31 July 2006

I Do Not Have the Seal

I am only an amatuer meterologist, but I'm pretty sure what I saw. Sunday the 30th, about 14:30 CDT, between Ely and Silver Bay, the weather exploded.

Most of the time, I imagine, weather is the product of two contrasting air masses, about the size of Delaware at least, slowly rubbing up against each other. What Mrs. Octane a I drove through was more like two trains colliding.

We were about here, letting the dogs do their thing inbetween moderate rain showers, when we got up close and personal with two lighning strikes. Loud cracks to be sure, but then the thunder rumbled constantly for several minutes without a break. I got way dark very quickly, and some hail stared to fall. It wasn't the usual white, opaque, round stuff, this was clear and jagged; exatly like what you see on the street when a car window has been smashed.

Time to go.

We headed south and drove right into it. The rain was so hard I slowed to Ford Motor Company's idle speed. The car was darting on the road over the bumpy weird hail, which was of the pea to marble size; just below the sheet metal damage threshhold. It was the thickest 10 minutes of precipitation I ever saw, and in 15 minutes, the sun was shinng and the roads were dry.

Too Hot; Went To Lake.


Yea, I know it's the title of a book. We had bailed for Lake Vermillion to escape the steamy pavement, but got back in time to enjoy 101 degrees on a Monday.

28 July 2006

Very Exciting News

After several aloof ownership groups and near-misses with those slippery developer weasels, it seems Donnybrooke has landed safely in the lap of someone who like to lap.
Brainerd International Raceway has been purchased by a Forest Lake family and the new owners said Thursday that they plan to continue racing. Jed and Kristi Copham, operating as BIR Holdings LLC, purchased the track for an undisclosed amount from Michigan-based Sports Resorts International Inc. and are renaming the facility Brainerd International Raceway and Resort.

Jed Copham, a 33-year-old mechanical engineer with a passion for cars, said he first talked to the track's former owners when the 550-acre raceway was listed for sale more than a year ago. Copham, who worked with the family printing business Liberty Enterprises until it was sold in June 2005, said he has built two cars and has raced at BIR. He described himself and his family as amateur road racers and occasional drag racers.
Queue the Hallelujah Chorus!
The raceway, with a number of ownership and management changes, has been part of the Brainerd Lakes Area almost continuously since it opened in 1968 as Donneybrooke Speedway.
BIR's signature event is the annual NHRA event, but the real gem is the 3.1 mile, 10 turn road course. I was fortunate enough to turn some laps there in my previous GTI, and really hope those wern't my last. Given the implied stability of the new situation, it makes a guy wonder if he's able to cobble together the resources for a dedicaded piece of race machinery in the near future.

27 July 2006

Looking In On #35

It's a hell of a year over in Minneapolis. They're on pace for about 65 murders this year. For that and other things, I've often ripped the boy mayor, who famously quipped last year that the only people at risk for Death-By-Hoodlum are those engaged in "high-risk lifestyles." Well this year, those gunned down have been walking to their car after dinner, leaving movie theaters in the downtown entertainment hub, driving in cars and doing homework in their kitchens; clearly all dangerous activity.

When it comes to murder, no one has it coming (except for Fred Phelps), but in Rybak's defense, sometimes those who get plugged have not been doing everything they can to keep their noses clean. Witness our boy Valentine, muder victim #35 this season:
When I first looked at his criminal record, I thought, well, at least he's cleaned up his act. Then I realized that he had had no convictions in 6 years because he'd been in prison that whole time.Interestingly, if he'd served his full sentence (adding up to more than 23 years) from even one of his six convictions in 2000, he'd still be safe in jail.
See ya later, Pestelence V.D. El-Shabazz; we hardly knew ya - that is, except for what it says on your rap sheet.

Of First and Second Ammendments

An excellent essay on the decay of what is culturally and societally Europe:

Mohamed Rasoel had warned in his book that the Dutch were mistaken to tolerate the mushrooming growth of their Muslim population. He predicted that this would lead to a civil war and, at best, the country’s partition. This was during the heat of the Rushdie controversy. The book was taken from the shelves in most bookstores throughout the Netherlands, and quickly forgotten about. Mohamed Rasoel himself stated that: “It proves that the general thrust of my book is correct, that Dutch society is changing and becoming less tolerant. Freedom of opinion is already being sacrificed. I don’t blame this state attorney, he is a nice man but rather dumb and na├»ve like most Dutchmen. […] Muslims are allowed to shout: kill Rushdie. […] When Muslims say on TV that all Dutch women are whores, it is allowed. […] It is ridiculous and scandalous that I have to justify myself in court for discrimination of Muslims.

In the book, Rasoel stated that “Being offended is sometimes purely a form of aggression.” A fitting commentary to both the Rushdie situation and the cartoon Jihad nearly a generation later. “The future is already here. The Netherlands is no longer the safe nation of the past, where a girl could walk alone through the park at night.” “The Dutch, and I mean those who aren’t six feet under ground already, have all in all turned into a frightened people, afraid to make jokes about Muslims, to offend them, fool them, and criticize or correct them.” “Dutchmen have basically been driven into a corner by the Muslims.”

Remember, this was written around 1990. And Rasoel warned that it would get worse. Much worse.

Read it all. The last paragraph hits it out of the park like Josh Gibson.

25 July 2006

Post-Amery Modifications Revealed

In my quest for better times on the autocross circuit, I leave no modification stone unturned.

Lemme tell ya, she's hell at 88 miles per hour, but the sanctioning body is likely to move me from G-stock to D-street-prepared (at least).

24 July 2006

John Forbes Kerry Saves the Middle East

You know how if Kerry would have been elected, there wouldn't have been a tsunami or hurricane, how half of Americans would be driving hybrids and Barry Bonds' blood would be clean? Well that same logic naturally applies regarding Israel v. Hezbollah, right? Wouldn't it be fun if Bush called his bluff in a very big way?
“Senator Kerry’s presence and intellect alone should bring a swift end to hostilities,” said Mr. Bush, who admitted that he, and the State Department, had “kind of put the Middle East thing on the back burner” while following televised coverage of the Tour de France bicycle race.

Unexplainable by Mortal Man



Let’s review: We got James Dean 50’s-style leather jacket and sneering, Peter Max 60’s-style graphical treatments (poorly interpreted), 1970’s-era attitudes toward picking up girls in cars and spontaneous intimacy, an ’83 Trans Am, music video fashion from the (early) 90’s, and viral video distribution or the current era. The Hoff has eerily constructed a multi-generational perfect storm of indescribable weirdness.

On top of that – since when is the talkin’ Pontiac right-hand drive? Are we now pedaling The Hoff to Australia?

Just goes to show ya; the Hoff is a moving target - a enigma not easily comprehended by average thinkers.

Still More From Amery

Here is your host, deftly avoiding the tanks of Avgas this past Saturday. Thanks to Lotus Jay for snappin' me in action.

23 July 2006

Peace Rally Pauses to Assault Cameraman


Irony, hypocrisy, thug tactics and stupidity on parade in Boston. Make sure you watch the accompanying videos:
I showed up at City Hall Plaza at about 2 pm, in black dress slacks and striped blue and white shirt, looking like a lawyer on a lunch break. As I was approaching the crowd, which appeared to number several hundred people, I took it out and turned the video on.

Some rather short and skinny woman, screaming hysterically at me, grabbed my camera and left arm. In the ensuing commotion, I suddenly noticed that Noah Cohen grabbed my camera and was quietly trying to break off its swivel monitor. This really stunned me -- I didn't expect he would go to such length and engage in criminally punishable behavior, but I guess, he figured he could afford to do so and get away with it, being surrounded by his comrades-in-arms with no police in sight.

One man told me that the police would not help me, as they were going to hunt me down and kill me.
Just more of that 'rights for me but not for thee' crap; this time from terrorist sympathizers and Hezbollah romatics. Message to Noah Cohen: Hey, punk, in what country do you think you're standing as you stomp on others?

One More from Amery

My Hair Still Smells Like NOMEX


Well I got back in the autocross saddle this weekend, and it was a nice return. I used to be quite the pylon-swiper with my previous GTI, but got out of it a few seasons ago when the local car clubs started dropping the ball organizationally. I just got too old to spend 14 hours standing around only to get 3 runs. Getting the bike in '02 helped get a lot of my ya-ya's out, so I didn't need to flog the current car as much.

Well my pal Jay, who owns a flying doorstop, told me about the local MG (or Austin Healey?) club putting one on at the airport in Amery, only about 60 miles away. It sounded more . . . grown up, so I signed on.

Seventy-five cars got numbered and they represented a WIDE spectrum of machinery. There was a Ford GT, a Citroen 2CV Club, a 914 with an LS6, an NSX, an Elise, a Jensen-Healey with a small block & Offy heads, a few Vee Dubs, some Porsches, some Miatas, MG's, some rice, some meatballs, and a bunch of guys with cartoon Vipers.

I got 5 runs in the dust and heat, and think I got progresively better, which is the idea. I'll know for sure when the results come in the e-mail. It was fun because they put fun ahead of competition, and we all got to play cars for a day.

Gotta stay on that club's e-mail list.

21 July 2006

Someday I'll Have One


Cinquecento: How can you not love it?

Eye On the Ball

Lest we forget what's going down:
Reporter: The news for the last 48 hours from the Middle East, it is more and more apparent now that many in the Middle East, Lebanese and others, are accusing the U.S. and the Security Council of being the obstacle to a real ceasefire immediately because that's what they need. Could you explain in a couple words what is really your position about this?

Ambassador Bolton: Well look, I think we could have a cessation of hostilities immediately if Hezbollah would stop terrorizing innocent civilians and give up the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. So that to the extent this crisis continues, the cause is Hezbollah. How you get a ceasefire between one entity, which is a government of a democratically elected state on the one hand, and another entity on the other which is a terrorist gang, no one has yet explained. The government of Israel, everybody says, has the right to exercise the right of self-defense, which even if there are criticisms of Israeli actions by some, they recognize the fundamental right to self-defense. That's a legitimate right. Are there any activities that Hezbollah engages in, militarily that are legitimate? I don't think so. All of its activities are terrorist and all of them are illegitimate, so I don't see the balance or the parallelism between the two sides and therefore I think it's a very fundamental question: how a terrorist group agrees to a ceasefire. You know in a democratically elected government, the theory is that the people ultimately can hold the government accountable when it does something doesn't live up to it. How do you hold a terrorist group accountable? Who runs the terrorist group? Who makes the commitment that a terrorist group will abide by a ceasefire? What does a terrorist group think a ceasefire is? These are - you can use the words "cessation of hostilities" or "truce" or "ceasefire." Nobody has yet explained how a terrorist group and a democratic state come to a mutual ceasefire.
A lot of the folks who hated/feared/demonized the likes of Rove, Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Delay, Ashcroft, etc. usually lumped John Bolton in there. Bolton seems like a gem to me; a straight shooter who will suffer no U.N. fools nor it's corruption.

Tip to Powerline

Patience is Wearing Thin

Victor Davis Hanson hits another one outa the park:
(A)fter the Israeli departure from Sinai, Gaza and Lebanon, and billions of dollars in American aid to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians, there is still not much progress toward peace. Past Israeli magnanimity was seen as weakness. Now Israel's reasoned diplomacy has earned it another round of kidnapping, ransom and rocket attacks.

Finally, the world is accepting that the Middle East problem was never about so-called occupied land -- but only about the existence of Israel itself. Hezbollah and Hamas, and those in their midst who tolerate them (or vote for them), didn't so much want Israel out of Lebanon and Gaza as pushed into the Mediterranean altogether. And since there will be no second Holocaust, the Israelis may well soon transform a perennial terrorist war that they can't easily win into a conventional aerial one against a terrorist-sponsoring Syria that they can.

Yet for all their threats, what the Islamists -- from Hezbollah in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley to the Iranian government in Tehran to the jihadists in Iraq's Sunni Triangle -- don't understand is that they are slowly pushing tired Westerners into a corner. If diplomacy, or aid, or support for democracy, or multiculturalism, or withdrawal from contested lands, does not satisfy radical Islamists, what would?

Perhaps nothing.
As of this morning, the IDF are calling up thousands of reservists to occupy and hold southern Lebanon. Quite frankly, I'm surprised they haven't stomped Hezbollah worse than they have by now. I hope they can clean house quickly. Lebanon has been on the right path. They have, for the most part, thrown Syria off their back, and would welcome the end of Hezbollah occupation.

20 July 2006

More Crushing of Dissent

First in the exepted banana republics:
A U.S.-based press freedom group said Wednesday that President Hugo Chavez is using the courts and legal reforms to weaken journalists critical of his leftist government. (T)he Inter American Press Association expressed concern that threats to press freedom under Chavez could increase as Venezuela prepares for presidential elections in December.

"The different branches of government appear to have a strategy to weaken the work of the independent press," IAPA President Diana Daniels of The Washington Post Co., told a press conference. "We are worried that, far from improving press conditions in the country, freedom could be further restricted before and after the election."
and also, unfortunatley, in large democracies:
India's burgeoning blogging community is up in arms against a government directive that they say has led to the blocking of their web logs. The country's 153 internet service providers (ISP) have blocked 17 websites since last week on federal government orders. Some of these sites belong to Google's Blogspot, a leading international web log hosting service.

While You Were Sleeping

I know how hard it is to keep track of everything. There's so much nooz coming at us from all directions. We got summer-y weather, we got people slipping on the ice, we got packs of felonious youth running wild in Coddletown. It's so hard to know what to pay attention to, even professional journalist icon Katie Couric has to have her ass dragged around in a bus in order to put her manicured finger in an statistically significant amount of wind.

With all this and more, it's easy to miss other big stuff. Remember that phony story about the UN oil-for-food corruption (invented by Karl Rove)? Well, guess what; it's returning convictions of people who ran loose on the executive levels of that ugly building at 760 United Nations Plaza.
While the United Nations frames its next response to crisis in the Middle East, its last grand venture in that region--Oil for Food--has finally resulted in a guilty verdict in open court. Last Thursday, a high-rolling, globe-trotting South Korean businessman named Tongsun Park was convicted in the Southern District of New York of conspiracy to launder money and act as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The Tongsun Park case has gotten remarkably little press, but it is both an important and a cautionary tale. It illustrates how easily the U.N., behind its veils of secrecy and diplomatic immunity, can be exploited by the most unscrupulous tyrants on the planet.

(A)ccording to (Samir) Vincent's testimony, Mr. Park said he could clinch a deal acceptable to Saddam if the Iraqis provided him with $10 million to take care of his "expenses" and his "people"--a reference that Mr. Vincent said he understood to include the only person he "knew of at the time"--"Boutros Boutros-Ghali." Mr. Vincent testified that during that crucial year--1996--he passed $1 million in cash to Mr. Park, $100,000 in an envelope, and $400,000 and then $500,000 in grocery bags. U.N. records show that Mr. Park, during roughly that period, made at least 20 visits to the official residence of the secretary general.

It is unlikely that any of this would have come to light had not the U.S., over U.N. protests, toppled Saddam in 2003. Congressional investigations have since found that the U.N. program opened the floodgates for anywhere from $10 billion to $17 billion in graft, scams and smuggling, some of which went to pay for Saddam's palaces, weapons and rewards for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The biggest question is this: If the U.N. still has its back channels, which it almost certainly does, what is going on in them today?
This tale involves the former secretary general of the UN, unnamed North Korean government officials and the Canadian architect of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty. Read it all.

19 July 2006

Mayor's Mouth Way Ahead of His Sensibility

Put a few beers in someone, and the real person comes out. Or some pot. Or an espresso with a depth charge. Or anything else that trips up one's facade and betrays the carefully crafted public image.

Take the new mayor here in Saint Paul. He simultaneously courts and woos the fringe of 'progressive' society (you know, the folks that oppose all progress) all while appearing to be the wise old man on the mountain/head of state. Sometimes he's Al Franken, sometimes he's (appearing to be) Barry Goldwater.

Mr. Mayor Man doesn't need the beer or pot. What trips up his forged exterior is the chance to get his quip out there. His handlers have sold him on the power of the sound bite, and in his zeal to get the zinger out there, he drops his guard, and the real lefty kook comes out.

This is something I've been trying to quantify and capsulize since the election. Dave Downing has captured this phenomena and provides an excellent example:

As part of St. Paul's observance of the anniversary this week, an actor portraying the "Empire Builder" (James J. Hill) will disembark from a riverboat Friday afternoon in downtown St. Paul, and will be greeted by mayor Coleman. I wonder what kind of greeting the mayor will give him? I ask, because I remember the harsh words mayor Coleman had for Hill just a few months ago.

The Hasbro company was doing a publicity stunt for its Monopoly board game, asking people to vote for properties around the country that could be included on an updated version of the game board. Real estate candidates from the Twin Cities included the Mall of America, the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis (built by Hill for the Great Northern), and St. Paul's Summit Avenue, anchored by the Hill mansion, now a historic site.

Told that the monster mall was leading the voting, the Pioneer Press quoted mayor Coleman as saying, "Summit's getting its ass kicked in the contest, but there's no question that that should be the symbol. It's the symbol of monopoly. It was the home of J.J. Hill, one of the biggest robber barons of all time."

This is a great opportunity for illustrating the current conditions in St. Paul. I think Coleman's "robber baron" comment reveals his true beliefs. He and his administration have an anti-business bias. Hill was successful and became wealthy. That's a bad thing to Democrats of Coleman's persuasion. Of course Coleman doesn't like Hill. Coleman probably thinks St. Paul would be better off if Hill had never come here, or had remained a poorly-paid clerk.

Anyway, I've noticed that our new mayor gets too full of himself, and is too quick to make what he thinks are witty, biting remarks. He needs to learn to hold his tongue, instead of trying to get in a verbal jab whenever he can.
Sure, this "robber baron" jive plays to the granola kooks that got him elected, but it's not at all an accurate portrayal of Hill. Hill came to Saint Paul with nothing and built a very successful railroad. He created jobs and prosperity for thousands of people. His infrastructure legacy survives today, and Hill hardly "raped the land" or "screwed the proletariat" in the process. He does not belong to the oft-villianized club populated by Astor, Rockefeller, Duke and Vanderbilt.

But don't let that inconvenient truth get in the way of Mayor Zinger. His ill-informed (i.e. dopey) comments betray his public image and reveal to the city what he really is - classless.

Woo Hoo: Neighbor's Home!


Did your neighbor just open his garage door or are you just happy to see me?
CALLER: The problem is I had this done in Turkey, using equipment that is not known in this country. I don't like it because every time his car pulls in I can't leave the house.

HOST: (Laughing) I'm afraid that it sounds funny as well. I know it's not funny for you.

18 July 2006

The Polls are Closed

But it's still worth a look at the contestants in Iowahawk's Hoosegow Honey of the Year.

Seems Jesika took the 'honors' this year.

Best Use of Billy Joel Ever

Unload the Cartons of Tissue

We got a weeper!

Buffeted by questions about his honesty and investigations into his wife's multimillion-dollar stock options, DFL endorsee Matt Entenza dropped out of the race for state attorney general Tuesday.

"(W)ith so little time and so many attacks, from anonymous faxes to attacks on my family, it is impossible to fight these attacks and win this race without it taking a serious toll on the people and the party we care about the most," he said.
When you dig and dig and dig, don't be surprised to find yourself in a hole.

(Entenza's) troubles began with the revelation that he had hired a Chicago opposition-research firm that investigated fellow DFLer Mike Hatch, the current attorney general who is the party's endorsee for governor.

One DFL'er harpooning another DFL'er, and they aren't even competing for the same office. How diseased is that?

State Rep. Jeff Johnson, R-Plymouth, the Republican candidate for attorney general, bluntly accused Entenza not only of changing his story as details emerged, but of outright lying. "I think he lied probably several times this last week," Johnson said Monday.
Entenza spent the week pulling a Dean Johnson by using the words like 'embellish' instead of 'lie' and phrases like 'upon further review' instead of 'oops, you got me.'

(Jeff) Johnson said Entenza initially didn't tell the truth when he told reporters more than a year ago that there was no truth to rumors that he was doing opposition research on Hatch. Johnson also said Entenza has tried to deceive the public on the motive for his research, the extent of the digging and the cost. An anonymous attack against Entenza on Monday came in the form of a packet of documents, including photocopies of campaign records and cancelled checks from Quam and Entenza's joint account, that were faxed to several Capitol reporters. Entenza's name was blacked out on the checks. The person who faxed the documents claimed that they demonstrate that Entenza didn't tell the truth when he told reporters in December 2004 that he and his wife contributed about $600,000 to Democratic campaigns and liberal groups. The mystery attacker's documents indicate that Quam gave at least $55,000 more to Democratic committees in South Dakota, which then sent the money back to Minnesota and to the DFL House caucus, which was led at the time by Entenza.
That's the biggest bomb yet, that Entenza was running, in part, to get "big money" out of the political process. What irony.

Okay Matt, you're done, and we're done with you. Now get a job.

Too Muddy for the Ducati?

Take the Hyanide.

Now this is cool. From Popular Science:
The tank-like tread consists of 77 identical segments—each made from hard plastic covered with tire rubber —held together by Kevlar rope. Each segment flexes independently, making the tread significantly more limber than if its components were rigid. Not only does this setup help with traction, but it would allow the tank- cum-motorcycle to corner like no other vehicle.

Wash Your Car

Hey, would it kill ya to give the ol' buggy some soap and water? It's not like you are making art out of the filth or anything.

16 July 2006

Don't Look Now . . .

. . . but guess what season is comin' 'round the mountain. Premiership opener's about a month out.

Wow, Let's Elect This Guy

Check out the antics of Slippery Matt. No wonder mediocre Republican keep gaining ground; the Minnesota DFL continues to stomp and eat it's own:

Rep. Matt Entenza, who denied Thursday that he has conducted opposition research on his Republican opponent for Minnesota attorney general, on Friday seemed to revise his statement and said his campaign possessed information collected on at least some Republicans. "I just wanted you to know that we checked our files, and I did want to make clear that we do have some opposition research on Republicans," Entenza said in a voice-mail message left for the Pioneer Press.
Oh yea, the cowardly voice-mail. 'Checked the files,' that's double-plus good.

The national office of AARP on Friday also made public a written apology from Entenza's campaign manager, retracting a statement earlier in the week that the association, which represents seniors, had produced a report clearing Entenza's wife of wrongdoing in connection with stock options.
Entenza: "You mean I shouldn't have made that up and put it out on behalf of a third party?"

And, in another development, an executive of a Chicago political research company that Entenza hired a year ago to check up on Mike Hatch, the current attorney general, declined to talk to Minnesota reporters. Entenza had said Thursday the executive would be available to discuss the research.
Strike three, Matt; grab some pine.

- A year ago, a Republican Internet blog reported that Entenza had hired a Chicago private detective to dig up dirt on Hatch in an effort to clear the way for Entenza to run for governor. Entenza at the time told the Pioneer Press the speculation was "just absolutely absurd.'
Well it seems that it wasn't so absurd, wsa it Matt, since, uh you were already doing it.

- On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune quoted Entenza and Hatch acknowledging that Entenza, indeed, hired a Chicago political consulting firm to request public documents on Hatch's official spending.

- On Thursday, the same Republican blog-Minnesota Democrats Exposed-posted new evidence that the firm made a wider background check on Hatch, including looking up a parking ticket he got in 2003.

- Also Thursday, Entenza publicly apologized to Hatch for the background investigation, which he said the Chicago firm expanded without his knowledge or consent.

After leaving his voice-mail message with the Pioneer Press, which referred only to possessing "some opposition research on Republicans," Entenza did not respond to requests for a follow-up interview. John Van Hecke, Entenza's campaign manager, refused to say whether the research covered Johnson or reveal who conducted it.

Why should Entenza owe the public any explanation about the garbage diggers he hires; it's not like he's running for Attorney General or anything.
On Thursday, Entenza promised that Dennis Gragert, a principal in the Chicago company Entenza hired, would make himself available to Minnesota reporters Friday. Gragert was supposed to elaborate on a written statement in which he backed up Entenza's assertion that the firm's research on Hatch, including the investigation of the parking ticket, went beyond anything Entenza had requested. Instead, a spokesman for Gragert telephoned reporters and said: "He stands by the statement, and has no further comment on the matter."
That's understandable - the spying fees Entenza paid Gragert probably didn't cover the long-distance phone charges for subsequent ass-covering. Wait, there's more!

In a totally separate part of the storm of criticism Entenza now faces from Republicans, Johnson has demanded for weeks that Entenza say how he would avoid a conflict of interest involving an investigation Hatch initiated of UnitedHealth Group. The giant Minnetonka-based health care company employs Entenza's wife, Lois Quam, as a top executive. On Wednesday, Entenza issued a long statement saying that AARP had issued a report, "based on an independent, internal investigation, unequivocally stating that my wife, Lois Quam, has never had anything to do with granting stock options or setting compensation policy.''

In fact, AARP, a major UnitedHealth customer, last week received a letter from a UnitedHealth lawyer stating that Quam has not served on the company's board or compensation committee and seemed not to have been responsible for awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options that now are at the heart of state and federal investigations. But AARP did not publicize that letter, or claim it exonerated Quam. After learning of Entenza's statement, AARP demanded an apology and Van Hecke, the campaign manager, issued one. Entenza also issued a rewritten statement in which he dropped any reference to AARP.

I guess he must've been against misusing the AARP's report before he released it. Wonder where he learned that sleight of hand.

14 July 2006

Nuke St. Cloud, Minnesota; Just Nuke it.

From the Daily Pathetic

The St. Cloud Recreation Department postponed the free pool party Saturday because of heat, said Mike Theisen, the aquatic event coordinator. Between 50-75 people were expected. "I think it had safety concerns in mind,” Theisen
said.

12 July 2006

Annual Joy

Magnificence of malfeasance in the form of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Sex with Rachel after she turned fifty was like driving the last-place team
on the last day of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, the point no longer the ride but the finish, the difficulty not the speed but keeping all the parts moving in the right direction, not to mention all that irritating barking.

Dan Winters - Los Altos Hills, CA

Dog Farm Backs Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has apologised for his headbutt on Italian defender Marco Materazzi in Sunday's World Cup final. But the French legend does not regret his actions, alleging on television that Materazzi provoked him by insulting both his mother and sister. "It was inexcusable. I apologise," said the 34-year-old Zidane. "But I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he was right to say all that."
Whilst the disconnected legacy media feigns shock over Zinedine Zidane's head butt of Marco Materozzi in the World Cup Final, the world forgets what a menace and thug Materozzi is all over Serie A.

08 July 2006

Welcome to the Other Side

You wanted all the 'privileges' that go with marriage, right? Fine; get married or you lose your benefits:
Memo to Boston Globe gay and lesbian Guild employees: Get married or lose your domestic partner benefits.

“An employee who currently covers a same-sex domestic partner as a dependent will have to marry his or her partner by Jan. 1 for the employee benefits coverage to continue at the employee rates,” the memo states.

Dig Out the CD of Trucker Music

We got us a Bolivian convoy!

Canada Day Beer Run

Mmmmm . . . scenery.

Yea, it's a long drive for a Kokanee, but what else are you gonna do with summer?

07 July 2006

Bags Packed; I'm Off to Maryland

I go this from a forum on The Motley Fool (registration required):

June 7, 2006
The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Sarbanes,

As a native Marylander and excellent customer of the Internal Revenue Service, I am writing to ask for your assistance. I have contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service in an effort to determine the process for becoming an illegal alien and they referred me to you.

My reasons for wishing to change my status from U.S. Citizen to illegal alien stem from the bill which was recently passed by the Senate and for which you voted. If my understanding of this bill's provisions is accurate, as an illegal alien who has been in the United States for five years, what I need to do to become a citizen is to pay a $2,000 fine and income taxes for three of the last five years. I know a good deal when I see one and I am anxious to get the process started before everyone figures it out.

Simply put, those of us who have been here legally have had to pay taxes every year so I'm excited about the prospect of avoiding two years of taxes in return for paying a $2,000 fine. Is there any way that I can apply to be illegal retroactively? This would yield an excellent result for me and my family because we paid heavy taxes in 2004 and 2005. Another benefit in gaining illegal status would be that my daughter would receive preferential treatment relative to her law school applications. If you would provide me with an outline of the process to become illegal (retroactively if possible) and copies of the necessary forms, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you for your assistance.

Your Loyal Constituent, Pete McGlaughlin

What Really Happened in Pittsburgh?

One thing that makes a great blog is the discussion that a post will cultivate. Here's an example; Ann Althouse reads a letter to the editor in the NY Times, and all hell breaks loose.
After passing a beggar with his can, my friend asked me if I could give him a couple of bucks, and thinking it was for a coffee at the adjacent cafe, I handed him the money. To my amazement, he returned his steps and handed the money to the beggar. He then struck up a conversation. A good five minutes later, he walked back toward me, and I told him that if I knew it was to give out free money, I wouldn't have given it to him.He answered: "Here in America nobody talks to you. But for two bucks, I bought myself five minutes of conversation."
Of course me being me, this was my favorite response and interpretation of the events:
It's just two liberals playing moral-superiority oneupmanship — first he with her, then she with us. That's why she's treasured the anecdote of the encounter. She lost the gambit to him, but now her sensitized self can preen (if the letter gets published, which it did) to the entire NY Times readership. And by freely admitting she lost the game to her companion years ago, she can present a false-humble self that gives her a couple extra points in the score. Plus she can parade her agreement with the popular trope that all-Americans-are-isolated-souls. In the moral superiority sweepstakes, isn't that what people call a trifecta?
In this tale and it's fallout you've got reams of material for your dissertation explaining the old saw about folks pampering their own self-esteem with other people's money.

Econ 102

Every now and then the childish zealots at the Strib let a good one get through:

I bring a message of hope and absolution for the high-income Minnesotans who have called for a tax increase on themselves. Their proposal is designed to meet what they perceive as the need for more government revenue to fund more government spending. However, it won't work.

Raising income taxes doesn't generate more government income. It lowers it. The answer is not to raise taxes, but to lower them.

Facts are facts. Despite last year's projections that Minnesota would once again face a deficit, we are running a surplus, while at the same time our state no longer ranks in the top four or five in per capita taxation but has dropped to 16th. In Rhode Island, about a blue a state as you can get, the top tax rate has been cut from 9.9 percent to 5.5 percent, and the state has gone from the third-highest individual income tax rate to the 27th. According to William Murphy, the Democratic House speaker, to the business leaders who choose where their companies move and create jobs, the tax rate makes a big difference.

In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson has cut the top income tax rate in half. New Mexico now has a half-billion-dollar surplus and has seen tax revenues increase by 27 percent this year, faster than any other state in the union.

Yes, it's counterintuitive to claim that lowering taxes increases tax revenues. But it does, not only because it attracts more businesses and jobs. It's also because the more money people have to spend on themselves rather than have confiscated by government, the more those dollars circulate to generate greater demand for goods and services, the more jobs that are created to supply those goods and services and the more income that is spread among more people -- and thus, more tax revenue.
So let's all shed a tear for the rich and guilt-ridden, and continue cutting taxes.

DAN COHEN, MINNEAPOLIS

More and more the thing that defines today left is their desperate clinging to what's broken. They want gun control, yet it never reduces crime. They want generous welfare programs, but they have never made a dent in poverty. Public school is the only K-12 education solution offered, yet these schools continue to decay from the inside, and they lust for aggressively progressive tax rates in order to soak the rich when this approach never fattens government coffers. All these failed concepts have been chapters in the lefty bible for decades, yet they still salute when any are run up the flagpole come election time.

05 July 2006

How Stupid is Your Senator?

Remember Ted Stevens, the reigning champion of pork? Well, he's back, and now that he's sent conservative fiscal policy back 20 years, he's here for the internet.

There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right. But this service is now going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free. Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet? I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially. So you want to talk about the consumer? Let's talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren't using it for commercial purposes. We aren't earning anything by going on that internet.

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.
That's right Ted. The internet is all tubes.

The above link has another link to the audio of Senator Asshat. Listen for yourself if you think I'm being unkind to this pathetic, blathering old man.

04 July 2006

Fighting Terror NY Times-Style

Michael Ramirez - Copley New Service

Nothing of Importance Happened Today

"The Minuteman 1775" by Don Troiani


Poor King George; he was really screwed by the absence of the infomation age. Think how long it took for this to cross his desk:
That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Great Voice Silent

George Page has died. If you didn't know who he was, you at least know his voice. If you didn't know his voice, you have been abusing, and not using, television.