31 January 2006

GM: Gross Mediocrity

We built excitement . . . (sigh).

Not even the Midas touch of Oprah (via her million-minion army) could light enough fire underneath the Pontiac G6.
Lukewarm sales of the new Pontiac G6 sedan, featured by the talk show host in a massive giveaway last year, have prompted General Motors Corp. to cut production of the car beginning in April. GM said the Orion Township plant where the car is built will reduce G6 output by more than 10 percent and lay off an unspecified number of workers.

While GM blames the decision on intense competition in the midsize car market, industry analysts say the automaker has made key missteps with the vehicle that also may have stunted sales.
I saw a TV ad for this thing the other day. The giant-voiced announcer said that the G6 had features the competition cannot touch, first among them was a the 4-panel sunroof. Yea, right. I recall my grandfather lamenting that every Chrysler he bought from 1948 to 1979 was nice, but none ever featured that keystone of classic motoring - the 4 panel sunroof.

Note to GM - I'm a car guy to the bone, and I fell ass-over-tea kettle in love with my car after a brisk 10 minute test drive. I got out and yelled "I'll take it," never noticing it didn't even have a sunroof, much less a gimmicky one.

I don't understand GM. They have 3 products; the CTS-V, the Z06 and an endless variety of rental cars.

The EU's Problems Become Our Problems

Claire Berlinski; Europe Aflame:

“This is not a hypothetical: There are radical Islamic terrorist cells in every major European city. The September 11 attacks were plotted in Hamburg. The assassins of Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance leader, Ahmadshah Masood, carried Belgian passports. Zacarias Moussaoui, who trained to be the twentieth hijacker on September 11, was born in France and educated in Britain. … If Europe is unable to assimilate its immigrants, if Europe is a breeding grounds for anti-Americanism and Islamic radicalism—and it is—this is our problem, and we need to understand why this is so.”

God is Dead But My Hair is Perfect

Or so says Bernard-Henri Lévy. Frequently referred to as BHL (so trite it induces nausea), Lévy's been traipsingng across America, first to observe us in our natural habitat, and secondly to hump the book he wrote about it. Here at the Farm we love opinionated writing, even if it comes from one of our favorite enigmas. In this case, Garrison Keillor (via the NYT) takes Mr Sophistication down a few notches.
(Lévy) blows a radiator writing about baseball - "this sport that contributes to establishing people's identities and that has truly become part of their civic and patriotic religion, which is baseball" - and when, visiting Cooperstown ("this new Nazareth"), he finds out that Commissioner Bud Selig once laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington, where Abner Doubleday is also buried, Lévy goes out of his mind. An event important only to Selig and his immediate family becomes, to Lévy, an official proclamation "before the eyes of America and the world" of Abner as "the pope of the national religion . . .
It's a pretty good fisking of an easy mark; the French intellectual. Lévy's style, misconceptions and tunnel vision beg to be dissected by someone who can conjure the proper tone and Keillor delivers. Gotta say this about Keillor, when he's not all wrapped up in bile, he's in touch, and he gets it.

30 January 2006

We Stand on Guard For Thee

But not for your non-politically correct opinions; those may be illegal.
TORONTO - Don Imus has been fingered by Canada's TV watchdog for calling Muslims "brainwashed" and "stinking animals" during a 2004 broadcast that aired here on MSNBC Canada. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications
Commission, in a rare judgment of U.S. programming airing on Canadian airwaves, said Friday that the veteran U.S. broadcaster had uttered abusive comments that breached Specialty Services Regulations introduced in 1990.
(Aryan accent) Surely you received your copy of the Peoples Speaking Code Guidelines . . . I mean the Special Services Regulations published by the Ministry of Truth.

The CRTC said it was responding especially to one written complaint that questioned why the regulator had imposed restrictions on the distribution of Al Jazeera in Canada to guard against slurs against Jews or Israel and not place similar
restrictions on a service such as the American MSNBC service. The regulator said most complaints it received after New York-based Imus made comments during the live broadcast of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's funeral cited a comment that most Palestinians might be upset "because Arafat stole billions of dollars from them, and they are all eating dirt. And the fat, big wife is living in Paris."
Pay no mind to that nation with nothing like our Bill of Rights.

This is what you get when the government runs the broadcasting (and the airline, and the railroad, and the health care industry, and the national pension scam and . . . .)

Garbage Into Congress; Garbage Outa Congress

This is a letter to the editor published in the New York Times January 26th. I typed it out because it's impossible to find a link in that spider web of a website. Anyway, Denis from Belgium makes an excellent direct point:
To the Editor: Re "Three Decades After Roe, a War We Can All Support," by William Saletan (Op-Ed, Jan. 22): It is vital that the endless debate over abortion end quickly. The damage done to the United States in the last 33 years is far worse than people seem to realize. In the United States, this one question dominates elections and Supreme Court nominations.

You elect people with the power to start wars, interpret the Constitution, use nuclear weapons and change Social Security based on their views on abortion. Corrupt is O.K., not very bright is O.K., willing to destroy the environment is O.K., but no way will you vote for someone who disagrees with you on abortion!

Which brings two problems: First, by putting so much focus on this one issue, you let politicians get away with murder on everything else. Second, you necessarily elect people whose intellectual capacity enables them to look at a very complex issue like abortion and see it in simplistic black-and-white terms. The results are there for all to see.

Denis O'Sullivan - Brussels, Jan. 23, 2006

Chalk One Up for Principle

Lots of folks I know think you need government to correct wayward capitalism. Here's a damned fine example of capitalism coming to the rescue after government drops the ball:

In an unusual move, BB&T Corp. said Wednesday it will not lend money for commercial projects on land seized by the government through an exercise of eminent domain. Banks rarely restrict lending for philosophical reasons, but the Winston-Salem bank said it wanted to publicly oppose a widely reviled Supreme Court ruling in June that allowed such seizures.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided, in fact it's just plain wrong," Chief Executive John Allison said in a statement.

Bravo to BB&T, which is no small player, with 1,400 branches and nearly $110 billion in assets.

One to Shoot For

Ever wonder how you'll be remembered? A stout obituary isn't a bad place to start. From the Saint Paul Pioneer Press of Sunday the 29th of January:

George (last name unnecessary for this posting) died 01/23/2006 Born 04/18/1922 In White Plains, NY, the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. He served in the south Pacific in the Navy 1942-1945. After WWII he attended the University of Illinois, where he earned a MS in Education and met the love of his life, Florence, the granddaughter of a Presbyterian minister. Despite opposition by both families because of their different religious backgrounds, they married in 1948. Their 57-year union, based on mutual respect, tolerance, and love became a model that many who knew them hoped to emulate. George taught junior high science until 1953, then became an engineer and moved to Minneapolis in 1957 to work for Honeywell. In 1958 he joined D.W. Onan and Sons, retiring in 1982. He was thorough and careful, loved problem solving and was not satisfied with a product until it proved reliable in the field. George had many interests and was a person who made things happen. He served as a member of the Columbia Heights School Board 1962-64. He was active during the Civil Rights movement of the mid-1960s. Throughout his life he sought to improve understanding between people of all races and religions. Since childhood, George had a great interest in electric railways and model railroading. He built his first model trains in high school, constructed a large HO gauge layout depicting his New York hometown, and was recognized by the National Model Railroad Association as a Master Model Railroader. He was a founder and president of the Minnesota Transportation Museum and volunteered actively until shortly before his death, building the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line and restoring five streetcars. He crusaded tirelessly for Light Rail Transit in the Twin Cities beginning in the 1960, presented educational slide shows on LRT to hundreds of civic groups, served on the Regional Transit Board 1987-89, and was a member of the Hiawatha Corridor vehicle selection committee. George loved travel and people. He took the family on train journeys around the United States. He joined Sons of Norway in order to learn the language; then went on to study German, Spanish, and Chinese and traveled to Europe, Asia and Australia. After doing extensive family genealogical research, he and Florence visited his parents' birthplaces in eastern Europe. As a life-long liberal, he supported environmental causes, and lived frugally according to his principles. He was an active member of Veterans for Kerry in 2004. Although a serious person, he was gregarious, optimistic, and energetic, even if he didn't always get the joke. He had an international network of friends and contacts and was respected by all who met him. He could fix anything, always read the instructions, and was impatient with those who didn't follow through on their promises. He loved classical music and was a good dancer, and friend and partner to Florence. As a father, he was strict but fair, and his sense of ethics was unimpeachable. George is survived by his wife Florence; son Aaron; daughters Virginia, Patricia; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Memorials should so to the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, Interment Fort Snelling.

I never knew or met George. The obit above is the first I heard of him, but he sure laid down the challenge to life a life fulfilled.

27 January 2006

Wither Canadian TV

When your empire is a house of cards, you are vulnerable to any breeze.
Federal regulations that allow Canadian networks to earn the bulk of their advertising dollars by running domestic commercials on U.S. signals will be useless if audiences start drawing TV shows from the Internet, the report said. The revenue from such advertising is the lifeblood of Canadian networks, often offsetting the cost of domestic productions and local news. "That advantage will evaporate if alternate sources of content exist," the IBM research asserts.
Overall lack of native programming (and adherance to Canadian contect regualtions) do not help mitigate the coming tide. I was hoping to not need a video iPod, but if that's the only way to get Hockey Night in Canada, I'm in.

Fiddling While Dearborn Burns

Welcome, comrade, to another day at the glorious UAW manufacturing facility. Put on your orange jumpsuit and proceed with your brothers to the people's central courtyard for a program of mandatory exercise and information dissemination.
If you work at Ford, you better drive a Ford. Beginning next Wednesday, only vehicles manufactured by Ford or one of its subsidiaries can be parked on the plant site. "It was something this plant manager took upon himself. It's not a companywide policy," said Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari, adding that Ford supported the decision, which was made in consultation with local union leaders.

In recent years, the UAW has put handbills on non-Ford vehicles -- and even on some vehicles made by Ford's Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar units (them's ain't no 'Murican cars!) that were parked at the company's world headquarters in Dearborn. Land Rover, Volvo and other foreign vehicles also have been vandalized while parked at the automaker's Dearborn operations.

"They can't tell you how to spend your money," said one veteran skilled tradesman who did not wish to be identified out of fear of retaliation. "It's still a free country." He drives vehicles manufactured by DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group because he can get a better deal on them. "I gotta go where I can get the most bang for my buck," the worker said.
You'd better get your head right, pal. You are no longer in the USA, you are in the UAW. I'm sure that it'll be this head-in-the-sand mentality that will put Ford back on top of the world.

Yikes That's Five

It's the journey, not the destination.

Jan 18 - Wild 4, Maple Leafs 1
Jan 20 - Wild 4, Blackhawks 1
Jan 22 - Wild 3, Blackhawks 2
Jan 24 - Wild 3, Coyotes 2
Jan 26 - Wild 5, Predators 1

Discourse & Where We Are

The 70,000-member teachers union in Minnesota has spent a million bucks with a month-long TV ad campaign. They claim some jive about seeking input from the public, blah, blah, blah, but the real message is the same one they've always had, since the have but one: Give us more money. The answer options in the survey you are directed to are basically in two categories; Bigger and More.

Katherine Kersten asked some questions that deserve answers, but let's not forget what era we're in. You cannot have a discussion about what's going on when the other side won't answer the question and rejects the notion of accountability.
Education Minnesota's Schools First initiative appears to be a media campaign masquerading as research. Its purpose is not really to listen to public opinion, but to move it. Last year, our state's K-12 schools got one of the biggest two-year funding infusions since the 1980s from the Minnesota Legislature. But Education Minnesota, with its insatiable appetite for taxpayer funds, is already back at the public trough. Is Education Minnesota a serious education organization, dedicated to academic excellence and innovation? Or is it, first and foremost, a union concerned with increasing its members salaries and benefits?
More interesting than what Kersten wrote is the agonizingly predictable shedding of tears in the letter section of the Strib, where all who bleed union largesse are given free run, yet never actually address any part of what Kersten was questioning. Powerline does a fine job of chronicling this, which is every bit as important as Kerstens original column:

So it's all about forming a public dialogue about education? Sure it is. But (Teachers' Union President Judy) Schaubach's own words, to her teacher members last fall in a bulletin, belie that point. Oh well. Many faces of Judy? To rip thoughtful critics as "anti-public education" is knee-jerk shallow, dead wrong, myopically defensive, but oh-so expected. Sad. Sadly, too, Strib's editorial page keepers select only one-sided, issue-twisting responses to blast Kersten's remarks. Editorial bias asserts itself daily in letters selection. Certainly, at least one Kersten defender's letter appeared in the bunch they received.

Braying At the Wind

Canada is the newest subsidiary of Haliburton, ya know. Silly Canadians; don't they know that if Al Gore ain't happy, the no one's happy?
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands. Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change. "The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta . . . and the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."

Darcie Park, spokeswoman for oilsands giant Suncor Energy, said she's taken aback by Gore's remarks and hopes they don't resonate with Canadians. "Our company just doesn't do business that way. We're really puzzled about where these comments came from," she said. The federal Elections Act limits how much money individuals, corporations and unions can donate to political parties. Individuals are allowed to give as much as $5,000 a year, while companies and unions are capped at $1,000 a year.
What's the matter Al? Can't work "neo-con" into every public bleating? He's quite the international statesman. Shocking to hear that Al found sypathetic ears in Park City. What a tool.

26 January 2006

Signage du Jour

. . . and drums.

Notice to slothful parents: Not every place of commerce is a rumpus room for your progeny. Have a nice day.

Currently Nowhere in the Main Stream Media

Guess who:

And about Bill Clinton . . . . I really think he should have been impeached . . . . His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis that George Bush.

Of course she's got several screws loose. Her jive has never been reliable, but when it's anti-Bush, or anti-military, or anti-Israel, or anti-whatever, it's wall to wall on CNN from 8-11 PM eastern time.

No Kidding

You are a Porsche 911

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite, and you know it.

Yup, it's the "Which Sports Car Are You?" test.

25 January 2006

Run Away!

One of the better scenes in cinematic history is in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where Arthur, Galahad and the whole gang have to face the rabbit of Caerbannog. In the scene a wise man tells the knights to beware this rabbit, but they only see it as a rabbit, and only after much blood is shed do they realize they are beaten. Their last act is to run away.

Compare that foul-tempered rodent to this from Globe & Mail:

Blaine, Wash. - American authorities closed the border crossing to British Columbia on Tuesday after an exchange of gunfire on the U.S. side between border guards, police and two murder suspects from California who were eventually apprehended.

An unspecified number of Canadian border agents, who are unarmed, left their posts during the incident because they were concerned about their safety.

"A few officers exercised their right to refuse to work because of what they perceived as imminent danger," (Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Paula) Shore said in a telephone interview. Under the labour code, "any worker has the right to refuse to work if they feel they are in imminent danger." The Canadian Department of Human Resources came and assessed the situation for us," she said.

Thank God the human resources-types were quickly deployed. I can't imagine the level of humiliation that comes from soiling one's self in front of coworkers in a professional situation. So you got civil servants, in it for the pension, armed only with the "right to refuse to work;" now that's what I want at an international border in 2006. When I go customs this June, I'll try to remember not to let the word "boo" slip out.

24 January 2006

Sun Too Hot; Blame Bush

Ol' GW has personally increased the output of the sun making the Earth get warmer!

In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s. The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does. "This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," Willson said.

Okay, it doesn't really say anything about Bush, Rove, Cheney, Haliburton, Ashcroft, Alito, Limbaugh, Lindbergh or Spackler in the article, but I'm just trying to appeal to the cool kids by connecting random dots in order to reach a predetermined conclusion, as so many like to do.

One More From the X

Yea, the seats were good.

Coyotes Chased Off

The Great One (above) brought his collection of go-go skaters to St. Paul only to be met with equal amounts of smash and grab; Wild 3, Coyotes 2. Thanks to Cap'n Credit for access to the swanky suite suite and the dutch beers.

Onward Harper

Stephen Harper will be the new Prime Minister as the Tories get 36%. Good for Canada. They could really become one of the world's great nations if they could only broom the hand-sitters from Ottawa. It seems they're discovered that they also have some red state/blue state issues like us, along with some comically oppressive laws regarding free speech.

Blogging on election day is going to be a tricky thing. In this election, unlike the last one, Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act will be in effect, meaning it will be effectively against the law to blog about election results until 10:00 ET, since blogging is considered transmitting "to the public." Antonia Zerbisias discusses the implications of S. 329 on bloggers: "So let's say that, on Monday night, the Conservatives start sweeping through the Maritime provinces or Newfoundland. Will the Blogging Tories be able to contain their glee and stick to the law before the polls close in B.C.?" [UPDATE: I've removed a reference and link to a certain American blog that might post election results.]
Wow. If you were asked to name a country that would jail you for essentially being your own journalist, what would you have guessed? Iran? Syria? China? North Korea? Nope. it's the Great White North. You can scream about border enforcement and al-Queda and softwood imports all you want, but they don't matter until the people are guarunteed their freedoms, and the government respects that their only authority comes from the people.

23 January 2006

Michael Moore to Canada: "Buncha Dummies"

Canada is poised to turn the corner today, and that just doesn't sit well with the most intellectually sophisticated mind on Earth.

"Far be it from me, as an American, to suggest what you should do," (Michael Moore) added.

But don't let that stop you, bozo . . .

In "Bowling for Columbine," his documentary on gun violence in the United States, Moore heads north to Canada to flee the rise of conservatism on US soil. "A man running the nation to the south of you is hoping you can lend him a hand by picking Stephen Harper, because he's a man who shares his world view. Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest?" Moore asked.

Jeez, does Moore ever love himself.

The UAW's Alternative Universe

I don't know how they (again) kept the fat out of the fire, but St. Paul Assembly survived a round of restructuring by Ford. Even if they pulled the plug today, the plant workers would have been paid through 2007, when the national UAW contract with Ford expires. How about that; being paid for 15 months for doing nothing.

In 2004, Ford closed a plant in Edison, New Jersey that also made the Ranger pickup. Some of those workers went to other Ford plants, some retired, but others are determined to live the life of a union man:
Each weekday, the former Edison plant workers travel to a gray, nondescript office building in nearby Piscataway, N.J. For eight hours they read, chat or play checkers with each other in a setting that resembles a carpeted high school cafeteria. No card games, other gambling or online access are allowed. Workers get two short breaks and a longer lunch break, during which they can also go to a gym down the street and work out.
So much for dignity and self-worth, I guess.

Victor Pashkevich, 40, one of the workers at the GEN pool site, spent 13 years at the plant before it closed. He's single and said he plans to stay with Ford as long as he can. Matching the pay and benefits from Ford is difficult, he said, but adds that the GEN pool isn't the best situation either. "People aren't happy here," Pashkevich said. "They want to go to work." Well, Victor, then go to work. Somewhere. They've bulldozed this plant. It's not coming back. Step away from the UAW's alternative universe teat.
I hope they really can keep St. Paul Assembly open. Not because it's important to keep the UAW economic pseudo-fantasy alive, but because it a good part of a diverse local economy. It's 2,000 locals making pretty good money given their education and training. The plant also kicks in plenty of green in an environment where no tax dollar goes unspent. As the capitol city, St. Paul has a tremendous amount of government property that doesn't kick anything into the property tax pot. There's a church around every corner, and lots of colleges on prime real estate.

St. Paul Assembly is Ford's oldest operating plant. It's made 7 million vehicles since 1924, and can screw together over 300,000 Rangers a year if it needs to. It's been modernized and long paid for. It makes it's own electricity, and has everything going for it except stamping. I hope it stays, but if it goes, the spin from the company, the union, the developers circling overhead and the politicians will mind-boggling.

21 January 2006

Pure Drool

Very difficult to take one's eyes off the Barrett-Jackson auction. It's not just the money people are spending on cars but the head-spinning variety of things you could have once you clear the
money hurdle.

Do you go for pure muscle, a classic ragtop, something foreign or a unicorn? It's baffling, but what a treat to be part of the confusion.

20 January 2006

Rubbing it In

Ol' Ray the cable man dug his own hole, and I was going to leave it alone, but then I saw the movie poster and had to pile on.

I've Been (Almost) Everywhere

I've been to Spirit Lake, Grand Lake, Devil's Lake, Crater Lake for Pete's sake . . .

Make a silly map of the states you've visited. They also have a visited countries map maker, but at 4 in number, mine's not impresstive.

The World Gets Smaller Every Day

This crazy internet; it's just full of stuff:
You've heard a lot about the ACLU lawsuit since its filing yesterday. But you haven't heard much about its less famous plaintiffs . . .

Noel Saleh. The thrice-disciplined attorney (who was suspended from the practice of law) openly stated at a town hall meeting with federal officials that he has financially contributed to Hezbollah. He heads an Arab welfare agency that gets millions in our tax dollars, yet was raided by the FBI for engaging in Medicaid fraud. The organization also spent thousands in our tax dollars on "job training" (commercial driving lessons and attempts at HazMat hauling certificates) for two men indicted as members of the Detroit Al-Qaeda terror cell. He has represented a number of Islamic terrorists, including IbrahimParlak and "former" PFLP terrorist Imad Hamad.

Then, there is Mohammed Abdrabboh, a Palestinian attorney and ACLU of Michigan Board Member. Not only does he represent a number of accused terrorists, he lied in signed documents about it.
Schlussel lists several more interesting charaters. It's quite the trail for the mentally adventurous.

What's You Life Worth?

Paul Shusta's life only clocked in at $2,000.00
State trooper Scott Mittelstadt was charged with two misdemeanors Wednesday in an accident that killed a motorcyclist last year in Golden Valley. Mittelstadt , 27, struck Paul Shusta's motorcycle when Mittelstadt tried to turn onto Hwy. 55 eastbound from (southbound) Theodore Wirth Parkway. He is charged with careless driving and failure to yield the right of way. According to state guidelines, each charge carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.
Not responding to a call (so no lights or sirens), failure to yeild to traffic and causing the death of a morotist; two misdemeanors. Shoe on the other foot: You or I kill a state trooper due to carless driving. You think we're walking with such a caress from the system?


19 January 2006

Laws For Thee But Not For Me

"Your laws don't apply to me, I am correct in thought and deed. I am not subject to your laws and customs, and am impervious to your prosecution, for I am a Green!"

Two months after losing his Minneapolis City Council re-election bid under a cloud of corruption allegations, Dean Zimmermann was indicted Wednesday on charges of taking money and seeking favors from developers while he was in office.

Zimmermann, the third (Minneapolis) council member in five years accused of using his office for personal gain, doesn't deny that he took $7,200 in cash from one developer and asked another to do a construction project on his former partner's property.

"We do know the FBI has been going after the Green Party all around the country," Zimmermann, 63, said Wednesday at his Whittier neighborhood home.

No, Dean, you idiot, the FBI goes after criminals. That's why you are under indictment. Call us when you're acquitted and tell us how acquiring building materials and getting you legal bills paid equate to doing the work of the people.

Zimmerman's just another fraud blinded by his own hubris. It's not like there's any shortage of lefty crooks in city government over there. On thing he does have going for him: The Minneapolis Monolith is totally on his side.
We in the media aren't supposed to play favorites, so I'd better be straight about this. I can't help but like Green Party Dean and his spouse. And it's not just because they use recipes from the Star Tribune. They're warm and earthy.

How many of those Washington political dandies who allegedly have been accepting millions of dollars from lobbyist Jack Abramoff could get into the dirt and build a retaining wall?
I dunno, Doug; if you find any let us know and they'll be burned with Zimmerman. But until then, just go ahead and keep the smear coming.

I guess I just don't have my head right; political corruption is really OK if it's your politician.

18 January 2006

The Shrill Sound and the Fake Fury

Not long ago the President Bush said (essentially) that his first and most important duty was to protect the citizens of the United States. I disagree, because I think it's paramount to protect, defend and enforce the Constitution of the Unites States.

That being said, it's pretty amazing that the DNC poster children continue to bang away at the illusion of all civil liberties being yanked by White House Monarchy. What a lot of rubbish. I give you Max Boot from the Los Angeles Times; hardly the Haliburton house organ:
What right does that fascist in the White House have to imprison Michael Moore, wiretap Nancy Pelosi and blackmail Howard Dean? Wait. You mean he hasn't done those things? All he's done is intercept communications between terrorists abroad and their contacts in the U.S. without a court order? Talk about defining impeachable offenses downward.

If the president's critics want that part of the nation that doesn't read the Nation to believe that he's a threat to our freedom, they'd better do more than turn up the level of vituperation. They'd better find some real victims - the Eugene Debses and Martin Luther Kings of the war on terror.

Civil libertarians thought they were in luck when a college student in Massachusetts claimed that two FBI agents had shown up to interview him after he had requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book. Ted Kennedy cited this incident to warn of the Patriot Act's "chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom." Relax, Senator. Free speech is safe. The student lied.
Read it all.

Just Keep Reading the Prompter Albert

Ol' fire'n'brimstone Albert really got his followers stoked on MLK Day. From Gore's speech:
Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: "Men feared witches and burnt women." The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.
Several times in those passages, Gore dipped into that B.B. King-like growl thing he does in order to really store the faithful. Personally, I think he goes to the soulful tones to make people forget his father voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that's just a whim on my part.

Perhaps on MLK Day, Gore might have passed on the vocal flair and instead settled for some 4th-grade accuracy, because, you know, General Cornwallis and the British surrendered in October of 1781, and the Bill of Rights was passed in December of 1791, but, hey, what's a decade here and there when you're in the demagogue business.

Who writes his crap? Not only was Gore repeating half-assed detatched rhetoric, the self-purported ground-layer of the of the internet still has not discovered Wikipedia.

17 January 2006

Surprise; Quacking From a Duck

Over at the entirely predictable video clipping site Crooks & Liars (hey John, any clips of Biden from the Alito hearings? Didn't think so), there's a clip of George Clooney accepting a Golden Globe Award. Clooney surprised me by not having anything gracious to say or anyone to thank, so, given the room he was working, and stuck with the time he was expected to kill, he reached way out there for a Jack Abramoff joke; you know, the anti-administration, guilt-by-association move made so popular by Joe McCarthy. It's the whole "All I have to do to look better is to make you look worse" racket.

Anyway, I thought was most amusing for Clooney (pot) to be contracting (black kettle) Abramoff's name into a slang term for masturbation, all while fist-pumping his Golden Globe Award before a room of full of gushing, adoring fans. It seems Hollywood checks its irony at the door.

Like Mel Allen would have said, "How about that!"

Thanks to Flamer for the tip.

16 January 2006

This Could Be Trouble

Remember all those Japanese monster movies that began with drilling a deep mine, or blowing stuff up at the bottom of the ocean, or otherwise poking sticks in unexplored holes . . .
The ship will try to take samples from unprecedented depths beneath the seabed and will bore through a "subduction zone" - the point where one tectonic plate descends underneath another.

The deepest hole drilled through the seabed so far reaches 2111 metres. Chikyu will set off in September 2007 to collect the first samples from 7000 metres, at a point some 600 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, Japan.
File this under 'not kicking the sleeping dog.'

Ball Dropped by Oracle

Who needs alternative press when you've got the legacy media so on top of things? Thomas Lifson at America Thinker knows better:

"How sad!” readers are encouraged to think. “These poor people are on the receiving end of awful weapons used by the clumsy minions of Bush. And all to no avail. Isn’t it terrible? Why must America do such horrible misdeeds? Bush must go!”

The only problem is that the long cylindrical item with a conical tip pictured with the boy and the man is not a missile at all. It is an old artillery shell. Not something that would have been fired from a Predator. Indeed, something that must have been found elsewhere and posed with the ruins and the little boy as a means at pulling of the heartstrings of the gullible readers of the New York Times.

Nice going, NYT; now how about another story where you claim knowlegde supremecy over the entire blogosphere.

14 January 2006

None of Us Knew

Becasue these are things learned/discovered for the first time in the past year. Much of the data pertains to the UK:
2. Mohammed is now one of the 20 most popular names for boys born in England and Wales.

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it's possibly because religious people have less fear of death.

11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed.

20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.

32. "Restaurant" is the most mis-spelled word in search engines.

35. The name Lego came from two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It also means "I put together" in Latin.

37. Cyclist Lance Armstrong's heart is almost a third larger than the average man's.

53. It takes 75kg of raw materials to make a mobile phone.

67. Giant squid eat each other - especially during sex.

76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.

83. Britain produces 700 regional cheeses, more even than France.

93. Koalas have fingerprints exactly like humans (although obviously smaller).

13 January 2006

Anecdotal, Yes . . .

. . . but still stinks for the alleged objectivity of Big Media.
WASHINGTON — The Arab news network Al Jazeera announced Thursday that Dave Marash, an award-winning former correspondent for ABC News' "Nightline," is joining its 24-hour English-language network, to be launched this spring.

NEW YORK - Ted Koppel, who ended a quarter-century run on ABC News' "Nightline" in November, will join National Public Radio.

ACLU Gone Missing in Three Acts

Act 1 - Double-Secret Probation spying on civilians did not begin on September 12th, 2001.

The (New York) Times actually defended the existence of Echelon when it reported on the program following the Australians revelations.

Few dispute the necessity of a system like Echelon to apprehend foreign spies, drug traffickers and terrorists.

And the Times article quoted an N.S.A. official in assuring readers . . .

that all Agency activities are conducted in accordance with the highest constitutional, legal and ethical standards.
Act 2 - It's not the Patriot Act that's sniffing through your library records, it's Whisky Ted.
Unable to touch Alito on his knowledge of the law or the depth of his experience, Kennedy and his liberal brethren on the Senate Judiciary Committee have resorted to a McCarthy-era tactic -- guilt by association. The depth of his desperation was seen in an altercation Wednesday between Kennedy and committee chairman Arlen Specter in which liberalism's grand pooh-bah demanded . . . a subpoena of records that were publicly available. Kennedy believes documents prove that Alito, who was a member of the group, is anti-black and anti-female. Doing his best Emily Litella imitation, Kennedy huffed and puffed and hinted at some vast right-wing conspiracy to keep Alito's checkered past secret. Except that these records are available at the Library of Congress and have been pawed over by The New York Times. Never mind.
Act 3 - I'm all for eliminating pork and fraud, especially in the agriculture "industry," but is this enforcement or domestic spying?

Satellite technology, which takes images at roughly eight-day intervals, can be used to monitor when farmers plant their acreage, how they irrigate them and what crops they grow. If anomalies are found in a farm's insurance claim, investigators can search satellite photos dating back years to determine cropping practices on individual fields. Just as U.S. satellites kept track of things like the wheat harvest in the former Soviet Union, other countries have also launched satellites to monitor American crops. Germany, France and others have satellites monitoring crop conditions, and many other private firms sell those images in the U.S. "Everybody spies on everybody. I was stunned to hear that myself," Edwards said. "Someday, I may have to rely on a French satellite to convict an American citizen.
ACLU? Pelosi? Dean? Kos? NPR? Where are you?

12 January 2006

I Don't Like the Way Things Are Going

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark. They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through. The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

Great Moments in Journalism

I . . smell . . . PULITZER!

The trial of the accused murderer of St. Paul police Sgt. Gerald Vick was delayed for about an hour Thursday morning when defense attorneys moved for a mistrial, based on an erroneous news report posted by StarTribune.com Wednesday afternoon.

The report . . . stated that Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin had gone to Vick's widow, Connie, before jurors entered the courtroom, briefly talked to her and patted her on the shoulder. It was the prosecutor, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, who comforted Vick's widow. The online story was corrected when the error was discovered.

With all these judges and lawyers and juries (oh my!), who can keep it all straight?

Channelling The Vapors

I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so . . .

C'mon, world, it's only an MP3 player.

10 January 2006

I Can't Wait to Fleece the People

Is there really anything creepier than a politician so eager and proud to raise taxes?
Next year we WILL have a property taxincrease comparable to other cities. The only question remains will that be enough, which is why Jay (Benanav) should be congratulated for looking outsidethe box for revenue and the further involvement of our colleges anduniversities in building our city. We now have a seven member city council and a mayor willing to work together to get us through this with continued momentum towards making St. Paul a great city . . .
Blah, blah, blah. What a freak Thune is. He actually thinks you can tax a society into greatness. Thankfully we have finer minds, like George Will, for perspective.
The way to reduce rent-seeking is to reduce the government's role in the allocation of wealth and opportunity. People serious about reducing the role of money in politics should be serious about reducing the role of politics in distributing money. But those most eager to do the former -- liberals, generally -- are the least eager to do the latter.

09 January 2006

Tying Together Steyn and Hanson

Lileks builds a nice bridge betwixt this Mark Steyn and the sentiments of Victor Hanson.

But as (Mark) Steyn points out, “multiculturalism” is utterly flummoxed by monocultural Islamists; it has no arguments against it, and appeals to some gaseous modern conception of “European” values evaporate upon contact with the hot implacable nature of the up-and-coming culture.

The telling line in Steyn's piece quotes that fine Gaul Jean-Francois Revel: "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself." I’ve read a lot of Revel; a great man and a profound, clear thinker. Lucky for him, he is old, and will not see his fears made manifest. Guilt is a problem, but it’s not the entire enchilada. It’s guilt married to a peculiar belief that Western Civilization is unique only in its sins. The only thing Western Civ really gave the world was slavery, imperialism, war, and capitalism; the fact that we have eliminated or diminished or abbreviated those sins is due not to anything inherent in Western Civ but some overarching, free-floating Enlightenment unmoored from the cultures that produced it.

Still Want To Be Friends?

Victor Davis Hansen speaks for me with regards to Europe:

So criticize us for our sins; lend us your advice; impart to America the wealth of your greater experience — but as a partner and an equal in a war, not as an inferior or envious neutral on the sidelines. History is unforgiving. None of us receives exemption simply by reason of the fumes of past glory.

Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away — to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.

Read it all.

You Can Not Make it Up

The Senior Pickled Senator from the State of Massachusetts is following in the lauded footsteps of Madonna and Stanley Williams by writing a book for the kiddies. Knowing what we know about Speedway Teddy, one cannot but be amused by the name he chose for the protagonist dog in the story; "Splash." Not exactly "Profiles in Courage," but who can compete with legacy?

Teddy working in "Children's literature;" thank God he's not reaching beyond himself. Do you suppose he'll follow this release with his take on American History?
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), hosting a morning roundtable with reporters, had nothing nice to say about Alito. "We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito. Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."
For as much of a pantsload this guy is, you know Howard Dean will have him front and center come convention time. When will Massachusetts ever develop any sense of shame over recycling this clown over and over?

Providing Dictionary Services

Today let's have a look at the word "Irony," via Genteration Why

First this:
January 5, 2006 - The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts. Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use.
Then this:

September 22, 2005 - Federal prosecutors have opened an inquiry into allegations that two Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee employees illegally tapped into Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's credit history."Lt. Gov. Steele was extremely disturbed to learn about the alleged criminal identity theft of his personal finance records by (a staff member of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,) at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Keeping Time With the Mersey Beat

Luton Town 3- 5 Liverpool

A seriously cracking match at tiny Kenilworth Road that saw Luton Town go up 3-1 after a penalty at 53 minutes, but once again, no one outthinks Rafael Benitez. The Reds sub Florent Sinama-Pongolle for Momo Sissoko, and he puts up goals at t 62 and 74. Added to Xabi Alonso's strikes at 69 and 90(+), and Liverpool advance. No Burnley repeat this season.

Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone.

08 January 2006

All Show and No Go

Few things leap off life's page to catch my attention like a gap between performance and promise. For example; that stupid wing bolted on the Asian appliance next to you at the stop light is doing nothing to make it blend any faster. Congrats on your ornamentation, idiot, too bad it's not getting you anywhere. Such is the case with a couple of items that crossed the desk in my situation room this week.

The first item comes from Venezuelan Bozo-in-Chief Hugo Chavez. You may recall Chavez' superficially magnanimous offer to supply poor populations around the world with affordable energy. One of the first "poor nations" to which he offered oil was the northeastern United States, which are still stuck on stupid by their adherence to home heating oil. It was a preposterous move, since there is nothing institutionally downtrodden about any region of the United States, but done rhetorically to try to embarrass President Bush. Well Venezuela may be able to pump some of the black gold, but it can do little else for itself:
Venezuelans are facing a growing shortage of staple foods as producers and wholesalers stop deliveries amid tightening government price controls and collapsing margins. President Hugo Chavez introduced caps on the prices of basic goods three years ago, in theory to ensure lower costs for the poor. But while prices have since been lifted periodically to offset rising output costs, suppliers say the increases have been too slow. In some cases, production costs exceed the official price. Gaetano Minuta, head of the Marida coffee producers' association, said that the new official price for coffee would lead not only to financial losses but possibly to the loss of this
year's harvest.
Maybe Bush can offer Chavez' mighty Venezuelala some Starbucks Coffee, you know, magnanimously.

The other thing that I saw was the situation with Real Madrid, who have managed to become the most valuable sports team in the world, surpassing even Manchester United. What happens when you get too fat? You think you can buy happiness. RM has become a huge global brand with its own television network, but the club has also had five managers in five years, and has not won a Spanish or European title since 2003.
"Real Madrid has no game plan" writes Santiago Segurola in El Pais. "It is the product of a commercial idea that has relegated the actual sport to a secondary role. It spends enormous sums of money signing up stars, but they do not make a team. They are, rather, a disappointing mosaic, with somplayerses in their twilight years, and others included solely for their commercial appeal."
There has been somshrewded business to build RM to such a monolith, and some clubs would be very happy with 6th place en Liga Primera, but for the money being spent, any result but the top of the table should be aembarrassmentnt to club management and to fans.

05 January 2006

Civilizations Die From Suicide, Not Murder

This is not the shortest thing I've linked, but it's among the most thought-provoking.
The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birthrate to sustain it. Post-Christian hyperrationalism is, in the objective sense, a lot less rational than Catholicism or Mormonism. Indeed, in its reliance on immigration to ensure its future, the European Union has adopted a 21st-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion. The problem is that secondary-impulse societies mistake their weaknesses for strengths--or, at any rate, virtues--and that's why they're proving so feeble at dealing with a primal force like Islam.

We know it's not really a "war on terror." Nor is it, at heart, a war against Islam, or even "radical Islam." The Muslim faith, whatever its merits for the believers, is a problematic business for the rest of us. There are many trouble spots around the world, but as a general rule, it's easy to make an educated guess at one of the participants: Muslims vs. Jews in "Palestine," Muslims vs. Hindus in Kashmir, Muslims vs. Christians in Africa, Muslims vs. Buddhists in Thailand, Muslims vs. Russians in the Caucasus, Muslims vs. backpacking tourists in Bali. Like the environmentalists, these guys think globally but act locally.
Print it out and take it with you.

When Will the Circus Come To Your Town?

I'm usually loathe to spend much time with Markos Zúniga, but Joseph Hughes has a diary post at Kos that properly fisks Hemmer, Cosby, Cooper, and their handlers, and it hits the nail on the head for me.
Why, other than greed, has this happened? Laziness, pure and simple. Nothing is hurting journalism more than the creeping laziness sweeping the profession. Even the most sporadic observer can see what's going on. Lazy journalism gives us wall-to-wall hurricane coverage instead of a stern analysis of global warming and its effects. Lazy journalism gives us pundit cockfights instead of an in-depth look at healthcare policy. Lazy journalism gives us the "mine miracle" instead of waiting judiciously for the real story.

04 January 2006

Advertising Copy for Light Rail

It's the Hiawatha Line! Just like driving, except it takes 5 times as long, and when you get off the choo choo, you're still nowhere near either your destination or your home! I can already see the full-page advertisement . . .

"If you're going to one of the comically-few places we reach, and you don't care if it takes 50 minutes to go 6 miles, if you like hanging with pimps and ganstas, and don't mind 17 stops even if no one is getting off or getting on, and did we mention you don't care how long it takes, then we've got the money-losing, time-killing option for you!"

Where's Emily Litella Now That We Need Her?

Holy Jesus did broadcast tee vee ever screw the pooch on this one.

Like a millions of others, I went to bed last thinking that 12 cold, tired and dirty men would soon be walking out of a mine in West Virginia. I thought that because I made the very naive mistake of believing what I saw on tee vee. I was watching MSNBC about 11:30 CST when they broke into an interview for a live update reporting that the 12 remaining miners had somehow survived their ordeal. I clicked around and saw that CNN, Fox and all the other usual suspects were barking the exact same tune. There was no couching, no hedging, no 'unconfirmed reports indicate that . . . ,' no nothing; just big graphics - 12 trapped miners would be going home any time now.

Well, what a difference the truth makes. This morning, obviously, there is a different reality for tee vee to cope with, but instead of acknowledging their role in spreading misinformation globally, they were spinning an whole new yard that consisted of 51% flinger pointing, 49% who else got it wrong, and 100% CYA. Nowhere did any of these amateur, cowardly, entertainment-driven frauds suggest any of them jumped the gun. In tee vee's orgasmic rush to be first, no one, as usual bothered to be right. Don't let tools like Bill Hemmer, Geraldo Rivera and Rita Cosby lead you downthe path of 'it just spread like wildfire.' It was Big Media that ran the misinformation out there, bounced it off satellites, and now won't even come back with an Elimy Litella-like "never mind."

Tee vee news sucks, folks, and I couldn't paint you a more illustrative picture even with a fictitious news story. Unfortunatley, we have to be reminded of Big Media's failures during an all-too-real tragedy.

03 January 2006

Things On My Mind

#1: I watched something on the dish tonight about Airbus and how they have construction of the A380 farmed out all over the EU. Lots of different companies, nations, people and really cool manufacturing technologies involved. Problem comes when they have to get all the parts to one place to actually screw it together. I shooting from the hip here, but I'll bet 25% of what is costs to build that hog must be in all the barges, cargo planes and lorries that have to be specially constructed for the trip to land-locked Toulouse. Europe's low bridges, narrow streets, and short runways have very nearly created a boat-built-in-the-basement problem.

#2: Back in the innocent days of high school, one of my favorite teachers explained that water will act as a lubricant and will reduce the coefficient of friction between any two surfaces. If that's the case, why is it so tough to put on socks if your feet are wet?

#3: I'm no fan of ginormous warehouse-style grocery stores. You know, the kind that no self-respecting suburb can live without? Well, sometimes they will plop one of 'em right in the urban core, and since the prices are pretty low, they'll attract much of the immigrant community. The result is that in addition to the thousands of metric tons of American stuff like Oreos and hot dogs, you will, amazingly, find some interesting ethnic treasures. One of which is Coca-Cola from Mexico. It comes in thick glass bottles, just like the good old days, and there's gotta be something different about the recipe as compared to American Coke. Maybe they use real sugar instead of Splenda or NutraSweet (or whatever), because it is so good . . .

This Item Includes Forbidden Language

Enigma: It's the perfect word for the Jekyll/Hyde Chinese Government. One day they are doing a pretty good economic impression of the free-market world, and the next day, they are literally stomping opposition or jailing dissenters.

One thing's forsure, China is one bohonkin' market, and lots of Western companies will gladly hemorrhage resources and capital to set up shop over there. One way to curry favor with China is to do the governments dirty work, like when a pesky citizen asks too many questions. Why expect the government to pull the plug on the openly curious when Bill Gates will do it himself? Rebecca MacKinnon is on this like a duck on a Junebug:

On December 16th I created a blog and attempted to make various posts with politically sensitive words. When I attempted to post entries with titles like "Tibet Independence" or "Falun Gong" (a banned religious group), I got an error message saying: "This item includes forbidden language. Please delete forbidden language from this item."

However I was successful in posting blog entries with non-controversial titles, but with politically sensitive words in the text body. For instance, a blog post titled "I love you" had "Tibet independence" in the text body, and a post titled "I am happy" had "Falun Gong" in the body . . . This was on Friday December 16th. By Monday the 19th, the whole blog had been taken down, just like (Zhao Jing's) was on Dec.31st, with an error message: "This space is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later."

Now, It is VERY important to note that the inaccessible blog was moved or removed at the server level and that the blog remains inaccessible from the United States as well as from China. This means that the action was taken NOT by Chinese authorities responsible for filtering and censoring the internet for Chinese viewers, but by MSN staff at the level of the MSN servers.
Where do you want to go today?

Freedom for everyone. No exceptions.

Dogs Love All Routine

Especially the chemically-laced routines. Lileks on dogs, via the StarTribune:
And now it's every night. The expense is crippling. I have compensated by buying cheap dog food -- GopherBits, Sorta-Meat, Li'l Prince Minced Innards, that sort of stuff. He would be happy if I fed him gravel soaked in bouillon as long as he gets his Frosty Paws.

Lego Sushi

Shoulder Back On the Wheel

Back to work today; let's see, which exit do I take . . . where's my desk . . . what's my computer password? It's all pretty foggy, and I'm a guy that likes my job.

Anyway, a fella can do a lot in 16 days when he doesn't have to go to work. I washed to dogs, saw two movies, checked out a photography exhibit, regrouted the shower, saw the Wild beat the Canucks, got the coolant and brake fluid changed in the rocket, replaced the kitchen faucet, ate at Rooster's and Mickey's, saw friends in from Ann Arbor, completed a full assessment and organization of all the clothes I own, got my 6-city region to 100,000 residents in SimCity4, watched live as Liverpool dispatched Newcastle, Everton, West Bromich Albion, only to draw with Bolton, got myself started on 4 books that will likely become future blog fodder, went to Mall of America once (I weep for the future), spent some time reading the paper in coffee shops with the other insufferable intellectuals, and drank beer around a roaring fire outdoors as 2005 came to an arbitrary close.

01 January 2006

Keeping Kelo v City of New London Front-Burner

I'm from the government and here to help you:

Lee planned to redevelop his thriving Hmong-American Shopping Mall in Brooklyn Center into a "Little Asia," with townhomes, retail space and an open-air celebration area. To do so, Lee sought to work with the city's Economic Development Authority in 2002. Not only did Brooklyn Center refuse, it took his property last April using eminent domain. And the city now plans to let another developer build a similar project on Lee's former property.

Like many Hmong immigrants, Lee saw combat against the North Vietnamese. He said, "I fought for America because the U.S. government told me the Communists would not respect my rights." After the war, he came to this country to fulfill the
American Dream. But a big part of the dream has evaded Lee because Brooklyn Center took his property.

"Nearly 35 years ago, I fought for people's rights to keep what is theirs," Lee said. "Brooklyn Center ignored my rights and took my property. I can't tell you how betrayed I feel."