Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Thomas Friedman last Friday.
On Tuesday President Bush will deliver his State of the Union and map out priorities for his last three years. The direction in which America needs to go is obvious: toward energy independence. If Mr. Bush steps up to that challenge, this speech could be a new beginning for his presidency. If he doesn't, you can stick a fork in this administration. It will be done - because it will have abdicated leadership on the biggest issue of our day.
News report today.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will take his State of the Union message on the road Wednesday, traveling to Tennessee where he'll tout his plans to increase American economic competitiveness and to cut U.S. dependence on imported oil.
We should all be pleased that Mr. Bush is now apparently on the same page as Mr. Friedman.

Ann Coulter is a putz

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
Not funny.

Inflated opinion

Someone has a very inflated opinion of the influence of a single blog.
[W]ithout this site, we would right now be seeing the confirmation of some second-rater, made necessary by the defeat that Harriet Miers would have suffered by a combination of mean dems and principled GOPers, which would have weakened Bush too much to make a strong choice like Alito. Without this site, the pressure on Miers probably would not have been great enough to cause a withdrawal by that estimable lady.
For the record, the blog attracts fewer that 10,000 hits a day. Although that is nothing to sneeze at, there are 95 others ahead of it on the traffic list.


Prediction three weeks ago.
At this point, unless he starts drooling uncontrollably, I look for Alito to be confirmed quite comfortably with somewhere between 58 and 62 votes.
This morning.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate confirmed Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court on Tuesday by a vote of 58-42 . . .
If only I had the same luck at picking stocks.

Coretta Scott King - RIP

In the 38 years after her husband's death, she carried on his legacy with remarkable grace and dignity. Together, they changed the course of American history for the better.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Picture of the day

Link to the story behind the picture is here.

Art vs. life

Bluto from Animal House upon being expelled: "Seven years of college down the drain! "

From Sid's column today: "Boone agreed with Raftery, saying that in his six years of college basketball, Friday's practice was the best one he had participated in . . ."

Irrational thought

I missed this story last week.
Liberals and conservatives can become equally bug-eyed and irrational when talking politics, especially when they are on the defensive.

Using M.R.I. scanners, neuroscientists have now tracked what happens in the politically partisan brain when it tries to digest damning facts about favored candidates or criticisms of them. The process is almost entirely emotional and unconscious, the researchers report, and there are flares of activity in the brain's pleasure centers when unwelcome information is being rejected.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Biden and the filibuster

In the past I have generally been a fan of Senator Biden, but he has not distinguished himself in the Alito confirmation process. Now comes this.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said he, too, would support the filibuster attempt but agreed that it was not particularly wise.


Leonard Pitts.

You remember Mom and Pop, right? Mr. and Mrs. Small Business? Used to own that diner down the street, that coffee shop around the corner, that record store across town? Used to run that bookstore with the long aisles of dusty paperbacks where you could while away a rainy afternoon browsing to your heart's content. They gave the neighborhood personality. They gave it soul.

Then somebody bought them out, knocked down the building and put up a Wal-Mart. Or a Starbucks. Or a box store with low prices, huge selection, and all the soul of tuna fish on white bread. And one by one those storied places, yours and mine, winked out of existence. . .

This is not the business page, I know. But this lament is not for lost business. Rather, it's for a loss of – here's that word again – soul. Meaning the things that once made our communities unique.

Drive across the country these days and “unique” is not a word that comes often to mind. Increasingly, Richmond could be Rochester could be Dayton could be Duluth. We shop at cookie-cutter stores in cookie-cutter malls and eat at cookie-cutter restaurants, not because the food is special but because it is familiar.

A former colleague called it the Wal-Martification of America. It's as good a term as any for the process by which we become uniform. And regionalisms – that thing they say only in Cincy, that funky bookstore in lower Manhattan, that dish you can get only in that little dive in Jackson – become fewer and farther between.

The homogenization of retail America is undeniable, and probably unstoppable. I suspect that by the time my kids grow up, the local hardware store will no longer exist and a trip to Home Depot will be required even for a 20 cent bolt.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Flip flop

In Minneapolis, everyone knows who you are referring to when you mention "Sid." He is the octogenarian sports columnist at the StarTribune who, literally, has been penning his column (mostly puff pieces) for more than 60 years. Despite his senior status, sometimes he writes things that must be ridiculed.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a blockbuster trade. Here is what Sid wrote in Friday's column.
After making one of the worst trades in franchise history Thursday . . .
Here is what he wrote today.
So give Wolves owner Glen Taylor credit for making the deal with the Celtics . . .
I guess he remembered that his scoops are dependent on his maintaining his status as propagandist for the local teams.

Friday, January 27, 2006


The self-marginalizing left is not satisfied with a "no" vote against Alito by Democrats. Now many of its members are demanding a filibuster that they know will fail. For example:
Caracas, Venezuela – Gold star mother Cindy Sheehan has decided to run against California Senator Diane Feinstein if Feinstein does not filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. While in Venezuela attending the World Social Forum, Sheehan learned that several Democratic Senators had announced their plans for a filibuster but that Senator Feinstein, who’s up for re-election in November, had stated she would vote against the nomination but not filibuster it.
What happened? Feinstein caved.
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who had previously said a filibuster against Alito wouldn't be justified, today said in a statement she would vote against shutting off debate.
Some Senators in the most blue states may not pay a price for this pandering, but it ain't no strategy to make gains in Congress later this year.

I bet that Karl Rove utters this line sometime this weekend: "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design."

Sometimes I really wish that I didn't give a rat's ass about this stuff.

UPDATE: Stephen Green.

I just don't know what to do with the Democrats.

Look at me.* I'm pro-choice. I support gay marriage. I think porn is OK and that drugs (which aren't OK) ought to be legal. My tastes in music and movies and entertainers are a lot more New York and LA than they are Nashville or Branson.

But with the exceptions of maybe Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, there's not a Democrat today I'd vote for without first chewing through my own forehead.

Democrats: I'm your target voter! Appeal to me! I'm sick of the Republicans already! Don't make me perform impossible physical acts! Please!


Apparently ex-Minnesota Timberwolf Isaiah Rider was offended when I didn't mention him as a potential mentor for Marcus Vick. Based on recent events, I apologize for the oversight.

Oprah on Brokeback Mountain

Quote: "The greatest love story since Gone with the Wind and Titanic. This movie changed my life."

20 years later

The Challenger disaster was one of two news events during my lifetime that I will always remember where I was when I learned about it. It is hard to believe that was 20 years ago.

P.S. The other news event was when President Reagan was shot. It was announced over the PA system at my high school and I distinctly recall people cheering.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I seriously considered giving Sen. Kerry my vote in 2004. (See here.) He is now working hard to convince us that his "centrist" approach in 2004 had nothing to do with conviction. (See here.)

I have lots of problems with GWB, but at least he believes in something and sticks with it, for better or worse politically. Kerry has confirmed that he is a "finger in the wind" politician who is going to be embarrassed when he runs again in 2008.

The office of the person who received the Democratic nomination for President in 1984 (and lost by historic proportions) is very close to mine, and everyday when I see him I am reminded of my respect for him as a public servant, as well as the class he has exhibited since.

Senator Kerry, I work with Vice President Mondale. (Okay, we take the same elevator to the same floor every morning.) Senator, you're no Walter Mondale. (Or Paul Wellstone.) Your opinion is for sale based on where at a particular point in time you think the votes are, and I can't respect that.

I bet you didn't know . . .

. . . that "12th Man" is a registered trademark of Texas A&M and "Three-Peat" is a registered trademark of Pat Riley. If you use those terms, expect a cease-and-desist demand letter from a lawyer (which the Seattle Seahawks and USC each received recently).

Picture of the day

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm a Chevrolet Corvette!

You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

(Via InstaPundit)

Joel Stein is a putz

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. . .

[W]hen you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse.


Ed Koch.
The big question is this: why is bin Laden offering a truce? Throughout the history of warfare, those who seek a truce are generally losing. They either want to minimize their losses or want a chance to regroup and strengthen their forces.

No big tent

Atrios' description of elected Democrats who disagree with him on even one issue: "F*cking wankers." What a jerk.

Headline of the day

"Bush plans visit to super-secret spies"

They won't be so "super-secret" anymore.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


This is too much.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 24, 2006--Donald J. Trump yesterday filed a lawsuit against New York Times reporter Timothy L. O'Brien and Warner Books, Inc., alleging that O'Brien's book about Trump, TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, published by Warner in October 2005, defamed the world-famous businessman, real estate developer and public personality.

In the lawsuit, Trump alleges that O'Brien and Warner knowingly made egregiously false and malicious statements about Trump, his family, his personal life and his business dealings, including statements grossly misrepresenting Trump's net worth. . .

The lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Camden, New Jersey, seeks $2.5 billion in compensatory damages and $2.5 billion in punitive damages against O'Brien and Warner Books.
The New York Times questioned whether Trump is really a "billionaire." For that, he wants $5,000,000,000.

P.S. I'm a billionaire, and I dare you to say that I'm not.

Markos is a putz

Let's not forget that ultimately, Osama's vision for the Arab world is far more akin to the Right's vision of America. . .

The reason we hate Islamic fundamentalists is pretty much the same reason we're fighting to take back this country from the Republicans. They are two peas from the same pod . . .
My gosh, the political debate in this country has become polluted. Democrats are called traitors and Republicans are equated with mass murderers. No wonder such a large segment of the public is apathetic.

Global warming

There aren't many opportunities to gloat about the weather in January in Minnesota, but this year has been the exception. Fortunately, there is no end in sight.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Picture of the day

Despicable George Galloway and friend.


Drudge's afternoon's banner lead: Bush has not seen Brokeback Mountain.

Forget that probably 95+% of the adult population in this country hasn't seen the movie either, this now qualifies as breaking news. Weird.


Go watch. You won't be sorry. Nagin, Clinton and Jackson are the targets of this hilarious parody. (Scroll down and click one of the "Download" links.)

Random football thought

The #6 seed in the AFC is going to play the #1 seed in the NFC in the Super Bowl, and the AFC team (the Steelers) is favored by 4 points. Remarkable.

John Kerry: blogger

John Kerry is blogging at Daily Kos. (Via Powerline.)

Reality TV

From Thailand.
With his popularity badly flagging, Thailand’s Prime Minister, a billionaire telecommunications tycoon with an eye for the limelight, has taken to the road with a flurry of cameras to star in his own reality show.

After pitching a tent in a back garden in At Samart village, Mr Thaksin Shinawatra has launched a programme entitled Back Stage Show: Prime Minister the basic premise of which is to throw money at the problems of the rural poor who bolstered his landslide victory last year and to magically eradicate their poverty in just five days.
You can't make this stuff up.

West Wing

I was looking forward to a new West Wing, with a new president and new staff. Now we learn that ain't going to happen. Bummer.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Warmup post

I will ease back into blogging with a link to this interesting story.

A woman has revealed that she scooped a £1.5m lottery jackpot - but have never told her husband. . .

"One of the little white lies is that I've cut my hours down at work but I tell [my husband] I work from home for the other two days."

"I do feel if I had said, yes, I've won this money, that he would have wanted holidays, he perhaps would have wanted to give up work, which would destroy our little family unit we've got now.

"I feel terribly guilty in one way, but in another way, we've got two young children and I think, well, if their lives change dramatically then it's not fair on them.

"So I just want to keep things as they are."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Quote of the day

Sen. Diane Feinstein: "I mean, this is a man I might disagree with. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."

Ditto. Again, elections have consequences. Republican presidents are going nominate more conservative judges, and Democratic presidents are going to nominate more liberal judges. That is the way the system works. Opposition to Alito only because he is conservative, without more, is inconsistent with the appropriate role of the Senate in this process. (And, again, it would have been wrong for Republicans to oppose Ginsburg only because she is a liberal.)


Blogging will be somewhere between light to non-existent over the next several days. We are going to head north this evening for a visit to the Grand Canyon tomorrow, and we won't be back here (i.e., Phoenix) until late tomorrow. Wednesday we will be traveling home, and Thursday and Friday will most likely be spent dealing exclusively with the consequences of a week away from home and the office. Hopefully, regular blogging will resume by the weekend.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Marathon day

Today was marathon day in Phoenix. It has not rained here in a record-nearing 90 days, but the forecast all week was that the rain would finally arrive this morning. It didn't, and the weather ended up being perfect. Anyway, I did finish (confirmable here). I am also proud to announce that my wife walked her first 1/2 marathon today and had a great time.

Because of some delays in obtaining donation notifications from the American Cancer Society, I don't have a definitive donation total at this point, but it now stands at about $4,000 (give or take a $100). I want to express my deepest appreciation to my family, friends and co-workers who contributed. Maybe, just maybe, that money will help contribute to the development of a new viable treatment just one day sooner than otherwise might have occurred.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cartoon of the day

Female feticide

The lead in this story makes me sad.
NEW DELHI – Banned by Indian law for more than a decade, the practice of renatal selection and selective abortion remains a common practice in India, laiming up to half a million female children each year, according to a recent study by the British medical journal, The Lancet.

But the details make me sick.

The use of ultrasound equipment to determine the sex of an unborn child - introduced to India in 1979 - has now spread to every district in the country. The study found it played a crucial role in the determination of an estimated 10 million female fetuses in the two decades leading up to 1998, and 5 million since 1994, the year the practice was banned. Few doctors in regular clinics offer the service openly, but activists estimate that sex-selection is a $100 million business in India, largely through mobile sex-selection clinics that can drive into almost any village or neighborhood. . .

Against common expectations, female feticide is not a crime of India's backward masses. Instead, it is most common among India's elite, who can afford multiple trips to an ultrasound clinic, and the hushed-up abortion of an unwanted girl.

Some good news from Israel

Perhaps Sharon's removal from the scene won't be as disasterous as first predicted. Story.

JERUSALEM - Ariel Sharon's heir-apparent, Ehud Olmert, scored a whopping 71 percent approval rating after his first week as acting prime minister - defying predictions that Sharon's new Kadima Party would disintegrate after his massive stroke.

Olmert pulled off the delicate task of not appearing overeager to replace his ailing boss, while reassuring Israel and the world that he can carry out Sharon's agenda of drawing the country's final borders, with or without a deal with the Palestinians.

Two polls published Friday indicated support for Kadima keeps growing and Olmert is the overwhelming favorite to become prime minister in a March 28 general election. In the surveys, Kadima won 42 and 43 seats, respectively, in the 120-member parliament, meaning it would form the next government.

The results appeared to be a testament to Olmert's deft handling of the transition at a time of uncertainty. They also signaled continued backing in Israel for a unilateral separation from the Palestinians by unloading much of the West Bank. Sharon withdrew from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank Jewish settlements last summer.

''He is going to be prime minister after the election, unless something incredible happens,'' said political scientist Abraham Diskin.


If you have any doubts regarding whether Washington is a cesspool when it comes to basic decency, here is the latest evidence.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), the former Marine who is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, has become the latest Democrat to have his Vietnam War decorations questioned.

In a tactic reminiscent of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth assault on Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) during the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative Web site yesterday quoted Murtha opponents as questioning the circumstances surrounding the awarding of his two Purple Hearts.

The politics of personal destruction continue.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More Alito

Hey, my Dad left me a message on our voice mail today wondering if I had anything on my blog about Alito. That old dog may learn new tricks yet.

OK, Dad, this is for you.

Yes, I have been watching as much as I can of the replay on CSPAN. From what I have seen today, the Senators have been better in their questioning but Alito has been even better in his answering. It is over.

For the record: I'm not an Alito booster. But, he is undoubtedly qualified, he has pledged to never prejudge an issue, and is obviously smart as hell (if not Roberts-like in his delivery). If he can't be confirmed, particulary with a Republican Senate, that is wrong.

And, elections have consequences. If you don't like Alito, vote accordingly in the next presidential election.

A final point. Personally, I don't want a Supreme Court of a particular ideological bent. I want a Supreme Court of a diverse intellectual bent. I love the idea of Scalia and Ginsburg arguing by day, and then playing cards together by night (which is true).

Senate spectacle

The New York Times has this photo and story making fun of the Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee on A1 above the fold.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 - The Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. were supposed to be about the judge, but on Tuesday it sometimes seemed as though somebody forgot to tell the senators on the Judiciary Committee.

The lure of 50 cameras and the captive audience in the Senate Hart Office Building appeared too much of a temptation for some of Capitol Hill's windiest lions, who began by promising not to run a marathon session of questions, then did so anyway.

At one point Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, was even granted two extra minutes from the committee's chairman, Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania - drawing groans from colleagues, among them Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. . .

The highest ratio of words per panelist to words per nominee was that of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, who managed to ask five questions in his 30-minute time allotment. . .

The most indignant questioner was Mr. Leahy, who went on a ramble through his own Irish and Italian roots . . .
The SCOTUS confirmation process really has become a spectacle. Unfortunately, I have read nothing that offers truly constructive suggestions for improving the process.

UPDATE: From John Cole, who doesn't like Alito and doesn't think that he should be confirmed.

Why are the Democrats so god damned incompetent?

*** Update ***

And now they are trying to smear him with something someone else wrote that he never even read. Amazing. I don’t even like Alito and find this behavior by Kennedy absurd.

And from Sen. Schumer.

"You used the word 'inapt'...I didn't even know there was such a word as 'inapt', but in any event...."

Condom carrying Colombians

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- A western Colombian town has angered the influential Catholic Church with a novel scheme to cut AIDS infections, threatening males over age 14 with fines if they fail to carry a condom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I have been watching a replay of today's hearing on CSPAN tonight. The guy isn't John Roberts in his delivery, but he displays a similar modesty.

At this point, unless he starts drooling uncontrollably, I look for Alito to be confirmed quite comfortably with somewhere between 58 and 62 votes. But the fact that it will be even that close confirms that the SCOTUS confirmation process will never be the same. Remember, Clinton's nominees (Ginsburg and Breyer) were both unapologetic liberals, yet more than 90 Senators voted for their confirmations. Even Scalia, who fired up his pipe during his confirmation hearing, cruised to a 98-0 coronation.

The pendulum will never swing back to the level of deference that existed even 20 years ago. Let's just hope that it swings back enough to put out-of-bounds the type of character assasination BS I saw tonight from Sen. Kennedy. (BTW - Hats off to Sen. Biden for explicitly refusing to do the same.)

Finally, I find the "remember good ole Justice O'Connor" rhetoric from the Democrats slightly amusing. My recollection is that they didn't like her so much in 2000 after the ruling in a case that you might remember titled Bush v. Gore.

Imprudent Prudence

The bankruptcy judge who has been handling Delta Air Lines case is named Prudence Carter Beatty. I may be biased because of the name of this blog but, other than Learned Hand, has there ever been a better name for a judge?

The reality is that Ms. Prudence may not be tempermentally suited for the job. See here. Anyway, she is off the case, at least for now. My hunch is that her "medical condition" that requires a leave was diagnosed by the chief bankruptcy judge, not a doctor.

Quote of the day

“It is completely and utterly embarrassing. " - From guy who got his privates caught in a mousetrap, twice.


Just a few posts ago, I said that Michael Vick needed to have a serious talk with his brother. In addition to killing himself financially by continually reducing his stock in the upcoming draft, he now appears to be a literal threat to kill someone else.

Former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick, booted from the team last week for his behavior on and off the field, was charged Monday with pulling a gun on three teenagers during an altercation in a restaurant parking lot.

Vick surrendered at the Suffolk, Va., magistrate's office after three warrants were issued for his arrest Sunday, Magistrate Lisa Noel said. Vick, 21, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm and was released on $10,000 bond.

This guy is likely to bottom out in Maurice Clarett fashion. What a waste.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Not from The Onion

A BLACK police bodyguard who protected the Duchess of Cornwall has won $70,000 compensation after suing Scotland Yard for "over-promoting" him because of political correctness . . .

His representatives argued he landed the prestigious job as Camilla's bodyguard only because he was black.

Picture of the day

Thirteen feet of snow in Japan.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can you hear me now?

This story is disturbing.
The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official. Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company. Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use.

In some cases, telephone company insiders secretly sell customers' phone-call lists to online brokers, despite strict telephone company rules against such deals, according to Schumer.

And some online brokers have used deception to get the lists from the phone companies, he said. "Though this problem is all too common, federal law is too narrow to include this type of crime," Schumer said last year in a prepared statement.
If this isn't against the law now, it better be against the law by this time next year.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Tiger Woods has bought a $54 million dollar home. His first order of business; tear it down. And the local golf club doesn't want him as a member.


When the country asks young men and women to serve, the implicit quid pro quo is that the country will do everything reasonably possible (1) to protect lives, and (2) to allow the troops to complete the mission successfully. Unfortunately, the country has not always lived up to its end of the bargain in Iraq. Here is the latest, sickening evidence.
A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor. Such armor has been available since 2003, but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.
80 percent!

Another ultra-talented screwup

Marcus Vick looks to follow in the footsteps of Randy Moss. Or maybe Terrell Owens. Or maybe Onterrio "Whizznator" Smith.

Michael better talk some sense into his little brother, and soon.

Picture of the day

Thursday, January 05, 2006

50 state strategy

Consider this map of the 2004 presidential vote by county.

Nebraska is 100% red, yet its two Senators are a moderate Republican (Hagel) and a moderate Democrat (Ben Nelson). And if you look at Maine, it is mostly blue but its two Senators are moderate Republicans (Snowe and Collins). My point is this that kos is correct in his assessment that presidential candidates need to avoid a battleground states-only strategy. He is wrong, however, in his assessment that the Democrats can do that by running nationally on a leftist agenda. The reality is that, these days, only a party that nominates a moderate can be competitive everywhere.

This ain't rocket science.

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

Another meaningless poll

Poll question: "If you thought that Judge Alito, if confirmed, would vote to make abortions illegal, would you favor or oppose his confirmation?"

Do you see any problems with this question? If not, go back 11 years and consider this hypothetical question: "If you thought thought that Judge Breyer, if confirmed, would vote to let criminals free based on legal technicalities, would you favor or oppose his confirmation?"

If you still don't get my point, go here. (And remember, I'm pro-choice and don't favor overturning Roe v. Wade. But a BS poll question is a BS poll question, regardless of the slant.)

New coach

I haven't said anything here regarding the firing of Mike Tice. In my opinion, it was the right decision that was handled very poorly. After telling everyone that there would be a meeting with Tice on Monday, Wilf fired him immediately after the game on Sunday and announced it to the players with a press release issued literally before the players were even dressed.

Anyway, it looks like a new coach has now been selected.
The Vikings will name Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress to be their next head coach on Friday, according to two persons with knowledge of the coaching search.

Childress, 49, interviewed with the Vikings on Tuesday and was scheduled to talk to the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday; that meeting never took place. Childress’ agent, Bob LaMonte, and Vikings executives were in contract talks late this afternoon. Childress and LaMonte did not return calls today.

I didn't know much about Childress until this week, but from everything I have read he seems like a good choice. There is also some childish satisfaction that comes from taking the guy that the Packers probably wanted to hire.

Two thoughts

1. Katherine Harris either does not understand or does not care that she is radioactive and has absolutely no chance of being elected to the Senate.

2. It is astounding that, to date, Florida Republicans can't find a single person willing to challenge her for the party's nomination.


Not interested in the Abramoff story? Here is why you should be:
This is like a really bad novel. An Orthodox Jewish lobbyist stealing money from Indian tribes, funneling it through a yoga instructor at the beach, and being a possible accessory to a gangland hit in Florida? And it's all true. It's the best Washington story in years!

Pat Robertson is a putz (part 101)

The Rev. Pat Robertson said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being punished by God for dividing the Land of Israel. Robertson, speaking on the “700 Club” on Thursday, suggested Sharon, who is currently in an induced coma, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by an Israeli extremist in 1995, were being treated with enmity by God for dividing Israel.


This correctly explains why Sharon's stroke is really bad news.
Just when an epic victory for his ambitious plan to remake the boundaries between Israel and the Palestinians was within his grasp, Ariel Sharon has been betrayed—not by any rival or ally, but by his aging body. The Israeli prime minister suffered what officials called "a significant stroke" on Wednesday, and underwent eight hours of surgery for a cerebral hemorrage overnight. . .

[I]t is striking how, in recent months, Sharon has managed to break the mold of Israeli politics and initiate a realignment based on politicians' abandoning traditional party loyalties and lining up behind the old general's vision. His unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, the security wall he has built to secure Israel and the West Bank possessions it claims, and the expectation that a similar unilateral withdrawal would eventually occur in the West Bank as well are not part of any political party's standing program, nor of any treaty or "road map." They reflect Sharon's own vision of a peace concluded without the participation of the Palestinians, based on his long-held premise that "there is no Palestinian partner," and that Israel's best interests are served by unilaterally—and occasionally in consultation with the U.S.—resolving the problem of the occupation on its own terms. When his own Likud Party balked, he simply formed a new party, Kadima, supremely confident in his personal standing with the electorate.

Sharon has long been viewed by friend, foe and mediator as uniquely positioned to achieve a disengagement with the Palestinians, on the basis of his unrivaled credentials as a warrior, a champion of the settler movement and a politician of the most hawkish stripe. . .

Picture of the day

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Another chapter

Unfortunately, there have been many posts about death or impending death here lately. Today, a new chapter was written in the depressing 2005-06 chronology.

First, I learned this morning that the brother-in-law of a good friend was killed in a farm accident last weekend. The details were horrific.

Second, Ramius' external tumor (background info and other links here) has outgrown his skin and is bleeding at an ever increasing pace. If it were to burst, he could bleed to death in minutes. The vet is coming to our house in the morning to euthanize him here. I went to Home Depot tonight to buy the materials for, and later build, a stretcher for 115 pound dog. That was about as much fun as building a coffin.

In the end, I turn to my 6-year-old son for wisdom. As he tells me, "its the circle of life, Dad."

Flashback to 12/10/05: "At this point, I'm going to predict that Ramius' new little angel is going to help him get through the end of the year." She did.

More on eavesdropping

William Safire, staunch conservative, on the eavesdropping issue.
MR. SAFIRE: OK. I have a thing about wiretapping. . .

I was writing a speech on welfare reform, and the president looks at it and says, "OK, I'll go with it, but this is not going to get covered. Leak it as far an wide as you can beforehand. Maybe we'll get something in the paper." And so I go back to my office and I get a call from a reporter, and he wants to know about foreign affairs or something, and I said, "Hey, you want a leak? I'll tell you what the president will say tomorrow about welfare reform." And he took it down and wrote a little story about it. But the FBI was illegally tapping his phone at the time, and so they hear a White House speechwriter say, "Hey, you want a leak?" And so they tapped my phone, and for six months, every home phone call I got was tapped. I didn't like that. And when it finally broke--it did me a lot of good at the time, frankly, because then I was on the right side--but it told me how easy it was to just take somebody who is not really suspected of anything for any good reason and listen to every conversation in his home--you know, my wife talking to her doctor, my--everything.

So I have this thing about personal privacy. And I think what's happening now is that the--as a result of that scandal back in the '70s, we got this electronic eavesdropping act stopping it, or requiring the president to go before this court. Now, this court's a rubber-stamp court, let's face it. They give five noes and 20,000 yeses.

MR. RUSSERT: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA.

MR. SAFIRE: Right. But the very fact that the FBI has to do a little paperwork beforehand slows them down and makes them think for a minute. It doesn't slow them down as much as the president has made out to believe, because there's a wrinkle in it saying that if it's a real emergency and you have to get this information, then you can get it and get the approval within 72 hours afterwards. So there's always this struggle in a war between liberty and security. . .

During wartime, we have this excess of security and afterwards we apologize. And that's why I offended a lot of my conservative and hard-line friends right after September 11th when they started putting these captured combatants in jail, and said the president can't seize dictatorial power. And a lot of my friends looked at me like I was going batty. But now we see this argument over excessive security, and I'm with the critics on that.

As I have said before, it is a slippery slope.

Language abuse

This is from an article on the Notre Dame/Ohio State game yesterday.
The high point of the game came on the opening drive, when Notre Dame came out hotter than a $20 Rolex. They took the opening kick and went the length of the field as easily as if Ohio State was the scout team.

But the Buckeyes struck back on a 56-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn, Jr., and for the rest of the first half, Notre Dame looked tighter than Presidential security. Their composure evaporated like spit in a blast furnace. . .

Defensively, Notre Dame was exposed as what some had been saying it was all along — slower than an illiterate in a spelling bee. . .

Their offense that was marked all year by high explosives had been reduced to a popgun, but they took what Ohio State gave them all the way to the end zone to pull within seven with plenty of time left on the game clock.

Apparently the editor had the day off.

Tone deaf

My gosh.
Some members of the governor's staff will return from the three-day holiday on Tuesday to newly renovated offices at the State Capitol.

Shortly after the two hurricanes, Gov. Kathleen Blanco decided to renovate some of her staff's offices. At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce.

The project cost $564,838.

Gov. Blanco has apparently decided on the George Costanza "do the opposite of what seems right" strategy.

Waitress : Tuna on toast, coleslaw, cup of coffee.

George : Yeah. No, no, no, wait a minute, I always have tuna on toast. Nothing's ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of on toast. Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted ... and a cup of tea. . .

Elaine : Ah, George, you know, that woman just looked at you.

George : So what? What am I supposed to do?

Elaine : Go talk to her.

George : Elaine, bald men, with no jobs, and no money, who live with their parents, don't approach strange women.

Jerry : Well here's your chance to try the opposite. Instead of tuna salad and being intimidated by women, chicken salad and going right up to them.

George : Yeah, I should do the opposite, I should.

Jerry : If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.

George : Yes, I will do the opposite. I used to sit here and do nothing, and regret it for the rest of the day, so now I will do the opposite, and I will do something!

The Donald

Wouldn't this be interesting?
ALBANY — Megabuilder and late-blooming TV star Donald Trump yesterday flatly ruled out running for governor this year — but hinted he may go for president in 2008. . .

Trump, a Republican, said he had been "inundated with calls" from GOP leaders since state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer) suggested last week that "The Apprentice" star might run for governor. . .

But while The Donald repeatedly ruled out a race for statewide office, he strongly suggested he was interested in entering the national political arena in 2008.

Trump, who considered an independent run for president in 2000, pointedly noted that his decision not to run governor this year "doesn't preclude me from doing something [political] in the future."

I don't think that there is any chance that Trump could be elected president as an independent, but his involvement would completely alter the dynamics of the race. And that would probably be a good thing.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Doug Flutie

The 43-year-old Patriots backup converted the NFL's first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter of the Miami Dolphins' mostly meaningless 28-26 victory over New England on Jan. 1. . .

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site, the league's last drop kick for points was on Dec. 21, 1941 -- two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- when Ray "Scooter" McLean converted for the Chicago Bears to beat the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL championship game.
Not a bad final act of a remarkable career.