30 November 2007

One Less American Hero

Robert Craig Knievel 1938-2007

New Moniker!

Meet Muhammad!

The official donkey of RDF (some call him an ass, not me, of course) has been renamed Muammad for at least 15 days.

(Gillian) Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was jailed for 15 days on Thursday after allowing children in her class to name a teddy bear Muhammad . . . a BBC reporter at the scene said up to a thousand marchers turned out. According to some agencies, some of the protesters chanted: "Shame, shame on the UK", "No tolerance - execution" and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

In September, Mrs Gibbons allowed her class of primary school pupils to name the teddy bear Muhammad as part of a study of animals and their habitats. The court heard that she was arrested on Sunday after another member of staff at Unity High School complained to the Ministry of Education.

The amazing irony is that these kids were sent to this private, elite school, by their parents, to receive a Western education by teachers recruited from England. As one watches the sad immolation of Sudan, you can only imagine the effects this much protest might have if they would get off the 'insult to religion' jag and onto the 'eradication of cultural ignorance' jag.

Anyway, rest assured that Muhammad is getting all the oats, exercise and and love that we bestowed on him when he was simply known as Wilbur.

UPDATE: No mention, so far, of Gibbons' ordeal at Amnesty International, the National Organization for Women, the United Nations or even from the Oracle. Guess they'll all let her continue to twist in the wind, sort of the way the British Foreign Office is.

Then They Came For the Beer

Aplogies to Martin Niemöller - They first came for the cigarettes, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a smoker. And then they came for the sport utility vehicles, and I didn’t speak up because I drove a hatchback. And then they came for the trans fats, and I didn’t speak up because I ate healthy foods. And then . . . they came for my beer . . . and by that time there was no one left to speak up."
Beer fridges are additional fridges that are generally used to keep beer and other drinks cold on top of a household’s primary fridge for food. One in three Canadian households has a second fridge, many of which are ageing, energy-guzzling models, according to Denise Young, a researcher at the University of Alberta, Canada. Young suggests that getting rid of older models, in Canada at least, would have an impact on energy usage. Her study analyses industry data and the results of a national survey to look at the environmental effects of having beer fridges in Canada. "People need to understand the impact of their lifestyles," says Joanna Yarrow, director of Beyond Green, a sustainable development consultancy in the UK. "Clearly the environmental implications of having a frivolous luxury like a beer fridge are not hitting home. This research helps inform people – let's hope it has an effect".
You can have my Molson when you pry it out if my cold, dead fingers. And I'm not ever Canadian.

Journalism, cover thyself!

So sayeth Glenn Reynolds:
SO I LOOKED AT EDITOR AND PUBLISHER and there's nothing about the CNN planted-question scandal. There's one story on the debate, but it's a puff piece about a cartoonist getting his video in. Then I looked at Poynter and all I could find was this piece on covering the debates. But I'm not seeing anything about the planted-question scandal. I'm not seeing anything at the Columbia Journalism Review site, either. Journalism, cover thyself!

Well, actually I think they are covering . . . .
I certainly concur.

It's the Time o' the Season

Someone flipped the switch.

About 10 days ago it was in the mid-60's and this morning it was 5. The leaves are raked, the motorcycles are nestled all snug in their beds, and I put the winter shoes on the German hot rod, as they're predicting shovelable snow for tomorrow.

It's also the end of the hurricane season, the second now with barely a ripple. We are still being hit over the head with doom and gloom about storms like Katrina becoming the norm and how there will be more an more of them.

After the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, many worry what Atlantic hurricane seasons will look like in a warmer world. Evidence indicates that higher ocean temperatures add a lot of fuel to these devastating storms.
(The scientists) noticed that warmer water is just one part of a larger pattern indicating that the conditions are right for more frequent, stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic.
Nice story; to get the spooky satellite image, they had to dig up a storm from 1999. Katrina was going to be the new norm; regular devastation from Texas to New York City, Florida chronically underwater, etc. Except it hasn't happened. Again:
As some of you might have noticed, this year’s hurricane season wasn’t the rip-roaring, rock-em-sock-em, non-stop Thrill Ride of Disaster that some meteorologists were predicting last year. In fact, Colorado State University researchers William Gray and Phil Klotzbach concede today in their latest report, they have “over forecast” two seasons in a row — starting in 2006, the Year of Ernesto.
Oh well, if we didn't have hype and hyperbole, how would we ever have tee vee news? So no hurricanes are good (if not unreported) news; unless you are a property owner paying higher premiums.

25 November 2007

Moving the Goal Line on the Way the White House

Plan A has pretty much bombed out, so now the search for Plan B begins:
Lately, as the killing in Baghdad and other areas has declined, the Democratic candidates have been dwelling less on the results of the troop escalation than on the lack of new government accords in Iraq - a tonal shift from last summer. By saying the effects of the troop escalation have not led to a healthier political environment, the candidates are tacitly acknowledging that the additional troops have, in fact, made a difference on the ground - a viewpoint many Democratic voters might not embrace.
More here:

The debate over a complete withdrawal from Iraq is over, and the doves lost. It actually wasn't news that all of the top-tier Democratic candidates favor leaving some troops -- albeit a relatively small number of them -- in Iraq, but it was striking to see the candidates all acknowledge that, even at the end of a full term in office, they can't promise to pull out completely. Some people may still think that the best thing would be to get every last American soldier and marine out of Iraq, but the next president is not going to agree.
Ya know - an open dialogue between the fever swamp left and the leading Democratic candidates on this matter would look a lot like that wintertime boathouse scene between Fredo and Michael Corleone.

24 November 2007

(Highland) Green with Envy

I want it. I want it. I want it. I want it. I want it. I want it. I want it.

Live With Good Ol' Islam

I am in favor of the seperation of mosque and state.
Her case has been widely debated since the court sentenced her to 90 lashes a year ago for being in the same car as an unrelated man, even after it ruled that she had subsequently been raped. For a woman to be in seclusion with a man who is not her husband or a relative is a crime in Saudi Arabia.
Pretty sicko from to to bottom, but just another sunny day in the Wahhabi wackiness!

So Much For Law and Order

"I'm from the government, and I'm here to kill your dog."
The officer told Leo Barboza there had been a complaint (his dog) had bitten someone. "I said, 'Do you have any proof or anything?' He says, 'I don't need any proof.'"So Leo got the dog while the deputy pulled out a rifle from his car. They walked a few feet from the Barboza's home where Leo's wife and his three year old son were inside.Leo and the officer tied the dog to a pole when the deputy fired three shots.
The ONLY ray of hope in this end of the world-grade story is that the shit-fer-brains deputy couldn't kill the dog, who was tied to a post, with 3 shots.
'Hey, the dog's alive!' I was like, 'What are you serious?' I was happy my dog
was alive.
Legal procedure? We don't need no stinkin' legal procedure; we're the cops!

Ever wonder where the Second Amendment came from? Not that you had forgotten, but it's been a year since Atlanta Police murdered 92 year-old Kathryn Johnston in her own home.
Shortly after the shooting, the police alleged that they had paid an informant to buy drugs from Ms. Johnston's home. They said she fired at them first, and wounded two officers. And they alleged they found marijuana in her home. We now know that these were all lies. In fact, everything about the Kathryn Johnston murder was corrupt. The initial arrest of the ex-con came via trumped-up charges. The police then invented an informant for the search warrant, and lied about overseeing a drug buy from Johnston's home.

Hatred . . .

. . . means never having to say you're sorry.
Injured soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for their country have been driven from a swimming pool training session by jeering members of the public. The men, injured during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, were taking part in a rehabilitation session at a leisure centre, when two women demanded they be removed from the pool. They claimed that the soldiers "hadn't paid" and might scare the children. The incident has sparked widespread condemnation. Adml Lord Boyce, a former head of the Armed Forces, said last night the women should be "named and shamed".
I'd say it's time for these two hags to be named and shamed at least.

20 November 2007

Insert Your Own Mammal Here

You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat the free corn, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

Pawn of the Union

For about 40 years, the Delta Queen has received nearly unanimous congressional exemptions from a sea-going passenger vessel safety act that really shouldn't be applied to her in the first place. The Queen is safe and sound and the exceptions recognize it's safety record, the crew's disaster preparedness and her overall uniqueness in the world of "overnighters." Further, the exceptions demonstrate how dubious it is that the DQ is under the umbrella of the act in the first place.

But all of a sudden, Mr. River Vessel himself, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is now very concerned with sudden steamboat combustion syndrome.
The Queen must cease her long-distance voyages in November 2008 unless an exemption can be obtained from a federal law forbidding wooden superstructures on vessels that carry 50 or more passengers on overnight trips.

Since the law went into effect 40 years ago, Congress has repeatedly exempted the Queen. But this year, Oberstar, Minnesota's Eighth District congressman and powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has blocked it. In previous years, and as recently as last year, Oberstar has voted at least twice to support the Queen's exemption.

What's changed?
What's changed is the Seafarers International Union is pulling the strings that are attached to Democrats Oberstar and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. They have decided they don't like the company that owns the boat anymore so they are pushing the appropriate buttons in Washington to get their way.

Oberstar, ever the fink, will not allow the representatives of the people get to vote on the exemption as he won't let the exemption out of the petty grip of his committee and onto the floor of the House of Representatives.

You can always tell when Jim Oberstar is lying; it's whenever he gets his selective, pathetic parsing of reality printed in the lefty house organ.

The Delta Queen is a national treasure and for Oberstar to scuttle it because he and his ilk are beholden to Big Labor is disgusting. There's lots of background info on this matter in these two videos: Part 1 - Part 2

More here.

19 November 2007

Tee Vee Strikes Again

CNN is to news what McDonald's is to nutrition.

18 November 2007

Agony of Self-Defeat

Over at Uni Watch, they know how to call a spade a spade:

Clown or not, tears or not, win or not, the kid still gets some sort of medal. Now we can rest assured that this kid can march forward and enjoy a lifetime of unassailable self-esteem.

16 November 2007

The Great and Wise Yogi

And you thought he wasn't telling you a thing.

Yogi: “You can’t think and hit at the same time.”

Translation: Don’t create and evaluate ideas simultaneously. Idea generation is a right brain activity. Evaluation is a left brain activity. One short circuits the other. Write lots of headlines and copy ideas first. Later, evaluate and choose the best. Separating these two activities produces better results and often saves time.

Burning the Floor You Stand Upon

At some point, what it means to be British will be irrelevant.
Last year, 510,000 foreign migrants came to the UK to stay for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time 400,000 people, more than half of whom were British, emigrated. An exodus on this scale - amounting to one British citizen leaving the country every three minutes - has not been seen in the UK for almost 50 years.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, nearly four million foreign nationals have come to Britain and 1.6 million have left. Over the same period, 1.8 million Britons have left, but only 979,000 have returned. More than 50 per cent of the British emigrants moved to just four countries in 2006 - Australia, New Zealand, France and Spain.

"No one has a real grasp of where or for how long migrants are settling so much-needed funding for local services isn't getting to the right places," he said. "The speed and scale of migration combined with the shortcomings of official population figures is placing pressure on funding for services like children's services and housing. This can even lead to unnecessary tension and conflict."
Like when they riot and burn things in Paris & Amsterdam.

15 November 2007

Update on Enemy Action

Here's the roundup:

"Freezer Cash" Jefferson is skating a thin line to cover his ass:
Jefferson has based a major portion of his defense on the vagueness of the current definition. He said that while he might have been paid to exert influence as a member of Congress -- including writing letters, visiting foreign dignitaries, appearing before a federal agency on behalf of a business client -- his actions didn't amount to "official acts" within the meaning of the bribery law.
Quid Pro Quo - Hillary is taking money from those Bill pardoned:
Three recipients of controversial 11th-hour pardons issued by former President Bill Clinton in January 2001 have donated thousands of dollars to the presidential campaign of his wife, Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., according to campaign finance records examined by ABC News.
Cambridge hates the troops more than even Berkeley!
Marsha Weinerman, executive director of the city’s Election Commission, said the (Boy Scout collection) boxes were removed after a resident complained to commission workers about their implied “pro-war” message. “We contacted the law department, and it was determined that the best course of action would be to remove the boxes,” Weinerman said.

In a column that appears in this week’s Chronicle, Troop leader Jamisean Patterson said the commission twice granted the scouts permission to set up the boxes at the polling stations. “We have never seen anything like this decision in Cambridge before,” Patterson wrote. The city is changing for the worse if decisions like this are allowed to be made.”
"It's my pork and I'll buy votes if I want to:"
It's stunning that Congressional leaders would propose a new law to block Congress and the public from simply reviewing the details of the federal budget. The Appropriations Committee rewrites the president's proposed budget as a matter of course, but now they are attempting to head off questions about their spending decision by ensuring that only appropriators know the details of the president's proposal. The arrogance of the move is mind-blowing.
So easy to harpoon; so easy.

Civic Angst

The primary characteristic of this region is it's overdeveloped inferiority complex. We still pine for Bob Dylan, Tom Lehman and F. Drunk Fitzgerald to come home. We forever apologize for our manic/depressive climate. Even central-lefties plead with the House Organ to get off the self-affirmation/feel-good bandwagon.

The latest incantation of this plague is that, after fleeing the cities for the 'burbs, the 'burb types crave cute synthetic downtowns in the very suburbs where they never existed before. They press their elected sheep hard to give it to them like some manner of birthday gift.

James Lileks has eloquently details the latest round of this folly:
You almost feel sorry for the city leaders: their desire to live in a place unlike the one in which they live is painfully obvious. Denser development would be fine, as we keep repeating in this space. Dense can be great. But in this example, Plymouth wanted the obligatory brick swank-node to have upscale retailers – which meant another interchangeable pseudo-historical building with a Banana Republic on one end and an Ann Taylor – well, maybe an Ann Taylor Loft – on the other. It’s as if they have a hip smart cousin from New York coming in for the weekend, and they’re just embarrassed how things look.

13 November 2007

Fine Dining You Betcha

Tying on the Left Coast feedbag

RDF is your one-stop for Bay Area restaurant reccommendations:

Sushi in Mill Valley - Brunch in Tiburon - Mexican in Mill Valley - Lunch in Berkeky - Dinner on the Presidio.

Sure, you could eat in San Francisco proper, but good luck getting a parking place.

They Got a Bridge There

(Click for big)

09 November 2007

Waiting for Nick's Other Shoe

Here on the edge of the Tundra, we have Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman intermittently providing his readers with the required outrage usually found in the perpetually unhappy. Even when the unwashed masses don't on their own find anything for which they should be cross, leave it to Coleman to assign an emotional state that all good comrades should adopt.

Not that long ago, he told us to get mad at Flatiron, Inc. Flatiron, the outfit that's going to rebuild the 35W bridge, had the audacity to purchase some new trucks in Colorado, where not only Flatiron is based (and where the trucks will return when the job's done), but also where they charge less sales tax on vehicle purchases, therefore, essentially saving money for Minnesota taxpayers. Nick started by played the emotional bed-wetting card:

Buying Colorado trucks for a high-profile project in Minnesota that still carries the emotional pangs of death and destruction? Dumb, Flatiron. This is a company that was judged to have better public "outreach" than the local firms that lost out on the project, despite submitting lower bids. Would a Minnesota company buy a shiny new fleet for the project from, say, Colorado?
Nonsense, of course, but that's to be expected from Nick. Flatiron's real crime was not doing the duty of all those vested in any way in the People's Republic of Minnesota, where there is no more noble act than feeding the appetite of the public coffers:

. . . the suggested retail price of the trucks as between $33,000 and $38,000 each. Taking an average of $35,500, those 21 gleaming new Flatiron trucks could have cost more than $700,000. Another 20 trucks, which Flatiron is considering, would bring the total to $1.4 million. Even with a generous fleet discount, we are talking a million dollars. While that may be a drop in the bucket on a $234 million project, a million bucks means $65,000 in lost sales taxes, which could have helped MnDOT add, who knows?
There it is; the lesson for all of us to take forward: If you don't piss away the people's money in this state by paying in to this state's tax trough, you are scum and should be drummed out of town. Okay, Nick; I got it. So now I await Nick's damnation for the funky new bike bridge:

Although the bridge is open, it is actually not quite done. Dean Michalko, an engineer for Hennepin County, said the bollard lights -- low lights under the railings to illuminate the pavement -- didn't arrive from Europe in time and so will be installed starting today. But the blue decorative lights, switched on as sunset approached, bathed the mast and cables in a glow of varied blues.
Over $5 million of public transportation funds and they can't get lights for it from Ole & Lena on Lake Street? Not one outlet under the thumb of the Minnesota Department of Revenue could possibly provide lighting for this folly? Come on Nick, break out the acid-tongued vitriol! There's no way the cost of those European lights fattened our municipal accounts. Let's see some hatred of the unnecessary bike bridge brought to us by the most glorious in-power progressive party of the people.

Who am I kidding. Look at these kooks. Nick's whole ideological constituency has things like bicycles, government pork and European lighting on their altars. There will be no printed hate from Nick on bike bridge matters.

Moving right along - there are two more very telling features in the bike bridge article. First, from the 'he who controls the language controls the world' department:

Hennepin County built the bridge with about $3 million in federal funds and $2.2 million of its own money.
Yea. Point of order - neither Hennipen County nor the federal government has any money. It's all your and my money. The paper should not obfuscate that. Also:

Minneapolis will own and maintain the bridge. (O)nce the bridge is in the city's possession, it will be named after Martin Sabo, the retired U.S. representative from Minneapolis who helped secure the money.
Classic Minnesota - grow, elect, deify and worship Democrats.

03 November 2007

Campaigning with RoboParty

Political Party: Please pick up you ballot. Fill our your ballot as the sign instructs you. You have 20 seconds to comply.
Poll Worker: I think you better do as he says, Mr. St. Paul Voter.
St. Paul Voter: Hmmm. I'm not sure I'm going to vote for all four listed here.
Political Party: Fill our your ballot as the sign instructs you. You now have 15 seconds to comply.
St. Paul Voter: Hey, this is my choice, not yours.
Political Party: Fill our your ballot as the sign instructs you. You have 10 seconds to comply.
St. Paul Voter: Hey, Party-in-power, you do not make the rules!
Political Party: You have 5 seconds to comply... four... three... two... one... I am now authorized to use physical force!
Where have I seen this approach before?

Autumn Doggie

01 November 2007


Sorry, I'm blushing along with 18,000 others:

But back to the task at hand: Choosing a new destination we can call Hockeytown, USA. Taking into consideration attendance, fan loyalty, a cozy relationship between the team and its region, a city that's just right for the NHL, and our choice is pretty clear. Saint Paul, Minn., home of the Minnesota Wild, fits the bill.
Thank you, Mayor NORM Coleman.
Since opening the doors of the well-appointed Xcel Energy Center (more on that later) in downtown Saint Paul on Sept. 29, 2000, the Wild have attracted 282 consecutive sellouts – that's every exhibition (21), regular-season (251) and playoff (10) match. Every single game, through Tuesday night, has sold out for all of their six-plus seasons. Amazing.
Amazing and rare in the world of professional (which includes the NCAA) atheletics.

The aura inside is pure hockey, with appropriate references to the history of the game during pre-game festivities. One never gets tired of the game presentation, which often feels forced or over-the-top at many of the other newer U.S. venues.
In Saint Paul we do not have to suffer an FM-radio boomer-voiced arena announcer like Dallas and Denver, cheerleaders in the aisles like in Atlanta, or scoreboards that explain what 'icing' is like in Anaheim.
Many of the downtown shops, restaurants and bars in St. Paul recognize the Wild with strong support, and two newspapers travel with the team during a time in which print outlets are cutting costs.
Our downtown sushi place has menu items named for Wild players. How's that for multiculturalism?