Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tigers as pets

This story about a tiger attack has me scratching my head.

[Grant] Oly, who keeps Siberian tigers on his rural Goodhue County property, backed them off long enough to drag [Allison] Asher, 37, of Minneapolis, to safety. She was in serious condition Thursday in a Rochester hospital with a gash in her neck, a mangled leg and cuts and bites.

Oly, meanwhile, was sitting in a Goodhue County jail cell, facing misdemeanor charges that he violated a county zoning ordinance and two state laws in keeping the exotic animals. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning.

It's the second time in a year that Oly, 48, has faced charges in connection with keeping tigers on his land, in the Mississippi River valley about 65 miles south of the Twin Cities.

In 2004, a Goodhue County jury found Oly guilty of violating the county's zoning ordinance by having eight tigers -- five more than allowed. He recently served 45 days in jail for violating terms of his probation.

Goodhue County Sheriff Dean Albers said Thursday that seven tigers were still on the property when deputies arrived late Wednesday.

Let me get this straight, a person who is not specially trained in handling tigers can have up to three of them on his property? And if he violates that law, he is guilty of only a misdemeanor? I'm generally a libertarian, but that is crazy.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Tuesday 7:00 a.m.: Take Honda to dealership for scheduled maintenance and recall work on transmission. Told van would be ready in afternoon.

Tuesday 4:00 p.m.: Told that dealership had to order part for recall work, but van would be ready Wednesday by noon.

Wednesday 4:00 p.m.: Oh, nobody called you? So sorry. Well, part didn't come in today but it will be in tomorrow.

Thursday 3:30 p.m.: Dealership rep #1: Oh, nobody called you? So sorry. The van is ready. You can come pick it up.

Thursday 3:31 p.m.: Dealership rep #2 leaving message on home answering machine: The part is still not available and is on backorder. Please come get a loaner car. It could be two weeks before we get the part.

Thursday 7:00 p.m.: I take a bus to the dealership to get the loaner car.

Friday 10:00 a.m.: The van is done. We had the part in stock all along.

Finders Keepers Part 2: The Prison Years

Remember this story. While, perhaps they didn't find buried treasure after all.

Friday's stupid criminal

Inmate's apology letter to judge contains pot

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Innovations from one end of the blogosphere

Roger Simon.
Charles Johnson, Marc Danziger and I have been sneaking around over the last few months, trying to turn blogs into a business. We have enlisted some others with names familiar to you with the intention of working in two areas - aggregating blogs to increase corporate advertising and creating our own professional news service.

With respect to advertising, we do not wish to go into competition with Henry Copeland's BlogAds, which we fully support. (Some of us even have them!) We are working on another model that will sell ads en masse, not blog-by-blog. We expect this model to go live within a few weeks.
As for the Blog News Service, a lot of work needs to be done and a lot of questions answered. An editorial board consisting of Glenn Reynolds, PowerLine, Lawrence Kudlow, Hugh Hewitt, Marc Cooper, Wretchard of the Belmont Club and Tim Blair, as well as the founders, is already in place with other bloggers in many countries having signed on as contributors.

This is no way meant to be exclusive. We invite you all to join us. On the advertising end, any blogger -- whether political or not -- is welcome. We would be delighted to place ads on your blog and pay you for them. You may find out more and, we hope, join by simply emailing us at
It is going to be very interesting to see how this venture works out.

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

Clinton and Kerry

This is interesting.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and his wife prepare to visit Minneapolis on May 3, Sen. Mark Dayton said he has little doubt that Kerry is planning to run for president again in 2008.

When New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the DFL Humphrey Day Dinner in Minneapolis less than two weeks ago, Dayton, D-Minn., told the crowd he hoped he was introducing "the next great president of the United States of America."

Two days later on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Dayton said Kerry approached him "with daggers in his eyes and said, 'What are you doing endorsing my 2008 presidential opponent?'... He was very serious."

Criminal with a conscience

Burglar With Conscience Returns Items

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Random links

Here a few interesting items that I have come across this week.
  • E.J. Dionne says that moderates are in revolt.
  • Ron Brownstein says that there may be an opening for a centrist third party.
  • Brendan Nyhan says that Brownstein is nuts, but BullMoose refuses to give up the dream.
(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)

Slow news day?

Why is this considered "news"? She is as likely to enter the NFL draft as to run for office.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Finders keepers

Some day I want to be the person who finds a van Gogh painting in my attic or $100,000 buried in my back yard.

Mr. Governor

Sam Houston is the only person in U.S. history to serve as governor of two different states. William Weld has indicated that he might try to join that exclusive club.

An honest conservative

"There are some people out there who are Christians...who believe that homosexuality is a sin. You know what? I'm a Christian. I do believe that it's a sin. You know what else? I believe divorce is a sin. Guess what? I've been divorced. Guess what? Jesus talks about divorce a lot more than he talks about homosexuality. I don't know why people obsess over it so much, but they do. Wait a second, I do know why they obsess over it. Because they get votes bashing gays."
--Joe Scarborough

Nostalgic Putin

MOSCOW Apr 25, 2005 — President Vladimir Putin lamented the demise of the Soviet Union in some of his strongest language to date, saying in a nationally televised speech before parliament Monday that it was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." . . .

Putin, who served as a colonel in the KGB, has resurrected some communist symbols during his presidency, bringing back the music of the old Soviet anthem and the Soviet-style red banner as the military's flag.
And don't forget this story from earlier this month.

Rice's skills as a Russia expert are going to be tested over the next 3 and 1/2 years.

Tueday's stupid criminal

While trying to steal stuff from a car, he locks himself in the trunk . (Here.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Judiciary

This week, the judicial system failed one of my clients. Unfortunately, such failures happen in this country multiple times every day. My client's misfortune was, however, just part of the price we, as a society, have to pay collectively for the imperfect - yet also brilliant - government system that our ancestors had the wisdom to establish.

In other words, I agree 100 percent with this op-ed from Ted Olsen. Here is a taste.

As much as we deplore incidents of bad judging, we are not necessarily better off with -- and may dislike even more -- adjudications made by presidents or this year's majority in Congress.

Calls to investigate judges who have made unpopular decisions are particularly misguided, and if actually pursued, would undermine the independence that is vital to the integrity of judicial systems. If a judge's decisions are corrupt or tainted, there are lawful recourses (prosecution or impeachment); but congressional interrogations of life-tenured judges, presumably under oath, as to why a particular decision was rendered, would constitute interference with -- and intimidation of -- the judicial process. And there is no logical stopping point once this power is exercised.

Cuff 'em

As the father of a 6 year (and 3 days) old boy who has had several public tantrums, I find this story somewhat incredible.

Friday's stupid criminals

"They didn't have much of a chance," Deputy Sheriff Arnt Johnny Langeland said on the state radio network NRK. "They were rowing in opposite directions."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

State mottos

Alabama: Hell Yes, We Have Electricity.

Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!

Arizona: But It's A Dry Heat.

Arkansas: Literacy Ain't Everything.

California: By 30, Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda.

Colorado: If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother.

Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedy's Don't Own It Yet.

Delaware: We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water.

Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids And Our Voting Skills.

Georgia: We Put The Fun In Fundamentalist Extremism.

Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru (Death To Mainland Scum,Leave Your Money)

Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes... Well, Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good

Illinois: Please, Don't Pronounce the "S"

Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free

Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn

Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States

Kentucky: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names

Louisiana: We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign.

Maine: We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster

Maryland: If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It

Massachusetts: Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden's And Our Senators Are More Corrupt!

Michigan: First Line Of Defense From The Canadians

Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes...And 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes

Mississippi: Come And Feel Better About Your Own State

Missouri: Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work

Montana: Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, and Honest Elections!

Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest

Nevada: Hookers and Poker!

New Hampshire: Go Away And Leave Us Alone

New Jersey: You Want A ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right here!

New Mexico: Lizards Make Excellent Pets

New York: You Have The Right To Remain Silent, You Have The Right To An Attorney...And No Right To Self Defense!

North Carolina: Tobacco Is A Vegetable

North Dakota: We Really Are One Of The 50 States!

Ohio: At Least We're Not Michigan

Oklahoma: Like The Play, But No Singing

Oregon: Spotted Owl...It's What's For Dinner

Pennsylvania: Cook With Coal

Rhode Island: We're Not REALLY An Island

South Carolina: Remember The Civil War? Well, We Didn't Actually Surrender Yet

South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota

Tennessee: Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.

Texas: Se Hablo Ingles

Utah: Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus

Vermont: Ay, Yep

Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?

Washington: Our Governor can out-fraud your Governor!

West Virginia: One Big Happy Family...Really!

Wisconsin: Come Cut Cheese!

Wyoming: Where Men Are Men... And The Sheep Are Scared

The District of Columbia: The Work-Free Drug Place!


Pope's e-mail address

It is


Murderers, not "insurgents"

Michael Moore.
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq's interim president announced Wednesday the recovery of more than 50 bodies from the Tigris River, saying the grisly discovery was proof of claims that dozens were abducted from an area south of the capital despite a fruitless search by Iraqi forces.

Northwest of Baghdad, witnesses said 19 bullet-riddled bodies were found slumped against a bloodstained wall in a soccer stadium in Haditha.

The discoveries came as insurgents unleashed a string of attacks that killed at least nine Iraqis and wounded 21. They included four suicide car bombs -- one of which targeted interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's convoy -- and a roadside explosion in the capital, police said. Allawi escaped unharmed, they said.

More Schiavo

This would be dumb.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean said "that his party would wield the Terri Schiavo case against Republicans in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but for now needed to stay focused battling President Bush on Social Security," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Dean: "We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on."
People were repelled that Terri Schiavo's tragic situation was made into a political issue in the first place. My prediction is that reintroducing it as a political issue would backfire on Democrats.

Cell phone calls

I am sure that I have witnessed this several times.

Body double

I thought that only Saddam did this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Monday, April 18, 2005

Law school rankings

Number 19 for my alma mater, the University of Minnesota, ain't bad. Most important, it stays ahead of Iowa and Wisconsin.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Light posting alert

Family commitments and an unexpected work crunch are likely to result in few postings over the next week.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cost of living

The Onion's take, here. In sum, . . .
WASHINGTON, DC—A report released Monday by the Federal Consumer Quality-Of-Life Control Board indicates that the cost of living now outstrips life's benefits for many Americans.


As a big football fan, I found this list quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hunting cats

I was going to make fun of Wisconsin for this proposal. Then, upon reading the article, I discovered that cat hunting is legal in Minnesota and has been for a long time.

Minneapolis is going wireless



I was frustrated using this bulky Sony Walkman when running because it never quite felt comfortable strapped to my arm and the radio reception was inconsistent at best. So I decided to get a low-end iPod shuffle (which arrived yesterday) and I realized instantly that I have been missing out on something great.

I can download my entire CD collection to my computer, attach the iPod to a USB port, and the software will randomly select 100+ songs which themselves can then be played randomly on the iPod. At anytime, I can just attach the iPod to the computer again and get 100+ different songs. And the darn thing is the size of cigarette lighter, which means that not only will it be super convenient for running but I can carry it in my pocket so that I can listen to it on the bus on the way home from work. This thing is going to change my life (at least a little).

Monday, April 11, 2005

"Within striking distance"

From the front page of the New York Times.

WASHINGTON, April 10 - Two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the American-led military campaign in Iraq is making enough progress in fighting insurgents and training Iraqi security forces to allow the Pentagon to plan for significant troop reductions by early next year, senior commanders and Pentagon officials say. . .

The American military's priority has shifted from waging offensive operations to training Iraqi troops and police officers. Iraqi forces now oversee sections of Baghdad and Mosul, with American forces on call nearby to help in a crisis. More than 2,000 American military advisers are working directly with Iraqi forces.

More Iraqi civilians are defying the insurgents' intimidation to give Iraqi forces tips on the locations of hidden roadside bombs, weapons caches and rebel safe houses. The Pentagon says that more than 152,000 Iraqis have been trained and equipped for the military or the police, but the quality and experience of those forces varies widely. Also, the Government Accountability Office said in March that those figures were inflated, including perhaps tens of thousands of police officers who are absent from duty.

Interviews with more than a dozen senior American and Iraqi officers, top Pentagon officials and lawmakers who have visited Iraq yield an assessment that the combination of routing insurgents from their sanctuary in Falluja last November and the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30 has given the military operation sustained momentum, and put the Bush administration's goal of turning Iraq over to a permanent, elected Iraqi government within striking distance.


"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority, and it is hurting any Republican who is up for reelection. My party is going to have to decide whether we are going to continue to make excuses for Tom to the detriment of Republicans seeking election."

-- Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), quoted by the Los Angeles Times, on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Concert tickets

It was announced last week that Bruce Springsteen is coming to St. Paul in May, and that tickets would be sold only over the Internet. Tickets went on sale at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, and I was at the Ticketmaster website at 10:59 continually hitting "Refresh" on my browser until the hour struck. I got through right away only to find that all of the tickets were already gone.

Now, check this out.

It seems to me that it is much fairer to force people to stand in line for tickets than to make the tickets generally available to a bunch of eBay scalpers from around the country.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Change in blogging habits

Now that spring has definitely arrived, I think that it is a good time to alter my blogging habits. Let me explain.

In 2004, I became addicted to blogs in the lead-up to the “most important election of my lifetime." It was impossible for me to get too much information or to read too many opinions from across the political spectrum. I was fortunate enough to have Centerfield invite me to participate as a contributor, where I immediately had a blog audience of several hundred people a day to offer my thoughts to and ask for its reaction and comments.

By Election Day 2004, I decided that I would set up my own blog to talk about anything that I wanted, political or non-political, and I never really expected many people to read it. To my pleasant surprise, since then I have developed a modest number of regular visitors, and I have even received some links from famous bloggers such as Instapundit, Roger L. Simon, Michael Totten and Joe Gandelman. But the more traffic I would get (albeit always modest), the more that I would feel compelled to not just post things that I come across and are interesting to me, but to actually seek out things to post. And that is not what I want to do. Also, I want to spend the summer focusing on (1) enjoying the outdoors (including the pool) with the family, (2) my marathon training, (3) numerous outdoor projects, and (4) golf.

The point of this post is this -- while this blog will definintely stay active, expect fewer posts. If things are going on that strike my fancy, I might offer several posts in a day. If not, I may offer only a few posts in week. So keep coming back and if you don't find anything new, check out one or more of the blogs on the "Blogs I Read" list to the right. They are all more interesting than me anyway.

USA Today

Here is a balanced op-ed from USA Today regarding the past, present and potential future in Iraq.

Pork trumps party

This story reveals what a large part of Senate business is really about -- bringing home the pork, even if it requires using dirty tricks against others in your own party. It also provides additional insight into why a long voting record in the Senate creates inevitable obstacles for anyone who wants to run for President.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wednesday's stupid criminals

Burglars Call 911 on Themselves

Cooper on religion

Marc Cooper takes off on religion.
Nor do I have any qualms about ridiculing Christians, or Moslems, or Jews for that matter. Being anti-religious shares no territory with, say, racial or any other form of bigotry. One’s race or gender or nationality is determined irrevocably by birth. Religion, however, is voluntary (at least after you’re 18). You make the decision – I reserve the right to ridicule for it.
And boy does he ridicule, largely with the help of George Carlin.

Russian collapse?

This is interesting. I wonder why it is not getting more attention.
(AP) Infighting among top Russian political leaders, rattled by popular uprisings in three ex-Soviet republics, may cause a rift that puts Russia at risk of breaking up, President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff warned in an interview published Monday.

Analysts said the rare public comments by Dmitry Medvedev, a powerful member of Putin's inner circle, appeared to be an attempt to bolster the authority of Putin's administration.

In the interview published in the magazine Expert, Medvedev said infighting among politicians may cause Russia to collapse, leading to "horrible consequences" and making the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union seem like a "kindergarten party."

"If we do not manage to consolidate elites, Russia may disappear as a unified state," Medvedev was quoted as saying. "And then everybody will be in trouble, including our immediate and distant neighbors."

Gov. Ed Rendell

When I was in graduate school in Philadelphia in the late 1980s, I took a class taught by Ed Rendell. At that time, the only political experience on his resume was that he had served as the District Attorney for Philadelphia from 1978 to 1985. My recollections of the class and Rendell are vague, but I do distinctly remember the director of our program predicting that Rendell would go far in politics.

Since I moved from the Keystone State back to Minnesota, Rendell has served as Mayor of Philadelphia, General Chair of the Democratic National Committee and, since 2003, as Governor of Pennsylvania. Now, there are hints that Rendell has his sights set on running for President.

The Democractic Party could do a lot worse than Rendell. He has extensive executive experience, no legislative record to pick apart, and generally centrist views on social and fiscal matters. If he runs, his Democratic rivals will undoubtedly argue that he doesn't have the necessary experience on national security issues, but he might be able to fend off such attacks if he surrounds himself with the right people. Anyway, for those who can't help but start speculating about 2008, don't forget about Rendell.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Good rules

(1) Do not ask people to feel you.

(2) Do not press people into uninvited conversation about their sex lives.

(3) Do not threaten people with firing, especially at the same time you are violating rules (1) and (2).

Link. Rule #4 is for management: Don't promote the guy after learning that he repeatedly violated rules (1), (2) and (3).

What's wrong with this?


Just when you thought the Federal Election Commission had it out for the blogosphere, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took it up a notch and announced yesterday that it will soon vote on a city ordinance that would require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed $1,000 in the aggregate.

Blogs that mention candidates for local office that receive more than 500 hits will be forced to pay a registration fee and will be subject to website traffic audits, according to Chad Jacobs, a San Francisco City Attorney.

To recap, before you engage in political speech in liberal San Francisco you may be required to register with the government, pay the government a fee, and agree to provide information to the government regarding anyone who is exposed to your political speech. I'm just a clueless commercial lawyer, but that sounds to me like it might raise a wee bit of a constitutional problem.

What's in a name?

Former Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse has entered the race for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Lincoln Chafee. Now that is a good political name.

In case you missed it

Between Terry Schiavo and Pope John Paul II, it would be easy to miss some otherwise front-page stories. For example --

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria plans to pull all its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon by April 30, and a U.N. team could be dispatched to verify the withdrawal, a U.N. envoy said Sunday after meeting President Bashar Assad.

The full withdrawal will mark the end of Syria's 29-year military presence in Lebanon and will comply with the demands in a U.N. resolution, helping to relieve the international pressure on Damascus.

U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen said Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa had informed him "all Syrian troops, military assets and the intelligence apparatus will have been withdrawn fully and completely" by April 30, at the latest.

This speedy retreat would have been unimaginable just two months ago.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A history lesson

From a Brit.

I watch with interest the efforts of American liberals to absorb and learn from the reelection of George W. Bush and from the strength of the GOP's grip on Congress. To me this recalls vividly the revolution that occurred in Britain's Labour Party when Margaret Thatcher swept the board in 1979 and won three elections in a row.

Labour's response was to abandon socialism completely, accept Thatcher's privatization of nationalized industries and reform of the trade unions and celebrate these changes by renaming itself "New Labour." As a result of its humility and willingness to learn, Labour has now won two elections handsomely and, in the opinion of most observers (though not in mine), is set to win a third. That is how democracy works--a major shift in policies that wins the support of the voters persuades the opposition that it must change its program fundamentally if it is to garner votes and remain in the game.

Schiavo: a final word

As his final good deed, John Paul II effectively ended the Schiavo news marathon. John Leo has a good recap of the circus and appropriately concludes that no one distinguished himself or herself.

(P.S. The buzzing fly crosses the line of acceptable annoyances in Web ads.)

(P.S.S. I clicked on the link again and the buzzing fly ad is no longer up. I assume that they cycle the ads, so you may or may not have to endure it.)

More signs of progress

More evidence that things are improving in Iraq can be found here. The insurgency won't be defeated overnight, but all recent signs are that it will be defeated.

Political correctness in Berkeley?


Thomas Jefferson's John Hancock could soon be a thing of the past at the Berkeley elementary school that bears his name.

About two years after a group of teachers and parents started a petition, the school community is nearing a vote on whether to keep the old name or change it to something more widely acceptable.

"It's an awkward position to ask African-American children and African-American teachers to celebrate a historical figure who was a slave owner," said Marguerite Hughes, who teaches first grade at the school and was part of the group pushing for the name change. . .

More recently, Abraham Lincoln Elementary became Malcolm X, and Christopher Columbus lost more than his holiday in Berkeley -- his namesake school was rebuilt as Rosa Parks Elementary in the late '90s after some impassioned discussion. Not over whether to change the name, but whether to rename it after Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

"He loved the Pope"

This story says a lot about John Paul II.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, who gravely wounded Pope John Paul in a failed assassination attempt in 1981, was grief-stricken over the Pontiff's death, Agca's brother said Sunday.

Agca, now in an Istanbul prison, was mourning the loss of "a great friend," the gunman's brother Adnan Agca told Reuters.

"He is extremely saddened, he is in grief. He loved the Pope," said Adnan Agca. "They developed a personal friendship while Mehmet Ali was (imprisoned) in Italy, and they had announced their brotherhood.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Friday's stupid criminals

The headline says it all: Stolen Car In Handicapped Space Has 265 Pounds Of Pot

Smoking ban

A smoking ban in bars went into effect here on Wednesday. This morning the most-listened to local radio show was reporting that a judge had declared the ban illegal, and the entire show was people calling in with their reactions. I got to work and went to the StarTribune website to learn more, only to discover that I had been had.

April Fools.