31 August 2005

Got HDTV, Just Need Electricity

Ann Althouse has written on the looting in New Orleans, charges of racism, and the way media presents it all. There's some excellent commentary on these matters beneath Ann's post, and it demonstrates the value of the blogopshere because the sum of the parts is greater than the Dan, Peter, or Tom Shows. Here are some highlights:

Looters were stealing food and water at times, but others were stealing TVs and clothing. Disasters like this usually bring out the very core of a person. For many, it appears, their first impulse was compassionate, even to heroism. For others, their very first consideration was what can I steal?. I think we can (and should) judge here. Such looting is wrong. It's why looters are often shot.

There is no denying the editorial filter that influences the images of looting we see. Equally, however, there is no denying that the vast majority of those looting are black. But, where I sympathize with blacks (and whites) who grasped for food and water, I feel nothing but disgust for those who took this tragic opportunity to loot so indiscriminately!

Yahoo ran one photo of a young white couple swimming along with a loaf of bread and some drinks tucked underarm, in chest-high water, with the caption "couple finds bread and soft drinks in New Orleans grocery store", and another picture of a young black man in dreadlocks, with a loaf of bread underarm, in chest high water, captioned, "man walks with bread after looting New Orleans grocery store." That's your liberal media at work!

This is horrific enough as it is. But for the armed guys running around carjacking people trying to evacuate still, or shooting at cops, or breaking into hospitals and generally being thugs, well, that's what force is for.

Isn't giving a 'pass' to people who loot unneeded items, the same as giving terrorists a pass because of "what they have been through"? Sure, I would hate being photographed doing something so abhorrent, but it wouldn't be the photograph or the circumstances that would make me hate it as much as it would be the mirror it held up to my ego-- showing me and the world exactly who I was deep down.

I was in Manhattan both during 9/11 and the last blackout. In both cases the conditions for civil breakdown were present but the mass of citizens kept it together and rose above the situation. In fact, common courtesy and neighborliness actually increased, strangers helped one another and even made eye contact! This is apparently in contrast to the blackout in the 70's. I firmly believe that the cleaned up, orderly NY of Guliani led in large part to a much lower tolerance of crime and disorder on the part of even the poorest citizens, especially in our recent crisises. Confucius observed somewhere that true order is kept by observation of taboo rather than law; that is laws can and will be broken, but a taboo is so strong that only those beyond the pale will break them.

From the Mouths of Babes

Barney Peterson of Minneapolis is either stupid or he is a child. Only the latter can be forgiven:
Thanks to President Bush and his unjust and ill-conceived war in Iraq, there are about a thousand fewer Army National Guard members in Louisiana to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Isn't the point of the National Guard to protect us at home and help out in natural disasters?

Barney Peterson, Minneapolis.
First, congrats to Barney for being the first desperate shill to link Bush, Iraq, and Katrina (he's got a chip in the ranting moonbat game now), and to the Strib for getting it in print before the rain even stopped.

Second, no Barney, the point of the National Guard is not to pick up branches and serve coffee after the storm. Since the 1903 Militia Act, it's mission is to supplement regular armed forces on the federal level. National Guard units may be made available to individual states based upon declaration of emergency by a state governor, and the reason National Guard is frequently injected into natural disasters because they are not subject to the Posse Comitatus Act, and may engage in civil law enforcement.

My bet is that Barney thinks the point of a city fire department is to rescue cats from trees. Even I knew better as a kid. Anyway, the federal government, using ample and available military resources, is not behind the curve on disaster relief, not by a long shot.
More than 9,000 National Guard members have been called to duty for hurricane relief work in those three states, Kucharek said. Tuesday, the Pentagon ordered five Navy ships and eight maritime rescue teams to the Gulf Coast to bolster relief operations. One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used for search and rescue missions, was en route from Texas. Four other vessels from Norfolk, Va., were expected to sail within 24 hours and take four days to reach the gulf, Northern Command Kucharek said. The ships will carry food, fuel, medical and construction supplies, as well as hovercraft that can be used for evacuation and search-and-rescue missions. Also Tuesday, the Coast Guard called back to duty 500 reservists as part of the hurricane response. "The biggest challenge is getting enough resources, especially helicopters and small boats to the area for the rescue work we have to do," said Lt. Gene Maestas, a Coast Guard spokesman in Washington.

30 August 2005

Storm Surge Sucks

If the owner is dead in the house, I understand. If the owner hopped in the Grand Am and left the doggy behind to fend for itself, I pray for their painful death.

29 August 2005

Shouting At The Wind

Come to my press conference. I have noting tangible to say, but I'll spout anyway, so come to my press conference:

St. Paul mayoral candidate Elizabeth Dickinson questioned Monday whether Mayor Randy Kelly could legally allow a top Xcel Energy executive to raise money for his campaign while at the same time the city is negotiating a new franchise agreement with the energy company.
Ooooooo . . . . the mayor's so busted!

Dickinson, the Green Party candidate, stopped short of accusing the mayor of breaking any laws, but said: "I think that a lot of people looking at this would say it may not pass the smell test."
That depends on who stinks, Liz baby.

St. Paul City Attorney Manuel Cervantes said "ex parte" laws apply to conversations, not social functions, fundraisers or relationships. "As long as you're not in communication about the issues that are on the franchise negotiation table, the prohibition is not in place," he said.
Darnit; non-partisan expert opinion; always a buzzkill when you're trying to play 'gotcha.'

Mary Sandok said in a statement that Xcel encourages employees to be politically active, "recognizing that such involvement is strictly voluntary and shall take place on the employee's own time."

Dickinson has made renegotiating the franchise agreement a campaign issue. This year, fees from Xcel Energy will bring about $17 million to the city, the third-largest revenue source behind property taxes and the state's local government aid. Dickinson has proposed increasing the franchise fees paid by residents to raise $1 million to $2 million, which she would use to pay for public safety.

Hate the big utility, but milk it up one side and down the other. Tax, spend, tax, spend; I've seen this movie.

Dickinson said she is not planning to make a formal complaint against Kelly or his campaign at this time.
Particularly because there's nothing to legitimate to complain about, but I seriously doubt that'll keep Liz from tilting at windmills.

I keep scouring her platform for answers to my questions. For instanace, how does one apply social and economic justice to plow the snow? How can a city implore grassroots democracy in policing the streets? Can we use ecoligical wisdom to clean the ice at the hockey arena? How do we attract jobs to Saint Paul via non-violence? Liz?

I'll keep my Randy Kelly yard sign for now, thanks.

27 August 2005

Jihad This

They've passed the 12,000-submission mark over at We're Not Afraid.

Terrorism is all about the disruption of daily life. Although the United States and other places are not lacking in spineless appeasers, who simultaneously buckle to terrorist demands and gripe about increased security, every person who chooses to carry on in defiance sticks a thumb in the eye of Islamo-fascist cavemen everywhere.

Shameless plug: Mine is in gallery #130.

Larger Trophy Case For Anfield

As they'd holler at a Topeka Corvette Club awards presentation, "More gold!"

Liverpool seem to need all the time that the rules allow. The Reds were able to snatch victory from CSKA Moscow, 3-1, to win the UEFA Super Cup. The match was eerily similar to the Champions League Final vs. AC Milan last spring, with Liverpool going throughout the motions until it was almost too late, and then exploit a snoozing side in extra time.

The man of the match was clearly Djibril Cisse, who scrounged two goals and added a perfect cross to set up Luis Garcia for the Liverpool's third. I couldn't tell from the broadcast, but it seems that the crowd in Monaco was chanting Michel Owen's name, which could be exactly what made Cisse a one-man team in the last 20 minutes.

On another note; Fulham 1, Everton 0.

25 August 2005

What Will Stick to the Wall Tonight?

What to spout about?

I'm a bit late on the bandwagon with the crooks that run Air America, but justice is catching up with them quickly. Cap'n Ed has Able Danger in hand, I'm a bit behind on the details, but I'm sure I'll be going off on Jamie Gorelick and Louis Freeh soon enough.

Not much happening with the local hockey outfit; season's still over a month away. The Reds have some time off from the EPL for Champions League qualifiers.

I suppose I can lob an easy harpoon my US Representative for being a crybaby and hypocrite. Remember when she spazzed upon learning Mark Kennedy would attend a public forum hosted by the St. Paul Hmong community? Kennedy (not McCollum) had actually gone to the refugee camps in Thailand, and his perspectives were of interest to the forum organizers. Betty flipped out, screaming that Kennedy, who represents Minnesota's 6th, was in her back yard, the 4th, ostensibly to campaign for Mark Dayton's US Senate seat. Betty contends that anytime Mark pops his head out of his house, he's campaigning.

See, Betty wants that Senate job too, so if Mark crosses some line on a map he's just not playing fair like nice boys and girls. That hardened outlook didn't get in the way of Betty soiling a perfectly good Mustang in Minneapolis' PRIDE Parade this past June 26th. Somehow, when Betty, who's running for Senate (see correction in 'comments' below), makes a public appearance in warmed-over Martin Sabo's 5th district, THAT'S perfectly fine and dandy.

Oh . . . that's right; Sabo is a Democrat stoodge, too. I guess there's no conflict there . . .

Markets Will Work If You Let Them

I miss Larry Kudlow in prime time:
Meanwhile the impact on the economy has been negligible, at least so far. And the Fed has prevented oil inflation from spreading to the rest of the economy. So much so that I think they should quit raising rates while they're ahead.
I can't get too worked up about the price of gasoline. Not yet. It's really a TeeVee news story, like a hurricane or a missing blonde white girl. I haven't been driving forever, and, of course I make more money now than in 1984, but I don't think I'm alone in realizing it's just a number, and not the punitive bite Katie Couric wants you to think it is.

23 August 2005

Donuts. Is There Anything They Can't Do?

Let's Give it up for Homer Simspon, perennial Man of the Year:

You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!

You know those balls that they put on car antennas so you can find them in the parking lot? Those should be on every car!

Marge, I'm going to miss you so much. And it's not just the sex! It's also the food preparation.

When I look at the smiles on all the children's faces, I just know they're about to jab me with something.

Whenever Marge turns on one of her "non-violent" programs, I take a walk. I go to a bar, I pound a few, then I stumble home in the mood for love.

English? Who needs that? I'm never going to England!

Or what? You'll release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouth and when they bark they shoot bees at you?

You're saying butt-kisser like it's a bad thing!

Mmmmmm - 52 slices of American cheese.

Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie, and one to listen.

If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now, quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers!

All right, let's not panic. I'll make the money by selling one of my livers. I can get by with one.

Woo hoo! 350 dollars! Now I can buy 70 transcripts of Nightline!

Son, a woman is a lot like a... a refrigerator! They're about six feet tall, 300 pounds. They make ice, and... um... Oh, wait a minute. Actually, a woman is more like a beer.

Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.

I saw this movie about a bus that had to SPEED around a city, keeping its SPEED over fifty, and if its SPEED dropped, it would explode! I think it was called "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."

I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman!

Oh, they have Internet on computers now.

Marge I swear, I never thought that you would find out.

22 August 2005

Like, Ohmigod, Gaza Settlements and, um . . .

On the ol' DirecTV dish, I used to get a channel called News World International (NWI). Its schedule featured news programs from around the world; England, Germany, Canada, Japan, etc. I took to it on September 11th, 2001, as I found the CBC's coverage to be much more reasoned and far less hyped than the drool of CNN and their clones.

I liked watching NWI because I'm interested in the daily lives of other people. That's one of the best things about traveling; getting a sense of what it's like to live here, no matter where that 'here' is. On NWI, I could see stories about commuting in Osaka, school reform in Heidelberg, the dairy business in Cardiff and so on. I don't need some pre-packaged happy-talk government-funded diversity spin to make me appreciate life in the rest of the world. I get it from my own sources.

Well, in the past few months, the channel was purchased by a group of fools led by Albert Gore, Jr., and was renamed Current TV.
Current is about what's going on. We follow the global pulse via Google Current, a real-time view of what the world's searching for, presented every half-hour around the clock. We slice the rest of the schedule into short pods -- each just a few minutes long -- that range far and wide, from international dispatches to profiles of cool people to intelligence on new trends. This is not a traditional TV network; watching Current, you'll see more, on more topics, from more points of view.
How can I describe what CurrentTV is? Try to imagine very early MTV, devoid of structure, along with a very weak news effort, mixed in with all the clumsiness or trying to create a video version of internet interactivity, and finished with incessant on-air self-congratulation for creating this lack of programming. To call it shallow and vapid doesn't begin to do it the injustice it deserves. Thanks, Al; another middle-aged guy telling youth what's good, hip and important. Believe me, this isn't a 24-7 commercial for the Democratic National Committee; this outlet is so lame, it transcends party politics.

Please enjoy this hard-hitting clip from Current TV. It'll take a second or two to load up. It is proof that there is no sense of shame anymore.

Between the Walrus and the F-Body

Happy Birthday to Sergent Pepper and the Summer of Love. Was 1967 really so long ago? It's also the 40th anniversary of those same Beatles playing The Met in Bloomington. As usual, the rube Minnesotans hardly used up the seating. Mr. Soucheray will tell you half of it was a walk-up crowd. Within a year of the sparsely-attended show, the lads would stop touring, and the tide began to recede.

Happy Birthday to the Camaro & Firebird; also products introduced as 1967 models. In that time-honored tradition of "us, too!" GM tried to build their own Mustang. Well, the genie can only leave the bottle once, but the F-body cars still proved to be both internationally notable and iconinc through their run. Then GM killed them to build a stupid cartoon truck. Nice going, waterheads.

Happy Birthday to me, by the way. I creak on for another year with minimal wear and tear. I've outlived the Camaro, but SPLHCB is surely timeless, so I guess I land somewhere in the middle. Today, the office, tonight Mexican food, tomorrow, just another day.

21 August 2005

On the Topic of Music

Because I know you come here for exceptional music recommendations, I will oblige.

I've added SomaFM to the internet radio station list on the right column. I admit I'm not clever enough to use the ACC Stream, but most channels are available as WMP. I discovered it recently when I was in a Geek Squad precinct getting my computer straightened out.

Also now to my fortress of music are the following singles:

"Copacabana" by Anderson Noise
"Neighborhood 3 (Power Out) by Arcade Fire
"Please Break My Heart" by Caitlin Carey and Thad Cockrell
"Endless Factories" by Division of Laura Lee
"Gone Darker" by Elecrtelane
"Your Little Hoodrat Friend" by The Hold Steady
"Cheap Linguistics" by Magneta Lane
"Departures" by The Karminsky Experience

I've also been wearing out the digital grooves on "Hollywood Barn Dance" by The Dave and Deke Combo, Canned Heat's eponymous 1967 release, 'cuz it's the blues.

Mother Sheehan

Mark Steyn speaks for me on Cindy Sheehan:

Casey Sheehan was a 21-year old man when he enlisted in 2000. He re-enlisted for a second tour, and he died after volunteering for a rescue mission in Sadr City. Mrs. Sheehan says she wishes she'd driven him to Canada, though that's not what he would have wished, and it was his decision.

His mother has now left Crawford, officially because her mother has had a stroke, but promising to return. I doubt she will. Perhaps deep down she understands she's a woman whose grief curdled into a narcissistic rage, and most Americans will not follow where she's gone -- to the wilder shores of anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-Iraq, anti-Afghanistan, anti-Israel, anti-American paranoia. Casey Sheehan's service was not the act of a child. A shame you can't say the same about his mom's new friends.

17 August 2005

The End of Happy Talk

There's a chance Minneapolis could turn a corner after the murder of Evelyn Geng.
The Minneapolis Police Department has a violent offender task force and a violent offender apprehension team, and the minute someone is shot, murdered or seriously assaulted, both of these teams go out and they will hunt the individuals down who did it. And we've had great success with these two units in apprehending violent offenders, and I say this as a warning to anyone who's considering, or will commit one of these crimes in the future: We will catch you. We are on the ball when it comes to tracking people down who commit these crimes, and we do it with just a little bit of information . . . So think twice before you come to Minneapolis to commit some violent crime . . . we will hunt you down if you do this (quote taken from accompanying audio clip).
I'm always told words have meaning. Let's hope so this time.

The press conference was held at the Minneapolis Urban League office, which is still a bit nonsensical, but Chief McManus' statement should offer at least some hope to anyone who lives in or visits Minneapolis. I'm pleased to hear confidence, and a perhaps a touch of hubris, from McManus; I like that in a surgeon, pilot or a chief of police.

On this situation, this issue, and at this press conference, the cowardly mayor was nowhere to be found.

UPDATE: The selective-viewing Nick Coleman is calling on the cops to get out there and crack skulls:
We all know that parts of a big city are no place for the faint of heart. But I marvel at how drug dealers can thumb their noses at the cops while law-abiding people fear for their safety and police chiefs get ticked off when community-relations meetings turn unpleasant. This is big stuff, the stuff that makes or breaks a place.
So far there's been no word on whether Coleman ran his initiative by the inner-city aplogists and chronic crime enablers before letting it out of the barn.

16 August 2005

Show Me The Way To Go Home

Will the last biker to leave Gunners please turn out the lights?

Yea, Bill, If Only

Ed Morrissey fisks Bubba after his latest revision of history:
"I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole," Clinton tells New York magazine this week. "Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early."

"I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11," he added. "But it certainly would have complicated it.”

"I always thought that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did."

Clinton has tried on more than one occasion to adapt history to make his eight-year turn in the White House something more than a paean to lost time while Islamofascists gained ground. This particular effort fails miserably, mostly due to the efforts of the 9/11 Commission, which detailed exactly when the FBI and CIA made their determination that al-Qaeda had executed the attack on the Cole. On pages 192-3, the report shows that Clinton still had two months left in his presidency when that determination was made.
The whole post is worth your time.

It's All About the Children

I was afraid that the union thugs from Big Education might be spending too much time on educator development, childhood learning issues, you know; minding their own store. Now, thankfully, they're back on track putting union ahead of everything:
ST. PAUL (AP) - Teachers unions in Minneapolis and St. Paul are urging their members not to shop at Wal-Mart for back-to-school supplies because they say the retail giant doesn't pay its workers enough. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers is considering whether to stop reimbursing members for school supplies bought at Wal-Mart.
I wonder if that's legal. If you are a teacher, do you have to bend over for union activism?

"This is the beginning of a much more in-depth education program, in which we tell our members why and what Wal-Mart does - not just to small towns, but to workers,'' said Louise Sundin, president of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.
No, you stoodge, this is about crumbling labor. This is about Big Education carrying the water for the United Food & Commercial Worker's union, who are batting about .019 against Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart called boycott is a "smear campaign'' stemming from unsuccessful attempts to unionize its employees. Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogelman said the chain helps teachers by selling school supplies at low cost. "This shouldn't be about politics,'' Fogelman said. "This should be about how you can best equip teachers for the classroom.''
I'm no fan of Wal-Mart, which I need not even raise to make the point that this is a preposterous use of taxpayer-subsidized union muscle.

Schools, teachers and the educational establishment are, in general, hyper-sensitive to esteem issues and hurt-feeling potential. That's why Minneapolis public schools gives free breakfast and lunch to everyone (can't stigmatize the poor) and the NCAA tells schools what they can and cannot call themselves (Forget what the Seminole Tribe says, we know better). How would you like to be a kid whose parent(s) works for Wal Mart and have them demonized by a teacher on a holier-than-thou power trip.

Hey, union goons, hate Wal-Mart all you want. Just do it on your own time, and on your own dime.

Yellow Journalism 101

Today's lesson: How to bury the lead by the Associated Press' Leslie Miller:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Babies have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the nation because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."

It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have their babies' passports and other documents faxed. Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving. "I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," said Sanden, a Minnesota native. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."
See, see, see what that evil Patriot Act has done? Babies cannot board flights without onerous and unreasonable background checks! Where is our freedom? Where are our rights?

The government's no-fly lists have grown markedly since the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the lists don't provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can get caught up in the security sweep.
OK, let me get this one straight, the ACLU wants MORE data collected about airline travelers?

That can happen even if the person happens to be a baby such as Sanden's daughter. Children younger than 2 don't need tickets, but Sanden purchased one for her daughter to ensure she had a seat. "It was bizarre," Sanden said. "I was hugely pregnant, and I was like, 'We look really threatening.' "
Earlier, Sanden said she understood the point of increased security. I guess she forgot about the part where not 'looking threatening' doesn't mean a thing.

Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month while departing from Washington Dulles International Airport. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the government list. They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took a half-hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.

Well-known people such as Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and David Nelson, who starred in the sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," also have been stopped in airport security checks. The government has sought to improve its process for checking passengers since Sept. 11. But for now, airlines still have the duty to check passengers' names against those supplied by the government.
See, see, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Haliburton, Patriot Act, all bad, bad, bad.

What, there's more to the story?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which administers the list, instructs airlines not to deny boarding to children under 12 -- or select them for extra security checks -- even if their names match those on a list. But it happens anyway, according to Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association.
Wow. Surprise ending. The AIRLINES are screwing rover on this one. The big, heartless, unaccountable TSA says let junior board the plane, no questions asked, but it's United, Delta, Northwest, etc., that are dropping the ball.

There you go class; make sure the smoking gun is in the last graph.

15 August 2005

You Think You Had A Hard Day?

Good journalism puts you there: Michael Yon is in Mosul:
Deuce Four is an overwhelmingly aggressive and effective unit, and they believe the best defense is a dead enemy. They are constantly thinking up innovative, unique, and effective ways to kill or capture the enemy; proactive not reactive. They planned an operation with snipers, making it appear that an ISF vehicle had been attacked, complete with explosives and flash-bang grenades to simulate the IED. The simulated casualty evacuation of sand dummies completed the ruse.

The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the "casualties," "abandoning" the burning truck in the traffic circle. The enemy took the bait. Terrorists came out and started with the AK-rifle-monkey-pump, shooting into the truck, their own video crews capturing the moment of glory. That's when the American snipers opened fire and killed everybody with a weapon. Until now, only insiders knew about the AK-monkey-pumpers smack-down.
Read the whole thing.

Go Midgets!

I did not photoshop this.

14 August 2005

Tee Vee

I have a nice television set, and I subscribe to DirectTV. That being said, TV is full of crap. From the vapid bleats of supposed journalists, to the glorification of the intellectually bankrupt, TV sucks.

Anyway, in spite of my wide paint brush, I am absolutely thrilled that the Discovery Channel has added Top Gear from the BBC. It's got all the depth and humor of proper British auto journals, and it's far more relevant to US audiences than most network idiots might comprehend. Along with American Hot Rod, American Chopper, Monster Garage and the like, Discovery is giving the all NASCAR Channel a run for my motorlust viewing. Old as it is, I still laugh when Jeremy Clarkson (channeling Groundskeeper Willie) refers to the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Also, there are few people who carry such disdain for everything celebrity like me, but I've found myself a bit disarmed by My Life on the D-List, which is a more-or-less reality series about the life of comedian Kathy Griffin. She's pretty level-headed, and it's interesting watching her navigate all the petty and moronic hell that is the entertainment industry.

Don't watch more TV. Just look at the 'better' TV.

Hyper-Observation Boy Strikes Again

On the way back from Sabbath Errands, I happen to see this Blast from the Past parked at an antique shop at the end of our block.

It caught my eye for three reasons: It had collector plates, it's a doggone rare specimin as we plunge deeper into the 21st century, and because I used to drive one. I was once the pilot of a '74 Mustang II for much of my high school years and a bit beyond. Mine was The Shit: Robin's egg-blue with navy rally stripes, that goofy German V6 from the Capri, a white vinyl roof, Cragar SS rims with whitewalls, and the dealer-installed vanity mirror from Bison Ford in (at the time) Havre, Montana. I once drove it all the way to Kansas City to swap out the 4.10 rear end for a more-reasonable 3.63(?) application.

Ultimately, it was a serious piece of crap, and the very epitome of the dulled senses of the terribly confused and adrift American auto industry in the mid-70's, but mine was the ultimate polished turd; the finest example or its breed everywhere it went.

This one was parked in in fron of a 4-door VW Golf, which is pretty close to the dimensions of my 337. I was pretty amazed how low and long the Mustang was. For a car based on the Pinto, it had a lot of hood.

High Mileage Doggy

Happy Birthday to Bailey. Twelve years is a pretty good run for a dog that weighs more than 6 pounds. In terms of gray squirrel tormenting, she doesn't have the Whit Bazemore-like hole shot anymore, but she's ours and we ain't tradin' her. Bailey's, uh, Grandma sent a generous card from Kailua commemorating the event, and we all went to Battle Creek Park, which has a great off-leash area. We got to sniff dozens of others, and then we went to Petco for kau kau and crickets. Baily got a special bone that takes her old dog teeth into account, and she loved every bite.

Bailey is a big reason I married the gal I did. The Mrs. got the dog a few months before she found me. Baily was plenty protective for a Golden Retriever, growling at most males that breached the perimeter, but immediately sat on my lap when I came calling. The rest is history.

Oh yeah; it's world-class summer perfect on the Tundra today. After running around a lot between 9:45 AM and 2:30 PM; it's now summer cocktail time: Tequila for the Mrs., and Jim Beam for me.

12 August 2005

Wide World of Stuff

ITEM-Beavers; who gets 'em?
Their lake, located about 45 kilometres southeast of Whitehorse, disappeared overnight and people who prided themselves on their waterfront properties have been left high and dry. Cal Waddington's neighbours called him on Thursday night to tell him the lake was disappearing.
ITEM-Connecting the dots over at the UN:
This week’s report gives details of repeated meetings not only with AMEP’s president but also with Fred Nadler, a close friend of Mr Sevan’s revealed by the new report to be a director of AMEP as well. Mr Nadler controlled a Swiss bank account in a shell company’s name. Pennies off each barrel of oil sold by AMEP under the oil-for-food scheme went to the Swiss account, says the report, and money was withdrawn from it when Mr Sevan and/or Mr Nadler were in Geneva. Soon after, large sums of cash—mostly $100 bills—were paid into Mr Sevan’s American accounts. The Volcker committee thus claims a “reasonable sufficiency” of evidence that Mr Sevan was on the take. An American criminal investigation may now see if it can indict him.
ITEM-Michael Owen may get hisself back in the Premireship through a side door. Souness has got to get something going without Craig Bellamy and Darren Ambrose. I go back and forth on Newcastle. Seems like Spurs are easier to back for a mid-table side.

ITEM-The overall economic picture is looking pretty good, in spite of oil futures and Iraq, but that doesn't mean that the news made it to Moscow. Perhaps they really are Third World:

Is it all so bad with the US infrastructure? George W. Bush released the key statement, which dotted all i's at this point: the law is meant to generate more jobs and give an incentive to the economic development of the USA.

The triumphant leader of the world's strongest superpower would never utter such words. The above-mentioned statements from the American president do not characterize the USA as a great empire. Quite on the contrary, the White House is desperately looking for measures to find employment for crowds of unemployed American citizens and hungry migrants, which threaten to enrage the rest of the States.
I have to go now. There are crowds of unemployed American citizens and hungry immigrants coming down the street, and they threaten to enrage my neighbors.

09 August 2005

What a Day.

STS-114 returns with crew and vehicle intact. Gene William Mauch leaves us to carry on without him, and 15 years ago today, it was a bad day to be in Kuwait.

I didn't get up to watch Discovery land. Turns out it was both dark at Edwards AFB (bad TV), and it was being incessantly narrated by Charles Gibson (even worse TV).

Gene Mauch was the manager of the local 9 when I began to take interest in baseball. He loved the suicide squeeze when Rod Carew was on 3rd base, and he was the first guy to which I actively listened in order to confirm or deny my own observations; something I use Roger Ebert, Jacques Lemaire and Joe Soucheray for today.

With regards to the imperialistic invasion of Kuwait, the slaughter Kuwaiti citizens and the defiance of the emasculated UN, those events are worth remembering, especially since there are so many who continue to apologize to Saddam Hussein for his move from throne to spider hole.

Christopher Hitchens has some honest reflection around this:
The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East?
The answer, sadly, is that some people are so consumed by hate for the president, they will stomp and eat their own in order to keep some distance between him and success.

06 August 2005

Anything is Possible.

Leave it to big media to just not get it: KMOX is dropping the Cardinals after 52 years. I don't live in Missouri, nor am I necessarily a Cardinals fan, but I do have reverence for American Heritage.

For much of the 20th century, and long before there the Royals, Twins, Rangers or Rockies, a Cardinals game on AM 1120 WAS major league baseball for an enormous part of the central United States. At night, when they turned the wick up, you could get the Red Birds from north Texas to southern Minnesota, and from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

I can't think of a much more romantic notion that a ball game on AM radio. Whether you're a farmer in a tractor all day, a trucker crossing the plains, or a traveler on a train with a transistor radio pressed to an ear, a ball game on the radio lets you know that no matter where you are, you're not alone. You are here at the park, and part of America.

Baseball on radio is the epitome of theater of the mind, and that's why the great radio announcers, like Jack Buck pictured above, were such artists. They understood the precious balance of what needed to be related and what had to be left to the imagination.

But to hell with all that. Infinity Broadcasting, who owns KMOX (and Twins broadcaster WCCO in Minneapolis) has no interests beyond the pennies they pinch. More big media clenching tighter to every little scrap, only to have more audience slipping away. And the frauds in the MLB office in New York don't care either. If the Cards aren't on KMOX's flamethrower (the station they will likely move to has a much weaker pattern) that just means more people will buy satellite radio solutions, in which MLB has a vested interest.

The bottom line is that the bigger and fatter and cushier and more self-important you become, the more impossible and unlikely it is that you will retain a connection with, or relate to, the very audience you are charged with serving.

It'd be easy to hang all this on Clinton-era F.C.C. lunacy, but I'm so tired of Bubba and his non-legacy that I'm loathe to have brought it up. Sorta.

05 August 2005

A New Breed of Criminal.

Many years ago, I dated a girl who, through no active or passive act on her part, found herself the owner of a yellow-over-white 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible. It was no 442, and it was not perfect, but it was cool, and quite a non-typical ride for a high school student in the mid-80's. After about 7 months, including a summer, she got rid of it for, uh, something else. For her, the Olds was big and used too much gas. When she unloaded it for a terribly plain, downright sad, and power-free alternative, she couldn't have been more pleased. For me it was the beginning of the end of us.

In her brain, there was not one receptor for appreciation of the uniqueness of individual automobiles, and I can accept that. Not everyone has that gene. At least she sold it to someone who would love it, and did not intentionally send it to it's premature and calculated death:
"I want to see the grille smashed to pieces in the first hit," Neubauer said. "I want to destroy the car for some reason." Yeah, you heard him right. The Edsel's an American gladiator, not some elegant dinosaur trotted out for parade duty. Jaye Neubauer's Edsel is ready for demolition derby. The collector car and 17 others from the tail-fin era will fight to the death in a clash of the sheet-metal titans tonight as a rare twist on a grandstand favorite -- the smash-'em-up demolition derby -- gets underway at the Pine County fairgrounds in Pine City.
Jay Neubauer needs a swift and sure adjustment. Not only has he forfeited his membership in male society, he has forever made himself an enemy of car people everywhere.

There are few situations on Earth as tragic as classic cars falling into the hands of those who, not only don't appreciate them, but would seek their irreparable destruction. Hey, Jay, smash something that no one will ever miss, you idiot, and one day, when you arrive at the pearly gates, don't be surprised when you are turned away with extreme prejudice.

Dogs and Cats, Living Together

Silly Season is unusually silly this year for obvious resons. The newsworthy moves, so far (if you ask me) are Paul Kariya to Nashville, Nikolai Khabibulin and Jim Dowd to Chicago, Alexi Zhamnov and Brian Leetch to Boston, Jeremy Roenick to Los Angeles, Pierre Turgeon to Colorado, Michael Peca and Chris Pronger to Edmonton, Sergai Gonchar to Pittsburgh, Derian Hatcher, Mike Rathje, Chris Therien and Floppa to Philadelphia, Miroslav Satan to the Islanders, Bobby Holik to Atlanta, Tony Amonte and Darren McCarty to Calgary, Adam Foote to Columbus, Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts to Florida, and Jeff O'Neill to Toronto.

04 August 2005

Europe: Right Into the EU Crapper.

The reports of the death of Soviet Union-style heavy-handedness seem premature:
Under the EU's Optical Radiation Directive, employers of staff who work outdoors, including those in Bavaria's beer gardens, must ensure they cover up against the risk of sunburn.
Oh, Lord, the world is fast running out of places to which I'm willing to vacation.
Employers now face heavy fines if they fail to protect their workers from the threat of sunburn or skin cancer.
Because, of course, there can be no freedoms or responsibility left to the individual. That is not good for the common collective, comrade.
The directive was initially accused of outlawing bare-chested British builders. But Britain opted out of signing it, arguing that it was up to employees and employers to use their common sense to guard against the sun.
Thanks to Great Britain for deciding not to play such ridiculous state-deifying games.

You Airline Pilots All Look Alike.

An airplane takes off from the airport. The captain is Jewish and the first officer is Chinese. It's the first time they've flown together and it's obvious by the silence that they don't get along.

After thirty minutes, the Jewish Captain speaks, "I don't like Chinese." The First Officer replies, "Ooooh, no like Chinese? Why ees that?" The Captain says, "You bombed Pearl Harbor. That's why I don't like Chinese." The First Officer says, "Noooo, noooo.... Chinese not bomb Pearl Harbah. That Japanese, not Chinese." And the Captain answers, "Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese... it doesn't matter, they're all alike."

Another thirty minutes of silence. Finally the First Officer says, "No like Jew." The Captain replies, "Why not? Why don't you like Jews?" The First Officer says, "Jews sink Titanic." The Captain tries to correct him, "No, no. The Jews didn't sink the Titanic. It was an iceberg." The First Officer replies," Iceberg, Goldberg, Rosenberg, no mattah. All same."

03 August 2005

More Deafening Silence.

Big Media, where art thou?
If a conservative radio network had been entangled in a scam to steal from black children to line the pockets of wealthy white con artists, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would already be staging hunger strikes in protest. But both have hefty political and financial stakes in Air America's success -- and the big mouths aren't about to badmouth their friends.
Just goes to show ya, there is no scandal where you are among the Correct of Thought.

Mao Couldn't Have Died Soon Enough.

During the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao's Red Guards killed pet dogs by the tens of thousands, seeing them as symbols of the pampered bourgeoisie his Communist regime was out to eradicate.
I hope and pray that murdering megalomaniac is spinning in his grave; dog ownership is on the rise in China.
Shanghai is now home to more than 100,000 licensed pooches. The Shanghai Jinli Pet Company, one of the city's oldest, offers breeds like the Welsh Corgi for $1,800 — five times the annual income of an average Chinese farmer. Although small dogs are more prevalent due to the city's cramped living quarters, a massive Saint Bernard comes to Naughty Pets for his biweekly pedicure, trailed by a maid whose primary job appears to be wiping away his slobber with a towel.
Nice logic you commie stoodges: Exterminate the dog as a symbol of power and pampered elitism, and replace it with the state, making it the very embodiment of power and pampered elitism.

02 August 2005

Why They Keep Losing.

Clueless and barking about it. Here's a howler from the DNC:

To: National Desk, Education and Political reporter

Contact: Josh Earnest of the Democratic National Committee; 202-863-8148

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 /U.S. Newswire/The following is a fact sheet released today by the Democratic National Committee:

The White House this weekend announced that President Bush received good news during his annual physical. Doctors pronounced the President to be in "superior" physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine. While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.
Nice logic dummy. Do you expect me to believe Bush is in good physical health because there's some Department of Education budgetary line item that makes staff and facilities available to him six out of every seven days? Bush is in shape because he gets out of the chair and Just Does It.
"President Bush's has dropped the ball when it comes to fully funding physical education in public schools and women's athletic programs at the college level," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Josh Earnest. "His personal habits indicate that physical fitness is not just fun and games for him. Don't our kids deserve the same opportunities to be physically fit? President Bush should stop running from his responsibility and make sure that all American children have access to physical fitness programs."
Clearly Bush is preventing all children from running aroung the neighborhood, or riding their bikes. Bush's failure to provide soft carpets to all Americans mean that no child can possibly do push-ups or sit-ups. Also, since the Republicans now control everything, and no child has any access to music or devices that play music, how are youth supposed to do any calisthenics, aerobics, pilates, yoga, etc.
Doctors gave President Bush a clean bill of health in his annual checkup this weekend and White House spokesperson Dana Perino proclaimed him to be "in superior health." However, America's youth are not so lucky. While obesity has been declared an epidemic in this country, Bush's education policy is putting children at risk with cuts in physical education and school athletic programs.
If only Bush would stop funding the programs that force Fritos and Mountain Dew onto children. If only he'd grant travel permits to parents so that they may travel to grocery stores, where quality food is available, often 24 hours a day.
The Bush Administration's Education Department quietly issued a new clarification of the regulations interpreting Title IX. The new rules allow colleges to demonstrate that they are satisfying the demand for women's sports with an online survey showing that female students have no unmet sports interests. Even if the non-response rate is high in the survey, non-response is to be interpreted as a lack of interest according to the Education Department.
So there's no web access on college campuses? Uh-huh, riiiiiight . . . Furthermore, everyone knows that without NCAA sports programs, there is not one single opportunity for casual or organized athletic activity for any college student. How arrogant to suggest that people actually attempt to organize their own softball league, Frisbee golf event, or (gasp!) swim meet.
The Rate Of Childhood Obesity Has Skyrocketed In Recent Years. The rate of childhood obesity has skyrocketed in recent years, and more than 9 million children over age 6 are now considered overweight. The rapid rise has alarmed public health experts, because overweight children are far more likely to develop health problems. Currently, the U.S. government estimates that 30 percent of the nation's kids are overweight or on their way to being too heavy.
Again, Bush's fault: Manditory TV watching (part of the Patriot Act), outdoor activities forbidden, and free donuts from Haliburton for everyone under 12 all contribute to this.

Hey you DNC/Dean/Moonbats, grow some policy. Pitch some ideas. Propose an agenda. Drum up some legislation. Conjure an original thought. Your unique combination of hollow rhetoric, false hysteria and overall insanity are sinking your ship, and your presumption . . . no, your outright demand that the nation be enslaved by what trickles to it from the federal government is insulting.

All your bleats about GITMO and whether the butterscotch ice cream is naturally flavored. Or the weeping over Ashcroft, and how he forced Blockbuster to fax a list of all your rentals straight to Langley. Rove, Rove, Rove,; he's so white, male, and clever. It's all about the straw-man scandals because you haven't got anything else to talk about.

You DNC types are always the ones who claim Bush is stupid and incapable of doing the job. At least make him have to work at it to see if you're right.

UPDATE: Powerline is runnning on the same tracks.

Smartass or Dumbass; You Decide!

Arthur Weinrab at Canada Free Press fisks his Home and Native Land:

Incidents like these, if they continue, will likely do more harm to tourism in this city than the occasional shoot out at Yonge and Dundas or the necessity of tourists having to step over homeless people when they choose to walk rather than sit in cars on our gridlocked streets. Toronto is spending big bucks on tourism. Despite the stupidity of the campaign being centered on Toronto’s new slogan, "Toronto Unlimited", much like the movie, "Plan 9 from Outer Space" it is likely to be effective because it is so bad. But all this public relations work will be for nothing if silly and ridiculous incidents like banning Miss Universe or the removal of the offending t shirt wearers from a professional baseball game continue to happen.

Read the whole thing.

Cement-Head Love.

The Wild have signed Andrei Nazarov. With Matt Johnson out of action (and his contract bought out), and admitting that his slugger shoulder wouldn't be up to the task, the Wild needed a tough guy at left wing. Nazarov has size and toughness, but he's no hockey player. Not that Johnson was a some kind of Steve Yzerman, but he did have 7 goals, one assist, and was +4 in the last full season.

Nazarov is a journeyman enforcer, but in my analysis, was often the kind of dirty player that made you keep a Matt Johnson on your team. So far, the Wild haven't had a Peter Worrell, Reed Low, or Jody Shelley type; guys who just skate around crashing into things. Nazarov might be that, or, possibly, could he be schooled in productive offence by Lamaire? I dunno.

I had expected Derek Boogaard to move up fro Houston. Perhaps the team is hedging their bets by having two players available in camp to see who emerges. There's a reason Doug Risebrough is the GM and not me. We'll see what Andrei can do, but so far, I'm having a hard time warming up to out new wrecking ball.

We Get the Splash.

Rep. Betty McCollom (D-MN); loser:

Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republicans' presumptive frontrunner, backed out of a forum with Hmong leaders in St. Paul this week after Democrats complained Monday that it would be a congressionally funded campaign event. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat who represents St. Paul, threatened to complain to the House ethics committee, citing House rules that limit the use of congressional funds and staff time to support "duties to the district from which elected."

Kennedy, who represents a district northwest of the Twin Cities, announced Friday that he would hold a public forum in St. Paul to discuss his recent trip to a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand. Kennedy spokeswoman Anne Mason said his Washington office made a "verbiage error" in saying he would hold the meeting; in fact, she said, he had merely been invited to attend by Hmong leaders who briefed him before his State Department-sponsored tour of Asia.

That account was supported by Xa Vang of the Hmong American Mutual Assistance Association. "The Hmong people wanted to find out what he learned," Vang said. "If the congresswoman is not happy, we can choose a different site."
Emphasis above is mine. You know what Betty, if they wanted you, they'd have asked for you. But they didn't, you fraud. Stop with the childish, playground-snitch tactics. By the way, when's the last time you spend 5 minutes in your district?
Xang Vang, whose group Hmong American Mutual Assistance Association had invited Kennedy to participate, said he was unhappy Kennedy was canceling. "The big fish fight with the big fish and we get the splash," he said.
Wouldn't it be a nicer world if Betty's attitude was something along the lines of "Hey, Representative Kennedy went to Thailand, and the Hmong want to hear about it. Good for them. I hope it's a nice meeting and the coffee's good." Instead she has to revert to some cowardly territorial pissing exercise.

See, being a Democrat these days means you put the party ahead of everything. As a member of the Uber Correct, you place your own Senate dreams ahead of the interests of constituents. To hell with the concerns of the Hmong community, there's a Senate seat out there, right Betty?

01 August 2005

Customer Service Autopsy

A few months ago, I got a letter from T-Mobile that said they were making upgrades to their text and voice messaging infrastructure. They said that the model of phone I carried (among a few others) would not be able to take advantage of the new features. I wasn't going to be cut off, but they said I should consider a new phone. OK, my handset was over 3 years old. Seems like a good time to upgrade.

I looked at the T-Mobile's website to see what they were offering. I liked the Motorola operating system, and thought it'd be smart to get something Bluetooth. I hang onto phones for a while, so I might as well go cutting edge. They had one (at the time) that fit my criteria; the Motorola A630. Trouble is, it's was too gimmicky for me. It's like carrying around an ASCII keyboard. I'm not a ringtone guy, or a camera guy. I'll throw a text out there, but I don't instant message, or any of that other teenage-girl stuff. When I called T-Mobile's 800 number to ask about other options, they said there was no hurry for me to change phones, because the text and voice messaging changes would come over a few months, and by then they'd have more phone choices.

Over the summer, T-Mobile added the unremarkable Motorola V330, which was much closer to what I would carry around. On their website, they wanted $169 for it (now $99), which seemed like a lot, and that was a new-service price. I was not 'new service,' so my price would be over $200. That bummed me out since I had been with them for 6 years, going back to VoiceStream, and Aerial before that.

Out of the blue (?) I get an e-mail at work from Cingular that says I can get good deals on phones and service since my employer has a business relationship with 'em. I went through most of the ordering process to find out what my cost would be. By now T-Mobile had dropped the A630, added the Motorola V3, allegedly the coolest phone on Earth if you care about such things.

On July 22nd, I called T-Mobile's 800 number, and spoke to Mary. I asked her about upgrading my phone to something Bluetooth. She said I could have the V330 for $221. The V3 was backordered, would be so for 2 weeks, and she didn't even have a price for me. "Hottest phone in the world," she told me. Like I care about that. Remember, T-Mobile is the entity encouraging this upgrade process. I asked why my cost on the V330 would be so much. She said my plan (300 minutes/$29) didn't qualify me for any equipment discount. Not wanting to play my nearly-unheard-of-tenure card, I literally asked her what was in it for me to remain with T-Mobile. She had no answer, but I had mine.

I immediately placed my order with Cingular, got 50% more minutes, with rollover, for the same monthly rate I had with T-Mobile, and a black V3 (the hottest phone in the world!) for $150. Once the phone arrived and I got my existing number ported over to Cingular, I called T-Mobile to give them the hook. Not surprisingly, a very polite and seemingly sincere guy named Mark pleaded with me to stay, offering me 50 more minutes a month(rah rah), and a V3 (amazingly now available) for $100. He said that as a 6-year customer, my business was greatly valued by T-Mobile. Know what? Tell it to Mary, who, last week, didn't give a shit about my 6 years on behalf of all of Deutsche Telecom.

I'm sometimes loyal to a fault. I've let personal relationships cloud my personal financial decisions, but that's very much on the wane. Life's too short and expensive for bad decisions and fiscal folly. I will not eat your phony focus group-tested tripe. I will not go to your lousy theater to be greeted by sullen, teenage employees and stale popcorn. I will not drive any of your rental car-grade snoozemobiles. If you don't have something to offer me that goes above and beyond the norm, how can you expect me to stick around or be interested?

I am diggin' the new phone.

Where Did Your Tsunami Donation Go?

Are you sure?
Relief money had become the "primary source" of income for two militant groups, including one founded by a Muslim cleric serving a prison sentence in connection with the Bali bombing in 2002 in which more than 200 people were killed.
I'm reminded of this, which is a few months old, but still worth recalling:

Five hundred containers, representing one-quarter of all aid sent to Sri Lanka since the tsunami hit on Dec. 26, are still sitting on the dock in Colombo, unclaimed or unprocessed.

At the Indonesian port of Medan, 1,500 containers of aid are still sitting on the dock.

Right now you've looking through your pockets for a reciept, right?

Didn't think so.