31 August 2007

Cupcakes Versus Vegetables

Cupcake meida rides again:
A decade later, the memory of her remains, but how much else has changed. After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, Princes William and Harry (then aged 15 and 12, respectively) marched through central London, their little heads bowed, toward their mother's funeral.
While the substanative aniversary gos almost unnoticed:
The (Gdansk) strike marked the beginning of the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are, rightly, given the greatest share of credit for winning the Cold War. But Lech Walesa and John Paul II played indispensable roles.

In the 70s many experts believed that continuing the Cold War was pointless-- the Communists weren't so bad, not every society valued Western style freedom, cowed populations accepted what they could not change. Solidarity and the Poles put the lie to such talk. In the long twilight struggle against Stalinism, the workers of Poland were the first light of sunrise.

Tell Me Again Why This is My Problem?

You're checking out at the grocery store. The cashier tells you your total is $20.00 and $4.00. You pause for a second and ask why your total isn't $24. She says that the price scanner has trouble reading the UPC bar code on the hot dogs you want so she has to ring them as a separate transaction. You are being asked to pay twice in one visit; two checks, or two debit card swipes, or two currency hand-offs. This is something the store needs to solve, and not a problem that needs to be laid a the feet of the customer.

Earlier this summer, I sent in the renewal for our motorcycle insurance. I mailed a check to the PO box on California, and the USPS got it there about 10-12 days before it was due. About a month after the expiration/renewal date show on the insurance ID cards we carry when we ride, I received a notice that the policies had been cancelled for non-payment. I eventually discovered that the insurance company uses some sort of electronic funds transfer banking trick and there's some route coding anomaly with the check I sent that made it get spit out of their process. The check they recieved was/is legal and valid, issued by US Bank. There's plenty of money in the account and this was/is not an NSF issue. My plumber takes the checks for house calls, my veterinarian takes the checks for doggy check-ups and the Minnesota Wild takes the checks for season tickets. This insurance company took the checks for four years.

Now, for a reason I have no obligation to care about, the insurance company's transactional sleight-of-hand won't process it. Do they walk it over to bank that would gladly accept it for deposit? Nope. Do the call me to tell me what's going on? Nope. Instead, they never notified me of this matter until we'd been riding with cancelled insurance for almost five weeks. Thanks, shitheads; you're fired. Hello, Progessive.

As consumers we get kicked around at every turn. I think we've been numbed to how low our expectations really are. How else can you explain how refreshing this is:

Here's how Capt. Denny Flanagan does it:

He mingles with passengers in the gate area. He makes gate announcements himself, updating passengers about weather conditions and sets realistic expectations for delays. He uses his cellphone to call United operations to ask about connections for passengers. He passes out information cards to passengers with fun facts about the plane; he signs two of them, whose owners will win a bottle of wine. He snaps pictures of animals in the cargo hold to show owners their pets are safely on board. He writes notes to first-class passengers and elite frequent fliers on the back of his business cards, addressing them by name and thanking them for their business. He personally calls parents of unaccompanied children to give them updates. He instructs flight attendants to pass out napkins asking passengers to write notes about experiences on United, good or bad. He orders 200 McDonald's hamburgers for passengers if his flight is delayed or diverted.

30 August 2007

Doing the Right Thing

This item is going to put Paul Mirengoff's world quite askew:
It was an emotional night at Anfield, with the Reds paying their own tribute to murdered 11-year-old Everton fan Rhys Jones before kick-off. The Toffees' theme of Z-Cars was played and the crowd applauded as Rhys's parents stood on the touchline in their Everton shirts.
I wonder what circumstances would have "You'll Never Walk Alone" played for people in red kits at Goodison Park.

Background on the Rhys Jones murder here.

24 August 2007

Just Your Garden-Variety Backyard Tesla Fun

Try the Chocolate; Burn Old Glory

Juat another beautiful day in the heart of the EU:

Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans, who toasted the death of Pope John Paul II with the call, “Champagne for everyone!” has banned the Stop the Islamicisation of Europe (SIOE) demonstration, planned for September 11, but authorized the anti-American United for Truth (UFT) rally for September 9.

Mayor Thielemans, biggest appeaser since Neville Chamberlain, is worried that the SIOE demonstration will upset the large immigrant population of Brussels. More than half of the inhabitants of the Brussels region are of foreign origin, many of them from Morocco. According to the mayor, there is a real danger of violence between demonstrators and Muslims living in the neighbourhood.

As some would put it, the Muslims might not tolerate native Europeans protesting against their continent becoming "Eurabia”.

Read it all, if you can stomach it.

Showbiz is Rough

From Timothy McSweeny's Lists:

Ways I've Let DownPopular Musicians.

- Permitted sun to go down on Elton John, thus failing him.

- Failed to heed warning to stop in the name of love, broke Diana Ross's heart.

- Was cruel to a heart that was true, much to the chagrin of Elvis Presley.

- Monkees left at the station with only their worries after I missed the last train to Clarksville.

- Went changing to try to please Billy Joel. Total fiasco.

21 August 2007

Which Sort of Opression is OK?

Look - I'm just a regular guy, who expects 2 and 2 to add up to 4, so I'm having a hard time squaring this:
(American pop singer Gwen) Stefani had promised before the concert to dress modestly after the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students protested against the concert, claiming her fashion sense and cheeky performances clash with Islamic values. The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party also accused Stefani of promoting promiscuity and corrupting the country's youth.
So, make accommodations to Muslim culture because, you know, it's so inclusive and worthy of placating:
“Women are simply not accepted by the Muslim community,” says Mohammed. “So women had also better not do this work.” Mohammed is my colleague social worker (integration civil servant) in Antwerp’s immigrant quarters. He looks at me gravely. “That is just the way it is, and that is why I prefer not to work with a woman, that simply doesn’t work.” He is complaining about another colleague, a Flemish woman who is his superior.

Mohammed does not think that this mentality about women and work is wrong. In fact, whoever questions this attitude is wrong because it is his culture and belief, which is why he accepts it, he “understands” it and we, Flemings, do not. Consequently we must accept it, until we “understand” as well.
Sure that Stefani would scoff at a Christian group that suggests she dress less provocatively (whatever that entails), I really wonder if the reason so many accommodations made to militant Islam that are, very simply, that non-Muslims do not shoot at or blow up the things in this world that do not please them.

Do I detect a theme?
Does anyone remember the reaction to proposals for public funding of secular studies in sectarian schools? All the promises to maintain a separation between church and state were dismissed as disingenuous or ineffectual. Yet now “Arab” culture and language, which is defined by the Muslim faith, is unquestioningly welcomed as “public” and non-sectarian.

And whatever happened to the notion that public schools are supposed to teach students traditional American values and certainly English as their primary language? This is doubtless how the Muslim hijacking of the British and French educational systems started. We can’t say we weren’t forewarned.
So a public school is adopting all the tenants of a specific - and where is the ACLU? Oh yea, they're badgering pharmacists into doing things their way.

20 August 2007

Everyone Gets to Go Home

Divers at the Interstate 35W bridge collapse site found the body of Greg Jolstad Monday evening. He was the last remaining missing victim from the collapse.

Greg Jolstad, 45, was on the construction crew resurfacing the bridge when it fell.

Lisa Jolstad said she's trying to keep occupied by getting the farmhouse ready for winter."I sit home every night and I just can't believe he's not coming home," she said. "I look out the back door window and it's weird not to see his truck out there. I look out the bathroom window at the sky and know he's up there, and I say, you know, why did you have to leave, Greg?"

Clown Time

"My actions will not be halted by thought
or reason, for I am a puppy.
Now - what else can I put in my mouth?"

Sunday Special

Twas a rainy day in Our Fair city, so we sucked it up and saw some indoor baseball. Besides the Twins, I've probably seen the Texas Rangers (by pure chance) more that any other team and they happened to be on the docket yesterday. But so was Johan Santana who pitched a gem. Every Rangers batter struck out at least once:

Brad Wilkerson - 1st inning, 3-2 count, six pitches, swinging
Michael Young - 1st inning, 1-2 count, five pitches, swinging
Sammy Sosa - 2nd inning, 3-2 count, six pitches, looking
Marlon Byrd - 2nd inning, 0-2 count, three pitches, swinging
Gerald Laird - 2nd inning, 0-2 count, five pitches, swinging
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 3rd inning, 2-2 count, six pitches, swinging
Ramon Vazquez - 3rd inning, 2-2 count, seven pitches, looking
Ian Kinsler - 4th inning, 0-2 count, three pitches, swinging
Michael Young - 4th inning, 0-2 count, three pitches, swinging
Marlon Byrd - 5th inning, 0-2 count, four pitches, swinging
Gerald Laird - 5th inning, 2-2 count, five pitches, swinging
Brad Wilkerson - 7th inning, 3-2 count, eight pitches, swinging

Michael Young - 7th inning, 0-2 count, three pitches, swinging
Marlon Byrd - 7th inning, 1-2 count, five pitches, swinging
Gerald Laird - 8th inning, 2-2 count, six pitches, swinging
Nelson Cruz - 8th inning, 1-2 count, four pitches, swinging

Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 8th inning, 1-2 count, four pitches, swinging

Mr. Bike Shorts Has His Knuckles Rapped

The Wall Street Journal had the time and resources to write what I had in my head for the last 2 weeks:
As it happens, (Rep. James Oberstar and Senator Don Young) are the same men who played the lead role in the $286 billion 2005 federal highway bill. That's the bill that diverted billions of dollars of gas tax money away from urgent road and bridge projects toward Member earmarks for bike paths, nature trails and inefficient urban transit systems.

Minnesota's transportation auditors warned as long ago as 1990 that there was a "backlog of bridges that are classified as having structural deficiencies." In 1999 engineers declared that cracks found in the bridge that collapsed were "a major concern." Bike paths were deemed a higher priority by Congress, however, including its powerful Minnesota Representatives. As recently as July 25, Mr. Oberstar sent out a press release boasting that he had "secured more than $12 million in funding" for his state in a recent federal transportation and housing bill. But $10 million of that was dedicated to a commuter rail line, $250,000 for the "Isanti Bike/Walk Trail," $200,000 to bus services in Duluth, and $150,000 for the Mesabi Academy of Kidspeace in Buhl (What the hell is that?) None of it went for bridge repair.

Minnesota spends $1.6 billion a year on transportation--enough to build a new bridge over the Mississippi River every four months. But nearly $1 billion of that has been diverted from road and bridge repair to the state's light rail network that has a negligible impact on traffic congestion. Last year part of a sales tax revenue stream that is supposed to be dedicated for road and bridge construction was re-routed to mass transit. The Minnesota Department of Economic Development reports that only 2.8% of the state's commuters ride buses or rail to get to work, but these projects get up to 25% of the funding.
This is the most thorough fisking I've seen on the sanctimonious Oberstar yet and you really should read it all, while keeping your wallet close by.

19 August 2007

Wild Blue Yonder

Sherm Booen wasn't there to report on it but I had a very fun ride in a taildragger last Tuesday.

Took off from Lake Elmo about 5:20 in a Bellanca Citabria 150. Like me, it's about 40 but it'll cruise happily around 120 mph. At that speed, we had no trouble sitting down for dinner in Cumberland by 6.

Pilot Al gave me the stick for a spell, which I did not squander, and he was happy to explain everything from preformance factors (+5/-2 G) to piloting smarts (100LL in a bit cheaper in New Richmond) and how to create a posh hanger (red carpet).

If the price of admission wasn't out of reach, I'd be shopping. What a hoot; I'd go again in a heartbeat.

17 August 2007

Forget About Health and Common Sense

It's time to take up smoking cigarettes. We gotta pay for that SCHIP crap somehow:
There are some differences in detail between the Senate and House bills authorizing massive expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), yet the competing plans have this much in common: Some states will be winners, others will be losers, but they’re all going to have to recruit millions of new smokers. This is because both plans depend on an increase in the federal tax on cigarettes, with the House version upping the levy 45 cents and the Senate 61 cents.

Add a higher federal tax . . . and it is impossible to envision sufficient revenues to finance SCHIP as Congress intends. So Congress will need millions of new tobacco customers to replace those who quit, die or reduce consumption. At least 9 million new smokers will be needed during the next five years to ensure sufficient revenues to pay for the expanded SCHIP program. And that illustrates yet another law of economic reality — government actions almost always have unintended consequences, and they are usually bad.
Hey, smoking stinks and it's bad for you; tax the crap out of it. Just don't you, as a congressional fraud, pretend that you have a lick of sense by tyring to pay for every pie-in-the-sky feel-good program by having the cost onto an indefensible subclass of Americans.

Start smoking today; it's for the children.

Legacy Media Rides Again

The New York Times is more and more adopting a mullet-like appearance: Misleading up front, informationally valid in the back.

In paragraph 4, we're told that the jurors, leaving the courthouse, would not speak to the press, but one woman, contacted by phone, said -- in the words of the NYT -- "that she had all but made up her mind before deliberations began." The readers' suspicions of injustice are stoked. Yet really, the juror has admitted nothing wrong here. Why the paraphrase? What did she say?

Do people even click to see what's on page 2?

American History Scutteld by Big Labor

Historical and culturally significant or not - if it ain't controlled by union thugs, it's days are numbered:
Because of those protective measures, and the fact that (the Delta Queen) is never more than a mile from shore, Congress has always granted her a waiver from the all-steel construction requirement. The exemption renewal again passed through the House this past year, but died in the Senate.

And so a piece of history, the last riverboat recognizable to Mark Twain, a ship listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a vessel safe enough that the Secret Service permitted Jimmy Carter, when he was a sitting President, to board her, will cease operation because a powerful Senator is beholden to a union.
Is it just me, or is it pretty ironic that someone who witnessed the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 would now torpedo an American maritime icon? Just more diseased action (inaction?) from the freaks that get elected in this once-great nation.

11 August 2007

And . . . They're Off!

Week one of the English Premier League; Steven Gerrard saves Jamie Carragher's cheese at 87'

Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool.

10 August 2007

Nitety Four

Hot day on the tundra. How are we coping? Tequila Sunrise and a dip in the dog pool.

Failure to Focus

Craig Westover:
Simply raising the gas tax and generating more money for roads and bridges won't change the values and processes that brought about neglect of the infrastructure. Following form, after a special session the Legislature will declare "mission accomplished" with the passage of a gas tax, delegate the "mundane" details of infrastructure maintenance to MnDOT (which legislators will criticize for some future failure) and then move on to the issues that captivate the collective imagination: (Growth and Justice president Dane) Smith's litany of education, new transit, health care and environmental quality suffices as example.

Seriously setting priorities starts not with a list of issues, but with the way we think about government's role. It requires understanding the processes and values at work in the bureaucracy and how they affect government's capability to address specific problems. Government is very good at some things and very poor at others. Trying harder with more funding won't necessarily make it better at activities in conflict with bureaucracy's fundamental processes and values.
The day we went from funding "need to have" and started funding "nice to have" is the day we set in motiin the events that brought down that rusty bridge.

08 August 2007

And Your Job is Doing What?

Just heard a sound bite on the radio. It was White House spokesman Tony Snow. He must have been asked by one of those oh-so-sharp White House correspondent if President Bush saw Barry Bonds* hit number 756 last night.

Snow (basically) said "The president was in bed when Mr. Bonds hit his home run, and Mr. Bonds was in bed this morning when the president went to work."


Bridge to Somewhere

Like a banana republic-grade fever, the fingerprinting and unhinged raving about why the bridge fell down is spreading fast, hot and unchecked.

Fortunately, there's some signs of sound treatment for this ugly ailment:

Had we given the Twins Nick Coleman’s middle finger, the bridge would have still collapsed and the schools would still be bailing water. The bleeding-heart segment of the DFL has abdicated on public works, period. That there are jobs for their constituents, economic development for their communities, and intangible benefits all around is seemingly irrelevant. Or as Hennepin Commissioner Mike Opat described the mentality earlier this year, “That’s not going to solve poverty, therefore we shouldn’t do it.”

The problem here is the right’s unwillingness to tax and spend period, not to tax and spend for things that aren’t sexy. The problem here is the left’s relentless focus on inequity to the detriment of everything else. The problem here is an electorate easily lured by “taxes and government are bad” reasoning.

Among the saddest components of the bridge collapse blow back is the volume used by so many who don't know a thing about the (often dysfunctional and ineffective) way governments work. For so many, the amount they really know about civics is inversely proportional to how right ow right they think they are.

How Green Was My Valley?

I offer this not so much to damn organic food or low/no chemical farming, but as a warning to uws to be wary of short-sighted political hacks and their oft-used one-size-fits-all approcah to, un, wolrd improvement:
As the world's policymakers and business elites look to curb greenhouse gas emissions, one economic sector due for a closer look is agriculture. Most people do not realize that agriculture is a major contributor to atmospheric CO2. Further, different types of agriculture have very different CO2 emission profiles.

Some have suggested a complete conversion to organic agriculture. But, on average, organic agriculture produces 30 percent less per hectare than conventional farms. If we were to convert entirely to organic agriculture, we would need at least 30 percent more farmland. Significant amounts of the remaining wilderness would have to be ploughed under to maintain current food production levels.

The conversion to organic farming would also require a tremendous increase in animals to generate manure fertilizer. Anyone who has ever been near the back end of a cow knows this would significantly increase a different greenhouse gas.

Organic farming practices generate significantly greater CO2 emissions while producing less than conventional agriculture. On the other hand, growing genetically modified crops allow the farmer to reduce CO2 emissions while maintaining yields.

07 August 2007

Solutions Not From Washington

All those folks who think all that is great and good comes from The State should consider news like this and recall it when they step into the voting booth.
In laboratory tests, these new boric acid suspensions have reduced by as much as two-thirds the energy lost through friction as heat. This could result in a four or five percent reduction in fuel consumption, according to Ali Erdemir, senior scientist in Argonne’s Energy Systems Division.

Four to five percent reduction in fuel use is nothing to sneeze at, given current gas prices, but I would think that it would also (much more) dramatically reduce engine wear, if it really reduces friction losses that much.

I think that we're in an era now in which cars become obsolete or unfashionable long before their engines (and probably transmissions) wear out. This breakthrough, if it works as advertised, will simply advance that trend.
So manny member of congress bang the gong of increased CAFE every session. That's both without imagination and any basis in thermodynamics. If only they'd read stuff like this, or Popular Mechanics or something not written by their political contributers they migth have an option to that one-note gong.

The Pixels Do Not Lie

If an entire diseased tribe lives and dies by 6th-century violence and culture you really can't expect them to grasp the subtleties of modern digital video production, can you?
Using a program he wrote, Krawetz could print out the quantization tables in a JPEG file and determine the last tool that created the image -- that is, the make and model of the camera if the image is original or the version of Photoshop that was used to alter and re-save the image. Comparing that data to the metadata embedded in the image he could determine if the photo was original or had been re-saved or altered. Then, using error level analysis of an image he could determine what were the last parts of an image that were added or modified.

Krawetz took an image from a 2006 al Qaeda video of Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior member of the terrorist organization. The image shows al-Zawahiri sitting in front of a desk and banner with writing on it. But after conducting his error analysis Krawetz was able to determine that al-Zawahiri's image was superimposed in front of the background -- and was most likely videotaped in front of a black sheet.
It's sad that such a two-bit, backward, tin-horn outfit like Al Queda can give the world so much trouble.

06 August 2007

Watch This Third

Watch This Second

Watch This First

"Shut Up" Explained the Students

How many times are we going to have to put up with the preposterous trashing of free speech and free thought on college campuses. How dare I condemn the established multicultural institutions on campus! Didn't I know that I had no business commenting on the issue since, as one student stated on a campus forum, I was just a "white, libertarian girl from the O.C." Considering how often students refer to their right of free speech when they criticize the school or presidential administration, their reactions to my article were stunning.

Students accused me of being a racist and an ignoramus because no one they knew had ever objected to the houses. One black girl asked me to be her "Facebook friend," suggesting I didn't have any minority friends or else I wouldn't have written the article. Most students did not respond to my arguments, opting to personally slander me. One boy called me a racist and then told me that he was "greatly offended by the white perspective that [I] hold." Many minorities actually belittled me for suggesting that the school should evaluate them on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. I wonder if I had quoted Martin Luther King's speech verbatim if they still would have accused me of having a racist, "white perspective."

A few students complained that I used the word "black" in lieu of "African-American." But they didn't have a problem with my using "white" instead of "Caucasian."

It only gets worse from there. Read it all.

It's simultaneously funny and sad to see the next generation play the game of rational thought and fail at it so thoroughly and do it at precisely the time in their lives when they should be leaving adolescent stupidity behind. The lesson these students will take away from their college years is that once they feel they have their mind made up, they'll know the steps necessary to stifle any opposition to their views and employ the tolls of authority to do so.

So much for all that "open you mind" jive the promise in the course catalogs.

Beware the DataMan

Watch out when your local politician wants to start raising revenue by authorizing unmanned traffic enforcement. They may come armed with buckets of worthless data to convince you they're right:
The case for speed cameras is reasonable, as far as it goes, but there is more to the issue. There are, for example, legitimate questions about whether speed cameras actually reduce the number of people killed and injured on area streets, and whether there are more cost-efficient ways of achieving the same or better results. There also is a major concern about whether speed cameras will ultimately function more as revenue-raising devices than effective tools for increasing road safety. Too little attention has been devoted to these and other issues in the region's public discussion on speed cameras.

By way of preliminary analysis, there is a paucity of credible data on the effectiveness of speed cameras in reducing traffic fatalities and injuries. In 2005, British researchers Paul Pilkington and Sanjay Kindra assessed 92 studies worldwide that claimed to provide credible data, but rejected all but 14 of them. Even among the 14 that met minimal standard criteria for methodological soundness, Pilkington and Kindra concluded: "Research conducted so far consistently shows that speed cameras are an effective intervention in reducing road traffic collisions and related casualties. The level of evidence is relatively poor, however, as most studies did not have satisfactory comparison groups or adequate control for potential confounders."

Cuba, Russia, Iraq . . .

. . . and now Oakland. Don't like what the media's doing? Just kill the journalist, I guess:
Oakland police will seek formal charges as early as today against several people associated with Your Black Muslim Bakery, including the alleged killer of a newspaper editor who had been working on a story about the controversial group that operates the bakery, the city's assistant police chief said Sunday.

Howard Jordan said Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at the bakery, had confessed to fatally shooting Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, 57, near his offices Thursday morning. Broussard was one of seven people arrested in raids the following day.

The leader of the organization, 21-year-old Yusuf Bey IV, was also arrested last week in the raids on a $375,000 felony assault warrant issued in San Francisco. The young man took over the organization after his father, who was awaiting trial on charges of raping a minor, died in 2003.

San Francisco police said the younger Bey, already charged with vandalizing a West Oakland liquor store in an effort to curb its alcohol sales, used his BMW to run over a bouncer after being thrown out of a strip club in April 2006. Since then, Jordan said, he has missed court dates, prompting the warrant.
I'm sure those last allegations are without merit. This just sounds like a fun bunch of crazy kids.

Tears of a Clown

A major, unreported threat to the sovereignty of the United States - electing non-serious persons to public office:
At a recent hearing of the Armed Services Committee, retired Gen. Jack Keane said "progress is being made" by U.S. military forces in Iraq; "We are on the offensive and we have the momentum," he added. (Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-KS) was so distressed by these remarks that she got up and walked out.

There was "only so much" she could take, she explained, so she "had to leave the room ... after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to." She said she was worried, too, that Keane's remarks "will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country." Hey, that could happen!

Lucky for Boyda, this month Congress goes on vacation. One hopes she can rest and recover, while blocking out any unwelcome and divisive news about American military successes in Iraq resulting from the new strategy being pursued by Gen. David Petraeus and his troops.
What a pantsload she is. "Vote for me - I cannot cope with what might happen outside my comfortable paradigm!"

04 August 2007

Running for Hypocrite

Ed Morrissey found (another) huge hole in John Edwards' hull:
John Edwards, who yesterday demanded Democratic candidates return any campaign donations from Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., himself earned at least $800,000 for a book published by one of the media mogul's companies. The Edwards campaign said the multimillionaire trial lawyer would not return the hefty
payout from Murdoch for the book titled "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives."
The campaign didn't respond to a question from The Post about whether it was hypocritical for Edwards to take money from News Corp. while calling for other candidates not to.

Dave Thune Now Serving Cake

The bridge fell down. That's going to be news around here for a while. Everyone in the region will be effected, whether they know someone invovled, or will work to pluck debris out of the river, or merely have to find a new way to get to work.

Enter Dave Thune; a man whose value away from the teat of government have always eluded me:

A St. Paul City Council member vowed Friday to seek a legal detour for any plan to temporarily open a stretch of Interstate 35E south of downtown St. Paul to heavy trucks. "We would absolutely be opposed to it, and we'd take it to court," said Dave Thune, a council member from Ward 2.

Truckers say opening the stretch would ease congestion created by the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office has asked the Minnesota Department of Transportation to look into it.

One of two things going on here: Either Thune is so enamoured with the gross embarrassment that is the I-35E Parkway (the Practice Freeway), or he is acting as the trained monkey of oh-so-progressive intelligentsia that is the Summit Hill Association and the otherwise well-padded residents that coddled part of St. Paul.

Whichever it is, what Thune is doing is more than being uneighborly, it's downright creepy. By telling the rest of the metro area to go to hell because his precious constituency would burst into tears should too big a truck come near their posh homes and private gardens, Thune has launched the first and loudest NIMBY shot proclaiming "we're too special to be part of this inconvenience." Maybe he can organize a bake sale to get cake sent to all the rest of us slobs who will make changes in our lives to accommodate this terrible tun of events.

If you live in the Second Ward, this idiot is speaking for you. Do you really want to become known as the neighborhood that is too elite to shoulder any portion of the changes all of us will be making for perhaps three years to come?

Vote this clown out, Ward 2, and get your dignity back.

02 August 2007

Editorial Smackdown

Regular readers know I'm reticent to get behind the current Executive Branch. For all the unprecedented challenges W and Co. have had to face, they have not put the puck in the net with the frequency I expect.

That being said, former VP Walter Mondale went off his medication and submitted a real clinker to Minneapolis paper.
I've never seen a former member of the House of Representatives demonstrate such contempt for Congress -- even when it was controlled by his own party. Nor does he exhibit much respect for public opinion, which amounts to indifference toward being held accountable by the people who elected him.
Fortunately, an adult has chimed in to offer a better-reasoned counterpoint:
Far from being the caricature of Dr. Strangelove that Mondale makes him out to be, Vice President Dick Cheney has proven to be a formidable and reassuring presence in an era of danger and tumult, only a fraction of which virtually paralyzed President Jimmy Carter's administration.

For Mondale to now give in to the partisanship afflicting his contemporaries and complain because Cheney is performing the job more ably than he did makes the former vice president appear no better than the petty leaders who now populate the Democratic Party and diminishes his lifetime of public service.
Shoot . . . score!

01 August 2007

Praying for Others

and wondering if I'll know anyone caught up in all this.

In the last 4 hours we've been contacted by folks we know in California, Wisconsin, Colorado, Kansas and Hawaii. Mrs. OctaneBoy as interviewed by phone by a reporter from KITV in Honolulu. It's sad to make the news around the world.

Here's what it looked like; a 'before' picture I guess.

UPDATE: Amazing and terrifying photos from Noah Kunin.