30 December 2006

What Time is it?

Trial lawyer/ladder climber/senator dude John Edwards has essentially been under a rock since going down in John Kerry's flames in '04. He's done nothing for (or to) this nation for a few years, except for having his lackeys try to snatch a PlayStation 3 from Wal-Mart (who he frequently beats in public), but now - tick tock - it's time to run for president!

Ravenscroft Dog Farm-approved economist and pundit Lawrence Kudlow is not impressed:

He's recycling an old page from the liberal Democratic playbook, saying that he wants to make fighting poverty the great moral issue of our time. He says he'll accomplish this by taxing the rich in order to help the poor. Oh, really?

Edwards forgets that entrepreneurs, not government, create long-lasting jobs and growth. Rather than government spending, it is economic freedom, through a strong incentive structure inside a market economy, that opens the door to new opportunities so that the non-rich can get rich.

Edwards doesn't understand that without incentives to reward successful investing, entrepreneurship and risk-taking, everyone gets poorer -- right on down the line. Additional investment taxing is precisely the wrong policy to improve wealth or poverty.

More From the Elusive Bob Wodward

Scrappleface has it:
Reporter Bob Woodward said today he would soon allow his Washington Post editors to publish a secret interview he did in 2005 with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in which the dictator questioned U.S. President George Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq.

Mr. Woodward, who recently permitted his employer to publish a similar covert interview with the late former President Gerald Ford, said Mr. Hussein agreed to the no-holds-barred chat on the condition that the transcript be embargoed until after he “retired from public life,” which he did earlier today.

Mr. Woodward said he would not comment on rumors that he will soon publish interviews with singers James Brown and Lou Rawls, cartoonist Joseph Barbera, actors Don Knotts, Jack Palance, Glenn Ford, June Allyson, Dennis Weaver, Shelley Winters and Jane Wyatt, as well as Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and sportscaster Curt Gowdy, all of whom died in 2006 and may have been secretly critical of Mr. Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq.

Oh Happy Day

Whaddaya think, dear; should we take the dog for a walk? Wanna go on a picnic? A bike ride?

Reports of violent crime in Minneapolis rose 17 percent through Monday, compared with the same time in 2005, driven by a continued proliferation of aggravated assaults and robberies. The year-end number of homicides, aggravated assaults and robberies will be the highest since 1997. And the department's Fourth Precinct, which makes up the North Side, is again facing double-digit-percentage increases in overall serious crime reports.

However, the city's 17 percent increase in violent crime is a far smaller surge than the 36 percent spike reported through May.

Oh, well THAT'S good news.

In St. Paul, estimated-crime reports through November showed increases in rape and robbery compared with a full year of data in 2005. But homicides were at 16 through Thursday, compared with 23 in 2005. In Minneapolis, serious crime, which includes the violent crime categories plus theft, arson and burglary, increased 4.3 percent this year. So far this year, there have been 59 homicides compared with 49 in 2005.
Using the term "Twin Cities" will be a felony when I'm governor. All they have in common is a river and an interstate freeway.

Donald R. Johnson was one of the city's 3,040 reported robbery victims in Minneapolis this year. The 53-year-old North Side resident walked over to his niece's house on Christmas Eve to pick up some leftover Swedish meatballs and spaghetti when a teenager stuck a gun in his back at 14th and Emerson Avenues N. (Johnson said) he still feels safe in his neighborhood and joked that he should know better than "to walk around before Christmas because robbers think you have money."
This makes me so mad. I'm sick of hearing crooks, victims, mayors and cops all saying something to the effect of "that wouldn't have happened had the victim not been in that part of town at that hour blah, blah blah. Bullshit.

No one walking down any public street at any time deserves or is asking to get robbed, beaten, stomped, hassled, anything. Being safe in ones person is far more an important a civil right that some after-school program, neighborhood redevelopment coordination, or minimum-wage posturing otherwise so famous in Murderapolis.

On Oldie But Goodie

29 December 2006

You Lose

Ha ha; you suck, also.

After further review . . . the Columbus Blue Jackets are stilly pissy whiners.

Ding Dong

Trash taken to curb, reading from right to left.

28 December 2006

Redefining 'Effective Outcome'

The Ethiopian Army seems to have (mostly) done in a few days what the United Nations could not do in 12 years. Captain Ed is all over it:
Ethiopia had no intent to allow the Islamists to give tit-for-tat terrorist responses to measured military action, and the Islamists quit when they started dying in droves. In fact, they quit so fast, they literally left their last holdout completely undefended. By late last night, the former leaders of the UIC had to ask them to return to their posts just so the new internationally-recognized government could take over without any power vacuum. They were too late; their Shebab (youth) armies had already stripped off their makeshift uniforms and blended back into the civilian population.

This loss crushes the reputation of the Islamists as dedicated to fighting to the death. They will if they see an advantage in it, and that advantage has been gained by Western reluctance to fight an all-out war against them. Ethiopia, after having been threatened by both a traditional attack from Somalia and a guerilla/terrorist war, responded with overwhelming force, and they crumbled. Somewhere there is a lesson for the West.
Another example of uneducated, immature Islamist mutants trying to take over the world.

Another Triumph for Socialized Medicine

Feeling ill? Something amiss on the insides? Please come the the most glorious peoples socialist government medical clinic facility for free cures for all that ails you.

What? You can't fix me? But I'm El Presidente . . .
A renowned Spanish surgeon has been rushed to Cuba to treat ailing leader Fidel Castro, a Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday. Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, traveled to the Caribbean island on Thursday aboard an aircraft chartered by the Cuban government, according to Spain's left-leaning El Periodico de Catalunya newspaper.
What's wrong with all the thousands of qualified Cuban doctors? Oh - ain't got none? Well, at least the peoples most glorious national health care system has all the facilities an ailing despot needs, right?

The plane carried medical equipment not available in Cuba in case the leader needs further surgery due to his progressively failing health, the newspaper reported.

Cuban embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

What a shocker . . .

27 December 2006

Schaudenfraude

I don't know whether I should feel this or rather pity for Senator Kerry, who looked like a kid on his first day at a new school. I'm not sure what kind of a reception he expected to receive here given his "botched joke" before the election, but I'm debating whether to give him points for having the chutzpah to come to Iraq.

26 December 2006

Poindexter's Holiday Revelation

I sometimes worry about my own social devolution.

Five days a week, I work in a windowless room surrounded by humming machines and often go for hours without human interacion. When it comes to problem solving or workflow choices, I defer to the way silicon-based life prefers to work, rather than the way carbon-based life would prefer.

Fast-forward to late December 2006, where I'll spend 15 full days out of that digital domain, in in the otherwise normal world of other people. Good news; it seems to be working out.

Like most everyone else, I had a pre-holiday blast of preperation. In a two-day span I visited a Petco for grooming, a Kinko's/FedEx for printing, a few conveniece stores for gasoline and Ding-Dong's, a not-so-greasy spoon for a civilized breakfast, a Barnes & Noble for foreign press, two manic grocery stores so the 'fridge looked full, a yuppie wine shop, and an auto-parts store for a Sylvania Silver Star that was being run by a very cheerful José all by himself. There was half a day of furniture shuffling in there as well; it's all sorta fuzzy.

Anyway, I was not only pleased to have herded all these cats into the proper pens, but to have really enjoyed doing it all. At every point of commerce, I encountered really happy people that were fun to interact with, and ruining the stereotype of the bitter service employee.

So for Christmas 2006, I got time with family and friends, some nifty gifts, and best of all, I found the spirit of the holiday in semi-anonymous others; others whom, by virtue of my day job, I sometimes fear losing touch.

Carry on . . .

25 December 2006

Christmas is Where You Are

Maybe you're at home with family. Maybe you're driving a bus. Maybe you're stuck in Denver, getting flogged by the diseased airline industry. Wherever you are, it' still Christmas, as evidenced by these photographs.

Happy Christmas, Y'all

Neil Young, "Heart of Gold."

23 December 2006

Right on Target

Holidays in Hell:
Target, the retailer that distinguished itself last year by banning Salvation Army bell-ringers, has topped itself this yuletide by selling Che Guevara CD cases for a little tyrant-chic right under your tree. The big box retailer has jumped onto the Guevara bandwagon, selling the murderous revolutionary's image as if it had just turned its stores into Marxist rally stalls.

What next? Hitler backpacks? Pol Pot cookware? Pinochet pantyhose? Target gives this monster a pass, while using common sense on almost everything else it sells.
It's really hard to expect Target to have any brain about this matter when 99% (of their non-Miami) customers are also too dumb to know anyhting about what they lionize.

They Are Among Us

The vote, they drive cars, they make babies and they're all around us:
Woman: Does your hot chocolate have coffee in it? I want NO COFFEE TASTE.
Barista: No.
Woman: So what's in the hot chocolate?
Barista: Mocha syrup, vanilla, steamed mi...
Woman: MOCHA? Does that taste like COFFEE?!? What IS MOCHA?
Barista: Chocolate.
Okay, then . . .

22 December 2006

We Stand on Guard for Thee

Unless the line's too long, then we'll forget all about that 'on guard' crap.

Passenger luggage was not properly screened — and sometimes not screened at all — during a labour dispute last October at Toronto's Pearson International airport, CBC News has learned.

In the four days following Thanksgiving, airport screeners working for the private security company GARDA were on a work-to-rule campaign, hand-searching all carry-on luggage and creating long lines of passengers. Hand searches of some luggage were abandoned during the October labour dispute. The screeners say their managers took over to clear the lines, allowing about 250,000 passengers to rush through with minimal or no screening.

In a letter to Transport Canada, several workers quoted their managers asking: "Why are you searching bags?"

Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon is aware of the situation but is refusing to comment.

Nice.

While Big Media Was Sleeping

Clinton's plumbers were hard at work making sure his fingerprints weren't at the scene:

"Mr. Berger exited the archive onto Pennsylvania Avenue," the report says, recounting the story the former national security chief told investigators. "He did not want to run the risk of bringing the documents back in the building.

He headed toward a construction area on 9th Street. Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the archives and the DOJ, and did not see anyone. He removed the documents from his pockets, folded the notes in a ‘V' shape, and inserted the documents in the center. He walked inside the construction fence and slid the documents under a trailer."

There's a link the Office of the Inspector General's report a the bottom of the Pajamas Media story here.

21 December 2006

Holiday Gift For Us All

Time to open the door to one of those special places in hell:

Turkmen President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov has died, a government source told Reuters on Thursday.

Niyazov, 66, had been in power in his reclusive Central Asian state -- the second largest natural gas producer in the former Soviet Union -- since 1985 before independence from Moscow. He tolerated no dissent and enjoyed a flourishing personality cult with thousands of portraits and statues to him throughout the country.

Here's a short list of reasons his death and the end of his sick reign is very good news.

Good riddance, you freak. Perhaps the people of Turkmenistan can now move on and make something for themselves.

20 December 2006

"We Love You," He Asked (?)

You know it's tough being Secretary General of the United Nations, especially when you have to deal with a jaded, skeptical and sometimes combative press:
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave his final press conference today. Too bad it also wasn’t the last appearance for some members of the UN press corps. Check out this sampling from the “questions” he got:

Q: I would wish you good luck and goodbye and hope you have a good time when you go underground; and when you surface please do come and see us sometimes….

Q: I’d like to say, is that in your time in office, you have given hope to millions of dispossessed people. And for that, I would say, you will be well remembered…

Q: There seems to be a buzz in the building about more manager-CEO than diplomat-rock star. Maybe that’s directed at you. Is that the best way to go
forward for this new administration?

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, first of all, I’d like to thank you, for the past 10 years, for all your answers on the Balkans, some of which you helped me to make even headlines. …

Q: Dear Mr. Kofi Annan, first, on behalf of the Islamic Republic News Agency, I deeply want to thank you for your 10-year service and accomplishment. Good luck for your future journey…

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, I’m going to use the word “transparency” rather than “corruption”…

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, during your time here as the Secretary-General, you’ve made some great appointments….

Q: Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, for what you have done for Lebanon during your tenure; we will be missing you….
United Nations beat reporter; could there be a softer job?

Good Drugs Available in Iran

Queue up the laugh track:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has predicted that Britain, Israel and the United States would eventually disappear from the world like the Egyptian pharaonic kings.

"The oppressive powers will disappear while the Iranian people will stay. Any power that is close to God will survive while the powers who are far from God will disappear like the pharaohs," he said Wednesday, according to Iranian news agencies.

"Today, it is the United States, Britain and the Zionist regime which are doomed to disappear as they have moved far away from the teachings of God," he said in a speech in the western town of Javanroud.

"It is a divine promise."

Clearly Ahmadinejad is a very stable fellow. It'll be a weird adjustment for him should he someday receive a different sort of divinity from the ass end of a B2.

The Glasses Just Get Rosier

Here's a very telling barometer of where we are in this world: Crooked politician, convicted of bribery, sentenced to prison but is he bummed out? Oh, no - he's looking forward to a very enriching and meaningful chapter in his life.
The former Green Party council member has admitted taking the money, but still maintains that it wasn't in return for any action by him as a council member. (U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery) said she'll recommend he serve his time at the federal facility in Yankton, S.D.The day before his sentencing, Zimmerman told the Star Tribune that he was ready for jail."It will be nice to get it over with and know what's happening," he said. "I'm looking forward to a new, interesting chapter of my life. I get to meet a lot of people I would otherwise not meet."
What kind of sad bitter little life must you lead to look forward to the lockup? Bye bye, Dean, please don't bother any of us ever again.

How Very Minnesotan

I often think Minnesota's most significant contribution to society in general is the perfection of passive/aggressive behavior. Try waiting on people in a restaurant. Try merging onto a freeway. Try to achieve anything above the mediocre and you'll know what I mean. Minnesotans love to criticize, judge and act like they think they should, but they do it from the armchair, while sitting on their hands, behind your back.

I offer peoples exhibit 'A;' the Mens' Athletic Director from the University of Minnesota, Joel Maturi:
University of North Dakota athletics director Tom Buning said he was surprised Tuesday that the University of Minnesota has decided not to compete against UND in any sport except men's and women's hockey because of the school's Fighting Sioux nickname.

What a joke - trying to stand for something yet clinging to a big fat asterisk. Your nickname offends us, so we will not play your teams! Oh, except for ice hockey, I mean, you can't expect a big school to walk away from all that free money from competing in the WCHA, can you?

Minnesota and North Dakota haven't met in men's basketball since 1983 and have met only once in women's basketball since 1985. In addition to being rivals in men's and women's hockey as members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, they compete in swimming, cross country and track and field meets.

We'll show those North Dakota heathens; we will not swim against them!

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are Big Ten Conference schools with policies against playing nonconference teams with American Indian mascots.

What an incredible use of the word 'arbitrary'; Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa continue to play IN-conference University of Illinois; the Fighting Illini. You suppose the Gophers would ever turn down a bowl bid to play Florida State? How about Notre Dame?

There's an old joke about a homely guy who approaches a woman in a bar and asking if she's sleep with him for one million dollars. She looks at him, winces a bit and says "I suppose I would. Why, do you have the million bucks on you?" He says "No, I just had to establish what you are before I started price negotiations."

Here is the Paper That Bears His Signature

Neville Chamberlain - call your office.

16 December 2006

What a Wonderful Town

Minneapolis; you can often smell it from here in Saint Paul.

Part 1
Minneapolis' South Side is about a week away from experiencing the Police Department's newest crime-fighting technology. The 80 sensors will cover about 4 square miles across the city that are responsible for 50 percent of the more than 5,000 "shots fired" calls police get each year, Reinhardt has said. The new system cost more than $325,000 and is used in at least a dozen other cities.
Five thousand calls for shots fired. What a magnificent place Minneapolis must be.

Part 2

Federal officials say their high-profile roundup of workers at Swift meat packing plants in Worthington and elsewhere this week was an attempt to crack down on the use of stolen information by some workers. At the same time, vendors of bogus documents appear to still be selling documents at one well-known location in Minneapolis.

(Tim Counts, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement) said this time the focus is on a those who use the false documents. But he says ICE also routinely patrols the Minneapolis K Mart parking lot and other places, to shut down those who make and sell bogus IDs as well.
There are actualy elected folk in Minneapolis who want to give illegal immigrants Minnesota drivers licenses; just keep greasing those skids on the path to more free taxpayer-funded benefits.

Communist Party Animals

Will Fidel Castro please die already?
It's hard not to notice, however, that (Augusto Pinochet) leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15 years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world, where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant democracy.

By way of contrast, Fidel Castro -- Mr. Pinochet's nemesis and a hero to many in Latin America and beyond -- will leave behind an economically ruined and freedomless country with his approaching death. Mr. Castro also killed and exiled thousands. But even when it became obvious that his communist economic system had impoverished his country, he refused to abandon that system: He spent the last years of his rule reversing a partial liberalization. To the end he also imprisoned or persecuted anyone who suggested Cubans could benefit from freedom of speech or the right to vote.
As Glenn Reynolds deftly points out - "The other contrast is that you can find apologists for Castro in pretty much every newsroom and university campus in America. Pinochet, not so much."

Through-Phone Violence Still Unavailable in US

Keep in mind the term 'public utility' as you read this:

I'm calling about an account we cancelled three months ago - we keep getting a bill"

"Just a sec, lemme call up the record. Yes, it says here you called last month to have the gas turned off and the account canceled because you are no-longer are located at that building."

"Well we got another bill."

"Yes - that's because the account is still active."

I was confused, ". . . but we cancelled it."

"Yes but it was reactivated the next day. Hmmm, lemme see ...." sounds of typing "It says: no one was there to let the crew in to turn off the gas. The account had to stay active."

"I'm sorry, but we no longer occupy that building. We can't let you in. And I know we told you that last time we cancelled it."

"Yes, well you should have scheduled to have it turned off."

"You could have told us about that last month - we were told the account was closed. No-one ever called to let us know there was a problem with the turn-off."

(WAIT FOR IT . . . WAIT FOR IT . . .)

"Oh, that's not something we're supposed to do."

Read it all. It ends badly.

Legos to the Rescue


I've always credited Legos with making me the amazing human I am, and I am now reminded of the depth of their reach. Richard Hammond continues to make a remarkable recovery following a heavy crash while testing a car for for an UK television show, and credits playing with Legos with helping to restore his memory and cognitive skills.

Hammond is a presenter for BBC's TopGear program, the best car show on Earth (which doesn't get piped to the United States, thanks to shithead American tee vee programmers everywhere).

Whoops

Sorry about that:
ZURICH, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Swiss engineers halted an experiment to extract geothermal heat from deep below ground after it set off a small earthquake in the nearby city of Basel, the Swiss news agency SDA said on Saturday.

Managers apologised for any fears aroused by the mishap, which occurred after water was injected at high pressure into a five-km-deep (16,000-feet-deep) borehole, but said the experiment posed no danger, SDA reported.
Sure, you say that now. Just because Switzerland is landlocked doesn't man you can't break off a chunk. You know the rule - you break it; you buy it.

15 December 2006

Only Boldness Offers Hope

John Hinderocker defines the landing zone for President Bush.
Commandeer a half hour in prime time to tell the American people, and the world, that we have clear evidence of Iran's involvement in killing American servicemen. Show the captured munitions. Explain exactly how they have contributed to American casualties. Display aerial photos of the training camps. No doubt there is much more evidence that can be presented or described.

You should say that Iran's supplying of weapons in order to kill Americans is an act of war. In the dramatic finale of your speech, announce that thirty minutes earlier, American airplanes stationed in the Middle East took off, their destination, one of the munitions plants or training camps of which you have shown pictures. That training camp, you say, no longer exists. You say that if Iran does not immediately cease all support for, and fomenting of, violence in Iraq, we will continue to strike military targets inside Iran.
You know the old adage about Noah's Ark being built by a single visionary and the Titanic being built by committee . . . well which of those two does the do-nothing, 79-points-of-compromise Iraq Study Group Report most resemble?

Get 'er done, el presidente.

Where Will You Place Your Faith?

Will you trust big government to nurture and coddle you with policy and procedure that (maybe)works 9 to 5, or will you stand up for yourself and take care of business?

The crashing back door snapped Eric Cegon and his girlfriend awake in her apartment. Fear grew as they heard feet rapidly climbing the stairs to their
barricaded bedroom door about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. The girlfriend, Samantha Simons, covered up her 2-year-old son and screamed as her ex-boyfriend kicked in the door, knocking over the small dresser lodged against it. "I knew if that door came open what I would do," Cegon said Thursday.

(Richter's) deadly break-in was the second time he had violated a court order not to contact his former girlfriend, Simons, or her new boyfriend, Cegon. Richter was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday on a terroristic threats charge for repeatedly threatening to kill Cegon since Nov. 4, when he broke Cegon's vehicle's windows, court records said.

County Attorney Thomas Kelly said that a week before Richter died, he threatened Simons with a kitchen knife and said he would kill Cegon. Richter was charged with assault in that case. He added that Richter told Simons that he "refused to let her go, and said if he couldn't have her, nobody would."
Recall this story and the countless other the next time someone running for political office winces at the very idea of the 2nd Amendment and tells you that police and the court system are all you'll ever need to be safe in this world.

Here's more details of the system in action:

(Cegon & Simons) expected (Richter) Tuesday night because he had a court date Wednesday on the terroristic threats made while he banged on the doors and windows of Cegon's parents' home in Rockford, where the couple were staying on Nov. 4. Richter had posted $10,000 bail on the threats charge and apparently violated a condition of his release by threatening Simons with a knife Dec 6. A warrant had been issued for his arrest after that incident, Kelly said. A judge could have sent Richter to jail for that release violation.
But that judge didn't, and here we are today.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness above all else.

13 December 2006

Rest in peace, Carl Lazlo

Peter Boyle
1935-2006

Daily Poetry

Farmer Jones works in the field
With a tractor and a plow
And before his morning meal
He goes out and milks a cow

Farmer Jones has a hound
And it follows him around
Chases rabbits, squirrels and quail
And the man who brings the mail

Farmer Jones has a truck
And he drives it through the mire and the muck
And he pulls his neighbors out when they get stuck
Farmer Jones and his truck

Farmer Jones, Farmer Jones
He harvests all the corn that he's grown
And into town goes Farmer Jones
And buys his children ice cream cones

Farmer Jones has a brother
They help out one another
'Cause that's the way that they've always been shown,
The Brothers Jones

Farmer Jones has a wife
They'll live together all their life
And retire into a life of ease
Bouncing grandchildren on their knees

Farmer Jones, Farmer Jones
He works in all the fields that he owns
He'll give them to his children when they're grown
Farmer Jones, Farmer Jones

Farmer Jones, that Farmer Jones

"Farmer Jones," written by Scott Young of Red Meat

12 December 2006

A Frivolous Lawsuit I Support

Here's one of those nonsensical leagal actions we at RDF can really get behind.
Evel Knievel has sued Kanye West, taking issue with a music video in which the rapper takes on the persona of "Evel Kanyevel" and tries to jump a rocket-powered motorcycle over a canyon.
Pause for a second - did you notice the shit journalism from AP; there's no rocket-powered motorcycle in this video, not was there one at Snake River in '74.

Knievel, whose real name is Robert Craig Knievel, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tampa on Monday claiming infringement on his trademark name and likeness. He also claims the "vulgar and offensive" images depicted in the video damage his reputation. "That video that Kanye West put out is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever seen in my life, and he uses my image to catapult himself on the public," the 68-year-old daredevil said Tuesday.

West was so disappointed at not winning best video for "Touch the Sky" at the MTV Europe Music Awards last month that he crashed the stage when it was presented to Justice and Simian for "We Are Your Friends." In a tirade riddled with expletives, West said he should have won the prize because it "cost a million dollars, Pamela Anderson was in it. I was jumping across canyons."

Kanye West is a punk and an idiot, and he's way over his head in this limp portrayal of Evel Knievel, a real American hero.

What a Difference an Administration Makes

Just another glaring difference between W. and Bubba:

When the Bush Adminstrtion taps your phone without a warrant, it's because they think you might be a terrorist, rightly or wrongly.

When the Clinton Administration taps your phone without a warrant, it's becasue they think they might have the goods on a billionaire Republican who's funding non-government schools, rightly or wrongly.
After the existence of the Bush program was made public last December, some high-ranking veterans of the Clinton administration said they had not engaged in similar efforts to by-pass FISA. “Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton-Gore administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law,” former Vice President Al Gore said. The amendment to which Gore referred was an action by Congress that included physical break-ins under the FISA law, requiring the executive branch to seek a warrant before carrying out a break-in. Wiretaps were already covered by the law.

When Congress was considering the break-in measure, top Clinton administration officials argued that the president had the “inherent authority” to order such break-ins — including break-ins at the homes of U.S. citizens — on his own, without a warrant. Nevertheless, the law required that the administration seek a warrant if it intended to wiretap a U.S. person’s — in this case Forstmann’s — communications. The Clinton administration could have argued, as the Bush administration would later, that the president had the authority to do it on his own under certain circumstances, like the presence of a foreign enemy.

But it’s hard to see how Diana and Forstmann would have fit that description, and in any event that is something Al Gore and other Clinton veterans say they never did.

11 December 2006

Industrial Arts

Lefty Love

It's sure not to be confused with 'tough love.'

I'm afraid I'm going to be devoting a lot of space the real ways life is going to be different in St. Paul (and in Washington) now that the Democrats have the reigns. For instance, here in Minnesota, pretty soon you won't have to be responsible for yourself or the choices you make.

Even though you wilfully signed that purchase agreement to buy that car, Nanny Government doesn't want you burdened by the troubles of contract law. Why should you have your feet held to a fire of your own making?

Sen.-elect Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, says he's concerned that consumers can't return used cars. Latz says he's heard complaints from people who realized they couldn't afford car payments, but didn't realize it until they had already bought the car.

Latz says right now a consumer owns a car once he or she signs the purchase agreement and there isn't any legal recourse for a dealer to accept the car if a consumer wants to return it. Latz says he's talked to several consumers who bought cars, and later realized they couldn't afford them but couldn't return the car.

"Help me, Big Government; don't make me have to live with the decisions I make freely and by my actions alone."

"It's the state's role to protect consumers in a lot of ways and at least to make sure that the consumers can make informed decisions about what they're going to purchase, and yes, if they change their mind, that they have the right to return it," Latz says. "If you buy just about anything, you can return things, but a car. Why shouldn't you be able to return that too?"
There is no 'right to return.' I know that might break your great-big generous all-protecting Democratic heart, but it is absolutely NOT the state's role to mandate by law what is otherwise a voluntary service offered by retailers as an extension of customer service and good-will. This loser want to make car returns mandatory because it makes him feel warm and fuzzy.

The only thing more troubling that this hand-holding idiot are the truly stupid among us; those mutton heads out there who cannot wait to trade in one more bit of freedom for the alleged promise of a completely risk-free existence from the hand of government.

Wait - it only gets worse:
As the holiday shopping season cranks up, the North St. Paul Democrat Chuck Wiger and two colleagues promised legislation to ban expiration dates and fees on gift cards. They said too many consumers are being duped and never get their money's worth from the cards. "The goal here is just to make sure it is what people expect to purchase."

Republican Rep. Larry Howes said the proposal might not find enough support to pass. The state has bigger worries, he said, and retailers should be able to recoup something for the convenience of gift cards. "If you don't use it, you lose it," Howes said. "I don't see a problem with that." (Minnesota Retailers Association president) Buzz Anderson said most cards don't expire because consumers don't like expiration dates.

But he said the option is important for small independent stores that face an "accounting nightmare" if they have to carry the value of unredeemed cards on their books indefinitely. "If you don't like the terms on a card, don't buy the card," Anderson said. "Nobody's holding a gun to your head."
That last point is completely lost on the do-gooders that seek to wrap all us plebes in the safe glow or Big Government. You see, to a good and kind Democrat, life should not ever have any rules, regulations, obligations, responsibilities, binding agreements, hurt feelings, consequences or rainy days.

Vote Democrat kids, and every day can be filled with the thought-free bliss of predictable mediocrity and diminishing expectations.

Tilting at Imaginary Windmills

The whole tale begins here:

"Being president doesn't give one the prerogative to bend the facts to reach a prescribed reality," said Kenneth Stein, the first executive director of the Carter Center. The Emory University professor, who teaches Middle Eastern history and political science, said he picked up a copy of Carter's latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" last week. After reading it, he decided to resign.

"President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analysis; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments," Stein wrote. "Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."
Then we get this:

"It appears that at least two maps that came out of the Carter book were or are very closely similar, or unusually similar, to maps that were produced and published in Dennis Ross' book 'The Missing Peace,' " Stein said. That book, published in 2004, is also about the search for peace in the Middle East. "This could be incredibly coincidental, or it could not," Stein said. "But it goes to the way history books should be written, and the way citations should be made when material is borrowed."
Now we've elevated the charade to flat-out lying.

CLIFT: You're obviously aware of your main critic, Mr. Stein, who used to be with the Carter Center.

CARTER: Thirteen years ago! He hasn't been associated with the Carter Center for 13 years.

When we were originally sent Professor Stein's letter explaining his resignation from the Carter Center last week, I looked Professor Stein up on the Carter Center's site. Professor Stein's Carter Center page is here, describing Professor Stein as the Carter Center fellow for Middle East affairs since 1983."
It's sad to see a Navy man going down with the ship.

Another Pelosi Moment

By virtue of more luck than management (or good sense) incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not have to explain how Rep. John "ABSCAM" Murtha was about to become House Majority Leader.

Then Pelosi was able to smell enough of the coffee and sidestep Rep. Alcee "Cap'n Crook" Hastings instead of appointing him as chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She tapped Rep. Silvestre Reyes for the position, but there's a fighting chance Reyes sees little difference between his ass and any other hole in the ground.

Now let's see how Pelosi deals with the latest embarrassing Democrat now that his idiotic constituency saw fit to return a sure-felon to Washington:

Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who gained notoriety after the FBI found $90,000 in his freezer, was elected Saturday to a ninth term in Congress.

Most political observers speculated that the anti-Jefferson forces would unite behind (Democratic state Rep. Karen) Carter, giving her an easy win. The congressman remains the target of a federal investigation for allegedly taking payoffs. Alleged co-conspirators have pleaded guilty, and Jefferson has said he expects to be indicted.

You remember William Jefferson; he was the one that, during the height of the post-Katrina evacuation, had the national guard personally drive him to his New Orleans pad to "collect a few items."

Joe Wilson - Call Your Office

There's that old adage about how many times a motorist breaks the speed limit before/until they actually get a speeding ticket. I thought about this and the stories about Iraq trying to acquire yellow cake from Nigeria and how those tales (real or not) were used as part of the reasoning to go remove Saddam Hussein.

Well call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, or just the one time the speeder got caught, but either way; this cannot be good news.
Iran is secretly searching for uranium in war-torn Somalia, according to a confidential United Nations report obtained by Pajamas Media. The report notes that two Iranians were “engaged on matters linked to the exploration of Uranium in exchange for arms” in Dusamareb, Somalia. The arms would be given to the Islamic Courts Union (the ICU), a Taliban-like movement that controls much of Somalia.

The UN report spends little time on this surprising development, perhaps because the report’s mandate is limited to monitoring violations of Somalia’s arms embargo.
There's that myopic, manipulative and impotent U. N. again.

Dusamareb is known to be rich in uranium. Abdiweli Ali, an assistant professor of economics at Niagara University and a supporter of Somalia’s transitional federal government (TFG), is originally from Dusamareb, where he received his primary school education. He reports that in the Galgadud region, where Dusamareb is located, uranium exploration has occurred since the 1940s. This exploration was put on hiatus after the fall of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 put the country under the rule of rival warlords.

09 December 2006

Once or Twice; It's Good For Your Soul

That's a Danny Elfman quote, and it fits tonight. A good result in St. Paul, with local kid Mark Parrish getting the hat trick.

Wild 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)

And across the pond, in the drivng rain, the Reds came out just dandy:

Liverpool 4 - 0 Fulham

06 December 2006

Don't Be Told What You Want, Don't Be Told What You Need

God save the queen
We mean it man
We love our queen
God saves


Europe is chiseled away a little bit every single day:
(T)his year, a veiled Muslim woman has been invited to deliver Channel Four's Alternative Christmas message. Her appearance on the channel's alternative to the Queen's own broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, which has been running since 1993, comes after a year in which there have been a series of controversies over women wearing the veil.

A spokesman for Channel Four said: "The right to wear religious symbols from niqabs to crucifixes, remarks made by the Pope about Islam and the publication of Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed have all generated a debate about multiculturalism, secularism and integration, a debate in which British Muslims have played a key role and one that will shape the future of British society. "Therefore, we believed it was fitting this year the message should be given by a British Muslim woman."
I don't know what the queen says during her traditional Christmas message. It's probably some mix of the State of the Union Address and pulling the groundhog out on February 2nd. Whichever way it spins, I can't imagine what is so dradful, insulting or unfair about the whole affair that requires Islamic rebuttal.

I wonder what the chances are of ANYONE, regardless of religion, nationality or beer perference, giving the rebuttal to the remarks of an Islamic monarch on their government-run television.

Cavemen In the News

There's trouble among the devout:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who flaunts his ideological fervour, has been accused of undermining Iran's Islamic revolution after television footage appeared to show him watching a female song and dance show.

The ceremony featured Indian and Egyptian dancers and female vocalists. Many were not wearing veils. Women are forbidden to sing and dance before a male audience under Iran's Islamic legal code. Officials are expected to excuse themselves from such engagements when abroad but TV pictures showed Ahmadinejad sitting with President Bashar Assad of Syria and Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian Prime Minister, during last Friday's ceremony in Doha.
Men are forbidden to be in the presence of women signing and dancing - in what century are these nutcases living?

04 December 2006

Stand By For the Future

It's coming around in weird and mysterious and exciting ways.
SAN FRANCISCO — Before long, "user-generated content" won't refer only to media, but to just about anything: user-generated jeans, user-generated sports cars, user-generated breakfast meats. This is because setting up a company that designs, makes and globally sells physical products could become almost as easy as starting a blog — and the repercussions would be earthshaking.

That's the future Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos hopes to set in motion with the company's new direction. If you tease out Bezos' plan, you get to a point where a high school cheerleader sitting at home with a laptop could theoretically harness computing power, design capabilities, manufacturing and distribution from around the world, and make and market a cute little pink hot rod that would compete against General Motors.
How tough can it be to beat General Motors at the car game these days? Anyway, wowzer -bring on the inventory-free global sourcing!

From What Dark Times Have We Emerged

For rolling this slag heap out the door with the Charger name on it Chrysler deserved to go out of business.

Holiday Spending Splurge

What could a guy get for hisself this time of year if he had $200? What if he had $20,000? How about $50,000?

What if a fella has £450m?
Liverpool, five-times European champions, have given DIC permission to carry out a complete study of the club's financial records ahead of a possible takeover bid. The proposed deal is expected to include £200m to build a new 60,000-capacity stadium.

DIC owns the Madame Tussauds Group and the Travelodge hotel chain as well as one third of the London Eye. The company is an investment arm of Dubai Holding, which is owned by Dubai Crown Prince and United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Easy Enough For Children to Grasp

Problem is - the house and the senate aren't filled with children, it's filled with Democrats:
(S)ix months later, Pohlad and Co. got their wish. The $2 billion that they saw as necessary for "real prosperity" appeared. Last week, Pawlenty announced a state budget surplus of $2.17 billion. And not one Minnesotan had to pay higher income tax rates.

The surplus sprang, in large part, from a strengthening economy, according to the state Finance Department and news reports. Corporate profits and tax collections have soared to their highest levels in decades.

For the Gang of 200, it's a teachable moment. These folks assumed that to get more money for government programs, you have to raise tax rates. In fact, to get higher revenues, you often need to lower tax rates and stimulate growth.

03 December 2006

BCS BS


What a buch of elitist knotheads, filling out all those mean-nothing bowl games like that. Florida to play Ohio State? What a load of crap. Forget the Gators, there is another unbeaten Division 1 team you NCAA frauds.
There are now 32 bowl games, that means you need 64 teams, which means you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel for over-.500 teams.

01 December 2006

The Barber Doesn't Cut His Own Hair

But the hair still grow until it covers the eyes. Big media always tells us they uniquely qualified to report and pontificate, but sometimes they are not. In this instance, the Star Tribune can no longer play the "internal matter" games.

Editorial page editor Susan Albright said the writer, Steve Berg, would not write during the review. She cited two editorials, one from Nov. 10 and one from March 27, that contained phrases from or similarities to commentaries in the New Yorker by Hendrik Hertzberg.

Similarities between a Nov. 10 Star Tribune editorial and Hertzberg's Nov. 6 commentary were first brought to light in a Nov. 11 posting on the Twin Cities-based conservative blog Power Line, long critical of the Star Tribune for having what they say is a liberal bias.

Albright didn't identify Berg until her second editor's note. She said she had decided to identify him so other writers weren't the subject of speculation.
Albright and paper apologist Kate Parry have been trying to sweep this crap under the rug for a while now.

30 November 2006

Like, Ohmigod; Altman was so Brilliancy!

Hard to blame Lindsay - she's 20, rich, coddled, handled, and from Hollywood, so brainwaves are hardly going to be her strong suit:

"I am lucky enough to of been able to work with Robert Altman amongst the other greats on a film that I can genuinely say created a turning point in my career," she began, less than certainly. "He was the closest thing to my father and grandfather that I really do believe I've had in several years... He left us with a legend that all of us have the ability to do."

A little lower down, she fell into improv philosophy, apparently riffing on the notion that life is too short to waste: "Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourselves' (12st book) - everytime there's a triumph in the world a million souls hafta be trampled on. - altman Its true. But treasure each triumph as they come." And she signed off, "Be adequite. Lindsay Lohan."
It's one thing to have fondness for Altman, which is wonderful, but it's a very dofferent thing for your your fondness for yourself to foist your sub-literate yammering on the rest of us and expect us, the unwashed masses, to be impressed.

Teach you children well, America.

For even more high-quality thoughtfulness and poise from Hollywood elite, try this on.

Chilidogs and Potholes

Next time you see someone bragging(!) about the fact their car parallel parks itself, remeber this Jay Leno essay:

I watched an SUV in front of me drift out of its lane, off the road and down an embankment. I stopped, ran to it and saw two young women inside, apparently okay. There was music blaring and something was on the navigation screen. This happened on a straight road, on a sunny day, without much traffic. And I thought how much safer I was, driving in my 50-year-old Jaguar XK120--with no side windows, no radio, no distractions--than these women were in their new truck with its ABS, airbags and other modern tech.

Why? Because I was paying attention.

Rather than teach people how to drive well, we override their need for skills. How far are we from cars that drive themselves? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that car. Shouldn’t we be responsible for doing some things ourselves?
Automatic cameras, automatic cooking, automatic transmissions, hundreds of books 'For Dummies;' won't be long before humans are completely void of skills.

29 November 2006

Welcome to College, Now Get Your Head Right

Textbooks - check; iPod - check; mob rule - check:

While academia has its own crimes to atone for, it's the students who have become the bullies as of late. A disturbing number seem to feel that theirs is an inviolate world to which no one of differing opinion need apply. As a result, everything from pie throwing to disrupting speeches to attacks on speakers has become commonplace.

The fact that the rioting students could be heard yelling, "He has no right to speak!" was telling. Apparently, in their minds, neither (Jim) Gilchrist nor anyone else with whom they disagree has a right to express their viewpoints. In any other setting this would be called exactly what it is -- totalitarianism. But in the untouchable Ivy League world of Columbia, it was chalked up to student activism gone awry. While condemning the incident, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger has yet to apologize to Gilchrist or to conclude the supposed investigation into the affair. In other words, mob rule won the day.

It's a sad state of affairs indeed when the figures of moderation and reform that many who call themselves liberal or progressive should in theory support are instead shunned in the name of political correctness. For how can one expect to promote progress while helping to stifle the voices at its heart?

Read it all

28 November 2006

Castle Doctrine Stauts in the News

The phrase that pays - "not forced to retreat:"
The resident told police he was awakened to sounds of what he thought was someone breaking into his house on Bittersweet Street in Coon Rapids, sheriff's Capt. Bob Aldrich said. He grabbed a rifle that he kept in his bedroom around the time a man in his late teens or early 20s entered the room. "(The resident) fired a single shot, and the suspect was struck in the torso," Aldrich said. "The suspect was able to stumble or stagger down the stairs and then collapsed near a door. And died."
That's what we here at RDF call good shootin.' Here's some background on our English Common Law friend the Castle Doctrine.

Underreported Story du Jour

We'll see as the days go by how hidden this item becomes:

Several members of a government board appointed to guard privacy and civil liberties during the war on terror say they’re impressed with the protections built into the Bush administration’s electronic eavesdropping program. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board received a long-awaited briefing on the secret program last week by senior members of the National Security Agency.

Two of the five board members told The Associated Press on Monday they were impressed by the safeguards the government has built into the NSA’s monitoring of phone calls and computer transmissions and wished the administration could tell the public more about them to ease distrust.

“If the American public, especially civil libertarians like myself, could be more informed about how careful the government is to protect our privacy while still protecting us from attacks, we’d be more reassured,” said Lanny Davis, a former Clinton White House lawyer. Alan Raul, a former Reagan White House lawyer and the board’s vice chairman, said the group “found there was a great appreciation inside government, both at the political and career levels, for protections on privacy and civil liberties.”

“In fact, I think the public may have an underappreciation for the degree of seriousness the government is giving these protections.” said Raul, author of a book on privacy and civil liberties in the digital age.

27 November 2006

Why He's on Radio

'Cause he says stuff people need to hear:
This morning on radio and MSNBC, responding to NBC's decision to characterize Iraq as a "civil war," Don Imus said:"He and Brian Williams and all those other nitwits and Griffin, they all sit around and they make this command decision, and Zucker and all of them, and maybe bring ol' Wright in there?"More: "Do these nitwits at NBC News think this is going to have the impact of when Walter Cronkite came back in Vietnam and said we can't win, and Lyndon Johnson famously said 'well if we've lost Walter Cronkite, we've lost the country?'"
Semantics is a game played by those that can't win at any other game.

When Properly Equipped

Actually, (insert 17-year old male's name here), your slammed Civic will not be getting away tonight - at least not in Italy.

Hundred Days Late, Thousands of Dollars Short

The Boy Mayor strikes again!

Actually, 'strike' is perhaps too decisive a term - let's just say Rybak's made an alleged appearance and might have actually issued a none-too-harsh statement of some sort.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on Monday called for the removal of controversial Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek, saying he no longer has confidence in her ability to lead the Fire Department. Rybak said in his letter that the city had reached an agreement in which Bleskachek will not contest her removal.
Bold, Mr. Mayor, bold, I say. You've finally made your first legitimate public statement on the matter AFTER the Kissing Chief has accepted her fate. Way to sidestep any political consternation.

(Bleskachek's) lawyer, Jerry Burg, said today that Bleskachek would still be a firefighter, although she would be demoted, and she would receive a settlement payment, if the City Council approves the deal. Rybak's spokesman, Jeremy Hanson, said the mayor's recommendation only concerns Bleskachek's removal as chief, and mentions nothing about a demotion.
Blesckachek's actions have the city embroiled in four discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits and now SHE'S in line for a settlement? And she's going to be demoted? To what? If she's too warped to be chief, is her warpedness just fine for a captain's job? What does that pay? Who are the lucky firefighters that get to report to her now? Who is running that pathetic municipal circus over there?

Bleskachek, 43, has been the focus of internal investigations amid those suits claiming discrimination and sexual harassment. A city investigation continues, but it has already been determined that the department gave preferential treatment to lesbians or those socializing with them. The city has spent more than $410,000 on the investigation, legal settlements and compensation of Bleskachek during her paid leave.
She's the one accused, and she's bailing out, but the city still somehow pays for her lawyer. Hundred grand here, hundred grand there; what the hell - it's only taxpayers money. There's always more to be had.

Rybak said that for more than a year, he has "been concerned about Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek's management of the department." Despite meeting with the chief and her lawyer, Rybak said, he is not confident that she can lead the fire department in a way that best protects the citizens of Minneapolis.
Maybe he's been concerned, but Rybak's been hiding behind the always-convenient shield/dodge of 'municipal employee privacy' until now. I guess he feels as though he's cleared some hurdle and will not suffer any political wrath from the GLBT gang or other similar single-issue constituency.

Rybak said Bleskachek would remain eligible for a severance payment. Since she was placed on leave March 22, Bleskachek has collected about $90,000 in salary and benefits, said Matthew Laible of the mayor's office.
Ninety grand just since March. Can you imagine what her total annual compensation must've been with salary, benefits, etc.?

This whole ridiculous episode reminds me of a definitive scene in Robert Altman's 1970 film MASH. As Frank Burns is being hauled away in a straightjacket, his time in Korea clearly over, Duke Forrest leans over to Colonel Blake and points out that "Fair's fair... if I punch Hawkeye and nail Hot-Lips, can I go home too?"

Celebrity Trumps Hypocricy

and irony also takes it on the chin:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn't much care for Americans these days, but it knows who's an international draw and who isn't, and so the concert, as always, is top-loaded with American celebrities. The co-hosts are Sharon Stone and Angelica Huston, and the entertainers scheduled to appear include Lionel Ritchie and Wynonna. Also on the bill is a British singer who calls himself Yusuf - the same guy who used to be known as Yusuf Islam; before that he was Cat Stevens, and before that he was Steven Demetre Georgiou.

After the publication of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, (Yusef) as quoted in the New York Times as saying that if Mr. Rushdie came to his door for help, "I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like" (insert your own 'Religion of Peace' joke here).

And what about free speech? Yusuf supports an Islam that "wisely prohibits the vilification of what people hold sacred, in order that people do not vilify or mock God the Almighty." In other words, he champions the same kind of Shariah-based censorship that obtains in Saudi Arabia and Iran and that was a way of life in Taliban-run Afghanistan.

The decision to invite him to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert — which is supposed to be a celebration of civilization's highest values — sends a grim message about the values the Norwegian Nobel Committee exalts above all others.
Sounds like a hell of a party, just watch out for the Kool-Aid.

A Man's Got to Know His Limitations

Sure, the money makes you think you're superman, but then there's reality:
The 40-year-old businessman, worth $7.1 billion according to Forbes magazine, was speeding and weaving through traffic when he lost control of a black Ferrari Enzo on the Promenade des Anglais, the boulevard that runs along the Nice shoreline as he was speeding, said the policeman in Nice who is heading the investigation into the crash.

Kerimov lost control of the Ferrari while overtaking another car, hitting the sidewalk and then a tree before the engine caught fire, the policeman said.
Again, Darwin is right.

Has Anyone Seen Albert A. Gore Jr.?

Anyone?
With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade. Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

As they say about the stock market: Past results are no indication of future performance.
Wherever Gore is these days, you know there are jet-fuel contrails marking his huge personal carbon footprint.

More non-materializing hysteria here.

26 November 2006

This Modern World

Overheard in Mpls:

Woman taking picture to her daughter: "Smile or I'll PhotoShop you out of the picture!"

92 With a Bullet

Radley Balko:
If the police storm in and you -- not being a drug dealer and consequently having no reason to think the police might break into your home -- mistake them for criminal intruders and meet them with a gun, you are at fault. I guess your crime is living in an area where drug dealers could use your porch while you aren't home, or being a too trusting, frail, old woman. Sorry about your luck.

On the other hand, if the police break into your home and they mistake the blue cup, TV remote, the t-shirt you're holding to cover your genitals because they broke in while you were sleeping naked, or the glint off your wristwatch for a gun -- and subsequently shoot you (all of these scenarios have actually happened), well, then no one is to blame. Because, you see, SWAT raids are inherently dangerous and volatile, and it's perfectly understandable how police might mistake an innocent person holding a t-shirt for a violent drug dealer with gun.

Do you see the double standard, here? If the warrant is legit, they are allowed to make mistakes. You aren't.
Read it all, then read the Second Amendment, then the Fourth Amendment.

Idnetity Theft Indeed

Let's see what we have: Driving a very expensive European car which is filthy in that unwashed-for-6-months kind of way; front rims are nearly black. Still sporting the Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker for your own affirmation, I guess, because you're so right and everyone else is so wrong. Two of your tires are so under inflated that they are visibly deformed. Is that bad for your mileage? Who knows; we all know it's the government's job to punish auto manufacturers for all that confusing stuff anyway.

I see you're smoking with the windows shut and a kid in the back seat. That's a nice touch. When you passed me going about 50 on a city street with a 35 MPH speed limit, I also noticed your whiskey plates. How'd you earn those - I wonder?

There's a chance I wouldn't have noticed any of this had you not passed me on the right then cut me off to get in to the left turn lane, only to change your mind again and cut off others to get to the right lane behind me. That extra touch of honking at me because you expected me to turn right on red even though there are three signs indicating no right turn on red at this intersection really made our time together extra special.

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'll bet you're the type who fears identity theft and expects your elected officials to take care of your every privacy need. You're paranoid about who has access to your social security number, your e-mail address and your library card, but I'm here to tell you none of that matters: I know all about you.

25 November 2006

A Feast For the Senses

This should shke the trypophan from your system.

21 November 2006

College - Where Ideas Go to Die

Brown University has un-invited Nonie Darwish. It's really a lot of cowardace on parade:
Forty years ago the leaders of a revolutionary movement which had already killed millions of people in its quest for utopia gave a talk at a university, and students and faculty listened with respect. Then they verbally demolished the speakers, not by shouting them down or insulting them, but with repeated knowledgeable soft-spoken questions which exposed the weaknesses in the speakers' arguments.

Last week at Brown University, the cutting edge of the Ivy League, a speaker was canceled. Muslim students were too afraid of her to attend her talk and try - if they disagreed - to expose any weakness in her arguments. Unfortunately, this kind of cowardice and repression is is all too prevalent in Muslim organizations, especially on campuses.
Read it all.

Self-Important Media Has Its Own Minor League

Background first:
Stackhouse pulled out his gun and started waving it around. Lambert, who is a strong gun rights activist and member of the National Rifle Association, reached into his pocket and pulled out his gun. "I did a more proper draw out and up, and of course at that point I said, 'Drop it,' Lambert said. "He said he didn't want any trouble. He just wanted to leave. I said, 'You're not leaving with that gun.' Of course, I was using some profanities. I have to confess in a tense situation I can have a potty mouth." Lambert says Stackhouse dropped his gun on the floor and fled. He left his driver's licence at the business. Knox county authorities arrested him several hours later.
Quick review - business owner uses legally-owned and carried gun to disarm a creep and prevent more crime; okay let's move on. Big time print news has it's problems - declining readership, ad revenue drying up, relevance and perspective in question . . . but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of hitters in the minors waiting to be called to the big show. Check out the elitist swagger on these losers in Knoxville:
If his version of the event is to be believed, he warded off a robbery attempt by drawing his own pistol when a 19-year-old who had been feigning a car buy pulled a pistol and pointed it at him. In a standoff, he says he got the young man to drop his weapon and depart, leaving his drivers license behind.

Lambert called the sheriff’s department, whose officers proceeded to track down the alleged assailant and arrest him on a charge of attempted aggravated robbery. As Metro Pulse went to press, the accused is being held in lieu of $15,000 bond. Though the car lot is in the city of Knoxville, Lambert says he called for sheriff deputies because he wanted “my own people” to respond.
So what? The law is the law.

Just because he is a county commissioner does not mean that sheriff’s officers are Lambert’s “own people.” He does not own or control the sheriff’s office. Nor should he expect special favors from that office. Besides the arrogance of the position he took on who should perform the investigation, Lambert’s explanation shows unwarranted contempt for the Knoxville Police Department.
I'll bet it hurt them terribly to include this in their tantrum:

We should point out that under the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Lambert has the right to keep and bear arms, and under Tennessee law, Lambert has the right to carry his pistol concealed, having passed the required tests of his knowledge of gun safety and gun usage.
The weeping continues:
Steer clear of Lumpy Lambert unless you have armed security handy and have plenty of witnesses around. We said Lambert was a clown and shouldn’t be elected to the Commission, and what he’s been displaying since he was sworn in does nothing to change our opinion, which worsens with each of his show-off maneuvers. We didn’t think he was really dangerous. Now we’re not so sure.
How typical of this crowd; completely dismissive of felons running loose in the streets (and even painting them in a warm light), but ready to put the 'cuffs on a law-abiding businessman and public servant because he happened to save his own life with, of all things; a gun.

A Core of Quality

2006 Minnesota Twins:

Johan Santana - AL Cy Young

Torii Hunter - Gold Glove

Joe Mauer - AL Batting Champion

Justin Morneau - AL MVP


Justin joins Zoilo, Harmon and Rodney as Minnesota Twins MVPs

20 November 2006

Animals Backed into Corners

It's bad enough that the Star Tribune pads out their bankrupt editorials with outright plagiarism, but now they waste equal space with pathetic and unbelievable excuses from the editorial page editor (who get her job from the department of redundancy department) who tries to convince the readers that the dog ate their homework through the toilings of Kate Parry, the embarrassingly compliant lapdog ombuds-person who offers phony cover for the whole diseased operation.
"The writer ... took notes on the Hertzberg piece, intending either to directly quote him or otherwise include some of his views. ... Later, in consulting these notes, the writer inadvertently failed to distinguish which parts were direct quotes and which were paraphrased ideas, resulting in the writing of phrases that included an unattributed, improper mix of the two. ... "
Have you ever heard so much bullshit? This is a major-market newspaper, not some Britney Spears fanzine. Are we to believe that those writing editorials cannot distinguish their own words from the one's they're lifting? Further, when it comes to tyring to isolate the lazy moron who did the plagiarizing, the whole place hides behind the always-convenient privacy rouse:
That meant I couldn't get answers to what would be natural questions in the minds of readers: Was the employee disciplined? Were previous editorials by this writer checked for signs of plagiarism? Because the editorial page staff develops positions as a group and writes unsigned editorials, I can't check for that without knowing the writer's identity.
More bullshit.

Worst of all, the whole fake apology and petty explanation offered by Parry leaves out (in an attempt to exonerate the paper) the most important element in defending plagiarism: In her supposed acknowledgment that the balls were dropped in policy, procedure and professionalism she's left unable to defend the paper's failure to observe the most basic component of working from others' work - you include at least some mention of the name of the original author. Nowhere in the Strib's editorial did they mention Hendrik Hertzberg's name.

What sad amateurs they have over there.

Ever Wonder Where Blues Songs Come From?

Math Test Today

Charlie Weaver puts stake in the ground. We'll be able to look back at his warnings years from now and he'll be able to say "I told you so."
Annual health care expenses for someone over 65 are about three times those for someone under 65. With the number of retirees growing more than 50 percent by 2020, health care costs will explode, even if we get a handle on premium increases.

In contrast, Minnesota's workforce will grow just 6 percent between 2010 and 2020, and 3 percent the following decade. We boomers will still be around. But retirees tend to have less taxable income and buy fewer taxable goods and more nontaxed services. Tax revenues simply won't grow as fast over the next 20 years as they have over the past 20.

It's a big bill that, frankly, we won't be able to fill by doing more of the same. This isn't a partisan issue. It can't be a partisan issue, if Minnesota is going to face the twin challenges of demographics and globalization.
Minnesota is know for its very generous social and welfare programs, but not so much for politicians that have any strategic smarts or ability to make tough choices. If we stay the course, there won't be enough tax revenue to keep the lights on much less provide the bare minimum.

There is a test here for the new congressional leadership in Minnesota. To fail the test is to fail the citizenry.

17 November 2006

What He Said

I was going to skewer the missing-in-action John Edwards (remember him?) over his raving hypocrisy. Seems that he's made a second career out of bashing Wal-Mart, but when his brats need a PlayStation 3, it his senatorial staff to the rescue, armed with name dropping, hubris and no discernable sence of irony so common in your Al-e-Gore-ical limousine liberal.

Anyway, I was going swing at the first offering and call Edwards a power-blinded fathead clown, but Jeff Taylor waits for the right pitch and hits hit hard to the gap:

The slapstick of the Edwards misstep should not obscure the really big picture, the fatal flaw in his "Two Americas" spiel. Many thousands of Americans evidently have $600 to spend on a video game machine. What's more, this Christmas is expected to usher in the year of the flat-panel. With price points dropping below the $1000 mark, high-end TVs are moving down-market fast with Wal-Mart leading the way.

Contrary to the Edwards' pitch that labor-hostile companies are leaving American workers destitute, somebody is making some money out there in America. More importantly, they are making it in many, many cases without a union card. This reality will very hard for union-funded Democrats like Edwards to ignore as the 2008 presidential campaign unfolds. Hewing to the union rules, clear evidence of prosperity, like perhaps a shortage of $600 game machines, will have to be swept out of the campaign.

Because We Love Opinionated Writing

and have no real fondness for St. Cloud, MN:
"Just about the most joyless and depressing university town imaginable. If the endless below-zero weather doesn't kill you, its soul-killing culture of sheer hopelessness surely will."Basically, people just eat bad food at buffet-style restaurants and watch themselves get fat."

I spent an academic year there a while back and have no reason to contradict this.

16 November 2006

The Barnburner Redefined


Well, that was a bit of a tilt now wasn't it.

After trailing the Predators 3-1 and then 6-3, the Wild came back with two third period goals to tie the game at 6, survived a bullshit call that awarded a penalty shot to Paul Karyia during the 4-on-4 overtime, and then won in the shootout after 8 skaters went in 1-on-1 with the goalies. Niklas Backstrom came in to relieve a so-so Manny Fernandez and definitely saved the day.

In three Wild/Predators games this season, there have been 41 goals scored, and the Wild are now 7-0 in overtime.

It is now bedtime.

New Congress Coming

So the other party will have the congressional reigns come January. Does one stick by ones guns, or graciously encourage and cast his lot with the victors?

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two"wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Our Kind of Pageant Queen

This is why you have to have a runner-up.
The Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes is trading her tiara for a kevlar helmet and the sands of Iraq. Jessica Gaulke, chosen in July as Queen of the Lakes for a year, is giving up her title because her National Guard unit has been activated for duty in Iraq. Gaulke, 22, a sociology student at Augsburg College who visited Japan as part of her Aquatennial ambassador duties, will be going to the Mideast as a diesel generator mechanic.

"It really wasn't a decision that was mine to be made," said Gaulke, a former Miss Robbinsdale. "My unit's going. I've accepted it. It's part of the whole scope of why I joined; I'll be there for all of us over here."
More on Jessica here. Good luck, queen.

The Political Gift That Keeps on Giving

With apologies to Theodore Geisel, Harry Reid is here
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) backed funding for a bridge between Nevada and Arizona that could affect the value of property he owns nearby. Development is booming in the area and local officials in Laughlin and Bullhead City support a new crossing to ease traffic on the one existing bridge. They also expect it would add to property values.

Reid and other incoming Democratic leaders have promised to bring more openness to the practice of earmarking, where lawmakers insert funding for pet projects into legislation with little scrutiny.
Harry Reid is there

As convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff reported to federal prison today, a source close to the investigation surrounding his activities told ABC News that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was one of the members of Congress Abramoff had allegedly implicated in his cooperation with federal prosecutors.

A source close to the investigation says Abramoff told prosecutors that more than $30,000 in campaign contributions to Reid from Abramoff's clients "were no accident and were in fact requested by Reid." Aramoff has reportedly claimed the Nevada senator agreed to help him on matters related to Indian gambling. he AP also reported that Abramoff's billing records showed extensive contact with Reid's
office over a three-year period in which Reid collected more than $68,000 from Abramoff's firm, partners and clients.
Harry Reid is everywhere

"He and I just like each other, and I think we set a good example here in the Senate," Majority Leader-elect Harry Reid said of colleague John Ensign. I wish other people had the same nonaggression pact we have," Reid told reporters. "It's not a 'Brokeback Mountain' situation," he added, referring to last year's film about two gay cowboy lovers.