Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The truth hurts

Click here to enlarge.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

I introduced my son to the original Star Wars trilogy when he was 3 years old, and he has seen each of those movies several times. Ever since, his favorite toys have included light sabers and Star Wars - Lego ships.

Because of the lousy reviews, I didn't go see either Episode I or Episode II in the theater. I rented Episode I from Netflix but turned it off after about an hour and I never bothered to rent Episode II. But no matter what the reviews said, I was not going to stay away from Episode III. How could any fan of the original trilogy pass up the opportunity to learn the details of Darth Vader's turn to the Dark Side?

Cole and I went yesterday and neither of us was disappointed. I thought that it was so good, in fact, that I might go back and watch Episode I and Episode II just so I have the complete story, even though I know going in that those are the worst chapters. I bet Cole would even be willing to suffer through them with me.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

Tonight at dinner we will have a toast to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedom that we take for granted most of the other days of the year.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines -- which has a hub in Minneapolis and, thus, is the airline that I fly 80-90 percent of the time -- lost $458 million last quarter. Don't worry though, management has a plan -- eliminate the extravagance that free pretzels represent.

If you own stock in Northwest, it is past time to sell.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I do not assume that Hillary will run in 2008. I have also generally been of the opinion that, if she does run, she will not get the nomination and, if she does get the nomination, she will lose the general election. My preliminary conclusions have been based on two premises: (1) the country is not going to be ready to elect its first woman president during the national security climate that will exist in 2008, and (2) even if the country were inclined to elect its first woman president in 2008, Hillary has too many haters to be that person.

Well, perhaps I need to consider adjusting my thinking.
WASHINGTON — For the first time, a majority of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Just don't tune in to learn anything.

Busy, busy

I have been very busy the past few days with a fascinating new case; multi-million dollar bank fraud that ended with gunshot wound that may or may not have been self-inflicted. Blogging will remain light at least through the weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What a difference a week makes

Dick Morris.
The deal to avert a change in Senate cloture rules is more than just a temporary outbreak of sanity in this highly charged partisan accelerator chamber. It amounts to a transfer of leadership from the polarized, party leaders to the narrow but critical center of the institution.

Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) still has the corner office, and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) still has the key to the executive washroom, but it is the 14 senators who crafted this deal who now are the people to see in the Senate. . .
Who woulda thunk it at this time last week?

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

Wednesday's stupid criminals

"Idiots: That's what works for us," [Birmingham police Lt. James ] Chambliss said.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Change in our small town

Although we live within 15 miles of downtown Minneapolis, our city has a population of only about 4,000 people. Thus, what might be considered a moderate redevelopment project elsewhere is a big redevelopment project here. Like this.
The shopping center that makes up two-thirds of the commercial property in downtown Wayzata is being targeted for a $100 million redevelopment.
$100 million equates to $25,000 in redevelopment funds for every person who lives here. Even though this is private money, that figure is, quite frankly, astonishing.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Friday's stupid criminal

NEW YORK (AP) _ Radio personality "Crazy Cabbie" will spend a year in prison for tax evasion that was discovered by the IRS after he boasted about it on the nationally syndicated "Howard Stern Show."

A teachable moment

If there is one good thing that might come out of the Newsweek fiasco it is that maybe, just maybe, we will start to focus on what the real problem is.

Jeff Jacoby yesterday.
[W]hat ''Muslims in America and throughout the world" most need to hear is not pandering sweet-talk. What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam. It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an ''insurgency" in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to ''martyrdom."
Tom Friedman today.
We are spending way too much time debating with ourselves, or playing defense, and way too little time actually looking Arab Muslims in the eye and telling them the truth as we see it. . .

The greatest respect we can show to Arabs and Muslims - and the best way to help Muslim progressives win the war of ideas - is to take them seriously and stop gazing at our own navels. That means demanding that they answer for their lies, hypocrisy and profane behavior, just as much as we must answer for ours.
Let's hope that this drumbeat continues.

Caught with his pants down

This will undoubtedly get much more coverage and generate much more "outrage" than the mass murders of innocent civilians in Iraq by fellow Muslims that will likely occur during the next week.

UPDATE: Saddam is going to sue.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ward Churchill

This guy is not having a good year.
Ward Churchill's claim of membership in the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians is fraudulent, according to a scathing statement released by the tribal office.

The statement, issued May 9 in the name of the tribal leader, Chief George Wickliffe, and posted on its Web site Tuesday, does not mince words:

"The United Keetoowah Band would like to make it clear that Mr. Churchill IS NOT a member of the Keetoowah Band and was only given an honorary 'associate membership' in the early 1990s because he could not prove any Cherokee ancestry."

The tribe said that all of Churchill's "past, present and future claims or assertions of Keetoowah 'enrollment,' written or spoken, including but not limited to; biographies, curriculum vitae, lectures, applications for employment, or any other reference not listed herein, are deemed fraudulent by the United Keetoowah Band."

What we are up against

Tom Friedman has a special talent for explaining complicated events, trends and problems. Today, after noting the Newsweek fiasco and protests in the Muslim world, he writes as follows:

That said, though, in the same newspapers one can read the latest reports from Iraq, where Baathist and jihadist suicide bombers have killed 400 Iraqi Muslims in the past month - most of them Shiite and Kurdish civilians shopping in markets, walking in funerals, going to mosques or volunteering to join the police.

Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim world's silence about the real desecration of Iraqis, coupled with its outrage over the alleged desecration of a Koran, highlights what we are up against in trying to stabilize Iraq . . .
It is worth reading the whole column. BTW, I'm really sick of hearing these mass murderers of fellow Iraqis described as "insurgents."

Passion pants

I bet that this woman was a wee bit embarrassed when she woke up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The damage is done

[Editor Mark] Whitaker said in an interview later: "We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are."
"Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," the magazine said in a one-sentence statement from editor Mark Whitaker.
Q: What does Newsweek "know now" that it didn't know on Sunday?

A: You immediately retract a story that reports on a purported factual event when you "don't know what the ultimate facts are." Duh.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Monday's stupid criminal

Bank robbers are, by definition, dumb because they don't seem to appreciate the risk-reward ratio for that particular crime. This one was extra dumb -- he used a vacuum cleaner attachment as his weapon of choice.

New York Times columnists: $50 for their thoughts

I doubt that this will work very well.
NYT.com to charge for Op-Ed, other content as of Sept (NYT) By Carolyn Pritchard

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's NYTimes.com Web site will only be available through a fee of $49.95 a year. The service, known as TimesSelect, will also allow access to The Times's online archives, early access to select articles on the site, and other features. Home-delivery subscribers will automatically receive the service, the NYT said.
Most of us have come to view free news and opinion content on the Internet as a God-given right. Also, the columns of Friedman, Brooks, Krugman, et al all appear in other newspapers a day or two after they are in the Times. I think that most people will just learn to wait or, even worse for the Times, stop caring what its op-ed contributors have to say.

Revenge of the Sith

I hope that this review turns out to be representative.
This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed. That's right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it's better than "Star Wars."

Bad journalism

I'm not a big "bash the press" guy, but this story really pisses me off.
Newsweek apologized yesterday for printing a small item on May 9 about reported desecration of the Koran by American guards at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an item linked to riots in Pakistan and Afghanistan that led to the deaths of at least 17 people. But the magazine, while acknowledging possible errors in the article, stopped short of retracting it.

The report that a Koran had been flushed down a toilet set off the most virulent, widespread anti-American protests in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government more than three years ago.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Mark Whitaker, Newsweek's editor, wrote in the issue of the magazine that goes on sale at newsstands today. In an accompanying article, the magazine wrote that its reporters had relied on an American government official, whom it has not identified, who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

But Mr. Whitaker said in an interview later: "We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are."

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Anyone who reads this blog (or any blog) is unlikely to support this silly petition, but it already has over 1,000 virtual signatures.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Another quiz

This political typology quiz from the Pew Research Center is interesting. I'm in the "Upbeat" group.

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

Goodbye to a friend

One of my wife's best friends from law school died unexpectedly yesterday. This is the first time for either of us that a friend of our generation has passed away. RIP, Adam.

Pat Buchanan


Pope: "Get me a beer"

VATICAN -- You might think the new pope would prefer water or wine, but Pope Benedict XVI has given the thumbs up to … beer. . .

This past weekend, [a] brewery sent a beer truck to Rome delivering 185 gallons of beer to the pope.
Link. My respect for the man just went up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The funeral

Funerals for police officers are an amazing thing to witness. I'm just glad that we haven't witnessed them more often recently, at least in the Twin Cities.
A phalanx of more than 1,000 squad cars from the Twin Cities to little towns such as Gaylord, Minn., to Eau Claire and Rice Lake, Wis., joined the funeral procession; it took two hours for all of them to snake the 8 miles to St. Mary's Cemetery in North St. Paul for the graveyard service. . .

Addison Stonewall of the Clinton County (Ohio) Sheriff's Office said he drove the 750 miles to St. Paul after getting a call from his twin brother, St. Paul officer Monte Stonewall.

"They got one of the good ones," Monte Stonewall told his brother.

Addison Stonewall filed for vacation and joined the swell of police, firefighters and others paying their respects. After the funeral, he said it was easily the largest show of support he had seen.

"When one of these guys gets hit or cut down, they bleed blue," Stonewall said. "I think their department would show mine the same support if the same thing happened to us."

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy like this for most of us to be reminded of the incredibly difficult jobs that cops face every day.

The cartoon heard around the world

This cartoon from the Washington Times has caused quite a stir in Pakistan.

Understandably, many in Pakistan are offended by this cartoon. But the reaction of some is way over-the-top.
Some [Pakistani] legislators called for a complete review of Pakistan's alliance with the US.
It is a bit scary to think that the important geopolitical alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan could even theoretically be threatened by one private citizen's expression of an opinion, no matter how offensive it may be to anyone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Huffington Post

It is Day 2 for Arianna Huffington's group blog with many celebrity contributors. What I learned today from that blog is that Jim Lampley is nuts.
Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.

And he most certainly was, at least if the votes had been fairly and legally counted. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the nation, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil. . .

Karl Rove isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it.

Politics and religion

A few days ago I linked to a George Will column in which he warned against a religious litmus test by Republicans. I would not have thought that it would be similarly necessary to warn against a political litmus test by Baptists.

WAYNESVILLE – The turmoil embroiling East Waynesville Baptist Church and Pastor Chan Chandler is drawing national attention from religious and political groups.

Last October Chandler told those in his congregation “the question then comes in the Baptist Church how do I vote, let me just say this right now if you vote for John Kerry this year you need to repent or resign. You have been holding back God's church way too long. And I know I may get in trouble for saying that, but just pour it on.”

Nine members of East Waynesville say they had their membership revoked last week and 40 others left in protest after tension over political views came to a head, church members say. “Our memberships were terminated because we did not agree to have a political church,” said Thelma Lowe, the lone Republican voted out. “I did not vote for Kerry.”

People who believe as part of their religion that Democrats are evil give me the creeps.

Interview tips

Here are some examples of some mistakes to avoid in a job interview.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Say what?

Another story in the category of "this ain't from the Onion, believe it or not."
BOW, N.H. -- A decision to take Advanced Placement biology instead of gym will cost a Bow High School senior her diploma, but it won't keep her from going to college in the fall.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day wishes to my mom and my wife.

Ever wonder how Mother's Day got started?
The first Mother’s Day observance was a church service in 1908 requested by Anna Jarvis, of Philadelphia, to honor her deceased mother. Jarvis, at an early age, had heard her mother express hope that a day to commemorate all mothers would be established. Her mother had also expressed the sentiment that there were many days dedicated to men but none to mothers. Two years after her mother’s death, Jarvis and friends began a letter-writing campaign to declare a national Mother’s Day observance to honor mothers. In 1914, Congress passed legislation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 06, 2005

In the line of duty

Early this morning, St. Paul lost a police officer in the line of duty. Fortunately, the cops appear to have captured the bastards who did it.

Condolences to the family of Sgt. Gerald Vick and the entire St. Paul Police Department.

Tony Blair reelected

Will we get an apology from the voters in Britain?

Friday's stupid criminal

[P]olice detective Gregory Jenkins felt compelled to end his report of the incident with the admonition, "Again, this really happened."

Life imitating art

I thought that this happened only in the movies?

On the way to work

I saw one thing and heard another during my brief drive to the office today that I will document because, well, because I can. First, I saw a Saab with the vanity plate "SNAAB." Ha-ha, I get it. Second, I heard a report during the NPR news segment that Northwest Airlines is switching from Bud Light to Miller Lite on its domestic flights. Is that really news?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sad day

I was saddened this morning to open the newspaper and learn that the federal judge who I clerked for after law school, Harry MacLaughlin, died on Tuesday. I was his last, full-time law clerk. I was hired to serve a one-year term, from September 1992 to August 1993. However, in the spring of 1993, he decided to retire as of January 1994, and he asked me to stay on for a few additional months.

There is much that I could say, but I will leave it at this: I have appeared before at least 100 judges in the past 11 years, and his intelligence, diligence, and inherent sense of fairness made him the best I have ever seen.

Religion and politics

Believe it or not, George Will feels compelled to point out to the Republicans that a religious litmus test is, well, un-American. Preach it, George.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pet peeve

The neighbor's dog barking at me non-stop when I am in our yard.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Betting on the horse race

Care to place a wager on who will be the next president?
Sportsbook.com has prepared a list of odds for likely presidential candidates, and Democratic senator Hillary Clinton is a 6-1 favorite, running ahead of Republican Rudy Giuliani, who comes in at 10-1. What’s more, Condoleeza Rice is not far behind, with 15-1 odds, tying the chances given Senator John Edwards and beating Senator Barack Obama (30-1). Jeb Bush is ranked twelfth on the list, with 35-1 odds.
I would bet on "none of the above."

Low morale among insurgents?

Let's hope this is true.

Monday, May 02, 2005


Comic relief from Pat Robertson.

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." . . .

Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.

"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."

Sunday, May 01, 2005


My marathon training is on schedule. Today I ran in my first race ever, a half-marathon around Lake Minnetonka from Wayzata to Excelsior. My longest previous run was 12 miles (only once).

My goal going in was to break 2:05, although I set that goal with the assumption that we would have semi-decent weather. As it turned out, the temperature throughout the race was in the mid-30s, the wind was between 15 and 20 mph, and it snowed for part of the race.

As I was waiting for the race to start, I ran into an old friend and veteran marathoner. When I told him what my goal was, he offered to run with me and, as it turned out, that was a big help. We finished unofficially in 2:03:21 based on my watch. The official time will be slightly higher because we were near the back of the pack of 1000 runners at the start, and all official times are based on the gun, not when you cross the start line.

Anyway, I'm satisfied. Now, I’m off to the hot tub.