Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Loyalty to Fox News

This is funny.
ON CNN RIGHT NOW... [Rich Lowry ]
...(my Fox is not coming through at the moment), a big apartment building . . .
It says a lot about the nature of the NRO echo chamber that Lowry actually felt a need to explain why he was watching the coverage of a natural disaster on CNN instead of Fox.


The pictures of the devastation and the looting are heart-breaking. Here is a partial antidote.

All powerful

I wonder, does anything bad happen in the world that can't be blamed directly on George W. Bush?

UPDATE: Apparently, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is also to blame.

Scope of the disaster

The damage is the worst natural disaster in the country's history, said Bill Lokey of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who is coordinating federal assistance. "This is the most significant disaster ever to visit the United States."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Helen Thomas is a putz

From her most recent column.
Did Bush think that at least some Iraqis some would not stand and defend their country? Is patriotism simply an American phenomenon?
That is right. She thinks that the Iraqi "patriots" are not those who are risking their lives in an attempt to build a new Iraq but instead are the Sunni thugs who are killing Shiites in an attempt to ignite a civil war and killing fellow Sunnis in an attempt to stop them from cooperating with the Shiites and Kurds in the development of that new Iraq.


The New Orleans Times-Picayune is being distributed today electronically only.


The City of New Orleans Is Devastated. Those were the words of Mayor C. Ray Nagin and based upon a major breach of a levee system, water is flowing into New Orleans flooding it beyond recognition and could very well destroy New Orleans, Jefferson and the surrounding areas.

In a most frightening interview with WWL TV, Mayor C. Ray Nagin gave the worse-case scenario of events that anyone could possibly imagine. In the beginning of the interview, he stated that New Orleans is devastated.

Of most importance is the breach of the levee between Jefferson and Orleans Parish.

“We probably have 80 percent of our city under water with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet”.

And it appears that things are even worse in Mississippi. I'm finding all of this truly hard to believe.

New Orleans, LA (CBS) - Martial Law has been declared in New Orleans as conditions continued to deteriorate. Water levels in The Big Easy and it's suburbs are rising at dangerous levels and officials stated they don't know where the water is coming from. Residents are being urged to get out of New Orleans in any way they can as officials fear "life will be unsustainable" for days or even weeks.

Monday, August 29, 2005

What he said

My friends on both sides of the ideological divide are mystified at how I could have such an obsession with politics but at the same time share the antipathy of a large segment of the adult population towards both political parties.

In the past, I've tried to respond in different ways. Today I will simply say -- read this.


With nothing more important to report on, this story takes up more space than any other on the StarTribune front page today.

Thousands of students are moving into residence halls at Minnesota colleges and universities this weekend, and they'll be dragging more stuff into their tiny rooms than their parents ever dreamed of. Much of it is electronic.

Computers. DVD players. Television sets. Cell phones. Xboxes and MP3 players and iPods. Not to mention coffeemakers and espresso machines, microwaves and mini-refrigerators. All in rooms that usually measure about 120 to 150 square feet -- for two people.

"What I find amazing is that students bring all these things, and when they move in, it's a box," said Rachel Kittelson, residential-life director at St. Thomas. "Within two weeks, they have transformed it into their home."

I hope this is the start of continuing series. Maybe next week we will learn about the pizza ordering habits of college students.

With friends like these . . .

If I was trying to develop some political momentum for my cause, I'd shutter shudder at getting an endorsement from this guy or this guy. Or this guy.

I can't wait for this spectacle to be over.

UPDATE: As the former English teacher points out in the comments, I need to proofread my posts more carefully.

Are you f*cking kidding me?

Pupils are being allowed to swear at one Northamptonshire secondary school - as long as they limit their use of bad language to five times a lesson. . .

"Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score," he wrote in the letter.

"Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson."

The school, which has 1,130 pupils, also plans to send "praise postcards" to the parents of children who do not swear in class.
I wonder if this guy went to school in Northamptonshire?

Storm of a lifetime

Gasp. I have never seen anything like this warning before.
619 AM CDT MON AUG 29 2005








Godspeed to the folks in Louisiana.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday catfish blogging

Friday cat blogging is a popular activity. (See here, e.g.) Well, how about Friday catfish blogging?

HAT KHRAI, Thailand - The monster fish announced itself with four huge whacks of its tail, thrashing against the net that had trapped it in the pale brown water of the Mekong River.

It was a rare giant catfish the size of a grizzly bear, and it took five boatmen an hour to pull it in and 10 men to lift it when they reached the shore in this remote village in northern Thailand.

Only after their catch had been chopped into pieces and sold did they learn how special it was. At nine feet in length and weighing 646 pounds, it may be the biggest freshwater fish ever recorded.


This is a hilarious item from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed page.

In last Sunday's Crossroads section, we ran a column ("A return to the rule of law") about the U.S. Supreme Court and attributed it to former Milwaukee Mayor Frank P. Zeidler.

The problem: He didn't write it. Another problem. We can't tell you who did.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

I have tried to avoid commenting on the whole Cindy Sheehan ordeal. I obviously respect her right to protest, and I have to admire her PR savvy in making this the story that it is. That said, she has marginalized herself with comments like these.
"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"
War is a terrible thing. But calling the President the "biggest terrorist in the world" for leading wars against terrorism and for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq is so patently ridiculous that very soon 95% of the people are going to stop any paying attention to her at all. Moreover, these types of comments are destructive to the very anti-war movement that she is attempting to promote.


A local talk show has a segment called "We're Done as a Society Awards" in which the host reviews odd stories. This story might be the all-time winner.

Hat tip: Dave.

Guilty until proven innocent

This whole recent Lance Armstrong brouhaha makes me sick, so I can't even imagine what it is doing to him. First, remember that we are talking about 1999. Second, remember this.
The lab said it could not confirm that the positive results cited in L'Equipe were Armstrong's. It noted that the samples were anonymous, bearing only a six-digit number to identify the rider, and could not be matched with any one cyclist.
Third, remember this.
In his autobiography, "It's Not About the Bike," he said he was administered EPO during his chemotherapy treatment to battle cancer.
Being famous would suck. Being famous and the focus of insane jealousy would really suck. Being famous and the focus of insane jealousy from people who are willing to defame you in order to tear you down would really, really suck.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Best. Golfer. Ever.

Woods birdied The Monster, the 667-yard par-5 16th hole, to move one shot ahead, then played for conservative pars on the final two holes to ice his 45th PGA Tour victory, an impressive total for a guy who isn't going to turn 30 until December. . .

He smashed 24 drives in excess of 330, 14 more than 350 and seven beyond 370. . .

I think we're looking at the second coming of Tiger next year. This may sound crazy, but it's just possible that Tiger's best is yet to come. As you know, that would be something to see.
When I'm old and watching golf on TV (or its technological successor) with my grandchildren, I have no doubt that I will be telling them about the Best. Golfer. Ever. (Don' get it? See here.)

Pat Robertson is a putz

Quote regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Traffic boosters

I have considered an experiment for some time to see what effect it had on blog traffic, but I have held back because I feared that the experiment might be in poor taste. Anyway, the following has inspired me to proceed and launch the experiment.

The continual focus-grouping explains why most bloggers write as though their primary goal is to rise in the Google search results. The more you mention people like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the more readers you will have, and the more links, and the more you will rise in Google's estimation. I have nothing really to say about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and am not even remotely interested in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but I know that my blog will be read by more people if it mentions famous celebrities who might be secretly boinking, such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

And let me just add, purely for the sake of Google: sex, alien abduction, Oprah, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, jumbo hooters the size of watermelons, Dick Cheney, Mark of the Beast, Armageddon, free money.

Okay, here we go: "Free porn. Free porn. Free porn."

Circular firing squad among Democrats

Markos is organizing it.

No calls for a truce will be brooked. The [moderate] DLC has used those pauses in the past to bide their time between offensives. Appeals to party unity will fall on deaf ears (it's summer of a non-election year, the perfect time to sort out internal disagreements).

We need to make the DLC radioactive. And we will. With everyone's help, we really can. Stay tuned.

Q: Who is the only Democrat to be reelected since FDR?

A: Bill Clinton, former Chairman of the DLC.

Q: How many of the candidates that received full-fledged support from Markos won their elections last year?

A: Zero (out of 12, not including John Kerry.)

Q: Should the Democrats follow Clinton's path or Markos' path?

A: What kind of stupid question is that?

Signs of progress

[T]he most important changes occurring, not just in Iraq but across the Muslim world, are changes in people's minds. . . Now comes the Pew Global Attitudes Project's recent survey of opinion in six Muslim countries to tell us that progress is being made in achieving that goal. Minds are being changed and in the right direction.

Most important, support for terrorism in defense of Islam has "declined dramatically," in the Pew report's words, in Muslim countries, except in Jordan (which has a Palestinian majority) and Turkey, where support has remained a low 14 percent. It has fallen in Indonesia (from 27 to 15 percent since 2002), Pakistan (from 41 to 25 percent since 2004), Morocco (from 40 to 13 percent since 2004), and among Muslims in Lebanon (from 73 to 26 percent since 2002). Support for suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq has also declined. The percentage reporting some confidence in Osama bin Laden is now under 10 percent in Lebanon and Turkey and has fallen sharply in Indonesia.

Similarly, when asked whether democracy was a western way of doing things or could work well in their own country, between 77 and 83 percent in Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, and Indonesia say it could work in their country--in each case a significant increase from earlier surveys. In Turkey, with its sharp political divisions, and Pakistan, with its checkered history, the percentages hover around 50 percent.

Every death in Iraq is terrible, but the President would be well advised to focus more on polls like the Pew poll than polls like this one.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Hagel: Iraq = Vietnam

I disagree with Sen. Hagel on this, but his recent pronoucements are going to put real political pressure on Bush the way that Cindy Sheehan could only dream of.

By no stretch of the imagination do I think that it is "unpatriotic" to voice skeptism about the way that things are going, but at the same time I don't think one can reasonably dispute that vocal criticism from a high-profile member of the President's own party will provide some level of encouragement to the insurgency. This is just a price of democracy that we have no choice but to pay.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Right wing radio revolt

The good people of the Twin Cities are losing interest in the propaganda of right wing talk radio.

Twin Cities listeners have been tuning out political talk radio.

Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh's show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity's show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that "we're weighing where these shows fit for us in the future," according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs. . .

"We're not sure yet what's really going on," said talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel's director of news and talk programming for northern California. "In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven't been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives."

This makes me smile.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Messed up priorities

Indonesia is really screwed up. She got 2o years for possession of pot, while these terrorist murderers were sentenced to far less time and get periodic "we are in a good mood" reductions in those ridiculously lame sentences. Un-fricking-believeable.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Blog sabbatical

My schedule this week is very busy. Plus, I'm bordering on blog-burnout. Thus, I'm going into self-imposed exile for a week. My imaginary friend might guest blog in my absence. See you soon.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lesbian swans

That's right. And it could have been prevented if the parents had been more observant. Damn shame.

The Sopranos

We have never had HBO, so I came to The Sopranos late. About 2 years ago, we put Season 1 on our Netflix list and I was immediately hooked. The wife lost interest (too much violence), but I have now seen every episode that has been released on DVD and I eagerly await the release of Season 6. In the meantime, I have started over with Season 1 again. The Sopranos is, without a doubt, my favorite TV series of all time.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to see today that HBO has again postponed the end of the series. When the end does come, I will be an unhappy camper indeed.

New discovery

How is this even possible?

NARAL pulls ad

But it is still run by hacks.
"Unfortunately, the debate over that advertisement has become a distraction from the serious discussion we hoped to have with the American public.

"We also regret that many people have misconstrued our recent advertisement about Mr. Roberts' record," [NARAL President Nancy] Keenan said.

Was that supposed to be funny, or does she really think that people are that dumb?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Progress report

(Link for easier to read version. Hat tip to Dave.)

For the handful who care, here is a brief update on my training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

Last weekend, I participated in my 3rd half-marathon in the past 3 months. I was encouraged because I finished more than 7 minutes faster than I did in my 1st half-marathon, and more than 12 minutes faster than I did in my 2nd. I have now run about 500 miles since March, and I plan to run another 200 or so before the marathon. At this point, I think that I am going to be ready to finish if not ready to make an overly impressive time.

By the way, after much experience seeing the enjoyment level for non-golfers who have been asked to participate in corporate sponsored golf events, today's Dilbert has added punch for me.

Abort or be fired?

If the allegations are true, this is absolutely astonishing.

Because of various health issues, April Thompson said she had reason to believe she might never have a child.

When she got pregnant, the joy she wanted to share with her employer quickly turned sour when, she said, her boss demanded that she get an abortion or risk losing her job.

Thompson's attorney, Ed Buckley, said the woman eventually was fired by Piedmont Management Associates, a homeowners association management firm, for refusing to get the abortion. . .


Credibility test

Who is more believeable?

This guy
One of the prime suspects in the failed July 21 bombings in London told British and Italian investigators on Tuesday that a bag packed with explosives and nails had been meant to scare, not to kill.
Or this guy?
The Maine man police discovered at the bottom of a women's outhouse last month told investigators that he was searching for his wedding ring.

Kondracke: moderate uprising needed

Just a taste.
What's needed is for moderates to get militant . . .
Like they say, read it all.

Welcome home

We used to take this for granted.

Monday, August 08, 2005

End of an era

In 1983, the year I graduated from high school, the three network news anchors were Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw. Remarkably, there was no turnover in any of those positions for 21 years. Then, Brokaw called it quits in December 2004, and Rather left reluctantly in March 2005. A month later, in April 2005, Jennings announced that he had lung cancer. Yesterday, Jennings lost his fight. His death marks the end of an era.

With the rise of cable news and the Internet, the heyday of network news has long since passed. Still, there is no doubt that this triumvirate etched their permanent places in the forefront of television and journalism history. In the age of the anchor-of-the-day at CNN, I will always remember with some nostaglia the names Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Tbogg is a putz

I'm waiting for an article that questions a man and his wife building high-powered careers, marrying late, and then, in their mid-forties, adopting infants to accessorize their public profiles. When these kids are graduating from high school, their parents will be in their sixties. I'm all for adoption, but I cringe when I see middle-aged successful couples adopt children to decorate their lives in an effort to "have it all".
What an ass.

"An awful act in a just cause"

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. A second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later. On August 15, Emperor Hirohito made an unprecedented radio address to the nation to announce Japan's surrender.

The title of this post comes from this editorial. I'm grateful that we had a man of Truman's strength and character in the White House at that time to make the unbelievably difficult - but, in my opinion, undoubtedly correct - decision to drop the bomb to force an immediate end to the war. The editorial explains.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

James Dobson is a putz

DOBSON: "I have to ask this question: In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind. You know, if you take a utilitarian approach, that if something results in good, then it is good. But that's obviously not true. We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany. That's why to Senator [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist [R-TN] and the others who are saying, "Look what may be accomplished." Yeah, but there's another issue, there's a higher order of ethics here."
Will public figures ever learn that when you compare people to Nazis, you will create a well-deserved sh*tstorm? (For other examples, see here, here and here.)

Whose line is it?

Who said this?
"It can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs and they are defending all the people of the world against American hegemony." . . .

"Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad.

"The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will.

"The daughters are crying for help and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters."

You might think it came from this guy. But you would be wrong.

Never mind


GRAPEVINE, Tex., Aug. 3 - President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, "Make no mistake about it, we are at war."

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase "war on terror" no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the "global struggle against violent extremism," the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.

However, the "Global Struggle Against Mood-Altering Chemicals" continues.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

11 holes-in-one

North Korea's Dear Leader Kim Jong-il made 11 holes-in-one during the first round of golf he ever played. It is true. It was in the news.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It is a "war"

I am baffled by the Bush Administration's attempt to redefine the War on Terror as a "Global Struggle Against Extremism." I wrote a long post on this topic last week but never published it because I was not satisfied with my articulation of my objections. Now, Michael J. Totten proves that pictures are often more enlightening than words. Go look.

More Roberts

Gloria Borger hits the nail on the head.
Here's the question: What's the difference between the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by President Bill Clinton and the nomination of Judge Roberts by President Bush? Answer: nothing. Ginsburg appeared as liberal as Roberts does conservative, yet she was approved 96 to 3. The GOP decided it would not be a party of useless litmus tests or panderers to special interests. And in the next election, Republicans made it clear she would not have been their choice. That is, after all, what elections are about.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Roberts: "Dangerous," "radical" (Oh, my!)

From an op-ed published in the StarTribune under the partial title "Roberts' radicalism."
Last week, press aides at the White House made a furious round of phone calls: A number of major newspapers had printed that John Roberts was a member of the secretive far-right Federalist Society.

Yikes! Does this "secretive" group have anything to do with Skull and Bones? Anyway, there is more.

[H]e advocated for right-wing ideology over free speech, religious liberty and voting rights for minorities.
Sounds like a pretty evil SOB. The op-ed goes on to describe Roberts as a "danger," not once, but twice.

But wait, now I read this from a StarTribune "news" story today.

Marie Failinger understood right away that she was the designated liberal foil when the Federalist Society invited her to speak at a conference on bias in the courts. Even so, the professor at Hamline University School of Law, the only one of the four metro-area law schools not to harbor an active Federalist chapter, emerged impressed. The group didn't strike her as the kind of secret society that some of the coverage of its ties to U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts might suggest. . .

Roberts' vagueness over the exact nature of his ties to the group is typical of all of them, members say. It's not a membership group in the way that a labor union has members; it's more like "being on the mailing list." Nor is it an advocacy group like the American Civil Liberties Union, members say. It's a debating society, with a website that lists events and speakers.

Any ties at all to the Federalist Society indicate that Roberts is conservative, they agree, but they wouldn't expect President Bush to appoint anyone who wasn't. . .

Emphasizing that he was speaking not as state DFL Party chairman but as a lawyer, [Brian] Melendez agreed with the group's contention that one can be a Federalist without being an extremist.

"A number of good friends of mine are members. I disagree with them on many things, but they are well within the realm of mainstream politics," he said.

I am not a conservative and I am not a big fan of the Federalist Society, although I certainly know a lot of reasonable people who are. However, as the "news" story demonstrates, the silly op-ed is nothing more than a temper tantrum because Roberts is almost certainly not a liberal. Well, I hate to break the news, but if you win the election you get to nominate judges and "he thinks like a Republican" is not a serious objection to or argument against confirmation.

Hypocritical politician of the day


A Boston city councilor who has championed a get-tough approach on illegal parking is himself a chronic offender, racking up thousands of dollars in tickets and repeatedly violating the resident-only rules in his own neighborhood.

City Councilor Michael Ross has gotten 115 tickets over the past two years, including 11 in the past year for breaking the resident parking restrictions in his Beacon Hill neighborhood.

He has also been tagged twice for parking in handicapped spots, once for blocking a fire hydrant and three times for having an expired registration, double-parking, parking in loading zones and violating the city's snow emergency restrictions.

"I get tickets just like everyone else gets tickets,'' Ross said . . .

Just like everyone else?