Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ted Rall is a putz (part 500)


An important message . . .

. . . from my favorite Democratic Senator. (Link)
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn. . .

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Second football thought of the day

Despite the general parity in the NFL in recent years, there have been many years in which a particular team has been dominant and seemed destined to win it all long before the playoffs began. E.g., '85-86 Bears, '86-87 Giants, numerous 49ers teams, and '99-00 Rams. (Of course, the '98-99 Vikings were the choke exception).

This year, the Colts look invincible. The offense is amazingly consistent, and the defense is well above average. At this point, I would take the Colts against the rest of the league in a Super Bowl bet.

Identifying the problem

This passage from an article reporting on Detroit Lions' GM Matt Millen's decision to fire Steve Mariucci as head coach makes me think that Millen must have pictures of the Lions' owner doing inappropriate things to little boys.
Millen hired both Mariucci and his predecessor, Marty Mornhinweg, and drafted or signed most of the players currently on the Lions -- and Detroit is an NFL-worst 20-55 since 2001. Millen, a former NFL linebacker and TV analyst was given a five-year extension before this season.

More legal woes

Another Republican is in deep legal trouble.

(CNN) -- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham said Monday he is resigning from Congress after pleading guilty to taking more than $2 million in bribes in a criminal conspiracy involving at least three defense contractors. . .

Prosecutors said Cunningham had taken bribes from contractors, which enabled him to buy a mansion, a suburban Washington condominium, a yacht and a Rolls Royce.

The Republican party has a growing image problem. I'm with those who think 2006 is going to be a very good year for Democrats at the polls.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


The Wayzata Trojans are state football champions for the first time. The team lost in the championship game last year, and played all year like they had something to prove. Well, they proved it.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Local news

I stopped watching local news many years ago. Still, every once in a while it comes on after a football game or something and I catch a minute or two before I reach for the remote. Such was the case today, and I saw part of the weather report. Since we got some snow today, I paid a little attention to find out if we can expect more. After about 2 minutes of telling me exactly how much snow every suburb got, the weather guy says "and stay tuned for the forecast, which I will be back with in about 10 minutes." Are you kidding me?

With the Internet, I find it unbelievable that enough people still watch the crap that is local news on any type of regular basis for it to remain viable.

Perfect record intact

Today I kept my perfect record alive of not going shopping on Black Friday. (The phrase "I'd rather light my hair on fire" comes to mind.) Nevertheless, as my contribution to the economy, I ordered a new notebook computer from Dell, and the price was better than anyI saw in the ads yesterday.

Mike Brown

I have spent very little time on the computer over the last couple of days, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess that this story is being ridiculed far and wide.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turkeys of the Year

The Vikings sex party made #4 on SI.com's Turkeys of the Year list, just surpassing the Vikings' Onterrio Smith, who (along with his Whizzinator) made #5 on the list. In a desperate attempt to distract attention from those (dis)honors, I will draw attention to #12 on the list and a story I had not previously heard.
In maybe this year's most outrageous example of bad sportsmanship, Downs, a tee ball coach from suburban Pittsburgh, allegedly offered one of his players $25 to bean an autistic teammate during warm-ups, just to keep the kid off the field.

Packer hater

Despite their recent resurgence, it seems clear that even if the Vikings make the playoffs they will be quickly eliminated. Nevertheless, a victory over the Packers is always special because of how much it gets to their players and their obnoxious fans. Quotes like this are extra nice.
"This one may be the worst because No. 1, it was Minnesota; No. 2, it was at home; and No. 3, it was Minnesota again," said Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman.

I must be crazy

We have rescheduled our trip to Arizona for a week in January that includes the Martin Luther King holiday. It turns out that the Phoenix Marathon is that weekend so, in an act of craziness, I signed up.

I suspect that I am going to find this experience different from my experience at the Twin Cities Marathon in October for several reasons. First, I can be certain it won't be humid. Second, the atmosphere is likely to be quite different given that, with 30,000 participants, the field for the Phoenix Marathon will be 3 times the size as the field for the Twin Cities Marathon, and there will be 26 rock n' roll bands stationed throughout the course. Third, the course is flat. (The evil part of the Twin Cities Marathon is that miles 20-23 are steeply uphill.)

At least I can be reasonably assured that I won't gain weight this holiday season.

UPDATE: I was wrong about the number of participants in the Phoenix Marathon. Turns out the 30,000 number that I had seen was for both the marathon and 1/2 marathon. See here. The field for the marathon is going to be only slightly larger than the 10,500 field for the Twin Cities Marathon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Deja vu

As far as I am concerned, the number one reason not to have pets (and a reason that is outweighed by everything else) is that pets die.

And that sucks.

In 2002, we had two cats and two dogs. We lost one of the cats that summer. Then the other cat had to be put down in 2003. And just 2 and 1/2 months ago, we lost our dog Thor to what we assume was cancer. See post here. Our dog Ramius (pictured here) was the last one standing.

Ramius has always been reclusive and timid. Despite his 114 pounds, he is scared of his own shadow and typically spends all of his time hiding out in the living room. Last week, he started coming into the family room and seeking out attention. The only other time he had done that consistently was right before Thor's sickness became apparent. Then, last Thursday, we noticed a baseball size lump on Ramius' chest that had developed since he had been to the groomer just a couple of weeks before. That could not be good.

Today the vet tests confirmed that he has cancer, and it has attached to his heart and lungs. There are no realistic treatment options. The vet says 1 to 2 weeks is her best guess regarding how much time he has left.

We have canceled our Thanksgiving trip to Arizona and will spend what quality time we can with him over the next (hopefully) several days. The weird part is that outwardly, he seems fine. But we know that won't last.

And that sucks.

Chris Matthews is a putz

If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil. They just have a different perspective.
A different perspective? Remember this, Chris?

Political earthquake in Israel

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- In what some observers are calling a "huge political earthquake" for Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has resigned from the right-wing Likud party he helped found -- the next step in his plan to form a new center party. . .

After resigning, Sharon met with potential members of his new party, which would be called the National Responsibility Party.
Obviously, the successful establishment of a new party is much easier to accomplish in a parliamentary system, but I like the precedent as well as the new party's name.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Please, oh please, be true

Report: al-Zarqawi may have been killed in Mosul

UPDATE: Hmm. Is this just a coincidence?
AMMAN, Jordan - Family members of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renounced the terrorist leader Sunday after his al-Qaida in Iraq group claimed responsibility for the Nov. 9 suicide attacks on three Amman hotels that killed 59 people. . .

The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.
Makes one wonder about a tipoff.


Here is a thought provoking piece authored by a good friend's father. The conclusion:
Americans can be justly proud of their past relationship to a South Korea that has risen in half a century from a war-ravaged land to one that leads the world in stem cell research and high-speed Internet access. It also is "one of Asia's most successful democracies," as Bush declared this week.

The challenge now is to learn to live with it.



The Gophers brought home the Little Brown Jug after its 19-year residency in Ann Arbor. They beat Purdue for the first time in 10 seasons. They won at Indiana for the first time since 1985.

Saturday in Iowa City, Minnesota has a chance to do something perhaps even more remarkable.

"We definitely have a lot on the line" . . .

If the Gophers want to be somewhere warmer [for a bowl game this year], they'd better beat Iowa.

So I decided to go to the gym and watch the first part of the game during my workout yesterday. Here is what I saw in that hour.

Minnesota . . . never recovered after falling behind 35-0 less than 25 minutes into the game.

Being a sports fan really sucks sometimes.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A useful political stunt


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House late Friday overwhelmingly rejected calls for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, a vote engineered by the Republicans that was intended to fail.

Democrats derided the vote as a political stunt. . .

The House voted 403-3 to reject a nonbinding resolution calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.

Of course this was a political stunt by the Republicans in that the resolution offered was not what Rep. Murtha had proposed. But it nevertheless served a very useful purpose. It sent a clear message to our enemies that, although we fight like crazy amongst ourselves, they should not draw the wrong conclusions from those fights. The bottom line is that a withdrawal of troops ain't going to happen until we have concluded (accurately or not) that Iraq can stand on its own two feet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

John McCain: another home run

I would sure feel better if John McCain were in charge right now. Here is a taste from his most recent pronouncement.

Think about this for a moment. Imagine Iraqis, working for the new government, considering whether to join the police force, or debating whether or not to take up arms. What will they think when they read that the Senate is pressing for steps toward draw-down?

Are they more or less likely to side with a government whose No. 1 partner hints at leaving?

The Senate has responded to the millions who braved bombs and threats to vote, who put their faith and trust in America and their government, by suggesting that our No. 1 priority is to bring our people home.

We have told insurgents that their violence does grind us down, that their horrific acts might be successful. But these are precisely the wrong messages. Our exit strategy in Iraq is not the withdrawal of our troops, it is victory.

Honor me

The 2006 Labor-HHS-Education conference report names new CDC buildings after chairman Arlen Specter and ranking member Tom Harkin. The relevant text:
SEC. 221. (a) The Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center Building (Building 21) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hereby renamed as the Arlen Specter Headquarters and Emergency Operations Center. (b) The Global Communications Center Building (Building 19) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hereby renamed as the Thomas R. Harkin Global Communications Center.
I wish I was surprised, but I'm not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Paying for good news reporting

Wow, this is embarrassing on multiple levels.
Newark Mayor Sharpe James and the city council have found a way to buy good news.

The council has hired a fledgling newspaper called Newark Weekly News to publish "positive news" about the city -- and will pay $100,000 over the next year for it.
Obviously, a city needs to promote itself and spend money doing so. But paying an independent publication to do nothing but write puff pieces is just sad.

NY Times on Alito

The NY Times has an hysterical editorial about Alito today that includes the following statement:
Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s insistence that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights is not the only alarming aspect of a newly released memo he wrote in 1985. That statement strongly suggests that Judge Alito is far outside the legal mainstream . . .
That is just ridiculous. Many pro-choice people like myself find Roe v. Wade difficult to defend as a matter of constitutional law. For example --

Laurence Tribe — Harvard Law School. Lawyer for Al Gore in 2000.

“One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”

“The Supreme Court, 1972 Term—Foreword: Toward a Model of Roles in the Due Process of Life and Law,” 87 Harvard Law Review 1, 7 (1973).

Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the court. … Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”

North Carolina Law Review, 1985

Edward Lazarus — Former clerk to Harry Blackmun.

. . . .

“[A]s a matter of constitutional interpretation, even most liberal jurisprudes — if you administer truth serum — will tell you it is basically indefensible.”

Liberals, Don’t Make Her an IconWashington Post July 10, 2003.

There may be good reasons to oppose Alito, but the NY Times editorial board offers only hyperbole.

It is like deja vu . . .

. . . all over again.

Stupid lawsuit of the day

STUART — A former First National Bank and Trust customer filed a lawsuit against the bank in Martin Circuit Court Wednesday, asking for $2 million to compensate for stress and pain he said he suffered over an overdraft charge on his account. . .

He asked for millions, saying a few hundred thousand dollars would be a slap on the wrist to the bank and it deserved to be "paddled."
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this guy is pro se.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stupid criminal of the day

Authorities on Monday said they have shut down a ring responsible for up to 10 percent of all counterfeit money in Arizona. . .

However, investigators did say an Avondale couple arrested in the scheme tripped up when they sent a printer, which was jammed with counterfeit bills, out for repair.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Baby step in China

We should applaud every step toward openness in China. In Gorbachev's Soviet Union, steps like this led to the eventual collapse of the system.

BEIJING, Nov. 14 - Despite strong internal opposition, China's Communist Party will officially restore later this week the reputation of a liberal-leaning party leader whose death in 1989 helped spark pro-democracy protests, according to people informed about the plans.

The party has not publicly honored the late leader, Hu Yaobang, since his death in April 1989 gave rise to student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Those protests, targeting corruption, inflation and political repression, persisted until the Chinese army violently suppressed them on June 4 of that year.

Headline of the day

Thai Tourists Warned Of Sedative-Spitting Transvestites

Iraq, the Democrats and 2008

John Edwards has decided to stake first claim to the anti-war territory among legitmate Democratic contenders in 2008 who also voted to authorize the war.
I was wrong. . .

It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.
As time passes, it will be interesting to watch how Clinton, Kerry, Bayh and Biden handle the issue of their votes to authorize the war.

Meanwhile, Feingold's vote against the war means he can run an "I told you so" campaign that will make it more difficult for the other candidates to make deep inroads with the growing anti-war portion of the electorate. In fact, George Will is already touting McCain vs. Feingold as an ideal matchup. I find it hard to disagree. It would look a lot like the seemingly impossible fictional campaign on the West Wing right now.

A close call

Although I'm not religious, sometimes I do feel like a higher power is watching over our family.

Today, my daughter was showing symptoms of pink eye so we took her to the office with us. I was ready to take her home again this morning when we decided that she was probably fine so we took her to day care. Day care called after about an hour and said that she was rubbing her eye constantly and we needed to get her. We brought her back to the office for a while (where she never once touched her eye and looked fine), after which I decided to bring her home and to work from here.

When I opened the front door to let the dog out immediately after we got home, there was a huge cloud of smoke and I looked down to see that the electrical cord from the transformer for our low-voltage yard lights, which rests against the side of the house, was smoldering. I quickly unplugged it and poured water on the cord.

I have no doubt in my mind that if I didn't come home early, the fire department would have been trying to save our house about this time. Yikes.

Battle looming

Until this morning, I would have guessed that the Alito hearings would be Roberts-esque and that he would be confirmed by a Roberts-esque type vote. I am now reconsidering.
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.

"I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.

The document, which is likely to inflame liberals who oppose Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, is among many that the White House will release today from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The Democrats are going to go ballistic over this.

A Minnesota fall

You gotta love the unpredicatability of fall in Minnesota. Three days ago, it was 64 degrees and sunny. Now this.

The Twin Cities area is in the path of "significant snow," the National Weather Service said today - prompting a winter storm watch tonight into Tuesday evening.

Snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible in Minnesota by Wednesday morning, forecasters said. The snow will be accompanied by gusty northwest winds increasing to around 30 miles per hour by Tuesday night.

I guess it is time to put the golf clubs away.

Pat Robertson is a putz

I can't keep up with all of the stupid things that Pat Robertson says. Here is one from last week that I had missed.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck. . .

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ugly victory

The Vikings just won against the Giants on a last second field goal. It was the first time the offense scored all day, as the teams' 3 touchdowns all came from special teams and the defense. But it was still nice given that the Giants have had the Vikings' number for many years.

There has been little from which to take pleasure this season for a Vikings fan. Today was a little something.

Headline of the day

1,100 Lawyers Leave Saddam Defense Team

He had 1,100 lawyers?

5 questions

These are all good questions for Muslims.

A strange strategy


Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day

In case you didn't know the history, here is some background.

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Getting rid of stuff

We are lucky in that our city has an annual "take (almost) anything" trash pickup day in the spring. It really encourages major spring cleaning efforts. We also have a recycling center in Hennepin County that will take everything else. But there is always a bunch of stuff for which it would seem a shame to send to a landfill just because we don't use it anymore. In fact, in the last couple of months we have stockpiled in the garage old vacuums, computer equipment, and other electronics with the hope that we might find someone who might be able to use them.

Leaving City Hall on Tuesday after voting I picked up a brochure for www.twincitiesfreemarket.org, which has this mission statement: "The Free Market is a listing service for residents who want to give or get free reusable goods for the home, garage and garden. It is part of an effort to reduce the amount of reusable goods being thrown away."

Last night, I listed everything we had in the garage and within 2 hours I had to de-list every single item because I was overwhelmed with emails. By the weekend, everything should be out of my garage and in the hands of people who have indicated that they can really use the stuff. I feel good about that, and recommend this approach as both painless and guilt-reducing for my fellow environmentalists.

What took so long?

al-Zarqawi's slaughters have been focused on Arabs for months. Finally, organized pushback.

AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Three terror bombings that killed at least 56 people in Jordan's capital sparked furious protests against al Qaeda on Thursday after a Web site carried a claim that the group was behind the attacks.

Jordanians flooded Amman blaring car horns and waving the nation's flag to protest the suicide attacks at three hotels with Western connections.

Hundreds of angry Jordanians rallied, shouting, "Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!" after the claim of responsibility was posted.

Maybe Arabs will finally start to realize in significant numbers that the sooner that al-Zarqawi is defeated, the sooner the U.S. will leave Iraq.

Secret pay raise

Politics can be so entertaining. Link.

The mayor and council that repeatedly insist City Hall is far more transparent under their watch voted themselves a 12.25% wage hike in secret six weeks ago.

What's as scandalous is that many councillors say they don't remember voting for their own wage hikes. They contend the motion was buried in a confidential report on salary increases for non-union staff adopted at the September council meeting -- after being rubber-stamped in secret at the executive committee a week earlier.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Referring to my post below, some days are both good days and bad days.

Deadly explosions rock hotels in Jordan

Good days

There are good days and bad days in the WOT. Today has been a good day.
JAKARTA, Indonesia - One of Asia's most wanted terrorists, accused of plotting a series of deadly bombings in Bali, is believed to have blown himself up Wednesday to escape capture by a U.S.-trained elite police unit who attacked his Indonesian hideout, the national police chief said. Two other suspected militants also died in the blast.

If Azahari bin Husin's death is confirmed, it would be another major blow to the al-Qaida-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah, already weakened by a region-wide crackdown that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Scores of militants have been arrested and thrown in jail.

That news follows up on the good news from yesterday.
Australian police say they have foiled a terrorist attack in the final stages of its preparation, after 16 people were arrested in Sydney and Melbourne.

New South Wales police chief Ken Moroney said a "potentially catastrophic attack" had been averted.
Setting aside Iraq for the moment, everyone should be able to recognize that the international counter-terrorism cooperation efforts are reaping rewards and saving lives.

Fiscal sanity

The trends with the annual deficit and aggregate national debt have to be reversed or we are in for some serious problems. Consider this.
WASHINGTON D.C.- President George W. Bush and the current administration have now borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than the previous 42 U.S. presidents combined.

Throughout the first 224 years (1776-2000) of our nation’s history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In the past four years alone (2001-2005), the Bush Administration has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion.
This is just another reason to root for McCain, who is a deficit hawk, in 2008.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Say it ain't so

This had better not be true.

Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.

On 10 November last year, the Islam Online website wrote: "US troops are reportedly using chemical weapons and poisonous gas in its large-scale offensive on the Iraqi resistance bastion of Fallujah, a grim reminder of Saddam Hussein's alleged gassing of the Kurds in 1988."

The website quoted insurgent sources as saying: "The US occupation troops are gassing resistance fighters and confronting them with internationally banned chemical weapons."

In December the US government formally denied the reports, describing them as "widespread myths".
This falls into my "nobody would be that stupid" category. But if it turns out to be true, the consequences to our long-term mission in Iraq could be devastating.


This guy is dumber than the lady who put a finger in her chili from Wendy's. If you are going to humilate yourself in this fashion in order to try to extort some money from a deep pocket, it is best not to have pulled the same stunt before.


Remember how much grief Nancy Reagan got for consulting an astrologer? Well check this out.
BURMESE bureaucrats en route to a new capital city that has been hacked out of the jungle were told to leave Rangoon on the orders of the personal astrologer to the country’s dictator, Senior General Than Shwe. . .

The timing was believed to have been chosen as auspicious by astrologers. Moving the seat of government to an easily defensible valley surrounded by jungle is the latest sign of paranoia exhibited by a pariah military regime that fears both invasion by the United States, which has branded it an outpost of tyranny, and an uprising by its own downtrodden populace.

A senior soothsayer may also have advised building a new centre of power, as Burma’s kings frequently did in the past. Astrologers play a key role in Burmese life and have prompted some of the strangest and most disastrous episodes in the country’s recent past.
How is that so many lunatics manage to get in and stay in power?

Election day

It is election day, and it is likely to be a bad day for Republicans around the country. Democrats are likely to win the governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia, and Arnold's ballot measures in California are likely to go down to resounding defeats. Also, moderate Democrat Randy Kelly and the current St. Paul mayor who endorsed Bush over Kerry last year is going to get trounced by fellow liberal Democrat Chris Coleman.

Meanwhile, the only thing that I will be voting on these school referendums for Wayzata.

Monday, November 07, 2005

He is no Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver ever, and probably was the classiest guy in the NFL during his career. It is really too bad that the most talented receiver of the next generation is a classless moron.

Two stories

These two stories from the StarTribune caught my attention yesterday.

Story #1.

Foley Foods owner Nou Chang, 52, told police that Franklin T. Forlemu, 22, of Savage came to his store several times this fall trying to sell him a chemical potion that he claimed would turn white slips of paper into U.S. currency. . .

Forlemu, who faces theft by swindle charges, has a hearing Monday in Anoka County District Court. . .

Formelu, an illegal immigrant from Africa, had no prior felony convictions. He was released on personal recognizance.
Say what? An illegal immigrant faces felony charges and he is released on his own recognizance? That says a lot about how seriously our government takes illegal immigration.

Story #2.
Pirates armed with grenade launchers and machine guns tried to hijack a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast Saturday, but the ship outran them.
Who knew this still happens?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Improved security in Iraq

The biggest battle in more than a year is underway in Iraq.
HUSAYBA, Iraq, Nov. 5 - Thousands of American and Iraqi troops laid siege Saturday to this town near the Syrian border in the largest military assault since American-led forces stormed the guerrilla stronghold of Falluja last year, Marine Corps officials said.

The sweep, aimed at shutting down the flow of foreign fighters along the Euphrates River, began early Saturday as 2,500 American troops and 1,000 Iraqi Army soldiers, all led by the Marines, cordoned off roads around Husayba before rolling into town in armored vehicles and marching in on foot. . .

American commanders say Husayba has become a bastion for cells of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that claims credit for many of the deadliest suicide bombings of the war. . .

"It's a cesspool; it's time for this area to get cleaned up," Col. Stephen Davis, of the Second Marine Division, said of Husayba.
Meanwhile, here is some other good news.

We all want rapid progress in the security situation but, unfortunately, we are going to have to settle for incremental progress. But there should be no doubt that, overall, progress is being made. Let's hope the Husayba operation will represent another step forward.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Advice and consent

Bush met with at least 70 Senators seeking their "advice" prior to his nomination of John Roberts. I don't know how many Senators he met with again before nominating Harriet Miers, but I didn't hear a single complaint from Democrats that Bush didn't seek their "advice" before making that nomination. Ultimately, the request for "consent" to that nomination was withdrawn and Bush nominated Alito immediately thereafter.

This week I have been hearing all kinds of griping that Bush didn't seek the "advice" of Democratic Senators before making Alito pick. See here, e.g. My question is this: why should he have sought "advice" for a third time in the span of a few months? Did Democratic Senators have new thoughts regarding the relatively short list of candidates that were floated?

This example may be inappropriate, but I analogize the situation to going to a restaurant and asking the waiter what he recommends. He offers several suggestions and you then order, only to have him return and tell you that the kitchen is out of that selection. Would you ask the waiter again "what do you recommend"?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I just realized that today marks my first blogoversary. I started this blog on election night last year. (First post ever, here.)

That said, on a typical day expect less activity around here for a while. As much as I enjoy blogging, I have a lot going on right now that must be given higher priority. But keep coming back and if you don't see anything new, check out the "BLOGS I READ" on the right. They are diverse politically, but all are substantive and will make you more knowledgeable.

Speaking out

I have often complained about the relative silence among Islamic leaders regarding mass murder that is committed in the name of their religion. I have also complained about the silence among Christian leaders about attacks on science in the name of their religion. With that preface, I find this story heartening.
VATICAN CITY — A Vatican (search) cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture (search), made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate in the United States. . .

"[We] know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism," he said.

Headline of the day

"Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet"

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The ongoing "bad news" is very real. But the "very good news" is also very real, of incredible historical consequence, and has not been adequately reported. See here for reminder, if needed.


The identity crisis at CNN, my cable news network of choice most of the time, continues. (See here.) I realized how bad it was about 2 months ago when I started seeing commercials for CNN on FoxNews. (I'm not kidding. In fact, I was stunned that Fox would even run those commercials.)

Somehow, I expect that things will get worse at CNN before they get better.

Inquiring minds want to know

What does Bush keep in his pockets?

Answer: Nothing. And I guess that is news.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Jeralyn Merritt is a putz

She says that, combined with "Plamegate," the Alito nomination is "the treasonous act of the century."

The tie-breaker?

This might be the reason that Bush settled on Alito over Luttig.
WASHINGTON - Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., sent strong signals Monday that he would use all his clout to help federal appeals court judge Samuel Alito win confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Time and again Specter used his Monday afternoon press conference to defend President Bush’s nominee to the high court and to justify some of his controversial rulings. . .

Specter seemed to go out of his way to try to persuade abortion rights supporters, of whom he is one, that Alito is not beyond the pale.

Steps of analysis

Step 1: Consider the accusation in a statement from People for the American Way.
Alito is a leader of the radical right legal movement to prevent the federal government from enforcing civil rights protections and otherwise acting on behalf of the common good.
Step 2: Seek evidence from liberals who actually know Alito.

Exhibit A.
"To call him 'Scalito' is to completely misunderstand him," said attorney Timothy K. Lewis of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, a former 3rd Circuit judge who was Alito's colleague for seven years.

Lewis, who describes himself as liberal, said Alito is solidly conservative and that the two sometimes disagreed, but that it was "always a deeply respectful disagreement."

"First and foremost," Lewis said, "Sam Alito is intellectually honest. This is what makes him a wonderful judge and also why I feel very good about his appointment to the Supreme Court."
Lewis recalled that when he joined the 3rd Circuit in 1992, he met with the court's former chief judge, A. Leon Higginbotham, to discuss the cast of characters who would soon become his colleagues.

When Alito's name came up, Lewis said, Higginbotham, who died in 1998, had only good things to say. "He said 'Sam Alito is my kind of conservative,'" Lewis said, and went on to describe Alito as “full of integrity” and “a pleasure to sit with.”
Exhibit B.
A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. (1928-1998) was a towering man with a voice like thunder. He articulated the legal experience of black America with scholarship and understanding. He was a successful lawyer, a partner in Philadelphia's premier black law firm during an era when black lawyers were subjected to many inequities. From 1964 to 1977, Higginbotham was a highly respected federal trial judge, and then served sixteen years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, holding the position of chief judge before his retirement in 1993. From 1965 to 1966, he was vice-chairman of the National Commission on the Cause and Prevention of Violence. Higginbotham wrote two scholarly books on law and black citizens, In the Matter of Color and Shades of Freedom. He also taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and at Harvard. In 1995, Higginbotham received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.
Step 3: Reach the conclusion that the People for the American Way has no credibility.


From the search-engine queries that led people to this blog yesterday I found this:

31 Oct, Mon, 19:11:29 MSN Search: largest todd in the world
31 Oct, Mon, 19:15:18 MSN Search: largest todd in the world
31 Oct, Mon, 19:20:28 MSN Search: Largest todd in the world

I have no explanation, just puzzlement.


In case you had any doubts about how dirty some are going to be willing to get in the Alito nomination battle, consider this.

A talking-points memorandum being circulated by Democrats to friendly media outlets attacks Judge Samuel Alito on the basis of his Italian heritage.

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch stormed Monday night that the memo was "despicable" and a sign that desperate Democrats are "hysterical" over the Alito nomination.

Hatch made the comments on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.

Matthews alleged that Democrats are passing around a memorandum that he called a "complaint sheet" about Alito.

The cable talk show host said the lead item in the memo claims that as a federal prosecutor, Alito failed to convict members of the Lucchese crime family in a 1988 case.

The implication is that because Alito is Italian-American he went easy on the prosecution, or worse.

An obviously angry Matthews said, "I'm sitting here holding in my hands a pretty disgusting document. This is put out not for attribution, but it comes from the Democrats. They're circulating it; I can say that. The first thing they nail about this Italian-American is he failed to win a mob conviction in a trial ... way back in '88. In other words, they nail him on not putting some Italian mobsters in jail from the family. Why would they bring up this ethnically charged issue as the first item they raise against Judge Alito?

"This is either a very bad coincidence or very bad politics," he added, and warned Democrats that their sneak attack will backfire. "Either way it's going to hurt them. ... Not abortion rights, not civil rights but that he failed to nail some mobsters in 1988 -- this is the top of their list of what they've got against this guy. Amazingly bad politics."

The memo failed to note that Alito won a major prosecution against the Genovese crime family.

Remember, Chris Matthews is a Democrat.