Thursday, June 30, 2005

Black leadership: Cosby vs. Jackson

Bill Cosby: Fighting the Good Fight (here).

Jesse Jackson: Chasing the TV cameras (e.g., Schiavo, Michael Jackson)

Oliver Willis -- an African-American, left-wing blogger with the most arrogant motto around ("Like Kryptonite to Stupid") -- declares the winner.

Principles

It is nice to see a politician take a stand based on principle.
BRUSSELS, Belgium - A lunch meeting between a leading parliamentarian in Belgium and counterparts from Iran has been cancelled because the beer-loving Belgian could not stomach a ban on alcohol.

Decline in party support

From Political Wire.
Though 56% of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction, a new Democracy Corps poll also shows that voters have more positive feelings about Republicans. Specifically, 43% of voters favor the Republican Party, while 38% had positive feelings about Democrats.

The Christian Science Monitor quotes pollster Stan Greenberg: "Republicans weakened in this poll... but it shows Democrats weakening more." Greenberg attributes the decline to the perception that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Field of Dreams

I have seen the movie Field of Dreams at least 10 times, and I still love it. However, I never knew that Doc "Moonlight" Graham was a real person. Well, he was, and it is the 100th anniversary of his brief stint in the majors.

Front pages

This is cool for news junkies. (From kos).

This site by the Newseum is pretty amazing.

It has a Flash map of the United States and other regions of the world with links to various cities. Mouse over the cities, and you get a copy of the local newspapers front pages. Click on it, and you get a large scan of the front page.

In incredible way to quickly see what stories are playing heavily both nationally and throughout the world.

For example, just about every US paper today has Bush's "Iraq is worth the sacrifice" speech above the fold.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The speech

I was unable to catch the President's speech tonight, but I expect to see a replay soon on CSPAN or late night MSNBC. The text that I will be able to follow along can be found here.

This was a much needed speech. Iraq policy appears to be drifting and support has been eroding, as even people like Sen. Hagel are suggesting that it is a disaster that is getting worse. I hope Bush tonight was able to strike the right chords, find the right words, and stop the negative domestic momentum.

I am no GWB loyalist, and I don't lose sleep over how history will judge him on his handling of economic, environmental, and social issues. But I desperately want history to judge him generously when the "9/11", "Afghanistan," "Iraq," and the "War on Terror" buzzwords are the topic of debate. This is not because I give a hoot about his "legacy," but because if history judges him harsely regarding those buzzwords, it will mean that we as a country screwed up in our response to the #1 new-century threat to the national security of this country.

Suspended animation

This is a bit creepy.

In a series of nightmarish experiments straight out of a horror flick, scientists at a leading university have killed dozens of dogs — then brought them back to life.

The hapless pooches, who have their blood drained for up to three hours, are being reanimated in a bid to develop the use of suspended animation to help humans who are injured in combat or crime. . .


Monday, June 27, 2005

More Supreme Court action

Supreme Court bars Ten Commandments at courthouses

The conservatives are on a losing streak. This time it was O'Connor who defected. For the record, I agree with the decision and, in fact, didn't think that it even should have been a close question.

(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Supreme Court season

I put up this post at Centerfield today about the Supreme Court's decision in the eminent domain case. It generated an interesting discussion, although the ruling was universally ridiculed. The irony is that the conservatives on the court voted in favor of the little guy, and the more liberal members (joined by Kennedy) ruled in favor of the Wal-Marts of the world.

Confused? Me too. (See here.)

Rove

Now, Karl Rove has crossed the line.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

Rove deserves the sh*tstorm that is coming his way.

"Why the Rebels Will Lose"

Max Boot opines why the "insurgency" in Iraq will eventually be quelled.
The rebels lack a unifying organization, ideology and leader. There is no Iraqi Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro or Mao Tse-tung. The top militant is Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who has alienated most of the Iraqi population, even many Sunnis, with his indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Support for the insurgency is confined to a minority within a minority — a small portion of Sunni Arabs, who make up less than 20% of the population. The only prominent non-Sunni rebel, Muqtada Sadr, has quietly joined the political process. The 80% of the population that is Shiite and Kurdish is implacably opposed to the rebellion, which is why most of the terror has been confined to four of 18 provinces.
Read the whole thing; it is not blind cheerleading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI's top 100 movie quotes

Here.

Quotes from comedies are badly underrepresented on this list.

Ridiculous litigation

I received the following in an email. Gosh, I am glad that I am not a personal injury defense lawyer.
Ridiculous lawsuits that have there own name now: The Stella Awards.

"The "Stellas'" are named after 81 year old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That case inspired the "Stella Awards" for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States.

Unfortunately the most recent lawsuit implicating McDonald's, the teens who allege that eating at McDonald's has made them fat, was filed after the 2003 award voting was closed. This suit will top the 2004 awards list without question.

THIS YEAR'S AWARDS GO TO:

5TH PLACE (TIED) Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving toddler was Ms.Robertson's Son.

5TH PLACE (TIED) 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.

5TH PLACE (TIED) Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door Opener was malfunctioning. He could not re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation and Mr.Dickson found himself locked in the garage for 8 days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish.The Jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.

4TH PLACE Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's Beagle dog. The Beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been a little provoked at the time as Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3RD PLACE A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier, during an argument.

2ND PLACE Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a Night Club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. This occurred whilst Ms. Walton was trying to sneak in the window of the Ladies Room to avoid paying the$3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

1ST PLACE This year's runaway winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago Motorhome. On his trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he could not actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago Motorhome. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreational vehicles.
UPDATE: I received this email from a senior partner at our firm and posted it without much thought yesterday. On reflection, I should have smelled a rat. Doug is right - hoax.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Poll of the lefties

The results are in on the first 2008 straw poll of the Daily Kos community, which is made up almost exclusively of the left-wing of the Democratic party. I must say, I am quite surprised by the results -- Wes Clark has substantial lead over "No Freaking Clue," and Hillary Clinton is a distant third. However, it is no real surprise that John Kerry has no chance of getting the nomination a second time.

Progress in Iraq?

It really is not possible for me to objectively assess how things are progressing in Iraq based on news reports. Obviously, the sustained level of violence is tragic and troubling. However, I do have the impression that things are, in fact, progressing both politically and militarily ever so slowly. Last week, an agreement was reached to add more Sunnis to the committee drafting the new constitution. Now this:
Marines patrolling this desert region near the Syrian border have for months been seeing a strange new trend in the already complex Iraqi insurgency. Insurgents, they say, have been fighting each other in towns along the Euphrates from Husayba, on the border, to Qaim, farther west. The observations offer a new clue in the hidden world of the insurgency and suggest that there may have been, as American commanders suggest, a split between Islamic militants and local rebels.

A United Nations official who served in Iraq last year and who consulted widely with militant groups said in a telephone interview that there has been a split for some time.

"There is a rift," said the official, who requested anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the talks he had held. "I'm certain that the nationalist Iraqi part of the insurgency is very much fed up with the Jihadists grabbing the headlines and carrying out the sort of violence that they don't want against innocent civilians."

The nationalist insurgent groups, "are giving a lot of signals implying that there should be a settlement with the Americans," while the Jihadists have a purely ideological agenda, he added.

Get well soon

I certainly have not met very many "famous" people in my life. But there is one such person whose office is very close to mine and is, I can attest, a genuinely nice person. I certainly hope that his daughter experiences a complete recovery as soon as possible.

P.S. Someday I need to tell the story of (many years ago) accidently hitting his wife with a shrimp and having him say to me, "what the hell are you doing?"

Monday, June 20, 2005

More storms


1:50 p.m. in Minneapolis and it is pitch dark.

Biden is in

Link.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said yesterday he plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 unless he decides later this year that he has little chance of winning.

"My intention is to seek the nomination," Biden said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I know I'm supposed to be more coy with you. I know I'm supposed to tell you, you know, that I'm not sure. But if, in fact, I think that I have a clear shot at winning the nomination by this November or December, then I'm going to seek the nomination."
What are the odds that Biden will conclude by the end of this year that he doesn't have a shot at winning the nomination? I say, 100-1.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

U.S. Open

Tomorrow is going to be fun. In "America's greatest--and most democratic--golf tournament, the United States Open", a guy ranked 818th in the world (Jason Gore) who got into the Open just two weeks ago through sectional qualifying is going to play in the final group with the defending champion (Retief Goosen). Sounds a lot like Tin Cup.

I think that I know whose side the crowd will be on. I will be there with them.

UPDATE: Okay, that turned out different than I would have guessed. Congratulations, nevertheless, to Michael Campbell.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Overheard . . .

. . . while out getting lunch.
He is a very hard guy to work for because he wants everything done correctly.

"Unpoliced conversation"

Item.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, . . . described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was “close to that of unpoliced conversation”.
Perhaps the Archbishop prefers the way things work in China.

Battle of the lakes

Item.

The good news: Modest Minnesota has 10 times the 10,000 lakes it often claims.

The bad news: Minnesota ranks only No. 7 of the 50 states for number of lakes.

The unspeakable news: States that outrank us include Kansas (No. 4), Oklahoma (No. 3) and Florida (No. 2).

And No. 1? Texas!

But if you click the link, you will discover that these other states are cheating.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rove

Now, Karl Rove has crossed the line.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

Rove deserves the sh*tstorm that is coming his way.

Democracy in action

Item.
Randy Way cast the only vote in a referendum on whether to approve a plan by the village of Oregon to annex 80 acres from the town. . .

He is the only person living in the annexed area, and thus was the only one who could sign the petition requesting the referendum and the only one allowed to vote.

Town Clerk Denise Arnold printed two ballots, just in case. . .

Three paid poll workers were required to be on duty for 13 hours for the election after town officials said they were unable to find anything in state law that would allow the polls to close early after Way had voted just 17 minutes after the poll opened at 7 a.m.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More Deep Throat

This is great.
According to originally confidential FBI documents--some written by Felt--that were obtained by The Nation from the FBI's archives, Felt played another heretofore unknown part in the Watergate tale: He was, at heated moments during the scandal, in charge of finding the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate scoops. In a twist worthy of le Carré, Deep Throat was assigned the mission of unearthing--and stopping--Deep Throat.

This placed Felt, who as the FBI's associate director oversaw the bureau's Watergate probe, in an unusual position. He was essentially in charge of investigating himself. From this vantage point Felt, who had developed espionage skills running FBI counterintelligence operations against German spies in World War II, was able to watch his own back and protect his ability to guide the two reporters whose exposés would help topple the President he served.

More Wie

Take note; this 15 year old continues to make history on a regular basis.
BELLE VERNON, Pa. (AP) -- Michelle Wie became the first female player to qualify for an adult male U.S. Golf Association championship Tuesday, tying for first place in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur Public Links sectional qualifying tournament.

Not again

During the last 15 years in Minnesota, we have had to endure the embarrassment of being represented by Rod Grams (far right former local TV anchor), Jesse Ventura (former professional wrestler) and Mark Dayton (far left trust fund wacko). I think that we have been punished enough, and pray that we will be spared of this potential future embarrassment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Day


The history of Flag Day can be found here.

Michael Jackson

I have no interest in the Michael Jackson case, and have deliberately avoided any mention of it here. However, now that it is over, I will offer one gripe about the media coverage in the last 24 hours and then forever shun this topic.

The Associated Press reports as follows:

Michael Jackson is innocent on all charges. A California jury delivered late Monday afternoon on the seventh day of deliberations.

It found Jackson innocent on all counts in his molestation and conspiracy trial -- setting off screams and cheers among fans gathered outside the Santa Maria, California, courthouse.

He was not found "innocent." He was found "not guilty." There is a big difference. To be acquitted, a defendant only has to establish a "reasonable doubt" regarding whether he or she committed the offense. Thus, the jury could find it more likely than not that the defendant committed the offense and still acquit, which seems to be what occurred here. (See here - "One of the jurors who acquitted Michael Jackson on all counts said he believes the pop star is "probably" a molester, but the prosecution didn't prove it.")

With that said, I hope never to type "Michael Jackson" again.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Speeding

For as long as I can remember, my habit has been to set the cruise control at 9.5 mph over the posted limit (assuming good driving conditions). I guess there is a reason that I have only one speeding ticket in my life (and it was for going 15 mph over the limit).

WASHINGTON - Authorities patrolling U.S. highways tend to give motorists a cushion of up to 10 miles per hour above the speed limit before pulling them over, says a survey by a group of state traffic safety officials. . .

"This cushion truly exists across this country and in some cases is more than 10 mph above posted limits," said Jim Champagne, the association's chairman.

24/7

The president of Indonesia recently decided to make his cell phone number public and invited people to call him with complaints. Any guesses as what happened next?

Amazing women

Annika Sorenstam continues to do unbelievable things. And the signs are that Michelle Wie, who is 15 years old, may be just as good someday.

CBS has to be quite satisfied with the way things played out, as I bet that 90% of the people who tuned in did so not because of a general interest in the golf tournament, but instead because of a specific interest in seeing how these two would perform.

Drudge sludge

I heard this story today on the way to work this morning. Somehow I knew immediately that when I got in to the office and checked Drudge, it would have the banner lead.

UPDATE: This sums up my thoughts perfectly.
This is the kind of crap reporting that no one . . . deserve[s] to experience. The thing is that both Clintons will obviously deny it, and there is no one else who could possibly be a witness to the event in question. Now, twenty-six years later, who is Ed Klein to contradict them?

And even if, by some very remote chance, the charge were actually true, who is Ed Klein to drag it up to the surface? What benefit could it possibly bring to anyone? What would it do to Chelsea to have that kind of scandalous rumor floating around about her own conception? Since there is no possible way that Ed Klein can prove this outrageous accusation, we must conclude that the reasons he included it in his book were to sell copies and plant a terrible piece of gossip in people's minds.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Syria

David Ignaitus is in Syria.
It reminds me of the feel of Moscow 20 years ago -- a sense that the old regime can't last, and can't change, either.
The whole column is very interesting.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Conspiracy theory

Item.
31 percent of Germans younger than 30 "think that there is a certain possibility that the U.S. government ordered the attacks of 9/11."
German state television recently decided to play to such ignorance for ratings.
Sunday night's episode of "Tatort," a popular murder mystery that has been running on state-run ARD-German television for 35 years, revolved around a German woman and a man who was killed in her apartment.

According to the plot, which was seen by approximately 7 million Germans, the dead man had been trained to be one of the September 11 pilots but was left behind, only to be tracked down and killed by CIA or FBI assassins.

The woman, who says in the program that the September 11 attacks were instigated by the Bush family for oil and power, then is targeted, presumably to silence her. The drama concludes with the German detectives accepting the truth of her story as she eludes the U.S. government hit men and escapes to safety in an unnamed Arab country. . .

ARD, and ARD-produced television shows, are funded by a monthly tax on German televisions. The network plays a role similar to the British Broadcasting Corp., or the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, which is nominally independent but funded by taxpayers.
Disgusting.

Changing demographics

This is why I will be shocked if Bush's first Supreme Court nominee is not Hispanic.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Storms


The summer storms have arrived. This was a familiar sight in our neighborhood this morning. (Story here.)

Supreme Court

George Will.
In Monday's marijuana decision, which of the justices were liberal, which were conservative? Which exemplified judicial activism, which exemplified restraint? Such judgments are not as easy as many suppose.
Touche.

(See also the federal sentencing guidelines case, the flag burning case, and the sodomy law case.)

Approval ratings

This is a rather extraordinary fact:
George W. Bush’s approval rating is now a full twenty points lower than Bill Clinton’s was on the day he was impeached.
If Bush had any political capital to spend immediately after the election (as he claimed), it has evaporated.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Conditions for genocide

A regular visitor here called my attention to this rant by Ben Stein. Here is the conclusion.
[T]his is the great boast of the enemies of Richard Nixon, including Mark Felt: they made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide. . . And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide.
So there you have it -- Bradlee, Woodward and Felt are personally responsible for the death of 1.7 million people. Any questions? I didn't think so.

Reminder

Here is just another reminder of the oppression that 1.3 billion people face in just one country. I sure hope that I see the extinction of communism in my lifetime.

Political Profile

I enjoy the political typology tests that I run across from time to time. This one is clearly flawed because it forces you to pick between two choices at opposite ends of the spectrum when a third, middle choice clearly exists, but it is fun anyway. Here is how I scored.









Your Political Profile



Overall: 45% Conservative, 55% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal


"C" students

The conventional wisdom last fall was that John Kerry was a better, more serious student in college and, if elected, he would bring more intellectual horsepower to the job. Turns out, the evidence (which Kerry refused to release during the campaign) shows that is not true.
BOSTON (AP) - Sen. John F. Kerry's grade average at Yale University was virtually identical to President Bush's record there, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as the more intellectual candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 and got four Ds his freshman year - in geology, two history courses and political science, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. . .

In 1999, The New Yorker magazine published a transcript showing Bush had a cumulative grade average of 77 his first three years at Yale, and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system his senior year.

Kristof in Sudan

Nicholas Kristof is always a must-read. Today, he shouts out that we are not doing enough to stop genocide in Sudan. He is right.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"The Vikings are coming"

So says Peter King. I sure hope that he is right.

CAFTA

In the course of my limited economics training in college, I was properly indoctrinated regarding the undeniable benefits of free trade. Thus, for me, ratification of NAFTA was probably the highlight of Clinton's presidency. Now, 12 years later, the Washington Post editorial board comments on the fact that CAFTA is getting far less support from Democrats.
The fact that nearly all Democratic members of the House oppose this bargain -- even the traditionally pro-trade New Democrats have come out in opposition -- is a depressing sign of the party's abandonment of Clintonite centrism. . .

[W]hatever the politics of this issue, the Democrats' position is indefensible on the substance.
(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Regular folks

I laughed out loud when I read the first clause of this story:
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 88, and her ninth husband are suing her only daughter . . .
Sounds like Zsa Zsa has some problems with maintaining relationships.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The extra mile

As someone who completed his second half-marathon today and was working very hard at the end just to put one foot in front of the other, I can understand why these people are upset:

Unwitting marathon runners go extra mile: Lakeshore race turns out to be too long

Duh

Item.
NEW YORK, June 3 -- W. Mark Felt, the former FBI official who was "Deep Throat" during the Watergate scandal, probably will not be prosecuted for leaking information to reporters three decades ago, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Friday.
My only question is who suggested that prosecution was even a remote possibility? The man is 91 years old, the statute of limitations undoubtedly expired long ago, and his "crime" was speaking the truth about crimes committed by others.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Deep Throat

Bob Woodward's fascinating account of how Mark Felt became "Deep Throat" is here.