Archive for November 6th, 2007

Someone To Root For

And I don’t even really like the Olympics…

Phyllis Shipman did not look like the other athletes attending the United States Olympic Assembly last month in Houston. Neither buff nor sinewy and, at 64, several decades older, Shipman represented the sport of archery at the annual gathering of Olympic stakeholders.

“This is so much fun,” she said, not only about the meeting but about her new life as an elite competitor. Shipman is ranked among the top female archers in the United States and is vying for one of three spots on the 2008 Olympic team.

A retired elementary school principal from Oahu, Hawaii, Shipman said she never thought of herself as particularly coordinated or athletic. She signed up for archery while an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania because it seemed the easiest and least sweaty way to satisfy the physical education requirement.


Thirty years later, in 1997, while accompanying her husband on a business trip, she wandered into a Maui sporting goods store and admired the bows and arrows. “I thought to myself, I used to do this, and maybe, since I was getting close to retirement, it’d be fun to get back into it,” Shipman said.

She bought some used equipment and started shooting on weekends at an Oahu archery range. The other recreational archers there, mostly men, helped her with her form. “I don’t know if it was self-defense or what,” she said.

Within months, she was shooting better than they were and subscribing to archery magazines. One had an ad for a five-day training course at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. She talked her husband into going with her. “I hadn’t left the island in 30 years,” she said.


Shipman’s coach, M. J. Rogers, said that while her older joints require more exercises for flexibility and range of motion, Shipman’s age carries some advantages.

“Mentally, she’s better off because she’s had a life, career and children, whereas some of the younger ones are setting aside their life — giving up their social life to compete,” Rogers said. “Phyllis is just having fun, so she can relax and focus on her shooting without worrying so much whether she’s up or down on the scoreboard.”

That does not mean she cannot relate to her younger competitors.

“We gave her a hard time when she first moved in,” said Tara Robey, 25, one of four archers Shipman roomed with at the Olympic Training Center in 2003. “And I guess maybe we were thinking she’d be like a mother figure, but we quickly realized she was one of us. We’d joke and maybe think she wouldn’t get it, but she’d keep up and throw something right back at us.

“Phyllis was one of the gang.”


Shipman is also involved in outreach activities, like visiting critically ill children and their families and helping Hurricane Katrina victims. “I usually get about a 30 percent participation rate but can always count on her to take an extra day to fly in early to help,” Henderson said.


Whether or not she makes the team, Shipman is enjoying the process. “For so long my life has been around my husband, my children or my school,” she said. “I don’t recall ever developing a part of me.”

She shoots arrow after arrow under a fragrant orange tree in the backyard of her home, which faces Sunset Beach, a popular surfing spot in Oahu.

“I never thought I’d end up in Hawaii and I certainly never thought I’d end up a competitive archer,” she said. “You never know where your path in life will take you.”

Very cool. I really hope she makes it. It reminds me a little bit of how I felt upon getting back into photography, but her skill and commitment to her craft are far beyond mine.

November 6th, 2007 at 11:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Sports

Racism At ICE?

Well, it’s certainly nice to know that our top immigration official is as sensitive and well-attuned to racial concerns as she is qualified:

The Department of Homeland Security will investigate a Halloween costume party hosted by a top immigration official and attended by a man dressed in a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and darkened skin make-up, a costume some say is offensive, the department’s secretary said.

Julie Myers, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and host of the fundraising party, was on a three-judge panel that originally praised the prisoner costume for “originality.”

Yeah, the idea of a black man in prison is real original. Bravo to Mr. Creative. As Paddy says, “‘Some say’ is offensive?”

Possibly even more disturbing is the flood of apologist trolls in the comments saying, “So he dressed up as a black guy, big deal. Lighten up, it’s Halloween!” Most of them pointedly ignore the fact that the guy dressed up as a prison inmate. Why not just go as a white convict? What’s the value added by licking the third rail of blackface?

And to get back to the main point, how can we expect an agency headed by someone who thinks blackface is clever to treat illegal (or legal) immigrants with any kind of respect or human decency? Oh, right, WE CAN’T.

November 6th, 2007 at 09:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Immigration,Racism

Torture For EVERYONE!!!

I mean, why should foreigners get to have all the fun?

The U.K’s Guardian held a debate between Condi Rice’s top lawyer John Bellinger at the State Department and Phillipe Sands a law professor from University College London recently.

Mr Bellinger made his remarks during a Guardian debate with Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London. Mr Sands asked whether he could imagine any circumstances in which waterboarding could be justified on an American national by a foreign intelligence service. “One would have to apply the facts to the law to determine whether any technique, whatever happened, would cause severe physical pain or suffering,” Mr Bellinger said. — via

In other words, sure why not. If its legal for us to do it then as long as it wasn’t too severe, no problem!

Here is a link to a podcast of the debate

The senior legal adviser to the Secretary of State of the United States is declaring that provided there are limits, its OK to torture U.S. troops. I wonder how the Pentagon feels about this? I am pretty sure I know how the troops would feel about it.

Hey, I’m sure our boys wouldn’t mind a little bit of torture – they understand that it’s for a good cause. Besides, I bet a lot of them were in fraternities themselves, so it would be just like old times. Dubya probably even waterboarded a few pledges himself back in the day.

November 6th, 2007 at 08:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

My blog is the #1 search result for worthless Democrats – which is really quite an achievement when you think about it.

It’s also on the first page of results for monkey robot video coney island, which is just plain awesome.

UPDATE: Also on the first page of results for election puns and Dairy of a wimpy kid games.

It’s been a good day.

November 6th, 2007 at 07:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Urban Photoblogging

Various recent photos of a grunge/demolition/vehicular nature.

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Who says demolition can’t be colorful?

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Demolition panorama!

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I just love those heavy-duty tires, especially when the light hits them just so.

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I was actually sucked in by the red, but ended up liking it better in B&W. Wouldn’t be the first time.

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Drawn in by the orange traffic cone, and, well, it happened again…

2 comments November 6th, 2007 at 11:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

This Sounds Familiar…

Seriously, I’m getting deja vu:

While Gen. Pervez Musharraf justified his emergency rule decree as helping him combat terrorism, it could end up weakening his ability to rein in the Qaeda militants who ultimately threaten American interests.

In fact, Western diplomats here said, each step the president takes to strengthen his hold on power in the name of stability generates instability of its own.


Western diplomats and Pakistani political analysts said the general’s move may sap his anemic public support and has already diverted thousands of policemen and intelligence agents from fighting terrorism to enforce his crackdown.

While they agree that some of General Musharraf’s arguments have merit, they also argue that his attempts to hold on to power run the risk of placing his own political future above the nation’s.

“It may be a short-term Band-Aid for his own survival,” said a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, “but in the end – or even the middle term – it isn’t going to contribute greatly to winning the war on terrorism.”

General Musharraf invited Islamabad’s diplomatic corps to his official residence on Monday to brief them on the situation and on his reasons for declaring emergency rule. But two Western diplomats said the encounter only reinforced concerns that General Musharraf was more focused on vanquishing his political rivals than on fighting terrorism.

At the meeting, the general primarily railed against his political opponents, with special venom reserved for the Supreme Court. When asked by a diplomat to describe specific plans to crack down on terrorists, General Musharraf gave only a vague answer.


At the same time, Pakistani analysts are increasingly questioning General Musharraf’s contention that emergency rule was needed to help him fight terrorism. Across the country, policemen and intelligence agents have been diverted from hunting terrorists to arresting lawyers, who apparently are being assessed as the greater threat to the general’s rule.

These analysts argue that the extraordinary steps General Musharraf has taken against Pakistan’s courts and its news media will in any case have little effect in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where Al Qaeda and other groups are thriving. Federal judges have limited jurisdiction in the tribal areas and journalists are barred from traveling alone there.

Now here’s the beauty part:

On Monday, President Bush urged General Musharraf to hold elections and give up his army post, though he gave little indication of any real change in American policy, which has bankrolled Pakistan’s military with $10 billion in aid since 2001.


Anne W. Patterson, the American ambassador, complained to General Musharraf about the “extraordinarily heavy-handed measures” he had used, in particular the arrest of human rights activists. “It would be hard to imagine a group less threatening to the security of Pakistan,” she said, according to a diplomat.

Maybe our ambassador could have a talk with Dubya?

November 6th, 2007 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Terrorism

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