Dispatch from the Sports Wars

Speaking of a ballot initiative to prevent sale of the naming rights to Candlestick Park, a San Francisco 49ers offers this level-headed and non-hyperbolic assessment:

“I think putting this on the ballot has catastrophic consequences for the future of Candlestick Park and the future of professional sports in San Francisco,” said 49ers spokesman Sam Singer.

Perhaps he needs a reminder of what a catastrophe is.

But should one even hope for better from a spokesman for a team with gold-digging right in the name?

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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Wants Packer Bloggers

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is looking for bloggers to cover the Green Bay Packers this year. Those bloggers selected get a free subscription the the Packers Insider, an extra supplement to the paper for which people actually pay extra, and a trip to Lambeau.

Entry details here.

Me, I’m not entering. Even though I listen to Weber and Dolan in the mornings, including the Green Bay Grapevine on Fridays, and I read the Journal-Sentinel religiously, and I plan my autumn around the weekends when I can watch the game on television, I cannot think of three things to say about training camp. As a matter of fact, most of my blog entries about the Packers taunt Pejman or Cagey as needed.

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A Conspiracy of One

Once more, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski opens her mouth and shows more of her Peter Principle qualifications:

Karpinski told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that she had information suggesting officials took action to keep her in the dark about the mistreatment.

“I have been told there’s a reliable witness who’s made a statement … indicating that not only was I not included in any of the meetings discussing interrogation operations, but specific measures were taken to ensure I would not have access to those facilities, that information or any of the details of interrogations at Abu Ghraib or anywhere else,” Karpinski said. She didn’t identify the witness.

“Correct,” Karpinski responded when asked if she thought there was a conspiracy at senior level to stop her knowing what was going on.

“From what I understand … it was people that had full knowledge of what was going on out at Abu Ghraib who knew that they had to keep Janis Karpinski from discovering any of those activities,” she added.

Asked whether she thought the conspiracy reached up to the Pentagon or the White House, she said: “The indication is that it may have.”

So she’s telling foreign news services that her underlings, and maybe those shadowy administration figures, conspired to make her a poor leader.

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I don’t mind telling you, I will be glad tomorrow night after 7 pm when the polls close. Every time I have answered the phone today, a recording from some former political hack has greeted me, undoubtedly encouraging me to vote one way or the other.

Unfortunately, I hang up once I recognize the call for what it is.

These recorded calls insult me more than a volunteer calling me live to talk to me about their candidate or issue. I know, they occur mostly during the day when people aren’t home with the specific purpose of having a recorded message engage a recording device (the answering machine). Come on, though….. I work at home, and every time your goofball devices call, I oughter bill you for an hour of my expensive consultant time.

Unfortunately, I never make it long enough into the recorded message to know whom to blame.

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Sure, Blame QA

Somewhere, some project manager is undoubtedly chewing out his or her QA staff for letting this one get through:

A computer glitch grounded American Airlines and US Airways flights from coast to coast Sunday morning, causing delays that were expected to last all day.

American had its planes back up after two hours, while US Airways flights were grounded for about three.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said the FAA was alerted to the problem, and both carriers asked the FAA’s air traffic controllers to help communicate with planes to keep them on the ground until the problems were fixed.

US Airways spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the airline’s flight-operation database malfunctioned, due to “an internal technology problem.” A similar problem affected American’s flight plan system, grounding about 150 flights, spokesman John Hotard said.

But hey, I bet EDS delivered the system on time, on budget, or neither, by trimming some quality assurance somewhere.

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I Want That Job

The BBC reports:

Five memory cards for digital cameras were subjected to a range of tests.

The formats were CompactFlash, Secure Digital, xD, Memory Stick and Smartmedia.

They were dipped into cola, put through a washing machine, dunked in coffee, trampled by a skateboard, run over by a child’s toy car and given to a six-year-old boy to destroy.

That beats software QA any day.

(Link seen on Instapundit.)

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Just Like an Old Friend, Kick Him When He’s Down

Mark Steyn writes in the Chicago Sun-Times:

“I’ve seen it in the people I’ve met and their desire to take our country back for the American people. I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a check for $100 with a note that said, ‘I sold my bicycle for democracy.’ “

Really? John F. Kerry’s bicycle cost $8,000. Why doesn’t he sell his for democracy? If you throw in the designer French T-shirt and buttock-hugging lemon-hued lycra shorts, you’d probably be up around an even ten grand. When Howard Dean and John Kerry and John Edwards talk about “change,” what they mean is you send these bazillionaire grandees the hundred-dollar bill and they’ll keep the change.

What did that co-ed cutie get for her hundred bucks? Presumably she sent it to Governor Dean because he was anti-war. He lost to Senator Kerry, who at that time was for-and-against the war, in the same way that he’s for-and-against abortion and for-and-against gay marriage. But he seems to have come down, Iraq-wise, on the “for” side of the ledger. He’ll be spending a little more time ineffectually chit-chatting with Kofi and Jacques and Gerhard, but other than that his Iraq policy is sounding more like Bush’s every day. That college kid ponied up her $100 and isn’t getting a lot of “change.” I wonder if she’s missing her bicycle this summer.


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How Did She Get So Lucky?

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch humps the leg of a local entrepreneur:

An entrepreneur from Edwardsville is weaving a network of basket makers from some of the world’s poorest countries to create a business that combines spirituality and fair trade.

The Blessing Basket Project grew out of a need that former television news producer Theresa Wilson had to lift women around the world out of poverty. Wilson, 36, originally wanted to work with poor women in the United States. But when she put her idea on an Internet bulletin board, she was deluged with e-mail from around the world from aid workers.

She’s a do-gooder, doing good things for the world around her. She’s having people in third world countries weave baskets which she sells:

At the Festival of Nations last month in Tower Grove Park, the Blessing Basket Project sold 92 baskets from Bangladesh and Uganda at $25 to $35 each. Wilson and her husband, Bryan, a construction worker who helps the company as a volunteer, said they are surprised at the response they get from buyers.

Got that? They sold the baskets for $25 to $35 each? How much did they pay the poor people in the third world to create them?

The 150 weavers that the Blessing Basket Project is working with around Kampala, Uganda, were paid $12 for a set of three baskets – three times more than typically offered. The weavers – mostly female subsistence farmers – are able to buy milk and meat for their children as well as books and uniforms for school.

So, they’re paying $4 each for these baskets and selling them at $25 to $35 each. I am sorry, that looks like a 500% to 700% capitalist imperialist dog mark-up to me.

Of course, I’m not against capitalist imperialist dogism, but I do think that the Post-Dispatch likes to assail corporations who would do this, particularly those that use third world labor to do things formerly done by unionized US workers.

I guess the difference is that software and automobiles aren’t sold at Whole Foods Market.

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