31 August 2006
Like all real state fairs, Minnesota's started as agriculture exposition. Today, the tractors are not on sale, they are, sadly, on exhibit.
Lucy was very gracious to put up with all the noisy gawkers and hand thrusters.
Didn't take long for everyone to show up. They say 80-100K show up each day.
When you ride a bull, all the other fellas are 'horseboys.'
Most of the livestock buildings are WPA-era structures, and can be quite cathedral-like to people like me who enjoy farm critters.
Of course the ride is safe. If it wasn't, would Tom Selleck endorse it personally?
I caught a few tunes from Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys on my way out the door. Yes, it was that Hank Thompson.
A pretty good day; perfect weather, not a care. I saw 40 varieites of chickens, a thousand-pound boar and a baby bison. I had a foot-long with onions, a gizmo (don't ask), catfish on a stick, two beers, a chocolate shake and a Haralson apple. I took a ride on the space tower, and got a good look of how the bastards ruined the oval track, so that they'll never race cars on the fairgrounds again. Even riding the bus up and back was a nice experience.
30 August 2006
Not here in the land of the free and home of the brave, mind you, but in the People's Republic of Canada:
I saw the satirical website http://www.hezboliberal.com/ and laughed pretty hard (my favourite line: "MP searches Middle-East for terrorism, finds Israel). But they weren't laughing over at Liberal headquarters. The party's in a bit of a snit right now over the issue of Israel and terrorism and they've lost their sense of humour.The Western Standard is hosting the, uh, offending site here, since Canada's Liberal party chased off the ISP that had been hosting it.
The grown-up answer to a satirical website like that is to laugh it off. But the Liberal party is hurting right now, so it lashed out against the pranksters -- pressuring their internet service provider (ISP) to censor the site.
This is called bullying -- where the once-mighty "natural governing party," now flailing around in impotence, rage and debt, tries to lash out at some little guys and, worse, their ISP. What makes me mad is that the Liberals are bullying critics on the internet, and getting away with it. This is exactly the sort of precedent that all media should join forces to oppose -- whether they are pro- or anti-Liberal. If the Liberals have a real complaint, they should take it to court, not bully an ISP into censorship against a political dissident.
She's not even on the air yet, but CBS is already spinning the truth.
Today, the uremitting hunt for the guilty pays off as a “CBS spokesman said ‘the editorial staff of Watch magazine retouched the photo without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management.’ But the staff consists of CBS’ own communications department.
Just keep staring into the "60 Minutes" stopwatch and keep repeating "you can trust Big Media, you can trust Big Media . . ."
Let the PhotoShop forensics commence.
Senate rules allow lawmakers to put anonymous holds on bills, and that's what happened to the database bill last week, according to a blog post by (Mark) Tapscott. But rather than admit defeat on the bill, he invited bloggers to expose something else: the senators who don't want the bill to go to a vote. "Whoever it might actually be," Tapscott wrote, "the blogosphere could be instrumental in uncovering the offending senator or senators identity by calling every Senate office and asking if the boss is the one. Let's keep a tally of the responses."More here:
Sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, and Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, the bill would require the administration to create a searchable Web site that would list the name and amount of any federal grant, contract or other award of money amounting to $25,000 or more. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)tried to win speedy passage just before the Senate left for its summer break, but at least one senator objected anonymously.
Now Porkbusters.org, a Web site dedicated to exposing wasteful government spending, is conducting a public campaign to smoke out the obstructor or obstructors, while blogs on both sides of the political spectrum have weighed in, demanding action on the bill. Mr. Frist has also vowed to get into the act, promising to try to pass the bill again when Congress returns from its break next month.
29 August 2006
At midday, Ernesto had top winds of 45 mph. And there was only a "remote possibility" it could become a hurricane with winds of 74 mph or greater before crossing over Florida overnight, the National Hurricane Center said.The gender-bender freak is a non-factor:
(T)he claims were lies, prosecutors said. The Denver crime lab conducted DNA tests Friday on a cheek swab taken from Karr and were unable to connect him to the crime.It's enought to make someone lose control of the situation:
CNN’s Kyra Phillips got caught, well, with her skirt down. Someone (at) CNN left her mic open and on the air as she went to the loo in the middle of President Bush’s speech commemorating the Katrina anniversary.
25 August 2006
Earlier this year, Nashua police confiscated video recordings of two officers being rude to a citizen at his own home. Though police dropped all charges against Michael Gannon and admitted they could not prove the recordings were illegal, they still kept the tapes.
If someone is found with cocaine or any other item clearly illegal to possess, confiscation is easily justified. But the illegality of these items was never proven, and mere possession was not itself illegal. If the government can seize and keep a citizen’s property by simply asserting that it is contraband, even when the assertion is unsupported by the facts, then we have entered into dangerous territory.
The article, of course, mentions Ray Nagin's illegal firearms round-up. Law enforcement has to make sure they have the horese before the cart when it comes to things like where their authority comes from.
24 August 2006
A Lebanese Red Cross ambulance worker peers from the roof top of an ambulance that was bombed, at the Red Cross station in Tyre, south Lebanon, August 1, 2006. The ambulance was hit on July 26 during an Israeli air raid. (Ali Hashisho/Reuters)Becuase it's not even vaguely true:
Of all the exposés and scandals surrounding the media's coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon, The Red Cross Ambulance Incident stands out as the most serious. The other exposés were spectacular in their simplicity (photographers staging scenes, clumsy attempts at Photoshopping images), but often concerned fairly trivial details.
The fact that the media was lying was indeed extremely important, and justified the publicity surrounding the exposés -- but what they were lying about was often minor, a slight fudging of the visuals to exaggerate the damage.
The ambulance incident, however, was anything but trivial. The media accused Israel of the most heinous type of war crime: intentionally targeting neutral ambulances which were attempting to rescue innocent victims. If true - and it is almost universally accepted as true - then Israel would lose any claim to moral superiority in the conflict. The commanders who ordered the strike should be brought up on war-crimes charges.
The Red Cross Ambulance Incident was perhaps the most damning of all the evidence against Israel, and the most morally indefensible. Which makes it all the more shocking to learn that the attack on the ambulances most likely never occurred, and that the "evidence" supporting the claim is in fact a hoax.
23 August 2006
Anyway, in addition to causing transportation mayhem in our fair city and shaking down working families in order to get more Republicans elected, he actually paused to briefly but adversely harm the pulmonary health of young women.
Will the reign of this madman never end?
Hi Mr. American, this is the National Highway Federal Auto Safety Big Police Agency Bureau.
I'm required to tell you that you now have 2 more points on your driving record, and your insurance will go up 40% next month.
Well, you're speeding.
How do you know?
The OnStar system in your car called us. It took the data from the GPS system and event recorder that came standard on your car to show me that you just took a curve rated at 40 miles per hour at 48 miles per hour, and you are now doing 52 in a 45.
I've forwarded all that information to the national motor crime database, your insurance company and your car's manufaturer to get your warranty voided. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
You say "OctaneBoy, this'll never happen." Truth is, it's amazing it hasn't already happened more.
22 August 2006
Sure he was talking about golf, but he might also give that advice to Howard's Family Circus:
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, delivered a 15-minute, blistering attack to warm applause from Democrats and union organizers here on Wednesday. But Mr. Biden's main target was not Republicans in Washington, or even his prospective presidential rivals. It was Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer.Joe's party keeps getting rolled by the opposition, so why would the Democrats set themselves up for more abuse when you can run against . . . a store. What's next week, Joe? You gonna go hard against influenza?
Across Iowa this week and across much of the country this month, Democratic leaders have found a new rallying cry that many of them say could prove powerful in the midterm elections and into 2008: denouncing Wal-Mart for what they say are substandard wages and health care benefits.If you don't like Wal-Mart, don't shop there. Don't work there. It it really so tough? These government-as-religion clods love to pretend that mom & pop outfits will go out of business if Target or Best Buy show up, which is classic zero-sum economics and intellectually tantamount to the ramblings of the Flat Earth crowd.
Some Democrats expressed concern about the direction the party was heading, saying it could turn back efforts by such party leaders as former President Bill Clinton to erase the image of the party as anti-business and scare off corporations that might be inclined to make contributions. Still, what is striking about this campaign is the ideological breadth of the Democrats who have joined in, including some who in the past have warned the party against appearing hostile to business interests.
That's just Dean unable to keep anyone's toes near the line, but the all-opposing left is really on the holy crusade against anyone that might actually employ peole.
Today on MPR one of the socialists on the city council was speaking about municipal subsidies, living wage laws, and other fire-brand issues of the collectiveists. He was suggesting all sorts of litmus tests for free enterprise before "outside economic interests that want to come in and make a profit off the community." What a diseased perspective, and how sad is that coming from someone with a hand on the steering wheel on my city?
Challenge for you, Lee: Sometime in your current term, please demonstrate the prosperity and independence you are providing as a mere redistributer of wealth. You cannot pawn off the fiscal responsibilities of the welfare state that you've created on the easliy-harpooned big-box retailer just because you think they have the money. Scratch the surface of the anti-private sector and anti-private-property crowd and you'll find folks crushed by the recent toughening of emminent domain laws.
Among the more glaring hypocricies are the fact that this gang would never force the non-big box businesses to dance to their tune. This isn't just a left/right phenomenon; it's polticians as thugs. Why did Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker rob banks? Becasue that's where the money is.
42 Elivs Presley
40 John Lennon
40 John Coltrane
39 OctaneBoy (still kicking!)
38 George Gershwin
36 Marilyn Monroe
35 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
34 Charlie Parker
33 John Belushi
30 Patsy Cline
29 Hank Williams
27 Janis Joplin
27 Jim Morrison
27 Jimi Hendrix
27 Kurt Cobain
24 Duane Allman
21 August 2006
Now, say what you want about those plucky Iranians, but they got the heavy hand of government goin' on:
Police in Tehran have begun dismantling satellite dishes from the city's rooftops - part of a campaign to prevent Iranians from watching Western television. The move follows a recent police order that all satellite dishes - officially banned but tolerated until now - be removed. The campaign against satellite television was launched by the Minister for Culture and Islamic Orientation, Hassan Saffar Harandi, who said "we have to halt the West's cultural offensive," on Iran.
The public debate about net neutrality is at its heart a debate about whether we want to keep the Internet growing and expanding and contributing to our cultural growth as it has been, or whether we instead want to turn it into something as static and predictable as telephone service or TV.
(O)ne can imagine what riding in taxicabs might be like if taxicab operators had freedom to discriminate based on where a passenger was going or what he or she planned to do after getting there. Taxicab companies might be tempted under such a circumstances to cut special deals — to provide better rates and/or service to someone traveling to Radio City Music Hall rather than to the Museum of Modern Art simply because the former had a commercial partnership with the taxicab company.
And this shared idea about “neutral” carriers has been at the heart of how the telephone and mail systems have worked in this country for many, many years. It’s also central to how the Internet has been designed, to how it has functioned, and to how fast it has grown.
I’m not going to defend McCarthy, because he was a brute and boor and a butter-eating drunk who set back the anti-Communist cause four decades. To say that he was sorta right, in the sense that there were Commies about, is like saying that J. Robert Oppenheimer had a salutory effect on Japanese urban renewal. I’m not interested in those debates right now. I’d just like to point out that it’s a little late in the game to trot out a play about the mean old witch-hunts.
It's just interesting how Westerners think that that Red Scare was a historical event of such towering proportions it trumps the tales of the Soviet Union in the same period. US version: communist sympathizers frozen out of screenwriting jobs, justly or unjustly. USSR version: actual communists killed in ghastly numbers by a parody of a legal system underwritten by brute force and an industrialized penal system built on slave labor. Why is the latter ignored, and the former celebrated?
Because a herd of frozen zeks dying in the snows of Wherdifugistan doesn’t really connect, you know? Whereas six guys sitting around the Carnegie Deli bitching about cowardly sponsors, that strikes a chord.
Iran fired 10 short-range missiles on the second day of large-scale military exercises Sunday, as officials reiterated Tehran's stance that it did not intend to halt its uranium enrichment program. The exercises are named after Zolfaghar, the name of the sword of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.After you hit the snooze button:
Iran has turned away UN inspectors wanting to examine its underground nuclear site in an apparent violation of the Non-proliferation Treaty, diplomats and UN officials said on Monday. (I)ran's unprecedented refusal to allow access to the facility at Natanz could seriously hamper international efforts to ensure that Tehran was not trying to make nuclear weapons.Years from now, when the world is really regretting leaving this to the UN, John Kerry will be speaking before a small group somewhere and will proclaim that none of this would have occurred had he had been elected president in 2004, 2008 or 2012.
17 August 2006
It's not all sweetness, light and federal dollars for Nagin's legacy:
That was a great move Ray, and you have completely shown your hand as a modern political liberal: You think only the government is capable of protecting the unwashed masses, so not only do you order the confiscation of legally-owned firearms, and you do it in concert with your monopolistic police force abandoning its duties leaving an unarmed New Orleans in the lawless lurch.
A federal lawsuit accusing the city of illegally confiscating firearms during the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina was kept alive by a federal judge Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier denied a motion by the city of New Orleans to dismiss a suit by the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation.
The suit says that during and after the Aug. 29 storm, "Mayor Nagin ordered the New Orleans police and other law enforcement entities under his authority to evict persons from their homes and to confiscate the lawfully possessed firearms."
(Eighty four) high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls have taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times newspaper. It specifically targets "terrorist organizations" such as Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.I still say we should sell California to Mexico, but stuff like this can occasionally temper my misguidedness. Noticeable in a news search is how big of story this in Rupert Murdoch and Nicole Kidman's native Australia, but very little play in the US press.
"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations such as Hizbollah and Hamas," the ad reads. "If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die. We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."
16 August 2006
15 August 2006
The U.N. resolution that paved the way for the truce calls for Hezbollah's disarmament. So, for that matter, does an earlier, long-ignored resolution. But the terms for giving up the weaponry are vague. And as a prominent party in the Lebanese government, Hezbollah will have a hand in deciding how and whether the language translates into fact.If anything, analysts say, the war has worsened Lebanon's underlying instability, bolstering Hezbollah at the expense of more moderate, secular figures in government. "Most of the government really thought that Hezbollah could be trimmed by the Israelis, and that would give them less of a problem," said Judith Palmer Harik, a Hezbollah expert. "But it didn't work out that way, and now there's nothing they can do, in my opinion, to get Hezbollah away from doing what it wants."This is a victorious group. Do they want to be disarmed at this point?" Harik said. "That is such a nonstarter."I just can't muster enthusiasm over the prospects for Lebanon, Israel or the entire region. More lack of excitement here:
For the moment, Hezbollah is bathed in a heroic light, not just in Lebanon but throughout the Muslim world. Lebanon's prime minister, Fouad Siniora, appears unable or unwilling to force the issue of Hezbollah's disarmament, at least in the south, as called for in the UN Security Council resolution that halted the combat. Whether Hezbollah intends to let its fighters be banned from the kingdom it built for itself in southern Lebanon, with the lavish help of Iran and Syria, is another open question.
The Security Council appears to have done its best to promote the interests of Lebanon and to diminish Hezbollah's hold over the slice of the country between the Litani River and the Israeli border. But the council has passed far-reaching resolutions on Lebanon before - especially Resolution 1559, in September 2004, which called for the disbanding of Hezbollah's fighting force and all other militias and the extension of Lebanese government control over the entire country. That resolution had no enforcement mechanism and was largely ignored.
After 34 days of warfare, the latest resolution, No. 1701, repeats the goals of No. 1559 but provides more teeth, including a more robust UN force of up to 15,000 soldiers. It is supposed to patrol a specific southern demilitarized zone and help the government monitor its borders, ensuring that Iran and Syria do not resupply Hezbollah with rockets, missiles and ammunition. But will it be effective? And what soldiers will be in it? When will they arrive? And will the force be willing to confront Hezbollah? Or, as many Israelis expect, will it allow Hezbollah to remain in southern Lebanon unimpeded so long as the border appears quiet?
14 August 2006
Here's a fine example:
I'm sure we'll soon find their mamas on Tee Vee or in the paper who'll swear all three are good boys.
Two Lakeville men who were walking along Gerdine Path near Dodd Boulevard were robbed at gunpoint on Aug. 5 in what Police Chief Steve Strachan described as an "unusual" robbery. "Most of the time robberies occur at establishments and businesses," Strachan said. "This was unusual because it was a residential street and the suspects set out specifically to victimize pedestrians."
Three men, 18-year-old Hassan Abdul of Eagan, 18-year-old Wod Talian of Burnsville, and 18-year-old Demetrius Lee Johnson of Apple Valley, were charged Tuesday by the Dakota County Attorney's office with first-degree aggravated robbery.
The robbery victims were able to identify the men from a lineup. A search of the vehicle yielded the weapon allegedly used in the robbery. Bail was set at $60,000 for all three men.
Rambix expands on this, links to lots more "unusual for this area" crime, and has pictures of the little darlings courtesy of the Dakota County Jail.
Should government harassment of the Brussels Journal continue, should Paul Belien and/or any of his collaborators be punished in any way by the government of Belgium for the public expression of their opinions, and above all, should the Brussels Journal be shut down, the government of Belgium should know that this issue will not simply disappear.Where are all the perpetual hippies who made an industry out of pointing fingers and yelling 'fascist' at the government? Why in the EU power structure of course . . .
13 August 2006
12 August 2006
The Army Corps of Engineers had MV Mississippi in Saint Paul today, and I went down to have a look around. She's 241 x 58 and the pilothouse is about 5 stories over the waterline. Three Caterpillar 3606's, putting out 6,300 HP and driving 93" props, get her around just fine.
MV Mississippi's main role is to move and secure the barges and other equipment that's used for sinking concrete mat systems that stabilize river beds; no small feat on the southern Mississippi River.
Did I mention it's a big ol' boat?
11 August 2006
If only 1% of Muslims in this world are willing to die in order to kill those they deem Not Muslim Enough, that's 10 million people. That and the above are some things to think about the next time you hear the sad pleas to understand and negotiate with people willing to kill and die for their religious fanaticism.
The plot was foiled because a large number of people were under surveillance concerning their spending, travel and communications. Which leads us to wonder if Scotland Yard would have succeeded if the ACLU or the New York Times had first learned the details of such surveillance programs.
Democrats and their media allies screamed bloody murder last year when it was leaked that the government was monitoring some communications outside the context of a law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA wasn't designed for, nor does it forbid, the timely exploitation of what are often anonymous phone numbers, and the calls monitored had at least one overseas connection. But Mr. Reid labeled such surveillance "illegal" and an "NSA domestic spying program." Other Democrats are still saying they will censure, or even impeach, Mr. Bush over the FISA program if they win control of Congress.
In short, Democrats who claim to want "focus" on the war on terror have wanted it fought without the intelligence, interrogation and detention tools necessary to win it. And if they cite "cooperation" with our allies as some kind of magical answer, they should be reminded that the British and other European legal systems generally permit far more intrusive surveillance and detention policies than the Bush Administration has ever contemplated.
Does anyone think that when the British interrogate those 20 or so suspects this week that they will recoil at harsh or stressful questioning?
Assisted numerous small businesses in navigating city policies.Minneapolis; it's going places!
Speaking of going places, the Boy Mayor peeked out of his nest yesterday and made a heavily guarded appearance on Minneapolis' diseaed north side. After suffering thought a record pace for mudrer and mayhem, you couldn't harley blame the citizenry to voice their displeasure with Mayor Touck Feely, who promtly and swiftly ran away to a his waiting car.
10 August 2006
“Is it the horrendous noise? The speed? The condensation trails?” said one unnamed source close to the panel, listing some of the areas of inquiry the experts plan to pursue. “Because if it’s any of those things, we can get to work on engineering changes to make airplanes more tolerable to our Muslim brothers.”
09 August 2006
Cindy: Well, my kidney's aren't working quite right.
Dale: Well, I got two . . .
“He was a regular customer that I had been waiting on for about eight or nine months. For the longest time, I didn't even know his name - we called him the poached egg guy because that's what he always ordered,” Boswell said. “One day, I was a little down and he asked me what was wrong. So I told him about my medical problems and that I needed a kidney. He told me that he would donate me one of his.”Whether it's digital media, penicillin, the synchromesh gearbox, cajun pork chops or random acts of organ donation; the greatest inventions, innovations and acts on Earth are NOT the product of nanny government.
07 August 2006
It is clear to any objective observer that Hezbollah is using Lebanese civilians as human shields. It builds its headquarters in densely populated areas, embeds its fighters in towns and villages, and deliberately places missiles in private homes, even constructing additions to existing structures specifically to house missile launchers. The reason terrorist groups such as Hezbollah use human shields is elementary. They try to exploit the respect for innocent human life that is the hallmark of any civilized society to place that society in a no-win situation. If it fails to respond to terror attacks, it endangers its own citizens. If it responds, it runs the risk of killing innocents, earning world opprobrium and inviting diplomatic pressure to stand down.
Terrorists are fanatics, but they are not idiots. If the terrorist tactic of using human shields helps them achieve their goals, they will utilize it. If it undermines their goals, they will abandon it. If we want to live in a world where civilians are never used as human shields, then we must create a world in which employing such measures results in the unequivocal condemnation of terrorists and in forceful action against them by the civilized world.
If the world were now blaming Hezbollah, Syria and Iran for the innocent Lebanese killed, hurt or displaced in this conflict, then it would be sending a powerful message to every terrorist group on the planet: We will not tolerate the use of human shields. Period.
Instead, those who condemn Israel have sent precisely the opposite message. They have told every terrorist group around the world the use of human shields will pay huge dividends, thereby providing them with a powerful weapon that endangers innocents everywhere.
Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database on Monday after an urgent review of his work showed he had altered two images from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah. Global Picture Editor Tom Szlukovenyi called the measure precautionary but said the fact that two of the images by photographer Adnan Hajj had been manipulated undermined trust in his entire body of work.More @ Power Line:
It appears to me that (Adnan) Hajj is a member of, or sympathizer with, Hezbollah. Many of the pictures he took for Reuters appear to be staged in cooperation with Hezbollah for use as Hezbollah propaganda. Thus, for example, as we noted over the weekend, the same woman was pictured two weeks apart, on each occasion allegedly bewailing the loss of her home in an Israeli air strike. Or the same wrecked building was shown on different occasions, allegedly damaged in two different bombings.
Saint Paul Supports Keith Ellison Fundraiser with Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Mayor Chris Coleman, Commissioner Toni Carter. Sunday August 13th - Home of Dan and Cassie Cramer, 1910 Hampshire Avenue, Saint Paul.The list of those expected to show up smiling and fork over the moola reads like a who's-who of tax-and-spend big government in St. Paul: Sen. Ellen Anderson, Rep. Matt Entenza, Chief Bill (Corky) & Linda Finney, Rep. Alice Hausman, Council Member Lee Helgen, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, School Board Member Kazoua Kong-Thao, Council President Kathy Lantry, Rep. John Lesch, Rep. Tim Mahoney, Rep. Carlos Mariani, Council Member Debbie Montgomery, Revs. Byron & Sharon Moore, Sen. Mee Moua, School Board Member Al Oertwig, Comm. Rafael Ortega, Sen. Sandy Pappas, Rep. Michael Paymar, Comm. Victoria Reinhardt, (former failed Mayor) Jim Scheibel, School Board President Elona Street-Stewart, Rep. Cy Thao, Council Member Dave Thune, Rev. Carl Walker and the beat goes on.
You may have noticed that among those featured to lead the chanting is my representative, the mostly invisible and completely predictable Betty McCollum. If you remember, she pitched a fit last August about the possibility of Mark Kennedy making doing some campaigning outside of his district. I guess Betty was just feigning indignation last year, since she's blowing sunshine for Ellison outside his district this year.
05 August 2006
Attention American automakers: Stop pretending that eveything you make is a hot rod. A Hemi head engine in every Dodge? The SS badging on a front-drive Monte Carlo? A Focus GT?
Attention beverage manufacturers: Diet vanilla cherry caffiene-free Dr. Pepper boost? Just stop the shelf-space grabbing madness.
Yea, it was cool and revolutionary. Everything is when it's the first thing out there. MTV was radio that had something for your eyes. Of course, you can argue all day long about whether this was a good or bad thing. As a fan of short-format conceptual video, I was always very interested in how a filmmaker would interpret a song into something visual. However, now it's easy to look back and damn the whole process, since, to this day, I can't hear Tom Petty's "Don't Come Around Here No More" without seeing a Lewis Carroll-gone-wrong treatment.
Not that I'm listening to a tremendous amount of Tom Petty.
More than CNN or ESPN, MTV drove cable TV into American households. It also was the first legitimate chink in the armor of the big 3 networks, and since the cracks are still widening, we should be grateful to MTV for starting a broadcasting revolution.
MTV was like watching the Olympic Games live for the first time as opposed to tape-delayed and edited recaps. You had to keep watching because you really didn't know what would come up next. The idea of unpredictability was unheard of in music programming. God knows KQRS and other living-on-borrowed-time FM dinosaurs weren't going to give me the B-52's, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Pretenders, Todd Rundgren, etc., etc., etc.
Then, (whenever then was) MTV really dropped off my radar. By the admission of it's founder Bob Pittman, the channel would have to teardown and reinvent itself every couple of years (which is a very healthy attitude to have from day 1), but the problem came when MTV went from lots and lots of music to less and less music. You're now hard pressed to find much time devoted to new music, and the overwhelming majority of programming are docudramas and reality shows that have nothing to do with music.
There's the killer: MTV has turned its back on the music. The content is no longer all about the artists. It's now all about the audience. As a nearly 40-year old with a wife and a house and a degree and a job and friends and a life, watching shows about MTV's audience couldn't be a worse use of my time.
You always hear about the very first video played during MTV's first hour on the air in August of 1981; "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. Well, in their zeal to make a statement, MTV was too myopic to realize the irony of their selection. Let's go to the lyrics:
They took the credit for your second symphony.
Rewritten by machine and new technology
and now I understand the problems you can see.
And now we meet in an abandoned studio.
We hear the playback and it seems so long ago.
And you remember the jingles used to go.
Video killed the radio star.
In my mind and in my car,
We can't rewind we've gone to far.
Say what you want, that's not a kickoff, it's a death watch.
Can you imagine CNN with no news, or ESPN with no sports? Hey, Music Television, where did the music go?
04 August 2006
Five Minnesota Zoo meerkats destroyed after a girl was bitten did not have rabies after all, a zoo official said today. The 9-year-old girl, who has not been identified, was bitten Wednesday when she reached her hand into the animals' exhibit.Stupid zoo; why wouldn't there be any signs that say 'don't pet the animals.' Oh, there were signs? Moving right along . . .
The meerkats -- two mates and their three offspring born this spring -- had been vaccinated for rabies but were killed because the girl's parents didn't want her to have to undergo a series of rabies shots, said zoo collections manager Tony Fisher.Thank God for that. What could be worse than a 9-year old learning that there are sometimes unpleasant consequences for ignoring the signs?
The girl had climbed atop 3 feet of rock work and reached over a 4-foot glass barrier Wednesday afternoon when she was bitten. The entire family of meerkats was destroyed because it is unknown which one bit the girl, Fisher said.The least, and I mean the VERY least, these crappy humans could do is offer to pay the zoo for the replacement of the meerkat family. When I am governor, all zoo visitors will sign a waiver that allows zoo officials to tackle and forcibly vaccinate for rabies on the spot anyone (of any age) who breaches a barrier and makes contact with the animals.
Really, for your own good, and for the good of your precious, insulated, illiterate daughter, leave town.
He asks the Texan, "What is your last wish?"The Texan replies: "I want a 2 inch thick steak with all the trimmings, Cajun fries and a case of Bud." The Chief motions to some of his tribesmen who immediately run into the jungle and come back with the steak, the fries and the beer. The Texan eats his meal and he is thrown in the pot.
The Frenchman is asked: "What is your last wish?" He replies: "I'd like a case of Dom Perignon and I'd also like a big plate of escargots cooked in the French manner." The Chief motions to his tribesmen who immediately rush off into the jungle and bring back everything the Frenchman asked for. He eats and drinks his fill, and he is then thrown in the pot.
The Chief turns to the Israeli and asks, "And what is your wish?" The Israeli looks the Chief squarely in the eyes and replies: "I want you to kick me in the behind as hard as you can."The Chief is bewildered and asks the Israeli again, only to receive the same reply. "I want you to kick me in the behind as hard as you can."The Chief shrugs his shoulders, asks the Israeli to turn around, and kicks him as hard as he can. With that the Israeli pulls out a gun and kills the Chief and all of the other cannibals.
The Texan and the Frenchman get out of the pot, look at the Israeli and say: "If you had that gun why didn't you do anything sooner?" The Israeli replies: "What? And risk being condemned by the UN, EU, the Vatican and the State Department for 'overreacting' to insufficient provocation?"
01 August 2006
How could it happen? In Seattle, of all places, a city of moderation and diversity? On Friday, July 28, a man barged into the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. It is alleged that, armed with two handguns, Naveed Afzal Haq, 30, killed one woman and wounded five others. And so the War on Terror comes to liberal Seattle, at the very heart of the congressional district of “Baghdad” Jim McDermott. Although Seattle is the very enemy of “hate,” Haq will not be prosecuted for a hate crime, according to Seattle Times reporters. He will be prosecuted under state murder laws.
That’s as it should be. The hate crime laws were designed with right-wing militias and gay-bashers in mind. They were never intended to be used against Muslim hatemongers and Jew-baiters. Back when right-wingnuts were blowing up innocent civilians in federal office buildings, no less a person than the President of the United States hinted that right-wing talk radio was to blame.
Overwhelmingly, people do what they are told; they respond to the cues that the culture sends out, young people more than anyone. Today progressive Seattle is conducting unity meetings to bring everyone together. The trouble is that tomorrow Seattle will return to its grand old progressive tradition: encouraging victims and condoning social pathology.