29 September 2006

Of Pens, Swords and Might.

Kofi Annan - You can tell he's the one incahrge because he gets his picture taken signing worthless documents:
Credible combat power -- well-armed, well-led, well-supported soldiers with full authority to use decisive, deadly force -- can be deployed in Darfur. That credible combat power must be backed by credible leaders, however. That means leaders with the spine to intervene despite Khartoum's intransigence and leaders with the grit to continue this difficult mission when (it is inevitable) the fighting gets dirty, good soldiers die and tragic mistakes occur.

Despite Annan's fine words, outside of London and Washington such leadership is not in evidence. Until it appears, "the international community" deserves to be shamed.

Jim Oberstar Backed Into Newly-Illuminated Corner

See how he weasels and slithers as he slips an earmark through while House rules are in suspension (essentially off the record), and not one week after the House adopted rules on earmark transparancy.

Oberstar represents a district that shrinks in economic significance every day. For him and his district, pork barrel spending IS the economy. You just know this guy parrots the DNC mantra about the big-spending Republicans, which, unfortunately is mostly true.

Watch the whole thing to see how hair splitting and the tap dancing is done by a 32-year veteran of the Washington DC game. Thanks to Rep. Flake of Arizone for calling this fool out.

28 September 2006

Congress Wonders Why We Hate Them

Norman Ornstein:

This new modern record is even more staggering when one realizes that more than 25 of those days had no votes scheduled before 6:30 p.m., making them half- or quarter-days at best. The typical workweek in Congress (when there is a week spent in Washington) starts late Tuesday evening and finishes by noon Thursday. No wonder satirist Mark Russell closes many of his shows by telling his audiences what members of Congress tell their colleagues every Wednesday: "Have a nice weekend."

But the big problem with this Congress is not what it didn't do, it is what it did, and did badly. Each year, when the few must-pass bills move forward, there is a major temptation to throw on all kinds of extraneous provisions; when lawmakers can identify a train that is both leaving the station and sure to reach its destination, everyone has baggage they try to toss on board.

Norman is a smart man. Read it all.

Mediocre Beer in the News

My continued consumption of Leinie's depends on how this shakes out:
Several groups that oppose illegal immigration, including the minuteman Civil Defense Corps and 9/11 Families for a Secure America, announced a boycott Tuesday against Miller Brewing Co. for financially supporting a Chicago organization that has organized marches backing illegal immigrants.

The groups want supporters to stop buying Miller products, divest themselves from company stock and lobby executives. Miller faced another boycott earlier this year from immigration-reform groups, the opposing side of the debate. In response, the company has provided about $30,000 to the March 10 Committee, the Chicago group that organized marches supporting the legalization of illegal immigrants.

Miller released a statement that it would review requests for future grants to ensure that the company isn't indirectly funding or associating with groups that advocate for either side of the immigration debate.

Tee Vee Strikes Again

I know we bought this dog, but can we get it to meow?
NBC didn't want a religious children's show. They wanted a 'values-based' children's show. At that time in history, the new Big Idea was referring to its products as "values-based" rather than "Christian" in order to reach a wider audience and avoid scaring away potential marketing partners uncomfortable with religious companies or products. So it appears NBC had signed up for the "values-based" VeggieTales product line, assuming any religious references could be easily excised. Apparently NBC, like Scholastic, hadn't taken the time to watch enough VeggieTales episodes to realize many of the stories hinged entirely on statements about God or the Bible. So the whole deal was done, it appears, on false premises.
What a remarkable collection of fools they must have at NBC. This same network, by the way wasn't too afraid of a Saturday Night Live parody of VeggieTales in a "TV Funhouse" cartoon called, "The Religetables", in which the stories center around scandals and violence in the world of religion. Episode 532; original air date: November 16, 2002.

27 September 2006

Sniff Sniff Sniff

Partisan or not; Michael Brodkorp has the reporter's nose. Check out the story so far:

(Brodkorp's) web site has questioned fund-raising and expenditures by the Lac qui Parle DFL in 2003. On his Web site and in an interview with the Independent on Tuesday, he suggested the figures show an abnormal spike that could be hiding a DFL slush fund.

Brodkorb . . . said county officials have given him the runaround and have offered at least two different explanations for the 2003 spike. In most years, Brodkorb says, the county DFL spends perhaps an average of $3,000, but spent more than $24,000 alone in 2003 for what was termed either “printing” expenses or lawn signs with a company called Poligraphics. “If you look at the expenditures in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and what they have spent in ’06, those ’03 numbers are off the charts,” he said.

The state’s records show many of the contributions to Lac qui Parle County in 2003 came from big donors outside of Lac qui Parle County: $3,000 from Twin Cities auto dealer Denny Hecker, another $4,500 combined from two other members of Hecker’s family, $5,000 from Pamala Deal of NAU Insurance of Anoka, $5,000 from Fingerhut owner Theodore Deikel of Minnetonka, $5,000 from leading state DFL activist Vance Opperman, and $5,000 from Samuel L. Koplin of Minneapolis, a leading fund-raiser for presidential candidate John Kerry.

Brodkorb says he’s gotten different explanations from county officials for the 2003 figures. He was told the money was used for either “printing” or for lawn signs for Mike Hatch, Aaron Peterson and (Sen. Gary) Kubly.

Kubly wasn’t up for re-election until 2006 and Hatch had not declared in 2003 whether he was running for governor in 2006. He said county DFL treasurer Allen Simonson couldn’t explain why $24,500 was spent at Poligraphics or who told him to authorize payment.

Keep watching folks, this is going somewhere.

Midweek Glory

When you're among the elite, you've got to act the part.

Liverpool 3-2 Galatasaray
How about that Peter Crouch. Marking him in the box is like trying to paint a flying helicopter. The lads from Turkey certianly didn't go quietly, but they went in the end. Bravo, Reds.

Intolerance Untamed by Fluffy Waffles

Hey, it's Ramadan!

You know - the Islamic religious holiday. A time for prayers and fasting and charity. It's a time for celebrations and rejoicing. And rioting.

In Belgium:
Youths threw stones at passing people and cars, windows of parked cars were smashed, bus shelters were demolished, cars were set ablaze, a youth club was arsoned and a shop was looted. Two Molotov cocktails were thrown into St.Peter's hospital, one of the main hospitals of central Brussels. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the fires at the hospital, but youths managed to steal the keys of the fire engine.
See, the problem with Belgium, and with he rest of the EU for that matter: They just aren't Muslim enough.

Congratulations, Europe, you are reaping exactly what you have sewn.

26 September 2006

Betty McCollum: "Keep That Door Closed!"

Betty does the Washington Two-step, or side-step, or whatever the old boys call it these days.
The reality is that H. Res. 1000 will not save one taxpayer dollar, will not remove a single earmark, and does not cover all earmarks. This sham reform bill is solely a symbolic effort to hide the fact that the Republican Majority has failed the Nation on fiscal matters.
Well that's bullshit - and typical of someone who can't keep her eye on the ball. To summarize Betty; "I don't want pizza for lunch, so I vote that none of us have ANY lunch." Thanks Betty, I guess it's better to go hungry than not have it your way.

The point of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act is to find out who is squirreling away tax dollars in the form of special earmarks. From that disclosure will come the pressure from the public to knock it off with the money squandering.

Fortunately, Betty and her backroom ilk are in the minority.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Tuesday that Americans will now be able to "Google their tax dollars," as he signed a law to create an online database for tracking about $1 trillion in government spending on grants and contracts. The law is aimed preventing wasteful spending by opening the federal budget to greater scrutiny. The information is already available, but the Web site would make it easier for those who aren't experts on the process to see how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Signed by President Bush this morning with bloggers in the house. Thanks for Coburn and Obama for sticking to their bi-partisan guns on this one. More on the signing of S. 2590 here with background and a little something from Bill Frist here.
This morning President Bush will sign into law the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, legislation authored by Senators Coburn and Obama of which I'm a proud co-sponsor. This law creates a single, easily searchable database capable of tracking approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans ... a veritable Google for pork. As I said when this legislation passed the Senate, this law represents a triumph for transparency in government, for fiscal discipline, and for the bipartisan citizen journalism of the blogosphere. Without the hard work of men and women like Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, Mark Tapscott of the Examiner Editorial Board, Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters, NZ Bear of Truth Laid Bear, Robert Bluey on Human Events, Liz Mair of GOP Progress, and Paul Kiel of TPM Muckraker (to name but a few), this legislation would likely never have received the President's signature. And, with their continued efforts, I'm confident that the database created today will help keep Washington's addiction to wasteful spending in check.
Makes shocking good sense to me, but just not to Betty.

23 September 2006

Invertibrate Europe

George Wiil:

Next, the murderer used another knife to pin a long letter to van Gogh's chest. The letter was to Hirsi Ali, calling her a "soldier of evil'' who would "smash herself to pieces on Islam.'' The remainder of her life in Holland was lived under guard. Neighbors in her apartment building complained that they felt endangered with her there and got a court to order her evicted. She decided to come to America. Holland evidently tolerates everything except skepticism about the sacramental nature of multiculturalism.

After two generations without war, Europeans "have no idea what an enemy is.'' And they think, she says, that leadership is an antiquated notion because they believe that caring governments can socialize everyone to behave well, thereby erasing personal accountability and responsibility. "I can't even tell it without laughing,'' she says, laughing softly. Clearly she is where she belongs, at last.

22 September 2006

Use For Bad Beer Discovered

Back on Track

Liverpool 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur

A good result at Anfield for the fellas. This on the heels of a midweek 2-0 win over Newcastle and a tightly played (albeit losing 1-0) effort against Chel$ea.

It was only couple of weeks ago that Paul Mirengoff might have you believe that the Mersey tide was turning toward Everton. Well, since The Reds laid that egg at Goodison Park, Everton has only managed to tie recently promoted Wigan, squeaked out a 2-1 win over League Two Peterborough in the Carling Cup, and tied Newcastle after being outplayed and seeing Tony Hibbard sent off. Again.

A Close Shave

I'm not sure how I really feel about the old saw "He died doing what he loved." We heard plenty of it in the past few days regarding Steve Irwin. Fortunatly, it seems we won't have to apply that this time around.
Top Gear's James May says he is convinced his fellow presenter Richard Hammond is "perfectly intact" after a conversation at his hospital bedside. Mr Hammond suffered a "significant brain injury" when he crashed a jet-powered car at a speed of up to 300mph during filming near York. Mr May said it was not a long talk "but it was a conversation". "I'm not a doctor but I am his mate and I believe that deep inside the Hammond I know is perfectly intact," he said.

BBC Top Gear is a magnificent show and the fact that no one makes it available to United States audiences is further indictment of Big Dumb Media.

20 September 2006

One Norwegian Can Make a Difference

Powerline found this gem in the New York Times:
Sweden may be too far gone for it to matter, but its ruling Social Democrats suffered a rare defeat today, and a new government will be formed by the Moderates. The New York Times expresses the problem that gave rise to the upheaval with characteristic delicacy, where such matters are concerned:

Magnus Rosander, a 44-year-old computer engineer who said he had a nervous breakdown after losing his job four years ago and had not worked since, said he had voted for the Social Democrats and was worried about what would happen under the Moderates.

"I'm dependent on social welfare," Mr. Rosander said outside a subway station in central Stockholm. "If Fredrik Reinfeldt wins, we will get less money and he will force me to work even though my doctor says I'm not ready yet.
It's a good lesson for the ironically-named Progressives that try to make the United States emulate collectivist Scandinavia whenever possible.

18 September 2006

Mein Kampf!

I'm not going to drag the abortion debate up onto the RDF workbench, but I'm happy to swing for the fences when I see irony offer up a slow, hanging curveball.
A Maine couple upset that their 19-year-old daughter was pregnant tied her up, loaded her in their car and began driving to New York to force her to get an abortion, police said. The daughter, Katelyn Kampf, escaped Friday at a shopping center and called police, who arrested her parents, Nicholas Kampf, 54, and Lola, 53, of North Yarmouth, Maine.

"Her parents chased her out into the yard, grabbed and tied her hands and feet together,'' Salem Police Officer Sean Marino wrote in a court affidavit. "Katelyn states that her father then carried her to their car and they headed toward New Hampshire.''

"Katelyn stated to me that upon her parents finding out that she was pregnant, they told her she had no choice but to get an abortion,'' Marino wrote in his court affidavit.
That's some kind of blow for the side that uses "choice" as their war chant.

Letting the Offended Inherit the Earth

Claudia Rosett nails it:

It's a good rule of thumb that there is no one more easily offended than your average despot and surrounding acolytes. Tyranny by nature requires grand fictions, and when anyone dares point out that the emperor has no clothes, or the emperor is living it up while dressing his minions in suicide belts, or the emperor is murdering his own subjects and honing technologies and methods to blackmail, subjugate or kill anyone else in reach, then the emperor and his cohorts take huge offense. If you happen to live under their sway, they chuck you in prison. If you are outside the immediate reach of their secret police and terror squads, they do what they can to maneuver the debate onto their terms. They - who apologize for nothing - demand apologies.

What does it take for the democratic world to understand? With their constant demands for apologies - over cartoons, over speeches, over you-name-it - the chronically offended tyrants of our time, armed with guns and bombs, are on a very real offensive. Against us.
For the bulk of an entire religion to be so offended at something so insignificant, to get so bent out of shape and fail to grasp context and to react with both violence and protest signs (pre-printed in perfect English for the benefit of Western media) is to be simultaneously savvy and naive. And suspicious. And not trustworthy.

15 September 2006

Alderman Get Owned by Richard Daley

Another day in the big city. It's like the Meigs Field episode all over again.

Aldermen allowed themselves to be cast as worried more about the feelings of silly geese than about the feelings of poor blacks and Latinos who need jobs and a decent place to shop. Daley hungrily capitalized on their mistake."After foie gras, this became the laughingstock of the nation," the mayor told reporters. "That is ridiculous. It is the funniest law they ever passed. Then of course they pass the [aldermanic] pay raise and then they did this ... and made us the laughingstock of the country."

He could have vetoed the foie gras and other ridiculousness. But he didn't. He used them for bait.

Glimpse of Brilliance

Take it form me, a compulsive observer: Observation is nothing unless you can report on it.
Ikea Product or Lord of the Rings Character?

1. Faramir
2. Freden
3. Grundtal
4. Boromir
5. Molger
6. Galdor
7. Freda
8. Agerum
9. Babord
10. Frodo
11. Grima
12. Akurum
13. Brunkrissla
14. Sultan Högbo
15. Deagol
16. Grimbold

14 September 2006

Size Doesn't Matter

Just because you occupy a significant portion of a market doesn't mean you're infallable. Just ask Pluto. In this example, Amazon tries to play the video-on-demand game, and fumbles the ball:
After the Install Shield launched and I chose uninstall, I got a login screen for my Amazon account. I just wanted to uninstall it. I shouldn't have to log in to my account to do that. So I canceled the login, and the uninstall failed. I tried that three times, and it failed each time. Finally I gave up and logged in and the uninstall finished. So, in summary, to be allowed the privilege of purchasing a video that I can't burn to DVD and can't watch on my iPod, I have to allow a program to hijack my start-up and force me to login to uninstall it? No way. Sorry, Amazon."
I've purged software I've both paid for and downloaded for free because of them running Man Behind the Curtain operations without the knowledge of typical computer users. Hardware or software that operates covertly is the kiss of death for me - no matter whose name is on the package.

Again With the Good Writing

I ain't goin' out like that:
Imagine a happy college campus, set in tightly-gun-controlled Canada. Not just in Canada, but in the part of Canada where they speak French, a language with more words for "surrender" than the Eskimos have for "snow". The only place that could be safer would be at a convention for Mother Theresa impersonators, right? Right. At least until some Emoid freak with a bad 'do, a Matrix wardrobe, and a cheesy plastic Beretta popgun shows up and tries to live out his Quake fantasies in real life.

I ain't goin' out like that. Whether it's some Columbine wannabe who's heard the backward-masked messages on his Marilyn Manson discs, distressed daytrader off his Prozac, homegrown Hadji sympathetic with his oppressed brothers in Baghdad, or a bugnuts whackjob picking up Robert Frost quotes transmitted from Langley on the fillings in his molars, I am going to do my level best to smoke that goblin before my carcass goes on the pile. I am not going to go out curled into a fetal ball and praying for help that won't arrive in time.

It's the Most Wonderful Time

Got our season tickets yesterday. Camp starts today. Preseason games at the X next week. Up here on the Tundra, summer has to go, and leaves have to fall, and motorcycles have to get put away. However, something glorious arrives to occupy some of that space. It lasts until the snow goes away, leaves come back and motorcycles come out again.
With the addition of so many offensive-minded players, from forwards Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish to defensemen Kim Johnsson and Petteri Nummelin, Lemaire said his big worry in training camp is that players mistakenly believe the team's system will suddenly alter to that of an offensive juggernaut. Strong play in its own zone and shutting down the neutral zone will continue to be the name of the game as far as Lemaire's concerned.

Lemaire has begun fiddling with lines on paper. Brian Rolston will start with Todd White and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Demitra will skate with Marian Gaborik, but he wants to talk with Demitra first before deciding if he'll play center or left wing.
"All the lines are done," Lemaire said, laughing. "They're all done for the first period because if it doesn't work, they won't stay together."

For No Real Reason

Sorry for the People Magazine-ness of this, but let's go after someone famous for being a tool in public.

"She expected the staff to be informed of all her idiosyncratic requirements. She once snapped at me for continuing to hold the door open for her husband after she walked into the restaurant. She also got angry with the busboys for giving her a fish fork for her fish, because she thinks they're too small and difficult to use. She acted like a total bitch every time."

Ephron, reached in San Francisco, where she is promoting her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck,(I'm sure it's packed with laughs) acknowledged she is frequently dissatisfied with the service at restaurants.

Some say you can tell a lot about people about how they treat, animals, kids and old people. For me, you can tell all you need to know about someone by how they treat the waiter/waitress.

11 September 2006

One More From September 11th

If the world was ending for thousands just down the street, what would your reaction be?

Clinton Legacy Propped Up; Tonight at 7 (Central)

Berger, Albright and Tenent get theirs, but Bubba wears teflon:

In the original scene, an actor portraying White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke shares a limousine ride with FBI agent John O'Neill and tells him: "The Republicans are going all-out for impeachment. I just don't see in that climate the president's going to take chances" and give the order to kill bin Laden.

But in the film aired Sunday, Clarke says to O'Neill: "The president has assured me this ... won't affect his decision-making." O'Neill replies: "So it's OK if somebody kills bin Laden, as long as he didn't give the order. It's pathetic."

Another scene in the critics' cut showed O'Neill asking Clarke on the telephone: What's Clinton going to do (about bin Laden)?" Clarke replies, "I don't know. The Lewinsky thing is a noose around his neck." This was cut entirely from the film that aired Sunday.

10 September 2006

Two Racing Careers Finished

Peter Brock
Australian motor racing legend Peter Brock has been killed in an accident while taking part in the Targa West rally in Western Australia, motor sport officials have confirmed.

Michael Schumacher

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher will retire from Formula One at the end of the season.

09 September 2006

Saturday in Chicago

Out of the chute early (for this crowd) and down the street to see the boy king. Nice job by Omar Sharif on the audio tour. That Field Museum; they got a lot of stuff.

Then a blast of Dim Sum in Chinatown. Yup, the food just kept on a-coming. We tried to buy a wok, and then tried to get a parking ticket, but we found our way back to home base only to set out afoot for Millennium Park downtown. Among other neato public art amenities, they have a big chrome bean.

Stroll back along State Street to the North Bridge neighborhood, and pack on a pile of Chicken Korma; which proved unphotographable.

Who'da Thunk?

That the Democrats would become the censors.
It is beyond all rational comprehension how people who are supposedly aware of the facts, on one hand denounce a fictional tv series which they have not seen as a fictional pack of lies, and on the other hand demand that it be canceled due to "distortion" of the facts. Perhaps they are fearful that it may accidentally hint at the truth which they have skillfully distorted for so long. Surely those who would suppress the series must know that all the clamor will only fuel the public thirst for it. But perhaps that's their game ("the only bad publicity is no publicity" syndrome).
All those free-speech idealists from the 60's; look where their hubris had led them. Here's the non-veiled threats to ABC right from the party hitmen:
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
But I keep forgetting; it's Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Gonzales that are the fascists.

The One-Way-Street Conspiracy

Free-market economics are the perfect self-regulator. Supply and demand make prices rise and fall and the market ebbs and flows, and while it's not always predictable, it's always explainable after the fact.

Except for oil.
All of these facts notwithstanding, we will continue to be plagued by myths that gas prices are somehow capriciously and artificially set by businesspeople bound and determined to rob consumers of their hard-earned dollars so these self-same capitalists can line their filthy pockets. But the merest bit of Googling brings up excellent rejoinders demolishing these myths.
I guess when the price goes up, it's Big Oil Industry Collusion. When the price goes down, it's on page 14 of the B-section. Yuo really can't blame CNN and otehr Big Media for not reporting on this stuff; what with Paris Hilton's DUI, Tom and Katie's baby pictures and where to dine with your dog. I mean, when WOULD they find the time?

Notes From the Arms (and Hands) Race

When bare hands are outlawed, only outlaws will have bare hands.
A nurse returning from work discovered an intruder armed with a hammer in her home and strangled him with her bare hands, police said. Susan Kuhnhausen, 51, ran to a neighbor's house after the confrontation Wednesday night. Police found the body of Edward Dalton Haffey 59, a convicted felon with a long police record.

"Everyone that I've talked to says 'Hurray for Susan,' said neighbor Annie Warnock, who called 911. "You didn't need to calm her. She's an emergency room nurse. She's used to dealing with crisis."
Oregon - I'm surprised the state hasn't yet filed suit against Kuhnhaused for violating the civil rights of Haffey.

On a related note, some folk are so full of crap and self-loathing, they're trying to criminalize self defense.
Mr. Dixon fired two shots from his 9 mm pistol, wounding the suspected burglar in the chest and groin, The New York Post reported. The burglar turned out to be a career criminal with a 14-page rap sheet. He'd been arrested 19 times and been convicted of criminal trespass, burglary and attempted assault. Still, authorities charged Mr. Dixon with illegal possession of a firearm when they discovered his legally purchased gun was not registered in New York. (He had tried to register it, without success.) He served time in the same jail as his attacker.

08 September 2006

Another Day in Windyville

Fun things to do in Chicago - look down on a really tall building.

Chicago's a big place. Lots of buildings, lots of people, and lots of space in the mall. If you walk around enough, you'll have a serious teppanyaki appetite.

"Wrong glass, sir . . . "

High Above it All

The view to the northwest from 37 stories up:

Hopped in the Dog Farm Hauler and mosey-ed to Chicago to see friends. On this trip, there would be no stay at Motel 6; we traded up.

Not only premium accommodations and companionship, but superior breakfast:

It's good to be the king.

06 September 2006

Thug Police in the 'Burbs

This really makes me mad.
Eagan Police called Choua Thor and accused her of driving off from a gas station without paying. The officer insisted he had the goods. According to Thor, the officer "told me it's not in my court anymore because they got me on video ... he said the whole thing was on video."
Gasoline drive-off's need to have their feet pulled off, but let's keep reading.
On Aug. 3, the gas station clerk called police and filled out a report on the drive-off. (The) the clerk said he couldn't positively identify the suspect, but did write down a license plate. At a supervisor's urging, an investigator took a second look, leading them to the car's owner, Thor. "(The police) gave me two hours to find ... the receipt," Thor said.

Thor did find the receipt. Police said the drive-off was at 11:45 a.m. Her receipt says 11:41 a.m., proving she wasn't the one who didn't pay up. After Thor brought her receipt to police, she asked to see that video. That's when the officer confessed the video never existed.
So they were going to prosecute Thor based on what? The lousy recall of a convenience store clerk? The failure of a police investigator to investigate? The panicky frustration of the store owner?
"That was a technique the officer used, and whether you agree with it or not, it apparently worked in this case," explained Lt. Jeff Johnson, with the Eagan Police Department.
What do you mean it worked? Had Thor not kept a gas receipt for almost a month, would she be in the slammer now? What the hell kind of Barney Fife crap is that?
Thor said the whole experience has made her more skeptical of police.
The whole experience has made me more skeptical of Eagan police.

Daily Eisnehower

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

05 September 2006

New Questions Indeed

Engram @ BackTalk calls out the New York Times now that the whole Plame kerfuffle has wimpered out of the room.
The New York Times just published an article about "new questions" concerning the Valerie Plame affair (via RealClearPolitics). My first thought was that the Times was going to desperately attempt to breath new life into the rapidly disintegrating conspiracy theory that they have pushing for years (according to which the diabolical Bush administration vindictively "outed" Valerie Plame as "payback" for Joseph Wilson "blowing the whistle" on the administration's "lies" about Iraq's WMDs). Imagine my surprise when I saw that one of the new questions was this:

Now, the question of whether Mr. Fitzgerald properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion in continuing to pursue possible wrongdoing in the case has become the subject of rich debate on editorial pages and in legal and political circles.

Say what?
Oh, it's a very well crafted thing it is. Read it all including the feedback posts.

02 September 2006

Forty Grand, Two Hundred Bucks; What's the Diff?

It's all just pocket change to some folks who want to run your life. And lie about it along the way.
Entenza said he paid only a "couple of hundred dollars" for his research on Hatch. He said some research the firm conducted, including an investigation of a Hatch parking ticket, went beyond anything he authorized. On Friday, Entenza filed an amended campaign finance report, disclosing that he paid the $40,000 to Gragert Research, the Chicago company that conducted the research.

In a four-paragraph statement, Entenza apologized to Minnesotans for not being forthcoming. "I made a mistake in the handling and the release of information to the public regarding the research," he said, "and I apologize for that mistake and take full responsibility. … Once the research became public, I should have been more forthcoming and open about it. For that, I am very sorry."
This is so understandable. I tired to pay a twenty-buck pub tab the other day, and left four thousand dollars on the table by accident. I didn't even notice!

What's funny about Matt Entenza is that he screwed up so bad and so early, he never even got a chance to buy the election.

01 September 2006

Frankenstein Drowns the Girl Again

The Monster didn't understand that by putting her in the water he was actually drowning the girl.

The Monster didn't have evil or malice in his heart, he just didn't know any better, but that didn't stop him from proceeding anyway. There are two items back-to-back at City Hall Scoop that make me think immediatly of the hapless Frankenstein.

Item 1
Air quality in St. Paul bars may be a lot better since the smoking ban took effect. But the recent bar study by ClearWay Minnesota (formerly known as MPAAT) has some other interesting data that didn't make the papers. A Minnesota Data Practices Act request to the organization gleaned the data from ClearWay. Click here for the chart.
It's not perfect double-blind statistically perfect study, but the decline in numbers of patrons in the bars from pre-ban to post-ban is stunning, especially to the truth-spinners at ClearWay Minnesota, who aren't happy that they have to share the results of their study.
ClearWay spokeswoman Kerri Gordon expressed her organization's dismay that this information be disaggregated and that the St. Paul bars they went into would be listed by name. "This study was specifically designed to monitor air quality only," she said. "We don't want to embarrass or create hard feelings with any of the establishments." She also said that her organization, while happy to comply with the Data Practice Act didn't create this table for public dissemination and thinks that there are good and worthy reasons not to release preliminary research data.
ClearWay goes out of it's way to poo-poo their data showing that the smoking ban is killing St. Paul bar business, citing that its survey is not statistically ideal. That bit of numerical inconvenience will certainly not prevent ClearWay from disseminating the part of the data that shows how much cleaner the air is.
At the seven bars where researchers thought patronage dropped, the air was on average 93 percent cleaner. At the three bars where patron counts rose, the air averaged only 71 percent cleaner - and had twice the average post-smoking ban particulate count of the bars where patron counts fell. "There are multiple things that could explain this," said Jeanne Weigum, of the Association of Non-Smokers Minnesota, when asked about the patronage figures. "But you know, they may not be any more accurate than first blush, either."
These people are not intersted in precision, truth or the law. They just want smoking gone and will stop at nothing to get their way. Stay tuned.

Item 2

The office of mayor of St. Paul changed hands from a serious person to a non-serious person.
(St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman) joined Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak for a State Fair broadcast of MPR's Midmorning show, the heads of the state's two biggest cities took turns bashing the governor, with Coleman throwing most of the haymakers. "For the governor to sit there and say, 'We tightened our belt' is baloney. All they did is kick it down to the local level," he later added, saying that local property tax increases are the result of cuts in state aid to local governments.
Um, yea, the decrease of state handouts to the two largest Minnesota cities took place in the 2003 (biennial) budget, and, instead of putting his city on its own feet, Rybak is entering his 3rd year of bitching about it. Coleman is only too happy to sing along.

Dismissively referring to developer Jerry Trooien's proposed Bridges of St. Paul project as "a mall," Coleman said building it would cost parkland and require the expansions of Highway 52, the Robert Street Bridge and the Wabasha Freedom Bridge.
Very misleading your honor: The "parkland" it would cost is a 40' strip of grass on the cement ledge squished between Kellogg Boulevard and the fake cliff above Shepherd Road. Another question; ever wonder why roads get expanded? It's because more people are coming and going. What's going on in Saint Paul these days, mayor, that might fill the streets we currently have?
Along with oft-repeated criticisms about ignoring a community development blueprint, Coleman also said the project would only generate menial clerdoesn't sales jobs. "It doesn't create the business ownership opportunities which are so critical to the success of your economy," he said.
Perhaps they mayor will tell us all about tbetter-ass jobs ($40K or bettter) that city government has created for comparison.
As for the site of the Ford plant, Coleman floated the idea of a "zero-emissions village," in other words, a self-sustaining, forward-thinking, environmentally friendly community. "You have an opportunity to create an international model," Coleman said.
Wow. Smells like jobs to me. I'll bet that'll be a real shot in the arm of the local ecomomy.

You know, you don't have to like smoking or the Bridges of St. Paul project, but you had better be wary of the manner in which issues like this are handled by the monsters that run the city; for the do-gooders and busy-bodies that are more and more in charge are more and more cobbled together from the discarded parts of past-dead political activism.

Oh . . . THOSE Aliens.

Sure we come in peace, but really for the money.

ROSWELL, N.M. - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents today arrested 15 illegal aliens who were working for a local company here that is under contract to paint U.S. military aircraft.

The aliens will be processed which includes a thorough interview and background screening to identify fugitives from the law or anyone with a criminal background. All will be placed into removal proceedings, and quickly returned to their country of origin. Aliens who re-enter the United States after having been deported face felony charges, and sentences up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Too bad. I guess they were really good workers; long reach, could work 200 hours non-stop (body clock?), never griped about benefits, etc. Just had to keep them out of the direct sunlight.

Tip to Flamer, tireless chronicler of national security matters.