ignore the whole issue on the grounds that the school district's problems were it's own to solve. He did nothing to foster better communications between the city and the school district.

And this is the guy that four members of the school board want to foist on the public.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It's official: Ransburg wants school board job

The first part of the rumor proved true:

Gloria Cassel Fitzgerald and [former Peoria Mayor] Dave Ransburg join Alma Brown, Merle Felder, Stephen Morris and Cleveland Thomas, Senior seeking to fill the seat vacated by Illinois State Representative Aaron Schock.

A district representative says the six current board members will narrow the list down to three candidates, conduct interviews and select a replacement by the middle of August.

The second part of the rumnor is that it's a foregone conclusion that Ransburg will be picked. He's apparently got the votes of everyone on the board except Sean Matheson and Alicia Butler.

Whoever is picked will haveto run for re-election in April, which would be about one year after Peoria voters tossed Ransburg out on his ear.

No more Star Trekkin' with Scotty

It was some 25 years ago -- soon after 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture" when James Doohan came to Bradley University to speak to students. The event was marketed as "Star Trekkin' with Scotty." I wasn't a student there, but I showed up anyway. He spoke and answered questions for about an hour, and I left with Doohan's signature on two Star Trek novels, which are among my most prized possessions.

A lot of actors would be upset at being typecast by a television show like Star Trek, but Jimmy Doohan, who died today, embraced it. And that's why he was in Peoria on that day and that's why he appeared at so many conventions across the world.

He was an entertainer, and he entertained. He did it well. I challenge anyone to name a character from the past 50 years who is better known as a pop culture reference. That's due to Doohan's talents, as much as anything else.

Beam me up Scotty, indeed.

Peoria media think Peorians don't need to know about LaHood's travel perks

What do people San Francisco; Fort Worth; Miami; Chicago; Salt Lake City; Little Rock, and Longview, Arkansas; Canton, Ohio; and even Manchester, UK have in common?

Their city's newspapers carried this article: Free Trips Yield Bonuses for Lawmakers.

The article begins:

Globe-trotting members of Congress reap a valuable fringe benefit they do not disclose: frequent-flier miles from trips they take at the expense of special interests or taxpayers. It does not take long for the miles to add up for free personal travel or upgrades to first class.

"There's no question it's a definite benefit. I would call it a nice perk," said Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill. He uses the frequent flier miles for upgrades and personal free trips, such as travel to charity golf tournaments in Sun Valley, Idaho.

LaHood and his wife each accumulated about 13,500 miles this year from a round trip between Chicago and China financed by the Aspen Institute. LaHood was among a dozen lawmakers attending a conference on U.S.-China relations sponsored by the Washington-based think tank.

Guess what city isn't on the list of those whose daily newspapers carried that article?


Which is kind of odd, because Ray represents Peoria.

I did a search of Google News and saw the story ran all over the world, but not in the Journal Star. The JS had access to that article, and I know Google includes the JS in its searches. So while it's possible this story ran someplace in the JS and I missed it, I really doubt it. I expect if I am wrong, I'll be corrected. I also don't recall seeing it on any of the other Web sites run by Peoria media.

There might be an innocent explanation. Perhaps they all just happened to miss it. Perhaps these editors and news directors considered running it, but came to the conclusion that there is no particular reason why the voters of Peoria -- or even Illinois, considering that LaHood is running for governor -- have any particular need to know that the guy is personally benefiting from the lobbyists who are paying his travel expenses.

Whatever the reason, the end result is that people in St. Francisco and Little Rock know something about Peoria's congressman than do the people of Peoria.

That is appalling.

I learned about it only because Willy Nilly finally posted an article after a several-week hiatus.

Willy says that LaHood won't discuss the paid-for travel issue with the local media. Actually, he was asked, and gave incorrect answers.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wave to the crowd

Jessica Simpson.

More eye candy

I'm limiting my eye candy posts to my Blog*Spot site, because I want to get a little but more traffic here, and I want to limit posts on MT site to more serious subjects.

Besides, I think Michelle Trachtenberg here is young enough to be my daughter. She's cute as a bug though.

Whither Audioblogger?

I've spend about an hour trying to make an audio post to my Blog*Spot site via Audioblogger, which is supposed to integrate with Blogger. When I try to post using my phone, I invariably get a message saying "log in failed." I know I am using the correct phone number and pin. Is there a problem using Audioblogger and cell phones?

And does anyone know of a free audio blogging service that integrates with Moveable Type?