Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Randy Moss

Why not?

There's talk the Raiders are willing to trade Randy Moss back to the Vikings, who are desperate for wide receivers and probably could get him for just a third-round pick.
-- St. Paul Pioneer Press
A third-round pick? Low-risk compared to the deal we got in this trade.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Year in Review

From MSNBC.
THE TOP 10 MOST PECULIAR STORIES OF 2006

The envelope, please:

1: And the winner, with a 58 percent vote, is:

Missing woman found dead behind bookcase

2: Coming in second, with a 55 percent score:

Pickled corpse tumbles out of rum barrel

3: Death is always a favorite, and then there is sex (in this case, at 53 percent):

Pair in hot water after fake penis microwaved

4: At 51 percent, there is this cautionary tale:

Briton hurt after lighting firecracker in buttocks

5: And at a round 50 percent, another cautionary saga.

Police arrest naked man with concealed weapon

6: At 39 percent, proof that we are a litigious society…

Man sues himself for vehicle damage

7: And at 39 percent, it’s back to, er, romance

Man bites dog? No, woman weds dolphin

8: At 38 percent, this story has “ouch” written all over it

Man separates from wife - and his ring finger

9: We’re not quite sure who’s, um, challenged here (at 37 percent)

Blind students required to pass driver's ed

10: And finally, at 33 percent, this gem from Oregon

Woman allegedly calls 911 for 'cutie' deputy

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

My favorite Far Side ever


Light posting lately, so I figured that I would put my favorite Far Side cartoon of all time at the top for now.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Revenge of the center"

Dionne.
This election was the revenge of the center no less than it was the revenge of the left. The decisive votes cast on Tuesday came from moderates and independents whom the exit polls showed favoring Democratic House candidates by margins of about 3-to-2. . .

[M]any of the party's successful candidates ran as moderates, and Democrats hold power on the basis of a loan of votes from middle-of-the-road Americans who simply could not stomach Bush Republicanism anymore. The loan can be recalled at any moment. . .

This election creates an exceptional opportunity to move away from blind ideology to problem solving and from stupid divisiveness to a politics of remedy and reconciliation. The Democrats had better make it work.
As Bush starts thinking about his legacy, maybe there is some hope that those in positions of power will start thinking a little bit more about what is good for the country and its citizens, and a little bit less about what is good for the party and the individual politician. But I'm not going to bet on it.

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

Ed Bradley - RIP

Over the years, my respect for Ed Bradley continued to grow. His contribution was huge, and he will be missed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CNN Breaking News

I just received the following ridiculous "breaking news" email alert from CNN:
-- Britney Spears files for divorce from her husband Kevin Federline, citing irreconcilable differences.
Somebody needs to be fired.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Believe it or not

Story.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out!

Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

In other news, parents will be required place their children in hermetically sealed bubbles each morning, where they will be picked up by an armored truck and driven to school accompanied by a police escort.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Somebody has to do it

Over the past two weeks, my job has required me to travel to Philadelphia to play golf here with clients, and to go to Red Lodge, Montana to visit bars on this street, sit by this creek, suffer through these mountain views, and to play golf here. Next week, I have to go to Manhattan for two hours of work, and the following week I need to go to Orange County, California for 30 minutes of work.

Let the world's smallest violin begin playing for me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm confused

Story.
PARIS - France said outright for the first time Wednesday that North Korea’s proclaimed nuclear test produced such a small blast that it must have failed, and analysts warned such challenging talk could lead Pyongyang to try again. . .

Such speculation about a dud test could be read as a challenge by Kim Jong Il, the North’s reclusive leader, to consider carrying out a second test to prove naysayers wrong, analysts said.

“The reaction could be exactly to carry out another explosion, to make sure it succeeds,” said Georges Le Guelte, a nuclear expert at France’s Institute for International and Strategic Research.

I don't understand the point of the "analysts." Are they suggesting that Western governments should not tell the truth (i.e., engage in "challenging talk") and instead should lie to their citizens and pretend that the test was successful simply because Kim Jung-Il is a lunatic?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oops

Story.
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Ottawa County will pay about $40,000 to correct an embarrassing typo on its Nov. 7 election ballot: The "L" was left out of "public."

Monday, October 09, 2006

The disappointing finish


With the Twins winning the AL Central on the last day of the season after the Tigers were swept by the lowly Royals, it seemed pre-ordained that the Twins would beat the A's and the Yankees would beat up on the Tigers. Somebody forgot to tell the A's and the Tigers what the storyline was supposed to be. I take my hat off to both teams, as they thoroughly whipped their opponents.

In Minnesota, the glass is 1/2 full. We are optimistic about the future because we have a boatload of young talent that, hopefully, will remain together for years to come. In contrast, in New York, the glass is 1/2 empty, as they are talking about firing the manager who has led them to the playoffs for 11 years in a row, and to the World Series 6 times, winning it 4 times.

Thanks for a great season, Twins. How long until spring training?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Daily Show

I (1) love The Daily Show and (2) rarely watch the evening news anymore, but I still find this a bit difficult to believe.
The Daily Show is much funnier than traditional newscasts, but a new study from Indiana University says it has the same amount of meat on its bones when it comes to coverage of the news. The brand of news coverage Jon Stewart and the rest of The Daily Show's staff brings to the airwaves is just as substantive as traditional news programs like World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News, according to the study conducted by IU assistant professor of telecommunications Julia R. Fox and a couple of graduate students.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speaker Hastert is done

He probably won't resign as Speaker but, even if the Republicans retain control of the House after November, he won't return as Speaker. Why am I so sure? Because at this point, even some of his best friends are turning against him. In Washington, that is usually fatal.

Example.
Yesterday, the lead editorial of The Washington Times called for House Speaker Denny Hastert to resign his speakership immediately. I am the editor of the editorial page. Several loyal Republicans and conservatives around the country strongly disagreed with that judgment and thought we were caving to Democratic Party and liberal media pressure and dirty tricks.

I couldn't disagree with my fellow conservatives and Republicans more. I have been an active and loyal Republican for more than 40 years (starting as a youth coordinator for Barry Goldwater in 1964, campaigning for Ronald Reagan for governor and president, serving in the Reagan White House for six years and as Newt Gingrich's press secretary from 1990 to 1997, among other Republican campaigns and jobs).

I believe in and have regularly fought the partisan fight to the bitter end — except when the position is ethically indefensible.

In this case, defending Denny Hastert's decisions is ethically wrong, would undermine our party's commitment to the defense of traditional moral values and is politically stupid in the bargain.

I have known Denny for almost two decades. He is an exceedingly decent man and a hard worker for conservative Republican values and politics. But we cannot deny the fact that he had a sustained lapse of good judgment. The fact that he reportedly has been quite ill for some time may be an explanation — but not an excuse.

Forget the later hideous text messages. When the speaker was told that Mark Foley had sent that first e-mail — the "overly friendly" one that we all saw last Friday — he had to be either obtuse or on notice of the problem. Any father of a young man who saw such an e-mail sent to his son would rightly be disposed to immediately punch out Mr. Foley and warn him to keep away from his son, and then he would call the police. It was common knowledge that Mr. Foley was gay. If he had been straight and asked for a 16-year-old girl's photo, any sensible person would have concluded the same thing.

But the fact that, according to my best sources in the House Republicans, Mr. Hastert never informed any Democrats of the matter (even on the page oversight board), unambiguously suggests that he knew what was up. Thus began the cover-up. Of course he knew what the Democrats would do with the information. But not only is this not a Democratic Party dirty trick (the facts are real, not made up), but Mr. Hastert had a moral duty to do all in his power to make sure there would not be more victims of Mr. Foley's alleged sexual predation — or clear potential for such.
Hastert appears to be guilty of negligence, not malfeasance. But negligence is enough reason to lose your position as third in the presidential succession line.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Unbelievable


Story.
The Metrodome always has been a multipurpose building, but Sunday its role in Minnesota sports lore expanded, as the stale old marshmallow became the multimedia hub for one of the greatest celebrations in Twins history.

On the season's final day, Joe Mauer won a historic batting title, the Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-1, and then the players settled in with about 35,000 of their fans for a little TV.

Together, they watched on the stadium's two JumboTrons as Kansas City finished a 10-8, 12-inning victory over Detroit that knocked the Tigers behind the Twins for the first time all season.

The conventional wisdom was that the Twins would need to sweep the White Sox to have any chance at the division title because (1) the Tigers were playing the Royals, a team that had lost 100 games and going into the final weekend of the season had the worst record in baseball, and (2) the Tigers would win the tiebreaker if the teams finished with identical records. Instead, the Twins won just one of three games against the White Sox, but the Tigers managed to get swept at home by the Royals and even blew a 6-0 lead yesterday.

Biggest choke ever? If not, it is damn close.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Twins clinch playoff spot




















Story.
The fluids were flying and the emotions bounced all over the Metrodome on Monday as the Twins proved they could escape from the abyss, beating Kansas City 8-1 to clinch a spot in the American League playoffs for the ninth time in club history. . .

They've used the greatest stretch of high-level play in club history to storm back from a 25-33 record and 11½ games out of first place on June 7 to earn a playoff berth in what's considered baseball's toughest division.

The Twins won 11 consecutive games once and eight in a row twice.

Let's hope that the momentum continues for another month.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No more apologies

Anne Applebaum.
Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing -- and start uniting. . .

[N]othing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously? . . .

[I]f stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.

Amen.

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

Monday, September 18, 2006

Believe it or not

Just shoot me.
An arbitration panel today reinstated Cedarburg High School science teacher Robert Zellner, who was fired by the school district after it discovered he had viewed pornographic material on his school computer.

School Board President John Pendergast said the arbitrator determined that the firing was improper because the school district had only reprimanded another teacher who had viewed stock quotes from a school computer.
Via Opinion Journal.

In case you don't read the sports section . . .

. . . the Vikings are 2-0 (and playing the 2-0 Bears next week), while the Twins are pulling away in the wild card race and at the same time breathing down the Tigers' neck for the divisional title. As a sports fan, it has been quite the enjoyable September so far.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Small victory

Chafee beats back conservative challenger

This may not be a "Crashing the Gate" development for centrists, but it doesn't suck.

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

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sleazy politics

Here is example number 100,001 of why most people are disgusted with politics and politicians.

PROVIDENCE -- Less than a week before the Republican primary, Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee has become the target of a push poll attacking him for supporting abortion rights.

A push poll is a telephone survey in which questions are designed to weaken support for one candidate or build up support for another. The negative campaign tactic is illegal in some states, but not Rhode Island.

Chafee, who is running for a second full term, faces Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey in Tuesday's Republican primary.

Several voters said yesterday that they received automated telephone calls asking whether they would vote in the primary and which candidate they would choose. Those who chose Chafee heard graphic descriptions of an abortion procedure opponents call "partial-birth abortion," which the poll said Chafee supports.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shut up

That is what I have to say to people who criticize hostages for things they say or do while a gun is pointed at their heads. (See here.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katherine Harris is a putz

Link.

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie" and God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws."

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will "legislate sin," including abortion and gay marriage.

I wonder if a major party candidate running for Congress has ever before embarrassed himself or herself on such a repeated and consistent basis.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Crackberry

Via Drudge.
Blackberry email devices can be so addictive that owners may need to be weaned off them with treatment similar to that given to drug users, experts warned today.
I have been meaning to post something on this phenomenon for a while based on my personal observations. I have a Blackberry that I use only when I travel. I maybe could make better use of it, but the way some of my colleagues use their Blackberrys befuddles me. For example, I see two guys from my office frequently in the morning walking the 3 blocks from garage we also park at, and they are checking their Blackberrys the whole way. Okay, that doesn't seem totally weird to me. What I find totally weird are the people who are so compulsive that they are checking their Blackberrys while waiting for the elevator, having left their offices only seconds earlier. What I find totally weirdest is the one guy who brings it into the restroom and is checking it while using the urinal. Not kidding.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Funny

I love political humor, whether from the left or the right. Here is the latest from Scott Ott.

August 21, 2006
Lieberman Invites Kerry on Hunting Trip
by
Scott Ott

(2006-08-21) — Just a day after Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, implied that Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT, is the new Dick Cheney, the amiable Sen. Lieberman offered to “patch things up” by taking Mr. Kerry on a hunting trip in his native state.

The junior senator from Massachusetts told ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos that Mr. Lieberman was “adopting the rhetoric of [Vice President] Dick Cheney” regarding Iraq, and that the three-term Connecticut senator is “out of step with the people of Connecticut.”

“I know Sen. Kerry is a big sportsman,” said Mr. Lieberman, “So heading out to the fields with a couple of shotguns is just my way of getting some face time with John away from the news media.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

Katherine Harris

I thought that Alan Keyes run for the Senate in 2004 in Illinois was the most ridiculous ever. Katherine Harris is determined to takeover that title.
Katherine Harris' attempt to boost her campaign with a series of high-profile endorsements wilted Thursday when none of the officials appeared at her campaign rally and one of them said Harris wrongly included him on her list of supporters.

State Sen. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, said he has not endorsed Harris and instead is supporting one of her challengers, Orlando attorney Will McBride. . .

Webster said he had no idea why Harris listed him as one of her supporters. He said he never endorsed her.

Harris insisted that Webster promised to attend her rally Thursday at Orlando Executive Airport.

"They called back twice and said he'd be here," Harris said. "He said he was going to be here on the stage with me today."

Webster's office said he had never confirmed his attendance.

He wasn't the only no-show for Harris' "Soaring for the Senate" rally.

None of the nine officials listed on her event flier appeared, leaving Harris on her own to address a group of about 40 supporters, reporters and campaign-staff members. . .

Harris spoke in an airplane hangar that seemed to highlight the modest size of the crowd. She said a last-minute location change -- required because a tree fell on the hangar where the event was supposed to be held -- kept crowd numbers down.

Airport officials, however, said no hangar had been damaged by a tree and that the rally was in the hangar that had been originally booked. . .

[T]he event underscored Harris' struggle to generate support from GOP leaders and comes a day after Harris removed from her Web site the names of several elected officials she had listed previously as endorsing her.

Earlier this week, U.S. Reps. Mark Foley, Ginny Brown-Waite, Jeff Miller and Cliff Stearns all appeared on Harris' site.

Thursday, they were gone.

A spokesman for Foley said his boss had never endorsed Harris in the primary.

"It was a mistake," Jason Kello said. "It shouldn't have been up there."

Harris has encountered similar problems in the past. A fundraising letter sent in June said she had been formally endorsed by Florida Republican Party Chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan.

Jordan has not endorsed Harris and in May sent Harris a letter suggesting she drop out.

The same Harris mailer said Gov. Jeb Bush has "pledged to back" her campaign, but Bush recruited other candidates and said he does not think she can beat Nelson.

Harris also maintains that Democratic members of Congress from Florida have privately said they want her to unseat Nelson. But several weeks ago, each member of the Democratic delegation told the Sentinel that is not true.

"She's truth-challenged," McBride said this week. "She has problems with the truth."

Prediction

He is obviously a pedophile. He is also obviously not playing with a full deck. But I predict that he did not really kill JonBenet, and he just seeks notoriety.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quote of the day

Link.
"They are a little bit scared of the bloggers," the operative said of the [Democratic] party leadership.

More Lieberman

This is interesting:
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said this morning that President Bush will not endorse Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Alan Schlesinger (R) over Sen. Joe Lieberman even though he's the Republican nominee.
But not surprising for this reason:
Rasmussen Reports finally posted the results of the Connecticut U.S. Senate poll we previewed last week. In a three way race, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) leads with 46% and Ned Lamont (D) comes in at 40%. Alan Schlesinger (R) takes just 6% of the vote.
This race is going to be fascinating to watch over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Primary day

Chris Bowers.
"[N]o matter what happens later today, Wednesday will be the worst day of press for the progressive netroots in years. If Lamont loses, we will be branded as ineffectual, irrelevant, extremist, and destructive. If Ned Lamont wins, we will be branded as powerful, relevant, extremist, and destructive."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Still unmotivated

I'm still suffering from a lack of blogging motivation these days. I assume that will change at some point, but who knows when.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A tale of two Senators

The son of one U.S. Senator has just joined the Marines. The nephew of another U.S. Senator was just killed in Iraq.

Rush Limbaugh is a putz

Link.
"Until civilians -- frankly, I'm not sure how many of them are actually just innocent little civilians running around versus active Hezbo types, particularly the men -- but until those civilians start paying a price for propping up these kinds of regimes, it's not going to end, folks. What do you mean, civilians start paying a price? I just ask you to consult history for the answer to that.”

Rush Limbaugh
On the Qana Massacre
July 31, 2006

"We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal . . . As for what you asked regarding the American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and in other places."

Osama bin Laden
On His Fatwa Against America
March 1997

Castro

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end of the horrible regime in Cuba. But check out this silly passage from the article:
Talk of Castro's mortality was taboo until June 23, 2001, when he fainted during a speech in the sun. Although Castro quickly recovered, many Cubans understood for the first time that their leader would eventually die.
I suppose that it would be equally accurate to report that "many Americans" believe that George Bush is not human. I will look for that in the next story that reports on Bush choking on a pretzel or falling off a bike.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Another rhetorical question

Is it a bad sign when you call the telephone company for service and get a busy signal the first 10 tries?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Embarrassment

Usually it is a kid, not a parent, that does something to embarrass an elected official. Not this time. (And Dad is 81.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oversimplification

Link.
One thing that would really improve political discourse, and maybe even lead to some better results, would be for all of us to stop oversimplifying issues. Our culture has fallen into a bad habit of trying to turn nearly every subject into a simple duality, with two opposite positions and no gray areas, no third or fourth or fifth possibilities, no troubling ambiguities. It makes life easier in the short run. We don’t have to think, all we have to do is try to yell louder than the obviously evil or crazy people on the other side. But it doesn’t work most of the time. There aren’t many issues that are really that simple, because if they were, they wouldn’t be issues. The only way either liberals or conservatives can turn them into such exercises in obviousness is to omit big parts of the picture, and that guarantees that we’re not seeing it accurately.
What a moonbat wanker this guy is.

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Google ads - gone

I have removed the Google ads. They screwed up the viewing of the site through Internet Explorer (but not Firefox), and then Google sent me and email advising me that "you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies." I don't even want to know why. It ain't worth the hassle.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rhetorical question

What is it with people who place classified ads in the newspaper looking for particular kinds of work and, when you call them, they tell you that they are to busy to take on any more work at this time? (That happened to me twice this week.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem cell bill

Spending has exploded during the past 6 years, and President Bush decides that this bill will be the first that he will veto. I'm disgusted.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A bright spot

Report.
BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 16 — With the battle between Israel and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah raging, key Arab governments have taken the rare step of blaming Hezbollah, underscoring in part their growing fear of influence by the group’s main sponsor, Iran.

Saudi Arabia, with Jordan, Egypt and several Persian Gulf states, chastised Hezbollah for “unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts” at an emergency Arab League summit meeting in Cairo on Saturday.
I'm deeply concered as to how this thing is going play out, but this is a very good development in an otherwise bad, bad situation.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Toughest job in America

This guy has to have the most challenging job in the United States. So much is at stake, yet the obstacles to finding "good" resolutions seem practically insurmountable.

These are very dangerous times for the whole world.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theories

Apparently, you can teach anything at the University of Wisconsin-Madison if you just label it a "theory." See here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Free market

I previously blogged about twincitiesfreemarket.org, here and here. I feel compelled to do so again today.

We are relandscaping our backyard. We have, literally, tons of river rock that is nice looking but not friendly to the feet around the pool. The general contractor landscaping proposals that we received for the backyard included $1,500 to $2,000 to remove the river rock. I thereafter decided to general contract the job myself.

To get started on the project, I put this up on twincitiesfreemarket.org on Thursday:
We are planning on installing flagstone in vast areas in our yard that are currently covered by nice river rock. If you are willing to put the sweat equity necessary into collecting some or all of the river rock, you could save $100s over purchasing the same from a nursery or Home Depot.
Despite the fact that it has been hot as heck here this weekend, 7 truck/van loads of rock have been carted away this weekend, with me watching from the air conditioned indoors. It is almost all gone, the people were thrilled to get it, and we saved huge bucks.

The Internet is so cool.

UPDATE: Make it 8 loads. One guy made another trip just before dark, his third of the day and fourth since Friday. He even brought pictures of where he is putting it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sabbatical

If you had not noticed, I'm taking a break. I will be back, well, whenever.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The View

I can honestly say that I have never seen 5 seconds of The View. But I find amusing Barbara Walters' hyprocrisy regarding the Star Jones Reynolds' firing.
Ousted cast member Star Jones Reynolds said Thursday she was told she could "make up a story" about why she was leaving "The View" and her colleagues would have gone along with it. . . .

Longtime ABC newswoman Walters has confirmed the intended deception . . . .

ABC said it canned Reynolds immediately after Tuesday's show because her announcement, and an interview with People magazine, took the network by surprise. Walters told The Associated Press that she felt betrayed and ABC said it couldn't trust Reynolds to tell the truth if she remained on the air.
In other words, because she didn't lie when Walters asked her to, Reynolds couldn't be trusted to tell the truth going forward. Now there is some logic.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Run-in with the cops

My 4 year old daughter was picked up by the police today. She then proceeded to lie to the police. If you have any interest in the whole story, it is here.

She is going to be a nightmare as a teenager.

Picture of the day

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lieberman

Dick Morris.
Keeping Joseph Lieberman in the United States Senate is clearly in the national interest. One of the most ethical, sincere, thoughtful and balanced of senators, he stands as a monument to nonpartisan common sense in an increasingly shrill and polarized partisan environment.

But he is in the process of committing suicide. By insisting on running in Connecticut’s Democratic primary against anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, he is in a fight he won’t win and, in the process, destroying his chances in the general election, which he can win. . . .

The right dominates the GOP nominating process just as surely as the left controls that of the Democrats. This is no place for a centrist to thrive. . . .

This column is a plea to the senator: Don’t let hubris, overconfidence, unfounded optimism or even muddled confusion lead you to your death in the Democratic primary. We need you too much in Washington.
The hard core ideologues on both sides think that centrists are the enemy. How sad is that?

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

Clear justice

This is from the redistricting case decided by the Supreme Court today:
KENNEDY, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts II–A and III, in which STEVENS, SOUTER, GINSBURG, AND BREYER, JJ., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts I and IV, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, J., joined, an opinion with respect to Parts II–B and II–C, and an opinion with respect to Part II–D, in which SOUTER and GINSBURG, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which BREYER, J., joined as to Parts I and II. SOUTER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part, in which ALITO, J., joined. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dis-senting in part, in which THOMAS, J., joined, and in which ROBERTS, C. J., and ALITO, J., joined as to Part III.
I'm so glad that they cleared everything up.

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hitler blogging

Believe it or not, there is a "blog dedicated to cats that look like Hitler."

Speaking of which, in today's mail was a copy of a letter from an opposing party/debtor to the judge in which she compares the judge to Hitler and Stalin. The power of persuasion, in action.

Rush

Link.
(CBS) MIAMI Sources have confirmed to WFOR-TV in Miami that conservative talk show host has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when they found the drugs, among them Viagra.
So many jokes, so little time.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Unexpected

I'm quite surprised that this person is calling for the U.S. to bomb North Korea.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Zarqawi's reward

Link.
DES MOINES, Iowa - An Iowa congressman apologized Wednesday for disparaging comments he made last week at the state Republican convention about a veteran White House correspondent.

Rep. Steve King (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, was discussing the June 7 death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Saturday when he mentioned 85-year-old Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House for nearly 50 years and is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers.

"There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at," King said about al-Zarqawi, in a recording transcribed by Radio Iowa. "And if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."

Not very nice but, admit it, quite funny.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Notice

I have been AWOL due heavy work demands, reassembling our house after remodeling, and a general lack of interest in the blogosphere recently. I will be back, but I'm not sure when.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Treasure trove

Link.
BAGHDAD — Iraq's national security adviser said Thursday a “huge treasure” of documents and computer records was seized after the raid on terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's hideout, giving the Iraqi government the upper hand in its fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie also said he believed the security situation in the country would improve enough to allow a large number of U.S.-led forces to leave Iraq by the end of this year, and a majority to depart by the end of next year. “And maybe the last soldier will leave Iraq by mid-2008,” he said.

Mr. al-Rubaie said a laptop, flashdrive and other documents were found in the debris after the air strike that killed the al-Qaeda in Iraq leader last week outside Baqouba, and more information has been uncovered in raids of other insurgent hideouts since then.

He called it a “huge treasure ... a huge amount of information.”

Although I'm skeptical that capturing a bunch of intelligence on al Qaeda in Iraq will break the back of the insurgency as a whole, getting Zarqawi was obviously a necessary first step towards that goal. Let's hope that this is as good of news as it is being portrayed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Heading off a cliff

Juan Cole certainly has infinitely more knowledge about the Middle East than I do, but he seems to take every fact and interpret it in a way that supports his view that absolutely nothing is going right in Iraq or the WOT generally, and that we are doomed to failure. Anyway, via Andrew Sullivan, we are reminded of this gem from Cole:
Personally, I'm not sure Zarqawi exists, so I'd be reluctant to send a thousand Marines after him and to majorly inconvenience (and from the video on Aljazeerah, partially flatten) poor little Sadah.
In the same post, he referred to the elections in Iraq as a "joke."

Cole is a hero of the left side of the blogosphere, a group that wants Joe Lieberman kicked out of the party for being a hawk, yet a group that Democratic presidential candidates are starting to cater to.

WARNING: Listening to these folks is a recipe for disaster in 2008. Instead, listen to the Moose.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bureaucrats in action

So you think that government workers in the United States are bad? Link.
Civil servants on Tyneside are under investigation amid allegations staff romped around naked in offices and had sex in toilets.

One person at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in Newcastle has been sacked after officials began an investigation.

The antics emerged after some members of staff were caught on CCTV cameras.

The RPA is part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and administers millions of pounds in agricultural payments to farmers.

The agency said it was investigating claims that staff leapt naked from filing cabinets, had sex in office toilets, held break-dancing competitions during working hours and fought in a reception area.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Al-Zarqawi

I'm glad to learn that the SOB suffered before he died. Instant death without even seeing it coming or knowing what hit him would have been too good of a fate for one of the most vile people ever.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dead on

I certainly wish that this had happened 2 years ago, but it is nevertheless a huge development. I'm in a very good mood this morning.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Third world sweatshops are a good thing

No, really. I read a compelling column yesterday by Nicholas Kristof which made the argument but, because it is behind the Times Select wall, I can't link to it. But a Google search revealed that he has made the argument consistently before. (See, e.g., here and here.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Notice

Things will be quiet here for the next couple of days. Not that it ever gets too busy and, for whatever reason, fewer stories have caught my fancy recently.

Robert Byrd is a putz

Link.
Capitol Hill insiders love to tell the story about how Senator Robert C. Byrd once killed a multimillion-dollar federal building project for his home-state West Virginia University because the public school had hired a lobbyist to help wrangle the cash. Byrd's message: As senator, it's his job to win federal dollars for West Virginia.
Granted, the event occurred 17 years ago and perhaps there should be some statute of limitations on having to defend putz-like behavior, but this was an act of monumental political pettiness.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Picture of the day

An actual "cake" from a wedding in another part of the country.


Via reader Dave.

Surprise

I was not ready for this aspect of the news story reporting on yesterday's events at the Memorial Tournament.
Pettersson was in the lead, by one shot over Austin and Johnson. The round wasn't finished. And players trudged off the course knowing they had to return at the crack of dawn.

Mickelson returned to the sixth hole to find the cup had moved in the middle of the second round. Turns out someone defecated in the hole, and the only solution was to move it a few feet, along with the ball markers on the green.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tone deaf

This poll demonstrates how tone deaf the leadership in Congress is.
In the rift between Congress and the Justice Department, Americans side overwhelmingly with law enforcement: Regardless of precedent and the separation of powers, 86 percent say the FBI should be allowed to search a Congress member's office if it has a warrant.

That view is broadly bipartisan, this ABC News poll finds, ranging from 78 percent among Democrats to 94 percent of Republicans.

The issue erupted last week, after the FBI searched the offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., in a corruption investigation. Congress leaders objected, and George W. Bush put a 45-day hold on the seized documents to allow for negotiations.

The anti-incumbent momentum just continues to grow.

Swearing parrot

This is hilarious.
An Orthodox Jew was threatened with divorce after blowing several thousand dollars on a parrot that swore like a trooper, Israel's mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot daily said on Thursday.

After he brought his feathered friend home, the man's religious household in the Tel Aviv area was bombarded by insults such as "son of a bitch" and "homo" from the bird.

When its owner sought rabbinical advice, the rabbi recommended that the parrot be slaughtered -- or have its tongue cut out for being foul-mouthed.

But the horrified pet owner's wife threatened divorce if the bird went for the chop, and the parrot finally found refuge in a zoo.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Good excuse

Link.
Mark Oaten, the former Liberal Democrat leadership contender and Home Affairs spokesman, is also rather touchy about his appearance it seems. Breaking his four-month silence over the affair with a rent boy that cost him his front bench job and shattered his life, Mr Oaten, 40, says he believes it was the sudden onset of baldness that drove him into the arms of a male prostitute.

Alleys

This is a joke, right?
Miles and miles of Minneapolis alleys would be off-limits to strangers under a proposed city ordinance intended to curtail crime.

The proposal would prohibit anyone from walking in an alley who doesn't live on that block or who isn't a guest of someone who does. Police, paramedics and firefighters would be exempt, as would garbage haulers, meter readers, code inspectors and others whose jobs take them there.

This is stupid on so many levels, but mainly because no criminal would be deterred by this proposed law from going into an alley for the purpose of criminal activity. Duh.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fore

Okay, maybe I can drop my umbrella insurance policy. Link.
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled a golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball.

In a unanimous decision, the court upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss Ryan Yoneda's lawsuit against Andrew Tom, whose wayward ball hit Yoneda in the eye at Mililani Golf Course in 1999.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.

It is "common knowledge that not every shot played by a golfer goes exactly where he intends it to go," the ruling said, adding there wouldn't be much "sport" in the "sport of golf," if golf balls went exactly where the player wanted.

Alabama Supreme Court candidates are putzes

Story.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In a debate with powerful echoes of the turbulent civil rights era, four Republicans running for Alabama's Supreme Court are making an argument legal scholars thought was settled in the 1800s: that state courts are not bound by U.S. Supreme Court precedents.

The Constitution says federal law trumps state laws, and legal experts say there is general agreement that state courts must defer to the U.S. Supreme Court on matters of federal law.

Yet Justice Tom Parker, who is running for chief justice, argues that state judges should refuse to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents they believe to be erroneous. Three other GOP candidates in Tuesday's primary have made nearly identical arguments.

Astounding.

Internships

Are the unpaid internships a bad thing?

Point.

Counterpoint.

I had an unpaid internship at the U.S. State Department between my junior and senior years of college. In fact, in order to get college credits for it, I had to pay tuition to the school. The ironic thing is that the government spent approximately $10,000 doing a background investigation so that I could get a "top secret" security clearance. I always assumed that expense was not a deterrent to the bureau that I worked at because it came out of someone else's budget.

I suppose that it is true that kids from well-to-do families are in a better position to spend a summer working without pay, but kids from well-to-do families are in a better position to go to private colleges too. Does that make Harvard evil?

Hypocrisy

Quote #1.
"This is probably going to be the most issue-oriented campaign out of 435 races for Congress," Robinson said in an interview.
Quote #2.
Robinson has already run a radio ad that features mariachi band music playing in the background. "If Miller had his way," says the announcer, "America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Political headline of the day

Pedophiles to launch political party

Immigration poll

USA Today reports on the results of an interesting poll regarding attitudes about the illegal immigration issue. But this has to be one of the stupidest paragraphs ever written by a serious journalist.
Those who want to take the toughest steps against illegal immigration also feel the most urgency about the subject. Two-thirds of the "hard-liners" call the issue "extremely important." No one in the most lenient group, the "unconcerned," feels that way.
No sh*t, Sherlock. If you are "unconcerned" about an issue, what are the chances that you would describe the issue as "extremely important"?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Driving

This is interesting.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance. Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly.

The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

Based on average scores, northwestern states generally ranked highest while the bottom-ranking states were mostly in the northeast.
I am always fascinated when I travel how differently people drive from state to state.

Driving

This is interesting.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The tiny state of Rhode Island still ranks rock bottom in terms of driving knowledge, according to a national test conducted by GMAC Insurance. Oregon drivers answered the most questions correctly.

The test revealed that about one in 11 licensed drivers in the United States would fail a state drivers test, according to GMAC Insurance.

Rhode Island ranked last year, also, with an average score of 77. Last year, Oregon's average score was 89, which still placed at the top of the rankings that year.

Based on average scores, northwestern states generally ranked highest while the bottom-ranking states were mostly in the northeast.
I am always fascinated when I travel how differently people drive from state to state.

In my e-mail

I received the item below in my e-mail from someone who does not want attribution.



"This man (on the left, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame' gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the "Wizard of Oz") is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish."


You gotta admit that is at least a little bit funny.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What it is all about

Blair's Britain.

The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.

In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"

Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

Saddam's Iraq.

Nobody in Saddam Hussein's inner circle was more tirelessly reverential toward him while he was in power than Tariq Aziz, who is said to have been in the habit of saluting the telephone when Mr. Hussein called. . .

Mr. Hussein, 69, is charged with directing the persecution of the townspeople of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad, after a foiled assassination attempt on him there in July 1982. The indictment says Mr. Hussein's secret police arrested hundreds of men, women and children; tortured dozens to death; banished more than 300 others to years of exile in the desert; and ordered a vast acreage of date palm groves at Dujail plowed under.

Mr. Hussein is accused of signing execution orders for 148 people, including 32 who were under age 18. . .

Mr. Hussein, Mr. Aziz said, had done no more than what any president would have done after an attempt to kill him

The juxtaposition of these two stories reveals what this generation's struggle is all about.

Intolerance



Link.










A first-grade student is taught that "Every religion other than Islam is false"; the teacher instructed to "Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." Fifth graders learn "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in God and his prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam." . . .

The results, they say, outline a systematic theme of "hatred toward 'unbelievers,' " mainly Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists, but also Shiites and other Muslims who do not ascribe to the country's orthodox Wahhabi teaching of Islam.
With friends like these . . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Travel notes

Given that I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I had little doubt that my brilliant arguments would cause me to prevail in court today. I was right. Anyway, Flint is everything that it is cracked up to be.

More regular blogging should resume soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Money to burn

Link.
At a charity event in the capital of Doha, a Qatari bidder paid $2.75 million for the mobile phone number 666-6666.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Light blogging

Things will continue to be quiet here for a few days. I just found out that tomorrow I have to go to Flint, Michigan. Contain your jealousy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The wrong Guy

During a bout of insomnia last night, I saw this story. It is hilarious.

In short, one guy named "Guy" was sitting in a room waiting to be interviewed by the BBC on camera as an expert. Another guy named "Guy" was sitting in another room waiting for a job interview. Punchline: They put wrong "Guy" on the air.

Travel notes

Tip: If you are going to Chicago, see if Midway (as opposed to O'Hare) is an option. I went through Midway for the first time this week on AirTran because the ticket was 1/3 of NWA or United to O'Hare. What I found was a nice airplane with XM radio, no delays, and a train ride to and from the Loop that was about 30 minutes, as opposed to 45 minutes to and from O'Hare.

In sum, as far as I can tell, all O'Hare offers over Midway is (a) more congestion, (b) more delays, (c) more money, and (d) longer commute times. Nice selling points, don't you think?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rhertorical question

I am the only person in the country who has not seen even 30 seconds of American Idol, ever?

Taking life for granted

Last December, my young secretary was diagnosed with lung cancer and died within two weeks. Today, a young attorney in my department advised people that his wife has a brain tumor. And this poor guy's father died last year after losing a long battle with cancer.

My problems in life seem rather trivial today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gay marriage

This comes from a "right wing" blog:

And that is part of why I support gay marriage. It allows people to set up their own family unit, to become more stable and secure members of the society. It gives them a bond to their society and culture, and increases the general prosperity of the culture as a whole.

Yes, I understand the religious objections, and respect them. But there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country, and allowing a civil ceremony (or even a civil union) apart from religious sanction should be no skin off the church's nose. They don't have to perform the weddings, or sanction them, or even recognize them -- they just need to butt out and let those of us who don't ascribe to their beliefs to go our own way.

Amen.

Napping

Story.

The lights are out at MinneNapolis, a store at the Mall of America that sold naps for 70 cents a minute.

The nap center, which charged $14 for 20 minutes in a private, themed room, brought in fewer than 1,600 customers during its six-month run, far short of owner Steev RamsDell's projections.

$42 an hour to take a nap? Little surprise that this store didn't work out.

Gore on SNL

If you haven't seen Gore's opening skit from Saturday Night Live, you should. (Here.)

Road rage

Apparently, road rage is not as bad in Minneapolis as in at least 19 other big cities.

My personal experience suggests that road rage is not as bad now as it was 5 years ago, but there are still plenty of a**holes on the roads. I have particular disdain for the jerks who try to block vehicles from merging.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Group blog implodes

A popular conservative group blog, Polipundit, is a group blog no more. It imploded over the issue of immigration. This demonstrates how angry some of the conservative base is with Bush and like-minded Republicans on the issue.

The old joke is that Democrats specialize in circular firing squads. Apparently, Republicans have decided to set up one of there own.

Stupid criminal of the day

Guy breaks into van to steal tools. Can't get out because of child safety locks. Link.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Immigration - take home test

1. What has created the apparent perfect storm that has made illegal immigration the urgent issue of the day? (It is not like the problem hasn't been apparent for 20 years, at least.)

2. What are the best approaches to the issue that are actually likely to make a difference?

3. Does the current political environment make an effective response to the problem impossible?

My response to all three questions is "don't know." Please help.

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

UPDATE: There really is a good discussion going on at the Centerfield link above. Take a look.

Iran

The hawkish Ralph Peters says that we should talk to Iran. Pat Buchanan agrees. These columns provide food for thought.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Expertise

I guess that there is no limit to the narrowness of a person's "expertise."
"The price of living in a democracy is that you might have to tolerate a bunch of nonsensical speech," said Robert Justin Goldstein, a flag-burning expert and retired professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
Based on this weekend's work, I'm declaring myself a gutter cleaning expert.

"I will show you"

This idiot professor quit his job because the Secretary of State was invited to be the commencement speaker at the school.

The irrational demonization of and hatred of any person associated with Bush by so many is baffling to me. I don't think that "Bush/Cheney/Haliburton/Hitler Co." has done a particularly good job, but that does not make them evil liars.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ads by Google

You might notice that I have added "Ads by Google" to this site. Going forward, when anyone clicks an ad link, I will get some impossible-to-figure-out monetary credit. Frankly, the level of traffic here right now is unlikely to generate much at all in the way of revenue. On the other hand, I figure that there is no downside, and I have resolved to simply deposit anything that I get into my kids' college funds. So if you see an advertisement on the right side that grabs your interest, please click. Every few pennies in the college funds will help. And when people say, "how do you have time to blog?", I will now be able to say "are you kidding, the payback is at least 20 cents an hour!"

OJ Simpson is a putz

This guy is unbelievable.
LOS ANGELES - In a scene from his new candid-camera program "Juiced," O.J. Simpson pulls a prank involving the infamous white Bronco, drawing criticism from the family of a man he was accused of killing.

As part of the pay-per-view show, Simpson pretends to sell the Bronco at a used car lot and boasts to a prospective buyer that he made the vehicle famous, according to a segment aired Thursday on "Inside Edition."

"It was good for me — it helped me get away," Simpson said, referring to the slow-speed, televised police chase that preceded his 1994 arrest on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

It was bad enough that he got away with murder(s). Now he is joking about it.

Repayment in full

This is an interesting story that I saw last week but didn't get around to posting.
The UK will repay debts owed to the US dating from the World War II by the end of this year, the government says.

Under the lend-lease programme, which began in March 1941, the then neutral US could provide countries fighting Hitler with war material.
I wonder if the day will come that the U.S. pays off the national debt. That certainly won't happen in my lifetime.

The new, new John Kerry

This article highlights why I could never get comfortable with John Kerry in 2004. To the extent that I could figure out where he stood on the issues that were most important to me, I couldn't reconcile the 2004 John Kerry with the 1984-2003 John Kerry, or trust that the 2004 John Kerry would not become somebody else in 2005 and beyond.

He is a professional chameleon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Picture of the day

Link.

Prizzly bear

This is kind of cool.
IQALUIT, Nunavut - Northern hunters, scientists and people with vivid imaginations have discussed the possibility for years.

But Roger Kuptana, a guide from Canada’s Sachs Harbor was the first to suspect it had actually happened when he proposed that a strange-looking bear shot last month by an American sports hunter might be half polar bear, half grizzly.

Officials seized the creature after noticing its white fur was scattered with brown patches and that it had the long claws and humped back of a grizzly. Now a DNA test has confirmed that it is indeed a hybrid — possibly the first documented in the wild.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Political cartoon of the day


Link.

Deja vu

"Bush approval rating hits new low"

How many times have we seen that headline in the last 6 months? Outside of foreign policy issues, he is a lame, lame duck with very little chance of shedding any of his lameness in the next 2.5 years.

Update:
The political situation has not helped some of the more prominent members of the Democratic Party. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who was Mr. Bush's opponent in 2004, had a lower approval rating than Mr. Bush: 26 percent, down from 40 percent in a poll conducted right after the election.

Battleground state

Once again, Minnesota will be a battleground state in 2006. See here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dick Morris

Link.

For the first time since the Gingrich revolution, the Republican Party is facing massive defeat. Will its congressmen and senators go down in the upcoming 2006 elections like the Democratic lemmings did in 1994, faithfully parroting their president’s dogma while they sank below the horizon? Or will they have the dexterity and flexibility to move to the center and the left to meet the coming onslaught?

The only way for a Republican to survive in 2006 is to run like a Democrat.

The most important (because it is the largest) voting bloc in the country seems to be undergoing a gradual shift from center-right to center (but not center-left). It is not impossible for Republicans to make the shift too and keep their majorities. But the Democrats are in a better position to capture that ground because, with everything else being equal, protest votes for change will win out.

The vision thing


The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats are in a good position to make big gains in the House this year, and maybe even regain majority status.

Here is an interesting article about the debate that is going on in internal Democratic circles regarding how "to sharpen the party's identity and present a clear alternative to the conservatism that has dominated political thought for a generation. "

For me to vote consistently Democratic, at least at the national level, an essential element is for them to "reclaim the tough-minded approach they brought to the cold war — recognizing the need for strong engagement in the fight against totalitarianism and for democracy . . ." Unfortunately, I just don't see that happening.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Instant millionaires

If you sold your house in Boulder City, Nevada anytime recently, you probably regret it.
Link.
One of the biggest jackpots in Nevada may not be a casino.

Residents of Boulder City could vote on a plan to make every man, woman and child there a millionaire.

An initiative that could be on the November ballot calls for the city to sell 167 square miles of undeveloped open land in one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. The property is about 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

The ballot measure would require the city to distribute the billions to the 15,000 residents of Boulder City.

But it's too late to move there. Only people who lived in Boulder City as of March 31 would qualify.
Think it will pass?

All Iraq, all the time

Even the most supportive, optimistic person about Iraq should find this ridiculous.
Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration "talking points" -- saying things such as "President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq" -- in every speech they give for the department. . .

Let's say you're talking about U.S. agricultural productivity. Try this: "I'd like to take a moment to talk about a nation that is just now beginning to rebuild its own agricultural production.

"Iraq is part to the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia," the sample script says. "It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, there that agriculture was born. In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble."

Why does this administration continue to do such obviously stupid things?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Michelle Wie

Well, she did it.
INCHEON, South Korea (AP) -- Michelle Wie accomplished something in her ancestral homeland she had failed to do in seven previous tries elsewhere: The American teen made the cut at a men's tournament.
Those who don't play golf may not realize how remarkable of an accomplishment this is.

Flip-flopper

Sen. John Thune must think that we are idiots.

Last Friday's New York Times:
Washington Senate Republicans, trying to get the upper hand in the escalating political battle over high U.S. gasoline prices, have proposed a $100 rebate for taxpayers and suggested that they might increase taxes on oil industry profits. . .

"The American consumer is the one that needs the break today, and we need to be taking steps to make sure that they aren't emptying their wallet every time they fill their tank," said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, as the party's leadership unveiled its legislative response to an issue quickly taking over the congressional agenda.
Today's New York Times:
"I never was in favor of that," Mr. Thune said Thursday.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

More self-inflicted pain

After I finished the Phoenix Marathon in January, my second marathon in 3 1/2 months, I planned to retire. But recently my wife has decided that she would like to complete a marathon. She will walk and most marathons are not particularly walker-friendly, so she picked this one. Being a good husband, I have tentatively (and stupidly?) agreed to do it with her in 2007.

Pro: "The Mount Desert Island marathon will be probably the most breathtaking run you will ever participate in. Fall foliage will be at peak levels. The route goes past lakes, quaint village centers, high ocean bluffs, mountains of Acadia National Park and the only fjord in the Eastern United States. "

Con: "We would rate our marathon course as challenging. The terrain is hilly throughout the entire route. Though, we don't want to scare any runners off, prepare for a tough run. It is our opinion however that marathon running is supposed to be a challenge and that hilly courses are usually the most satisfying aka: Boston." Not only is it hilly, but miles 20-25 are all uphill.

My legs hurt already.

Wow Part 2

Apparently, he is not as bad as John Daly, but that isn't much of a compliment.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) -- Charles Barkley estimated that he's lost about $10 million gambling over the years in an interview Wednesday.

"My agent has really worked with me to try to get it where I can go and gamble and have fun," Barkley told ESPN. "That's easier said than done. Do I have a gambling problem? Yeah, I do have a gambling problem. But I don't consider it a problem because I can afford to gamble."

Barkley, who is an NBA analyst for TNT, later had a different assessment of his gambling habits.

"It's not a problem," Barkley said on TNT during halftime of the Pistons-Bucks game. "If you're a drug addict or an alcoholic, those are problems. I gamble for too much money. As long as I can continue to do it I don't think it's a problem. Do I think it's a bad habit? Yes, I think it's a bad habit. Am I going to continue to do it? Yes, I'm going to continue to do it."

Astounding.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wow

The higher you go, the harder the fall. But this is truly stunning.

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Daly says he has lost between $50 million and $60 million during 12 years of heavy gambling, and that it has become a problem that could "flat-out ruin me" if he doesn't bring it under control.

Daly discussed his addiction to gambling in the final chapter of his autobiography, John Daly: My Life In and Out of the Rough, to be released next Monday.

He told one story of earning $750,000 when he lost in a playoff to Tiger Woods last fall in San Francisco at a World Golf Championship. Instead of going home, he drove to Las Vegas and says he lost $1.65 million in five hours playing mostly $5,000 slot machines.

Given his plan for recovery, it is hard to feel sorry for the guy.

He said he plans to start at the $25 slots in the casinos and set a "walkout loss number," which would tell him it's time to leave.

"If I make a little bit, then maybe I move up to the $100 slots or the $500 slots, or maybe I take it to the blackjack table," he wrote. "It's their money. Why not give it a shot, try to double it? And if I make a lot, I can ...

"Well, that's my plan."

Like the alcoholic whose plan is to drink only beer.