Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Believe it or not

ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out!

Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

In other news, parents will be required place their children in hermetically sealed bubbles each morning, where they will be picked up by an armored truck and driven to school accompanied by a police escort.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Somebody has to do it

Over the past two weeks, my job has required me to travel to Philadelphia to play golf here with clients, and to go to Red Lodge, Montana to visit bars on this street, sit by this creek, suffer through these mountain views, and to play golf here. Next week, I have to go to Manhattan for two hours of work, and the following week I need to go to Orange County, California for 30 minutes of work.

Let the world's smallest violin begin playing for me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm confused

PARIS - France said outright for the first time Wednesday that North Korea’s proclaimed nuclear test produced such a small blast that it must have failed, and analysts warned such challenging talk could lead Pyongyang to try again. . .

Such speculation about a dud test could be read as a challenge by Kim Jong Il, the North’s reclusive leader, to consider carrying out a second test to prove naysayers wrong, analysts said.

“The reaction could be exactly to carry out another explosion, to make sure it succeeds,” said Georges Le Guelte, a nuclear expert at France’s Institute for International and Strategic Research.

I don't understand the point of the "analysts." Are they suggesting that Western governments should not tell the truth (i.e., engage in "challenging talk") and instead should lie to their citizens and pretend that the test was successful simply because Kim Jung-Il is a lunatic?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Ottawa County will pay about $40,000 to correct an embarrassing typo on its Nov. 7 election ballot: The "L" was left out of "public."

Monday, October 09, 2006

The disappointing finish

With the Twins winning the AL Central on the last day of the season after the Tigers were swept by the lowly Royals, it seemed pre-ordained that the Twins would beat the A's and the Yankees would beat up on the Tigers. Somebody forgot to tell the A's and the Tigers what the storyline was supposed to be. I take my hat off to both teams, as they thoroughly whipped their opponents.

In Minnesota, the glass is 1/2 full. We are optimistic about the future because we have a boatload of young talent that, hopefully, will remain together for years to come. In contrast, in New York, the glass is 1/2 empty, as they are talking about firing the manager who has led them to the playoffs for 11 years in a row, and to the World Series 6 times, winning it 4 times.

Thanks for a great season, Twins. How long until spring training?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Daily Show

I (1) love The Daily Show and (2) rarely watch the evening news anymore, but I still find this a bit difficult to believe.
The Daily Show is much funnier than traditional newscasts, but a new study from Indiana University says it has the same amount of meat on its bones when it comes to coverage of the news. The brand of news coverage Jon Stewart and the rest of The Daily Show's staff brings to the airwaves is just as substantive as traditional news programs like World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News, according to the study conducted by IU assistant professor of telecommunications Julia R. Fox and a couple of graduate students.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Speaker Hastert is done

He probably won't resign as Speaker but, even if the Republicans retain control of the House after November, he won't return as Speaker. Why am I so sure? Because at this point, even some of his best friends are turning against him. In Washington, that is usually fatal.

Yesterday, the lead editorial of The Washington Times called for House Speaker Denny Hastert to resign his speakership immediately. I am the editor of the editorial page. Several loyal Republicans and conservatives around the country strongly disagreed with that judgment and thought we were caving to Democratic Party and liberal media pressure and dirty tricks.

I couldn't disagree with my fellow conservatives and Republicans more. I have been an active and loyal Republican for more than 40 years (starting as a youth coordinator for Barry Goldwater in 1964, campaigning for Ronald Reagan for governor and president, serving in the Reagan White House for six years and as Newt Gingrich's press secretary from 1990 to 1997, among other Republican campaigns and jobs).

I believe in and have regularly fought the partisan fight to the bitter end — except when the position is ethically indefensible.

In this case, defending Denny Hastert's decisions is ethically wrong, would undermine our party's commitment to the defense of traditional moral values and is politically stupid in the bargain.

I have known Denny for almost two decades. He is an exceedingly decent man and a hard worker for conservative Republican values and politics. But we cannot deny the fact that he had a sustained lapse of good judgment. The fact that he reportedly has been quite ill for some time may be an explanation — but not an excuse.

Forget the later hideous text messages. When the speaker was told that Mark Foley had sent that first e-mail — the "overly friendly" one that we all saw last Friday — he had to be either obtuse or on notice of the problem. Any father of a young man who saw such an e-mail sent to his son would rightly be disposed to immediately punch out Mr. Foley and warn him to keep away from his son, and then he would call the police. It was common knowledge that Mr. Foley was gay. If he had been straight and asked for a 16-year-old girl's photo, any sensible person would have concluded the same thing.

But the fact that, according to my best sources in the House Republicans, Mr. Hastert never informed any Democrats of the matter (even on the page oversight board), unambiguously suggests that he knew what was up. Thus began the cover-up. Of course he knew what the Democrats would do with the information. But not only is this not a Democratic Party dirty trick (the facts are real, not made up), but Mr. Hastert had a moral duty to do all in his power to make sure there would not be more victims of Mr. Foley's alleged sexual predation — or clear potential for such.
Hastert appears to be guilty of negligence, not malfeasance. But negligence is enough reason to lose your position as third in the presidential succession line.

Monday, October 02, 2006


The Metrodome always has been a multipurpose building, but Sunday its role in Minnesota sports lore expanded, as the stale old marshmallow became the multimedia hub for one of the greatest celebrations in Twins history.

On the season's final day, Joe Mauer won a historic batting title, the Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-1, and then the players settled in with about 35,000 of their fans for a little TV.

Together, they watched on the stadium's two JumboTrons as Kansas City finished a 10-8, 12-inning victory over Detroit that knocked the Tigers behind the Twins for the first time all season.

The conventional wisdom was that the Twins would need to sweep the White Sox to have any chance at the division title because (1) the Tigers were playing the Royals, a team that had lost 100 games and going into the final weekend of the season had the worst record in baseball, and (2) the Tigers would win the tiebreaker if the teams finished with identical records. Instead, the Twins won just one of three games against the White Sox, but the Tigers managed to get swept at home by the Royals and even blew a 6-0 lead yesterday.

Biggest choke ever? If not, it is damn close.