31 May 2006

A Hot Time in Old Ward 4

Can there be any wonder how Jay Benanav keeps getting elected in this part of St. Paul?
So nobody flinched on this night, when the women shed their blankets and, to the screechy, plaintive bowings of a violinist perched on the lip of the window, began dancing in the buff. Their springy, synchronized leaps and abstract modernist gestures, made more precarious by the roof's pitch and elevation, came to a close when the women held apples aloft and bit into them. To enthusiastic applause, the roommates re-wrapped themselves in the blankets and climbed back into the house.
Hey, look at me, look at me everyone; I'm an artist.
The two found personal and artistic kinship, and their dances developed organically from everyday living. "There's a lot of screaming that goes on in our house," Sellers said. "We're both Virgos."
But of course . . .

"I was one of those mid-'70s people. I was nude a lot," Howard said. "It's not the first place I go to now in my work, and I really question when I use it, but nudity has a whole basket of things around it for me at these parties. Being unleashed - Dionysus is present - and the censorship and clamps being put on artists these days, the nudity is a statement of freedom."
I was just thinking about that today - the way the Bush Administration is constantly restricting our rights, but mostly those of women and minorities and hybrid car drivers and . . . oh, sorry, It's just that I've been spending so much time reading Barbara Striesand's yammerings. Hey - have you noticed how no one is ever artistically repressed when there's a skirt-chasing Democrat in the White House?

Two months after Sellers moved in, they dubbed their dwelling "The House of Transition and Permission" and threw their first performance party. In a piece titled "Fur and Bubbles," the women wore bubble costumes and danced amid fur-covered furniture on a living-room floor covered in bubble wrap. The idea, Sellers said, was to immerse their guests in an environment they could touch.
Sure, touch away, just wash our hands on the way out.

For their next party, in May 2005, Sellers and Howard performed "Rising Sap" in their backyard garden. The women dressed their grassy stage in lilacs and chocolate-covered strawberries and laid rose pedals along the walkway. Nearby, a phallus made of ice melted through the night. To the women, it's all an artistic experiment. "We don't know how to make a labyrinth, we don't know how to mosaic the ceiling, we don't know how to turn a room into a vagina," Sellers said.
I have that same problem, April.

While St. Paul will lose a distinguishing artistic entity after the June 3 performance party, the women are already working on separate pieces that continue to push boundaries. In Howard's case, it's dance work driven by the grief of wartime death. Sellers has a work in progress called "V," a cultural exploration of the female sex organ, into which she plans to incorporate video of her gynecological exam.
Right about now, I'm thinkin' about people living off NEA money, but, hey, I'm an angry white male, so what'd you expect?

You Elected the Luddites, Not Me

Don Samuels and R. T. Rybak - just two more in the never ending cavalcade of reasons why Minneapolis sucks:

While I do value our freedoms. . . there are some of them that our community has not demonstrated the responsibility to bear. . . and. . .one, for me, would be certain freedoms within this new electronic category which has been as lethal as the guns that are pervasive on our streets. . . . I don't think that we have demonstrated the capability to deal with this freedom, neither by the ones who perpetrate it as weapons or by the ones of us who are called upon to oversee the responsible utilization of these media. Until that day comes, and until, personally speaking, I . . . cease to be a victim of the irresponsible use and incapacity to supervise the freedoms (?) that are now brought to us by these incredible advances in technology, I will have to vote against--and again, again, and again--until we demonstrate responsibility and supervising capability for our new freedom.
The amazing thing is that the frightening technology Samuels portrays as dangerous and subversive is public-access cable TV. My God, are there no depths to this asshat's disconnectedness?

If you watch the YouTube clip of this . . . pair . . , it's hard to decide if they're arrogant and power hungry progressives or merely profoundly ignorant chickenshits. Either way, Minneapolis, you bought that ticket; you take that ride.

Top 25 Computer Clinkers

I post this list mostly because from my own disdain for AOL:
Since America Online emerged from the belly of a BBS called Quantum "PC-Link" in 1989, users have suffered through awful software, inaccessible dial-up numbers, rapacious marketing, in-your-face advertising, questionable billing practices, inexcusably poor customer service, and enough spam to last a lifetime. And all the while, AOL remained more expensive than its major competitors. This lethal combination earned the world's biggest ISP the top spot on our list of bottom feeders.

AOL offered plenty of its own online content, (but) it walled off the greater Internet. Once people realized what content was available elsewhere on the Net, they started wondering why they were paying AOL.

What's For Dinner, Sweetie?

Snappy mackerel casserole, rosy perfection salad and jellied tomato refresher!
Mmmmm! They keep getting better and better - just keep clicking.

28 May 2006

Big Media Drops the Ball

Since briefly poking my head in the door last week, I was a bit more interested in the Indianapolis 500 this year than usual. When it comes to motorsports, I'm not so big on the roundy-round stuff, but I'd give it Anton's Loop another look see.

And then ABC stepped in. Where do I begin? First, they propped up old, dusty Brent Musburger to act as some sort of gameshow host for the event. As if, after 90 years, anyone needs that. His failure to properly pronounce the names of the Japanese and Brazilian drivers was almost as awful as his forced jive about today being the beginning of MarcoMania, in reference to 19-year old Marco Andretti, who finished second.

The preposterousness continued by introducing Rusty Wallace as a commentator. Sure he's raced at Indy . . . in fake doorslammers, but the only thing rhino NASCAR has in common with gazelle Indy is that they both go counter-clockwise. Maybe he's still really tight with Roger Penske, and that's how he skated into the booth, but Rusty talkin' open wheel is like Xavier McDaniel working the Stanley Cup Finals.

Before we even got the drivers to their cars, ABC heaped upon us some faux angry band called Staind or Trapt or Losr or some other non-word in need of a vowel. At least we got to hear Jim sing, have Mary tell the drivers to fire 'em up, and see good old-fashioned flyover by some military might.

Of course they fueled the predictable hype around Danica Patrick, all of which tends to make her a carnival attraction and takes away from her very real racing skills. Down in the pits, it was like a episode of Oprah as some runway model in a fire suit asked Mario Andretti and Chip Ganassi to bear their very vulnerable souls. Pass the tissue.

All throughout the race ABC pimped it's coverage of the NBA playoffs, PGA, WNBA and World Cup teasers. I don't know any race fan that gives a rip about this stuff. I mean, I'll be watching the World Cup, but I'm weird. Long gone are the days when "sports fans" would just accept and soak in an entire afternoon of whatever sport the benevolent network bothered to provide.

All that, and the cheap bastards didn't even produce it in high-definition.

Anyway, congrats to Sam for putting together two very good laps at the end to close the gap for the win.

See ya next year. Maybe. TV idiots . . .

27 May 2006

Summer Switched On

One of the wrinkles of life on the Tundra is that summer arrives with all the subtlety of a Labrador Retriever. Here we go - Memorial Day, barbecue & the Indianapolis 500.

Winter and its extremities encompass so much of the calendar year in these parts that this glorious sun and warmth is literally life-giving. Don't blow it. Turn off the PC. Fly the flag. Go outside. Do stuff. Get a little pigment in your pasty skin.

That's enough of this typing indoors crap.

24 May 2006

Eight Goals in the Third Period of Game Three

I think that calls for a beer:
EDMONTON — It seems hockey fans in Edmonton are not only thirsty for an Oilers' triumph in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They're drinking so much beer that some bar owners have had to place emergency orders for more supplies.

"We're having a real hard time with keeping the kegs full," said Cara Albo, assistant manager at Monkey Island. Albo said they had to make an emergency order for kegs to be sure they had enough draft for the Oilers' Tuesday night tilt against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Dwayne Roloson, MVP of the playoffs, regardless of where Edmonton finishes.

23 May 2006

Sorta Funny 'Cause Mostly True

It's no Onion, but Brushback is in the same vein:
“I've been following the Twins for years and I can't take that stupid Metrodome anymore. Now we’ll have a crisp, clean, pretty, open-air ballpark, which is going to look great on my new hi-def TV. Maybe I’ll go to a few games in person, too, if I win them from a radio station. Or maybe I’ll get a free ticket from my brother-in-law, who works for a corporation.”

“Yes, they’re using our tax dollars to pay for it, but it’s only .15 percent,” said fan Sean McCarty. “Plus, our tax money goes to stupider crap than that anyway. At least this is something that we want. You also have to remember that a new ballpark will create thousands – no, millions – of new jobs and result in an economic revival in the city that will make all of us stinking rich. Okay I’m exaggerating. It won’t do anything. But it will have a cool jumbotron.”

The 435-Bed Prison

Remember that pillar of virtue, William Jefferson? Um, yea, he's back to further soil our land.
As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker's family might receive, the congressman "began laughing and said, 'All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching,'" according to the affidavit. As for the $100,000, the government says Jefferson got the money in a leather briefcase last July 30 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington. The plan was for the lawmaker to use the cash to bribe a high-ranking Nigerian official - the name is blacked out in the court document - to ensure the success of a business deal in that country, the affidavit said.
Jefferson must've been too busy to bribe the Nigerians; he still had $90,000 in the freezer. Not like that stinks or anythingbesideses, only Republicans are corrupt and need to be jailed.

Glenn Reynolds notes that the rest of Congress doth protest too much:
The actual scope of Congressional immunity under the speech and debate clause is quite narrow (narrower, oddly, than the judically-created immunities enjoyed by judges and prosecutors) and certainly doesn't include immunity from search in a bribery case. At any rate, members of Congress who are offended by an unannounced late-night raid on an office might profitably be asked what they think about late-night unannounced raids on private homes, which happen all the time as part of the Congressionally-mandated War on Drugs. If anything, it ought to work the other way. I think if you searched 435 randomly selected American homes, and 435 Congressional offices, you just might find more evidence of crime in the latter.

Get Rove at Any Cost

Even if the cost if the truth. Kurtz wonders, in his polite way, how can a fellow expect the truth from an outfit like Truthout.com?
Now Truthout has backed off, at least partially, from the story by reporter Jason Leopold, who has had some credibility problems in the past (as he acknowledges in a new book) but has also worked for such news outlets as the L.A. Times and Dow Jones.

Marc Ash , the site's founder, writes: "On Saturday afternoon, May 13, 2006, TruthOut ran a story titled, 'Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators.' The story stated in part that top Bush aide Karl Rove had earlier that day been indicted on the charges set forth in the story's title.

"The time has now come, however, to issue a partial apology to our readership for this story. While we paid very careful attention to the sourcing on this story, we erred in getting too far out in front of the news-cycle. In moving as quickly as we did, we caused more confusion than clarity. And that was a disservice to our readership and we regret it."

Um, what exactly does that mean? That the story was wrong? That they're not sure whether it was wrong? That it was right but published too soon? Salon's Tim Grieve put that question to Ash, "and his answer seemed to be a pretty unequivocal no. Although Rove's lawyer and his spokesman have both said that Leopold's story was false, Ash said that Truthout still believes that Patrick Fitzgerald, Karl Rove and Rove lawyer Robert Luskin participated in a 15-hour plea-negotiation session at Patton Boggs last Friday; that Fitzgerald gave Rove's lawyers a copy of an indictment charging Rove with perjury and lying to investigators; and that Fitzgerald told Rove's lawyers that their client had 24 hours -- or 24 business hours -- to get his affairs in order."

Luskin, you may recall, said he was taking his cat to the vet that day.

22 May 2006

One More From the Brickyard

Of all the places I've visited, this is the only one I'm sure Michael Schumacher has also visited.

Back on the Tundra

We racked up 1,315 on the family truckster: St. Paul, Hudson, Tomah, Madison, Janesville, Rockford, Paw Paw, Normal, Bloomington, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis, Southport, Speedway, Columbus, Greenwood, Lafayette, Merrillville, Gary, Chicago, Des Plaines, Rockford, Madison, Tomah, Menomonie, Hudson, St. Paul.

As anyone'd expect, one's own bed is the best, largely because you sleep nost soundly when you get your wheels back in your own barn.

19 May 2006

Day Three - Everybody Up to Speed

Someday I'll learn exactly which continent is in play when I hear the term "continental breakfast" in order to begin pruning that cultures attributes from my life. Sorry County Inn & Suites, I know you're in the volume business, but you ain't go it goin' on with this promise of free breakfast.

Day 3 on the road - Indianapolis, Indiana. With a distinct lack of precipitation, we piled in the Family Truckster and felt our way up the beltway to Crawfordsville Road, and finally to the House of Hulman. Today I saw the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I recall when I returned home after seeing Rome for the first time. I wanted to tell everyone about it, but I felt sheepish since Rome had been there a couple thousand years and it was me that just got there. Well today, Indy is my new Rome. The place is huge. It's got lots of old and lots of new. They love their heritage yet claw for the future. And the cars are faster and louder and more surreal than TV can convey.

Lotsa rain in the area for a while, so today was the first practice day the teams were able to turn the wick up and see race speeds. Fourteen different drivers turned in laps of 225 MPH or better. We spent some time in the chute between turns 1 and 2, and then behind the north half of the pits.

As with all big events that are held year after year, there are at Indy many different levels of access and priviledged. There are special suites, pass-only dining, rockstar parking and felonious golf cart usage. You are granted entrance to these exclusive places by knowing someone or being someone or being beholden to someone, but for only $6/head we common folk walzed right in, got to park on the infield, use of the shuttle circulator, an exhibit of pace cars (1987 and 1983 being the low points) throughout the years, and march through the museum. Quite the bargain.

Nice of the family to indulge my little-boy fascinations with race cars. As much as I've bemoaned the IRL for years, seeing a third of the field practicing in person has made me realize I'll have to suck it up and come back here soon, paying full freight to see all 33 of these airplanes lap the joint in anger.

After finding the Ford needle in the neverending haystack lot, we were able to locate a mediocre but welcome Chinese place for a bit of lunch, and then spun up the moho for a run to Columbus for dinner with more family and hours of keeping the kids spinning.

Tomorrow the whole clan will be present and there will be more hootin' and hollerin.'

18 May 2006

Unreported News This Week

Sure war is hell, but you ever been to Atlanta?
According to Mr. King, the violent death rate in Iraq is 25.71 per 100,000. That may sound high, but not when you compare it to places like Colombia (61.7), South Africa (49.6), Jamaica (32.4), and Venezuela (31.6). How about the violent death rates in American cities? New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina was 53.1. FBI statistics for 2004-05 have Washington at 45.9, Baltimore at 37.7, and Atlanta at 34.9.
Sure war is hell, that's why all these folks are enlisting:

May 16, 2006: In the last seven months, the U.S. Army has met or exceeded all of its recruiting goals. In that time, over 160,000 people have enlisted, or re-enlisted. The total strength of the active duty and reserve forces are 1.2 million men and women, all of them volunteers. Except for a few months in 2004-5, the military has been able to maintain its strength, despite wartime conditions. The biggest problem has not been casualties (only about 10,000 soldiers have been killed or disabled so far, less than one percent of overall strength).
Sure war is hell, but that isn't keeping Iran from fishing for pals in it's sprint toward self destruction.
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran is enlisting Syria and the Palestinian group Hamas - both also deeply at odds with the United States, Israel, and some in Western Europe - as allies in the battle over its disputed nuclear program. The move has prompted Israel's U.N. ambassador, Dan Gillerman, to declare that "a dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority."
I'm sure Kerry/Gore/Dean/Edwards(who?) have a plan to fix all this. Whatever happens, good or bad, sooner or later, diplomatically or militarily I'm sure it'll be Bush's fault.

Welcome to Heathrow; Everyone Make Room

"Give me 40 acres and I'll turn this rig around" - Red Simpson
Bigger than a jumbo jet, the future of air travel flew into Britain yesterday, showing off its gigantic proportions and prompting concern about its impact on climate change. The product of a grand European alliance, the Airbus A380, touched down at a specially reinforced runway at Heathrow at 1.20pm.

With a wingspan of 79m, the Airbus A380 is by far and away the world's biggest plane. It can fly further, more cheaply and is sometimes more green than a Boeing 747, seating up to 840 economy passengers compared with a jumbo's 416, though most airlines favour the less environmentally friendly seating of 480.
Of course, nowhere in the story does it say what color Oprah's will be.

Prairie Schooner - Day 2

Awake with the birds (Starlings?) at 6:30. Roll over, back to sleep. Pretty mushy bed that would otherwise ruin me after a week of use, but was great for one night. At breakfast we met Betsy from Oakland who was in town to help move her son from Bloomington to Virginia. Overall the Burr House was nice B&B experience. It wasn't cluttered with faux-Victorian trinkety crap on every flat surface, the owners were real people and not playing some theatrical part, and there was no overwrought backstory about the history of the structure. Said goodbye to Mary Ann and her granddaughter (mom and dad had seen Pearl Jam the night before at the United Center) and hit the road.

I'd have put a picture here to capture the drive from Bloomington to Indianapolis along I-74, but photographic technology has yet to be invented that can properly convey the comic vastness and utter geographical void that is eastern Illinois. Plenty windy out there too, by golly. There's some unyielding low-pressure sucker north and east of us that seems to never run out of juice, and it gave us not only a 40 MPH tailwind, but flash hail storms and bright blue sunshowers. Taking full advantage of Indiana's 70 MPH limit on the freeway, we rolled into the hotel about 2 . . . make that 3; Indy don't play that daylight saving time game. We met some of the family, whose journeys made our 650-mile (so far) effort seem silly, chatted for a while, and loped across the parking lot for dinner.

We liked the look of a place called Beef & Brew, but they fell under some weird (to me) law or policy that didn't allow anyone under 18 in the place no matter who they were accompanied by. The legal age is 21 but that didn't seem to be the issue. Maybe it was some odd provision of some draconian anti-smoking law. That's okay; there was another place across the street that was happy to take our money.

Seems like the atmosphere has stabilized, so I can stand down from watching the sky.

17 May 2006

One More From Bloomington

Prairie Schooner - Day 1

Outa the chute early and onto the Eisenhower Freeway System. We logged 450 miles on the Family Truckster, which is not too much to ask, but hey, Almighty, how about something to look at out the window on this route? The showers and thunderstorms started near the Dells, then came and went all the way to Bloomington.

Don't tell me there's poverty or hunger in Wisconsin. There were 6 troopers conducting state business between Hudson and Madison alone. We saw exactly zero in MN and IL. There were also at least 15 examples of failed attempts to cross I-94 by Bambi and his pals; good eatin' goin' to waste . . .

In a sentimental throw to time spent with her grandfather, Mrs. Octane said we should have lunch at Ponderosa on the east side of Madison. The best metaphor eludes me now, but suffice it to say that this is a chain that really blew paradigm shift. I know that even in it's prime, Ponderosas were never fine dining, but today, it's really kind of a sad, left behind venture that just has become wrong in many ways; strange, too-friendly staff, miles of thick buffet-style food, odd, misshapen clientele.

My grandfather was a Chrysler man, and it was sad to lose him in 1983, but in a way, I'm glad he wasn't around to see the cheap dreck that Chrysler spewed from it's factories as the Iacocca 80's wore on. Perhaps there's a parallel today, in that the Mrs.' late grandfather would have been very disappointed by today's lunch.

Got into Bloomington on time and found the inn. The storms caught up and put on a pretty good show. Then we found some pals from the good old days who found us some good dinner and an even better place for some pints downtown.

Thanks to the glory of wireless internet access, upon returning the the inn, we were able to get the lowdown on the Champions League Final from Paris, and the elimination of the Sharks at the hands of Dwayne Roloson and the Oil.

Tomorrow - I-74 to Indy.

13 May 2006

Déjà Vecu - The Already Experienced

Liverpool - 2006 FA Cup Champions

Today's resemblence to the 2005 Champions League final last year in Istanbul was frightening. Down a by a frustrating few goals early, a reamrkable comeback spurred by the captain, a scoreless extra-time with near-misses on both sides, and a shootout punctuated by mercurial goalkeeping; Jerzey Dudek in Turkey, Jose Reina today in Wales.

Kudos to Alan Pardew and West Ham United for a great effort. They were the underdog, but pushed the Reds to the limit. It'll be one to buy on DVD when they spit out an NTSC version.

More from Alan Hansen:
Great players give you something extra when you are down and out and dead and buried and boy did Gerrard give Liverpool something extra. Liverpool were a beaten side when the ball bounced out to him in the 90th minute of normal time, but it was a quite magnificent strike that beat Shaka Hislop and sent the game into extra time. Gerrard is a man who doesn't know when he's beaten and he just scored an unbelieveable goal.

09 May 2006

I Wasn't Drunk, I Was Stoned

I was initially unmotivated to get into Patrick Kennedy and his screwed up life. After he crashed his car at 2:45 AM, nearly into a marked police car, this Capitol Hill non-factor was driven home limo-style (certainly nothing new for a Kennedy) instead of being subjected to a field sobriety test and /or arrest. He clearly got special treatment from Washington DC's police car drivers, and I let it go.

A day or so later, he went on to sanctimoniously claim that impaired and dangerous driving while hopped up on prescription drugs was just fine and essentially politically forgivable because, after all, it's not like he was driving in an impaired and dangerous manner while hopped up on Chivas Regal - like his old man. I still tried to resist.

Well I'm not sure where this story's legs will take it, but I've had it with Big Media, as usual, and these posts did catch my attention; first from Mark Levin:
You will hear commentator after commentator speaking sympathetically about Patrick Kennedy and his addiction to painkillers. You will hear people say that he is addicted, he has a serious health problem, he deserves to be praised for his forthrightness today, and we should leave him alone. And many of these commentators will be the same people who were giddy in their ceaseless attacks on Rush (Limbaugh). I am angry at the double standard, where liberals are regularly treated one way and conservatives another. I am also glad Patrick Kennedy won't be abused as Rush was. But you can be sure that the next conservative with a problem won't be treated like Kennedy.
Limbaugh doesn't need me in his corner, but neither is he an elected official, and you cannot miss this double standard served to us by those who tell us what the news is. The other post I saw was less serious.

8. Police will be briefed on where to drop off the various Kennedys

7. Bridge abutments will be reinforced

6. All women under 50 will be evacuated to Graham Arena

UPDATE: Hey there's another one I missed:
The Democratic Party needs to show it's different, that it's not a club of the elite taking care of the elite. Much as I feel for Congressman Kennedy, it's time for him for his own good and for the good of the Party, to resign with dignity.
OK, that's all the time I'm going to spend beating up on Patrick . . . that is, until I hear one more peep out of him for the rest of his life.

08 May 2006

Float This

You think you have money trouble?

According to Ernst & Young, the accounting firm, bad loans in the Chinese financial system have reached a staggering $US911 billion ($1.18 trillion), including $US225 billion in potential future NPLs in the four largest state-owned banks. This equals 40 per cent of gross domestic product and China has already spent the equivalent of 25-30 per cent of GDP in previous bank bail-outs.

The revelation shows that half-hearted reforms have addressed merely the symptoms of China's financial fragility. Poor business practices are blamed for NPLs but the real source is political. As long as the communist party relies on state-controlled banks to maintain an unreformed core of a command economy, Chinese banks will make more bad loans.

Happy 80th, Ya Hockey Puck

05 May 2006

Oooooh! Famous People!

You can take the Saint Paul kid outa Saint Paul . . .
This is classic St. Paul: People arrive with low expectations, but stumble upon greatness. They aren't sure where they are, and they can't explain how they got there. But they can't wait to get back. And we are always glad to see them again. Even though they often are underdressed.
Once again, I'm surprised to be so aligned with Nick, but, hey, sometimes I'm aligned with Nick.

04 May 2006

What Price Quality of Life?

What makes Minnesota a magical place? Is it our magnificent variety of natural environs? Is it our public education system whose results are consistently top of the heap? It it our slavish worship of anyone remotely famous who spends 10 minutes in our fair state?

No, it's the fact that we're on the bring of having a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT FUNDS PUBLIC FREAKING BROADCASTING.

Section 1 [Constitutional Amendment] provides the language for a constitutional amendment increasing the sales and use tax rate by 3/8 of one percent on taxable sales for 25 years beginning on July 1, 2007. The money will be appropriated by law and is dedicated as follows:

(1) 34 percent in the Heritage Enhancement Fund for improvement, enhancement, and protection of the state's fish, wildlife, habitat, and fish and wildlife tourism;
(2) 22 percent in the Parks and Trails Fund for parks, trails, and zoos;
(3) 22 percent in the Clean Water Fund for protection and restoration of lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and groundwater; and
(4) 22 percent in the Arts, Humanities, Museum, and Public Broadcasting Fund.

There are currently people in this region who are bleeding out of their eyes because there might be a public dollar thrown at a baseball stadium. Every one of these hypocrites were silent when we poured public money into Sir Tyrone Guthrie's new theater, the revamped Walker Art Center, moving the Schubert Theater 2 blocks down the street, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Science Museum of Minnesota I COULD GO ON . . .

My God, if the whole gang at the capitol weren't such rubes, one might think they were filthy crooks. Please, please, please, most glorious and wise state legislature, take my money and make sure it all gets directly into the pocket of Bill Kling!

Of Cobblestones and Wellstone Signs

When you get into government, and become the government, you get to play government all day long.
Unless there's a crack in the usual (Democrat) majority on close votes like this, though, it looks like together they'll get a $72,000 break from the city. Typically, homeowners pay 25 percent of the cost of street-paving projects, based on the front-footage of their lot. But pavers cost $360 a linear foot to replace, while asphalt costs just $120. In other words, the Osceola homeowners -- whose average home value is $434,000 -- would be paying $90 a foot instead of $30. Councilmember (Smokey)Dave Thune, who represents the area, wants that brought down to $30. The difference for someone with a 50-foot lot would be $3,000.

According to numbers provided by (public works project director Lisa) Falk, charging those homoeowners $30 instead of $90 a square foot would cost the city more than $709,000 over the next dozen years.
If you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention: Here's DFL screwheads making life grand for DFL screwheads on the backs of the city-wide tax base.

Hey, all you blue-state, hyper-concerned, Ward 1, progressive phonies, can us slobs come over and paint your all houses? Pretty please?

Dude, Where's My Keyless Car?

Bend it like Beckham's car theif:
The expert gang suspected of stealing two of David Beckham’s BMW X5 SUVs in the last six months did so by using software programs on a laptop to wirelessly break into the car’s computer, open the doors, and start the engine.

Radko Souček (was jailed) for stealing several cars. He says any car that relies on software to provide security can be circumvented by other software. “Every car has its weak spot,” he says. Souček faces up to 12 years in prison.

Minneapolis - That is Why You Fail

Another day, and another few folks murdered in Minneapolis, but pay no mind to those failed politicians behind the curtain, I'm sure 40 more years of institutional leftist coddling will bring the situation around.

So dirtbag #1 and #2 are spraying gangster graffiti on a house in broad daylight. Dirtbag #3 comes out of the house shooting, plugging either #1 or #2. The non-plugged dirtbag (1 or 2) drives the plugged dirtbag to the county catch-all hospital where the plugged dirtbag expires. Dirtbag #3 is arrested hours later.

After the police arrived to establish a perimeter, and it was safe for local politicians to come out of their bunkers, city councilman Gary Schiff, who represents this cozy corner of Murderapolis strode to the TV crew for with his Fred Rogers-like tone.
"We've seen the pressure of too many after school programs being cut, too many parents forced to work three or four jobs, and they don't know what their kids are up to," Schiff says.
That's right Gary, if there was more taxpayer-funded opportunity for these kids to finger paint and read Robert Frost, I'm sure they would not be part of this inter-gang war on the city streets. I'm also very sure that the parents of these dirtbags are all gainfully employed to the point they're never at home, too. Another minute of tape and Schiff'd be blaming President Bush.

Good Lord, no wonder Minneapolis is in such a pitiful condition. The place is run by adult children.

Roll Out the Barrels of Oil

What happens when you can't get apple juice from and orange? You sue the federal government.
The environmental lobby would like the federal government to raise CAFE standards as high as humanly possible (if not higher), forcing manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency. To win the war without fighting a losing battle on Capitol Hill (again, still), the aforementioned Greenhouse Gang decided to attack the new CAFE standards on the basis of CO2 emissions, rather than the fuel economy numbers themselves. Yes it's a distinction without a difference, but hey, you gotta work with what you got.

Only the environmentalists ain't got nothing. CAFE regulations prohibit states from regulating fuel economy. Despite the fact that the California Air Resource Board (CARB) sets tailpipe pollution standards for California, and thus the entire country, the Greenhouse Gang seeks dominion over federal CAFE standards as well. The lawsuit alleges that NHTSA failed to "fully take into account the new standards' impact on the environment and fuel conservation, as required by federal law."
Never take to congress what you can get done in the courts is the lesson here. With gas at $2.69, and Evian at $3, I can see where elitists have a hard time keeping their eye on the ball.

03 May 2006

If I Had a Million Dollars

I wouldn't have to wonder what this is:
If you know what the hell this is, put the answer in a comment to this posting.

02 May 2006

"Ethenol!" Cried the Easily Led

Shakespeare at the pump:

If there were ever a time when the truth in advertising standards should be put back into place, it's now -- during the current (third) attempt to convince the public that the massive use of corn-derived ethanol in our gasoline supply will alleviate our need for foreign oil. Ultimately, the answer to just one question determines ethanol's actual usefulness as a gasoline extender: "If the government hadn't mandated this product, would it survive in a free market?" Doubtful -- but the misinformation superhighway has been rerouted to convince the public its energy salvation is at hand.

At the site, www.fueleconomy.gov, which confirms the 25% to 30% drop in mileage resulting from the use of this blended fuel, another feature lets users calculate and compare annual fuel costs using regular gasoline to costs using E85. But the government site's automatic calculations are based on E85 selling for 37 cents per gallon less than regular gasoline, when the USA Today article reports that at many stations in the Midwest E85 is actually selling for 13 cents per gallon more than ordinary gas. Using the corrected prices for both gasoline and E85, the annual cost of fueling GM's Suburban goes from $2,709 to $3,763.

Darn facts . . .

01 May 2006

May Day

In the good old days, we'd click on the Walter show, and see the obligatory 16mm footage of those 29-wheeled ICBM haulers puttering across Red Square. Even as a kid, I suspected that those things were leaking oil, had lousy brakes and it was all the commies could do to dust them off and fire them up for the annual hoo-ha.

Now on May Day, we switch on Katie, and see a more legitimate threat; out sovereignty whittling away. A million folks who think non-citizens should dictate taxpayer-paid policy; city streets full of foreigners who want rights for free, all day long demanding the American Dream without that inconvenient 'America" part.

Among the above-the-fold ignorance, the top-of-the-hour entitlement and public relations hurricane was the notion that if enough illegal immigrants don't go to work today, "the Gringo's economy will come to a halt," and we will all have to take notice.

Well, I did notice. A friend offered to buy me lunch today, and we went to a place near the office that reliably knew he craft of the burrito. Closed.

So we went to a different place that happens to have solved the hot hoagie, thank you very much. No economy came to a halt today, except at the burrito place that didn't bother to unlock the door in order to take our money.

How speedily this culture learns about modern America: It's no longer the pragmatic, practical, logical, rational or econimically demonsterable that matters. What matters is your feelings and getting your face on tee vee.

It's too bad that in all the media coverage, there was one sentiment that no one bothered to float: Even with the $17 billion we give Mexico every year, it must still be a really lousy place. Buenas Noches, I guess.

#8 Whacks #1

Dwayne Roloson and the Oil have put down those wirey old Red Wings in front of the second best crowd in the NHL.

I won't miss the Rangers, Wings or Lightning, who've all been eliminated. Dallas just didn't have the whole team show up and earned their way out. I wouldn't have minded the Preds, but they just were shoved off their game so directly by the Sharks that it's better that they are gone to.

The NHL playoffs are not so much a survival of the fittest. They are a 'survival of the ones that die last.' It's like a fight between Lance Armstrong and Keith Richards; you may THINK you know who'll prevail . . .

Length = Gravity

Read this whole thing; it's important. I file it under another one of those things that makes me like Bush a little bit less every single day.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power. But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.

This is nothing new, but it does seem to be of a very different flavor.

Under (former Attorney General Edwin) Meese's direction in 1986, a young Justice Department lawyer named Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a strategy memo about signing statements. It came to light in late 2005, after Bush named Alito to the Supreme Court. In the memo, Alito predicted that Congress would resent the president's attempt to grab some of its power by seizing ''the last word on questions of interpretation." He suggested that Reagan's legal team should ''concentrate on points of true ambiguity, rather than issuing interpretations that may seem to conflict with those of Congress."

This is a very valid story, even though, predictably, all the mitigating information is buried in the back:

Some administration defenders say that concerns about Bush's signing statements are overblown. Bush's signing statements, they say, should be seen as little more than political chest-thumping by administration lawyers who are dedicated to protecting presidential prerogatives. Defenders say the fact that Bush is reserving the right to disobey the laws does not necessarily mean he has gone on to disobey them.

Indeed, in some cases, the administration has ended up following laws that Bush said he could bypass. For example, citing his power to ''withhold information" in September 2002, Bush declared that he could ignore a law requiring the State Department to list the number of overseas deaths of US citizens in foreign countries. Nevertheless, the department has still put the list on its website.

Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who until last year oversaw the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for the administration, said the statements do not change the law; they just let people know how the president is interpreting it. ''Nobody reads them," said Goldsmith. ''They have no significance. Nothing in the world changes by the publication of a signing statement. The statements merely serve as public notice about how the administration is interpreting the law. Criticism of this practice is surprising, since the usual complaint is that the administration is too secretive in its legal interpretations."

Many of the laws Bush has challenged involve national security, where it is almost impossible to verify what the government is doing. And since the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, many people have expressed alarm about his sweeping claims of the authority to violate laws.

In January . . . three Republicans who were the bill's principal sponsors in the Senate -- John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- all publicly rebuked the president. "We believe the president understands Congress's intent in passing, by very large majorities, legislation governing the treatment of detainees," McCain and Warner said in a joint statement. ''The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation."

Ultimately what I don't like about this is the failure of the administration to openly explain its goals for this practice, and how this is benefiting the American people, who are the boss here, and will take the authority away from those who misuse it.

Tip to Flamer for the story.

Smarter Than You

Physicists have made water run uphill quite literally under its own steam.
Instead of using a smooth surface, the team scored it with a series of skewed triangular grooves. This gives it a kind of saw-tooth profile. Now the water droplets appear to push themselves off the long-slope side of the grooves and rocket across the heated surface - instead of just dancing on the spot as they do in the kitchen pan. Droplets can also climb over steps, and up inclines of up to 12 degrees. Filmed with high-speed cameras, the droplets appear to take on a life of their own, sliding along like sloppy amoebae.

And We're Racing!

What's that old NASCAR bromide? "Rained out on Sunday, make-up on Monday."

Many race fans at Talladega were wondering what the bottom of Tony Stewart's (Saturday) car looked like. He was nice enough to oblige. And walk away.