Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks

The big news today.

WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Two thoughts. First, whoever did this is a first-grade asshole and traitor. Second, it is not going to damage our relations with other countries in any significant way.

For 3 months in 1986, I worked as an intern of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the State Department. I had a top secret security clearance, but I was just a college student. My first task every day was to go through volumes of diplomatic cables that had come in and pick out those that my boss might want to see. Nothing would have stopped me from walking the pile of cables to the Washington Post on a daily basis. You can't provide communications to thousands of people, and reasonably assume that everyone is going to honor the confidence.

What I also soon learned is that the real world of international politics is not what you read in the newspaper. It is way more complicated, and way more cut-throat than I had ever understood. Obviously, everybody in that professional cut-throat world from any country already knows what I learned that summer.

In short, this is outrageous, yet probably harmless in the end. In fact, reminding the rest of the world that we are not idealistic suckers might be a good thing.

Ireland - bailout

The figures are staggering. The EU bailout package is $113 billion. The Republic of Ireland has approximately 4.6 million people. (In comparison, the State of Minnesota has 5.2 million people.) So that is almost $25,000 for every man, woman, and child.

At what point are we playing with Monopoly money?

Leslie Nielsen - RIP

His switch to comedy started with Airplane, in which he was brilliant.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It is going to get worse before it gets better

Link.
In the span of less than 11 months, the Vikings have gone from the brink of making the Super Bowl to being the NFL’s most compelling soap opera of 2010. Heck, even Cowboys owner Jerry Jones probably looks at the Vikings these days and says, “Man, we got nothin’ on them.”

Chilly hates Favre. Favre hates Chilly. Team pulls off a stunning trade for Randy Moss(notes), but Moss hates the caterers while professing his undying love for the Patriots. Chilly hates Moss. Chilly gets rid of him without telling the owner. The owner talks to the players.

There is no rebuttal.

Childress - gone

Today Zygi wisely lanced a boil. I have never been a big "fire the coach in the middle of the season" guy, but both this move and the firing of Gopher football coach Tim Brewster were necessary. They were both generals without an army willing to follow. In that situation, you have to replace the general, because you can't replace the army.

By all public accounts, Childress is a stupid asshole. But Favre is clearly an asshole too. I hope that he makes up an injury and goes away with Chilly.

I have a dream. The Vikings hire Bill Cowher. The Gophers hire a proven winner. And then I get to eat lobster before I wake up and find out that neither of those things ever actually happened.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back, sort of

At 6:00 on Monday evening, Xcel advised us that there had been 190, 000 residential outages, and only 41 remained. I was so happy to learn that we were among the lucky 41. I assume that we get some sort of consolation prize.

At 1:39 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16, the power came back on. Our long local nightmare was over.

Yeah, forget that plot twist.

Tonight, at about 7:45 p.m., while enjoying listening to my daughter's piano lesson while reading in front of a fire, I heard a shotgun type blast, and the power went out for a moment (enough to reset the clocks). My son (in the other room) said that a blocker box at the corner had exploded in sparks. Then, from where I was sitting I heard another shotgun type blast, and the blocker box in my backyard exploded in fireworks. The power went out again momentarily, but returned. My wife called Xcel and they said that they "might" send someone out to inspect it.

While, it turns out that the explosion in our backyard cut power to the rest of the neighborhood beyond us. "But we still have power, right, should be my attitude?" Nope, they are going to shut us down any second without warning for an indefinite period of time to work on the line.

Even when we have power, we have to give it back. My thoughts: Quote.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Glad to be back in the office

My secretary's family and our family have the worst luck when it comes to our houses. It has almost become a competition.

Our first year in our current house, the boiler went out while we were on vacation and it was 20 degrees below zero. We came home to busted pipes. A few years later, the replacement boiler failed and pipes broke again. The garages door springs have failed on at least 3 occasions. The washer died. The water heater died. The water softener died. The air conditioner died. There is more, but you get the idea. (Oh, and our boat sank, although is not technically a house problem.) My secretary's family has a similar long list of unfortunate events.

Also, our power goes out during every significant storm. Three weeks ago during a powerful wind storm, the power went out for 24 hours. This past weekend, after 12 inches of wet snow fall overnight on Friday, the power went out and it remains out 48 hours later. No power means no heat. It also means no water, as we have well that requires electricity to provide water. And no water means no functioning toilets. For 2 days and counting. We are basically camping in our house. Oh, and food in two refrigerators and two freezers is spoiling.

This morning the whole family was a bit grumpy as we trudged to the YMCA to shower. However, part of me was looking forward to getting to the office and scoring a point against my secretary in our game of bad luck. I then come into the office to learn that she stayed home today because she has not had power since Saturday and she had a tree fall on her house. But she has city water, so at least she can flush the toilet. Still, I think that I have to give her this round on points.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not from the Onion

Link.

DENAIR, Calif. -- A Stanislaus County school is forcing a student to take an American flag off of his bike.

Thirteen-year-old Cody Alicea put the flag there as a show of support for the veterans in his family.

But officials at Denair Middle School told him he couldn't fly it. He said he was told some students had complained.

The level of stupidity behind this type of decision is staggering.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thought police

According to a United States Senator, no person should be allowed to have an independent thought.

Link.
One doesn’t expect excessive amounts of wisdom from Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC), the troglodyte who recently told an audience, according to the Spartanburg Herald, that “if someone is openly homosexual or if an unmarried woman sleeps with her boyfriend, then that person shouldn't be allowed in the classroom,” but this is a new level of stupid. When asked to comment on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ suggestion that it’s time for d├ętente in the culture war, Demint tells Fox News that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.” Check out the video here, via Allahpundit (skip about 3 minutes in).

Friday, November 05, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another recount

Just shoot me.
Minnesotans Wednesday woke up to a repeat of their long nightmare - a statewide race with a margin that leads straight into the depths of a recount.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Fire Childress

I said this same thing to people yesterday: He has lost the locker room. Once that happens, it is over.
On Monday afternoon, Minnesota coach Brad Childress lost whatever remaining control he had ver the Vikings locker room. In his own way, Childress has become the Captain from “Cool Hand Luke,” a smarmy, cruel and vindictive person. Yeah, he runs the show, but there is no respect.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sports teams

My professional baseball team was swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs for the umpteenth time.

My professional football team gets the least out of overwhelming talent that is theoretically possible, and loses game after game that it had every chance to win. And the coach is brain-dead.

My college football team is so bad that it fired its coach halfway through the season.

My professional basketball team: "As of right now, we're the worst team in the NBA."

Being a sports fan is a curse.